Sunday, April 17, 2011

Family Home Evening at MY House and Blog Hop Link Up

Thank you so much for everyone who has participated in the "This is What Family Home Evening Looks Like at My House" series this week! It has really been wonderful... but we aren't over yet because at the end of this post is a linky tool for you to link up your own post about what FHE looks like at your house. Make sure you hop over and read everyone else's posts too! Now it is my turn to share what Family Home Evening looks like at my house.

We have a family of four, me-- Heather, my husband-- Jon, and our two children Asher-- 3 years and Rose-- a year and a half.

It would be very accurate to say that our Family Home Evenings revolve around something we call our "Family Home Evening blanket". When my husband and I were newlyweds their was another newlywed couple who lived next door to us. We were good friends and took turns inviting each other over to "the other side of the wall" for a combined family home evening. Whenever we'd have FHE at their apartment this couple would pull out the MOST hideous multi-colored crocheted blanket and we'd all sit on it. The husband explained that growing up his mother always pulled out a specific blanket when it was time for FHE and the family would sit around it. When he and his siblings grew up they each wanted the blanket and so to appease them his mom made each of them their own-- identically hideous-- crocheted FHE blanket when they got married.

The idea of an FHE blanket stuck with me and the year after Asher was born I made my own version of a Family Home Evening blanket as a Christmas present for my husband.

I took all of my husband's and my old t-shirts and made them into a quilt. It was my first (and so far my only) quilt and it is horribly put together! It isn't square and the ties are totally crazy but I put LOTS of batting in it so it is really soft. It is the most coveted blanket in our house. We pull it out every Monday night and the rest of our evening sort of revolves around it.

We start by singing a song. Rose ALWAYS wants to sing "Do as I'm Doing" and starts to roll her hands as soon as we even get the blanket it out . Most of the time we have a hard time getting Asher interested in sitting still. For example, last week when I was taking pictures for this post Jon and Rose were sitting nicely on the blanket singing "Do as I'm Doing" (see the above picture) and when I started to look for Asher I found him outside on the porch wearing my shoes.

Are you getting a feel for what chaos FHE is at our house!

After song and a prayer we have "Announcements" which we start by patting our hands on our legs and saying "Announcements, Announcements, Announcements, dun dunt, a dun, dunt a dun, dun, dun" and then the first person to raise their hand in the air gets to say the first one. Asher always has his hand in the air first and every week tells us that it is his birthday. Which it isn't-- but I figure it doesn't hurt him to dream. Usually the other announcements are things that people have done well, fun activities that are coming up, or things that the family should know about. This is just about the only part of the evening where both kids always pay attention!

After announcements we recite "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" which I've talked about a bit more here. Just recently we started using Jocelyn's, from "We Talk of Christ", Family Proclamation ABC's to teach parts of the proclamation to my kids (because they get bored hearing us recite the whole thing). I am especially excited about the activity/coloring pages that CK from Made by Bedtime Tales made to go along with the Proclamation ABC's. This has been such a treasure for us.

After the Family Proclamation we have our lesson. Sometimes my husband and I discuss during the week what topic we should address on Monday night, but 5 times out of 10 we end up throwing something together at the last minute. Since my kids are so young I really like using the Nursery Manual because all the lesson are already planned out for you. The lessons that are always the biggest hits with my kids are when we do any lesson from the Book of Mormon that involves building a tent. For example, the week before General Conference my husband gave a lesson about King Benjamin's address. So we built a tent out of our FHE blanket (see I told you it gets used a lot!) and laid in it while Dad (dressed up like King Benjamin) stood on a chair and told us about the importance of listening to the prophet.

Then Asher tried Dad's beard on.

Sometimes our lessons go well and other times they are flops... or at least they feel like it. Yet the other night I learned a really important lesson. I was giving a lesson on how the temple, the church, and our homes are places where Jesus can dwell. Both of my kids were not, even remotely, paying attention. In fact, for a good portion of my lesson I think Asher was in the other room. I was super frustrated and decided to give up and stop. Then about 10 minutes later as I was cleaning things up Asher came into the room, looked me in the eyes and repeated WORD for WORD the lesson I had just given. It floored me. I didn't think he was listening. I realized that our children hear and see SO much more than we give them credit for and that even when we think they aren't listening we need to keep talking! Our examples matter so much.

Okay, so after lesson we have our activity and it is always "swinging". One of the kids lies in the middle of the FHE blanket and then Jon and I lift both ends of the blanket and swing them back and forth while singing little songs. They love it. We'd do it all night if it was up to them. We also use the blanket to "roll them to Mexico". The child lays at the end of the blanket and gets rolled up in it. Then the parent asks "Where do you want to go" and then once they tell you (usually they always want to go to one of their grandparent's houses) then you unroll them.

Here Rose is all ready to roll.

and both of them at the same time.

Then we have a prayer and a "reverent" song and we are done!

I am sure that the structure of our FHE's will change as our children get older. I don't envision us still swinging them in the blanket when they are teenagers... though who knows! I think the most important thing about FHE is just doing it and doing it consistently. Just like knitting we build strong eternal families one stitch at a time, one FHE at a time, one family prayer at time, and one day at a time. I have faith that by small and simple things, great things come to pass.

Now it is is YOUR TURN! Share with us what Family Home Evening Looks Like at Your House by using the linky tool below to link to a post you've written. Your post can be as long or short as you like and you don't have to be "perfect" at FHE to share either. Every one's perspective is welcome! Please remember though that your blog MUST be a public one or else no one else will be able to see your post!

The blog hop will be open all this week and I will announce the winner of the prizes on Monday, April 25th.


  1. I LOVE swinging and being rolled to Mexico! I think if someone could still do it with me I would make them :)

  2. What a fun FHE blanket! I'm glad FHE is chaos at other people's houses and not just mine. :-)

  3. Heather,

    Thank you so much for this series of posts about FHE. My husband and I read through them and found some absolutely wonderful ideas to steal. It was also comforting to hear from these clearly wonderful families who are raising great kids that they don't always take hours to plan the lessons, that their children are sometimes restless etc. Just like me and my family!

    I really love your blog and appreciate the insights you share. Hope you have a wonderful week!

  4. FHE looks AWESOME at your house! What fun! I don't know if I will be able to get a post written about our FHE on time for this, but I can't wait to go read other people's! Thanks!
    Corine :D

  5. I hope you don't mind that I "primed the pump"~ I also linked to this post and FBed it!

  6. I love the blanket. That is a really good idea. I read about someone who puts their kids in laundry baskets for FHE. I thought that was pretty smart, too :) My kids might actually sit through more FHE if we put them in a laundry basket...

    I linked up! I was actually excited to write about FHE. Since we're finally making an FHE chart tonight, I'll probably add that later. We're pretty stoked for our FHE chart :) And for eventually having teens to share FHE with!

    I always love your blog, Heather! Some blogs I'll glance at a post and think "Hmm, not really worth my time." Not that they are bad posts - they just don't speak to me. But YOUR posts have ALWAYS touched me. Every single one of them. As long as you keep writing, I will keep reading :)

  7. Man, I want to be adopted into your family! I love your traditions -- the blanket, the Proclamation, AND the rolling around in the blanket. Sounds like a great night for your kids to look forward to!

  8. I do like the the blankie idea--and your comment on the hideous crocheted one. You will have to divide that one up when your kids move on.

  9. Oh my gosh, I could seriously feel my heart leaping reading about FHE in your home! I feel like I am having so much fun even though I am sitting here reading and not getting rolled up to Mexico or anything. Love love love what you all do! Thanks for great ideas.

  10. Ok, so I linked up and the first time I accidently linked to the wrong thing! My feeling lucky post isn't exactly what I call a family home evening activity. Sorry!

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!! I LOVE visitors!! =) You have a wonderful blog! I am so inspired by the things you share!