Teaching Kids How to Handle Confrontation Online

teaching kids to handle online confrontationI made a comment on a friend’s facebook post. It was interpreted in an entirely different way than how it was intended. I responded with a poorly worded defense. 4 comments later and someone I thought was a friend was publicly shaming me and calling into question my discipleship to Christ.

I was not mature about it. I unfriended her. After all, anyone who could hit me with a verbal sucker punch like that probably doesn’t think well enough of me to WANT to be my friend. At least, that’s what I told myself.

I couldn’t sleep. I cried. I was deeply hurt. I once respected this person. How could she treat me like that? But, after a few days to calm down and cope, I’m a better person, albeit admittedly embarrassed. Teaching kids to be careful online

In the future, I will be more careful in my comments. I’ll try to think more about how my words affect other people. She called into question that which is most sacred to me, and although it hurt, I’ll be a better disciple because of it.

Someday, I’ll tell my kids about it. Hopefully, they can learn from my experience. Social media is a place where we have to be extremely careful in our words. Without the physical cues of real interaction, we often become social idiots. People will say things online that they would never say in person. Even the best of people will allow themselves to get into online arguments. Human pride really really loves itself when we enter the online arena.

With that being said, here are a few things I want to teach myself and my kids about online discussion.

  • If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.
  • If you wish to stand up for an argument, first make sure that those you are discussing it with will actually listen. Even the soundest logic does no good when those engaging are more interested in what they will write next as opposed to what you have to say.
  • Listen when you read. Just like listening in-person, it’s an awesome idea to think about what another person is saying and find understanding where it’s possible.
  • Sometimes, people will argue strongly about something that is illogical or false according to your world view. They could be arguing vehemently that dihydrogen monoxide (water) is a toxic chemical that should be removed from all food sources. In cases like this, a response is useless, dihydrogen monoxide sounds scary, and that blog post said it was scary, and it’s scary darn it! Allow others their opinions, no matter how much you disagree.
  • You don’t have to have the last word.(I’m really bad at this one.) Others are reading this. Some will side with  you, some won’t, but having the last word doesn’t actually strengthen your argument.
  • No personal attacks. End of story.

I’ll do my best to teach my kids to be kind and respectful online, but I’m sure, to some extent they will have to learn the hard way, and when that happens I’ll be there to wipe the tears. Just as my daughter was there for me. She saw I was crying and went and made me “a collection” of some of her favorite trinkets to put on my dresser. I should look to her example of compassion before I type (or swipe) another word online.

Eight Reasons You Should Let Your Kids Play With Knives

8 Reasons You Should Let Your Kids Play With Knives FacebookGuess what? I let my kids play with knives.

Really. We have loads of fun together, just me, my kids, and the knives… oh, and the food.

Not everyone would call what we do playing. I set clear and specific rules before we pull the knives out, they can only be used in my presence, and they can only be used to cut up whatever food I’ve provided.

Not everyone calls it that, and while I won’t call it playing in front of my kids, that’s exactly what I consider it to be. We are after all having fun.

But there are rules! Playtime isn’t supposed to have rules!

No. play always has rules, even free play. You aren’t allowed to hit other children. You aren’t allowed to deface property. You aren’t allowed to jump off the dresser and pretend to be a bird (true story).

Think of knives the same way you think of board game play. Lots of rules and still part of a happy healthy childhood.

8 Reasons You Should Let Your Kids Play With Knives Pinterest

Here are eight reasons to let your kids play with knives.

  • To improve coordination: Cutting utilizes fine motor skills. These are the same skills used to cut with scissors and hold a pencil. So, you’re little Einstein can work on her pencil grip without even touching a pencil!
  • To teach your kid to help: Running a household is a big job, and our kids are a lot better off when they are part of that job. In fact, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal doing household chores is linked with academic success and financial independence.
  • To allow a little risk: Risk is GOOD for children. Allowing our children to take risks now gives them a better sense of their own capabilities and fosters a sense of confidence.
  • To give your child confidence: That’s right, more confidence. It’s amazing what they are capable of if we only give them the chance to show us, and they end up showing not just us, but themselves as well!
  • So your child learns how to cook: Smell that? It’s the delicious smell of dinner, and it’s cooked by someone other than you! The possibility is right around the corner, but you have to build the foundation now, by you guessed it, letting your kids play with knives.
  • To help your child be more involved with family meals: If my kids help cook the meal they are a hundred gazillion times more likely to actually eat it! Getting kids involved with cooking is so incredibly important to teaching them healthy skills that will set them up for a lifetime of good health vs. the lifetime of diabetes that looms over so many of our kids these days.
  • So you can have some productive time with your kid: We all want to spend time with our kids, but sometimes we also want clean clothing or a floor that doesn’t crunch under our feet. When we cook with our kids we are able to both spend time with them and be productive at the same time. Although, I make no promises as to how long it will take to cook your meal. They’re kids, not gourmet chefs.
  • So your kid doesn’t cut himself: Wait, you’re telling me that my kid won’t cut himself if I give him a knife? Say What!/? Seriously, if you are teaching your kid how to use a knife, with good ground rules about how to hold the knife, how to keep fingers away from the knife, etc. Your kid is way less likely to get cut. To be honest, it’s only been a couple of years that I’ve been able to prepare a meal without cutting myself, and I’ve been preparing meals for my family since I was sixteen. That’s probably because no one ever taught me how to use a knife. I had to youtube it when my husband threatened to hide all the knives in the house. Need more convincing? How about this, Kids in Sweden are regularly given knives, not just in the kitchen, but actual pocket knives to play with. They also have the lowest percentage of child injury in the world.

I let my kids play with knives

So give your kid a knife for darn’s sake and start cooking :)

But, if you’re feeling a bit nervous about handing your tot a five-pound butcher knife, you can always try one of these kid-safe knives. My kids got these for Christmas and they love them! No injuries  yet :)

Disclosure: I’m a member of amazon affiliate so if you click this link or buy one of these knives I get a “cut” of the deal. Get it? Get it?

So, do you let your kids use knives in the kitchen? Or are you not so sure about handing sharp pointy objects to your little ones?

Gratitude Exercises for Kids – Daily Exercises That Help Our Kids Be Thankful

how to teach your kids to be grateful

It was one of those crazy hard times. A lot was going on. Are you ready for the list that kept running through my head? Here goes, in chronological order: my husband was laid off, he found another job out of state, we moved, we became pregnant with our third child, which came with some pretty nasty morning sickness, and my grandmother’s physical and mental health declined dramatically, (she died about four months later).

grandma

It was a lot of change, really fast, and to top it all off the holidays were starting.

I felt overwhelmed. I hardly had time to cope with everything that had happened. I was down, who wouldn’t be? But I couldn’t show it. I needed to be there for my husband, my children, and especially my mother, who was the only surviving child of my grandmother, and dealing with enormous stressors of her own.

Then, my husband’s aunt issued a challenge.

She gave everyone in the family a small notebook and asked us to use it as a gratitude journal. At Thanksgiving, we would take turns reading excerpts from our days of thanks.

gratitude exercises 2

As I sat down to fill out my first entry,  I had many things to be grateful for, but I had spent so much time counting the things that were going wrong in my life, it was hard to feel the gratitude.

I wrote anyway. I wrote about how blessed we were to find work so soon after my husband was laid off. I wrote about how happy we were to be expecting another baby. I wrote about how good it was to move close to our family just when they needed us the most.

In the midst of turbulence, so many things were right. In the midst of the tears and the trials, the Lord was still in charge. He had a plan.

We only needed to see the beauty and to give thanks. Since that time, I’ve made an effort to teach my kids to be thankful.

Over and over, studies show that being thankful and being happy are linked. So, at our house, we treat gratitude like a muscle, and we exercise it.

Every morning, while we’re eating breakfast, I ask the kids gratitude questions.

These are questions designed to help their little minds make the connection between happiness and gratitude. Often, children will say the same things over and over when asked what they are grateful for, and that’s OK, but these questions are designed to help kids find deeper answers, to understand what it means to be thankful. I try to bring each discussion back to the topic of gratitude.

For example, this is an actual conversation with my daughter,

What is your favorite thing to do outside?

run

What do you need to run?

“My legs and my feet, and I need energy to run.”

So, what are you grateful for?

“My energy? And you know mom, I am crazy to tell you this, but I can have energy for sixty hundred million years!”

That’s a lot of energy!

“Yeah!”

Are you grateful for all that energy?

“Yeah! My energy can never end!”

Since starting gratitude exercises, I’ve seen a better attitude in myself and my kids. It’s working! I hope you’ll consider trying it out. I’m convinced it will help your families too.gratitude exercises

  1. What is your favorite thing to do outside? What allows you to do that thing?
  2. Name someone who loves you.
  3. Name someone you love. Why? Have you told them that?
  4. What is your favorite game to play? Why?
  5. What is the weather like today? What fun can come from, cloudy, sunny, windy, snowy, rainy, etc. weather?
  6.  Imagine if we didn’t have a house, what would that be like?
  7. What is your favorite animal?
  8. Name two things that make you happy.
  9. What is your favorite body part?
  10. What is the yummiest thing you’ve ever smelled?
  11. What is the softest thing you’ve ever felt?
  12. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
  13. Name something you’re really good at.
  14. Tell us about a happy memory.
  15. What is your favorite thing about mom, dad, brother, sister, etc?

These questions have started some hilarious conversations around our house, and we notice if we miss a day. What do you do at your house to foster gratitude? Let me know in the comments! Who knows, your tradition could change someone’s life :)

Kids Cook: How to shape no knead bread dough

kids cook

In 2012, more than one-third of children were overweight or obese in America. Our generation and our children’s generation are not expected to outlive our parents. We need to fight childhood obesity. Our health and our children’s health are in danger. Our kids are less active and in more pain than we were.

And I’m scared.

I don’t want to outlive my kids.

My uncle died when he was in his fifties, nearly fifteen years before my grandma passed away. She was never the same. She said it wasn’t right, outliving your child.

So, I fight. I fight for my kid’s health.

And I do it by cooking.

Over the next few months, I’m launching a series of cooking tutorials. But, these aren’t your standard, do this then that, tutorials. These tutorials are focused on cooking WITH your kids. I’ll show you not only how to use simple cooking techniques, I’ll show you how to teach those techniques to your littles.

Why? Because if our children understand the process behind the food they eat, then they are equipped to make smart choices now and in the future.

Because when we cook we are in charge of the ingredients. We control the sugar, salt, and oil that goes into the food.

Because if our children understand the process behind the food they eat then they are equipped to make smart choices now and in the future.

Because childhood is precious, and every minute invested in our children is worth it.

Because sometimes everyday moments, like making bread with mom, become the fondest memories.

So, here’s my first Kids Cook Tutorial: How to Shape Bread.

This is a technique I learned from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book series. In the book, they call it a gluten cloak. The technique is a way to shape wet no knead dough. When I publish my recipe for 1-hour light wheat french bread this technique will be useful.

You will need one ball of no-knead bread dough. I’ll include the link here when my recipe is up on the site.

Step 1: Dust your hands with flour and pat the dough into a ball. Sticky hands are a must!

step 1

Step 2: Use your fingers to press up from underneath the center of the dough. I was so proud of how well my little champ did this step. It’s amazing what kids are capable of with the right combination of leeway and guidance.

Step 2

Step 3: Stretch the dough around itself, turning it until it forms a ball. See the shaggy texture in the photo? That’s because it was turned so many times! The kids had fun :)

step 3

Step 4: Turn the ball over and pinch the bottom together. She’s doing a great job isn’t she? I just showed her what to do, handed her a heavy hunk of dough, and let her get those little fingers moving.

step 4

Step 5: Give each kid bits of dough (as long as there’s no egg it’s harmless if they eat some) and play!

2play

play

You can take the dough, let it rise, and bake it now. Your kids will probably play until the house smells of… amazingness. My kids love making bread with me. They brag about their work when we’re eating the bread afterward.

So, I guess there’s only one more question left.

Are you ready to fight?

Quick Light Wheat French Bread – Ready in One Hour

light wheat french bread recipe 5

I’m always baking bread. We rarely purchase it from the store because I make it so often. So, when I tell you this is a good bread recipe, you can trust me. It’s fluffy with a wet crumb, just like french bread should be, and it’s ready in one hour.

Now, in some circles, this would be considered whole wheat french bread, after all, it’s nearly half whole wheat, but I think that’s cheating. So, I’m calling it light wheat. You still get the benefits of some whole grains, plus the benefits of a great rise.

“Enough talking Amber!”

Okay. Let’s get to the recipe.

First. Combine 2 1/2 cups of warm water with 2 Tablespoons of yeast, 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Set it aside.

In a separate bowl combine 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 tsp of salt.

Now, heat up a cup of water in the microwave, this is relevant, I promise.

Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and slowly add your wet, mixing it all together like an Italian grandma.

light wheat french bread recipe

…until, it has formed a very sticky, very wet ball. This should take about three minutes.

light wheat french bread recipe 2

Now, remember the water? Take it out and discard it. Place a warm damp towel over your dough, and put the dough in the hot steamy microwave. You now have the perfect environment for a quick rise. Leave the dough there for fifteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, and voila! A beautifully risen ball of dough.

light wheat french bread recipe 3

Take a handful of flour (equal to about a 1/4 cup of all purpose flour) and dust your hands and the top of your dough. Separate the dough into two balls, then elongate the balls into two beautiful loaves of bread. If you have never shaped no-knead dough before, check out my tutorial. Shaping it the right way makes all the difference. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your dough on it.

Now, to make your bread pretty, because bread is a work of art, dust the dough liberally with flour, dip your sharpest knife into more flour and slash the top. In case you can’t tell, flour and a sharp knife is the key to a good slash :)

light wheat french bread recipe 4

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. By the time the oven has preheated (about five minutes at my house), the dough will have risen, and it’s time for baking. Don’t put the bread in until it the oven is fully preheated or you won’t get as good of a rise.

Bake it for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and your home permeates with the beautiful smell of bread. If you like a crispier crust, then put a cup of water in your boiler tray at the same time you put the bread in the oven; otherwise, this makes a soft crust similar to what you find at the grocery store.

light wheat french bread recipe 5

If you have the patience, let it cool before slicing, and you have two gorgeous loaves of light wheat french bread in just 60 minutes time.

light wheat french bread recipe 6

 

Quick Light Wheat French Bread
Print Recipe
Quick Light Wheat French Bread
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings: 2 loaves
Instructions
  1. Combine water, sugar, olive oil and yeast, set aside
  2. In a separate bowl combine flours and salt
  3. Heat a cup of water in the microwave.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and slowly combine until a sticky dough ball forms
  5. Cover dough ball with a warm damp towel and let it rise for fifteen minutes in the microwave
  6. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper Dust the dough with flour, form it into two loaves, and place it on a baking sheet
  7. Dust the loaves with flour, slash with a sharp knife Preheat oven to 375 Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes Let cool, enjoy
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The One Day at Church That Changed the Way I Mother Forever

The One Day At Church That Changed the Way I Mother Forever

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Like there’s just too much to do, and no way to do it, let alone do it all with a smile?

I do. It’s those days that make me think I might be failing at motherhood. It’s those days that make me feel like I’m alone. The days that lead me to question, what am I doing wrong? How will I make it through this?

But, often, those are also the days when I receive mercy. They are the days when I receive reminders. I’m not alone. I can do this. Everything will be Okay.

On one particular day like that, I received more than just mercy. I received a change of perspective that I hope to never forget, because it changed the way I mother forever.

It was a Sunday, and my husband had worked the night before, so I got up early to get the kids ready for church by myself.

At the time, I had a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a nursing infant.

We were having particular trouble with the two-year-old. He is a naturally sweet boy with a wild and silly side. His silly side didn’t know when to turn off and getting him ready for church could take as long as an hour. I must confess, at times like this, I often got frustrated and resorted with threatening, punishment, and raised tones in order to reach our destination.

This Sunday was particularly bad, still, I somehow managed to get the kids in the car, out of the car, and into church before the meeting began. We even found a bench to sit on.

Things were going okay. I took a deep breathe as the baby fell asleep on my chest. That’s when my two-year-old started to act up again.

“Shhh, It’s time to be reverent.” I whispered.

I don’t remember his exact response, just that it was loud and inappropriate. I continued to whisper to him, trying my hardest to wrangle him without disturbing the baby. It wasn’t working. 

I felt stuck. If I moved, I would wake the sleeping baby, who probably hadn’t slept well the night before (knowing the sleeping patterns of this particular child). If I didn’t move, the entire congregation would be subjected to my two-year-old’s distracting chatter.

I said a silent prayer, “Lord, please help me. Please tell me what to do.”

I got an immediate answer. A thought came to my mind.

“Love him.”

“What?”

“Just Love him.”

“What do you mean? How do I just love him. I do love him, but how does that help me right now?”

I started to cry. I was sleep deprived, confused, and so inadequate.

That’s when my little boy took my face in his hands.

“Mommy? What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

And I knew I had an opportunity to love him, to explain to him with love, not threats, not punishments, but with love, why I needed him to behave.

“Because, sweetie, mommy loves church and mommy wants to listen, but she can’t do that when you’re noisy.”

“You need me to whisper?” He said in the loudest whisper imaginable.

“Yes. I love you so much honey. Can you be reverent for me?”

I got a great big kiss, a great big hug, and a wiggly, but trying to whisper two-year-old.

We made it through the meeting. We made it through, and I knew that I wasn’t really alone. The Lord would help make up for my inadequacies, and when I parent with love I get much better results than when I allow my stress to parent for me.

The story doesn’t end there. Later, when they asked for parenting experiences in a women’s meeting, I shared what had happened. So many of my sweet sister’s came up to me after and expressed regret that they didn’t know I was often at church by myself.

Since that day, when I’m at church without my husband, I have always had offers of help. The two single sisters who are happy to hold the baby for me, or the teenager who will play with my daughter, or even the older gentlemen who will make eye contact and smile at my son. These people have further reminded me that I’m not alone, and shown me that if I need help, I need only make it known.

I wish I could say that my parenting changed over night, but as with all things, it takes time. I’m still working on it, but in the back of my mind, when I’m faced with a challenging situation with my kids, I already know the answer to my question. What should I do? Love them, just love them.

 

Positive affirmations for mothers

I remember before I had kids. My love for children led me to multiple jobs with kids. Parents often asked me if I was getting my degree in teaching (I wasn’t) and complimented me on my kid skills. I was pretty sure I had this parenting thing wired. There were even a couple of times I was able to address behavioral problems that parents were having difficulty with. I was amazing. I was confident.

Then I had children of my own.

Oh. Man.

With other people’s kids I was great, but with my own little darlings… not so much. I found myself losing my patience. I yelled. I got overwhelmed. I dealt with several nasty bouts of postpartum depression. I let them watch TV *gasp*. Basically I discovered that mothering is hard, really hard.

And I just kept making it harder on myself. How? By hanging on to unrealistic expectations. I remembered my pre-child self and expected my post child self to be the same person, to be just as good with my own children as I am with a strangers.

I was missing a big part of the picture. For one, I was missing the fact that I am with my children Every. Single. Day. *big breath* All. Day. Long. I don’t get a break to recharge. I can’t be expected to have an infinite supply of patience. Second, I was missing that I love my kids a whole lot more than I love someone else’s kids (although I did love the kids I worked with). This makes everything more personal, my emotional response to my children’s misbehavior is completely different from my emotional response to another child. Learning to temper that response isn’t an overnight thing. I’m a work in progress. I have to give myself the chance to figure this thing out, because I won’t do it perfectly right from the get go.

I have always been a bit of a perfectionist. I often focus so hard on the achievement part of the journey that I forget to take a step back and enjoy where I am right now, because where I am right now is not only enough it’s wonderful, even when where I am right now feels like a step backwards.

I love this quote from President Gordon B Hinckley.

“Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort.”

Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know how, and the Lord will accept your effort.

Whether you are religious or not I think that quote is inspiring. It challenges all of us to accept our own best efforts, to accept ourselves, right now, where we are on our journey today.Tweet: Our quest for bettering ourselves shouldn’t come at the cost of our own happiness.

The fact is, during the parenting journey we will all mess up, we will all have days we aren’t proud of, but if we dust ourselves off and get back up, we can still be happy with who we are now.

I’m all full of quotes today, but here’s another one that I love by Mary Anne Radmacher

“Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.

My positive affirmations for sons and daughters are still some of my most popular posts, but today I was thinking that sometimes I need some positive affirmations as well. So I’ve created another free printable (for noncommercial use) that is specifically for mothers. I hope it brightens your day and reminds you that you are OK wherever you are on your journey today. If you want to print it out and hang it up, please do, I would be honored.

I love my children without limit. I am strong, strong enough to weather any storm. I give myself permission to make mistakes, and I will make mistakes, after, I will apologize and start over. I accept myself where I am right now. I a mother

Affirmation: I love my children without limit – I am strong – strong enough to weather any storm – I give myself permission to make mistakes – and I will make mistakes – after, I will apologize – and start over – I accept myself where I am right now – I am a mother

 

Don’t Spill the Blessings! Another Fun Family Home Evening Idea

Don't spill the blessings

Lately, my kids are all about the classic game,Don’t Spill the Beans. My two-year-old calls it Don’t Drop the Beans, so cute! If you aren’t familiar with this game, it’s a cause and effect game where you take turns dropping beans into a swinging “pot” but if you put too many beans in the pot could spill on your turn! The first one to get rid of their beans wins. Although my kids seem to think it’s more fun to spill the beans and gather them in a mini mountain.

Due to my kids apparent fascination with spilling the beans, I decided to base a Family Home Evening around this simple kid’s game. Because we are always looking for more Family Home Evenings geared toward little kids. So, basically this whole family evening is playing the game Don’t Spill the Beans, except this time we are playing Don’t Spill the Blessings and the real goal is to help our kids understand

1) that blessings from Heavenly Father are directly correlated with obedience to His commandments

2) that He loves us and gives us commandments out of love and

3) that He wants to give us SO many blessings they can’t be contained and end up spilling.

Opening Prayer

Scripture: D&C 130: 20 – 21

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven

Song: Keep the Commandments (click link for music)

Family Home Evening Lesson:

The way you approach this will depend on the age of your kids. I have very young children who don’t like to sit still for the lesson part of family home evening so feel free to adjust if you have older kids. I started this family home evening by pretending we were getting in the car for a drive. The analogy is taken from Carole M Stephen’s conference talk, If Ye Love Me Keep My Commandments. If you have older kids you might be able to just read a quick excerpt from her talk. You can find it here. Either way, I highly suggest going over it in preparation. It’s a wonderful talk! Remember, this is just for your own convenience and to help others out with family home evening. You don’t have to follow it exactly. To quote a song, Listen to the still small voice. He will guide you. :)

Please sit on the couch, we’re going for a pretend drive. Good job. Now let’s all put on our seat-belts. Click. Click. Click. Good! Why do we wear seat-belts?

To keep us safe

So we don’t get hurt

Because it’s the law

If it wasn’t the law, would mom and pop still put you in seatbelts? Of course we would! Why?

Because you want us to be safe

Why?

Because you love us!

That’s exactly right. We love you SO much! We would never want you to get hurt. That’s why we put you in car seats and seat belts.

Does Heavenly Father ask us to do a lot of things?

Yes.

Like what?

Go to church

Pray

Pay tithing

etc.

Why does He ask us to do all of those things?

Probably a blank stare. Ha ha!

Do you think it’s because He loves us and wants to keep us safe?

Yes!

Alright can someone read this quote from Carole M Stephens?

His Commandments are a manifestation of his love for us and obedience to his commandments is an expression of our love for him

“His commandments are a manifestation of His love for us and obedience to His commandments is an expression of our love for Him.”

Did you know that when we receive a blessing from Heavenly Father it is because we obeyed one of His commandments?

K, it’s time to play Don’t Spill the Blessings! The beans represent blessings and every time we place a blessing on the pot we have to say a commandment and a way we are blessed when we follow that commandment.

Examples: paying tithing – having enough for our needs, getting baptized – receiving the Holy Ghost, Praying – Receiving comfort

Play as long as you want!

Closing Song: Count Your Blessings (click link for music)

Closing Prayer

I hope this is helpful. I’m planning on trying it AGAIN in a couple of weeks. My kids were SO excited to play the game they had a hard time with the lesson at the start. ha ha. Sometimes family home evenings go really well and sometimes they don’t. But I trust that if we keep doing them our family will be better for it. Good luck and I would LOVE to hear how it goes at your house :)

Amber Maybe is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 

 

How any mom can finish her to do list + an easy craft

63% of professionals use to-do lists, at least according to a linkdn study published in 2012, but, according to the same study, only 11% of those professionals complete them. Can I get an amen to that?

As a stay at home mom I have to be self motivated and organized or my home gets chaotic…fast…like faster than Michael Phelps in a crocodile infested swimming pool kind of fast. One of the best tools in my arsenal? The to-do list, and while there are definitely days I don’t get through my to-do list. Lately there are more and more days where I rock it.

Here are my easy tricks for getting through your to-do list:

How to finish your to do list - stay at home mom

1. Don’t “overlist” yourself: If you aren’t getting through your list, put fewer things on it. This seems obvious, but for type A overachiever types (like myself) it’s not. No, you are not failing at your list because you are failing at life! You’re just over-scheduling yourself. I try to limit my list to 5 or 6 items.

2. Don’t make your list too rigid: My husband plans his day out by the hour, school from 8-10, work from 4-4, lunch from noon – 1 etc. But as mom’s (or stay at home dad’s) our lives just aren’t that predictable. Every single task is interrupted, there are hungry kids (who were just fed an hour ago), stubbed toes (that can only be healed by a kiss), peed pants, is it nap time already? You get the picture. It’s OK to have a few items that have to be completed at a certain time, but try not to get overwhelmed if it’s 2 pm and you’re not done yet. There are so many things we do as moms that can’t be quantified or checked off in a list. Healthy happy kids are the goal, not five satisfying check marks.

How to finish your to do list - busy moms

 

3.  Keep it consistent: For the most part, my list looks the same from day-to-day. It’s part of my routine and the fact that it is pretty similar day-to-day means that when I inevitably get distracted I can get back on track once the distraction is over, rather than wandering off and starting something else entirely. This tip is HUGE for me. Seriously, if you only pay attention to one of these tips, I would start with this one.

4. Start your list in the morning: Have you ever had a morning where you were too tired to get out of bed so you let the kids watch Daniel Tiger while you caught an extra thirty minutes of shut-eye? How did the rest of the day go? Was it easy to get back into your usual routine and be productive? I’m not saying days like that don’t happen. We’re human after all, but if you are looking for a productive day then it’s a lot easier if it starts out that way.

5. Keep your list in a visible place: My to-do list is on the baker’s rack in my kitchen. It’s front and center. I see it multiple times every day, so when I’m distracted or zoned out (now what did I come into the kitchen for?) I can see my list and get going. I don’t know if it’s my right-brained self or what, but I get side tracked easily. This tip helps me “re-rail” quickly when that happens…. like fifty times a day…

So, now that you’ve read my easy tips for how to get through your to-do list. Here’s my super easy way to make a reusable white board to do list.

First, take an 8 x 10 piece of paper, I used butcher paper, and crumple it up into a ball.

wadded paper

Then, smooth it out as best you can

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Place it into a picture frame, mine came from the dollar store

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And you are done!

How to be a productive stay at home mom

Grab a dry-erase marker and get to-do-ing. You can do a traditional to do list. Or you can even play a game with yourself. Check out this tic-tac-to-do list I made. Once you’ve accomplished three things you win! Wooo hooo!).

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And it can be used for many purposes. I actually do my home pre-school on it before writing my to-do list in the morning.

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Moral of the Story: Getting stuff done is hard. But you can do it! Go grab a to do list and feel productive :)

New Year New FHE – Goal Setting FHE for 2016

This Family Home Evening Idea was largely inspired from the talk Our Perfect Example by Henry B Eyring. It’s a beautiful talk and I highly recommend reading it. I love that it takes a commandment that I always found daunting (to be perfect) and makes it feel encouraging. I’m sure that’s what our loving Heavenly Father wants for us, even as He asks so much.

Song: I’m trying to be like Jesus

Scripture: Moroni 7:48

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Treat: Fortune Cookies (bringing you “fortune” in the new year)

Thought: We believe that through living the gospel of Jesus Christ we can become like the Savior, who is perfect. Considering the attributes of Jesus Christ should quash the pride of the self-satisfied person who thinks he or she has no need to improve. And even the most humble person can take hope in the invitation to become like the Savior. – President Henry B Eyring

Even the most humble person can take hope in the invitation to become like the Savior

Feel free to print this out for noncommercial use. And yes, I did use my daughter’s dollar store markers to make this… why do you ask? :)

Lesson:

Ask someone to read Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect even as your father which is in heaven is perfect.

Ask What does it mean to be perfect? Do you know anyone who is perfect? Is it possible for me to be perfect?

Field responses then read the following definitions of perfect.

1. Without flaw or defect

2. Complete

3. As good as it is possible to be

After reading these definitions ask if it is possible to be perfect according to any of the definitions. Explain that while none of us is completely perfect we can all be perfect in certain areas. I like the scriptures example. If I read my scriptures every single night then I am complete, as good as it is possible to be, and without flaw or defect in my scripture study.  Ask for more examples of ways we can be perfect in this life. If you get some good responses please tell me about it in the comments! Further explain that our Heavenly Father didn’t command us to be perfect to make us feel overwhelmed or because he expects us to never make mistakes. He knew we would make mistakes, that’s why He sent Jesus Christ to atone for our sins. He commanded us to be perfect so we would have a fixed goal. He wants us to be determined and confident in our abilities to do good. He wants us to always strive for perfection.

Elder Eyring said, “None of us is perfect yet. But we can have frequent assurance that we are following along the way. He leads us, and He beckons for us to follow Him.”

Activity:

2016 Goal Worksheet

On a piece of paper, if you want to you can print out the one I’ve provided here, write down some goals. These can be family goals, goals between spouses, or individual goals. You can direct your children as much or as little as you like. You could encourage them to make goals relating to different categories of their lives such as spiritual, academic, and health, or you could simply let them be. Because my children can’t write yet I’ll probably write for them and then encourage them to draw pictures of their goals. One thing I will definitely be encouraging at my house is goals that are doable, along with a reminder that if we mess up our goal there is always repentance ready to get us back on track.

Optional: At the end play a board game together, during the game discuss ways to accomplish your goals. If you aren’t a board game kind of family you could always just discuss this over a treat.

Happy New Years Everyone!