Monthly Archives: November 2012

FHE Made Easy: November Week 4

This lesson takes a slight variation from the previous, as we are now finished with the Book of Mormon lesson manual! This lesson is included in the manual as a lesson for preparation of twelve year olds headed into Young Women’s and Young Men’s. Whether your kids are twelve or two (or twenty-two!), a lesson on the Priesthood is always a good reminder. And don’t worry–I promised a year of lessons, and I’ll deliver a year of lessons! Next week however, our theme will be just a bit different, as we will focus on the Savior all month long!

Week 4: The Priesthood Can Bless Our Lives

If you’re new here, welcome to FHE Made Easy! I post a lesson each week on Mondays that follow the Book of Mormon lessons from Primary this year. I also offer the entire year of lessons for only $10. My lessons are simple and are in PDF format so you can even view them from your tablet or iPad!

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10 Kid Apps for 10 Extra Minutes of Sleep (For You!) iOS, Android, and Kindle

Top Ten Kid Apps For 10 More Minutes of Sleep

In Mom life, there is little more of value than an extra ten minutes of sleep. Today I have for you my top 10+ apps for kids–so you can get 10 more minutes of sleep. Hand your kid your tablet or phone in the morning and hit the snooze button, Slacker Mom!

Prerequisites: easy to play so your child needs little to no help navigating the app. I’ve focused on toddler and preschool apps today, but leave a note if you’d love to see apps for the older kids! The following apps are in no particular order. All apps except as noted have free trials too!

Note: I don’t have an iPad or iPhone, and I don’t have an unlimited app budget. I have a huge app wishlist but I simply can’t buy them all today! I’ve listed apps I have tried and love for Android. They are available for iOS as well, but I haven’t used them personally. Please leave a comment if you have an app that works for your kiddos!

Kid Mode by Zoodles – this is the first app I download on any device! It locks your phone with a customized screen. Your child taps on their picture and is launched into a play zone. Zoodles browses the best of Web videos and brings age-appropriate content to your child. Depending on your device, you can also let your child send and receive video mail safely, add apps like those below, and even record personalized stories with the subscription. Available on: AmazonGoogle Play, App Store,  and your home computer.

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox and Monkey Math – a fantastic choice for preschoolers, this app initially frustrated my younger toddler. However, this app is so engaging, she returned to it over and over. Eventually, she actually began learning her colors and other basic skills to be able to play it with no problems! My four year old loves these apps too, and I love the menu-less interface. Monkey Math is a bit harder for my two year old (working on not hitting the tablet in frustration!), but with the positive reinforcement I predict she’ll be a numbers whiz is no time. Amazon, Google Play, App Store.

Dr. Panda Restaurant and Dr. Panda Hospital – I admit, I have put off upgrading these apps to their full versions (though my kids beg for it!) because, well, it’s not super educational! In these apps they role play a doctor or a chef in charge of either seating patients, assessing and caring for their symptoms, or seating their patrons, taking their orders, preparing their food and serving them. There’s little creativity required of them, but for an app to keep the quiet for those golden ten minutes? A pure winner for sure. Amazon, Google Play, App Store

My PlayHome – this is another role playing app, but maybe just because I’m a girl, even I find myself tinkering along with them on this one! The app is essentially a dollhouse (with a Caucasian family on the Lite version). In the living room, you can open the windows, turn lights on and off, turn on the ‘TV’ or perhaps start a CD in the stereo. In the kitchen you can ‘feed’ your little family, do a load of laundry, or boil some water for a hot cup of tea. I don’t see my girls playing with it like our real dollhouse, but it does entertain them for quite awhile! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.

Drawing Pad – hands down, my favorite coloring app on Android. I’m in love with the textures of different mediums like crayon and marker. It’s so realistic, in fact, I learned the hard way that not coloring on the tablet with REAL crayons is an important conversation to have with your toddler. For coloring book apps, I’ve got the Color & Draw HD app high on my wishlist! Drawing Pad: AmazonGoogle Play, App Store. Color & Draw HD: Amazon, Google Play, App Store.

Intellijoy apps – the puzzle app alone has occupied my toddler for cumulative hours om end. The connect the dots app (toggle between ABC’s or 123’s and more!) encourages alphabetic order awareness. And holy smokes, Android users need to check out their Learn to Read app! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.

 The Cat in the Hat by Oceanhouse Media – This app takes real books (think Dr. Suess and Berenstein Bears) and has turned them into multimedia presentations. Your child can select Read It Myself, Read To Me, and Auto Play. Auto Play is my favorite for my toddler as it performs like a mini movie for her. In Read To Me, the words are highlighted as the book is read aloud. (Looks like some nifty new features for iOS, too!) Amazon, Google PlayApp Store, and more! 

Spinlight Apps – it’s not easy to find apps as beautiful and educational as Spinlight turns out. I love these apps. I’m so excited they brought their content to Android. From AlphaTots for toddlers to Operation Math for the older kids, these apps are brilliant, simple, and fun! (Homeschoolers, don’t miss TableTots!) I wish Spinlight offered a trial version of their apps so you’ll have to take my word on this one! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.

Starfall Learn to Read – if you have a preschooler, you likely know and love Starfall has been bringining their awesome content to iOS for awhile now but has more recently began to focus on Android as well. My only complaint is that not all the iOS Starfall apps are on Android (yet!) but my four year old is thrilled to have her favorite characters on my tablet too. Amazon, Google PlayApp Store

Super WhyFinally! PBS Kids is finally bringing content over to Android! So far Super Why and Play at Home With Daniel are the only released on Android, but they’re pretty great. My kids don’t know Daniel, but we are huge fans of Super Why at our house. Note, there aren’t any trial versions of these apps. Amazon, Google Play, App Store. Edit: since writing this, several more apps have been released on both Google Play and Amazon! 

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, and when you purchase through the Amazon links above I get a very small portion of the proceeds.

Any must have apps that need to be on this list? Leave the app name, as well as your operating system below! (iOS, Android, Kindle, or other.)


Once Upon a Baby: Book Review & Giveaway


Once Upon a Baby: A Tale of Adoption by Shari Guess

A heartwarming tale of LDS Adoption. Follow a child’s journey from the Pre-existence to his family’s home on Earth. The divine guidance of the Savior, along with the love and prayers of both birth and adoptive parents are gently and lovingly portrayed in this tender story of the ultimate “Happily ever after”.


My Review:

I am so excited to be invited along this ‘book tour,’ as adoption is something that is very close to my heart. I have two neices and one nephew who were adopted through foster care, and my parents are working to adopt through foster care as well.

The book is written from an LDS perspective (premortal life, eternal families) for children who were placed into adoption by their birth mothers. It sweetly explains how the mother and father promised the child in the pre-existence that they would be a family forever. They prayed for their child, but eventually learned that the mommy would not be able to grow the baby.

While the majority of the book was appropriately simplified for children, this line seemed to over simplify the role of the birth mother:

The baby would need a Tummy Mommy!
Tummy Mommies are blessing mommies.
They help mommies and daddies
who can’t grow babies
by growing a baby for them.

A very young child may appreciate the simplicity of this explanation, but to me it raises quite a few questions on its own. For an older child, the explanation may even feel dishonest; the “tummy mommy” didn’t grow a baby for the adoptive parents, but decided it was in her child’s best interest to let someone else raise the child. It feels here like the birth mother is hidden behind trite excuses rather than celebrating her selfless act of love.

If you’ve been looking for a good LDS book with a focus on eternal families, but don’t care for the surrogate-like interpretation, I would simply pause at this point in the book and adapt as is appropriate for your situation; perhaps telling your child how his birth mother wasn’t able to care for a baby, but she loved the baby and wanted to find the perfect family for your child. (Read this article for more ideas.)

Overall, the theme of the book was lovely, and clearly created with a special heart for adoption. It’s a rare find, especially with the family in the story ultimately going to the temple to be sealed together forever.

Author Shari Guess

SHARI GUESS is a proud, first-time children’s book author and lives in rural North Texas where she
is “Mom” to her beloved 9-year-old adopted son, Garrett. Happily married to her husband Walter for going on 13 years they share their cabin-in-the-woods with a small herd of Great Danes and farm animals. Shari is currently a part-time real estate agent and property manager and prior to marriage worked for over a decade in the music business, spanning from Los Angeles to Nashville. She wore many hats as a journalist and publicist representing multiple recording artists, magazines and music publishing companies, along with being a part-time performing artist and songwriter. Her hobbies include choral, Americana and rock music, martial arts, photography, travel and anything in the mountains.



Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card + copy of Once Upon a Baby

Copy of Once Upon a Baby

(Paperback open to US only, Kindle ebook for International)

Ends 11/30/12

a Rafflecopter giveaway
NOTE:If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t appear, just click the link above and it will take you to the form. Thanks!

 Disclosure: I received an eBook of Once Upon a Baby to review. I received no compensation. The words of the review are my own, and I was provided the summary and author biography for convenience. 

FHE Made Easy: November Week 3

Today’s lesson is on the Book of Mormon promise. A beautiful promise that lets any reader of the Book of Mormon know if it is true or not, this lesson will provide you the opportunity to bear your testimony to your children. Take a cue from the mothers of Helaman’s Army, and be sure that your children know that you know it is true!

Week 3: Moroni and the Book of Mormon Promise

If you want to be prepared and have the whole year of family home evening lessons downloaded to your tablet/iPad, or perhaps printed and stored in a binder, then you can buy them for only $10! Take a minute to print out all the printables, handouts, and coloring pages, and you’re ready to go with no pre-planning for an entire year!

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Homeschooling… Or sleeping?

This past week or so has been full of challenges. Motivation, or a lack thereof, challenges. I think I’ve been avoiding my blog because I don’t like to admit defeat. More importantly; I don’t want to be defeated. I’d very much prefer to be regular feated, thank you very much!

This week we did two rather lazy days of homeschool. Then on Wednesday we… Well frankly we didn’t do much of anything. Thursday, I cleaned my room. It was pretty much an all day project. Today looks like it will be a repeat of Wednesday’s schedule.

The homeschool bubble has deflated. The fresh smell of new curriculum is worn off. The excitement of planning days has waned, knowing that my plans will surely be replaced by the desire to do nothing. Playing Where’s My Water* on my tablet is looking better than attempting to get my four year old to do a craft without a meltdown. Except sleep. Sleeping is looking pretty great these days. We do a lot of that. Or more accurately, I ask my kids, “Don’t you want to watch a show on Mommy’s bed while Mommy takes a rest?”

I know my mom will read this, and the therapist in her will ask if I am depressed. No, I don’t think so. I am ADHD still, and that’s depressing! Life is boring, and boring is super boring. (Almost like a super power. I’m Super Bored!)

What do you do when you don’t have motivation to do much of anything? 

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