She Was Just Bored!

When my daughter turned three, she began to develop some unpleasant traits.

She chewed her fingernails, begged for food constantly, and pestered her little sister until I found myself refereeing, and therefore ruining their relationship. She wanted roller skates like her five-year-old neighbor, nail polish like her older sister, and unlimited cartoon watching on T.V.

She was obviously bored, so I decided to give her some responsibilities to help her earn her roller skates. On a chart I pasted pictures cut from a catalog to represent the jobs she could do, and I “paid” her with fancy stickers to paste by the pictures.

The “musts” included making her bed (no breakfast until the beds were made) and cleaning her room (no bedtime story unless the room was clean); but other jobs I merely helped with. She could scour the bathtub, empty the wastebaskets, put the silverware away, set the table, dust the living room and bedrooms with me, vacuum the rugs in her room.

Some jobs were done well, and some not so well; but usually she was anxious to do them, and she labored for six weeks to earn her skates. Soon she was proudly skating and crawling and bumping up and down the sidewalk. The boredom was gone, she was no longer biting her nails, and she and her little sister were getting along well again.

While working with the Young Women, I had noted that many youth behavior problems seemed to be the result of too little responsibility and nothing difficult to do. It seems this is true of young children also. Janet Hessell Ewell, Huntington Beach, California

Speedy Goodies

If you’re hurrying home from Relief Society and haven’t much time to fix dinner, or you need a quick dessert for family home evening, here are three handy recipes:

Two-Bowl Chocolate Cake (Bellevue Washington Stake Relief Society)

Mix well in one bowl:

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

5 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon salt

Combine in second bowl:

2/3 cup cooking oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 cups cool water

Combine the two mixtures and stir well with a fork or slotted spoon. Bake in ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan for 25–30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Ice when cool.

Mandarin Icing

3 cups powdered sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 cube) butter or margarine, softened

1 8-oz. can mandarin oranges

Blend three or four tablespoons of juice from can of oranges with the sugar and butter or margarine. Beat well. Ice cake. Use drained orange sections to decorate top. The orange flavor is a delicious complement to the two-bowl chocolate cake.

Mayonnaise Cake (Susan Arrington Hill)

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon soda

1 cup hot water

Sift flour, cocoa, and sugar together, then blend in mayonnaise. Dissolve soda in hot water and add to first mixture. Beat a few seconds until smooth. Bake in 8-by-8 inch pan about 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. Makes a smooth, velvety cake.

What Shall I Cook for Supper?

If you’re tired of asking yourself over and over again, every day of every week, “What shall I cook for supper?” the answer is simple: plan a four-week rotating menu. This became my solution when I felt frustrated by kitchen duties. Step by step it goes like this:

First, list your family’s favorite main dishes. You probably won’t remember all of them at once, so tape the list on a cupboard door and add to it as you think of the dishes. (Going through your recipe file helps.)

Second, note on this same paper how often your family likes to have these dishes repeated during a four-week period.

Third, using a blank menu-plan sheet (draw squares or use a blank calendar), list each of these main dishes in a separate square.

Fourth, cut out all the squares and place them in any order you wish on another menu-plan sheet. Select the easily prepared dishes for Primary or other busy days. Plan for variety so you don’t serve hamburger for instance, three days in a row.

If you aren’t sure of your arrangement, you might want to tape or pin the squares on and switch them around for awhile.

Be flexible—don’t be a slave to the plan. You can skip, trade, change, or go out to eat if you want to. But the plan is there when you want it. It may also help to list side dishes that go well with your main dishes.

Check your menu plan at lunch time; then you still have time to thaw the meat, set the jello for salad, and make sure the ingredients are on hand.

Let the family help in the planning. Children are delighted when they add a dish to the menu. My husband and oldest son have originated (and like to prepare) their own main dishes.

“Secret supper” is one of our favorite menus. Each family member secretly selects one food item for the meal and places it in a paper sack. Then we empty the sacks to see what we will have to eat that night and everyone helps in the preparation. Carol J. Lent, Montgomery, Alabama

Learning Is Everybody’s Business

We ought to be real students—students like no one else. Rather than shifting into neutral and coasting through religion classes—whether at universities, in institutes or seminaries, priesthood quorums, family home evening, or Sunday School—we should move into high gear and study as in no other area. The subject matter merits of us the best intellectual and spiritual effort we can muster; for if we, in this lay Church, don’t become proficient in learning the gospel of Jesus Christ, who on earth will? If the elders of Israel do not become profound theologians, who on earth will? If you mothers and mothers-to-be don’t learn the gospel sufficiently to teach your children, who on earth will? And, you missionaries, if you don’t learn the message the Lord would have you teach, who on earth will? Many painfully discover the obvious—you can’t teach well that which you do not know!

Someone has said that the Church is never more than a generation away from extinction, and so it is if truths are not taught effectively. Each generation has the responsibility of teaching these truths effectively to each succeeding generation.

I believe that one of the major reasons many in the world have been so weakened in their moral fiber is because they have not had an effective religious educational program based on true principles. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have that; and, furthermore, we are committed. Our leaders are committed. We make no apology to anyone because we plan, organize, and invest resources of time and money. We drive countless miles to haul children to and from Primaries, early-morning seminaries, Church-sponsored Scouting activities, Sunday Schools, sacrament meetings, and quorum activities. We print manuals by the hundreds of thousands for parents and teachers to use in teaching. We establish seminaries, institutes of religion, schools, colleges, and even universities.

Why? So that these truths can be taught and learned. So that circumstances can be created in which the Spirit can testify to all our spirits of the eternal truths of the gospel. This “Spirit” is really the basic distinctive feature of true “religious education.” Without it we cannot succeed, and when teachers and students have it, we cannot fail. Joe J. Christensen, Associate Commissioner for Religious Education (Brigham Young University devotional address.)

Find It Fast

“Where is the comb?” “Do we have any tape?” “Motherrr—I need an envelope.”

In our large family, it seemed someone was always calling me at the crisis stage for something. So now we have a “contentment center,” so-called because it keeps everyone happy and contented.

Across a piece of fabric, about 24-by-36 inches, I stitched rows of pockets, each one pre-measured to hold the item it was labeled for: felt-tip pens, masking tape, pens, pencils, Band-Aids, safety pins, glue, scissors, paper and envelopes, and so on.

At first I labeled the pockets with strips of masking tape until I was sure of the positions. Then I printed the labels on the pockets with a felt-tip pen. A dowel stick and a cord attached to the top of the unit made it easy to hang in utility room or family room. Our family is better organized now, and more peace of mind prevails. Susan Bartholomew, Lehi, Utah

Tiny Towels

I make baby washcloths or wipes by cutting up old towels or left-over scraps of terry cloth into five-inch squares and zig-zagging around the edges to prevent fraying. Two or three dozen of these, stacked near the baby’s changing table with a squeeze bottle of soapy water, save many trips to the bathroom. Judith A. Gile, Richmond, Vermont

[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney