Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grecian Kabobs In Pita Bread

I am so behind posting all the recipes I've been making so I hope to catch up soon so come back for more recipes during the week. I've been making this one for a long time. I usually add spinach or lettuce. Sometimes I just cook the marinated chicken in a skillet and it's still good.

¼ c. olive or canola oil
¼ c. lemon juice
½ t. dried oregano
½ t. salt
¼ t. garlic powder
1/8 t. pepper
2 lg. halves boneless, skinless chicken breasts,cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 c. chopped lettuce
½ c. plain yogurt or sour cream

Mix oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano, garlic powder & pepper in medium glass bowl. Add chicken to oil mixture; toss to coat completely. Cover & refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade. Thread chicken onto 4 small metal skewers. Reserve. Place kabobs on greased broiler pan. Broil about 5 inches from heat until chicken is golden, 8 to 10 minutes; brushing frequently with marinade. Turn kabobs over and brush with marinade. Broil until done, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Cut each pita bread in half; gently pull each half open to form a pocket. Remove chicken from 1 kabob & place inside each pocket; top with onion, tomato, lettuce & yogurt or sour cream. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What a Busy Week!

From last Friday to this Friday, we have had so much to do and I have LOTS of pictures to prove it! School is over and summer starts now.

Sabrina was a monkey in her kindergarten graduation program.

Sabrina with her fun teacher
Elisa's program
The 3 Amigas
Elisa had a water party for her birthday party. Yes, her birthday isn't for a month, but she wanted to have it before all her friends go on vacation. It was an easy party. She planned all the games. I bought the stuff.
The party version of waterboarding. The 2 girls laying down have an empty bottle on their head. Each team tries to fill up the bottle with water, relay style, faster than the other team. They got really wet!

Opening gifts
The party was between lunch and dinner so we just served snacks along with the not-special-enough-for-photos cake. The green, red and blue bowls are cute and only $1 each at Michaels.
Then we ended with party favors. These cute little bags (also only $1 at Michaels) were filled with candy and a Coldstone gift card. You can't see the zippers, but they zipped close.
Alex ran a 5k at school and I didn't get to see him. Well, he says he walked more of it than ran, but I was proud of him for finishing it.
Then I let the kids choose what restaurant we would go to for dinner to celebrate their great year in school and the beginning of summer. They choose IHOP. That wouldn't have been my choice, but they loved it. Mac & Cheese and French fries are two of Sabrina's favorite foods.

Hurry over to CranialHiccups!

Quick! Head over to CranialHiccups's Etsy Shop. She has adorable bags, some crayon rolls and a couple of other items all on sale for only $10 each, but only until May 30th. That's tomorrow, people! I just found it today.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

You Know I am Really Living Because I Have Peanut Butter on My Shirt (Okay, not right now)

Even with Sabrina's three temper tantrums yesterday and struggling until the last day of school trying to get Alex to turn homework in and understand why it's important and trying to throw together a fun birthday party for Elisa before all her friends leave on vacation, I am feeling so grateful for my family. So today I will just share a few quotes about families from my file that touch my heart.
“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"When the seas of life are stormy, a wise mariner seeks a port of peace.The family, as we have traditionally known it, is such a refuge of safety. 'The home is the basis of a righteous life and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions' (in Conference Report, Oct. 1962, 72). Actually, a home is much more than a house. A house is built of lumber, brick, and stone. A home is made of love, sacrifice, and respect. A house can be a home, and a home can be a heaven when it shelters a family. When true values and basic virtues undergird the families of society, hope will conquer despair, and faith will triumph over doubt."

"Such values, when learned and lived in our families, will be as welcome rain to parched soil. Love will be engendered; loyalty to one's best self will be enhanced; and those virtues of character, integrity, and goodness will be fostered. The family must hold its preeminent place in our way of life because it's the only possible base upon which a society of responsible human beings has ever found it practicable to build for the future and maintain the values they cherish in the present."
Thomas S. Monson, "Dedication Day," Ensign, Nov. 2000, 64-65

"As parenting declines, the need for policing increases. There will always be a shortage of police if there is a shortage of effective parents! Likewise, there will not be enough prisons if there are not enough good homes."
Neal A. Maxwell, "Take Especial Care of Your Family," Ensign, May 1994, 88
"The trick is to enjoy it. Don’t wish away your days of caring for young children. This is your great day. Sometimes we get so caught up in the physical work and trivia that we forget the big picture. We forget whose children they really are. When the house is filled with children, noise and teasing and laughter you get the feeling this is forever. Before you know it they will be gone."

"We have a great responsibility to our children. Find joy in them. Don’t overschedule them or yourself. You may not be able to take them on exotic vacations. It doesn’t matter. When the day dawns bright and sunny, take an excursion to the canyon or park. When it’s cloudy and wet, read a book together or make something good to eat. Give them time to explore and learn about the feel of grass and wiggliness of worms."
Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, ed. Virginia H. Pearce (1999), 61 and 75

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Do I Change My Husband?

Have you ever asked this question? Don’t lie! If you are married, I bet you’ve wanted to change a thing or two about your spouse. When I saw the CD How Do I Change My Husband? by Merrilee Boyack at the store, I wanted it! I have another talk on CD and a book by her and I also attended two different classes by her at BYU Education Week. She is enthusiastic and funny, but also has great insights. Merrilee talks about how important love and patience are in a marriage. Sometimes we just need to give our husband time to work through his own problems, instead of taking ownership for them and trying to force him to change. She also talks about how we can study his attributes and really see his strengths. I know in my case, many of my husband’s strengths are my weaknesses, so remembering that helps me to think “If only he did ___ like I do, instead of the wrong way” a lot less.

One of her great points is the “Treat as if” strategy. She says that if I continually treat my husbands as if he possesses a certain quality, eventually he will conform to actually possess it. She gave the example of a wife who wanted her husband to be romantic, but he was not at all. Instead of nagging, or being disappointed at the things he didn’t do, she would really dwell on and talk up what he did right, even if it was small. She would say, “Thank you for opening my door. You are sooo romantic.” “That was so kind of you to leave the last cookie for me. That was very romantic.” After a while, he started doing more and more very romantic things. Merrilee does say that you have to be “relentless” and willing to follow through and be consistent. You can’t say, “You are such a great father” one day and then “You never spend time with the kids” the next and expect it to work.

Along with that concept, she challenged the listener to say and do the following: “Every day I will commit to treating my husband to the level of his divine nature.” We should strive to see our husband as he could really be and may one day be, not only with his faults and struggles. I know that it would help me to want to do better if someone encouraged me that way instead of nagging me or telling me I needed to change.

I highly recommend this CD for lots of laughs, but also wonderful insights. I have lent the CD to a couple of friends and they loved it too. Merrilee quotes Wendy Watson toward the end of the CD and I found the article she quoted from online. Here is the quote she used, plus a little more that I wanted to include here. I hope it rings in your head for many days, as it has in mine.

" ‘Love is the very essence of life,’ President Gordon B. Hinckley said. ‘I am one who believes that love, like faith, is a gift of God’ ("And the Greatest of These Is Love," Ensign, March 1984, p. 3). Are we praying for this gift from God? Are we praying for love and to love? Are we heeding the marvelous words of Mormon to ‘pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love’ (Moro. 7:48)? Are we praying to love as the Savior loves?

“What happens when a wife fervently prays, ‘Please help me to love my husband as the Savior loves him. Help me to see all that is good about him’? What occurs when a husband pleads with his Heavenly Father, ‘Help me to see my wife as Thou seest her. Help me to love her as Thou lovest her’? And perhaps there are times when the most effectual prayer of each spouse needs to be, ‘Please help me to see this situation from my spouse's point of view.’ Eyes that see things through a lens of love can see so much more clearly.
Wendy Watson, BYU Love & Marriage Magazine , Spring 2002

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies

I took these cookies to a Memorial Day cookout and received lots of compliments. I didn't make many with the pecans because of my kids' allergies. On the topping, I had a hard time getting the pecans to stick to the dough for some reason. They're good either way. Make sure you are generous with the dough around the Rolo. If you don't use enough dough, the caramel will leak through, making an ugly cookie (which I should have taken a picture of since I had 2 cookie sheets full of that mistake!). They make pretty large cookies which are kind of flat and no one expects a fun surprise inside, which makes it even more fun. Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies
2 ½ c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. softened butter
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. chopped pecans
48 Rolos (9 oz.)
2 T. sugar
Preheat oven to 375º. Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda and blend well. In a large bowl combine sugars & butter, beat until fluffy. Add vanilla & eggs, beating well. Add flour, stir in ½ cup pecans. Shape 1 T. of dough around 1 Rolo, covering completely. Combine remaining pecans and 2 T. sugar. Press one side of each ball into sugar/pecan mixture. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes then remove from cookie sheet. (These freeze well.)
Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thanks for Coming!

I never have parties for myself, but if I did, I'd love to give my friends a fun party favor like one of these etsy finds.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

I have seen so many versions of chicken enchiladas. This is different than most since it doesn't use canned soup. I started making these before I was married and we still like them.

Chicken Enchiladas

2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
¼-½ c. green onion, chopped
1 lb. cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
Salt & pepper to taste
1 t. parsley
½ t. garlic powder
12 flour tortillas

¼ c. flour
4 T. margarine
2 c. water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 c. sour cream
4 oz. green chilies

Preheat oven to 425º. Mix together the chicken, onions and cheese, reserving some cheese for top; seson to taste. Then wrm the tortialls in microwave for 15-25 seconds. Place chicken/cheese mixture in individual tortillas. Roll up each and put in 9x13-inch pan.

Make sauce by cooking over medium-high heat the flour, margarine, water & bouillon cubes. When thickened, turn heat down & add sour cream & green chilies; heat through. Pour over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese.

Jessie Clark Funk CD Giveaway

<----- Anne Bradshaw, author of 3 novels, has a giveaway on her BLOG. She is giving away 2 of Jesssie Clark Funk’s CDs. You haven’t heard of Jessie Clark Funk? Got to her SITE to listen to some of her music and learn more about her, but trust me, she is GREAT. I saw her in concert last year with several other LDS singers. She is so talented and beautiful and could have chosen a different path, but she uses her gifts to help others feel the spirit. Her CD Everything Speaks His Name has been on my wish list so it would be so fun to win it, especially since the giveaway ends on my birthday. How awesome would that be? Go enter the giveaway and check out Anne’s fun blog. She even has another big giveaway starting soon so check out that info while you’re there!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tell Me He Loves Me

A couple of years ago, I had a mole that changed shape and color only I don’t know when. It was on my back and it was difficult for me to see it so when I did look at it in the mirror and saw it, I was immediately frightened. I made an appointment with the doctor, certain that it was cancer. He thought it looked abnormal also, so he did a biopsy and I had to wait for the results. Waiting was not fun. Being the excessive worrier that I am, I started to think that not only was it cancer, but it had metastized and that I might die.

It wasn’t the pain and the treatments that I kept thinking about, but my children. I was sad to think that maybe they wouldn’t have their mother when they went to prom, left on a mission, got married and had grandchildren. But as sad as I was thinking of that, I was more concerned with the thought, “Did I teach them everything they need to know to be happy and to follow Heavenly Father’s plan for them?” It really came down to basics to me. I needed to make sure that they knew that Heavenly Father is real, that He knows them individually and has special blessings and missions for each one of them and especially that He loves them. I felt that if they really knew and believed that, then they would be able to make good decisions (with mistakes thrown in along the way, of course) and return to our Heavenly Father and also into my arms one day.

It turned out that I did not have cancer, but I learned some things from that experience. One of them being that I shouldn’t expect the worst outcome in a situation. But also that I really do need to help my children gain a knowledge of their divine destiny and to have experiences where they feel their Heavenly Father’s love.

Recently, I heard part of a song on the radio which I had never heard. It had a beautiful message. I only heard the last part of the song. When I tried to look it up online, I remembered it was something like, “Tell me once again that He lives. Tell me once again how much He loves me.” I finally found a short clip here so I went out and bought the CD. Sorry I couldn’t find it online for you to listen to it all, but here are the words (as I hear them since the written lyrics weren’t included).
Tell Me Once Again written by Jeff Goodrich (composer of I Heard Him Come, a beautiful song)

I gently turn the pages
And contemplate each sentence,
Imagining the faces and places,
How they might have been
Like letters from a loved one,
Lines that teach of God’s son
Fill my heart with peace.
And I can hardly speak,
Reading them again

So, tell me once again that He lives.
Tell me one more time how He thinks of me.
Tell me that He cares and forgives.
And tell me once again how much He loves me.

Tell me once again that He lives.
Tell me one more time how He thinks of me.
Tell me that He cares and forgives.
And tell me once again just how much He loves me.

Amid the constant pressures,
All the world’s commotion,
I gather modern witnesses near
And let their power surround me.
I know of nothing kinder
Than the sweet reminder.
His arms are open still
And even now they will
Circle around me.

So, tell me once again that He lives.
Tell me one more time how He thinks of me.
Tell me that He cares and forgives.
Tell me once again how much He loves me.

Tell me once again that He lives.
Tell me one more time how He thinks of me.
Tell me that He cares and forgives.
Tell me once again
Just how much He loves me.

Although I pictured at first when I heard this song that a child was asking her mother to tell her again about Heavenly Father, it is about a woman wanting to hear for herself again how much she is loved. It really is fundamental for all of us, whatever our age, to feel loved and wanted and special. I know that in my life, when I have had to make difficult decisions or resist temptations, I’ve been given the power to do it by my knowledge of God’s plan. I want to obey Him to show Him that I love Him.

What is it the very first part of the young women’s theme? We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. Why is it first? It is the foundation upon which all other truths rest and it is the first thing we must come to know before we can understand why we should follow the commandments. It can anchor us and help us to know we are never alone. Our children may say, “I know, Mom” when we testify again about Heavenly Father, but they do crave to know that it is true.

“The knowledge that we are the children of God is a refining, even an exalting truth. On the other hand, no idea has been more destructive of happiness, no philosophy has produced more sorrow, more heartbreak, more suffering and mischief, no idea has contributed more to the erosion of the family than the idea that we are not the offspring of God...” Elder Boyd K. Packer March 1992, “The Fountain of Life,” 18-Stake BYU fireside, published in Things of the Soul.

We were once with our Heavenly Father, even though we do not remember it. But someday we will see Him again.

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) once said, “Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar his face is to us” (quoted in Ensign, May 1991, 66).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Debbie's Fruit Pizza

My sister-in-law Debbie made this for Heather's shower. Isn't it pretty? And it tasted great too, of course. I love spring when berries and fruit are more plentiful.
Fruit Pizza
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 cream cheese topping (instructions at the bottom)
2 c. sliced strawberries
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
3 pecaches, peeled and sliced or madarin oranges

12 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 c. non-dairy frozen whipped topping

In a large bowl combine cream cheese and butter or margarine. Mix until well blended. Add flour and salt. Mex well, form into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to form a 12-inch circle. Place in a 12-inch greased tart or pizza pan. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. bake at 425° for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the creem cheese topping. Combine cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice; mix until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. When crust is cool, spread topping evenly on it. Arrange fruits in circles atop the filling, working toward the center of the tart-arrange strawberries around outer edge of pan, the kiwi furit slices, fresh peach slices or madarin oranges, and more strawberries in the center. Transport in a cooler.
Yield: 10-12 servings

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

He Paid the Price

I know most people have heard a version of this short story before, but I'd like to post it today.

Years ago a poor man was making a journey by ship from England to America. Worried about spending the little amount of money he had, he lived on crackers and cheese for the entire trip, until the last day. No longer able to stand the sight of crackers and cheese and craving a real meal, he thought to himself, “Well, maybe on this last day I’ll go all out and treat myself to a full meal.”

The steward was surprised to see this man who he hadn't ever seen in the dining room seated at the dinner table. When he inquired as to where the man had been for the entire voyage, the man told how he was anxious about spending too much money. The steward was shocked, “Didn’t anyone tell you? The meals are included in the price of the ticket!”

How often are we like this man, grateful for the voyage, but not taking advantage of what is included along the way? Jesus has paid the price for us already. Do we show our love and faith by using the atonement fully in our lives? He paid the price for our sins, both big and small. He paid the price to know our sufferings- physical, spiritual, and mental. He paid the price so that He can be with us during our journey and we never have to be alone. He paid the price so that we will not have to go hungry for one moment on our journey. What do you need to do today to take advantage of the free buffet?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Click! Click!

I bought a new camera and have been trying it out a little while we have been busy. I’m still getting used to it, but I think I like my new camera. My old one is very old and I’ve been ready for a new one.

I only took a few photos on Mother’s Day at my parents’ house.

My brother Jon grilling dinner for us.
My brother Jared with his little guy Itai.

Jared's other little guy (my nephew) Avi
My mom with her great smile hugging Sabrina

I only got to see part of Elisa's track meet so I was so glad that she ran (and won first place) in her 200 meter race while I was there. Other people ran theirs faster so she didn't win overall, but she is fast and I don't know where she got it from! These are from my old camera. I had just taken out my old one to give to Sabrina to take photos while I took them with the new one when I heard the pistol for Elisa's race. So I just used the old one. I'm glad they're not blurry. Elisa is the one on the inside (right) in the green shorts, racing with an untied shoelace.
I let the kids take photos to practice too and we even got a few pretty good photos together out of it.

2009 BYU AstroFest
Alex heard about this at school and was really looking forward to it. They had a lot of demonstrations, classes and activities. We were there for a few hours and didn’t get to do everything. It’s fun when the kids choose educational activities on their own!

Making constellation charts
Launching rockets they made
In a class called The Physics of Light (They really liked that one even though you can't tell by their faces before the class started.) Elisa chose that class.
Waiting for a shock!
We went to the Provo temple to walk around and take some photos. It sure was warm and sunny! Alex is in a phase where he doesn’t smile in photos. It makes me sad. I think he has a nice smile and he loves to laugh, but most of his pics make him look very serious and even mad sometimes. But I was able to trick a few smiles out of him here and there.

Japanese Cheesecake

My son Alex, who was in Japan for 2 years, has asked me a couple of times to make Japanese cheesecake. I've never had it before, so I di...