Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

The year 2010 is just around the corner!

This year, I decided to post my resolutions here in the hopes that it will make them more concrete for me to stick to them, and in the hopes that it might inspire you to make some of your own.

#1--Pay tithing and hold family home evening faithfully--no skips, no excuses!

#2--Get back on track with working out at least MWF (cardio), then build back up to the T/Th strength-training sessions. No goal weight here, I just want to get active again to improve my health!

That's it for this year--short, sweet, and simple. I want to improve my physical and spiritual health, and have that trickle on down to my family to help them improve theirs, too. I believe that when we get ourselves more fit in both ways, our outlook will improve and help to improve our situation, too. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Legend of The Candy Cane

This was given to us with a package of candy canes from our home teachers. I thought it was too cute not to share! :)

Upside down, the candy cane makes the letter "J" which stands for Jesus.
Right side up, it stands for the staff of the shepherd, who was the first witness of Jesus' birth.
Before Jesus was crucified, he was whipped. The red stripes represent the blood of Christ.
The white stripes remind us that we can all become pure and white through the Atonement.

Let's all hang our red & white candy canes on our Christmas trees to help remind us what Christmas is really about!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

See's Fudge

3 cups (1 1/2 12-oz. pkgs.) milk chocolate chips
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine
2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. canned evaporated milk
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Place chocolate chips, butter, margarine, and marshmallows in a large bowl and set aside. Mix milk and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil for 9 minutes. Pour over first ingredients and beat until very smooth. Add vanilla and beat. If desired, add nuts. Place in a glass 9 x 13 dish. Cool at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The True Nature of Santa Claus

Who is Santa Claus? A jolly little old obese elf who flies in a sleigh with magical reindeer once a year, bringing toys to all the good boys and girls in the world? Perhaps the better question would be, what is Santa Claus?

Have you ever stopped to drop your spare change in the little red bucket by the bell ringers? Have you taken notice of all the needy "angels" hanging on the angel tree at the store? Have you seen the rescue mission/soup kitchen on Christmas? Each of these is Santa Claus. Each one is a manifestation of human kindness. No one should be without on Christmas. If only for one day, we should be surrounded by the true love of Christ: warmth, kindness, and care.

Santa is the embodiment of all these things. He sees to it that no one goes without. He wishes all well. He loves all with a perfect Christlike love. So who/what is Santa Claus? The best of human nature wrapped in the sweet spirit of giving.

Monday, December 14, 2009

English Toffee

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 bag (6 oz.) chocolate chips (more or less to taste)
slivered almonds (optional)

Heat butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Boil 7 minutes (to a nice caramel color). Pour into a buttered pan and spread (cake pan or square brownie pan both work nicely). Sprinkle with chocolate chips. When chips are shiny, spread over toffee. Sprinkle with slivered almonds (optional). When cool, break into pieces. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Past, Present, and Future

I've been thinking lately of Christmas traditions that I grew up with, currently have, and hope to have in the future. It's amazing how the past has already shaped the present and continues to shape my future. Here are some of the traditions that have been running through my mind!


We used to open 2 presents every Christmas Eve--and they were always pajamas and slippers. We'd take a bath and then put on our new jammies and pile into the car, and then we'd spend Christmas Eve evening driving around Brigham City looking at all the Christmas lights and displays. I especially remember the Felts' home, where Mr. Felt made painted wood cut-outs of Disney characters and Christmas characters that were life-sized and had them all out and lit up. So pretty!

My mom prided herself on her fudge, and it was a Christmas staple. We always had fudge on the plates we gave away. She said the secret was to make sure all the sugar melted, and to use marshmallow creme. These two tips combined to make a creamy fudge rather than a gritty one.

My grandma Arlie started a tradition when I was 12 of getting a porcelain doll to add to us girls' collection every Christmas. She took me to Gepetto's in the mall, where I picked out my first one.

Every year, we'd pick out a new ornament for the tree. When I got married, I got to take my ornaments with me.

As each child was born, my grandma Florence would make a felt stocking for the new arrival that would match the other stockings in the family. The stocking itself was red felt, with a felt design on the front. Mine was an angel. I still have it.


I continue the tradition of new pajamas for my family on Christmas Eve, although we don't do slippers every year.

I continue the tradition of new porcelain dolls for me and my girls almost every Christmas. Santa brings them now.

I continue the tradition of new ornaments for each family member every year. We have quite the eclectic collection!

Every year I give plates of goodies to neighbors. They always include my fudge and toffee, along with whatever else I chose to make that year. My toffee is only made with butter!!

My husband's family always did a big Christmas Eve get together with food, games, and a talent show. We continue this somewhat by having good food and games on Christmas Eve.

We try to take the kids to Christmas village in Ogden every year so that they can enjoy the displays, maybe have some hot chocolate, and visit Santa.


I want to follow grandma Florence's footsteps in making matching stocking sets for my kids as they get married, and adding to their sets each time a grandchild is added to the family.

I want to build on my husband's family's tradition as my kids grow older of having them home for Christmas Eve for good food, games, and enjoying the company of one another. Who knows, maybe we'll have a train of our cars driving around looking at the Christmas displays. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Balls

Time to start thinking about Christmas candy! Here's one of my favorites!!

1 stick margarine
1 cup creamy peanut butter
about 3/4 pound powdered sugar (more or less depending on the
consistency you like)
Chocolate Bark

Melt the margarine and then mix the peanut butter into it. Put in some powdered sugar, mix, and repeat until you get the consistency you want your peanut butter mixture to be (make sure it's firm enough that you can roll it into balls and it won't stick all over your hand, but not so firm that it won't hold when the balls are formed). Roll into lots of little balls. I got about 3 dozen out of it.

Melt the chocolate bark in one of your dipping trays. Put the peanut butter balls in another one. Line a baking stone/sheet with wax or parchment paper. Roll the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate bark. Scoop them out onto the parchment paper. Refrigerate (still on the baking stone) until firm.