Friday, December 20, 2013

Our New Family Tradition...Build Your Own Nativity

We created a new family tradition tonight!  

It was a sweet, simple, yet powerful and touching way to celebrate Jesus. 

We got the idea from the amazing Meg Johnson. Check out Meg's page for simple instructions. 

Meg gives a quote from church leaders about each item in the nativity. Each person silently reads their quote and then thinks of a household item to represent their person or item. 

Then you take turns reading your quote and sharing your thoughts and feelings about why you chose your item. It was insightful and sweet to see what each person chose and why. 

Grace had three girlfriends over for the afternoon and evening. They had a do-each-other's-hair day. They'll probably not be thrilled with me when they see that I posted this picture online...  But they're such cute girls!  

 My four favorite males on the planet.

One of my favorite males snuggling with his Mama.  I closed the activity with my testimony of Jesus. I love celebrating Him. I hope you do too. 

I invite you to try this fun tradition yourself!  I hope your family likes it as much as we did. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day 17 of Book of Mormon Challenge... Five Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Do I listen to the temptation not to pray...or not to read my scriptures for that matter? (See 2 Nephi 32:8-9)

Satan knows I won’t fall for blatant temptations like “Never read your scriptures again for the rest of your life – in fact, just toss them in the trash.”  So does he give up?  Of course not. 

  • “Check email first, then get distracted looking at cute pictures of your grand baby on Facebook, and then other people's posts."  
  • "Put in a batch of laundry first, then get distracted cleaning the bathroom."
  • "Grab a snack first, and then forget you were going to read scriptures.”  
Can you tell I have plenty of personal experience with this one?  

Will I give up?  Never. 

2. Am I planting “testimony time bombs” in my children like Jacob planted in his son Enos? (Enos 1:3) 

It appears that Enos hadn’t been valiant in his faith for a time, but alone on a hunting trip his father’s words about eternal life and the joy of living the gospel sunk deep into his heart. In other words his father’s seeds sprouted and surfaced after being planted long before. The law of the harvest still works, even if the harvest comes later than expected. You could call this the law of the late harvest, which is pretty much describes parenting to a tee.

3. What life lessons do I learn from seeing how God delivered two groups of good people from bondage, after letting them wait a while? (Mosiah 21-22, 24)

My opinion is that God doesn’t want us to suffer in vain. He wants our suffering to give us the lessons, growth, and Christlike character traits the trial is meant to give us. So one thing I like to pray for during a trial is that I can gain the growth, lessons, and character the trial is meant to give me. And that when it is His will, He can help me move beyond the trial.  I felt this same flavor during both the stories of deliverance of King Limhi with Ammon (Mosiah 21-22) and of Alma (Mosiah 24). 

Sometimes God chooses to help us by lightening our load or strengthening our backs to carry the load, rather than removing the load least for a while. Ever lifted weights? Notice they made you stronger? 

Another reason I think God waits to deliver people is so we see His power in an unmistakable way. That we can’t take credit for the deliverance ourselves.  

My son had a mini experience with this yesterday. He saved up a bunch of money and recently bought himself a Kindle. Then this sweet eleven-year-old lost it. After much discouragement and searching the house from top to bottom, we said one more prayer. I asked if he had searched the couch cushions yet. Not every cushion, said he. Voila, there it was! In my opinion, had my son looked and found it himself right away, he would have missed a faith-building experience of God showing His power. God is the one who prompted me where to look for the lost item. God knows where everything is...even little Kindles. He sure is smart. 

4. Do I realize the power of a parent’s faith-filled prayers? Alma did. (Mosiah 27:14) 

Alma's son was being a stinker, even if he was named after his father.  Finally, on one of his rampages to persecute the church with his buddies, an angel interrupted their plans.  “Your dad prayed me here,” the angel said in so many words.  An angel came to answer a father’s faith-filled prayer, to convince Alma the younger about God.  And it worked. Not only did Alma stop persecuting the church, he became an extraordinary leader for the government and the church. Do I pray with Alma-like faith over each of my children?  I want to more often. 

5. Do I “touch not the unclean thing?” (Alma 5:57) 

If a wolf tries to come into my little flock and devour my little sheep, do I keep watch, drive him out, and destroy him? (Alma 5:59.) Do I study the enemy’s plans and plots so I know how to prevent and defend the enemy from getting my family? (Alma 2:21.)  

I’ve been reading 1776 by David McCullough lately. An interesting parallel to these verses is how General George Washington was intensely interested in gathering intelligence about the enemy’s plans. British General Howe seemed not to care much about gathering intelligence about his enemy.  Guess who won that war? With nothing short of miracles from God, for sure.  I’m following Washington’s example. 

What unclean things or wolves or enemy’s plans do I need to be aware of and protect my family from?  The media is a big one. Although there are some great things available, most media is an enemy. Here are a couple reasons why.

First, "Satan’s greatest threat today is to destroy the family, and to make a mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant." 

A prophet of God said that -- Harold B. Lee, to be exact, in 1972. Question: Do you think Satan uses the media as one of his most powerful tools to accomplish his goal?  Do you think the media is worse today than it was in 1972? 

Second, the media is a powerful teacher, and people often deny they're being taught by it. 

I want to teach my children to follow God, love family, respect others, live honestly and morally, invest in education, use wholesome language, and serve others.  I teach them these values and so does my church. But TV generally teaches all the opposite messages. Most media teaches not to follow God, to disrespect family and others, to lie and cheat, to break the law of chastity, to pursue entertainment, use vulgarity and violence, and to be self-centered. These themes are even seen in many “family friendly” shows, if you watch for them.  This is why my family hardly ever watches TV and why we’re really picky about movies.  Great, uplifting, wholesome ones are really worth watching. The rest just aren’t. 

Third, listen to this scripture.

"Thou shalt not ... commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it." (Doctrine & Covenants 59:6).  I know many, many people who would never consider actually killing or committing adultery, but they do things "like unto them" every single day. They watch others do those things. They fill their minds and hearts with things "like unto" adultery and killing. That's not to mention "like unto" breaking all the other ten commandments like taking God's name in vain, stealing, dishonoring parents, having other gods of materialism, and so on. 

Repeated exposure makes things seem more normal. Ask anyone who has committed adultery or been violent to someone if they have repeatedly watched others do those actions. 

Fourth, here is our church’s standard. 

“Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.” (For the Strength of Youth, bold added) 

Another great standard is this question: 

“If Jesus were standing next to me, would I watch, listen, read that?” 

Nuff said. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day Nine of Book of Mormon Challenge... It's all about Christ

This is me this morning. I've found that a combination of audio and reading keep 
me going at a pretty good pace. I need help pacing when I'm reading 20 pages a day! My usual pace for scriptures is s.l.o.w.  

I can't seem to think without a pen in my hand, even though I'm using my 14-year-old Book of Mormon, well beloved and well marked with years of colors, notes, stickers, and inserts. I've thought of buying a new set (mine doesn't have the current pictures or maps and the backside of the covers are flaking off) but I love them too much. Sigh...

Here are three more patterns I've noticed (continued from part one)...

4. The Book of Mormon is All About Christ 

Anyone who thinks Mormons aren't Christians must not have read the Book of Mormon...

  • Jacob "labored diligently among [his] people that [he] might persuade them to come unto Christ..." (Jacob 1:7). 
  • "We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins" (2 Nephi 25:26). What more can I say?
  • Christ is referred to 48 times in the second chapter of 2 Nephi. THAT'S 48 TIMES. IN ONE CHAPTER. Yes, we are Christians. Read the whole book and then try to convince me otherwise. 
  • Nephi's writing and teaching was aimed at one thing: "to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God..." (2 Nephi 25:23). 
  • Lehi's only objective was the "everlasting welfare of [his posterity's] souls" (2 Nephi 2:30). 
  • The fullness of Nephi's intent is to "persuade men to come unto...God...and be saved" (1 Nephi 6:4). 
  • Jacob's intent in writing was for later people to "know that [they] knew of Christ and had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming..." (Jacob 4:4). 

Question to self: 

Is the fullness of my intent, my mission, my purpose in life, to bring souls to Christ? Like these wonderful prophets from ancient America? I hope it is.  What am I doing with my time, efforts, thoughts, and actions to bring souls to Christ, starting with myself and my family, and reaching outward from there? 

5. What does my soul delight in? 

These passages are so dear. Does my soul delight in these things?

  • Nephi delights in teaching his people the truth of the coming of Christ (2 Nephi 11:4). 
  • His soul delights in plainness (which I think means understanding) of the doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31:2-3).
  • He delights in the words of Isaiah because Isaiah prophesied of the Redeemer (2 Nephi 11:2).
  • Nephi's soul also delights in the covenants God made with Abraham, and in the Lord's grace, justice, power, mercy, and eternal plan. In teaching his people that Christ is the source of their salvation (2 Nephi 11:5-6).

Question to self: 

How much does my soul delight in the fact that Jesus Christ, my Redeemer and Savior, came to earth?  That He is the source of my hope and salvation? How much does my soul delight when I can understand Christ's teachings, plan, and words for me? 

6. What do I feast on? 

  • Do I "feast upon the words of Christ [knowing that] the words of Christ will tell [me] all things [that I] should do?" (2 Nephi 32:3)
  • Do I "receive the Holy Ghost [knowing that] it will show unto [me] all things what [I] should do?" (2 Nephi 32:5) 
  • Do I feast upon God's love? (Jacob 3:2)
  • By feasting on the word of Christ, do I "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men?" (2 Nephi 31:20)

Question to self: 

Am I daily feasting on Christ's words, God's love, and receiving the Holy Ghost?  Am I following Christ's words and the Holy Ghost in my thoughts, words, and actions?  Am I filled with hope and press forward with a heart full of love?  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 4 of my Book of Mormon challenge. Some patterns I've been noticing...

1) Do I react to trials more like Nephi or Laman and Lemuel?

The book of First Nephi is full of examples of how people react to trials when they have the Lord's Spirit with them (Nephi) and when people don't (Laman and Lemuel).  What are the patterns of both parties?  

  • Lord commands them to return to Jerusalem to get the brass plates. First two attempts fail. How do both parties react?
  • In the wilderness the last bow breaks so they can't get food. How do both react? 
  • Lord commands Nephi to build a ship, which I assume he has never done before. How do both react? 

2) If I need a spiritual pep talk, Nephi shows me how.  

Nephi is awesome. I am seriously excited to meet him in heaven. I love the spiritual pep talks he gives his brothers. These are the same pattern of pep talks I've given myself and my family many times when we've needed to boost our faith. Because God has helped our ancestors, scripture people, and us do seemingly impossible things in the past, He can help us again. I've gained much strength from listing our past miracles just like Nephi did. What patterns do you notice in these awesome pep talks? 

  • 1 Nephi 3:15-21
  • 1 Nephi 4:1-3
  • 1 Nephi 7:8-15 
  • 1 Nephi 17:23-51

3) If God commands it, He'll help me do it. 

Some places you'll find this promise: 

  • 1 Nephi 3:7 
  • 1 Nephi 4:1
  • 1 Nephi 17:3
  • 1 Nephi 17:13
  • 1 Nephi 17:50 
When have you seen God command you, either through a formal commandment, or through church leaders or a prompting of the Spirit, and He has made a way for you to obey it?  Making a list of these times is an awesome spiritual pep talk (see item number 2).  

Who wants to join me in a 28-day Book of Mormon challenge?

(I posted this on my Facebook page on December 3, 2013.) 

My son's seminary teacher (also our dear friend, Bruce-Kaziah Chang) challenged his class to read the entire Book of Mormon in the month of December. 

I did the math and it's about 18 pages a day for 30 days. I invited a few friends to join me and we're off to a good start! 

I know December is a nutty month for a mom to take on a challenge like this, but I prayed about it and it felt right! If you start tomorrow, you could just do the math to see how many pages a day it would take to finish by the end of the year. My friend said it's only taking her 40 minutes a day, but it's taking me much longer because I get so much more from it when I take notes and journal about things.

Some of my favorite verses this time around so far: 1 Nephi 4:6 and 1 Nephi 6:4. Also, 1 Nephi 16:18-24 is an awesome contrast of how a person reacts to trials if they have God's spirit with them or if they don't.

My girlfriends and I are going out to lunch on New Year's day to share what we've learned and the blessings we've noticed. I am writing a question each day and then watching for clues to the answer as I read, and writing my thoughts down afterward. It's amazing how God can answer your personal questions and problems through the scriptures and His Spirit!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bishop Edwards' Challenge!

Four years ago Mike was called as a bishop of our LDS ward (congregation). Weeks before he was called, we both started receiving inspiration from heaven about issuing a bishop's challenge. 

The ideas came to us separately. It wasn't my calling, but at the time I was serving as president of our Relief Society (women's group), which also allowed me to receive guidance of how to help the families in the ward.

I have the sweetest memories of our 5:30 AM jogs together, under the fall stars, marveling that God had given us the same ideas. It was a sweet and sacred experience. 

Soon Mike issued the challenge God had given to His sons and daughters in our neighborhood. People started making big and little changes, especially about media choices. It was fun to hear their stories.

Recently Mike issued this updated version of his bishop's challenge. 

I had a feeling this morning that I should post it. 

And I invite you to take the challenge too!  

1. Come unto Christ 

  • Personal & family prayers & scriptures daily
  • Follow God’s standards of media 
    • Stay away from anything vulgar, immoral, violent, pornographic in any way, drives away the Spirit, not uplifting (For the Strength of Youth, p. 11) 
    • Limit the time spent on electronic media (For the Strength of Youth, p. 13) 

2. Temple & family history

  • Go to the temple a little more often, invite your teens to do baptisms regularly 
  • Do a little more to search for your ancestors and/or do indexing
    • “I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.” (Elder Bednar, Ensign, Oct. 2011) 

3. Missionary work 

  • Reach out to neighbors in friendship
  • Pray to know who & what to say, look for opportunities, then “open your mouth” 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Upgrading our Family Battle Plan

What used to be good enough to protect our families then, isn’t good enough today. 

Captain Moroni was awesome. I can hardly wait to meet him in the next life. We can learn a lot from how God taught him to defend against his enemy, the evil Lamanite army.  

God inspired Moroni to defend the Nephite cities in ways that had never been done before. 

“Thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain ... the cause of Christians” (Alma 48:10).   

How did they defend themselves? 

They built up forts, banks of earth, and walls of stone. They dug heaps of earth around all the cities, then timbers on top of the ridges, then tall frames of pickets, and towers. There was only one way to enter the city – at it’s entrance.  He didn’t stop making preparations for war to defend his people. (See Alma 48:8, 49:4, 50:1-6).

Moroni also prepared his soldiers with armor unlike any that had been used before. This is the first time a Book of Mormon army wore breastplates, arm-shields, head shields, and thick clothing. 

Moroni also sent spies to discover the enemy’s tactics. Then he sent men to ask the prophet Alma what God wanted them to do. 

This message is BIG for us today. How?

President Kimball said, “In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future it will not be enough if we are going to save our families.” He was being quoted in 1990. That’s 23 years ago. The prophet was saying we need to upgrade our battle plans. 

Last week we had stake conference. The visiting Seventy told us his parents were new converts when he was a child. They were still figuring out how to live this new LDS faith, and weed out their Catholic traditions. His parents weren’t consistent with family scripture study or family prayer. Our general authority said, “I think I turned out okay. And I think my siblings turned out okay.” 

Then he said it would be tempting to think if that worked a couple generations ago, it would be enough today. He said that is wrong. 

Here’s why. 

President Henry B. Eyring said, “As the forces [of sin] around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient will not be enough. And whatever growth in spiritual strength we once thought was possible, greater growth will be made available to us. Both the need for spiritual strength and the opportunity to acquire it will increase at rates which we underestimate at our peril” (“Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 9).

So our stake president invited every family in our stake to go home that day and hold a family meeting to do two things: 

1) Evaluate our battle plan. How are we doing at protecting our family against the devil and his tactics? 
2) Set specific goals. 

Here are the four areas he recommended we focus on: 

Scripture study
Gospel discussions at every opportunity
Keeping covenants and bringing the temple into our homes with temple attendance, family history, indexing

Our stake president said we are at a time where we need to prepare in ways that we never have before, just like in Captain Moroni’s time.

It’s not the first time he said it. This seems to be the theme our stake president keeps being inspired to teach us. I love this theme. I hope he keeps teaching it. We need it. Over and over and over. We need to keep “upping our game plan” as he said.  

We obeyed our stake president. We discussed and set goals that very day, and yesterday we pulled out our list to evaluate and tweak. How are we doing? What else needs to be done? What goal would each person like to set to support our “upped battle plan” to protect our family against Satan?  We wrote those down. 

These are questions we must never stop asking ourselves, and acting upon, if we want to protect our families from Satan as Moroni protected against his enemy. There really is a war going on. Just as Moroni had God’s help in protecting his people, so will we have God’s help protecting our families.

Let’s get to work. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Thoughts about LDS Women and the Priesthood

There is a small but vocal group of LDS women who have requested tickets to the priesthood session of General Conference next week.  They wanted to attend priesthood training because they are hoping to receive the priesthood themselves. 

I’ve never heard of this happening before. It made me ponder the different ways people choose to handle something in the church that they don’t fully understand. As a teenager I didn’t understand why LDS men held the priesthood and women didn’t.  But I’m at peace with it now. 

Here are a few ways I've noticed people reacting to something in the church they don’t understand:

1) Let doubt overshadow faith. 

Some people pick up that little pebble of “I don’t understand this part of the church” and hold it so close to their eyes that it fills most of their vision, covering the things they know are true. If they hold it there long enough it’s only natural to start forgetting and questioning what they once knew as true.

2) Work hard to receive the truth from the source.

Some people pick up that little pebble of “I don’t understand,” hold it out and away from their eyes to keep things in eternal perspective, and ask God what the truth is in that matter. They pray, study the scriptures and words of the prophets, fast, and attend the temple until they get a witness from the Spirit of the truth.

3) Set it on a shelf for now. 

What if you have a pebble, an “I don’t understand” question, and don’t receive an answer yet? My advice is to pick up that pebble and set it on a shelf.  Don’t pretend it’s not a question, because questions are good. That’s how we got most of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants. Joseph Smith asked many inspired questions and got revelatory answers from God. 

The key is not to hold the pebble so close to your eyes that it covers the big boulders of what you already know, like that Jesus is my personal Savior, that the Book of Mormon is true and has changed my life, that the Holy Ghost guides and comforts and helps me find lost items, that God is my father and loves me, that President Monson is a true prophet called of God. These are boulders of truth that I cannot deny. The Spirit has witnessed them to me.  

For my shelf, I have a metaphoric list, a list of things I don’t quite understand that I plan on asking God one day. Like why are women rarely mentioned in the scriptures. I don’t give my list much energy really, until one of those subjects comes up again, and I remember that it’s tucked safely away on my list.  I know I’ll understand these things later, when my mortal brain isn’t getting in the way of understanding the things of God.

After all, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).  In that context it’s understandable that we don’t fully understand every detail.

Why do LDS men hold the priesthood and not LDS women?  

I don’t know why, but I do know that Heavenly Father is in charge and that is how He has set things up.

I do know that Heavenly Father is our God and He is all-knowing and all-powerful, and He is in charge. His Son Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and He is the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. God has called prophets again to the earth, just like in Bible times. 

Today that prophet is President Thomas S. Monson, and He follows the will of Heavenly Father and Jesus for the rest of us.  I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ, and backs up the Holy Bible. I know that Christ’s priesthood power is restored, which is the power and authority that seals families together forever in holy temples. 

I also know that God has given mothers and fathers equal value with different roles. 

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World")  

"Preside" doesn't mean to boss, control, or manipulate. It means to be a spiritual leader in the home, to show the family how important God is to Dad by calling them together for family prayer and scripture study and family home evening.  

To nurture doesn't mean just being nice, although that's important. I dare you to take out a notebook and brainstorm as many ways you can think of that mothers nurture. It may take you hours. Nurturing includes nourishing hungry teen boys' bellies with filling dinners, teaching your children the topics you're passionate about, kissing toddler's sore elbows, hugging crying children or a worn-out husband. I really believe the luckiest children in the world are those who have the blessing of both roles actively engaged in their home, mothers and fathers, with their unique and divine roles. I don't want my children to have two mothers or two fathers. I want them to have one of each, magnifying their God-given roles, the ideal. 

And did I mention that I know God is in charge, and wiser than the rest of us? 

As Neal A. Maxwell said, “What we already know about God teaches us to trust him for what we do not know fully.”  

And Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. ... Don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.” 

Please understand. I am not writing to criticize these women. From what I’ve seen they are doing what they believe is right, and I’m grateful they’re choosing peaceful means to get their points across. I am impressed that they keep coming to church even if they disagree with on this issue of priesthood. Watching their deep discontentment with how things are fills me with gratitude that God has helped me find peace with this issue and anything else I don’t fully understand. I pray that these women will find a peace through the Holy Spirit that things are as Heavenly Father has set up, even if they don’t fully understand why. 

Besides, in the years that my husband has been serving as an LDS bishop, I wouldn’t want that responsibility!  I’ve carried plenty of other responsibilities in the church, but when I watch the load he carries with this one, I’m grateful my husband has it and not me! 

Update from Elder Oaks.  

Since writing this post, Elder Dallin H. Oaks clarified that when women are set apart in a calling by a priesthood leader, we are given priesthood authority to perform that calling. I love this clarity. 

“We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.” (“The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May, 2014)


I recommend a fabulous talk on this subject:  "Let Us Think Straight" by LDS Apostle Elder M. Russell Ballard.

Take a Tour of My Home for Organizing Tips

I used to teach organizing seminars. I also had groups of women tour my home to gather ideas to use in their space. 

These pictures are from several years ago when my kids were several years younger, from my old blog.  I may update these with current pictures if I find the time....or I may not. 

Click on the links below to see ideas for each area. 

Make the Best Use of Kitchen Cupboards 

Take a Peek in My Kitchen Drawers

Make the Best Use of Pantry Space

Triple Your Storage Space Just Off the Kitchen

18 Tips to Create Your Own "Liberation from Laundry" System

Organizing Craft and Scrapbook Supplies

Our Cozy Little Toy Room

Ways to Organize a Rec Room 

Kids Rooms Can Be Organized Too

Make Use of Storage Space in a Master Bathroom

Organizing Ideas for Kids' Bathrooms

How do You Organize a Master Bathroom Cubby?

How to Tidy and Restock a Mini Van

Click here for more ideas about getting organized. 

How to Make the Best Use of Kitchen Cupboards

Cup cupboard.  The most used items get the most convenient location, and least used items get the least convenient locations. We store kids' cups in a drawer where they can reach, which is why you only see big-people cups and glasses here.

My kitchen cupboards are extra tall, but still came with the normal three shelves.  So I added some extra white wire shelves to better use the space.  Many cupboards have extra space between the shelves.  Bins and labels keep small items like supplements organized and easy to pull down.

The same cupboard, with a ward directory and map on one side, and our family's "yellow pages" (most commonly called numbers) on the other side.

Baking cupboard.  Because our family makes a loaf of bread in the bread machine once or twice a day, I want all the bread ingredients in one spot, other than the yeast in the refrigerator.  Another time saver is leaving the lids off the bins we use often - wheat flour, white flour, and sugar.  One bin on the middle shelf labeled "sugar stuff" holds bags of powdered sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, and coconut.  Another bin on the top shelf holds small baking items like toothpicks, muffin cups, flavorings, and food coloring.

Inside the door of our baking cupboard.  Here we attach the rotating dish schedule and often-used recipes like bread and pancakes. 

The cupboard above the refrigerator can be put to good use with a rack or two that holds thin pans and platters upright.  I purchased these at Lowes.

Medicine cupboard. Each pull-out bin holds a different category of medicine, like pain relievers, skin creams, bandages, sunscreen and repellant.  Label makers can be fun, but using tape and Sharpie marker, or typing and printing labels on the computer works great too. 

Kids art cupboard.  These drawers hold fun stuff (from the bottom up): playdough with cutters, paper, crayons/markers/scissors/colored pencils, stickers, and envelopes. 

Pots and pans cupboard.  Lids are in a bin in the back. The black binder holds our CDs in one organized spot.  A strange place to store CDs?  It makes sense only when you realize our kitchen CD player is right above this cupboard.

Corner turntable cupboard.  I like food containers that nest, so I got rid of my mis-matched old ones, and purchased the new "disposable" type made by Ziplok and Glad.  I have a pile of squares, a pile of rectangles, and a pile of circle containers.

The lids are easy to find and put away nested in a bin.

Jar cupboard.  Lids in a bin, small jars in a bin below, large jars above.

Under the kitchen sink cupboard. Bins hold cleaning supplies.  We store Costco size dishwasher detergent in a two-liter soda bottle, making it nice n' easy to pour into the dispenser. We store strainers here as well as cutting boards, because they're both used at the sink.

Inside the cupboard door under the sink.  Our kids each have an assigned cup color, and they place them here between uses.  We place the whole group through the dishwasher regularly. 

Inside the other door under the sink.  Small strainers on hooks.  I love using extra space behind doors. The little hooks are attached with double-sided foam tape, which is removable.