Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


These are recipes that I found this year, which I have made several times and I know they will be recipes that I will go to again and again.

1.CRUSTY BREAD - I have never served this to anyone who didn't buy a cast iron pot so they could make it.  It is amazingly easy, spectacular and crusty delicious.

2.  CHEESY PASTA WITH SPINACH  -  I discovered the loveliness of Rigatoni this year and adore this pasta dish.  Last time I added 8 oz of sauteed mushrooms and 1/2 tsp. thyme with the spinach and it was wonderful.

3.  BROCCOLI FRUIT SALAD -  I have made this many times this year.  It is a great picnic salad in the summer with pasta and nice as a winter dinner salad without the pasta.  I keep the dressing made up so I can make it quickly.  It is very festive and I like to serve it in individual serving bowls.

4. PARMESAN BAKED CHICKEN -  This is a quick Sunday dinner that I feel good about serving to company.   It can be made ahead and baked in 15 minutes.

5.  CRISPY CHEESY CHICKEN -  If children are eating I like to serve this.  It is baked much like #4 but with a different coating.  I have also made this with all Parmesan Cheese and crumbs and  1 T of my fresh dried basil.  I like to serve a sauce with this.

6. LIME CAKE BARS -   I just love the fresh limey taste and the dense moist cake.  Perfect for

7.  NUTELLA BREAD PUDDING  I discovered cooking with Nutella this year but I have to hide the jar (from myself)  I also love NUTELLA FRENCH TOAST

8.  COCONUT CURRY CHICKEN SOUP  Very easy and I could live on this for at least a week.

9.  PRALINE BROWNIES  -  These are awesome and also the Tart recipe they are based on is  yummy on a smaller scale.

10.  CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE This has a few steps but so worth it.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012



May Christ Teach You What is Yours to Do

My missionary farewell talk.

Francis of Assisi lay dying at age 44, blind, his body sick and emaciated from a lifetime of fasting, poor nutrition and leprosy contracted from many years of giving aid to lepers.  Assisi chose not to consider his own health in his decisions to succor others.  I have thought a lot about Assisi’s deathbed last words to his longtime friends Bernard and Giles.  He said, I have done what is mine.  May Christ teach you what is yours to do.   (Reluctant Saint by Donald Spoto, p. 215)

I believe Assisi’s followers eventually changed the Catholic Church and maybe Christianity as a whole as they emphasized serving Christ through helping others.  Assisi was committed to a cheery upbeat ministry.  He never preached the popular gospel of fear.  He believed in being an example of joy, peace, love and happiness, despite his poverty and suffering.  He was a troubadour of happy songs, of faith and a preacher of good will.  Is there any more powerful way to influence for good than love?  I have done what is mine.  May Christ teach you what is yours to do.

But how do we come to a point where we know what is ours “to do?”  Do we really believe we can be guided in this way?  In 2 Nephi 32:5 it says, “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.”  I believe that this means God will show us “all things” that we can do to express love and do Christ like service. 

I did a lot of indexing last year. There is something about it that grabs you as you become a part of making all those names available for research.  I learned of someone who indexes 10,000 names a month.  I was impressed…I did about 10,000 names last year.  This man has chosen what he would “do” to build the kingdom. Indexing in one of those sweet little choices that can be done by teens on up in a little as 15 minutes a day, but after a while you want to do more.  

More than 20 years ago I committed to go to the temple weekly.  It is something I have time to do and I rarely miss.  For me making a commitment makes a difference, until the spirit takes over and moves me forward.  But what has impressed me in this choice is the workers I have seen, every week, over the years.  I have talked to some of these wonderful women.  They have chosen what they would “do” for Christ, working two 5 hour shifts a week for the entire 17 years the Bountiful Temple has been open.  Recently there was a story in Mormon Times about Arthur Jensen of Rigby Idaho.  He turned 100 on May 10.  For 31 years he has been in the temple 5 days a week doing two endowments each day.  He has completed more than 9000 endowments in these 31 years. I am also impressed with the many teens who have committed to regularly doing baptisms for the dead at a young age.  This will certainly set them on a lifelong love of temple work.  A woman sat by me in the 12:00 PM temple session recently and told me that she had come at 6:00 AM and this was her third session.  These people always humble me.   I do think that as we make our choices to serve that we get addicted to the spirit it brings to our souls and we want to do more.

My friend and our Ward member, Jolene Alphin took her love of the Handcart Pioneers and began collecting their stories and writing them in a form to inspire us in her book “Tell My Story Too.”  She is definitely the most knowledgeable source anywhere for accurate information.  She was the main adviser for the stories in the movie the “13 Miracles.”  I have had a little peek at her dedication to these stories, but perhaps no one but her husband knows the full extent of her sacrifice to do them right.  She doesn’t get a lot of sleep at times. 

I am impressed with those that decide genealogy is their thing to “do.” I want to get there sometime.  My sister-in-law Jacquie inspires me and Kate Danials in our Ward.  Kate is not only a person who does the work but she is always willing to come and help you do yours.

I know that many of the young parents in our Ward have decided that they would take seriously the call to teach their children the gospel. I know this because I have heard wise talks and sweet testimonies given by some of your children.  I believe the greatest regrets of life are letting the world pull us into misguided endeavors as young parents.  Taking children to church is not enough anymore.  Nothing we choose to do will be as important as helping our families know Christ.  Young parents, I know you don’t believe it now but there will be plenty of time later for your personal indulgences.  And whatever you do, don’t teach the gospel of fear, or be too serious, be a happy troubadour of love, like Francis of Assisi.

My thing “to do” for Christ, the last few years, has been to encourage others to write their family stories.  But in the process my students have motivated me to produce and keep writing and I am always inspired by their stories.  I do believe that writing our stories, spiritual experiences and testimonies may be the most important thing we will leave to influence future generations to carry on in building the kingdom.  Writing for our families is more than a worthy choice “to do.”

Soon, I will be a full time missionary with my husband.  This will be our second mission.  We served 2 years as intercity missionaries in Ogden.  It was a joy beyond my ability to express.  This time we will spend 18 months in the Canary Islands working with Young Adults.
 Because we have many senior friends we know how lots of them are serving.  A Dr. and his wife from our old Ward have spent 8 years, going to third world countries 5 times a year to teach local Drs. how to resuscitate newborns.  My good friend, and her still working husband, told the missionary department that they had six months that they could devote to a mission.  They had a choice experience serving in a small branch in Mississippi working as mentors and reactivation to a struggling branch.  We have missionary companions from our Ogden experience who wanted to go to Africa and are now in Kenya.  I know people who are serving their second mission in Russia because they loved it the first time.  We have good friends that taught Institute at the University of Samoa as a mission call.  There is an infinite number of things that we can do, as we are led by Christ, as we seek to build the kingdom and serve others. The Holy Ghost will be our guide.  As our seasons of life change so will our options.  I believe that Christ will “show us all things that we should do.”  And with our last breath we can say as Francis of Assisi, “I have done what is mine.” 

When I was 10 years old my mother was inactive.  She had a beautiful soprano voice and when the ward in Wellington, Utah discovered her talent they began inviting her to sing at various functions.  She often sang a popular song of that day called, “The Bridge Builder.”  These singing experiences brought my mother back to church.  This song was always her favorite and mine.  I have known every word from the years of hearing her sing it.   We are all Bridge Builders.  It is part of doing “what is mine.”  (This song was sung)

An old man going a lone highway.
Came at even' tide cold and gray.
To a cavern vast and wide and steep.
With waters rolling cold and deep.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim.
The sullen stream held no fear for him.
But he turned when safe on the other side.
And build a bridge to span the tide.

"Good friend", said a fellow pilgrimed near.
"You are wasting your strength with building here.
Your journey will end at the close of day.
You never again shall pass this way.
You've crossed the ravine deep and dark and wide,
Why, build this bridge at even' tide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head,
"Good friend, in the path I have come", he said.
"There followeth after me this day,
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
The chasm that was naught to me.
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He too must cross in the twilight dim.
Good friend I'm building this bridge for him."

Friday, December 7, 2012


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I made Cashew Chicken for 30 people and instead of plain cashews I served Curried Cashews.  These are so good I couldn't leave them alone.  My guests wanted to eat the cashews out of the bowl instead of on the chicken dish.  If you like curry at all these are stupendous! This would be great for a holiday nut dish.  And they are very easy.  Make multiples of the recipe if desired. I used an 8 oz. cans but I plan to make one of those big tubs of cashews that Costco sells for Christmas gifts.

Mix together in a bowl 1 1/4 tsp. curry powder. (my favorite is Spice Island)  1/8 tsp. each of onion and garlic powder and a dash of cayenne if you want a little bite.  Melt 1 T. butter in a frying pan on medium heat.  Add 8oz. salted roasted cashews.  Stir fry for 3-5 min. until toasty brown.  Be careful not to burn.  Remove from heat and stir in the curry mix until evenly covered.  Pour out on a sheet of wax paper until cool.  Store in a glass jar.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


There is a box of these in my freezer and they are calling to me right now.  If you are a citrus fan these are heavenly.  This is a recipe I found on Pinterest.  There are versions with a cake mix but I preferred to make the one from scratch.  The baker said it didn't "wow her"  like she expected so I changed a few things and it does WOW! me now.  These will be a staple in my goodie file.  It is nice to have something that isn't chocolate once in awhile.  (My hubby thinks the only dessert is chocolate.)

 You will need 6-8 regular limes- grated for peel and juiced. 

1 ¼ C. vegetable oil
1 1/3 C. sugar
5 eggs (I had extra-large so I used 4)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. baking soda
Juice of one large orange and lime juice to make  ¾ C.
2 C. Flour mixed with 1- 3 oz. box lime jello
1 T. lime peel

Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, extract and salt until creamy.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1 minute.   Pour into a 11x15 inch baking pan well sprayed with Pam. (or you could make layers)  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the center is solid.  If your pan is dark bake at 325.  While baking, make the glaze.  Remove from the oven and pour the glaze over the top of the cake in spoons-full until it is well covered.  It will soak in, no need to poke holes.

Glaze:  a scant 2/3 C. fresh lime juice and ½ C. powdered sugar mixed together add 2 tsp. lime peel

Cream cheese frosting:  Mix together ½ block of softened cream cheese (4 oz.), ¼ C. soft butter, ¼ C. lime juice and 2 tsp. peel, beat with powdered sugar until a good spreading consistency (about 3 cups).    Cool the cake completely before frosting.  (I put it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes to get the top solid)  Cut into small bars.  These are very zingy and rich.  (If you are making a layer cake, double the frosting)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I would make this for company.  It is a great dish (easy 4 ingredients) that you can make for Sunday dinner to this point and it will bake in 15 minutes.  I have made it twice and Mike likes it.  2 Chicken breasts will feed 4 people easily as it made 8 pieces the first time and 9 the second. I can see some herbs on this in the future but my hubby likes things plain so this is it for now.  I can see children loving this.  It is crispy on the outside and moist and tender inside. 

Cut 2 large chicken breasts into  4 pieces each and pound to flatten a little. Sprinkle with a little garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. (there is enough salt in the crackers and cheese)  Crush enough Ritz crackers fine to make 1 generous cup.  Pour into a flat bowl.  You will need about 1 1/2 C. grated cheddar cheese  in a flat bowl and 1/2 C. whipping cream in a third flat bowl.   Dip each piece of chicken in the whipping cream on both sides.  Then lay the chicken it in the cheese and press some on the top rather than turning it over.  Then do the same in the cracker crumbs.  Some of the cheese will fall into the crumbs, just pick it out and press it onto the chicken.  Put on a well greased cookie sheet.  Put in the refrigerator until ready to bake.  This can be made several hours ahead.

Bake in a 450 oven for 15 minutes or until crispy brown.  Serve with a creamy chicken gravy.  You can make one with a can of cream of chicken soup 1/3 C. sour cream, 2 T. milk and  a pinch of thyme or sage or both. Or make one from scratch, which I did.  I am not a big fan of cream soups but they work in a pinch.

Friday, November 9, 2012


“I’m not watching,” I told Mike.  “If anything happens that will make me happy call me down.”
It was 5:30 PM on election night .  I went to my room, put on my PJs and climbed in bed.  I was praying the entire time.  I had been praying almost constantly for weeks.  My stomach was uneasy.  I wanted this day to be over.   I dreaded its coming in the first place.  I was too invested in this election.  We watched all 12ish of the Primary debates.  How crazy they had so many.  Mitt Romney was my man, not just because he is a Mormon but because I am convinced that he is a man of great character, a man who has a life story of service.  So, by the time he had landed the nomination I was hooked.

I followed the campaign with the Michael Medved radio talk show.  I have listened to him for years but now I hung on every word.  Michael is wise and knowledgeable.  He always made me feel positive, even when the polls looked discouraging.   In my mind there were so many reasons not to give Obama another four years:  The high unemployment rate, the huge rise in the debt and deficit, the lack of support for religious principles as marriage and abortion, his health care mandate, the recent handling of the murders in Bengazi, and well, I had a lot of issues.  I didn’t trust what Obama said.  I saw him as a cult personality, created by the media,  that believed he could do no wrong.  I donated money for the first time to a campaign.

Then I started to post YouTube campaign videos and articles I found to my facebook page.  I posted a comment on facebook saying that I was feeling politically motivated and it might be best for any of my friends not to open my links if it might offend them.  I had other friends posting Obama support.  It all puzzled me.  I could see the “slash and burn” campaign of Obama, painting Romney as an evil out of touch rich guy.  So many lies were being told and it was making me sick.  I had dozens of stories of Romney’s amazing compassion through the years.  Plus he seemed to be “a man uniquely qualified for the needs of the time,” a man who knew business and had the will to cut spending and work across the aisle. 

Before the debates I received e-mails from entities organizing fasts and collective prayers.  I joined in with gusto.  After the first debate when Romney did so well and Obama stuttered 52 times I thought, “Wow, these prayers worked!”

So election night I sat in my bed and watched a Netflix movie that turned out to gratefully entertaining and distracting, “ Island On Bird Street”. But at the end it was only 7:30 and I had a lot of night left.  I tried to study Spanish but couldn’t concentrate.  I found 6 cookie dough balls in the freezer and baked them.   I got out my scriptures and read 7 chapters of John from my current New Testament reading.  Usually after 2 or 3 chapters I am falling asleep.   I pulled “Cranford” out of my video cabinet and watched for an hour.  Mike came with discouraging information, and I knew “that which I had feared,” was indeed coming to past.  I went to bed and cried a little and fell asleep but not soundly. When Mike came to bed at midnight we talked for an hour.  He was angry.  He posted on his facebook before coming to bed:  “Welcome to Greece.”  I was glad I hadn’t watched the returns.  We split an ambian because we knew we might never sleep.  It wasn’t a good night and at 2:00 AM, Mikes snoring drove me to the couch.  The ambian helped a little but I was still fitful.

In the darkness of the night I swore off elections.  Never again would I let something like this dominate my life and emotions as it had the last few months.  I do feel the country is changing and it worries me.  I feel that honesty and character don’t matter anymore, that we want our politicians to be a rock star Santa Clause, that marriage and family are no longer a driving force in our society, that if you don’t believe in abortion you are waging a war on women.  But what can I do about it?  Follow the Prophet and keep the commandments and “trust in the Lord with all my heart” that is all the power I have and one vote.

PS- I am like an addict trying to wean myself away as the post-election commentaries keep drawing me in.   This is a sad commentary from Wednesday’s Deseret News.

South Carolina pollster Dave Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University, said voters nationwide did know Romney.  The problem, Woodard said, was not enough voters shared his values.  “I think the values we see in him are not the values of this country.  It’s just that simple,” Woodard said.  “I just don’t think the country is what it was when we picked Ronald Reagan.”

Romney, Woodard said, was “an ice-cream perfect guy.”  Who was rejected because more voters align with the Democratic president on social issues, including support for gay marriage and abortion rights.  “I think half of us fell in love with this guy,” Woodward said of Romney, praising his values.  “The country didn’t want a leader like that….It’s not like they didn’t know him.  It’s that they just didn’t want what he stood for.”

Soon I will be on my mission and maybe I can put this behind me.