Friday, December 31, 2010

Family Home Evening Resources

I thought I'd share some of the upcoming FHE's we will be having as a family, and some other fun FHE resources! :0)

Provident Living

Peace

Home

FHE Fun from SugarDoodle

Some Nifty FHE Planner Boards

FHE Wheel Chart

Gearing Up for a New Year!

Mr. Man and I have spent some time switching gears for this upcoming season of learning at our house! The focus for this year, is going to be as follows:

Character Building

Operational Definitions of Character Qualities (from the Duggar Family)
We will also use the Book of Mormon, to supplement additional ideas about each quality.

20 Strategies to Help Your Children Develop Good Character taken from Dr. Helen LeGette's book, Parents, Kids & Character: Twenty-One Strategies to Help Your Children Develop Good Character. (Redundant, I know. LOL) :0) I had a copy of this handout, saved from somewhere and it really has a lot of great information!

Methods of Teaching Character

Ideas to help teach specific character traits. For example:

Find Heroes and Heroines who exhibited this trait.
Find stories which demonstrate this trait, or it's lack.
Tell a story about this trait.
Study historical people who showed this trait.
ETC., ETC., ETC.

The other part of our focus for the year will be PEACE.

We have a copy of The Duggar House Guidelines
Which we've re-titled to our Family Guidelines for Peace.

We will still continue our Storied Scriptures study. We are doing a lapbook for each section. Currently, we are studying The Book of Mormon.

There are three articles that I have found, which will help us this year! They are:

1. Good, Better, Best by Elder Dallin H. Oaks
2. The Power of Free Play by Lenore Skenazy
3. Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills by Alix Spiegel

One other thing we will focus on for the year, is Family Home Evening. (Having actual PLANNED lessons, every Monday evening!)


My personal studies right now, include The Doctrine and Covenants and the book entitled A Quiet Heart by Patricia T. Holland. (This is a WONDERFUL book! I was inspired to buy it one day when we were at Deseret Industries while on Christmas vacation.) I have been waking up at least a half hour early (still working up to that hour early), to spend time for scripture study and prayer. This helps me get off on the right foot, for the day!

I am making some type of board to go on the wall, which will be the hub of these things that we want to focus on for the year! I'll let ya' know how this turns out! :0)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and the New Year

Our family had a wonderful Christmas this year! It was much more simple and stress-free than in years past! Even so, I would like next Christmas to be even more simple and stress-free! It's a work in progress, right?! :0) This year we decided to put more of a limit on what the children could receive for Christmas. We told them they could receive 2 gifts from Mr. Man and myself. They all wanted to receive Pioneer/Cowboy Stuff and Stick Horses from Santa, so that's what they got. Next year, we will stick to one thing from Santa! It was a little too much! :0) They received a picnic basket and blanket, pie tins and spoons for dishes, 2 tin cups (since Laura and Mary always shared their with each other), and some baked beans and cornbread mix to make their own prairie meal, all from Santa. He brought the boys all western shirts and red bandanas with toy guns and accessories. He brought the girls homemade pioneer skirts and aprons with shirts and bonnets that had flowers glued on to them. The hats turned out really cute and tie under their chins with ties that match their dresses or aprons. (Thanks to Nana Claus...my mom!) They also each received a pair of cowboy/pioneer boots to wear. Let's just say that Santa ran around to every thrift store in town, looking to find boots for every child. Most everything they received came from a second-hand store in some way, and they loved it! I don't think I'll ever shop at a regular store again, if I can help it! We went over to my parents house to open gifts and had a nice time! I wish the part about opening presents wasn't so chaotic, but it was fun! In Utah, Mr. Man's family all opens gifts one at a time and shows everyone what they got, and it just makes for a more peaceful and grateful atmosphere where everyone can give hugs and thank-you's and knows who gave them what! :0) So next year...we are talking about giving Christmas to another family and focusing more on acts of service/homemade gifts to give each other. We want to start making homemade gifts next month, so that Christmas doesn't sneak up on us and turn into a scramble to find gifts for everyone. The cool thing about this, is that we want to teach the children a new skill each month, that they can turn into gifts for others. Hopefully, this will help us to be more intentional about Christmas next year, and leave time and energy for focusing on the spirit of Christmas, in a more reverent way! All in all, it was a wonderful time! We feel bad because we had a Secret Santa who was trying to do the 12 days of Christmas for our family, but we went out of town this year. No one has ever done that for our family before, and we are sad to have missed it! Thank you to whoever you were! It was a lovely thought! :0)

With the New Year approaching, my thoughts are turned to making some real and lasting changes with some things! First off, I want to make an appointment with the Lord each morning, for personal prayer and scripture study! A dear friend told me that she has done this and I just thought it was a beautiful idea! I am going to go to bed early enough (by 9 p.m.) so that I can wake up at 5 a.m. and have an hour to myself for prayer, scripture study, personal reflection and planning of my day. Next...I really need to do something about the state of my bod. I've gained about 20 pounds and have been having some health problems lately. Mr. Man and I both have some weight to lose and are both intent on daily stretching, exercising and walks on the treadmill! This will include intentional eating as well. No more junk food! Gone are the days when I can eat whatever I want and not gain anything! I want to set a better example for my children too, and am looking forward to some fun projects in the kitchen, preparing healthy meals and snacks! :0) The other goals that I have, involve my personal education and providing inspiration for my children to educate themselves! We received lots of great books and activities/project ideas for our family this Christmas, so we have some inspiration for learning some new skills together! 2011 should be a great year! I am planning for it to be so! Merry Christmas everyone...and Happy New Year! :0)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Things As They Really Are

I LOVE this talk and wanted to share it with each of you! :0)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Frozen

We had a lovely time this past week, visiting family in Utah! It was a beautiful drive and we are grateful that we were blessed to have an un-eventful trip both there and back! It was great to see everyone and for them all to get to meet Wiggle Bug in person! We attended Mr. Man's great grandma's memorial service and it was neat to get to listen to some stories about her life. I only met her one time, but I know she was a remarkable lady!
The children were very excited about the snow...particularly to see it snowing! We would wake up every morning in our hotel room and one of them would rip the curtains away from the window and inevitably shout "Santa's coming! It's snowing!" We kept having to explain to them that it wasn't quite time for him to visit yet! It was absolutely beautiful to be in that world of white for about a week! We are glad we made it home safely, and missed the great rain/snow storm headed for the south part of Utah and the north part of Arizona! Thank you to all of our family members, for a wonderful, early Christmas celebration! It was quite cold there...I think it averaged about 31 to 35 degrees for the better part of our trip (and on the way up, we even had some 21 degree weather...quite cold for us warm weather people.):0) So we have been frozen this week! Frozen in the literal sense, sometimes, although we got used to it pretty quickly, but more importantly, frozen in time! We don't know when we will be able to visit again! It's been about 2 1/2 years since our last visit. So when we do visit, we find that it freezes everyone in time, the next time we see each other, these frozen images will change and we will be able to build upon the memories made this past week. We look forward to seeing everyone again, but until that day...we will relish the happenings of this past week, and pray that the Lord will keep them frozen in time for us, til' we meet again! :0) Merry Christmas everyone! Happy New Year, too! :0)

P.S We made the entire trip WITHOUT a DVD player in our car! (Many people are shocked by this and some are even appalled! But we did!) Being without the constant buzz of the t.v. in our eyes and ears, has been an incredible blessing for us! I read THIS blog post this morning, and loved it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

She Sang Today!

I am SO excited...I just HAD to share! Our Ladybug sang today! She sang! For the very first time...EVER! I thought it was Wiggle Bug's voice I was hearing, but soon found that it was Miss Ladybug! Now this is the truly precious part...the words she sang were, "Happy Birthday Jesus!" You can't get anymore precious or fitting than that! We have been hoping and praying and trying so hard to get her to sing, ever since she was about 2. Who knows if she'll do it again, but we are grateful for this sweet, little Christmas miracle today! :0)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus

My children will be singing this song at our family Christmas party this year! It's called Happy Birthday Jesus and I first heard it sung on Family Life Radio ! I just love it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Update about the Tooth Fairy

Let me just say that it was completely adorable to hear Cuddle Bug whisper real loud this morning to Luv Bug..."Hey, the Toof Fairy Come!" So exciting and so fun! And later today we saw the dentist for their bi-annual cleanings and exams and he said everything looks good in there, even though Cuddle is a little young to be losing a tooth! Woo Hoo! :0)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Lost Tooth for Cuddle Bug

I just wanted to take a minute and document this momentous occasion...Cuddle Bug lost his first tooth tonight. We won't draw too much attention to the fact that it was with the help of his little brother Wiggle Bug, who knocked the laundry room door into his face last week. LOL :0) He's SOOOOO excited that the Tooth Fairy will visit him tonight! I can't believe he's growing up so fast! It makes me kinda' sad and teary eyed! My kiddo's are all growing up WAY too fast! Where does the time go? I cannot imagine how much more I would be missing out on, if we didn't home school! Now we have 3 kiddo's at various stages of the lost tooth/new tooth coming in cycle! It's so much fun for them all! :0)

I am Thankful To Be Back On Track

The last couple of months have been really stressful! Kiddo's have been sick and our youngest two, keep getting sick over and over. There have been lots of doctor's appointments, lots of unanswered questions about things they need, etc. Life has just been crazy for our family these last few months. BUT...I can feel that starting to change! It is a wonderful feeling! As I have tried to re-focus my sights on the Savior this Christmas season, and read my scriptures and make time for more meaningful study and prayer, I can feel the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior, for me! I am excited for the New Year that is coming! I feel re-charged and re-inspired about life in general, and about my focus! I am so thankful to be back on track, and am so excited to be learning and growing again, in the gospel! I am excited to inspire my children and to share some wonderful things with them! I am determined that 2011 is going to be a wonderful year!
A sweet friend shared a wonderful thought last night, she talked about how important our attitude is, and said that we draw more of the same, to us! If our attitude is one of defeat and failure, then we draw more defeat and failure to us; if it is one of accomplishment and happiness, then we will draw more accomplishment and happiness to ourselves! How true that is! I have gained a wonderful, fresh perspective about life, from the sweet words she shared! How grateful I am, for friends who travel this path with me and who can see positive things in the horizon and who help me find growth amidst the trials! My life is truly beautiful...I just have to remember to do those essential things, that allow me to slow down and savor every beautiful thing about my life! I am eager to foster more simplicity in our lives and our home! I am eager to leave the world on my doorstep and create a haven inside the walls of our home! I am eager to spend time fostering strong relationships with one another, and to learn and grow even more, as a family! I am planning for this coming year, to be GREAT! I am simplifying, focusing on essentials and reaping the blessings that will come!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Great Grandma

We had been looking SO forward to visiting Mr. Man's Grandma soon! I have only met her in person, one time! I was excited to get a picture of all of us together, and particularly excited to take one of her and the children together. That would have been an amazing picture! But...sadly, she passed away yesterday evening. We were just getting ready to go visit her, in another state, but we didn't make it there in time. It makes me sad for Mr. Man and his family...it makes me sad for my children, who won't get to meet her in this life. But...it does mean that there is another angel in heaven watching over us all! I know Grandma will do that for us! She is off on another, spectacular part of this journey we call life! How wonderful it must be for her to be with Grandpa again! I can only imagine how wonderful that reunion must be! :0) I am so glad that our oldest kiddo' was named after her! That's a pretty sweet legacy!~

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Focus for the New Year

I have lots of different things swirling through my mind all the time! But amidst all the swirling, everyday concerns and cares, I am trying to come to some sort of conclusion about what our focus will be for this new year. For the first time in my life, my health is starting to be a real concern. I am just realizing that I am getting "old" (yeah, I know I am only almost 34) and it is imperative that I exercise and get enough rest. I also know how important it is for me to focus on my spiritual health as well. So...I guess my theme for the New Year is to focus on health and happiness! I am off to read my scriptures and see what kind of wisdom I can glean that will help in my focus! Happy Day All! :@)

UPDATED STUDY: D&C 25:10 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world and seek for the things of a better.

I love this scripture! It jumped out at me today, when I was reading! I have felt so prompted to read from the Doctrine and Covenants. This scripture was addressed to Emma Smith, from Heavenly Father, in reference to the work He had called her to do, in supporting her husband, Joseph. Section 26 verse 1 goes onto to say:

"Behold, I say unto you that you shall let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures and to preaching,... and to performing your labors on the land, such as is required...and then it shall be made known what you should do."

I have been pondering about the best way to set up a system for Family Work and chores, here in our home, and have also been pondering about what I should be studying right now. I have a library filled with classic literature, and yet I can't seem to stick with anything I read, lately. This has really bothered me, because I love to read. But each time I pick up a book, the same thought comes to my mind..."Gospel Learning." I feel so strongly that that is the kind of focus my studies should have, and those are the kinds of things I need to inspire the children in! It is daunting, not to be inspiring more academic things, through example, for my children. But I think that gospel study is crucial for our family right now! It is so easy for me to get stressed out about daily life and about all there is to do. I need the anchor of the gospel, to keep me on a steady course! I am grateful for personal revelation, which comes through prayer! This reminds me of a song that I love: Anchor by Mindy Gledhill.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Very Special Day!

We had so much fun today, celebrating Luv's upcoming birthday! She's turning 6! I can't believe it! She's growing up to be such a smart and beautiful girl, who is the sunshine of our life! We started off with breakfast with Santa at my parents' ward! This was FANTASTIC! We're talking pancakes with buttermilk syrup-Fantastic! SO Yummy and so much FUN! My dad is the ward photographer, so I am excited to see each picture that he got of our kiddo's with Santa one on one! After the breakfast with the Jolly Man himself, we...or should I say "I" did some Christmas shopping. Mr. Man and the kiddo's graciously dropped me off at a couple different places and waited for me to run in and out to try and find as many of the little things that are still on my list, as I could. We are having quite the simple Christmas this year, and I must say that I am loving how de-stressed I feel! It allows us more time and energy to focus on our Savior this Christmas, instead of all the commercialism and money spent. And who doesn't LOVE thrift store shopping? I LOVE it! This evening was the perfect example of that sweet Christmas simplicity that I love. We decided to check out something we heard about at church last week...The Third Annual Live Nativity Under the Stars at our stake center. WOW! I can't believe we never knew about this in the years past. From the minute we walked onto the field (it was in the ball field behind the building), we could feel such a strong spirit there. Our kiddo's were astonished at seeing the Christmas story come to life before their eyes. There was singing and narration and live animals and a live baby who played the part of Jesus. It was truly wonderful and such a great way to start off this Christmas season. A little drive afterward to see some pretty amazing light shows in some decked out neighborhoods, put droopy eyes to rest in their car seats and then we headed home. Of course, one of the best things we did today, was what we did in the middle of all of this...celebrating 6 years of sunshine with Miss Luv Bug! She had a lovely birthday part with grandparents (who brought dinner to share)and cousins and brothers and sisters and Mr. Man and I! She received 3 babies this year...Tiana from The Frog and The Princess (we broke down and allowed some Disney, since she is brown like Miss Luv, and since she adores her from when we went to see the Movie for her birthday last year), an ADORABLE Water Baby that Nana and Papa found for her, who is also brown and seriously SO SWEET! I think Water Babies are my new favorite doll for little girls! And then the last baby, is a porcelain doll who looks just like our Ladybug and who reminded Luv Bug of Mary from Little House on the Prairie. She's enamored with her and want to take very special care of her! Overall...we had one very special day!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Trumpet of The Swan

We have really been enjoying our time each day, to read aloud together! We've been reading The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White, and I knew Snug and Luv would adore it, but the real surprise has been how much Cuddle Bug loves it! He is the one who is always asking for another chapter or saying "No! Keep Reading Mom!", when I close the book at the end of a chapter. This is the sweetest story about a Trumpeter Swan who doesn't have a voice, and about the boy who helps him learn to express himself. (Snug LOVES this story for this reason, because it's hard for him to talk.) Cuddle Bug yells at the top of his lungs "Ko-ho!", like a trumpet, to give Louis his voice, every time Louis uses his trumpet. Luv Bug asks lots of questions about EVERYTHING! We are having so much fun reading it together! We can't wait to find out how it ends!