Archive for the ‘Family Time’ Category

Family Devotional for Lent

Since today is the first day of Lent, I got out our book, Family Celebrations at Easter, by Ann Hibbard.  I highly recommend this book, as it appeals to many ages and more than one learning style, and focuses on the gospel.

Each devotional begins with a short present-day story or situation, then moves to a Bible reading (not very long) pertaining to Lent.  Then come discussion questions, and I usually start with the youngest child and work my way around the table of kids, asking the provided questions and making up a few of my own.  I can quickly think of easy questions for the younger kids, and the more thought-provoking questions often launch my older kids into a meaningful discussion of the topic at hand.

The devotional ends with a short prayer and a suggested hymn, and then instructions about which symbol* to hang on our Lent tree.  The kids have fun guessing which symbol it is, based on that day’s reading.

*We copied the symbols (from the back of the book) a few years ago onto card stock, cut them out, colored them, and tied pretty yarn to each of them.  Also, we don’t have a tree; one year we just tied the symbols to a crocheted string hung across our fireplace mantel.

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Thanksgiving Traditions and Family Bonding

I LOVE simple traditions, and Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday for this reason.  So I borrowed the following excerpt from an email I received the other day from Keepers of the Faith…

Family traditions are one of the things that strengthen family ties or bond families together. A tradition is one thing that families can look forward to and enjoy together. They create wonderful memories, and are actually a great way to create future family togetherness and happiness within the family framework. Today there are many things which tend to divide families, but good traditions create warm bonds.

Regardless of the past, this is a new season for you and for your children. Give it some thought and prayer and see what you can begin doing this year to make your Thanksgiving a blessed one. Our traditions have changed through the years as is natural, but as grandparents, this is one that has been going on for nearly fifteen years. The grandkids wouldn’t miss it for anything. What do we do? Click here to find out!

One of our traditions is to serve a fancy breakfast (brunch) on Thanksgiving morning, with a white table cloth, candles, china and goblets!  (This was, of course, started by my mom.)  I might not have kept it up, since it is extra work, but my kids all look forward to it so much–partly because it’s such a sweet family time if you’re going to be with a large group for Thanksgiving dinner.

During the breakfast, we all go around the table several times and share something we’re thankful for–and place a kernel of corn in a dish for each item we name.  (Five kernels of corn are placed at each place setting and are to remind us to be thankful that we have more than five kernels of corn to eat!)  We begin and end with traditional Thanksgiving hymns, copied onto half-sheets of paper, with a Scripture reading printed on the back for everyone to read aloud.  It’s one of the highlights of my year! 🙂

Next time…our menu (with recipes)

The Results of Our Family Recording Session – John 14:2-3

Our family loves to sing together, and last week we recorded a Fighter Verse Song  we’ve been working on.  (I am SO HAPPY we now have a tenor in our family; we have a choir!)

It’s going to be tweaked a little more (mostly to hear the kids more than me), but it had to go online today because it’s our church’s verse this week.  Scott joins us the second time through.  THANK YOU to everyone who helped us with this!

Here is John 14:2-3…

Caramel Popcorn Recipe with Maple Syrup and Sucanat

We often have popcorn on Sunday evenings, and sometimes, we even make caramel popcorn!  For several years now, we’ve been using real maple syrup for part of the sweetner, but today I tried sucanat (unrefined cane sugar) with it (instead of regular brown sugar), and it turned out fine!

We popped about a cup of popcorn kernals, and then mixed it with the following caramel recipe:

Melt together and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally…
½ cup butter
1/4 cup rapadura or sucanat
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
½ tsp sea salt

Remove from heat and stir in…
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp vanilla

Pour over popped corn and stir. Bake in a large pan (ours was larger than 9×13) at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the popcorn is no longer sticky.  (I baked ours for 15 minutes while the oven was still heating.)

Makes about 6-8 servings.

Interestingly enough, Sunday evenings are often the evening of the weekend that we might start a family movie.  Then we can look forward to finishing the movie on Monday evening!

Really Simple Outdoor BBQ (and homemade ketchup)

This might seem like no-brainer, but our family never thought of it until last year…

One way to enjoy the outdoors in the Fall without a lot of prep or clean up is to just have roasted hot dogs and buns (that’s it!) for supper.  Our family did this on Saturday; it was such a nice day, we did a last minute outdoor fire and hot dog roast, even though it wasn’t on the menu.

  • Scott ran to the store for hot dogs and buns with a kid (quality time).
  • While I made homemade ketchup with Barrett, Scott started a fire with the rest of the kids (quality time).
  • We brought outside hot dogs, buns and hot dog forks (that’s it!)  (And the bowl of ketchup)
  • Everyone ate their hot dog(s) as they sat around the fire.
  • Everyone brought something inside and then got a drink of water.
  • Scott and I even snuck back outside after the kids went to bed and restarted the fire!
  • Would I invite company?  Probably not; they might feel very unhealthy.;) winking

Ketchup recipe:

1/4 c. tomato paste
1/4. water
2 T. sugar
1 T. vinegar

Mix and serve!

Annual Fall Day Trip

Every Fall we go on our annual Fall Day Trip, which includes apple-picking, hiking, picnicking and pizza.  It’s a highlight for the kids, mostly because we do it EVERY year.  We bring a picnic lunch, our own apple cider (it’s cheaper) and cups, trail mix (for hiking), and maybe a Fall treat like apple pie or molasses cookies.  Then we end the day at a pizza place (something we hardly EVER do!)  It’s interesting how traditions become loved, simply because they’re traditions.  Here are some pictures…

I think that a family could do just about anything once a year at a special time, and the kids would think it the greatest thing ever!  (Adults, too!)

Holiness, Dinner and Dishes

You might laugh when you hear what I’m reading these days; it’s basically a home management book called How Do You Find the Time, by Pat King–copyright 1975!  (So nothing about computers, email, or even homeschooling.)  But she did have 10 kids, all living at home for awhile, and I am not only enjoying the book, but finding many helpful tips.

In the chapter I read today, she talks about dinner–planning it, preparing it, and then cleaning up.  My first thought was , “Oh, I’ve got a lot of experience with that, and I think I’ve got it down pretty well.”  But she calls it “The 4:30 Syndrome” because 4:30 pm rolls around, and none of us want to stop what we’re doing to make dinner.  How right she is–at least about me!  (I usually push it off until 5/5:30!)

So I read on…

Mrs. King, the author, never planned to do anything after 4:30 pm except spend time with her children (now home from school) and make dinner.  She puts it this way…

“It’s a combination of listening to someone’s reading, giving spelling words, sharing a cup of tea with my daughters, making cookies or a salad, or peeling potatoes.  I don’t plan housework, telephone calls or even work at my desk.”

I began to picture my kitchen filled with children during supper-prep-time, all doing various activities; some helping me with food prep, some doing dishes (so there are less after supper), and some just quizzing each other on spelling or listening to them read aloud.  (By this time in the day, all of my kids have had some good free time.)  So the supper-prep hour becomes a family time where everybody helps–not just the one or two kids who want to help me that day.

After many more practical tips about dinner, the chapter concludes with this…

“Each of us is called by the Lord to holiness.  Isn’t it amazing that so many of us answer that call through something as everyday as dinner and the dishes?  The evening meal is the paradox of our homemaker lives.  It looks, at a glance, so unimportant when we consider all that there is to be done for the cause of Christ.  But when we answer this calling to lay down our lives every day at 4:30 with a conscious love for the Lord, it is not only helpful beyond all understanding to those we love, but when it is done for Jesus how can it be anything but important and utterly worthwhile?”

Anyone have any helpful tips for the “4:30 syndrome”–otherwise known as “Dinner Prep”?

(Ironically, we’re ordering pizza tonight for Barrett’s 11th birthday!)