Random Sampler


A Summer of Treats from the Job Jar

How many eleven-year-old boys would choose to spend an hour cleaning kitchen cupboards instead of going swimming with a friend on a beautiful summer morning? How many nine-year-old girls would vacuum, dust, clean up after breakfast, and fold and put away the laundry in one morning—cheerfully? Ours did.

It began one summer when I felt frustrated and overworked. Our three children were eager to spend an afternoon at the swimming pool but were unreceptive to helping at home. I vowed that changes would be made.

Two weeks before school was out we spent our family home evening at an ice cream parlor where, amid heaps of gooey treats, we formulated a plan. My husband asked innocently if the family would like to make a list of inexpensive but fun things to do that summer. The children made enthusiastic suggestions while I wrote: trips to the library, the art museum, the state capital and monuments; browsing in pet stores; going to movies; taking walks and family bike rides; swimming; and picnicking.

Then my husband said, “But wait! All of this will take a lot of mom’s time—planning, driving, supervising.” Before the children could look too crestfallen, I said, “I have an idea.” And I outlined our already carefully-thought-out plan.

Three mornings a week I would place slips of paper in a “job jar” telling what jobs needed to be done that morning and stating the points each job was worth. We would award five points for every hour of work done, and bonus points would be issued if the work turned out harder than anticipated or if a particularly fine job were done. These would apply toward the desired rewards: a movie, ten points; a trip to a pet store, five points; a trip to the library, three points.

Then we gave the children the final incentive: if they each earned fifty points, the family would find a way to go to their favorite amusement park in a city three hours’ drive away. The children could “pool” their points if they all wanted to do the same thing. Therefore, a five-point activity would cost each of the older children two points, with the three-year-old contributing the final point.

I never dreamed how hard I’d work at “not working.” On our first day I spent an hour extricating a piece of cardboard from the vacuum cleaner (“Pick up the big things by hand from now on, right?”); demonstrated how to clean fingerprints off a stair wall (“Wash from here to here, not the who-o-o-le wall”); and showed where the hidden but visible dust catchers were (“You forgot the picture frames”). I learned to accept cleanliness standards not as high as my own. But I was thrilled with the opportunities our system gave me to teach my children homemaking skills they had never been interested in learning before.

The first week our nine-year-old daughter learned to sort, wash, and fold the laundry (she also discovered why dad’s socks don’t get washed with linty bath towels), cook and serve dinner (giving me a chance to add tips on nutrition, eye appeal and food costs), and pick and arrange daisies for the living room on Monday night.

Our son refined his babysitting techniques; vacuumed and dusted; cooked meals; and scoured sinks. (You’d be surprised how much there is to learning to scour a sink when you start knowing nothing!) Our three-year-old-daughter had her own job jar of three-by-five-inch cards illustrating jobs she was supposed to do: pick up toys, dress herself, dust, set the table, and so forth. She chose one each day and got points for her accomplishments. In this she took great pride. Spending her points for a family activity was great fun for her, too.

The satisfaction my husband and I have felt can’t be measured—knowing we’re training a future missionary and father to be at ease in a kitchen and two future homemakers to take housework in strideCarol J. Reynolds, Indianapolis, Indiana

“Thinking of You”

My husband and I keep the names and phone numbers of the families we home teach or visit teach on a card by the phone. It takes just a moment to give a call while we’re thinking of them.Janis Shafer, Phoenix, Arizona

Safe Storage under the Sink

Cleaning products and other items stored under kitchen and bathroom sinks are as dangerous to young children as the bottle of pills in a medicine cabinet.

You can protect toddlers from harmful cleansers, large bottles of alcohol, charcoal lighter, or even hair dye by putting these products in a metal file box and then locking it with a key. Both narrow and regular size file boxes are available for a reasonable price at variety stores. Place the file box under the sink and put the key in an empty childproof pill container.Karen Mergeler, Bear Valley, California

Easy Quilting

Many years of quilt making have convinced me that stitching a quilt to the frame is the easiest way to get the job done. I use selvage edges of old sheets to make sleeves wide enough to slip over the four frames. Using a sewing machine basting stitch, I sew the back of a quilt to the edges of the sleeves, slip the frames into the sleeves, and clamp them in place. I then square up the frame and pin the filler and the top in place. Then I’m ready to quilt. As quilting proceeds, I remove basting stitches from the end frames as far as needed so that I can roll the quilt. I repeat this procedure until the quilt is finished. I find I both save time and can do a better job. I’d never go back to thumbtacking a quilt to the frames.Hilda Kolowinski, Puyallup, Washington

[illustrations] Illustration by Warren Archer II

[photos] Photography by Marilyn L. Erd

Clothing and Fabric Storage

How well prepared are you with your family’s year’s supply of stored clothing? “We’ll get by with what we have” may be sufficient answer for today, but it is not the answer to unexpected financial reverses, rising prices, or even catastrophes of nature. Early winters, for instance, can cause a run on the stores for mittens, sweaters, blankets, and other clothing items which could be soon unavailable in sizes you need. In emergencies, people have found themselves writing to relatives for needed items.

Then, too, children and teens are growing emotionally as well as physically each year. Can you dip into your storage supply for satisfactory clothing or fabrics in emergencies? Of course, personal tastes and fashions change quickly, so fad items are not good for storage, but the happiness of your family is important, and youngsters who can dress to feel comfortable with their age group are more apt to be happy and well-adjusted than those who cannot. Adults dressed in clothing which boosts their self-esteem are more likely to be confident and productive.

Do not try to meet all clothing needs in storing, only the basics, but base your choices on the ages of family members, as well as their personalities and activities. Give some thought to storing clothing that can be worn by either boys or girls: sweaters, jackets, T-shirts—in simple styles and popular colors such as red, navy, beige.

When you estimate sizes for the coming year, carry a list of sizes and needs in your wallet. A swatch of fabric for color matching may be helpful. It will help you avoid “wardrobe orphans” that hang unloved and unused in the back of the closet because they don’t fit or match. Long-term storage of fabrics is wise, because they can be used to fill needs of the moment. Remember to store thread, buttons, trimmings, and notions for all sorts of repair and clothing construction.

One young couple got a head start on clothing storage when the bride-to-be was showered with an assortment of fabrics in prints, plaids, and plain colors. Now, regardless of what their budget allows for clothing, or how soon maternity and baby needs present themselves, this couple is prepared—and without financial hardship.

Storage places? Bins, boxes, suitcases, shelves, or plastic bags. To prevent color fading, mildewing, or softening of plastic coverings, a cool, dark, dry storage place is necessary for fabrics.

In emergencies, ready-made storage items can be used for clothing creations: blankets make robes or coats; sheets can be used for curtains, dresses, blouses, shirts, quilt tops, or even bandages; bath towels may be converted into robes, nightgowns, or slippers.Judith Rasband, with chart by Doris Wright, instructors in clothing and textiles, Brigham Young University

Fabric Needed for Basic Clothing, in Yards (45-inch Wide Fabric)

Items of Clothing

Infants

Children

Youth

Women

Men

Suitable Fabrics

   

3–5 yrs

6–10 yrs

12–15 yrs

Small

Medium

Large

Small

Medium

Large

Diapers (one dozen)

9

                 

diaper flannel 27″ wide.

Receiving Blanket

2 1/2

                 

print flannel 45″ wide—Double

Sleep set

1 1/2

                 

stretch knit, terry, brushed nylon

Dress (long sleeves)

1/2

1

1 1/2

1 3/4–2

2 3/4

3

3 1/2

     

broadcloth, blends, polyester knits, prints

Petticoat

1/2

1/2

3/4

3/4

1

1

1

     

cotton, muslin, tricot

Underpants

 

1/4

1/4

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

     

cotton knit, tricot

Nightgown

1

1 1/2

1 3/4

3

3 3/4

4

4 1/4

     

flannel and tricot, brushed nylon

Coat

1

1 1/2

2 1/2

3

3 1/2

3 3/4

4

3

3 1/2

3 1/2

Wool, double knits, corduroy

Shirt (long sleeves)

 

1 1/2

2

2 1/2

1 1/2

1 3/4

1 3/4

2

2 1/4

2 1/4

cotton and blends, flannel

T-shirt

1/2

1/2

3/4

1

1 1/4

1 1/2

1 3/4

1 1/2

2

2 1/4

knits, cotton, and blends

Robe (long)

 

1 1/2

1 3/4

3 1/8

2 3/4

3 1/8

3 1/4

4

4

4 1/2

terry, flannel, corduroy, quilted fabrics

Pajamas

 

1 3/4

2 3/4

3 3/4

3 1/2

3 1/2

4 1/2

4 1/4

4 1/4

4 3/4

flannel, cotton blends, prints

Pants— slacks