Wednesday, November 30, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 45

Week 45 ya'll, and it has officially Begun snowing here...
This week's prompt for the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge is What You do for fun!!

Well besides being the FUNNEST person I know, who enjoys doing just about ANYTHING, unless it's annoying, I have started playing more with makeup.
Now, I'm a licensed and professional cosmetologist but cosmetics has been my weak link. I'm not good at doing my own makeup, let alone other people's. Plus, I like a really "natural" look. I don't like wearing too much. If my face rubs off on my kids' clothes, I have a problem.

If I wanna feel fancy, I add a colored lip. Today, I used ELF Wine lipstick, I absolutely love how it feels on my lips. Like silk! 
I also recently bough Younique foundation from my cousin. It is the perfect shade! How many of you buy six different store brand foundations just to mix and get the perfect color?
I love the feel of Younique. It has a powder feel once it's set. LURV.

And as many of you know, I also WRITE for fun ;) The sequel to my novel, OG, will release in 2017!!!! If you need a gift idea this Christmas, you can buy OG for your reader friends.

What else do I love to do for fun?
I love playin "house" with my daughter.

I love taking pictures.
I love cooking.

I like singing and acting and playing the piano.
I exercise. For fun. Yep I'm one of those freaks.

Oh, and my favorite winter activity is going back inside. :) 
Te he he.
That concludes week 45 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!
Thanks for reading.
Brittany Shannon

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Meet the Characters: Conquest of Canaan: OG

Welcome to the interview of Og's three main characters.
In today's interview we will be getting to know the three main characters in Brittany Shannon's novel,  OG, book one in the Conquest of Canaan series.
If you have any questions for the characters, please comment below.

Who wants to go first?

"Me."

"Of course, you do, Rebby," says Kaya.

"In fact, I'm not even sure why we are here. Rebby thinks this whole interview is about him," Travin adds.

"How's my hair?" Rebby asks.

"As shiny as your ego," Travin quips.

Interviewer: "Alright, you three. Let's get to the questions."

"Let's," Kaya states.

"Question #1: who takes longer to get ready in the morning?"

Travin and Kaya answer together, "Rebby."

"Travin takes a long time to shave," Kaya giggles.

"When the hired help is shearing my face like a lamb," Travin replies.

"Question #2: who would you rather fight to the death?"
Travin: "Kaya."

Rebby: "Travin."

Kaya: "Wait, why me?"

Travin: "Because I would kill Rebby, but I would rather let you live."

Rebby scoffs.

Kaya grins.

"Question #3: what is your most embarrassing moment?"

"What is this embarrassment you speak of?" Rebby demands.

"Oh, geez," Travin sighs. "My eighteenth birthday. Kaya was drunken with wine and she made me dance with her."

"Trav, you have seriously got to learn the definition of dancing," Kaya laughs.

"Question #4: what is the scariest thing you've ever done?

"By far, jumping off Moxie Falls", Kaya replies.

"About five minutes before Jumping off Moxie Falls," Travin says.

"When I was six, my father made me go into the market and return a chalice I'd stolen from a woman named Ruth. 


Travin and Kaya both slowly turn toward him.

"That is your scariest moment?" Travin guffaws.

"Ruth was a very attractive woman," Rebby rejoinders.

"You were six," Kaya says wryly.

"And I ruined my chances with her forever when I admitted to thievery. It was very traumatic."

Travin rolls his eyes.





"Question #5: if you could do one thing before you die, what would it be?"

All three pause. It is the first time they are speechless.

Kaya speaks first, hesitantly. "I would want to see the world at peace. And I think I want to be a mother..."

"Wow," Travin responds, his eyes gleaming. "Honesty, from Soldier Lucan.

"Don't call me that."

"I'd go back in time and tell Ruth my heart's deepest desires," Rebby States confidently. "And maybe kick Travin's butt in Grab a few more times."

Interviewer: "Travin?"

His eyes mist over and he gazes off into a distant memory. "I'd spend more time with Maleah. I would love to see the woman she would become. She would make a wonderful Aunt."

Kaya nudges him roughly. 

"And I would, without a doubt, give Kaya anything she ever wanted," Travin adds.

Rebby imitates throwing up. "Bluah."

"Question #6: if you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?"

"I'm single," Rebby replies immediately.

"Kaya, more honesty?" Travin smirks.

"You first." She winks. "I dare you."

"Have faith in deliverance," he says, not moving his eyes from Kaya's.

Interviewer: "Are you telling Kaya? Or the world?"

Travin: "They're one in the same."

Kaya blushes.

We all do.

Kaya leans over and nuzzles Travin's shoulder. Then she glances up at me.

"Travin writes me poems."

Travin's jaw drops.
Rebby bursts into laughter.
Chaos ensues and the three friends are no longer capable of sitting still and answering interview questions. They agree to a second interview in the future. Please let me know what questions you would like to ask them! 
Thanks!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Writer's Digest Book Pipeline Competition

I'm a big dreamer. And when I say BIG, I mean astronomically HUGE.

I've been dreaming about this project since I was little, and I've been ambitiously pursuing publication, and book-to-film adaptation, ever since finishing this novel.

Conquest of Canaan: Og is my first written and published book. A historical fiction written in a magical and modern voice, retelling the true events that take place in Joshua, in the bible.

Now, I have sworn that I would not let my motives for being an artist get corrupted. I have stayed true and NOT checked the stats for my sales since week one. I know that is CRAZZYYY but honestly, I'm not in this for "stats". What I am in this for is creating a unique, emotional, artistic movement for readers and writers alike.

As I read reviews of Og, my heart swells with pride. Everyone is eating it up. Loving it. Dying for more. Falling in love with the characters. Begging for an ARC of book two. It is more than I could dream of.

What else is more than I could dream of?
Og becoming a book-to-film adaptation.

So, I entered my novel into the Pipeline Competition.

Of course I'm not the best author, and my story is probably not the best in the entire universe (but feel free to let me believe it is) Nonetheless, I KNOW this novel would make an EPIC movie.
Adventure, romance, spiritual confliction.
What more could you want?

Below is the synopsis of Og. Take a gander.
Also, if you haven't already, pick up a copy for yourself and let me know what you think!
(Available at King's English Bookshop and online Amazon, print & eBook)

Og is an imaginative fiction that combines adventure, romance, and spiritual confliction in a gripping retelling of biblical events. Led by the famous military genius—Joshua—the Israelites embark on the barbaric conquest of Canaan, including the pivotal abolition of Og, King of Bashan. This multiple POV saga illustrates ancient times in a magical yet modern voice, bringing to life far-flung settings, historical politics, and the immortal tribulation of love.
Abandoned by her mother, and orphaned by her father, Kaya Lucan is as impartial to existence as her hometown is to politics. A haunting past and a mundane life of indulging in wine, caring for animals, and tolerating her (only) two friends—Travin Shelomo and Rebby Daan—characterize the witty misanthrope. But when their pompously neutral village, Avoca, is destroyed by diseased rebels, all of its inhabitants must flee.
The year is 1406 BC. Psychological warfare has consumed the spine of Canaan. Rogue rebels run rampant. The disease kills what the sword does not. With Avoca uninhabitable, Kaya Lucan is forced to seek refuge in the wilderness. She follows Avoca’s escaping inhabitants to the nearby village of Taavetti. The Avoca survivors congregate in the tabernacle, including Kaya’s closest childhood friend, Travin Shelomo and his naggy girlfriend Bronwynn. Before any plan for search and rescue can be made, the village is descended upon by a massive Israelite army.
Led by fearless commander, Joshua, the Israelite military has been crusading across the spine of Canaan, conquering kingdoms. Tales of Joshua’s victories frighten the wicked Canaanites, and encourage and strengthen Joshua’s loyal soldiers. Unbeknownst to Kaya, Travin and his charming, best friend, Rebby Daan, joined Avoca’s secret combinations as kids—a scandalous organization covertly offering instruction concerning all things warfare—and have been training for this day for years.
Travin’s aspirations of triumph, and salvaging a tarnished family name, propel him into enlisting at Taavetti. Joshua 1:16: All that thou commandest us we will do, and withersoever thou sendest us, we will go. With the threat of extermination lingering, Kaya recklessly accompanies the draftees. After all, she is an expert at running from her problems. She’s also an expert wine connoisseur. Although Travin and Rebby enthusiastically improve ranks in Joshua’s brigade, and excel in their new profession, violence and religion require a fierce personality adjustment for Kaya.
While camped at the Israelite stronghold of Shittim, Kaya drowns her woes and numbs her nightmares with wine, slacking in her veterinary duties while dedicated soldiers prepare for the impending battle against Og, King of Bashan. Travin, on the other hand, favors the Israelite customs. Having grown up under the shadow of a disgraced family name and an abusive father, Travin distances himself from the Shelomo reputation by succeeding as an honorable soldier. Although his relationship with Bronwynn is an emotional hindrance, he exhibits a natural talent for combat, earning rapport among Israelite officers, and one by one overcoming his insecurities with the help of his charismatic sidekick, Rebby Daan.
The three friends are taught the ways of the Israelites, including war strategy, weapons handling, simulated combat scenarios, and religion. But famed cynic, Kaya Lucan finds their laws confining. Her heart is blackened by pain and ill-fated incidents, and she doubts the idea of God, love. . . fate. At Shittim, she encounters a subsequent distraction: comfort in the arms of attractive soldier, Westin Fahim.
Sparks fly, but the flame takes a dangerous turn.
It is not the only fire burning.
The daunting crusade of growing up parallels the intensity of battle. A charismatic Rebby, a gentle-hearted Travin, and a self-destructive Kaya unearth the complexity of tactical brilliance, faith, and survival. Captivity and torture plague the young friends, with Westin becoming a permanent prisoner of notorious Canaanite ruler, Vaclav. The climax unfolds as the bloodthirsty Vaclav and his Canaanite army pursues Joshua, resulting in an epic battle during the crossing of the River Jordan. Victorious in this battle, the Israelite army sets up camp at Gilgal to prepare for yet another siege against Jericho.
Having stared death in the eye, Kaya nods at the desire to embody the righteousness of her friend Travin, to overcome both physical and mental demons. She is offered a marriage proposal by an amicable confidant, Rajmund, who gives her the glimpse of a stable future she’s always dreamed of. Although exceedingly talented and handsome, Rebby bears the brunt of a self-serving officer’s power-struggle. Travin becomes one of Joshua’s most trusted and skilled recruits. He wants to fight for the Israelite cause, he wants to make the Shelomo name proud, and he wants to save the woman he loves. It isn’t Bronwynn.

Conquest of Canaan: Og
By Brittany Shannon
OG Copyright © 2016 by Brittany Shannon Lemmon All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 43

I'm actually surprised and quite pleased with myself for making it this far!!
I made a goal on January 1 to be more grateful and I took on this 52 week challenge. Now I'm on week 43? It's just crazy.

Time flies!
This week's prompt is Favorite Holiday.

My favorite official holiday is the Fourth of July. I'm not just saying that because we just had elections and everyone is in a patriotic frenzy. My dad is extremely patriotic and raised us to be really aware and educated concerning our country. Of course, that has little to do with why I love the Foueth of July. Fireworks, hello??

First, it is the dead of summer which is my favorite time of year. July is my favorite month. I love heat. I love fireworks and fairs and churros. I love the American flag and singing pTriotic songs. I've actually sung the National Anthem a few times, twice for the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team. I get emotional each time. Then I suck because it is hard to belt a high C while crying ha!

I'm so grateful to be an American.
I know this last election was HUGE. It tore many people apart. Regardless of the outcome, I am one of those people who believes this is my beautiful country. I will STAY here. I will hope for the best and do my part to make it better. We are Still arguably the greatest nation. There is SO much to be grateful for and proud of. It saddens me that Americans will fight one another over politics and kill one another over a difference in beliefs. That's why this country was founded! For freedoms and diversity.

Anyway, the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday.
My favorite unofficial holiday is MY BIRTHDAY!! Which is on Thursday this year. Yes, that is Thanksgiving. You better not forget about me!! :) 

That concludes week 43 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge.

By Brittany Shannon


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dear Lucky Agent Contest

Today, I entered the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest, hosted by Writer's Digest. This is the 27th contest and the theme is Women's Fiction.
(For info, click here: http://tinyurl.com/jje3qaw)

I entered for my novel, Fueled: Shifting Gears.
Read the short submission below!


Fueled: Shifting Gears is a thrilling novel about an average, Christian LDS girl caught in the crossfire of mobsters in Fresno, California.
Sample excerpt below:

Ayden’s eyes honed in on Chet. 

He was the solitary blonde one, standing subtly behind Gage’s broad shoulder. He was watching the ocean. The breeze tousled the tips of his long hair. It covered most of his face, so she couldn’t tell what color his eyes were. It was an unruly, surfer style somewhere between dirty mop meets Albert Einstein. It gave him a mysterious, masked crusader appeal—one who never reveals his true identity.

Every inch of his lean build was toned taut and his skin had that kissed by the sun glow. Plain, black board shorts adorned his legs, and his thumbs were tucked casually in the waistband so that they hung just a little bit too low. A mist of fine, blonde hair trailed provocatively down from his navel and disappeared south. Ayden was spellbound, daydreaming about Point Break.

Chet’s head jerked up suddenly, tossing the fringe out of his eyes. It startled Ayden. He stared down at her from a six foot height, and he had the most interesting story in his eyes. There was an electrifying twinkle. Or was it a shadow? An indecipherable secret… They were gemstone blue.

The corner of his mouth quirked up illusively as his eyes travelled the length of Ayden. His gaze raked over her with a faint pressure, the way fingertips might graze a wrist when checking for a pulse. If he’d felt her pulse, he’d have felt it quickening. If she’d have been a car, the alarm would have sounded and the trunk inadvertently popped open. His tongue slid out, skimming his lower lip in just the tiniest movement. The reflection of the sun dazzled off a silver piercing. Ayden swallowed hard.


By Brittany Shannon

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Online Book Club review of Og

I got my review back from Online Book Club for OG.
My novel got a perfect 4/4!!

Read whole review below:

The story is told in the first-person narrative that switches perspectives with each new chapter. We get to see the story unfold before us through the eyes of a few different characters throughout the book. The two main characters are Kaya and Travin who are currently adults and have been friends since they were young children living in the peaceful town of Avoca in the land of Canaan. The bulk of the story takes place after both they and others flee from their town and become part of the growing Israeli army that is beginning its march through Canaan on towards the Jordan River. Though the advancement and fighting of the army is a big part of the book, the main thrust is actually found in the relationship between the two friends who have slowly drifted apart as they grew up. Through the testing of their newfound war and the myriad of new and old interpersonal relationships, we see Kaya and Travin ebb and flow in their respect and devotion to each other as friends. 

Though the book is based on Biblical events, it goes beyond the Good Book’s narrative to fill in the parts of the conquest of Canaan that were not recounted there. It is not meant to be precisely accurate to the actual occurrences either, but for the most part it stays pretty faithful to the original telling from the Bible. This was something that I originally was a bit concerned about, yet the author did a nice job in keeping true to the spirit of the Israelites in that period of history. Also, the filling in of more specific actions and events in relation to the history was something that I really enjoyed reading about throughout the book.

I can say that there wasn’t really too much that bothered me about the book. One thing that I got frustrated with was Kaya and how she acted and reacted often towards those around her. It made me want to shake the book to wake her up at times. A few peripheral things that happened during the story were kind of left unexplained in the end, but they were not so glaring as to truly detract from the story as a whole.

Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 4 stars. It was a nice flowing read that took me back into the history of Israel as it began to claim its new home after wandering the wilderness for 40 years. I think that any reader who likes historical or religious fiction will truly enjoy reading this story. Those who like a little bit of intrigue with some romance lightly sprinkled on top should also find it a good read.

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39430

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Writer's Digest Short Story Competition 2017

Entry
The Daughter of a King
by Brittany Shannon


This is the short story entry for the Writer's Digest Short Story Competition 2017.
I've never written a short story before. In fact, 1500 words is daunting to me...because it is SO short. That's a typical journal entry for me.
Nonetheless, I'm always up for a challenge. I decided to share a nonfiction story. MY OWN.


I do this a lot. My life has few secrets. I'm not ashamed of this, but I will prepare you for the ugliness.
Disclaimer: Adult Content


The Daughter of a King



By Brittany Shannon

Confusion was my first conscious thought, as I came to and realized my right arm was dangling in the toilet bowl. My cheek was smashed against the toilet seat. Music thumped against the closed door. The stench of my own vomit was convictive.
I was choking.
My brain sent the message to my throat to cough up the bile lodged in my throat, but my body’s reflex would not comply. I was incapacitated. The odor encompassing me was putrid, exaggerating my queasiness. Poison fought its way out of my belly, burning into my mouth and nose. I gagged.
Is this it? I wondered. Is this how I’m going to end?
The music was loud. A party continued on outside the bathroom door. It must have been the middle of the night, for the last time I had seen the clock it read two-thirty AM. Who knew how long I’d been laying here in my own filth?
A bang on the door startled me. I coughed, coaxed my throat into dislodging the hot substance. Spitting into the toilet, I tried to raise my right arm out of the bowl. My boyfriend called my name. He banged on the door again. I wanted to respond. I tried. The noise of my own voice, bubbling and gurgling against the toxic liquids, frightened us both. He kicked the door in.
That’s the last thing I remember of the night that should have been my last.
Step one. Admit that you of yourself are powerless to overcome your addictions.
Let’s go back in time. I was seventeen. I was a good kid. 4.0 student who never stepped out of line. I was on my high school’s competition dance team which required fierce discipline and plenty of sleep. I grew up Christian and knew about Jesus Christ and God, basing my decisions on the strengths and testimonies of those around me. I’d never personally felt moved by the Spirit of the Lord. No burning in my bosom. No warmth. No premonition of a hand patting me on the back. But it didn’t matter. People I trusted believed in God, so I did, too.
I met a boy. It was a head-over-heels phenomenon that struck my seventeen-year-old heart unto devastation. My parents were not happily married and, in fact, had a sick relationship of who could hurt the other the most. The thing I wanted most in life was to live Happily Ever After, with the man of my dreams. At nineteen, I’d found him. ‘If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.’ I said, “I do” for time and all eternity. And I meant it.
I knew he’d had a pornography and sex addiction from the age of twelve, but it didn’t matter to me. I loved him. We would carry one another’s mortal burdens. That’s what marriage is. Two imperfect people helping and supporting each other. His parents were caught up in their own addictions. His father was a kind, gentle, drug addict. His mother was the poster-child for codependency and suffered discreetly from the obscure, but real, disorder of being sexually inappropriate with her children. I did not believe anything sexual had transpired between my beloved new husband and his mother, but they had strange interactions that belonged in a marriage, rather than a parent-child relationship. Nonetheless, I looked past the imperfections, for all humans are fallible. I wanted the fairytale, and I was not going to let anything stop me.
Life was great. For four months. On the first Valentine’s Day after we were married, I found out my husband was cheating on me. I’d thought we had a great sex life and wondered what he could possibly want from someone else. He came clean about the sex addiction, which had nothing to do with me…but felt every bit my fault. It was the “excitement” of cheating that he loved. The pornography addiction expounded as well. Viruses corrupted every one of our technological devices. He spent hours beyond hours a day, at work and at home, watching porn. He created artificial profiles on social media sites, dating website, and hookup websites. He also starting going to a church where single people were attending, and would ask girls out on dates.
I was humiliated. It was the most brutal attack to my naïve heart. Summoning my Christian roots, I prayed for help. I sought guidance from Christian leaders. I worshiped all the time and begged God to save my marriage. I was willing to give up anything to have a husband who loved me.
In the short course of a year and a half, my husband’s addictions blew up. Abuse poured from his soul, in all forms of physical, mental, and sexual. I grew up taunting young women on television, who sat on Oprah’s chair and confessed that they still loved their cheating, beating husbands. Who would stay? I’d think. Those girls are pathetic. Then, years later, as I wake up in the night to my husband humping me from behind without my consent, I realized I was that girl. That I loved this man. I would let him harm me, choke me, slap me, call me every foul name, and yet I would do anything for him.
As a strong believer in the Almighty, I am also a strong believer in the Adversary. The contentions within my marriage got so bad that I could feel the devil walk into my home. I knew my husband was home from work before I saw him. I felt it. It frightened me. I began to lose sight of everything. My body shut down. Numbness overtook rationality. It was a living nightmare, and I was the walking dead.
I do not remember what went on from November 2008 - February 2009. It’s funny how the mind is smart enough to block out what it knows the body cannot handle. Somewhere in that time frame, I was in a play. Peter Pan. My role was Wendy. One night, I was too afraid to return home from a rehearsal. “Peter” asked if I wanted to stay at her house. I did. I was sleeping at random houses every night. Her husband, who had never met me before, asked if I wanted him to say a prayer for me and ask God for a special blessing. I conceded. I do not remember a single thing this stranger said, except the words, “Guard your womb.”
That March, of 2009, I left. This time, my bag stayed packed. I grabbed my dog and some dog food, hopped in my Saturn, drove to the auto store to pick up antifreeze, and drove two states away. I’d left before. This was nothing new. But I was not going to return this time. This was the end of my marriage. The marriage I’d battled to save, surrendered every part of me to rescue, killed each inch of my soul to salvage. And I left everything I owned, and loved, in that house. I never saw him again.
God saved my future children from a narcissist and family line of abusers. He did not save me from the mountain of trials I would not face. My marriage was just a hill. Pain subdued me. I was lost in a negligent abyss, and began drinking so heavily I poisoned myself several times a week. My heart would flutter in the mornings. I wouldn’t remember a thing. It was a bizarre place for a Christian girl to be. I knew God was there. Why didn’t he help me? What couldn’t he hear?
My pleas were soon heard. I was beseeching the Lord to take away my desire to drink. I knew I was killing myself, but I also knew I was meant to be a mother. God would not have told me to guard my womb if it was not in my destiny. The consequences of a single glass of wine became such a physical ailment that intoxication lost the frivolity it once held. I was able to get clean. I’ve lived sober for three years.
I have two beautiful children. Their father is the man who broke down that bathroom door. He broke down the walls of my heart. We welcomed God into our life together. Sought healing and comfort. Christ had not abandoned me. I had abandoned Him. It is hard to feel the Spirit of God when you’re numb. You cannot hear the promptings of Jesus with crude music blaring.
My life has been changed. Purified.
Post-traumatic stress is real, and the therapy is hard. But I wouldn’t change it, and the opportunity it provided me to meet God, for anything. I don’t know who that girl was, with her arm dripping with her own vomit, sunk beneath the water of the toilet bowl. But I know who I am now. The daughter of a King.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 42

Week 42...Favorite possession!!!

I want so bad to be vain right now and say SHOES!
I literally have over 100 pairs of shoes. And I love them all.

But I'm going to pick my laptop as my favorite possession because I can accomplish ALL my work with it.

I'm grateful for my new laptop that my husband bought me a few weeks ago. I can write, upload all my pictures, get on the internet quickly. It is light and flexible, and is reversible into a tablet. So it is super convenient. I can slide it into my diaper bag and take it anywhere. It's pretty much the coolest!

I'm grateful that I even have the money to purchase a new laptop. It isn't the most expensive one, but it gets done what I need done. Boom.

And that concludes week 42 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!

Goodbye Fall...Winter is knocking.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Growing up with Conference

Book Review
by Brittany Shannon

Book:
Growing up with Conference
Emilee Reynolds, Cassie Lytle & Tiffany McDaniel

Hello, friends!
It's Brittany Shannon here.
I just finished reading the book, Growing up with Conference.

To summarize, this delightful read is a compilation of planning, organizing, and crafting suggestions for anyone interested in making LDS General Conference a unique, fun, and memorable experience.

I admit, I grew up watching conference. My parents definitely made us watch each session, and as a kid I remember it being fairly boring. Of course, as a young child, you don't absorb much information. However, my parents did their best with intentions of having us learn. The fun thing about the book Growing up with Conference is it gives parents with families, and kids of all ages, ideas of what you can do during the hours of conference. Even if you're traveling!

Some of you might be thinking...I'm not that crafty!

That's okay. There are other ideas.
If you decide to give crafting a try, there are a couple options in the book with links to the website,
where you can find printables. That makes the crafting so much easier for newbs.

The ideas about shadow boxes and files for each apostle can seem a bit daunting. I have a two year old and a one year old, and neither have the capacity to remember everything about each apostle. YET! The great thing is, you can start with one apostle and do one file a year or so. This way, you don't feel overwhelmed trying to make them all at once. As your kids get older, your collection of files will get larger. With your child's ability to memorize getting better, and their interest in learning (and staying entertained during LONG conference talks) expands, you can teach them about the contents in each file.

I thought the traveling ideas spoken of in this book were fantastic. I've heard about magnetic trays. It seems like a fun and easy thing to do to add "conference themed" magnets to these magnetic trays. Then, as you drive, little kids are entertained and the grown ups can listen to a little bit more of the talks.

I love the idea of taking notes. Personally, when I was middle grade age, I thought journaling was the dumbest thing ever. Who knows how other kids feel, but I thought it was stupid. I laugh now, because I read my journals from elementary school and they're, "I'm bored. Mom is making me write in my journal. It's Sunday." For almost every entry! I kind of wish my parents had explained a little bit more about the importance of journaling, because I want to encourage my kids to take notes. Not just, "I'm bored, watching conference," but thoughts and feelings they have. I think it's wonderful that Growing up with Conference encourages parents to teach their kids to identify feelings, to write about them, to discuss them.

This book also incorporates family home evening ideas. Since the book starts out at a 15 day countdown to conference, you have the opportunity to do a family home evening centered around General Conference. You can talk about all the activities you have planned. This book also has a recommendation of doing a snack table. I thought this was cute. You get to fill your plate before conference, and then in between sessions. This gives kids something to look forward to because they get more snacks. I would probably make mine a unique treat the kids don't get very often so they look forward to it. I'm not a huge candy fan, so I'd like to use granola bars, like the KIND bars, or CLIFF bars.

All in all, I am really excited to try some of these ideas with my family. Even though my children are really young right now, my toddler does enjoy crafting. She will like making little stick figures, or Easter Eggs with the apostles names on them come spring time. By then, my son will be a bit older and might try his hand at crafting...instead of just snacking!

I definitely recommend Growing up with Conference by sweetlymadejustforyou.com.

All families will find something useful in it.

Check it out for yourself!
Thanks.
Brittany Shannon