Sugar Free Halloween, part 2

A couple of days ago I talked about a sugar free Halloween.  Here is what I actually tried:

Peanut Butter Cups
These are delicious!!!  And so, so easy.  YUM!!  Really...they are perfectly delicious.  I could eat them all!

Again, yummy and so easy.  I adapted this one a little.  I didn't have a candy mold so I just used mini-muffin tins.  I also didn't have chocolate chips so instead just chopped up 1 1/2 100% cocoa chocolate bars.    I think for this one the chocolate was more bitter and could have used some honey.  Also, I'd suggest more caramel and less chocolate with each piece.  I ran out of chocolate and had lots of caramel left over. I LOVE the caramel.  You could just use the caramel sauce and not even add the chocolate for a delicious sweet treat.

Both of these are great substitutes for the sugar-filled versions.  They may seem a bit expensive (they are!) but I ended up spending less than I would have on regular candy (assuming I'd actually take a bag of candy per child to the trunk-or-treat).  Plus, the cost makes you not want to make them as often and eat them so much....they are that yummy!

Happy Halloween!!


Halloween Movies

One of our favorite family traditions is to watch a scary movie on Halloween.
We've introduced the kids to movies like Watcher in the Woods, Jurassic Park, Monster House, Arachnophobia (that was my favorite year!), and The Birds.  It's just a fun thing to do after the trick-or-treating is over.  It also gives us something to do while the kids get sick on candy!

It's getting difficult because the older kids now want to watch something SCARY, the middle kids are not quite ready for that, and the little kids....well, they can watch Monster House this year and go to bed.  So, how to appease the two older groups??  My hubby is voting for Signs or The Sixth Sense. I still think we can stick with something a little less terrifying like Jaws or Harry Potter #6.

And I have a question:  Would you show your kids Poltergeist???  I'm not so sure.


Sugar Free Halloween

Is it even possible?!?! 

image from blaircandy.com

I'll tell you - - this has been a tough one for our family.  My husband and I don't eat candy.  Two of our children are not eating candy at the moment.  The others are still eating candy.  So what do we do?  If I fully believe in no sugar, why would I take my kids Trick-or-Treating to get pounds of sugar!? (And can I just add a parenthetical statement that I am whole-heartedly opposed to ward trunk-or-treats!?!  Another soap box topic for another day).  I really wish I could just cut it all out -- ALL or NOTHING!?!  But that's just not realistic.  Makes me wish I just started with no sugar from day one of parenthood.  Sigh.

We talked about just having a Halloween party instead.  I'd make some healthy treats and we'd ignore ALL trick-or-treating whatsoever.  But then I thought of all that would entail...it sounded too exhausting at the moment.

We finally came up with a compromise.  B will take the younger boys out around the neighborhood.  A will go with them only to collect candy she can trade in at the dentist for money!  Yippee!  I'm just going to let the kids gorge themselves on candy Halloween night and then make them sell the rest to the dentist as well.  JW and A asked for a bag of grapes instead.  :-)

However, I still want to make some treats!  After all, it is Halloween, right?  And this is JUST what I was looking for!! 

As for what I'm going to hand out at the door??
I think I'll just go buy some stickers.  :-)

Happy Halloween, Everyone...Let the Holidays begin!!


Motherly Advice

"If you don't have children to give you pain, you don't have any to give you pleasure."

 - - Abigail Adams - - 

Timely advice for me while I struggle with my first (of six!) experience with the terrible twos!  A friend just told me, "It's like you're getting all six wrapped up into one child!"  Isn't he so dang cute, though!?!


Rise of the Guradians

Believe me, I was just as surprised as my 10yo daughter when I started to cry and take notes while watching a children's movie in the theater.  But I did.  And every time I watch this movie, I still get emotional.  So, here is what I learned from Rise of the Guardians  (spoiler alert -  I highly recommend you watch the movie before you read any further):

image from denofgeek.com

Lesson #1:  Find Your Center
"I bring wonder to the world, it's my center." - - Santa Clause

What is your center?  What do you bring to the world?  Jack started out the movie wondering this very thing.  "Why am I here?  What is my purpose?"  We each have a center, something only we can contribute to the world.  Even if others have our same spiritual gift, each person utilizes that gift in a different way.  So think about it a minute:  What is YOUR center?

image from insidemovies.ew.com

Lesson #2:  Discover who you Were
"How can I find out who I am without finding out who I was?"  - - Jack Frost

As Latter-day Saints we have a knowledge of our pre-existence.  This knowledge must not be taken for granted.  Imagine how your purpose here on earth would be hindered without this knowledge.  How blessed we are to know that each of us is a "beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, has a divine nature and destiny (Family: A Proclamation to the World)."  How does that knowledge help us with our current mission here on earth?  The same way knowing helped Jack:  he was able to remember who he was and what characteristics he had which led him to his center.

image from riseoftheguradians.wikia.com
Lesson 3:  The Adversary Knows You, Too
"There will always be fear." 
- - Pitch Black (the Boogyman)

Pitch Black played into Jack's fears.  He knew exactly where Jack would falter, what would make him fail, and where he was weak.  The interesting thing I'm fascinated with about this character/part is HOW the antagonist behaved.  He was cunning.  He played into Jack's weaknesses with sympathy.  He really did understand Jack's feelings of loneliness because he himself was lonely.  Watching him just helped me to see more clearly how Satan truly does want others to be "miserable like unto himself (2 Ne. 2:27)."  This is something to watch for in our own lives when we are struggling.

Lesson #4: It Just Takes One to Believe
"Do you stop believing in the moon when the sun comes up?"  - - Jack Frost

All it takes is one to believe to combat the adversary!  And the cool thing was, once Jaime believed he was able to bring others along and help them believe (see Luke 22:32).  Then, together they were able to dispel all darkness!  What struck me was this line from Jaime (talking to Pitch Black), "I believe in you, but I'm not afraid of you."   Fear verses faith, right?  It is faith and light that will release us from that hold Satan desires to have upon our hearts.  In the end, it was Black's fear of the light winning that destroyed him.

The Guardian's Oath

Will you, (name), vow to watch over the children of the world?
To guard them with your life, their hopes, their wishes, and their dreams.  For they are all that we have, all that we are, and all that we will ever be.


Reptile Awareness Day

image from passportacademy.com

Bill Nye the Science Guy talks reptiles
Compare and Contrast different reptiles using a venn diagram
Use the senses sheet to describe characteristics of reptiles

image from www.childrensclassics.com.au

Leave it to Eric Carle to provide us with a great selection of reptile books!  Try these:
The Greedy Python
The Mixed-Up Chameleon
The Foolish Tortoise
The Rabbit and the Turtle

Reptile Story:  make a list of reptile-related words, such as eggs, cold-blooded, scales, slither, tortoise, snake, dinosaur, etc.  Write these words on separate slips of paper and hide them around the room.  Create a story together by finding the words.   As each child finds a word have them add a sentence to the story.

Rep-TILES:  cut out small "tiles" from various colors of paper.  Use tiles for tactile graphing.  For instance, get a bag of skittles and have the kids graph how many there are if each color.  Tgese tiles coykd also be used to create mosaic artwork!

Then make Alligator Pie

image from toysandbooks.com

image from gameswright.com

This us one of my kids' favorite games!  Match the snake parts.  Tge person who captures the mist snakes wins!

Then make these yarn wrapped snakes...
image from munchkinsandmayhem.com


We Are Strong

image from greatersyria.wordpress.com

The themes from general conference always seem to be so timely, this past conference was no exception. Many people are going through what I like to call "Endurance Trials,"  trials that force us to practice patience.  President Monson even stated, "The heavenly virtue of patience is required."

A friend and I were talking the other day just about my most recent experience, events in her life and the lives of other various friends and family members.  Others also have expressed great love and understanding towards me this week as they've shared similar stories and even more challenging experiences.

When I voiced concern of my own children of being able to endure the trials that may be ahead  for them, my friend reminded me, "It's these seemingly big endurance trials that are simply preparation trials for bigger tasks to hurdle."

As we women and mothers persevere through these experiences we are showing our children the way to endure.  Just as the stories from our past (personal and in Church history) give us strength to endure, our own examples give our children that same strength.   And, as has been stated, "Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint.  Each of us will be tested."  Days of greater trials loom ahead of us and so we need these smaller trials (though they seem big at the time) to prepare us and give us stamina for those future days.


Strong women do endure. 
Strong women lead the way.
Strong women keep faith in their Savior and look forward "with a brightness of hope."
Strong women persevere and try, try again when they falter.

WE are strong women.  YOU are strong women.  Staying on the Lord's side we will have victory and "overcome even has He overcame."

 - - - - - 

"Dear sisters, we rely on the moral force you bring to the world, to marriage, to family, to the Church. We rely on blessings you bring down from heaven by your prayers and faith. We pray for your security, welfare, and happiness and for your influence to be sustained. " - - Elder D. Todd Christofferson, CR Oct. 2013 - - 



As expected, we lost the baby.  Well, honestly speaking, with a blighted ovum you wonder if there was ever really a baby to lose, but that's another question to be resolved in the eternities.

With a tendency to look through eyes of faith, I don't generally ask, "Why me," but rather, "What am I supposed to learn from this?"  However, this miscarriage is such shocking blow for me.  I'm not sure how to handle it, actually.  Which is not usual for me.  Many others out there probably think, "Come on, it's just a miscarriage."  I know, 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage.  But it's still a loss.  And I'm feeling it.

And yet, when you believe all things are in the hands of God and that He is truly involved in the details of your life, every experience becomes a spiritual experience, a time to ask, "What does God want me to do with this?"

What I learned these last ten days was that you have to allow yourself to feel the pain.  Because I tend to look at the positive I was ready to embrace the week with a determination to look outward and to serve others.  I did not intend to wallow in self-pity and wait impatiently for Monday (yesterday) to come.  I failed.  Or rather, I learned what the Lord required of me.  Christ suffered that we need not suffer (D&C 19:16), but as we learned in conference this weekend (so awesome!), "opposition is not a flaw in the Plan of Salvation."  We must pass through sorrow to know good and evil.  These last ten days have been full of sorrow, mourning, pain, tears, depression, uncertainty, and confusion.  Again, I know ten days is nothing compared to the grief others must endure, but this life is not about comparing.  Each pathway is different in which we need to travel to become closer to and more like our Savior.  Plus, I still have what's ahead of me....an operation, healing, rebalancing of hormones, and that trial and error period of trying again (if that is the course we take).  That all sounds exhausting.

I also learned more.  The Lord knew what I needed to gain more empathy and understanding for others who experience such loss.  When I went to the temple last week I seriously wanted to just look into every face that was there and know their pain, their experiences, their joys.  I wanted to know them.  That was an amazing thing to feel.

As you can see, my thoughts are a jumbled mess of hope mixed with sadness.  Thank you to all who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers.  And to those who experience such pain, or even greater, we can take comfort in the most recent words of our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson:

"We are to endure, yes, but we must also become spiritually refined.  Without challenges to solve, we would not grow."


Wait Upon the Lord

A few months ago I was struck by the questions and answers recorded between the brother of Jared and the Lord.  I'm still seeking.  How do we know we're asking the right question?  How do we know what the question should be?

The Lord tells us:  "Ask and ye shall receive"  (D&C 88:63).  And yet we're supposed to also say, "Thy will be done (Matt. 6:10)."  The Lord tells us if we have His will in mind we will not ask amiss (2 Ne. 4:35).

We are in a moment of uncertainty in our family.  I'm waiting to go in for a second ultrasound (yes, I'm expecting!) to see if there is really a baby.  Last Friday I went in for my first appointment and the doctor found only a gestational sac with no sign of life.  To not be too hasty, he asked that we wait ten days and then go in for another ultrasound just to be sure.  Talk about aggravating!

I did not expect the emotions that I have been through.  Friday, lots of tears.  Saturday and Sunday sincere peace and faith that all would be as the Lord requires.  I was ready to take on the week ready to serve and move forward.  Monday was fine, but I just felt really tired.  Tuesday, again, really tired.  I told my husband I just want to sleep this week away.  Tears came all too easily that day. Yes, I would admit to giving in to depression.  Today I feel a renewed sense of peace and determination to just do my best today, to serve my family, and take care of all that is needful.

And thus the questions above.  How do I know what to ask for?  While in the hospital with D's birth, I was given distinct instruction on what I needed to pray for in that moment.  Just as with the brother of Jared, he was given a direct answer to one of his questions.  Similarly, in this second experience I am not receiving a clear answer.  Do I ask for a miracle?  Do I ask to endure?  Do I ask for the time to go by more quickly?  Do I ask for....????  I don't know!

What I do know is that I don't need a miracle to realize the Lord's hand is guiding my life. As lovely as it would be to hear good news on Monday, I am already assured that God is watching over our little family.  I am aware that He is involved in the details of our lives.  I know there is pain to be felt in this life so we can be drawn closer to the Lord, but am just as sure that the peace can far outway the hurt.

And so I will wait.  For four more excruciating days I will wait.  More importantly, I will wait upon the Lord (Ps. 123:2, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Ne. 18:17) knowing the peace will come.


"Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.  Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances....Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.  Embrace and rely on the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart." 
- - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, CR Oct. 2008 - -


Dr. Seuss Knew our Family

image from seuss.wikipedia.com

I had such joy coming home from the temple the other night.  I was so excited to tell the kids, "We are related to a Dr. Seuss character!"



So gullible.

But, really, check out this name:
Mary Martha Myrtle Morgan

No joke.

Can't you see that fitting right in with Fox in Sox and To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street?

Just a little bit of Hathaway History Humor!

image from conglamorationofruminations.blogspot.com


Catching Fire

No - NOT the book!

Family History!

I have caught a bug. 

How many of us hear family history and cringe with guilt that we aren't doing our part!?  Well, maybe we are and just don't know it yet! 

My Great-Great-Great Grandfather, John Pack

I just read a fascinating article featured on the LDS website about how sharing family stories strengthens youth and gives them strength to be resilient during hard times.  From the article, "The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The 'Do You Know?' scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness." 

Who knew? 

I have currently been reading the history of my great-great-great-grandfather.   It is a compilation recently published of journal excerpts and other documents in which John Pack was mentioned.  I am not only learning about his history but a lot about church history as well because his life was so strongly connected to the beginnings of the Church.  He and his wife (of whom I am her namesake) were sealed by Hyrum Smith in his home.  They also managed The Mansion after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith.  John was one of the first to lead the way into the Salt Lake Valley, to scout it out and welcome in the earliest Saints.  I've known parts of their history from growing up, but not until I have immersed myself in this book did I fully realize the extent of it.  John and Julia Pack left a great legacy for their posterity!

So what are we leaving our children?  What will they have to read 100 years from now?  What stories do we have to share so that our children can withstand the pressures that will inevitably arise in life? 

And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.  And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given (3Ne. 8:3-4).
How many times do we read in the scriptures of those who fall away because they have forgotten the righteous traditions of their fathers?  How about the counsel given from several fathers in the scriptures, men telling their sons to remember the stories of their ancestors?  I used to think these preachings were only about the doctrines.  Of course, the doctrine is essential to a longstanding testimony of the gospel, however I see now that these teachings also must have included the stories passed on from generation to generation.  These stories stand as an example that God does fulfill His promises, not just in ancient times but in our personal and very recent past. 
So, this gives me great hope that I am actually contributing to the family history work commanded to be done by the Lord.  My journals will be something.  I want to make them more significant.  I want to be sure the stories I share will be a link to keeping my children strong.  I want to write more, remember more, share more, learn more.  I want to talk more with my parents and learn their stories.  THIS is the Spirit of Elijah, truly turning the hearts of the children to their fathers and the fathers' to the children!
 _ _ _ _ _
Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming (Doctrine & Covenants 2, emphasis added).
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