Well…my newest calling is Sunbeam teacher. While I won’t bore you with all of the things we did yesterday (actually, yesterday’s class was mildly entertaining), I thought that I would share activities or crafts that we do from time to time.
This craft will help a child remember the five parts of a prayer.
White Paper (Even though it isn’t in this picture, I ended up writing “I Pray in Faith” at the top of the paper – horizontally
Word strips with the following:
Say “Dear Heavenly Father”
Thank Him for Blessings
Humbly ask for blessings
In the name of Jesus Christ
Instructions for making this Craft
This craft is pretty much self-explanatory, but here are a few things to remember while making it.
Give each child a paper. Show the one that you have made in advance – and introduce the craft. This will remind us of the five main parts of a prayer.
Ink the children’s hands and stamp onto the paper. I stamped the kids hands one at a time. In order to keep interest, they got to choose color, and we oohed and aahed after each hand had been stamped.
Immediately wipe the ink from the child’s hands.
Glue each word strip on. But explain the word strip. Have them repeat what each word strip says. I made these word strips in advance – and I just used little scraps of paper that I already had. I put glue on the back of the word strip, then let the child affix it on the paper. I also asked them specific questions: What they were grateful for, and what kinds of blessings that they asked for, etc.
Wrap up the craft and discussion by singing I Pray in Faith – especially the second verse.
I really liked letting you know what we actually did – I was hoping to relay real Family Home Evenings -ones that were really great sometimes. And other times, they were a little bit insane. It was the overall effect that we’re striving for. And I just wanted to put out some examples that weren’t necessarily perfect.
However, I may, from time to time, post an FHE idea, activity, recipe or game. Today, I’m posting the schedule for our FHE this year.
Usually, I use our trusty “FHE Jar” for our family night. Whoever gives the lesson picks a topic from the jar and has complete freedom in how they would like to present that material. This year, though, we’re doing something different.
I heard someone talk about the idea of so many copies of this proclamation on our walls – as nice as it is on our walls, have we read them lately?
As far as my family goes, I have realized that we need to make sure that this isn’t only something that decorates our home, but is written on our hearts. So, we’re going to study The Family: A Proclamation through the year.
We are going to have Family Home Evenings based on the Family Proclamation through the year – concentrating on about a paragraph per month. I have created a schedule for the year – with the themes for the month and then weekly FHE topics. If you are interested in the schedule of the year, you can Download it here.
There are lesson topics (but not necessarily plans) for each Monday – January through November. I left December open because our family has a lot of “traditional” FHEs that we do during the Holidays.
What are you going to do for FHE this year? Have you studied the Family: A Proclamation together as a family? How has it benefitted you?
On Monday night, for FHE, we did another annual tradition – cookie delivery. In order to get all of this ready for Family Home Evening, the girls and I spent the better part of Sunday and Monday baking. This year, we scaled down…way down, but even with scaling down, it seems like we were a little overboard. Anyone who knows me, knows that our forays into holiday baking are always insane. (And we love it!)
We went around to our new neighbors with our creations. It was a good way to introduce ourselves. Hopefully the neighbors like the treats. In any case, we had fun – huddling in the cold (the Phoenix cold – I won’t tell you the actual temperature because you’ll probably make fun of us) and handing out cookies.
Two of my favorite parts of the night: Sasquatch saying, “Let’s make cookies for everyone else…like US.”
Tiger telling us (later on) that she felt the Spirit when she delivered cookies. She felt so happy and joyful to be doing something nice for others.
For fun, here’s a recipe to one of the “cookies” we made – they were actually mini-pies
Chocolate Pecan Mini-Pie Recipe
6 tablespoons butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp vanilla
Pie shells (I use the pilsbury ones that you can unroll)
1. Use a circular cookie cutter to cut “pie crusts” from the pie dough. Form 12 small pies into a muffin tin. Do not bake. Sprinkle pecans on the shells. (More or less depending on how you feel about nuts). Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, or in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and salt. Whisk until well mixed. Whisk in the eggs until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla and combine.
4. Spoon some of the batter into each pie shell. The Pecans will float to the top.
5. Bake at 400 for about 7 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 300 and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes.
6. Cool and chill. The pies will be scrumptious and fudgey!
Can you believe, there are only two Monday nights left in 2012???!!!
As a family, we like to do a lot of Holiday Giving activities. We make cookies and caramels. We figure out gifts for our home and visiting teachers. Of course, all of this takes a lot of time, and it can be hard to coordinate calendars.
So…for Family Home Evening, we spent the evening working on planning out some of our gifts and recipients. We wrapped presents and made fun cards.
This FHE is really hands on. We don’t have a lesson. We don’t sing or read a scripture. We start with a prayer and get to work. But it is a great FHE because it is all about doing something for other people. It is about service. It is the gospel in action. And the kids love it.
Well, last night’s FHE was a yearly tradition. Earlier in the day, I ran to Michaels, bought a few packs of Fimo Polymer clay, and cleaned out my old clay supply.
When Homey arrived home, we began FHE. This activity usually takes a while. We ate dinner as we watched the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional.
The First Presidency Christmas Devotional is shown on a Sunday Night. We used to go to it before we had the younger kids. Now, it is also shown online, and we have a three-year-old and a nearly two-year-old. The option to watch it at home is great. So a few years ago we decided to incorporate the devotional into a FHE. While I miss the excitement of going to the broadcast and focusing solely on the message, I love watching it at home, and listening to the prophets speak with my children. And I love listening to MoTab during FHE. This has really worked with our family.
After we finish dinner, we pause the broadcast at a convenient point, tidy dinner, and then begin the next part of FHE – the making of our yearly ornament.
A lot of people have a tradition of purchasing an ornament for each family member. I like that idea. But I also like making stuff. Well, I’ve been making “stuff” out of Polymer clay for years. So, when I got the idea of buying an ornament for my children each year, I decided to really personalize it – and make our ornaments.
I have to admit, at first it was tempting to take control of the whole operation, and make all of the ornaments myself. But, as my kids got older, it was fun to see them express their own creativity. So, we modified the tradition, and everyone makes their own ornaments. The kids look forward to the tradition as much as I do.
For days leading up to FHE, I remind them, “Start thinking about what you want to make for your ornament…” This usually produces quiet squeals of delight, as the kids try to think of what they want to make. Of course, no one talks about it – the ornaments are usually a surprise. If I ask, “What are you going to make?”, the typical response that follows is, “You’ll see!”
It really is a lot of fun.
So, I got out the Fimo, got everyone situated, un-paused the Christmas Devotional, and we all worked hard crafting.
Finally, around eight (this FHE is always a little long), we had completed ornaments: A Putting Green (Homey), a Lemon Tree (Me), A cutting block with cookbook, spatula and chef’s hat (Tiger), a giant number “10” (Panda), Toadette (Sasquatch), and a headless Yoshi (T-Rex).
We were also filled with the inspiring words of the prophets. I loved the messages. I especially loved Elder Uchtdorf’s talk on being a good recipient of gifts. Wasn’t that a great talk?! How often do you try to give someone a gift, and they feel guilty??? That’s not the point. The worst is when you try to give someone something or do something for them, and they keep refusing – as if it is polite! I loved his talk. Being a good receiver really is a show of gratitude and love. And I loved Elder Eyring’s talk. And the Prophet’s talk (of course). I never tire of President Monson’s example of loving service. I really hope I can be more like him one day. I am grateful that the man who leads our church is such a good example of Christ-like love. But my favorite part was singing, in my home, with the Tabernacle choir.
Silent Night is my favorite Christmas song. As the hymn began, everyone in our home naturally stopped what they were working on, and began to sing in the third verse of the beloved hymn. It was a nice moment in our home. (And in case you have been tricked into thinking that we’re some kind of perfect family…I should let you know that the moment was promptly celebrated by a loud screech from the T-Rex!)
What did you do for FHE? Do you have any FHE Christmas traditions?
(I know…this is coming a little late, but better late than never).
On Monday night, Tiger taught a brief lesson (like 2 minutes…well maybe 45 seconds) on being a Child of God. She read a scripture and bore her testimony. Then we spent the rest of the evening celebrating the literal Son of God – Jesus Christ – by decorating for Christmas…
Our family has been collecting Nativity sets for a few years. (We may have gone overboard…) Every year, about 2 weeks before Christmas (maybe less – usually two Sundays before Christmas), we get a little “surprise” left on our doorstep. It is a nativity set – left from Santa Claus – complete with a hand-written card reminding our family of the true reason for the season. Over the years, we have accrued several Nativity Sets.
It is always fun to decorate the house with all of our Nativity Sets. The kids love putting them up. And, thanks to all the Christ-centered decorations, there is no question on why we celebrate Christmas. This isn’t to say that we have no secular Christmas decor. We have Santas and Snowmen, but also have an abundance of Nativities, and they make Christmas really special.
Throughout the month of December, our Family Home Evenings are a little different than the rest of the year. These FHE’s – are traditions – they are basically the same idea year after year. It is fun. Everyone looks forward to them.
1st FHE in December – Make Christmas Ornaments
2nd FHE in December – Deliver Christmas Cookies/Goodies to friends
3rd FHE in December – This year we will celebrate Panda’s birthday. Other years we will go out for a drive to look at Christmas lights while singing Christmas Carols.
4th FHE in December – This year it is Christmas Eve. We will read the Original Christmas Story (in Luke), make cookies for Santa, make reindeer food, and basically have the best night of the year!
How was your FHE? What kinds of things do you do for FHE during December?
Yes…We are still having FHE…even if I haven’t posted about it.
We just moved! (Into a more permanent living situation). We are excited, but are going crazy – unpacking, getting settled, and it took about a week for the internet to start working. So I haven’t had much of a chance to post anything.
But we are now getting into the swing of things, which is nice to have life back to normal right before the holidays.
Last night, we visited Homey’s Grandma. She has Parkinson’s disease, and has suffered with it for years. Things have made a turn for the worst recently (she has stopped eating and drinking), and everyone thinks that it may be a matter of days before she passes. So, we went down to Mesa to visit her.
(I forgot to take pictures there, of course…but it may be just as well…she wasn’t looking well. I didn’t think anyone would appreciate me taking pictures).
When we got there, she was resting in her bed. We all gathered in her room – with Homey’s sister and her son, too. Grandma lives at Homey’s Uncle’s house, so he was able to update us on Grandma.
I have to admit, I was actually really ashamed. We’ve been living in the valley for six months now, and haven’t visited Grandma! Homey and I had talked about visiting her, but never made the trip. How horrible! How is it that we can forget our own family? And then I thought about my grandma – how she lives at my mom’s house, and I haven’t been writing her or anything. I felt a lot of guilt and sadness – understanding how much I love my children, and imagining how much I’d love my grandchildren. I can imagine how my grandma feels about me and my kids, yet I forget about her. Shameful.
Despite the shame we felt, it was good to go down and see Grandma. She wasn’t waking up for a while – everything took so much energy. We stood in her room, chatting with Uncle D, and then Grandma started mumbling something. Finally, it was audible – I love you. I am proud of you.
It brought a tear to my eye.
This is the first time someone in our family has been close to death (since the death of my brother). Many of the emotions that I had with Sean’s passing came back. Family is what matters. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, it is our family we have. Do we say I love you enough? Do we tell our children, our husbands, our parents, our siblings – I am proud of you? Do they know? Are we taking the opportunity to show our love, concern, and care? This life is short, and there are times when I let myself get caught up with things that seem so important right now, but in the long run are pretty stupid.
It was neat to hear Grandma’s loving words. I picked up Sasquatch (our three year old), and helped her to pat Grandma’s hand. Grandma took it and shook it. I was proud that Sasquatch wasn’t scared. This is the first time that Grandma has met Sasquatch or T-Rex. (We lived out of state for a few years). They won’t remember this experience, but I’m grateful that we took them to see Grandma. She had a few more good experiences before she will pass. She will have a few more good memories. She has met more of her own posterity.
After visiting with Grandma, we chatted with Uncle D. Uncle D(2) showed up as we were leaving. We chatted with him, too, then finally made the trek back home.
For more exciting (she just had her baby!) FHE experiences, click over to Jocelyn’s Blog.