I am the mother to three beautiful, brilliant and bossy daughters. I'm married to Joel, Dr. Maestro Orchestra Conductor extraordinaire. When I'm not working on my mother of the year status, you can find me singing professionally, teaching voice lessons at the University, taking lots and lots of photographs, listening to opera, finding a good deal on groceries, reading a good book, or maybe even scrapbooking (that is, if I'm not blogging). Life is definitely overstuffed, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

How Using a Timer Will Help You Be More Productive

My name is Lara and I struggle to stay on task.I'm really good at starting things, but I fully admit that finishing them often seems difficult. I get distracted, I get overwhelmed, I have no motivation. Whatever it is, many things never get finished and some of them don't ever make it off of the to-do list.But I have a secret productivity weapon ....more

Easy Book Club Snack Ideas: Pride & Prejudice

Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dare Foods TM and Tyson Foods, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine. #DareToBeInspiredWhenever I host book club at my house, I love trying to come up with refreshments that match the book ....more

7 Middle Grade Books That Teach Kids Empathy

I've been thinking a lot about how to teach kids to be more empathetic and kind lately. After writing a very emotional post about my daughter's experience with bullying, I have found myself wanting to teach my own girls to be more kind to others, despite their differences.Since I think reading books is one of the most fabulous ways to learn anything, I started researching books that have storylines that help awaken empathy in the readers. I first thought of the book Wonder by RJ Palacio, which is a huge favorite at our house, but I was able to find several more to put in the pile ....more

Our 2016 Summer Reading Lists

This post is part of an ongoing...more

June 2016 Visiting Teaching Printable

The visiting teaching message for June 2016 is about temple ordinances and covenants. As a person who lives nearly 7 hours away from the nearest temple, I really enjoyed reading this lesson.Ever since I moved here, the chances I have had to visit the temple are much more meaningful to me in general. I regret all the times I didn't go to the temple when I was only about an hour or so away, and now I take every possible opportunity to go with The Maestro or by myself—and that still only adds up to twice a year ....more

The Death of a Gorilla and the Lesson We Aren't Learning

It's everywhere—all over the news and social media—Harumbe, a silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was killed in order to save the life of a child who had managed to get into his habitat. I have watched the videos and read a few articles, and while it is so very sad that a beautiful and endangered animal had to lose its life, it is clear to me that it was absolutely necessary.Do you know why the story is blowing up? It's because the people of the internet are outraged ....more

11 Cool Gifts for Dad

Dads are notoriously difficult to buy for. I know my dad would always just say, "I don't need anything—you kids being kind to one another is a good enough gift for me!" when we asked him what he wanted for any occasion. While that's nice, it's not particularly helpful for those of us who actually want to buy dad gifts on Father's Day or his birthday! ...more

10 Signs Your Child Has a Toxic Friend

About halfway through the 5th grade my daughter Chloe changed somewhat drastically. She went from the cute, happy, One Direction obsessed girl I loved to an unhappy girl who refused to use her One Direction bag that she had to have a few months earlier and who didn't really know who she was.As her mother, I worried greatly about the sudden change in her. I didn't know if it was hormonal or if something else was going on, but soon enough, I began to suspect that the friendship of a girl in Chloe's class was the root of the problem.Once school was out, the two girls didn't spend any time together and I gradually got my happy girl mostly back ....more

5 Organization Tricks for Moms

Running a home and a family is not for the faint of heart, and I suspect that I'm not the only mom out there who struggles to stay organized. Interestingly enough, the things I have learned about organization as a mom don't really look like organization at first glance. I've realized that to be organized in the sense of having a clean home that runs smoothly, certain things must first be in place ....more

What If Changing the Way You Dress Could Make You a Better Mom?

Motherhood was a big change for me. One of the things I struggled with most after having babies was finding myself and really understanding who Lara was underneath this new layer of "mom." I had gone from being a fairly confident and talented college graduate who was newly married and enjoying life to a sick pregnant woman who could barely move off the couch each day. Once Bria arrived, I was in a sleep deprived fog and completely unsure of my skills when it came to taking care of the new little being I had just brought into the world ....more