Sharing Time September 2016 Printables & Resources

Song:

In preparation of the primary program, you may want to use this month to review songs that the children learned earlier in the year. Here is a list of all the songs the primary in our ward has been preparing. I included the sheet music with each of them, but I also recommend downloading the free LDS Music App so you can sing with the music instead of a Capella. For your convenience I included links so you can download the Apple App or the Android App.

  •  January Song: “If I Listen with My Heart” Sheet Music
  • February Song: “I Will Follow God’s Plan” (CS, 164–65) Sheet Music
  • March Song: (Song of your choice from the Children’s Songbook) “Stand for the Right” (CS, 159) Sheet Music
  • April Song: (Song of your choice from the Children’s Songbook) “If the Savior Stood Beside Me Sheet Music
  • May Song:  “Praise to the Man,” verses 1 and 3 (Hymns, no. 27) Sheet Music
  • June Song: (Song of your choice from the Children’s Songbook) “Scripture Power” Sheet Music
  • July Song:  “I Love to See the Temple” (CS, 95) Sheet Music
  • August Song:  “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” (CS, 153) Sheet Music

Scripture:

Download and print this Scripture by clicking the link below.

scripture

sharing-time-september-2016-scripture-printable

Article of Faith 11:

Download and print this Article of Faith by clicking the link below.

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sharing-time-september-2016-article-of-faith

aof11prev

Article of Faith 11 Pictograph Courtesy of A Year of FHE

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Sharing Time 2016- Opening Excercises Overview

At the beginning of the year my son became a member of the Sunbeams class (Children age 3-4) in Primary. Every Sunday in Primary, the children participate in opening exercises singing and reciting a certain Song, Scripture, and Article of Faith. They rotate to a new set each month. All of these can be found in the 2016 Outline for Sharing Time. I decided that I wanted to be teaching my son these things at home as well, so this became part of our bedtime routine. As the year went on, we have realized that at bedtime our kids are cranky, and we don’t get as much out of it as we want to or we just skip it all together. We are going to try doing this as a family every morning before breakfast. I think this is a great way to set the tone for the day, but it is also a great thing to leave your kids thinking about as they go to bed.  It doesn’t really matter when you do it, but the more consistently it is done, the better your kids will learn. Repetition is key to learning and memorization.

Sharing Time 2016- Songs:

Near the end of the year, the Primary Children present a Primary Program for the entire congregation sharing the songs that they learned throughout the year. Since the dates on the program vary from ward to ward, the fall semester tends to be a time to review the songs that need most attention. I like to print out the sheet music as well as play the music and sing along with the Free LDS Music App. You can download the Apple App or the Android App.  Here is a list of the Songs/Links to sheet music for the songs our Primary has learned so far this year: 

ldsmusic

 January Song: “If I Listen with My Heart” Sheet Music

February Song: “I Will Follow God’s Plan” (CS, 164–65) Sheet Music

March Song: (Song of your choice from the Children’s Songbook) “Stand for the Right” (CS, 159) Sheet Music

April Song: (Song of your choice from the Children’s Songbook) “If the Savior Stood Beside Me Sheet Music

May Song:  “Praise to the Man,” verses 1 and 3 (Hymns, no. 27) Sheet Music

June Song: (Song of your choice from the Children’s Songbook) “Scripture Power” Sheet Music

July Song:  “I Love to See the Temple” (CS, 95) Sheet Music

August Song:  “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” (CS, 153) Sheet Music

September-December: Review the Songs Above according to need.

Sharing Time 2016- Scriptures:

January Scripture: “Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).

 February Scripture:“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

 March Scripture: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, . . . whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).

April Scripture: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).

 May Scripture: “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! ” (Joseph Smith—History 1:17).

 June Scripture: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4). 

July Scripture: “Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” paragraph 3).

 August Scripture: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? . . . The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).

 September Scripture: “This gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (D&C 133:37).

 October Scripture: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

 November Scripture: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37).

 December Scripture: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27)

Sharing Time 2016- Articles of Faith

I have been surprised by how well my son has been able to memorize the Articles of Faith at such a young age! He doesn’t know them all word for word yet, but he is pretty good at filling in the blanks, and I am sure it will only get better next year. There really is something to doing it every night that embeds it into their brains, its awesome.

The order of the articles of faith are not listed in the Sharing Time Outline. The order is determined by the Primary Presidency. This year some of the scriptures selected in the Sharing Time Outline were Articles of faith, so the Primary’s Presidency in our ward decided to review them according to the topic of the month. Here is the order:

January: Article of Faith 8

February: Article of Faith 2

March:Article of Faith 5

April: Article of Faith 3

May: Article of Faith 6

June:Article of Faith 4

July: Article of Faith 9

August:Article of Faith 12

September: Article of  Faith 11

October: Article of Faith 7

November: Article of Faith  1

December: Article of Faith 10

I also found a wonderful blog A Year of FHE that offers Free Printable Downloads of Article of Faith Memorization Posters. We have also enjoyed using these posters in our Family Home Evening Lessons.

Articles_Of_Faith_Posters
Click Here for the Free Downloads.

Monthly Sharing Time Printables/Resources:

Check back monthly, or subscribe for free printables and resources for the current month including:

  • Sheet Music
  • A Scripture Poster
  • An Article of Faith Poster
  • Article of Faith Pictograph courtesy of A Year of FHE

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Visiting Teaching Handouts September 2016


I made some handouts with my favorite quotes from this month’s Visiting Teaching Message  Parenthood is a Sacred Duty. I love the story in this month’s message that Robert D. Hales tells about him and his grandson.

Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016

This story was originally told in his talk Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation. I also found a 3 minute video on lds.org that illustrates this story. Click the link below to view this video.

Parenthood: Touching the Hearts of Our Youth Video Link

Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016

Videos are such great tools! I was thinking, this may be a good opener for discussion in a sister’s home where a message isn’t usually shared. Who doesn’t love a good video, especially a short, cute one like this.

Here is a handout with an encouraging quote by President Thomas S. Monson from this months message. You can pair this handout with some Hershey’s chocolate hugs.

Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016

Get your Free Printable Download of the following “hug” handout here.

Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016

Here is an idea involving another great quote by President Thomas S. Monson.

Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016
What’s on the top of your To Do list?

Add a cute note pad/ to do list to the following handout. Get your Free Printable Download of this “person to be loved” handout  here.

Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016

I love how frank this quote is. It is a great reminder to keep your children as a top priority.

Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016

I hope you found something you liked here!

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Visiting Teaching Handouts & Video! September 2016

Finding Dory Party

Finding Dory Party Spread:

We went to see Finding Dory for my son’s 4th Birthday, and decided to use it as a theme for his birthday dinner with our family. Since all the fuss was about him and his birthday, I tried to include him as much as possible in the preparations. He absolutely loved being included! I had to remind myself along the way that the main goal wasn’t to have perfect decorations, but to make sure he had fun, and that he felt special. He loved having a sense of authority, and he did an awesome job helping me out! I found many wonderful ideas on Pinterest. Checkout my Pinterest board here, and follow me on Pinterest for other fun ideas. We used these pins as inspiration for our Finding Dory Party.  Here is how it all turned out!

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

Since I have an 11 month old that likes to eat everything in sight, I decided to place my coral reef streamer up and out of her reach. Also I used yellow because that was the color we had on hand, but I was really happy with how it turned out. I traced a fish cookie cutter on blue card stock to get these cute fish shapes.

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Free Coloring Pages:

My son was super interested while I was searching Pinterest and making plans for the party, and when he saw these coloring pages, he really wanted to paint them! So I printed them out, set him up with paint, and got back to the Pinterest search. We loved how they turned out so we hung them up as part of the party decor. He was so proud to display them for everyone.

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for these free coloring pages here.

Execution:

Finding Dory Party Ideas
He used scotch tape and hung them on the wall all by himself!

Welcome Sign:

Snag the free printable download of  my Finding Dory welcome sign below.

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

Finding Dory Party Sign
Finding Dory Party Sign Free Printable Download

Free Printable Download of Dory Party Sign

Food Ideas:

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

I had planned to use the above idea to make fish shaped watermelon pieces for the party. I showed the picture to my son to let him know what we were going to be doing, and he got stuck on the star shape idea. We went with it and made both fish and starfish. He loved making these with me, and he did a really great job! It ended up being really nice to have a smaller star shape to use up the smaller scraps of watermelon. I was surprised at how much scrap we still had even after using the small stars.

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Finding Dory Party Ideas
We gathered all the scraps in a separate bowl to be enjoyed after the party. One large watermelon made one large tray of cute sea creatures and one large bowl of scraps.
Finding Dory Party Ideas
As we were using the cookie cutters to make the shapes in the watermelon, he said, “Everybody is going to love it!” He was so proud of the great job he was doing. Here he is enjoying his Fishy watermelon at the party!

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

Finding Dory Party Ideas
This kid is such a character, he can’t take a picture without making a silly face.

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

Finding Dory Party Ideas Finding Dory Party Ideas

 Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

We made purple Seaweed because my son picked purple grapes, and it was his Birthday after all. Again, the most important thing was that he was having fun, not that the fruit was the perfect color. He loved having he authority to choose the color of grapes. People ought to feel like kings and queens on their birthdays, and I think he did!

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas Click here to get the printable of these fins and tails from asthebunnyhops.com.

Execution:

I really loved this idea, but I decided to create dory’s eyes myself instead of using googly eyes. I printed them out on a word document and used a larger 1 1/2 hole punch to save time cutting. The fins and tails were quite time consuming to cut out. They were also very skinny making them hard to attach to the cup with the glue dots. In the end they were a big hit at the party so I was glad we did it. I also decided to just draw the mouths on with a permanent marker. This was mostly because I couldn’t find any black paper, but we made several different expressions, and they turned out pretty cute!

Finding Dory Party Ideas

 

Party cup Dory eyes Free Printable DownloadParyt cup Dory eyes Free Printable Download

Here is a link to the Free Printable Download of these Dory Eyes

Pinterest Inspiration:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Find the link for this inspiration here.

Execution:

I ended up forgetting about this one until after the hot dogs were cooked so I cut some up afterwards real quick. The tentacles didn’t curl up as well since I didn’t cut them before they cooked, but they were still pretty cute.

Finding Dory Party Ideas Finding Dory Party Ideas

Original Ideas:

Blank Food Labels:

At first I was going to design these with words already on them. I never got around to doing it, and in the end I was actually glad that they were blank. Once I had the food in front of me, it was nice to have blank ones so I could write in what I needed to.

Finding Dory Party Ideas Finding Dory Party Ideas

Free Downloads for Finding Dory Food Labels

Custom Drawn Napkin Holders:

We got my son some Finding Dory Stickers from the Dollar Store for his birthday, and I thought this would be a fun way to use them. He colored paper orange to be wrapped and taped around the napkins and utensils. Then he thoughtfully placed one sticker on each one. This project kept him busy for a while, and he was very proud to share these with his guests.

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Bubbles… Bubbles… My Bubbles! (From Finding Nemo)

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Fish & Chips:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Fish Out of Water Popcorn Balls:

Finding Dory Party Ideas

Finding Dory Party Ideas
My son helped me make these popcorn balls. He had so much fun, and was so proud!

I think he had a pretty great birthday over all. I am glad he was so willing to help out! I still cant believe my little guy is four! Happy Birthday Big Guy!

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2016-08-25 22.11.57

Freezer Friendly Meals

It is always nice to have freezer meals available at home. Whether you are stocking up your freezer to prepare for the upcoming busy school year, or you are getting ready to have a baby, meals in your freezer give you a sense of security. There are a couple different types of freezer meals that I use, ones that are frozen before they are baked, and ones that are cooked and then frozen in individual serving sizes. I personally prefer the latter, but use both.

Precooked Individual Serving Size Freezer Meals:

The meals that can be cooked first are nice because they can be frozen in individual serving sizes. This makes it convenient to pull out the desired amount and quickly warm in the microwave at a moments notice. I especially love doing this with soups and enchiladas. Click the links below to find recipes that I enjoy freezing in individual serving sizes.

Taco Soup

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas (Coming Soon)

Chicken Enchiladas with White Sauce (Coming Soon)

Spaghetti

Tatter Tot Casserole (Coming Soon)

Asian Pulled Pork (Coming Soon)

How to Freeze Soup:

My mom taught me this nifty trick for freezing soup without tying up your dishes in the freezer. Check it out.

How to Freeze Soup

Ingredients

  • Soup
  • Muffin Tins
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Sandwich Bags
  • Gallon Bags
  • Permanent marker

Instructions

  1. Scoop soup into muffin tins.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
  3. Set on a level surface in the freezer until completely frozen.
  4. Once frozen, thaw out the soup just a little bit by setting the muffin tin in a cookie sheet filled with warm water.
  5. Use a fork to remove the frozen soup cups.
  6. Put two or three of the frozen soup cups into individual sandwich baggies.
  7. I like to double bag them to protect from freezer burn by placing all of the individual baggies into a gallon size freezer bag.
  8. Be sure to label baggies with the date and contents.
  9. When you are ready for a single serving of soup, place a few frozen soup cups in the microwave for a couple minutes and it is good to go!
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Recipes That are Frozen Before They are Baked:

These recipes serve their purpose too. Since they are not cooked yet, they take up a larger family sized dish. These are great if you know you will have company, and don’t want to miss out by spending all your time in the kitchen. However, they typically require advanced notice as they can take several hours to thaw/cook. These meals don’t work so well on those nights when 5:00 sneaks up on you and you haven’t prepared anything for dinner yet. You kinda have to plan in advance to use these type of freezer meals, which is why I don’t like them as much as the precooked individual serving size ones. I do however like to use these on Sundays. I let them thaw while we are gone to church, and then come home and bake them for an hour or so. Sometimes it is nice to have a break from all the meal prep and still have a home cooked meal. Some of my  favorite recipes to freeze before they are baked are listed below. Click the links to get my recipes.

Mom’s Lasagna (Coming Soon)

White Vegetarian Lasagna with Artichokes and Mushrooms (Coming Soon)

I hope you enjoy these freezer meals. Check back often for new freezer friendly recipes, or Subscribe to receive emails about new posts on the blog.

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Spaghetti

This Spaghetti Recipe is great because you can change it up depending on what you have in your fridge. If you are like me, you almost always have the backbones like spaghetti noodles, and spaghetti sauce in your pantry. Just throw in some extra ingredients and spices and you have yourself an exceptional Spaghetti. I like to serve this with salad  or steamed Vegetables and garlic Parmesan toast to make it a meal. To make the toast just butter bread and sprinkle some garlic salt and powdered Parmesan cheese. For extra flare sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Bake in a toaster oven or in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until lightly toasted.

Spaghetti
Spaghetti Vegetarian Style with onions, bell peppers, carrots and celery.

 

Spaghetti

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp oregano,
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Other Ingredients: 1 lb browned ground beef, 1 precooked/cured turkey sausage link sliced, diced onion, diced bell pepper, diced carrots, diced celery, sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts etc.

Instructions

  1. In a Saucepan combine spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, brown sugar, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, and Other Ingredients of your choosing. I prefer my sauce chunky, so the more add ins the better.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once sauce is at a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer with lid, stirring occasionally.
  4. Simmering the sauce allows the flavors to blend together, dont be afraid to keep it in there for a while.
  5. While sauce is simmering prepare spaghetti noodles according to package instructions and prepare toast, vegetables or other side dishes.
  6. Be sure to taste the vegetables in the sauce to test tenderness before serving.
  7. Serve sauce hot over whole wheat spaghetti noodles.
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Enjoy!

If you have any leftovers, they can easily be frozen and served at a later time. To read more about freezing leftovers go here.

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Taco Soup

This Taco Soup is one of my favorites because not only is it a crowd pleaser, it is easy on the budget, and easy to make. It doesn’t get much easier than dumping all  the ingredients in a crock pot and returning a few hours later! This recipe is also super versatile. I like to alternate between using canned chicken and browned ground beef, and I have even made it vegetarian by adding extra beans and omitting the meat all together. I like to switch up what type of beans I use as well including, kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans. No matter how I alter this recipe, it seems to turn out great! It is a very forgiving recipe, so if you have an idea, run with it. I like to double the batch, eat some for dinner, and freeze the rest. Find out How to Freeze Soup here.

Taco Soup
Gather all ingredients, I only had one can of corn and the recipe calls for two, but it turned out fine with only one.
Taco Soup
Open all cans (except the chicken) and dump them in juices and all!
Taco Soup
Add in the taco seasoning.
Taco Soup
Drain the canned chicken before adding it to the crock pot.
Taco Soup
Give the soup a good stir.
Taco Soup
Let cook in crock pot for 2-3 hours on high.
Taco Soup
Serve hot.
Taco Soup
This soup can also be garnished with tortilla chips, sour cream (or plain yogurt), and shredded cheddar cheese.
Taco Soup
Mix it all up, and YUM! This is my favorite way to eat it. Enjoy!

 

Taco Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 4 servings with a significant amount of left overs

Taco Soup

Ingredients

  • Soup:
  • 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatos
  • 2 15 oz cans of corn
  • 2 15 oz cans of beans (Kidney, pinto, or black)
  • 1 12.5 oz can of chicken breast (can use more if desired)
  • Taco seasoning- enough required for 1 lb of meat per instructions on packaging
  • Garnish:
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Gather all ingredients
  2. Open all cans (except the chicken) and dump them in juices and all!
  3. Add in the taco seasoning.
  4. Drain the canned chicken before adding it to the crock pot.
  5. Give the soup a good stir
  6. Let cook in crock pot for 2-3 hours on high.
  7. Garnish with tortilla chips, sour cream (or plain yogurt), and shredded cheddar cheese.
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A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord

This weekend, we celebrated my son’s 4th birthday. I cannot believe that he joined our family and changed our lives forever 4 whole years ago! Time is such a strange thing, it seems to stand still, yet circle around at light speed all at the same time. Something about this month is emotional for me. As his birthday comes around each year, I can’t help but reminisce on the events leading to his birth, and that beautiful moment when I first heard him cry. My life would never be the same again. In that moment, everything belonged. I felt my purpose, and the joy I shared with my husband as our son was born was more celestial than I could have ever imagined, or hoped it to be.

A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord
My loving husband did so much for me while I was pregnant. I am so glad, I had him by my side to help me through it all.

All throughout my pregnancy I would envision how my labor would go. I planned to have a natural birth doing most of my laboring at home. Once I got to the hospital, I planned to labor without an epidural. I didn’t want to have an IV, but wanted a heparin lock to provide quick access to an IV in case of an emergency. I had taken a birthing class, and had a birth plan typed out to take with me to the hospital. Being a structured individual, having a plan comforted me. However, as many know, sometimes babies have a mind of their own, and labors do not always progress the way you think they will. Having my son was a very humbling experience. It taught me to really trust in my Father in Heaven, and how to act upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit, even when it was uncomfortable for me. I was able to stay unbelievably calm in what would normally be a very scary situation for me. I have no doubt that there were angels there comforting me along the way.  Here is how the story goes.

It was 5 days past my son’s due date, and at 1:30 am, my water broke. The fluid was clear and I was not having any contractions so I went back to bed. At about 2:30 am I woke up again to use the restroom and this time the fluid was a golden green color. I still wasn’t having contractions, and I wanted to do a majority of laboring at home, so I tried to contact my doctor to see if he thought it was safe, to stay home, or if I needed to go to the hospital. After trying to call several times and only reaching a voicemail, I decided to call the hospital. They said that the golden green mucus was meconium. This meant that the baby had passed his first stool in the womb. This can sometimes be an indication that the baby is in distress so they recommended that I come in. We gathered some last minute things and by 3:30 am we were off to the hospital. I started having very minor contractions about 3 min apart in the car. We arrived to the hospital by 4:00 am and went to triage.

The nurse in triage confirmed that my water had broken and we were admitted. She checked me and found I was 85% effaced and I was only dilated to a one. I was a little disappointed that I was not further progressed, since I wanted to do most of my laboring in the comfort of my own home. However, my highest priority was making sure my baby was safe, so it was comforting to know that I was in a hospital with people who were ready to assist if anything went wrong.

By 7:00 am we were finally in our laboring room where my husband gave me a priesthood blessing. We decided to take a nap since we only had a few hours of sleep that night. The contractions were too uncomfortable for me to nap, but they weren’t too painful yet. I was happy my husband was able to get some rest. I wanted him to have energy later on to lend support when the labor became more intense. I tried several positions on the hospital bed, standing and on the birthing ball. I began to feel exhausted from the contractions, and lack of sleep so I decided to take a shower to help me relax. I felt much better after the shower so I tried to nap again. This time my husband sat with me in the hospital bed with his arm around me supporting my tired body. Finally in my husband’s arms, I was able to relax enough to fall asleep.

Then things took a turn. We were only sleeping for about half an hour when suddenly the baby began kicking very hard. I had never been woken up by his kicks before so this seemed strange. I could hear his heart beat on the fetal monitor, and it started to slow and eventually stop. Though I was terrified for my baby, I was able to stay calm. I took a few deep breaths and tried to nudge the baby around, and change my position hoping his heartbeat would return. A nurse rushed in (the machine must have notified her that there was no reading on the heartbeat.) She tried moving the monitor around on my belly to get a better reading. It took four minutes before they found his heart beat again. Those were the longest four minutes of my life.

I tried staying as calm as possible taking deep breaths. My mama bear instinct kicked in.  If my baby was in distress, I couldn’t be in distress too, I needed to be strong for him. This thought kept me calm. While the nurse was looking for the heartbeat during those scary four minutes, another nurse came in and gave me an oxygen mask. She hooked my heparin lock up to an IV. It started to stinging, so I thought something was wrong with it. The nurse quickly responded and put another heparin lock in my other hand.

A short while later the reading on his heart beat was lost again. All I could think was, “My baby is suffocating in there, we need to get him out! I want him safe in my arms!” The nurse did an internal exam to see if I had progressed enough to try and deliver vaginally. She found that I was still only dilated to one cm after several hours of labor. The nurse called my OBGYN to give him an update on the baby and me. He wanted to do an Emergency Cesarean Section. When I heard this, I felt relief, and a very strong sense of calm came over me. I knew that this was what we needed to do to keep my son safe. It is insane how much your personal preferences change when your babies safety is in jeopardy. I would do anything to make sure he was safe! (Mom’s do hard things for the welfare of their children, even get C-Sections!) I knew he needed to come quickly, and I was so grateful for modern technology and capable doctors and nurses that were prepared to save my baby’s life.

I have never been good with needles. I tend to faint when blood or needles are around, or even when they are talked about too graphically. It is something that I have struggled with since I was a child. Throughout my pregnancy, getting blood work done was always very scary for me. I found that if the phlebotomist let me lay down during the draw, and if I had my husband there holding my hand talking to me and distracting me, I could get through it without fainting.

I told the nurse about my fainting tendencies, and asked if I could lay down and have my husband with me when they administered the anesthesia. Although they were grateful that I let them know my tendency to faint, this particular anesthesia had to be administered while I was sitting up. Also, my husband would not be allowed in the operating room until after the anesthesia had been administered. This information would normally have created much anxiety, but I was overcome by a great feeling of calm as they wheeled me away from my husband and into the operating room.

Though my husband was not permitted to enter the room, I believe that angels accompanied me. I felt God’s love so strong, and knew I was not alone. I was sure that there were ancestors that had passed on before me, there in that room by my side giving me peace. As they administered the anesthesia, they had a nurse stand in front of me and I put my arms around her neck until they were done. It was kinda like a big bear hug, and I didn’t feel faint at all.

My husband  was permitted to join me, and he lovingly stroked my hair as the doctor worked. We couldn’t believe that it was finally time to meet our little one. All of a sudden we heard a loud scream from our son. My OBGYN jokingly said, “Hey, you’re not out yet, you can’t scream!” We laughed and cried with pure joy. Life is such a miracle! I can’t believe that we had the privilege to create this amazing little child together!

A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord

The nurse took him across the room to make sure he was healthy. My husband was with him the whole time. Once they knew he was healthy, they brought him by my face and I was able to see him for the first time. He was so perfect. His eyes were open and he was just looking around. I cried and said “Mommy loves you so much, we have been waiting for you for a long time, we are so glad you are here safe.”

A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord

My husband accompanied him back to our room and they held hands while the doctor finished working on me. My husband waited to hold him so that I could be the first one to hold him. They kept him in the warmer to make sure his temperature stayed high enough. When the surgery was done, I joined them in the room and the three of us held hands. I couldn’t believe that we were finally parents! Nothing but joy filled my heart.

A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord

The nurse said that instead of using the warmer, I could hold him with a blanket to keep him warm. I had waited my entire life for this moment, and it was as sweet as I had anticipated. There is nothing like holding your baby for the first time. I just loved snuggling him skin to skin on my chest.

A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord

I was able to nurse him and daddy got a turn to hold him too. He was so proud to be the father of this little boy. What an amazing thing it was to finally have him there with us.

A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord

Now 4 years have gone by: This boy has taken me on an emotional roller coaster. He has taught me so much. He has had boundless energy since day one. He has taught me about unconditional love, and patience, and most of all how to have fun. His personality is so different than mine in many ways, and he has taught me to laugh, and to find wonder in the beautiful things in life. In many ways he is just like me. He is stubborn, and is all about following the rules. Sometimes when I look at him all I can see is my husband, and other times he reminds me of myself. He is getting so big, adventurous and learning so fast. Oh how I love this boy!

A Birth Story- Finding Peace in the Lord
This boy has so much personality! He cracks me up. I am so lucky he is mine!

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Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons

Common Questions about Introducing Baby Food:

Introducing your child to baby food can be an exciting milestone for you and your little one. I didn’t realize how much there was to know about baby food until I was in the thick of it. I had heard all types of advice from friends, relatives, and our pediatrician. When my first child’s pediatrician gave me advice about introducing baby food, I remember feeling more overwhelmed when I left the office than when I arrived. His advise though good, was a little vague, and left me with lots of questions. His general advice was this: (My thoughts in response to his advice are in the parenthesis below.)

  • Baby can start eating baby food anywhere between 4-8 months. ( In the life of a baby, 4 months is such a long time! They develop so dramatically physically over the course of 4 months, how will I know when my baby is ready?) All kids are different. I decided to introduce baby food to both my children at 6 months respectively. While my daughter was eager, my son was not ready. I just gave it a break for a week or so until he demonstrated he was ready. Read more at “Is Your Baby Ready For Solid Foods?
  • Some foods should not be offered to baby in the first year including honey, peanuts, and cow’s milk. Other foods tend to give baby’s gas and should be avoided until their digestive tract is more developed and they can handle it better. (Is there a list of when certain foods should be introduced/foods to avoid?) See a list here of appropriate ages to introducing certain foods to your baby courtesy of Wholesomebabyfood.com.

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons

  • Only introduce baby to one new food at a time. Wait 4 days before introducing another new food to be certain baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction. (This makes sense, sounds good.)
  • Introduce new foods to baby in the AM rather than the PM in case of adverse reaction. This way, in the case baby has a reaction, you can resolve a bloated/gassy stomach during wake time rather than in the middle of the night. If there is a severe reaction, care can be obtained easier during the day as well. (Ahh! Severe Allergic reactions? This sounds scary!)
  • Generally people believe that baby should start off with rice cereal, however this doesn’t have to be baby’s first food. ( I am allergic to rice, and so is my brother. The pediatrician said that food allergies can be hereditary, so I think I won’t be using rice as my baby’s first food just in case he is allergic too.) Find out why “Rice cereal is a less than perfect choice...”

With all these questions/concerns bouncing around in my head, I set off to search the internet for answers. Thankfully I stumbled across a wonderful website called wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com. It has a plethora of information, including a section for common questions. I literally got lost for hours reading and gleaning information from this website. I was able to get the answers I was looking for and also received a lot of encouragement to make my own baby food. With my many questions answered, my anxiety changed to  ambition.  I wanted to make my own baby food!

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & ConsHere I am at the grocery store with my son buying a sweet potato to make his first baby food. This is not the most flattering picture of me, but it really illustrates the excitement I felt about making my own baby food for him. Unfortunately my first run with making baby food didn’t go so well. Read  about what I learned from my mistakes below.

Two Things to Keep in Mind Before You Start Making Your Own Baby Food:

  1. The right tool makes all the difference.  I set out to make my own sweet potato baby food. Unfortunately, I didn’t use an immersion blender on my first attempt. I just used a normal blender, and it was so frustrating, I felt like I blended that sweet potato forever, and it was still lumpy. I tried feeding it to my son on the day he turned 6 months, but he was not too excited about it. The texture was nowhere near the smooth texture I had seen in store bought baby food. Suddenly baby food from the store started to sound really good. Because the store bought green vegetable baby food smelled so bad, I attempted to feed it to my son only once, and after both of us were grossed out, I didn’t try again. He is about 4 years old now, and still doesn’t like green veggies. May be it is because he didn’t get much exposure to green veggies when he was little, or maybe he wouldn’t have liked it any way.  Who knows? Sorry bud! The first kid always seems to be the guinea pig.

When my second child started to get old enough to eat baby food, I decided I would try to make it myself again. This time I tried peas, and I used an immersion blender. I was blown away by how simple It was to make! Making my own baby food became a whole new experience! I wish I hadn’t given up so easily the first time around. Making the peas went so well that I tried it with carrots, green beans, corn, cauliflower, broccoli and I even attempted sweet potato again! The Immersion blender made all the difference!

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
Frozen Home Made Baby Food. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to make with an immersion blender!

Simplicity is the Key to Success: I recommend starting out with a vegetable that is easy to cook, preferably one you can steam right in the bag in the microwave. If you experience success early on, you will have the confidence later on to try making veggies that require a little more work. I didn’t realize that sweet potatoes were one of the more complicated baby foods to make since they take more work to cook/peal.

Homemade Baby Food Verses Store Bought:

Whether you choose to purchase baby food from the store, or make your own baby food at home, depends on what is important to you. Do you want convenience with a higher price tag? Do you want something cheaper and fresher but that will take a bit more time to prepare? What is important to you and your family? It may change according to certain circumstances. I have and use both homemade baby food as well as store bought baby food.

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons

Homemade Baby Food:

Tends to be more fresh, and vibrant in color. In most cases, It is cheaper than store bought baby food. Two jars of store bought baby food will cost more than a whole bag of frozen veggies that can make several servings of baby food.

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons

Store Bought Baby Food:

Store bought baby food is quick, easy, portable and convenient. It does however cost more than homemade baby food. I have store bought baby food packed in my daughter’s 72 hour Emergency kit. I do feed her store bought food at times, and it is comforting to know that she eats it just fine, and will have food she is familiar with in case of an emergency.

Using Both:

I am not extremely opposed to store bought baby food, in fact I have used it for both of my kids. I currently prefer using homemade baby food on a day to day use when we are at home. When we are out and about, or traveling, I  love the convenience of store bought baby food. I do not personally purchase the premade baby food with green veggies or meats, they just look unnatural and smell weird to me. Have you ever smelled them? I think they are gross! I have often wondered why the peas have a dull color in the jar when they are so vibrantly green when fresh? Something just doesn’t seem quite right about those green veggies. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of feeding my child something that made me gag just by looking at it.

I am not saying they are bad, and I do not think you are a bad mom if you use them for your kids. I just don’t personally love them, and I would be lying if I said I did. I do however love the store bought  fruit/veggie baby food pouches! Because these are so expensive, I only use them for convenience when we are out an about. If we are gone for an extended amount of time, but will have a kitchen available, I like to pack the plastic baby food jars and transfer them into my own reusable pouches to save a little money. I use the reusable pouches at home with my homemade baby food as well.

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
GoGo Squeez 

If you plan to use either reusable or disposable pouches, I highly recommend getting a couple of these pouch toppers. They are soft so baby doesn’t hurt their sensitive teething gums on the hard plastic spouts that typically come on pouches. These keep eating clean as baby has to actively suck in order to make the food come out. I love that I can give my baby a food pouch with this special topper, and she can feed herself independently while I eat my own food. Sometimes it is nice to eat your own food uninterrupted.

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons

Reusable Pouches Pouch Toppers

I once accidentally took a bite of my baby’s food because I was distracted while feeding her from a spoon, and feeding myself soup from a spoon. Yuck! Lets face it, when you are feeding a toddler, and a baby and yourself at the same time, things can get a little crazy, so sometimes it is nice to let the baby feed themselves with a pouch. She really loves the independence too! Another handy thing we like to use is the Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder. Just toss a piece of apple, pear, banana etc inside of the mesh net and let baby go for it. With the mesh net, you don’t have to chop the food into so many tiny pieces. It is so convenient, but allows you to still use fresh food.

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons

How to Make Your Own Baby Food:

Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons

  1. Start with some steamed Vegetables. I like to use the frozen vegetable packages that you can steam in the bag in the microwave. Smiths sells a variety of  Kroger brand frozen vegetables for $1.00 each. Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
  2. Pour Vegetables in a small but deep bowl.Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
  3. Pour Breast milk, formula or water over vegetables, starting with about 2 oz, adding more depending on the desired consistency. Keep in mind that different vegetables will require various amounts of liquid. Corn, peas and cauliflower tend to be naturally more moist than carrots or sweet potatoes, and will not require as much additional liquid.
    Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & ConsBaby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
  4. Blend liquid and steamed vegetables using an immersion blender. You can purchase a hand blender like this one with a bonus measuring cup that would be perfect for blending your baby food on Amazon.Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
  5. Once it is smooth, I like to use a cookie scoop to easily dish the baby food into an ice cube tray.Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
  6. Cover the ice cube tray with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing.

    Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
    Pictured in order from top to bottom: Peas, Carrots, Corn, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato.
  7. Once frozen, twist the Ice cube tray to pop the baby food out and store in zip locked baggies in the freezer. Side Note: I have also tried using mini muffin tins  in place of ice cube trays. This didn’t work as well as you can not easily release the frozen baby food from the muffin tin like you can by twisting the ice cube trays. In order to release them I had to thaw the frozen baby food a little by placing the muffin tin in a cookie sheet filled with warm water. This allows them to melt a little so they can be released. Because they are semi thawed, they tend to stick together once they are frozen again. It works okay in a pinch but is definitely the ideal option.Baby Food-Store Bought Versus Home Made-Pros & Cons
  8.  You can easily thaw one or two at a time in the microwave
    for about 30 seconds when you are ready to serve. Always test the temperature of the baby food on your own skin before feeding to baby in order to avoid burning your baby’s mouth.

I hope you find success in making your own baby food. If you have any questions, or need encouragement, write a comment below.

Home Made Baby Food

Home Made Baby Food

Ingredients

  • Steamed/Cooked Vegetables
  • Breast milk/ Formula/ Water

Instructions

  1. Steam Vegetables.
  2. Pour Vegetables in a small but deep bowl.
  3. Pour Breast milk, formula or water over vegetables, starting with about 2 oz, adding more depending on the desired consistency. (Keep in mind that different vegetables will require various amounts of liquid. Corn, peas and cauliflower tend to be naturally moister than carrots or sweet potatoes, and will not require as much additional liquid.)
  4. Blend liquid and steamed vegetables using an immersion blender.
  5. Once smooth, use a cookie scoop to dish baby food into an ice cube tray.
  6. Cover the ice cube tray with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing.
  7. Once frozen, twist the Ice cube try to pop the baby food out and store in zip locked baggies in the freezer. Side Note: I have also tried using mini muffin tins in place of ice cube trays. This didn't work as well as you cannot easily release the frozen baby food from the muffin tin like you can by twisting the ice cube trays. In order to release them I had to thaw the frozen baby food a little by placing the muffin tin in a cookie sheet filled with warm water. This allows them to melt a little so they can be released. Because they are semi thawed, they tend to stick together once they are frozen again.
  8. You can easily thaw one or two at a time in the microwave for about 30 seconds when you are ready to serve. Always test the temperature of the baby food on your own skin before feeding to baby in order to avoid burning your baby's mouth.
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