by Melanie

August 2014 Visiting Teaching Printable

August 11, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie

Why is it that summer visiting teaching always seems to be so tricky? Instead of loads of free time and open schedules, it is harder than ever to coordinate calendars and get those visits in.

I admit I was a pretty horrible visiting teacher this summer, but now that school is starting I’m ready to be awesome, so I got it done early this month. :)

I love that the visiting teaching messages this year are all about Jesus Christ. This month‘s focus is all about His role as Messiah.

"Jesus Christ will ever be at our side. He will fight our battles. He is our hope." I love this quote from the August visiting teaching message.

I love this quote: “[Jesus Christ] will ever be at our side. He will fight our battles. He is our hope; He is our salvation; He is the way.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Life is full of hard times and challenges we have to endure, but we are never alone – no matter what! Jesus Christ is always at our side. Nothing brings me more hope than knowing my Savior is fighting my battles with me.

I delivered these notes with a little plate of cookies to my sisters this month. If you would like this note, you can download the full-size file to print out a 4×6 card by clicking the photo above or 4 quarter-sheet cards by clicking on the photo below.

"Jesus Christ will ever be at our side. He will fight our battles. He is our hope." I love this quote from the August visiting teaching message.Or you can find them on the Printables page. Happy visiting!

by Melanie

Teaching Primary Music: Seek the Lord Early

July 23, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie

We’re getting ready to go camping, so this is going to be short and sweet.

If you’re following along with the sharing time outline, you’re probably teaching Seek the Lord Early in August. I was asked to start teaching this song to our primary kids a few weeks ago, so I put together these cute little visuals to help.


I cut each page in half so each picture represents a phrase  and put them up on the board. As we learned it, I had the kids take down a sign or two at a time until they could sing it without any help. Senior learned the whole thing in a day, and we covered about half with junior. Of course, I’m not sure how much they actually remembered when the real chorister was back the next week…

Find the files to download at this link.

by Melanie

Teaching Primary Music: To Be A Pioneer

July 19, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie

If you’re looking for some help with primary music time tomorrow (could this be any more last minute???) and want to teach a great pioneer song, let me be your lifesaver.

To Be A Pioneer teaches a great lesson about what it means to be a pioneer – and it’s simple enough to teach in one try! It might take a little longer to sing the two parts together, but it’s so fun and the kids love it.


The first verse is full of “You don’t have to…” things that the old-time pioneers did. Since they’re “don’ts,” those are all shaped like stop signs.

The second verse is full of “You do have to…” things that we can do today to be pioneers. Since they’re “do’s,” those are all shaped like green lights. The picture cues for the second verse gave me a great chance to talk about Nephi’s courage, Daniels’ faith, and David’s fight with might for a cause that’s right.

Each verse ends with “To be a pioneer,” so there are 2 identical signs for that.

I thought I would only have time to teach the second part to senior, so I just wrote out the words for them. The last line is only sung the first time through, so it’s a little lighter to remind them it’s different.

I cut these out, laminated them (because I am completely addicted to my laminator), and stuck them to craft sticks. Simple to make, great to work with, and easy for the kids to help hold.

Find the files to download at this link. Happy singing!

by Melanie

It’s Time that I Make Time for That

May 25, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie


As I have noticed time marching lately, I have realized that I don’t always use the time I have in a way that I won’t regret. I can’t imagine looking back and wishing I had written one more  blog post or checked one more social status or even kept a cleaner home.

But I can imagine looking back and wishing I had made one more memory with my little cuties before they were grown and gone. Wishing I had done one more hard thing that taught me a great lesson and helped me grow. Wishing I had strengthened one more relationship that really mattered.

So in the spirit of making time for the things that really matter, here are the TOP 10 Most Important Ways to Spend My Time. Or… “It’s Time That I Make Time for That” Top 10:


♦ 1 ♦

Take every chance to hug and cuddle with the kiddos


No matter how much I think the whining and mess making will never end, I know one day I will look around and my house will be empty and my arms will ache to hold those little whiny mess makers. So while they are here now, I will ignore the whining and messes and cuddle up with those little cuties and get plenty of sticky kisses and grimy hugs — and love every second of it.

♦ 2 ♦

Make date night more than just a nice idea


Before we were Mr. & Mrs., we were the cutest little college couple in the history of college couples. Seriously. Random people in elevators and total strangers on campus would tell us what a cute couple we were. All the time. One of our secrets to being such a cute couple was that our relationship was so important to us. We moved schedules and changed plans to make time for each other.

Then we got married and thought “responsible adults” had to put everything else first. Over 16 years later we understand that our relationship really should come first, and we can move scheduled and change plans to make time for each other and still be “responsible adults.”

“I’m sorry, I have a previous commitment” is my new favorite phrase. I don’t have to explain myself or justify my reason for not committing to every demand on my time or obligation that is thrown at me. My family comes first. Period.

♦ 3 ♦

Fill my own bucket

dreamer silhouette

Do you ever feel that you put everyone else’s needs first and spend all of your time and energy for everyone else until you have nothing left for yourself? How can I help my family when I have nothing left to give? I have to take some time to do something for me, to grow as a person separate from my roles as wife and mother and chauffeur and cheerleader and chef and on and on…

So for me, I am finally going to learn how to take beautiful pictures with my fancy camera. I am going to write — really write — just because I love it. I am going to get outside and enjoy the beauty and majesty all around me. And I am going to find a way to prove to myself that I am still just as smart as I was before childbirth turned my brain to mush.

♦ 4 ♦

Be consistent even when it’s hard


We all have those things that we KNOW we should be doing, but it’s so hard to actually do them! For me the number one thing is piano lessons. Not to be braggy, but I really am a great pianist. So when I had kids I decided I would teach them all to play. Think of all the money we would save on piano lessons if I was their teacher!

I remember sitting in music class in 6th grade when my music teacher asked anyone who takes piano lessons to raise their hand. BUT, he said, if your mom is your piano teacher, that doesn’t count. I thought that was rude. My piano teacher was someone’s mother, and she was amazing!

I totally get it now. Beth started taking lessons when she was 4, and she’s on level 3 now. Yep, 11 years to get to level 3. Why is that? Because when you teach your kids — and only your kids — piano lessons get pushed aside for everything else that is going on. I am pretty sure there have been years when she has only had 2 lessons throughout the entire year.

When I taught piano lessons to other people’s kids, we always had our weekly lessons, but with my own kids, I am not nearly as consistent. Therefore, even though they can all play something, they really can’t play much of anything. That’s all going to change, baby, no matter how much kicking and screaming we have to deal with (even if I’m the one doing the kicking and screaming).

♦ 5 ♦

Yell to save a life; otherwise, keep my voice down


Our city library is located on the corner of Center and Main. Center is a lazy small town street with hardly any traffic, but Main St. really is the main road running through town and by far our busiest. One day a few years ago, we were coming out of the library. The car was parked on Main, and Chuck took off running straight for her side of the car, which was on the street side, not the sidewalk side.

So in my fierce mama voice reserved for life preservation, I yelled to her to stop. I got some of the dirtiest looks I have seen in awhile from people walking into the library who couldn’t believe I would dare yell at a child, but I didn’t care because I saved my baby girl’s life.

Unfortunately, there were times earlier that day when those looks may have been completely deserved, and that’s when I need to learn to keep my voice down. Yelling to “encourage” getting the chores done, stop the sibling squabbles, or keep the tired little kidlets in bed is not the right time to bring out the screaming banshee in me. So, life-saving yells are in. Non life-preserving yells are out.

♦ 6 ♦

Read one more story. Sing one more song. Give one more kiss.


Is bedtime really so vitally important that a few minutes are going to upset the delicate balance of life? They’re not going to be asking for *any* bedtime stories soon. They won’t want me to sing silly songs to them. They will think they’re too old and too cool for kisses. So while they are still asking for stories and songs and kisses, one more couldn’t hurt. In fact, one more is a great idea. And maybe one more after that.

♦ 7 ♦

Capture the magnificent and mundane moments


If the reason I take photos is to capture moments I want to remember forever, why not capture the everyday moments that I so often take for granted. I won’t always have little girls enjoying tea parties, having sleepovers in each other’s rooms giggling about nothing late into the night, or even all my young family together at the dinner table talking about the day. It’s fun to capture the special events, but I want to remember the non-events that I know will mean even more when they’re gone. I’m sure I won’t take a photo every day, but I will take photos more days than just holidays.

♦ 8 ♦

Be at the crossroads


I have noticed an amazing phenomenon in our house, and maybe you have seen the same thing in yours. Steve can walk through a room and everyone keeps on doing what they’re doing. They know he’s there, but it doesn’t disrupt their focus and they happily stick to the status quo. I can walk through the same room, and I get bombarded with “I want…” “I need…” “Mom, will you…”  Steve can find a quiet place to be alone. As soon as I follow him there to enjoy the quiet, the entire gang follows me.

Instead of being frustrated at the complete lack of solitude, I have decided to embrace the magnetic qualities of mother hood and put myself in the middle of everything. If I am in the middle of all the comings and goings in our home, then my girls will know I am there for them. If I make myself available for the small things, they will trust me to be there for the big things. If I listen to the trivial things, they will want to talk about the heavier things that really matter. If I put myself in the crossroads of our home, I will find myself in the crossroads of their lives.

♦ 9 ♦

Have more dancing days


Really great days in our family always seem to involve dancing — whether it’s the girls and I dancing to make the chores more bearable, Steve dancing me around the kitchen when he gets home from work, or the girls just being silly dancing for fun around the house. When we’re happy, we dance. We need more dancing, and more of the kind of days that make us want to dance.

♦ 10 ♦



I am a smiler. Well, maybe not as much as I used to be, but I want to be. It’s amazing how quickly a smile can change my whole outlook and attitude. I wholeheartedly believe in “fake it till you make it” when it comes to smiling. Even when I don’t feel like smiling — or maybe especially then — I am going to smile and let it work its magic in me. Even if I have to fake it at first, I know after awhile it will be the real deal. A smile is one of those things that you can give away and it keeps coming back to you. The more you give, the more you get.

What do you need to make some time for?


by Melanie

40 Family Home Evening Ideas

May 18, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie

“Family Night is always fun. We find so many things to do.”

I remember singing those words with my family on Monday nights and thinking that song was hilarious. Family Night is ALWAYS fun? With 6 kids in the house, family night was always an adventure. Maybe that’s what the song should say.

Family night’s an adventure. We hope that we will make it through!

I have been working this year to improve our Family Home Evenings. We rotate the weekly assignments, which means every kid – even the 6-year-old – takes turns teaching the lesson. Usually they look at the chart on the way from the dinner table to the family room and say, “Oh, I have the lesson!” They whip out the closest Friend magazine they can find and read us a random story.

We’re working on putting a little more thought into our lessons. We all know it’s not easy to come up with lesson ideas week after week, and it’s even harder for a kid. So in an effort to help them prepare their lessons, I made this list of themes to choose from. It’s helpful for Mr. 4018 and me, too!

Since today is the 18th, it’s time to celebrate 4018 with 40 Things! So here is a list of 40 Family Home Evening lesson themes and resources.


40 Family Home Evening Lesson Themes and Resources

  1. Gospel Art Kit/Gospel Art Book
  2. Friend articles
  3. New Era articles
  4. Ensign articles
  5. General Conference Talks
  6. FHE manual
  7. Primary Manual
  8. Nursery Manual
  9. Gospel Principles
  10. True to the Faith
  11. Preach My Gospel
  12. For the Strength of Youth
  13. Seminary Scripture Mastery scriptures
  14. Personal Progress
  15. Duty to God
  16. Faith in God for Boys and Girls
  17. My Gospel Standards
  18. The Family: A Proclamation to the World
  19. Teaching, No Greater Call
  20. Young Women values
  21. Scout Law and Oath
  22. President Hinckley’s 10 Virtues
  23. Pres. Hinckley’s 9 “Be’s”
  24. Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching messages
  25. Scripture Stories
  26. Mormon Messages
  27. Primary Theme
  28. The Living Christ
  29. Come, Follow Me youth curriculum
  30. Priesthood/Relief Society manual
  31. Articles of Faith
  32. 10 Commandments
  33. Christlike Attributes
  34. The Savior’s Teachings/Parables/Life
  35. Prophets and Apostles
  36. Personal/Family Goals
  37. Personal/Family Challenge
  38. Holidays and Major Life Events
  39. Something you learned and want to share (life lesson, scripture study, church, seminary, etc.)
  40. Hymns/Primary Songs

Bonus: Question Box – Set aside a box where your family can leave questions. Then you can address those questions at Family Home Evening. They could be gospel related or just about life in general.

We have a bookshelf that has a few shelves dedicated to Family Home Evening resources: manuals, pictures, magazines, etc. so I printed this list, added it to a binder with some of these resources (family proclamation, Articles of Faith, list of seminary scripture mastery scriptures, YW values, Scout law and oath, My Gospel Standards, personal progress and Faith in God booklets, etc.). Now it’s easy to find and a great helpful resource for my family to use when they’re preparing a lesson.

I am so excited about my new Sunday feature. I’m teaming up with Brittany of to bring a little more inspiration to your Sundays with a link-up called Spiritual Sundays. “If there is anything lovely, virtuous, of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things,” so we want you to share your inspiring posts with us. The idea is have a great group of uplifting posts all in one place. Here’s a little more about it.


Hi and Welcome to Spiritual Sundays! Our goal is to get as many faith-promoting blog posts together in one place as we can so we always have something uplifting to read on Sundays. This linkup is open to people of all faiths, but we reserve the right to move your content if it is any way offensive.


If you haven’t participated in a linkup before, here’s how to do it politely:

1. Follow each host at least one of the accounts below (the more you follow, the more we want to follow back!)


Brittany at
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, You Tube, Bloglovin, Instagram


Melanie at
Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin, Newsletter

2. Submit as many appropriate links as you want below. (It doesn’t have to be Sunday when you submit your links.)

3. Visit at least the person before you on the list so we make sure everyone gets some love! It’s always nice to get comments that let the author know where you came from, too. Just a #SpiritualSundays after your comment would do the trick.

Thanks for stopping by and happy posting!

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