Halloween traditions

I have fond memories of Halloween — costumes,  trick-or-treating, and big candy bars. Not those stupid “fun-sized” ones that we hand out now. My friends and I grabbed our pillowcases and walked the entire tract of  Whiting Woods. My mom said one year we had 200 trick-or-treaters come by our house.

We never wore scary costumes. Kids didn’t dress with blood and gore back then. A white sheet over your head was about the spookiest thing you might see. No one decorated houses, no lights. Jack-o-lanterns had triangle eyes, not too creative. My mom often made me a costume. I’m on the far left, dressed as fraulein Deila. Then there’s Pam Hale and Pam Dressel and Mary Lee Moffatt. My sisters, Jeni and Talee round out the group. And happy birthday to my sis, Talee.

When I got married and had kids, I made costumes and handed them down to the next born. All five were a leopard when they were 3 or 4. We moved on to Dick Tracy, poodle skirts, Zelda and clowns. But I couldn’t let them wander the streets for candy. By then we had the razor blade scare, so my kids didn’t get to canvas the neighborhood like I did. It had become so bad that hospitals opened their emergency rooms for x-ray scanning of your kids candy. In our neighborhood, parents would follow their kids around from house to house.

That’s when our church began to sponsor a “trunk or treat.” Everyone showed up in the parking lot and handed out candy from their car trunk. Not the same as the good old days. Kind of a bust for me.

Halloween became not so much fun. Costumes became more evil-looking and evil people were tampering with the candy. I became kind of a Halloween Scrooge.  I buy my small size candy, eat it, carve a pumpkin, and wish I had an elaborate witch costume. Yea, a nice black hat and cape and magical power (I’ve always wanted to be Samantha of Bewitched.) 

And how about some Halloween, not too-scary movies to share with the family? I’m thinking, “Witches”, “Young Frankenstein”, “Ghostbusters”, “Beetlejuice”, “Frankenstein”, “The Adams Family” and maybe some from my youth — we were always tormented by “Night of the Living Dead”  “Psycho,” and “Wait Until Dark.” I might prefer “Vertigo” or “The Birds.”

My Jewish friends love Halloween because they decorate their house (which they miss at Christmas.) They bring home the wood from their Sukkot Feast of the Tabernacles holiday and make a haunted house in their driveway. Every year the missionaries help set it up. It’s a tradition for them, for the last 12 years or so — Halloween, and the LDS missionaries. And a spooky house.I don’t like scary, violence, blood or gore. That’s why I was looking for some classic movies.  I do like this little Zombie tune:

Pumpkin carving finally became everyone gets their own
Halloween pumpkin
One of my first Halloweens. No wonder I like the smell of those burning pumpkins.

Is brewers yeast good for you?

When I was 17,  I got the kissing disease mononucleosis – and I couldn’t seem to get better. I was in my senior year of high school, secretary of the Student Body, and I developed a sore throat that was larger than life. I couldn’t turn my neck without pain. I even took my stupid college entrance exams while sick.

I stayed out of school for a semester and spent a lot of time on the couch in front of the TV. In 1972, ee didn’t have much to choose from on daytime television and I soon became tired of being sick and tired. I hated sitting around, and thus took up leather-crafting and baking along with my sitting around. My dad worried about my spleen — a possible complication of mononucleosis.

After about three months, by medical standards I was well. But I didn’t feel that well. That’s when I started reading nutrition books (Adelle Davis) and buying herbs and vitamins. I think I can attribute my full recovery to a nasty tasting concoction that I stirred up every morning. I wouldn’t go a day without it. The nasty stuff was called Brewer’s yeast and I mixed a tablespoon of the powder in a small glass of grapefruit juice. The strong juice helped mask the strong bitter brewer’s yeast.

I got better. I felt great. And I didn’t want to give up the brewer’s yeast. I’m thinking of giving it a shot again. No, I don’t have mono, I just want to feel tip top. Time to roll back the clock.

So, what’s in the brewer’s yeast?

Back in 1972, the powdery supplement called brewer’s yeast was derived from the making of beer — which involves grains, malt, dried hops, and a species of active yeast — a one-celled fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The yeast causes the fermentation and after the beer is filtered, the sediment is collected and dried. This by-product sediment is sold as the nutritional supplement called “brewer’s yeast.”

In 1902, the German chemist, Justus Lieberg discovered that the spent yeast could be used as a nutritional supplement.

The hops flavors the beer, but it’s very bitter in the resultant brewer’s yeast. Hence the nasty flavor (even in a glass of grapefruit juice.) Today, some of the brewer’s yeasts sold as nutritional supplements are made from fermented beets which eliminates the bitter hops taste. I don’t know what they do with the alcoholic beet juice. But the taste is supposed to be milder. I think I will give it a try. You can get the Solgar brand at Amazon. Here’s another brand on Amazon. I’ll probably still put it in grapefruit juice. And only a tablespoon.

Brewer’s yeast is a source of minerals, particularly chromium, but also selenium, protein, and the B-complex vitamins — B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), and H or B7 (biotin).  It has amino acids as well. And Iron.

A study in 2000 showed that brewer’s yeast is helpful for those with type 2 diabetes. The chromium gives better control of glucose and lipid levels. Some subjects no longer needed insulin, others were able to reduce the amount of insulin they were taking. So if you are diabetic, check with your doctor first before taking this supplement.

Another benefit — it may improve your cholesterol levels — lower the LDL and raise the HDL.

And, I can vouch for it — if you have mononucleosis!



brewers yeast


BREWERS YEAST FROM BEETS nutrition for brewers yeasts beet source

More on my Mormon underwear (video)

Oh how the Internet brings everything to the foreground. Good and Bad, yes. But I do love the digital information age. And I love video. Visual teaching. It’s one of the best ways to explain things. A few years ago, when Mitt Romney was running for President, I wrote a post about my Mormon underwear. I compared it to other religious garb, and I see the LDS church has a new video out with that same message in this YouTube:



There’s quite a history to the Mormon underwear. I think we should get away from calling it underwear or even the popular Mormon word, “garments.” The garment of the Holy Priesthood should have more meaning to us than just our everyday, 24/7 underwear. We get so used to wearing it that some of the special-ness, the sacred-ness, the meaning — has become lost.

It has become our underwear. And sometimes, our not so comfortable underwear.

I think we Mormons could benefit from a greater understanding of the garment of the Holy Priesthood. And the history of it. Too often it becomes the center of scrutiny among our fellow endowed Mormons. I’ve heard Mormons remark, “she wasn’t wearing her garments.” When Ann Romney was on the Jay Leno show, people posted comments, “she couldn’t have been wearing her garments, her dress was too short…”

And because it’s a requirement for a temple recommend, to wear them day and night — guilt, confusion, and comparison surround the garment. I’m not really sure anyone should be asking us how we wear our garment once we’ve made covenants in the temple. And, for sure we should not be judging anyone about how they wear their garments or when they wear them. Please.

When Joseph shared the endowment with people, they didn’t wear the garment all the time. They only wore it as part of the endowment. In fact, not everyone had their own. Later, Mormons wore a garment for prayer circles — which they even held in homes. The garment and prayer were connected.

The earliest known instructions regarding the wearing of the garment was given in 1845 to the assembled and recently endowed saints. The saints were told to wear the garment if they prayed in the true order. For example, Heber C. Kimball stated that the garments should be “worn continually, by night & by day, in prison or free” because “if we have the garments upon us at all times we can at any time offer up the signs.”


The thought was, the garment should be worn so that the signs of the true order could be offered at any time and in any place. And if you wore the garment day and night, you  could instantly at any time pray in the special manner.


Heber C. Kimball recorded this from George A. Smith:


“He [George A. Smith] then related an instance of some children being healed & cured of the whooping cough in one night, through the prayers of himself and Elder Woodruff in Michigan while they were there on a mission. Said that whenever they could get an opportunity they retired to the wilderness or to an upper room they did so and offered up the signs, and were always answered. It would be a good thing for us to put on our garments every day and pray to God, and in private circles, when we can do so with safety. You have learned how to pray [in the true order]. You have been taught how to approach God and be recognized.” (Journal of Heber C. Kimball, Dec 21, 1845) ref

The garment of the Holy Priesthood reminds us of our sacred covenants — true. But it is more than that. We can make it more meaningful if we compare it to the tallit or prayer shawl of the faithful Jew or the skin of light given to Adam and Eve. If we think of it as part of our prayer clothing; our garment regains it’s special-ness. I like to remember this when I pray — I like to face east and acknowledge that I am dressed in the garment of the Holy Priesthood.

I’ve tried to remember this — that I wear the garment for many reasons, (and it’s not for modesty) but one of them is for my personal prayer. That’s one thing I want to remember. But because I wear them as my underwear, it’s easy for me to overlook the fact that I’m wearing a prayer garment, a garment of the Holy Priesthood that enables me to better connect with my God.

Now, for me, that is magical.

If you’re an endowed Mormon, Why do you wear your garment? Think about it. It shouldn’t just be about obedience or to pass the temple recommend questions. Make it better than it has been. Make it between you and God.


Can you be a good Mormon and not do Scouts?

This is for those Mormon moms who might be struggling with the scouting program. I must confess — I’m not into Scouting. I raised four sons and every year I kept hoping the LDS church would drop the Boy Scout program as part of the Young Men’s Program. But some things become so “set” that changes just don’t happen. The first LDS Scout troop was started in 1913 — Mormons and Scouting have a long history. I understand the need for it back in the early days. But I think it served it’s purpose. At least here in the United States. At least for me.
LDS Boy Scouts infront of the Church Offices, the drum saying "Boy Scouts of America, Salt Lake, MIA" (Mutual Improvement Association).

LDS Boy Scouts infront of the Church Offices, the drum saying “Boy Scouts of America, Salt Lake, MIA” (Mutual Improvement Association).

We did a little scouting. We did the Cub Scout program. But after Webelos — I wasn’t a big fan. Yep, no Eagles here. I’m sorry if I offended some of you. OK, so I’m a rebel. And I feel kind of bad, because as a Mormon, I wanted to support the programs of the church. I often felt guilty for not being one of those scouting families in the ward. But for me, scouting beyond 6th grade was….well…those uniforms — Looks like the Hitler Youth to me. And there’s something about uniform mentality — sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I don’t know, it just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the requirement. Even Brigham Young told his father that he wouldn’t sign the temperance pledge because he didn’t want to be forced to do it. (see Hugh Nibley on Brigham Young).


Hitler Youth

I must admit, it’s difficult when you’re in a ward (church congregation) where the boys ages 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are still working on badges every week. It sort of makes Young Men Activities all centered around getting badges. That’s fine, if they love it. My nephews have fond memories of camping with their dad and they all got their Eagles.


However, not every boy is physically gifted to do all those high adventure activities in the Venture Scouting program. Or want to. I know of too many boys that fell off cliffs and died or got run over by motorboats. I wasn’t always willing to send my kids off with the guy who got “called” to be a scout leader. If my husband could go with our boys, they sometimes went.


One of my boys went to Scout camp — I knew the leader was experienced and cautious. My husband was a Scout Master a number of times and took boys on high adventure trips. He would take his one week vacation with the Boy Scouts and leave me home to take care of our babies (see, more grumbling). Later, he took our boys with him and that worked better for me. They have some fond memories with Brother Meyers. But it was all about having a good camping trip, and less about the badges and the uniforms.


I’ve found that the church Scout program became a parent’s program. I saw a lot of parents try to motivate their boys to get their Eagle by withholding things — boys weren’t allowed to get their driver’s license until they got their rank of Eagle Scout. It was becoming a demand instead of a goal for many families.


I didn’t do Girl Scouts with my daughter. But back in the 1960’s, I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. I was still in elementary school, and I earned plenty of badges. We had a lot of fun. I went to scout camp and sang all those campfire songs. But by the 7th grade the troop fizzled. I wouldn’t have been caught alive in this uniform as a teenager — yea this is me in my uniform:
girl scouts 1965

*I like where the church is going with the  “Duty to God” program. But from what I’ve seen, it takes second seat to the Scout Program. As for my sons? They’ve done fine without their Eagle. There’s lot’s of great young men who serve missions, get their college degree, start their own business, get married, have children, are kind and compassionate — and did not get their Eagle. So if you’re worried. Don’t be. Do what works for your family. I homeschooled my last three kids, and that is rebellious. I loved it.

Spanky’s soap sandwich swap

I love The Little Rascals. I liked them when I was young, I like them now. I like escape in my film, with humor.  I have enough drama in my life that I don’t need to watch more of it on the screen. The Little Rascals speaks of days gone by — days when life seemed simple and silly. Days when little boys and girls didn’t have to worry about gender issues.


In this episode, Spanky finds out that Alfalfa is on a picnic with Darla. This is a big no-no — Alfalfa is a member of the “He-man Women Haters Club.” Yea, girls are off-limits. This creates a little conflict and humor when Spanky plays a prank on his buddy, Alfalfa (mind you, we don’t really want our kids to try this).


Darla sets up the picnic — then she and Alfalfa leave for a bit — Darla has a tree swing in mind. With the picnic lunch left on the blanket, Spanky opens the sandwich, removes the swiss cheese, and replaces it with a slice of soap. He grabs the cream puff and adds some more soap.

alfalfa and darla

Darla  and Alfalfa head back to their picnic for a romantic lunch. They have no idea about Spanky’s soap sandwich swap. Alfalfa takes a bite of sandwich, notices the nasty taste, asks Darla, “Is this Limburger?” and politely gulps it down.  Alfalfa doesn’t want to offend Darla — so he downs his soapy sandwich and cream puff. What a combination. I guess Darla is the cream puff and Alfalfa is definitely the swiss cheese.


Back at school, Alfalfa starts singing in class and every time he opens his mouth, out pop the bubbles –

alfalfa sings bubbles
I love Buckwheat  — he gladly eats the cheese and whipped cream. And if you don’t know what Limburger cheese — it’s got a nasty pungent odor.