Monthly Archives: March 2012

Slacker Spring Break

Spring Break in the Slacker House

Worst spring break ever.

Well, it could be worse.
{I guess.}

But seriously. My kids go to school outside of our local district boundaries, so not a single one of their friends within bike riding  distance was home from school. Plus, it’s March. March. Spring Break.
In March.

We had no travel plans. It’s the end of the month, so “fun money” is pretty much used up on “groceries.”
{They say they are bored, yet they also want to eat every day.}

If my kids have to write a paper titled “How I Spent My Spring Break,” it could be summed up like so:

A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say.

Yesterday I had every intention of taking them to the last Winter Wednesday at Tracy Aviary. Admission is only $1. Great plan. Until I went to bed way too late, then one of my sweet little cherubs felt it appropriate to wake up at 2 a.m. and tell me, quite disgustedly, how rude I was being for not letting her sleep in my bed. For real.

Wednesday morning… I was less than chipper.
I had plans to go to the aviary with a friend.
I broke the plans.
I took a nap.

I may have taken two naps. I don’t recall, exactly.

I grumbled and groaned and ordered my bored children to clean the house.

I did sneak away for a minute to grab Little Caesars for lunch, because there wasn’t any bread. And anything else for lunch seemed… hard. Of course, Abigail can’t eat pizza, but I put her down for a nap first with a sippy cup of soy milk. Which is sort of like lunch, I guess.

My kids spent the entire day asking when we were going to Tracy Aviary. I grumbled and groaned some more. I may have whined, too. It’s hard to remember…

Spring Break in March. Seriously.

General Conference Fun & Games

General Conference Fun and Games

Come listen to living prophets
A reader on Facebook asked the other day if I had any fun activities for the upcoming session of  General Conference. I assured her that the latest FHE Made Easy was all about preparing your family for conference. On Tuesday I re-posted an archived post entitled General Conference on the Go, full of ideas for listening to conference as you travel.

Today I’d like to focus on activities to do while you’re home listening to conference. In some ways, this can almost be harder than entertaining young children in the car. The children in the car are buckled and really have little to no choice in the matter about listening to conference. The children at home, however, have many many distractions from which to choose, with little limitations in wandering about.

If you expect your children to sit and watch/listen to conference, you need a battle plan. Like Sacrament meeting, you can’t walk in unprepared, or you’ll end up miserable and more than likely, end up leaving early. I thought it would be fun to make some of my own General Conference printables, like I’ve done with the Walk Beside Me preschool. As I started though, I realize that much of what I wanted to do… has been done. There are so many fantastic resources for fun General Conference activities, that it would be redundant to make another.

What I’ve done instead is compile a fairly comprehensive {if I do say so myself!} resource for General Conference activities. I put them, where else, on Pinterest! I’ve taken care to check each of the links to make sure they are active, and will lead you to the original post, so feel free to pin away! If I’ve forgotten any important links, or you’d like me to add your own link, feel free to comment below or email me at Enjoy!

{Anxiety} How to Beat the Blog Conference Blues

Beat the Blog Conference Blues

As a child, I was blessed with an ability to never feel insecure in any situation. This caused my mother endless amounts of grief as I bounced around stores, loudly singing, loudly talking, and loudly asking her to buy me things. The teenage me gave her the same amount of grief, but with an awareness after social situations that I probably looked like a complete idiot during them.

As an adult, I have a keen awareness before social situations of what an idiot I will potentially make myself out to be. Not very long ago, this was such a crippling can’t-breathe-get-me-outta-here awareness that I tried not to venture into social situations unless I had no other option. I’m slowly working (and forcing) myself out of my self induced shell.

As a blogger, I often see events going on that I would so love to attend, but the anxiety is too overwhelming to consider. As I come out of my shell, such events seem slightly less terrifying. One such event is the Breathing Space Retreat in Daybreak, Utah.

This beautiful retreat has a few things that appealed to me: first, affordability, at only $75 for a weekend ticket! Second, location, as it’s within Salt Lake valley. Third, it offers fun classes like beginning knitting and photography!

Lastly, it offers the taste of a blog conference, without the sheer overwhelming numbers of a big-time blog conference: it’s excluded to 75 people! The size of the conference is perfect for me. It will get me out of my comfort zone (75 people! wow, that is a lot of people I don’t know!), without plunking me down in the middle of 500+ attendees. I can do 75 people. Right? Right??

As I work my way out of my “shell,” I’m starting to realize… I’m not the only one  ready to pee their pants in a social situation. I’ve pulled together some tips from other bloggers ready to hit their anxiety head on at a conference.

1. Be Recognizeable! Kristi, from The Daily Dribbles, posted a real-life picture of herself, admitting,

The thing is, I’m naturally a shy person. If you know me in real life, you’re probably laughing at that statement. Once you get to know me, I’m not shy at all. In fact, I’m quite outgoing. But if you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, and there are lots of people involved (like at a blog conference), I feel overwhelmed and oftentimes, just go and sit by myself and wait for someone else to come up to me. That is not me being a bitch. That is me retreating and hoping that someone will take pity on me and start a conversation with me.

2. Don’t Compare. One cool thing about the Breathing Space Retreat is that while it’s for “bloggers,” blogger is pretty loosely defined by anyone who happens to have a blog. If you’re coming, and your blog has a follower, singular, (hi, Mom!), enjoy what you’re learning from more established bloggers. Dianne, of Will Write for Food, offers this advice:

Someone is always going to have a better book deal, more readers, more speaking opportunities, more ad revenue, nicer clothes, more prestigious freelancing gigs, better writing skills, and more hangers-on. I’ll never win, playing that game.

3. Shut Up, Listen Up – Awkward with conversation? Then leave the conversation to others. Debrorah, from American Christian Fiction Writers, offers this valuable insight:

Listen five times more than you talk, and when you do talk, make at least 50% of your words QUESTIONS to others about themselves, instead of talking about yourself. I know when I’m nervous I have a tendency to talk WAY too much. I’m learning that if I make a conscious effort to shut my mouth and just LISTEN, I get far more out of any encounter or meeting.

4. Make New Friends… First – If at all possible, attend the Twitter chats, Facebook convo, and real-life meet ups before the event. Suddenly the strangers that you’re about to spend an entire weekend with won’t seem to strange! A tip from

If you will be attending an event where you do not know anyone, make a point of trying to get to know at least one other fellow attendee prior to going. Although it may be awkward to try and get to know someone in advance, you will be glad to see a friendly face when you arrive. Make plans to meet up for coffee or a meal during the event and you will feel less like an outsider amongst an unfriendly crowd.

Whether you suffer from blog conference anxiety or not, I hope you’ll venture out of your comfort zone to join me at the Breathing Space Retreat! If nothing else, you know you’re not the only one there who is taking deep breaths, trying not to be horribly awkward, and making a concentrated effort not to pee their pants and run.

{Archived} General Conference on the Go

General Conference on the Go
Note: This is an archived post from April 2011. This year I will be sitting in my home, not having any fun at all, during General Conference weekend. 

This General Conference weekend, we’re headed down to my in-law’s second home in St. George. Sunshine, warmth, swimming, hot tub… oh yes. Good plan.
On Sunday, we will be waking up relatively early to head back home. Jordan + Rebecca need to visit with their mom in the evening so we’ll be driving on a deadline. I think our plan is to stream conference over The Mormon Channel or something like that on Gary’s phone, since real radio service will be pretty hit and miss on the drive.  

I need something to keep the kids kindasorta entertained on the drive and practically quiet so that we can actually hear conference. (I’m pretty sure listening to Conference if you can’t hear it doesn’t earn you very many Heaven Points. Or is it the thought that counts in this situation??)

Here are my ideas: 

I’m printed off 4 (one for each child) General Conference Packets from Sugardoodle. Can I just say I love this website? It has been a lifesaver for virtually every church calling I’ve had. I was even able to get age appropriate packets for each child. Here, I’ll link you up:

(this is supposed to be a sticker packet, but I decided if one kid had stickers and the others didn’t it would be too much of a pain)
Then I bought very cheap clipboards ($.79 from NPS) and clipped each packet to it, along with a pen. I will also bring crayons so they can color. The nursery and junior packets have cut and paste type activities in the second half but I’ll be using those on Saturday. These packets would also be really fun even if you aren’t leaving your house for conference!

I also bought a ton of brand name cereal at NPS for a dollar a bag (because it was missing the all-important box). I put those in individual baggies for each kid. During each different speaker they get to pull out a different snack bag. 
Parenthood: it’s all about the Art of Distraction.
This might be a fun thing to do at home. It’s simple, but it feels special. Other bags could have simple dollar store toys, treats, or marshmallows. I got the idea for General Conference baggies here.

During the two hour break of conference, I made little “brown bag” lunches. They will have juice boxes, an apple, a fruit snack, and either a Lunchable or a sandwich. I figure lunch is always more fun (and therefore quieter) if you get your own lunch bag! Another fun thing you could do at home if you don’t have any specific lunch plans on Sunday.

A tradition for our family is listening to a book on CD or ipod. During the break I’m hoping to listen to more of whichever book earns the family vote. Oh, and I forgot to mention: another conference tradition we’ll be doing on Saturday is Conference Bingo. Who could resist that lovely game? We played it even as teenagers and fact; even if I had no kids now, I’d still play it! Here’s a link to 12 different LDS conference bingo cards; you’ll want to print out a few of each. No one wants to win bingo the same time as everyone else! It’s fun to color these during conference, then laminate them to save for years to come.

I hope everyone enjoys Conference. I hope everyone gets to hear Conference over the various fights your children will have in front of the TV. And if not, I really hope that we get Heaven Points for trying!

FHE Made Easy: March Week 4

Click to go to the FREE lessons!

Guess what week it is?

One of the best weeks of the year!
It’s General Conference week!
This week’s easy family home evening lesson focuses on General Conference. It’s a great way for kids to get psyched up. In fact, there may even be a little tent building involved this week! Shh! Don’t tell. ;) Here’s the download for this week:

Week 4: General Conference

Speaking of General Conference, this lessons would be fun activities for kids to do during Conference! Buy the whole year to easily search for activities you think your kids would enjoy.

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