Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Minute Gifts

Christmas is coming fast.  If you are like me, there is always something to do or a gift to make up until the very last second!   I thought I'd share a couple of quick and easy homemade gifts. 

I just finished making a Lavender Sugar Scrub for my YW.  It was very quick and easy.  I got the ingredients and directions from Centsationalgirl  and it worked out just beautifully.  I had the lavender oil already and made the sugar scrub with the lavender flowers.  It smells heavenly!   Buy a pretty container, add a ribbon and a label.  There are some very pretty printable labels on line from Martha Stewart and others. (I will include a couple at the end of this post.)  My colour printer has gone the way of all the earth so I Modge-Podged my labels.  Adding the Modge Podge also makes it somewhat water-proof.  



Fill a glassine bag or tin with some pretty sugared nuts for a quick gift.  I have the best and easiest recipe I have ever found and these make up in about 15 min.: 

    4 C pecans or walnut halves (about 1 lb.)
    1 1/2 C sugar
    1/2 C water
    1 tsp cinnamon

In heavy 2 quart saucepan, bring to boil sugar and water.  Simmer uncovered to soft ball (240 deg).  Remove from heat, stir in cinnamon, then nuts to coat well.  Immediately turn onto wax paper, separate, and cool.

These work year round and make great birthday or Mother's day gifts.  They are not very involved so the YW can get together and complete these on a Mutual night.  I found my glassine bags at a party store in the wedding section.  (These are actually left over from my daughter's wedding.)  They can be decorated with scrap booking materials or stickers.  Because they decorate so beautifully, they can be filled with candy Kisses or M&Ms, truffles, cookies, etc.  

Wishing you a Merry Christmas....and may "God bless us, every one!"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today We Mourn With Those That Mourn

painting by David Bowman
From Joseph B. Wirthlin (Oct 2006):  "I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.  I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest. But the doom of that day did not endure. The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.

"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.  But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.

"Because of the life and eternal sacrifice of the Savior of the world, we will be reunited with those we have cherished.  It is my solemn testimony that death is not the end of existence.  Because of our beloved Redeemer, we can lift up our voices, even in the midst of our darkest Fridays, and proclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 

"When President Hinckley spoke of the terrible loneliness that comes to those who lose the ones they love, he also promised that in the quiet of the night a still, unheard voice whispers peace to our soul: “All is well.”

I am grateful beyond measure for the sublime true doctrines of the gospel and for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which has whispered to my soul the comforting and peaceful words promised by our beloved prophet.

That we may always know that no matter how dark our Friday, Sunday will come is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Our prayers are with those in Sandy Hook/Newtown. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The New Curriculum: Teaching in the Saviour's Way

Our Stake has been in the pilot program of the new youth curriculum for six months.  It has been a wonderful experience teaching these lessons.  We have been pleasantly surprised at the excitement the girls have exhibited and the questions they have raised.  The Spirit has been with us and testified of many of the principles we have taught.  It has been an uplifting experience for us as leaders and teachers.

Here are ten things we have done that we have found work for us:  

1.  We counseled as a YW board and discussed the teaching material in our meetings prior to introducing the subject for the month ahead.  Is there a need that can be met by teaching a specific lesson?

2.  We met as a counsel of Youth Leaders and teachers to discuss the manuals and the needs of the youth in our ward.  

3.  At the end of each month, we present the YW with a list of the topics for the lessons outlined in the upcoming month.  If there are more than four, we ask them to choose which topic they feel would help them or which about which subject they would like to learn, numbered 1-4 by interest.  We also ask them to choose a topic they feel they would like to help teach and allow them to participate in teaching a part of the lesson.

4.  After the topics are chosen by the YW, we inform the Sunday School teachers about which doctrinal subjects the girls have chosen so the lessons can be coordinated and built upon. (The YM are teaching the same monthly lessons but they are teaching subjects their YM have chosen or what they feel meets their needs.)

5.  We have made use of the videos at 

6.  The YW are encouraged to freely discuss the topics or ask questions.  Each is given a notebook that is kept in our closet and brought out for Sundays to record their thoughts, impressions, or questions as well as any notes they wish to take.  

7.  At the end of each lesson, we generally ask the girls if there are any questions they still may have and try to determine if we need to continue on this topic for the next Sunday to continue to teach the principle.  

8.  At the beginning of each new Sunday, we ask about the challenge or lesson from the week before.  Did they follow up?  What was their experience?  The use of their notebooks or a handout given will help them remember the challenge for the week.  

9. During the week, we are using Facebook messaging to remind them of the challenge early in the week and tell them of the upcoming topic so they will be prepared to share their thoughts, questions, or individual challenges. 

10.  If it is indicated, we inform them of the Personal Progress Value this lesson applies to and whether or not the challenge will help them fulfill a goal.  

This new curriculum has been a blessing to me and I have seen it as a blessing in the lives of our girls!  It is exciting to have them learn and develop testimonies of the fundamental principles of the Gospel. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's A Jungle Out There!

Sometimes, I think the girls make PP harder than it has to be.  It can be so much fun as well as educational.  Personal Progress encompasses so many aspects of their lives.  Each year, when they begin school, they are often "setting goals" without realizing it.  I like to discuss what classes they will have and what they are learning.  Are they taking Spanish or French for the first time?  Are they learning a particularly hard piece of music in piano lessons?  Have they joined a class government or volunteered at a hospital?  All these can be incorporated into goals for Knowledge, Individual Worth, Good Works, etc. YW in Excellence is to celebrate the girls' experiences, projects, and goals accomplished in the past year. Each girl was assigned a portion of a table to "show off" their talents and projects.  Our class of Beehives displayed a quilt they had just finished making.  One YW who is a ballerina in a local dance company brought her toe shoes.  One girl brought some of her ribbons and trophies won in competitions with her dog.   Our tables were full of YW group projects, trophies and photos!  The highlight of the night was a DVD put together by one of the girls of the YW involved in many of their activities and camp this past year.  It was wonderful!

One speaker talked about using Personal Progress to strengthen faith and one spoke on using Personal Progress to add to our temporal as well as spiritual knowledge.  One of our girls presented a song in ASL and one of our girls played the piano.  The decorations were super!  A garland of leaves was made on the sewing machine with leaves cut from green construction paper and hung to make vines.  We had a cute blow up monkey Oriental Trading and several stuffed animals were placed about.  We had a few palm trees with plastic snakes hidden inside. Small water bottles were covered with zebra duct tape and placed in a bucket warning the recipients of possible crocodile attack!  A pond was made out of blue tissue paper and the crocodile was placed in it although he was not very menacing.  Tables were spread with vinyl covers and cut with a ragged edge.   A large table was covered in a jungle print table cloth and covered with fruit kabobs, monkey bread, banana bread, animal crackers, and nut cups.  This theme worked well and was easy to incorporate in our talks and testimonies.  

Unfortunately, my photographer (a Laurel) did not get all the pictures I had hoped.  I'm afraid your imagination will have to work harder here!  But, no harm done and the night was a success for the girls and their parents. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ribbons and Vinyl Scripture Bag

This is the cutest scripture bag and our YW fell in love with them.  They can be personalized and changed for each personality, season, or age.  They can scrapbook pictures or put their names on them.  A scripture or handout can be made at each lesson to go in the "window" of their bags as a reminder of their lesson for the week.  This is also a great camp craft.

My bag is scripture size but it can be adapted to a full sheet of scrapbook paper.   

Clear vinyl - sold at the fabric store.  The heavier the vinyl, the sturdier the bag.
4 (12 x 12) sheets of scrapbook paper (one sided) or 2 (12 x 12) sheets of scrapbook paper (double-sided).
2 rolls of coordinating 1/4 in ribbon
Lanyard string - Clear or Clear with sparkles
Refrigerator tubing - available at the hardware store.
Scissors or rotary cutter
Hole punch 

Each bag has a front, back, bottom and 2 sides. 
Vinyl:  Front & back - Cut 4 pieces to 7" x 8 1/2"
          Sides - Cut 4 pieces to 3" x 7"
          Bottom - Cut 2pieces to 8 1/2" x 3"
          Match sides and cut all pieces on 3 sides with a Zutter Bind-It-All Machine or you can have it done at a local binder such as Kinko's or the UPS Store.  Leave the top without holes to make a clean edge.

Scrapbook Paper:  Front and back - Cut 4 or 2 to 6 1/2" x 8 1/4"
           Sides - Cut 4 or 2 to 2 3/4" x 6 1/2"

Cardstock:  Bottom - Cut 1 to 8 1/8" x 2 3/4".

Sandwich the paper between the vinyl to your desired pattern for the inside and the out.  Use the lanyard string to lace all the pieces together criss-crossing as if you are lacing shoes. 

Refrigerator tubing: Cut to desired length and thread with ribbon allowing equal amounts of ribbon to hang out of each side.  Punch 4 holes in the vinyl, two on each side for the ribbon then tie the handle by the ribbon through each hold to make a handle.  Trim the excess you don't want.  

I left my ribbons long and have my YW scripture ribbons in my scriptures.....ribbons, ribbons everywhere!  A little bit of whimsey-perfect for YW!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Unique Invitations

Our YW in Excellence is coming up.  My committee of YW selected the "It's a Jungle Out There!" theme which I think will make a great evening!  They are doing a lot of the footwork and phone calling so I told them I would make the invitations. 

Mother's cookies just came out with iced Jungle Animal Cookies (green and white instead of the standard pink and white Circus Cookies).  How did they know?  I placed several in a glycine bag - a left over from my daughter's wedding reception - and stamped some paw prints and shapes on it.  I added the invitation to the front and an animal sticker.  They're kinda cute and a nice change from the regular handout.  The girls, of course, are always interested in the treat. 

It's fun to find new ways to hand out invitations for activities.  Buy a large, swirly lollipop and place an invitation on it with a ribbon or a decorated box with the invitation printed in the bottom.  A small invitation can be placed on a plastic toy or felt heart pincushion.  Play with your idea and your theme.  I'll bet you can come up with something very clever and I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Value Tablecloths

Most of us have tablecloths to dress up our YW tables.  It's nice to have one in each of the Values for the Value you are focusing on.  Holiday ones are especially fun!  These make a very easy YW sewing night.  Have the girls bring a yard of fabric and hem each one. A trip to the fabric store to pick out their fabric can be a great activity also. They can be stored in your closet for easy access and the girls will enjoy having "their" tablecloth on the table!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Planning an Activity Sheets

I searched high and low the other day looking for a planning sheet I thought would meet my needs.  I finally decided to make one of my own that had all the categories and info I wanted on one page and a How To sheet for the YW.  We'll be using these to plan our YW in Excellence.  Maybe you can use them too.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Speaking in Church

Giving a talk in Sacrament meeting can be intimidating for the best of us.  For a Personal Progress Night lesson, we discussed how to give a successful talk in church.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the YW used the formula and suggestions we gave them as they took their turns to be youth speakers in Sacrament. 

We gave them each a small card that they could place in their scriptures to help them to remember the "Formula" :

Giving a talk in Church is E-A-S-Y

E - Experience (share one)

A - Apply (a Gospel Principle)

S - Scriptures (Use one or two)

Y - Your Testimony (bear it) 

We discussed a few common things we often hear over the pulpits, some dos and some don'ts:

PRAY - Ask for the guidance of the Spirit to say the things the things you are supposed to or to touch someone's heart.  Pray for help to do your best. 

The Introduction -
1.  Do not start with "My talk is on..." or "Bro. So-and-so asked me to talk on..."    - BORING!

2.  Introduce yourself, share your Experience (see above ) or a Quote.

3.  NEVER - make excuses for yourself by saying, "I forgot I was supposed to talk today," or "I didn't have a lot of time to work on my talk."  ACT like you know what you are doing, even if you don't!

The Body of the Talk - 
1.  Tell a story about yourself or someone you experience you have had or a prompting you have felt.

2.  Relate an experience, scripture, or quote from a General Authority or someone you admire.  Use the "For the Strength of Youth" and the Standard Works.

The Conclusion -
1.  Give a short summary of what you have said.

2.  Bear your Testimony.

- It can be helpful to practice at home before so you know how long your talk is.
- Mark your scriptures before so scripture references are easy to find when you speak.
- Smile - You are beautiful to look at!  :)

The Spirit will guide you if you ask because you are doing the Lord's work at that moment in time!  

This activity helps fulfill Individual Worth Value Experience #5 and Knowledge Value Experience #4.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Standards Night

In raising my daughters and working in YW, I have found that speaking plainly with my teenagers is a policy that works for me.  I do not want them to come back and say they didn't understand what I wanted or expected. I feel that dropping hints leaves too much room for interpretation.  We need to fight the evils in this world with clear-cut boundaries.  Elder Holland gives a wonderful talk, a portion of which is on  This, and another video presentation by President Monson, were played at our Stake Standards Night.  These are worth sharing for those who have not seen them.

I love how President Monson reminds us that we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven! 

Heavenly Father is the author of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet through his inspired prophets.  As parents and leaders, we find our young people are strong-willed.  This is an important characteristic to channel for good.  It can become courage! We can help them find this courage by teaching them and talking with them about the standards their Heavenly Father has set for them.  In gaining a testimony of these principles, these youth can dare to have a purpose, dare to choose the right, and dare to choose the Temple. 

(Many more wonderful videos, talks, and resources can be found at

Friday, September 14, 2012

Necktie Skirt

Guest Blogger: Allison from

Greetings!  I'm Allison, and am the daughter of the author of Value-able Ideas.  I'm a new mom and a knitter and am guest blogging today to share about a necktie skirt I made several years ago.

When I was a Young Woman, I had a friend who had a skirt made of neckties and it was the thing.  Everyone knew about LinnĂ©'s necktie skirt!  As a young newlywed, I made one for my younger sister, who was then a Mia Maid.  She wore it until she graduated from high school and then continued to wear it to the single's ward.  And everyone knew about Crystal's necktie skirt!  Want one?  Sure... here's how:

Neckties.  A bunch.
Ribbon 1.5" or wider.  Enough to go around your waist with some to spare.
Zipper.  I used one 8 inches long.
Hook and eye
Sewing machine
Thread to coordinate with ribbon and zipper. 
Yardstick or tape measure.

Step 1: Collect neckties.  This necktie skirt is made using 18 normal neckties.  Some of these ties belonged to my dad, some to my husband, and some were bought in thrift stores.  (I had a friend in the single's ward who joked that she was going to make one by collecting ties from guys she promised to wait for while they were on missions.  Hey, however you want to get your ties is up to you...)  18 neckties made a skirt that is about a size 8, but the size is very adjustable.  Just use more or fewer neckties.

Step 2: Pick the order. Pick out the ties you're sure you want on your skirt and decide which ones you want next to each other.  I didn't want ties that were too similar in colour next to each other, but that's just me.  Line your ties up in the order you want them to be in.  You may end up using more or fewer ties before you're done depending on how big your skirt needs to be.

 Step 3: Sew neckties.  For this step you'll need a sewing machine and thread.  I used black thread as it coordinated with the ribbon and zipper.  Take your first two ties and put them one on top of the other with the fronts together.  Line up the sides of the ties so that the tops of the Vs match up.  (Is there a technical term for tie anatomy?)  Sew the two ties together close to the edge.  I sewed as close as I could to the edge without going off and used a narrow zigzag stitch to better hold together the weight of the ties.  Make sure you sew up almost two feet.  (Well, that's for a skirt that comes down to your kneecap.  I'm assuming you want a modest skirt.)  Then open up those two ties, line up your third tie and sew that one.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  ♫ Do as I'm doing, follow, follow me... ♪

Once you think you have enough ties, "try on" your skirt by wrapping it around your waist.  Make sure the bottoms of the ties are where you want them to be for the right length of your skirt.  If it goes all the way around your waist, you're done and ready for the next step.  If not, keep adding ties until it goes all the way around and the ties touch or overlap by part of a tie.  If more than a full tie overlaps, remove ties until only one or less than a full tie overlaps.

Step 4: CUT.  It is better to make it too long at first than to make it too short!  Using your yardstick or tape measure, measure up from the bottom where two ties meet.  Start by measuring up two feet and place a pin.  Do this several places around your skirt.  Then cut from pin to pin.  Now that things are more skirt shaped, wrap it around your waist again and hold the two open sides together.  If it's the right length, stop here and move on to step 5.  If it's too long, figure out about how many inches need to come off, re-measure, re-pin, and re-cut.  When it's the length you want, move on to step 5.  (If you find that you have too many ties around once it is then length you want, remove ties as described in step 3 until the right number of ties remain.)

Step 5: Add the waistband.  Take your ribbon.  Fold it in half along its length.  Line it up along the top of your skirt, letting it hang off the edge by about an inch or so.  Sew it along your skirt, folding the edge over to the inside of the skirt.  (I sewed it with the right side out, sewing both the inside and outside down at the same time.)

Step 6: Add the zipper. Line up your two open sides the same way you lined up all the other ties, with the right sides of the ties facing each other.  Sew them together leaving about seven inches unsewn at the top.  Sew in your zipper.  (For more information about how to sew in a zipper, go to Google and search for "how to sew in a zipper.)

Step 7: Add a hook and eye. Just like the instruction says.  Add a hook and eye at the top.

And voilá, you're finished!  Wear with pride!  Next week, learn how to knit a pair of value-striped socks.  (Kidding!)

This project helps meet the requirements for the following Young Women Value Experiences: Divine Nature Value Project, Knowledge #2, Integrity Value Project.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Table Displays

We live in a world that places a lot of value on the physical attractiveness or celebrity for hero worship.  I love these posters that ask "Who Is Your Hero?" and gives the YW a scriptural hero to emulate.  How wonderful it is to have Esther or Mary, the mother of the Saviour, as an example to follow.  I have a couple of these for my table and like to display one when I give my lesson on Sunday.  The artwork is beautiful and the message is wonderful!

(These posters can be found at:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Service in the Community

On occasion, we have gotten the MIA Maids together for a class service project that they really like.  We meet and bake a large batch of cookies, put them on plates with bows, and deliver them to people who serve in the community.  We stop at the 3 firehouses in our area and at the emergency room with them.  They identify themselves as the Young Women from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and thank them for their hard work and dedication.  It's a fun, quick service project that we enjoy doing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School

I wanted to give the YW something for their return to school that had a spiritual reminder on it.  Taking advantage of the bottle cap fad, I bought some bottle cap pendants at Hobby Lobby at 4 for $1.49.  I added a round sticker to the center, added a stamped CTR charm and a bead.  I had lots of keychains lying around left over from girls camp and I attached them all to the chain.  It can be used as for keys or a zipper pull on their backpacks.  (I am notoriously impatient and CTR was the only thing I had the patience to stamp over and over.)  I thought about adding an initial to them but this way, I will just have a basket full of them and then can choose the one they want.  I thought they came out kind of cute for a first time try!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Puzzles as Object Lessons

"Is a puzzlement!" says the King of Siam in the King and I.  I like using puzzles for object lessons.  I give each girl a piece of a puzzle as they come in the door or sometime during the lesson.  As we discuss our principle, I will stop and have put the puzzle together.  I hold a piece back so the puzzle cannot be completed.  We can then discuss "finding the one" or making efforts to bring a YW back into activity.  How incomplete our class is without her!  We can discuss how each girl makes an important contribution to our class.

This object lesson can be used for so many different things such as pieces we need to put together to make ourselves Temple worthy.  We can discuss how our talents contribute to making us who we are and can add so much more to our lives as we develop them.  We can talk about how the teachings of the Gospel lead us, line-upon-line (piece-upon-piece) back to our Heavenly Father.  We can discuss how Personal Progress helps us by building a testimony and learning to recognize the Father's hand in our life. 

I usually just buy a child's 25 piece puzzle and that works well for our class.  If you are more inclined, you can cut up a picture of the Temple or have a puzzle made of the entire class and then keep one of the pieces so that a face is missing.   With some creativity, you may be able to find a way to make it work for your lesson.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Make a Decision Once


We often tell our YW that a decision only needs to be made once.  After that decision is made, we can make a commitment to that decision.  In her talk, "Guardians of Virtue," Sister Elaine Dalton states that when she was a youth, she made a list of things she would always do and things she would never do in a small tablet.  She committed to always obey the Word of Wisdom, always pay her tithing, never to miss church, etc. When faced with temptations, she knew that she had already decided what she was going to do.  She then encourages YW to make a list of their own of things they will always do and things they will never do.  

I handed out a small tablet.  On the front, I placed a small label stating "Little Things I Want to Remember."  On the first page, at the top, I wrote:  "Things I will always do."  On the second page, at the top, I wrote:  "Things I will never do."  I also encouraged my girls to make such a list.  They can then use this little notebook for whatever purpose they want but when the open it, their commitments are the first thing they see.  We talked about including going to church, attending meetings, paying tithing, and praying.  We also talked about not kissing on the first date, choosing only clean language, and uplifting entertainment.  On talking about not kissing on the first date, one of my YW said, "Well, it's too late for that!"  I reminded her that repentance is a great gift of the Father.  Once she has repented, she can start anew.  She is only 17.  She will find she will have other first dates in her life.  Why not commit now?  

What a blessing it is to have the Gospel standards to help us guide our YW toward the Temple.  How great is the gift of repentance. As we live these standards, Heavenly Father will be our strength and the Holy Ghost our guide.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Faith Stone

I remember "Good ol' Charlie Brown" at Halloween.  All he got was a rock!  I gave my YW a rock recently.  I asked them if they had ever seen a worry stone.  They are usually polished gemstones with an indentation in it to rub between the thumb and index finger to help relieve one's worries.  I wanted to give a spiritual thought on Sunday and found a talk by Elder Wirthlin called "Young Women-Real Guardians."  It was given a long time ago.  In it, he states that we should not "be discouraged at seemingly overwhelming odds in (y)our desire to live and help others live God's commandments.  At times it may seem like David trying to fight Goliath.  But remember, David did win."  I loved that statement!  I know in our challenges in life, we often feel like we are fighting a gargantuan battle and need to remember that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  (Philippians 4:13). So...I gave my girls a Faith Stone.  It was a small, smooth stone. It wasn't very fancy but on it, I printed "David won!" and placed it on a card to hand out.  I told them they could put it in their purse, the backpacks, or their pockets just to remember, when we are challenged, we can conquer all through our faith in Jesus Christ. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An Amazing Service Project

Artist:  Greg Olson
We have a severely developmentally disabled young woman in our ward.  We have watched her grow up through the years and when she reached YW age, we looked for ways to include her and have the girls come to know her.  Another ward in our Stake had a similar situation and following their example, we asked the girls if they would be willing to earn her Young Womanhood Recognition Award in her behalf.  What a marvelous experience this was!  One of the Laurels spearheaded the work as a Laurel project, keeping track of who did what and when it was completed.  It was a two year labor of love. Each of our girls took on extra Personal Project Value Experiences and Projects so that E could earn her Medallion.  Each Sunday, our Laurel posted a chart with our progress.  It was such a blessing in all of our lives!  Our YW in Excellence last year was an experience beyond words as we watched E, with the help of her father, walk slowly up to the pulpit and receive her Medallion.  The Spirit so strongly testified that these girls had done something of great love.  We are so grateful for the girls who gave so much of themselves and when they meet E on the other side of the veil, I am sure she will thank them for their efforts and they will thank her for teaching them Christlike love.

Friday, July 20, 2012


This mid week's activity was archery.  The girls really enjoyed themselves and shot until the light was gone.  We met earlier than usual in order to take advantage of the daylight.  The leaders, of course, all got a chance as well.  Our instructor had taught Boy Scouts in the past and had multiple bows which allowed for group participation so we did not have girls waiting for their turn.  Once they learned the safety rules and were outfitted with protective padding on their arms and for their hands, they were ready to go!  It was so much fun!  This would also make a great camp activity also!  If this is something you are interested in and do not know anyone whose hobby is archery, BSA has a list of Merit Badge Counselors for your area and you can find an instructor there. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Quick Gift

 Ever get that call that you have to come up with a little gift or handout at the last minute?  That always sends me scrambling to see what I have and what I can come up with.  I have a tendency to save some things I think might be useful later and saved these empty Crystal Light containers thinking they were such a cute shape and kind of a handy size.  I usually have some candy left over from goodie bags or gifts in my YW stash of stuff and these were the perfect size for them.  In went one Butterfinger, one Payday, and one Mounds bar.  I tied a ribbon around it and placed a chalk board tag on the top.  I thought it came out rather cute for a 10 min. project.   These containers are a perfect size for coloured pencils, M&Ms, or perhaps a tablet and  pen to gift.  What kind of stuff  do you keep in your stash?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Candy Lesson

My girls call it "The Candy Bar Lesson" and they love it.  I got it here: and a Special Thanks to whomever is responsible for it.  

I bring in a basket full of candy bars which excites the girls immediately to see what is ahead.  I allow them to pass the basket and choose their candy.  They soon find out that each candy symbolizes certain characteristics of a young man.  Some are positive characteristics and some are not.    Is his testimony strong?  Does he cherish you?  How does he treat your family and friends?  Does he work hard?  Did he serve a mission?  Is this the kind of man we want to date and perhaps marry?  It leads to a great discussion in YW and sometimes at home. 

I always begin with myself as a demo and I always take the Nerds out of the basket.  (My husband is a very cute Nerd.)  It's a fun Sunday lesson (not on Fast Sunday) or a fun Tuesday night activity.  Of course, they get eat their candy when we are finished with our discussion. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Easy Grad Gift

As a mom of three, I carried a diaper bag for many years with all the things my kids needed.  As they got older, the bag evolved and got smaller and I was able to carry it in my handbag...when I finally got to carry a handbag.  My grown kids still call it my diaper bag even though it is small and I am generally the only one who uses it now.  In it I carry a nail file, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, Band-aids, Advil, lotion, hair ties, personal items, etc. - you get the idea.  I decided to make one of these for each of my graduating Laurels.  Many of the items included were in the sample sections of local stores.  I was excited to find that Walgreens has the nail files and clippers in their bargain bins  

I bought an inexpensive bag and loaded it with these small items, added a few color coordinated beads and a blank with their initials on it.  The final touch was a ribbon and a list of what was in their bag. 

This would also make a great activity.  The girls can sew their own individual bags and then load them with things they might need.  They're small enough for their handbags, backpacks, or lockers.  I hope they'll find them as useful as I have.

You can find other variations on this theme:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jewelry Hanger

My MIA Maids made this jewelry hanger on a class activity night.  There are tons of different takes on this idea on Pinterest.  The girls loved them and had a good time making them.  I had several old frames and got a couple more at the thrift store.  You can always have the girls bring one from home.  I purchased the screen door mesh and the cup hooks at the hardware store.  I was excited to find the mesh at about $5 for a small roll.  We got right to work painting the frames.  My YW are of the opinion that if a little paint is good, lots of paint must be better so we had to have time for them to dry before we could place the screening and embellishments.  I had the craft paint and the flowers at home.  The mesh is attached to the back with staples and we added some wire for hanging.  It was about a 1 1/2 - 2 hr project (counting drying time).  If I had been wise, I would have spray painted the frames prior to their painting their individual designs because some of the paint on my "demo" peeled off.  Next time.  It was a kick to see their personalities come out in their designs and choice of colors.  We talked and had cookies.  It was a fun night.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Plain and Simple

I am a convert to the Church and I love the Gospel.  It has always amazed me how a testimony or song can speak right to your soul and testify of the Divinity of God, of his Son, Jesus Christ, and the truthfulness of the doctrine.  I remember, as a young adult, the first time I heard "The Spirit of God."  I walked into a room filled with other young adults who were in the midst of singing just prior to a fireside.  I cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of the Spirit that I felt and now, many years later, I still remember that evening. 

Nephi stated "For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men.  For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (3 Ne 31:3)  

Sometimes I think, as leaders, we want so much for our YW to "get it" that we can go a little overboard.  It's not hard to do.  We want them to feel the Spirit, to be touched, to leave us with a testimony that will take them to the Temple and throughout their lives.  However, I am of the belief that simplicity is elegance.  Although I like to have an attention-getting idea, handout or object lesson, I do not believe in doing too much.  Sometimes, in our zeal to have a super activity or lesson, we can lose site of the principle we teach.  We want to magnify our calling, to go the extra mile but we should ask ourselves:  Can our youth hear the Still Small Voice or is it lost in the cacophony of extras?  Helaman stated:   "It was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper.” (Helaman 5:30)

I enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf's counsel in General Conference when he stated,  "Dedicating some of our time...preparing to teach a lesson is a good sacrifice.  Spending many hours stitching the title of the lesson into homemade potholders for each member of your class may not be."  (Don't you love how the Brethren are so in tune?)

Whereas, I believe it is appropriate to have a few special activities, we are called to invite the girls to come unto Christ, to help them find their way to the Temple, and to give them a safe place to be with friends.  We are not there to entertain them or spoil them.  We are there to love them.  We are there to bear witness of Jesus Christ.  That is often all we need to do.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

YW and Safety

Once every couple of years, I  like to invite a local police office, a woman if possible, to come and talk to the girls.  So many are naive about the dangers in the world and need to know how to be aware of their surroundings and not take unnecessary risks.  Often, YW think that because they live in a gated community, a small town, or on a BYU campus, they are protected from danger.  I do not believe that a Mutual night is the place for a self-defense class but I think it is a good idea to warn them about jogging alone, keeping their car doors locked, not helping strangers in secluded places, etc.  We have, at times, had police officers in our ward that we have invited.  I ask them to come in full uniform and sometimes invite the YW from other local wards to join us.  While they are exposed to much, often young people feel they are invincible.  Texting, talking on the cell phone, and listening to iPods can put them at particular risk because their attention is focused elsewhere.  It is important for them to know that there is a safe time and a safe place to do these things. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sun Catcher Craft

This quick and easy sun catcher can be made on a Mutual night or as a camp craft.  They are fun to hang in the window or door and would be great hanging as a cluster from a tent or cabin.  

A list of supplies include mono-filament line (fishing line), mirror tiles, a key ring, some faceted beads, and a glue gun. 

Because this line is so hard to tie, I doubled the line and just wrapped everything through twice.  I topped off the ends with a dab of glue to keep the beads from moving.  They can be made with an alternation of beads or just all mirror tiles.  Combinations of beads and mirrors are endless and you can, of course, make them in the Value Colors.

I hung some on the back of one of my doors so you could get an idea of the finished product.  Not a great pallet for it and I am a horrible photographer but you can get a visualization. They're quite pretty in the sun and fun to do!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Girls' Camp

Girls' camp is a great way to get to know your YW.  I like to spoil them a little.  I try to be practical and not spend much money.  Oriental Trading usually has my back on this and some of this I do at home before hand.  

I try to have a lot of beads on hand and give them out for good deeds, helping, KP, singing, and participation.  I will often buy a batch of key chains and take the key ring off using the fob as a fancier bead after a lesson or devotional.  I found a scripture memorization reward idea on line a long time ago that I like to use.  The girls have to memorize a new scripture (not one they had to learn previously for Seminary).  The longer the scripture, the bigger the candy!  Bring fun markers, pens, or pencils for journal writing after Visions lessons.  Bring crepe paper or construction paper to decorate their tent or cabin. Assign nightly devotionals and prayers. I like to do the first one myself to give them an idea how it is done.  The first night is always hectic!   

John Bytheway says, "Girls like corn.  Girls eat corn"  In keeping with that idea, I like to put corny little things in the girls' mailboxes each day.  For the heat, I'll put in a water bottle that says, "Partake of Living Water,", an fan that says, "I am one of your biggest fans!", I'll place a little jumping frog that says, "There aren't any frogs, just handsome princes who don't know who they are,"  fill a little container with candies or send them a personal note. I like to give them something that identifies them as a ward group like a bandana or hat as we leave the building that morning.  

One thing that I have found very useful is to have a small wipe off board so a youth leader or I can list the day's schedule of activities. It saves a lot of repeating when asked, "What are we supposed to do now?  Where are we supposed to be now?"  For testimony night, bring a jar with battery powered candles and light them as each testimony is born.  If one girls does not feel comfortable bearing her testimony, help her "light" it with your own. (There's a great idea on Pinterest for this.)  

The most important thing about camp is the testimony building experience. As a convert, I never went to girls' camp as a youth.  I remember going to a dance festival with my best friend as a very young teenager and what a memorable experience that was!  I probably could not list the things we did or what we saw, but I remember the feeling of warmth, love, and testimony!  Isn't that what camp is all about?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fishers of Men

One of my favorite lessons for a morning Girls' Camp devotionals (We call them Visions lessons.  Is that what everyone calls them?) is Fishers of Men--not necessarily as we usually think if it.  It's a catchy phrase to talk to them about dating decisions. 

The Bait:  A YW who is beautiful because she loves the Savior and that shines in her countenance.  Is the the kind of girl a young man would want to "take home to Mom?"  Can she go with him to the Temple to be sealed for Time and All Eternity?  Does he want her to be the mother of his children?  Is she living the principals of the Gospel and fulfilling her callings and responsibilities?  

The Catch:  Is this a YM who has served an honorable mission?  Is he kind and thoughtful?  Does he honor his Priesthood?  Will he be able to provide for her and any future children?  How does he treat her? How does he treat his mother and others around him?

I have a sister who married a man she began dating in high school and I met my husband when he was a Deacon and I a young investigator.  It is never too soon to talk about the kind of man who is worthy of a Daughter of God.

Source:  Kevin Beckstrom

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Most Successful Camp Craft

I used to play with phone wire that I found as a child and thought I had found treasure when I came across it abandoned somewhere.  I have a husband who is in telecom and will "dumpster dive" for me when I ask for some.  One year, as I was all loaded for Girls' Camp, I tossed some in as an afterthought and it was a

You generally find it like this:      

When you unwrap it, you get this:

You recognize it, right?  What you do is this:

To make this:

You can also twist, twist, twist and make a bracelet or make some Seussical-type flowers for the ends.  The girls can make friendship bracelets as well. (I can't demo that.  I couldn't make a friendship bracelet to save my life!)  I brought beads to add as well but they were not interested in the beads...just the wire.  

What's great about this is it is pretty much junk wire.  It's colorful and it's free.  (You can hit up your local phone guy for some.) It can be time consuming and occupied a lot of their free time.  (Yippee!) I brought it for my ward girls and had girls throughout the stake hunting me down during camp to get some or get some more!