Feast Upon the Words of Christ

This year I had one single goal for our Primary: more scripture study. To help the Primary kids and their families finish strong, I put together a new, simple reading guide that I hope will encourage them all to read through the end of the year!

Just for context, we’ve been working on scripture study for all of 2016. We started off with the Feast Upon the Words business cards, re-emphasized this program in June with new bookmarks, and celebrated memorizing the books of scripture in August. Additionally, each child was able to redeem their business cards for some kind of treat throughout the year: for every 30 days of reading they earned a treat. These have been varied, starting with buttons, replaced by squishy stress toys (a favorite) and now we’re using food-themed erasers.


But we’re all getting pretty tired and I think we need one final push to get us through the end of the year. I also think that the one focus that has been missing with the earlier “Feast” scripture program was the latter part of the phrase “upon the words of Christ.” So for the final months of the year, I made a reading chart with 30 scripture passages related to Christ, if not actual words that He said. I’m hoping our families will read one passage per day, mark off the circle and then return the completed page for a treat, as per our earlier 30-day agreement.


In an unusual move, I’m printing these in full color. I almost always just do black and white because it is so much less expensive to photocopy. But I want this last scripture study push to have some extra sparkle. So I’m paying extra for full color. There is one available in a full page size and then some that are four-per-page. I’ll probably print about a dozen full page versions for parents and then give a quarter page one to each child. I’ll be printing these on white card stock.

Happy Feasting, friends!

2017 One Page Planning Calendars

I am neck deep in planning for our Primary in 2017! I’m very excited. I really love these children and I’m looking forward to the theme next year.

Microsoft Word - 2017 Primary Planning Calendar.docx

Last year I put together these one-page calendars to help with planning. It is really helpful for me to see the whole year all at once! I thought I would share them. I like to have the theme and scripture for the month as well as a few basic dates (bank holidays and General Conference–I add our stake conference dates too).  It’s available below.

Microsoft Word - 2017 Generic Planning Calendar.docx

If you’d like a much more general calendar, with bank dates but no Primary details, it’s also available below. I’m handing this over to our Cubs as they begin planning for their year. It would be great for Activity Days leaders as well.

Best Word Ever game


I am totally in love with this game I just posted on Or So She Says: it’s a bunch of fabulous words pulled together into brackets so you can play together and countdown to the Best Word Ever. It was super fun to pull together. My husband printed off the pages last week and they’ve been doing the Final Four list at his office–he knew they would like it but he’s been surprised at just how much everyone has gotten on board. It’s originally based on the awesome idea at Ted McCagg’s blog. His top word ever: diphthong.

Go check it out and download your brackets and words. It’s a great game for families with older kids, YSA, or family home evening.

There are two versions–one where you decide the best word per every letter of the alphabet (long game) or one where you debate between the best word ever for just the top letters in the alphabet (short). Both would be super fun. Here’s a glimpse at the complete list, below.


New Testament Doctrinal Mastery flashcards

new-testament-doctrinal-mastery-flashcardsI got a sweet plea from a dedicated Seminary teacher to put together the New Testament Doctrinal Mastery flashcards! Here they are. The first 7 pages are the images and the doctrinal summary, the next 7 pages are the scriptural references.

The flashcards are designed to fit a quarter page. There is tons of white space to make it super easy to photocopy front to back. Even if your copy machine or printer is a little off, you should still be just fine.

reversed-for-easy-photocopyI designed them the same way as last year: the references are reversed so that they will photocopy correctly (I hope my image above with the numbers makes sense). Let me know if you have any questions!

Fall 2016 General Conference Coloring Page

kids-page-fall-conf-2016I like to print a one page conference coloring sheet for my Primary kids. I have mixed feelings about packets, but I think a one-page take home sheet works well as a reminder for families to engage with conference. This year, I put together a new one that correlates with the Primary “I know the Scriptures are True!” theme. I chose the King Benjamin image for the front because of the parallels between his address to the people and our current, latter-day conference 🙂

The activities and coloring centers around The Book of Mormon, all pulled from the new coloring book available online.
fall-conf-coloring-page-interiorIt’s designed printed on both sides of normal paper and then folded in half (a sort of booklet). The liahona and title of liberty both cross the fold line because I think it looks cool!

Book Review: Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families

Go Buy This Book!

My Mormonism runs deep in my bones: it is the faith of my fathers. My life’s work–my children–is bearing the fruit of this faith. Undeniably one of the more unique aspects of my religion is the doctrine of family. A child of divorced parents, a great-great-great-grandchild of polygamists and pioneers: my understanding of family has been subject to a mature interpretation of Mormonism itself. Capturing the clarity of our doctrine on family while simultaneously allowing room for the complexity of true family life is this lovely book by McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding, the authors of Girls Who Choose God.

Families Counsel Together


The book is not a narrative story: it’s organized around fifteen key ideas that would easily lend themselves to lessons for Family Home Evening, Primary Sharing Time or Visiting Teaching. Short paragraphs support these key ideas, reinforced by quotes from leaders. Similar to their earlier books, each key idea also includes questions that provoke discussion and thought. For example, in the section titled “Families Creat and Celebrate,” the questions include: How do you create with your family? What is one of your favorite family traditions? And, what tradition would you like to start? The quote is from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Our birthright… is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things….Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before–colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.”

Families Work and Play

It’s hard to over exaggerate how lovely the illustrations are, all by Caitlin Connolly. Each one is imbued with rich symbolism and imagery that complements the key idea at hand. The art is a stark departure from much recent work for LDS children. It is so much more brave and opinionated. It reminds me of the kind of art work in My Turn on Earth: memorable, evocative and bold. Highly stylized, but purposeful. I love it.

Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families is exactly the kind of book I am happy to support in every way and will treasure in my home for years to come. Pick up a copy online or at your local church bookstore.

Request from a Missionary Friend


Hey guys! I have a friend who is volunteering in Russia where they just changed the law about proselytizing. She sent a quick note hoping for feedback about how to fill the hours with service when she can’t teach! I asked for her permission to share the request here. This is what she wrote:

Hello everybody! I hope all is well. As many of you know there has been a lot of changes in Russia regarding the work. We are no longer able to Preach the Gospel. We are trying to do a lot more service. I know many of you served missions or are currently serving a mission or maybe never served a mission but have done service in the past. I wanted to ask you all for suggestions of what you would do for service or what you did on your missions that worked well. If you could let me know that would be awesome. We have run out of ideas. Also if you have friends or family that you know that have served or are serving in Russia or any other place like Russia that it is a little bit tricky with the law maybe you could talk to them and see what they have done in the past or are doing? Thanks for all your help. If you have any suggestions let me know and I would greatly appreciate it! 

– Cecтра Jeanette Bierman 

I love this cute sister! If you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave a comment here (I approve all comments so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see it appear right away) or send me an email at


Just for more context, here is the letter from Sister Bierman’s mission president:

Dear Parents/Family-

As you know, laws signed by President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, July 7, include a section of regulations and restrictions affecting our customary proselyting efforts in Russia. The new law goes into effect beginning July 20, 2016.

In correspondence, including any of your postings on social media, we kindly ask that you refer to you son or daughter serving in the Russia Samara Mission as a “volunteer” in keeping with the spirit of the new law. We also request that your communications refrain from any negative commentary about the Russian government. Beginning on Tuesday, July 20, the manner in which our young volunteers in Russia Samara perform service will change fundamentally. Instead of proselyting, they will now engage in activities aimed at developing the Church and supporting Church members. They will all serve in Church callings and will build closer bonds with members than in the past. For our part, we will need to strive together to ensure that their service is productive and spiritually fulfilling.

We feel nothing but joy and peace in this effort. We are confident that the Lord will continue to pour forth his blessings on his Saints and upon the Church in Russia. We will see miracles take place and the hand of the Lord made manifest in prospering His Church in this beautiful land. “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail” (D&C 6:34.)

President and Sister Ottesen
Russia Samara Mission

Doctrinal Mastery Scriptures for New Testament 2016

Doctrinal Mastery for 2016 LDS SeminaryAs per tradition, I put together an easy-to-print set scriptures for seminary. In 2016 the church is moving towards a “Doctrinal Mastery” program. I am sure there will be some changes, but the seminary teachers I spoke to are planing to emphasize these doctrinal mastery verses in ways that are similar to the scripture mastery verses. They are hoping to display the verses and work on memorizing them with their seminary classes. I formatted each verse in a way that is clean and simple, along with an icon that I hope captures an important doctrinal element of the verse itself. They are black and white so they should be easy to photocopy.

I have a freshman in early morning seminary this year (hello again, 5:50 am) so I am happy to have a set of these printables around the house. I really like to have the whole set ready to print at the beginning of the year and then we can easily incorporate them into FHE or scripture study as a family without much prep.

The full set of 25 are available in a PDF below. Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll reformat these into quarter page sizes. Check out the past three sets (for Old Testament, D&C and Book of Mormon) in the “Scripture Study” tab of this website.

I like to keep editing and adding to this specific post with New Testament Doctrinal Mastery helps. I think it makes it simpler for all Pinterest links to lead here and for readers and teachers to find everything in one place. The first edit is an update on John 3:5! I think the imagery is easy to interpret. But just in case you’re sensitive to confusion with the infant baptism doctrine, there’s another version available below!

John 3 and 5 alternate

Next up is the quarter page size of all 25 (plus the alternate image) New Testament doctrinal mastery verses. I really like this size a lot: very portable. There are two variations. First is what I call the individual set: it’s 7 pages with all 26 (plus 1) scriptures formatted to fit four-per-page. You can see what I mean below.

New Testament Individual quarter page

The next one I call the classroom version. It’s the same size (quarter page, four-per-page) but there are four of the same verse on each page. So it’s more like what you’d copy for a classroom. There are 26 total pages (25 plus the edit).

NT Printables classroom set

Ok, here’s a set of the doctrinal mastery scriptures all on one page.Doctrinal Mastery One Page

This one has the girl being baptized image rather than the “baby” for John 3:5.

The flashcards are available! Click here for a post explaining how they are designed, or click below for the PDF document with the two sided flashcards.


Here’s a copy of all the images on one page with the simplified doctrinal explanation below. I think it’s great for a study guide.

Generic 2016 Primary Program

Microsoft Word - Generic Primary Program 2016.docx
Our Primary Program is really early this year–at the end of September. I’ve been working on a draft for our Primary and thought I’d share it here! It will go through some tweaks and changes. It also still needs approval from our bishop. But I love to read what others are putting together so I thought I’d share ours as well.

It’s available as a Word document and a PDF below.

Last year I put together a post about how to write your own Primary program! Check it out if you’re wondering where to start.

Scriptures are True bulletin copy

I also put together a super simple program cover. It would be easy to adapt for the ward bulletin that Sunday.