Temple Symbols

Temple Symbols

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Last June my mom shared with me a booklet she was putting together for their stake youth conference.  I thought it was awesome and asked if I could share it on my blog.  She sent me the files and it has sat in my inbox for nearly a year waiting for me to post it.  I decided it was finally time for me to get around to posting it.

The booklet was for the youth to be given to conduct a self-guided tour of the temple grounds.  The booklet points out some of the different symbols they would encounter.  My mom was asked to be careful not to give specific meanings for the symbols as symbols can have many layers of interpretation.  If you give someone a concrete “this is what this symbol means” it takes away their opportunity to discover the meaning for themselves and also might remove some of the incentive to try to work out other possible meanings.  So the booklet contains quotes, scriptures and questions which might help people find some interpretations for the symbols.  For me it was really helpful just to have some symbols pointed out as symbols.  For instance, I’d never thought of the fence as being anything more than a fence to even consider that it might have symbolic significance.

This booklet was made specifically for the Los Angeles Temple, but if you go to any temple you will find many of these symbols in other temples.  We tried to go through and make sure there were pictures and information so that if you are unable to go to the Los Angeles temple you can still learn from reading it.  I think anyone who is trying to get more out of the symbolism of the temple can gain some insight from reading this.

Most of the quotes are from General Authorities and can be found at LDS.org, but one article that is referenced a few times is Symbols in Sacred Architecture and Iconongraphy by Camilian Demetrescu from The Institute for Sacred Achitecture.  There are also a couple references from Studies in Biblical and Semitic Symbolism by Maurice H. Farbridge as well as Temples to Dot the Earth by Richard O. Cowan.  These are all excellent resources if you’re looking to deepen your understanding of the symbols found in the temple.

You are welcome to redistribute this provided you leave the credit on the back cover in tact.  I’m providing several different files to make distribution easy.  First I have the printable files.  The booklet was made to be half pages front and back.  We’ve worked out the pages in order so that you can print the file with the front sides and then the file with the back sides and have it be pretty straightforward.  I’ve also included a pdf with all of the pages in order so that you can easily read it on your computer (or print it whatever other fancy way you’d like).

We would love any feedback on the booklet.  Let us know what symbols you’d missed before or any insights that you’ve gained.  We hope this helps you draw closer to the Savior in your temple worship.

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread Banner

My neighbor brought me an Amish Friendship Bread start and I was able to make some for the first time!  I remember my mom making it once when I was little and I was excited to get to do it myself.  It was a fun thing to do, but when I went to deliver my starts to my friends I realized that my copy of the recipe was all dirty.  I didn’t want to photocopy it in that state, so I did the only logical thing and redesigned it to be cute and prepared it to post on my website 🙂  Hopefully this will save the next people from having to decide between photocopying a dirty recipe and having to recreate the document themselves.  You can get the printable copy here – Amish Friendship Bread Printable.

Also, if you’re like me and got to the last day and discovered that your instant pudding boxes are 3.9oz instead of the 5.1oz called for, I’ve done the math for you so that you can use the right proportion of the 3.9oz boxes.  Just combine 2 3.9oz boxes of pudding and remove a generous 1/3 cup of pudding mix and set aside.  The remainder is what will go with your bread.  If you would like to make pudding from that 1/3 cup of mix (because, pudding is delicious), just mix you 1/3 cup of pudding with 2/3 cup of milk and whisk for 2 minutes.

By the way, if you’re going to make this I HIGHLY recommend using Baking Pam.  I don’t usually splurge on ingredients, but my husband brought this home once after being sent to do the grocery shopping and I gave it a try.  It really is like magic for baking.  Everything I make with the Baking Pam just slides right out of the pan with no fuss whatsoever.  It is one splurge that I feel like is very worthwhile 🙂

Here’s a text copy of the recipe as well if you just want to see what this is all about.  Don’t be scared by the 240 hour prep time… the vast majority of that time is spent with a ziploc bag sitting on your counter!  If you want to print it though, use this version, it’s much prettier!

Amish Friendship Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 loaves
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 5.1oz box instant vanilla pudding, other flavors can be used but not sugar free
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Optional: add nuts, raisins, chocolate chips etc.
Instructions
  1. Day 1: Receive the bread start. Do nothing.
  2. Day 2: Knead the bag
  3. Day 3: Knead the bag
  4. Day 4: Knead the bag
  5. Day 5: Knead the bag
  6. Day 6: Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, & 1 cup sugar in a bowl. Add to bag. Knead to combine.
  7. Day 7: Knead the bag
  8. Day 8: Knead the bag
  9. Day 9: Knead the bag
  10. Day 10:Combine in a large bowl—batter from the bag, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour & 1 cup sugar. Combine well and put 1 cup of starter in 4 gallon sized bags. Keep one for yourself. Give this recipe and 1 starter bag to 3 friends
  11. To Make the Bread: Mix 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ cup sugar together, set aside.
  12. Spray 2 smaller bread pans with cooking spray.
  13. Sprinkle the pans with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  14. Pour batter into pans.
  15. Bake at 325°F for 45-60 minutes.
  16. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

Amish Friendship Bread printable recipe here.

Dinner Chore Chart

Dinner Chore Chart

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For those of you who know me personally this will not come as much of a shock, but here’s my confession for today – I am a terrible housekeeper.  I really do try to keep up with the house but it just doesn’t happen.  I am not someone who enjoys cleaning and trying to keep a house clean that still has three young children in it seems like a near impossible task.  However, I am trying.

My biggest pet peeve is keeping my kitchen clean.  It seems like the most critical room in the house to keep clean but three times a day everything’s being pulled out and despite my best efforts I am rarely on top of it.  The dishes are my greatest nemesis and it’s hard to keep everyone in the kitchen and helping me until the work is done.  So I’ve finally come up with a solution – meet the dinner time chore chart!

It’s really pretty basic, I’ve come up with 5 chores and each person in our  family will be assigned one chore for the week which we will change on Monday nights as part of our Family Home Evening and night time privileges will not be granted until that chore is done.  Anyways, I spent some time creating a cute chart and I wanted to share it with anyone who would like to use it.

All of the artwork came from Susan Fitch and you can find the original files for free on her site here and she graciously agreed to let me share these job charts with my readers using her artwork. You should check out her blog and Etsy shop, she has a lot of great things.  The background papers came from Shabby Princess’ free kit Celebrating.  The fonts are Pea Sweet Caroline and Pea Cookie’s Doodles from Kevin & Amanda’s Fonts for Peas.

Ok, so I have two different files that I’m providing here and you’ll have to decide which one you want.  The simple one is just a PDF which you can print out and write your family member names on the tags and be done.  However, I hate my handwriting, so I’m also providing the original Publisher files so you can customize the tags if you’d like.  To customize the tags you’ll just need to go to the tags pages and change the names to the names of your family members.  For mine I wanted pictures of the family members (since some of my kids are still pre-reading) so there are tags that have blank pictures on them but are formatted nicely.  To swap those out for pictures of your own family members all you have to do is right click on the picture, then find the picture you want to use from your computer.  The new picture will be dropped in to the same formatted space.  To re-center the picture I’ve found that I need to de-select the picture and then re-select it (I don’t know why, I just know that’s what happens) then under the Picture Tools->Format tab select Crop and you can now re-size and move the picture around within the frame.  But don’t worry, there are also simple picture-less tags that I’ve included so you can just fill them in.  You will need to make sure that you have the two fonts that I specified above installed on your computer to have the same result on your computer.  If anyone really really wants I could fill in the tags for you and send you a pdf of just the chart you want and your family’s names and pictures if you want to email me the names and pictures that you want.  You can email me through my contact page and I could provide that for a small fee – but I’d encourage you to be brave!  It’s not too hard!  You can do it!  (Assuming of course that you have a computer that can run Microsoft Publisher, and has it installed)

To create my final chore chart I printed the pages out on regular printer paper and then laminated it.  If you don’t own a laminator I’ve really liked the Purple Cows Hot & Cold Laminator that I have.  I got mine for pretty inexpensive from Costco and I think they have them there pretty regularly, but I’ve found that I can get the laminating pouches for a good deal from Amazon.  One trick I learned early on is that you have to be sure to cut out the little pieces you want to laminate (in this case the name tags) before laminating and then laminate them with enough space around the edges to not break the seal of the lamination.  I then used a bunch of these little sticky magnets on the back of the chore chart and on the back of each name tag.  The magnets aren’t super strong so I put two on each of the name tags and six on the back of the chore chart itself.  For now it’s hanging on my refrigerator but I’m planning on getting one of these magnetic boards from Ikea and hang it on my wall… as soon as I can get the kids in order to go (hahahahahah, yeah right).

Anyways, here are the two files.  Let me know if you like them and get any use out of them in your home!  It always makes me happy when someone finds the resources I post useful 🙂  And of course, don’t steal them and sell them or pass them off as your own.  That’s just not cool guys.  I hope this helps you get your kitchen routine more in order too!

Dinner chore charts – PDF version

Dinner chore charts – Publisher version

DadLibs: The Adventures of Super Dad

DadLibs: The Adventures of Super Dad - A FREE printable Father's Day Questionnaire

As Father’s Day approached this year I was excited to do something fun with my kids to give to their dad for Father’s Day. I *love* all the little questionnaires that you can find where you ask the kids questions about their mom or dad and then fill in the responses. The answers the kids give are hilarious and awesome. This past Mother’s Day my five year old did one in his preschool and one of his answers was that his mom “weighs medium”. It’s fun just to see what’s going on in those cute little heads of theirs!

As I was looking up which one I wanted to do this year I thought it would be really fun to put those answers into a little story, like a MadLibs. There wasn’t anything I could find quite like this and I finally decided that I had the skils to make one up myself.  The story is about the superhero Super Dad, because let’s be honest isn’t that who every kid thinks their dad is? The story is a little cheesy, but I thought it was a more fun way of doing the questionnaire than just the straight questions/answers.  I made it so that you could change “Dad” to be “Grandpa” or “Uncle” or even “Mom” or “Grandma” or whatever you might like!  Just be sure that if you make the story for a woman that you check the box that says your recipient is female so that all the pronouns are correct.  Also be sure to select the right gender for your child so their pronouns are correct as well 🙂

I’m a bit finicky about layouts (job hazard of working with some awesome designers) and I’ve never liked not having enough space in the questionnaires to write all of the child’s responses, or having to squish it in and look wonky. So I’ve made this into a little web application, you can fill in your child’s answers and it will put them right into the story without having to squish answers or use your very best handwriting. Yes, I’m finicky enough that I decided I’d rather spend a couple days writing the code to make it a web application than have to handwrite the answers in 🙂  Your child’s answers will be highlighted in blue so you can still tell which parts are the form story and which parts are your child’s responses.  If anyone would like a copy with just blank lines so you can handwrite your answers, let me know and I’ll put the effort into making a printable version too.

The background for the printable and for the banner graphic for this post I created using Julie Billingsley’s Masked Marvels digital scrapbooking kit. I contacted her for permission to use her designs for this project and she graciously obliged, thanks Julie!

You’ll have to enter in your answers to be able to see the story, but the background basically looks like the graphic at the top of this post, except that it’s portrait instead of landscape, and obviously the story is on the inside instead of the promotional text 🙂  Anyways, I’ve rambled long enough…

Click here to fill out your own DadLibs!

Oh, and if anyone has their own fill-in-the-blank story they would like to share feel free to send it to me and I should be able to create another similar page without too much trouble now that the heavy lifting is done 🙂  Any suggestions for improvements will definitely be considered so let me know if you have any ideas to make it better, and feel free to share this with your friends!

Christmas Stories Books

As the Christmas season rolled around last year I found myself trying to think of something that I could make or get for friends and family that would be both meaningful and relatively inexpensive.  I decided I didn’t want to stress over making a treat as I lack culinary genius.  As I thought through some Christmas-y things I remembered a Christmas tradition my family had for years.  Many years ago my Grandma Shana made a book with a different Christmas story for each of the days in December leading up to Christmas and gave it to our family.  Every night from December 1 through Christmas Eve we would gather around the Christmas tree in our pajamas and listen to one of these stories and get in the Christmas spirit.  It’s one of my very favorite Christmas traditions and one that I was excited to share with my family.

I decided to find a similar Christmas book and get it printed.  I figured with the internet it would be really easy to find something like what my grandma had made for us and be done with the project with relatively little effort.  I was right, except I forgot to factor in one small detail – I’m a picky person with gifts I give.  I had a few requirements that none of the books I found could match.  I wanted to avoid copyrighted material as much as possible and focused on Christ and the spirit of giving and family more than presents and Santa Claus.  I was also pretty picky about having a book where all of the fonts/capitalization etc were in the same style and free of spelling errors.  Almost every book I found had at least one story that was photocopied from a newspaper clipping or a magazine, or had stories in completely different fonts, or weird page breaks, or poor spelling.  My last qualification was the one that was completely impossible to meet.  A few years ago Elder Eyring gave a Christmas Devotional talk where he related the story of their nativity play which included Samuel the Lamanite and the events in the Americas.  I really liked the idea of including these events in the nativity play I did with my family and wanted to find a copy of the Christmas story that combined both the events in the New Testament and those in the Book of Mormon.  I found a few renditions that were put into colloquial speech and made into a play script, but I really just wanted to have the scriptures from both stories combined into an easy to read, single story with minimal extra narration.

So, after failing to find what I was looking for I finally decided to just build it myself.  As Sam would only nap on my lap at the time I moved my rocking chair in front of the TV and hooked my laptop up to the huge monitor and used our wireless keyboard and mouse to work the book while Sam would sleep on my lap.  I don’t remember exactly when I started, but I think it was pretty close to the beginning of December.  It took me right up until Christmas Eve to finish off putting the books together exactly how I wanted them.  But in the end I was very pleased with the results.

So, since I put so much time and effort into these books I figured I ought to share them with everyone.  I’ve attached the files for both Microsoft Publisher and Adobe PDF for those of you who might not have Publisher.  Feel free to make changes to fit your needs, but please give credit back to me and include the URL to my site somewhere in the book. If you to change the stories that are in your personal collection please note that the table of contents and page numbers are not automatically generated, so you will need to go back and manually update the page numbers at the bottom of the pages as well as the titles and page numbers in the table of contents.  All of the graphics in this book come from Precious Moments’ free clip art collection.  The stories all come from different sources but I tried to list those sources and give credit as much as I could find them.

You are free to print these and distribute them to your friends as Christmas presents or just print one for your own use.  I printed mine and just put them in 3 ring binders like these ones.  Although if you’re going to do a lot it might be more economical to invest in a comb binding machine and buying a bunch of comb binders and bind them up that way.  I was surprised at how quickly the cost of binders added up!

I have really put a lot of time and effort into getting this collection to be as close to perfect as I could.  If you notice any errors or have any suggestions for improvements *please* post them in the comments below.

Christmas Stories – Adobe PDF Format
Christmas Stories – Microsoft Publisher Format