28 December 2010

FHE - I am a child of God

For our Christmas exchange this year in my family (my brothers and sisters), we decided to do the theme of "Family Home Evening in a box." We got our FHE plan from my brother Eric, and it was from the "I am a child of God" lesson in the Nursery manual.

We sang the entire song of I am a child of God, (it's one of the favorite bedtime songs around here).
We read, and the girls repeated, Psalms 82:6.
We talked about Moses learning from Heavenly Father that he is a child of God - Moses 1:4. I used the picture of Moses and the burning bush in the Gospel Art book.
We went around the room saying that each person is a child of God.
We did the activity verse in the manual.

For the activity, there were coffee filters included in our package that we folded up and cut into paper snowflakes, because everyone is different and Heavenly Father loves us that way. Adam and I had to do all the cutting because even with it being thin paper, it was still too hard for the girls to cut through all the layers. But that was okay. Once we unfolded the first couple of snowflakes for the girls to see what we were doing, they got all excited and were perpetually hovering, saying, "Cut another one!" Then we taped them up on our back door windows.

a series for this blog - Family Home Evening

In my mind, part of making a house into a home - a place you want to be - is more than aesthetic. It's not just how the place looks. It's how it feels. Part of being a Domestic Goddess to create the atmosphere that you want. One of the best ways that I've found to create peace in a home is to spend time together as a family, and have Family Home Evening consistently (FHE).

One of our family goals for 2011 is to do better with FHE - we've just been singing a couple of songs, reading a story from the Friend magazine, and calling it good. Five minutes does not constitute Family Home Evening. I'm planning to put together lessons/activities from the Sharing Time outline for the year which is online here, and the Faith in God materials which are also online but not pulling up for me right now. I'll post our lessons and activities on Tuesdays after we do them, and of course everyone else is welcome to share their ideas as well. Please do! I need all the help I can get! My stuff will be pretty simple - my kids are 4, 3, and 8 months.

If you are not Mormon: Family Home Evening is an official program of the LDS Church started in the 1960s. Monday is designated as family night - no church activities at any level are allowed to be scheduled that day and even the temples are closed. I realize that some of the doctrines are not the same, but as fellow Christians, I hope that you can get something out of the descriptions of lessons and activities that you can use in your own home to create spiritual peace and harmony among your family.

27 December 2010

the 12 months of Christmas

Yes, you read that right. My friend Amy (who has been added to the contributors on this blog - hello, Amy!) and I are going to make something for Christmas every month in 2011! It's going to be fun!

Our first draft list, in no particular order, includes:

felt hand puppets of the Nativity
a tree skirt
Christmas/winter playdresses for our girls
Advent calendars
handmade Christmas cards
dining room table stuff - runner, napkin rings, placemats, etc.
Nativity blocks
a felt garland of some sort of Christmas motif - lights, holly leaves, whatever
plan and compile materials for a whole month of crafting with kids (I was unsuccessful at doing this impromptu)

Okay, that's 9. Any more ideas? I suppose we should stop the list at 11 - January through November - and spend next December NOT working on the projects so we can enjoy the fun of doing crafts with our kiddos and baking! Mmmm ... baking ... I did not do nearly enough to appease myself this year. (Durned teething in my poor baby's mouth.)

No, we haven't decided what we're doing for January yet - I'll post it when we do. Anyone care to join us?

26 December 2010

Christmas crafts

We've been having a holly jolly Christmas with making some cute holiday crafts between watching Disney Christmas cartoons over and over and over, and eating Clementine oranges nonstop. We've made:

- a Nativity from coloring pages found HERE and cardboard rolls. We used the middle of wrapping paper rolls. You could also use the cardboard from paper towels or toilet paper.

- wrapping paper for presents going to cousins. We used packing paper that we still have stashed from our move almost 2 years ago (yes, we had THAT MUCH paper). I used cookie cutters as stencils and drew the shapes with markers, and the girls colored them and used foam Christmas stickers that I got at the dollar store.

- jingle bell bracelets described HERE with little bells and pipe cleaners. When the girls were done playing with them, I hung them on the tree. They make cute little ornaments.

- paper cone Christmas trees made from construction paper and decorated with markers and the foam Christmas stickers. I got the idea from a book, but HERE is a template and directions to make pretty much the same thing. The difference from the book is that our half-circles were folded into pie-shaped fourths and folded into a three-sided tree (with the fourth side being a full overlap for gluing together) rather than being round. My girls decided they were party hats rather than trees.

our Christmas dinner

Friends, this dinner was noteworthy. Nirvana on a plate. Adam's a good cook but seriously. When it comes to Mediterranean food, something just really comes together for us.

We skipped the typical turkey and mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner, and went with a Lebanese theme.

We had roast using this meat rub that we used on lamb at Easter. We were told by a friend that we could use roast if lamb is too expensive - and it was this time - and it worked spectacularly. Adam cooked it in the crockpot and it was very juicy and fell apart when cut into. The smell in our kitchen was amazing.

Adam made pita bread using this recipe - it didn't work out so well as the first time. The rolls were not hollow. So we tore out the middle and used the bread chunks in our dips, and voila! The shell is a regular pita pocket! For our pita appetizers, we had tomato, cucumber, green olives, black olives, strips of bell pepper, goat cheese, hummus, and an eggplant dip called baba gannouj. If you are a fan of hummus, may I suggest a replacement. Baba gannouj is absolutely delicious, not to mention hilarious to say. 8000 times. Baba gah-NOOSH! It was, by far, one of the most casual and relaxed and FUN meals we have had in a long time.

We also had, but hardly worth mentioning after all that, asparagus with lemon and rice.

And then dessert. Please join me in singing the Hallelujah Chorus. We have a new Christmas dessert at our house: Buche de Noel. It's a French cake shaped to be like a yule log - it's a flat, flourless cake with mousse rolled in the middle and covering it over the top, and it's all chocolate.

the most amazing dessert EVER!

09 December 2010


As long as Trina is painting I'll tell you about my latest painting adventures:

Although we have three kids I have never set up a "nursery" we lived in such dives or were so broke that it was just never an option.

Finally - now that my oldest is 6 I have walls that I can paint (turns out paint is pretty cheap - I never knew that!):

Turns out Dr. Seuss is amazing easy to paint! He used very simple shapes and designs, no shading, vivid colors... perfect for those of us with no artistic skill!

All you have to do is beg or borrow a projector, put the image you want on the computer - hook up the projector - trace it on with a pencil, then color in the lines.

Even I can color in the lines :)

I am particularly proud of it because it isn't gender or age specific. Right now we have a 6 year old girl and a 3 year old boy in the room. In a few months we will put the two boys in there (3 and 1).

Who knows how long we will live here but Seuss would work until they boys are 8 or 9ish - at which point I (or whoever lives here next) could just paint out the fish and put surf boards over the water :)

I realize that painting walls is not an option for everyone - but my next project is to put a few characters from the same book on their dresser, same process - project, trace, color in the lines!

I actually just used craft store paint for the fish - you know those tiny little bottles you get for buck twenty? so cheap - and pretty cute if I say so myself :)

sneak peak

Nobody has posted here for quite awhile, so I thought I'd give a little preview of what we've been working on for almost 2 months now - Adam is building a bunkbed for our kiddos. Our friend Aaron helped a lot. They started with raw lumber that was sanded and sanded and sanded. They went over Adam's design about 10 times and altered it here and there to make sure everything would work right. They cut the boards to the measurements and fit it all together and drilled the holes for the bolts.

It's now sitting on our patio in pieces while I take my turn with it - we went back and forth about staining it, and the final decision is that I'm painting it. Pink. Because my girls are 4 and 3, and they want a pink princess bed. Adam isn't very happy about it, but it's not his bed. He can get over it. I'm planning to get stencils to put a design on the sides, and I have little containers of paint in pastel shades of yellow, purple, blue, etc. I'm thinking flowers and hearts, and maybe little crowns. If I can't find a stencil like that to buy, I may try to make one because I definitely need a stencil. I'm not good at freehand art and I'm not going to use this as my first attempt at it.

It's taking awhile to do the paint because it's pretty cold out this week. Next week is supposed to warm up into the 60s, which is PERFECT painting weather. And we don't have anything scheduled during the day (unlike this week) so I should be able to get the pink done and do the stenciling.