Sunday, January 23, 2011

Family Fun Times: How Do You Do Things At Your House?

So a few weeks back I was perusing through Deseret Book and I came across this book (you can read additional ideas here). I didn't have the urge to buy it but did find it fun to read through a few of the ideas in the store.  I loved reading these great ideas that other families have implemented into their homes to help create stronger bonds, to have fun together, and to teach strong values.  Everyone has traditions, techniques, systems, and ideas for how they do things and I thought it would be fun for us to share some of them here.

Here are a few that the book includes:

A Shared Reward Encourages Two Siblings to Get Along

"Whenever my husband or I "catch" one of our boys, Alex, age eight, or Grant, four, doing something nice for the other, such as helping to build a complicated toy, we reward the behavior by giving him a quarter to put in their joint brother bank. They can spend the money any way they want, such as on ice cream or a movie, so long as they agree on the treat. I've shared this idea with many of my friends, and they all tell me it's helped their kids act more kindly toward one another." -- Joni Gaynor, Anaheim Hills, California

Give Kids a Special Place to Express Themselves

"To encourage her children to open up about what's on their minds, Denise Vega of Englewood, Colorado, designated a comfy armchair in the living room as the Talking Chair. It's a place the kids can head to when they need some alone time with Mom or Dad. In the Talking Chair, Zachary, age eight, Jesse, six, and Rayanne, three, discuss whatever they want, with "no judging, no reprimands," says Denise, "just listening and, if necessary, talking to figure things out." The real key: all conversations are private, "with no one listening in."

Disperse Fears with a Quick Sprinkle

"In my house, Magic Mommy dust solves all kinds of problems. For instance, whenever one of my kids, Josh, age nine, or Claire, six, has trouble falling asleep at night and is afraid of something -- such as, monsters under the bed. I reach into my pocket for some invisible magic dust -- I sprinkle it around the room, under the bed, and on his or her face while saying, 'Magic Mommy Dust, work your magic!' It soothes their fears immediately. I've even put it in coat pockets before school when one of them has needed a little extra assurance. We all now believe in its power to make everyone feel safe and loved." -- Vicky DeCoster, Papillon, Nebraska

If you have any fun traditions or ideas that you implement in your homes to help create stronger bonds, to have fun together, and/or to teach strong values please share.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Family Home Evening Idea: Practicing Reverence

Well last week I wrote about wanting to be more prepared and intentional with our Family Home Evenings and last week we did it! Yea! It was all about being reverent. We have been having some troubles lately with reverence in sacrament meetings all together but I was specifically worried about behavior and irreverence during the actual sacrament. It was starting to really not look pretty. Our family prayers were reaching a similar state and thus my idea to hold an FHE on the topic.

We started out singing "Reverence is Love" from the Children's Song Book and then I asked my three year old what it meant to be reverent and he said, "to be quiet". We then talked about how we should be quiet and sit nicely but we also should think about Jesus and other good things.

We talked about how we should be very reverent while we pray and I asked him to show us how to be reverent during a prayer. He demonstrated perfectly. Because of recent happenings I was almost starting to believe that he didn't know how to anymore but he knelt down, folded his arms, bowed his head, and closed his eyes. We praised the perfect demonstration and talked about how we needed to try to do this whenever we are praying.

Then came a real practice. We talked about how we needed to be much better at being reverent during the Sacrament. I had gathered all of the things that I like to allow our children to look at during the actual sacrament (we try to wait on snacks, coloring, etc) like gospel art books, hymn book, children's books like "Noah's Ark" and "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus",small family picture books, etc. We all sat on the couch and pretended like it was the pew at church. I told them that we could only whisper and we were not allowed to get off the couch and play on the floor. We set a timer for 10 minutes and practiced what our behavior should be like during the sacrament. It went awesome for both our almost 4 year old and our 15 month old. We cheered their behavior on and I challenged our little boy to try to do the same on the coming Sunday which was today.

Let's just say I was a proud Momma and you bet I let me son know that! They both did awesome, better than I have seen in a long time. And to top it all off between Sunday School and Relief Society I had one of the primary leaders come up to me and say that my son was so cute and had done an awesome job in Sharing Time (he just barely became a Sunbeam and I have been worried about this) and get this, she said that he was so reverent. I mean really what better words could a Mom hear who just tried to teach that very principle. It was a good and reverent day at Church today and I hope that we can continue on our intentional, purposeful Family Home Evenings. I just had to grin this afternoon as I heard my honey and my little guy planning their lesson for tomorrow. We're off to a good start.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

FHE: Do You Have A Plan?

When each new week rolls around at our house the idea of an FHE plan seems to slip from the list of to dos.  We always hold Family Home Evening but over the last little bit laziness in preparing and planning for it has set in.  It didn't used to be this way and it needs to change. Monday dinner time hits and one of us thumbs through the Friend magazine and finds some story and that is that.  Not so well planned or Spirit-guided or intentional. It is sad really.  We have our children's attention at a specific time each week to teach them values, to teach them of Christ, to teach them about the Gospel and our three year old totally looks forward to it and we just simply pull a lesson out of a hat (or a magazine) and call it good.  I don't think so, not anymore anyways!  Now I am not saying that the Friend is out but I am saying that I will give it a second thought and actually think of FHE more than 10 minutes before it begins.  I have still seen blessings simply by holding FHE but I know that our family could be receiving many more blessings if we gave greater effort to the content that each evening held, and planned in advance.

A little while back a blogging friend of mine sent me a link to "a years worth of FHE lessons based on the LDS 2011 Primary Outline, "I Know the Scriptures are True."  It was put together by 15 ladies (thanks :) and if you search the site under FHE you can find a years worth from last year as well.  What a great resource.

The Church has a new Family Home Evening Page that is great as well.  There are quick tips, lesson ideas, most  memorable family home evenings shared, and many other great resources.  Check it out!

President Monson has said, "We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”
So do share, How do you plan for FHE?  How do you choose lesson topics?  What have been some of your most memorable Family Home Evenings?  What tips could you share?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Q and A: How do you keep your life in balance?

In my last post I talked about some things I want to have MORE of in 2011, one of them was to have more balance in my life and here is where you come in, I am ready for a slew of ideas, tips, and suggestions or even additional questions or insights or quotes, basically anything that will give me more direction and more substance to my journey.  I think I have already started to move in the right direction but could use more than my own brains churning on the idea and I am sure there are some others out there who could use a little balancing act check.  So please type away! :)

It seems that some days I manage to have things in balance, I juggle spending time with children, spending time with my husband, cleaning, running errands, organizing coupons, callings, etc in a mostly prioritized and smooth manner. But then there are days that some things fall out of place, my priorities fall out of whack, and I just simply do not function with balance.  I find myself often juggling with full force one of my responsibilities and for a time I neglect everything else.  I might get all motivated in the cleaning department and neglect my children (not good).  I might give my children my undivided attention and the cleaning is none (not good either).  This can happen in all aspects of my life but you get the idea.  I definitely am in need of a balancing act check.

To help along the way my husband has urged and I have accepted a new addition to our weeks, "Me Time".  Every Wednesday I am going to get some alone time which I am enjoying at this very moment.  I seldom take time for myself away from the kidlets and often reach the end of my rope and this will hopefully aid in adding balance to my life.  What a peaceful and rejuvenating feeling!  Yea for my first official "Me Time"!

And now back to business, how do you keep your life in balance?  What do you do to make sure you focus on ALL things that matter and require attention and time?