Monday, October 28, 2013

FHE Lesson {Choosing the Lords Side}

(Adapted from  DVD supplied with Elder David A. Bednars’ book, “Act in Doctrine”)
This lesson put together by my wonderful husband :)


A line on the floor symbolically dividing the Lords Side from Satans Side.
{Make a large space for this activity}

                Paper Strips with various covenants written on them.

Questions to ask are in bold. These are open questions and rely on a good level of understanding of the gospel principles, smaller children may have to be lead in their answers.

Possible answers are shown in Italics and represent a primary level answer to the questions given.


Explain the line on the floor represents the separation between God and Satan.

Place a child at the line and ask, What can separate us from God and Satan? – Sin

Which side of the line do you feel safer? – The Lords side

Turn them around at the line but facing away from it. Instruct them to take a step away from the line {further into God's side of the line} Do you feel safer now?

Explain as we grow closer to the Lord we are moving away from Satans territory.

What can lead us toward God and the safety he offers? Take a step as each answer is said – Obedience, Church, Scriptures, Kindness, selfless acts of service, tithing, word of wisdom, ordinances etc.

What happens when we stop being obedient to God? – We turn away from God. Wait and then turn the child around {back to facing the line}

What happens when we stop reading our scriptures for a day? - Begin to walk back to the line one step at a time.

What happens if we don’t do it for a week or are unkind? We move closer to Satan’s Territory. Move the child to stand at the Line.

Explain:  Point across the line and explain how sin can cause us to cross the line. Do this and then hold them tight.

Now you are in Satans grasp, can you get free? – No, Not without help.

Do you want to be safely on the Lords side of the line? – Yes.

Release them and lead them back to the Lords side of the line.

What does God promise us if we are obedient?Blessings, freedom, safety, happiness

What is that promise called?A Covenant.

Explain: We make covenants with God. We exercise our agency and accept these covenants.

Place a folded A4 paper with the word baptismal covenant on the Lords side of the line.

What other covenants do we make with God?

Place a few of these word strips on Lord side in a row, forming a barrier between the line and the child on the Lords side.

Explain: Covenants remind us to stay on the Lord side of the line.

What else do we have to help us stay on the Lords side?The Holy Ghost

Explain: The Holy Ghost is given to all that they may know Good from Evil. At Baptism we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

What is one way that God through the Holy Ghost reminds us of the covenants we make? – A still small voice reminds us of the covenants and can direct us to steer away from dangers.

Name a covenant that we renew often, that promises the spirit to be with us always? – Sacrament.

Explain:  Jesus Christ teaches us that we are loved by our Heavenly Father.  He teaches that through obedience to God commandments we can return and live with Him. He commands that we make covenants of obedience to Him and that because of these promises we make, he will help us find happiness in this life, and in the life to come.

If we break our promise and turn back towards the line what happens? – The Holy Ghost will tell us when we do wrong and help turn us around if we listen.

What happens if we cross the line? – We must repent and then renew our covenants with God in order to be forgiven and to receive the promised blessings.

What is this called? – Repentance

Why will God trust us again if we have broken the promise? – Jesus Christ will speak for us

Explain: Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven of our sins. Through the atonement we can turn around and start our journey again clean as of just baptised. We can renew our covenants and move back to safety and away from Satan’s grasp.

Does anyone have any questions. Does anyone want to give this a go?
Place a new child and repeat some of the questions so they feel they are learning too.
Closing Prayer: Child

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Elf on the Shelf... Good or Evil?

A month ago I almost ordered an Elf on the Shelf.

Last year I saw all  these fun pinterest ideas and a few friends doing it. Looked so fun. Was hard to find an elf in time though.  I put the idea away for this year and I thought this year I would be all prepared with my list of elfy mischief {thanks to pinterest} and order in my elf with my Christmas gift book order in September.

For some reason I baulked at the cost
(of adding to my already growing $$ of books) and subsequently didn't buy the elf

Plenty of time to get one I thought, perhaps they'll be in the stores this year in Australia.

I must have mentioned maybe wanting one somewhere on facebook when a friend emailed saying she gave hers away after having an uneasy feeling while reading the book that comes along with the elf and that she just felt it wasn't the right family tradition for them while maintaining she's sure its a fine tradition for others and if it builds up your family then why not?

Hmm she really got me thinking. I was kinda on the fence already.

When aren't I on the fence!?!? {it's a real problem}

We don't even believe in Santa in this house so is there even a point to Elf on the Shelf?

Do I just want to do it because I've seen it on the internet and jealous of other peoples fun?

The bribery part for good behaviour wouldn't work so well either.
I don't believe in bribing kids in December - 'You better be good or you'll get no gifts!!' I know very well that I would hand over any gifts on Christmas Day regardless of my kids behaviour. That would be teaching them nothing if I railed on and on about 'you better be good', 'OH you didn't just do.......' now no gifts for you. No that would be a big backfire because I'm such a softie I would be teaching them - be bad and you'll get gifts anyway. Now my kids aren't perfect and muck up all the time, but that's just one thing I don't want to teach - that behaviour is tied to Christmas gifts they would very much well receive regardless.

But wouldn't the ELF just be another fun  tradition to add into this house of Christmas loving peeps?

Subsequently I've seen a few other discussions around ranging from:

I'm too lazy to think up fantastic mischief for the elf to get up to for 24 nights.

It turns every evening in December into Christmas Eve ~ where in you have to wait for the kids to be asleep so you can 'set up everything' for the next morning

The elf is so creepy why would you want that around?

Why create more work for ourselves that isn't focusing on the real meaning of Christmas?

I so much wanted to be a part of the fun that seems to exude from Elf on the Shelf.

I even had roped my older  kid into helping me nightly.
I thought that getting her to help me do fun little elf things for her younger sisters would help her transition into the 'giving' instead of 'getting' part of Christmas. It's so hard as a teen when the magic loses its tarnish and you're also not in the world of getting excited for your own children, or have any money to buy things to make others happy.

I've marked the ideas on pinterest with such fun ideas to do around the house.

Wouldn't it be a joy to wake each morning to find out what the elf has been up to last night??

So then I decided to google 'Elf on the Shelf Negative'

Oh boy.

Maybe I shouldn't have done that. Nearly everything I read had me nodding in AHA moments.

Here are some of the articles that I found informative (even if they wrecked my dreams!)
Click them if you dare (though they are kinda funny)

Hannah Bird
What elf on shelf  teach kids?

The elf is allowed to be naughty but his purpose is to ensure the kids are not!
It teaches them that there is an authority outside of parents and the Lord over the home.
It teaches them that we behave for extrinsic reasons.
It teaches them that good behavior is a commodity to bargain with.
It teaches children that  unseen bad behavior has no negative impact.
It teaches them that there must be ever-escalating entertainment and novelty.
And scariest of all, it teaches children that parents are so unsure of themselves that they must employ a little leverage.
The Atlantic

Why inject a note of fear and suspicion into a season and a holiday that are meant to be about love, togetherness, and forgiveness? Coupled with the catch-22 that if you do your job right, your children will never thank you for it (because all these goodies come from the Elf!) - wouldn't you prefer a Christmas tradition the child knows is from you. Instead of spending this precious time creating all this work perhaps spend your time with your child. Stay up late and have a hot chocolate. Sit down together and do a craft.

White house Black Shutters
I'll fall asleep and forget to set up elf and mess up the 'magic'
I'm hiring an elf to mess up my house while trying to teach my kids to be good?!?!

The Path Less Taken
My question is this:  Do you really want your kids to behave a certain way because they’re afraid that a creepy little elf is going to be watching them and reporting to Santa?  What happens in January when the elf gets packed away? I know I don’t.
Behaving a certain way for an external reward (or fear of punishment) is temporary, at best.  It’s also not sincere, but just on the surface… no more than a means to an end.  Where is the meaning in that?  If you gave me $100 and told me to hold the door for a stranger, I would.  But how much more would it mean – for me and the stranger – if I did it for free, simply because it’s a nice thing to do?  Bribing and threatening our kids to “behave” is like assuming that they wouldn’t do so otherwise.  It’s belittling them, and taking away their own power to do what THEY feel is right… not for a reward, not because of a fear of punishment, but because they want to.  If they’re not given that chance, how can they show us who they really are?

When friends visit our kids tell everyone about how the elf is watching everything they do.
Visiting our house is like visiting East Germany, circa 1983!
Surely kids are gonna wake up when the see these elves everywhere in the shops that indeed their elf monitor is not unique to their family.

There was talk of towns were peoples elves out do eachother (giving daily gifts, making cookies and other crazy insanity with kids comparing - what does your elf bring/ do?) do we really need another crazy consumer, competition driven tradition - isn't santa enough!?

Parents so eager to get good behaviour they are letting the Elf in the house in October.
We need a year round elf!!

Lots of Amazon comments point out kids that are scared of it and people who returned their elf.

 Elfy is also a little expensive for something you could pull off with any Christmas decoration.

Is it just a fad and I'll be embarrassed in a few years time to say I even bothered with it?

These are all so valid points!

Also valid are the points of people saying:
Get a grip
Don't take it so seriously
It's just a fun Christmas tradition
Take a chill pill
No child is going to be emotionally or psychologically harmed !
If a parent does use it to bribe, harm or mentally damage a child then it is their parenting technique and not a little elf toy to be blamed.
Hundreds of people saying their kid loves their elf and their behaviour improved with its use

What to do? What to do?

I thought of a bunch of ways I could tailor it to our family.
Just a fun hide and seek thing.
Just a way for me and my older daughter to create some fun for our younger kids.
Just a way for me to have some fun creative Christmas outlet
Why the heck not?!
Because I want to!!

But once I had 30 plus reasons NOT to do elf on the shelf I feel guilty for still intending to do it.

These all just felt like justifications to me. Sigh.

Then I felt like rebelling and Just going for it. Rule breaker I am!

So I'm still not sure what I will do.

You may very well see 'creepy placed elf' ideas on this very blog.
I may just go to supermum efforts every day in December
IT may turn out to be another wonderful tradition for our family.

Or I may not bother to introduce what I'm starting to have a sinking feeling is not the right tradition for our family.


Why do I think too deeply about things??

Should I get an Elf on the Shelf??

Sunday, October 20, 2013

FHE Lesson {Let your light Shine/Kindness}

 This lesson comes from two ideas in this months friend magazine found here and here

Opening Song:  I am like a Star #163

Opening Prayer: Child


Turn off the lights

Using a torch or candles create some light in the darkness.

What does electricity/torch/candle provide us?
{light in the dark, a way to see, a path to follow, leads and guide, comfort etc}

Read the scripture Matthew 5:14-16
 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
What does this scripture mean?
{We are lights. We are examples. We shouldn't hide our light. We should let it shine for everyone.}
Other people may look to us. Other people may need us. How can we help other people?
We need to let our light shine by......
{Be kind, Be an example, be good, share, say a kind word, forgive, smile at someone}
Print this sheet or make your own -  {find here page 22 October 2013 Friend Magazine}
Make Someone Smile
One of the easiest ways to be a light to others is to share a smile and a friendly word.
This week we are going to try and share more smiles with our family and other people.
Buy some smiley stickers to stick on your chart or draw them on each time someone shares a smile.
Practicing Smiling.
Prepare the smiley/frowney face picture and sing the song  #267 Smiles 
Discuss some places you are going to share your smiles
Draw pictures of people smiling, doing good things.
Closing Prayer: Child
Put icing smiley faces on bread, biscuits/cookies, cupcakes
or use different lollies/candy to make smiley faces 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Operation Christmas Child


October marks the beginning of Operation Christmas Child again.
The most easiest community work/volunteering you can do.

Last year I was able to volunteer at Samaritans Purse packing Christmas Boxes for children overseas.

I had grand visions of volunteering weekly and going there for date night in the evenings.

Alas it didn’t happen :(
However it's a new year and I can try again. This time I had extra people to motivate me and tell me which day we were going. Because of them we attended in the first week of opening!
I hope this bodes well  and I get to go a few more times in the next 6 weeks.

Though the work is easy – I felt bad when it seemed all the elderly ladies around us were working longer and harder and without complaint. {to be fair I'd had no sleep the night before}


Would you like help? I promise its easy and fun (if you bring some friends to chat with)

Apart from 15 mins of training and watching a video on what to – they get you to work straight away.

Wear closed in shoes. Bring a water bottle and snacks.

see website here :
Details below:
Warehouse Address  (enter by Gate 2)
Unit 5, 167 Hyde Road
QLD 4104  
Phone: 07 3848 6316 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE  end_of_the_sky or 1800 684 300 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting  end_of_the_skype_highlighting

DATES :   Monday 7th October to Friday 6th December 

SESSIONS:   Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30am – 3:00 pm

ADDITIONAL SESSIONS:  Monday 21st October to Friday 22nd November 

  Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 8:30am– 10:00 pm

WHAT TO BRING:  Morning Tea, a Packed Lunch and a water bottle. Tea & Coffee facilities are available at the warehouse.

PLEASE NOTE: you will be working in a warehouse setting; the temperature could be hot. Please wear appropriate footwear ; sandals or open toed shoes are not allowed

PARKING: As there is limited parking in the warehouse grounds, parking on the street would be appreciated.

On your first day of attendance you will be required to attend a training session.
It is not necessary to stay for the full day - any time you can give will be appreciated.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you plan to attend processing sessions in the last two weeks please phone ahead in case processing has been completed.

If you can't make it to pack boxes you can always fill a box with presents and donate that way.
Last year I was processing teenage girl gifts. This year I was processing 5-9 year old boys. It's always fun to see what people donate. Lots of good ideas found when sorting the boxes.  Books, Pencils, clothes, marbles, wind up torches, string, finger puppets, toothbrushes, small plastic cups, tennis balls, stickers,  folded reusable bags, small cars and trucks.The list is endless.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Jacaranda Season

The beautiful purple trees are back in bloom.

There are lots of jacarandas were I live. However they all seem to be on the main road and with lots of visual clutter in the background - pub, hotel signs, carparks. This makes it tricky to take nice photos in front of.

Anyone know a lovely big jacaranda in the middle of a park or field?

Maybe one year I will get a family photo under a jacaranda.

For the moment impromptu play on the jacaranda's at the park photos will suffice.


Hairband matching was not intentional. But very cute.
Shame about the favourite crocodile shirt from Grandma from the Northern Territory ;)

See previous Jacaranda celebrations here:


Sunday, October 6, 2013

FHE Lesson {General Conference Preparation 2}

Since General Conference is usually shown a week later in Australia we still have a bit more time for Conference Prep. Alternatively if Conference is done for you, use this weeks lesson to share what you learnt, play a favourite talk again, gather your notes and drawings and ask children what they learnt.

Opening Song:  Stand for the Right #159

Opening Prayer: Child


Since some of conference is available pre choose one talk that interests you (or you think will be interesting to children). Alternatively you can play snippets from talks or the Tabernacle Choir.
Find talks here

Tell children that General Conference is currently happening in Utah and next Saturday and Sunday we will be watching the conference in Australia. We are getting prepared for watching conference and will start with this talk/snippet/choir.

If you wish share the story of King Benjamin and the families listening to him on the tower. See Mosiah 2:1-9. All the families in their tents faced their tent door to the temple so they could hear the Prophets words. If you have a play tent set it up or have children construct a makeshift tent out of sheets.

Get everyone comfortable to watch the segment of your choice.

We are just like the people of Nephi and look forward to hearing the Prophets and Apostles. We choose to face their direction and listen to them. There are too many of us now to watch a tower but due to technology we can watch, listen and read the messages from the Prophets and Apostles.


Watch lds Cartoon series: King Benjamin Address (3 mins)

King Benjamin Printable/ Colouring In

Closing Song: Reverently Quietly #26

Closing Prayer:

Treat:  Make a Marshmallow Tower

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Life Lately According to the Iphone

::Windy Day Beach
::Springboard Diving Class
::Neon Sisters
::Lifeguard Class Graduation
::Springboard Diving Class
::Vegetable Flowers
::Abseiling Class
::Kids with Power Tools - Yard Work
::Roller Skating
::Snuggling during Riverfire
::Pool obstacle course
::Traditional buying of Christmas Fabric for Christmas Pillowcases
::What my mornings look like everyday
::Kids with Power Tools - Mowing
::Jacaranda Love
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