Monday, December 15, 2014

FHE Lesson {Nativity Devotional}

I like to hold weekly devotionals on 4 Sundays leading up till Christmas. See HERE 
Some years it doesn't always happen as planned, like this year we've only done one so far.
Here is the idea we used ~ inspired by A Christ Centred Christmas by Emily Freeman

Opening Song: Favourite Christmas Carols

Opening Prayer:


We had our candle wreath burning with four candles and huddled around our table. We listened to youtube videos of some of our favourite Christmas Carols - eg What Child is This?

Talk about some of the characters from the Nativity.
We only did 3 characters this first devotional, and will follow with more in a second one.

Take a moment to consider what it must have felt like when Joseph realized there was no room in the inn. What would YOU have offered Joseph and his family if you had been there? Does Joseph Remind you of Someone you know in need this Christmas?

What was the great joy and good tidings that the angels bought? What would that news have meant to YOU if you were there? How does their announcement create feelings of anticipation today? Discuss our favourite carols/hymns that Testify of Christ. What makes them make you feel so good?

Luke 2:15-18  - The shepherds talked with one another, went as a group, and went with haste to visit Jesus and then spread the word abroad. What can we learn from their amazing example?

Wise Men:
The wise men were privileged to be on a search for Jesus. They also had much spiritual sensitivity to even know to embark on such a journey. What does it mean for us to be like the Wise Men?

Baby Jesus:
The greatest gift ever was wrapped in Swaddling Clothes. Consider this gift. How has your life been blessed because of the birth of Jesus? What are the gifts he gives?

Pondered in her heart the marvels of this first Christmas Miracle. What things do you think Mary Pondered about? What can YOU do to ponder this Christmas? How can we be like Mary at Christmas?

Simeon and Anna:
Consider the lesson of Simeon and Anna.(Luke 2:25-38)
How can we prepare OUR hearts to recognize the Lord?

Closing Song: Favourite Christmas Carols

Closing Prayer: Child

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Pinata's

We love a good Christmas Piñata.

I had plans to make this beauty this year from ConfettiPop

Alas our Family Christmas Party is TOMORROW.... so sadly it's not gonna happen this year.

Maybe next?

So while I shed a tear and scrap yet another thing I haven't accomplished this Christmas off my list

Here are a few of our past piñata's with tutorials.

Candy Cane Piñata

Christmas Tree Piñata

Stocking Piñata

Tinsel Bauble Pinata

Enjoy a good party and a fun bash at a Piñata.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grandparents Christmas Dinner

This is one of our most beloved Christmas Traditions.

Every time we have it I almost wish I could share it with all my other family members and friends.

It's just sooo GOOD!

However its stressful enough organising a dinner party for 11. Sorry Everyone!

This year The Mr and the kids prepared some questions to ask the Grandparents.

I loved the conversation that flowed between them about their childhoods, dreams, things they would change, funny stories etc. It really was lovely and I would recommend it for any family party!
They also bought photo albums along to look at photos of them as kids. Too fun.



Slow cooked Maple Ribs on a bed of mashed potato and peas
Roast Chicken with Mango Salsa and Asparagus
Mini Cheesecake, Layered Jelly Cups and Pistachio Icecream and Biscotti
Lemon Lime and Bitters

A huge shout out to The Mr who took a day off work and spent the entire sweltering hot day cooking! He's the Man! And the food each year is delicious. Grandparents Christmas Dinner is all his!

My dream is to have the perfect curated Christmas Dinner. Cheers to all the party planners out there - its hard work to get a perfect look and probably never going to happen for me. But hey we try :)

Previous Grandparents Christmas Dinner Menu's Here







Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas is Coming...

I'm so happy right now.
November was a really busy and pretty stressful time here.
I had none of my usual prep time needed for Christmas. But all is A OK now.
I'm behind but it doesn't matter.
We've put up the tree and nativity sets.
We've been to a carols with another coming up.
We had beautiful paper advent calendars delivered from Germany which the girls clamour to open each morning.
We've had one spiritual devotional with candles and carols, with more to come - its hard to get the girls in the calm frame of mind but when it happens {when I'm organised and prepared} its so lovely - and nothing beats burning candles in this house :)
We've searched the neighbourhood for lovely foliage to decorate with.
The 2 1/2 m Ikea fabric Christmas Tree hanging in the window like a boss.
I find the little girls under the tree playing with tiny toys early morning and nights
-that makes my heart soar. The tree becomes an anchor which time is spent under all month.
The little games and imaginations that go on. We always need a spot to draw us to.
I sit and look at the tree, house lights low just loving the twinkle emitted.
Its still a crazy time, and nothing is ever perfect, its often loud and noisy,
but snippets of joy are found when I look.

FHE Lesson {Wise Men}


Opening Song: The Nativity Song #52

Opening Prayer: Child


Scripture: Matthew 2:1-2
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.
Saying where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.

The wise men spent a long time finding Jesus. They were on a long trip after seeing the star.
Just like the wise men we also wait with excitement and count down the days until Christmas.
 It is more important to count down the days until the birth of Jesus, than to think about what presents we are waiting for. Jesus's Birth is the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

The wise men arrived with special gifts for baby Jesus. What gift will we give him?
Have a special present box or stocking in which you will put 'a present to give Jesus'. Draw or write down something you are going to do or be better at as your present for Jesus. Leaving the present box or stocking out in a special place leading up to Christmas will remind us of our gift and to try hard.

These 'gifts' could be the first you open Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning.


Watch the LDS Bible Video - Wise Men Seek Jesus (5 Mins)

Give everyone a plastic glow in the dark star to keep in their room, or stick to the ceiling above their bed leading up to Christmas  (idea from 12 Gifts for Christ by Merrilee Boyack ). This reminds us of the wise men that followed the sign of the star that led them to baby Jesus. We too must be like the wise men and remember to follow Christ.

Closing Song: Stars were Gleaming #33

Closing Prayer:

Treat: Use cookie cutter to cut bread or brownies into star shape. Sprinkle with coloured sugar.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday - Redcliffe

When you tell people you're off for a holiday at Redcliffe {when you grew up 15 minutes away} everyone laughs and asks why?

Why not?

It was for a small family reunion, it was a beautiful beach front apartment and my girls were out in the ocean every day before 8am. There were views, cool breezes and 3 days of relaxing. Got up close with four sets of skydiving groups, collected 100 jelly blubbers and watched a storm.

I would probably do it again.

Even if it feels funny to holiday somewhere in your city limits that is usually just a half day activity.

We stayed  HERE  at Waves in a beautiful 3 bedroom ocean views from all rooms apartment.


Favourite things :
Waking up to sunrise, waking up sharing my bed with Miss 5 and her wolfie, the girls doing Grandma's long long hair, warm sea water, being the only ones on the beach nearly every day, time with family, gorgeous views, cool winds no need for aircon, finding some green sea glass, grandpa who entertains the girls for hours with long walks and exploring, winds that whip up froth aka snow!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

FHE Lesson {C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S Means}

 These two lessons have a similar idea, so I've combined the two here.
Opening Prayer: Child
What does Christmas mean to you?
We can use the letters of Christmas to remind us of what it stands for.
 Play the Song C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S (C is for the Christchild) Sing it or play a version via Youtube
When I was but a youngster, Christmas meant one thing
That I'd be getting lots of toys that day
I learned a whole lot different when mother sat me down
And taught me to spell Christmas this way
C is for the Christ child born upon this day
H for herald angels in the night
R means our redeemer
I means Israel
S is for the star that shone so bright
T is for three wise men, they who traveled far
M is for the manger where He lay
A is for all He stands for
S means Shepard's came

And that's why there's a Christmas day!

Second time around show pictures to match each letter/word of the song. 
Print out or write large each letter of 'Christmas 'and lay out letters and pictures as you sing/talk about the song.
You can make it into a Banner and Leave up all week to remind you of what Christmas stands for.

 The Christmas ABC’s

This lesson inspired by December 2011 Friend Magazine Christmas ABC's
Collect pictures of the following (or show on an ipad/laptop)
Share matching scriptures if time permits, or choose just a few.

Angels (Luke 2:1-9)
Bethlehem ( Luke 2:10-15)

Christ (2 Nephi 25:23,26)

Deeds (1 John 3:18,23-24)

Everlasting (John 3:16-17)

Family  (Luke 2:16-17)

Gold  (Matthew 2:1-11)

Herod  (Matthew 2:12-16)

Israel  (Matthew 2:19-21)

Joseph (Matthew 1:19-24)

King  (D&C 128:23)

Lord  (D&C 19:1 Isaiah 26:4)

Mary (Luke 1:27-38, 46-48)

Nazareth (Matthew 2:22-23)

Obedient (John 8:29, Hebrews 5:8-9)

Peace  (Luke 2:14, Isaiah 9:6)

Quickly (D&C 49:28)

Reedeemer (Job 19:25, Mormon 9:11-13)

Steadfastness (2 Nephi 26:8, 31:20)

Teach  (Matthew 28:18-20)

Unshaken faith  (2 nephi 31:19)

Voice (Alma 5:38, Helaman 12:23)

Willing (Mosiah 26:17-18)

Young (D&C 43:20)

Zion (1 Nephi 13:37)

Create a collage with the pictures, or draw your own pictures for each letter.
Draw up a grid and fill it in with the Christmas ABC's.
Alternatively make this into an advent calendar and feature one word per day with accompanying picture and scripture. 26 Days!

Closing Song: Away in a Manger #42

Closing Prayer:

Treat: Gold Chocolate Coins

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

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