We finished the Book of Mormon

A couple of years ago. I don't know how long now, too long really.
(I should have written down the date.)
Our family started reading the Book of Mormon to finish it.

We used a similar chart like this one to help move us along.
I liked this reward incentive because it was for each book,
instead of just doing one reward for the whole book.
It helped encourage us better.

We weren't the best at it every day. We tried though. Sometimes each member of the family would read a verse or two. Other times one person would read a few verses. Sometimes we listened to it with our devices. Other times we even watched a video. We forgot where we were a lot. That means we read double some times, or probably skipped some parts.

The point is we were consistent.

The kids were in the room with us, not always sitting still,
maybe never sitting still, or even behaving for that matter.

But we did it, We FINISHED!
That was a great feeling. Really Good. 

The quote below and others like it, are what encouraged me to keep trying to finish the book with our family, even when it was challenging at times for sure: 
(The quote is from Elder K. Brett Nattress from his Oct. General Conference talk, 

"As further evidence to help you understand the challenge my parents faced in raising our family, let me tell you about our family scripture reading. Each morning, my mother read the Book of Mormon to us during breakfast. During this time, my older brother, Dave, and I would sit quietly but irreverently. To be completely honest, we weren’t listening. We were reading the print on the cereal boxes.
Finally, one morning, I decided to square up with my mother. I exclaimed, “Mom, why are you doing this to us? Why are you reading the Book of Mormon every morning?” I then made a statement that I am embarrassed to admit to. In fact, I can’t believe I actually said it. I told her, “Mom, I am not listening!”
Her loving response was a defining moment in my life. She said, “Son, I was at a meeting where President Marion G. Romney taught about the blessings of scripture reading. During this meeting, I received a promise that if I would read the Book of Mormon to my children every day, I would not lose them.” She then looked me straight in the eyes and, with absolute determination, said, “And I will not lose you!”
Her words pierced my heart. Notwithstanding my imperfections, I was worth saving! She taught me the eternal truth that I am a son of a loving Heavenly Father. I learned that no matter what the circumstance, I was worth it. This was a perfect moment for an imperfect little boy."


2016 - Year in Review

January was mostly uneventful, except I caught pneumonia for the first time.
It lasted most of the winter for me.
The family carried on as usual while Chris did a great job holding up the fort.

February the kids made homemade valentines.
I  traveled to Oregon for my annual Girls weekend with my mom and 4 sisters.
Even though I was still feeling under the weather, I had a great trip.
Lindy and Kyle both competed in a National History Day project.
Kyle's topic was the Pioneers of Flight and Lindy did the enviornmentalist, Rachel Carson.

In March we got a new swing set for our backyard. We traveled to Utah for the Provo, LDS temple open house and we hiked Y mount for the first time as a family. We got a new piano.
Tate played Charbonneau, a French explorer, in a school play. 
Sadie dressed up like Sally for Dr. Seuss's birthday.
Tate also participated in his school's STEM night and made a paper airplane experiment/poster board, where we won a prize! We spent part of our Easter weekend in Sun Valley, where the kids were part of a 5,000 easter egg hunt.

April was Brandon's first time playing soccer, and Chris was his coach.
Lindy competed in the State National History Day. Tate participated in the Pinewood Derby, his last one, and he played a giant recorder for his school concert. Lindy and Kyle did track, where Kyle tried triple jump, and got his personal best in the mile at 6:26. We celebrated Chris' birthday.

Sadie turned 8 in May and was baptized. We celebrated with both sides of the family on Mother's Day weekend. It was wonderful. Sadie also participated in her clogging spring recital. We planted our garden, the first time in our new home/yard. Brandon took swim lessons, Kyle flag football, and Tate gymnastics. We also ran in the bubble run as a family, lots of fun.

In June we went cherry picking out in Emmett for the first time. Our ward was divided, and we were put in the new Mason Creek Ward. I was called to Activity Days and Chris was put in the Sunday School Presidency. The kids ran in the Capital Class in downtown Boise, always a fun tradition. We camped at Warm Lake. Tate started taking Banjo lessons and Kyle did a rock climbing camp.

For July, Chris' mom boat was on it's last legs, and it stopped working in the middle of the Reservoir.
We rowed and rowed until it got dark. Luckily we made it to the road, and Chris was able to get back to our car. The next morning Chris was able to reload the boat. It was repaired once again. Kyle discovered his love of fishing this summer. Sadie took a cheer class. Chris and I saw Matt Damon up close when he came to Boise for his new Bourne movie. It was exciting!

We had a family reunion on the Oregon Coast with my parents and all my sibling's families. It was great fun. We love the Coast. Then just our little family went to Seattle. We all loved Seattle. We went to the aquarium, the space needle, the gum wall, pike's place public market, rode a ferry, saw the Locks, ate chinese noodles, went to the Chihully Glass museum, and watched a Mariner's baseball game. Lindy started driving this month and learned to play the ukulele. The kids also started school at the end of August. 

We visited Sun Valley in September. Lindy started on her high school cross-country team. She made Varsity as a freshman. Kyle became a Life Scout. Lindy sang the national anthem at a school basketball game with 3 other choir members. Chris and I went to the wedding of one of his Dental School friend's daughters. Which means our friends have kids old enough to get married. Yikes.

Chris and I went to Denver for a dental conference. We heard Malala speak. It was fabulous.
I had another girls weekend with my sisters at Sally's house in Evanston, WY. It was another great weekend. Tate turned 11 and celebrated at pumpkin patch called the Farmstead. Tate also got a pair of Heely's (shoes with wheels and drove me crazy skating in the house.) Kyle turned 13 and he celebrated at an indoor arcade place. For Halloween Kyle was a lumber jack, Tate was Tape Face from America's got Talent, Sadie was a witch, and Brandon was an army man. Our stake was divided and we became part of the Victory Meridian Stake.

Tate earned his scouting Arrow of Light. I took a calligraphy class. Sadie sung in primary ward choir number. We went to FREEZING BSU home game. We voted. Nothing more to say about that.
Thanksgiving was spent at Grandma Dianne's which is always fun. Good Food, games and dance party with glow lights!

We celebrated all month. We started with doing the church's 25 ways in 25 days to do acts of service to remember the Savior all month. We didn't do something everyday but it was a nice way to keep the true meaning of Christmas in our home. Kyle went scuba diving for scouts and loved it. We went skiing to Tamarack as a family a couple days before Christmas with my brother Steven. The snow started to fall this month, and it hasn't stopped. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at Molly's house with Sally's family. We had Grandma Peggy's annual Christmas party at Cousin Vin and Dusanka's house. Lindy and I sang in the ward Christmas morning sacrament meeting. We celebrated Brandon turning 6 at Jump Time and Lindy turning 15 just at home. We told the kids after Christmas we were planning to get a new dog in January. Oh boy.


Happy 2017!

Ready or Not here comes 2017!

I hope you had a good holiday.

Chris and I enjoyed this movie, Lion, starring Nicole Kidman over the holiday.

I also loved the Star Wars Rogue 1 movie, which surprised me.
The characters were excellent,
and it might be my favorite of all of the Star Wars movies.

I'm listening to this new song from John Mayer over and over again,
called Love on the Weekend.

I tried making this breakfast casserole.
I loved it.

Today the kids start school again. Hooray! Christmas was fun,
but I'm glad to get the house back again.
Today I'm calendaring, and making a to-do list.

I don't know if I will get the house back again,
though, because come this weekend.
We will have a new dog.
Our 1st dog.

After a lot of thought and decision,
our family has decided to try life with a dog.
This could be our best or worst decision.
We will have to let time and experience decide.

Lindy needs a running partner,
my 3 boys need an active playmate,
and Sadie needs a pet to snuggle
and to love.
Chris grew up with dogs, he's content to give it a Go!
I did not grow up with dogs, so this is a labor of love for my family.

We will be getting a Brittany puppy that is about 9-10 weeks old.
Wish me and all of us LUCK!

(The one we are getting is a boy that is sitting on top of the army blanket.)


25 Ways in 25 Days

My kids and I love counting the days until Christmas!
Usually, we have lots of ways we do this with countdown chains from school,
chocolate advents from Grandma, and our elf, etc.

I like to prepare an advent for our family about Jesus Christ
- his life, his stories, his miracles, his service, etc.
It helps us stay focused on what matters most during this Season.

Our church has prepared an advent reflecting this very thing.
This year all over the world, no matter your age,
your faith or religious beliefs,
you can do small things to help serve others.

It's beautiful and simple.

You can do one thing each day, or just do a few of things
throughout the month. No need to go overboard, or to feel guilt, or stress.

It starts tomorrow on Dec. 1st.
It will help you enjoy Christmas better, in a more meaningful way.

Go to this link to print out a pdf of the calendar, so you can follow along.

The idea is to #lighttheworld with small acts of service.

This initiative will help each of us remember Jesus Christ,
and more importantly come to know him.

This website will give you more information.
Share your ideas on social media using the #LIGHTtheWORLD


Thanksgiving Family TV Time

There are a couple of great shows coming up to watch on Thanksgiving Night as a family.

PBS is showing a new movie of Anne of Green Gables.
Check your local listings for the time.

BYUTV is showing a 1 hour movie called Winter Thaw based on Leo Tolstoy's short story called, "Martin the Cobbler".  It looks excellent!
The movie will be shown on Thanksgiving night as well.
You can watch the trailer on Facebook.

Happy TV Watching!


2 Easy Dinners and an Easy Dessert

Our family tried these recipes this past week and we all loved them.
And they were Easy!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew from Six Sisters Stuff

Place theses ingredients in your crock pot:
1 lb. beef stew cubes ( I used pork stew meat)
4 carrots sliced
4-6 red potatoes cut into large cubes
1 bay leaf

Combine these ingredients in a bowl:
1 (1 oz.) packet dry onion soup mix
2 cans (10.75 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (10 oz.) package frozen green peas

Then place this mixture on top of the meat and vegetables
in your crock pot.
Cook on low 7-10 hrs. or high 5-6 hours.
(I think I cooked ours for about 3-4 on high)

Chocolate Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding (3.9 oz.)
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream (8 oz.)
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. water
4 eggs
1 c. mini-semisweet chocolate chips 
6 squares white baking chocolate (1 oz. each)

In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar. Add the sour cream, oil and water; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased and floured (it has to be VERY well greased and floured or I use “Cake Release style Pam” which also works really well) 12-cup bundt pan (the smaller bundt pans are not large enough and the cake will spill over. If you have a smaller pan, pour a cup or two of the batter into a seperate Pyrex bowl and bake an extra mini cake!). Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (sometimes longer, just keep checking). Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. In a microwave or double boiler, melt the white chocolate; drizzle over cake. (I put the chocolate squares in a ziplock bag in the microwave. Mush the chocolate around every 30 seconds to  make sure it soesnt burn until it is fully melted. then snip a small corner of the bag off and drizzle.) Yield: 12-16 servings.


2016 Favorite Things

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 girls or boys // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16

I love sharing my favorite things with you.
They aren't exciting or glamorous items.

It's just a list of basic things.

Each of these items have helped me smile, survive,
and enjoy my home and family during 2016.

You can buy most of these items in your local stores.
Most of my links take you to Amazon to give you a price idea, and
to use as a resource to help you find the product and read reviews.
I am not affiliated with any of these products, companies, or websites.


Instagram Photo Ideas

Have you seen this video yet?
It was making it's way around Facebook a couple of weeks ago.


I've watched it over and over,
and still find new details that make me laugh.

I just found out that the girls of studio C helped write the commercial.
Of course!

I do enjoy using chatbooks. The above video explains it all.
You can use my code to get your 1st book free! JR3MJUA2

I used the Artifact Uprising App
to put up 25 of our family instagram photos on a wall in our home.
They had a discount that I watched for.

If you google instagram prints,
there are other companies to look for.
Shop around to get a deal that works for you.

I love the wall,
and liked the quality of the prints from Artifact Uprising.
(I'll let you guess which room in the house I put these prints.)
I hung each photo by using blue painter's tape.
It doesn't hurt the photos or the wall, but hangs up well.

Even though,
I haven't tried this idea for my instagram photos,
I like it.

Magnets made out of your photos.

She put her magnets on a framed magnetic metal board.
I think this is fun idea for a kids and families to enjoy their photos.


Activity Day Girls - Thankful Tree

I serve the 8-9 year old activity day girls
in my local (Mormon) church congregation called a ward.
Every 2 weeks we meet for an hour with about 10 girls,
and we do something crafty, fun, educational, spiritual, etc.
It's a lot of fun.

This week we talked about the 1st Thanksgiving in America.
I loved when I asked the girls how the pilgrims made it the new land.
Most girls said, "they walked". Then we played a guessing game.
Each girl brought something they were thankful for.
We went around the room trying to guess who brought what.

After the game we made these Thankful Trees.

Lindy made this same tree a few years back when she was in Activity Days.

How to make the trees:


October Family Home Evening

I showed my kids some episodes of this tv show.
It's perfect for the month of October.
We all enjoyed it!
(You can watch these shows through Amazon or YouTube.)

We also went to the
We let the kids pick short videos they want to watch.
These are always some of our best Family Home Evenings,
when we watch theses videos.
We always learn something, the kids pay better attention,
and each message is always very direct and important.

We also made pumpkin pie milkshakes!
I love this recipe from Our Best Bites.
Treats are the key to fun Family Nights.


General Conference Weekend - Oct. 2016

I was so excited this past weekend, I made homemade cinnamon rolls!
This has been a goal of mine for years.

We also listened to General Conference from our church.
We listened to our Prophet, President Monson and the 12 Apostles.


Home-Made Orange Julius

Last week most of our family was hit with a stuffy head cold. My favorite remedy for when we're not feeling good with aches, sore throats, and stuffy heads is home-made Orange Julius drinks.

It's surprisingly easy, and tastes delicious. Even if we're not sick. 

Orange Julius

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (DO NOT MAKE ORANGE JUICE)
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/4 c. sugar (You can omit this, or use less)
1 t. vanilla
8 ice cubes (It's better to add 2 at a time as you blend it)

Combine all ingredients in the blender, except the ice cubes.
Blend 1-2 min., adding ice cubes one at a time, until smooth.
*You want the drink to become kinda frothy from blending it.
(If the drinks sits for a bit in the blender, it may separate, just blend again!)

Recipe from food.com/8589


Settling into our Fall Schedule

Our family is settling into our fall schedule.
It always takes a good month or so to transition from
Summer to Back-to-School.

We've also been in our new home for 2 years this fall.
We all feel settled, adjusted and happy after the move.
It takes time.


Refuge from the Storm

I've been inspired by this video:

We can help by going to www.justserve.org

Even if my time is sometimes limited I can smile when I see them around our town. Now that my eyes and ears have been opened to them, I see refugees quite a bit now in our community - at parks, in the grocery store, at the dr's office, etc.

I can donate supplies.
Our church often has drives for assembling health kits, school supplies, blankets, etc.

Praying for them, is also a great place to just start.  I can recognize a prompting, and do my best to follow through.