Monday, October 20, 2014

A Day in the Life of, Episode 1: Family History Activity

Dear Granny Elda, we love and honor you!! (my kids Great-Great Grandma)
Welcome back to our little "Patch-A-Heaven!" I have been contemplating family history a lot lately. Most of you probably already know, but if not...I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We believe in learning about our ancestors and that families can be together forever, this includes our ancestors who came before us. To learn more about our faith or about this topic please click here to visit
I have always felt a strong sense of family and love for those who came before me. However, I have been pondering how to get my kids to share the same sense of love for people they have never met. There are so many great, fun, and faith building experiences that these family members/ancestors have had, that have been recorded by other family members, that should be shared with the younger generation. I have decided that we (as a family) will research our family members and then "live out" some of their experiences. I am hoping that by doing this, it will draw my family/children closer to those family members who have passed on and create a love and desire for them to do family history "work" in the future.

For the first experience in this series, I chose my Great Grandmother Elda Christensen Frischknecht. I chose her, because she had a confidence building experience in her youth that I thought would be good for my girls who are around the same age she was when she did this. I learned of this part of her life from a video that some of my other family members created and they had her recorded telling this story of her youth. It's really awesome to hear her tell the story in her own voice! (Even though it's hard to understand at times.)

In her story, her parents go on a trip away from home, she is left in the care of her Grandmother. They go to church that day and subsequently Elda invites guests to their house for dinner. These guests had heard of a delicious chicken dinner that Elda's mom prepared. Elda didn't want to disappoint the guests by telling them her mom was away so she invited them to dinner anyway. When the Grandmother was told by Elda that they had company coming for dinner, the Grandma said "we can't do it!" "we don't have time and we can't do it!!" But Elda, in her 12 years experience and determined mind, she said "We CAN do it!" And she went straight to work. She went out to the chicken coop and picked a chicken that looked young and plump. She caught the hen, swung it over her head several times, laid it out on a chopping block and with one swing, chopped the chicken's head off. She hung the chicken upside down on the clothes line to drain the blood out, plucked out all the feathers and prepared the bird for dinner. She prepared some string beans, peaches and cake to serve with the chicken. The guests declared "This is the best chicken we've ever had!"

That day, Elda demonstrated strength, determination, and confidence in herself, as well as a "can do" attitude. All traits I want my girls to foster. She was a great example to our family and we have enjoyed learning about her.

For our "Day in the Life" experience we donned home made aprons (I know where you can buy some really cute ones, wink, wink!) because Grandma Elda always wore one when she was cooking! We headed out to the chicken coop (because we have one) and my oldest daughter (she's 10) selected a hen she thought looked good. My youngest kids (7 and 3) watched from the garden. (They aren't quite ready for this crazy chicken thing!) Even though I think killing, plucking the chicken would have shown my kids how life really was back then, we didn't kill our chicken. For a couple of being, we already had chicken in the fridge so it wasn't necessary. Just catching the hen proved to be a challenge! And quite entertaining!! She chased the chicken (they live in a free range pasture with access to their coop) until she was out of breath. So I stepped in to help give her some pointers on chicken chasing!! We herded the hen into the coop gently, closed the door, and slowly cornered, and caught her. Then we let her loose.

She learned that this is NOT the way to catch a hen!

Slowing things down and choosing her hen.
And she got her! Of course I had to wear my "Black Sheep Apron" because Elda and Wilford were Sheep Ranchers.

Then we dug up potatoes and carrots from our garden to add to our chicken dinner. The girls wanted to make chicken soup and so that's what we did. I taught them how to peel and chop carrots and potatoes. They made home made noodles (recipe from their other grandma) and served the rest of our family. They really enjoyed helping with the cooking and being trusted with sharp things!! Of course I supervised the cutting and peeling at all times. But, they really love being able to do "Big people" things! It takes restraint, but I really think it's best to give proper instructions and training and then allow them to do hard things. They made a delicious pot of soup and had a lot of fun doing it. After we enjoyed their delicious dinner, we sat down as a family to watch the DVD of our Frischknecht family history which included the story of Grandma Elda. (And of course we had ice cream because a "milk nickel" was her favorite!)  They were glued to the movie and I think it helped for them to have a personal experience to tie them closer to their ancestors.
Digging up taters!

The Carrot Crew!
She dug up some nice ones.
He was the tater carrier.
And sometimes we wear dance leos with cowboy boots and an apron, just for kicks!!
Learning to peel.
And she says "now I know how Princess Tiana feels!"
She's good at making noodles too!

This happened yesterday, as of today they are still talking about Grandma Elda and I love that!

I believe that even though these ancestors have long since passed on, that the veil between heaven and earth is thin and they know what is going on here. I feel the ties of my family strengthen when we learn of those from the past. I am indeed grateful for those in my family that came before, who worked hard and sacrificed much to provide the legacy we have today. I'm also grateful for those family members who had the foresight and took the time to research and record this history on a DVD for us to enjoy. My hope is to instill a love and loyalty to family through learning of those from long ago.

My other hope is that this experience/blog post will ignite a desire in you to learn of your  own ancestors.

Until next time, much love from "Patch-A-Heaven!"


  1. are an amazing woman & mother! Great way to share your ancestors with your kids! Love it!!

    1. Hi Heather,
      Thanks so much for the very kind words!! And thanks for coming by!
      Much love,