Monday, March 24, 2014

Last night our living room was filled with handsome young men studying The Infinite Atonement...and it was their idea.


Our young men president told the priests that he loved The Infinite Atonement by Tad Callister. So Adam invited them to meet on Sunday nights and read a chapter a week. 




I decided to stay close by and listen. 

Each boy read a page, and when chapter one was finished, the room really filled with the Spirit. Because these big, burly, tough boys started to share their thoughts, feelings, and testimonies about the importance of the Savior's Atonement. I love these boys. 

Adam got invited by another group of young men to study Preach My Gospel on Tuesday mornings before late start school day. The host mom provides breakfast, and the boys read and discuss the book. As far as I know, this was also started by a young man. 

Ever since President Monson announced that young men can serve missions right after graduating from high school, I felt like our homes need to be an MTC. It's awesome when the pre-missionary boys take charge of getting some good training. 

Can I say Helaman's stripling warriors?  

Did I mention I love these boys. 







Here is my sweet almost-deacon sitting next to me.  

Reading his scriptures while the big boys discuss the book. He will be twelve this week, and is super duper excited to do baptisms on his birthday with his twin brother. 




Adam said to the boys, "Hey, a cookie night every week. Not bad, right?" 

Our young men president said something like, "You guys will feel like not coming next time. You'll have other things to do. You'll be tempted not to come. But if you miss once, you'll want to miss again. So just come. I promise you'll be blessed." 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Upcoming fun events for homeschool families

A friend asked me what upcoming activities I know of. I decided to post the list here too in case you're interested. 


1) March 14-15:  Family Forum homeschool conference and family ball. 
Put on by Diane Jeppsen. I highly recommend her Family Builder Program, which she is teaching as an all-day seminar the first day of the forum.  

Diane Jeppsen puts on wonderful forums.
Me and Grace at the Family Forum, 2013.

NOTE:  Let me insert here that a yearly Utah Coalition Against Pornography conference happens in March in Salt Lake City. Mike and I just attended it for the first time. It was highly informative and empowering with statistics, tools, resources, understanding, and hope to help us protect our families against this growing concern.


2) Wed-Thurs, April 9-10 - Conference on Religious Freedom at UVU.
Sponsored by their Center for Constitutional Studies.


3)  Several events put on by my friend Tammy Ward. 
She put on a recent Winter Homeschool Conference at Weber State University in late January. Her events are at Hope Haven Events. Most of her events are near the northern border of Utah. 
Upcoming events are: 
My dear friend Tammy Ward with her beautiful daughters
at Mother Daughter Retreat, spring 2013. Tammy has a gift
for putting on amazing events, conferences and retreats. 

Winter Homeschool Conference, January 2014.


Grace and "Spinach" introduced the youth speakers at the Winter Homeschool Conference.


Mother and Son Retreat at Bear Lake, Utah - spring 2013. 

Mother and Son Retreat.


4) May 9-10: Latter-day Learning Conference at American Heritage School.
This is an LDS-based private school in American Fork, Utah. They market the popular LDS centered Family School by Latter-day Learning.



I LOVE the feeling inside of American Heritage School. It's across the street from the LDS Temple.
The halls are lined with pictures of the founding fathers, the Savior and prophets.
It's the cleanest, most beautiful school I've ever visited. And the Spirit is definitely there. 


5) June 6-7: UHEA Homeschool Conference in Provo, Utah. 


6) June 9-12 Youth For Freedom Camp in Eden, Utah. 
I just heard about this one, but it looks amazing. 


7) June 21: LDS Holistic Living Conference in South Jordan, Utah. 


8) July 3-6: America's Freedom Festival in Orem. 
A FUN and patriotic way to celebrate Independence Day!   A live musical, colonial village, homemade baked goods, story telling, Ellis Island experience, etc. Bring the family and stay all day. 


America's Freedom Festival, July 2013. 







Playing fun colonial period games at the Freedom Festival.

9) July -- Patriot Camp in several places in Utah. 
 For first through sixth graders. Teens can volunteer to help. (Site needs to be updated for 2014.) 


10) Boy Scouts in South Ogden has free ropes course days three times each summer. 
Our Vanguard group uses one of these days each summer to start off our year, including doing team-building games on the lawn and such. (Site needs to be updated for 2014.) 


11)  LDS Homeschool Conference. This year it looks like Oliver and Rachel DeMille will be the keynote speakers. Since this conference is the same weekend as the moms' retreat below, I imagine many moms will have a hard time choosing between them. Say a prayer and go where God guides you to go. That's always the best answer, right? 



The two couples who put on the LDS Homeschool Conference:
Tom and Tresta Neil with Von and Amy Hansen.


12) August 8-9: Moms' Retreat at Heber Valley Campground. 
Put on by Melanie Ballard, whom I admire a lot.  It's LDS based and TJED homeschool principle based. This year's keynote is Chris Williams.  This retreat is powerful.  It's my favorite one, partly because you get to do writings for twelve weeks before the retreat. By the time you come, you've been pondering this year's theme through these writing and revelatory opportunities, and are more open to be taught by the Spirit and each other at the retreat. I also LOVE so many of the women who come to this retreat. YUM...

My dear friend Melanie Ballard is the creator of Moms' Retreat. 
Here we are at a recent Winter Homeschool Conference where we both gave presentations.

Moms' Retreat, August 2013.


Mom's Retreat, August 2012.

We get to stay in nice cabins at beautiful Heber Valley Girls' Camp. August, 2013.



13) September - Constitution Day Celebration in Bountiful. 
My Grace acts in the Jamestown skit for this. A mini version of the Orem July celebration. Last year we heard Tim Ballard speak there...awesome! (This article is from last year.)

Constitution Day Celebration in Bountiful, Utah, September 2013.

14) November - Etiquette Simulation
Last year it was in November in Provo, a two-day event. (This site needs to be updated for 2014.)


15) November -- Mothers Without Borders charity
Fund raiser boutique every November. Kids can donate crafts to sell at the boutique. The money goes to feed a group of orphans in Zambia, Africa. My kids and I love to help on set-up days. My favorite charity. Another way to help is to come and shop at the boutique. Bring your Christmas list and support a great cause. 


My kids and I like to help on set-up days before the boutique.  


You can purchase THE COOLEST Zambian nativity sets you've ever seen.
This one is created inside a gourd with intricate little figures made from random materials. 


Sorting nativity sets and coin purses knitted by the orphans.
Behind are rows of beautiful handmade African aprons and bags. 


Many local people donate handmade craft items to raise money 
for the Zambian orphans.  This would be a great service project 
for a homeschool family or group. 



16) Two classes put on by LDS-based American Heritage school.  
You can take on campus or online. They're going on right now, so I'm not sure if they'll be offered again next fall semester.

17) January 15, 2015: Eagle Forum Convention in SLC, Utah. 
This is a one-day gathering of listening to conservative Congressmen and legislators, as well as hearing what the current issues are. Informative and inspiring.  


18) February.  Roots Tech Conference in SLC, Utah.  
We took our ward youth to the free youth day last month, and it was awesome!  John Bytheway, Elder Anderson, Studio C. (This site hasn't been updated for 2015.) 


My two teens with a family friend in between them at the Roots Tech Conference.

One of the amazing thing about the Roots Tech Youth Day was that it was
entirely conducted by youth. Much of the teaching was done by youth as well.
God trusts these young people to learn to lead, and so should we. 

Elder Anderson and his wife at the Roots Tech Conference, February 2014.


19) There is a homeschool mom who puts together great field trips in the SLC, Utah area. You can get on her list by emailing Thefieldtriplady@gmail.com. 


Of course there are other events too: