Archive for September, 2014

I’m not on the front lines with Activity Days any more.  I serve on the Stake level so I get to attend Recognition events and hear about great ideas but I’m not the one getting to carry out these fabulous activities you are seeing here.

I was stopping to get the mail the other day when I saw one of my old Activity Day girls sneaking around the side of  my neighbor’s home.  A car was following nearby, very slowly.  Upon closer look, this car was full of other Activity Day girls and one of their wonderful new leaders.  I knew something good was up!



I went over to the car and found out that it was the older group of Activity Day girls (the 10-11 year-olds).  Each of them had chosen a different younger Activity Day girl to be their Secret Sister.  For their activity, they put together little bundles of treats with a note to each girl.  They were sneaking around the neighborhood delivering their treats to each younger Activity Day girl.



I loved it on the spot!  Then it got better.



Their next assignment was to call each girl’s parents and find out the answers to a series of questions about their Secret Sister.  They were then going to share about their Secret Sister as a surprise at their next Recognition Activity.

Girls celebrating other girls.  What could be better?  Being examples.  Saying, “This is what it looks like to be in Activity Days.  We care about each other!”  We all know that friendships and relationships are often made because we invest time in getting to know another person.  That is what this activity is doing.  Plus, the younger girls will watch this and know how to be kind to those around them.

VARIATIONS: This idea could be incorporated into your Activity Days program in lots of ways.  If you don’t have more than one group of Activity Day girls, who else could they be Secret Sisters to?  Maybe you focus on the 7-year-old girls coming into Activity Days the next year.  How about widows or older couples in your neighborhood?  You could choose various women in the neighborhood who have influenced each girl.  There are a variety of people who would benefit from this activity.

Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood that had many older women living there.  When I was 12, we had a leader who asked each of us to choose individual women, then helped us do a “secret” something for them once a month for a year.  After about 12 months, we invited these women to a dinner and activity to recognize and celebrate them.  I still remember dropping off a bud vase with a garden rose and a note attached or a plate of treats that we had made then running away to hide in the bushes while our “Secret Sister” found their gift.  The gifts were always simple, rarely cost much money, but were a way to say, “Someone is thinking of you.”  You don’t have to do a gift once a month for it to be effective – keep it simple but make it meaningful.

Think about it.  How would you develop this idea?  Please, please, please tell me!  I love this whole concept and can’t wait to see what you do with it!




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Dads.  Activity Day Girls.  Square Dancing.  Need I say more?


Seriously.  Just say,  “you’ll be dancing with your dad” and 8-11 year-old girls will come in droves.  Here’s a great activity that focuses on connecting daughters with their fathers or other special person in their lives.  I have to say, the decorations were amazing.  I’ll show pictures of all of that ON ONE CONDITION…you don’t think that you have to make replicate it in order for your activity to be awesome!  The decor was fun and added a nice touch but focus on the events during the activity – THAT’S what made this activity so great.  Opportunities for  dads and daughters to connect and share and have fun.


Here’s how it went:


1.  Mingling + Photos with dads and daughters – they asked a person in the neighborhood who was skilled at photography to take great pictures of everyone.  Then he even printed out the photos and had copies waiting for each family as they left the activity.  So fun and a special memory for these girls.  I still remember the Daddy Daughter Western-themed activity I went to with my father over 30 years ago.  It’s a highlight for these girls, for sure!



2.Welcome / Prayer / Explain Get-To-Know-You Game
– everyone sat at a table for dinner.  On each table were 4 different “Menu” lists – one for each course.  You pass around a list of questions and each person answers one of the questions on the list.  After everyone has shared something, your table goes and gets that portion of the meal.  The order went like this:

WHINE LIST – beverage (ice water with lemon – already set up when everyone was arrived)


GARDEN FIXINS – appetizer (veggie tray with Ranch dip – already set up when everyone arrived)


MAIN GRUB – main dish (chile + corn bread with honey butter – served into cups as the appetizer and beverage courses were happening.  A bucket of Fritos chips were on each table.)



SWEET TOOTH – dessert (glazed donuts – brought out after appetizer course was served)



By the time we had gotten through all four courses, we knew a lot about each other and were comfortable with one another.  Dads celebrated and learned about their daughters and daughters found out things about their dads.  Added bonus: it helps the flow of serving the meal to a crowd because each table was ready for the different courses at varying times.  It was a natural way to bring purpose and meaningful sharing to a time of the evening that normally would have been spent waiting in a line for food.


3.  Quick Initial Clean Up
– they announced that games and square dancing would follow and asked everyone to do an initial clean up of the tables and chairs to make space for the next activities.  It took about 7 minutes to do this with everyone pitching in.


4.  Games – divide into 2 groups.  Each group does one game then switch.  Each game took about the same amount of time so this worked well and was so fun for everyone.
Supplies Needed: (2) large plastic serving spoons, (2) rubber chickens
Divide group into two equal teams (if you don’t have an equal number of people, some can go twice to make up the numbers).  Mark of the “turn-around spot” at the far end of the space.  Each person must balance the rubber chicken on their serving spoon, run down to the end, turn around and run back.  If they drop the chicken, you must take 2 steps back, balance it again and move forward.  When you cross the starting line, pass the chicken and spoon off to the next person.  Winners are the first to get through all their team members.


STICK HORSE RELAYSupplies Needed: (2) bandanas, (2) cowboy hats, (2) stick horses
Divide group into two equal teams (if you don’t have an equal number of people, some can go twice to make up the numbers).  Mark of the “turn-around spot” at the far end of the space.  Each person must put on the cowboy hat and bandana, hop on their stick horse, then gallop down to the end, turn around and gallop back.  When you cross the starting line, pass the supplies off to the next person.  Winners are the first to get through all their team members.


Talk about the highlight of the night!  A cheer went up when square dancing time was announced.  The girls were so excited.  In the hunt for a square dance caller to hire for the event, the leaders for this activity were led to a wonderful couple who actually volunteered their services for free to groups like this.  Amazing!  They were a very nice couple who brought the sound system and their talents to teach the dads and daughters square dance techniques.

Check around your area – maybe there is a square dance club or group where someone would be willing to come teach how to do it with your group.  If not, the price might be reasonable enough to make it worth spending a little money.  Another idea is to teach line dancing – there are many people in our neighborhoods who have some dancing talent and would be willing to teach simple line dances.  Click here to see how we did this at another activity.


Really, all that matters about an activity like this is making real, meaningful connections between daughters and their dads or other special guests.  If all of your events focus on building a stronger, positive relationship, you are on the right track.

Get your boots shined and your cowboy hats on!  This activity is sure to be one of your best!  Yee Haw!


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We are getting ready to finish the rest of our basement.  I consider myself an organized, non-cluttery person but these three rooms in the basement have become a bit of a dumping ground and they need a good de-junking.  That happened today.  I have had some boxes stored on pallets and as the pallets are now free of piles, I thought….I should do a project with these pallets!  The project  that hit my email box last night came to mind – I love multi-use decor.  Love it.  Only one thing to store and it’s easy to change it out when the time comes.  Brilliant!


Come on, you know you want to try it.

Click here for Lisa’s tutorial on her double-sided holiday sign.  Look for my Halloween and Thanksgiving phrases in the Silhouette store here or in Lori Whitlock’s svg shop here.  These files are all made for an electronic die-cutting machine and Lisa’s tutorial is a great way to use vinyl to create  masks for this project.  I love how it creates a rough look when you do the mask method.



So, grab some wood (I want Lisa’s fence posts!) and choose your favorite phrases in my shop and let your holiday decor multi-task for you this season!  Lisa will help you – click here.


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How many times a week do we say this phrase to our little Coleman?  I sat next to my husband on our way to the soccer game and heard, “It doesn’t matter if you win, but it matters if you do your best.  All the time.”


Is that really true?  It’s easy to say it when he’s five years old and his soccer team, the Red Dragon Ninjas (or the Red Pepperonis, depending on the day) are just learning to play the game.  Will we still believe it when the stakes are higher?

I hope so.  Because it really is true.  I’ll take a hard worker any day.

Do your best, buddy.  And yes, you’re in charge of treats this week and we didn’t forget them.

Treats are all that really matter, right?


Click here for the Silhouette tutorial of my “Do Your Best” quote.  It’s a good one for using the print and cut feature on your machine.



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There is power in helping children to make decisions about life before the situation arises.  What will their choices be in the moment?  Hopefully the decisions that they have “already decided.”  I attended this Mother/Daughter Activity Days event – I didn’t plan it.  I don’t have downloads or templates for you but I have the idea.

What I loved about it was the clear focus on building the relationship between each daughter and mother (or other significant woman in their lives).  Every aspect of the activity was centered on this goal – the amazing leaders didn’t get distracted with activities that took them away from this goal of linking daughters with their mothers.


As the girls walked in, the room was set up with all of the supplies needed to accomplish each activity for the night.  Here’s how it went down:

1.  Welcome / Opening / Theme Introduction


2.  “Gospel Standards I Spy Jar”   (Find instructions here).  Work on as they come in and finish after the Welcome.  Their “Gospel Standards I Spy Jar” worked so well with the theme – each item in the jar goes with a phrase that begins with, “I will…”  I liked that they were working on it with their mothers and they were encouraged to talk about each statement when they went home.   This is a helpful resource for Family Home Evening or gospel discussions with the family.  Be sure to outline ways that the moms can use this jar to help children make decisions before they are faced with difficult situations.



3.  Get to Know You Game (about the moms) – I don’t have a copy of what they did but you could do a variety of things.  Interview each mother beforehand, looking for interesting facts about them.  As everyone is finishing their jars, describe the mothers and have the girls guess who it is.  Someone is an amazing baton twirler or can touch their elbows together behind their back or loves to eat banana pickle sandwiches.  Those are the awesome things that kids love to know about adults!


4.  Mom & Me Journal – Explain the directions and purpose of  the journal.  There are many names for and a variety of ways to do this project.  Here’s one and another.  Basically, it’s a journal where you write to each other.  Back and forth.  Creating a dialogue between two people and building a relationship full of real communication.  The girls decorated their journals with their moms and made plans for who would write in it first.  Encourage them to ask each other questions in their entries.  The girls loved making their journals and it was a great way to get them excited about writing in it with their moms and continuing the communication.




5.  Short Message of the Theme / Testimony

6.  Mother / Daughter Question Game – this is a take-off of the “Newlywed Game.”  Click here for a great example of how to make it happen.  I saw this same game at another Recognition Activity a week later so I KNOW it’s a hit!   Do it for sure!


7.  Closing + Refreshments

I loved this activity.  The leaders genuinely care for these girls and happily serve.  It was ultra-organized and well-planned.  It was focused on building a relationship between mothers and daughters and every aspect of it encouraged communication and sharing experiences plus, it was a foundation for further communication when they went home.  It was just over an hour long.  Do you have to do everything that they did?  No.  But what they did was fabulous.

Thanks for the invitation!

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Birthday shapes and quotes and phrases are oh so popular in my Silhouette shop.  Want some ideas of how to use them in a variety of ways?  Here’s Lisa’s tutorial on 4 different Happy Birthday tag ideas – and all of the shapes are found in the Silhouette shop (must have a Silhouette machine to use them).

My favorite is this gold Mason jar message.  Seriously, who wouldn’t want to open up this jar with this darling gold sentiment?  Love it.  Get all the details and how-tos by clicking here.




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