Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Reward for Your Time

Guess what I found while going through my cookbooks recently? I found out that I still have two copies of this book. I was given both of them as gifts and meant to pass on one of them a while ago, but forgot all about it. So I thought it'd be fun to pass it on to someone here.
And I thought I'd throw in a few other things just for fun! Thanks for coming to my blog and reading about my family, looking at the recipes, and listening to my rambling random thoughts! When I started this blog, I didn't know if anyone would ever visit. I'm so glad to have visitors with so many wonderful blogs you have to choose from and so little time in the day and I'm happy that I've made friends through my blog so I'd like to show my appreciation.
Here's the little package of fun. There's a silly pair of socks to put you in the mood for Valentine's day.
And a copy of a cookbook I put together years ago. It's just a regular ward or community-type cookbook with no photos. But I still like many of the recipes and I use mine pretty often. You'll even find that some of my recipes on my blog, I have in this cookbook. I put it together to help raise money for my parents-in-law to build a cement block home. When Robin and I were married, they still lived in the house Robin's father made out of sugar cane stalks many, many years before. It was literally falling down around them. And despite the fact that we were better off than that, we didn't have money to build a home. I did sell lots of copies and we were able to put in some of our own money and got to build them the house made of blocks that they had been dreaming of. My father-in-law died just a month or two after it was completed. We were so glad he was able to live in it before he died. I do have some extra copies so I'm including one here!!

These are just simple IKEA utensils, but I love them. A friend gave me some with Christmas goodies and I use them all the time. You can even forget them in a hot pot and they won't melt...Not that I would do that! And if your name isn't drawn, drop by IKEA and pick up your own for only 79 cents for the set. Awesome price, don't ya' think?



Plus I'm throwing in a treat. If I pick your name, you can choose between Mint Meringues (with or without chocolate chips), Buckeyes, or Chocolate Billionaires.





So, if you'd like to throw your name into the hat, just leave me a comment with one of your favorite games to play with friends (board game or ice breaker type or anything). If you were already a follower by January 29th, you automatically get an extra entry when commenting. (I don't want anyone to become a follower just for a silly package.) Anyone who comments here will also get an extra entry if you commented on any of my posts in January, but please tell me you did in your entry. Easy, huh? I'll close this on Thursday, February 4th at noon so I can post the winner later that day and I'll email the winner or comment on their blog.


And stay tuned for more fun!!! I wanted to have two packages to choose from, but my plans hit a few bumps. I think it'll be ready next week and it'll be different from this one with a GREAT prize.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bean & Cheese Quesadillas

I made these last week by request from by Elisa. Then I noticed I hadn't posted this recipe yet even though I've made this for years. They're so good and I love to eat them with lettuce and sour cream (or just plain on a Rugrats plate). If you want to add some spice you can add some chili powder to the beans. I've made them with dinner or as party food.
Bean & Cheese Quesadillas
1 c. green pepper, chopped
1/2 c. red onion, chopped
1 t. olive oil
1 (16-oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15 1/2-oz.) dark red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. dried dill weed or cumin seed
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. garlic powder

6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3/4 c. Colby-Jack cheese, shredded

Combine green pepper, onion and oil in 2-quart casserole. Cover. Microwave on HIGH for 4-6 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring once. Add beans, lemon juice, paprika, dill weed or cumin seed, salt and garlic powder. Mix well. Re-cover. Microwave on HIGH for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture is very hot, stirring once or twice. Mash beans slightly.

Spread 1/2 cup bean mixture over half of 1 tortilla, to within 1/2-inch of edge. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold tortilla over bean mixture, tortillas and cheese. In 12-inch skillet, heat 1/8-inch oil over medium-high heat. Fry 2 quesadillas at a time for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once. Add additional oil if necessary. Cut each quesadilla in wedges.

Meet Patty

Today I’d like to introduce you all to a great blog that I’ve just recently come across. Actually, Patty hasn’t been blogging long at all, but she blogs often so there’s already an archive to go through. Patty is so inspiring and full of great thoughts. I feel like if I don’t share her blog with all of you that I’ll be keeping a treasure to myself. So visit Patty today at Pitterle Postings. I’m sure you will go back often for nice visits and a spiritual lift. Here is an introduction from Patty herself:

My name is Patty Pitterle and I am the mother of 11 wonderful children, 8 of them are grown now, but I am still raising the last three. I have 8 (within a couple of weeks) grandchildren. Two grand-sons, and 6 grand-daughters. I have an amazing husband who spoils me rotten! He cooks wonderfully too! I went to my first Time Out for Women Conference this year, and one of the presenters talked about different ways we can each share our testimony of the gospel. One of the things she mentioned was blogging, so my site was born!
Here is something from one of her recent posts that helped me get to know her better.

When I was seeking to know if the gospel was true, I had a very strong impression that I needed to live "as if" it were true, and that the answer would come after I had made that choice. So, I looked in my closet and found that I had one dress that fit the standards of the church. It was a bright yellow skirt and a white blouse. That was it! All the rest of my dresses were thrown out or given away. I had three pairs of pants and four shirts that qualified for those same standards. I was 14 years old and I had no cute clothes! Do you know how big of a decision this was for me? But, I did it. Back then, I had to buy every piece of clothing in my closet. I could not ask my parents. They did not buy my clothes, so this was a very big sacrifice for me. I remember that the next school year I took a sewing class so that I could learn to make my own clothes so that I would have something different to wear! It was a challenge, but it was also a joy. As I exercised beginnings of my faith, I was strengthened and supported by the Lord. My testimony grew and increased and I felt the influence of the spirit in my life. I came to know that the gospel was true, that the Lord answers prayers, and that He loved me. I learned of the importance of modesty before I ever went into the temple.

I can tell that Patty is a super special person with a spirit that radiates even through the internet, so make room in your blog-reading part of your day to stop by her blog. I am so glad I found you, Patty.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Walls?

As I have shared with you already this year, I am reading the Book of Mormon all the way through this year. I actually wasn’t planning to. I was planning on only reading the Old Testament since that’s what they are studying in Sunday school and I already miss the classes since I’m in primary. (By the way, I was just called to be the 1st Counselor in primary and released as secretary. Eek!) But I had an interesting dream on New Year’s Eve. Cool timing, huh?

I dreamt that I was in a hurry to take the kids somewhere and I was passing a man standing on the side of a hall close to an elevator where I was waiting to go down. The man held out a Book of Mormon and asked me if I’d like to read it. I tried to tell him that I was a member, but thanks so much and then I hurried with my children to the elevator. Then the next day (still in my dream), I was hurrying past the same place and the man was again standing there. He told me that he was done reading the book and I could have it. I thought, “Oh. He is probably a very zealous returned missionary. That’s so great that he is trying to teach others, but how do I get him to understand that I am a member and I have my own book.” I told him that I had a Book of Mormon since I was a member. Then he asked me, “But when was the last time you read it?” Then I hurried to the elevator again.

When I woke up, I just thought, “Interesting dream” and nothing more. But then I started thinking about it. I AM a member and I DO have a Book of Mormon, but when did I read it last all the way through or even study it on a daily basis? It feels like not long ago, but the last time I read it through was more than 4 years ago. That sounded like too long to me. So I decided I would study the Book of Mormon along with trying to follow Sunday school and Relief Society lessons.

I am not saying that I had a revelation or a vision. I really think it was my subconscious talking to me. I had already been thinking “I need to read it”, “I oughta read it”, but I didn’t commit to do it. I have now made reading and studying a part of my morning routine and have already learned so much, even though I have read it before. I seem to be asking different questions as I read than I did before. For example, I read 1 Nephi 19:16

Behold, I have graven thee upon the apalms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
I understand and have heard many times the first part, but I guess I never paid attention to the second part. I wrote this question in my scripture journal since there were no footnotes for the scripture to look up. “What are the walls and what does that mean?” Then I was able to look it up on the internet later that day. I actually only found one explanation for it. I don’t know if it’s just his interpretation or the actual meaning.

“We are engraved with the nails of crucifixion on the palms of his hands. Our walls—our defense, our safety, our welfare—are his continual concern.”
Hearken to the Truth and Give Heed, by Ted L. Gibbons

I’ve been thinking about this scripture (which is identical to Isaish 49:16) since I read that explanation. What a beautiful promise. Jesus really does remember each of us individually. He died for each of us, not just a huge mass of people. And He knows what is going on in our lives and cares. The more I read and learn, the more I feel the love and mercy of the Savior and of Heavenly Father. I am reassured that I am never alone. I am so glad I bugged myself in my sleep, along with several promptings from the Spirit, to do what I know I should be doing. What do you think our walls are? Any thoughts?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spring Break Blueberry Coffee Cake

I usually don't use mixes, but I like this recipe. It came from a Duncan Hines book, but I used Krusteaz fat-free mix even though I only had one piece before giving it away. It tastes really good and I doubt anyone can tell it was fat-free except the topping.
Spring Break Blueberry Coffee Cake
Topping:
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. butter or margarine softened
1 T. flour

Cake:
1 package blueberry muffin mix
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 egg
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 inch square pan.

FOR TOPPING: Combine coconut, brown sugar, butter and flour in small bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350º. Rinse blueberries from mix with cold water and drain. Empty muffin mix into medium bowl. Break up any lumps. Add pineapple with juice, egg and water. Stir until moistened, about 50 strokes. Fold in blueberries. Spread in pan. Sprinkle reserved topping over batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely.
Do you like Elisa's nail polish that matches her jacket?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sleeping Through Gethsemane by Diana Hoelscher

When I started looking through my books and talk on CD to see which one I should review next, I saw “Sleeping Through Gethsemane” by Diana Hoelscher. I couldn’t believe that in all the posts I have never mentioned her or any of her CDs. She is my favorite speaker. She is humorous and interesting and has such a passion for the gospel. She speaks to an audience like I wish I could.

The first time I ever heard of her was on a flyer for a multi-stake Relief Society fireside featuring her as the guest speaker. I didn’t know who she was, but I went to the fireside.
I think that the talk she gave was at least mostly the same as this CD. I actually didn’t find the CD until years later and was so excited that I bought it immediately. I feel like this CD is so amazing that there is NO way for me to describe this well enough for you to feel how I feel when I hear it.
Her talk was so inspiring and made me think for weeks about the atonement and about my Savior. I had heard the things she spoke of all my life, but still it touched me. Sometimes you need to hear things at just the right time for them to click. It was years ago at a time when I was feeling kind of stressed and depressed about some things. I especially remember her saying that the word “succor” comes from the Latin succurrere, “to run to the aid of”. (Is that true, Mom?) The Lord suffered all of our sins, physical pains, mental anguish, and everything we could possible suffer while He was in Gethsemane so that he could “run to us” and help ease our pain. I could just imagine Jesus as soon as He knew something was wrong with me, running to me, being there whether I knew it or not, trying to comfort me and guide me.

Another thing I remember hearing her say at the fireside that is also on the CD is about the sacrament. Have any of you ever seen someone be baptized who had been living a life very contrary to the gospel, but changed and came unto Christ? Have any of you who was baptized at 8 years old or another young age and seen this and thought, “Well, that’s not fair! I wish I could be baptized again”? Once we are baptized, no matter how converted we are and how hard we try, we mess up. And then we mess up again. And then again. Even if we don’t do anything ”big”, those sins pile up and keep up from being clean unless we repent.

Diana talks about how once she was in the MTC she felt an enormous need to repent of everything she’d ever done wrong and to be clean. She took a very long time praying and remembering all the things she did wrong. None of them made her unworthy to serve a mission, but without repentance (like all of us), she could not be clean. After repenting, she anxiously awaited taking the sacrament—our re-baptism. She said that for that moment, she felt “pure” and she became addicted to that feeling of being pure and loved to repent each week so that she could have that same feeling again. Do you know what she is talking about? How wonderful it feels when we do repent and take the sacrament and feel that our Heavenly Father really has forgiven us and we really do get to start all over, just like if we were just baptized. As Diana says, there is no difference between baptism and the sacrament as far as our ability to become clean. I just love how she described the feeling she has of craving that feeling of being pure every single week. Since then, I have thought of that often. I desire and need the sacrament because of that same reason.

Diana describes a thought she had when she was a teenager listening to a lady share her testimony at church. “Oh please be quiet. You are so buggin’ me. What is the big deal anyway? We are giving this guy (Jesus) too much credit.” But as you can see, Diana has changed her thinking. She wasn’t a bad kid. As a matter of fact, as she describes herself, she was good, but didn’t have a testimony of Jesus. I think that many of us, even those of us who were born in the church and learned about the atonement all of our lives, do not understand how the atonement really is the absolute most important part of the plan of happiness and have a strong testimony of it. At different times in our lives, many of us “sleep through Gethsemane”.
Diana read this quote from Stephen E. Robinson’s book "Believing Christ". (Because of this quote, I put the book on my wish list and got it from my family. I loved so much of this book-even though I didn’t love the repetition. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to!)

“All the negative aspects of human existence brought about by the Fall, Jesus Christ absorbed into himself. He experienced vicariously in Gethsemane all the private griefs and heartaches, all the physical pains and handicaps, all the emotional burdens and depressions of the human family. He Knows the loneliness of those who don't fit in, or who aren't handsome or pretty. He knows what it's like to choose up teams and be the last one chosen. He knows the anguish of parents whose children go wrong. He knows these things personally and intimately because he lived them in the Gethsemane experience. Having personally lived a perfect life, he then chose to experience our imperfect lives. In that infinite Gethsemane experience in the meridian of time, the center of eternity, he lived a billion billion lifetimes of sin, pain, disease, and sorrow.

God has no magic wand with which to simply wave bad things into non-existence. The sins that he remits, he remits by making them his own and suffering them. The pain and heartache that he relieves, he relieves by suffering them himself. These things can be transferred, but they cannot be simply wished or waved away. They must be suffered. Thus we owe him not only for our spiritual cleansing from sin, but for our physical, mental, and emotional healing as well, for he has borne these infirmities for us also. All that the Fall put wrong, the Savior in his atonement puts right. It is all part of his infinite sacrifice-of his infinite gift.”

I have thought many times about that "magic wand" that doesn't exist as I go to convert baptims and it reminds me of my own baptism and re-baptisms. It is important for us to remember that this suffering already happened in Gethsemane. I have heard some people say that they don’t want to repent because they don’t want Jesus to suffer because of them. But He has already suffered so if we do not repent, it only makes him sad and He suffered for nothing because we must repent for it to mean anything.

I wish I could give everyone a copy of this CD. There is no way to cover everything Diana says and in the way she does. She has such a powerful testimony and is so funny and down to earth. I’ve heard a lot of people say that she is a great youth speaker (she speaks at EFY), but I think her messages are great for people of any age. I have all of her CDs minus one (which I’m in search of) and I LOVE them all. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, GO!!! (And invite me.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Creamy Mostaccioli With Bacon and Mushrooms

I found this recipe in a magazine or on a pasta package many years ago. I loved it, but I was always the only one at our house. I decided that I'd make it even if I was the only one who ate it. I made a chicken dish for everyone else, but just ate this as my main dish. I still love it. Elisa loved it too.

I use skim milk instead of half-and-half. Yes, skim milk with butter and bacon. I have made this without the bacon and it's still really good. I rarely buy bacon (like maybe once a year) and Elisa was excited to see that we have some left over after making this. She has started eating bacon as a snack at a friend's house. A snack? Ooooo-kay.
Creamy Mostaccioli With Bacon and Mushrooms

6-8 slices bacon, cut up
2 (4 1/2-oz.) jars mushrooms, drained
8 oz. mostaccioli pasta, uncooked
3/4 c. half-and-half
1/3 c. butter
2 t. parsley flakes
1/2 t. salt
1 garlic clove, minced
6-8 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c. sliced green onion

In medium skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove from fat and set aside. Add mushrooms to bacon fat. Cook until golden; drain; set aside.

Prepare mostaccioli according to package directions; drain. In same saucepan, combine half-and-half, butter, parsley flakes, salt, garlic and hot pepper sauce.
Heat just until butter melts, stirring frequently. Combine bacon, mushrooms, hot mostaccioli, half-and-half mixture and Parmesan cheese; toss to coat. Place on warm serving platter; garnish with green onions.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Her Price is Far Above Rubies

Last night was a bit crazy for me. I had three church meetings to attend. At 6:00, Elisa and I went to New Beginnings. We were invited since Elisa will be turning 12 this year. Then at 7:00 I had to help with the Faith in God boys’ activity. As a primary presidency (I’m the secretary), we were in charge of the getting to know you game night, but the new leaders were supposed to be there. Then at 7:30 I was supposed to slip out to attend the parent meeting with Elisa for the Achievement Day girls—all with Sabrina tagging along since Alex had young men last night.

The Faith in God leaders (we don’t have cub scouts in our ward yet unfortunately) had a sick daughter so they couldn’t be there after all. So I lead two games and the primary prez lead another. Then right before they were going to have pizza and snacks I slipped out just in time for the END of Elisa’s parent meeting where she was. All except one of her friends are in young women now and that one friend wasn’t there so she was lonely in there. She can’t wait to join her friends in young women. It has been a few years since I’ve been in young women, obviously. But I still have my medallions. I was excited to learn about the new medallions, which I didn’t even know they had, at New Beginnings. One of the leaders was introducing them and said that the girls were asking why the new medallion has an ugly ruby in it. (Ugly is relative, of course.) The leader didn’t know so she went to the distribution center and asked them. The ruby symbolizes the new value of virtue, as used in Proverbs 31:10

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
As soon as I heard that, I fell in love with that medallion. It really symbolizes so much. It is not easy in this world for our youth (or any of us) to continue to hold those values dear and make their actions consistent with what they learn and know is right. That medallion is a small symbol of the reward they will get in heaven for all their hard work which has helped those young women become who they are at the end of the program.

(This will seem off topic, but it’s not…trust me.) I have heard before that a new bishop was sitting in front of his ward during his first Sacrament meeting. He looked around at all the families and thought, “There isn’t a single family here who has a big problem.” And he was relieved. Just a couple of months later, that same bishop was sitting up on the stand and looking around at his ward thought, “There isn’t a single family in this ward who DOESN’T have a big problem.”

Being a bishop’s wife, I don’t hear the worries, anguish, troubles, or sins of the people who go to Robin for help or guidance. I only know that he is gone at church or in members’ homes visiting with them. But he has sometimes come home and hugged me a bit tighter than usual. He has occasionally said, “Thank you for being such a virtuous woman.” Or other very similar comments. I can only imagine that there are sadly people who he has talked to who have been affected either by their own or someone else’s lack of virtue. Virtue is seen by the world as silly or even stupid. Our children and youth are pounded on every side with these messages if they are not very careful where they are, what they’re doing and where they look (and even too often when they are careful).

I’m so grateful for the young women’s program that Elisa will be entering this year and for the leaders who put so much time, love and energy into the girls. I was so glad to be able to go to New Beginnings last night. It was a busy ending to the day, but it kept me pondering.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Southwest Chicken Lasagna

This is a recipe I've found online somewhere years ago and have been making ever since. You can use rotisserie chicken if you want an even faster meal. For our family, I half the recipe and use a loaf pan. I haven't posted this before because all the photos I've tried to take of it come out ugly. Lasagna is not easy to photograph, but especially this one because it is more liquidy than the regular type. But it tastes really good!Southwest Chicken Lasagna1 (10-oz.) pkg. lasagna noodles
COTTAGE CHEESE MIXTURE:
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
24 oz. fat-free cottage cheese
1/3 c. chopped parsley
1 (4-oz.) canned diced green chili peppers
LASAGNA:
1 c. chopped onions
1 t. minced garlic
2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans condensed tomato soup
1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
1 (4-oz.) can diced green chili peppers
1 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground black pepper
4 c. cooked chicken breasts, chopped
3 c. (12-oz.) Colby & Monterey Jack cheese

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the pkg. Drain & set aside.

While noodles are cooking, stir together the egg whites, cottage cheese, parsley & diced chilies. Set aside

Lightly spray an unheated saucepan with no-stick spray. Add the onion, & garlic. Cook & stir over med. heat until tender. Stir in the soup, enchilada sauce, green chilies, chili powder, cumin, & black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 min., stirring often. Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with no-stick spray.

To assemble the lasagna, place four of the noodles in the pan. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Top with half of the sauce mixtures, and half of the chicken. Then top with half of the cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining noodles, cottage cheese mixture, sauce mixture, chicken, & cheese. Cover with foil. Bake about 50 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel

I made this last week for the first time to use up some bananas and try something new. The recipe is from Bon Appétit and you can find it and lots of reviews at Epicurious. Elisa and I thought there was a bit too much streusel (mostly brown sugar) on top, but the perfect amount in the middle. But Alex thought the thick layer on top was amazing. I only put pecans (I had no walnuts) on a small piece for me. I loved the bites with pecans even more than the ones without. Pefect combination.

Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel

1 1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
2/3 c. golden brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/3 c. mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 T. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour 8-inch baking pan. Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using mixer, beat sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.

Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack.



Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! We use glad words to celebrate most holidays, but I don’t often hear Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is just a good reason to have a day off of school or work to many people.

I am a bit too young to have lived through a lot of the civil rights struggles that went on in our country. I love my country and am so grateful to live here, but I don’t understand how so many people let so many bad things happen. (Not that all is well even now.)

From the time I was born until I was in 3rd grade, I moved around a lot. Then we stayed in one city for most of my remaining childhood years—Dayton, Ohio. I didn’t know or understand at first, but learned pretty quickly, that the city was segregated. No laws, signs or police kept it segregated, but one part of the city was inhabited by white people and another part was where only African Americans (just called black people then) lived.

The city participated in busing. What is busing? Just using buses to transport your children to the closest school since they live a bit too far to walk? No. It means taking a group of children who live close to a school and assigning them to a school across town so that a group of children who live close to that school can be bused to the school near your house. Why? To try to desegregate the schools and to make sure that all students had equal resources. If all the children in the black area who lived near a school went to that school, it would be all black (and typically given less resources) and the same for the white area schools, which causes them to be segregated even though there were no rules keeping one from attending the other school if they lived in those boundaries. So it was an attempt at racial integration.
(They tore down the old school in 2008. Remember playing in that corner where we'd run up the silver slopes, Sheri?)

So in 4th grade I started being bused to a different neighborhood. We would drive through a part of town that I had never been in and I couldn’t believe how run down and sad most of it looked. Boarded up windows, graffiti, and small, old homes. I have to say that the area where we lived was not affluent. We lived in probably a lower-middle class area with homes that weren’t new or big, but there was such a contrast to these two areas of town.

I had a birthday party in 4th grade and invited some of my friends from school. One of my friends who came happened to be black. I don’t remember any of the fun games we played or even the yummy cake (thanks to my bad memory), but I do remember one comment from my black friend. “This is the first time I have ever been in a house in the white part of town. I have never even been invited to a white person’s birthday party before.” My little kid mind could not comprehend that. Why not? And why was that so exciting?

We did learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights, but that all seemed like history to learn and it even seemed like so long ago to me. But living in Dayton, I had many African American teachers who would teach about him and about civil rights with passion and gratitude. They lived through all of the things we were just learning about. Those things were still affecting the country in ways I didn’t understand. I am very grateful for those teachers who taught me that the holiday is a HAPPY day, remembering good people who stood up for what was right when it was so difficult and dangerous to do. Those people made our country a better place.
If you’d like to teach your children about this holiday, here are some links with activities.

http://www.theholidayzone.com/mlk
http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/mlk_day.htm
http://home.howstuffworks.com/martin-luther-king-jr-day-crafts.htm

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Grab a Few Tissues

Use a minute of your time on the computer to help someone else! No money required. I am very grateful for my healthy children, but not everyone can say that.

Chase Bank is giving away $5 million to 5 charities. You can help by voting for your favorite charity on their Facebook page Chase Community Giving. I think you have to become a fan to vote, but I’m not sure. You can vote for 5 different charities. Please help a great charity win the much needed money for research, education and advocacy. Here are two charities that I voted for and I really hope you do too. Please! They are both in the top 10, but they need more votes to be #1.

Do you know what the #1 childhood disorder in America is? It’s autism. You probably know something about autism. But do you know that in addition to the difficulty they have with relationships and communication, they could also have severe gastrointestinal pain, seizures, food allergies, auto-immune disease, sleep disorders, and self-injurious behaviors. Chances are you know someone with autism. I do. My cute 3 year old nephew Avi was diagnosed with it and it changed his parents’ lives with that one diagnosis. The hopes and dreams they had for him had to be altered to fit his reality. What if they didn’t have to? What if the money from Chase could be enough to help this growing population? Please consider the National Autism Association for your vote.



The other charity I encourage you to vote for is the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, which raises awareness for and funds research for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA kills more babies than any other inherited disease. One in 40 people are carriers. But have you even heard of it? My blogger friend Devon’s precious little boy Dakin has SMA. 90% of children with SMA die before their second birthday. Can you imagine how hard that is for Devon and her husband not knowing how much time they have left with their son? There is currently no treatment at all. But UC Irvine will be starting human clinical trials in 2010 of a treatment that has the potential to actually cure SMA. What if winning this money from Chase could mean that Dakin could not only remove the respirator that he currently needs to live, but he could go on living his childhood and into adulthood?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pasta With Broccoli-Onion Sauce

I don't remember where I got this recipe years ago, but it's an easy, fairly healthy pasta dish (skim milk, no butter, and I used whole wheat pasta). To me it's just fine as a main dish, but my meat and potatoes husband doesn't agree so I always have to make something with it. And I have to kinda sneak onions in because my kids don't like them so I couldn't cut them into rings. They're in there, but finely chopped. I got Sabrina to eat cauliflower that way earlier this week and she couldn't belive she ate cauliflower and didn't throw up. Haha!


Pasta With Broccoli-Onion Sauce

3 oz. linguine or fettuccine
1 1/2 c. broccoli florets
1 med. onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
3/4 c. skim milk
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. instant chicken bouillon granules
Dash pepper
Dash ground nutmeg
1/2 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Cook fettuccine according to the package directions, adding the broccoli for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain well, return to pan.


Meanwhile, spray an unheated large skillet with nonstick spray. Preheat over medium-low heat. Add onion. Cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.


In a small bowl stir together the milk, cornstarch, bouillon granules, pepper and nutmeg. Add to onion in skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in cheese until cheese is melted.
Pour cheese mixture over pasta and broccoli; toss to coat.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"How to Survive Your Greatest Blessings" by Emily Watts

I don't collect many things, but one thing I can't seem to get enough of is LDS books or talks on CD. I love books too, but I have less time to read than I do to listen. I can listen while I'm cleaning, cooking or driving around in the car. While listening to one recently, I realized that I have hardly reviewed any of them on my blog. So I'll try to remember to post about them every week or so.

This is the CD I've been re-listening to this week- How to Survive Your Greatest Blessings by Emily Watts. She has been an editor at Deseret Book for over 25 years. She has written other BOOKS, but the only other one of hers I've listened to, thanks to the library, is Women Are That They Might Have Joy Too that she co-authored with John Bytheway. (Gotta review that one too someday.)

In this one, Emily uses her own personal experiences and humor to remind us how important it is to look at our trials in a different way than we natually tend to. Toward the beginning, she talks about how excited we all were in heaven to come to earth and get a body. Then she asks, "Be honest. Did you get the one you wanted?" (Or something very similar) Of course, many of us often wish we could exchange ours for a different model or an upgrade. It made me think of when I was young.

I was diagnosed with asthma in the first grade (if I remember right). It definitely isn't one of the worst things to have in the long list of illnesses, but it was bad enough for me. I'd spend so many nights throughout my childhood unable to sleep, wheezing a painful, gasping breath. I had to take gross medicine that wasn't even made for children back then. It made my heart race and my hands shake, and it still didn't prevent many attacks. I missed days of school, had to avoid cats and dogs and just about any kind of exercise. I remember when I was maybe 11 or 12 wondering how I could have agreed to come down to this body before I came down to earth. What was I thinking?

Over the years, I have mostly outgrown the asthma. Breathing well is still wonderful to me. But I have grown in faith and understand that the weaknesses our bodies suffer are just part of the trials while we are on earth. Of course it was better to come down to an imperfect body (that I will keep eternally) than not to get one at all.

Emily Watts also talks about pride and how it prevents us from enjoying our our talents and other people's. She talks about a time when one of her children was in kindergarten and she was room mother. She spent a long time and much effort making cute drum cookies and then the children just gobbled them up. She realized that they are children and just want to eat. It wasn't the children she was making them for. It was to impress the other mothers. (Although I don't see anything wrong with making super-cute or yummy treats to make people happy, just for the record.) She figured out that the kids would have been happier with a Ding Dong and 2 twizzlers as their drum treat and she wouldn't have had such a crazy day preparing them.

Sometimes when we see someone else's talent, it makes us feel bad about not having that same talent. Emily reminds us that we need to rejoice in their talent. I like that she says we should be glad that THEY have that talent and not us because that means they have a work to do with it that WE don't. It's not our responsiblity. Of course, we are responsible for our own talents, so we're not off the hook.

Emily mentions the story of a young girl in the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies who was walking along, exhausted. A man in the rescue party asked if she would like a ride. She, of course, said she did. He grabbed her hand, but instead of pulling her in, he started the wagon, with the girl on the side. He continued on, going faster and faster, with the confused girl now running, thinking there was no way that she would be able to go on. Then the man picked her up and put her in some warm blankets. She then realized that the man had saved her feet by helping to restore her circulation by having her run.

Our trials are often like that. We might be confused. Why is Heavenly Father letting me suffer through this? Or we may even be upset. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why does so-and-so have such an easy life compared to me?... But in reality, our trials are our greatest blessings. How can that be? I'm sure that you all have had enough experience to know already. We often grow and learn the most during those difficult trials in our lives.

Emily points out that the harder something seems, the faster we should complete the task Heavenly Father gave us so that we can claim those blessings Heavenly Father has ready for us and Satan wants us to be unworthy of. We sometimes give up when we are so close to the blessings, but we don't realize it. We need to keep our eternal perspective.

I appreciate Emily Watt's inspiring use of quotes, scriptures and humor and hope to read (or listen to) her other books soon. I'll end with the primary song that Emily mentions in the CD that I haven't heard in so long. (Do they have it in the Spanish songbook? I don't know.) What do you think about the line "Other men’s failures can never save you"? It won't do us any good to think that we are better than someone else because Heavenly Father doesn't judge us by comparing us. My two favorite lines are "You have a work that no other can do" and "Angels will hasten the story to tell." What stories are the angels telling about you? 

Dare to Do Right
1. Dare to do right! Dare to be true!

You have a work that no other can do;
Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,
Angels will hasten the story to tell.

Chorus
Dare, dare, dare to do right;
Dare, dare, dare to be true,
Dare to be true, dare to be true.

2. Dare to do right! Dare to be true!
Other men’s failures can never save you.
Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith;
Stand like a hero and battle till death.
Words: George L. Taylor, b. 1835
Music: Arr. by A. C. Smyth, 1840–1909

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Utah Local: Maria Mercer

Although Maria Mercer is not a Utah native, she lives here so she's local. I do have to mention that she is almost my sister-in-law (she's my sister's husband's sister), but I'm not biased. She is such a talented artist. I am not even good at drawing stick people so I am in awe of people who have worked hard to learn how to use their vision to make such beautiful pieces of art.
She paints and sketches and also uses cool computer programs to create digital art. This sketch below is one of my favorites that I've seen of hers. Wanna see more of her work? Check out her portfolio at her website.
Maria accepts commissions as well as freelance work for both Illustration and Graphic Design. She is available to do corporate/company based work, which is what most of her work is. But she is happy to sell digital copies of some of her work for under $50 or some of her paintings. She didn't give me any exact prices, so if you're interested, please contact her. I think it would be so awesome to commission a painting and have something so original and is a combination of your vision and the artist's.

After some investigation (I got the info from my sister Tiffany), I found out that Maria is using her talents and experiences to write and illustrate a book for doctors to give to children who have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes to educate them and help them feel less scared. She was diagnosed with it when she was 9. Isn't that a cool project?

One of her other paintings I think is fun is the curious-looking owl in her Portfolio. I picture it in a reading nook, maybe because we think of owls as wise. Which one do you like? Have you ever commissioned a painting?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Homemade Egg Noodles

I was in the mood for Light Broccoli and Cheese Soup (You have to scroll down quite a bit. In my beginning posts I posted a lot of recipes in each food post. Sorry!) with fresh egg noodles. I used to make them with my roommates my freshman year at BYU. Even then I kept lots of recipes, but I can't find that one anywhere. So I looked online and found My 3 Little Women's version of Homemade Egg Noodles. They are nothing like the dried, pre-packaged kind. This was very easy and tasted just like the ones we used to make. I will NOT lose the recipe this time. (Aren't computers great?) I made half of the recipe since it was a taste-test. Then I diveded it in half and rolled out half of the dough at a time. This photo is of the first half. I rolled out the second half thinner and made the noodles smaller. The noodes do grow a bit when cooked. I think the thinner second half turned out better, but I liked them all.

Elisa wasn't home when I was cooking. When she came home and ate dinner, she couldn't believe I made the noodles. I told her I was hurt that she thought I couldn't make something that good. Then she asked if there was yeast. I told her there wasn't and then she believed I made them. Yep, I am bad with yeast. But these noodles are so easy and taste so great. I just rolled them out and then put them into the soup at the end of the recipe. Now I'll have to find other ways to use these.
Homemade Egg Noodles
2 c. flour
3 egg yolks
1 egg
2 t. salt
1/4 - 1/2 c. water

Measure flour into bowl. Make a well in the center and add egg yolks, egg and salt. Mix thoroughly with hands. Add water, a little at a time. Add only enough water to form dough into a ball. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let it rest about 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each part into a paper-thin rectangle. Cut dough into strips. You can use your noodles immediately, if desired, by boiling them in salted water until tender. It doesn't take long. Or you can lay them out on a clean, lightly floured towel to dry and use later.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Llampingachos

Llampingachos are Ecuadorian potato cakes filled with cheese and are sooo good. The Andes mountains are a great place to grow potatoes, so they are plentiful in Ecuador and there are many dishes that use them there. I got this recipe from my friend Kathryn who got it from her husband (now ex) from Ecuador. My sister-in-law made some when she visited us and she used chopped ham in addition to the cheese. That was yummy too.
You could use mozzarella, but I always use one of the Mexican cheeses mentioned in the recipe. They are available at most grocery stores either in the cheese area or near the cream cheese (that's where I found it at Walmart). Warm, melty, stringy cheese! Yummmmm!
You can eat these plain or top them with a simple tomato, onion, cilantro, lemon juice salad, a traditional Ecuadorian peanut sauce (Robin doesn't like it so I don't know how to make it), or Robin's favorite way-topped with a fried egg.
Llapingachos
6 potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 egg, beaten by hand
1-2 t. salt
2-3 t. achiote oil or canola oil
1/4 lb. white Mexican cheese (rancero, fresco, casero...), crumbled
1 green onion, very finely chopped
Mix potatoes, egg and salt. Add oil to potato mixture. Place a small amount of potato mixture in palm of hand and press it into a bowl shape. Put cheese and green onion in center. Cover with more potato and press close. In large frying pan, pour very small amount of canola oil in pan. if you use too much oil, the potato cakes will crumble and the delicious cripsy layer will come off of potato cakes. Fry potato cakes on low heat until lightly browned and slightly crispy on each side.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Let's Celebrate Our Inspirations

"Inspiration is inspiration, whether the end result is a painted masterpiece, a soul-searching sonnet, a richly coloured home-made quilt or a batch of freshly baked rock buns. We shouldn't diminish our creativity by despising the results of our inspiration, but instead celebrate and exploit the wonderful feeling of elevated energy and enthusiasm we experience when we feel inspired. That quickening of the senses and the heightening of the imagination are, I'm sure, just the same for the Matisses and Wrens and Brownings as they are for the rest of us. It's just that they can do different things with their inspired talents."
Jane Brocket, The Gentle Art of Domesticity, p. 16
I haven't read this book, but I've seen this quote a few different places. I appreciate its message and its eloquence and I thought I'd share it with all of you. I have no idea what rock buns are, but I love the idea that my simple, imperfect creations can be called inspirations! So I was thinking today, what are a few of my recent masterpieces? Not surprisingly if you read my blog, I put a lot of thought and passion into food. I love when I am able to make someone happy with it, as far from gourmet as it is.

Another thing I used my creativity to create is our home. A few years ago, we were blessed to be able to have our home built. I put different ideas together and designed the home we now live in. I didn't built any of it, but my ideas went into it. Every time I decorate or re-arrange a room, I feel it's creative inspiration. It gives me joy.

Here is a project I need to finish! I'm just waiting on my inspiration. It's my small, very boring mudroom/laundry room. The only thing I've done in here is put up those hooks, which would normally have coats and backpacks on them, but my children are at school right now. Sabrina's inspiration was putting her big magnet on the washer. Hehe I want a great color on the wall and maybe some vinyl lettering. But I don't want to buy one pre-made because I prefer to have uniqueness (is that a word). No inspiration yet. I want to figure out what kind of decorations will brighten it up and still be my style. So I'm waiting on that inspiration!!!


Ultimately, in this stage of my life, most of my inspiration takes the form of teaching and showing my love for these three crazy kids who I love so much. So next time I make a craft with them, tell them one of my strange stories or even just color with them, I'll have to remember that it's me using my unique "talents" and creativity. Who could ask for a better masterpiece than them?
I'd love to know---What are your recent inspirations and creative masterpieces?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fruity Fruit Dip

I had this dip at a friend's baby shower and was glad to get the recipe. I made it last week and everyone (except the usual, Sabrina) tried it and liked it. To quote my husband, "It makes eating fruit fun." That made me smile. Funny guy. Maybe I should change the name to Fun Fruit Dip.
Fruity Fruit Dip
1 (8-oz.) tub strawberry or pineapple soft-style cream cheese
1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow crème
1 t. orange juice
1 t. lemon juice

In a mixer bowl, beat together cream cheese, marshmallow crème, orange juice and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Refrigerate before serving.
Yield: 2 cups

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Golden Nuggets at the Beginning

As one of my goals this year, I have decided to read the Book of Mormon again. Since we’re studying the Old Testament this year in Sunday school and I’m in primary, I’ll have to keep up with those studies on my own as well. So far (6 whole days) I’ve been reading every day. I love to read the scriptures and it is amazing to me how different I feel when I am reading my scriptures consistently than if I’m not even if I still am doing many other things I should (pray, family home evening, temple attendance, my calling, visiting teaching). I learn so much from reading and I feel closer to the Spirit. So why do I sometimes get so lax and lazy??? I dunno, but I’ve decided to do something different this time around.

I started a scripture journal. I am writing down things that I didn’t notice before or that I forgot or anything that just grabs my attention, whatever I feel the Spirit is teaching me. I’m excited about this since I have such a bad memory and I can use this to remind me of what I’ve learned and felt, not to mention to help me ponder more.

I was discussing this idea with Alex yesterday. I asked him if he’d like me to get him a notebook for a scripture journal separate from his other journal. He said that he saw some kind of online scripture journal he wanted to use. I told him that he won’t always have a computer with him or available to use when he reads his scriptures so if he wanted, I could buy him a notebook to take notes and then when he got time he could type it up. (That’s what he does with stories and books he writes already.) I mentioned that if he started that now, it would help him learn things he could use on his mission and also whenever he was asked to give a talk, he’d already have notes to look at with his thoughts and ideas. I added that if he does have it on the computer, it will be easier for him to locate specific topics or scriptures later. Since almost of all my notes are in handwritten notebooks, I have to search the old-fashion way. Alex said, “Yeah. I wish our brains had Control F.” Haha. That would be so wonderful!

Anyway, if you’re anything like me, you’ve read 1 Nephi so many times. I really think I know all of what happens in it, but of course, I can’t skip it when reading the whole book. So I was determined to read it as if I had never read it before and see what I learned or re-learned. Guess what. I noticed something. And you have probably noticed it before, long ago, but I don’t think I did. It’s not like I didn’t know it already, but what I noticed made me say, “Wow! Heavenly Father sure is smart!!” What was it?

You know how when you’re writing, you’re supposed to grab the reader at the beginning of the story (what’s going to happen to Nephi and his family?), introduce the main characters (Nephi, Lehi, Laman, Lemuel…), establish a time (“the first year of the reign of Zedekiah”, 1 Nephi 1:4)? It does all that. But it also does something else amazing. Heavenly Father uses these first few chapters to introduce so many basic truths to the reader. Who is the reader? (You’re supposed to know your audience right?) Investigators who might not know much about the gospel, people who aren’t interested in converting, but want to learn more, members of the church (and we all can use reminders in the basics). So how perfect is it that he’d put so many jewels right at the beginning? Wonder what I’m talking about? I made a list in my scripture journal, but I won’t include the whole list here. This will be long enough! And I’m sure there are things I didn’t notice this time around either. So far I’ve read the first 7 chapters so that’s what I’ll cover very briefly (well, not so briefly). I'll include part of the scripture first in italics and then the topic or my thought on it with an asterisk.
1 Nephi

1:1 I, NEPHI, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
*Importance of being good parents, the goodness of God, importance of record keeping

1:4 …there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed..
*Prophets are called of God to repent and to foretell or prophesy, Repentance is possible

1:5 Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord…
*Prayer

1:6 And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much…
*This was only the first of several to teach that personal revelation is possible.

1:8-9 …and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne…
…he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day…
*God the Father and Jesus (One) are two distinct beings

1:10 …he also saw twelve others following him…
*Introduces the 12 apostles

1:14 …because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!
*The mercy of the Father

1:20 …I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
*I love the terms “tender mercies” and “deliverance” which describe the great love that our Father and Jesus have for us and what their powers will do when we accept it.

2:2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.
*Sometimes Heavenly Father requires hard things of us. It isn’t always punishment or from the devil.

2:3 And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.
*A great example of being obedient even when it isn’t easy or what we had planned.

2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things…
*Example of greed and short-sighted thinking

2:14 And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with the Spirit, until their frames did shake before him…
*The Spirit is introduced, power of the Priesthood

2:19 …Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart.
*Faith, importance of seeking the Lord

2:20-24 …ye shall prosper… …they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord… …thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher… …will curse them even with a sore curse...
*Consequences to our actions (obedience or sin)

3:3-4 (as well as others) …the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers…
*Genealogy and scriptures

3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
*This is one of my favorite scriptures. It tells us that if Heavenly Father asks us to do something, there is a way and He will help us accomplish it, no matter how difficult it is.

3:29 …an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them…
*Angels can come to the earth and communicate with us. (also in 1:8)

4:2 …let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea…
*Links the history to the Bible

4:31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee.
*We can receive physical strength from the Lord.

5:9 …that they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto the Lord; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel….
*Sacrifice and giving thanks

5:11 And he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world...
*Introduces book of Moses

5:21
And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us…
*Beautiful ways to describe the scriptures (desirable, of great worth)

6:4 For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.
*The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to persuade men to come unto God.

7:11 Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten what great things the Lord hath done for us, in delivering us out of the hands of Laban, and also that we should obtain the record?
*Importance of remembering our blessings

7:20-21 …did plead with me that I would forgive them of the thing that they had done against me… And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done…
*Repentance and forgiveness

Okay, long enough? Did you make it through? Can you tell I miss teaching Sunday school? Pretty cool how many golden nuggets are hidden within the first few chapters, the only ones many people will ever read!!! I’m so glad I included the scripture reading and journal in my goals this year. There is a power in the scriptures that is so special and strong. I wish I had enough time to study everything written about them by knowledgeable scriptorians, but since I don’t, I know that the Spirit (who knows all things) can teach me what is most important for me to know right now. Wonder what I’ll discover tomorrow?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sabrina and Her Questions

In November, Elisa had to have four of her perfectly good adult teeth pulled out. It was so sad! But her mouth is too little for all those teeth so some of them had no room to come down at all. So these were pulled and with the help of her braces hopefully she'll have great, straight teeth. Don't these look ugly though? Nothing like the little baby teeth that fall out when they're ready with no long, fat roots attached. (At least you can't tell how bloody they actually are in this picture.)

Sabrina loves to write. She writes letters, stories and writes just to write. She absolutely loves to write long letters to the Tooth Fairy and Santa and everyone else. So when Elisa had her four teeth to put under her pillow, Sabrina decided to take advantage of the opportunity and write another letter to the Tooth Fairy and stick it with Elisa's teeth.
Dear Tooth Fairy,
I have so many questions I might not get to ask all of them, but here is one. What is your real name? Are you married? Do you know when I'm going to lose a tooth? Do you have a pet? How many teeth do you have? How old are you? Have you been seen? Is your job hard? Do you get scared? Are you big or little? How do you get in? Do you get scared? Do you have parents?
Love,
Sabrina

The Tooth Fairy wrote her a note back (not at all blog-worthy in its creativity--I'm sure she was busy and tired with so many homes to visit) and answered her tricky questions so Sabrina was happy.

Then in December she wrote a note to Santa and to the elves. I will tell you in another post what happened with that--not so happy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cinnamon Fudge

I found this oh so delicious recipe when looking around at Joe's Culinary in the Deseret. If you've never checked out his blog, you really, really should! I copied a long list of recipes I'd like to try from his blog. He is an amazing cook and food photographer...and how many blogs have you seen with a dog like this?
This easy fudge set up perfectly. It's a great balance of cinnamon and sweet and it's unique. I like making things that are a bit unexpected. It's a bit too addicting for me so next time I will only make it if I can immediately take it to a friend after just one little piece. (Yeah, right!)

Cinnamon Fudge
3 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. evaporated milk
10 oz. cinnamon chips
7 oz. marshmallow creme
2 t. vanilla

Line a 9X13" pan with foil then coat with cooking spray.

In a heavy bottom 3-quart sauce pan, combine sugar, butter, and milk. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Keep stirring and boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon chips until melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla then beat until blended.

Carefully pour mixture into the prepared dish. Let cool to room temperature then gently lift out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into squares.