Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas FHE ~ Symbols of Christmas


     This year our family is celebrating Christmas the entire month of December ! We kicked off our celebration last night with THIS FHE on the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas time. It was great. 

Today we used a lesson from A Year of FHE and once again I am amazed at the lesson! This woman is so talented ! We use the blog a lot when we do FHE and I was just so excited to find this lesson because I think it compliments last nights lesson really well. 

The lesson is on the symbols of Christmas. You can find it HERE. It has a free printable of pictures of the different symbols with corresponding Scriptures. As always , it includes an opening and closing song, an activity ( a cute one!! ) and treat ideas. For free ! It's so cool! 

                                                       check it out HERE for the free printable! 

Also, I'm going to admit it here lol.... I didn't know that the colors Red, Green, and White had an actual symbolic meaning behind them! I just thought they kind of matched Christmas trees and all that ;) Hey, you learn something every day ! 

I will be trying to make sure and post the different lessons and activities we will be doing as a family this month. What are some traditions and activities that you do with your families at Christmas Time ? Comment below ! 

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~ 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas FHE ~ Tradition of Gift Giving

                                                    ( image from lds.org media library )

Tonight we began our Christmas Celebration! Each day during December we do a small Gospel lesson on Christ and why we celebrate Christmas. We also try to find lots of ways to serve. It really has helped us to keep our focus on Christ during this season and not on material things, etc.

Our kick off FHE for the season was about the traditions of gift giving at Christmas time. I found this amazing FHE lesson from HERE . It was so good!!!!! I loved how she tied together the first ever Christmas gift ~ the baby Jesus, the gifts from the three wise men ( and she explains each gift they brought) , and then goes right into the gifts that Christ has given us. She explains how to be a good gift giver and how to make sure that you are giving gifts that require time and love and sacrifice. It really made me think a lot about what gifts I give at Christmas. Such a great way to kick off our Christmas Celebration in our home.

What did you do for FHE tonight ? Comment below !

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Helping Children to not Feel Afraid... REPOST

This is a post from 2013 when their were huge tornadoes ripping through the country.... I thought it might be important to repost this... as there are always more things happening that can make a child feel afraid... and make a parent feel afraid too. I will be writing a more detailed post on this in the near future, but for now, I want to share this again. Happy Parenting, Love, JL~


Monday, November 9, 2015

90 Day Book of Mormon Reading Challenge


This summer I was blessed to join a great group started by Becky at PURPOSE DRIVEN MOTHERHOOD and we did a 90 day Book or Mormon Reading Challenge for summer. Here is the link to the great article that Becky wrote about it on her blog : HERE  It's a great article. I was so excited! I was on fire and ready !

There was a great facebook group to go along with it and everyone was so encouraging! I decided to do this on my own, instead of as a family. We read Scriptures daily as a family, even if it's just a couple verses, but I needed something to challenge me. I needed to feast on the Word. As a mommy, life can get so crazy and go by so fast... was I really feasting on the Scriptures ? This was perfect... something I could do for me.

June 1st came... and I read my Book of Mormon. Then there was a family emergency and my husband and I ended up driving from Missouri to Idaho and back to Missouri , all within 3 days.. non stop driving. We didn't even stop for a full hour when we got to Idaho.. we loaded up my aunt and headed right back! Then June was non stop caring for my aunt and I didn't even have a chance to go potty it felt like. That was a crazy month.

July came and I was still trying to read even just one verse a day... I was terribly behind on the challenge but I wasn't going to give up! Then I became struck down with a rare disease called Trigeminal Neuralgia. It's the worst pain a human can withstand, the doctors told me. Guess what... light and reading were two big triggers for me. So not only was I trying to learn to cope with this awful new disease... but doing something that calms me down.. reading my Scriptures... just made it even worse! At that point, I really felt like 'someone' wasn't wanting me to read my Scriptures! But I kept trying. Even just one verse a day.

August came and my medicines began to work for the trigeminal neuralgia. I was starting to be able to be in the light.. haha... as long as I wore sunglasses, and I was able to read little bits at a time! What a blessing! So I kept on trucking with my Book of Mormon reading, checking in with the facebook group, knowing that I was so incredibly behind , but not willing to even think of stopping! Around the middle of August I began to feel pretty crummy. Then I was suddenly at the doctor on oxygen, with full blown pneumonia. The worst I've ever had. What the heck was going on with me this summer ? I had pneumonia for 6 weeks and at times, I was fighting for my life, fighting to breathe. I still read the teeniest bit of my Book of Mormon each day.. it was my lifeline.

                                             ( lds.org - image )

All of September I had pneumonia. It was truly a huge trial. But I kept trying. October came along and with it came the gorgeous colors and smells of Fall. I knew that I obviously missed the deadline for finishing my Book of Mormon in 90 days.. but I wasn't going to give up! Then we got news that we were going to lose our home. My husband and I bought this home when we were both 19. We've lived here for almost 14 years and it is the only home our children have ever really known. So October came with fear, anxiety, hard work, sacrifices, lots of prayer and I read my Book of Mormon daily. Multiple times a day... there were days where I couldn't put it down. It saved me from going crazy I think! At the very last possible moment... our house was saved. It was such a huge blessing.

 Yesterday... over 150 days later... I finished the Book of Mormon. Now I've read the Book of Mormon many times. I love it. But this time was probably the best. I say that every time ! But, I think about how I had these massive trials this past summer and fall... non stop! The one thing that I could count on... was that I was going to read my Scriptures that evening. No matter what. Even if it was one verse. As I read, I felt like I was there, with everything happening in this fascinating, true story, I felt like I was right there in it. What a blessing and comfort it has been to me these past 150 days.

I truly encourage each parent to read the Book of Mormon each day. Yes, we need to be reading it with our families of course. We need to read all of the Scriptures, not just the BoM.... but sometimes, as parents, we need to do something special for ourselves. Reading the Book of Mormon each day was that something special for me. It got me through a lot this summer and fall. I will be starting it over again tonight. I can't wait.
If anyone wants to start the challenge with me... let me know! :)

What kinds of things do you do for yourself , as a parent, to feed your soul and spirit and keep you going ?
Let me know in the comments !
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Thursday, October 29, 2015

On a Personal Note ~ Go Be A Mother !

I've been thinking lately, I started this blog with the intention of researching and studying and praying and learning how to be a better parent. I wanted to make a community of LDS parents who could encourage each other and inspire each other. I still think that will happen one day with this blog and the accompanying Facebook page. But as I look at the blog, I realize that I haven't been personal on it very often. I have tried to research and write posts that are informative for all of us. But I want you guys to know me. To know that I'm not a perfect parent by any means. To know some of the trials I've been through and why this blog is so important to me. So today I'm going to write a bit, on a personal note, about a time in my life where I didn't know if I would be able to continue being a mother.

This is my precious family. We are doing Family Home Evening and my youngest daughter ( the one bending over in the lower left hand corner ) was in charge. The activity she chose was to build temples out of marshmallows and toothpicks :) We laughed a lot! See that handsome man looking at the camera ? That's my husband of 15 years. We've known each other since we were both 14. That's a long time. I've loved him for 20 years now. When we were both 25, and we had three gorgeous babies under the age of 4..... Keith began having terrible migraines. We were both scared, something like this had never happened to him before. He made an appointment with our doctor who said, just to be on the safe side, he wanted to do an MRI of Keith's brain. So on a friday, they did the MRI. We knew that we would get results monday or tuesday. For the weekend , Keith was just supposed to rest up and take the migraine medication that he had been prescribed.

Around 6 pm that night, Keith got a phone call. We were outside enjoying the beautiful evening in our backyard, pushing the kids in their little baby swings on the swing set. He walked away a bit and when he returned he had a look on his face that I will never forget. Something was very wrong. We took the kids inside, got their baths, lotion, jammies, bedtime stories, prayers and then put them in their beds. We sat on the front porch for a bit. Finally , he was ready to tell me about the phone call.
That was Dr Evans on the phone, he told me. Why would Dr Evans call us at 6 pm on a friday ????
They've found a large mass in my brain, I have to go to St Louis monday. Just like that, life changed.

To make a very long, scary story somewhat shorter ~ The mass they found was in a terrible spot. They gave Keith 2 weeks. 2 Weeks to live. They would attempt surgery in 2 weeks, they had much to discuss and prepare for, with multiple surgeons that they were calling in, and that is why it would be 2 weeks. They needed time to prepare. They weren't giving us much hope , even with the surgery. But for now, he had 2 weeks to live. Life just stops. All of the sudden, I couldn't get enough pictures of him with the kids. I started thinking about things like finances and how to support 3 babies , alone. We discussed funeral arrangements. I didn't cry. Not once. It was like I was in full on crisis mode. 2 weeks. It's not long enough when you are trying to figure out how to say goodbye.

We were blessed. After an emergency trip to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and lots of blessings and prayers, my husband is very alive. He's just fine. He's a miracle.

After that time in our lives, as soon as the doctors gave the OK , saying he was fine, he was safe, he would be around for a long time, I fell apart. I was so strong during the actual crisis, so very strong. As soon as they said he would live, I fell apart. I had a mental breakdown basically. Suddenly I was terrified to let him out of my sight. I would cry and cry when it was time for him to go to work. I felt like I couldn't survive. I fell into the deepest darkest depression and my anxiety was absolutely through the roof. Keith took ME to Dr. Evans this time... instead of the other way around. Dr Evans realized that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It would take some time and a lot of work on my part, but I could get through it. I began taking medicine. I started seeing a counselor, sometimes every single day, when it got to the point where I didn't want to live with the fear and anxiety that racked my entire soul. I laid in bed 24 hours a day. Sleeping away my fears. I couldn't even handle having the kids in the room with me, I was so terrified that I might disappoint them, or make them sad, I didn't want them to see mommy like this! Keith was able to take FMLA from work and he became both mommy and daddy for 6 weeks. 6 weeks I was completely unable to function. I couldn't hardly even handle it if Keith went to the grocery store. I would cry and hang onto his legs and say, what if you die ? The thought of it paralyzed me.

One day, while laying in bed, sleeping, dreaming, I dreamt of heaven. I was sitting in a beautiful room ~ it looked like the celestial room in the Nauvoo Temple. I was sitting beside a beautiful older woman. She smiled at me, and said do you know who I am ? I looked in her eyes and said yes! It was Sister Marjorie Hinckley.

 Oh how I loved her! I had just finished reading one of her books, and I had fallen even more in love with her. In my dream I smiled, I laughed! Yes I know you! She patted my leg, and said, " well then go be a mother."  I woke up. It was like I was a new person. I knew that I couldn't live like that anymore. My children needed me. I needed to go be a mother. It wasn't magic, I still had to work hard, I still had times where I needed to lie down and pray and pray. I continued the medication, I am still on that medication to this day, because I don't want to take any chances! I had to work very hard, but I had a goal, I knew that Heavenly Father was thinking of me, loving me, and knowing that if anything in this entire world could bring me out of the anxiety ridden cycle I was in ~ it would be my children and my love of being a mother.

I know some people might say it's silly, but after reading her books, and struggling so much and praying so very hard, begging my Father in Heaven to help me somehow, having that dream, and the sweet cozy feelings that came with it, it was just so special. Do I feel like I saw a vision and that I was truly transported to heaven ? Not really, I feel like I had a lovely dream and it reminded me of my mission in this life, motherhood. It made me feel happy and that I was loved. That feeling can come from many things, a wonderful dream, a Scripture that jumps out at us and we know it is exactly what we needed, an answer to a prayer, or someone just smiling at us and reminding us to be happy. We can be that answer to a prayer to other people ! Just smile! :)

Now, I want to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Sister Hinckley. But first, I want to tell you, please read her books. You will fall in love with her too. You will love her beautiful personality.

One of the quotes that really resonated with me, during that time, and after she told me ' Go Be a Mother!' was this one :

     " Whenever possible say yes! They are only children once."

Isn't that the truth ? I have tried that now, for the past 9 years. Yes it's been 9 long years since the whole brain tumor/ break down. Guess what... it works. My kids are amazing. I'm not saying they're amazing because I say yes whenever possible... but I know that it sure is a great thing. It really is. You should try it :)

Another quote that I love by Sister Hinckley is this one :

     " Be a mother who is committed to loving her children into standing on higher ground than the environment surrounding them."

First of all, that is the truth also! What a wonderful goal to have as parents! Secondly, I love how she says " Be a mother" ..... that is what she said to me... go be a mother! I love it. How I love her!!!! And how I love you. All of you reading this. I'm praying for you. We all go through trials, and sometimes we need some extra help getting through them. I pray that you get that help, and you will, if you just ask your Father in Heaven and have faith. ~ JL

                           ( aren't they darling ?? I just love them! Now, go be mothers and fathers! )

What kinds of neat spiritual experiences have you had, that made you want to be a better parent ?
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Miracle Unfolding ~ Gardner Quad Squad ~ Interview

                                          Tyson and Ashley Gardner with their 4 daughters

One year ago, I saw the cutest picture on facebook, shared by a friend. It featured a cute couple who were announcing their pregnancy. Here is the pic :

Isn't it the cutest pregnancy announcement ever ? :) I love their shocked faces! Turns out, this couple had been praying for a child for more than 8 years. When they finally received an answer to their prayers, like the picture says, they wondered if maybe they prayed too hard ! All in good fun of course, for Ashley and Tyson Gardner, these four blessings are the ultimate answer to prayers, and they are loving every second of it!

I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Ashley and Tyson, the proud parents of Indie Mae, Esme Jane ( pronounced Ez-Me), Scarlett Elizabeth, and Evangeline Faith and I was so impressed with their faith and their joy in their children. You can follow them  HERE on facebook or go to their website HERE. Ashley will be speaking at A REASON TO STAND CONFERENCE which is linked. Follow them somehow, because their story is one of courage and endurance and those babies are the cutest things ever! Here is the interview :)


JL~ How did the Gospel help you through infertility, all of the shots, medicines, emotions, bills, sickness, heartache, and joy ?

Tyson~ The Gospel is the cornerstone of our marriage. Without the Gospel, our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and our family, I don't know if we would have made it. There is something special about knowing that Jesus Christ understands and knows our struggles even better than we do. Having that knowledge, and putting our faith in Him and our Father in Heavens plan, we knew someday we would be blessed. That doesn't mean the shots, medicines, years of struggle didn't hurt; it just meant we learned more than we could have without those struggles.

JL~ Ashley, you wanted to be a mommy so badly,you put yourself through some awful medical procedures and meds and feeling pretty crappy for a long time- what was it that kept you going.... what was it about wanting to be a mommy that kept you strong ? How did you get through the hard days and then what did you do to celebrate the blessing of four babies ?? Did you dance ? Scream ? Eat lots of ice cream ? ;)

Ashley~ Going through infertility was so hard and there were days that I didn't know if it would ever happen for me. But I put my faith and trust in the Lord and kept pushing toward something. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I knew that He did have a plan for me and I needed to keep pushing forward to find out what it was that He wanted me to do. Faith without works is dead- I was going to do all the work I possibly could. I knew that somehow I would be a mommy. I knew that I had babies waiting for me on the other side. That is what kept me going. I wanted to be strong for these babies. I wanted to do everything I possibly could for them, even if it was painful and hard. Honestly, I would do it all over again for these babies.
Sometimes there were days that were so hard , I just couldn't hold strong any longer. I just fell to my knees and let the Lord take it from there. Sometimes I think you really have to be at the bottom to really learn how to give it all to Him. And once you do, He takes care of it all
When I found out I was being blessed with the blessing that I never knew I wanted, I was scared and happy all at once. I fell to my knees again, to thank the Lord and to also ask Him for His help thought this next part of carrying quadruplets, and He did.

JL~ What is your favorite quote or Scripture on parenting ? Tyson? Ashley ?

Tyson~ "A fathers calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity." Ezra Taft Benson

Ashley~ "The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has for you." Jeffrey R. Holland

JL~ Tyson, your blog post titled : BEING A FATHER IN TODAYS WORLD really hit it out of the ballpark! It was fantastic. What a great way of telling people what being a father means to you. Was there anything you wish you had added ?

Tyson~ Those were my simple thoughts, and they remain the same. Keeping a steadfastness on Christ's teachings, and faith in our Heavenly Father's plan will bless our homes beyond any other method. Keeping these two practices burning and our examples will allow our children to reach their fullest potential.

JL~ Do you feel like Heavenly Father is using you in a big amazing way to spread the Gospel through your story and experiences? What do you hope people get from your experiences ?

Tyson~ Absolutely. We know that our story is a miracle, and we have seen God's hand too many times to name. He has always had a plan for us, we just didn't know what it was. Through our trials and long battles, we learned valuable lessons that wouldn't have come otherwise. We are grateful for them. Looking back, we know exactly why our Father in Heaven gave them to us. We are here today with our family and joy as a result of Faith. Faith in the Father, and Faith in His Son Jesus Christ. We have already seen a window opened that allowed us to share and help others. We are not alone in our struggles. Many share our trials, and relate with our path. We only hope that by opening up and sharing our trials and our triumphs, that we can inspire and give people the hope and faith they need. We are simply instruments and examples in the Lords hands. We give all glory to them.
One other thought is that our Heavenly Father is using these 4 miracles. Yes we are the parents and we take care of them, but they have a purpose of their own as well. We have seen it. Simply from them being here, we have been given missionary opportunities. Them being here has given many people who we have never met before, hope and inspiration. Through these tiny miracles that are only 9 months old, God has been able to reach out His hand and soften peoples hearts and focus them on something bigger than ourselves. The miracle that is our story, these babies, has everything to do with our Father in Heaven's plan.

JL~ What kinds of things do you do for FHE ? Do you still just do it as a couple or are you starting to incorporate the girls in with songs and stories ?

Tyson ~ We try and do things as a family, even though its early and the girls might not understand everything, we know they catch on to the little things. They love when Ashley reads to them. This is a special bonding moment between parent and children and also allows us to tell them things we want them to know. I am amazed at how well they respond to story time.

We also love family outings, although we don't take the girls out a ton, when we do it is such a delight. We recently visited Temple Square on a beautiful fall morning. We visited with the Sister missionaries and watched a video on the family. I couldn't help but cry through the short 15 minute movie as I realized just how blessed we were. As Scarlett and Evie squeezed my fingers, I felt God's love for Ashley and I. I knew that what we were doing that moment was perfect and right for us. The Spirit is so strong in family moments like those. I know I'm not the only one who feels that!

Both of our families come over often and help with bath time and feedings. These nights make for great family visiting and stories from those who have gone before us, and for those coming behind us looking for clues. We all enjoy sharing each others experiences.

JL~ What is your bedtime routine like ? Any sweet traditions that you are starting or continuing for your family ?

Tyson~ We have a pretty strict schedule for bedtime, as we like the girls to stay on the same schedule which makes life easier for all of us! Around 6:30-7 pm we start the feeding/bathing/pajama process. It usually takes the two of us 45 minutes to get through that. After that, Mom usually reads the girls a book as they expend their last bits of energy lighting up to her words. We then make their bottles, put them in their sleep sacks and get them tucked into bed. After they're fed, we take turns kissing them goodnight and telling them how much we love them. I don't think we've missed one night doing this that we've been home with them! My favorite tradition so far!

JL~ Where do you get all of your energy ?? ( This question is mostly for me hahaha! I only have three kids and I'm pooped out most of the time! ;)

Tyson~ Honestly, we don't even know! We say our prayers that everything will work out, and every day we seem to make it. Another truth is we've waited so long to have our family, I don't think anything could keep either one of us from simply enjoying the day taking care of our sweet miracles. They are honestly the sweetest babies and we know our Father in Heaven sent us 4 perfect angels.

JL~ Last question ! Any good laundry tips ? Us mamas need to know!

Tyson~ HAHAHAHA! Don't miss a cycle, that could be deadly! Other than that, keeping it going daily so we have fresh clothes, we don't really think too much further than that!

Aren't they amazing ? I have really enjoyed corresponding back and forth with them, I hope to meet them some day, maybe when they decide to come to Nauvoo and visit ;) One thing I want to add, is you can find lots of great vlogs and videos of them on their youtube channel HERE and the videos are just darling! They answer lots more questions, show you what daily life is like, and you get to ooooh and aaaah at the babies! :)

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~ www.ldsparenting.blogspot.com

Holy Tabbs Review ! Scripture Marking System

** The owner of Holy Tabbs just contacted me and said they wanted to offer our readers a ten percent off coupon code for this week only!!! Isn't that awesome ?? I told you they were super nice! The coupon code is : ldsparent10     Woohoo! Go get you one! You won't regret it! ;) JL~

My son just started seminary this year and my two daughters have been doing great with Scripture study and we decided to start looking around for a good Scripture marking system. I did some research and found www.holytabbs.com

Wow was I impressed! It looked perfect! I contacted the company to get some more info and they were so nice!  According to the website this is what Holy Tabbs is all about :

"HolyTabbs is a carefully designed kit that saves you time marking and finding, so you can spend more time studying and teaching. This kit is an invaluable tool for every member, bishop, seminary student, teacher, and missionary. With HolyTabbs you can organize your favorite scriptures into gospel topics that work with the lessons in Preach My Gospel."

Our tabbs arrived in the mail this week ( really fast shipping by the way!) and we got to work getting them set up in our Scriptures.

They have a great tutorial that shows how to set them up and so we watched that first and got to work! This is a pic of my 11 year old getting her Scriptures set up. She loves it ! I worked on mine last night before bed and I already know it is going to make my Scripture study so much more in depth. It really is everything they say it is ! The booklet that comes with it has over 495 Scripture suggestions for you! That's a lot of Scriptures to "ponderize" ( haha, a little joke from last conference).

Here is the tutorial that they have to show you how to set up your Holy Tabbs.

The reviews are good at my house! The kids and I are completely excited to continue using these in our personal Scripture study, our family Scripture Study and also during seminary. It is so worth it!

Let me know if you have questions! Go visit them at www.holytabbs.com and tell them LDS Parenting sent you! They are great people at the company and they have an excellent product!

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Small and Simple Things ~ Music in the Home

We are almost finished with the Small and Simple Things Series! As a quick reminder, we are going off of the quote from Elder L. Tom Perry that is HERE . Today's post is on the "One Song" part ;)

In D&C Chapter 25 verses 10-11 it states : " For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads. "

There is no doubt about it, music can set the tone for your entire day. Starting the day with uplifting, beautiful music makes you feel like smiling and dancing! When it is time to quiet down, or to ponder things , a sacred hymn can set the tone for reverence. Elder Enrique R. Falabella taught us in General Conference April 2013 that " A child who sings is a happy child" . He continued by stating that , " The Savior understood the importance of sacred music. After He observed Passover with his disciples, the Scriptures relate, ' And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives' . "

Ayearoffhe.blogspot.com has a wonderful FHE on the importance of appreciating music - you can find it HERE

Some great places to find good music are :
Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Youtube
and LDS.org has lots of great music

What are some of your favorite songs and ways to keep music playing through out your home ? :)

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Small and Simple Things ~ Read of Good Books

image from zachdonaldson.com

Our next item in the small and simple things series is " one book read aloud" - we have been taught to read of good books. My family loves to read! We trip over all the books at our house! We love yard sales and thrift stores and amazon and used book sales. We also love our local library. One of our favorite things to do is read aloud as a family. When the kids were much younger, baby up until probably five years old, I would put them to bed and then sit in the hallway- right in between their bedrooms- and I would read to them. I told them to close their eyes and imagine what was happening in the story. This really helped them to fall asleep quickly and it was fun for mommy because I got to sit down! Even if it was on the hard wood floor of the hallway! I didn't mind at all. :) I read classics to them. Peter Pan, Black Beauty, Treasure Island. Soon they got older and wanted stories like Junie B Jones and my favorite book series of all time- Ramona Quimby! 

As they got older, we started doing reading aloud during school time ( I homeschool the kids ) and we read books like Little House on the Prairie series etc. Church books. Educational books. Poetry. For awhile we read to the kids while they ate breakfast at the table and ate lunch and dinner at the table. It really helped them to learn to sit nicely at the table and use their manners. They loved to hear the stories as they ate. We don't do that anymore, because we try to focus on conversation and really hearing what our kids have to say during meals now. Sometimes we read Scriptures during meals. 

How do you decide what a good book is ?? This is a big question! I don't know the perfect answer, but I found a neat list of 100 books that are mentioned or quoted in General Conference.. I think that is a fun place to start! Here is the LINK . 

                                                      image from galleryhip.com 

So why should we read from good books ? Here is a quote from Brigham Young : 

President Brigham Young offered some advice to his own children that could also be applied to situations you may face today. He encouraged his children to study music and dance, to attend the theater, and to read novels—things that, he said, “expand their frames, add fire to their spirits, and improve their minds” (quoted in “Q&A,” New Era, Sept. 1993, 17).

Here is what the Scriptures have to say about reading good books : 

“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
D&C 88:118

Another good quote : 

We live in a world where knowledge is developing at an ever-accelerating rate. Drink deeply from this ever-springing well of wisdom and human experience. If you should stop now, you will only stunt your intellectual and spiritual growth. Keep everlastingly at it. Read. Read. Read. Read the word of God in sacred books of scripture. Read from the great literature of the ages. Read what is being said in our day and time and what will be said in the future.
Gordon B. Hinckley BYU address 

                                                         image from fanpop.com 

So, basically, a small and simple thing we can do for our family is to pick up a book! Read to your kids! Read to yourself! Never stop learning, enjoy reading good books to your family! It's fun and is definitely a small and simple thing we can do. 

Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~ 

Fun Ideas For General Conference !

I am so late posting this.... but since it doesn't start tomorrow until 11 cst ( that's my time hehe) then you might have time to do some of these.... also, we are going to actually do some of these this week - we will watch a talk one at a time and do the notes and activities etc :) I'm so excited! Tomorrow we are doing the candy/snacks for certain words they hear during the talks. Also I made folders with notebook paper for them to take notes. I'm so bummed because I started to print out some of the awesome things on this pinterest board and I ran out of ink!!! And there is no way that I'm going to attempt Walmart tonight hahahaha!

So here is my pinterest board for General Conference Ideas :) Enjoy!!!!! Share what you are doing with your family to celebrate Conference... any special recipes or treats you eat ? Do you stay in your jammies and snuggle as a family or do you dress in your church clothes ? Any special traditions ? Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Follow Jaelle Kaylor's board general conference ideas on Pinterest.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Small and Simple Things ~ Family Home Evening

Today for our blog post we will be continuing the blog series of Small and Simple Things~ Daily things we can do with our family that are simple and make a huge impact! We have been going off of a beautiful quote from Elder L. Tom Perry, which you can find HERE . The part of the quote that we are focusing on today is this, " Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by.... one family home evening" .

What is Family Home Evening or FHE as it is commonly called ? President Hinckley tells us in this quote :

" We have a family home evening program once a week ( Monday night) across the church in which parents sit down with their children. They study the Scriptures. They talk about family problems. They plan family activities and things of that kind. I don't hesitate to say that if every family in the world practiced that one thing, you'd see a very great difference in the solidarity of the families of the world." (Boston Globe Interview, August 14, 2000)

Another quote in the same Ensign article talks about what the Lord expects of us as parents. It's important!

" The Lord expects us to have Family Home Evening- one night a week to gather our children together and teach them the gospel. Isaiah said, ' And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord.' That is the commandment : All thy children shall be taught of the Lord. And the blessing, ' And great' he said, ' shall be the peace of thy children'. ( Isaiah 54:13) " ( meeting in new caledonia June 17, 2000)

You can read the rest of that fabulous article on Family Home Evening by President Hinckley HERE

                                                       ( image from inevergrewup.net)

It is important to do this each monday night. Be consistent. A small and simple thing we can do that will have powerful effects and blessings on our family. Once a week. It can take 15 minutes, it can take hours if you want! Each family is different and will have to adapt FHE to their specific family. Parents of toddlers can do simple lessons , I have pinned a bunch of cute ideas to my Family Home Evening Pinterest board.. there are simple lessons for toddlers, lessons that require some work and fun, lessons that are good for teenagers, lessons that go by specific topics and things like 55 plus fhe ideas and lessons for the year! I have also pinned some really cute free printable charts for FHE and some cute crafts to make FHE boards for the family. Put it in a prominent spot! We have been so incredibly blessed with so many resources for family home evening ! Now that we understand the importance of it, and how to go about doing it, we can discuss some great resources! First of all, here is my pinterest board for Family Home Evening... I will continue to add to it, because I'm addicted to Pinterest hehehe!

Follow Jaelle Kaylor's board Family Home Evening on Pinterest.

The church has had a Family Home Evening Resource book out forever... I remember my mom using it when I was little and I used it with my kids too, a link to that is HERE

A website that I adore and I have had a button on the sidebar for it here on the blog for a really long time, because I love it so much, is A Year of FHE . This woman is crazy talented and has taken a lot of time to write up hundreds of FHE lesson plans and she has them listed by topic etc and she has over 400 coloring pages to go along with the lessons and a bunch of cute freebie printables for your own use for your family. The lessons and coloring pages are free, it's just a crazy awesome site. It makes it so incredibly easy to plan FHE each week.

Living Scriptures has an amazing site at www.ldsfamilyfun.com and they have tons of family home evening lessons that go along with the DVD's from Living Scriptures. It has links to download all of the activity books that go along with the Animated Scripture DVD's and more... it just has tons of great resources for FHE and it is so much fun to use the DVD's as part of FHE . We are doing that right now as a family, watching the prophet series and learning about our prophets. But this website makes it so simple to be able to use the DVD's and then apply them to real life now, and to be able to have the downloads to the activity books and lessons ? Well that's just awesome. Remember The special codes are still available for you to use... from 7:30 am - 2:30 pm MST contact Misty and give her the code M98B and tell her that JL from LDS Parenting sent you. From 1 pm - 8 pm MST contact Paula and give her the code P9CN and tell her that JL from LDS Parenting sent you. They will set you up with a free gift and then help you be able to get set up with the dvd's and they are always running awesome promo's where you get free stuff ;) The number is 1-800-727-0828. 

The Red Headed Hostess site also has an amazing bunch of products to help you with FHE... you can go HERE to see just a few of the products that can be used for Family Home Evening. Until December we have been given a code to use that will give you a 25% off discount, one time use per customer, you just load up your digital cart and then at the checkout enter the code : ldsparenting 

So basically, we have a ton of resources for FHE, we know why it is important and we know how to do it. So let's make this a habit. A small and simple thing we can do each week to teach our children and gain blessings as a family. 

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~ 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Small and Simple Things~ Family Scripture Study

I love this song! I remember being in primary ( a million years ago haha!) and when we learned this song we would clap our hands really loud every time we said the word power! I thought that was super cool as a kid. I still think it is super cool. ;) You know what else is cool ? Family Scripture Study! For today's blog in our Small and Simple Things blog series we are continuing to focus on the quote from Elder L. Tom Perry, and it states "Parents must bring light and truth into their homes....... one Scripture study session... at a time. " This is the part we are focusing on today.

I was actually going to write this post last night and I got busy with the kids and ended up putting it off until today. I'm glad I did! The new themes for 2016 were announced today for the church and I'm just so excited because the primary theme is perfect for this post! I wouldn't have seen it , if I posted this last night! The 2016 primary theme is : I Know The Scriptures Are True. HOW PERFECT!!!! Just think of all the new resources that will be coming out for us also, to teach our children about the Scriptures and to help them to gain a testimony of the power of the Scriptures. :)

Just like Family Prayer which we discussed yesterday HERE , family Scripture study takes just a few moments each day. In fact you can do Scripture study at the same time as family prayer. You don't have to sit for an hour each day and just read from the Scriptures. You can do what is right for your family! If you have little ones, it may work out to just read a few verses each day and then look at a picture from the gospel art kit that corresponds with the Scripture story. If you have older kids and teenagers, you may be looking for something more in depth. I will show you what we are using as a family later on in the post.

There are lots of neat ideas out there on how to make Scripture study more streamlined, efficient, make it a habit, and make it fun! I love the idea of keeping Scriptures in a basket near where you have your Scripture study. Everyone can just grab a Book of Mormon or Bible etc and plop down on the couch and you can begin! That is a great idea! One of the blogs I read had the funniest idea and I wish I had thought of it when my kids were younger ( heck they would probably like it now haha!) she gets a snack... something like teddy grahams, or goldfish crackers etc and the kids sit in front of her and she reads the Scriptures. They are to listen quietly for the phrases "Behold" and "It came to pass" and when they read those words, she tosses them a treat! They love it and I think it's fun! There are just so many great ideas!

So what happens when we start doing family Scripture study each day ? This small and simple thing can bring about powerful blessings. One of my favorite quotes talks about what happens when you read the Book of Mormon daily in your homes.

So beautiful! It takes just a few minutes each day and we can add it in with family prayer. Here are some fun ways to enjoy Scripture study with our families.

Once again The Redheaded Hostess has an amazing resource. This is what my family will be using this year for Scripture study. I actually got the digital download so I can print off 3 copies of the page we will be doing that day so that the kids will eventually have a binder full of neat Scripture notes, etc. Just look how cool her Book of Mormon study guide is! She is so amazingly talented! She is a seminary teacher and wow... I'm a little jealous of her seminary students... although we are blessed too because we get to take advantage of her great talents!
Here is a sample page close up... how cool is this ???? I can't wait to get started. We are starting school monday ( we homeschool) and this is what we will be using for our family Scripture study which we do at the beginning of our school day. I can't wait.

You can take advantage of the awesome discount code that they gave us to use ..... go to www.theredheadedhostess.com and fill up your digital cart. It's a one time use per customer code... and you get 25% off all digital downloads. That's pretty awesome! When you get to the checkout.. enter the code : ldsparenting. That's it :)

Another awesome resource is www.livingscriptures.com I was able to have a really long amazing conversation with one of the reps, Misty, and we had a blast throwing around ideas on how to make Scripture study fun and meaningful. There are so many ways to do this with the Living Scriptures dvd's, The Animated Scriptures. Some of the things we talked about were to watch one of the DVD's... focus on that Scripture story throughout your week in Scripture study. Highlight the Scriptures that are in the movie ( they will pop right up on the screen in the special section and you can just highlight them in your Scriptures ) and then each day at lunchtime, read one of the Scriptures . There are activity pages you can print out if you go to www.animated bible.com and you can do Bible stories. Basically, the awesome people at Living Scriptures have already done a lot of the work for us! If you go HERE you will be able to read for yourself, just how many amazing benefits there are to using the Animated Scriptures dvd's. The special codes are still available for you to use... from 7:30 am - 2:30 pm MST contact Misty and give her the code M98B and tell her that JL from LDS Parenting sent you. From 1 pm - 8 pm MST contact Paula and give her the code P9CN and tell her that JL from LDS Parenting sent you. They will set you up with a free gift and then help you be able to get set up with the dvd's and they are always running awesome promo's where you get free stuff ;) The number is 1-800-727-0828. We use the dvd's and we love them. My kids have watched them since they were little bitty and now that they are tween and teenagers ( yikes!) they love the live ones like the church history dvd's and the prophets series. Anyway, that is another great resource for family Scripture study.

The last resource that I want to share with you for family Scripture study is this awesome interactive Book of Mormon that I had the opportunity last year to check out and use with my family, and then I gave it to the nursery at my ward and they have loved it so much! This is a wonderful way to do Scripture study with younger kids ( although my kids were 13, 12, and 10 when we downloaded it and they actually had fun with it lol. ) Anyway, I've had the button on the blog for awhile now and I'm hoping you guys have already checked it out... but if not.. here is the link to get it : INTERACTIVE BOOK OF MORMON

And here is a youtube video that explains about it and shows you some of the cute pages!

Good luck with your family Scripture study. Small and simple things.... we can do this! What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for making sure that you make time daily for Scriptures and what fun things do you do to keep it exciting ? Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Small and Simple Things ~ Family Prayer

*image from susanfitchdesign.blogspot.com 

For our first post in the blog series Small and Simple Things, we will be focusing on family prayer. The quote from Elder L. Tom Perry that we are using for this series states that, " Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer......." This is the part of the quote that we are focusing on in this post.

Family prayer is a small and simple thing we can do each day to bring our families closer together and to gain blessings. It takes just a few minutes each day. Truly a simple thing. Some families do well by having their family prayer early in the morning before father rushes off to work, kids rush off to school, etc, etc .... some families do well by gathering at bedtime and kneeling together to pray before they retire to bed. There are many ways to have family prayer, you just need to find what works best for your family and your schedule and stick to it! Be consistent. Even if you are doing it early in the morning and you are practically falling asleep.... be consistent! Don't give up! There are so many amazing blessings just from doing this one small and simple thing. Kneel together with your family and pray.

In the new nursery manual, Behold Your Little Ones, it states that " by praying together, families can grow closer to Heavenly Father and to each other and invite the Holy Ghost into their home." That is so beautiful! It truly is a beautiful feeling just to kneel together in a circle as a family. Sure you may have little ones trying to crawl away, teens who are rolling their eyes, you may feel like me and want to cry at the thought of being on your poor aching knees... but oh how the Spirit warms your heart as you kneel together and you look at your beautiful family and you being to pray each day. I love the idea of inviting the Holy Ghost into your home also. We want our homes to be havens. This is an amazing and simple way to do that. Teach your children to pray in a reverent, respectful manner. Eyes closed, arms folded, heads bowed, and on your knees if possible. In the manual , lesson 12 gives some cute ideas on how to teach really young kids how to have family prayer. You can go HERE to find the lesson.

I am super excited to tell you guys about a wonderful website that is going to be a big help to my family for sure, and I think your families will really benefit from it. www.theredheadedhostess.com has some amazing resources for families. They have graciously allowed us to have a discount code where we can purchase any of the digital downloads on the site for 25% off. It is a one time use per customer code so load up your cart and take advantage of it! I am telling you this now in this post, because they have created a really beautiful Prayer flipbook that is wonderful for teaching your children about prayer. It even has a page on family prayers.

To get your 25% off discount please go to :    www.theredheadedhostess.com
When you get to the checkout, their will be a place for you to enter a coupon code, or a discount code.
Our discount code is : ldsparenting

There are countless blessings to having family prayer daily. President Hinckley gave a beautiful talk on the blessings of family prayer in the February 1991 Ensign, you can read the article HERE .  I also really like this graphic from the redheaded hostess and it comes in a pdf form to print when you purchase the prayer flipbook, but here is what it says and it is so true!

It would be worthwhile to print this out and have it framed near where you decide to hold family prayer each day. Whether it be in your living room , in your dining room around the table, or even in mommy and daddy's bedroom before bed, this pdf printable would be beautiful to have near your special spot, to remind you of all of the blessings, and also to remind you to do it!

Family prayer is important!  It will become a habit easily, and if you can be consistent with the time and place etc, then I think that it will become so easy to include this small and simple thing that will have such a huge impact on your family.  Happy Parenting! With Love, JL~

Small and Simple Things ~ A Blog Series on Families

Most of you know, how hard I have studied and prayed and tried to learn how to be a good LDS mommy. I am not perfect in any way, but I love learning about what the Prophets and apostles teach us, what our Father in Heaven wants us to do, etc. and how I can try harder. I have a lot of work to do! A long way to go! But I love learning and trying out ideas and most of all , I love parenting my precious children. Lately, I have been impressed with the fact that the prophets and apostles have been talking so much about doing simple things. Little by little. Doing the small and simple things each day with our families and being blessed from that. I am going to focus the next week on writing blog posts on the small and simple things that we can do daily to improve our families.

 I love this quote by Elder L. Tom Perry. He was my favorite. I know you aren't supposed to have favorites! But oh how I loved this man. I loved his big smile, and the way that he just glowed with happiness and the light of Christ. What a wonderful example he was to me. This quote is what I want to focus on this week on the blog. These are small and simple things we can do, to become the righteous, conscientious, persistent parents that our children need us to be.

These are the latter days and our children are special spirits! They need us to work hard! But it doesn't have to be such hard work that we get frightened or tired and stop trying. We need to do the small and simple things. I hope you enjoy this blog series. We have a great offer on the Scripture Study blog post that will be up in just a couple of days. I hope to include some great ideas for us to be able to do these things with our precious families. Feel free to jump in , here on the blog in the comments or on the facebook group, and share some of the ways that your families do these small, simple things daily. Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Friday, July 31, 2015

Free Summer Fun Digital Magazine, Giveaway, Promo Offer!


REVISION ~ On the page that discusses the gift from Living Scriptures... towards the end of the magazine... that deal is no longer available ~ I have chosen not to participate in that one anymore because I have a new coupon code that saves you SOOOO much more money and you get a ton more.
I now offer 50% off your first month for streaming with Living Scriptures. It is regularly just ten bucks a month and you receive the entire Living Scriptures library. You can learn more about it HERE
So you are still getting a cool gift from LDS Parenting and Living Scriptures ~ But.... you are saving a ton of money and getting the entire library ! Go check out the blog post in the link above and see all of the crazy amazing things offered ... and you can even download to any device and then use offline ~ HELLO SUMMER ROAD TRIPS!
I hope you enjoy the LDS Parenting Summer FUN! Digital Magazine ! Leave me a comment below !
Happy Parenting, Love, JL~


LDS Parenting Summer Giveaway Entry Place!

I'm so excited for our summer digital magazine download, our giveaway, and our awesome promotion from www.livingscriptures.com !!!!!! The digital magazine and the actual summer post will be up soon... but for now here is the rafflecopter to get you started for earning points for the giveaway! Happy Summer! Happy Parenting, Love, JL~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Update :)

This is a pic of our cute little gnomes and their little gnome house in our yard. Aren't they sweet ?? Well it's summer! And I am so behind in blogging it isn't even funny! Life has beat me up physically the past 6 months, and with every new health diagnosis and every new stress that comes with it, I am finding myself doing everything I can to just do my best to be a good mommy and a good example of how to endure trials well. My kids are amazing and compassionate and when a new trigeminal neuralgia attack happens ( which is frequently through out the day ) as I collapse to the floor and try to keep my stuff together if you know what I mean, my children gather around me, but their arms around me, and begin to pray. I have been so blessed to feel their love, and to know that they have a strong faith in prayer. So even though I am going through horrible pain and chronic illnesses etc... I am blessed with love and knowing my kids are learning lessons through these trials.

Now, I am going to do my best to try and begin blogging again. I have so much to share with you! But for now, please visit the labels on the right hand side..... check out the summer label. It has some fun things. Maybe Outdoor fun... lots to see :) New stuff soon! I promise :) Don't forget to join us on the facebook group! It's pretty fun if you ask me hehehe. Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Very Cool Opportunity.....

So I've been busy the past few weeks. I've been helping with this amazing E-Conference that is going on June 1-13 :) It is a homeschool conference, but holy cow the speakers are amazing and they are talking about things that are good for ANY parent!! Like how to get your child to be a voracious reader, getting organized, teen time management, family fun with music, and so much more! I personally think that this is something that I would've signed up for even if I wasn't a homeschooler. I love anything that will give me skills to be a better parent, and these are some awesome things! Also, if you are thinking about homeschooling, or just want to know what the heck it is, haha, then this is perfect. I've been super busy trying to help with the conference working with vendors and such, so I haven't been able to be on here to much. I figured that was ok since the conference is a once a year thing. :) I wanted to share this with all of you though... because it is just going to be so dang cool! We have a vendor hall.... and the companies are not just for homeschoolers, they are for any parent who loves to teach their children! There are workshops, presentations, a teen track, and tons of giveaways and coupons and good stuff in the vendor hall :)

Check it out... let me know what you think... here is a link  or you can click on the pic above :) 

Love, JL~ Happy Parenting!