Sunday, June 29, 2014

What We're Reading This Week

We are reading The BFG as a family right now.  It's pretty darn great.  Both the book and how much we all love family reading time.  My kids all look forward to it and, so far, have been willing to try out any book I want to read.

I first read The BFG in third grade.  Well, actually, it was read to me by my third grade teacher.  I can't remember her name, I do remember she was from the south and had a wonderful accent.  I loved reading time. 

So far my kids favorite chapter is "Frobscottle and Whizpoppers."  If you haven't read it, you really should, I guarantee that chapter will get a few, if not more than a few, giggles.

Makenna wants to make a giant dictionary when we're finished reading it, the Big Friendly Giant's vocabulary is unique.  And awesome. 

When I was younger, I would spend lots of time wandering around the library.  I loved to look at the spines, randomly pulling off books that looked interesting and finding new authors/series to read. 

After not doing it in years (lots and lots of years), I started perusing again a few weeks ago. 

It's been a lot of fun and while not every book I pull off has been a winner, I really enjoyed this one.  Thistle and Twigg is about two older women who, after becoming friends, discover a dead body and proceed to uncover the mystery surrounding it.  In the process they befriend an eccentric elderly man and his dog, shoot a lot of different guns, and save a beautiful forest.  It was definitely fluff, but good fluffy fun.

What have you been reading lately?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Homeschooling in the Summer?

My first few years of Homeschooling I had big plans for the summer.


We were going to continue with some subjects, do some extra things (fun things, of course), and go on great field trips. 

Every year, summer would come and we would all have so much fun doing absolutely nothing, I'd put it off. 

Just until the next week.

And then, before I knew it, school would be starting again.

What I've learned is that we just need down time.  To put our school books away, close the door to the schoolroom (metaphorically, we took the door off to give more room for our white board), and PLAY.

So, what do we do in the summer?

I change up my kids chore charts, giving them the opportunity to learn new skills (aka, a few more chores).

We go and do fun things.  We hike, visit museums and play at the park.  But not every day.  We really spend most of our time playing in and outside our home.  Free play.

One thing we do continue from the school year is reading a book together as a family.  I am amazed at how much we all love it (okay, my 5 year old mostly tolerates it).  They ask everyday when we're going to read and if we're too busy, they're disappointed.  I love it.

And that's pretty much our summer.  It's pretty wonderful.

What's your favorite thing to do while not in the midst of schoolwork?


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hiking this Summer

One of my summer goals is to go hiking each week. 

There are so many trails in my area, minutes from my house actually, it seems a shame not to check them out.

Plus, it's good for us in a variety of ways.  It's healthy to be together, get exercise and be in nature (usually...see death defying picture further on).

My favorite kind of hikes are those that have something to see at the end (or even along the way) and one of our first hikes didn't disappoint.

Beautiful views.

And a gorgeous waterfall.

Even though my sister (who still lives in Oregon where we grew up) told me I need to come back to see what a real waterfall looks like.  Love you, Brea!

There were rocks all over at the base of the waterfall and the kids had fun scrambling around and over them.

My mom came down for a visit and went with us.  Okay, okay, actually, the hike was her idea.

And yes, I know, she doesn't look old enough to be my mother.  But she is.  I'm really hoping that that is one of the genes she passed down to me.

Does that look as terrifying as I think it does?  Like almost not death defying?

I try really hard to let my children be children.  To run around, fall down and get back up again.  I don't want to over-mother them and keep them from figuring out how to fail and keep on moving.

But, I also don't want them to FALL TO THEIR DEATHS!!

I saw this, took a quick picture and then told them to get down.  Now.

We all have our limits, right?

This is one of my favorite pictures of the falls from that day.  I love the light at the top.  It somehow fills me with happiness, just looking at it.

What's one of your goals this summer?  I'd love to hear about them!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June Sharing Time - Family History Work Connects Me to My Ancestors

Okay, I know that technically, the 4th Sunday (and this lesson) have already passed, but I'm guessing there are a fair number of you who took the 2nd Sunday to talk about fathers (or do some kind of Father's Day activity).

So I thought I'd give a few ideas for the week.  The good news is, if you've already done the lesson in the Sharing Time Outline, maybe you can still use some of these ideas for your 5th Sunday Sharing Time.

In a fantastic talk, Elder David A. Bednar talks about how our children's hearts can be turned.  In it he quoted Russell M. Nelson when he said,

"Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that the Spirit of Elijah is "a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family."  This distinctive influence of the Holy Ghost draws people to identify, document, and cherish their ancestors and family members - both past and present."

Isn't that awesome?!!

I love that as we learn more about our families, we love them more.  We cherish them, and not just those from long ago, but our family today!

In the Sharing Time Outline it asks you to tell a story and sing "Family History - I Am Doing It."  I think I'd make up a sign the kids could do to stop me telling the story (instead of spurtily starting to sing), something like the sign language letter F, for both families and family history.

If your primary knows the song well, just have them sing it, adding one line at a time.  If they don't (or your not sure how well they remember it from the last time they learned it), I would write the lyrics on a board, poster board or print them out.

I adapted a flip chart by Delani Mason I found on sugardoodle dot net to have the right number of pages so you'd add one page each time they hear the word sing or singing (for the first verse).  If you write your own, cover up the lyrics and then slowly uncover the lines as you progress through the story.  You can download mine on a link just above a picture of the handout I made.

After you finish going through the song, ask the children if they've been passed down anything from their families (a love of reading, sports, church...).  Talk about all the different ways our family can influence us for good, and how we can in turn influence them.

Another fun activity centers around talk about the ancestors of members of your ward.  This can be done in a couple of different ways.

If there is someone in your ward who love family history, you could ask them to come in, bring some pictures and tell the kids some stories about their ancestors. 

Or, It would be even more wonderful if some of the primary children could share about some of their ancestors.

Or, you could tell about yours.  Experiences you've had doing family history, learning about or meeting your ancestors.

I also like the idea of getting pictures of various ancestors from different primary children and/or teachers, putting them up on the board and then having the children guess which ancestor belongs to which person.  This would require a little work, but would be a lot of fun. 

In that same talk, Elder Bednar speaks to the younger generation, "I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah.  I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead ... As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives."

There are even more blessings mentioned in the talk, it's a great read.  

I made up this simple handout based off the "Encourage Application" section in the Sharing Time Outline, you can download it and the lyrics from google docs.
We are so blessed to have knowledge of this great gospel filled with peace, hope and love.  I am so thankful.

Have a wonderful week!


ps. If none of those ideas work for you, you've already done the 4th week, or just want to branch out and do something different, last year I made up a jeopardy to do the 5th Sunday in June

Monday, June 23, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

If you hadn't noticed by my total lack of posting (of course, in the month I've been trying to post daily), I've been out of town. 

I mentioned earlier that I was getting ready to go camping.

Well, we went. 

My kids had tons of fun.

I had fun and I survived.

Can you guess where we went (and by the way, yes, that is snow...and yes, we were, in tents)?

How about now?  Yep, you got it, Yellowstone National Park.

I did a bunch of research before I went that I'll be sharing with you over the next few weeks and what our very favorite activities were.

Plus, a bunch more fun pictures.  We took over 800. 

Don't you love digital cameras?

I certainly do.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pedometers are AWESOME!

Okay, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 years ago, I really wanted a pedometer.  My husband, being the wonderful husband he is, went out and bought me one. 
I looked at it with glee, took off the strip protecting the battery from being drained, and then stuck it on my dresser.
Not too long later it ended up inside my dresser.
And that brings us to last week.  I know, terrible, right? 
The battery was drained and I'd never even used it!
Last week, while making plans for this summer, we decided it would be fun to take it hiking with us, see how many steps all those trails really are.  I just had to go get a new battery (darn).
This week, I put in the batter and figured out how to use it (really not hard) and then, the most important step, I put it on.

Want to know what I discovered?  PEDOMETERS ARE AWESOME!   

I check it over and over.  How many steps have I gone this morning?  How many steps does it really take to walk all through the grocery store buying enough food for my family for the next two week?  How many steps to the park?  Out to my garden?  And anything else you can think of. 

It might be getting a little silly.  But I'm okay with that.

This is what I see when I pull it up to check.

No, that's not 8,000, it's upside down.  That means at the time this picture was taken, I'd walked 5, 118 steps.

It's quickly becoming addictive.  Very.  I'm taking it hiking tomorrow.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

June Sharing Time - I Can Prepare Now to Be Worthy to Enter the Temple

Elder Russell M. Nelson said, "Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families."

Keep this in mind as you are prayerfully preparing for this weeks lesson.  Temples are amazing and what we are blessed to do there so much more so.

After singing, "I Love to See the Temple" again, make sure the kids understand what sacred means as you discuss their sacred duty.  You've probably already talked about it this month, but I'd suggest asking again, framing it like a pop quiz to make sure they understand and can word an answer for themselves. 

Then, tell them you've hidden some puzzle pieces around the room that will give them principles they can use to prepare for the temple.

Just as an aside, the Sharing Time Outline asks you to talk about the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet...I'm not sure why.  In primary we have My Gospel Standards, why don't we use them more?  Does anyone know?  I tried to look up and see if they have discontinued using them, we still have the poster in our primary room, but I couldn't find anything definitive one way or the other.  Because I really like My Gospel Standards, because they're in our primary room, and because I really like them, I'm going to focus this section on them instead of For the Strength of Youth.

I thought I'd take a picture of a "Future Temple Recommend" like this one I found as part of a temple dedication countdown packet, print it full page size, cut it up into puzzle pieces, write some My Gospel Standards on the back, and hide them around the primary room before the children arrive.

You can find a copy of the standards on lds dot org and the temple recommend that I've blown up on google docs.  I wouldn't use every standard, choose the ones you feel apply best to the lesson (and that your children need to hear), maybe six or so.  The number of pieces really depends on how long you want this section to last; less pieces, less time.

As a child brings one piece to the front, have them read it to the rest of the primary and tell one way that principle helps them prepare to enter the temple when they are twelve years old (and continue to enter it throughout their entire lives!!).

After you finish, you can either end here or do the last section, passing around the different drawings you can find on lds dot org.  I think this would work well in both primaries, but especially in junior primary.  The kids love to be active and involved in everything that goes on.

Sometimes, when thinking about all we are supposed to do, about all the mistakes I make, I get a little discouraged.  Then, almost as if by accident, I come across a quote like this from Elder Nelson:

"One day we will meet our Maker and stand before Him at Judgement.  We will be judged according to our ordinances, covenants, deeds, and the desires of our hearts."

It is not just the covenants we make, the ordinances we participate in or the things we choose to do (or not), we will also be judged by our heart.  By what we truly want.  I want so much to do better, to be able to feel the love of my Father in Heaven everyday and to live with Him again.  To know that those feelings count, means a lot.

Have a wonderful sharing time!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Garden Beginnings...Again

I was a little late getting my garden going this year.
I'm not sure exactly why I was dragging my feet, but I was.
Quite a lot, actually.  In fact, I'm still not done planting.
I do have my favorite things planted, though.  The potatoes are long the fence, the corn is on the right and there are tomatoes growing down one of the middle beds. 
I still want to plant some bush beans and my kids need to plant a few more things, but I've scaled way back this year.

I've also been working a lot trying to get the rest of my yard in shape.

Like this bed!

Now, you might look at it and say, ummm, it's an empty bed, and other than the asparagus on the end hanging out next to some rhubarb, you'd be right. 

But it's also empty of weeds and soon it'll be covered in ground cloth and mulch.

And when you compare it to this bed, it looks pretty darn great...doesn't it?

I'm starting on this one next week.  Then, I'll only have one bed left until we'll be ready to re-mulch.  


Monday, June 9, 2014

Family Vacation

I've mentioned before that I'm a planner (only every other week or so) and that applies to vacations as well.  Right now, I'm elbow deep in planning our summer vacation.  In fact, the only way I could convince myself to write a post today, was to write about the vacation.

Now, I'm not crazy (although the term is definitely subjective), but I do like to know what our options are, what we are likely to be able to fit in and in what order those options might best work. 

I firmly believe that a plan allows us a better opportunity to be flexible.  Once I know what we CAN do, I feel more comfortable, even when changes inevitably happen.

One of my very favorite things to do is get on tripadvisor and read through the forums for tips, advice and lots of trip itineraries.  I copy and paste adventures that sound interesting and then sit down with a map (like that giant one I just printed out) and figure out exactly what I might be able to fit in.

If you haven't been on tripadvisor before, it's very simple.  First, type in your destination in one of the boxes asking for a city name.  Then, along the top will be a green bar with different menus, hover your mouse above the one that says more, almost all the way to the right.  Move your mouse down and click on Travel Forum.  Before asking a question, I'd advise scrolling through, there will be thousands of threads and someone has probably already asked what you're wondering. 

Even though I often want to do as much as possible, I know that if I allow time to relax, play and just be together doing anything (or nothing), we come home happier and at least a little less in need of a vacation from our vacation.

This will be our first time camping as a family in 3 years....mostly because my husband said he wouldn't camp with me again until we no longer had kids in diapers or in need of daily naps.  I might have had a hard time with our routine being disrupted.  Maybe.  But, this time is going to go great!  I'm determined.

I've found lots of neat ideas online, tips and tricks for camping that I'll post about later.  I'm sure I'll also have a few (or more) funny stories to tell you, we'll be camping with 4 adults and 10 kids.  Yes, I did type the number 10 on purpose, it wasn't a slip of the finger.

Wish us luck.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

The 7 Habits of Hightly Effective Teens

This year Makenna and I have been reading through The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and, I have to say, it's been pretty great.  I would highly recommend reading it with your teen. 

While it's true you could assign them sections or pages to read, reading it with her has led to MANY great discussions.  She has a question, or I think of an experience I've had, and we end up sitting and talking.  It's pretty great.

We've kept it really low key, just reading 7-10 pages once a week, so it didn't add too much to her already full schedule.

Each chapter has "Baby Steps" to help you implement the topic you've been reading about.  We didn't start out doing them, but just recently decided to go back and work through the ones that we either needed the most help with or just thought sounded fun.  I'm loving how well it helps to think more about the steps and how we can really LIVE them.

We'll definitely continue reading it through our next school year and I'll plan on reading it with my boys when they're a little older.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Ladybug Surprise

I was downloading pictures off my camera earlier this week and came across this one.
Makenna told me (at some point I can no longer remember) she found a ladybug outside and HAD to take pictures of it. 
It has exactly two dots.  One on each wing.
Which makes it super cool.  I'm not sure those were her exact words (because I can only hazily remember her telling me about it, there may or may not be something wrong with my remember-er), but if not, it was something very similar.
I love the texture of the white bark and how it contrasts so well with the red ladybug. 
There truly is beauty everywhere, if we'll only stop and look (or have a daughter to take a picture of it for us).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jimmy My James

James lost his two front teeth a few weeks ago. 

This kid is determined.  Really.  They start to get a little loose and he just pulls them out. 

All by himself.

I've been wanting to take a few pictures, to document the total cuteness, and I finally remembered a few days ago.

So, I thought I'd share it with you.

We could all use a smile.  Especially one that's missing a few front teeth.

Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chore Chart Adjustments

The summer has officially started.

Well, it actually started last week, but we took a week off.  Built forts and did as little as possible.

This week we're getting back into the swing of things and so, it was time to remake, redo, and rethink our chore charts.  

I still like our latest incarnation of chore charts and didn't want to do a complete overhaul.  I did want to add a few more chores and/or mix up the chores that were assigned, just a little bit.

In trying to decide which chores to add, I started to think about what skills I want my children to have; what they need to learn and work on so that one day, they can be more successful adults.  Which led me back to this book.

I've written about Merrilee's book before, it's pretty great.  In it, she gives her own personal list of what she wants her children to learn before moving out.  Things that will give them the independence they need to be the amazingest adults possible (she may not have used those exact words).  A while ago, I turned her list into one of my own.

I made it in excel, so I can adjust, adding and changing as my children grow.  Okay, it's less due to them growing and me changing my mind all the time.  It's five pages long and goes from ages three through sixteen.  

What does this have to do with chore charts?

Well, as I was percolating on how to adjust their charts for the summer, I looked through this list to get ideas.  

Then, I adjusted and came up with these.

Ben's and James' charts are pretty much the same.  They each have a list of chores they do every single day with one chore that changes daily so they get it done once a week (the row along the top).

Josh doesn't have any chores that change and his has pictures because he can't read yet (although we did our first reading lesson this week, he's ecstatic).

Makenna's chart is the most different.  The bottom half is just like the boys, a list of chores or items she needs to accomplish every day.

The top half lists a bunch of things she needs to get done once a week and because she's older and I'm trying to give her more freedom to set her own schedule (in very tiny baby steps), she gets to choose when to do them (as long as they're all done by the end of Saturday).  Which means she could do them all on Monday to have more time the rest of the week, or procrastinate until Saturday (which requires me to take a lot of deep breaths).

I used to print out a new chart every week, but one day (when my brain was working well), I decided I to print them once and put them in sheet protectors.  As you can see in the pictures above, they then use a dry erase marker to mark off each day and at the end of the week, we clean it off and they're ready for a whole new week.

If you'd like to use mine as templates to adjust for your own, you can download them from Google Docs.  I'm also sticking my Independence List on there if you're interested!!


Happy chores,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June Sharing Time - Temples Make it Possible for Families to be Together Forever

This week's lesson from the Sharing Time Outline is pretty short, so I decided to add a little game of memory to go along with it.

First, have displayed a picture of the temple nearest you (for us it's the Ogden Temple pictured above, which is almost ready to have live pictures taken!!) and then sing the song "I Love to See the Temple."

I don't know about you, but our primary LOVES this song.  Just before they sing it, ask them to listen specifically for reasons we attend the temple.

Then play the memory game I've put together using pictures of temples from lds dot org.  I picked mostly random temples, but you could get online to add or change out any you'd like.  After saving them, print them quarter sheet size (3.5" x 5") to match the ones I've already done.

Now, because I always like a good twist, I've added a little bit to this memory game.  After they get a correct match, they get to read a slip of paper.  You could either attach the paper to one half of each temple match or stick it in some sort of basket at the front of the room. 

Half of the slips talk about why we go to the temple (taken directly from the song sung at the beginning of the lesson) and the other half ask one of two questions.  If they get one of the second half, they'll either list one way they can prepare to attend the temple or tell one way the temple blesses their family.

You can right click and save as the pictures above, or if you'd like a little higher resolution, you can also go to google docs and download it there.

If you read the side bar in the Sharing Time Outline booklet, you'll notice that it's asking us to focus on sending the lessons topics home with the children.  The suggestion this week is to send them home with a temple coloring sheet where they can draw their families near the temple (you can find their line drawing here, just scroll down until you get to the June pictures and you'll see it). 

I think it would be great if you could find a line drawing of your own temple (that closest one you're displaying in the primary room) if you can find one (try googling and see what comes up).

Don't forget to end with your testimony of temples.  They are an amazing blessing in our lives!!


Monday, June 2, 2014

It Was a Fort Time

We had our best first week of summer break ever last week.


It involved this fort.  And hanging out in it.  A lot.

I decided we would do only the most minimal amount of chores possible (you know, just enough to keep me from going totally bonkers) and play the rest of the time.  All day.

Saying the kids loved it would be a pretty large understatement.

I did too.  It was sort of a decompression.

It led to me looking forward to new chore charts and a little more scheduled life and while I'm sure my kids could have gone on hunkering down in the fort a little longer (or a lot), they didn't complain when I dismantled it this morning.

We're definitely adding it to our list of family traditions.  Do you have any end of the school year/start of summer traditions?

Happy summer,

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer Goal & I Love My Husband

Lately I've been wanting to write a little more. 

But I haven't known what to write about. 

Do you ever look around and think your life is really pretty boring?  Not that there's anything wrong with boring, I'm a big fan (obviously), except it makes it a smidge harder to write anything I think might be interesting.

This morning I came to a conclusion.

I'm just going to write.  Even if it's boring (although, hopefully it's not).

My goal for the month of June is to post something every day.  I set the goal for only one month because I know daily posting won't last, but I hope it will give me a better idea of the things I can write about.  Sort of a kick start.

Today, I want to say my husband is awesome.  And super.

It's something I often notice, but I've been thinking a little more especially about him and our marriage since reading an article on The Matt Walsh Blog about marriage.

In it he (Matt) said,

"My relationship with my wife, however, transcends the circumstance. If we feel ourselves drift, we reach out our hands and grasp tightly, because I choose to remain at her side, and she at mine. And if I ever look over to find that we’ve somehow lost sight of each other — both now walking alone and lost in that cold night — I will grab a torch and search for her until I find her again. She is my mission, my life’s work, and I’d sooner give up my life than give up on her."

First, how AWESOME is that?

Second, I'm so blessed to be in a relationship with a man who feels that way. 

I know because immediately after I finished reading it I emailed it to him and told him he HAD to read it (and we talked about it).

I also know because after fifteen years of marriage we are still close, still choosing to stay close every single day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...