Archive for July, 2011

Friday Favorites: Snapfish

July 22, 2011

If we’re linked on Facebook, you might have noticed I’ve been posting a zillion photos of our trip here. I’ve been taking about 100-150 a day. I’m trying to stay on top of organizing them, or else they’ll really get out of control.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to scrapbook them. Instead, I order photo books online from They frequently have specials where you can order one book (for around $20-30) and get one (or even two) free. Or sometimes, they’ll even give you the book free, and you just have to pay shipping and handling.

You just need to create an account, then upload your photos into albums, then create the books. They make it very easy, even autofilling the books with the photos you provide.

Have a good weekend! See you ladies soon!




Thursday Thoughts: Family Responsibilities

July 21, 2011

I missed Relief Society last week because we were traveling. We tried to go to a church, but it didn’t work out. Instead, we walked along a trail on an island in the Yellow Sea, found a shady spot, and read from the scriptures. We read part of Psalm 1, then my oldest son asked if he could read from his two favorite chapters, one of which is Ephesians 6, which begins, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honor thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” We talked about what why it was important to obey your parents, and how these verses in a broader sense meant to obey those in authority over us. We said a prayer. It wasn’t exactly church, but it was the best we could do under the circumstances.

Ironically, the Relief Society lesson (I think) was on this very subject, the subject of family responsibilities. The lesson outlines the responsibilities of fathers, mothers, and children.

“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

“President David O. McKay said that motherhood is the noblest calling (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay [2003], 156). It is a sacred calling, a partnership with God in bringing His spirit children into the world. Bearing children is one of the greatest of all blessings. If there is no father in the home, the mother presides over the family.”

“A loving and happy family does not happen by accident. Each person in the family must do his or her part. The Lord has given responsibilities to both parents and children. The scriptures teach that we must be thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate of others. When we speak, pray, sing, or work together, we can enjoy the blessings of harmony in our families. (See Colossians 3.)”

The full lesson can be found here.


Wednesday Words

July 20, 2011

“A Latter-day Saint is quite an ordinary individual. We are now everywhere in the world, 14 million of us. This is only the beginning. We are taught to be in the world but not of the world.17 Therefore, we live ordinary lives in ordinary families mixed in with the general population.

“We are taught not to lie or steal or cheat.18 We do not use profanity. We are positive and happy and not afraid of life.

“We are “willing to mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”19

“If someone is looking for a church that requires very little, this is not the one. It is not easy to be a Latter-day Saint, but in the long run it is the only true course.

“Regardless of opposition or “wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places,”20 no power or influence can stop this work.”

President Boyd K. Packer “Guided by the Holy Spirit” April 2011 General Conference

Tuesday Tips: Traveling with Children

July 19, 2011

Since we’ve been traveling, I thought I’d pass on a few tips for traveling with children.

When my husband was in graduate school, we would drive back to New York to visit family once or twice a year. With babies. With toddlers. With school children.

My very favorite discovery was simple and brilliant. To keep my youngest occupied on long car trips when he was about two, we gave him a brand new box of tissues. Yes, it’s a bit wasteful, but at a dollar a box, and HOURS of quiet as he pulled up one tissue after another, it was worth it. It was especially entertaining to see the look on the face of the Canadian border guards as he looked at the blizzard of tissues in the back seat. Hee hee.

Boxes of tissues are only entertaining for so long. When my boys got a little older, I would find small toys around the house (little-used) or at the dollar store and wrap them up, along with small packages of snacks (pretzels, teddy grahams, even candy). Every hour or so, I would dole out something new to keep them occupied.

We sometimes played the alphabet game, looking for letters of the alphabet on license plates or on signs. We looked for different state license plates. We looked for animals. We looked for route numbers.

Right now, we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the Legos Creator sets. They’re small enough to bring along places, and the boys can make three different things out of each kit.

Now when we’re taking long car rides, I get books on CD from the library. We’ve enjoyed listening to HOLES by Louis Sachar, ROOM ONE by Andrew Clements, and THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall.

Also, I bring a lot of food. When there’s food in their mouths, there are no complaints.

Monday Menus: Korean Food

July 18, 2011

Since this is my kitchen here (note the two-burner cooktop, teeny-tiny sink, and hidden refrigerator just slightly bigger than a dorm refrigerator),

we don’t do a lot of cooking, other than rice night, when we supplement with food from the street vendors. I thought I’d show you some of the food around here.

This is one of the street vendors. They sell gimbap (something like California rolls), and several things like tempura (battered and fried stuff): octopus, crab, shrimp, seaweed-wrapped rice noodles, hard-boiled eggs, a mix of veggies, sweet potato, etc.

Here is the roasted chestnut man:


All is not street food though. We’ve been out to Korean barbeque, where the rice was cooked in bamboo, and the kimchi is plentiful:


We’ve gone to the fish market, though we didn’t buy anything:

Thankfully, there are vegetables, too. 🙂


It’s been interesting. Most Western food is either just left of center, or it’s super sweet. Cereals, crackers, even croutons and pizza sauce, all have an inordinate amount of sugar in them.

I have learned how to make sticky rice, though. Here’s how:


1 cup sticky rice

1 cup plus 4 Tablespoons water

Wash rice, swishing it around in water. Drain, then let it soak in measured water for 15-30 minutes. Cover pot, then bring to a boil. Let boil 4 minutes. When the rice grains start dancing in the pot, move to a cool burner, set it to low and cook for 14 minutes WITHOUT REMOVING THE LID. When it starts to hiss, turn off burner, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Now, if there were only a street vendor below your window selling fried octopus to go with it…









Friday Favorites

July 15, 2011

As you know from a previous post I made, I love film.  Being a teacher of it at Exeter High School, I am always looking for new and great films to share with my students and my family.  One genre of film that I love is animation.  Many people think that animation is just for kids, but a good animated film will have something for everyone.  One such film, and  our family’s favorite is the film Up,which came out about two years ago.  Up is the kind of film that will make you cry and laugh and feel just plain great.

The story centers around Mr. Carl Frederickson, crotchety old widower who refuses to sell his house to a city developer.  One day when he is deemed  a “menace” to society and is to be sent to live in a senior citizen home, he devises a way to escape his dilemma and keep the promise he made to his wife long ago when they were children.   He fills up hundreds and thousands of balloons with helium and lifts his house up, hence the title, to keep that promise made so long ago  to go Paradise Falls in South America.

Carl loved his wife more than anything, so he wants nothing to do with anything that gets in the way of his goal, but he soon learns that some things are more important than even keeping a childhood promise, and he learns this from a little boy named Russell, a large colorful bird named Kevin, and a talking dog named Doug.  These three characters are the catalyst Carl needs to find a new adventure that is more important than the one he longed to have with  his wife, and he is only able to learn that when he learns that he can still love somebody in addition to his wife.

We learn of this love for  his wife in one of the most touching moments in the film, a  five minute montage with only music to tie the shots together. We learn of the joys and sorrows  of their marriage until it finally ends with Ellie’s death.  I cry every time I watch it.   Beautiful film making.

Up is a classic film that teaches us what it is that makes us human and what the  most important things in life are.  Watch it with your family or by yourself and see if you agree.


Thursday Thoughts

July 14, 2011

Patsy Smith gave a great lesson on Sunday from our manual, entitled The Family Can Be Eternal.  I thought I would quote some important things from that lesson.


President David O McKay said, “With all my heart I believe that the best place to prepare for  . . .eternal life is in the home”.

Pres. Harold B Lee said, “The most important of t he Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of  your own homes”.

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve declared in 1995, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities”.

The lesson lists eight things we can do to have happy, successful families. They are as follows:

1. Have family prayer every night and morning.  Pray together as a husband and a wife.

2. Teach children the gospel every week in family home evening.

3. Study the scriptures regularly as a family.

4. Do things together as a family, such as work projects, outings, and decision making.

5. Learn to be kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable.

6. Attend church meetings regularly.

7. Follow the counsel of the Lord in D & C 88:119. “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a  house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”

8. Keep a family history, perform temple work together, and receive the sealing ordinances of the temple.


Wednesday Words

July 13, 2011

Since I am going down to the temple tomorrow, I thought this month’s RS visiting message was perfect to share.

Robert D. Hales is quoted in our message: “The primary purpose of the temple is to provide the ordinances necessary for our exaltation in the celestial kingdom.  Temple ordinances guide us to our Savior and give us the blessings that come to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Temples are the greatest university of learning known to man, giving us knowledge and wisdom about the Creation of the world.  Endowment instructions give guidance as to how we should conduct our lives here in mortality. . .The ordinance consists of a series of instructions  on how we should live and covenants we make to live righteously by following our Savior.”

Pres. Boyd K. Packer says this about the  temple:  “Acting as proxy for someone who has gone beyond the veil, you will have reviewed before you the covenants that you have made. You will have reinforced in your mind the great spiritual blessings that are associated with the house of the Lord. . . .In the covenants and ordinances center the blessings that you may claim in the holy temple.”

Tuesday Tips

July 12, 2011

Summer time is when I stock up my shelves with home made jams.  July and August are the months I pick raspberries, blueberries,  and peaches and turn them into mouthwatering jams.

The only problem with many of these jams is the sugar content.  If you buy Sure Gel or any other store brand pectin, you must use  a 2-1 ratio of sugar to fruit; that is two times the sugar as the fruit. That doesn’t make for a very healthy jam.  Quite a few years ago I discovered a solution to this problem: Pomona’s Universal Pectin.

This wonderful product is produced in Massachusetts. Many farm stands carry it and you can order it online from many different outlets. This is what it says on the back of the box:

“POMONA’S UNIVERSAL PECTIN makes thick jam and jelly with rich, full flavor undiluted by large amounts of added sugar.  Ordinary fruit pectins require your jam or jelly to be 55-85% sugar to set firmly.

POMONA’S UNIVERSAL is a low methoxyl type pectin extracted from citrus peel.  Its jelling power is activated by calcium (included), not by sugar content.

Now you’re free to make cooked jam and jelly and freezer jam the way you like it–sweetened to  your taste with honey, sugar, artificial sweetener, fruit juice concentrate or any other sweetener.”

With store bought pectins, you can only make one  batch at a time, and for every two cups of fruit,  you need 4 cups or more of sugar and   you cannot use other sweeteners.  With Pomona you can make multiple batches of jam at the same time, saving energy and time, and you can add very little sweetener. For my last batch of freezer strawberry jam, I used four cups of fruit and 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  It was delicious.

Another tip for great jams is to combine different fruits together.  For example, do you like blueberry and raspberry jam?  Try combining the two together?  How about peaches and blueberries–combine them together.

A little afraid of doing cooked jams, try freezer jams. They are quick and easy and very yummy.   Once you feel comfortable with making freezer jams, you can make cooked jams with ease.  Just make sure you follow all directions carefully.


So happy jam making this summer.


Monday Menu

July 11, 2011

Pizza time!


Yesterday I cooked a pizza in the grill. NO, I did not put a frozen pizza in the grill. I made a homemade pizza and cooked it in the grill.  Now this is the first time that I have ever done  this, and I have to say that the pizza came out pretty well, and my kitchen didn’t get  hot.  I got the idea from reading the online magazine The Meridian which  has a daily segment from The Prepared Pantry and its originator, Dennis Weaver.

I have been making homemade pizza for  my family since my oldest kids were young.   We like pizza and we couldn’t afford to buy out very often, and we didn’t like the taste of frozen pizza.  Homemade pizza is also  healthier; it doesn’t have all of the grease that restaurant pizza has.  The trick is in finding the right crust recipe that you are willing to work with.  I found one such recipe about 20 years ago and have been using it ever since.  All of my kids have learned how to make it and have made dinner for us using this recipe.  Here is  the recipe for homemade pizza.  This is a thin crust pizza.

Pizza Crust:

1 cup warm water

1 package yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 t of sugar

1t salt

2T of vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

2 1/2 cups of flour

Pour the water into a glass or plastic bowl (never use a metal bowl with cooking with yeast) and mix the sugar and the yeast in the water.  Let sit for five minutes.  Add the salt and the oil and the flour, mixing the dough until it pulls away from the bowl.  Stir the dough for about 20 strokes to “knead” it.  Cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit and rise for five minutes.  Divide the dough into two balls and spread each ball  out on a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet.

Spread with pizza sauce–we use Market Basket pizza sauce–and top with cheeses of your choice and other toppings. Don’t layer your toppings too deep or the crust won’t cook all the way through. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Slice and enjoy.

Now, if you want to cook it on the grill, here are the directions.  You need a grill with a cover in order to cook your pizza.  Preheat your grill–I turned mine up all the way and let it get hot to about 500 degrees.  When I opened the hood to put in the pizza, the temp went down to around 400 degrees.  You want to raise your pizza as far a way from the flames as possible, so put another pan like a cookie sheet underneath.  This will allow the heat to slow down a bit and not burn your pizza.  Close the cover and let cook for about 8 minutes.  Check the bottom of the crust to make sure it is cooked but not burned. About half way through the cooking process, I turned the heat down.  You can turn the pan 180 degrees half way through the cooking process if your grill doesn’t cook evenly.

The first pizza I cooked burned a bit, but by the second one, I was getting the knack, and it came out great. It even smelled like restaurant pizza when it was cooking.

In addition to pizza made in our  home, we like bread sticks, too, so we use this same pizza crust recipe to make yummy bread sticks.  Here is that recipe.

One pizza crust recipe

Topping:  Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl.

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

2 t dried Italian seasonings, crushed

1/4 t garlic powder

1/8 t pepper

1/4 t paprika

Make the pizza crust as directed above for pizza, and roll out the crust on two cookie sheets. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut dough into strips and then brush dough with olive oil. Bake in the oven for ten minutes at 425 degrees. Take from the oven and sprinkle the cheese topping onto the dough and bake for another five minutes or until the cheese melts.  Remove from the oven, slice the bread sticks and serve. You can warm up some of the pizza sauce for a dip.