6.26.2012

"If ye are prepared..." Family Home Evening

 

Yep...last nights family home evening topic was pretty much a no-brainer ;)

After having 5 minutes to evacuate my family from our home last Friday, I knew we needed to update our 72-hour kits and talk to the kids about the importance of being prepared.  I wanted to really focus on the scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants 38:30..."If ye are prepared ye shall not fear."

This was so important to focus on...because there has been a lot of fear in our house since last Friday. My kids keep asking if the fire is really gone, or if we are going to have to leave our house again.  I tried to impress upon them the principle of following the prophet, preparing ourselves, and then letting go of that fear.  Once you have done everything you can to be ready for situations it is so much easier to put the rest in the Lord's hands, and feel confident that you have done everything you could.

We packed up the family and went over to our local Walmart :)  We bought everything we needed to update our 72-hour kits and make them a little more usable.  I realized as great as freeze-dried food and ponchos are...we really need to have bags that we can grab that just have the basics you need if you can't come home for a few days.

I found THIS awesome list for things to put in a 72-hour kit.  I love how detailed the list is, and there are TONS of other great printables like a food storage inventory and much more!

After we got home and were putting the kids to bed, Skylar said she was going to sleep much better that night because she knew we were prepared.  I felt exactly the same way.  Heavenly Father loves us, and gives us guidance through our prophets about how we can prepare ourselves in this life.  When hard and scary times come, which they inevitably will, I want to be able to go the Lord for help knowing I did everything I could to prepare my family.

So if you are like us and WAY behind on those kits ( I mean really...I didn't even have one for Avrie!!)  I would encourage you to at least get started!  It can feel overwhelming, but I know Heavenly Father is pleased when we at least TRY to follow his counsel :)

6.25.2012

Have you ever thought about...

 What you would grab if you had to evacuate your house in 5 minutes?!

I never really had...until last Friday :)

You may have heard on the news over the weekend about Utah's "Dump Fire"?  Well that Dump Fire started on the mountain right behind my house on Thursday.  It didn't look too bad on Thursday, but by 9:00 Friday morning we were in serious trouble.

One thing you have to understand...my backyard is LITERALLY the mountain.  There was nothing between that wildfire and us besides a bunch of dry brush.  

Friday morning we woke up and were going about our day.  As it got close to 9:30 we noticed the smoke was getting really black and heavy.  I had my kids loaded up in the car so we could meet up with some friends to go to a splash park when I felt like I should just hang tight for a few minutes.  Lots of cars were driving up to the top of our street, pausing, and then driving quickly back down.  It made me wonder what they were seeing up there!  A few minutes later my kids were yelling out from the car, "Look Mom, its snowing!!"  Yep...ashes were raining down all around us.

Just a few minutes later several fire engines raced up our street followed by police officers.  They started jumping out of their cars, pounding on doors and yelling "You need to get out!  You're being evacuated...meet at the high school!!"  I was standing in my drive way and asked if I could run inside and get anything?  The police officer closest to me yelled, "You have 5 minutes...then you HAVE  to get out!!"

WHAT?!?!  I knew it was getting crazy, but had no idea it was so serious.  Luckily for us, I had packed up a few bags the day before just in case.  I grabbed the bags with a few days clothes for all of us, our laptop, hard drive, my camera, the kids special blankets and dolls, and our folder with all of our important papers.  That was it!  In that moment I think I really realized...things are just THINGS.  All that mattered was getting my kids safely out of the house and making sure our neighbors were able to do the same.

We raced over to the high school and just watched our beautiful neighborhood that we LOVE become completely covered in thick, black smoke.  As our neighbors started showing up I was overwhelmed with a feeling of community and gratitude that were safe, no matter what else happened.

It was actually really awesome to see what procedures are in place for situations like this.  As were waiting in the high school for updates some wonderful people from WalMart started bringing load after load of bottled waters, fresh fruit, crackers, cookies and treats.  Others were walking around taking orders for formula, diapers and wipes.  It was so inspiring to see how our community rallied together to take care of each other.

And what can I say about the firefighters?!  These brave men and women risking their LIVES...to save our STUFF.  It gives me chills just to think about it. On Saturday we were still unable to go back home, but I hated feeling so helpless.  I had seen on Facebook that the firefighters were running low on supplies, so the kids and I decided to go to the store and take them as much as we could.  We filled our car with Gatorade, bananas, Clif Bars and more!  It was so great for my kids to be able to carry bags into the fire station, shake the hands of these heroes, and tell them thank you.  And what did the firefighters do?!  They took my kids on a tour of the fire engines, let them climb up and try on helmets, gave them suckers and their very own plastic helmets!  I was blown away.  We had come to try and serve them...but they had served us.  My kids had been really scared, and the firefighters took the time to describe exactly what was being done to keep us and our homes safe.  I am so grateful for such selfless, brave people we have serving right in our own community!

Amazingly, as of Saturday night all evacuations were lifted with NO loss of life or structure!  I believe we were blessed with a miracle and am so grateful for the lessons I learned from this experience.

But I would like to know....what would YOU take if you only had 5 minutes to evacuate your house?!  You know...just in case I have to do this again ;)

6.18.2012

Our long weekend of fun in the sun!!

 We just returned from a FANTASTIC weekend of fun in the sun!!

We visited with my awesome family in St. George, Utah and had a blast :)

We spent most of the time in our swimsuits, and I am thrilled to say my little scaredy-cats warmed up to the water by the end of the weekend.  Well...not Kendall...but the other ones did! :)






Air Paul!! ;)



Britton finally got brave enough to jump off the rock with daddy...by our last day he was begging to jump again and again!





Besides swimming we had a great time boating, and all the kids loved going tubing.  I wish I would have gotten pictures but I had my hands full with Avrie :)

Our last day we ventured out to Zion's National Park to do some light hiking :)  I could not believe how absolutely gorgeous it was!







We got there at probably the hottest time of the day, but we still had a great time.  The kids loved throwing rocks into the river and snacking on yummy watermelon.


I loved the beautiful scenery and hanging out with my family.  Isn't my mom just the cutest?!


We had such a fantastic time and are SO grateful to have such wonderful family that we love dearly!  Stay tuned this week for some fun SUN-themed activities to do with your kids and maybe even a project or two ;)

6.12.2012

Tithing Family Home Evening (The Parable of the Skittles)

We did a very simple family home evening last night to help our children understand WHAT tithing is,  WHY we pay it, and HOW it blesses us.  Although it was short, it really kept the kids attention (anything to do with candy usually does!;) and I think they learned a few new things.

I was so excited when I walked into Primary on Sunday and this little poem was written on the chalkboard:

 
 I knew I was wanting to do a FHE on tithing the next day, and I thought that poem was perfect to help little kids understand what tithing is!

We started off by talking about the poem and asking the kids what they knew about tithing.  The older girls knew you gave 10% of your money...but the poem really helped them understand a little bit better what that really meant.

Next I told the kids that Paul had something he wanted to talk to them about.  Then he pulled out 3 plastic bags full of Skittles.  Each bag had exactly 100 Skittles in it.


Paul told the kids he had gone to the store that morning and bought some Skittles for himself.  Even though the Skittles were ALL his, he wanted to give some to his children.  All that he asked for in return for giving them that HUGE bag...was for them to just give 10 little Skittles back to him.


One by one the kids counted out 10 Skittles and handed them to Paul.  I told them to look at what they had given Paul, and then to see how much they still had  in their bags.


Then we explained that is just how tithing works.  Heavenly Father has blessed us with EVERYTHING that we have.  Paul talked about how he has been blessed with a good job, and talents to be able to succeed in that job.  Heavenly Father gives us all that and so much more...and simply asks for 10% in return.  I think it really clicked with the kids to be able to look at ALL the Skittles they had been given, pick out just 10, and then see what they still had left.

Then we talked about what our tithing money does.  Because of a great Sharing Time in primary the day before they kids knew exactly where our tithing money goes and what it is used for.

To help the kids get excited about paying their own tithing I threw these little tithing banks together.  Around Valentines I had gotten some candy containers that doubled as banks.  I just covered them with white paper and then used washi tape to decorate them.  The kids were SO excited to have their own banks and ran up the stairs to get their tithing to put in them :)



I think this lesson is so important for young children.  Tithing can be a difficult principle to live if you don't get in the habit of paying it early and paying it FIRST!  I hope to encourage my children to be able to do that.

I would love any feedback...how have you taught your children the principle of tithing??

6.11.2012

Indoor S'mores Bar

Happy Monday everyone!

This week we will not be doing a theme of the week since we are going out of town, but I still wanted to share some fun things we have done at our home that have been a hit so far this summer :)

Up first...nothing says summer like S'mores!!

The boys in our family went on a campout on Friday night and I promised my girls we could have a camp-IN :)  We got out our sleeping bags, set them up in the living room and were ready to go.  I knew I wanted to do some indoor s'mores with my girls and thought they would love NOTHING more than to be able to build-their-own S'mores...and man were they good!!

 
All I did was get all the yummy choices, put them on platters, and then we roasted the marshmallows using our neighbors roasting sticks over our stove.  The kids thought it was so fun doing it inside and they LOVED all the different choices!


On one platter we had chocolate covered graham crackers, peanut butter cups, cinnamon graham crackers, cookies and creme chocolate, and strawberry marshmallows.


The other platter had MORE peanut butter cups, graham crackers, milk chocolate, chewy Chips Ahoy and regular marshmallows.

Our favorite new combo was strawberry marshmallows with cookies and creme chocolate on graham crackers...YUM!

What different yummy things do YOU put on your S'mores?!
Someone on FB suggested apple slices and Rolos....sounds amazing:)

We invited our neighbors and their girls over to join in our fun and we had a great evening.  I love when something simple like this can help make lasting memories with your children!  Hope you are all having a wonderful start to your week!!

6.10.2012

Smiling this Sunday :)

 Happy Sunday to everyone!!

This was an interesting week at our house...super high highs, and some seriously LOW lows :)
Happily the week ended just about perfectly, so that is what is making me smile today. 

After battling a horrible virus all week, my two youngest were finally able to come out of their quarantine and enjoy the weekend.  Britton and Paul went to the annual Father/Son campout with our ward which meant only one thing...GIRL WEEKEND! :)  I'll have more on our girls camp-IN next week, but Saturday morning we ventured out to our city's annual parade.




Of course the best part of a parade is all the candy they throw out.  My kids hadn't really been to a parade before so it took a few minutes for them to realize all that candy was theirs for the taking.  Once they figured it out...they cleaned UP. :)



Avrie is such a good little girl.  She sat in her stroller the entire time, and hardly made a peep.  Every once in a while she would let out a little squeal and start clapping...such a happy child!



Speaking of Avrie...here is the other thing that is making me smile today :)


My amazingly talented friend Hollie from Cherry Tree Photography did her one year pics and I could NOT be more thrilled with them!  She completely captured my happy, beautiful, charming little Avie-Baby.  How can you NOT smile when you get to look at this face every single day?

6.07.2012

Olympic Cauldron Park

 Olympic Week continued at our house today with a totally last-minute trip to Downtown Salt Lake to visit Olympic Cauldron Park!



If you are a Utah local...I would HIGHLY recommend visiting the Olympic Cauldron Park at Rice-Eccles Stadium.  There were a lot of cool things for the kids to see from the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics.

The first thing we saw when we walked in got the kids really excited...

the REAL Olympic Torch!


The kids thought it was so cool to see a real torch after we had made our own earlier in the week.

Probably the kids favorite activity was this little kiosk they had.  You could put on headphones and watch different videos about the Olympics.  The kids loved watching the Opening Ceremonies and several Medal Ceremonies.


It was fun to see my kids get excited and discuss what THEY were going to do to win a gold medal in the Olympics ;)



The big finish was when we walked outside and were able to see the Olympic Cauldron.  The kids loved and it could not believe how big it was.



We had a really great time today!  It is so rare to live in a place that has been host to an Olympic games, so I was really excited to venture out and show my kids first-hand some of the things we have been learning about all week!

And it got me REALLY excited to watch the upcoming Olympics! ;)

6.06.2012

Kid-Friendly Target Practice

 Hello, hello!!

The activity I'm sharing with you today doesn't REALLY fit into our Olympic Theme...although I'm sure if I tried hard enough I could make it work ;)

No, this activity was the invention of a mom...a desperate mom!  My sweet (usually!) little man came down with a HORRIBLE virus over the weekend and has pretty much been miserable.  Even once he started feeling better he still couldn't go outside or play with friends because he has been covered from head to toe in blisters.  

I don't know if all boys are like this, but when Britton gets bored...Britton gets naughty!  He was pretty much running around the house, seeing what mess he could make, what sister he could make cry, and how many different things he could get put in time out for.

His favorite torment of choice?  Shooting his sisters repeatedly with his Nerf Gun.  I mean seriously...over and over!

Suddenly I had an idea...how about give him a fun, kid-friendly Target Practice that he can shoot at all day long?!



This took about 2 minutes and literally saved me my sanity!  All I did was get 3 different colored dry erase markers and draw 3 different bulls-eyes on the shower/bathtub in the kids' bathroom.



After about 30 minutes of non-stop shooting...Britton got his first bulls-eye!


My little guy was so excited, and I was just as excited to have found a way to wrangle that awesome energy my little man has and enjoy shooting Nerf Guns with him for the afternoon.



This is just about at simple as it gets, but my kids loved it and now I'm thinking of lots of different possibilities using dry erase markers and showers ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by today...you guys leave the kindest comments and emails, totally makes my day!