Paw Patrol Party!

Z turned 6 recently and she was excited to have a Paw Patrol party; as it turns out it is very easy and fun to throw a Paw Patrol themed party!

Lets start with decorations…my favorite! I got these super cute masks for T’s birthday earlier this year and then we used them at the party. The plan was to let the kids each take one home but I forgot to fill the older kids and and hubby in on that and they ended taking them back from the kids. oops! 🙂 We definitely have gotten amazing use out of them over the last 3 months and they are still used regularly. I love the paw print table cloth too, always a favorite of mine when we can stick with the theme without being overboard PAW PATROL everything, does that make sense?

Dollar Tree dog bowls were the perfect way to serve up all of the goodies. I made dog bone tags/labels and printed on them on this brown paper I had although any color would work great! I checked with the parents ahead of time to make sure there was no peanut allergies so that our “puppy chow” could be Muddy Buddies. However, if there is an allergy to account for, you could go with another Chex Mix combo instead. Download the free bone tag printable below.

Next up, cupcakes! I wanted to keep it simple this time so we stuck with the paw print theme using large and mini marshmallows. I usually always make homemade frosting on a from the box cake but this time I did box cake AND canned frosting and per the usual, the kids didn’t care 😁

Of course what is a party without games?! We started off the party outside waiting for everyone to arrive and practicing our aim just like Chase. We used this bow and arrow set and didn’t have to worry about injuries.

While we were outside playing mean Mayor Humdinger came and stole all of Z’s presents her friends had brought! We went and alerted the kids so they could come in and help us solve the problem. They found some kitten prints left leading outside. Once outside the prints stopped but lucky for us, Farmer Yumi was in the garden (played by Z’s big sister, C) and let us know she saw cats running into our garage. They ran into the garage to find some prints on our car and then leading back into the house….you can see where we went with this. Around they ran following the prints until it lead them to the closet under the stairs where Mayor Humdinger and his cats stashed them before escaping!

Following that adventure we played freeze dance using the Paw Patrol album found on Spotify and we played Bingo which I found HERE. I’m not posting pictures from all of our games for privacy reasons but they did take up majority of our time and the kids had a blast!

After we were done with games we ate “pupperoni pizza” bites and all the goodies and snacks that were out on display. I had some larger solid color plates they could put their food and snacks on and then these cute dessert plates for their treats.

We {almost} always end parties with a goodie bag and this party was no exception. I got fruit snacks and Paw Patrol party packs at Walmart (the party pack was a mini coloring/activity book that I figured would be great for parents to throw into their church activity bags 🤞🏼) we also made “pupcorn” by taking plain popcorn and pouring melted white chocolate over it, adding some fun balloon shaped sprinkles and mixing it all up. This was served during dinner too so they were all very excited to see that they got to take some home too! The “pupcorn” tags are part of the download found previously in this post.

All in all the party was a success! I’m loving these last few years of having these fun themed parties before I know they will inevitably come to an end. It’s always so magical to watch their faces light up as they see it all come together and watch them make such great memories with their friends as they enjoy the magical parts of being a KID!

Have fun!

xo,
Jenny

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Come Follow Me – March

The printouts for each week, your scriptures, the Come Follow Me manual (hard copy or from the Gospel Library app – the app makes videos quick and easy to find), and The Beginner’s Bible are the items needed for this week. The Beginner’s Bible is not mandatory but it is a huge help to keeps things quick and to the point whether because of younger kids in the house or busy schedules that don’t leave a lot of time. (I do get a small payment for purchases made through this blog. Thank you in advance for using this above link!) We also use the Don’t Miss This – Word of the Week. You see me reference “introduce the word of the week” on Mondays and “review word of the week” on Sunday…that is what I am referring to. You can find it here if you are interested in it. One last thing that is not mandatory but that we use is journals. The kids each have their own CFM journal and at times there are specific guidelines of what they should be writing but often times it is just a space for them to take random notes, pictures, quotes, and doodles of thoughts that come to mind during these short lessons.

First week of March: Week 10 of CFM

It’s been the craziest month, luckily I had these planned back in January but I just typed them up tonight to be ready to start CFM again tomorrow so, no pictures to post this month. Hopefully there aren’t too many typos, I did zero checking this time. Such is life.

Week 11 (2nd week of March):

Items needed for this week: 2 magnets and 1 paperclip (for FHE lesson). Links for videos not on the CFM manuals: The Refiner’s Fire and After the Storm.

Week 12 (3rd week of March):

No supplies needed or extra video clips this week. Journals will be used but again, not mandatory.

Week 13 (week 4 of March):

No additional supplies needed this week but I do refer to this post which may help you with names of Christ.

Week 14 (5th week of March):

Here is the link for my favorite video discussing the Passover that is watched on Wednesday. The video watched on Sunday can be found HERE

That’s it for the month! Hope it is a great month for you and your family!

xo,
Jenny

Conversation Starters – V-Day themed

I always love to have conversation starters at holidays, they always end in a combination of deeper conversation and laughter. Our day to day dinner routine is full of laughter and talking about our day but this takes the conversation to a level of getting to know each other better and being more understanding of one another, and what family couldn’t benefit from that more? So whether you want to use these as a way of connecting or just simply to keep the conversation flowing while having guest over, look no further!

Some questions are silly, some are deeper. There is a total of 12 questions and it took our family a few nights to get through them all because some lead to some pretty long conversations. With that being said, if you are using these for a one night thing you might want to have two jars, one with your first choice picks and one with the “backup” if the first round goes quicker than you thought 🙂

That’s a sample of them. There is a second page with more questions. The free download is below!

I had to throw in one last pic. I got so many good ones, it was hard to choose! Some of these had us rolling with laughter hearing the responses from some of the kids. Anyway…ENJOY!!!

xo,
Jenny

Valentine’s Day Bingo!

Well if you know us, you know we have a bingo game for just about every holiday and party. Why? Because they are easy, fun and you can make it a quick filler activity or drag it out and play it different ways.

We used Swedish Fish this time as our markers because we had them on hand but Valentine’s Day m&ms are another popular one for us often times. Really just about any food you have on hand can probably make it more fun for kids…marshmallows, pretzels, goldfish, etc.

We usually make these quite a bit bigger but we made little mini bingo cards this time (as far as the number of spaces) just to try it out. We actually loved it because if you are just doing three in a row they are nice FAST games but you can still drag it out by playing black out or just get a bunch of quick games in there leaving everyone engaged and wanting a turn because it’s a quick turnaround. It helps that each card is slightly different, not just with the pictures being in different locations but each card has a couple pics the others don’t. The FREE printout is at the bottom of this post.

We’ve been using the game as a quick break from school work or chores and have been loving it. We hope you do too!

xo,
Jenny

January Book Reviews

I read/listened to 7 books this month. Here they are and here are some very quick thoughts on them:

I loved this book. A true story of remarkable courage as a very young woman saves the lives of 13 Jews during World War 2, doing whatever necessary to keep them hidden until the war is through. It has been added to our list of books for our kids to read for school. Highly recommend. 5 out of 5 stars.

This book was good, not great. I feel kind of bad saying that because it was well written and it is very personal so you want to be sensitive to that but, with that being said, I wouldn’t read it again and I probably wouldn’t recommend it to all. I take that back, it’s definitely not for everyone. If you love reading about how people persevere through difficult times, especially those dealing with mental illness or family members that have mental illness, then you would probably find comfort in the book. 3 out of 5 stars.

Loved this book. I found this story inspiring as you follow the life of Ayse Hitchins as she experiences one difficulty after another yet perseveres through it all to find her true calling in life and faith that will get her through anything else that lays ahead for her. This was also added to our list of homeschool reads for the older kids. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you love thrillers and don’t mind some language, this book is for you. It is a page turner for sure and keeps you guessing until the very end. I’m not even a huge lover of the thriller/mystery genre but I thoroughly enjoyed this book all the way through. My only complaint is the language. I was listening to it and couldn’t listen to it with my kids in the room, with that being said, I’m picky about language though so it might not bother others at all. 4 out of 5 stars.

I really, really liked this book. I didn’t want to put it down and I LOVED the contagious spunk of the main character, Emmeline Lake, and the endearing friendship she has with her bestie, Bunty. If you like books like The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Society and/or Lilac Girls, you will enjoy this book. Definitely recommend. 4 out of 5 stars.

My FAVORITE book this month. This book is inspiring from the beginning to the end. I won’t even try to summarize because I won’t do it justice. Go read it, you won’t be disappointed. I talked about this book with our kids throughout the whole thing and put it high on the list of books they will be reading for school. 5 out of 5 stars.

I really, really loved this book. It was so cute. Super fun, easy read that is a little bittersweet but mostly sweet. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you read any of these reach out and let me know what you think! I love discussing books. I’m one book down in February and it was a great one, can’t wait to keep reading and share more books next month!

xo,
Jenny

Come Follow Me Schedule – February

Materials needed for this month:

Your scriptures, the Come Follow Me manual (shortened to: CFM), The Beginner’s Bible (this is optional, I let you know what pages from the bible you can read as a replacement but his is a great option for a fun summary for kids. I use it the times I want them to get the summarized version so we can spend more time on discussing the lesson to be learned. This is an affiliate link so if you purchase through here, thank you so much!), print outs for each week, Walking with the Women of the Old Testament (I got mine at Costco but I did find it HERE. Although the cover looks different, it is the same author so I’m assuming it’s the same. I will say I don’t use this book often in CFM lessons but we do read it each Sunday with our older kids and have LOVED it so far).

Week 6 (1st week of February):

You’ll notice that there are some extra pages to print for Family Home Evening if you choose to do that lesson. I found all of my pages from ColoringHome. I printed 6 that went along with the story we read which will allow us to use our cut out coloring pages to reenact the story as it’s read. You will also need your to pull up videos from Library app in the Primary CFM Manual OR “Old Testament Stories” put out by the church. You can find one here: Noah and His Family but The Tower of Babel will have to be found on the Gospel Library app. I don’t have them pictured, but our children always bring their CFM journals to our lessons so they can write when inspiration strikes and in some lessons it is worked into the lessons.

Week 6’s printout:

Week 7 (February 7-13):

The Beginner’s Bible will again be used this week along with the usual CFM manual and your scriptures. Note that there is some prep work needed this week. See the printout for more details. Technically you could get away winging it or just reading it all but as they are longer sections you may want to read in advance and just highlight/underline the parts you would like to review as a family.

The book, Walking with the Women of the Old Testament, will be used this week in one of the lessons, however, it can be left out if needed.

There are some videos you will watch so make sure to also have your phone with the Gospel Library app available and ready to go.

Week 7 printout:

Week 8 (February 14-20):

This week you just need the CFM manual, your scriptures, and your phone for the watching THIS video. If you do the FHE lesson planned, you need to also have some sort of treat for them to look forward to after the lesson (they are going to learn about the wait being worth it often times). Because this is falling on Valentine’s Day, I put together little bags for them as seen below.

Printout for week 8:

Week 9 (Feb 21-27):

You will need The Beginner’s Bible, CFM manual, printout for the week, your scriptures and your phone for watching the videos which can be found on the Gospel Library app. As always, journals are another great addition but not mandatory. There is an additional clip to watch, Water of Life, which I included here since it is not found in the Gospel Library. I tell you the info in the printout as well so you can also look it up yourself easily.

Week 9 printout:

Hope you enjoy another month of quick but intentional Come Follow Me lessons with your family!

xo,
Jenny

Singing Time!

I currently have my dream calling and it is as amazing as I thought it would be. I LOVE being the primary chorister at our church, meaning I spend an hour each Sunday teaching the youth songs that help teach them about the gospel and hopefully help them develop testimonies of our Savior. This month we are working on the song Choose to Serve the Lord by Blake Gilette and Angie Killian. You can view the music video for this song HERE. It’s the perfect song for this year as we are learning about the Old Testament and you get to review so many amazing stories from there as you teach the song.

I thought UNO would be a perfect way to practice this song over and over again while keeping it fun and avoiding feeling too repetitive.

As you can see I made it so that verse one is also known as the color RED, second verse is BLUE, the bridge is GREEN, and the chorus is YELLOW. This means that when I took the cards out of the UNO deck that I need for the game the one 1s I took out are RED and the only 2s are BLUE and so forth. So my UNO deck I take on Sundays is a much smaller deck but I didn’t want to use the whole deck and possibly get to very few fun cards like the switch, skip and wilds. If you are using this game for a song that doesn’t have 2 verses, a bridge and a chorus you will have to switch things around. You can print a copy of the game below.

When it says to choose a “WILD” way to sing the phrase/verse I use the cards you see below. I made this set of cards because I wanted a whole set of cards that was different ways of singing while STILL SINGING. There are so many fun ways like “stop and go” and “hum” but I noticed I regularly pulled those out because I was wanting the kids to work on the lyrics of these songs and you aren’t getting that if you aren’t singing them. In my experience if you let the kids choose stop and go to singing the lyrics they hold the stop sign up for 90% of the song and as much as I love listening to the beautiful pianist play the song it defeats the purpose, am I right? 🙂 So all of them are meant to be done while still singing. Sway to the music while also singing, clap the words as you sing them, stand on one leg while you sing, and then the rest are obvious that you will be singing. 🙂

You can print the cards below.

And another option they can choose from:

Below is the template for the arrows you can print on color paper, or color yourself, or keep black and white and just write in whichever opposites you want to use.

Hopefully you will enjoy using this game and helpers as much as I do. Happy singing!

xo,
Jenny

2022 – Do it!

For years I have chosen a “word of the year” That summarizes what I am hoping to accomplish that year. Sometimes, like this year, it is more of a phrase. 2022 for me will be the year I think about the things I would like to do more and “just do it”. Get a prompting…do it. Want to travel more…make it happen. Want to learn a new skill…do it! 

I sure love that family of mine there. If there is one thing I want to do for my kiddos it is to teach them to live life to the fullest. Make the most of the time we have here and live each day with the purpose. Best way to teach it is to live it!

What initially made me think of this was the spiritual aspect of it. There are SO many times when I feel prompted to do something but I get in my own way by over thinking, second guessing and getting preoccupied with other things on my to do list…often times things not as important as the prompting I had. So listening to promptings is the top of the list of things I want to work on this year.

I also saw someone post on Instagram who said she was going to learn a new skill each month and I thought, what a perfect way to get myself to not get in my way and overthink and just DO IT. Learn/work on a new skill each month, yes! So I set those up for the year:

So many things on that list are things I have been talking about for months, or sometimes YEARS, but this is the year I stop pushing it off and actually DO! Once I started making that list I started getting all sorts of excited about small monthly goals I felt were achievable and would keep me going so I figured why not push that into other areas of my life? So I made a monthly house project list with my husband.

I also made a list of things each child wants to work on and how I can help them with that. This one is not a monthly list because we can take our time with each of these as long as needed. We do 2 on 1 dates with our kids quarterly so on those dates we plan on talking with each kid to check in where they think they are at with that goal and what we can do to continue to support them in it. I won’t post a picture of those for privacy for the kids but you can see a bit in the picture above the page…on it there is their name and what they are working on and then in pink below that is what I can do to help them with it.

As for the kids personal goals we break them down a little differently. Our church recommends we break goals up into 4 categories and it sure seems to work for them so we’re sticking with it! Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, and Social.

For the last couple years we’ve had their goals on little whiteboards in their hallway down to their rooms but it was always a major case of “out of sight, out of mind”. I saw this idea, of using the cork boards from my friend Christine (@musiclovingmomma on Instagram) and loved it. We know have this in our dining room which is perfect because each night as we’re eating dinner we’re able to check in with if we were able to work on our goals at all that day. The difference made by having them in such a central location is HUGE! So helpful!

I have a recipe box in our kitchen that has just been used for decor up until now. Now, we have the extra index cards in that recipe box and as we pull an index card off after completing it, we will put it in the index box before grabbing a new card. This will allow us at the end of the year to look back at all the goals accomplished. If you look closely at our cards you’ll see that each of them are in a different color ink. That is how we know whos is who. Our family calendar is color coded and the same color ink is used for each kid on their index card.

As you’ve read, we all have slightly different ways of achieving our goals but the similarity is we are all making them and moving forward in life with purpose and intention. Some goals need to be checkin on daily, others weekly, or monthly or every few months…how we go about it really doesn’t matter, just that we are doing it! We’re trying. We’re improving. We’re figuring out what works for us and adjusting as needed. Don’t forget…YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!

xo,
jenny

Come Follow Me – January

December was a hard month for me. I felt like I was just doing enough to get by and I hated it. I was trying to keep everything together and make great memories and not let any balls drop but I was drowning and not really doing anything to the extent I wanted to because I just had enough time to get the bare minimum done before I had to move on to the next thing. So I have decided I’m going into 2022 MUCH more organized and on top of things.

First step is the most important to me…Come Follow Me prep. I have the entire month of January planned and prepped and ready to go. What we’ll do each day, what our FHE will be for that month and what are discussions will be. Of course, there is always room for things changing when it comes to some stuff, if the kids have questions that take our discussion in a different direction, we’ll go there instead, but having a plan as to what to do each day is going to help DRASTICALLY with feeling like I can get this done each day and to the level I want to. It’s not over the top, it doesn’t take a lot of extra stuff, but it will mean we can have meaningful scripture study each day (with the exception of Saturdays) as a family and that’s all I want. I really only use the Come Follow Me manuals (both the Individual and Family one and the primary one) and made sure each child had a journal to use during our study time which we will use most weeks but not daily. Later in the post I will discuss some of the extra items I use to prepare but they certainly aren’t used every week and they are not mandatory by any means for doing the lessons, they are mostly just additional material for us to read with kids or discuss with our teens in between CFM lessons.

Week 1:

For the one activity discussed in there we chose to make pancakes. The pancake mix was PRAYER, the whisk was READ AND STUDY THE SCRIPTURES, the rubber spatula was ATTEND CHURCH SERVICES, the bowl was APPLY THE ATONEMENT, the measuring cup used for dry ingredients was LISTEN TO GOOD MUSIC, the water (which I had pre-measured out in a glass measuring cup) was BE MINDFUL/INTENTIONAL, the griddle was GO FOR A WALK, the butter was DO AN ACT OF SERVICE, the syrup was SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY, and a container of blueberries was CHOOSE GOOD FRIENDS. While we made the pancakes we discussed why we needed each of these items to make pancakes and why what it represented could be used to help us stay on track with fulfilling our purpose or could be used to help us resist temptation. You of course can choose any activity that works best for your family that involves using multiple tools to get it done.

I found this book that has little descriptions/summaries of each week’s lessons and coloring pages for the kids and I bought 2 so each of the youngest who can’t read as well can color in their books while we do our lessons if needed. I bought ours at Costco but I’m assuming you can find them at Desert Book or online.

I also found at Costco a book about the women in the Old Testament which we are SO excited to look through on Sundays, especially with our teen girls, and some beginner bibles for kids that we can read to the youngest in our family.

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

Week 5:

I will post these as I finish them or perhaps at the end of each month for the following month. I hope someone out there finds them helpful in their CFM prep. We don’t have to have over the top lessons each day or even week but finding time to do CFM as meaningful as you can will pay off in blessings. Maybe your family will do all of it on Sundays or just choose bits and pieces to do, maybe you enjoy spreading it out amongst the week as we do, maybe you do it in the early morning or right before bed, none of that matters, what matters is that you put forth your best effort and have faith that God and our Savior will make up the rest. YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!

xo,
Jenny

Christmas Bingo

For those moments you need to have the kids be entertained with something for awhile so that you can finish cooking or cleaning I give you….Christmas Bingo!

All ages seem to like getting involved every time we have Bingo out so I figured why not have a Christmas themed one? And why not share it for FREE in case others could use a quick and easy solution to keep their kids occupied for awhile. This keeps our kids busy for quite some time because they seem to need to all take turns being the one picking the cards and you won’t hear me complain about it. 🙂

So here it is. Christmas Bingo!

3 sheets with variations and the pictures to cut out and draw. Have fun and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

xo,
Jenny