General Conference

I am so looking forward to this weekend. Tomorrow is going to be a great day. A day to listen to the words of prophets and apostles, a day to feel inspired, a day to be uplifted. It will be a day we serve a special breakfast. It will be a day to sit and learn. And it will be followed by another day to do the same.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I look forward to our General Conference sessions each year. We really believe that prophets and apostles speak to us today.

Last week in our ward a man gave a talk about general conference. He related a story about a man who was talking to his neighbor about general conference. The neighbor seemed interested and that got the man excited. The neighbor asked “You really believe God still speaks through prophets and apostles today.” The man exclaimed “Yes we do.” The neighbor than said “That is amazing, what did they say?” In the moment the man couldn’t recollect any specific talk or idea.

I loved this story. It really emphasized how important it is not to just listen to the words of the prophets but also remember what they say so we can apply it.

I look forward to another opportunity to listen to their words because I believe their messages will be inspired by God and will help and heal me in my life. And I will do my best to come to know what they say.

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter A

Teaching my toddler the letter A ended up being really fun. I was nervous since she is only two-how much would she be able to do or understand. I think kids have the capacity to learn more than we might think though. This week we read books and found A’s on the cover of each book, had some fun activities and even made a special treat. It was so fun to watch her learn and to see how proud she was when she could spot a letter A.

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The Letter A Booklist

For this booklist I wanted to search for books that she would enjoy reading together and that the main character’s name or subject of the book started with the letter A.

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst- Oh Alexander. I love this book because I can totally relate to Alexander, some days are just terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad. I also love that when my daughter wants to read this books she says “terrible, terrible, smhee smaa bad day.”

Arthur (series) by Marc Brown- I love Arthur. It was my favorite show growing up and I watched it well past when everyone at school decided it was not cool to watch it anymore. Of course I didn’t admit it. I still love it and the books are great. Arthur Writes a Story is one of my favorites, I remember that episode so clearly.

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish- I also loved Amelia Bedelia growing up. I remember reading it as a child and thinking it was so funny how so took things so literally. This classic is definitely one to share with children.

Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird-This book makes me so happy. I love how Angelina’s parents support her love of dancing, despite the initial distraction that it seems to be, and how when they allow her to do what she loves, all the previous struggles dissipate. It is such a good message for parents and children alike.

Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss- I have a very specific memory of reading this book in a car with my cousins, it is funny how we hold on to memories like that. This is a fun and silly book with lots of apples to point out.

Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson- This was the perfect book for our activity this week. I also love how the theme of family traditions comes through in this book, because I feel like creating traditions for my family is so important.

Apples for Everyone by Jill Esbaum- This non-fiction book takes us into a behind-the-scenes look into the life and growth of an apple. My daughter really loved it so it was fun to read together.

Apples and Robins by Lucie Felix- This book is just gorgeous. I love the pictures and the simple creativity behind each scene. I highly recommend checking this book out.

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman- What do you do when you want to make an apple pie and the market is closed? The obvious answer is to see the world. This is a great story that takes you on that adventure, and a great activity to accompany this book would be to make an apple pie!

The Letter A Printables

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Have you seen these do-a-dot markers. I first used them at my local library and thought they were great. They were a little tricky to find (although you can always get everything on amazon), but I finally ordered ours through Wal-Mart and just picked them up in store. The markers make a dot on the page. So for this activity I made a little worksheet with the letter A and my daughter was able to fill in all the dots with the marker. She loved it!

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Fair warning, when they are brand new getting the paint to come out the first time takes some work, so you might want to get it going before you give it to your child.

You can download the Do A Dot A page here.

I have also created a little flash card with the letter A and an apple that we hang next to our ABC poster. You can download it here (and get a sneak peek at the letter B).

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The Letter A Activity

For each activity I wanted to have an accompanying book. Apples were an obvious good choice so I thought about making Apple Pie and reading How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, but my daughter is a little young to really help so I decided to keep it simple. When I found the book Applesauce Season, I thought making applesauce was really doable. It is such a cute book about a family tradition of making applesauce all throughout fall.

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After reading this story we headed down to the kitchen to chop apples and make our very own batch of applesauce. I used an easy crockpot applesauce recipes from the Against All Grains cookbook. I did the chopping while my daughter ate slices of apples and told me “good job mama.” Then she helped me put all our apples in the crockpot as well as measure out some lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon and water. She helped me stir it all together and we set it on low for 6 hours. Throughout the day we went to check on how our applesauce was doing. Finally we used an immersion blender to make the applesauce and ate a cup immediately. Warm applesauce is delicious, and it made our home smell amazing. It really was the perfect little activity.

So far our little preschool has been so fun. I love watching my daughter learn.

Can you think of any books you would add to my booklist? I am on the hunt for a really great book about airplanes. What other activities might you do? I’d love to hear!

Next week we will be learning about The Letter B. I am also working on a little lesson about Fall.

On Being Outdoors

Last night I went to my local library to participate in a yoga class that they have every two weeks. I went for the first time two weeks ago and really enjoyed it, so I though I would sign up to go again. When I got to the library I noticed a group of people outside, so I made my way over, and sure enough, everyone was circled up with their mats and workout clothes. Our class was being held outside.

The sun was going down casting pinks and oranges into the sky. As we were working to hold poses and balance the instructor told us to pick a focal point, my focal point was a beautiful flower in a garden straight ahead of me. The glow at the days end made the world feel still. And through our last mediation and stretching we were asked to lay on our back. I saw only one star at first, but by the time we were finished stars were scattered across the sky’s dark background.

It was beautiful and peaceful. I have recently recognized the wonder of nature and my desire to spend more time in it. It fills me up and nurtures me in a way other things can not. It slows down time and helps me recognize what is truly important. I am so thankful to have been able to have a night outside, in a place of peace.

Daily Forgiveness

At some point every day my daughter has the opportunity to forgive me. Whether it be because I lose my patience, I misunderstand what she wants or needs, or I just have to move her along to new activities taking her away from something she has enjoyed. There are lots of things I do that frustrate her or upset her a little bit.

Yesterday we were trying to do an activity together but it was just not working. I had to take a step back and just call it quits for the day, and she did not appreciate that decision. I did my best to explain why we could not do what we had been trying to do and how we would try again another time, but it was still hard for her to understand and she was still upset. So we sat together to read some books and the frustration evaporated. She did not hold a grudge against me the rest of the day, we just moved on with vacuuming, throwing balls, and doing puzzles.

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This type of true forgiveness is really hard for me and I think the older we get the harder it is. When we are hurt or don’t understand the actions of others it can be easy or tempting to just stay angry with the other person. Watching my daughter let go of her little hurts that were so real to her, taught me a powerful message about daily forgiveness. Her ability to forgive allowed us to continue to build our relationship and enjoy being with each other. She is such a sweet example of an important principle.

His Day

Yesterday was a nearly perfect day. Sundays are always nice when we get to be home together as a family. It started out a little rough trying to get ready for church on time but once we made it, it was such a good day. Church was good, my daughter took a good nap and woke up happy, I was able to re-listen to the General Woman’s meeting talks while doing a puzzle, we took our daughter on a bike ride and walk, it was the perfect day outside with a little autumn chill. I wanted to bottle all these moments up and hold on to them.

As I walked out the door in the morning I prayed for patience, something I was struggling to find in those morning hours. As I ended my day I prayed in thanks for the wonderful day we had. I am thankful for the Sabbath Day. It is truly a day of rest. It is a day that renews my spirit. It is a day to come to know God and recommit to becoming more like him. It is a day for family. I am thankful for His day.

LDS General Women’s Conference

Saturday night I watched the LDS General Women’s session of conference. It was so inspiring and brought a lot of peace and comfort to my life. I went in to conference with a few personal questions and I felt that all of them were addressed and that I received answers or faith.

I am so thankful for this time of year. I love the fall leaves, the crisp air, and the peaceful conference weekend ahead of us. It rejuvenates my spirit and helps me to make changes in my life that will help me stay close to God.

If you weren’t able to watch the Women’s session you can find it here. This weekend we can also go to lds.org to view the morning and afternoon sessions of general conference. I am already looking forward to the weekend!

Wonder

Today we got to take a trip to the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. The building is absolutely amazing. It is grand with stunning architecture and beautiful stained glass windows. Inside an out, it was truly amazing.

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When we first arrived and were walking up the stairs from the parking garage we were able to look up and see the beauty of the building. As we were walking along the sidewalk I heard my daughter say “Look at that!” I turned around expecting her to be point at the building, but she was examining an acorn that had fallen from a tree. Over and over again she repeated enthusiastically, “Look at that.”

It was really something, this small acorn was so amazing to her and she wanted to share the wonder she felt from looking at it with us.

Having a child can change our perspective on so many things. The building was incredible, but truly so was the acorn. Both building and acorn were able to create wonder and awe for us. It reminded me to seek not only the obvious wonders of this world, but also the simple and beautiful wonders as well.

Beautiful. Glorious. Heavenly. Marvelous. Wonderful, Wonderful Day!

I love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I remember getting the VHS for it probably when I turned eight or nine. I got the dvd when I turned 25. It is one of my favorites.

Yesterday I let my daughter climb in the stroller and we went for a walk in our neighborhood. Fall is the best season for going on walks and it was so peaceful and cool as I pushed her. We recently found a new path to take to a nearby col-de-sac that is pretty magical. We have seen bunnies and squirrels, the view is fantastic and it is quiet. Yesterday as we made it to this place I noticed the birds were singing to each other. One would tweet a melody and the other would reply. It was gorgeous. The squirrels were running around chasing each other playfully. There was a cat out walking around and a dog barking from the window, which my daughter loved. It was shaded and leaves are just beginning to fall slowly. It was so peaceful, there were no distractions and I was just filled with how beautiful our world is.

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For the past few nights my daughter has noticed when the sun is setting. She will call out “look at that sunset” and we will all gather around the window and watch as pretty pinks and oranges fill the sky and the sun goes down. It is such a simple thing that happens each day, but it is beautiful and glorious.

These two events, although only short moments in our day, have reminded me how important it is to set aside all distractions and momentarily immerse in nature each day.

 

Teaching My Toddler | Introduction to the Alphabet

A few weeks ago I was at the library with my toddler. I was looking high and low on the bookshelves for great books to bring home while she was playing quietly in the play area. Every once in a while she would run over to give me something she had found. On one of these deliveries she was holding a magnet of the letter “H.” As she handed it to me she said “H.” Some luck and a little bit of knowledge combined for her to get that right, but I was impressed. It got me to thinking, is she capable of learning the alphabet? What is she capable of learning right now? And what can I be doing to guide her in learning new things. She was already picking up on so much, but maybe it was time for us to add a little structured learning to our day.

As I was thinking about what I could do a million extravagant ideas came to mind, but as I thought about what I truly wanted I decided more than anything I wanted to enjoy learning with my daughter. I wanted it to be a simple time together that we could both enjoy. So I have been putting together booklists, simple activities, and some really simple worksheets to share with any other moms that are looking for good ways to introduce letters, the alphabet, and hopefully some other topics to their little ones.

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For this first lesson I wanted to focus on the alphabet generally and as a whole. There are so many fun and clever ABC books out there, but somehow I narrowed our ABC booklist down to our 8 favorites.

Alphabet Booklist

ABC3D by Marion Bataille- This pop-up alphabet book is beautiful and original. My daughter loves it, but we keep it on the high shelf and only look at it together since some of the pages are a bit fragile.

Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli- The illustrations are so fun and adorable. This book is perfect for little hands.

AlphaBugs by David A. Carter- An alphabet book I remember reading over and over again as a child. My daughter loves to read this book at least twice!

Alphaprints: ABC by Roger Priddy- In this book all the pictures are made with fingerprints and the ridges are perfect for little fingers to touch and feel.

A is for Annabelle by Tasha Tudor- This old fashioned doll alphabet is absolutely gorgeous. Perfect for little girls.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault- A classic tale about the letters of the alphabet. My daughter always loves to sing her ABC’s at the end of the book.

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker- I love this story about all the different professions of these little green peas from A to Z.

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers- In this book there is a short story for each letter of the alphabet. It is a fun book full of nonsensical stories. It would be a great book to read when learning each letter individually.

Alphabet Printable

For this activity I decided to just create a very simple ABC poster. I wanted it to be bright and something I could keep up in our room for some time. You can download the poster here. (It does take a minute to load).

Alphabet Activity

I wanted to keep the activity simple as well. I decided to get out our blocks that have the ABC’s on them and just play with them. My daughter has noted that there are different pictures on the sides of the blocks and will tell me what they are, so I am hoping that she will learn that there are letters too and start to be able to tell them to me.

And that was our first week of our little preschool. It was really fun to do together. I usually just let her pick out some books to read together. We would sing the abc’s a couple of times, and play with blocks. When she was done we were done. It was fun and simple.

Next week we will dive into The Letter A.

What are some of your favorite books you read or activities you do as you teach your child the ABC’s? I would love to know what you love!