Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reading to teach


I recently read an article in the Spring 2017 BYU Magazine, written by Sue Bergin, about how reading books which model important life lessons can be valuable to children. Because stories relate to a person’s emotions, they can be a particularly powerful teaching tool.

I read to my kids every day. We have several shelves of our own books at home with our favorite books. And we also fill a large basket at the library every week to have a new assortment of books to read. I let my kids choose many of the books we read, but I also pick a few. By choosing some “good” books, I can promote literacy AND positive behavior at the same time 🙂

For older kids who are reading on their own, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the Good and Beautiful book list compiled by Jenny Philips. (You can download a sample list at that link, or purchase the full list). I don’t have time to pre-screen every book my pre-teen reads. Jenny Philips has read hundreds of books and recommends books that teach good moral values; unfortunately, so many of the books available nowadays make rude and crude behavior seem funny– I appreciate that she’s gone through and found “good” books. My older kids have read many of the books on her list, and they’ve really enjoyed all of them. (Note that some of these books are older, and aren’t available at many public libraries. BUT… a lot of old books that are no longer under copyright are available to read online for FREE at Project Gutenberg and can be listened to FREE at LibriVox. I’ve found these to be very, very helpful resources.)

Here are some picture books for the little guys that Sue Bergin recommended in her article (with a few of my own suggestions):

SOCIAL AWARENESSunderstanding things from another person’s perspective

One Smile by Cindy McKinley

The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth

Do unto Otters by Laurie Keller


The Enchanted Wood by Ruth Sanderson

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman

If I Only Had a Green Nose by Max Lucado

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

The Big Fib by Melissa Anderson

RELATIONSHIP SKILLS— positive interactions and friendship building

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

The Blessings Jar by Colleen Coble

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

SELF-MANAGEMENT— controlling thoughts and behavior

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Lacey Walker, Non-stop Talker by Christianne C. Jones

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

SELF-AWARENESS— identify own emotions

Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice B. McGinty

Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams

Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth



CTR Airlines Primary Activity


In our church, kids ages 3-12 attend “Primary”. The person in charge of the Primary (Primary President) ensures that there are teachers in place for each class (for an hour the kids are split up by age groups), plans lessons for “sharing time” (the hour when all the kids are together), and helps everything run smoothly. Our Primary President is awesome. She recently did a Saturday activity for the kids called “CTR Airlines” (CTR= Choose The Right). For the invitations, she made airline tickets with all the details.

When we arrived, the kids checked in. They received their luggage and put their names on luggage tags.

They also got their passports and put their names on them.

The passports show the destinations they’d be visiting.

The kids followed the signs to the “airplane”.

The “airplane” consisted of rows of seats set up airplane style in the overflow area of the chapel. In the front, there was a TV. The Primary President showed a short video clip emphasizing each destination’s important before we arrived.

Armor Island was our first destination. Before arriving, we watched a bible video about the Armor of God. After the video, she announced we had landed, and everyone got off the plane and we walked to the Primary room. There were tables set up with paintable CTR shield cookies for the kids to decorate. As the kids decorated, they came around and stamped the kids passports.

Afterwards we got back onto the airplane. We were shown a video about the importance of prayer. They came around with snacks (goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, and water). Then we landed at Prayer Prairie. At this location, the kids painted prayer rocks.

Again, their passports were stamped and then we got back on to the plane. We were headed to our next destination, Service City. We watched this really sweet movie about a 13 year old boy who did a triathlon bringing his friend with cerebral palsy along with him.

At Service City, the kids helped sort broken crayons (which had been collected in the month prior to the activity) into different colors. The crayons would then be melted (by a non-profit organization) and made into new crayons to be given to local children’s hospitals.

We got back on to the plane and watched a short video about Paul telling the importance of heeding the Holy Ghost’s guidance. Then we arrived at our final destination, Obedience Beach. This was outside, and consisted of water balloons, sprinklers, and a homemade dunk tank. The kids had lots of fun.

I can’t take credit for any of these ideas, but I wanted to share them to help inspire others to throw fun activities for the kids in their churches!

Saint Patrick’s Day rainbows


This year for Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided to do a food craft with my kids. I like edible crafts because then there’s no extra clutter messing up my house, but they can still be creative!

I gathered fruits of each color, and vanilla yogurt for the background.

Red- strawberries

Orange- mandarin oranges

Yellow- bananas

Green- kiwi

Blue- blueberries

Purple- grapes

Shredded coconut for the clouds 

Here is one of the creations. (Don’t mind the super fancy bowl)

Teaching optimism verses pessimism


One of my kids like to find the negative in every situation. Fed up with his constant complaints yesterday, I drew a picture of a green triangle on our white board. I then wrote everything good about it. I paused, allowing my child to read all the good things I wrote about the triangle. Then, on the other side of the board, I wrote all negative things about the green triangle. 

I explained that two people can look at the very same thing, but see it in two opposite ways depending on their attitude. Attitude makes all the difference! The green triangle (or circumstance) remains the same.

I continued by explaining the idiom “see the glass half full”. 

I’m sure this won’t be my last spiel about seeing things in a positive light, but perhaps this can help you paint a picture for your own child who is struggling with complaining about things!

No-sugar-added applesauce 


One of my favorite things to make in the fall and autumn time is applesauce! I looked through a few recipes online, which inspired this recipe.


3lbs apples

1 tsp cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 tsp salt
A squirt of lemon juice
Peel and core the apples. I use this really nice Pampered Chef apple peeler.

The apples come out sliced in rings. Then it takes just a few quick slices to get nice bite-size pieces of apples.

Add all ingredients in a large pot. It’s not going to look like there’s much liquid. That’s correct! As the apples cook, they give off their own juice.

Bring the liquid to a boil. Since the apples are atop the liquid, just use your spoon to check and see when the juice in the bottom of the pan starts boiling.

Then cover, turn to low and simmer 20 minutes. (Stir every 5-10min). 

Pour it into your Blendtec in two batches and press the “sauce” button.

Allow to cool a bit (it’s boiling hot at this point). This is delicious warm or cold! 

You can put it in a jar and keep in your fridge for up to a week (if it doesn’t all get eaten in one sitting!). I usually let my kids eat a bunch and then still have enough to fill about 15 squooshies (reusable food pouches our kids love).

Valentine’s Day cards


Tonight at a Relief Society Enrichment meeting (a monthly group for the women in my church), we made homemade Valentine’s Day cards. I don’t know who to give credit to since I was supplied the ideas second-hand, but I wanted to share them here 🙂

Buy a box of blank brown cards (Hobby Lobby carries them) to make these. You can elevate the pictures on each card by doing dots of hot glue (and letting a layer dry before adding on top of it for more height).

I love homemade cards!!

Centerpieces for a baby’s funeral


This past weekend, I helped serve food at a family luncheon following the funeral of their 9-month-old infant. I was impressed by the centerpieces, and asked my friend to send me the files. Each table was covered with a table cloth, and then in the center of the table was a coordinating 12×12″ scrapbook paper. There was a mason jar with a ribbon tied around it, filled with flowers. The mason jar held up a small photo with these quotes, which come from LDS Primary songs.


My friend says, “I created these using It doesn’t give you much control, but it worked out really well overall.”

Hopefully these ideas will help someone else as they are planning a luncheon or funeral for a heart-wrenching loss of an infant.