Sunday, June 23, 2013

Video "Enduring Love" - from the Mormon Channel

This Mormon Channel video reminds me of my own parents. Over the past few weeks, I've watched the commitment and sweet love my father has for my mother. Small acts of service matter most. A warm squeeze of the hand. A hug. Cutting her food into smaller pieces to make it easier for her to eat. Watching these Christ-like acts of service has taught me what is truly important in a marriage - unselfish love.

"Marriage provides an ideal setting for overcoming any tendency to be selfish or self-centered. . . . . Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good, and the foundation of a successful marriage." - Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage."

I hope you enjoy the following video, "Enduring Love."

Find more videos at

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kids Summer Chore Chart

As summer begins, it is time to revamp chores and daily habits for kids. Instead of those check-off reward charts, I make a picture chart to help my 8 year-old see her daily routines and chores. I've found after working with kids of all ages over the years, that a picture is worth a thousand words. When it's chore or get ready time, I tell her, "Just look at your chart" so she knows what to do next.

After customizing her charts, I print several and hang them in her room and kitchen. During the school year the charts include some getting-ready-for school tasks which are now removed. The cool thing is when I find something that isn't working for her, I can easily change it. Of course I carefully train her how to do each chore or habit.

The days when I walk into her bedroom and the bed is made, I want to shout "Yes! It's working." Every night she puts an outfit of clothes on the floor for the next day. I remember my older girls doing this too and it looks like a little person laying on the floor.

People ask me, "How do you make your kids do their chores?" Quite simply, they don't get to play with friends, read, use the computer or Wii until the work is done. Play is the carrot to dangle. The key is Mom being consistent and not giving in to the whining. I typically raise my eyebrow and give her a firm look if she is begging. I'm not perfect, but this usually works.

Summer is always harder for routines, and I lighten up on my expectations. Bedtime is always later than I want it to be. You can always pause the movie and send the kids to do their night chores, and then let them to return to finish the movie.

Here is how to make my chore chart:
  1. Decide what chores or habits you want your child to learn. Make sure they are age appropriate otherwise you will be doing more of the work than they do. I put daily habits on the chart as well even down to putting on the deodorant. For younger children a good rule of thumb is their age. For example, a 4 year-old can do four chores. An 8 year-old can do 8 chores. And they can be spread throughout the day.
  2. Create a spreadsheet (love Excel!) with the same size column widths and row heights. Word docs are more difficult for me to maneuver, but if that is what you are used to then go for it.
  3. Add a chart icon picture on the side that tells your child if the chart is for morning, night or day chores. I used a vertical title box, but you could do a row on the top of the chart with your title. 
  4. Find clipart or internet pictures of objects that are familiar to your child. I go to places like and Kohls for things she is familiar with. I even found her favorite stuffed horse, Angus from the movie Brave and a picture of a desk that is similar to her own.
  5. After you copy the picture to the spreadsheet, right mouse click and remove the hyperlink.
  6. Use the crop tool to take off the excess. Minimize or enlarge the picture until it is the size you want. Move the picture to the square you want.
  7. I added numbers to the squares to show the order for her to do the tasks. The font style on my chart is Aharoni with 28 font size.
Kids Chore Chart.pdf
Kids Chore Chart.xls

Hope you figure out a chart that works for your child for the summer! Just be consistent.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mormon Channel Videos About Disaster Preparation

On the following Mormon Channel videos, members and LDS Church leaders talk about being prepared both spiritually and temporally (physically) for disasters, and that this is the key to helping others. Bishop Burton says, "If we are good disciples of Jesus Christ, we would do what he would do if he were here."

The first video, "Strength in Adversity, Bishop Burton" is an overview of several disasters over the years and comments from Bishop H. David Burton, former Presiding Bishop.

The second video, "Joplin Saints Talk About Preparation" includes thoughts by members and church leaders about the Joplin Missouri tornado in May 2011.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Make a 72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps: Step 7 - Food Prep Items

Each time I put together a new part to how to make a 72-hour kit in 12 steps, I find something missing from our existing kits. This time it was the rain ponchos used by family runners preparing for a marathon. I also noticed the fuel was gone for the small camping stove. The rule should be, "You take it out; You put it back." But we are human.

In our 72-hour kits, I try to pack food that requires almost no cooking and is lightweight. That makes it easy to come up with a list of food prep items. I like the enamelware cups in our kits because you can put them over a fire if you need to boil water and they don't get crushed in the pack. I can't remember where I bought them, but most of these items can be found at Walmart, a camping store, online or at an emergency supply store.

We also have a couple of family emergency buckets with some additional supplies in case we are lucky enough to evacuate by car and take more food with us. The buckets have things that don't fit in a backpack; the things you wished you really had in an emergency. So our kits are minimal, and the buckets carry the heavy stuff. But we don't have to take them with us if we go on foot.

See the red gas shut off key on the bucket?
If we have to stay put at home after a disaster it will be nice to have things prepared so we don't have to look all over the house or kitchen for them. I keep these items in our emergency closet near the front door.

So here is my two-part list of things we have:

Step 7: Food Prep Items (in 72-hour Kit)
  • cup (enamelware)
  • spoon, plastic (for stirring hot cocoa)
  • napkins
  • multi-tool which includes scissors (like Leatherman)
  • matches (in baggie)

Step 7: Additional Food Prep Items (in emergency bucket)
  • mess kit
  • foil
  • small roll of paper towels
  • small folding camp stove
  • fuel tablets (in baggie or plastic container)
  • matches (in baggie)
  • small cooking knife
  • manual can opener

72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps