Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Family Challenge!!!!! How do you count down???

I absolutely love Christmas time! I love the smells, the decorations, the excitement, but I think my favorite part is the added love and happiness that seems to accompany the season. This year I have been trying to come up with fun ways to spread the true meaning of Christmas to and through my family. As I've been looking, I've ran across a ton of ideas about how to count down to Christmas that are so much fun . What I love about these is that they are not just candy or toys, they are experiences that will actually enrich and build your family, PLUS make awesome family memories. Some of the ways to count down to Christmas that I've found are these... "25 Acts of Kindness Until Christmas." I love this! What a perfect way to spread Christmas cheer and remind your family what Christmas is really all about. Here are some kind act ideas:
  • Bake something yummy and surprise someone with it.
  • Bring a present and a kind note to your teacher.
  • Visit a widow and sing her Christmas songs with your family. (Make sure to let her tell you some of her favorite Christmas memories.)
  • Bag groceries for another customer at the store.
  • Take a few minutes to open and hold the door for people at a restaurant, office, or store.
  • Buy lunch for the car behind you at the drive-through.
  • Leave a note and a treat in the mailbox for the mailman.
  • Hand out a note and a balloon to kids that you see.
  • Tape quarters to bubblegum machines. (How fun to watch this one from around a corner. :)
  • Call or write letters to family members just to say you love them.
  • Take clothes to a homeless shelter.
  • Set up a free hot cocoa stand.
  • Bake cookies for the local police or fire station.
  • Give a candy cane to your cashier and bagger at the grocery store.
  • Clean up an elderly persons yard.
  • Go to an assisted living facility and sing Christmas carols. (I have done this and the residents always LOVE it!)
  • (More great ideas can be found at Lil' Light O Mine Blog.)
The next idea I found was to do "12 Days of Christmas for your Hubby". I know this is only one person in your family but I am a firm believer that strengthening your marriage affects everyone in your family! Each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas you do something for your hubby that corresponds with the number of that day. So for my husband, I might do...
  1. One Clean Car
  2. A Candlelight Dinner for Two
  3. Three Ironed Dress Shirts
  4. Four Back Massages
  5. Five Peanut Butter Cookies
And you can fill in the rest! I've also seen this idea done for another family, maybe one in your neighborhood that might not be having such an extravagant Christmas. Obviously you would have different gifts for them than you would your hubby, but I've done things like this with my family growing up and we always loved it! A few ideas for a "Family 12 Days of Christmas" are...
  1. One Christmas Movie
  2. Two Plates of Cookies
  3. Three Christmas Books/Poems
  4. Four Pairs of Christmas Socks
  5. Five Packets of Hot Chocolate (Complete with Marshmallows:))
  6. Six Homemade Ornaments for the Tree
I love all of the above ideas but my personal favorite advent calendar idea is the "Experiences Rather Than Things, Christmas Countdown." Here you write activities for you and your family to do together for the 25 days leading up to Christmas! I think we're going to do this, this year! Here are some of the experiences we'll be having:
  • Drive around and see the lights.
  • Watch a Christmas movie as a family.
  • Decorate gingerbread cookies.
  • Go to a nativity scene.
  • Unwrap a new book and read it together.
  • Write a letter to Santa.
  • Have a family game night.
  • Make gingerbread houses as a family.
  • Have hot cocoa and cookies with neighbors.
  • Read the Christmas story.
  • Make ornaments for the tree.
I am definitely going to include some of the acts of kindness ideas from the above list to my Christmas experiences for my family. I am so excited to make great memories and fill everyone with the Christmas spirit in the things we are doing!

So our Monthly Family Network Challenge in this season of all seasons is to create a new Christmas count down tradition for your family! It could be one of the ones we've suggested, or another one of your choosing, but please do share! We'd love to see what your family is doing to count down for Christmas!

Share your ideas by:
  1. Posting on our Facebook page.
  2. Leaving a comment right here on our blog.
  3. Or even better, linking up with a picture of your family doing some of your advent ideas!
What ever you choose to do, we here at the Family Network hope your holiday season starts off with lots of Christmas cheer!!!
True Aim Education
Family Network Partners: Play with Your Family Fun on a Dime True Aim Education Serene is My Name Not My Life LDS Parenting Mom to Three Babies

Sunday, December 2, 2012

May I Get a Little Personal???

I love to read others blogs... and I especially love it when they talk about their families. I'm fascinated in seeing how other families work, what they do for fun, what their family traditions are, watching the children grow, etc. So, may I get a little personal on this blog today? I'd like to post some pictures of my kiddos and how we have decorated for Christmas this year. :)

Here they are decorating the tree... you gotta have comfy clothes to decorate the tree! LOL

Our teeny tiny Nativity tree... it has tiny little nativity ornaments... they are hard to see, plus red ornaments that say Joy and Peace. It's so tiny!!!

The top of the entertainment center... I love all the brightly colored trees!! Plus don't forget Noel our little elf!!

The fiber optic tree on the dining room table... it is covered in wooden ornaments that my mother painted... she had a "shaker" tree that she had little wooden ornaments that she switched out for each holiday. It is a big memory of my childhood and I was really happy to get to use the little wooden ornaments from the Christmas one, to decorate in my household. When I look at the details on each wooden ornament, I think of my momma painting them!! This picture really doesn't show all the ornaments, but they are neat!!

Well, that's what we have so far!! We have been listening to Christmas music and decorating today.. and it's almost 70 degrees out! It's a little strange feeling!

Ok, how do you decorate for Christmas?? Share your links in the comments!!!
Happy Parenting and Merry Christmas!!! Love, JL~

Elf on the Shelf... late night antics

We caught Noel out for a late night drive with Troy Bolton ( from high school musicl lol) in the jeep!!! Silly kids!!

I like how Troy dressed for his late night date... LOL!!! Farmer Troy!! :) Man I just love being a mommy.... it really comes with so much joy!

Happy Parenting and Merry Christmas!! Love, JL~

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Elf on the Shelf !

Here at the Kaylor house, we are getting incredibly excited, because we received our beautiful Elf on the Shelf in the mail yesterday!! It came from Santa's Workshop, and she is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! Her name is Noel. She was lovingly made by my dear friend Q. You can get a special handmade elf here :    ( right now she only has a gorgeous nativity up.. but just message her!! ) Anywho.... keep checking back here at LDS Parenting... we have a feeling Noel is going to get herself into some fun predicaments starting on December 1st!!
What is your favorite Elf on the Shelf idea??

Happy Parenting and Merry Christmas! Love, JL~

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Advent Calendar and Christmas Activities

Here are some fun resources for Christmas activities ! The incredible ladies at SUGARDOODLE have done it again... they have so many cute Christmas Advent Calendars you can print and use ! So check out the link and find one that will be perfect for your family!


Want to watch Christmas movies or movies on Christ ? Check out Living Scripture Streaming Library !
Free for the first month ~ only 9.99 a month after that... it is so incredibly worth it. My family loves it so much. So many incredible resources !
Follow this link to sign up! ( this is an affiliate link... I will get a little kickback and that will go towards getting more prizes etc for my readers ! )


Merry Christmas ! Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Monday, November 26, 2012

This is me!! Great Challenge!!

I was perusing Pinterest ( yes I know, I'm addicted) and I found this site and I was floored!!!! This is exactly what I needed! I have just become really interested in family history, and I wanted to leave a nice personal history for my children and grandchildren one day. So.... without further adieu.... Buy a pretty new notebook and get started!!!

It is a beautiful site, full of creative and wonderful ideas for you to write your own personal history. Do just a bit a day, or maybe commit to one hour a week... whatever fits your schedule. Maybe you can write it all up by Christmas and present it to your family, whatever is your cup of cocoa!!

ENJOY!!!!! Happy Parenting, JL~

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Family Challenge!!!!

The "Gift of Giving" Series

 It is easy to tell our children to share and as long as we are there to enforce it, they probably will.  But, how do we inspire a spirit of generosity?  How do we train up children who give to others, not because they are told to, but because they have a genuine desire to help people in need? This month I have partnered with the Family Network to bring you some insightful and exciting ways to develop a giving heart in your children.

Join us, as we "Give the Gift of Giving" to our families.

Give the Gift:  Give back to your community as a family.  Then leave a comment, add a photo to Facebook, or email me about it.  You can also link up any ideas on how to give back with your family, favorite charities you support, or how to develop giving hearts.  We will be featuring your posts throughout the holiday season!  So, make sure you follow us! This link up will be included in each post in the Series.
That means your posts will be featured for a whole month!

 Posts in this Series:
 Teach Compassion
Be an Elf
Elbow Grease
 A Timeless Gift

Follow our Pinterest Board 

  Feel free to grab a button!

True Aim Education

Family Network Partners:
Play with Your Family
Fun on a Dime
Serene is My Name Not My Life
Hands on as We Grow
LDS Parenting
Mom to Three Babies

*By linking up, you are granting me permission to use and/or re-post photographs from your blog or website.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Family Standards and Media

So this past weekend I had a bit of a shock, when I checked my email and saw that my daughter had joined a club online with my email. Now, just a bit of background, when we are at home, if my child wants to use the internet for something specific ( such as looking up something for a school project) they can do so, with me sitting beside them , guiding them to what search tools to use and what websites are appropriate. My kids are 11, 10, and 8 and I feel strongly that they are way to young to be using the internet, without adult supervision. I may be overprotective on this, but at least I feel safe. Or did feel safe.....

Fast forward to the weekend, and my kids had the opportunity to go spend the day with their grandparents and to play with a cousin whom they don't get to see very often. Not only were they excited, but I was a little excited to have a day to myself.. shock!! I didn't think about the fact that grandpa has internet... and there you have it, my kids had the internet all to themselves all day with no supervision. Now, not knocking the grandparents here... they are pretty lax about stuff and they didn't know my stand on internet safety. But now it's time for me to really teach my kids about internet safety and teach them that its NOT ok to sign up for clubs or chat with others etc.. without adult supervision. Now this is just a long winded story, and now to the point of this post... do you have family standards and rules for media for your family? If you do, I want to hear about it! I'm going to be studying up and trying to come up with something good for my family, and I would love your ideas!
Here is two resources I'm going to personally use as I study on what to teach my children, first I will use this article :

I am also going to print these off for the kiddos :

Any other good tips??? :)
either comment here or email me at

Happy Parenting! Love, JL <3

Sunday, October 28, 2012

M Russell Ballard quote on motherhood

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother... Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children... What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else." Elder M. Russell Ballard


I just love quotes from the General Authorities that speak of motherhood and parenting. It makes me feel so uplifted and inspired. I struggle personally, with guilt, I feel like I can be a much better parent then what I'm being, that others are doing better then I am , etc.. and this quote really inspires me. I am blessed to be a member of this church and to have Heavenly Father on my side, and to have these wonderful quotes from amazing Priesthood holders, to help me in my journey. Love, JL~

I am an addict.....

Great title huh!!! Ok, I admit it. I am an addict. I'm addicted to Pinterest. I love the fact that I can kick back in the evenings ( when im supposed to be writing or planning school lol) and just Pin to my hearts content. But, I have found some awesome things that are great for this blog... so I will be writing on some of the pins, and also, hopefully getting some of the people who pinned it originally to come here and check it out! :) So, be forewarned, I'm gonna be writing up a storm!!! Maybe, if I can keep myself away from Pinterest long enough!!!!
Love, JL~

Some of the projects I have been working on.....

I have been busy busy busy with homeschooling and with some other little projects, so I have neglected my blog here, but I want to share with you some of the projects I have been working on. I have an LDS Prayer Group on facebook :!/groups/151805041627122/   ( hopefully that will take you to the group!) and I am also a member of my local facebook prayer request group. I have been studying up alot on prayer. It is such a strong resource for us. So I started a small website that is just for prayer requests.... It helps me to keep track of who to pray for and also, others can go there and find real people who are in need of our prayers. You can find it here: and also, you can find me on facebook or email me at and I will put your prayer requests up and pray for you!

Another neat project I have been working on:   this is the Home Education Council of America's site... I have been blessed to write curriculum for this AMAZING site.. I just finished my first course, a music appreciation course, which will be put up soon, and they have an amazing catalog full of online courses for families. I am blessed to be a part of this and soon I will be writing more curriculum for the site!

Third: I have been homeschooling my babies!!! It takes alot of time, but I'm blessed. I am thankful to be an active part of this amazing group on facebook :!/groups/6303504230/ ( 0nce again, hope that gets you there, but its called LDS Homeschoolers) and they are a wonderful resource for LDS homeschoolers, and also just really great people who are great at brainstorming ways to help us raise our families!

So that is just a few of the things I have been working on, so I have neglected this blog, but I feel so strongly that I need to get back to work on this... its important!!!

With Love, JL~

Monday, September 10, 2012

september family fun network challenge!

. I can do hard things We have a favorite family phrase around our house. It is...

I Can Do Hard Things!

This simple phrase does so much for our morale. Whenever my children start to get frustrated about something they are try to accomplish, I will ask them, "What does Mommy tell you?" And they will repeat, sometimes with some sass, "I can do hard things." After a quick talk it does not take long before they have figured out a solution and are off to take care of it. I really love this phrase. It motivates us and reminds us that we can do it!

So the Family Challenge for this week is...

The Challenge: Share (or Create) a Family Motto or Phrase


Do you have a favorite family phrase or quote you use? If so, we would love for you to share it with us. If you do not have one yet, create one! It can be short or long. Whatever works and motivates yourself or your family is your best option.

Share your Family Phrase below by:
1: Commenting right here on our blog! 2: Jump on over to our Facebook Page and leaving a comment or a link for everyone to see! 3: Or simply share your Summer Bucket List on your blog and leave the link to your post via our inlinkz tool below:  
A new Family Challenge will be announced the first Monday of every month. To find out more details about the family challenges and to receive monthly email reminders for the challenges, click here.
Brought to you by:

The Family Network



Fun on a dime spring blog button play with your family


Top photo courtesy of : Free Digital Photos

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Motherhood Journey Poem

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. ‘Is
this the long way?’ she asked. And the guide said: ‘Yes, and the way is hard
And you will be old before you reach the end of it.. But
the end will be better than the beginning.’

But the young mother was happy, and she would not
believe that anything could be better than these years.. So she
played with her children, and gathered flowers for
them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and
the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried,
‘Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.’

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was
dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother
drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said,
‘Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.’

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and
the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary.But at all times she said to the children,’ A little patience and we are there.’
So the children climbed, and when they reached the top
they said, ‘Mother, we would not have done it without you.’

And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up
at the stars and said, ‘This is a better day than the last, for my
children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage..
Today, I’ve given them strength.’

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened
the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped
and stumbled, and the mother said: ‘Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.
‘ And the children looked and saw above the clouds
an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the
darkness. And that night the Mother said,
‘This is the best day of all, for
I have shown my children God.’

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and
the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent.
But her children were tall and strong, and walked with
courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her,
for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill,
and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And
mother said, ‘I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end
is better than the beginning, for my children can
walk alone, and their children after them.’

And the children said, ‘You will always walk with us,
Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.’
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates
closed after her. And they said: ‘We cannot see her
but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She
is a living presence…….’

Your Mother is always with you…. She’s the whisper
of the leaves as you walk down the street; she’s the smell of bleach
in your freshly laundered socks; she’s the cool hand
on your brow when you’re not well.. Your Mother lives
inside your laughter. And she’s crystallized in every tear drop.
She’s the place you came from, your first home; and
she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love
and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can
separate you.

Not time, not space… not even death!

Fun Activity Ideas !

* Write a story book. Have children write their own or dictate to you, then have them draw pics to illustrate. use construction paper and comp paper and staple them together!

*Make carpet drawings- Using yarn or string you can "draw" pictures on the carpet

*Make beautiful scribbles together. use a black crayon and scribble on a blank piece of paper- make sure to make lots of loops and open spaces. then fill in the spaces with brightly colored crayons. fill each space- the result will be as beautiful as stained glass!

*Discover a new country. select a spot on the globe or on a world map where there is no land. draw a small "county" on a piece of paper. cut it out and tape it to the globe or map. ask you kids to name the country, describe the weather, vegetation, people, customs, etc. you can even plan a pretend vacation to the country.

*make a flip movie. draw a face in the upper right hand corner of a stack of 3x5 cards. make the eyes roll, the tongue stick out, or a beard grow by changing the drawing a tiny bit on each succeeding cad. staple the stack on the left side, make sure the cards are in order. flip quickly through them and your drawings will actually appear to move.

*Draw with your toes

*make a butterfy- using small chips of crayon, sprinkle the tiny chips ino a folded piece of paper, keeping the crayons inside, iron the paper. when you unfold you will have a beautiful butterfly

*Search for shapes. see who can find the most shapes around the house.

*make heart flowers. cut out tiny hearts from pink construction paper, and set them aside. have your child draw a stem on a piece of paper, then glue the tiny hearts, onto the top to create flower petals.

*make faces- draw ahead about 15 circle "faces" and fill in only the nose and eyes, make sure they are all identical. then have kids add mouth eyebrows, etc see if they can make the faces look mad, afraid, surprised, and happy, etc.

*Make a paper clothesline- draw a clothes line on a piece of paper, the cut tiny shirts, socks, and pants, out of scrap material, construction paper, etc. discuss how people all over the world dry their clothes this way, to save energy, be efficient, and save money.

*Play simon says

*Make a terrarium. use a clean jar, bottle, or glass bowl. spread a thick layer of pebbles on the bottom for drainage. cover with soil and tiny plants. now arrange colored shells driftwood, aquarium gravel, even tiny figurines inside.

*make bunny puppets. hold a paper bag upside down so that you can put your hand up inside of it. the flap at the top will serve as the bunnys face. cut out bunny ears, two eyes, nose, and whiskers ( you can use pipe cleaners etc. for whiskers) glue these on the face part. ext cut out a pink oval for a tummy. a cotton ball glued tot he back of the bag becomes the tail and completes the puppet.

*make lace easter eggs- blow up and know several small balloons. dip lenths of lightweight string in liquid starch found near laundry det in most stores. yarn stores etc usually sell thin, multicolored string that works good) coat the balloons with pretty swirls of string, covering most of the surface. let the balloons dry on wax paper. tonight, pop the balloons. the dry strings will stay stiff in the beautiful swirly designs you made.

*Make a puzzle- cut out magazine pages and cut into uneven pieces so that the kids can put them back together.

*Water and Beach activities

* water table or tub- make it a beach- put sand at bottom, add water and blue food coloring, and seashells, boats, and the little squeezy water animals. have kids help the water animals take drinks, by squeezing them, have them feel the seashells and describe how they feel. hard, soft bumpy smooth sharp pointed,etc. can also add pails and small scoops with more sand and less water and rocks or green craft grass for seaweed.

*water toys- spray bottles, small sprinkling cans, soda bottles iwth holes punched in bottom, water wheel, shampoo bottles with a teeny bit of shampoo left in them., clear plastic tubes from plumbing section,

*clear water painting- give each child a small pail of water and a paint brush, let them paint the building, grass, tree trunks, benches, etc. with the water, watch the water "paint" disappear

*bathe the babies activity- baby bubble bath, towels, empty powder containers, baby blankets, doll clothes, baby dolls, etc. fill the water table with warm water, just a little bit of it, and have the kids give their baby dolls a bath. then rock the babies in a rocking chair or just standing up , and have the kids sing the babies a song to go to sleep.

* sprinkler day- have kids wear bathing suits, and have beach towels and sprinkers. make sure to send a note home with kids telling the parents that tom. is sprinkler day, have them bring their suits, etc. have plenty of chairs around , etc so kids can play in sprinkler or rest in the chairs.


daily activity ideas

* finger painting- with regular finger paint , shaving cream, etc. types of surfaces to paint on- shower mats, cookie sheets, bubble pack, etc. make sure the kids wear smocks.

*instruments and music, have a parade, clap and march, wrist bells ( pipe cleaners and bells made into little bracelets) maybe find some w/s or other activities involving music, etc.

*bird watching- take a walk and look for birds. watch what they are doing. sitting on the ground, flying in the sky, searching for food, resting in trees, perched on wires, drinking from puddles, etc have kids draw pics of birds, and use binoculaurs etc. have them imitate the different bird sounds. after you are done with walk- make a bird feeder for outside the classroom window- or just hang one you have purchased and put bird seed in it.

*plant flower seeds- flower seeds like zinnias, etc. potting soil, window box, rocks, small scoops or spoons. do this outside if possible, let each child plant a seed. put it in an untraveled sunny area. let the kids water it as needed and watch the flowers grow, check on them every few days.

special activities

*curdoroy party with teddy bear theme-

story- corduroy- read this story

song- little bear

story- a pocket for corduroy- read this story

activity- a pocket and button hunt

project- make a bear puppet

snack- bear cookies and juice

story bags-give to children as there parents come to pick them up


decorations- teddy bear theme, pictures, cups, napkins, etc.

name tags- use bear shaped paper, and write kids name on it

story bag- brown lunch sack decorated with teddy bear picture. they will have their art project, puzzle etc and maybe make a bear bookmark for them. label the childrens names on them.


see instructions for song, puppets, etc in file on big computer. they have been scanned etc. possibly, might just print these out and have in file.

reading center

letter writing center

art center

play kitchen

dress up




blocks/building center

sensory table

mommy /preschool group activities

gospel abc quiet book- enrichment cottage

recipe swap

quiet books- homemaking cottage deluxe kids crafts section

Things to do












post office with valentine cards

tea party

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Personalized Gifts for Children

Yikes! Christmas is coming up! My good friend Heather has come up with some great ideas for us parents!!! Please enjoy this guest post!! :) Happy Parenting! Love, JL

When it comes to gifts for children and you are looking for something unique, personalized gifts are a
wonderful idea. Children of all ages love gifts made just for them. They love having something truly
unique and special that nobody else has. Finding just that right gift to personalize can be easy once you
know where to look and the internet can help with that.

 One place to look is on a great website called where you can find adorable gifts for children. You can personalize all of the gifts
available on the website for any child in your life.
Using a favorite photo of your child to personalize a gift will put a smile on their face when they open it.
The website is easy to use, has instructions to walk you through each step, and has helpful tips for you.
You will be able to upload your photo, choose your personalized gifts, and pay for your order all online.
The website is safe and secure to use and you will have your order usually within 10 to 14 business days
and are able to track your order. There is also an option of sending a photo with a form in case you do not
have a digital photo you can use.

The best photos are headshots with good lighting. If there is clutter in the background, it is removed
so just the child's head is showing on the gifts. High-resolution photos are also the best option when
uploading a photo to use. The original photo is the best choice also. In no time at all you can create
beautiful and unique gifts for the children in your life.

Photo File Formats Accepted:
1. .JPG
2. .PNG
3. .BMP

Personalized Journals *
At a certain age children like to keep journals and personalized gifts of journals for them to keep their
thoughts in is a great idea. Children from ages six to 16 will be thrilled when they see their photo on the
front of their very own journal. The journals have 160 lined pages for then to fill with thoughts, ideas,
events in their lives, and anything else they want to write. You can choose from 13 adorable covers
including snowboarding and horse riding. By giving a journal to a child, you are encouraging them to
write and expand their writing skills.

A Few Journal Cover Choices:
1. Flitter Me Fairy
2. Rock Star
3. Damsel in Distress
4. Space Cadet
5. Ocean Steps

Personalized Water Bottles *
Going for a hike, taking a bike ride, heading out for a trip in the car are all wonderful opportunities for a
child to use their very own personalized water bottle. Your children will never be without water when you
give them personalized gifts for taking water along. Water bottle can be used anywhere, even at home.
Stainless steel and holding 20 ounces the BPA free water bottles are the perfect size for any outing. They
have a belt clip and screw on top. You can choose from one of eight cute characters for your child to be.

Water Bottle Characters
2. Fireman
3. Super Hero
4. Mermaid
5. Rock Star
6. Space Cadet
7. Princess
8. Moon Fairy

Personalized Wall Art *

When it comes time to decorate your child's room you can add some personalized wall art to make their
room truly their own. Imagine your child's happy face and excitement when they have personalized photo,
poster, or quality canvas for their wall. You can order photos in sizes of 8" X 10".
 Posters come in 16"
X 20" and 20" X 30". Canvas prints come in sizes of 12" X 12", 16" X 20", and 20" X 30".

wall art will work for a child of any age from baby to teen. These would also make wonderful gifts for a
new baby in a family. Parents would be thrilled to have wall art with their baby as the star.
If you choose a canvas, it is stretched over wooden frames that are heavy duty. The image will be
wrapped around all four sides of the canvas. High quality printing is used to make posters and they can be
mounted or tacked to the wall. Either way they will look great and add style to any room. You can choose
from one of 18 themes for your wall art.
Some Wall Art Options:
1. Butterfly Days with a baby in a stroller
2. Time for Bed with a baby in a bassinette
3. Princess with Dragon
4. Dino-mite Dinosaur
5. Funny Farm
6. Circus
7. Seahorse
8. Train

When you take time to make a special gift of the children in your life they will also feel special. Everyone
loves to feel special, important, and loved, especially children. Making personalized gifts for children in
your life is a good choice. Finding a character and project to create just for them is easy, fun, and quick.
The hours of happiness and joy they will get from their gift will be priceless. They will think of you each
time they see it or use it. They will also think of how much you care and how special they feel. It does not
take much to make children happy and feel special and a gift like this will do just that.

 By checking out and seeing how amazingly easy it is to make special gifts for loved ones is the first
step in making someone feel special. Following the simple and easy to use instructions will have your gift
ready to be created and shipped for your special child in no time. You will have a gift that will bring out
imagination in a child as they see themselves as a dancer or space cadet.

 Next time there is a birthday,
new baby, or any type of special occasion, think of creating a special gift for a child. Not only will they
love the special gift but also they will have a keepsake of the occasion.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Magic of Evening Time

I was recently reading back through some of my old journals and I was reminded of how much I love evening time. It seems that the whole world slows down and is calmer. As the sun sets, we turn off tv and just enjoy being together. Sometimes we sit outside as a family and watch the sunset . Sometimes we read together in the living room. It just seems to be magic. I also find that it is an excellent time for "teaching moments" with our children. Sometimes they want to talk about their day, etc and they just really seem to open up more. Maybe it's because we are all tired from our day. I just really find that the kids want to talk and it's a quiet, calm time. What is your favorite time of day? Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July Family Network Challenge-- WATERMELON!!!!


When this warm weather rolls around each summer I can't help but think of watermelon. And luckily it is everywhere right now. So, this month we have a great Family Challenge for you! It's time to have some summer fun!

The Challenge: Watermelon!

Eat it, play a game with it, create something with it, or do a craft about it. Whatever you do, have some fun with your family, take a picture, if possible, and share what you did with us!

Here are some fun ideas I found on the web:

Watermelon Toss, Spitting , Eating Competitions

Watermelon Carving:

Go simple with a Watermelon Jello Bowl (below) or fancier. (This site has tons of fun watermelon carving ideas).

Watermelon Carving

Watermelon Craft

Paint Watermelon Nails


Make a Watermelon Recipe:

One of many out there is this yummy Watermelon Frosty


I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Share your Watermelon Fun below by:
1: Commenting right here on our blog! 2: Jump on over to our Facebook Page and leaving a comment or a link for everyone to see! 3: Or simply share your Summer Bucket List on your blog and leave the link to your post via our inlinkz tool below: Brought to you by:

The Family Network


Fun on a dime spring blog button play with your family

Friday, June 29, 2012

Something Special Just Happened.....

My baby, Sydney Loren Clare, turned 8 last week. Following a tradition started by my parents, my children receive their own nice set of Scriptures when they are baptized. Syd is going to be baptized on August 25th, because her uncle is baptizing her and they won't be able to make it to Missouri until that date. So I havent ordered her Scriptures yet.

She has been using the Scriptures I received when I was 8 years old. They are beat up but she loves them. Today just a few minutes ago, she asked me if I would "pass them down" to her. She said she wanted to use them, then when her baby turned 8 she would pass them down to them! Well, I'll be. LOL. I was thrilled! We carefully marked out my 8 year old handwriting that said my name and phone number and we wrote her name and phone number in them. I told her that I had carefully marked the Scriptures that were important to me and also, that I had used those Scriptures for seminary. She said she would mark the Scriptures that were important to her, and one day my grandkids would get to use the Scriptures ! I just felt so wonderful. So you see, something special just happened to me...... a tradition was started between me and my youngest child. I feel pretty great right now :) What special things have happened to you today??? :) Happy parenting! Love, JL~

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Children Need Adventures !

The other day, my son Dylan ( pictured above) informed me that he needed to have some adventures so that when he grew up and had children, he could tell them all about the great adventures he had as a child! That made me stop and think, what in the world could I do to make it so that my boy had some adventures? ! 

Living in the great town of Hannibal, MO- I should know how to have adventures! We are the town of Tom Sawyer for heaven's sake! So I talked with my husband and told him that our boy needed to have some adventures! So he took him fishing! ( way to go Tom Sawyer!)

Children who have adventures, meaning they get to experience life first-hand, are less self-centered and more interested in the great world around him. While children defintely have the right to be silly, when they get to experience learning and knowledge thru first-hand experiences they can say, I know this because I experienced it! They have confidence and power. They often want to share their experiences with others. I love it when my kids get excited about something they have experienced and they want to teach others about it. Some examples, when we caught tadpoles and watched them grow into frogs, when we got chickens and bunnies, and when they show their friends the "woods" behind our house.

Children need enivronments that stimulate them and experiences that excite them! Their minds grow and they stay excited about the world and learning. So what kinds of adventures can you have with your children? Start with simple things, that involve nature like catching fireflies at night. Take them on an adventure at the local state park. Sleep under the stars one night. Catch snowflakes on their tongues and build snow forts.

Here is a great link for some fun activities that you can turn into adventures! This website is super cute too!

So, what kind of adventures do your children have? I want to know!!! Coming from the home of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.... I love adventures! :)
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Monday, June 25, 2012

How To Teach Your Children To Be Prepared


food storage

The world is a scary place. I have been feeling deep inside the need to prepare my family for these Latter Days. We hear it in General Conference, we read it in the Scriptures. It is time folks. Time to be ready! So how do we go about teaching our children to be prepared, without scaring them?

I truly think that the best way to do this is by example. When they see us getting excited about food storage, and emergency preparedness, then they might want to join in. Make it a game, the preparation part, but also you need to have some serious FHE’s about the subject. We need to look for inspiration and pray for the words to say, to teach our children about the Latter Days. Not only do we need to teach them about the physical preparation such as food storage and getting out of debt, we need to seriously teach them about our spiritual preparation. The following links will take you to some great sites that have a lot of fun ideas about being prepared and also some spiritual lessons for us to share with our children. I will be checking them out in depth!!!! Happy Parenting! JL~


The Family Food Bank

Food Storage Ideas from 

Emergency Preparedness from

Blog about preparedness- she knows her stuff!

LDS.Org Provident Living Site

Saturday, June 9, 2012

For the Momma's Soothing Secrets

Soothing.... what a beautiful word. It brings to mind so many beautiful images and a feeling of calm. As momma's, we need this feeling of calm! I have been looking around for some fun ideas for a little pampering, and a soothing few minutes of peace. I love nothing more then a long bubble bath! The smells, the feel of the warm water, the peace and quiet!!! Here are some easy little ways to get a soothing moment of peace!

Put on your fuzzy slippers and have a warming or cooling drink.  A good recipe for a warming drink:
1 teapot with infuser
16 oz boiling water
2 Tbsp French Lemon Ginger tea
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 tsp fresh mint
splash of mint
* Put water and cinnamon stick on to boil. Add tea and mint to infuser. Once water boils, remove cinnamon stick and pour the water into teapot and infuse for seven minutes. Remove infuser and pour contents into cup and add splash of milk.

A good recipe for a cooling drink:
3 cups unsweetened apricot juice
3 cups ginger ale
1 Tbsp lemon juice
* Chill both juice and ginger ale thoroughly.. mix and enjoy! Makes 6 cups... I can't wait to try this one!!!!!! I have apricot trees and am going to use the juice from those! YUM!

Now that you've enjoyed a drink, put on some soothing music! My favorites include piano, celtic, or any of those awesome Relaxation CD's you can buy at the dollar store!

Light a candle, this is your special time! Some of my favorite scents for relaxing: Bergamot ( it smells delicious) and anything lemon or verbana or chammomile, lavender etc. There are so many neat companies out there that are making candles that target specific things like relaxation or sleep etc.

Bubble bath time! My number one favorite bubble bath of all time: AVON's Soft Pink, it reminds of my Nana, she would always give me bubble baths in that scent. It's super hard to find now. Once again there are tons of neat companies like Bath and Body Works that have wonderful aromatherapy bath gel, salts etc. Here is a "recipe" for a relaxing bath you can make yourself :
1 cup Epsom Salts
6 drops Peppermint Oil ( to soothe tired achy muscles)
4 drops Tangerine Oil ( you can use Lavender Oil for bedtime)
Fill the tub with warm water and add these ingredients and SOAK!!!

Now on to the massage ( you need hubby for this!) You can make your own massage oil, or use commercial brands like Bath and Body Works etc. Here is a "recipe" for a soothing make your own massage oil:
Use a carrier oil- I like Sweet Almond Oil. Then add essential oils like Rosemary, Chammomile and Rose... you can find all of these online at any soap making supply store. SO GOOD!!!!

Of course, hehehehe, the soothing massage from your hubby may be the end of your time alone, wink wink, but if not, read a good book, try some meditation, pray, rub some lotion on your hands, feet and elbows, enjoy yourself! We momma's need some time to ourselves!!!! Love, JL~

June Family Network Challenge

When it was decided that we would have a "Family Summer Bucket List" theme for our challenge this month, I thought, Pish, easy-peasy! I'll just write up this cute little pooooost about all the cool things you can doooooo and it will be so greeeeeaaaat.

But then as I was Pinteresting one day, I realized that there were 872,902,523,165 other blogs that had written cute posts about summer bucket lists. And they all had way better pictures than I did.

So I changed my strategy.

Instead of writing out all these ideas that have already been written, I am providing a link list to a bunch of other blogs that already have bucket lists so you can gather ideas, then provide you with my personal Top Five List.

Don't give me that look! Of course we do more than five things every summer! Yeesh! But these are five new and different things! Because yes, we ride bikes and go to the zoo every summer.

Is that okay? Hopefully that's not cheating.

Because I'm not a cheater.

Unless I'm playing Skip-Bo with my mom. Then cheating becomes necessary. Seriously, she's a card shark.

If you know of other blogs with bucket lists, be sure to add them by linking them up!

Creating a Summer Bucket List

100 things to do with kids this Summer  - by Six Sisters Stuff
50 things to do this Summer - by
20 Activities to make Summer awesome for everyone - by
Summer Bucket List... Bucket - by A mom with a plan
Building a Summer Bucket List - by JDaniel's4mom
32 things to make using a cardboard box - by Tip Junkie
100 Free things to do with your kids this summer - by Digital Reflections
Summer Bucket List - by The Taylor House
Summer Bucket List Bucket - by Delia Creates
Our Summer Bucket List - by inner child fun
Summer Bucket List Party - by little wonders' days
Summer Bucket List - by embellishing life everyday
Summer Bucket List - by whatever....
Summer Fun - by the crafting chicks
Kids Summer List (with pizazz) - by home stories A2Z
Summer Bucket List Banner - by Fakin' It
Summer Bucket List - by A lilly blog
125 color coded ideas - by The Home Teacher
Summer of fun bucket list - by Dine & Dish
Summer Bucket List - by Creative Family Fun
Summer Fun - A Bucket List - by Homeschool Share
Erins Summer Bucket List - by Todays Mama
Bingo Summer Chart - by Delia Creates
Summer Fun Checklist - by Come Together Kids
The Summer Bucket List - by The Happy Family Movement

As I went around and collected all these sites that had such fun and creative ideas, I managed to accomplish two things.

1- To understand that I am the world's lousiest mom. I've never made a "bucket list" before! I'm a total, fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. Making a bucket list sounds way too exhausting!!

2 - I've had the realization that some people put a scary amount of thought and time into their summer plans. Whatever happened to SIMPLIFY!

Hey, I'm just trying to rationalize my own lack of bucket list creativity here.

But seriously, I think I'll just pick five things I know I really want to do this summer and go with that. So, here's my list.

1. Make a backyard sprinkler park! 
I have seen so many great and cheap ideas for making your own with pvc pipe and those little floaty noodles. Oh, I've got plans....

2. Make our own indoor playhouse.
Because let's face it. Sometimes it gets to hot you just need to be inside!! And for those of you who haven't seen those super cute playhouses you make to fit over a card table or pvc pipes, you should totally google it. Because it's awesome.

3. Make our own sidewalk chalk/paint
Okay, so maybe that sounds super lame to you, but I really think the kids would LOVE to make it themselves and go all crazy on the driveway!

4. Make Glow-in-the-Dark Bathwater, and let the kids go "fishing" for all the magnetic letters we have on the fridge.
Because I think that would be cool.

5. Build a car track for the stairs with 1x4's and cardboard. 
I bet it would keep the kids busy for hours. The trick will be to keep them from fighting over turns.


Survive T-Ball
Just sayin'.

So there you have it!!

June Family Challenge: Make a Summer Bucket List
Let us know how it goes by:

1: Commenting right here on our blog! 

2: Jump on over to our Facebook Page and leaving a comment or a link for everyone to see!
3: Or simply share your Summer Bucket List on your blog and leave the link to your post via our inlinkz tool below:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reverence is more then just quietly sitting.....

I had hoped to get this blog post up Saturday night, but I have been hit by a migraine, so I didn't even get to work on this with my own family! But here it is.... what I have been thinking about lately!
I have been studying and pondering on reverence. I feel that personally I need it more in my life and my attitude and I wish for my children to have a firm understanding of what it means to be reverent. When I think of being reverent, my first thought is being awe-inspired. I love that term. It is powerful. When I am being reverent, I have fear in the Lord, I am awe-inspired by Him, I feel deep respect and the need to worship. Reverence truly is more then just quietly sitting. I feel respect, love and honor. Being reverent means showing restraint and quiet dignity. When we are reverent we are showing our devotion to God.
Let's face it- our world is loud. We have the tv blaring, the stereo on full blast, the computer is dinging at us because someone wants to chat, our kids video games are noisy in the background. I need to change this!!! My family needs to change! We need to become more reverent and one of the most important reasons to me personally, is because inspiration comes easier in peaceful settings. It is so true. I love in the evenings when the sun is beginning to go down, the kids are getting ready for bed, and I am sitting quietly in the yard watching the sun set. I feel peaceful. I feel content. I feel reverent. At this point, I can begin to pray etc, and slowly I begin to get that peaceful, reverent feeling. I love the fact that being reverent is one of the highest qualities a person can achieve. We learn so much more while being reverent, even if it is for a set amount of time each day, and then of course on the Sabbath ( which will be a whole new post!). D&C 76 states that in the celestial kingdom , before His throne all people will bow in reverence. What a beautiful thought and a good example of reverence. Another good example that comes to my mind.... the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane... can you imagine the reverence that must have been felt there. Once again, the Savior is such an amazing example. We need to be more reverent in our homes too. This is something I am really wanting to work on in my family. I am guilty of having the tv on, music going and my computer on... all at the same time! President Marion G. Romney stated that parents who love the Lord and have respect for each other, usually have reverence in their home. Once again, it comes back to blocking out needless distractions which is something I spoke about in another post, being overwhelmed, and I think that blocking out these distractions is so vital. We will be able to feel the awe-inspired feelings of reverence, devotion, love and so much more. The Spirit will be able to whisper to us--- and we will HEAR it!! Now I want to make sure that everyone understands, I'm not saying that you have to throw your tv, stereo and computer out the window. We do much good with these instruments... we can listen to uplifting music, watch uplifting shows, and connect with others around the world thru the internet and help to be missionaries and good friends to them! I'm talking more about teaching our children ( and ourselves) to take time through out our day to be reverent. Meditate, pray, etc. Give yourself the gift each day of being reverent. I can't wait to put this into practice in my life and in my childrens lives. I hope to even make a little area of the house, maybe a reverent corner near our bookshelves etc, where we can ponder and pray, and be quiet! Where we can hear the Spirit whispering to us. Maybe a candle, and scriptures on a table in the reverent corner. Maybe some aromatherapy, becuase boy howdy I love aromatherapy. What ways do you teach your children the deeper meaning of reverence? Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Parable of the Ten Virgins

rane/five/wise, 1/5/04, 3:14 PM,  8C, 6768x11253 (1128+435), 150%, paintings,  1/15 s, R75.0, G64.3, B79.3

A couple of weeks ago I was praying to know what specific things to teach my children. I was amazed when the thoughts and ideas started flowing! I grabbed my journal and started jotting things down. One of the things was to teach my children the parable of the ten virgins. It is found in Matthew in the 25th chapter. Right after I had this little “planning session” with my Father in Heaven, my general conference Ensign came in the mail. I had watched general conference, but I am always happy to go over every little word in print. I was so excited to see this particular parable mentioned in one of the talks.

I was even more surprised when I remembered that we had a kerosene lamp we use for emergencies and I could have an object lesson… super fun!

I was even more surprised when the sunday night before our FHE, we needed the kerosene lamp because we ended up with no electricity for almost 4 hours.

Heavenly Father was making things easy for me! I had the lamp out, the general conference Ensign, the scriptures marked and ready. Then my son asked if he could invite his friend who lives across the street from us. Missionary moment! So that monday night we all sat in the living room for a simple FHE that hopefully would be a good missionary tool also.

I was blessed to be able to share the highlighted portions from Sister Cook’s talk, and I was so impressed with the way the kids latched right on to the idea that we need to constantly be filling our spiritual lamps. Every good deed you do, every kind word you say, every prayer, every Scripture read, adds a drop of oil to your lamps. Drop by drop we add spiritual knowledge to our lamps. I was excited when my ten year old son started explaining to his friend….. “we need to be prepared for when Christ comes again.” I was blessed to listen to my son as he shared his testimony of Christ’s second coming and how he was ready to start adding more drops to his lamp! Then the boys got a big kick out of my husband putting the kerosene oil in the lamp and lighting it! In fact the neighbor boy said, “hey, you used that lamp last night- I saw it in your window!” We were able to tell him that we had been physically prepared in case of a power outage, just like we need to be spiritually prepared for when Christ comes. It was a wonderful, spiritual FHE and it only took about twenty minutes! Sometimes the most powerful lessons are the simplest.

While doing my own research into the parable of the ten virgins, I found so many things that I personally need to work on. But that will be a post for another day! Today , I share with you what we did for FHE…. maybe soon I will share my personal thoughts on how I can become a better person thru this parable. How thankful I am for Christ’s teachings and examples!