Category Archives: Family

Blessed are the Piece Makers: How Handmade Pieces Bring Me Peace #PRINCEofPEACE

This past September, my handsome husband, Jason, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Over the last six months of chemo-filled craziness I have learned something incredibly valuable about peace. Real, lasting peace isn’t found; it is fought for. To keep a firm grip on the peace that is so generously extended by my Savior I have to be an active participant. I have to use whatever energy I have for good and surround myself with reminders that I am not alone. Thankfully, in my house, I don’t have to look very far to find comfort (see the the video below).


My house is filled with art, sewing, woodwork and countless other gifts designed to bring me comfort. If yours is too, I hope you’ll share it! Take a picture, make a video, do whatever you can to celebrate the piece maker in your life and share the message of true and lasting peace.


To find more stories and inspiration about the #PRINCEofPEACE please visit

To find out more about Maria’a teaching tips click the picture below.


Maria and her fabulous quilt-creating Mom, Sally

#LIGHTtheWORLD: Christmas-in-a-Box Free Printable Kit from Brightly Street

Christmas is a time to spread the love of our Savior and that is why we are helping spread the word about the campaign called #LIGHTtheWORLD.  This is all about finding simple ways to serve others.  So Sugardoodle has teamed up with some amazing bloggers who have created free printable kits to help you spread kindness to those around you.

Melia at Brightly Street has come up with a Christmas in a Box kit for you to use.  This free printable kit can be sent to someone who is away for the holidays or can just cheer up a friend. It would be fun to make as family too.  Here is Melia with more info about her printables:

All of the instructions and printables are completely FREE to use, however you will not find them here on Sugardoodle.  Instead we have shared them with some fabulous LDS bloggers and site owners who have each taken these printables and used them in their own way.  You can find them by visiting the #LIGHTtheWORLD main page and clicking on one of the supporting site links.  This list is growing daily, so check back often!

free printable from Brightly Street
The #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign continues throughout the whole month of December starting with a Worldwide Day of Service on Decebmer 1, 2016.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that so many others will be sharing the love of our Savior all around the world?  Be sure to join in by looking for little opportunities to help others.  Encourage others to join in by sharing these free printable kits and using the hashtag #LIGHTtheWORLD on social media.  Also, don’t forget to share the video all about this uplifting initiative.

We are so grateful to Melia at Brightly Street for sharing her talents and creating these free printables!  Merry Christmas!


Laie Hawaii – The ultimate family vacation destination.

Before visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie Hawaii this past week, if you asked me the best place to take a family on vacation I would’ve said Disney World.  My opinion has completely changed.  I’ll share with you some of the amazing experiences in store for you and your family if you choose to visit or stay in Laie, Hawaii.  Enter to win a trip for 4 to this amazing place here.

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in Laie and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So much better than staying in the tourist trap Waikiki. I highly recommend staying here as it’s walking distance to the Polynesian Cultural Center, amazing restaraunts, shops, the beach and attractions that will make your trip more memorable than Disney World.

Here are some fun short videos I took of families enjoying the activities in the #polynesianculturalcenter Continue reading

Teaching children to save money

Years ago, I purchased a book called, “The Parenting Breakthrough: Real-Life Plan to Teach Kids to Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent” by Merrilee Boyack.  From that book (which I LOVE by the way), I created a plan to help teach our children the importance of earning and saving money.

We first purchased a posterboard for each child.  Each posterboard had enough space for six paper printouts on each side.  Each paper you see taped to the posterboard represents a one year period.  Each month is listed along with what the child needs to put towards their savings.  Below that are two squares — one for the child and one for the parents (we match what they save).
When the child reaches their monthly amount and puts it into savings, they get to put a sticker on that month.  When mom and dad match the amount they deposited, we put a sticker on our box.  The amount they owe each month was determined by my husband and I in advance.  We made a plan of how much we wanted them to save over the years to have for a mission, marriage, school, etc. and made a plan accordingly.

Each time their birthdays roll around, the amount they owe increases.  In the beginning, when they were small, they only owed $1 a month.  They would help do extra work around the house or for grandparents and would get soooo excited when they could put their money into their account.  As time went on and they started owing $5 a month or more, they really had to get creative and figure out how they were going to make that happen.

How have my children earned their money?  Babysitting, shoveling snow, mowing lawns, cleaning out cars, soccer refereeing, dog sitting and more.  One summer we temporarily had a cotton candy machine and made up a whole bunch of cotton candy and sold it throughout the day.  We divided the earnings between the children that helped and it helped get them ahead.

Do they ever fall behind?  Yes.  Sometimes with school work and life, they fall behind, but they understand that when an opportunity comes for them to make money, it will go into their savings first.  When they are caught up, they can choose to get ahead or have some extra spending money.

Not only that, there have been a couple of occasions where we have had to remove some of the stickers.  One of my sons was almost a year ahead of schedule and was doing wonderful!!  However, at church they did a fundraiser and sold some coupon books.  My son was given three books to sell and unfortunately he lost them all.  He had to take money out of his savings to cover the lost books, leaving him barely on schedule (savings-wise) and no longer ahead.  He learned his lesson and has never had money taken out of his account since.

Find what works for your family.  We’ve adapted the original idea into something that has worked for us.  Saving money is much easier in bite size pieces than trying to come up with a huge amount all at once.  It’s an important lesson for our children to learn in responsibility, self-reliance and budgeting.  How do you teach your children to save money?





MeckMom’s Teaching Tips: How to incorporate games into your lesson

Keeping teens and primary kids engaged in a lesson can be tricky. My favorite go-to-tool is to work in a simple game. This short video will give you some great tips on how to use games effectively in class as well as show you a few of my favorite grab-n-go games that can easily be incorporated into any lesson. I hope you enjoy it!


I like to pick games that are easy to explain, fast to play and involve almost no set up. I also love games that have a bit of drama (like a tower that tips over or a balloon that might burst). The games I mentioned in the video are Boom Boom Balloon, Wonky, Jenga, and Tin Can Alley. I’m also a big fan of Bucket Blast, Bounce Off and Pie Face.

Sometimes I do a short game at the end of class and sometimes I like to have a full class of games to review everything we’ve learned in a unit or at the end of the year. Either way, I’ve always found that incorporating games into my lessons is a sure-fire way to keep students engaged and excited to participate.

Happy teaching everyone! I’ll be back next week with more tips.


Our favorite summer tradition

I thought I would share one of my favorite summer traditions with you today.  Some traditions are passed down from one generation to the next.  Other traditions can be started with you and your family.

Our tradition is very simple and yet has become very meaningful to our family.  What is this tradition you ask?  Well, a couple of years ago it started by packing up some food, board/card game, soccer ball, frisbee, etc. and taking our meal outside once a week.

We choose a different location each time (mountains, park, swimming pool, concert, etc.), and we choose different activities each time but the most important thing is it has become dedicated time for us to eat, talk and play together.

One of our favorite games right now is Tapple….(pictured here):

It has been fun to get out of the house, enjoy different parks/scenery and spend some one-on-one time together. We all look forward to our meal outside…without electronics and daily distractions.

Our family traditions are important, because they help our children see the value and priority we place on family, particularly OUR family.  What are some traditions you’ve started with your family?