S L O W

I have been feeling it in my heart, “slow down” it speaks again and again.

Slow. I do not do slow. Slow is emptiness and quietness and stillness and I am not sure what to do with myself but just be-ness. I don’t like to feel empty, or quiet, or still, and I really love to know what I can do with myself, I like to keep my hands and mind busy, and occupied.

But it keeps coming back- “slow down.” Invite in some empty, quiet, still, times. Just be.

And I have tried, and keep trying. I worry about what I will have to give up or miss if I live in the slowness. What will be left undone or incomplete. I don’t want to leave things incomplete. Incomplete=Failure.

Maybe failure is not = incompleteness. Maybe failure is completing things when you feel a pull to live differently and let go.

The invitation to slow has been coming for a long time, and I have tried and tried to slow down, and slowing down has been a slow process. Giving up a little at a time so I could have more room to slow, but I am finally feeling the peace and joy of slowing down and setting aside.

Some things have become so much more important. Conversations with my husband before bed, sitting around the table as a family as I prepare an evening meal, setting the table together, eating slowly with more intention and joy, and always at the insistence of my little one we play a game. Quiet mornings rocking my baby who has been waking up far too early, and just being with her. Listening to her breath and cuddling in the dark stillness. Reading my scriptures and really pondering the Book of Mormon. Making time to go to the temple where I feel the ultimate sense of peace and slow. Being with the people I love, being in the day I am in. Slowing down means experiencing.

Some things have become so much less important. Phones, social media, trying to fill every hour of the day with something whether it be noise or activity.

So I am practicing slow.

Today it was lovely enough outside to walk to the library. It would have been too cold in the fall, but my desperate need for sunshine in the winter made me brave. My daughter insisted on having ponies in her hair today so I put two little buns on top of her head. One immediately became lop-sided when we left the house but they were so cute, and I love being able to see her face, happy and bright. She pointed out dogs and pinecones to me as we walked. It was slow and quiet, and so beautiful and rich.

Slow might just be good for my soul.

Slow_MalloryHazel

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter N

N is for nest, night, and ninja. It has been a little hard to keep up with teaching my little one the past few weeks, but hopefully we can get back to work, I love watching her learn and her excitement about all the letters is so fun!

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The Letter N Booklist

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein- I really enjoyed this beautiful book about what the world looks like at night just before the sun illuminates it. And when the sun comes out the colors are beautiful.

Ninja by Arree Chung- This is a cute story about a brother that dresses up and becomes and ninja and he sneaks through the house to obtain some cookies and milk. It is a fun book.

Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol- This book is really beautiful. The words are lovely and paint a beautiful picture and the illustrations are perfect for the book.

The Letter N Printables

This week we have The Letter N Notecard and The Letter N Do-a-Dot.

The Letter N Activity

This week for our activity we made a little night scene. One piece of black paper and hand cut stars and a moon made a perfect little activity for my two year old to paste together.

 

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter M

The letter M is my favorite letter. I don’t know if everyone feels this way but I think M has been my favorite letter since childhood since my name starts with the letter M. M is for moon, and monsters, and monkeys.

teachingmytoddlertheletterm_malloryhazel

The Letter M Booklist

Love Monster by Rachel Bright-One of my favorite books, I love this cute monster and how he struggles to find his place in the world, and finds a great friends along the way.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff- Classic books, and a perfect addition for learning about the letter M.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires- This book is so cute, and I love the determination of the little girl as she tries to make the most magnificent thing!

The Moon Inside by Sandra V. Feder- This is a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations. It is perfect for any child that is a little afraid of the dark.

Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson- This is just a really fun and cute book that is a joy to read.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis- This book is really lovely in it’s writing and message.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans- I remember reading and watching Madeline as a girl, and it was fun to pull it out again to share it with my daughter.

The Letter M Printables

This week we have the The Letter M Notecard and The Letter M Do-a-Dot.

The Letter M Activity

This week for our activity I drew a monster for my daughter to color in. Super simple is what we do, but she loves it and loves showing off her artwork to Dada when he gets home.

The Diary of Mattie Spenser

A few of my closest family members started a little book club last January for fun. We have enjoyed reading a variety of books and discussing the themes surrounding them. It has been good for my soul to have a book to read with others and check in together to discuss and ponder these books.

This month we read The Diary of Mattie Spenser and I just loved it. A fictional story written in journal/ diary format, this book follows the life of Mattie Spenser, as she marries and moves from her hometown to Colorado in the middle of the 1800’s. She overcomes so many things during this time from the harsh environment, to the loneliness, to bearing children and losing children. It had me feeling so thankful that I live in a different time and have so many luxuries that she could never dream of. At the same time, although our lives are completely different, I found myself relating to her on so many personal and emotional levels.

If your looking for something quick and enjoyable to read, I highly recommend The Diary of Mattie Spenser.

 

Empty | Filled

There are moments in life where I feel empty. Like I have drained my energy, capability, faith, or hope. I feel like I have done all I can do and I am still in a place where my personal challenges and trials still exist. I look for the miracle, a miraculous kind of miracle where every hard thing heals and I am made whole. The kind I hear about daily or at least weekly. The kind where people have sickness or pain or heartache and then they experience the miracle of healing. People able to overcome hard things. And I sit here and wonder, where is my miracle? Why am I still struggling. And my husband wisely tells me to not compare my trials with others and I know this because I have no idea anything besides the fact that they feel like they have had a miracle in their lives. I don’t know the depth of their personal trials. Yes, I should not compare. But can I wonder, why am I still struggling and where is my miracle?

And then I realize that my miracle is not the end of struggling or pain or trials, at least not yet. My miracle is currently the hope that fills me when I am having a hard time. My miracle is the fact that my faith in Jesus Christ is being strengthened every day. My miracle is that I am able to learn new things from the scriptures because my trials give me a new lens through which I see life.

I kind of always hope for the miracle of overcoming, and being free from the trial, and maybe some day I will experience that miracle, but today I am thankful for the miracle of being filled when I feel empty.

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter L

The Letter L! We are halfway there. It has been great and challenging. My daughter is learning so much so that has been awesome!

teachingmytoddlertheletterl_malloryhazelThe Letter L Booklist

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen- I absolutely loved this book. It is so beautifully illustrated and I loved the story that went with it. Plus L is for Lion and Library, so it was perfect for this week.

Ladybug Girl by David Soman- This is a cute story about a little girl dressed as a ladybug, and all the adventures she goes on as Ladybug Girl!

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney- Gorgeous illustrations and an amazing story, this wordless book was a joy to share with my little one.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss- I feel like taking care of the environment is so important, and this story perfectly relates my feelings. I have not read it (at least recently) and I feel like it is such an important story to share with children and adults alike.

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers- Oliver Jeffers is one of my favorite authors when it comes to reading something unique or just plain silly. This was a good one.

The Letter L Printables

This week we have the Letter L Notecard and The Letter L Do-a-Dot.

The Letter L Activity

I am always looking to do something simple but meaningful. This week we learned L is for Love, so we wrote a little love letter to leave out for dad. I let my daughter color a card while I cut out the word LOVE out of paper. We glued the letters onto the card and I helped my daughter write a little note about all the things she loves about her dad. Simple and cute, my husband loved finding it when he got home from work.

New

A new year, a fresh start. Hope is high. Changes are coming.

I love that start of a new year. I have been trying to reevaluate my life and gather all the good of 2016 and leave behind the hard things or the meaningless things. A new year is a great time to start again. This year I want to:

Be a better mother and wife.

Live my values.

Nourish my body. Gain strength.

Share my talents.

Share my testimony.

Appreciate and take care of the environment.

Slow down and be more present.

Do things that matter the most to me.

Read good books.

I don’t really know what that all means or will require of me, but I hope to share what I learn in life and motherhood over the next year.

15 Fun Christmas Stories for Children

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Dear Santa by Rod Campbell-Such a fun book for little hands and little readers. Much like Dear Zoo, there is a lift the flap on each page of a Christmas present from Santa.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson-I remember buying this book two years ago for my daughters first Christmas. At that time I had no idea what the bear books were or how good this book would be, but I took the leap because it looked cute, and it has become one of my very favorite Christmas books. I love bear and his friends, and this story about their Christmas spent together is delightful.

Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle- I love Little Blue Truck, and this Christmas book is so fun. I especially love the twinkle lights at the end of the book.

Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh- I remember reading this book growing up and it is so fun to share with my daughter now. The illustrations are unique and colorful and the story is really fun.

The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry- This is a book from my childhood that I loved. Scratching and smelling the little scents on the pages was one of my favorite things, and now my daughter loves smelling the different pages.

Where is Christmas, Jesse Bear? by Nancy White Carlstrom- I found this cute book this year and I thought it was so cute. It is a simple story about inviting Christmas into our homes.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney- I really enjoy this book because the holidays can be so overwhelming, and simplifying and focusing on what the holidays are really suppose to mean it a great thing to do for ourselves and for our children.

Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! by Doreen Cronin- I really love all these books about Farmer Brown and his animals, and this one is cute too!

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry- I don’t really remember ever reading this book as a child, but it is so fun to read out loud and such a cute story. I am so glad I found it this year to share with my daughter.

Is it Christmas Yet? by Jane Chapman- This story is just so cute and reminds me how exciting Christmas is for little ones.

Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano-We loved Turkey Trouble at thanksgiving and Turkey Claus is a fun Christmas story. I love that my daughter remember reading Turkey Trouble too while we read this book.

Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood- I love The Little Mouse and The Big Hungry Bear, and this Christmas story is so wonderful. I highly recommend this one, it is just so fun!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss- This Christmas classic is just one of the best. I love reading it each year, and the message stills touches me.

A Creature Was Stirring by Carter Goodrich- This is a fun story about a little boy’s night before Christmas. If you enjoy the classic poem, this is a fun twist.

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Richard Scarry- I just really love Richard Scarry and his illustrations and this story is fun!

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter J

The letter J is probably one of my favorite letter, and this week was one of my favorite weeks. From hearing my daughter say “J is for Jellyfish” to making a jar of happiness, we had a great time learning about the letter J!

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The Letter J Booklist

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Jamberry by Bruce Degen-This is one of my all time favorite stories. I have loved reading it to my daughter from the beginning. It is such a cute story about a boy and his bear and their adventures through Berryland.

The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg-This was my first time reading through this story and it was so fun. I love all the letters from different nursery rhyme characters.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw-This is a fun little story that is quick and easy to read.

Journey by Aaron Becker-I love the illustrations of this beautiful wordless story. It is always fun and challenging for me to make up a story.

The Jar of Happiness by Ailsa Burrows-I love this sweet story about creating happiness and how to find happiness.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback-This is a cool story about making something out of nothing.

The Letter J Printables

This week we have The Letter J Notecard and The Letter J Do-a-Dot.

The Letter J Activities

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This week we read the story The Jar of Happiness and then we made our own jar of happiness. I grabbed a mason jar we had in our kitchen and then had my daughter draw some pretty colors all over different sheets of paper. After she was done coloring the papers I cut them into strips and we folded them up and stuck them in the jar. With all the pretty colors how could the jar not bring happiness (I’ll tell you how, when my daughter dropped it on her toe she was not very happy :).