Here is one more game for family game nights.  We played it on Monday during our Family Home Evening and had a blast!  It is called Who, What, Where, When, Why.  

Each player has a piece of paper and a pencil.  On the top of the paper each player writes down a Who (Grandpa, President Obama, Michael Jackson, Uncle Ted, etc.).  Next, fold down the paper so that the Who can’t be seen.  Pass the papers to the person on the left.

Without looking at who is written on the paper everyone now writes down the What (ex. played baseball, went grocery shopping, had a nightmare, etc.).  Details make it fun.  Again, fold the paper down so that the What can’t be seen.  Pass to the person on the left.

Without looking at what is written on the paper now write a Where and repeat the folding and passing.  Next comes When and then Why.  Once the Why is written the papers are passed one more time, unfolded, and everyone takes a turn reading what is written on their paper.  Some of the results can be quite hilarious!

Here are a few examples from our family (please remember that we have teens):

Lady Gaga…became addicted to doughnuts…in the middle of the Gateway Fountain…after the earth was destroyed…because there was a pee stain in the jeep.

Kweenmama…started licking the ice cream while crying…in Neverland with Peter Pan…when she decided to come out of the closet…because Shroom ate a pickle.

George Bush…farted in public…at the Museum of Natural History…after Max started barking…because all of the kids showed disrespect.

Hoob…hated Julius Caesar…in the Pacific Ocean…on Hub’s birthday…because he was claustrophobic.

Jimmer Fredette…was lazy all day…at Hogwarts…on September 17…because he was sick of school!

President Obama…spent all afternoon doing homework that was unnecessary…in a cold, foggy graveyard…when Max’s paw hit the ground…because he was trying to win the lottery.

Our grouchy neighbor…jumped off a cliff with a time bomb in his hand…in the library…on April Fool’s Day…because he was very hungry.

Try it with your family!

We were running out of time.  Hub had been expressing his desire to see the ice castles in Midway for about a month, ever since he read an article in the newspaper about them.  Another article, and Hub made an executive decision that this family was going to drive to Midway for Family Home Evening this week because it is the final week for the display.  So, even though the drive is two hours round-trip, and even though it is cold, and even though the kids had homework, we went.

And everyone decided it was worth it.

Yes, we did have hot chocolate afterwards.

****Ice Castles were made using pvc pipe and sprinkler heads.

Feeling a little guilty about neglecting my blog (why should I feel guilty?  Sometimes life happens and priorities take precedence!) I now quickly post some of the morphed sentences in our family’s latest round of our favorite game called “Morph.”  Juju was in charge of the activity for Family Home Evening tonight and chose to, once again, play Morph.  There are never complaints about playing the game.  It is always good for a laugh.  I have written how to play the game in a previous post.

Our latest morphed sentences:

“Hub is writing a statement.”  Morphed into “Insects like playing golf.”

“Mack touched Brad’s bum today.” Morphed into “Shroom did a sing-a-long to the Black Eyed Peas.”

“Scientology is cool.”  Morphed into “Will Smith lost his toes that night.”

“Max was drinking out of the toilet.”  Morphed into “Hub drank from the toilet.”

“Shawn Spencer and Hoob are pleased to announce their engagement.”  Morphed into “‘I’m in America?!?’ the boy exclaimed.”

“I forgot to bake a cake.” Morphed into “Lassie Face doesn’t like Jewish people celebrating birthdays.”

I tell ya folks, the game makes for a great group activity!

I’m back from being “unplugged” and I’m rarin’ to do some blogging!  One of the things I want to share is this game called Morph that we played while being unplugged.  Mack learned the game at work and kept telling me she wanted the family to play it.  Finally, one night, we did.  (BTW, I named it Morph because Mack didn’t know the name of the game.)  Our family liked it so much that we played it twice that night.  Here is how you play:

Each person has a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil.

Each person writes a sentence at the top of the page and then passes the paper to the person on their right.

Each person reads the sentence on their new piece of paper and underneath the sentence draws a picture to match the sentence.  Make sure to not draw the picture too big because several sentences and pictures will go on each paper.  Once the picture is drawn the person folds the paper down so that the sentence is hidden but the picture can still be seen, then passes the paper to the right.

Each person now looks at the picture on their new piece of paper and underneath the picture writes a sentence to match the picture.  They then fold the paper down so that the picture is hidden and only the new sentence is showing.  Pass to the right.

Each person now reads the new sentence and, you guessed it, draws a picture underneath it to match, folds the paper down, and passes to the right.  And so forth…

Keep passing papers as long as you want.  Mack kept count and had us stop once our original paper reached us.  The fun part is when each person unfolds their paper and shares with the group the morphing that has taken place.  It was hilarious to hear the sentences and be shown the pictures that were drawn.  

I can’t show the funny drawings our family came up with, but here are how some of our sentences morphed (keep in mind that we have a bunch of teenagers, so their humor can sometimes be quite crude):

“Tomorrow I will take a shower”  morphed into “The teacher threw up and scared her students!”

“Yawlin kicked a home run in a game of boccer”  morphed into “The ball was hit so hard that it passed an alien and three black holes.”

“Max grew longer legs so Trent couldn’t make fun of him anymore”  morphed into “Kweenmama became an evil dog trainer and trained her dogs to chase the bad kids at her crossing.”

“Yawlin’s feet smell like moldy cheese” morphed into “The ugly, big-headed baby made it to the circus and was everyone’s favorite.”

“The Kweenmama family went to Moab”  morphed into “Hover craft Honda is fun to drive.”

“007 is a way cool spy” morphed into “She wore a diaper and had double muscles!”

“Share your toys” morphed into “He pooped out a ball and killed the poor boy in the middle.”

“Max is a very fat, fat, fat, fat dog” morphed into “The rat-wolf could talk!”

“This is a statement sentence” morphed into “Then the Pillsbury Dough Boy poked Juju back.”

“Hoob was watching ‘Criminal Minds'” morphed into “The end of the world just came!”

“It takes two to make it right” morphed into “Grandma got run over by a semi.”

“Yawlin fell off the trampoline and hurt his face” morphed into “A cookie likes biology.”

“My mom turned Yawlin into a clown with a hammer” morphed into “Shroom had a big hand and hit a kid with it.”

“Huh farted so big that the house blew up” morphed into “Hoob blew a giant snot bubble and scared Shroom.”

Try it with your family/group and see what laughs you create!

The other night our Family Home Evening was a Family Trail Evening as we explored a nearby trail that most of us hadn’t visited before.  Three of Yawlin’s friends joined us (after calling their parents for permission first).  We didn’t get very far on the trail before the kids discovered “the silica pit” and started to climb:

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I didn’t do any climbing because it was my job to take pictures (a great excuse that has served me well many times).  And Huh didn’t climb because it’s the state softball playoffs for the next two weeks and she didn’t want to “risk getting hurt again.”  Every other person in our group made the climb, including Hub.  Thankfully, no bodies tumbled to the bottom, although some denim bottoms probably received some wear and tear as kids made it back down by sliding on their rear-ends.

While the others climbed, Huh and I enjoyed the view:

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After the climbing and sliding and cheering and laughing and screaming, we no longer had time to explore the rest of the trail because Yawlin’s friends needed to get home.   We went back to the cars and made sure to drive around this:

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The entire activity took only one hour.  One hour of precious family time.  One hour to laugh, explore, and enjoy our family relationships.  The kids had so much fun spending time together that they didn’t want it to end.  We like to take advantage of times like that so, after Yawlin’s friends were dropped off at their homes, Hub lit a fire on the patio and got comfortable, just to keep the good feelings flowing:

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We made s’mores, some of the kids played basketball, and we ended the activity in time for the evening news.

New memories were formed at very little expense or effort.  Simple activities, like our evening together the other night, are the mortar that holds our family relationships together.   Not needed was a big, expensive trip or $10.00 movie tickets, or a check-list of must-haves.  It was simple and fun.  Kids are usually creative enough to make their own adventures–such as challenging each other to make it to the top of a silica pit.

If we provide our time, the kids will do the rest.

On Monday night, instead of a Family Home Evening, we had a Family Away Evening.  We took a picnic dinner to a park called Memory Grove.  And why did we do that?  Because it is October and the park is supposedly haunted by a bride who died there just before her wedding, and because the weather was gorgeous, and because the leaves on the trees are breathtaking right now, and because we thought it would be fun.  And we were right, it was fun.

We never saw “the” bride, but we did see one bride getting her bridal pictures taken there.  After the meal the kids enjoyed watching dogs play in the pond, one particular corgi was quite adept at retrieving the sticks her owners kept throwing into the pond.  Someone found a tennis ball and the older kids started throwing it around to each other.  While that was going on Yawlin and I decided to walk up one of the wooded trails together. 

Yawlin is in third grade, right at that age where he’s not sure if ghost stories are scary or fun.  The tales of the haunting bride must have been running through his mind because he kept looking around nervously.  As we turned one bend in the trail Yawlin saw what looked like an abandoned campsite in the trees off the trail and pointed it out to me.

“Let’s check it out,” I said.

“No,” was the nervous reply.

“Why not?”

“I just don’t want to.”

I stepped a few steps off the trail towards the campsite just so I could see what was there.  I saw an old chair cushion and a backpack.  There were other items, but without my glasses I couldn’t tell what they were.  Yawlin was getting restless while he waited for me back on the trail so I turned and walked back to him.

Yawlin started back down the trail.  “Let’s get out of here.”

I caught up to him and jokingly said, “What would we have done if someone was in that campsite and started to come after us?”

Yawlin immediately slowed his steps so that he was behind me.  I turned and joked again, “Oh, are you going to claim that I ran ahead of you instead of staying and protecting my son?”

“No, Mom.  I’m behind you so that I can protect you.”

Aw, that’s my boy!  With that comment he completely made up for his third grade snubbing back in August.  He was going to protect me.  Yes, he made up for it.

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One morning this week, as I stood at the stove making omelets, my seventeen-year-old daughter appeared in the kitchen, grabbed me in a big bear hug and gave me a kiss on my cheek.  She didn’t say a thing.  After she’d kissed me she smiled and went back to her room to finish getting ready for school.  Of course, as a mother, I was pleased with this unexpected show of affection, but I also found myself wondering what brought it on. 

I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  I’d opened all the blinds and a few windows to catch the morning breeze, lit a scented candle, set out dishes, and was making breakfast (only one of my omelets turned out picture perfect).  Things I do every morning.  Was this enough to earn such an enthusiastic greeting?

As I reflected on it later that day, I remembered a magazine article I had recently read about family traditions and rituals.  I hadn’t really thought about it, but my morning ritual of opening blinds and windows (turning on the fireplace in the winter time), lighting candles, and making sure something is ready for breakfast, even if it is just cold cereal, is kind of like a tradition.  I do it every morning.  My family knows they can count on me “waking the house” in this manner every single day.  From the perspective of a kid, this type of tradition might be comforting because it is a constant, it is stable.  For our house it is normal.  

I started to list in my mind all the family traditions and rituals that are a part of my life.  The second Sunday of every month my mom has dinner at her house for the entire family, the annual Halloween party and Christmas party at my mom’s house are traditions, it is a tradition for me, my mom, and my sisters to get together annually in Phoenix, in our little blended family we have certain birthday rituals and we stuff stockings for each other at Christmas, we make Sunday a day for worship and family only, we make Monday evenings “Family Home Evening” and spend the night as a family, Hub’s family has a family reunion every summer, there are certain weekends during the summer and fall that we go to the family cabin, I always bake cookies on the first day of school, we pray as a family before every meal and before we retire for the night, the stupid dog thinks he needs to go every morning when Hub takes Yawlin to school.  Our lives are full of rituals and traditions.

Some traditions have been in place for years, others started more recently simply because we did them once and decided we liked them so we will continue.  Traditions and positive family rituals can be the glue that holds families together.   Sweet memories are created by participating in traditions.  Cheryl C. Lant recently stated in an article titled, “Righteous Traditions” (Ensign, May 2008, pg. 13), “The most important traditions are connected with the way we live our lives and will last beyond us as our children’s lives are influenced and shaped.”  

I don’t know whether or not my daughter was showing me her gratitude for my morning ritual when she hugged and kissed me.  Most likely she was prepping me so she can ask for something big.  🙂  But, when I hear my step kids say thanks for the breakfast I have served, or my own kids tease me by blowing out my candle, or Hub walks up behind and gives me a hug, I do know I am glad that I have established this morning tradition for my family.

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I would be interested in hearing of any family traditions and rituals others have.  I just may incorporate them into my own family life.  Please share, if you desire.  And thanks!