Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inspirational Girls' Night Out!

In celebration of international women's day on March 5th, 450 theatres across the country will be featuring a special documentary film about three women from developing countries who are reaching out to help others in their communities. The film will be followed by a live town hall meeting of selected panelists. The live discussion will help empower women and girls to fight global poverty. For more info check out

So, who wants to join me for some inspirational girl time? What a unique opportunity to connect with women all over the world in a meaningful and purposeful way. Let me know if you want to come and I'll give you the info!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Whew! Another tough day at the office. Love this kid!

The Sweetest Thing

Benny and Charity were eating breakfast this morning, and they started arguing about something trivial. (Charity was incensed that Benny got the big bowl with stripes again.) Anyway, their argument was escalating, so I was about to interfere. But before I could and without any prompting from me, Benny stopped and quietly said, "We need to say a prayer Charity cause' Jesus is sad when we fight with each other." So they both folded their little arms and he proceeded, "Dear Heavenly Father, pwease help us to not be mad at ouchother. Please help Jesus to not be sad. And pwease help Jesus to come down from the sky." After the prayer he said, "Charity, you need to say sorry to Jesus" She humbly said, "Sowwy Jesus." And they went right back to eating their cream of wheat.

I seriously burst into tears. I've been in a bit of a spiritual rut over the past week... I was sick last week, and I started getting behind on things, and my personal prayers, and scripture study became pretty sporatic as a result. But hearing my sweet kids pray like that instantly brought me to tears and reminded me that I needed to stop worrying, and just be happy. I am so blessed to have these special spirits in my home for this time that is going by way too quickly... and all too soon moments like these will be gone. It was especially meaningful because of all the kids, I often wonder if Benny is picking up what we're trying to teach him. When we have scripture time as a family, Celeste is right with us and answers every question, but often we'll ask Benny a question to test his understanding, and he'll reply with something totally random... like, "Ummm, in the Veggie Tales movie, Larryboy said, I want a cheeseburger." (?) So it was really precious to hear him pray like that on his own. These kids just might be learning more than we think they are!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Treasures of the Heart

Last week, the young women at church had a special program we put on annually called "New Beginnings". The purpose of the event is to teach the young women and their parents about the young women organization and to welcome the new 12 year olds. I thought I'd share this here in case any of the other youth leaders need an idea for a very fun and spiritual event!

The girls started preparing for the program the week before New Beginnings. I had some really cute pictures of the girls, but I didn't feel right about posting them, (you never know), but I think this one is ok. Anyway, so we had a Pajama Personal Progress Picnic Party... where they worked on personal progress together, decorated their treasure boxes and they each brought something that started with "p" to snack on.

They came up with the following snacks for our picnic... pears, peanut butter popcorn, peanuts, popsicles, peanut-butter cups, pumpkin seeds, and PICKLES! ha ha! The girls all had a great time decorating their treasure boxes in preparation for the special night.

So for the program, we started with the opening exercises where the girls recited the young women theme, and the leaders gave a brief overview of the organization. (The entire organization of the church simply amazes me, it is obviously inspired by God because it's so brilliant!) Then each girl found her decorated treasure box, and went on a treasure hunt around the building by following the map on the back of the program. Each of the leaders were in a different room that they had decorated with the value she presented. The leaders read a little treasure talk, and gave the girls the corresponding token to add to their treasure boxes. By the way, I cannot take credit for this idea... I found most of this stuff on an lds yw site. (I am soo not that creative!)

Here are little excerpts from the treasure talks given by the leaders...

"One treasure that we can take with us is, FAITH - "I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and I will have FAITH in his eternal plan which centers in Jesus Christ, my Savior." A grain of mustard seed is the small token which will remind us to seek for the treasure of FAITH in Jesus Christ and in his eternal plan. "(Alma 32: 27-28).

A second treasure which will guide us in our lives is knowledge of our DIVINE NATURE"I have inherited divine qualities which I will strive to develop." The token to remind us of our divine nature is a piece of coal, a diamond in the rough, rich with possibility.


A third treasure we need to succeed in life is a knowledge of our INDIVIDUAL WORTH. "I am of infinite worth with my own divine mission which I will strive to fulfill." "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." This "diamond" will remind us that each child of God has priceless worth.


A "pearl of great price" which we can take with us is KNOWLEDGE. "I will continually seek opportunities for learning and growth." As we are told in Matthew, we cannot take our earthly treasures with us when we die. Money, clothes, cars, and other possessions do not last forever. But in the Doctrine and Covenants, we learn that whatever knowledge we gain, we CAN take with us. "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection." (D&C130:18) Take with you the pearl of knowledge. It will bless your life.


A precious gift we have already been given by our Heavenly Father is our agency, our ability to choose. With this gift of CHOICE comes responsibility or ACCOUNTABILITY for the choices we make. "I will remain free by choosing good over evil and will accept responsibility for my choices." As you wear this CTR ring, look at it often. It will remind you that choosing well protects you and keeps you free.


One of the treasures that can add richness to our lives is service to others. 3 Nephi 12:16 "Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your GOOD WORKS and glorify your Father who is in Heaven." "I will nurture others and build the kingdom through righteous service." This little candle is to remind us to let our little light shine like the light of Christ so that others will come to know Him.


Another special treasure that we will add to our treasure box is INTEGRITY. "I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong." This little rock is a token to remind us to build our lives on the rock of Jesus Christ and stay true to the faith, to have integrity.


The newest treasure added to our treasure boxes of values is VIRTUE. “One virtuous young woman led by the Spirit can change the world.” A heart is your symbol for VIRTUE. Treasure the purity of your body and spirit. Virtue is the center of purity, just as the heart is the center of our body and soul.

It was a very special night. I hope the girls felt the spirit confirm to them the significance of these values, and I hope that they will treasure their treasure boxes for years to come. I know that if they incorporate these values into their lives, they will continue to develop Christ-like attributes and they will experience TRUE and lasting joy in this life. Life will still be challenging, but they will have the spiritual strength to get through all that life throws at them. I sure love each one of these girls. They are phenomenal young women. Many of them are really struggling... and it breaks my heart, but my counselors and I will continue to pray for each of them. We will never stop believing in them. We have confidence that they will make it through these trying years because they have strong and valiant spirits. :)

Check out this cake one of my counselors made!!!! Isn't it amazing?!!! If anyone wants to try to make this, you can find instructions here. She did such an awesome job! Way to go, Monica! I could not have put this night together without the help of my amazing counselors, secretary, advisors, and our personal progress leader. Each of them is just wonderful, and they really helped make the program a success.

Although the program was for the girls, it was a nice reminder for all of us to "Lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven" Matthew 6:20. It reminded me to evaluate how I spend my time and energy. I try to regularly ask myself a few questions, and try to make changes when necessary. Am I neglecting the most important things (which aren't really things) in this life? Am I nurturing my most precious relationships? Am I seeking learning, and spiritual growth? It's so easy to let the things of this world distract us and crowd out what is really important in this life. This quote really inspires me to keep trying to put first things first...
"We no longer have the luxury of spending our energy on anything that doesn't lead us and our families to Christ. In the days ahead, a casual commitment to Christ will not carry us through. The time has come for each of us to stand tall, and then, in doing so, to stand together." ~ Sheri Dew
I know that if we choose to forsake the "treasures" of the world, and seek for things of a better, we will feel true joy and we will eventually earn the eternal treasures in heaven that have been promised to us.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

The kids were THRILLED to get a surprise package from Nana and Grandpa-pa today that included some treats, valentines, and a little beanie baby for each one of them. My parents are incredibly thoughtful.

Do these kids take after their Daddy, or what? ;)

Thank you Nana and Grandpa-pa!!
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope you all have someone (or something) to cuddle. xoxo

Another Birthday!

The kids presented their Daddy (the birthday boy) with breakfast in bed, and with this enormous mug for his office supplies. The kids loved making their handprints, and it will be fun to remember how little their hands were someday when they're grown.

What in the world??!! Here's hubby making the kids laugh and being amusing as usual! He certainly keeps things interesting around here, that's for sure!

This time it was Charity who cracked us up, when we went around the table for the birthday tradition. I said, "So Charity, what do you love about Daddy?" She thought for a minute, and then replied, "I yuv Daddy's burfday cake." :)

The kids and I snuck into the church during basketball practice, and dropped these off for him and his basketball buddies. We had fun trying to keep quiet while we decorated so it would be a surprise! Happy Birthday Mr. Wonderful! You really are the man of my dreams, and my very best friend.

(I NEVER thought I'd say this... but with all these birthdays lately, I'm cupcaked out! Bleh!)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Snowed In B-day!

Things have been pretty crazy around here with sick kids and such, so blogging has been put on the backburner lately. But I'm hoping to get caught up over the next few days... just a warning.

So last week I turned 28 on the 28th. Naturally, Mr. Wonderful had all sorts of special plans... he was going to secretly replace my turbo kick cd with a cd he made with him announcing to my students that it was my birthday, followed by the Beatle's b-day song, and then he was going to drop off flowers at the church so they would be waiting for me when I got to my Young Womens activity. But... we got 12 inches of snow overnight, so EVERYTHING was cancelled! (I told Mr. Wonderful he still earned brownie points for all his thoughtful plans.) But instead of the usual hectic craziness, we simply enjoyed a cozy day at home as a family... and then went sledding and made a snowman. And I'd have to say, it was the best birthday yet!

The snow wouldn't pack very well, so Mr. Wonderful got creative and stuffed the snow with shovels into different sized bins. It's a funky looking snowman, but it works!

Charity decided to share the coveted pacifier with the snowman.

I think the kids went down the hill on their sleds a total of 3 times... if that! It's so ridiculous! We spend over a half an hour to get them all bundled up for about 2 minutes of fun! Ha ha! Oh well...

When it comes to gifts, my wish list doesn't usually include fancy jewelry, expensive clothing, or the latest "must-haves", but meaningful and thoughtful gifts touch me the most. So I was really moved when I received this sweet gift from my hubby. I just LOVE this for all that it symbolizes, because I am so deeply grateful for the privelege it is to be a mother. Thanks again, sweetie!
I thought I'd share my all-time favorite recipe for German Chocolate Frosting. I got this from my Aunt Linda (the ultimate homemaker!) I didn't include a cake recipe because I usually just use a cake mix (duncan hines moist deluxe... the best!) because I just don't have all day to spend in the kitchen! But anyway, here it is...

German Chocolate Frosting:
1 cube butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned milk.
3 egg yolks
1 cup pecans
1 1/3 cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter or magarine in medium saucepan. Stir in sugar and canned milk. Then add egg yolks.

Cook, letting it boil on medium high stirring for several minutes. Add nuts and coconut. Then add vanilla and cool. Enjoy!!

It was soo good I ate nearly half of it! Ouch! How does that happen?! I just snitch a little here and there, and then all of a sudden it's half-gone! Oh well, it's my party I can pig out (and then cry) if I want to! :)
Check out our little poser grinning in the background!
We have a tradition on birthdays when we're enjoying the cake. We go around the table and have everyone share one thing they love or appreciate about the birthday girl/or boy. So when it was Benny's turn, he thought for a minute, and then with his little raspy voice he said, "You're the sweetest mommy I ever had!" Ha ha! It made my day. Moments like that remind me that it really is all about the little things in life. :)


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