Sunday, October 2, 2011

Conference Weekend Traditions

This weekend has been a wonderful General Conference for our Church.  We live in an area where the conference sessions (two sessions on Saturday and another two on Sunday) are broadcast on our local cable network, so we get to watch in the comfort of our own home!  This is a blessing, but also poses some hidden challenges, like how to establish a reverent atmosphere in our family room, which is not usually a reverent place!

The first Saturday session was at ten a.m., but Scott and I were in charge of chapel cleaning this Saturday.  We scheduled the cleaning to start early, so people could get back home in time for the first session, and we almost made it in time!  We sat around the kitchen table with the laptop, drinking hot chocolate and eating Timbits while we watched conference.  The children did a pretty good job of paying attention.  We didn't expect them to watch the second session, we don't usually require more than one session a day from the younger set.  Two hours is a long time to pay attention, and we don't want them to hate conference weekend, but look forward to it.  I did catch most of the second session, inbetween picking up and dropping off people at work and other regular Saturday stuff.  Saturday is more difficult because it is still a work day and activity day in lots of ways, so although we do our best to clear that day, stuff still happens. 

Saturday evening Scott, Jason and Justin went to the stake centre to watch the priesthood session of conference.  Afterwards, they went out for a hamburger.  This is a night Scott really looks forward to, he loves to go to conference with his boys!  Jeffrey can't wait to turn twelve so he can go too!  I made a fun dinner for the rest of us, and when the big guys came home, everyone camped out in the family room to watch a movie.  (Except me, I just can't bear Transformers!)

Sunday is the day we focus on the most, since it is the Sabbath.  I made a big breakfast to start off our conference morning.  We have the same thing every General Conference - english muffin sandwiches with cheese, fried egg, and bacon (or sausage).  Yum!  The second session Scott and I both watched, while the younger kids amused themselves quietly (I wish!)  Afterwards, we had a nice Sunday dinner of lasagna, garlic bread and hot fudge pudding cake. 

Here are some ideas for making conference more fun at home.  Some people still get dressed up for Sunday and sit on straight backed chairs, they find this helps with reverence.  We are more the grab-your-favorite-blanket-and-cuddle-up types.  Another idea is to get a previous conference issue and pull out the insert with all the general authorities pictures, and mark off the ones that speak that session.  Jeff and Josh like to play a jelly bean game, where I make a list of gospel-type words (faith, testimony, chapel, commandments, etc.,) and assign a colored jelly bean to each word.  Whenever they hear a word spoken in a talk, they put a colored jelly bean in their bowl that corresponds with the word.  Then they tally the beans at the end to see which word wins.  Older kids can learn to take notes for the different speakers, using their journal as a notebook.  I know one grandma in Calgary that invited all her children and their spouses and children over for a huge conference waffle breakfast.  It's nice to think of ways to make conference more meaningful by building special traditions that fit your family.  The goal is to get everyone to look forward to General Conference, and get something personal out of it. 

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