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Showing posts from September, 2015

September Blessings (Day 30)

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Every day this month I have shared a family blessing. Today is the last day and I can't think of a better blessing than the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.
The gospel has been blessing my life since I was a young girl. I remember my first copy of the Book of Mormon. One of my Primary teachers gave it to me. I loved to mark my favorite scripture verses in it. I remember how loved I felt in Primary as a child. The simple ABC's of the gospel taught in Primary  helped me to develop my testimony at a young age. I knew I was a child of God and that my Heavenly Father loved me.
My childhood home was not a safe haven for me. My teenage years  were especially rough. My family was dysfunctional at best. My home life was dark and aimless, but the gospel gave me light and direction. I participated in Young Women's and Seminary and I loved the spiritual learning and growth I experienced through those two programs. I gained a knowledge of the scriptures through my four years of Se…

September Blessings (Day 29)

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I can't believe September is nearly over. This has been a wonderful month for us, filled with blessings and joy.


Our family blessing today is music.  This year in our homeschool, we've added music appreciation.  Today, Marcus and I had a wonderful time listening to The Sorcerer's Apprentice, by French composer, Paul Dukas.

We are using Maestro Classics: Stories in Music collection. We love this curriculum! Each selection is performed by the  London Philharmonic Orchestra. After we listened to  The Sorcerer's Apprentice, we watched some of Fantasia 2000 on YouTube. What would we do without YouTube? Marcus liked Fantasia 2000 so much that we decided to order the  real thing on Blue-ray.

September Blessings (Day 28- Making a Cell Cake!)

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Our blessing today- science! We love science at our house, especially because it's one of Marcus' passions and something we incorporate in a hands-on way at our homeschool.
Marcus just made this cell cake! This is very easy to do and a great way to teach your child the basic parts of a cell.

Here are the supplies your child will need:
One baked cake in an 8" or 9" round pan White frosting A butter knife or spreader Toothpicks Sticky notes (the thin tab kind) Various candies  A diagram of a labeled cell. We used the one in our science book, but you can do a google search for one or try this link.
What I'd recommend is studying the different parts of the cell  with your child and then taking your child to the dollar store so they can select different candies based on the cell parts.  (Marcus thought the cotton candy would be easy to mold into the nucleus and a few other parts, and he was right! A giant gumball made up the nucleolus.)

Step one- Supervise your child…

September Blessings (Day 27)

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This picture was taken in Lima, Peru, when Marcus was 11. We needed a picture that represented missionary work, so we asked the elders if they would pose with Marcus. I love this picture!


I also love this picture. It was taken while Zach was out in the mission field, in Calgary, Alberta. Zach served a full-time, 2-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Right now Marcus is preparing to follow his older brother's example and serve a mission when he turns 18.


Missionary work is the Lord's work. It is spreading His gospel throughout the world. It is bringing a message of hope, peace, love and joy into the lives of those who have been wandering in the dark, cold wilderness of life, without the knowledge of who they are, why they are here on earth and what lies beyond the grave. Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the world. His gospel is for everyone. I can't keep such a gift to myself! I want to share it with others, especially my…

September Blessings (Day 26)

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We saw the movie, Hotel Transylvania 2 today. It was cute and funny. We enjoy watching good movies together as a family so that is a blessing I want to share to today.
Some of our favorite family movies are: The Princess Bride Hugo We Bought a Zoo Rise of the Guardians Oceans 11, 12 & 13 Parental Guidance Nanny McPhee The Avengers Wreck-it Ralph Evan Almighty Mary Poppins Arsenic and Old Lace Despicable Me Tangled
Just to name a few! 
And then there are movies that my daughters and I love to watch together: Pride and Prejudice (any version!) The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella (the new Disney version) Ever After (okay, any version of Cinderella!) Calamity Jane The Pajama Game Move Over Darling Pillow Talk (okay, any Doris Day movie!) Mama Mia Overboard 27 Dresses You Again Bride Wars When in Rome Letters to Juliet
and many others chick-flicks and classics!
You can guess what the guys like! Anything action packed.
Feel free to visit my Pinterest movies movies movies board.

September Blessings (Day 25)

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Marissa created this picture for me for one of my homeschooling posts.  It seems fitting to use it again today because time truly is a blessing for our family.
Time. There never seems to be enough of it, does there? And yet, I have learned for myself that time really does heal. It may have taken me years of time, but during those years, I experienced a lot of personal growth. That time of healing helped me to become a stronger, wiser person. It taught me to turn more to my Heavenly Father in prayer, and to share my burdens with my Savior, Jesus Christ.
As a mother, I have come to truly appreciate the gift of time. I loved each set of nine months when I was pregnant. I have treasured each fleeting baby and toddler year. Oh how I loved the preschool years! I have fond memories of four years of preschool co-ops with my daughters (two years a piece). My two oldest are now living on their own as they attend universities. This is my last year to enjoy my youngest daughter at home before  s…

September Blessings (Day 24)

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Yesterday's surprise for me: gorgeous flowers  (this picture does not do them justice)  and a cute teddy bear, in honor of my birthday.


Our family blessing today? Surprises! We love to surprise each other.  Today it was Marissa who received a special surprise.  She gets to travel to Vancouver  with her dad on his upcoming business trip!  A shout-out thank you goes to Darcie for helping to make it possible.

September Blessings (Day 23)

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Aren't they adorable?  My lovely, sweet friend, Claudia, made them for me. Thank you, Claudia! I absolutely love them!
It is a special day (for me anyway) and so I thought I'd list 42 random blessings in my life:
1. Autumn 2. Owls 3. The beautiful Arizona sky 4. Rain 5. Swimming pools 6. Chocolate cake 7. Chocolate ice cream 8. Chocolate covered pretzels 9. Chocolate covered cinnamon bears 10. Pumpkin pie 11. Whipped cream 12. Waffles 13. Marissa's art 14. Darcie's baking 15. Zach's wisdom 16. Marcus' sense of humor 17. David's thoughtfulness 18. Friends who are always there for me 19. Sharing a brain with Kristine (inside joke) 20. Happy Hearts Homeschool 21.Out of the box thinking  22. Doris Day movies 23. Cinderella movies 24. Romance novels 25. My trip to Italy this past March 26. Matilda and Finding Neverland on Broadway 27. Turtles 28. Purses 29. Fuji apple pear lifewater! 30. Ocean waves 31. Ocean breezes 32. Sand 33. Seashells 34. Beach houses 35. …

September Blessings (Day 22)

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Today we are thankful for the example, wisdom and guidance we receive from our apostles.

They are inspirational men of God.

They are special witnesses of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

September Blessings (Day 21)

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SHOES! That's our family blessing today!  These are my daughter's dress shoes.  Her feet are so tiny!

September Blessings (Day 20)

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Can you guess what we are thankful for today? ;)
And a birthday shout out to my amazing brother, Rory!  Happy Birthday, Rory!

September Blessings (Day 19)

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Last night I indexed two batches on Family Search. It was a bit tricky, but very fulfilling.  I am helping someone else find their ancestors!  Our family blessing today is family genealogy or family history work.  I'm just beginning down this path and I'm excited.  This path will be one of discovery. It's more than finding names to complete my family tree. It's finding a part of myself as I discover more about my distant relatives, who they were, how they lived their lives, and if by chance they did not get the opportunity here on earth  to have their saving ordinances done for them... I can help with that.

September Blessings (Day 18)

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David spent most of the week in Lima, Peru, on business. He travels a lot for work, and we are used to it, but of course we really miss him when he's away and we're always so happy when he returns home to us. He sacrifices so much to provide for us.
We are so thankful to have such a loving, sweet, generous, hard-working, thoughtful, intelligent and  completely wonderful husband and father. He blesses our family in so many ways.

September Blessings (Day 17)

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Today we are thankful to be US. I am thankful to be ME and I am thankful you are YOU.
We should never try to anyone, but ourselves and we should always be true to ourselves.
I value my kids as individuals. Each one is amazing in his or her own way. Each one has his or her own set of talents, skills, perspectives and personality traits that make them truly UNIQUE.
Our family is made up of six amazing individuals, each member making up a valuable part of the whole unit. We are only complete, together.
I have to tie homeschooling into this! Homeschooling gives my kids the freedom to just be themselves. Think about it: In pubic school, students are expected to learn the same things, at the same time, in the same way as their peers. They are expected to act, behave and think the same way as their peers. There is very little individuality in schools today. It is all about getting every student to the exact same level at the exact same time. I guess that may sound good to some, in theory, b…

September Blessings (Day 16)

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Our family blessing today is the gift of comedy! We love Studio C because it's clean comedy.


September Blessings (Day 15)

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Tonight we are thankful for our apartment here in Oro Valley.  We are thankful for a safe shelter from the outside world,  a space that is ours, a place to temporarily call, home.
It's not much. Just a little kitchen, a living room, a dining room,  three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a hallway. 
We've lived in houses of all shapes and sizes, some much nicer than others. At one time I lived in my dream house for a whole seven months! I don't miss that house now, though.
Here's a truth I've learned:
A house (or apartment) is made up of walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors.
A home is made up of family: a husband and wife and their children.
As long as I am with my husband and our children, I am home.

September Blessings (Day 14)

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We love watching the sunset here in Arizona. It has this lovely affect on the mountains behind us.
David is away on business this week. He's in Lima, Peru, and I'm a little jealous because he will be visiting our dear friends, the Gonzales family. Oh how I miss them! I especially miss my sweet friend, Claudia. I hope she knows how much I cherish her friendship.
Our family blessing today is friendship. We are blessed with many amazing friends. My friend, Carly, has been one of my closest friends since high school. As if we hadn't been through enough together, she just had to go and help David deliver our third baby on our couch! Love ya, Car! 
Amy and I became friends when we needed each other most and we are still there for each other,  mostly as each other's therapists. Love ya, Amy!
Kristine and I have vacationed together. Steph has been a friend, not only to me, but to my daughter, Darcie as well. I've never met Angie, but I hope to someday! It's the best e…

September Blessings (Day 13)

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Another beautiful Sabbath Day and another opportunity taken to go to church as a family and partake of the sacrament, thus renewing our baptismal covenants and reflecting on our Savior's love for us. I find joy in watching my 12-year old son pass the sacrament bread and water, fulfilling one of his responsibilities as a Deacon. He looks so smart in his suit and tie. He told me today that passing the sacrament is his favorite part of church. I think the sacrament means a little more to him now.  I know it does to me. 
John 6:35 reads: "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
One of the sweetest feelings I've come to recognize is my worthiness to partake of the sacrament. When I am worthy of the sacrament, it means I am still on the right path, still holding tight to  the iron rod, still true to the covenants I made with my Heavenly Father at baptism.
And I am at peace.

September Blessings (Day 12)

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What do you imagine lies beyond this peek-a-boo view?
A mystical fairy realm?
A hidden pot of leprechaun gold?
A little girl's secret garden?
We can only guess what actually lies beyond until we journey beyond and see for ourselves.
Even then we may still not be able to see what's really there.
Unless we linger long enough, stilling our thoughts, patiently listening and observing.
I think we sometimes do this to each other.
We form a first impression based only on a glimpse.
But a glimpse is not much. 
What if we took the time to really get to know the other person?
What if we held back on any judgments,
And what if, as they share their story with us, we chose to only allow
love for them to flow through our hearts and minds?
What a blessing that would be!
To only feel compassion for each other,
To remember that we are all children of God and we are all experiencing life together.
For the most part, my husband and children and I are that way with each other.
I hope we always w…

September Blessings (Day 11)

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This was our P.E. class today at Happy Hearts!  While other kids were stuck in a boring classroom, my kids were splashing around a pool we had all to ourselves. Three cheers for homeschooling, and a cool refreshing swim in the hot Arizona sun.

September Blessings (Day 10)

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We absolutely love books at our house! 
This week Marcus and I finished reading, Around the World in 80 Days, together. Next week we're starting, Treasure Island. Marissa and I are finishing up, Princess Bride. I love that my kids still enjoy their mom reading to them.
Good books are definitely a blessing for our family. I'm so glad I have a house full of readers.
Check out Our Book List page for some our favorite reads (although this is just a sampling!). 

September Blessings (Day 9)

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Life is beautiful. So why is it that we often treat one another in ugly ways? 
Sometimes we think we're being helpful by pointing out someone's flaws, especially if they are someone close to us, someone we love.
Sometimes we try so hard to make someone see the world just the way we do, but we end up hurting them and missing out on their unique perspective.
What if, instead of zeroing in on what we perceive as the other person's weaknesses, we dug a little deeper to recognize all of their amazing qualities?
Imagine a world where every thought about another, every word expressed to another, was simply positive and uplifting.
Our family's blessing today is how much we truly build each other up. I'll use myself as an example, but we all do it for each other. Whenever I am sad or have been hurt, my husband and children are always right there to cheer me up and lift me up with their compassion, their unconditional love and their respect for me. They are so good to focus…

September Blessings (Day 8)

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(Our Happy Hearts scripture verse for the week, posted on the whiteboard.)
Our family blessing today is the scriptures. We treasure our scriptures and put them to good use. We have various ways we utilize the scriptures as a family. In the past we had a scripture verse wall in our kitchen.We often refer to a scripture verse, or several, during our family home evening lessons. As part of our homeschooling, we begin each morning with a breakfast devotional where we recite a scripture verse that we change every week. And, every evening we end the day together by reading at least one chapter from any book of scripture. We recently finished the book of Acts. Now we're in the book of Moses. The scriptures really do bless our lives, individually and as a family.

September Blessings (Day 7)

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(Window shopping with my youngest daughter. One of our favorite activities is shopping together.)
Today I am going to be selfish and make this blessing about me. I love being a mom. I love spending time with my kids. I love everything about motherhood. I love how close I am with each of my four children. I love the bond that only we share. Today as I texted with my oldest son and daughter, as I took my youngest daughter shopping for new sneakers and as I read another chapter of, Around the World in Eighty Days, with my youngest son, my heart filled with peace and joy. I am a mom.

September Blessings (Day 6)

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It was a beautiful Sabbath day here in the desert. Our family blessing was attending church together. By my count this is our tenth ward? Fifteenth? Probably somewhere in-between ha ha! (A ward is what we call our church congregation.) It doesn't matter because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same throughout the world. That's the beauty of it. So, no matter where we roam, our church is always there, and it's always the same. It is our Savior's church.

September Blessings (Day 5)

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We spent most of today at the Desert Museum in Tucson. It's mostly outdoors in the real life desert. It was our first visit and it was fascinating! David purchased the yearly membership so we're looking forward to many more visits. Our family blessing today is being able to go on outings together. We love spending time together as a family. (We missed you, Zach and Darcie! But you know, what? Zach and Darcie are spending their weekend together in Utah.)


Marcus tried on bat ears and said they really did magnify sound.

Marcus will be doing a cactus unit study soon.





It was the perfect weather for this outdoor adventure. The morning started with rain, which cleared up shortly after we arrived. The temperature cooled down to a comfortable feel and as we were driving home, we spotted a rainbow in the sky.

September Blessings (Day 4)

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It was a quiet, peaceful morning here and that was definitely a blessing! Not only was it a blessing today, but it's a blessing our family enjoys most mornings, and it's all thanks to homeschooling. Even with Marissa girl waking up for a 7:30am online class, Monday through Thursday, she isn't rushing to get out the door. She can watch her class from her bedroom, in her pajamas and eat a leisurely breakfast afterwards with Marcus and me. On Fridays, she can sleep in because Liahona has no classes on Fridays. Yay! Fridays are our more laid back homeschool day. This morning at 9:30 the apartment was still quiet. I loved that. I made myself a cup of hot chocolate (Yes, I drink hot chocolate in Arizona! In my air conditioned apartment.).

September Blessings (Day 3)

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Last night as David and I were dropping Marissa and Marcus off at the church for their young women/young men activities, we were admiring the sunset and that's when David noticed a cone shape emerging through the clouds. Our family blessing today is appreciating this beautiful world we live in. We have been able to see more of the world than just our backyard, through our moving and our travels. We have come to appreciate the simple, every day wonders, such as a sunset, just as much as the majestic creations (such as Machu Picchu).






September Blessings (Day 2)

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Today our blessing is each other. I love the family that David and I have created together, in partnership with our Heavenly Father. It is a double blessing to have every member of my family living the Gospel, to know that each of my sons and my husband worthily hold their office of the Priesthood and to know that each spouse and each child relies on their own testimony they continue to grow every day. We truly are best friends and I love that my children turn to each other to help problem solve. I love that they come to their father and me for counsel and advice. My family is my joy and my life and best of all, we are sealed to each other. That means we will be together in the eternities as long as we stay true to the covenants we made with our Heavenly Father when we were baptized and in the temple.



September Blessings (Day 1)

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Happy September! This is one of my favorite months of the year so I thought I'd post one blessing in my family's life every day this month.



Our first blessing this month is homeschooling. We officially kicked off our new homeschool year today. We are thankful for the freedom to homeschool. I love sharing my days with my children and I love learning beside them. Homeschooling rocks!