Archive for July, 2011

Friday Favorites–Judy Kohl

July 8, 2011

Today for Friday Favorites, I (Melanie Marks) am going to introduce you to one of my favorite people in the ward—Judy Kohl.:

Hi Everyone.  This is Judy Kohl.  Gonna tell you some stuff about me:

I joined the church in Nov of 1963.  I was working at a bank in downtown Portsmouth and was on my lunch hour (yes we hour lunches back then).  Two missionaries stopped me to ask the two well-known questions at that time 1/ “What do you know about the Mormon Church?” and 2/ “Would you like to know more?”  I was in a hurry and I was rude, but I agreed to attend a Sunday meeting.  I was still kind of rude. hahahaha        I met my husband a couple years later and according to my high school English teacher, it was considered a “romantic meeting” (because it wasn’t your typical type of meeting)  My classmate Anne was his sister and she and her father were producing a play and Anne asked me if I’d like to try out.  I did and I ended up being the Leading Lady (The wife) and Anne’s brother Warren was the Leading Man (the husband!)   We both thought each other were weird, so playing husband and wife was kind of uncomfortable.  But we got used to each other and actually fell in love (Oh gag gag gag?  hahahahah)

My favorite types of music are really interesting: Classical (Baroque, Mendelsohn, Schubert–PLEASE no Mozart, nice but “over-kill”) Heavy metal, Pop rock, Celtic/Goth/Fantasy. SUCH AS:::: Savatage, Tran-siberian Orchestra, Metallica, Firehouse, Linkin Park, Plain White Tees, Nickleback, Rhapsody of Fire—Even BOY BANDS like Boy Zone and Westlife.

Not too many favorite movies, although the Star Wars series I still enjoy, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings.  The scariest movie to me is Alien (the very first of the Alien series)

Here something very interesting:::  As a teenager, I was interested only in playing piano and gymnastics.  I was NEVER getting married or EVER going to cook or EVER have children!!!  And the biggest NEVER was I was not going to sew or knit. I JUST WANTED to be a dancer and a pianist!!!

Now I am still working.  I “shuffle” Visa applications around for 8 hours a day at the National Visa Center (these are apps for green card Visas.) I enjoy writing music now that I bought my own keyboard with earphones so I don’t bother anyone in the household.  I am writing on a history type novel that takes place out West in the 1880’s.  What fun I’ve had researching.

That’s it.  Hope this is not too long.  🙂 Judy

So … that was Judy.  As you can now see, she’s a really fun lady that you should all get to know.  I also wanted to add that Judy wrote the music and lyrics to the song the Primary kids sang in sacrament meeting on Easter.  And she wrote the lyrics and music for Mkahyla’s (Thelma Remmick’s granddaughter) baptism.  Also … just so you all know, Judy’s Birthday is next Friday, July 15.  

Happy Birthday Judy!!!  🙂 


Thursday Thoughts–Preparedness

July 7, 2011

Hey Ladies, Pam gave a wonderful lesson this Sunday on preparedness.  Below is the handout she gave us with helpful information.


Prophetic council about food storage:

“Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their . . .supply of food. . .and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.”  Pres. Thomas S. Monson May 12, 2001

“Everyone who owns a home recognizes the need for fire insurance. We hope and pray that there will never be a fire.  Nevertheless, we pay for insurance to cover such a catastrophe, should it occur.  We ought to do the same with reference to family welfare.”  Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley  Nov. 2002

“In the day of plenty, prepare for the day of scarcity.”  First Presidency Message April 1942

“Learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity.”  Pres.  Brigham Young


Here are a few URL addresses to find informative tips on how to prepare you and your family.

This is a site put together by some LDS women on food storage ideas.

This is Sis. Wendy DeWitt’s blog where she has all of her YouTube videos  of her presentation on food preparation.

This is the Emergency Essentials web address.


This is a PDF created by the church to help guide  you in ways to prepare and keep your storage.






Wednesday Words–Fear

July 6, 2011

Now words, and more words.

I have been thinking about fear lately. I’m not particularly fearful, but I am close to people who have some issues. A friend in California who rarely travels took a business trip to Toronto about two months ago. Before she left on her trip, she developed a fear of flying that left her sobbing at the home of another friend. Fortunately, that friend is very down to earth and firmly grounded in the gospel. She comforted and encouraged my fearful friend, who was able to fly without unusual discomfort not only on that trip, but on a subsequent weekend trip to a nephew’s wedding. She had a great time on both occasions, now says she loves traveling, and is planning to come to Boston this weekend.

Not all fears are so easily dispelled. Many times they lead people to act in strange ways. One of our favorite tv shows which stopped airing a few years ago was Monk, featuring an obsessive-compulsive detective. He was so afraid of germs that he avoided shaking hands and had his assistant carry hand wipes which he used whenever he couldn’t avoid shaking hands or when he touched any unsanitized surfaces. It was easy to laugh at him because of his extreme behavior. However, there are real people with the same or similar fears whose lifestyles are cramped because of their reactions to those fears. A fear of loss of control can lead a person to being excessively controlling, which doesn’t go over well with family members or those forced to work with him or her. Another annoying behavior occurs when a person assumes that the worst is going to happen in any situation and verbally obsesses about it. Fear is contagious, depressing, and a tool of Satan.

There are many ways to combat fears. Counseling, hypnosis, and medication are some methods which may help. Faith in God and his protection can eliminate fear; ideally it prevents fear from surfacing at all. All of these methods require sustained effort. Just as we need frequent physical nourishment to stay healthy and alive, we need spiritual nourishment to stay healthy spiritually and combat Satan’s tools, including fear and discouragement.

Although I could remember the gist of many scriptures about fear, I couldn’t remember where to find them and couldn’t quote them verbatim. I looked at the Topical Guide and found many references. Following are eight appropriate scriptures, one for every day of the week plus a bonus.

Isaiah 41:10.  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalm 27:1.  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 46:1-3.  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.

Matthew 8:26. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

2 Timothy 1:7.  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1 John 4:16, 18.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Doctrine and Covenants 38:30. …If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.

Doctrine and Covenants 68:6.  Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

I realize that some fear is good. It enables us to recognize and avoid danger, and it can prod us to take steps to protect ourselves from future harm, discomfort, and sometimes even death. In my lifetime, I have experienced several hurricanes, earthquakes, and the threat of fire. Fortunately, none of these experiences harmed me or my family members. However, if these types of events prod us to collect everything we need for 72-hour kits and longer-term food storage, they have produced a positive result.

I hope that we will all make progress in channeling our existing fears into positive actions instead of allowing them to drag us down into negative reactions. 🙂

–Donna Mitchell


Tuesday Tips–Family Scheduling

July 5, 2011


Once upon a time, I had six children at home. The older four were in junior high or high school, while the youngest two didn’t have much to schedule. Terry and I had our individual and joint activities as well. To keep track of all our activities, I would buy a calendar with large spaces to write in multiple events. I assigned a different color to each individual and another color to combined Terry/Donna or family activities and wrote them in with fine point markers.

I had already bought the older kids their own towels in their specific colors, which made it easier to assign responsibility for picking them up from inappropriate locations. My oldest son’s wife has gone even further and bought several sets of plastic plates and glasses in different colors, with each color assigned to a specific child. At one glance, it is easy to see whose plate has been left on the table or who has leftovers in the refrigerator which need to be eaten. There are probably five plates per child so that they don’t run out before the dishwasher processes them.

When my kids were old enough to get their own drinks, I noticed that the top rack of the dishwasher always filled up with glasses long before the bottom was filled with plates. I decided that the glasses didn’t need to be washed after one drink of what was often just water, so I set out coasters on the window sill above our sink and assigned each person a location based on age, starting with the oldest (Dad) on the left. Since we had many mugs of different styles, most of also had our own individual mug. When the dishwasher was full enough to wash dishes, usually once a day, all the mugs went in together.


After repeatedly being asked, “When is dinner?”, I started telling my kids that it would happen faster if they helped. Their willingness to help often depended on what we were having and how hungry they were. I soon decided that I liked having help and they needed to learn how to cook before they left home anyway, so every night I assigned one or two dinner helpers and someone else for cleanup. I discovered that I had one favorite child for dinner helper because he was an instinctive cook who understood that all the different parts of a meal needed to come together at the same time. He would move from his initial task to the next logical activity without wandering off while I wasn’t looking, like his siblings were prone to do. I had to remind them that they weren’t done until we sat down to eat.

A couple years later, I decided that I needed to go back to work so that we would have enough money to send our high schoolers to college in the near future. I also went back to school at the same time, two or three nights a week. Suddenly I had no time to cook, so I assigned the four older kids one night a week to cook whatever they wanted for the whole family to eat. They made some interesting dinners but most were simple and fairly repetitious. I was in charge of the weekend meals, with Terry’s frequent help.

We found out that it was not a particularly good idea to have different people for cooking and cleanup because some cooks tried to clean as they went along while others left everything for the cleanup person. When the cooking person was in charge of cleanup as well, the messes became more manageable. It also meant that the kids were only tasked one night a week instead of two. This idea was a natural outgrowth of a greater philosophy: “You mess it up, you clean it up,” which applies to everything in life.

Whenever we had company, everyone had to help. The kids liked having company because the meals were better and the conversation was more interesting. Before the actual cooking and setting the table, everyone had to help clean the house. One Saturday we told the kids we were all going to work on cleaning the house. The youngest asked, “Who’s coming over?” I told him no one was coming over, but we just thought it would be nice to have a clean house for a change. He wasn’t nearly as happy about helping as he would have been for company. Moral of the story: Have company often. It gives you a good excuse to clean the house and have a really nice meal.

One Christmas, I photocopied many of our favorite recipe cards onto card stock, which I then cut back to 3×5 size along the outlines of the original cards. I gave each child a recipe file box with divider tabs and all the recipes in their appropriate categories. This was partially in my own self interest since they didn’t always file my recipes in the right places after they used them. It was mainly to give them a basic repertoire of the tried and true to use for cooking on their one night a week but it was for the future too. I also wanted them to have a place to add recipes they would find on their own, which started happening almost immediately.

A year or so ago, I apologized to one of my daughters for not having more interesting meals when they were growing up. I think I felt guilty for that period of time when I was so preoccupied with work and school. Since it was just before they started leaving home, that was the part I remembered best. She reassured me that she didn’t feel slighted at all and that she appreciated the variety of foods that she had learned to eat and cook. It’s interesting that all my kids enjoy cooking. Don, my favorite dinner helper, has naturally turned out to be the most skilled and ambitious cook.


I feel that the goal of mothers should be to make themselves obsolete, or at least extraneous. This means that children need to be able to fend for themselves when they leave home. They need to be able to cook, do their own laundry, balance a checkbook, change a tire, and so on. My role was to get them to that point, not to care for their every need as long as they lived at home. I bought a book which talked about what kids should know how to do in many different categories. For example, under cooking there was a long list of different kinds of foods. Although I didn’t follow the book’s structure of keeping track of what I taught my children, I agreed with the principle and tried to work on it. Of course, the best way for them to learn how to do something is to practice doing it the right way, often.

I had them observe me do a load of laundry, then I supervised them doing a load, then I watched without talking unless they were about to make a mistake. When they were comfortable with the process, I let them do it without me hovering around. We did have a few laundry disasters with items that shouldn’t be washed, although you’re never too old to have a disaster if you don’t pay attention and read the label, but they learned the basics. It paid off; a couple of my children told me stories of kids in their college dorms who were clueless and used too much detergent or dyed their clothes pink, to their embarrassment and the amusement and disdain of those who knew better. Good moms don’t let their kids go off unprepared.

This has been a rambling trip down memory lane. I hope it’s been interesting and helpful as well.


Donna Mitchell’s All-American Mitchell family favorite foods

July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July! Your caring RS secretary (me, Melanie) brings you:  Donna Mitchell’s “all-American Mitchell family favorite foods” in honor of the holiday.  Our awesome primary president says, “The menu won’t necessarily be totally coordinated, but the parts will all taste good! “



Vegetable Dip
1 8-ounce pkg cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 grated carrot
1/2 to 1 stalk celery, minced
1/4 to 1/3 green pepper, minced (I only like raw green pepper in small quantities)
about 1 tablespoon onion, minced fine, or 1 to 3 green onions, minced

Blend cream cheese and milk in electric mixer until smooth. Shred the cheese and carrot in a food processor if you want, but don’t use it to mix up everything together or the texture will be weird. Chop the veggies by hand or with a hand chopper so they don’t get mangled (Yes, this is the voice of experience talking.) Add cheese and veggies to cream cheese mixture and mix well.

At room temperature (right after you make it), you can dip potato chips. Once it’s cold, you can scoop it up with pretzels, crackers or veggie sticks (carrots, celery) or spread it with a knife.

Pickled Mushrooms (Best made ahead several hours or the night before)
2/3 cup tarragon vinegar or white vinegar with 1 tsp tarragon added
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
dash Tabasco sauce
1 Tbls sugar
1 medium onion, cut in thin rings
2 Tbls water
12-ounce can whole mushrooms, drained
1-1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1/2 tsp basil

In plastic bowl with a tight lid (Tupperware works well), mix all ingredients except onions and mushrooms. Add them, shake vigorously with a tight hold on the lid, then store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Transfer without liquid to a serving bowl (slotted spoon) and have the toothpicks close by.


Banana Crush (I like to have some on hand in the freezer for unexpected celebrations. Must be made ahead.)
4 cups sugar or sugar substitute
6 cups water
2-1/2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 crushed bananas
4 cups pineapple juice
4 quarts ginger ale, 7-Up, Sprite, etc.

In large pot, dissolve sugar in heated water. Liquify bananas in blender with some of the juices. Mix in all other ingredients except soda; freeze in quart containers (about six). When ready to serve, heat in microwave until slightly softened (slush), but not so much that it turns back to liquid. Mix with equal parts soda; stir well. You can do this in individual glasses, but it’s easier to put in a pitcher. Note: Be sure to rinse well before putting glasses in dishwasher or the residue will be baked on.


Corn Chowder
(As a child I always preferred this to my mother’s clam chowder with its tasteless little rubbery bits. I’m over that and often eat clam chowder of my own free will, but I still enjoy this chowder.)
2-4 slices diced bacon
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups cubed raw potatoes
1 cup boiling water or corn liquid if using canned corn
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 10-ounce pkg frozen whole kernel corn or 1 can corn, drained (Use liquid above in place of water.)
2 cups milk
1 can evaporated milk

Fry bacon until crisp. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add potatoes, water or corn liquid, salt and pepper. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes. Add corn, cover and cook gently about 5 minutes or until vegetable is tender. Add milk and heat thoroughtly.


Pot Roast in Foil (Not fancy, but super simple and easy to start ahead of time)
4 pounds beef chuck pot roast (boneless rump, top round or bottom round)
1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (about 1-1/2 ounces)

Place 18″x30″ piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil in 9″x13″ baking pan; place meat on foil. Spread cream of mushroom soup on top of beef; sprinkle evenly with dry onion soup mix. Fold over foil and seal securely (but expect some leakage anyway). Cook at 300 degrees for 4 hours. If there’s a bone, the meat falls off it.

Chicken Divan (for a Small Crowd) Makes lots of dirty dishes, but worth the trouble.
2 lbs boneless,skinless chicken breasts, browned, simmered and shredded
2 10-ounce bags frozen broccoli, cooked slightly and drained
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder (or more to taste)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I usually double this because we love cheese)
1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x13″ glass baking dish. Place slightly cooked broccoli into baking dish; top with cooked chicken. In medium bowl, combine soup, lemon juice, mayonnaise and curry powder; pour over chicken. Top chicken mixture with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.


Mashed Potatoes with Garlic or Egg Noodles (Easy way out)
Wing it.

Twice-Baked Potatoes
(Very filling and quite a bit of work. Faster if you have help stuffing the potatoes. Great if there’s not much else on the menu.)
4 baking potatoes
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbls butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half, hot
1/2 tsp salt
dash black pepper
dash nutmeg
dash paprika
4 slices bacon
2 Tbls grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbls grated sharp cheddar cheeses

Wash the potatoes; pat dry. Prick each potato with a fork in a few places. Bake potatoes on a rack at 400 for about one hour or until potatoes are done. Cut a thin slice from top of each potato. Scoop out the pulp into a bowl. Mash the potato pulp with the hot milk until fluffy. Beat in the butter and the green onion. Add seasonings. Fry the bacon until crisp. Crumble and add to potato mixture. Spoon potato mixture into shells. Sprinkle with both cheeses. Place potatoes on baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until potatoes are piping hot and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.


Lime Party Salad (Good enough to be desert)
1/4 pound marshmallows (about 16 large or 2-1/4 cup minis)
1 cup milk
1 small pkg lime gelatin
1 8-ounce pkg cream cheese (or 2 three-ounce pkgs) (Let it sit out a little to get softer.)
1 can (20 ounces or 2-1/2 cups undrained crushed pineapple
1 cup whipping cream, whipped (I usually substitute Dream Whip, which is easier to keep on hand)
2/3 cup mayonnaise

First whip the whipping cream/Dream Whip and transfer to a small bowl to free up the mixing bowl. Melt marshmallows and milk in top of double boiler or in microwave. If using microwave, do several short bursts and watch carefully. This overflows easilly and can be a big mess!

Put gelatin in mixing bowl; pour very hot mixture over it. Let the mixer run until the gelatin is dissolved, scraping sides and bottom periodically. Cut cream cheese into small cubes and drop into mixing bowl. Let mixer run until cubes are mostly absorbed into mix. Add mayonnaise and pineapple. Stir whipped cream in by hand or use lowest speed on electric mixer. Pour/spoon into a ring mold and chill until firm. To unmold, spray or partially submerge bottom in hot water (briefly!).


Grasshopper Pie (Rich, smooth minty green; not a bug in sight)
24 cream-filled chocolate cookies (Oreo’s, Hydrox), finely crushed
1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 cups heavy cream, whipped and set aside in a different bowl
1 jar marshmallow creme
1/4 cup milk
a few drops peppermint extract
a few drops green food coloring

Combine cookie crumbs and margarine. Press into 9″ springform pan or large pie plate (not standard).

Place marshmallow creme in mixing bowl. Gradually add milk, extract and food coloring, mixing until well blended. Fold in whipped cream and pour into pan or pie plate. Freeze until firm. Take out about 5 minutes before serving; use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut. This is best served at home or not too far away since it softens quickly.

Because this is almost the same color as Lime Party Salad, I once decided to color it pink instead of green to avoid boring visual repetition. My children enjoyed eating the pie but convinced me that it was too disconcerting to alter the color.

On another occasion I decided to dress it up with chocolate leaves. I melted a little semi-sweet or milk chocolate and used a small, clean new paintbrush to coat the underside of several mint leaves (much more definition on the bottom surface than on the top). Place mint leaves (green side down/chocolate side up) on wax paper on plate or cookie sheet and cool in refrigerator until firm. Carefully peel off and discard the green leaves; place the chocolate leaves artfully on the firm pie.Time-consuming, but it looked great. My mother-in-law wouldn’t eat them because she thought the mint leaves were hidden inside the chocolate. All the more for the rest of us!

I hope this isn’t an overwhelming overload of food information, but that someone will find something that will become one of their favorites too.