Sunday, November 25, 2012

Grateful days 23-25

Ok so day 22 was yams. I am grateful for my grandma Lucile who turned them into one of my favorite foods,

Day 23- I am grateful for my parents who celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary this week. Thanks for staying together even when it wasn't easy and for teaching me what a real marriage looks like, the work it takes to make it last, and teaching me the beauty and love of true commitment.

Day 24 - I am thankful for my husbands small business and those who shop at our stores. Your patronage feeds my family and the families of the 25 or so others that we employ. Thank you for supporting small businesses!

Day 25- I am thankful for all of you who sent us angels for our Camille angel tree. I feel so loved every year when I unpack these precious angels to put on her tree. I know she is near tonight. Noble called every angel ornament a sister ornament. Thank you for giving me a physical way to bring my baby home for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Candied yams

I am blogging this on my phone so the photos are going to be at the bottom. I'll go back and fix it later. But in case anyone wants to make the best yams ever... Even if you don't like yams, you will probably like these. They are more candy than yam.

First step: boil the yams. Put whole yams in a pot, cover with water and boil till a fork goes in easily but not till mushy. That takes 30-60 minutes depending on how thick your yams are.

Use a fork to take yams out and let them cool. When they are cool enough to handle. Remove the skins. The skin will just come right off with your fingers.

Slice the yams about 1/2-3/4 inch thick. You can do this length wise or in circles or both.

Spray Pam in a baking dish. Layer the slices of yam in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Make it fit like a puzzle so there is very little space where the bottom of the dish can be seen.

Sprinkle with salt. Take a handful of brown sugar and sprinkle it over the yams distributing evenly. Place pats of butter every few inches. (See photos).

Add another layer of yams, salt, brown sugar, and butter. Again fit the yams together as tight as you can but don't overlap.

Add a third (or fourth) layer if you have enough yams. Three layers is optimal.

Put in the oven at 375 for an hour then turn heat down to 275 and cook for 2 more hours. Basically, you want the yams to turn a burnt orange color. Cooking for a long time "candies" the yams so the get chewy on the ends like candy. That is my favorite part.

Today I made 10#s of yams and used 2 sticks of butter and less than half a bag of brown sugar. I can't wait to put these back in the oven tomorrow to candy a little more while they reheat.

Trust me, marshmallows are totally unnecessary! These taste even better than they look!

Yummy Food

I am grateful for yummy food and to come from a long line of people on both sides of my family who can cook some of the best food I have ever had. I am looking forward to eating Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. :) We are going to my in-laws and I am bringing my favorite dishes from my families recipes (my grandmothers yams, and Grandma Garff, my brother's wifes family, rolls.) My sister in law is going to try to recreate my dad's stuffing.

I might also make a couple of other family favorites like my grandmother's banana cream pie or my aunt Shelba's lemon meringue or seafoam salad (green jello with pears cream cheese and whipped cream.)

Last night I whipped up an experimental dinner. My kids love my homemade pancakes. Last night I decided to see how we could make them a little more festive and maybe even sneak a bit of veggies in there too. So I make pumpkin pancakes. I also added white chocolate chips to some of them for an extra treat.

Okay so maybe not the healthiest dinner ever but everyone ate well last night. Anyway, they turned out really good so I thought I would share the recipe.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2t baking powder
2t baking soda
2 eggs
2T sugar

Whisk together then add:
2 cups sour cream
2 cups buttermilk
1 small can pumpkin
1/2t ground cloves
1t cinnamon
1/2t ground nutmeg

Whisk then add:
2 1/3 cups flour

Add more flour or buttermilk as needed to get the right consistency.

Cook on a griddle. Toss some white chocolate chips on top before turning over if you like.

I like them best with just a little butter and a dusting of regular sugar. Yummy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the Big Mac Post

This post is going to be a like a Big Mac. You know how they have the 3 buns. Well my buns in this post will be my gratitude days. And I have a little meat to put in here too.

18- I am grateful for my husband. He is faithful and hard working and fun among many other things. I can't enumerate all the ways I am grateful for him. But perhaps above them all is how grateful I am for how well he loves me. He always makes me feel beautiful and accomplished and smart and of great worth. I aspire to show him my love half as well as he shows his love to me. Thank you Jonathan. I love you.

Meat- I often think people would be rather shocked if they knew how often I think of, miss, and feel the loss of my sweet girl now 4.5 years later. I know that I could never have anticipated feeling this longing and having her so at the forefront of my mind even 4 years ago.

I think of her every day- multiple times a day. I feel my love for my kids double, once for them and once for her. I am savoring Harrison in his cute little toddlerhood, but a big part of me will be very glad to have him reach an age where I worry less for his physical safety. I know there is never an age of complete safety there, but I will be relieved to have the risks of choking, drowning, falling down stairs, escaping the house, or "running away" be so overpowering to me. I still have a few of those anxieties with Noble. He likes to hide from me and it kills me.

19- I am grateful for the spiritual growth and learning I have experienced from my trial. I am grateful for the help or inspiration our story has been to others. I am grateful there are people out there who are kinder to the their kids or appreciate their children more because of our experience.

Meat - The truth is that sometimes life feels heavy. Sometimes our trials in this mortal reality seem overwhelming and never ending. They weigh on our minds and hearts like bricks of sorrow or worry. The Lord knew we would have these trials in life. It is part of the plan to experience pain and suffering of all kinds here on Earth. But He loves us and wants to help us.

The truth is that the gospel does help. It didn't feel like my knowledge of the gospel helped at all in those early months of pain and grief. And to a degree, nothing really helps in those hardest days. You feel too much pain for any balm to help. But the truth is that my knowledge of the gospel plan gives me a source for comfort in the Savior and a perspective of eternity. This perspective helps me to understand what is most important in my life and the true timetable of my trials.

My trials are not forever. Even those that will last my whole life will still only seem a short time in the expanse of eternity. One day at a time I can make it through the most difficult of times. The Lord always gives us periods of respite from the storms of our trials. My goal is Eternal life. Any hardship I encounter, and obstacle that I may face is just a mountain I must climb on my journey there. It will not alter my course.

20- I am grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ and for the gospel He teaches us. I use that word in the present tense because He did not stop teaching when He died. He teaches me still. I feel the Spirit of God teaching my soul as I read and ponder the scriptures and work in following promptings or impressions that come to my mind.

I am grateful for the peace and hope He gives. Again I use the present tense. He brings me peace in my storms. He gives me hope when I feel there is none. There is always Hope in Christ. He is the Author and Finisher of our hope.

I am beyond grateful for His atonement. I am purchased. I am all in. I am indebted beyond any ability to repay. I am His to use or mold or try as He sees fit.

I am grateful to know where I stand with the Lord. An indebted, purchased, beloved daughter and once in a while, when I am really blessed, a tool in His hand.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grateful day 17

As always, I am grateful for my dad today. It is his 76th birthday. He is far away in Africa but I am just grateful he is alive and kicking. I am so grateful that even though he is on the other side of the world, he is never more than a phone call away.

Love you dad!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Grateful day 15 & 16

15- I wrote a whole thing on how grateful I am for my obedient and loving Sabrina and my blogger app deleted it! Be it known that I am so grateful for Sabrina and how she obeys even when she doesn't want to and hates me for making her do things. And I am very grateful that as soon as she does them she loves me again. I love that she is not a grudge holder!

16- I am grateful for my mental capacity, limited though it may be. Wrote about this too and how grateful I am to e learning again as I study for the bar. Also was deleted by my app.

So not very grateful for my blogger app deleting my much nicer post tonight but still am grateful for my final bedfellow while dad was away - Sabrina- and for my brains.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grateful day 14

Today I am thankful for my mini me--Lauren. She is kid number 3 just like me and she deals with both the big kids and the little kids really well. She is a smart little girl who loves to take care of people. She loves to teach me new things and loves science.

I am grateful for her help with her brothers and her love of the "I'd love to" jar that keeps me hearing those lovely words daily. I don't know what I would do without my lala to make me smile and laugh. I sure am thankful to be her mama!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grateful days 11, 12, & 13

Day 11- I am thankful for all our service men and women naturally. Just for varieties sake I will add that I am thankful for the brave passengers of flight 93 that crashed in PA on 9/11. Their sacrifice is not forgotten by me. I am grateful for their brave decision to do whatever necessary to keep the terrorists from using their flight as a bomb to attack another icon of American freedom. Thank you!

12- good friends who showed up to Sabrina's bake sale and hot her half way to her girls camp goal.

13- I am grateful for Annie. She is sleeping with me tonight as Jon is out of town. She helped restore my sanity tonight by cleaning up the downstairs after my big cook. Her sisters helped but Annie was the most diligent about it. I love this uber talented little girl! I am grateful to be her mother!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bake sale

Sabrina had a bake sale today to raise money for camp. Here is my favorite thing she sold.
Reese's Puffs Treats
8 cups mini marshmallows
3T butter
11 cups Reese's Puffs cereal
12-16 regular size Reese's peanut butter cups

Melt butter and marshmallows over med heat on stove. Turn off heat and add cereal. Mix well. Put in a 9x13 sprayed pan. Put a peanut butter cup on each treat. Press down with press and seal and put in fridge to cool.
Remove press and seal, cut and serve!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Grateful days 9 & 10

9- I am grateful to have girls first. Last night I put the boys to bed and went to the movies with Jonathan. I told Sabrina she couldn't have the tv on till she and her sisters picked up the family room and kitchen area.

When I got home the whole house upstairs and down (except the boys rooms) was clean. I guess Lauren did the whole upstairs and Sabrina did the downstairs. Annie was at dance while they were cleaning.

I love those girls and I am so thankful for all their help.

10- I am thankful to live near and be able to attend the temple. That place is Heaven's embassy to Earth. So grateful for the promises that come from making and keeping covenants there. Families are eternal units of society. They do not have to last only till death parts us. I am so grateful to be sealed to my family eternally.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Grateful day 8

Today Noble said our dinner prayer. He prayed that we could keep the Spirit in our home and that Cami could come visit us often. He is three.

I am grateful that my three year old who never lived on this earth with his sister Camille "gets it." I am so thankful that he knows Camille is still very much a part of our family and that she always will be.

Here he is all dressed for church.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Grateful Day 7

Today is a good day to focus on our blessings. The reality is that every one of us in this country is richly blessed. We all have our various burdens. Sometimes those burdens feel so very crushing and overpower our strength. But even in those times of depression and feeling forsaken, we are still actually enjoying blessings that we are too weighed down to notice or appreciate at the time.

I am grateful today for my testimony and witness - actually the numerous witnesses I have had - that tell me God is always mindful of me and of all his children. He allows us to choose, but his hand is always stretched out even when we choose poorly. I know He is real. I know He is mindful of me. I know that no matter what comes, no matter what burdens I am asked to bear, He will be there to help me through it. For that knowledge, I am most profoundly grateful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Grateful day 6

Tonight I am grateful we won't be counting any hanging chads or disputing provisional ballots. I am sad not to be able to see Mitt as our President because I really believe he would have done an amazing job.

But I am grateful that Pres. Obama has many of the same goals even if his methods of getting there may be different. I hope our leaders can come together to make our budgets balanced and help us reduce our debt and become energy independent. And I hope they can lead us out of this economic crisis and foster businesses that will create jobs.

The people have spoken, our bed has been made. Now it is time to lay down and go to sleep in it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grateful Day 4 and 5

Day 4 - I am grateful for all my ancestors who made the arduous journey across the sea to come to this new frontier they called the New World. I can't even really imagine how difficult their lives must have been and what it would have been like to make the sacrifices they had to make to come to America. But I am forever grateful that they did. Because of them, I live in a country where I am free to speak my mind, worship as I see fit, and vote for my leaders.

Day 5 - Today I am grateful for living in a land of law and order. Tomorrow our citizens will go and vote for our leaders. We are very divided in our country. Perhaps we are more evenly and closely divided than ever before. And we are passionate in our division.
I recognize that people on both sides of every issue feel they are right and justified in their belief to their very core. People are religious in their political beliefs. They are that deeply felt and often their political beliefs are linked to their religious beliefs. I think this is true for both sides.

The thing I am thankful for is that on Nov. 7 (or who are we kidding, it may be weeks or months later because of recounts etc.) when we know who won this 2012 Presidential election, we as a nation will leave the debate behind and go forward as One Nation. There will be no civil war. Even as divided as we are, we are a nation governed by the rule of law and we all respect the Constitution and its provisions for selecting our leaders and abiding by them. This is a blessing for which I am thankful. So many people in so many countries are not so lucky.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grateful day 3

Today I am grateful for a free press. I know we all hate the press most of the time but I am grateful that we have access to information from a source other than our government.

CNN is doing a great bit of reporting on both candidates tonight- Romney revealed and Obama revealed. I think it is some good reporting that really gives a good overall picture of these two men and how they have come to where they are now.

Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 Grateful Day 1 and 2

I am counting my last post as a Grateful Post since it was a thank you letter. I am really grateful to have a Presidential candidate for whom I can vote without reservations. Thank you Mitt Romney!

I think for the next few days I will stick to this theme. :)

I am grateful to live in a country where I can have a say in who my government leaders are. I am grateful to be able to vote. Thank you to all the women suffragists out there in the early 1900s of our country who paved the way to give women a right to have their voices heard. Frankly, I am amazed that it took so long in history for women to attain this right. With as pushy and opinionated as some of us can be ... ;)

Voting is such a privilege. So many in this world are not afforded such a luxury. And it is one for which I am grateful.

I have already voted. Have you?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dear Mr. Romney

Dear Mr. Romney,

I just wanted to write you a letter to thank you. I am sure it has been an arduous year campaigning. And I have no doubt the last several years have been full of difficult decisions for you and your family as you have weighed the costs of entering the very public forum of running for President of the United States. Now here we are just five days from the election and I have something to say to you. "Thank you for choosing to run."

Whether you win or lose, I am just so grateful that you ran. I am 37 years old and this is the first time I have ever voted for a Presidential candidate without reservations of conscious. Isn't that sad? I always have had reservations about either the candidates abilities or moral corruptibility or ambitions for shear power. I mean I hoped all the other men I voted for would do a good job if they won. Well except last time. I only voted for McCain because I was pretty sure he would lose in Nevada and I didn't want to vote for either of the candidates because I didn't believe either of them could handle the mess we were in. I didn't want to be part of the blame for putting them in office.

And it isn't that I hate President Obama. I just don't think he has the background and experience necessary to get us out of the economic mess we find ourselves in at this time. See, I am actually a moderate. I don't agree with everything either party advocates. I think President Obama has done some great and essential things in his term. But I feel like he has been putting bandaids on the economy (not that we didn't need a few bandaids.)

But our economy doesn't need more bandaids. It needs a cure. We need to address the causes of the injury and simply handing out more government dollars to stop the bleeding isn't going to fix it.

I believe fully that you have the experience and background and knowledge to bring about that fix. It is not an easy task. It will take making hard decisions about what things we really ought to spend our tax dollars on and which we should not. But that is what you have been doing your whole life and you have done well for your family and your company. I am sure you will do well for our country too if given the chance.

I may not agree with every decision you would make as President. That doesn't give me reservations about voting for you because I feel like we agree on the most important priorities. I agree that it is immoral to be spending money we are borrowing from China or anywhere else. I am worried about our deficit and our national debt. That hemorrhaging needs to stop.

I agree that we must have a government that looks to help small business to get jobs out there in the market. Anyone who has ever owned a small business, as you have, knows that small businesses are the bread and butter of our society. We need to make sure they are free to succeed and grow and hire more people without undue interference from government and excessive taxes.

I also agree that we need to invest in education and create a strong middle class. I believe you lean more moderate in these areas. Education and the middle class are areas we need to foster growth in any way that works.

I like that you are not a politician by career. You may not always say things in a polished way but I like your way of leading by principles and working with others to negotiate the details. I think that will be far more effective in getting anything in Washington done. We have gone too long without that kind of leadership. The only time Bill Clinton got anything meaningful done and balanced the budget bringing America to a prosperous time was when he worked together with the Republican Congress.

I think the best governing happens when the parties work together and come to the middle. Your experience in Massachusetts working with so many liberal Democrats makes me believe you can make that happen.

I believe you can get America back to work.

Thank you for running so that I can vote for someone I really believe would do an excellent job as President of the United States. Win or lose, I appreciate all you have been through to give me and millions of other Americans a chance to vote for someone whom they really believe has the experience, skills, intelligence, morals, and strength of integrity to serve Americans well as our President.

Stephanie Waite

ps to my readers: I know this post is political. I don't do those often. But please keep any comments kind and clean. We can respect others viewpoints right? This is directed at both sides. Please no Romney or Obama bashing.