Sunday, April 27, 2014

FHE Lesson {Family- A Strong Foundation}

This lesson based on this article from the April 2014 Friend Magazine.
The family is central to Heavenly Fathers Plan

Bringing Primary Home

Opening Song: Families Can be Together Forever #188

Opening Prayer:


When you build a tower {or anything} with blocks it can fall over very easy.
If you build it without enough blocks on the bottom it will not be stable enough.

If you use more blocks on the bottom it gives a stronger foundation to your tower.
The better the foundation the better your building can stand up.

Just like buildings our families need strong foundations upon which to build.
The better our foundation the better our family will be.
Families are very important and are the building block to society.
God made families for us to live in. Good families are very important. 

How can we work to give our family a better foundation?


Organise some blocks with words stuck on them or get children to come up with words
{If you are worried about your tower not being stable, thus destroying your object lesson :)
 draw/make blocks out of paper and stick them up instead}

eg: prayer, service, love, speaking kindly, study scriptures, kind parents and grandparents {and any extended family}, respect, faith, honesty, spending time together, add any you wish.

Build a stable foundation from these blocks {words} and then  balance blocks with your individual family names written on them.

The stable foundation will keep us up and from falling.

Doing these things will protect us and help our family.


See activity per friend magazine here
Cut out paper 'blocks' containing the above words. Glue down the blocks your family is already good at doing. Choose a few blocks that your family agree need to be worked on. When you do better at this activity, glue it onto your tower of blocks. Remind children as you build your tower that we are making our family stronger!

Sing Here we are together #261

Closing Song: The Family #194

Closing Prayer:

balance some other block things like Choc Honeycomb, wrapped lollies like Zappo's, marshmallows.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Autumn Manifesto. The season of Now.

The kids on their annual egg hunt at the dam {very much anticipated}

Packed away the Easter Tree  and life has been moving in a very simple ebb and flow.

It seems like Easter was ages ago.
Funny how anticipation does that.
Once something is over, its over and done and seems an age ago.
{and makes it weird to blog about}

I read somewhere that it was the anticipation of things {buying things, holidays, experiences, birthdays etc} that  makes you more happy than the actuality {eg if you just go out and buy a lot of stuff it doesn't give the same happiness} so it is totally OK and good for you to have to 'wait' for the good stuff.

So to me it seems that it is always a good thing to have something to look forward to.

It's a bit of a quiet time, this middle of the year bit.

We don't have too much to look forward to at the moment.
And I feel kinda glad all the big things seem to be over.

Today I've been dreaming....

of cool nights quilting or teaching the kids to knit {if only I knew how?}, of soup suppers with family and friends and hot fresh bread, of drawing and painting artworks, or curling up and reading  and candlelight and fireplaces, of gathering around and making music playing instruments {if only we knew how!}of star gazing and hot chocolates, of long walks in nature, of treehouses and climbing trees and secret hiding places, of talking late into the night, of collecting little treasures,  of cloudwatching, of playing badminton in the street, of neighbours playing and chatting, and board games {ok now I'm going to far.... I don't do board games}

that's what I want my life to be.

It's up to me to organize it all I suppose.

Sadly an awesome life doesn't just happen. It actually has to be quite planned.

I hate it when I feel I am wasting my time.
and that my dear children and family and friends and grandparents wont be around forever.

So organize
that Sunday Dinner,
learn that craft,
make that home cooked food
and take that walk and

turn off the tv {and ipad and computer and iphone}

I realise now is the season for these things as most of our birthdays and major holidays {Christmas, New year, Easter} are done.

The Season of now - the weather is cool, there is time, there is space.

Now is the season for living those dreams.

and it will give us something to look forward to

Now is the season for living.

#I've edited this piece I wrote a year ago. All of it still pertains!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Coochie {Holiday}

We rarely holiday at Easter. This year we went OVERSEAS!

Ha ha ha not really. But we did need to take a car ferry to get there!

We were so lucky to be able to rent a beach house at a very cheap price.

My kids school sports teacher kindly offered her holiday rental on Coochiemudlo Island to us.

Coochie is touted online as 'the first golden beach closest to Brisbane'

It was great to go on a quiet seaside exploring holiday within 40 mins of our house.

Easy. Too Easy. Embarrassingly close to home :)

Even though there are around 150 houses on the island it felt like we had it to ourselves.
We walked 5 km around the island and didn't see a single person.
We were all alone exploring on nearly all of our twice daily walks.

We saw curlew's and a peacock and a massive sea turtle
{sadly dead! locals say they get hit by boat propellers often}
The birds were loud and woke us a lot.
Curlews screaming at night, birds screeching at 4am, kookaburra's laughing at sunrise.

I did however find more heart rocks/coral here than I have anywhere else.
I ended up picking up about 20! Hearts were everywhere I looked.


Sunrise photos. We have a tradition to watch the sunrise once a year. {See 2013  2012  2011  2010 } Usually on Queens birthday or Anzac Day or Easter. This year I decided to get everyone up while we were on the island. Watching the sunrise as a family is sweet and touching to me. We shared a testimony. Sunrise is cleansing and reminds us all that as dark as times may be, the sun will rise.

Then we packed up the car, got on the ferry and headed back home. Except we only went home for a couple hours before we headed north to Gympie to stay with the best and loveliest hosts in the world. On one of the days we went to Rainbow beach. I had never been to Carlo's Sandblow. It was amazing! A desert in the forest above the ocean. The clouds looked so close we could touch them. Vivid blue sky and water. The kids had a blast sandboarding down the dunes.
The weather was amazing this Easter. So blue and clear and wonderful temperature. The week went so fast, but it was so nice.
It was great to get away. The outdoors keeps kids so busy they were so well behaved.
Every time we camp or spend time in nature I'm reminded of the need to do it often.
I truly believe it makes a difference.

Easter Tree 2014

It's a little simple tradition. Decorating sticks we've collected from the back yard or park.

This starts the Easter Season in our house.

I like to document the kids hanging a decoration, however it is very tricky to photograph.

Not to mention we did this back one Monday night, all dirty from the day still in school clothes.

But oh well my life isn't a fashion magazine I suppose.

I've got photos of them doing this for about five years now. Its the simple things.


Surprise eggs, Smash eggs, Carscerones

Ready to smash

Whatever you call them they are pretty fun.

One of the Easter things my kids ask for most is dyeing eggs.
The last few years I've combined our surprise eggs and dyeing eggs because we don't usually need that many hardboiled eggs.

If I can remember while cooking instead of cracking an egg open, I slice the top off and pour the egg out. Rinse the egg shell and keep to the side. Repeat until you have enough eggshells.

Using food colouring, water and a little vinegar dye your eggs. Let Dry.

Fill eggs with - confetti, bird seed, glitter, whatever, {this year I used wheat!}

Seal the hole up by glueing 2 layers of tissue paper over the hole.

When dry trim the tissue paper neatly.

Turn eggs over and display.

To play give everyone an egg to smash over the top of someone else.
{use your hands to smash it - don't directly hit people with the eggs!}

It's a symbol of good luck!

Have Fun! You better Run!


Next year I must make more. The kids breezed through these in no time and loved it.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Night Time Egg Hunt

Now my girls are getting older egg hunts are becoming a little too easy, too boring and too quick.

I've heard of night time egg hunts for a few years now and have really wanted to do one.

Originally I wanted to do one where you put glowsticks inside the plastic egg but I thought that would be too easy - you would see the egg glowing!! der! So I went with regular use a torch hunt.

This year on the first Monday of the holidays we actually did it.

We had The Mr go ahead of us and hide eggs all around our local park.

15 mins later we joined him with basket in hand, a torch each and ready to find eggs.

It was so much fun and I'm really glad we finally got around to organising and doing it.

A little more challenging than a regular hunt and we got to play in the dark after.

The kids didn't want to leave!

 A funny story. Some local kids we know saw The Mr hiding the eggs but they didn't know it was him. They thought he was some dodgy dude hanging around the park at night waiting for a drug deal or something. They said to their grandma we see he has chocolate? Boy did the family laugh when we all turned up for an egg hunt. They had never heard of or seen such a thing. The grandma said oh the stories the boys were getting carried away with. So if you hear an urban myth about some dodgy dude hiding drugs in plastic Easter eggs and hiding them around in the dark... its totally not true :)

Egg Shell Candles {Tutorial}

There are so many Easter Traditions we didn't get to do this year. Boo!
But we have been doing this one a few years and it made a great Sunday afternoon activity with friends last week. The kids enjoyed burning these at dinner.

:: Egg Candles ::

Cut up any old candles but ensure you keep the wick.

Melt cut candles in a saucepan
Use an old saucepan. It may never be the same, the wax will remain.
We have a really old one the kids play with in the garden

Pour melted wax into egg shells.

Leave to cool.

Before wax sets place/push a small piece of the wick in the middle of the wax.

Hold wick inplace till hard/wick can stand up alone.
Try to keep wick tall and straight away from the walls of the egg.

#note. These are small candles and won't burn for long. During dinner or an Easter devotional only.  Also note the eggshells can/will get hot and if the wick is too close to egg shell it can burn.
Be vigilant and keep watch. Be careful with fire and children.

FHE Lesson {Resurrected Christ}

Each Easter Monday we have a simple little lesson where we eat real honeycomb and talk about the Resurrected Christ.

Opening Song: He is Risen #199

Opening Prayer:

Scripture: Luke chapter 24

Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the resurrected Christ. She and Joanna, Mary and other women told the apostles. Jesus appeared to 2 apostles walking the Road to Emmaus. Jesus appeared to the 11 apostles in Jerusalem. They felt the holes in his hands. He ate fish and honeycomb with them.

36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
 41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
 42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
 43 And he took it, and did eat before them.
 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and acarried up into heaven.
 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
Eat Fish and/or honeycomb just as Jesus did after he was resurrected.
A resurrected person has a body of flesh.
Resurrection is the reunion of the spirit with an immortal physical body.
Closing Prayer:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

FHE Lesson {Palm Sunday}

Opening Song Easter Hosanna #68

Opening Prayer : Child


Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday.  {so that's today!}
The feast commemorates (an event mentioned by all four Gospels Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19) the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Cruxifiction.

According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus sent two disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem. Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees.


If you have access to palm fronds have the children act out the triumphal entry. We usually cut 4 fronds off our neighbours palm tree with her permission. We wave them around and have someone pretend to be Jesus or I may be the donkey and let them ride on my back while the others wave palm fronds and call Hosanna. I have a childrens picture book that outlines the Easter Week and we read the section on Palm Sunday.

Make Palm Frond Crosses:  see here for instructions.

No access to Palm Frond? Make a paper one here Palm Leaf Fold and Cut Craft

Young Children Colouring In pages:

Disciples untying the colt Coloring In Page

Triumphal Entry Coloring In Page

LDS Bible Videos - Triumphal Entry

Closing Song: "Hosanna" Hosanna #66

Closing Prayer: Child


Friday, April 11, 2014

That the Blind may See

The last 5 months I have been a personal aide for a older blind lady.

She suddenly went blind only a few years ago so needs constant assistance.

Spending time with her usually involves A LOT of talking.

{Yes I'm perfectly suited to this job!}

I never been so probed in all my life.

Sometimes I don't even have an answer.

Any topic I mention ( my childhood,  past jobs, university, people I know, where I live, my faith, my parents, my husband, cooking, the kids school, service projects, friends, my children) gets closely examined and a 100 more questions come from it. You name it, I've been asked it.

So which is your favourite child
Which child is most like you
What do your parents think about this/that
Why is life unfair
Why must we get old
What happened when
Tell me about...
Do you think..

I don't think I've ever had anyone in my life ask me this many questions.

I don't think I've ever looked as deeply into things about me ever before.

It can be kinda liberating. Even a little weird.

It's taken a blind lady to show me to 'see' people.

Because she CAN'T judge by how you look or who you are, she doesn't.

And because of that she is willing to listen.

And ask lots of questions.

And care what people have to say.

And probe deep and take the time to ask questions you've probably never been asked.

There's not many times in life where we have hours to spend just asking questions.

And the blind shall see, and see she does.

And open my eyes that perhaps I can learn from this example.

To ask people - who they are.

Who they really are.

I've learnt so much the last 5 months by hanging out at the 'facility' aka nursing home. It's amazing how ones eyes are open to disabilities when you have to live it with someone {oh the obstacles out there to blind people! Oh the difficulties when you are older and can't walk far!} My advice if you can - reach out to someone who is lonely, visit a nursing home, help a person with a disability.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

FHE Lesson {Easter Kite Parable}

After seeing this Easter Kite idea in April 2014 Friend Magazine I was intrigued.
I had never heard of this tradition so I looked it up.

I thought it could make a great FHE and idea to do on Easter Friday together.

Opening Song: Jesus has Risen #70

Opening Prayer:


The sticks/supports of a kite look like a cross. The tradition of making a kite on Easter Friday is popular in some Caribbean Countries. The kites rising up in the air is to remind us Christ rose again from the tomb.

In some other countries (Greece and Cyprus) people fly a kite Before Easter (at beginning of lent) to symbolise sending away their sins and a time for purification.


Make a real kite to fly. Instructions here . Keep the kite ready to fly it on Easter Friday.

Make small paper kites using paddle pop sticks (or chopsticks or regular sticks) and paper.
Display in the house for a spiritual Easter Reminder/Decoration.

Or these tiny origami version maybe using toothpicks?

Or just draw or print and colour some kites

Remind Children the supports of the kite are like a Cross. Jesus died on the Cross but that was not the end. As we fly a kite/ look at a kite we can remember that Jesus Rose again on the third day. Easter need not be a sad time, it's a time of joy. Jesus was resurrected and so will we! Jesus died for us and we are so grateful. This means we can live again with him.

Closing Song: He Died that we might Live Again #65

Closing Prayer:


FHE Lesson {Easter Lesson Collection}

I've just realised I have more Easter FHE Lessons than weeks before Easter.

I am compiling them all here for easy reference.

Thank you to all who use these lessons! {Lots of you! I'm honoured!}

I enjoy writing them for you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Parable of the Bunnies

There are a lot of blogs I admire

There are a few I go to get inspiration for family traditions, family time, things to do with kids.

It seems discouraging when I see kids whittling wood, play instruments, kids that know how to knit, sew, trial several art techniques, Kids building stuff, kids spending all day outside,  kids who seem to spend all day creating.

I hate dislike it very much when I suggest an activity to my kids and they pooh pooh the idea.

They don't even want to try. Not interested.

I'm here and ready to teach them but if it requires trying they don't want to.

Now no ones life is perfect so you should never compare yours to someone else's but occasionally it does get me down that we seem to busy with school, homework, computers, eating and cleaning, being lazy, letting life live us to get to learning what I think are sometimes essential life skills.

This week I saw some easy handsewn bunnies and I thought it would be good practice for the girls since they haven't sewn anything since their Christmas pillowcases.
{and handsewing is different to machine sewing}

But of course no one was interested. No begging or cajoling on my side could get them to do it.

Too tired
we don't want to
just finishing up this... on the computer
just want to do nothing on the weekend

I let it go but did leave them with a terse parting

After dinner you WILL sew a Bunny!! Non negotiable!!

then went to my room in shock ~ the things you never think will come out of your mouth as a parent

YOU WILL SEW A BUNNY! {ha ha ha ha}

Then once time had passed and we were calm  and set up and ready to roll the comments started.

Actually sewing is kinda relaxing.

I want to make more. Cut more out!!

This is nice.

To which I said ' is!'
See! All I want is to teach you about one new craft/technique a month.
Will you please just do things when I want to show you how?

'Once a month? That's not often enough!
We should sew every week. It's just that we don't have time to fit everything in. It's unfair.'


Then there was bedtime resisting and I want to keep making bunnies!
I want to make bunnies for gifts for my whole class!

Then there was cajoling of a different kind going on.
Time to finish, time for bed, you can make more another day... etc..

All my own fault lol.

Now apparently I have till Friday to help them make 55 bunnies as class gifts.

Why. Why is life like this?

I don't believe in forcing kids to do things they aren't really interested in. I've had plenty of failed attempts at family activities. We also rarely do paid extra curricular activities as I'm personally not a fan, we aren't focused on any particular pursuits, we really aren't achievers here, just mediocre...

BUT .... BUT

There must be some sort of gentle force applied to get kids to do stuff.

That will be benefit them in the long run.

And its seems like they wish for us to do it, because once they do finally do something they act as if well this was fun, why aren't we doing this all the time????
{they are soo like me. I never did things as a child either}

I almost feel like time is running out with my older kids. You won't be here forever.

The reason I am a stay at home mum is to be here with them, to teach them stuff.
To show them that spending time with them is the most important thing to me.

These Bunnies, this simple craft idea really spoke to me this week.

Its the parable of the bunnies running through my mind.

I must try to gently coral  my children to a place where they are open to work and try new things.

This is my goal.

Thank you Bunnies!!

In all honesty it's the electronic down time that probably has to go but they always seem so tired after school. I feel I'm terrible at setting limits but I do agree with them - there DOESN'T seem to be enough hours in the day to do all that I would prefer.

I don't think kids like living to my schedule, but if left to them their schedule would be do nothing.

I would love to have a space big enough to leave out projects so they can come and go as their interest piques. But we can't. All projects must be put away each day if we are to have room to eat.

So I'm looking at creating a list. No time frame but a list of things that I want to practice this year.

Perhaps if we are lucky and see the list reminding us we will be able to find those precious fleeting times WHEN We are ALL READY and EAGER and WILLING TO LEARN! That we will be able to grab those moments by the horns and do and learn. That we will feel we live full and satisfying lives.

The List for This year:

Wood carving.
I want the girls how to whittle wood so bad. I just need to buy some knives and soft wood

More art techniques {we need to move past houses, flowers, cats and dragons}

Cooking {a house of girls and no one has the cooking love}

Touch Typing

Teach my youngest to ride a bike. Then finally after 12 years everyone will be able to ride a bike.

Knitting or Crocheting {problem as I don't know how to do either}

Sewing. - maybe a quilt

Gardening - definitely more for me, I don't have a love for the garden.

Evening Walks

This is more than plenty to keep us busy this year.

What things do YOU want to teach your kids this year?

How do you gently encourage your children to do more?
Try something new?
Get away from the digital distractions?
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