Recent Book Reads and Recommendations!

Book recommendations are some of my favorite posts to write!

If you read my last book post, you know of my utter obsession with Liane Moriarty (Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will soon star on-screen in Big, Little Lies.) I gobbled up three of her books late in 2015 and spent January and February running back and forth to the library to check out her earlier books. Have I mentioned? My librarians are my BFFs.

Here’s what I’ve been reading the last few months…

1. The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty: Ellen is a hypnotherapist and finally falling in love. But new love, Patrick, has a stalker ex-girlfriend. Ellen is intrigued and thinks it would be fun to meet stalker…she doesn’t know she already has…

2. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriary: Sophie has unexpectedly inherited her ex-boyfriend’s Aunt Connie’s house on Scribbly Gum Island—home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery. A cute read about finding your own happiness. And I love the name “Scribbly Gum Island.” I want to move there.

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3. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. Moriarty’s debut novel about 3 beautiful triplets – they are so dramatic! As a reader who loves character-driven novels, Moriarty nails it every time. I’ve asked Moriarty to tone down the swearing but she says her characters have a mind of their own…

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You can tell how much better Moriarty has gotten as her subsequent books are released – a very fun author observation! This is also great news for all of us: WRITING IS A CRAFT we can all learn.

And now I’ve read all her books and am in a deep, dark slump…but don’t fret, Ms. Moriarty has a new book coming out this July! And my BFF (dear librarian, Gail) has already ordered it for me. I tell you, there are benefits living in the sticks!

Coming in July… (I mean, shouldn’t they hire me to be her publicist or something?)

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4. Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole: So, so, good. A former literary agent, Kole knows the business. Want to write for kids of any age? READ THIS NOW. I’ve underlined and ear-marked every page.

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5. The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: “Mom, you HAVE to read this book!” my 11-year-old Brynne insisted. It was a very good, award-winning middle grade read set in WWII.

6. Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella: My first Kinsella book, I had to read this young adult novel after my oldest couldn’t stop laughing and saying, “The mom in this book is SO YOU!” Which, after reading, was totally unflattering. Kinsella does a great job using humor to write about a serious, psychological issue.

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7. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meisner: An adult historical fiction novel set in WWII that features two young sisters separated during the Blitz in England. Heart wrenching for me to read about a missing child.

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8. Medium Hero by Korby Lenker: A collection of short stories, Korby Lenker CAN WRITE! I loved this collection so much. Lender will make you laugh and cry and think about your faith as he searches for his own.

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9. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker: THIS BOOK is going to be big and deserves its own post. Joshua, of the hugely popular blog, Becoming Minimalist sent me an Advanced Reading Copy as he is about to release this gem of a book. Pre-order before May 3rd and you’ll have free access to the Minimalist class. I’m not joking: this book is a life-changer. It’s fantastic. You’ll be hearing more…

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10. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: I weep. What happens when a brilliant neuroscientist gets cancer just as he is finally embarking on his calling in life? A #1 New York Times Bestseller, “For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?” I was trying to drift into a restful Sunday nap while reading but couldn’t stop crying and sniffling. The Professor puts up with a lot, I tell you. Worthy read.

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And now on to the next batch of books. Tell me, dear friends, have any book recommendations for us?

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Ordinary Days

1. Happy Earth Day! It’s finally warm enough to run outdoors in shorts!unnamed-10

2. New Hampshire weather keeps us on our toes! It’s 70 degrees one day and freezing the next. Look at these stoic daffodils:unnamed-13

3. But even the frost can’t keep spring away…unnamed-9

4. It’s the month of speeches! Eldest stays up late into the night to write a speech as she runs for school leader…unnamed-7

5. And Brynne and Paige recite poetry on stage. Here Brynne recites, “The Highwayman.” A macabre family favorite. Happy Poetry Month!unnamed-6

6. Let’s go back to the good earth. I’m obsessed with these sweet mini peppers. Best snack ever. And breakfast, lunch, and dinner.unnamed-1

7. In other news, the boy doesn’t like my clothing selections. “No, I will not wear this to formal, Mom.” But why, aren’t you still, like, five?unnamed-5

8. We finally dyed our Easter eggs. It’s still fun in April…unnamed-11

9. It’s rare for a child to run after me, begging me not to go. I’m prone to spoil children for their devotion.unnamed-2

10. As I was eavesdropping on two girls purging their room, I heard, “Paige, you can’t keep it! DOES IT SPARK JOY???” Yes, Marie and her Tidying Book has rubbed off on us all..unnamed

11. Seeing The Professor use his brand new pole saw (after years of the wife nagging,) made me swoon. My, how romances changes in a marriage.unnamed-4

12. Bonfires! But only with permits and discretion: it’s fire season.unnamed-8

Happy weekend…and to all your glorious ordinary days!

p.s. This post is dedicated to Prince, a childhood favorite.

“Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night…”

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10 Reasons You Might Want to Go On a Cruise

Before this year, I’d never been on a cruise ship before. It’s not the type of vacation my parents ever took us on growing up. Cruise ships were for other people. Besides, getting on a boat with a few hundred strangers? No, thank you.

But when my mother had the brilliant idea of taking her daughters and daughters-in-law on a bonding trip, a cruise came up. So I did my daughterly duty and took one for the team :)

My mom was very insistent that we ALL come. We wanted to go a full week, and with six of us trying to figure out schedules, childcare, and work details, there were A LOT of emails sent back and forth.

Finally it was decided. We would go on a 4-day March cruise to Key West and the Bahamas – two places I’d never been. Even when we had our tickets I felt like I was living in a dream world. The Kardashians go to the Bahamas. I go to, like, Wyoming.

As the day approached, I was excited, thou I also had that mother-guilt of leaving the kids and husband behind during their spring break. Yes, it was a cross I had to bear…:)

I have to say: I’m sold. It was incredible.

If you’ve ever thought about embarking on a cruise ship, here are ten reasons why you might absolutely love it.

10. Get a taste of the TitanicDSC_0582 Wait. That’s not a selling point? I wasn’t scared of the ship going down, but I think anyone who gets on a vessel this large must have that scenario run through their head. The ship is huge. Everyone has to attend a safety meeting the first day. It was pretty awesome to embark on something that big and to float into the sea.

9. Have a Relaxing and Luxurious VacationDSC_0292 We don’t take relaxing and luxurious trips. It’s more like, Get your backpacks and you’re one change of clothes! We’re going to rough it, eat squirrel, and like it! Which, you know, has its place but it’s not exactly… relaxing. On a cruise, you’re treated like royalty. Someone comes in to “make up your bed” twice a day. There is a gym, spa, yoga, games, night-time karaoke, dancing, and 24-hour room service. Everyone is so nice.  You don’t lift a finger. You begin to think: I could get used to this.

8. Adventures of a LifetimeDSC_0514 My mom and sister will love this photo…aren’t they cute? :) It was my first time snorkeling and once I got past gulping salt water and the chilly water, it was a blast! DSC_0023 Another activity I’ve never done: parasailing! Hands down, a sisterhood favorite. I’m scared of heights but I wasn’t at all afraid up there in the sky. It was so fun. So exhilarating. SO BEAUTIFUL.DSC_0257 This is Key West. I couldn’t get over the color of the water.IMG_9577-14 Cope wasn’t drooling over my water pictures…just the boat crew and photographer :)

7. Sea and Animal LifeIMG_9642-32 When you can dive down and pick a starfish off the ocean floor? Wicked cool, no?

IMG_9596-22Many seagulls and birds.

6. FOOD!DSC_0543 So, when you go on a cruise, you’ve already paid for everything. You never have to pull out your credit card unless you’re buying the extras. I couldn’t get over the fact that I could walk into a buffet every morning, lunch, dinner, snack, and late-night snack to get unlimited FOOD that I DIDN’T HAVE TO PREPARE or clean up after. I was so thankful for this fact I could have wept several times.

And the food was good. We were on a Celebrity cruise. I’ve been told Norwegian cruise lines are even better, but I tell you what, I felt I was living pretty large!DSC_0373

5. It’s an Economically-Savvy Way to See the World!DSC_0569 This is downtown Bahamas which has a lot of history. It was very sobering to know that the dock we landed at was a former slave auction/port. Cruising is a pretty economical way to see the world. Our tickets, with taxes, came out to about $500. For $100 more we could have had a 7-day cruise and seen more of the world.

Hotel costs, transportation, and food will eat that money up in a second. In addition, there is NO HASSLE. You just get off at different ports, explore, snorkel or whatever else you want to do, and make sure you get back on the boat at 4 pm. (If you miss the boat you’re on your own!)

Every other time I travel, we are using the GPS, finding a place to eat, calculating costs, figuring out the hotel, how to get here and there. This was just so easy.

4. Disconnect and UnplugDSC_0440 A wi-fi plan is available, but I didn’t want to pay for it, nor did I have any urgent business. I just shut my phone off for four days and hoped the kids would survive. Gasp…I had to read books and talk to real people! No email to check, no texts to respond to. Until you unplug, you might not realize what a load it really is.

IMG_9656-37It was very freeing to ponder the great big world under the great big sky.

3. Get a Taste of How Others Spend Spring BreakDSC_0552  Yeah, so I’m joking about this one. But one afternoon while we were in port we chose Señor Frogs and realized it was party destination number 1. We Mormon moms were only slightly out of place…haha!

2. See the Great Beauty of the World IMG_9647-34 Man, there is so much beauty out there.DSC_0256 I took a gazillion shots of the sunrise and sunsets. Watching the sun slowly slowly come up over the horizon was like watching a master artist.DSC_0180 I remember Cope telling me that we should STOP using plastics because it’s destroying ocean life. Once you’re on that ocean you really understand what a precious and beautiful resource it is…and maybe it’s one worth preserving (those “beady” face washes? Plastic? Destroying the ocean.)DSC_0234 Clouds and water and sunsets hold an enormous fascination.DSC_0393  DSC_0270 A fishing vessel out on the water.

1. BondingDSC_0364 Bonding was the #1 purpose of this trip and that’s exactly what occurred. I loved these girls before, but I loved them even more now. We’re all so busy, living in different parts of America, working hard, raising kids, and only get to see each other once a year.CCS-160313-8x10BarsLounges-5285162_GPR Aren’t they beautiful? How FUN and wonderful to leave real life behind for awhile, to get to know one another even better. To laugh, cry, karaoke, eat, and talk late into the night.IMG_9640-30 Such a dorky picture of me, but you know, we were pretty darn happy :)DSC_0443 Thank you, Mama Mary. For such a great idea. For sponsoring us, for loving us, for bringing us together.IMG_8203Will there be a next time? Oh, you bet your pa-tooty! It was unanimously decided it’s a definite YES. Top picks: Charleston, a ranch, another cruise, Venice, North Carolina…so many parts of the world we need to see TOGETHER.

I came back with a totally new appreciation of vacationing on a cruise ship. And I’m already planning a husband/wife trip…the Professor isn’t so sure but I think I can sell it. Anyone else in?

xoxo.

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Game-Changing Weekend Links

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Its the weekend – hooray! Am I the only one who needs a nap? But perhaps you’d like to read these first:

  1. Remember these luscious lemon bars? Now that it’s officially Spring you can MAKE THEM NOW.
  2. Have a highly sensitive child? Listen to Susan Cain’s Quiet Podcast, Episode 9. So good.
  3. I am so angry at the food industry. Watch this. Guys, we need to STOP feeding our children poison aka SUGAR. It’s literally killing us. Also on Netflix.
  4. Creative People Say No. Oh, I needed to read this one.
  5. What legacy are you leaving behind? Thought-provoking.

Happy weekend!

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This is not a program; it is who we are {how to help refugees}

I think it’s so cool when people take their vacation and sick days to travel to Greece and hand out water and food. I often wish I could helicopter in and distribute coats. I wish I could hold and feed babies.

I admit feeling helpless when I hear about the 60 million displaced refugees around the world.

And it’s also easy for me to turn off the news, compartmentalize suffering, and head off to soccer practice.

This past weekend was General Conference, eight hours of talks by leaders of the our church. Funny how much I LOVE it now (really, eight HOURS???.) Instead of getting in the car on Sunday to go to church we get to watch from home (both Saturday AND Sunday!) It’s this awesomely spiritual down day.

With the help of cinnamon rolls, notebooks, and new sharpies :) Cope saw these and said…”oh, I smell love.”unnamed-1

So we listened to talks by men and women who spend all the minutes of their day volunteering their time and energy to loving and serving others. Very inspiring.

The Relief Society is the women’s organization of the church and it is the largest women’s organization in the world. It’s purpose is just as it sounds: to provide relief to those in need. Once again there was a call to action – to help our brothers and sister refugees.

How to help? There was a new program announced called I Was a Stranger.

Citing information from the United Nations, Sister Burton (the Relief Society general president) said there are more than 60 million refugees worldwide and half of those are children.

The program doesn’t ask for us to fly to Greece or organize a huge relief drive (though those are awesome endeavors). “This is an opportunity to serve one-on-one, in families, and by organization to offer friendship, mentoring, and other Christlike service and is one of many ways sisters can serve.”

It reminded me of a friend who said to me, “You know, there are a lot of people who will fly across the world to help but won’t walk across the street to help their neighbor.”

I haven’t stopped thinking about that. It’s pretty simple, really. As we prayerfully seek guidance, I think we’ll be guided to just the right opportunity.

All the talks we heard were fantastic. You can watch HERE if you’re interested or just curious about what we Mormons sit around watching :)

But this talk by Patrick Kearon about refugees was especially great:

I’m thinking maybe I should just keep making cinnamon rolls…that would make someone happy, right???

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Almond-Chocolate Power Bites

What to whip up for a ravenous group of 11-year-old soccer players? Can’t bring cupcakes, cheez-its, or goldfish crackers. No, they wanted me to speak about healthy snacks and feeling good. So…DSC_0136 (1)  With ten minutes to spare, Brynne and I whipped up these almond-butter chocolate delights. Really, they were so easy.DSC_0142 (1) And they were gobbled up in seconds.

Followed by:

“Can I have the recipe?”

“Are there any more?”

“Can you bring more next week?”

I’ll try, my little soccer friends!

Loaded with tons of protein, energy carbs, and good fat, they’re also much cheaper and easier to make than my previous Protein Bites (which are still good but a little more time-consuming and pricier!)

Your next go-to snack?

Almond Butter and Chocolate-Chip Protein Bites

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon chia sees
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Makes about 12-14 protein balls.

Optional add-in: dried cherries or cranberries. Substitutions: I originally added cashews but some of us have a small and “down-there” annoying reaction to cashews…so I used walnuts. Almonds or any other nut also work! Don’t have almond butter? Peanut butter works, too.

  • DIRECTIONS:

    1. It couldn’t be easier. Dump all ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. For uniform balls, use a cookie scooper with your right hand and put the ball in your left hand to make it nice and smooth.
    2. Or you can put the little ball into your child’s hand and have them form a nice little ball, which is what I ended up doing, followed by, hurry hurry roll that ball we have to go right this minute…!
    3. Put in container and refrigerate for a 1/2 hour-1 hour (unless you’re running out the door.) If they feel a little wet? Add a little more substance like the coconut, oatmeal, or nuts. Too dry? Add a little more almond or peanut butter. Another option is to freeze and eat when you’d like to gnaw on something cold and hearty.

Good? Good. Happy weekend – Eat up!

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Happy Easter {with a birthday and bald head}

Happy post-Easter! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Holy Week turned out to be just what we needed as we read a few scriptures every night around the kitchen table. Everyone is a bit nicer to each other when we do that. Spring sports hadn’t started yet and we had a little more down time than usual. It’s good to stop and breathe.

And then there was a birthday!

Our baby girl turned 9. I’ve requested to always be allowed to call her “baby girl.” I have to be careful because sometimes my nostalgia rubs off and she says things like, “I don’t want to be 9. I want to be 8,” and then we talk about the great adventures ahead and how WONDERFUL it is…as I feel my heart go walking outside of my body and get stomped on…unnamed-2

There was a last minute request for a class birthday treat….AH! We do what we can do.

In anticipation of Easter, it became cold and rained ice. I was fascinated by these tulips and daffodils “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Just stand your sacred ground.” –Brene Brownunnamed-3

We had Easter baskets and an egg hunt on Saturday. This year was extra special because our COUSINS came!!! I found quite a lot of interesting pictures of my phone…

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On Saturday I received a phone call from the boy: “Mom, do I have permission to shave my head for St. Baldricks?” To raise money for childhood cancer? Shave away!

It was shocking to see bald boy come through the front door. Maybe some day I will be so brave…! Will you do it with me???

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Easter egg hunt with the little ‘uns…(Despite good intentions, we still managed to consume way too much sugar.)

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The next morning we awoke late and hustled to church where my father-in-law and I were speaking. We were really late, had the church programs in the car, and our van said we had ZERO miles left of gas. I imagined myself RUNNING to church, bursting through the doors to deliver a peaceful talk about Jesus… “I feel like I’m going to faint.” The Professor told me to “Assume a warrior pose. Shoulders back. Deep breaths. Resolute face.” I tried. It helped.

My father-in-law delivered an awesome talk on Jesus, those who mocked him, and the resurrection.

I was asked to speak about the women in Jesus’ life. What a great topic to study!

The brothers who know how to sport Easter egg ties…unnamed-10

The mamas…one of my besties for life – Jill!unnamed-9

Coincidentally, (?) prior to speaking I watched two films: Suffragette and He Named Me Malala. Both tell the true accounts of great women who were the foot soldiers in important revolutions. They spoke up, at a great cost to themselves and other women. There was violence and blood shed. Both films shed light on the need for greater love, education, and equality. Our ultimate example? Jesus Christ. Man, sometimes it feels like we’ve made such progress and sometimes it feels like we have so much further to go.

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As I spoke, I looked down at the pew where a long line of my girls sat. These strong, amazing girls – some my daughters, some my nieces, my sister-in-law, my friends, my young women, strangers. I want so desperately for us all to know…remember who you are! Become all the wonderful things you are meant to be!

Yes, I was quite inspired by the good women of Easter.

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And let’s not forget the good men who are helping us raise such good, strong daughters.

Whether they were with us today or were far from home…love, love, this family of mine.

Happy spring!

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Can You Help Our Minimalist Easter Bunny?

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I made this Easter Bread once. It was yummy.

Naturally-Dyed Eggs

Want to dye eggs with tumeric, beet juice, and cabbage?

Keep it simple, keep it simple. This is our Easter mantra, right?

The Holy Week coincides with me reading the advance copy of Joshua Becker’s book, The More of Less. Becker is the author of the wildly popular blog, Becoming Minimalist . This book is good!

I’m underlining EVERYTHING, folding down pages, making stars, and nodding YES the whole way through…and I’m only half-way through.

More on the book later, but it’s forcing me to look at all our STUFF, giddily purging closets and drawers and gasp – hair products (this shall be a great trial and you will need to hold my hand.)

And…in comes the Easter basket. This Saturday, the Easter Bunny is going to come hopping through the house. Bunny needs some help.

It seems quite incongruous to preach the evils of sugar and more stuff and then promptly hand it over in honor of a holy holiday, oh, but it’s Easter! This, my friends, is what Gretchen Rubin would call a “loophole:” justification for our behavior because it’s a “special occasion” or we’re on vacation or because “it’s just this once.” Ha! It’s never just once! Tell me, who can eat just one Cadbury egg???

Feeling the pressure of tradition, marketing, and childhood nostalgia…I bought sugar. The Professor made me. But just a wee bit. Like Cadbury eggs and the Trader Joe’s jelly beans.

I did not buy Twinkies even though I wanted them and it’s totally tradition to have a Twinkie in the Easter basket. sniff.

So. In the spirit of minimalism, what’s a minimalist Easter bunny to do?

Some ideas:

  • Colored pens and markers (we could live happily in Staples)
  • Underwear (yep, I’m fun)
  • Hamilton musical tickets (hey, a girl can dream, right??!!)
  • An orange
  • A can of V-8 juice
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Lip gloss
  • Hair elastics
  • Fingernail polish
  • Gum
  • Raspberries
  • Beef jerky
  • A picnic gift certificate?
  • A bike ride with dad?

Geez, this is such a first-world problem isn’t it?

I don’t need to put ALL of these things in the basket, but I’d like a basket that contains a few meaningful, frugal, and tasty delights.

Help!

Ideas? What are you doing for a healthier, less sugary, less “stuff,” Easter?

Thank you in advance. Love, the minimalist Easter Bunny

Post script: Here are some great ideas from Facebook commenters!

Way back when, I was known to give my kids toothbrushes at Easter.  smile emoticon Another idea if your kids like to plant things: packets of seeds. (Tickets for “Hamilton”, what every “big” girl wants!) -Connie

We used to get socks and new Keds-type sneakers. We also used to get updated rain gear. Kind of a preparing for spring type of theme. – Robin

Our Easter bunny brings bathing suits! Both necessary and fun!! – Michelle

Love it! I’m so over the sugar… (But I did give in for a little ). Will is getting a glove for baseball, Hannah a swimsuit, Crosby a ball cap, Ella some socks smile emoticon. Always toothbrushes too- Those should fill the baskets right up! -Katelyn

My mom started getting us journals every Easter and I loved it. -Abbie

Thanks for starting this conversation. Chris and I were just about to give our kids two baskets of cavities. Now I have some awesome ideas to give instead! -Kat

 Last year for my nephews, we got them stuff to start their garden. Seeds and seed starters. A little watering can could be cute. They weren’t super excited but once they were able to start planting and eventually see their veggies growing, I think they loved it! They were proud of what they grew. -Paige

We give them water bottles and this year they are also getting zen tangling coloring books for a little zen time…. -Annie

My mother used to hide peanuts in the shell instead of eggs filled with candy, although we didn’t love that as kids… :o) -Becky

I was one of 5 kids growing up and we received a community basket each year. There were always 5 identical chocolate bunnies but then there were other things like jump ropes, bubbles, the jungle book movie, etc depending on the year. It was never a lot, usually simple and usually geared toward something we could do together. -Jillian

We bought our children Nerf guns. They rediscovered an old gun of Ammons and they have been shooting it with the 2 remaining bullets. We figure this will make for a fun morning and a great lesson on physical vs spiritual death and the resurrection, lol. -Kate

I love swimsuits and flip flops, or something similar spring related, something you need to buy anyway. This year I’m going to put a a big bottle of Sadie’s favorite shampoo and conditioner. You know, the nice stuff that I never want to buy. I’ll probably do something relative to that for my younger ones, like bubble bath, or something. -Annaca

 Every year I buy a lego set, open the box and fill plastic eggs with all the pieces. After all the eggs are found they work on building the project together. -Jackie

We do coupons fr things they don’t get daily. Like iPad time or tv time get of time out free things like that -Jessica

New bike helmets, sandals and each a Lego set. Baseballs and softballs too and bubbles! -Jill

I have to admit – I love Easter baskets! And candy! But we asked the Easter Bunny to come on Saturday, and he usually brought more “toys” than candy, and when the kids were little, we decided to focus less on the baskets and more on our new Easter tradition, which we still do today. We try to go fishing Easter weekend, if we can. If we can’t, we just buy a nice, big salmon from Costco. Then, for Easter dinner, we have our loaves and fishes meal. Served in baskets with butter and honey. Oh, and homemade grape juice, which we usually get from our neighbors. As the years have progressed, we have added other items to the menu, which may or may not go with the theme. But we ALWAYS have the loaves and fishes! And talk about our favorite stories from the Old Testament. That’s one tradition I’m really glad we started! -Naomi

You guys rock!

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Where Can We Turn For Peace?

My heart is with those in Brussels. This morning I learned that one of our students was in the airport when the terrorist attacks went off. Four missionaries were seriously hurt. Thirteen people were killed.

I can’t fathom what ISIS thinks they are accomplishing? If it’s hate, then let us fight with love and light right here in our own homes and communities. Love is a grassroots movement. The hand that rocks the cradle rocks the whole world.

“Religion offers no shield for wickedness, for evil, for those kinds of things. The God in whom I believe does not foster this kind of action. He is a God of mercy. He is a God of love. He is a God of peace and reassurance, and I look to Him in times such as this as a comfort and a source of strength.” –Gordon B. Hinckley

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The Holy Week

An attempt to make Easter more meaningful:IMG_4789 If you’d like to print these pictures and text out, scroll to the bottom…!

In the Christian world, this Saturday marks the last week of Jesus Christ’s life. The Holy Week. I could use a little more holy.

My kitchen faces windows and sun, so apologies for the glare on the photos. They come out better when printed.

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This year we will dye the eggs and hide the baskets and eat too much sugar, but this year especially, I need Easter to be more than that. I need faith in my life right now. We women are stressed out of our minds most of the time. I see it in our faces. We are rushing around going, going, going. Maybe what really need from Easter is some quiet time to ponder the really big questions about faith and who Jesus Christ was and why any of it matters.

I try to imagine Jesus rushing around with his long checklist of Easter activities, glue sticks, scissors, and jelly beans to ensure everything is FUN and LOUD and full of SUGAR. Um. Can you imagine that?

WOMAN, SLOOOOOW DOWN. BE STILL.

My advice? Keep Easter really simple. A fresh vase of tulips. Or not. Pictures on the fridge. Scriptures. Ponder. Pray. Perhaps a cadbury egg or two (I mean, Jesus surely likes chocolate, right?)

Whittle it down to the bones: why is Easter significant to you?

The Holy Week as a Google doc

The Holy Week as a PDF

Much of the text and images compiled from Here.

Fabulous Bible and Easter videos to go along with bible stories Here.

May you have a wonderful Holy Week! (and a few cadbury Easter eggs…)

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