Monday, August 26, 2013

Spring Goals

I always admire people sitting on the front/back deck chillin, whiling away the warm evenings.

As non alcoholic people I joked to my husband 'do we need to start drinking?'
'cause those people are usually nursing a drink or two.... ha ha ha.

I want my evenings to look like that! {sans the alcohol lol and with people to talk to of course!}
perhaps this is why my evenings don't look like that because what would I do sitting on the deck alone? {ha. Maybe relax and do nothing? what a shock to the system!}

The last couple of years I've been thinking about this dilemma and those people deck chillin.
I've tried several times to just sit outside and enjoy the warm evenings.
I find it kinda hard {I really do think I suffer from Attention Deficit}
Usually I've got stuff to do {clean up, dinner, dishes, put kids to bed, clean up, go on computer etc} Mind wanders, mosquito's bother, I get bored and come inside....

I read a comment the other day about a person who decided to let their {older} kids choose their own bedtime. {yikes!} but said she now chose to read in bed, do what she wanted and let them be too. And ultimately yes they did stay up a bit later but its worked out pretty good and the kids worked out their own rhythm and have learnt when to go to bed.

As a parent with growing kids this intrigued me.

I'm finding it harder to be the parent I thought I would be

I joke that I used to get more done as a parent with babies/toddlers than I do now
{would never have believed you at the sleep deprived time! what?! it gets harder?!}

I'm finding it hard to do all the things we want to do but perhaps its because I'm still hanging on to 'young child routine'
We like to come home from school {occasionally means walking or biking and stopping at park}
Homework and afternoon tea
1/2 -1 hour on computer
Dinner at 5:30
Wash dishes
Bath, books

Bed blessed bed! Yes the older kids don't go to sleep and they read for hours {and hours!}but I get anxious thinking about any other routine. We don't even do extra curricular stuff cause we are too busy eating and getting ready to go to bed. I have friends and neighbours who eat dinner like at 8pm. I'm exhausted by then and definitely not thinking about dinner! Not to mention I'm hungry early too


I want kids playing outside, I want nighttime games, I want sunset viewing, I want picnic dinners, I want chatting to neighbours and friends, I want sitting on the deck, I want outings to enjoy all this city has to offer, I want night time strolls, I want swimming in the dark, I want outdoor movie nights, I want.. I want...

When do we get to start doing all these things?

But who is going to be cooking dinner and doing the dishes?

Maybe the trick is to rest in the early afternoon/straight after school and get it cranking again in the early evening? Maybe the trick is just to just sit on the deck chillin and ignore everything?

Is it time to give up the evening 'me' time?
{time that has been steadily shrinking anyway in the last few years due to kids NOT GOING TO SLEEP - unlike when they were little and were asleep super early and I would get so much done}

Or should I just realise that these imaginary awesome evenings are never going to happen, or will happen once all the kids are teens or have moved out?

Will I achieve 'DECK TIME' this Spring/ Summer?

Wait and see, shall we?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

FHE Lesson {Scriptures}

Opening Song: Seek the Lord Early #108

Opening Prayer:


Beforehand make letters to spell 'Scriptures' on go on top of some treats
(eg brownies, marshmallows, cupcakes,  sandwiches - anything you can stick a toothpick in)
Scramble the letters so children can not tell what it spells.

Ask them to figure out what the lesson is about. They might need some clues:
We use these to help us, words of the prophets, life of Jesus, we can read them etc.

Just as we had to sort the letters to understand what it says, so to the scriptures can help us sort our lives. When we read and study things begin to make sense to us.

Scriptures can be tricky for many children.
Start with a quick perusal of a set of scriptures
Check out the tabs, ribbons, bookmarks, pictures section

Ask questions like find the Book of Mormon, New Testament, Old Testament etc.

Use the title page to find the first book in... or to find unusual named books

Choose a word to look up in the topical guide (you could even do scripture)

Do this Scripture Cards Activity from the August 2013 Friend Magazine pg 25
Print out the squares that say
When I feel happy:
When I feel afraid:
When I feel lonely:
When I need courage:
Each card has matching scriptures for these times. Depending on attention maybe just cover one from each. Have children place these cards in a place for when needed.

Explain that the scriptures are here to help us. They contain many answers for those that seek them. You can read the scriptures every day and find something new to help you. The scriptures are for happy times and for hard times.

Closing Song: Book of Mormon Stories #108
Closing Prayer:

Eat your Scripture flag treat

Sunday, August 18, 2013

FHE Lesson {Testimony}

This lesson is part of a series on Preparing for Baptism

Opening Prayer:

Opening Song: Search Ponder and Pray # 109

Article of Faith: #1

We teach children how to bear testimony at all ages but it is a focus of ours around the time of baptism. Before one is baptised its is helpful to have and understand their testimony.

I purchased this fun book at Time out for women and we are basing a FHE lesson around it.

However you probably don't need the book to do something similar such as found here in the
October 2008 Friend magazine

Basically print out 5 pictures to be attached to a glove (or a hand print out)
Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Temple(or chapel) and Pres Monson.

Attach each picture to a finger as you share the following:

My Testimony

:: I know that God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us.

:: I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Saviour and Redeemer.

:: I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. He restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth and translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God.

:: I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth today.

:: I know that this Church is led by a living prophet who receives revelation.
Then have each family member bear their testimony.
{It's always good practice to stand up, speak clear and look up}

Have everyone write down/draw their testimony in their journal decorate with fun pens, stickers etc

Remember to say we don't have to say these things by rote (or copy the same each time) but use these points to start us off onto what we know is true, what is in our hearts, and share experiences that stem from knowing these truths.


5 Testimony Fingers Printable

Closing Song: The Church of Jesus Christ #77

Closing Prayer:


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clover Daisy Chains

It must be that time of year again. This year is going ever so fast!

But there is clover everywhere around.

Maybe I've spent enough years teaching the girls to make daisy chains or sit amongst the clover but this time they've done it all on their own.

At a party a few weeks ago apparently my daughter sat down and taught others how to do it.

Last week the eldest headed to the park and I joined them later with the youngers and while I was talking to another mum they headed to the far end of the park.

I came along later and found them like this.

Do you ever feel too busy, the kids watch too much tv, computer etc? Noone wants to leave the house or listen or its just all too much? {especially when you long for some other nostalgic life?}

Well I feel like that plenty and even though it was only 30 mins out in the clover patch it made me so happy. I want a simple, happy childhood for them.

It also makes me happy when they do things self guided.

Maybe one day when I'm gone {or they're grown}

they'll remember that we used to sit in the clover each spring and make daisy chains.


PS Reminds me of the wonderful lightbulb moment I had last year making these and 2011

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I always feel that there are so many party ideas out there and so few birthdays to do all those ideas!
I really really wanted to do this Kite Birthday Party {easy, sweet, beautiful no?}
But she really wanted Peppa Pig or Octonauts for a party theme. I had lots of ideas for both!
There are so many good ideas out there! Since I am trying really hard not to do too much this year I reluctantly had to let most go! {Carboard Box Gups, Amazing Cakes, jelly fish decorations etc}
Here are some of the things we did do:
And lest anyone thinks that my birthday parties are quiet and relaxed my tip is to take a lot of photos BEFORE the party. I knew this party would be filled with babies and toddlers and a couple of four years old in our tiny house. Chaotic describes it pretty closely!
Party food was:
 Blue jelly cups with sea creature lollies on top, clam biscuits, Octopus Dip {made from Red Capsicum and Hommus and Olives}, Cake and Cheezels {because they're orange and kids love them}
Paper Plate Masks. Idea found here .  Paint plates in colour of each octonaut. Draw eyes on with Black Marker {google each character to see their eye shape}To make their noses I found a octonauts colouring in page and just cropped the nose and printed four out. Print out the Octonaut hat on copy paper and stick on top each character. Attach a paddle pop stick to hold them.
Since most the kids were not really interested in games I'm glad I didn't organise too many. We had pass the parcel with sea stickers in each layer and an octonaut toy for the prize, Pin the Patch on Kwazii {I just printed a A3 picture of Kwazzi and cut out black card patches} and some Octonauts colouring in.
 And any old person could purchase the $70 Octopod house {I was considering it!} but not everyone can have an awesome homemade one!! We had grandad whip us up one out of recycled things and it was just as good and has had lots of playtime! Thanks Grandad!

I buy up Tshirts at Target on sale for $3-4. I happened to have an orange one in the stash so we knew that had to be the birthday shirt. To match in with Octonauts colours I chose some blue fabric from my stash. To make our number birthday shirts - print out a number on paper, use it to cut out fabric and felt. Sew onto Tshirt. Easy!

There are so many awesome Octonauts cakes out there. Gup Cakes, cakes shaped like barnacles or Kwazii, The Octopod {how?!} etc. I knew these were ALL above my Cake -Making abilities and I had limited time to prep for this party. So I opted for a very easy sponge cake with cream in the middle covered in blue icing. I crushed some plain biscuits {cookies}to look like sand and stuck on some gummi lolly turtles and star fish. A set of all the Octonauts characters was a birthday present, but I said no playing with them till after they come off the cake lol. With a few strategic placed characters I think we pulled off a pretty good octonauts cake for a person with not much cake making ability!

Even though it was pretty simple and pretty crazy party she loved all the elements and was one happy girl and that is all that matters I suppose.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Four Years

Remember this post: {folder renamed} about having a folder named baby where in I stored my ultrasound pictures and pregnancy photoshoot before said baby had a name?

Well you know what? I never renamed that folder! It still says Baby!

So in honour of her fourth birthday I will finally change that folder name!


This little gal has been soooo excited for her birthday.

About 8 weeks ago we started preparing for her sisters birthday and pretty much every day since she mentioned something about 'her birthday'. {when is it, theme which changed daily, all the places/parks we were going to fly around and visit on her birthday, presents to buy, decorations, cakes etc. The list goes on and on and was discussed daily!}

The minute her eyes flutter open each morning she asks
"how old I am?"

You know just to check incase her birthday appeared during the night.

So on her actual birthday she jumped {out of my bed where she seems to end up most early mornings} and sped into the loungeroom where I had been up early preparing birthday celebrations with the biggest smile on her face and dove into my arms. It was finally here!

Birthdays are celebrated early morning here and she'd put in the order for pancakes and syrup.

Presents of Lala Loopsy's and Octonauts characters and book made one very happy girl.

Our birthday traditions of a birthday letter, a candle ring with number of candles = age {and gee the thing needs a clean!} a number shirt and a birthday crown and a couple of presents. Usually some balloons around and bunting hanging up too all ready for when they awake in the morning and have the breakfast of their choosing with a candle in it.

My kids aren't very photogenic/willing to pose at the best of times even less so during a birthday party so I usually try and snap a picture with the cake before any crazy festivities.
And thus ended a very happy day for my baby {wah!!} she now proudly tells everyone she just turned four.
Coming up next all the details of the Small Octonauts party I attempted to throw for her.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

FHE Lesson {Families and Moroni and Title of Liberty}

Opening Song: Stand for the Right #159

Opening Prayer:

Article of Faith: #11


This lesson inspired by  Friend Magazine July 2013 page 40

Show picture 312 from the Gospel Art picture kit of Captain Moroni

The Book of Mormon tells about a wicked man named Amalickiah.
He wanted to destroy the Church and rule over the Nephites as their king.
Captain Moroni was a strong and righteous leader of the Nephite armies.
Captain Moroni wanted to remind the people how important it was to defend their families and their faith. He tore his coat and made it into a flag, or banner. On it he wrote these words:
“In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.”
He called his banner “the title of liberty,” and he fastened it on the end of a pole. Then he knelt and prayed that the people could stay free so they could still worship God and receive His blessings.
The same as then today it is still very important for everyone to have liberty, families and religion.


:: Use a big piece of paper to make a banner that represents your family.
Children can draw things that make your family unique and describe your family
{how many people, where you live, school, temple, church, scriptures, extended family, favourite foods, talents, things you like to do, faith in Jesus, favourite things - flowers, weather etc}

:: Families with older children could sit and write out a family mission statement.
{Or revisit it if you already have one}  Ours {below} is now 10 years old!!
You could print it out nice and laminate it and display in a central area {ours is on top the piano}

PEACELove at Home

Follow Christ * Humbly Pray * Actively Listen * Seek Knowledge
Encourage Others * Respect Self * Search Scriptures
Speak Softly * Have Fun * Find Humour
Seek Wisdom * Accept Responsibility
Do Good * Speak Kindly
:: Have children act out waving a flag around. They could stand up high and say:
"In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children"
Closing Prayer: child

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Time Out for Women and Sydney!

Sydney Baby!
I was able to get away for a long weekend to Sydney last week. It was so nice. Much needed time away ~ A Girls Weekend. The best part of visiting Sydney is I realise I'm glad I don't live there!
But just as it makes me appreciate home, I also appreciate how great it is to visit somewhere else.
Opera House

Time Out For Women

Me snapped by the lovely Lisa King TOFW photographer!
I was inline with a friend (so short you cant see her :) to see Brad Wilcox.
I broke my 'no approaching famous people/church speakers' just for her!

Time out for women was back after two years and initially I wasn't going to attend due to The Mr's work travel schedule, time, effort, money, being a nervous traveller {when alone},  not knowing my own way around Sydney etc.

Then last month I convinced my lovely friend to drag me around Sydney again.
{Isn't she wonderful!}

And I'm glad I did!  I had a wonderful weekend.

I am truly blessed that a bunch of strangers {to me} let us use their car to pick me up from airport, another to host me at their house and cook me delicious food and sit up all night chatting to us {seriously I stayed with the best family in all of Sydney!} another set to drive us to Homebush for the TOFW conference, another to drive and take us out to dinner and our hosts to take us back to the airport at the end of it all. Truly Blessed - as all this made it possible for me to attend.

LDS women are the BEST!

The thing I love best about TOFW is just having all those church ladies in one room. Such a buzz to be with 2300 ladies of the same faith! Everyone so happy and kind. I was able to {briefly} catch up with about 30 women I haven't seen in a long time. I even met a few people I only know online. It was so much fun to meet them. Just the feeling from the group is almost worth it alone to make sure you attend.

A few people who could not attend have asked for an overview of the talks from Time Out for Women.  So here goes  ~ hopefully you can make sense of my rambling notes.

Hillary Weeks
If you like Hillary's music its almost like attending a concert of hers.
She sung around 10 songs all up I think.
So if you like her ticket price worth it on that alone probably.

The conference was based on Isaiah 55:9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts

Virginia H Pearce started off by stating that:
All we have to offer eachother is our stories.
This really touched me and made me want to continue blogging even when I think it is a waste of time. And as someone who loves to talk... well.... All we have to offer is our stories! YAY!

We hear what we are listening for.
Sheri Dew recounted a story about going to watch her neice play in an orchestra of 270 people. Her neice plays Obo so they were particularly straining to hear the Obo. Noone else there may have heard the Obo alone but she did because she was looking to listen for it.
Listen. Hear what is for you. Do More, Do Less, Stop. Whatever it is find your message.

Virginia H Pearce

We all want choices but if we have too many we can stall, walk away or make a choice and end up with dissatisfaction since we could have had anything but ended up with 'this'.
Limit your choices to 3, Lower your expectations {nothing will ever turn out perfect!}
1. Chose to believe you have a choice {even in hard circumstances thrusted upon us}
2. Choose to surrender
3. We can Choose to Show up.

Surrender to God without resentment and resistance. SHOW UP for our Families, our Callings. There are no dead people here. We ALL still have something to give. When Sister Marjorie Hinckley was ageing she was sad that she felt she no longer could contribute in anyway. Her daughter said 'your presence in a room is enough mother'. She shared a story about a lady with Alziehmers and a blind lady assisting each other. One had the sight, one had the ability to make sure they got home.

We all have deficiets. If we all show up for one another this makes up the difference.

She shared a story about Pres Eyerings Dad who was in extreme pain showing up to pull weeds at a church farm and having to crawl along in the dirt as his legs didn't work. After he was finished someone said 'oh no you didn't pull those weeds did you? Those have been sprayed and will die in a week anyway!'  His Son was shocked that he just laughed and wasn't upset.
He just said 'I wasn't here for the weeds Son'

Showing up for the Saviour - so nothing is ever a loss.

She ended with a slide show of a compilation of all the words spoken by the Savior to us from the scriptures. It was very moving and I think I will try and do likewise and make a compilation of all statements made by a loving Father in Heaven and a Loving Christ. To have all those statements in one place, to show how much he loves us, was beautiful.

Hillary Weeks
shared a new song which will be in her coming soon new album called 'I found me'.
It was very good. She asked us to make a mantra to share with ourselves.

I am.... { I am refined, caring, dynamic person ... enter your saying here}

Brad Wilcox

The Atonement is a vicarious gift. The Atonement means we survive mortality but any growth is really up to us. A gift is valued if it is used. We will see who values baptism, the atonement etc.

Seek His power not Willpower.
Perfection is a long term journey. Covenants are part of the process. They are like petrol that keeps us going in our journey. He used an example of a lovely girl who said that she knew what the Atonement was but that she hoped she will never have to use it {by trying really hard to be perfect} He said that is like saying I'm going on a cross country trip but I'm not going to buy any petrol on the way.

Instead of just Come Unto Christ ~ BeCOME like Christ

We don't always pray because we are worthy{perfect} we pray because we need it
We serve missions, go to temple not because we made it {perfect} but because we need it
We don't take Christs name ~ he gives it.
It creates us.

Week after Week, Weakness after Weakness we are using the Atonement.

Abandon sin to get comfortable with God ~ however many
Abandon God to get comfortable with Sin

Without endurance to the end it would all be about the here and now.
We are saved by Grace and Transformed by Grace.

No If Only. If only I had a saviour. Because of the Atonement we won't face mortality alone or have the 'whens' or 'ifs' destroy us.

Heaven is not a prize for perfect people but a home for anyone who uses and values the Atonement.

Laurel Christensen

She spoke about different fears. Asked us to think of a fear we have and keep it in mind.

Fear of disappointment
Fear of failure
Fear of success {This! really spoke to me! Aha!}

Life is not meant to be lived in our comfort zone.

Formula for life/everything is

desire, believe, experiment, receive

When we stop praying for things needed so we don't have to suffer disappointment when we don't get it, then there is no desire and this is a tragedy. The tragedy no longer lays in not getting what you wanted. The tragedy is not wanting it anymore.

Wanting to know God's will can become wanting God to make all your decisions for you.
Sometimes we use God's will as a cop out {ie if God wanted it to happen for me it would have. If God loved me he would help me out, If God wants me to have a man/job/life he would have given it to me}


He will not command us in all things

There is alot of room in Gods will. He will make room for OUR WILL to be HIS WILL.

God loves our agency more than he loves our happiness {which must be very sad for him}

There is peace on the other side of brave.

What will the Lord have me do to live HIGHER?

Sheri Dew

She had the sister missionaries come up on stage and they and the whole crowd sang a new arrangement of Janice Kapp Perry's 'As sisters in zion"  called The Sisters of Zion

The sisters of Zion are called to God's labor,
We willingly serve Him with spirit and might.
We go to the nations with truth everlasting,
We teach of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us,
We trust in his words and our purpose is clear.
The angels of heaven are walking beside us,
We'll share our glad message with all who will hear.

We go forth enlisted with Helaman's Army
In numbers much greater than ever before.
With power and spirit we'll faithfully witness
The heavens have spoken and truth is restored!

IT was very moving to have 2300 women all singing this song.

Sheri recounted a couple different stories about her travels and life as a strong LDS woman.
What Mormon women know. While following Pres Hinckley around reporters always wanted to know about the poor downtrodden repressed Mormon women. Pres Hinckley quipped
'We get out of their way that's what!"
She said no organization in the world has so many women be able to teach, preach, lead, direct, reach out, serve.

We are powerful women.

Do we know what we know? We have access to the most remarkable privileges on earth.

Often as a leader she prayed 'Lord just tell me what to do' Alas he always wants us to come forward and present. The language of revelation is in the scriptures. Proper study opens the conduit to heaven.

Each woman has an impact on about 1000 people in their lives.

Collectively all of us at TOFW can impact 2 million people.

And there is my report from Time out for Women. I hope it makes sense to those who weren't able to attend and I hope you can feel of the spirit that it was imparted with. Notes rarely do just service.

Thank goodness for wonderful friends! Without her I wouldn't have gone!

It was such a full weekend 3 days of late nights that I promptly went to sleep at 7pm Sunday night.

Monday, August 5, 2013

FHE Lesson {Baptismal Gifts}

This is part of the Preparing for Baptism group of lessons

Opening Song: When I am Baptised #103

Opening Prayer: Child

Article of Faith: #4

Have prepared 5 little boxes or gift bags to look like presents
{or wrap up a box of food/brick - whatever you got}
You can attach a sign with the name of the gift to it, or you could print the name of the gift out and insert inside the present to find the answer when the children unwrap the 'gift'

On the day you are baptised you receive these special gifts of love from Heavenly Father

:: You become an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

:: Jesus Christ makes you completely clean

:: Later when you do something wrong you can repent and be completely clean again

:: You promise to keep the commandments and that will keep you safe and happy

:: You receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide and comfort you.

Talk about each 'present' individually, ask any questions children have.

If time permits go into more details about how you become clean, how taking the sacrament each week is part of it, go over the commandments, how we can invite the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion etc.

Comment how lucky we are to have these gifts JUST for us. God cares about us so much he sent us the Gift of Baptism and The Holy Ghost. We are blessed to have these gifts in our life so we can return to him in the next life. Our gift to God is to try and be the best person we can be.


Get children to think about what could be their 'gift' back to God.
Perhaps you can write them down or draw them and put them into a gift box
{ie be nicer to siblings, behave better, pray daily, help mum around the house etc}

Closing Song: The Holy Ghost #105

Closing Prayer: Child

Pre- Wrap up a treat and say I have a gift for you for listening so well in FHE
{perhaps if you need a little bribery for attention, announce this part at the beginning :}

Inspiration for this lesson came from The Friend Magazine June 2013 page 22

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