The Love Bug

In an effort to make our holidays more meaningful, I have been trying to focus on Christ, and learn from the scriptures. So, what do the scriptures say about love? There are so many scriptures about love. I picked just a few and put them together in this fun little activity to help my kids learn about love and the scriptures.

I think sometimes we get destracted by all the hub-bub of Valentines Day, and for that reason, I know many people don’t like the holiday. We are all in different places in our lives, but we all love in one way or another. Most commonly Valentines day is a time for sweethearts to celebrate their romance. While that is a wonderful thing, I dont think we should forget all of the other wonderful loving relationships we have. We can love our parents, children, nieces, nephews, siblings, cousins, neighbors, those we visit teach, or home teach, friends, strangers, even our enemys. I find its a great time to remember our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ, and their infinite love for us. I hope Valentines Day can be a day we celebrate their love for us, and try to share our love with those around us.

I really enjoyed searching the scriptures  to find out what they say about love. I learned a lot, and I hope you can too. These were some of the favorite ones that I found. What are some of your favorite scriptures about love? I’d love to hear from you.

There are a couple of ways you could do this activity. Last year, The Love Bug came to our house once a day for a whole week leading up to Valentines day. He would hide an envelope in a different place each day with a scripture and a little candy for my toddler to find. Once it was found, we would read the scripture, talk about it and enjoy a sweet treat together. This was a really fun way to do it, however I was not as on top of things this year. This time we will just do it all in one night for Family Home Evening. I will probably still hide the scriptures around the room for my kids to find one at a time. (This always makes it more exciting/interactive.)

If you do this as a Family Home Evening Lesson you can sing/listen to the songs Love One Another and/or Mother I Love You. There are many other Primary Songs, and even Hymns that are about love that would also be great for this.

I hope you and your family enjoy this activity! Happy Valentines Day!

The Love Bug- Valentines Day Scripture activity with kids!
P.S. I have been learning to use Adobe Illustrator in a class at the community college, so I thought I would create my own “Love Bug”. I think he turned out cute!

The Giving Tree

Over the past few years I have followed my beautiful cousin Aubrey’s journey in finding the Spirit of Christmas through service. Her ideas have given me inspiration to create better traditions for my family during the holidays. I hope that by sharing her story, others may be uplifted and inspired, and be able to make their futures bright. Here is her story about creating the #PaxtonGivingTree in green below.

I love this giving tree idea! What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!

   “Three years ago on Christmas day 2013, after all the presents were unwrapped and the day was coming to an end, I turned to my husband and said, “I still don’t feel like it’s Christmas.” I remember all month long waiting for the spirit of Christmas to come, and it didn’t. There wasn’t anything really different that year. Christmas was the same day it had always been. I’d listened to the same Christmas music and ate the same treats that I love, so I knew that the problem was with me.

 

It was a busy time for our family. We had just added daughter #3 to our ranks the month prior, and I’m sure I was exhausted and caught up in figuring out how to run a whole new family dynamic…let’s be honest, 3 kids is hard! But it broke my heart that, because of my attitude, I had not only taken the true meaning of the holiday away from myself, but in doing so I was doing a disservice to my children.

 

So when December 2014 rolled around I was determined to make our house feel the spirit of the holiday! And the best way that I knew how to do that was by serving others. That year a friend and I had come up with an adorable advent calendar in the shape of a tree. I called it our Paxton Giving Tree! I put a little treat and a service opportunity in each box for each day of December leading up to Christmas. My girls were so excited to have a fun new way to count down to the holiday and I was excited to get the spirit of the holiday in our home, and it WORKED! Christmas 2014 was the best Christmas that I could remember having with my little family! Not only were we thinking about and serving others, but we were EXCITED about doing it! I knew that this was the start of a very fun and exciting tradition for our family!

 

This year, as I’m sitting down and coming up with ways that my family can serve others in December, I can’t help but think back over the last two years and the many awesome experiences we’ve shared as a family.

I love this giving tree idea! What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!
Doing a litter walk around the neighborhood.

I think my very favorite one came just this last summer during July. All summer long the girls had been asking to do a bake sale. I suggested that we could maybe do one, but wouldn’t it be fun if we decided that with the money we earned from it we could put toward helping out a family this coming Christmas for our Paxton Giving Tree tradition. My kids responses made me very happy! This is how it went.

 

Madison (7): But why would we need money for that?

Me: Well buying things for Christmas costs money, and there are some families that don’t have enough to get extra things at Christmas time. We could help with that.

Madison: But mom you don’t need money to have Christmas…isn’t it just about love and family? That’s the important thing.

Kennedie(5): And celebrating that Jesus was born!

Reagan(3): And Santa! (Haha we’re still working on that one)

This was the best conversation ever! It was totally a mom win moment! I’m so grateful that my kids know what Christmas is really about…even in July!

I truly feel like my kids are learning not only what the true meaning of Christmas is, but also what it means to love and serve others. It has taught them many lessons about others who are less fortunate, and they have compassion for others that I know has come as a direct blessing of our tradition.

 

I love this giving tree idea! What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!
Supporting a local food drive by gathering supplies for those in need.

Like I said, this month I’m sitting down and making a list of things that we can do during our December service, but I would LOVE to hear any ideas that others may have! Please share! Also, if you want to keep posted about what my family will be doing this year, you are welcome to search the tag #paxtongivingtree on Facebook or Instagram.”

Isn’t this amazing? What a beautiful example Aubrey is to her kids about being Christlike. I love how involved her little children are in this wonderful tradition. Here are few more pictures and ideas for acts of service you could perform for your family’s giving tree.

I love this giving tree idea!What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!
Taking cookies and thank you notes to their primary teachers.
I love this giving tree idea! What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!
Leaving thank you notes for the mail carrier and trash collectors.
I love this giving tree idea! What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!
Placing quarters in all of the vending machines!

The possibilities are endless! Be Creative!

I love this giving tree idea! What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!

For more inspiration to come closer to Christ this holiday season check out this video in preparation for the #LightTheWorld initiative.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless!

PS: If you want to check out Aubrey’s cute shop for girl’s hairbows, check her out on instagram.com @the.happy.squirrel.shop.

I love this giving tree idea! What a great way to make the holidays meaningful again!

 

Sharing Time November 2016 Printables and Resources

November is upon us! I cannot believe how fast October flew by! Between Preparing for our ward’s primary program and preparing for Halloween, October was gone in a blink! Here are some new printables to help your little ones memorize the scripture and article of faith for this month. Repetition is key, and having it printed out makes it so easy to review these every day! I am constantly amazed at how well my 4 year old son is able to memorize these when we practice them consistently. Kids are never too young to be nourished by the good word of God! Enjoy!

Scripture:

Download and print this Scripture by clicking the link below.

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Article of Faith 1:

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

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Pictograph Poster of Article of Faith 1:

Download and print this poster from A Year of FHE by clicking the link below.

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Article of Faith 1 Pictograph Courtesy of A Year of FHE.

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Sharing Time October 2016 Printables & Resources

Song:

In preparation for 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 acapella. 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.

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sharing-time-2016-10-october-scripture-printable

Article of Faith 7:

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

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Article of Faith 7 Pictograph Courtesy of A Year of FHE

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Subscribe on your smartphone using the pull down menu, or on the sidebar on your computer.

If you would like to share my content, please provide a link back to my website. Please do not use my images without permission.

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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

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Article of Faith 11 Pictograph Courtesy of A Year of FHE

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Subscribe on your smartphone using the pull down menu, or on the sidebar on your computer.

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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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Subscribe on your smartphone using the pull down menu, or on the sidebar on your computer.

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How to Choose the Preschool Thats Right for You and Your Child

You are Running out of time! The pressure is setting in. What are you going to do about preschool this year? July is more than half gone, and school starts back up next month! The craziest part  for me is that my son is old enough to go to preschool! He was just a baby yesterday right? Where did the time go?  I don’t want to even blink because before I know it, he will be driving a car and picking up girls for dates. For now though, he is my little ‘Big Guy’. I recently asked him if he ‘liked’ girls, and he responded, “Grandma is a girl, she is a lady!” I hope he stays in this phase for at least another 16 years! But alas, he is getting older, and he is growing up. It is time for him to start to experience new things, and grow as an individual and not just be my baby. So back on the age old question, What are we going to do for Preschool this year?

Getting Silly with preschool at home. One of the most valuable lessons mothers can teach their children is that they are important and loved.

I love doing  preschool with my son at home. He is at the age that he loves to learn, and often asks me if we can do Preschool together. I think he enjoys the one on one Quality Time we share together. My goal when we do preschool activities is to create an exciting and safe space where he can learn and gain self confidence without fear or judgment. I try to keep it fun, and if the lesson becomes frustrating for either of us, I try to change gears. At home, I want him to have good memories and feelings towards me, and towards learning. We are not very structured in our preschool at home, which can be good and bad. It is good because he has a loving environment at home to learn in, but bad because the learning is not very consistent. No matter how hard I try, we do not do preschool everyday. That being said, we will be using a hybrid method between home schooling and schooling away from home for Preschool starting this fall.

How to Choose the Preschool Thats Right for You and Your Child
Little Stars Learning Program at Hollywood Kids Academy’s Henderson Location.

He will start attending Hollywood Kids Academy “Little Stars Learning Program” for a couple of hours a few days a week. I am hoping this will help him transition easily into kindergarten next year. I feel that it will be a great way for him to gain independence and individuality. He will be able to socialize, learn, grow, and I think he will love it! I have been very impressed with this company. Hollywood Kids Academy offers more than just preschool. They offer classes in Musical Theatre, Dance, and Vocal for ages 3-19. They are now based out of 3 locations including their newest Summerlin/Southwest location at 4145 S. Grand Canyon Suite #106. My family and I have been to several performances, and are so pleased every time. Hollywood Kids Academy is a noncompetitive atmosphere where kids have a safe space to learn and gain  self confidence while developing their skills at whatever level they may be. To read more about their mission click here.

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My goal as a mother is not to raise the next Genius, Olympian, or Billionare, but to raise kids with good Character. I’m not saying that it’s not possible to do both, but rather that my focus is geared more towards instilling integrity, honesty, hard work, self discipline, charity, leadership, organization, etc. If the next generation is raised to have these characteristics, we will have a bright future. A person with character can accomplish anything! I feel that the environment at Hollywood Kids Academy will help reinforce the values that I teach my son at home. I am trying to establish a house for my family that is pleasing to the Lord as taught in Docterine and Covenants 88:119:

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

We will still continue to have our unstructured ‘learning moments’ together at home. I don’t think we will ever stop. There is so much to be learned throughout our lives. You may even be suprised at the things that your children teach you. Creating that safe space at home can make it easier to teach the hard lessons in life. My house is, and always will be, a house of learning.

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Whatever decision parent’s make regarding their children’s education whether it be public, private, charter, or home school is personal.  If homeschooling is going to stress you or your child out, or add tension to your relationship, it might not be worth it. It can be so different in each household with each child and their unique needs. This hybrid method is what we have decided is best for our son at this time. His needs may change over the years in which we will need to prayerfully adapt. We may make a different decision for our baby girl, or other children we may have in the future based on their individual needs. I hope that mothers will be blessed with inspiration on what to do for their children’s education. I hope they will have the courage to see what is best for each of their children rather than yielding to the ‘norm’. Mother’s who pray regularly with, and for their children, can receive divine guidance for their well being. As for us, we are excited for this new opportunity to grow! Best of luck to you and your little one(s)!

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