My summer plans for sanity: schedules, plans, charts, and other coping mechanisms


I am one of those moms that makes a crazy weekly schedule for summer. I thought I’d share it in case it’s helpful for anyone else or gives you ideas of how to tweak things your own way. Do NOT look at this and feel guilty if you never had any similar intention. *I* do this because it helps me know what to do with my children when they are out of school and suddenly back in my care 24/7. If I did not make a plan or a schedule, I would find myself fretting in bed in the morning while my children got a jump start on chaos. If you are the type of mom who likes to go with the flow and not be pressured by a schedule, then you probably won’t like these ideas, and that’s okay. We can still be friends. πŸ™‚

Weekly schedule.Β  Here’s a link to my chart, but this is the general idea: chores* done by 10 am, then a brief devotional and “summer school” (30 minutes of workbooks, writing, etc.). Mid-day activities include:

Monday:Β  Money and Menu plan– Allowance and Bank, Plan lunches and dinners for week (this year I’m going to try having each child in charge of one day of lunch and dinner), Grocery shop

Tuesday: Temple, Treat, and Tech– Get a treat and visit a temple, Rent a movie or video game

Wednesday: Service and Play–Humanitarian or other Service, Fun ideas from Pinterest

Thursday: Travel– Day trip or hike

Friday: Library and lunch– go to library and meet daddy for lunch

(This schedule is way more flexible than it may appear. Times are approximate, and we also have swimming lessons and other random calendar commitments, so some days the schedule will get trumped with something else.)

Then we finish off the late afternoons with a “summer snack” (usually a Popsicle), 30 minutes of reading time** followed by some quiet play time, their 30 minutes of media time, then dinner and family time, and finally bedtime– except for Thursday nights when I’ll let them stay up a little later for neighborhood night games.

*Note on chores: I make a daily chart (you’re welcome to download and edit my document here) so that every morning, each person knows exactly what their jobs are that day. Each day as they pass off their work, I will give them some kind of voucher that they can collect and cash in toward their allowance on Mondays. It may be as simple as a labeled popsicle stick. If you have any questions about the chores we do around here, go ahead and ask in the comments.

**Note on reading: You know how a lot of schools have a take-home reading program? Well, I modify that plan and run a similar system at home during the summer. My children like to read and will often pick up books during down-time and definitely at bedtime, but what I love about take-home reading is the assigned content. Sometimes I’m a big fan of forcing things on my poor children, especially when I know it would be good for them to step out of their comfort zone a little and expand their minds by trying a new genre or subject matter. So I did a lot of research about good books for my kids to read, and I went and checked out a lot of them from the library. Then I created big gallon Ziploc bags with their names on them and made a form (here’s a blank one you can download) that lists their “assigned” books. During their reading time every day, they read the book in their bag for as many days as they need to until it’s done. Then I sign it off, and they move on to another book on their list. I love this part of the day because it makes me feel like a children’s librarian, one of those jobs I’m just sure I would love.


So there you have it. It’s kind of like comfort food for the psyche; it makes me feel better to have a summer strategy. Here’s wishing you the best in your own summer preparations. What are some of your favorite strategies?

Winner and a question

Quick post.

Congratulations to Holly, who was the winner of the pre-screening tickets to see Ephraim’s Rescue. Yay, Holly!

And I have a question. Actually two. I’m working on a class for youth about recognizing the Spirit.

1. I’m compiling a list of the many ways that the Spirit speaks to us. For me it’s most often through a feeling of reassurance/certainty about something I’m learning and also promptings (which I like to refer to as an idea with teeth that kind of presses on your mind). Can you help me round out the list by adding some of the ways that you have received revelation in your life? I want to show that there are many, many ways that our Heavenly Father communicates with us, and it’s not the same for all people or even for the same person all the time.

2. How have you taught your children or youth to recognize the Spirit? I need a variety of ideas/thoughts/resources since there is such a variety in the ways God speaks to us through the Holy Ghost.

Quotes and Happenings from BYU Women’s Conference Day 2

Day two is over and I’m ready for a good night’s sleep. There were some great classes and talks today and I learned a lot. I also met some really wonderful people. One of the highlights of my day was meeting Annie Henrie, the artist whose work is on the cover of my book, and being able to tell her how much I love her work and how honored I feel to have my work connected to hers. I’m pretty sure we’re BFFs now.Β  Here are the tweets from today’s lessons, again in reverse chronological order. (And you can still click on the links to see photos, etc.)


  1. Amen! I bear my testimony that God LOVES His daughters. #holyghostsaysso #byuwc #finaltweet

  2. Blessing from Pres. Eyring: You will feel by the Spirit his appreciation for your faithful service as His friend. #byuwc

  3. Can I leave “a glorious spiritual heritage” like John Taylor did? Am I a defender of the prophet? #thoughtsinspiredbyEyring #byuwc

  4. The gift if the HolyGhost in action= the gift he gives all His friends who are offering sanctification. #Eyring #byuwc

  5. The Lord’s power is greater than all the forces that that oppose His faithful servants. #Eyring #byuwc

  6. The Lord protects, guides, and watches over those who are His trusted friends. #Eyring #byuwc

  7. The friend of God is one for whom the Savior died. #Eyring #bookofjohn #byuwc

  8. There are physical and spiritual dangers for us and those we love. We will need divine protection. #presEyring #byuwc

  9. Gathering at the feet of a living prophet, seer, revelator. Waiting to hear Pres. Eyring. #thegospelisrestored #byuwcΒ Β Β  View photo

  10. Singing all the longest hymns we know while Pres. Eyring is stuck in traffic. #waitingontheLord #byuwcΒ Β  View photo

  11. Just because I can’t do it today doesn’t mean I can’t do it someday. #carlahansen #byuwc

  12. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The 2nd best time to plant a tree is today. # chineseproverb # carlahansen #byuwc

  13. The Lord needs healthy servants. He needs us to run and not be weary. #carlahansen #byuwc

  14. Count your blessings, not your blemishes. #katiedavis #byuwc

  15. You are worth more than a number on a scale. Your weight is not what defines you. #katiedavis #byuwc

  16. If you have a relationship you want to improve, try taking them for a walk. #katiedavis #byuwc

  17. D&C 59:19 Food enlivens the soul. Food is not the enemy. #katiedavis #byuwc

  18. Men can learn. Men can be taught. They don’t learn from criticism. They learn from a constant, elevating vision. #brosandberg #byuwc

  19. Making love begins in the kitchen. (Do the dishes.) #sandbergs #byuwc

  20. When we nurture love and friendship and marriage, we create a safe haven and a secure base. #sandbergs #byuwc

  21. “Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion.” #eldernelson #sandbergs #byuwc

  22. When we love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, it’s manifest in the choices we make. #michelleking #byuwc

  23. In marriage, we have to avoid negativity just like we avoid pornography. #paraphrased #sandbergs #byuwc

  24. Charity is a state of becoming. It is a way of life that takes a lifetime to achieve. #michelleking #byuwc

  25. We become better and not bitter as we humble ourselves. #michelleking #byuwc

  26. “The most common problem in marriage is DRIFT. Life will do that to you if you are not intentional.” #sandbergs #byuwc

  27. “If you want something to last forever, you treat it different.” #elderhoward #sandbergs #byuwc




Quotes and Happenings from BYU Women’s Conference Day 1

Whew. I’ve been women’s conferencing since I left my house at 7:15 this morning. I’m the good kind of tired. Before I sign off for the night, I wanted to share some of favorites from the day, courtesy of my Twitter account. Today is seriously the first day I’ve ever really used it for real– to “tweet” about something as it’s happening. Since I haven’t figured out how to cut and paste this in reverse, just note that the top of the list is the end of the day and the bottom of the list is the beginning of the day. Reverse chronological order. Got it?Β  I’ll be tweeting more tomorrow, but probably not quite as often because 1) I have my book signing for a couple hours in the morning, and 2) it was harder work than I thought it would be.Β  Behold my glorious Thursday:

(If you click on the links, it will take you to photos, etc.)


  1. Hilary Weeks is the goods. Her love song “I Found Me” made me want to go home and kiss my husband on the lips. #byuwc #deseretbookconcert

  2. At Deseret Book concert with Sandra Turley singing “For Good” from Wicked #byuwc #deseretbook #wickedthemusical

  3. When all these groups of women walk across campus, I think to myself, “THIS is God’s Army.” #weareallenlisted #byuwc

  4. Because God loves us, He labors to make us loveable. #kevinworthen #byuwc

  5. Eternal love is so much a characteristic of what makes God God that the apostle Paul taught, “God IS love.” #kevinworthen #byuwc

  6. Sometimes when we are stretched by our children, we find that we are capable of doing more than we thought we could. #peggyworthen #byuwc

  7. Sometimes we don’t have time to fast and pray; sometimes we only have time to pray fast. #paraphrased #peggyworthen #byuwc

  8. Family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in time and in eternity. #churchhandbook #peggyworthen #byuwc

  9. Beautiful piano/cello duet, “Lead kindly light.” Wish you could hear it. #ldshymns #byuwc

  10. A loving Heavenly Father listens to our prayers and inspires us what to do to reach a particular child. #sisCallister #pHicken #byuwc

  11. Keep in mind that children don’t need perfect mothers; children need human mothers that can manage their humanness #motherstylesbook #byuwc

  12. Teenagers speak another language. Like the brother of Jared, pray to the Lord to not confound their language. #juliegowans #byuwc

  13. One of the best ways to develop patterns of communication with our children is to build relationships with them. #juliegowans #byuwc

  14. If the Savior is my greatest champion, am I His? #AMtoone #byuwc

  15. Heavenly Father expects his daughters to use their influence to change the world, one individual and one family at a time. #AMtoone #byuwc

  16. Christ gives righteous women more lasting influence than women of the world, especially at the individual and family level. #AMtoone #byuwc

  17. Christ demonstrated deep familiarity with women’s lives. He appreciated them and ennobled them. #DMK #annemarietoone #byuwc

  18. Don’t measure your worth or your day by society’s standards. #cherylsavage #byuwc

  19. This is my stage and my season. I am a warrior. #cherylsavage #byuwc

  20. You can’t make children behave better by making them feel worse #heatherstephenson #byuwc

  21. “Grant me the patience to deal with my little blessings” #heatherstephenson #byuwc

  22. Sometimes your kids don’t need you in their face; they just need you by their side. #aprilmoody #byuwc

  23. When we live a righteous life, our presence becomes a powerful influence. #aprilmoody #byuwc

  24. I can control what my presence brings to my family.”If you want peace, yours is the responsibility to obtain it.” -McKay #aprilmoody #byuwc

  25. Who we are is more important than what we do. Our presence matters. #aprilmoody #byuwc

  26. Apparently there are alot of us who need a class about controlling our temper. πŸ™‚ #byuwc

  27. Embrace and own the lives we are given. Find ways to make them useful. #elainemarshall #byuwc

  28. You cannot live your life in Gethsemane. Jesus was already there. #elainemarshall #byuwc

  29. The grace is already there; we might as well show up. #elainemarshall #byuwc

  30. Elaine S. Marshall: All we have to do is press forward with joy to have the only promise we really need: the Lord is with us. #byuwc

  31. I will be live-tweeting from BYU Women’s conference today. Feel free to follow along. It will almost be as good…Β 

  32. Sister Linda K Burton: The Lord will be with us even unto the end as we do our part as daughters in the kingdom. #byuwc

  33. Let’s get this party started. Loving crowds of good women. #byuwc



Who’s coming?


This week is Women’s Conference at BYU. It is two days of great classes, great speakers, and just an overall great opportunity to get away and feast on the word.

I think you should come. Click here to learn more about it.

If you’re not local or just can’t come, never fear! (“Never fear” makes me feel very superhero-ish.) I will be attending lots of great classes and I plan to blog about what I learn. You can go here to see posts I’ve written about women’s conference classes in the past. Also, this time around, I’m going to try to do something wild and crazy and use Twitter to send out some great quotes and fun experiences. I only created my Twitter account a few weeks ago and I don’t even really know how to use it well, but I’m going to try. My handle (which I think is Twitter-talk for username) is @SD_Sorensen and the hashtag (which is also Twitter-talk for something I totally don’t understand) for women’s conference is #byuwc. So there’s that. Over there ——-> (on my sidebar) there’s a place you can subscribe to follow my Twitter account ifΒ  you want to.

If you are going to Women’s Conference, I would love to meet you. I’ll be doing a book signing in the BYU Bookstore from 10:30-12:30 on Friday, so come by and say hello!Β  Since Mother’s Day is kind of the prime marketing time for my book I have several book signings scheduled over the next two weeks starting tomorrow.Β  Here’s a schedule in case you’d like to come visit or pick up books for gifts or whatever. If you do come, please introduce yourself.

Wed. 5/1, 11-1, Lehi Costco
Fri. 5/3, 10:30-12:30, Women’s Conference, BYU Bookstore
Sat. 5/4, 2-5, Sandy Costco
Fri. 5/10, 5-7, Lindon Seagull Book
Sat. 5/11, 2-4, Redwood Road Seagull Book, SLC

After that, I’m going to lay in bed for a few days and let my children bring me chocolate bon bons on a silver platter. I’ll probably actually do lots of laundry and surf Facebook for hours with my eyes glazed over. Either way, I’ll recover.

So, in summary: Come. And if you can’t, stay tuned here on the blog or Twitter, and I’ll try to keep you posted. And if you can’t do that, then just send bon bons. I think that about covers it.

p.s. Special thanks to my husband who takes some time off every year so I can go to Women’s Conference. It’s my Mother’s Day gift. πŸ™‚

The sound of my own voice.


Remember when you were little and you used to play with the Record button on your cassette tape player? We even had one with a microphone that I would instinctively hold so close to my mouth that I always sounded like a drive-thru window worker. Didn’t your voice always sound weird? I remember thinking I didn’t sound like me at all. Funny how that works.

Well, today I got the privilege of hearing my own voice in a podcast. Same weird feeling as those cassette tapes long ago. Last week I spoke with Nick Galiete at The Good Word about my book, Covenant Motherhood. I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but luckily he was nice to me and didn’t ask me questions that made me look like an idiot … I think.

The whole interview is about 17 minutes long and I did get the chance to share some of my own experiences and my testimony about motherhood.

>>Click here to hear the interview.<<

To be entered in a giveaway and win a copy of Covenant Motherhood (that you can keep or give away for Mother’s Day), listen to the interview and answer this question in the comments here on the blog:Β  Why did I start blogging?Β  I’ll turn on comment moderation so I can edit out your answers before I post your comment publicly. I’ll announce the winner Monday morning. πŸ™‚

So now I can add radio star to my resume. Sort of. Right up there with “meanest mom ever” (I get that one a lot.) Thanks, Nick. Enjoy the interview, friends.