Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June UFO's

Time to record what I did this month to be a "finisher!"

I kind of cheated this time around, but I'm the mom and can do that. I just took advantage of having more helpers at home to cross things off of the to-do list! I spent most of the month doing things only I could do - getting Jeff ready to leave for South America and preparing for our family vacation. Oh, and let's not forget adjusting to a new calling in the church. But since I don't want teenagers sitting around all day in front of an electronic screen, they got some chores assigned to them. And they were good sports about it too.

Wash the kitchen windows. Technically this has been on Steven's to-do list for a year - he agreed to wash all the windows as part of his Family Life merit badge requirement. There are still a few more to do. However, as part of this job we also washed the curtains and rehung them. And then I was motivated to clean under all the counter appliances. It really needed it. I used to do that every month, what happened to that schedule???

Patch a leaky gutter joint. This was never really on my list, but apparently it was on Wayne's. Once it got added to mine - and Steven's - it got done in a day. What's up with that??

Pull some weeds. Michelle helped turn this:
into this:Now let's see if we can keep it that way for a while! She also started working on cleaning the baseboards. You would think I would have learned by now that waiting for a block of time to do "the whole job" just doesn't work. Most chores like that have to be done a little at a time. So, hopefully, the baseboards will all be clean once again by the end of the summer.

May 12, 1946 - 4 generations of Scrantons

Finally, we made it to the temple for a sealing session. (The names were all ready for last October when the car didn't cooperate on the trip to Orlando.) The highlight was doing the work for my grandmother's uncle Luzon (or John, but also known as Jack) Scranton - shown here on the far right. We sealed him to his wife Olive and also to his parents (father Norman is in the center of the picture). In addition, we were able have his son Robert (on the left and the father of the two boys) sealed to him. Of course, everything else we did was wonderful too, but I don't have any pictures of those other far-distant ancestors.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution

Memorable Monday Moments
Patriotic Lessons

In 1987, when the United States celebrated the bicentennial of their constitution, I remember receiving a handout of Family Home Evening lessons dealing with that subject. Sometime in the past 20 years, I must have thrown that away, but it's still a good idea to study and review the importance of patriotism. So, here are some resources from the church magazines that might help with that.

The Constitution - A Glorious Standard and Our Divine Constitution by Ezra Taft Benson

God's Hand in the Founding of America by L. Tom Perry

A Standard of Freedom for this Dispensation (September 1987 Ensign)

Declaration of Dependence: Teaching Patriotism in the Home

Preamble Puzzle

Puzzlement: Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Have a 1776 Family Home Evening

Preparing Children for their Community Roles

And if it's been a while since you've read any of these documents, go here to find them online.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Fun that is Family History

Flashback Friday
Grandma Lewis

Here's a picture I got around to scanning this week. (My guess is it was taken around 1930.) It's of my grandmother Dorothy Gertrude Wilson Lewis (on the right in the back) and her twin sister Winifred Margaret Wilson Lewis (on the left) with the mother that raised them (Anna Scranton Lewis) in the middle and their younger brother and sister - Marjorie and Dick. The Lewis' family adopted the twins around 1920 when they were two and their mother died, and the girls didn't learn about that until they were 18 (part of the adoption agreement).

Anyway, once Grandmother joined the church and started doing genealogy, she focused on her biological family. A couple of years ago, Mom suggested that I work on the Lewis line to see what I could find. I've been having a wonderful time with that and it's hard to put this great big puzzle away and do ordinary things like laundry and cooking and cleaning. I didn't have any extra time for family history while Jeff was home, but this week I was able to carve out a couple of hours and I found some exciting things. It probably won't mean anything to the majority of you, but just in case you're wondering, here's what I found.

Wednesday evening while the kids were at Mutual, I scrolled through a microfilm of East Haddam, Connecticut vital records from 1880-1915, and I found the death dates for two of Frank Lewis' (Anna's husband) great-grandmothers. Maria A. Lee Rich was 70 years old when she died on 9 March 1891 of paralysis/enlargement of the thyroid. Abbie Ward Lewis was 84 when she died on 8 November 1902 of spinal sclerosis/old age.

That night I also found a marriage record for an Alice Lewis which looked like it would fit with the information I had for one of Abbie's daughters. While Michelle was at a friend's house, I spent some time digging at the library (I'm so glad our county library has a subscription to Ancestry.com) and the clues all match. According to the census records Alice (who married William Simpson in 1880 when she was only 17) had 10 children, yet two of them died in childhood.

Anyway, I find this all extremely interesting. When I shared my discoveries with my kids, they rolled their eyeballs. (Well, not really, but I could tell they wanted to.) So, go ahead and roll your eyes, it won't bother me. You just don't know what you're missing!

Oh, and if you do want to look at more "old" pictures and read some wonderful stories, visit Alicia at More Than Words.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chocolate "Milkshakes" Revisited

Works for Me Wednesday
Easy Summer Treat
This is a wonderful summertime treat that we have several times a week. That means that besides being yummy, it's easy, quick and inexpensive. You can find the original recipe posted on my recipe blog, but it's so good, and perfect for this time of year, that it's time to post it again as something that "works for us." Here's the variation we made on Father's Day that was pronounced "the best you've ever made!"
Lowfat Chocolate "Milkshake"
1 1/2 cups water
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups dry milk powder
1-2 tablespoons non-fat dairy creamer
1 tsp vanilla
1 frozen banana
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
16-24 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in blender (ice cubes last, a few at a time until desired thickness). Process until smooth. Serves 2.
And while you're sipping it, head on over to We Are THAT Family to see what else others are doing to enjoy their summer!

Monday, June 22, 2009

In our Lovely Deseret

Memorable Monday Moments
Hymns and the Topical Guide

Last week I shared our "super short and sweet" FHE lesson which was just each of us finding a scripture in the Topical Guide to read. We've done that often, and usually make it last a little longer. I was reminded of one of my favorite of these types of lessons when hymn #307 came up in the rotation to sing before family prayer one night last week. I loved singing this song when I was a girl in Primary, but it's not one that's sung often anymore. We sang it with the kids one night, and then each of us took a verse and found scriptural backup to share. It was a lot of fun. Look at all the amazing principles taught in this one song!

In Our Lovely Deseret by Eliza R. Snow

1. In our lovely Deseret,
Where the Saints of God have met,
There’s a multitude of children all around.
They are generous and brave;
They have precious souls to save;
They must listen and obey the gospel’s sound.

2. That the children may live long
And be beautiful and strong,
Tea and coffee and tobacco they despise,
Drink no liquor, and they eat
But a very little meat;
They are seeking to be great and good and wise.

3. They should be instructed young
How to watch and guard the tongue,
And their tempers train and evil passions bind;
They should always be polite,
And treat ev’rybody right,
And in ev’ry place be affable and kind.

4. They must not forget to pray,
Night and morning ev’ry day,
For the Lord to keep them safe from ev’ry ill,
And assist them to do right,
That with all their mind and might
They may love him and may learn to do his will.

Chorus: Hark! Hark! Hark! ’tis children’s music—
Children’s voices, oh, how sweet,
When in innocence and love,
Like the angels up above,
They with happy hearts and cheerful faces meet.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I could write a novel about things I've learned from my dad, but I don't have time right now. In fact, the rest of my family is trying to convince me that it's been a long day and it's time for bed. However, I had to do a quick post on my wonderful father! (And my husband is a wonderful father as well, but he's not MY dad.)

So, here are just a couple of quick memories - based on pictures that were already saved on the computer:Dad values education and always expected me to do my best. He still does. Although I was born and raised in California (and so was Dad), we spent two years in Maryland while he went to law school. This picture is on his graduation day when I was 5 years old. One of my favorite memories of those two years is the day I missed the bus to kindergarten and he walked me to school on his shoulders because there were no paved sidewalks and it was a rainy, muddy day. The local newspaper did a story on my parents in 1972 after they adopted a few children. That taught me a lot of lessons as well. Dad lived the values that he taught - charity, service, hard work, respect and compassion. (And notice all the books he collected!)He still works hard, even though he's technically retired. This is a common sight whenever he visits us, or when we visit him (although the computer's not on the kitchen table in his own home). He loves family history and temple work and studying the words of the prophets. He loves his family and lets us all know that often. I love you too, Dad. Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Memorable Christmas Gift

Flashback Friday
Sewing Lessons

As I was trying to come up with something to "remember" for today, I came across this picture. Since my last post had to do with sewing, I figured this would be quite appropriate. When I was 10, I was given sewing lessons at Sears for Christmas. Believe it or not, that turned out to be a wonderful gift, and it's one of the few that I remember.

This picture was taken in 1974, which means I'd been sewing for a couple of years. Although right here I'm doing some embroidery, I remember making the bedspread (please tell me there's some pink in the top fabric!) and the red dress. I made a lot of other things, and maybe someday I'll make a list of everything I remember, but not now.

Now it seems as if the sewing machine is just there to gather dust, although it has been used recently to hem pants and take in shirts, and I even helped Michelle make her first dress last month. I would probably sew more if it actually saved money. When did it become just as expensive to make clothes as to buy them??

Alicia at More Than Words started a meme to share some pre-digital photos that we have sitting around in albums. Not only is it nice to remember the past , it's great way to make new friends now as well. Feel free to join in on the fun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WFMW - Hooded Towels

Works For Me Wednesday
Hooded Bath Towels
or A Simple Baby Gift

Last week I attended a baby shower for a friend, and I was reminded that I learned how to make these hooded bath towels. They're nice for babies, but they're almost even better for toddlers. Who wouldn't love running around with a super-man cape flowing behind? Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of my little ones doing just that - but I did convince my teenager to pose with one draped on her head so you can get an idea of the finished product. So, here's how to make one yourself. You'll need a wash cloth and a bath towel. Fold the wash cloth down 1/3 of the way (right sides together) and sew a diagonal seam. Like this:If you want to measure, it was about 3 1/2" and at a 45° angle. Then trim the seam (or you can serge it). On the opposite side, make a little pleat. To do this, fold the wash cloth in half (right sides together) at the center. Put a pin about 2" in. Bring the center point into the pin and flatten everything out. It's a little tricky to explain, and even trickier to take pictures of, but the finished step looks like this on the inside:and this on the outside:
Baste that and your washcloth now looks like this:
Make a similar pleat in the center of the long edge of the towel. This time, however, place the pin 4" from the center so you get a bigger pleat. Then pin the washcloth to the towel, right sides together, and matching the center points.
Sew it together and you're done! Except you should turn the hood right-side-out. Well, this is what works for me. I try to keep a few in the closet for last-minute baby gifts. Of course, now my closet is empty, so it's time to stock up again! Do you have any other fun baby gift ideas to share? And if you're looking for more inspiration and motivation, be sure to check out
You'll find hundreds of great ideas. Enjoy your summer!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vacation Planning

Memorable Monday Moments
Using the Topical Guide

For our family night activity tonight the plan was to take all of the state maps and highlight our route for the road trip we're taking later this summer. To turn it into an actual gospel lesson, before we did that we took a few minutes to search the Topical Guide and come up with a scripture that would relate to the activity. I thought you might be interested in knowing what we shared, so here you go:

Proverbs 3:6 "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead them in paths that they have not known."

1 Nephi 3:9 "We took our journey in the wilderness."

Mosiah 1:18 "Mosiah went and did as his father had commanded him, ... that they might gather themselves together, to go up to the temple."

1 Nephi 16:10, 28 "He beheld a ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness. . . . [the pointers] did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them."

Over the years we've found that looking for scriptures on a particular topic and then sharing how they apply in our lives is a very effective family night lesson. However, I sure hope this particular verse that someone found tonight doesn't apply to us this summer - "For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness" (Joshua 5:6).

Friday, June 12, 2009

A New Haircut

Flashback Friday It's been a busy week, and there are a lot of things still to do today, so this is a short post. I found this picture when I was looking for Steven's birthday pictures. (It was taken just before his 4th birthday in 1997.) I love his smile! And I loved that hair cut. Unfortunately, I was NEVER able to repeat it. And now I won't even try. (It takes too much time to straighten my curly hair.) But at least I have a fun memory.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to You, Steven!

Steven's 16 today! It's so hard to believe. You would think that after having several other sons turn 16 I would be used to it, but I'm not. My baby's growing up! He's going to go get his driver's license in an hour!! Fortunately, he's still a momma's boy (although I probably shouldn't put that out for the world to see). However, he's also really good about being independent when he needs to. (For example, I was sure I'd have to go to kindergarten with him, but he walked in all by himself.) We're thrilled to have him around for a few more years.At 9 pounds, 3 ounces, he wasn't necessarily a little baby, but compared to his brothers he was tiny. (Sorry for the dark pictures.) 1997 - 4 years old. That's an R2-D2 cake. Steven likes Star Wars. Even today his favorite gift was a Star Wars video game. 2001 - 8 years old. By this time I had learned that Steven doesn't like frosting! That's Cool Whip in the middle just so that candles look prettier for me.
2005 - 12 years old. Old enough to able to express a preference for "really, I mean it, no frosting!" So, here's his favorite Jello Cake sans Cool Whip.
2009 - 16 years old. Steven got his ice cream cake. We should have made it the day before, because the chocolate topping wasn't frozen enough. So, it doesn't look pretty and I have a placemat to clean, but it was delicious! And no frosting!! (And yes, we're party poopers and only put one candle in the cake. But we didn't want to exacerbate the melting mess.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WFMW - A Very, Merry Unbirthday to You!

Works for Me Wednesday
Celebrating Half-Birthdays
You remember the song from "Alice in Wonderland" - "A Very Merry Unbirthday" don't you? Sometimes it's fun to celebrate someone's birthday even when it's not really their birthday! Half-Birthdays are particularly good excuses for that. And as you can see from the pictures below, it's not a unique tradition:

Today is David's Half-Birthday! If you were around we'd probably even bake a half-cake for you.

Because he has a winter-time birthday, there were a few years when he was growing up when we deliberately saved some of his birthday budget for six months later and then took him to the toy store in June so he could get some summer toys like water guns and pool floats. For some reason it doesn't seem like so much of a problem for summer birthdays (probably because of Christmas).

Each member of our family is unique, and it's always fun to look for ways to celebrate that. This is just one that works for us. Go here to find ideas that work for other families.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Picnic at the Beach

Memorable Monday Moments
last minute ideaI guess it wasn't that last minute, because we had to switch cars in the morning, but last week - even though we already had a family night lesson idea - we decided to have a picnic at the beach instead because Jeff wanted to go one more time before he left on his mission. Michelle wasn't feeling too well; if she had we would have had a lot more fun, but it was still a nice trip. The weather was gorgeous! It's so nice to live in paradise. We decided we need to take advantage of that fact a few more times this summer!!

And tonight we'll have a no-stress family night, because the lesson's already prepared.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Donald Duck!

Flashback Friday
Donald Duck's 75th Birthday - June 9, 2009

Technically, I should probably post this next Tuesday, but it makes a good Flashback Friday entry. And this way, you can all be prepared to celebrate Donald Duck's birthday if you feel like it next week.

One of the cool things my kids liked to share when asked about their heritage is that their great-grandfather worked as an animator with Walt Disney, and that you can find his name in the credits for Peter Pan, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. He was also part of the team that designed the original Donald Duck. Here's what he wrote about that in his biography:

"The studio was now feverishly working on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the first full length feature cartoon ever attempted and the morale was extremely high. It was a joy to work at this remarkable studio and associate with a group of very talented, colorful young men, most of whom were under 30 years old. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for me, I was not assigned to "Snow White" but worked on a new charater which was just evolving called Donald Duck. The studio was attempting to develop new animators and some of the more promiseing ones were given a test project, the winner of which would become a full fledged animator. Mine was judged to be the best and with my promotion came a nice raise in salary."

Donald Duck debuted on June 9, 1934 in a Silly Symphony cartoon titled 'The Wise Little Hen'.

Now the rest of this is for my kids.

The Great Depression hit just before your grandfather was born in 1932. Your great-grandparents were living in St. Louis where Judge worked for a newspaper. The newspaper was dissolved and he was laid off. Fortunately they had been thrifty and had saved about $1,000. Even more fortunately, their bank didn't go under. Rent was $50 a month, bread was 5 cents a loaf and milk was 6 cents a quart. He wrote, "Even with these cheap prices our thousand dollar savings account would soon diminish with nothing to replenish it. In the meantime I was doing all I could to find work, and I wasn't confining it only to the line of work I was trained to do."

After the baby was born, they moved to Chicago and lived with Judge's brother Ferrin. It wasn't any easier to find work there, although he was able to pick up a little freelance work. Through other artists he learned about Walt Disney and sent him some samples from his portfolio. The Disney studio wrote back and was very complimentary and said that while they weren't hiring at that point, if he was ever in the area to stop and see them. So, Judge and Dorothy and little Billy decided to go back to California and live with their parents. Judge was able to get a job with Disney - for $25 a week - but it only lasted for a month before an earthquake hit and he was laid off. After a year of working odd jobs to help make ends meet, he was rehired at Disney. Years later he left to start the motion picture studio at BYU, but that's a story for another day.

Don't forget the lessons your great-grandfather taught through his example - perseverence, self-reliance, providing for your family, humility, integrity, working hard, persistence, importance of family, and many, many more.

List of Disney movies/shorts Judge worked on.

Blog of Disney history.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WFMW - Mom, I'm Bored

Works for Me Wednesday
Helping prevent summer boredom

Even though it's still finals week, we're already into our summer schedule, which means there's not a lot of time for blogging. And since the theme for June's "first week post" is "Mom, I'm bored!" I'm linking to an old post: Summer 2003.

First of all, you know that the words "I'm bored" aren't really allowed in our house. There are just too many new and exciting things to learn and do. After all, that's why we were sent to earth! However, planning ahead is what works for me in helping our children have fun and be productive. Remember you can find hundreds of ideas for things to do this summer at We are THAT Family! Have a great summer!!

Some of the ideas I liked and want to be able to find again:

Toy Freezing

77 Boredom Busters

50 Things to Do