Sling-Shot Cross Bow Tutorial

If you’ve got kiddos at home, go get ’em! Engineer has created a tutorial of a fun but simple toy that kids can make themselves (probably starting around age 5). All you need is a wire hanger and strong hands.
He’s been excited about making this tutorial but then when he saw the camera got a little shy, so watch closely, not much of an explainer yet;)

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“Men Are That They Might Have Joy.”

Image                                                Yes, we’re here to learn. We’re here to learn to find JOY! (2 Nephi 2:25)

Since we talked about Affliction, the what’s and why’s, last week in Family Night, we decided to cover the topic of Joy and Gratitude this week.

Here is the puzzle I made for the kids, Thank you Heavenly Father Puzzle The puzzle pieces have scriptures that talk about Joy, both how we can obtain it and how we can have it even amidst trials. Then on the other side is a picture of a little girl praying, on which I wrote “Thank you Heavenly Father” on ours. We cut out the puzzle first, then found the scriptures and talked about joy. After that we put the puzzle together with the little girl showing and talked about one of the greatest ways to find joy is to look for and thank our Heavenly Father for all of our blessings.

It was really a simple lesson, but the kids liked the puzzle and I feel like they understood the point…which is always a good thing;)

What are ways you have used to teach about Affliction and Joy?

LIFE CLEANSE: OUTLINE

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“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” Stephen R. Covey

So do you remember a while back, well it would have been at the beginning of the year when I posted we were going on a beach trip and then I was coming back to start my 2014 LIFE CLEANSE?

Did you see my post right after about our crazy stressful trip that, although full of mercy and learning, left me a bit frazzled?

Here’s the deal, I was originally planning a 90-DAY LIFE CLEANSE. Yep, whole thing start to finish from January through March.

Well, here it is April and I’m just now getting to the next Phase!

At first I was kind of getting down on myself, which was definitely not helping the process, and then I thought to myself, “Come on Meg! Who put a time limit on this thing anyway?! You did! Nobody else is imposing these time restrictions! You silly thing, just keep working on improving, stop with the crazy/impossible expectations!”

So, here I am. I went back to the original 2014 LIFE CLEANSE title to relieve my personal anxiety on the subject. Plans are more motivating to me when they have a title;) Also, I’ve taken a more “Move on when you’re ready” approach to reaching the next phase.

Each Phase of my plan has a Section that I can work on exclusively or in connection with the other two sections. Also, each section tries to focus on a different aspect of my being (ie: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, etc.)

Here’s my ORIGINAL plan:

Phase 1: Renew, Revitalize, Reflect

Renew: This is meant to be a more Spiritual and Emotional Section of Improvement. Spiritually I want to Repent and Forgive (mostly myself), moving forward, as if I was starting life anew. Emotionally I want to leave Discouragement and Self-doubt behind and move forward with Hope and Courage.

Revitalize: This is a more Physical Section of Improvement. For myself, I know I need to focus more on self-care, especially rest. Sleep, breaks, and focusing more on where I’m “letting myself go” physically. It’s impossible to fill everyone’s bucket from my empty one. Also, in my surroundings, to make myself more efficient and productive I’m organizing, downsizing, and deep cleaning my home. This “spring-cleaning” is always very refreshing for me.

Reflect: This is a Mental, although touching on the Emotional and Spiritual Improvement Sections as well. This will of course require Heavenly help, my knees will get a workout With this Section I want to focus on three main questions: What do I really need to change in my life ? What is/are the root(s) of what is holding me back from this change? What changes can I make that will make change in my family?

Phase 2: Study, Strengthen, Synthesize

Study: A mostly Spiritual Section, a need to focus more on the quality of my study rather than quantity. I’ve been going through the motions lately and don’t feel the invigoration of learning and inspiration as strongly as I once did. I mostly want to focus on my study of Scripture, being “IN” my prayers and not just habitual monologues, and the topics that I have pondered on during my time of Reflection in Phase 1.

Strengthen: In this Physical focused Section I was to hone my routines/habits. Making sure I “Put first things first” (Stephen Covey), namely my study and self-care. Also, taking a literal interpretation of the section, I want to focus more on changing my exercise routine to include more strength training. I’m finding I can do my daily Mommy tasks when my body is in better condition.

Synthesize: This will be mostly a Mental Section. I want to focus on how I can use the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of my being to work together more efficiently and productively. I believe this will mean paying more attention to timing, and highs and lows of the day/week/etc. For this section I will focus more on receiving guidance through prayer, and daily planning, using a long-term vision. Also I plan to write the things I’m discovering about myself so that I can forecast what, when, and how to do tasks/activities.

Phase 3: Clarify, Cleanse, Create

Clarify: This will be a Mental and probably Emotional Section. At this point in the process I am hoping I can define what really are the roots of my personal vices. The idea being, to kill the problem from the source.

Cleanse: A Physical Section that will focus mostly on food cleansing. Omitting some foods and adding others to cleanse my body of toxins and hopefully find a good food balance that will lessen the “build-up” in the future.

Create: Another Mental, Spiritual and Emotional Section mix. Now that I have found the roots, I want to create a “game-plan” of how I can use my virtues to eliminate the vices. This will probably be an ongoing process but I’m thinking that the earlier Phases will help me get rid of distraction and focus on the things that will empower me to make real change.

Another thing I noticed after I started working was that the Phases kind of overlap. Right now I’m still working on Revitalize from Phase 1, and I’m learning that Renew is something that needs to happen more regularly…. but I’ve moved on to all three Phases in Phase 2, albeit slowly;).

I’m hoping this makes sense. Sometimes my ideas only make sense to me;)
I’ll be posting and hopefully vlogging some of what I’ve been learning in this process of Cleansing my life. My main goal is to find the main roots of change in my life that need to be made. I realize that some may take a life-time to change but I think that the identifying and concentrating on specifics will help me progress more successfully.

Loaded: A Lesson in Affliction

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As I came around the corner to the laundry room it was if her little face was saying, “Come on Mom! This laundry thing is fun-stop complaining!”

So I think I’ve mentioned before that we have a Family Night each week in which we have some gospel learning time, usually a treat, and usually some fun activity to do together. We try for Monday nights and tonight I kept thinking back to two talks I had recently read/heard that seemed to be hollering at me:)

The first was a talk that was given in our Worldwide General Conference that our church holds every 6 months, you can read the whole thing here.

The second was a short talk that we read in our devotional this morning during homeschool, you can read the whole thing here.

Both talks covered the topic of challenges or afflictions, and the necessity of having trials in our lives. I thought back with a bit of shame to the middle of last night when I found myself praying, ” Can’t you just make her sleep through the night?” as I sat up with Button, whom has suddenly become an insomniac after  over a year of being my best sleeper.

There are bigger things though, and there have been times when I think, “Can’t I have a break?” But then what would I be learning?

So over the last few years I’ve tried to change my prayers during times of trial from “Why? Can’t you make it stop?” to, “Ok, Lord. Show me what I’m supposed to be learning. And please give me the strength to pull through this better than I was.”

It’s not a perfect science, for sure, but it’s amazing what my change in attitude has done for my ability to confront challenge and also to trust and rely on the Lord.

Anyway, I created this The Power of the Load as part of our Family Night tonight, trying to explain it in a way that my kiddos would understand. Well, at least they thought the old lady doing weights and the baby reading a book were funny;)

Teaching Children through Symbols: Easter Week, Plan B

IMG_1726                                                                                         As usual, Elf is eating more than she’s making, but good times non-the-less!

So do you ever have those days, weeks, months, when nothing goes according to plan? That was my week this week.

Mostly we just had some low-key days with Mom and kiddos needing to take care of their health. That meant kids were much more in charge of their homeschooling this week and we did not get out and about much at all.

It was still a good week, just definitely not what I envisioned. But I’m learning more and more that what I envision may not be what is best in the long run. 🙂

Over the past several years, we have really been striving to teach our children the symbolism associated with Christianity. Especially those in connection with holidays (you can read more about our Christmas traditions here)

We feel this aspect of teaching is important because it gives LIFE to tradition and causes the children to focus more on the activities. Don’t you find yourself more focused on an activity if you know WHY your doing/learning about it?

But perhaps even more so, we feel teaching our children symbolism helps them understand Christ’s teachings better. He taught through parables and symbols, in fact nearly all of his direct teachings in the Bible are taught in this way. Also, many books, especially Isaiah, cannot be fully understood unless one looks beyond the obvious and uses tradition and symbolism to interpret the full meanings.

Of course, we will always have the Holy Ghost to guide our insights in the Scriptures, but we feel that the Holy Ghost works better when he has more to work with (ie: a knowledge of symbolism and Christian traditions).

Like with Christmas, my mother gave us a book
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that helps act as a guidebook through the many symbols and traditions associated with Easter. We really love it because it includes all the main scriptural references to the major events in the last week of Jesus’ life, as well as the major traditions and symbolism associated with his time, culture, the Atonement, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. It has been a wonderful resource for our family!

We started the week with our Family Night on Monday. We talked about Palm Sunday and the significance of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, the symbolism of the white donkey and the palms (Great article on sybolism of Palms here.)

We also told the story of Jesus last week on earth with symbols, hidden inside plastic eggs (You can find a link for telling a similar story here) We made it into a scavenger hunt this year and the kids had fun looking for all the “ingredients” for our Jesus’ story “egg hunt”.

IMG_1771                                                                       Just the unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and “wine” (aka:Acai juice) this year:)

We had our Passover meal on Tuesday. We did it “Mexican Style” this year, including the traditional foods with some homemade refried beans, guacamole, and veggies.

Usually we have a full Seder Plate, this also opens the door to discussions on Jewish culture which helps children understand the dynamics of Jesus’ day and the cultural and political events that helped lead to His Crucifixion.

But this year we stuck to the essentials that are mentioned in Exodus, during the first passover. Well, we just talked about the lamb, and we don’t drink wine so we used Acai Juice;) The kids were really interested this year in learning the symbolism of the Passover and I had to giggle when Fiesta asked, “But Mom, what does the guacamole signifize (aka: symbolize)?)

IMG_1730                                                                              Fiesta liked cutting up all the marshmallows for our Resurrection Rolls

On Good Friday we made our Empty Tomb Rolls (aka: Resurrection Rolls), discussing about how this day was in remembrance of the day that Jesus actually died and was put in the tomb.

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IMG_1742IMG_1743      Today I think we FINALLY (hopefully) wiped up the last of the flour that got scattered throughout the house;)

We covered them with foil and put them in the refridgerator so that we can bake them on Sunday morning and open them to find that the “tomb” is empty!

IMG_1748                                                                                 Button was trying to talk me into letting her go in the pool, “Poo, Poo Mommy!”

Today we did some of our normal Saturday cleaning in preparation for the Sabbath, but to make it a little different we also “purged” a bit of our excess. Each of the kiddos chose some toys (one for each year of life they have had) to give away to someone that could use it more than they.

I thought this was a good way for the kids to realize that Easter time is a time to reflect and renew, getting rid of things that are not in alignment with living a Christian life. Not that toys are bad, just a symbolic way they can look at their little lives and decide “I don’t really need this.” I’m hoping that we can discuss this some more tomorrow as we watch our traditional Easter movie.

We were going to go to a special park that is a ways from our home that has some trees that remind me of Olive trees, to talk about the Atonement in the Garden of Gethsamane. We did this a few years ago in Peru when we lived near a park with Olive trees and my son still remembers it. Unfortunately, Button had a fever and was NOT a happy camper, so we will have to save that outing either for tomorrow afternoon or sometime next week.

IMG_1752IMG_1758                                                                                  It turned out that some time in the pool with big brother was just what she needed to feel better!

We finished off the day with some swimming as a family and Engineer made us a good hot-dog roasting fire and helped the girls roast (burn?) theirs, which also helped him sign off some of his Scouting assignments.IMG_1761                                                          You can’t eat hot-dogs at the dining table! Improvised picnic….

 

IMG_1772                                                                                        I’ll explain in a separate post how we’re doing the Boy Scouts of America program in Mexico🙂

He also helped Mom this week when she was mostly on the couch to take care of lots of domestic duties and even made a couple meals, which also helped him complete some Boy Scout activities…can we say win-win?

All in all it was a rewarding week and we’re looking forward to celebrating the Resurrection tomorrow as we attend our church meetings, sing in the choir, deliver Resurrection Rolls to friends and watch videos about the life of Christ together as family.

We will also enjoy a “Jerusalem meal”, that will include foods that were typically eaten in Jesus’ time, this will also be a scavenger hunt as I list off the foods and the kiddos can go find them in the fridge and cupboard to put on the table.

We hope that the peace, hope, and joy that comes from the celebration of Easter may rest in your homes as your celebrate with those you love 🙂

Spring-y

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SPRING BREAK! This was such an adorable shot, had to snatch a memory!

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As you can see it only takes a moment for the perfect pose to break up 🙂

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Family Sand Castle! Hahaha! It’s hard to make the hang-loose sign AND smile at the camera!

So I’ve mentioned in past posts that we try to keep the mainstream North American “Easter” traditions (ie:candies, eggs, bunnies, chicks, non-religious “Easter” movies) separate from our actual Easter celebration. We still dye eggs, have egg hunts, some treats and use some of the cute movies and baby animals but we do that either on the first day of Spring or the weekend directly following it. We also use the beginning of Spring as a way to explain the symbolism of the Resurrection. That way there is plenty of time for the kids to enjoy but be ready for our more spiritual approach to the Easter Celebration.

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The sun was literally just coming up, which I’m assuming is why Fiesta looks so dreamy eyed;)

This year we had the opportunity to actually go on a family trip to the beach for our Spring Break and Spring Celebration. We mostly just enjoyed being together and having fun and enjoying the beauty of God’s creations. But we also had an egg hunt at the beach!

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A-HA! I SEE ONE!!!!! 

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Look what I found! 

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OOOOHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I found one tooooooo!!!!!! 

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First matching beach hats (Gotta love Mexico! About 75 cents each! 🙂

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Creative chaos….can you spot the Minion eggs?

When we got home we invited over some friends to decorate real eggs and had an egg hunt all together afterwards. The kids really had so much fun and as usual it was fun learning more about our Mexican friends Easter traditions and sharing ours with them. 

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I think the Moms had as much fun as the kids:) (so much fun I can’t take an in-focus picture, right;) 

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We kind of like glitter:)

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What? It’ll break if I play with it like a ball? 

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The hunt is on….as you can tell the boys are pretty serious about it;)

 

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Last egg found! Bittersweet victory….

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They didn’t even wait to get back home to start eating them!

Our kiddos had plenty of fun and were all ready when Palm Sunday approached to learn more about the events leading up to Easter. Stay tuned for my next post on our Easter week Celebration!:)