Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Aide Pack Meeting

The Cub Scout Character trait this month is compassion, so we focused our compassionate Pack Meeting on first responders.  Our gathering activity was one of my favorite games.  A different first aide kit item was placed in a dozen or so paper bags and stapled shut.  The kids had to guess the item from feeling it in the paper bag.  I used this game for baby showers and other parties.

The Webelos did a cute "police" skit.  It was last minute but turned out great.  It probably helped that one of their dads is a police officer.

For our main activity, we had three stations around the gym - one for 911, one for non-emergency police and one for parents.  Our Cubmaster read different scenarios and the kids ran to the appropriate station.  For example, if there is a fire they should call 911.  If they see a lost child, they should go to their parents.  We also talked about how sometimes there is more than one correct answer, usually when it comes to talking to your parents or the police in a non-emergency situation.  The kids had fun running around the gym, but it is important to not let the activity go on too long or they will still get bored.

We had compassionate heart shaped sugar cookies for refreshments.  That's my kind of edible reinforcement!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good Gossip

Gossip is evil; that's what we're taught, right?  But is it always a bad thing.  Last week I went to lunch with a group of friends and someone mentioned a lady we all know.  Her husband has been laid off more times in the last couple of years than anyone I know.  On the positive side, he's repeatedly found a new job. 

We gossiped about this family, mostly the wife, and it was all good.  We admired her determination to make the best of a bad situation and how generous she is with her time and resources.  Her husband is upbeat and makes finding a job his full time occupation.

It's true, I took part in gossiping and it felt good. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

General Conference Preparations

General Conference is this weekend!  I love General Conference and I love that my children love General Conference.  We make it a special weekend of traditions and food.  OK, most of our traditions center around food.  Since they are traditions, we will be writing in our journals and playing Conference Bingo.  I even found some new bingo sheets!

The only questions I really have is our breakfast menu.  I'm seriously thinking these Chocolate Muffins from Your Cup of Cake will be in the line up!  I will probably also make biscuits and chocolate gravy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Family Home Evening: Prayer

So the downside of letting the kiddos choose and plan their own lessons, is they sometimes get a little repetitive.  Even though we had a lesson on prayer just a couple of weeks ago, we learned about prayer again.  There were a ton of scriptures.  We read a scripture and learned something about prayer from it.
  • Psalm 5:3, 12 - Pray for guidance
  •  Psalms 105:4 - Pray for strength
  • Jeremiah 29:13 - Pray with all your heart
  • Mathew 7:11 - Prayers are answered "yes", "no", or "wait"
  • Mark 11:25 - Pray to forgive others
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17-23 - Pray without ceasing
  • James 1:5-6 - Pray for wisdom and courage
  • James 5:16 - Pray for others
  • 3 Nephi 13:5-8 - Pray in secret
  • 3 Nephi 13:15 - Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ
  • 3 Nephi 18:15-18 - Pray to avoid temptation
  • 3 Nephi 18:20 - Pray with faith to receive blessings
  • 3 Nephi 18:21 - Pray with the family
  • Moroni 6:5 - Pray and fast for the welfare of others
  • Moroni 10:4-5 - Pray for truth
  • Moroni 10:7 -Pray to know that God lives
  • D&C 59:7 - Pray to give thanks
  • D&C 88:63 - Pray to stay close to your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
  • D&C 112:10 - Pray with humility
There was also a crossword puzzle, but we worked on that while we enjoyed our brownies during treat.

Our activity was a fun new game called Don't Eat Pete.  Of coarse my kiddos would like it, they got to eat chocolate chips!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Spring Fever

"It's Spring Fever.  That's what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~ Mark Twain

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Favorites: March 25

Welcome to the last Friday of March!  We're gearing up for a busy April.  We have a couple of birthday parties, General Conference, Easter and the rest of life.  What do you have planned?

Here's a few things that I'm loving today:
  • Inkheart - We watched the movie with the kids last night.  I'd seen it before, but somehow didn't remember the title or that I now want to read the books.
  • Beautifully decorated Easter cookies - Somewhat Simple shared great directions with pictures so you could make them yourself.  I've been wanting to try the tricks mentioned earlier this week, but time got the best of me and I passed the job off to my kiddos.  The cookies came from a mix and frosted with store bought frosting; and they were yummy.  I'll try to develop my cookie decorating skills another time.
  • Cute cards - I've been meaning to spend an hour or so making cards and Pebbles and just the inspiration I'm looking for.
  • Cute boxes - While we're being crafty, I'd love to try Little Birdie Secrets ideas.  And it would make me use my Silhouette that I got for Christmas.
  • More about Multiple Intelligences - Last week I shared Chocolate on my Cranium's post on multiple intelligences. A few days later Amelia Maness-Gilliland talked about introverts and extroverts on Arizona Mama that tied right into the multiple intelligence post.  So I've been thinking quite a bit about how I and my children learn.  Today, Chocolate on my Cranium talks specifically about linguistic learners - which just happens to by my strongest area.
  • A Twist on Garlic Bread - Next time you serve spaghetti or some other wonderful Italian dish, why not try Parmesan Garlic Pull Apart Bread from Dinner Time Ideas?
  • Garden Experiment - My neighbor brought over a container and some lettuce seeds for us to try another "experiment", to see if I can grown anything edible.  The younger kids were out there helping prepare the container and plant the seeds.  We had tried a small compost bucket last fall and it worked great!  It turned our light brown soil to a deep, rich almost black that we mixed into the soil.  We also planted some carrot seeds we had on hand.  While we were in the backyard, our neighbor handed us some more containers over the wall and potato bulbs and green bean seeds.  Wish us luck in not killing all of these plants!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Buffet of Womanhood Myths


Be Superwoman - Do it ALL             Women Cannot be Scriptorians

Be SOMEONE - Work in a Career       

To be Beautiful you must be - skinny, pretty, fashionable

     Being a Homemaker is drudgery        Women are not equal to men         

Children are Oppressive - Limit how many you хаве
Chocolate on my Cranium listed the myths above as part of her Wordfull Wednesday.  I sometimes struggle with society's messages about how I should act or look and that I'm really not that valuable because I'm a woman without a paycheck.  For the most part I'm able to shake those messages.  But the one that really gets in my head is trying to do it all.  My goal isn't to be a superhero or do it all, but I want to be so much. I talked about being a wanna be as I looked toward the new year.  I know it's a weakness and I have to look at all I want to do, than look again to figure out what I really want to be when I'm choosing how to focus my efforts.

One of my former Relief Society presidents shared a story in one of her lessons about her family going to a buffet restaurant when she was a child.  She knew at the end of the buffet line there was the best macaroni and cheese ever.  As she proceeded down the line she saw many interesting foods and decided to try a spoonful of this and a spoonful of that.  By the time she reached the best macaroni and cheese ever, she barely had enough room on her plate for a spoonful of the cheesy deliciousness.

She told herself it was alright, she could always go back for seconds.  However, by the time she finished tasting all the new foods, there wasn't enough room in her little tummy for more of her favorite food.  And while she enjoyed trying something new and found other foods she liked, nothing was ever as good as the macaroni and cheese.

When I start to feel overwhelmed or frustrated with challenge of being all that I want to be, I think of that story and it helps me to make better choices about how I spend my time, energy and resources.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Picture Book Classics

There's been quite a bit of chatter over at Arizona Mama about some of our favorite kids books.  You know I had to get in on the action.  Narrowing my list down was harder than I thought!  Check out my list and see how it compares to your family's favorites and be sure to leave me a comment with the ones I forgot.  I'm sure there are a bunch!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Family Home Evening: Peace

Our lesson came from Elder Malm's Conference talk, "Rest Unto Your Souls".  This was a selfish lesson, because I needed peace in my heart.  Fortunately, we all had a good discussion about finding peace after learning, following Christ and being instruments in his hands.  Like most good things, achieving peace requires work and dedication because temptations are more likely to pop up than peace and contentment.  We choose to seek peace and put ourselves in places where we can find it.

We played a unique version of Pay Day where some of the bills were optional.  Where the game said, "High School dance - buy a $40 dress", we could choose to wear one we already have or buy a less expensive one.  We were encouraged to pay tithing and stay out of debt.  At the end our "winner" was based on righteous living and  we discussed what makes a successful life.

We enjoyed fudge for our treat.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Favorites: March 18

My last minute St. Patrick's Day activities were a success!  I spent about an hour playing with my kids and it made the whole day feel festive.  I even found some Hershey's Kisses in green wrappers and golden Twix bars tucked away in the freezer from Christmas to add to their snacks.

I've simplified "Favorite Feed Friday's" to "Friday Favorites"; easier to say and lets me include more of my faves!
  • For example, I am loving These Is My Words!  I checked it out from the library - and renewed it, but I didn't start reading it because I was finishing Eragon.  A friend told me how much she liked it so I rechecked it out and started it a couple of days ago.  I'm having a hard time putting it down.  There's a part of me that would rather be reading that than hang out on the computer!  Shocking, I know.
  • Traveling Oma confesses a less than stellar moment from 7th grade.  My dad gave me a watch one summer; I was probable 10 or 11.  Since I only saw my dad in the summers and we picked it out together, it was very special with its digital fanciness.  It even had a light!  One day I was bored and curious, truly a bad combination.  I took apart my watch to see how it worked.  After through research, I wasn't any closer to understanding how it worked.  I put the cover over the battery,  and to my dismay there was no time and no cool light.  I was so ashamed I hid in a drawer for a couple of years until I finally threw it away.  Every time I talked to my dad, I was worried he would ask me about our special watch.
  • Chocolate on my Cranium shares an interesting lesson in multiple intelligences and a link to find out yours or your kiddos.
  • Pumpkin Patterns shares a how to for a sweet pouch.  We've been thinking of doing something like this with M&M bags; this will help our idea work better.
  • I love the wreath idea from Family Chic.  I think it would be perfect for more than just Easter.
  • I don't have babies or crochet, but these hats from Little Birdie Secrets make me wish I did!  She even shares the patterns.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Quandry

I've been thinking about St. Patrick's day for a couple of weeks, trying to think of a way to make it fun for the kiddos.  None of the crafts have really grabbed me and I'm still wore out from all the cooking I did on Pi day.  So how does a wore out mom, who can't get into the spirit of the Irish, celebrate?

I am wearing my green duct tape bracelet.  Every year I'm surprised by how little green I have in my wardrobe!

DLTK shares a little about the holiday and a story about St. Patrick and the snakes.  I also found a word search, my kiddos usually like those.  Enchanted Learning has a fun challenge; find a green thing that starts with each letter of the alphabet.  They even have a sample answer sheet.  Family Fun has a physical challenge of letting go of the gold and a couple of fun Gaelic Games.

If I could have made my brain work sooner, we could have learned about Ireland or read more Artemis Fowl.  I think I'll issue a journal challenge - what would you do if you found a pot of gold?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ten Things My Kiddos Want To Do Over Spring Break

The weather is warming, the trees are blooming, the birds are chirping away - I hear them especially well each morning through my open bedroom window.  Spring must be hear, along with Spring Break season!  I love Spring Break; sleeping in and no carpools. One problem I have with Spring Break is my kiddos attitude that they are on vacation and thus entitled to two weeks of relaxation and laziness.  And some how it's my job to not only entertain and cook, but also to protect them from nasty things like work and responsibility.  That doesn't go over so well.

I'm all about sleeping in, for me that means until about 7:30.  And there are some vacation-like qualities, but there is still laundry to wash, meals to cook and many other mom chores that aren't going anywhere because my kiddos are out of school.  Needless to say, there are usually a few conflicts of my version of Spring Break and there's.  

I thought I'd play along with It's a Craft Life's fun Ten on Tuesday link party and share my kids version of Spring Break.
  1. Stay up until midnight every night of Spring Break.
  2. Sleep in until noon.  Which after staying up late makes perfect sense.
  3. No chores or homework.
  4. Hours of reading each day.
  5. Watch a different movie each day, preferably at the theater, with popcorn.
  6. Play dates / hanging out with friends. (It's the same thing, the name depends on the age group.)
  7. A trip to the library, mall, the bookstore and Costco.
  8. Computer games.
  9. Home cooked breakfasts and lunches, a break from cereal and sandwiches.
  10. Swimming.
All kidding aside, as much as they would like an ideal spring break, they are pretty good about helping out and making it a enjoyable time for the family, even mom.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day!

Today is Pi Day, 3.14 (March 14).  Not to be confused with Pie Day, the day before Thanksgiving that we make pies for the feast.  We are slightly nerdy at our house, but I don't like math enough to do equations as a celebration.  But if we're talking food, count me in!  

  • We started our Pi day celebration with Quiche for breakfast - it's baked in a pie shell so it totally counts.
  • For lunch some of us had a pot pie, nothing fancy just a little frozen one. 
  • Dinner we'll have a pizza pie.  OK, it's just a normal round pizza but it works.
  • Finally, we will finish off our day of food with a Frozen Lemon Pie, that I am now on my way to put in the freezer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Family Home Evening: Prayer

We started our lesson on prayer with a  couple of quotes from a couple of Prophets.

"The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries - we place our order and hang up.  We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another."  Gordon B. Hinkley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinkley
"If prayer is only a spasmodic cry at the time of crisis, then it is utterly selfish, and we come to think of God as a repairman or a service agency to help us only in our emergencies.  We should remember the Most High day and night - always- not only at times when all other assistance has failed and we desperately need help."  Howard W. Hunder, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter
I found these great quotes on page 95 of Preach My Gospel.  Next we went over the scale on the same page to evaluate our prayers.  It was a brief lesson with a challenge to look carefully at our prayers and see our strong points and those areas we could work to improve.  Chocolate on my Cranium shared similar ideas, but more in depth.

Our activity was a riveting game of Chutes and Ladders.  We even had time for a second round.  We shook things up and went up the slides and down the ladders.  Who says you can't be a little rebellious on a Sunday?

We finished up with Browned Butter Cookies for our treat.  My children like them so much they are willing to bake them so I don't have to, but I had to ask them not to make them too often or I will never make any progress on my weight loss goals!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Serenity

One of my favorite quotes, also known as "The Serenity Prayer":

God give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that can cannot be changed;
Courage to change the things that should be changed;
And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Friday, March 11, 2011

Favorite Feeds Friday: March 11

Happy Friday!  I hope you have something special planned for this lovely weekend.  We have a beautiful weather forecast with temperatures in the 80's.  Plenty of Saturday will find us outside.  Until then, here's some great feeds I found on my friendly Google Reader this morning.
  • Small Fry & Co. has an interesting series on re-purposing a tablecloth.  Today she featuring a lunch bag.
  • If you have preschoolers or kindergartners, Room Mom 101 has a cute color activity that would be great for St. Patrick's Day next week.
  • I thought Fritos in popcorn sounded a little weird at first, but I liked salt on my cookies - so why not try Your Homebased Mom's White Chocolate and Frito Popcorn?
  • I Heart Faces has a great lesson on utilizing natural light effectively indoors.
  • Little Birdie Secrets is hosting a giveaway for your choice of adorable handmade goodies from Crafty Pirate. On second thought, don't check that one out - it will increase the competition for my entry!
What's your favorite distraction this fine Friday?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Family History Fun

I've been trying to get one of my children to fill out a pedigree chart as part of the Faith in God program.  With all that writing, it did sound like homework.  All the information is on my computer; it could have been printed.  But I wanted a connection between the generations.  As soon as we started, another kiddo that had already done the activity asked to do it too. 

It was a lot of writing and they went to bed a little late because it took longer than I expected.  But it was so worth it, to me and them.  They learned things about their grandparents, the ones they know, they ones they don't and the ones they barely know.  

They learned about their great-grandparents.  All 16  were born within an eight year span, only one is still living.  And he is the second oldest of the group!  There was some confusion about the name the read on the computer and the people they know in real life.  Some of that confusion was cleared up by sorting out the divorces and remarriages, of course followed by a conversation about why people get divorced.

We enjoyed following a couple of the lines back as far as we could and seeing ancestors born in the 1500's.  Last night we focused on names, dates and places but I often share the stories I know.  I wish I had more stories to share.  It was nice to see why I need to keep writing down the ones I do know.

The best part of the night was their answer to my bedtime question, "What was your favorite thing about today?"  They both answer working on family history!  I know it's important to involve our children in family history, I struggle with how.  Maybe it's not that hard.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Deception of Perception

I went back to the scene of my accident for the first time a couple of weeks ago and relearned a lesson on perception.  My memories of what went on during the accident are very clear, I remember being distracted by a freeway sign and wondered if I was going the right way.  When my tire went off the road I remember how steep it was off the side of the road.  

When I drove there again, there were a few elements that measured up to my memory, like the freeway sign and the long exit ramp.  But other details were disturbingly different, mostly the lack of steepness off the road.  While it is unsettling, I am reminded of things aren't always as they appear. 

I remember how overwhelming life was after my first baby, but looking back at what I was actually accomplishing back then seems so small compared to all that is required of me now.  My capacity for empathy has increased once again, by seeing my skewed perception and how quickly it can change.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Family Home Evening: Fasting

We started our lesson on fasting by discussing how when we sacrifice our physical needs, our spirits become more humble, teachable and open to the Lord's spirit.  It shows Heavenly Father that we are willing to be obedient and serve him, even when it's hard or uncomfortable.  We discussed how we should fast; focusing on a purpose and beginning and ending with prayer.  Our family was challenged to complete experience six from integrity of the Young Women Personal Progress.

We played Harry Potter Uno for our activity, which made me laugh since the child who was in charge of the activity asked everyone if they preferred to play "Would You Rather" or Phase 10.

Our treat was Peanut Butter Biscotti and hot cocoa.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Gratitude

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~ Epictetus

If you live in Arizona and are looking for some good clean fun for a date night or family activity, check out my post on Arizona Mama for one of my favorite spots!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Favorite Feeds Friday: March 4

Happy March!  That means Spring's here, right?  We are definitely enjoying our few days of 80 degree weather.  I guess that means I should take down the Valentines decorations and move on to St. Patrick's Day. Or I could spend my time surfing the web and share my finds with you!
  • Today is National Grammar Day!  Who knew?  Grammar Girl has several ways to celebrate.
  • Booking Mama interviews Pamela Schoenewaldt author of When We Were Strangers. I love the insight on her research and dedication.
  • I enjoyed Amelia Maness-Gilliland's article on Arizona Mama on experiential learning, the process of evaluating lessons learned from small events in our lives and using that knowledge to make better choices next time.
  • Little Birdie Secrets is hosting a giveaway for some super cute buttons.
  • Poca Cosa shares a free St. Paddy's Day printable.
  • If you are looking for some scrapbook inspiration, be sure to check out Pebbles, Inc.
What caught your attention today on the World Wide Web?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Simple Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet

My Cubmaster and I wanted a few specific things to happen at our Pack's Blue and Gold Banquet.  We wanted it to be a little fancy; 8 - 11 year old boys can't handle too fancy, but fancier than your average pizza party.  We also wanted it simple and only slightly longer than a regular pack meeting.  And we wanted to celebrate the boys accomplishments and show our appreciation for our den leaders.

I was happy with the results.  The decorations were simple, white table cloths with smaller blue and yellow toppers. We had three cut out paper Cub Scouts on each table.  We incorporated this month's theme "resourcefulness"  into our decorations by using what we had on hand and discussed ways the boys could be resourceful in our opening and in the Cubmaster's minute.  

After our opening, we served a spaghetti dinner.  I was worried about cooking the noodles ahead of time and having them stay warm.  We tossed the pasta with olive oil and kept them in the pan with the lid on and they weren't too bad.  The sauce stayed hot in crock pots and that helped warm up the noodles.  Families helped by bringing garlic bread, salads and desserts.  We even did pretty good on guessing how much food to buy.  The only thing we ran out of was forks!  During dinner, we had a slide show running of pictures from our Pack's previous Den and Pack meetings.

As people finished eating, we had our Wolves and Bears each do a skit.  We had a great night for awards; four boys earned their Bobcat, one earned his Wolf, and two earned their Bear.  We also had a few other awards.  Our Primary Presidency awarded all the leaders candy kabobs to thank them for "sticking to it". 

We finished off the night by bringing out the desserts and letting the families have a few minutes to social before we started cleaning up.  From start to the end of clean up was about two hours.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Numbered

Two months down and only ten left of 2011!  I love recapping my month so I can focus on what I've been so busy doing.

.8 pounds lost.  Again, not a big loss but it's much better than the 3 pounds I gained last February.  Even better is the inch I loss of my hips!
2 books read.  Eat, Pray, Love and Defined by Christ.
5 Personal Ancestral File (PAF) names verified.
6 articles written for the Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama.
7 Cub Scouts received advancement awards at the Blue & Gold Banquet.
10 scrapbook layouts finished!
15 Valentines muffins enjoyed.
21 challenge projects crossed off. I'm a little saner than trying to get all 28 done, and I still did quite a few.
24 blog posts.
895 page views!

How did your February go? Please share so I can live vicariously through you.


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