Summer 2022 Tree of Life Online Mama Retreat

I’m so excited to join these amazing ladies and one man to share some truths with you Christian homeschooling and/or holistic living moms. Please join us!

Read speaker bios and register here! The early bird deadline is Monday Aug. 1 midnight MDT. Save $50 by registering by that deadline.

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The Tree of Life Mama Online Summer Retreat

Announcing….

the Summer 2022 Tree of Life Mama Retreat!

Friday Aug. 12 – Sat. Aug. 13

Online so you can join wherever you have internet connection!

With Keynote Speaker Paola Brown, pictured above with her family.

Paola will speak about how to teach your children holistic living and homesteading.

Other speakers include:

-Aneladee Milne

-Tamara Laing

-Katie Hansen

-Angie Law

-Patti Rokus

-Celestia Shumway

-Bonita Sutton

-Katie Hansen

-Kent and Amy Bowler

-Allie Duzett

-Kristen Chevrier

-Tricia Kelly

-Mary Ann Johnson

Go here to read speaker bios, session descriptions, and to register! Regular price admission ticket is $97. Save $47 with early bird price by signing up by midnight MDT Aug. 1.

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Thrifting Treasures Summer 2022

My adult married daughter was in town for 6 weeks recently this summer, visiting from out of state with her family. It was so fun to go thrifting with her. We hit all three Deseret Industries in the 30 mile radius plus two Savers. We found some great deals! Here is what I found in the photos of this post. She left last Friday before I could get pictures of her loot.

The greatest find was the Moods board games above and below. See here for my full story about that, including why I got two copies (actually three!) with God’s hand in the discovery. The conversation cards are to do one a night with my husband, and the top is a swimsuit top to go with my black swim shorts. So pretty!

I have fun finding simple board games I can “play” with my grandson. Hence the Rescue Heroes above and Count Your Chickens below. They were each $2 or below. Since he’s only 3, we often don’t play by the actual rules. I follow his lead and match his level of understanding of what’s going on. These games also come in handy for his 1 year-old brother for us to buy some time of peace (maybe 15 minutes if we are lucky) while he plays with the pawns while the rest of us play another game.

It was fun to find the Keys of History card game from The Good and the Beautiful homeschooling curriculum, after seeing it mentioned in this video below. The video creator mentions/shows it at the 9:15 mark. I got it for $1.50!

I’ve added it to my collection of decks of quiz card games that I keep by my dining room table to quiz the kiddos during mealtime. When we play that way, we just discard the mechanics of the game with the board and just quiz with the questions on the cards.

Photo Credit: Decadence Homeschool YouTube Channel

Another great find was Masterpiece by Parker Brothers! I actually found this one before said married daughter came. I’ve been looking for this one ever since I started thrifting for board games while living in AZ around 5 years ago. I have fond memories of playing this game with my sisters and cousin whenever we’d go visit my relatives in southern NV in the 1980s.

So much nostalgia surrounds this game for me! I don’t really like the “take-that” mechanism involved in it, but it shows masterpieces. When I play this with my kiddos, I love that they will be learning the names and artists of real works of art.

I wanted some new summery tops and found these, above and below. So cute! Plus I found some dressy black flats perfect for summer, as shown below. The butterfly print top in the picture below, in the top right, was only $2! The sea foam green gingham has sleeves I can roll up and keep up with buttoned tabs, for warm weather. Then when it gets cooler I can roll them down. The floral top I can dress up with a skirt or wear with pants.

I found this cute pillowcase below. I didn’t bother ironing it, but you can imagine it would look even better without the wrinkles, LOL. It features the seven values from the Young Women program of my late teen years from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve been wanting something to decorate the top of my piano to brighten up a drab green runner already on the piano that was a gift to me. This fits the bill perfectly!

More games! I found the Bible TriBond for some game night friends after telling them about it because I already have it. It’s always fun when my friends tell me what they are looking for and then I find it for them.

My daughter found this puzzle of Europe and gave it to me. I already have the other puzzles in the GEO Puzzle series that I got at Savers last fall. It’s wonderful to complete the collection!

If you want more fun in your life, consider thrifting! It’s like hunting but no animals are killed. You get the thrill of the hunt, the surprise of finding cool stuff, and you save money. Then you get to enjoy the goods. As the Duggars say, buy used and save the difference! Check out my thrifting tips here to get started from my friend Katie, and my advanced thrifting tips, enlisting the help of angels, here. (That last post I linked to has more great deals at the top. Scroll to the end if you just want to read how to enlist the help of angels.)

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An Amazing True Story of Job-like Faith

“Job” by Gary L. Kapp, Image Credit: churchofjesuschrist.org

I’ve enjoyed diving deep into the story of Job this past week. What an amazing man he was! I desire to have that kind of rock-hard faith in Jesus Christ that he had. It’s the kind of faith that allowed him to say to his so-called friends, “I don’t care if you are telling me to curse God and die, I am going to keep living, keep having faith in my Redeemer Jesus Christ, despite all these bad things that have happened to me. Though I may eventually die naturally and have my body be eaten by the worms of the earth, someday my spirit will be reunited with my body, and I will see my Redeemer face to face!” That’s basically what Job was saying in Job 19.

Because I love Job’s story so much, I’m sharing here some video commentaries about his story. Providentially, this past week as I was studying Job, I found this story in Gospel Library of someone with this same Job-like faith. It’s a true story involving a man named John Flade. It’s called “The Lord Was Always There.” John was raised by parents who believed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His parents got baptized into the Church in 1925, the year before John was born, in Germany. John ended up being drafted into the German army and fought on Hitler ‘s side at the tender age of 18. Before he left home to fight in the war, his father gave him a father’s blessing promising him that he would return home.

This promise in his father’s blessing gave John tremendous assurance and comfort. Even though he was captured by some Canadians during trench warfare, he was not shot at and killed, when they easily could have done that. Sadly, his 16-year-old comrade died during a grenade explosion that happened in the trench they were living in. The grenade injured John’s leg. After the grenade explosion, when John was trying to find help for his leg, walking through a forest, the Canadians found him. He was taken prisoner by the Canadians and taken to England.

As a POW in England, God brought John to meet a Jew in England who turned out to be a friend of John’s father’s. The Jew recognized John’s last name and asked to interview John. So because of that interview John learned that this Jew was his father’s friend. John’s father, Hans, helped the Jewish man escape from the Gestapo and get into Switzerland. From there, the man was able to return to his native England. After confirming that John was the son of Hans, the Jewish man helped John to get into a prison camp in America, in Texas.

John wrote that even though it was a prison camp, it was a nice one. He had good food, comfortable living conditions (so I imagine that means he could sleep peacefully on a soft, warm bed), and the work was not unpleasant. He ended up being there for three years! At first, his family back in Germany was told that he was MIA. His father Hans responded by saying, like Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

As John writes in the story, saying such a declaration takes more than faith, it takes knowledge. This is the knowledge that starts out as faith but turns into knowledge because of the power of the Holy Spirit.

This story has a happy love story ending, even though Hans, John’s father, died on the last day of the war. John’s family found out he was not MIA, and John was released from prison. My favorite part of the story was the gift that John’s father gaveto John before he was killed, which was to help arrange the marriage of John to his teenage sweetheart. You can read the rest of it here.

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A Fun Tender Mercy from the Lord

If you you know me well, you know I love to play board games. If you know me really well, you know that I love to buy unusual board games at thrift stores to play them with family and friends. Those two things definitely keep a song in my heart. Both are just so fun! I skip over most of the mass market games and look for unusual games. I use boardgamegeek.com to find the ratings of the game and descriptions to help me skip over the chaff and find the golden games that give connection and laughs, or teach something, for me to use with gameschooling. Some treasures that I’ve found are: Druthers, Whoonu, Truth Be Told, and Likewise.

Back in June, I had a fun mini-vacation retreat with some friends where I discovered the above board game called Moods. Some of my dear friends brought it to play. We had such a blast playing it that I put it on my “to-buy while thrifting” list. It’s out of print so you have to find it used. Amazon has it for $100 currently, but on ebay it’s a lot cheaper.

The game involves having to say a phrase that is given to you on a card, in a certain mood, like “bashful”, “silly,” or “flirtatious.” That mood is determined by the roll of the die. People then guess what mood you are in, with a choice of 10 different ones. We had so much fun playing this game at my retreat. (It would be great for actor’s training if you teach drama.)

So ever since then I’ve been wanting to find this game at a thrift store. Well guess what?! I found it! I found a copy on a Friday in July. I knew one of my retreat girlfriends was looking for it too. So the next day, on Saturday, in the morning, I prayed that I would find a copy for my friend.

So then, that very day, I found another copy, in the evening, five minutes before the store closed! God answered my prayer so quickly. Two games in two days after not seeing any copies for over a month. Wow!

The thrill of discovery of the two games was marred by the fact that one was missing the board. Bummer. I used to check games a lot for missing pieces before I bought them at thrift stores but had gotten out of the habit. Lesson learned. So I adapted. I gave the copy with the board to my friend, and we at my house played without the board, which is doable. We would do that in the meantime, while I waited and trusted that God would bring me another copy of the game with the board.

It was just four days later that I found another copy, on a Wednesday. The same place I found one as the previous Saturday. This time the copy had the board! That morning, I went berry picking with my children and grandchildren. That was a tender mercy in itself. (Every summer, for years, I’ve had a yen to go berry picking. My sister who lives in Maine sends pictures of her kids picking blueberries every summer. I’ve been wanting to do that too but blueberries don’t grow in Utah. I knew I’d have to settle for strawberries or raspberries. So when my sis-in-law texted me info about a neighbor who would let us pick raspberries for free, I jumped at the choice.) On the way home from berry picking, I felt prompted to stop at the thrift store where I had found the Moods game the previous Saturday. That morning, I had prayed that God would send me another copy of the game, so I could have a board. As I drove to the thrift store, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if the game were here again? Probably not though,” I thought. It just seemed too much to ask for.

I walked to the game area and started looking. There it was, on the middle shelf! The familiar bright green lid with purple letters. I let out an audible gasp. This was my own little miracle, just for me! What seemed too much to ask for, came true that very day that I asked.

So I feel very grateful to God for this. It’s such a silly little thing but yet it means so much to me. It is evidence that God blessed me with a tender delight. It shows to me that He cares about me having fun, wholesome recreation. He delights to delight me. He loves me, he loves you, He loves us all. He doesn’t always answer our prayers so quickly as in this story. He doesn’t always answer with a yes. This time He did for me, and I will always remember this.

I love what Elder David A. Bednar shares about tender mercies in this talk below. You can also read it here.

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Top 12+ Summer-Themed Board Games

Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

In honor of summer, I’m sharing my top 12+ tabletop games with a summer theme. From camping, to Independence Day for Americans, amusement parks, to gardening, to beaching, to travel, I’ve got you covered with games that feature those summertime themes.

First is Summer Camp. I haven’t played it, it just looks so fun so it caught my eye! Feel all the summer camp vibes that come from being in the great outdoors camping with friends: fishing, swimming, adventure, nature-based arts & crafts, cooking, and games.

Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com, above and below

How about an amusement park themed-game, since summer is the prime time to visit those? In this game, you are an amusement park designer. Your goal is to design a park that attracts the most crowds to get the most cash.

Photo Credit: above and below boardgamegeek.com

Flourish is all about designing a garden. The art for this game is so beautiful! It’s for 1-7 players. This is from James Wilson, the designer of Everdell, and his wife.

Photo Credit: boardgamegeek.com

America’s Spirit is a treasure I found at a Goodwill in Tucson AZ. This is strictly for lovers of America trivia. I love the different categories: quotes, American history, famous American people, and American geography. Then you have another category that’s not trivia but rather “predict what the other player will say” about what his/her favorite U.S. president is. I make it a point to play this every year around Independence Day. It’s pure fun if you love America trivia!

World’s Fair 1893 is a game for history lovers. It’s based on the real World’s Fair that happened in Chicago in 1893. I love that it involves real people, real art, and inventions. It’s basically a set collection game with a mechanism of worker placement in order to collect the sets. The exhibit cards have pictures of real exhibits from the fair with interesting descriptions. Then the influencer cards tell you about real people from history involved with the fair, like Ida B. Wells and Tesla.

Above and Below Image Credit: amazon.com

Many people visit zoos in the summer. So here’s a zoo-themed game: Ark Nova. A very popular game, it’s in the top 10 currently at boardgamegeek.com. In this game, you are a zoo designer. The player who creates the most scientific appealing zoo with conservation projects wins.

Above and Below Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

My Farm Shop is for those of you who want to feel like farmers selling your goods at a famers’ market.

Above and Below Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

You’ve probably never imagined being a coral reef. It’s amazing how you can find a game on so many random subjects. Who thinks up all these themes? In this game of Reef, you are a coral reef. You get points for building yourself up according to certain colors and patterns. Sounds like a great game to increase abstract thinking and puzzling skills.

Above and Below Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

Tides is a game all about tides, of course. You can find a print and play version here.

Above and Below Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

In Santa Monica you get to see who is the best designer of a beach-side town. I haven’t played it but it’s by AEG, the makers of Calico, so it’s probably just as good. It looks pretty plus relaxing so I want to play it!

Image credit above and below: boardgamegeek.com

If you want to get super nerdy about the study of the water that lives by the beach, Oceans is the game for you. The game features cards about many different species of animals that live in the great mysterious depths of the watery earth.

I can’t blog about summertime themes and games without mentioning family reunions. Generations is a board game for mini-family reunions of 4-8 players who are related. This isn’t a glamorous, exciting game like some of the others in this list. It’s a simple game of getting to know your family members better. If you have the right crowd of family members who are up to it, you can generate a lot of laughter with the questions. I love it! We’ve occasionally played it on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. My dear children are good sports and humor me by playing it.

Speaking of family reunions, picture-taking is usually involved, right? Picture Perfect is a game about taking pictures to accommodate everyone’s preference to look their best. You have cutout figures to arrange according to certain rules. Sounds like a fun logic game.

Above and Below Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

Above and Below Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

Now for a bunch of games about traveling, either going to the United States national parks, or around the world.

Above and Below Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

The Trekking games above involve traversing maps on a a board and collecting points by traveling to different places, I like that mechanic OK, but I prefer the Trekking games below with “trivia” in the title because I like games with more trivia.

Image Credit: boardgamegeek.com

Last but not least, here is what the guys at The Dice Tower have to say about some nature-themed games, which make me think of summer, since that’s the season when it’s easiest to enjoy it.

You’ll see some mention of the games listed above. Happy summer board gaming everyone! If you can, take a game up the canyon or to a meadow and game while you forest bathe like I did with Everdell, above. It’s so fun to take advantage of these warm days and soak up the sunshine while we can.

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A Board Game to Learn About Herbs, On Sale Now, with Bonus Freebies!

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know how much I love board games and gameschooling. I’m sharing today about Wildcraft, an herbal-themed board game. I got it years ago and occasionally get it out to play with my younger children. It’s some mild fun and you get to learn what herbal remedies work for what ailments. I look forward to playing it with my grandchildren when they get older. I’d say it’s perfect for ages 4-10.

It’s on sale right now, 30% off, till midnight PT of Thurs. July 28, 2022. If you buy it you also get some fun bonuses. Here’s what the creator of the game, Kimberly Gallagher, says about it: (I receive no money from you buying this, I’m just sharing about a game that holistic minded moms will enjoy playing with their family)

Our board game introduces kids to 27 healing herbs, including Burdock, Calendula, Chamomile, Chickweed, Comfrey, Cottonwood, Dandelion, Echinacea, Elder, Field Mint, Herb Robert, Huckleberry, Jewelweed, Lemon Balm, Marshmallow, Wild Mustard, Nettle, Oregon Grape, Pine, Plantain, Wild Rose, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Violet, White Willow, Yarrow, and Yellow Dock.

These are all great healing herbs for kids to learn.

And THIS was exactly why parents were emailing me. They really wanted to learn even more about these herbs than what was in the game.

While Wildcraft! teaches kids about the basics of these herbs, a board game can only teach a person so much about how to use them in real life.

This is why I created Wildcraft! Plants: A Pocket Guide…




This printable field guide comes as a bonus during our Wildcraft! summer sale.

This pocket guide explores all 27 plants in the game in more detail. Each page has a beautiful botanical illustration that points out key identifying characteristics, as well as a quick reference that shows what each herb is used for. Fun little stories help your kids remember all the details.




For today and tomorrow, you can get Wildcraft! at 30% off.


You get…

Wildcraft! The Herbal Adventure Game at 30% off.

And these printable bonuses… 

  • Wildcraft! Plants: A Pocket Guide 
  • Wildcraft! Botanical Coloring Book (print as many copies as you want for all the kids in your home)
  • The Wildcraft! Story (adds another level of learning to the game)


The Wildcraft! summer sale ends tomorrow, Thursday July 28 at midnight Pacific time. 

After tomorrow, the game goes back up to regular price. 

I hope you’re enjoying your summer!

Kimberly Gallagher
Creator of Wildcraft! and author of Herb Fairies

 

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7/26/22 Tree of Life Mama’s Board Game of the Week: Genotype

I saw this game advertised online when it was in Kickstarter mode last year. I was so excited for it be released! I studied genetics in high school and college, and always loved doing Punnett squares. This game allowed me to revisit those Punnett squares of my youth and I enjoyed them just as much as back then.

I played it with my 16 year old daughter and 12 year old son this week for Family Home Evening. The age recommendation is 14+ up. That probably explains why my 12 year old son acted bored the whole time.

If you like worker placement games, you will love this game. Basically, you are pretending to be the real person of history, Gregor Mendel, breeding pea plants in order to observe genetic expression. As you do so you are working on expressing four traits of the plant that have two alleles for each trait: plant height, pod color, whether the seed is round or wrinkled, or if the pod is green or yellow. You win by getting the most points, and you win points by harvesting plants that you plant in your garden plots, after the genotypes are “validated.” You validate the genotypes during the “plant breeding phase” with dice rolling and dice drafting. It seems super overwhelming and complicated when you first unbox it and see all the many parts, but I promise, it gets easy to understand as you play it. The video below by Tom Vasel of the Dice Tower gives a succinct explanation of the game.

I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I agree with Tom in the video above, in that the last player gets a slight unfair advantage with being able to be the first person to buy an assistant at the cheapest price. The assistants give you special powers to manipulate things. I also wish there were more ways to make money in the game. As Tom says, the economy of the coins is really tight. I love the components, the art work, and the strategy involved. I love that you can learn science as you play too. The game includes a separate booklet from the rule booklet that explains the history of Mendel and his genetic discoveries. A bonus is the lovely illustration of the abbey where he worked, on the underside of the game board. I highly recommend this game, for playing with 14-year-olds and up. It is a lot of fun if you are into science and worker placement. It’s for 1 to 5 players, so yes, it has a solo mode. Fun, fun, fun! Who would have thought you could find a board game based on genetics?! It’s so cool!

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We Can Be Modern-day Pioneers

Photo Credit: Screenshot taken from Legacy movie produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, featured on “Share the Gospel Online” YouTube Channel, over here.

Yesterday was Pioneer Day, a state holiday in Utah, to honor the pioneers who settled in Utah in the 1840s and later. So I’m sharing some pioneer stories to celebrate, even though I’m a day late.

Here’s the basic story of the pioneers who were early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My own 3rd-great-grandmother was a pioneer. Her name was Mica Martine Pedersen. She heard the missionaries of the above-named church preach in her native Denmark. After studying the gospel literature she prayed to God to know if this literature was true. She received a witness from the Holy Spirit that it was true and got baptized. This witness of the Spirit never failed her even though she suffered trials and hardship for 50 more years. She was baptized in April of 1851. It was still so cold that the missionaries had to break the ice on the river before she and her husband could be baptized. They also had to be baptized in the middle of the night to avoid disturbances by people who didn’t like this event.

Even though she was disowned by her unbelieving relatives and persecuted by her neighbors throwing rocks and eggs at her, as she walked down the streets of her village, she stayed true to her baptismal covenant. When she heard the invitation from the missionaries to gather in Zion, she prepared to emigrate. Her husband was not willing to go. Believing that gathering to Zion as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was more important than her marriage, she left her husband and took her 2-year-old daughter on a ship bound to America. She landed in Philadelphia. There she took a train to Iowa City and then traveled by handcart to Utah Territory. This was in 1857. She arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 13 1857.

She ended up living in various places in Utah, mostly southern Utah, and had three husbands (one at a time) and ten children. She was a great housekeeper, homemaker, farmer, talented weaver, soapmaker, midwife and family builder. I am so grateful for her testimony!

We can each be pioneers today! I am inspired by pioneers from all countries and all honorable industries. Recently I found this inspiring story of a young woman from Finland was is a modern-day pioneer for being baptized in her native Finland in the 1960s. Here is her story. It’s a beautiful story of courage, faith, and trusting in the Holy Spirit. She stood up to her classmates and teacher at public school, so much so that she inspired her teacher to read the Book of Mormon.

You can find many more modern-day pioneer stories here, here, and here.

May we all be pioneers who blaze trails in following God. May we make it easier for those who come after us to follow.

If you want more pioneer stories, please check out the “July” section of my Celestial Family Devotionals ebook here for free.

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The Miracle of Stopping the Crows from Getting the Corn

This is the first year in a while that I have planted corn in my garden. I’m so excited to see it growing! Back in May, our homeschool group had a family end of year social that involved families selling stuff. One of the families was selling little corn sprouts growing in potting soil in styrofoam cups, for $1 each. I bought four of them, and here is one of them flourishing in the photo above.

I love planting gardens! I just think it’s so fun to see plants grow from tiny seeds or starter plants. But plants don’t always turn out as planned. One of the starts is withering up, even though I’ve watered it the same as the one above. Then one of them multiplied by three somehow into three plants, so I’m going to transplant those into their own holes to grow, including where the withered plant is.

I found this story recently in the LDS Gospel Library app about a family that struggled to get a successful patch of corn growing, due to a flock of menacing crows that kept eating the corn. It’s called “Crows in the Corn,” by Betty A. Harvey. You can read it here.

On the family’s third attempt to plant a cornfield in a year, they were desperate. Twice already, the crows had zoomed in to gobble up the shoots. The family’s only upcoming income was this crop of corn. If this third planting got eaten by the crows, they would be financially ruined. So what did they do? In their desperate situation, they fasted and prayed. Then the mom listened, and got an answer. It saved their latest cornfield so it could mature into harvest. The answer was ingenious! Go here to read the whole story. I love it!

This is an example of the old adage, “God helps those who help themselves.” So many miracles work this way. A desperate situation + seeking God in fasting and prayer + listening for an answer + acting on it = a very much needed miracle.

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