Saturday, November 30, 2013

FHE Lesson - Small and Simple Things

LOVE this picture so much.
Our next Family Home Evening lesson (FHE) was taught by my wonderful husband, Fixitman. Despite his very busy schedule as a PhD candidate and teacher he has made sure to be home for FHE every Monday evening. I know he is super tired and probably just wants to eat something and go to bed when he gets home but he is an active participant and parent instead. What an awesome dad!

Fixitman chose to use the talk by Arnulfo Valenzuela entitled Small and Simple Things. This week because I was about to have a baby, we also had some dear friends visiting who have three small children. So FHE had seven kids!

First Fixitman talked about the story of visiting the MTC in Mexico and meeting all the new missionaries. Then he discussed the story of the guy who just wanted a hug (or abrazo) and was willing to come back to church. He explained to the kids (with many interruptions, including Princess trying to make herself throw up in the bathroom) that often times, people just need a little love or a simple act of kindness to help bring them to the gospel.

Then he asked if the kids knew the story of Naaman from the bible and both of our older boys raised their hands eagerly. They got thru the story with a little bit of help and we discussed how the Lord often performs miracles through simple means and doesn't need big showy productions. He finished by sharing his testimony of this.

While talking on the phone to me earlier, Fixitman had asked me to look for a coloring page for the kids, and I found one of a child sharing the Friend magazine with another child that worked well for the idea of simple ways to share the gospel. So after the lesson I gave each child a coloring page. Usually our kids love coloring, today I think two of them actually did some coloring. Two of them folded the paper up into various shapes and the others simply ignored the paper and moved on to the dessert treat. I think all of the parents were ready for bed after this so we counted the coloring page as the activity and started bedtime afterward!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude and Thankful List 2013

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I love food, family, and gratitude. I love making delicious food and eating delicious food. I love spending time with family making memories! I also love being grateful. A grateful heart is a happy heart. I have learned that when I fill my life with gratitude everything seems better.

With that in mind, I am sharing a list of some things I am grateful for this year. It's going to be sentimental, so don't read if you aren't in that kind of mood right now.

1. My wonderful husband and children. I have the best husband in the world for me. He is supportive and loving and caring and wonderful. I also have wonderful amazing children that I feel honored to be trusted with in raising.

2. The ability to visit family and have family visit. Modern means of swift travel are amazing! I am so glad we have gotten to see so much of our extended family this year! Those we haven't seen, I hope we see you soon!

3. My amazing body that is no longer swollen and pregnant. It is amazing because I was able to grow a baby, give birth to a baby and now I am quickly recovering. What a miracle and blessing our bodies are!

4. Supportive wonderful friends near and far. I am a lucky girl with so many caring wonderful women around me that bless me with their love and friendship.

5. Hot water and running water. I absolutely love the luxury of a hot shower or warm bath and they are so easily available to me. It is a miracle every time.

6. All the firewood my dear husband chopped that helps heat our home and keep our heating bill low when it is cold outside. We were blessed to get access to the wood for free and then that he is strong and able to chop it for our use. It smells fabulous too.

7. The knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that my Heavenly Father loves me. Knowledge of the purpose of life on earth. What a blessing this knowledge is to me! I am starting to really love reading the scriptures too.

8. Chocolate and other food. I love chocolate, it is so tasty! But I am also so grateful to live in a land of plenty where my family has never had lack of food. I also love fresh pineapple, grapefruit, apples, cheese and bacon. Yum.

9. Freedom to have opinions that are different. Freedom to worship God in my own way. The privilege and responsibility of voting for our government leaders. Freedom to work toward changing and improving my life and that of others on things that are important to me.

10. Work for my husband and myself. The blessing of plenty of work to do and the ability to work. My husband has a job that keeps him busy, pays him and he likes it! This is a huge blessing. I have two small part time jobs that pay money and then one large full time job as a mother and home executive that is much harder but pays in much higher dividends. Our life is busy and happy.

Well, that's enough time spent on that. I know I could make a very long list of all sorts of things but thinking about these is a good start. Happy Thanksgiving!

September 2013 Visitors

In September we were all excited when some special visitors arrived all the way from Idaho! From getting to eat at a buffet (a big highlight for a 10 year old boy) to Fixitman taking his parents to campus to show them around and to attend the class he teaches, everyone LOVED having our visitors.


This dog is named Lady Reveille. She is the official mascot of A&M and First Lady. If she barks in your class, class is dismissed. After being assured she doesn't really bark ever, Fixitman invited her to class with his parents. She barked 10 minutes into class. 

After a fabulous visit, I realized we hadn't really taken any pictures! So before they were allowed to leave, I insisted on taking some pictures for memory sake. They were good sports about it though I'm sure they wanted to get going on their drive and our kids were being silly. It'll be nice for the kids to see the pictures though and remember the visit.


  

Grandma and Grandpa, come visit anytime! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

FHE Lesson - The Strength to Endure

Our Next Family Home Evening (FHE) lesson was scheduled to be given by Little Guy who had just turned 3! I was not sure how best to involve him so that he felt ownership over the lesson but it was still following our General Conference theme since previously when it has been his turn, we just have him share a scripture story or I've just done it for him. So really this was a challenge for me to more actively involve my youngest son in sharing the gospel with our family.

I pulled out my list of short quotes from each speaker at General Conference and read a few to him, asking him if there was one he liked the best. After some deliberation, he picked the quote from Elder Richard J Maynes that seemed to be about the gospel fundamentals. "We need to study and learn the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then we must do our very best to live them." Great! Sounds like a good lesson for a young kid right? Let's talk about what the fundamental principles of the gospel are! Well it turns out there was a bit more to it - Elder Maynes' talk was entitled "The Strength to Endure" and the fundamentals of the gospel are what give us that strength to endure. As I read and studied the talk, I realized that this lesson was a message that I needed to hear right then. At 39 weeks pregnant I was begging the baby to just come already and I might have been a bit TIRED of being pregnant. I just wanted to be done.

I read the talk and highlighted quotes and things that stood out to me on Sunday but I still wasn't sure how to organize it so that Little Guy was mostly in charge. I prayed for inspiration and guidance over the next day and sat down Monday afternoon hoping I could come up with a decent plan after a day of letting the thoughts percolate in my mind. I really believe the spirit guided me to exactly what to write down at this point because a clear plan came out on my paper quite quickly. Putting it together took longer thanks to computer difficulties but I knew how to make it happen!

Our plan:

Open with Little Guy asking questions: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Next: What will you need to do to do that?

Share story from Elder Maynes about getting into shape after his mission for basketball and how it took dedication, perseverance and self discipline.

Have Little Guy choose someone to read a quote and hand them the paper with the following quote:

" A testimony, like your body, needs to be in shape if you want to endure. So how do we keep our testimonies in shape? We cannot get our bodies into good basketball shape by simply watching basketball on television. Similarly, we won't be able to get our testimonies in shape by simply watching general conference on television. We need to study and learn the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then we must do our very best to live them. That is how we become disciples of Jesus Christ, and that is how we build an enduring testimony."

Next question: Do you know what it means to have dedication, perseverance and self-discipline? 

Have Little Guy hand out papers with matching word to definition and pencils to everyone. Give everyone time to figure it out and then go over definitions.

Next have Little Guy hand out quote about choice:

"Heavenly Father has organized our journey through life to be a test of our character. We are exposed to both good and evil influences and then given the moral agency to choose for ourselves which path we will take. As the ancient Book of Mormon prophet Samuel taught, "Ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free." (Helaman 14:30)

Point out that it is our choice to choose to strengthen our testimonies and be able to endure. Share testimony that I believe it is the way to happiness.

Have Little Guy hand out last paper to everyone, for drawings about the fourth article of faith. It is a simple paper where everyone can draw an illustration each for Faith in Jesus, Repentance, Baptism and the Holy Ghost. Share belief that the gospel is simple and basic and these are the first principles to understand. End.

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End of Lesson report: Having Little Guy hand things out and ask questions went fabulous. He really liked being the center of attention, asking the questions and having the important job of passing out paper. Telling the story about basketball training was the big hiccup because he wanted to tell the story. I should have had pictures for him to hold while I told the story, even though it was a short one or I should have tried to teach it to him to tell in his own words. We made it through taking turns telling a story (his involved a chicken crossing the road I think) and the lesson went well overall. I think the main points of the talk came through for the kids but the biggest reason I think it was a success is that I chose to involve my son in giving it and I have learned more personally that they really aren't too young to actively participate, even though sometimes they are little terrors. 

We finished the evening with chocolate pudding and a game of Sequence which is a fabulous family game that even 2-3 year olds can fully participate in. It felt like a fabulous family night!

I am already really grateful for this exercise of making the general conference talks the themes of our FHE lessons. I have learned so much about teaching my kids the gospel just in trying to help them with lesson prep and in studying the talks with FHE in mind, more than I ever have before studying the talks on my own. I do believe I am being guided and gently taught by the Holy Spirit how to be a better mother through this process. I hope you are enjoying reading about our lessons and perhaps feeling inspired to try sharing some thoughts from General Conference with your family.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Preschool themes and activities in September 2013


The first week of home preschool, we used the theme All About Me to discuss our bodies and families. Our activities included measuring height using rulers and other objects like megabloks,  making footprints and handprints with paint (Little Guy refused this one!), making a drawing of our family tree, playing find that body part, singing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, making bean people, painting a wooden initial letter of our name, sorting googly eyes by size, and playing body part bingo.

The family tree was entertaining, initially I wanted to include all their cousins, but that turned into a reeealllly long chart even when they were all squished together so we opted for immediate family and grandparents only instead. Princess LOVED coloring a real tree outline around the bubbled names I drew. This activity went really well with one of the books I checked out of the library called All About Me or something like that which discussed families.

A fuzzy picture of our Family Tree we made. Yes, I included our future baby in the kiddies.
Another fabulous book I checked out this week was Hands are not for Hitting. It made an impression on the kids and the physical violence that siblings dish out to one another regularly definitely took a dive for the next week or two. I had them repeating the phrase even when others were hitting. That was nice. Sadly it was just a phase.
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In September, the Preschool themes we used were Weather, By the Sea and In The Woods. For each topic I first looked at what other preschools had done using blogs and pinterest and then also looked at what appropriate books were available at the library (if I made it there).

Weather
 We read books we had at home about the moon, the seasons, clouds and the water cycle in addition to whatever books the kids wanted. I didn't really get to the library before this topic so I didn't even get to look for some of the other great books I was considering. I decided this was okay, we still read books every day!

Our weather activities included making clouds in a jar and letting it rain and making tornados in bottles. We also tried out cloud nomenclature cards for identifying some types of clouds.
 This is the second time we made "clouds". The first time we didn't use enough shaving cream and the color went thru immediately. This time, Little Guy's cloud had too much shaving cream and the food coloring never "rained" thru to the water underneath. But Princess' cloud worked well, and you could watch the food coloring come out the bottom of the cloud and drip into the water.
I didn't take any pictures of the tornado bottles apparently, but they were a big hit. The tornado was pretty faint to see for us though.

Princess liked the cloud nomenclature cards alright. We matched the pictures up to their names. It felt too much like a school exercise to me though and I'm not sure that more nomenclature cards will appear in our preschool time.

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By The Sea
We read books about many types of sea creatures this week, including jellyfish, starfish, hermit crabs, and sharks. Originally I wanted to go to the beach during this week but I didn't have the energy or time for it. We still had a lot of fun.

This is from the book A Home for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle. We used pattern blocks to recreate his shell and friends.
I bought a bag of play sand at the home improvement store for less than $3 to refill the sand box in our yard and the kids spent hours several days in a row playing in it, especially after I introduced the game of "buried treasure" where you bury some small toys and then search for them.


We also made paperbag jellyfish, colored rice starfish and wave bottles this week. The paperbag jellyfish were easy and fun, as were the starfish.. Princess and Little Guy played with them for weeks too! The wave bottles are not as fun without little things to put in them I think, but they were interesting for the kids to see the water/oil interaction and how it was like waves. I also attempted homemade playdough and it turned out nicely! I colored it blue, yellow and white for water, sand and clouds. We played with shells and toothpicks in it to make anenomes, jelly fish and shell imprints. Here is the awesome recipe for playdough that I found worked really well.
Painting Jellyfish bags
I had hoped to go to the beach at the end of this week but I was too tired and it didn't work in the schedule. We did create some fun treats (jello with gummy fish, teddy bears floating in life savers) and have a good time overall, though I definitely over planned.  Here was my pinterest board of ideas.
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In The Woods

For this week we read books about raccoons, vultures, birds, owls, bears and other animals you might find in the woods. We also read One Small Square: Woods and used it as a basis for outdoor hikes in the woods in our back yard. We found tiny spiderwebs, little cactii, heard bird calls and lots of different kinds of leaves. Since our dog was following us and there was LOTS of noise, there wasn't much chance of seeing any other creatures, but it was a lot of fun for the kids anyway. I didn't take lots of pictures this week however. 
Princess was happy to give the grocery store mascot "5". Most of the other kids were terrified.

Free cookies!
We also took a field trip this week to the grocery store with other toddlers and preschoolers from our Music Makers group of friends. Every week we try to go to a free music makers class that is done by moms in the area and is pretty fun. It involves lots of singing of kids songs and rhymes, a parade with instruments, parachutes with balls and story time. It is exhausting to me but so rewarding to the little kids as they sing the songs all the time that I think it is worth it. The field trip was entertaining as Princess warmed up to the guide and started telling her all sorts of interesting things. It was themed around healthy foods and the kids each chose a fruit and vegetable and were given them as well as a gift bag with trinkets and coloring pages. 

Well there is a quick summary of some of the preschool activities we had in September! I learned a lot about my own style for preschool this month and also how much to plan and I think Princess and Little Guy really enjoyed themselves.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Beginning of a new homeschool year! (August 2013)

So the public school here officially begins the last week in August. Just for fun we went ahead and started up our homeschooling again that same week.We aren't following their calendar in any other way, but since the other kids at church are getting all excited about the start of the new school year, I hope it helps my kids relate a little bit to them saying we are "starting" also.

This year I have Dinoguy who is equivalent to a fifth grader in public school and Trainboy is equivalent to a third grader. We don't necessarily feel a need to follow the labels or curricula of the public schools but it is convenient again for them to be able to relate to other children to know where they would be if they attended. Princess is still four, so she is not even Kindergarten age, though she is taller than most first graders. This would be her official "pre-k" year. During our outside break around lunch time, I took "first day" pictures of the kids to document how they looked.


As I am pregnant and due to have a baby in November, I decided not to participate in a preschool cooperative this year with Princess. I have done so for the past two years and it has been fun, but since we moved out to the country it has involved a lot more driving and planning than I felt I could commit to this year. I felt this meant I needed to make a bigger effort to do more home preschool based stuff with her this year. With a lot of reading and idea seeking, I developed a plan for a weekly topic theme for activities, crafts, books and some learning. My personal opinions involve less formal learning at a young age and more experiential learning so while I wanted her to develop more familiarity with alphabet letters, I didn't want to do many worksheets or sit down learning beyond being read to from MANY books. I did however decide to make a large calendar board.
Over the summer Princess had become very fascinated by calendars in counting down to my sister's wedding. Making a giant changeable calendar where we could talk about the month, the date, yesterday, tomorrow, the weather, and even the moon cycle seemed like a great idea. Since I was also looking for a way to try and discuss scripture stories with my older boys as well, I decided to try and begin each day with our own version of "circle time". The plan was to do the calendar time, read a scripture story from the Old Testament stories reader and possibly sing a song with all the kids before the older boys formally began their own independent work and I did some activities with my two littles. Princess LOVED the calendar. I have really enjoyed learning about the moon cycle!

The circle time and then splitting into two groups worked fairly well except my older boys, (especially Trainboy) were frequently distracted by whatever I was doing with the littles and wanted to either join in the activity or listen. I hadn't anticipated this happening at all and still haven't figured out what to do about it. Things have to happen simultaneously to some degree, there just aren't enough hours in the day otherwise. I know because I have tried scheduling it multiple ways on paper!

Our first preschool week theme was "All about me". I relied heavily on other blogs that I liked to start my idea process, then turned to pinterest for additional ideas and then finished with some books I have on hand as reference. I tried to have 1-2 activities each day as well as some sort of art/craft thing to do because Princess LOVES them. I also tried to read a bunch of books to them. I was also exploring some of the Montessori concepts and how they might work for us.
Princess and Little Guy made towers as tall as themselves to see their height visually.

Gluing beans to stick figure drawings.
Painting a wooden letter "V" and "Z" for their names.
The hardest part is making time for the preparation. When you buy curricula that require no thought, well, you just open and do it! When you are creating your own, it takes a lot more time and effort. However then it is customized to your child's needs! There has to be a balance though since I do not have endless amounts of time. For the first month of schooling, I was trying to do all my work in the evening or on the weekend. Unfortunately, September is a very busy month for my job and this was not working well for me since I had to work most of Saturday and we had other things to do as well! The best time for me to work is early morning but I can't seem to get up early without waking the kids.

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What is the school plan for Dinoguy this year?
 Mostly Independent work. At this point, Dinoguy is pretty self motivated to learn and he can do a lot on his own. Here is a list of topics he is studying this year.
Math Mammoth 5. He had already started this over the summer, so we will keep working through it. Attending the local university Math Circle each Saturday has really built his confidence in mathematics and he wants to complete the whole workbook early this year and work on level 6 as well. I told him he can set his own pace here. Also, I believe this is one of the best math programs on the market right now in addition to how affordable it is. Friday is real life math day which usually involves him cooking or baking something delicious in the kitchen for me. Love it.
MCP Word Study E and MCP Spelling E. While he reads and writes at an appropriate level, I do not believe spelling or phonics study should end. I did diagnostic testing and he is doing great, the word study book is a continuation of the phonics, its just called Word Study now. I ask him to do a page a day in this, which will take approximately all year.
First Language Lessons 4. This is our grammar text, we completed book 3 last year and are continuing in book 4. I love the thorough basis in grammar my kids are getting from this texts.
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. 2 days a week he spends 15-20 minutes with this program. He is at about 15 wpm right now so we're doing alright.
Writing with Skill Level 1. This is very different from Writing with Ease because it is done by the student and then checked by the instructor. He has been doing well with it.
The Complete Book of Maps & Geography. He is more than halfway through this book, so at a page a day, we should finish some time this year.
Discovering Old Testament. I am still using the "younger kid" workbook version with him this year even though he is older because I think he needs a relaxed, become familiar with the scripture stories approach, not as much an in depth study yet. He believes he knows it all, and this hopefully will just help fill in holes and gaps. We have previously completed the New Testament and Book of Mormon workbooks from this author and think they are pretty great.
Latina Christiana I. The workbook and review work he does on his own, though I try to discuss it with him beforehand to introduce grammar concepts and new vocabulary.
Getting Started With Spanish. This is a leisurely paced basic beginner Spanish workbook which he can read a short lesson and then I can review with him. I was planning he'd do this with Duolingo practice, but they aren't being cooperative (it refuses to let him advance beyond lesson 1)
Science For science this year, Dinoguy is choosing experiments from Janice Van Cleave's Biology for Every Kid for now. He is also reading and learning from a book we have called Human Body. We created Science Experiment Notebooks and he is to do a write up each week for me on his experiment and what he learned. The first while we are focusing on Human Biology but after that we are going to focus more on Animals and other creatures using The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia.
History. Dinoguy is writing a basic outline of 2 page spreads from The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia based in the Renaissance period right now. He then looks up additional books on a topic that interests him from that two page spread and we search for original documents to examine on the internet as well. I also have him label a map from new countries comparing older and modern boundaries. We got the National Geographic Family Atlas of the World and Uncle Josh's Outline Map Book for this. This is partially independent and partially requiring mom's help. He really seems to be enjoying this approach to history.
Violin and Piano. Dinoguy is still taking Violin lessons from a local teacher and Piano lessons from me. He enjoys music and regularly practices.
Music Appreciation. I am attempting to have us listen to Exploring Music on the radio at least once a week or to listen to a musical piece related to the history we are learning about so we can discuss music history as well.
Art. Dinoguy chose sculpture, water color and drawing as the topics for art this year. We have started with some clay work and will focus on learning basic clay sculpting for a while. This is about once a week. Ideally I also have them read about an artist from the history time period they are learning about too. Dinoguy loved learning about Van Gogh while learning about the Netherlands for example.
Flag Football and other sports. We registered him for community flag football again this fall and he is constantly discussing what sports he plans to do in the future. Basketball again? Baseball? Swimming or track? He is an active kid!

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What is the plan for Trainboy this year?
Trainboy is also doing more independent work, but he needs more guidance and help in developing the skills of working independently and setting goals. His school plan this year consists of the following.
Math Mammoth 3. I hope he will finish the 5th and 6th books of Miquon Math but he seems to prefer the switch to the Math Mammoth workbook right now so I am letting him. I have had to discuss pacing and goals with him in this. He understands the concepts easily but this text is aimed at third grade which is a time to develop proficiency in the arithmetic algorithm and basic multiplication tables which requires practice and some repetition. He is not a fan of this! Some days he spends hours on his math which can be frustrating for me since I know he is capable of completing it in minutes. However, since I work as a math tutor and deal all the time with kids who haven't learned the basics and the trouble it makes for them later on, I continue to help him work on developing his own proficiency.
MCP Phonics C and MCP Spelling C. He has already started this books and will continue in them. Like Dinoguy, I do not consider the ability to read fluently an excuse to not continue learning phonics and spelling concepts. I like these simple workbooks they can spend a few minutes on each day and learn to recognize spelling patterns and phonetic concepts usually without much fuss.
First Language Lessons 3. Our grammar book we work through 2-3 lessons together each week. Trainboy has started learning to diagram sentences and it warms the cockles of my grammar fearing heart to see him do it easily.
Writing with Ease Book 3. This is the writing book in the series he has reached. We are experiencing many of the difficulties his brother had with this book, expanding his memory skills for dictation and really learning the skill of summarizing and narrating.
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. 2 days a week he spends 15-20 minutes with this program. He is at about 10 wpm right now.
Discovering Old Testament. This is easy for him, he often does all of the pages I ask him to do for the week on Monday.
Prima Latina. Since brother started Latin in third grade, Trainboy gets too also and is thrilled. The difference is I have some confidence in helping with it now. It is going quite well.
Science For science this year, Trainboy is picking out experiments from Janice Van Cleave's Chemistry for Every Kid book and using the Usborne First Encyclopedia of Science and a book called How Science Works as reference. He is to do a write up in his science notebook each week on at least one experiment about the experiment and what he learned.
History We are reading Story of the World book 3 about the renaissance for history. We do maps and summaries from each chapter and he chooses some extra books at the library to read and activities from the activity guide. Ideally we finish with the chapter test to see how much info he picked up/retained.
Piano. Trainboy has elected to only study piano for music. He says he prefers it to violin. I miss having two violinists but I am going to respect his choice.
Music Appreciation. I am attempting to have us listen to Exploring Music on the radio at least once a week or to listen to a musical piece related to the history we are learning about so we can discuss music history as well.
Art. His brother chose sculpture, water color and drawing as the topics for art this year and Trainboy was fine with that. Trainboy has really liked the clay work and I have enjoyed it a lot too.
Soccer. Trainboy chose to do soccer this fall, choosing a different sport from his big brother for the first time. He also discusses what sports he might choose next. 

Well there you have info about what we are up to right now in learning!  I haven't included Reading specific books as a topic right now because we have so many other things we are studying going on right now. We did do that for a while this past spring and it was interesting. Both boys are voracious readers so I am not worrying about it too much right now. There is time in the future for more literary discussion.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

End of August 2013 activities including a football game

When we returned home from our trip in August there was plenty to keep us busy! The upcoming start of school for example had me busy. But that's another post. Here are some non school related pictures and thoughts from August.

Stand in a row for a picture!
Little Guy tends to look at everyone else in the photo instead of the camera.

Here he is in his new size 3T clothes and new "race car shoes"!

Looking awesome and choosing to wear a tie to church!

Dinoguy says he is wearing a sombrero. It is a frisbee.

Princess let me trim her hair! I did alright! She loved vacuuming up the hair afterward!

Demanding a picture also!
Highlight of the end of August was when we were able to take the three oldest to an Aggie football game thanks to some friends. Little Guy was deemed too young to enjoy the game so he spent the day with a friend and had a blast also. He was passed out asleep when I went to pick him up and had enjoyed lots of fun.
I love her giant sunglasses and hat look here.


Experiencing the Aggie traditions like the war hymn and cheers was awesome.

This kid was busy watching football and annoyed by all my picture attempts.





After the game on the field, you can see my belly is starting to be large.

With dad also!
Since it was still August, it was HOT. Over 100 degrees without the heat index and the first half of the game we were in direct sun. Every slight breeze or cloud that came was much loved. We drank a ton of water and asked the kids to wear hats and sunscreen. Even so, Princess took a break to eat ice cream in the shade with dad for most of the 2nd quarter.

The half time show by the band was really fun to see. They did a great job and thankfully we had shadow overhang shade for the rest of the game! Even though Johnny Football was playing in the second half, the first half had been the more exciting part of the game IMO. We made it through to the end and enjoyed seeing the Aggies victorious. Almost as much as the kids liked finding an unopened giant bag of kettle corn and making sure we had a full set of souvenir cups to take home.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

FHE Lesson - Finish the Race - President Monson

Family Home Evening last week had my four year old daughter Princess in charge of the lesson. I asked her which Apostle or church leader she would like to use for her lesson and she immediately chose President Monson. This was fine with me because I already had a blueprint to use for this lesson thanks to Tracie's post at "We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ!

My goal with my older kids is to have them study the words of the Apostles and guide them in developing a lesson. But my younger two kids who can't read need more help! I printed off a copy of the talk to read and study for myself, but I also printed off Tracie's lesson plan because it sounded age appropriate. My daughter told me we needed a coloring page, so I started searching for a coloring page having to do with running a race. I finally found a fairly appropriate one on page 37 (page 39 in the PDF) of the August 2007 Friend magazine. Then Princess and I sat down to piece together her lesson.

Here is our plan: (Very similar to Tracie's!)

Note: We talked through the lesson together twice, but during FHE I sat next to her and helped by whispering the questions to Princess that she should ask. 

Open with questions: "Are you excited when you run a race?" "What do you do if you fall down during the race?"

Show picture of President Monson and his wife, Frances. Ask questions: "Did you know President Monson's wife died this year?" "Do you think he is sad?" "Is it probably hard to do his work sometimes?"

Explain that President Monson talked about finishing the race in his general conference talk this year. He also shared the story of Job. Watch Old Testament Story of Job video. (Chapter 46).

Ask questions: "Did Job falter or finish?" "Did Job trust in his friends or in Jesus?" "How can we be like Job?"

Let's listen to President Monson for a minute. Watch last three paragraphs of talk starting at 15:25-18:00 “Only the Master knows . . .”

Color picture of kids running long race. (page 39 in PDF file)

Finish up by sharing testimony about trusting in the Lord to help us in our trials. Share quote: "We learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass." Display quote on wall in kitchen this week.
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Side note: While preparing this lesson with my dear daughter, it struck me how perfect of a topic it was for her since we have been dealing with her throwing tantrums lately when things don't go her way. It was enlightening to talk through it with her individually and watch her think about falling down in a race. Her initial answer was that you throw the tantrum because you are hurt and you don't get up. (Hmm, I've experienced that limp body response from her!) She even became a little whiny at that point. But then we read the story of Job in our Old Testament reader and talked about how we can get up when we fall down and keep trying and things will get better. We talked about how bad things happen sometimes no matter what but we can trust in Jesus to help us. She really seemed to take the message to heart.

Before dinner I was queuing up the video of President Monson for the end of the lesson. Princess saw the video and asked if she could listen to him talk. She came running to tell me a few minutes later that she heard him talking about Job! She was super excited!

Post lesson report: It went pretty well! Little Guy was a terror most of the time running around the living room but her big brothers and Dad listened nicely and Princess was very excited to be giving the lesson so we all just ignored Little Guy as much as possible. Watching the Old Testament story video of Job went really well and the hidden picture search on the kids running a race was something they all enjoyed doing a lot. We finished with a game of Uno and small bowls of ice cream (world's easiest FHE treat). I think it was a successful night of Family Home Evening!

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