Archive for May, 2011

Friday Favorites: Dessert Pizza

May 13, 2011

Like Ginger I like to make homemade pizzas on Fridays. It’s a great way to use up all that leftover spinach, right?

But I also make dessert pizza to go along with it and it is our favorite! And please do skip the spinach for this one. Here’s two different ideas. The first is harder but not much. The second idea super easy.

#1 Spread unbaked crust with pie filling (apple, blueberry, cherry). Then sprinkle on crumb topping that you have mixed with a fork. (It’s the same recipe you use for apple crisp)  1/4 c. sugar. 1/4 c. butter, 1/2 c. flour, 1/4 c. oatmeal. Bake 11 minutes in a 500 degree oven on a stone that has been preheating for about an hour. After pizza is done drizzle with a glaze. (powdered sugar with a little milk).

#2 Spread an unbaked crust with melted butter and then sprinkle with lots of cinnamon and sugar. Bake as above and drizzle with glaze. My kids like this one best.


Thursday Thoughts

May 12, 2011

Last week the RS lesson was Chapter 32 Tithes and Offerings. No idea what was said or who spoke because I don’t usually have the privilege of attending Relief Society on Sunday. But I read the lesson and here’s how I am inspired.

Tithing is about faith. There is nothing else that can make a person give up 10% income. So many times it just doesn’t make sense if you take your income and subtract out taxes, living, and then tithing and other offerings. How are you going to make it? But you pay it with faith before you know how the Lord is going to make it all work out. And doesn’t it always work? Sometimes my husband and I marvel at how things just continue to work out for us. We were poor farmers, then dental students without hardly an income. But somehow we have always had what we needed and a little more to enjoy life. Don’t ever forget that tithing makes that happen. And that’s just the temporal blessing we received. Heber J. Grant promised us that as we pay our tithes and offerings the Lord will help us grow “in a knowledge of God, and in a testimony, and in the power to live the gospel and to inspire our families to do the same.” Paying our tithing is such a blessing. I hope I can always do it happy and willingly.

The Apostle Paul taught “Let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. ”

Happy Thursday


Wednesday Words

May 11, 2011

Most of you missed it. I was there and I noticed not near enough familiar faces. I am referring to last month’s Exeter Stake Relief Society Conference. I almost didn’t go myself because Saturdays are a really hard day to leave your kids at home for 5 hours. But I always hate skipping something knowing that I will be missing out. So I went and was so glad I did.

The food was out of this world. Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Whoppie Pies, and muffins served in between sessions. Every break was a surprise. I made myself sick. . . seriously. The chicken dinner that was served at lunch time was so beautiful and delicious that I made sure that I stopped by the kitchen on my way out and got the recipe to serve the next time I had company. The decorations were also so beautiful and amazing.  It was like I was on a luxury cruise for a day.

The theme for the conference was “Create” taken from Elder Uchtdorf’s talk in General Conference. .  .last year I believe.  Maybe we don’t all feel naturally that creative. I know I couldn’t decorate like the stake relief society presidency did, nor can I paint like the guest speaker whose art was displayed in the gym. But I was reminded that as daughters of God we all have it in our nature to take the world we live in and make it a better place. We can all do so much good in our home and community to set the tone for a more beautiful happy world. Some of the ideas that I wrote down in the handy journal we were supplied are these things that I need to create more of: Friendship. . .Love at home. . . Cheer. . . Empathy.

I am so grateful to be taught the true nature of who we are as women and what we can become. Are you filling the measure of your creation?


Tuesday Tips: Streamling the Casper Family Laundry system

May 10, 2011

A couple of years ago I was surprised to open an unusual Christmas present from my husband. Five Small mesh laundry bags. He listened to my constant complaining about matching 49 pairs of socks every week (which is impossible since we all know that washing machines love to eat them) and he took action and devised a new plan.  I was told to sew a different colored button on each bag and assign colors of buttons to each child. Then I left one bag in each child’s laundry basket in their room. All socks . . . (And what the heck -let’s throw in the panties too because who likes sorting 4 different sizes of those?) . . . had to be in the bag if they wanted them cleaned. Then no sorting or folding for mom involved. When I pick up their laundry I zip up the bags, throw them in the washer and then place them in their individual clean clothes baskets. Way too brillant if you ask me. Though, you do have do the laundry frequently though for this system to work.  Over stuffed bags don’t dry too well in the dryer.

Another thing I do to save myself tons of time and keep my laundry room organized so their isn’t any huge stacks of laundry to fold ever is to keep a shelf in my laundry room that has a basket for each child. Now all I have to do is take them right out of the dryer and sort laundry into each basket. I don’t even fold because that is their job, though I try to put them in straight, rather than a wrinkly heap. They have to pick up the baskets, fold and put away all clothes and return whenever I tell them or if they start running out of clothes. I like this system because it does a number of good things. Decrease my work load, eliminate a huge pile of clean laundry on my bed or couch, and finally -Teach my kids to be responsible for their own stuff.


Monday Menus: Coconut Rice and Mango Avocado Salsa

May 9, 2011

Mangos and Avocados are a little cheaper than usual this time of year and that means it’s time to make one of for my one my favorite dinners. Here it is:

Avocado Mango Salsa:
Dice one avocado, 1-2 roma tomatoes, and one mango
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 c. onion, diced
Juice of one lime (or lemon juice if that’s what you have)
Several dashes Frank’s Red Hot sauce ( or whatever else you have to add some degree of hotness)
salt and garlic salt to taste

I sort of made it up. I hate store bought mango salsa, But this stuff. . . I could eat the WHOLE BOWL. . . . . .Myself.

Especially with this Coconut Rice to go with it.

Coconut Rice
1 1/2 cups rice (Jasmine is best)
1 3/4 cup water
1 can Coconut Milk
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
more chopped cilantro leaves

Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with it up with Black Beans and Tortilla chips on the side. And if you really want to feast. . .

Grill up some Pineapple and Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs too.

I am a big sweet and salty fan and for me this meal is as good as it gets.

Friday Favorites: Art

May 6, 2011

During vacation week, I took my boys to the Currier Museum. Call it inspiration from our stake women’s conference on creativity, call it a trial run for museums in Korea, call it crazy. We loved it.

I have many fond memories of my mom taking me to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery when I was a child, and the magic of color and shape in painting and sculpture.

We brought small notebooks and pencils, so the boys could sketch their favorite things. We also played the Eye Spy game, provided by the museum.

Before we went, we talked about museum behavior. While there, we stopped to talk about the different styles of painting, moving close to the paintings then far away, so we could see both brush strokes as well as general composition of the painting. We took breaks often, sitting on the benches to look at a favored painting.

While  I enjoyed introducing my boys to fine art, I would love to go there sometime on my own, so I could spend a little more time appreciating the skill of the artists, and inspire myself in creating my own works.

And bonus. It was free through the Lee Library.

Thursday Thoughts: Toward Greater Spirituality

May 5, 2011

The lesson came from two addresses: Elder Joe J. Christensen’s “Toward Greater Spirituality: Ten Important Steps” and Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s devotional address “Nourishing the Spirit.”

Elder Christensen said, “With spirituality, we are successful, and without it we are not. It is that simple! Spirituality is the sine qua non (the “without which, not”). It is not only the thoroughly genuine desire to live in harmony with the will of God at all times, as guided by the Spirit, but also the ability to surrender totally and willingly to this guidance—and thus to do that which the Spirit whispers. To be truly spiritual is to walk with God. It is the key to true happiness and success in our lives in all kinds of circumstances.”

President Brigham Young said, “There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God’s people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will, and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied, however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. and arr. by John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973, p. 32.)

Elder Christensen shared ten questions to help us determine the kinds of practical things we can do to increase our spirituality, and not live beneath our privileges.

1. Do I read the scriptures daily? President Kimball has said, “I find that when I get casual in my relationship with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”

2. Do I really pray and not just say prayers? 

3. Is my fasting meaningful?

4. Do I go to bed early and get up early? If we want to receive the assistance of inspiration more regularly in our lives, we will follow the counsel to “cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” (D&C 88:124.)

This scriptural counsel is similar to that which President Marion G. Romney received as a newly called Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve from Elder Harold B. Lee, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve: “Go to bed early and get up early. If you do that, your body and mind will become rested and then in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of insight and inspiration than at any other time of the day.”

5. Am I essentially a happy person? The Lord has indicated in scripture that we should be happy—“be of good cheer” (see Matt. 9:2Matt. 14:27;John 16:33Acts 23:113 Ne. 1:13D&C 61:36) and “lift up [our] heart[s] and rejoice (D&C 25:13).” If we by nature are not happy, something is wrong with us. We ought to find out what it is and correct it as soon as possible, because until we do, we will not enjoy the Spirit with us as much as if we were of good cheer. Developing an attitude of gratitude for our many blessings can be a giant step forward in fostering happiness.

6. Do I work hard? The Lord has confidence in us and in our abilities.

7. Am I more concerned about how rather than where I serve? If we are not careful, the “universal sin” of human pride can rob us of spirituality when we become more concerned about position and status (in or out of the Church) than about serving humbly.

8. Do I love everyone—even my enemies?

9. Am I striving to “become one” with what I know I ideally should be? As long as what we do in our actual lives is beneath the level where we know we should be, we rob ourselves of spirituality.

Jesus prayed over and over again that we who believe in him should become one as he and his Father are one. (John 17:11, 21–22.) Not only do the Father and the Son get along extremely well together, they know exactly what the ideal person ought to be—and that is exactly what they are. Our ultimate goal is to become like them. (Matt. 5:483 Ne. 27:27.) To get there we must apply the Atonement (“at-one-ment”) and by faith in Christ unto repentance change our lives to be more “at one” with what we ought to be. In the process, we must be willing to give up all our sins.

10. Do I share my testimony with others? As we bear testimony of the Savior and of the restoration of the gospel, the Holy Ghost confirms the truth of the message. Not only is the hearer blessed by the Spirit, but also we who share the testimony. Our testimonies are not static; they increase or decrease in intensity, and sharing them with others gives us a spiritual boost.

Wednesday Words

May 4, 2011

“Said Isaiah the prophet:

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

“Learn to do well; …

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:16–18).

In modern revelation the Lord has said: “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” (D&C 133:5).

In a world that wallows in filth, be clean—in language, in thought, in body, in dress.”

From President Hinckley, April 2007 General Conference “I Am Clean.” See the full address here.

Tuesday Tips:

May 3, 2011

Spring has sprung, and our thoughts turn to all-purpose bleach. Just kidding. Sort of.

Spring cleaning is a ritual that I can’t help but follow. The sunshine shows all those fingerprints on the walls by the stair railing, and the dust bunnies in the corners, and the soot from the fireplace on the mantelpiece, not to mention the grit hiding under the rug. I can tolerate only so much.

However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the tasks to be done.  I once attended an enrichment meeting given by a woman who was super organized. She told us about her method of keeping on top of housework.

She got index cards, and wrote down every single task that would ever have to be done in a year: vacuum behind furniture, wash windows, clean interior of car, vacuum dryer vents, dust lamp shades, wash walls, etc. Then she and her kids would pick one each day. On some days she didn’t have much time, so she might do a simpler one, such as wiping down switch plates. On other days, she had a larger block of time and would do two or three cards.

When she was finished with the task, she put the date on the back of the card and put it at the back of the pile.

I created my own set of cards, and though I don’t follow her system exactly, the cards serve as a reminder of what needs to be done, and it also helps in doling out chores to the boys when they need something to do, and I can’t come up with something on the spur of the moment.

Monday Menus

May 2, 2011

We are clearing out the refrigerator today. All those vegetables I optimistically bought last week are on their last nutritional legs: green beans, mushrooms, green onions, jalapeno peppers. There’s even some zucchini and summer squash. I imagine vitamins are flying out the refrigerator each time I open the door, and I cringe. Oh well. A perfect opportunity to make some brown rice, pull out the soy sauce and sesame oil and have a stir-fry.

Besides, it’s another chance to practice with the chopsticks before we head to Korea.

I don’t have a real recipe for stir-fry, as I simply peel and chop, and stir-fry-like-crazy. I try to include garlic, fresh ginger, and sesame oil. I usually add soy sauce after I’ve cooked everything, because the cheap-o soy that I have seems to carmelize and burn when I add it during cooking.