The Book of Mormon Forum

I had so much fun blogging about "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" that when Jocelyn over at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, put together the Book of Mormon Forum, I just knew I had to join in.  (You can see what the others are saying by clicking on the button over on the right.)

While we always read, enjoy, and are edified by the Book of Mormon, this month we have a little more to be excited about.  You see every month our Church puts out a magazine (it's called "Ensign") and this month it is entirely about the Book of Mormon!  (You can read it here.)  

When I was 16 a friend gave me this book, and it changed my life.  I'm excited to share my feelings about it with you, and more importantly if you would like to read it, I would be happy to share a copy of it with you! 


Sister Journals

A few weeks ago at Church we got these AMAZING books, "Daughters in My Kingdom", about the history of our Relief Society.  The pictures are stunning, and the content is inspiring.  I love reading about the role of women in Christ's church.  Because we won't be reading them in Church, and I wanted to have someone to talk to about what I was learning, I emailed my sisters in-law, and my mother in-law, and asked if they would be interested in reading with me, and then having a discussion about what we read.  Gratefully they agreed!

As I started reading though, I realized the flow of thoughts was greater than the margins in the book.  Of course the solution to this had to be cute, and it wouldn't be nice to make one just for myself.  So, I went out and bought six composition notebooks, broke out the scrapbook paper and some mod podge, and voila, our "Sisters in His Kingdom" notebooks were created.  I wish I could give you some great tutorial, but honestly I just opened the notebooks up, marked the paper, cut, and then mod podged.  Of course, afterward I saw these cute covers.  I think I'll make one up for my scripture journal, but I digress...

I am so grateful for these amazing books, and for my amazing sisters who are teaching me and supporting me despite our geographical distance!


Week In Review: The Story About Ping

This week we read one of my favorite children's books, "The Story About Ping" by Marjorie Flack.

Now, before I tell you about what we did with "Ping" I have to show you this cute picture of my two little patriots.  For Family Home Evening last week read through part of "I Love American Volume 1".  Our whole family loves this great curriculum, and while we usually do it as part of our school day, this month daddy wanted to teach the lesson so we did it for FHE.  Bitsy is our little Betty Ross, and Manly is a Revolutionary soldier.  The directions to make the hats, as well as flags, and other activities are all included in the manual.  This is such a fun curriculum, and the little ones had such a good time!
 Okay, now onto school.  This week we looked through books about China, found the Yangtze river on the map, and learned about Chinese New Year.  We also pulled out the toys our friend Tessie sent us a few months ago.  Daddy has studied Chinese for the last few years, and the little ones have been asking him to teach them, so we went to Semanda and printed off some of their FREE flashcards.  We used duck, river, water, and grass, and every time we read the word in the book the children would show me the appropriate flashcard and we would practice the word.  Bitsy has been wanting to make letter cookies for a while, so we thawed some of our sugar cookie dough, and made their names, and of course, a Chinese character.
 I love how resigned she looks, and how mischievous he looks.  It cracked me up!
And here is our final product!  The sugar cookie dough worked well, but I think if I was going to do it again, I would use my favorite cookie clay recipe.  (In case you're wondering, this is the character for water, shui.)  
 On Wednesday we talked about drawing water, and then decided to play with some water, to mix colors.  This is another one of the fun projects from Pink and Green Mama's Rainbow packet.
 I put red, yellow, and green in at the top, and they used the eye droppers to make all of the other colors.  Manly just thought it was fun to play, but Bitsy referenced our color wheel quite often to make the colors she wanted.  We also talked about how amazing it is that God created all of the other colors out of just three colors.
 On Thursday we did cracker math.  I've seen lots of cards where the children fill in the squares with blocks, but I decided to let the kids use crackers instead.  It was a HUGE hit!  They practiced number recognition, but we also added with them.  As an example, we filled in two for his two parents, then three for his three brothers, and counted them up.  Since that made five, then we filled in the five row as well.  The possibilities were really endless.  For the children the best part was that after every equation they got to eat the crackers so we could do another one.
We used our abacus before the crackers, and Lettie was glad when we moved on so she could have it all to herself. 
 I was sure I would be the mother who never did noodle crafts, but here is proof that I was wrong.  From Pink and Green Mama again,  I dyed the wheel pasta the six colors of the rainbow, and then we glued them into place on some wax paper.  Bitsy practiced her counting as she glued them on, and thought that was great fun, much to my relief, because numbers are not her favorite thing!
 After they dried we cut away the extra paper, added some ribbon, and tied them to the little ones' curtain rods to act as sun catchers.  (Unfortunately to get the flash to work I had to close the blinds, but trust me, they're cute as sun catchers!)
 On Friday we decided to see what things around our house would sink and float, and talked about buoyancy.  They had fun guessing which things would sink and which would float, and then put them in the appropriately labeled container after experimentation. 
 We talked about how the boy in the book would have sunk if he hadn't been wearing the barrel, and how it made him float.  Once we were sure that the dime and penny would sink, we added them to a bottle cap to demonstrate the principle.  Of course, then they wanted to add water to the bottle cap and make it sink, but we got the point across first.  :)
 Finally, when I told the little one's we were going to have a Chinese dinner, Bitsy remembered that before Chinese New Year the house is cleaned, and she and Manly got right to it.  They sprayed everything in sight!  It's always nice to know the lesson sticks, and to have the house benefit!  :)
 Even Lettie got in on the cleaning fun, although her role was more supervisory!
 Speaking of Lettie, as I'm looking back at the pictures, I'm seeing her in little corners here and there, it's kind of like "Where's Waldo?"  Can you find where she's hidden?  :)


I'm an Aunt again!

Okay, I just can't stand it anymoreCongratulations to my sweet sister Missy and her wonderful husband Brett on the birth of their little one.  We are so excited for them.  (In fact when I told Bitsy she jumped up and down and started clapping, and Manly ran out of the room, came back and squealed at me, and said, "I so excited I squeal like a pig!")  My sentiments exactly little man, my sentiments exactly.  We can't wait to meet our new little cousin.


General Conference- Children's Activities

Last night was the first session of our Church's semi-annual General Conference.  This session was for the Relief Society, which is the women 18 and older.  It was amazing!  One of our leaders reminded us to forget not that the Lord loves us, to be patient with ourselves, to be happy now, to remember the why of the Gospel, and the difference between good and foolish sacrifices.  Jocelyn over at We Talk of Christ, and Cocoa at Chocolate on my Cranium have both created beautiful handouts to remind us of that lesson.  I'm so grateful to these two ladies for their efforts, because now I have beautiful reminders up in my home!

Now, next weekend we will have the remainder of our Conference.  This means we will watch our Prophet and Apostles for four hours on Saturday and Sunday.  It is broken up into two two hour sessions each day.  Daddy is going to be working, so I will be home with the three little ones, and I've been working on ideas to help the kiddos stayed entertained but reverent.

First, I printed off these files over at Oopsey Daisy to make a file folder game, and Bingo cards.

 Then I went over to A Little Tipsy and printed off the "Reader's Request" Temple file to make this file folder game.
I also made up this file folder game after seeing it over at We Talk of Christ.
I've also printed off the Nursery and Junior Primary packets over at Sugardoodle, and some of the different activities at the Church website.

In addition to that I was inspired by Jocelyn's Conference Wall, and I'm planning on putting one up for us as well, and we'll be having snickers and kisses.  (I couldn't find hugs at the store.)

For all of the coloring and game activities I'll be putting our card table up in the living room so Manly and Bitsy can work without Lettie trying to explore everything.  I'm hoping this will keep some of the shrieking to a minimum.  I will also be letting them use their Sunday box activities, but that is really a whole additional post.  (Maybe later this week.)  In the past we've put up a tent in the living room, but the living room in this house is a little small, so I'm going to stretch a sheet across the living room as our tent, because if we don't pretend like we're Nephites listening to the Prophet there WILL be MUTINY! 

My last obstacle to tackle is food.  Because I only have two hours between sessions, that will involve feeding everyone, napping, and nursing I am on the lookout for overnight breakfast solutions, and lunches and dinners that I can cook in the crockpot.  So do you have any wonderful ideas for me?  We eat just about everything, so PLEASE share!


The Proclamation- Application

This is my family.  We are all together at the temple in Newport Beach, CA.  We are extremely happy!

Unfortunately this isn't a portrait of our daily family life.  Don't misunderstand, we are all happy and healthy, but, daddy is in the military, so quite often our "family portrait" is missing one member.  In the Family Proclamation we are reminded that families can be together forever, that children should be reared in love and righteousness, that each parent has a sacred responsibility in the home, and that we should seek the help of extended family as necessary.  We are also told that our individual circumstances may require adaptation.

I KNOW that because my husband and I were sealed in the Temple, those three beautiful children (and any more the Lord blesses us with) will be with us forever!  I KNOW that sometimes with all of our moving, and daddy's training and deployments life can seem hard for our children, (and let's be honest, for mommy and daddy too!) but as long as we are having daily family prayer and scripture study, and weekly family home evening, and hourly hugs and kisses, and sticking together they will have love and righteousness surrounding them.  I KNOW that my husband and I each have sacred roles, and that just because he isn't physically in our home doesn't mean he isn't still the Priesthood holder who presides here.  Sometimes it is more difficult to fulfill his role, and we do have to adapt, but through letters, emails, and phone calls we can still counsel together, he can still teach our children, and I challenge anyone to argue that he isn't fulfilling his role as our family's protector.  I KNOW that our extended family is important, they offer me shoulders to cry on, they give support, they include us in family activities when daddy is gone, and all of this when they are hours, if not days away.  I also know that in our circumstances extended family sometimes means friends from church and the neighborhood, and I am grateful that the Proclamation reminds us that it's okay to allow others to serve us.

You know those people you meet who think they are the exception to the rule?  I'm not one of them!  Our circumstances may be different than most, but the principles still need to and can be applied.  (And, let's be honest, doesn't every family have something going on that could make them feel that they are the exception to the Proclamation?)  

The Proclamation isn't just a pretty piece of paper hanging on our wall, although it does make a lovely decoration, it is guidance from our Father in Heaven that effects our lives every day!  It is the reason we live our lives the way we do, and it is why we work so hard to keep our family strong.  I am so grateful that the Lord has given us these beautiful directions, and the blessing of an eternal family.


Building our Felt House

Every Monday night in our house is Family Home Evening, or FHE.  When we were sealed in the Temple, (married) the man performing the ceremony counseled us to follow the counsel of our Church leaders, and have FHE every week, and told us that as long as it ended with a treat, it counted.  While there are some weeks that we have just had a treat together and called it FHE, we normally try to have a lesson, and an activity that bring us closer as a family, and closer to the Lord. 

So, last week I decided to focus our Family Home Evening on a part of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."  It says:
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

As I was pondering how to teach this to our children, I had the idea to "build" a house based on these principles.  The little ones loved having the hands on lesson, and it was great at reinforcing things they already understood, and helping them to understand why we do some of the things we do.
 The structure of our house is faith, with prayer to cover and protect us as the roof.  Repentance is like windows, and allows us to see clearly again, while forgiveness opens the door into our hearts for Jesus to enter.  Respect grows like grass, but can also be killed if it isn't nurtured.  Love also belongs on the door of our hearts.  Compassion makes things beautiful, like flowers, and also gives us a desire to make others lives nicer through service.  The broom represents family work, and the ball represents the fun times we have in wholesome recreational activities.
 I cut all of the felt pieces out in about ten minutes the night before.  The little ones really loved building the house, and the lesson really stuck.  Bitsy said the next night as we all set the table, "Look Daddy, we're all working, just like it says in the Proclamation."  Oh, it made mommy's heart happy!


Week In Review: Harold and the Purple Crayon

This week we read "Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson.  The children and I both LOVE this book.  It is so sweet and simple, but so fun.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.  Harold has several other adventures in different books, most of which we have read, and they are all great!  

That being said, this week was sort of a light school week, and is therefore light on pictures.  Mommy had to be gone two nights and during lunch one day, and daddy had to work some long hours. Manly's face about sums up how tired we all are, even after trying to keep things simple.
 Although, I'm not sure Bitsy missed Mommy to much.  :)  This girl loves to turn on our CD of Hymns, and dance around the living room!
 We did have some time in the kitchen cooking.  The little ones love to make popcorn in the pot with the glass lid because they can watch it pop, but they started scattering in a hurry when it started to raise the lid.  Luckily it stopped right where it was... but it sure was a good science experiment!
 We "needed" lots of baths so we could play with our rainbow bath people.  I got the idea over at Pink and Green Mama.  All three of the children love them.  As soon as they get wet they stick to each other, the tub, and the little ones.  I got one piece of craft foam in each color, and had enough to make two sets, with plenty left over.  I'm thinking with the leftovers I may cut out shapes to use in the tub, and on the sliding glass door on rainy days.
 Of course no week with Five in a Row would be complete with out our big dinner.  The little ones really love this, and I think we'd have a mutiny if we ever stop it.  Harold had a picnic with nine types of pie, and even though it was a rough week, Mommy had to draw the line... at two pies, from Costco, so you know they're HUGE!!!  It's probably close to nine pies.  Anyhow, in addition to our pies, we had our fruit and veggie rainbow muffin meals, some tortilla chips, and turkey wraps.  We laid a blanket out in the living room and had our picnic by the back door.  (It was really cold, so we decided to stay in where it was warm.) 
 On Saturday we had a family day at the beach for Daddy's work, and Bitsy and Manly had tons of fun bouncing in the bounce house...
 and blowing bubbles.  It was so cute to watch him blow, knowing that it was the wind that was making these huge bubbles, but he sure was proud of himself!  :)
 We also built a Lego city (but I had to leave before I got a picture), and talked about how our altitude changes our perspective.  We looked at the beach from the top of our hill, and then noticed when we got to the bottom we couldn't see it anymore.

While I don't generally write about it, each week we find some way to relate the story we are reading to scripture, and because this week was light on crafts and activities we spent a lot more time focusing on how Harold's story can be related to the Gospel.  For instance, we discussed how creative Harold was, but the children told me that God was even more creative because He created the world.  Harold leaves the path in the story, and has a hard time getting home, and I reminded them that if we stay on the path God has set for us we can't get back to our Heavenly Home much easier, sometimes we stray, but we can always choose to get back on the path.  We also talked about how Harold anchored his boat to keep it safe, and how Christ is our only true anchor in life.  I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to share these moments with them, because while the art and activities are fun, their knowledge of God, and our unity as a family are the things that truly matter, and last forever!


Rainbow Muffin Tin Meal

To go along with our rainbow theme for the month, this week we had a fruit and vegetable muffin tin meal.  I had it all made up in the kitchen and Bitsy came in, looked at it, and said, "Oh mom, that's so cool."  That made for a happy mommy!
For vegetables we had corn, tomatoes, baby carrots, snap peas, eggplant, and zucchini slices.  (I couldn't come up with a blue vegetable, but if anyone knows of one I'd love to hear about it.)  In our fruit tray we had strawberries, orange slices, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, and kiwi. 

The only thing that wasn't well received was the eggplant, and to be honest raw, it was pretty bitter.  I think next time I would cook it with a little olive oil or butter, that makes everything taste better, right?

Check out other muffin tin meals at Muffin Tin Mom.


The Proclamation in Pictures

"We the first Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."
"All human beings-male and female-are created in the image of God.  Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny..."
 "The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave."
 "Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."
"We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan."
 "The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan."
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
 "By divine design fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.
"Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."
"Extended family should lend support where needed."
"We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.  We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen family as the fundamental unit of society."


Week In Review: Little Nino's Pizzeria

Last week we kicked off our color themed month by reading "Little Nino's Pizzeria" by Karen Barbour.  The kids loved it, and by Friday, Bitsy had memorized the entire story and "read" it to me.

Since Daddy was off on Monday we gathered as a family and made colored rice and play dough.  The little ones loved having daddy here for school, and it was nice for mommy to have a little back up.

Our play dough got lots of use by all of the little ones.
The kids loved how Tony worked with his dad in the pizzeria, and we took the time to read through "The Family Proclamation" to learn why it is so important for families to work together, and play together.  We also talked a lot about how Nino wanted to make more money for his family, but in the end what made their family happy wasn't money, it was being together.  They told Daddy they were glad he was home, and we could "work like the Proclamation says to" with him.
We learned about Primary colors.
And then mixed them in our vanilla pudding, to make secondary colors, and eventually brown...popsicles.  They decided they didn't want to just eat their pudding, so we put it in the popsicle molds in the freezer, and had the most delicious brown popsicles ever.  :)
We also learned about Henri Matisse, and how he used complementary colors to make his colors seem brighter.  (The pudding and lesson on complementary colors came from Pink and Green Mama's "Rainbow Fun" book.  The lesson on Matisse came from a library book.)

We were going to make rainbow cookies on Thursday for math, but it was 90 degrees, and we don't have air conditioning, (we don't usually need it here) so I decided to put that off, in attempt to prevent heat exhaustion, and instead we counted the number of pepperoni's on the pizzas.  We also compared the number that were on the pizza before and after the pizzeria expansion. 

Incidentally, that ended up being a good decision since they wouldn't have been completely cooked before we and 1.4 million of our closest neighbors ended up involved in a major power outage, which led to a candle light dinner, battery powered lanterns, snuggling on the couch, and a few shadow puppets.

On Friday we returned to science, and watched yeast bubble in water while we made pizza for dinner.  Bitsy lost interest shortly after the yeast began to dissolve, but Manly stuck with me to the end, and helped make the entire pizza.
He watched the machine knead the dough.
 He rolled the dough.
 He added the cheese (and the other toppings).  That was his favorite part.
 And, of course, he ate the pizza!
When we had discussed the food groups earlier in the day, the kids realized that fruit was the only food group not included.  (My kids and I don't really care what anyone tells us, tomatoes are a vegetable, not a fruit.)  :)  So, of course we HAD to make a dessert pizza.  

We decided to use this AMAZING cookie recipe from Chocolate on my Cranium as the crust, with a little cream cheese and some fresh peach slices on top.  Doesn't it look delicious?  It was, and we got our fruit in.
In addition to all of that, our ants finally came.  They sure are busy!

Bitsy accessorized with a plastic bag on her head,
 butterfly clothes pins in her hair, (We usually use these for identifying numbers and letters for school, isn't a child's ingenuity amazing?)
 and new church shoes on her feet.  (Grandma sent her new shoes, after she informed us all that she didn't want to wear her other church shoes, because she HATES the color black.  Grandma's such a pushover!)  :)
Manly helped with the laundry.
And Lettie enjoyed eating everything we cooked and would share with her.


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