{ General Conference }

As General Conference rolled around this year, I was pretty excited to explore some new ideas for our watching pleasure. I have loved the packets we have done in the past, but after a few times, the draw to keep the kids actively engaged was started to wear off. In my need to step it up a bit, I scoured Pinterest (my favorite place-a whole blog post in and of itself) in search of some great ideas to implement for our family. My search resulted in this:

Drum roll please….

Okay, I know that drum roll was just for me, but I am SO excited about this!

Our very own Conference Center!! What I love best about this, is that it is fully interactive for the kids! Love that!

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Of course, I can’t take credit for this pretty little masterpiece too much-some pretty talented ladies out in blogland were the original creators of it. We tweaked it to make it work for our family, and it ended up being a huge success. A quick search on Pinterest for General Conference ideas will pull up some of the original creators if anyone wants to know more about the details.

I had found this idea several weeks before General Conference, but like usual “Monae style", it was last minute preparations to actually pull it together. I just work better under pressure-I remind myself of that often just to keep it true.=) I worked steadily the night before- laminating and gluing it all together. The main part is a foam core tri-board and almost all of the parts I downloaded off the internet from the original creators sites, and then laminated to make them extra sturdy for conferences to come.

Starting at the upper left we have our music section.

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Along with a picture of the Conference Center itself, we have a little icon for men, women, and the word both for the kids to move the arrow to who was singing at the time. There is also pictures of the various conductors, and organists so they can switch those each session as well.

Under that is where all the pictures of all the people are housed.

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I simply printed out labels for each envelope, stapled the envelopes together, and glued them on to the main board. Each picture has a piece of stick on Velcro on the back to make them really easy to move around on the board. With all the Velcro pieces on the back of the pictures, some of the pockets were getting a bit tight, but it’s doable for now.

The middle section consists of all of the red chairs down below where the people that have spoken are placed. There is also a section for the member of the First Presidency who is conducting that session of conference to be placed, and different pictures that a picture of the Salt Lake Temple is moved around on to show which session we are currently watching. The clock  I purchased at Wal-mart in the office supply section, and the kids would take turns changing it around during the session or showing what time the next session would be starting at. The pulpit had room for the speaker to be Velcroed on, and a spot for four topics to be placed in the speakers talk bubble.

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The red chairs for the speakers I made a pattern for in Word, and then printed them off on thick scrapbook cardstock paper. The three chairs for the First Presidency were made out of a soft velvety paper that I printed on as well. There are 24 chairs on the bottom and the three for the First Presidency on the top. It is enough chairs for all of the four main sessions of General Conference.

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The right side of the board is completely dedicated to a whole list of possible topics. I printed out two copies, one that I glued down in full sheets to the board, and the other copy I cut apart and laminated. They have Velcro on the back as well, so the kids can move them around when a speaker is talking. We found out afterwards, that sometimes there were much more than four topics that they each talked about, so we might need to add a few extra Velcro strips to the talk bubble.

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We still used some packets that I prepared, but with our fun new board the kids were super dedicated to writing in them. We had a basket full of treats, and when one of the members of the Twelve Apostles or First Presidency would speak, we would open up that treat and share it.

We moved our big table over in the front room to watch conference this time again-it’s great to have a place for the kids to spread out if they want. At times like this, I remember why I LOVE my kitchen so much-I love how it is open to the front room, and I can be getting lunch ready (since conference starts here in Georgia at noon-right around lunch time) and not miss a beat of Conference.

Aaron catching a quick nap before the Sunday morning session.

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A few days before conference we were driving around and Brianna was talking to a friend about doing something Saturday when she realized that it was General Conference weekend. I loved how she didn’t even miss a beat, but quickly answered, “Oh, no I can’t go, it’s conference on Saturday.” I tried to hold back my big grin, but inside my heart was overflowing with gratitude that she GOT it. I can openly admit that I can go pretty overboard in preparations for things, General Conference included, but to me the effort is worth it-and at that moment, it felt really worth it. I loved how she turned to me then, and said, “ I like Conference weekend, it fun.” Big words from a 14 year old! I was glad to see her gaining a testimony of the importance and unique opportunity we have to hear the words of a living prophet. And yes, it is fun, I agree.

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I love our little tent in the background. We tried to set up some fun quiet play zones for the little boys to play in. I think this must have been at the beginning of conference because, it wasn’t left standing for too long after. Ryan thinks it’s fun to just knock it down and run away laughing.

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Brooke working hard to keep up with all the writing in her packet.

The kids would take turns each talk, choosing the topics and moving them around on the board. You can see by Erika’s arm, an empty looking card that we used for a member of the Seventy or other special speaker that we didn’t have pictured. We ran out of a few of those cards too-mental note to self for next time to make some more.

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Ryan was eager to help too, but mostly had fun trying to take down the cards we put up. I had to add this picture because it is so Ryan right now-binkie in his mouth (yep, almost two years old and still a binkie, and I am totally okay with that. Seven kids later and not one has managed to go to kindergarten, much less college with it yet, so we’re good). He also loves to carry around his “big boy” backpack with all of his stuff in it. He follows around Scott all day long, letting him load it up for him with whatever he finds interesting. Yes, and this boy is in need of a haircut-he always seems to be. Ryan’s hair is becoming quite a challenge for me to deal with, and it shows. Oh, and red marker on his hands and arms (and probably somewhere else I don’t know about yet, like on a wall somewhere in the house)-so typical Ryan. We love it!

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Abby finding the speaker, and seeing how different some of them looked now.

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Aaron is this amazing note taker. And me? I love the thought of it, but I just like to sit and soak it all in. I like to listen or read them again later when the kids need less of my attention, and remember those deep spiritual feelings I felt while watching it-it’s then that I make my notes. But, Aaron, he’s always my shining example of being a great note taker. Love that guy!General Conference October 2012 blog-6

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When I see this picture, I chuckle inside a little when I think of what a friend said to me. She had come over to pick her daughter up, and asked where all of our clutter was, she mentioned her husband would have those shelves filled up with all sorts of things by now. Yes, one year later, and those built ins I was dying to have are still empty. Uncluttered in her world is secretly undecorated in mine. Someday they will float to the top of my list. And I am finding that I really would like two separate couches in this room instead of one big sectional, so I occasional just pull them apart and try it out for a few weeks, and then move them back. This evidently was one of those weeks.

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By the end of conference the girls got quite creative in there note taking spots, and resorting to making “dog” beds to be in while they watched. I don’t think playing dog will ever get old here.

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And occasionally after nap time in between sessions, some of us get up a little grumpy…

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…I like to refer to it as “just taking a little longer to acclimate back to our surroundings”, which is why I am behind the camera and not having my picture taken at that moment. Me and him, we are great nap buddies for a reason. We like to wake up SLOWLY from our naps.

By the end of conference, our chart was full, and I felt so spiritually uplifted. I always feel buoyed up, and ready to move forward in my role as a wife and mother and friend. My plan is to be able to pull this out throughout the next six months so when can talk about these talks, and how they can help our family…

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…and hopefully have some fun with it too!


Lettie said...

This is so great. I love that you put it all together. My kids are lucky to get Bingo cards! You seem so well organized and on top of things and your family seems so good and nice. I love the last picture. As I looked at it I thought about how you still look like a kid yourself and I cannot believe you have SEVEN! kids. I can barely keep my head on straight with 4. And my house really is always a mess with dishes and laundry always behind, so I admire you tremendously!

Lisa said...

I love it!!!! It's fabulous and the pictures are so great! Good work, friend! Love seeing pictures of your family room too and those little boys who are growing up. A great house, for sure!