During Trials of Faith

I recently read the March issue of the Ensign and really appreciated the article titled “When Doubts and Questions Arise” by Adam Kotter. There were some excellent suggestions in it, and this particular quote caught my eye:

“…Elder Neil L. Anderson…asked:

“How do you remain ‘steadfast and immovable’ during a trial of faith? You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others.

“When faced with a trial of faith—whatever you do, don’t step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.”

Elder Andersen also taught that “faith … is a decision.” The Lord will not force your intellect or your obedience. You must choose faith intentionally! That choice does not violate your intellectual honesty; it is evidence of eternal and divine respect for your agency.”

To read the complete article, click here.

The Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden Statue

When we went to an eye doctor appointment in Springfield, we stopped by the Botanical Gardens even though it was fall. I was interested in seeing what they have so we could make appropriate plans for returning. We saw a fun play sculpture that depicted the life cycle of a butterfly:

Life Cycle Sculpture

The kids liked it, too. :)


Felt Friday: Brown Bag Lunches

Felt Sack Lunch

I fell in love with these as soon as I saw them on Skip To My Lou. I even bought the pattern since it is sometimes easier not re-invent the wheel.

Felt Sack

I made the bags – which were so cute. I started happily sewing away on the lettuce, tomato, and the cheese when I realized that they were WAY to big to fit in the bag. That disappointed me, so I decided to create my own pieces. (I saved the already completed pieces for another project which I will share soon!) This is what we ended up with – and the bags are used for so much more than just this lunch. It is not unusual to find it completely loaded up with all kinds of felt food. ;)

Felt Sandwich


We have 2 pieces of bread, cheese, bologna, mustard squiggle, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Aren’t they cute?

Pickles Up Close

I actually made these sitting in the dentist office during one of Mr. Bug’s visits. I had them cut out already, so I threw them in a small Ziploc bag along with scissors, needle and thread. The dental assistant thought I was a little strange, but I hate sitting around not doing anything.

Lunch Sack Chips

You gotta have some salt in your lunch bag, right?

Swiss Cake Roll

And sugar, too!  ;)

Our New Nature Study Table

When we created our new school room, I decided I really wanted to have the room to have a nature study table – a dedicated place for all the treasures that accumulate on nature walks if I’m not carefully observant. ;)

We had an open space under the window that was perfect for a nature area, so I built a bookcase to fit under the window. 

Front of the Nature Study Table/Bookcase

This is the view from the window – and we have added 4 various types of bird feeders, a bird bath, and are working on adding in inviting foliage for the birds and animals.  We had a downy woodpecker drinking out of our hummingbird feeder last summer. Then he made us all jump when he landed on the metal pieces in the window and preceded to walk all over the window while we were sitting there. So cool!

Nature Study Table View

The really fun thing about the table is that we can group things together and use our guides to identify them. 

Nature Study Trees

Nature Study Birds

Nature Study Table Geology

This has proven to be a valuable tool in our school. The kids like to study and look at the items over and over. When it is time to move on, I can switch out various items too. I keep a box that stores things that are interesting and not something we see every time we walk out the door…the turtle shell our dog dug up, the large feathers Mr. Bug found one day at work, the bird nest with the egg shells in it that blew out of our tree, the butterflies, etc. Each time we re-visit these items, we learn something new because we have changed and grown.

And isn’t that the point?

African Masks Art Project

2013 African Masks

We have enjoyed many projects from the Usborne Art Treasury, so I was a little surprised that this one was a bit harder for us to get into. I think it was the lack of ideas for the design. If you do this one, have the kids sketch out a few designs on paper before starting the cardboard.

Here are our supplies:

2013 African Masks 2

Everyone busy at work:

2013 African Masks 3

The completed projects:

2013 African Masks 6 Completed Projects

Nature Thursday: Bee On A Passion Flower

I’ve been going through the pictures I intended to post along the way in the last year – gulp! Yep – I’m way behind! Anyway, sitting in a cozy room with snow everywhere outside made me appreciate the memories of last summer. This bee sat on this flower for almost 24 hours. These particular bees LOVE the passion flower plant. It smells really good, but we tend to stay back a bit because it is a busy, buzzing place, and as you can tell, the bees are not always easily seen. That can be dangerous! ;)

Bee in Passion Flower