Sunday, November 30, 2008

Scripture Study Insights - week seventeen

Alma 34
Notice the progression of Amulek’s subjects: the Atonement (justice and mercy), faith and repentance which leads to prayer, we’re giving this time in mortality to prepare and to develop Christ-like attributes – humility, holiness, reverence, gratitude, patience.

Alma 35

Alma speaks to each of his sons individually, teaching them according to their specific needs.

Alma 36

You can find a lot of commentary for this chapter, Alma’s retelling of his conversion story. In particular, I am reminded of the power of the Atonement and its ability to change us. Read the beginning of this article. Kelly was my sister’s best friend, and the example of her family after her death is still powerful to me. . In addition, I really liked this article, which helps explain the difference between remembering the pain of sin and the sins themselves. Here’s a short excerpt: “Those experiences—and Alma 36—have made it clear to me that when we sincerely repent and exercise faith in the Lord and in the Atonement, we are forgiven. While the memory of our past sins may come to our minds from time to time, if we will also remember the reality of the Atonement, we will remember our pains no more. We will no longer be “harrowed up” by the memory of our sins.”

Alma 37
More wisdom: small things bring about great things, remember-remember-remember, we’re blessed for keeping the commandments, abhor wickedness, preach faith, repentance, humility, good works, meekness, etc., “learn wisdom in thy youth,” “counsel with the Lord in all thy doings,” give heed to prophets and leaders, don’t be slothful just because things seem easy, “look to God and live.”

Alma 38
One of a parent’s greatest joys is to see their children choosing the right. In fact, it really may be the greatest joy. The only way to find peace is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Be diligent and temperate, bridle your passions, and refrain from idleness.

Alma 39
Parents have a responsibility to command their children to do good.

Alma 40
When we don’t understand something, we should inquire of the Lord. He’ll tell us what we need to know. Remember the talk "You Know Enough" from last conference.

Alma 41
“That which ye do send out shall return unto you again.”

Alma 42
Great Plan of Salvation, Plan of Restoration, Great Plan of Happiness, Plan of Redemption, Plan of Mercy – which name do you like the best?

Friday, November 28, 2008

How We Met - part twelve

Flashback Friday
or How We Met: The End

So, that's the long version of our "how we met" story. To conclude, I thought I would share some of the lessons I learned those many years ago. I’ve tried to teach these to my kids already, but it’s probably good for them to be reminded.

#1 - Obey your parents. If I had never delivered my parents’ message to the Whitakers, Wayne never would have gotten my phone number.

#2 - Be nice to your older relatives. More importantly, appreciate them. We have a wealth of experience right at our fingertips if we’ll just develop relationships with our aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

#3 - If someone turns you down for a date to a fireside, you probably wouldn’t want to date them anyway.

#4 - Setting goals and standards in high school really works (if you keep them).

And #5 - Learn how the Spirit communicates to you. I didn’t mention it before, but during our very first phone call, the Holy Ghost whispered to me that I was talking to my future husband.** That kind of shocked me and I think I was in denial for a while. However, I had had enough experiences with personal inspiration and revelation to recognize that it wasn’t my own wishful thinking, that the message really came from my Heavenly Father. That’s what made the whirlwind courtship possible.

We went from not even knowing each other to being engaged in two weeks, but we had a six month engagement, which gave us plenty of time to realize that even quick decisions can be perfect decisions.

Our engagement picture - February 1982

**One of the reasons I’m reluctant to share the story is because it seems so superficial, but I guess that also shows that the Spirit speaks in ways we can understand. As teenagers, my sister and I would often lay in our beds and talk before falling asleep. (One of the joys of sharing a room.) Anyway, one of our recurring subjects was what type of person we would marry. Our standing joke was that she would marry someone who was already a millionaire and I would marry someone who was going to be a millionaire. Basically, it was our teenage way of saying we wanted husbands who were hard workers that would be willing and able to support a family. So, imagine my surprise when Wayne mentioned that one of his goals was to be a millionaire. That’s when the Spirit said, “Here’s your future husband.” Our wishes can come true!
(Although we’re still waiting for the million dollars!!!)

For those of you who may have missed the beginning of the story, here are the links:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
You could also just click on the "how we met" label and read from bottom to top.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #1

Okay, here's the answer. While Candy Bar Pie is our favorite year-round pie, Frosty Pumpkin Pie is the hands-down favorite Thanksgiving Pie. It's been our favorite since 1984! In addition to these two pies, we'll round out the dessert menu for Thanksgiving dinner with regular pumpkin pie and some sort of apple pie.

Frosty Pumpkin Pie

9-inch graham cracker crust
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

Beat pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices until smooth. Stir in ice cream. Pour into the crust and freeze at least 8 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and walnut halves.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #2

Wacky Wednesday
or Isn't it amazing that everyone has the same favorite pie?

So, you ask, why isn't it #1. You'll find the answer to that tomorrow. But here is the pie recipe that is requested most often at our house. One of the reasons I love it is because it has to be done in advance, making it a perfect "company" dessert. I found the original recipe in a magazine (probably Better Homes and Gardens) and followed the directions exactly the first time I made it. Although I love the walnut crust, the rest of the family prefers it in a graham cracker crust. And since I don't keep "milk chocolate bars with almonds" in my pantry, I use 1 to 1 1/2 cups of milk chocolate chips instead.

Candy Bar Pie

6 (1 to 1 ½ oz.) bars milk chocolate with almonds, chopped
15 large or 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
½ cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Walnut Crust
coarsely chopped milk chocolate bars with almonds (optional)

For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the 6 candy bars, marshmallows, and milk; heat and stir over medium-low heat till chocolate is melted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Chill a large mixing bowl and beaters. In the chilled bowl beat whipping cream and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed till soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture. Spoon chocolate mixture into Walnut Crust. Freeze about 5 hours or till firm. (Can be frozen for up to 2 months.) Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with additional whipped cream and chopped chocolate. Makes 8 servings.


Walnut Crust: In a medium mixing bowl combine 1 ½ cups coarsely ground walnuts, 3 tablespoons milted margarine or butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press nut mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in a 325° over about 10 minutes or till edge is golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #3

This is a fun fall pie, especially for Florida!

Caramel Ice Cream Pie

1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

Caramel Sauce:

½ cup butter

1 ¼ cups brown sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

½ cup evaporated milk or whip cream

Melt butter and sugar in saucepan. Add corn syrup and bring to a boil. Stir in milk and boil again. Remove from heat and let cool.

Crust:

1 cup flour

½ cup butter, melted

½ cup pecans, chopped

¼ cup brown sugar

Combine all ingredients and spread mixture on a cookie sheet, pressing to ¼” thickness. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl, stirring until cookie is crumbly. Measure out ¼ cup and set aside. Press remaining crumbs into a 9” pie plate for the crust. Pour ¾ cup caramel over crust and freeze. When caramel is solid, fill crust with softened ice cream. Sprinkle with 2 Tbls crumbs, drizzle with some sauce and sprinkle on remaining 2 Tbls crumbs. Freeze. Makes 8 servings.

Note: Can substitute 12 oz jar of caramel topping for sauce if desired

(Another note: I just googled a picture, if you follow the recipe it probably won't look the same, but it should still be delicious.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #4

From reading magazines, I know that some people really like pecan pie, especially for Thanksgiving. I am not one of those people. However, for those years when I feel like being traditional, this is the recipe I'll use. Chocolate makes everything delicious! Chocolate Pecan Pie
Pastry for 9-inch crust
1 ¼ cups light corn syrup
½ cup sugar
4 oz. sweet cooking chocolate
½ cup evaporated milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup pecan halves

Combine corn syrup, sugar, chocolate and milk in saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, just until the chocolate is melted. Gradually stir the hot mixture into the eggs, then stir in the pecan halves. Pour into a pastry-lined pie pan. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350°. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday Update

Steven wanted his brothers to know that he went shotgun shooting yesterday!
While he was gone, Michelle had to be Dad's helper.Can you tell she wasn't too excited about the assignment?
But then Steven came home and took over as "shingling the roof" helper.
And she was able to work on her Biology project - an edible diagram of an animal cell.
They'll be having fun in 8th period tomorrow eating all that candy!

Scripture Study Insights - week sixteen

Alma 27
We can’t have joy without being humble, repentant, and righteous first. We should get ourselves out of distressing situations if it is the will of the Lord – so ask Him. When truly converted, we will abhor sin, be honest and upright, and have Christ as our foundation. Fear of death can be conquered by hope in Christ and his atoning sacrifice and resurrection.

Alma 28
Sorrow is a part of mortality. It is eased through fasting and prayer.

Alma 29
“What does it mean to magnify a calling? It means to build it up in dignity and importance, to make it honorable and commendable in the eyes of all men, to enlarge and strengthen it to let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men. And how does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it.”
Thomas S. Monson 2000 Relief Society conference talks on “being an instrument in the hands of God.” God grants men their desires, whether they’re good or evil. What am I choosing? Seeing others choose the right, along with observing their successes, can bring us joy.

Alma 30
The people in Jershon didn’t even listen to Korihor. They’re a great example of doing what it takes to remove evil influences from our lives immediately. Satan is the great deceiver. Be careful.

Alma 31
Talking and teaching truth will help someone change faster than using force will.
President Benson spoke of Alma’s experiences and then said: “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.” Alma was astonished and grieved at how the Zoramites had perverted their worship. Sometimes our trials come as the result of others’ behavior. However, when we pray in faith, our afflictions can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ

Alma 32
We don’t have to know – that’s not the commandment. The commandment is to believe, to have faith. However, often the knowledge comes as we believe and then act. Don’t neglect your testimony, keep nourishing it. Testimony is a gift from the Lord. See D&C 67:4, D&C 76:74, Matthew 13:11 and 1 Corinthians 2:12

Alma 33

Prayer is worship. God is merciful and hears our prayers no matter where we are.

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #5

This peach pie is a Thanksgiving-type one! We first made it to take to an "after the temple dessert night" where several people requested the recipe, and we've made it often since then. It's one of our favorite ways to use our canned peaches.
Wintertime Peach Pie

3 cups drained, canned or frozen sliced peaches
½ cup sugar
3 Tbls flour
¼ tsp salt
pastry for a 2-crust pie
¼ cup peach syrup
¼ tsp almond extract
2 Tbls butter

Gently stir to combine peaches with sugar, flour and salt. Roll out half the pastry and line a 9-inch pie pan. Turn the peach mixture into the pastry. Mix together the peach syrup and almond extract and pour it over the peaches. Dot with the butter. Roll out the top crust and adjust over the peaches. Trim, seal and flute the edges. Bake 40 to 50 minutes at 400°. Serves 8.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #6

This is my grandmother's recipe and I remember it being my dad's favorite pie, at least in the summer. Try it with strawberries instead of peaches and it's just as delicious. It's probably not a true Thanksgiving-type pie, but I love it and could eat it year-round.
Mother Beckstrand’s Peach Pie

1 baked pie shell
2 cups peaches
1 cup sugar
4 Tbls cornstarch
1 Tbls butter
pinch salt

Mash peaches. Add sugar, cornstarch, butter and salt and cook until thick. Cool. Slice some uncooked peaches into the bottom of pie shell. Pour cooled mixture over. Chill until set. Top with whipped cream.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Day in our Life

I'm joining the party late, but I thought my cousin Harlene had a great suggestion, to play along with her friend Jennie. This sounds like a fun way to make some new friends. So, here's what happened on our typical day yesterday. The only really typical thing about it is that it wasn't typical. Does such a thing exist?

The alarm went off at 4:15 AM and I dirtied up some mugs for an object lesson in seminary - the topic was hypocrisy. (The kids' teacher is out of town and so I substituted for a few days.) Which mug would you like your hot chocolate in?

After seminary it was time to drive the kids to the high school, and then stay to accompany 1st period chorus.

Next it was time to go visiting teaching. We had a great time discussing Elder Holland's message that angels are all around us - seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

A counterful of dirty dishes needed attention - before

and after -


and then it was time to send a few emails before
picking up shirts at the cleaners
and spending some time on Ancestry.com at the library.
Steven and Michelle walked over and were excited to share the trophies they earned at the county math league competition.
Time to throw together some dinner
before retrieving the car from the shop
and running into the mall to pick up Wayne's new glasses.
Last on the list was preparing Scripture Mastery turkeys for Friday's seminary game before the final routine of scriptures, prayer, brush teeth, and go to bed around 10 PM.
So, maybe it was a pretty typical day after all - doing things to make my family happy and loving every (well almost every) minute of it - the same sort of things each one of you do every day as well.

How We Met - part eleven

Meeting the Parents
(Sorry, Jeff, but this is kind of a long one!)

It seems like we ate out a lot the next few weeks! Saturday, February 27, 1982, we had an engagement celebration dinner at R. Spencer Hines. (Then it was a restaurant, now it’s a bed & breakfast.)
Wayne’s good friend from before his mission invited us for dinner the next day. Bruce and his wife Jeannie were a lot of fun to be with and gave us a lot of good advice to help us through our engagement. I volunteered to take a salad and made one my family at home really enjoyed – lots of shredded lettuce and minced tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper and left to chill for a few hours. I learned that my future husband needed “real” salad dressing on his salads. (Actually, I had forgotten the incident, but the Bassetts hadn’t as they reminded us when we visited with them a few months ago!)

That week my parents came to Provo with my brother who was entering the MTC. I helped them with the last minute shopping and then after George was taken care of Grandma and Grandpa (Judge and Louise) took me and Wayne and my parents out to dinner. They had fun reconnecting and enjoying the role they played in our getting together. The next night Wayne and I took my parents back to the site of our first date – Heap’s Pizza – where we had a wonderful time and Wayne was able to see my dad’s fun and relaxed side. Before they returned to California, my dad gave me a father’s blessing which I really appreciated.

In between studying and hanging out with relatives, we went shopping for rings. Wayne wanted to find “the perfect diamond for the perfect girl.” (Isn’t that so sweet!!) I told him I wasn’t perfect and that I would be happy with anything, but he insisted on looking until he found what he wanted. He chose the diamond and I got to pick the setting. (And I guess it works, because that’s what we did a few years ago when he wanted to get me a birthstone ring for Christmas.) The ring was finally ready and we had our candle passing on March 11th. (Here’s a description: A candle passing occurs when a girl gets an engagement ring. She tells her Head Resident and a sign is posted on the door into the dorm saying, "Candle passing tonight at 7:00," or whatever. At that time, all interested parties gather in the common area upstairs. The ring is placed on a candle and the head resident lights the candle. The lights are turned out, and the candle is passed from girl to girl until, after the suspense supposedly becomes too much, the newly engaged girl blows out the candle and everyone descends on her, squealing with excitement and congratulations.) That’s about how I remember it. Often the whole dorm already knew who has just gotten engaged, but my roommates were great secret-keepers, and ours was a total surprise to everyone else.


(Here's a picture I found that is close to what my engagement ring looks .)
General Conference was approaching, and Wayne’s parents decided that would be a good opportunity for them to make the trip from Seattle to Salt Lake, so they did. We had more dinners with them and I met a lot of Whitaker relatives that weekend. One of the new things I learned was that Wayne inherited his preference for rare steaks – I would rather not see any blood on my plate. But that’s okay. Differences bring spice to our lives, and in the important things we thought alike. We still do.

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #7

Technically, this may not be a true Key Lime Pie, because this is the recipe we tried before moving to Florida and experiencing the real thing. However, Michelle and I love Key Lime Pie, and the boys don't, so I rarely, if ever, make it. But I enjoy ordering it at restaurants when I've left room for dessert!
Key Lime Pie

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup water
½ cup lime juice
1 tsp grated lime peel
green food coloring
1 baked 9-inch pie shell or crumb crust

Mix the gelatin, ½ cup of the sugar and the salt in the top of a double boiler. Beat the egg yolks until thickened. Stir in the water and lime juice. Add the egg yolk mixture to the gelatin mixture. Cook over boiling water until thickened. Mix in the lime peel and tint with a few drops of food coloring. Chill, stirring often, until the mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon. Beat the egg whites. Gradually add and beat in the remaining ½ cup sugar, until the whites form soft, shiny peaks. Fold into the gelatin mixture. Turn into the pie shell and chill until firm. Serves 8.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #8

Several years ago we finally tried the recipe on the back of the Ritz Cracker box. I'm not sure why anyone would want to make this on a regular basis, because apples are so easy to find, but it definitely is a conversation starter. Believe it or not, it really does taste like apple pie, and I guess it does save you from all the peeling, coring, and slicing of preparing real apples.

Mock Apple Pie
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
30 Ritz crackers
½ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbls lemon juice
pastry for one-crust pie
1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup margarine, melted
Combine water, sugar and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil. Then add the 30 crackers and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and lemon juice and pour into pie crust. Combine remaining ingredients; sprinkle on top. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 375° and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #9

Wacky Wednesday
The story for today's pie recipe involves this pressure canner. One day the next recipe on the list to try was for mincemeat, and it made enough so that you were supposed to can it. Because we only had a water-bath canner at the time, and not a pressure canner, we borrowed one from a friend. We prepared the jars of mincemeat and stuck them in the pot to process. Half-way through the 90 minute processing time it started smelling awful, but we were following the directions, so didn't worry too much about it. After all, we'd never made this before and weren't exactly sure how it was supposed to smell. The timer dinged and we took the pot off the stove. It looked a little funny, but we didn't think too much of it. When the pressure abated, we removed the lid and discovered a charred mess. The jars were okay, but all the water in the pan had evaporated. Apparently, you supposed to add more than the recommended amount of water when you're processing for more than a normal amount of time. Since there was no way we could in good conscience return the borrowed pot, we bought our friends a new one. With a lot of elbow grease, and probably some hammering, the warped pan became usable. However, it will probably never can mincemeat again.

For those of you who are interested in experiencing this yourselves, I found a recipe for you. But Mincemeat Pie will not be gracing our Thanksgiving table.

Mincemeat
4 lb. beef or venison
2 lb. seedless raisins
15-oz. box light raisins
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. cloves
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
1 12-oz. box currants
3/4 lb. beef suet
3 lb. apples, peeled and quartered
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. mace (optional)
2 qt. cider, grape juice, or other fruit juice
1 lb. brown sugar
Trim fat from meat. Cover with water. Simmer until meat is tender. Refrigerate in cooking liquid and allow to cool overnight. Remove all fat from top of liquid. Separate meat from bones and put meat through grinder, using a coarse blade. (There should be enough to make at least 2 quarts of ground meat.) Grind suet and apples. Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Simmer for 2 hours to plump fruit and blend flavors. Stir often to prevent sticking. Use "as is" for cookie recipes. Add 1 c. apple for every 2 c. of mincemeat for pie
Preserving: Mincemeat can be frozen or canned. Process pints or quarts of mincemeat for canning for 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure (240 degrees) in a weighted gauge canner or 11 pounds pressure in a dial gauge canner. Adjustments in pressure need to be made at altitudes above 1,000 feet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Countdown: Thanksgiving Pie #10

I had so much fun doing the Halloween countdown, that I wanted to do something similar for Thanksgiving, but I was having trouble deciding what to do, because we don't really have a variety of different traditions. We do what everyone else does - gather with family or friends on Thanksgiving Day and eat turkey. Finally, inspiration struck! Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without pies for dessert. (Yes, the plural was on purpose.) As I was thinking, I realized that we have some unique family stories concerning pies, and since the purpose of this blog is to record those memorable experiences for our children and their spouses, I figured that would be a great "countdown" topic.

There are a lot more than ten pie recipes that we like, but I had to narrow it somehow. And these first few stories will actually be about pies that we don't like, but they have great stories to go with them.

Concord Grape Pie

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
5 cups Concord grapes
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter


Wash grapes, and remove the skins. Save the skins. Place grape pulp in a large saucepan; mash a few at the bottom to release their juice. Cook over medium low heat until grapes come to a full boil. Remove pulp from heat, and press through a food mill to remove seeds. Combine pulp and skins in a large bowl. Stir in lemon juice. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, flour, and salt. Stir into grape mixture. Pour filling into pastry crust, and dot with butter or margarine. Cover with second pastry shell. Flute edges, and cut little slits in the top crust for steam to escape. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in top crust. Cool.

So, here's the story. You may recall that Wayne was systematically working his way through my recipe books, trying each recipe. One of those books was dedicated to pies, and so when he came to Concord Grape Pie, he made it. (It may not have been this exact recipe, since I didn't save it.) I'm pretty open to trying new things, and normally liking them; however, this was disgusting. The reviews at All-Recipes.com gave it 5 stars, but I wouldn't. I could only handle one bite. (It was even worse than the Avocado Crème!) And even then I wasn't sure it would stay down. I suspect my dislike for dark grapes came from being offered grape juice as I was recovering from Weston's birth - that juice didn't stay down. Wayne had to eat the whole pie himself, because the boys were too young. My children may want to give this recipe a try because I've never exposed them to it. Just please do it when I'm not around!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sardines

Memorable Monday Moments
It's been awhile since I've taken a vote, but if I polled everyone on what their favorite Family Home Evening game was, I'm pretty sure the winner would be Sardines. Here are the instructions:

Sardines (Reverse Hide and Seek) Game
Sardines is a fun game which is very much like hide and seek, except it is done in reverse. It can be pretty humorous, as many people end up hiding in interesting places, resembling a bunch of sardines jammed together!

How to play:
One person is picked to be “it”. This person is given some time to hide while everyone else sits in a neutral spot with their eyes closed for a specified amount of time. When the time is up, everyone searchers for the person who is “It”. When this person is found, instead of ending the game, one tries not to let other people know where the person is; instead, he or she joins the person at their hiding spot. Try to be quiet about it! The object is to not be the last one left. The first person that found “It” gets to be “It” the next time.

This is actually a very good game for teaching family togetherness! Some of our favorite places for "it" to hide have been inside the heater closet, in a shower or tub, behind or under a bed, or under the dining room table. Sometimes "it" has been really sneaky and found a temporary place to hide and then moved to hide in the room where everyone was waiting and counting. You might want to decide if that's legal or not! A few years ago our mission president's wife introduced herself in our stake conference by saying that their favorite family game was Sardines, and she stumped everyone by hiding on top of the refrigerator.

Jeff is our champion. We still have no idea where he hid that one time, but after a good 15 minutes of looking we all surrendered. I guess we'll have to play again over Christmas break to see if we can figure out his secret spot!

Okay, so this picture wasn't taken during an actual game of Sardines. It was taken years before we even learned about the game. However, isn't he adorable? And this would be a great place for "it" to hide if he wanted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scripture Study Insights - week fifteen

Alma 17
Search the scriptures diligently to receive knowledge. Prayer and fasting lead to the spirit of revelation and the ability to teach powerfully. Knowledge of the plan of redemption leads to repentance. Patience and courage lead to becoming “instruments of salvation” in the hands of God. We must win the hearts of others before they will believe our words.

Alma 18
Ammon is an exaple of faithfulness, strength and “obedience with exactness.” Cross reference to Alma 57:21 and the sons of Helaman. There are people who don’t know the truth. When teaching them, start with the basics: plan of redemption, creation of the world, history of God’s dealings with his people.

Alma 19
Prayers of thanksgiving can overpower us with joy. When our hearts are changed we have no desire to do evil.

Alma 20
Sometimes telling the truth makes others angry.

Alma 21
Those with hard hearts can convince others to harden their hearts. It’s easier to give heed to the word of God when we study “daily, with all diligence.”

Alma 22
Aaron used the same teaching process as Ammon: understand the creation, the fall and the atonement, have faith and repent. When the head of the household is the teacher, it’s easier for everyone to be converted unto the Lord.

Alma 23
The Lamanites who were converted through the spirit of revelation “never did fall away.” They became righteous and industrious and friendly to the Nephites. The apostate Nephites – Amalekites and Amulonites – already had their chance to hear the gospel and rejected it the second time around as well.

Alma 24
Repentance is hard work, but it leads to all guilt being removed from our hearts. Sometimes we may need to work hard to bury temptations so that we don’t succumb to them.

Alma 25
Shows fulfillment of prophecies – Ammonihah destroyed, seed of Noah suffer death by fire.

Alma 26
It’s a blessing to help God do his work. However, it takes work and effort to preach the gospel. The harvest of souls will not be swept away like the harvest of grains could be. Remember to praise God for his mercy and great power. Cross reference vs 12 to Phillipians 4:13. Those who pray, exercise faith, repent and do good works will understand the mysteries of God. The antidote to depression is to go forward and work with patience. Success comes after trial and affliction. God is mindful of every single person. Give thanks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How We Met - part ten

Flashback Friday
or "Officially Engaged"

The week after our first kiss covers over ten pages in my journal, but I won’t quote it all here. Let’s just say it contained a roller-coaster of emotions, lack of sleep and lots of phone calls and letters. (This was back in the day when long-distance phone calls were expensive!) While Wayne’s parents took the news calmly, mine were a little concerned - our very first chance to navigate the uncharted waters of in-law differences and wonder what we were getting ourselves into!

Monday was President’s Day. Wayne picked me up and we did some studying at the library before eating lunch at Burger King. He talked me into playing the organ for him, so we spent some time in the HFAC catacombs. After writing letters home, we went roller-skating with his FHE group, and then talked for hours and hours. We finally decided it would be a good idea to set a curfew for school nights.

My Aunt Cheri was in town for Women’s Conference the next weekend so we attended a few sessions together. She was at my apartment when Wayne came to pick me up for a dance that Friday and so got to meet him. Fortunately Cheri and Wayne decided they liked each other!

Saturday afternoon Wayne and I went on a picnic, then came back to my apartment to study and ended up washing the dishes and looking at ring catalogs instead. When I finally got started typing up some quotes for my Sunday School lesson, Wayne leaned over and said, “Will you marry me?” “Uh-huh.” “Don’t I get a yes?” “Yes!” So, that was our “official” engagement. Until that time, we were just “un-officially” engaged. I like being able to have two engagement dates – Valentine’s Day and then February 20th, which was exactly six months before our wedding date.

When my roommates got back – they had all gone to the Beach Boys concert – we let them in on our secret. The ones who didn’t already know were pretty surprised. Then we celebrated by having banana splits. I ended that day’s journal entry with this: “It was a wonderful evening and I really felt the Spirit confirming the rightness of our decision to me. Dad’s letter said that although I may not know Wayne all that well, the Lord does and he would let me know if it was right, and He did.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kitchen Krafts

Wacky Cake for Wacky Wednesday

We love The Friend! One day, many years ago, Weston decided to help make dinner using recipes from the Friend. This particular cake that he chose for dessert became a frequently used favorite. (The other make-in-the-pan recipes are good too.) I've discovered this recipe with other variations under the name "Wacky Cake" and I'm guessing maybe the name comes from the fact that there are no eggs in the recipe. That's one of the reasons we love this dessert - it's easy to take camping (try it in a dutch oven!) and even when we've run out of eggs we can have chocolate for dessert!Chocolate Tidbit Cake

1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 Tbls cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbls vinegar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
½ cup chocolate chips


Combine dry ingredients in 9” square pan. Stir in liquid ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. (Yummy with whipped cream on top.)

Unfortunately I don't remember exactly what else was on Weston's dinner menu, but it could have been Chicken Foil Dinners or Turkey Divan and Potato Mounds.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Service with a Smile

Memorable Monday Moments

Last week I mentioned that we were going to review the "Gracious George" story. So we did, although the teenagers prefered the name "Service Stan the Gingerbread Man." Afterwards we each looked up a scripture on service and then we adjourned to the kitchen table to decorate "gingerbread men" to give away. We had a wonderful evening, and I was surprised at how creative and involved everyone was.




And I was reminded that of the over 1000 family nights we've had over the years, the most memorable ones involved service. I wonder why? That's definitely something to ponder. One time we tied a quilt and then delivered it to the Relief Society president, because she was the one collecting them. Another time we talked about fast offering and each boy chose something from the pantry which we then delivered to the bishop's doorstep so that he could give it to someone who needed it. One of our activities was making these Felt Finger Puppets from the Friend and then sharing them with teenager in our ward who was chronically ill.

These particular family nights occurred when the boys were very young. I wonder if they even remember them (that's a hint to comment if you do). And even though as parents we realize the importance of continuing to do activities like this, we have a difficult time coming up with ideas, and so we don't do them nearly as often as we should. What are some of the things your families have done to teach the importance of service to others? We'd love some suggestions!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Scripture Study Insights - week fourteen

Alma 9
More remembering. God is full of grace, equity, truth, patience, mercy, and longsuffering. He is quick to hear and answer prayers. Quick means not only fast and speedy but also ready and prepared. Think about that.

Alma 10
Wicked men are cunning and skillful. They will try to confuse us and make us contradict ourselves. Don’t underestimate them. They’re laying plans to pervert the ways of the righteous. Stick to the truth and they won’t succeed. When the majority of the people choose iniquity, they’re ready for destruction. We find safety and peace in repentance and righteousness. Prayers of the righteous are powerful and hold off destruction. Remember the Primary song:

Keep the commandments, keep the commandments,
In this there is safety, in this there is peace.
He will send blessings, he will send blessings,
Words of a prophet, keep the commandments,
In this there is safety and peace.

Alma 11
There are men “expert in the devices of the devil” so they can “destroy that which is good.” They are liars and love money. However, pure testimony stymies them.

Alma 12
Zeezrom is caught in the net of the adversary. The devil’s subtle plan is to lie, to deceive people and trick them into thinking that wrong is right and right is wrong. If we don’t harden our hearts, we won’t be misled. We’ll be able to receive and understand the mysteries of God. Also, if we don’t harden our hearts, we’ll be able to “enter into the rest of the Lord” or receive eternal life. It is expedient that we know about the plan of redemption before we are given commandments and expected to obey them.

Alma 13
We’re “called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God” because of our faith and good works. We were given agency and chose to do good. That takes faith. It also necessitates humility. There are many around us whose hearts are being prepared to receive the “glad tidings of great joy.” Are we doing our part to share the message with them?


Alma 14
When others hearts are hardened, silence (“they answered nothing”) is better than bearing testimony. Alma had the same feelings as Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail (see D&C 121). God does watch out for us. (See Elder Holland’s Nov 2008 CES fireside talk.)

Alma 15
Repentance and forgiveness work. Alma baptized Zeezrom. Importance of humility, meeting together for worship on Sunday, praying continually. Strengthen others (see Romans 15:1)

Alma 16
Success comes when we follow the prophet’s instructions, even in our temporal tasks. We should prepare our hearts to receive God’s word with joy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hey Brothers!

You may be off the hook -
and able to have a relaxing Christmas break -
because some people worked really hard today!
(finished installing the roof panels, added the trim, and hung the door)

Friday, November 7, 2008

How We Met - part nine

Flashback Friday
or Happy Valentine's Day




Saturday, February 13, 1982 arrived, and Wayne and I went to his stake Valentine’s Dance that evening. I’m sure it was a very nice dance, but I don’t remember that part at all. Afterward we drove around the Provo Temple a few times.

Then we parked and just sat looking at the temple while we talked and talked. Oh, and the romantic music was playing on the car stereo – the song I remember was “If” by Bread. We discussed a million and one subjects and just felt so comfortable together. As part of his preparation for finding a wife, Wayne had compiled a list of questions with the answers that he wanted. In the natural progression of our conversation, all those questions were asked and answered, and at the end he leaned over and said “I love you Becky” and I leaned over and kissed him. Because by then it was past midnight, we became “unofficially” engaged on Valentine’s Day. We decided it was still too new to share with anyone but our parents, but there must have been an obvious difference because as soon as I walked in my apartment my roommate wanted to know if I owed her any ice cream. (Is that still a BYU tradition? To treat your roommates to ice cream after a first kiss?) I told her I did, but not to tell anyone yet. Because she knew what that really meant, she was super excited. However, she did a good job at keeping our secret.

Stay tuned, because the story's not over yet!