November 25, 2008


Yesterday I tried out two recipes that were quick and EASY AS. Two recipes for scones (or for my US friends...biscuits).

Cheesy Scones:

1 cup self raising flour (in lieu of SR flour 1 cup plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder 1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter or marg
1 cup grated cheese
1/3 cup milk

Heat oven to 200 degrees C (450 degrees F). Cut or rub in butter and flour till it looks like bread crumbs. Stir in cheese and milk. Stir until mixture forms soft dough (a little....VERY little...more flour can be added if dough is too sticky)

Turn onto lightly floured surface (I use one of those cheap cutting 'boards' that come in different colours for fish, dairy, poultry etc...such easy clean up). Knead only 8-10 times or until dough is smooth-ish. Pat into a 6 inch square. Cut into 9 squares (can use scone cutter but squares leave no off cuts). Place on ungreased baking tray (I still use baking paper). Bake for 10-12 mins or until golden brown.

Optional: I also threw in a handful of chopped ham.

The other one is TOO easy. I got it from my friend Naomi. THANKS Naomi.

Lemonade Scones:

3 cup SR flour
1 cup lemonade (for my US friends that would be SPRITE and NOT what you would call lemonade)
1 cup cream

Mix all ingredients until they come together. Turn onto floured surface and knead lightly. Cut scones and place on baking tray. Pop into pre-heated oven (180 degrees C or 350 degrees F) for about 15 mins or until lightly browned.

Serve with cream and jam.


November 23, 2008

Loving Friends

The other night I was with a number of dear friends for a birthday party. The birthday girl had a lovely idea of having each of us share something (bring for show and tell or just the tell part) that has helped us to feel loved.

There were many lovely things spoken about. How one feels when complimented by a loved one; or when someone brings home gifts that are thoughtful. Some spoke of how their spirituality helps them feel loved, by reading the scriptures or feeling the Holy Ghost, or even by recognizing the 'tender mercies' of the Lord. All these things are beautiful and have helped me to feel love. One friend even mentioned her 'happy skirt' and how it makes her feel good when she wears it.

What I shared was a scrapbook I made (nothing like the scrapbooking they do now...literally a scrapbook that I stuck things in) MANY years ago. I filled it with cards, letters, notes, etc from people who said nice things to and about me. Someone was at my place of work once and wrote a note on the desk calendar...just to say hi...I have kept that for over 20 years. It was a show of love.

In thinking about what I would share with my friends, I came to realize there is a difference between knowing you are loved to 'feeling' you are loved.

I have always known I was/am loved. But that doesn't mean I always FELT loved. I have had times of loneliness that makes me ache. I've had times of hurt where I have wished for the end to come. I think many of us have felt like that, if only for a short a time. If you haven't....well lucky you.

Early in my married life when I was away from all that I had loved, all my family and friends, I was the loneliest I've ever been. A dish of loneliness and newlywed 'bliss'(?) and all the difficulty that can come from discovering the faults in each other. So I was not 'feeling' loved. I would often sit and look through my scrapbook to remind me that I was loved and I could actually 'feel' it too. I would cry...sometimes sob like a baby. It's so good to feel loved.

I got to a point that I didn't need to look at the book as often and when someone would say anything unkind to me I was able to say "It doesn't matter what you say. You can't make me feel bad! I'm a good person and people love me!" Ok it wasn't quite like that but in essence that's what I was saying.

It's easy enough to be loved and not 'feel' loved when our lives are filled with trials and unkindness. We may even have times where friends are few and far between or we are just too busy to enjoy them. I think we need to have something that we can bring to memory that reminds us of the feeling that comes with knowing you are loved. Whether it's a 'happy skirt', a post it note, a scrapbook of cards and notes or some other way.

Here's some songs and a story with a great message. I love them.

Max Lucado writes beautiful stories with wonderful messages. This one is called "You are special"

Book being read.

Cute little play by kids.

ASL version

Michael McLean has some beautiful songs that are uplifting and inspiring. Just a couple of my favourites are:

You're not alone. (sorry...I could only find them on a facebook page/application. So if you don't have facebook I'm sorry)

If only you believe in yourself.

This song is by Hilary Weeks. She seems to capture just what a woman is feeling...the loneliness, the pull to be Wonder Mum or Super Girl, she gets it and she writes about it in her music.

He'll carry you.

And this one is another one by Michael McLean. I just found it. I hadn't heard it before. It's beautiful. It speaks of the struggles we have that aren't always seen by others and how we need to pull together.

Safe Harbors.

I would hope that during those times we are in need of a 'safe harbor' and need to feel loved, that we remember that we ARE loved.

November 18, 2008

Joys of parenting...

The house is lovely and quiet right now. It's not even 6am. It's my favourite time of the day. Sure I have a splitting headache but hopefully the medication will kick in anytime now.

Last night didn't go as planned. FHE was going to be one that I knew I wouldn't hear groans and complaints about. I just KNEW it. Everyone was going to be happy, participate AND enjoy it.

We have been asked to sing a couple of songs for a friend's work party this coming Saturday. We are NOT great singers (well maybe I speak for myself....I can NOT hit a correct note to save my life) but we did have fun singing at a couple of church activities. What we sang made people laugh and that was our aim.

So anyway...for FHE we were going to practice the songs. Cheers were heard all 'round. They were happy and I was once again 'RIGHT'....which by the way, I usually am.

So we practiced our song through once. PERFECT family harmony (not so much the singing but the getting along). We sang the song through again and yet again. FINE. Everything was going smoothly. " more time!" I got greedy.

We were facing towards a window and I could see one son, a recent teenager, acting foolish behind me. I informed him that he needed to stop what he was doing. He came to stand by me and we started our 'one last time' again.

That's when it began! He was standing between me and the other teenage male in the home. That was my first mistake. Their arms touched at one point and the "Don't touch my body!!!" drama began. Only it's worse as they get older and bigger. And it's at that point that the practicing of that song ended. One stormed off to his room and the other just refused to put any effort into anything else we might do.

We decided that my husband and I would practice our song, have a treat and call it DONE!

As we sang our song and did the actions our children were laughing (except for the one up in his room) and my husband cracked up too. This is a good sign.

Maybe after this performance the hole in the bucket will FINALLY be fixed.

November 3, 2008

Banana Muffins

Ohhh my goodness. Making muffins could not be any easier than using this recipe. It said it was a banana cake recipe but I much prefer muffins. You could make it into a cake if you wanted to.

2 bananas mashed
1 cup Self Raising Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut (flaked is fine)
1 cup milk
1 cup choc chips (optional)

Mix it all together. Pour mixture into well sprayed muffin tin (or use paddy papers). Cook in 180 degree Celsius oven (350 degree Fahrenheit) until cooked through.

You can tell if they are cooked by inserting a toothpick in the middle and having it come out clean.

NOTE: Before placing in the oven you can sprinkle with sugar.

November 2, 2008

Testimony Meeting

Today (pay no attention to the date. I live in Australia and the blog site must live in USA) being the day we 'enjoy' Testimony meeting, I thought I'd share a song that is a particular favourite of mine. It's sung to the tune of "My Favourite Things" from the Sound of Music.

Parody of "My Favorite Things" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music
Lyrics by M. Spaff Sumsion

From the new edition of the CD Workin' the Glory

Brother Johansen says God fixed his prostate
Sister Hill wails that her son's gone apostate
Missy Brown details her trip to Belize
These are a few of the testimonies

Brother Stone calls his ex-wife to repentance
Sister Dean can't form a blubber-free sentence
Ammon Smith's grateful the Jazz beat the Kings
These are a few of the Fast Meeting things

There's unchaste movies at Wal-Mart in Layton
Hillary Clinton's a minion of Satan
God loves you just a bit less if you're gay
These are some nuggets I've picked up today

When this low-key
Shows how odd we are
I simply remember I'm not Warren Jeffs
And then I don't feel bizarre

Madison cries that her mom flushed her turtle
Then she announces her daddy's infertile
Tyler loves Jesus and recess and peas
These are a few of the testimonies

Elder Jones gripes that less-actives frustrate 'im
Nine CTR's thank the same things verbatim
Brother McPhie knows Rush Limbaugh is true
And The Da Vinci Code may well be too

Sister Cabell says the United Nations
Must be the beast from the book Revelations
Folks squirm through dubious doctrine and then
Everyone drowsily mumbles "Amen"

When euphor-ya
Starts to bore ya
Here's the thing that's sweet:
Each talk brings us nearer Hymn 152
And then we go home to eat!

October 30, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The following recipe is a family favourite. The recipe makes a large batch...the amount actually depends on the size of the cookies you make.

I use a small ice cream scoop (close to the size of a melon baller). I spray the inside with cooking spray so the dough doesn't stick (I have to re-spray from time to time). Using the scoop keeps the cookies uniform shape and makes them very pretty. I have been known to put the 'balls' of dough on a cookie sheet (covered with baking paper) then into the freezer. When the dough is frozen I then transfer it to a zip lock freezer bag and then back into the freezer. Now I can pull out however many cookies I want to make at a time and have some on hand for next time. Of course my kids loved to just eat the cookie dough straight from the freezer so they didn't last very long there either.

The cookies spread so leave about 1 1/2 inches between them. If you have any questions go ahead and ask in the comment box.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 lb margarine (500g)
3 eggs
1 1/2 TBL vanilla


6 cups Plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking SODA (bi-carb soda)
1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix well. Then add packet of choc chips...white or brown. White goes well with chopped macadamia nuts.

(At this point I cover the dough and place it in the fridge for a few hours just to firm it up a bit. It's easier to work with when it's not 'gooey'.)

Cook at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees F) for 10 mins.

October 27, 2008

Homemade Tim Tams

Ohhhh we all know that Tim Tams are a girl's best friend. Those who have not yet discovered this fact....I'm so sorry....but hold off any thoughts of hopelessness. Read on there is a surprise. We all love truffles. I came across a recipe that combines BOTH!!! I kid you not!!!

So here's the recipe for Tim Tam Truffles:

One packet of Tim Tams (good so far right)
One packet of cream cheese (low fat if you want but WHY??? you're using a packet of Tim Tams!!!!!!!!!)
Melting chocolate
Skewers (optional)

You'll want to crush the Tim Tams so they are very fine. Look for the texture of bread crumbs...or finer (using a food processor would be great or even your blender). No you're going to add in the cream cheese and mix really well. Wrap it in plastic wrap...put it in a zip lock back....cover with foil...any of these will work, and chill. Chill for a couple of hours (BE PATIENT!!)

Take the mix out from the fridge and roll into about wallnut size. (That size so you don't just shove the entire thing in your mouth in one go.....try and look like you can control yourself at least.) Put it on the tip of the skewer and dip it in melted chocolate. Ohhhh I forgot to say MELT THE CHOCOLATE) You can sprinkle some coconut over it if you want....drizzle melted white chocolate....or instead of dipping it in chocolate you can just roll it in cocoa.

Now for the SURPRISE!!!!!!!!

I have searched the internet. Looked in every nook and cranny and FOUND a recipe for a Tim Tam bikkie. I have not tried it yet....but you can bet I will. I just couldn't wait to post it is all. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it but reckon it could work in a pinch. The recipe is exactly how I found it. Should I make some changes to it after I make it I will come back and let you know. If you make them before me and found something else works, PLEASE come back and let us know. To my American friends; I hope you can understand the recipe. I've tried to link up some ingredients to sites that explain them. If you're still confused, let me know.

Here's a conversion site: Online conversion

Here's a translation:

biscuits = Cookies
bikkies = cookies
copha = don't even have nothing like it. Crisco or lard comes close but Ewwww Ohhh hang on....parafin might work. Don't you sometimes use that to melt with chocolate? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Here's a site that can help with more fun Aussie words: Also known as Strine

Homemade tim tams

250g pack Jersey caramels
20g butter
1 tablespoon cream
1 and 1/2 packs (375g) Morning Coffee biscuits
450g dark chocolate melts (or use real chocolate for a better flavour)
40g copha

Line two oven trays with foil.

Combine the caramels, butter and cream in a small pan. Stir over a low heat until caramels have melted and mixture is smooth. cool slightly until mix begins to thicken.

Sandwich two biscuits together with 1 teaspoon of caramel mixture. Repeat with remaining biscuits. Let the biscuits rest for 15 minutes or until the caramel firms.

Combine the chocolate and copha in a small bowl and stand the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth.

Use two forks to dip the biscuits in the chocolate mixture, shake off the excss and place on the prepared trays to set.


October 15, 2008

The Santa Letters

I was scheduled to go to the hospital for a 'procedure'. I would be sitting by myself for a few hours and did not want to read 3 year old magazines while waiting. I knew exactly what I was going to take with me. The day before, my copy of 'The Santa Letters' had arrived. PERFECT...I'll take that.

I must have looked a treat sitting in the corner with all the faces that this book made me pull. Faces of surprise, relief, compassion, sorrow, joy.

The story is about Emma and how after her husband died in a car accident during the Christmas season a year before. She has been struggling to keep her head above water in the currents of life, as she works and takes care of her four children.

Emma is not looking forward to another Christmas. The memories and the lack of finances culminate to the dread of this Christmas. Six year old McKenna is excited about Christmas because she believes, due to a dream she had, they will experience a miracle.

Then the letters started coming. The letters helped to remind the family of what Christmas was really about and to look beyond their sorrow.

As I read this experience of the Jensen family, I began to think of how I could have the same things happen within my own family. I think of the times 'Santa' came through for us a few Christmases and the faces of my Children. This book was not only a good read, it was also a good inspiration. It has inspired me to make this Christmas a more thoughtful and Christlike time. "The Santa Letters" by Stacy Gooch-Anderson is this Christmas season's 'must read'.

To learn more about this book, the author, or get your own Santa Letter inspiration, go to

October 14, 2008


When I make pizza I cheat and use slices of bread. I simply butter one side and put it on the baking tray buttered side down. Then I spread with tomato paste and add the toppings as per normal. Last Saturday I thought I would give a new recipe for pizza dough a go. It worked like a charm. It was EASY, which is always important to me, and quick....which is another plus.

Here's the recipe I used:

Pizza Dough

SUBMITTED BY: Gudny Bjorg Kjaerbo

"This one is a quick recipe that merely involves mixing a few basic ingredients and patting the dough into the pan. No need to wait for the dough to rise with this approach."

Original recipe yield 1 pizza


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)


  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Spread out on a large pizza pan. Top as desired.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees C (190 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
The following day I even made breadsticks with the same recipe. In between conference sessions I made them so that we could enjoy them while watching the next session. This is now a favourite recipe that will be used over and over again.

Catching up on things.......

My goodness...what a difference a month makes. There has been a lot going on in my life and my home. Too much to even put my head around let alone write about. Here are some of my favourite sayings that should give some indication of how I'm doing.

People say "this too shall pass" and I does a KIDNEY STONE and that's about as much fun.

I've come to realize that the light at the end of the tunnel is a TRAIN!!!!

Life isn't passing me by it's trying to RUN ME OVER!!!

I try to take it one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.

Feel free to use these quotes in your own life when things are piling up.

This past Sunday I was able to sit and watch General Conference with my family. Ohhhh what wonderful messages. There seemed to be a message of hope, hang in there, and you're not alone, throughout the talks. Messages we could all use I'm sure but just so you know, those talks were for ME. I think someone sent a memo to the brethren and asked them to please address all their talks to Wendy Cohen.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: The Infinite Power of Hope

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: Come What May and Love It

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland : The Ministry of Angels

President Thomas S. Monson : Finding Joy in the Journey

I think for the next few weeks I will listen to these talks again to remind me of the messages within. Deep breath in and on with the day!

September 9, 2008


What on earth is 'Hatchlings'?'s a mindless hobby of mine. I joined facebook awhile ago and discovered hatchlings there. It's an Egg hunt. The eggs are so purty and they hatch into all kinds of cute animals. I hunt for eggs to feed the animals that have already hatched ( now it sounds really stupid when I put it in black and white...I already told you it was 'mindless) and because I want to find the new eggs to see how pretty they are and what they hatch into. This is the reason for the 'basket' on my blog.

It reminds me of when my daughter was about 7 and she wanted a Tomagotchi. I was not buying her such a waste of money, item. I did however, find one at D.I. for about .25cents. ( I miss D.I. so much) She tried to take it to school the next day and I stopped her. She asked me if I would feed it and clean up after it while she was gone. I certainly would not! She then looked at her 'pet' and said "It's OK. You can stay with 'grandma' today and she will take care of you."

What was I supposed to do after THAT??? Of course I fed it and cleaned up after it everytime the silly thing made a noise.

So here I am with my own 'pets'. But it's different because mine have such PRETTY eggs.

August 25, 2008

Sisters in Zion

I LOVE my sisters. One of my favourite things to do is to just spend time with my sisters. There’s no agenda. Just get together to talk. Whenever we’re together you can be sure there will be lots of laughing. It can be a great therapy session.

People who don’t know me have come up to me and said “You have to be a Leneham. You girls all look like each other”. I remember one friend saying that although he can tell us apart, if he were to try and pick who is who simply by listening to us he wouldn’t be able to. So we must sound similar too.

I LOVE my sisters but I want to talk about my OTHER sisters. The rest of you!

Sisters like Kirsten F. We were pregnant at the same time with our third child. We served in Primary together. We have laughed and we have cried together.

* Kristie G. and Alison B. we go WAY back. I was their YW’s leader. They threw me a surprise party when I turned 21. We would have so much FUN on camps together.

* Lynda I. I found out that she was baptised by someone whose music I have loved for over 20 years now. I love to be able to share that with her.

* Sis Palau....If you’ve never had a Sis Palau hug then you’re really missing something.

I know some INCREDIBLE women of FAITH who are an example to me. Nicky M., Roslyn T., Cheryl E., Wilma M., Theresa F., Leanne G., Louise M.. Just to name a few. Some of these women probably didn’t even know that I have watched them over the years and admire them. Their testimonies and continued service strengthen ME.

I LOVE being with YOU! I don’t go to the Relief Society retreats so I can stay up all night....because I DON’T like to...I love my sleep and my own bed too much. I just LOVE to be surrounded by my SISTERS in the gospel. I don’t go to ‘midnight madness’ or ‘super Saturday’ because I need more stuff around the house...NO....I go to be with YOU.

When I have impressed my husband by doing something he didn’t think I was able to do I love to break out in song and sing “I am woman hear me roar”. I really like that song. I guess it would be the woman’s anthem out there in the world.

Listen to the words:

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand
Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

Now compare it to another song about women:

As sisters in Zion, we'll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we'll seek.
We'll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We'll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.

The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity's name.

How vast is our purpose, how broad is our mission,
If we but fulfill it in spirit and deed.
Oh, naught but the Spirit's divinest tuition
Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed.

While Helen Reddy’s song is powerful in showing that a woman can do anything in an “In your face” kind of way, ‘As sisters in Zion’ shows there is more to being a woman. It involves tenderness and ‘the errand of angels’ as we seek the blessings of God and are tutored by the spirit.

This song we love and know so well, was first published in a Relief Society publication back in 1874 as a poem. There are ten verses in all. The first and the last are the same.

Two verses that are fun:

2 We’ll turn from our follies, our pride and our weakness,
The vain, foolish fashions of Babel despise;
We’ll seek for the garments of truth and of meekness,
And learn to be useful and happy and wise.

3 We’ll wear what is sensible, neat and becoming
The daughters of Zion—the angels of light;
We’ll work with a will, while the angels are scanning
Our aims and our actions from morning till night.

I think the best three verses were chosen.

It was written by Emily Woodmansee. Emily and her sister Julia were part of the Willie handcart company. Emily walked all the way while Julia wasn’t able to and was carried in a handcart. Emily’s first husband deserted her and their two children. She later married again and had a further 8 children.

Janice Kapp Perry was asked to put the three verses we know, to music so it could be included in the 1985 hymn book. So now we have this beautiful hymn.

I have loved Relief Society since I was a little girl.

I grew up attending midweek activities with my mother. I was happy when I was home sick from school on the day that Homemaking was on. I’d be playing in the nursery area and I’d hear the women talking and laughing. I’d hear plates knocking around. I loved it.

There’s not too many here who would remember the bake sales and the bazaars that the Relief Society would put on in order to raise money for the ward budget. I remember sitting in the little booth in the shopping center car park while the sisters sold the goodies. I loved being around the Relief Society sisters even back then.

When I turned 18 it was not a problem to be in Relief Society. I LOVED being there.

I love to be numbered among you. Any opportunity that is mine that I may serve you, I am happy to do so.

Back to the hymn.

Although I could spend a whole evening on discussing this hymn bit by bit. Tonight I’m just going to pick out a couple of my favourite parts.

We’ll start with:

The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity's name.

Oh my goodness! Are these not the most beautiful words to be spoken about women?! I’m sure we can all think of women who have touched our lives. Who have been on the errand of angels and have been there for us when we needed them the most. Whether it’s a meal or help doing the dishes. It could even be a walking buddy or my favourite....someone to sit and talk to. Regardless of how big or small. You sisters have been angels to someone at some time. You have cheered and have blessed and I thank you.

Sister Hinckley has said:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, Wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, Perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking the kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenck’s lawn.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone else’s garden.
I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and Tears of a friend on my shoulders.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

The women who founded the Relief Society consisted of eleven married women, two widows, six unmarried women, and one whose marital status is unknown. They ranged in age from three teenagers to one woman in her fifties. They were all converts, and some had been converted when they were very young. They lived in different sections of town and in varying economic circumstances.

Our Stake is like that first Relief Society-We are a diverse group of sisters. Coming from different parts of the world and different family backgrounds. Though there are differences we remain sisters in Zion.

Elder Faust spoke to the Relief Society sisters back in 2002 and had this to say:

“I believe the four great enduring concepts of this society are:

First, it is a divinely established sisterhood.

Second, it is a place of learning.

Third, it is an organization whose basic charter is to serve others. Its motto is “Charity never faileth.”

Fourth, it is a place where women can socialize and establish eternal friendships.”

Which leads me to my most favourite part of the song. The very beginning.

“As sisters in Zion, we'll all work together”

We ARE sisters. And I love when we work together.

Elder Faust spoke of the socializing and eternal friendships that can be made in Relief Society.

I have a cookbook that is well worn. It's pages are falling out and it's covered in the ingredients that have been used in the recipes over the years. I was asked by the RS presidency to put together a ward cookbook back in 1992. I was a little taken aback by the request but I had great response and terrific support. In fact I did very little except come up with how I wanted the book to be and what I wanted in the book and the sisters ran with it.

I love this book NOT because I had anything to do with it or that I have recipes included. No...I love this book because I see the names of the people who submitted recipes and I think about them and ask that question...”Where are they now and what are they doing?”

These sisters were an important part of my life and learning as a young wife and mother. They helped me when my children were sick and when I was sad and lonely. They helped as I grew in the gospel. I LOVE these sisters.

In D&C 130:2 we read “that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.”

Sis Parkin said: “Whether we serve in Primary or Young Women, whether we're active or less so, whether we're married or single, whether we're spring chickens or fall hens, we all belong to Relief Society. We need your voices, your feelings, your hearts. Relief Society needs you. And you know what? You need Relief Society. When you don't participate, you're depriving yourself and you're depriving Relief Society.”

Earlier this year I spent a great deal of time with a sister I’d known MANY years ago when I was just a child. This woman scared me. I didn’t like her. But this year we talked friend to friend. It was a special experience for me. And just a few months ago I got to have lunch with her daughter (we were Laurels together). I mentioned this to my friend and said I could not believe the change in her mother. Her daughter also recognized this change and said “You know what happened? She started going to Relief Society.”

The theme of this fireside tonight is: Hearts knit together in faith.

We need each other. As in knitting the yarn becomes stronger, so do we as we join together. The different colours and patterns of yarn knitted together makes for a beautiful object. Our Relief Society too, with all the differences we have, when knitted together in faith, is a beautiful thing.

I look forward to the eternities where we can enjoy our continued sisterhood only with the eternal glory mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants. When we can sit down together in the eternities and reminisce about the times we had together here on earth.

It is my prayer that we will ever remember that we ARE sisters in Zion and let’s all work together. And in doing so our hearts will be remain eternally knitted together.

August 19, 2008


Last night for Family Night I had planned a short lesson. Michael (16yr old) had a fair bit of homework to do and I wanted to keep the lesson short so he could work on it. When the time came to gather together he refused to come down to join us. I started to get angry and use my 'I am the mother and you will obey' voice. Next step was my husband going up and would make sure Michael would come and join us. I knew that IF Michael did come to join us after being FORCED to participate, then the message of the lesson would be lost and it would have been a pointless experience.

So....if Michael won't come to the family, the family will go to Michael. We went up and sat around where he was doing his homework. We sang our song and said our prayer. I don't know that he sang or even closed his eyes during prayer. That was not important to me. What was important was that he wasn't kicking up a fuss that we were there.

I started the lesson by sharing a story about the 'Candy Bomber'. How he dropped candy to the children in Germany during the war. How it must have lifted the spirits and given them a boost to keep hoping for a better future. I showed a picture of this man, Gail Halvorsen, and mentioned that when my sister was on her mission in Germany, she actually met this man. The picture and the family 'connection' interested Michael and he, without realizing, was participating in FHE.

The next part of the lesson was about Captain Moroni and the title of liberty. We spoke about how Moroni's efforts would have lifted the spirits of the Nephites and how they would continue hoping for a better future than the one Amalickiah was wanting for everyone.

We spoke about the things that were written on the title of liberty; In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children and how they should also be our focus. If we keep those most important things THE most important things, then everything else will work out.

FHE was short and sweet and what made it even sweeter was the 'unintentional' participation of Michael. Hopefully one day Michael will be able to sing "This is the night we've waited for" to his own children.

August 15, 2008


My father is speaking in church on Sunday on the topic of 'Service'. It has had me thinking about all the wonderful things people have done for me and my family over the years and some things I've only recently found out about.

A story my father shared recently with me was of coming home from the hospital after one of his (many) surgeries, to find the front yard mowed and trimmed. This is no small feat considering their house is on two acres. The area taken care of was equal to an entire house least. They thought the city council had come through and mowed..until they saw who was to thank for such a task. It was a man in the ward who had come to do this service for my mum and dad. The reason that he had to do it that day was because he was due to go into hospital for yet another procedure and didn't think he'd make it out this time. This man, though the possibility of death within days, wanted to do something for my parents. THAT is service and will NEVER be forgotten by my parents or this most grateful daughter.

I think of all the blessings that have been a part of my life because of others. The tears I've cried on the shoulders of others. The meals and the generosity of various kinds. All have blessed my life.

I think of a dear sister who has been a member for over 40 years. How she stood one Sunday recently and shared her 'good news'. The good news was that in all the years she's been a member that week was the first time that someone dropped off a plate of cookies to her. Her son couldn't believe it. After all the service she had given (and there has been alot) that this was the first time that someone has shown her some service. She said she never did those things with the thought, or expectation of others doing something for her. She was happy to serve and has never complained. It is my goal to never let others wait so long for a plate of cookies to be brought around.

I love what Sis Hinckley said:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, Wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, Perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking the kids to scout camp.

I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenck’s lawn.

I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.

I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone else’s garden.

I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and Tears of a friend on my shoulders.

I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

That's exactly how I want to be too. Can you imagine if we all tried to live our life in such a way? What a wonderful world we'd live in.

So I will continue asking myself the questions: "Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad or made someone feel glad?"

July 30, 2008


Last night I got to hold an angel.

I have never seen such a teeny tiny nose. Her hair was thick and black. She looked just like her mother with a chin that was undeniably like her dad.

My sisters and I shared this time with our niece (the mother) and her husband. Holding and loving this precious little one.

Her birth certificate says that she came into the world on Tuesday July 29th around 3 pm. Her death certificate says the same thing.

My dear niece was due to give birth on Monday July 28th. When she went in for a check up she was told the baby had died. She had been to the doctor on the Friday and all was well. Little M. Rose was delivered by cesarean on Tuesday surrounded by much love.

There is beauty and happiness through all this sadness. One of the beautiful things is the understanding that babies/children are perfect and pure. When you look at a precious little one you can't help but know that. But there is scripture to back it up. Moroni 8

Another beautiful thing comes from the blessings of being bound (sealed) as a family forever. We read in the scriptures about this also in Matthew 16:19 and again in Matthew 18:18.

Those who have the correct authority (Hebrews 5:4) on earth today, meaning, those who have been given the 'keys' to 'bind on earth' can seal families for eternity.

What a kind and loving Heavenly Father who blesses us in so many ways that even through our sorrow we can find peace, and joy. There are 'tender mercies' all around us (1 Nephi 1:20) if we just take the time to notice them.

Joseph and Emma Smith felt the pains of losing a baby. Kenneth Cope wrote a song about it called "Tiny Hands"

So last night I held an angel and the next time that I see this little angel, she will be smiling and the tears we shed will be tears of GREAT JOY!

July 23, 2008


It is a sad thing indeed that people believe the heavens are closed and that miracles no longer happen. Miracles happen in my life constantly. One of the most beautiful miracles in my life are my children. I don't understand how anyone can look at a little baby and not believe there is a God.

My children bless my life....I could fairly throttle them at times as well....but thankfully those times are few and far between. :o)

Someone sent me a link to a beautiful song by Amy Sky. It's entitled 'Ordinary Miracles'. I hope that you enjoy it also.

July 21, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

Every Christmas morning, while living in Utah, the children would wake us up early to share the exciting things that Santa had brought. I decided that while they were playing I would make cinnamon rolls to have with/for breakfast.

(Side note: My children have always had two stockings. One for their bed where Santa places any toys etc, and the other one is a smaller one that is hung in the living room or placed under the tree. The stocking under the tree has a small box of cereal, a tetra juice or milk and some fun candies. The cereal and the juice/milk take care of Christmas breakfast.)

It was so lovely to have fresh cinnamon rolls. The smell of cinnamon has ever since been associated with Christmas.

We moved back to Australia in 1999. As Christmas got closer the children were all excited and said "YAY!!! That means SNOW!!!" Ohhhhh dear. Christmas time is SUMMER TIME here in Australia and snow at Christmas time is like saying "it will be a cold day in hell".

To try and keep things as normal as possible for them at Christmas time, even tho it was over 100 degree F temperatures and no air conditioning, I started cooking our breakfast cinnamon rolls while the children discovered what Santa had brought everyone.

Needless to say it was the LAST time I made cinnamon rolls for Christmas. Whew it was HOT.

My daughter was visiting with us on her break from uni this past month. She said to me last week "You know what I'd really like? Cinnamon rolls!"

With it being WINTER (July) I agreed to make some for her. Todays batch of rolls will make the second time in the past seven days that I've made them for my family. My husband picked up the baking dish this morning and said "It would be nice if this was full of yummy stuff this evening". DONE.

Jumping the gun

I have a wonderful friend who came to me yesterday not knowing how to handle a situation she'd had that morning with her teenage daughter.

Here's what happened: Daughter had bought some mascara that came with blue eyeshadow. The proviso for the purchase is that the eyeshadow was not to be worn. WELL...Sunday morning ready for church, the daughter walks out with the blue eyeshadow on. Mum 'made' the daughter go back and take the eyeshadow off...daughter called mum a not so nice name (let's just say it rhymes with switch) Mum then grounded her daughter for maybe not life but for a month.

So my friend asked me "How would you handle it?"

I went one better and asked her "How would Heavenly Father handle it?"

My friend was quick to point out that anyone who called Heavenly Father a name would be 'zapped' or 'flattened'.

I pointed out that Heavenly Father gets called names, 'damned', verbally abused, and spoken of in the most awful ways constantly and does not 'zap' the offenders.

We spoke about how to deal with what happened in the morning and how to deal with a month of 'grounding'. (I've always tried to avoid grounding children because it can end up being a punishment for ME.) Here's what we came up with: When we over react to what our children do, I think it's important to be able to go and talk to the child/ren involved and let them know that we realize we jumped the gun. This is what I suggested for my friend to do.

I also think it's OK to tell our children that we are learning as we go. I remember my mother or father telling me that they were new to 'this' too. Although I was their 5th child in 'teenage-hood' I was their first 'Wendy' teenager therefore it was a whole new experience for them. Every child is different as is dealing with them in their teenage years.

As for the grounding, it's best to take a deep breath before making 'punishments' so that what is chosen will fit the 'crime' and will be one that you can follow through with. Sometimes after talking with your child you can tell that the child realizes what they did was inappropriate and you see a contrite heart. At these times you can actually ask your child what punishment they think is appropriate. Most of the time you will find that what they come up with IS perfect. If they suggest that maybe a bowl of ice cream is the best punishment then of course it means they have a good sense of humour and that you can work out a compromise.

One of last things we spoke about was 'choosing your battles'. Her daughter looking like a 'blue ringed octopus' was not going to ruin their chances of being a 'forever family'. It was not going to cause accidents or financial stress on the family. The worst that could come out of it is embarrassment for the daughter.

Finally we spoke about an important roll as a parent and that is that we should not be MAKING our children make good choices but rather helping them to learn to make good choices. The worst thing a parent can do is make all the choices for the child as they grow and then when they reach 18 the child is let 'loose', so to speak, they act on their 'I'll show her' instinct and make poor choices. So please parents...don't force your children into making the right choice (you and I both voted against that kind of plan before even coming to this world) but rather assist them in learning to make their own good choices. Just like the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 3:54.)

As always in parenting...GOOD LUCK to us all.

July 15, 2008


I get a kick out of the Helen Reddy song "I am woman". When I do something that surprises my husband...that I could do it or that I actually did it....I break into song "I am woman hear me ROAR..."

As I was growing up we had a cassette that I enjoyed listening to. One of the songs on it was about growing up to be a mother. "When I grow up I want to be a mother how happy I will be. One little, two little babies of my own. And I will love them all day long and give them cookies and milk and yellow balloons and cuddle them when things go wrong...." track but now I'm back. Anyway...I loved that song.

I did look forward to be a mother. I loved to play house and cook.

I may not have the "seven little blessings from above" as I use to sing in the song but I do have four of them. There is little in this world that makes you feel as good as when a little child runs up to you, for no reason at all, throws their arms around you and says "I love you".

I was reading about a woman who I've seen in the news quite a bit. Her name is Germaine Greer. Everything I've read about this woman or from this woman has been bitter and angry. I have never heard her say or read anything about her, that suggests she's happy or pleasant to be around. I wonder how motherhood might have changed her. Would it have softened her heart? Would she have become what I believe a REAL feminist is?

What do I think a 'real feminist' is? Well I believe it is one who embraces EVERYTHING that makes being female WONDROUS. Part of which is motherhood or the nurturing of others.

"Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women." (Sheri Dew...Are We Not All Mothers)

Sheri Dew CEO Deseret Book.Photo from Deseret News

July 14, 2008

World's oldest Blogger dies

I open up the headlines today and find that the world's oldest blogger died. She was 108. When I read this a few things crossed my mind.

First was, "Good for her!!" How many people, young (OK youngish) and old, are too scared to even turn on a computer let alone BLOG.

I read where her grandson said that she was communicating with people from Russia and America. I thought about this incredible technology and how it has brought the world closer or even made it feel smaller.

I remember when I first moved to Utah and I would call my family back in Australia, there wasn't a call where one of my parents didn't say "This is so clear. You'd never know you were so far away", or something to that affect.

I also thought about the changes that have taken place in technology in my very short life (OK...OK...not so short anymore). I remember when they started advertising the fax machine. It was an incredible idea. I couldn't imagine how they could send a piece of paper to another part of the world within a few seconds. How incredible a fax machine was. My mind would never have wrapped around the thought of a COMPUTER in the home, accessing gobs of information within seconds. Or being able to communicate instantly with people on every continent in the form of 'chatting'. It still boggles the mind.

I was about 10 or 11 when we first got a phone. We had a great deal of instruction from mum as to how we were to answer the phone. When the phone would ring all us (the children) would RUN to be the one to answer the phone. It was such a novelty. After many months it was a different story. The phone would ring a few times and then someone would yell "Is someone going to get that?!"

I am so grateful to live in a day and age where such wonderful technology exists. I love having a computer and a dvd player. Goodness...I even enjoy our Wii.

My children have no clue what a 'walkman' and think that a 'record' belongs in the Guinness Book.

If you would like to read more about Olive, aka the world's oldest blogger, you can head to this site: World's Oldest Blogger Dies

July 7, 2008


G'day all, and welcome to my attempt at blogging.

Yesterday (Sunday 6th July, 2008) started out as any other Sunday. I LOVE Sunday's. Church starts at 1:30pm so it is the only morning in the week that there is nothing to get done early. I love to stay in my jammies as long as I can. It is my way of blowing a raspberry at the world of 'must dos'. Yesterday I got to do a wasgij with my two youngest sons, Aaron 12 and Christian 11.

A wasgij is jigsaw backwards. The picture that you're putting together is not the picture on the box but rather what the picture on the box would be facing. So you really have no clue what it is until you put it together. If you like a challenge or enjoy puzzles then you should find one and give it a try. They come in different sizes. I'm such a puzzle wuss so we only have the 250 piece AND I have to have helpers. If it can't be done in 30 mins then I'm not interested.

Come 12 I always start chasing kids to shower and get ready so we can leave at 1pm. Aaron and Christian were fooling around and had been told to stop their behaviour inside the house. Next thing I know Aaron is coming to me with his face signaling all is not well. He is holding his right hand with his left. I asked him "What have you done?" He told me that Christian, in their final 'battle' had just kicked his finger.

Aaron has a high tolerance of pain so when he complains then I pay attention. It was his hand that he had broken once before so we were cautious. I couldn't find the finger splint that we have used (ALOT) in the past....which is of course not surprising. So I grab a couple of popsicle/craft sticks and bandaids and splint his fingers. We have no slings that fit so I grab an apron becomes a DIY sling.

Rob takes the kids to church and then drives us to the children's hospital. I'm prepared for a 5 hour stay. I even pack a sandwich for AJ. Turns out that even though the waiting room was full and people were arriving in a steady flow, we only spent 2 hours there. Their x-ray machine simply stores the images digitally and the doctor views them on the screen at the doctor gathering area (I don't know what else to call it). What a great idea and what an incredible time saver. Gosh I love technology. turns out it is not broken but rather a bad sprain. The doctor loved my splint and said even though it looks daggy it does the same job one of theirs would do. I asked if Aaron could have a non-daggy one.

When we got home we were met by the wonder smells of dinner. I threw dinner in the crockpot before we left so it was well and truly ready when we got home. All I had to do was cook some rice.

I am a crockpot NUT. If I can think of it early enough in the day I will throw dinner in the crockpot and be done with it. Last nights dinner was a recipe I found called "Dump it and run chicken'. Dump it and run was exactly what I did.

Dump it and run chicken

.....I have used tenderloins, whole chickens (kids are old enough to pick out or eat around the bones), and yesterday I used 4 chicken breasts. You can cut them up or dump 'em in whole.
Carrots...I used 1 per family member because we love carrots.
Onion (optional)
2 cans of Cream of mushroom soup
1 can of mushrooms
Salt and pepper (optional)

Dump it into the crockpot. Cook on low 7 hours or high for around 4 hours. If the chicken is cooked through then the dinner is DONE.

Serve over rice.

After dinner and dishes were done, we played a game of LIFE. When I say 'we' I don't include my 16yr old son who refuses to join in with us as a family. Heaven forbid that he actually enjoyed himself. He's a good kid just not into playing games.

We had some bananas that were a little overripe which can only mean one thing.....Rob/dad gets to make us banana shakes. YUMMO.

After shakes it's off to bed. What a wonderful Sabbath day.

PS: If I say anything that you don't understand because I may be using Aussie terms, just let me know and I'll 'translate'.