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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Singing Time Idea for Children

Christ-Centered-Singing-Time-Ideas-With-Meaning-of Decorations

I have always loved singing, so it was no surprise when I was called to be the Primary chorister for my church. The Primary chorister leads singing time with children ages 3-12, and I am in charge of the 3-8-year-olds. You can learn more about what we believe here.

Since it’s getting close to Christmas time, I just had to take the opportunity to tell the children what all of symbols and colors of Christmas mean. Too many times we get caught up in the commercial aspect of Christmas, and we forget the real reason for the season is the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This activity is fun, because it will help to remind the kids what Christmas is all about, whenever they see Christmas decorations!

So here’s what I did. I packed a huge box full of Christmas decorations, and told the kids we were going to decorate the Primary room for Christmas. Each decoration had a number on it, and as the volunteers picked the decoration they wanted, we would sing the corresponding song. I gave my pianist a list of the songs, and the numbers that were attached to them, so that she would have time to flip to the song while I explained what the decoration stood for.

Before we would sing, I would explain the meaning of each ornament.


Christmas Evergreen Tree/ Color green- Stands for Everlasting life through the Atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ.


Gold Ornaments- Represent one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus.


Present- Represent all the gifts brought by the Wise men.


Bells- Represent the call to mankind to worship the Lord.


Candles- Represent the light that Jesus brings to the world.

candy cane

Candy Canes-  Red represents the blood that Jesus shed for us. White represents that our sins will be washed away and we will be as clean as white snow. They also represent the cane that the shepherds might have used. Also, if you turn them upside down, they make the letter ‘J’ for Jesus. (I brought a candy cane for each child, and challenged them to tell their parents what they learned in singing time.)


Carolers- I brought some singing snow men for this one, but you could use a picture. Carolers represent the multitude of Angels that sang when Christ was born.

Holly Berries

Holly Berries- They are red and represent the blood that the Savior spilled for us on the cross.


Star- Represent the bright star that shone, marking the birth of the Savior and leading the shepherds and wise men to the baby Jesus.


Wreath- Represents the crown of thorns that Jesus was forced to wear when he was crucified.


This activity could be done without singing time, of course, and could be used on Christmas Eve, or for a Family Home Evening lesson too!

Jessica Smile

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DIY Joy Sign Tutorial


Hello Peeps! I’m over at All Things Thrifty today with this DIY Joy sign tutorial! It is less than $30 to make, and it’s super easy! It’s  not too late to make one for Christmas! Head over now to get the details! Or pin it for next year!


You might also like these ideas!


Crazy Hair Day Ideas


Chewy Salted Caramels Dipped in Dark Chocolate

christmas minute to win it games_thumb[2]

Christmas Minute to Win It Games

Sausage and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms, A Yummy Christmas Appetizer


When I married my husband, Mike (also my dad’s name), I quickly came to realize he was a food lover, and so is most of his family! It’s a blessing and a curse…the struggle is real people.

We always have delicious food at every family event, and these stuffed mushrooms are no exception. In fact, I can’t believe I haven’t posted about these yet. It’s a crime against food! I’m sorry, please forgive me for not telling you about these earlier!

Okay, so Mike’s mom would always make these, and now Mike and I make them all the time. Sometimes we make them for dinner as our main entrĂ©e, and since our kids love sausage, they don’t complain! Now that the holidays are coming around, I think these would be perfect for Christmas parties, or a New Years Eve party! Your guest will love them, and so will you, because there are only 4 ingredients in these bad boys!

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms (Printable Recipe)

1 pound of sausage (just use your favorite, I like the hot and spicy kind, but my kids like mild)

1 package of cream cheese

2 cartons of mushrooms (stem removed)

1 t. seasoned salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Break up sausage and fry it until golden brown. Mix with cream cheese and salt. Stuff into clean mushroom. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the mushroom is soft and delicious! Garnish with a little parsley to jazz it up!

Totally easy, right? I knew you’d love these!

Jessica Smile

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Canon EOS Rebel T5i - a Great Family Gift from Best Buy!

If your looking for a camera to capture all of your Holiday memories, Best Buy is definitely the right destination! They carry many different types of cameras, but be sure to check out the Canon EOS Rebel T5i!

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression. Some of the features include capturing Hollywood caliber full HD video, continuous autofocus while taking video (awesome!!!), and an 18 - megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images. It also has a The 3" vari-angle touch screen to simplify navigation.
As a videographer, I get asked a lot about what equipment I use and I am always excited to share that I use a Canon camera! Canon has done a great job at creating fantastic, user friendly products. That is why the Canon EOS Rebel T5i is a great family gift. It can be the camera that you use to quickly snap some high quality photos of your kids, to the camera your son uses in school, to the camera your daughter uses to start her photography career. It's that versatile!
What are you waiting for? Save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. Visit Best Buy to learn more.
*offer valid 12/7-12/20

How to Help a Super Sensitive Child


Anyone who knows my Gracie Kay, would probably describe her as a sensitive child. Since she was old enough to make a fuss, she did.

Gracie- 7 12 x 9 12

She is very sensitive to the way her clothes fit and, for the last 5 years of her life, has screamed every time I try to put her in something other than a silky soft dress. She doesn’t like having sleeves on her clothes, refuses to wear jeans, and even soft cotton leggings are too ‘squeezy’ for her. Needless to say, getting her ready for school has always been a very daunting task. (The outfit she’s wearing in the picture above, is one of her least favorites, because it has ‘squeezy’ sleeves…apparently. Also, notice in the picture below, she has a t-shirt on under her princess dress because it was way too itchy. She’s so adorable though!)


But Gracie isn’t only sensitive about what she wears. She is also extremely sensitive to how others treat her. If you don’t show her absolute devotion, she’s convinced you hate her. She needs constant affirmation about how she looks, and how she’s acting.

School is difficult too. She doesn’t have loud outbursts, but she won’t do her school work while she’s there. I’ve had many calls from her teacher asking how to help her, and frankly, I don’t know. She’s a perfectionist, and if she can’t do it perfectly, she’s simply not going to try and risk the chance of embarrassing herself. It’s weird because she is VERY smart. She has known her letters, and their sounds since she was 2. She has also always been very good with numbers, and could count WAY higher than her brother could before Kindergarten.

On the other hand, Gracie is the SWEETEST little girl you will ever meet. She is very sensitive to other people’s feelings, and loves cuddles and snuggles. She loves to give people genuine compliments, and she wants everyone to know how much she loves them.

I love my sweet little Gracie, and all I really want is to help her to function in the world. I want her to be able to make long-lasting friends. I also want her to know that people love her, even if they don’t always show her in the way that she thinks that they need to.

I’ve recently been searching the internet for tips on how to help my highly sensitive child, and these are a few that I’ve found that have helped us out. I would also love it if you could leave any tips or suggestions you might have for me in the comments section. I’m NOT an expert, I’m just a mom sharing what has worked for our family, and I would love it if other parents who are experiencing the same things, could also give some solid advice! Parenting is hard, and I really believe it takes a village!

1- Be Empathetic- Don’t tell your overly sensitive child to stop crying without acknowledging how they’re feeling. I’ve found that Gracie needs a CALMING hug when she’s getting fired up and upset. I take her somewhere quiet and ask her what’s bothering her. After she gets it off her chest, I help her calm down by reminding her to take a deep breath. If that still doesn’t work I’ll try to distract her. Simply telling Gracie to “Stop crying” usually makes her more upset and hold on to her feelings even harder.

For example; This last weekend was particularly hard for Gracie and me. The whole day was a very emotional one. I’m ashamed to say that earlier in the day, I didn’t follow my own advice. She was fighting with her brother and sister and my first reaction was to yell at her and send her to her room. She would have stayed in her room all day! She can’t let go of her anger and sadness until she knows it’s been recognized!

After a few minutes, I went in and calmly explained to her why she was in trouble, helped her cope by breathing deeply, and two seconds later (literally) she had flipped the switch and was telling me how much she loved me.

2- Distraction Works! Sometimes you can diffuse a melt down by changing the subject or diverting their attention somewhere else.

On Saturday night I decided to take the kids to a movie. Their dad was out of town, and I wanted to spoil them with a fun night with mom. Gracie was tired from a long day, and she was upset when I wouldn’t let her get ice cream at the movies (we had already bought popcorn and drinks.) She was having a melt down, and everyone in the theater knew it! I was starting to feel embarrassed and angry, and she wasn’t backing down, even though she could see she was about to be in deep trouble. Finally, I told her she better hurry and try to go to the bathroom before the movie started, and once again, just a like flip of a switch, she had forgotten why she was crying and hurried off to the restroom. 

Later that night, when we were heading home. I let her know that I was disappointed that she acted that way, and pointed out the fact that the movies are a privilege, and treats are definitely  NOT required. She was already over it, so it wasn’t as emotional as it would have been if I was trying to explain it at the movie theater with the delicious ice cream staring her right in the face!

3- Help them Communicate- Try and help your child put into words how they’re feeling. Instead of throwing a fit. This is super difficult if they are unable to speak yet, and I think it’s one of the main reasons we had fits before Gracie could tell us what she wanted.

When Gracie is about to hyperventilate from frustration, the best thing I can do for her is help her to breathe, and try to put into words for her how I think she’s feeling and why. I might say something like, “You’re feeling upset that you didn’t get that ice cream, aren’t you?” Which helps her to communicate her feelings to me, when she can breathe. Talking it out helps a lot. Most of the time.

4- Patience- Be calm and patient with your child. THIS is SOOOO hard sometimes, but I’ve found that me acting like a crazy person NEVER helps the situation. It only escalates her anger, or sadness, and she can’t even hear what I’m saying unless I’m calm.

Like I said, I am NOT an expert, just a mom who always appreciates advice from someone who is going through what I’m going through. I’m sure your child is different than mine in many ways, so this might not work for him or her. Hopefully, we can all find ways of helping our children cope with the world around them.


I also want to say that being sensitive isn’t a bad thing. I really think it’s a great quality to have, especially if they can learn to adapt. Sensitive children are usually very sympathetic to others, and they love deeply! They can be intuitive and sensitive to the needs of others. It’s a beautiful gift, and I hope I can help Gracie to use her gift in the best way possible.

Pleas let us know what things have worked for your sensitive child, in the comments section!

Jessica Smile

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party #37

lou lou girls linky party

Thank You! To everyone that shared their amazing projects last week! I’m always impressed, we had so many outstanding projects shared at this party! We had over 445 entries! WE LOVE YOU, GUYS ! Please spread the word and if you have your own party and it’s not listed, please let us know and we would LOVE to add it! Now on to this week’s Party

  • Link up your furniture makeovers, DIY projects, home decor, crafts, recipes, thrifty finds and archive loves. We want to see whatever is inspiring you, but please make sure it’s your own creation.
  • Grab a Lou Lou button or link back in some way!
  • We would love to have you follow along with us! We will be back every Tuesday with our favorites and yours with a brand new party!
  • We will PIN and TWEET each and every post who join the party!

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Jessica’s Favorite: Domestic Mommyhood


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Hello beautiful show us what you got

DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper

Hello all you beautiful Lou Lou Girls readers! I'm Giustina & I'm just popping over from Domestically Blissful to show you my DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper that you can make with your whole family!

   Domestically Blissful  

I had so much fun this summer making wedding wrapping paper that I knew I had to make some more for Christmas! And even though this is my first time meeting you I must admit I couldn't help but wish that I had some little ones to decorate this Christmas wrapping paper with - but I did have plenty of fun making it myself.    DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper   One of my favorite parts is that this was a free craft since I already had everything I needed. But if you don't have markers or brown packing paper they only cost a dollar each at the Dollar Tree making this a $2.00 craft!    Christmas Tree Wrapping Paper   You can create your own Christmas Wrapping Paper in just minutes or make it a fun craft for the whole family to take part in this holiday season!  

What You'll Need:

Jot Mailing Paper - I bought mine from the Dollar Tree Colored Markers Glitter & Glue, Paint, Stickers, Twine, String, Ribbon, Buttons - optional   Stars & Christmas Trees Wrapping Paper   All you have to do is unwrap the paper & decorate!   I decided to do little groups of Christmas trees & a pattern of stars. If you are making these as a family it might be fun to have your kids decorate the paper with a scene from their favorite Christmas movie or depict a picture of their favorite thing about Christmas - like the nativity scene or Christmas caroling. Maybe even pull out the glitter, glue, paint, & stickers & turn this into a whole evening of Christmas crafting with your family!   Homemade Wrapping Paper for Christmas   If you love crafting I'd love to have you follow along on Instagram & Facebook where I post lots of fun craft & DIY projects!   Looking for more craft ideas this holiday season? I'd love for you to swing by Domestically Blissful! Here are a few of the most popular posts at DB right now:

   Chalkboard Mason Jar Lid Ornaments

Chalkboard Mason Jar Lid Ornaments


Sparkling Star Mason Jar Lid Ornament

Sparkling Star Mason Jar Lid Ornament

   Chalkboard Puzzle Piece Gift Tags  

Chalkboard Puzzle Piece Gift Tags

   Thanks for having me Lou Lou Girls! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!