My Favorite Resources for General Conference Weekend

General Conference is almost here! I am so thankful that twice a year we get to sit at the feet (so to speak) of living prophets and apostles. Last week I was able to lead a discussion for a Relief Society activity where the theme was “Celebrate General Conference”. I truly believe that General Conference is special and something worth celebrating.Read on for the ways that we are celebrating General Conference in our family this year.

“Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened” (Elder Robert D. Hales, source).

Last Sunday evening we watched the following video as a family to help put us in the mood for General Conference. We have also been doing our nightly countdown–we have missed some nights, but we just do two the next night to catch up.

This year I created my own note-taking booklets for my children. I want my children to at least focus on one key word from each apostle’s talk, and I liked this Sugardoodle packet from a few years ago. I just used the speaker note pages, cut them into thirds, and then assembled it with some colored paper and a few extra sheets of paper, as inspired by this booklet.

We always enjoy the Color the General Authority tie page from this packet by Sugardoodle.

These Conference Watches are fun.

This week I put together a binder full of activities. Most of the sheets are inserted in sheet protectors so that the children can pull out the page they want, complete it with a dry erase marker, then erase it and return it to the binder to be used by another person. The binder includes the following:

During the sessions we will create a General Conference wall:

  • Put stickers on the chart of general authorities when they see them speak. (The photo chart is in the centerfold of the conference edition of the Ensign.)
  • Hang up pictures of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles. After they speak, we will write keywords or quotes or draw pictures on post-it notes and place it on their photo (we have the 8×10 photos available here).
  • We will be using these headband cards to help us keep track of the topics. The cards will be posted on the wall, and when a speaker talks about a topic we will write their name on a post-it note and place it near the topic.
  • Display a large world map. When countries are mentioned in conference (for new temples, stories, etc) have the child put stickers on that place on the map.

Here is our menu and activity plan for the weekend. Since we live in Florida, our viewing times start at noon and 4 p.m., which puts it exactly at mealtimes. We do our best to work around that.


Breakfast: crepes with strawberries, bananas, nutella, powdered sugar and cream.

Lunch: We are trying something new! Pesto Tomato Mozzarella Sammies

Dinner: BBQ chicken (cooked in the crockpot) sandwiches


Breakfast:biscuits and sausage (made by my husband, as is our Sunday tradition

Lunch: Finger foods–cheese cubes, deli slices, veggie tray and dip, tortilla chips, crackers, apple slices…and cinnamon rolls!

Dinner: Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Dad’s mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, and mixed veggies.

A few other tricks and ideas to keep our sanity and keep children happy:

  • Conference session spa: relax and serve each other with hand massages, hair brushing, and manicures.
  • New dry-erase markers and pens in assorted colors to make note-taking fun.
  • Make use of LEGO: construct a temple, or something else. Build a new set together.
  • Get outside in between sessions: go for a nature walk or a family bike ride. Draw with sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, etc.
  • Remember not to be a shusher: help the children to have a positive experience. If I miss something, I can always read the talks again.

I have posted this before, but each of these messages are especially timely to review before General Conference.

Elder Robert D. Hales, “General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony”. October 2013 General Conference.

Elder Neil L. Anderson, “Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets”. April 1996 Ensign.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “General Conference-No Ordinay Blessing”. September 2011 Ensign.

Lastly, a few ideas for Visiting Teaching friends: motivators with Gatorade or water bottles.

You can read what we did last spring here.

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The Baptismal Covenant (FHE plans)

Lesson Plan

Share the story of Alma teaching and baptizing at the Waters of Mormon (Mosiah 18:8-11). We read the version that was shared in the June 2013 Friend magazine.

Let the children work on a baptism coloring page (here, here, or here) while we discuss the following points.

  • Our baptismal covenant is a sacred two-way promise with Heavenly Father.
  • We promise to keep His commandments and serve Him. We take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and become members of His Church.
  • In return, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the promise of eternal life as we repent and prove faithful.

“Making and keeping our covenants is an expression of our commitment to become like the Savior.” Linda K. Burton, “The Power, Joy, and Love of Covenant Keeping”.October 2013 General Conference.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

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Every day, every day, every day! (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Pearson)

My husband taught a great Family Home Evening lesson tonight based on Elder Pearson’s recent General Conference talk, Stay by the Tree. He had the children follow a path and stopped to discuss each principle on enduring to the end from Lehi’s vision of the tree of life that Elder Pearson taught.

  1. Don’t forget to pray
  2. Come unto Christ and be perfected in him
  3. Press forward with faith
  4. The Book of Mormon is key to spiritual survival
  5. Don’t be distracted and deceived
  6. Stay by the tree

After they reached the tree (made out of Lego) we discussed Lehi’s dream a little more, and emphasized the following point:

Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day!

After dessert we ended the evening with our family study of the Book of Mormon. Up to this point we have been taking turns each reading (or repeating) a verse each day. We have been using the Gospel Library app on an iPod and passing it around to each person when it is their turn to read, but a few days ago I felt that our scripture reading would be more meaningful if each person had their own scriptures to follow along with as we read. So I gathered up hard copies of the Book of Mormon (enough for each member of our family), ready to go in our living room in a basket. Tonight we used them for the first time, and the children were excited to touch and read their own copies. We spent a few minutes orienting them to the book, and helped them find our current place in Mosiah. It was a testament to me of the power of the scriptures to see how much the children were drawn to them. I wish we had done this sooner!

Additional Quotes from Elder Pearson

Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life. But when trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply “hang in there.” Let me be clear: to “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him.

Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost.

True disciples continue to awaken unto God each day in meaningful personal prayer, earnest scripture study, personal obedience, and selfless service. Stay by the tree and stay awake.

If you are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, I urge you to do the one thing I know will get you back on track. Begin again to prayerfully study the Book of Mormon and live its teachings every day, every day, every day! I testify of the profound power in the Book of Mormon that will change your life and strengthen your resolve to follow Christ.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, “Stay by the Tree”. April 2014 General Conference.

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Counting Down to General Conference

General Conference is just two weeks away, and we are getting ready at our home!

I saw this countdown calendar at the Red Headed Hostess and  I thought it would be a nice conference tradition to add this year. I printed off her sheets four to one page, so each countdown sheet was just 1/4 sheet. My daughters colored the numbers and glued a picture of an apostle on each page. I stapled it all together and placed it in a prominent place in our home. IMG_20150920_1043407_rewind

The plan is to pull off one countdown picture each day and briefly review what that apostle spoke about at the recent General Conference. The numbers work out pretty well since there are 14 days and 15 apostles and First Presidency (we will just double up on one day).IMG_20150920_1043260_rewind

I also decided to cover the door with the posters of scriptures and quotes that we have used for Family Home Evening lessons that were based on General Conference. It didn’t take long for my children to find them and start reading them!


“Some might say it is not the leaders who are important, but the message they bring. Yet, if our children do not know the names of the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, they most likely will not know their messages either.”

“When children are young parents must be innovative in helping them develop good habits regarding conference participation. As our children are given opportunities to observe and learn the role of these special witnesses, they will receive a spiritual confirmation of the sacred calling of their Church leaders, and they will feel a deeper love for and interest in these leaders and their message.’

Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Teaching our Children to Love the Prophets”. April 1996 Ensign.

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Books to Read in the Fall (mostly about leaves)

There are lots of nice things about the fall season, but the changing leaves are my favorite. Unfortunately, we don’t really see the leaves change color much in Florida (so instead I remember the year we lived in North Carolina and enjoyed the gorgeous colors of that beautiful fall). But even so, we can always read books about fall!

Leaves by David Ezra Stein: love this book by a favorite author

Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka

Leaves Fall Down by Lisa Bullard

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

Leaf Man by Lois Ehler

The Best Fall of All by Laura Godwin (Ready-to-Read): This isn’t necessarily a book we need to read every year, but as a beginner reader book this is a pick for my emerging five-year-old reader.

Do you have a favorite book to read in the fall?

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Heavenly Father Hears Your Prayers (FHE plans)

My five year old son came home from Primary yesterday with this poster (from the September 2015 Ensign).september-2015-ensign-magazine-mormon_1523495_tmb

I thought this poster would make a great focus for a Family Home Evening lesson, so Zach and I prepared and shared a lesson to go with it tonight.

Lesson Plan

Show the video You’re Never Alone: A disciple of Jesus Christ, Elaine S. Dalton, shares how her experience of running in the Boston Marathon taught her about prayer and the strength we can receive from God. She was comforted by the words, “I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand.”

Discuss how we can offer prayers at anytime of need, in addition to daily morning and evening prayers.

Sing “How Firm a Foundation” vs. 1 and 3 (Hymns, 85) and review our family theme for 2015

Discuss the following quotes from President Henry B. Eyring.

“Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He loves you. He knows your name.” (“Continuing Revelation”. October 2014 General Conference).

“God the Father lives, loves us, and hears our every prayer.” (“Priesthood and Personal Prayer”. April 2015 General Conference).

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Quick Quotes from the April 2015 General Conference

I mentioned before that I am striving to make the messages from General Conference a part of my everyday life. I went through the April 2015 General Conference and pulled out the key quotes that had the most relevance and significance to me. Having all of the quotes in one place makes it easy to review the important words. I posted the words of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles here, and today I am sharing quotes from the rest of the speakers in the general sessions.

Sister Linda K. Burton
Brothers and sisters, we need each other! As covenant-keeping women and men, we need to lift each other and help each other become the people the Lord would have us become. And we need to work together to lift the rising generation and help them reach their divine potential as heirs of eternal life. We could do as Elder Robert D. Hales and his wife, Mary, have done and follow the proverb “Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”

Sisters and brothers, how often do we intentionally “speak kind words to each other”?

Elder L. Whitney Clayton
Every day each of us faces a test. It is the test of our lifetimes: will we choose to believe in Him and allow the light of His gospel to grow within us, or will we refuse to believe and insist on traveling alone in the dark? The Savior provides His gospel as a light to guide those who choose to believe in and follow Him.

The decision to believe is the most important choice we ever make. It shapes all our other decisions.

Elder Wilford W. Andersen
We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost. It brings a change of heart and is the source of all righteous desires. The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will be experienced only when we come to hear the music.

Our children’s happiness depends on their ability to hear and love the beautiful music of the gospel.

If you’re not hearing the music of the gospel in your home, please remember these two words: keep practicing. With God’s help, the day will come when the music of the gospel will fill your home with unspeakable joy.

Elder Dale G. Renlund
My invitation to all of us is to evaluate our lives, repent, and keep on trying. If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites. As we try, persevere, and help others to do the same, we are true Latter-day Saints. As we change, we will find that God indeed cares a lot more about who we are and about who we are becoming than about who we once were.

Elder Michael T. Ringwood
In a world where praise, position, power, accolades, and authority are sought on every side, I honor those wonderful and blessed souls who are truly good and without guile, those who are motivated by a love of God and their neighbors, those great women and men who are “more anxious to serve than to have dominion.”

The service that counts most is usually recognized by God alone.

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom
Answers to our sincere questions come when we earnestly seek and when we live the commandments.

Helaman 5:12

Elder Jose A. Teixeira
The Lord said, “[Seek] me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” Seeking the Lord and feeling His presence is a daily quest, a worthwhile effort.

I believe that as we deepen our understanding of the Savior, we will have an increased desire to live joyfully and a conviction that joy is possible. Consequently, we will have a greater ability to go about each day with more enthusiasm for life and for keeping the commandments of God, even in challenging circumstances.

3 habits for healthy online activity: 1)Visit the Church’s Official Websites for Resources 2)Subscribe to the Church’s Official Social Networks 3)Make Time to Set Aside Your Mobile Devices

Bishop Gerald Causse
To marvel at the wonders of the gospel is a sign of faith. It is to recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives and in everything around us. Our amazement also produces spiritual strength. It gives us the energy to remain anchored in our faith and to engage ourselves in the work of salvation.

Elder Brent H. Nielsen
Parable of the prodigal son

We learned in our family that, after all we can do, we love that person with all of our hearts and we watch, we pray, and we wait for the Lord’s hand to be revealed.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson
Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life. But when trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply “hang in there.” Let me be clear: to “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him.

Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost.

True disciples continue to awaken unto God each day in meaningful personal prayer, earnest scripture study, personal obedience, and selfless service. Stay by the tree and stay awake.

Lehi’s vision of the tree of life is a powerful parable on enduring to the end: 1) Don’t forget to pray 2)Come unto Christ and be perfected in him 3)Press forward with faith 4) The Book of Mormon is key to spiritual survival 5)Don’t be distracted and deceived  6)Stay by the tree

Enduring to the end is the great test of discipleship. Our daily discipleship will determine our eternal destiny. Awaken unto God, cling to truth, keep your sacred temple covenants, and stay by the tree!

Elder Rafael E. Pino
Understanding the plan will help people keep the commandments, make better decisions, and have the right motivation.

The Lord knows what He wants to accomplish with each one of us. He knows the kind of reform He wants to achieve in our lives, and we do not have the right to counsel Him. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

Elder Jorge F. Zeballos
Let us press forward by learning our duty, making correct decisions, acting according to those decisions, and accepting the will of our Father.

Elder Joseph W. Sitati
Heavenly Father has charged and blessed us to be fruitful, to multiply, and to subdue the earth that we might become like Him. He has made help available that we may each, according to our individual choosing, actually grow to become like Him.

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Jesus Was Baptized (FHE plans)

My daughter will be turning eight next month, so we had a lesson tonight about baptism  to help prepare her for that important event.  I used the article from the February 2015 Friend Magazine as the basis for the lesson.

  • Read the story of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
  • Take turns asking the questions provided, looking up the scriptures to answer the questions.
  • View the Bible Video.

Scripture of the Week

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5)

Additional Resources

Coloring Page: Baptism and Confirmation are Ordinances that Bless My Family

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Parents are responsible to teach their children the gospel

This talk was inspiring to me, as a reminder to take seriously my role as a teacher of gospel principles to my children. My daughter Lily is turning eight next month, so we are currently planning lessons and discussions focused on the importance of baptism, making covenants, and the Holy Ghost.

“The scriptures speak of the role of parents—that it is their duty to teach their children “the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 68:25).”

As parents, we are to be the prime gospel teachers and examples for our children—not the bishop, the Sunday School, the Young Women or Young Men, but the parents. As their prime gospel teachers, we can teach them the power and reality of the Atonement—of their identity and divine destiny—and in so doing give them rock foundation upon which to build. When all is said and done, the home is the ideal forum for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

We might all ask ourselves: do our children receive our best spiritual, intellectual, and creative efforts, or do they receive our leftover time and talents, after we have given our all to our Church calling or professional pursuits? In the life to come, do not know if titles such as bishop or Relief Society president will survive, but do know that the titles of husband and wife, father and mother, will continue and be revered, worlds without end. That is one reason it is so important to honor our responsibilities as parents here on earth so we can prepare for those even greater, but similar, responsibilities in the life to come.”

Tad R. Callister, “Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children.” October 2014 General Conference.

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Helpful resources: Sabbath day and kid conversation starters

I recently came across two helpful articles on related to Sabbath Day observance. Both of them would spark important family discussions or be appropriate FHE lessons, so I am posting them here for future reference.

How Would Your Family Describe the Sabbath?

Making a Sabbath Day Plan

We are in our second week of back to school. I love the after school pick-up time, because my three school-age kids are usually bursting and the words come tumbling out quick as they all try to tell me about their day (at the same time, which gets tricky as I try to juggle three conversations plus a baby at once). But somedays the information isn’t as forthcoming, or I might want to dig a little deeper. My husband sent me the following link, which would provide great dinnertime or bedtime conversation starters.

30 Questions to ask your kid instead of “How was your day?”

I just quickly printed off the set, cut them apart and stuck them in a jar to keep handy on our table. We are ready to start tonight!

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