Monday, July 29, 2013

August Sharing Time - Week 1

This week we're focusing on the mechanics of prayer.  Exactly what does it mean to pray?  How do we go about it?

To help us learn, we're turning to the scriptures focusing on the teachings of Alma and Amulek contrasted with the Zoramites perverted form of prayer.  Rameumpton anyone? 

I love the idea of acting out the Zoramites and there are a few different ways you can go with it. 

I mentioned earlier in July that I thought it'd be fun to come in, climb up on a chair and give a Zoramite-ish prayer.  You could expand on that by having another member of the presidency come in after you and say the exact same prayer.  Ham it up a little by wiping your brow as you get down and say something like, "Whew, I'm glad that's over until next week."

Or you could use some sort of dolls with a lego/duplo tower, having different kids hold the dolls/stuffed animals/lego guys (or whatever you have laying around your home) waiting in line. 

You could even use the pictures from lds dot org depicting the story.  Whichever you choose, I would modernize the prayer a little so the kids understand what's going on.  Something like this:

"God, we know that you're holy.  We also know that you are a spirit, always have been and always will be.  We don't believe the silly things that everyone else does, like in Jesus, because you've made us extra special. 

We'll be saved while everyone else is going to be thrown into hell.  Again, we know that believing in Christ is silly and just leads us away from the God who has made us His chosen people, thanks again for that by the way.  Amen."

After going through the prayer, ask the kids what's wrong with it.  Then talk about how and even why we pray.

On Pergler's Primary Place she has a whole list of pictures you can use to teach the kids about prayer using a homemade box tv.  I like the list.  In fact, I love the list.  I love the idea of teaching the kids all the different things you can be thankful for and then how you can ask for blessings about the very same items.  It's kind of awesome.

As I read through the blog post, another idea occurred to me, a prayer sandwich.  Last school year my kids made a sandwich book report and I decided to mix that with the list of prayer ideas from Pergler's.

Each bun is the start or end of the prayer, while all the ingredients are the different items we can pray for (of course, the list isn't exhaustive, but there are lots of great ideas).  I'm really not a great artist (no really, this isn't false modesty).  But I know how nice it is to just be able to download what someone else has already done, so I sketched out a full sandwich and labeled them with different things we can both be thankful for and ask for blessings about.  Then I scanned them and turned it into one pdf, which you can download from google doc's.  It's just black and white, so you can print it as is and color it or print them on colored paper...or just leave it black and white.  :) 

You can hide the ingredients around the room or have the kids draw one/pick the one out of a dish they would like to add.  As you add them to your sandwich, talk about different ways we can be thankful for and ask for blessings about the item.  The good thing about this is you can do as many pieces as you have time for!  I love having wiggle room to go short or long depending on how the rest of the hour is going.

Don't wait until time's over the help the kids feel your love for prayer (not that baring your testimony at the end isn't a fantastic way to wrap up). 

And then challenge the kids to remember to make a multiple ingredient sandwich with their prayers everyday.

Have a PRAYERful week!

ps.  You can read more about my thoughts on this months theme on this post and week 2 ideas over here.

August Sharing Time Theme

I love this months theme!  Do I seem to say that a lot? 

I'm pretty sure I do.  I'm also pretty sure it's because the gospel is amazing.

It is such a gift in our lives and I'm finding that one of my very favorite things about it is getting to teach and share my seemingly ever growing love for it with those around me.

We know that our Heavenly Father knows and loves every single one of us individually and we are blessed to know that he loves to hear from us "unceasingly." 

I also love the scripture this month (one of my very favorite hymns is based off of it).

We print these off each month for our kids and reward them with a smarty if they memorize it sometime during the month, you know, for being such a smart-ey (you can download a pdf here if you'd like to use it)! 

It's been taught over and over that pride is a terrible sin AND that it's one we all suffer from.  Too often I find prideful thoughts (over usually silly things) enter my mind and I'll try to crowd them out by singing Be Thou Humble in my head (I'm thankful that I'm only off key when I sing out loud). 

This is a great "packet of light" to put into our minds!

The first two weeks this month talk about how and when to pray using the story of Alma, Amulek and the Zoramites found in Alma 31 - 34.  I love what Amulek teaches us about prayer in Alma 34:17-27. 

He tells us all the places and reasons we should be praying and then says, "But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls..."  Is that how you pray?  I think I need a little more work (and by little, I sort of mean a bunch).

The last two weeks focus on how we receive answers to our prayers.  How do we, or can we, receive revelation.  I started looking for some conference talks on the subject to help me feel more inspired when I walked by the August Ensign we received a few days ago. 

Have you gotten yours yet?  Have you had a chance to look at it?  On the front cover, in large print it says, "Opening the Channels of Revelation, pp. 22, 48."  Perfection. 

Elder Oaks teaches us that the Lord's time is often different than our own and that we need to work for revelation.  He says,  "We will get promptings of the Spirit when we have done everything we can, when we are out in the sun working..."

Elder Kearon, of the Seventy, tells us that the Spirit will not always wait for us to hear Him, "if we do not heed the gentle feelings, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening."

If you're using the Amor of God for your primary this year, this is the month to add the Knee Pads to your guy.  We can only choose the right by consistently getting on our knees in prayer!!

Have a wonderful month teaching and inspiring those you are blessed to teach!

Week 1 Ideas
Week 2 Ideas
Week 3 Ideas
Week 4 Ideas will be coming next week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Finally Did It

It took me a little more than a week to gather the courage (silly, I know), but I did it and ordered all our curriculum and supplies. 


Doesn't it look pretty?  Or chaotic.  Take your pick, but I think it looks a little dreamy.

All that fun just waiting to happen. 

I love learning.  I love hanging out with my kids and discovering new things.  Experiencing new places from the comfort of our schoolroom or couch. 

Come on, it's pretty cool.  You know it is. 

Now I just have to finish organizing (yes, that mess is partially organized already), make my lesson plans for the year (just general ones, I think...this is my first year attempting this and I really feel like I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing...or want) and get our rough draft weekly checklists ready to go.

I'm actually a little giddy.  See?  This is how I convince myself to press the finalize order button, I know it gets better. 

How do you get organized?  I would especially love to hear about lessons plans, but I'm up for anything. 

And if all else fails, remember...

Just keep swimming,

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sharing Time - July Week 4

Temples are such a fun topic.  Becoming and remaining worthy to attend the temple are topics we go over and over.

I sometimes think we forget the remaining worthy part.  And if we don't remember that, we can't remember to attend.  It's not enough to become worthy, we have to remain that way and then ATTEND! 

Sorry for the shout, but it's been such a great blessing in my life I feel like I want to jump on a roof and yell it to everyone.  I made a goal a few years ago to go twice a month and while I don't always even make it once a month, I make it a lot more often than I did before I set the goal.

More than that, as I go, I can see a difference in my life.  It's not been a sudden change, it's more like water carving stone into a new shape.  It takes years and years, but there is always slow change.  The temple leaves me a little better each and every time I go. 

I have such a love for the temple and the blessings that they have brought and continue to bring into my life and my goal for this week is to share that love with our primary.

I really like the idea of getting a few wedding pictures from couples in the ward and having the kids try and guess who each one is.  To go along with the temple marriage theme, I'm going to try to get ones with the temple in the background and then I'll have the kids guess which temple they got married in also.

After going through our couples and temples I'm going to use an object lesson I found on lds dot org to talk about how one choice can ripple out and affect so many other parts of our lives using small rocks from my yard and a bowl of water.  The kids will love dropping the rocks and I can have them tell me about different important choices as they drop them. 

Then I've asked a member of our ward to come and talk about how temple marriage has blessed the lives of her and her family for a few minutes.  I'm pretty excited about this because the kids love the person I've asked and I know they'll feel her love of the temple. 

The last thing we'll do is turn our newfound, or rekindled desire to attend the temple into daily actions.  I'm going to print out a picture of a temple close to us and cut it into a few puzzle pieces (I'll hide the pieces around the room before primary).

Sister Elaine S. Dalton said, "Prepare now for the temple, the mountain of the Lord.  Never allow the goal of the temple to be out of your sight."  I'll tell the kids that we need to figure out how we can "prepare now" and tell them that we have some helpers who will help us think of ways we can get ready.

I'll then have the kids look under their chairs to figure out who gets to help us out.  As they find the pieces they'll come up with one thing we can do to be worthy to enter the temple.  We'll write each goal on the puzzle pieces and slowly fit them together into a picture of the temple.  We'll talk about how we learn little by little, but it's important to know where we're headed so we can make sure we're headed in the right direction. 

Being worthy to enter the temple is such an important goal and is one that all of us should always be striving for.  President Bednar said,

"Within the sound of my voice are many young women, young men and children.  I plead with you to be worthy, to be steadfast and to look forward with great anticipation to the day you will receive the ordinances and blessings of the temple."

Isn't that amazing?! 

I'll then end with my testimony and challenge them to choose one of our puzzle pieces to work on so they to can enter the temple and be sealed to their families for eternity.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July Family Home Evening - Week 4

Okay, after talking about how much I really liked have all my lessons picked out in the beginning of the month, life taught me a lesson.  One I already know, but get re-taught all the time.

All the darn time.

There is no one right way.  And even when there is ONE way I particularly like, that way still might not always match my life.

Which is why instead of one day (and one post) to figure out my month of FHE's, I've had three.

What I've learned along with the no one right way lesson is one of the most important lessons of my life and has been expressed by many people in many different ways. 

Do it. 
Just do it. 
Keep putting one foot in front of the other. 
Just keep swimming.

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that popped into my head.  The point is to not stop trying.  Even when things don't work out the way I want.  Even when I fail miserably. 

Okay, this has veered off my original topic, but I feel pretty strongly about it.  You can do it.  And so can I.  WE CAN DO IT! 

You know, whatever it is that we're trying to do. 

Like family home evening.  Yep, I'm finally back to my original topic.

This week has a strange holiday, Pioneer Day.  I wasn't raised in Utah (although I live here now) and so I'd never heard of Pioneer Day until about seven years ago.  Even if you don't reside in Utah, you can still celebrate it (you just won't get the day off work like we do, I know strange).  It's also a great excuse to take some time out to talk about the sacrifices made by those who began our church.

And then you can talk about how we, today, can also be pioneers.  Have you read the first article in July's Ensign?  I hadn't until today.  In Primary our fill-in chorister had the kids sing "To Be a Pioneer" and she talked to them about President Monson's article.  It's great.  You should take a few minutes and read it, it's not very long.

Then, while thinking this would be a great family night topic and wondering if the Ensign article would work as a family night, I found this lesson on Parenting in the Latter-days about the EXACT SAME TOPIC.  Really.  It's based off the song and is almost like she and President Monson got together (the Ensign has some great ideas how to adapt the article to teach older kids and you can use those to adapt the lesson).

Have a wonderful Pioneer day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sharing Time - July Week 3

I'm so very excited about this week, there are so many great ideas and it is such a powerful topic.  As I read through the Sharing Time Outline, which talks about blessings, I was excited, but it felt like something was missing.

I wanted to do a quick overview of the Priesthood.  What is it?  Where does it come from?  And best/most of all, why is it so very important?

Then I found this AMAZING video on youtube.  It's a Mormon Ad by Elder Robert D. Hales and it's powerful.  I love the idea of letting the kids hear the gospel taught from one of their modern day prophets.  His testimony and teaching of the priesthood are wonderful and we'll be using this video for sure during our lesson this Sunday.

While watching the video I'll ask the kids to listen for ways the priesthood blesses their lives.  Once it's over, we'll start our matching game. 

Before primary starts, I'll either hide some cute little cut-out type men (that I found on Katie's Blogness, free to favorite!) around the room or I'll have them ready up front in a jar for kids to pick out.  I'll also have picture that match up with each of the "men" on a board ready for the kids to match.

After getting their cut-out guy, I'll ask the kids to choose which picture it goes along with, and, if appropriate, ask them to tell me about a time they've gotten to experience that priesthood blessing.  Atlhough, I just had a better idea that would allow any child to participate in this part, I can tell them that they can either tell about their own experience OR they can call on someone else to tell about their experience.  They always love to be the "leader" and call on others.

If the six little men isn't quite enough for you, you could always make up your own (even just on little slips of paper if you're as artistic as I am).  I found a great list of all the different priesthood ordinances that bless our lives in this Young Women lesson on lds dot org.  There are 14 different items that cover everything from Baby Blessing to Temple Marriages (and everything you could possibly think of in between).

I thought about finding stories to go along with each type of blessing, but I really think it will be more meaningful to hear first hand stories from the children and leaders in our primary. 

After making our way through as many blessings as we have time for, I'll close with a quote and my testimony.  While reading through some ideas on Sofia's Primary Ideas, I came across a quote by President Faust.  She has a much longer quote along with a link to the talk it comes from, but just this little part really hit me.

"If, through our priesthood blessings, we could perceive only a small part of the person God intends us to be, we would lose our fear and never doubt again."

This is a very simple lesson, but in hindsight, it seems that those that are the most simple are often the most powerful.

Have a wonderful week,

Monday, July 15, 2013

July Family Home Evening Plan - Week 3

Week 3
I love choosing a family night that goes along with either the monthly primary theme or youth theme. 

For me, it's more fun to do one that goes along with the youth theme because I don't already know what it is (I'm in primary right now) and it helps me to talk more with my tweenager about the gospel and what she's learning in Young Womens.

But, I thought some of you might not have a youth aged child or you might be involved in the youth program and have more fun connecting with your primary aged kids, so I'll put an idea on here for both (although, if you want more FHE ideas that go along with primary, you can check out my Sharing Time posts, many of them center around fantastic FHE ideas I've found that you could use at home!).

This month in primary we're learning about our families.  We're learning about why it's important to have them, what kinds of things help them grow closer together and closer to Christ, how the priesthood blesses families and about how temples are so very central to the family.  Do you look at that list and thing, holy cow, that's a lot of topics?!  Yeah, me too.

So, let's go another direction (although if you feel your family needs one of those, please by all means, use one of those wonderful gospel topics as a base for your family night!), this month we are also studying the Family Proclamation and there is a wonderful family night about it on A Year of FHE.  It is simple and has some very fun handouts.  Fantastic!

The youth are spending the month talking about Ordinances and Covenants.  I found an FHE on Parenting in the Latter days that would work fantastically for younger children and can be adapted easily to work better with older kids.

She has you tell about Captain Moroni and then fill in your own Title of Liberty.  Instead of, or in addition to, using the standards she has listed, you could use the standards for From the Strength of Youth with your older children.

Good luck!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

2 Months Old

Well, it was almost two months ago that I first posted about my garden.

My tiny, little almost bare garden.

It's not so bare anymore.  Although, there are a few blank spots where I tried something that didn't quite grow.  Or where I've left room for growing things to grow a little more (or a lot with regards to those popping pumpkins and winding watermelons).

I think my favorite thing, second only to the eating the yummy fruit and vegetables themselves, are the beautiful blossoms. 

This is on my bush beans. 


Love from Garden-ville,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Buying Curriculum

I've finally come to that point again.  You know, the one where I've done all the planning and re-arranging I'm going to let myself do.  All that's left is to purchase next years curriculum.

I really don't like this part.  The buying part.  The clicking the purchase button part (I buy almost all of my curriculum online...on Amazon for the most part, I LOVE Amazon). 

I'm not sure what it is, but I really don't like spending money.  Is that strange? 

It's super stressful and I sort of avoid it by finding other things to do (like write about it).

Even after I've budgeted and planned and have everything ready to go.  Nuts, I know.

Now, getting the boxes is fun.  We love it when our boxes start showing up.  The kids and I all do little happy, clappy dances as we run for a pair of scissors to cut off the tape, open the boxes and pull all our bright, shiny new books out. 

I also happen to love organizing them in our school room.  Arranging it so everyone has their own space on our shelves, sorting through and putting different subjects together and standing back to admire to organization perfection.

Just because that perfection doesn't seem to last past the first day of school doesn't mean I can't keeping dreaming that someday it might.  Right?

Okay, I've got to get clicking ... or maybe I should go fold my laundry first.  It does need to be done, really.

Love from Stressville,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sharing Time - July Week 2

This whole month is all about the family and how to make them stronger. 


After everything is said and done, as primary leaders, we only have so much influence over our children.  They come every week (or not quite, or not at all) to hear our lessons and feel our love, but they are with their families the whole rest of the week. 

Which is a good thing. 

It's an even better thing if we can influence their families to either begin or continue learning the gospel together. 

So for this week, I've chosen a few fun family home evening lessons that teach about both prayer and scripture study to use for Sharing Time.  After going through different parts of both lessons and talking about the importance of exercising these two principles as a family, I'll ask the kids about other ways they can learn gospel as a family.

Even though I'm looking for someone to say Family Home Evening, there are a lot of good ideas and I'll let them brainstorm on it for a minute or two. 

After they get FHE, I'll tell them that I got our WHOLE Sharing Time from a few different family home evening lessons I found online.  Now that they know how to do the games/object lessons/stories, they can do them for their own families so they can learn and grow together!

I found two lessons on prayer I like.  They both teach about the principle of prayer differently and they're both fairly short (easier for mass copying).  They're also both from Chocolate on my Cranium.

The first is a little more basic and might be best for Junior Primary.  It goes over where and how to pray.  I love the story of the rameumpton and thought it might be fun to tell the kids I'm going to show them how to pray and then copy what the Zoramites did.  After finishing I could then ask the kids if I did it right.  Then we could go over what Alma and Amulek taught about praying anywhere in our hearts.

The second talks more about having meaningful prayer as a family.  I LOVE the bridge object lesson.  I also really like how it talks about different things we can pray about.  I can get stuck in a rut with my prayers and forget how many different ways I can express thanks and ask for blessings and this is perfect to remedy that problem!

After finishing up, I'll make sure we've talked about how prayer can strengthen our families (and not just by praying together, but praying FOR each other).

Scripture Study
I'll start this section with a quote by David M. McConkie, "Immerse yourself in the scriptures.  We cannot love what we do not know."  I LOVE this quote.  A lot.

I found a fun, short FHE on Homemaking Honeys that's got some really great ideas.  They start with the basics (which is what we should all do) by asking the kids what the 4 books of scripture are?  I thought it'd be fun to make it into a game and expanding just a bit by seeing who can figure out which description goes with which book.  Then match individual books of scripture (like 1st Nephi to the Book of Mormon) and a few prophets to each book. 

This isn't a download and print lesson like the others, so I made my own.  I used the lesson from Homemaking Honeys as the base and added the game for the FHE print out (if you do it two sided it's only 2 pages!) and then I made all the information on the four books of scripture a little bigger to work better for sharing time.  Click on the links below to download the pdf's from google docs.

Scripture FHE
Scripture Sharing Time Game

After playing the matching game, ask the kids to tell you how studying the scriptures can bring you closer together as a family.

Testimony Challenge
After talking about how Sharing Time is really a few Family Home Evening lessons (see above), challenge the kids to go home and teach them to their families!

Monday, July 1, 2013

On Vacation

I'm on vacation right now, visiting my family.  I only get to see them about once a year, which is not nearly enough.

We are having so much fun, cousins are re-connecting, well, connected...they were best friends within minutes of us arriving last week.  It might seem strange, but my favorite part has been sitting around talking, just being together.

My point is that I don't have nearly as much time as I thought.  Or, rather, I don't want to take time away from being with my family to write new posts. 

I'd planned to keep on keeping on, figuring I'd have plenty of time.

After being here for a few days, I've changed my mind and decided to take a short break.  Not too long though, I'll be back to posting about "life, the universe and everything" next week. 

I hope you have a wonderful week!


July Family Home Evening Plan - Weeks 1 & 2

I've thought about switching from doing a monthly plan to posting every week about our family night plans.  Or maybe, posting after we've done our family night so I can tell you how it actually went. 

I've thought about it a couple of times and each time I think about it I decide that I really like the monthly plan.  It gives me a framework to, well, work from.  Having a whole month planned out actually helps me feel like I'm being flexible because I can choose which topic I want to work on each week (I don't necessarily do them in the order I post them). 

Plus, I'm doing them much more consistently now.  It's so great to be able to open up this page every week and know I've already got multiple ideas just sitting here, waiting for me. 

Before I get started, here's a quick review of my family home evening purpose. First and foremost, our family home evenings are a place for us to be together, helping each other grow. To meet this purpose, I try to plan family home evening's that helps my daughter meet some of her Personal Progress requirements and my son pass off some of his Cub Scout achievements. In addition to this, we focus on teachings found in the most recent General Conference talks whenever possible.

Week 1
We always spend the first part of the first Monday talking about and checking progress on our 2013 goals. If you haven't made any yet, it's never too late! The kids love to set their own goals, see what everyone else chooses and setting a few for our family as a whole. It's a really great experience that we all love.

Last month I talked about some really great family night ideas I'd found that center around our country, which are absolutely perfect for this time of year.  Once you click over, scroll down to Week 4 and you'll find links to each family night on: the Star Spangled Banner, Patriotism, Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble to the US Constitution.  We'll be doing the Patriotism lesson for our pre-fourth activity.

Week 2
This is my second follow up lesson from last month and is called Hunting for the Good in Others.  It's another file folder family night I'm finally starting to use.

Last month we talked about working on replacing bad feelings in our home with good feelings by treating each other kinder. 

To expound on that theme, this month we'll talk about how we can choose to see the good in everyone.  More than that, that there is something unique about each of us! 

We'll talk about how negative comments can weaken us, but positive ones build us up.  Then we'll tell a story about some big game hunters who learned about the beauty of all God's animals while on a hunting trip in Africa.

It'll be fun, quick and will hopefully keep everyone thinking about how we each affect those around us.

Weeks 3 & 4
Okay, I'm on vacation right now, visiting my family and I'm having too much fun. 

In fact, I'm having so much fun, I don't seem to have time for much of anything else, so I'm going to stop feeling stressed about it and just enjoy my family while I'm here.

What does that mean?  It means I'm going to post my last two family home evening ideas next week, after I'm back home.  It means I won't be posting much (if at all) for the next week. 

But, please check back next week for more fun!!!

Thanks so much for all your kind thoughts,
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