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


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!

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.