Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Reason For Christmas

I can't believe it's Christmas in just 6 days!  I feel so unprepared.  I apologize profusely for the recent neglect of this blog.  Things just got soo busy.  I had my Primary class of four boys and two 9-year-old girls by myself for a few weeks.  It was a miracle we got through the lessons, all though I'm not sure they learned much.  And before that we were traveling and visiting family.  So, enough of my excuses... the reason you're here:

This will actually be a few ideas and you can mix and match as you wish.  The ideas that are not originally mine I tried to link to my sources.  

Lesson Ideas:
Act out the story of Christ's birth - Grab some towels or bathrobes, stuffed animals and a baby doll.  You can either read the story from Luke 2 or paraphrase for your younger kids.  Whichever is more appropriate.  It's awfully hard to act out something you don't understand.  Choose a Mary, Joseph, Angel, Shepherds, Innkeeper, and 3 wise men.  Have your kiddos act out the scenes described as you read the story.  Some people may need to play more than one part, if you don't have enough family members to only have a single part. 
Jesus' Birthday Party - We actually did this in Primary yesterday.  I wanted the kids to realize why we celebrate Christmas the way we do.  The star on top of the tree.  The gifts underneath.  All the symbols of that special event so long ago.  Bake up some cupcakes before hand.  Have a single cupcake with a single candle on display.  Begin by talking about the story of Christ's birth.  Maybe even read it out of the scriptures.  Have your kids help you tell it.  Point out that it probably took Mary and Joseph about 3 days to travel the approximate 60 miles to Bethlehem.  There were so many people in the city of David that there was no more vacancy in any of the inns.  Christ was born in some of the lowliest circumstances imaginable, among the animals and everything that animals expel.  Imagine a hospital with doctors and nurses.  It might smell funny, but it doesn't compare with the smell of animal excrement.
We also pointed out that Jesus could probably be called the "most important person ever born".  He came to save all mankind, a feat equal to that of no other person that has walked the Earth.  The shepherds came to see the child at the angel's direction.  They came to worship Him.  The wise men travel for years to find the babe.  Some of our Primary kids didn't realize that the wise men didn't visit Jesus in the manger, you might want to also point that out.  We talked about the star leading the shepherds and how it was also a sign to the wise men.  It took the wise men approximately two years to reach the Christ child.  They brought the baby gifts for his birthday.  We likened Christmas to Christ's birthday party, that's what we are celebrating.  I knew it was a success when several of the kids said, "Oh, now I get why we give presents!"  I was thrilled. 
Christ-Like Service - On the Monday before Christmas we have spent many years making up goody trays (or if planned a little earlier with more time to collect, we find families that may not have much and purchase or collect small gifts that can help make their holidays easier.  Some ideas include:  ingredients and recipes for some easy meals, clothing that may be too small for your family that is still in good condition, toys that are still in good shape - a FABULOUS way to clean out the toys before Santa brings more...).  Decide as a family who you want to deliver these goodies to.  Deliver them anonymously or not.  If you choose to disclose your identities, considering singing a carol or two when you deliver.  This is a good way to help your family focus on giving instead of getting.
Family Gift Exchange:  This could be done several ways.  Spend half an hour around the kitchen table, making something.  Handmade cards, coupons for doing one chore or getting out of one chore (on mom and dad's approval), a coupon for watching a movie together or spending time together in some other way.  Or you could take a quick trip down the candy aisle at the grocery store and let everyone chose one candy bar.  Give each person a brown lunch sack to decorate.  After the sacks are decorated, put one gift in each sack and sit in a circle, each person holding one gift.  Read this story, or this story, or this storyThis story is my favorite and this one is really cute too.  Exchange gifts according to the directions in the story.  Each person gets to open the gift they end up with.  Try to exchange if someone got the gift they chose or made.

Here are some cute little reminders about the true Reason for the Season:
M&M Poem
Candy Cane Poem
Hot Cocoa Poem
Star Poem

Treats:
If you use the poems above, make sure you have the subject of the poem to have as a little treat.  You could easily combine the M&M's and the candy canes.  Or make star-shaped sugar cookies and hot cocoa and share the Hot Cocoa Poem and the Star Poem.  Or try this Super Simple Fudge recipe.


I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, filled with cheer, family, and laughter.  I may or may not get a post done in the next couple weeks.  My brother is coming home from his mission at the end of January and we have some things to do to get ready for his return.  I will try my hardest, but posting should return to once a week around the middle of January.  Thanks for sticking with me in this super busy time of the year.  I wish you and yours the best!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
<3 Krista

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tithing

So sorry I've been slacking on this the last couple weeks!  Life has gotten soo busy!  But I'm not complaining.  Promise!  On with the show.

We all know it's important to pay our tithing. My parents taught this to my siblings and me from a very young age. I think that's the reason today that I don't even bat an eyelash when my husband or I hand over that check, even though we don't really know how we're going to pay the mortgage this month. It helps that my husband is rather firm on this principle as well, and that he makes out most of the checks... I just have a mild heart attack when the check clears the bank. =) Nonetheless, somehow we still have a warm house, food in our belllies, clothes on our bodies and gas in the car (most days). So, here's a Family Home Evening guaranteed to help your kids remember the principle of tithing.

Things You'll Need: Copy each family member a page of coins. It may be helpful during the activity for each person's coins to be a different color. If you decide to do that, make sure you copy each person's page on a different color of paper... Seems obvious, I know, but I didn't and wished I had later on. Cut out the coins and put each person's in a separate baggie or envelope. Get or make some typical FHE refreshments... they will be part of the activity before they are refreshments though. Then get or make one of your family's favorite desserts or each family member's favorite candy bar, but don't let anyone see it or know that it is part of your family home evening plans. Go to the Dollar Store and get a few treats or small toys. Take some envelopes and write "Tithing" on them. Decide whether you want to make each thing worth it's own price or if you want everything worth the same amount. If you want each thing priced differently (a little more 'real-worldly') then go ahead and write the prices out.

Scripture: D&C 119:4

Song: I'm Glad to Pay a Tithing, Primary Children's Songbook, Page 150

Lesson: Begin the lesson talking about what tithing is. Tithing is willingly giving one-tenth of our income back to the Lord and His purposes. What can and should we pay tithing on? In the days of Joseph Smith and the pioneers, tithes were paid on anything the Saints were able to call their "income". Sometimes that was ten percent of the eggs their chickens laid or ten percent of the beef they raised. It all depended on how each family met their individual needs. Sometimes it was paid in money. Today, tithing is paid mostly in money. Where does our tithing go? Members turn their tithing donations into their local leaders, who then transfer it directly to the Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City. Our tithing helps "to build and maintain temples and meetinghouses, to sustain missionary work, to educate Church members, and to carry on the work of the Lord throughout the world."* What do we get if we faithfully pay our tithing? D&C 64:23 says, "Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming." We will be blessed and protected if we obey and follow the principle of tithing.

Activity: After you have talked about the importance of tithing see how well your children understand the concept. Hand each member of the family their individual baggies or envelopes. Tell them that they have all just gotten paid. Pull out your bag of goodies from the Dollar Store and lay your treasures out for all to see. Exclaim that the store is now open and that your family members are free to purchase the goodies with their coins. While everyone's eyes are wide and wonderous from the new toys and treats set out the envelopes you labeled "Tithing". Go get the standard FHE treats and set them out as an option, too. Another idea is to have all of this already set up on the kitchen table and to lead your family into the kitchen after you hand out their coins. Spend 15-20 minutes letting everyone spend their coins. After all the coins are spent, gather the envelopes you labeled "Tithing" and see how many family members remembered to pay their tithing. Tell them that because they remembered to give back to the Lord they will be blessed. Sometimes the blessings are saved for us until the next life, but sometimes we get them in this life. Pull out the super yummy dessert you had stashed away and tell them this is their blessing. Everyone who didn't remember to pay tithing can eat some of the first dessert, while only those who remembered to pay their tithing get to reap the blessings!



Treat Ideas:
This will all depend on your family. If you make rice crispy treats as your first dessert, have ice cream sundaes or something a little more grandiose for your "blessing".



Click on the picture and it will make it full size. You can print it from there. You can scale it up to 125% and they will all fit on one page, depending how big you want them.

*http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=e141f73c28d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scripture Study

If you haven't figured out by now that I'm a Primary teacher... well, I am.  My husband and I team teach 5 cute little nine year-olds, the babies of Senior Primary.  Yesterday's lesson was on studying the scriptures, and guess what today's lesson is on... (I love multi-tasking)!

Prep:  Sugar cookies. 

Lesson:  Start off by playing a game of Telephone.  Whisper something into one person's ear.  Have them pass it on until everyone has been told the secret.  Have the last person repeat it aloud.  Was it the same as what you whispered in the beginning?  Now ask your family if they remember what things you learned about in FHE at the beginning of the year.  Or the beginning of the summer.  Or the beginning of the school year.  It's hard to remember things we learned a long time ago.  That's why repetition is important. 

We talked about King Josiah and the Prophet Ezra in Primary.  You could relay these stories again from 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 23-24.  Or talk about when Lehi sent Nephi, Laman, Lemuel and Sam to get the brass plates from Laban.  Why was it so important for them to have the scriptures that they needed to go back and get them?  Not only did it have their ancestral history, but God's words.  It's important to have them written down so they don't get changed and altered through verbal repetition.  It's important for us to regularly and diligently study the scriptures so that we can remember things we have learned in the past.

Activity:  Play a game of charades, acting out each action until they are correctly guessed.
1)  Eating breakfast
2)  Planting and watering a garden
3)  Filling your car with gas
4)  Changing the batteries in something
5:  Reading the scriptures
Ask your family what each of these has in common.  Just as with many other things in our lives, we need to spiritually refuel ourselves.  Reading the scriptures is an excellent way to do this.  You may want to set a goal to read your scriptures together as a family for the remainder of the week.  At next week's FHE, discuss how well you did.  Another option is to begin a journal jar.  See this post for those instructions and the things you will need to do that.

Treat:  Sugar cookies cut into rectangle shapes and decorated like the scriptures. 
Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe, whether it's great-great grandma's or Pillsbury's, cookie cutter out rectangle shapes.  Or roll out the dough and cut it with a knife.  Bake according to the directions.  Frost the cookies with icing  (store bought icing works just fine) that you tint black (or red or green or blue or brown...).  Use yellow icing to write "Book of Mormon"  and "Holy Bible" on them.

You could also turn some of the rectangles horizontal and frost them white.  Use some black icing to draw scribbles on the pages and a line down the middle of the book.  Get creative!  Enjoy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Family History

The most obvious and probably one of the easiest Family History activities is to make a family history chart. Yes, it is a lot easier for me to say that than it is to actually do it. But this will definitely get you started.

Things You'll Need:
A copy of "My Family History" for each member of your family  (Printable Below)
Colored Pencils or Crayons to color your trees with
General Knowledge of your ancestors back 3 generations

Song: Primary Children's Songbook, Page 94 - Family History, I Am Doing It

Lesson:
If you know any stories from your grandparent's childhoods, tell them to your children. If not, tell them stories from your childhood. Let your children tell of some of their favorite family memories, even if it just happened yesterday.

Activity:
Give each family member a copy of "My Family History". Help each person fill out their chart with information relevant to them. Your kids' will pretty much all be the same, except for their names. Mom's (and Dad's) will be different though. Talk about the differences, what generations are and how families are joined through marriage.

Treat Ideas:
Homemade Cookies, Caramel Popcorn, another one of your family's favorite desserts, or a special family recipe you enjoy.






Click on the images to make them full size. You can print them from there. There is a page for girls and one for boys.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baptism for the Dead

This week we're gonna talk about Baptism.  For the Dead.  It's a very unique practice.  Here's the basics.

Prep: 

Lesson:  Begin by briefly discussing baptism for the living.  Why are we baptized?  Who performs baptisms?  What covenants are made?  Now explain that when your children turn 12 they have the opportunity to go to the temple and perform baptisms for the dead.  Read this New Era article together. (Pasted Below for convenience.)

D. Todd Christofferson, “Why Do We Baptize for the Dead?,” New Era, Mar 2009, 2–5
From an October 2000 general conference address.
Image
Christian theologians have long wrestled with the question, What is the destiny of the billions who have lived and died with no knowledge of Jesus? With the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has come the understanding of how the unbaptized dead are redeemed and how God can be “a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also” (Alma 42:15).
While yet in life, Jesus prophesied that He would also preach to the dead. Peter tells us this happened in the interval between the Savior’s Crucifixion and Resurrection (see 1 Peter 3:18–19). President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) witnessed in vision that the Savior visited the spirit world and “from among the righteous [spirits], he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness. …
“These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, [and] the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands” (D&C 138:30, 33).
The doctrine that the living can provide baptism and other essential ordinances to the dead vicariously was revealed anew to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 124; 128; 132). He learned that the spirits awaiting resurrection are offered not only individual salvation but they can be bound in heaven as husband and wife and be sealed to their fathers and mothers of all generations past and have sealed to them their children of all generations future. The Lord instructed the Prophet that these sacred rites are appropriately performed only in a house built to His name, a temple (see D&C 124:29–36).
The principle of vicarious service should not seem strange to any Christian. In the baptism of a living person, the officiator acts, by proxy, in place of the Savior. And is it not the central tenet of our faith that Christ’s sacrifice atones for our sins by vicariously satisfying the demands of justice for us? As President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) expressed: “I think that vicarious work for the dead more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Savior Himself than any other work of which I know. It is given with love, without hope of compensation, or repayment or anything of the kind. What a glorious principle.”1
Some have misunderstood and suppose that deceased souls “are being baptized into the Mormon faith without their knowledge.”2 They assume that we somehow have power to force a soul in matters of faith. Of course, we do not. God gave man his agency from the beginning. The Church does not list them on its rolls or count them in its membership.
Our anxiety to redeem the dead and the time and resources we put behind that commitment are, above all, an expression of our witness concerning Jesus Christ. It constitutes as powerful a statement as we can make concerning His divine character and mission. It testifies, first, of Christ’s Resurrection; second, of the infinite reach of His Atonement; third, that He is the sole source of salvation; fourth, that He has established the conditions for salvation; and, fifth, that He will come again.

The Power of Christ’s Resurrection

As regards the Resurrection, Paul asked, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). We are baptized for the dead because we know that they will rise. “The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame” (Alma 40:23). “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:9).
It matters tremendously what we do in relation to those who have gone before, because they live today as spirits and shall live again as immortal souls, and that because of Jesus Christ. We believe His words when He said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). By the baptisms we perform in behalf of the dead, we testify that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. …
“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 25–26).

Jesus Christ, the Sole Source of Salvation

Our anxiety to ensure that our kindred dead are offered baptism in Jesus’s name is testament to the fact that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Him]” (John 14:6). Some contemporary Christians, concerned for the many who have died without a knowledge of Jesus Christ, have begun to wonder if there truly is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). To believe that Jesus is the only Savior, they say, is arrogant, narrow-minded, and intolerant. We say, however, that this is a false dilemma. There is no injustice in there being but One through whom salvation may come, when that One and His salvation are offered to every soul, without exception.

Conditions of Salvation Set by Christ

Because we believe that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, we also accept His authority to establish the conditions by which we may receive His grace. Otherwise we would not concern ourselves with being baptized for the dead.
Jesus confirmed that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:14). Specifically, He said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This means we must “repent, and be baptized every one … in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and … receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
Notwithstanding He was sinless, Jesus Christ Himself was baptized and received the Holy Ghost. He said, “He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do” (2 Nephi 31:12).
There are no exceptions granted; none are needed. As many as will believe and be baptized—including by proxy—and endure in faith, shall be saved, “not only those who believed after [Christ] came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came” (D&C 20:26). It is for this reason that the gospel is preached “also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (1 Peter 4:6).

Freeing the Dead from Prison

The vicarious ordinances we perform in temples, beginning with baptism, make possible an eternal welding link between generations that fulfills the purpose of the earth’s creation. Indeed, without these ordinances, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at [Christ’s] coming” (D&C 2:3).
In the scriptures, the spirits of the dead are sometimes referred to as being in darkness or in prison (see Isaiah 24:22; 1 Peter 3:19; Alma 40:12–13; D&C 38:5). Contemplating God’s glorious plan for the redemption of these, His children, the Prophet Joseph Smith penned this psalm: “Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free” (D&C 128:22).
Our charge extends as far and as deep as the love of God to encompass His children of every time and place. Our efforts on behalf of the dead bear eloquent witness that Jesus Christ is the divine Redeemer of all mankind. His grace and promises reach even those who in life do not find Him. Because of Him, the prisoners shall indeed go free.

Briefly discuss what you have read.  Answer any questions your family may have.  If you don't know, say so, do some research and then get back to your family with your findings.  What a great way to all learn together!

Activity:  Choose 2 family members to participate in this demonstration.  Place a set of scriptures on a table (or the floor) on one side of the room and a chair on the other side of the room.  Give one of your volunteers instructions to sit in the chair.  Then tell them to look up and read out loud one of the following scripture verses:  D&C 124:93 or 1 Peter 4:6.  However, there is a stipulation.  They must not move the chair.  Unless they have these verses memorized, they won't be able to recite it.  Now tell them that your other volunteer may help them.  But the scriptures are not to be moved and the chair must remain in it's spot.  If they can't come to the conclusion to have your second volunteer read aloud the scripture and your first volunteer to repeat it, prod them in this direction.  After the exercise is complete, compare how the spirits in spirit prison don't have the ability to perform their own baptism, as it is an earthly ordinance.  They need our help to complete this essential step.  They need us to physically perform it so they can spiritually accept it. 

Treat:  Tombstone Cupcakes (Recipe HERE)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Keep Following the Prophet

Did you get to listen to Conference this past weekend?  Wasn't it so good?  But, then aren't they always?  Did you hear Elder Costa's talk on The Principles of a Prophet quoted from Pres Ezra Taft Benson?  Did you catch it being repeated again in Elder Duncan's Talk?  Most be important, right?  Guess what this week's FHE is on?  No, it's not the art of asking questions... lol. 


Song: Follow the Prophet, Children's Songbook pg

Lesson:  It's the challenge that was given to discuss the last six principles and to find evidence of it in our lives today.  Discuss these statements and try to find evidence of it in recent events ("recent" may date back several decades...). 

1.  The Prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
2.  The Prophet may be involved with civic matters.
3.  The two groups that will have the greatest difficulty in following the Prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
4.  The Prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or worldly.
5.  The Prophet and his councilors make up the First Presidency, which in the highest quorum.
6.  Follow the living prophet and First Presidency and you will be blessed.

Activity:  Pick a handful of revelations and commandments that we have been given from our prophets recently.  For example:  one ear piercing hole for females, weekly family home evenings, daily family scripture study, ect.  I know those aren't brand-newly recent, but they were all mentioned in Conference this past weekend (except the earring thing) as things that we need to work just a little harder on.  (I'm so totally guilty of this).  Ask your family why these things are important.  Discuss ways to implement some of these things in your families.  Set up a plan to follow the prophet more diligently as a family.  Good Luck! 

Treat:  Rice Krispy Treats.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Power of the Priesthood

My Sunday afternoon nap is awaiting... so I'll get to the point.

Prep:  Find a strong chain (a cheap chain dog collar will suffice) or a picture of a chain.

Lesson:  Begin by telling this riddle.  You can't see it, but you can feel it.  You can't touch it, but it can touch you.  Some people hold it and some people don't.  It's stronger than steel, but it's invisible.  It's the most powerful tool on earth.  What is it?  The answer is the Priesthood.  If you have kiddos in Primary they should have learned about Elijah and when he used the Priesthood to seal the heavens, trying to call the Israelites to repentance for their idol worship.  Discuss with your family what the Priesthood is and when it can be used.  We use it to bless babies, baptize and confirm, ordain, set apart for callings, in temple ordinances, bless the sick, give blessings of comfort and prepare the sacrament.  Ask your family to share any instances when they were blessed by the Priesthood.

Activity: Bring out your chain.  Or your picture of a chain.  Let each person take a turn trying to pull in apart.  Tell them they can use any means available to them to try and break the chain.  If you're using the picture, ask them how they would break the chain.  It's a strong material, right?  But the chain can be broken if you get it hot enough or if it rusts.  What other ways can the chain be broken?  Explain that the Priesthood can never be broken.  Heavenly Father has promised us that the Priesthood will never leave the Earth again.  How comforting is that?
source


Treat:  Spice Cake Cupcakes (click for recipe).  Enjoy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Listening to the Holy Ghost

Alright, I'm sitting here, trying to decide what this week's FHE topic should be...  And the idea fairy seems to have gone on vacation or something...  But no worries.  I'll just pull out my handy dandy, trusty little cell phone.  On said cell phone is a list of topic ideas I once jotted down at like 3am one morning while I was up feeding the baby.  I have to be up, might as well get some things done right?  (Apparently I need more 3am feedings tho... my list is dwindling...)  If you have any requests or ideas for topics, please share!  Well, this week's topic will be on listening to the Holy Ghost. 

Prep:  Buy a King sized candy bar and a fun sized candy bar.  The fun sizes don't come individually, but Halloween is coming up so just snag a piece from your stash of Halloween candy.  Also, probably an activity best done before Halloween, when candy is still a novelty and not sitting in PILES around the house... 

Lesson:  Read this short story from The Friend (Feb 2010).  I C&P for you, so it's right below here.  If you want the link though, click HERE.
When I was nine years old, there was a family reunion at my house in Coimbra, Portugal. My parents were busy entertaining our relatives. Everybody was talking and laughing. While the grown-ups were busy, I decided I wanted to have some fun too.
My house was close to the Mondego River, and I thought it would be fun to go fishing. I didn’t want to go alone, so I took my four-year-old sister with me. I had a feeling that I should tell my mom and dad where we were going. But they were busy talking, so I decided to go without telling them.
We walked along the riverbank until we found a nice spot. I gave my sister some small rocks to throw into the water while I enjoyed fishing.
Soon my parents noticed that my sister and I weren’t at home. They drove all around town looking for us. Many hours later my father noticed that my fishing equipment was missing. So he and my mom searched the riverbank until they found us.
My parents were relieved to find us, but they were also unhappy with me. It was very dangerous to play by the river without my parents, especially for my little sister.
From this experience I learned that we always need to talk to our parents—and listen to them. They have our best interests at heart. I also learned that it is important to listen to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost tried to tell me that I shouldn’t go fishing without telling my parents. But I didn’t listen. Even though we were having fun, my sister and I were in danger. If we listen carefully to our parents and to the Holy Ghost, we will be safe.
 Ask your family if they have any experiences they'd like to share about a time when the Holy Ghost prompted them to do something.  You may also want to talk briefly about what promptings are and how we receive them.  Explain that sometimes they may be a voice we can hear and some times it's just a feeling or thought we have.

Activity:  Choose three participants and then choose one to be the "listener".  Send them out of the room.  When the "listener" can not hear or see, choose one of your remaining volunteers to be the "good voice" (like the Holy Ghost) and one to be the "bad" voice (temptation we have in the world).  Let the "good" voice hide the king size candy bar and the "bad" voice hide the fun size one. Tell the two voices that they will try to lead whomever you sent out of the room to the candy bar that they just hid.  When all candy is sufficiently hidden, invite your "listener" back into the room.  Explain that there are some rewards hidden in the room.  The listener is going to try to find them.  Both 'voices' will give directions to the rewards.  Neither may talk louder than a whisper.  Go!  When we did this lesson with my parents and sisters, we put the stipulation that if the fun size candy was found the "bad" voice got to eat it.  If the king size was found the "good" voice and the listener got to share it. 

Treat:  Butterscotch Marshmallow Brownies.  CLICK HERE for the recipe.


By the way, I debated about saving this lesson until October when I could post with my Halloween theme... but decided not to.  Don't forget to leave any topic requests you may have!  Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Temples

So, my Mr Right and I just celebrated our 1st Sealing Anniversary last week, so I thought an FHE on temples was appropriate.  And EVERYONE loves fieldtrips, right?

Prep:  Get enough pictures of the temple for each family member.  Your choice on sizes and with or without frames.  There are some resources below.

Lesson:  Sing the song, or read the words, to I Love To See The Temple from the Children's Songbook, page 95.  Talk about it.  Here in the US we have quite a few temples now, and there are more and more being built all the time.  The number of temples have increased dramatically in the last few years.  Younger children probably won't be able to comprehend having to travel days or weeks or even months and having to sell everything you own or saving for years and years to get to a temple.  I wasn't even in a situation like that, but some people have been.  The farthest we've ever had to travel to the nearest temple was about 4.5 hours.  How blessed are we now?  We live 15 minutes from the temple.  I don't have any great stories about people sacrificing it all to attend the temple, but I know we have all heard them.  Explain to your children that the blessings we receive in the temple are so much more valuable than worldly posessions that some people have been willing to sell everything they own just to go to the temple one time.  Discuss briefly the blessings we receive in the temple: promises from Heavenly Father, the opportunity to receive exhaltation, and the opportunity to be forever families.  Talk a little about baptisms for the dead and how important they are.  Point out the inscription on every temple above the doors.  What does it mean?  Why is it on every temple? 

Activity:  If you live near a temple, take your family there and walk around the grounds.  You won't be able to go through the gates, as they are locked on Mondays, but the same sweet Spirit can still be felt.  If you don't live near a temple make a plan to visit the nearest one on a future (but not too future) weekend.  If you go on Saturday, the gates will be open and your family can walk on the grounds.  Please remember to be reverent and respectful, as temples are sacred and holy.  Before you close, hand each member of you family a picture of "your" temple (the one nearest you or any other temple that is special for any reason).  Tell them to hang them in their rooms where they can see it every day.  If you want to provide frames, more power to ya!  The Dollar Store has cheap, decent frames (and if they do break, it's only $1 to replace it).  Order prints from Deseret Book, Seagull Book, or the Church Distribution Center website.  You can also pick them up at any physical location of each of those links, of course.

Treat:  Rice Crispy Treats.  Shape them into a temple shape if you'd like.  =]


Feel free to use these images if you'd like, but please limit them to personal use.  Please do not repost these images without permission.  If you use these images for other projects or crafts send me photos! (whilehewasnapping[at]gmail[dot]com).  I'd love to see what you do with them.  I'll even feature your project on my 'crafty blog,' whilehewasnapping.blogspot.com.  Thanks.












Monday, September 6, 2010

Melodious Monday - The Music Choice

We finished up the Be's... Hooray!  It feels so great to accomplish things!  So, moving on.  Today's FHE is on music.  My little boy LOVES music.  He will stop what he is going and run around the other side of the sofa, totally enthralled when the right commercial comes on... what brings him running???  The music!!  It has absolutely nothing to do with the actual commercial, it's all about the music.  And he's only one!  Music can have such an amazing effect on us.  But it can also be detrimental.  Let's get started.

Prep:  Go through your iTunes library and select a play list of songs you enjoy.  Use YouTube to find brief clips of some heavy metal and music you may not have in your library.  Or check out your teenagers CD/MP3 collections...  I know when I was a teenager I didn't always choose the most "Spirit-Inviting" music...  Choose about 5 different songs, all different genres, for your list.  Include Church music as well as music you may not approve of.  It'll help get the point across.  Promise.

Lesson:  Hand out a piece of paper to each member of the family.  Help your younger kids, if needs be.  Play a short clip, 10-20 seconds, of each song you have chosen.  Ask each person to number their paper.  Tell them to write down one or two words for each clip that describes how they feel while they are listening to the song.  When you have finished playing the clips, talk about the different things you felt during each song.  Which songs made them feel good inside?  Encourage your family to choose only music that is uplifting.  "Music is an important and powerful part of life. Don't listen to music that drives away the Spirit, encourages immorality, glorifies violence, uses foul or offensive language, or promotes Satanism or other evil practices" (For The Strength of Youth, "Music and Dancing," p 20).

Activity:  Choose 3-5 songs out of the Hymn Book or Children's Songbook to sing as a family.  Or choose a new song to learn as a family.  If someone in your family is musically talented and can accompany, ask them to do so.  If you have accompaniment on CD's, use those.  Or you can find some super useful resources HERE.

Treat:  Nilla Wafer No-Bake Cheesecake.  It's WAY yummy!  Click HERE for the recipe!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Be Prayerful

The last Be!!!  Woo!  So let's get this show on the road!  Ready?

Prep:

Lesson:  President Hinckley's last be is Be Prayerful.  The text is pasted below.  Read it with your family and discuss it.  It's not long, but it is great counsel.
You cannot do it alone. I look at this vast congregation, and I know that you are young people who pray, who get on your knees and speak with the Lord. You know that He is the source of all wisdom.
You need His help, and you know that you need His help. You cannot do it alone. You will come to realize that and recognize that more and more as the years pass. So live that in good conscience you can speak with the Lord. Get on your knees and thank Him for His goodness to you and express to Him the righteous desires of your hearts. The miracle of it all is that He hears. He responds. He answers—not always as we might wish He would answer, but there is no question in my mind that He answers.
You have such a tremendous responsibility, you young men and young women. You are the products of all of the generations that have gone before you. All that you have of body and mind has been passed to you through your parents. Someday you will become parents and pass on to succeeding generations the qualities of body and mind which you have received from the past. Do not break the chain of the generations of your family. Keep it bright and strong. So very much depends on you. You are so very precious. You mean so much to this Church. It could not be the same without you. Stand tall, proud of your inheritance as sons and daughters of God. Look to Him for understanding and guidance. Walk according to His precepts and commandments.
You can have a good time. Of course you can! We want you to have fun. We want you to enjoy life. We do not want you to be prudes. We want you to be robust and cheerful, to sing and dance, to laugh and be happy.
But in so doing, be humble and be prayerful, and the smiles of heaven will fall upon you.
I could wish for you nothing better than that your lives be fruitful, that your service be dedicated and freely given, that you contribute to the knowledge and the well-being of the world in which you live, and that you do it humbly and faithfully before your God. He loves you. We love you. We want you to be happy and successful, to make significant contributions to the world in which you will live and to the on-rolling of this great and majestic work of the Lord.

Activity:  Prayer is an art.  I know... what a weird sentence, but it's true.  Have you ever heard a truly eloquent prayer?  Temple dedicatory prayers come to my mind.  Now, we don't need to say fancy prayers or anything, but there is a pattern we should follow when conversing with our Heavenly Father.  Open the prayer in the name of the Father.  Thank Him for the blessings in your life.  Ask Him for the things you stand in need of.  Close in the name of Jesus Christ.  Simple.  Effective.  We have also been counseled not to give lengthy and preachy prayers.  If there is something we need to receive guidance for, those prayers are better served as private prayers.  Teach your family the appropriate way to pray and that there are different kinds of prayers that are appropriate for different situations.  (I know that's not much of an activity, but it is important).

Treat:  Mint Chocolate Brownies.  You can even point out how all the ingredients come together and make something yummy, just as all the parts of a prayer come together and make a great conversation with Heavenly Father.  =]  Get in all the teaching moments you can, right?!?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Be Humble

Only two more Be's!  Bear with me and we'll finish these up.

Preparation:  Set out a lump of play-doh or clay a few days before you teach this lesson.  Let it harden.  Have a batch of cookie dough or a tube from the grocery store in the fridge.

Lesson:  Read President Hinckley's next Be: Be Humble.  It isn't very long and, again, is pasted below.  Discuss what you read and make sure that your younger children understand what humility is.  You may also want to point out that Christ was the perfect example of all things, but especially of humility.  The Son of God hung on a cross for our sins.  I can't imagine how much humility it would take to be willing to do something like that.

There is no place for arrogance in our lives. There is no place for conceit. There is no place for egotism. We have a great work to do. We have things to accomplish. We need direction in the pursuit of our education. We need help in choosing an eternal companion.
The Lord has said, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).
What a tremendous promise is given in this statement. If we are without conceit and pride and arrogance, if we are humble and obedient, then the Lord will lead us by the hand and answer our prayers. What greater thing could we ask for? There is nothing to compare with this.
The Savior, in the great Sermon on the Mount, declared, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
I believe the meek and the humble are those who are teachable. They are willing to learn. They are willing to listen to the whisperings of the still, small voice for guidance in their lives. They place the wisdom of the Lord above their own wisdom.

Activity:  For this activity you will need a lump of clay and a lump of hardened clay.  Invite each member of the family come up and try to mold a cube out of the lumps.  It should be fairly easy to mold the soft dough and near impossible to mold the hard on without it crumbling to pieces.  Explain that when we are humble we can be molded into the people the Lord needs us and wants us to be.  If we harden our hearts and become unteachable the Lord can't use us the way He needs to.

Treat:  Have cookie dough prepared ahead of time (or just a tube of cookie dough from the grocery store).  Have your kids help roll out the cookies.  Point out how easy it is to mold the dough... (another opportunity to get the point across).  Bake the cookies and enjoy warm cookies and milk.  Yummy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Be True

"Pressing onward, ever onward..."  (That might make an appropriate opening song... =])

Prep:  President Hinckley's "Be True" portion of his talk.  It's posted below.  Watermelon Pops.  Recipe Below.

Lesson:  Read through "Be True".  It isn't long.
Said Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” (Hamlet, I, iii, 78–81). You have a tremendous inheritance. You have a great background of noble ancestry. Many of you are descendants of the pioneers, who died by the hundreds and thousands in testimony of the truth of this work. If they were to look down upon you, they would plead with you: “Be true. Be loyal. Be ‘true to the faith that our parents have cherished, true to the truth for which martyrs have perished.’ ” They would say, “Faith of our fathers, holy faith, we will be true to thee till death” (Hymns, nos. 254 and 84).
And those of you who may not be descended from pioneer ancestry, you belong to a church which has been made strong by the loyalty and unwavering affection of its members through the generations. What a marvelous thing it is to belong to a society whose purposes are noble, whose accomplishments are tremendous, whose work is uplifting, even heroic. Be loyal to the Church under all circumstances. I make you a promise that the authorities of this Church will never lead you astray. They will lead you in paths of happiness.
You who are members of this Church must have a loyalty to it. This is your church. You have as great a responsibility in your sphere of action as I have in my sphere of action. It belongs to you just as it belongs to me. You have embraced its gospel. You have taken upon yourselves a covenant in the waters of baptism. This you have renewed each time you have partaken of the sacrament. These covenants will be added to when you are married in the temple. You cannot hold them lightly. They are too great a thing. This is the very work of God designed to bring about the immortality and eternal life of His sons and daughters.
Walk in faith before Him with your heads high, proud of your membership in this great cause and kingdom which He has restored to the earth in this, the last dispensation of the fulness of times. Why? To bring you happiness.
Be true to your own convictions. You know what is right, and you know what is wrong. You know when you are doing the proper thing. You know when you are giving strength to the right cause. Be loyal. Be faithful. Be true, my beloved associates in this great kingdom.
Talk about what it means to be true.  Who/what can you be true to?  Who is highest on your list of people to be loyal to?  Talk about integrity and how it helps you to maintain your loyalties.

Activity:  Pull out a board game.  You know that closet full of all those boxes that no one ever opens... go grab one, open it up and get to playing.  What does this have to do with "Be True"?  What better way to teach a principle than to let your family practice it?  I would choose something along the lines of clue or yahtzee... something that won't take forever and is relatively easy to understand.  Winner gets to be served treats first.

Treats:  No-Bake Nilla Wafer Cheesecake.  Click for recipe.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Be Clean

Continuing with the Be's:

Things You'll Need:  President Hinckley's Be Clean excerpt.

Lesson: Read President Hinckley's "Be Clean."  Discuss it with your family.

Be clean.
"We live in a world that is filled with filth and sleaze, a world that reeks of evil. It is all around us. It is on the television screen. It is at the movies. It is in the popular literature. It is on the Internet. You can’t afford to watch it, my dear friends. You cannot afford to let that filthy poison touch you. Stay away from it. Avoid it. You can’t rent videos and watch them as they portray degrading things. You young men who hold the priesthood of God cannot mix this filth with the holy priesthood.
Avoid evil talk. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain. From the thunders of Sinai the finger of the Lord wrote on tablets of stone, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Ex. 20:7).
It is not a mark of manhood to carelessly use the name of the Almighty or His Beloved Son in a vain and flippant way, as many are prone to do.
Choose your friends carefully. It is they who will lead you in one direction or the other. Everybody wants friends. Everybody needs friends. No one wishes to be without them. But never lose sight of the fact that it is your friends who will lead you along the paths that you will follow.
While you should be friendly with all people, select with great care those whom you wish to have close to you. They will be your safeguards in situations where you may vacillate between choices, and you in turn may save them.
Be clean. Don’t waste your time in destructive entertainment. There was recently held in the Salt Lake Valley a show put on by a traveling band. I am told that it was filthy, that it was lascivious, that it was evil in every respect. The young people of this community had paid $25 to $35 to get in. What did they get for their money? Only a seductive voice urging them to move in the direction of the slimy things of life. I plead with you, my friends, to stay away from such. It will not help you. It can only injure you.
I recently spoke to your mothers and your fathers. Among other things, I talked with them about tattoos.
What creation is more magnificent than the human body? What a wondrous thing it is as the crowning work of the Almighty.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17).
Did you ever think that your body is holy? You are a child of God. Your body is His creation. Would you disfigure that creation with portrayals of people, animals, and words painted into your skin?
I promise you that the time will come, if you have tattoos, that you will regret your actions. They cannot be washed off. They are permanent. Only by an expensive and painful process can they be removed. If you are tattooed, then probably for the remainder of your life you will carry it with you. I believe the time will come when it will be an embarrassment to you. Avoid it. We, as your Brethren who love you, plead with you not to become so disrespectful of the body which the Lord has given you.
May I mention earrings and rings placed in other parts of the body. These are not manly. They are not attractive. You young men look better without them, and I believe you will feel better without them. As for the young women, you do not need to drape rings up and down your ears. One modest pair of earrings is sufficient.
I mention these things because again they concern your bodies.
How truly beautiful is a well-groomed young woman who is clean in body and mind. She is a daughter of God in whom her Eternal Father can take pride. How handsome is a young man who is well groomed. He is a son of God, deemed worthy of holding the holy priesthood of God. He does not need tattoos or earrings on or in his body. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are all united in counseling against these things.
And while I speak of such matters I want to give emphasis again to the matter of pornography. It has become a $10 billion industry in the United States, where a few men grow rich at the expense of thousands upon thousands who are their victims. Stay away from it. It is exciting, but it will destroy you. It will warp your senses. It will build within you an appetite that you will do anything to appease. And don’t try to create associations through the Internet and chat rooms. They can lead you down into the very abyss of sorrow and bitterness.
I must also say a word concerning illicit drugs. You know how I feel about them. I don’t care what the variety may be. They will destroy you if pursued. You will become their slave. Once in their power, you will do anything to get money to buy more.
I was amazed while watching a television program to learn that parents introduced drugs to their children in 20 percent of the cases. I cannot understand what I regard as the stupidity of these parents. What future other than slavery for their children could they see in them? Illegal drugs will utterly destroy those who become addicted to them.
My advice, my pleading to you wonderful young men and women, is to stay entirely away from them. You don’t need to experiment with them. Look about you and see the effects they have had on others. There is no need for any Latter-day Saint boy or girl, young man or young woman, to even try them. Stay clean from these mind-altering and habit-forming addictions.
And now just a word on the most common and most difficult of all problems for you young men and young women to handle. It is the relationship that you have one with another. You are dealing with the most powerful of human instincts. Only the will to live possibly exceeds it.
The Lord has made us attractive one to another for a great purpose. But this very attraction becomes as a powder keg unless it is kept under control. It is beautiful when handled in the right way. It is deadly if it gets out of hand.
It is for this reason that the Church counsels against early dating. This rule is not designed to hurt you in any way. It is designed to help you, and it will do so if you will observe it.
Steady dating at an early age leads so often to tragedy. Studies have shown that the longer a boy and girl date one another, the more likely they are to get into trouble.
It is better, my friends, to date a variety of companions until you are ready to marry. Have a wonderful time, but stay away from familiarity. Keep your hands to yourself. It may not be easy, but it is possible.
You young men who plan to go on missions must recognize that sexual sin may keep you from that opportunity. You may think that you can hide it. Long experience has shown that you cannot. To serve an effective mission you must have the Spirit of the Lord, and truth withheld does not mix with that Spirit. Sooner or later you will feel compelled to confess your earlier transgressions. Well did Sir Galahad say, “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure” (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Sir Galahad [1842], st. 1).
My dear young friends, in matters of sex you know what is right. You know when you are walking on dangerous ground, when it is so easy to stumble and slide into the pit of transgression. I plead with you to be careful, to stand safely back from the cliff of sin over which it is so easy to fall. Keep yourselves clean from the dark and disappointing evil of sexual transgression. Walk in the sunlight of that peace which comes from obedience to the commandments of the Lord.
Now, if there be any who have stepped over the line, who may already have transgressed, is there any hope for you? Of course there is. Where there is true repentance, there will be forgiveness. That process begins with prayer. The Lord has said, “He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42). Share your burden with your parents if you can. And by all means, confess to your bishop, who stands ready to help you."

Activity:  So, I thought about putting something like wash the dishes... hahaha.  But then I thought about how well that would go over with my family.  And decided to come up with another idea.  So, here's the winner: Dig a small hole out in the yard.  Or take out a bowl and fill it with some dirt.  Add water.  Yep, you're making mud.  You WILL want to do this activity outdoors.  Have each person reach in and feel the mud.  If some want to use both hands and get a little more dirty, more power to them.  It'll help illustrate the point.  Have everyone look at the mud all over their hands.  Tell them to scape the mud off.  Point out the residue: they can't get all of it off.  The more mud, the more that needs to be cleaned off.  The more sins that have been committed.  Demonstrate that you have to wash the mud off with water.  Water is like the atonement.  Expound as much as you'd like.

Treat:  Super Simple Pudding.  Click for the recipe.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

This is a fantastic FHE for summer time.Take a walk around your neighborhood, pointing out things that you are thankful for. The green grass, the shady trees, the technology of the car, the chirping birds, the flowers... you get the idea. When you get home, read "Finding Joy in the Journey," by President Monson. It's important to remember to be grateful and to find the silver lining to all our gray clouds in life. We have trials, but we also have blessings. Remember to open and close with a prayer. Treats can be anything you like, but a nice slice of juicy watermelon was what jumped to my mind.

Hold to the Rod

The story of Lehi's Vision is one we hear from Primary on up. Here's a fun way to bring the scriptures to life.

Things You'll Need: A ball of string or yarn. In a room where you won't be doing the lesson, wind the string out all over the room. Go around objects, under tables, over things. Make it a real obstacle course. A blindfold.

Song: Primary Children's Songbook, I'll Walk With You, Page 140.

Lesson: Read 1 Nephi Chapter 8. It's the story of the Tree of Life. Talk about the different parts of Lehi's dream. The importance of the iron rod, the mist of darkness, the tree of life, the pure white fruit, and the great and spacious building. What do each of these things represent in our lives today?

Activity: Lead your family to the room where you have set up your obstacle course. Tell them that the string is like the iron rod. Pull out the blindfold and explain that it is like the mist of darkness. Ask who wants to go first. Blindfold the first person and tell them to make their way through the room. After everyone has had a chance to complete the obstacle course, talk about the experience. Was it hard? How did it relate to Lehi's Dream?

Treat: Apple Slices and Caramel Dip.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Helping in the Home: Folding Friendships

This FHE is a little different. In our house, Monday is laundry day. If I don't have a set day, I just keep putting it off. Monday works for me because, if we go on a trip or something, we're usually back home by Monday and then I don't have dirty vacation clothes sitting around (which always smell worse than normal laundry. Guess that's what happens when you play hard).

I'm awesome at sorting the clothes, putting them in the washer, putting in the detergent, changing them over to the dryer, pulling them out and putting them in baskets and starting the process all over again. However, I'm not so awesome at folding them. And putting them away is like a completely foreign concept. When my husband asks if he has any clean clothes and I point to the laundry baskets, he sighs and rolls his eyes.

So, to fix this dilemna (or at least help with it) I have started having all the laundry done by Family Home Evening time. Then for FHE we sit and fold the clothes and talk. I get help with the laundry and the clothes at least get folded, instead of heaped into baskets. We made the rule that there is no TV while we fold the laundry . It's an awesome time to ask how everyone's day went. If you run out of things to talk about (we do, we have LOTS of laundry) ask silly questions. For example: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Would you rather have a bucket on your head or on your foot for 1 week? If you had your own pet, what would it be? What would you name it? You'll be surprised with some of the answers and go ahead and be silly. It breaks up the monotony of laundry and your family shares responsibility. A lesson we all should learn.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Missionaries

Things You'll Need: A Book of Mormon you can write your testimony in. These are $3 at Distribution Centers. Some wards give their members Books of Mormon for this purpose. Ask your bishop or missionaries if they have any you could use.

Lesson: Read Mosiah 27 together. Discuss what you are reading as you go along.

Activity: Have each member of your family write a short letter to a missionary in your ward or family. Then, as a family, write your testimony in the Book of Mormon. Decide on someone that you can share the Gospel with by giving it to them. Make sure you mail the letters and give the Book of Mormon to you chosen person/family.

Treat: Chocolate cake and milk. A Betty Crocker cake mix takes 10 minutes to mix up and then you pop it in the oven. It won't take long to frost it. A cake mix and a can of frosting is less than $5.

Helping in the Home: Make It Grow

Things You'll Need: Gardening tools and gardening gloves.

Lesson: Talk with your family about the importance of keeping up with the yard work. Don't spend much time talking about it, actions speak louder than words. Talk briefly about what responsibilities there are in the yard. Mowing the lawn, weeding flowerbeds, trimming the hedges, watering the lawn and flowers.

Activity: If you live some where that the landscaping is taken care of, head to the park and pick up trash. Make sure you wear gloves to protect you from anything terribly icky. If you have a yard, head outside and spend an hour or so doing a little yard maintenance.

Treat: Make sure to reward your family well for their hard work. Chocolate pudding cups with Oreo crumbs crushed and sprinkled on top and a gummy worm or two are quite appropriate for the situation. You can take the super easy way out and buy prepackaged cups or buy an instant mix and put them in your own cups. By the way, knock-off Oreos work just as well as the real ones.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Helping in the Home: Living on a Budget

I don't know about any of you, but when I was little I always wanted to get treats when we were at the store. Some times, my mom would oblige, but sometimes I'd get the "nope, we don't have the money right now." At six, I didn't really get that money ebbs and flows (more ebbing than flowing in my case... that's what happens when you're unemployed). As I got older, I learned. However, here's a lesson to help your kids start to understand budgeting now.

Things You'll Need: $3 in change (assuming you make about $3000/month. Adjust the amount of change you use according to your actual income. This will make it more realistic). A list of some of your basic expenses: food, clothes and diapers, power, gas, rent or mortgage payment, utilities, loan payments, medical bills, insurance, credit card payments, car payments, ect and approximately how much each costs. The more extensive the list, the more realistic the activity will be.

Song: Primary Children's Songbook, Teach Me to Walk in the Light, Page 177.

Lesson: Begin by asking your family if they know how much it costs to live in your house. Then ask if they know how much it costs to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Then ask if they know how much it costs to ride in the car, take showers or baths, or to be able to turn the lights and water on. A lot of times, kids don't understand that all that stuff costs money. Talk about how you have to work at your job to make money. That money then has to pay for all the stuff that you just talked about.

Activity: Take your change and lay it out so that everyone can see it. Then pull out your list of monthly expenses. Each dollar will be equivalent to $1000 of income. Every $.10 is equivalent to $100 and every penny is equivalent to $10. Proceed to go down the list and pull out each item's cost from your pile of change. Once you get to the bottom, talk about what happens to any left over money... if there is any. If you put any in savings or if you use it for recreation or whatever happens to it, make sure all your change is accounted for. Then, close with a brief discussion on the importance of saving up for a rainy day and living within you means.

Treat: Homemade Donuts
Making donuts out of refrigerator biscuits is easy and yummy. Get enough biscuits for each person to have at least one. Open the biscuits and cut a nickle-sized hole (approx.) out of the middle of each biscuit. Use anything you have on hand. (I've used empty prescription pill bottles, the wide side of icing tips, and empty water bottles turned upside-down). Fill a small pot with canola oil (or some similar oil), just enough to cover the biscuits. Cook on Medium-High heat until golden brown and puffy. Pull out of the oil and dip in granulated sugar or powdered sugar. Or make a powdered sugar or chocolate glaze to pour over them. Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Record Keeping People

We have been told time and again that we should keep journals and records of our lives. I have been hit and miss with this. I have filled an entire journal before... but I think it took like 4 years or something crazy.
President Spencer W. Kimball gave this counsel: "Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal. It should be an enlightening one and should bring great blessings and happiness to the families. If there is anyone here who isn't doing so, will you repent today and change-change your life?" So, let's try to simplify this.

Things You'll Need: A journal for each person in your family... or start out by keeping a family journal. This can be as simple as a spiral notebook. Print out a copy of "Journal Jar Questions". Cut the questions apart, fold them up and put them in a jar. Could be an empty peanut butter jar, a mason canning jar, an empty infant formula can (see, Sweetheart, there is a reason I save all of those...) or whatever else you can find.

Lesson: Read Mosiah Chapter 1. Talk about how important it was that the records were kept and passed down from generation to generation. Mention the importance of the brass plates. It was so important for Lehi and his family to have these records that he was commanded to send his sons back to Jerusalem to retrieve them. Why is it important for us to keep records? What can our records do for our posterity?

Activity: Pull out the "Journal Jar" and hand out the notebooks, if you chose to get one for each member of your family. Give each person a pen or pencil. Explain that, for the next week, you will pick a slip each day and write about it in your journal. If you choose to do a family journal, let each person contribute to the answer(s). Take 5-10 minutes at night before you put the kids to bed. Talk about your experience at FHE the next week.

Treat: Chocolate Pudding with strawberries and whipped cream. I would use a box of instant pudding mix, but if you want to make it from scratch then more power to ya! Mix up the pudding following the directions/recipe. Chill in refrigerator. Quarter strawberries and place on top of chilled pudding. Put a scoop or squirt of whipped cream on top and ENJOY!

JOURNAL JAR QUESTIONS:
Who are some of my favorite people? Why?
Who am I closest to in my immediate family? How did our relationship grow?
What are my goals and dreams?
What do I look like?
Who is my best friend? What is she/he like?
Who are some of my "school friends"?
Have I ever learned something from being in an argument with someone? If yes, what?
What is the most valuable principle I've learned through my experiences with others?
What is my most embarrassing moment?
When was I the most proud of myself?
When were my parents most proud of me?
Have I ever stood up for what I believe, even when it was very hard? When?
What are some of my jobs at home?
What does my bedroom look like? Do I share a room? Am I comfortable in my room? What do I like best about my room?
Have I ever written a story, poem, or song I would like to add to my journal?
Who are my church leaders?
Who's my favorite school teacher? Why?
What do I think of myself?
Am I pleased with what I look like? If I could change any part of myself what would it be?
What is the weirdest dream I've ever had?
Do I like school? Why?
What's my best subject in school?
What's my least favorite subject in school?
Am I involved in any clubs or extra-curricular activities? (Sports, dance, choir, etc.)
Who is the prophet of the church right now? What am I learning from him?
What are some events that are happening in the world right now? (Include some newspaper clippings).
Who is my favorite General Authority speaker? Why?
What has been a General Conference talk that has had an impact on me?
Describe a time when I felt the spirit very strongly.
What is my seminary class like? Who's in it? Who's my teacher? What's my favorite thing about my teacher? What am I studying this year? Do I enjoy it? Does the spirit thrive there?
What is my most favorite thing to do at home?
What's my most favorite movie, book, poem or song?
What are some of my talents?
Do I enjoy my everyday life? What's it like?
What's my favorite Christmas memory?
What's my favorite Christmas present I remember getting?
What are my favorite family holiday traditions?
Do I have a testimony? Write it down.
Where is my most favorite place to go, what is it like?
Have I ever had a "crush" on someone? Who, and do I still like him now? Describe him, and what attracts you to him.
Do I have a favorite sport, talent, etc.?
Describe each member of my family in my journal.
What's the best thing I've ever done with my life?
What is my favorite area in nature?
What pets have I had? Which one was my favorite?
What is my full name and who am I named after? If I could change it, what would I call myself?
What is my favorite scripture and what thoughts or feelings does it provoke?
Has anything major happened since the last time I wrote in my journal?
If I've received my patriarchal blessing, what is the most significant part to me?
Describe a time when I lost myself in the service of someone else. How did it feel?
Who are my Young Women teachers right now and how have they taught me the values?
What is my favorite food? When I cook for my family, what do I enjoy making most?
What childhood experiences do I remember, (funny stories, accidents, memories playing, etc.)?
What's my favorite music group? Why?
What's my favorite movie?
What's my favorite book in the scriptures? Why?
What has been my favorite Young Women's Mutual Night Activity?
What callings have I served in? How did I grow spiritually by serving?
What's my home life like? How could I improve or strengthen it?
What are my goals for the future?
What do I want to do after I get out of school?
What talents do I have that I want to strengthen?
What challenge or trial do I really want to overcome? How am I going to do it?
What is my favorite Young Women Value? Why?
Am I a good communicator? How can I improve this?
Am I a good listener? How can I improve this?
Am I a forgiving person? Is there anyone I need to forgive and what's the game plan?
Am I a good friend to other people? If so, how? If not, what can I do to improve this?
What can I do to strengthen my testimony?
Did I have a blanket or a favorite toy growing up?
What was my favorite birthday? What was the best birthday gift I ever got?
Describe my first driving experience.
Write about feeling loved and by whom.
Write about something or someone in your life who helped to grown and change.
Write about having to apologize to someone and patch things up.
What are the things I love and admire about my mother?
What are the things I love and admire about my father?
What are my relationships like with my brothers/sisters?
What was I into when I was a child? (Barbie, My Little Pony, etc.)
Who was my favorite elementary school teacher?
Who is/was my favorite junior high teacher?
Who is/was my favorite high school teacher?
What has been my favorite family vacation? Why?
What do I know about my grandfathers?
What do I know about my grandmothers?
Am I close to any aunts, uncles or cousins?
Have I ever done baptisms for the dead? What did I think and feel about it?
Describe your favorite summer activities.
Describe your favorite winter activities.
What qualities do I want in a husband?
What kind of mother/wife do I want to be?
Do I have any favorite names for future children?
If I could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?
If I could have anything I wanted out of life, what would it be?
What do I know about my Savior? What are feelings about Him?
What are my goals for making it back to live with my Father in Heaven?
Write about something you are grateful for.
Write your feelings about the scriptures.
Write about how a prayer was answered.
Write about something that drives you crazy.

Copy and paste the questions into Word or another word processing program. Then print from there. I got these questions from HERE. There were a TON more. Take a look and use what you want. Good Luck!

Helping in the Home: Dinner Menus

This Family Home Evening is the first in a series that will help Mom out and teach your kiddos about the work that goes into running a family. Growing up, we intermittenly had chores that we were expected to do, but for the most part we were just expected to fulfill whatever needs we saw. As a result of this, not all my siblings learned how to cook, clean and everything else that goes into running a household. We have since moved back in with my parents (while we look for our own place... we moved out of state for a new job in only 2 weeks) and I have siblings that aren't always willing to help out with things around the house. So, here is a family home evening that will, hopefully, help them understand that part of the privilege of living in a family is that you have to help keep it running.

You may not have "masses" to feed, but surely it seems that way sometimes. I don't know about anyone else but sometimes it seems like I get all cleaned up from one meal and it's time to start the next. It helps to have a plan in place. I could spend hours trying to come up with something for dinner... and here to simplify my life: the meal planner!

Things You'll Need:
There are tons of "Dinner Menu" displays and such out there. It can be as simple as a sheet of paper with your menu scribbled haphazardly on it and stuck to the fridge or a more elaborate, permanent display. I would suggest starting out with the sheet of paper on the fridge and, if this works for your family, then get something a little more permanent. Gather some cookbooks.

Song: Primary Children's Songbook, When We're Helping We're Happy, Page 198.

Lesson: Tell your children that you need help planning out some meals. Give each child an assigned meal(s). If your kids are in school already you may want to assign each child a night for dinner. I usually plan about two weeks worth of meals at a time. Give each child about 10 minutes to find a recipe they want to use for their meal(s). Remind your kids that they need to chose a real-rounded menu. This includes a main dish, a fruit or vegetable, a salad, bread or biscuits or something, ect. You set the guidelines. Have each child write down the ingredients for the recipe.

Activity: Make a grocery store run and get the things you don't have. Have your kids help make the list, pick out the food, unload it from the car and put it away. When each person's meal comes up, tell them they are expected to help cook it, serve it and clean up afterward.

Treats: Something simple and quick, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that your kids can help put together and clean up from. Might as well start practicing it now.






Chose the format that fits your needs best. Click on the image to enlarge.