Friday, February 28, 2014

Living in the 11th Hour

I have always been an optimist, but when I became a Mother I also experienced depression.  So I am always doing things to stay up, to stay optimistic, to see the good.  By by filling my life with good, positive, spirit-filled moments with my children, family, and friends, and by sharing those moments here with you, I remind myself that there is good in the world.  By looking for the good, I find it.

I found this idea echoed back to me in my reading of "Living in the Eleventh Hour" by Robert L. Millet.  In his chapter "Wars and Rumors of Wars," I found his advice both confirming and helpful to me, and maybe it will be for you too.

In speaking about the conditions of the world in these last days, Millet says, "We need not be a Pollyanna to be optimistic about living in difficult times."

(Um, he says Pollyanna like it's a bad thing!)  :)

He continues, "Rather, we need simply to realize that moaning and complaining about the evil of our day will do little to improve the world."

Point taken.

Then he wraps the chapter up with this sound advice:

"A passage of scripture that has special appeal to me is from the writings of the apostle Paul: "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). 

"Paul tells us that we are to focus upon things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  While we are not to be naive in regard to evil or foolish in regard to unholy influences about us, we are not to fixate upon them or conclude that all is lost.  There is too much good to be seen and acknowledged, too much good to be enjoyed and appreciated, too much good to be accomplished by those intent on the salvation of souls.  We have no time for despair, no time for feeling sorry for ourselves; we have time only to be about our Father's business."

Hopefully, I can always make this my mantra, to call attention to those things that are true and pure and lovely and virtuous, and not despair, but "be about my Father's business."

There are plenty of other gems of advice that make this book worth the read, as each chapter delves briefly into such topics as why the Lord allows the wheat and tares to grow together, why it is our personal responsibility to keep our own lamps of testimony filled, and how to avoid being deceived by the precepts of men in the last days.

I look forward to giving it another read...right after I watch Pollyanna again, and play a few rounds of the Glad Game.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lucky Charms Popcorn Recipe

Strolling through the grocery store aisle this morning, I thought, you know, someone needs to invent a popcorn recipe using Lucky Charms, because, let's face it, Lucky Charms is dessert masquerading as breakfast, and I think we can all be adult about it at this point, and eat Lucky Charms whenever we like!  (Especially after school, as a snack, with the kids!)

Anyway, I thought I'd check online to see if anyone had a recipe of that sort, and found that I didn't have my phone with me.  So I went along all happy to have thought up my own little recipe, and together with Autumn, we came up with the following.  Here is my first venture out into the avant-garde world of popcorn recipe creation.

5 cups popcorn popped
5 cups Lucky Charms cereal
3-4 cups square pretzels broken up
1 cup coconut shredded
1/2 cup margarine
16 oz bag mini-marshmallows (Let's just call it two bags as you'll need 2 more extra handfuls unmelted to mix in.)

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl, adding more or less of certain ingredients until its to your liking.  Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add 1 bag of marshmallows and stir until melted and combined.  Remove from heat.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated.  Then add 2 handfuls of unmelted marshmallows.

Finally, enjoy by the handful with your lovely children.  Then take a nap with them as they lick their sticky fingers.  And don't even think about checking Pinterest (like I did, it'll burst your bubble.)  Just smile to yourself, and realize that sometimes reinventing the wheel can be really fun and rewarding and tasty.

PS - This recipe is really NOT overly sweet, surprisingly so.  If you want more sticky, gooey, sweetness, just go ahead and add that other bag of mallows during the melting phase.

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The Family Is Ordained of God...Pass it on!

Well!  We've come to the end of our 5-minute Family Proclamation Lessons...for now!

It's been a lot of fun, and a great way to give us all a shot of the spirit at some point each day!

Our final mini-lesson was rather spontaneous,  We were playing "The Telephone Game" during FHE one night, something that the kids are into these days, and I decided to take advantage of that.

The kids were making up whatever they wanted to say for the initial message, and we laughed at all the silly messages that made their way through our telephone line.  

Then I started the message with, "The family is ordained of God."  And the kids followed suit, starting off with other familiar phrases that they know from The Family Proclamation.

When we were done, I asked them why they think we take time to learn about the Family Proclamation the way that we do and how it might relate to the telephone game.  

I explained that it is important for them to learn these truths correctly and well enough to pass them on to others.

Just like in the telephone game, sometimes, over a generation or more, the message of how to find happiness in family life gets misconstrued or does not get passed on at all.  

If our children learn these truths well now, they can play an important part in helping all of God's children find happiness in the days ahead.  

I hope that you've enjoyed Season 2 of our Family Proclamation Lessons and feel inspired to do your own 5-minute lessons in your home and family!

The Family is Ordained of God...Pass it on!
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Successful marriages & families

"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."  This line in The Family: A Proclamation to the World outlines key elements that create harmony in the home. 

We covered them more in-depth in our previous round of Family Proclamation lessons.  For this 5-Minute Family Proclamation lesson, we wanted to focus on the "wholesome recreational activities" part.

Our family has a favorite game that we like to play together.  It's actually my favorite game from childhood called "Enchanted Forest."  Since we like to play it so much, I thought it would be fun to make personalized game pieces for each family member, like I've seen online.

With the weather, and all the extra time we've had to spend together at home as a family this winter, we've actually played lots of board games.  It's a good opportunity to learn cooperation, to laugh, relax, and kick back!  Playing together is so important in a family.  Sometimes we forget to play.  During those times, we laugh less and stress rises.  The Lord knows that we need balance in all things, and I am thankful that he has included this bit of advice to families: Don't forget to have fun together!!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happiness in Family Life

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ." - The Family: A Proclamation to the World

For this 5-minute Family Proclamation Lesson, I wanted to play off of the analogy we used last time...that if you build your family upon The Rock, which is Jesus Christ, you will most likely find the happiness for which you seek.  The scriptures teach us this time and again:

Helaman 5:12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon thearock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

As our craft, I wanted to make these rocks, which Steve and Guy picked up during a special fishing trip, into necklaces like I'd seen online, but we didn't have the right bit for drilling, so I had Steve just make this heart carving on a rock and we called it good.

Autumn, my nature-girl, is having a ball playing with them.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Dad Book

Whew!  It has been a busy season for us.  By way of explanation, on top of ALL of the snow days off and school delays because of weather, Steve and I have gotten new callings, which I failed to mention either of my calling changes.  First I was released in the fall from YW counselor and called to be a Nursery leader, working with some gals who are now my dear, dear friends.  

Then in November, I was called to the Stake Young Women Presidency.  And Steve is now the Young Men's President in our ward.  So, we basically can't be in the same place at the same time ever, because of the kids, but we are having fun and very busy!  So that's that, just wanted to catch you up on those happenings, and so you know where my head's at! ;)  We also had a big "hastening the work" push and a ward open house, which I'll maybe share some stuff with you about that at some point.  Missionary adventures abound!

My goal this week is to share the rest of our 5-Minute Family Proclamation Lessons with you guys, because General Conference is only six weeks away (!!!), and we need to get our review of General Conference going with the kids!  Fun times ahead!~!

Today, I'm happy to share with you this little book that Scarlett wrote one morning before church when I was off doing my stake calling and Steve was tending the babes!  I thought it was so sweet.  

And it was funny, because I was undecided about how I was going to talk about the roles of Moms and Dads with the children...but it turns out a better approach might be to have your children teach it to you...the way Scarlett did with this sweet expression of what "The Dad" in her life does.  Hope you enjoy it too!

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

~The Family: A Proclamation to the World~

{I am participating in an Easter/Family History Challenge.
Check out the #MyForeverFamily page for ways you too can participate!}

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Complete Fidelity

(Note: I accidentally deleted this post, so I'm reposting it! Whoopsy!)

We've been moving right along with our 5-Minute Family Proclamation Lessons, but we are always trying to keep up with ourBook of Mormon Memorization (we are on letter "H"), so we've had to share time between both endeavors...and then there's snow days.

But enough with the excuses, here's a quick review of one of the lessons we did last week.

First we looked at what the Family Proclamation teaches about fidelity between a husband and wife.  To illustrate the meaning of fidelity to my children, I employed an item that they dearly love:  a pack of bubble gum.

I told each child at the beginning of the lesson that I had a piece of gum to give each of them.  I asked them if it would be ok for me to let Dad hold their pieces for them until the end of the lesson.  They agreed.  

As we read, "The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to his eternal plan.  Children are entitled to birth within the bounds of matrimony, and to reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity," Daddy pulled out a piece of their gum, one at a time, and began chewing it for them.

Autumn was the first one to noticed and was appalled.  Their reactions were priceless. 

Needless to say, none of the children wanted the "ABC" gum. They wanted the nice, clean, un-chewed piece of gum that had been promised by me and promised to be kept safe by their Dad!  They were shocked that Dad didn't keep up his end of the bargain.

Little explanation was needed for the meaning of this lesson to sink in.  When husbands and wives break fidelity toward one another, they are breaking a sacred trust that affects everyone in the family, especially the children.  

In the Family Proclamation, God makes it clear, that we are ALL responsible for making sure children can grow up in a family where sacred trusts and promises are kept.  We prove that we are worthy of this trust before we are married...and long after.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

True Colors

The big news of the day is that Noelle Picus-Pace, a Mormon Mother of 2, silver-medalled in the Olympics last week.  I am thoroughly enjoying watching her joy and light that she is sharing with the world through her success.

Look carefully at the picture above...see anything familiar?

She's wearing her Young Women flame necklace!

I love what she said in a recent interview:

"Nothing came easy! You have to stay positive. You have to see the good things. That’s how you keep coming back, and that’s how you get to the finish line."

Picus-Pace speaking about her Olympic journey could have easily been describing Motherhood...and anything good that we want to accomplish in this life.

You can read more about her inspiring story online.  This would be a great story to share with friends on FB or to show your youth and children.

Have a great Monday~!
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

I heart winter.

This has been the winter of snow days, snow delays, and general, all-around shutting out reality while we stay home as a family baking, sledding, making messes, making more messes, and snuggling.

It's been heavenly.

Although I know the snow has been quite a problem for others, we've been kept relatively safe and cozy, thankfully!  That's a blessing.  And time together is a great blessing too.

Another great blessings, is that we have lots of access to natural light in our new house, so I don't really feel "shut-in."

Here are a few things I wanted to share with you:

First: This pound cake creation that my Mom shared with me.  It took me longer than I would have liked, but it was fun for the kids to come home from the cold and find this yummy surprise.  Hearts baked inside of pound cake.  Yes, please!  Here's how you do it.

Second: Just read the book by Neal A. Maxwell, "All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience."  It is a really important book.  I hope you will read it if you haven't already and give it your full attention.

Third: I've been crock-potting, and it's made me MUCH happier in my kitchen.  I have pinned a bunch of my most delicious crock-pot recipes to my Dinner board on Pinterest.  Just thought I'd share.  

Fourth: I am on INSTAGRAM now...If you are interested in following me, you can find me at:

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sacrament Meeting Worksheet for Kids

Somehow I had a little extra time before church today (imagine it!) and I was looking for coloring pages to print for the kids just to mix things up.  We are getting a new Bishop in church today, so I thought it would be fun to make a Sacrament Meeting Worksheet to help the kids pay attention and document their Sacrament meeting experience.  And maybe it'll help us talk about the process of callings and releases together.

Thought you might enjoy.  We'll see how it goes.

Have a great Sunday: You can DOWNLOAD the Sacrament Meeting Worksheet below. *There are two pages.

You can also read more about teaching children reverence in Sacrament meeting here.

Found the following images here:  Christ with child:

and Sunshine/Heavenly Father Loves Your here: 
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