Thanksgiving, Games and Puzzles

Thanksgiving is upon us.  I love this holiday.  It's a time to just be together as a family, large or small.  I am hoping to have my parents come up from Utah (we're praying for good weather!).  We'll also be having J's mom and one of his brother's up for dinner that day.  I just love the warmth, the laughter, the food, and the togetherness of this week.  I also appreciate taking a moment to discover (or rediscover) the things we have to be grateful for!

I found this great Thanksgiving Game we will be using to start off this week of family time and gratitude.

It is also National Games and Puzzles week.  I've shared some of our favorite games here and here before.  Here are some new ones we love and will be spending some time on this week!

Lords of Waterdeep

image from www.opinionatedgames.com
We played this one with some friends in Richland just before we moved.  I knew I had to get it, so it became J's Father's Day gift this year.  We're still not tired of it!

Bubble Talk
image from amazon.com
I think we found this at a yard sale, I can't remember.  It's a fun family game.  We like to use our own family pictures.  Great for stirring up  memories and making laughs!


image from http://gametracker.trilobyt3.com
J heard about this one from a friend at work.  It's a great mix between fun party game and strategy.  Great one for the whole family.


image from gamesbyjohnny.wordpress.com
I know we all remember this one from childhood.  I have been waiting and waiting (not too patiently) for my kids to be old enough to play this game with me.  We have had some fun nights with this one! It's a classic!

Those are my game highlights for this season.

Enjoy your family time this week!  Travel safely if you are traveling.  Love that yummy food!  And be grateful for all the blessings you have been given!

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Meeting the Challenges of Today

In our recent General Conference, a talk was given by Elder Robert D. Hales entitled, "Meeting the Challenges of Today's World."  My mind flashed to another talk of the same title by Elder Neal A. Maxwell.  I decided to read it in hopes I would find many parallels between the two talks.  Unfortunately, I only found one direct similarity, but the messages together were a very poignant testimony of truth.

37 years ago (just one month after my birth), Elder Maxwell stated, "...we shall see in our time a maximum if indirect effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion.  It is actually a new form of paganism that uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of Western civilization to shrink freedom even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage." He called this state religion, "the secular church."

He continues, "This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people's opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.  Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive.  Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened...the secular church will do what it can to reduce the influence of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments."

It's not shocking to see this very thing happening nearly 40 years later.  And from hundreds of years ago we read, "Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;  that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20)."  This "secular church" is beginning to replace real religion, religion based on faith in God.

In our modern day and from Elder Hales we learn, "...that many resist organized religion."  The mocking fingers of the Great and Spacious building are becoming ever more pointed and much less discreet than in days gone by.  The counsel we receive from both our past leader and our current leader is thus:

"...not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ 
includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Christ."   
- Elder Maxwell - 

"We need to tighten our grip on the rod that leads us back to Him.  
Now is the 'day of choosing' for all of us."   
- Elder Hales - 

Whereas Elder Maxwell counseled the young adult disciples of 1978 to study and grasp the doctrine of foreordination, Elder Hales counseled those disciples of today to stay out of debt, study the scriptures, have eyes set on marriage,  and to reach upward with faith.  Both items of counsel suggest having an eternal perspective.  Understanding foreordination requires us to think of our premortal life and the covenants made then, while the suggestions of Elder Hales move us forward into the eternities.

Ultimately, the Plan of Salvation as taught to us in the pre-existence remains in affect!  "The Lord will lead you along," reminds Elder Hales. "I testify that if you are there for the Lord,  He will be there for you."  As the enduring disciples of Christ struggle to remain strong in a darkening world, these words bring hope and light to our souls.  There is no need to fear nor to be ashamed.

The rough road of discipleship will never be easy.  Elder Maxwell states, "The disciple will be puzzled at times...But he persists.  Later he rejoices over how wonderfully things fit together, realizing only then that, with God, things never were apart." And as we go through this final battle, with no knowledge of how long it will last, we can know that with God all things are possible and with God we will win the fight.

 - - - - - - 

"Fear Not, thou the enemy deride. 
Courage for the Lord is on our side. 
We will heed not what the wicked may say, 
But the Lord alone we will obey." 
 - - Let us All Press On, Hymns #243 - - 


Have a Bad Day

image from amazon.com

I think many would agree that Alexander and theTerrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst is one of the greatest classics of all time.  Who has ever NOT had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?  We've all lived in a family where we felt misunderstood or ignored at one time or another.  Living in a family, there will be those days when you feel you are cursed, while everyone else is blessed.  There are some great valuable lessons to be had from this excellent book, as well as some fun educational activities!

Language Arts:  
Alexander's not the only one to have a bad day.  Check these other stories out about other characters who feel equally as horrible.

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Use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast these four stories.  What were the similarities and differences between each character's bad day?  Which character do you think had the worst day and why?  Maybe write a story of your own horrible, very bad day.

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Time-  What does a busy day look like in your life?   See this website for a good worksheet

Here's also a great lapbook on telling time: Iman's Home-School

Probability and Chance - Read this Math Matters book and do the activities in back of the book.

Play these probability games.  So fun!

Alexander takes a  trip to the dentist who discovers a cavity.  I LOVE this idea of making a mouth with mini-marshmallows!  Such a cute idea and great way to teach kids how to properly brush.

Take a field trip to the dentist's office if you can and have the dentist talk about what he does to help keep our mouths healthy.

from teachingmama.org


In this video, how did the boy change the bad day into a good day?
What can we do to turn bad days around?

Draw a picture of your family.  Next to each family member, write one thing you love about them.

Draw a picture of yourself.  Around your picture, write all of the good that happened in your day.

On November 19th 
Have a Bad Day!!

Note:  Here's another good resource for additional activities to deepen your study. 


What was I Afraid of?

I did a back bend in my yoga class today!

It was so exhilarating!  I had support from my instructor and another gal who was in the class, but I did it!

I was so scared!  I was scared my back would go out.  I was scared my arms wouldn't be strong enough to support me.  I was scared the instructor wouldn't have the strength to support me.  I was scared I would fall.  I did not have any idea how I was going to do such a thing.

But afterwards I felt so good!  I felt strong and capable of doing hard things.  I felt almost invincible!
And then I got to thinking of all the many things I'm afraid of in life (no,I don't mean spiders).  I began to ponder the little fears that hold me back from living as I truly desire or as I feel I am meant to do.  I love this quote from President Uchtdorf (and would like to apply it to more than just church meetings):

Too often we attend meetings and nod our heads; we might even smile knowingly and agree. We jot down some action points, and we may say to ourselves, “That is something I will do.” But somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smartphone, and the actual doing, our “do it” switch gets rotated to the “later” position. ...let’s make sure to set our “do it” switch always to the “now” position!...Think of what a glorious thing it is to reach beyond our earthly limitations, to have the eyes of our understanding opened and receive light and knowledge from celestial sources! (CR April 2011)

I've been making up excuses for the last two years (since I started my yoga practice) as to why I would not do a back bend.  I've even tried headstands, but just could not get myself to do this! Now that I've done it I think, "What was I afraid of?"  There are so many things on my "list" I would love to accomplish before I die.  Some of those things are on hold for obvious reasons (six kids to raise!).  But there are even little things I think about that I just don't do...mostly out of fear or lack of knowledge.  I have always admired women around me who simply take action, especially those who build things and aren't afraid of the tools and procedure necessary for such projects!

This is going to sound strange, but sometimes I like to imagine myself in heaven looking back at the earth life I experienced; I wonder what I might be feeling or thinking when that day comes.  I've said for a long time that I hope I don't get up there and say, "Man!  I wish I had enjoyed that more."  Now, I'm thinking of a new phrase:  "What was I so afraid of?"  There are missed opportunities all around us simply because we are afraid - - afraid of what people will think or how we look, afraid we will fail, afraid it won't work out just like we'd planned.  Life is FULL of moments that allow fear to be in control.  Heck, I wouldn't have gotten married if  I'd let fear take over, that's one of the scariest choices to make!

This is NOT an "eat drink and be merry" post, I promise.  This refers to the GOOD things in life we could be doing but are too afraid to make the jump.  So go do it!  Introduce yourself to the gal you see at the park every day.  Invite your  neighbor to church.  Make a new meal.  Take up jogging.  Better yet - run that marathon!  Cut your hair.  Color your hair.  Write that novel that's been sitting in the back of your mind for ages. Play legos all day with your four-year-old. Go visit the elderly widow down the street.  Read a good book.  Play in the sprinklers.  Have that difficult conversation with your spouse. Write that note. Learn something new.  Be present!

Oh, I have so many fears that keep me from reaching and doing.  I get too comfortable where I'm comfortable.  ;-)  But I do believe the Lord blesses us with our righteous desires.  "...wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God (Moroni 7:13)."  Likewise, "...God didn't design us to be sad.  He created us to have joy."

So what's stopping me?  What's stopping you?  What am I afraid of?

 - - - - - - 

Fear not, Dear Friend, But Freely Live Your Days
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Fear not, dear friend, but freely live your days
Though lesser lives should suffer. Such am I,
A lesser life, that what is his of sky
Gladly would give for you, and what of praise.
Step, without trouble, down the sunlit ways.
We that have touched your raiment, are made whole
From all the selfish cankers of man's soul,
And we would see you happy, dear, or die.
Therefore be brave, and therefore, dear, be free;
Try all things resolutely, till the best,
Out of all lesser betters, you shall find;
And we, who have learned greatness from you, we,
Your lovers, with a still, contented mind,
See you well anchored in some port of rest. 
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