Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: family (page 2 of 5)

Family, Food and Fun: Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is coming up and FOOD is the word. When thinking about Thanksgiving, many of us number turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie among the many things that we are grateful for. Many of the memories that I personally have surrounding this time of year involve cooking and eating together with my family (especially my grandma’s amazing coconut cream pie).

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Isn’t it interesting how the food we eat is such a central part of our culture and identity? Traditions surrounding food can vary widely from family to family, and even wider from culture to culture. Something that does not change between cultures, however, is the fact that food brings people together. Research shows that eating together as a family can make a huge difference in having a healthy family life.

Consider using this holiday season as an excuse to take some time to eat a good meal with your family. Cook together, or even just go out to a restaurant together if cooking isn’t your style. No matter where the food comes from, eating a meal and spending time together will create memories, and bring your family emotionally closer.  Now get together and eat up!  

P.S. I thought I’d share with you two of my favorite recipes that my mom would always make during the holidays! They’re easy, inexpensive, and delicious! Bon appétit!

Frozen Cranberry Whip

1) Mix in a large bowl: 1 package whole cranberries (ground in a food processor or blender), 2 cups of sugar, and 1 small package mini marshmallows (10 oz package)

2) Cover bowl and let it sit all day or overnight Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 9.13.24 AM

3) Later: Whip 1 pint of whipping cream until stiff. Add 3 oz cream cheese (chopped into little chunks), and 1 large can crushed pineapple (drained)

4) Mix everything together (including sugar and cranberry mixture)

5) Separate into two bread-loaf pans, cover and freeze

6) To serve: Briefly run warm around the outside of the pan to loosen frozen loaf and slice up servings

Candied Sweet Potatoes

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish

2) Boil a large pot of water, add sweet potatoes, boil until slightly underdone, about 15 minutes.

3) In a large saucepan combine 1 1/4 cups margarine, 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, 2 cups marshmallows, cinamon and nutmeg to taste.

4) Stir potatoes into the margarine sauce. While stirring mash the potatoes.

5) Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, remove and top sweet potatoes wtih 1 cup of mashmallows, cook until marshmallows are slightly golden.

Written By Rian Gordon

Everybody That You Meet Has an Original Point of View: More Parenting in “Arthur”

I had so much fun analyzing parenting styles in “Arthur” last week that I decided to do another cartoon animal related post. Although the Crosswires and the Barneses are a little bit more dysfunctional than the Reads, the Baxters, and the Frenskys, they still pass parenting muster.

The Crosswire family:

The Crosswires are Elwood City’s equivalent of the Rockefellers and they very much fit into the rich parent stereotype. You know the one—whenever their daughter needs quality time, the parents buy her a new toy and leave her with the butler. Mr. Crosswire gets very little screen time and Mrs. Crosswire gets even less. As such, Muffy is quite spoiled and frequently relies on whining and wheedling to get her way, rather than actually thinking about the problem she needs to solve.

However, things aren’t all bad in the Crosswire household. True, Muffy’s mother is rarely seen and when she is she never says anything. She gets a line in the head lice episode where she reminisces on her own experience with lice, but it’s the nanny (who only appears once or twice) who’s actually washing Muffy’s hair. But Bailey, Muffy’s butler/mentor, is a wise character who helps acquaint her with opera and get a book club started. And Mr. Crosswire himself isn’t all that bad. He takes Muffy to the opera and to art exhibits. He also takes over coaching the soccer team when none of the other parents will step up. Mr. Crosswire enables Muffy’s spoiled lifestyle, but he genuinely seems to care about his daughter and just wants what’s best for her.

Picture from here.

Picture from here.

The Barnes family:

Binky is first introduced to the audience as a bully in a gang called the Tough Customers, and his parents are apparently unaware of his bullying tendencies. However, as the series goes on, Binky sheds the stereotype more and more as it’s revealed that he likes ballet and catching butterflies, both hobbies that his parents fully support.

Picture from here.

Picture from here.

Binky, like Buster, seems to be a victim of helicopter parenting—there’s an episode where he finds out that he has a peanut allergy and his mom kicks into High Mom Mode, trying to protect him. As a result, Binky sometimes acts out to assert his own independence. At the end of the aforementioned episode, though, because he tells his mom how he feels, she agrees to be a little less involved and he agrees to check in with her a little more often. The fact that they communicate and continually reassess their standing is the signal of a healthier relationship to come.

Both the Crosswires and the Barnses want what’s best for their kids, but that’s not enough—they have to communicate with them. The best parents tell their kids their reasoning for rules that seem arbitrary, but they also listen to feedback and adjust accordingly.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a good parent. Just listen to your heart*.

*listen to the beat, listen to the rhythm, the rhythm of the street…

—Becca Barrus, Stance

No One Is Alone: The Implications of Non-biological Family in “Into the Woods”

*This article contains spoilers for the musical “Into the Woods.”

Since I’ve joined the Stance crew, I’ve become hyperaware of family relationships in everything I read and watch. So it’s no surprise that I had family on the brain when I watched the movie version of “Into the Woods” and the stage version at my little brother’s high school.

There are loads of different types of families in “Into the Woods.” There are stepfamilies, absent fathers, adopted children, helicopter parents, ghost parents, infertile couples, bloodthirsty grandmas… Pretty much anything you could ask for. (I could write a whole essay on the relationship between the Witch and Rapunzel alone.)

Picture from here.

Picture from here.

However, what struck me during these most recent viewings (I have seen this musical A LOT OF TIMES) is the non-biological, found family dynamic. By the end of the second act, most of the characters are dead, killed by the giant or by each other, and most of the families have been dissolved. All four surviving main characters have lost someone—the Baker lost his wife, Cinderella lost her husband (and mother too, sort of), Little Red lost her mother and grandmother, and Jack lost his mother. It’s both haunting and beautiful, then, when they sing “No One is Alone,” because at that moment, each of them is probably feeling the loneliest they’ve ever felt.

In the end, the Baker, his son, Cinderella, Little Red, and Jack all decide to live together and try to help each other recover from their trauma. Even though they aren’t related by blood and even though they’ve seen each other at their nastiest (like viciously blaming each other for all the bad things that have happened), they still care about and want to protect each other.

This is family.

Yes, family is the fundamental unit of society, and yes, that is usually referring to biological family, but your non-biological family can be just as important.

Loving your family is wonderful. It can be hard, but in the end, you share blood, so you might as well stick together.

Choosing to love people you’re not obligated to love is scary. They can leave at any time. They might not come from the same background as you, or they might see the world from a completely different perspective. Sometimes it might seem like it’s not worth it. You’re not bound to them, so why bother?

Learning to love people unselfishly is part of why we’re here on this earth. What is more unselfish than seeing someone’s flaws and loving and supporting them anyway? Than sticking around even though you don’t really have to?

Because if everyone you’ve ever known has left you halfway through the woods, finding someone who is on your side is precious and sacred.

No one is alone.

—Becca Barrus, Stance

Sharing Hope

Heather Von St. Clair

Heather Von St. James

“I thought it was all post-partum symptoms,” Heather said about her cancer signs. Three months after giving birth to her daughter, Lily, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a relatively rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Heather’s exposure came from the coating of asbestos dust on her father’s work coat. Particles settled in the lining of her lungs, called the pleura, causing a tumor to grow. She experienced extreme fatigue, coughing, and shortness of breath, and she was losing weight rapidly—five to seven pounds a week.

“I didn’t know any different since Lily was my first baby. But when I passed out on the sofa one morning after bringing laundry up from the basement, I knew it was more.”

“It was a very scary time,” Heather admitted. Mesothelioma doesn’t manifest itself until years after exposure, so most patients don’t live more than 15 months after diagnosis. Heather’s first fear was “that I would die and leave my husband and baby. Other fears and concerns were all the financial ones. Would we lose our home? Everything we had worked so hard for? None of it mattered if we could find a way to save my life.”

Despite the exhaustion and the worries, Heather found pockets of hope throughout that time. Her specialist in Boston, Dr. David Sugarbaker, said he would do everything he could for her. “Dr. Sugarbaker gave us the hope that we so desperately needed in facing this disease,” she said.

Another small blessing: “No hair loss! I was pretty happy about that one,” Heather exclaimed.

Other blessings came from her family, who acted as her support system throughout that time. Before her diagnosis, Heather’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law came to stay with her. And when she and Cam made the decision to go to Boston, where she was given chemotherapy, radiation, and an extra pleural pneumonectomy, they left Lily with Heather’s parents.

Heather, Cam, and Lily

Heather, Cam, and Lily

After surgery, Heather went home to her parents and Lily while Cam worked in Minnesota. Living apart from Cam was hard for both of them, but the support from her family helped everyone.

“It was just what we had to do to get through,” Heather explained. “We knew that. Knowing Lily was going to have consistent care and love by my parents was exactly the peace of mind I needed to make it through surgery. Then, going to live with them after and have the help with Lily was such a weight lifted. It was a huge part of my recovery.”

Even Lily played her part. “All I had to do was look at my daughter,” Heather said. “That sweet little face with those big eyes was all the motivation I needed to keep going in my darkest times. When I wanted to throw in the towel, I would cry out to God, and He carried me through by showing me my daughter.”

To those who know someone struggling with mesothelioma, Heather councils: “There is so much out there that dashes the hopes of people, so being a support and an information gatherer is a great help. Offer to clean, grocery shop, watch kids, or just be with the patient. Be careful of what you say. Think before you ask personal questions, especially about finances. A great way to help is to organize a benefit. I can’t stress how much that helped us with expenses. Praying is always a good thing too. And one last thing . . . stay positive.”

Now, ten years later, Heather is a healthy survivor and an active patient advocate in the mesothelioma community. Her voice reaches out to those looking for answers and encouragement. Mesothelioma brings uncertainty and fear, but Heather’s message offers hope to patients and their families. “If one person is inspired and gets hope and help from my story, I’m happy.”

To learn more about Heather’s story with mesothelioma, please visit her blog at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

—Sarah Perkins, Senior Editor, Stance

Moving Back Home: 4 Things I Learned as a College Student Living with My Family

mailboxThe last two years of my college life I have spent living at home with my parents and three younger siblings. I moved home after I spent some time—and most of my money—on a study abroad in the British Isles. The thought of moving back home after being on my own was frustrating, but the last two years have been much different than I expected. Here are four things I learned about what college kids and their families can do to make living together a good experience.

  1. Space is blessed. I am gone at school and work nearly all day, and when I am home, I’m usually doing homework. I need a sanctuary where I know I can take time for myself to get things done or just veg out. Families, remember that your stay-at-home college students are still adults with their own busy schedules. Help them by giving them physical and mental space to breathe.
  2. Family is an investment. Speaking of a busy schedule, there just never seems to be enough time for everything! However, even though I have my own agenda, I have found it’s important to make time for the people who not only house and feed me, but the people who also love me. I’ve grown closer to my parents and siblings in ways that I never could have had if I didn’t live at home. If you give them time, they will give you time. It’s a win-win.
  3. Save that dough! If you’re like me, chances are your family isn’t making you pay for everything—utilities, garbage, insurance, mortgage, etc. And with all that extra money, it’s way easier to feel like I have more to spend. But don’t get caught in a trap. Some months I have actually saved less money living at home than I did living on my own. I’ve found that maintaining some form of responsible adult spending habits (like keeping a budget and pitching in on groceries or rent) keeps me from overspending.
  4. Remember to stay socially healthy. Between school and work, I don’t always have the energy (or the desire) to go out at the end of the day. But even though spending time with family is important, participating in activities with my friends and peers is also important. It actually gives me more energy, reinforces my networking, and helps me find new cultural experiences.

—Sarah Perkins, Senior Managing Editor, Stance

Sabbath Message: Whom Will Ye Serve?

“[C]hoose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).family-walking-along-beach-1117003-print

I’m not sharing this scripture because it is my favorite, or because it changed my life when I memorized it in Seminary. I think this is one of my dad’s favorite scriptures, and I remember enjoying it when I read it for the first time in Seminary. But it’s never been one of those scriptures that stuck with me. It’s never been my go-to scripture.family-prayer

Although it has never been that scripture for me, someday I want it to be one of the most applicable and meaningful scriptures in my repertoire. Someday, when I have a family with little children who depend on me for so much—I will want this scripture to have meaning. When I have a family I will teach my children the gospel of Christ. I will teach them right from wrong. I will train and guide them in all that they need to know. I will teach them who to serve. When I have a family, we will serve the Lord.

—Shelby Olsen, Stance

5 Ideas to Make Learning Fun for the Family

President’s Day has come and gone. Maybe you roasted hot dogs on the grill with your family? Maybe you lit a few sparklers? You probably didn’t sit in the library for hours researching why you were celebrating. But learning can actually be fun and can bring your family together. Some of my favorite memories with my family involve us learning together. Whether we were looking at museums in D.C. or reading our favorite stories out loud to each other, learning was always a big part of family time.

Here are a few fun ways you can learn with your family:

  1. Have one person look up interesting holiday facts and while everyone else guesses which facts are true.
  2. Picture from here.
    Picture from here.

    Do a scavenger hunt in a museum.

  3. Go to a library and have everyone find the biggest (or longest, smallest, most colorful, best titled) book.
  4. Play learning/mind games like Scrabble or crossword puzzles.
  5. Read up on your favorite painting and try to recreate it using watercolors or finger paints. Then put all your paintings on the fridge for everyone to see.

—Ashley Smith, Stance

Why Traditions Are Important

There are many types of family traditions. There are religious traditions, seasonal traditions, celebratory traditions or just plain fun traditions. Whatever kind they are, all family traditions have one thing in common—they unite us. The best way to strengthen family relationships is by spending time together, and traditions can play an important role by helping families remember to take time to appreciate one another.

Most of my family’s traditions revolve around two things: outdoor activities and food. In the part of Oregon where we live we have the sweetest berries. Every summer we make a point of going berry picking, taking advantage of a beautiful day, and then going home and enjoying the deliciousness together. Another annual tradition we have is on the day after Thanksgiving we go to the Christmas tree farm to chop down our tree. No matter what the weather is like, we go traipsing all over the farm looking for that perfect tree. It’s always a fun and sometimes muddy outing that ends with stuffing a giant tree through the front door and warming up with steaming cups of hot chocolate.

Creating memories together.

Creating memories together.

Taking the time to do these things together has strengthened our family relationships. We laugh and joke together and cherish these fun moments. Families can also develop weekly and daily traditions. Whether it’s family prayer or game night, children remember and are shaped by these wholesome activities.

Elder L. Tom Perry said, “If we will build righteous traditions in our families, the light of the gospel can grow ever brighter in the lives of our children from generation to generation.”

When we prioritize family traditions, we are prioritizing each other and the treasured relationships we have. It’s never too late to start a new family tradition or rekindle old ones. Take some time today for family and traditions.

—Allie Hamilton, Stance

10 Ways to Decorate for Valentine’s Day

In a little more than a week, it’s St. Valentine’s Day.  ;-)

Okay, so I’m sorry for the reminder. I think this holiday is a little overrated. But here are some not terrible ideas to celebrate this holiday with a little more style

  1. Coffee Filters. So you don’t drink coffee? You don’t have to in order to make this decor. This wreath is so pretty and simple to make.
  2. Burlap Banner. Burlap. String. Hearts. Banner—ready to hang.
  3. Hearts-on-a-Stick. So the look is much prettier than the sound of it. But add some nature to your sweet space! Hot glue some sparkly (or non-sparkly, whatever you prefer) hearts onto the twigs.
  4. Umbrella Love. Tired of the cliché wreath hanging outside your door? Take some ol’ umbrella. Add a bow. Add some fake flowers. You’re ready to go!
  5. Mason Jars. This craft is hipster-approved. Place a heart on a doily, and then tie it around a jar with some string or ribbon.
  6. String Heart. Probably a little more time intensive. But the result is darling.
  7. Free Printables. Feeling lazy? Just print out some printables. Free ones, of course!
  8. Wall of Hearts. Forget about Jar of Hearts! Try some easy 3D hearts on your walls.
  9. Chain of Hearts. Making chains is no longer reserved only for Christmas. Get out your construction paper, and cut them into stripes. Then fold and staple. Done deal.
  10. Eraser Art. Although the picture below shows this project on a canvas bag, it would be easy to make this decor for a picture or something else cute! :) Grab an old No. 2 pencil, and start stamping.

See pictures of these ideas below. <3

—Katie, Editor-in-Chief Stance: Studies on the Family

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10 Ways to Decorate with DIY Pillows

Pillow fight!

Just kidding . . . But what is more fun that a bunch of big, fluffy pillows?

If you’ve just moved into a new apartment or home, a quick way to make your new space feel “homey” is to make some spunky pillows for any room. Currently, it is really popular to make your own pillows! Keep some of these ideas in mind:

  • Texture. Don’t shy away from texture! Flowers or frills can be sewn onto pillows to create a different effect.
  • Color. Embrace color. A bright yellow or red or pink may just be the perfect finishing touch to brighten up your room. Even think about using pastel colors.
  • Tassels. Add tassels for the sake of spunkiness.
  • Words. Add some text—a favorite quote or expression—to a pillow.
  • Round v. Square. Try your hand at making some round and square pillows! They don’t have to all be the same shape!
  • Reused Materials. Take an old sweater, and repurpose it as a brand new pillow! Not only will you be resourceful, but you will also stay warm and cozy with a snug pillow.
  • Glitter. Who doesn’t love a touch of sparkle? Glam up your room with some sparkling sequins or glitter.

Check out some fun pillow ideas below to help you spruce up your space!

—Katie, Stance: Studies on the Family

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