Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am grateful for Activity Days, family trees and thankful trees

When girls turn eight in our church they get to start going to "Activity Days," (they get to meet with all the other girls in the congregation and do activities based on ideas from the Faith in God program here.  It's a pretty darn fun way to learn how to strengthen their testimonies, serve others, study the scriptures, etc.).

So as Lucy neared her eighth birthday she looked at me with those pretty blue eyes, long eyelashes fluttering, and asked who her Activity Day leader would be.  Knowing full well she had looked forward to this for a long time, and also that our branch is so teeny here they don't have Activity Days, in desperation to appease those blue eyes I proclaimed "I get to be your leader!"  Claire and Lucy both looked up at me so incredulous and delighted it made me want to be their Activity Day leader to the end of the earth.

But I'll take a couple months in China while I can get it :)

Our first activity consisted of learning about our family tree and having gratitude for the great ancestor stories of people we are actually related to.

At first Lucy started pouting.  She was thinking this would be more of a butterflies and rainbows type thing, but she warmed up to the idea pretty quick.

I loved telling them a special story about their Grandpa Dean and the family their Grandfather grew up in with all the animation I could.

I figured our "craft" could be whipping up our traditional "Thankful Tree" (back HERE) Chinese style:
(Yes, I'm aware that couch needs a little help...)

We added the names of the people we had just learned about first, as well as a big leaf for "Grammie Camp" since that's where they learn so darn much about all the great blood that runs through their veins.  (more about this year's Grammie Camp over herehere and here on my Mom's blog)

The girls did their own "family trees:"
I loved Lucy's subtle message that to get a dog would lead to family love.  See the arrows?  Oh and if we are really good, maybe a packet of cookies will grow by our family tree...

The girls wrote notes to grandparents as the ending activity.  I'm going to post them here since it will take three weeks to mail them and it's way to tricky to get to the post office.

I think it's safe to say our first activity was a hit.

Last week for Activity Days I adapted some ideas from Pinterest (I wish I could find the link to share!!) that Lucy's Activity Days group was really doing the same day back in the States.  I wrote a variety of different things on little papers (i.e. "no right arm," "can't read," "can't talk," "can't bend elbows," etc.) and we each picked one out of a cup and had to try to help make dinner (I'm a big believer in multitasking!) without that "ability."

We would try for a few minutes, then put our papers back in and try again with new "disabilities."

Here's Claire with no sight (perhaps a little too close to home) and Lucy with her left arm taped behind her back trying to make our black bean soup:
The hardest rotation was when I couldn't see, Claire wasn't supposed to be able to read, and Lucy couldn't talk.  Made it a little difficult to follow the recipe...

They were over-the-moon about this and wanted to keep doing it at dinner (which we didn't because the older kids weren't too hip on that grand idea).  When we were done with a few turns each, we sat down and talked about how grateful we are for all the things our bodies can do that we so often take for granted.

So grateful for this little serendipitous adventure of Activity Days and the chance to have some constructive fun with these two sweetie pies I adore.


  1. What great activities! While I'm not LDS (or religious) I love all the family and character strengthening activities that you do! I feel like it is such a faith that I can respect because of the examples I read about. I've learnt so much and even though the religious aspect isn't for me you have all taught me so much about building a strong family so for that I'd like to say thank you!

  2. You just gave me some great ideas for our Activity Days. Thank you!

  3. This is awesome Shawni! Tell Claire I LOVED her letter and tell Lucy that I agree with her on the dog. Terrific picture! LOL! Love to you three!


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