Monthly Archives: April 2016

His Story Was Like My Story – It’s Probably Your Story Too

There are so many things that I have loved sharing with my children, especially the love I have for the temple. So this past year as my son has been gearing up for his mission, I started hunting for different books and articles to help him prepare for the temple.  Late one night while searching on the web I discovered LDS Symbol Cards. I spent a few hours learning about the cards and reading articles about symbols and their ability to teach us.  I shared what I had discovered with my husband and within a few days we had two packs of cards in our house.

What the cards have taught me {short version}… We often hear the words “PREPARE FOR THE TEMPLE.”  We know this means, “stay clean and live worthily so you can go to the temple” but I have come to understand that those words also mean that we should prepare our minds to learn the language that is spoken in the temple. So much of what we learn there is taught to us symbolically, learning to think in terms of symbols is a great learning aid and opens our minds and hearts to greater understanding.


This week I contacted Steve Reed who created the cards and asked him to share his story. His story was like mine and probably many of you.  He wanted to help prepare his children for the temple but because the temple is so sacred and because many of the books are geared for an older demographic, it was difficult to find resources that his children could understand and relate to so they could be prepared.

In Steve’s Words…

“It has been a passion of mine to help people prepare for the temple, especially my four daughters.  Starting with a pen and cardstock, I made a set of symbol cards that I would use like flash cards to teach my girls about symbols and their potential meanings.  I wanted them to be familiar with various achetypes and motifs so that when they see a circle, square, hexagram, number or color, they will also be thinking of themes, doctrines, and principles that they are commonly associated with.  My goal is to have my children experience the temple for the first time with a familiarity and understanding brought about by a strong foundation based in the understanding of symbolism”

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HOW TO TAKE A TEMPLE SYMBOL HUNT:  Plan a visit to your local temple. Prior to going, introduce your family or the youth to the temple symbol cards and the concept of learning with symbols. Once there, pass out a few of the symbol cards to each child or group along with paper and pencils.  Instruct them to reverently walk around the exterior of temple hunting for symbols that they have on their cards.  When they discover a symbol that matches a card, they quickly read about the potential meanings that the symbol is trying to convey. This helps them think about the symbols potential spiritual significance. Next, have them draw the symbol as this helps them interact with the symbol.  After a designated time, they can exchange cards and continue hunting for more symbols.  Take a little time at the end for them to share what they have learned, discovered and felt.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 7.11.26 AMThanks Steve for sharing with us your symbol cards so that we can help our children be better prepared  for the temple. 


Table Talk


Dinner time is a great way to let time stand still for a bit and really connect with your family. Yes… that means no phones at the table. I know we are all at different stages in life. Some of us are cutting dinner into bite size pieces for our little ones and others are parents of teenagers with crazy schedules, or are empty nesters and may be sharing a meal with friends. How do we make dinnertime special and fun? It is easy to get lost in the repetition of life and not take advantage of these special everyday moments. BTW – Did you know that most of our fondest memories are centered around the home?

I found this gem of an idea on Joel & Kitty’s Blog here  and thought I would give it a try with my family. My head is filling up with random comments already… I’m thinking about shaving my head bald. I’m starting to itch so bad. Potatoes smell like flowers. Pigs can fly if they want to. I ate so much peanut butter, my mouth wouldn’t open. My life starts today. Only two people are going to heaven (me and___). I stole a cookie from the cookie jar. (Google Random Sayings for help)

It can be tweaked for most age groups and would be a good way to add some fun and socializing to our dinner tables.

Simply tape or use a Post It Note to place comment securely on the bottom of each plate and that is the comment they have to incorporate into dinnertime talk. Keep the notes private. If no one catches it 5 pts. Then for every other comment you catch you win 1pt. The winner of the Table Talk conversation takes home a treat or a round of applause or a family song, sung in their behalf, etc… you get the idea.  Fun! Fun! Meal time may never be the same!

Have a wonderful day…  Brenda

May Come Follow Me – “How can a patriarchal blessing help me?”

PatriarchalBlessingBlogPic-03Hi friends,
I LOVE the Come Follow Me topic for May, “Prophets and Revelation.” It is so pertinent to us and to the youth!  I love the quote from sister Julie B. Beck, “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. … It requires a conscious effort.”
Seriously. Take that in for a minute.  The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT skill.  Is that powerful, or what!? I have often thought to myself several times regarding different social issues, “Self, I just wish the prophet would come out and tell us exactly how to deal with this.”  But really, isn’t that why we need to learn the skill of personal revelation?  It really is a skill that has to be practiced, and can differ greatly from one person to another.  We truly do have to develop the skill of learning how the spirit speaks to us.I love the personal guidance that patriarchal blessings give us and the direct form of revelation that it provides.  In this printable kit, I have included an interactive handout that is meant to be taken home (not done in class).  I had an institute instructor teach us to read our blessings line by line and break it down into 4 categories: Gifts, Counsel, Promises and Warnings.  Once you are done, keep it with your blessing as a quick reference guide and reminder.
Melanie B.

You can find the printable kit here.

Make sure to check here later in the week for additional May Come Follow Me lessons being added to the shop, as well as other Come Follow Me lesson printables.

Love Those You Teach: Get to know the teens in your class with this easy FREE printable

Whether you love to teach or dread it, holding a teaching calling is inevitable in our church. Here at Sugardoodle we’re going to focus our Monday posts on helping you tackle one of the hardest and most rewarding of all callings…being an influential teacher.

Teen teaching is particularly tricky. It’s often hard to get them warmed up enough to talk…let alone share something meaningful. Today I’m sharing a favorite tool for getting to know the students in my classes. This free printable questionnaire can help kick-start conversations and help you understand your class on an individual level.


You can find the FREE teen questionnaire printable by clicking the link below.

FREE Teen Questionnaire Printable (PDF with two size options)


Like many of you, I have made my fair share of goals in life.  I’ve been a pretty goal-oriented person.  I was reading through some of my teenage journals and found my goals for my future self, husband and children.

It was fun reading over my initial goals and evaluating where I am now.  Making goals is the easy part.  Making them come to fruition is much harder.

A while back I made a goal for myself that seemed so unattainable.  I had doubts even starting out that I could do it.  However, moments and hours and days add up and I slowly made progress, which was exciting.  Like clockwork and many times before, I also stumbled and became discouraged.

Normally at this point I would give myself permission to give up on my goal (whatever it was) and move on as I was before.  However, I came to appreciate this quote by Thomas S. Monson when he said…

I then found myself doing something I had rarely done before.  Getting up and trying again.  Not giving myself permission to quit.  Requiring more of myself.

Instead, I prayed for additional help to get through that moment…hour….day.  Because with the help of our Father in Heaven, we “can do all things.”  Whatever your goal – Don’t give up!  


Get on Your Knees and Pray, Then Get on Your Feet and Work!

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Get on Your Knees and Pray, Then Get on Your Feet and Work by Gordon B. Hinckley, art by Aimee Ferre available HERE

My oldest daughter, Chloé, just returned from serving an 18 month mission in Arizona a few weeks ago.  I’ve been thinking about the day she left to serve, (3 months after graduating from high school). She was the first to leave our home, and if that didn’t completely rip open my heart, then the day my second daughter, Elsa, left for BYU a year later, definitely finished the job.

The weeks working up to the day Elsa left were filled with an anxiety that only a mother could conjure up over her children leaving the nest. My mind churned through the years. The nap time hustles, Joy School (pre-school co-op) teaching days, elementary school (remember that initial thought that 7 whole hours of your children enrolled in all day school would mean you would have 7 extra hours in a day? Uh huh, you might get in a workout or a 15 minute shower, but probably not both). And those 7 hours are now filled with two part time PTA jobs, one where you count Box Tops from cereal containers and beg businesses to sponsor playground equipment, and the other part is being the room mom that plans Halloween costume awards and managing 28 sugar infused kids after a few rounds of Conversation Heart Bingo on Valentines Day. Junior high was definitely the “hold your breath, I hope my kid survive” era. And by high school, I quit holding my breath and tried breathing through it all. Namaste. But I never really planned out or thought about the day they would actually leave the nest. I thought I would be ready. I really thought I’d feel on top of the world and ready to pursue my own professional dreams at the sound of the start gun. But the reality of this mom job is that after each daughter left, each took emotional pieces from my heart, packed them in their suitcase and just left me with an aching void, numb of all the passion that I long waited to put my heart into at the “let freedom ring” moment. I felt this little pain in my chest, and began to notice that when the feeling would come on, it was always after I asked myself, ‘Did I do this “mom” thing right?’

I sat in their empty room (but not empty enough) shortly after Elsa moved down to BYU, and imagined that any minute they would walk through our front door with loud bursts of infectious laughs and friends trailing behind looking for food. I began asking questions in my head.  Did I teach them right?  Or did I totally screw them up for Dr. Phil to fix after they’d realized that eating at McDonald’s wasn’t really against our religion (yes, evidently I said that at some point in their childhood and they’ve never forgotten it)? I’m pretty sure Chloé still cooks frozen burritos in the microwave until the tortilla turns Jawbreaker hard.  Will she sustain her life longterm with the small repertoire of no-fail Pinterest meals she can prepare? Did I put enough fear in Elsa to not hike or walk home alone at night, to always wear a helmet and buckle up, and definitely only use the crosswalk after looking both ways? Do they know what one stray red sock could do to a washer full of brand new white shirts and underwear? Have I impressed upon them enough that a shower after basketball and mountain biking isn’t optional? ( I raised tomboys)  Oh dear, I almost fear the answer to that question the very most. But on a more serious note, I began to wonder if I shared my spiritual convictions enough so that when they have questions about their own spirituality, they know where to turn for answers.  With the weaknesses and failings in my life, I suddenly felt so inadequate and guilt ridden that I didn’t teach them properly. 

After all my fears began to take over my hopes, the thought came to me that Matt and I did two things right. And it might be all we did right.  But it just might be all that they really needed us to do right.

We prayed.

We worked. 

If these were the only two things we taught our girls, and if only through our actions, I felt comfort in believing that these life habits would be the most effective lessons they could have learned from us. Each letter my missionary wrote the family always began and ended with “the work”. She often wrote, “The work is so hard, but so worth it.” The first phone call my college student daughter made after moving to Provo last fall was to tell me how exhausted she was after the first day of school because she had to “work so hard”. So with this on my mind, when I came across these words from President Gordon B. Hinckley shortly after Elsa left for BYU, I felt an emulsion of peace and comfort working in my heart, and a relief to that little ache at the top of my chest that we did in fact teach them to pray and work. I then went down to my basement, cleared off a section of my work table, put my pen to the paper, and began to hand-letter the words, “Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work.”  It’s always a good formula. I hope knee-patched, worn-out overalls are what my kids inherit from their mother and father.


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This guest post was submitted by Aimee Ferre. She grew up in the desert of East Mesa in Arizona, but married a mountain loving Utah boy. She currently lives in Sandy, Utah and is a mom to 3 daughters. She owns a small crafting business where she creates holiday decor and specializes in hand-lettering. You can always find her creating new projects or planning gatherings for friends and family. Follow her on Instagram to see what is currently on her desk or find her blog at