What makes it so special? Well, we have a few things we do...
Saturday night we try to remember to get out our Sunday Box. This is a box that we put special Sunday activities in for the kids. Since some are more destructive than others we have now graduated to both a Sunday Box and a Sunday Shelf only the older kids can reach. We actually have lots of Sunday things, but I rotate through them so they only have a few options in the box at a time. They get so happy to reacquaint themselves with their toys as I keep things changing.
In the box is Noah's ark type animal toys and simple homemade Popsicle stick puzzles they made using church magazine pictures or family photos. There are also a few churchy board books, seek and finds and a coloring book or two.
On the shelf are the older books, some church magazines and scissors to make collages, and a few puzzles and games.
Then there is an adult Sunday Shelf. I keep on it Church books that I want to read, along with my journal or family history journals, and other appropriate things. Other helpful items would be Patriarchal Blessing, Preqch My Gospel Manual and scriptures, etc.
We have church early, so we have the whole afternoon and evening. This means time to kill. This has been great, because we have been able to do a "classics hour" or family read-aloud time. This is done every Sunday 6-7pm in our Great Room. Kids sit with mama on the floor and Dad reads our classic book. It is currently Charlotte's Web. The kids don't need pictures and we learn to be more still and together. Love it. (Last year we finished church at four, so instead we had it in the morning from 9:30-10am and just listened to Music and the Spoken Word together on the radio. It was nice and quiet and forced me to slow down before church.
Every Sunday evening we close together as a family in prayer, but this prayer is different. We only say things we are thankful for. And, we do it popcorn style. The kids love it. To make it go more reverently we always have Dad start it and it goes in order of age normally two or three rounds. Then Dad closes it too. It's nice to remember that prayers are to help us acknowledge God and .his goodness in his life, and not always just to ask for things we need. And the feeling of unity is great.
Family Nature Walk
We are better at this in the afternoons when it is sunny. Just a little half hour walk sometime before or after dinner, since we normally eat an early dinner when we have early church. It's so nice to get together outside. And we typically run into neighbors, since we like to just stay in our neighborhood. We just switch the routes/destinations.
Saturday Night Prep
Well, sometimes our weekends sure get busy, but when I remember to prep Saturday night for Sunday, it makes the morning great. I love knowing what outfit I'll wear the next day because it sure makes my job easier. And I just saw the Church article about someone's mom always having their polished shoes sitting on a windowsill to air out, and how great a reminder that was to her son.
So now I'd like to keep our church shoes (even if I don't get the outfits out) in a line by the front door Saturday night. (It has been helpful having them in the closet with their Sunday outfits, away from their other shoes, so they keep them nice and clean).
And of course Saturday night bath time is what I see to remember most from growing up. Seriously...even if I didn't bath during the while week as a dirty little kid, I do remember cleaning up Saturday. I can always picture my mom curled up on the couch doing her nails Saturday evenings before bed, in her night gown.
We do quiet time every day from 12-2, but on Sundays I use it do either practice music, do something from my Sunday shelf or spend some time doing family history or write a letter (I'm not really good at the last one, but it is one of my options).
I don't always do all of these. And even when I do, they aren't always free of interruptions, but just having thought through them and having a plan sure helps me be prepared enough to pull on them and use them when I can. These ideas have brought greater peace of mind and unity to my family. And helped me grow and find enjoyment i many areas I wouldn't have explored (or my kids wouldn't have), had I not thought through these options.
Does one sound fun for you to try? Pick one and try it for next Sunday.