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.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Poke Cake

When I finish this mission I may be able to write a cake recipe book.   This cake makes 16 generous peaces, but today I had to squeeze 17 out of it to feed all the Tenerife missionaries + one from Gran Canaria.  They loved it and so did we.  Mike doesn't always like peanut butter things but he did like this.  This was a recipe idea I found on Pinterest but I altered it a lot. 

First  I made The Best Chocolate Cake I baked it in my 12 inch square pan.  Something bigger than 9x13 would be better.  While the cake is baking I made the Peanut Butter Pudding.

Peanut Butter Pudding
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

3 T. cornstarch
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix milk,sugars, peanut butter and cornstarch together in a saucepan and cook stirring until it begins to boil.  Add a little of the hot pudding to the egg yolks and stir, then add to the mixture and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Add the butter and vanilla. 

When the cake is baked poke holes in the top with a wooden spoon about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Pour the pudding over the warm cake and spread over the top.  Bump the pan, a little, so the pudding settles in the holes.  Chill the cake for a few hours or overnight.

Whip 1 pint of cream until stiff with 6 T. powdered sugar.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 Tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding mix.  This will stabilize the cream.  I always keep some vanilla instant pudding on hand for my whipped cream.  It will stay stable for days when added to whipped cream.   Add some grated chocolate to the top or some finely chopped chocolate chips.

Saturday, December 7, 2013



 The Story of a Mormon Girl from East Prussia

Heidi Parker sent me a link to this book recently because we are fellow writers of family stories and this is a beautiful personal memoir about life and family.  I am serving a mission in the Canary Islands right now but, through the glory of the internet, I downloaded the Kindle version.  I can sneak a little time here and there for worthwhile reading. 
One of my favorite books is one reviewed years ago by Heidi,  German Boy  and this was another glimpse into the personal lives of the German people during World War II.   The tragedies of war both physical and emotional play out in both of these stories.  This was especially poignant because Helga told her story as a Mormon girl and I felt her faith, and the way the Lord guided the LDS community in Germany at this time, to help each other.  I had a strong sense of how important that group of saints were to each other and how difficult for those that did not have such a faith based community.  I enjoyed the pieces of Helga’s diary, at the end of the book, where she told of the fasting, praying and singing they did together.  How do you get through these things without the Lord and human support? 

I had so many thoughts about Helga’s life, her mistakes, her divorce, even though she was trying to do the right things, she still made mistakes and her trials continued, even when the “war” ended.  But she never lost her faith and God never stopped helping her, and that is the beautiful thing.  And then she got married again at 91 and felt so joyful still!  For me, who is fast becoming an old lady, I love her aging spunk and ability to tell her story.  We never want to lose that.  The writing is simple and straight forward but I felt her voice, at times I even heard her German accent.   It was a good, uplifting read.  

Helga’s Life before the war: 
"We went to my grandparents’ apartment in between Sunday School and sacrament meeting….It seems like the days or the hours didn’t go by fast.  Somebody was at the piano, and we sang the whole hymnbook, one song after the other.  Do you think we were happy?  We were!  How do I explain that it was heaven on earth."

After losing her grandparents and aunt in a fire bombing:  "It was quite a heartache to lose three at once.  Anyway, we took it.  We had to take it.  There was no other way.  What can you do?  You have to live.  You have to go on.

"We fought for life.  We were heartbroken.  We cried and we were sad, but we didn’t need everybody to come to support us.  Nobody was there.  Nobody had time.  We have gone through certain things, and we have the feeling of it.  We know how it is when the bombs are falling and something is burning and somebody dies."