Friday, September 30, 2011

The Artist

I've felt like I've been in a bit of a blogging funk lately.  So, I decided it might be fun to introduce each of my children.  We'll start with The Artist.

 This is our oldest daughter.  Isn't she beautiful?  I have been told from the time she was born that she looks just like me.  I have a hard time seeing it unless I'm looking at old photos, but if everyone says so, it must be true.

She is a self-proclaimed geek and loves watching sci-fi stuff (Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, manga cartoons, etc.).  She also loves crime dramas and has decided she wants to pursue a career as a forensic anthropologist.  Lately her artistic side has really come out more and more.  Nearly every time she has a camera in her hands she takes a photo like this:
her foot and the ground.  Someday she should collage them into a big series of feet and ground textures.

She has this great ability to see art in common objects.  I see a cup that needs to be thrown away.  She sees a sculpture.
Then there's her drawings.  She enjoys manga-style art and has done quite a few different pieces.  This was the Castle fan art she drew for my birthday.
So there you have an introduction to my daughter, The Artist.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family Proclamation lessons

In January 2010, I came across a new blog: We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ. I was inspired to create a series of lessons based on The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  I'm reposting them from my family blog as part of the lesson blog hop  for

I don't really have formalized lesson plans since most of these were spur of the moment creations.  Please let me know if you use them or if they spur any ideas of your own. :)
For the first week's lesson, we discussed the first sentence of the proclamation and focused on the last phrase: "the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

We made a family tree. Each family member got a circle to decorate as they wanted to. As you can see, some were much more detailed than others, but all have something to do with that family member's personality.
Our second week focused on the second paragraph: "All human beings -- male and female -- are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

We started out with an object lesson where one child was challenged to create a Mega Block masterpiece. The catch was that he couldn't touch the blocks, he could only dump them out of the bag and have them land where they were supposed to. Obviously, his model of the Statue of Liberty didn't turn out very well. Then we talked about how the "big bang theory" for the creation of the world isn't feasible. We also talked about how we existed as spirits before coming to the Earth and that we each have our own identity that we have always had and will always continue to have. We also touched on the fallacy of reincarnation.

To celebrate our individual identities, we created shadow portraits that we displayed.

It is kind of fun to see how each individual is easily identifiable from their portrait. We can also see how different features are shared by different individuals in the family.
The third paragraph got broken up into a couple different lessons. The first we called "Pop to your fullest potential." We used the line, ". . . realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life." We talked about how popcorn pops and then related that to how we have roles we need to fulfill at various times in our lives. I used a lesson on as a guide. We decided to invest in another Stir-Crazy popcorn popper and thought this would be the perfect time to try it out. The kids had a ball watching the popcorn pop and we enjoyed our yummy object lesson.
Last night we focused on the last two sentences in the third paragraph: "The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally." I wanted to do something cute and make a matching game of ancestor's pictures or something, but realized I don't have many photos and what I do have is only my ancestors and not my husband's. Then I got the brainstorm to do something to help my older children complete goals for the Faith in God and Personal Progress programs. So, we talked a little bit about our ancestors and why I have a collection of personal histories for our ancestors. We talked about how it is through personal histories and memories of those still living that I know details about my grandfather, and other ancestors, who passed away before I was born. This is the same way my children can learn to know their ancestors. We had each of the kids complete a 4-generation pedigree chart as well as a family group sheet. Now they have to read about an ancestor and share a story about that person.
This week's lesson focused on the next paragraph of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. "The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

My original plan was to make a paper chain adding on each member of our family and then cutting out paper dolls in a chain to see them "multiply." However, as I was preparing our paper chain links, I got a new brainstorm for a better visual display of multiplying.

Any ideas what this mass of paper chain shows?
There really is a method to my madness. In a nutshell, it shows the multiplying in our families from both sets of parents.

I cut enough links for all of our siblings and their children, as well as our parents. We went through and wrote the names of each individual on a link. Just this step showed me that my children (and husband) don't know the names of all their aunts, uncles and cousins, especially the ones that we only see every couple of years.

We assembled our links into families with each of our parents and our siblings in a long chain, then went back and added "marriages" and cousins to the original chains. Our family, specifically my husband and I, tied both chains together.

Talk about multiplying! From four people (our parents), our siblings and their families now number 60 individuals! Who knew we could learn so much from one simple little lesson?
For this week's lesson we looked at the paragraph, "We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan." This was a tougher lesson for me. I didn't feel like we needed to get into a discussion about abortion, euthanasia and suicide because that could get really deep, really fast. So, we tied it in with D&C 18:10 - "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."

We talked about how each of us is unique and each person has value. My first thought was to have a "birthday party" to celebrate the life of each one of us. However, I realized we were out of eggs and it's kind of difficult to bake a cake without eggs. Plan B was to run by Costco and buy a cake, although that would mean having cake around for the rest of the week tempting me all day. Then in a new brainstorm the idea for a family talent show was born. What better way to celebrate our uniqueness than by allowing each individual to share a talent?
Our talent show consisted of a group sing-along of "Once There Was a Snowman", a jump rope demonstration, an exhibition of monkey sounds, a short Irish Dance performance, two piano solos, and an explanation of computer graphic manipulations.
Our next paragraph in the Family Proclamation talks about parent responsibilities. We chose to focus primarily on "... teach them to love and serve one another". Thus, the purpose of the "Service Tree".
Any time someone notices another family member performing an act of service, they can write that act on one of the tags and hang it on the tree. By the same token, if a secret act of service is discovered, they can record that act even though no one gets the credit for it.

So far we've had several beds that have been mysteriously made, toys organized, Sunday dinner ready when the rest of us got home from church, and my 4-year-old Diva gave us our laugh for the week with some hilarious dance moves. I wish we would have had a video camera! Anyway, we're hoping to foster more of a spirit of service in our home and see how many tags can get hung on the tree. Who knows, our "Service Tree" just might stick around for a while.
(We did clear all the tags off and go for a round 2 until the baby started pulling the tree down all the time.)
We spent the past two Family Home Evenings focusing on this part of The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
The first week we focused on work. That wasn't terribly exciting, just working together to get the house in a slightly better state of chaos. But, we promised the kids that if they would work hard we would be able to have some wholesome recreational activity the following week. (And I was hoping for a little warmer weather.)
So, for our wholesome recreational activity, we went to the school and flew kites!
We're getting close to the end of our study of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Last night we discussed the paragraph:
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection of their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."

After breaking this down into individual phrases/sentences to discuss, we had a "How Much Do You Know About Mom/Dad?" quiz. Some questions were to see how much the kids can remember from various stories we've related over the years and some were to get the kids' opinions and ideas. The results were kind of humorous.

For example, The Author mistakenly wrote that both parents were born in March instead of May. We had a variety of birth years listed. Several kids remembered that I worked at a bakery and/or local newspaper in high school, as well as remembering where I went to college, but no one could remember the names of the elementary schools I attended, even though we had visited them on our last visit to grandparents. Most of the "places we'd like to visit" answers were pretty close to our actual hopes. No one remembered that Dad's favorite sport is volleyball, although kendo or "play Wii" could be valid.

Several of the "What does he/she need to improve?" answers were comical. I apparently need to improve my "do Wii" and running skills. I can apparently work on those when I have an afternoon all to myself, along with eating more. (How does Mom/Dad spend their free time?) Dad needs to improve his book reading and cooking skills. When Dad was little, he wanted to be an astronaut or train engineer, a Dad, computer programmer, and bigger.

We got some insight in things we always say to the kids. They have good memories or just lots of experience with repeated requests.
We finished off our lessons by discussing the last couple of paragraphs and why it is important to keep our family bonds strong. I made up a family pledge that I printed out and we all signed. It's now laminated and ready to hang up where we can see it.
(Apparently I'm not smart enough to get a PDF file loaded, so if you're interested in the family pledge, leave a comment and I can email it to you as a Word document.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Meet my family

 Here is my family, in photo form:

The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God.
 Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.

The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.

Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.

Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.

Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.

Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
Extended families should lend support when needed.

This post has been brought to you as part of the Celebrate Family Blog Hop.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Amigurumi Fox

My latest crochet project has been this adorable little amigurumi fox.   Isn't he adorable?  (Sorry for the poor lighting.  Apparently my camera is being uncooperative today.)  I made one for hubby since he is in the fox patrol for his Woodbadge course.
Actually, I've made three of them.  That's what happens when hubby take his fox along to his Woodbadge patrol meeting as well as the monthly Rountable meeting.
I still think the first one I made turned out the cutest, but I neglected to get photos before he headed back to Woodbadge this morning.

I've also fallen in love with a new yarn: Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Yarn."  It is so soft and easy to work with.  Usually I use Red Heart Super Saver yarns, but they didn't have the foxy red color I was hoping to find, so I went ahead and paid an extra dollar for the skein that was the perfect color.  Compared to this, the Red Heart is scratchy and fiber-y.  It's hard to tell in the finished product, but you can definitely tell a difference as you work with it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cub Scout knot practice boards

When your Cubmaster husband comes home from day camp and says, "They had these neat knot-tying boards there.  We should make some to use at pack meeting," the correct response is to scream and say, "ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!"  Of course, if you're like me and say, "Sure, that sounds like a great idea," then read this post and consider yourself forewarned.

To make your own knot practice boards, you'll need your base wood (we used a 1x10 board cut to 12-inch lengths), dowel (3/8-inch), rope or cord for the knots, drill and bits, wood glue.  (You may find a glue gun helpful, too.)

Step 1 - Cut your boards to desired size.  Sand edges and surfaces.
Step 2 - Cut dowel to desired length (about 2.5 to 3 inches).  You will need 4 pegs for each board.
Step 3 - Mark locations for holes.  You will need two holes through the board and about 2 inches apart for the square knot and the sheet bend, single holes for the bowline and slip knot, two holes each (3 inches or so apart) for the two half hitches, clove hitch and tautline hitch with one hole in each set drilled partially for the dowel peg.  Across the bottom you will need at least three holes -- one for a peg to practice the hitches, and two for rope.  Ours pictured above has four lengths for practice with the idea being that you could have two people working at once or have three knots tied in the practice area.
Step 4 - Drill holes.  You will probably need two bits, one big enough for your cord to feed through the holes and one to fit your pegs.  If desired, use a router or Dremel tool to widen holes on the back so the board can sit flush against table with knotted cords in place.
Step 5 - Using wood glue, glue pegs into partially drilled holes.
Step 6 - Decide how long to make each length of cording.  We thought having two colors for the square knot and sheet bend would be helpful to show how the knot is tied together, but you could just use a single length fed through both holes.  It's helpful to pre-tie the knots instead of just assuming that "this looks like it should be long enough."
Step 7 - Feed cord through holes, tie up your example knots and you're ready to go!  (We found that the cording stayed more secure by hot gluing the knots to the back of the board.)

We also included instructions for tying each knot on a double-sided sheet in a sheet protector for weather durability.  Let me know if you're interested in the instructions.