As my newly called bishop husband left the house early one Sunday morning with only a cup of granola under his belt, I decided to take him a snack when the family went to our meetings later in the day. I tried to think of something munchy, neat, and nutritious. Remembering his years as Scoutmaster, I filled a half-gallon jar with a “trail mix” made of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and even a few peanut butter chips. I labeled the jar “Bishop’s Chow” and gave it to him to keep in his desk drawer. It has been so successful in assuaging hunger pains that even our stake president now has his own jar of “Stake President’s Chow.” A similar treat could be made for a busy spouse, child, or friend. , Deming, Washington
Under the Sink and Other Scary Places
How safe is your food? Would your kitchen pass the food-storage test? First, check cabinets underneath the kitchen sink, or any cabinets through which water pipes, drain pipes, or heating pipes pass. Any food stored there? Sacks of onions or potatoes, or perhaps some liquids or canned goods?
Foods should never be stored in these cabinets, because they will attract insects and possibly rodents through openings that are almost impossible to seal adequately. Also, possible leakage from the pipes can damage the food products, causing cans to become overheated or rusty.
Next, look at storage areas near heat sources, such as the stove. Foods should not be kept in cabinets above the stove. Even dry mixes, which may be stored at room temperature, will not keep well in the heat generated by the stove.
What about other areas where foods are being stored at room temperature? Check canned foods by picking up each can on the shelf. Does it stick slightly? This could be a sign of leakage. Weak seams in the cans may allow gases to build up and force fluid out. This could be a dangerous situation, as poisons can be forming.
Leaking, bulging, or otherwise unusual cans should be thrown out. Resist any temptation to taste food that doesn’t seem right. In some cases, even the food’s taste is not an indicator of safety, and you don’t have to swallow the food to be poisoned by the toxins produced by certain types of bacteria.
Now for the toughest part of your inspection—the refrigerator. Many foods will deteriorate rapidly even in the refrigerator. Broths, gravies, stuffings, chicken salad, potato salad, poultry, fish, and liver are some of the foods that should be used within one or two days of being prepared.
Look inside the covered dishes, sniff beverages, open bags and bins. Throw out questionable items as well as products you really don’t plan to use. Good storage procedures in the refrigerator and in the pantry will prevent food loss and keep your food safe to eat. , Norfolk, Virginia
The Memory Board
To keep up with and record family activities, we use what we call our “Green Family Chart.” In the family room, we have a bulletin board where we hang a chart each month. The chart is a blank piece of poster board twenty-two inches long and fourteen inches wide. We use different colors of poster board and a variety of borders. On this monthly chart we write down a short synopsis of everything we do and things that are of interest to us. A polaroid camera allows us to post pictures instantly.
Each new month we put up a new poster board ready to fill throughout the month. We like to record four months at a time on our bulletin board, and when it’s time to put up a new month’s board we retire the oldest board to our yearly collection, where it is covered in plastic. All the months for a single year are put together in big rings with a special front page designed by the family to indicate the year just completed.
These monthly family charts have been a constant reminder of the fun times we’ve had together. Activities such as going to the ballet, going on the first spring picnic, and building our biggest snowman ever are fun to remember again and again. Also recorded are pictures of very special occasions such as baptisms, the first smile of a newborn baby, Scouting awards, and special family nights. Things of historical importance are also put on our charts: the day of the first space shuttle flight, a record-breaking snowfall, the passing of a General Authority.
As we sit around the dinner table, we can look up at our charts and laugh about our fun times, and it gives us ideas for future activities or family goals we want to plan. The “Green Family Charts” are a fun way to pass history on to our posterity. , Centerville, Utah
My Turn with Dad
I was dismayed when I heard what little time the average father spends each day with his children. In talking with my husband, we decided that even though he is busy with business responsibilities, a bishopric calling, and hobbies and sporting interests, we would do something which allowed him more time with the children.
We started out by initiating a “time alone with Dad” system where each child spends fifteen minutes with his father directly following family night. We start with the youngest, who, while the others are doing homework or chores, plays a game with him, tells him about her day, or does whatever she chooses. After fifteen minutes, she is off to bed and the next one has her time alone.
We decided that, once a year, each child should have lunch with Dad at his office. At first I went along, but we found that my husband and I tended to talk to each other instead of encouraging the father-child relationship. Now, each child and my husband have this experience alone. The child sees where Daddy works, meets his associates, and gets to decide on lunch. I’m finding that the children can remember years later exactly what they ordered each time. Also, they like to sit down and draw pictures of what Daddy does at work.
We also feel it is important that he go to school conferences. Somehow he pays more attention when he hears compliments or complaints directly, and the children appreciate knowing their father cares enough to go.
Going places with their father has helped our children feel closer to him. Whenever Father has an errand, I ask, “Which of the children would you like to go along to keep you company?” As the children have grown older we try to allow one or more of them to go with him on his occasional out-of-town trips. Each spring and fall my husband drives to his hometown to help his mother do the seasonal yard work. I encourage him to take the children along, not only to help, but to witness this example of his love for his mother.
Simply becoming involved in our children’s lives and letting them become involved in ours has given us time to be with our children and to develop a unique and lasting relationship with each of them. , Salt Lake City, Utah
Articles of Faith in Home Evening
We had long had a problem planning spiritual, enriching family home evenings for our young children, ages two, three, and five. Then my husband suggested basing our weekly lessons on the Articles of Faith. He drew a picture chart of the first article of faith and helped the children “read” it, going over it each evening before family prayers. Within a week they had it memorized, even the two-year-old. Then, each family home evening that month focused on the concepts in that article of faith. Each month we learn a new article of faith. This approach allows us to easily plan our home evenings a month in advance, and the children really enjoy memorizing the Articles of Faith and learning the principles of the gospel. , Provo, Utah