Friday, January 1, 2016

One Step Closer my theme for 2016

I just loved my theme last year!  It was nice to remind myself, in a positive way, of the changes I wanted to make rather than those resolutions that seem to just weigh me down.  NO FEAR was truly amazing last year!

 This year, I'm switching themes.  Though what's nice about themes is that they are never far from your mind and you can keep those changes and ideas with you. I thought long and hard about this theme.  I realized on December 30th that I didn't have one.  I spent time thinking about what is was that I needed to change in my life and what I wanted to see fulfilled by the end of this  new year.  That night it basically spoke itself to me.  I want to create closer relationships.  Those don't happen overnight though. Thus my theme was born...

ONE STEP CLOSER to God.  I pray.  But I hear the way others pray and the type of relationship they have with their Heavenly Father.  I am not there yet.  Each day I need to pray, openly, honestly, earnestly, but in a way that brings me closer you Him, by speaking as I do with friends.  Increasing my temple attendance will also bring me closer to God.  Magnifying my church callings, studying my scriptures, searching through conference talks..there are lots of options here in what I can do to become closer to my Father in Heaven.

On that same note, ONE STEP CLOSER to Christ.  I truly believe that the best way to know Him is to serve others, wholly and selflessly.  I can also increase my relationship with Him through the scriptures. 

And again, ONE STEP CLOSER to the Spirit.  Throughout my life I have questioned whether these thoughts I receive are from my own crazy brain  or truly from God.  I often, way too often than I should probably admit, ignore those thoughts...or promptings.. I always determine to do better and I do..for about a minute!  Many personal blessings have warned me to follow those thoughts and reminded me that the Spirit speaks to me often...the ball is clearly in my court!  I also heard recently that if He is sending these messages thrpugh the Spirit but we aren't acting on them, then we will be given those prompting less and less and He will use someone He knows will do His work.  I must follow those in order to increase my opportunities to have the Spirit in my life and I cannot learn to discern if I'm not following.  Moroni 7:12-13 "Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.  But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God." 

ONE STEP CLOSER to my husband.  We were best friends.  We enjoyed so much about each other.  We still love each other dearly, but the demands of, school, kids, money...have definitely affected the closeness we once shared.  Life changes things.  We haven't always been on the same page, but we have made progress lately and I want to continue that. Each day I need to be one step closer to the real "us."  Laughing together, crying together, learning together, studying together, growing together, parenting together, dreaming together, experiencing together.

ONE STEP CLOSER to my children.  I know I have great relationships with them..but even good things can become better!  As they've grown and demands on my time changed, I actually do less with them than when they were younger.  Crafts, playing games and toys  (seriously I have the worst imagination as an adult!!!), even some simple traditions have been pushed aside.  One-on-one time is there, but not as much as it should be, especially as they get older!  I want them to continue to communicate with me about so many things..that will only continue if our closeness remains or increases.

ONE STEP CLOSER to my family.  I have great parents and siblings.  I need to make sure that I'm working on strengthening those relationships rather than disrupting them.  Phone calls, letters, emails, pictures..  There are some extended members..aunts, uncles, cousins, on my side and Cory's that we are truly grateful for and love as our own immediate family. We must nurture those relationships or there won't really be much to call a "relationship."

ONE STEP CLOSER to friends.  I used to pride myself on what a great friend is was.  I always had best friends and large groups of friends.  I always surrounded myself with lots of people and was always having people over.  It's sooo not that way anymore.  There is still a part of me...okay a large part...that misses that..that needs that.  But it's just not as possible when you're an adult with a family!  No matter how much I need social settings, I often find myself in a completely opposite situation.  I sort of hole up and get in my own head, kind of keeping away from people..which is so not like me! Instead , I need to get out and make friends, fix bruised relationships, and be a better friend to those I do have.

ONE STEP CLOSER to me!!  It's almost impossible to try and describe the differences in me now and me 10 years ago.  Unless you knew me at both times, it's not something people can really grasp!  That me is still me.  It's what I desire out of life.  It's what I dream of.  It's who I am inside.  But new insecurities and doubts have crept in, taken a hold of the real me, and choked it nearly out!!   I want to look like me.  I want to feel like me.  I want to dream like me.  I want to communicate like me.  I want to laugh like me.  I want to talk like me.  I want to act like me.  I want to love like me.  I want to care lIke me.  I want to cry like me.  I want to be me! 

I know this seems as daunting as a long list of resolutions.  I don't think it will be though.  Fixing and nurturing relationships is not an easy or a quick feat.  But it's doable if we do it ONE STEP at a time, if we get ONE STEP CLOSER, then we are doing better than yesterday and if we continue taking steps, our relationships will be what we want, need, them to be.

Cheers to a healthy, happy 2016!! What are you working on this year???

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Be True to Yourself! Back to school theme!

We have never had a theme for the school year before.  But now that my kids have been in school for a few years, I knew we needed one this year.  Let's see if I can sum up why....

Last year we noticed my son liked to goof off.  His teachers told me that he knows when to have fun and when to calm down and get work done.  Gage either finished his work quickly and started talking, or he would see his friends laughing and being silly and sit and laugh at them.  It was something he worked on last year, but we knew it needed to be something he worked on again this year.

His twin sister has had a rough go of friends in school.  In her 4 year old preschool class, she had her first taste of "mean girls."  No, not nasty or mean-hearted like older girls can be.  But she was left out.  It happened for a little while and I told her she had to talk to her teacher about it.  She did and the teacher put a stop to it.  There was one little girl who befriended her and she was able to feel better about it because of this sweet girl.  In Kindergarten, it was the same story.  She's kind of quiet and reserved around a lot of people.  She made one good friend and that was what she needed.  Last year, was rough!  There are first and second graders in the same class.  The older girls weren't very friendly or accepting and most of the first grade girls wanted to be friends with them, so they acted like those girls.  Taya did not.  She didn't change who she was to be accepted by these girls.  Which, we all know as adults is SUCH a great quality!!  But that's hard to explain to young kids!  She cried about it many times last year, about being left out, feeling lonely at school, and having no friends.  It was so hard!  

Our next two girls haven't had many years in school and haven't had any issues.  They just have trouble letting themselves be themselves around anyone but family.  

The first day of school this year was Tuesday.  So we had our family home evening on Monday night.  This doesn't have to be an FHE, I just made it that way for us!  I made the theme for the school year, "Be true to yourself!"  I got most of it from what I knew they needed to continue to work on and from this fabulous book!  

Chapter 5 is "Be True" and I just fell in love after rereading it.  I knew this would really speak to my kids.  

At the beginning of this, President Hinckley shared a story from his own childhood.  He was a seventh grader, and that meant it was to be his first year of Junior High.  Unfortunately, the renovations on the school weren't finished, so the seventh graders were sent back to the elementary where there was enough room.  He, and the other boys in his class, were not happy about this.  They were too old, too cool, too big for the elementary school.  They decided that the next day, they'd send a message by not going to school.

He says, "But we had no place to go.  We couldn't stay home, because our mothers would ask questions.  We didn't think of going downtown to a show, because in those days we had no money for that.  We didn't think of going to the park because we were afraid we would be seen by Mr. Clayton, the truant officer.  We didn't think of going out behind the school fence and telling shady stories because we didn't know any.  We had never heard of such things as drugs or anything of the kind.  So we just wondered around and wasted the day."

I love this!  The kids loved that part too.  They thought it was so funny that they really had nothing to do and were just so bored!  Bored is right...the next day they went back to an unexpected surprise.  Their principal, Mr. Stearns, whose "demeanor matched his name" was there to greet them at the front door.  He told them that striking was not the way to solve a problem and that they were "expected to be responsible citizens" and should have gone to talk to him if they had a complaint.  They were not allowed back until they had a note from their parents.  

President Hinckley walked, sheepishly, into his home.  His mother immediately asked him what was wrong and he told her what happened the day before.  She wrote a note, a very short note, but he said that "it was the most stinging rebuke she ever gave me."

"Dear Mr. Stearns,

         Please excuse Gordon's absence yesterday.  His action was simply an impulse to follow the crowd."

I cannot not even try to paraphrase his next two paragraphs.

"I have never forgotten my mother's note. Though I had been an active party to the action we had taken, I had resolved then and there that I would never do anything on the basis of simply following the crowd.  I determined then and there that I would make my own decisions on the basis of their merits and not be influenced by those around me. I decided that I would be true to whatever I believed to be right.

That decision has blessed my life countless times in countless ways, sometimes in very uncomfortable circumstances.  It has kept me from doing some things which, if indulged in, could at worst have resulted in serious trouble, and at best would have cost me my self-respect."

I explained this to the kids in ways they would understand.  The next thing we did was go through the points he makes in this section.  Be true to your land and country you call home, your friends, your parents, heritage, and family, to the truth, to what is right and fair and honest, to who you are and your own convictions.  There were some parts I read from the book but all we talked about with our kids. We made it into a discussion so they understood what I was getting at!  I gave them each the printout that I made for them.  They hung it somewhere where they would see it every day.  Some put it next to their beds, one on the back of his door so he saw it every morning he left his room, and some put it on the wall next to their backpack hooks.  (Just click here for the link to the printable..I have five color versions for my five crazy different kids!!)  

Next, and this may just be the part that really hit home to them, they made a goal.  Each of the kids received a blank paper and they came up with a goal to write on it.  It is their "be true to yourself" goal of the school year.  

"Follow myself and not my friends!"

 "Come out of my shell more and make good friends!"
"Share my talents and don't be embarrassed to shine~or fail!"
 "Be myself and not someone else!" 
 "Don't be like others and just be me!"

They've only been in school for a week, but I know there are a few who have really focused on their goal already.  They want to accomplish their goal and they want to hear a good report from their teacher and be able to tell their mom and dad how good they're doing at it.  Taya even put her goal in her backpack so she could see it every day whenever she went into her bag.  

This is one of my new favorite back to school traditions!  (along with our annual one-on-one discussions about bullying~what it is, why we don't do it, and what to do if we see it)   Do you have any you just love?

Have a happy day~Kasey

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Heavenly Father's Road Map~Baptism Prep series

Last summer we were able to go on a road trip that was over 10 hours long.  With this lesson, I was able to use that to our advantage!  We talked about how long the trip was.  How did we know where to go?

"Heavenly Father"
"Street signs"

Man I'm glad they were paying attention! ;)  I explained that a trip, or a journey is anytime between going from one point to another.  I asked where we came from, "Heaven," and where we are going, "back to Heavenly Father."  Therefore, that means our life here on earth is a journey.  How do we know where to go?  What does Heavenly Father give us to guide us back home? 


All true!  Those things are our road signs back to Heaven.  I explained that there are things on this earth that we HAVE to do in order to make it back.  When we turn eight, we accomplish the first two.  Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  

To prepare for this lesson, I created fill-in-the-blank road signs with scripture references.  I printed them and wrote numbers on the backside so we could pick them in order.  Each kid took a turn picking a road sign, looking up the scripture, and reading it.  After each were done, we filled in the blanks.  Then after each one, I'd say, "so, step 1 is? step 2 is?" and so forth, just to help put it in their memories even more.  Filling in the blanks and repeating the steps multiple times really helped with their comprehension of what was going on.  

Although they aren't old enough to accomplish the other three yet, they are responsible for preparing to do so now.  The girls can't receive the priesthood, but they have a responsibility to honor it.  Baptism opens the gates for all other things to be accomplished!  

Have a happy day~Kasey

Download the free scripture road signs HERE!  

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Baptism Prep FHE

Ever since my kids were toddlers, I knew I wanted them to really understand the choice they were making when it was time to get baptized.  I don't want them to do it because I want them to or because they think they should.  I want them to understand what covenants they are making and what it really means to get baptized.  

Last night we had our first "Great to be 8" that the stake puts on for those turning 8 this year.  It was so exciting and sad!  I am so thrilled for them but I am sad my first babes are old enough to be to this point in life!  How is that possible?!?!  It was a great spirit and I only hope I can keep that spirit and understanding through the year.  

These two won't get baptized until December, so I have a year to continue working with them.  I have outlined 12 family home evening lessons on different aspects of baptism.  Every second Monday of the month I will do an FHE lesson.  I will come back to this page to link up each outline with the lesson post.  These are tentative lessons.  As I get into the thick of planning them, I might combine some, or change some all together!  Enjoy!!

2~The Baptism of Jesus
3~ What is Baptism
4~Steps to Baptism
5~Faith in Jesus Christ
6~Baptismal Covenants
7~Baptismal Gifts
8~Holy Ghost
12~Endure to the End

Have a happy day~Kasey

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Monday, January 19, 2015

FHE for Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of my absolute favorite people from history!  I have imagined myself on marches with him and at the Lincoln Memorial listening to his famous speech.  I love learning new things about him and if I could have lunch with someone from the past, he would be it!  I have to add, as my children were studying historical figures for school last semester, I was so proud that Gage also found a special place in his heart for Dr. King!  
To celebrate the day, I created a family home evening to learn about and celebrate him.  

I created cards with information on them.  I numbered them on the back and placed them face down on the floor.  The kids each took turns picking them up in order and reading them to everyone.  Most of these caused the kids to ask questions or state their opinion on the matter.  It was really great! 

After we did that, we grabbed our treat, tonight it was ice cream, and we ate it while we listened to the "I have a dream speech."  

It was a simple way to remember all that he has done for our nation and it was such a conversation-starting topic with the kids. 

The document for the information cards is just a free click away~right HERE!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

No resolutions?



Those words are always heard this month!  This year I've decided to do away with the resolutions!  That doesn't mean I'm just going to keep floating about life the way I have been, but I don't like the term "resolution" and I think they just get thrown to the wayside too often, and too quickly.  I will still have goals and specific things I want to better myself in..but this year..I've decided to have a theme. 

Don't get me wrong~I have major fears, like creepy crawling "s bugs" as we call them around here, and the huge fear of falling from large heights..those..those I know won't go away!  But no fear in life.

NO FEAR of smiling and being confident in who I am, even though I'm still working on my body. Over the past few years, I've gained weight and as a result, I crawled into a shell.  I'm not as outgoing as I used to be.  As I really am.  I subconsciously do it at times, but I end up catching myself and bringing it back in. I can't have the fear of being outgoing and social again.

NO FEAR of being a "mean mom" and sticking to my guns when I give the kids a consequence ( fear of taking a second before handing one out in order to not spout off some crazy nonsense)!!  I have moments of "stick-to-it-iv-ness" but not every time when I need to be!  

NO FEAR of holding my tongue when a snarky comment wants to just throw itself out.  I have pretty witty comments that just want to fly out of my mouth without even thinking about it.  I catch myself a few times but not enough!

NO FEAR of "letting my kids win" when I stop myself from yelling at them.  I often get loud without thinking about it.  Other times my sane me says, "you know you shouldn't be yelling!  Stop it right now!!"  While my insane me says, "Whatever, then your kids will win!  They got you to stop!  Don't stop, let 'em have it!"  I need to let my kids win in that situation.  In that case, we all win.

NO FEAR of reading the Book of Mormon from cover to cover (for the first time ever..shhhh)! I have read really far at times and even read all parts at one point in my life or another.  I have not read it from front to back in consecutive readings.  I need to!

NO FEAR of gut-wrenching laughter.  I am a loud laugher.  I can be heard for miles I'm sure.  Some people hate it.  But I love it.  That's part of me.  I don't do that often AT ALL anymore!  When I do, I realize how much I miss it.  So does my husband.  

NO FEAR of continuing my exercise even though I often let my disappointment with my performance not being like it used to be.  I get into a pretty good groove..then it happens..every single time.  I realize my performance isn't good.  I'm not running as fast or I'm not lasting as long or I'm REEEEEEALLY tired.  Not like before.  Not like when I was in shape.  Those frustrations get to me.  Instead of letting them push me, I run from them.  They wear me down.  I can't let that happen anymore.

NO FEAR of really delving in and learning more about my gospel.  There are so many videos, articles, talks, messages, etc. available to us from our leaders.  I read them, but not often enough.  I need to really get in there and be uplifted by them on a daily basis.  

NO FEAR of wearing makeup and doing myself up when I want to.  And NO FEAR of not doing those things!  I've never been good at makeup and hair.  I'm not one that has to be done up in order to leave the house or have someone over.  But, I am no longer going to be embarrassed when I want to look all perty up in here! ;)  I also won't be too afraid to run to the store in my workout clothes or to be in my PJ's when someone stops by.  Some days I will be dressed up and some days it just won't happen.  Oh well!  

NO FEAR of trying new things.  I am not a crazy adventurous person, though honestly, I really wish I was!  I do not ride roller coasters, water slides, or anything likewise where I would be going seriously fast on a falling motion!  No thank you!  I do not even do things like sledding or 4-wheeling without a large amount of anxiety beforehand.  Even though I love them, I freak a lot before!  I do not try a lot of new foods.  I talk myself out of them.  I think you get the drift!  BUT~no more!  I will try things (within a limit..I don't be bungee jumping or eating chocolate covered grasshoppers any time soon...or ever)!  So far I've already jumped in and gone sledding for days with the kids without letting myself sit back and stress over it before getting in there.  I've also tried a new dish at a restaurant..with shrimp..which is not a favorite..but it was good.  

I could add more specific things on this no fear list, but I think I've made my point.  There are so many small, daily things that can often hold us back.  They do me.  I'm not going to let them anymore.  I will not be afraid!  Jump in with me!  What fear do you want to overcome this year?  

Have a happy day~Kasey

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tinkerbell's Pixie Hollow Games birthday party!

I absolutely loved this Tinkerbell party!  It was absolutely my favorite party we've done yet!
I wanted to make it into a Pixie Hollow Games type party (and really, I had not a single clue that that was actually a movie.  We've seen all the others, but not that one.  I didn't know until I was searching the internet for pictures)!

First thing's first~these super cute (yep..I'm proud of them) invitations!
 Welcome sign!!
 The tally chart
Prizes for the participants! (the most points picked first, and on.  There were extra prizes so even those that picked later got a good choice)
Tinkerbell's Lost Things Scavenger Hunt
I found silly, random things and hid them in the living room.  Everything was in sight and nobody had to move or open anything to see them.  They put an "X" or circled the items they found.  Points given for this game were the number of items they found.
 Fawn's Mooosical Animals~I printed off animals and laid them on the floor.  We played "musical chairs" with the animal spaces.  Once the music stopped they had to run to an animal and make the animal sound.  Points were given 1-12, 1 for the first person out, 12 for the last person out.)
Iridessa's Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling!
 Water bottles filled with glow sticks.  Bowl away!  I counted the number of bottles they knocked over and that is the number of points they got!
 Zarina's Pin-the-Pirate Boat-on-the-Treasure Map
My homemade treasure map (yeah..kinda proud of this one too)!  :D  The "X" marked the spot!
 Boats for each participant! Points 1-12, 1 for farthest away, 12 for closest!
Silvermist's Water Bulls Eye
We had three soaking sponges for the kids to throw at the bulls eye.  Points were the number of points they got within those three throws.
Vidia's Sack Race We separated the kids in twos.  The first to cross in each group were given 2 points, the last to finish was given 1.  (I originally planned to do multiple races to give points 1-12, but we didn't have enough time).
Rosetta's Garden Toss
Tissue paper and wooden dowels is all you need to make flowers!
 I used two glow-in-the-dark necklaces put together to create a ring large enough to toss around the flowers.  The kids each got three turns to throw and their points were the number of flowers they "ringed!"
 Periwinkle's Ice Sucker (we didn't actually get to this game because of time issues..we had a sweet little boy who was nervous to leave his mom so we got started 20 minutes later than expected.  It was so great to have him stay and get into the party though.)  I froze small ice cubes on lollipop sticks for the kids to suck on to see who could melt it the quickest.  My kids and I played this was fun!
I made these cupcakes with Tinkerbell's shoes...
I set them in these wrappers so they looked like flowers.
 Two newly, beautiful, six year olds and their gifts from their friends!!