Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Family Conversations

Oh, hey. It's me again. Did I forget to mention that I was leaving for a week to visit a foreign country (okay, just Canada. But still, no internet for me.) Sorry, friends. I took an abysmal number of pictures, especially considering how beautiful Alberta was. But we had a really lovely time and our kids were rock stars! They traveled so well, even for them (they're really good travelers!) They were mostly happy and cheerful on little or poor sleep, and they were really great at hiking when we went on a long and amazing hike up a river bed (water included.)
I will share those pictures, probably tomorrow, but in the mean time: Here are some words for you. You're welcome, world. Included are several stories that the boys told while we drove, allowing me to type as they dictated, capturing every glorious word.

And a picture of my big people when they were little people

My brother Jack came to stay with us right before we left for Canada. In the car, Grey kindly tried to explain to Jack that jokes are silly things to say that make people laugh. He would say, "Okay. Like this. I sleep on a ... SIGN! Haha, I sleep on a ... TREE! You try, Jack. Say, Sleep on a..." Jack just couldn't get it.
Finally Grey said, "Okay, I've got the best one." He made sure everyone was listening, clearing his throat several times. "Sleep in your... BED! HAHAHA!"

Micah: Look, if you throw this in the air and spin around and then catch it again, that's called Ninja Skills.
Grey: Have you done that??
Micah: Not yet. I'm practicing.

Grey: Peter Pan is cool! He's cooler  than the Flash! He's cooler than electricity! He's cooler than cars!
Micah: He's cooler than every thing in the world except us!

Micah: Why is this taking so long?! I'm DYING!
Me: You're not dying.
Grey: So die then. Prove it.

Grey: Why did you move?
Me: So Dad can drive, because I don't like to drive.
Grey: Well, Mom. In life, sometimes you have to do things you don't like. Even if it stresses you out.

Me: Why do you pretend to be a girl all the time?
Grey: Because girls are just so amazing!

Me: Stay with us! Don't run so far down the path!
Micah: It's fine! Grey's keeping his eye on me!

Grey (singing): We belong to the earth, because God made us for the earth. Heavenly Father and Jesus love us and that is why they made us. We have to be good and kind, even when people bite you. It's okay to cry a little when someone bites you, but you still have to be kind.

Micah: What song is this?
Me: It's called, The Best Day of My Life
Micah: Why is it the best day of his life? Because he doesn't have to go to work? Does he get to go camping!?

Grey (to Micah): Let's pretend that I am Travis and you are Becky and you are pregnant with August. So we need to go to the hosible.
Micah: And when I'm there, the doctor says, "Oh wow! Hello! You are SO beautiful!"
Grey: Do you want to marry the doctor?
Micah: No, but he wants to marry me. But I will say to him, "Thank you, but I am already married to my husband, Travis"

Micah: Listen! They're speaking Spanish!
Grey: I wish I could speak Spanish, but I can't. I can only speak Grey-Spanish. But not right now. I'm too busy right now.

Micah: Hey Grey! You are not so lucky as me, because I get to clean the toilet!

Travis: What do you want on your burger?
Micah: Salt and pepper, cheese and ketchup and salami...
Travis: Salami?
Micah: Wait. What IS salami?
Travis: It's like a sausage meat
Micah: Oh. No. Not salami.

Me: Don't spit on my baby.
Grey: I'm teaching him how to spit.

Grey: Mom! Micah hit me!
Micah: I just gave you a hard, awesome high five on your arm!

(The day after Grey hurt his lip on the playground, his grandma noticed his chin was split too.)
Grandma: Oh no, when did you hurt your chin?
Grey: It came with the lip.

Grey: I was hiking, and a mountain lion came up. And he was HUNGRY. So I gave him a dog treat, I threw it to the ground and it broke into many pieces, so he started trying to to get all the pieces. Then a giraffe came up, and I jumped on his back and we ran away. But the tiger ate my parents!
Micah: Wait, a tiger or a lion?
Grey: A tiger, it was so hungry. Humans are smarter than tigers, so my mother should have known to give it dog treats. But then the tiger died because it was so full, and before it died, it puked up my mom. She was okay and normal, but gross and covered in spit. But I was hiding in the good spot with my giraffe. I saw from my hiding spot that the tiger was dead, so I said "Psst, Giraffe! Wake up! Let's go. Run, run, run!" We ran all the way to our house and locked the door and were safe. And my mother took a shower.

Grey: I am your child-Becky and you are my grown-up Becky. Don't be sad, but I am married to Travis now.
Me: What!? Who am I married to, then?
Grey: Just a firefighter.

Micah: These are the animals I like: Cougars, baby cougars, kid cougars, mom cougars, dad cougars, baby cheetahs, kid cheetahs,  mom cheetahs, dad cheetahs, baby tigers, brother and sister tigers, mom and dad tigers.
Travis: What about lions?
Micah: Lions, yes.
Travis: What about leopards?
Micah: Yes, baby leopards, kids leopards, mom and dad leopards...
Travis: What about wolves?
Micah: What? Wolves? Wolves? NO. I don't like wolves.
Grey: Here are the animals I like: giraffes, baby giraffes, teeny tiny cute little giraffes.
Me: Just little giraffes, huh?
Grey: Yeah, those are the only animals I love.

Me: Hey, don't get wet!
Grey: But there's a sprinkler on! It's for running through!
Micah: I actually think it's for watering grass.

Micah: I think there's a party in my brain, my head hurts so much.

Grey: You be in hind of me.

Grey: Look! A girl fish, swimming around her house.
Me: How do you know that fish is a girl?
Grey: My brain.

Grey (to Micah and me): I met you guys when I was just a child.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 29

We spent four of the last seven days in the mountains. Those are my kinda statistics.
I've noticed in me a growing desire to be up in the mountains. A combination, I think, of wanting to get out of the city and into nature, a desire to get out of the sweltering heat and into cooler elevation, and a strengthening in my body that wants to be used.
I am only just realizing how tired I was all the time. I was so tired, and I have felt nauseous every day of my entire life. I just assumed that was the norm. I was amazed by people with the energy and desire to be active, when all I ever had a desire for was a nap. But since going off gluten, I feel strong and non-exhuasted. I want  to climb mountains! I've never felt that way. I even find myself waking up refreshed in the morning, and saying bizarre things like "Let's go snowboarding as a family this winter" and "we should buy a family rock-climbing pass."  It's all new for me. I'm trying not to go overboard, but I feel amazing.
 So we've been going up our canyons about every other day, searching for adventures. The mountains are gorgeous. I love living in such a beautiful part of the country.


I'm sad that I cut off the top of his head, but I love this enough that I don't mind. Lately he has been Peter Pan all the time, so I love this shot of him flying.


Micah was sick again this week for two days. He's not actually gluten-free, so I'm hoping that once he's tested and goes off gluten for good, he can finally be healthy.


My first thought was that he's a little naked baby in the garden of Eden.  Man alive, he is cute and SO strong and stocky. I don't make chubby babies, I made muscly babies. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Converting recipes to Gluten-Free + a GF Donut Recipe

When I got married, I could make a mean chocolate cake.
And nothing else whatsoever.
Travis was the designated family cook and his specialities were breaded pork chops, coconut curry, and scrambled eggs cooked in bacon grease.
But I was delighted by the idea of being an adorable housewife, so I started collecting cookbooks. (Can you believe that there was even a time before Pinterest?)
We signed up for a food co-op, and we would get a mixed box of produce every week. I would go through the box that was half-full of familiar things like bananas and half-full of produce I would never, ever, ever buy. Like brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or non-canned artichokes (you know. Fresh artichokes).
So I would crack open my cookbook and try to learn to cook those things.
Now I regularly buy all those things at the grocery store, and I don't look up recipes for any of them. I just cook.  They are familiar and delicious foods that I make often and regularly. It just took me a while to get there.

I've spent the last six years learning how to cook and bake, how to make delicious meals, desserts, and breads. I have compiled a book chockfull of hand-written recipes that I'm not ready to give up. Like, the greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe of all time.
I'm just supposed to start over? Start Googling Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and making them until I hit it?
No. I'm not doing that.

So I had to learn how to convert recipes.
And I did. These tips aren't fool-proof, that's true. Your recipes will still be a bit different. But they're a really good starting point if you just can't give up your grandma's Yummy Buttermilk Muffins.

So today I wanted to share some tips and information that I've gathered about baking gluten-free. This doesn't really apply to bread. I still have to learn more about bread (and doughs, like pizza).
But you can certainly apply these principals to quick breads and muffins, cookies and cakes (and donuts).

It comes down to this:
Gluten flours are light, sticky, and fine.
Gluten-free flours are heavy, crumbly, and coarse.

So here's how to fix it:

1. When converting recipes to gluten-free, use extra-large eggs and maybe throw in an extra egg, too. 
This helps give your recipes structure and height.

2. Go ahead and double the amount of leavener, too. 
That includes yeast, baking soda, and baking powder. Those flours are HEAVY.

3. Did I mention heavy flour? Oh yeah. Do NOT measure your flour by volume ever again. Measure it by weight. ALWAYS. 120g is one regular cup of flour.
So if a regular gluten-filled recipe calls for a cup and a half of flour, DO NOT ADD a cup and a half of gluten-free flour. Your food will be dry and crumbly. Add 180 grams of flour. You'll probably find that it was closer to 1 1/3 or even 1 1/4 cups of gluten-free flour.

4. Let your dough rest before baking.  
This helps your flours to absorb some of the liquids, so they aren't so coarse. If you are making quick breads or muffins, keep the resting time to under 30 minutes (otherwise your baked goods will be too dense because your leavener already did a lot of work.) If you are making cookies, refrigerate for as long as possible, or even freeze the cookies in scoops and bake them frozen. This helps them keep their shape and cook more evenly.

5. Likewise, preheat your oven for a nice long time. Always put gluten-free foods into a hot oven (unless your recipe specifically indicates otherwise). Gluten-free baked goods tend to be wet and messy. Cooking them quickly in a hot oven makes sure that they keep their shape a bit better.

6. Gluten-free baking looks different than regular baking. Don't expect your batter or dough to look the same, instead expect them to taste the same. Your bread dough will be wetter, your cookie dough softer, your pancake batter thinner. Don't add more flour until it looks like you're used to, just let it be weird looking.

7. Make your dough sticky. The first choice of all bakers seems to be Xanthum Gum, but since grocery stores charge more than if it were a bag of powdered gold or cocaine (I think this is true, but have never purchased drugs OR gold) you should look into chia seeds, too. When you add water to chia seeds, they get all jellied. I've used chia seeds successfully in banana bread and unsuccessfully in sandwich bread. So experiment with it a little. Add 1/2 to 1 or 2 tsp of either xanthum gum or chia seeds to recipes to keep your dough stuck together instead of crumbly, depending on how crumbly you want it. (To use chia seeds, mix one parts seeds with two parts boiling water before mixing into your recipe.)

8. Use yogurt instead of milk and sour cream instead of yogurt. 
Because these flours don't absorb liquid very well, give them some substance to help keep them from being too dry and crumbly. If your recipe calls for milk or buttermilk, thicken it up. And so on. '

9. Mix and overmix your batter:
Remember how recipes for cakes say "Don't overmix!" That's the gluten. You don't want it to "activate" and start getting too tough and sticky. But you don't have that problem anymore. Instead, make sure you mix really, really well. for two main reasons: 1. so your leavener is evenly distributed and can rise to the sky and 2. so that careful blend of flours is also evenly distributed. No one wants a bite of bean flour and then a bite of rice flour and then a bite of oat flour. Mix all that crap together.

I wanted an even ten tips, but 9 is pretty great too.

About two days after I was diagnosed with Celiacs, a friend who also has Celiacs came over. She spent an hour sitting on my couch, telling me in detail how much diarrhea I was going to have for the rest of my life. And how I could never have donuts or pasta again. Ever again. 

"I don't believe that!" I said, "I'm just going to figure out how to do everything myself. My goal this week is sandwich bread."
She said (AND I QUOTE:) "Give up. You can't do it. It's impossible. All of your bread from now on is going to be terrible, just get used to the idea so you aren't so disappointed."

Um. What now?
No. You are wrong.

You guys, I am going to eat so much bread.
I am not going to give up. I am going be awesome.
It's just a learning experience. I spent years learning how to cook, and I can certainly do it again.
And for those of you who were told that you'd never eat donuts or pasta again? Buy yourself some Barilla Pasta and get your booty to the kitchen. You need these donuts immediately.
And then stick around. I'll figure this all out for myself and you can tag along.
My goal for the week is homemade french bread. Imma do it.

Homemade Gluten-Free Donuts:

1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 cup plain yogurt
250 grams flour (I used a mix of about two parts white rice flour, one part brown rice flour, one part tapioca flour. But use what you have. I'd suggest having about 1/4 of it be starchy. Tapioca, potato or corn starch, arrowroot, etc.)

Cream the butter. Add sugar gradually, then eggs one at a time, beating well each time. Whisk together flours and add flours and yogurt to butter mixture. Mix VERY well. (I beat mine for almost ten minutes, since I forgot to add the soda and wanted it well incorporated.)
The dough is going to be WET! So instead of rolling and cutting out donuts, pipe your donut shapes on to a sheet of parchment paper. (Use a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.)
Freeze the entire tray of donuts until they're firm enough to pull off the paper and retain their shape. I let mine freeze/rest over night and they tasted 10 times better than the ones I cooked right away.
But if you're in a hurry and want donuts immediately, you can pipe the circles on to squares of parchment paper. You can toss the whole thing (paper and all!) into your oil.

Fry in oil at 375 degrees until brown and puffy on both sides. If you put your donuts in the oil with the paper attached, just peel it off with your tongs before you flip it. Easy peasy.
Toss those babies in the sugar, glaze or chocolate of your choice and be happy that they taste amazing and like they're full of all kinds of delicious gluten. Except that they're not.

Notes: I based this recipe on a Charlie Brown Donut recipe that we used last year to serve trick or treaters (Everyone should make these donuts on a campstove in their front yard on Halloween. Your neighbors will be SUPER impressed.)

I used a honey glaze on half, and tossed the other half in cinnamon sugar. They were equally delicious.
Glaze is from Gluten Free Girl blog, as is the idea to pipe the donuts. Thanks, GFG.

a squirt of honey
a splash of water
enough powdered sugar to make a thin, pastey sort of icing.

Heat over a stove, whisking constantly until all incorporated. Dip your donuts in that delicious sugar sauce.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Sometimes we do very serious dances.
In the woods.
For America.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 28

Travis was gone on a work trip this last week, so we forced ourselves to pack every day full of activities. Luckily, the boys had swim lessons every morning which took care of the first third of the day. Then we filled the afternoons with hikes and visits with friends. If our days are busy, then we don't remember how much we miss him! And everyone goes to bed early, leaving me a little quiet time each evening. The boys currently spend an hour or more (usually more) lying in bed reading after we tuck them in. It's hard to go to sleep when it's still light out!
So I even put them in bed at 6:30 some days! Haha! Then they finally fell asleep between 8 and 8:30 and I got a good three hours of time alone to read and do dishes. I even showered a couple times. (Seriously, how do single moms do it? When Travis is gone, I'll shower once a week. If all my kids are occupied for ten minutes, I'm not wasting my time SHOWERING!)
Anyway. Now Travis is home so we are lying around. The boys are in underwear, wrapped in blankets, feeling the AC blow on them and occasionally complaining about the heat. Ah summertime, what a treat!


Grey at the pool. I took this right after he bravely jumped into the water! So proud!


My happy Micah riding his bike and making happy faces.


Just lounging. He's so funny, he always tries to recline and is happy just chilling. (Unless he's in his carseat, at which time he strains constantly against the restraints.)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Family Conversations

Micah: I was trying to go to sleep in the dark, but I couldn't. I had a pandic attack. I had two dreams when I was awake. One, our house was gone and we had to live outside. Two, SHARKS! They came in our house.... Three, the sharks had guns.

Micah: How did you think of that? Did it just come to you, in your mighty brain?
Me: Umm..
Micah: I have a mighty brain, do you know what that means? It means my brain is small, but I can think a lot.

Micah: Mother, You talk in a beautiful language.
Grey: You sound like a bird.
Micah: But I wish you sounded normal.

Grey: I live on a farm with my step-uncle and aunt. I have to milk a cows' milk into a bottle and then drink it.
Travis: What else could you do with a bottle?
Grey: You could put breast milk into it for a baby.
Travis: Could you catch a fairy in a bottle?
Grey: Maybe. If I lived in a forest, but I don't. I live on a farm.

Me: If you could have any wish, what would it be?
Micah: I would wish for ALL the cake.

Micah: Mom, your job is to grow babies and build blanket forts.

Micah: Mom, I am ready to learn about fruits and vegetables and plants and growing.
Me: Um. Okay. What do you want to know?
Micah: Let's start with tomatoes. Tell me everything.

Grey: I would like to live in a mountain house.
Micah: You mean a cabin?
Grey: Yes.
Micah: Me too.
Grey: What kind of cabin do you want? In the mountains, or on the edge of a pond?
Micah: A mountain cabin that IS by a pond, so we could swim and hike all day.

Micah (peeing into a bush): OooWee! It's shooting off like a firework!

Micah: Is that a secret garden?
Grey: No! It's a powerful force garden!

Grey: Mom. Stop. Focus on making my sandwich.

Me: Micah!
Micah: Don't call me that! I'm Super Princess Leia!

Grey (looking through binoculars): I can't see him! That little droid is going to get me into a lot of trouble. We better go look for him in the morning. I wonder if he went to find old Ben Kenobi.
Micah: You mean Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Grey: What? No. I mean, old Ben Kenobi. He lives over on the other side of the mountain.

Micah: I keep having bad dreams!
Me: About what?
Micah: Monsters.
Me: Oh, well monsters aren't real, honey. You know that.
Micah: But spiders are real.
Me: But spiders are so little. They're titchy, but they can't hurt you in real life.
Micah: Their webs can catch you. And they wrap you up.
Me: No, the webs aren't strong enough. You don't need to be afraid of spiders.
Micah: Giant monster spiders have webs that are strong enough. They're strong like ropes and the spiders are even bigger than us, like in Lord of the Rings.
(Note: The boys have NOT seen LOTR- they heard me read most of the book aloud and have played the LOTR Legos video game, but it's been months!)

Grey: I can't do imagination very well today. But I can use my brain to think other things. 
Micah: I can use my brain to think and to dream, but dreams are on the top of your head and thinking is in the middle of your head. 
Grey: I guess I can do awake-dreams today. 

Grey: That's funny! That's hilarious!
Me: What does hilarious mean, do you know?
Grey: I don't know, super funny. Ha! I said, "I don't know, super funny." Because I did know, it means super funny. But I said "I don't know." THAT is hilarious.

Micah: What are these dots on your legs?
Grey: Nipples and nickels.
Me: No. Freckles.

Grey: My moms breasts can make milk, but they aren't making any now, because she doesn't have a baby that needs milk. That's pretty amazing. My breasts can't make milk.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Badger Creek Camping (part 2)

There wasn't so much a lake as a pond at our campground, but the water was cool (not cold) and refreshing. We swam to the floating dock, and then took to the kayaks. Grey and Micah had so much fun being passed from person to person. They especially loved riding in the kayak with Noelle, as they got to paddle by themselves. 

 The above picture is so hilarious to me! Haha, that's how small the pond was! Each of us was all crowded around the middle, bumping into each other, trading children and paddles, and having fun.

 Travis' life jacket didn't fit, and instead of getting a bigger size, he just rocked the women's small. What a classy dude.

We also went rock climbing, ziplining, and on a giant rope swing. It was my favorite part of the trip. I wish I could do the swing a hundred times. I don't really have any problem with heights, so it was really exhilarating and cool! The zipline was a little scarier, though. No matter how you feel about heights, it's still nerve wracking to step off a platform that's 45 feet above the ground and hope that you're properly hooked in and don't fall to your death. It's that first step that's a doozy!

 Brave little Micah, listening to the rock-climbing rules. Both the boys climbed a bit on the wall and everyone was pretty darn impressed - except me! I've seen them climb much better and higher and wanted them to show off a little! Sheesh. Tiger Mom, much?

Grey on the giant rope swing. The boys didn't get the full-swing experience, as they weren't lifted up to the platform (45 feet up) and then dropped, but they did get to swing around about 10 feet up.

We had so much fun! I'm really glad that we've been able to spend so much time in the mountains this summer. We've gone camping about every other weekend, and hiking or exploring at least once a week. The boys were so heartbroken about leaving to come back home and spent most of the ride back discussing their plans to move to the woods and live in a cabin where they could hike and swim all day. I know three children who don't mind hotdogs and marshmallows for every meal and would rather sleep in sleeping bags than in tents. They also collect flashlights, love putting on sunblock, and would forge rivers all day if allowed.
Basically, they're mountain men.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Badger Creek Camping (part 1)

As I mentioned earlier this week, we were able to go up to Idaho to do some extremely fun camping this last weekend. I want to share and preserve all these killer photographs, but there are SO. MANY.
Even after I weeded through and picked out the good ones, there are too many for one post, so I'm going to split this over two posts. Today I'm sharing pictures from Badger Creek and our trail riding, tomorrow I'll share pictures from rock-climbing and kayaking/paddle boarding. 
Maybe these are only fun for me and grandmas, but I love these pictures. 

 There's something so satisfying about drinking from a pump- even better than a hose! I have a picture of my brother Jack and I drinking out of a similar pump at a campsite when I was about 10 and he was 2. It's always been one of my favorites. I love that this picture is so similar to it.

 My beautiful sister-in-law Noelle and me.

We stayed in these adorable cabins that had 8 bunks each. Every time we stay in a little place like that, I'm reminded that we don't need so much space and I resolve to build half a dozen bunk beds in my boys' room!

 Creek wading is one of the most fun activities to do with kids. No one gets tired and needs to be carried because it's not a hike, no one drowns because it's not a lake. Everyone just splashes and plays, throwing rocks and building damns. Boyhood perfection!

The boys love their cool Uncle Tate

 Group photo! Not too shabby! I'm always impressed by my camera's ability to get good pictures on a timer.

 Travis' cute parents. I love that we have so many generations of happily married people on both sides of our family. They're such a good example to us.

 Oh! And trail riding!
Apparently, no one looks cute in a helmet but Noelle. I look like a twelve year old.
But I have a baby! And he's so nice. (No one even reads these comments, right? You're just scrolling from picture to picture, I know it.)

 Grey specifically asked to ride with his Aunt Tessa and was so anxious and excited to get going that he drove everyone nuts! But he finally got on his horse and had so much fun!

 Micah and Travis rode a horse named Captain. Micah was so sweet, talking and encouraging Captain. Afterward, he patted and stroked his nose saying "You did such a good job, Captain. Thank you for taking us on a ride."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Parent's Reference Guide to Teaching from the Scriptures

I have been working on this project pretty diligently for a couple weeks and I am really excited that it's finally done. 
I have made a downloadable PDF collection of scripture references arranged by topic. These are topics which I find myself often explaining or discussing with my kids, simple things like "Making good choices," "Prayer" "Family" or "Being Christian."
Under each topic heading, I have a few scriptures that explain or describe this topic. Because my kids are still young, I didn't use any stories or long, philosophical scriptures. (For example, under the topic heading Faith, I don't reference any of the many people in the Bible who experience doubt or a renewal of faith, instead I used scriptures like Matthew 9:22 "But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour" and Alma 32:21 "And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."
I also (obviously) didn't address every topic or many "older" topics like immorality. These lists are by no means definitive, (the definitive list would probably be the actual scriptures!), but I wanted a list that was short enough that I could print it on a single piece of paper and fold it it into my Bible to use as needed. 

Over the last several months, I have searched the internet repeatedly for this. I would look on Pinterest "Scriptures for teaching children," but often the only thing that would appear was a list of good scriptures for kids to memorize. Every time that my searches were futile, there was that nagging feeling in the back of my mind, a small voice whispering, "You need to do it." And I put it off, because I didn't have the time.
But my need for it grew. I keep trying to teach important principles to my boys and I want them to understand that the reason I say "You have to still be kind, even when you're angry" or "You need to help me with the chores because you're a part of this family" isn't because I've concocted this idea of what is right or acceptable. I want them to understand that these are eternal, important truths.  These are things that their Heavenly Father also expects of them. 
On more than one occasion, I've tried to explain "Jesus says we have to love everyone, even people who are mean to us," and my kids have looked up expectantly. 
"Jesus said that?"
And then they'll ask "What did he say about it?" or "When did he say it?"
and I find myself trying to rifle through the index in my Bible, not knowing the reference off the top of my head. My kids lose interest, and I lose an important teaching moment. 
Since I started working on this list, however, I've found so many opportunities to use it. 
The other day, Micah was throwing toys and having a tantrum. When I asked him why he was acting that way, he yelled "I'M SO ANGRY!"
"Come here, let's see what Jesus says about being angry," I said. 
I read to him Ephesians 4:31-32 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you."

We talked about putting away anger and noise and being peacemakers. "I can do that like Jesus!" he said. 
Over the next several hours, I heard him say repeatedly, "I am pushing my anger away. I am being a peacemaker."
I was so proud! And I know that the spirit helped me to teach him without also losing my temper. 
Obviously, every single time I try to teach my kids, I won't have such good results- they are stubborn little four year olds, after all! But it was a testament to me that I was doing things the right way. 
So I wanted to share this collection with you. 
I actually have three different versions!

The first is the version I recommend, it is a reference guide to scriptures from the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. 

But because I know so many Christians don't believe the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants are actually scripture, I also made one that is just Bible references

Both of these are just one page (in the case of the BOM and D&C, it's double sided!) and can be printed and folded in your scriptures. 
The last is a list of all the scriptures with the full text of each verse included. It's very long! It looks like this: 

Please print, save, and share these and let me know if you do! I would love to think that these reference guides were being used. 

And a note to anyone who is unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants:
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormons) believe that the Bible is scripture and the word of God. We also believe the Book of Mormon is scripture. It is a book written similarly to the Bible, a combination of the history of God's people, prophecies of Christ, and stories of Christ's followers through the ages. 
Unlike the Bible, which focuses on the children of Israel in Jerusalem, the Book of Mormon is written by and about the people living in America thousands of years ago. We believe that because God loves all His children, he provided his "Other Sheep" with prophecies and promises of Christ, regardless of where they lived in the world. 
The Doctrine and Covenants was written more recently, based on revelation given to prophets in the last two hundred years. 
Both books are full of testimonies, prophecies, and promises of Jesus Christ our Savior. The scriptures that I included are beautiful and helpful in teaching. I hope you take a chance to look at  them! (To learn more, please visit Mormon.org)

I used this Scripture Guide on lds.org in my work on this project. It was very helpful!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 27

This week we were able to go up to visit Travis' sister Tessa who works at a really cool adventure campground. We got to participate in all the fun activities, like paddle boarding, horseback riding, zip lining, and rock climbing - and we got to do it in a practically empty campground for free! Yeah! It was so much fun, and I was so proud of the boys. They were so brave and involved. At one point, I told them to put on helmets and harnesses, climb to the top of a ladder, buckle themselves in to a rope hanging 10 feet off the ground... and then JUMP off the ladder, and they did it. They swung around over the ground and had a ball!


Wading down a river.


 Climbing up a very tall rock wall, and do it like a pro!


August rode on my back when we went trail riding, and he loved to lean back and take in the pink sunset.