Monday, March 28, 2016

Playing the Part- By Jen Turano- A Book Review


Jen Turano is a great author!! Playing the Part is the 3rd book in her series A Class of Their Own.
Having 3 daughters, I'm constantly on the look out for good literature with strong female characters. The women in Jen's books are always virtuous, brave, smart, charming, funny, down to earth, hard working, clever, and believe in God.
This book is clean!!! On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a little violence and 10 is extreme, I'd give it a 2. There was a nasty little goat named Geoffrey that seemed to be intent on wreaking havoc. There were a couple chaste kisses.
The basis of the book- Lucetta Plum is a very successful actress in New York in the 1800's. She's had to work hard and has some amazing abilities. Unfortunately, as an actress she's had an admirer who has taken to extreme measures to secure her as a possession. Fortunately, she has a well abled and muscled body guard, and a benefactor in society named Abigail- the doting grandmother type who buys her all the latest fashions from Paris. Much to Lucetta's chagrin, Abigail is quite the matchmaker and sees a solution to the crazed admirer by taking Lucetta to meet her grandson. Enter violent goat.
Will they be a match? How will things end up with the obsessive stalker? Why is the grandson's castle haunted? Is he truly who he seems, or does he have a more sinister situation... seeing as there is a dungeon in the basement!!??!!
It's not an overly complicated book. But it's full of good humor, fun characters, and good moral lessons.
I definitely recommend this book! It's one that will leave you smiling and wishing for times that were less complicated and more proper.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 April LDS Primary Sharing Time Ideas & Helps

By CM Dudash

Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.
Monthly Scripture: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” Articles of Faith 1:3

Week 1 Jesus Christ was chosen to be our Savior.

* Moses 7:39 "And that which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me..." (The pronoun "that" being Jesus Christ)
      Play "The Chosen One". Invite 6 primary friends up front. Send one person out of the room. Choose one of the 6 friends to be "the chosen one". That friend will choose a motion and everyone has to follow it. It would be easiest if 3 children faced the other 3 children. They all repeat the motion until the chosen one changes it, then they follow that motion. The person who left the room comes back in and has 2 guesses to who the chosen one is. (The chosen one might have to be sneaky to not get spotted, and the other children in the game can't look directly at the chosen one.)
      In between each round of the game, have scriptures or questions about the premortal world. Have pictures. Discuss what the word Savior means. Who chose Him?? What can we do in our lives to follow the REAL chosen one, Jesus Christ?

* Elder Neal A. Maxwell said that it is "extremely important to get straight what happened in that premortal council. It was not an unstructured meeting, nor was it a discussion between plans, nor an idea-producing session, as to how to formulate the plan of salvation and carry it out. Our Father's plan was known, and the actual question put was whom the Father should send to carry out the plan." (Deposition of a Disciple 1976)
     Have about 15 pieces of paper placed in a crooked path on the ground. Let's get straight the path and get straight our understanding of what happened before we came to earth!!
     Have 15 questions, scriptures, or songs having to do with the week's theme. (Not 15 each, 15 total) Invite a child to come up front and answer the question and then straighten out a piece of paper. At the end of the lesson, have a child walk the straight path and hold up a picture of Christ. He was chosen to be our Savior. Remind the children that if they have felt happy or peaceful today at church, that is the Holy Ghost bearing testimony that this is true.

Week 2 Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me.

* 1 Peter 2: 21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps"
     Have 10 paper footprints placed in a wide circle. Invite 5 primary friends to walk around the circle while the primary pianist plays some music.  (As I have loved you would be a great song!) When the music stops, they stand by a footprint and answer what is on it.
     Some ideas for words on the footprints:
home - What is a way you can follow Jesus' example here?
school - What is a way you can follow Jesus' example here?
story from the life of Jesus - briefly tell a story from Jesus' life and how He was an example
opposite of a good example- what is a bad choice that doesn't follow Jesus' example?
scripture- previously choose some scriptures beforehand they can read if they land on this footprint
family & friends- share with the primary someone in your life who chooses to follow the example of Jesus, what have they done that is like Him?

* 3 Nephi 18:16 "Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you."
    Give everyone a piece of paper/crayons and have them fold it in half. On one side teach the youngest primary friends (sunbeams) how to draw a sun. Demonstrate for them on  the chalkboard. It's always nice to have an example!! Sometimes with art, we don't always get a perfect picture on the first try... but that's OK. If we follow the example and keep on trying, we'll do just fine.... just like in life!! For the other friends, teach them how to draw a lightbulb. For Senior Primary, demonstrate how to draw a flashlight or campfire. You don't have to be an artist!! Just try your best or even invite someone in from the ward who knows how to draw. Remember, keep it simple!! Why are we so grateful for light??
     On the other side of their paper, have them draw a picture of The Savior. Have older children write down at least 5 things Jesus did to set an example for us.

* HERE is a short little video, it's a little slow- but definitely worthwhile for younger children.
     Have different pictures from the life of Christ. Have one friend hold the picture and briefly share what The Savior was doing. Invite another friend to come up and act out a way to follow the example of Jesus in their own life. (For example, if a friend holds up a picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane- another primary friend can demonstrate praying and saying I'm sorry)

Week 3 Through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved.

* I love SPARKLE!!! It is such a fun way to review and learn an article of faith. Going down the rows, every child stands, each child must say 1 word from the article of faith, then the next child says the next word. If they don't know that word they sit down. However, children sitting down can raise their hands to get back in the game if a person doesn't know the word. After the last word, the next person has to say sparkle and sit down. You keep on going until you have a lucky duck!! (I'd say winner, but everyone is a winner who has fun!!)

* What is the atonement? HERE is a very clear explanation. Divide the primary into groups of 3 or 4. Pair some younger children with older children who can read. Give them copies of that Friend article and a yellow marker and have them read for a couple minutes. Have them highlight with the marker anything that really sticks out to them.
    Afterwards, have everyone sit down in their chairs. Invite a few to share what they highlighted as a group. Great!! Now have the primary friends write on an index card an answer to the first question in the article, "What would you be willing to give for someone you love very, very much?" AND their name. Have them bring up their index card and put it into a paper bag up front.
     Invite a primary child to pull out 2 cards and share what others are willing to give. Can anyone guess who wrote that? Have them share who did. At the end review that Jesus has atoned for us. He has given His life, and everything, so that we can return to Him and Heavenly Father if we will repent and follow Him. Jesus has done this because He loves us very much!!

* Bring in a broken something, like a plastic cup with different broken pieces. Is it bad when something breaks? Yeah, pretty much because you can't really use it again unless you fix it, right? Is it a bad idea to break things? Well, one time there was a little girl who was confused about Jesus. She knew that He never made mistakes and was perfect, but couldn't understand why he would break something.
     HERE is the story to read to the primary. (Sometimes it helps the primary focus to have a few children acting out the story while you read) Was it OK for the bands of death to be broken? What are the bands of death?? Yes, absolutely!! It was completely necessary and needed!!

     Do you have the game, Don't break the ice!! DO NOT go out and buy it, just if you have it, it'd be easy to play. Instead though, we'll play DO break the ice!! Each friend gets a turn to hammer out a piece of ice and answer a question about the atonement. When the ice finally breaks, it's OK!!! It's actually great!!! It's like how Jesus has shattered the sadness that comes with death and sin, and through His atonement has cleared the way for us to return to Heavenly Father if we do what's right! He broke the bands of death, and we are grateful!!

Week 4 Jesus Christ was resurrected, and I will be too.

* The outline's suggestion is excellent for this week! HERE If you aren't able to get people to come in, have children make paper bag puppets of one of the witnesses of Christ’s resurrection and take them home to testify to family members! (You'll need paper bags, glue sticks, crayons, small scissors, and colored paper) Of course, once they are finished, children can come up and share their puppets!

* Invite a person in from the ward who has had someone close to them pass away. You will need your Bishop's approval. Have them share a picture of that person and their testimony of the resurrection.

* What is the resurrection? Bring in a glove to demonstrate it is the body. Can the glove move by itself?? No, it needs the hand. Just like our bodies need our spirits. Once we die, our spirit and body are separated for a little bit. In the resurrection, our bodies and spirits are brought together again for eternity in perfect form.
     Bring in enough pairs of gloves so that each child in primary with have a glove. Hand them out randomly, then have the children find their match. Once they have their partner, have them read a scripture about the resurrection together and talk about what they think it will be like then. Give each pair a piece of paper and have them draw a picture together or brainstorm words to describe the resurrection. During this time, you can collect all the gloves back. After a few minutes, invite children to return to their chairs. Have a few children share their work.

*  "As we learn we are immortal creatures, we realize that life, which does not end with the grave, does not begin with the cradle either. We lived before we came to this earth. We are creatures of the stars, time travelers, who come from afar and, if we are true and faithful, may return to celestial halls and live again with the mighty God who is the Father of our spirits. God’s Holy Son, our Savior, whose glorious resurrection makes it all possible, will be there to encircle us “in the arms of [His] love” (D&C 6:20)." Elder Alexander B. Morrison April 1995 "I am the Resurrection and the Life"
     Bring in a decorated time travel machine. A box with some glitter and paper on it? No friends!!! A real pretend time travel machine that will amaze and capture your attention today!! Bring in a spinner that points to 4 categories- premortal, earth life, resurrection, compliment. Invite a primary friend to come up front and sit in the time travel machine, after all, we are creatures of the stars!!, and spin the spinner. Have questions prepared about each topic premortal, earth life, and resurrection. On compliments they give 3 compliments to different people in primary. (It is AMAZING... some children do not know how to give compliments!! Teach them!! It develops a primary environment of love)
      Our time travel machine would not even be possible if it wasn't for The Savior and His resurrection. Life would really have no meaning!! Bear your personal testimony of what the resurrection means to you.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Few Easter Ideas

I know everyone is on pinterest and has probably heard of these ideas. But just in case, I'd thought I'd share.

I'm not super big on having long, drawn out activities with my 4 year old and toddler. I don't mind having "moments". I love simple, and my sanity.

On the first Family Home Evening of the month, I introduce 1 or 2 songs about the resurrection with visuals or motions. This month we sang, Did Jesus Really Live Again? (CS 64) and Easter Hosanna (CS 68). Then, on our drive to school we sang these 2 songs each morning.

We took some white flowers and talked about how Jesus is a perfect person, who never sinned, and lived a completely clean life.
Because He loved us, He knew we would need help getting back to Heavenly Father. He "took upon" Himself our sins, just like the white flower takes the red water upon it's petals.
Mosiah 15:8-9, "And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—
Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice."

I hung some Gospel Art pictures and we reviewed the story of the last week of Christ. We took a grapevine wreath and put toothpicks in it.
Many people were cruel and mean to Jesus. Sometimes our choices are bad, and that hurts The Savior. He wants us to choose the right and be kind.
So throughout the month, when someone does something nice for another family member, they are able to take out a thorn.
Our glow in the dark egg hunt is always a favorite. I take eggs and put glow sticks inside. When it is dark out, the kids get to go and get them!!
I usually have a few scriptures in some of the eggs to:
Psalms 27:1
Isaiah 60:19
John 8:12
Ephesians 5:14
2 Nephi 10:14
Ether 4:12
D&C 6:21
This year we also did this fun Resurrection Hunt found HERE.