Monday, December 28, 2009

Setting Goals FHE Lesson

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. ***

This lesson on goal setting is one we use every year to remind the kids about the importance of setting goals and working hard to reach them.   One of my goals recently has been to post a new lesson each and every Monday, but with the hubbub of Christmas and my visiting family members, I was worried that I wouldn't have time to post my lesson today.   I was so worried about missing out on my goal that I woke up before the crack of dawn, an entire 2 hours BEFORE the kids got up, so I could put this together for you. ( I am nice like that you know). I hope you enjoy it! 

Click here to see more of my ready-to-print FHE lessons!

Setting Goals FHE Lesson                                                                                                                                                


Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Eve Family Devotional Booklet

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. *** 

 This booklet is designed to be an outline for a Christmas Eve devotional for your family.  It is filled with scriptures, songs, and lovely pictures and makes for a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition.

For our family I printed off enough copies that there would be one copy for every two people.  It's a tradition that my family looks forward to each Christmas Eve and I feel really helps invite the spirit of Christ into our home.   It takes about 30-45 minutes in its entirety (singing first verses only).  Sometimes we skip songs if the kids are getting restless. 

I cannot take credit for the design of these booklets as I merely copied them from my friend.  I do ask that these only be copied for personal use.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.    Click here to check out more ready-to-print FHE lessons.

Christmas Eve Devotional Book                                                                                                                                                

This booklet is exactly the same as the one above, except this version contains fun child friendly pictures. 

Christmas Eve Devotional Book for Kids                                                                                                                                            


Monday, December 14, 2009

Symbols of Christmas FHE Lesson

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. ***

Hope you enjoy this family home evening lesson dedicated to teaching children about the true meaning of Christmas and how to see reminders of Christ's birth and life in the traditional Christmas symbols all around them.  Click here for my other Christmas related ideas and posts. 
 True Meaning of Christmas FHE Lesson                                                                                                                                            

Click here to see an index of my other ready-to-print FHE lessons.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Love Thy Neighbor FHE Lesson

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. ***
I've had a lot of people comment to me over the years that family home evenings don't work so well in their house.   They say their kids are too young, or too hyper, or too old, or too busy, or whatever, so they just stop trying.   Everytime I hear this I am saddened to think of the joy that they are missing out on.

While a perfectionist by nature, I learned a long time ago that perfection in this effort isn't really attainable.  As much as I would like to have 30-minute-long lessons with my perfectly attentive children actively participating in engaging discussions, it's just never happened.  Instead, my children squirm, try to do their homework, or even worse, fight, during the lessons.  Sometimes we barely get five minutes in before we have a quick closing prayer and send them to bed in frustration, but despite our frustrations week after week we keep on trying hoping that something important will sink in here or there eventually.

Fatigue and busyness are hurdles that we all face, but like Elder Bednar taught us at our last conference it's  "the consistency of our intent and work [that is]perhaps the greatest lesson...."

Whew!  Consistency seems so much more attainable than perfection!


If you haven't been able to tell by now all my lessons have some similarities.  I like to start off with something fun or memorable, then relate an applicable scripture story, then engage them in some other enrichment ideas to really illustrate the topic in action.    My kids absolutely love the silly, "What are Neighbors For?" story in this lesson and I feel like it gets the lesson off on a fun foot leading into a very important topic about loving your neighbors.

Click here to see my other FHE lessons and stay tuned for a Christmas lesson coming next week!

Love Thy Neighbor FHE Lesson                                                                                                                                            

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reverence FHE Lesson

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. *** 

This is one of those lessons that we have to use over and over again at our house and unfortunately  not just for the younger kids.
My kids adore the story, "Why Animals Can't Go to Primary" with its adorable flannel board figures and   the cute reverence puzzles are a fun activity in and of themselves for the younger kids.  The best part is, is that after the lesson they're always right on target for what reverence is all about.   

 Click here for my other ready to print FHE lessons.   Reverence FHE Lesson                                                                                                                                                
I hope you're enjoying these Monday FHE lesson posts!   It's sure fun being able to share some of our favorite lessons with all of you! 

PS  You'll have to let me know if you have any topic requests and I'll see if I can help you out. 


Monday, November 23, 2009

Respect FHE Lesson

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. ***

I'm not sure how many of you out there are really interested in these, but I feel somehow compelled to keep digitizing some of my favorite FHE lessons for as long as I can keep up with it.  Here's this week's installment.... 

I think respect encapsulates so many other character traits that we strive for, that I believe that this is a very important lesson for our children to learn at a young age. 

Of course, I also believe that respect is way too big of a concept to be taught in one lesson, but rather it should be lived on a day to day basis.  If our children see us treating them and others with respect, that lesson is far greater than any 20 minute long FHE lesson could ever be. 

I created this lesson in hopes that it would help parents to have a starting place for teaching their children about respect and why it is important.  Learning what respect means and learning specific examples of when and how they can be respectful is a great place to start.

Respect FHE Lesson                                                                                                                                            

Click here for more ready to print  FHE Lessons (with more to come every Monday).


Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude/Thanksgiving FHE Lesson

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. ***

This lesson is also among our very favorites and a big part of our Thanksgiving traditions.

My kids have all loved the "Blessing House" puzzle and ask for it all year round. 

With the cornucopia, we talk about the pictures that come with it, then we give each of the kids slips of paper to write down (or draw) their own things they're grateful for them to add to the cornucopia.  It's become a fun tradition to read all of the slips on Thanksgiving day.

Gratitude/Thanksgiving FHE Lesson                                                                                                                                                

It's all set for you to download, print, and cut.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Click here for more  FHE Lessons (with more to come every Monday). 


Monday, November 9, 2009

Repentance FHE Lesson

***If you're having trouble viewing/downloading/printing these lessons, feel free to email me at and I will email you the PDF files. ***

For those of you who know me well, know that I love Family Home Evening and everything about it. I spent three years of my life joining every FHE lesson exchange group I could find and in the process created and collected hundreds of lessons which I have filed into a tall filing cabinet (and beyond).

All these years later, we love these lessons even more than when I first made them. I love the fun visual aids that I've used for primary lessons, sharing times, and preschool and I love that it's made teaching the gospel to my kids (and for them to teach to each other) a more fun and rewarding task than I ever could have dreamed it to be.  Not that having FHE with a busy family of varying ages is easy, but the rewards are well worth the hours of effort.

Don't ask me why, but lately I've got this inexplicable urge to digitize a few of my favorite FHE lessons to make them easier to share with others. Here's my first one. I think you can scroll through it, print it, or download it straight from here.

I highly recommend printing it off onto heavy cardstock and laminating the visual aids to increase their durability (you can borrow my laminator if you live nearby). Storing it in a gallon size Ziploc or a manila envelope makes them easier to file and store. I put each section of the lesson in its own sheet protector or baggie to help keep it organized and easier to use as you teach.

I've used this lesson on Repentance (or parts of it) for FHE lessons, sharing times, and primary lessons and the visual aids and stories in here make it one my kids most favorite and memorable lessons ever.

Repentance FHE Lesson by Lara

You'll have to let me know what you think of this idea. Would you like me to share more of my lessons? Are you likely to use them? Any requests for topics?


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reflections on Patriotism

Have you ever read the story about how the Star Spangled banner was written?  Even if you have I highly recommend watching this slide show and sharing it with your kids.  It's a powerful reminder of the great people who have helped make our country what it is today and the divine protection our country has received time and time again.

Twenty years ago I thought I knew all about what it meant to be a patriot--wearing flag shirts on the 4th of July, painting my nails red, white, and blue, knowing the words to the Star Spangled Banner, and even listening to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" all day.  I was only sixteen, but man oh man was I ever a true patriot.   

 In the ignorance of my youth, I truly believed that that's all there was to being a patriot.  But somewhere between having kids and growing older, my perspective has changed significantly through the years.   

The more I learn about our Founding Fathers and their faith and vision filled lives, the more I know that being a patriot is far more than just wearing patriotic clothes and proclaiming that I'm proud to be an American.  

Patriotism is about respect--respecting our flag, respecting our leaders, respecting our fellow citizens, and in turn respecting our country and what it stands for.  

Patriotism is about honor--honoring the memory of our Founding Fathers' visions and ideals, honoring the memory of the countless men and women who have lost their lives in the service of our country, and honoring God who prepared this great land as a beacon to the world.

And finally patriotism is about action--actively striving to make our homes and families stronger, acting to raise our children in wisdom and righteousness, and actively seeking for ways to improve our schools and communities.  Just because we're not running for office or holding a position of perceived power, we should never underestimate the difference that our actions can make.   

" I am only one, but I am one. I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do. "  


Since I don't feel that I've been all that successful in conveying the feelings of my heart today, here are some wise words from President Ezra Taft Benson which better express the message I am trying to share.  

"America has a spiritual foundation. But today she stands at the crossroads, The crisis before her is a crisis of faith; the need is for greater spirituality and a return to the basic principles upon which this nation was founded.

In the words of Thomas Paine: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”   That was said on December 23, 1776, a time of great crisis in our struggle for independence. We face a similar spiritual crisis more than 200 years later.

The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will require the faith, prayers, loyalty, and courage of every citizen.

May God’s blessings be upon us that our generation will be equal to the task."


Happy Independence Day and may God continue to bless America! 

Monday, May 25, 2009

America the Beautiful

O beautiful, for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, and ev'ry gain divine!

We have found a new Memorial Day tradition that we loved...DC at sunrise.  We arrived in DC about 6:00am, caught some gorgeous shots of the sunrise, and got to see the WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and Korean War Memorials all before 8:00 and well before all the crowds arrived.   It was probably the most meaningful Memorial Day we've ever had. 

Thank you to all the men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms over the years.   
We honor you this day.

Happy Memorial Day!

Make sure you check out I [Heart] Faces this week for lots more silhouettes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Prayers of the Children

I love the simplicity and the sincerity of children's prayers and feel like us adults could learn a lot from their genuine expressions of gratitude and love to their Heavenly Father.  Instead of the rote recitations that seem to cumber us as adults,  they simply notice what's around them and pray for divine protection over those people and things that are nearest and dearest to them.  

They bless friends, brothers, sisters, blankies, special toys, stuffed animals, butterflies, princesses, pets, books or whatever else is on their mind.  I love that they trust God enough to recognize that He cares about what they care about.

Sometimes I get so caught up in praying for what I'm supposed to be praying for, that I forget to truly open my heart and communicate with God.  

As I say my prayers each day I am trying a little harder to remember to look around at the simple beauties of life that surround me and strive to better express my gratitude for them....  The sunset, the rainstorms, the kids not fighting, the azalea bushes in bloom, a clean bathroom, a thoughtful friend, a sweet husband, beautiful music...

Today I reflect back and express gratitude for what has brought me these tender feelings to ponder over.   With five kids in the house I've heard a lot of sweet, heart felt prayers, but lately  Ellie has prayed for us all to be more helpful and pretty.   Each day we all silently giggle that our sweet four-year-old's heart felt desire is for us all to become a little more princess-like, but really she has taught us what prayer is truly all about.    

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life Lessons or My Longest, My Most Serious Post Ever

"In the world, but not of the world." It's a notion that I've heard my whole life, have never really understood until becoming a parent.

As my kids have gotten older, I've grown more and more concerned with the world they're growing up in. It seems like filth and negative influences surround them on every side and even worse, somehow this filth is now getting passed off as acceptable by most of society.

As parents, we try to fortify our children with love, spiritual and intellectual knowledge, and most importantly an understanding of God's plan for His children, but ultimately we know that how they choose to live their lives is up to them. Force just isn't a part of God's plan.

Dang! I wish this letting them choose wasn't such a painful process. Who wants to see their own child make a stupid, preventable mistake? Yet somehow I forget that my own painful experiences eventually became times of great growth and understanding in my life, in fact I consider them very much a formative part of who I am today.

I don't get serious too often here on the blog, so allow me to continue on with my non-sarcasm and take a different, but related tangent...

The Sabbath day. The Bible says, "Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee." It seems like such a simple concept to dedicate one day out of seven to the Lord, but it's also something that is increasingly more difficult to do.

Glen works crazy hours and has limited time at home and it's really hard to not fill Sundays with all the things we didn't have time to do on Saturday. Sometimes the lawn just doesn't get mowed.

The kids just know to look at the calendar as soon as they receive a birthday party invitation. If it's on Sunday they usually passively mention to me, "Mom, Lincoln's having a party, but it's on Sunday so I told him I can't go." They're disappointed, but they know what the right thing is.

Glen and I were both athletes in high school and have loved watching our kids grow stronger and fitter as they've participated in their own sports. When the kids were younger we never had to worry about Sunday games, but now that Spencer's older it is getting more and more competitive and we've started to run into issues.

You may remember last fall when Glen petitioned the league commissioner of football to change some of Spencer's Sunday games to Saturday. Ultimately through Glen's persistence and a little miracle (if you ask us) two of his games were switched to Saturday, which meant that he only had to miss two of his games instead of four.

So this winter we were faced with the same dilemma. Spencer's favorite sport has always been basketball and we were so discouraged to learn that the city league he's always played with holds all of their 8th grade games on Sunday. Basically he and several of his friends decided to take the year off of basketball and resume it again next year in high school, rather than lower their standards about the Sabbath day.

We were proud of Spencer's decision and committment to keeping the Sabbath day holy, but we were also sad that he had to make that sacrifice. When we learned that neighboring city league still held their 8th grade games on Saturdays we thought we might give it a try. Unfortunately they didn't have enough players or coaches yet to form a whole league.

Enter Coach Glen (who had never coached any sport before) who immediately recruited 3 other guys who were taking the year off for the same reason as Spence.

With Glen, his assistant coach and four of the seven kids being LDS, we thought about calling the team, the "Stormin' Mormons", but we weren't so sure what those three 'other guys' would think about that. :) The boys were happy enough just to be able to play basketball. With a rather humble start of the season losing their first two games, the team has gotten stronger and stronger through out the season. The team had a stirring come-from-behind triumph in the leagues' semi-finals against an opponent the team had lost to twice during the regular season. Our own Spencer led the way in the come back knocking down five 4th quarter 3 pointers and scoring a total of seventeen 4th quarter points to help the team earn a spot in the league championship. Now, with a record of 6-4 and a place in the championship game this Saturday, I'd say the kids have held their own pretty well.

It has been very inspiring for us to see the boys work so hard and play with such determination, all the while standing up for what they know is right. Not too shabby for a bunch of 13 year old boys trying their best to be in the world, but not of it.

{If you've actually made it this far into my cathartic novel, then congratulations. Don't worry I should be back to my normal goofiness levels tomorrow.}

Monday, February 16, 2009

Trailing Clouds of Glory

What is more wondrous than gazing upon a newborn baby?
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
~William Wordsworth

Be sure to check out I♥Faces for more wonder filled photos this week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Full of Wonder

Wonder: to have a feeling of awe, admiration, marvel.

When I heard the I ♥ Faces theme for this week was wonder, I didn't have to think twice about which picture I would use. I just love this picture of Cami at the Grand Canyon and think it just epitomizes the very definition of WONDER!

**Special Note: Cami was never in any danger. There was solid ground just a few feet below that ledge.**