Back to School Dinner {2014-2015} LOOK & LIVE

LOOK&LIVECOLLAGEtvmI admit by this time in the summer I’m entirely exhausted from the excessive amount of technology use in our home, sibling quarrels, and hours of boredom we’ve endured despite activities that were planned to avoid all of those things.  We usually pack our summer with a huge vacation to avoid the summer heat here in Arizona.  But by this time, we’re back, and ready to get into a schedule and focus our lives beyond beating boredom.

Each year I try and put together a special dinner in preparation for the coming school year. I usually include something I’ve been thinking about or learning on my own.  Then I find ways I can teach and inspire my kids.  I have thought a lot about the phrase “LOOK & LIVE” lately.  It may have been THIS VIDEO which has left an indescribable affect on me that started the whole thing. I’m sure you’ve seen it.  And it may have been some very special feelings I felt while reading some verses in MY FAVORITE BOOK.

From Alma, Chapter 37 (paraphrasing)

“By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass; and small means instances doth confound the wise…they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight and His course is one eternal round…”

Teach them an everlasting hatred against sin and iniquity. Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart…Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in hear; for such shall find rest to their souls.

O remember, my son, and learn wisdom.  Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. Yea and cry unto God for all thy support, yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and withsoever thou goest, let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed on the Lord forever.

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night, lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning, let thy heart be full of thanks unto God…

O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so it was prepared for {our fathers} that if they might LOOK, they might LIVE.  And now my son, see that ye LOOK TO GOD AND LIVE. 

A similar phrase can be found HERE in the Holy Bible, which is also a FAVORITE BOOK, and sits side by side with my other FAVORITE BOOK previously mentioned. 🙂

I admit that I felt a greater sense of purpose as a parent as I read these words.  How badly do I want my kids’ faith in God to be at the forefront of all they experience this coming school year? I’m not just talking passing tests and getting good grades…I’m talking their day to day experiences of life, with friends and with situations.  How badly do I want them to seek God daily?  How badly do I want them not to be slothful, but purposeful in gaining knowledge and become good contributors to society and the world as a whole?  Pretty bad.  Bad enough to teach them what I felt when I read these verses.

So earlier tonight, we had a little dinner.  I used this time to teach them to aim high.  To go out into the world with the knowledge that if they LOOKED TO GOD, they would LIVE LIVES of happiness and peace. I had a lot of fun but most importantly, I know the kids listened when I shared from my heart.  I just hope they remember throughout the school year.

LOOK&LIVE7tvmI set the table just so.  Used my nice china, which always spells ‘special occasion’ at our home. The kids were so excited!


LOOK&LIVE1tvmI used a little already-made chalkboard banner I found at Target. It was so easy! LOOK&LIVE4tvmI compiled some cute little note/scrapbooks for them.  I found the white ones in the dollar section at Target, and the printable I’ve included below.  The wooden pencils, leather, and feathers I found at Hobby Lobby for cheap!


LOOK&LIVE5tvmI’m not quite sure how I got lucky to find this globe with the arrow through it at Home Goods just two days before, but I did and it was meant to be, and made the whole set up amazing.  If you ever need to borrow it, let me know.  My stuff is your stuff.

LOOK&LIVE6tvmThese  fake apples were also found at Home Goods but you could easily use real ones. The book set was found at Designer Blvd here in Arizona, and the feathers from Hobby Lobby.



LOOK&LIVE9tvmAnd as one last little favor, I gave them each a little glass bottle with cork to remind them to aim high–LOOK and LIVE. All of which I found at Hobby Lobby in the bead section.

LOOK&LIVEFREEPRINTABLEYou can print out your own LOOK AND LIVE printables by pressing HERE.

Two last quotes that I love and had to share:

“Do the very best you can. Maybe you are not an A student. Maybe you are not a B student. Maybe you are not a genius; most of us are not. In fact the vast majority of us are not. … I have concluded that the work of the world is done by ordinary people who learned to work in an extraordinary way.” {Gordon B. Hinckley}

“You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others….” {Gordon B. Hinckley}

I’m looking forward with excitement for the coming school year knowing my kids have a better idea of our expectations and all the amazing opportunities that will come to them if they will just LOOK & LIVE.


PURPOSE {2014}

I love the concept of “ONE LITTLE WORD” or “OLW” that I think originated HERE as far as I can tell.  Even more so, I love the concept of picking some sort of theme that can be a guide for the year–whether it be a word, a quote, or just a list of hopes for the year that lies before us.

I always try to listen extra hard during the Christmas season and especially during the week following Christmas as we’re winding down and anticipating good things for the coming year.  I like to see what God might be whispering to my heart, telling me to change, or where to put my focus.  And it always amazes me how He sends little subtle messages that help me know how to direct my best efforts.

2014 PURPOSE square resized

My word for 2014 is: PURPOSE

pur·pose n.

1. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal.
2. A result or effect that is intended or desired; an intention.
3. Determination; resolution.
4. The matter at hand; the point at issue.
5. To intend or resolve to perform or accomplish.

Idioms: Intentionally; deliberately. with good results.

Our main goal of The Vintage Mother is to post things that are meaningful and purposeful. It’s every intention of ours to motivate and inspire you to become more focused in your personal efforts.  Even if that means a few weeks here and there in between posts so that we can post something worthwhile, then we’re good with that.

My own personal goal for 2014 is to be purposeful in everything I do as a wife, mother, business owner, and friend.  I find how easy it is to get bogged down with tasks and things that don’t mean anything.  That leaves me feeling empty and entirely unsatisfied with the life I’m living.  I don’t like that.

I want to be meaningful in my interactions with others.  I want to make each interaction count.  I want people to know they have meaning in my life, and I want to be purposeful by showing love and serving them.

I want to be deliberate in my mothering.  Making sure I am communicating knowledge to my children and helping direct their inner compasses.  I want to be purposeful in teaching them and strengthening their souls.

I want to be organized. I want my personal and family systems to be deliberate and focused.  I don’t want to spend unnecessary time looking for things.

And I want to be able to look at everything in my home and know it’s purpose.  And if it doesn’t have a purpose, I want to free myself of it.  And be perfectly fine with not having anything ”meaningless” to replace it with.

These are just a few ways I want to live my 2014.

A few days ago, I was in a dear friend’s home and read this quote in her kitchen (the heart of her home)  I was grateful for the subtle message from God as I read this quote.  It made such terribly simple sense to me.  And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

Purpose of Life QUOTE

As so many of us look for meaning in the 365 days that make up each year, I think we’d do ourselves a favor if we considered the purpose to everything we do.  What a gift that would be for ourselves and our families.

Many best wishes in 2014 from us here at The Vintage Mother.  May the coming year be filled with meaningful, purposeful interactions and experiences.

3 Gifts of Christmas


Through the years I’ve  had several friends ask about our tradition of giving 3 gifts for Christmas.   First, I wish I could take credit for the idea because it has been so neat for our family.  I attended a women’s church meeting the very year Bill and I were first married. We were anticipating spending our first Christmas as a married couple, and this idea was shared.  That was 15 years ago today and we’ve done this every Christmas.

We all know Christmas isn’t Christmas without gifts.  We give gifts as a symbol of God’s greatest gift sent to the world, Jesus Christ.  We give gifts to symbolize the gifts that the wise men gave to the Infant Jesus.  And we give gifts to show love to our families and fellowmen.

But sadly, Christmas has become a season of present purchasing, equalizing the present piles for Christmas Eve, and spending too much money on meaningless things.

Christmas, to me, is a matter of the heart.  How we view and do Christmas is determined by whether or not we are allowing gift giving as an action that  “leads us to Bethlehem”.  And we know that as mothers, even from that first Christmas night, that it was a matter of the heart.   In Luke 2:51 it reads, “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Such ponderings lead a woman, a mother of eight, who I don’t know (but wish I did) to ponder on her Christmas, and most specifically her Christmas giving.  I was at a small church event one evening with only about 20 in attendance when she shared her story. It’s a story now when I look back, that I will be forever grateful for.

Her story went something close to this:

It was Christmas Eve, and after wrapping present after present for her 8 children through the month of December, she had both the exhaustion and the eagerness of Christmas morning in front of her.  As she surveyed each of her children’s piles, she could tell from the shapes and sizes what each child had requested that year.  When she got to one of her son’s piles, she noticed there weren’t as many gifts as the other children.  It looked alarmingly small compared to the others.  In her mind, she ran through what he had wanted…and it was just one special toy he’d been asking for for months.  It was there.  In the pile.  Along with a few other things: like some socks, some new books, and another small toy.  But it looked so wimpy compared to the other kids piles…This lead her to a quick late night trip to the local Wal-Mart to fill her cart with other things that would help his pile look the same in comparison to the others.  She got home, wrapped the gifts, surveyed the piles…and this mother of eight went to bed with the satisfaction and joy that Christmas morning brings to mothers everywhere when they know they’ve done a good job with presents for Christmas.

That morning was like the other Christmas mornings they’d experienced together as a family.  Everyone seemed happy and pleasantly surprised with the gifts they were given, and happy that they’d received even more than they’d anticipated.  Later that morning as she looked around the room, she saw the boy whose pile she’d  completed just a few hours before, only interested and playing with the one toy he requested.  Later she would find that he only played with that same toy for weeks after.  A sick feeling came over her.  And she vowed that next Christmas, she would change things.

She prayed.  She pondered.  She researched.  And listened to her heart.  And came up with the idea of giving THREE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS, reminiscent of the gifts of the 3 Wise Men.

In the Bible, is says in Matthew 2:11 “When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and…presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

What do we know about the gifts that were given to Baby Jesus?  We know that they were symbolic, that they were meaningful because they were rare, that they had been well thought through, for each signified something important.  Gold symbolized Jesus’ royalty, frankincense, an incense used in the temple–his divinity, and myrrh, his suffering and death as it was a substance used for cleaning and burial.

This mother’s gifts would also have power and meaning. And she thought too, that she could offer three gifts with purpose.

GOLD gift of wonder {}GOLD {The Gift of Wonder} wrapped in GOLD

These are gifts that tickle and delight. They are the gifts that are really wanted or desired–The gift that the receiver just can’t go without! A wanted toy, a planned outing, a season pass… something they just HAVE to have.

FRANKINCENSE the gift of meaning {}

FRANKINSENCE {The Gift of Meaning} wrapped in RED

These are gifts that have meaning and express affection. These might include: a scrapbook, a quilt, a special doll, an heirloom, a childhood memento, a piece of jewelry,  a treasure box, a framed photograph, or letters from the heart. This gift is extremely worthwhile and something that shows love.
MYRRH the gift of usefulness {}
MYRRH {The Gift of Usefulness} wrapped in GREEN

These are gifts that are truly needed. Look at your loved one’s needs and choose a gift that would be truly useful. These might include a new coat, a down comforter, or a new pair of shoes and socks. Use this gift for something practical yet worthwhile.

I’ve had many people ask me when I tell them we do this in our family, “Do you really give JUST THREE gifts?”  And the answer is, for the most part, yes.  Some gifts end up being “package deals” of sort, but the point is that with these three gifts our children know we thought specifically about each one.

It is hard to narrow it down to three.  It takes time, and energy and thought.  And Santa brings a little something as well—so the tradition of Santa can be preserved, but the focus is on the special wrapped gifts from Mom and Dad—symbolizing those special three gifts given to the Savior long ago.

I hope this inspires you to consider how you give gifts as future Christmases come and go, and the purpose behind them.

If you are interested in receiving a sheet of information regarding the 3 Gifts of Christmas, please email me katie {at} thevintagemother {dot} com

Best Cinnamon Rolls

Best Cinnamon Rolls

We come from a baking family and I like to think we know a little something about cinnamon rolls.  I have great memories watching my mother roll out sweet dough in a large rectangle and smearing butter with her bare hands before she sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over it.  It was pure love and I felt that the minute I had my first bite of her amazing rolls.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t a family recipe, or even one that I’ve had for very long.  But I know a good cinnamon roll when I see one and this recipe is one of the best.

I have a friend named Hal who is unassumingly the best baking/cooking man I know.  He always wins the church Chili cook-off’s this time of year, and can make a mean grilled flatbread pizza or two.  But the man is absolutely amazing at baking. And I have a special draw to him because he’s seriously good at it.  We’ve had many conversations about food and I don’t think there’s anything more wonderful to talk about.  I’m quite certain his family is the luckiest because he loves to cook and bake so much for them.

So I am very excited to share his recipe with you, with a few slight modifications of my own which is why I think I can call this cinnamon roll recipe, the best.  Enjoy!

Best Cinnamon Rolls {2}

Best Cinnamon Rolls
  • DOUGH:
  • 4 cups whole milk (yes whole)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 cups bread flour (Be sure it’s bread flour and you’ll be adding about 8-9 cups once you’re done)
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup cinnamon (more or less depending on preference)
  • ICING:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp. almond extract (imitation is fine, too)
  • enough milk to make icing spreadable
  1. Scald or scold milk (I stand over it and call it bad names). Add sugar and shortening and continue heating until shortening is melted. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix flour, instant yeast and salt. Pour hot milk mixture in with dry ingredients. Mix well. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add additional flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is sticky, not stiff and dry (approximately 8-9 cups once you are done) Allow dough to rise to double. Punch down. Let rise again. On floured counter top, roll dough to oblong strip approximately 12 to 14 inches wide, 3 feet long, and 1/2-inch thick. Pour melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on entire dough area. Roll dough, carefully tucking bread tightly around itself. Cut rolls by using dental floss to slice through the rolls at about 1 inch thick per roll. Place on sprayed jelly roll pan or use 2 9 x 13 pans. Aside from spray, you can also use a parchment/foil combination (found at Walmart and seen in photos) so your dough doesn’t stick. Carefully place the rolls down and being sure to tuck in the monkey tail of each roll. Let sit and rise while oven is preheating. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Prepare icing and frost after about 15 minutes after cooling down.

Best Cinnamon Rolls {3}

BACK TO SCHOOL Dinner Tradition

Back to School Dinner |

We grew up with a Mom who celebrated fresh starts.  And it seems like the start of the new school year is the perfect opportunity to celebrate.  I’ve loved doing this tradition with my little family and wanted to share it with you.

I try and pick a little theme for the year.  This year it was:  YOUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT. Why I picked this?  Well, I suppose I try and listen to my heart and get a sense of what might be the most meaningful to penetrate the little hearts and minds of my children at the time.  I’m all about bringing more meaning into what we do within our family. Why not take the opportunity at this occasion to do the same?

Back to School Dinner }

I recently read an article from a woman I admire.  She’s talking specifically to young women in our faith, but I just loved so many of her points and felt like she hit things right on the head.  I felt like I could apply what she said when I talked with my children about the upcoming school year.  Just to paraphrase a few thoughts:

“With so much going wrong in the world with oftentimes unfavorable circumstances, it may cause you to wonder, what does the future hold for me?  I want to assure you that your future is bright!

God gave you moral agency and the opportunity to learn while on earth, and He has a work for you to do.  To accomplish this work, you have an individual responsibility to seek learning.  You can be a bright ray of hope!

The pattern of study you establish during your formal schooling will in large measure affect your lifelong thirst for knowledge.  You must get all the education you possibly can…Train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives.”

And a note on technology:

”With technology you are witnessing an explosion of knowledge.  You are constantly bombarded by sound, video, and networking.  Be selective and don’t allow this surge of information to distract you or slow your progress.  Arise!  YOU determine your goals. YOU decide what enters your mind and heart.” 

I also focused on the sunflowers, and how they seek light as they grow.  (Such an amazing little fact about one of God’s creations)  The kids loved this part and loved hearing me talk about how they turn towards the east and naturally rotate to follow the sun throughout the day.

Back to School Dinner |

The table was set.

Back to School Dinner |

Back to School Dinner |

Here’s a list of resources I used:

  • Black and White Striped Fabric: Ikea
  • Fake potted grass: Ikea
  • Black and White Striped Ribbon: Michaels
  • Green Doilies for Gift Bags: Michaels
  • Butterflies: Michaels
  • Chalkboard Tags: Hobby Lobby
  • Composition Books: Wal-Mart

Back to School Dinner |

I usually bombard my children with all sorts of school supplies this time of year and new backpacks to boot.  We love it, but honestly, we don’t need it.  I loved focusing simply this year.  I gave them a composition book, an apple, and you might be asking, like my kids did, ”What’s in the bag?”

Back to School Dinner |

I gave them a little incentive for good grades…something they’re always asking me about.

Back to School Dinner |

I introduced GOOD GRADE DAY with this little poem and a little hint of how we’re going to reward the kids at the end of the semester.  Who wouldn’t want to try for some of these?  Plus, they’re FREE.

Work really hard, put your work to the test!

Seek, study, learn, and do your very best! 

We are planning a day with lots of FREE fun,

You won’t want to miss it once your job is done.

“A” grades are AWESOME, they are the best!

“B” grades are BETTER than “C’s” on a test. 

“D” grades and ”F” grades we won’t even relate,

Because those grades surely determine your fate.

 You are in charge and your future is bright,

Don’t let distractions block your sight. 

 You can do a great job; you can earn your degree,

You’re a bright ray of hope that the world will see.





Bring in a report card which has good grades on it and receive a FREE scoop of ice cream.


Score a FREE game for each A on the report card at both Brunswick Zone and Zone XL locations.


Get a FREE Personal Pan Pizza with good grades.


Get a FREE donut with every “A”. (Up to 6 per child)


 FREE scoop of ice cream for students with good grades. Only A’s and B’s.

Back to School Dinner |

I hope my kids remember these moments.  I hope they catch a sense that they are the rising generation.  That they have it within them to make a difference and be a light in this world.  And I hope they remember that the value of education is honored and celebrated within our home.

Faith, Home, Family, Country

A little peek inside our most favorite place in the world.  Come and meet our amazing parents + family, and why life for us is about faith, home, family, and country.

Happy July 4th!

Huge thanks to Chris Wilson from Christopher Leigh Studios who filmed this treasure for us.

Keep the Coins {Travel Game for Kids}

When we were young we loved playing this game with our family.  I remember my mom making little coin bags as part of her vacation preparation.  Now that I have a family of my own, we have loved introducing our kids to this game. They love it and make sure that it is part of my vacation preparation as well.

This is how it works.  Make little coin bags for each child in your family.  My bag measures about 6″ x 7″.  As you begin your travels, give each child a bag with a roll of coins in it.  We often use a roll of dimes (which is $5) and sometimes a roll of quarters (which is $10).  Explain to the kids that the roll of coins is theirs to keep unless they do things that cause them to lose coins like fighting, arguing, yelling, throwing things in the car, etc.  Every time the kids do something that causes them to lose a coin they have to give a coin to the parents.  I always tell my kids that I will ask for a coin one time and if they choose to complain then I will ask them for 2 coins instead.  The kids quickly learn that they would rather have spending money for their vacation rather than losing it to bad behavior.  In all the times I have played this game with my kids I think I have never collected more than 6 coins from a single child on a 12 hour car ride.  Now, that is pretty good!

Sound fun?  It really is!  Give it a try this summer as you make travel plan with your family.  It will soon become a fun memory for them just as it has become for me.

Happy Traveling!

Keep the Coins Travel Game for Kids |





How I Talked To My Daughters About Sex

One Mom's experience with the birds and the bees and why it worked.I knew it was time.  We were starting to get some deep-hearted questions and I could feel something within me anticipate what every mom forgets she’ll have the responsibility of doing:  giving “THE TALK”.  My oldest daughter had recently been baptized at age 8, and I could feel the “mother tugs” that I needed to take action.

I spent a lot of time considering how I could best do this.  I spent time reading articles and I spent hours at the bookstore.  I was amazed at what was available.  Many books with great information and even pictures to help communicate everything from where babies came from to what to do if you become pregnant. (Huh?  Kind of interesting, I know.)  I looked within resources within my church and books authored by those whose standards reflect my own.  What I found were great pockets of information in most of the books, but not ONE resource that reflected all that I had hoped to share or hoped to convey.  And some just offered way too much information that I didn’t need to share.  How would I be able to know just how much my daughter’s heart and mind could handle?

I chose to make it a matter of prayer.  I knew God would bless me in my efforts and help me communicate exactly what was right for her if I sincerely asked.  I felt inspired and guided through the entire experience.

I hope that we might inspire you in your efforts to teach your children about the birds and the bees!  I don’t think there is any specific age that is ideal.  Children are ready for things at different times, but I have found around 8 and 9 they can understand everything that needs understanding.

First, I made a special invitation with similar wording to invite my daughter to brunch with me:

”You are invited to an AMAZING DAY with Mom.  {Day, Date, Time.}  We will go have brunch and spend the day talking about some AMAZING things.  Please wear your baptism dress because this is an extra special occasion.”

I had support from my husband with the other kids and we set aside several hours for everything.  I focused on the AMAZING part of things and kept things really upbeat.  I purposely chose the Saturday right before Mother’s Day. (reasoning coming…)

How to talk to your daughter about sex.Here we are starting out.  We grabbed a quick picture and then we were off!

How to talk to your daughter about sex.We went to one of my favorite luncheon places in Scottsdale called Arcadia Farms.  I asked to sit on the back patio and we enjoyed a quaint, little, intimate experience.  I used the time to compliment my daughter on “How much she’s growing up” and “How proud I am of her” etc. while we were waiting for the food. {No sex talk just yet}

My Mom had just recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and lived a state away.  This little bird was just hanging around our table and I remember feeling an overwhelming sense that this little bird was symbolic of her being there and helping me.  Love that!

How to talk to your daughter about sex.

After brunch, we walked across the street to a little courtyard, sat down on the grass, and I helped prepare her heart and mind for what we were about to talk about. (“We’re going to talk about something so special and so AMAZING…”) I pulled out 5 books that I had chosen to teach from.  I had marked various sections and phrasing that fit with what I had hoped to teach from each book–leaving out things I didn’t feel were necessary or appropriate.  How to talk to your daughter about sex.

Here are the names of the books: (1) It’s So Amazing by Robie H. Harris (2) The Care and Keeping of You by The American Girl Doll Library (3) How Are Babies Made? by Usborne (4) Growing Up by Brad Wilcox (5) How to Talk to your child about sex by Linda and Richard Eyre.

We spent a lot of time.  I asked her questions along the way to check and make sure she was understanding.  I talked about everything I felt like she could handle.  I purposely left out a few things but that’s only because they are just plain gross and I don’t even talk about those things as an adult or didn’t agree or feel the need to teach those things to my child.  Otherwise, I used specific and appropriate wording to explain about things, making bridges with prior connections of things we hadn’t used the appropriate wording for.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.At the end of the discussion, we talked specifically about the beauties of procreation and the importance of saving those AMAZING and procreative powers for when she was a wife and mother.  (I talked here about the connection of Mother’s Day)   I used the opportunity to do something that my parents did for the children in our family.  Basically in a nutshell, it’s an agreement between us as parents and our children, signifying if you refrain from the use of drugs, alcohol, premarital sex and or promiscuity and live a clean, moral life up to the age of 20, we’d give that child *$1,000.00 (*PLEASE READ ADDENDUMS 1 and 2 BELOW THIS POST) as an ultimate reward for positive behavior.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.We signed the contract and I gave her a hand-stamped necklace that had her initial, a fresh water pearl and the word “promise”.  We talked about the symbolism of the necklace, that it was symbolic of the special agreement (or promise) in the contract and the important understanding that she was to try and live a clean and virtuous life.

Overall we had a special experience talking.  I left the door wide open for her to ask any other questions additionally as they came from day to day, and I felt a sense of satisfaction that what I had shared were the right things for her to hear.  We’ve since had open and beautiful little snippets of conversation when needed.

All of this worked so well, that when my #2 was old enough three years later, we shared a similar time together.  She was recently baptized, and Mother’s Day rolled around.  I can honestly say I had just as special and tender experience with this one.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.We started out with an invitation and picture.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.Breakfast, and would you believe, a bird?  Yes.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.Special time to visit.  And a little drive to somewhere important where we could talk quietly and peacefully without other distractions.

How to talk to your daughter about sex.This process really worked for me as a mother as I have found my girls coming to me when questions arise and not searching elsewhere for answers they are curious about.  I’ve laid it all out there for them and they know I can be a trusted source to tell them the right thing.

I hope it brings you some insight into how you too might be able to talk about these important things with your children.

(*) ADDENDUM #1:  Thank you so much for your many comments, emails and those asking for a copy of our contract.  And thanks to some of you who have voiced concern regarding it as well.  I want to reiterate that this contract is something that worked for me, and that’s why my husband and I chose to do the same.  My parents put it into play precisely because they felt my oldest adopted sister was headed down a long and difficult road and felt like they could do more to help encourage positive behaviors in their younger children. She’s been addicted to drugs longer than not, had 4 children from different men, along with a whole slew of difficult life-changing circumstances that have affected generations.  I can’t even begin to tell you the struggles and challenges and pain she’s endured, and what we’ve experienced as a family because of it.  I want to reiterate that the contract is not meant to be a price put on virtue nor the means to an end-all with our children, but rather an incentive to encourage my children with all positive behaviors during curious years.  As parents and as a society, we reward our children for positive things all of the time, much like a child is rewarded for good grades, or taken to get a treat after making a soccer goal, or being rewarded a scholarship for academic success.  As a mother, I don’t know what road my children are going to take (they will choose as they will)  but I can do all I can to encourage and nurture them down the best road I know, and if that’s a reward for positive behavior, so be it.

(*) ADDENDUM #2: I wrote this post specifically to share ”How I talked to my daughters about sex” (and titled it as such)  not ”How YOU should talk to your daughters about sex.”  Let me reaffirm that this is what I did, and if it inspires YOU in some way or another to have courage to talk about these things, then that is so great.  And let me reaffirm that if it doesn’t work for YOU, then just move on.  Simple as that. Though most comments and emails have been sent favorably (and I am so pleased this is inspiring so many of you!)  I have found it so interesting to see enough people quick to judge me and how I parent, especially in regards to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it comes into play with the idea of the contract, and especially when they have not read the contract in full or know me or understand how important this is in my life.

Let me be clear.  (No need to email me or leave comments anymore because I won’t post  them or have the time to answer the emails that come).  First and foremost please know that because I have implemented this incentive by no means lessens our emphasis on the beautiful gift of The Atonement and the Power of Repentance in our family.  I find it interesting that some are quick to judge how “cut and dry” the contract is, when they don’t know me, what sort of parents we are, or how we’ve personally used The Atonement in our lives or how we’re teaching our kids regarding it.  If you were to read the contract in full, you would find there is a phrase that says , ”In the event that ____________ is not able to keep the covenants set forth, the parties will enter into a new agreement to reflect the circumstances at the time…” We’ve absolutely left room for God’s greatest gift to work within it.  I personally don’t think anyone gives “The Talk” and turns around and says, “But you’re going to make mistakes and maybe lose your virginity, so good thing we have The Atonement.”  Talk of The Atonement is talk for another time, and we most certainly have had these discussions and talks with our children.  All of which I don’t feel the desire or need to blog about.

Some of you have asked, “What if…she goes off to college and decides she wants to drink and have sex…” or ” What if she loses her virginity at age 14 and hides it from you because she doesn’t want to tell you…” or other various scenarios.  To that I say: We might very well find ourselves with our kids at age 20, telling us they did or didn’t live up to their end.  But I’d like to think we were less clueless than that, that we’ve been involved in our children’s lives helping them, communicating with them,  and showing them the way as they make mistakes.  Let this be known.  We will determine whether our children deserve it or not, despite circumstances that have arisen, even mistakes they’ve made.  What loving parents wouldn’t want their child, even despite difficulties, to have experienced the joy of having fully repented of a sin, and still enjoying the blessings of a job well done?  It’s a working contract, between parents and child.  And it’s personal.  What we do with our children, their situations, scenarios, experiences, will be determined on their hearts, and where they are in their lives and what they’ve done with The Atonement up until that point.

If you are interested in a copy of the contract and read further regarding this special agreement we’ve chosen to share with our children, please feel free to leave a comment or email me personally at  Thanks.


Our Vintage Mother Recipient

We are excited to introduce you to Sharon Gough.  Sharon’s daughter Gretchen, nominated her to be honored by The Vintage Mother this year for Mother’s Day.  We agree that Sharon is a terrific example to all women and mothers everywhere and are thrilled to share Gretchen’s thoughts of her mother with you.

Sharon Gough |

My mother, Grandma Sharon, has many titles.  She’s the “sticker Grandma”, the “cookie Grandma”, the “marathon Grandma”, and the “card lady”.  She works full-time, still managing to find balance in her roles as mother, grandmother, wife, sister, and friend.  She exemplifies the characteristics of a vintage mother, especially in her desire to teach the values of tradition and dedication to her posterity.

 “Sticker Grandma” never visits our home without a new book of paper doll or dress-up stickers to share.  I have fond memories of my own Grandma, my mother’s mother, bringing packs of stickers to Salt Lake City whenever she visited from her humble home in Preston, Idaho.  It’s a tradition my mother continues and as so, my children affectionately call her the “sticker Grandma”.

 “Cookie Grandma” loves to have her grandchildren in her kitchen each holiday to frost and decorate sugar cookies.  Our children delight in the opportunity to bake with Grandma Sharon and use as many sprinkles and colored sugars that one cookie can hold.  Last year, she decided that each little baker needed their own cookie apron.  Each grandchild chose their own fabrics and Grandma sewed 8 beautiful aprons.  What a timeless treasure, and now the cookie tradition isn’t complete without donning their special aprons!

 Sharon Gough Baking Cookies |

 “Marathon Grandma” is an inspiration to all who know her, especially her children and grandchildren.  She values the blessing of a healthy physical body and teaches her posterity to treat it well.  Having run more than 112 marathons as of this writing, my children have learned from Grandma Sharon that they can succeed in any goal they set out to accomplish.  Despite various running injuries over the years, including a broken hip and broken wrist, Grandma keeps on running.  This is the dedication of a vintage mother.  I love to see my children running down our sidewalk, exclaiming “I’m running a marathon like Grandma”.  The Park City Marathon on August 20, 2011, marked her 100th marathon.  How lucky each grandchild was to receive an official race medal to always remember Grandma’s commitment to a hobby she loves.

Sharon Gough 100th Marathon |

 Grandma Sharon carries the title of “the card lady” among many of her close friends and family.  Each week, she purchases at least 20 greeting cards to mail to friends celebrating birthdays, notes of gratitude for service rendered, or just a simple note to say “hello”.  In today’s society of texts and Facebook communication, she keeps this lost tradition alive…characteristic of a vintage mother. She chooses her words carefully and I have saved and cherish each card sent to my children, my husband, and myself.  She’s definitely computer literate, but it’s refreshing to see how a letter through “snail mail” can brighten any day!

 Last December, I asked her is she was sure she wanted to take my four children (all under 5 years of age) to the Festival of Trees.  The crowds and noise seemed a bit overwhelming to me!  She replied that it was all about tradition and making special memories for my little ones.  To this day, they still talk about the beautiful trees they saw on display.  Oh how I love her and will ever be grateful for her wisdom and love!  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Congratulations Sharon!  We are thrilled to be honoring you this Mother’s Day with a beautiful gift basket.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother's Day Gift Basket |

We hope to be able to honor mothers throughout the year.  If you would like to submit a nominee please email us at or

Putting Your House To Sleep

Several weeks ago I mentioned in another post about putting my “house to sleep.”  Both Katie and I have this tradition in our home which has become one of our favorite times of the evening. Our mother did something similar and we knew that when the lights were turned off in the kitchen and the stove light was turned on that the kitchen was closed for the night.  We knew that the day was soon coming to an end.

As the day comes to a close I find myself making a conscious effort to quiet my life down.  I begin by making my way around our home, going from room to room.  As I do this I pick up a few things here and there, turning off lights and turning on lamps.  I’m thoughtful about the day and making mental notes of what needs to be done the next day.  But most of all, I am putting an end to the day we have had.  I am consciously creating a peaceful and quiet feeling in our home.

PicMonkey Evening Collage |

In our home I have several lights and lamps on dimmers.  It was an easy switch that we made years ago to provide us with options with our lighting.  I absolutely love that with our lights we can create a totally different feeling in our home.  When I make my way around the house it is usually around the same time that my kids begin their bedtime routine.  By beginning to put our home to sleep, it helps my children know that it is time to wind down, relax, and prepare for quiet time and bed.

Years ago I remember my parents receiving a Christmas Neighbor gift that was a framed picture of our family home at dusk.  I used to love to look at it as a little girl because the glow of our home at night was so beautiful and peaceful.  I suppose that is why I have always taken pictures of our home in the evening as well.  I love to see the gentle glow of dimmed lights knowing that occasionally it is a beautiful and peaceful place inside.