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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Worth the Wait - A BYU Pathways College Assignment

My sister-in-law, Michelle, wrote this awesome letter for a project in her BYU Pathways English class. I was really impressed and asked her if I could share it.  The assignment involved to write a love letter to an object.

Michelle has enjoyed attending BYU Pathways.  She does all the work on-line and once a week she attends a local gathering with other students to discuss coursework.  This has allowed her to work toward her college degree while being a stay at home mom.  It is affordable (around $65/credit) and convenient.  I am so proud of her!  Here is a link with more information in case anyone is interested in pursuing their degree.  

Worth the Wait
My Dearest Love,     I remember the day we reunited again after nearly 15 years. Seeing you there brought back fond memories of why I missed you, and strong desires to never abandon you again. While basking under the sun, I noticed you were resting on a chair. You looked lonely. I nearly heard your silent call for friendship, companionship, and adventure. I was hesitant to greet you, mainly because I did not want to commit to what you had to offer. However, as the gentle summer wind blew your cover open, I could not deny that our time spent together had always filled my own loneliness, and I remembered how much I had missed going on wild adventures with you.     Without further reservation, I picked you up and held you tight to my heart. How could I have left you? Your words, stories, and wisdom had never failed me. I was the one that had failed you! Silently, I cried for your forgiveness. When I finally got brave and picked you up, you gave me butterflies and I was reminded of why I fell deeply in love with you. I was elated to see that you could still help me escape from the daily routine and give me hope and comfort when I needed extra attention. It made me long for more time with you, and I wondered how I could fit you in more often into my life. Why had we stayed away from each other for so long? You surprised me how appealing you had become; you made it so hard to put you down at night. I was even willing to lose a full night of sleep so I could find out what happed at the end of the story. Thank you for changing my life and for stealing me away when I’m having a bad day, or even feeling overwhelmed and need a pick me up. It has been entertaining to visit all these stunning places, solving murders, being inspired, and seeing the girl get her dream guy. You have stolen my heart away as you take me on the journey of a lifetime, and I look forward to being taken away to many more amazing destinations. My love for you grows stronger every day as I find time to spend with you. I love the person I’m rediscovering and I owe it all to you.Love you Forever,Michelle

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Disney TRYit TRYathlon

We had the chance to spend the 4th of July in Huntington Beach, CA this year and boy do they know how to celebrate there!  The have a big parade, parties in the streets, street fairs, fireworks, hanging at the beach, and general fun.


While we were walking near the pier, we were lucky enough to stumble across a set of Disney booths where people of all ages were encouraged to try new things.

It was a Disney TRYathlon.

It was completely free and they were not trying to sell anything which was quite refreshing.  They even gave everyone a free gift bag at the end if you tried out every booth.  Plus they hired people from a local talent agency to work there for the day so everyone was hip and good-looking, some even had tattoos.  Sort of like an acting gig.

They have several other stops planned for their tour this summer in Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Baltimore so if you're near those cities I encourage you to stop by for some fun.

Even if you can't attend an event, they have fun things you can do obtain from their website - recipes, activities, etc.  The activities involve being active, planting a garden, nature trekking, relay races, learning new stretches, sports, and so on. Go check it out.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Father's Day M&M Printable


Here's a fun Father's Day printable.  Simply print it out and attach to a bag of M&M's.

Feel free to use it if you like it.  I'm all about sharing.

Click HERE to get the PDF that has 10 tags per sheet.

Click HERE to get the PDF that has 6 larger tags per sheet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cub Scouts - Scout Oath and Law Helps and Printables

Part of the Cub Scout program update involves dropping the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack and adopting the Scout Oath and Scout Law instead.  I personally think this is a great idea because it better prepares the Cub Scouts to become Boy Scouts down the road.




I thought a summary sheet would be helpful for leaders, Cub Scouts and parents.  So I made one.



Since I am a teacher by nature, I always try to think of little tricks to remember things.  When I participated in Board of Review nights with Boy Scouts, I noticed that the boys looked panicked when I asked them to recite the Scout Oath or Scout Law.  It wasn't because they didn't have them memorized; it was because they forgot what they are called.  So I cam up with this little trick to help them.



The Scout Law and Scout Oath are on the back of the handbooks but I also wanted to make these as a resource.

(Note: You can save the PDF file on a memory stick and take it to a copy store and they can print it out on 11 x 17 cardstock for you.  This is a great option for den or pack meetings to help the boys during the transition)



(Note: You can save the PDF file on a memory stick and take it to a copy store like I mentioned for the Scout Law)

Cub Scouts and Faith in God Correlation


The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ said this about the Faith in God program: "We encourage you to learn and live the gospel, serve others, and use the talents Heavenly Father has given you to learn and do many good things. Earning the Faith in God Award will help you become the kind of person you would like to be and the person Heavenly Father knows you can become."

The book also says, "Children may work on the activities at home, with their family, or at Primary activity days. In countries where Scouting is part of the Church program, boys work on Faith in God along with Cub Scouting."


Here is a link to the booklet for the Faith in God for Boys program.

Here is a link to a video on lds.org that helps explain how Faith in God and Scouting work hand in hand.



If you are a Cub Scout, you can also earn the Scouting Religious Square Knot patch. To do this, complete all the activities with the knot icon next to them.

Note:  In older versions of the Faith in God for Boys booklet, they had some different requirements such as helping plan a quarterly activity.  They removed that requirement and added the one about reading the twelfth article of faith.  Please make sure you are aware of the current requirements. On lds.org, you can find the accurate information if you click on the chapter titles but the PDF files are not updated for some reason.  We have contacted church headquarters about the discrepancy.

Here are some links about the new Duty to God requirements involved with Cub Scouting.
New Cub Scout and Boy Scout requirements explore duty to God (from Scouting magazine)

A Utah Blog that explains the Religious Emblem/Faith in God/Duty to God in Cub Scouting and the LDS church. (Contains the helpful explanation posted below as well as correlations between Cub Scouting and Faith in God.  FYI There is one mistake on the correlation sheet in regards to the religious knot.  They put it next to the Word of Wisdom requirement instead of by the Joseph Smith FHE one.)





Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bullying - STOP IT!

Here's a wonderful anti-bullying video made by my son's 5th grade class.  As a substitute teacher, I am very aware of bullying at school and try to stop it in it's tracks.  But it still happens and it hurts my heart.  I've also seen it happen among adults.  I'm not sure how we can totally eliminate bullying but I do think video projects like this make a difference.  I know this particular group of 5th graders will be more aware after creating this as well as their families and friends who have viewed it.


My son's teacher also made this anti-bullying video the next year.  What a worthwhile tradition. #breakthecycle




I also thought this video called "Bullying - Stop It!" was very moving.  We can examine our own lives and see if we need to adjust our behaviors.


Here's a great article by President Uchtdorf (the man who is speaking in the video) that talks about being merciful and forgiving toward each other.



This is one my favorite parts of the article:

"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The 5 Love Languages

Feeling loved is a primary emotional need for all humans.  There are countless poems, letters, stories, books, and songs written about love.

Here's one song that kept running through my mind as I contemplated writing this post -
Everybody.  The chorus repeats, "Everybody, everybody wants to love, everybody, everybody wants to be loved."  So, so true.

In Dr. Gary Chapman's book, "The 5 Love Languages," it says, "Child psychologists affirm that every child has certain basic emotional needs that must be met if he is to be emotionally stable. Among those emotional needs, none is more basic that the need for love and affection, the need to sense that he or she belongs and is wanted.  With an adequate supply of affection, the child will likely develop into a responsible adult.  Without that love, he or she will be emotionally and socially challenged." (You can listen to this book on YouTube).

Dr. Chapman shares a wonderful metaphor to illustrate the importance of feeling loved.  He heard this metaphor from Dr. Ross Campbell who is a psychiatrist who specialized in the treatment of children and adolescents.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The 5 Love Languages - Ideas for Couples

Click HERE to read my original post about The 5 Love Languages.

5 LOVE LANGUAGES FOR COUPLES

Need some ideas on how to speak your spouse's love language?  Here are some from Dr. Chapman's book:


The 5 Love Languages of Children

Click HERE to read my original post about The 5 Love Languages.



The 5 Love Languages aren't just for couples - They apply to everyone you interact with.  As a mom of three boys, I found this information very helpful in my parenting since I spend so much of my life focusing on my children (and my spouse).  We all know that each child is unique and that they each need different things from us.  After learning about the Love Languages, I feel that my parenting skills have improved.  (Too bad I didn't read it 19 years ago!)

Here are descriptions of The 5 Love Languages in regards to children:

Harry Potter Party


My brother and his darling family came to town for Spring Break.  My niece and I decided to throw an epic Harry Potter party.  What spurred this craziness?  Well, my niece was super bummed that she was going to miss a Harry Potter that the girls at her church were coordinating since she would be on vacation at my house instead.  So of course I told her we would have our own party.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Talk - Follow the Prophet

One of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series is Dumbledore. He is wise, calm and often times can be found encouraging and counseling the Hogwarts students, especially Harry. On one occasion he says, “dark and difficult times lie ahead, soon we must all face the choice, between what is right and what is easy.”

We know and have seen many dark and difficult times during our life. Perhaps it was last week with terror acts, perhaps it was yesterday with a family member, perhaps it was over the past few years with wars and natural disasters. And what Dumbledore said was key, because we all have the choice to choose between what is right and what is easy.

It has never been entirely easy to follow the Prophet but we know it is right. Let’s take for example a few stories from the scriptures. Noah, a Prophet called of God to preach repentance to the people was met with ridicule, death threats and mockery. God, using his Prophet tried to preserve not only the temporal life but spiritual life of the people, but they would not listen. Why? Was it just plain easier to follow the crowd rather than follow the right? And, I have to wonder if there were times when Noah thought that too? But rather than giving into the easy, he put his complete trust in God and built the ark and gathered the animals and provisions even on the driest of days. And this is the best part – he and his family were blessed because they put their trust in God and in the Prophet. President Eyring teaches, “The failure to take prophetic counsel lessens our power to take inspired counsel in the future. The best time to have decided to help Noah build the ark was the first time he asked. Each time he asked after that, each failure to respond would have lessened sensitivity to the Spirit. And so each time his request would have seemed more foolish, until the rain came. And then it was too late.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Grammarly Study - People with Stronger Writing Skills Are Better at Their Jobs, Get Paid More

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I love grammar, spelling, root words, vocab, etc.  I am a self-proclaimed Word Nerd.

When I substitute teach, I try to persuade students to understand that writing skills are crucial to all careers and that people are more successful when they can communicate effectively (both verbally and with the written word).  I bring language arts into all subject areas - science, social studies, and even math.  With the new "Common Core State Standards," students will be expected to have even stronger writing skills than ever before.

In the infographic below, Grammarly provides data and statistics to support my argument in this area.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Hersheys Candy Bar Wrappers

I consider myself a pretty thoughtful person but usually I feel overwhelmed during the holidays so my thoughtfulness doesn't always end up matching my actions... well at least not without a lot of sleep deprivation and stress.  I'm sure many people can relate.

So this year I decided that I would get on top of the teacher gifts earlier than in years past.  That means not staying up late the night before the last day of school to get them all put together.  

My kids switch classes so that means I have 18 teacher gifts to make.  Plus my cute hubby decided he wanted me to make them for his coworkers so that added another dozen or so.


I have compassion on those who are in the same boat as I am so I decided to share my super easy gift with others to spread the Christmas joy and ease some stress.  The bars listed above have my personalized wrappers but I created a generic one for others to use (after receiving requests from several of my friends around the country).

Here's how to do it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kisses and Bear Hugs Handout

Here's a little fun handout I designed to go with one of my favorite sweet indulgences.  I am passing these out to the ladies that I visit each month.  This would also be great for a Valentine's Day treat or anniversary or wedding goodie.


Click HERE to get the PDF file to print from GoogleDocs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Black & White Wedding

I was honored to attend my brother's wedding this past weekend and it was awesome!  He married the love of his life and the "Happily Ever After" theme was quite fitting.

ENTRY AREA: 

The guests arrived and we had a table set up in the entry area of the yard.  The table served a few purposes - gift table, water station, and also sign-in area.  I didn't get a picture since I was the one greeting everyone.

This was the sign that we had attached to a folding easel that I painted white:


Here's what we put on the table:
- A glass water dispenser filled with water, lemon slices and strawberry slices (and clear cups on the side).  Surprisingly almost everyone wanted water as they entered.
- A picture of the bride and groom.
- A tall, antique looking lantern to put cards in.
- An area to place the gifts.
- A vase to sign (instead of a guest book).
- A basket full of wedding keepsake fans (framed with white cardstock and attached to a wooden handle; people loved them and used them).
Front of fan
Back of fan

WEDDING CEREMONY AREA:

They were married next to the pool in SoCal and there was a beautiful ocean view from the backyard of my aunt and uncle's home.  They used a simple metal arch and added flowers and off-white, sheer fabric to it to make it pretty.  We used white pipe cleaners to attach all the froofy stuff (is that even a word?).  The put urns filled with ferns at the bottom of the arches to secure the structure since there was a breeze.

TABLE SEATING SIGNS:

We had the table seating signs posted between the ceremony area and the reception area.  I designed these signs on the computer and printed them at Costco as 16" x 20" pictures.  I put them in frames that I spray painted white so they looked like chalkboards.  Believe it or not, people thought they were real chalkboards and were quite impressed. I 'fessed up that they were easy to make and I didn't have those awesome penmanship skills. You can get the chalkboard fonts for free on THIS WEBSITE.  You can also find free chalkboard backgrounds on Google.  I will do another post about how to make the signs.  (Note: names on the seating charts are fictional in case you were wondering ha ha).




BAR & APPETIZER AREAS:

We used my aunt's existing pool furniture to arrange a little area to hang out at near the bar.  It was a nice place for people to relax if they needed some space away from the crowd.


We had some fun photo props out in case people wanted to take pictures while they waited.  The wedding planner said sometimes she provides a photo booth area but we had a more casual approach and people could do their own thing.



Appetizers were served on a banquet table.  They served pulled pork, rolls, veggies and fruits.  There was also a cheese and cracker tray with fruit over by the lounge area.


Here are some close up pictures.  For those who struggle to make fruits or veggie platters look nice, you can look at these and get some ideas.


SERVING AREA:

We had the serving tables shaped like an "L" and a chalkboard style menu sign at the front of where the serving line would start.  My brother's friends did all the cooking (they are HUGE BBQ fans) and it was truly delicious and plentiful.












DINING AREA:

My sister-in-law found good deals on the glass plates, glasses and silverware so she bought them instead of renting.  I think she shopped at the dollar store and IKEA.  She's one smart cookie!


We made chalkboard style table numbers and put them in glass frames on the table.  Everyone loved how the chalkboard theme ran throughout the whole wedding (including the wedding announcement that is not pictured).  You can't really see it but there are tall glass things in the middle of each table and a fancy electric candle inside that we used at night.  There are also little battery-operated candles around the table.  They added white rose petals spread around the table at the last minute so they wouldn't blow away.


We had nine table with about 10 people per table.  I believe my aunt made a lot of the black table toppers out of black sheets which is a frugal idea, plus it looked great.  They rented all the tables and chairs and borrowed the white tablecloths.  What you can't see is all the lights on the trees and walls. Totally beautiful even if it did take my relatives about 10 hours to put them all up.



BRIDE & GROOM TABLE:

Aren't they such a cute couple!  We hung that sign on the tree as a whim but it sure looked great in this picture.  They had another arch with lights behind their table.







 MUSIC & DANCING:

This DJ did a great job.  He does lots of events in Orange County and if you would like his contact info, I can get it for you if you email me.  We had a dancing area near the food serving zone.  Not huge but it met our needs.  I'd post a picture of my brother dancing but then he might kill me so I won't.


My sister-in-law saw this concept on Pinterest so I copied the theme and made a sign.  She bought the flip flops at the dollar store and people loved them.  She tied each pair together with black ribbon.


DESSERT BAR:

The candy bar was well-received.  They had cupcakes placed on tiered platters (I'd bought the platters at Costco a while back).  The glass jars all held different candies.  The glass cake platters held lemon cakes and mini-brownies from Costco.  They put candles in the white tins from IKEA and it looked great at night. You can't tell but there are white Christmas lights underneath the white tablecloth so the table was lit up at night.  It looked quite fancy. Unfortunately the dessert table ended up crashing down at the end of the wedding after most of the guests had left.  We suspect one of the legs wasn't locked in completely.  We'd cleared about half the stuff off the table but some of the jars were crushed and we lost the extra treats.  Thank goodness that didn't happen DURING the party!


 My brother doesn't eat sugar or white flour so they made a watermelon wedding cake instead and put a topper on that.  It was perfect for them.


Overall, this was an awesome wedding if I do say so myself.  Susan was the wedding planner and she did a fantastic job and I learned a lot from her.  I know my brother and his wife are grateful to her and all the others who helped out.