My faith

I'm a Mormon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving books

Thanks to Goodreads, I found a list of Thanksgiving children's books.  I've already put some on hold at the library.  I may order our favorites through Amazon.  Or maybe not.  Because I just bought a Blendtec, and I'm not allowed to spend any more money for like a year.

ps.  If you like reading, join Goodreads.  It's my favorite.  :)

*Image from

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Advent

Remember this little girl?

She turned one.  In August.  And she still doesn't sleep "through the night."  I use the term "sleep through the night" quite loosely, but this babe still wakes up every three hours.  After the first round of sleep training, I spent 5 months with a baby who would not be put down, nor let anyone else hold her.  We've tried sleep training her a couple times, and the last time was working until she got a bunch of ear infections, and then started teething.  So we're trying again.  I just have to say that if I could go back to my first-time-mother self, I would tell myself to not worry about "sleeping through the night."  lol.

Isn't she just a sweetie though?  Love this blue-eyed darling!

 Blogging has just been on the back burner.  It still is, but I wanted to share this idea, even if it is a tad tardy.

Thanksgiving Advent:

Nov 1. Make advent activity chain and introduce gratitude to kids (hopefully they already get it!)
Nov 2. Write a list of people we can thank (brainstorm, all the people who help us in our lives)
Nov 3. Service project: Make a few sack lunches and hand them out to people standing outside parking lots of stores.  There are always people in our area.
Nov 4.  Tell the story of the 10 Lepers. Memorize Alma 7:23
Nov 5 F.H.E. (Family Home Evening) about gratitude, begin gratitude journal with each child.  Each night after stories we will talk about what we are grateful for that day and write it down, draw a pic, etc.)
Nov 6. Visit retirement center and sing songs, or do Thanksgiving art project. (think Pinterest)
Nov 7. Read Thanksgiving books and sing Thanksgiving songs. (I'll give suggestions soon!)
Nov 8. Bake bread (or some treat) to take with thank-you notes the next day.
Nov 9. Write & deliver anon 5 thank you notes w/ bread
Nov 10. Service project: make a baby blanket (or several) for people in need (local hospital, women's shelter, etc)  This should be fun to get my kids started with some basic sewing!
Nov 11. Memorize Alma 37:37, write a thank you note to some one in the military.
Nov 12. F.H.E. Do thy alms in secret. 3 Ne 13:2-4
Nov 13. Art Project with our playgroup friends.
Nov 14. Write and illustrate our own thanksgiving book (I'll let the girls guide this one, they can retell the first thanksgiving, tell a story about gratitude, etc.  It will be a shared writing experience.  :)
Nov 15. Make caramel popcorn to take with thank-you notes the next day.
Nov 16. Write and deliver 5 anon thank you notes. (Emphasize "doing alms in secret" with the kids.
Nov 17. Service project.  I plan on calling a local shelter to see what we can do, maybe we'll try and collect coats and shoes, or something simple my preschoolers can help with.
Nov 18. Memorize Psalms 100:1-5
Nov 19. F.H.E. Love our enemies 3 Ne 12:44
Nov 20. Act out the first Thanksgiving with costumes we made.
Nov 21. Art Project: dinner table centerpiece and decorations.
Nov 22. Thanksgiving day 5k as a family!!

For the last 2 Thanksgivings (is that a word?) I've wanted to do something purposeful to help my little ones really understand the Holiday!  Hopefully we will stick to our fun schedule.  And if not, well, I guess I won't blog about it. :)

Things to read Thursday

A few weeks ago my dearest friend, Annie, mentioned that her girls were reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle for their K-12 home school curriculum.  Because Annie knows my 4 1/2 (can't leave out the "1/2" or I get in trouble) year-old well, she suggested I try reading it to DD1.  We checked it out this week and began reading it.

DD1 is fairly interested, and pays attention, although there are quite a few words she doesn't understand yet. It gives us a lot to talk about.  I, however, am LOVING this book!  So clever, so fun, so informative.  I wish I had a parrot so I could try the "answer-backer cure."

So go read it to your kids.  :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I recently came across this photo on Facebook:
I was appalled, for several reasons. For the record, I'm not as against spanking as some people I know. But I never actually feel good about spanking. The main reason I don't spank is because I don't think it's right to treat people that way, and children are people too. Also, I know myself well enough to know that if I did totally fly off the handle, I might hurt my child. One stern pat on the bum: not too much of a problem. But that's not how I was spanked as a child. And when I got spanked, I was angry, and devastated, and hurt (physically and emotionally). I felt manipulated. Nobody should have that kind of power over another human being.

As followers of Christ, we should be especially cautious about using corporal punishment to "control" our children. Joseph Smith said that “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 3:54.)

In Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 we read that those who offend littles ones would be better off with a millstone hung around their neck and drowned in the depths of the sea! In that same section we find the formula for any stewardship, which I think includes parenting:

 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

 43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; 

Wow! What a formula! So first we try to persuade. We are patient (that's the long-suffering part), we continue in gentleness toward them (I don't think spanking could be categorized as "gentleness.") and by LOVE UNFEIGNED! Then comes the part that many misapply and misinterpret: "reproving betimes with sharpness. Sounds like spanking might be included in that. But if you look up the definitions of some of these words, you find something interesting!

Reprove: (1) To scold or correct usually gently or with kindly intent. (2) To express disapproval of

Betimes: In good time; early.

Sharpness: There are many definitions for this word, but I don't think any of them apply in this case. You might think that "sharp" would mean "harsh" but that contradicts verse 41. I think it matches more closely to the concept of vision. If you see something sharply, you see it crisply and clearly. It is my opinion that in this verse, the connotation is "clarity."

Translation: In disciplining our children, we must gently correct early or quickly with clarity. As disciples of Christ, I do not think it becomes us to do anything that brings harm to others. We also know that "Whosoever is in danger of the judgement of God (3 Ne 12:22)." I don't know about you, but I have never seen someone spank their child who wasn't angry. Myself included.

 Now that I've explained some doctrine related to how we should raise our children, I have to refute some of the obvious fallacies of the FB picture I shared at the beginning of this post. I take issue with the first phrase [I] "have to laugh at people who are against spanking." Really? You laugh at people with a different opinion/worldview from you? Hmmmm. Did spanking really teach you to respect others, or just to control or be unaccepting?

 "I didn't hate them[parents]." Really? They whipped your butt and you weren't mad? How subservient of you. Or are you just lying to yourself? "I sure respected them." Now it's my turn to generalize. Older people are super duper famous for forgetting how things ACTUALLY were. Trust me, I've seen it. My dad is convinced that none of his kids ever threw tantrums, and that my hellion brothers were docile and obedient. (yeah, right!) Maybe it's not just older people, all of us tend to have a less-than accurate memory, and we generally want to justify our behavior. Saying "I turned out fine" is quite the cop-out.

 "This is why kids nowadays have no respect for anyone." Well, that's a gross over-generalization if I ever read one! I know lots of respectful kids.  And don't the facts that kids are incredibly entitled, have all the gadgets they want which prevent them from actually interacting with humans, and are required to have very little responsibility have something to do with lack of respect? It's all because they don't get spanked?! Wow! I should start spanking ever day! In reality, the fact is that kids learn respect by being respected. Call me whatever you want, but I refuse to believe that you should respect someone just because they were born earlier.

 I know what you're thinking: "Respect your elders." My motto is different: "respect everyone!" That is what the Savior asked of us! And if I don't respect my kids, then how can I expect respect from them?

 In regards to this "spanking is the best way to parent" photo, my summary is this: 

1. Spanking is ONE strategy. It may or may not work. And for many parents it does not work.

2. There are OTHER strategies. Some of the most successful ones I've used include:
 *distraction and redirection
 *Offering limited choices
 *Be sure your child isn't acting up because they are tired, hungry, or just need a snuggle
 *try and understand where your child is coming from. Empathize with them.
 *occassional rewards.
 *LOTS of love
 *prevention (eg. prevent lying by asking "why did you do this?" instead of "Did you do this?" Make sure they aren't hungry or tired, try and understand what motivates your child and what tempts them)
 *TALK to your kids. Build a warm, trusting relationship
 *Forgive yourself everyday.
 *Forgive your kids every day.

3. Don't judge other people's parenting. Ever. Every parent/child relationship is unique.

4. Don't tell other people how to parent.(I learned this the hard way. Trust me on this one!) You are the expert on your child. God gave you that child for a reason.

5. Do your homework. Learn as many strategies as you can and build skills that can help in tough situations. 

6. Remember that strategies aren't always helpful. Sometimes you just need to take a timeout before you hurt someone!

 When the woman taken in adultery was brought before the Savior, he didn't judge her. He said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I sure wouldn't want someone hurting me because I make a mistake, and believe me, I make plenty! Spanking says to kids "I know what's best for your body and I need to be in control of you." I'm sure grateful to people around me who give me the benefit of the doubt when I mess up! I'm grateful to not have anyone there to yell at me or belittle me. I would like to show the same respect for my children. I will gently correct them early on with clarity. But I have committed to not spank my kids. And for that, please don't laugh. Actually, laugh all you want. I'll still try to respect you.

 *I do have to admit that I have sometimes spanked. But I have never felt good about it. I also would not want anyone to feel guilty for whatever they have done with their children that wasn't abusive.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Treasure Hunt

I LOVE Easter. Celebrating life, and especially the Resurrection of my Savior, is a wonderful reminder that death is not the end, and I am filled with gratitude for His sacrifice and the wonderful gift, given freely to all!

After participating in several Easter Egg hunts that were over in 5 minutes and seemed to have little, if anything, to do with Easter, I came up with an Easter Treasure Hunt. The materials I use are LDS materials, but feel free to improvise. Please link back to this post if you share this idea!

Helpful tips:
*I start by talking to the kids about expected behavior. No pushing, shoving, hitting, bullying, etc. The kids are siblings and cousins, so I don't anticipate too much of a problem. Most of the clues have a "challenge" attached, which everyone must participate in. Grown-ups can help with the reading, and adult participation is required to make this go smoothly.
*I hide all the clues in blue plastic eggs (Blue Clues, so they can remember)
*The oldest grandchild participating can read. This might be too complicated for toddlers and babies. (ok, obviously) We'll see how my 2 1/2 year old will do, but I think my 4-year-old will LOVE it!

Challenge #1:Sing “I lived in Heaven.”
Clue #1: The Wise man built his house upon the _________. Sing the song, the missing word is where you will find your next clue. (This clue is hiding by a big rock in the yard, they will have to run around and search for it).

Challenge #2: Look up Helamen 5:12 on page 378 of the Book of Mormon, and read it out loud together.
Clue #2: Look at this picture (GAK 100 The creation) I am hiding here, Jesus created me on the fourth day. I have wrinkly, rough skin, and provide shade for you on a hot summer day. Find the next clue by finding me.

Challenge #3: Jesus also created our bodies. Do 10 jumping jacks and thank Heavenly Father for your strong, Healthy Body.
Clue #3: Another name for Jesus is “The Bread of Life.” Why do you think that is? Go find some bread to find your next clue. (Next clue hiding in pantry, or bread box, where ever you keep bread)

Challenge #4: Give a hug to someone you love!
Clue #4: GAK 208 Jesus was baptized to show us the way. When we get baptized, we are clean and we show that we will follow Jesus. Find you next clue where you clean your body. (Bath tub)

Clue #5 GAK Jesus was crucified by men who did not understand who he was. When he died, he was laid in a tomb. Find your next clue in a place where one of you lay down at night to sleep. (A bed of one of the children)

Challenge #6: Sing "Families can be together forever”
Clue #6. GAK Because Jesus loved us, he died for us, and then was resurrected! That is what Easter is all about! We can live together in families forever because death is not the end of life! Find your LAST clue in a place that reminds us how Families can be together forever. (hint: it’s a place where Moms and Dads can be married for Eternity!) (A picture of the temple.)

Challenge #7: Each person must tell one thing they believe about Jesus.
Clue #7: JUMP around to find a treasure for each of you! (Easter Baskets are hiding by a the trampoline.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Here we go again.

If you have followed my blog for a while, you might remember when I was about to lose my mind from lack of sleep with DD2.

Well, we're there again. This time with my darling 7 month old, DD3. As I type, she is in her bed screaming. Because I am about to lose my mind.

It is getting pretty bad. I taught a lesson in church yesterday, and although I'm relieved to have made it through the lesson, I was so exhausted that during the discussion I could hardly pay attention. Did I mention that I was giving the lesson? Don't tell anyone, but during parts of the discussion I was totally zoned out. I tried so hard to focus, and just couldn't. At the beginning of the lesson, I even sang in a trio. I started each verse on the wrong note and messed up the words.

My brain is not functioning too well. My head is constantly hurting. My body is physically exhausted.

So she is "crying it out." Call me what you will. Heartless, abusive (yes I have heard those analogies lately describing the kind of parent I have become.) But something's got to give.

I think she'll be ok.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Multigrain bread

The ladies over at Our Best Bites shared a fabulous multi-grain bread recipe. I am in H-E-A-V-E-N! And I pretty much subbed out all the white flour for whole-wheat. Because that's how I roll. Happy Bread making!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I found a great recipe that I am anxious to soon as I buy me some Spelt (I have barley and brown rice).

Apparently this makes great flour that is a superb substitute for white flour...even in desserts! I'll let you know the results when I try it!

Monday, February 27, 2012

What God gave me time for.

Before I had children, I promised myself I'd never be the mother who asked "Why did I ever want children?" but sometimes I find myself thinking "I don't want to do this anymore." It's kind of like the feeling I had toward the end of labor with my last two children. I was exhausted. Mentally, physically, and emotionally spent. That time in labor is called "transition." I also sometimes experience that feeling during a run. I just. Don't. Want. To. Keep. Going.

But with labor, there was only one alternative: have the baby. What a glorious reward for my pain and struggle! And I know that I always feel great after a run. I feel strong. I feel like I can do anything.

Motherhood is a little different. Frequently I find myself struggling along, wondering how I'm supposed to do a good job at all the necessary tasks, and I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of laundry. I used to think all the laundry jokes were exaggerated. They are not. When things get hard, when I feel like throwing in the towel, it's hard to see the silver lining. When, oh when will this end? When will my four-year-old stop whining? When will my 2-year-old stop screaming? And when will my baby start sleeping through the night?

I've had a lot of days recently where I'm changing 4 diapers an hour, staying up all night with one child or another, and dealing with tantrums, meltdowns, kids not sharing, not to mention trying to keep up with housework (which is just not happening right now!)

This morning, after changing yet another diaper, when I found myself thinking "I don't want to do this anymore," the next thought I had was "but what would I do instead?"

And then I realized that I wouldn't trade all the hugs and kisses, all the smiles and giggles, or even all the mundane or frustrating tasks, for anything else in the world. After all, this is what God gave me time for.
My three sweet children:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Teaching the Doctrine of the Family

This speech from Julie Beck, who is the General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is an essential read!

A few gems:

President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, “Your chief
interest, your essential and all but sole duty, is
to teach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as
that has been revealed in these latter
days” (“The Charted Course of the Church in
Education” [address to seminary and institute
of religion leaders, Aug. 8, 1938]

We know, from visiting with [the youth] and
conducting studies, that they show a lack of
faith in their ability to be successful in families.
They don’t see forming families as a faith-based
work. For them, it’s a selection process much
like shopping. They don’t see it as something
that the Lord will bless them and help them to
accomplish. They also distrust their own moral
strength and the moral strength of their peers.
Because temptations are so fierce, they aren’t
sure they can be successful in keeping
covenants. They also have insufficient and
underdeveloped social skills, which are an
impediment to them in forming eternal families

A lot of the antifamily messages that you are
hearing are targeting young women. Satan
knows that he will never have a body; he will
never have a family. He will target those young
women who create the bodies for the future
generations and who should teach the families.
They don’t even know what they’re being
taught in the messages. It’s just seeping in,
almost through their pores. Because Satan can’t
have it, he’s luring away many women, and
also men, and they’re losing confidence in their
ability to form eternal families.

Oftentimes with young adults I’ll tell the story
about the day my husband and I were married.
We had three dollars. Even worldwide, that’s
not very much money nowadays. It was a faithbased work when we got married. We didn’t
get married because of money, or because our
education was complete, or because we even
had a place to live. We lived with Grandpa and
took care of him for the first season of our
marriage. We went to school and worked hard,
but we entered that relationship as a faith-based
work. We knew that we had made a covenant
with the Lord and that He would bless us. It
didn’t take money; it took faith. Those are
messages they need to have and get confidence
in because of you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Things we do.

I adore Pinterest. What a great way to find and organize ideas! The big problem, however, is actually accomplishing any of these ideas. Starting this week, my almost-four-year-old looked at Pinterest together in order to find 5 activities we could do together. I'm finally feeling like a normal human being since baby #3 was born, and we also have a computer now (YAY!), so although I'm not making any promises to myself, I want to blog about the things we do, at least so I can add them to Pinterest.

One activity we chose was to make butterflies with toilet paper rolls. Ours turned out really cute, using some old scrapbook paper, googly eyes, and foam stickers cut to make a nose and mouth.

(I had to add this picture of my preschooler, in her princess attire, with her pouty face. She has been so pouty today!)