Saturday, October 31, 2009

Favorite Fall Book

This is my new favorite fall book. It's "The Little Yellow Leaf" by Carin Berger. It's about a little yellow leaf who is not ready to let go of her branch. She hangs on until she thinks she's the only leaf left, but she sees one more leaf who also isn't ready to let go. Together, they decide they're ready, and they let go and fly in to the wind.
I love this book mostly for the pictures. They're very fun to look at and very fallish because of the colors she uses. They're a little bit modern in style, and I really like it. See if your library has it or add it to your home library. It's a beautiful book to add to your shelves at home.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We don't remember days- we remember moments.

A couple weeks ago I was busy cleaning the kitchen or something when I suddenly noticed how quiet it was. We all know what that means- usually a sign for trouble. So snuck upstairs to see what Clara was up to. I peeked into her room and found her sitting on the floor with a book in her lap and with more books scattered around her. I was relieved to find her out of mischief, more specifically not unrolling our mega size toilet paper roll, and I was pleased to find her perfectly content by herself with her books. That meant I could continue cleaning in a few more minutes of peace and quiet.

Before I rushed back downstairs to finish my chores, I thankfully stayed put and allowed myself a beautiful moment to sit and watch my child for a few minutes. From where I was standing, I had the advantage of seeing her without her seeing me, and trust me- she'd let me know of her disapproval if she knew I was watching.

I sat their for probably 10 minutes just trying to soak in every detail of the moment: the intensity of her eyes as they scanned the colorful pages; her mouth as it formed words like "Oh" and "wow" and all kinds of nonsense words; the sound of her adorable little voice; the size of some of the monstrous books compared to her tiny body; her small hands and fingers that turned each page; the vision of her surrounded by wonderful books. It was obvious the wheels in her head were turning, but I wondered what she was thinking about. For her, life is new and exciting and everything is a wonder. I realized as I sat there watching her that while I was trying to soak in everything about her, she was trying to soak in everything she saw in those books. I love watching my kids discover life.

As I watched her, tears welled up and my heart throbbed with joy. It was so exquisite that it almost hurt. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. I remember thinking, "If my kids get any cuter I'm going to go into cardiac arrest!" I was so glad that I took time away from cleaning so that I could have that moment with Clara. It was a simple moment but one that I will cherish always.

I learned two things from this moment. One, books are magical (really, I already knew that). Two, it's the small, everyday moments that are most important, and if we're not careful, they'll pass us by and we'll never get them back.

It's kinda funny- the more I take time to savor these moments in life, the more patient and loving I am with my kids. The more selfish I am with my time, the more impatient and not-so-loving I am. Funny how life works.

So, my challenge to you and to me, is to embrace each moment you have with your kids. Cling to them, savor them, "drink them in!" as Anne would say. Our lives will be more meaningful if we do, our children will be happier, and our hearts will throb with pangs of joy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Favorite Halloween Books

I wanted to share some fun Halloween books. My kids are loving these and want me to read them to them all the time. I don't mind because they're so cute (the books and my kids)!
The first is Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. This book is fun because it introduces kids to classic Halloween characters, like witches, vampires, ghosts, bats and mummies, but it does it in a fun, very non-scary way. I think this book is my kids' favorite of all our Halloween books. It's about a witch who plants a pumpkin seed so she can have a pumpkin to make pumpkin pie with. But on Halloween night she goes to pick her pumpkin off the vine, and it's too big and heavy. So, a ghost comes to help. Then a vampire, a mummy and finally a bat. Can they get the pumpkin picked and have their pumpkin pie before Halloween is over? You'll just have to read it to find out.

This one is Room On A Broom by Julia Donaldson. This one is also stinking cute! It's about a witch who is riding on her broom but keeps losing things and having to fly down to the ground to find them. Every time, she meets someone new and they ask to ride on her broom. Pretty soon she's got quite a few passengers, and her broom breaks! Then, the witch flies into a great big dragon, who wants to eat the her (with fries)! Can her friends save her from the dragon? And what will they about the witch's broken broom?

This is such a classic and for good reason! Clara really loves this one because she loves clomping her feet, clapping her hands, and nodding her head like the clothes in the book. Her favorite is shouting Boo! every time she sees the jack-o-lantern. It's pretty darn cute!

We discovered the Jesse Bear books at the library, and I think they are so cute. They're written by Nancy White Carlstrum, and this one is called, What A Scare, Jesse Bear. I like these books for their cute rhymes and for how sweet Jesse Bear is. They're really cute books. In this one he and his family carve pumpkins, dress up in scary and funny costumes, go trick-or-treating, and go home and eat their goodies. Jesse Bear gets a little scared but learns that it's just pretend.

What are your favorite Halloween books?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Color Orange and A Big Round Squash

Today I had a moment of creativity. I pulled out my construction paper, glue and scissors, brought my kids to the kitchen table where we started making jack-o-lanterns.
I started cutting out a bunch of shapes: triangles, squares, circles. I told the kids that we would be using shapes to make the pumpkin's face. Noah knows his shapes, but Clara really doesn't, so I thought this would be a fun way for her to start learning them. Even though does know them, it was still fun for him to see how you can create different things using shapes. We did use some ovals, which was a shape he didn't know very well, so he still learned something new.
As we made them, I'd ask Noah, "What shape do you want to do for the eyes? For the nose?" etc... One time I told him he didn't have to do the same shape for both eyes. He liked that idea and did a circle and a square. After that he started to get more creative.
Clara had fun rubbing the glue stick all over everything for a while, but her attention span quickly ran out, so I had to entertain her with some stickers. But Noah LOVED it! He loved gluing and creating, and he even cut some of the shapes (like, the huge stems). He made pumpkin after pumpkin, even getting really creative and doing a pink, a blue and a green pumpkin. Who cares that they don't exist in real life! Being a kid is about being imaginative. I loved watching him create a different jack-o-lantern each time. Each one was unique- just like him!
Here are some of our pumpkins we made. I love the green one and the one with the humongous stem.
When we finished cleaning up, Noah helped me hang up our pumpkins all around the house as part of our Halloween decor. I know displaying his artwork always makes him feel so good, and I love seeing them around. Every time I see them I feel warm and fuzzy all over.
When the activity was over I didn't really want to stop playing with my kids. I was having just as much fun. Plus, I wanted to do something that Clara would really enjoy, since she didn't get as into the pumpkin thing.
So, I found my Halloween CD and stuck it in the CD player. Clara immediately started dancing and kept saying "more" when a song would end. She loves music, and she loves dancing. She twirls, kicks, wiggles, bobs her head to the beat, shakes, and laughs. I had fun dancing too to all the silly kid-friendly Halloween songs.
After the kids had lunch, I grabbed some pumpkin/Halloween books to have a little story time to help wind them down for nap/rest time. As I was getting ready, I realized there was a theme emerging from all my last minute play time ideas. The pumpkins were orange, the leftover mac and cheese they had for lunch was orange, the blanket I grabbed for reading time was orange and came with a small round orange pillow that looks like a pumpkin, and the books I grabbed were all about orange pumpkins. I pointed this all out to Noah, asking him what color everything was. He was very excited to see the similarities in everything. And when we read our books, I let him hold the pumpkin pillow.
At the end of all this, Noah collapsed onto my lap. I told him how much fun I had, and he said, "Me too, but it made me tired." Mwuah-ha-ha! My evil planned worked!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Websites You'll Love

I've been introduced to some awesome websites with the cutest, creative ideas for activities to do with your kids (once again illustrating that pretty much everything I put on this blog is NOT my own, original idea). Here they are:

Children's Learning Activities

No Time For Flash Cards

Fall Crafts for Kids

DLTK's Sites

I think these websites are very useful because the ideas are simple but fun. I think you'll really like them. They have so many cute things for this time of the year. Have fun with your kids this week!

Do you have another site you really like? What Fall activities do you with your kids?

I have one more website I want to highlight, and it's for you moms. My friend and her sisters started this up, and it is so cute! I am amazed at how creative they are! They update everyday, so there's always something new.

Keep the Juices Flowing

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Last night I picked up my May 2008 General Conference Ensign and turned to Elder Nelson's talk, "Salvation and Exaltation." I remember this talk and enjoyed re-reading it last night. It reminded me of some things I seem to always need reminding of. I thought I'd share some of what he said with you.

How can we best teach our children? The Lord has given us specific instruction:

"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

"By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile-

"Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase in love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy."

When a child needs correction, you might ask yourself, "What can i say or do that would persuade him or her to choose a better way?" When giving necessary correction, do it quietly, privately, lovingly, and not publicly. If a rebuke is require, show an increase of love promptly so that seeds of resentment may not remain. To be persuasive, your love must be sincere and your teachings based on divine doctrine and correct principles.

Do not try to control your children. Instead, listen to them, help them to learn the gospel, inspire them, and lead them toward eternal life. You are God's agents in the care of children He has entrusted to you. Let His divine influence remain in your hearts as you teach and persuade.

In the same conference, Elder Ballard gave his comforting talk to mothers. In it he said, among many other wonderful things:

...pray, study, and teach the gospel. Pray deeply about your children and about your role as a mother. Parents can offer a unique and wonderful kind of prayer because they are praying to the Eternal Parent of us all. There is great power in a prayer that essentially says, "We are steward-parents over Thy children, Father; please help us to raise them as Thou wouldst want them raised."

I'm so grateful for our prophets and apostles, for their testimonies, their spiritual strength, and for their love. This last General Conference was so wonderful. I learned so much about what I need to be doing better. Every question/struggle I had was answered. I feel so spiritually fed, and I don't want that feeling to go away, and I don't want this renewed desire to do what's right to go away.

That's why I am going to be participating in a General Conference study group. Stephanie at Diapers and Divinity does this after each general conference, and she invites all to participate. I'm so excited to be a part of this because I know my life will be blessed because of it. Click on the picture below to find out more about Stephanie's study group and how you can participate.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Follow the Prophet" FHE Lesson

After General Conference I am resolved to be better at regular FHEs. I'm throwing my excuses for not holding them out the window and am ready to faithfully follow the counsel to hold regular and meaningful FHEs.

Tonight ours was on Following the Prophet, since our prophet and apostles just gave us lots of things to follow. I got my lesson plan idea from LDS Splash!. I liked how simple it was and very fun for little kids.

Supplies: simple prophet costume (I just used a tie and had my hubby tie it so we could easily slip it on and off)

Lesson: After your opening song and prayer, read a few or all of the following scriptures:

Amos 3:71
Nephi 3:7
D&C 1:4
Jacob 4:6

Talk about the scriptures with your kids.

Talk about the importance of "following the prophet." When Nephi said "I will go and do," he was following the prophet, who happened to be his dad.

Tell your kids that your going to play a follow the prophet game. Get your tie out and explain whomever wears the tie is the "prophet." While you all sing the primary song "Follow the Prophet" (we just sang the chorus), the person playing the prophet will lead everyone else in various actions. For Noah, he enjoyed this game the sillier the prophet's actions were. It was really fun.

The lesson on LDS Splash suggests to now talk about how everyone did at following the prophet and what happened when they did or did not follow him/her.

We skipped this and instead talked about the experience over the weekend of hearing the prophet and apostles speak to us. We all talked about what we liked about it and the things we learned. Then we talked about individual and family goals we could make to be more like Jesus and to follow the prophet.

I closed the lesson by bearing my testimony of the prophet. It was a very nice and easy FHE.

P.S.- I still haven't forgotten about my 5 things I was going to post.