Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chocolate Cake - IN A MUG!!!

I wanted to "bake" something in the microwave because I've NEVER done it before. So we tried out this recipe and each child baked their own. 

In large microwaveable mug, combine 1/4 cup sugar and . . .

A 1/4 cup flour and . . .

And an 1/8 cup cocoa powder and . . .

And a 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.

Mix dry ingredients together.  Now add 1 egg.

And start a-stirring!

And Stir, Stir, STIR!  There will be dry ingrdients at the bottom, so keep on stirring. And the batter will be THICK.

Now for the wet ingredients.  Start by adding 3 Tablespoons milk and . . .

And 3 Tablespoons oil.

Stir in slowly and mix well!  The batter should be smooth and silky.

Now add 1/8-1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract.

Mix well and place in microwave. Set cook time to 2 minutes 30 seconds at 100% power.

Here is a sneak peek at what the cake looked like with 1 minute and 3 seconds to go.  See how the cake is peeking out of the mug?  It never bubbled over into the microwave, but we put paper plates under all the other ones we baked.

Ta-dah!  Here is the happy boy with his mug of Chocolate Cake and a glass of milk on the side!  Mmmmm.

Here's another one we made.  It really was over the top!

And my favorite pic of the night -

While the cake looks like a small portion, it is very rich and could be shared.  However, who wants to SHARE chocolate cake??

You could serve with whipping cream, chocolate sauce, bananas and/or vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Parable of the Talents

Switch on the Lightbulb.

For because I just figured it out mathmatically.

5 x 2 = 10

2 x 2 = 4

1 x 0 = 0

For because any number magnified by zero, is Z.E.R.O.

It's NOT about the amount.  It's about what we do with the amount that matters.

Because in the end, a zero return to the Lord is precisely our reward too.
"Someday when we get to the other side of the veil, we want more than for someone just to tell us, 'Well, you’re done.' Instead, we want the Lord to say, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant.'" (Paul V. Johnson, Ensign, May 2011).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Taking Upon Us the Name of Christ

The prophet Alma, in Alma 7:11-13, teaches that the Savior,
"shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."
And what does Father ask us in return?  He asks us to covenant "to take upon [us] the name of [His] Son and always remember Him and keep His commandments that [we] may ALWAYS have His Spirit to be with Him" (Moroni 4:3).


Christ took upon Him:
* the pains and the sicknesses of His people
* death
* our infirmities
* our sins

We covenant to:
* take upon us His name

I don't know about you, but it looks like we got the better end of the deal - no matter how terrible our end of the deal may seem.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We believe in being . . . Modest

We live walking distance from a city rec center.  For our family our yearly membership is well, SOOOO worth it!   Especially in the summer when a short walk to the outdoor pool means and hours and hours of cool, splashing fun.

But it doesn't come without its price.  And that price is immodesty!

So today, I decided that I would speak out FOR modesty, when the only two young women I saw with a modest swimsuits stood nearby.

I simply went up to these girls and said, "I love that you chose to wear beautiful, modest swimsuits!" They beamed as they giggled.

And my heart felt good that today I chose to do something with the 13th Article of Faith!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Smart Phones

So I got a smart phone six months ago and I’m finally to the point that I enjoy it.  (Yes, it’s taken me this long.  And believe it or not,  I have only downloaded nine apps.  N-i-n-e.  One of which is the LDS Citation Index.  OH MY HEAVENS it is a fabulous apps). . .

But this post isn’t about apps, it’s about the smartness of the smart phone that is making me look terribly stupid.

So one of the “smart” features on the phone is that while texting or emailing, it tries to take the guesswork out of your thought process and come up with the word you are typing.  Which is great until after it has been sent . . . And believe me, this is not just a one time deal with me.  This is just a preview of my smarts with my Smart Phone.

So the other day I felt so very pleased with my “professional, educated” efforts to send off an email that was worded so carefully. You see, my husband and I have the wonderful calling to train the Ma’s and Pa’s for this year’s Stake Pioneer Trek.  And with Trek just weeks away, many Ma’s and Pa’s email questions and concerns that need to be addressed immediately or sooner.

So, while waiting for two of my sons at the Orthodontist, I was putting good use to my waiting time by using my Smart Phone to respond to some emails.  One of which was to a Pa who is a highly skilled Scoutmaster!  Um, did I happen to mention how very pleased I was with myself for being so good with words and such?

Well, after emailing off an essay worthy of publication, I receive his grateful response.  And in being so happy with myself, I decided to reread my email because I didn’t want to forget how wonderful I am with words when it comes to using a Smart Phone at the doctor’s office.

And to my absolute horror, instead of calling him a great Scouter, the Smart Phone had outsmarted me and referred to this future Pa of Trek as a great Scooter.  A Scooter?  A SCOOTER!

Goodbye pride.  Hello humility humiliation.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog Cliques

I suppose that if there are cliques at school, in the neighborhood, even in some wards,  why would I think cliques would not exist in the blog-world?

But they do!  And I find it fascinating!

Fascinating because, during my freshman year in high school, I became very acutely aware of all the clickety-click-click cliques around me.  So much so that it could have "crushed me into silent weakness." Instead, it was the turning point of my social life.

At age 14, I made a commitment that I would never belong to any exclusive group.  Instead, I would do everything I could to have as many different groups "belong" to me.

What resulted has been:
1. a wonderful adventure of not worrying about a BFF (besides my husband)
2. a stronger resilience of not being offended when not included (either intentional or unintentional)
3. an ability to give attention to those who do feel left out or uncomfortable in a group setting
4. a better understanding of what the Savior expects of me

Let me be clear, my decision not to be be part of clique has not always yielded happy circumstances. It has not always been bliss.  I have had my share (and will continue to, I am sure) of being left out, being ignored, being ill-received, and feeling lonely, isolated and forgotten.

But I will say, from conviction, that not being exclusive to any one group has allowed an inclusiveness to so many more.

So when I recently discovered that cliques also exist cyberspace and in taking a looksey over the blogs I visit on a regular basis, I was amazed that the commitment I made at 14 continues with me today - even in the blogosphere!!

So just for fun, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE is just a sample of some of the incredible blog links I visit on a regular basis.

Family Home Evening - Serving in the Home

Objective: Helping family members feel the joy of serving in the home.

Ages: 4-12

Scripture Reference: The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Matthew 25:31-46

Lesson: We took turns reading the verses, stoping and asking questions to assess understanding and also to help the children understand.

Here are some example questions you can ask:
v. 31: Who is this verse referring? What are the circumstances surrounding what will happen?

v.32: Who will be in attendance when the Savior comes again? What will He do with those who are gathered? What are the two animals he mentions? (The younger children can draw/color pictures of sheeps and goats). Why does He mention these two animals specifically?

v. 33: On what hand do the sheep go? the goats? why?

v.34: Who is the King in this verse? What does the King say to the sheep?

THOUGHT QUESTION: What do you think the sheep have done in order to inherit God's kingdom?

v. 35-40: So what is it that we have to do, after keeping His commandments, going to Church on Sunday, paying our tithing, etc. etc.?

Scavenger Hunt Activity:
Divide your family into two groups. Give them the following lists and 15-20 minutes to complete it. Gather together to discuss your feelings and experience.

1. _____ Make someone's bed
2. _____ Take out kitchen garbage to an outside garbage can
3. _____ Clear and wash kitchen counters thoroughly
4. _____ Wash a different bathroom mirror than the other group
5. _____ Write a letter, as a team, to the other team and tell them why you love them.
6. _____ Wash a large window
7. _____ Vacuum a sibling's bedroom
8. _____ Dust the TV and all around the TV

1. _____ Make someone's bed
2. _____ Take out bathroom garbages to an outside garbage can
3. _____ Clear and wash kitchen table thoroughly
4. _____ Wash a different bathroom mirror than the other group
5. _____ Write a letter, as a team, to the other team and tell them why you love them.
6. _____ Wash a large window
7. _____ Vacuum a sibling's bedroom
8. _____ Dust a large piece of furniture

When your time is up, gather together and dicuss how each family felt about serving each other. Read your letter and challenge each family member to make a special effort this week to love and to serve one another.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Family Fun Alliteration

Alliteration: A sentence that's all littered with the same sound. (Another fun challenge from Cocoa . . .)

See how my seven, silly sons sit in succession on the see-saw?  They are psyched that school has stopped and summer has started!

 And their sibling sisters smiling so sweetly while supper is being served (sans spoon).

The Toothless Twosome takes time out from troublesome teasing and taunting to tout: TouchĂ©

Finally, don't let these faces, fraught with frolicking fun, fool you.  For their future is as bright as their faith!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You are SO Good!

So today, my nine year old son thought it would be funny (ha ha) to take a black sharpie and turn a perfectly good T-shirt into a basketball jersey. He put his last name on the back along with a BIG number 18.

Well, my five year old son was in awe when he saw this homemade creation.

Five year old to nine year old: Did you draw that shirt all by yourself?

Nine year old (so proudly): Yup!

Five year old: Man, you are SO good to be able to put your hand back there and write your name and a number without looking!

Incorporating General Conference into Family Home Evening

Incorporating recent General Conference talks into our FHE lessons isn’t easy. It takes quite a bit of thought and inspired guidance from the Holy Ghost. Sometimes a talk provides most of the material but most of the time we may use a paragraph from a talk and build a lesson around that to suit the needs of our growing family.

I believe my children need to know WHY it is important to know what the prophets teach us. As I child I was somewhat familiar with what the prophets taught because my mother would tell us those things that were important. She also recorded every conference session on VHS. However, I don’t ever remember going over the words of the prophets once the Ensign came out and we didn’t pull out the popcorn to screen the recorded sessions of Conference.

Nevertheless, that did not diminish the responsibility my parents had to teach me the words of living prophets - because they did

But today, as a parent, I have too many tools available NOT to use them to teach my children. I believe I will be accountable for everything I did not teach them because those teachings are literally One. Click. Away.

Just FYI - I don’t post details of everything that happened in our FHE.

First, because what happens week after week is, at times, so unscripted, so NOT made-for-TV that one may read about it and never want to hold FHE again!!

Secondly - and perhaps most importantly - when those unexpected, wonderful moments DO happen to occur, the questions and the answers and the discussions you will have offer a way for the Holy Ghost to enter into your home and teach your family – individually and collectively.

So here is an example of a Family Home Evening lesson we have had recently:
We took the introduction of our lesson from Lesson 24 entitled I Will Follow the Prophet from the Nursery Manual “Behold, Your Little Ones.”

First: We played "follow the leader." We had the younger children be the leaders. (We jumped around, acted like monkeys and sang a song).

Second: We asked our younger children to identify these prophets (this one and this one and this one and this one) using Gospel Art Pictures. We were able to talk about what the Lord told them to tell the people. This brought us to our living, latter-day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and what the Lord has told him to tell us.

Third: We made up a fun “stomp-clap” to the words of the chorus “Follow the Prophet.” It got pretty loud as we got going!

Fourth: For the younger children we gave them time to color a picture about prophets.

The older children were asked to read President Monson’s priesthood session talk and write down some of the things they felt the Lord wanted them to know through His prophet.

(In retrospect, I would have given each older child a specific paragraph to read and present, rather than having them read the whole talk right there. We did, however, invite them to read this talk sometime tonight or this week).

End: We ended with this question, “When have you been blessed by following the prophet?”

Two shared their thoughts, but I noticed everyone – even the younger children – taking a moment to think about the question, allowing the Holy Ghost to bring to remembrance something that maybe they experienced or remembering hearing from someone else.

We tried to end with the “stomp-clap” we had enjoyed earlier, but our younger three children had checked out and started throwing crayons and acting like monkeys again. So we ended with a song and prayer and and had ice cream cones for our treat!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Heavenly Father

"Imagine the Father amidst the worlds without number, plans for redemption, the work of the Atonement, and His eternal ministry, which we know so little about.  And yet in all His majesty, He hears the tiniest whisper of a prayer from the least of all His creations and cares and responds with an Answer."

-Vaughn J. Featherstone

Friday, June 3, 2011


I did it! I really, really did it!! I got my hair c-h-o-p-p-e-d off. It’s the shortest I’ve ever had it and well, I LOVE IT! I wonder why in the world I’ve waited this long . . . I’ll tell you why. Since childhood, I have had embedded in my brain (kind of like the stone in Goliath’s forehead) that long hair was the correct way for a girl to wear her hair. . . And while that was very nice for the pioneers, I’ve decided that I am very happy with this new look that only needs a blow dryer and some pomade! Which brings me to the first question of this post: What keeps women from getting the hair style they really, really love???

* * *

Thank heavens the weather here has favored the cooler temps because the A/C in our van isn’t working. And I have been putting off the expensive fix for a while now.  But with no A/C in a 15 passenger van, the   summer will be a Death Valley vacation on wheels. Sad thing is, I remember when A/C was a l-u-x-u-r-y.  It wasn't until I was in Junior High that our family vehicle had the exhilaration of cold air blowing through our hair when the window was closed.  Do luxuries always have to become necessities?

* * *

So I'm reading through my three junior high-ers' yearbooks and I see HAGS scrawled throughout the pages. "HAGS?"  I thought.  "My boys are NOT hags (and neither is their mother)."  Then I calmed down and thought, "Think code word.  Maybe HAGS is a code word for a Happy Associated Girls' Society?"  That didn't seem right either.  And then it clicked in my brain that if I had known 20+ years ago when I graduated from high school that Have A Great Summer could have been condensed in just four easy letters, I could have saved myself A LOT of time and started summer vacation a whole lot earlier.  BTW, what acronyms have you come across that took you while to figure out?

* * *

We have a white board in our kitchen area.  Up until this week it has been largely ignored.  But this week my boys have decided it is now a forum to write messages.  Here are some of the messages that have been written:

"If you don't have time to do it right, you must find time to do it over."

"All men are created equal."

"With God nothing is impossible."

"Life is not a game. Life is work."

"When something is hard it doesn't mean you shouldn't try.  It just means you should try harder"

"Rum Punch, quite satisfactory." - Mary Poppins

To tell you the truth I was surprised my boys had it in them to generate such enjoyable, thought-provoking messages.  And it's been such the craze that each boy has an assigned day when he can put his message on the board.  In what ways have your children surprised you?

* * *

I love the scriptures.  I mean, I LOVE the scriptures.  On Memorial Day we focused our family scripture study on those who men and women who fought and died for our liberties and freedom.  We learned that the fight for freedom for this Land of Liberty - even this land of America - extended far beyond the Revolutionary War.  That fight, and specifically the right to worship God, makes this land the greatest on earth!
We took our discussion from Alma 43:9-21.  And this time around I equated the armies of the Lamanites to the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven who were cast out of Father's presence and the Nephites to be all those spirits who chose Father's plan to come to earth.
And when the armies of the Lamanites [1/3 of the hosts of heaven] saw that the people of Nephi [spirits who chose to follow Father's plan], or that Moroni [Jesus Christ], had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing [think a physical body WITH the Armor of God] —

Now the army of Zerahemnah [Lucifer] was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings [aka temptations of EVERY kind] ; and they were naked [they had no physical body], save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites [sons of perdition];

But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields [they did not, no, they could not have the Armor of God]—therefore, they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites [children of Christ] because of their armor, notwithstanding their number being so much greater than the Nephites [those of the Church of God].
What have the scriptures taught you this week?