Blog Archives

Pin the Kiss on Cupid

I was sooooo excited to create this little game from Tricia’s way cute Cupid.  I think your children will love being able to put the Kiss on Cupid.  Play it the same way you would any game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  Have fun this week and enjoy your children. Extra Hugs and Kisses makes a world of difference, even if they act like they don’t want them. 😉

Pin the Kiss on Cupid Large e-mail view

Pin the Kiss on Cupid PDF file (12×18) size

Christmas Jars!!!!

After reading the book,
“Christmas Jars”
I decided
that I wanted to take the opportunity with
my family to give as the Savior did.
I wanted my boys to have a selfless Christmas.
What an amazing year it turned out to be!
We read the book as a family
and then started filling jars for our neighbors.
Each jar contained 1 roll of pennies….
that was it!
We added a poem to the jar so that
the neighbor’s wouldn’t be left to wonder
what the purpose of a gift of 100 pennies meant.
Here’s the Poem:
A jar of pennies JUST FOR YOU . . .
we really went all out!
But the real meaning of this gift I
A pocket full of change, can be
a heavy thing to pack . . .
So just place it in this little jar,
and remember – NOT TO TAKE IT BACK!
When filled, this jar can CHANGE THE HEART of
someone who is in need.
The story is told in “Christmas Jars”
a book you’ll definitely want to read.
Jars are given in SECRET . . .
just where their CHRISTMAS JAR came from,
or the next place it may go.
So we hope this year you’ll FILL YOUR JAR,
To follow the Savior’s example,
and make Christmas HIS HOLIDAY!
May the TRUE meaning of Christmas be with
you throughout the year!
Tricia O. Smith
Here’s the PDF:
Green Gift Tag:
Here’s the PDF:
Gift Tag:
Here’s the PDF:
Gift Tag
Here’s the PDF for the Gift Tags:
I tied a ribbon to the neck of the jar
and added the gift tag.
This was one of my
favorite neighborhood gifts to give
because I knew it had the potential to
the lives of others in need.
It was truly a blessing for my family! …..

It’s Summertime!

Summer is in full swing and I have to say I have been enjoying it!  Sorry I have been such a slacker but I don’t get much down time and I needed some! 🙂  Thanks to Valerie for all of her hard work getting everything transferred over.

I know it is a bit late for tips on summer structure but I’m going to throw some out there anyway!  We have been slumming around here the first couple of weeks of summer but we are craving a little bit of a routine.  My kids are getting older but that doesn’t mean they are getting more self driven and responsible.  Does that ever happen? 🙂

I have decided that this summer I am going to keep things simple.  No matter  the age of my kids, they all like lists!  They respond well when they know exactly what is expected of them and they can check things off as they go.  Here is my plan of attack this year:

First, I am going to list all of the jobs that I need done during the week (i.e., dust blinds, dust baseboards, wipe down doors, wipe down bathrooms, empty garbages, take the garbage out, wash windows, laundry, yard work, etc.) along with their daily chores (i.e., make bed, get dressed, pick up room, practice instrument, etc.).  Next, I will separate them out into days of the week.  For example, Monday we change the sheets and do laundry.  Tuesday we clean bathrooms and do some yard work.  Wednesday we dust furniture, blinds and do the vacuuming and so on.  Then I can separate the jobs out for each child.  Each child will receive their every day chores along with one or two extra chores.  I will put them on an index card with their name on it (one for each day of the week).  You can even laminate them if you want to reuse them each week.  This way they can check things off as they go and they know exactly what needs to be accomplished before play time!

I also like to keep their brains working.  Each day I have planned something for them to do along these lines.  Monday we will do some math, Tuesday we will work on scouts or Faith in God, Wednesday we will read a book out loud together, Thursday we will do more math and Friday we will have some kind of an outing (swimming, Dinosaur Park, Nature Center, etc.).

My kids do better with some kind of structure and I don’t lose my sanity!  I love summertime and the freedom it brings.  I love not having a set schedule that we can’t deviate from.   I love sleeping in now and then and having some lazy days too!  However, I have noticed that we need to have some structure to keep everyone happy.  That doesn’t mean that we can’t shake things up a bit now and then but at least we have some sort of a plan!

I hope you are enjoying your summer.  For an idea that I have used in the past check out this post:

Family Fun Summer Schedule

Happy Summer!! 🙂

Holiday Clean Up

Tis the season for taking down the tinsel and the tree, packing up the bins and hauling it all to storage!  Oh what fun it is! 🙂  It seems so short lived some years.  This year I am on a clean out.  Nothing is safe.  We have taken 7 garbage bags full of items to be donated and we are still working on filling more.  I love it when so many “things” leave my house.  I suddenly fill lighter and my husband is thrilled because he sees a BIG tax deduction!  This is a great time to evaluate what you have in your closets and toy bins.  As you are putting away Christmas this week, let the kids play with some of their new toys and take advantage of the time you have while they are engrossed in their video games, games, toys and snow play.

First of all, go through each child’s closet.  Clean out all the items that don’t fit or they never wear (remember something that your child refuses to wear may become another child’s favorite item).  Then carefully organize and put things back in the closet.  I recommend pulling aside one child at a time and having them help you.  This is not only for your benefit but for theirs.  It is important that they be part of the process or the “system” that you put into place in their closet will never last.  This really doesn’t take as much time as you think.  I devoted one day to closets.  I managed to get through all of my bedroom closets (including my own – like I said nothing is safe!) in between meals, diaper changes, naps, fights, etc….

Next, prepare to put away Christmas.  If you have your totes nice and organized, good for you!  If not, take the time to do this.  Before you begin taking anything down, take pictures of everything (i.e., your mantel, your tree, your tables, etc).  You may think you remember but trust me, you won’t.  These pictures can be taped to the inside of your tote lid for easy reference or put into a 4X6 photo holder and put into your Holiday Organizer (refer to previous posts for details on the Holiday Organizer).  Also, make a list of items you may want to purchase for next year.  For example, our tree lights are half burned out, so we are on the lookout for replacement lights or a new tree.   This list can be kept in your holiday organizer  for safe keeping until you are ready to shop.  If you are really organized, you already made this list and hit all the after Christmas sales. 🙂

Once you have taken photos and made lists, you are ready to begin the demolition.  I have a tote just for tree decorations.  I have clearly marked the outside of the tote so that I know exactly what is in it.  This helps when I go to decorate next year.  If it is all in one place, it is much easier to find and less of a task to pull it all out.  I have marked another tote with advent calendar, kids ornaments, stockings and Santas.  I have done the same with each individual tote. Inside each tote every item is in a separate container.  Wrap each strand of lights around an empty paper towel roll or roll them up carefully and store them in individual baggies.  This will avoid the tangled mess next year!

I made sure that everything was separately wrapped this year.  Last year I wasn’t as meticulous and we had some issues.  One of our Santa’s beards may never recover from coming in contact with our nativity stable. 🙂   This is also a great time to get rid of old decorations that you are not using anymore.  Remember that LESS IS MORE!  The less excess you have, the better.  If you store some of your decorations in the garage or a dusty storage area, make sure everything is in a tote or covered in some way.  I keep all my wreaths and small trees in my garage with a black garbage bag over the top.  It is also a good idea to label each bag so you know what is inside.

These are just a few tips as you clean up after the holidays.  There are so many more.  We are happy to answer any questions you have.  I may have missed a few things in my post. 🙂  Happy Holidays and good luck organizing this week.

FHE – The Living Christ Part 1

As I was reading the Ensign the other morning (yes, I actually did pick it up and read it this month – yeah for me!), I discovered an article that really hit me.  It is found on page 8 of the September 2010 Ensign.  It is titled “Bringing Christ into Our Home”.  In the article Sister Cynthia Green shares her experience of memorizing “The Living Christ”.  She talks about how it affected her and then how she went on to teach it to her family.  I have been inspired!  Thank you so much Sister Green.  I have decided to challenge myself and my family to memorize “The Living Christ”.

I do have young children (my oldest are 10) but I think they are much more capable of this goal than I am!  I have decided that even if we don’t all memorize it, we will be talking about it and learning about Jesus Christ and inviting the spirit of the Holy Ghost into our home.  Hopefully it will be an experience that we will always remember and it will help all of our testimonies to grow.

I have separated “The Living Christ” into pieces and put pictures that go with it to help us all remember it (if you don’t have the Gospel Art Kit or the new picture kit put out by the church, I encourage you to go get one – it is one of the greatest teaching tools I have encountered!).  Each Monday for family night we will start a new section.  I have posted this Monday’s section along with the corresponding pictures just in case you are up for the challenge!  You will find that we plan to take it slow – mostly for my sake!  Find the picture that you would like to use (I have listed an idea for you) and attach the words to the picture.  Then hang them up where everyone will see them often during the week and repeat it together at least once everyday (meal time, before family prayer or during scripture study are all good times).

As I have watched general conference and felt the spirit in our home, I have realized that we need to be doing more.  Memorizing “The Living Christ” will give my children an opportunity to learn about Him every day and to remember Him in all we do.  I plan to post the pictures on my pantry door so that we can look at every morning as we eat breakfast.  Is there a better way to start your day than by talking about the Savior?  If you decide to take the challenge, good luck!  Let us know how it goes and if you have any suggestions.

Family Home Evening Outline:

Opening Song:  I Believe in Christ (the children learned this in primary) or Come Follow Me (they are learning this for the program this year)

Opening Prayer:

Scripture:  2 Nephi 25:26

Lesson:  Read The Living Christ.  Talk about why it is important and who wrote it.  Ask your children why they wrote it.  Prayerfully think about what you should share with them as you talk about the testimony of our living prophets of our Savior.

Activity:  Present your challenge to memorize “The Living Christ”.  Talk about the reward they will get in the end (you can do an actual reward or discuss how it will make their testimony grow).  Show them the pictures and explain why you chose them.  Begin memorizing and then choose a place to post the pictures for the week.  Discuss ways to meet your goal as a family (i.e., when you will repeat it daily, small rewards for completing the weekly assignment, etc.)

The Living Christ

Closing prayer:


FHE – Summer Scripture Program

Have you survived the first few days of summer?  I have a cute sign on my front door that says, “Relax!” I really want to slow down this summer, enjoy my kids, and also feel like I’ve had a break from the crazy routine.  As I’ve thought about some goals for me and my kids this summer, I feel like we need to do a better job at our family scripture study.

The internet can be such a place for good!  I have found some fun ideas to start a summer scripture program for my family.  Let’s make the scriptures an exciting place to spend our time this summer!

*Family Tree Scripture Study Program

*Follow Christ Scripture Study Program

*Scripture Study Chart (My 12-13 yr. old sunday school class uses this chart!)

*How We Started Family Scripture Study (And Stopped Feeling Guilty) Great ideas from

* (So stinkin’ cute!  I love this website! They have a fun scripture reading challenge sponsored by Deseret Book!)

FHE – An Attitude of Gratitude!

Is today Tuesday?  My husband decided to stay home from work yesterday and my whole day was thrown off as we worked on his projects.  Unfortunately, that meant my Family Home Evening idea is, as they say, “a day late and a dollar short”!  Hopefully, you can use this idea for a future Family Home Evening.

My husband has decided (and I totally agree) that we don’t say “Thank You” enough in our family.  It’s easy to point out what others are doing wrong and of course, let them know!  It’s hard as parents to look for the positive and appreciate what your children ARE doing and not getting after them for what they aren’t doing.  My children are quick to “tattle” or easily ask for favors, but don’t always appreciate what they have and what others do for them.

Our recent Family Home Evening was about showing gratitude for others.  We have a challenge this week to see how many times a person can say, “Thank You”!  Hopefully, we are learning to have a new attitude in our home!

An Attitude of Gratitude

Organizing Your Kitchen Drawers with Simple Totes

I have been staring at my kitchen drawers for years now, hating that fact that things get tossed in there with no sense of rhyme or reason.  Finally today, I had an awesome idea, while a little bummed I hadn’t thought of it so many years before now.  It really would have been impressive to take before pictures, I always think of that AFTER I am almost done organizing my stuff.  NOTE TO SELF!

It’s always driven me nuts how things just get thrown in drawers and then you are searching all over just to find that one item you need for cooking, measuring, serving, etc.  Sooooo, I went to my happy place of totes and decided I could use my leftover ones just sitting there to organize my drawers better.
Ahhhhhhhhh, life is grand!
Notice they all fit!  Back left for my cooking tools like blender blades, tongs, scissors, etc.  Back right is all my serving utensils, and front and center is all my stiring, whipping, and scrapping tools.
Next drawer is all my measuring and other specialty kitchen tools, plus my cutting board.
Last drawer, where all my tupperware lids used to be, is my foodsaver and bags, blender and a few other larger specialty items.
Can you see the wonderful lids to my tupperware in that beautiful tote on the bottom?  I sure can!!! LOVE IT!
Life is bliss like this!

St. Patrick's Day Game . . . Don't Eat Lucky!

Need a fun and easy game for St. Patrick’s Day?

“Don’t Eat Lucky” can be played in school groups or as a family!


You will need:

1 Bag of Candy and the Printed Game Cards

Instructions to play the game are included in the packet.

 Don’t Eat Lucky Game Packet

Have FUN and ENJOY spending TIME with YOUR FAMILY!

Step 5 a&b – Cleaning tote & Saturday Checklist

We have covered steps 1-4 to this point.  We have talked about getting a blue print for your house, a Daily Quick Clean, 3 Boxes and Routines.  We have decluttered and learned how to keep the house looking straight.  Now we are going to pull out the cleaning supplies and get to work!  🙂    It’s time to gather your cleaning supplies.  To begin you will need a cleaning tote.  This can be an actual cleaning tote that you buy at the store, a mop bucket you can tote your cleaning supplies in or even an ice cream bucket if your supplies fit in it!

  Stack-On 16in. Tote Tray, Model# ST-16 | Buy now for just $4.99!

Having a cleaning tote will you save you time!  You will no longer have to run from floor to floor or room to room to gather a cleaning supply that you forgot.  If you have the closet space, you can also have a cleaning closet in each area of your home for convenience.  You need to decide what works for you.  The tote keeps all supplies near you at all times.  It is very handy!

Once you have something to put your supplies in, you can start to fill your tote.  You will want to stock it with window cleaner (this can be used for so much more than cleaning windows!), toilet cleaner, swiffers (I use these to dust my blinds), microfiber cloths (these can be used to dust and clean just about anything!), and paper towels.  You may have other supplies that you want to add to the list.  Remember less is more.  You don’t want to tote a ton of cleaners all over the house.  You don’t need them.  You can get the job done with very few supplies!   Once you have gathered the supplies and added them to your tote you are ready to go.

Cleaning is tons more fun if you do it as a family.  A Saturday Checklist will help you make sure that you get it all done.  Saturdays can be extremely full!  It seems to be the day we all use to get caught up but it should also be a fun day with your family!  To avoid spending every Saturday working ALL DAY, make a list of all the chores you need done on Saturday and put them on your checklist.  Once you have created your list,  make assignments.  You can randomly assign jobs, assign them according to age appropriateness and/or have them choose them out of a hat (this way you are not the mean mom!).  Whatever you decide, post the Saturday checklist and let them know that when the jobs are done, play time begins!

Remember to take things one step at a time!  The following link is a song by Jordin Sparks called One Step At A time.  It is fun to listen to and to clean to! 🙂  Prepare your supplies and your checklist then check back in 2 weeks to learn how to create your own cleaning charts and a cleaning schedule.  In step 5 c&d, you will learn what to clean and when.

One Step At A Time