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Starting this year, our church is focusing on encouraging families to teach their children the gospel in the home and to study it for themselves. The church is to be a support to that teaching and learning. We have a new curriculum that we use in our homes as well as in our church that focuses on teaching about Jesus Christ and studying the New Testament for this year. It is called the "Come Follow Me" program.
In reality, we have always known that as parents, it has always been our responsibility to teach our children the Gospel and the church has been there as a support. So, we are really excited about the extra support we are receiving in this effort. Our children who live in our area talked with my husband and I and we all decided that we would get together on the first Sunday of each month to discuss what we are studying in our homes. The rest of the time, we will study as individuals and separate families. My husband and I make it a habit to read the scriptures together and discuss them every evening. Getting together with our children and grandchildren once a month is a great change of pace and a way for us all to stay connected and to learn from one another. It is wonderful to be involved in the teaching of our grandchildren as well.
January 6th was the first Sunday of the year! Alicia and her family were still here from California, so my husband and I were so excited to be hosting the first family gathering at our house. We knew it would be a challenge with so many adults and children mixed, so we talked and planned how we would run the evening and discussion. Here is what we did. Hopefully, if you are implementing this program in your home, our outline of events will give you some ideas.
Start Time and Dinner:
We decided to start our "evening" at 3:00, after naps and before kids were getting cranky and tired again.
By request, we made our dinner a taco night because my kids love it when I do tacos. So, we started out with fun and good food. We had beef for meat eaters and vegan beans for non-meat eaters and all of the rest of the delicious taco fixings.
I also made dessert, the best chocolate chip cookies ever and ice cream. But, we saved those (mostly) for after the discussion and activity.
We started our discussion with a song and a prayer. We didn't have what you might call a lesson, but we sat down and everyone shared the thoughts we had about the topic of study and any insights we had gained. My husband facilitated the discussion. During this time, I had found some coloring pages for the little ones that they were able to color in the middle of the room as we adults talked. Not everyone shared a thought, but that was okay. The things that were shared were very insightful and thought provoking.
Next, we decided that an activity would be a fun way to spend the evening, allowing a little more involvement for those too shy to share their thoughts in the discussion and the kids were even able to join in a little as well. (Our oldest child there was only 3) We have a family game that we like to play when we get together that we called The Sentence Picture Game. My husband had the idea to adapt it to our topic of discussion. We use the game Telestrations to play, but we don't play according to that games directions and this time it was even more of a variation from the original game. I explained the game a couple of years ago on this post. This time, we instructed everyone to write a sentence on the first page of the little dry erase game booklet that had something to do with what they had studied or thought about when it came to the past week's lesson. Then, we passed the books around the circle and the next person read the sentence and then turned the page of the booklet and drew a picture of what they had read. Then, next person looked at the picture and wrote what they thought the sentence had said, and so it went, alternately around the circle drawing pictures and writing sentences until each person ended up with their original booklet. The outcome of the game was really funny, but not irreverent and we were able to hear what each person had originally thought of. The nice thing about the Game Telestration is that you don't have to cut up and give everyone stacks of little papers and there are a lot of the booklets in the game, so the oldest children were able to draw pictures in their own booklets as well.
In advance of the evening, I had painted and used my Cricut to decorate picture frames that we can add scripture verses to as the year progresses. Each family that hosts can decide on the scripture that we add to the frame for that month. Since the first week's theme was about being responsible for our own learning and then doing something about it, we chose James 1:22.
One of my favorite parts of the evening was when we ended the evening with a song and a prayer. We have a favorite family hymn that we have always sung together since our children were young entitled, "Choose the Right." We started singing it to end the evening and our little 15 month old granddaughter ran into the middle of the group and started dancing away with her hands up in the air! It was so adorable! After that we all enjoyed the cookies and ice cream. It was a great evening. I am really looking forward to next month.
I think that the mixture of food, fun, truth, honest feelings and love are what made the evening a success. Next month, Lindsey and her family are hosting and I am so excited to see what they plan for us all!
If you are also using this program in your home, we would love to hear your ideas that have worked well for your family! Drop a line in the comments.
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I think I may have mentioned a time or two that I love Christmas. I love the magic and the decorations, the giving, the food and the fun. Most of all, I love the reason for the season, and that is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Consequently, I love Nativity Scenes. I have a few of them that I put up each year, and some of them have special meaning for me. One ceramic set I have was painted for me by my sister. Another Nativity was painted for me by Maddy when she was very young. She had solicited help from her dad to make it a hinged piece that I absolutely love.
Because I want my children and grandchildren to remember and know the true reason that we celebrate Christmas, I gave each of my children’s families a Fisher Price Nativity last year. It was great to give them a set that they can touch and learn the true story from the New Testament and retell themselves. I know that some people make it a tradition to get a new Nativity each year, whether big or small, a stand-alone set or an ornament. I am toying with the idea of doing that for my grandchildren, just as a reminder that we can feel the Joy of Christmas, and joy and hope in every part of our lives because Jesus Christ was born.
Do any of you collect nativities? Which ones are your favorites?
I have come up with a list with links for you of some of the nicest Nativity Sets for 2018. Some are very reasonably priced and some are a little pricier. I hope that you find it useful as you prepare for Christmas with your family and if you are looking to add a beautiful reminder of whose birth we are celebrating.
Kid Friendly Nativities:
Melissa and Doug Wooden Set This is a colorful, durable wooden set with 11 figures and a 4 piece stable. On the package is a retelling of the Christmas story. (Or, you can turn to Luke 2 for any of the sets!)
Delton Felt Nativity in a bag I love the cute lamb in this set!
Fisher Price Nativity The LIttle People are always so cute and easy for kids to hold. This is a smaller set than the one I got for my grandchildren.
Another Fisher Price, This is the set I got for my grandchildren. It has a few more pieces. I love that the star lights up and it plays "Away in a Manger."
Wall hanging with moveable figure If you don't have a lot of table space, this could be a great solution. It has 18 figures and a pocket in the back to store them.
Peg Doll Nativity is from LittleBlackMarketCo on Etsy. It has 9 peg dolls in a stained box that has a stable scene on the inside.
Nativity Advent Calendar This instant download from TimeSavers on Etsy is a digital download advent and Christmas Story.
Snow Globe Nativities
Dollar Tree Snow Globe If you have a lot of people to give them to, you can't beat $1.00! If you order them online, there are 24 in a case.
This one Plays Little Drummer Boy I found it amusing that someone only gave it one star because they had never heard of the song!? Otherwise, it had high ratings.
San Francisco Music Box Company Beautiful work on this globe. It plays "Oh LIttle Town of Bethlehem."
Peanuts figures I have a soft spot for the Peanuts Christmas Special. I have always loved how Linus recites Luke 2 on the TV special. This snowglobe is a sweet reminder of that.
Precious Moments I am also a sucker for Precious Moments figurines. This one plays "Oh Holy NIght." (One of my favorite Christmas songs!)
Large Statement Nativities
This 17.5” 3 piece Nativity makes a beautiful display. It has excellent reviews and would definitly become a family keepsake.
The largest piece in this set is 5.5”. It comes with 11 figures.
I absolutely love this Thomas Kinkade Nativity Tree. It is a beautifully handcrafted 16" tree with over 40 figures on it. It plays Silent Night. This picture is too small to appreciate it. Click on it to see how beautiful it is.
Here is another Thomas Kincade Nativity. It moves and plays 4 songs!
Driftwood Creche 14”x8.5” This is another beautiful table top set.
Here is a cute pattern for a Crocheted Nativity pattern. It is from AmigurumiBarmy on Etsy. If you are a crocheter, it looks like something that wouldn't be too hard. What do you think? Do you think you can get it done by Christmas?
If you feel like you need something a little smaller, here is a smaller felt option I found on Craftgawker, who got it off of Wild Olive. .
If you really like the Peg Doll idea, here is one you can make yourself! It is called Made-by-Me Peg Doll Nativity.
This link will take you to the popsicle stick nativity figures I made for a 3 year old class at church! It was easy and fun to make and the kids loved the sets I made for them.
There's my list of favorites! Whether you buy or make a Nativity for your family, or have one that you already have passed down through the years, I hope the Christmas Story is a part of your Christmas every year!
Last Friday for Friday Faves #56, we talked about the top 10 things that we love about Easter. Today is Good Friday, the day that is almost the culmination to Holy Week. Good Friday is the day Christ died on the cross. He atoned for our sins because He loves us. He made repentance possible.
But, we know that as difficult and sad as that part of the story is to read, that dark day is not where the story ends. Because, on the third day, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, overcame death and rose again. And, on Easter Sunday, that is what we celebrate! So, for today's Friday Faves # 57, we asked ourselves, and we ask you:
What helps you to remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter?
This is a special post to us and we felt that the best Easter message that we can share is the true one, so this is our Easter wish and Easter gift to you.
Between the 4 of us, we came up with a few excellent ways to remember the Savior and his glorious Resurrection.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
I wish I had seen this link on mormon.org sooner. If you click on this link, you can take part in #BECAUSEofHIM. Each day of his life during Holy Week is explained and there is a beautiful, thought provoking video to watch. I hope that it will add to the Spirit of your Easter this year!
Here at 3 Winks, we are all looking forward to some wonderful Easter traditions. We hope that you all have a wonderful time with your family and friends this holiday and are able to ponder the impact the Savior has made in your lives! We know that because of Him we have hope and peace.
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to ten and counting! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!
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