Monday, August 1, 2016

Monday's Matter FHE : Sin Seeps In

At our home, and millions of others around the globe, Monday nights are reserved for family...a Family Home Evening! Or FHE for short.  We like to discuss gospel principles, spend time together and make sure to have fun!  I've heard *cough* that for some families FHE can be difficult.  For those of you struggling through I have one piece of advice for you... :)   Be patient.  It will all work out.  You are doing a GREAT job!

So from our family to yours, I would like to welcome you all out to Family Home Evening!!

Thank you for coming!

{Opening Song} (Start with some thing silly...End with something Spiritual) How about....

Once There Was a Snowman (you know, since it is 107 today).

You can find the music and lyrics HERE

{Prayer}  (Thumb Wrestle - Winner gets to give the invocation)

{Lesson: Sin Seeps In}
You will need just a few supplies for this one. Don't worry.  It's easy-peasy lemon-squeezey.

clear cups half full of water

Food coloring

slips of paper, enough for each cup and a pen

paper towel sections...maybe 4" long and 2" wide for each person participating

{Read or Listen To}  On the Edge by Pres. James E. Faust

{Discuss and Learn}
Talk about how the false belief that hanging out on the edge of sin will not result in consequences has tricked many good people.

Have everyone name a sin or temptation that they see is affecting people around them, at school, in the world, wherever it may be.  Write one on each of the cards and prop the card up on one of the water cups.

Add a few drops of food coloring to the water, different in each glass.  Get some helpers involved!

Stir until the water is completely colored.

{Read} 2 Nephi 28 :21-24 together

21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
 22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
 23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
 24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
 25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!

{Talk About} how Satan does his very best to "pacify" us.  (You can use the example of a screaming baby who is quieted by a pacifier)  Satan tries to lie to us and tell us that THIS sin is nothing to scream about or be upset about, it won't hurt to just hang out on the very edge of it...
Have your family members dip just the edge of their paper towel pieces into the colored water and hold it there for just 2 seconds (1 Mississippi...2 Mississippi...).
See what happens!

What Satan does not tell us is that Sin Seeps In.  He will lure you to the edge and pacify you into believing it is nothing to run from or be frightened of and before you know it you are soaked in sin.  Satan will use this to tempt you to go to the edge of another sin and another until you will not be able to cleanse yourself from it all.  
BUT there is always a way to come back!

{Closing Hymn} Redeemer of Israel

{Activity}  It is 107 outside so...don't go outside!  Let's play a nice board game.  I vote Parcheesi!! (It's the Classic Game of India, don't 'cha know?)  

{FHE Doesn't Have to be

PERFECT, It Just Has to BE!}

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Conservative's Take on Day One of the 2016 DNC

It don't think it is a big secret that I tend to be a more conservative voter, however, I see wisdom in at least listening to what the other side has to say. That is why I watched the opening night of the DNC's list of speakers last night. I even watched it on MSNBC, which I and many others, feel is the most liberal of the news outlets.
To me, watching it or listening to it myself, gives me the chance to make up my own mind about what went on and how I feel about it, as opposed to relying on a journalist's take or a newscasters piece about it.
Here are my thoughts on what I saw, not that it matters because I hope you decide for yourself. 
I was shocked to see the newscasters and the speakers ignoring and talking over the top of Bernie supporters in the crowd who were chanting (enough people chanting that I could make out what they were saying over the speakers and see them shouting on the screen). They were NOT few or far between.
The newscasters at one point said, "We are trying to track down the protesters and find out what they are saying." When it was perfectly clear they were shouting things like "Lock Her Up!" "We Trusted You" "Bernie" and "Hell No DNC We Won't Vote For Hillary!"
I saw so many people in the crowd (not just a handful) chanting, may more standing silent with their mouths taped shut, or crying, or holding signs for Bernie as they ripped up or discarded Hillary signs.
Say what you will about Bernie's political beliefs (I know I have!) but he really got a grass roots movement going. It is disgusting to see the likes of Sarah Silverman telling Bernie's supporters they are "Being Ridiculous!" I think if I were a Bernie supporter I would have been furious at the gall it took to make a remark like that. Her tone was as if she were talking to misbehaving children.
It was disgusting to hear Elizabeth Warren telling the crowd that the political system is "rigged" in favor of the powerful and than Bernie reminds us of what "Democrats fight for everyday." Does she not see the irony of that statement? How did it not dawn on her that in this particularly "rigged" situation many in that crowd felt like it was Hillary who was the "Powerful" that they were fighting against?
It was clearly evident to me that even the democratic party is fed up with the same old backwater politics, the secrecy, the manipulation, the greed and the condescending-sidetalking-hollow promises-making-establishment candidates that have been the norm for decades. Just like those on the Republican side seem to be.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday's Supper: Glazed Mini Meatloaves, Gnocchi with Red Pepper Sauce and Three Layer Key Lime Pie

{Main Dish}  Glazed Mini Meatloaf 

I know..I know. Meatloaf?  Yes!  It is a rare treat to get red meat at our house and what better day than a Sunday?  This recipe has been with me since the start of our marriage.  I hope you like it as much as we do.  The sauce is definitely the boss in this one.  It is a wonderful addition.  Try to find the Italian Cheese toasts - they make an amazing meatloaf and delicious crumb topping for many other dishes too.  Here is what they look like:

1.5 lbs ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
2 C crushed Musso's Italian Garlic Cheese Toasts, crushed
1 C ketchup
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and minced
1 Medium white or yellow onion, minced
1/4 C Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 C packed brown Sugar
1/2 C ketchup
1/4 C Worcestershire Sauce

Heat oven to 400

Combine all ingredients for meatloaf and work until well combined.  Press into a  into a muffin tin. Place tin on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any excess grease). Bake for 25 minutes.

Mix all ingredients for sauce.  Set aside.

Remove meatloaf from oven.  Drain off fat and turn if baking in muffin tin.  Return to the oven to bake 10 more minutes.

Remove from oven, top with sauce and bake 5 more minutes.

Serve warm.

{Side Dish}  Gnocchi With Red Pepper Sauce

Often, with meatloaf we will have mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese but this gnocchi was surprisingly good with the meatloaf, to me.  Get some greens with a fresh salad or other delectable veggie.

1 (16-ounce) package refrigerated gnocchi
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (6-ounce) jars roasted red peppers, drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy cream, or to taste
1/4 cup minced parsley
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
Chunk of Parmesan for grating

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Drain in a colander in the sink.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until hot, add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Add peppers, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a processor or blender and puree. Return sauce to pan, add cream and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add parsley, salt, pepper and few drops lemon juice, to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the gnocchi and sauce together. Divide among bowls, top with minced parsley leaves, and grate some Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.

{Dessert} Three Layer Key Lime Pie

 If you use a pre-made crust, this pie is super easy to assemble, it is light, tart and delicious!

4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature, or whipped cream cheese
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/3 C  Key Lime Juice (I like Nellie and Joe's bottled Key Lime Juice)
3 C whipped cream

For the Crust you can get a pre-made graham cracker crust or make a delicious one yourself out of crushed animal crackers!

1 1/2 C crushed animal crackers
3 TBS brown sugar
6 TBS melted butter

Preheat the oven to  325.

Mix all crust ingredients and press into a pie plate.  Bake 18 - 20 minutes, allow to cool before filling.

For The Pie:

Layer #1
Combine Cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and 1/3 C key lime juice and whip until combined and smooth. *Taste to make sure it has enough key lime flavor - you may want to add more juice if needed*

*Pour 3/4 of this mixture over your cooled pie crust - SAVE 1/4 of mixture for your next layer!*

Layer #2
Combine 2 C whipped cream and  the 1/4 mixture left over from layer #1 and fold until well combined.

Spread over the first layer.

Layer #3
Spread Whipped cream over the bottom two layers.

Cover pie with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or more until set.  The pie will not be green, however a few drops of food coloring will change that if you want.

Monday, May 9, 2016

And The Meaningless Award Goes To...

When I was a little girl we had winners and losers in games, and sports, and academic contests.

Arthur Leipzig, Red Rover 1950

We tried our best to be among the winners and learned to get up, dust ourselves off and try again if we ended up among the losers.  After all, there could only be one winner in most contests.

Contrary to what seems to be the current sentiment this did not send us to therapy or crying to our mothers.  This phenomenon of trying to make everyone FEEL like a winner, to me, seems pretty insulting.

When did we as a nation and a population decide that never failing anyone was the best course of action?

Is the end game of all this grade inflation, ego stroking, unwarranted-praise-giving nonsense to build up self-esteem? The premise of that is asinine.  Unless you are looking to build a generation of men and women who think they are amazing, not because they did anything amazing but because their Participant's Trophy says so.

Is there any better feeling in the world than battling through something, learning something, doing something difficult and finally succeeding?

Where would we be as a nation, as a people, had we not struggled to accomplish and contemplate ways to do the impossible?

Striving to be the best stretches us and helps us grow in unimaginable ways.

How insulting it must be to kids around the country, to be denied the chance to compete and to accelerate in the everyday, right of passage activities we all enjoyed.

How hollow those "victories" must feel.
Who are we to deny failure and all the opportunities that come with it to the growing generation?

Many of life's most important and precious lessons can only be learned from the toughest battles.

I am not saying people don't need a hand up now and then or a pat on the back when they are feeling low.  That is exactly what we need to be doing to help each other along.

No one likes to fail.  It is a fact.

I think if we could all have our way we would all be perfect but it is not in the accomplishment that we attain perfection, it is in the resilience of our spirit and the hope in our hearts.