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My Favorite Classroom Activities for the Holidays and New Years

December can be such a WILD time in the classroom. You add the typical demands of a classroom, a dash of the Holiday Bustle, mixed with the added excitement of the season, and you have yourself a heavy dose of survival mode. To help you thrive instead of simply surviving, I wanted to share some of my favorite classroom activities for the month of December!

Holiday String Art Activity:

Ornament template from the Original Upper-Grade String Art patterns shown.

The first activity I had to share is the String Art Templates I created. This idea came from my first year of teaching. I noticed my 5th graders still wanted to participate in all the Holiday Fun. However, many of the December projects, crafts, and ornaments were more geared to the younger grades. I remembered doing a string art candy cane when I was their age and set off to find the perfect project. The thing is… I couldn’t find one. So I decided in true On Lemon Lane fashion that I would simply create my own.

Numbered Dot to Dot String Art Pattern Shown. Can be a Poinsettia or a Snowflake based on choice of colors.

To this day, all of our childhood ornaments hang on my parent’s Christmas tree. Some of my favorite ornaments are those with a school picture on it. There’s something about immortalizing that awkward stage that brings nothing but happiness. Based on that giddiness, I knew I wanted to create a pattern that would allow the option to include a student picture. Thus my original Upper-Grade Template was born. If Ornaments and student pictures aren’t your jam, I’ve also included a 5×7 and 8×10 String Art Christmas tree template that can be framed in a dollar store frame, or even folded on a piece of cardstock to make a beautiful hand-made card.

 

 

To learn more about my String Art Patterns, click here to read the full Blog Post.

 

Can’t decide between the two? Save BIG by purchasing both through the String Art Bundle.

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Numbered DOT to DOT String Art Pattern is a simplified template. Perfect for younger grades, or those on a tighter time constraint.

Click Here to Download

Teachers Pay Teachers

 

The Original Upper-Grade String Art Templates are a more intricate and complicated design. Though a simple process the details add more time to the project.

Click Here to Download

Teachers Pay Teachers

Winter Math Wish List: Adding & Subtracting Decimals:

This activity is a favorite amongst many of my students, despite the fact that there is ALOT of math involved, cue maniacal laugh…  Many of your students will already be daydreaming and plotting their Holiday Wish List, so you may as well meet them in the middle and bridge math and their wish list together. By doing this you clearly exemplify the need for math in this Real-World Application project. Students are able to see a real-world application of how and when they might use rounding / estimating/compatible numbers with money. Also, the application used when adding and subtracting decimals or working within a budget.

I typically complete this activity around the Holidays, however, it can be used ANY TIME OF YEAR. The key benefit of completing or prepping for this activity in December is the sheer fact that FREE Toy catalogs can be found in every corner of every retailer. I’m looking at you Target and Walmart. This means you can pick up a CLASS SET of catalogs and not only will no one bat an eye, but it’s actually encouraged! Your kids will LOVE flipping through and shopping for their favorite items for a loved one and themself! ****Even better, I even save and reuse the catalogs for at least another year, and always pull them out again for an end of the school year review! If you are unable to get your hands on a couple of toy catalogs you can print off pages, display a page or two over the overhead, or allow the students to “shop” online!

The worksheet I’ve created guides students through each step and encourages students to explain their thinking as well as provide evidence to their answers. I have designed this product with a faint grid. The grid lines are to help guide your students to better organize their work. Which honestly with decimals this can be the biggest culprit of mistakes! I have my students use the columns to write each individual number and the lines to place their decimals. This helps students to line up their decimals and numbers being used by place value. I like to have students work in partnerships to encourage math talk in the classroom. There is not a wrong way to complete this activity. I guarantee that every version will lead to your class having a more sound understanding of the concepts, and an increase in student motivation to practice the concept!

 

Click Here to Download

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FREE Christmas Carol Crossword Puzzle:

My gift to you. This is SUCH a fun crossword. Essentially, students will test their knowledge and see how many of them actually know the lyrics to the classic Christmas Carols. The prompt will give them a snippet of the carol, and students must fill in the blank to complete the crossword. You may be surprised by how many you actually don’t know when you were so sure you did. Once completed students will count up how many they were able to complete and write the number in the circle provided. This is a great December Activity for morning work, winter rotations or centers, or your fast-finishers.

 

 

Click Here to Download

 

Free EOS Printable Gift Tag for Team Teachers and Colleagues:

While we’re talking about FREE activities I wanted to make sure you knew about this FREE download. It’s tough to come up with a practical and inexpensive gift idea for your fellow team teachers or colleagues. This is my gift to you! My hope is this free printable will save you time and stress. If you are like me Christmas seems to sneak up so quickly, and as a teacher, my time is already strapped! So finding the perfect, inexpensive gift for a friend, neighbor, room-mom, or colleague is out of the question.

 

This printable includes 4 different layouts and 2 different sizes. My favorite is the half-page. You can print either as a fold-able card, or simply write your message in the space provided below. I typically include chocolate with this gift, but with the EOS lip balm, this gift can stand alone. To use simply print on cardstock, then cut out the dashed circle in the center ornament. Open your EOS lip balm and insert it into the cut-out, then screw the EOS lid shut. Let me know if you have any questions! I know you and your lucky gift receiver will love this as much as I do!

Click Here to Download

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FREE New Year|New Goal Setting Mobile Activity:

This activity is FREE and a lot of fun. It’s the perfect launchpad into a new semester, new term, and new year. Students are asked to describe and illustrate their goals. We then hang these mobiles around the classroom. Hanging them in the classroom isn’t just a fun decoration but an effective reminder for the students to see every school day! Students are asked to set two academic goals for the term, one personal goal, and one future goal.

This product is versatile and can be used for the start of a new term, in January as a New Years Resolutions, or at the beginning of the year with the start of a new grade. I hope you enjoy this freebie as much as my students do!

Click Here to Download

One Word Resolution Activities & Interactive Bulletin Board.

I’m beyond excited to finally be able to share this idea with you! The best part is that EVERYONE can download the 1 Word Resolution Word Search for FREE! **Keep in mind you will need to be a member of On Lemon Lane to access this download. Not a member? Not a problem! Click Here to sign-up: Sign-up is FAST, FREE, and Easy-peasy Lemon Squeezy! This activity is JAM packed and so much fun. It’s the perfect way to ring in the year with focus and excitement.

Students begin with the word search. There are over 150 hidden 1-Word Resolutions in that pretty, little word search. The words range in difficulty so this is a great way to scaffold using the SAME resource. The word search requires students to find 8 words, then narrow their list to 1 meaningful word.

Once students have determined their word they will create a bookmark. This can be done by hand or digitally through Google Slides and Google Classroom then printed. The idea for the bookmark came from the need of students needing a daily reminder of their word.

The best part about this activity is that it all leads to an AWESOME, Interactive Bulletin Board Display.

Click here to learn more about the One Word Resolution Activities & Interactive Bulletin Board.

Click Here to Purchase 

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The Big Scribb|Free Mindset Mural:

Speaking of New Year Resolutions or goal-setting… This FREE project is a mural that is created in pieces by students in your class. Students have no idea what the end result or picture will be and instead are asked to focus on their small tile and to recreate the image assigned to them with as much accuracy as they can. Any lesson that includes a little mystery immediately means ENGAGEMENT.

This project leads to MEANINGFUL discussion, and the start of the New Year is the PERFECT time to have this discussion. I’ve included a poster and discussion questions to act as a guide. This is a great lesson to use when introducing setting goals. (Hello New Year, New Term, New Semester) This project illustrates why it’s important to set small attainable goals in order to achieve their big goals or dreams. It’s also wonderful for talking about teamwork, and unity in the classroom. You could use this as a morning meeting, at the beginning of the school year, with new year resolutions or at the start of a new term or semester! I love that at the end of this project you are left with a mural that can be used as a classroom display or bulletin board that MEANS something to your class. You can refer to it throughout the year when students come across a tough concept that feels like an “elephant”. Remind them of the power in taking it one small bite at a time.

With students returning from Winter Break, this is one of the first activities I would do, followed by the goal-setting mobiles mentioned above.

Click Here to Download 

Grit & Growth Mindset Challenges|Facilitate Failure in the New Year

The start of the New Year is the perfect time to facilitate failure in your classroom.

With the start of the new year, and the end of the school year now fast approaching… there is not a better time to facilitate failure in the classroom. GRIT and Growth Mindset are the hot topics in the classroom at the moment and for very good reason. However, most products, blog posts, and resources only discuss what it is, what it looks like, and the importance of it. This line of products allows you to explicitly teach it.

These activities are designed to make your students struggle and fail, tossing them into the depths of the learning pit. Sounds a little harsh? Maybe. But I can’t think of a better place, than the safety of the classroom, in a controlled environment for students to exercise grit and growth mindset than under the watchful eye of a loving teacher.  By facilitating failure you and your students are able to pinpoint those tough emotions, negative thoughts, and capitalize on them. 

 

 

Click Here to Read the Full Blog Post

Click Here to Download

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Christmas | Winter | Holiday | Steam & Stem Ideas for the Classroom

We’ve had a warm December this year, but if Winter is anything like it was last year… we’re in for another ETERNAL WINTER. We had so much snow last year that I figured it was time to stop complaining about it and time to put it to work. I rounded up some of my favorite STEAM &  STEM activities that use SNOW.

Click here to read the post. 

No Snow… No problem. There are plenty of other Holiday-themed STEAM and STEM Ideas for you to enjoy! I’ve gathered a handful of my favorite projects and will include the links below. Before I share them, if you’re anything like me, you may have a strained relationship with Steam or Stem challenges in the classroom. You love them in theory, but in practice, they lack in academic application… If so make sure to check out my Steam and Stem planning and reflecting response sheets below. They are the perfect companion to ANY project. These pages give your students the structure, scaffolding, and organization needed to guarantee success, application, and a deep and thoughtful discussion.

Click here to learn more about the Steam| Stem Planning & Reflecting Response Pages.

Click Here to Download

Teachers Pay Teachers

Steam and Stem Ideas for the classroom for Christmas and Holidays ClassroomAs promised… Here is a list of my favorite Holiday Themed Steam and Stem Challenges for the classroom!

Holiday Themed Steam & Stem Challenges:

 

What’s your favorite activity for the holiday? Comment below!

Can’t wait to hear what you think! Better yet, what did your students think? Comment below, or let’s connect on Instagram or Facebook! Tag me in your pictures pretty please!

 

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If you enjoyed this PLEASE SHARE! Sharing on Pinterest, Facebook, or tagging on Instagram is a simple, yet wonderful way to support the efforts of Teaching on Lemon Lane!

 

BIG NEWS: Check out my story for more information, trust me you don’t want to miss this! .
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If you’ve been following me for long you know the ONLY paid subscription I use for #comefollowme is the Drawn In monthly subscription by @davidbowmanart .
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Use the EXCLUSIVE Promo code: LEMONLANE10 to get 10% off your yearly subscription. With this discount you receive 2 new 15-20 minute videos a week along with weekly printable materials that follow the Come Follow Me Curriculum! That’s a minimum of 8 videos a week for LESS THAN $5 a month! .
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I love the Drawn In videos because of their focus on APPLICATION. Instead of just a retelling of the story, David takes it a step further by exploring why the story is important, what we can learn from it, and even further by giving examples of scenarios of where the principles taught can be applied in your children’s life today. Truly @davidbowmanart has a gift for bringing the scriptures and their importance to life. .
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If you’re interested make sure to check out the FREE Sample videos available on his website, (I link it each week on the blog) Also don’t forget to check out my story for some EXCITING news that’s only available to you for the next TWO WEEKS! #gogogo
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“The influence of your personal testimonies is ever so far-reaching. The Lord instructed: “The testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you” (D&C 62:3). He also cautioned us: “With some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man” (D&C 60:2). You never know when your turn will come to comply with the admonition of Peter to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).”
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Thomas S. Monson
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I’ve complied my FAVORITE inexpensive gift ideas for Father’s Day and created FREE printables for you to complete the gift! These are perfect and practical for the men in your life, and work great as a gift for the entire ward! -
What did your Ward do for Father’s Day this year?
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“I know the love of God. It is one of the very few things I do know with absolute certainty. I think suffering on this earth is an indication of God’s trust, God’s love. I think it is an indication that God does not want us to be simply obedient children playing forever under his hand, but wants us able to become more like himself. In order to do that we have to know reality. We have to be real ourselves and not dependent on externals. If we are to be like God, we cannot live forever in fear that we may meet something that will scare us or that will hurt us. We have to be able, as he is able, to meet what comes of others’ agency, and of living in a lawful universe that allows creation of a habitable planet only when it allows also the difficulties that come in natural operations of such a planet.”
-Francine R. Bennion
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“Now all this suffering might indeed be unfair if everything ended at death, but it doesn’t. Life is not like a one-act play. It has three acts. We had a past act, when we were in the premortal existence; and now we have a present act, which is mortality; and we will have a future act, when we return to God. … We were sent into mortality to be tested and tried [see Abraham 3:25]. … “Our past and present sufferings cannot, as Paul said, ‘be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18] in the eternities. ‘For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory.’ [D&C 58:4.] So tribulation is useful in the sense that it is helpful to get into the celestial kingdom”
-James E. Faust
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Reflecting on Father’s Day... it’s incredible to me that the Supreme Creator of the Universe chooses to be addressed as “Father”...
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. “Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend and, ultimately, a perfect being.” Robert L. Backman
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For whatever reason, I’ve had this false idea in my mind that when you are on the Lord’s errand, a path paved in smooth simplicity would be laid out before you… This simply isn’t the case. Consider Nephi’s path and the bumps and stumbling blocks placed in his way… Consider Abinadi and his ultimate sacrifice of meekness and obedience… Consider Joseph Smith and the reestablishment of the early Church… Now consider Alma the younger and his dealings with Ammoniahah… Looking ahead, look what happens to Amulek once he finally decides to “Know” the Gospel.

It’s so interesting to me that when the angel is sent to Alma to lift him up and send him back to Ammoniahah a key detail that in my mind would have eased Alma’s mind is left out. Notice how the angel made no mention of Amulek. There is no mention of comfort that someone has been prepared for you, and is waiting for you. Instead, Alma acts “speedily” not knowing what he will do, ACTING in faith, hoping that the Lord will provide a way.
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To me this illustrates the idea of the Lord’s hand cautiously guiding us even when we can’t see it. I’ve seen this concept in my own life, however, it isn’t until I have the hindsight of the future to look back and realize his hand was there all along. There is something to choosing to act on our own. Heading in the right direction, even though we don’t know how we will be delivered, having faith that we WILL be delivered.
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“Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load... [...]Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness... [...] Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but His Atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities. Most of us know that when we do things wrong and need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. But do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone—through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.” Excerpts from Bear Your Burdens with Ease, -Bednar ...

With there being a focus on Missionary work this week for Come Follow Me, and the fact that it isn’t always rosy… I thought a good addition to the lesson would be to write a letter to a missionary. Maybe this is a family member, a ward member, or someone new entirely, but a message from home can be an easy way to show support for those serving in the mission field. To help with this activity I created a fun and editable missionary letter template. The template should simplify the writing process and take the guesswork out of what to write. You can either type directly onto the slide, and print or email. Or you can begin by printing a hard copy and writing directly onto the page.

Use this with your family, your students, the primary, or young men| young women! This works great as a zoom call activity or fun activity at home! I’ve also included a link to inkablinka.com where Kristin has uploaded some awesome printables going over missionary letter dos and donts!
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Highlighting one of my most treasured scriptures this week. President Bednar said it best: “Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us. There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” ...

To help you with your study this week, I’ve created a printable with all of the questions posed in chapter 5. (Around 50!) For me, this gives me something concrete, that I can hold, look at, and mark up. You will notice that many of the questions aren’t as simple as a yes and no, similar to many of the questions asked in Come Follow Me. I’ve left a space next to each question for you to use as you wish. Yes, it could be a place for a checkmark, but the more I grow, the more I learn that this is not a checklist Gospel. Rather, it’s growth, progression, and all about movement whether that be forward or backward. I wonder if you may even choose to “check” one of the questions that you choose to further study, ponder, or focus on for the week.
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I’d love to hear how you use this personal inventory, and any takeaways you have. Don’t forget to share this post with a friend!
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Recently I was asked to share my thoughts on the Come Follow Me program during the past few months for the LDS Website in the UK. @churchofjesuschrist -
Frankly speaking the invitation made me a little sick. My biggest fear is that it would seem like we were the perfect little family with the perfect little program in place, complete with cutouts and crafts, deep discussions and daily reflection....
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This couldn't be more from the truth. Yes, I do a weekly round up of ideas and resources for Come Follow Me that I publish on my website, but that doesn't mean that it always happens within my own home. When it does happen it typically looks like a bedtime story, or a video played while the kids eat lunch... When it does happen I often fall asleep while trying to catch up on last week’s reading... Most of all, when it does happen, I notice a difference within my home. This program is divinely inspired, the simple timing of everything amplifies it's divine origin to me. -
Art by @_thecoloramber one of the most beautiful illustrations of a family I've ever laid eyes on. Words fall short on this piece. It's my absolute favorite.
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You can read the article here:
https://uk.churchofjesuschrist.org/come-follow-me-during-lockdown?lang=eng-gb
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This quote stopped me in my tracks... Make sure to head to the website for this week’s Round up of FREE Come Follow Me Resources! This week’s lesson is based on @comefollowmefamily AWESOME idea to use bubbles and balloons to teach about pride. AND @davidbowmanart released another FREE Sample video from his Drawn In, Come Follow Me monthly subscription that I know you are going to LOVE! His videos are wonderful and go beyond just a retelling of the story by diving deep into application in a language the whole family can enjoy! This is the ONLY paid subscription I use for #comefollowme Head to the website now for all of this, a coupon code, and MORE! -
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What are your takeaways from Come Follow Me this week? Do me a favor and spread the love by sharing this post or tagging a friend in the comments!
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By now we all know I love all things Lemon... Lemonade is not exception. ESPECIALLY a good tart Lemonade like @chickfila Did you know you could buy it by the Gallon??? Stay tuned... FREE Father’s Day Printable Gift Tags and a list of well received/ inexpensive gift ideas to accompany them! Whether your looking to outfit the entire ward, or just a thoughtful gift for a few of your favorite men, this post will highlight some fun ideas! -
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COMMENT BELOW: What are some of your favorite inexpensive gift ideas for #fathersday
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“And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (Mosiah 27:25–26).
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”Conversion is a process, not an event. Conversion comes as a result of righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith. Although conversion is miraculous and life changing, it is a quiet miracle. Angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion. Even Alma, who saw an angel, became converted only after he “fasted and prayed many days” for a witness of the truth (Alma 5:46). And Paul, who saw the resurrected Savior, taught that “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 12:3).”
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Excerpt from LDS.org
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”Our behavior is nothing more than a reflection of the depth of our conversion to Jesus Christ." Ed J. Pinegar
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What has your behavior shown today of your conversion to Jesus Christ?
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Let’s talk FATHER’S Day... I’m getting ready to add a post on my favorite inexpensive gift ideas for #fathersday along with FREE & Thoughtful printables to complete the gift. So help me out... what are your FAVORITE ideas for budget friendly, visiting teaching friendly, give every man in the ward friendly GIFT IDEAS???
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Comment Below 💛🍋💛🍋
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This week in #comefollowme has me thinking a lot about the ripple effects of our choices. Consider the #rippleeffects of your Covenants. What about the ripple effect of Abinadi’s brave stand, or the ripples caused by Alma’s conversion. What choices are you making today, what ripple effect will they have tomorrow? ...

“What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him. A covenant is an agreement between God and man, an accord whose terms are set by God (see Bible Dictionary, “Covenant,” 651). In these divine agreements, God binds Himself to sustain, sanctify, and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve Him and keep His commandments.”
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Head to the website to see this week’s round up of FREE, featured #comefollowme resources.
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