This is my place for writing down ideas for teaching kids. You'll find things I have tried, things I am thinking about trying, and reviews of educational products. My own kids are young so most of the information is for preschool age children. I hope you find it useful.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What I Believe

This week in our sacrament meeting one of the speakers (a fairly recent convert to the church) shared her conversion story. She then suggested that all of us whether we are converts or lifelong members of the church will have to go through our own conversion story. She urged us to think on our own conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This week as I have been pondering on her challenge several of my dear friends have been facing a clear and difficult challenge to their own testimonies and conversion. I don't pretend to have an answer to their questions or doubts. They are serious and difficult and my heart breaks seeing those I care about feeling so troubled.

With this in mind I wanted to share my own conversion story and some thoughts that have come to me this week.

My own testimony has progressed gradually over the course of my life. I was born in the church and raised by two wonderful parents who encouraged me to develop my own testimony. They stressed that real truth can withstand any question. Search out your answers, don't be afraid to ask questions was the theme of my gospel upbringing.

In spite of that, I rarely had any real questions. I was surrounded by faith and and love and had no real challenges. When I began attending the university things shifted a bit. As I biochemistry major I was surrounded by students and professors who scoffed at the idea of a God. At one point it seemed that every lecture I attended all day long was aimed at disproving His existence. As I was bombarded with arguments from every angle trying to tear down my testimony I tried to face those questions head on. I wasn't afraid of questions. The gospel can handle them. 

Eventually though the constant barrage of questions began to wear me down. I couldn't logically argue against all of the points they were making. I didn't have time to deal with each one individually. Instinct said to fall back on the peace of the spirit to confirm the truth of the gospel in my heart. But that very feeling of peace was also being called into question. Could I trust it? Was it just what I wanted to feel?

I felt exhausted and sad. I didn't know what to do. My mind was troubled and a pondered on my doubts constantly. I am a logical person by nature and I couldn't leave logic behind in this quest. 

Then one day, as I sat studying for my organic chemistry class, The light broke through.

I had let my mind wander once again to my doubts. I was on the verge of tears unsure what I believed. And like a flash of clear light the thought came into my mind “If they are right, and there is no God, then Jesus Christ is not my loving friend and Savior.” And my feet found solid ground. I knew that Christ was there for me. I knew it. He has been my closest friend. I have felt his hand in my life and his arms around me comforting me. Christ is real.

It didn't resolve my questions but it gave me a solid foundation to stand on while I considered them. By finding what I knew and standing on that I could once again consider my doubts without fear.

12. And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
Helaman 5:12

Faith is the first principle of the gospel. This is an important point. We will not understand everything in this life. We walk by faith. In Alma 32: 17-18 Alma talks about the desire to have all doubt removed. he asks “Is this faith?” Then answers his own question “Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.”

That doesn't mean to push your doubts under the rug. He spends much of the rest of the chapter discussing how to reach a perfect knowledge. What it does mean is that the presence of doubt in you mind does not mean there is something wrong with the gospel or with the church. People will have doubts and questions. That is why we start with faith.

You have to find your rock. What do you know? Then stand firm on that rock while you search for answers and understanding.

In April 2014 Jeffery R. Holland gave a beautiful talk on this topic. He said

“When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.... Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!”

There is pain and misunderstanding often in this life. Members of the church, even leaders, may make mistakes. I'm not here to justify or make any judgments at all. I can't see into the hearts of any other person. I just want to share my testimony that people make mistakes and bad calls. That does not change the gospel. Faith comes first. I don't have a magic formula to get rid of all doubt. Just stand on your rock and don't be afraid of the storm.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Great Article on Marriage

I saw this post on Facebook recently and couldn't pin it so I decided to copy it and put it here. THEN I can pin it. Take that Facebook! haha! Anyway it was posted on iFact's Facebook page. Fantastic article on marriage. Also, that book he mentions-- Brain Rules-- I have read it and really enjoyed it. So here is the article. Enjoy!

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married

I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.

Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.

This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.

This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.

However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.

According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.

Although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight.
The following are three thoughts on marriage that friends and mentors have shared with me. I remind myself of them often in hopes of keeping this anomaly called marriage both enjoyable and healthy.

1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.

Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.

I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.

The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she's looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on—but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.

Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my self-focus. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I am selfish and stubborn and, overall, human.

I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.

When we’re willing to see it this way, then the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fulfilling experience of life.

2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.

When we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.

It’s a disorienting claim. Disorienting, because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur, or any professional, requires that career takes the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years.

However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I figured giving the philosophy a test drive couldn’t hurt.

For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale, including career productivity and general quality of life.

To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.

Of course, marriage requires sacrifice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrifice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.

3. Marriage can change the world.

John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”

Medina's answer alludes to a surprising truth.

In my previously mentioned experiment, I measured the effect that making my marriage priority number one had on different areas of my life. One of those areas was my 16-month-old son’s behavior.

What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my child’s behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested in my marriage.

Re-enter John Medina, the Christian biologist. After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?

“Go home and love your wife.”

Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the authors of Babywise, say it this way: “A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process.” They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, “In the end, great marriages produce great parents.”

The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.

So men, women, the next time you find yourself dreaming about living significantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and and love your husband.

Admin khuy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Homemade Gak

Okay, here is the gak recipe I promised. Seriously fun to make and the kids play with it forever. I got the recipe and the picture here. So if you are looking for more detailed directions look there. But here is basically how it's made.

Take one 8 oz container of Elmer's Glue-All. Dump it into a bowl. Refill the bottle with water and dump that into the bowl as well. Mix them together.
In a separate bowl or cup, mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tsp Borax. It doesn't have to mix completely, just kinda mix it around. Then gradually mix the borax solution into the glue solution. Your kids will want to have their hands in the bowl to help mix, and to feel the gak form. It happens immediately and is really fun to play with as it does. Roll the ball of gak around in the bowl and knead it a bit to let all the glue solution interact with the borax. That's it! Really easy and really fun!

Some notes:
1. I had never heard of Borax before about a month ago and now I am seeing recipes calling for it all over the place (I even used it to make my own laundry detergent recently). It is pretty easy to find in the laundry section of most stores. Short of that you might try Amazon. It's cheap too. I big box cost me about $2. 
2. This stuff generally cleans up pretty easily if you soak it with water, but Last time I made it I decided to dye it bright purple. That made it a bit more messy, so... color at your own risk. 
3. Thing1 and thing2 had a friend come over and play with them. She had the fun idea to stick dried beans in the gak. That gave it an interesting texture. Kind of fun.
4. You can store this in a Ziplock bag, but my experience has been that it gets dirty pretty fast so I've never been able to keep it for more than a few days. 

Now go have some fun with your kids. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dragon Fruit and other Exotic Foods

I like to make my kids try new foods. So when we're at the store and see something strange looking, it's hard to resist. We have tried several strange fruits, but I will say that the dragon fruit we ate this morning was probably the strangest. I didn't know that nature made things that were so bright pink. The picture really doesn't even do it justice. Strange. Thing one tasted it on principle because it was pink but she didn't like it. Thing two loved it. She ate all of hers and then anything that anyone else would share. I liked it pretty well, it was kind of like a combination between a pear and a mango... maybe.

Anyway, today's learning idea... Go to the store with your kids, find something strange looking that they want to try and buy it. It's a great way to expand their food horizons.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The letter B

So... I have gone over many of the letters with thing 1 and she remembers some of them, but some seem to be a little harder for her to recall. Repetition is important, right? Sooooo... I have been trying to do "letter days" with thing 1 and thing 2 to make the learning processes easier and more fun. Basically I just try to think of a whole bunch of things that start with whatever letter I want to teach about that day and we do/ learn about those things. We did the letter B the other day and boy was that fun! 

 B word numero uno was bubbles. This project started out with me trying to get them to dip a bunch of straws that had been banded together into the bubble solution and then blow bubbles that way. But "the things" had a much cooler idea.  do you ever blow bubbles in your milk with a straw. Yeah. try doing that with bubble solution! Can you say cool?! This kept both thing 1 and thing 2 busy for longer than anything else I have ever seen (except possibly homemade gak-- I'll share that one next time).It also made surprisingly little mess.  So yeah, B is for bubble.

 Next we did some coloring. I think I've mentioned before that thing 1 is an avid colorer. So I printed off some letter tracing pages and some worksheets with things beginning with B. Thing 1 loved it. Thing 2 was finished really fast so she moved on to the next B word (or phrase I suppose): "Building with Blocks"

Anyway, you get the idea. It was a fun morning for everyone. The TV stayed off and if it helped a bit with reading readiness, well then that's an added bonus.
Now go have some fun with your kids!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tie Dye

We are seriously excited for easter this year. I have been thinking of all sorts of fun things to do with my girls next week and I will hopefully be posting about a few of them. So stay posted this week.

Have you ever seen silk dyed eggs. So cool. And they look so easy to do. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll let you know how it goes for us. This is probably not a super great project if your little ones are going to be grabbing everything, but I am going to try and let thing-one help me during thing-two's naptime. 

I stole this idea-- and these pictures-- from so if you want a full tutorial look there. I'll post my oen tips and observations here after I have actually tried it. The concept seems pretty simple though. Just get some silk fabric (like from an old tie-- you can get them from the thrift store), wrap it tightly around the eggs, and boil it to death.

The pattern actually comes off of the silk onto the egg!
How cool is that?! there is actually more to it. So, like I said, head over to best bites and check out their tutorial. It's a great site. So you should probably check it out anyway.  

Now go have some fun with your kids!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Simple art for Little Peoples

When you were a kid did you ever use those art books that teach you how to draw stuff based on simple shapes? I remember one that was all about drawing ocean animals that I just loved. Art is one of my favorite  hobbies and thing-one absolutely adores. Art keeps her occupied longer than anything else-- except perhaps playing princesses. She always wants me to help her draw things. So I have come up with a few really simple techniques for drawing some or her favorite objects. If they can draw a lines and scribbles they can put those things together to make a recognizable picture.


This was the first object that thing-one learned to draw. Just a circle and a line. I had to work with her a bit on how to make a circle. But once she learned how it made her so excited. Seriously. What toddler doesn't love balloons? This is a great basic object too because circles are so important to draw so many things. 


 These could work as trees too if flowers are too girlie for your needs. But thing-one loves flowers so for us this was a must. line with a scribble on top. what could be easier? Today She was also using this design to make the feet of the horse we were drawing together. Just turn it upside-down! My daughter is a genius-- probably almost as smart as yours. Can you believe it?!


I'm probably too proud of this one. but Thing one always wants to draw rainbows so this was important. I start it for her right now... I'm sure she'll get there on her own soon. Just draw one rainbow-shaped line. Then she can draw in other colors by following the line you made. I wasn't sure this would work for me honestly. I have tried getting her to do those workbook pages where they trace along dotted lines, but she just didn't like them. She loves this though. I guess she just needed a motive-- Rainbows! 

Now go have some fun with your kids.