Making “Sabbath Sunshine”

My husband and I decided to implement a family gospel study time on Sundays as Church leaders have suggested families might wish to consider (see James E. Faust, “The Lord’s Day,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 34; Spencer W. Kimball, “Families Can Be Eternal,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 5). At first we felt unsure of how to begin or what to do. But I knew from experience that the Lord would help us if we tried, so we began developing a number of different gospel-based activities to bring a little “Sabbath sunshine” to our time together. Following are some of the things we do.

  • Ask one of the children to prepare a short talk to be delivered after church to family members. The talk can come from lessons learned at church.

  • Have a hymn-singing time. This includes teaching new hymns, singing old favorites, or playing games to name the more familiar tunes.

  • Write letters or record cassette tapes to send to grandparents, family members, missionaries, or friends.

  • Hold a “children’s fireside.” Invite another family to join in, and ask each family to prepare a flannel-board story, a talk, and one or two musical numbers.

  • Organize the children to perform an impromptu skit about a religious topic or story.

  • Read a chapter from a Church book or an article from a Church magazine.

  • Hold parental interviews.

  • Plan to scatter some of the family’s “Sabbath sunshine” to others by preparing a treat and a card for a friend or neighbor; then drop it off anonymously.

We have found that the more we involve our children in a variety of different activities, the more they look forward to our Sunday gospel time together.Karen F. Church, Pleasant Grove, Utah

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

Storing Fats and Oils

Anyone who stores cooking oil knows how quickly it can develop “off” odors and flavors, a state called rancidity. An understanding of the causes of rancidity and proper storage conditions can help us enhance the storage life of cooking oil and other foods containing fat.

Some populations throughout the world obtain too many of their calories from fat and are striving to limit dietary fat. Nevertheless, we all need some fat in our diet from the standpoint of nutrition and taste. With respect to nutrition, certain fats are required in the diet for growth and good health, and fat is the “carrier” for certain essential vitamins. Regarding taste, many of the textures and flavors of foods that make eating enjoyable are attributable to, or carried by, the fat.

Storage conditions that affect the deterioration of fats, oils, and food in general are summarized in the acronym HALT: Humidity, Air, Light, and Temperature. Reducing exposure to humidity, air, light, and warm temperatures will prolong storage life. Proper food packaging can reduce or eliminate moisture, air, and light. Newly opened oil should be left in its original container or be placed in a clean container, since even a small amount of old oil mixed with fresh oil will hasten rancidity. Temperature dramatically affects the storage life and quality of fats and oils. Some fats, such as butter or margarine, can be frozen to prolong storage time. All fats, oils, and foods containing fat keep better in a cool area of a house, such as a basement.

Fats and oils vary in their ability to store for prolonged periods. Generally, shortening can be stored for several years, whereas cooking oil must be rotated more frequently. The storage life of fats and oils and foods containing them varies widely for several reasons: (1) storage conditions differ, (2) expiration dates differ, (3) most food products contain a mixture of different kinds of fats that vary in stability, and (4) individual consumers differ in their ability to tolerate rancidity. What may taste acceptable to one person may taste unacceptable to another. However, almost everyone can detect rancidity when only a very small amount of fat or oil has deteriorated. Thus foods containing even less than 1 percent of fat or oil can have a reduced storage life because of rancidity.

Food storage rotation, important in avoiding rancidity, is easier when we buy and store the types of foods we are accustomed to eating. In the United States, an average adult consumes each year the following approximate amounts of dietary fat in these various forms: 24 pounds in cooking and salad oils and mayonnaise-type dressings; 23 pounds in shortening and frying fats; 20 pounds of dietary fat from meat, poultry, fish, and cheese; and 13 pounds in butter, margarine, peanut butter, and other foods.

Obviously an ideal list of what everyone must store does not exist. Differences among countries, cultures, climates, and individual preferences require flexibility in food storage. Still, an understanding of the causes of food deterioration and proper storage conditions is helpful in maintaining quality food storage.Oscar A. Pike, associate professor of food science, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores

Family Bingo

When our family gathered from four states for a reunion, we got reacquainted by playing Family Bingo. To start, we took pencils and slips of paper and wrote down the good things happening in our lives. Many hesitated but quickly recognized an opportunity to update people about new interests, job promotions, and other accomplishments. The room buzzed with activity. We then gathered the slips of paper and put them in a bowl. Rick was appointed to draw the slips and read them.

We gave each person a Family Bingo card: a sheet of paper with a grid of 16 spaces. One of the spaces was marked “free.” In the remaining spaces each player wrote the names of any 15 relatives. Rick drew slips of paper from the bowl and read what was written on them. After guessing who it was, those who had the name crossed it off their cards.

When we learned that two-year-old Jonathan knew the ABC song, we sang it with him. We hushed the room so Mike could tell how he taught his nonmember uncles to pray. We gasped to hear that Joe, an electrical engineer, had saved over 350,000 computer chips from the scrap heap. We laughed and cheered as the slips were read, and within 20 minutes we felt closer as a family.

When 10-year-old Justin declared himself the winner, family members responded with a chorus of, “Don’t stop! Let’s keep playing.” In short, Family Bingo was a winner.Gayla Wise, Mesa, Arizona

Family Photo Gallery

Not long ago my only brother surprised me with a visit. Since we live 1,000 miles apart, we seldom get a chance to see each other. I threw my arms around him in welcome, then he bent down to greet my children. They backed away and glanced questioningly at me. I realized my children didn’t even recognize their uncle!

Later I wondered what I could do to help my children know their relatives better. I remembered reading about family portrait galleries and decided that we would have one of our own.

At the top of the stairs in our house is a long hall, perfect for hanging family photos. In the center of our portrait gallery I hung a cross-stitched picture of the temple where my husband and I were sealed to remind us that families can be forever. Around it I hung photos in family groupings, including photographs of extended family members at different ages.

Our photo gallery led my children to ask questions and make many observations. The children noticed similarities in appearance among family members at different ages, and they saw how some family members had changed over the years while others still looked the same.

Another benefit of our family portrait gallery is that the children have been able to sort out their relationships to other family members. Now they understand how Granny is also my mother, why they have two sets of grandparents, how cousins fit in, and how uncles and aunts are their parents’ brothers and sisters.

Our gallery may be simple, but it has helped us feel closer to our relatives. Now, whenever my children see my brother, they know him by sight, and they also recognize many cousins and other relatives they rarely see in person.Collette Burgoyne, Hout Bay, South Africa

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker