Monday, December 14, 2009

How to help little ones contribute to their home and family:

Well, there are a lot of ways. I just wanted to share one.

I thought it was really cute. It's a pdf and you can type in the information you want to add. That means you get to decide what chores you want to and if you want to start your week on Monday or Sunday. I stuck the two that I made into an 8.5x11 frame (diploma frame) and I use a dry erase marker to update the dates and check off chores. For now they are excited about it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The fall and rising again

This Thanksgiving gave me a lot to think about. My sister lost a friend over the holiday, and his story is so familiar - until the end. He served an LDS mission, met his wife at BYU. After graduation they headed off to Medical school and had a baby. Now in his second year of medical school, they went back to Utah to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and surprise his parents with news of a pregnancy. He went spelunking in Nutty Putty caves with a few friends and brothers. He got stuck in a tight spot -- he knew what he was doing, he'd been caving before. But he died.

I don't know John and Emily Jones personally. But the familiarity of his story makes my heart ache. I've even been in those caves with my own brother.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has written of tragedies in the midst of celebrations. He recalls how Joseph and Mary took the baby Jesus to the temple to pay their offering of redemption - two turtledoves. There in the temple, old Simeon met the infant Messiah and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of thy people Israel.... Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel." (Luke 2:29-34)

Elder Holland explains, "You can't separate Bethlehem from Gethsemane or the hasty flight into Egypt from the slow journey to the summit of Calvary. It's of one piece. It is a single plan. It considers 'the fall and rising again of many in Israel,' but always in that order. Christmas is joyful not because it is a season or decade or lifetime without pain and privation, but precisely because life does hold those moments for us. And that baby [God's] own beloved and Only Begotten Son in the flesh, born 'away in a manger, [with] no crib for his bed,' makes all the difference in the world, all the difference in time and eternity, all the difference everywhere, worlds without number, a lot father than [our] eyes can see."

"...In this life no one can have real love without eventually dealing with real loss, and we certainly can't rejoice over one's birth and joy of living unless we are prepared to understand and accommodate and accept with some grace the inevitability--including the untimeliness--of difficulty and trouble and death. These are God's gifts to us--birth and life and death and salvation, the whole divine experience in all its richness and complexity." (from Shepherds, Why This Jubilee by Jeffrey R. Holland, pg. 68-76)
How grateful I am for our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life. Believing in Him means we can live again and never die. I sing with heart and soul: Joy to the world -- the Lord is come.
The Jones family has established a few ways for those who can to donate to Emily Jones and her children.
If you would like to contribute, donations can be made to:
The John & Emily Jones Memorial Fund (Utah Community Credit Union and Wells Fargo)
The Emily Jones Children Donations (Zions National Bank)
For those of you not able to go to these places, you can donate online
Stephanie over at A Daily Scoop is also hosting an auction. She doesn't know the Jones family personally, but wanted to do what she could to help out. There will be daily auctions, and she gives instructions on how to bid (check out the first auction here). If you would like to contribute an item to be auctioned off, you can e-mail her (

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Things as they really are...

Our Stake President and Bishop asked that they teach on this in Sunday School on the 5th Sunday in November. They simply showed the video, which I thought was very powerful. After seeing it we immediately deleted the one violent game on our iphones. And we are going to print it out and work on other things that come to mind. There will probably be something in here that prompts you to make a simple but necessary change. Just click on this link to see it. Make sure you choose the one that says, Elder Bednar May 2009 and it's titled "Things As They Really Are". Sometimes we just need a clear picture of 'the way' we should go and the promptings of the Spirit to let us know personally that it is the right way. I am grateful we have the opportunity to follow the advice of our Apostles and I know we will be protected if we do.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Blessings of Home Production and Canning

As I pulled up my potatoes and onions yesterday, this quote kept coming to my mind.
And I felt so strongly about it, I knew I had to share it.

“An almost forgotten means of economic self-reliance is the home production of food. We are too accustomed to going to stores and purchasing what we need. By producing some of our food we reduce, to a great extent, the impact of inflation on our money. More importantly, we learn how to produce our own food and involve all family members in a beneficial project.” Ezra Taft Benson said this in the 70's sometime (Our Community Garden, Ensign June 2009)
Having a garden is new to me. I grew up in a US Army household and we moved often. I started last year. So if I can do this with absolutely no previous experience, then you can do it to. It was a mess because our yard was not in yet and dirt, no, MUD was everywhere as we worked on our sprinkler system. This year has been wonderful by comparison as I've walked across the grass to get to my garden. I grew a whole list of things that were new to me this year. I've learned a lot and asked a lot of questions. I am really grateful for good neighbors who are able to answer those questions. Having had cancer and now having a lot of food allergies it is important to me what goes on my plants because they are going to store it. Of course some of the green beans went to waste because I ended up with pneumonia the end of July beginning of August. I started a compost pile - so I really didn't waste much. I know more about what is going into my body. We eat more veggies because when they are ready, we better be too.

I've gained so much by having my own garden this year. I've had wonderful experiences talking with my children out there and teaching them how to work. I've had great therapy tearing out weeds the week I went in for my first 6 month post cancer treatment check-up.

Anyway, back to the quote. If you think about this - he is so right. Just think about how much an onion costs in the middle of the winter. 1 onion is about $1. And they are about the easiest thing to grow and store. I planted 40 yellow onions and 20 red onions. I'll be planting more next year. Salsa needs a lot of onions. And look at how inexpensive tomatoes are during peak season. Tired of canning tomatoes? Just core them and through them in a freezer bag. puree them later for sauces.

Oh and I learned to can. I canned 2 boxes of peaches and I also canned salsa.

Now I just need to get my garlic planted!

In fact, I better go check the vegetable beef soup that is in the crock pot right now.

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

I definitely feel more at peace since the time I decided to follow the prophets counsel to have a garden. This is one of those things we can do whether its one 4x4 grow box or 1/2 an acre. Having a garden has blessed my family.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

{Alphabet Ideas}

 I am not going to post every thing that we are doing for our Alphabet Summer, but here are a few thing we have done.  This might spark some ideas for you.

We kept the letter I just the same.  It is one of my kids favorites, so we did nothing different.  Here is a peak at the fun day we had:

Indoor Smores Smores

Indoor Smores, and Indoor Campout

I tried to let Isaac sleep with the kids, but that didn't work so well.  So after 1 1/2 hours of fighting with him, he went back to his crib.  How will I ever move him to a big boy bed?  That step is right around the corner.  I have a feeling I am in for sleepless nights, and struggles at nap time.

Indoor Campout copy

Tent 2  ...and for the letter P.... 

We Painted Pottery. 


We went to this neat little store.  The kids got to pick out something to paint, their color choice, and then paint it however they choose.  We left it there for about it week while they fired it.  Then... we gave them to Dad for Father's Day.  He loved it.

I hope this helps you find ways to incorporate learning into your summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Preparedness Blog

My mother in law sent me a link to this prepardeness blog a couple of months ago. I subscribe to the feed and read all the updates. The other day I ran across an entry that made me motivated in the food storage department all over again. I am pretty prepared, but there is always more that I can do. I felt myself hitting a wall with it all and not knowing what direction to go next. Sometimes I feel like I can't rotate the food fast enough, or since I've been pregnant, I've been so dang lazy that I "forget" to rotate all together. Other times I find myself staring at it all wondering how I'm going to get creative enough to come up with meals my family will eat. Am I the only one who has those sort of problems??? So, you have to check out this blog. It's called Prepared LDS Family. Subscribe to get the updates. You never know when you might run into some really helpful information. Here is the post that helped me with 90 menu ideas and kept me moving in the right direction. Remember, every little bit we do helps in the long run. Just take it a little step at a time, but stick with it and you'll see the rewards!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Articles of Faith Candy (not candy bar) Wrapper

I wanted to share the Candy wrapper (notice this is not a candy bar wrapper - it's for things like Gobstoppers, Runts, Nerds, etc) I made for the children in our ward who memorize The Articles of Faith.

So feel free to print, cut, wrap, and glue them to your own candy boxes. If you share this - please give credit where it is due. Fonts are Autumn Leaves HairBrained, Arial, and Arial Black. It is 5.85 x 10 inches and I used Adobe photoshop and Illustrator to design it.

We want to help the children in our ward memorize all 13 and they can earn a box of candy once a year when they pass them off. We are trying to have the children do this without competing with each other. Pass them off without other children around probably. But we want to give them an incentive. We have a struggling ward with wonderful people in it who just need a little boost. Life is, well, life.

Here is my example:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer is in Full Swing...

First I have to apologize for my lack of blogging here, but you should know that I have hardly blogged on my own.  I am almost 19 weeks pregnant, so..... well that explains it!!

It is official!! Today starts the first day of Summer

at the Swenson house.  I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT!!


I spent the majority of last week getting prepared for our summer festivities.  If you know me, you already know that I like to be prepared. 

The kids started asking me in February if we were going to do "Alphabet Summer" this year?  I replied, "Yes"; knowing full well that I had some preparation to do.

Last week, I organized all of our Art Stuff.  I made sure that each of the kids had their own basket. Each basket has a pad of paper, stickers, glue, scissors, markers, crayons.  I cleared off a spot in our pantry so it is easily assessable.  Well, it is easy for the older two to access.  I don't need the little guy coloring on my walls.  Isaac's basket is more age appropriate, and I get it up and down for him.  So far, they have followed the rules by using their own stuff, and putting it away when they are done.  I knew that would give them one project to entertain them for 15 minutes.  It actually entertains Isaac the longest.  That boy loves stickers.  (Pictures are to come... I am getting my new camera today!!  YEAH!!!)

I also organized our bookshelves, so that their books are put in places that they can find them.  Because all 3 of the kids are on different reading levels I made sure that they could find a book appropriate for them.  We will spend time reading** every day this summer. 

**Jex is already on a 2nd grade reading level.  I hope he continues.  Stella is well on her way to learn.  I hope mom can find some time to read as well.  As for Isaac, he loves to be read too.  It is most certainly his favorite time of day.

I also rearranged our breakfast nook. It is certainly not up to my design standards, but it works for our kids.  I added a table for them, and a desk so they can get to whatever they may need to get out their creativity. ( I promise I will share pictures soon.)

I also planned plenty of outdoor activities:

Sports Equipment Organized

Pool and Slip n Slide purchased

Bikes and Helmets ready

I then attacked the activities that we would do outside of our home:

Golf Camp

Swimming Lessons

Pool Pass

Season Passes to local Theme Park and Water Park

Season Passes to the Zoo

Then it was time for the summer schedule:  (here is an idea of what we will do)

Morning:  Wake Up, Breakfast, Morning Chores, Get Dressed, Free Play and outdoor activities(this gives me time to exercise, clean the house, and get myself ready)

Afternoon:  Lunch, 15 minute Reading time, Activity Time(Alphabet Summer or Science), Rest time or Movie time, Free Play

Evening:  Dinner, Clean up for the evening, Play outdoors or Family Walk, Baths and Bed.

MWF: Alphabet Summer Days, or Science Project

Tuesday: Library and Park-Playdate Day

Thursday: Outing Day (theme park, zoo, or pool)

The kids are also well aware that I clean on Monday mornings.  They are responsible to help with chores, and be patient until bathrooms are clean and floors are vacuumed and moped.

Okay, I know you all must be thinking to yourself... this is one structured lady.  BUT.... Believe me when I say that my kids really do better when we have a plan and they know what to expect.  It makes our summer go by so beautifully. 

Of course I throw in a day when we just mix it all up and do none of those things, but for the most part my kids love every second of it.  I also love spending time with them.  It goes so quickly.  This school year made me realize how fast it really does go.  Especially when your kids are in school for the majority of their time.  I am happy to fill up our days doing fun, creative things together.  I have also found it causes less fights and commotion.Summertime

(This was our pet for the day last week.) 

We found him in our back yard... such a summer thing. 

To quote a line from my favorite children's book...

"All the places to Love

by Patricia Maclachlan,

"Where else, does an old turtle crossing the path make all the difference in the world?"

So... What are you doing this summer? 

Do you plan a summer schedule? 

Are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of gal? 

However you plan to spend your summer...


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Eternal Family - Primary Theme

This year I was blessed to be called as the Secretary in the Primary. I am really enjoying it, to my surprise. I spent a few terrible months in a few out of control and extremely large nursery classes about 8 or 9 years ago. Although Junior Primary is spent participating in crowd control, it's still a fun environment. I love the women I am serving with. The stake has made it clear that they do not want any competition whatsoever. I can see why. The CTR 7's and 8's are really quiet and would get to go to class first, every single Sunday. They've been in school a couple of years and are better at self mastery. So as a Presidency, we wanted a sign for each class, then we could mix them up and excuse them quietly using the signs. I couldn't find anything at the distribution center that was the right size so I used a photo of our own. If you want them, here they are. They are 8x10s. Just print them in color on a glossy paper, trim, and adhere to 8.5x11 cardstock. Then have them laminated. They'll last you all year. The photo is by Tyler Vanderbeek - so if you share these, give credit please!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

A Child of Royal Birth!

I am a child of royal birth;
My Father is king of heaven and earth.
My spirit was born in the courts on high.
A child beloved, a princess am I.

I was nurtured there; I lived by His side
In a home where patience and love abide.
My Mother was there in that glorious place,
Blessing her children with queenly grace.

I grew to the stature that spirits grow;
I gained the knowledge I needed to know.
I was taught the truth and I knew the plan
That God and Christ laid out for man.

I was there when the stars of the morning sang.
My voice was heard when the heavens rang.
I was there to rejoice, to praise, and applaud
And I shouted for joy with the sons of God.

I waited my turn to came to earth.
Through the wonderful channel of human birth.
The curtains were closed and the past was gone.
On the future too, the curtains were drawn.

I came to earth and God willed it so-
With freedom to choose the path I should go.
I must search for the truth; I must serve and obey.
I must walk by faith or fall by the way.

Someday, I will go back; I will answer the call.
I'll return with my record to the Father of all.
The books will be opened and so will my heart,
And there will be rejoicing if I've done my part.

My Father the King with his infinite love
Will welcome me back to the mansions above.
The curtains will part, and eternity
In its light and glory will open to me.

This is one of my favorite poems written by Anna Johnson. The opening stanza is just so empowering to me. We had a great lesson Sunday in Relief Society about our Divine Nature and what it means to be a daughter of God. It was wonderful, and a lesson I needed to hear again as a reminder I guess because Saturday, on our way home from Missouri, I started thinking of what that means (not knowing it was what our lesson was on the next day). And I started singing songs from when I was a youth. The YW Camp song.."Walk Tall, You're A Daughter of God" and others. My husband asked me what I was doing and I told him I was singing to our daughter!

It's an amazing feeling and choice blessing to know that I will be raising..not only this daughter, but our son and other children to come as well. What an amazing blessing, and gift, and privilege it is to be a mother. I feel so blessed for this responsibility, and am so thankful I am able to be a Mother. And even more thankful that Heavenly Father has blessed us in such a way that has given me the opportunity to stay home and take care of my little family full time. I am really enjoying this pregnancy. Not having to work this time-a-round has given me more opportunities to sit and relax and enjoy the little movements inside.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


If you have a toddler, you need sidewalk chalk. The two go hand in hand, like diapers and newborns. Really, you can't have one without the other.

Or, better said, you really shouldn't have one without the other.


This is sidewalk chalk. It promises hours of entertainment and learning. It won't disappoint.


After careful consideration, Hannah selects just the right color to kick off the "chalking" fun.

This is how I get her to practice her penmanship. It's lots of fun. See?


This is her favorite letter. Obviously, "H" is for "Hannah." But don't be too impressed just yet, this is the only letter she writes.



"Hop Scotch" is also a must when "chalking." This is her new favorite game. It's right up there with hide and seek, running around the house screaming, and watching "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."


She loves it so much, she talks about "Hop Scotch" almost as much as she talks about "Dora The Explore-Her."

So you know it's a lot.


And look, if you have a dog, (preferably a stinker-dog, but any dog will do the trick) they too will be completely entertained by this invigorating activity.


No promises on the baby though. I think Dallin wanted to drill a hole in his head . . . being strapped in the stroller, bored out of his brains.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Finding Joy

“This is our one and only chance at life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.” - Thomas S. Monson

Friday, May 8, 2009

Barren Awareness Day

Have you ever been single on Valentine's Day?

Think hard. Back to the days before you met your spouse, or significant other. (Some of you may be very lucky, and the only time you didn't have a Valentine was in Junior High, but the rest of us . . . well . . . I'm sure there were a few years without a Valentine . . . )

Do you remember how you felt? Seeing your friends blissfully in love, opening thoughtful gifts, reading gushy love letters and eating chocolate?

Valentine's day to the unattached person is known as "Single Awareness Day."

This Sunday is Mother's Day. For years, (and I mean years) I met this day with sadness and anger. For many, Mother's Day is a day you recognize your mother, or you are recognized as a mother. As a mother, you find joy in your children, and realize the only reason you have children is because you are a mother.

See, everything goes hand in hand.

For many women, this Sunday, Mother's Day, is a reminder that their oven is empty. To the childless woman, Mother's Day is known as "Barren Awareness Day."

I always dreaded going to church on Mother's Day. 364 days a year, no one notices that you come to church without children. On Mother's Day, it's like you arrive with a blinking neon sign that says "I'm not really a mother. But recognize me because I'm married."


Actually, what I really wanted my invisible neon sign to say is, "Please don't recognize me. It's GLARINGLY obvious I don't fit in. Thanks."

So year, after year, after year, after year, after year, after year, after year, after year, (yes, there were eight years of this awkwardness) I would arrive to church with a smile on my face, hiding the pain that cut so deeply.

I wanted to be a mother.

Did the Lord think I was unfit?

Why, then, was I not blessed with children?

I will never know the answers to these questions.

But, I do know this Sunday will mark the third anniversary of my mommyhood and absence of that obnoxious blinking neon sign.

Thank goodness for that.

Where am I going with this?

I'm not really sure.

If you're a mother, cherish your children and be grateful you have them.

If you're not a mother (yet) and you long to be one, channel your energy into loving your own mom. Your time will come. It may not be in this lifetime, but it will come.

If you know someone who is struggling to have children, be extra sensitive to them. Especially on Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gospel Art Books and GC Packet

Have you seen the Church's NEW Gospel Art BOOKS?? They are AWESOME! Go to and scroll down a little and you can watch the video! They are only $3 each unless you buy 20 or more, then they turn out to be only $1.50 each! You can get a group of your friends together and order them together! They are great for Primary Lessons, FHE, Quiet Books during Sacrament Meeting, Birthday/Christmas Presents...! You name it! Hope you find them as wonderful as I did!!

Here is a General Conference Packet for the kiddos too! Looks like fun!

I Get It

Warning: This is not an announcement, because there is nothing to announce. I am only noting an observation.

Phew! Now we have the disclaimer out of the way clearing up a topic I haven't even mentioned yet . . .

I know why people do it. You know, get pregnant while their baby is still,-- well, a baby.

Don't judge (never mind that what I'm about to explain is me judging others . . .), but I used to be pretty opinionated about motherhood, and when to have children, how many you should have and how far apart they should be spaced.

I'm not going to mince words here, I used to think that mothers who had children 18 months in age or closer were whacked out of their minds. Whether those childbirths were accidental or intentional, no one, and I mean no one, in their right mind would want children so close in age. I don't care how sleep deprived you are, logical people just don't think like that.

Then, I became a mother.

After several blissful months of caring for and loving the most easy-going baby sent to earth, I was hooked. I need another one. Right. A. Way.

I was addicted to my baby.

I needed another fix.

It was bitter sweet to see her grow and develop so quickly.

Why can't they be frozen in their cute little bodies?

Worried that the second time around getting pregnant would take another nine years (yes, it took almost nine years for us to get our first), we decided on baby number two much sooner than we would have had we known my body would get pregnant easily.

Both shocked and excited with pregnancy number two, we were well on our way to becoming the ideal American family of four.

Four is good. It's an even number. All basic dinner tables have seating for four. The average American home has three bedrooms, (ideal for a couple and two children). If you ever win a trip somewhere, almost always, the prize is for a family of four.

So why would I consider making our family an odd number?

Maybe it's because my eight month old baby always smells like bubble gum. Maybe it's because his cheeks are so soft and kissable. It could be because he just sprouted his first tooth after waking up so happy with adorable bed head.

I'm not sure, but something is pulling at me saying, "You need another one. He is developing so fast (my son is only eight months old . . .), YOU NEED ANOTHER FIX."

So I get it now. It's like you don't have a choice. You just start listening to the voices in your heart and go for it.

Like I said before, this is not an announcement in any way, shape, or form (don't even read through the lines). All I'm saying, is that my new-open-minded-non-judgmental-self GETS IT.

You want to have seven children all spaced 11 months apart?

I won't judge.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Digital Scrapbook characters

Like so many others this year, my friend Jon lost his job. With 5 kids, a wife, and a mother in law to take care of, his savings is dwindling quickly while he looks for more employment. Jon is an amazing artist. For years his work graced the windows of many Cache Valley business. So if you absolutely love these Chubby Animals, then please help Jon and his family by spending the $3 to purchase these character. (I told him I'd love to see Zoo Animals too - so we'll keep you posted)
Just click here to go to We Are Storytellers to see them!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wiping Snotty Noses Really Does Matter

I've been having one of those days. You know the kind. The days when you do a lot of stuff (or so it seems) but you have nothing to show for all your hard work when the day is over?

My kids are great sleepers. This I can't complain about. I know many women would LOVE to have their kids take scheduled naps. Or heck, any nap, for any length of time. I only feel a tiny bit guilty requesting one thing of my little Dallin and Hannah . . .

Would it be possible to take your naps at the same time?


I spend all day like this: (after every second item you can insert, wipe snotty noses and change poopie diapers)

Get up.

Dallin is awake.

But only for one hour.

Feed him.

Put him back to bed for an hour.

Then Hannah wakes up.

She starts talking the second her eyes open.

Get her dressed.

Feed her.

Take Paris out.

Feed her too.

Check email.

Dallin is now awake from his first morning nap.

Hannah and Dallin play while I start laundry.

Dallin is tired again.

Listening to Hannah talk all morning is tiring.

He goes down for a second morning nap.

Hannah is still talking.

And playing.

And rearranging the chairs in the kitchen.

Making a fort.

Dallin wakes up again.

They both eat lunch.

Hannah goes down for a long nap.

Dallin is up for the long haul.

He is busy.


Always finding something to get into.

He get's stuck standing in precarious spots.

I am tired.

Maybe I should get ready for the day.

Or at least brush my teeth.

Maybe I should wash my face too.

Hannah wakes up.

Dallin is ready for nap number three.

Hannah makes more forts.

She plays with all my kitchen utensils.

Dallin wakes up again.

Just in time for dinner.

Dave may or may not be home. (He works a light 70 hours a week at the hospital.)

The kids have one hour together before they both go to bed for the night.

And then the house is silent and I kind of want go into their rooms and kiss them.

Because I miss them.

I'm not making any sense.

But this did make sense when I explained it to my sister. You see, when I have a problem, complaint, exciting news, or nothing to talk about at all, I call my sister Jenn. We actually chat on the phone old school style. (Rarely do we email each other even though email is the preferred way I chat with others.)

We can chat for hours.

David, Hannah, and my mother-in-law can attest to this.

Where was I? Where am I going with this?

Oh yeah, I was, in essence, complaining about not having any personal time. No "Emily time." No time to think to myself, do something for myself, or heck, enjoy an afternoon nap with the kids. (See, wouldn't that be nice? All three of us sleeping at once?)

So, as I was describing my daily routine to Jenn, she told me a about a quote she has on her fridge by General Authority N. Eldon Tanner. ( He was from before my time.) She looks at it every day.

A mother has far greater influence on her children than anyone else, and she must realize that every word she speaks, every act, every response, her attitude, even her appearance and manner of dress affect the lives of her children and the whole family. It is while the child is in the home that he gains from his mother the contribution he will make to society."

The phrases "every response" and "her attitude" have stood out to me loud and clear the last few days. This quote has made me think about my response to my kitchen being a big fort all day, and being happy about it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Free Digital Recipe Card Download from CottageArts

I really hate to put anything above that beautiful video! But you need to check out these free recipe cards available at - and if you haven't signed up for the newsletter - seriously, what are you waiting for. It's filled with great ideas, the latest products, and freebies! Designer Trish even used my pre-made page template from the Life's Journey album I designed with Michelle as the background. Super cute! See it on the CottageArts blog with a quick click to download the freebie!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Don't you love this talk?! A friend posted this video on her blog, and I just sat there and cried for joy. I had been grumpy 
all morning, but it never fails -- when I feel the Spirit, I become just a little bit better. Here's to being a little bit better!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Preach My Gospel FHE Lesson - How sweet is repentance!

imageI am working now to update the archive of our FHE lessons on Preach My Gospel. Visit the post here to access the ones that are done.


Tonight's lesson will be on Preach My Gospel Lesson 3, Heading 3  "Repentance."


This lesson uses the beautiful, powerful story from the Book of Mormon about the Lamanites who repented and buried their weapons. I love this story!

It also teaches about the bitter feelings of remorse and guilt we have when imagewe sin, using chocolate (unsweetened and regular) to help your family compare those feelings to the sweet, peaceful feelings of being forgiven.

How everlastingly grateful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ! How overwhelmingly amazed I am that He would choose to feel those bitter, awful pangs of sin so that I can repent! I know He did this because He loves us. He is our Redeemer and our Savior.

Preparing this lesson was a joy and a reminder to me to repent more often. It is already paid for, and infinitely worth it!


Link to Lesson 3 Heading 3 pdf  ~ "Sweet Repentance"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Preach My Gospel FHE Lessons Archive

imageupdate 4/9/13: Because Scribd is making life difficult now, I have uploaded all of these to google docs as pdf's, and have changed the links accordingly. Hopefully google stuff will always be free. . . :)

I thought it would be helpful to gather all of these into one post, especially since I haven't managed to be regular about posting them!

-- Here's a link to my original post about why we started using these for FHE lessons and my feelings about using Preach My Gospel to teach my children. --

I will update this post with the new links whenever I post a new lesson. We have a bunch more done, just not uploaded and linked yet. Here's what we have so far. . . .

Note: We take turns preparing the lessons for Family Home Evening, so there is a wide variety in lesson style for these! If it's one I prepared it tends to be more elaborate. If it's one my 10-year-old son prepared, it tends to be very simple. :)

 Preach My Gospel
Lesson 1 - The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Heading 1 "God is Our Loving Heavenly Father"
Heading 2 "The Gospel Blesses Families"
Heading 3 "Heavenly Father Reveals His Gospel in Every Dispensation"
Heading 4 "The Savior's Earthly Ministry"
Heading 5 "The Great Apostasy"
Heading 6 "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith"
Heading 7 "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ"
Heading 8 "Pray to Know the Truth through the Holy Ghost"

Lesson 2 - The Plan of Salvation
Heading 1 "Pre-Earth Life: God's Purpose and Plan for Us"
Heading 2 "The Creation"
Heading 3 "Agency and the Fall of Adam and Eve"
Heading 4 "Our Life on Earth"
Heading 5 "The Atonement"
Heading 6 "The Spirit World"
Heading 7 "The Resurrection, Judgment, and Immortality"
Heading 8 "Kingdoms of Glory"

Lesson 3 - The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Heading 1 "Through Christ We Can Be Cleansed From Sin"
Heading 2 "Faith in Jesus Christ"
Heading 3 "Repentance"
Heading 4 "Baptism, Our First Covenant"
Heading 5 "The Gift of the Holy Ghost"
Heading 6 "Endure to the End"

Lesson 4 - The Commandments

Part 1 "Obedience"
Part 2 "Pray Often"
Part 3 "Study the Scriptures"
Part 4 "Keep the Sabbath Day Holy"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

thinking back...

It was 25 years ago today that I was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, in sacrament meeting by my father. The day before, I stepped into the font in the Cardenas Ward building in Panama (the country) and was baptized by my father. It had been about 10 years since he had joined the church, so it was full circle for him. I remember how cold the water was and that we forgot my towel. My mom made me a beautiful white dress to wear that day but I had to wear one of those white jump suits for the actual baptism. I remember the warm feeling inside, feeling loved by my Heavenly Father. I know deep within that I made the right decision to be baptized then. I can't believe it's been 25 years. 25 more years of scripture study, prayer, church attendance, and serving in church callings. Next year, my daughter will have the opportunity to be baptized herself. And I hope that years from now, she too will know she made the right decision.

I served a mission and returned 10 years ago (as of next week) and I watched several people I taught get baptized. I've sat in the temple with a few of them. Some were there in the temple with me on my wedding day. I've had the privilege of seeing photos of them baptizing their children. That is when you know what you taught really stayed in their hearts, because they received it by the Holy Ghost. I know they know that they made the right decision. As I reflect on all of these things, my heart is filled with joy and I know that the Savior feels joy when he sees us making the right decisions. Have you ever thought of that? Being able to bring joy to the Savior. Sometimes I just think of the Garden. Today I am thinking about the joy.

An inspirational quote

The beginning of last week, I was reading through some conference talks and I came across a quote that I just can't get out of my mind.  Not that I want too.  I love this quote!  So I thought I would share it.

"In the strength of the Lord, I can do all things."

Sister Elaine Dalton

We, as women are always trying to overcome something.  Big or small.  Whether it's a trial, whether it's pushing ourselves to become better at something, whether it's just making it through the day.  There is always something.  I know with all of my heart, that with Heavenly Father by our side, we truly can do all things.  We can make it through all of the trials that he sends our way and endure all that he asks of us to endure.  He wants to be there to help us do it.  He doesn't expect us to do it on our own and he isn't going to ask us to do anything that we can't do.  Even when we feel like we can't.   During every stage of our life, there is going to be something to overcome.  Ten years from now, it will be something different than it is today.  Ten years from now, we will still have our Heavenly Father by our side, telling us that we can do it.  That we can do all things!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cold Day Activity.

My friend gave me a great cooking with kids cookbook this weekend.  Yesterday, Stella and I just couldn't help ourselves.  We just had to try one of the recipes.     So we made...Butterfly

Homemade Face Paint

It was so easy and fun to use.  We turned Stella into a butterfly.  I loved watching her pretend all afternoon to be just that.  This was a wonderful activity.  It makes plenty to use on another day, and it washes off beautifully.

The Recipe:

1/2 Cup Cornstarch

1/4 Cup Cold Cream(I used Ucerin Cream because I had that on hand)

1/4 C. cold water

Food coloring

Mix Cornstarch and Cream together until well blended.  Stir in water.  Then separate in to the bowls depending on how many colors you would like.  Add food coloring one drop at a time, and stir well.Cups

I used a fine paint brush to paint her face.

You can store  the left overs in the fridge covered with saran wrap to be used again.

When you are ready to remove it, wash it gently off with a warm wash cloth.  I didn't even use soap, and it came right off.

I can't wait to paint up a new adventure.


Friday, January 30, 2009

What Being a Woman Means to Me

This past Sunday, I was asked to speak to the Mia Maids & Laurels in my ward. The topic they gave me was "The Joys of Being a Woman/What Being a Woman Means to Me". Hum...the "joys" of being a woman...would that include the spreading hips that come with pregnancy, or maybe the sleepless nights that come after the baby is born, or changing a million diapers a day, or breaking up at least 33 fights an hour, or my new gum off the carpet!?!

Anyway, I decided to sit down & make a list of little joys that I've had throughout my life because I am a woman. I posted it on my personal blog & had a lot of women say it was exactly what they needed to read that day, so I decided I would post it on here as well. So, here you go (it starts at birth & works its way up to motherhood)...

Being a woman means that, as a baby, I can be blessed in a beautiful white dress
Being a woman means my mom gets to glue cute bows on top of my bald head so that no one thinks I’m a boy
Being a woman means I get to wear cute frilly dresses
Being a woman means that I can hold tea parties with my friends & teddy bears
Being a woman means I get to play dress up & wear my mom’s high heels and my grandma’s wigs
Being a woman means that I get to watch all the Disney princess movies & dream about MY Prince Charming that will come someday
Being a woman means that I can dress in pink from head to toe & TOTALLY pull it off
Being a woman means playing with Barbie dolls & listening to my Whitney Houston records (What? It was the early 80s, give me break!)
Being a woman means I get to look up to my mom & dream about the day when I, too, will be a mom
Being a woman means that I can be a friend and example to my sisters
Being a woman means that I can be baptized...& then make everyone wait afterwards while my mom blow dries my hair for 10 minutes
Being a woman means that I get to join Young Womens when I turn 12 and get away from the “annoying boys”
Being a woman means that I can attend Young Womens camp every year…which is WAY more fun than scout camp
Being a woman means that I have the ability to be outgoing & make friends with anyone I meet
Being a woman means that I can wear my hair a variety of ways…long, short, curly, straight…whatever I want
Being a woman means doing my best in school to gain as much knowledge as I can
Being a woman means not having to shower together after PE like the boys do
Being a woman means actually using stalls in public bathrooms…YAY FOR PRIVACY!!!
Being a woman means I don’t have to collect fast offerings in the freezing cold!
Being a woman means that I can be a good friend
Being a woman means that I can be a good example to those friends
Being a woman means having sleepovers with my friends & staying up half the night talking about boys
Being a woman means that I can figure out what my talents are & then work on developing them
Being a woman means that I can learn more about my Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ through studying the scriptures daily
Being a woman means that I can smile at others as I walk down the halls in school
Being a woman means that I can sing into my hairbrush when I’m alone in my room
Being a woman means getting 100% on a test that I studied really hard for
Being a woman means that I can develop my own personal relationship with God & Jesus Christ through prayer
Being a woman means that I can babysit to earn money…which is a lot better than mowing lawns in the heat of summer
Being a woman means that I can serve in my Young Womens class presidency & help the other girls
Being a woman means that I can use yummy smelling shampoos & lotions
Being a woman means that I can have faith in my Heavenly Father & that I can help others increase their faith as well
Being a woman means that I can talk to my friends on the phone for hours…as long as my homework is already done
Being a woman means that I can go to chick flicks with my friends & then laugh when we’re all crying at the end
Being a woman means having integrity & the courage to stand up for what I believe in
Being a woman means that I can use makeup to cover up all my zits & use one of God’s greatest creations…mascara!
Being a woman means that I can develop my own testimony of the gospel, instead of relying on others’
Being a woman means I want to serve others, so that I know what Christ like love feels like
Being a woman means that I can learn all that I can about the gospel by attending church & seminary
Being a woman means that I can wear modest clothing & still looking smokin’ hot
Being a woman means that I can be asked out on dates
Being a woman means my date opens doors for me & pulls out my chair for me to sit down because I deserve it
Being a woman means that I can come home from that date & talk to my mom for an hour about it
Being a woman means I get to shop for a prom dress
Being a woman means that I can break up with a boyfriend for not treating me the way I deserve to be treated
Being a woman means that I am allowed to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because of the aforementioned breakup
Being a woman means figuring out for myself what my divine potential can be
Being a woman means that I can exercise and take care of my body
Being a woman means I can accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!
Being a woman means that I can choose who I think would be best to lead our country & vote for that person
Being a woman means I don’t have to register for the draft like the boys, but can join the armed services if I choose
Being a woman means joining Relief Society & being part of the largest women’s organization on earth
Being a woman means having faith
Being a woman means having hope
Being a woman means having charity
Being a woman means serving God wherever I am needed
Being a woman means going to college & gaining as much knowledge as I can
Being a woman means realizing I can be anything I want to be as long as I’m willing to work hard to get there
Being a woman means that I can set a goal & really accomplish it
Being a woman means deciding whether or not I want to serve a mission
Being a woman means realizing that, even if I don’t serve a mission, I am a missionary everyday of my life
Being a woman means I can wear red, patent leather pumps
Being a woman means I can choose any career I want and probably do it as good as or better than any man would!
Being a woman means finding that Prince Charming that I’ve been dreaming about my whole life!
Being a woman means marrying my Prince Charming at the right time, in the right place & by the right authority
Being a woman means that I get to plan my wedding & feel like a princess for the day
Being a woman means that I can be a good visiting teacher
Being a woman means that I can be a good listener when someone needs to talk
Being a woman means I can support my husband & be his soft place to fall
Being a woman means I am the first one to see the result on the pregnancy test
Being a woman means being able to buy myself a whole new wardrobe…even if it IS maternity clothes
Being a woman means feeling my baby practice his soccer kick on my insides
Being a woman means sending my husband to Taco Bell at 3 am because “the baby” wants a chalupa
Being a woman means knowing my life will never be the same the second I see that new baby
Being a woman means I am the CEO of my family
Being a woman means that I am the one my boys come to when they are hurt or sad
Being a woman means that I am the first teacher & main influence in my children’s lives
Being a woman means realizing that through influencing my children, I influence the next generation of leaders
Being a woman means I can make sure my family is holding Family Home Evening, family prayer & family scripture study
Being a woman means making sure homework is done, carpool is driven & that there is a lunch in everyone’s backpack
Being a woman means being there when my children go to school & when they get home too
Being a woman means being my children’s biggest cheerleader
Being a woman means constantly putting the toilet seat down!!! it really that hard boys?
Being a woman means cleaning pee off the wall! Why do little boys (and sometimes big boys) have such bad aim?
Being a woman means that I can teach my boys how to work
Being a woman means that I can teach my boys to respect women…and to put the toilet seat down
Being a woman means everyone has to eat what I want to eat, because I’m the one that does the grocery shopping
Being a woman means that I can use PMS as an excuse for being grumpy
Being a woman means I can make a “honey do list” & then just sit back and “supervise”
Being a woman means that I can have a night out with my friends when I need a break
Being a woman means realizing that I need to put myself first sometimes, and not feel guilty about it
Being a woman means being able to wear pink from head to toe and STILL pull it off…even at 30!
Being a woman means being a leader in Heavenly Father’s church & realizing that I really can have an influence on others
Being a woman means realizing that I can be an “angel” in someone else’s life
Being a woman means that I can pull my family through any trial it may encounter & we can be stronger because of it
Being a woman means having lots of other women to look up to as role models
Being a woman means realizing that I am a role model for others
Being a woman means I can choose to be happy
Being a woman means that I can continue to gain wisdom everyday of my life
Being a woman means that I am one of God’s greatest creations (remember, a woman was God's final creation...after He had worked out all the kinks on the man)
Being a woman means REALLY realizing what it means to be a daughter of God & ACTING LIKE IT!

Afterwards, I blathered on for the rest of the time about something...but I, honestly, can't remember what I said exactly. Then, I closed with this quote from Elder Holland:

"I want you to be proud you are a woman. I want you to feel the reality of what that means, to know who you truly are. You are literally a spirit daughter of heavenly parents with a divine nature and an eternal destiny. That surpassing truth should be fixed deep in your soul and be fundamental to every decision you make as you grow into mature womanhood. There could never be a greater authentication of you dignity, your worth, your privileges, and your promise. Your Father in Heaven knows your name and knows you circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations. And He knows what you can become through faith in Him. Because of this divine heritage you, along with all your spiritual sisters and brothers, have full equality in His sight and are empowered through obedience to become a rightful heir in His eternal kingdom, an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ."

How can you not read that without feeling like you are the coolest thing on the planet? While there are many things I don't like about being a woman, I've decided that there are MORE things that I do like about being one! I don't know if what I said helped the girls. But, I hope they left knowing how awesome it is to be a woman & that they have the potential, with Heavenly Father's help, to become all the wonderful things they are meant to be! So, here's to some girl power my sistas!!! We rock!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Digital Scrapbook Classes by CKmedia

If you are interested in learning digital scrapbooking, or wanting to take it to a whole new level, let me recommend this:

click on this link to learn more

Registration begins June 3rd. I'll be there for sure ...


No, not here, but go to Mormon Mommy Blogs to enter to win some great stuff!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Young Women Values

In our Young Women we are trying to incorporate using the values more. So, I made these blocks. We are going to display them all together at big activities (New Beginnings, Young Women in Excellence, etc...) and then every month we'll have the value that we are highlighting sitting on our front table. They were pretty inexpensive. We used 1 2x6 piece of wood which was cut into 8" pieces and painted white. This cost about $3 at Home Depot. Then used vinyl letters, a lady in our ward cut them, but they would'nt have cost very much. The ribbon was our biggest expense but I was able to find most of it on clearance at Michael's.