Sunday, January 6, 2013

Family Home Evening

We haven't been all that great about holding family night in the past, I'll admit. (Truthfully, I hadn't been very motivated to do much outside of being on a computer with a good internet connection for a long time.) But we're doing it now, every week.

It never ceases to amaze me how adaptable my kids are--even my pubescent "experiencing hormonal mood swings like never before" children. When Big E and I decided to make family night a priority, the monkeys didn't just roll with it, they cheered. (They are less cheerful about our nightly scripture study, but I guess that doesn't have a sugary treat attached to it like family home evening, or FHE.)

(Yes, I'm going to be very Mormon in my post today.)

Because there are eight of us, and because everyone wants a job, I had to split things up. We don't just have someone who is in charge of the music for a particular week--we have one who is in charge of our opening song and another in charge of the opening prayer. We don't do the optional "lesson or activity," we do both a lesson and an activity (with the caveat that both can't be more than 30 minutes long--otherwise FHE devolves to boredom which leads to Family Fight Night, which is not really as fun as it sounds).

And unlike the majority of LDS families, we don't hold our FHE on Monday nights because of Big E's sometimes wonky work schedule. Sundays tend to be safe, so that's family night for us. Last week, we kicked it off with just Big E and I in charge. I taught the lesson (on forgiveness--using rocks and a backpack; it was quite ingenious), and we played the color game which involves a squirt bottle and getting a little wet (ask me about that later). I also made pudding for dessert. Big E handled the conducting, the music, and assigned out the prayers. The kids felt a little jilted because when we held family night sporadically in the past, everyone had a job. So, they were quick to tell me what they wanted to be in charge of for this Sunday.

And for the most part it went swimmingly. I even got to try something new.

G-man was over our refreshments, and I had forgotten to ask him if he needed me to pick up anything from the store yesterday. (We try to avoid shopping on Sundays, unless it's a real emergency. FHE treats do not constitute an emergency.) So, on the way home from church, I rattled off some things we could make from scratch. He chose cinnamon rolls. I have never made them before.

Shall we do a mini-bullet presentation about the making of cinnamon rolls like I did about Christmas card-making a few posts back? Yes, let's.

Things I learned about making cinnamon rolls:
  • Bread flour is awesome. I picked it up after my less-than-impressive tryst in the world of french-bread-making last week (that's a whole 'nother ball-o'-wax). I will never use all-purpose flour again if I can help it when I'm making any yeast bread recipe.
  •  I really, really need a proper mixer. (Yes, I'm eyeballing you, KitchenAid. One of these days...) My poor hand-mixer tried its best, but it didn't quite make the cut.
  • Living at a ridiculously high altitude and in a ridiculously dry climate (seriously, it can mummify the living if you don't drink enough water), has a surprising and frustrating affect on how bread dough rises. (Yeast is strangely fickle in this environment.)
  • It's always good to have a friend who is far more experienced in baking and cooking a mere phone call away. (If you're reading this, Andrea, I mean you.) Especially if the dough is not rising like the recipe (written for people who live at sea level with proper humidity and a warm climate) says it should.
  • And I'll never get over how much more fun baking is with little people in the kitchen. I seriously don't know why I used to keep them out all for all those years. I should have taken more photos.

G-man getting his bake on. He's melting butter and sugar in milk.
The rolls before they went into the oven. This round of rising took forever! (Apparently because it's so cold and dry here.)
As the rolls were baking, we had our FHE. Little E was conducting this week. (Basically, he welcomes everyone to our gathering and announces who is doing what.) Princess was in charge of our opening song--which she chose to be "Scripture Power." I said our opening prayer--or "invocation." (Yes, we totally use proper terms!)

Banana gave our lesson this week (she requested that job!). I was impressed with how much work she put into it. She taught us about faith using stories from the scriptures. (Daniel and the lion's den, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the Bible, and the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon.)

Lee-Lee selected our activity this week: a round of Uno. The rolls came out of the oven about this time, so G-man split his time between the game and helping me whip up a quick glaze for the rolls.

The fam enjoying some friendly competition. (G-man and Mommy not pictured.) From right to left: Little E, Big E, Lee-Lee, C-bear, Banana & Princess. When I joined the game, I ended up helping C-bear while Banana helped Princess. It was a close game, but Little E eeked out the win in the end.
After the game, C-bear chose our closing song ("Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"--yes, we really sang it) and Big E gave our benediction, blessing our refreshments.

The finished rolls.
G-man's treat was a huge hit. Banana could not stop raving about how good they were, and since one of my "love languages" is Words of Affirmation, I was grinning like an idiot to have had a huge win as Suzy Homemaker. Big E is taking the left-overs to work tomorrow to share with his battle-buddies. That's a ginormous compliment from him.

Maybe one of these days all this stuff will be old hat to me and I'll stop being constantly astounded by how amazing being "just a mom" and "just a homemaker" is. I hope not, though. I hope I never take any of this for granted ever again.

I love my life.


  1. I'm sure the novelty factor will wear off some of things you're reconnecting with, but if it becomes at least some kind of enjoyable routine, then you won't have a problem staying reconnected to it.

    Whatever is making you happy, is the main thing and yo have a right to be happy and so does your family, so good for you finding more of what you want in your life and sticking to it.

    Good luck and best wishes

    :-) :-).


    1. Thank you! I am very happy. Sometimes I can't believe how incredible my life has become. :)

  2. Ahaa!!! It worked! Those rolls look amazing! I have to say, i am loving your blog. You are a changed woman and you re-inspire me to be better! As I was thinking about the future, I realized that in 10 short years, most of my kids will be gone. that is such a short amount of time to establish traditions, teach them all I know and just spend precious time with them. We were bad and totally skipped FHE last night and I am regretting it. (we did make donuts but that doesn't count.) Keep it up! You have made quite the transformation and I am so proud of you!

    1. Yes, the rolls turned out great! Thank you so much for your advice. :) :) I think we're having them again this Sunday, lol. The kids want them all the time now.

      I can't even begin to describe how grateful and humbled I am that God gave me this turn-around. You're right, we don't have much time with our children. Which is probably why Satan works so hard to distract us--to keep us from creating memorable moments with our kids that will stay with them and guide them throughout their lives.

      You know, you are definitely one of the people in my life who inspire me! I'm so grateful for your example of being a wife, a mother, and a daughter of God. :) :) :)