Sunday, August 28, 2011

Watch Your Step

Do you ever just want to punch Satan??? Okay. I know that technically I can't since he didn't get a body so he couldn't feel it. And I know that Satan is the one who tempts us to feel anger and violence, but I never said I was perfect. I just want to scream, "SATAN, go a-w-a-y!" But we know he is a part of this life and we all have to learn to defeat him or pay the sad consequences.

I am tired of getting news that yet another one of my friends has been affected by divorce because of one thing---Lust. There are other reasons, but this one comes up too often. Whether having affairs, inappropriate relationships in person or online, fantasies about someone other than their spouse, or pornography all destroy a marriage. I am tired of Satan succeeding at destroying another family.

I am especially tired of seeing the poor children being affected by selfish decisions of a parent. Whoever says divorce doesn’t have much of an effect on children is trying to make himself/herself feel better about what he is doing.

“Men, take care not to make women weep, for God counts their tears” President Thomas S. Monson, Standards of Strength, Ensign, Nov. 1990, 47

“God will hold us accountable if we neglect His daughters” President Gordon B. Hinckley, Our Responsibility to Our Young Women, Ensign, Sept. 1988, 11

If you couldn’t tell, a friend of mine has been going through a divorce because her husband decided to leave her. One of her girls has been going through depression after hearing the news and she has started cutting herself. This poor girl. I am glad that her mother found out and she is getting help and doing better, but this is not something you emotionally heal from quickly.

I know that the people who need to hear this message aren’t my blogger friends, but I’m posting as a way to vent and also in hopes that it will somehow help someone. Have you noticed that pornography and divorce are so often topics at General Conference now? You and I know why. The number of families, including LDS families, which are affected by both of these is increasing. I have heard many BYU bishops say that pornography is a big problem in their ward semester after semester. People who have been taught since they were young that this is dangerous and wrong are caught up in it.

“Pornography is like that evil stranger, that enemy operating in secret chambers. It targets children, teens, and adults—both male and female. Its purveyors often operate in secrecy and seek to deceive us by claiming to offer something normal and pleasurable that doesn’t harm anyone.” Loran Cook, “The Secret Enemy", New Era, Feb. 2011

“The father of lies and lust … will do anything he can to counterfeit true love, to profane and desecrate true love wherever and whenever he encounters it. … We can reject the evil one. If we want it dearly and deeply enough, that enemy can and will be rebuked by the redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I promise you that the light of His everlasting gospel can and will again shine brightly where you feared life had gone hopelessly, helplessly dark.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland“Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Ensign, May 2010, 46.

“Pornographic or erotic stories and pictures are worse than filthy or polluted food. The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions, bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories or pornographic or erotic pictures and literature records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Pornography, April 2005 General Conference

How can someone expect to have the Spirit with them in any part of his life if he is doing something so contrary to the Lord’s commandments?

“When we undertake to cover our sins, … behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man” Doctrine & Covenants 121:37

Pornography destroys relationships. Those who are not yet married might say that their “hobby” doesn’t affect anyone but himself. Those images will stay embedded in his mind for decades and will warp his expectations for how a woman is supposed to act and look. Even after someone stops viewing pornography, it affects his mind. I am saying “He” only because it is most common, but I know pornography is a problem with some women also and the effects are the same. It is something important for us to teach our children, young men and young women and to continue to teach to adults.

"Do not be misled by Satan’s lies. There is no lasting happiness in immorality. There is no joy to be found in breaking the law of chastity. Just the opposite is true. There may be momentary pleasure. For a time it may seem like everything is wonderful. But quickly the relationship will sour. Guilt and shame set in. We become fearful that our sins will be discovered. We must sneak and hide, lie and cheat. Love begins to die. Bitterness, jealousy, anger, and even hate begin to grow. All of these are the natural results of sin and transgression." President Ezra Taft Benson, The Law of Chastity, New Era, Jan. 1988, 5–6

"Trying to find lasting love without obeying God is like trying to quench thirst by drinking from an empty cup—you can go through the motions, but the thirst remains." Elder John H. Groberg, “The Power of God’s Love” The Power of God's Love  Ensign, Nov. 2004

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kara's Cilantro Chicken

We liked this flavorful chicken, but you have to like lime and cilantro to like it too. It's nice and easy to throw together. I found it at Delish.com. Next time I'll make a little more sauce to serve on top of it.  
Kara's Cilantro Chicken

4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast, or other chicken
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (Do not substitute)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bunches fresh cilantro, rinsed and lightly chopped
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. salt, to taste
1/4 t. ground black pepper, to taste

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken in a gallon ziploc bag.

Put all other remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until well blended.

Pour blended ingredients over chicken in bag or dish

Cook on a bbq of medium-low to medium heat for approximately 12 minutes and then turn over and cook for another 12 minutes or until done. Juices should run clear when cut.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Heartbound

I have decided that I would love if I could change my major to Education Week!! I was able to attend some of the classes at BYU Education Week last week and loved it. For those of you who don't know, BYU has this every year and around 20,000 people of all ages gather on campus from all over and there are so many classes to choose from like gardening, food storage, music, parenting, marriage, and many doctrinal classes and more. I've been before and was so glad that I was able to attend again. (If you happen to be a single mother, did you know there are single mother grants available if you apply ahead of time?)
I seem to have an unwelcoming face since seats filled up everywhere except next to me. One nice lady who was sitting a couple of empty seats away from me gave me this pretty scripture bookmark. She makes them for everyone she sits near. I showed it to my children when I got home. Alex said, "Wow. That must have taken a while to make.That was nice of her." And Elisa said, "She gave it to a total stranger? That's weird." I said, "Alex says it's nice and you say it's weird??" Haha! We got to talk about random acts of kindness.
Besides the good classes, I got to hang out with Paula. Our scheules were opposite most days so we only ended up going to a few classes together, but it was fun. I met Paula at a singles activity (at least I've made a few friends) and she is a wonderful mother of 5 and is back in school at BYU---in case any of you would like to set her up with a great guy. She deserves better than the LDS guys who tell her she is "too LDS". Yeah.
It's hard to choose what to blog about first from the classes I went to. Lots of good stuff! And now I have long list of recommend books that I want to read, but no time to read them even if I find any of them at the library. My classes start on Monday. Aaaaaaaaa!

There was a series of classes at 11:00 (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) called Help, My Life's On Fire!--Finding Peace in an Unpeaceful World by Debbie Anselmi Bastian, Lori Hadley Hales, and Me’Chel Merrill Musgrave. I had never heard of them, but the topic was one I was interested in. The only problem was the same all the other hours. There are so many good classes that I had to choose one and miss the others. I missed the first two so I went to their Friday class entitled From Heartache to Peace...How Do I Get There? I hadn't noticed that after their names was this "(Heartbound)". They are a singing group, obviously named Heartbound.
So I wasn't expecting a class with the speakers singing, but what brings peace faster than music? They did also speak. Here are some of the quotes they included in their class.

"...Brothers and sisters, for the faithful, our finest hours are sometimes during or just following our darkest hours."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, The Great Plan of the Eternal God, Ensign, May 1984


"To know who we are is important, but to know where we are in relationship to our earthly home and heavenly home is essential if we are to receive all the blessings our Father in Heaven has for those who love him and keep his commandments. Our eternal home is our ultimate destination. A proper yearning for home can prevent our getting lost in detours or paths that lead us away."
Marvin J. AshtonA Yearning for Home Ensign, November 1992, 21-22

"True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes (see John 17:1, 4; D&C 19:19). In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny."
D. Todd Christofferson, Reflections on a Consecrated Life, Ensign, November 2010

They are three lovely ladies who use their talents to uplift and bless others. Connect with them on their BLOG, WEB SITE, or Facebook. I found two of their songs on video and the final video is just a funny story in case you need a laugh today and a reason to make you really grateful that THAT didn't happen to you.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2 Way Whoopie Pies

A few weeks ago I found out that Alexander needed to take cookies to a scout fundraiser...the following day. So I opened my "cookies to try" file and we decided on these that I found at Brooklyn Belly. I made some with the marshmallow filling and some with a German chocolate filling, like she did. I didn't get to use her German chocolate filling because I bought everything on the ingredients list, but I didn't notice that the list didn't include the evaporated milk that was mentioned in the directions. So I looked online for a German chocolate frosting that didn't call for evaporated milk since I didn't have time to go to the store and I found one from the great ladies at The Sisters Cafe. Thanks for the rescue! And then just to make it extra special, I melted some chocolate chips and mixed them with heavy cream to add to the German chocolate filled whoopie pies.

I sent marshmallow ones to the fundraiser and gave the German chocolate ones to friends as thank you's. Got lots of compliments on both kinds.
2 Way Whoopie Pies
4 T. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. lowfat buttermilk

Marshmallow filling:
7 T. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 (7.5-oz.) jar marshmallow fluff
2 t. vanilla

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add about 1/3 of the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, along with half of the buttermilk. Beat until blended. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter, along with the remaining buttermilk. Beat until blended. Blend in the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture until batter is smooth.

Drop batter on the prepared baking sheet, about 1 large tablespoon at a time, leaving about 2 inches between the mounds. You should be able to bake 6 at a time. Bake for about 10 to 14 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Transfer cakes to a rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes have cooled, slather one of the fillings on the flat side of one cake, press the flat side of another cake on top.
For the marshmallow filling:
Place everything but the vanilla in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat everything until it is blended, then stir in the vanilla.
Brittany's German Chocolate Frosting from The Sisters Cafe
1 c. milk or cream (or a combination of both)

1 c. sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. coconut
1 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped
Combine cream, sugar, egg yolks, and butter in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until thickens, 3-5 minutes.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

If I Listen With My Heart

If you have children in primary or have a primary calling like I do, you have probably heard this song many times. It is one of the primary program songs and one of my favorites. When I wish that I could hear my Heavenly Father or my Savior speak to me the things I need to hear, I can remember that when I read the scriptures, listen to the prophet and listen to the Holy Ghost, it is the same as if Jesus was speaking to me, directly to me, the words I need at that moment, no matter how unique my question or struggle. And if I do not do what He is telling me through the same means, I am not following his commandments. We are very blessed to not to be left alone, wandering and wondering.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ryan Innes

It's been a little while since I shared some music and it's about time for some more. Today I'm introducing you to the smooth, soulful voice and music of Ryan Innes.

He's in Utah and used to be in Vocal Point (a fun, talented a cappella group at BYU). He does shows sometimes, but I haven't been to any yet. I've listened to his music for months and I really like all his songs. Then he recently added a new song, Long Fall From You, to his Reverbnation page is and I've listened to it a bunch. Love it!

This guy is a star just waiting to be discovered!! He is always so good.




For any of my blogger friends in Utah, Ryan (Like him on FB) announced a big show with j.wride and Allred on August 26th on Center St. in Provo. Get all the info HERE. Sounds like an awesome night to celebrate the end of summer!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Not Knowing Beforehand

Probably like many of you, I love to read the General Conference edition of the Ensign each time it comes out even though I watched Conference already. It never fails that I have missed something or many, many somethings that can pop out at me at just the time I need it. That's what happened to me a month or so ago.

I am not alone. I have my dear children, my loving family, my friends, my church leaders, my neighbors, but of course none of them really fills that void of a husband to counsel with and build a future with. I pray alone to know what plans to make, what classes to take, how to have enough time for my children and homemaking. I wish to see what job I’m going to have and if it will provide well for my family, if I’ll get the opportunity to go to graduate school, and if my children will be okay, and so much more.

I have prayed and fasted to know what to do and have not seen a flashing neon sign in my mind telling me what is at the end. Not surprising, I know, but still, I was struggling to made decisions when I didn’t know exactly where I was going. I have been grateful to feel guided to my major and strengthened through my classes. But I thought I should know what I should do when I graduate in about 2 years. I prayed to see that so I could prepare now.

In the middle of my fasting, I had a quiet moment where I was able to pick up the May 2011 General Conference edition of The Ensign. I just happened to open to Elder Bednar’s talk “The Spirit of Revelation”. Here is a video of the talk, if you’d like to watch to it all, but I will quote a bit of it below (out of order).

I love how he explains that often our revelation is like the sun coming up at dawn, little by little, gradually beginning to lighten the day. It isn’t always like a light suddenly being flipped on and everything going from pitch black to completely light. Heavenly Father usually sends his revelation little by little and we need to learn to see that this kind of revelation is just as divine of a blessing. Me? I wanted a big flood light. The kind they have at the stadiums. I’m impatient like that and sure wish I’d hurry up and learn patience.

“Both the history of the Church and our personal lives are replete with examples of the Lord’s pattern for receiving revelation ‘line upon line, precept upon precept.’ For example, the fundamental truths of the restored gospel were not delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith all at once in the Sacred Grove. These priceless treasures were revealed as circumstances warranted and as the timing was right.”

 
“As circumstances were warranted and as the timing was right.” Hmmmm. So if I have prayed about my future and it hasn’t been revealed to me, it’s because the timing isn’t right and I don’t need to know. Okay.

“The very ‘simpleness of the way’ (1 Nephi 17:41) of receiving small and incremental spiritual impressions that over time and in totality constitute a desired answer or the direction we need may cause us to look ‘beyond the mark’ (Jacob 4:14).”

I have felt guided and impressed to make certain decisions, but because I didn’t get it all at once (the light switched on), I was looking beyond the mark.

“This pattern of revelation tends to be more common than rare and is evident in the experiences of Nephi as he tried several different approaches before successfully obtaining the plates of brass from Laban (see 1 Nephi 3–4). Ultimately, he was led by the Spirit to Jerusalem, ‘not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do’ (1 Nephi 4:6).”

 
Nephi did not get to see the big picture or have all his questions answered. He just obediently followed the promptings and direction he received. He didn’t know where he was going, but Heavenly Father did and that’s all that mattered. I don’t know where I am going, but my Heavenly Father does. I do not get to know beforehand the things I should do, but I will always be guided to where the next step should be. So step by step it is.

I also loved this part.

“’Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it’ (D&C 8:3–4).


I emphasize the phrase ‘apply unto it’ in relation to the spirit of revelation.”

Receiving revelation takes work and preparation and requires us to be worthy of the gift of the Spirit.
So after reading this and feeling grateful that I understood what I needed that day, I had a new prayer. I did not ask to see everything. I asked to be guided to my next step and I expressed my gratitude.

The next day I had reason to express my gratitude yet again. I received news that I was awarded a scholarship for half of my tuition and a Pell Grant would cover the rest and my books. What a blessing. I was given a bit more light. One more step guided.

It reminds me of the part of Indiana Jones where he steps out, not seeing a path. I know, using pop culture to explain spiritual things... But it’s what I thought of.

So I’ll keep praying for patience and to see the steps I’m being guided to take without looking beyond the mark or ignoring the miracle of revelation in my life.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

White Chocolate Lemon Truffles

This is a dessert I made a few weeks ago for a family party along with the Homemade Milky Way Bars. I found it at Kitchen Simplicity. Head over there and spend some time drooling over the beautiful food photography and recipes. This only made 21 little truffles for me, so a small batch. Love the lemon scent and taste. I added a few drops of yellow food coloring when I added the lemon extract.
White Chocolate Lemon Truffles
1 c. white chocolate
5 T. unsalted butter
3 T. heavy cream
Pinch salt
1 t. lemon extract
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Melt chocolate, butter and cream over a double boiler or in a microwave. Stir until smooth.

Stir in salt and extract. Allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.

With a melon baller or small spoon scoop out mixture and form into 1 inch balls. Toss with powdered sugar to coat. Store covered in refrigerator for up to one week. Freeze for longer storage.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pizza Burgers

I made these a little while ago for the first time. Found them at Plain Chicken. As you can see from her photo, she toasted or grilled her buns. Oh, so smart! Since I didn't, the marinara sauce soaked into the bun and it was a bit soggy. I didn't use any veggies in the patty this time, but will next time, along with pineapples, one of our favorite pizza toppings at our house. My kids didn't even know there was pepperoni in the patty until I mentioned it. Have you tried any burgers like this before?
Pizza Burgers
1 lb. ground chuck
1/3 c. chopped pepperoni
3 T. pizza sauce
1 1/2 t. Italian Seasoning
1 egg
3 Mozzarella cheese slices
Warm pizza sauce
3 hamburger buns

In a mixing bowl, combine the hamburger, pepperoni, Italian Seasoning, egg and pizza sauce. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. Divide the meat into three equal portions and gently form them into patties. Grill or broil to desired doneness. Top burgers with mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

17 Miracles

Today I took the kids to see 17 Miracles. Alexander has been asking to see it, but Elisa didn’t want to. But we made a deal that we’d watch a movie Elisa wanted to see (Monte Carlo) and then we’d watch this one. I really wanted all my children to see it so they could learn about the history as well as the miracles.
As we were in line to buy tickets, Elisa asked, “Why do you want to see this?” And I started to answer, but she said, “Not you. I can tell it’s a movie you’d want to see. I meant Alex.” I thought that was a strange question since he likes to borrow my LDS books and talks on CD and he chose to watch The Work and The Glory as our family movie on Sunday.


If you’ve never heard of it, 17 Miracles is a movie about the Willie Handcart Company that uses historical accounts taken from journals of pioneers. They do merge accounts taken from members of both the Willie and the Martin Handcart Companies in the movie. If you'd like to read some of the behind the scenes accounts, read 17 Miracles--An Extra's Viewpoint. Unfortunately, we missed the first couple of minutes of the movie, but I saw online that in the beginning it says: "Some events are not in chronological order, but all of the miracles portrayed are true."



I have read and heard many accounts of the Latter-day Saint pioneers and even some of the events in the movie, but not all of them. It always makes me aware of how many conveniences and blessings I have. I don’t even like to walk from the doors of the university across the parking lot to my car in the snow. I cannot imagine trekking through blizzards uphill, through icy rivers, with very little food and then to lay down on that snow to try to sleep night after night after night. As I watched, I felt, “How dare you complain” and I do whine and cry in my heart about poor me.


I was glad that during the movie, Elisa would laugh sometimes and Sabrina asked a few questions. Sabrina really liked the character Albert
and kept asking me where he was or if he died. Don’t wanna spoil any of the movie so I won’t tell you what happened with him. When we were leaving the theater, Elisa asked me if she had black under her eyes. Yay! She was into the movie and history enough to cry even though she didn’t want to watch something so boring and educational.  *Insert evil mommy laugh here*

To see if the movie is at a theater near you, go to 17 Miracles.com.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Polka Dot Cookies

I absolutely was not going to make any more sugary treats for a while. Then Alexander had a car wash/bake sale fundraiser to do with the scouts and every boy was supposed to donate a couple dozen cookies. I would have had him help me with them, but he was gone at a marching band fundraiser selling scones. I didn't want to go to the store so I looked around at the ingredients I had on hand. Some time ago, these Guittard Mint Chips were on sale and I bought them without knowing what I'd do with them. I looked at the recipe on the back of the bag and it's pretty easy, so Sabrina and I made them.

They turned out pretty good--like little brownie bites with mint bursts.
Polka Dot Cookies


1 (12-oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
3 large eggs
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 (12-oz.) pkg. Guittard Green Mint Chips

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. In top of double boiler over low heat, melt semi-sweet chips and butter, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light. Blend in melted chocolate, then dry ingredients. Stir in green mint chips and chill for 10-15 minutes or until stiff.

Drop chilled dough by well-round teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, cookies will be soft in centers but will harden as they cool.