Author Archive | Shannon Palmer

Healthy April Fools Tricky “Treat”

Meatloaf-Cupcakes-with-Sweet-Potato-Frosting-easy-kid-approved-dinner-idea

1 funny snack time treat

Are you the kind of Mom that loves to laugh and be a little sneaky? Hee hee, I don’t know about you, but I plea the 5th! Okay, so the cat is out of the bag—I am a big fan of April Fools and especially harmless pranks that make everyone giggle. A few years back I had a great time coming up with a healthy food trick  for snack time. What I made looked like a cupcake. It was so much fun seeing the kids excitement, wide eyes, and big bites! After taking a bite or two, they cocked their heads to the side and squinted their eyes trying to make sense of what their eyes beheld and their tastebuds were telling them. They tasted…potatoes…and…meat, not cake and frosting. They looked at me like I was a crazy woman, so I took that as my cue and sang out, “April Fools!!” Hahaha Success!! I, the crazy lady, made meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes in the form of a cupcake—and they totally fell for it! It was awesome. 😉 After that they had to take a few to the neighbors to pay it forward. To this day it is one of their most favorite “treats” to give on April Fools. So, if you are looking for something fun to do and you want to keep it healthy try these meatloaf cupcakes. Get your camera ready and snap some pics of those kids trying out their tasty treat! Then post some pics of their reactions! I can’t wait to see them, mwa ha ha. What other healthy food pranks have you done? Comment with your ideas and I’ll use one for my family and post pics of their reactions! Happy April Fools all you Mamas!

p.s. Here is a great link I found on pinterest for pranks to pull on your husband! I may have to try some of these…

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Easy Easter Activity

 

Easy Easter Activity!

Easy, easter, eggs,

Easy, Easter, Eggs,

When I was a kid, most holidays we’d all gather next door at my Grandma’s house to celebrate family, food, and traditions. Every Easter we’d have a special meal and then maybe my Dad or Mom would share a mini devotional on the reason for Easter. I loved hearing their testimonies and feeling the love and gratitude they have for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel lucky to have the parents that I do. After that, we’d all wait in anticipation as the older children would scurry around the yard, hiding plastic eggs filled with candy along with my Uncle Ernie’s special money-filled egg. This year I wanted to not only have a simple and effective devotional, but I also wanted it to be easy enough that our 8 year old could teach it. I am stoked to empower him with a confidence building  experience and found this easy Easter activity by Becky Baudouin that looks just right!

Resurrection Eggs

Retell and celebrate the Resurrection story with your child by creating a preschool version of “Resurrection eggs.” Gather six plastic eggs, each a different color. Place the following items inside, one item per egg: breadcrumb, paper cross, strip of cloth, rock and piece of candy. One egg will remain empty. As you tell the Resurrection story, let your child open the eggs. Explain each item in the following order:

1. Bread crumb: Jesus ate dinner with His friends. (Luke22:14-15)

2. Cross: The next day, Jesus died on the Cross. (John19:17-18)

3. Strip of cloth: He was wrapped in cloth and placed in a tomb.

(John 19:40)

4. Rock: A stone was placed in front of the tomb. (Matthew27:59-60)

5. Empty egg: Jesus’ friends came to the tomb and saw the stone had been moved. The tomb was empty! (Luke 24:1-3)

6. Candy: Jesus is alive. That’s the sweet surprise of Easter. (Matthew 28:5-6)

Once you’ve finished sharing the Resurrection story with your child, encourage her to use the eggs to tell the story in her own words.

After a great lesson about Easter, go ahead and enjoy the sweet surprise(s) by holding an egg hunt. We love this part of the tradition–especially remembering that Jesus lived and died for us, then rose the 3rd day as a resurrected being so that we could also have this gift and opportunity. I’m just so grateful for Him—He is truly the world’s sweetest gift!

child, easter, egg

child, easter, egg

Lots of love,

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The Truth the Media Doesn’t Want you to Know

Her Value is More Precious than Rubies

The other day I walked past the floor-length bathroom mirror and caught a glimpse of myself out of the corner of my eye. I felt truly beautiful and valuable, kind of out of nowhere. It really surprised me! I haven’t forgotten the feeling and want to share because it has calmed all the negative voices once and for all and I am truly happy and working patiently where I’m at. But it wasn’t always that way.

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The struggle is REAL!

Seriously! Can any of you relate? I’ve struggled with self-worth since I was a teenager. I became more aware of my looks and body shape, I started to compare myself with others, criticize my flaws, and cared way too much about what others thought. These feelings of not being enough stuck as I moved through college and marriage.

At the height of some of my most difficult Mom years, I had 5 kids under the age of 7–all BOYS! My husband was in residency and I mothered full time at home with my beautiful babies.  We had a LOT of fun and I worked my butt off, but I was also overwhelmed and stressed out, not to mention sleep deprived trying my best to be a great Mom! It didn’t help that everywhere I went, people bombarded me with rude comments and intrusive questions about my age and the number of kids we have etc. At the time I didn’t know how to handle the emotional attacks other than to feel shocked for the harsh judgments being thrown at me. This happened so regularly that over time, I came to feel so undervalued.

3 Books that Shift Negativity

I needed support and I needed the best kind. I turned to Gordon B. Hinkley’s book Standing For Something. AH-Maaa-zing! He prompts, “The home produces the nursery stock of new generations and parents are the gardeners. In that light, I must emphasize the importance, the value, the singular impact that women have within the fabric of our society and in the makeup of our homes.” I had to let that sink in. Internalizing this idea has been a turning point for me. My role as a mom to a handful of kids wasn’t just valuable, it had the power to influence generations. Wow! This woke me up. I started to see I truly had the power to change how I felt about myself and my role as a mother.

When negativity came my way, I followed another trick from Gordon—as much as I could, I made it an opportunity to respond with humor and love. A couple of my favorites:

1) In the checkout at the grocery store I could count on the clerk to ask with wide eyes and a sagging jaw (in reference to the kids in and on the cart), “Are they all yours???” I’d smile and reply back, “Aren’t they adorable? There’s a buy one get one free sale and there were only 5 left. You owe me a kid!” 😉

2) Going place to place like a Mama with her ducklings all in a line, others would see me and ask, “Are you the Nanny?” (HA!) I’d smile and say, “No, they’re mine.” That was followed by disbelief and the remark “You look so young!” and then (of course) the demand to know, “How old are you?” I decided because this is one of the top questions I get, for my own sanity I’d not just change the subject or ignore it, but answer with, “Isn’t it great? When I’m 50 I’ll be looking fabulous!”

This kind of response either made people laugh, changed their attitude, or shut them up. It’s funny to watch—try it! This positive spin is so helpful in keeping a better perspective for myself and it shows a good example to our kids.

Another book that really helped is I am a Mother, by Jayne Clayson Johnson. She shares, “[M]otherhood involves some sacrifices…You will certainly lose some sleep over the years, and, every now and then, you might temporarily lose your sanity. But you will also learn about yourself…the world…the Spirit…As you learn these things…you do not lose your identity, [but you more] closely identify with God.” Isn’t that amazing? It reminded me of Lucia in Max Lucado’s book, You are Special. She didn’t let the dots or stars others tried to put on her stick to her. I decided, I wasn’t going to either. It’s such a gift that we can become free and unspotted from the judgements others throw our way and identify ourselves as His greatest creations.

Jeffrey R. Holland teaches, God “knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations…and He knows what you can become through faith in Him.” When we truly understand His love for us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful and our lives take on new meaning. It’s so refreshing to look in the mirror and not focus on the imperfections, but to see myself as a beautiful daughter of God, precious and happy. I’m excited I am finally here!

What are your favorite ways to combat negativity? Do you also have some favorite positive responses? I’d love to hear them!

 

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This 1 thing will change your life: Hour of Power

Have you been feeling like something in life is missing and you just aren’t sure what? I know I have! Last year for my New Years’ resolution—and for the first time in my life—I only had 1 thing on my list—to have a real relationship with God! No more unrealistic expectations and no more guilt or shame for not having reached those goals!

Bright Sun Coming over the mountains near the lake

Let Spiritual Struggles Bring You Closer to God

But let’s back up a little…you might be wondering why it was so important to me to just do one simple resolution…and why I chose what I chose. Let’s just say, 2013 and 2014 were the most spiritually challenging years of my life! Mostly because of stupid choices I made, but also because I was feeling lost in my heart and even though I went through the motions of praying, reading the Word, and going to church—I was mostly checking the boxes and not truly soaking in the love and life that He offers. I was physically spent trying to be there for our then 6 kids, emotionally exhausted supporting my stressed out husband, and honestly—I was just plain unhappy with life. I went to a lot of counselling—I even dragged my hubby along! HA! I read lots of books! I learned some helpful things during that time, but after pondering, doing some real praying, and knowing everything I’d already tried still left me wanting, I realized there had been times when I felt so complete and satisfied with my life. During those times, I was leaning upon the Lord for everything. I had been consistently close to God in the past and knew getting back there would do the trick.

 3 simple ways to Draw Nearer unto God; Hour of Power

Fast Forward to 2015: Once I was super clear on what I wanted, it all came together beautifully! I got up early at the same time every day (that I got up—which was fairly consistent) and I practiced doing the same 3 things:

  1. Sincerely Pray
  2. Read Scriptures with purpose
  3. Journal about It

The Most Important Hour of Your Day

I call it my hour of power! I have to admit, for the first few months I struggled! I would fall asleep while praying, get distracted, have to refocus my thoughts, reread passages, and I felt like it wasn’t working. I really, really wanted to do this though and I stuck with it. I began to see that when I took the time to spiritually create my day, I could handle the physical part of it so much easier. My heart began to heal and I began to start my mornings with a feeling of peaceful ambition. On the days I slept in, I missed having that great start and the lack of sticking to my goal showed in the quality of my day. It was good motivation for me to get back to it. After about 4 months of doing this, something finally clicked! I began to feel a deep connection with God. I had a greater desire to feel His love every day. I started to see my life as one that needed to become spiritually self-reliant by becoming completely reliant upon God. David O. McKay once said, “Spirituality is the highest acquisition of the soul, the divine in man; the supreme, crowning gift that makes him King of all created things. It is the consciousness of victory over self and of communion with the infinite. It is spirituality alone which gives one the best in life.” Doesn’t he just put it so well? I truly feel this way! My life is exponentially better since starting my mornings with God and they just keep getting better!

Bring more power to your day by taking the 30 Day Challenge!
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Simplify Your Life: A 30 Day Challenge

Simplify Your Life: A 30 Day Challenge

Simplify Your Life Text written on notebook pageThis challenge is all about getting yourself to the next level spiritually by slowing down, taking a look at what is most important and focusing on organizing our lives for 30 days so we can truly enjoy and do what we really want to do! I’m excited to share something I learned in the last couple weeks because it is AMAZING!! I have always been a little too unrealistic when it comes to setting and reaching goals. I’d have all these great ideas of how I wanted to change and what I wanted to accomplish. I’d comb the internet, ask others for tips and tools, try to get my goals organized and implement them, but undoubtedly, I’d find too many great things to fill my time with, waaay more tips than I could digest, and afterwards, my calendar would be so ambitious and full that just looking at my monthly plans was overwhelming! I felt like I needed to do all these great things to be a wonderful Mother, but at the same time didn’t know how I possibly could! Mind you, every gal needs to have direction and things that stretch us to reach for something greater, but at what cost? Dallin H. Oaks, teaches, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” So, be mindful of what goes on your calendar—make sure those things are truly worthy of your time and are the BEST things for you and yours right now.

Now for the amazing new (to me) way of thinking about your goals!! A mentor of mine, Carolyn Cooper, asked back in December what word(s) I would choose for 2016. I’d never thought of doing that, but instantly two words popped into my mind—“peace” and “empowerment”. That surprised me! I usually have to think and think and go back and forth finding just the right ones…but this time I was blessed to just have that clarity. After that, I decided I truly wanted to see how those words show up for me this year. The more I thought of my goals, the more I realized; my goals really do fit with these two words! Then I had a flood of information and motivation and my plans for taking action for the month just came together so easily. It felt a little unreal and I am super grateful!

I hope you find this Challenge to be of as much value as I do and that you can find a balance between what is most important and what is best for you and your family. Just remember, we are ever growing, rising, and becoming. So keep at it! After 30 days, you’ll be amazed at how just by simplifying, your life will be so much more full.

  1. Take some time to be still: Find a quiet spot with minimal distractions (What’s a quiet spot, right? ha-ha) and just take some time to breathe, listen, feel gratitude, say a prayer if you like, and then ask the question, “What is/are my word(s)for this year?”
  2. Once you get your word(s) grab a pen and get going on the worksheet! It’ll help you identify the things you most want right now and help you figure out how to get that organized! It’s simple and I know that as you truly strive to put the pieces together, they will come! Have faith and be open to those around you that can lend support or be hired to help you make things happen!
  3. Comment on our Facebook or Instagram! We’d love to know what words come up for you and how your experience with using the worksheet goes!

 

Background Words Worksheet

Woo-Hoo! You’ve figured out your background words! Congrats for being open and willing to try something a little different! So I’ve put this handy little worksheet together using my own goals and thought process as examples. You gals can help me stay accountable now! 😉 Okay, time to start filling this thing out! Just remember, “To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify.” –Russell M Ballard

My background word(s) is/are________________________________________________________________________________.

Examples:

  • Peace
  • Empowerment

1. What is/are my goal(s)?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examples:

  • Keep my priorities in order.
  • Go out with the Hubbs once a week/learn to ask better questions! (Can I get an Amen?!)
  • Complete certification for Simply Healed.)

2. What does that feel like to you?

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examples:

  • I feel peace and empowerment when I diligently get up early so I can spend time with God through prayer, studying His word, and journaling about it.
  • I feel empowered when I take time to learn about what my husband likes so I can ask about it later. (and not feel like a fool!) 😉
  • I feel empowered when I make time and block it out for my personal development goals.

Okay, so now you’ve identified your words, your goals, and how those words relate to how you feel about your goals. Pretty cool, right?! Doesn’t it take on a whole new level of importance to accomplish these goals now that we can see how they would actually create the feelings of our inspired words and affect us for the better? So NOW WHAT???

3. GRAB your CALENDAR!!!!

Here’s a clean and empty one for ya! Now it’s time to take the opportunity to plan and implement your goals!

Ask yourself about your goals and figure out what times and days they need to be on the calendar.

Examples:

  • How am I going to keep my priorities in order? For me that means getting up earlier than the rest of my clan for a certain amt. of time so it will be ideally quiet and I can focus on taking time with God. So, on my calendar I put “Priorities” at 4:30 am. (Seriously, I am a recovering night owl! This is a HUGE sacrifice for me!! But SO very worth it!
  • My husband and I figured we could take turns planning our dates and we’d go the same night and time each week. Once I planned these out for 3 months I emailed our sitter with the days and times to get a confirmation that she would be available.
  • I have classwork and phone calls and energy work sessions that all need time to happen. So I blocked off certain days and times, the same every week, to support that and labeled it “Simply Healed”.

I have to say, doing this has seriously changed how smoothly the last couple weeks have run! My mornings start fresh on a serene and motivated note, I look forward to Fridays with new excitement because I KNOW I’ll be going out with my handsome hubby and he’ll be dazzled with my sudden interest in politics, and I am excited and confident I will reach my deadlines for my certification because the time is blocked and ready for me to work! I am SO grateful for this way of planning. It works for me and I hope it works for you too!!


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