Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Move

The hood council ordained that all families had to move into these smaller gated communities so here we are in another home. It has three bedrooms and two baths (the girls share a room), small backyard, but otherwise is ok. It's still a bit smaller than our last home especially in terms of yard space, but now we seem to be closer to our neighbors and can interact a bit more.

I got the job!

Not only did I make the team, but my expertise-and the fact that they were desperate-earned me a spot on a crew that protects the coasts of Apple Valley, Apple Valley Metro and PU Campus. So now I spend my days in a ship circling the islands looking for bandits. Right now my post is the PU Campus...maybe eventually I'll work my way up.

Quick Jet To Kimikura

My older brother, Ray, came into town for a short visit with his girlfriend, Lydia. He had come into a bit of money and I convinced him to travel to Apple Valley so that we could go to Kimikura. Julio had found a great deal for four sims and it didn't take much convincing! We hired a nanny to watch the twins and we were off!
After checking into our hotel, we visited the hotel gift shop and brought some east asian outfits. Lydia and I kept picking the same kimono. I didn't realize that we both have very similar senses of style. We both LOVE the color brown-though I could live with orange as well.
After changing we visited the Majoung Market for a game of majoung and some authentic noodle dishes. The boys kept whispering on thier end of the bar, but Lydia and I barely noticed. We were so involved in our own conversation. Lydia is very interested in finances, like myself, so we spent most of the vacation debating about the economic slump and ways to avoid it and overcome it.
It wasn't all serious talk, we managed to book a historic walking tour through some of the ancient, historic and most popular destinations in Kimikura. It was amazing, we managed to see ancient temples, vast forest lands, native animal species and more. We saw the most amazing sculptures including deities representing Nature and Wealth.
During our trip we stopped at the world famous Kimikura Tea House for a traditional tea ceremony. It was amazing. I have to tell Sazo about this tea, he needs to start stocking it in his business...or perhaps I could open an import store...hmmm. Oh, back to the trip. What I didn't know during the tea ceremony is that Ray was nervously planning a big surprise for Lydia. Julio had to distract me for a few hours and he chose the perfect way, a nice long soak in the natural hot springs. Later Lydia and Ray joined us and she was beaming and waving her hands about. In spite of her waving her hands about, I was able to see that she was wearing grandmother's ring. I remember our mom looking for that ring after dad's funeral. She said that Lydia was something special and wanted Ray to have the ring to give to her. Seeing the ring made me teary eyed as memories of mom and grandmom rushed back to me.

All too soon, the trip was over and I was waving goodbye to my brother and my future sister-in-law (I'll let Ray give the details about the proposal!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finally Moving

We'll be moving soon...again. We just moved into our new home when the hood council annouced that all families will be moving into gated communities. That's fine, it will help the residents become a bit closer, so we'll see what happens. Jadhira is eyeing the townhomes going up...I rather have a home with a yard, but if the woman of the house is unhappy then everyone is it looks like a townhome we shall be getting.

Not Bad

Our new home is not bad. We live next door to the Humphrey family, also the Warwicks. Thier daughter, S'Ahmisa has already offered to babysit Grace Elise whenever I want. Grace Elise is the only toddler here and she loves the set of Llama Riders that they have. *sigh* I wish I could have a younger sibling for her to play with...soon, she'll celebrate her child birthday and enter school...what will I do then.
I've been thinking about getting my hair done differently...maybe a new style would suit me better.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Finally a Mommy

I am the mother of a beautiful baby girl named Veronika Kent. She arrived a few weeks early, but other than being really tiny and having to spend a few days in the clinic to make sure her breathing was ok, she's as healthy as can be. She looks so much like her grandmother...I can not wait to see her grow up. Already Jesse is talking about another child and Bill has seen firsthand how hard caring for an infant is so maybe we won't have to worry about another scare from him.

New Lodging

Well, we moved into our new home...well, perhaps I should say my daughter's new home and my temporary stay until death comes my way. I am one of the last of the elders on this island and it's lonely to say the least. Li Sweeny wants to meet with me and discuss plans for a retirement community, bugger-she's asking the wrong sim. I would rather be in my lab than some old folks' home.

Pastoral Notes: Church Fees

Lyndon Humphrey
Instead of a raise, from now on fees for weddings and funerals will be paid directly to me. I will be paid 75% of the fee and the remaining 25% will go towards the upkeep of the church.

Blast from the Past

Found some old wedding photos in a box, decided to post them.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Losing Streak

I lost the election to Carmela Herendez. She called to have a few words after the election, not gloating, but very nicely saying that I had a great speech and campaign and if I had any concerns to let her know. She will do fine in the position, Jorge says not to worry about it, I would have been too busy anyway. That's not very comforting...then again, he did comfort me in a way that only he knows how.

I've been busy this winter, still packing for the move. We decided on a home. It's a LOT smaller than what we have now. Two bedroom, one bath home. Meaning that mom and Grace Elise will share a room and then when we have another child, they will also share the room. It should be better once Grace Elise is older and doesn't need her crib...or changing table anymore.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hello, Neil!

With the new gated communities opening up, new sims have been visiting the island to help with the process and wow are they cute! I met this one hottie...Neil and whoa wow a wow! What a hottie! Rich brown silk hair and a beautiful smile. I could tell he was totally into me as well...we exchanged numbers and he already left a message. I hope we become fast friends :)

Apartment Life-But Not Apartments

With AL came many new features including the much coveted "watch children" interaction from neighbors. I wanted all my sims to be able to enjoy this, not just those in apartments. So I created "gated communities" or basically apartments, that are actually homes.

Thus, the sims lease the homes and have all the interactions of apartment living, but also the suburban landscape. In addition to the new interactions, it gave another benefit of freeing up space in my small terrain for more community lots and thus more interactions with different social groups.

The Greymount Pointe community (above) is the luxury community. It's a 3x3 lot with 3 spacious (for my simmies) homes of 3+ bedrooms. The only have a small private back patio (2x5 tiles) but plenty of common grilling space and playground area. It worked out where all my hood council members live here (Kent (three story craftsman home), Herendez (yellow stucco) and Wilsonoff (beige brick)). Their previous homes were on 3x2 and 2x2 lots. They haven't lost any square footage in thier homes, but they're closer to neighbors now.

Apple's Landing also features a 3x3 lot, but four homes with fenced backyards and very little common areas (save a small area of toddler rides). Two homes are two story-3 bedroom, the other two are one story-2 bedroom homes. These homes are cheaper, but still mid-grade. Humphrey (2 story-yellow siding), Warwick (2 story-green siding) and Dawson (one story-beige siding) live here. Previous homes were all 2x2 lots, the only family that lost square footage is the Dawson, but thier old home was too big anyway.

For kicks and giggles, I'm showing the lower level residental lot. It's set up as attached townhomes, 3 tiny bedrooms (I have to use snaptogrid to place the double bed in the largest room). I just love the way they look, though the interior will kill me soon. So I'll probably revamp these with a better blueprint. Shazad and Sweeny live here. Thier previous homes were 2x2. Sweeny is really feeling the crampness of it all as they recently had triplets-yikes! But the IVF treatments and medical bills leave this as the only place they can afford at the moment.

The "gated communities" have all the same issues as apartments. The landlord complains about smells, you hear noises on the walls-even though they're not connected (huh?), neighbors can watch the kids and now I have all this free land space in the hood to build! Whoopie!!!

EDIT: Let's see some of your apartments!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Education Note: Economy and PAG

Johan Dawson Shazad
The economy has affected even PAG. It was noted earlier that PAG decided to build it's campus on another small nearby island instead of AV Metro. PAG is changing it's name to Pierce University that specializes in university degrees and the board has approved a plan for a local administration of the university. They offered the job as University President. My job duties will increase as Educational Director and thankfully I'll have a much better salary since PU will be paying me. Some immediate changes, thanks to the economic downturn, are increased fees and admission requirements:

Apple Valley Academy: §100 a SimYear (Hapar-Peacar) per student.
Application for Graduation from AVA: C average or better, score a 6 in one skill exam.

Pierce University: §1000/semester
Kimkura University: §4000/year

Admissions to Pierce University: A score of at least 15 on thier entrance exam and at least 15 skill points to enter.

GPA (3pts-A, 2pts-B, 1pt-C)
+ # Extracurriculars (1pt each)
+ # Skill points (1pt each)
+ # Hobby Points
+ # Years Work Experience

Each class is limited to four sims each.

Admissions to Kimikura University: A score of at least 15 on thier entrance exam, at least a 3.0 GPA, and at least 15 skill points to enter.

+ # GPA points (4pts-4.0, 3.9 pts-3.9, etc)
+ # Extracurriculars (1pt each)
+ # Skill points (1pt each)
+ # Hobby Points

Each class is limited to two sims each.

Any Day Now

Any day now the babies will arrive. We're excited, but nervous at the same time. Can we handle three tiny lives. Three times everything. Bottles, diapers, cribs, education fees, clothes, everything!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Job

I got that job at The Peacock and now I work with my foster mother. At least the uniform is cool. Harvis was one of my first was weird waiting on him and he was so mean about it. Demanding more and more water! Gosh, I wonder about him...we shouldn't be near water and he's been drinking so much of it lately...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I told the children that I am leaving a bit of money to be spent on Grace Elise's violin lessons. I don't know, nor do I care, if she has any talent. She will have to take lessons. The latest research says that playing the violin helps great minds become greater and I know that she's a very smart little girl and with some prodding will become the greatest mind ever!

Financial Strain

Yes, it's no secret that we're experiencing financial strain as of late. The IVF treatment was §5,000; then each doctor's visit is §500 and we still need to furnish the nursery and pay bills. It seems like the money doesn't stretch enough.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Aghhh!!! They came for me!!! But Susie was right!!! They were the wrong kind!!! Horrible green aliens!!!! Agh!!! I must shower!!! Drink lots and lots of fresh water!!! I need WATER!!!!


Faith and I went bowling at the new boardwalk in Apple Valley Metro. The ferry ride wasn't too long and the island is very walkable. Faith fell in love with everything. She wants to move to AV Metro once she graduates. Speaking of graduation, we have to start looking at our future...I mean, I'm pretty set on going to PAG which is about a three hour ferry ride away, and studying mechanics, but Faith...well, she may not even go! She's thinking about making her music her career and with her contract it's not like she needs a college degree. I was happy that our families let us out of the house, true her family was around us constantly, but at least I was able to see her besides during school hours.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Will we ever get pregnant? Not to complain, but this is becoming a chore. It's no longer fun and games, but now it's "i'm fertile-let's go!"

My job is going away, so I need to find other work...I am thinking of joining a team that is excavating the ruins in the south end of the island. Some bones were discovered there and they need sims on the team. I submitted an application-so wish me luck.

General Playstyle

Apple Valley has had a long history reaching back into the TS1 days (2002). It is a sim-to-sim hood inspired by Simmerville. Since then I've gotten inspiration from Life of a Sim, Isle of Thyme and Lakeside Heights.

Originally Apple Valley was started in 2002 as the old dimensional hood, Greymount. I joined the SUN network in 2003, placed in the 2003 Top Theme Site Awards from SimStash and won numerous Golden Star Awards. More history about the hood can be found here. All of my current sims can trace thier family lineage to a family from TS1.

A key difference with Apple Valley and many other blogs that I follow is that Apple Valley follows the sim-to-sim hood playstyle drawn from Simmerville.. Meaning that I speak through my sims, almost a type of role playing. I actually thought over a period of months about establishing this behind the scenes blog as then I would be stepping from behind my sims and speaking.

Everything that is done in the hood is done by a sim. Buildings are designed by Li Sweeny, the children are educated by Johan Shazad, etc. The website is set up by the sims and they publish the newspaper.

The hood is run by a hood council that collects taxes, manages welfare and makes the big decisions in the hood.

Sim's Background
Life of a Sim provided a template for me to randomize my sim's background and preferences. Would they want to go to university? What major? Would they be good parents? Would they cheat? Are they vegaterians? What clothing style do they perfer? I now have a large excel document with information about each sim. No more perfect A+ students, straight laced families, etc. Now there's a little drama and more diversity. Currently I am working on making the random files a little smaller and easier to manage, ideally something I can manage in-game. I am playing with the idea of five traits-like the sims 3-along with favorite colors. We'll see.

Intergrated Hood
After years of playing the original MAXIS and sim-to-sim playstyle, I stumbled upon Isle of Thyme (now defunct). Isle of Thyme featured an economically intergrated hood where sims paid taxes (this wasn't new to me as my simmies have always paid hood taxes and fees) to a mayor type sim. That sim then used the money to build new projects. Also gone where the MAXIS careers, instead all sims worked for either a business owner, owned thier own business or did seasonal work from home (writing articles, painting, etc). The money that was made changed hands within the community. To further add to this, I cleaned out the hood-no more townies, only one NPC of each kind, etc. Any businesses that were in the hood-grocery store, clothing, etc came from a sim. (The tutorial for setting up a hood like this is on my website)

I only recently-in the last two weeks-moved away from this playstyle. It was too much work for me to have to play so many business lots. It wasn't fun anymore, so now my sims are entering the MAXIS workforce again, but with a slight difference. Each career has a cap, only two sims can be in any career track at a time. I am also allowing townies back into my game, but with a limit of course, I don't want hundreds and thousands of sim files for characters I don't even play.

Real Time-Real Seasons
I always played on a 1 simday rotation to keep my families insync. I struggled with the dynamic nature of the rotation, how can John fall in love with Jane during his rotation and then with Jane's rotation they get married and this is all the same simday! Enter Lakeside Heights and the concept of months! Whoohoo! For more information about real time-real seasons visit Lakeside Heights and read Laura's full explanations.

I still play 1 simday rotations where each simday is equivalent to 1 year. However, now I have months. I "revived" the SimLonic Calendar (see issue 17) with only eight months, since I currently have only nine households (more on that later).

Relationships and Families
For the most part, I "listen" to my sims. If they're attracted to another sim, then we persue them, if not, oh well. The occasional exception is when my sims meet another sim from another sim-to-sim neighborhood, converse on the Simmerville boards and fall in love. (Fredic Kent did this with Gin Hart of Palatial Heights and moved there with her. His twin sister, Fiona, also did the same with Jesse Carr of Eden who moved to Apple Valley). The sim-to-sim nature of my hood allows for families to be spread all over SimNation in other hoods. I think my families have relatives in as many as ten other sim-to-sim hoods and for the most part they keep in contact with each other.

I recently began using ACR and allowing sims to plan thier family size through this concept-yikes, hands off is scary! I am going to change the settings to reflect my current population suggestionof two kids per family.

Random Scenarios
At the beginning of each rotation I roll 2 random scenarios to occur during that rotation. As the population changes I roll more or less than 2 per rotation, but there are only 9 different families so 2 is plenty. Part of my massive Excel document is a ROS page with about 165 scenarios that are a combination of my own thinking, and Isle of Thyme's ROS file. The page randomly selects the scenario and the sim it will happen to.
Small Hood and Space Savers

Many may have noticed that my hood is tiny! I am used to playing the game on a laptop and to spend more time actually playing, I moved away from have over 100 playable sims in my game to having only nine families (about 45-50 playable sims). With this move, I have a smaller terrain for my main hood (Amber's Journey Golden Bay Island) and the largest lot size I use is a 3x3. My subhoods (vacation destinations, university, downtown) are also from Amber's Journey and are equally small.

My hood has recently moved to a desktop again and I have purged my CC files to only recolors of MAXIS objects, hair from Nouk, clothing from All-About Style (some Maxis matching things from MTS2) and a few neccessary hacks from Simlogical, MATY, Simbology, etc. I deleted the MAXIS hoods that come preloaded with the game so that only my custom hood and soap opera hood (Pahala Shore) load. Now it takes maybe 3 minutes to load the game, less than a minute to load the hood and less than a minute to load a family. So what used to take me 1.5 hours to load and play one family (without having them leave the house) now takes me 20 minutes. I'm still giddy with excitement!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Some Photos

I decided to put a few photos of the family...nothing much has been happening...simply looking for a new place to move and watching the economy...yikes. It's a bit scary seeing the stock market fall...I still wonder how it will affect us...hopefully not a lot.

Medical Notes: New Medical Centre & Fees

Julio Wilsonoff

With the slowing of the economy, every resident is making cutbacks, including the medical centre.

New Centre
We have sold the land that the medical centre sits on and with the help of Li Sweeny, we're revamping the medical centre. Let's face it, we're a small hood and we do not need the high tech services as the larger hoods, The medical centre will now have a small gift shop and pharmacy, examination room, small waiting area, and small operation room (with plastic surgery, labor and delivery and other surgeries).

Job Cutbacks
We no longer have the need for a pharmacist, which is probably great news to the young man we hired. I have a feeling that he rather be anywhere but here. However, that means that for the time being I must run everything. I will now attend all births and surgeries.

Fee Increases
Fees have also increased for several medical services.

Bed Rest

Can you believe I'm on bed rest! The doctor said that the recent stress in my life and my poor diet caused me to start bleeding and contracting early, so they put me on bed rest until the end of my pregnancy. Jesse is so scared now about the health of the baby. I'm concerned as well...I never thought that I would have to be forcibly put on bed rest. I'm doing a lot of reading and planning for the hood council as well as looking through applicants for the job...we need to hire a sim quickly.

Ugh, rough

This pregnancy is so...uncomfortable. Ugh...not only physically, but financially as well. The fertility treatments were expensive, not to mention the continuous clinic visits. But good news is that we're having triplets! Yes, three babies! It will be crowded for a bit, but this is all we can afford at the moment.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Alien Heritage

I told Susie about what Harvis told me concerning thier alien heritage and how he's determined to find his family. She almost choked on her breakfast. She said it was too dangerous for him to be trying to contact the "family out there". Eh, well, nevertheless, it's a bit cool. I mean, can you imagine being part alien...aside from the whole not showering everyday thing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Desperately Wanting

another baby in the house. Jorge and I are trying to get pregnant and it seems like mother nature is working against us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Education Note: Economy's Effects on AVA

Johan Dawson Shazad
The economy has effected the construction of AVA. Instead of the state of the art facility we had planned, we've had to scrape plans and revise a smaller cheaper school. We had to demolish the building and sell the materials for scrap in order to save money. I know, it sounds odd, but a lot of civic buildings are doing the same thing.

The curriculm is the same. Students must pass the Skills Exams with the same scores.

The main difference is that classes will be mostly lectured based except for the following:
-Music, students will study the piano.
-Art, students will study the fine art of painting and sketching.
-PE, students will study tai chi, yoga, boxing, ballet, football and aerobic fitness.

The new building will consist of 2 main classrooms (elementary/junior high and high school), one general purpose classroom (with piano, ballet barre and indoor easels), small cafeteria and outdoor space.

We are the only civic owned building not decreasing jobs. We are in need of a primary school teacher and are currently searching for that (if you know of a teacher, or wish to apply, please email me.)

We're Pregnant

Finally, we're having a family. I am beyond thrilled. I called my father and told him the great news and everyone was so happy. Anika Rose decided not to move to AV with us due to the upcoming birth. We're going to the clinic to find out if it's a boy or a girl. I am beyond thrilled!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cooking Pro?

Ha! It seems like everything I try to cook fails miserably! I can't even make breakfast rolls without them burning and they're supposed to be super easy!!!
The skill exams are coming up and with my past scores, I'm not sure thatI will pass. Then what will happen? I'll be in high school forever! I won't be able to go to university! I won't be able to find a job! And forget marrying and having children! No sim would want me!!! Agh!!! Stupid burnt breakfast rolls!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Archives/Technology: Infrastructure and Restricted Import Laws

Li Yoo Sweeny

Some good news and bad news.

New Infrastructure for the Hood
-The hood council approved the proposal for new infrastructure for the hood. We now have a slightly better system, however there is some bad news.

Restricted Import Laws
-Only the most necessary items will be allowed to be imported. Effective immediately, only items created by the MAXIS company can be used. We have already approved modifications of MAXIS appliances as well as a few tables and chairs from PiggiSims. Some wallpaper and floor tiles are being investigated from Parsimonious. Clothing has been ordered from All-About-Style and stylists have been trained for Nouk hairstyles and Lyran makeup only. Modifications of such MAXIS items will be allowed on a case-by case basis. Applications must be submitted for each item. To ensure that superficial requests do not flood my inbox, all families must wait until simThursday (it is now the dawn of simTuesday) to submit any requests. Requests will be handled based on how many families have a need for an item.

New Places-Soon New Faces

We moved into our new apartment on the request of the new hood council. I love living here and designing the home was well worth it as well. Unfortunately now I have to make modifications to most of the lots since we're restricting imports. I told Tobi that we're pregnant and he was soooo excited. He spun me around the room and I promptly vomited all over him :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tis the season

I invited Pastor Lyndon over this simday to give him a gift from our family. It was mostly a few dishes that Jolie made and then froze for the family, but also a small check as a token of appreciation for his hard work. Also, it's been snowing and we allowed Grace Elise out in the snow-we had to keep an eye on her, that girls loves to stuff snow in her mouth.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Financial Notes: Economy Slowing

Rebecca Wilsonoff

The economy has been slowing and many residents are making cutbacks, some business owners are selling thier businesses to access the capital in exchange for simoleans, which means some sims will be out of jobs.

Thankfully we have met and have a plan for the hood to survive these changes.

  • Residents will move to gated communities. These homes are more affordable with 7 simday leases and allow for more intimacy in the hood with residential relations. This also allows residents to tap into thier home equity to free up cash reserves. This is not an option, residents are expected to be moved into a home by simTuesday (except for the Grey family).
  • Business owners will have the option to consolidate thier businesses and/or sell them for the value of thier business. The remaining business lots will be consolidated to free up land space from the 1x1 lots to 2x1 and 3x1 lots. (Similar to Simmington Hill's Cedar Street Shops). This allows business owners to free up cash reserves.
  • Residents will recieve 3 simdays of free ferry fare to Apple Valley Metro in order to find jobs.
  • Career Capping will be instated: there will be a limited number of spaces available in each career track (2 sims per track) and once full no sims can take up a career in that path until a vacancy becomes clear. Once a vacancy is noted, the sim with the higher skills, interests, etc will be hired. Sims may still apply for jobs with local businesses to no limit.
  • Welfare is still available for needy sims. Residents can apply for welfare options.

Pottery Makes Business

I have found a new passion...clay plates. I love the feel of the clay bewteen my relaxes me after a long day of arranging flowers at the market. Not that I don't love creating bouquets, but with some pottery and selling it to the local gallery...I could make some more simoleans and more simoleans means a better life for the twins.


I've been searching for my family in the stars...sending signals...hoping they will see.
I do not tell Susie of this, she worries too much, claiming the wrong kind may pick me up. Ha! Doesn't she know that I'm using a special blue alien only signal...OH! I read about a UFO sighting in was near our family's home...I wonder, are they coming back for us now? I must signal harder!

Educational Charity

We liguidated some stock options, sold our share of The Peacock and cashed in the insurance checks. With the extra simoleans, I'm commissioning Wilsonoff Hall, school of business, as well as making a donation to Simmington Hills. I can not wait to see the new hall. I talked with Li and hope to make it in a similar fashion to this university building I saw. So she is sketching the details for me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I miss her

With the baby's birth ever closer I miss mother more and more. It doesn't help that it's Christmas season and the house seems so empty without her. She missed seeing her grandchildren from Fredic (his girlfriend is expecting the same time as I) and I. I wonder how she would have handled Bill and Faith. They miscarried the infant so the public doesn't know about the pregnancy and there's no publicity to try and spin, now Bill and Faith are pretty much on punishment.


Bill sprang for a limo to take us around the island. Wow, that must have been expensive!!! We had a catered meal inside the limo and listened to music and made out and well...other things :)
It was a magical evening! I can't wait until we're older and in university. We are planning on getting an apartment together...hopefully the 'rents won't flip.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Lyndon took the family out and it was wonderful! I had so much fun! It reminded me of our college days, dancing to the DJ and relaxing under the, have things changed. We've moved several places...I've given up acting and settled into cooking as a career...I wonder if we could do it again would I chose the same path...would Lyndon still become a pastor...would I give up acting...hmmm...we will never know I guess.
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