Thursday, December 6, 2012

Visiting Teaching, A Work of Salvation, the Christmas Version

Click on image, then save full-sized file (4 by 6, 300 dpi) to your computer.
I love tying the Visiting Teaching message to a holiday or to an event in the month. This month's message, Visiting Teaching, A Work of Salvation contains a wonderful quote for Christmas, the season the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

 "We are 'to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite [others] to come unto Christ." [D&C 20:59]. --Spencer W. Kimball

In the 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, President Henry B. Eyring gave a talk titled, The Gifts of Christmas. I feel that it complements this month's message extremely well. He said,

"The lesson is that God knows our every need, that He loves us, and that He watches over us.

He gave us the gift of a Savior, His perfect Son, the Lamb without blemish. By personal appearance of the Father Himself and of the Son, and through angels, He has restored the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. He has called prophets and apostles to guide us to safety in this life and eternal life in the world to come. Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected that we may live again, that we may be purified and cleansed from sin, prepared for the glory of eternal life.

Those are gifts to us that we can offer to others for Him. We do that by remembering Him and trying with all our hearts to do what He would do and love as He loves.

There was a song in a film years ago with the line 'Have yourself a merry little Christmas.”  Well, you can give a great and wonderful Christmas if you remember the gifts God has given you and, as best you can, offer them to others as He would. That is the spirit of Christmas and of true happiness every day.'

A conclusion I drew from his talk is that Visiting Teaching, as a Work of Salvation, is the spirit of Christmas and of true happiness every day! What a gift to us as Visiting Teachers and those we visit teach!

Wishing you and your sisters a very Merry Christmas!

Thanks for visiting!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All's Well That Ends Well!

"All's well that ends well". Who am I to argue with the wisdom of Shakespeare? (Especially when there are colder, less forgiving platitudes out there like "Time and tide wait for no man" or "It is what it is".) So, in the spirit of ending the year well, I'm posting a 4 by 6 image that can be used as a tag, a card, a print; fulfilling every possible VT printable need you have--except actually printing it out!
Click to access full-sized 300 dpi version, then save that version to your computer. Upload to a photo processor for best results.

For those who have read Daughters in My Kingdom, this quote by Eliza R. Snow will be familiar. It's a perfect thought for the chilly month of December: "Win back those who have gone astray [and] warm up the hearts of those who have grown cold in the gospel." Optional little tie-in gift possibilities are numerous: dollar store mittens, hand-knitted scarf, (and now we're getting to the really good stuff) hot chocolate mixes, hot chocolate stirring sticks, and these...

Chocolaty Melting Snowmen Cookies from BHG

Christmas Hot Chocolate Cupcake
Abbreviated Hot Chocolate Cupcake instructions from Catch My Party here.

Easy Snowman Marshmallows from Sweet Sugar Belle

You catch my drift!

Wishing you and your Sisters a wonderful Christmas! Warm them up! Until next time--(Who knows when that will be--maybe next December?)

Thanks for visiting,


P.S. Please see this post for another December 2012 Visiting Teaching printable!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Vacation?

Yes, apparently I am incorrigible!

I'm misbehaving at this very moment--I'm inside blogging instead of being outdoors, painting landscapes. Our RS lesson yesterday was about Visiting Teaching, and I got so excited, I just had to update my old links for June's message. I also pinned some new free June VT printables at pinterest. Find them in the 2012 Free VT Handouts link to the left under the Pinterest heading.

Changing links was bad enough behavior already, adding to my VT pinterest board even worse, but now I'm afraid I can't keep myself from sharing a few summer theme ideas for your sisters, too--

If a sister is heading out on a road trip, you might adapt a suggestion or two for her and her family from the Road Trip ideas posted at the Dating Divas:

If a sister is setting out for the beach, or on a camping trip, S'mores might be a fun way to send her off. It's even a tasteful way of celebrating the fact that Summer is almost he

I love the tag at Pinterest that simply says, "Sending you S'more love!" Perfect for VT!

 And finally, a refreshing way to welcome Summer from Caramel Potatoes, complete with recipe and tag printables. (You'll have to sign up at 4shared to access the printables):

 Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time letting things go! Just one more fun summer gift idea from Caramel Potatoes...Hot Fudge Sauce.

And maybe combine it with a great quote by Eliza R. Snow from Thankful Me ("Warm her up/hot fudge sauce here

I would show you my last painting but it's so bad, it wouldn't be very nice of me. You'd definitely tell me to get back out there and get painting. I really hope no more lessons this month are about VT! ;) So, until later...(if not sooner!) 

Have a great visit this month!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Signing Off

This is hard to do because I've enjoyed it so much, but I'm suspending my blog. I told myself when I started it that if it got in the way of plein air painting, I'd have to stop. And it did. Completely. (I'm writing from time-out.)

Hopefully, I'll add things from time to time, but I can't do it on a regular basis anymore. There are a lot of great VT resources out there already (like inkablinka, mishmashmom, visitingteachingsurprise, etc.), so I know I'm leaving you in very capable hands. 

Wishing you the best in your VT calling--


Monday, May 21, 2012

Indirect Answers

I mentioned earlier this month that if a certain theme keeps intruding itself into my life, it feels like I didn't pay enough attention to it the first time around. And I'd better get with the program. Right away. That happened again this past weekend. I have a degree in art, but for some unknown reason, the David O. McKay School of Education seems to have adopted me--I receive their quarterly magazine. The spring edition recently arrived and I was intrigued with a manufactured conversation by Russell T. Osguthorpe found in Agency and the Pursuit of Learning (which, by the way, reminded me quite a bit of Elder Bednar's book, Increase in Learning, --yet another topic hitting me on the head recently!)

Where you see quotation marks, Osguthorpe has incorporated direct excerpts from The Abundance of the Heart by Arthur Henry King. The last sentence is the crowning jewel of the exchange:

Arthur: “One of the mistakes we make over and over again in life is to go directly for the things we think are important.”
Russ: Are you saying that we should not pursue knowledge we think is important?
Arthur: I said not to go directly for things we think are important.
Russ: You mean like setting our hearts on riches?
Arthur: Yes, but more. “If we aim at self-fulfillment, we shall never be fulfilled.”
Russ: Are you saying happiness is a by-product of something else?
Arthur: Yes, but I don’t like the word by-product. People talk about getting an education, but “if we aim at education, we shall never become educated.”
Russ: Education seems like a fairly important goal to aim for, but you’re saying that we should not go for it directly.
Arthur: Yes. Even “if we aim at salvation, we shall never be saved. These things are indirect, supreme results of doing something else; and the something else is service, it is righteousness, it is trying to do the right thing, the thing that needs to be done at each moment.”

This was strongly on my mind when yesterday, my wonderful VT said something to the effect that feeling the love of Christ helps our testimonies to grow stronger. If we want stronger testimonies, serving others, which develops charity, the pure love of Christ, can do it. (Again, an indirect approach through service...)

Then, today, I came across this quote shared in the March 1995 Ensign article, "Learning to Cherish Visiting Teaching."

"I no longer tried to be the “perfect” visiting teacher—I was too busy being Ann’s friend."

 If you read the whole article, you'll find the same message. It appears that whatever it is that you want to improve in, including visiting teaching, concentrate on serving, on doing the right thing at the moment. The results might not be obvious at first, but almost like the photo at the top that eventually comes into focus as a rose window, miracles can happen.

Thanks for visiting today!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Grad Congrats!

My niece and her husband graduated from college this week! I thought today would be a perfect time to throw them a little graduation party. Unfortunately, online or by mail. They live over a thousand miles away. But if you have a visiting teaching sister who is also graduating this year, (or you suddenly end up with one fresh from college) these ideas might be a perfect way for you to help her celebrate, too.

First off, here's the ever-popular subway art download that you can turn into a graduation card or maybe a framed gift:

 And there are so many cute little gift ideas out there. This tag download is from caramel potatoes--

Check out their site for a couple of cute presentation ideas for this tag--and maybe pick up a couple of cookie recipes while you're at it!

And of course, it couldn't be a real party without cupcakes. I think these are my favorites--from Anna & Blue Paperie:

That hit the spot! I found a few other ideas I couldn't post today, so I created a small pinterest board of graduation/grad party ideas here for you to check out.

Hope you have a great weekend!
Thanks for visiting today,


Monday, May 14, 2012


Created and posted by Jodie at countrygirlchronicles here

In GA Smith, #8--Temple Blessings for Ourselves and Our Ancestors, I was struck by beauty of our symbiotic relationship with our ancestors.We can't leave them behind and expect to receive exaltation. There are also immediate blessings for us when we reach out and care for those around us here and now, as described in the following studies:

•A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reveals that volunteering activates the part of your brain that produces oxytocin, a bonding hormone, strengthening the emotional connection between people.
•Another study showed that a small gesture like sharing a hug or giving a pat on the back is also proven to raise oxytonin.
•A UCLA brain scan study showed that these same acts of kindness also trigger the release of dopamine, relieving our stress and giving us pleasure.

“ should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you..."  Mosiah 2:24

President Uchtdorf's quote shown at the top adds "answers to prayer" to the list of benefits received when serving the Lord and others. It's such a miraculous paradox how in helping others, we are actually helping ourselves...probably far more than we realize.
Thanks for visiting today! Have a great week.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Well Wishes!

In keeping with the illness theme I unintentionally started earlier this week, I thought I'd share a post by Mandy Douglass who blogs at "It Will Change Your Life". Mandy had several ideas for creating little gifts for someone who is going through a hard time or illness--of course, visiting teaching sisters come immediately to mind. A photo of these projects is below. Her suggestions can be found here.

And I thought I'd give one more shout out to , where they created a Sunshine Box for a family going through a very hard time--overall, it's just a slight bit more grandiose in scale, but the contents might even be broken down and given separately instead. Find more Sunshine Box photos here.

It might be a good idea to keep a few of these things on hand to have available as a little pick-me-up when the unthinkable strikes your sister or her family. (Hope you'll never need to use them!) Have a great weekend and happy Mother's Day!

Thanks for visiting today--


Monday, May 7, 2012

More Than Words

When Michelle of Noisy Pancakes was called to be the Visiting Teaching Coordinator of her ward, she created some great printable designs from visiting teaching quotes and posted them here. That's one of my favorites. I really like this next one, too...

 One sister commented that she printed Michelle's quotes out, framed them, and used them for game prizes at their ward's VT conference. I love it when people share their great ideas! (Hint, hint...)

I have a bug today that makes my "normal" health problems seem rather appealing by comparison, so please enjoy exploring Michelle's Noisy Pancakes blog for more visiting teaching inspiration. Hopefully, everything here will be good again by Friday!

Thanks for visiting--have a great week!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Thanks a Bunch!

It's May? That means Memorial Day is just around the corner--the kick-off of the summer season where I live. Before you know it, you'll have bags of bananas turning brown before you even pull into your driveway after a quick trip to the grocery store. Noooo!

There's no cause be alarmed anymore when you find yourself with an overabundance of ripe bananas. Just remember that AshLee at Two Penny Blue Mom blog has a great visiting teaching (or even Home Teaching) gift solution--banana bread--and a cute little tag printable to accompany it.

A year or so ago, I was inundated with so many ripe bananas that I couldn't stomach the thought of making my "Old Faithful" recipe ever again in this lifetime. Even though it was our 4-H club's secret weapon. The one that always won a gold ribbon at the fair. I found Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread here. And the Peanut Butter Banana Bread here looked promising, too. But with the exception of the slimmed down version here (which I re-fatted by subbing a whole egg for the egg whites), I've never quite had the heart (or courage) to fully turn my back on Old Faithful. Yet. I think I'm almost there, though.

If you have a link to a great Banana Bread to suggest, you're welcome to leave it below. I haven't checked Pinterest yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a gooey chocolate chip pudding layer with cookie dough banana bread recipe pinned somewhere...Think I'll go take a look.

Thanks for visiting today. Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crafting the May VT Message

This month, Visiting teachers will choose their message from the April 2012 General Conference. We are asked to prayerfully select something that will best meet the needs of our sisters. My Ensign hasn't arrived yet. Now what? One way to search for a relevant talk is by scanning through the index of conference talks. A link to an index of conference talks is located at the top of the left sidebar.

Another way to search for a message idea is to watch the video of Conference Highlights here.

About a week or so before conference, I read something that made me squirm. The "Reader's Digest" version of it follows:

During a conversation, a nonmember said to his neighbor, “You say you have prophets and apostles? And twice a year they reveal the word of God?”


“What did they say the last time?”

The member couldn’t think of the details of a single talk.

His friend responded, “You mean to tell me that God speaks to man in our day and you can’t remember what He said?” (from General Conference—No Ordinary Blessing by Dieter F. Uchtdorf,  Ensign, September 2011)

It was March, and even though I had taken copious notes during the October conference, I was also drawing a blank on what was said. Never again! Someone suggested taking less notes in order to listen better. I gave it a try, but it turned out that I am more fully engaged when I take notes. And now I don't have helpful notes, either! If you are in a similar situation, you might know someone who posted their notes online like those here or you might try the highlights from LDS Living here since written summaries or notes might help lead you to the best talk for your sisters' circumstances.

Another search option--you might see a great quote printable that could point you toward the right talk. These are from Sarah at And Spiritually Thinking, a blog that is sharing free printables created from general conference quotes.

Find these printables here

There are also some great free quote printables at the mormonmommyblogs (seen below). 

Find these and other conference printables here.

I've noticed many conference quote printables are available across the web. I'll keep posting them on my pinterest board as I come across them. The link to this board is always in the left sidebar under the "Pinterest" heading. The board is called "2012 Free Visiting Teaching Handouts."

Have a great May! Thanks for visiting today.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May VT Message Handout

How many times have you read something from the 2006 general Relief Society broadcast--this year? Not exactly a priority on my daily planner list, either. But somehow, I don't remember why or how, this past March I found myself reading a story that President Gordon B. Hinckley shared in September of 2006 about a single mother who felt alone and overwhelmed. I could easily envision her looking across the darkened street toward her home, wishing for a heavenly night's escape from her cares and responsibilities. My heart went out to her. And then came the beautiful conclusion. Unfortunately,  it wasn't long before daily routines and other obligations intruded and hijacked my brain. I forgot all about the story.

A week or so later, during the Saturday afternoon conference session, David S. Baxter began retelling the very same account. My inner alarm went off. It felt like no accident--this story was definitely for me and so I needed to remember it. But once again, I forgot it. That is, I forgot until I started browsing yesterday through conference talks for something to share with you this month. From the moment that I discovered this story (again!), everything came together effortlessly for May's handout. Here is the story as related by David S. Baxter in his conference address, Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents:

"In the general Relief Society meeting of September 2006, President Gordon B. Hinckley related an experience shared by a divorced single mother of seven children then ranging in ages from 7 to 16. She had gone across the street to deliver something to a neighbor. She said:

“As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: ‘Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?’ ‘Can you take me to the library?’ ‘I have to get some poster paper tonight.’ Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.

“I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, ‘Dear Father, I just can’t do it tonight. I’m too tired. I can’t face it. I can’t go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? …’

“I didn’t really hear the words of reply, but I heard them in my mind. The answer was: ‘No, little one, you can’t come to me now. … But I can come to you.’”

This story vividly illustrates that Heavenly Father is mindful of our single sisters, most especially in their struggles of  feeling alone and overwhelmed. I do not know the heartaches of being a single parent--I can't pretend to know exactly how this sister felt that night. But one of the reasons my heart went out to her so strongly was because I've known my own dark days. I've had a chronic illness since I was 14 and have had some seemingly eternal days of weakness, inability, and pain that caused me to yearn for the very same heavenly relief. This beautiful story reminds us Heavenly Father's love and support--His perfect love and support--are always with us here, in every difficulty we face.

You can print the pdf of the main part of the handout here (overall, it's 5.5 by 8.5", so it comes 2 to a page). You can also choose to print out, cut out, and attach the optional star layer that's pictured in the version at the very top of the page. The star layer shows the prayer of this sister. It can be lifted to reveal the response. I put some barely perceptible hearts around the star to symbolize that Heavenly Father's love is constant, even when we don't notice it there. And if you'd like to include something extra with your handout, a Milky Way bar would be a great tie-in.

Print out the star pdf here.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."    Romans 8: 38, 39

Thanks for visiting today!


Monday, April 30, 2012

May Day Help!

For Motivational Monday, I have pulled out a very short quote specifically about visiting teaching from a talk given by Julie B. Beck in the October 2009 General Conference. (Actually, the entire paragraph was incredible, and you can find it in the full talk transcribed here.)

"This is one responsibility that is certain to increase our faith and personal righteousness and strengthen our own homes and families as we become partners with the Lord."

I love how we are promised that by doing our visiting teaching we will be strengthened in several different aspects of our lives. It's that important.

Tomorrow is an opportunity to bring a little mood elevation into your sisters' lives with a May Day basket. I will entrust you to Tip Junkie's capable care here if you are in need of some May Day basket ideas (including some crafty substitute ideas if your sister is sensitive to flowers). If you need some tags for the occasion, I can help you out with some that were created with May Day in mind:

Print the pdf here.

Or you can use the tags posted here.

Have a great week! I'll be back with a VT handout idea for May by Friday.


Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Only Natural...

Tag shown folded on dotted line and attached to a package of almonds

Happy Arbor Day!

Today is Arbor Day! SOMEONE (I'll be big and won't mention their name) forgot to put "Arbor Day" on the list of April dates so conveniently located in the right sidebar near the top of this page. Sorry! And in an attempt to set things right with you, I have a little Arbor Day gift below.

 I've always loved trees--their shade, the rustling of their leaves, the pure magic of a small, almost insignificant seed taking root and growing into something magnificent. There's also the Tree of Life (Adam's and Lehi's), the Allegory of the Olive Tree, and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to meditate upon. I wanted to design something for Arbor Day that conveyed some of the inspiration and importance of trees to help encourage our visiting teaching sisters in their lives.  I didn't think it should be just be an ordinary to/from tag, but something that could be re-purposed. A bookmark, perhaps, when cut along the dashed line.

Give it as-is, or attach it to a tree product, like a piece of fruit or even something recycled. Go nuts. (Sorry...again!)

Print the pdf from here. For personal use only.

Thanks for visiting today! I want to close out this post with a beautiful little snippet from Genesis 2:9--"And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food..." Trees were not created just for our sustenance, but also for us to enjoy their beauty. Happy Arbor Day!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Your Secret Weapon

Even though the following video clip is about a half hour long, bookmark it. Remember it. It's your secret weapon. And on a bad day, when it seems every fiery dart against visiting teaching out there is being aimed straight at you, pull this clip out of your arsenal and watch it. You'll feel renewed, uplifted, inspired, and ready to go out one more time!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is the very last week you'll be able to use the following tag (or any other handout) designed specifically for the April message. For thumbnails of free April VT handouts from various designers across the web, click on the Pinterest link in the left sidebar titled, "2012 Free Visiting Teaching Handouts" or here.

Find this tag here.
What versatility! Don't miss out! ;)

Thanks for visiting today!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Flowery Language Tags

What's up, buttercup? I have something brand-new for you:
Ode to Spring/Earth Day/May Day Tags!
(Or Flowery Language Tags for "short".)

Print the pdf here

You have possibly never come across anything as monumental as these tags before, and your mind is spinning with all the earth-shattering repercussions the preceding sentence holds for you:

  • You imagine attaching the tag to a seed packet! Then you can hand it to someone, send it off in a card or letter, or maybe punch a hole in the top of the tag and attach it to a copy of the month's message.

  •  You visualize yourself taping the tag to a Popsicle stick, and inserting it into a container as a plant marker. Incredible! What an amazing gift for Earth Day (or any other day) you've just thought up!

  • You consider taping the tag to a wooden skewer and including it with a bunch of flowers from your garden...or nursery or florist. Hmmm, isn't it almost May Day? What timing! The blossom one is just perfect for that...

These are what I like to think of as "Tokens of Affection" tags. They're just a little something to let someone know you've been thinking of them. For your VT sisters, and everyone else you'd like to acknowledge with a sweet little gift.


P. S. Buttercups are really hard to find where I live. (It's just as well. Turns out, they are poisonous?) I came across a packet of Burgess Buttercup squash seeds at Home Depot from Ferry-Morse.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Birthday!


Actually, I do know it's not Friday. I'm a little early. Yesterday was my blog's 2nd month birthday. (Yes, even I was surprised when I found that out!) I thought I'd celebrate today with a little surprise party. So--surprise!

When I checked the stats on my blog the first week, two people from Russia, one from the Ukraine, and I were the only ones who had ever looked at it. It was then that I finally realized that a blog about Visiting Teaching was probably doomed to be a one-hit wonder every month.

On top of that, the new visiting teaching emphasis came out a couple weeks ago--the message wasn't the main priority. I thought life was all over for the blog! But as I re-read the new VT information, I realized that my blog intentions go hand-in-hand with our direction to "Stay in frequent contact through visits, phone calls, letters, e-mail, text messages, and simple acts of kindness." Visiting teaching is not a one-hit wonder every month!

I love to create corny little tokens of affection. And when I am not highlighting the new month's message or holiday ideas for our sisters, I'll share some of those tokens of affection with you. Many will be versatile so you can multi-task with them--family, other friends, and neighbors can also benefit from them, if corny actually can be considered beneficial.

Thanks for visiting! I wasn't expecting to get a hundred hits for many, many months and was astonished to find I've had over 8000. (You are such a quiet group for one that size!) I'm looking forward to the uncharted journey that's ahead.

I have a little party favor for you. I wasn't sure what flavor cupcake you like best, so three cupcake tag flavors await you here, though unfortunately only in pdf form. Have a great week!

Thanks for visiting today!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Field Trip!

I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long! I'm in a light-hearted, let's-get-out-of-the-house, spring mood today, so I thought we'd take a brief, whirlwind tour of the Twiddler House for our Monday motivation/inspiration.

The following free printables that Jen created were inspired by primary songs. If you'll take a look below and to your left, you'll undoubtedly recognize the lyric snippet that came from "Kindness Begins with Me"(!) On the right, the inspiration behind this printable came from "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus". Find the downloads here, along with a couple of other printable choices.

And of course, both of these printables illustrate the very essence that is at the heart of visiting teaching. I love the mood of the feel-good graphics combined with the lyrics.

Continuing on straight ahead, Jen still has one more printable for you, a quote from one of my favorites, Henry B. Eyring--find the printable here. Jen also offers this printable in a couple of color choices.

Another great quote combined with upbeat visuals.

Unfortunately, we've come to the close of our visit to Twiddler House today. I hope you liked Jen's printables as much as I do--and that they helped get your week off to a great start!

(Oh my goodness. She even has an etsy (gift) shop. How perfect--I can't resist. Please exit through the gift shop...)

Enjoy your visit!


Friday, April 13, 2012

The Higher Law

I love seeing different types of graphics and design, so I like looking through the Free April VT Handouts board at Pinterest and adding new printables to it from across the web. See the board here, or click on the "2012 Free Visiting Teaching Handouts" link in the sidebar to the left. It's always intriguing to see what others highlight to accompany the full message printout.

As always, links for the official message in html and pdf form are at the top, to the left.

I was caught slightly off-guard when I came across someone who felt that this month's message was pedestrian--a slight contrast from my opinion that this is an epic message. Quite a few people mentioned that this message felt different from all the others that have preceded it. My own feeling is that we received a "higher law" of visiting teaching this month.

Quote from Julie B. Beck, Oct 2011 General Conference.

Broadcasting the message once a month, then "over and out" until next month is officially a thing of the past. The suggestions given in this month's message about how to love, watch over, strengthen a sister are open-ended--not a checklist that can be marked off in a single day. They are ongoing throughout the month and belong in your daily planner instead of on a to-do list.

We already knew this information all along. But now, it's time for action. We've been charged with the responsibility for living it. In I Am a Child of God, the lyrics: "Teach me all that I must know" were replaced by "Teach me all that I must do". Knowledge has never been enough. "Becoming" also matters.

Here is the part of the message that I feel is the higher law. We will know if our visiting teaching labors have born fruit if our sisters can say:

1. My visiting teacher helps me grow spiritually.
2. I know my visiting teacher cares deeply about me and my family.
3. If I have problems, I know my visiting teacher will take action without being asked.

The first tag, "Measured by the depth of our charity" is here. It's on a 4 by 6" background, 300 dpi.
The second tag, "Pure Fruit" is here. And since these are such huge concepts, what could I do but make them 4 by 6", 300 dpi, right? Click on the links, then click on the images to enlarge them, then right-click to save to your computer.

You can upload the files to have them professionally printed as photos.

Thanks for visiting today! Have a great weekend.

NOTE: You can cut the background off the tags if you'd like, or save a little time by leaving the photo intact.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Focusing on Others

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program…

Last week was exciting with Easter and the strengthening of Visiting Teaching, but it's time to settle back into the regular routine again.

Actually, I need to confide something to you--Motivational Monday isn't going over so well. I know. The stunned silence I currently hear is to be expected. There will be some changes to come in the next month. But for now, it's back to just Motivational Monday and Freebie Friday for the upcoming week. (I'm teaching RS this Sunday! Still have to get to work on the live orchestral background score, the PowerPoint presentation and Brunch Bar. OK, kidding, but I do have to put in a little more time on the lesson this week!) In the meantime, I came across a very short clip about Visiting Teaching by former general RS president, Julie B. Beck. Take a quick look! It's about 1 1/2 minutes, and just might be some of the best time you spend today...

I wanted to quote something from my upcoming lesson--GA Smith, chapter 7, p. 73 (My emphasis added.) It dovetails so well with this video clip and the VT emphasis on ministering to our sisters:

"The treasures that we will find when we go to the other side will be those that we have laid up there by ministering to our Father's other sons and daughters with whom we have associated here. He has made this possible for all of us, and during our stay here we will be happier serving our fellows than we could possibly be in any other way."

Until Friday...have a great week!

Enjoy your visit!


Friday, April 6, 2012

A Little Easter Goodness

This is an Easter tradition from my childhood. I don't know where my mom came up with the idea, but since we were incredibly obedient children, we would always oblige her by making them without complaint--especially once we finally figured out the best way to dispose of the one or two that "accidentally" didn't turn out too well.

First, a warning. This is a case of "Do as I say, not as I do." After I photographed everything, I realized I'd remembered everything in the wrong order! Cut the bunny first, then draw the face. You have a better chance of getting the bunny's face in the right place that way. But my motto is "Quirky is cute." AKA, "Done is good." Even quirky-looking bunnies have a habit of disappearing right before your very eyes. Just relax and have fun.

Find the best side of the marshmallow. That's where you'll put the face. Starting on the top of the marshmallow opposite from the face , cut a wedge shape in the marshmallow with children's scissors (they're smaller and easier to handle), catching both the top and the side of the marshmallow in the cut. Snip it most of the way across the marshmallow, but do not cut the wedge completely off.

(TIP: The cleaner the scissors, the cleaner the cut. You might want to keep a cup of clean
water nearby and something for wiping the scissors clean and for drying them from time to time.)

Repeat, cutting another wedge on the opposite side of the marshmallow. These are the ears. Mom always tried to coax them to stand up, but no matter what she tried, these pretty-much always seemed to be floppy-eared bunnies.

Side view.

(Oops. There shouldn't be a face. Pretend you don't see that.) To create the front legs, start in the middle of the marshmallow, making a sideways cut through to the outside. Repeat for other leg.

Side view. I put a jelly bean between his legs so they'd stand out better for you to see.

Now it's time to decorate the cut marshmallow. You just need a drop of red liquid food coloring and a pointed toothpick.

Draw the face however you'd like by dipping the toothpick point into the food color and drawing on the marshmallow with it. In this example, the eyes are about 1/2-inch apart, and the "smile" is about 1/8-inch wide.

Draw a line connecting both ends of the "smile". You've formed the nose.

Create whiskers on both sides of the nose. If you'd like, add a marshmallow tail--dip one end of a mini marshmallow into a little bowl of clean water, squeegee the excess water off on the rim of the bowl, then press it where you want it to stick. Done! Mom would always put these on a chocolate cake.

But wait, there's more...

Marshmallow Posy Cupcake Toppers.

Making the posies is easy--if the marshmallows cooperate and stick together. For me, maybe 1 out of 4 or 5 posies does not cooperate. I don't understand why they don't stick together--it's just one of those odd facts of life. Like bright sunlight making you sneeze.

You need mini marshmallows, a small bowl of water with barely any water in it, and two pieces of waxed paper.

Working on one piece of waxed paper, set aside a center marshmallow and 6 petal marshmallows. Dip the side of a petal marshmallow in water, squeegee off the excess water against the bowl rim and press the petal against the side of the center marshmallow. Repeat with remaining petal marshmallows. The posy seems to stick together better if the moistened part of the petal marshmallow is pressed against the center marshmallow and to a petal marshmallow beside it.

Do not try to force the last marshmallow to touch both petals on either side of it. Pressing it against the center marshmallow and against only one petal is fine. In fact, it leaves a nice place for you to later insert a toothpick. (See above.)

The bottom of the posy will probably be damp, so carefully pick it up and turn it upside down to allow it to dry on the 2nd piece of waxed paper.

Cut 3" pieces of green curling ribbon and tie around toothpicks. Once dried, insert a toothpick into the posy to create a cupcake topper.

NOTE: You can dip a toothpick into clean water and moisten the side of a marshmallow with it to glue the marshmallows together instead. This works well if one marshmallow isn't sticking to the others on one side.

I just wanted to show you a transport idea I learned in my local RS--put your cupcakes inside a little solo cup, then wrap it up in a cello bag. It helps protect the frosting from getting messed up AND messing up the inside of the bag. A mini cupcake is shown above (that's why the Jelly Belly beans fit around the front of it), but regular-sized cupcakes fit it, too.

You can find the link for the gift tag in this post.
Wishing you a very happy Easter!

Enjoy your visit!


Free for All

It's Friday! Fridays are already a favorite, but let's take things up a notch with a free little gift for you.

I've seen a lot of great free Easter tags coming through Pinterest. They're scattered throughout my Easter Pinterest board, link on the left side. But there was nothing really VT-related. What? No better opportunity than Easter to think of a sister, right?

I had no choice but to create a little tag with visiting teachers in mind saying, "We're only just a hop, skip, & a jump away!" I wanted this to tag be versatile, though, so, there are two others also on the page: "Hatched something up for you..." and "Easter's on its Way!" Just a sweet little way to show someone you're thinking of them!

The link is here. Click the little printer button that you'll see at the top left side of the page.

UPDATE: I recently found the following free printable, and think it would be a great one for visiting teachers. It's here.

Enjoy your visit! Wishing you a Happy Easter!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Relief and Rescue

Who (besides me and my frosting-obsessed brain) remembers the life preserver cupcakes from yesterday?
Original source might be here?

They inspired me to make this quick tag:

300 dpi, 3.64" by 6 "
Click here, then click on the resulting picture to enlarge it. Right-click the enlarged version to save it to your computer.

If you'd like, you can attach the tag to a copy of this month's Visiting Teaching message
Use some inspiration like this:

from the Princess and the Frog blog

To come up with this:

Life Saver attached to tag with jute.
(And to a package of Snackwell's Fudge Pretzels shaped like life-preservers.)


to some other related ideas I came across on Pinterest:

Life Preserver Cookies from Cookie Twist

Life preserver cupcake from Andrea at It's the Life

Or create life preservers made from mini-donuts like these at Glam Candies.

Or even Life Saver Marshmallow pops here.And unable to resist a nod to Utah's legendary enjoyment of things jello, there's also this:

Instructions here.

I can actually envision this jello panorama inside a clear plastic solo cup, slipped inside a cello bag that is gathered at the top with the tag attached.

It's amazing how inspiring a cupcake can be!

Enjoy your visit!