Don’t Spill the Blessings! Another Fun Family Home Evening Idea

Don't spill the blessings

Lately, my kids are all about the classic game,Don’t Spill the Beans. My two-year-old calls it Don’t Drop the Beans, so cute! If you aren’t familiar with this game, it’s a cause and effect game where you take turns dropping beans into a swinging “pot” but if you put too many beans in the pot could spill on your turn! The first one to get rid of their beans wins. Although my kids seem to think it’s more fun to spill the beans and gather them in a mini mountain.

Due to my kids apparent fascination with spilling the beans, I decided to base a Family Home Evening around this simple kid’s game. Because we are always looking for more Family Home Evenings geared toward little kids. So, basically this whole family evening is playing the game Don’t Spill the Beans, except this time we are playing Don’t Spill the Blessings and the real goal is to help our kids understand

1) that blessings from Heavenly Father are directly correlated with obedience to His commandments

2) that He loves us and gives us commandments out of love and

3) that He wants to give us SO many blessings they can’t be contained and end up spilling.

Opening Prayer

Scripture: D&C 130: 20 – 21

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven

Song: Keep the Commandments (click link for music)

Family Home Evening Lesson:

The way you approach this will depend on the age of your kids. I have very young children who don’t like to sit still for the lesson part of family home evening so feel free to adjust if you have older kids. I started this family home evening by pretending we were getting in the car for a drive. The analogy is taken from Carole M Stephen’s conference talk, If Ye Love Me Keep My Commandments. If you have older kids you might be able to just read a quick excerpt from her talk. You can find it here. Either way, I highly suggest going over it in preparation. It’s a wonderful talk! Remember, this is just for your own convenience and to help others out with family home evening. You don’t have to follow it exactly. To quote a song, Listen to the still small voice. He will guide you. :)

Please sit on the couch, we’re going for a pretend drive. Good job. Now let’s all put on our seat-belts. Click. Click. Click. Good! Why do we wear seat-belts?

To keep us safe

So we don’t get hurt

Because it’s the law

If it wasn’t the law, would mom and pop still put you in seatbelts? Of course we would! Why?

Because you want us to be safe

Why?

Because you love us!

That’s exactly right. We love you SO much! We would never want you to get hurt. That’s why we put you in car seats and seat belts.

Does Heavenly Father ask us to do a lot of things?

Yes.

Like what?

Go to church

Pray

Pay tithing

etc.

Why does He ask us to do all of those things?

Probably a blank stare. Ha ha!

Do you think it’s because He loves us and wants to keep us safe?

Yes!

Alright can someone read this quote from Carole M Stephens?

His Commandments are a manifestation of his love for us and obedience to his commandments is an expression of our love for him

“His commandments are a manifestation of His love for us and obedience to His commandments is an expression of our love for Him.”

Did you know that when we receive a blessing from Heavenly Father it is because we obeyed one of His commandments?

K, it’s time to play Don’t Spill the Blessings! The beans represent blessings and every time we place a blessing on the pot we have to say a commandment and a way we are blessed when we follow that commandment.

Examples: paying tithing – having enough for our needs, getting baptized – receiving the Holy Ghost, Praying – Receiving comfort

Play as long as you want!

Closing Song: Count Your Blessings (click link for music)

Closing Prayer

I hope this is helpful. I’m planning on trying it AGAIN in a couple of weeks. My kids were SO excited to play the game they had a hard time with the lesson at the start. ha ha. Sometimes family home evenings go really well and sometimes they don’t. But I trust that if we keep doing them our family will be better for it. Good luck and I would LOVE to hear how it goes at your house :)

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DIY nursing shawl

A lot has happened in my life in the last little while, you probably don’t want to hear about it, but in summary, we moved back to Utah, sold our home, and we’re over halfway through pregnancy with baby number three! Surprise! In prep for new baby I made a new nursing cover, I can’t find the one I used for little jaguar so I found the old tutorial and started over.

so, the original tutorial is here: http://www.thecoterieblog.com/2012/05/dyi-modern-nursing-shawl-sew-one-line.html

and I love the idea but it’s a really confusing tutorial, no offense meant I’ve made a few of those myself, but I was shocked to find that I had the same issues making it as I did the last time I made it. After all, it’s been two years and countless sewing projects later. Last time I made it I had zero expertise on a sewing machine. Seriously, this was like my first project, so I assumed my problems were just that, my problems, this time I wasn’t so sure. After a quick internet search I found I’m not alone in my confusion and I don’t need to fret because someone much smarter than me figured out what was going on and made a clear version of the original tut. Thank you!

follow these instructions for a pain free super easy project: http://www.mintdesignblog.com/2013/07/easy-diy-nursing-cover/

DIY nursing shawl

Here I am pretending to nurse, this is silly but I got all excited just holding something the way you do when you nurse a baby. Aw… I love babies!

 

DIY nursing cover, nursing shawl, modern nursing cover, knit nursing cover, cute nursing cover

Congratulations! It’s a… pillow pet!

DIY nursing cover, nursing shawl, modern nursing cover, knit nursing cover, cute nursing cover

Bathroom Selfie!

 

Family Home Evening Idea – The Honey Bee and the Yellow Jacket – a lesson on honesty

I found a similar picture online and made my own version by hand :)

I found a similar picture online and made my own version by hand :)

Hubby and I have been talking a lot lately about how to teach our children values. One of the things we’ve been doing is tying our parenting back to a series of family rules we came up with together. So far, it’s made our parenting more consistent and it has helped us give solid answers to the constant whys coming from Little lion. This family home evening was our first in a series to tie back into our family rules. The rule? We are honest.

Opening prayer

Opening Song: Choose the right

Scripture: Philip 4:8

Attention Getter: Show two pictures, one of a honey bee and one of a yellow jacket. These can be pictures you found online or pictures you drew yourself. Then explain the basic differences between the two bugs. A honey bee is fat and fuzzy and he spends his day gathering nectar and pollinating the plants, then he goes home to build his house and make honey. He works hard for what he has and he is honest in his nature. He doesn’t like to fight but will to protect his hive. If he stings someone he is sacrificing his life.  The yellow jacket looks a lot like the bee but he is thin and smooth. He is carnivorous and will often pretend to be a bee so he can sneak into the hive and steal the bee’s honey. He will sting readily because stinging someone or something poses no risk to him.

honey bee vs yellow jacket family home evening

Make a chart. Write honey bee on one side of a paper and write yellow jacket on the other. Compare and contrast the two bugs behavior based on the value honesty. Talk about how you would rather be a honey bee than a yellow jacket.

Activity: On a beehive you either sketched or printed out make yellow thumb prints with your family. When they are dry sketch honey bees on them. You now have a nice visual reminder of your lesson.

Say your closing prayer and have a nice honey related treat. I suggest Navajo tacos, or fry bread as those outside of Utah call them, with honey on top.

Happy Home Evening and God bless

the honey bee and the yellow jacket FHE

Christ-centered Easter traditions

10 Christ centered Easter traditionsWe love bunnies at my house. We have nothing against bunnies, eggs, candy, and brightly colored wicker baskets, but we also love Christ. We know that because he died we can live. We know that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Therefore, when we celebrate Easter at our house we want to make sure our kids know that while bunnies are fun, Easter is about Christ.

We try to fill the season with Christ-centered traditions and since our family is still young our traditions are still evolving. The following is a list of Christ centered Easter traditions I found while researching new traditions for my family. I hope it can help you and your family the same way it helped mine! This list is particularly good for young families, but could easily be adapted for different ages :)

1. Easter Wreath: We came up with this on our own last year and we still love it. Obtain a plain stick wreath that is about the circumference of a man’s head. Tell the story of Christ’s death and liken the wreath to the crown of thorns. Talk about how Christ died and was reborn after three days in the tomb, then hot glue spring flowers to the wreath, likening them to rebirth and resurrection. Give everyone a turn to glue a flower on and express gratitude for Christ’s life and death.

2. Resurrection Rolls: A delicious (and non-scary) way to teach about the resurrection. You take canned biscuits, wrap them around marshmallows, dip them in butter and cinnamon and then bake according to the biscuit instructions. When they come out of the oven the marshmallow has melted away into the biscuit dough. Make them with your kids explaining to them that the biscuits represent the tomb, the marshmallow represents Christ, and the butter and oil represent the embalming oils and spices that were rubbed into Christs body. Talk about how after three days Christ rose again, leaving the tomb empty just like your “empty” biscuit.

3. Kite Flying: On the Island of Bermuda it’s traditional to fly kites on Good Friday in remembrance that Christ is risen. Bermuda doesn’t have a monopoly on kites you know! Make and decorate kites and then go kite flying. We plan on doing this one for our Easter family home evening, complete with an educational discussion about the symbolism behind the activity.

4. Spring flowers are often associated with Easter. One fun Easter tradition is to give Easter flowers to grandparents or the elderly. I love the idea of using Easter as a time to serve others. I think it’s exactly what Christ wants us to do to celebrate him.

5. Resurrection Eggs: send the kids on an Easter egg hunt, but instead of candy the eggs hold symbols of the story of Christmas. Click the link for more details.

6. He took our sins upon Him carnation experiment: The week before Easter put a white carnation in water, then place 20 drops of red food coloring in the water. Over the next week watch as the carnation turns red. Compare the carnation taking the red food coloring to Christ taking our sins. This is a good visual explanation of the atonement.

7. Read the Easter story in the bible: self-explanatory :)

8. Easter Music: Take time to sing everyone’s favorite Easter songs. Follow the link for some music ideas.

9. Watch an Easter movie, this links to the ones on the you tube Mormon Channel, all wonderful, take your pick :)

10. Dip Easter eggs in glow in the dark paint and then do an Easter egg hunt in the dark. Talk about how Christ is the light of the world and think of ways to “search” for him in the darkness. Read John 8:12.

Man, I can’t wait to get started! What about you? Do you have any Christ centered Easter traditions? Please share, I can’t wait to read about them :)

 

The Parable of the Popcorn FHE

the popcorn parable FHE idea

The Parable of the Popcorn, a modern parable based on the parable of the sowers

Opening Prayer

Opening Hymn: Popcorn Popping

Treat: Popcorn!

Lesson: Read the following parable to the family. Find examples of each type of popcorn in your bowl.

Behold at the time of harvest, the ears of corn did bring forth kernels which were dried and prepared for the Popper’s hand. And then it was that the Popper did take the kernels, all that did appear alike unto Him, and applied the oil and the heat.

And it came to pass that when the heat was on, some did explode with promise and did magnify themselves an hundred fold. And some did burst forth with whiteness which did both gladden the eye and satisfy the taste of the Popper. And likewise some did pop, but not too much. Behold, there were some that did lie there, and even through the Popper’s heat was alike unto all, some did just bask in the oil and keep everything that they had unto themselves.

And so it came to pass that those which had given of themselves did bring forth much joy and delight to many munchers. But those which kept of the warmth and did not bring forth were only cast into the pail and thought of with hardness and disgust.

And thus we see that in the beginning all appear alike, but when the heat is on, some come forth and give all, while others fail their purpose as chaff, so as to be discarded and forgotten – unknown source

Discuss the popcorn parable. For the very young just explain the analogy, for older kids ask some deeper questions, What does the heat represent? Why are we like the popcorn? What can we do to fulfill our potential?

Explain that we are all Children of Heavenly Father and we all have great potential, but we have to first choose to always strive to do good and choose the right.

If you want to, you can pass out this handout to go along with it. This printable is about 5″ x 7″.

the parable of the popcorn printable

Activity: Watch a movie together about someone who worked hard and did their best. The Princess and the Frog, Rudy, The Little Train that Could all come to mind. If you have any other ideas please share!

Closing Hymn: I Have Work Enough to Do

Closing Prayer

I hope this lesson plan helps you have a great family home evening! Let me know how it goes, I love to hear from you :)

Family Home Evening – Peace in the Home

Based on Elder Richard G. Scott’s ‘For a Peaceful Life’ address and Elder Quentin L. Cook’s ‘Personal Peace — The Reward of Righteousness’ in April 2013 General Conference

Opening Prayer

Opening Hymn: I Feel my Savior’s Love – Children’s Hymn Book # 74

Treat: popsicles

Attention Getter:

Pyramids and Peace Family Home Evening

Show a picture of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Give the following facts:

  • This pyramid is the oldest and largest of the pyramids of Egypt
  • It took about 20 years to build
  • It was the tallest man-made structure for over 2000 years
  • Construction on this pyramid was concluded around 2560 BC
  • The pyramid is made of limestone blocks that each weigh about 2.5 tons
  • The pyramid is estimated to weigh about 6.5 million tons
  • The pyramid has very little space inside and weight estimates don’t take into account what space it has

Now ask the following question: About how many blocks are there in the Pyramid of Giza? If you have a math nerd like my husband this will be pretty fun, otherwise let people throw out random guesses and then give a treat to whoever guesses closest.

The answer: 2.3 Million Blocks

Info Source: http://www.world-mysteries.com/mpl_2.htm

Lesson:

Creating peace in our homes is like building a pyramid. It must be done over time, brick by brick. Elder Scott mentioned that parents and children should be made responsible for peace in the home and the regular practice of prayer, scripture study and family home evening are essential to finding peace. What other little things can we do to create peace in our home and in our lives?

Elder Cook mentioned repentance, baptism, and prayer as ways to obtain peace.

Read the following quotes from Elder Scott,

“Don’t rationalize away future happiness by taking shortcuts instead of applying sound gospel principles. Remember: little things lead to big things.”

“If you young people would review a verse of scripture as often as some of you send text messages, you could soon have hundreds of passages of scripture memorized. Those passages would prove to be a powerful source of inspiration and guidance by the Holy Ghost in times of need.”

Ask family members if obedience will stop bad things from happening, then read the following quote from Elder Cook after a short discussion.

“Peace is not just safety or lack of war, violence, conflict and contention. Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are, knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies.”

Encourage family members to make a personal goal to help them find more peace throughout the week.

Bear testimony on your personal experiences with peace.

Closing Hymn: Where Can I Turn for Peace? – Hymn Book #129

Closing Prayer

Family Home Evening Lesson Plans Based on April 2013 General Conference

I couldn’t sleep last night. Third trimester sleeping is very similar to trying to sleep when you have a newborn… impossible. Around 4 a.m. I finally decided to stop laying there feeling annoyed and started to make family home evening lesson plans. I’ve got six done – all based on talks from the first session of the April 2013 General Conference. I’m publishing them online in the hope that they can help someone else with Family Home Evening but bear in mind that A) I’m not an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and B) these were all designed with my little family in mind – stuff that works for two adults and a toddler – and possibly a newborn. Remember that everything is free for personal use, but none for commercial use.

Anywho, I make no promises about making more sets for the subsequent sessions of conference. My kids come first and once baby boy is here I’m going to be pretty busy.

Yep… I probably sound all ornery and lack of sleep like huh? Yep… oh you probably want links to the lesson plans… here they are. Enjoy :)

fhe lesson plans from the first session of the April 2013 session of general conference

 President Henry B. Eyring: Come Unto Me 

Elder M. Russell Ballard: This is My Work and Glory

Elder Craig A. Cardon: The Savior Wants to Forgive

Sister Elaine S. Dalton: We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father

Bishop Dean M. Davies: A Sure Foundation

President Boyd K. Packer: These Things I Know

Family Home Evening – Drawing Closer to the Savior

My promise to you who pray and serve the Lord cannot be that you will have every blessing you may wish for yourself and your family, but I can promise you that the Savior will draw close to you and bless you and your family with what is best.

Based on President Henry B. Eyring’s ‘Come Unto Me’ address in April 2013 General Conference

Opening Prayer

Opening Hymn: Reverence is Love – Children’s Hymn Book # 31

Treat: smores from the oven (or if you have a fire pit do real ones!)

Attention Getter:

Gather all of your biggest and softest blankets and together as a family make a killer blanket fort. Consider using clotheslines and Christmas lights to really deck it out. Once the fort is made and everyone is cuddled inside talk about how warm and safe it feels. Being close to the Savior is kind of like being in an awesome blanket fort. When we are close to the savior we feel safety, love, and joy. What are some of the ways we can draw ourselves closer to Jesus Christ? President Eyring mentioned church attendance, taking the sacrament, scripture study, and service as ways we can draw closer to the Savior, what do you think of his list? When have you felt closest to the Savior in your life?

Lesson:

Read the following quote:

“My promise to you who pray and serve the Lord cannot be that you will have every blessing you may wish for yourself and your family, but I can promise you that the Savior will draw close to you and bless you and your family with what is best. You will have the comfort of His love and feel the answer of His drawing closer as you reach out your arms in giving service to others.

“As you bind up the wounds of those in need and offer the cleansing of His Atonement to those who sorrow in sin, the Lord’s power will sustain you. His arms are outstretched with yours to succor and bless the children of our Heavenly Father including those in your family.”

Make a goal as a family to find ways to serve others, this can be through a family service project or it could simply be through simple acts of service at home.

Closing Hymn: Nearer My God to Thee – Hymn Book #100

Closing Prayer

Family Home Evening – Priesthood Power

Based on Elder M. Russell Ballard’s ‘This Is My Work and Glory’ address in April 2013 General Conference

Opening Prayer

Opening Hymn: Love is Spoken Here – Children’s Hymn Book # 190

Treat: popcorn

Attention Getter:

Go for a short walk with your family. As you go point out everything you see that was made by Heavenly Father. Ask what power created all of these wonderful things.

Read this quote by Elder Ballard:

“The power by which the heavens and earth were and are created is the priesthood. Those of us who are members of the Church know that the source of the priesthood power is God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ. Not only is the priesthood the power by which the heavens and earth were created, but it is the power the Savior used in His mortal ministry to perform miracles, to bless and heal the sick, to bring the dead to life, and as the Father’s Only Begotten Son to endure the unbearable pain of Gethsemane and Calvary — thus fulfilling the laws of justice with mercy and providing an Infinite Atonement — and overcoming physical death through the resurrection.”

Lesson:

I can’t find this video on youtube for imbedding purposes, but here is the link to some of the training Elder Ballard suggested we watch in his talk. This is a short video and would be perfect to watch at this point in your lesson.

http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/the-power-of-the-priesthood-in-the-family/children-learn-of-the-priesthood-in-the-family?cid=HP000014&lang=eng

Read the following quote from Elder Ballard’s talk and discuss the sacred ways men and women bless each other.

“In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by a husband and wife.”

If you want to (or the kids just aren’t paying attention anymore) you can end here, or you can go on to tell the story Elder Ballard shared about the plant that wilted when it was forgotten in a dark room – similarly priesthood holders withhold nutrients from their spirits if they don’t exercise and honor the priesthood appropriately.

Closing Hymn: Truth Eternal – Hymn Book #4

Closing Prayer

Family Home Evening – Forgiveness

Based on Elder Craig A. Cardon’s ‘The Savior Wants to Forgive’ address in April 2013 General Conference

Opening Prayer

Opening Hymn: When I am Baptized – Children’s Hymn Book # 103

Treat: oranges

Attention Getter:

Watch the following bible video – Jesus forgives Sins and Heals a Man Stricken with Palsy

Lesson:

Discuss repentance and forgiveness. Why do we need it? Who gives it to us? How do we repent? How do we forgive? Read D&C 101:9 and discuss how much Heavenly Father loves us and wants to forgive us. He knows we aren’t perfect – that’s why He provided a way for us to repent.

End with this quote from Elder Cardon

“The Lord is always interested in our hearts and rationalized false faith does not justify sin,” he said. “Rather, after doing all we can do, His compassion and grace are the means whereby ‘in process of time’ we overcome the world through the enabling power of the Atonement. By humbly seeking this precious gift, ‘weak things become strong unto [us],’ (Ether 12:27) and by His strength, we are made able to do that which we could never do alone.”

Closing Hymn: Help me Dear Father  – Children’s Hymn Book #99

Closing Prayer