It’s a little early to be posting another garden update, but we’re reaping some benefits from our copious greenery, so I figured I should put up a few pics. Above, the pumpkins (big leaves) and watermelon (in front) are growing alright, but we haven’t seen any fruit on the vines yet. There are some flowers there, so we’re hopeful. The green beans have gone crazy, so we’ve been picking quite a few of those in recent days (just about every other day).
Thus far, Brooke has canned 16 pints of green beans and we have another 4 pints (we guess) in an ice cream bucket waiting to be fully processed. There are still flowers on the plants, so we expect more to come, however the temperature has been in the 90s all week, so despite my watering of the garden every few days, we figure the beans are going to slow down pretty soon.
We also picked our first few tomatoes last night, and that seems a bit earlier than last year’s harvest. The plants have also gone kinda nuts…
…and that isn’t helped by the soup beans that surround them. We spent some time last night pulling the soup bean vines off the tomatoes and tied up the ‘mater plants to the trellis, but I suspect the beans will continue to encroach. The soup beans are also doing quite well, so we’ll end up with a great harvest of them. The tomatoes are mostly green at this point, except for the ones we picked last night.
Also, last, but not least, we got some peaches before the Japanese Beetles got them! We ended up with 5, total, though one fell off early and the other was split down the middle, so we didn’t eat it. They were very good! A bit soft by the time we picked them, but the flavor was quite nice. Not too bad for 2 years of having trees!
Speaking of which, the beetles have been really bad this year, mostly targeting the peaches. We put up a beetle trap last night and we’re hoping that mitigates the issue a bit, but we’re wary of how helpful it’ll be…
I’m not going to get into all the details, but decades ago, Marvel Comics licensed some of its characters to Sony Pictures. Characters like the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were effectively “sold off” to Sony, who could maintain their licensing agreement by continuing to release films on those properties. Since 2000, Sony has done very well with the X-Men franchise (some better than others…), has done very poorly with the Fantastic Four franchise, and has been a bit more spotty with Spider-Man. The first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies are among my favorite comic book movies, if not movies, in general. Spider-Man 3 (2007) was overly convoluted and had too many villains, though Raimi himself blames that on studio intervention. After those three movies, Spider-Man was rebooted in The Amazing Spiderman (2012) for two movies, and neither of those exactly lit the world on fire.
But Spider-Man? Couldn’t appear. He was disallowed from being in any of these movies, because they were Disney properties, not Sony properties.
After one failed reboot of Spider-Man and other failing comic-based movies, Sony basically lent Spider-Man back to Marvel for use in the MCU. It’s a limited-time deal, but while he’s over there, he’s appeared in Captain America: Civil War and will be appearing in the next few Avengers movies.
I say all this to set up the fact that this movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, has been an ordeal and the title “Homecoming” is actually meaningful on a few levels. Getting Spider-Man into the MCU, a character that is synonymous with Marvel Comics, a character that took the ball that X-Men ran with and effectively put America on its course toward multiple-super-hero-movies-per-year, is finally back where it belongs.
So, is it good?
Absolutely, though with a few caveats. The main one is that this movie is very different from the other MCU movies we’ve seen so far. Director Jon Watts (who is best known for an unknown Kevin Bacon movie in 2015…) wanted his young actors to watch old John Hughes movies before filming so he could set up Breakfast Club archetypes from the beginning. This is a high school movie much more than a “super hero” movie. This is also a distinct change of pace from the earlier Spider-Man movies, as they may have started in high school, but within literal minutes, Peter Parker is thrust into college and/or adulthood, so you don’t really get to see his character dealing with typical high school angst, which was actually a pretty important part of the comic early on when it was introduced.
So yeah, it’s a coming of age film much like something John Hughes would have made back in the 80s. The difference is, this one has super powers. And thankfully, they didn’t go through Spider-Man’s origin story yet again, ’cause we’ve seen it twice in film in the past 17 years.
Tom Holland was selected as Peter Parker for Captain America: Civil War and he still exudes perfect casting. The audience can easily tell that he wants to be there. That he’s having fun with the lines, with the costumes, with the other actors, and so on. He doesn’t have to be particularly athletic, as the Spider-Man scenes are almost entirely in CG, but he looks good in the suit and he sounds like a shy kid who’s got a lot on his plate and doesn’t know how to handle everything.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has taken him under his wing, much like in Civil War, but this time, he’s a bit more of a “distant father figure.” He acknowledges that he doesn’t have parental experience, and it shows, but Parker still seeks his approval. Aunt May is Peter’s sole support at home, but Marisa Tomei takes the role in a more, let’s say, “modern interpretation” of that particular character (in the comics and previous movies, Aunt May was always substantially older than Peter…here, she’s older, but more trying to be “the cool aunt”). The character of Ned (Jacob Batalon) is mostly new for the franchise (though he’s been kinda pieced together from other comic characters that have appeared over the years), and he serves as a comic side-kick for Spider-Man. He’s certainly more fun to have around than Harry Osborn…
Lastly, we have Michael Keaton, playing Adrian “The Vulture” Toomes. I was a bit skeptical of Keaton playing a MCU villain, mostly because I know him more from his comedy and from playing Batman, but as he was underestimated back in 1989 for his superhero role, I underestimated him for his supervillain role. He did a great job making the audience at least feel sympathetic for his views, though obviously not his methods. He also provided some fatherly advice to Peter on occasion, so he kinda showed Peter the other side of Tony Stark’s coin, to a degree. Still, Keaton was a delight and surpassed many of the other villains we’ve seen in these movies.
Ultimately, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m not sure I like it more than Spider-Man 2 yet, but that movie came out at the right age for me and also built upon a foundation built in its previous movie. This one’s just very different. I look forward to seeing it again so I can tease out the other elements I may have missed. Overall, it’s a successful movie on many fronts and leaves me wanting more.
We took around 12 frames to Hannibal over the July 4th Weekend to extract some honey! Ultimately, the process took a few hours and was mostly carried out in the garage in order to keep bees from homing in on their wares and coming to reclaim it.
This was the first time we’d extracted our own stuff (though we combined ours with 6 or 8 frames of Mark’s stock), so I grabbed a few pictures of the process, as we had multiple questions across Instagram and Facebook asking how this all worked.
After Brooke used her sweet serrated knife up above to scrape off the wax cappings on the frames, they were put in an extractor 4-at-a-time. Basically, the extractor is a metal barrel with a hand crank that acts as a centrifuge. The honey is pulled out using centrifugal force and it drops down to the bottom of the barrel. A spigot is down there to allow for draining into another bucket after filtration, as there’s a lot of extra “stuff” in there we don’t want (i.e. wax, dead bees, etc.).
After all of this was done, we ended up with around 6 gallons of honey, which was far more than we were expecting!
Anyway, remember the new hive? Well, Brooke didn’t put frames in it last weekend after we got back. So, she got in there today and we found out the bees have been kinda busy!
So busy, they made new comb in the empty spaces where the frames used to be…
There isn’t a great solution to this, as the new comb had honey and brood in it. Brooke ended up shaving off the comb into the super on top, then putting a “queen excluder” above the super (to, obviously, prevent the queen from crossing the barrier), and then put a new super on top of the hive.
The crazy thing is that this is the new hive that’s only about 3 months old. Apparently, they’re doing fine! Doing some crazy stuff, but still doing fine!
There isn’t much to talk about right now, but I did want to note a few goings-on from the last few weeks with regard to the good ol’ Marshall Homestead…
The green beans, tomatoes, soup beans, pumpkins and watermelons are all moving along pretty well! There are some tiny green tomatoes on the plants and the green beans are flowering, so all’s well on that front. The green pepper plants are still pretty small: two of them are looking good, while the other two are on the short side, and are getting encroached by “volunteer” tomato plants from last year.
Other than that, Brooke laid waste to the remaining lettuce, pea plants and carrots this weekend and ended up with a substantial carrot crop. The lettuce had gone to seed a week or two ago, so it was time to end them, and the carrots had been in for months now, so it was time to pull them up.
After hours of processing (that, thankfully, I had very little to do with), we ended up with ~15 lbs of carrots, 12 lbs of which Brooke chopped up, blanched, then vacuum-sealed and dropped in the freezer. Last year, we also got a lot of carrots, but we left them in the fridge crisper for far too long and then ended up “floppy,” which isn’t exactly great if you like raw carrots.
Still, despite Brooke’s metric ton of time working with them, she’s pretty satisfied with the haul of organic carrots she grew.
Otherwise, a few weeks ago, Brooke checked out her beehives and removed 6 shallow frames-worth of combed honey. There’s more in there, but some frames had brood and others weren’t quite full yet. Our new hive from late-April is also doing well, so Brooke put the super on it in hopes we’ll be able to get some honey from them later this summer, too.
Brooke will scrape off the wax from these and likely make some candles (among other things), and she’ll extract the honey along with her Dad this weekend, as he’s got some frames to process, too.
Generally (as I can’t remember if I ever explained this…), honey extraction involves removal of the wax cappings, insertion of the frames into a cylindrical drum, and then spinning them around to use centrifugal force, pulling the honey out and allowing it to drop down to the bottom of the drum, thus letting you fill up jars of honey. It’s a messy and time-intensive process, so while you could get honey directly from these frames, it’s a lot easier to process a lot of frames all at once, saving you clean-up time.
Therefore, we will figure out how much honey we got this weekend. 🙂
The last thing I wanted to mention was that Japanese Beetles have arrived in Marshall. The two pictured above were on our neighbor’s tree, but we’ve seen them on our trees, too, as well as on our sunflowers. We’ve got multiple leaves that look like those pictured above. Our understanding is that this crop of beetles were spending their time reproducing and laying eggs, all of which will hatch later this summer and wreak havoc. Hopefully, our growing season will be mostly done by then…
Still, we put in some praying mantids last week in an effort to kill off insect-derived pests while not spraying anything on our flowering green beans, as that would likely affect our bees. We’ll see if it work… We ordered the mantids and put them in a cage (an old bee package) back in late-May and it took almost 3 weeks for them to show up. There were 10s, if not 100, of them in that package before we released them on our green beans, so hopefully they do their jobs.
We own quite a bit of backpacking gear, much of which I’ve had since before Brooke and I were married when I’d go on trips over Spring Break in high school and college. After we had kids, obviously, it got a little more difficult to be gone for multiple days on trips without the family. Thus, now that I’ve got a 7-year-old to indoctrinate in my interests, I thought this summer would yield an opportunity for a little daddy-daughter time out in the wilderness.
I hadn’t done much backpacking in Missouri, as most of my trips were to Tennessee and Arkansas (with a single trip to Colorado back in 8th grade). The trails I’d done in Missouri were relatively far south and didn’t have much access to water. In searching for “beginner backpacking trails” that would be suitable for a 7-year-old first-timer, I came across the Bell Mountain Loop Trail near Salem, MO, as part of Mark Twain National Forest. The trail represented a 10 mile loop that had good overlooks, had access to water at least at one point, and was rated as relatively easy for beginners.
Things started out pretty good, really. In many ways, this is the most “in shape” I’ve ever been for backpacking, as the last time I did this, I was a good 30 pounds heavier. Meg, of course, had gone hiking with us in limited settings, but never with this length of time, or overnight in the wilderness.
We got started on an Ozark Trail spur that would lead us to the Bell Mountain Trail Loop. The OT section was mostly a dry creek bed, which isn’t great to hike on if you’re an adult, let alone a 7-year-old. Meg and I had good hiking shoes on, so we were relatively fine, but it did get tedious, and we had to go slower than we otherwise would. Still, we continue onward and upward until we hit the Bell Mountain Trail (or so we thought…).
We went for about as far as we could, but we were hoping we’d get to the main creek for our first night of camping, as it would provide some entertainment for Meg, and a solid water source to get us going the next morning. We kept going as far as we could, but it was getting darker and we had already gone a good 4 miles with no creek in sight. Meg was pretty tired (we didn’t start hiking until 4:00 pm, and there was a slight rain threat hovering about), and we were on a flat section of the trail that had some good camping spaces for our tent, so we went ahead and parked for the night.
The first night went remarkably well! It dipped down into the low-50s overnight, but we were pretty warm in our tent. We bought a 2-person Kelty backpacking tent, as traditionally, I’d always relied on a hammock and a tarp – something that doesn’t work quite as well for a 7-year-old. The tent worked very well, so I think that purchase was well-founded.
Also, the macaroni and cheese I made for dinner that night went over pretty well with the kid. 🙂
Anyway, we kept hiking the next morning and still never ran across the creek. We did spot a really nice overlook and took a few panoramic pictures with my phone. We did eventually spot a fire pit that we thought we recognized from our map, so we continued onward.
Eventually, we’d gone so far that it was getting late in the morning and we still hadn’t found water. Not that we needed water right then, but we would need it for cooking later in the day, so I was getting a bit worried. I was also very confused by a fork in the trail that shouldn’t have been there, at least according to the map.
Thus, we opted to turn around and start heading back. We figured that there were some ponds we had passed that weren’t ideal for filtration, but could still be used to keep us going until we could get to the car the next morning. We were also hoping to get moving relatively early the next day so we could hit up Heinrichshaus in St. James before getting to Marshall in time to pick up Calvin from school.
Anyway, we kept going for a few miles and, at this point, I was keeping an eye on my LTE signal so I could try and download a Google Earth file that would show us where, exactly, on the trail we actually were.
Basically, we saw that sign early in the trip that’s pictured at the top of this page, and it pointed to the left. We also knew that we needed to take a left to head toward the Fire Ring indicated by the star above, as it would take us down toward Joe’s Creek for water (and there were two creek crossings on the map). Well, we thought that sign was at the trail fork circled in red. Instead, that sign was way before that, at the hairpin turn indicated by the red hexagon.
So, we took a left, but we were still on the OT spur and not actually on the Bell Mountain Loop yet. When we got to the real turnoff, we just kept on heading straight and didn’t notice that there was another trail heading off to the left just over our shoulders. Literally, there was a small orange flag that was practically impossible to see from the direction we were coming from.
So yeah, instead of eventually seeing the fire ring indicated by the star, we instead saw the fire rings that were actually on Bell Mountain, and the scenic views they entailed. Also, based on my step tracker’s GPS, we ended up heading toward an entirely different parking lot before we turned around: the “extra fork in the road” we saw, we should have taken a left instead of a right. Of course, we thought we were heading clockwise on the loop, but instead, we should have been going counter-clockwise.
Anyway, we had turned around, we figured this all out, and we kept trekking back to the car, knowing we wouldn’t cross the creek for water. We pushed it quite a bit and ended up going 10 miles that way.
Meg was not happy about this. There was yelling, there was screaming. There was a lot of “I thought you said we were close!!!” Technically, we were “close,” but considering that Meg had to stop literally every 2 minutes because her feet hurt, it was taking forever.
I even ended up carrying her backpack attached to mine in order to keep us moving. So yeah, my feet hurt, too, but she didn’t really care…
So yeah, we kept on going and eventually made it back to the car, where I had some water packed for our arrival. We also drove to a nearby creek passing so I could filter some more.
It was quite a bit colder the next night, dipping down into the upper-40s, so that was a little less fun, but we still survived the night. Meg hobbled along for awhile and didn’t really want to walk at all after we got to camp, though she was fine by mid-next day.
All in all, if you ask her about it, she’ll tell you she had fun with the camping aspect of the trip, but the hiking part wasn’t her favorite. I think I can convince her to go again someday, but we may want to shake these memories a bit before I try again!
Ultimately, it was good to get backpacking again. If I have to wait until Calvin’s ready, I can live with that.
So I took some pictures awhile back and apparently never posted them here. These pictures are more recent, so I won’t bother showing how it all started when, you know, they were just dirt plots… As stated in an earlier post, we’ve been busy! Still, we got started relatively early this year and the weather was pleasant enough that we could get peas, carrots, lettuce and radishes planted (above). We already picked the radishes and, while many of them turned out pretty good, others were left in the ground a bit too long (as evidenced by their thoroughly tough exterior…).
This is the most lettuce we’ve grown and it has turned out pretty well! We’ve had weather in the 90 F range this past week, so we’re probably getting to the end of the line with lettuce, but the carrots aren’t quite done. It’s about time to pick peas but, at usual, we aren’t expecting to get all that many.
We also switched up the locations of crops from last year, so now the green beans are closer to the house and a bit more shaded. The mounds above with the greenery is watermelons, and the two mounds in the background are supposed to have pumpkins, but they haven’t sprouted all that much yet…not optimistic… The peppers are positioned around the smaller trellis and we already lost a few of them, but the plants that are still there look passable
The tomatoes, on the other hand, are looking pretty solid. Those plants took off pretty well, mostly because we didn’t rely on seed starts as much as last year, so they went in bigger. We planted most of this the weekend before Mother’s Day, so they’ve had time to grow in the last few weeks. Brooke did plant a few that she grew downstairs, but they didn’t take off as well as last year. Hopefully we end up with a solid crop this year!
Lining the edges of this plot, we put in some soup beans. Those are substantially larger than when I took this picture and they’re looking pretty good. I’m hopeful they don’t decide to vine all the way up the tomatoes, ’cause that would be a huge pain…
Brooke expanded the herb garden, as well. The sunflowers all came back as “volunteers” from last year, and our lemon balm plant also returned from last year. Unfortunately, that was about it! Otherwise, Brooke planted some other stuff like sage and, oregano, and some butterfly-attractive flowers.
The blackberries are also taking off quite nicely! I may need to get a shotgun to fight off birds (and people) that may try to take them before they’re big enough… Lastly, the trees all survived the winter and are growing well, especially the peach tree! We even have a few peaches on there, but that’s the extent of the fruit we’ve observed. The trees will keep growing this year and we’ll get some more stuff next year, we guess!
Clearly, as the rate of posts here indicates, I’ve been pretty busy this semester. Both of my classes this semester were courses I’ve taught before, but I had two of each for a total of four courses, with a combined 115 students. Don’t get me wrong, it went fine and all of my grades were turned in on time this past Tuesday, but it got pretty busy, especially after Spring Break.
Good thing I’m off for Summer Vacation now, right? Wrong! In all honesty, I’m kinda excited because I’ll be teaching two classes in the online setting for the first time. It’s new territory for me, as I’ve never taught a class in this way before, let alone two, so the learning curve could get the best of me, but I’m hopeful I can push them across the finish line by the time the classes are over in July.
Basically, back in the Fall, some of my students asked if I could teach Pathophysiology over the Summer semester. It’s a class I’d taught before, but this time, it would be out of a different department and with a different course number and a different textbook, so it isn’t exactly the same (but, effectively, it’s the same class). I was interested in doing it anyway, but the rub was that I’d have to do it in the online setting. In some ways, it was “win/win” because I could still be flexible with staying home over the Summer with Meg, but I’d also get to keep busy and try something new with my courses, some things I could potentially wrap back around into my lectures for the Fall. As of today, I’ve got 17 people enrolled in that class.
Earlier this semester, I was having conversations with “The Powers That Be” on campus about how many people are in my A&P courses (hint: it’s a lot) and they mentioned how it would be nice to get a fully online version of A&P I built to help transition students from the career center setting in nearby counties over to our nursing program. This online A&P course could be completed by interested students and, assuming it was completed along with other prerequisites, they could enroll in our nursing program without having set foot on our campus before.
This presented a different challenge, as there’s a laboratory component involved. I think I’ve solved that issue with a distance learning laboratory kit that we’ve contracted out from a supplier, but it’ll be interesting to see how the lab side of things works out compared with what I normally do during the Fall and Spring semesters.
Right now, I’ve got 15 people enrolled in that class, as well.
The thing I’m working on right now (aside from posting this…) is recording all of my lectures and getting them hosted on YouTube. There are multiple ways to handle an online class and it really depends on a). the strengths (or weaknesses) of the instructor and b). what kind of material is being discussed in said lecture. In my case, I’m no stranger to technology, so I picked up a USB microphone for $20 and grabbed Brooke’s sewing lamp from home in order to create a make-shift recording studio. I’m also using Screencastify, software built in to Chrome that lets me insert my voice and video in one of the four corners of my lecture slides and records the tab in Chrome into a video format stored on Google Drive. From there, I can download it and edit it (to a very limited degree…), and then post it to YouTube in a Private listing so I don’t have everyone on the planet viewing it (and getting lovely YouTube comments about how little hair I have).
Thus far, the lecturing has been working pretty well, I think. I’m recording each lecture in 30-40 minute chunks and I started with A&P I material, as that’s what I’ve most recently done and, consequently, can get more “comfortable with the camera” as I have more confidence with those lectures. I’ll get started on recording my Pathophysiology lectures next week, but after I get done with those, I’ve still got quite a few lecture slides to write in order to finish out the semester.
Luckily, Meg still has another week of school… I’ve got my work cut out for me…
We went to the Mexican place up the street a few weeks ago while Meg was at Kids for Christ and, while Brooke and I were having a conversation, the following ensued:
Calvin: “What’s a ‘teenager’?”
Brooke: “Well, a ‘teenager’ is a big kid. Like Cooper from church.”
Calvin: “Then what’s a ‘Ghostbuster?'”
After this, Brooke and I could barely contain ourselves, so we couldn’t really inquire further. We can only assume Calvin equates teenagers with Ghostbusters, though how exactly Calvin learned of “Ghostbusters,” in the first place, eludes us.
We were trying to come up with something special to do for Meg’s birthday this year when Brooke happened to notice one of our favorite “family friendly” musical groups, The Okee Dokee Brothers, were coming to Kansas City. The concert fell around Meg’s birthday, so close enough, right?
A bit of background: Brooke ran across their music 5 or 6 years ago and, though I can’t remember why exactly we listened in the first place (let alone how we discovered them…), my recollection mostly surrounds their fourth album, Can You Canoe?, which was inspired by their trip down the Mississippi River from St. Paul, MN to St. Louis, MO. For Meg, it was a collection of creative and catchy tunes. For Brooke and me, it was intelligently produced kids’ music that hearkened back to our own childhood experiences in this region, while also representing great bluegrass-style music. That album went on to win the Grammy for Best Children’s Album in 2013. They have since come out with two other albums, one inspired by their hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail, and another around their trip to the Rocky Mountains.
Thus, after church this morning, we went ahead and hit the road for Crown Center, where we ended up at Fritz’s again. I think we waited a good 45 minutes to get into that place last year before going to Legoland for Meg’s 6th birthday, but this time, the line was considerably shorter (read: non-existent). We were in-and-out relatively quickly and moved on to the Kansas City Folk Festival.
The event itself was pretty well organized, taking place at the Westin hotel in most of its various conference rooms. Each show took place “on the hour” and ran for 45 minutes, and 5 or 6 shows were going on simultaneously, allowing listeners to move between rooms and get a good sampling of musical styles. A substantial number of the acts were Spanish language-focused, which was very interesting musically, though difficult to deal with lyrically. Still, Meg seemed like she was “bobbing her head” quite a bit, even if she didn’t know what exactly was going on.
The Okee Dokee Brothers went on at 2:00 and were great. In the picture above, Meg and Calvin are sitting on the floor just in front of the stage, so they had a front row seat to all the action.
This room was packed with families. The organizers probably should have seen this coming, though to be honest, how all these people had heard of The Okee Dokee Brothers is beyond me. Still, Brooke and I had to hold up a wall on the side of the room, with Calvin running back and forth from where Meg was sitting and where we were standing. We weren’t next to Meg at all during the music, but we could see her copying the motions and singing along, as she knew many of the songs already. So far as concerts go, they did a good job mixing their older stuff with their newer stuff, so that helped out quite a bit, as we haven’t listened to their newest album as much as their older ones.
It ended up being a fun time! Not a particularly cheap experience, as were were also funding our “attendance” to all of the other bands that were there, but ultimately, I think we all agreed it was worth the trip. The music was great, the experience was something different from what Meg’s used to, and it was an excuse to get out of the house for a day.
After setting up the new shared bedroom for Meg and Calvin, it was time to do something with Meg’s old room. However, after putting a week into that new bedroom, I wasn’t really in the mood to scrape even more wallpaper, so it was decided that the second room would be turned into a play room. In the interest of maintaining our sanity over this Christmas Break, we decided to leave the carpet and wallpaper for now and consolidate all of the toys into that room.
We now have another TV set up for the first time since living here and we have a Fire TV Stick on order to make it a little “smarter.” The only station it gets over bunny ears right now is PBS, but we can live with that. We’ve also got the Lego table set up in front of one of the windows.
Brooke had a crazy idea about the wall that will improve over time. As the kids draw more pictures and do more “art” at school, it’ll get clothespinned to the string she put up for all to see. The easel is also near two new tables we picked up from IKEA to replace the two we previously had, only this time, we put some chalkboard contact paper on it.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how the contact paper will last on the tables, as they’re also intended for Play-doh and other things. The idea was that roads and towns could be drawn on it for Legos, cars, etc. We’ll just have to see how they use them…
The last wall involved a purchase of a 9 cube organizer and some bins so we could put all those toys in a mostly central location. Their Kindle Fires can be charged because of the port behind the shelves, so that’s where they’ll live and not in the bedroom (unless it’s during the day). Hopefully we can foster some better habits that way.
It’s going to be a work-in-progress for awhile, but it’s more organized than before! And now the Music Room downstairs has many fewer toys just lying around because they’re all upstairs! There was also a “culling” of baby toys that the kids otherwise wouldn’t get rid of on their own, so this was a good opportunity for “Winter Cleaning.”