When Your Prayers Don’t Get Answered

Prayers get answered

If you grew up in a religious home, it's likely that you were taught, like me, and like I have tried to teach my kids, that we can pray anytime, anywhere, and for anything.  And hopefully you've had the faith building experience of receiving the answers you were looking for.  But also if you're like me, you've had those times when you've felt like your prayers don't get answered.

Every Sunday I get the great privilege of sitting in Primary, and I get to hear the kids sing.  One of my favorite songs is A Child’s Prayer.

Heavenly Father, are you really there?

And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?

Some say that heaven is far away,

But I feel it close around me as I pray.

I love this song, and hearing the sweet little voices of the children singing it warms my heart and usually brings me to tears.  It is one of those moments when I feel the Spirit the strongest in my life, and I realize how truly blessed I am to be in Primary with these sweet little spirits so fresh from heaven.

However, as much as I love this song, sometimes the idea of it is hard for me to grasp.

Do Prayers get answered?

Anxiety can interfere with prayers

I remember being young, and being taught that we could pray for anything, and Heavenly Father was always listening.  Sadly, over the years, going from a child, to a teenager, into young adulthood and now as a full-fledged card-carrying adult, it just hasn’t been as simple as I wish it was.  Maybe it’s because as we grow up our problems get more complicated. Maybe we’re expecting answers but not really listening, or we’re looking for answers in all the wrong places. 

Maybe it’s because it’s a hard thing to understand that what we want for ourselves isn’t what the Lord has in store for us.  And maybe we don’t want to accept that like we should.

We’ve heard all these things before, and they are all true.  But the question I have right now is, what if you feel like you aren’t even being heard at all?  What if the answer you’re waiting for doesn’t even come? It’s not that the answer is a NO, it’s just silence?

So what do we do when we feel like our prayers aren’t getting answered?

It’s pretty difficult to press forward in faith when it feels like no one is listening.   But the truth is, Heavenly Father IS still there, and He IS listening. The breakdown in communication is not coming from the Lord, it’s all happening on our end.

I have a confession to make.

I have anxiety.  My anxiety has led to depression.  This is a relatively new discovery for me, but finally realizing it to be the case has opened the doors for me to finally get the help I have needed for a long time.

We hear a lot about anxiety and depression in the world today, much more than we ever used to.  I heard someone say not too long ago that there really isn’t more of it than there was before, we just live in a world where the stigma associated with mental health is finally subsiding a little bit, so people are more willing to talk about it. 

Living with anxiety can be tricky and painful.  Not realizing that you even have it can be worse because it's likely you don't even realize the source of your pain.

woman praying

The garden of anxiety and depression

Several years ago I decided to try my hand at gardening.  I’m not a person who even owns a houseplant, because I can’t keep anything alive no matter how hard I try.  So this was a pretty big undertaking for me. I read a lot, I did all this research on the internet, and I went forward with this really great plan.  

Some of what I had read talked about planting things early in the year and then putting a dome cover over them so you get an early start.  That’s what I had decided to try, because heaven forbid I just do things the simple way. If there is a way to complicate things, trust me, I will find it and that’s the path I always take.

I bought a garden box, filled it with the best possible mix of gardening soil I could come up with, and bought my little seedlings.  Everything was planted, and it was ready to grow. And I had built a trusty dome with PVC pipe and plastic to cover my garden box.

I would go out and cover the little seedlings with the dome each night, then in the morning, I’d go out and take the dome off.  Until one morning when I second guessed myself and decided it was too cold to uncover them, so I left the dome on way longer than I should have.

When I finally ventured out to take the cover off, all my seedlings were dead.  Sweating in that enclosed covering, deprived of light, lacking in fresh air, they never stood a chance.

Anxiety is like that blasted dome that I put over my garden boxes.  We, like the seedlings, are bursting with potential. All of our personality, our talents, our gifts from God, waiting to bloom.  But then that dome comes along, covering us, blocking the light, and it suffocates us.

anxiety as a tool used against us

Anxiety and depression are not from the adversary, he doesn’t have that kind of power.  But he does recognize a good tool when he sees it. And he knows how to exploit it and wield it against us if we allow it.

We worry about things that are out of our control.  Maybe we spend a lot of time believing that we aren’t “enough”.  Agonizing over how things should be, the decisions we should make or not make, and concentrating on everything that goes wrong to the point that we miss the things that are going right.

God speaks to us, but our minds are so full of these other voices that eventually we can’t hear Him anymore.  We pray for answers, but because the fog of depression has covered our eyes and ears, we don’t hear them. Soon hope fades, and with it our faith can start to disappear.  Maybe we even doubt that we ever heard His voice or felt His Spirit at all.

This is where we face the ultimate crossroad.  We either look for help and press forward, or we give up.  I’m begging you, if you are in the crossroad, please don’t give up!  There is help ahead, and so many people willing and able to offer it.

The road may be rough ahead, but it is possible to find your way out of the fog.  But where do you begin?

Don't Stop Praying

Pour your heart out in prayer!  It’s easy when you feel like Heavenly Father isn’t listening to think it isn’t worth the effort.  Remember that even if you don’t feel like you’re hearing Him, He is still hearing YOU, and He is waiting to bless you with all that you need, even if you don’t recognize it at the moment.

Speak as though He is sitting right there next to you. Pour out your deepest worries.  Remember that the Lord already knows how you feel, but He is waiting for you to open up and share it with Him.

Turn to the Scriptures

One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the past year and a half is how many answers to prayers I get from the scriptures, directly to me.  When I start my scripture study with prayer, I always ask that the Lord reveal His message meant for me in what I am reading. Every single day, without fail, I see His messages, as long as I ask for them before I begin.

Go Back to the Basics

The idea of turning yourself back to the scriptures for help also comes with the idea of getting back to the basics of what you believe and what you should do. There are always jokes or comments about "the Primary answers", but hasn’t the Lord asked us to become as little children?  Sometimes we get so bogged down in all the “extras” that we lose sight of the ONE SIMPLE THING that will bring us joy and the answers we seek, and that is our relationship with our Savior.

The to-do list of living the gospel can be long, and sometimes we can feel like we are failing when we can’t get it all done.  But at the end of the day, if we are working to build our relationship with our Savior, everything else that is important will fall into place.  Or we’ll discover that it wasn’t as important as we think it is, and it will disappear altogether.

Stop and Be Still

My Stake President has had a recurring message for us about taking some time to BE STILL.  I have realized how important this counsel is because we live in a world full of distraction.  Maybe you need to learn how to meditate and clear your mind for a brief moment, or maybe you need to spend time writing in a journal.  Whatever method you need to use, taking time to just be still in important.

Whatever your chosen distraction is, put it down, turn it off, hide it away.  If you’re ever going to feel the Spirit or hear the Lord’s voice, you need quiet, calm moments in order for it to happen.

Never Stop Trying

The road to finding the peace we are looking for or getting the answers that we need can seem long, but it’s only because we are looking at it through our own mortal perceptions.  Having faith in God’s timing is probably the thing I struggle with the most, so it’s hard for me to tell anyone else how to be patient! It’s a lesson I am learning daily, and likely will be for the rest of my life.

I have seen persistence pay off in my own life as I try to wait on the Lord.  It always comes. But the waiting is really hard.

For some, doing all these things can come so easily.  Every once in awhile I hear someone in a church meeting talk about how these things are simple, and while that is true in theory, it doesn’t make it easy for everyone. If you’re one of those people that struggles, you’re not alone.  Don’t get discouraged or feel like you’re failing if it isn’t easy. Just keep trying, because that is all the Lord has asked of us.

Get Help!

If, like me, you have felt the crushing weight of anxiety or depression, seek help.  Being too proud to admit something isn’t right is only going to hurt you. As my counselor says, the healthiest people are all in therapy, because they are the ones that recognize and are willing to admit things are not as they should be and are looking to make the necessary changes to correct them.

Of all the things I have mentioned, the hardest part for me was actually going for help.  I had no idea how badly I needed it until I actually started. The funny thing is, I was actually receiving important messages from the Lord through all channels telling me that I needed to get help long before I actually did it.  Because of the fog I was in, I practically had to be hit over the head before I recognized it.

The Truth is, your Prayers are NEVER going Unanswered

Pray, he is there;

Speak, he is list’ning.

You are his child;

His love now surrounds you.

He hears your prayer;

He loves YOU.

Being a parent, I sometimes watch my children as they struggle with different aspects of their lives, and I groan, knowing that I have the answers if only I could somehow intervene.  I have been where they are, and been through many of the same trials already, even if they don’t know about them or don’t believe me. I would gladly take the trials from them if I could, but I also know that they need to learn and grow from them the same way that I did.

I imagine that Heavenly Father is much the same way, only completely perfect, with the completely perfect answers to all of our struggles.  I picture Him sighing deeply, and probably weeping, as He watches us go through the trials He knows we must bear in order to learn the things we need to know.  I can imagine Him quietly saying, “I have the answers you’re looking for. All you have to do is ask.” And I can also almost feel the sadness that He feels when we don’t hear Him, or don’t pay attention, or leave Him to head down the wrong path in search of the answers elsewhere.

The fog of anxiety and depression is real, and if you feel like your prayers aren’t being heard, or if you feel like the Spirit has abandoned you, chances are good you’re lost in it.  But the good news is, there is a way out, and you can find it. The Lord is, at this very moment, pouring out His tender mercies on you, just waiting for you to see them and recognize that there is still hope, that He is still there, and that you can find your way back into the light.

Family Organizer For Come Follow Me?

Come Follow Me Planner Bundle

Get these free organizing sheets to help you organize your weekly Come Follow Me study!  

Includes an individual and family planning sheet, a page for Sunday meetings, and more!

Book of Mormon Study Companion for kids

Come Follow Me Book of Mormon Study Companion

Come Follow Me for the Book of Mormon is fast approaching!  I know as a mother of young children, helping them be able to study the scriptures can be difficult at times, and may even seem like an overwhelming task. A few months ago, the beginnings of an idea started to form, and pretty soon the project had taken on a life of it's own.  And out of it came the Come Follow Me Book of Mormon Study Companion for Kids, and the Come Follow Me People of the Book of Mormon Study Companion for Kids.

Book of Mormon Study Companion for Kids

Little kids are amazing

Right now I work in the Primary as the Primary Secretary, and it really is a calling that I love!  I love hearing them singing, and their funny comments are priceless, like when during the final song of the Primary Program and the chorister is holding the picture the wrong way, you hear a squeaky little voice say "Hey, that's upside down."

WHO COULD POSSIBLY NOT LOVE THAT?

So this project really was born of the love I have for those sweet Primary children as I watch them growing and learning. They are so eager!

the book of mormon study companion is born

One of the main goals as I started this project was that I didn't want to overwhelm parents with more stuff to add to their TO DO list as they tried to keep up with their Come Follow Me studies. I wanted this to be something that was simple, so kids could either use it on their own, or parents could incorporate it into their family study.  So both of these Book of Mormon Study Companions are really versatile, and you can make it work for whatever it is you feel your family needs.

Book of Mormon Study Companion

Ready to Grab your Book of Mormon Study Companions?

Both Study Companions are available in the Etsy shop, either individually or as a bundle. Click the link below to check them out!

It All Started with a Journal

Back with I was an Activity Days leader, we did a project making journals that the girls loved.  I wrote a post about it here if you'd like to take a look.

The girls loved coming to the activities and getting to work on the journal pages at the beginning out of our meeting.  So that was a little bit of where I came up with the idea for this Book of Mormon Study Companion.


Related Blog Posts You Might LIke:

Need some ideas to help with family scripture study?  Read Helping Kids Learn the Come Follow Me Lessons

Looking for help getting your family back on track? Read Tips to Keep Your Family Engaged in Come Follow Me


What's in the Study Companion?

The first book consists 100 unique journaling pages, 2 pages that are specific to each week's lesson.  As the kids read the Book of Mormon for the week, they will have pictures to color or draw, questions to answer, and prompts to help them get the most out of what they are reading. The ideas for the activities were taken directly from the Come Follow Me manual for Individuals and Families and the Come Follow Me manual for Primary.

Book of Mormon Study Companion for kids pink

In addition, there is a reading chart for them to keep track of their reading for the year, a lesson schedule that shows the dates for each lesson, and two different sets of tabs that can be printed as stickers and used however you'd like.

Book of Mormon study companion

What's in the People of the Book of Mormon Study Companion?

This book is 70 pages, with 35 people from the Book of Mormon to learn about.  On one side is a coloring page, and on the facing page is a journal page for the kids to write about what they learn as they read. The list includes "good guys" and "bad guys" because there is something important we can learn from all of them!  They will answer these questions for each person:

  • Who is [this person]?
  • Retell [this person]'s story in your own words
  • Important things I learn from [this person]
  • Learning about [this person] helps me to follow Jesus by:
People of the Book of Mormon Study Companion

ideas to Use the Book of Mormon Study Companion 

As I said before, one of the goals as I was creating these Come Follow Me Study Companions was to make things as simple as they could be for parents while creating something fun for the kids. There are so many possibilities, but here are some of the things I had in mind while creating them:

Nephi Coloring Book page

Here's Nephi!

Just a Coloring Book for Younger kids

If you have littles, maybe they aren't ready for the journal activities, but that doesn't mean they can't start learning who the people of the Book of Mormon are!  Print just the coloring pages for them.

Morph IT Into One Big Book

If you choose to get both books, you can easily mesh them together by adding the people into the workbook where they appear in the Book of Mormon.  This can add another interesting thing to study as you read through and come across these characters.

Create the book and add a binder

You might choose to print the whole Book of Mormon Study Companion and have it bound with a coil binding, or punch it and put it in a binder all at once.  This is an especially fun idea as it would make a really awesome Christmas gift, or a fun gift to give at the beginning of the year as you introduce the new year and start your Book of Mormon study.

Need some help planning?

Grab this free Come Follow Me Organizer bundle to help you get started!  Includes a weekly family plan and individual study plan as well as a page for meeting notes and more! I'll send it right to your inbox, just click the link!

Hold Back and give the Pages Weekly

Maybe you want to have a little more control over how the kids use them and when.  You might decide to print them as you need them weekly and incorporate them into your weekly Family Home Evening or Come Follow Me scripture study time.  This is what we did with the Activity Days journal pages that I talked about in this post.

Make a Composition Book Journal

These DIY journals are super easy to make for just about any age!  The pages of the Book of Mormon Study Companion are full sized, but could easily be scaled down to be glued into a composition book each week as part of your regular scripture study.

Supplement your Primary Lessons

If you're a Primary teacher, these pages could easily be used as something the kids could take home to help them keep studying during the week.  Or you could send them home with the pages for the coming lesson to help them better prepare for your lesson to come.  Since many of the discussion questions are taken directly from the Come Follow Me manual for Primary, these will be a really nice supplement to what they are learning in class.

Keep it simple!

These Book of Mormon Study Companion workbooks are meant to help make scripture study fun for kids without putting pressure on you to do more than you have time to do each week.  I wanted it to be something simple that could just be printed and used, and I wanted it to be something that really did help the kids learn from the Book of Mormon, which is the actual goal of scripture study in the first place.

If you'd like to print out a simple one page worksheet that is similar to what you'll find in the Study Companions, you can find a few free pages that went with the New Testament study in my ​Resource Library.

Get your copy of the workbooks now!

Both workbooks come in two color schemes, or get both colors and both workbooks in the bundle!  Available right now in my Etsy shop!

Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Party Setup

I will admit that I am sort of a Halloween junkie, and when it comes to parties, nothing can beat a Halloween party. There are so many fun ideas for Halloween that you could throw a party every year and not even repeat the same fun activities!  Plus a Halloween party can be fun for adults and kids alike. 

Looking for some Themed printables for your next party?

Check out my "Spooktacular" Halloween Party Theme in the shop! Instant download so you can start prepping right away!

Start with a theme for your halloween party

Every party needs to start with a theme.  Maybe you think "Halloween" is in and of itself a theme, and that is true, it can be.  But there are also endless ideas to narrow it down.  This will help with decorations and games, as you can tie everything all in together.

Is your party going to be cutesy or scary?  Are you throwing it for adults or kids, or a combination of both?  The guests that you're inviting should play a roll in choosing your theme.  Throwing a Halloween party with a "slasher movies of the 80s" theme might not be your best bet if your party is for 8 year olds.

printables for a Halloween party

Here are a few themes you might consider, but remember that the possibilities are endless:

  • Classic Horror Movies
  • Hocus Pocus
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Harry Potter
  • Monster Mash
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • Charlie Brown Halloween
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents
  • Murder Mystery Dinner

What about the Activities?

Here are some great ideas to use for your next Halloween party!  Most of them can be adapted for a Halloween party for kids, adults or families, depending on how you "execute" them.

Scavenger Hunt

The old throw-back for Halloween parties is the good ol' Scavenger Hunt!  There are a lot of variations on this activity, too. The traditional way of going door to door with a list still works, but if you don't want the littles venturing away from home, you can do them right where you are.

Looking for a good list? You can print one here! Or if you're looking for a good list for a photo scavenger hunt, you can find a creative list here.

Eyeball Hunt

Similar to an Easter Egg hunt, scatter eyeballs around the yard and house and let the kids search for them!  Or you could cut out a bunch of bats from black construction paper and hide those as well.

Internet Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of questions that need to be answered by searching on the Internet.  You will need to have computers, tablets or phones for this one, so be sure to ask people to bring them fully charged!

Photo Scavenger HUnt

This one is my personal favorite!  Now that most people carry around a phone with a camera, it's an easy one to do.  This is going to work best for families or adults, as they will need to do some driving around to find the items on the list. 

Sound/video scavenger Hunt

I remember doing this back in my college days and toting around a tape recorder!  This would be much easier to do now, with cell phones.  Make a list of sounds to be recorded or things that have to be caught on video.

Cupcake Wrappers and Toppers

Fun With Food

What kind of a party would it be without food?  You could opt for the typical Halloween Party chili cook-off, or you can just have whatever food you want to serve, labeled with some fun or spooky Halloween names.

Have a Dessert Contest

Have your guests participate in providing the food by having a dessert contest with prizes!  You could have several categories, like the best tasting, scariest looking, best theme-related, or most creative.

A Donut Eating Race

Hang glazed donuts from strings, tie hands behind backs, and let the guests have at the donuts, using nothing but their faces to control the donuts as they swing!  This can be all kinds of messy fun so be sure to have wipes or napkins available after the race is over. And be sure to get a lot of pictures!

Guessing Games

A fun passive activity to have your guests participate in is any game that requires them to try to guess how many of something is in a container.  You could use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or candy corn.

And speaking of candy corn...

Halloween Party Candy Bars

These fun candy bar wrappers are part of the printable Halloween Party set in my shop

Have a Relay race or Two!

Relay races are a fun way to get everyone in the party interacting with everyone else!

Candy Corn Relay

Guests are split off into teams.  Each member of the team takes turns carrying spoonfuls of candy corns to move them from one bowl to the next.  The trick is, everyone has to have their hands behind their backs, and carry the spoon in their mouth.  You can determine the winner by who empties their bowl the fastest, or who has the most candy corns in their bowl at the finish line after a designated time.

Play "Head" Waiter

This is also a relay game.  Players need to carry a"head" (a balloon with a face drawn on) on a tray, carrying the tray in one hand like a waiter, down and around an obstacle and back again.  If their "head" blows or falls off the tray, they have to start again.

Have a SKeleton Scavenger Relay

This is a great activity that requires some planning ahead.  You'll need some large plastic skeletons, which you should be able to find at the dollar store.  If you can find them in colors, all the better, but if not, you'll need some colored tags or stickers. Disassemble the skeletons and hide all the pieces.

Split guests up into teams and assign them a color. One by one, have them race off to look for a piece of the skeleton.  The next person can't leave until the first one is back with a piece.  Once they have all the pieces, they have to work as a team to assemble their skeleton. The first team done wins!

Halloween Party Invitations

Unique invitations can set the tone for your themed Halloween Party!

Do some Pumpkin Activities

No Halloween party is complete without  pumpkins. 

Carve or Decorate Them

This involves a pretty big space, depending on how big your group is.  If you don't want the mess of carving, you can also choose to use paint or markers.  If you don't want the hassle of doing it at the party, but still want the ambience of carved pumpkins, have everyone carve before coming and turn it into a contest!  

Pumpkin Bowling

Draw ghost faces on some rolls of toilet paper and stack them up.  You'll need some small hand-sized pumpkins with the stems cut off to use as the bowling balls.  Be sure the "lane" isn't too long because pumpkins just kind of bounce along in a not very straight line.

Be Chill

Maybe you don't want your entire Halloween Party to be spent running around but prefer some other low-key activities.

Play a Horror Movie Trivia Game

You can find a whole list of trivia games all based on different horror themes, from the Universal Studios monsters to trivia lists for true horror movie fans. 

Play "Would You rather" Halloween Edition

This can be a fun Halloween Party game that can cause a lot of laughs! In fact, I have a fun FREE printable for you with some questions to use! You can grab that below:


Grab your free printable here:

Would You Rather Game Halloween Party
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    I hope these ideas give you a great starting point to get planning your perfect Halloween party! If you haven't had a chance yet, be sure to check out my Spooktacular Halloween Party Pack of printable decorations. The pack includes invitations, cupcake wrappers and toppers, a Happy Halloween banner, napkin and water bottle wrappers, and more. (Including my personal favorites, super fun candy bar wrappers!)  You can check it out here in the shop!

    A Fun Family Tradition: Conference Crepes!

    Start a fun family tradition for General Conference

    One of my favorite things about Fall is the fun family traditions that come with the start of the holiday season.  And that includes the weekend of General Conference!  I just wrote a post about getting kids to pay attention to General Conference and one of the suggestions was to find a way to incorporate some fun family traditions that kids can look forward to when they know Conference time is coming.

    A Fun Family tradition for General Conference

    There are so many fun family traditions when you start looking for them, anything from special Family Home Evenings to games leading up to Conference. A lot of people have a cinnamon roll tradition--I see that one all over the internet, and who doesn't love a great ooey, gooey cinnamon roll?  But several years ago I bought a kitchen appliance that quickly turned into one of my FAVORITES--a crepe maker!

    This post contains affiliate links, for which I may make a small commission if you click on them at no cost to you.  Just know that I promise I will never recommend anything that I don't use myself and LOVE.

    Our Fun Family Tradition

    On Sunday Morning before General Conference starts, our tradition is a crepes bar.  It's easy to make the crepes, and an easy clean up, which are two of the reasons I love this tradition.  Plus they are yummy and versatile! You can have all kinds of fillings and toppings to suit everyone's tastes.

    Need a journal for conference?

    I have some great printable journals for both adults and kids! Click the link below to check them out!

    Want to try some conference crepes?

    If you'd like to give this fun family tradition a try, I've got some helpful tips for you to make it successful and easy:

    #1 You need a crepe maker

    Sure, you can struggle through making crepes the old fashioned way if you want to, but why?  This cordless crepe maker is seriously one of the best, fun kitchen gadgets I've ever purchased!  You pour the batter right in the shallow bowl that comes with it, then dip the crepe maker in it, put it back on the stand to cook for a minute, then the crepe slides right off. No flipping necessary.

    I can pump out two batches worth of crepes in no time. And it's super easy to clean it when you're done.

    It's fast, so I make all the crepes quickly and then we all eat together. (Think waffle maker and how long it takes--this is nothing like that.)

    Crepe Maker making crepes

    This is really a clean, easy and fast process!  Here's my crepe maker in action!

    #2 Make your crepe batter the night before!

    I make my crepe batter in the blender, which is super easy and gets the batter nice and smooth.  This is another reason I love this tradition, it really is pretty minimal work.  But it's also important that you make the batter the night before if at all possible.  This is actually a crucial step for two reasons:

    For one thing, it is one less thing to do on Sunday morning.  You make it, clean up your blender, and you're done.

    For another thing, the batter needs time to settle and let go of all the bubbles.  You'll end up with holey crepes if you don't let the batter rest.

    #3 Be creative with your flavors

    Since the crepes cook so fast, I usually make two different flavors.  My favorite are chocolate and vanilla, just because they go with everything and are the most basic flavors.  But I've also used a recipe for cinnamon crepes before.  This is really just personal preference, and any crepe recipe you already have will work with the crepe maker. And what flavor you decide on will largely depend on whether you want to go with sweet, savory or both.  

    Want to try some crepes?

    Conference Crepes Recipe

    Grab a FREE copy of my recipe here!  (If you have my General Conference Journal it is designed to match as well!)

    #4 Make your filling on Sunday Morning

    If you choose to make the cream filling (I'm going to include the recipe) you'll think it's a good idea to make it the night before, but actually it's not. It only takes a few minutes, and the longer it sits, the more set up it will be. You want it to be smooth and creamy, so it's best to make it right before you're serving it.

    #5 Go sweet!

    You can honestly fill the crepes with anything your family will like!  That's probably my favorite part of this fun family tradition, the ability to customize it.  Here is a list of what I usually bring to the crepe bar:

    Homemade fruit sauce

    Homemade fruit sauce is one of my favorites!  Put some berries on the stove with some sugar, cornstarch and a little water and let them simmer!

    • Fruit--strawberries, bananas, and peaches are my favorite!
    • Pie filling (they are all good, but the apple is the best!)
    • Nutella or Biscoff Cookie Butter
    • Cream filling and/or Cream Cheese filling
    • Peanut Butter
    • Homemade fruit sauce (I usually opt for blueberry or blackberry)
    • Syrup
    • Powdered Sugar
    • Whipped Cream (the kind in the spray can is awesome)
    Crepes with blackberry topping

    I'm all about the fruit!  Bananas inside with nutella or this fruit sauce are the best!

    basic crepes

    Some people in my family are minimalists and like just filling and whipped cream.  they are delicious any way to eat them!

    #6 Go Savory! 

    Maybe the last thing you want to do is get your kids all hopped up on sugar right before you expect them to sit down and listen to Conference. In that case, you can go with savory toppings and fillings.

    • Bacon Bits
    • Crumbled sausage
    • Scrambled eggs
    • Diced peppers
    • Diced onions
    • Shredded Cheese
    • Hash browns or cubed potatoes
    • Country gravy, Hollandaise sauce, or salsa

    Looking for the Come Follow Me journal pages?

    God Loveth a Cheerful Giver Come Follow Me Lesson Helps

    Grab the journal pages to go with "God Loveth a Cheerful Giver" here!  For other lessons, be sure to visit the Resource Library!

    Make this fun family tradition anything you want it to be!

    This really is a fun thing we do every time Conference rolls around and even my adult children still love it.  

    Starting a fun family tradition that includes breakfast on Sunday morning really can set the tone for General Conference.  It can give you a change to sit down together as a family, maybe review what you heard on Saturday, prepare to listen on Sunday, and just have some fun together.

    Tips to Get Your Kids to Pay Attention to Conference

    Tips to help your kids pay attention to General Conference

    Paying attention to General Conference can be challenging under the best of circumstances, let alone when you have kids.  But getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference can be even harder.  Even now that my kids are grown I struggle.   I wouldn't trade the ability to be comfortable and watching from home for anything.  And now that it's streaming online, that option is pretty available for a lot of us, but it must makes it hard to keep my eyes open sometimes.

    It isn't that I find it boring, because that definitely isn't the problem.  Maybe it's the soothing, calm voices of the speakers.  Combine that with the comfort of my couch and the fact that I may or may not have chosen to get dressed before it started, and I think I'm doomed from the start.

    I remember being a kid during General Conference

    Those days were a long time ago.  Back in the days before remote controls and DVRs, when you either watched when it was on or you didn't get to see it. And if you didn't live in Utah, you went to a church to watch. I also remember dreading it because it felt boring to me. Now I love it, and it's hard to imagine that there was a time when I didn't.  

    Tips to help your kids pay attention to General Conference

    So, how do you get your kids to pay attention to General Conference?

    These days I feel like it's more important than ever to foster a love of listening to the prophet when he speaks in children when they are young.  It sounds cliche to say it, but the world is a rougher place than it was when I was growing up, and they need the testimony and strength than comes from our modern day prophets now more than ever.

    I also think it's possible to get them to pay attention and even enjoy it.  With the right approach, you can turn General Conference into something that the kids will look forward to every six months.

    Help your kids enjoy Conference!

    I have a some fun new workbooks for kids with 21 unique pages including puzzles, stickers and coloring pages! Two different designs available!

    General Conference Workbook for Boys
    General Conference Companion for Girls

    Tip #1: Make it an event

    Start talking about General Conference weeks before it happens.  Make sure it's on the family calendar and everyone knows about it.  Have a family council to discuss it and get everyone's input on what they'd like to do to make it a special occasion.  When the kids have their say in how to prepare and make it awesome, they will be more invested in participating.


    Related Post: Helping Kids Learn the Come Follow Me Lessons

    And be sure to grab the Come Follow Me Worksheets for kids in the Resource Library!


    Tip #2: Schedule around it

    Sometimes it can be hard to commit to all sessions of Conference, especially the Saturday meetings.  Your kids will pay attention to General Conference when they understand that it is important enough to forego other activities in order to give it priority. ​

    That can be hard, especially when many times kids have sports events that are scheduled for that day. Consider asking the kids how they feel about missing a game that week. Or, if that isn't an option, have a family meeting to discuss how you'll deal with the session of Conference that you're missing.  It's important for them to know that it's a big deal that you're missing it.  Taking the time to talk about it will send that message.

    Tip #3: Start a fun family tradition

    At our house, we have Conference Crepes on Sunday morning before the meeting starts.  While I may make crepes other times of the year, Conference Sunday is the only time I do a Crepes Bar.  I make two kinds of crepes, and put out a spread of fillings, fruit, and toppings for everyone to create their own. I am hoping to continue this tradition when my kids are married with children and inviting the whole family if they want to come.

    Get your kids to pay attention to General Conference by making it a part of something bigger.  It will make it feel important when it gets wrapped in a fun family tradition.

    I know there are a lot of people that do cinnamon rolls for Conference, too.  But your family tradition doesn't have to be about food.  Maybe you could start having a special Family Home Evening the night before Conference begins.  Or plan to visit the local temple and walk the grounds together.  It can be simple but it should be something everyone can look forward to every six months when it's time for Conference again.

    Tip #4: Pay attention to General Conference yourself

    One of the simplest and best ways to get your kids to pay attention to General Conference is to make sure you are also paying attention.  Even though you may be good at multi-tasking, all the kids will see is that you're doing something other than watching.

    I know one of the hardest times for me is on Sunday afternoon when it is starting to be time to cook dinner.  I tend to want to cook a big dinner, and that means getting up and starting rolls, etc.  I am listening, because the family room and the kitchen are combined in my house, but it's important to remember that kids don't see you listening, they see you doing something else.

    I have abandoned this particular need to have the dinner ready right when Conference is over so that I can continue to watch without interruption.

    Looking for a Way get More out of Conference?

    General Conference Journal

    Check out my General Conference Journal in the shop!  It has 16 unique pages that you can use to keep track of what you hear and learn during Conference, or to study Conference afterwards.

    Tip #5: Make sure guests coming over are on the same page

    Getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference is going to be exponentially harder the more people you add to the mix. I know for many families, Conference weekend is a great time to get together. When there are no church meetings to attend, it becomes a weekend that many extended families choose to travel and visit each other.  Having family come to stay is great, but before they come, discuss your expectations so everyone is working together. 

    Tip #6: Introduce them to the General Authorities

    As you study the scriptures, your kids are learning all about the prophets and their scripture heroes. But how much do they know about the living Prophet and Apostles?  Taking the time to teach them who these men are can help the kids see them as real people that live real lives, and that can go a long way to help them relate to them and want to learn what they are teaching.  There is so much more to know than just their names.

    Telling stories of where they were born, what kind of job they had, or stories from their youth can go a long way in getting kids to pay attention to General Conference because they will see those that are speaking in a different way.

    Another great idea is to teach them about the callings of other leaders that may be speaking.  What does the Presiding Bishopric do?  What are the roles of the Seventy?  Helping the kids to understand those roles will bring new meaning to the talks given by those leaders.



    Tip #7 Take a trip to see General Conference live at the Conference Center, if possible

    This may not be possible for your family depending on where you are located, but if you ever get the chance, being there in person turns General Conference into an entirely new experience.  There is something about being there and being a part of the crowd that brings life to it.  Getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference when you're watching it on TV the next time will be different after they've been there.

    Tip #8 Make it FUN

    There are a plethora of fun games and activities all over the internet that you can do to make General Conference fun for kids. Find the activity that works for your family, and if one thing doesn't work, try something else next time.  And be sure to check out my General Conference Workbooks for kids over in my shop!

    I think the important part about getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference is making sure they understand the purpose of it:  that it is a sacred and important event when we get to hear our Prophet because he is speaking to us on behalf of the Savior and our Heavenly Father.  So despite the activity that you choose, it should be treated in a reverent manner. 

    I hope these tips help you have the best General Conference experience ever!  Have a tip that I didn't mention?  Feel free to drop it in the comments and share!

    Helping Kids Learn the Come Follow Me lessons

    Helping Kids learn the Come Follow Me Lessons

    Welcome to another great week of Come Follow Me!

    I've been thinking a lot lately about how the Come Follow Me lessons are going for the kids.  It can be hard to be consistent when it comes to helping kids learn the Come Follow Me lessons, and I have written a few posts about it recently.  

    This is going to be a short post because I have been working on something that I want to share, and I want to get it out there right away so anyone that wants it can use it.

    Looking for the FREE Journaling Pages this week?

    Grab the journal pages for the "Ye Are the Body of Christ" lesson here!  Be sure to sign up for the newsletter if you'd like to receive each week's new pages right to your inbox along with the talks that go with the lesson for you to print.  Just click the link!

    Helping Kids Learn the Come Follow Me lessons

    I talked in a previous post called Tips to Keep Your Family Engaged in Come Follow Me about some of the things you can do to keep your family engaged.  One of the things I mentioned was having hands-on activities for them to do.

    A Lesson From my time in Activity Days

    As an Activity Days leader, my partner and I learned right away that one of the challenges was what to do with the girls while we were waiting for the activity to start.  Several of the girls liked to show up early, and several of them were notoriously late.  In the interest of not starting without everyone, yet also not catering to the late girls, we came up with a plan

    That was where the idea of the Activity Days Journal was born.  You can read all about the journals here.  (And if you decide you'd like to make some to use to help your kids learn Come Follow Me, the very easy instructions for making them can be found on this post: The Easiest DIY Journal You'll Ever Make.)


    Related Post: Tips to Get Your Kids to Pay Attention to Conference

    Related: Need some fun workbooks for you kids to use during General Conference?  Check out the two fun designs here!


    I had no idea these journals would be such a hit!

    Not only did the girls LOVE the journals, but the girls that were late actually started coming a little earlier. Plus, when it was time to start the activity, we actually had a hard time pulling the girls away from their journals.

    The girls that came into our group at a later date loved them so much they wanted all the journal pages that they had missed, too.

    I was thinking about these journals the other day, and it gave me a great idea...

     Come Follow Me Journal for kids

    I have been doing these journaling pages for adults, but hadn't even thought about how kids might love them too.  I haven't completely honed in on my vision just yet, but I have a start.  And one of the things I have been trying to do is let go of my need to make things perfect and just get them finished.  So that's where I am right now.

    The most important thing is helping kids learn the Come Follow Me lessons, and I'm pretty sure kids will love these.

    They are a little different than the pages I have been making for adults, because I wanted them to be kid friendly.  That means a little less writing and a little more space to do other things.  So the pages are black and white, with headings and pictures to color, as well as places for them to interact with the message of the lesson, get them thinking, and write down their thoughts.

    Free Printable worksheet for kids for the Come Follow Me lessons
    Plus no prep work for parents, other than printing the pages.

    Unless you want to make the journals I talked about earlier.  I am planning to start creating a page like this to go with each week's lesson, so it will be up to you what you'd like to do with them.  

    Grab your FREE download here!

    Ye Are the Body of Christ worksheet for kids

    Get the FREE Come Follow Me journal page for kids here!  There will be a new page with each lesson, so if you sign up for the newsletter, I'll send it straight to your inbox every week in time for that week's lesson! Click the link below to grab the one that goes with this week's lesson.

    Other Lesson Helps for this week's lesson

    I hope these ideas will help you with your Come Follow Me studies this week, and especially when it comes to helping your kids learn the Come Follow Me lessons!

    Round-up: SVG files to Cut with your Cricut!

    Find Free SVG Files to cut with your Cricut

    The other day I went into my craft room and used my Cricut to make some stickers.  It seems like it's been far too long since I cut anything!  I have a million SVG files to cut with my Cricut, and it is far and away my FAVORITE thing to do, but I've just been busy.  So making those stickers reminded me once again why I love it so much!

    Maybe you have a different cutting machine, like a Sillhouette or a Pazzle.  I don't know much about those machines because I've never had one, but one of the best things about your run of the mill SVG files is that they will work with any of the machines!  But if you're a paper crafter and you don't have a cutting machine, now is the time!  You will be sorry you waited so long!

    This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on them, I may make a small commission, but it's important to know that I only recommend items that I use myself and LOVE.

    You might be asking--Where do you find SVG files?

    Cricut used to rely 100% on cartridges, but all that has changed now, and it was the best change Cricut ever made!  Now Cricut has it's own library with TONS of files to choose from, and they have some amazing things there.  But there is no reason to stop there because depending on what you're looking for, there are free files everywhere!  I have seen a lot of lists online for places to get free  SVG files, but those lists seem overwhelming, so I didn't want to create just a big long list. Instead, here is a round-up of my favorite sites to find SVG files and why I love them. And most of them have FREE files for you to download.

    Cricut!

    You might remember the days of needing cartridges for all your Cricut cutting, but did you know that Cricut actually has a lot of FREE PROJECTS available all the time?  These projects change all the time, so it's a good idea to check back often to see if there is something there that you don't want to miss out on! Click on this link to check out the free projects they have right now.  You'll need to sign in to your Cricut account, or create one (it's free to create) in order to see them.

    Creative Fabrica

    Every day the folks over at creativefabrica.com have free gifts that you can download.  There is usually a free font, a free graphic, and a free craft.  Plus they have a rotating deal that goes for roughly 10 days where there are about 20 files that you can get for a dollar apiece.  You just want to be aware of what type of file you are downloading.  A graphic is just going to be clipart, so if that's what you're looking for, great.  But if you're looking for a cut file, that is different. Take a look at their Daily Gifts here and feel free to grab them while you're there!

    Dreaming Tree

    This may very well be the best site out there for paper crafters.  The SVG files that they offer are beyond amazing!  You can get anything from an entire village, to a vase of flowers, or a pop-up card.  Their instructions for cutting their SVG files are also very clear, so I have never had a problem cutting one of their designs.  They do offer some FREE files, so if you want to try one before you purchase anything, you can! Many of their files are going to be more complicated, but they are beautiful when finished!

    They also have tutorials about using Design Space or Sure Cuts A Lot that are helpful.

    My Scrap Chick

    I may or may not have purchased nearly every SVG file on her site.  You can find her at myscrapchick.com. The best thing about her files, is that they also come in PDF format, so if you need to cut them by hand, you can do that too.  If you sign up for her newsletter, she sends out a FREE SVG file every Friday!  But you have to be signed up, and you have to remember to grab it.  Once the week is over, it's available for sale but you've missed the chance to get it for free.  She has files from simple to more complex, and I love that you get a picture tutorial with many of the files that shows you how to assemble things.

    Scrapbooking a pet? Check out my post about tips for getting the best photos to scrapbook your pet: 5 Great Ideas to Help You Scrapbook Your Pet and grab a free printable list of title ideas too!

    Miss Kate Cuttables

    If you're a scrapbooker, you'll love Miss Kate Cuttables because she has themes that go with many of the things you're scrapbooking every day!  Her patterns are a little more simple and easy to cut, which is great because it doesn't take a lot of time to put them together.  She offers one free SVG file a week, you just have to stop by her site to download it.  One of my favorite things about her site is her brand new coordinating paper packs.  I ran into her booth at the most recent Scrapbook Expo that I attended, and grabbed a bunch of her packs.  The paper is high quality, and it's single sided.

    How to Find Free SVG files to cut with your Cricut

    LoveSVG

    Lovesvg.com has tons of SVG files, and you can download free files to your heart's content.  I have visited their site on any given day and walked away with a good 30-50 SVG files to cut with my Cricut by the time I'm done.  Their patterns are super simple, and if you're into vinyl and like to do things like shirts or the like, these files are perfect for those types of projects.  There is no catch and nothing to sign up for, you can just download away.

    And Many, Many More...

    There are a lot of sites where you can get free SVG files to cut with your Cricut, but rather than giving you an enormous overwhelming list, I decided to really concentrate on these few sites, just because they are my favorite and most often visited.  I'm familiar with their files and how my projects turn out when I use them, so I can honestly recommend anything you get from them.

    Happy Crafting!

    How to Ensure Clean Perfect Cuts with your Cricut

    How to Get Perfect Cuts With your Cricut Every time

    I have never been shy about saying that my Cricut is my favorite paper crafting tool.  I owned a Cricut back when they were brand new on the scene, and I've upgraded to new machines almost every time they have introduced one.  The best thing about using my Cricut so often is that I have learned a lot of tricks to make it easier to use.  The tricks I want to share with you today will help you get clean, crisp, perfect cuts with your Cricut every time you use it, regardless of what you're cutting or the size you're trying to cut.

    Get Perfect Cuts with Cricut every time

    I know the frustration that comes when you're trying to cut intricate things and all that happens is your paper gets shredded, or maybe it doesn't cut all the way through.  In those early years with that brand new Cricut I experienced it a LOT.

    One of the best things about the new Cricut machines is the ability to use your own fonts, and to cut any SVG you want, including ones that you make yourself.  Most of the stuff I cut is small, and it has taken some time to figure out how to get perfect cuts with Cricut every time so I could stop wasting paper and time.

    This post contains affiliate links which may pay me a small commission if you click on them, but it is at no cost to you. I only recommend products I USE and LOVE and know you will love them too!

    Cricut has improved a LOT from that first machine!

    If you had one of the early machines, you're probably aware of the limitations that came with it.  In it's day, it was still my favorite tool.  And maybe you got frustrated and gave up.  I hope not, because the new machines are amazing!  I have the Cricut Explore Air and I love it.  The newest machine is the Cricut Maker, but I haven't taken the jump to that machine yet because the Explore Air does everything that I need and I'm extremely happy with it. With the right materials and the right know-how, you will realize how easy is is to get perfect cuts with your Cricut.  And I'm going to show you some examples of the things I've cut to prove it!



    Tip #1: You can't get perfect cuts if you don't have the right paper

    Once upon a time, I was trying to cut out a haunted house.  It wasn't even a small intricate design. It was just a house.  I was cutting it out of black paper, so I slapped the paper on my mat and proceeded to cut. Except it didn't cut, it just ripped it all up.  I could see pieces of the paper gathering around the blade, and ended up cancelling the cut and unloading the mat.  When I tried removing the paper from the mat, it stuck to it, peeling it up, curling it as it went, and basically nearly destroying my mat. I was furious.

    Three attempts later, three mats coated in crappy curled up shredded paper and still no haunted house, I was ready to throw in the towel.  And yes, I think I was cursing the name Cricut.

    But the sad thing is, it wasn't the Cricut's fault. It was the crappy paper I was using.  

    Not to speak ill of Hobby Lobby or anything, because I honestly love their store and shop there all the time, but their cheap packs of plain colored cardstock are not meant to be used with Cricut.  Don't do it.  That paper is thin and pulpy, so it falls apart at the drop of a hat. You will never get clean cuts with that paper, even if you're cutting nothing but a giant circle.  Plus it will stick to your mat when you try to peel it up. It's great paper for other things, and the price is great, but it's not what you want for perfect cuts with Cricut.

    Wizarding World of Harry Potter

    This whole title is actually only three inches tall from top to bottom.  I was able to cut these intricate letters with my Cricut and get a clean crisp cut because I used the right PAPER.  This particular paper is from American Crafts.

    Wizarding World of Harry Potter

    I love being able to create my own titles with my own fonts for any page I'm doing!  These letters are some of the smallest I have ever cut.  The "Chooses the Wizard" words are 3/4 inch tall.  Sadly, the "e" in the word "the" got stuck to another piece of paper after I'd glued it and it ripped off part of the letter when I pulled them apart.  But that was my own stupid error--the Cricut cut it perfectly. This was also cut with the American Crafts paper.

    The ONLY paper I use:

    That doesn't mean you need to break the bank buying expensive paper, you just have to know what to buy. And some of it is cheaper than you think.

    • Buy paper directly from cricut.com.  Sometimes it feels like you'll get a better deal at a big box store like Hobby Lobby where you can use a coupon, but truthfully, Cricut's paper and other supplies right on their website are a great deal, and they run sales often (including free shipping offers)!  I usually watch for the paper packs to go on sale and stock up. If I can get the packs for anything under $7 for the 12 x 12 packs, that's a great deal.  This paper is LITERALLY made for the Cricut, so you'll get a clean, crisp cut every time!
    • American Crafts paper is actually my all-time favorite.  I love ALL the colors available and it cuts so clean!  The price tag can be a little higher, but it goes on sale a LOT, so if you watch for it, you can pick it up for a great price. The best place I have found online to get it is at Scrapbook.com because they have every single set!
    • Colorbok paper is one of the BEST purchases for my Cricut ever! Not only does it give me a perfect cut every time, but the paper peels off the mat nicely and doesn't leave a lot of "paper residue" behind that I have to scrape off.  That means the mats last longer too, so this is a double win.  Plus it is such a great price it can't be beat! I never pay more than $5 for a pad of it and it's the only black paper I use just because it cuts cleaner than any other paper and it's quite thin. The other nice thing about Colorbok paper is that you can get it with texture or smooth, depending on your preference.  Word of warning though--it has a white core, so if that is something that will bother you, steer clear of this paper! The American Crafts paper and Cricut paper do not have the white core.


    Tip #2 Your mats need to be clean!

    Notice that I didn't say that your mats need to be NEW.  I have been using the same mats for a long time, but there are some things to watch for to make sure you're able to get perfect cuts.

    Be sure you are cleaning off the residue from previous cuts.  

    If you have fuzz, lint, hair, or microscopic bits of paper stuck to the mat it's going to interfere with your blade. There is advice all over the internet about how to clean your mats, and some of that advice is BAD.  I clean my mats two ways and they both work, and don't require buying anything that you don't already have around the house.

    The first way is to use a drop of liquid dish soap and a washcloth.

    Put it under running water and scrub it. Don't worry that you're going to remove all the stickiness because it will magically appear again when the mat is dry.  Once you're sure it's clean, set it aside and let it air dry.

    The second way is to use disinfecting wipes like baby wipes or Clorox wipes.

     I use about three of them per mat, and I really scrub them hard.  When you do it, it will feel like you're ruining it.  The first time I tried it I was sure I'd scrubbed all the adhesive off and I was panicking.  Once you've scrubbed them, run them under the water to rinse, then set them aside to air dry.  

    I prefer the wipes because I feel like it gets them cleaner, but the dish soap works too if you don't have wipes on hand.

    Be sure you're not cutting with too much pressure.

    If you're cutting super thin paper on a heavy cardstock setting, you're putting grooves in your mats that will make getting perfect, clean cuts nearly impossible.  There's no way to not end up with cut marks on your mats, but make sure you're using the right settings for your paper so you don't make deep grooves.

    And, truth be told, you're more likely to get clean crisp cuts with your Cricut when you cut them on the lightest setting your can for the paper you're using anyway.  I'll talk more about that in a minute.

    Replace the mats when you need to.

    If you are not getting the perfect cuts with your Cricut that you're hoping for, and your adhesive seems to be disappearing, you see a lot of grooves or deep cuts in your mat, or you just can't get them as clean as you wish you could, it's time to cut your losses and buy a new mat or two.  In my opinion, it just isn't worth the aggravation of having everything rip or look shaggy just to save a few bucks.

    Have multiple mats

    I actually have a LOT of mats.  There are a lot of reasons I have so many, but the reason I want to bring up here is this: if I am not getting the clean, crisp cuts I'm hoping for, I set the mat aside and move on to another mat. Then when I get some time, I clean the ones I was having trouble with. I rotate through all the mats, so they are all wearing at the same rate.  Having a lot of mats keeps me working when I want to work without the interruption of stopping to try and clean my mats and let them dry.



    Tip #3 Make sure you have the right blades and keep them sharp!

    This goes hand in hand with the tip about the mats.  It is not worth the aggravation you'll experience trying to continue using a blade that is worn out. There is no possible way to get perfect cuts with a dull blade.

    I use the German Carbide blade (now called the Premium Fine Point blade), and I bought a huge pack of them awhile ago. They are FABULOUS, however, looking at them on the website and on Amazon, it seems they may have changed the blade and many people are saying they aren't as good as they used to be, so I can't in good conscience recommend them at this point.  In the meantime, the regular blades for your particular machine will work great, just be sure to replace them when needed.

    If you've been doing a lot of cutting, it's always a good idea to remove the blade and make sure there is no lint or tiny paper residue tucked up inside the housing.  You can also stab the blade into a ball of foil to sharpen it and that will extend the life of the blade.

    Once you've got all the necessary supplies, getting clean, crisp cuts with your Cricut is easy!

    I absolutely love cutting small, intricate designs with my Cricut.  Since I am a fan of putting a lot of pictures on my scrapbook pages, there just isn't room for some of the large projects I see. That means having to cut down on the size. Sometimes I make things REALLY small.  And small is adorable. Follow these steps when you're ready to start cutting:

    Clean tiny cuts with Cricut

    It's probably hard to tell without context of the whole page, but these are some of my FAVORITE tiny pieces that I have made.  That Squidward is just 1 1/4 inches tall, his house is just over 2 inches tall.  Check out Gary's teeth and Spongebob's arms and socks--those are some of the tiniest things I have ever cut with my Cricut and following the tips in this post, I got a clean crisp cut on the first try.

    Cut tiny things with your Cricut

    Here's a closer look at Spongebob and Patrick, who is next to him on the page.  The whole scene from Bikini Bottom fit on the bottom of one 12 x 12 page. Patrick was cut from the smooth Colorbok paper, while his house was cut from the American Crafts paper because I wanted his rock to have some texture.

    Step #1  Choose the right material

    If you are layering a paper pieced item, you might want to pay attention to textures.  Highly textured paper is going to cut a little rougher than smooth paper, so take that into consideration.  Any of the paper I mentioned above works great for all the projects I do, and I do a lot of paper piecing.

    Step #2 Choose the right pressure settings

    I spoke earlier about using lighter pressure vs. heavy pressure.  Pay attention to your settings. If you are cutting larger intricate pieces, go down one setting from what the normal setting would be (for example, light cardstock when you might otherwise choose cardstock) If you are cutting small, intricate pieces, turn the pressure down two notches.

    For example, if I am cutting standard cardstock, I will set my pressure to vinyl.  It will likely not cut all the way through with one pass, but that's okay.

    1. Go ahead and hit cut, then DO NOT REMOVE THE MAT when it is finished, and just hit cut again.  
    2. After the second cut, DO NOT REMOVE THE MAT AGAIN, use your tool to try to peel the piece up on an edge, just to see if it cut all the way through.  
    3. If not, be sure the paper is still tight on the mat and cut it again. Usually twice will do it, but it's a good idea to check it because once you've removed the mat, there is no going back. If you're unsure, just go ahead and cut it again.
    4. If you're using HEAVY cardstock, don't go all the way down to vinyl or you'll be repeating this process way more than necessary. In this case, depending on the size of the pieces you're cutting, you could go to light cardstock or iron on.

    Remember, this is only necessary for perfect, clean cuts on intricate pieces, or when the pieces you're cutting are exceptionally small.  For regular cuts, if you have the right materials, go ahead and use the regular settings.

    Mardi Gras Scrapbook Page

    This entire page was created with my Circut, including the frame.  I will be doing a tutorial about how to create a page like this for a later post.  I wanted to show  the whole page to give some perspective about the size of the pieces I made for this page.

    Mardi Gras Scrapbook page

    A close up look at the masks and the beads.  These cut clean and crisp on the first try by following these steps I'm talking about.  There is nothing more frustrating that having to cut things over and over again trying to get them to cut correctly! Not to mention all the wasted materials.

    Step #3 Leave all the small pieces on your mats until you need them

    This is where multiple mats come into play again.  If you are cutting things with many layers, many colors, and many small pieces, you can make things a lot easier by having many mats. I peel them as I'm ready to glue. It saves a lot of headaches and searching for missing pieces.

    I recently cut a bunch of pieces for a snorkeling layout that I'm working on. With all the colors and all the pieces I needed, I had things spread out over 8 mats.  When it was time to start gluing things, I just peeled up the pieces as I needed them and it made the assembly really fast!

    That's all there is to it!

    It really isn't hard to get clean, crisp, perfect cuts on all your Cricut projects if you have the right materials and follow these simple tips.  

    Happy Crafting!

    Other Posts You Might Like:

    Tips to Keep Your Family Engaged in Come Follow Me

    Tips to engage your family in Come Follow Me

    Keeping your family engaged in Come Follow Me week after week can be rough.

    I know exactly how it is.  I remember the days of having young kids, trying to have Family Home Evening while one kid is standing on their head on the couch, another is grumbling that "so-and-so is touching me", and the third just keeps asking when it's going to be time for dessert.

    By the time the 10 minute lesson is over with, you're on the verge of yelling at everyone, but since the windows are open, you refrain.  Instead you try to keep from pulling your hair out and wonder why you bothered.

    And then the next week maybe you don't.

    Yes, we are all sisters in this challenge and I know my mom fought the same battle when I was young.

    I was less than stellar in my efforts to hold Family Home Evening when my children were young, and it's one of those things looking back on that I regret.  I wish I'd done better.

    But it's never too late to start fresh!

    Simplify family study of Come Follow Me

    You're Not Alone

    Recently we had a teacher council meeting with all the Primary teachers, and since I am the Primary Secretary, I was invited.  One of the topics that came up was how do the teachers feel the Come Follow Me study is going at home with the kids.

    Reluctantly, a few of the teachers stated that they didn't think it was going so well.  Since their lesson is supposed to be almost a review of what is happening at home, they felt like many of the kids didn't really know the lesson enough to answer the questions.

    Then, a few weeks ago we had a High Councilman speak, and his message from the Stake was that we needed to do better at studying the Come Follow Me lessons in our homes as families.

    Clearly, if you are struggling, you are not alone.

    Simple Steps to Engage your Family in Come Follow Me

    Looking back on my years of trying to do Family Home Evening (and failing a lot) I realize my mistakes. For one things, I over complicated everything. For another thing, my perfectionism got in my way. 

    Maybe it was the pictures of the cute little family sitting in a circle engaged in the lesson that got me.  My family didn't look like that.

    But it is possible to engage your family in Come Follow Me lessons and they WILL get something out of it, even if you think they aren't.

    Here are some ideas to help you get your family on track:

    Need Some Help with Planning?

    Come Follow Me Planner Bundle

    Grab this Come Follow Me Organizer bundle to help you get started. Includes a weekly family plan and individual study plan, as well as a page for meeting notes and more!  I'll send it right to your inbox, just click the link below!

    Plan Ahead

    Take a few minutes at the beginning of the week and look over the lesson.  Make a plan of what you feel like your family really needs from each lesson.  One of the most beautiful things about Come Follow Me is that you can tailor it to exactly what your feel is needed.  Be sure to pray for direction before you plan!

    Break it Down

    Plan to do some small piece of the lesson each day.  We all get more out of our scripture study or other reading when we take a few bites every day.  As tempting as it might be to do one big "Come Follow Me Family Party" every week, it is really easy to burn yourself out if you try.

    Introduce a Theme for the Week

    Pick a scripture or quote that sums up the message you'd like your family to get from that week's lesson. It will be easier to engage your family in Come Follow Me if they have direction before you start.  Introduce the theme for the week on Sunday or Monday night, and keep it simple. Post your theme somewhere visible to remind everyone what you're doing for the week.

    Find Activities You Can Do On the Run

    Having kids with activities all over town can make it tough to find time to sit the whole family down.  There are all kinds of podcasts, scripture stories, or talks that you can listen to on the go.  Find some songs that go with the lesson and learn/practice them in the car.

    Keep it Simple

    Maybe all you have time for is a discussion at the dinner table. Or maybe you can engage your family in Come Follow Me at bedtime, right before prayers.  Ten minutes of discussing a piece of the lesson or telling a story from the lesson right before kids go to bed is a great way for them to digest what you've told them

    Look for Help

    There are a million great resources to help you engage your family in Come Follow Me each week, but be careful you don't get caught up in doing more than you can keep up with!

    Did you know that the manuals for all the organizations are available on the website?  Go to the church's website here and you can find the manuals.  The lessons are the same, but some of the content and ideas are different.  If you feel like the ideas in the lesson don't seem like what you're looking for, try another manual.

    The Ensign also has all kinds of helpful information, including stories, talks, games and other activities that go along with the lesson.  You can find helps to go with each lesson, and if you go to the website to access it, you can click links to things in the New Era and the Friend that can also help you engage your family.


    Related blog posts you might like:

    Hands-on Activities are Best!

    Kids learn best when they get to put their hands on things. You can find free downloadable coloring pages for almost every lesson.  Let them make crafts or play a game, and it might be something they can do with minimal supervision while you're cooking dinner.

    Let Your Family See You Study

    I have always believed in leading by example.  The best way to show your family how important the lesson is to you is to make sure you are studying it yourself.  Let your kids know you're doing it, and request some quiet time to get it done.  You might be surprised when one of them wants to join you.  And you can't teach what you don't know, so personal study is one of the most crucial things you can do.

    Get the FREE Journaling Pages for this week's lesson here:

    Be Perfectly Joined Together Journaling Pages

    It's important to have a place to record your thoughts, keep track of your personal feelings and revelation and think about the questions that you see in the Come Follow Me manual. These journaling pages are ready to print and fill out, making it easy for you to get that done!


    Grab your FREE copy here! Click the link below and I'll send it right over to your email.

    Helps for This Week's Lesson:

    Here are some great things that go with this week's lesson that you might want to use:

    Hope these things help you get yourself and your family engaged with Come Follow Me and back on track!

    Resources to Help You Study the Come Follow Me Lessons

    Resources to Help with Come Follow Me Study

    Whether you choose to study your Come Follow Me lessons on your phone or in a set of actual scriptures, there are several resources to help you study that I have found and I’d like to share them with you!  Since I have been studying in Acts, I personally have found it increasingly harder to understand what I’m reading without assistance.

    Last week I talked about setting new goals and finding your Big Picture to help you recommit to studying Come Follow Me.  If you missed it, you can read that post here: Recommitting to Come Follow Me: Find Your Big Picture

    Part of the struggle can be when you’re trying to study and you just don’t understand what you’re reading. Sometimes in this section of Romans, I find myself at the end of the chapter unsure of what I actually read. Are you with me on that?  It can really make it challenging to keep going.

    If, like me, you find yourself wanting to understand more, take a look at some of these ideas and you might find something that will help you! I’ve mentioned some of these things before, but felt like they deserved another look, especially right now as Paul’s epistles are pretty deep.

    Resources to help with your Come Follow Me Lessons

    And if you read my post from last week and watched the Brad Wilcox video and loved it, be sure to read to the end of this post for something fabulous that goes along with it!

    This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them, I may make a small commission. However, I will never recommend anything that I don’t use myself and love. 

    Looking for this week’s journal pages?

    You can grab them here, just click the link—>

    I send out the journal pages along with the talks that go with the lesson each week, so if you’d like them to come straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up for the newsletter!

    Books that are Helpful

    The New Testament Made Easier by David Ridges

    I’ve talked about this book a lot before, but I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it has been.  I usually read the lesson in my scriptures first, then follow it up with this book.

    I feel like it’s really important to read the actual scriptures first so that I can get my own impressions from what I’m reading, and then follow it up with the explanation in the book.

    One of the best things about the book is the inclusion of the Joseph Smith translation and the way the author compares the two and points out things that may have been lost in translation.

    I got the David Ridges box set at Costco back at the beginning of the year, but lately I have seen in on Amazon for cheaper than what I paid at Costco.  If you can find the box set for $30 or less, that’s a great price!  If you don’t need the whole box set, you can also choose to buy either book separately.

    If you are a Prime Member and have Kindle Unlimited, right now you can access this book for free!

    Looking for journaling pages for past lessons?  Visit the Resource Library!
    Unlocking the New Testament by Richard J. Allen

    This is another one that I got at the beginning of the year when we started the Come Follow Me studies.  This is a great resource to help you study because it has a lot of side information that you won’t find in other books. Some of it is commentary, and some of it explains the circumstances of the time, and other things that are interesting to know that put what you’re reading in context.

    One of the best things about this book is that you have the side-by-side remarks, and they also have places to write notes. I have highlighted and marked up this book a lot.

    I saw this book at Costco at the beginning of the year, but you know how things go at Costco…you snooze, you lose!  It was gone when I went back to get it.  You can check it out here on Amazon.  I intended to buy it at Deseret Book, but when I went in it was sold out and I ordered mine on Deseret Book’s website. I paid $14.99 for it, and that is the best price I’ve seen for this book.



    Grab my Come Follow Me Family Organizer

    Come Follow Me Planner Bundle

    Includes a sheet to plan out your family’s study as well as your individual study, plus a great list of Sabbath day activity ideas, a meeting notes page and more!  Click the button below and I will send it over for you!

    Come Follow Me Study Journal

    If you love to doodle and keep lots of notes, this journal is amazing!  I got it at the beginning of the year and in addition to the journaling pages that I create for myself every week, I use this for a lot of doodling, drawing, and note taking.

    If you keep a bullet journal, you’ll be familiar with the dot matrix paper that makes it easy to use the pages however you like.  Seriously fun!

    This is a great resource to help you study, and I seriously just stumbled upon it on Amazon and since it was cheap I ordered it! You can check it out with this link if you think you’d like it.  There are a full two pages to write on for each lesson. (However, this book is bigger than a traditional bullet journal–it is full size 8 1/2 x 11 pages.)

    Come Follow Me study journal

    Here’s an example of a spread in my journal.  I love colored pens and I am a doodler!


    If you’d like to read more about how to start keeping a scripture journal like this, take a look at my post: A Scripture Journal: What it is and why you should be keeping one

    Websites

    I really love A Lively Hope because she has fun doodling resources to go with each week’s lesson, plus she lists some addition resources for families each week. If you like to doodle but feel like your drawing skills are lacking, check out her sketch notes! The doodles won’t help you understand what you’re reading exactly, but they can make study more fun, and that’s a plus.

    Did you know that the Ensign each month has Come Follow Me resources to help you study to go along with the lessons each week?  If you don’t subscribe, you might not realize they are there.  You can check out the stuff to go with this week’s lesson right on the church’s website.  They cover all ages, so regardless of what you’re looking for, there is something for everyone.

    There is a Facebook group called Printables for Latter Day Saint Women that has fun resources posted often by different people. Some of them are Come Follow Me related, and some are just other fun things you might enjoy!  Some of the things posted there are fun, and some are more helpful with your actual study.

    Overcome Evil with Good Come Follow Me Lesson Helps

    These are the pages that go with the current lesson.  Pages for past lessons can be found on the Resource page if you’re behind or even if you’d just like to revisit a previous lesson!

    Grab My Journaling Pages

    Of course I’m going to recommend that you grab the journaling pages that I make to go with each lesson! I feel like they are a great resource to help you study because it gives you a great place to keep notes on what you’re studying without requiring you to be artsy in a blank journal.  I basically go over the lesson beforehand and create the worksheets with questions that come straight from the Come Follow Me manual.

    For those times you’ve wanted to answer the questions and had nowhere to write in the manual, these pages are designed for that.  I started making the pages for myself at the beginning of the year, but realized that I might as well share them.


    Ready to Get Started?
    Get the worksheets right here

    You can get those pages sent to your email by clicking the button below.  If you sign up for the Come Follow Me newsletter, you’ll get the new pages each week, along with a copy of the talks that go with the lesson. I format them with a wide margin so there is a place to write notes, and I think you’ll love them! 


    Some Great Resources to Help you Study This Week’s Lesson:

    If you loved the Brad Wilcox video I talked about last week…

    He has a book that goes hand in hand with what he talks about in the video. It is hands down one of the best books I own! Changed Through His Grace is another opportunity to study about the grace of God, and I can’t recommend it enough.  I got this book as a gift from my daughter, so I can’t really speak to the price. If you didn’t get a chance to see the video (or have no idea what I’m talking about) you can find the link to the video here

    Found any good resources that help you study your Come Follow Me lesson?  Drop me a note in the comments! I am always looking for new study materials, so I would love to hear about them!

    P.S. It’s not too late to join the General Conference Challenge!
    Go read my post about why you should—-> Why You NEED to Participate in a General Conference Challenge