Family Night Friday-October Plan

So I decided that the best way for us to help us stick with a weekly family night was to try to plan each month in advance. Over the past few days I looked through books that we had, ideas I had printed from some of my online resources that I shared last time, and did some more internet research. Since October is the month of pumpkins, fall leaves, apple cider and Halloween it was pretty easy to come up with my plan. So here is our Family Night Plan for October.

1) Booing: In our neighborhood the Boo ghost makes it’s way around to each house every year. So, after we have been boo’d we will spend one of our family nights putting together Boo baskets for two of our neighbors. Before hand I will need to pick up little things (we usually grab them at the Dollar store or the Dollar Spot at Target) to put in the baskets. I thought this year we could also bake some Halloween cookies to bag up and include in our baskets. We will then deliver the baskets to the neighbors we have chosen (Brianna gets to choose one and then Jonah chooses the other- we ring the doorbell and then run away. It’s super fun!!) Then we’ll come home and eat cookies, drink hot apple cider and watch a Halloween themed movie, maybe Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin or one of the Casper movies.  I can’t assign a date to this family night. It will be done during the week after we get boo’d.

2) Spookley the Square Pumpkin: Dare to be Square: I found this lesson last year over at, another great site for Family Night inspiration. The movie is adorable and it teaches a great lesson. I thought we would watch the movie and then use the discussion questions provided to talk about the movie. We used this last year, but the kids are older now and I think ready for a better conversation. October is also National Bullying Prevention Month. Even children our kids ages can learn about bullying and how to stop it, and this movie is a great aide in that. Instead of the suggested activity of coloring the Spookley coloring pages I thought we would decorate pumpkins. Instead of carving them, which really turns into daddy carving and the rest of us watching I thought I would order these foam pumpkin stickers from Oriental Trading. The pumpkins will last longer if they aren’t hallowed and carved, and the kids can design their own pumpkin face. Then for dessert, we have, what else? Pumpkin pie!!! Yum!

3) I want to do an evening where we talk about what All Hallow’s Eve/All Saint’s/All Soul’s Day is all about. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to do that yet but I will post a plan once I have one. I’m doing lots of research but haven’t found anything that screams out to me yet.

4) Finally I want to do a night on Halloween/Trick or Treating Safety. I found a really cute lesson last year involving ghosts and the rules of Trick or Treating, and it had a little board game to go along with it. I wrote the website on the page after I printed it, but it’s not coming up anymore 😦  So I’ll share it more with you when we do it, which will be the week leading up to Halloween/Trick or Treating. We’ll review the safety rules the day of as well in order to reinforce them.

So that’s our Family Night plan for the month of October. My goal now is that each Friday  I will share pictures, a lesson plan (if there is one), activity directions, dessert suggestions, and other various tips. Then you can decide if it’s something you might want to do with your own family. Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll be back on Sunday with my next Communion of Saints post! You can view my first one here in case you missed it!


We have done some really fun stuff lately, but I can’t find my camera to post the pictures 😦  And the pictures are half the fun for me! So I am on a search today to locate my camera so that I can catch you up on all the happenings around here. I’m working on tomorrow’s post for Family Night Friday. Can’t wait to share with you my plans for Family Night for the whole month of October. Maybe you’ll join me? I hope you will! So until tomorrow, or until I find my camera, which hopefully will be sooner than tomorrow!!!

Family Night Friday

So life went crazy about the time I came up with my wonderful ideas to renovate my little blog! I think things have settled down a little bit so here’s to getting back to business!

Growing up Mormon having a regular family home evening was strongly encouraged. There were many reasons that it was encouraged. says that “Family home evening is a special time set aside each week that brings family members together and strengthens their love for each other, helps them draw closer to Heavenly Father, and encourages them to live righteously.” Family Home Evening could range from having a lesson about a scripture story or value we needed to work on living. It could be a night of family games. It could be snuggling on the couch, eating popcorn and watching a good family movie. It could be going out to play putt-putt, going to the beach, take a bike ride, anything really that draws the family together and has them spending time having fun and learning together.

Steven and I knew that we wanted to have family night with our family, but we haven’t been great about it! We did really good for a while and then, it totally fizzled! Well, I’d like to get back! I think it fizzled for me because I tried to have these big lessons, etc planned for each week. Sometimes we just need to step back and have fun. I forget how much learning can occur when we’re just having fun together! We have done some really fun things for family night. Like camping in the living room. We did a lesson on listening (one we clearly need to do again! lol!!!)  In the fall we’ve done a family night based around “Spookly the Square Pumpkin” and how it’s OK to be different…often being different is a very good thing. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything FHE based…I guess it’s time to get back to it!

So, one of my goals is that every Friday I will share what we have done the previous week for family night. I’ll have pictures, a lesson plan to share (if there was one), directions for the activity or craft we did (again, if there is one), a recipe for a fun dessert (well, ok…if there is one! lol) so that you can recreate it if you want to with your family. I like to play around with seasons and holidays so a lot of the family night ideas coming up soon will have a season or holiday theme to them. Hopefully we will complete them early enough for you to be able to do them too! If you are having family night with your family I’d love to see what you are doing too! You can never have too many ideas! Please leave me a link to your blog so that I can check out what you are doing to draw your family closer!

I wanted to end by sharing a couple of websites that might prove helpful in planning your family nights. Some of them are written by members of the Mormon church, but if you are not Mormon don’t let that stop you from using their ideas. You might have to do more searches for Bible verses that apply instead of using Book of Mormon verses. Some of the topics might not apply (General Conference or Follow the Prophet) but a lot of the information is good and can be a great jumping off point until you build the confidence to come up with your own ideas (shoot-I still use them often!) Some of the sites are Catholic, but again don’t think that just because you aren’t Catholic you can’t use some of their ideas as a jumping off point to create your own! These are creative people!! Take advantage of their generosity!!!

* Family Home Evenings

* The Family Home Evening Spot

* A Year of Family Home Evening 

* Sugardoodle 

* Catholic Icing-Mainly craft, game and food ideas

* The Catholic Toolbox– lesson plans, games, coloring pages

* Catholic Mom– coloring pages, lesson plans, great Lenten activities

So there are a few of my resources. If you know of others please share!! Have a great weekend everybody!

 I am so excited to be joining in with Sarah over at In Light of the Truth for her Monday Meanderings. I am hoping that this will help me be more organized around the house, and will encourage me take time in other areas of my life where my attention might be lacking. If you like what you see I encourage you to head over to Sarah’s blog and consider joining in also!
Bible Study… This week, in light of the retreat that I will be a part of giving Saturday and Sunday at my Parish I decided to do a word study on renewal. So with the help of online concordances I will be studying what the bible says about renewing our spirit and ourselves. I feel it’s a great way to lead up to our retreat!

Memory Verse… Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”


Husband Encouragement… 1) Keep the bedroom and bathroom tidy so he has a place to relax at night after a long day at work.
2) Speak to him with a spirit of patience and love, even when he’s annoying me! 
3) Make sure all of his jeans are washed for jeans days at work this week.

Train Them Up… Brianna: 1) work on her night prayers before bed.   2) work on her attitude…she is getting to be downright nasty to her brothers and parents and it’s not making me happy.   3) work on cleaning her room before bed each night.

Jonah: 1) work on limiting TV time during the day while Brianna is at school. Maybe starting a token system (each token is worth 15 or 30 minutes of TV/Computer time)   2) work on keeping playroom clean   3) work on his night prayers before bed.
Micah: 1) work on limiting his TV tine (this will be easy to do if I’m working with Jonah also!)   2) start potty training…sitting on the potty every time we change a diaper.   3) work on helping Jonah and mommy keep the playroom clean.

Personal Goals… This week is so busy with getting ready for the retreat…I think I’ll start with personal goals next week when I won’t be setting myself up for failure! lol

New Habit of the Month… Since one of my husband encouragments is to keep the bedroom and bathroom tidy for him my habit this month will be to keep the surfaces (dresser tops, counters, bedside tables) clear and clutter free! To do this, each time I enter the room or bathroom before I leave I will look around at those surfaces. If something is on them that doesn’t belong…put it away immediately!

MUST Do… 1) Print up “Thy Word” lyric sheets and put in retreat folders.
2) create worship time slide show for retreat with music and lyrics.
3) make CDs for the retreat of all of the songs used in the witnesses.
4) shop with Steven for the rest of the supplies that we need (there’s not much)
5) write my HELP letters to the recipients and fellow team members.
6) call dentist and make final payment for my dental work earlier this year.
7) go to the bank and sign the signature card for the household account my mom set up so that I can set up automatic bill payments for each of our monthly/quarterly household bills.
8) Teach Baptism prep on Tuesday.

Zone… Since this week is going to be so crazy busy (we have meetings and errands to do all week) I’m going to cut myself a break here this week and just try to keep my head above water!

Menu – (I haven’t had a chance to work on this yet so once I get to look in my freezer, pantry and at this week’s sale ads I will come back and post it!)
Thursday: Brianna has dance until 6…pizza night!!
Friday: mom’s day
Saturday: dinner for me on the retreat…Steven and the kids at his dad’s for his grandma’s birthday!
Sunday: mom’s day

FUN THINGS! MY RETREAT this weekend! I can’t wait!!! We’ve been preparing for this for almost 18 months now and we are so ready! We have 18 women who have signed up to attend! So please keep us in your prayers this week…this is when Satan starts to work really hard!!!

3 things I’m thankful for today… 1) a husband who works so hard to provide for us!
2) my children who make me smile and help me realize the little things that are so important!
3) the wonderful women I am on this retreat team with! They have become wonderful friends and I feel so blessed to have each one of them in my life!

Thanks to Sarah for hosting! Have a blessed week everyone!

Communion of Saints Sunday

Fr. Mychal Judge: The Saint of 9/11

I start my Communion of Saints series with a man who has not yet been recognized by the Church officially as a Saint. But anyone who knew Father Mychal Judge would tell you that the man fit the description. Father Mychal was of the Franciscan order. You can recognize them by the brown robes that they wear. He had a love for the homeless and helped run a soup kitchen in NYC. He had a love for people who suffered from addiction. He himself was a recovering alcoholic. Teenagers would probably find it really easy to relate to Fr. Mychal. He had an earring (although he didn’t always wear it) and also admitted to having a tattoo…although no one saw it and he wouldn’t tell you what it was! Fr. Mychal was also openly gay. 

As the fire chaplain for the FDNY he was found himself at the scenes of a lot of horrific events in NYC. On the morning of 9/11/01 he was awaken by another of his Franciscan friar brothers who told him about the events at the WTC. Fr. Mychal threw off his Franciscan robes, threw on his uniform and headed down to ground zero. Former mayor Rudy Guiliani remembers seeing Fr. Mychal running into the north tower. He says that he called out to him “Father Mychal pray for us!”. Fr. Mychal turned and said “I always do! I always pray for you.” (Guiliani: Mayor of America). Fr. Mychal was the only priest known to have entered the trade center towers, although he was not the only priest on the scene that day. But he knew if his boys were going to be there, he was going to be there also. He ran around the lobby of the North Tower giving absolution, praying with victims and for victims. Reports say that as commanders gave the order to evacuate the towers Fr. Mychal said “My work here is not finished!” He couldn’t leave his boys in that building! 

It was initially reported that Fr. Mychal died while anointing a fallen firefighter. In fact, the documentary by Jules Nadet shows Fr. Mychal back in the building after that firefighter had died, looking around and praying. Many believe he was praying the Rosary, like he had done at many a fire in NYC as the fire chaplain. Reports say that Fr. Mychal was seen in mezzanine of the building between 9:50-9:55 am. Seeing people jumping from the building he cried out “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”

Fr. Judge was killed approximately 9:59 am when the South Tower collapse sent debris flying through the North Tower. He was hit in the back of the head by debris and died instantly. One of the most famous photographs of 9/11, one that I remember clearly was that of firefighters carrying Fr. Mychal from the scene. They took his body over to St. Peter’s church and wrapped him a white clothe and laid him in front of the altar. They said some prayers and then marched back to the collapsed towers to search for survivors. 

Fr. Mychal was the first confirmed death of 9/11, mostly because his was the first body recovered from the scene. He was a brave man, who didn’t have to be where he was that day. But he died doing exactly what he would have wanted to die doing: praying, comforting, loving for those who were suffering so greatly that day. I like to think that he was waiting just on the other side as others crossed over. That he took them by the hand and guided them in to meet His Father. 

The Sunday before 9/11 Fr. Judge gave a homily in which he said “No matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea what God is calling you to do. But God needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us.” A few days later they were called to the biggest call they would ever have. Many of them did not come back, including Fr. Mychal. But he was there doing what God had called him to do. God calls each of us to do something too, we just have to be willing to hear and follow that call!
Fr. Mychal’s Prayer:
Lord, take me where You want me to go,
let me meet who You want me to meet,
tell me what You want me to say,
and keep me out of Your way.
Fr. Mychal, Pray for us!

A Camping We Will Go

So last Tuesday I post my new schedule for the blog, and then, we went on vacation! But here we go, with a new post! ***Update: due to blogger being incredibly slow it took me almost 24 hours to write this post!!! So I really did mean for it to be posted yesterday! Sorry about that!***

My mom had bought some new camping gear when she and my brother went on a trip to see my other brother in DC this summer. She got re-bitten by the camping bug and came home and schedule a trip to Brown County State Park in Indiana over Labor Day weekend. I was super excited! Growing up when we wanted to go on vacation we usually went camping. With the exception of two trips that I can remember (going to NYC and Disney World with a choir that I sang with) every major vacation memory is camping. But we had never taken our kids camping, and I knew these were memories I wanted to make with them. Falling asleep in a tent with the sounds of crickets and tree frogs, sitting around the campfire telling stories and roasting marshmallows, making foil dinners, getting caught in a rain storm…those are things they would always remember. So Thursday evening we loaded up cars and Friday we hit the road. Mom went up early with Jonah and my brother and two of his friends (who are like family to us) and they got the campground(s) set up. We came up after school and work to join them. After getting lost (CURSE YOU MAPQUEST!!!!) we found the campground and arrived around 8 pm. No one had eaten so we hastily pulled out hamburgers and hotdogs, got a fire going and then got everyone in bed (we were all super grouchy…that first day is always the hardest!!!)

The entrance to the State Park. I’ve been obsessed with covered bridges ever since I saw “Sleepy Hollow” with Steven on our first date. There is just something so romantic about them, especially when I can conjure up images of Johnny Depp!

One of our two campsites. We were in the bigger tent on the left with our kids and my cousin Kenzie. The small tent in the middle is the food tent and the tent on the right is where my Aunt Stacey and cousin Trey slept. You can see the dining tent in the corner.

Saturday mom had arranged for canoe rentals. After breakfast we headed to the canoe rental place. Upon arrival the place looked a little shady (to say the least…they had 3 padlocks on their shed…and we had passed on obvious methhouse not too far back…so we kind of wondered what we had gotten ourselves into!!!) but the guy seemed very nice (and he had all his teeth…although Michael says they could very well have been fake!) and he took us down to the river to our canoes. We had three canoes (13 people in all). Once we figured out who was going in which canoes, who was going to row and where we were going we got shoved off and started our adventure. And it was an adventure! The river outlet that we were in was full of tree stumps, entire trees that had fallen in, etc. To say the least, navigating was interesting. The guy told us that it was 4 miles from where we started to Lake Monroe and then we would bring the canoes back to where we started (8 miles round trip) I think we underestimated how long 4 miles takes in a canoe because at one point we came upon a fisherman. He said we were at least 2 hours away from the Lake still. We had already been in the canoes for 2 hours!! So we decided to go ashore, eat some lunch, take a swim and then turn around and head back. we switched up the canoes (except for me, I couldn’t really help paddling when I had to watch Jonah and Micah) and headed back. I decided to pull out the camera and snap some pictures because the scenery was great!

Baby’s first canoe ride!

Brianna had so much fun!

Jonah wasn’t too sure about it at first-in fact we had to physically put him in the canoe-but he LOVED it!

I love the reflection of the trees on to the water.

The very rare picture of me- my poor glasses- the arm is loose and so they constantly look crooked-have to go to the eye doctor yet again to have them fixed!

Let me tell you how fun this was to maneuver through!! lo,

Saturday night we did the typical camping stuff-made foil dinners, s’mores (but we are chocolate snobs so we use Ghiradeli minis for our s’mores- and yes, they are bomb!), told stories (mostly sad attempts at being scary, but the kids thought it was hilarious!).

Sunday we went into town. BCSP is near Nashville, Indiana, also known as “little Nashville”. It is a cute little town full of shops, great places to eat and awesome little candy stores! We walked around for most of the afternoon browsing shops and enjoying time. We met up with my Aunt Helen and Uncle Creg, cousins Becca and Sara and Sara’s daughter Vanessa for a while also. It was awesome to see them and see Brianna and Vanessa together. They were so cute! By that time Steven had taken the boys back to the campground for a nap, and he had also taken my camera so I didn’t get many pictures, but we had a great afternoon in Little Nashville. We will definitely go back for a girls day of shopping, hopefully soon!

This shop called “The Backporch” had these awesome horse swings made out of old tires!

Cocoon Kenzie!

Sunday night we took pizza back to the campground, we were just too tired to cook! After dinner we broke out some games. The first was Apples to Apples Jr. Always a good time playing that game!

The tickle monster gets Jonah!

Oh so serious!

Oh yeah! That’s my card!

There were lots of tickle games going on.

Micah and Aunt Stacey

We made peach cobbler in the dutch oven. Can you say yummy!?! It was just like I remembered it! And ended up being Steven’s favorite part of the trip! lol

Hi pretty girl!

Tired girl snuggling with her nina!

Two of my boys!

Jonah playing Mario brothers with Uncle Mikey.

Evil…she’s evil I tell ya!

Sparklers…don’t know that they were exactly legal…but we didn’t light the forest on fire!

YUM!!! I mean YUM!!!

Super baby!

“This is good!” lol

So silly!


Later on a Euchre game got started and continued long into the night. I’m not a Euchre player so I went to bed early with the kids but it must have been a good time because I fell asleep to lots of laughter! Sunday night was really cold, mainly because I didn’t bring enough blankets. The kids were fine in their sleeping bags, but Steven and I were frozen when we woke up Monday morning. And then we woke up to find all the wood had been used up the night before during the Euchre game! UGH!!! Luckily the camp store was open so Steven ran up to get another bundle. We sat around with sleeping bags and blankets and waited to get breakfast going.

Walking Mathias

Making pancakes

Monday we didn’t have to check out until 5 pm so we decided to take the kids horseback riding. Kenzie’s birthday is this Friday so my mom treated her to a ride. Our kids were too small to ride the horses on the trail (they had to be 8) but they had parent assisted pony rides available, so they each got a couple of laps. They loved the ponies and went around several times.

Our pony rides were done before they rest of them got to ride their horses because of the long wait for trail rides that day. So when the kids were done we all went back to the campground for lunch and then tried to get the kids down for a nap…yeah! Right! When they didn’t sleep we decided to go ahead and start breaking down camp. By the time the rest of them got back we had most of the big stuff taken care of and were ready to load cars. It was such a great trip…one I know that I will remember for a long time! And I think the kids will too. We’re already talking about our next trip. Steven says we should just get out a US map, close our eyes and point…that could get really interesting…you never know where you could end up next! On the way home we stopped at our favorite farmer’s market outside of Columbus, IN and bought fresh green beans, red potatoes, and sweet corn. Last night for dinner I boiled up the green beans and potatoes with a ham hock, steamed the fresh corn and cut up an Indiana melon that we had. It was the perfect meal to end a perfect trip. Can’t wait until our next one. Who knows where that will be!