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Definitions | Bizzert

Lousy Girls


Lousy (lou-zee)
strongly audible sounds; abounding in or full of noise. The combination of the words loud and noisy.

Used in a home situation
Mom: “Girls it’s quiet sleeping time now. No more talking.”
Hannah and Sabrina: “Ok, we won’t be lousy!”

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Family Dollars

I found an image of play money that I adopted and printed as our official “family dollar.” Family Dollars are earned by helping out the family. I try to give them out when I notice someone doing something nice or helpful without being asked, or doing chores without reminders. The kids can also earn them by doing little jobs to help out like watering the plants, or washing the sliding doors. Hunter and Emma also earn one family dollar for every paper they bring home from school with 100%.

We keep our family dollars in a binder that has a clear pocket (page protector with their name written on it) for each person. We used to keep them in envelopes, but the envelopes were too easy to lose. I have a “bank” (a jelly jar) of family dollars that I pay them from and they can either turn their family dollars in for cash, or use them to buy things at “Mom’s Store.”

Mom’s Store is in our coat closet. I have a little store of craft projects, notepads, stickers, boxes, little toys; anything that catches my eye as something the kids might like to have. When my store has a good selection, the kids are motivated to do more helpful and nice things so they can save up for something. There is also a list of privileges they can buy in the family dollar binder. Things like: a “date” with Mom or Dad, A family trip to Legoland (this one is a biggie and would require them all to pool their dollars to get it), $15.00 to spend at Toys R Us, a pass to stay up an hour past bedtime…

I have really enjoyed doing the family dollar store with the kids. They are learning how to make buying decisions and have to think, “would I rather have a princess notepad now for $2 or save up and get a date with Dad for $15?”

They are also learning to delay gratification. Sometimes they will see something in the store that they just have to have. If it isn’t too spendy I’ll tell them, “I’ll put it in my store, and you can buy it with your family dollars.”

They have to problem solve. If they don’t have enough to buy something they need to think of something they can do to earn more family dollars. It’s cute to see Hannah run to get one of her dolls that she knows Brina likes to play with, and offer to share it. Of course she’ll give it to her and then turn immediately to me and say, “Can I get a family dollar for that?” I think it’s ok that they are getting immediate rewards for little things. There are other opportunities to teach the idea of service, or doing something good without expecting anything in return. For now, I’m just glad that the younger girls are sharing, and that the older two are thinking about what might make Mom, Dad or one of their siblings feel happier.

We have our ups and downs with the program. Sometimes I forget to give out any family dollars or there are tantrums when someone buys something another person also wanted. And sometimes it takes getting new inventory in my store to motivate the kids to earn dollars, but I think it’s a good start.

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Temples and Sealings

Because my next post is all about my brother’s wedding in a temple, I thought I’d post definitions for those who are unfamiliar with my faith:

Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples.

Sealing– An ordinance performed in the temple eternally uniting a husband and wife, or children and their parents.

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Habeas Schmabeas and Guantanamo Bay


I recently finished listening to an episode of This American Life from NPR. It’s essentially a documentary series on the radio. This episode, called “Habeas Schmabeas,” was a look at the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was fascinating and I would love for any of you guys to listen to it too and tell me what you think about it. You can get it by either subscribing to the free podcast through iTunes or other program like it, or just click here to listen to it online.

The people that created this show said their idea for this episode came from the realization that, while it’s known that there have been several hundred former detainees that have been released from guantanamo over the years, no one they knew of had ever heard an interview by any of these former prisoners. So, these guys tracked down some former detainees and talked to them. They also talked with some U.S. attorneys that had been assigned to represent prisoners at guantanamo about what it is like to represent a detainee.

One thing I found very interesting is that guantanamo was built to house high-profile terrorists—the worst of the worst—like Bin Laden and others like him. It’s essentially a supermax prison. However, one of the complaints that has come out from the military commanders in charge of the prison is that they’ve never received those high-level prisoners, they’re all kept in “black sites” run by the CIA. Instead, guantanamo ended up being used to house mainly lower-level, fringe players that provided very little valuable information, or very often, people that weren’t even terrorists to begin with. You’ll need to listen to the interviews to find out why it is that guantanamo received so many detainees that, upon review, got re-classified as NLEC’s (No Longer Enemy Combatants) and what the consequences have been.

The title of the episode “Habeas Schmabeas” refers to habeas corpus. A petition for habeas corpus is what’s known as a collateral attack against criminal charges. It doesn’t address the actual charges against you, it is a way of saying to the government, “before I answer anything else, you need to show me first that you had the right to arrest me and charge me with this crime, because I believe you didn’t follow the rules.” It requires the government to justify their actions and show that they behaved properly. This right first popped up in the Magna Charta in 1215 (Wow! politics, legal terms and now history. Could this post get any better?!) and is in Article I of the U.S. Constitution—it was such a fundamental, non-controversial right that it didn’t even need to wait until later to go into the bill of rights.

This concept of habeas corpus comes into play with the detainees at guantanamo because the current administration (we’re not naming any names here) has made a very interesting claim concerning the legal rights of the detainees. On the one hand they claim that U.S. legal rights, chief among them habeas corpus, don’t apply to the detainees because they’re prisoners of war. On the other hand they claim that the rights of the Geneva Convention don’t apply to the detainees because they’re not really prisoners of war. A little crazy, huh?

So, if I haven’t totally turned you off of it (and put you to sleep just a little), go listen to it and let me know what you think.

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Helper Jobs

Over two years ago, when Rob was away a lot because of his internship, I was getting frustrated with keeping up with housework. So I had a family home evening activity with Hunter and Emma about the problem. Hunter was 6 and Emma was almost 4 so I thought they were ready to pitch in. But what could I do that would motivate them and help them understand why I was asking them to help? Family night was just the three of us because Rob was still at the firm and we were back home. We sang “When we’re Helping we’re Happy” and then for the lesson I gathered up six big pillows. I had each of them take a turn trying to carry the pillows from one side of the room to the other. With a stack of six bed pillows, of course they couldn’t do it but they sure tried. Then I gave each of us two pillows and we tried it again. It was easy this time. We did the activity again with the names of jobs taped onto each pillow. Things like clearing the table, doing dishes, picking up toys… We did six pillows and then two each and then we talked about how much easier it was to only have two jobs to do, than 6. I told them that mommy and daddy can’t do everything on their own, so it was important that everyone helps out. Since there were just two of them I came up with two basic jobs. These are what we now call “Helper Jobs” and we do them every night after dinner. One is to set the table for dinner, and then clear it, put away the food, and clean up the table and floor when we’re done. The second is to tidy up the living room and play room. That generally means clearing off the floor and the furniture and putting things where they belong. We rotate these jobs now every other day, and it won’t be too long before we add another one to the mix when Hannah is ready to join in!

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Good Works Bucks

Last summer I started a program where the kids can earn a piece of paper that says, “Good Work” on it to buy things. I have a stack of Good Works and when one of the kids does something extra nice for somebody, does a job with out being asked, does jobs they are asked to do without complaining, etc. I give them a buck.

They each have their own envelopes to keep the bucks in, and I have some things that the kids can save up their bucks to buy. We have had games, stickers, toys, watches, CD’s and right now for the first time I am offering a trip to “Chuck E Cheese” for 15 bucks. There are usually several choices, and a range of prices so that they have to decide if they want the stickers for 5 bucks now, or to keep saving up to get the Barbie for 15 bucks. It’s a lesson in money and in good behavior!

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