Week In Review- I am A Child of God, Plan of Salvation Pt.1

 Last week I received the very distinct impression that I was to change up our normal school routine.  I can honestly admit I was a little sad, and discouraged, because I really like the Five in a Row program.  There was no question what I was supposed to be using instead.  Meet our new curriculum.
Yup, that's right, it's the Church Nursery Manual.
  Since I was sure that I'm still supposed to be teaching "academic" subjects, I was a little scared.  (Okay, a LOT scared.)  But I just started praying and searching and asking the Lord to show me how to teach His children.  I know this isn't a surprise to anyone, but He did, and it was amazing!
We started with Lesson 1, "I am a child of God".  We talked about how God created our bodies, and used our picture cubes that Grandma made us with these pictures from 1+1+1=1 in each pocket. We threw, rolled, and chased them around, identifying which body part was on top, quite a bit this week.
Not really school related, but Lettie figured out how to put these little containers over head, and crawled around with them this week.  It made me laugh every time I saw it.
 It was great using the nursery manual because then, I just extended the lesson, and used it for Family Home Evening as well.  Bitsy and Manly really enjoyed working on this fun booklet.   
I loved it because it is a great sensory book.  We used sandpaper for the first letter of each child's name, foam numbers for their age, and then I let them pick the number of objects that corresponded with their age to put on that page as well.  (You can just barely see the sandpaper sticking out in Manly's book, because I wanted his name to remain anonymous.)
They also added stickers of their favorite things, and a picture of themselves.  They added yarn that was the color of their hair, and noodles, or felt buttons that are the same color as their eyes.
 On Tuesday we did this animal puzzle, and matched baby animals to their parents.  We talked about how just like bunny's grow up to be rabbits, we're God's children and can grow up to be like him.  Puzzles are one of Manly's favorite educational activities!
 Lettie REALLY likes puzzles!
 On Tuesday, we talked about Moses, and how God saved Him because he had an important purpose on earth.  We acted out the story, and then pretended to be different things God might want us to be when we grow up.  In addition to that we read just about every Max Lucado book in the house several time over the the two days.  

Wednesday we switched over to the Plan of Salvation, and just when I thought it couldn't get any more fun, or amazing, it did.  We had to run to the store, and it was a great opportunity to talk about maps, and what happens if we don't follow the map.  I used the break down of "I Am A Child of God" in Lesson 2 of the Nursery Manual to explain the parts of the Plan, and when we got home we made the mobile included in the manual.

Thursday we started off with a maze, and talked about how much easier it would be to do it if we knew the answer.  I explained that through scripture we are able to learn exactly what Father's plan is for us.  After that we opened up the map and found where we live, and plotted a path to see daddy.  (Unfortunately we didn't follow our path.)  :(  We continued our map time by locating our grandparents, and aunts and uncles on the map as well.
 We talked about how we each lived with Him before earth, and how he has given us bodies, and talents that we each have to use for His good.  This turned into a great math lesson, as we each jumped as far as we could, and then "measured" our jumps with blocks.  We talked about how the blocks are a uniform size, so even though we didn't have a ruler, we could still measure.  Lettie want to "help" with the blocks so much that we had to cut our lesson short, but I have plans on revisiting it during her nap time soon.
 On Friday we discussed the next part of the plan, coming to earth.  We talked about the order God created the Earth in, and how it had to be that way.  We discussed the benefit of order in our lives and homes.  I had planned to take the children on a nature walk, and then our housing office sent out a notice that they were giving out free pumpkins, so I decided to make our walk into an object lesson.

I told the children we were going for a walk, and that because we had to be back in time for lunch, we had to take the most direct route, other routes would get us where we needed to go, but they wouldn't be the "best" or "right" way.  I told them that if we went the right way, when we got where we were going there would be a surprise.  If we took a different way, we might not make it in enough time to get the surprise. 
 They were pretty happy with their surprise!  We enjoyed looking at leaves, birds, mountains, the ocean, the sun, and sky, and this little lizard that Bitsy spotted on our trip, and the little ones wanted to pick up every piece of trash they spotted.
 When we got home we decorated one of our pumpkins as a scarecrow, and Bitsy informed me that the others are for pumpkin pie next Monday.  :)  Later we practiced order, by emptying out Bitsy's dresser drawers, and putting everything back in its' place, no more mismatched socks and pj's here!
 We read lots of books about staying on the right path, and following directions, like "Tootle", "Follow the Drinking Gourd", "The Duchess Bakes a Cake", "Oh the Places You'll Go", "A New Coat for Anna", "The House that Jack Built", "The Story About Ping", and "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel."  Since one of my favorite parts about Five in a Row is that it is literature based, I was thrilled to actually increase the amount of time I spent reading to my children.  It is truly one of the GREATEST joys I have in motherhood.

I'm excited to finish up with the Plan of Salvation next week, with some family history activities, some more mapping, a few games about obedience, and a culminating party. I can't wait to share it with you.
And, before I go, the little ones called me Friday afternoon and asked me to come out and see the house they had built, and put in order.   They put one of their stumps, and some of their outdoor kitchen supplies under their slide to make their own little home.  It was so cute to see how they are applying the lessons, and really learning! 
I am so grateful for the Lord's guidance in our new plans.

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The Temple is the House of God

I've been meaning to show you these beautiful Temple prints for a few weeks now, but I kept hoping I would get them in frames and up on the wall.  It may be Thanksgiving before that happens at this rate... and I just can't wait that long for you to see them!
Aren't they beautiful??!!
I won the 8x10 in a giveaway at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ, and I was so excited to have one of my favorite scriptures on a picture of the Temple where my sweet husband and I were sealed.  

I ripped right into the package as soon as it came, and in addition to our beautiful Temple, Kjerstin had also included the two 5x7's for my little ones!  Wasn't that sweet??  (Don't worry, one of the little ones has one that Aunt Denice made for us, so we're all covered.) 

 You can see more of Kjerstin's beautiful work at KMC Photography, it is all so beautiful!  I think I know where I will turn for wedding gifts in the future.  :)  It would also be a sweet way to follow Pres. Monson's counsel that we put a picture of the Temple in each of our children's rooms.

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Families and The Book of Mormon

Yesterday I reached one of my absolute favorite parts of the Book of Mormon!  In 3 Nephi, the resurrected Christ appears to the people of the America's, and it is truly beautiful.  At the beginning of 3 Nephi the people receive the sign of His birth in Jerusalem, and yet despite this glorious occurrence they return to their sinful ways.  

Then in chapter 8 it starts, there are earthquakes, storms, and darkness.  People begin to realize what trouble they are in and they mourn the loss of their family members.  Finally, in chapter 11 Christ descends, and allows them to come and feel the wounds in His hands, feet, and side.  Then, they gather and are taught by the Savior of the world.  He teaches them to be baptized, to pray, to be humble, He teaches them that He is their Savior.  They are overwhelmed by the power and beauty of His teachings.

He tells them, "Therefore, go ye into your homes, and ponder the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again."  (3 Nephi 17:3)  After this He blesses their children as they watch, heals their sick, and gives them the Sacrament.  After this, "every man did take his wife and children and did return to his own home."  (3 Nephi 19:1)
"Yea, and even all night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude." (3 Nephi 19:3)
I've read this part of the Book of Mormon many, many times, but today it really struck me how important families were in this whole experience.  When they gathered they were in their families mourning the loss of those who died, they learned from Christ together, and then he sent them home to ponder on the things they were taught, and to have family prayer.  The fathers filled their role as patriarchs and took their families home, but they also proclaimed the good news to others, and inspired other to do the hard work of gathering their families to hear the Savior the following day.  

The land had been destroyed by natural disasters, they had children of all ages, and those who were not present may have family members who are injured, or otherwise afflicted, and still they "did labor exceedingly" to get back to Christ.  They didn't say, "It's to far," or "I need to get some sleep," or "That's to hard," they just worked as a family to do what was necessary.  

The Lord taught me a lesson in how important family is came as I was taking my children to Costco.  Instead of worrying myself about how fast we could get in and out I prompted to just take the time I needed, and enjoy a lunch out with my sweet little ones.  They loved getting to eat there, and I loved being able to sit and love them, it was a great bonding time, and I don't think I've ever been able to say that about a trip to Costco before!  Our car trip was even the perfect way to teach them their school lessons.  I so appreciate this lesson in being together, and following His guidance as a family.

I love that the "Book of Mormon" teaches us about families, and I'm so grateful for the reminder to stick together as a family in our journey to Christ.

If you would like to learn more about what the "Book of Mormon" teaches please email me for a free copy.  I also highly recommend reading this.

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Pretzel Time

Saturday was a pretty gray day, and we were all feeling a little out of sorts by the afternoon.  While the little ones were napping I went over to see Jocelyn, and found these
 I was hungry immediately, and I knew that this was just what we needed to get out of our rut.  I briefly considered waking the children, but decided against it.  :)  As soon as they got up though, we were pretzel makers!
 We mixed, and kneaded.
We cut some pretzels bites, and rolled out our strips to form the big pretzels with.
And, of course, we had to clean up!  I let the little ones put all of our cooking supplies in the sink and "wash" them with a little soapy water while our pretzels rose.  Then we enjoyed our delicious pretzel and apple snack!

If you are into Montessori experiences at all, this is great! Kneading the dough was a total sensory experience, and washing the dishes is an excellent practical life skill. 

As much as I love to find the educational value in EVERYTHING, as we were working on these pretzels I thought back on the time my mom took me to a pretzel factory in Pennsylvania.  I'm so glad I took the time to turn our gray day into a day of family memories!  I hope Bitsy and Manly will remember it forever.

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Fall Button Snake

I don't know if I've mentioned this before or not but, I LOVE FALL!!!  It is my favorite season, although I'm pretty partial to winter if there's snow...  Anyhow, one of the more discouraging things about living in Southern California is the decided lack of seasons.  There's sunny, and there's cloudy, so I've decided to take things into my own hands, and create some fall!

I've got a lot of fall activities in mind, but this is one of the first I've finished.  It is just like our regular button snake, except I found some pretty fall ribbon and inexpensive silk leaves at Joann's.  

I sewed a carrying handle on the one end, and since the leaves don't stretch the way the felt did, it makes a perfect stop.  On the other end is a cute button from my button jar.  I just folded the leaves in half and cut a small slit so they go on the ribbon.  

The little ones love carrying it around.  They also enjoy taking the leaves off and making them "fall" all over the house.  When they're done, we practice buttoning, and it's made a huge difference for Manly.  

Another bonus, it is small enough to fit into one of our activity pack bags, so it is a great toy for on the go!

Linking to:

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The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock

This morning as I was reading in Helaman I read, "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts call upon his holy name.  Yea, thus we see the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God."  Helaman 3:27-28

I also read, "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God; that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which you are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  Helaman 5:12

I've mentioned before that one of my favorite scriptures is Doctrine and Covenants 88:119 in which the Lord says, "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." 

This month as we have participated in service together as a family, as I have blogged about the Book of Mormon, and read it with a greater intensity I can honestly say that I have felt the power of these scriptures more than ever. 

There have been many times in which I have cried to the Lord with greater sincerity, that I have made our house a house of even greater prayer, and faith, and I have seen the Lord open the gates of heaven for me and for my little family.  Ideas came, peace came, and our house became a house of glory, as we celebrated in the goodness of God.

In all of that goodness Satan did not seem to want to be left out.  There were times when I felt fear.  Earlier this week I can say that I felt the greatest amount of discouragement I have felt in years.  But even though the devil sent for those winds, and hails, our house is a house of God.  He is our foundation, and in those moments of trial He has ALWAYS been there!  This home is a house of faith, and I know that as long as we continue to seek the Lord, He will ALWAYS be found.  

If you've been with me all month you've noticed several times that I mentioned our Daddy wasn't with us.  The truth is, he hasn't been home in between those times either.  He has had to be gone for some military training, and in anticipation of that we did the 30 days of service to keep us busy, as well as a countdown until our Daddy comes home. 

ALL of the things the Lord has led me to do this month have been for my benefit.  He wanted to open the gates of heaven for me, and for our family.  He gave me the chance to follow Him, He gave me the chance to put my will aside, and accept His instead.  I have been RICHLY blessed because of it.  I truly know that the power of the destroyer as passed over our home because I was willing to follow.

I am grateful for the truths of the Book of Mormon, and the blessings it brings.  I would love to share these blessings with you.  If you are interested in learning more PLEASE read this magazine!  You can also email me and I would love to send you a free copy of the Book of Mormon, or you can go here, and request a free copy of your own here.

I also recommend checking out some of the testimonies shared in this weeks Blog Hop!

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Cookies and Covenants


I had a bit of a rough day Thursday, well, really it started Wednesday, and it extended into Friday, but I think Thursday was probably the low point.  Among other things on Thursday I realized that I no longer had one sick child, I had two, and the third is still questionable.  

I teach the Relief Society lesson on the 4th Sunday of the month, but this month I had been moved back to the 5th Sunday.  I thought I was going to be picking Steve up that day, so I had switched with the sister who was to teach this Sunday.  As it turns out he's going to be home well after we get done with Church, so the switch was no longer necessary, and since I have sick children I called to ask if we could switch back.  She was happy to do that.  I'm not sure how or when it happened but at some point during the phone call I just started to cry.   

I don't cry much, and I really don't cry around people I don't know very well, so I was pretty startled by my own reaction.  Of course she kindly asked if I was okay, and if there was anything she could do.  Before we got off the phone she told me to let her know if I needed anything.  (It's great being part of Relief Society, because ladies are always willing to give relief!)

Let me tell you a little about this sweet sister before I go on.  For the last six months she has been pregnant and caring for her three small children.  Her husband is in an undisclosed location in a country that ends in "stan".  He will be arriving home shortly before the birth of their child, this is the first birth he will be home for, and he will leave two days later, while she is still in the hospital, for a stateside assignment.

I appreciated her offer of help, but I know how much she is dealing with, and honestly other than being a little emotional, I am in fact totally fine.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived home from picking up a few "sick" groceries to have a message on my answering machine telling me to check my front door.

When I went to the door, there was a sweetly wrapped batch of cookies.  Needless to say the tears began again!  This sweet sister took seriously her covenant to "bear one another's burdens" and "comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all places."  Mosiah 18:8-10

In his April 2011 talk, "Waiting on the Road to Damascus" President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "We each have a covenant responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of others and serve as the Savior did- to reach out, bless, and uplift those around us."

I am grateful for the reminder those cookies gave me of our important covenants.  I am grateful that I am able to learn more about my covenants as I read "The Book of Mormon."  I am grateful the Lord will provide me with ways to fulfill my covenants, and that this week He was able to bless this sweet sister for fulfilling hers, while He blessed me.  I am grateful to belong to a sisterhood that loves and cares for one another.  I am grateful that as members of the Relief Society we are able to put ourselves aside and as we "strengthen families and homes" and "seek out and help those in need."  I am grateful that "charity never faileth"!  I am grateful that the Lord has given us the Relief Society as a way to fulfill our baptismal covenants. 

I had yet another witness that Pres. Spencer W. Kimball was right when he said, "God does notice us, and he watches over us.  But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."  I am grateful for His blessings, His covenants, and for the Relief Society.

(I have been thinking a lot about covenants lately, and I really enjoyed Elder Nelson's General Conference talk on them, as well as Sister Barbara Thompson's Relief Society talk about covenants.  I hope you enjoy these.)

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Canning Applesauce

I'm sure you all remember my voyage into the wilderness last week.  Well, my father in-law was sure I needed some extra convincing to go, and so he offered me apples.  I know what you're thinking, seriously, apples is all it takes to get you to take a six hour drive into the middle of nowhere?  Actually, it takes a good deal more than that, but apples were a nice bonus, especially since there were A LOT of apples.  

My children can go through five pounds of apples in about 3 days if the apples aren't kept safe, but this was more apples than even they could eat.  So, what to do with all of those apples?  Make applesauce of course!  I was out of the last batch I had canned two years ago, so I was really excited for these apples.

In case you too come upon a large quantity of apples, I thought you might like to see some pictures of how we did it.  (I made sure to get this done while my mother in-law was still here to help occupy little ones!)

Step 1: Wash the apples!  We did about six sinks full.
 Step 2: Quarter the apples.  There's no need to take the core out, the strainer will separate it.
 Step 3: Cook the apples in a little bit of water.  Once the water is boiling it won't take long.  You want the apples to be good and soft.
 Step 4: Take the apples out of the pot, and put them through the food grinder.  (Mine is an older model that I bought for $10 at a yard sale, the girl selling it didn't even know what it was!)  Enjoy the happy look on the face of the child getting to turn the grinder, but feel sorry for the child who is sad that they aren't having a turn at that exact moment.
 Step 4 (Continued): This is a better action shot.  The hot apples go into the plastic bowl on top, and you can push them in with the wooden mallet.  As you turn the handle apple sauce comes out of the sieve in the middle and down the shoot into your waiting pan.  The core, seeds, and skin come out the far end and land in the bowl you have underneath.
 Step 5: While your jars are heating heat your applesauce on the stove.  If you are going to add sweetener, or anything to stop the browning, now is the time.  I originally learned to make applesauce from my mom as a kid, but I learned to can it from my husband's aunt Judy.  She taught me our Grandma Julia's tricks that I love for sweetening and browning.  Grandma buys frozen orange juice concentrate, with no sugar added, and adds a little of that to keep the applesauce from browning!  Brilliant!!!  To sweeten it she adds a little apple juice, again with no added sugar.  For this batch my little ones thought it was plenty sweet, so we added about 1/2 of a container of orange juice concentrate for 11 quarts of applesauce.
 Step 6: Fill the jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, place them in the canner with enough boiling water to cover them by an inch or two, and process them.  How long you process them depends on your altitutude, and the size of your jars, so you will have to look that up.  After they are finished, take them out and enjoy looking at those beautiful jars, and listening to the pop of the jars sealing!  (It's one of the happiest sounds I've ever heard!) 
You should let them sit for about 24 hours without moving them to make sure the seals don't get broken.  If any of them don't seal just put them in the refrigerator and use them within a week or so.  (I don't know if there is some "official" direction on it or not, but I have cleaned off the lids, and reprocessed applesauce that didn't seal with no negative effects that I am aware of.  Of course you should always use common sense, and not eat anything moldy, or smelly.)

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Checking In

Today is Day 16 of our 28 day "Book of Mormon" challenge.  So, how are we all doing?  Are you still with me?  I want to share a thought from Alma to keep us all inspired:
"And now as I said concerning faith-faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen which are true."
There are always days and time when doing what the Lord wants is hard, but for me taking part in this challenge has been an opportunity to hope for things which I can't see, but I know the Lord has prepared for me.  I have complete faith that as we each continue on in this study of the "Book of Mormon", however the Lord has impressed you to do it, there will be blessings poured out that we never could have imagined.

Now, before I go, in an attempt to get some of you to share your wonderful experiences, so we can all be uplifted, I wanted to share an experience I had today as I was reading Alma 33:11.  Alma is teaching those who want to believe in Christ about prayer, and he says, in part, "I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son."

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have had the Lord answer my prayers, and I can't tell you the number of times He has sent me great joy when I was in deep distress.  I can tell you that today as I read that scripture the Lord showed me just how I can find joy in Him even in my afflictions.  

My sweet husband is away for a few days, and we have what I call "Newton's Law of Deployment".  Essentially the way it works is that despite your best efforts, any time my husband leaves for more than 24-48 hours, something inconvenient, or down right bad is going to happen, and I'm going to be left to fix it.  

Just before my husband left he went to three different stores, and had to take apart part of the front end of our van just to replace a headlight for me.  Today as I took my mother in-law to the airport I discovered the other one has gone out.  I started to grumble, I started to feel frustrated and discouraged, I mean seriously, how could this be happening?  (The headlight was really just a tipping point.)  

I realized I needed to pray NOW.  I had every intention of telling the Lord that I was doing my best, that I was trying hard, and if just one thing could be a little easier I would sure appreciate it.  I stopped, and thought about Alma, and instead, I thanked the Lord.  I thanked Him for trusting me to be able to handle the situation, and I thanked Him for my sweet husband who does so much to provide for me and protect me.  I thanked Him for using the scriptures to change my heart.

Please feel free to share your experiences with "The Book of Mormon" with us, and if you are interested in learning more, read here, or email me and I'm happy to send you a free copy.

And, if you need some additional inspiration, PLEASE head here.  This is an AMAZING series about how the King James Bible came to be.  I watched it with my mother in-law last night, and I learned so much.  I really cannot recommend it highly enough, it is really inspirational.  The first episode is already available, and the remaining two can be seen on-line on Monday Oct. 24, and Monday Oct. 31.  Enjoy!

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Sacred Ground

Shortly after I met my husband he invited me to go with him to a family reunion.  Because I had to work, I agreed to meet him there.  

He called the reunion "the desert trip".  I'm not entirely sure what I expected, but since we were currently living in the middle of the Mojave desert, I wasn't to concerned one way or the other.

As I left I-15 and headed out onto an unknown road with no cell phone coverage I started to become concerned.  I started to look around, and wonder why of all the places a family could gather they would choose this one.  (These pictures are the view from two of the sides of our camp.)
When I arrived there was my husband, and just over a hundred of his relatives.  I was really startled!  There were tents and trailers, trucks and cars, and it looked like someone had opened up a used four wheeler lot.   There were so many people!  Why were they here?!  

I remember my sweet sister Crystal coming over and giving me a huge hug and telling me how glad she was that I had come.  Looking back, I think she knew I was going to be her sister.  I remember being scared my sister Jessie wouldn't like me.  She and my husband are so close, that I knew she would make sure I was good enough for her brother.

That was eight years ago, and every year my sweet husband's family returns to this place.  I no longer wonder why we go.  I know this that is a sacred and special place.  I know this is one of the reasons I married my husband.  

Family is so important that they gather to this place to remember their ancestors who settled this area.  This is where our sweet grandma Julia was born.  The place is called Whitney Pockets after our family.  

We also gather to remember how important their faith was to them.  We hold a testimony meeting one evening while we are there.  (This is a meeting where we share our belief in Jesus Christ and His church.)  We hear the stories about how Great grandpa Whitney would leave his family in the evening and travel in the cool of the night, all night, to attend church meetings for two or three days, then travel all night home just to begin caring for the farm again.  Here we follow Christ's admonition when he came to the America's, and turn "the hearts of the children to their fathers".  (3 Nephi 25:6)  

We are surrounded by the beauty of our Father's creations, and we unite together.  I am so grateful to be a part of a family that holds their history and ancestors in such high esteem.  I am grateful for the chance to walk away from the things of the world and focus on what is really important, our family.  I am grateful for the chance to teach my children how important our family is, and what a heritage of faith they come from.  I am grateful we return to this place that is so special and hallowed. 

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Week In Review

We had a very busy week this week!  Instead of our normal school routine we opted for general learning activities, a few lessons on Christopher Columbus, and then took our big trip to the desert.

Manly played his favorite color matching game several times before we left.  This is a little game I made for him myself using my favorite school supply, paint sample cards.  I got sample cards in basic colors, and wrote the color name with a black permanent marker.  Then, I got index cards and different colored markers and wrote the names on them.  Here he is matching the names to the color cards, but he quite often switches them around.  There are times he will do this 5 or 6 times in a row!
 As part of our Columbus Day celebration, we acted out a story of Columbus' life, from the "I Love America" curriculum.  Here is Columbus presenting his plan to Queen Isabella, and apparently the little messenger.  :)  I can't tell you how much I LOVE this curriculum.  If you are looking for a great hands-on, patriotic history, this is a great program!  There are only three to five lessons a month, but they are outstanding.
 Here is sad Christopher Columbus.  He's just been told by Queen Isabella that he can't have any money for his ships.  (Isn't that such a cute face?)
 And, one of my favorites, here are the noble players looking through the Queen's treasury!
 We also did LOTS of cutting practice...
 and coloring.
 On Wednesday we got up and drove down to a little spot between Lake Meade, and Mesquite, NV where daddy's family settled many years ago.  The first order of business as soon as we got out of the car was rock climbing!
 We took lots of hikes, and played in the few mud puddles we found in the middle of the desert.
 During the hot afternoons we went down to the old family ranch, and played in the pond that is made from a spring nearby.  This spring is also the only source of water we have when we go, other than what we pack in with us.
 Even Lettie wanted to enjoy the pond.
 Since daddy wasn't able to join us some of the "exciting" experiences required mommy to step up, like swinging on the rope over the pond!
 We enjoyed the wonderful water from the spring.  (This is also where we washed our hair!)
 Bitsy LOVED being outside climbing, and exploring!  She just kept going until she would collapse in bed at night.
 Uncle Mike brought down one of his trucks, and let Manly take a ride.  He had that smile on his face the whole time he was in the truck.  It was a dream come true.  Bitsy enjoyed using the air horn to wake everyone in camp up as well.
 Grandma and Grandpa fed us everything we could want, including pomegranates.
 Manly was in heaven hanging out with his Uncle Mike.  He was so glad to spend so much time with him.
 Bitsy enjoyed playing with her cousins that she doesn't get to see that often as well.  She especially loved playing with her cousin "T" who was AMAZING at taking her with her.  She is such a wonderful young woman, and I am so grateful the sweet love she showed to her little cousin.
 Lettie mostly enjoyed being carried around by Grandma and Aunt Crystal, but on the occasions she was put down in the trailer, she sure enjoyed exploring too.
 And of course, we all enjoyed the beautiful views!
We had such a great time being with our family, and enjoying this special place.  The little ones kept asking why we had to come home, and when they can come back!

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