Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Mama Money - The Very Best Part of Summertime!

I love summer! At least, I love it for the first two months... It is during those inaugural days when the weather isn't too hot and the kids aren't too bored (yet) that I often feel most productive as a mother. I always have more plans than we have vacation. More lists of books to read, crafts to finish, and places to go than we will ever find time for. And, I have dreams of homeschooling my children every morning until the school bus returns.

The best laid plans of mice and mothers often go by the wayside before too many lazy days have passed, and by August we are barely pulling ourselves out of bed for a bowl of cereal and staying on top of laundry (or not...). But the fact is that at the beginning of summer I have energy and excitement for the days ahead.

One practice I have used for as long as I can remember is Mama Money. After all, I have a list of things to get done and a gaggle of kids at home to help me. And, while I never pay my children for jobs during the school year, having a fun monetary incentive in the summer is a treat we all look forward to.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summer P.E. (Printables for those Long Lazy Days...)

My Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Flickinger, was awesome! She played the piano, sang songs, did crafts, taught us to read and color, and loved us like a grandma.

One thing I will never forget is her wonderful awards. Mrs. Flickinger gave awards for everything! Tying your shoe, learning the colors, reciting the days of the week, counting to 100, etc. She also gave awards for outside skills like riding a tricycle (those were allowed on the kindergarten playground back then), crossing the monkey bars, and jumping rope. Each award was handmade and could fit in a fun envelope where we collected them through the school year. 

This summer I wanted to re-create Mrs. Flickinger's awards for my own little school children. After all, jumping rope is almost a lost art! I enlisted my daughter, Emma, to help me and together we brainstormed 22 physical skills that kids could work on. Emma designed an award for each skill with a place to check off the skill or put a sticker when it is mastered.

I've attached the pdf of our award sheets. Just print, cut, punch holes, and make a small booklet for each child. 

We anticipate lots of outdoor fun! And I'm hoping for double-dutch (or at least proficient) jump-ropers by the end of the summer.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How Scouting Prepared My Son To Be A Missionary...

Only a few short weeks until my oldest son returns from his mission to Denmark! Scouting played a pivotal role in preparing him for that life-changing experience.

Read more on the LDSBSA blog...


Thursday, May 4, 2017

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Family Council

All I really need to know I learned in Family Council. 

Wait.  You mean, Kindergarten, right?  All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten.  Isn’t that how the phrase goes? 

Nope.  Everything I really need to know I learned in Family Council.  Let me explain with a flashback to my childhood. 

First of all, family councils have been happening forever, right? Well in theory, yes, but the real emphasis came in the 1970s. In fact, in October 1976 a special edition of the Ensign magazine admonished Church members to hold regular family councils.  Church pamphlets and stake conference messages in 1977 furthered the direction to organize families and keep records.  My parents, who live the gospel to the letter, held their first family council in August of 1977 (when I was just four years old) and they’ve held family council once a month on every Fast Sunday since then. 

Not only did my parents start holding family council regularly, they also organized our family into four focus areas:  Family History, Missionary Work, Personal and Family Preparedness, and Home Education and Activities.  Kind of like the three missions of the church, only they were the four missions of our family. 

And, they took family organization even further and gave us all assignments as committee chairmen and members of these focus areas.  Remember it was 1977, and I was four years old.  My Dad called me in for a Personal Priesthood Interview and asked me to serve as our Family Missionary Chairman.  

In true four-year-old fashion I immediately responded, “Nope.  I don’t want to be the Missionary Chairman.”  I’m sure Dad was surprised, but he remained calm and explained what exciting things a Family Missionary Chairman would do.  I decided to accept the call.  So, there you have it.  One of the first things I learned through family council was to accept callings and responsibility.  And I’ve been accepting them ever since. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Babies: Burden or Blessing?

My baby turned 2 years old last week and we had a huge celebration! But I will never forget the day I discovered I was expecting him, Baby #10.

It was a cool fall day just after school started. Staring at the positive pregnancy test in the privacy of my bathroom my heart sank and I immediately felt overwhelmed. I could hear my nine noisy busy children out in the kitchen chattering and making dinner.

I had good reason to feel overwhelmed. My youngest daughter was three, and for the first time in 18 years I had a "completely-potty-trained-put-on-your-own-shoes-feed-yourself-mostly-self-sufficient household." Eight of my children had gone back to school that month, and during the previous week I had relished the three hours of quiet I enjoyed every day while they were gone. In many ways I felt that my life was just beginning. I knew that I would finally be able to keep up on housework and even have time for some personal projects. Also, I was just a few weeks away from turning 41. Socially, I was just too old to have a baby.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

10 Parenting Phrases (That get me through the tough times)

Some motherhood days are just difficult! I feel like I am barely treading water and keeping myself afloat…or almost drowningwhichever way you look at it!

Here are ten phrases I often say to myself in these times that try the soul.

*Just Keep Swimming! Yep! Dory from Finding Nemo is my motherhood inspiration. In a situation that seemed hopeless, Dory rallied the troops (errr… fish) and triumphed, eventually breaking the net and leading them all to freedom. On those days when I’m folding laundry, or cleaning up a disastrous kitchen, or scrubbing toilets, I repeat to myself, “Just keep swimming.” Even when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel of laundry if I “just keep swimming” and keep folding one piece at a time, then the clouds always clear, the light comes through and I reach the end! It always feels so good to sit down on a clothes-free couch, look at a dishes-free kitchen, or enjoy my mess-free bathroom. I’m always so grateful that I “swam on” and made it to freedom!

*Can you do it yourself or would you like some help? I initially learned this phrase when my first children were toddlers. Can you climb in the car by yourself or do you need help? Can you put on your shoes by yourself or do you want help? Can you finish your dinner by yourself or should I help you? I LOVE using this phrase because it empowers the child while putting them within my parameters. This tactic maintains my status and rights as the parent while teaching them self-governance. In other words, going with me to the store right now is not a choice, but how you choose to go is. I use this phrase many times a day while dealing with toddlers, tweens and teens. And I always say it in a calm, completely in-control voice! J

The Real Story—Thoughts on the recent BSA membership policy change

Last week the Boy Scouts of America announced a membership policy change that allows transgender youth to register in BSA programs. Like much of the conservative world I initially felt betrayed when I read the announcement. How could this values-based organization change their moral stand and allow such a policy to be enacted? Judging from comments all over social media, I was not alone in my feelings—especially among other conservatives who still place the highest value on being “morally straight."

However, after several days of reading, watching, listening and learning, I’ve come to understand more clearly what happened in this situation.  In my newly-formed opinion, the BSA should actually be applauded for their actions. Let me explain.

First of all, the policy change states that the Boy Scouts will no longer use a person’s birth certificate to determine their gender. They will simply take the parent’s word on an application. Remember, BSA programs are for youth, and a parent signature is always required. But guess what? The BSA has NEVER required a birth certificate to determine gender. They have ALWAYS simply asked for the parent’s word. The difference is that now they will not dispute the word of the parents, regardless of the child’s anatomy.