“We honor and obey our parents in the Lord with a respectful attitude.”

We enjoyed Week 3 of Clay Clarkson’s devotional, Our 24 Family Ways .

Through the week, we talked about ways in which to honor one another, as well as ways in which to obey our parents. We brushed up on our “Obedience Is” song, continued to learn “Trust and Obey,” and sang the good old stand-by “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E” together.

To get “Family Fun Night” rolling, we colored in the week’s coloring page. This was fun! To apply our Family Way, I told the girls what to do each step of the way, and they answered with a joyful, “Yes, Mom!” For example, I’d say, “Find a blue crayon, and color in the Father’s pants.” Then, “Place your picture on the kitchen floor and color in the Mother’s apron.” Then, “Choose your favorite color, take it with you to the bottom step, and color in the flowers.” “Carry your picture on your head to the art table and color in all the shoes with the same color marker.” They LOVED when I told them to grab some crayons and finish the picture out on the sunny porch.


The evening wrapped up with Dr. Seuss Night at our sweet local library!

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“We love and obey our Lord Jesus Christ with wholehearted devotion.”

That’s our very first Family Way.

We’ve finally begun Clay Clarkson’s Our 24 Family Ways and have decided to integrate them into Family Fun Friday.

Because Ryan has been following a Bible reading plan for our evening devotions, I decided to incorporate the weekly lessons during my morning devotional time with the girls, which is during breakfast. So, during the week, I follow Clarkson’s curriculum with the girls. Each day is quite simple: an opening question, a brief Scripture reading, an application, and prayer. We drill the “Family Way” and the Verse all week long. Tonight, the girls proudly recited them for their Daddy. Afterward, we all colored the corresponding pictures, hole-punched ’em, and put them in the glossy new folders the girls picked out at WalMart. (In the back of the book, you’ll find a coloring page for each family way. I photo-copied all of them, so they are ready to go each week.)

(Of course, following that, we cuddled up and watched a fun little video and munched cookies.)

Here’s what I found helpful during the first week:

Family Way #1:

Review the Way and the Verse every day – at breakfast and at lunch.

Watch Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em In Your Heart “You Shall Love the Lord Your God”

Sing “I Love You Lord, and I Lift My Voice”

With such little ones, ask, “How do you know I love you?” (They answer, “You talk to us! Hug us! Spend time with us!” etc.) Then, ask, “How do you show me that you love me?” (“I tell you!” “I make you cards!” “I obey you!” etc.) It becomes quite simple then, to explain that those actions are exactly how we show God that we love Him. And that – I proclaim by faith – is what our family is all about!

Also, I found it helpful to write the “Family Way” and the corresponding verse on a large index card, so the girls could decorate them one morning after breakfast and place them in an empty recipe book. I’ll leave the two right-hand sleeves open each week in hopes that we find a picture or memento to slip in as an example of the “Family Way” in action! It’s nothing fancy, but it is something else we can page through together as a physical reminder of what we are all about.


“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

Matthew 22

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Yes, Family Fun Night must always be delicious. At least while I’m pregnant.

This idea was all Ryan’s!

Fresh Strawberry Snow Ice Cream!

Blend together:

10 – 15 fresh strawberries

1/2 C. sugar

2 C. milk

dash of vanilla

Add fresh, clean snow to the mixture until it’s the consistency you like!

(One of the best parts of making this in the evening is the magic of playing in the snow at night. Glorious!)

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Viv requested that we play Nickalodeon Wii Fit games for our Family Fun Friday this week.

It was totally fun.

The best part was watching Ryan win a gold medal in the Dora Extreme Pogo competition. :)

After our fantastic workout, we enjoyed my new pregnancy find: Edy’s Coconut Cream Fruit Bars! Yum and fun.

(By the way, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Nickalodean Fit if you have a Wii and a young ‘un. The games are perfect for kids in the 3-7 year old range, who might not be able to play the original Wii games yet. Lots of fun, and lots of activity!)

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They call it “Christian Chicken”.

Yup! We’ve recently welcomed a Chick-fil-A into town.

Our family visited for the first time on Friday night.

As it turns out, they share our love for Family Fun!

I couldn’t believe the theme of the kids’ bags. :)

Enjoy a Chick-fil-A near you!

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Because of the wonderful holiday season, I need one week to get one week ahead of Family Fun Friday.

Until then, enjoy this photo of Ryan jitter-bugging with Lia (family fun):

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When I was a kid, my dad used to jot down clues. White strips of paper with his perfect block letters, led us all over the house until we found the prize: a stick of Wrigley’s Gum. I loved these hunts. Sure, the gum lost its flavor in 30 seconds, but I loved that stick of gum. I still remember unwrapping the thick silver wrapping, and thinking about how it smelled just like my dad’s armoire, where he kept all of his interesting things like his flashlight, mechanical pencils, and, well, his stash of gum. These hunts always felt so special and fun. My dad went out of his way to make that happen.

That’s the memory I was thinking about when I planned last week’s Family Fun Night.

Everything came into place when I spotted Frosty the Snowman on sale at the grocery store. Without the girls noticing, I snagged a copy and hid it at the bottom of the cart under a loaf of bread. They didn’t have a clue!

Until, of course, we got home and I jotted down a stack of hints that would have everyone – Ryan, included – running all the way up to the attic and back again, until finally, they discovered Frosty, waiting with a smiling face.

We piled on the couch and enjoyed that old classic together, the girls laughing at the silly magician and sniffling at the melted Frosty, just like I used to do when I was a girl.

(Ooo, and BONUS: Ryan brought home soft pretzels that he toasted up and slathered with Nutella. FAMILY. FUN. NIGHT. BABY.)

Isn’t it interesting that when we make an event out of an opportune treasure, we can lighten hearts and unify souls? Let’s be on the look-out for more ways to bless our families this week!

Humble or extravagant, melted or not, did you enjoy a special time with your family this week? We’d love to hear about it! Link on up!

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Family Fun Friday

Last Friday, we were just relaxing and enjoying our extended family over the Thanksgiving weekend. The girls love spending time with our relatives on both sides of the family; they were happy beyond belief to spend this weekend with my side of the family.

We love heading to my parents’ home and spending that long weekend with family. There are just some places of our hearts that are filled best (and only) by each other.

Every year, we head out together and get my parents Christmas tree. My sister Erin wears the Christmas tree skirt until all the decorations are donned, and the Charlie Brown “lu-lu-lu” song is sung. Then the tree steals it back for yet another year of celebration.

The kids have a blast and want to live there. Every time. Why? Well, perhaps it has something to do with…

* One of my younger sisters keeps them zipping around the house, hiding and seeking, squealing and laughing. She also invented a new game called, “Who-who-whose on my back?!” in which all of the grandchildren climb, yes, on her back and she guesses who it is. They loved this. It is nutty. But they loved it.

* My other younger sister holds her annual Thanksgiving Weekend dance party, at which, I am always happy to note that my daughters are becoming better dancers than I am. (I couldn’t pay enough money for them to dance with someone like my professional-level-swing-dancing sister. But, I get it for free every year! It’s a tradition by now!)

* Their cousins are simply adorable; and they love them ever so much. One cousin, in particular, has a knock-your-socks-off imagination and she keeps the girls giggling and howling all weekend long.

* I was also happy to notice that Little Lia, quiet but strong, found her own moments to snuggle up with Grandmom – just the two of them. Bath time, reading time.  She’d forgo  a run around the yard with the other kids just to get Grandmom all to herself. (I told you she was smart.) I’d see her all snuggled up and I knew she felt like a million bucks.

Do your sisters or brothers, mothers or fathers fill in special places of your family’s heart that no one else can? I’d love to read all about it, if you’ve gotta moment to leave a comment!

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Last week, we watched the original Wallace and Gromit film, “A Close Shave” (a “watch instantly” on Netflix). So, so cute. (A bit frightening in parts; so watch it before showing it to your young ‘uns.)

That spurred Ryan and the girls to watch some YouTube footage about how they make still frame films with clay.

Which, spurred me to write “Movie Making!” on the calendar for our family fun night.

‘Ends up, neither of our girls are inclined to cinematography presently, so after about 10 minutes, Ryan and I were having all of the fun and the girls were, well, “Giiirrrrrllls! Come back! This is family fun night!”

Unlike “A Close Shave,” there are no sheep or bad robot-dogs in our short. Only a little guy who needs a friend. Enjoy!

YouTube Preview Image
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This one, I had on the calendar 2 weeks in advance.

Since it was our third year with this sweet tradition, I didn’t want to miss it! The humble beginnings of our traditions mean so much to me; and it is my privilege to keep them safe from year to year.

Our Thanksgiving Tree prepares our hearts and minds for Thanksgiving. I noticed, that as we spent this time together, our hearts were filled with the words we’ve been memorizing, “Rejoice evermore.Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)

We started the evening with some home-made pizza. The girls stole the show and took care of every little detail. (I’m counting on the fact that someday, it’ll be Crusted Salmon and Garlic Mashed Potatoes! Then, we’ll all agree that the cheese sprinkled on the floor was worth it!)

After our delicious dinner, we cleared the plates, and got to work on our Thanksgiving Tree.

Step One: Make the Leaves.

We spread newsprint over the kitchen table and got to work dabbing autumn colors with bits of sponge.

Step Two: Find The Perfect Thanksgiving Tree. (grin)

While the paint dried, we donned coats and hats, lugged flashlights, and searched for the “Tree” (which is really a handful of branches).

Vivienne loved being outside, under the country stars, flashlight-in-hand, crunching around in the leaves. She said, “I could stay out here and search for branches all night long!

As it turns out, we had done such a good job picking up sticks from a recent wind storm, that there were no branches on the ground.

Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like a sacrificial tree.

Step Three: Fill a Vase with the empty tree. Fill a Basket with the empty leaves.

Step Four: Wait for the gratitude to bloom.

(In our tradition, each person gets to name something for the Thanksgiving Tree every night at dinner time.)

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100: 4-5

Extravagant or humble, mushrooms or cheese, we want to know all about your Family Fun! Please link in or comment!

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