Thursday, August 10, 2017


So... I was recently called as an early morning seminary teacher.

This is inwardly one of my most respected callings (I've always admired anyone who has served in this way), and one of my most feared! And although I already have those inward jitters and shakes about standing in front of a large class (20ish) of 15-turning-16-year-olds (sophomores), I am also surprisingly EXCITED.

Our seminary starts on Monday, but my beautiful daughter just had a baby, and since my plans prior to my call were to travel to UT to help her for a week once the baby arrived, I am sticking with them. Lucky for me, I serve in a Stake where the majority of seminary classes are taught by team teachers. (Yay! Hope for a seminary teacher/family life/personal life balance!)

My delightful team teacher will kindly manage the first week of seminary, and while she drops a child off at college the second week, I'll be in charge. Scary.

The last time I have been in seminary (other than the parent's day our last Stake held on the first day to give basic rules and guidelines, and to meet your child's teacher) was when I was in high school. (Over 30 years ago, btw.) I grew up in UT, so had released time seminary, and, sad to say, I don't remember much (other than a few cheesy filmstrips, rhyming scripture mastery phrases, and the boy who asked me to the Homecoming dance my sophomore year that I had to turn down because I wasn't 16). So basically, I've got nothin' on that front.

But I love being with the youth, and feel that I've been blessed with the ability to relate and connect with them when I've been called to do so. I've always felt magnified beyond my own natural abilities and disposition. I'm praying for those same blessings this time. I'm a bit tentative because everyone I talk to focuses on the one kid (or two, or three, or more) who sleeps the whole time... or looks at her phone the whole time... or who is disruptive and disrespectful. I'm gearing up for such a scenario, but also hope I can influence any and all of them for good. I want to be an example of how the gospel of Jesus Christ makes our lives joyful.

Anyway, I've decided to add my seminary stuff to my singing time blog, if only because I really don't want to take the time to create anything new. I think I can manage a quick title change... and it's all for the same purpose of bringing children and youth to Christ, right?? Hopefully it doesn't throw anyone off!

My team teacher ("Sister Holt" from here on out) and I decided that we would have the youth in our class use the paper-bound copies of the Book of Mormon for seminary. We will not have the youth access their scriptures from their phones. We don't want to see their phones AT ALL. This was on the advice of my youngest daughter, who completed her sophomore year of seminary this past year. I can definitely see the wisdom in it.

Our hope is that the kids will not be afraid to mess up their little paper copy, and will write notes, glue in quotes, mark up, and USE THEM. I have a vision of weathered and worn copies that need to be held together with rubber bands at the end of the year.

This is just a little insert I typed up for the kids to put in the front of their Book of Mormon copy. They will have the option to glue it in, tape it in, or use it as a bookmark. I feel that it's simple enough not to overwhelm.

I found the original here, but when I printed it, it wasn't very clear/easy to read. And if you've followed my singing time blog, you already know I often like to tweak and repurpose the ideas of others. (BTW... I'm using some of that Primary stuff for seminary... the UNO game would totally work with learning doctrinal mastery scriptures.)

You can get the pdf doc here.

I hope to add more throughout the year.
Pray for me (or at least wish me luck)!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Am a Child of God - Handbell Flipchart

I'm back.  Briefly.

Subbing for 3 weeks (so fun!).

Since the kids are quite very familiar with the two songs they have been working on so far this year, and I know they love, love, LOVE the handbells, and I spotted a quick-to-print handbell chart here, I thought it would be the perfect thing to do this week.

The only problem - my handbells are different colors than on Nalani's chart.
(I didn't even think to see if I could CHANGE the colors on her chart... until now.)

Luckily, it was easy to transfer over to a simplified version (took me all of 30 minutes - or less), quick to print, and fast to laminate and bind Sunday morning before heading off to church.

It's a little different format than I've used before, so I wasn't sure how well it would go over, especially for Jr. Primary.

It worked like a charm.  Made me wonder why on earth I ever lugged those big posterboard-type handbell charts to church.  The Jr. Primary actually did better than the Sr. in the initial run-through.  Sr. Primary made it through all four verses, though ;-)

Just thought I would post it because... it's done.  And this is a great place to store it and allow access for



I Am a Child of God handbell flip chart here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Bells

Shake, Rattle, and Roll worked like a charm last week.

I skipped out of church a little early to go to our local YSA ward to hear my daughter speak, so I asked one of my tried-and-true subs to fill in for Sr. Primary the third hour.

Later that day she texted, "You are a singing time genius!! So fun!! So creative!"

Not my idea, but I'm glad it worked as well for her as it did for me in Jr.

Here is my box:

(I discovered while searching for wrapping paper that I only had three rolls, two of which were a homespun-kraft-paper type.  I haven't purchased wrapping paper for a good 3 years, determined to use up the myriad of rolls I had collected over the past 20 years.  I guess it's finally time to purchase a few more.)

I took a basic Kleenex tissue box, trimmed off the plastic stuff covering the cut-out in the center of the box, extended the length of the hole a bit (trying to make it as child-user-friendly as possible), then wrapped it up.  I had some thick grosgrain ribbon left over from another project, and even though it wasn't the red or green I had hoped for, it still worked like a charm.  Besides, I'm not sure kids notice that kind of stuff.

I cut slits on each side at the back of the box and threaded the ribbon through.  I did some extra taping in an effort to make my flimsy box more durable and able to withstand some serious bouncing around.

The box still looked a bit bland, so I added the gold bow down the center, hoping that it wouldn't make the game too difficult.  (After seeing the first helper go at it, I was glad for the extra "challenge.")

I had plenty of bells left over in my Christmas stash (have I ever told you I am a reformed crafter??).  I think I put in a total of 22 or so.

I tied the box to the chosen helper (I still love those choosing sticks!), with the box on his back.  While we sang the song Christmas Bells, the helper had to bounce and wiggle around to see how many bells he/she could get to come out.  My first 6-year-old helper got 19!

From what I hear, the Sr. Primary loved the game just as much.  I promised the kids I would bring it again this Sunday.  Love that.

As Amanda mentioned, you could totally use this activity in Singing Time any time of the year.  You could use different objects - she had mentioned golf balls (they might destroy the box, but you could test it at home first), cotton balls, plastic bugs, wrapped candy...

I also key-changed the song, since it's {way} too high for me.  I love the functionality of the Church website!!

On a sad-ish happy-ish note, I have been extended a release from my calling as the Primary Chorister.  I am ready for it, but I will miss it as well.  I will be finishing out the year, then handing it off to the new Chorister.  She is nervous (I was too).  She doesn't feel like she's very musical (I felt that way too).  
She will do an awesome job.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Activity Day Idea - Christmas Cards

This doesn't have anything to do with Singing Time, but it fits into the Primary category, so I thought I would share.  This was NOT my original idea (few things are).  Last year the Activity Day girls drew and colored pictures of the nativity, and the Bishopric selected a few of the pictures and put them on the Christmas cards they sent to the ward members.  I thought it was a {brilliant} idea.

Since this is the first Christmas my husband has served as a Bishop, and since I loved the idea so much, I suggested he do the same.  He asked the 10-11 year old Activity Day girls to draw the pictures.  Once the pictures had been submitted, it was my job to determine how to include as many as possible on the cards and get the cards ordered.
I had two days.

Costco was my obvious first choice, but I spent an entire day perusing the internet for other possibilites.  Costco would print them in sets of 50, but that would only allow me to use 3 of the pictures.  I wasn't thrilled with the pre-designed templates to choose from either.  After comparing all the options, I decided that due to time and expense constraints, Costco would have to do.  I went back and checked over the templates one more time.  This time I discovered an option that said, "Create your own design."


Here are a couple of the finished cards:

They turned out awesome.  This is such a fun way to showcase the girls AND send a wonderful Christmas message.

If you pass this idea along in your ward, here are a couple of tips (learned the hard way):
  • Make sure the girls know what you are specifically looking for.  My husband had asked the Activity Day leaders to have the girls draw NATIVITY scenes.  (One of the pictures came back with a couch by a fireplace.)  
  • Tell the girls that the picture needs to be on a blank piece of paper.  (One of the pictures came back on lined notebook paper.)  The girls in our ward just used white computer paper.
  • My daughter said that last year the girls made them at Activity Days.  That way the leaders could help advise, and all the pictures were turned in in time.  This year the leaders just handed out the papers and asked the girls to turn them in by a certain date, probably because the request from the Bishop came a little late.
  • Have the girls write their name somewhere on the front of the picture, that way ward members will know who did the artwork.  (One picture was just slipped under the door of the Bishop's office without a name.)
Happy December!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Away in a Manger + A Couple of Ideas

It has been a cRaZy week, but in a spare moment here and there I have looked for ideas for upcoming Singing Times.  After some super-quick browsing, I've decided to use Shake, Rattle and Roll (found in the comment section - thanks, Amanda!)

and Christmas Singing Mittens for the next few weeks.

I also noticed last year that the children in my ward were surprisingly unfamiliar with Away in a Manger, so I put together a flip chart to help them along this year.

Away in a Manger flip chart

Happy Christmas singing!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Those Little Turkeys

I've mentioned a million times that I'm all for reusing.  A couple weeks back I decided to reuse my turkeys from last year.  I hadn't laminated them, but had put them away (sans balloons) in my trusty file for future use.
(I finally found a use for that crazy big IKEA bag I've had laying around forever.)

In putting these cuties together, tape is your best friend.
I taped the front body to the balloon, then taped the feet to the balloon (with taped pennies on the bottom), then popped the tied part of the balloon...
...through a hole I had poked (with the tip of a pencil) on the back.  I added a little tape to the bottom front of the tail feathers (just above where the tie goes through the hole) to secure them a little better.

Another tip:  I love those easy-peel labels.
I use them on any visual that I want to reuse in the future (um, that would be all of them) that you need to put an activity or song on.  That way you can easily change the song or directions by just writing out another label and sticking it over the old one.

So... this past Sunday was our Ward Conference.  I usually get nervous and stressed when the Stake visits, even though I have been a counselor in a Stake Primary Presidency before.  I determined that for this Ward Conference I wasn't going to do anything "special" just because the Stake would be there.  I try every week to make Singing Time a great experience for the children, so I figured that THAT was good enough.  I knew we needed to review My Heavenly Father Loves Me (the song the kids had voted for) for our Sacrament Meeting special musical number this upcoming week, and then I threw in a couple other Thanksgiving/Seasonal songs to break things up.

I didn't know:

The Stake was doing the Sharing Time, and had requested to go FIRST (we usually have it after Singing Time), in addition to a counselor in the Stake Presidency speaking to the children AND the assigned talks, scriptures, Articles of Faith, etc. the kids had planned on.  I had 5 minutes.  At the end.  OUCH.

Because of the requested schedule change, our Primary President forgot a Reverence Song, so when the counselor in the Stake Presidency got up to talk (Jr. Primary), he seemed a little stumped, then asked who was over the music (me) and requested we sing a song.  (I kind of felt like he thought it was my fault we didn't do an opening song.  I was just trying to follow what our sweet mildly-flustered Primary President had announced, without adding to her flustration...)

In Sr. Primary we had a different counselor in our Stake Presidency in to talk to the kids, and he asked them what the Primary theme for the month was.  Their response:  THANKSGIVING!!  Nope.  CHOOSE THE RIGHT!!  Nope.  He seemed a little... concerned?... dumbfounded?... surprised?... that the children didn't know it was missionary work.  (In their defense, we'd only had one week of the theme in Sharing Time, and we've been working on our special musical number - yes, Thanksgiving themed - in Singing Time.)

Because of the Stake-requested schedule change, I missed my Singing Time in Nursery, and the kids in our Primary were on the wild loud unruly wiggly side, thanks to a VERY LONG extended period of sitting still and listening.

I'm feeling a bit like it was a hot mess epic fail bit of a flail, but life goes on.  Those kinds of weeks happen.  Good thing perfection is not a requirement!

Happy Thanksgiving/Missionary Singing!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh, What Do You Do in the Autumn Time? {AND} Popcorn Popping Variation

This week the weather couldn't be more perfect around these parts.  I love Fall!

As I was quickly perusing Sugardoodle yesterday in search of something to use for Singing Time, I came across this fun version of an old summer favorite, Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime?  

Thinking I had enough time to get a flip chart together from start to finish, figure out how to present in Singing Time, AND gather any and all necessary accompanying visuals/props, I set out to git 'er done.  I didn't plan for my 11-year-old's meltdown over lost tithing money, nor the phone call from my hubs letting me know that BYD would be after church at our house.

I didn't quite get it finished in time for church, thus on to Plan B.

Here's the link to the flip chart:

Oh, What Do You Do in the Autumn Time?

I think the kids will like the tune familiarity mingled with new, season-appropriate words.

15 (ish) years ago, as I was serving as a Nursery worker, the sister I worked with taught the kids these seasonally-changed lyrics to Popcorn Popping:

I looked out the window and what did I see?
Snowflakes falling on the evergreen tree.
Winter has brought me such a nice surprise:
Snowflakes falling right before my eyes!

I can take an armful, and make a treat:
A great big snowman, that looks so neat!

Yes, it's really so,
As it seems to be:
Snowflakes falling on the evergreen tree.

(I'm sure there are other versions out there, but this is the one I've been singing...)

Btw, the Church has an ever-increasing image library on  Be sure to check it out when looking for visuals in Primary... it's awesome!