42 Ways to Create Memories This Summer

See that tagline under The Mommy Genealogist? Creating, Finding and Handing Down Memories? Today we are going to talk about how you are going to CREATE memories this summer!

Summer was always a fun, carefree time for me growing up and I can’t wait to create memories and traditions with my children this summer!

We started our summer off this week because preschool ended last week. (I’m sad to think this was my last year with them all at home.) On Friday, I sat them all down and we made a summer bucket list! It was fun to hear their ideas. Along with activities we also wrote down who we wanted to hang out with this summer.

Here is a list of ideas to get you thinking (As we do things on this list I’ll try to post and link back here):

Painted rock hunting                                Geocaching

Hiking (We have a whole list)                 Zoo

Get our faces painted                                Library (summer reading program)

RZR ride                                                      Swim lessons

Splash pad                                                  Parks (We have a group that does this)

Picnic                                                           Camping

Gardening                                                   Berry picking

T-Ball                                                           Baseball

Sand dunes (We have some local)         State Parks

Build a fort (Outside)                               National Parks

Bunny Hunting (????)                              Farmers Markets

Sprinklers                                                    $ PTO Movies

Ice cream cones                                         Make ice cream (Bag or machine)

Roll down a hill                                          Play with ice

Drive in movies                                          Kids cook and bake

Airplane Museum                                     Carousel

Kids Museum                                             Road Trip

Fishing                                                        Climb a tree

Ride bikes                                                   Play yard games

Scavenger hunts                                        Obstacle courses

Chalk drawings                                          Squirt guns

This was our list (with a few more details, like where we are going to go hike and what state parks). Hopefully, it sparks a list of your own!

We’ve already had 3 fun filled days and can’t wait to see what we do today. The plan is to do all the housework in the morning, eat lunch, then do an activity. If housework doesn’t get done we don’t get to do an activity.

Creating that memory: Make sure you document your adventures this summer! Large and small. You can create a hashtag (#mechamsdosummer2017), create an Instagram account just for your adventures, take pictures, keep a summer journal (Let the kids draw or write what they did), etc. Your adventures can’t become memories if you don’t document them!

What are you planning to do this summer? Share your ideas and plans in the comments!

Mothers: Our Memory Keepers

How can the Mommy Genealogist let Mother’s day come without a post on moms? 🙂

As I thought about the theme for the Family History for Children Blog link up this month I couldn’t help but think about the women in my life and how they have been memory keepers for me.

Continue reading →

Honor your parents #LIGHTtheWORLD

Are you participating in the LDS church’s #LIGHTtheWORLD challenge this month? (If you want to learn more check out Mormon.org)

Day two is Jesus honored his parents, and you can too…


What a better way to honor your parents’ then learning about an ancestor!

So today go check out familysearch.org, click on the memory tab and find a great story about an ancestor! Bonus: give your mom or dad a call and share that story. I think they’ll be touched you took the time to learn about their family!


Call you parents and ask them their favorite story about their parents! Make sure you write it down, maybe even add it to familysearch.org.


Record your parents talking about their childhood. Come up with questions beforehand. It’s hard to just start talking about yourself. Make sure you share this with family!


Write down something you learned from your parents. Make sure you include an example! I recently wrote about working with my dad for a school assignment (I’m going back to college), I plan on expanding on that assignment and adding it to my life history.

What did you choice to honor your parents? What did you learn about your family?

Happy birthday Great Grandma Kate!

Kate & Curt  at home 1

Happy Birthday Great Grandma Kate!

Today, April 4, would be her 115th birthday.

Her full name is Catherine LaVerne Willes.

She was the granddaughter of William Willes (he has 2 songs in the LDS hymn book)

She was born in Paradise, Utah.

“Baptized on 15 September 1908, by Jacob Miller in the Logan Utah temple. Confirmed on 15 September 1908 by Joseph W. Smith.” –From FamilySearch entered by Grandson Jon Cook.

From her life story (partial) that’s on FamilySearch I learned she worked VERY hard as a teenager on their family farm. I remember a trip I took with my grandpa headed down to Utah, as we came around the bend leaving Pocatello he pointed up to the hill straight in front of us and told me his mom had lived up there on a farm. I think of that every time I pass by there.

Her dad died when she was 20 and she caught the small pox right after his funeral!

Shortly after that she met Curt Carl Herman Papenfuss and they were married in the Logan Temple November 23 1921.

They lived in Utah, Nevada, Utah then Montana where she passed away at age 90 on June 14, 1990.

I remember meeting her, I was 4.5. She was in a nursing home and she scared me. haha I remember her large type Readers Digest. I remember her eyes the most and that she had very white hair.

My cousin Katy is named after her. On many occasions I’ve heard my Grandma say how much they are so much alike. One time it was Katy offering her home and everything in it for the family, Grandma shook her head and said “Oh she is so much like the woman she is named after!”

Wedding Wednesday- Elaine and Howard

1970 Elaine Papenfuss & Howard Jaten wedding  reception

Elaine Papenfuss and Charles Howard Jaten

21 November 1970
Idaho Falls, Bonneville, Idaho

Elaine Papenfuss is my Paternal Grandpa’s sister.  I’m related to Charles too but I can’t remember how other than it’s through my Paternal Grandma.  They never had any kids together but lived out their lives together. After they retired and were done with their LDS missions they lived in Rexburg Idaho, this is where I came to know them. Every evening they would take a walk up and down the road they lived on.

I always knew Charles as “Uncle Howard”. He was married to Loa Jensen before he married Aunt Elaine. My favorite memory of Uncle Howard happened one 4th of July after 1998. One thing you have to know before I get too far is Uncle Howard by this point in life walked VERY SLOWLY…. Like a shuffle. I’m not exaggerating, in fact I’m probably not painting the picture well enough.  Anyways, we were all over at my Uncle Rick and Aunt Karen’s house to do fireworks. Uncle Rick nailed one of those spinning fireworks to the fence post in front of us. He lit it and stepped away.  As it was spinning it came loose from the fence post! The firework, still lit, came FLYING towards us! Uncle Howard LEAPED out of his chair and RAN away from the firework. We were all SHOCKED! We soon recovered and poor Uncle Howard never lived that day down. We still chuckle about this when we get together and something reminds us of it.

Aunt Elaine has always had a special place in my heart. I really got to know her while I was in middle school. She helped run the after school homework club program and I stayed after to attend. I rode home with her most of the time. I don’t remember what we talked about but I grew to love her and her passion for learning. I even remember giving her an art project, a heart made of cut apart pieces of paper. Years later when I went to her house to help her clean it out she still had that art piece on the fridge.

Aunt Elaine was diagnosed with cancer. My dad drove her to her treatments. It was horrible to see her go through them. She grew so weak. But she would still greet you with a smile. I loved her smile. As she grew weaker she and Howard decided to move to an assisted living facility closer to one of his kids out of state. Living nearby I volunteered to help her decide where her worldly possessions should go (Family, donate or throw away). I learned a lot about her earlier life through this and gained quite a few of her things. I have her Ricks College sweat shirt (since renamed Brigham Young University- Idaho); she was working there and suggested that my grandpa come work at the college in the business department. So many things could have turned out differently if he hadn’t come to Ricks College to teach, like my parents meeting….. I have a dress from a trip she took to Hawaii. I have her Master’s paper on Pride and Prejudice, it’s on Mr. Darcy. I  have yet to finish Pride and Prejudice, but had to keep it for all the work I know she put into it.

My favorite item(s) that I received from Aunt Elaine was her books. She had boxes and boxes of books! More than half the books I own are from her. I ended up giving a lot of them away when I was married, but I still have a lot of them. When I told my Grandma that I had a lot of her books she smiled and told me of one of the last conversations she had with Elaine. Elaine had been worried that no one was going to love her books once she was gone. The thought made her really sad. I learned this after Elaine had passed away so I hope when she passed one she learned that I love her books.

I’m so glad I am able to write this. Elaine was an incredible woman. I will always look up to her. She was very smart. My dad told me once that she use to quiz them all on their spelling and would ALWAYS correct their grammar. I may have gotten her love of reading but I did not get that from her.

Love you Aunt Elaine! I will always remember you every time I pick up a book to read.