Monday, December 30, 2013

Printable Book Guides for the Book of Mormon

My kids have come to know the stories of the Book of Mormon as we have studied them at dinner.  Now they need to be able to find the stories in their own scriptures.  To help with that I created book guides for most of the books in the Book of Mormon.  They are intended to make it easier to find the stories.  They are sprinkled with quotes, study ideas, a picture to color, a timeline, and some spots are left open for illustrations to help my kids develop a variety of scripture study skills.

The number on the left side of the guide is the corresponding chapter.

Timelines really help!

The pictures on the page are also in the margin of the right page in the Book of Mormon.
Bad picture, sorry.
Choose the "two-sided" print feature so it will print properly, it will print 3 pages (on both sides).  
The pages are then cut exactly into quarters.

They aren't perfect, but I do think that they will be a powerful tool 
as our family continues to learn from their scriptures!  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Temple Quote

If our people will faithfully attend the temple the Lord will bless them in the following ways:

greater love and unity in the home,

businesses and professions will prosper,

their children will be saved,

and angels will protect them.

-Elder Vaugh J. Featherstone

Printable here

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Music

"Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel. 
Latter-day Saints should fill their homes 
with the sound of worthy music.

The hymns can bring families a spirit of beauty and peace and can inspire love and unity among family members.
Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones."
-taken from the First Presidency Preface to the Hymn book
To help bring the true spirit of Christmas into our home this season we have printed these beautiful hymns to set out each night with dinner.  We will sing one each night to invite the Spirit into our home as we sit together to eat, to learn about Christ, and to celebrate this season of His birth. 
We especially love dinner time as a family devotional time because we never forget to eat!  
The links to print these songs are found below.  They can be printed as a full page or two to a page.  Printed two to a page they would make a nice little Christmas song book.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Reason for the Season

Each year we try to find a way to study the names of Christ at Christmastime.  It's such an effective way to remember all that He is and all that He accomplished.  This year we printed them from this lovely website and made them into ornaments for the tree.  Each night at dinner we each pick one, share it with an insight or a story from Christ's life, and hang it on the tree.  The little kids are so excited to hang things on the tree that they don't let us forget, and the big kids surprise us with what they know!

We try to focus on Christ in our decorations.

We especially love Nativities that can't break.

Somehow we ended up with one extra baby Jesus.
 He sits on my kitchen windowsill, above the sink.
I love his cheeks and his one armed wave.
And to drag out the days and make the waiting unbearable
the kids each have a candy countdown.  :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scripture Study for Early Readers

This kid wanted his own scriptures.  He's getting ready to be baptized!

Our family is reading through the Book of Mormon in the nice scriptures that we will give him when he is baptized, but until then he wanted his own copy of the Book of Mormon to read.

It's BIG

We gave him a colored pencil and told him that he could mark any verse that he could read on his own.  

We printed off some of the "Bright Idea" posters that illustrated Book of Mormon verses:
There were also lots of D&C verses, but here we were focusing on the Book of Mormon.

We printed off some scripture pictures that he can color during Sacrament Meeting or when he wants to "study" his scriptures.  We glued them into the book so he can find stories on his own.

The Book of Mormon, a Gift from Heavenly Father (inserted into Joseph Smith History)

There is room for him to add pictures that he illustrates as we read the scriptures as a family.  
You really have to understand a story to be able to illustrate it!

We're excited that he's excited to read the Book of Mormon.  

I'd love to hear any other ideas for helping early readers love and understand the scriptures!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Family Scripture Study at the Wright's

Family Demographics
Seven kids under the age of 12 and a ridiculously handsome husband.  We also are sporting about three different styles of Corelle dishes, as you will see in a minute.

What Works For Us
Several years ago my husband and I struggled to know how to incorporate scripture study into our family’s activities.  At the time we had five children and only one of them could read, and the words of the scriptures were still much, much too hard for him.  We desired to share with our children the stories and examples from the scriptures without having to scold them to sit still and listen.  After much thought and prayer the Lord provided us with a plan, a plan tailored to our family and our needs. You see, our boys don’t sit still well- except for meals.  So, during dinner we read the Book of Mormon.  Mostly I tell the stories, reading a verse or two aloud.  We learn the meanings of difficult words and talk about how our challenges might be like the challenges of the prophets and missionaries in the Book of Mormon and how the Lord can bless and strengthen us like He blessed and strengthened them.  As we read I highlight verses that are especially important, or write a little note in the margin. When our oldest was baptized- we gave him the Book of Mormon that we had just finished reading as a family and we started reading and marking a new book for our next son.  We are now on our fourth reading of the Book of Mormon.  As we have continued with this plan our kids have developed a love and knowledge of the scriptures.  They are coming to know the people in the Book of Mormon and sense their goodness and whole-heartedness to God.   I don’t know if this will be the right way to share the scriptures with our children when they are older but it is the way that the Lord has directed us to share them with our children right now, and it is just right for us.

  • It invites the Spirit and things run more smoothly when we are doing it consistently.
  • The kids are excited about the stories and remind me to get them ready.
  • The kids are becoming very familiar with the stories and personalities in the scriptures!

We hope to claim these blessings in our home:
“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.”
(Marion G. Romney, Apr. 1980, 90; or Ensign, May 1980, 67)
  • If I don't remember to get the story ready during the day I'm too frazzled to do it well at dinner time.
  • If more than one person spills their drink I usually give up for the evening and just clean up messes. 
  • It doesn't work when we eat out or when we have company for dinner (which isn't too often).
Our scripture shelf at the end of the table.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Plan of Salvation Study Guide

“The great plan of salvation is a theme which ought 
to occupy our strict attention, 
and be regarded 
as one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind.”
-Joseph Smith
History of the Church 2:23

During a lesson in Relief Society the teacher read the quote above about the Plan of Salvation occupying our strict attention.   I could draw the standard Plan of Salvation diagram with its circles and slashes with my eyes closed, what more was there to study?  It bothered me, until I discovered bits and pieces of the Plan of Salvation scattered throughout the Book of Mormon.  Jarom, a descendant of Lehi asks, "what could I write more than my fathers have written?  For have not they revealed the plan of salvation?" (Jarom 1:2).  

The Plan of Salvation is given life and color and clarity in the words of the Book of Mormon!

I wanted a way that I could record these bits and pieces in a way that would allow me to study and learn more about each part of the Plan of Salvation.   I also wanted something that my kids could work on as they independently read the Book of Mormon (when they are a little older)- a way for them to find the truths of the Plan of Salvation in the Book of Mormon.  

I ended up creating a study guide for the Plan of Salvation.  It can be filled out as a project, or just added to as you read through the scriptures.  I have mine in a three ring binder which allows me to add pictures, more pages, and conference talks that are illuminating, like this one!  

The Plan of Salvation truly is "one of heaven's best gifts to mankind" and actively searching out the doctrines has helped me to see more clearly the things which God would have me do here on earth, and the person that He would have me become!


Friday, September 20, 2013

The Holy Ghost in the Home

I've been praying that the Holy Ghost would be in our home more fully, so fully in fact that we wouldn't be able to be unkind to each other.

I hoped to see big changes in the kids, but the biggest change I noticed was in me.  When it became my goal to have the Holy Ghost in our home I made some immediate changes.  I changed the tone that I used with the kids.  I turned off the radio.  I turned off the computer and other distractions so I could focus on my kids more.   I became uncomfortably aware that when I responded to a child with frustration or anger the Spirit left our home.  Each time, I have repented and invited the Spirit to come to our home again.

Changes are happening in our home.  The kids are playing together more, they are complimenting each other on occasion, they are expressing more gratitude for the work we do for them as parents, and relationships are deepening.  There has been more laughter at the dinner table.

I'm so grateful for my job as a mother- to create a home where God can pour out His Spirit.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Celebrate the Family!

Early on in our family we had the opportunity to think about what we wanted our children to be really good at.  We knew that a rigorous learning program could have them reading at age 3, and if applied continuously could produce children who would be very intelligent.  We knew that an early start in sports, dance or gymnastics, coupled with intense effort and time could allow our kids to become truly great at physical activities.  If we invested the time and energy we could have children who were very capable at a number of musical instruments- we could have our own family orchestra!  As we pondered on the possibilities we realized that we needed to decide what we really wanted them to BE.  We didn't really care if they grew up to be the richest, fastest, or most talented.  We wanted them to grow up to be good mothers and fathers, good husbands and wives, to create their own happy families.  (Of course we encourage them in school, sports, and music too, just not as the TOP priority, you get that, right?)

With that as our perspective we changed some things in our family.  We are more deliberate about being home and being together.  We work harder to be sure that our children will learn important home building skills like cooking, cleaning, budgeting, sharing and working together.  We have fun together- we want our children to know that our family is a source of great joy and happiness.  We involve them in our joyful preparations for each new baby that comes to our home.  We talk about our family with love and respect, not complaint.  

Julie Beck gave an amazing talk about Teaching the Doctrine of the Family.  It is a powerful reminder about God's plan for us, and for families!  One of the things that really struck me was this quote:
Many of our youth are losing confidence in the institution of families. They’re placing more and more value on education and less and less importance on forming an eternal family.  
I want my children to know what good families look like, what they do, how they speak to each other, how they look out for each other.  First, I want them to know this from living in our home.  Second, from being around other happy families.  And third, from reading about good families.  Here are some of my favorite books that exemplify happy family relationships (you can click on the titles to read the reviews at Amazon):

Picture Books
The Berenstain Bears  The bears live in a family and work together to solve some of the problems that come up in families: fighting, bad manners, messy rooms, etc.
Digger Man Story about a big brother who wants to buy a digger (tractor) so he can build a park for his little brother.
The Relatives Came A tale about the joys of extended family.
All the Places to Love A sweet story about family life in the country and the birth of a new baby.  I dare you not to cry.
Love You Forever My mom always cried when she read this one... now I get it.  Sweet story about the love between a mother and child.
Just in Case You Ever Wonder A gentle book to read when snuggling, also available as a board book.
No More Kissing Tired of all the kisses, especially for the baby, big brother takes over and ends up loving on the baby too.
I Love You Stinky Face A quirky reminder of how much a mother loves her child.
Christmas in Noisy Village About Christmas as a family in the small community of Noisy Village.
You're All My Favorites Sweetly illustrating that parents love all of their children the same.

Read-Alouds for the Young Child
The Boxcar Children (Book 1)  A story that shows children working together and looking out for each other (there is no mom or dad in the story, but the sibling interactions are wonderful).
The Children of Noisy Village A charming story about the everyday life of six children living on the three neighboring farms that are affectionately known as "Noisy Village" because of the high spirits of the children.
Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories of a little girl, her family, and the challenges she meets.  Fun bedtime stories.
Happy Little Family  Being little is hard.  Being the youngest of five children is especially challenging.  This book is the first of a series of books about the Fairchild Family.
Little Bear Series  An early reader, or a good read aloud- about Little Bear, his family and friends.
Henry and Mudge Series  While the boy and his dog take center stage, mom and dad are still a really important part of the books.  Would be good as an early reader or a read aloud.

Books for the Elementary School Reader
The Magic Tree House Series  Good examples of a brother and sister interacting with each other and working together.  Lots of books in the series.
The Boxcar Children Mysteries The Alden children and their grandfather work together to solve the mysteries that they come across.  They work together, listen to each other, look out for each other and extend kindness to those they meet.  Great examples of sibling relationships.
All-Of-A-Kind Family A story of a Jewish family with 5 girls who live in New York in the early 1900's.  This is the first of the series of books about this family and how they work together to meet their challenges.
Little House on the Prairie  Detailing the life and challenges of living as a family together on the frontier of a growing country.  There are some simplified chapter books available for younger readers, and some picture books available for the youngest listener.
Farmer Boy Written by the same author as Little House on the Prairie, but the main character in this family is a boy.
Caddie Woodlawn Similar in genre to the Little House books.  Caddie Woodlawn was a fun and adventurous girl whose mother fretted that she'd never be a lady.
Trolley Car Family A story about a family who move together to the country to live in a trolley car after their dad loses his job (the city is upgrading to buses, from trolley cars- which he used to drive).  The story follows their adventures and the challenge of finding a way to make this new life style work.
The Great Brain Series  Especially fun for boys, tells the stories of a boy whose "great brain" gets him into, and out of, a lot of trouble.  Sometimes the trouble spills over to his family.
The Swiss Family Robinson There are several translations available.  An adventurous tale of a family that faces their considerable challenges with optimism and courage.
The American Twins of the Revolution (and others in the series) These books were originally published in the early 1900's.  They have books about twins, one boy and one girl about the age of 5 and show what their lives would have been like in different countries at different times.  Good focus on family.  Lots of books in the series.  Some of the ideas about women are a little dated as the books are very old.

Books for Youth Age 12+ (and adults, too)
Mama's Bank Account An incredible book about an immigrant family and their love for each other as they face the challenges of life.  Every mom should read this one!
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers Another amazing book about a young man in a family that has moved west to start a ranch only to discover that the work is much harder than they anticipated.  A beautiful book with great lessons about honesty, integrity and hard work.  The ending is heartbreaking.  There are other books after this one, but I haven't read them.
Laddie: A True Blue Story A book with a challenging vocabulary.  Hands down one of the greatest examples of family values I have ever read.  This is another book I think that every mom should read!
Little Women Heart warming and heart breaking stories of the March family.
Trapp Family Singers The stories and experiences of the Trapp family from "The Sound of Music".
Shiloh Autumn An inspiring story of two families struggling during the Great Depression.
The Work and the Glory Series These stories of the Mormon pioneers span families and show in detail the love and faith and forgiveness that exist in successful families.
The Education of Little Tree  I hesitate to add this, because the boy in the story lives with his grandparents after his parents have died, but his grandparents make such a happy home for him that I think it belongs here.
Through My Eyes The biography of Tim Tebow.  Fun for sports fans, and Tim Tebow talks a lot about the characteristics and the influence of his own good family.
Papa Married a Mormon Papa is Catholic, and Mama is Mormon and together they build a happy family based on love, respect, faith and forgiveness.
In My Father's House Written by Corrie Ten Boom (author of The Hiding Place) telling about the home and family that she was raised in and how their love and faith shaped her future choices.

I remember my mom reading The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners at Family Home Evening and thinking that those bears were on to something when they decided to be over-kind to each other.  I decided what kind of wife I wanted to be as I read about Lydia who married Nathan Steed and worked hard next to him in The Work and the Glory series.  I am a better mother because of Carolyn Ingalls, and the wonderful mama from Mama's Bank Account who went without buying a new coat to get her daughter the school books she needed.  These books helped me to see the beauty and joy in family life, and reading them will be a way for our children to see and understand the value of family.

I'd love suggestions!  Not just for good books (although, that too), but for books that really exemplify happy family life!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stand In Holy Places

There is an amazing scripture study guide available at That Good Part that really looks at the Young Women and Young Men's theme for 2013 which is "Stand in Holy Places".  I printed it out and worked through it.  It was eye opening to see how much she could find to illuminate that one verse.   And it was good for me to try some different scripture study ideas.  The thought that hit me the hardest is that we cannot STAND when we are bound down by sin.  I did a study to find some of the different ways this is illustrated in the scriptures and then came up with a way to illustrate it for my kids.

And then it's counterpart:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Encouraging Blogs for Large Families

As our family began to grow I spent a lot of time wondering how other big families looked, what they drove, how they did their laundry, met the needs of their children, etc.  Here are the most encouraging blogs for moms of many kids that I have found:

As much as I love these blogs most of the important direction that I have gotten for our family has come through the Holy Ghost as we have asked God to direct us in our efforts.   Enjoy these blogs, be inspired and encouraged- but don't forget that the best advice will come from a loving Father in Heaven who loves and knows you and your children.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Scripture Journals

My mom taught me to love the scriptures without ever saying a word.  Sure, she taught me about the scriptures, and taught from them- but it wasn't until I was a young adult and woke up on top of a houseboat on Lake Powell that I really learned how valuable the scriptures were.  As the morning sunshine hit the boat and woke us up I looked out to see my mom walking back to the boat along the shore, as she came closer I could see that she had her scriptures.  I realized then that if my mom would search out a quiet spot to read the scriptures on vacation that she saw them in a whole different light than I did.

It has taken me years to begin to value them like my mom did.  It really wasn't until I recognized that my children would need a love and understanding of the scriptures to protect them that I started writing down my thoughts, printing off important talks, and putting them all together in a meaningful way.  My scripture journals are a tangible evidence of the love the Lord has shown me while I have worked to become closer to Him.

Here are some great resources for scripture journals:

The Red Headed Hostess
Her site really helped me to see exciting ways to journal!  She has some beautiful scripture journals for sale, including an amazing study on the Names of Christ that would be a great way to prepare for Christmas and Easter.  I prefer my three ring binders so I can add content at will, but hers are ready made.  She also shares lots of her pages so you can see ideas (the following pictures are from her website).

Latter-day Homeschooling
This is how I set up my scripture journals.  I love my alphabetical tabs ($5 at Walmart)!  She also has lots of free printable scripture journal pages that make it easy to hit the ground running.

That Good Part
She has several scripture study guides that helped me try new ways of studying.  I especially love her study of the Young Men and Young Women's theme: Stand in Holy Places.  She also has a free e-book all about effective scripture study.  I'm in awe of her crazy art skills too:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Our Proclamation Project

I'm so grateful for the Proclamation to the World about Families!

I want my kids to understand the important truths that are contained in it.  These photos have been our screen savers lately.  Our hope is that it will be a visual way for them to learn how we are living God's plan for families!


These were my first efforts with a free photo editing program and a point-and-shoot camera.  
It didn't cost anything and the kids loved them.