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!


Living with Intention – new years resolutions check-in

One of the most effective ways I have found to live intentionally is to checkin regularly with your goals. It’s one thing to say you want to become a certain way, do a specific thing or live a particular way but it’s something else entirely to actually make it happen and the only way to truly become anything is with consistency and a whole lot of willpower. I have been working on living more intentionally for a couple years now and one of the things that makes a huge difference for me is quarterly check-ins…with myself.

This years goals are centered around the word: cleanse. Cleansing myself from negativity, toxic environments, bad habits, clutter, etc. As I look back on the first 4.5 months I’m pretty proud with how much progress I have made but I’m also glad I’m doing this checkin because I realize there is more I can be doing…especially with summer approaching.

I have been much pickier about who I follow on social media, unfollowing any accounts that I feel are either negative or are too forceful about their opinions to the point that they put down anyone who does not think the same as them. I have also cut back on how much tv I watch and how often I am on social media….like a lot. It has had a wonderful effect in many aspects. 1. I spend more time with our kids 2. I have more time to sit in silence and reflect and meditate 3. I find other ways to have noise on in the background if needed such as inspiring podcast or music that brightens my day and mood.

Another big change I have made came after we spent some time in Montana over spring break. It was a big eye opener to me that I needed to slow down again. I tend to be a person who enjoys being kept busy. I love projects and crossing things off a list but if I’m not being careful I can get a little too carried away with it all which leads to me getting some pretty unrealistic expectations for myself. During that time away from “city life” (or really suburb life in our case) I was reminded how great it felt to spend some time reading each day, and walking around outside and having the house smell of fresh bread. My desire to live on a homestead where we have everything we need to survive right there on our property began to burn strong within me again. So when we came back home we started making some changes… I planted a garden, started taking about making bread, started researching what we need to get chickens (those will be coming later this year), started planning out landscape in the front yard and backyard that will allow us to spend more time outdoors and reprioritized what is most important for our kids’ education. I still make to do lists each day and I spend the morning getting the “musts” done which always includes a morning walk amongst other things, and then we do school and then while the kids play with friends after school I take 2 hours to do as much as I can on my to do list and then I spend some time reading or meditating, or painting my toenails or anything that just feels “fun” to me. It has made a huge difference in my mental health and I love teaching the kids life skills such as cooking, gardening, harvesting and baking and watching them get excited about it with me. That’s when I really know we’re on the right path that we need to be on during this phase of life.

One other way I have started to cleanse my life is the literal kind. I have been going through closets and cabinets and even our garage to declutter. I love the feeling of giving new life to items that have just been sitting at our house not being put to use for months and months if not longer and now someone else gets to get all excited about their new purchase and actually USE it. I get such satisfaction as I see items in my makeup drawers and in our medicine cabinet actually get finished and then thrown away because I’m just being more intentional about finishing what I have before I try a new product. That may seem like common sense to most, and really it is to me too, I know I should be doing that, but up until this point it had been hard for me to do. Like I’m actually FINISHING my candles before I buy more and that is just a huge step for me 🙂

Some things I plan on working on these next 3 months are: 1. continuing to declutter the house (I’ll up this a bunch with it being summer and no longer teaching) 2. continuing to work on our current garden AND beginning to plant some of the perimeter plants we are wanting to get in 3. spending quality time with each kid one on one over the summer 4. letting go of expectations that I have to get everything done every day but instead to be ok if I have to push some things off for another day 5. read/relax every single day. make time for it, it’s important 6. drink more water. 7. continue to only watch tv at night when the kids go to bed 8. up my scripture study time since we won’t be having the school schedule 9. less projects around the house (other than finishing what we have started) and more family adventures. 10. continue to have get togethers with friends & family that bring us joy and encouragement

I hope if you have been following since the beginning of the year when I first talked about setting yearly goals and checking in regularly to stay on top of them that you use this post as a reminder to check in with yourself. How are you doing? What have you been doing well? What changes have you seen for the better? What areas could you improve? Have you realized new goals that you want to set for yourself or any that you realize aren’t as important as you thought? Re-evaluate, re-adjust if needed and KEEP MOVING FORWARD. You got this!


Health Challenge for Kids

I am currently doing a health challenge with a group of friends and our older kids wanted to join in. There were a few items on my list that simply wouldn’t apply to kids so I made a few adjustments and came up with a kid friendly version.

For those that don’t know how these challenges work: The top 6 items are everyday items, they are the most important ones that we encouraged the kids to hit every single day. The 1-6 under “BONUS” is more of the optional items but the more you do the better your odds because at the end of every day you roll the dice and whatever number it lands on is that days BONUS. So, if you did it, you get the bonus point! We have the kids doing this challenge Monday – Friday for 5 weeks.

Yes, we are hoping the kids pick up some healthier habits from doing this BUT perhaps more importantly I hope they learn to find moderation. We have been very big on stressing to the kids that this is NOT about perfection. Some days you may get all 7 possible points, one day you may only get 5 but the goal is to be making improvements and finding moderation.

The kids have had some amazing insights so far (they are on week 3 right now) that makes me hopeful that this is working! Some of their comments that have made us happy:

“I don’t miss sweets as much as I thought I would”
“I didn’t even drink soda on the weekend even though I could because I didn’t even want it”
“I haven’t had any headaches, I think it’s from drinking water like you always say” (this was perhaps one of my personal favorite comments #momisrightagain 😉)
“I thought no technology was going to be the hardest but I actually had a lot of fun just playing all day”

We mix Bonus #6 up every other week. Some weeks it is NO TECH and some weeks it is HELP WITH DINNER and by help with dinner I mean I stand there if they have questions with the recipe or need me to walk them through a part but they do majority of it. It’s awesome!

This is after week 1. I had forgot to add number 6 then so that’s why you see it squeezed in there. I could have printed one tracker for each kid but decided to save trees and squeeze them all in one. 🌳

If you are interested in doing this with your kids I have a printable version below and if you have any questions leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP. Here’s to healthier choices, living with intent, and finding moderation in all things! 👊🏼

Finding time to be still

In my quest to live an intentional life I have found great power in the ability to slow down.  As I slowed down and put more thought into each decision I was making I found it easier to know what to say yes to and more open to saying no if needed.  I have been amazed at the time I have found to get all of my top priority items done.  My top 4 priorities everyday are:

1. Personal study/feeling a connection with my Savior 

2. My family & their needs

3. Me time

4. Service

 How I go about those top priorities changes from day to day.  Sometimes my personal study is straight from the scriptures, other times it is listening to a General Conference talk.  The needs of my family change from day to day of course.  Me time is sometimes an hour to myself at night and other times it is just doing something nice for myself here and there throughout the day.  Service is sometimes something more time consuming like helping something with a project, or babysitting their kids, bringing someone a meal and other times it is simply texting someone to let them know I’m thinking of them or checking in with a family or friend I know is going through a hard time.

I still have other items on my to do list each day…bake bread, go to lunch with friend, vacuum, grocery shopping, etc; but as long as I have those top 4 priorities done each day, I don’t care what else I crossed off on my list.  Everything else can be bumped back a day or two if needed.

The greatest thing you can do to live an intentional life and to realize what is worth your time and what isn’t, comes when you discover the power there is in stillness.  Another way to word it: meditate.  So often we think that meditating or finding time to “be still” has to be this long drawn out thing and so we push it off because, “who has time for that?!”  Well the good news is we can all find time for that because it doesn’t have to be a long meditation…it can be a moment (or two) of stillness.

Stillness, for me, is sitting in silence (as much silence as I can get with 6 kids) and being aware of everything around me.  The noises around me, what I’m feeling physically, what I’m feeling emotionally, what my thoughts are, and my reaction (physically and emotionally) to those thoughts.  As you begin to pay attention to these feelings you can learn where your focus needs to be.  Sometimes I only have a couple of minutes of stillness before my next responsibility comes knocking.  I have found the better I am at prioritizing and making intentional decisions and commitments for myself and my family, the more time I have for stillness. I am to the point now that at least a few days a week I can find 30 minutes a day to just be still. Think. Reflect.  Feel.  Evaluate, and adjust if needed. On busier days I may still only find a few moments here and there but I CAN still find time to “check-in” with myself. 

I strongly recommend if  you are realizing you need to reprioritize what is deserving of your time and what isn’t that you commit right now, to take a couple of days where after each activity,  you reflect on how you feel after doing that task.  Is it something that serves a purpose?  Is there a way you could go about it that would make it more enjoyable?  Is it something you could live without?  You’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself and your needs when you find just a few minutes here and there throughout your day to reflect, contemplate and reevaluate. Listen to your body.  Listen to your mind.  And most importantly, listen to your spirit.

The greatest blessing that comes from stillness is the ability to be acutely aware of not only your surroundings and your physical well being but your spiritual well being.  In the scriptures we are taught that the Lord speaks to us “not in the wind nor the earthquake nor the fire, but in a still, small voice”. (1 Kings 19:11-13).   He doesn’t shout, he whispers.  I know when there is chaos in my house, if I only whispered my children would not be able to hear me unless THEY made the choice to calm down, be still, and listen.  We are no different.  We can not ask Him to speak louder.  To shout our next move to us.  We must be still to receive His guidance.

Perhaps one of the most well known scriptures that talks about the importance of stillness is Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”.  That is a beautiful verse but it is important to remember what it speaks of just before that verse. “Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof…The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved..the earth melted…” (Psalm 46:3-9)  Then we come to that beautiful verse where we are told to be still. “Be still, and know that I am God…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:10-11)

You see, the horrible things around us may not stop, our burden and trial may not be removed but if  we can learn to be still, we CAN feel Him and we can receive the peace we seek.  He can be our refuge THROUGH the storm.  

As you make a conscious effort to live with more intent, I have no doubt you will find more time for your top priorities.  Make sure one of those top priorities is finding time for stillness.  Draw closer to your Savior and watch as everything else in life falls into place.  Not always neatly, life may not always be pretty, and it may even at times still be really hard…but you’ll be amazed with the peace you can feel, even through the darkest of days, and the closeness you can feel to our Savior at anytime, when you are simply…still.  

Covid-19 – a lesson in growth through tribulation

My dad was diagnosed with Covid-19 recently. This isn’t his first rodeo in being a statistic. He has had a rare form of cancer that is often found in children but he got it in his thirties. He survived a bloodclot a week before my wedding back in 2006. Last year, he was in the hospital, septic, and yet he pulled through. My dad is a fighter, but this doesn’t make the current diagnosis any easier. In fact, this is the hardest one to watch because that’s all we can do…watch from afar. There is no option of jumping in the car and driving down to help care for him because I have my own family to consider during this time too. We can’t send help over to the house because they need to be completely quarantined for at least the next 2 weeks, if not longer. There are SO many unknowns right now it makes my head spin thinking about it.

Yet through all the doubt, fear, worry, anxiety, sleepless nights and more worry and fear, I feel peace. It may only come in moments but it comes. There is also a lot of room for growth right now. This is yet another reminder that drawing closer to the Lord is the answer to finding peace. That through this trial we will be given opportunities to practice living our faith, be reminded of the importance of relying on the Lord and His greater plan, given more opportunities to cry out unto the Lord, learn to hold our loved ones closer and never take time with them for granted, a reminder to allow others to help in our times of need and probably even more lessons I’m not even aware of yet.

Beautiful things can come from trials. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, it is a TRIAL after all. It will be hard, and painful, and scary and a time full of tears and heartache and yearning for peace and answers but it will also be a time of growth, and moments of beauty, and peace and clarity. I’m anxious about the weeks to come but I’m also being reminded to slow down, take it day by day and look for those moments of beauty and growth along the way.

One Day at a Time

What a time, and way, to be reminded that it’s ok to not have all the answers and it’s ok to not know how things are going to end up.

What I do know, is we can give into fear and panic, or we can use this time to self reflect and reprioritize. We’re trying our best to choose the latter in our house.

What it comes down to is I refuse to let this fear circulating distract me from the good that is still happening. I still have so much to be grateful for and there is still so much joy to be had. I won’t let the negativity of others judging and panicking slow me down. I will not judge others for their choices, I don’t know the whole story. I won’t panic, I’m doing the best I can and that’s all I can do and I trust God will help with the rest.

So I’m going to make the most of my extra time with my kiddos. I’m also going to regularly find times to escape for a couple minutes and take care of myself. I’m going to help others when I can, if I can.

Is it going to be all sunshine and rainbows and my kids will get along perfectly and I’ll never be exhausted physically or mentally? No. It’s going to have its ups and downs but I’m here for the ride and I’m making the most of it. One day at a time.

aint no party like a crafting party

When I made the commitment to start being more intentional with how I was using my time I knew that one thing I REALLY wanted to get back to was crafting with our kids, especially the younger ones. I realized I had gotten out of the habit of doing fun crafts with the kids (especially during the holidays which is when we always did the most) due to our busier schedule and although I wasn’t willing to remove things from our to do list to make time for it I knew if I moved things around and made it a priority I could find time for it again.

So crafting has been reestablished in our household and what better time to get back in the habit then at the beginning of a bunch of holidays coming up?! Zoey and I decided to start with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow in a fun new way and one that she could hang from the hook on her bedroom door (we use to make wreaths regularly for the kids to hang on their doors…simple craft ones that we throw away after each holiday). We started by find a pot of gold that I could print online. This is the one we used.

Zoey didn’t last too long coloring hers but she sure looked cute while doing it!

Next you have to cut some strips of paper the colors of the rainbow. (a red sheet cut into strips, an orange sheet etc)

Then, I took our colored pots and cut a slit right along where the gold ended and rim started so we could start threading the strips to make our rainbow.

We slid the pink strip through first and then Zoey taped it together (you could also staple) before moving on to purple and continuing up the rainbow. Zoey loved the taping part. I don’t know what it is about tape but each of our kids are obsessed and love an excuse to use it.

We had fun talking about each color and all the things of that color that we love as we added each new strip on. Zoey was so proud of her finished product and couldn’t wait to show Rylee when she got home from school (they share a room) Parker and Taylor have mine hanging from their door and Cambryn and Andi asked when they got to do a craft again. 😄 Looks like we all missed crafting.

I’ll have many more kid-friendly crafts coming to the blog so follow along if you want some more ideas to add to your compilation of craft ideas to do with your kiddos 🤗 Also, Happy St Patricks Day! 🌈🍀

Kindness Challenge

I LOVE that quote. Since I’m trying to live with more intention this year I figured one of the first places to start was thinking about the end…of life. Sounds dark, I know, but hear me out. Think about what you want people to say when you are gone. What do you want to be remembered for? For me, the first thing that came to mind, was wanting to be known as a genuine, kind person who helps others feel good about themselves. So if that is how I want it to end, what do I need to make sure I’m doing now to become that person?

Enter the 15 Day Kindness Challenge. 15 days of being very intentional about doing small acts of kindness that help you become a little less selfish and a little more selfless. If I can keep repeating these 15 days of intentionally thinking of others then I’m on the road to creating the legacy I want to leave behind.

beauty in every butterfly

Life is full of beauty, love, and blessings. It is also full of trials, temptations and sorrow. I want you to picture for a minute that you are sitting on a bench (or maybe a comfy chair, whichever you choose) in the middle of your happy place. Maybe that bench is in the middle of a beautiful park, or up on a mountain with no one around. Maybe it is on the beach or overlooking a lake. It is wherever you are happiest.

Mine would be a location like this. Beautiful shot by Mark Leader

Now picture that as you sit there minding your own business a beautiful butterfly comes and lands near you. Do you notice it? You are already surrounded by beauty so maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Either way, it’s there.

Now picture that a bunch of these butterflies come and land by you. You would probably notice them then, right? You would take in their beauty and admire their unique traits. You would watch them interact and fly around noting the added beauty they bring to an already rich scene.

Now lets move your location to a dreary, drab, dead location. Insert picture of the Elephant Graveyard from The Lion King into your mind. If you are sitting there and single butterfly comes and lands near you, are you going to notice it? YES!!! To finally see such beauty in such a dull place you would absolutely notice it. You would be in awe with the colors and grace it shows, enjoying every minute you get to experience such beauty before it flies away.

When life is going well and we are surrounded by beauty and blessings it can begin to be hard to notice the smaller blessings that are in our life. We are so grateful our house is not falling apart and our job is going well, our kids are doing great in school, our cars are not breaking down, the weather is ideal and we are finding all the time to get everything done on our to do list. In such a perfect world though we would often forget to enjoy the little things throughout the day. How grateful we are that the toilet did not over flow today and the car started so easily. How humbled we are that our kids are healthy and striving and you just got that promotion at work. We forget to have gratitude that things went smoothly enough today to check off every item of our to do list for a change.

You see, that’s why we rarely live in our “happy place”. If we lived there all the time, it would no longer be our happy place. When the cold weather has been lingering for 4 months we can’t wait to feel the sun kissing our bare skin, only to have 3 more months pass and find ourselves wondering when the weather will finally cool off so it can actually feel like fall. We have to CHOOSE to look for the blessings in our current circumstances because our circumstances are constantly changing. Thankfully, they are always changing.

Unfortunately, more often then we wish, we have to live in the Elephant Graveyard. Lucky for us, we don’t have to stay there forever. While we are there though, we can look for butterflies and soak up every second with their beauty before they fly away. Maybe your butterfly is a friend showing they care, or a stranger smiling at you. Maybe it is the weather working out in your favor or a moment of gratitude that you have your five senses. Sometimes the only blessing we can see is that God made our days short so they can come to an end, give us a couple hour break, and start over again anew.

At times the butterflies may seem to come few and far in between while other times you seem to be surrounded by them. Occasionally, you may find yourself lucky enough to be removed completely from the Elephant Graveyard and find yourself in your happy place and when you do, don’t forget to continue to look for those butterflies. They never stop coming. They are there in the good and there in the bad. Sometimes there is still only one and a time but it’s there. It’s beauty is the same whether on it’s own or in a group. Do you notice it?