Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trip Planning on Arizona Mama

Now that my kids are bigger, we involve them in the trip planning process and we get so much more out of our family trips because of their involvement. Visit Arizona Mama to read about our latest planning adventure!  While you're there, check out the Tips for Being a Mary Poppins Mom.  It's a great article to help us remember the big Mom picture.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Preparing for General Conference

I am very grateful that my kiddos love General Conference!  They get so excited, they have a hard time waiting.  They have always had a good attitude about Conference, so I can't take all the credit.  I have done a few things and started a few traditions to add to this special time of the year.
  • Journal - I've encouraged my children to write down every speaker's name, their topic and anything that stood out about their talks.  Younger kids draw pictures of the speaker or their topic.  Sometimes they record their notes in a their journal; other times they have a special conference book.  After conference we talk about what stuck out to us as a family and any overlying themes we noticed in conference.  We also talk about what areas we heard the leaders encourage us to work on specifically.
  • Saturday Breakfast - Our family enjoys food.  OK, that's an understatement; we really enjoy food. Any tradition that includes food, is that much better.  One of our neighbors had the tradition of donuts for breakfast on Conference Saturday.
  • Sunday Breakfast - Last Conference was also Easter, so we had our traditional Easter Breakfast.  I'm thinking Conference Sunday needs a special breakfast like Breakfast Cake or Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy.
  • Conference Bingo - During the morning sessions, we have bingo cards.  M&M's make excellent markers.  Every time we get a bingo, we eat an M&M..  We don't usually eat too many and it helps to keep our attention on the speaker.  I love these bingo cards because there are 12 different cards.  One of my kiddos tends to notice someone else eating an M&M and decides to eat one too, even if they hadn't been paying attention.  Different cards minimizes that challenge.
  • Conference Activity - We mix it up a little for the afternoon session.  Everyone gets a list of gospel subjects with a snack listed next to it.  Last year's list for Saturday included tithing - pretzels, Priesthood - Froot Loops, prophet - animal crackers, missionaries - Goldfish, Love - jelly beans, faith - popcorn.  Every time the Conference speaker mentions one of the words, we get to eat one of the snacks.  When faith is mentioned, we get one piece of popcorn.  It's really hit and miss.  One Conference there was a whole talk about love that emptied everyone's cups of M&M's!
I need to choose my topics and snacks and go grocery shopping to be ready for Saturday. 

These are the type of things that help my children look forward to General Conference.  What are your General Conference traditions?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

FHE: Self Mastery

Our lesson on self mastery came from a few quotes on the subject from The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.  President Kimball states that we attain perfection through self mastery.  "Perfection is a long, hard journey with many pitfalls."  Since the journey is long and hard, our efforts must be continuous and diligent.  

He spoke of a false assumption some make, a person is the result of their environment and therefore unable to live up to the standards of the gospel.  President Kimball counters that mankind is not only able to transform themselves, but they must use their agency and rise above their challenges and temptations.  He gave Abraham as an example.  Abraham was raised in an idol worshiping family, but he is the prophet of a dispensation of worshipers.  Moses was born as a slave in poverty, raised in luxury and opportunity, and lived to be worthy to talk with God.  Paul transformed from Saul, one who persecuted followers of Jesus, to one of his loyal apostles.

While it is easy for me to think "I'm not strong enough" or whatever enough to overcome this challenge; I need to rely on the Lord for that strength.  I also need to remember that it's not going to happen overnight or in a week, the journey is long and hard.  It will take persistence and determination to reach that great reward.

We started home evening early and had almost an hour, so we played Phase 10; and still didn't finish the whole game!  Fortunately having fun and being together is more important than finishing the game.  Stopping while we had time to enjoy a bowl of ice cream for a treat was nice too!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Sentament : Wisdom

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk - Doug Larson

Friday, September 24, 2010

Favorite Feeds Friday

There's more fun stuff to check out on this week's Favorite Feeds Friday!
  • These White Chocolate Raspberry Bars at Your Homebased Mom are making me drool!
  • I've been wanting to find a homemade BBQ sauce to replace the store bought varieties containing High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I'd like to try this one at Our Best Bites.
  • Chocolate on my Cranium has dedicated this month to the family.  I love today's post about fathers.
  • Monzanita not only reveals the contents of her purse, she shows a couple that she made herself!
  • We can't go without a post reminding us that Halloween is almost here.  Check out New Nostalgia's glowing mason jars!

 I thought I'd play along with Monzanita and show you a picture of what's in my purse - hopefully nothing embarrassing!

      First you have to see my super cute purse I got from Target for $5!

    • In the shadows is my wallet
    • A couple of pass along cards
    • An old grocery list
    • Lotion
    • Tissues
    • Hair brush
    • Hair Clip - isn't it pretty
    • Tape measure - yes, it lives in my purse
    • Cell Phone
    • Flashlight
    • Tylenol
    • Mirror
    • Pen
    • Lypsol - the best lip moisturizer ever!
    • A couple of lipsticks (The funny thing is I rarely wear lipstick.)
    • Mini leather man (I almost tried to take that into a courthouse earlier this week)
    • Keys
    So there wasn't anything embarrassing, but I have been teased for carry things like a pocket knife and a tape measure.  A girl needs to be prepared you know!

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Clicking Your Tongue

    Last week, two of my kiddos were having a very interesting debate.  You know the sound from clicking your tongue?  They were debating how to spell that sound.  Was one of them trying to incorporate  that "word" into a story they were writing?  I have know idea how the conversation started.  One of the kiddos figures the "word" would end with and "a" sound, while the other kiddo is sure it ends in a "ck".  

    What kind of crazy discussions do your children have?  Or is it just mine?

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Watching the Cars Go By on Arizona Mama

    First of all, I want to thank all of you for supporting me over at Arizona Mama.  They started having local writers about six months ago, working out bugs along the way.  Yesterday, I received my first statistical report for page visits.  It's always good to know what interests readers and where to improve. 

    I have a new post up called Watching the Cars Go By.  It's an experience I had on a "date" with one of my kiddos.  I love the insight into my children I gain from our time together!

    In other writing news, I was selected as the One Minute Writing of the Week Winner for the second time!

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Wood Badge: Feedback is a Gift

    Last week, I wrote about Listening to Learn.  If listening is one side of a conversation, feedback is the other side.  At Wood Badge, I learned important points about giving feedback.
    • What are your motives for giving feedback?
    • Is the other person open to receiving feedback?
    • Deal only with behavior that can be changed.
    • Be specific - avoid generalities.
    • Describe - not evaluate- behavior.
    • Let them know he impact the behavior has on you.
    • Use "I" statements.
    • Ask them to rephrase what you said to make sure they understood what you are trying to say.
    I love this quote about feedback!  "You can give caring feedback without a good technique, but he slickest technique in the world will not hide a lack of caring."

    Thee are a few tips for receiving feedback too.
    • Seek out feedback.  It will help you.
    • Listen actively, rephrase what you heard.
    • Listen empathetically.  What is their purpose for offering feedback?
    • Notice how you are feeling.  Anger or defensiveness interferes with your ability to listen.
    When feedback is given and received with caring and consideration, it is truly a gift. This week I will ask for feedback and listen more effectively.

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Family Home Evening: The Sacrament

    Our lesson was on the Sacrament.  It was taken from the Faith in God book.  It seems we've had this lesson several times, but the repetition is important.  It's important to remember why we partake of the Sacrament and what behavior is appropriate during the Sacrament.  When we keep that in mind, keeping the Sabbath comes easier which helps the whole week.

    We had a rousing game of Spoons for our activity and delicious Lemon Bars for our treat!

    Here's my favorite Lemon Bar recipe:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 cup melted butter
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/3 cup lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 cup flour
    Mix  together 2 cups flour, powdered sugar, and melted butter.  Spread into a 9" x 13" pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

    Mix eggs, sugar, lemon juice, baking powder and 1/4 cup of flour.  Pour onto the baked shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for an additional 25 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired. 

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Saturday Sentament

    If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Favorite Feeds Friday

    I'm back with another amazing list of feeds!  (Sorry I missed last week, I was off doing the Wood Badge thing with no computer or time.)
    • I'm so excited to start decorating for Fall - OK, I'm excited for the temperatures to drop below the 100 degree mark!  Simply Creative Insanity has cute decorative candy corn balls.  How many minutes do you think it would be before my kids ate the candy and just left me with orange balls?
    • The One-Minute Writer has their Friday Fiction prompt up - and if you check out their daily winners, I'm on the list!
    • Owls are so popular!  I still get a bunch of people checking out my paper plate owls from last October! Check out these cute owl bags at Poca Cosas.
    • Shannon Hale shares her twin pregnancy experience.  I can relate, even if it brings back bad memories!
    • I love the whole bunting decoration thing (I just haven't actually made one yet).  Tatortots and Jello has a super cute candy corn bunting.  Did I mention I'm excited for Fall?
    • Fall decorations lead to Halloween traditions.  Monzanita shares our family tradition of the Boo!
    • What? You want a yummy Fall dessert?  These Sour Cream Apple Bars from Your Home Based Mom look delicious!
    • The best part of Fall is it leads to Christmas!  Check out the blog hop to these cool Christmas projects at Think Fast.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Wood Badge: Listening to Learn

    The first thing we learned about at Wood Badge was effective listening.  I don't think it was a coincidence that the foundation of leadership skills is based on effective listening.  Without effective listening, people can't connect, problems can't be solved and group decisions can't be made. 

    Effective listening has two parts, active listening and empathetic listening.  Through my Wood Badge coarse, I learned I'm a very empathetic listener.  Generally that is a good thing, but sometimes I'm so concerned about what others are going through, I decide its better if I do it all myself - even its really not better if I do it all myself!

    I especially liked the part about "Listening in Adversarial Situations" because these are the times I avoid.  The three tips are 
    1. Don't enable an adversarial speaker.
    2. Flip a negative to a positive.
    3. Strive to create a positive present instead of a negative past.
    Now that I'm armed with this great lesson on listening, it is time to practice it.  Its one thing to know, and a whole new ball of wax to do.  The doing is how we go beyond learning and make the skill part of our character!

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Lessons from Wood Badge

    I finished my Wood Badge coarse on Saturday.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Wood Badge is an advanced Boy Scout training coarse that focuses on team building, leadership and self assessment.  We learned about effective listening, then played games to practice what we learned.  That was the way the training went, the topic was explained and demonstrated before we practiced it on our own - usually in a fun way.

    As soon as I catch up with homework, housework and preparing for Cub Scouts; I'll share some of what I learned.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Family Home Evening: Divine Qualities

    This lesson was similar to another FHE lesson we did a few months ago.  This time we read "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", 2 Peter 1; Alma 7:23-24, and Doctrine and Covenants 121:45.  I enjoyed reading the qualities Heavenly Father wants us to have. Sometimes it is a little overwhelming, but this time I felt that my Heavenly Father has a lot of faith in me to become all of these great things.  

    For our activity we played a fun card game our other awesome neighbors gave us, called Do-Over.  I haven't seen it in a store and don't know how to describe it simply, but it's fast paced and a lot of fun.  

    We tried something new last week for Fast Sunday, everyone who bore their testimony had double treats with FHE.  Two of us bore our testimony in Sacrament Meeting, one in class and two of us in FHE.  We all enjoyed both of our Peanut Butter Cookies!

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Becoming Naomi Leon Book Club

    A new article about our Becoming Naomi Leon book club is up over at Arizona MamaThis book is by Pamela Munoz Ryan.  This book just screams book club, because there are so many great activities to associate with the meeting.  

    One of the comments I received on one of my posts at Arizona Mama was about how much fun a person would have with these kinds of activities, when her daughter was older.  I agree that the activities to do with older kids can be more interesting, but there are so many ways to incorporate a family book club with younger kids.  I centered activities with my preschool kids around a certain book.  I remember having teddy bear picnics, singing songs, making food and crafts that tied to a certain book.  We can teach children to love learning by showing them how inter-connected the different parts of our lives really are to the things that they consider interesting.

    One of my points with my writing is to give mom's ideas to build those fundamental values we all want our kids to have as part of their fabric.  There isn't one way to teach our children or raise our families.  The more resources and ideas we have, the more effective parents we can be for our children.

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Family Home Evening: Fasting

    Our lesson was on the importance of fasting with prayer - otherwise it's just going without food with no benefit.  If I'm going to miss a couple of meals, there needs to be a benefit.  When I start my fast with a prayer, I have a purpose in mind of what I'm fasting for.  Usually I fast for a clearer understanding of a principle or challenge.  I often pray for those around me who are struggling to find their way. Whatever my purpose in fasting, prayer is an essential ingredient.

    For our activity we played a few rounds of Harry Potter Uno, with slap and zero rules.  I think this version of Uno is even more fun than the original.
    The ever important treat was these delicious Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies and ice cream.

    Chocolate on my Cranium and other bloggers are focusing on the Family Proclamation.  It was released 15 years ago on September 15!  Time sure flies.  I've been touched by the stories and thoughts shared the last few days.  I encourage you to stop by and see for yourself.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Saturday Sentament: Judgement

    I started my Biology class this week. (It should be my last class to earn my AA degree.)  My instructor had this quote with the assignment.

    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. - Will Rogers

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Favorite Feeds Friday

    I'm back with a new list of some of my favorite recent posts.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

    • 24 Birthday Celebrations at 24/7 Moms
    • Raimi shares what can be done in just a few kid-free hours (including a super cute scrapbook layout) at If You're Happy & You Know It
    • Chocolate on my Cranium shares a guest post about how we women sometimes view ourselves as part of her Celebrating Family series.
    • Scribbit shows us a very interesting strawberry and shares some great gardening links.

    What blogs have caught your attention today?

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Cub Scouts: Waves of Fun Pack Meeting

    My new position in Cub Scouts left me in charge of this month's Pack Meeting.  Last year's water theme Pack Meeting involved water balloon games.  I heard some of the boys were disappointed with the lack of wetness.  With the 110 degree weather here, I wasn't interested in doing Pack Meeting outside.  It was a good call since there was a huge monsoon downpour during our Pack Meeting.  

    We went with a ship theme instead.  I pulled several ideas from Balloo's Bugle.  Our gathering activity was School of Fish.  One of our Wolf leaders taped the name of a fish (catfish, cod, etc.) on everyone's back - yes, parents too.

    After the Pledge and a prayer, we talked about the six ships of scouting - scholar-ship, fellow-ship, friend-ship, Workman-ship, sportsman-ship, and statesman-ship.  I also talked for a minute about the importance of parent involvement to the success of their son's Cub Scout program.

    We sung a very lively Shark Song.  I'm so glad I taught my Wolves the song while I was their Den leader!  I had them stand up with me to help teach it to the audience.  

    To receive their awards, the boys had to cross the shark infested waters.  Some of them really hammed it up and crossed them backwards!  Even though our den leaders would never fish for compliments, we thanked them with a bag of Red Swedish Fish and a roll of Lifesavers (do you know how hard it is to find a roll of Lifesavers these days?).  Our cheers were all fish / ocean related.  My favorite was the Jaws cheer.

    Our activity was our version of Balloo's Bugle's Crab Race (p. 66).  We divided the children up in two teams.  Four of them at a time would get inside a hula hoop and race to the table at the opposite end.  One of them would pick a paper out of the bowl and would have to do the Bobcat requirement they drew; the Cub Scout Salute, the Oath or the Promise, etc.  The first team to complete all seven requirements won bragging rights.  The children had fun and they had to work together to get everyone to from one end of the room to the other.  One of the teams tipped over and lost one of their team members.  They had to go back, get everyone back in the hula hoop before they could continue.

    We settled everyone down with one of my favorite stories about a starfish (p. 42 of Balloo's Bugle).  After our closing prayer, everyone picked up a bag of Goldfish crackers as they headed home.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    August Numbered

    Once again, here's this month's numbered installment!  July was a busy month, it included:

    1 - New blog feature - Favorite Feeds Friday
    2 - Books read - The Actor and the Housewife and Old Testament Student Manual, Part One
    3 - Den meetings
    5 - Wood badge goals - I'll tell you more about those soon
    7 - Articles for The Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama
    11 - Scrapbook pages completed!
    21 - Blog posts
    412 - Page visits to this blog


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