Sunday, January 26, 2014

Family Proclamation Cootie Catcher

Remember cootie catchers?  As kids, these were such a riot to do at school!  Poor kids of the 70's, 80's and 90's...We had to actually make our own cootie catchers...out of lined school paper! Boy was that fun.  The "fortunes" were often outrageous.  And if you knew how to fold them, you were cooler than cool!

Now there are 100's of them online, free for you to download and print for your kids (or for yourself!)  Miracle of the modern age!

As I was showing this game to my children, I thought, wouldn't it be fun if there was a "Family Proclamation Cootie Catcher" to play during FHE or just for the fun of it?

Well, now there is!  

You can download the Family Proclamation Cootie Catcher right HERE!

To make it, I downloaded a blank template from a site called Downloadable Cootie Catchers and customized it using some concepts from The Family Proclamation.  

You can download the one that I quickly whipped up or download the blank template yourself and personalize it to your own family.  

Whatever you do, have fun with it!  And enjoy another 5-minute lesson on The Family Proclamation with your kids!

Scroll down for the download and to see links to some of my other favorite free cootie catchers!

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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Responsibility of Parents

The Family: A Proclamation to the World teaches that "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 to be law-abiding citizens wherever they may live.  Husbands and wives -- mothers and fathers -- will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."

Hey, yeah, no pressure, but yes, it should come as no surprise to any of us that being a parents is a big responsibility...the supreme responsibility, because we hold the fate of the future generation in our hands.  If we teach them to be loving to one another, to serve each other, to keep commandments and obey the law, society will prosper and flourish, and be a lovely place in the future.  If we don't...well, all bets are off.

Now, yesterday, I felt like I needed a little motivation in my role as "parent," so I wrote, "Because I love my kids." on the dry-erase board in my kitchen.  I looked at it often during the day to remind myself why I do what I do in my home.  Why am I doing the dishes again?  Why am I making dinner?  Why am I making Guy clean up the brownie bits off the floor (the right way)?  Because I love my kids.  

I put this photo up on Instagram and Facebook yesterday, and asked my friends what they did today "because they love their kids."  I got some really interesting responses...anything from "I played two board games with them before bedtime and didn't lose my cool, even though I was exhausted," to "I made one child go to be early because she was misbehaving, and needed to learn consequences."

The role of a loving parent cannot be understated.  It is from our parents that we learn...well, everything.  And the Lord designed it to be so.  What a blessing it is to have good have any parents.  The Lord, in this section of the Family Proclamation, gives us specific counsel about what our duties to our children are.

For our lesson, I decided to focus on teaching our kids the 10 Commandments.  I know they know generally what they are, but I wanted them to commit them to memory.

As we've been told, the 10 commandments, won't be going away anytime soon.  We will be eternally held accountable for how we respond to these basic commandments from the Lord.

So, I thought a never-ending card might just be appropriate for helping my kids memorize these eternal commands.

Have you ever seen a "never-ending" card?  They are super cool.  You can open and open and open them endlessly...see below.

If you click on this link: Never-ending card, you can print off a template for making this card and it's super easy, I promise.  If you are artsy, you can probably make yours look much cuter!  Have fun!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Family Love

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

For this lesson, we decided to start a fun little family tradition, to help us show that love to one another. 

With Scarlett's help, we sewed a little plush felt heart that says "love" on it.  We are going to use the heart as our calling card.  Whenever we have the heart in our possession, we are required to do a secret act of service or love for another member of our family.  When the act is complete, we will leave the heart behind for the other person to find.  Then it's their turn to perform a secret service for someone else...and so on.

I hope that you can find time to have these little talks with your children, because these lessons can be just this simple.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

to Multiply & Replenish the Earth

"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."

I love the simplicity with which God brings about His purposes.  He provided a very straightforward way for all of his spirit children to come to earth.  

He planted both the desire and the means to bear children in each of us.  And He gave the combination or key to unlocking new life to men and women to practice as joint stewards over creation.

But He has instructed us to be careful and wise in our use of this procreative power, as it is a very sacred privilege.  Through the Family Proclamation, the Lord tells us that "the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

Again, we receive this simple but serious commandment.  We can choose to mess with God's plan.  We can ignore it, transgress it, or fight against it.  But we know that true and lasting happiness comes through following God's plan, not inventing our own.  And still God lets us choose.

The Family Proclamation goes on to teach us that "the means by which mortal life is created [is] divinely appointed.  It also affirms the "sanctity of life" and it's importance in God's eternal plan.

We talked about all of these things while we carefully colored in our Russian nesting dolls!

When I saw these nesting doll cards online, I couldn't wait to make them as part of our Family Proclamation lessons.  They are bright and happy and a lot of fun.  Can't wait to send them to someone in the mail and brighten their day, hopefully!

As you open the card, a new nesting dolls appears, smaller each time, just like opening a real nesting doll!

I tried and tried to find some little boy nesting dolls to print, with no success.  But these were fun anyway and got the idea across.  The process of "multiplying" is beautiful.  (If only it were as *easy* as coloring in these nesting dolls!)  It's fun and exciting to see each new spirit son or daughter of God make his or her entrance into the world...and then fill it (and each family) with his or her own uniqueness and talents.

We had fun making and coloring these nesting dolls on Sunday afternoon...talking about how many children we each hoped to have in our family some day.  Talking about how each of us looks like each other, but still looks different.  Good times and a great way to stay out of trouble on a Sunday!

I purchased the nesting dolls printable online at and I followed this tutorial for the nesting doll card by Andrea Currie Crafts.

You can also check out the lesson we did on this topic four years ago at Multiply & Replenish.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Temples: The Forever Family Place

"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."

This truth, taught in The Family: a Proclamation to the World, is pretty much the hope of every individual and family that I know.  Most of us wish and hope that we will be able to see loved ones again after this life, but few of us know of a certainty, not only that it is possible, but how it is accomplished.

Latter-day Saints know that it is made possible as individuals and families make covenants with God in his holy temples.  When we make covenants with God, we promise to live according to his laws and to love others as he could.  As we return home to keep those promises to God and to our families, we will not only be blessed with eternity to spend with our families, but we will enjoy peace and happiness as families in mortality as well.

This is why we want to point our children first to Christ, and then to His holy temple.

Our Stake President (and other church leaders) have asked us to keep a picture of the temple in every room of our home.  Since our move, we haven't gotten photos up in the kids' bedrooms, so we decided to make these temple representations that each of the children can admire and hold, and be proud to say they made themselves.

Steve will laugh at that, because really it took about an hour of his time (outside of our lesson) to cut the particle board and spray them white.  BUT the kids sanded them, glued, and tied the pretty white tulle to finish them off.

We followed the template for these temples located at Embellish the Details.  Click the link to access the template.

Be sure to check out other lessons in this series:

Five-minute Lessons on The Family Proclamation

Agency & The Family Proclamation
In the Image of God
The Pedigree of Your Spirit
Gender Matters
Temples: The Forever Family Place
Multiply & Replenish the Earth
Family Love
The Responsibility of Parents

Here are a few more ways to teach these concepts:

{I am also participating in an Easter/Family History Challenge.
Check out the #MyForeverFamily page for ways you too can participate!}

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Monday, January 20, 2014


"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual, premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."  

I find this sentence in the Family Proclamation very important, and interestingly worded. 

The first things to understand is that gender is 1. important, 2. eternal, 3. just one (major and significant) part of what makes you YOU!

If one's gender is this significant...that it carries with it eternal purposes, then I have to assume that one's gender is not an accident.  Sometimes, as we mentioned in a previous lesson, we are born with bodies that do not look or function perfectly, but you were created as either a boy or a girl, by a loving Heavenly Father, with specific purposes in mind.  (My friend Sheila wrote a great post about this here!) 

By creating you as either a male or a female, he is indicating to you that he wants you to be either a Mother or a Father, and to use your unique talents to fill that role in a way that ONLY YOU can!  (How exciting...and what a vote of confidence!)

Although patterns can often be seen in the preferences and talents that manifest themselves most prominently in young boys and young girls, it is also easy to see that boys and girls enjoy a cross-sampling of characteristics that society often labels as either feminine or masculine.  This is also meant to be.

So how are we to navigate the characteristics that are unique to each of us?

Our gender can inform us generally how the Lord wishes for us to cultivate and employ those talents to the benefit of the family and for our eternal happiness.

Thank goodness, I have a husband who can cook, and who is creative and very nurturing, but who can also screw in a lightbulb when I don't want to climb up on the counter to do it myself!

Again, even in terms of how we will respond to our God-given attributes and gender, the Lord has given us agency, and a spectrum in which He allows and encourages us to explore and develop these beautiful talents and traits.  And where does that spectrum end?  Our potential is unlimited.

Understanding ones gender is a personal journey that each of us must go on to discover who the Lord wants each of us to be.  

It is fun to discover what we are good at naturally and what we enjoy doing, and to find ways to enhance those talents, and then to figure out what God intends for us to do with those skills.  This is part of of the process of finding joy.

It's important to teach children that God values men and women equally, and that each gender completes the creation of the other.  A Parent's Guide, which is a manual put out by the church online, teaches that children need to learn how that relationship works.  This should be taught to children by example, within the family, from a young age.  There are lots of helpful hints on the role of parents in teaching gender, etc to children.  Check it out.

For our activity, we decided to spend some time, identifying the individual characteristics that our children were, for the most part, sent to earth with, and see how these characteristics, which span the genders, can be applied to their God-given roles as girls and boys.  We had fun writing these talents and characteristics on our big dry-erase board, and took pictures just for fun.

You can do something similar, if you think it wouldn't be seen as comparing your children to one another.  We were all in quite a silly mood, so it was a fun and positive experience for all of us.

You can also check out Gender Matters...the lesson we did with our children four years ago on this same part of the Proclamation.  And here is little short-haired Scarlett reciting one of her "Family Proclamation ABCs." a long time ago.

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