Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Favorite April Fool's Day Ideas

I have to admit April Fools Day is not my most celebrated holiday.  I am not a big prankster.  I also don't like eating food that looks like I am eating a different kind of food; and I don't really like hurting people's feelings.  Here are some happy April Fool's Day ideas that won't leave anyone crying or calling the police:
(These are very reminiscent of pranks our Elf on the Shelf, Richie, might be involved with, hmmmmm - maybe we want to remember these in December!)

This one is cute.  Put sticky strip on the inside flap of the Ziploc so it won't open.  Switch the contents of the chip bag for different snacks and re-seal.  And don't you love the worm coming out of the apple!!


Hide all the utensils in the house and eat your meals with your hands!!

Bunch up toilet paper and stuff it down in the toe of the shoes.

Switch the cereal and the boxes and see how long it takes for everyone to catch on.

I just think this is adorable!!

I love this!  I want my fridge to look like this every day!!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 14 - Easter

 I can't believe today is Easter.  What a fun 2 weeks it's been.  My plan was to hike up the hill by our house to watch the sunrise.  However, it has turned cold and I don't want to make everyone sit in the freezing cold for a lesson.  So, we are getting up early and sitting around the fire and sharing our thoughts and feelings about Jesus and reflecting on the past 2 weeks.  We are also going to watch the video, He is RisenWe will write one last entry in our journals of our testimony of Jesus Christ.  

I hope you and your family have a memorable Easter and I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me.  Thanks for reading!!!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 13 Resurrection

Resurrection Eggs
Preparation:  you need 12 plastic eggs.  Number them 1 through 12.  Below I have the number and corresponding items and scriptures.  (you could also place a little treat in each one.)  Place them inside the eggs.   Hide the 12 eggs.

Have the children find the 12 eggs.  Open the egg and read each scripture beginning with egg #1.  This will take you through the Easter story.   There are pictures to go with just about every scripture.  Click HERE for the pictures.  The scriptures began with Christ's entry into Jerusalem.
Here are the Scripture references for the 12 eggs:
1. Ride on a Donkey - Matthew 21:1-9
2. Silver Coins - Matthew 26:14-16, 46-50; 27:1-5
3. Passover Cup - Matthew 26:17-19, 26-28
4. Praying Hands - Mark 14: 32-42
5. Leather Whip - John 19; 1-15 Matthew 27:26-31
6. Crown of Thorns - Matthew 27:29-31
7. Nails in the Cross - John 19: 16-22
8. Dice for Gambling - John 19: 23-25
9. Soldier's Spear - John 19:31-37
10. Linen Wrapping - Matthew 27: 57-61
11. Stone of the Tomb - Matthew 28:1-3
12. Empty Tomb - Matthew 28:5-8

For the past 15 years it is a tradition in our family to make "Resurrection Rolls."  I didn't come up with this recipe - it's one of those things that gets passed around.  This is how we make them:
Crescent Rolls (I was NOT happy with the Wal Mart brand)
Cinnamon & Sugar mixture
Regular size marshmallows

Step 1 - Roll out the dough
The cresecnet rolls come in triangles.  Each person needs 2 triangls.  You need to pat them into a rectangle or square.  Make sure there are NO holes or thin spots.  This dough is going to represent the tomb (you will see why in a minute).

Step 2 - Melt the butter - you only need about 1/4 cup.  
 Step 3
The Marshmallow represents Jesus' body.  Take the marshmallow and dip it in the melted butter and roll it in the cinnamon & sugar mixture.  This represents the oils and spices used to prepare the body.

 Step 4 - Next place the marshmallow in the middle of your dough rectangle.  I added a little more cinnamon on top of the marshmallow.  This next part is tricky.  You want to wrap the marshmallow inside the dough without having any holes.  They don't look pretty - don't worry....they will taste yummy.  Keep working the dough till it covers the marshmallow completely.
  The process of putting the marshmallow inside the dough represents Jesus' body laid in the tomb.  
Lovely!  Now bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes.  I baked them on parchment paper.

You can see where our seam separated.  Most likely the steam will find its way out.  You want the marshmallow to puff up, letting the dough around it puff up and hold its shape while baking.  Ours turned out okay.  I would like to blame the Wal Mart brand dough.  It was not fun to work with.
When you cut it open, it will be hollow inside and the marshmallow will be gone.  The is just like when the tomb was found empty because Jesus had been resurrected.  My 5 year old was very concerned where the marshmallow went!!

I hope your family enjoys making these.  This is my children's favorite part of Easter.  We look forward to making these every year.  AND they are super delicious!!!

Handout:  Click HERE

Make sure to write in your journal.  Maybe the children can summarize the events that took place and the scriptures they read.  How do you feel knowing Jesus died for you and suffered all things for you that you may have eternal life?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 12 Gratitude

Attention Activity:
Slice a lemon into sections and let everyone have a taste.  Talk about how sour it is.  What do we usually do with lemons?  How do we make lemonade?  Have you ever heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  What do you think that means.  What about this saying, "When life gets sour....sweeten it with Gratitude."  You can make lemonade now, or at the end of the lesson...if you want.

Gratitude Video
This is a quick 1.5 minute video on gratitude.  Click HERE

Scripture Example:
Read Luke 17: 11-19.  This is the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers and only one giving thanks to Jesus. 
What blessing came to all the lepers?
What additional blessing came to the leper who gave thanks?
What do you think the difference is between being healed and being made whole?

Adults as well as youth are often guilty, being disobedient and unthankful to their Heavenly Father who gives them all. Many fail to show their gratitude through service, through family prayers, etc.

"Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.  This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.  We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”  - Thomas S. Monson

Discuss things you and your family have gratitude for.  

Things you can do TODAY to start showing Gratitude:  source
Start a gratitude journal.
Tell someone you love,
how much you appreciate them.
Send a thank you note to someone.
Start a list of things that make you happy.
Offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
Sit down to dinner and share
something you grateful for today.
Copy a quote about gratitude
and put it on your fridge
(or somewhere else you will see it often).
Give something away.
Do something nice for someone else.
Give at least five compliments
to people you see.
Be more obedient to one of
the Lord's commandments.
Start and end your day with
a grateful thought.
Make a scrapbook page about
something you are thankful for.
Give thanks before meals

Gratitude Game:
Ahead of time, write items on slips of paper.  These can be anything: trees, birds, fish, pets, house, rocks, grass, our country, tissues, teachers, music, cell phones, our country, fruit, hot water, school, teachers, etc.

Divide into 2 teams.
One team will select a piece of paper and read it out loud.  The other team will have 3 seconds to say what they appreciate about that item.

Other Gratitude Activities: 
Play gratitude pictionary or cherades.
Have the children take pictures or collect pictures of things they are grateful for.  Make a family gratitude board out of the pictures or play a game where you have to guess whose picture it is.
Take turns going around in a circle naming what you are grateful for - only you have to name things in alphabetical order. 
Write letters of gratitude and send to people

 Craft: Make Gratitude Rocks (I found this idea on MetroFamily)

 You need river rocks, paint, Mod Podge (or white glue), magazines
 Collect your rocks - you may need to wash them.  Have everyone paint their rocks.  Put your name on the rock.  We got creative and the children painted them many different colors!!

 Next get your magazines out and cut out words describing why you are grateful for each person in your family.

Use a paint brush and brush the rock with Mod Podge.  Arrange the words all over the rock and Mod Podge the top, making sure to smooth out the papers.  Let dry.
I think they are so fun and unique - just like each person.  I also think I will be less likely to throw these painted rocks in the trash!!

If you have lemons - it might be fun to make lemonade to tie back into the beginning of the lesson.  Click HERE for the handout.

Write things you are grateful for.  How can you have more gratitude in your life?


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day #11 Parable of the Bicycle

Today's lesson is my favorite modern-day parable.  It is the Parable of the Bicycle written by Stephen E. Robinson.  It was first given in a BYU Devotional Address in 1990.  If you have time,  I recommend you read the entire address.  I have read it several times and just read it again.  I think it is life-changing and inspiring. 

The story was published in an illustrated children's book titled, You are Priceless, the parable of the bicycle.  This is one of my favorite books to read to my children and I always end up crying as I read it.  If you don't have the book, here is an excerpt from the devotional talk by Stephen E. Robinson.  

Read as a family:
"After I had come home from school one day, I was sitting in a chair reading the newspaper. My daughter Sarah, who was seven years old, came in and said, "Dad, can I have a bike? I'm the only kid on the block who doesn't have a bike."

Well, I didn't have enough money to buy her a bike, so I stalled her and said, "Sure, Sarah."
She said, "How? When?"

I said, "You save all your pennies, and pretty soon you'll have enough for a bike." And she went away.

A couple of weeks later as I was sitting in the same chair, I was aware of Sarah doing something for her mother and getting paid. She went into the other room and I heard "clink, clink." I asked, "Sarah, what are you doing?"

She came out and she had a little jar all cleaned up with a slit cut in the lid and a bunch of pennies in the bottom. She looked at me and said, "You promised me that if I saved all my pennies, pretty soon I'd have enough for a bike. And, Daddy, I've saved every single one of them."

She's my daughter, and I love her. My heart melted. She was doing everything in her power to follow my instructions. I hadn't actually lied to her. If she saved all of her pennies she would eventually have enough for a bike, but by then she would want a car. But her needs weren't being met. Because I love her, I said, "Let's go downtown and look at bikes."

We went to every store in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Finally we found it—the perfect bicycle, the one she knew in the premortal existence. She got up on that bike; she was thrilled. She then saw the price tag, reached down, and turned it over. When she saw how much it cost, her face fell and she started to cry. She said, "Oh Dad, I'll never have enough for a bicycle."

So I said, "Sarah, how much do you have?"

She answered, "Sixty-one cents."

"I'll tell you what. You give me everything you've got and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours." Well, she's never been stupid. She gave me a hug and a kiss. She gave me the sixty-one cents. Then I had to drive home very slowly because she wouldn't get off the bike. She rode home on the sidewalk, and as I drove along slowly beside her it occurred to me that this was a parable for the Atonement of Christ.

We all want something desperately—it isn't a bicycle. We want the celestial kingdom. We want to be with our Father in Heaven. And no matter how hard we try, we come up short. At some point we realize, "I can't do this!" That was the point my wife had reached. It is at that point that the sweetness of the gospel covenant comes to our taste as the Savior proposes, "I'll tell you what. All right, you're not perfect. How much do you have? What can you do? Where are you now? Give me all you've got, and I'll pay the rest. Give me a hug and a kiss; enter into a personal relationship with me, and I will do what remains undone."

There is good news and bad news here. The bad news is that he still requires our best effort. We must try, we must work—we must do all that we can. But the good news is that having done all we can, it is enough—for now. Together we'll make progress in the eternities, and eventually we will become perfect—but in the meantime, we are perfect only in a partnership, in a covenant relationship with him. Only by tapping his perfection can we hope to qualify."

How do you feel knowing we can't make it back to Heavenly Father on our own and that Jesus, our Savior, is there and has made up all the difference?  How can you earn your "61 cents"?  How can we do all that we can?  How does this give you hope?

I made a pink bike version and a green bike version.  Click HERE to download.

If you have time, it would be fun to take a family bike ride!!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Parable of the Talents Day #10

Today is Day 10 - the Parable of the Talents
Attention Activity:  Talent Hunt
Preparation: You need some kind of pretend coins.  We are using chocolate coins.  Before the lesson, label each coin with a "talent".  Here are a few ideas:
good friend
good listener
caring for others
good leader
Hide the coins and tell the children to try and find as many coins as they can.  Each child will most likely find a different amount of coins.

Scripture Discussion
Read the parable of the talents Matthew 25: 13-30.
In the parable, the talents refer to pieces of money. For us talents mean abilities we can develop to bless and help others.
  • Why did the Master give different amounts of money?
  • How do your talents differ from your friend's talents or members in your family?
  • Why does Heavenly Father give us different talents?  
  • What did the servants who were given five and two talents do with their money?
  • How do you think they were able to double their money? 
  • How can hard work be a blessing to us?
  • What did the servant who was given one talent do with his money? 
  • Why do you think he did this? 
  • Why do you think some people don’t develop their talents? 
  • What happens to people’s talents if they do nothing with them?

Have each child read what talents they found during the talent hunt.  Decide who got the most talents.  Discuss how we should feel toward that person.  Who got the least amount of coins?  Have each child consider the talents they found and talk about how they can bless the lives of other people with these talents.
Journal Activity:
Have everyone write their name on top of today's journal page.  Pass the pages around and have each member of the family list a few talents of that person.  Encourage your family to look for talents that may not be obvious.  Once you get your own journal page back, have everyone read what was written.  Then have everyone write in their own journal what additional talents they have and how they can use these talents to bless the lives of other people and glorify God.
Click HERE to download today's handout.  Have the children glue a penny in the circle.  (I found the poem on Sugerdoodle, the author is anonymous.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day #9 Miracles

Attention Activity:
 Spread out a quilt or blanket and have everyone come sit on it.  (It would be fun to do this outside if the weather permits.)  Tell everyone you are going on a pretend picnic.  Then play the following game:

The person that is "It"  begins by saying, "Hi, my name is ___________ and I am going on a picnic.  I am bringing my _______________.  Ahead of time the "It" person thinks of a pattern that the others in the group must guess.  For example, she could say her name is Amanda and she is bringing her Aunt to the picnic.  The pattern would be you bring something that begins with the letter of your first name to the picnic.  Then it goes to the next person and the next person says, "Hi my name is ________ and I am bringing my __________ to the picnic, may I come?"  If the 2nd person has figured out the pattern, the "It" person will say, "Yes."  This continues until everyone can come to the picnic.  You can start a new round and the next "It" player can decide a new pattern.  Examples are: Choosing things in alphabetical order, choosing things with 2 syllables, choosing things with double letters, choosing items in a certain food group or category.  You can also make this more challenging by having each player repeat what has been said before them, "Hi, I am Amanda and I am going on a picnic.  I am bringing, apples, bananas, cherries, and dates."  The pattern here is alphabetical fruit!  This might be hard for small children, so adapt as necessary.
Scripture Discussion:
In the bible during Jesus' time, there is a story about a different kind of picnic.  There were many people following Jesus all day, watching him perform miracles.  They became very, very hungry and there wasn't anywhere to buy food or enough money if it were possible to purchase it.  
Read the Story of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes in  John 6:5-13 and Mark 6:34-44
How many people were gathered together?
Where did they sit?
Where did they find the fish and the loaves? 
What size were they?
Was everyone able to eat?
Who did Jesus ask to give the food to the multitude?
How much food was left over?
What would you have thought if you were part of the 5,000 people?

Christ's miracles offered a proof that He is the Messiah, the Son of God.  He said, "The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me".  Through miracles mankind "might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing...might have life through His name." (John 20:31)

"Have our children felt the power of the Savior’s miracles? Jesus healed the leper, gave sight to the blind.  He fed the 5,000,  calmed the sea, and raised Lazarus from the dead.  Do our children believe that “it is by faith that miracles are wrought,” and do they pray for miracles in their own lives?" Elder Neal L. Andersen 

If you have time and your children are a little bit older, you can do this Miracles of Jesus matching game.  It would also be nice to discuss more of Jesus' miracles or even watch a few brief videos depicting the miracles.

Are there Miracles today?  YES!!!
"Miracles come to those who have faith.  Remember, faith proceeds and produces miracles for which we have no immediate explanation within our experience." Elder Marcus B. Nash.

Talk about miracles you have seen in your life and in your family.  Explain that miracles are very personal. 

Activity:  Faith Fish
Print and cut out the fish.  Attach a paperclip to each one.  Attach a maganet to a piece of string and attach it to a sitck or dowel (make a fishing pole).  Have each of the children take turns "fishing".  You can set up a sheet or fish over the back of the couch or off the stairs, etc.  When the child catches a fish, have them read what is on the fish and tell how that can help us build our faith so we can recieve miracles in our life.

Handout: Click HERE for fish and handout

What is your favorite miracle of Jesus?  Write down miracles you have received in your life.  What can we do to increase our faith in Jesus so we can receive more miracles. 


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day #8 The Good Samaritan

Attention Story:
Read "What are Neighbors For" from the Friend.  Its a silly little story that younger children will think is funny about different animals coming over to your house.  You can download the pictures that go along with the story Here.

What is a neighbor?

Scripture Discussion:
Read the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  There is a nice video depicting the parable.  Click Here for the video.
Show the children Samaria and Judea on the map, and explain the situation between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews felt that they were better than the Samaritans. They disliked the Samaritans so much that when Jews traveled from Jerusalem to Galilee, they would take the longer way through the Jordan Valley rather than travel through Samaria.  
  • Why do you think the Jewish priest and Levite did not help the wounded Jewish man?
  • What did the Samaritan do for the wounded Jewish man?
  • Why is it significant that it was a Samaritan who helped the Jewish man? What characteristics of a good neighbor did the Samaritan have? How does this story help us understand who our neighbor is? 
  • Who is your neighbor? Do you think Jesus meant only the people who live close to you?  How can we become better neighbors?
  • How can we follow Jesus’ teachings and show love for other people? How should we treat someone who needs our help? someone who is different from us? someone who might have been unkind to us?
If you have time, it would be fun to have everyone act out the story.


Have everyone write 5 to 10 names on individual strips of paper of people that could be considered your "neighbor." This can be people in your family, people on your street, teachers, etc.  Put the names in a bowl.

Take turns drawing the names out of the bowl and read them out loud.  Have everyone give suggestions of service that could be offered to that person.  It's OK if someones name is in there more than once.  Examples of service can be:
write a note
bake some treats
give someone a compliment
help a family member clean up or do chores
help a teacher with a project
play nicely with a sibling
Call someone on the phone for a nice visit
don't gossip or argue
be on time

We are taking this opportunity to visit people as a family and take a plate of baked goods.  Do what you feel is best for your family.

Click HERE

Write in your journal the names of a few people you want to do something nice for.  Write how you can carry out your idea.  Also write how you feel when someone does something nice for you.   How does Jesus want us to treat our Neighbor?