Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday........Family Home Evening

Tonight, I feel if we had a "formal" lesson for Family Home Evening, it just might not happen!
So, instead, we are going to.........
 No, we aren't going to stick smiley faces all over ourselves. 
I just couldn't resist this photo.
Couldn't resist that smiley kid.
Couldn't resist the happiness he exudes......
Thought that if you needed a "pick-me-up" today, this little face may provide it.
But, mainly, I just wanted to post this photo somewhere, so here it is!!

Back to the topic at hand...
 This is a clue.
I was given a Wii for Mother's Day a few years ago.
The family thought that it would be a present that I would love and appreciate.
They are soooo funny hilarious, the correct word just escapes me for the moment.
I haven't played it very much. 
I tend to get motion sick when I do. 
The kids have enjoyed my present very much.
But, we do enjoy bowling as a family.
Well, Jessica doesn't.  She sits there reading a book.  When it is her turn, she gives the controller a flick, doesn't even look at the screen, and gets a..........
Where oh where is the justice in that?????
Someone who's character looks like Michael Jackson on a bad day should not be able to do that!
Sam loves to bowl.  I do as well, even though everyone makes fun of my "style" .  I say, don't mock it.........if it works........
Anyway, tonight we bowl.

Refreshments will be provided by the person receiving the lowest bowling score.
Peanut Buster Parfaits from Dairy Queen.
I will drive with Jim to keep him company, and to hold the PBPs.

For dinner we will have..............
  • Prep Time 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time 1 Hour
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Servings 6


  • 3 whole (to 4) Chicken Breasts
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Coriander
  • Cumin, To Taste
  • ½ cups Plain Yogurt
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Large Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 piece (approximately 2 Inches) Chunk Fresh Ginger
  • Garam Masala
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes
  • Sugar
  • 1-½ cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • _____
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Chili Peppers
  • Turmeric
  • Frozen Peas

Preparation Instructions

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some kosher salt. Next sprinkle them on both sides with some coriander and cumin. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven.
Next dice one large onion. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until they are slightly browned. As the onions cook, mince your garlic. Next, cut off the outer skin and mince or grate a 1 by 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions. Also throw in about 1 tablespoon of salt.
Next you are going to add about 3 tablespoons Garam Masala spice. And if you like it hot, this is also when you will add your hot chili peppers. Serranos work well. Now you are going to add your can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 tablespoon sugar. Let this mixture simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.
To a rice cooker add 2 cups Basmati rice, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon Ground Turmeric and 4 cups water. Cover, turn on your rice cooker and walk away. If you do not have a rice cooker, cook your rice as usual but make sure that you use Basmati rice.
After the Tikka Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 ½ cups of heavy cream. Now, chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the Tikka Masala sauce. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is a nice addition if you like cilantro. You can also throw some frozen peas into the cooked rice, give them a stir, and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas. It tastes great and gives another nice dash of color. Serve the rice with the Chicken Tikka Masala over top.
Make sure to have some Nann bread handy, too.  (Not sure if Publix has Nann bread, will look this afternoon when I go grocery shopping!)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday - Wombats in the Belfry......

Anyone happen to have one of these in their backyard?
Me either.
We don't even have a tabletop money tree.
If we did, I am quite sure that it would be dead.
In the backyard or on the tabletop.
It would be bare.....barren......non producing......
plucked completely bare.
The strain of it all would be to much.
Dead.  Dead.  Dead
Either from the big, golden dog or overuse.
Either way, our money tree would be no more.

I found this ABBA video, a bit of a blast from the past for me!

I also remembered that Monty Python had a funny song about money.  I dutifully looked it up, but alas, won't post it here.  I didn't remember that at the very end there is a naked man playing a piano.
he wasn't completely naked, but in the interest of protecting my more sensitive readers, it will not be posted here.

Another ABBA song has been going through my head today.
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.
That song has nothing to do with money, even though the title would suggest that it does.

PS  If you do happen to come across the elusive money tree, may it be fruitful!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings."
Today is Tuesday.
I have decided that on Tuesdays, I want to blog about my amazing little boy and the journey we are taking together through the maze of autism.

On this date last year, Samuel had only been diagnosed nearly 6 months.
You are given the diagnoses and told that your child needs this and this, this and this, this and this.  The list goes on.  I have said several times that to me the diagnosis was not devastating......what was devastating was the huge list of things that we needed to accomplish and learn for our child.  Devastating because you are told all of this, but nothing is given to tell you how to begin......where to begin.  You are told that time is of the essence.  The earlier the intervention, the bigger the chance of success.  But, everything takes so long to get done!  Setting up appointments, evaluations......2 months, 4 months, 6 months and all the time the clock is ticking.
So, you educate yourself.
What exactly is mild to moderate autism?
You search the internet.
You read.
You scream.
You make telephone call after telephone call.
You think you find a jumping off point only to have that door shut.
You cry.
Another glimmer of hope.....
another disappointment.
Pray for guidance,  for calm, for patience.
Then finally.
Samuel started therapy.
Speech and Occupational Therapy.
It wasn't everything on the list, but it was a beginning.
A beginning of hope.
When I first started to type this post, my intention was to tell of a conversation that I had with Sam today.  I have told a bit more than I intended!  But I was thinking about all the hours of dedication that have led us to this moment in time.
The hours of speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavior therapy.
The team of people that care about Sam.
People he loves.
It started with Miss Beth and Miss Megan.
Now he has Miss Debra and Allison.
Miss Marcia and Hannah.
Miss Randie and Addie.
Last, but not least, Miss Teresa.
They say it takes a village to raise a child.  I am not sure if I agree with that, but I know that it takes a team of wonderful people to help my little boy reach his full potential.  To help him see the world and embrace it.
Every person at church who bends down to look Sam in they eye, to tell him "Good Morning Sam!"  His Primary teachers who care.

Every struggle, every minute........
it is all worth it.
I had a short conversation with my boy.
Monday afternoon, sitting in the drive thru at McDonald's.
To many it may not even seem like a conversation, but it was.
Sam:  It is day
Mum:  Yes, it is day
Sam:  Day and night, night and day
Mum:  Which do you like best, day or night?
Sam:  I like day
Mum:  Why do you like day best?
Sam:  Day is best, night.....sleep
Mum:  What do you like to do in the day?
Sam:  School
Mum:  Anything else?
Sam:  Play in sand

Then, the darn french fries and chocolate milkshake, minus the cherry, came and all conversation ceased.  Words gave way to lip smacking and slurping.
But, I was full - and it wasn't french fries.
It was happiness and gratitude.


Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Monday!!! That means.......

Tonight we will be doing the following.......


As Latter-day Saints, we have testimonies . . . 
given to us by revelation, assuring us that this religion and its doctrines are true.

Conference Talk:
For more information on this topic read “The Holy Ghost and Revelation”, by Jay E. Jensen, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 77–79.

"As Latter-day Saints, we have testimonies . . . given to us by revelation, assuring us that this religion and its doctrines are true."
(Jay E. Jensen, “The Holy Ghost and Revelation”, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 77–79.)

"Search, Ponder, and Pray," Children’s Songbook, p. 109.

"Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground."
(Doctrine and Covenants 8:3)

Share the following case studies with your family. After you read each case study, ask your family if they think it is necessary to pray for guidance in this situation:

• Your family is going to repaint the trim on your home. Someone suggests you pray about what color of paint you should purchase.
• You are choosing a counselor to serve with you in the deacons quorum presidency. Your bishop suggests that you pray for direction.
• Your parents ask you to fix dinner. You have many options and are not sure what to choose.
• You have just finished reading the Book of Mormon and want to know if it is true.
• A friend at school asks you a question about the Church, and you are not sure what to say.

Talk about why prayer is appropriate in some situations and not always necessary in others.

Read D&C 62:4–9 together. Ask your family to note which things the Lord specifically commands these missionaries to do and the things he leaves to their choice. Ask:

• What does this teach us about receiving guidance from the Lord?
• Why doesn’t God give a revelation about every decision?
• On the other hand, how can we make sure we will have God’s Spirit to direct us when we need it? (See verse 9.)

Share the following counsel from Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

“The Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial. I once heard a young woman in a testimony meeting praise the spirituality of her husband, indicating that he submitted every question to the Lord. She told how he accompanied her shopping and would not even choose between different brands of canned vegetables without making his selection a matter of prayer. I think that is improper. I believe the Lord expects us to make most of our decisions by using the intelligence and experience he has given us.’” (The Lord’s Way, 37.)

(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004], p. 128.)

Although a testimony of [the] plan is of crucial importance to us, we must not count on winning many debates on the plan of redemption versus the prevailing theories and philosophies of men.

I learned a long time ago that spiritual knowledge is described in a different language than is secular knowledge.

On this I had a valuable experience before I was a General Authority. It affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who ridiculed my belief in God. I bore my testimony to him: “There is a God. I know He lives!”

He said: “You don’t know. Nobody knows that. You can’t know it.” When I would not yield, the atheist posed perhaps the ultimate challenge to testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know.” Then, “Tell me how you know.”

I could not do it. I was helpless to communicate. When I used the words spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith also were meaningless to him.

“You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”

Perhaps, I thought, I had borne my testimony to him unwisely, and I was at a loss as to what to do.

Then came the experience. A thought, a revelation, came into my mind, and I said to the atheist: “Let me ask you a question. Do you know what salt tastes like?”

“Of course I do,” was his reply.

“When did you taste salt last?”

“I just had dinner on the plane.”

“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.

He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”

“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar, could you tell the salt from the sugar if I let you taste them both?”

“Now you are getting juvenile,” he said. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. I know it as well as I know anything.”

“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”

After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet, and it is not sour.”

“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”

After several attempts, of course he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said: “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words alone how this knowledge has come than you are able to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He lives! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”

As we parted, I heard him mutter: “I don’t need your religion for a crutch. I don’t need it.”

That to me was a great lesson on personal revelation. From it I learned about prompting and the truth of the scripture which says, “Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (D&C 84:85).

Since then I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually, or tell just how I received it. From such experiences we will surely suffer some humiliation, but that is good for our faith. And we have an ever-present guide. We will be tested, but we will never be left without help.

(Boyd K. Packer, Memorable Stories and Parables, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997], p. 57.)

Print a gospel picture (such as the First Vision) and cut the picture into twenty-four squares. Number the backs of the squares from one to twelve, repeating the numbers so that there are two sets, numbering one to twelve. Mix up the pieces and place them with the number side down, so that you see a scrambled picture. Turn over tow pieces at a time, trying to match numbers. When the numbers match, keep those two pieces to build the picture. If they don’t match, turn them back over, leaving them in their original spot. The game continues until all the pieces are matched and the picture is complete.

This lesson was taken from
The only thing I changed was the opening song.  Needed one that my family knows.

NOW.......onto dinner, which we actually have before Family Home Evening.

Firehall Steak Marinade 
(Except, I used it on chicken, not steak!) 
  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • ¼ cups Brown Sugar
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Halved
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Montreal Steak Spice
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, Grated
  • ½ cups Teriyaki Sauce (I Use Kikkoman)
  • 4 whole Steaks (strip Loins, Flank Or Other)

Preparation Instructions

Combine ingredients in a large Ziploc bag (don’t be like me—make sure there are no holes in the bag!), close bag and squeeze to mix the ingredients.
Add 4 medium striploin steaks (or your choice of beef steak) to the bag and seal. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or even overnight to marinate and then grill the steaks as you normally would. 

We will also have baked potatoes, green beans and a  chopped salad.

For dessert, which we will actually have after Family Home Evening for treats, will be......

Doesn't the name make it sound heavenly????
It is absolutely delicious.  One of my most requested recipes.
After my Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is.

Ingredients: Servings: 8

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding mix (any favorite flavor may be used) Some use 2 boxes

  1. Mix butter and flour together then add the ground nuts ( save a few for the toping). Pat into a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Bake 20 minutes at 350
  3. Cool.
  4. In a mixing bowl mix cream cheese and powdered sugar together, stir in 1/2 of the cool whip.
  5. Spread this mixture over cooled crust. 
  6. Make the pudding as directed on the box and spread over the cream cheese. If you would like a firmer pudding, use a little less milk.
  7. Top with the rest of the cool whip, sprinkle with the reserved nuts.
  8. Refrigerate until serving time. 
  9. Sometimes I drizzle melted chocolate or chocolate ice cream topping over the top, makes it look even more rich.  But, my all time favorite is to sprinkle with crushed Butter Fingers........

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Today is

It is also Monday, and that means that tonight is Family Home Evening night!

"We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”
President Monson, Ensign, May2005
What is Family Home Evening or Family Night?? 

Our Family Home Evening Lesson tonight is.....

Love One Another 

After loving our Heavenly Father, the most important commandment we have is to love our neighbor.

In following the Lord’s call, we must obey His commandments and offer love for Him and the people around us. By remembering the love Christ showed for us and letting His example guide our actions towards others, we can forge bonds of love with our families, our friends, and our community.

Song: “Love One Another” (Hymns, 308)

Cut hearts out of construction paper to use as a display. Also, collect pictures of family members and friends to share during your discussion.

Draw a large heart on a piece of paper. Make a list of people you love and care about and cut out their names. Divide the heart into pieces and label the pieces with the names of your loved ones. If you have extra pictures you can cut up, use the faces of those you love and glue them to the heart.

Bake a large, heart-shaped sugar cookie for each member of the family. Also, make three smaller cookies, increasing in size, for an object lesson. Prepare frosting and any decorations you’d like to include.


Assign a family member to read John 15:12.


  • Begin the lesson by asking your family members who they love. Then, ask them to explain how they feel because they love that person and how it feels to be loved in return. Share your feelings as well, and include how you feel to be loved by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
  • Next, explain to the family that everyone has room in his or her heart to love those we meet. Show the family your heart display with the names and faces of people you love. Refer to the pictures you collected. Explain that when you get to know and love someone, it’s like you have a part of his heart in yours. When you rely on a friend for help, she takes a part of your heart, or your burden, into her heart. Just the same, when a sibling calls you with exciting news, you feel his joy in your own heart because you have a part of his heart within yours.
  • Read and discuss 1 Peter 3:8 and Mosiah 18:21. Love ties our hearts together and unifies us. Explain that if a group of people, like a family or a ward, has love for each other, it is more unified.
  • Have your family think of one person they have a hard time showing love to (don’t tell). Have each member of the family make a personal goal that for one week you will show love and kindness to that person no matter how that person acts or what he or she says. Then pick one person for each family member to check in with the other person about your goals throughout the week.
  • Read the following quote by N. Eldon Tanner: “Let us always remember that men of great character do not belittle others nor magnify their weaknesses. In fact, the thing that makes them great is the showing of love for and interest in the success and welfare of their neighbors. True love does not permit us to hold grudges or ill feelings, to tell unkind things about others, or to destroy a person’s good reputation. We should not talk about or criticize one another, but strive to build and strengthen one another” (“The Great Commandments,” Tambuli, Jan. 1981, 2).
  • Finally, discuss Christ’s love for each one of us. He loves us so much that He gave His own life for us. Everyone can have a personal relationship with Christ because His heart consists of pieces of everyone’s hearts. He doesn’t only understand the happiness or suffering that we endure, but He feels it, too. He bore it all in the Garden of Gethsemane, and like Him we can rejoice and mourn with the ones we love.


To fully illustrate the space we have in our hearts to love everyone, gather the family together in the kitchen for this treat and object lesson. Give your family members their own heart-shaped cookies and ask them to divide up their heart with frosting. Each section of the cookie represents their love for a certain person. Ask them to decorate their cookies while thinking of their loved ones.
Use the three cookies in ascending sizes to explain that love is unlimited. The more people you love, the larger your heart grows. (Hint: Use the heart of Dr. Suess’s Grinch as an example). Show the smallest heart, then the bigger heart, and then the largest heart. Christ has the largest heart of all.
For dinner tonight we are having this.......

The recipe can be found on Pioneer Woman

Recipe: Chicken Spaghetti

 |   |   | 
  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken
  • 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Green Pepper
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Onion
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

I don't cook my own chicken for this recipe, I head off to Costco and buy one of their rotisserie chickens.  I use low sodium chicken broth from a can.  I also do not use Sharp Cheddar cheese, 4 cheese Mexican blend for us.

We will have a Chopped Salad to go with it.
  • 1/2 lettuce, washed
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber

Creamy French Dressing (Make your own or from a bottle)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the salad, chop everything together into mouth-sized pieces. Make a well in the middle of the salad and put in all the dressing ingredients then mix up. It's that complicated!

Our cookies from Family Home Evening


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mmmmh, I am positive I put this in my post last night
Oh well, here it is now!!

Billy Elliot: A mixed review from the belfry

The most celebrated show of the year, BILLY ELLIOT the Musical has captured hearts worldwide, delighted the critics and swept the awards - winning ten 2009 Tony Awards® including BEST MUSICAL!

Called "THE BEST SHOW YOU WILL EVER SEE" by the New York Post and "THE MOST INSPIRING SHOW I’VE SEEN IN YEARS" by Ben Brantley of The New York Times, BILLY ELLIOT is a joyous, exciting and feel-good celebration of one boy following his heart and making his dreams come true. Full of life, laughter, astonishing dancing and unforgettable music, this uplifting experience will stay with you forever.

Based on the international smash-hit film, BILLY ELLIOT is brought to life by the Tony-winning creative team – director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and writer Lee Hall – along with music legend Elton John, who has written what the New York Post calls "HIS BEST SCORE YET!"
I took the above information about the show "Billy Elliot" from the "Billy Elliot" website.
Jessica and I went to see the show tonight and it was all of the above mentioned things.  But, as i sat there watching, I had a more mixed review running through my mind.

The incredible expanding marshmallow man that was sitting next to me, and his snooty girlfriend didn't appear to like it at all.  I started to turn towards them and inform them that they didn't have to stay and watch the second half if they didn't want to.  We have left halfway through a show before.  But, I didn't.  I don't think they clapped even once!  A shame, because even though my thoughts about the show are mixed, there was a lot to clap about.

The talent was undeniable.  On tour there is three different boy who play Billy Elliot.  One is from Melbourne, Australia.  I was disappointed that he wasn't performing at tonight's show.  The boy who did is only 13.  Fantastic sums up his performance.

I didn't like the swearing.  I know they were trying to stay true to the "roots" of the story. But, I think we all could have enjoyed the show and understood the economic, social and "time" of the setting just as well without vulgar language.  Especially coming out of the mouths of young children.  Though I did find it amusing that the first few time the word "poof" was used, I don't think many understood what it meant.  Though, the fact that it was said to a young boy dressing up in dresses, the meaning soon became apparent!

I enjoyed the show. 
I loved the talented children, the dancing, the sense of humor, souvenirs!
Jessica's Souvenir
We get a mug from every show we see.  Jim is absolutely devastated when there isn't a mug available!
This is my souvenir.  I only got it because it came free with the purchase of the jacket and mug.
Would I go and see it again? 
Probably not.  

Solely because of the swearing.

Best part of the night?
Spending time with my daughter!
That always makes the night priceless.