Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Art Camp, Part 2

We learned about Leonardo Da Vinci during our second day of Art Camp.  To say that he was just a painter would be a huge understatement.    I think of Da Vinci as an incredible scientist who used painting as part of his study of life around him.  Read more on Arizona Mama...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Patriotic Stars

Here’s an easy and fun craft to do this week with the kids.  Have everyone decorate a star as they wish.  The stars can be strung together as a garland or hung individually.  To make a garland, we taped one of the points of the star to make a loop.   Then we threaded the yarn through the loop, wrapped the yarn around the point, and threaded it through the loop again to keep the star from sliding down the string.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hoop-de-doo Pack Meeting

Pack meeting consisted of several "hoopy" events.   The gathering activity let the kids choose a station of ring toss or shooting baskets.  

We moved to another room with cheering sections, one for the Wolves, Bears, Webelos and families.  Most of my boys earned their music belt loop and one of my new boys earned his Bobcat.  My favorite part was when they did their skit.  It turned out so cute with their pig masks and pipe cleaner tails.

Then the gathering activity stations were converted into an obstacle coarse that went down one side of the gym and up the other side.  The kids earned points for every station they completed successfully.  

We had a very special "hoop" set up outside - they were spinning sugar in it for cotton candy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Family Home Evening: Scriptures, Living Prophets, and Brownies

Our Family Home Evening lesson was another lesson I "borrowed" from the Relief Society lesson.  Actually, the RS instructor handed out extra copies of her materials just for that purpose!  To start the lesson, everyone received a basic map of the US, similar to the one above.  We were to draw a line of how we would travel from Arizona to New York City by foot.  Several people talked about the shortest distance being a straight line while others considered routes to avoid the mountain ranges.  Still others thought following major roadways might be helpful.  One sister decided to only travel through the states she knew!

After our family chose their path, I passed around a transparency of the same map, except it also had some major obstacles like mountain ranges and wide rivers.  We counted how many of these obstacles our path crossed and what path we would have chosen if we were aware of the obstacles locations.  From here, we had a discussion about how the scriptures are our map; they warn us of obstacles and hazards.  We also compared the words of the living prophets to current maps as opposed to maps 30 years old.  Our living prophets know the specific obstacles we face today.  This was a great hands on activity that helped us all visualize the importance of reading scriptures to understand where we are going and the best way to get there.

For our activity, we teamed up and played a simplified version of Scrabble.  The kiddo in charge of the activity didn't want to deal with double, triple and quadruple points.

The evening ended with homemade brownies and ice cream.  I love this Hershey's brownie recipe:

1 C butter
2 C sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
4 eggs
¾ C cocoa
1 C flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. Salt
1 C chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 13” x 9” pan.  Microwave butter for 2 minutes, or until its melted.  Stir in sugar and vanilla.   Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Add cocoa, beat until well blended.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt; beat well.  Stir in nuts.  Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until sides just pull away from pan.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Sentament

Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer's year - it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul. -- Author Unknown

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dutch Oven Pizza

I received a dutch oven a couple of Christmases ago.  It's been used a couple of times, just not by me.  I finally used it  to make Dutch Oven Pizza (with the help of one of my kiddos). It was pretty good.  Most of the family liked it.  I think next time, I switch out the cans of crescent rolls for my homemade, whole wheat pizza dough.  We also might experiment with different toppings. 

It would be nice to have a several dutch oven recipes up my sleeve to minimize the extra heat in the house on these hot Arizona days.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Art Camp at Arizona Mama

Our Stay at home Summer Camp is in full swing.  Read about all the fun we've been having for Art Week at Arizona Mama

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Hate Tag!

I can't say tag was my favorite game when I was a kid; I had a hard time tagging anyone else.  Being it is only fun for a very short amount of time.  The one thing I like less than playing tag is listening to my kids play tag.  I think tag is THE quickest way to get my kids to argue!  You're puppy guarding!  I want to play cartoon tag instead of candle tag!  You can't talk if you've been frozen!  It goes on and on.  

I think it's time to break out some of the other active games we played when I was a kid, like "Statues" and "Mother May I?" 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My husband suffered an injury last month.  I've tried to take on some of his responsibilities so he could heal. But last week I reached a new level of sympathy after having some very painful dental work done.  I'm surprised (once again) how distracting pain in one small area can be! 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Canoeing Rappelling

OK, you're probably getting tired of my Girl's Camp memories, so I'll finish it off by sharing our 4th year cheer because it makes me smile.  Canoeing, rappelling - our bodies will be smelling.  What?  Divine!  (Our Value was Divine Nature)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Our house hasn't been the most peaceful place this past week.  We've been dealing with a back injury, hormones, selfishness, some pretty intense dental work, and way too much contention.  The efforts to make today Dad's special day has been challenging.  Hopefully we can still pull it off.

Even more important is to make this Sunday, like every other Sunday, our Heavenly Father's special day.  Today, I imposed some DEAR time; Drop Everything And Read, the kiddos could choose between scriptures or church magazines.  So far it's helped improve a couple of the kiddos attitudes - which has helped mine.  Hopefully the rest will come around soon!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Sentament

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.  ~Bill Cosby

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gratitude - You Better Get Some

On the first day we set up camp, the girls dug a lovely latrine, and surrounded it with a tarp.  We had a seat and privacy - kind of like the comforts of home.  After a few hours, it was a very stinky "comfort".  By the bedtime, the smell was hard to bear.  The girls buried it and dug a new one the next morning in a different spot.  But this time the tarp didn't wrap all the way around the trees, so it was open on one side.  

After a day of canoeing, we were sitting in a circle around camp telling jokes when someone mention the latrine.  I told the girls they better hurry and get grateful.  Yesterday we lost flush toilets and today we lost our privacy, who knows what they will take away next!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Value Hike

As part of our fourth year adventure, we had a night Value hike.  This was their Mountain Top experience.  We gathered the girls together in a dark clearing with a lantern, shared a thought with them, and then passed out a packet with a letter from their Bishops and their Ward Young Women leaders.  The girls pulled out their flashlights and read their letters.  When they were ready they walked to the first station on Faith.  

Earlier in the day, the other leaders were looking over their notes and talking about how much time they had put into their preparations.  I chose to focus my time in preparing for our morning scripture study and suddenly felt extremely anxious about the Value hike.  I looked over my topics and had a couple of impressions for each of them.  After jotting down a few words, I couldn't focus.  

We leaders stayed in the shadows with the first group of girls until we came to our spot.  Hearing the other leader's presentations made me feel a little more comfortable.  My station was second to the last. I was still nervous when I spoke to the first group, but I could feel the Spirit with me, prompting me to say what each group of girls needed to hear.  

I felt a lot of insecurity at camp, but I realized that I'm a different person then the rest of the leaders.  I have a different perspective on the youth and the challenges they face - and that's not good or bad, it's just different.  The leaders together, with all our differences, have the greatest chance of strengthening the girls collectively because of our different personalities.  

Once again, the learning is in the teaching!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cub Scouts Skit

I know this month's theme is Hoop-de-doo, but our Den is assigned the skit for this month's Pack meeting - so we practiced that and made paper bag masks.  Our gathering activity was the leg tunnel relay, the boys broke into two teams, each team lining up with their legs apart.  The last person in the line, crawled between in the tunnel of legs.  This went on until the last person was last again.  A simple and silly game to get the boys moving.  

Next, we practiced our skit.  I made it easier on everyone and typed up a skit with the boys names instead of "piggy #1", especially since the skit has more piggies than we have boys.  The main event was making masks out of paper bags.  Many of the boys trimmed the bags so they would fit better and not trap their shoulders, a few of the boys made ears for their pig masks.  They also made curly pig tails out of pipe cleaners and wrapped them around a piece of yarn that they will tie around their waists at Pack meeting.

Just to stay a little bit with the theme, we had a hoop treat -- mini donuts!

I was fortunate to have one of the moms step in as my assistant, since mine was unavailable.  Apparently she now understands why I love working with the boys so much.  She sent me an email thanking me for letting her come help because she had so much fun!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Igraine the Brave Book Club

We finished reading Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke for our family book club.  Check out the details of our super fun meeting over at Arizona Mama!  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mountain Top Experience

I've heard Young Women and Young Men leaders talk about the importance of giving our youth a mountain top experience, but I didn't really understand what they were talking about until last week when I participated in giving a group of 15 year old girls their own mountain top experience.  For those of you who don't know me, I am not a camper.  Camping seems more like a punishment than a vacation. I like toilets that flush, showers and comfortable beds.

Despite the lack of modern conveniences, it was a great experience for me and the girls.  There is something amazing about being in the mountains, surrounded by the majesty our Heavenly Father created for us.  The girls cooked their own meals over camp stoves and in dutch ovens.  They dug outdoor latrines.  Best of all, they had spiritual experiences without the distractions of cell phones, computers or TV.  We broke into small groups (our families away from home) for scripture study and discussed our divine nature and the atonement.

I knew a few of these girls pretty well before our camp, and I barely knew a few others.  Over half I met for the first time, but now we all have a bond from that mountain top experience.  After two and a half days we went to the main camp and joined the rest of the girls from our Stake.  Every time I passed one my girls, we had a connection.  More importantly, they have a stronger, different kind of connection with their Heavenly Father and their Savior.  And now I see the importance of a mountain top experience. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

FHE: Agency

This Family Evening Lesson comes from the Faith in God booklet, the Learning and Living the Gospel page.  We sang "Choose the Right" as an opening song, then discussed times we've made good and bad choices and the consequences of our choices.  It is always exciting to see when my kiddos "get" a concept.  One of them brought up that we are free to choose our actions, but we don't get to choose the consequences of those actions.  This is such an important and basic principle of the gospel that some people really have a hard time grasping.  I spent last week at Girls Camp and our theme was Deeply Rooted.  One statement that I heard several times is you can't plant flowers and expect to get vegetables.  What you plant is what you grow. 

We played a silly game called Would You Rather for our activity.  It's a card game with questions like would you rather walk across glass or nails.  The person who's turn it was held up one or two fingers behind their back depending on their answer, if the majority of the other players came up with the same answer - they stayed in the game.  It went along great with our agency lesson!

We finished up our Family Home Evening with Carmel Rice Crispies from It's a Daisy Day. One of my kiddos decided they need to be called Carmel Crispy Treats. No matter what they are called they were a big hit!  I even took a couple to Girls Camp and was giving out samples.  I wasn't surprised they were a popular there too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Sentament

A fishing line has a hook on one end of it, and an optimist on the other! - Anonymous

Friday, June 11, 2010

Star Wars Party

My latest post is up on Arizona Mama. This fun Stars Wars party would be a great finale to a week long Star Wars marathon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Family Home Evening: Faith and Sabbath Day Observance

This Family Home Evening lesson came from the Personal Progress book, the 3rd Value Experience of Faith.  I love this quote about faith from "True to the Faith", "Faith is a principle of action and power.  Whenever you work toward a worthy goal, you exercise faith."  We talked about how every time we practice those "Sunday School answers", we are building faith.  

We specifically focused on Sabbath day observance. Sabbath day observance was to help Adam's posterity remember the Lord’s power in creating the world.  That Sabbath remembrance was combined with the Lord’s power of delivering Israel out of Egypt.  It was also the looking forward to the coming of the Savior and the atonement.  This remembrance was so important in Moses’ time that people were stoned for breaking the Sabbath. 

Today the world tries to turn Sunday from a Holy Day to another holiday.  Even people’s attitudes in the church make less of the Sabbath than it could be.  The Sabbath is an excellent opportunity to strengthen faith.  The basic, minimum requirements of the Sabbath are going to Sacrament meeting and abstaining from work and shopping.  Whenever we make it more than a day of lounging, we are building a stronger faith.  

Making the most of the Sabbath day requires looking at the thoughts that accompany our actions.  As we ask ourselves if our activities are focusing our hearts and minds on the Savior, we will adjust our actions to maximize the spiritual strength training we receive on Sundays.  If we choose to read on Sunday, does our reading material bring the Spirit?  Can we shift from good books to spiritual books on the Sabbath?  TV viewing on the Sabbath has caused many debates and must be decided in each home.  Is there an appropriate use for the TV on the Sabbath?  If yes, could we shift what we view to something more uplifting that helps us to ponder the blessings the Lord gives us?  For each question, we can try to live a higher law and see if it bears good fruit.

What have been your most spiritual Sabbath days?  What is a way you believe would increase your Sabbath day observance? 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday Sentament

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are.  Otherwise you will miss most of your life.  - Buddha

Friday, June 4, 2010


It's the start of a new month which means a new Cub Scout theme.  This month's is Hoop-de-doo or anything with hoops.  This week we started with the obvious - The basketball belt loop.  We started off with Achievement 1j; chest pass, bounce pass and overhand toss.  The boys stood in a circle and called out who they were throwing it to, as they threw it.  We spent a couple of minutes on each type of pass.

After going over the rules to basketball, the boys partnered up to work on specific skills like dribbling, shooting and rebounding.  Then we had a group on each basket for a game of PIG, to practice more shooting.  I'm so glad we were inside a nice air conditioned basketball court!

We finished our den meeting with a few thoughts on following the rules and team work; then we had a snicker doodle!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stay at Home Summer Camp, Part 2

The second half of our family's fun Summer Camp traditions is up over at Arizona Mama!  This is the part where we make learning really fun by focusing on a few different themes.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Reading Program for Moms

Every summer I'm always jealous of the kids - there are several summer reading programs catering to them.  They get free books, food, toys and stickers!  (OK I'm not too tore up about the stickers.)  Don't these libraries and stores know that with out Mom chauffeuring them around, encouraging them to read, and reminding them to fill out the form they wouldn't have anyone participating in their programs?  Who spends more at the stores, the kids or the moms? 

One year our library had a program for moms.  It was set up like a bingo card, with different genres or formats (like magazines) in each square.  The prizes were coupons to the section where they sell used books.  I ended up getting the whole series of The Zion Chronicles for $3 after the coupons.  So, the library made some money and I felt loved because there was a program for me too.

I thought it would be fun to do my own Summer Reading Program for my friends, except I don't have a shelf full of extra books to give away, or the budget to pay for postage to mail them.  I could set up my own program and reward myself - but that seems a little selfish.  

What do you think?  Have you participated in a Summer Reading Program for moms?  Or do you have any ideas on how to put something together?


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