Book of Mormon Camp

What have we been doing that's kept me so far from my computer?  Well, mostly just spending time together as a family, but we've also been having lots of fun with Book of Mormon camp!  Earlier this year I decided to really immerse the children's schooling in the Book of Mormon, and I had intended to do our activities this summer, but our plans changed, and so did "camp".  Of course I had also intended on doing a weekly camp update, but that didn't happen either, so here it is in one long post. 

As a side note, many of these activities would also work great for an Old Testament camp, and in fact some of our activities came from "Old Testament Days: An Activity Guide" by Nancy I. Sanders.

Our camp was broken down into 14 days, and a Family Home Evening.  We started camp with lesson 22 from the Nursery Manual, "The Book of Mormon Teaches me about Jesus Christ".  Each day we then read from the Book of Mormon Stories, and did an activity to go along with it.  So, here we go...

Day 1: Chapters 2-5.  For our activity we made our own brass plates.  Bitsy and Manly LOVED this! 

To make our plates I got a thin piece of cardboard, and wrapped it in contact paper, then I followed the directions here to make scratch off paint (think lottery scratch off ticket), and let it dry.  Then the little ones used their wooden styluses and started recording.  My husband and I actually made the "plates" up the night before, so they were ready to go when we were done reading.
 Next, we painted our gerbil ball. 
Yup, you read it right, see...
 Because, a gerbil ball, with three wooden balls attached to the top makes a perfect Liahona
Day 2: Chapter 6  We held on to the Iron Rod...  (a dowel we had sitting around, but a broomstick would have worked well too.)  Because we were a little behind, Day 2 and 3 were combined, and our Iron Rod took us to the seashore.
Day 3: Chapters 7-9 Once we arrived at the seashore, we built ships to sail to the promised land.
After arriving we planted the seeds we had brought with us into the garden.
Day 4: Chapters 10-12  We read outside, since Enos prayed outside, and King Benjamin's people listened to him outside.  I had seen a lesson in the 2011 Sharing Time guide, that suggested putting food coloring in water to represent sin, then adding bleach to show how the Atonement cleanses us from sin, and thanks to Jocelyn showing me before hand that it worked, we did that while we were outside as well.
About 30 seconds after our bleach was added, I started to get a little nervous that our project wasn't going to work...
But after a little swish of the water, it went completely clear again.  The delay actually gave us time to talk about the seriousness of sin, and that it takes time to complete the repentance process.
Day 5: Chapters 13-17  Since this section was about people who had strayed from the Gospel, and then found their way back, we went on a treasure hunt, thanks to our "Sunday Savers: I Know My Savior Lives."  The book contained little "gems" with pictures of parts of the gospel that have been lost and restored, such as priesthood, prophets, scriptures, and the Holy Ghost.  I hid them gems around the house, and then as the little ones found them they brought them back to our treasure box.  Once they were all discovered we sat and talked about how important each of those things are in our lives.  I used different colored card stock for the different gems, and I think they could easily be reproduced on your own.
Day 6: Chapters 18-20  "Sunday Savers" saved us again, and we talked about missionaries and colored a missionary puzzle.  (Manly had his own boy puzzle too.)  One of my favorite parts of this was talking to them about all of the things we have to do to be good missionaries, and how if any piece is missing, the missionary isn't complete.  It was a good lesson for mommy too!    
Day 7: Chapters 22-26  We did a family service project because Ammon was a great servant.  It involved large quantities of cookies, and no pictures.  Oops.

Day 8: Chapters 27-28 We put prayer together in the proper order, with a puzzle, to avoid being like the Pharisees or the Zoramites on the Rameumptom
We also followed the directions in "Old Testament Days" and added 10 rubber bands to a hanger and made our own lyre.  Bitsy particularly loves David, so this made her very happy!
Day 9: Chapters 29-30  Since faith is like a seed, we stuffed a jar with cotton balls, and each child put a pea seed on either side of the jar.  Then we watered our cotton, and we've been watching our symbolic faith grow ever since.
Day 10: Chapters 31-35  We decided to join Captain Moroni, and made a title of liberty out of a dowel (remember the Iron Rod?)  and one of Manly's old vests.
Day 11: Chapters 36-40  We put on the shields we made, and got out our pom-pom poppers, because we were ready for battle.
The little ones built a block wall, and we tried to shoot Samuel off the top.  If you make the poppers, I found that the best way was to cut out the bottom of the cup.  If you cut the outside of the cup at all the balloon squishes it and deforms the cup, making your popper completely ineffective.
Lettie got in on the action by cleaning up our pompoms, which was good, because these poppers really have a range on them.  I definitely don't recommend using marshmallows inside!
Day 12: Chapters 41-47  Because these chapters discuss the sacred experience of Christ coming to the Nephites, I didn't feel that it was appropriate to have a "craft" or activity, so we watched "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd". 

Day 13: Chapters 50-52  I had originally intended to make walnut boats, since the Jaredites boats were "tight like a dish", but I never made it to the store to get the walnuts, so instead we read hiding in a cave, like Ether.
Day 14: Chapters 47-48 and 53-54  Our final activity was to hide the brass plates, like Mormon and Moroni.  Can you see them?  (This is also where I show you the AWESOME rain gutter book shelves my husband put up for me when he got home!!)
The plates were hiding behind "The Lorax" and hid several other places around the house as well.  The little ones LOVED searching for them.
Whew, are you still with me?!  We had a lot of fun, and I hope some of the ideas will be fun for you and you little ones. 

Of course, nothing would be complete without food, but that will be a short post in a few days.


Week In Review: Easter Pt. 2

I'm a little behind in my "Week In Review" posts, but we had so much fun, that I really want to record it when I plan next year.  I'm sorry I'm so late with our final week of Easter activities, but as usual, just consider it early preparation for next year.  :)

Each day this week we did daily scripture reading from this chart, so we could learn more about how Christ spent the last week in His mortal ministry.  We also put up several visual timelines. 

Manly and Bitsy put this one up in our living room using cutouts from the picture packet of the Primary 2 Manual.  I originally printed these off of a website somewhere several years ago, and if I can find it I will add the link.  (If you know where I can find it, PLEASE, let me know!)  This was our Family Home Evening lesson, and they taught me, which was a lot of fun.  I was impressed with how much they could tell me about the story, and they were pleased to realize how much they knew as well. 
Each evening after we did our daily scripture reading we put up another timeline in our kitchen, using pictures from the Gospel Art Kit.  This has been a tradition for the last four years in our home, and is one of the children's most anticipated Easter events.
We learned about rebirth, and how we can all live again because of Christ, and then did a little nature art study.  I painted Bitsy and Manly's arm and fingers to make a hand print tree, and little Lettie, decided to be a tree too.  Sorry, the picture was to cute for me to pass up. 
They used water colors to finish painting their trees, and Bitsy used an ink pad and made fingerprint leaves as well.
We did our traditional Resurrection Eggs, but with a muffin tin twist.
We made resurrection cookies.  Mackenzie's recipe is identical to ours.  This year I made a small change, in getting all the ingredients out and pre-measured before I started with the little ones.  This made the entire process go much more smoothly!
This picture really made me laugh.  They are "smiting" the pecans, and because we just finished reading about the Jewish captivity in Egypt, when I told them to smite the pecans, they knew just what to do, and went at it with a will.  They were smacking so hard, you can only see the blur of the wooden spoons. 
We finished our empty tomb.  We followed Montserrrat's directions, almost exactly...  We used only wheat, and skipped the grass seed.  For informational purposes, we started ours two weeks before Easter, and it needed to be trimmed once before Easter.  (She also has good directions on making handprint lilies, that we didn't get to, but that I think would have made a pretty "bouquet" with our palms from last week.)
We typically talk about the parable of the Ten Virgins sometime during the week before Easter, and this year we watched this video to go along with our lesson.
Our Jerusalem dinner was delayed a little, but we did finally have it.  We had baklava, fresh fruit and vegetables, pitas with humus, cheese and crackers, and our annual lamb and barley stew.  (This is super easy to make.  Just brown off a pound of lamb, with an onion and three cloves of garlic.  Add the barley and lamb mixture to a 2 quart casserole dish, with 6 cups of chicken broth, and bake covered for two hours.  It's delicious!)
Our final activity was making resurrection rolls, which again, are super easy.    We made them on Saturday night and refrigerated the uncooked rolls, and then baked them Sunday morning for a quick Easter breakfast. 

To make them, I mixed up a half batch of my wheat bread dough to make rolls.  Instead of cooking them like regular rolls, we flattened the ball of dough out, and added a marshmallow, and then wrapped it up.  Kind of like pigs in blankets, only marshmallows, and you want to make sure the marshmallow is completely covered.  After all of the rolls had a marshmallow in the middle, I brushed them with some melted butter, and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top before covering them and putting them in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning I just put them in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes, and when you bite into them, they are hollow inside, just like the tomb. 
The little ones were thrilled with the object lesson, and it was a perfect start to our day.  As Manly tells me, "It's empty, because Jesus is alive!"


What I've Been Doing...

The last week has been a little busy, and in case you're wondering what I've been doing here's a short recap.  

I made breakfast for about 70 hungry military members.  This pile of pancakes Lettie is sneaking from is about all that was left of about two hundred pancakes, 5 gallons of juice, four fruit bowls, and  two egg casseroles, that used a combined nine dozen eggs.  I think she felt the need to guard her pancake after having seen the way those guys went at that food.  :)
I've done a few extra loads of laundry...
and a little decorating...
Because our Daddy finally came home!!!
For the next few weeks I will be blogging pretty sporadically, so that my time and attention can go to my family.  Our family is going to be taking time to enjoy our moments together.  I hope you and your family have fun doing the same!


In the Kitchen With Little Ones

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to cook together.  Even little Lettie likes to get in on the taste testing!  There are so many children's cookbooks around, but as we all know, I am frugal.  So what's a frugal mom to do?  Why make her own children's cookbook of course, and for free.... Well almost.

To make our cookbook, I got a 1/2" three ring notebook, and had the little ones help add stickers to a cover page.  (They're cute little bears cooking.)  It's not terribly fancy, but it does the job, and my children love the bright orange!
Then we just started collecting recipes.  Many of our recipes are the monthly Kitchen Crafts from The Friend.  While we usually just take the recipe right out of our magazine and put it in a page protector, there are over 70 recipes on the site that you can print off and add in.  There is a series of international recipes from a few years ago that we love, and use in our geography studies.  
We also cut out recipes from My Big Backyard, Wild Animal Babies, Highlight High 5, Family Fun, basically any place where they have good children's recipes.  If the recipe isn't a full page, then I mount it to a piece of white paper before slipping it into a page protector in our cookbook.

So for the cost of a notebook and some page protectors we keep our recipes from our favorite magazines all together, and when the little ones want to cook they just grab their cookbook and pick out a recipe!

I'll be taking a little blogging break this week to attend to some family things, but I'll be back next week with the final recap of our Easter activities, and the fun we're having this week!


Happy Easter!

He is Risen!

 You can see the full version of this wonderful Bible video here.  Have a blessed Easter!


Muffin Tin Meal: Resurrection Eggs and Spiritual Food

While I don't normally share our meals until Monday, I wanted to share this one right away, so you can use it before Easter if you want to.  This weeks Muffin Tin Meal was different than usual, as our muffin tin was intended to feed us spiritually rather than physically.

Sometime in the week before our Easter our family gets out the set of Resurrection Eggs my husband and I made, but this year I decided that rather than leave them in the eggs, we would have a spiritual feast at dinnertime, and I took the scriptures and visual aids out of the eggs and put them in our muffin tin.

Here is a list of the scriptures and accompanying items.  (We have adapted the items slightly from those listed in "A Christ-Centered Easter" by Janet and Joe Hales.)

1. Matthew 26:14-16   (Three dimes)
2. Matthew 26:26-28   (A small cracker or piece of bread)
3. Matthew 26:36-37, 39, 42, 44  (A small cup)
4. Matthew 27:1-2   (A piece of twine or rope)
5. Matthew 27:22-24   (A piece of soap)
6. Mark 15:16-19   (A strip of purple cloth)
7. Luke 23:26-27, 33   (A nail)
8. Luke 23:24   (Toothpicks to represent casting lots.  We have three, with one broken short to actually cast lots with.)
9. Matthew 27:50-51, 54  (Soil and rocks)
10. Luke 23:50-53; Matthew 27:60   (Strip of white cloth)
11. Mark 16:1-4   (Tea bag, spices tied in a small piece of cloth)
12. Mark 16:5-6   (Left empty)

One of our other favorite activities that feeds us spiritually and physically is to make Resurrection Cookies.  We won't be making ours in time for me to post about them before Easter, but Mackenzie at Cheerios and Lattes has a great step by step on how to make them. 


Bunny Bun Bun

Last year our family made bunny buns during General Conference in April, and it was so much fun that the children have decided it is a tradition now. 

Admittedly they are more time consuming than most other bread that I make, so I was hesitant to do it without daddy around for assistance, but the children assured me they would help...
And true to their word, they stuck with me through the entire project.  Their favorite part was rolling out the dough, and cutting the pieces for the bunny tails, and of course eating them.
Because I really wanted daddy to be a part of our tradition, even though he could be with us, in a moment of inspiration, I got out our "daddy pen", and "The Golden Sleepy Book" by Margaret Wise Brown, and daddy read us the story of "The Dreaming Bunny" while we ate our bunny buns.  (The little ones loved eating bunny buns, while reading about Bunny Bun Bun.)  What a fun family time, even though our family is worlds apart!

In case you want to make your own Bunny Buns, here is my adaptation of the recipe originally found in the April 2011 Friend.  (You know, I can't stand to leave a recipe alone!)

Bunny Buns
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk (not boiling)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening (palm shortening works great)
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. grated orange peel (fresh or dried works fine)
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup hot water

In your mixer combine yeast, water, milk, sugar, shortening and salt.  Mix well.  Add eggs, orange juice, and orange peel.  

Stir in the flour a cup at a time, until your dough is soft and just barely cleaning the edge of the bowl.

Let stand for 10 minutes.  Knead dough by hand 5-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or if using your mixer until the dough is smooth and elastic.  (Ours take about 5-6 minutes in the Bosch on 1.)

Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until double, between and hour and a half and two  hours.  Punch it down and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a 1/2" thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Cut the dough into 1/2" strips, that are between 12-14" long.  Use the uneven strips on the end to cut into 1/2" pieces that you will roll into balls for the bunnies tails.  (I let the children do this part, and they usually end up about 1", and they turn out great.)

Take one long strip at a time and put it on a greased cookie sheet.  Twist the two ends together twice, like a pretzel, to make the ears and face of the bunny.  You should have a loop at the bottom of your bunny.  (See the picture of our bunnies at the top if you need an illustration.)  Put one of the tail pieces in the loop, and continue until all of your little bunnies are made.  

Let the bunnies rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes, until double in size.  Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.  You will have two trays of yummy bunnies when you are finished.

For the glaze, combine the sugar and water, then pour over your bunnies while they are still warm, but not hot.  (I highly recommend doing this step while they are still on the pan to contain the mess.)

Happy Baking!


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