Archive for September, 2011

Wednesday Words

September 28, 2011


Bri Liegh taught our Teachings for our Time lesson on Sunday. Bri is new in the ward and you all need to meet her. She is wonderful and we are so happy to have her.

This weeks lesson focused on “Place no more for the Enemy of My Soul”  by Jeffrey R. Holland in an address he gave in General Conference April 2010.

Elder Holland’s talk was about the dangers of lust in our society, which he described as the opposite of love. He talked about we can do to keep it from creeping into our homes and our thoughts. We talked a lot about the dangers of easy access to pornography through the internet and the damage it can do. Many sisters shared what they do to protect their family including specific internet filters set up on their computer. The ones that were mentioned are Safe Eyes, Covenant Eyes, K-9. Some like K-9 are available to download for free off the internet. Others have a monthly or yearly cost. Also one sister mentioned that on her Apple computer it is easy to set up a filter through Parental Control. Basically we all agreed that we need to be proactive in guarding our home and being open to talk about this with our children and as husband and wife.

Elder Holland said, “Most people in trouble end up crying, “What was I thinking?” Well, whatever they were thinking, they weren’t thinking of Christ. Yet, as members of His Church, we pledge every Sunday of our lives to take upon ourselves His name and promise to “always remember him.” 8 So let us work a little harder at remembering Him—especially that He has “borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows … , [that] he was bruised for our iniquities … ; and with his stripes we are healed.” 9 Surely it would guide our actions in a dramatic way if we remembered that every time we transgress, we hurt not only those we love, but we also hurt Him, who so dearly loves us. But if we do sin, however serious that sin may be, we can be rescued by that same majestic figure, He who bears the only name given under heaven whereby any man or woman can be saved. 10 When confronting our transgressions and our souls are harrowed up with true pain, may we all echo the repentant Alma and utter his life-changing cry: “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.” 11

“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. May the joy of our fidelity to the highest and best within us be ours as we keep our love and our marriages, our society and our souls, as pure as they were meant to be, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Tuesday Tips: Totally random

September 27, 2011

Three tips:

1. After dinner we usually have a small portion of leftover cooked veggies, that usually get buried in the fridge and eventually thrown out. Here’s an idea that I just read about that I am starting now. Keep a large freezer bag in the freezer to store small bits of leftover vegetables such as beans, carrots, and corn. When the bag is full dump everything into a large soup pot; add beef, chicken, or vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, and your favorite seasonings for a yummy soup. Note: can also add cooked ground beef, sausage, or turkey.

2. Want to add more fiber to your cooking? I keep a bag of wheat bran that I dump a few tablespoons into things like prepared pancake mix or bisquick. Or another idea is to grind up oatmeal in your blender to a flour. Then substitute some of the oat flour for white flour in cookies, pancakes etc. My kids don’t like the chunks but they can’t tell the difference when I disguise the oats this way.

3. I do a lot of painting on the spur of the moment and thus usually end up with a kid or two that swipe the wall/dresser and now has paint on their nice clothes. I used to just throw the item out or throw it into a painting clothes box until I discovered that Windex and a scrubber will almost always get it out.


Monday Menus: Mexican Crockpot Recipe and Apple Cake

September 27, 2011

I have used my crockpot a lot lately because usually it means a recipe where you throw stuff and thus  minimal prep time on my feet. It also works great if it’s too hot in your house and the last thing you want to do is turn on your gas oven and really heat it up. But my kids are so picky about casseroles that my choices are limited. Here’s one that was so simple and tasty.

In your crockpot put in:

2 boneless chicken breasts

1 jar medium salsa (I used pace picante) Use medium, not mild or your dinner will lack flavor.

Frozen Corn -I used about 2 cups

1 can black beans (or other bean of your choice)

Heat 1 hour on high, then 4 hours on low. Cook time may vary with each crockpot.

Serve with tortillas or chips and garnish with sour cream, avocados, and shredded cheese.

Also I love fall because of all the yummy harvest deserts and  have so many cravings for all things apple and pumpkin once the leaves start to change.

Favorite apple cake recipe
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat neufatchel cheese)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use 1 C white, 1/2 C white whole wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 C chopped peeled apples
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl; beat on medium speed until well blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to cream cheese mixture, beating at low speed until well blended.

Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Combine 2 TABLESPOONS of cinnamon mixture and chopped apple in a bowl, and stir apple mixture into batter. Pour the batter into an 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray or round cake pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350° for 60-75min (I cooked it 75min) or until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cake will look pretty “done” on the outside, but will be delicious and moist on the inside!  (This can be served warm or cold.)


Friday Favorite

September 23, 2011

I know that it is early to start talking about Christmas, but Christmas eve the best day of the year at our house, and I wanted to share some of the family traditions that have made it so special.  We started when the kids were young trying to think of ways to help them think about how to give on Christmas and not get caught up in the unhappiness of wanting too much.  So we encouraged them to give presents to each other and us, and we turned Christmas Eve into the children’s giving event.  We start the evening by caroling, then we come back to the house and have a middle-eastern dinner to remind us of the food that the Savior may have eaten.  After dinner we read the Christmas story together (we used to act it out for years and years.  Gloria Jean was always Mary.  Angela was the angel, and Brian was often the donkey.  Ben was the innkeeper one year, but his heart was so soft that he let Joseph and Mary have a room for the night.)  Then the magic begins with the children’s gifts.  Each child has a special time to give the gifts that he or she has made (or bought if necessary).  We start with a round of appreciations for each giver-of-the-gifts in turn.  Everybody in the family tells about why they love this child.  Sometimes they bring up their favorite memory of this person from the year.  When everybody has given an appreciation, then the child gives out his/her presents one by one, explaining why they chose it, and showing the recipient how the gift works.  This is such a magical experience.  Everyone in the family feels surrounded by love.  And the spirit is so sweet that we do feel like we are in a little heaven-on earth.  Christmas morning, when the children receive the parents’ gifts, always seems like an afterthought.  The children are so much more excited about what they are giving than what they are getting, and the excitement infuses the house with hidden secrets and plans and works weeks before the magic evening arrives.  This special night of giving and receiving love infuses the family interactions with security and well-being for months.  The kind of presents the children give have changed a lot over the years, but we always know that appreciations and giving bring a fullness of spirit to fill our home.

Thursday Thought–Hope

September 22, 2011

I’ve always loved the talk Relief Society President Elaine Jack gave on hope in 1991.  Below is an excerpt from that talk.

“I cannot imagine life without hope. Perhaps this is because I learned early that hope is a personal quality, essential for righteous living. In fact, hope is one of the personality traits of godlike men and women. Paul explained that members of the Church who wish to live “acceptable unto God” (Rom. 12:1 <> ) are in part characterized as those “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” (Rom. 12:11–12 <> .)

Recently I read an article about a Cambodian family who had endured unimaginable suffering. At the end of a particularly arduous day, the mother gathered the family together and taught, “Remember, children, hate does not end with more hate but with love. And from that we take hope. Without love and hope, our lives will be empty.” What a wise mother!

My own dear mother taught me a lot about love and hope. She was ill for many years, yet she was such a bright, hopeful person. She taught me that in any circumstance those who are “acceptable unto God” can be recognized because their belief is evident in their attitude and action. Mother knew that it is hope that helps us to rebound.

To me it is very important that “rejoicing in hope” is on the list of godlike characteristics, especially because we benefit so much from the comfort and happy expectation of hope in these tumultuous times.

Karen’s children are close in age. Since Brad, now six, nearly drowned two years ago, he has required much extra care. Karen’s father-in-law died about the time her mother entered a nursing home. Shortly after her mother died, her father remarried. And during all of this, Karen’s husband has been starting up his own business.

Karen knows, as all of us know, that daily living can be draining. The demands on women seem to multiply. Personal lives can be in such chaos. Yet hope stands as a beacon—warm, steady, and inviting. It is reassuring to me that this quality I enjoy so much is also requisite for those who would follow the light and life of the Savior of the world.”


Wednesday Words–Curiosity

September 21, 2011


One of our favorite family poems is “Curiosity” by Alastair Reid.  It’s a fun poem for the children, and still delights the older we grow.  It is full of quirky images and twists of our regular way of looking at things.  And it plays off of the old idea that cats have nine lives.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Sue Gong.

may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably.

Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.
Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die--
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.
Only the curious
have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do.

Alastair Reid



Tuesday Tip–Scripture Study

September 20, 2011

Hi Ladies!  This week Sue Gong is going to share with us her pearls of wisdom.  Below is her Tuesday Tip:

Do you find it hard to read the scriptures?  Take a tip from Ben.  He says, “I have to read in the morning because by the time my day starts everything is moving too fast.  If I waited I would never get my scripture reading done.”

–Other people say that they take their scriptures to work and read them at lunch.  They say that the important thing is to have a regular time.  Make it a habit that’s hard to break.  Same time.  Same place. Every day.
–One person I know reads the scriptures on her knees.  She prays, then reads, then prays some more.  The scriptures are just part of her back-and-forth conversation with God.
–Another friend of mine reads the scriptures with a pen and notebook in hand.  She says the Lord gives her spiritual messages when she’s reading, and she has to hurry and get them on paper before she forgets.  “It’s a matter of priority,” she says.  “When the Lord gives me his list, I do it first. His work gets done before mine does.  Somehow when I have requests I feel confident that I can make them known to him.”
— One woman writes a scripture on a piece of paper and tapes it to her bathroom mirror.  Every time she enters the room she takes a minute to memorize her scripture.  When she has it memorized, she takes it down and puts it into her backlog pile.  After two or three new scriptures she takes an old one from the backlog pile and puts it up so she can rememorize it.
–An old trick we tried in seminary was to put the scriptures to song and sing them out loud.  It was amazing to hear my own children singing the old seminary scripture songs years after they were out of school.
I guess the lesson is that there as many ways to read the scriptures as there are personalities. What remains the same is the light and peace that floods into our lives when we are reading and praying consistently.  If you have a unique method of scripture reading, please take a minute and add it to this blog.


Grilled Corn in the Husk

September 19, 2011

Grilled Corn in its husk is really pretty and looks fall-like. (I think!) Below are directions on how to Grill corn in the husk. Enjoy!

Corn Grilled In The Husk:     

Recipe Type: Corn, Barbecue and Grilling
Yields: serves many
Soak time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min


Fresh ears of corn
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Selecting Fresh Corn:

Good corn on the cob always begins with selecting the freshest, just ripe ears of your favorite variety of corn. The absolute best corn is corn that is picked ripe and straight from your own vegetable garden! Now I know everybody can not have a garden and grow their own corn, so pick fresh corn from your local market carefully!

When buying corn at the market, the husks (outer green covering) should be bright green and fit snugly around the ear of corn. The kernels should be in tight rows right to the tip of the ear of corn, and be plump and milky.

In the grocery store, it is perfectly acceptable (well maybe a little frowned on) to peel back the outer green husk to check and see if the corn looks ok to you.


If the ears of corn have many layers of husk on them, peel off only the first couple of layers, leaving a few layers for protection. Do not remove all the layers.

Soak the whole cobs in a pot of cold water for 15 minutes. Be sure the ears are completely covered with water. This will provide extra moisture for cooking and will steam the corn kernels inside the husks.

While the corn is soaking, preheat the barbecue grill to a medium temperature (350 degrees F).

After soaking, remove the corn from the water and shake off any excess water.

Begin by pulling the husks of the corn back (but do not completely remove them). Remove and discard only the silk.

Brush the kernels with olive oil or butter. NOTE: I’ve used butter instead of olive oil, but I think butter is best applied after the corn comes off the grill just before you eat it.

If desired, before you re-wrap the corn in the husks, add a little garlic, chopped onion, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper. For an international twist, try using herbs such as basil, cilantro, or oregano. Then reposition the husks back over the kernels and tie each ear with a piece of loose husk or twine.

Place the prepared ears of corn on a medium heat grill, rotating the corn as needed to keep it from getting charred too much on one side. After a couple of turns, place the corn husk on an indirect heat (moved to the side of the grill) or on the top shelf of your grill, and close the cover.

Allow the corn to slowly continue cooking for approximately 15 minutes.

As soon as the husk picks up the dark silhouette of the kernels and begins to pull away from the tip of the ear, the corn is ready to come off the grill. Don’t overcook the corn or it will become mushy. You know when you’ve gone too far if the corn cob flexes easily in your hands.

Remove the corn from the grill. Be careful and wear oven mitts as the corn will be very hot!

Grasping one end with a oven mitt or dish towel, peel the husks and silk from the top down (like a banana) – they should all come off in one piece. Ashes will get on the corn, but this is ok. If the corn is too hot to handle, do this part in the sink under warm running water.

Once you’ve removed most of the silk, rinse the corn under warm running water to remove any excess ash and silk.

Serve with butter and enjoy!

Friday Favorites–Bright Star by John Keats

September 15, 2011

As you might remember from a previous Friday Favorite blog of mine, one of my favorite movies is Bright Star and one of my favorite poets is John Keats, the inspiration for the film.  I thought it only fitting to let  you see the poem for which the film is named.  It is Keats love poem for the love of his life, Fanny Brawne.   Although they were madly in love, his lack of funds and his poor health (He died of tuberculosis at 25) kept them from ever marrying.    Pam


By John Keats

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon in death.


Thursday Thoughts–Temple Work and Family History

September 15, 2011

The following quotes come from the RS manual Gospel Principles.

“Temples of The Church f Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are special buildings dedicated to the Lord. Worthy church members may go there to receive sacred ordinances and make covenants with God.  Like baptism, these ordinances and covenants are necessary for our salvation.They must be performed in the temples of the Lord.

We also go to the temple to learn more about Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  We gain a better understanding of our purpose in life and our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  We are taught about our premortal existence, the meaning of earth life, and life after death.. . . . . . . .

Mario Cannamela married Maria Vitta in 1882.  They lived in Tripani, Italy, where they raised a family and shared many wonderful years stogether. Mario and  Maria did not hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ during their lifetimes.  They were not baptized.  They did not have the opportunity to go to t he temple and be sealed together as an eternal family.  At dath, their marriage ended.

Over a century later a great reunion took place.  Descendants of Mario and  Maria went to the Los Angeles Temple, where a great-grandson and his wife knelt at an altar and served as proxies for the sealing of Mario and Maria. Tears filled their eyes as they shared in Mario and Maria’s joy.”


I know that our ancestors want us to do their work and that the Lord wnats us to go to the temple as often as possible.  Let us take advantage of these blessings that the Lord has provided for us.