Overstuffed: April 2017 Overstuffed

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Makes a Good Friend—10 Signs Your Child's Friend is a Good Influence


After my daughter Chloe went through a particularly difficult friendship with a girl who turned out to be a bully, I've thought a lot about what makes a good friend for my children. I am so thankful for the friends who have been good influences in my children's lives. I'm not just grateful for the friendship, I'm grateful for the examples they have set and the way they help my daughters to be their best selves.

I've found that the signs that your child has a good friend are often the exact opposite of the signs that a friend might be a bully or a person who ends up bringing your child down. The other day while Chloe had a friend over, I was noticing what a great friend she was. I've always known it, but that day I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for that friend. They were just sitting on the recliner in our living room reading Harry Potter—one of them in Book 3 and the other in Book 4. They didn't even need to be talking, they were just happy to be together sharing something that they loved.

Want to know how to tell if your child has a friend who is a good influence? These 10 signs are a great way to know what makes a good friend—for adults, too!


There's nothing better to a parent than a good friend for their kid!

10 Signs Your Child's Friend is a Good Influence


1. They are respectful to adults—including you.


One of the first things I noticed with Chloe's bully friend was that she refused to spend time in our home, and wouldn't even look me in the eye, much less talk to me with respect. It was pretty disconcerting as a parent!

The good friends my daughters have all talk to me respectfully and are happy to spend time in our home.

2. They don't expect an exclusive friendship.


Good friends recognize that you can have more than one friend. They do not constantly ask "who is your best friend" and make their friends feel like they have to choose between them and other people. They are able to have fun with your child in a large group of friends (like at a birthday party) or one-on-one, and they don't get jealous if your child spends time with another friend sometimes.

3. They help influence your child to make better choices.


As a parent, this one is huge to me. It's a truly good friend who helps influence your child for good! I love it when friends of my strong-willed, often pushy, daughter Sophia help her to realize she's pushing me too far. I love it when my girls have friends who encourage them to study and do well in school. I love it when their friends choose uplifting movies to watch together.

Peer pressure is awesome when it is helping your child to make good choices that will serve her well in the future!

4. They speak kindly of others.


There is so much ugly gossip that goes around—especially with girls, I've noticed. While I have tried to teach my own daughters to always be kind, I appreciate it when that value is validated by their friends. I notice when the girls my daughters hang out with speak kindly of others and change the subject or stand up for someone if mean gossip begins, and I appreciate it.

5. They treat your child with respect and kindness.


The same kindness they exhibit towards others, is also given to your child. There are no cruel jokes. No making fun of your child. A good friend builds up and doesn't tear down.

6. They practice forgiveness.


Nobody is perfect—not even the best of good friends! And my children certainly aren't perfect. A good friend understands this and forgives when their friends mess up.

7. They stand up for your child when necessary.


A good friend will always have your child's back. If other kids speak unkindly about her, she will set them straight!

8. Your child is happy after spending time with them.


It's my favorite thing to see my kids happy. Chloe was just so darn unhappy when she was hanging out with her bully friend and it hurt my heart to see her like that. When my kids come home from spending time with a friend and they are happy and excited to tell me all about it, I am thankful to that friend for being so great!

9. They listen.


A good friend understands the give and take of conversation. They don't make every conversation all about themselves and they listen when your child has something to say.

10. They love your child.


Most important of all, they truly love your child. I am so thankful for the wonderful friends that my daughters have because I know that they love my kids. And my kids love them.

And guess what? I love them, too.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 2017 Bonus Visiting Teaching Printable

The April visiting teaching message is titled Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. What we are really focusing on this month is temple covenants and the blessings that come with those covenants. My first printable for this month simply highlighted a scripture about the power of the temple endowment (see that printable here: April Visiting Teaching handout).

For the bonus printable this month, I wanted to use the quote from Elder Ballard that is included in the lesson:


"All those who have made sacred covenants with the Lord and who honor those covenants are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, to commune with God to receive the fulness of the gospel, and, ultimately, to become heirs alongside Jesus Christ of all our Father has."

April 2017 visiting teaching handout | All those who have made sacred covenants | temple blessings | M. Russell Ballard | Oath and covenant of the priesthood | free downloadable printable

I hope you and your sisters enjoy this little handout for April!

If you would like to bring temple cookies to your sisters along with one of the handouts, I discovered these temple cookie cutters on Etsy (affiliate link). They are only $4.00 each and there are several temples available. Check them out: Temple Cookie Cutters

To download:

Enter your email in the form below and the printable will be sent directly to your email inbox. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.



If you are looking for more visiting teaching ideas, be sure to join us over on Facebook: LDS Visiting Teaching Ideas

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Fun and Unique Gift Ideas for Tween Girls

Easter is coming up, and now that my girls aren't little anymore I'm never sure what to put in their Easter baskets. It's gotten easier for the older two now that they are full-fledged teenagers, but those tween years are a little more difficult. My youngest daughter is just about to turn 11, and she's into those awkward years where they aren't kids anymore, but they're not quite teenagers yet, either. They still enjoy some kid stuff, but they are starting to transition into more sophisticated interests.

It's enough to give this mom a headache!
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This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.

Which is why I was excited to receive a box of spring goodies for tween girls. My Sophia loved everything in it, so I can confidently review these items for you with an enthusiastic tween girl endorsement!

New clothes by OshKosh 


Tween girls are just beginning to enjoy receiving clothes as a gift. And Easter is the perfect time to buy them something new and cute and springy that they can also wear into summer. There isn't much better than filling an Easter basket with something practical that you know your daughter will love and that you'd have to buy anyway, right?

OshKosh patch denim shorts and red white and blue tanktop


Sophia received an outfit from OshKosh which included a pair of cute denim shorts—she especially liked the patchwork design detail—and an adorable floral tank top that she can't wait to sport on July 4th (and many other days this summer).

OshKosh blue floral headwrap with bow


She also received a fun headwrap that she has worn almost every day to school since we opened the box.

This spring, OshKosh has a ton of cute stuff for tween girls. There are graphic tees, shorts, swimwear, and things like bike shorts and scooter skirts for super active girls like Sophia. You can check out their entire spring collection on their website here: OshKosh

Edible Arrangements Easter Gifts


Easter baskets usually have to have some chocolate in them, right? But if you are looking for a sweet treat that is fun and unique for your tween's Easter basket, Edible Arrangements are the way to go! All of their arrangements include fruit, so it's also a slightly healthier option than your run-of-the-mill chocolate bunny!

Edible Arrangements swizzle berries are a perfect easter gift, along with some of their other fun spring fruit and chocolate arrangements


They sent us a box of their Bright Swizzle Berries, which the whole family enjoyed—adults, teenagers, and tween alike! The colors made them especially perfect for an Easter basket.

I loved perusing their website to see the other offerings. To see what they've got for Easter, click here: Easter Gifts at Edible Arrangements. I have to say I am in love with the colorful Easter Bunny party arrangements—the Easter bunnies are made out of chocolate covered pineapple!

Edible Arrangements is kindly offering my readers a 20% discount off any order over $50. Just enter BLOG4716 at checkout.

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Brackitz Building Toys


Remember how I said that tweens are in the process of leaving childish things behind and transitioning into more mature interests? While that's true, they still enjoy playing with toys—especially if there's a "cool" factor and they don't seem too much like something a little kid would play with.

Building things from their imaginations is always attractive to kids of all ages, so these Brackitz Building Toys Sophia received were really exciting to her. She couldn't wait to open them and start figuring them out!

These Brackitz building sets encourage creativity and help kids learn science, math, and engineering skills. Perfect for tweens.


We got the Driver 43 piece set which includes instructions for building 10 different driving machines. Sophia built a couple of those, and then she started making up her own. This set kept her busy for an entire afternoon!

We also got the Inventor 44 piece set, which inspires creativity and building anything from the imagination! It not only encourages imaginative play, but it helps to instill principles of science, math, and engineering in a fun way.

I really liked how they don't include many instructions—just a bunch of really durable pieces that the kids can make just about anything with. I think Sophia liked that, too.

Brackitz are available at Target stores or from their website: Brackitz.com

Yum! Spa Tween Bath and Body Products


One of my favorite things about my girls getting into the tween-age years is that I finally don't have to nag them to bathe. They start actually wanting to! They also start enjoying the fun bath and body items like fruity scented body spray or sparkly lotions.

These cute and sparkly bath and body products by Yum! Spa will be loved by your tween daughter


Sophia received some fun Tutti-Frutti scented items from Yum! Spa that she was really excited about:

2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner. Retail $3.37

Sparkle Lotion. Retail $2.97

Shimmer and Shine Body Mist. Retail $3.37

All items are hypoallergenic and paraben-free, but Sophia liked how cute they were, how good they smelled, that they were sparkly and shiny, and that they were just for her. I like that they are inexpensive and that they encourage her to have good hygiene!

Yum! Spa products are available at WalMart. To get a coupon for 75 cents off, click here: Yum! Spa 75 Cent Coupon

Easter basket gift ideas for tween girls | girly gift basket ideas | gifts for tweens | unique easter basket ideas | Easter gifts


All of these things make great gifts for Easter or any other reason you might give a gift to your tween this spring. Most tween girls I know would be thrilled to receive an Easter basket filled with a cute new outfit, an adorable Edible Arrangement, a fun Brackitz building set, and some sweet-smelling Yum! Spa lotion or shampoo.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

After School Routine Clock for Kids With Variable Schedules {free printable}

I am constantly looking for ways to keep my kids on schedule after school. Not because I want to be the military mom who has them on task and has every single minute scheduled, but because I want them to get the important stuff done so that they can have plenty of time for free play.

The problem I have run into is that if we put free time first, I find it causes the entire family to be more chaotic and things end up not getting done at all. The kids scramble to get homework and projects done before bedtime. If there are extracurriculars in the schedule, such as dance class or music lessons, they get done willy-nilly, and chores are simply forgotten about.

It's amazing to me how much free time we can have if we get the big things out of the way first! My teenagers are usually able to stay on task with a checklist or because they are self-motivated, but my 10-year-old daughter has struggled with this.

I get it. She wants to come home and have fun. But the day is anything but fun when bedtime because a scramble to find the spelling words she needs to study and we argued about doing her chores for longer than it took her to actually do them. On days where she had dance class or another extracurricular activity, sometimes even homework didn't get done.

How to make an after school routine clock | after school schedule | color coded schedule for kids | easy schedule for kids to follow | free printable | kids who have variable schedules | erasable after school routine clock


Because Sophia is extremely strong-willed, I knew she needed something that would help her stay on task independently. When she can take charge, things work much better for her (and for me!). I was searching around the internet for ideas, and I found this after school routine clock and knew it was exactly what I was looking for! The only problem was, the colors on the clock were permanent, and there was no way to change it for a kid whose schedule is different every day.

I figured that was easy enough to fix, so I came up with a way to make both the clock and the accompanying color-coded schedule erasable.

Here's what you need:

(affiliate links)

Supplies needed for erasable after school routine clock: Dry erase markers, printable, 8x10 frame, and clock


Clock (I got a super cheap one at first, and it promptly broke. This one seems to work great and is still inexpensive.)
8x10 photo frame with glass
Dry Erase markers in multiple colors (I like the fine point ones)
Dry Erase board eraser (optional, but it makes it easier)
After School Schedule printable (download below)

Directions:


1. Download the after school schedule printable by entering your email in the form below. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


2. Once you have downloaded the printable, cut it down to 8x10 and put it into the frame.

3. Use the dry-erase markers to fill in each circle with a different color. Use the black dry-erase marker to add another activity to the bottom line. For Sophia, it will be used for dance class and chores. But it can be used for anything your child has going on: music lessons, soccer practice, music practice at home, church class, etc.

color coded after school schedule for kids | erasable | after school routine clock | Ideas for keeping kids on task after school


4. Color in the corresponding times on the clock. Rather than taking the back off to permanently color on the clock face, use dry-erase markers to color right onto the plastic face of the clock.

Erasable after school routine clock | for kids with variable schedules | ideas for keeping kids on schedule | color coded printable schedule for kids | after school schedule: homework, chores, dinner, free time, extracurricular activities


5. Hang it up where your child can see it after school!

How to use the after school routine clock:


1. Each night before bed, review the next day's schedule with your child. Have him or her help you color in the clock and come up with a schedule you both can agree on.

How to make an after school routine clock | after school schedule | color coded schedule for kids | easy schedule for kids to follow | free printable | kids who have variable schedules | erasable after school routine clock


2. Remind your child to look at the clock when they get home from school each day. You may need to also remind them when it is time to switch to the next activity. If they finish something faster than the allotted time given, you can give them another option to do until the next time period starts.

3. Enjoy a happier kid who feels in control of her own schedule, but is also getting the important things finished each afternoon!

How to make an after school routine clock | after school schedule | color coded schedule for kids | easy schedule for kids to follow | free printable | kids who have variable schedules | erasable after school routine clock

Since we have used this schedule, Sophia is even going to bed more willingly. She gets herself ready for bed, grabs her latest favorite book (currently the Big Nate Series or the Series of Unfortunate Events), we pray, and she goes right to bed. Consequently, she's happier in the mornings. She likes being able to have long periods of free time, so she gets her homework and chores done quickly. Schedules really do work like a charm!

If you are having similar struggles with your elementary school children, give the after school routine clock a try!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

April 2017 Visiting Teaching Handout

The April 2017 visiting teaching message is about the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. The message includes several wonderful quotes, but I admit I was having a hard time choosing which direction to go with my main printable for this month.

After reading the quotes several times, I realized that I wanted to focus on the temple ordinances part of the priesthood. I especially love how the Lord describes receiving our temple ordinances as being "endowed with power from on high."

April 2017 visiting teaching handout | visiting teaching ideas | free printable for visiting teachers| oath and covenant of the priesthood | There you shall be endowed with power from on high | temple ordinances | temple blessings


When I was a young performing missionary in Nauvoo, I had the opportunity to help give tours in the historic homes there alongside some of the senior missionary couples. One of the homes I helped give tours in was the Heber C. Kimball home, and I'll never forget how part of the tour asked a question of those taking the tour:

"If you had to cross the plains, what would you put in your wagon?"

Many of the answers given were wonderful: tools, food, clothing. I would then explain that those were all important things to bring, but the pioneers also needed to pack their wagons and handcarts with something else. That something was faith and a special power given them in the temple.

The Nauvoo temple stayed open all hours so each member of the church could make their temple covenants and be endowed with that power from on high. I have no doubt that the power the early saints received from the temple gave them the faith and the strength they needed to face the journey they had ahead of them.

Similarly, the power from on high that we receive as we receive our temple endowments and return to the temple often will help us face our own journeys in a difficult world. That is why I chose the scripture from D&C 38:32.

"There you shall be endowed with power from on high."

April 2017 visiting teaching handout | visiting teaching ideas | free printable for visiting teachers| oath and covenant of the priesthood | There you shall be endowed with power from on high | temple ordinances | temple blessings




If you would like to bring temple cookies to your sisters along with one of the handouts, I discovered these temple cookie cutters on Etsy (affiliate link). They are only $4.00 each and there are several temples available. Check them out: Temple Cookie Cutters

To download:

Enter your email into the form below and the visiting teaching printable will be sent directly to you. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.



I recommend sending the file to a photo center such as Walmart or Costco if you don't have a good photo printer at home. I print mine on this Canon printer which does an excellent job. I print it straight onto 5x7 photo paper so it is ready to go into a frame for my sisters.

If you are looking for more great visiting teaching ideas, come join us on Facebook where I share printables designed by many talented bloggers around the internet, ideas for treats and other fun handouts, and lots of visiting teaching inspiration. You can find the page here: LDS Visiting Teaching Ideas.