The Family That Drives Together

There you sit, your family gathered around you for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes (or more) on a Sunday morning for uninterrupted talk time—or singing time—or listening time together.

Sound like an idyllic dream? It can be a dream come true if you take full advantage of your family’s drive to church together under the consolidated meeting schedule. Following are some ideas that can help you use this time to enjoy the spirit of the Sabbath:

1. Study the scriptures. If your car is equipped with a tape player, either commercial scripture tapes or homemade ones using your own voices make for excellent listening. Or you can take along a portable cassette player, which will do just about as well. Or, a couple of strong voices and a copy of the standard works will serve the purpose, perhaps even better. Be sure to stop your listening or reading periodically to discuss what has been read.

2. Listen to good music. Sunday is a great day to broaden your musical horizons by listening to church music or classical works that the family doesn’t ordinarily enjoy together. Your car radio may provide the music; but if it doesn’t, a tape player will serve just as well.

3. Sing. This will probably work best with younger children, but given a little time even teenagers will join in the harmony. Let individuals take turns selecting favorite songs. On warm summer days, with the windows rolled down, the neighborhood can rejoice in your musical caravan.

4. Share lesson or talk preparations. Summarize for the family the major thoughts or ideas in your lesson or talk—and get some feedback from them. You’ll pick up useful hints, at the same time letting the family share in the results of your week’s work.

5. Play games. Gospel-oriented games, such as question-and-answer games that will not foster a spirit of competition, can help both parents and children review Church history and doctrine. This will also work with young children, given questions geared to their level.

6. Talk (on a pre-planned subject). Make notes on a subject you might want to discuss on the way to church. You can share the week’s frustrations, joys, and sorrows, as well as plan the coming week’s goals and activities. Remember, in this conversation your audience is somewhat captive—there’s no TV, phone, or doorbell to interrupt—and no one can leave.

7. Create something together. How about a family poem on a gospel subject? Or a hymn? The close proximity of the group lends itself very well to a family creation. Appoint someone as secretary to take down thoughts and ideas. Completion may take several weeks, but once done it will be a treasured family memento.

8. Do missionary work. Since your family will be together, why not invite a nonmember family to join you? Involve them in the activities you have planned. Another approach is to fellowship another member family by asking them to share your ride and activities.

9. Do genealogy. Bring your journals and write along the way. They may not be neat, but at least they will be written and can be recopied later. Take some family group sheets along and get the family members to assist you. Help each other with your personal histories by interviewing each other and taking notes. This makes for fascinating conversation as well as advancing your journal keeping.

10. Review what you learned at church. By dinner time some lessons of the day are lost, especially those of little children. On the drive home review what was discussed at the day’s meetings, share feelings, and let others know of any new commitments made as a result of the lessons.

A creative family will add to this list. At your next family home evening, discuss what you would like to do on your next drive to church. The highways can become byways of family growth and development.—Steve Toy, Otis, Colorado

[illustration] Illustrated by Dennis Millard

FHE in the Box

Preparation for family home evening has become a day of mounting excitement among my preschoolers. Early each Monday morning I get our family home evening box (a gaily decorated apple box) out of the closet and place it on the hearth. Inside it are standard materials such as flannel board, lesson manual, song book, and a “sing stick” —a decorated paper roll that serves as the chorister’s baton.

Then, as the lesson preparation progresses, into the box go make-believe clothes for role-playing, games, crayons, scissors, glue, and, yes, occasionally even the treat.

That night after the greeting and prayer, a chosen “someone” opens the box—and out comes family home evening.Kaye Kowallis, Victoria, Texas

[illustration] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch

Get the Message?

Having a husband who is a busy bishop as well as a salesman, four active teenagers, and several activities I am involved in myself, I finally had to do something about the problem in our family with lost telephone messages and mail. Who called? What time? Did you see the mail?

So we hung a corkboard in the hall by the telephone, with a ruled pad and pencil attached. On the pad are columns entitled “To Whom,” “Time,” “Day,” “Name of caller,” “Phone number,” and “Message.” (Having a space for the caller’s number encourages the family to get that important bit of information.) If a message is taken at another phone in the house, it is immediately transferred to the main message center. When the sheet is full, we file it for future reference. Believe me, there’s less stress over phone calls now.

Then we solved the mail problem by hanging a shoe bag in the hall with a pocket labelled for each family member (dad has three pockets because of his varied responsibilities). Now the mail gets through, and the pockets are a handy place for notes of appreciation and an occasional treat.Barbara Matson, Blackfoot, Idaho

Helping Hands

When little children want to help with the cooking, is the result fallen cakes, gooey disasters, and gaily floured walls? If so, you are not alone. Yet there is a way to start little ones out in cooking—all it takes is patience, love, and knowing when to help.

When your youngsters ask if they can help, let them start by measuring some of the ingredients. A very small child can fill a cup with sugar or flour, measure baking powder or salt, and find the proper utensils to use. Explain a recipe in the simplest terms, and instruct as you help. Choose a time when you won’t be hurried. Select a recipe that is simple and will still be edible even if the young cook makes a few mistakes. Be lavish with your praise of the finished product, and serve it for family home evening.

Through the years I’ve collected recipes I’ve used in teaching my own three daughters how to cook and now use to teach my grandchildren when I have the opportunity. The recipes that follow may help you start your own collection of recipes for use when youngsters want to know if they can make something.Aney B. Chatterton, Soda Springs, Idaho

Chocolate Turtles

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup butter or margarine

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over low heat or in a double boiler. Cool. Beat eggs with sugar. Add flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Stir well. Blend in the chocolate mixture.

Spray a waffle iron with no-stick spray and heat to medium heat. Drop a teaspoonful of dough in the middle of each section of the waffle iron. Cover, and bake from forty seconds to one minute, or until the cookies lift out easily. Watch closely. These can be frosted with a chocolate butter frosting, applied by the child with a popsicle stick. Better hide these cookies until dessert time!

Caution: This is one time mother needs to watch and help. A burned hand can be painful as well as discouraging to the child.

Shake ’em Up Orange Bars

2 eggs

1/2 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Grease an 8″ by 8″ cake pan, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Break the eggs into a clean quart jar. Cover tightly and shake ten to twenty times. Add the oil, sugar, and juice and shake twenty to thirty times. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together, and spoon this mixture into the jar. Cover, and shake forty times. Pour the batter into the pan, spread evenly, and bake about twenty minutes. Frost with butter frosting, and decorate if desired.

Caution: Use an unbreakable jar if you can. Children sometimes get carried away with the shaking.

Crazy Crust Pizza

1 lb. lean hamburger

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

mushrooms, if desired

cheeses, as desired

1 small can tomato sauce (or catsup)

1 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce

Brown the hamburger and onions, drain off the fat, and set aside. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, eggs, and milk and mix until smooth. Pour this batter into a greased 12-inch pizza pan and spread to cover the bottom. Top with meat, onions, mushrooms, and cheese.

Here you can vary the recipe a little and add whatever appeals to your family. Sausage may be substituted for hamburger, and other meats, such as pepperoni, can be added.

When your topping is complete, mix the pizza sauce with tomato sauce and drizzle it over the topping. Cover with grated cheeses of your choice and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes, or until crust is brown.

[photo] Photography by Marilyn L. Erd