Emergency Preparedness, Family Fun, Food, One Month Without Groceries

So Much For Preparation. . .

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I was planning on starting our ‘No groceries” experiment in October.  I was waiting for our chickens to start laying and for us to butcher the roosters.  Unfortunately our neighbours dog got in the pen recently and killed 50 of our chickens.  I was devastated.  Those chickens that are left will likely be so traumatized that they won’t be laying for awhile.  Since the weather is nice, I think I am going to try and do the experiment asBaby than planned.  If I can get a chicken coop close to my house made this week, then I think I will go and buy 10 hens that are already laying, and move the rest of the chickens down.  I was really counting on at least having fresh eggs and milk.  Good thing my boys like to fish. . .  Hopefully we will be able to survive. . . .592
Family Fun, Food, Uncategorized

General Conference, A Feast For The Body And Soul

Every early April, my kids wake up early one Saturday morning thoroughly excited.  The feeling festivity and excitement is almost tangible, for that day begins the start of General Conference Weekend.  Without worrying about breakfast, kids tumble out of bed, and make their way to the table.  There before their excited eyes is their own personalized Conference picnic.  Eagerly everyone scatters to get dressed, get their buddies dressed and to prepare the room for our Conference Feast.

About 8 years ago, when I was struggling to juggle the needs of four kids-the oldest only being 6 years old, I lamented to my husband that General Conference time was missing that special feeling I felt listening to the words of God should have.  For the last 6 years we had tried all sorts of things to make it so that my husband and I could listen to the speakers and their inspired words of wisdom they prepared so thoughtfully for us.  I always felt that Conference time was mediocre at best.  I was grateful to know that I had the internet available so that I could, at a later time, listen by my self to the talks.  As my husband and I discussed our vision for this time of the year, we both felt strongly that the feeling of anticipation and excitement was definitely lacking with our children.  Through much prayer and study, we came up with a plan that has changed the whole feeling in our home.

First, we changed our own perspective of General Conference.  Together, we decided that watching General Conference live would be the time that we focused on the children.  Our whole objective would not be how many notes we could write, but how positive of an experience we could make this for the kids.  That meant that  during conference, while we insisted the kids were reverent, we spent more time talking to them during conference, paraphrasing the stories or doctrine for the kids as they were being told during conference.

Next we started increasing our kids anticipation by talking about General Conference weeks before it was to happen.  We would gather crayons, paper and print out home made ‘conference bingo’ cards.  We made sure we showed them pictures of the Prophet and apostles.  My husband is good at remembering fun stories from past conferences, and with the recent years, we make sure we put on lots of ‘General Conference Stories’ an wonderful podcast for kids (and adults).  We also make sure we go shopping for lots of food.

Since General Conference is definitely a weekend where we get to spiritually feast on the words of Christ, I naturally thought of making it a time for us to feast physically.  This is by far my kid’s favorite thing to prepare for.  We make lists together, hunt up new recipes, go shopping and prepare days and sometimes weeks in advance.  While this takes work, it has been a great way to strengthen relationships and build memories through righteous traditions.  After the feast is prepared, our kids have the freedom to eat any time they want to during conference.  This has helped keep them quiet while watching.  We try to make healthy food for our feast instead of junk food and sweets so that we don’t associate feeling sick with Conference 🙂  As we have experimented with different kinds of ‘feasts’ we have found giving the kids their own personalized picnic basket full of food and a garbage bag minimizes the need to get up, lets them eat at their own pace, gives them a place to keep their food (and mess) contained while they watch and take notes.

Finally, we realized that it is important that the words listened to during conference sink deep into our families heart.  After a few years of mulling over this issue, and trying different things we have found a delightful way to encourage thoughtful discussion and note taking.  To do this we collaborated with other families to set up an evening where the older kids (8 and up) could get together to share their feelings, thoughts, and impressions about conference.  We call it ‘Conference Sunday’ because afterwards the kids get sundaes as refreshments.  Knowing that they are expected to carry on the  encourage the older kids to write notes and discuss their notes with each other to prepare for the evening.  When we first started this tradition, the kids were very young, most just turned 8 years old.  These discussions ended up being mini-conference lessons that the mom’s did.  As the years have passed on there has been a decided shift from parents doing most of the talking to, parents doing most of the listening.  Though it is hard for me to be quiet about gospel subjects, I have been richly rewarded with my effort to ‘talk less and listen more’.  I have got insight into my kids’ minds that I otherwise would not have had.

All of these things to make Conference time special, have taken a lot of work and preparation on the part of my husband and I but the effects of this effort have been well worth it.  Many times during the years I have heard “I love Conference time”, “Yah it is Conference”, “Hurry clean the house so we are ready for conference” and lately I have heard more tender expressions of  “I love Elder Uchdorfs” talk” or “Remember that story last year. . .” or “Mom, when I hear the voice of the Prophet I feel his love”.   I hope that as the years compound upon one another until they truly come to hunger after the words of Christ.

Devotional, Family Fun, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized

Lamb of God-Christ Centered Easter

Cousins
Cousins

I was driving home from cubs when I caught a glimpse of my sister disappearing into her vehicle.  I wondered out loud where she was going, and then remembered.  Earlier she had issued an invitation that I barely acknowledged, caught up as I was in the state of my house and my empty stomach.

Now,  I had a chance to replay our conversation.  What a gift that invitation represented, and how ungratefully I had responded.  Ashamed, I rushed home and gathered my crew.  “Our neighbor has a whole batch of new lambs and wants us to come and help feed them”.  My kids roared with excitement.  With squeals of delight and a mass of confusion and chaos, we found ourselves loaded and on our way.

The farm smelt of sweet musty hay.  The salt of the earth neighbors greeted us warmly and showed us the sheep.  Those lambs, so small, so energetic eagerly came to the kids hands, sucking on fingers and nibbling on boots.  A little black lamb was picked up and passed from child to child. The noise was deafening.  Bleeting and snorting mingled well with the squeals and laughter of children.  It was warm outside, and even warmer inside.

Drawn by my 10 year old niece
Drawn by my 10 year old niece

Once the kids were tired out of holding lambs, mimicking mothers, petting horses, chasing puppies and wading through mud, we moved to the backyard.  The sun’s slow descent painted a blush on the cheeks of the sky.  In it’s rosy light, the kids jumped and played tag, thoroughly enjoying each other and the crisp mountain air.

Parents discussed trees, sheep, wind and gardens until it was time to return home.  Tearfully kids gave hugs, ran around the yard one last time and then tumbled back into the suburban.

Surely He was Without Blemish
Surely He was Without Blemish

We talked of lambs, of spring, of hope and of THE LAMB.  Why did Christ come to earth ‘like a lamb’.  The Lamb of God, so pure and innocent, calls each of us.  His invitation is clear; it is sincere.  As stated in the LIVING CHRIST, “He entreats all to follow his example”.

This Easter, our family committed to do all we could to come closer to the Savior and follow Elder Holland’s Easter plea:

That these scenes of Christ’s lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial and abandonment and, at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. Now, may I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without our aid and assistance, that never again will He find only unresponsive onlookers when He sees you and me along His Via Dolorosain our present day. . . —may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,”  for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone.

Family Fun, Food, Marriage, Uncategorized

Manly Valentines Dinner For Me-A Tradition I Love

Recently I have been working hard at going to bed earlier in hopes that I stay healthy and can be a more involved mother.  So far it has worked pretty well (except for the nights I worked on my date kits for my husband) but last night I made an exception and can’t imagine making a better choice.  Every year on Valentines Day for the last 6 years my husband has got together with a bunch of other husbands and made a Valentines dinner for their wives.  This is a tradition that was started wholly by the men in a desire to honor their sweethearts, and it is by far one of my favorite date of the year.

Knowing the men involved, I am sure this idea was germinated by my two dear friends husbands who are both great cooks.  I imagine them getting all excited about what they were going to cook, and then approaching my husband with all their enthusiasm.  Mischievously I can imagine the look and delight turn to trepidation as my husband heard the plan.  That he loves me is no question.  That he relishes in making me feel special is not something I doubt.  I only know, that among the lengthy list of accomplishments my husband has, cooking is not found there.  I can easily picture his concern that he would have nothing to contribute.  Thankfully, those two wise men did not let him back out.  With some positive peer pressure they convinced him to get off work early and meet at one of their homes to ‘prepare’ for the ladies.  When he got there, that first night, they kindly put him in charge of the decorations.

Dutifully he called his mother-in-law and asked her what he should do to make the table look pretty and romantic.  Her advice was “Dip the glasses in water and then sugar so that the rims have an elegant sparkly line, put flowers on the table and hang pretty things from the chandelier, and finally take time to write a love note to each wife.”  Little did she know how her advice would be used.

When all three of us girls walked through the door, we could not hold in the giggles.  Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw.  Hanging from the chandelier were pink streamers woven around a an extension cord.  Boxing gloves were stuck on to part of the chandelier.  Our elegant glasses were mason canning jars-sweetly dipped in sugar.  I do believe there was a bouquet of dusty ugly fake flowers pulled out of a toy box somewhere in that room.  The best were the poems that sat prettily at each of our three seats.  Mine read “My wife, my wife, my wife, how I love my beautiful wife, my wife!” written thoughtfully by my friends 11 year old daughter!!  The whole evening went up from there.  The food was delicious, the conversation wonderful and we even played a few ‘theater sports’ games.

This tradition has been going on for four years and I love it.  This years theme (my husband is now the designated decorator) was ‘super hero’s’.  From the chandelier there hung different action figures, no extension cord this time or mason jars, but there was a pair of boxing gloves there.  Our company of 6 ballooned to a group of 16, and the evening was delightfully fun!

Family Fun, Food, Recipe, Uncategorized

Valentine Homemade Heart Pasta

Yummy homemade heart pasta
Yummy homemade heart pasta

Making Homemade Pasta is fun and easy to do.  It is a perfect winter dish to make with kids.  They love cutting and boiling (and tasting) this yummy simple dish.  To make it really fun, and full of love, consider cutting it out in the shape of hearts.  This pasta can be eaten as a main dish or added to soups and stews.

Ingredients

4 cups of freshly ground or store demonstrated bought

flour6 eggs

oil

photo (9)

  1. Pour freshly ground whole (or store boughten) flour into a tight pile in a medium size bowl. Make a hole in the centre of the flour mound. Crack five of the eggs into the well and gently whisk them together with a fork. Slowly pour in a teaspoon of olive oil to the eggs. Begin stirring the flour into the egg with your fingers,  if it seems like it needs another egg, add it now or forever hold your peace. We are looking for dough that is little dry, but workable. When the dough has balled into a soft workable mass, kneading it until it is smooth and elastic. This can take up to 15 minutes.  Once kneaded well, flatten and wrap in plastic to rest for two hours. Resting helps the proper texture to form.
  2. Roll out dough.  The thinner the better.  Once you have rolled out the dough as thin as you can
  3. Boil until they rise to the top
    Boil until they rise to the top
  4. Once you have rolled out the dough as thin as you can cut out with small heart shaped cookie cutters.
  5. To Cook: Boil a large pot of water that has been liberally salted. Add pasta and cook until the hearts float to the top (about 3 minutes). It should be al dente, cooked through but still chewy.
  6. Eat as a main dish or add to your favorite soup
Camping, Camping Food, Family Fun, Food, Outdoors

Campfire Nachos

Make your own campfire nachos!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chick peas.
  •  1/4 cup diced peppers.
  • Handful of nachos.
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced.
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese.
  • 2 slices of ham or other similar meat.

Directions: In a deposable foil tin put in all the ingredients, starting at the wettest ingredient first (i.e. chick peas, peppers, ham, nachos, cheese tomatoes) except the tomatoes will go at the top to prevent the top from burning 🙂 Put pan in your nice hot campfire for about 6 mins or until cheese has melted.

Children, Family Fun, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized

Fathers are the secret ingredient to a successful camp!

We tried out a few camp recipes today and oh boy, do we have some work to do before I can thrive camping.  I am determined though and my kids seem excited to come along for the ride.  Even more exciting is that my sweetheart has decided to jump into this latest adventure.  He didn`t even grimace when camp fire smoke filled the house at lunch time and he was presented with a very burnt

DIY Yummy camp fire egg recipes

egg for lunch.  The kids on the other hand were not impressed with burnt nachos!  Luckily I had lots of chips and cheese because it took 5 tries before someone got a bowl of campfire nacho`s that did not taste like camp fire!

yummy camp fire nacho's
yummy camp fire nacho’s

I perfected the eggs pretty easily, as well as hobo dinners.

Later in the evening I caught my sweetheart practicing some `camp games` (looked like soccer) with the oldest three kids.  They were loving the attention from their Papa, and he was enjoying the challenge of trying to play against three budding soccer kids.  I was struck with how lucky my kids were.  Their Papa really takes these words from conference to heart “May we heed the voice of the prophets, who, from the beginning of time, have warned us about the importance of fathers in the home”.  This counsel is becoming more and more important as society seems to be disregarding the role of fatherhood more each year.  A well documented fact was brought up in a recent movie I watched called Courageous.

Courageous-a must see movie for every father
Courageous-a must see movie for every father

One of the police officers pointed out to another police officer that the jails are full of children who were raised without a father.

Fathers play a powerful role in raising children to be happy, functioning, and productive.

In a book called “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters  Margaret Meeker states “Daughters who perceive that their fathers care a lot about them, who feel connected to their fathers, have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, substance use, and unhealthy weight.” Being raised by a “strong father” I know that his influence is invaluable in my life.     The effort a father puts into being with their family does not just benefit their spouse and children.  According to  Eggebeen and Knoester (2001)” [they] found that men who were more involved in their children’s lives were more satisfied with their lives, were more involved with their communities, more connected to their families, and less involved with their work”.  This make sense since caring for their families and engaging in “wholesome recreation” is a divine command from God. Doctrine and Covenants explain that “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing  from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” Not only does this mean that if we want blessings we must first obey the laws, it also means that when we obey the laws of heaven, we will beblessed.  So a father who chooses to obey the laws of heaven and follow the counsel of the prophet to engage in “wholesome recreation” will undoubtedly be blessed.  In this case it seems that the blessings are to enjoy a happier richer life.  What a joy the gospel is, we are commanded to do our duty, and when we do, we are filled with so much joy and happiness that we wonder that we ever were reluctant in the first place.I hope this reasoning hold true with camp fire cooking.  I am detirmined to find out what the ‘laws’ of camp fire cooking is so that my food comes out more edible.

Food, Recipies

Boiled egg over a campfire

Ingredients:

Egg.

Your favorite seasoning (Optional).

Directions: Crack egg into cup and add a pinch of your favorite seasoning to flavor. Put the cup in the coals for about 5 mins (or until boiled).

P.S. Don’t worry if the top of your cup burns, the egg will prevent the whole cup from burning