Archive for the ‘Every Needful Thing’ Category


Our crocuses are up.  The first sign of spring and one of my greatest joys this time of year.  A tiny bundle of light peeking through the snow or the cold-packed earth.  Another tiny flower of inspiration is the forget-me-not.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf talked about the humble forget-me-not flower in this speech a couple years ago (printable version here).  It was a beautiful image and a beautiful message.  I promptly designed this printable, purchased a bundle of silk forget-me-nots from Hobby Lobby and placed one blossom on each little image.

I have been giving them as gifts ever since.


Now you can give it as well.  Here are different versions of the Forget Me Not message.  Click on each title to download the printable.

Forget Me Not – President Uchtdorf 5×5 – the 5×5 frame is from Hobby Lobby in their regular stock


Forget Me Not – President Uchtdorf 4×6 – if you can’t find the 5×5 frame, here’s a 4×6 to make it easier for you

Here is a non-religious version of the same idea.

Forget Me Not Own Words – 4×6 – this version is only in the 4×6 size

Forget Me Not Own Words Merged- 4x6

Five petals.  Five thoughts.  Five things to remember.  Just add the petals with your own silk forget-me-not flower.  Trim the blossoms from the stem and adhere with a glue dot for stability.  The dimensional look of the flower is perfect.

I love these words.  Whichever version you choose, I hope you love it, too.

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I am constantly amazed by human nature.  Sometimes in a not-so-good way.  But mostly in a fabulous way.  The little things we do for one another that make the difference.  I’ve talked about the Relief Society before.  It’s the women’s organization in the LDS Church and with 6 million members, is referred to as one of the “oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world.”

It was started by a group of 20 women in 1842 who saw a need to organize their efforts to serve and care for those around them.  It was a common practice during that time – establishing societies or clubs to carry out charitable acts.  What is uncommon, however, is that although their focus was to meet the temporal and spiritual needs of their community, the leaders of the group envisioned more.  Emma Smith, the first president of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo said the following at their first meeting, “we are going to do something extraordinary.”  Little did she know that their humble efforts would grow to include so many women all over the world.

The name of the organization has since been changed to simply being called the Relief Society, but the purpose remains the same.  To look after the temporal and spiritual welfare of those in need.  Recently we had an event in our neighborhood, celebrating the founding of the Relief Society and eating some tasty food.  Because let’s face it, everything is better if food is involved!

The women planning this event asked me to help them with a favor for the party.  They wanted a little bookmark at each place setting when the women arrived.  The theme of the event was “Something Extraordinary,” based on the words from Emma Smith at that first meeting.  As I thought about what I wanted to create, it became very important to me to focus on each woman individually.  Maybe it was because I felt like it was my opportunity to celebrate the many women who have cared for me over the last year while I have been sick.  Maybe it was because I know how much each of us do, as women, to take the time to watch out for one another in emotional, physical and spiritual ways.  I think I just wanted to say thank you to all those who have helped my little family – the countless ways that they have made a difference.

The question became: how to do that with something mass produced?  I decided to add two words to the theme: “you are.”

These simple words say what I feel about the women who have touched my life.  And I wanted to include you in this list.  You are out there, in your own towns and your own homes, making a difference.  You have cared for your families.  You have watched over your communities and neighbors and congregations and friends.  You look for people to serve and take the time to help.  You provide relief.

So yes, I created this favor for the women in my neighborhood but I wanted to share it with you as well.  Just click on the photo to download the pdf.  This is for you but you probably have people in your life that you would like to share it with.  The ones lending a hand.  The ones offering a shoulder to cry on or a hug to comfort.  The ones sending the note or making the phone call that says, “I care about you.”

You are something extraordinary.

Thanks.  Thanks for making the difference.

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It’s been months and months since I was able to do a Download Day around here but thanks to our Favorite Things Party, this one is easy to share with you.  Check my previous post for details on how we used this quote for a party favor at each place setting.  A ribbon tied across the bottom of a folded piece of cardstock created an “easel” format for this simple but meaningful gift to share with each person at our party.

This quote is especially perfect for this time of year because finding “a favorite little something” each day is really all about taking the time to be grateful for something – big or little – every day.  A daily dose of gratitude is the key ingredient of a happy life.  So, find a little something to be grateful for today, and tomorrow, and the next day…

…and while you’re wallowing in gratitude, share the Download with a friend!



Please click on image to download quote

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It’s a good thing I didn’t make any firm commitments of posting every week because I clearly have already failed!  It is amazing how just trying to become a Mom again takes up so much time and energy.  I am so grateful that I have gotten at least to this point in my recovery process – Cole and I are doing great together.  I try and do an activity each morning…for me it helps me get out and active, for him it just gives him something to do other than hang around at home.  Jason will often take us on our outings to the store or running other errands.  I do better when I don’t have to be in charge of driving as well as getting out.  But we also like to have friends come over to play.  There are plenty of families with little ones in our neighborhood that we invite over or head to their house for an hour or two.  I love those days because it gets Cole around some action and it gives me a chance to visit with my friends.  It’s good for my healing process.

So, in an effort to do “Mom Things” I have not had the energy to think about my blog (which, based on your comments, you don’t mind me taking it slowly).  However, I wanted to post the photos of bits and pieces from our “Favorite Things Party” that was such a great success last spring.  (Check out my previous post for more info on how to plan your own party).

Here are a few of my favorite things about our event!

Positive Quotes About Each Woman - they got to take their own home

Photo Garland - draped over shutters for a display table

Party Favor - "easel-style" quote at each place setting

As you can see, everything we did, from the decorations to the party favors, focused on celebrating the individual.  Does it take more time to do this?  Yes.  But is it worth it?  Absolutely.  The impact of each woman knowing that they were important, loved, unique, and worth celebrating is priceless.  Would you like me to do a Download Day with our party favor quote?   How about if I do that next time.  Watch for it and enjoy sharing a “favorite little something” with those you care about.

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I know that it’s been forever since you have seen this logo in a blog post.  Let’s just say that when I got sick, all of my responsibilities regarding the “Every Needful Thing” program got put on hold (understandably).  I have since then handed over that job to another wonderful woman because I do not have the ability to do it myself.  However, right before I got sick I had written this post about an activity that was coming up for us.  I decided that I still wanted to share it with you even though it happened almost six months ago.  I didn’t get to go to the activity itself because I was so ill, but I helped plan it and got many of the decorations ready for it and all of that good stuff so I wanted to make sure I posted how we made it happen.  It is one of my favorite ideas for a party and can be adapted for any situation so here goes my original post….

Entry Display for Our Party

You’re My Favorite!

You are my favorite friends, favorite artists, favorite moms, favorite cooks, favorite gardeners, favorite bloggers, favorite people.  And I want to invite you to celebrate your favorite things at our neighborhood “Every Needful Thing” activity – a FAVORITE THINGS PARTY!  Positive self-esteem is a vital ingredient in a happy life so we decided to focus on that concept for this activity.  What could be more “needful” than to feel loved and celebrated by those around you?

What Did We Want to Have Happen?

  • have a sit-down, yummy dinner
  • have fun
  • share with and learn from each other
  • get to know and celebrate one another

How Were We Going to Make That Happen?

  • set up the round tables at the church building in clusters of 3 so that we can be in little groups
  • have different women volunteer to decorate and set a table that reflects their favorite things
  • serve a fresh, tasty dinner family-style to encourage communication and getting to know one another
  • decorate with quotes that the women have said about each other: “My favorite thing about (insert person’s name) is (insert favorite thing)”
  • invite each woman to bring a “gift to swap” that contains their favorite things ($5 limit)
  • give each woman a take-away gift to remind them that they are “our favorite”
  • celebrate each woman as an individual

This was a big event.  It took a lot of hours from a lot of people to make it happen and I am infinitely grateful for those women who caught hold of the vision of what can happen when we have a purpose and work together to achieve it.  Our purpose was simple.  Our purpose was good: Celebrating each other.  Just for the sake of giving hugs and smiles and a round of applause.

Celebrate those in your life that are your favorite!  Here are some ideas of how to make a “Favorite Things Party” happen:

  1. invite your favorite people and tell them that they are your favorite!  They don’t have to know each other, they all just share one thing in common – they are your favorite people for one reason or another.
  2. ask each person to bring their favorite food to share (no rules – you may have all desserts show up and that’s ok!)
  3. ask each person to bring 5 of a favorite thing to share in a gift swap (that means that 5 people get to have that person’s favorite thing and each person walks away with 5 different things, get it?  Setting a $5 limit seems to work well.)
  4. at the party, have each person share why their food is their favorite…then eat!
  5. then put each person’s name into a hat 5 times (for the number of gifts they brought).  Each person then draws out 5 names.  Those are the people that they give their gift to.  But wait!  First they share why their item is their favorite.  Then, when everyone is hoping to get that item, the person sharing reads the names of the people they drew and gives them their gift!  Don’t you just love sharing favorite things??!!!

Can you envision it?  Celebrating each other.  Learning about one another.  It’s the perfect party idea for any occasion.  Actually, no occasion just might be the best occasion for this get-together.  Wouldn’t you love to simply get an invitation to a party for no other reason than to say, “You’re My Favorite!”?  I definitely would.  They just might be my favorite three words that I could hear from someone.

Have a Favorite Things Party – just for the sake of laughing and sharing and loving each other.  For our neighborhood party, I was able to plan it with our committee but I got sick right before it happened.  I actually got home from the hospital that first time on the very day that our party took place back in May.  Needless to say, I was unable to attend.  But I heard reports about it and saw photos from the night and wanted to still share it with you six months later.  I feel like it is one of the most fabulous ways to celebrate those we care about and didn’t want to miss the chance to tell you about it.

For our neighborhood party, we had asked each person to bring just one item to swap, simply to keep it simple for everyone to participate.  We wanted each person to feel special and to take a break for the night so we also fed them dinner instead of having them bring the food.  How about if I post the recipes in my next post and I’ll show you pictures of how it all turned out as well.  Even though I wasn’t there, I heard only great things about the joy and love that was shared that night.

Cheers to Favorite Things Parties!  I can see about a million ways that you can spin this to fit the holiday season or maybe you want to save the idea for later, when the blues of winter settle in.  Whatever the time of year, a “Favorite Things Party” is sure to boost everyone’s spirits and become a favorite memory for all.

What favorite things would you bring to swap?

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I promised in my last post to give you our cute tag and recipe for Taco Soup in our next Download Day so here they are.  I simply used the same frame as our “Birthday Girl” tags and changed the artwork inside to apply to our pantry meal kits that we compiled at our activity (click here for more info).

You can see how easily this idea can be adapted to any recipe and for any purpose.  All you need is a paper bag, a hole punch, some ribbon and the recipe.  Oh, and the ingredients to make a delicious, easy meal, of course.  And just because this particular recipe is all typed out and cute, that doesn’t have to be the case.  Just write it on a card and include it with your ingredients.  Simple.  I think you’ll agree that it is easy to have some grocery sacks and ribbon on hand to be able to compile an instant meal for a friend in need – the possibilities are lovely and tasty and endless.

Happy sharing!

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This month’s activity for our Every Needful Thing program helped to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”

It centered around pantry meals but was simply and meaningfully so much more than that.  As the women kept coming, the question immediately crossed my mind, “Why?”  Why did they want to come?  This is the never-ending issue when any of us plan an event.  A party.  A fundraiser.  A bake sale.  A service project.  Will people come?  It begins to governs how we plan, don’t you think?  When we use the Planning With a Purpose model and ask “What do we want to have happen?” we can usually count on “we want people to come” as being one of our goals for the event.

I have a theory.  I think that this activity appealed to two characteristics of most women out there.  Most women need to cook dinner.  Whether it’s for one or eight, we all need to eat.  Women also have that nurturing instinct that is a simply a part of who they are.  This activity hit on both qualities of women and therefore, drew people in.  Let’s find out how.

What Did We Want to Have Happen?

In this case, we wanted to create an event that did the following:

  • teach women ideas of how to use pantry meals as an effective way for meal planning
  • teach how to plan a grocery list so that shopping becomes more efficient and happens less often
  • give the women a chance to serve in a way that used pantry meals
  • an opportunity to socialize

How Did We Make That Happen?

Make a Plan: There are many ways to go about an activity like this.  Yes, we did the predictable thing and had a short lesson (thank you, Liz!) about how to plan meals in advance so that you don’t have to make decisions each day about what’s for dinner.  We even had a list of 10 “pantry meal” recipes ready to hand out to each person.  These recipes are all made from things that can be stored in your pantry or freezer or things most people have on hand in their fridge.  Love it!  Click on the image below for a pdf of our recipe handout.

Then Liz facilitated a good discussion about how we make this happen in our own homes. The following websites came up as good resources for easy pantry recipes, coupon information, nutrition info, etc.

Grocery Lists: Next we talked about how to organize your grocery list to make shopping more efficient.  Not only do you save money when you plan your meals and then shop for them, but you save time as well.  No more going to the store five times a week because you’re missing just one ingredient.  You have a plan!  Plus, to take it a step further, Dani talked about a very simple but incredibly logical way to map out your grocery list.  Here’s what you do:

  1. take a sheet of paper and fold it into sections
  2. label each section with a different area of the grocery store (produce, meats, dairy, etc)
  3. when you make your grocery list, place the items you need in the correct section
  4. head to the store with everything organized so that you don’t have to backtrack

I have already tried this and I am here to say that it works!  Because I do the cooking and the cleaning up and the putting away of groceries, Jason does the shopping around here (click here for more info on this subject).  Not only is this list-making tip great for me to stay organized but my resident shopper loves it as well.  We believe!

Here is our example of a grocery list mapped out this way (click on the above picture).  You’ll be glad to know that this list is all of the things you need to shop for the 10 recipes handout.  We’ve done the work for you.  Just take that list and you’ll be able to make all 10 recipes.  Perfect!

Using Pantry Meals to Serve Our Neighbors: This is where we took it a step further.  Armed and ready with lots of tips and ideas and recipes for quick and easy “pantry meals,” we then took it to the next level.

We served.

We asked the women to bring different items to make the Taco Soup recipe on our list.  We chose this one because everything can be stored in a pantry and for this part of the activity, we needed to be able to store it.  The table was piled high with chile and kidney beans, diced tomatoes and taco seasoning.  We then filled regular grocery sacks with the ingredients to make one batch of Taco Soup.

Then each finished bag went to the “Let’s Make it Cute” table where it was tied with a bow.  They also added a copy of the recipe and a tag that said “Just Because” to finish it off.

Almost 30 kits later, we sent a one home with each person.  Why did we do this?  This kit is not for themselves.  It is a way to serve each other.  When someone is having a tough day or a child is sick or things are overwhelming and busy, we can deliver a “pantry meal kit” to a neighbor’s door…just because.  The recipient can cook it whenever they want and it helps them to not have to decide what’s for dinner – who wouldn’t love that?  Plus, it taught us how we can do this same thing with lots of other recipes, add some fresh ingredients if we want, tie it with a bow and voila!  An instant hug wrapped up in a paper bag.

As one woman said, “It’s not so much the meal as it is the thought involved.”  How true that is.

At the End of It All

Last but certainly not least, we had to eat, right?  Bonnie made the Taco Soup to sample along with the Italian Crockpot Chicken so that everyone could try two of the recipes on our list.  Every aspect of this activity was applicable and connected and tied together to mean something more than just talking about pantry meals.

  • I’m grateful that so many women opened their hearts and brought items for our kits.
  • I’m grateful for the ideas and tips and info that was shared by everyone.
  • I’m grateful for the energy and excitement that we all felt as we served together.
  • I’m grateful for the chance to chat and visit and get to know one another.
  • I’m grateful for time and energy that each member of our committee put forth to make this activity happen.
  • I’m grateful for Kathleen and her willingness to open her home, dust her basement, and let us converge upon her space.

Another activity in the books.  Thanks for sharing it with us.  I’ll have the “Just Because” tag and the recipe card available for our next Download Day so watch for that.  In the meantime, try some of the easy pantry meal recipes that Angie and Liz compiled for us.  Pretty simple and darn tasty!

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