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Over the next few weeks, the Web site will be under-going some upgrades to help better service you better!

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Be sure to watch for the new and improved site and our re-launch party!!

Cultivate the Summer Mind

Summer is here and school is OUT! It’s time for family reunions, vacations and the long days of summer. According to many studies, from the end of  school to the beginning of the school year there is a loss in education with children. End of year tests scores reflect a hard year of focus and improvement while many test scores at the beginning of the school year reflect the need to catch up on some basics.

You can cultivate your summer mind as you focus on learning activities throughout the summer as well as all the fun activities. Just spend 30 minutes each day sharpening your skills and stay ahead for the new school year!

Here are some helpful hints to get started:

Monday: Math Day

10 minutes: Find a math worksheet online to complete and keep those math skills sharp. You can work on advancing your skills and be prepared for the new school year, if you want to challenge yourself!

20 minutes: Read. Make a summer reading chart. Set goals for reading and also set rewards for completing your goals. (Visiting the water park, camping in the backyard for a night, etc)


Tuesday: Writing & Spelling

10 minutes: Pick 10-20 new words to study. Test each other on spelling them correctly. Search the Internet for your grade (for the new school year) spelling list and start working on that list. Also, practicing writing sentences, paragraphs, poems or short stories.

20 minutes: Continue working on your reading chart.


Wednesday: Art Day and Music

10 minutes: Learn about an artist from history. What made them unique? What type of artist were they? What were some of their famous pieces? For music, you can study classical composers and listen to some of their music.

For additional fun, you can paint, sculpt, play music similar to those you choose to study each week. You can also visit local art galleries and museums.

20 minutes: Continue working on your reading chart.


Thursday: Science

10 minutes: Choose a different science topic each week. You can focus on studying the planets, constellations, plants, animals, etc. Summer time is a perfect time to catch meteor showers, go out into the mountains and see all the stars, visit zoos, botanical gardens and so forth.

20 minutes: Continue working on your reading chart.


Friday: Craft or Play Day

10 minutes: There are countless arts and craft ideas online. Your first week could be spent planning out the remainder of the summer’s arts and crafts ideas. You can also combine a craft with playing outdoors.

Homemade Sprinkler (craft + play idea)

Materials Needed:

2 Liter Soda Bottle

Garden Hose

Scissors (or Knife) *Only to be used with adult supervision.

Instructions: Take the two liter bottle, punch several holes all around the bottle. Attach the water hose inside of the bottle and throw the bottle over a backyard tree branch and turn the water on. This creates a fun homemade sprinkler you can play in all summer long!

20 minutes: Continue working on your reading chart. When you are done with your reading chart, be sure to complete the activity or reward you created for your reading goal! Don’t stop with just one chart – if you fill it up, start a new chart with a new goal and keep reading all summer long!

Be sure get lots of exercise during the summer as well. Look for summer camps that can help you learn new skills and develop new talents.

Summer Children's Education Chart copy  If you really want to challenge yourself, here is a chart for you to use!

Click the link to download the PDF file to print! Summer Children’s Education Chart-Family Home Evening


Preventing Summer Boredom

Summer can seem like a long and chaotic time if you have kids and do not have a plan. Here are some ideas to help your family’s summer become more eventful and fulfilling.

Create a play group & meet once or twice a week. Figure out a schedule with the other parents and pick places to meet or go.

Sign your children up for camps, sports, programs or classes at your local recreation center, university, children’s museum, or library.

Make goals with your children and encourage them to help with chores.
Play Bag: Get a mesh bag and put these things in it: Sunscreen, sand box toys, side walk chalk, bubbles, balls of different sizes, catching games, etc.


Activity Ideas

Water Play Park/water park
Water games
Water fights (Sponges may take place of water balloons and spray bottles may take the place of water guns)
Amusement Parks
Ride Bikes/Scooters
Little red Wagon rides
Hay rides
Farm visits
Horse riding
Zoo visits
Camping-(roast marshmallows, make s’mores, roast hot dogs)
Boat rides
Treasure hunts
Obstacle course
Lawn bowling
Fort building
Camping in the backyard
Picnics (With Stuffed animals)
Paint with water on the sidewalk and watch it evaporate
Farmer’s Market
Tag and chase games
Simon says
Red Light Green Light
Red Rover
Visit major landmarks
Make movies
Get family together

(At home)
Arts & Crafts
Camp indoors (pitch tent in a room)
Card/Board games
Educational stuff
Sight words
Letter writing
Book making
Story time
Hide and seek
Sing songs
Play restaurant for lunch/dinner (Make menus, set table etc.)
Indoor picnic
Dress up
Toys-blocks, dolls, cars trucks, etc.
(Let your child DIRECT THE PLAY- you don’t always have to come up with the ideas.)
Make puppets
Do puppet shows
Get video camera out & MAKE MOVIES

(Going places)
Library trips (Check Story times and events)
Kids gyms
Children’s Museums
Pottery sculpting places for kids
Cooking classes/schools for kids
Home Depot classes
Michael’s Arts and Crafts classes
Lakeshore learning Saturday craft making
Dollar movies/matinees
Theater-plays, cultural center events
Sporting goods store

*Remember to carry your camera around for the memories!
Check out these sites for more ideas:
Family Fun
Kids Page

Check out these websites for UTAH events:
Now Playing Utah
Utah Kids Club

Picture credit Picture is a link to article: “Creating a Summer Schedule”

Family Whole30

doing-the-w30-fb-cover-660x244  Our family is starting a new month long journey starting TODAY! We have started the Whole30 lifestyle and our first day has been a fantastic success! My Mom is the kind of cook you would expect to find in the South – she can cook anything and without following recipes. Simply amazing! I have been fed well and with two items going against me, I have gotten to a place where I never envisioned for me being health-wise. Those two things that I struggled with are: a very picky pallet and a body that does not process grains and sugars well, but that is all it craves. I have looked at all the delicious foods and tried many of them, but never liked them. I always joked that my taste buds were the left overs after everyone else was created. I also have been an on-th-go person. I am always going at least 100 mph and would stop at fast food places or make meals that would have the same rotating 3-5 types of vegetables. Also, because I keep myself super busy and mainly because I love the taste of it – I would consume massive amounts of Coke-A-Cola each day. The only consistent thing was an unhealthy, unbalanced meals and it was showing on my husband and I and started showing on my son.

Because I was a chubby person all growing up and suffered through some very intense teasing and bad memories, I couldn’t let my son (and daughter) face those kinds of possibilities. I also have grown tired of feeling old (as in 85 and older old) while I’m in my mid-30s. We also want to have more children and my body needs to adjust some areas as well as me losing the weight I added on from my last child over 3 years ago before we can feel comfortable having another.

All of these factors have led me to try the Whole30 program. There are SO MANY diets, eating plans, pills, etc that anyone can do.

My guidelines to making a diet change:

1. You have to be fully committed.

2. You have to have a plan that works for YOU.

3. You need to have patience with yourself, speak kind words with yourself and find people who will take this journey with you.

4. Rely on the Atonement.

Did she just say Atonement?  Yes, I did. In the October 2013 General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the talk “The Strength to Endure” by Elder Richard J. Maynes, I learned that the Atonement could apply to my life in a way I had not yet considered. For most of my life, I had always related the Atonement to only repenting for sin.

“If we honestly and sincerely repent, the Atonement can help us become clean, change our nature, and successfully endure our challenges. Endurance is an important principle found within the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is important because the quality of our eternal future is proportional to our ability to endure in righteousness.”

Change Our Nature: This is a powerful part of the Atonement and it isn’t just for changing our characters from sinners to non-sinners. I need to change my nature to become a healthier person and taking better care of my body.

With this, our family journey has begun!

Day One: Baked chicken, sweet potatoes and asparagus

Whole30_familyhomeevening_dayone copy  It was a complete success and the family raved about it!

Whatever you want to change in your life – you can access the Atonement and draw on the strength and power to endure through any challenges you face.




Sidewalk Service

SidewalkService copyPurpose: If your summer days are dragging on and you’re wondering what adventure you can do next, then pack up your sidewalk chalk and go for a little service stroll.
Lesson: Service is a trademark attribute of the followers of Jesus Christ. There are many, many ways in which we can serve others. At times we may have the thought that someone could use a visit, but do we choose to go and visit them?
The Lord uses us to help his children here on earth. He has entrusted each of us to serve one another, as He would serve us as if He were here. 

Service helps us to set aside our selfish thoughts and desires by putting others first. Doing kind acts help each of us grow in character, as well as in testimony of the importance of serving and being served.
Discussion: Serving others doesn’t have to be a huge under-taking. Review these questions with your family, group or ward.

- How does it feel to serve others?

- Why is important to serve others?

- Have you ever received service from someone else? How did it feel to be served?

- What are some ways you can serve someone this week?
Think of 2-3 people or families that you can create a “Sidewalk Service” to. Be sure that adults supervise and OK which homes you visit and where you draw your pictures. 
Create a happy message to let the family/individual know how much they are loved and appreciated. 
You can leave a note on their door so that they can find your drawing.  

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
Preheat oven to 325-degrees.  Mix everything together until well blended.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll into 18 balls.  Place 2″ apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten each ball in a criss-cross pattern with a fork.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Cool.