Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Park Safari Adventure

Who says your third trip to the park this week has to be a bore?  On our last outing, my munchkin forgot all about the swings as we embarked on a safari advanture.  You'd be surprised at what we found at a little park in the middle of the city.

I couldn't believe the numer of squirrels we found.  Some were foraging for food, others posing as statues, and of course those daring tightrope (phoneline) walkers.  I must admit, these little critters are hilarious to watch.  My little 2 yr old was perplexed that they wouldn't come to her beck and call yet they would allow her to run up menacingly close before scurrying up a tree just barely out of arms length (such a tease:)  And have you ever noticed just how acrobatic these little fellows are?  They'd leap from tree to tree without breaking a teenie squirrel sweat!  They were definately our favorite of the day.

To our next surprise, in a tiny creek bed, we found turtles.  They blended in so well against the dark rocks and rustic wood that only a safari hunter on the look out would have even noticed their stealth position.  Whoever coined the term "slow as a turtle" should have seen how these critters disappeared in a blink (literally) when we stepped too close for their liking.  I peered into the water trying to find their new position and all I saw were tiny minnows (our next find of the day)!  If I see them on a future trip, I'll inquire into their magic disappearing act.

I don't know what I like more about birds---their beauty, their variety, or their songs
It was fun to see them hop from limb to limb or chase each other (the big birds like to bully & chase the small ones). Once again, my little one was quite indignant when they refused to stand still as she charged them full speed ahead.  There were no ducks or geese to feed on this trip (another favorite activity) which was a relief because I forgot the bread.

So go ahead, I double dog dare you! 
Make your next park day a magical safari adventure.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fun with Balloons Activity

This balloon activity was a roaring success with the kiddos at our weekly mommy preschool group.  The original idea, which I tweaked, came from Margaret Read MacDonald's book entitled Bookplay: 101 Creative Themes to Share with Young Children ( link). 

 Supplies Needed:
  1. Balloons (minimum of 2 per child---1 for play &1 for balloon craft below)
  2. Mirror
  3. 3 Storybooks about balloons such as these (more Amazon links):
  4. Balloon Person Craft
    • construction or printer paper to make eyes & feet
    • crayons or markers to color eyes & feet
    • permanent markers to draw balloon features
    • tape
  5. Snacks & drinks
The Activity

Have children sit "criss-cross applesauce" in a circle. 
Do not give out any balloons yet, just hold one up for kids to see
  • Ask what sort of things you can do with a balloon (blow it up, pop, toss it, bump it, etc)
  • Read Story #1
  • Take 1 balloon and have kids pass it around the circle while singing the following words (to the tune "The Farmer in the Dell")
    • We're passing the balloon, we're passing the balloon. Hi Ho the Merry O, We're passing the balloon.
    • We're bumping the balloon (bump the balloon lightly to each other)
    • We're kissing the balloon
  • Read Story #2
  • Balloon Races (blow up balloons but do not tie; on count of 3 everyone let's go of their balloon)
  • Balloon Orchestra (blow up balloon but do not tie; on count of 3 everyone makes music with balloon by pulling/stretching apart the rubber just below opening)
Now give each child their own blown-up & tied balloon
  • See who can bump their balloon in the air the longest without it touching the ground
  • Balloon Static:  have children rub balloon on their heads to create static electricity.   Use a mirror to show the children how their hair is drawn toward the balloon.
  • Read Story #3
  • Craft: Make a balloon person.  I provided feet templates which the children decorated (see the work of my 2 yr old below); the moms drew the eyes which children stuck on with tape; moms drew mouth/nose if children desired with a permanent marker.  Be creative, there are lots of ways to do this activity and many more balloon crafts besides this (you can Google "balloon crafts for kids" to find lots of ideas and pictures)
  • Snack Time

Friday, October 14, 2011

Repent Every Single Day---For Real?! (Part 2 of 2)

Here's the personal inventory from part 1 but this time, it becomes an intimate conversation with God:
Blessings / Character AssetsSins  / Character Defects
Patient & loving with grumpy child (thank you for my beautiful child, thank you for helping me love first)Woke up late (Please help me wake up on time so that I can be a blessing to my family i.e. avoiding the stress of the rush)
attentive & took notes in church (Thank you for the gospel and for all I learn at church.  Bishop taught that if I prepare to partake of the sacrament, I will feel Thy spirit abundantly; please help me to fully apply this counselForgot morning prayer (I don't want a prayerless home or prayerless heart.  Please forgive me.  I will set a reminder alarm; please help me learn diligence)
complimented child for reverence in church (I'm thankful that my child understands reverence / why we are reverent in Your house)Snapped at husband for forgetting to bring diaper bag  ( Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth.  Keep watch over the doors of my lips (Psalms 141:3)
Lord brought to my mind a blessing I received yesterday (Thank You so much for reminding me of (that) blessing.  It has helped me to ___.  May I always see & acknowledge thine hand in my life)was late to a meeting (I see a trend of tardiness.  I don't want to be late for my life or late to answer your call to serve.  Help me improve now so that when it matters, I'll show up)
realized judging Susie was unfair; silently asked God for forgiveness & to allow me to see her through His eyes (thank you for pricking my heart to see my unfair judgement of Susie so that I could repent immediately and treat her fairly.)judged Susie for a comment she made  (Help me to see Susie as you see her, to love her as you do.  Forgive me for judging her and help me to love first and judge last)
made family a nice lunch even though I didn't feel like it (service is not always easy or convenient.  I'm thankful for my  family &  pray I will always always have a servant's heart)My mind was wondering when Frank spoke to me today (Love seeketh not her own.  Forgive me for placing myself above Frank.)
had personal and family scripture study & prayer (thank you for scriptures that teach me how to follow Christ.  I read this passage on judging others  "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous (Ps. 19:9). The mortal problem, My problem, is  I don't judge righteously & perfectly.  Help me relinquish all judgement to Thee, the perfect judge.

This prayer is very specific.  Sometimes we underestimate the power of being specific in prayer (often steering toward generalities)…but think about it, if you want a specific answer, you must ask a specific question.

This prayer is personal and intimate.  It's a genuine conversation about my real problems...a heartfelt communication between Father and child.

 This prayer gets to the heart of the matter.   Who I am from day to day.  I get necessarily uncomfortable listing the same defect over and over.   I can't hide from the truth.  It's there in black & white and has a way of spurring on change.

With a new, keen awareness of our comings and goings, we can "continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear" as AA's Big Book. "When these crop up we:
  1. Ask God at once to remove them.
  2. Discuss them with someone immediately (when appropriate).
  3. Make direct amends quickly if we have harmed anyone (if to do so would not further injure them or others).
  4. Resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help".
 I can testify that your prayers will be more sincere, you will be more open to hear God’s whisperings, and your relationship to God and the Savior will abound.


My Peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
(John 14:27)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Repent Every Single Day---For Real?! (Part 1 of 2)

My life is pretty normal. I mean, I'm not a thug! And to think back on my day, nothing earth shaking comes to mind.  Yet, the scriptures instruct me to "retain a remission of my sins from day to day" (Mosiah 4:26). 
Religious instructor, Frank S. Gonzalez said "The right time to be...concerned about our sins is every day. Once a week is not enough. Once a month or once a year could prove spiritually fatal".*

My recovery from food addiction using a 12-step program resulted in a 100 lb weight loss and a new blessed life; However, it also taught me a simple yet effective method  to repent daily. 
The 10th step says to continually take a personal inventory and when I'm wrong promptly admit it.  It's amazing what happens when you write down your day---getting it out of your head and onto paper, you really see things more clearly.  It allows you "bring into captivity on paper every thought or deed to the obedience or disobedience of Christ " (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Spencer W. Kimball said:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Adventures With The Word Of God ~Daily Devotionals

I love this idea. I love this book!

How do you engage a rambunctious 1 year old in family scripture study? I knew I needed a fun activity to win her attention and LDS author, Rebecca Irvine's, book  Adventures with the Word of God was my manna from heaven.