Friday, December 20, 2013

FHE - Hearing the Spirit

Our next FHE lesson had Trainboy in charge and he chose Elder Hale's talk Strengthening Faith and Testimony. He wanted to have a role playing activity and had some pretty good ideas that I helped him finalize into one idea before it became too large and complex. We also selected some quotes to pass out from the talk. It should have been a nice simple FHE. However it was too late at night when we started (after 9pm I think!) and while we went thru the lesson it felt like no one listened or learned at all. It definitely felt like we had applied a spot of paint to a picture with no idea what the picture looked like. I knew it was okay because we'd tried but I was disappointed because it had been a good lesson plan and after talking to Fixitman about it we decided to try again the next night and see if it could go better. It did. I don't think regularly repeating when things don't go well is necessary but this time it helped us all out. So here's how our lesson plan went.

Open with statement/quote and question: "Conferences have always been part of the true Church of Jesus Christ." Can you think of some examples? (examples given in talk include: Adam, Moses, Savior, Peter...)

Role play: Trainboy set up a podium and pretended to be giving a talk at Conference. Two people were chosen to be attending conference and another was chosen to act as the spirit, trying to share a message with the listener if they would let them whisper in their ear. First we had a listener who paid attention and took notes and sat quietly. The person acting as the spirit whispered a message in their ear. Then we had a person who wasn't paying attention and was making noise/moving around/talking over the spirit/flailing arms (they were told to NOT let the person whisper in their ear). The comparison was made to the environment at conference.

Next we read some quotes from the talk that related to the role playing:

"We make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt and understood."

"If you will listen, you will feel the Spirit well up within you. The Lord will tell you what He wants you to do with your life."

"The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them."

That was it. On the first night I don't think anyone heard a thing said. We were trying to survive. On our second attempt, I think it was a sweet short lesson about hearing the Spirit at conference. I loved the role playing the Trainboy had come up with! It was fun!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Little Guy turns 3 (October 2013)

Little Guy celebrated 3 years of life in October. It was a fun birthday. We had a couple family friends come over and join us in celebrating his birthday with his favorite dinner items and cake.
Playing with his remote control fire engine after Fixitman resoldered the connections.Coincidental that it happened on his birthday he could use it again, but he was thrilled!

He ask for a dragon cake. Since his favorite movie is "How to Train Your Dragon" wings were the most important feature. I used the Wilton Dinosaur pan and added chocolate wings. (My awesome sister's suggestion)

After eating salad, mac & cheese and hot dogs, it was time for cake!

After cake he opened his presents.
Photobombing by a family friend.
Haha I cropped the photobomber out of this picture.
These two boys are good friends. Dinoguy loves to hold babies also.

Love this picture. :)
In trying to figure out what to get the three year old boy who has everything (because he has older brothers!) I thought of getting him a pet fish. So we went to the pet store and he picked out a baby beta fish. I have never had a pet fish and as soon as we got home and started to set it up, the lunacy of this started to settle in. I had taken responsibility for another life again! Ack!
Sometimes his fish' name is Wendy, sometimes it is Peter Pan. I guess it depends on if he believes it to be a girl or boy fish at the time. The good news is the fish is still alive, almost two months later! Hooray!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Soccer and Flag Football, October 2013

 October was the busy season for Flag Football and Soccer games. At least it was supposed to be. About half of the flag football games were cancelled because the fields were so wet from rain they couldn't play. These are during the week games. Soccer games are on Saturdays and was only cancelled once.

I continued to try to get a good picture, despite the adverse conditions of having a camera phone and it being dusk or night time.
On the far right, discussing things with coach (wearing a backpack)

His signature split leg ready position. (Far right)
Cool picture of the moon and evening star.
He is second from the left here, in the same stride position as above.
Second from the right also.
At the very end of the season I learned that their jerseys were reversible depending on if they were the "home" or "away" team!

 Fixitman usually had work so it was me and the younger siblings on the sidelines. I had two methods of keeping them happy during games. Playing on tablets and playing ball. They took turns with both.
Siblings playing on the tablet during the game.
Little Guy playing soccer during the football game.
His turn on the tablet.
Princess plays soccer.
 Friends were visiting when we went to one of his games and they came with us - it was while the weather was pleasant. We had fun putting Princess' bow on her daughters as well.
It perfectly matched her outfit!

She just thought it was a fun accessory to wear!

Look Mom, I dumped our water on myself!
  Soccer games were on Saturday mornings. It started to be cold or rainy on most Saturdays in October, making for extra fun. I did not take all of the kids after the first couple games because of the weather.

Trainboy is right in front of the umpire in yellow. He is participating in the coin flip to start the game.
After the first game and almost losing his glasses several times,we had to get him a strap to hold his glasses on!

He is on the left, closest to the camera

If only I had the side or front view here instead of the back!
Trainboy had some difficulties with weather or with injuries at some of the games in October. By injuries, I mean being struck with the ball in unpleasant places and it putting him in a horrible mood for the rest of the game. Despite this, he always said he had fun playing soccer and liked it much more than flag football.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

FHE Lesson - Priesthood Power

The priesthood is the power and authority of God given for the salvation and blessing of all - men, women, and children.- Elder Neil L. Andersen

Our next FHE lesson was by Dinoguy. He was incredibly awesome about planning it and took the responsibility seriously. After we were done planning, I noticed he had an article from the September Friend Magazine open called "I've Got This!" about planning a Family Home Evening lesson. I know he had prayed for help in choosing his topic and that he did his best to give us a great lesson. I appreciate that he allowed me to help some and feel useful though he clearly didn't need much help!

 He chose the talk by Elder Neil L Andersen called Power in the Priesthood as his theme. He told me he wanted to discuss the stories about the priesthood restorations, so I gave him the pictures in the gospel art book and helped him come up with a few questions to ask to facilitate this. He picked out a few quotes from the talk that he liked and we discussed them together beforehand about what they meant. I also helped him hand write them on papers to hand out since we were out of printer ink. Additionally we picked out a coloring page for the younger kids. (A great way to quickly find coloring and activity pages by theme is the website LDS Coloring Pages).

Dinoguy wanted one quote for every member of the family, which seemed like a good number and Little Guy likes getting to pass out the papers. Here are the quotes he chose:

We can live every hour “blessed by the strength of priesthood power,” whatever our circumstance.

The priesthood is the power and authority of God given for the salvation and blessing of all—men, women, and children.

A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings.

There are special blessings from God for every worthy person who is baptized, receives the Holy Ghost, and regularly partakes of the sacrament. The temple brings added light and strength, along with the promise of eternal life.

 As surely as we know that God’s love is “alike” for His sons and His daughters, we also know that He did not create men and women exactly the same. We know that gender is an essential characteristic of both our mortal and eternal identity and purpose. Sacred responsibilities are given to each gender.

“Deny not the gifts of God, for they are many. … And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh [them] all.” (Moroni 10:8)

We know that worthiness is central to performing and receiving priesthood ordinances.“The light of the body is the eye. … If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." (Matthew 6:22-23)

I really liked that he chose this topic on his own - he is 11 now and so we are in the last year before he is eligible to become a priesthood holder and I have been discussing with a friend the things we can do to teach our sons more about the priesthood and the responsibilities that come with it. I had mentioned this talk as a good resource to her and have been meaning to study it. Dinoguy presented me with a great opportunity by choosing it for his lesson!

Though it wasn't included in the lesson, one of my favorite quotes and things to study from the talk actually came from the footnotes: President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that it was the Lord, not man, ‘who designated that men in His Church should hold the priesthood’ and that it was also the Lord who endowed women with ‘capabilities to round out this great and marvelous organization, which is the Church and kingdom of God’ (“Women of the Church,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 70). When all is said and done, the Lord has not revealed why He has organized His Church as He has.”

This Monday was one of his last flag football game nights (which were supposed to be over a month ago but the weather has delayed them) so it was a late FHE evening. Fixitman brought him home from football and we sat down for the lesson immediately, hoping the little ones weren't too tired. Little Guy was already tired and not super cooperative as a result. But we made it through, discussing the priesthood restorations, the things we know about the priesthood from the talk and quotes and the blessings being available to all, independent of whether you hold the priesthood or not. We finished with the coloring pages he had picked and eating the delicious sugar cookies Trainboy had made as treats.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

October 2013 Preschool Themes and Activities

In October, I did not do as much every day with preschool as I had in September. But I did do some things. We had the following themes for Preschool activities: Apples, In the Kitchen, On the Farm and Halloween.


I planned more than we actually did, you can see some of the ideas on this pinterest board. The things we actually did were to taste different kinds of apples, make an apple pie from leftover apple slices, make apple jacks necklaces, make a letter A mini book, do apple print painting, read many apple books, make caramel apples and color apple pictures.We also made apple pie spice playdough, but not until the following week.

For the apple tasting, I made a sheet for identifying characteristics of the apples, so we could evaluate them. The kids were to decide if it was a crisp or soft apple, a tart or sweet apple, a juicy or dry apple and then rate them from favorite to least favorite. Since the classification was science-y, this was a great activity for everyone!
 Tasting the different kinds of apples was so much fun! . I had collected 14 different kinds of apples from 2 different grocery stores.
In using my apple cutter on the very first apple - the apple cutter broke. Oops. So it was back to using a knife the old fashioned way!
 So eating a slice of 14 kinds of apples can actually fill you up! We had leftover apples plenty to make into an apple pie.
In this photo, I had Princess line up the apples by color gradient, from darkest red to red/yellow to green. I didn't tell her yes or no on the color choices she made, it was interesting to see how she did it.
We enjoyed tasting the apples so much that the next day when friends came to visit, we did it again! I had bought at least 2 of each apple, not being sure how much I'd need - it turns out 1 of each apple was plenty but having extras made it possible for us to repeat the experiment which was lots of fun.
13 of the varieties. The Sweetango didn't quite make it in the frame.
 We had made necklaces previously with froot loops and it was a popular activity. Repeating it with apple jacks during apple week was an easy activity. This is a great one for helping with small object coordination since they thread them onto the needle and thread. You can use beads, but edible sugary cereal is so much more fun. I did buy some cheap large plastic needles for these activities, and then I just use yarn because I have so much of it.

Big brother wanted a sugar necklace too! He started making patterns at first but I think got impatient.
Mmm... tasty!
A picture of the two littles with their necklaces before they ate them.
Eating caramel apples. (Later in the month, but we still did it!) I bought the caramel apple kit at the store. Sheets of caramel you wrap around an apple and heat in the oven for a few minutes. I can do that!
I did not get a picture of apple print painting since I was busy supervising the painting. But I cut the apples in half sideways so that you could see the star inside and put out red, yellow and green paint on paper plates with some apples for each color, the goal being they would not get covered in paint but use one apple for each color print. Princess LOVED seeing the star in her print. Dinoguy enjoyed smearing his apple with paint around on his page but was intrigued when I showed him the print. I had them do the prints on large pieces of paper and figure we can use the paper as wrapping paper now if wanted.

There are tons of apple books at the library and we had fun reading many of them, from fiction stories like Apples to Oregon to non fiction about Johnny Appleseed and the basics of growing apples.


In The Kitchen

I don't think it is a secret I like to cook and bake. I try to have my kids join me in this also so they will learn the skills and enjoy food preparation. So a kitchen theme seemed easy and fun, perfect for very pregnant mommy. We could cook! We could do food experiments!We also made a mini book for the letter K, colored food pictures and read some great food themed books like The Little Red Hen, Stone Soup and Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?

The first thing we did is to make another batch of play dough and make homemade pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice to scent the dough this time. So we mixed in spices, coloring and glitter. You can't buy dough this awesome. It did smell fabulous, and I enjoyed playing with the kids with it more since it didn't just smell like play dough. I dived the dough into three colors and we had red apple pie, green apple pie and orange pumpkin pie.
Playing with apple pie spice playdough and pumpkin pie spice playdough.
Princess has the green apple dough here.

Little guy experiments with his orange dough.
One of the cool kitchen experiments I've been wanting to try for a while is the density jar of layers. Like this one or this one. What I learned is that it is harder than it looks to make! Some of our layers mixed and wouldn't separate, so it takes some skills to make them look as awesome as the pictures. But it was neat. However one suggested shaking and watching it separate again - ours never separated again. Oh well.
Our density jar and their pasta pictures.
I did not have penne pasta on hand like I thought so instead of making pasta necklaces, we glued elbow macaroni to stick figure outlines. Playing with glue is always fun!

Of course we baked cookies and muffins this week but I didn't even think to take pictures. That is just too common of an activity I guess. :)

One of the simplest activities that surprised me on how much the kids learned was freezing a small toy in ice and then melting it out. Both kids were genuinely concerned that their toy would melt also!

There were more things I wanted to do that we didn't do that week but that just means we can have more kitchen experiments in the future!

On The Farm

Honestly my reason for this weeks' theme was that we had a trip planned to a farm activity where the kids could see farm animals. I read them books about farm animals also this week but don't think we did much more than the field trip. There were other things happening like birthdays and Halloween prep. But I have great pictures from the field trip!

As in previous years, holding the baby chicks and sitting on the tractor were my kids' favorite things. Dinoguy wanted to pet all the animals while the rest weren't going near some of them. Goats sound more like what I expect from Sheep and the sheep sounds were kind of alarming. I learned about cold branding also which turns the horse hair white. That was interesting.


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