Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Should I Do When I See Pornography?

This Family Home Evening plan is centered on an incredible video (shown below)

There are a plethora of resources to use to address this topic for LDS families. See other resources here. It's an index for LDS families that includes links to over a dozen Friend articles on the subject of pornography.

A Family Home Evening Plan

"The Lord Gave Me a Temple," (Children's Songbook)
For a fabulous flipbook, head over to OCD Primary Chorister and print pages 1-16 for the first verse (half of the pages are text only. You may wish to print double-sided).


Video Presentation
This five-minute video comes from overcomingpornography.org. Many children will be exposed to pornography for the first time before they are 12 years old. It's hard to put together a feel-good video to address a sickening possibility, but that's what this is.
If you're having difficulty viewing the embedded video, view it instead on overcomingpornography.org.

After the video, ask if any of the children want to talk to you about anything they've seen.

Pornography Drill
Move from computer, to tv, to a book. Pretend a bad picture just came up. Ask your children what they need to do.
Call it what it is. Close it, turn it off, or look away. Tell a parent/trusted adult.


Children's Choice


Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
If you want to get really fancy, add a cream filling.

October 2015 General Conference Plan

I like a good plan. I love a great plan. Here is my plan for one of the most potentially fabulous (and often problematic) weekends of the year: October General Conference!
Fabulous because, wow, a modern-day prophet?!
Problematic because, convincing kids that it's inherently fabulous is neither inherent nor fabulous.
Did that make sense?

Earlier in the week, print and assemble "General Conference Doodle Books 2015, Part 2." 
Arrange creative supplies in neat stacks in the closet or office, including: stacks of old church magazines, markers and colored pencils, pens, glue-sticks, scissors, Legos, Lego Idea Cards, etc.
Buy food.
Clean the house on Friday.
Put up fall decorations.

Please note that where we live, Conference begins at noon and 2 pm. Your mileage may vary.
Morning: attend the birthday party for a four year old in our neighborhood. Eat lunch there and pray that it finishes in a timely manner.
First Session: Introduce the children to the "Creative Conference Corner" (kitchen table) with Doodle Books from Jocelyn Christensen, our special occasion coloring books, and fresh markers and colored pencils I bought during back-to-school sales.
Oh, and their vacuum thermoses filled with water, so they aren't wandering into the kitchen. It's hard for me to focus on anything when I know someone is creating unnecessary crumbs and dishes nearby.

Between Sessions: Encourage outdoor play. Tidy the "Creative Conference Corner."
Put canned soup  (Italian Wedding) in the slow-cooker on high.
Second Session: Set-out old church magazines, scissors, and glue-sticks. Encourage General Conference Collages. Also have the Doodle books and coloring supplies available.

Afternoon/Evening: Eat slow-cooker soup with a side of grilled cheese sandwiches. Encourage the 12 year old to dress for the Priesthood session.
Start overnight maple cinnamon rolls (recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction).

Morning: Finish making overnight maple cinnamon rolls. Enjoy as a special breakfast. Take the kids on a nature walk, looking for the prettiest fallen leaves.
First Session: Set-out Legos and Lego Idea papers. Also have Doodle Books and coloring supplies available.

Between Sessions: Libby's Pumpkin Bread. We made this last year during fall General Conference, and it was wonderful. Allow the children to swing, just to get out of the house.
Final Session: Either set out play dough or printed quotes from the conference summaries that have happened so far, for them to decorate.
If you check lds.org, you should see a link for "talk summaries." Copy and paste your favorite quotes into a word document. I brought the margins in by half an inch on each side, centered the words, and increased the font size for the image below.
Sneak a lasagna in the oven so it finishes baking shortly after conference finishes.

Afternoon/Evening: Take the lasagna out of the oven. Put in Pillsbury French bread. After eating dinner, offer to play Apples to Apples, Jr. with the kids before bed.

Baby Ideas
At almost 10 months, I feel Baby Q is too young to appreciate the toddler conference activities I've seen (we'll reevaluate in six months), so my objective is to keep him happy and quiet as much as possible.
Before and between sessions, I'll try to give Baby Q some one-on-one play time, especially outdoors and active.
Remember meals and naps.
I think I'll assign one baby-helper per session (older sibling). We'll see how that goes.
I could take him out of the room during choir songs to read board books.
He loves a bottle filled with water. We can offer him that and his Cheerios snack container during sessions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two Soda Cans Family Home Evening Plan

For the General Conference Connection, we used the excerpt that appeared in the May 2015 New Era: "Two Soda Cans," by Cheryl A. Esplin.
Shortly before FHE, pour the contents of one soda can in a glass. Save it in the fridge for root beer floats. You may want to rinse the empty can, since some child is bound to shake it.

The Family


Object Lesson

Display an empty soda can. Invite a family member to attempt to crush the soda can with their bare hands. After they have accomplished this, hand them a full, sealed can of soda and ask them to crush that as well. Allow them to make a show of trying and failing to crush the full soda can.
Why could you crush the first can?
(Because it was empty)
Why couldn't you crush the second soda can?
(Because it was full)

General Conference Connection

Invite the family to move to the table.
Encourage them to read the quote, and underline what we should be filled with.
(Light and truth or The Spirit)
How can we fill ourselves with Light and Truth?
(Be honest, pray read the scriptures, go to church, etc.)
Label the cans in the illustration.
Glue the quote in their General Conference Notebook.

7 year old S. wrote Baptism on his full can. I asked him if that was because he would get the gift of the Holy Ghost when he gets baptized. It was.


For activity, play the Animal Game. We did a mythical creatures variation. Think of unicorns, hippogriffs, basilisks, etc.
How to play: everyone chooses an animal name. It can be any animal, except one someone else is using. The person who is it stands or kneels in the middle of the room, holding a pillow with which to tag. Everyone else sits on couches or chairs. One sitting person starts, by naming a different person's animal. That person names another animal. The person with the pillow keeps trying to tag an animal before they name a different animal. If they are tagged, then they are it.


Children's Choice


Root beer floats
You will need half as many root beer cans as there are people. Unless you have growing teenagers. Teenagers might need their own cans.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Back to School Family Home Evening

For a post about back to school family traditions, including place settings and decor, I highly recommend going over to Jen's Blog. I've borrowed some of her ideas as well, but she did them better.
Also, sometime shortly before school starts, I recommend watching the documentary On the Way to School. It moves slowly (it's a documentary, not an action show), but it's so eye-opening to see what getting to school is like in other parts of the world. Even better, it makes them appreciate what they have. At present, the film is streaming on Netflix. It's entirely G rated.

Back to School Family Home Evening


For this lesson, you will need lined school paper, a writing implement, and a "Shield of Faith."
I used the May 2015 conference issue of the Ensign. There is a photograph of President Monson on the back. See how I used permanent marker to take it to eleven?
Or you can print a shield here. This shield is actually in a shield shape, with pictures and words for faith, prayer, repentance, and forgiveness, and a little picture of Christ in the middle.
For the General Conference Connection, I have used an excerpt from the talk "Yes We Can and Will Win" by Elder Ulisses Soares (the previous link has the full text and video), where he tells the story of a young man who refused to view pornography on his friends' cell phones.
An excerpt was included in the May 2015 New Era under "Stories from Conference" (scroll down to see it)
A simpler children's summary appeared in the May 2015 Friend under "Conference Notes." This is what my family used (see images below).

The Plan

"Choose the Right," Hymns 239


What are some temptations you might experience this school year?
Answers might include teasing, cheating, bad words, giving up, bragging, etc.
Write the temptations in big letters on separate sheets of lined paper.
How do we know what's right?
Answers might include conscience, reading the scriptures, praying, or listening to the prophet.
[Child's name], will you hold this? It's the Conference issue of the Ensign. You can use this as your shield of faith, because we have faith in what the prophet teaches us during General Conference. Is your faith strong enough to protect you from the temptation to (read the temptation on one sheet of paper)?
Playfully wad the sheet of paper, then toss the temptation ball at your child, and let them try to deflect it with their shield. Repeat with other temptations, allowing any other children a turn as well.

General Conference Connection
Invite your family to read (or listen to) whichever version of Elder Ulisses Soares' story of a young man resisting looking at pornography (or "bad pictures").
If you are using General Conference Notebooks, give each member of your family their own copy to glue in their notebooks. Encourage them to write down what they can do to be "Strong Like Moroni" and resist temptations.
 This is what 9-year old M. wrote and drew in her General Conference Notebook. I love the temptation balls being thrown at the CTR shield.

Back-to-School Blessings
This tradition is new for this generation of our family, although it sounds like it's been around other Latter-day Saint families for a long time. Each of the children get a turn getting a father's blessing from Dad. I usually request one, too. Just for fun.
If you have reverence issues with the younger ones, you could set up coloring pages in a different room, then call them in when it's their turn.

Your family's favorite playground game, such as 4 Square, shooting hoops, or jump rope. (Our rising 6th grader had a fever, and the other children needed their backpacks double-checked, so we actually skipped the activity this week).

Closing Song
Children's Choice

Closing Prayer

Rolo Pencils 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

General Conference Notebooks

It started on Pinterest, thank you. An Activity Days leader had used school composition books to create General Conference notebooks for her girls to take notes during conference. Then an idea formed-- what if there was, instead of a book for taking notes during conference, a notebook/journal for studying it after? A receptacle for those delightful quote graphics? A place for colorful pen doodles? A Family Home Evening resource?
It must have been inspiration, because the idea had barely formed before I found myself shopping the back-to-school sales. Composition books, 2 for a dollar. Sold.
I chose the lightest color  available  (yellow) so I could cover them with less showing through.

1composition book
1rectangular sheet of scrapbook paper (2 if covering the back)
printer paper or sticker paper (and a printer)
Glue (we used generous amounts of school glue stick. Seriously)

How to
Open a word document and select 2 columns. Then type "----'s General Conference Notebook," using copy and paste until you have enough for each person in your family. Double space between each label, and center all text.
Allow each family member to select a favorite font and color. After selecting a font, increase the text size as much as possible (this will vary, depending on the font). I used a smaller font for the words "General Conference," to keep them on the middle line together.
Glue a sheet of scrapbook paper to the front of a composition book, lining up one edge of the paper with the edge of the black binding, and another edge with the bottom of the book. Open the book and use scissors to carefully cut off excess paper. Repeat with back cover(optional).
Cut out the "labels," and paste on the cover.
Initiate victory dance.
Repeat as needed.

To give credit where it is due, my 9 year old daughter pioneered the scrapbook paper idea. She is quite proud of herself.