Creating a “Conference Basket”

As a single mom of three girls ranging from Primary age to midteens, I wanted to help them attentively watch general conference. But conference weekend usually occurs when they are at their father’s home. Undeterred, I decided to start a tradition of making a conference basket for them to take with them so that I can also be part of their enjoyment of conference. Included is a special poem from me and activity booklets I create ahead of time for each daughter. I also add a variety of fun goodies—a new box of crayons, pencils, novelty erasers, and a large bag of chocolate candies, for example.

The booklets, titled “My General Conference Report,” each contain space for jotting down notes of conference proceedings: who conducted, who gave opening and closing prayers, who sang the music, and which songs were sung. There are also pages for taking notes on each talk. The child lists the speaker and his or her Church calling, the subject spoken about, and any prominent scripture references used. These pages show simple illustrations of the conference pulpit, prompting the children to draw each speaker, a practice that helps them to better remember the names and faces. Additional pages often offer simple games, such as word searches and “tic-talk-toe”—all with a conference theme.

I save my booklets on the computer to make changing or reprinting them easy. But simply writing down the ideas in a notebook for your child would work too. Whether your children are with you at conference or away from home, this simple idea can help them focus on the important messages shared.

Following each conference I am pleased to review my children’s booklets. Knowing that they watched all the sessions and took notes helps me be more attentive to conference as well.

Michele T. Adams, Riverdale Fourth Ward, Riverdale Utah Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores

A Lunch Box and a Life History

For years, the thought of compiling 50 years of my life history seemed daunting—until I learned how to write brief stories about specific, cherished memories from my past.

Each memory, or vignette, takes only a few moments to write, and I don’t worry about selecting them in chronological order. I simply pick my most poignant memories and write a few descriptive paragraphs. For instance, I wrote one vignette about my father’s black lunch box, which has become a symbol to me of his hard work and love for our family. I described the special treats he used to leave for me inside it and included an old picture of us, showing the lunch box in hand. I was even able to create another special memory by sharing that vignette with my father shortly before he passed away.

I have also written a vignette about my mother’s Monday wash-day routine and am writing stories about each of my seven children and my grandchildren. Topics such as memorable birthdays, favorite holiday traditions, and early school memories could also jump-start anyone’s writing efforts.

Thanks to family history vignettes, a task that once seemed daunting is now very enjoyable for me. And the best part is that I can do a little bit at a time.

Myrna Alta Spendlove Schwieder, Ammon Seventh Ward, Ammon Idaho Foothills Stake

Family Home Evening Helps: Book of Mormon Stories

A few years ago we sharpened our family home evening focus to concentrate on the scriptures. Because we have young children, we decided to use what is now titled Book of Mormon Stories, an illustrated scripture reader available at Church distribution centers. To begin, my husband and I made a list of all the chapter titles. Then we reviewed the list and chose a gospel principle relating to each story. A quick search on the Church’s Web site at produced several Church magazine articles and Primary sharing time lessons that we could use to supplement each principle. Even without Internet access, you can simply use several of the book’s supplemental features—maps, glossaries, and a time line of events—to enhance your lessons. Illustrated stories can also be found in the Friend magazine.

To organize the information we gathered, we made a simple schedule that shows at a glance which principle to focus on, which story to share, and where to find additional lesson material. Our schedule fits neatly in our family home evening binder, so family members know where to find it when it’s their turn to teach.

As we have studied together, not only have we learned the scriptural accounts more thoroughly, but we have also learned to apply the gospel principles taught in them.

Laura Erasmus, McKenzie Ward, Calgary Alberta South Stake

Editor’s Note: Book of Mormon Stories (item no. 35666000; U.S. $6.00) is available online at or by calling 1-800-537-5971 within the United States and Canada. A variety of printed languages and audiovisual options are available.

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker