Saturday, November 30, 2013

2014 - Families Are Forever - Extra Downloads

I've had several requests to make a few of my downloads editable and so I did.

I also took the word art from my bookmark and chapstick label and made it a little bigger.  I made it bigger in a few different sizes (4x6, 5x5, 5x7, 8x8, and 8x10). 

Now, back to the editable downloads.

All of them are in Microsoft Word.  I put text boxes in the spots you'd need them, but you may want/need to move them around, resize them or just delete what I've added to make it fit what you need.

    Binder Cover (Horizontal and Vertical)

Check out my other printables here and here.  Plus, there are still a few more things I'm working on, so check back through December!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Simply Fun Thanksgiving Crafts

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I plan and organize our crafts.  At the end of the post I mentioned that I'd show you how our planned Thanksgiving crafts went and so, here they are.

Most of them.  We're still planning to make the thankful pac-man during our family night tonight, I wanted everyone to be able to get in on the grateful action.

This is James after I asked for a normal smile.  I suppose normal is relative, especially when you're talking to/about a 6 year old.

There, that's a little better.  He was the only one who wanted to make the turkey headdress, I love how much he loves to do projects.

I also love their pilgrims.  After getting them done, though, I should have made the heads a little bit bigger, a little more like a bobble head (although these are still cute). 

My favorite thing about them is that they can go anywhere.  I turn around and there's a pilgrim staring at me.  They've had them on the school room table, stuck to our white board (where they are in this picture) and on the bookshelf.  

This is the only project that everyone's made so far.  The rest of the turkeys are hanging on the chandelier in our dining room.  Because you get to choose what colors you want for the "feathers," each turkey turns out differently, and it's interesting how much their choices show their personalities.

My favorite thing about each of these projects is that they don't take a lot of time, supplies or skill.  My kids love projects they can do all or mostly on their own (and so does their mom) and after I sketched a couple templates, these were perfect.

I would love to hear about what you've been doing, what's been your favorite Thanksgiving project?

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

December Sharing Time - The Prophets Foretold That Jesus Christ Would Come to Earth

This whole month is going to be pretty darn great.  I'm really excited to watch the kids as they get to learn about, discuss and work on following their Savior a little more closely.

Before Sharing Time starts, you're going to need to attach the scripture that goes along with each prophet to the back of their picture (I LOVE that sticky tacky goes under lots of names, but it's removable putty).  Next, attach the prophet pictures to a board, leaving room under each so you can add pictures and words showing what they prophesied.  Then, attach the pictures and words so the kids can look at them as the scriptures are being read and decide which ones go with each prophet.

As you start Sharing Time, share the following quote:

Elder Delbert L. Stapley said, "We will never go wrong as a people if we follow the Lord's prophet, who is also our prophet, and heed his teachings, counsel, and personal example."

This is true in every area of our lives and throughout history, this week we get to learn about the different ways prophets from the scriptures prophesied about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Have all the prophets names in a pile up front and choose one child at a time to come up, choose a name, and try to match it to the prophet's picture.

As they find a match, have them pull the scripture from behind the picture telling what that specific prophet said about Christ.  For senior primary, you could turn this into a scripture chase to help looking go a little more quickly (plus scripture chases are always fun), but it might be easier to have the scriptures ready for the kids to read in junior primary.

As the scripture is read, have them watch the pictures and words on the board to try and figure out which ones show us some of the prophecies made.  After you're done reading, choose a few kids to come up front and move the pictures and/or words underneath the prophet who made those specific prophecies.  There are a few repeats, for example, both Mary and virgin are prophesied twice in the scriptures we'll be reading (I wasn't sure what to do for those, so I made words for them both, but I also have two pictures of Mary, so you can pick how you want those to go).

End with your testimony about the Jesus birth, life, death, (and most importantly) His resurrection.  The prophets foretold that He would come and HE DID!!

President Monson said, "With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live.  Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh.  He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father.  He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins.  He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection.  Because He died, all shall live again.  "Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: 'I know that my Redeemer lives!'" May the whole world know it and live by that knowledge, I humbly pray..."

Here's what I've put together for the week:

Prophet Pictures
Prophecy Pictures

Have a wonderful week,

Saturday, November 23, 2013

December Sharing Time Theme - I Know That Jesus Christ Will Come Again

I love that every December we get to learn more about and focus a little closer on our Savior.  We speak of Him and His teachings throughout the whole year, but having a chance to learn more about His life is always a blessing.

This month we'll be talking about Christ coming to live on earth, returning to the earth in glory, how we can prepare to live with Him and (my favorite) that we are ALL children of God.  Every single one of us.

I recently read a talk by Elder Delbert L. Stapley where he said, "The predictions of the early prophets concerning Christ's birth, life, and ministry were fulfilled, and those who sincerely believed were prepared to accept him.  This being true, we can reliably expect that the happenings prophesied of concerning his second coming will also be fulfilled."

As we have faith, as we believe what we learn of Christ's life and mission, we will have a greater desire to prepare ourselves to meet Him.  It doesn't matter if it's when He comes again or if it's when our time here in mortality is over.  We need to choose to learn and then ACT.  I love that the months lessons are set up like that.

We first learn about Christ's life, that He is coming again and then we learn how we can incorporate that information into our lives through the action of preparation.

Last, we end our year helping the children to feel Heavenly Father's love for them through the knowledge that they are each truly His children.  I've long felt that the knowledge that we are His, no matter what, that He loves us, no matter what, is one of the biggest life time game changers out there.

President Hinckley said, "Never forget, my dear young friends, that you really are a child of God who has inherited something of His divine nature, one whom He loves and desires to help and bless.  I pray that our Heavenly Father will bless you.  May He smile with favor upon you.  May you walk in His paths and follow His teachings.  May you ever be prayerful unto Him, praying always in the name of His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  May each of us resolve to always follow Him in faith.  May life be kind to you, for you are indeed a child of God, worthy and deserving of His love and blessing."

I also love this months scripture,

Our primary has done so well this year memorizing each month's scripture.  I love that they now have these "packets of light" illuminating their minds (we decided unanimously as a presidency to continue with next years scriptures).

If you've been following along adding pieces to your armor of god guy each month, we've reached the end of the road, his armor was complete last month.  This month we are simply adding a picture of our Savior to the board, above his head in the direction he's looking to show that we need to always be heading toward Christ.

This is actually a picture from my home (the first thing you see as you walk in my front door) and I probably won't be using it, although I may bring it in for decoration (I'm planning to borrow a pass along card from our building for the armor of god display).

My favorite talks this month were,

President Gordon B. Hinckley, "You Are a Child of God"
President Thomas S. Monson, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

Hope you have a Merry Christmas,

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sharing Time - November Week 4

After spending three weeks focusing on expressing thanks for specific blessings that fall into specific categories (body, temporal and spiritual), this week we're wrapping up by learning that we should offer thanks for every single blessing.  All of them. 

I love what President J. Reuben Clark said about our blessings, "Hold fast to the blessings which God has provided for you.  Yours is not the task to gain them, they are here; yours is the part of cherishing them."

Our job isn't JUST to offer thanks, it is to CHERISH them.  To hold dear, to care for tenderly or to cling fondly (according to  The word cherish makes me think of my daughter when she was a toddler squeezing her stuffed animals so tightly against her cheek.  She loved them with all her heart and just couldn't quite get enough.

I'm not sure about you, but I don't often have feelings that strong when it comes to my blessings.  How can we truly cherish all that we are blessed with?

This week we get to brainstorm ways to show how much we cherish our blessings.  First, talk about how you have shown thanks for a gift you've received. 

It might be a little fun here to be a little funny.  Talk in all seriousness about how you showed thanks, then, perhaps, you can say that after a while though, the gift became normal.  Not something you really thought about anymore or took care of very well.  As you're talking, drop the gift, step on it or do something else to show a lack of caring.  You can then teach about how it is always important to be thankful, not just when we first receive a gift or blessing.

Brainstorm with the kids different ways we can show thanks.  Say thank you, give a hug, be kind, do an act of kindness, and continue to be thankful.  You could get them to list even more things if you ask for specific acts they could do to show their thanks.  Perhaps contrasting what you could do for a person in their life (a parent) to what we can do for Heavenly Father.

Now that their juices are flowing (and they've got some ideas to get started), set them up into groups and pass around the bags described in the outline.  Challenge them to be specific in their ideas.  How will they show Heavenly Father that they are cherishing His blessings? 

You can download this paper to stick in with your items (even though I know a plain piece of paper works just as good here, I love cute things).  I couldn't decide if I liked having one whole sheet or if a half sheet worked better, so I put both in the download.

After you've read through their ideas, ask the kids for one thing they've learned that they WILL DO. 

Ask them how (or if) they think being thankful will affect their lives.  We learn through modern science that those who cherish what they have been given are happier, but we learn even greater truths from the scriptures.

Doctrine and Covenants teaches, "And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of the earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more."

Isn't it great that being thankful for what we are blessed with only leads to more blessings!? 

Have a wonderful (and blessed!) week.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Families Are Forever - Primary 2014 - Printables!!

I've found that the more I make for next year, the more I think of to make.

While it might sound great, it sort of creates the problem of never quite being done, so I decided I had to pick a temporary stopping point to take the time to get what I had done ready to upload.

I hope you enjoy using these as much as I've enjoyed making them!

First, I have the graphic I made just to go at the top of my posts about next year.  I was surprised so many people wanted it (sans my "watermark").  So here is a link to download that.

Families Are Forever jpg
Families Are Forever pdf

The subway art is made from the monthly themes throughout the year.  It's a smaller bookmark (there are 4 to a page in the download) so that they can fit in smaller scriptures.  If you'd like, you can punch a hole in the top (in the circle) to tie a ribbon/yarn/something else cute.

Chapstick Label
I used the same subway art to make these simple and cute chapstick labels (the label is 2.0625"x2.15").  They work best if you print them on whole sheet labels and cut them apart.  There are 12 on each sheet.

Door Signs

I made two different types of door signs.  One that includes a place for a list of class members (you'll write more than one name on each line) and one that is just the class, teacher and room.

Door Sign
Door Sign - Class Members

 CD Sleeve
After downloading and printing them out, you just need to cut, fold, glue and slide your 2014 CD's in.  I love how simple they are and how well they turned out.

I would LOVE to hear about any of your plans for next year, now that our program is over, I'm getting even more excited!  If you'd like to see the binder covers I've made, be sure to click over to this post.


Check out other printables I've made here and here.  Check back through December, there are a few more things I'm working on.

The temple I used in all of these printables is from Susan Fitch Illustration and Design, she is such a talented artist!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November Sharing Time - Week 3 - Spiritual Blessings

Continuing from last week, ask the children if they were able to find ways to show their thanks for their temporal, or physical, blessings.  Encourage them to continue to SEARCH for their blessings everyday, we are promised that as we look for our blessings, we will remember things we hadn't even noticed during the day. 

To transition from the temporal blessings of last week into this weeks theme, you could ask the kids if there are any other ways we are blessed and after listening to and discussing their answers, direct them to the scriptures. 

I could see the junior primary being stumped here, not sure what other ways we can be blessed and I think this could be a great opportunity to remind them that whenever we have a question, we ALWAYS have somewhere we can turn, the SCRIPTURES!!  Even senior primary could use a reminder (heck, I could often use one as well).

I love getting into the scriptures with the kids.  Take the time to make sure they really understand what these scriptures are telling us.  I would stop after the first verse and either re-word it myself or ask for a volunteer to tell me what it said in their own words.  God gives many gifts through the Spirit to help us, to make us better and to help us grow. 

Then, to involve the kids and keep them listening closely as you read (or have a volunteer read) through all the gifts, ask the kids to either stand or raise their hands as they hear a gift.  You could ask whoever stands first to tell you what they think that gift is, what it might mean if they had it and how they could use it to help others or give an example of someone they think does or did have it and how they use(d) it to bless those around them.

The last verse teaches us that these gifts come to each of us.  More than one of them to each of us.  How AMAZING is that?!

After reading through the scriptures, I made up a matching game to go along with each of the gifts to play.  If you wanted, you could wait to talk about each gift until the matching game (and as they find the match, have the person who finds it tell you about it).

I made two versions, one uses words from the scriptures and the other uses pictures to depict the words.  I also have a pdf of the scripture I made if you'd like to use that in your primary.

Matching Game - Words
Matching Game - Pictures

Hope your sharing time blesses you and your primary!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Remembering Holidays

Last year I struggled a lot with remembering holidays.  No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving sneaking past while I wasn't looking, I mean remembering in time to enjoy our crafts and books BEFORE the big day.

Okay, okay, I still struggle just a smidge, but it's much better this year than last so I thought I'd share my tips and tricks with you.  And, if you've already got it all figured out, I'd LOVE to hear yours, too.

#1 Calendar Holidays and Project Time

I printed out a simple, two page per month, calendar and wrote down the holidays we wanted to incorporate into our school year.  I'm not by nature a "get down and glue-ey" kinda girl, so I tried to keep it down to one a month.

After picking the holidays, I decided how many weeks I wanted to spend working on projects.  Most are one or two weeks.  Then I wrote my plans ON my calendar.  If it isn't written down in my house, we never get to it.  Is anyone else like that? 

 (the notes across the week of the 6th are a new attempt to better keep track of Makenna's assignments, I'm going to post about it in a week or two)

As the school year has progressed, I try to look at least a month ahead each week so I can get ideas ready (and get themed books checked out from our local library before they're all gone).

#2 Using Pinterest
I find most of my ideas for crafty projects on Pinterest.  I love Pinterest.  It's so simple to pin a whole board full of fun ideas, in fact, it's maybe a little too easy.

I have to force myself to only pin the simple and easy projects that I know we can do (I have a separate board called Homeschool Projects so I can still pin everything else on my holiday boards).

I also try to pick ones that use materials we already have around our house which means we can do them anytime (aka: we don't have to wait until I remember to pick up supplies).

#3 Keeping It Simple  
After working hard to keep my pins simple, I look them over and pick a few.  I copy and paste the picture of each project into a document file.  I keep the pictures small enough so I can print them all out on only ONE sheet of paper.  Then I stick that sheet of paper to our white board as we get close to our scheduled weeks of project time.  

With that one piece of paper, I've got every simple and fun idea we want to work on.  It doesn't get easier than that.

And just so you know, we rarely get every picture on my one piece of paper done.  Checking every box (or project) isn't my main goal.  My goal is to have fun cutting, gluing and getting into the holidays with my kids and if that means we spend a whole week slowly working our way through only 1 of the 4 crafts, well, I'm okay with that.  Keeping things simple and as laid back as possible (which doesn't come naturally to all) makes all of us so much happier.

I just stuck our Thanksgiving projects on the board yesterday (pictured above): we're planning a couple of turkeys, a pilgrim, a thankful pacman (that's what Makenna's calling it) and some cookies.  I'll post pictures as we get closer to Thanksgiving and let you know how it went!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November Sharing Time Theme

This month we get to focus on thanks (which is pretty perfect for November).  

President James E. Faust said, "A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness.  It is an expression of humility.  It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being."

I have found that having a thankful heart brings peace to my life.  When I no longer look for greener pastures somewhere else, but focus on the beauties all around me, I find joy and contentment right where I am.

Unfortunately, it is ridiculously easy to lose site of our many blessings during our day to day routines and to focus on any and every small hard thing.  I recently read a poem called "How Different" that says:

Some murmur when the sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue.
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God's good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.
It takes great effort to truly look for and see our blessings.  Even if we happen to be surrounded by them.  It's crazy to me how much more noticeable that one small speck is against all the blue.  

So, what steps can we take to keep our focus on the light?  What can we teach our children TO DO this month? 

President Monson teaches us that we must pray often to see our blessings.  President Eyring has spoken often about keeping a "book of remembrance" where we thoughtfully seek and record how the Lord has blessed us.  Sister Bonnie D. Parkin had a great idea, make a family blessing basket (either real or metaphorical) and before family prayer each night, go around the room remembering and recognizing your blessings.  All three of these relate to another great aphorism, "Use it or lose it!"  If we aren't exercising our blessing seeking muscles, they'll atrophy.  Luckily, all they need is a few good workouts!

One of my favorite things to do when preparing for a lesson is to read a few inspirational talks.  It gets my juices flowing and sometimes sends me off in a direction I hadn't anticipated (which always ends up being a good thing).  Here are two of my favorites on gratitude:

President Thomas S. Monson, "The Divine Gift of Gratitude"
Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, Gratitude: A Path to Happiness

This month we're adding a cloak to our armor of god guy.  We'll relate it to the months theme by talking about how Christ's unwavering love for us both prompts our gratitude and warms our hearts just like this cloak warms our bodies.

We're also working on this month's scripture.  I have two separate print outs because I did something a little bit different in our primary.  In the Sharing Time Outline it has a shortened version of the verse found in Mosiah.  While the shortened version makes more sense and relates better with this months theme, I don't like the idea of having the kids memorize only part of a scripture.  

Even with the rest added in, it isn't especially long and this way, they truly know one whole new scripture.  Just in case you'd like to use the shortened version, both are included in the download.

I hope you're feeling inspired about this months topic and are excited to share those feelings with your primary!  

Have a great month,

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Sharing Time - Week 2

I have a confession to make.  When I first started in Primary (I can't believe it's been a year and a half already), I sort of thought the Sharing Time Outline was okay, but I didn't use it for much other than a general guideline of what subject to teach on.

After several months I decided to start blogging about plans for my upcoming sharing times.  Then I decided to share ideas every week and promptly got burned out trying to find time to spend hours looking for ideas and posting about each of them.

I prayed and thought about what to do and had a brilliant idea.  I know it's brilliant because I've had this idea before, in fact, I've had it a lot.  I needed to simplify.

I thought about what that meant and about what my favorite part of preparing sharing time ideas was and then, I found a solution.  I would find something to make (which I love) that would make using the outline easier for you (and me, too).  While following my plan, I've found a greater appreciation and even (dare I say) love for the Sharing Time Outline.

Keeping things simple and following the outline a little more closely has also allowed me to focus more on the spiritual side, which has been an unexpected blessing.

So, why am I telling you all about this today?  Well, I'm pretty much using the entire outline this week and only the outline.  It's pretty perfect.

First, talk about temporal blessings and what they are.  I've got both pictures and words to go along with all of our senses in the downloads.

Temporal Blessings Pictures
Temporal Blessings Words

Next, stick the categories up on the board and use the rest of the pictures/words to talk about some of our blessings.  It doesn't matter if the kids stick them in the category I did, many of them can easily fit into multiple categories.  The important thing is to get them thinking.  Ask them where and then how each picture/word fits.

After you've put their picture/word up on the board, ask them how they can show their thanks for that blessing.  If they need help, make sure to let them brainstorm with the other kids.  I've learned (both from primary and homeschool) that children are very smart and inventive and usually only need us to be willing to give them a minute.  Their answers will often be different than what we might have given, but great answers.

As you go through the blessings, make sure to take the time to share any personal stories you might have, along with your testimony of the wonderful blessings that surround us each and every day!

Have a wonderful week,

ps. I've been working on some more fun printables for next year (2014) and I'm almost ready to put them up (you can check out my first set on this post), check back soon!!

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