Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Enlightenment: Parable of the Wedding feast

Yesterday night was a little hectic, so I read while everyone else ate dinner.  First, we read Matthew 22:1-14.  Then we talked about why Jesus taught in parables and the symbols of the parable.  We finished off with one of my favorite modern parables - The Parable of the Bicycle by Stephen E.Robinson. (You'll find it if you scroll about half way down the web page.)  This parable helps me to understand some basic principles of the atonement.  To get the full impact of the message, I recommend reading Stephen E. Robinson's book, Believing Christ.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Enlightenment: Cleansing the Temple

Yesterday we read Matthew 21:12-18 and discussed how Jesus would feel in our home. We talked about cleansing the arguing that sneaks in too often. 

Next we read the story, The Rich Family in Our Church by Eddie Ogan.  We all enjoy a good story!

Finally,while eating cookies from our neighbor, we decided to perform a service that shows our love for Jesus.  If you've read my blog, you know we have the best neighbor in the world!  Our service project is to egg her house.  No really, this is a good thing.  The kiddos are going to decorate paper eggs to hang on her door that say "You have been egged" and on her doorstep will be a basket of plastic eggs, each with something we like about her.  I can tell you our plans because she's not online and won't read it before the big day!

Is there a service your family can do to share the love of our Savior with someone near you?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Enlightenment: Palm Sunday

This is our second year of emphasizing the true meaning of Easter, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.  I wrote about it last year at The Homemaking Cottage.  This year, I'm a little more organized and have a better feel of what works for our family.

Since yesterday was Palm Sunday, we read Luke 19:29-44 and discussed the symbolism of the palm branches.  "Palms for the Lord" is a great article explaining the significance.

We also started our annual LOA (Love One Another) poster, where we write grateful messages to family members.  For example: Dad, thanks for driving the kids to their friend's house.  We did this last year and read the notes on Easter.  It added a nice spirit to our home. 

I found that idea and more in a book called A Christ Centered Easter by Janet and Joe Hales. It's a great resource with several things we incorporate into our own celebration.  Stop by everyday to see how we commemorate Easter Week!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Family Home Evening: Holy Ghost

Our lesson was taken from the 2nd Virtue experience in the Personal Progress book.  We read John 14:26-27; John 15:26; 2 Nephi 32:1-5: D&C 45:57-59; D&C 88:3-4; and D&C 121:45.  We had a good discussion about the things we must do to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost with us everyday.  We also discussed the blessings that come from having the Holy Ghost with us, including eternal life.  I think D&C 121:45 is my favorite verse, of those we read.  I love the idea of "virtue ganish(ing my) thoughts unceasingly" and my "confidence wax(ing) strong in the presence of God".  I'm so grateful for the blessings that come from the gift of the Holy Ghost!  Through him, we can be comforted through trails, and receive knowledge and strength.

We finished off Family Home Evening with some delicious Snickerdoodles that I didn't have to cook.  (Doesn't food somebody else cooked always taste better?)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Sentament

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having. - Henry Miller

Friday, March 26, 2010

Take Flight: Pack Meeting

The theme of this month's pack meeting was Take Flight.  (Shocking I know!)  The kids made candy airplanes out of a stick of gum, a roll of smarties and lifesavers. 

The Cubmaster announced that it was time to board BSA Airlines Flight (insert you pack number here).  We went to another room where the chairs were set up like the inside of an airplane, we were asked to fasten our seat belts and be prepared for fun.  It was so cute.  We had awards and my boys did a great job on their skit.  After we "landed", the flight attendants gave us little packs of peanuts. 

We went back the first room where the kids made paper airplanes and had a competition to see who could rack up the most points.  They stood on a line and threw their planes, there were lines on the ground marked with point values.  If their planes crossed the first line it was 25 points, then 50 and finally 100.  There was a hula hoop suspended and if the planes made it through the hoop, the boys got extra points.  The dad's liked trying that part too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tennis Time

Here's a little sneak peak to my latest post on Arizona Mama.

We are fortunate to have a couple of tennis courts in our community that we are free to use.  One of my kiddos and I took some time to play tennis for a while last week.  By play, I mean one of us hits the ball and the other chases it. Read more...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Three New Articles on the Homemaking Cottage

For those of you who follow the Homemaking Cottage, I have two new articles on the Deluxe Edition.  For those of you who don't, you should!  Click on over and take a gander at A Friendly Hobby, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and Defining Success, Achieving Balance and Loving Life!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Example of a Child

One of my kiddos bought lunch for a younger sibling, and I got to tag along because I was the transportation.  Being the driver has it's rewards!  The young man working at the restaurant came to collect the money and when he looked at me, I motioned across the table and said with a smile that we were being treated to lunch.  He was a little surprised and admitted he had never taken either of his parents to lunch.  I think he was inspired!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Paper Bag Kite

We took the paper bag kites for a test fly over the weekend.  We had a to do some repairs right off the start - it's like they were made of paper or something!  After some patching and the addition of a tail, we got them in the air as high as the string we had, which wasn't saying much.  But since we were just in the neighborhood, I didn't want to loose them in someone's backyard.  One of the neighbors gave the kiddos a cool kite they never use.  That one flew much better! 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Family Home Evening: Talents & Obedience

One of my children had a very interesting spin on talents.  We read the parable of the talents and discussed our talents and how we can develop them. Then the lesson was moved to obedience being a talent.  I never thought of obedience as a talent - I always thought of obedience as something you did or didn't do.  The scriptures are full of examples of obedience and non-obedience, I always thought of the obedient as righteous and the rebellious as wicked.  Obviously people aren't so clearly divided, there are a lot of gray areas. 

One of the talks in church today referred to Nephi.  His life had plenty of challenges, and through it all he was obedient.  Maybe he had the talent of being obedient?  Was it easy for him to be obedient?  Absolutely not!  But he developed that talent and received great blessings because of his obedience.  Sometimes it's not easy to know what our talents are, but we can keep working at obedience until it becomes one of our talents - even if it takes a life time!

For our activity time we played a scripture trivia game called "Strive for Five".  We've adapted the rules so that whoever answers the question, keeps the card and whoever has the most cards at the end of the game wins!

We followed up the evening with some yummy Raspberry Jell-o!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Sentament

Surviving is important, but thriving is elegant.  - Maya Angelou

Bubbles Post on Arizona Mama

Check out my new post on Arizona Mama about blowing bubbles at the park with one of my kiddos!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Take Flight: Astronauts

This week in Cub Scouts, we focused on astronauts.  We started off standing in a circle trying to keep the satellite (a beach balloon) up in the air.  It was harder than I thought!  It was also a great time to talk a little about teamwork.

After a few business items, we went back outside for some astronaut training.  This was a relay race where the boys had to run 15 feet, jump rope 10 times, bounce the ball 10 times, catch a bean bag 10 times, and then run back to their team to high five the next boy.  Most of the boys had a hard time with the jump rope - and some of them were exhausted at the end of the relay.  Maybe we need to do more physical activities while the weather is nice?

We finished off our den meeting with astronaut pudding.  Be warned: this is very messy!  Not the making, but the eating.  To make the astronaut pudding, put a Tablespoon of instant pudding mix in a Ziploc sandwich bag, add a scant 1/4 cup of milk.  Zip the bag and let the boys squish it around for several minutes.  When thickens, cut a hole in the corner and let them suck out the pudding like an astronaut - no utensils.  This is where it gets messy.  Definitely do this outside, preferably on the grass.  One boy ended up with pudding all down him, the rest of the boys were just a little messy.  But most importantly, we had fun!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patty's Celebrations

I can't say I've ever gotten into St. Patrick's Day too much.  We wear a little green to avoid getting pinched and maybe eat something green.  This year I had a little more fun with it, we made our cool 3-D shamrocks.

For dinner we had Potato Pancakes.  I was surprised that all the kiddos liked them and had seconds!  For dessert we ate rainbow sherbet or mint chocolate chip ice cream, while a read a little information about St. Patrick that I found on the Homemaking Cottage.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Arizona Mama

I started blogging for Arizona Mama and my profile is up on the home page.

Check it out!

The Greatest Treasure Ever!

I had been having the same conversation with one of my children on a daily basis (sometimes more) about making good choices.  I'd explained that good choices lead to true happiness, not just a moment of pleasure.  The child was remorseful and behavior modified temporarily.  I just didn't seem to be getting through for more than a few hours.  The idea popped in my head and out of my mouth so quickly, I didn't even think about what I was saying.  I asked my kiddo what was the greatest treasure imaginable.  It was pretty weak at first, so I suggested living at Disneyland and some other outlandish things.  Then I explained that Heavenly Father had a treasure in store for each of us that was greater than anything we could even imagine.  A connection was made for me and my child, one that we still reflect on even a year later. 

It taught us both that greater things are in store and that there is a price to be paid to obtain that treasure.  Both of us need to work on patience.  In fact we all have our own weaknesses to overcome and talents to develop - and it is challenging.  That's the purpose, that's how we grow!

So what's the greatest treasure you can imagine?  What are you willing to sacrifice for that treasure?  Are you ready to receive what the Lord wants to give you?

Monday, March 15, 2010

3-D Shamrocks

Since we loved the 3-D hearts hanging from our railing so much, we carried the idea to St. Patrick's Day.  We don't decorate or do a lot for St. Patrick's Day, but this is a nice little festive touch!  These are made the same way as the 3-D hearts.  We cut shamrocks out of different green paper scraps.  My younger kids didn't like the tracing part to much, so they did the cutting.  Folding them in half was also a little challenging because of the stem.  They liked picking which patterns went together on each one.  After we had been working on them for a little bit, I went and hung up the first batch and they were surprised we only finished four since they had cut out 12 shamrocks.

The one thing we did different from the hearts was I taped a thread on one of the shamrocks before gluing three shamrocks together.  They hung better without trying to get the hole centered and looked cleaner without the knot.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Family Home Evening: Joseph Smith's First Vision

We have a weekly Family Home Evening night where we share a gospel lesson, an activity, a couple of songs and the ever popular treat.  We have a chart that we rotate the family members from one thing to the next every week, so every has a turn at the different parts.  It's interesting to see how differently we all do the lesson or activity, or even the songs that are chosen.

Last week's lesson was about Joseph Smith's first vision.  First there was a simple puzzle. The pieces were face down and we went around the circle for everyone to turn over one piece and try to put it in place until the picture was complete.  It was a picture of Joseph Smith and that was our introduction to the lesson.  This week was a little different, we had visual aids.  Years ago, I participated in a Family Home Evening swap and this was one of the lessons I received.  Our activity was a crossword puzzle about Joseph Smith.  I found a similar one here.

We finished off the evening with peanut butter bars.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lessons from Choir Practice

I originally joined the Ward Choir to prove to myself that I could do hard things. Without much musical training or talent, it was a hard thing - one that I grew to love.  Months went by and slowly, I started to see my confidence and ability increase.  I knew most of the choir members before, but our friendships became stronger.

Many of the things I learned can be applied to life in general.  Life is full of opportunities to do hard things.  As we do those hard things, we increase in knowledge and ability.  Often, we develop a better understanding of people, and we are deeply rewarded for our efforts.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm a Poet, and I Didn't Even Know It!

In my literature class, we are now studying poetry.  For the last paper I turned in, the instructor asked us to include a poem about ourselves.  I had something I had written a couple of weeks ago, out of frustration more than anything.  It wasn't too embarrassing, so I tweaked it and sent that in.

Surprisingly, she thought it was good and encouraged me to submit it to a poetry contest! Who would have guessed?  The thought of writing poetry makes me feel close to my favorite great-aunt who wrote a whole book of poetry.  She was a great woman that I miss very much!  I wish this was something we could have shared.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Take Flight: Kites

This week in Cub Scouts, we focused on kites.  First we made really fun and easy papercopters. To make these, take a strip of heavy paper or thin cardboard that measures 1" x 10" and fold it in half.  Fold a wing down on either side.  It works best if they are bent at an angle.  Slide a paper clip at the bottom for weight and you are ready to take flight!  Hold them up as high as you can and let it drop.  Balconies work well too.

After discussing kite safety, we made kites from paper bags.  These were more involved, but still a great project.   It would be a little more manageable if there was a 1 adult to one or two boys.  We were a little frazzled and rushed at the end, but they are pretty cool kites.  The instructions are right out of the Wolf manual.

We didn't have time to test them out, maybe we can try that next week 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kids and Chores

Got chores?  How about your children?  My kiddos have daily chores beyond cleaning up after themselves (although that's expected too).  We have a chore wheel that we rotate every Sunday.  The chores include cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, dusting and sweeping.  Sometimes it amazes me at how long my children spend doing their chores - not that it's always done very well.  Other days, they zip through their chores - and they are still not done very well.  I look at chores as a teaching opportunity.
  1. Chores teach our children important life skills they are going to need in the future, because I'm not planning on following them to college to clean up after them!
  2. Chores teach our children responsibility.  They need to understand that everyone does things they don't like because the things need to be done. Period.
  3. Chores teach our children the value of teamwork.  If an entire family works together of cleaning the house instead of just Mom, the whole family has more time to do things together - with a happy mom even!
Occasionally, one of the kiddos will point out that one of their friends doesn't have as many chores as our family (sometimes their friends don't have any at all).  My response is always the same, "How sad for them.  How sad that their friend is missing out on all the wonderful things that come with chores.  How sad that their friend is going to have such a hard time adjusting when they are adults." 

I'm grateful for parents that gave me the gift of responsibility and independence.  I hope my children will realize they have received the same gift when they are grown.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cub Scout Raise the Bar Neckerchief Slide

We recently had a Cub Scout Day Camp with the theme of Raise the Bar. The leaders made these super cute neckerchief slides for all the boys and their den leaders! If you notice the little string, the boys can pull it down and the scout raises the bar.

These were so much work! Someone must sure love those boys!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Enormous Egg Book Club

We had our book club meeting for the Enormous Egg  This book has been in print longer than I've been alive, but somehow my kiddos introduced it to me.  The premise of the book is a dinosaur hatched out of a hen's egg.  It's a fun story that leads to a lot of what if questions.  Parts of the book made me realize how jaded I've become living in today's world.  I kept thinking, how could the parents be so trusting?  Oh yeah, it was the 50's!

The main character, Nate, spends a lot of energy at the beginning of the book taking care of the egg to see if it will hatch.  We talked about how much time and energy each of us would be willing to sacrifice to take care of an egg that may or may not hatch, and all that Nate was able to do because he kept up with his egg.

We did a couple of worksheets; one to figure out which skeleton went to which animal, and one about how congress works. Next, we made the cute triceratops cut-outs pictured above.  Then we shook plastic Easter eggs that had random things inside and guessed what would "hatch" out.  The last egg everyone shook, guessed and opened was a Cadbury egg - yum!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Computer Time

Marta of Marta Writes had a great post about the time spent on the computer. She and her mom made some points that expressed perfectly how I feel.  I've read if you want to be a writer, it's vital to read as much as you can.  If you want to write poetry, read poetry; if you want to write novels, read novels.  Not only is the same true for blogs, but they are a vehicle for so many other interests; all types of writing, photography, cooking - you name it, it's out there. There is so much knowledge available on the internet about so many good things. Even learning about the styles of writing or photography is valuable. 

It all goes back to balance for me.  I need to balance my time between pursing my desires and building family relationships and other responsibilities.  I try to stick to an allotted time on the computer for blogging, additional time for writing and homework.  I know my weakness is to get absorbed in one thing, so I have to set a rough schedule for myself.

Along this line of thinking, I think it's interesting that we want our children to pursue "worthwhile" interests, but sometimes condemn the time they spend on the computer.  I don't like my kids to spend too much time on the same mind numbing game (nor is it my favorite when they spend great amounts of time rereading the same books over and over).  I do allow them time on the computer, more if they are doing homework or researching an interest.  Maybe we should encourage them to use some of their computer (and reading) time exploring new ideas and experiences on the computer and developing interests.  One of my kiddos, was curious about html and started reading a huge text book and experimenting with it.  It was so cool when this kiddo made something in html that it stayed on the computer for days!

It's important to cut ourselves some slack and allow ourselves some down time and read for fun.  It's also important to allow ourselves to learn and grow, and allow the same for our children.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Take Flight: Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and Trivia

This week as part of Cub Scouts we discussed the Wright Brothers.  I didn't know the first flight lasted only 12 seconds!  That first airplane flew for less than 2 minutes in its four flights before the wind blew it over while it was parked and damaged it. It never flew again.

We also discussed Amelia Earhart.  She was the pilot the boys were most familiar with, which was convenient since I had a book I wanted to share with them.  It was written Neta Snook Southern called "I Taught Amelia to Fly".  Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Neta whom I'm related to by marriage.  It's an amazing read if you can find it.

We finished off our Den Meeting with a little more flight trivia.  Again, I didn't know the Sputnik (the first man-made satellite sent up by Russia) was only the size of a basketball.  I love learning and doing new things with the boys!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Take Flight: Ring Glider and Stunt Pilot Races

This month's Cub Scout theme is Take Flight.  This week we focused on airplanes because that's the first thing I think of when flight is mentioned.  First we made these very simple and fun ring gliders. 

The supplies are simple:
  • a strip of ordinary (recycled) copy paper, 7" long and 1" wide
  • another strip that is 10" long and 1" wide
  • an ordinary drinking straw.  I think the ones that don't bend work  better.  
We taped the stripes into loops and taped them onto the straw. They flew surprisingly well, not too much distance, but they floated through the air better than some of my lame attempts at paper airplanes.

To get the boys moving, we had a Stunt Pilot Race.  The boys were in teams of three, with their elbows linked together, the center boy facing forward and the outer boys facing backward.  They raced to a line at the end of the driveway, then changed direction without turning around and raced back to the start.  I wish I would have taken better advantage of the lesson in teamwork!  This race would be a safer on a grassy surface to cushion any crash landings.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Embarrassing Moments

TravelingOma had a fun writing prompt - and her own story - about embarrassing moments that caused me to reflect.  Whenever anyone asks what my most embarrassing moment is, I always think of these two incidents.

One of my most embarrassing moments happened at Nordstrom,when I was 17. I was dressed up and trying to look older (a crazy thought nowadays). I attempted to walk down the steps, and somehow fell flat like a plank. Fortunately I put my hands out before my face hit the ground and put my knees down to break the fall. Because of that youth factor, I popped back up and kept walking. The amazing part was my knees were skinned, but my tights were unscathed!

That must have been my year for humiliation.  A few months later I left the dressing room of a local department store with my dress tucked into the top of my nylons.  Something didn't feel right, but when I looked in the mirror I look fine.  It wasn't until I was checking out (on the opposite side of the store) when a lady informed me my slip was showing.  (Talk about an understatement!)  I was horrified when I reached back and felt the back half of my dress wasn't where it was supposed to be!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What If? Game

My awesome friend Richelle introduced us to this fun game over a year ago and it has become one of our favorite Family Home Evening games. Every one gets a small piece of paper and writes a question that starts with "What if".  For example, "What if Dad bought the Olympic Flame and put it in the front yard?"  After all the questions are written, we put them in a small bowl and have everyone choose one of the questions (make sure no one gets their own question).  

Then write a silly answer, making sure to write the name or object instead of writing him, her or it.  Following along with our same question, "Then there would be a ton of cars driving in front of our house".  That would be pretty fun right there, but there's a final step.  Have one person read their question and the next person read the answer to their own question.  So if the person next to me read, "What if Mom was the Boggle champion?"; I'd read the answer to my question, "Then there would be a ton of cars driving in front of our house."  You could see how this could be humorous - which is why we love it so much!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Challenges with the Economy

The fallout from the economic crisis seems to be never ending.  It not only effects how we spend our money, but also how we spend our time.  It tests our integrity and our humanity.  I've seen families, dealing with job losses, working their tails off to make their mortgage payment each month; and I've seen families walk away from the commitment they made when they bought their home for no other reason than their house isn't worth what they owe, as if their commitment is null because the housing market fell.

I've gained a whole new level of gratitude for our family's employment.  I know we are blessed to have the financial hit we have taken is relatively small.  I also know that many who have been hit hard have done everything in their power to provide for their families and walk uprightly.  And while those who don't, add to society's burden; that is minor compared to the damage they are doing to themselves by giving up their integrity.  A decade of the selfishness and greed of the "me" generation is coming home to roost.

Not that I was around for the Great Depression, but the stories I've heard made it seem like families and communities came together, pooled their resources and pushed through the trail.  I don't see that happening now.  Many families are enveloped in their own challenges and don't, or can't, reach beyond themselves.  I've felt that at times.  I've noticed someone else struggling but I don't have anything to offer. 

This is the time to pull together, to be united.  But how do we do that?   I'm trying to eliminate the unnecessary things in life that use up our money, time and energy.  I'm trying to live more simply (which is hard in this fast paced society).  I'm trying to feed my soul, so I have the inner strength to help others.

What are you doing to get through these challenging times?


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