Mother’s Day gets quite a bit of press around here, for a few reasons. First, I have to come up with something for the women in my life. So it’s on my mind.
Second, it’s always a thing at church. I’ve put together Mother’s Day gifts for the whole ward before and I know a lot of wards continue this tradition. I’ve helped Primary children DIY crafts for their mom for at least ten years, on and off. Mother’s Day celebrations are part of Mormon life.
Third, I’m doing my part to defend the family! I’m only partly kidding. I know a lot of people have complex feelings about motherhood and mothering and commercialism and Mother’s Day, but I really believe that it’s worthwhile to try to be the kind of person to celebrate the day. I think it’s the moral high ground to set aside any grievances and find joy in the Primary children singing to the most important woman in their life. If Mother’s Day is difficult, well, I think it’s good for the soul to strive to be a bigger person by smiling for others who do get joy from Mother’s Day. I say this as one who has shed a tear or two on Mother’s and Father’s Day. Ignoring or minimizing Mother’s Day does no good for the cause of family and women.
Blah blah blah: you’ve heard this all before. Too much chit chat? Down to the nitty gritty. If you’re still on the search for something for Mother’s Day, this post is a big fat round up just for you.
Mother’s Day for the Ward
If you’re going to do something for every woman in the ward, just make it chocolate. Personally, I would prefer a Diet Coke with pebble ice on Mother’s Day (and every Sunday, honestly) but then there are the Pepsi lovers! Too much conflict. Plants suck. Cut flowers don’t even make it out to the car. Cookies or dipped strawberries just feel like a consolation prize and they’re never really good or fresh. Just get some good chocolate, anything German, or Rittersport mini’s; Dove chocolate; or Lindt Lindor’s. Don’t get those Ghirardelli chocolate squares. They suck.
I created the super simple tag, above, that is easy to photocopy (black and white) and attach to anything at all because it just says “Happy Mother’s Day.” The square one is here and the oval one is here.
Mother’s Day with Kids
I’ve been in Primary forever, so I’m always on the lookout for projects to do quickly and with a whole bunch of kids. I always get a kick out of the questionnaires. I keep the ones my kids make for me and put them in my scrapbook. I like the one above, but there are lots of options. I’ve always liked Martha’s Mother’s Day newspaper printable. Please don’t do those coupon books. I have never once been able to redeem them successfully. They are the “non-gift” gift.
I am also a fan of Mother’s Day certificates. I made a couple last year. Some for the kids to customize with crayons. One meant to be printed in full color.
I also really love this acrostic poem printable from last year (and the kids can color it in). Check it out here.
For teens, I like the window chalk option that I just posted about this week. Honestly, though, my favorite thing to get from my teenaged boys are funny cards. I like to see what they think is funny.
Mother’s Day for Real
Every few years, it feels like it’s time to do a really heartfelt Mother’s Day gift for Mom or Grandma. Whenever I get that feeling, I know it’s time to break out the vintage photos. Scrapbooks, photo garlands, family tree art, family artwork: all just different versions of presenting vintage photos. I think there’s nothing better.
Custom jewelry is a nice option too: Vintage Pearl has lots of great options, customized bracelets are great (you could get one for each name of the kids), and Etsy has just endless options available for customized jewelry.
I think it is sometimes nice to choose something that’s personal but not necessarily “child” oriented, like a necklace with moms name on it (see Grace Personalized for tons of cool choices) or something from her hometown or state. (What about a t-shirt from Stately Type?)
A few months ago I shared our Primary 13 Articles of Taste program. The idea is that each class earns items for their ice cream sundae as they memorize the 13 Articles of Faith. We celebrated their work together with an ice cream party. Each child got a ticket for each topping they earned. The bishop and his counselors scooped ice cream and our fabulous teachers helped dish the toppings.
We’ve been announcing the date for our party (April 18th) from the very beginning, but to drive it home we included a half page flyer in our ward bulletin last week. I made an editable PDF for you to use. There are limitations to this technology (fonts!!) but I am hoping the editable version will be easier for you. Basically, I am able to create text boxes which you can edit. I do this in Adobe Acrobat Pro, but this file should be editable in a free version of Adobe Acrobat. You probably already have this installed.
I am not 100% sure how this will work on your individual setup, but for me it is difficult to tell where the text boxes are without already knowing where to look. So the screen capture below should help you: I made a few quick notes about what I expect to fill each text box (Date, Time, Location), but of course, it’s up to you.
This whole editable PDF thing stresses me out a little bit (I just don’t trust the technology), so I’m also including a jpeg which is just an image. You could insert it into any photo editing program (even Powerpoint) and add your own text boxes over the top.
A couple of other ideas:
We are super lucky to have someone called specifically to execute the Faith in God program, so she ran the party for us. It was great! We had it at a park. It was really fun to be outside together, wearing jeans and enjoying the sunshine.
We asked our Cub Scouts to choose and bring the toppings as well as help clean up at the end: this helped them fulfill a religious knot requirement and it was a good way to involve the kids too!
Once the kids arrived at the park, our Primary president and our Faith in God coordinator distributed tickets to the kids. Each kid got one ticket per topping earned, collected right before the toppings section of the table. Except we also gave five tickets to each Junior Primary child. We knew the younger kids worked on the Articles of Faith in class, but they are just too young to really memorize them. We felt like 5 was a good number for them. We also had water bottles. I really like the clear sundae bowls: they came from Smart & Final.
This is a sundae made by one of our 11 year olds! He knows *all* of his Articles of Faith.
I’d love to hear if any of you are using the Article of Taste program or if you have another memorization program in place in your Primary!
I really love vintage flash cards. In fact, this is what is hanging on my pin board behind my desk as I type! I came across these funny vintage flash cards at an antique store in Petaluma. I have about a dozen that I rotate around when I start to get bored. They make me smile.
This trend has been around for a while (see below), but I think it’s a cute solution for an inexpensive Mother’s Day gift. It would actually be easy to prepare with your Primary class too!
There are a couple of options. First, print these words full size, about 6 by 3 inches. It’s really simple to just print these on manila file folders. Just grab a plain file folder (I think you can get them for around a quarter–cheaper even than scrapbook paper), cut it down to regular paper size (8.5 x 11 inches) and run the pieces through your printer.
I gathered a few dozen words that should make Mom feel good: clever, tough, classy, courageous, wise, heroic, gutsy, whiz, spirited, fearless, confident, intrepid, tenacious, dazzling, marvelous, splendid, classy, radiant, hopeful, optimistic and valiant. Hopefully these words plus a manila file folder will make this project super simple.
They are designed to be printed at 6×3 inches. You can put them in an envelope, frame the, or tie them up with some cute baker’s twine.
This screen shot should help you with trimming: 1 inch off the left, 2 inches off the right, and half inch off the top.
But if you’re doing a project with a big group, try making a Mother’s Day card with little mini “vintage” flashcards. I put together a PDF that has all 20 words per page and they are meant to trimmed to 1 x 3.5 inches. This means you can choose 4-6 mini flashcards, stick them on a card or frame them in smaller (cheaper) frame. Easier if you’re helping facilitate a Mother’s Day gift for a classroom of kids.
I like the idea of printing off a huge batch of these mini flash cards and letting kids choose the words that best represent their own mom. You can turn them into the little card shown above with bakers twine or again, gather a little stack of words that describe mom and give it to her with a little note.
Of course, I think all of these words would work equally well for Father’s Day. So go ahead and pin this post to your Father’s Day board too, huh?
This week I have a few ideas to share for Mother’s Day. I really like the idea of using window chalk on Mom’s car–it’s the kind of thing that people do for graduates or birthdays, but why not embarrass Mom a little and get her some attention on the road?
I think it would be super fun for Young Women or Young Men to do this project during church. Just bring a handful of tubes of glass chalk (it’s designed to be used on car windows) and get this little project done during third hour! I think it would be a hilarious surprise for mom to find a decorated car. Bring some Windex and clean all the windows first
I found my window chalk at my local party store and it was only $1.99 for a tube.
Even though I think I am disinterested in Family History, it turns out I do Family History all the time. Because I spend quite a lot of time keeping track of our family photos and ephemera. Which for me = scrapbooking.
I was asked to share my strategies on this topic at an evening Relief Society meeting tonight: I made this worksheet to send home with the ladies. I think photo management comes down to Storing and Sharing.
To sum up, I basically use Smugmug for long term/archival style photo storage and iPhoto to gather photos. I think it’s best to use a variety of storage possibilities, both cloud services and physical storage like hard drives and USB style items. I believe this limits risk of loss. I think it’s very important to make photos as accessible as possible, by having them available both digitally and as printed photographs.
I also think that our purposes in sorting and organizing photos has fundamentally shifted. For our parents and grandparents, holding on to and preserving an identifiable photo was the most important goal. Because photos were rare and clear, crisp photos were even more elusive.
For my generation, I think the goal is editing the vast volumes of available images. If things continue at anything close to the current pace, there will be hundreds of thousands of photos of Jonah by the time he hits middle age. I can’t imagine anyone, even a wife or child, who would be interested in sifting through that kind of volume of images, no matter how well organized or slick the database or slideshow. The sheer number will eventually make photos inaccessible. The digital revolution and the ease of storing and sharing photos has made it more important than ever to choose and distinguish the very best shots to preserve. And to keep that number within a reasonable range.
So there is some tension between storing everything and editing it to a manageable volume. You’ll have to find the right balance for you and your family.
My friend Anita has spent quite a bit of time on family history for her ancestors. She asserts that every life needs only 6-10 images: a cute baby or toddler photo, an image as a child or teen, a photo of the family they came from, a glamorous or professional bridal or mission age photo, a wedding photo, a picture of the family they created, a photo in middle age, and perhaps an elderly photo.
I believe Anita is right! And I think that should take the pressure off anyone who is worried about comprehensive or chronological scrapbooking. Additionally, I believe long life histories mostly go unread! I think a 10 page life history is more than enough. And it should include lists, not just text. If you’d like to write a memoir or more comprehensive life history, I think that’s a lovely achievement, but I don’t think it should replace the shorter life history. I think the shorter life history is more likely to connect with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
If you’d like to store and share your photos, I think the worksheet above provides several good options. But keep in mind the long view and purpose of family history (think short).
Our Primary Chorister is moving!!! We are so sad. She’s been an important part of our Primary for quite some time, so we wanted to give her a big thank you. We decided to get a Children’s Songbook and have all the kids and teachers sign it. Those are multi-colored Sharpies. I really like how colorful all the signatures are. Super simple, but I think it’s both fun and practical.
I put together a simple coloring page to recap the highlights of President Monson’s messages this Spring. I think it would be perfect for a simple Family Home Evening or to hand out to your Primary children on Sunday. The quotes below each picture are each from President Monson.
About a month ago we had pictures taken of our family. I love these monkeys.
I try to get a good photo of the whole family about every other year: it seems like that’s the gap between when everyone looks about the same and when everyone looks very different. Only this year I set the appointment with a little heartache around the edges. Because I think this family photo is the last “normal” one. Next time we’ll be taking the “last” family picture together before Josh leaves for college or a mission. We’ll probably squeeze it in between a passport appointment at the post office or picking out luggage.
Jonah, my youngest, has gotten me used to the last firsts: the last first tooth, the last first step, the last first word. Josh, my oldest, is at the end of his junior year. I’m only at the beginning of his “lasts.” The last family vacation. The last Thanksgiving. The last Halloween. They’re all coming at me with lightning speed.
I’ve spent so many years raising young boys. The care and feeding of all these people under my roof has been going on for over 15 years! It’s strange to see my mothering job description morphing right in front of my eyes, with or without my consent. The stakes at this stage are so much higher and the consequences cannot be undone or repaid.
But I won’t live with a nagging fear in my heart. So instead of worrying and cowering from the next phase, I’ve decided I will take all I have learned from the vulnerability and whole-hearted dedication of mothering so far and roll it into a powerful COURAGE. Courage to let them go. Courage to expand our family to welcome the daughters-in-law that I pray will join us. Courage to accept and embrace children who are choosing paths I don’t understand. Courage to smile through the scary “last” milestones as if I had been expecting them all along.
Courage to allow our family to grow into something I can’t see clearly from this vantage point. Courage to expect the happiness that can come from that change. Courage to trust our family to handle the inevitable sadnesses with grace and strength.
Enough courage to book the “last” family photos.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
I know it was a busy weekend for all of us, with Easter and General Conference. But today is an important anniversary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! It’s the day the church was organized at the Whitmer farm in New York. It would make such a simple and important Family Home Evening that I just had to share the idea with you.
There are a couple of great links below to share with your family.
Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants
A game from The Friend: a simple progression from the First Vision through the church’s organization. With pictures!
Scripture Stories Video about the restoration
Printable birthday coloring page
The Sixth Day of April, 1830: a conference talk from Howard W. Hunter
It’s a super simple Family Home Evening: review the historical details of the organization of the church and blow out a birthday candle together!
I love to have a pasta salad in the fridge when we have company. It’s nice to be able to pull something out when there is a last minute change of plans for lunch or dinner. It’s another great dish to have during conference weekend. This is something I might eat when the rest of my family is at the Priesthood session or it might be a good option for an early lunch for the guest who doesn’t like big breakfasts!
Fair warning, this recipe is not the most kid friendly! My older boys like it, but it’s a little spicy for Jonah. The recipe instructs you to reserve 1/3 of the dressing to use as a refresher: I also recommend tasting it before adding the remainder of the dressing.