Welcome to Friday Family Fun Night!

Today is our first Friday Family Fun Night post! I am really excited about this because I know that I really love to learn from others and coming up with fun and interesting things to do for family night gets harder and harder sometimes! In our home we try to do a weekly family night with our kids. I say we try because we are definitely not perfect in doing this. I have my weeks where it’s just too much “work” to get together something to do. Or if the kids have been bickering and fighting all day the last thing in the world that I want to do is listen to them bicker and fight all through family night, so I have been known to cancel it (although my husband doesn’t agree with doing this so I might have to reconsider this in the future 😛 )

So, for our first Friday Family Fun Night post what I want to know from you is: 1) Do you currently hold a weekly family night with your family? And if you do, do you follow a regular schedule? Do you have it on a certain day of the week? Do you follow a certain format (ie, open with a song and a prayer and a scripture, do you light a family candle? Do you have a lesson and an activity? Or do you have family game night or a family outing?

And 2) If you don’t currently hold a family night with your family what would you want it to look like if you started? Is there any particular reason that you want to start having a regular family night? What are some of the things that you are hoping to teach your children during these special times together?

So, as for our family, we try to do family night every Thursday night. And we kind of go back and forth with our “routine” of how we do things. Some weeks we know that there is something we want to have a lesson on. For example, lately we’ve been having problems with hitting and name calling, so for next week I’m planning a lesson on showing love in our home and how hurtful things like hitting and name calling are to the love and spirit of our home. Then there are weeks when I just want to to do something fun. For example, this weekend is going to be a CRAZY weekend, so I just wanted to spend some time with my husband and my kids before we were all pulled a million different directions. So we went out to eat at Frisch’s Big Boy and then went to the park to run around on the play equipment and swing on the swings. It was a lot of fun, and we got through the whole evening with almost no fighting (which is a HUGE accomplishment!!!)

Those weeks where we do have a lesson planned we follow an outline…To begin we light a family candle that we made at a family night a while back. Then we open with a prayer, a song and a scripture reading that goes along with the topic that we are discussing. We usually try to keep the lesson short (10-15 minutes at the absolute max, but our kids are 5, 3 and 9 months so attention spans are very short!!!) After the lesson I try to have a craft or a game that we can play to try to reinforce what we were learning and then we close with a prayer, and the kids’ favorite, a snack!

So this is our first link up. In the weeks to come I hope to  have posts with activities for certain holidays or special events, just “regular” ideas for those “ordinary” times and I really help that we can help each brainstorm and become each others accountability in this area of our lives.

Please note: While having a regular family night is a premise for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you do not need to be Mormon to participate in this meme. Other religions (and non-religious organizations) also see the importance in having a regular time that we spend together with our families. Do not feel the need to edit your posts or lessons because you think you will offend someone. That you are teaching your children your values and what is important to you is the most important thing. Another thing to remember is that couples without children (either who have not yet had any, or whose children have all grown up) are still a family. You can do things with your spouse to help keep your special relationship with each other strong. So feel free to link up too, you may help another couple out there find fun things to do!

OK…it’s time to link up! I am so excited!! And I can’t wait to see what we can share with each during this journey!

Friday Family Fun Night

A few months ago I started to post about our family nights. We did pretty good for a while, and then, like usual things started to fall apart! I told Bri we would start again this week, but I waited til the last minute and came up with diddly squat come Thursday night. Today I had some extra time so I thought I’d go ahead and plan out our family night for next week (or at least get a good start on it!)

Since we have Family Night on Thursday I thought we should do a lesson on St. Patrick, since St. Patty’s Day is the next Wednesday (when a holiday falls like that I like to do the lesson the week before and let the excitement set in!) So I went to the net and found some great stuff at DLTK. They had a great sheet with some background info on St. Patrick and what he was known for. Then I found some great activities. One is an active poem called Five Green Shamrocks that my kids will love! Another thing I found was the template to make Shamrock napkin rings with old toilet paper rolls (I knew I was saving those things for a reason!!!)
Aren’t these cute??? I can’t wait to see them on the table on St. Patty’s Day!
 If you’ve never gone to DLTK you should! It is a wealth of great crafts and coloring pages and other activities. It’s definately one of my favorite sites, not only for family night but also for school activities!
Then, I headed over to Family Fun Magazine’s site (another great site for crafts, but also for kid friendly recipes!) and found a great idea for a scavenger hunt where the kids find a black pot full of gold chocolate coins at the end! So fun! I think I’m gonna have to hit the Dollar Tree and see if I can find a black pot! (Yea Dollar Tree!)

And finally, everyone’s favorite part…the dessert! I LOVE The Picky Palate! If you’ve never been to Jenny’s blog you’ve got to check it out! Especially if you like to bake! She has a recipe right now for these adorable Lucky Green Velvet Baby Cakes. I mean, look how cute these are!

And they look oh so yummy! I can’t wait to try them! So that’s what we’re going to do next week for Family Night! What are you doing? Leave a comment and let me know! If it looks like I might have enough interest I might get a Mr. Linky and do a weekly Friday Family Fun Night forum here on our blog! We’ll see! Have a great weekend everyone!

Fall Fun!

Fall arrived early here, the way it’s seemed to for a few years now! (At least we don’t have snow yet…I am definately counting my blessings there!) But since we had such a wet summer it’s taken the leaves a while to start changing color, so we’re just now reaching peak color here and it’s gorgeous to behold! I don’t think anything beats a Kentucky fall (except for maybe a New England one!)

We’ve had some fun outside, although it’s been pretty cold for October and we’ve all just gotten over colds so we haven’t been able to be outside a lot. But a couple weeks ago for playgroup we went to a petting zoo and got to go on a hayride and pick out a pumpkin. It was a lot of fun!

Last night for Family Night we watched “Spookley the Square Pumpkin”. It’s a cute little movie about a pumpkin who is square instead of round and all the other pumpkins laugh at him and are mean to him because he’s different. But in the end they learn that being square is good and that Spookley was a very special pumpkin. It was really cute and taught a great lesson. For our activity we carved a pumpkin using The Pumpkin Prayer. If you’ve never heard of it you should check it out! Basically you cut the eyes in the shape of hearts to remind us to love all we see, the nose is a cross to reminds us not to turn up our nose at the things we’ve been given, the ears are shaped like Bibles to remind us to open our ears to God’s word, and finally the mouth in the shape of a fish to remind us to tell others of Jesus. It turned out so cute and was a great way to incorporate scripture and prayer into the evening.

We hope that you all are having a great fall! When it stops raining I’m going to get some pictures of our fall landscaping-it turned out so cute this year! We’re loving having a yard to decorate each season! So happy fall, ya’ll! Have a great time!

Family Night with Friends

Last night for FHE we invited our neighbors, Nelissa and Orlie, over to talk with us about the Philapines. They moved here 3 years ago and they tell us things about their country sometimes (they’re not US citizens yet) but we thought it would be fun to learn more about their culture. They talked to us about holidays that they celebrate (no Halloween, but All Saints Day on November 1st is a HUGE holiday! They actually party in the cemetary complete with food and games, and some people even spend the night in the cemetaries!!) Holy week leading up to Easter is very big (including reenacting the crucifixtion complete with young men who volunteer to be hung on a cross in the streets!) They talked to us about what schools are like and how much things cost there compared to here. We talked about family sizes and foods. I love Philapino food (she’s actually bringing me over some of my favorite tonight! I don’t remember what it’s called but it has rice noodles and cabbage and it is sooo yummy!!!)

The kids kind of ran around crazy with their son Carlo, and didn’t really sit down and listen much but Steven and I learned a lot! If you have neighbors or friends who are from another country (and if your kids are a little older!) invite them over to talk with your family about their native country. Maybe ask them to bring a favorite food or dessert to share. Have them teach you some words or phrases in their native tongue (Nelissa and Orlie’s native dialect is really hard!!!) and maybe play a native game. You’ll be amazed how much you will learn about our differences, but most importantly how we are all similar, no matter where we are from. It’s a great reminder and a wonderful lesson for our children, especially as the face of this country continues to change! (Which is not a bad thing!!!)

Camp "In"

Family Home Evening is something I believe is really important. Having said that, it is also one of the areas where Satan works on me the most. Anything that is going to strengthen our families is something that Satan will want to attack, and he works hard on this with me. We go through periods where we do pretty good, and then we slack off, and then one of us will look at each other and say “You know, we should do Family Home Evening again” and we’ll start again. It’s a process. But I sat down this week and made out a schedule for the rest of the year so that we would have NO excusses when it came to Family Night.
We choose do ours on Thursday nights because those are typically slow nights for us. This week though my whole plan fell apart when Thursday afternoon the movie I had reserved at the library for a really cute autumn themed night wasn’t ready to be picked up. So I was scrambling trying to find a last minute thing. Then I thought, well, we can wait and do it Friday. Well, along came Friday and the movie still wasn’t ready. So then I was scrambling trying to find a last minute activity, again, because I had promised Bri that we’d do family night and I didn’t want to disappoint her just because my plan wasn’t panning out!
So we thought we’d to the typical last minute Family Night idea…game night! The kids LOVE Disney Scene It! And then Steven came up with the brilliant idea of having a camp out…in the living room! So we all got on jammies, we blew up the air mattress, brought down the toddler bed mattresses and lots of pillows and blankets. We piled on the air mattress to play Scene It! boys vs girls.
The girls…of course…won! “I am woman hear me roar…..”
Then we watched “Little Mermaid Beginnings” and ate popcorn. Then we turned the lights out and the TV off and went to sleep, all of us on the living room floor (except for Micah who slept in his pack-n-play in the corner.)

It was really fun! The kids loved camping “in”! We got up the next morning and Steven made camper’s eggs and bacon (yummy!) and then life got back to normal.

But we had a great time and made some great memories, which is what Family Night is about after all. It’s not always about the perfectly put together lesson (although those types of Family Home Evenings are important too!) It’s about being with your family, enjoying the time with them, learning to love each other, and realizing that in the end, it doesn’t get much better than this!

One more picture to share: Micah has started smiling… A LOT! His smiles are precious! You just can’t help but to smile back! I LOVE this age!

I Can Listen and Obey- a FHE idea

One thing I’ve known for a long time is that I wanted to hold a regular Family Home Evening (FHE) in our home, but I’ve always been at a loss on how to begin. Yes, we had FHE when I was growing up, but when you start a family of your own, it seems so intimidating! We tried starting a while back when we lived in the condo. I think we got through 2 lessons and then it burned out! But lately I have found some great resources online that made me thing, Hey we can do this! So we are trying again.

We had our first one last night, and I’ll be honest there were plenty of bumps! Trying to get a 4 year old and 2 year old to stay seated and engaged for what you have planned can be a challenge, so I tried to keep it short, sweet and to the point. We had our first lesson on I Can Listen and Obey- since we are having a very hard time with listening!

We opened by lighting our family candle that we made in one of our last FHE. The candle is just a pillar candle that we decorated with stickers to spell out our family name. We light it to draw attention that something special is about to happen, and to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world, and the reason that we are gathering together as a family. Then we sang Listen, Listen (from the LDS Children’s Songbook) and had our opening prayer.

After that the lesson portion was on Jonah and the Whale. I printed out a picture of Jonah and the whale that I colored and used for our visual aide. We talked about how Jonah chose not to listen to God when He asked him to do something special for him. Since he chose not to listen he got swallowed up by a whale, and stayed in the whales belly for 3 days and 3 nights, until he repented and the whale spit him out. Then Jonah went out and did what God had asked him to do. We talked about what happens when we choose not to listen (we make people sad, we might get yelled at) and how we feel when we choose to listen (happy, we make others feel good and special).

Then we played a game working on listening by singing Do As I’m Doing (again from the LDS Children’s Songbook). This took a while because Bri went running off through the house, then Jonah followed, and we spent probably 5 minutes trying to round everyone up. But I think it helped them get their wiggles out for the activity that came next.

We made what I called Obedience Jars. These were just jars that I bought at Wal-Mart (they’re a little big for this purpose, but they work!). We decorated them with foam stickers with their names and other fun stuff (princess stuff for Bri, cars for Jonah). Then we put 50 kidney beans in each jar. Throughout the week we will use the jars to work on listening. Each time they do something when they are asked to they will get 5 more beans to add to their jar. Each time they choose not to listen they will loose 2 beans. At next week’s FHE we will count their beans. If they have 50 or more beans they will get a very special surprise treat! If they have less than 50 we will try again and they can earn their treat next week. I like the idea a lot, we’ll see how well it works!

We closed by singing Quickly I’ll Obey (LDS Children’s Songbook) and then had a closing prayer and a treat of Simon Says Sundaes. Each person got to make a sundae for someone else, but they had to do it the way they wanted to, and the person the sundae was for had to say Simon Says… and then what they wanted. It was really fun, and the sundaes were sooooo good!
Overall I think that it was a pretty good first venture! It will get easier as we do it every week, and the kids get used to the routine of it (and Steven and I too!). I am excited about some of the lessons I have found or written for future weeks, and I’ll share them with you for you to use if you want!