Thursday, April 25, 2013

Walk-a-thon fundraiser

Looking for a school fundraiser?
Think about a walk-a-thon.
Last year I was in charge of our school fundraiser. We decided to try a walk-a-thon. 
Why a walk-a-thon?
1. The kids actually get to participate and work for the money they ask others for.
2. The donations or pledges are spread out among family, friends and parent co-workers making it less expensive for the family.
3. It doesn't matter if the kids walk or run. Every child can participate.
4. We raised more money for the school than we have ever raised before by a large margin.
We gave prizes to a few kids who dressed up crazy for the actual walk-a-thon day.
 How it worked
Sponsors and prizes were gathered from local stores and other interested businesses. We found an orthodontist who donated silicone bracelets to all participants. The local roller skating rink was happy to provide us with a skating pass for each child as well. 
10% of money raised in each class went to the teacher to buy needed school supplies.
 The children each had a collection envelope where they could easily track pledges and donation amounts. They were given a weekend to gather their donations and then teachers collected money in a large manilla envelope. We gathered money, counted and kept track of the highest number of pledges, kids who ran the most laps in each grade and class and these students received prizes.
We did not focus too much on those who had the most money. By rewarding the by number of pledges, all kids have a more equal chance to win. We also did random drawings and included all the names of those participating.
The reward? 
Yes. If the school reached it's monetary goal, the teachers got to sumo wrestle the principle:)
That was the highlight of the event:)
Parents, teachers and kids all enjoyed this fundraiser more than anything else we have done...for the most part:)
Good Luck!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Activities

      Earth Day is a stellar opportunity to take time to appreciate our beautiful earth. From desert arches to mountain peaks to beaches. There is so much for us to love. We have our own personal playground. The earth lends us it's rocks to climb, mountains to hike, trails to run or bike, water to swim. It offers us places to sit and enjoy a picnic or a tree under which to read a book. It gives us grass to lay on as we watch the clouds roll seamlessly by. It offers us sounds of waterfalls and rushing waters, winds blowing the aspen tree leaves.
      The earth also gives us food to eat, materials to build our homes and plants and herbs for medicines. The earth is truly a magnificent creation.
Let's all help celebrate Earth Day by doing something for the earth today or another day this week. Here are some ideas I came up with:

1. For one day, don't drive. Bike, walk, jog. This morning I got my boys up and we walked to school and will be walking home as well. Less emissions in the air the better it is for the earth.
2. Grab a bunch of other families and go to the park for the evening. While there do a clean up project to help keep the park beautiful.
3. Take a hike. Look around and appreciate the beauty. With appreciation comes the desire to protect and help.
4. Plant a tree or a garden.

5. Switch all your light bulbs for energy efficient ones.
6. Introduce someone who isn't very outdoorsy to an outdoor activity. This can be as easy as a walk or taking them fishing. Anything they might enjoy to help build a love for the earth.
7. Eat a sunrise breakfast then work in the yard for the morning.
8. Find 20 things that you can give away, upcycle or donate to reduce waste.
9. Unplug any electronic not in use.
10. Borrow books, go electronic, or check them out of a library instead of buying them.
11. Switch to paperless options for your bills. This means you no longer receive a paper copy, but an electronic version.
 12. Dry your clothes out on a clothesline.
13. Use old clothes for rags instead of paper towels.
14. Teach kids the importance of turning off lights when they leave a room and use lights only when needed.
15. Cook a healthy meal using organic and locally purchased foods.

Love our earth! 
Happy Earth Day.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

No Pants for Me Thanks!

Recently a friend told me about an article written in a local paper about the desire of one young BYU woman to petition the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to allow women to hold the priesthood. Much of the controversy came after a push for women to wear pants to church to signify their desire for more equality in the church.

I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, served a mission in Germany, a wife, mother of 3 and currently a young women leader in the church. As I have contemplated this move towards a so-called equality, the issue should resound deeper in believing members of the church.

We have a living prophet on the earth today and it is his job to oversee the church. It is our job to follow his counsel. Do we truly understand the magnitude of having a prophet of Jesus Christ himself, one who holds all the keys necessary to administer on the earth today, guiding the church? For me, that alone is all I need to accept the church the way the Lord has set it up.

Did you know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has the longest standing women's organization in the world? It is known as the Relief Society. It's mission and goals encompass serving others, keeping a watchful eye out for all women, administering to the sick and needy, learning and teaching the gospel. "The Relief Society has been established by our Heavenly Father to organize, teach, and inspire His daughters and prepare them for the blessings of eternal life by helping them increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need." (

Did you know that just as there are all male leaders over certain aspects of the church, there are also all women auxillaries.

Yes it is true.

We have 3 separate organizations boasting all women leadership: the relief society, the young women's program and the primary program. Women are called into positions to lead these organizations, make decisions and report to the bishop of the ward about what is needed. The presidents of these organizations meet together oft in ward counsels to counsel about needs within their organizations. Women hold callings as sunday school teachers, gospel doctrine teachers, visiting teachers and many other positions. The church holds a plethera of opportunities for women to serve, to grow and to learn.

I have never felt and currently do not feel undervalued in the gospel. It is taught that we are daughters of God, that He loves us and we love Him.  That we are of infinite worth and that neither man nor woman alone can be exalted. Only together can we be exalted. We are never belittled. Women in the scriptures are spoken of highly. The bottom line is that we have different, not less important roles here on the earth. Read about those roles here in The Proclamation on the Family.

The priesthood is the power to act in God's name and is used only to serve others. The priesthood is never used to bless the one holding it. That is how God has chosen to bless us with His power. Just as men are called to use the priesthood to bless the lives of others, women bless others through kindness, charity and love. Both means are needed.

So, no pants for me thanks. I choose to follow our modern day prophet and see all the great opportunities the church offers women. The encouragement to get more education, to fulfill the measure of our creation. The relief society is the most diverse women's group there is with membership from most countries of the world, speaking more languages than I can count and watching out for each other with love and concern.

Embrace your womanhood. Embrace the gospel and find peace and happiness.
I whole-heartedly know the gospel is true and that I am an important daughter of my Heavenly Father. I gladly not only follow, but seek counsel from our modern day prophet and the apostles of my Savior Jesus Christ happy to know that the responsibilities included with the priesthood are not mine to bear.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

10 Ways to a Joyful Family Life

Happiness is an emotion we experience as the result of an action. Going to Disneyland bring happiness (at least in our family), participating in our favorite activities brings us happiness. What if we are searching for more than occasional happiness in our family life?

Joy, on the other hand, is a feeling we experience through a deep sense of well-being. I am convinced there are things we can do to help our homes become a place where we can find joy. We can fill our family life with joy.
1. Spend time with family. It is the everyday time you spend with your family, not the huge vacations that result in true joy. Experience daily life together. Walking the dog, doing homework, cooking meals. Vacations can add to the joy, but won't create joy.
2. Participate in family dinner every night. This is a time for families to come together, visit and enjoy each others company. Try to keep arguing and fighting at a minimum. We try to do this by having assigned seats and always trying to sit at the table instead of the bar.
3. Hold a night devoted to doing things as a family. We call this family home evening. Everyone participates. Sometimes we participate in service, doing fun activities, working together to get something done at home or reinforcing family values we know will enhance our children's life if they choose to live them.
4. Support children by going to sporting events, music or art events. Show them we care by putting aside our personal workout schedule and events to make time to support them in something that is important to them.
5. Teach appreciation by expressing gratitude for what the family members contribute. 
6. Talk about how school went, what is coming up for us and ask about upcoming activities for them. It is good to know what is going on in each others lives.
7. Sincerely compliment your spouse and children and let them know they are appreciated and missed when not there. Speak kind and uplifting words.
 8. Participate in family scripture study. This is a great opportunity to teach children why making good choices in important, to answer questions and concerns and to explore the written word of God.
9. Tuck your kids into bed together with your spouse. Take time to visit about their day, read a bedtime story and always hug and kiss them good night telling them every night, "I love you". Hearing their sweet bedtime prayers has a way of melting away the bad and filling my heart with more love.
10. Put the technology away and make eye contact when talking. Let your family know they are the most important thing instead of feeling like we would rather be playing our iPhone game than talking with them.

Do these things on a regular and consistent basis. This is the key to success in finding joy in family life...consistency. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Favorite Products for Women

Favorite Products for Women

I love it when a friend finds a product she loves and shares with me. I often end up loving the product also. This post is dedicated to sharing some of my favorite products for women.

My most recent finds fall in the category of personal protection items, and cute ones at that.
1. The first one is pepper spray. Besides the cute colors, this pepper spray can reach up to 12 feet, is UV dye colored for up to 5 days after being sprayed and is small enough to tuck in your running shorts, biking jersey or to hook on your key chain. It is only $10....hardly anything to pay for a bit of extra security. Great gift idea.
2. My next favorite thing is the Tiny Takedown Stun Gun. At only $40, this thing packs a non lethal punch! It is hand held size and small enough to fit nicely in your purse or on your person. I like it because it is a tool that can empower women to not be fearful.
3. Phloretin CF is my next favorite. I found this product after looking in the mirror one day and realizing all the sun damage my skin has had. I had brown spots on my forehead. I started using this product and started seeing great results. It works to protect against the effects of the sun, increases cell renewal and improves signs of aging. Click on the link to read more. Prices vary..I pay about $120 a bottle.
4. DoTerra Oils. I joined this company as a rep because I found out by using the oils that I love the product. I currently do not actively sell the oils, I do however use them. There are certain oils like lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, melaleuca and lemon that I like to take with me wherever we go. It is y own personal medicine cabinet when my kids need something for allergies, headaches, coughs, ear aches and bug bites to name a few. If you want more info send me a message and I can help you. Prices vary depending on the oils you choose.
5. Go Girl. If you are at all outdoorsy you will love this. I often think it unfair that men need just stand to pee. Now, with the go girl women can too. When will you use this you ask? Hiking, camping, canyoneering, biking and traveling to areas without adequate name it. It is not as gross as it seems, actually it tends to lessen the grossness:) It is only $9.95.

These are my current favorite products for women. 
What are your favorite products? Please comment.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Child Safety

Keeping my kids safe is what I consider my biggest job. Sometimes I do a great job and other times I could use a little help. For instance, my son was recently complaining about his foot hurting. Upon inquiring what had happened he explained to me how he had jumped off the last couple rungs of his bunk bed ladder and hurt his foot.

I knew that he must have sprained his ankle. I told him to try to walk it off. A couple of weeks went by and he would once in a while make a comment in passing that his foot bothered him. In the meantime, he played soccer games, went get the picture right?

After one particular futsol game I decided, after he pointed out once again that his foot hurt, to take him to the doctor. He had been sprinting and running just fine during the game and my guess was they wouldn't find anything.

The x-ray came back okay and next on the docket, an MRI. Imagine how horrible I felt when the MRI was read and we were told that he had an impact fracture and that he was lucky we brought him in when we did or he may have to have had surgery.

Mom of the year award goes to.....

And then it gets worse. The doctor asks him how he hurt his foot. Fully expecting him to say that he had jumped off his bunk bed, he admitted that in addition to jumping off his bed he had been jumping off the neighbor's storage garage roof! I had no idea...once again...stellar mom award right this way:)

So, in honor of national child safety day that was this week I wanted to remind myself of some good child safety tips.

1. Always use an approved car seat or safety belt if they are old enough. Avoid letting them ride in the front seat until the age of 13.
2. Insist bike helmets be worn when biking and other helmets used as intended. My nephew hit his head snowboarding last year and his helmet helped him minimize the high amount of trauma he experienced. Be the example and don't budge.
3. Teach kids to use sidewalks and to try to stay out of the road.
4. Teach older children texting and talking on the phone while driving is not okay. Don't be scared to take electronics away if needed. It is better that they not injure or kill someone because of a text.
5. Talk to your children about inappropriate sexual behavior and what to do if they ever find themselves in a bad situation. 
6. Be open in creating an environment in the home where kids feel safe to express concerns or ask for clarification on sensitive subjects. 
7. Know where your children are and who they are with.
8. Teach about internet safety. Not to give out personal information, never to meet anyone from the internet, not viewing questionable material, safe sites to search on, etc.
9. Install protective software on every computer and keep them in public family areas.
10. Have an emergency place to meet in the event of a disaster. 
11. Teach children not to go with anyone you haven't personally approved or have a "safe" word the child knows and asks for from anyone claiming to take them home.
12. If you have children that tend to wander get a Where's Yo Baby Child Monitor. When I found this product I think I oooh'd and ahhhh'd out loud. What a great idea. The panda hooks onto the child's belt loop, shirt, shoe and the wrist alarm hooks onto mom or dad. The distance is set and if the child wanders further than the allotted distance, the parent arm alarm goes off alerting the parent to look for the child. Amazing right? Nothing beats a parent watching their children closely, but like I said earlier...sometimes we could all use a little help:)

There are many more, but for now this is a good start.
Happy parenting!