Sunday, July 9, 2017

Swashbucklin' Singing Time

The Sunday has finally come to teach the kids the reverent version of
 The Wise Man and the Foolish Man.

 I love the Terri Hutchings arrangement because it gives the listeners the opportunity to focus on the message of the song and not get distracted by the hand motions.  Also, the composer is the coolest, most beautiful, most talented person in the world.  Also, she's my mother ; )

I decided to go with a pirate theme for Sunday because.... I mean... Do I really need a reason?  It's singing time.

“Welcome to me crew, ye scallywags!  Today we be huntin’ for treasure."

The chalkboard looked a little something like this...

I scattered on the floor a bunch of goofy things one might find at the bottom of the ocean like crabs, fish, scuba gear, and a missing shoe.  Then I covered them with a large blue fabric.  Every time the kids would sing I pulled back the sheet a little further and uncovered more items.

“Look at how high the tide is right now!  As we sing, the water will slowly creep back out the ocean and… Flibber the gibbets!  There be a message in a bottle."

These bottled messages were designed specifically to learn this song arrangement.  So the words and commands might need to be changed up a bit if you're teaching your primary something different. 


DIRECTIONS: Hum the melody together
Have the piano play the melody line or you can whip out the melodica if your strange like me and happen to have one lying around.  It even has an accordion/pirate sound to it.  It was glorious.

When kids feel comfortable, try singing the first verse.
Luckily they all have the lyrics memorized already!


DIRECTIONS: Teach the "boys only" section of the chorus.
I also stuffed the bottle with fake mustaches to help them feel a bit more manly.
The boys in my primary are crazy outnumbered by the girls and usually sing softer.  I asked them if they've ever been in a storm that was so powerful it flooded.  Can you imagine how scary it would be?  I explained to them how they represented the terrifying storm with their voices and it seemed to help give them a little more confidence.


DIRECTIONS: Learn the end of chorus where boys and girls sing separate octaves.


DIRECTIONS: After reading the assigned scripture we had a quick discussion about how the wise man AND the foolish man were both rained on.  Even when we're choosing the right and doing what Heavenly Father wants us to do, we're still going to have to experience trials.


DIRECTIONS:  Sing second verse and learn the end of second chorus.


DIRECTIONS: Depending on how much time you have still, let one or two kids pick their favorite primary songs to sing and change things up a bit.


DIRECTIONS:  Stand up and sing the entire song like you mean it.

Can I please tell you how much I enjoy speaking pirate?!  It's like my new passion.  I never participated in TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY in the past, but let me tell you, September 19th is marked, highlighted, and circled multiple times on my calendar for this year.

The last item uncovered under the blue fabric was a treasure chest.  I filled mine with candy, but the options are endless.  Have fun!

Best of luck to me fellow sailors!

To download free SHEET MUSIC to the Terri Hutchings Wise Man arrangement click HERE.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

If My Fingers Could Bear My Testimony...

When I was a little primary girl, I remember the singing time chorister spontaneously asking if anyone wanted to sing a solo.  I thought she was telling a joke and to be funny I raised my hand.  With a bright smile she called my name and motioned for me to come up to the front of the class.  Immediate regrets.

I somehow summoned the courage to approach the stand and was greeted by the words to I Know My Father Lives.  When the song ended the chorister rested her hand on my shoulder and warmly encouraged me, thanking me for participating.  A few weeks later I somehow found myself roped into singing this solo in front of the whole congregation for the primary program.

The experience was TERRIFYING, but because of that memory this tune quickly became one of my most favorite songs in the primary hymnbook.

A few nights ago I was singing lullabies to my toddler as he fell asleep and sang this familiar melody. I pondered the lyrics and realized if my testimony could be summed up in one primary song, this would be it!  

I know my Father lives and loves me too.
The spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true,
And tells me it is true.

My relationship with my Heavenly Father is magical.  Everything in this gospel I believe sparks from the knowledge that I know I have a Father in Heaven who loves me.  

As I grew older, layers of spiritual experiences wrapped around this little seed of faith from my childhood and made it stronger and unbreakable.  New hymns pierced my spirit and added to my list of favorite church songs.  Each one focused on that love I feel from God.

I finally sat down and attempted to translate this testimony into music.  You might notice I tried to make the introduction sound plain and simple, just like a little primary testimony.  For fun, see if you can catch all the hidden tunes in the medley and the underlining theme of our Heavenly Father.

If my fingers could bear my testimony, this is what they'd say...

You can download the sheet music HERE for free.

P.S. The rad painting I used in the video came from The Harris Artwork.  You MUST check out this website!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LEGOs for Days

We have some Lego Lovers in our primary.  And I also happen to be married to a Lego Lover.  Not "A" Lego Lover...
 "THE" Lego Lover.
One of the perks to being the wife of the "double L" is complete access to every mini-fig in any collectable mini series.
See...  I wasn't playing with you.  He's one of "those" guys.

But he's cute, so I'll keep him

Each picture will be a clue to a primary song that the kids will get to guess on Sunday.  Some are super easy and some are a bit of a stretch, so I'm also including little "hints" for each picture if they can't solve it.  

"I'm going there someday"

 "He has a wrinkly, twinkly smile"

"All about the Lamanites..."

"In the sun he melted"

"We are as the army of Helaman"

"Let wisdom mark the way before"

"...Like a star shining brightly"

"Go and build a boat"

"In serving I am blessed"

"I'm so glad when Daddy comes home"

"I gather armfuls of blossoms of blue"

"Walk a thousand miles or more"

"Start a glad song, let it float, let it ring"

"Such a nice SURPRISE!"

"Red, yellow, and blue"

"No one likes a frowning face"

"I like to look for rainbows"

I love my calling!  Feel free to snatch any of these pictures off the blog to print from home.


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Friday, May 12, 2017

Scripture Study Like a Boss

As a primary worker I'm noticing I don't get much spiritual-adult-interaction anymore.  And I'm dying a little bit inside because of it.  I've been trying to find creative ways to study at home and get a full daily dose of Vitamin H.G. 
(Holy Ghost... I just made that up and I'm feeling pretty proud of it).

Doodling through the Teachings of the Presidents manual was going so great...  And then it ended... Along with my colored pencil high.

But my new system has been fabulous and I have been feeling REALLY GREAT reading my scriptures everyday.  I follow @bom365 on Instagram.  It gives daily reading assignments and a great thought-provoking question.  I'm not talking about the silly Sunday School questions you hear EVERY WEEK at church.  Some of these are deep.  I seriously love it.

I am so grateful for the scriptures and the constant joy and nourishment they bring to my spirit.  Keep on reading, friends!

Click here for more #TestimonyTuesday videos

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


One is just a video, two makes it officially a channel, right?  Here's my week two.

Happy Tuesday!  See you next time!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter Singing Time

I've been brainstorming ideas for Easter this Sunday and after combing through the Internet I've noticed the easiest and most popular singing time activity is an Easter Egg scavenger hunt.  All you do is hide plastic eggs around the primary room with different songs about Jesus inside.  I love it!  Super simple!  

The only problem is all those Easter Hymns are only sang once a year, so I doubt the kids will remember any of them by heart.  I'm hoping little Easter Hymnbooks can help them to participate better this week.  

I made a PDF of a few hymns/children songbook Easter songs that can be printed out HERE.  If you have a duplex printer you can choose double-sided booklet in the printer settings.  Then I just cut up a few construction paper covers and glued on the front page.

Oh, I love this time of year.  I am so grateful for my Savior and all He has done for me.  Happy Easter, everyone!!!!

Here's the link to the PDF download: 

Singing Time Shenanigans

Time to share my favorite singing time activities so far this year...

Here's what we did when we learned As a Child of God.

Each background color behind the lyrics represented a dress-up item I had to wear as they sang.  When they picked black we would take away all the black words and I threw on my black scuba goggles.  When the "blue words" were chosen, I grabbed my blue scarf, etc, etc.

Another Sunday the kids all attended Spy School.  I set up red streamers criss-crossed around the room so everyone would have to crawl through the "laser beams" and get their top secret missions.  Each envelope had a song to sing and an activity.  The activities were little things like being assigned spy names with name tags.  

My absolute favorite part was wearing the mustache.  I asked my pianist to play pink panther as I explained the missions and made a fool of myself.  Name another calling in the church where you get to wear a fake mustache!  That's right, friends.  Best. Calling. Ever.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Start of Something New

So, I have this project I have been working on for a few months now and I have been too afraid to share it with anyone.  I was worried about being embarrassed sharing these personal spiritual thoughts with my friends and family.  Then good ol' Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke in General Conference about not giving in to fear of disapproval when sharing the gospel and I knew he was looking through the television screen into my living room, into my soul, and telling me to get over myself.  So I'm putting this out there... Here's the start of my "Testimony Tuesday" youtube channel that I'll try and post to weekly.  It'll be updated in the upper Testimony Tuesdays tab. 

And here we go... #TestimonyTuesday

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Jesus wants me for a sunBEAM

Found this little gem in IKEA.  I just couldn't resist.  It's the coziest sunbeam I've ever laid my eyes on...

Friday, March 10, 2017

I Will Go, I Will Do

So, some of my singing times lessons go better than I could have ever imagined.  Other times when I show up to primary thinking I have this IN THE BAG it ends up quiet, awkward, and no one gets my sense of humor. 😂😂😂

I'm a little nervous about this happening this week.  While practicing this activity and reciting it to my husband, I cried laughing so hard because it's so dumb!  This might be a disaster.  I will return and report after Sunday.

I began by making my little Nephi Jar...

The picture printed and colored comes from the Friend Magazine.  I just added the words above and below.

I then wrote a silly verse for each of my primary kids.  I'm thinking while the piano plays in the background I'll just read and narrate the verses.  Then the primary can all join in and sing the chorus.

I'm still brainstorming what else I can add to the activity.  Maybe when a child's name is called they get to come up front and lead the chorus however they want?  Or maybe we'll only pull out this jar every now and then and do a couple of names?  Still deciding.

For now, please enjoy these horribly written verses that very well may only be funny at 11:00 pm when one should be sleeping instead of working on their church calling.  And feel free to steal any and change the names to fit your primary kids.  

The Lord commanded Heaven to be nice to her sister. Baelyn threw a toy and luckily she missed her. Heaven forgave her and smiled with the sigh. Heaven was courageous.  This was her reply…
The Lord commanded Mason to never, ever steal. Mason thought some chocolate would make a tasty meal. He reached in his pocket with no money to buy. He put the candy back and this was his reply…
The Lord commanded Angie to try and never fight. One of Angie's cousins was being impolite. Instead of saying something that could make someone cry, Angie was courageous this was her reply…
The Lord commanded Skyler to always tell the truth. Skyler broke her brother’s nice speaker Blue tooth. When she was tempted to tell a little lie, Skyler was courageous.  This was her reply…
The Lord commanded Sophia to stay away from tea. What if Sophie's friend tries to buy her some coffee? When her friend asked if she likes her latte dry. Sophia was courageous.  This was her reply…
The Lord commanded Raymond to not date till 16. But what about Alyssa, Emma, and Kathleen?  All the girls like him.  They say he's quite a guy. Raymond is courageous.  This is his reply…
The Lord commanded Zoe to take care of her pet. Zoe's little bunny got its cage all wet. Sometimes she'd rather not clean up the sty, but Zoe is courageous.  This is her reply…
The Lord commanded Brayden to not forget to pray. Brayden was so tired and had a busy day. All he really wanted was just to close his eyes, but Brayden was courageous.  This was his reply…
The Lord commanded Melissa to listen to her mom. Even when she said not to use All of her friends do, she wishes she could try, but she obeys her mother and this is her reply…
The Lord commanded Penelope to always be so sweet. Penelope had a friend with kind of smelly feet. She still was nice, she would smile and say “Hi”. Penelope was courageous this was her reply…
The Lord commanded Baelyn to invite a friend to church. Baelyn's friend was looking for a religion to search. Sharing the gospel can be scary when you're shy, but Baelyn was courageous this was her reply…
The Lord commanded Addie to listen and obey.  She was told to eat her veggies and fillet. All Addie wanted was a milkshake and some fries. She listen to her parents and this was her reply…
The Lord commanded Temperance to never, ever smoke. A guy came up behind her and tried to give her dope! She knew that smoking could one day make you die. Temperance was courageous.  This was her reply…
The Lord commanded Guillermo to always be healthy. Get lots of exercise and don't watch too much TV.  He practiced running and jumping really high. Guillermo was courageous.  This was his reply…
The Lord commanded Brooklyn to not get a tattoo. Even though an arm patch would look real cool in blue. Her body is a temple, and that's the reason why Brooklyn is courageous and this is her reply…
The Lord commanded VISITOR to always serve the Lord, be kind to your neighbors, and help those in your ward. (S/he) helped her mom and they made someone a pie…
Just wanted to give everyone my R&R update:  Primary today was AmAzInG.  It might have been my favorite singing time ever.  The kids' eyes lit up when their verse was read.  And I felt like they were really able to relate this song to their personal lives.  It was such a wonderful experience.  I love this calling so much. 💜💛💚


How to Handle Negative Reviews

All writers have been warned.  If you are going to get a book published you are going to need thick skin.  Reading negative reviews can be excruciating.  

It's hard enough taking this intimate piece of yourself and putting it in the hands of strangers.  Then you have to sit there and listen to them tear it apart?  Yikes.  It's like that uncomfortable feeling you get in dreams walking around without clothes on and everyone stares and there's nothing to cover yourself with.  No?  I'm the only one who dreams like this?  Never mind then.

"Two and a half stars!?!  Your face is two and a half stars!!" 

Here are a few ways that have helped me keep my cool and respect others who give their less-than-desirable reviews.  And I wanted to share them for any other writers who are struggling with this challenge.  

There's a Difference Between Healthy Criticism and the Grumps  

Criticism is a good thing!  You learn from it and grow from it.  
Look at the motivation behind what they're saying.  If they say something out of love, genuinely wanting you to grow from this experience, consider their wisdom.  If they're just trolling or one of those grumpy people with a rain cloud over their heads (You know, the type that's never satisfied with their meal at a restaurant?), I think you're safe to ignore them. 

You Can't Please Everyone

Look up your most favorite novels of all time.  Find the writers you respect and the stories that changed your life and check out their ratings.  They get bad reviews too!  I find that I'm more personally offended when these authors get low ratings than when my own book does.

"Excuse me!  One star for The Girl Who Drank The Moon?!  Who are you?!"

It helps you realize that people are so different.  A story you loved reading may have dragged on for somebody else.  No one will ever be able to write a book that will make everyone happy.  And that's what makes life so beautiful!  We are all so different! 

Don't Forget How BOSS You Are!

Um, you WROTE A BOOK!  Remember? 

Whenever I watch the Olympics, I always get annoyed with the broadcasters narrating every little flaw an athletes makes while performing.  I want to yell at the TV screen, "I don't see you out there competing!  Just keep sitting on your lazy bum telling us the play-by-plays!  A round of applause for you!"

Maybe I'm over-exaggerating, but you get the point.  

YOU wrote this book.  YOU put in countless hours making this piece of work so others can enjoy it!  And they do!  Never forget for every negative review you get, there are plenty of positive ones to balance them out.  You are a rock star!  And I'd give your face five stars! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Africa Themed CTR activity

We decided on a "Travel the World" activity to introduce the CTR primary theme for the year. Each room in the church building was a different continent and I was assigned Africa.  My lesson was on the gift of free agency so I decided to approach it with a CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE Safari.  It was such a blast planning everything out.

HERE is the PDF version of my safari tour guide packets that can be printed from home.

There were lots of different activities inside: games, animal yoga, fighting warthogs, drinking elephant mud water (hogwash)...  SO MANY DECISIONS TO MAKE!!!!

Also I went a little nuts with the decorations.  We put up a tent, had a fake campfire, set up a Photo Booth... 

My excuse: So many snow days.  This was our coldest winter in like 60 years and I spent a lot of time trapped indoors.  This primary activity was the only project available in my snowed-in igloo so I went a little coo-coo. 

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