Archive for April, 2011

Friday Favorites

April 28, 2011

Since I teach film at Exeter High School, I am always looking for great movies to share with my classes. I am especially excited when I find a  movie that presents people with great character.  One such movie, a favorite of mine, is called Bright Star,   directed by Jane Campion and starring Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish.

It is the story of John Keats, one of the greatest Romantic poets from England and his unrequited romance with the love of his life, Fanny Brawne.  John Keats was a poor man who wrote beautiful poetry, but the critics at the time did not recognize his  great skill.  He wanted to marry Fanny, but financial troubles kept him from doing so.  Unfortunately, Keats  contracted TB after nursing both his mother and younger brother until their deaths from the disease, and he eventually died while in Italy.  Fanny was back in England and was devastated when she heard the news of his death.

This movie is a tear jerker at the end, but the story of these two people of high character is very uplifting.  In addition, the cinematography of this film is strikingly beautiful.     There is one scene where Fanny is lying on her bed as she thinks of Keats, and the wind gently blows a sheer curtain across the room and over to the bed that she is in. It moves in slow motion and is visually stunning.

Many scenes are shot outdoors in the England countryside.   It is eye candy for any lover of film.

You can find this film at Netflicks as an instant play.

Thursday Thoughts

April 28, 2011

On Thursday we were lucky to have the elders teach our RS lesson.  They taught a lesson from D. Todd Christofferson’s “Reflections on a Consecrated Life” from the October 2010 General Conference.

Elder Christofferson talked about seeing the church film Man’s  Search for Happiness, narrated by Elder Richard L. Evans.  This is the quote he shared from that film.

“Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will. You are free to exchange your allotment of time for thrills. You may trade it for base desires. You may invest it in greed. …

“Yours is the freedom to choose. But these are no bargains, for in them you find no lasting satisfaction.

“Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing.”

It is up to us to choose to live a consecrated life, one that is devoted to Heavenly Father and to the Savior.

Elder Christofferson went onto say that we can lead a consecrated life, we must consider the following: purity, work, respect for one’s physical body, service, and integrity.  These are the elements we must consider as we make the choices to live a consecrated life.

Wednesday Words

April 27, 2011

In my search for a fitting family home evening lesson for Wade and me Monday night, I cam upon an article from the Ensign entitleld, “No Substitute for Family Prayer by H. Kent Rappleye.  In it he quoted many modern day prophets about our need for family prayer to safeguard  us and our youth from the evils of the world.  We were encouraged to have family prayer both morning and night, especially in the morning to send our children off into the world with the protection and blessing from Heavenly Father.  Here are some of the quotes from various prophets.

Pres. Hinkley said:

“Parents, safeguard your families. … Pray together. There is no substitute for family prayer when all kneel together before the Lord” (May 1999 Ensign).

“A return to the old pattern of prayer, family prayer in the homes of the people, is one of the basic medications that would check the dread disease that is eroding the character of our society” (February 1991 Ensign).

President Heber J. Grant said this:

“I am convinced that one of the greatest things that can come into any home to cause the boys and girls in that home to grow up in the love of God, and in a  love of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to have family prayer.  . . .I believe that there are very few that go astray, that very few lose their faith, who once had a knowledge of the gospel, and who never neglect their prayers in their families, and their secret supplications to God” (October Conference 1923).

George Albert Smith said:

“I fear that, in the midst of the world’s confusion, of hurry and bustle, many times homes are left without prayer and without the blessings of the Lord; these homes cannot continue to be happy” (Sharing the Gospel with Others 1948).

President Kimball taught:

“No mother would carelessly send her little children forth to school on a wintry morning without warm clothes to protect against the snow and rain and cold. But there are numerous fathers and mothers who send their children to school without the protective covering available to them through prayer—a protection against exposure to unknown hazards, evil people, and base temptations”  (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 122–23).

“When we kneel in family prayer, our children at our side on their knees are learning habits that will stay with them all through their lives. If we do not take time for prayers, what we are actually saying to our children is, ‘Well, it isn’t very important, anyway. We won’t worry about it. If we can do it conveniently, we will have our prayer, but if the school bell rings and the bus is coming and employment is calling—well, prayer isn’t very important and we will do it when it is convenient.’ Unless planned for, it never seems to be convenient (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 117–18).

The Savior’s counsel to us:

“pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed” (3 Ne. 18:21).

This article has inspired me to work harder at having family prayer both morning and evening, and I hope it does the same for you and your family.  If members of your family are going off at all different times, then it was suggested that there should be multiple morning prayers and evening prayers so that each member of the family has that blessing.

Tuesday Tips

April 25, 2011

Food storage and preparation is a goal of mine, and as the RS president, it is my desire that all sisters who have the desire to have their own storage know how to do that.  So my tip for the day is how to start your own food storage.  Knowing where to start and how to start can be a daunting and intimidating hurdle to overcome.  Here are some ways to overcome that hurdle.

1. Consider the kinds of foods your family likes to eat on a regular basis.  What kinds of ingredients do you need for those meals?  Perhaps you could choose one week’s worth of meals as a start. Make a list of those ingredients that you need.

2. When you go shopping, buy two of those items, one for your pantry and one for your food storage.   Shop for one meal a week if that is all you can afford to do.

3. Date the food storage so that you know when you purchased it.  Whenever you use your food storage (I always use mine.) rotate and use the food with the oldest date.

4. If there is a sale on those items that you use regularly, buy more than one of them, and put the extra into your food storage.  For example,  I use Francesco Rinaldi spaghetti sauce when I don’t make my own, so I always buy a few when it is on sale.  Market Basket had the jars on sale this past week for 99 cents each.  I bought three last week and three this week.   I probably have about 20 on hand at any time.

5. Set aside a certain amount that you will spend each time you go grocery shopping for buying food storage items.  Perhaps you will spend $5 or $10.  Do whatever you think you can afford.

6. Set a goal for a week’s worth, then go for two week’s worth, and then one month’s worth.

7. Don’t forget items such as toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.  You will need those too.  Especially look for sales for these items.  That is a good time to stock up.

8.  This process will take time, but once you get used to doing this, it will become a habit to you and you will always consider food storage when you go shopping.

I hope these tips will be helpful to you.  If you go to LDS,org, you will find more tips to help you start and maintain your food storage. With food and gas prices going through the roof, it is so important to be prepared for whatever hard times come our way.


Monday Menus

April 25, 2011

I like cooking, especially soups, but after awhile I get tired of eating the same thing over and over. I’m sure you feel the same way at times.   To add more variety to what my family eats, I decided to take out a subscription to Taste of Home magazine.  I had a subscription years ago and found many tasty recipes that I still use today.  As part of my subscription, the magazine sent a little cook book called Prize Winning Recipes. You can’t go wrong there, can you?  Today I am going to share two great soups that came from this little book.

Lentil Barley Soup

1 medium onion chopped

1/2 cup chopped, green pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 T butter

1 can (49 1/2 ounces) chicken broth

3 medium carrots, chopped

1/2 cup dried lentils (I used the pink ones–they cook  faster)

1 1/2 t Italian seasoning

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 cup cubed cooked chicken or turkey(I used my canned chicken)

1/2 cup quick-cooking barley

2 medium fresh mushrooms, chopped  (I left this ingredient out.)

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute the onion, green pepper and garlic in butter until tender.  Add broth, carrots, lentils, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes.  Add chicken, barley (if using regular barley, cook in with the first ingredients.) and mushrooms; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until lentils, barley and carrots are tender.  Add tomatoes; heat through.  Yield 8-10 servings.

Split Pea Sausage Soup

1 pound smoked kielbasa

1 pound dried split peas

6 cups of water

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 T minced fresh parsley

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper ( I put much less.)

2 bay leaves

Cut sausage in half lengthwise; cut into 1/4 inch pieces Place in Dutch oven or soup kettle, add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until peas are tender.  Remove bay leaves.  Yield 8 servings.

One other recipe I want to share with you is from Laura Fox. It is the yummiest and easiest treat to make for any occasion.

Pine Bark Candy or Chocolate Toffee Crackers

Saltine crackers

2 sticks butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

6 regular plain Hershey chocolate bars ( You can use dark chocolate, too.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 15 inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.  Lightly spray foil with cooking spray.  Arrange saltines close together on pan, salt side up.  Unwrap chocolate bars and set aside for later.

In a sauce pan, melt butter and brown sugar on medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.  (Make sure butter and sugar are mixed well.) Quickly and carefully pour sugar mixture over saltines and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately place the chocolate  bars on top while hot.  Spread chocolate when melted.  Refrigerate until hard (about an hour).  Break into pieces and store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

I hope you enjoy these Monday Menu items.


Friday Favorites–Favorite Book

April 22, 2011

Okay, I was told that on Friday I should blog about my favorite book or movie or something like that.  So, this will be *something* like that.  I do have a couple of favorite books.  The one I’m blogging about today is called, THE DATING DEAL.  It was written by one of my favorite authors, Me!  🙂

This is a blurb about the book:

Seventeen-year old Megan Turner thought her hard-drive was cleared before she sold her computer in a local online auction. What she didn’t realize is that her journal was recoverable, and that her computer was purchased by someone she knew from school.

Suddenly Trent Ryan has a glimpse into the thoughts, feelings and testimony of “Megan the Mormon.” Upon peeking into Megan’s heart, Trent discovers Megan has captured his. There’s only one problem. Megan only dates Mormons. Until Trent read Megan’s journal he didn’t even know what a Mormon was. So Trent comes up with a plan—all he has to do is get Megan to agree to The Dating Deal.

***End of blurb****

THE DATING DEAL was published by the LDS publisher Spring Creek Book Company in 2005.  The novel has since gone out of print (sadness); however, THE DATING DEAL is now available in e-book form on Amazon.

Thursday Thoughts–The RS lesson

April 21, 2011

This week in RS we learned Sister Simms has a stash of Tim-Tams!!!!  We also learned–from Sister Simms–that we are supposed to be honest. Totally honest.  No little white lies, even if we feel we are lying for someone’s “own good” or “to protect their feelings.”  If someone asks if they look fat in an outfit, be honest.  It’s better they hear it from you than from a kid at church.

Wednesday Words

April 20, 2011

On our way home from Boston last night, I was trying to think of Wise Words of Wisdom for today’s blog entry when Josh started talking about the IMAX movie we saw while at the aquarium.  The movie was on whales and dolphins.  When a Humpback whale is born it swims around for the first couple of days with its eyes closed.  It just staggers and struggles about in the water, having no idea what’s really going on.  But every four minutes its patient mother gently guides the baby whale to the surface for a breath of air.  Josh said Heavenly Father is like that, gently, patiently guiding us as we stagger and struggle about, having no idea what’s really going on.  He doesn’t yell, “Open your eyes!”  He simply nudges us where we need to go.

Give Your Kids Chores

April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tip:

I actually do have a tip: Delegation.

Give your children chores!

At our home, our kids have chores.  Lots of chores.  Because of this, my house probably isn’t as “spotless” as most of yours.  Well, it isn’t spotless at all … but that’s okay.  It’s still *pretty* clean.  Well … clean enough. Usually.  (Sometimes.)

Easy Pie Crust

April 18, 2011

Hey Ladies,

Below is Pam’s pie crust recipe!  Mmmm!

Easy Pie Crust

For two 8” or 9” pies:

4 cups of flour

2 t of salt

1 ½ cups of Crisco, butter or margarine at room temperature

1 cup of very cold water

For one 8” or 9” pie

2 cups flour

1 t salt

¾ cup Crisco, butter or margarine at room temperature

½ cup of very cold water

Measure the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix them together.

Measure the Crisco and work into the flour with a pastry tool, two knives or your fingers.  Mix the flour mixture and shortening together until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs or small peas.  Don’t overwork the dough.  Add cold water to the flour and shortening mixture and stir until all of the dough is combined and makes a soft dough.  Shape the dough into a ball.  Cut the ball of dough into four equal sections or two.  If you are using butter or margarine, cover and put the dough into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

When rolling out the dough, only take out one section at a time. Keep the other dough cold in the refrigerator.  Sprinkle flour onto the rolling surface and place the dough on the board.  Roll out in the shape of a circle to just about an inch and a half beyond the round edge of the pie plate.  Sprinkle dough under the dough to help it spread out easily if necessary.   Fold the dough in half and place in the pan and spread to fit.  Add your pie filling and roll out the top layer of dough, following the same steps as before.  Fold in half and place over the pie filling, spreading out over the pan.  Cut the edge of the two layers of dough to extend about ¾ inch from the edge of the pan.  Fold under both layers of dough to seal and then flute the edges in the way you prefer.  Make slits in the center of the pie.  Bake your pie at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly. You may cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil for the first 25 minutes of baking to avoid the overbrowning of the edges.

Apple Pie Filling

6 cups peeled and sliced cooking apples (about 2 ½ pounds–I use 3 pounds Cortlands)

1 T lemon juice

¾ cup sugar

2 T flour

½ t cinnamon

1/8 t nutmeg

Sprinkle the apples with lemon juice.  Mix the dry ingredients together and mix with the apples.  Spread into the pie plate after you put on the first layer of dough.  Cover with a second layer of dough and bake as above.