Sunday, November 23, 2014

FHE Lesson {Nativity Activities}

I just love Nativity sets! We have quite a few and I always make sure I have some available for the kids to play with. One of my greatest Christmas memories of recent years is finding the nativity pieces in little huddles seemingly in deep conversation and in funny spots. The wise men sporting merry Christmas signs around their necks, other toys visiting baby Jesus and other such festivities.
We set aside a special day to put up our Nativity sets before we put up the Christmas Tree /decorations to try to focus on the real meaning of Christmas before anything else
Here are some FHE ideas to use with a Nativity set.

Opening Song: Once Within a Lowly Stable #41

Opening Prayer: Child


Chose an idea or more from the list below:

Have each character of the Nativity set hiding somewhere. Ask children a clue.
Who am I…(write defining features/character)
I am hiding… (give clue) Have children find and bring to Nativity set.

In Lebanon it’s a tradition to grow grass for your nativity. Creating a crèche is seen as a hugely important practice.. It's often decorated with sprouted seeds such as chickpeas, broad-beans, lentils, oats and wheat that have been grown  in the weeks leading up to Christmas
Sprout some wheat grass or other and grow on a tray/plate area where you will also keep a Nativity set.

Make a manger for Baby Jesus. {Can be very small, just a tiny box or a cradle with a doll in it}
Cut lots of strips of paper depending on the size of your manger and baby.
Start by doing some good deeds/service right away eg clean something up, make a bed, write a card for someone - any quick things you can think of ~

 For each good deed add a piece of paper {hay} to your little manger.
Explain that each time the children do something good in the month of December they can add a little bit more comfort to the manger. When we see LOTS of  hay/paper under baby Jesus we will know that we have done so much good in the world at Christmas which will make Jesus and Heavenly Father very happy. It will also make us and those we serve very happy.

Gather dress ups and act out the Nativity.


Make Gingerbread Stables. I've done it the cheats way  just using biscuits {cookies}. Fashion together a rustic lean to/stable with icing and biscuits. Make sheep out of marshmallows and get children to draw or make some figurines to go in it {alternatively put in real nativity figurines}


Have the Nativity set out. Pick up and describe each figure involved.  eg:

Mary: special, chosen above all else, she quietly pondered in her heart
Joseph: Protector and guardian, trying hard to find a place to stay, man of honour - chose Mary
Angel: Shares good tidings and joy, spreads the joy, shares news of good things to come
Shepherds: Went with haste, quick to obey, hard workers (24 hour job)
Wise Men: exemplify the journey we all take to seek the Lord, they followed a spiritual symbol
Lamb: Lambs instantly recognise voice of their shepherd, lamb symbol of Jesus, prepare the way
Cows/Animals: Gave up their place to sleep for Baby Jesus

Ask everyone:
If you had been there on the night of Christ's birth who would you like to be in the story?
{ inspired by
A Christ Centred Christmas by Emily Freeman }


Find a toy star/ plastic star/make your own.  Hide the star around the house then have the children move the wise men to where the star is. Have the wise men take a long journey following the star all around. Give each child a glow in dark star to remind them to be as the wise men seeking Jesus.

Watch Bible Video The Nativity

Closing Song:
Stars were Gleaming #37

Closing Prayer


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Advent Calendar {sewn cardboard house Advent}

November is all about the Advent Calendar.

It won't be long before December 1st comes rolling along!

Each year I try to make a new one . It's become a challenge! A tradition in its own right!

"What Advent Calendar will we make this year?"

I was reading about Advent Love and someone quoted loving the anticipation of advent and counting down more than the actual end event. That's me! I love all our December Traditions so much and to me this is what makes Christmas.

There are so many advent ideas out there! Google and Pinterest will bring you hundreds!

I have enough ideas to keep me going for decades!

This year's advent calendar idea is one I bookmarked back in 2010! By MayaMade

As a child I loved my paper window advent calendar so much.
The darling pictures behind each door were so magical to me.
Its so sad they just aren't available much these days.

I thought I would combine my above childhood memories, with this advent , with my kids drawings, with my love of sewing cardboard!

This year I wanted the kids to be fully involved with the making of our Advent Calendar.

Sewn Cardboard Christmas House Advent Calendar

Materials needed:
24 toilet rolls
Printed Grid of 24 squares (4x4cm)
Watercolours/paint/colouring pencils


Print out 24 square boxes. Mine are about 4x4 cm
Have children {or yourself} draw out 24 Christmas motifs inside the squares
We googled for some inspiration, but mostly ideas from their heads.
eg candy canes, Christmas tree, wreath, nativity, holly, elves, sleigh, snowmen, presents, baubles
I just love the drawings my kids did. SO CUTE!

Collect 24 Toilet Rolls. For a while we had a brand of toilet paper with white rolls. I thought they were great so kept them. I've had these in the cupboard for over a year! (Spray with Glen20:)

Flatten Toilet rolls

Sew along the bottom edge
Cut the top corners off to make a triangular roof shape
Sew the top shut
Draw Christmas house outline and decorate/paint your house

Using a box cutter carefully cut a door into each house. {only cut 3 sides! so it is still attached!}
Press lightly to only cut through the top layer of the toilet roll.
Now you have a door!
Attach glue to the back of your motifs/Christmas drawings and glue inside the door flap.
Shut the door. Attach numbers 1-24 or 1-12 on the houses.
I found the doors close/click back in very easily. I was worried about that.
Using a small hole punch place a small hole at the top of the house and attach string to each house.
Alternatively string houses along one long piece of string and display.
Your Picture window Advent houses are now done!
Now I'm under no delusions that my kids will be crazy excited over this advent compared to the little wooden drawer one which my mother just gifted me that will be filled with sweets. However this one did keep them {well my art inclined children} busy for 3 different sessions while creating it, so I suppose it fulfilled its purpose!

Our Previous 11 Advent Calendars Here

Happy Counting Down!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FHE Lesson {Gratitude for our Bodies}


Some lessons on Gratitude for the month of November.
This lesson inspired by Your gifts from Heavenly Father pg 6 October 2014 Friend Magazine



Opening Prayer:


This month we are talking about Gratitude.
What are some things you are grateful for?

One of the things we should be most grateful for is our Body! Our bodies are strong, our bodies help us, our bodies work hard all day long. With our bodies we can do so many things!

List or draw answers to the following Questions:

Things I can do with my spirit:
Practice listening to/feeling the Holy Ghost
Sharing Testimony

Things I can do with my body:
Run, jump, swim, skip, walk, work, chores, see, smell, eat, serve others

Things I can do with my brain:
Think, Learn, read, work out puzzles, make good choices

Things I can do with others:
Listen to them, make them smile, play, serve

Things other people see in me:
Give each other compliments on their strengths

Something I would like to improve:
Closing Prayer:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mango. First.

It's that time of year when I take gratuitous photos of us eating Mangos.
Our first Mangos of the 2014/15 Season.
Ridiculous. But a tradition! 6 years we've done it!
The kids were so excited when they saw I had bought the FIRST MANGOS!








Sunday, November 9, 2014

FHE Lesson {Gratitude for that we see}

With thanksgiving in USA, gratitude is on many minds. Others may also like to spend November cultivating gratitude and thankfulness, also to prepare for the real meaning of Christmas.
This lesson inspired by Seeing our Blessings October 2014 Friend pg 3

Opening Song: A song of Thanks #20

Opening Prayer: Child


We are so blessed in our lives. All around us are so many things we should be thankful for.

What are some of the things around us that we are thankful to have?

List some things - family members, house, books, refrigerator, the sun etc.

Using a camera/s go on a blessings hunt of your house/yard and/or neighbourhood and have children take photos of things they are thankful for.

eg trees, flowers, local playground, neighbours, birds, toys, bathroom, food
you can even point out things such as garbage bins (trash cans and trash removal services :) electricity, water pipes, a house with a roof, airconditioning! etc.

Play a slideshow/look at/talk about of all your blessings when you return home.

It is good to remember to be grateful for the many blessings we have in our lives.
Cultivating gratitude helps us look after our things better, helps overcome sadness, gives us hope, makes us say thankyou- to our parents for all they give us, our country for all it provides and to our Heavenly Father for all the wonderful bounty he gives his children.

Closing Song: Count your Blessings #241

Closing Prayer:

Treat: Something yummy you are grateful for!

Some Previous Gratitude Lessons:

Gratitude Lesson

Gratitude 2 Lesson

Journals Lesson

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jacaranda Season

Sometimes it feels we miss out on seasons in the ever green wonderfulness of Queensland.

A year or so ago I was talking with an American friend about it and she was all like no - its wonderful. Where I'm from everything is dead in winter.. EVERYTHING. Here there is a beautiful vine all over our building that blooms in winter! Blooms in Winter! There is beauty in every season if you look for it. You just gotta look harder here.

That is one thing I feel I do try to do. There is a little season here and there. We might not have 4 distinct seasons but if we dig deep enough seasonal appreciation can be found.

I suppose that's what we try to do with good old jacaranda season.

Every year I declare we are going to have a family portrait done under one.

But the seasons almost gone before I can be bothered to find cute clothes and shoes for everyone.
Not to mention a photographer.

If Japanese can go crazy for Cherry Blossom Season {ummm gorgeous! jealous!}

We might as well do the same for Jacaranda.

No family portraits but here are some blooms in my neighbourhood I just had to snap.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

FHE Lesson {Prayer}


Opening Song: Hymn: Did you think to Pray

Opening Prayer : Child


Show a picture of Enos praying.
- What is happening here?
- What is he doing?
- Why is he doing it?

Tell me all the times you can think of when Jesus Prayed

Garden of Gethsemene
Last Supper - Sacrament
Sermon on the mount: The Lords Prayer
On the Cross: Forgive them
40 Days Fasting

Show pictures of these if you wish

Watch lds bible video:  Sermon on the Mount: The Lords Prayer

When do you pray?
How often do you pray?
What do you pray for?
Where should we pray?

Visual Demonstration
Put a set of scriptures in to a shoebox.
- How can you find out what is in this box without touching it?
(Ask the person who knows what's in it.)
Open the box.
Heavenly Father knows the answers. He can lead us to places like the scriptures to find the answers we need.

Watch video Joseph Millet story
What did you notice about the video?
Why was Brother Hall praying?
Why did the man come to Joseph Millet? (He was directed to)
Why was Joseph Millet emotional? (Even though Joseph was already prepared to give flour to Brother Hall, he recognised that the Lord knew him)

What can we pray for?
Elder Holland's talk in General Conference spoke about praying about his future wife while he was still a teenager.
We should prayer for our future as well as for things that are here and now.

Bear Testimony on the importance of prayer as a means to communicate with the Lord.

Closing Song: A Childs Prayer

Closing Prayer:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FHE Lesson {Strong Families}

Opening Song: Here We are Together #261

Opening Prayer: Child


This lesson inspired by October 2014 Friend Magazine pg 41

Decorate a can with a label that says "I CAN" { or print from here }
Have slips of paper prepared that say I CAN strengthen my family by......

alternatives suggestions for use:
I can strengthen my life by...
I can be an example by...

Tell the children that they are special.
They have a lot of power.
Children can be such a force for good.

What things do you do already as a force for good?

Families are central to Heavenly Fathers Plan. We are all part of a family.
We can decide how our family runs, the happiness experienced, how much love is shared.

Have children fill in strips or draw pictures about how they CAN strengthen their family. eg

I CAN strengthen my family by saying nice things
I CAN strengthen my family by helping others
I CAN strengthen my family by remembering to have family prayers
I CAN strengthen my family by giving daily hugs and kisses
I CAN strengthen my family by doing my chores

Place strips, family photos, drawings into the can.

Leave around for the week to remind children of all the things THEY CAN DO!

Get children to show you how strong they are. Comment that just as they are strong and healthy we want our family to be like that too. Families need constant care and nourishment just like them to stay healthy. We want to have the happiest family we CAN.

Thank them for all that they already do and how much you love having them in your family.

Closing Song: Families Can be Together Forever #188

Closing Prayer: Child

Treat: Canned Fruit :) or something else from a can :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

FHE Lesson {Obedience}

This lesson inspired by The blessings of Obeying July 2014 Friend Magazine pg 2
Why do we need to obey the Commandments Sept 2014 Friend Magazine pg 11

The Blessings of Obeying

Opening Song: Quickly I'll Obey #197

Opening Prayer: Child


Why is it important to be obedient?

How do we learn obedience?

Who/what should we be obedient to?
Our parents, Heavenly Father, the commandments, scriptures, The Holy Ghost, teachers

We do not need to travel this life, alone without direction.
Obedience can be like a map, guiding us and ensuring our safety.

What are some ways obedience keeps us safe?
How are the commandments like a map?
{show a variety of maps if interested}


Draw out a map {or written instructions} for places around your home with directions to follow and end with a prize, treat or picture of Heavenly Father at the end.

Make a treasure map with dots and X marks the spot

Thank the children for being obedient and following the directions.

Knowledge we seek, answers for which we yearn, and strength we need in hard times can all be ours when we willingly obey the commandments and be obedient to God's law and our parents.

Closing Song:  I will follow God's Plan #164

Closing Prayer: Child


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Camping - Somerset Park Campground

I can't believe it - but its been a year since we've been camping!

Once again not very organised and madly ringing places to find somewhere to camp.

All the places we rang said they were full.

So my dad took it into his own hands and drove off in his mobile home till he found a place.
The minute they found one they rang me and I packed up the kids to join them.

This was my first time camping without the MR!

I felt so brave driving the car full to the brim through the bush on my own! {I'm such wimp I know!}

This time we camped at Somerset Park Campground

It was a lovely couple of days and the kids were great.

Maybe I've reached the magical age of where it is pretty easy to take kids camping.

No injuries, all sleeping through the night, well behaved and fairly helpful around camp!

The only problem was a blow up mattress problem.
The bed I was sharing with two kids refused to stay inflated :(

After initially being told the campground didn't allow fires we were so happy to find every second camp had a metal drum fire. Lucky for the kid that insisted I bring marshmallows regardless!

Animals spotted : Lots of cows, horses, 5 Kangaroo's, Kookaburras, lots of birds



The camp ground was very neat, FLAT {yay}, clean toilets/showers {but needed gold coins for hot showers} quiet and small very near the dam wall, only 1km from the spit/boat ramp which meant there were lots of people with boats at our campground.

Overall I had a very enjoyable few days.

Thanks to my parents for organizing, dad for washing dishes every meal and mum for cooking on her stove in the mobile home. Makes camping a treat :)

Previous Camping Trips:

Neurum creek
Flanagans Reserve
Elanda Point

Saturday, October 4, 2014

An Ode to all those I've met

My girls paddleboarding the Brisbane River

The nature of where we live and who we are lends us to making lots of friends.

Friends that don't stay.

Every best friend my daughters made each year at school ~  gone the next year.
Back to Sri Lanka, Quebec, Africa, New Zealand, China, Germany. Friends from church to India, USA, Canada. Others arrive in Brisbane for a short time to relocate elsewhere in Australia. Strangers and friends met in our local park, this inner city community of ever moving migrants.

We have people tumble in and out of our lives at a much too quick rate.
Some we've lost contact with.

Knowing people who relocate overseas a lot means my house has become a testament to those who've flown in with the wind and reluctantly back out again.

I'm often thinking of the owners when :

I set my table with their tablecloth
Iron my clothes on their ironing board
Bring out the plastic chairs for extra guests
Curl my hair
Bake a cake in that square pan
Drive my Car.
Wear their clothes
Use the blender
Eat from their casserole dishes
Use the cleaning products left with me
The kids use their beach toys
I finally use unusual cupboard ingredients they didn't get to use up

I smile when using these items. These things warm my heart.

I've got the ghosts of friends long left inhabiting my home.

I hope they are happy to know that a little piece of them still lives on in Brisbane.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

FHE Lesson {Follow the Saviour}

Opening Prayer: Child


As Christians we are followers of Jesus Christ.
He set many great examples for us to follow.

How can we follow the Saviour?

Have some prepared foot prints and stick them to the ground using bluetak.
At the end of the foot prints have a picture of Christ.

Have each child walk along the foot prints as a follower of Christ.

Pre-prepare word strips or write on the foot prints as you go some of the following things:
{for smaller children you can place pictures of these items next to the footprint}

IF we are Jesus Disciples we should Love One Another

We must take upon us his name  - Missionary work

The Sacrament is a renewal of our baptismal covenant to always remember him

Jesus organised the church with apostles - we should follow the Prophet in our day

Be Baptised just as He was

Go to the Temple as He did

Help the Sick and Afflicted

Be thoughtful of friends and family


{Add any other attributes of Christ you think of}


Use the footprints (or rope)  to make obstacle course/path to follow through the house/yard

Closing Prayer: Child


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Fathers Day

'Bout sums it up really.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Baby Possums

A couple months ago my daughter and the neighbour friend delivered some baby possums.

The story goes - I'm walking along after picking up our Japanese students and see the kids at my neighbours house. There is a possum on the fence acting very strangely. I told them to leave it alone. We did think it unusual for a possum to be out in the day. Then I noticed its bulging stomach and said oh it looks like its pregnant - maybe its in labour? It's painful you know - maybe that's why the possum is acting strangely. Leave it alone.

I proceed to my house to cook dinner for everyone.

An hour later they bust in saying the mumma possum had blood come out its nose and just up and died and that they put gloves on and examined her and eventually coaxed two baby possums out of the pouch. My neighbour arrives home and take them to a vet that takes wild animals.
A man who takes in wild animals arrived to pick up 3 other possums and now theirs too.
He tells the kids that they can come visit his house to see the animals in the future.

This week we finally had some free time and went to visit the house that was looking after the possums. Oh my did they have a house full of animals! 10 large possums, 15+ baby ones in tiny pouches, 5 wallaby's/kangaroo's, and the most adorable teeny feathertail glider! The girls were in heaven. This lovely couple let the 5 kids all come in through their house and look at all the animals in every room. They sleep in shifts as the animals need to be fed every few hours. The lady was looking for some tiny possums to show us  and couldn't find them... then went.. dah of course here they are - DOWN HER SHIRT!! and whips out a polar fleece pouch she had stashed down there.
 She said she sleeps with the tiny ones as they like heartbeat.

Baby possums start out hairless and don't grow hair till around 4-6 months old. She said our mother possum probably died of rat poison and if it is suspected the baby possums have to be given special medicine. One of our possums was almost lost but he rallied around and came good. She said they were the first 'pinkies' (hairless ones) of the season. This is the busy time for wildlife carers. We were lucky that apparently our babies were already 2 months old. If you find a dead mother possum you should cut the teat off and leave it in the babies mouth. If the teat is pulled out of a tiny possum its mouth isn't formed and their face collapses in and they die! Lucky ours were old enough, or we would not have saved them anyway!

We had a wonderful visit to this local house/wildlife care  and its amazing to see how caring some people are. It's a full time night and day job for that older couple. They treated the kids so kindly and even though it had been a few months the remembered our story and which possums belonged to us.

Just another story. I'm glad for these types of education for the kids.

and that obviously my kids don't listen when I say to leave stuff alone!

Where would I be if the kids listened to boring old me.

We didn't get any photos of our baby possums as they were all wrapped up
but this is what baby possums look like via google images

Sunday, August 24, 2014

FHE Lesson {Fathers}

With two Mondays till Fathers Day - a lesson on fathers is nice to prepare children for the upcoming celebrations. We also use it as a time to plan what nice things we might do, visits to grandparents etc.

Opening Song: Fathers #209

Opening Prayer: Child


What is a father?

What day is coming up soon?

Why are Dads important?

What other fathers do we have in our lives?


Heavenly Father

Father of our ward {Bishop}

We see lots of examples of fathers in the scriptures too.
{Lehi, Alma, Joseph, Abraham, Mormon, Adam}

How do these 'other Fathers' help us in our lives?

{Go into as much depth as you wish discussing the fathers in our lives}

Let's remember to celebrate our fathers all year round and not just on Fathers Day.


Do this Fathers Day Questionaire
{and keep them and fill in a new one each year and see how the answers change }

Have small children draw a picture of them with Daddy.

Older kids can write down on a card/paper/journal things they love about their dad

Plan out some Daddy Daughter/Son Dates. Things they can go do with Just Daddy.

Give your grandfather or other 'fathers' in your life a phonecall or write a thank you to them telling them how much you are grateful for them in your life.

Watch  this video about how awesome Dad's are.

Closing Song: The Dearest Names #208

Closing Prayer:

Treat: A favourite treat of Daddy's :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

FHE Lesson {Home a Holy Place}

Opening Song: Here we are Together #261

Opening Prayer: Child



This lesson inspired from  A Happy Home November 2009 Friend Magazine pg 25

Our homes should be one of the holiest places on earth. Just like the temple or church our homes should also be considered holy places. Do you consider our home a holy place?

There are many things that we can do to make our home holy and full of love.
What things make our house this way already?
What suggestions do you have to make our home more holy?

Print and Cut out the above house pieces here .
Alternatively draw your own house or make one out of lego.

As you draw or put together the above house read out sections of what can make a happy home.

Use the headings listed or create your own of what you think makes a happy home.

Jesus teaches when we serve others we are also serving Him. Serving in our family, shows we love eachother and want everyone to be happy. We will strengthen eachother and then we can help others. Service brings joy and gratitude and happiness into our lives and the lives of those we serve.

Sometimes it is hard to live in a family. Sometimes we are going to hurt or annoy eachother. Forgiving others and saying sorry when we do wrong is an important part of a happy home.

Having faith in Jesus Christ in an important gospel principal. Doing what is right and following the commandments will help us to  have a holy home.

Houses need strong foundations to stay up and so does a family. We need to be kind and support one another. Loving and supporting the members in our family keeps us strong and able to withstand hard times.

Family Prayer can bring us closer together as we are united in talking to and thanking Heavenly Father for all our blessings. Having common things for us to pray for {family, the sick, challenges}unites our family.

Add more of your own eg

Scripture study:
Daily Scripture Study will help our family. We will be reminded of the words of Christ and Prophets. Scriptures can give us answers for daily problems we may face.

When we love eachother and know that Home is our safe happy place for all family members we will become a stronger happier family.

Looking after our home and working together creates a clean place. When things are in order our lives can run more smoothly and happily.

Spending time together creates a happy holy home. If we use our home as just a hotel we may be physically in the same place but not emotionally. We can be happier by choosing to spend our time in wholesome recreational activities together. Lets think of ways our family can spend better time together.

We are blessed to have the families and homes we have been given.
Lets find ways to make our home more holy and happy.

Making your home a holy place Funstuff Activity

Continue to play/ build homes out of blocks/lego

Closing Song: Families Can Be Together Forever #188

Closing Prayer: Child


Friday, August 15, 2014

EKKA 2014

Because it's tradition. Because they wait in anticipation. But mainly because of family.


Last year we made a little stop motion video of our trip to the Ekka which required me to take like a bajillion photos. This year I decided to enjoy the day and put the camera away.
Still got a few photos but it was nice to not worry.

Ekka Highlights from the family:
The fireworks show was pretty amazing. Probably the best I've ever seen.
Lasers, kites, fireworks coming off people. The works.
My Little pony showbag
Dr Showbag
Hamster like Water balls Ride
Unlimited Rides Band for my thrill seeker who tried EVERY RIDE.
Food. Lots of Food. "Only I come for the food mother"
Horse Heads.

The End. Tired and OUT OF MONEY.

Past blogs about our trips to the EKKA.



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