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The CTR Bear

This year our Primary had an ongoing program called the CTR Bear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done before, but it’s similar to lots of school classroom projects like Flat Stanley. A stuffed teddy bear with a CTR t-shirt goes home with one family per week. This project is best suited for Junior Primary, I think, but we sell it to the older children by reminding them of the importance of setting a good example by choosing the right. I also like that it’s best for our Junior kiddos: many extra activities (like Cubs and Activity Days) are for the Senior children and so it feels like a nice balance that this activity resonates especially well with the younger ones.

The family hosts the bear for a week and takes a few quick pics of the children “choosing the right” with the CTR bear. The picture above is my son Jonah. He was choosing the right by sharing the video game controller (our standards are high at the Davis house). We have a private Primary Facebook page where we share these photos with each other. It’s not the most critical part of the program, but it is really fun! I have the cutest collection of pictures of our Primary kids reading scriptures with the CTR Bear, at the LA temple, riding bikes, eating good food, helping clear the table with the CTR Bear and so on. Adorable.

After their week is up, the kids report on their experience during Primary opening exercises. If all the children in one family are in Junior, they just report in Junior. If there are kids in both Junior and Senior, we have a report in both opening exercises. It’s really fluid. No one writes down a talk about their CTR Bear experience–often the presidency member conducting prompts the child with questions. It’s very casual.

Our secretary set up this super cute bulletin board in our Primary room. All the bears start out with no shirt, just their family name on the bear. After they’ve had a turn with the CTR bear the kids put a t-shirt on their family bear. It helps us keep track of whose turn it is and it’s just so darn cute.

We included this letter in the Relief Society binders when we first started this program so that parents would know what was going on. Download the PDF below.

One useful tip: start the year with TWO CTR bears. It’s super helpful to keep the program rolling in case someone forgets to bring it back to church and it also allows time to wash the bear and bag!! I also spray the bears down with Lysol regularly. It occurs to me that if you didn’t want to have a stuffed bear for whatever reason you could do this exact program with a paper bear, too.

We have really enjoyed this CTR Bear program this year. Especially in Junior Primary the kids really look forward to their turn. It’s very low cost and there is no sugar or candy involved! Win-win-win. We love it.

Choose the Right Primary Program 2017

I promised a friend I’d share a version of our 2017 Primary program, “Choose the Right,” by the end of July! Ha. The last day of the month still counts, as we all know from Home and Visiting Teaching.

 

Today I’m sharing a copy of our program, available in Word or as a PDF. It’s more specific to our ward than the generic one I usually share for a couple of reasons. 1) I incorporated classroom experiences into the program. You’ll see what I mean if you read the program: one child from each class is sharing a story about something they learned in their Primary classroom. I think it’s a great way to share what the children learned during the year and really highlight the work our wonderful teachers are doing in a more public setting. 2) We had an ongoing program called the CTR Bear. Perhaps I’ll share more about that later this week. It’s sort of a twist on Flat Stanley, where a stuffed teddy bear with a CTR t-shirt goes home with one family per week. The family takes a few quick pics of the children “choosing the right” with the CTR bear and shares the pics on our private Facebook page. The kids report on their experience during Primary opening exercises. We have a  section where the kids report on their CTR Bear experience during the program. I doubt it will be applicable to you! You could switch these up for personalized lines from children about a time they chose the right. 3) We had a 10 Commandments Summer Challenge. So the kids are going to repeat the 10 Commandments as part of the program. I’m not sure if your primary did that? You could adjust a few of the lines and keep the same framework.

 

Please feel free to use, share, and copy.

I also put together an easy to photocopy program cover to be used on the day of the program. Fold them in half and place announcements and the bulletin info inside. These would be adorable colored in by the Primary kids. *Don’t use crayons if you’re going to run them through the copy machine AFTER they are colored in. The crayon will melt the copy machine.

There’s also a PDF of a quarter page invite/flyer. You’ll need Acrobat or a photo editor to adapt these for your ward.

Good luck friends!

Book of Mormon Doctrinal Mastery 2017

As promised, I put together a set of Doctrinal Mastery printables for The Book of Mormon. These are scriptural references that LDS seminary students will be studying during 2017.

Obviously these work well in a seminary classroom, but I use these often for FHE and this year I’ll be throwing them in letters and packages I send to my missionary son, too.

There’s also a set here that are sized to a quarter page. The first set is what I call “personal” so if you printed seven pages you’d have all 25.

And then this set is what I call a “classroom” set. It has only one scripture per page, so it’s 25 pages with four of the same scripture per page. It would work well if you wanted to print the smaller size off for a whole classroom.

Then there’s a quick one page printable with the icons and a summary phrase. I think this is perfect for study and review.

I know I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate seminary teachers. They played a fundamental role in my son Josh’s testimony. I know it’s different depending on the person and the circumstance, but for a variety of reasons Josh’s seminary teachers were much more influential on him than his Young Men or Sunday School leaders. I am so grateful seminary filled the void.

When I make any additions to the Book of Mormon Doctrinal Mastery set, I’ll just add them to this post. I find it makes Pinterest link backs easier and keeps everything in one spot. So the next variation is the condensed one-page printable. The text is very small but if your printer is worth it’s salt, it’ll be readable.

Mission Prep

Our eldest son, Josh, is preparing for a mission to the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo East. He enters the Dominican Republic MTC mid-August.

Josh graduated from high school over a year ago and completed his freshman year at college away from home. He didn’t go to a BYU school, but he participated meaningfully in a student ward and institute. He took a few road trips, got a job, and played a lot of pick-up basketball. This summer before he leaves he is spending time on splits with our local missionaries here in SoCal. He is working and drinking deeply the magic of Los Angeles in the summer. He’s excited and happy.

When I ask him if he’s worried about his mission, he says he’s worried about teaching and baptizing. His answer makes me feel relief. How does he already know that these are the only two things worth worrying about?

As always, Josh is doing things at his own pace, with or without our help, ignoring peer influence. I’m sharing how this is all working out just in case someone needs to hear that this kind of timing might be a blessing. Make no mistake: my husband and I were only peripherally involved in Josh’s decision to attend school before a mission. He made it a matter of personal prayer. But I do believe this past year at school has been a key turning point in Josh’s life. Irreplaceable. I don’t know if this gap year is right for you or your missionary, but I’m an advocate of giving it true consideration.

Additional thoughts about missions and the temple here.

The Living Christ Printables

I was moved during conference this year at the mention of the document The Living Christ. I always feel nourished and encouraged by a focus on our Savior, never more so than during the Easter season. In celebration of the holiday, I resized this special document into three poster sizes: 24×36, 18×24, and 8.5×11. These larger sizes should be easy to print as engineering prints at your local copy shop.

I’m playing with the idea of memorizing it together as a family. Title included, it’s 731 words. I liked all the ideas that this blogger implemented: check out her methods for memorization. I am thinking we’ll go a little more low key and put an engineering print on the wall and use washi tape to “black” out sections as we learn them.

And finally, here’s one that’s two per-page. The ratio of the document does not exactly work to fit the standard 5×7 scripture size, but they’ll turn out to be smaller than a standard size so they’ll fit nicely anyway.

My 5 Favorite Fonts and How to Use Them

I get a lot of questions about which font is used on various printable sets on the site. It makes me laugh a little because my font preferences and choices are so predictable–and rather consistent. I seem to reuse about 5 fonts all the time. I’ve included links but they’re all really easy to find online.

First. I love all variations of Montserrat. But I do spend a lot of time on tracking with this font which basically means I like to spread out the letters in each word. In Adobe this means tweaking the character tracking–it’s usually at about 100. In a program like Word you can easily accomplish the same thing by finding a feature called Character Spacing. Your goal is to spread out the word horizontally. It makes the difference you can see below.

Open Sans is my workhorse and it’s another free Google font. It looks great online. It has a completely different feel if you use it all caps or mixed case. It also looks vastly different depending on the thickness of the line. When I have a fancy font or script for a headline, I always pair it with Open Sans for balance. It’s kind of like beige house paint: it doesn’t attract attention and it’s not fancy, but it covers up endless mistakes. If I’m searching for a good match for any other font, I always start with Open Sans and move from there.

Both Montserrat and Open Sans are also incredibly useful because of how many options you can employ. And you can almost always confidently blend different versions (thin, italic, bold, etc) of the same font in every single way and still come out a winner! Right now the Thick/Thin trick is being used all the time, like the headline you see below:

It’s just Montserrat Semibold and Montserrat Light. I would use this with a straight face as a title on almost anything. Here’s another example of this trick in action that I noticed on Friday:

This Thick/Thin trick is everywhere right now.

Museo Slab is an old favorite. It’s based on a font called Archer which was designed originally for Martha Stewart’s magazine. I think this was the first font I paid for! It has a little more personality than the first two fonts, so I use it more sparingly. It feels like a modern take on traditional.

Every once in a while I need a swoopy, fancy script. My go to fonts are Wisdom Script and Sign Painter. A couple of important notes on these kinds of fonts: never use tracking (never spread out your letters) on a font that is connected like these. You can see an example with Wisdom Script, above. Those cute little connecting swoops look terrible when they’re not correctly linked up. I find that I often need to size up when I am using these fonts: they are hard to read if they are small.

Sign Painter has recently replaced an old favorite: Coffee Service. Check it out if you think it’s more precisely your style.

I do have a couple of go-to traditional fonts. Trajan Pro and Garamond. Sometimes you just need something that looks a little more conventional.

Finally, a tip on mixing fonts. There is a general rule of thumb floating around that it’s best to combine a Serif with a San Serif font (lots more on that idea here). It’s a good start. On top of that principle, chew on this: everything you’ve learned about matching your clothes or the pillows on your couch applies to your font choice too. Unless they really *match, closely related colors have a high risk of clashing. Colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel have a good chance of complementing each other. There’s a similar principle at play with fonts: very simple looks cool with very fancy. They’re at opposite ends of the complementary font style wheel, so to speak. A fancy, swoopy font is like the color red: you can use it but a little goes a long way. Unless you’re a professional, don’t try to do an all red room. You’re probably going to produce a monstrosity. Same thing with fonts: avoid using lots of fancy fonts (even if it’s the same one). Very tricky unless you’re a professional.

*Like I mentioned earlier, you can also mix up all kinds of variations of the same font and it all goes together well (almost always).

When in doubt, keep it simple and you’ll be just fine.

Women’s Session Notes Pages, Undated

I’ve had several requests to produce a Women’s Session Notes Page that is not dated. Also inspired by the recent adjustment to the Relief Society purpose statement I changed up the quotes and added the new statement. The notes pages are meant to be printed two sided, then folded in half along the long side. I left tons of space around the edges to accommodate even the most persnickety printer: note also that you could easily add your ward or stake name (or the date) on the top or bottom of the front page.

Please print, copy, share, enjoy!

Home and Visiting Teaching Calling Cards

I had a fantastic request from a reader named Jim who is figuring out his calling as a Home Teaching supervisor. He wants cards that he can give to families in his ward to inform them of their home teachers. We often assign the teachers but leave the families wondering who is supposed to come by for a visit–his idea is to encourage visits by getting everyone the information. I think it’s a really useful idea and I quickly agreed to put one together. You can see the general idea below.

Of course the initial request spawned several variations. First, here’s what I came up with for Jim’s original request. They are designed four per page, meant to be cut in half twice.

There’s a copy below that you can simply print, cut, and fill out. I also made a version that is an *editable* PDF. To be honest, I haven’t had a lot of luck with these in the past–I find there’s a lot of variables that I can’t properly account for. Please let me know in the comments if they are working for you!

I layered in 5 text boxes to fill in. The way it worked for me is that clicking on the green box below spawned a new box in Safari. I was then able to click inside each box on the form and fill it out. I think it would be smart to “Save As” when you are finished filling one set out. You might have to do up to 10 pages for all 40 families you have assigned Home Teachers.

This has also worked well for me with Adobe Acrobat.

Next there’s a nearly identical version for Visiting Teaching.

I wanted a similar one for Visiting Teaching but with a different quote. This is still designed to give to the sister who is being visit taught (so she will know who her visiting teachers are).

Alright, so now that the specific request is covered (I hope that works for you, Jim!) I wanted to put together a similar card meant for the Visiting or Home Teachers. There’s a spot for the Sister who is being assigned or called on the far right (write it in vertically) and room for a companion and three sisters to visit. The editable version has text boxes for these spaces *except for the vertical sister being assigned. Sorry! Editable forms do not rotate to run vertical.

Also, please note that I left these blanks very open to accommodate your adaptations. In the three rows I would include the name of the sister, her phone number and email on the second line (the one with an @) and then a birthday on the third line. You also have room for an address, but honestly, doesn’t everyone just use LDS Tools for all those details? You could choose different info if it works better for your Relief Society.

Samesies for Home Teaching.