My Memory Notebooks

“It’s an alligator, Mom!” exclaimed my three-year-old son as he chased me around the kitchen with a clothespin.

Eight-month-old Sharon grabbed me around the neck and planted a wet kiss on my cheek. She looked at me with her big blue eyes and giggled.

Those were precious moments in a hectic day. I always want to remember those special times. But children grow and change very quickly, and too many of the funny sayings and little daily happenings are forgotten.

To help me remember the sweet moments of my children’s growing-up years, I bought a notebook for each child. At the end of the day, I often take a few minutes to jot down some key words or a couple of sentences about what the children did that day. Sometimes I record their likes and dislikes, special talents, or character traits they are developing. It takes less than five minutes to write in the notebooks.

Recording these moments not only preserves the memories but helps me appreciate my children and the sweet people they are. I enjoy looking back and reminiscing over past entries, and I’m sure my children will have fun reading them, too.Cristy Cole Crump, Bonney Lake, Washington

Plastic Bag It!

Used correctly, plastic bags are good containers for storing dry food and other items. The following suggestions may help you use plastic bags in your home food storage program.

Only use plastic bags made specifically for storing food. Ordinary garbage bags are not suitable for food storage because they may have been treated chemically to control odors, or they may contain harmful colorings and inks.

Select a bag made of heavy plastic. The sharp ends of some grain kernels will penetrate a thin bag, even if the bag is protected within another container. Using two or more thin plastic bags together can help solve this problem. The thickness of plastic bag material is stated in mils, or thousandths of an inch. A three-mil thickness (.003) should be the minimum for most food storage uses.

For several reasons, small bags are better for storing food than large ones. Once opened, a large bag may be more difficult to reseal, and it may be harder to move. Also, moisture is less likely to build up in smaller bags. Moisture can be a problem even if the items to be stored have been dried, because residual moisture tends to collect on the cooler side of a container. In time, enough moisture can build up to cause the food to spoil. A small bag is much less likely to develop this problem.

Food storage bags must be heat sealed so that they are airtight. No string, tape, or wire binding will adequately seal a plastic bag. Not even bags with interlocking closures will seal tightly enough to keep the contents secure. Special sealing devices that make airtight seams are available. Another way to heat seal a bag is to draw the open end together and bind it with tape, making sure the entire edge of the bag is exposed above the tape. Trim off the edge about one-eighth of an inch above the tape. Then squeeze any excess air from the bag and melt the trimmed edges together with a small propane torch or other suitable heat source.

If you treat grain with dry ice placed at the inside bottom of the plastic storage bag, cushion the dry ice on a layer of grain so the plastic won’t crack or become brittle from the cold. So pressure won’t build up inside the bag, wait until all the dry ice has disappeared before sealing the bag.

Suitably treated water can be stored in large or small plastic bags if the bags are encased in rigid containers. Paper barrels lined with plastic bags have been successfully used for this purpose. To avoid strain on the plastic, bags used as barrel liners should be larger than the barrels.

Usually, items stored in plastic bags must be further protected in secure metal containers. This guards against rodents and makes the items easier to store and stack.

Properly used and reused, plastic bags can be a good addition to a family’s food storage program.Donald G. Starkey, Dundee, Florida

Come, Let’s Go to the Temple

After my husband, Ron, and I were married, we did not return to the temple as often as we had hoped. With good intentions, we would plan a date to attend the temple. But often by the time the day arrived, other activities and commitments had cropped up and one of us would be unable to attend. “We’ll go next week,” we would decide, but next week would arrive with its share of demands on our time.

When we realized what was happening, we came up with some ideas that have helped us increase our temple attendance.

Invite Friends

Planning a temple trip with friends proved to be similar to inviting them over for dinner—we were committed unless an emergency came up. We knew we needed to have our schedules cleared of other activities.

The first time we planned to attend the temple with friends, they had to cancel at the last minute. But since we had already set the time aside, we were prepared and ready to go.

Attend Ward and Stake Temple Outings

We also began participating in our ward temple day. We have found that planning to attend with our ward and stake helps assure that we make it to the temple. With so many people going to the temple, transportation can be arranged easily among ward members, and friendships can be built as we drive.

Prepare Well Ahead of Time

Planning and preparing to go to the temple help make those trips more likely to happen and more successful.

Plan temple attendance on a wall calendar a year in advance. For instance, block out every third Friday in the month and mark it as a temple day. By planning so far ahead, and by keeping the calendar in sight as a visual reminder, the temple day will take precedence over other activities.

My parents, who live in Massachusetts, travel to Washington, D.C., to attend the temple. They prepare for the trip in advance by arranging transportation and lodging and making sure all other considerations have been taken care of: taking money for expenses and packing extra clothes to wear between temple sessions. Families with young children will also want to arrange for a baby-sitter.

Spiritual Preparation

Understanding and appreciating the importance of the temple experience is a boost to consistent and frequent temple attendance. As we study the gospel, discuss the status of our family history work, and honor our temple covenants, we are more likely to, as President Howard W. Hunter has said, “establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of [our] membership.” (Ensign, Oct. 1994, p. 2).

Using these various ideas has helped us attend the temple more consistently. Our regular temple outing is something my husband and I both look forward to.Emily Maitland Gilliland, Redding, California

Nurturing Reverence

A child may sincerely love the Lord but may also need the experience of many years to become reverent in both thought and action. Because children have short attention spans and energetic bodies, it is unrealistic to expect them to be quiet and well behaved all the time. But most children can learn at an early age what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Here are some ideas that can help parents teach appropriate behavior at church so a foundation can be laid for respect and true reverence in church.

Teaching Appropriate Behavior

  • Set a clear picture of what the family considers appropriate and inappropriate behavior at home and at church.

  • As needed, provide positive, loving reinforcement for good behavior and appropriate and loving judiciously considered negative consequences for inappropriate behavior.

  • Where appropriate in terms of the child’s age or maturity, help children set realistic goals for their behavior at church.

  • Set a good example. Much of the disruption during Church meetings does not come from children.

  • Have children take care of necessary drinks and rest room visits before meetings.

  • Designate specific clothes as Sunday clothes or church clothes.

At the same time that children are learning to act appropriately, parents can continue to nurture their children’s feelings of reverence and help them learn to recognize and respond to the Spirit. Here are some ideas parents can use to help their children’s budding feelings of reverence to grow.

Reinforcing Reverence

  • Sing hymns at home so children will be able to participate in Church meetings.

  • Help children become accustomed to praying by having them say family, mealtime, and nightly prayers on a regular basis.

  • Discuss the gospel at home so children will understand what is said at church.

  • Ask questions about talks and Primary lessons.

  • Give children quiet, gospel-oriented activities to do during the week.

  • Encourage children to participate in Primary as speakers or in other ways.

  • Limit television watching and encourage listening activities so children will develop the skills necessary to follow speakers’ thoughts.

An important part of reverent and respectful behavior at church is the background of the Sabbath day. For a child whose family honors the Sabbath, Sunday meetings are only a part of the holy day. Church meetings are not just an interlude in an otherwise worldly life; they are part of an entire day that the Lord has set aside for his purposes and our spiritual growth.

[photos] Photography by Matthew Reier

[illustrations] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker and Phyllis Luch