Thursday, December 8, 2016

#LIGHTtheWORLD Christmas Kits !!!!



I CAN'T HARDLY CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT TO BE ABLE TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU GUYS !!! I LOVE YOU ALL HERE AT LDS PARENTING AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO UPLIFT AND ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER IN OUR CALLINGS AS PARENTS AND SOMETIMES ITS JUST SO DANG FUN TO BE A PARENT ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU GET TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE VALUE OF SERVICE AND HAVE SO MUCH FUN DOING IT ! THANK YOU SO MUCH TO THE AMAZING WOMEN WHO CAME UP WITH THESE KITS AND SHARED THEM FOR FREE FOR US !!!! LOVE, JL~ 



     I am so incredibly excited to share this with you guys ! The church, first of all has made it incredibly easy for us to #LIGHTtheWORLD thru social media and blogs and just any way you can think of , to share the good news of Christ and Service this holiday season. Head over to Mormon.org for more details !! My family has been so excited to do service projects and to work on the things on the calendar that the church has put out... you can download that calendar here : 



     So, I'm incredibly excited to be able to share with you guys these incredible toolkits for super fun activities to make with your families for this month and to really bring the #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign into your home! Holy cow the fantatstic bloggers that have put these kits together are super duper talented. These kits are SOOOO FUN!!!! 

Ok I wont make you wait any longer! Here are some of the great kits available... for FREE for your families ! 




Starting off with the kits sponsored by the most awesome website : Sugardoodle !!!!

Oh man, I love this website! I have used their awesome free resources for Primary and Young Women and for my personal use as I teach my children the Gospel here in my home. Thank heavens for Sugardoodle ! 

First up is the Christmas in a Box kit from BRIGHTLY STREET so... I just found out about this site when the cutie pie who owns it shared her kit with a Facebook Group I'm on. So I fell in love with the kit and then visited her site and yeah... I'm going to be hanging out on that site a lot ! 





Could these be any cuter ??? Ok, here's the scoop on it ! 










Want to bring the spirit of Christmas to a loved one serving in the military, on a mission, away to college, in a nursing home or maybe sick and staying in the hospital during the Christmas season?  I have the perfect idea to share with you which was created and designed by Melia from Brightly Street.  She has created a unique idea that will bring Christmas just a little bit closer to your loved ones and all people around the world, it is called "Christmas-in-a-Box. Doesn't this picture of what's inside the box just make you happy?  I am sure it will bring a smile and joy to whomever receives it.  You will find her box on Day #9 from Brightly Street's interactive Christmas Advent Calendar.
So, what's inside the box?  Well, you will find a Christmas tree made out of blocks, a colorful stocking, a reading and writing journal and lights!  Of course, there is an awful cute box to go with it.

Christmas Gift Idea Christmas-in-a-Box #LighttheWorld
Melia has designed all of the printables for you to use to put together your own Christmas-in-a-Box and serve someone you love or even a stranger.  Let's jump right in and share a few how-to tips.
Box:  Print on white card stock as full bleed or borderless if possible.  Laminate the paper for durability and also laminate a plain white card stock page.  Do not cut around the paper just leave the laminating edge as is.  Measure from the edge of the paper with a ruler using the width of your ruler as your measurement and use the end of a pair of scissors to score the paper.  Fold along all four sides.  At the top and bottom of the paper, cut a a slit until it meets the other fold line.  Fold corner together and staple.  Do the same thing on all four sides.  Repeat with the bottom box, but fold just a hair smaller on all four sides, cut and staple corners.  Fit top over bottom of the box.  Print and cut out tag and ribbon.  Place ribbon around top of the box cover and tape it under the sides. Attach the tag with tape to the topside. Please refer to the YouTube video to see a demonstration of who to make the box, it really is quite simple!
Journal:  Print, cut in half and hole punch each page.  Using a metal ring attach page together.  You can add ribbons to the ring if you want.  The journal is a 10 day advent calendar.  The person can read a page everyday starting anytime in December or just read a page throughout the month and finish it by Christmas.  The journal is called "READ His Story, WRITE your story."  Everyday there is a scripture found in the New Testament about Jesus Christ's life starting with his baptism and ending with the resurrection.  After the person reads the story, there is a writing prompt question or statement on the next page to help them write their own story.  Just a bit of family history and strengthening your testimony of Jesus Christ during the Christmas season.  At the bottom of the scripture page, you will find a QR code.  Scan it with your smart phone and go directly to Brightly Street's website where you can watch a video about the scripture you just read and listen to a Christmas song!  It's the best interactive advent calendar around.
Brightly Street Christmas-in-a-Box Instagram Image
Christmas Tree Blocks:  Purchase 1.5 inch blocks from Hobby Lobby or purchase a 1.5 x 1.5 inch piece of wood and cut them into squares with a miter saw.  Lightly sand the wood edges.  Print the Christmas tree pages on white card stock.  To prevent smearing the ink, laminate them first.  Cut out squares and glue them to the wood pieces.  See the printable page for where to place each square.  Modge podge the entire block and let it dry.  Build the blocks to make a Christmas tree on one side.  There are also sides for: Christmas Songs, Scripture Story, Writing Prompt, Days 1-10 and Nativity characters.  The blocks coordinate with the journal.
Brightly Street Christmas-in-a-Box Pinterest How-to Blocks #LIGHTtheWORLD
Brightly Street Christmas-in-a-Box Pinterest How-to Blocks #LIGHTtheWORLD 
Stocking:  Print on white card stock. Pick one of two stocking designs, cut around stocking and then trace another blank one onto card stock and cut it out to use as the backside of the stocking.  Punch holes along the sew lines and sew together with yarn. You can also laminate them before you thread with yard.
Brightly Street Christmas-in-a-Box Stocking
Christmas Card:  Print on card stock, cut and sign your name on the backside of the postcard. Place it on top of all items inside your Christmas-in-a-Box.
That's it!  Place all of the parts inside the box and you are now ready to hand deliver or mail your box!  This will be an unforgettable gift to just about anyone.  Here's a list of ideas of who you can gift your Christmas-in-a-Box too:
  1.  Someone away from home serving in the military.
  2.  A person sick and staying in the hospital through the holidays.
  3.  Visit a Children's Hospital and find a child that needs some extra cheer this year.
  4.  Take it to a nursing home and give it to someone lonely.  Make friends with them and help them write their story.
  5.  Send it to a college student to help them bring in the Christmas cheer as they cram for finals the last few weeks before joining family or friends for Christmas.
  6.  Gift it to a missionary in your area or abroad.  Missionaries can put a block in their pocket and find someone to share a scripture or song.
Feel free to make a set of Christmas tree blocks for your own family.  You can cut larger blocks and turn them into a table center piece!  We hope this helps your family work together on this project as your kids help cut, glue or sew with yarn to make this a fantastic family fun time as we serve others this Christmas season.  Help us and Brightly Street #LIGHTtheWORLD with the true meaning of Christmas.
  Brightly Street Christmas-in-a-Box Inside Box #LIGHTtheWORLD
Please use the hashtag #LIGHTtheWORLD and @BrightlyStreet as you mail or deliver your Christmas-in-a-box to someone.  We'd love to see how you used this kit and how it was received!  May we "Light the World" with the true meaning of Christmas this year and serve our fellowman.
** Don't forget to visit and leave a comment for Melia at BrightlyStreet.com and follow her on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter today!  **


HONESTLY!!!!! How stinking cute is this ???? And she has worked her tail off to give it to us for free!!! So go visit her and tell her thanks a bunch !!!! 

For more darling #LIGHTtheWORLD Christmas kits and crafts head over to : 




and don't forget : 




Here's one more goodie for you guys , thanks again to Brightly Street : 







I want to be like these amazingly talented women one day when I grow up ;) 
Make sure you go visit there sites and tell them THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!! 
Now go and get to visiting and printing and playing with your kids as you serve others this Christmas season and you #LIGHTtheWORLD !!!!! 
Don't forget to give me some love by checking out my other Christmas posts by using the  labels on the sidebar and leaving me some comments !! I'm doing a giveaway starting tomorrow for the LDS Movie 'LEGACY' - my cute hubby is in the movie :) 


With Love and Happy Parenting !!!! JL~ 
www.ldsparenting.blogspot.com 




Mary ~ Mother of Jesus

image courtesy of mormonwiki.com


     Mary~ mother of Jesus. Oh how I love her. I have loved learning about her and I wanted to share a few things , in light of the Christmas Season. 

     I think about how incredibly precious this woman was to our Father in Heaven. She had prepared well, according to her culture, to become a good wife. Not only by learning to cook and prepare things and care for a household but she prepared spiritually according to the religion and culture she was raised in. She had a deep appreciation for the Sabbath day and the rules that went along with it. Just imagine how thankful Heavenly Father was for this handmaiden who had prepared well and was worthy in every way to be blessed to carry the son of God. 

     I think about how incredibly overwhelming this task she was given would be to her. I get overwhelmed at the littlest of things ! Could you imagine the first few thoughts that ran through her head when she realized what an immense task this would be ? But I absolutely love the verse that follows the shepherds coming to see the newborn babe in the manger- it states in Luke 2:19 that 
".... Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." 

     Don't you think that if it shows in the Scriptures that she pondered the things that had happened at that point.... that she would take time and quietly ponder and treasure this amazing task that she had been blessed with ? 

                                   image courtesy of natalie snapp

     I love how Mary goes straight to her cousin Elizabeth. When I first found out i was pregnant I couldn't wait to tell everyone and rejoice and just laugh and be giddy at the thought of becoming a mother ! I love the relationship Mary has with her cousin Elizabeth. Not only that- but Elizabeth was also pregnant with a very special babe ! Can you even imagine their joy ? In Luke 1 it states that Mary praised her Father in Heaven. What an example she is to me ! She praised her Father with these words in Luke VERSES 46-55

     Then of course we come to the blessed event of her delivering the Son of God, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace. We all know she went through such difficult times like riding on the back of a donkey for miles and miles - oh the thought makes me cringe. How thankful I am for her strength and obedience ! 
She gets to the town and finally probably thinks she can rest and be comfortable for a bit. No room at the inn. Mary delivered a child in a stable. She is my hero. In so many ways. 


                               image courtesy of pinterest 

     I like to think of her raising Jesus. She must have smiled and laughed at his little child antics ! She must have loved and adored him and what a blessing to look into this precious face and kiss him ! I love the lyric in the song " Mary did you Know" where they sing , " Mary did you know, that when you kiss your little baby- you kiss the face of God ?" wow. It blows me away every time. That entire song just absolutely makes me stop and ponder the enormity of Mary's mission on this earth. Here's my favorite version of the song : 


  notes.

     I could talk on the subject of this precious woman for days, but I'm going to close with a quote from the book, " Daughters of God" by S Michael Wilcox 

     " Mary felt deeply the pains of her Son many times throughout her life but none more strongly than when she stood at the foot of the cross. " For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" John 3:16. 
Mary too, gave her son, a gift that caused a sword to pierce her soul. When Jesus was on the cross he cried out, " My God, my God, who hast thou forsaken me ? " Matthew 27:46. 
For the son to fulfill his great atoning sacrifice, the Father had to withdraw his Spirit. Nevertheless, Mary, Jesus' mother remained with him during his long hours on the cross." 

     During this Christmas season when we ponder these things close to our hearts like Mary, think about the sacrifice she made... we always talk about how God gave his Son, what a blessed amazing wonderful thing that gift was ! We are so thankful! But my mother's heart is pondering this season, the amazing sacrifices that Mary made, to bring forth this child who would save us all. 

     Merry Christmas my friends. Tell me in the comments what your thoughts are on this. Tell me how you feel about Mary, precious mother of Jesus. 

With Love, JL ~ 
Happy Parenting ! 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How to Make a Mother Daughter Notebook



     My middle daughter who is 14, has autism. She is very high- functioning, but sometimes she needs help just getting her words out there. She has been getting frustrated when she wants to tell me something of a more heart-felt manner, and she can't get the words out that she wants. It was getting incredibly frustrating for both of us, as I would try to jump in and help and that made her more mad!

     I began praying. How could I communicate with this beautiful child of God who wanted so much to just have a heart to heart with her mama ? The answer came to me quickly- this particular daughter absolutely loves to write! I would make us a mother daughter notebook and we could write to each other !

     She was a bit skeptical at first ! But I just told her to get her prettiest pen out and start writing ! Write to mommy and tell me all of the things that you wanted to tell me last night. Then I would read it and write back to her! No one else would read it and if she wanted to tear the pages out and throw them away afterwards she could! I gave her the choice and she was in charge of it.

     Holy cow it worked ! She came to me about ten minutes later with four hastily written pages of her innermost thoughts that she needed me to know. I couldn't believe it. This child is so amazing and her brain is spectacular but she just struggles to get it out vocally. I loved reading her thoughts and responding.

     For about a week, this was a nightly ritual. She had so much to say ! After awhile it became a once a week thing and now we only do it a couple of times a month. Just when she has something she really needs to say, or I will pick a question and write it in there and she answers. It's been such a blessing. I absolutely recommend it to any parent who feels that conversation may be lacking between them and their child ;)



     Here are some questions to get you started :

1-I love you because
2-I am proud of you for
3-What do you dream about
4-What are you afraid of
5-What have you been thinking about lately
6-What would you do if you could do absolutely anything
7-What do you need from me

I'm so excited for you to discover this new way of bonding with your daughter. You can write little snippets here and there in it also- favorite recipe, a little lesson you learned, favorite scripture etc. :) Enjoy! Let me know how it goes ! Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~

Monday, November 7, 2016

Family Scripture Study - A Fresh Perspective


     When I was a teenager and even younger, when it was time for early morning Scripture Study - I would moan and groan and sometimes, I'll admit, I even fell asleep ! I cringe now thinking about it. I don't know if I was just a brat or if the whole family was just grumpy and tired so early in the morning, but none of us really seemed to enjoy it. We have the option now to be able to do Family Scripture Study anyway we want to with our own families. How thankful I am for that, because my youngest is a big grump in the early mornings just like I was ! 

     I've written about Family Scripture Study before and I have a label for it here on the blog if you are interested in going back and reading those posts, but I am always looking for fresh perspectives on how we can make it better and more enjoyable. 

     I have a friend who is the Scripture Study expert ! She is a former Seminary teacher and she just really knows how to dig in there and learn and enjoy it while doing it. She did a live video today on Facebook about Scripture Study with the family and I just grinned because I knew that I was writing this post today and I was excited because I had hoped she would let me link to one of her blog posts and now here was this great Facebook Live video! She is a sweetheart so she said yes ! 


     Her name is Becky Edwards and she's the mastermind at Purpose Driven Motherhood and she has some great ideas on her blog about Scripture Study. The link I wanted to use from her is HERE and it has a ton, I mean a TON of great resources and ideas !!!! 

     Another thing that I find that is just amazing is using study guides that are made for families. We personally use two different study guides, depending on what kind of mood we are in :) 


     This one we use when we really want to dig in and spend some time on Scripture Study. It's great for Sundays and just whenever we are really needing that extra Spirit and time with our Scriptures. You can find it at Deseret Book, I believe, or Amazon. 


     This is another book we love! It is a doodle and diagram book and it is full of great insights also. It's so fun for the kids - well who am I kidding ? I love it too! You can purchase it here : HERE
( afilliate link ;) 

     What are some of your tried and true Family Scripture Study ideas and tips ? Let us know in the comments below ! 

Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~ 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Family Dinner - The Importance of Eating Together Each Evening








     " Research shows that the most important thing a child can do to assure long time well-being is eat meals with his or her family. The more meals together, the better ! " - Dr Bill Doherty, Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Project at the University of Minnesota. 

     Well it doesn't get any easier than that does it ? Or does it.....  These days getting your family all together to eat a meal isn't always so easy. With after school activities like sports and clubs, with parents working more and life in general, it can become a struggle to actually sit down at the table as a family and eat dinner. It doesn't have to be dinner though- you can sit together before everyone leaves for school and work and have breakfast together. Of course that means getting up earlier. But is the sacrifice worth it ? Research says yes ! Make it a goal to eat dinner as a family at least just one night a week, maybe FHE night, or Sunday night - that is the very minimum. Try to add in days as you can. This is something our kids will remember! 

     The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has stated , " The revival of the family dinner in America will do more to curb kids from smoking, drinking, and using drugs than any law or public health campaign. "    WOW!!! Why are we not doing this ? I'm so guilty of it too! We like to eat dinner all gathered together in the living room watching a fun movie or just chowing down as fast as we can. I'm going to make it a goal to do at least two meals a week sitting down together at the table. I saw a neat pin the other day that had a basket on the table and everyone put their cell phones in it when they sat down for dinner together. Love that idea! My kids don't have cell phones yet, but I know that I am guilty of wanting to read a book or do something while I eat and I need to sit down and talk to my kids ! I love this so much. 

     Here is a small pinterest board that has some cute ideas for family dinner night.



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Amish White Bread- Baking with my babies





     This morning my husband asked me if I would mind making some Amish White Bread. That's kind of my thing ! I was excited to make it for him and excited to teach my kids how to make it. They've made it before but now that they are older it will be awesome for them to do it again with me. :) We went ahead and made up the dough and had it sitting and rising and then they went to their grandparents so I figured that they got the most important part in :)

     I love cooking with my kids. When they were itty bitty I would just have them in the kitchen with me. As they got older they would want to help and there is always a little job they can do, even if it is something like - can you help mommy get the spoon out of the drawer ? That is an important job ! As they get older they get bigger jobs. Would you like to help mommy stir the batter ? Would you like to help mommy pour this cup in ? They love it as long as you keep it really upbeat and positive :) Praise them for every little thing they do ! Make it just a normal happy thing. They will grow up enjoying that time with you. Even my son still likes to cook with us. My husband loves to cook also and our big thing is we need a bigger kitchen for me and my husband and three teenagers !!!


     This is a picture of where I grew up. Tuscarawas County Ohio. Right beside Holmes County which is the biggest Amish settlement in the country. I grew up loving everything about the Amish and especially love the cooking ! Amish White Bread was one of the first things I learned how to make and I love it. I really enjoy telling the kids about the background of the recipes I make. They know that Amish White Bread is because of where mommy grew up. We make yellow rice and chicken because of Nana growing up in Florida and loving the cuban type food. They love cooking with their Grandma Kaylor and they enjoy making homemade noodles and mashed potatoes with their Great Grandma Odie.

Ok here is the recipe I use ! It's so easy !!!!

                 Amish White Bread 
                  Makes 2 Loaves

               INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Cups warm water about 110-120 degrees
  • ⅔ Cups white sugar
  • 1½ Tablespoons yeast
  • 1½ Teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups flour
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place sugar and water in bowl
  2. Sprinkle with yeast and let dissolve 5-15 minutes
  3. Add salt, oil and half the flour mix together.
  4. Add remaining flour. Stick your hands in their and knead and mix it up good ! Thats the best part! 
  5. You can put it on a lightly floured surface and knead it that way also if you'd like, get some aggression out on it ! 
  6. Place in greased bowl flipping to cover both sides.
  7. Top with saran wrap or damp warm towel
  8. Set aside and let rise till doubles in size. About 1 hour I like to keep it on the stove :) I use a vintage pillowcase to cover it because it just looks pretty and happy ! 
  9. Remove cover and punch down.
  10. Lay out on lightly floured surface and cut in half.
  11. Flatten out into rectangle and "jelly" roll into a loaf- pinch the ends together or fold them like a burrito :) 
  12. Place in greased 9x5 bread pans.
  13. Repeat with other half.
  14. Cover and let rise till double in size about 30-50 minutes.
  15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I keep the bread on the stove while the oven preheats. 
  16. Once double in size bake for 25-30 minutes.
  17. Pull out and brush top with butter
  18. Let it cool a bit in the pan before moving it to cooling rack 


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Halloween !

 

I will admit, Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday. I'm not big into scary things and I just don't like it much. But my kids love it. This past week they have had lots of fun - see post HERE but their very favorite thing to do is trick or treat with their daddy. My husband loves halloween. Like LOVES it. He gets excited every year to take the kids " real" trick or treating. Not trunk or treats. Not fall parties. But REAL trick or treating. Door to door. Ringing doorbells and saying trick or treat. Driving for hours and stopping and parking and then walking and walking. They all get a kick out of it. I stay home and snuggle in my blankets and watch a movie. Not a scary movie. Just a regular movie haha. For the first ten years I trooped along with them taking far to many pictures and reminding them to say thank you at each house. When I got sick five years ago and had the awful spinal cord injury etc it became quickly clear that my halloween "real" trick or treating days were over. I was ok with that ! I still get a bit sad because honestly, I think every mom or dad would be sad at missing out on something fun with their kids, but I actually have come to enjoy my snuggle movie time alone and when they come home with backpacks full of candy and happy faces and tummy aches because they snuck to much candy on the ride home - I'm right there to hear every single funny thing, marvel at their candy haul and pass out pepto pills !! 


My youngest, Sydney, their on the left, had two costumes. She loves halloween just like her daddy. For her grandparents party and for the church trunk or treat she was Katniss from Hunger Games. For real trick or treating lol, she was Tyler Joseph from her favorite band, Twenty One Pilots. Marlee was a pretty vampire and Dylan was a deflated pumpkin. :) They had a blast. It's something special they do with their daddy that they all look forward too each year. 


What did you do for Halloween ? Let me know in the comments ! 
Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~