Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stake Conference at the Conference Center

In our church, every 6 months we have a general conference which is when we(anyone in the world) get to hear the prophet and apostles speak to us about Christ. Also every 6 months we have something called Stake Conference which is a lot more localized. People in our church will gather together in their local church buildings with all who meet at that building and we hear from our local leaders. I hope this makes sense. Anyway, this past weekend we had stake conference but we were lucky enough to have been invited(along with 20 others) to attend conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City where they broadcast general conference and we were able to hear from some of the general presidencies and from the apostle Elder David A. Bednar. The kids had been inside the conference center once before on a tour, but this was their first time sitting in the seats and listening to talks while in there. And I am pleased to report that they did great. All of them. Well, except Jane occasionally wanted to climb up all the stairs in the aisle that were right next to us so I had to keep her distracted. But she wasn't too bad. And we didn't have to roam the halls even once during those 2 hours.

The general young men president talked about how we(specifically the youth but can apply to all) cannot be casual about our standards and commitments to the gospel. He told a story of some boys who were riding a bus and one boy was holding an ipod and turned to the other and wanted to show him something pornographic. The other boy refused to look and said plainly, "I'm Mormon. I won't watch that stuff." The kid with the ipod smiled and said something like, "oh, so and so is Mormon too and he won't watch it either."

Elder Bednar, an apostle spoke about conversion and testimony and Christ. It was an amazing talk. He said, "conversion is consistently being true to what we know." He told a couple of stories about keeping the sabbath day holy. Both stories were about his family. His son was playing soccer on a team that was really good. They had a championship game that would be held on a Sunday. Elder Bednar asked his son, who it seemed to me was older than 8, what he was going to do. Elder Bednar was surprised when his son said matter-of-factly, 'I'm not playing." Then he asked him how he wanted to tell the coach and his son said, "Let's go pay him a visit." When they pulled up to his house Elder Bednar asked, "do you want me to come with you?" "No. I'll do it." and he jumped out, knocked on the door and when the coach answered said, "Coach, I won't play in the game on Sunday. See ya!" and he ran back to the car. Elder Bednar said he was a little surprised but pleased at his sons response; he thought, he shouldn't be surprised cause this is what they've always taught them, but he just was unsure how his son would make his own decision. The second story took place when Elder Bednar was President at a university in Arkansas and they had seasons tickets for two, to the basketball games. The parents laid all the tickets out in order of game dates before the season started, and allowed the kids to do a lottery and pick which game they would attend with one of the parents. Arkansas was particularly good that year and ranked number two, and it just so happened that UNLV ranked number one and would be playing Arkansas at Arkansas on a Sunday. One of the sons noticed this on the ticket and said, "Dad, this one's on Sunday. You better get rid of it or sell it or something. But do it fast before I change my mind." :)

Elder Bednar talked about how we need to put off the natural man and work on things, repent and improve ourselves becoming more christ-like. He mentioned that one time while he was president at Ricks college in Idaho(and not an apostle), Elder Maxwell(an apostle who has passed away some years ago) spoke to the students and staff. After his talk, Elder Maxwell took Elder Bednar aside and apologized for his talk; he said he just didn't 'get off the launch pad' or something like that. Elder Bednar was completely surprised at his comment because he thought the talk was amazing. Then Elder Bednar commented, 'Elder Maxwell's bad, to everyone else around is still really, really good. But to him, it wasn't his best so he felt he needed to repent.' He's a good example. I always tell my kids not to compare themselves with everyone else and not to judge because most families don't live the way we do; but we follow the prophet. For instance, my kids all have to dress modestly. I don't allow them to watch or play much with media. We talk nicely about everyone and don't say mean words or things that are hurtful. My family doesn't drink caffeine. Violence is not okay. We do chores and we don't play until we get them done. Things like that, and if someone else is doing these things, that doesn't make it right for us to do them...they need to be their best based off of what they've learned, have been taught and know, and not based on what their friend, neighbor, etc does.

After these stories Elder Bednar shared some stories of Christ. He said Elder Maxwell talked about the character of Christ and said something like, only Christ, only His character could have performed the atoning sacrifice. Then Elder Bednar challenged the audience to go to the scriptures when we got home and look for descriptions of his character, especially by reading accounts in the New Testament when he's on the earth and also in 3 Nephi when he visits the America's. He shared a couple examples.
1. In Matthew 4 - He's been fasting for 40 days, he's probably very tired and weak and the adversary comes to tempt him. If you look in the footnotes under JST(joseph smith translation) about when the angels come to minister, it actually clarifies that Christ sends the angels to minister to John the Baptist who He has heard is in prison. Instead of turning inward(self absorption/pity) during his pain and suffering, he turns outward and administers to others in the midst of his own suffering.
2. In the upper room He administers the sacrament, prays for others, the night before his own suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.
3. When he prays in the garden, he asks his apostles to stay awake several times, which they don't. Then he's betrayed by another one of his apostles. He sweats drops of blood and suffers a great deal and yet when the guards come to take him away at the hands of Judas, his apostle who has betrayed him, Peter cuts off the guards ear, and Jesus immediately heals him. He is always concerned about someone else.
4. When He's on the cross, dying, nails in his hands and his feet, He prays to the father and asks Him to forgive them(the soldiers) and when the thieves who are strung up next to him talk with him, he comforts them. He also looks to his mother and asks John to take care of her.
After Elder Bednar told of these experiences he reminds us that some things can only be learned while we bear a burden. I was so grateful I was able to attend conference with my family and listen to the stories and hear the words of an apostle and the leaders in the church. I came away feeling uplifted, edified and like I could do so much more and be so much better. In fact, Scott and I felt the same way and when we got home and discussed the talks further, we set new goals with our scripture study(increasing the length of time we study each day) and I'm happy to report that we've both been following it and I think we have a new habit established. It's amazing to me what that little extra time spent in the scriptures does for me and my family. I love our Savior and I love this gospel. It is why we are who we are. Christ and His plan is everything. Without Him, we would be nothing. But He came. He lived. He's perfect. He died for us and took on our sins so that if we follow Him, we can one day return to Him and be with our families and Him forever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

12 Weeks

I am 12 weeks now. Still not feeling fabulous, but I am feeling better than I was a few weeks ago and there are some times during the day where I feel pretty normal. But light nausea is with me many times throughout the day, though usually at night. If I don't go to bed by about 930 or 10pm, the nausea increases. Here are a couple of pictures I took recently. I try and hide my tummy area right now by wearing sweatshirts or loose cardigans over another shirt because when I wear my normal clothes, I just look like I've gotten lazy in my diet and exercise routine...which I have, so actually I am getting fat, with just a little bit of baby :). Scott and I were talking about how we think my belly is kind of like a balloon that's been blown up before and it's all stretched out and when I get pregnant again it blows up a lot easier and faster than it did the first time I was pregnant. I know this isn't the case with everyone; but it seems to be with me.

Here I am with my cardigan, trying to cover things up but actually just looking kinda frumpy.

And another picture with the cardigan pulled to the side. And just for the record, when I went to the doctor's office last week I had in fact gained 10 pounds. That's a good amount of weight to put on in the first couple of months. And I probably will gain another 30-40 over the next 6 months. Not my favorite thing about pregnancy. Oh, and I thought I'd share with you as I did with Scott this morning that I had a nightmare last night that I was picking up one of my kids from a birthday party and there were all these leftover cupcakes and pastries sitting on tables with no one in sight, completely tempting me, and I can't remember for sure, but I think I ate some. Can you tell I'm struggling internally with this? I am still trying to eat healthy most of the time(though I am eating more refined sugar right now than I'd like to admit. I hate sugar. It's so addicting!), but when you eat so many more calories than you used to(b/c I feel nauseous if I'm not eating every couple of hours and I always have a weird taste in my mouth which makes me feel like I need to eat more to get rid of it) and exercise so much less than you used to, it's going to show. And it does :). But I can promise you this: I am going to work really hard to get all the weight off once I've had the baby. Sorry about this venting post. I think once I get through this nasty first part of pregnancy(let's hope it doesn't last the whole pregnancy) I will feel better about things because I'll be able to exercise regularly again and eat better foods, and less. Having good health is such a blessing. Experiences like this always increase my appreciation for good health.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A piano, at last!

Elisabeth started taking piano lessons a year ago from this coming November. We had a small keyboard she would practice on(pictured above), usually in our bedroom; the keyboard sat on a chest in our room and she'd either stand next to it with her legs stretched out in a wide 'v', or she'd kneel and play. Scott and I decided last November that if she was still playing piano this time next year(now), we'd get a piano or at least a full-sized keyboard. I've been watching for deals on to craigslist) for the past little while and found a piano last week in good condition for $200; the couple selling were getting ready to move this past week. I went and looked at it and really liked it. The only problem was we weren't sure how we were going to get a trailer and extra people to move it here. I talked our concerns over with the couple and they offered to drive it down to us and unload it while they had their moving crew with them because our house would be on the way down to their new location. It worked out perfectly and we gave them a little extra for the trouble.

We are all in love with the piano. All of us take turns on it, including Scott and I(we both took piano for a year growing up and can play a, a very little but I'm working on it and it's enjoyable). We also got a little side table and lamp to put in the living room. Both were free from different people we know. I refinished the table and everything looks nice all together.

As a side note, I let Charlie help me refinish the table. We were in the garage and I only had a small piece of cardboard laid out for the stain and paint brushes etc to lay on. Charlie didn't see the can of nearly full stain and accidentally kicked it over. I quickly tried to use what I could(you should have seen me on my knees, paint brush in hand, quickly getting as much stain as I could from the garage floor and onto the furniture; I'm sure it was a funny sight) to finish staining both of my projects and then I mopped up the rest, but it still left a big stain on the garage floor. My bad.

After looking around at the new room, Scott and I talked about how almost every piece of furniture(minus our bedroom set which was given to us as a wedding gift) we own is used and was either given to us for free or for a really great deal. All of our couches, all the kids beds and our guest bed, our kitchen table, crib, changing table, dressers, rocking chair, toy chest, book shelves, and more. We've been very blessed in that sense, and I'm glad I'm married to someone who is as frugal and careful as me, and who doesn't mind owning things that aren't brand new :).
I know the piano is still pretty new to us, but it has seriously been getting played constantly. If Jane is awake, someone is sitting, playing the piano. Elisabeth is even giving Charlie piano lessons using her Primer books from piano. I think we'll put Charlie in piano lessons soon.
Elisabeth is so happy to be able to play out in the living room with us all, while sitting on a bench. It definitely beats playing back in the bedroom, door closed so Jane can't bother her, by herself while kneeling :). But I think it's good for people to go through things like this so they can better appreciate all the blessings we're given on a daily basis. And I can tell you we all really appreciate this piano. Even if it's older and a little out of tune...but we'll get it tuned this week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jane is 18 months

Jane had her 18 month well-check visit this past week. She'll actually be 19 months in a couple of days but that's okay. She had to get three shots. It was a very unhappy minute. And all three of her siblings were there watching, feeling sorry for her(they were on a 2 day Fall recess). The doctor thinks she's healthy and doing well. She's still small, but she's staying within her growth curve so we're not too worried. Here are her stats:
Weight: 21 lbs 4 oz - the 8th percentile for her age
Length: 30.9 inches- the 21st percentile for her age

Jane is a happy and fun loving baby, though strangers might not think so because she wears a continuous scowl if they're near. She loves to wave at people she knows, swing, dance, sing(she sings to herself all the time), run, go on walks, play the piano, read books, play outside, take baths, play with her siblings and more.

Jane's favorite foods are Clif Bars, bananas, apples, cashews, pasta, burritos, green smoothies, guacamole, natural peanut butter, whole wheat pancakes and well a lot of things.
Jane finishing off her bowl of guacamole

Jane can say a few words that all can understand and then lots of other things that no one really understands. Here are the words we understand and that she can use correctly: Mommy, Daddy, baby, Owie, ball, my(meaning 'mine), rorry(sorry), hi, nose, eye, stop
Jane with some spaghetti in her hair(or at least on her head...she still doesn't have much hair :), but that always takes our girls awhile...and then they get a lot!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
1 1/2 c dried lentils
1 1/2 quarts water
1 med onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 rib celery, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp(or 1 cube) Better Than Bouillon or chicken bouillon
1/2 c tomato sauce
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
optional: 1/2 c-1 c orzo pasta with 1-2 c water, added during the last hour

Place the lentils and water in slow cooker. In a large frying pan, saute onion, carrot and celery in oil until limp and glazed. Add to slow cooker. Add garlic, salt, oregano and bouillon to slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Add tomato sauce and vinegar. Stir well. Cover. Cook on high 30 minutes to blend flavors.

This picture is not mine, but I didn't have any and when I did a search for lentil soup images, this one looked a lot like mine. Minus the garnish. I'm lazy like that :). Anyway, I am currently obsessed with this soup. I love it. It is so satisfying. I've made it three times in the past 2 months which is a lot for me considering I haven't been doing a whole lot of cooking the past couple of months...minus boiling water for pasta, even though the smell of pasta(usually w/red sauce) makes me want to hurl. But I can boil water without a fuss. Most foods sound awful right now and so I don't want to be in the kitchen with them. Hopefully only another week of this. Anyway, try this soup. It is so good. Scott loves it too, though I can't say the same for my children. I can't get them to eat any kind of soup. But, I have high hopes for this winter season. I intend to make a soup once a week and I think by week 4, they will like something. Or maybe I'll give them til' week 7. That seems a little more reasonable.

Also, we've done this with and without orzo. The orzo really thickens it up so be sure to add the extra water.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Patch and Date Night

Saturday after Elisabeth's soccer game we stopped by a pumpkin patch. This was our first time taking the kids to a pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins. They also had a free tractor ride which was enjoyable and there was someone there making good money doing face painting. She charged $3 for half a face or $5 for a whole face and she finished my kids face painting in less than a minute each. She did a really good job though and I'm actually glad she was fast because some of our children aren't very patient. The kids were thrilled to have their faces painted so prettily and kept them looking nice all day.

Later that day Scott and I went on a date while a family friend watched the kids; we switch with this couple every month and take turns going on dates(usually to the temple but when I'm pregnant I can't go much because of weird things that happen to my body). We each have four children about the same ages, so it works out really nicely. I wouldn't leave all four, especially with Jane being at the age she is(18 mos), with a teen. She needs someone who knows what they're doing and can do it while watching three others :).
Lindsay snapped this photo while the kids were watching Despicable Me.

Scott and I decided to eat dinner at a restaurant we really like in Gardener Village. Unfortunately we picked one of the two worst days of the year you could possibly go: Witches Night Out. We had no idea this would be going on but when we got close, we knew something was up. There were cars parked all over the streets and witches everywhere! Thousands of witches! They make it an all day thing, apparently every October on a particular Friday and Saturday, and we just happened to pick going to Gardener Village that night. But we didn't know so many people would be coming to eat at the restaurant(why we didn't figure that out once we saw all the people walking along the streets, I don't know, especially since Archibald's is the only restaurant in Gardener Village), but by the time we parked our car--which they charged $5 for on this particular night because of all the people--and we went inside the restaurant, it was too late. We'd paid for our parking, we were surrounded by people and there was no turning back. So we put our name on the list, were told an hour to an hour and a half wait, and then we went out into the village and bought candy to eat while we waited for our dinner(I know, SO bad, but Scott was starving and I was pregnant and that was the only other food they sold in the village) and looked around in a shop at furniture and home decor. They actually have really cute shops there and we like browsing their stuff.

When we got back to the restaurant, it was madness. People everywhere! Seriously had to push (very politely, of course)our way through to get to the hostess again. I felt so bad for the poor lady hostess. She had to deal with hungry people who were impatient and rude. We got to eat at our 1 1/2 hour mark, and noticed at that time, the next wait time they were giving people was 2 and 1/2 hours! Yikes! Once we finished our dinner and were walking out, I tapped the hostess on the shoulder and thanked her for all she was doing and told her I thought she was wonderful and doing a fabulous job. She gave an exhausted chuckle and smiled and said thank you. That village must make bank over that one weekend in the year. The restaurant was completely packed and it sounded like it had been all day long. And the sweets shop was packed. All the shops seemed to be doing really well. I'm glad they did so well, but I'm also making a 'note to self' not to go eat at Archibald's during the month of October, ever again. And a million thanks to Lindsay and Matt for watching our kids for so long and being so great to them...and for giving Jane a bath which was above and beyond the call of duty!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Braids and Babes

I've been watching hair style video tutorials online and have learned some fun new hair styles. This one is called the fish tail braid. I've always wanted to know how to do this and it was fun to learn.
And here are the two babes that get to stay at home with Mom all day. Annabelle is 3 and 1/2 and so independent and wonderful. She gets herself dressed every morning, sometimes with the assistance of her older sister, but many times not, and it's so fun to see what she comes up. Like these blue winter tights with horizontal stripes, shorts with vertical pastel colored stripes, a green shirt and princess sandals.
And here's Jane. She covers her ears whenever I use my blender or my wheat grinder. But she's always smiling. She's a little sweetheart(and a should hear this girl scream. Shrill. But with three older siblings to compete with, she's got to be loud at times in order to be heard.)

All in the first 6 months of the year

All six members of our immediate family have birthdays within the first six months of the year.
January- Charles and Scott
February- Annabelle
March- Jane
April- Me
June- Elisabeth

And it looks like we'll get May filled in this coming year. May 8th perhaps? (that's my mom's birthday so I'm rooting for that date). According to the ultrasound today, I'm 11 weeks and 3 days. I was able to listen to the babies beautiful heart beat. I love that! It measured 1 1/2 inches in length and everything looks good so far.

I've already gained several pounds(someone asked me this past weekend if I was expecting! And because of the way I look! I told her no, I was just getting lazy :), just kidding...but to give her credit, I do show really early, and both Scott and I can definitely tell..and I can't fit comfortably into my jeans anymore, so I'm now in my 'in between' know, not the full blown maternity ones, but the other ones for when I'm a little bigger) and I'm not feeling fantastic, especially in the late afternoon and evening, but I can't complain because I've had very little vomiting and I'm fortunate enough to be able to have meds for the nausea/vomiting if I need it. Hopefully I'll just have a few more weeks of the morning sickness and then I can be more regular with my green smoothies(maybe once a week now) and exercise routine(which is more every other day right now instead of daily). But I generally gain between 40-50 lbs so I'm not going to set my hopes too high.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bone Density

I meant to blog about this awhile ago and forgot.

Probably 2-3 months ago I went into the health food store to grab something. I noticed a sign outside as I walked in that there was a professional there who would be measuring bone density for free. I didn't intend to have mine measured, but as I was checking out, the 35ish-year-old fellow who runs the test asked me if I could spare a few minutes to have it done. Sure, I said.

As we walked over to his machine he asked me a few questions. Our conversation went as follows: Do you exercise? Yes. Do you take supplements? No. Do you eat greens regularly? Yes, quite a bit everyday. Do you have any children? Yes. How many? Four. Really! Okay, well don't be surprised if your score is a little low because having children takes from your bone density and if you're not taking supplements....blah, blah, blah.

So we went over and he took my hand and put it under some screen while asking me personal questions about being married and if I had a single sister(OMG! Seriously!? I kinda just wanted to bolt outta there at this point). When my score came out, he was really surprised. "Wow," he said. "This is the highest score I've seen in days, and it's higher than mine. You really don't take supplements?" "Nope. And I don't even drink milk either." :) Then I told him about my green smoothies and he didn't really seem to care that much but I truly think that the smoothies/whole foods diet, and exercise is what's contributing to my strong bones.

Here's the sheet he gave me:
See the graph on the left of the page? The top curvy line shows what is normal for my age. If you fall closer to the middle line that means signs of osteopenia, and if you fall near the bottom line it means osteoporosis. See that little black dot way up top that's circled? That's my score which was quite above the normal range. Sweet!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2nd season of soccer

Elisabeth is just about to finish her second season of soccer. It was really fun to watch them this year because the girls are at an age now(7-8) where they're really beginning to grasp the concept of the game. They're not doing cartwheels on the field or picking flowers or playing patty cake, they're actually playing their positions and scoring and defending goals. I really turned into the cheerleader mom this year. I never say mean things to or about anyone, only kind and encouraging comments, but it's a lot, and I can be kind of loud :). Elisabeth has scored three goals this season and all within the last month...I think scoring that first goal built up confidence within her.

Ballet is also just taking off and she's doing really well, though last week she said she likes soccer more than ballet which was contradictory to what she'd said just before ballet began. When I questioned her further, she said it's because ballet is too hard. She said, "I always have to hold my shoulders back and down, suck my tummy in, and it hurts my legs to always have to point my toes and stand on tippy toe." But I told her that those things won't seem hard anymore as she progresses through ballet and practices more. Eventually it'll just be natural. But we'll see what she decides next year when she has to decide between the two; soccer would actually be much cheaper for me and Scott so I don't think I'll be too sad if she decides to go that route :).

Elisabeth is number five

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pirate Treasure Map and Loot Bag-DIY

I know it's only October, and Christmas still seems far away, but I actually collect gifts for the kids almost all year round. Why? Because it's cheaper that way. And providing a memorable Christmas for 6 takes careful thought, planning and early preparations when you're on a budget. So, when I see something one of the children would love, and it's a great deal, I pick it up and stick it up high in my closet. Sometimes I forget what I've picked up so usually around this time of year, I'll go through everything and see who still needs what.

My friend Lindsay showed me a homemade pirate treasure map idea she found on pinterest. I knew it would be something Charlie would love so we decided to do it together. We each found our own bandana and little spiral notebooks, Lindsay provided the canvas for the map, paint pens, and muslin(which she sewed up into pirate loot bags for us), and I provided the compasses, pirate money and keys. It cost us around $6 each and took a couple of hours. I'm excited for Charlie to open his gift on Christmas :).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall in Utah

(I didn't take this picture, but it is a picture of Utah)

I woke up, one morning this week, to the sound of falling rain. I love that sound. I love the rain. I guess that should be expected considering I grew up in Seattle. I got out of bed and peeked through my blinds. The wind was blowing the leaves off the large tree in our front yard. I looked around the neighborhood and noticed that many of the leaves on the surrounding trees were changing to beautiful autumn colors: yellow, orange, red, purple, green, brown. This is a beautiful time of year, though I'm grateful for all the seasons. I love that I can see the snow on the mountains. I love the Fall decorations that are everywhere, particularly the pumpkins. I enjoy snuggling into my jacket as I walk out into the crisp morning air. I'm happy I can wear jeans and sweatshirts once again. I love watching my husband and children rake leaves into large piles and jump through them. Life can be a wonderful thing if we remember to look for the good and thank our Father in Heaven for all he's blessed us with.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

General Conference Activities for Kids

Wasn't General Conference Amazing!? I loved every minute of it!

I'm going to refer to this post for future sessions of general conference because all the preparations we did for the kids this year really paid off. General conference was enjoyable. With all four little children. For all 8 hours. Let me share with you what we did. (I grabbed these ideas from all sorts of places on the internet, mostly originating from the Pinterest website).

I put together a general conference basket. Sort of like an Easter basket. The kids loved this and were so excited to wake up in the morning and see this basket all put together and full of neat things for them to do during conference. Inside were fun snacks(I stayed away from refined sugars and did things like fruit leather, the Clif bar fruit twists, 100% juice capri suns etc), pens, new crayons, blank cards, activity envelopes, apostle and first presidency cards,clipboards with church activity packets, and whatever we needed for those packets like glue, scissors, tape, empty toilet paper rolls etc. I'll give you more details now for some of the things in the basket.
Activity Packets: A couple of days before conference(and next year I'd start a whole week before conference so I don't have to do it all at one time) I printed out the new activity packets for children off of The lady who does this website makes new activity packets every conference and they're fabulous. She has packets for nursery aged children, junior and senior primary and some things for teens as well. I printed off the nursery packet for Annabelle and Reese(our neice- we had my brother's family with us for the Sat. morning session) and the junior primary packet for Elisabeth, Charles and Shaun(my nephew). Each packet is about 12 pages long and has several coloring pages and several cut and paste activities. I divided the packet into four(because there are four, two hour sessions), each fourth having some coloring pages and some cut/paste activity, and then put the first portion of the packet on each child's clipboard. I already had clipboards for my children and I bought a couple of inexpensive one's for my niece and nephew from Walmart.

Here is one of the projects they cut and colored and our globe. I kept it out so when they announced new temples being built, we could find where in the world they'd be located.

Activity Envelopes: I had four envelopes in the basket. Each envelope had written on it the name of one of the four sessions: Saturday Morning, Saturday Afternoon, Sunday Morning, Sunday Afternoon. Before a session began, the kids were allowed to open the envelope, read what was on the paper inside and do that activity. The first activity was to cut out and color these paper watches I found online that say 'Come listen to a prophet's voice at 10 and 2'; they have other watches for different times if you don't live in mountain standard time. We taped them onto their wrists like real watches. For the other three activities we: wrote letters to grandparents telling them about conference, we read Mosiah 2:6 and then set up a tent facing the TV just like the people did in that time to hear the prophet speak, and last we put together more snacks and brought them down to eat while watching the last session of conference.

The kids in their 'tent' during the Sunday sessions

Quiet Zone: the whole room where conference was being shown was a quiet zone(meaning if there is talking it's in whispers) but near the 'quiet zone' sign we had bingo boards set up on a hard, flat surface and the kids usually colored over there and did their cutting.

General Conference Wall: I loved this. I printed out coloring pages off the Friend website, and had the kids work on coloring them for a couple of days leading up to conference. I wrote a topic on the top of each picture ie, prayer, repentance, temples etc. We printed off 14 all together. I taped them on our 'General Conference Wall' along with the insert of all the faces of the general authorities from the last conference Ensign. I also printed off cards that had pictures of the first presidency and the 12 apostles which you can find by clicking on that link. Each child had their own baggie with all the cards. When one of these gentlemen were speaking, the kids would find their card and listen for what that man was speaking on and then we'd put a piece of tape on the back and stick it on the correlating picture.

All four children did very well. Our 7, 5 and 3 year old children stayed in the room and were relatively quiet and busy with their packets and other things during all 8 hours. Okay, there may have been about 15 minutes during the last session when Charlie and Annabelle went in an adjacent room and ran around, but that's it. Jane, our 18 month old, napped during two of the sessions, and the other two she hung out with Scott and I on the couch with her blankey(we usually only allow her to have this in her crib). Or she'd wander around the room and pick up crayons and paper her siblings had left unattended and help color their pages or other scraps.

One other thing we did for conference that was special was we had a big breakfast both Saturday and Sunday morning which was something the kids, and the adults, looked forward to. Saturday we had pancakes, eggs and hashbrowns and Sunday I made something not so good for you. I'd heard about an amazing french toast that a local bakery made and I wanted to try it. This bakery had gone onto Good Things Utah several years ago and shared this recipe which I was able to find online and duplicate. As Elisabeth watched me make this french toast she said, 'Mom, this isn't good for us." My response was, "I know." "Well, why are you making it then?" "I just wanted to try it, but it's definitely something we won't make often. But if we love it, maybe we could call it General Conference French Toast and only have it then." "Hum. I think I like the other french toast you make better, and it's good for you." Gosh, our conversation made me feel guilty. But that's okay. I'm glad she's wanting to make good choices. And I usually do. Though every once and awhile I'm okay with eating something sugary and sweet if I'm really in the mood. And I was. As we ate it Elisabeth said, "this doesn't really taste like french toast. It tastes more like cinnamon rolls." :) And if you look at the picture below, those slices are so thick. Scott and I were stuffed with one piece. Two of the kids ate half a piece and the other two couldn't even finish their half.
Here's the recipe:

Overnight French Toast

1 Loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread cut into 8 slices(here is a recipe for a similar bread if you don't live near a Kneaders)

8 eggs (I used 7)

3 cups milk (I used 2 1/2)

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vanilla

2 Tbsp butter

Butter a glass 9 x 13 baking dish generously (I also used an 8x8 because I couldn't fit it all). Place the bread flat in the baking dish. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving the butter and pour over the bread. Cut butter into pieces and dot over the top. Refrigerate over night or at least 1 hour. Bake 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 8

Kneader's Carmel Syrup
1 c. Brown sugar
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. Light Karo Syrup
Blend together and heat on stovetop until sugar is smooth.
Serve warm.