This time of year it can seem almost cheesy to express gratitude, however there is a good reason this holiday is all about giving thanks.
Happiness cannot be achieved through the acquisition of temporal desires and “keeping up with the Jones’.” True happiness comes only through faith, love, and obedience in our Father and Heaven and our relationships with His children. Each of God’s commandments are part of His plan of Happiness –a plan which shows us how to be happy.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34
One commandment we are given is to be thankful. When you focus on the things you have to be grateful for, and when you express your gratitude to your God and to those around you, you prove to yourself that you have much to be happy about.
During this season, take the time to kneel down before your Father in Heaven, and express a prayer of gratitude. You’ll find that doing so will make this holiday season full of more happiness than it can bring on its own.
The season for delicious goodness has finally arrived, and I am sure we are all anxious to indulge. I’m still on a family history kick, so I couldn’t help but post a family recipe from my dear great aunt who is fighting a brain tumor as we speak. In her honor I present to you this delicious brownie cake recipe.
Mix together sugar and flour and set aside. Combine in saucepan water, butter or margarine and cocoa. On medium heat bring it to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and combine both mixtures. Add eggs, buttermilk, soda, and vanilla. Beat well. Pour into a greased and floured 11x17x1-inch baking pan.
Bake at 350° F. for 20 minutes.
Make Boiled Frosting 5 minutes before cake is done.
1 cube butter or margarine
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 Tbsp. milk
1 lb. package powered sugar
Heat in a saucepan on medium heat with 1 cube butter or margarine, cocoa, and milk. Bring to a boil; remove from heat; add powdered sugar, nuts, and vanilla mixing well. Frost cake as soon as it is taken from oven.
I like to quickly sprinkle chopped walnuts or sliced almonds on top while the frosting is still hot. You have to be fast before the frosting sets up or the nuts will not stay put.
The time just keeps flying by. I can’t believe it, but only a month from today I will be getting married! We have gotten a lot more wedding things done which is a huge relief. Just last week my fiancée and I sent out a majority of our invitations. Along with our invitations we had an insert card that said that we were registered at Target.
So, last week we also went and registered at Target. I feel like today, registering at places like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, or Kohl’s has become common for bridal showers or weddings. Way back when (your parents can probably remember) no one registered and often times just asked for money. In a way I wish it were more like that today, because really all a new married couple needs is money, but it is seen as tacky asking for it nowadays. I would like to share my experience registering for Target and the pros and cons that happened and it might help you decide whether or not registering is for you.
To begin, registering was tiring. It might sound like a lot of fun running around a department store with a scanner gun, pointing at things on the shelves. I won’t lie; it was fun at the beginning, but eventually all our energy got sucked out of us. Walking around a big store like Target can get tiring and annoying, especially when you can’t find the aisle you need. Eventually it became a chore trying to find the barcode on each item to scan.
By the end, my body was tired from walking around so much and my scrawny pathetic arms were sore from holding the scanning gun, I just wanted to go home. It was fun at the beginning, but the phrase “shop till you drop” became more literal to me at that moment than ever before.
Secondly, we will most likely not get half of the things we registered for that night. I think I have only ever used a registry to buy someone a gift once in my life. It’s sad but true; probably more than half your guests won’t use your registry to find you a gift. Thankfully, you will still get things you need and there will be those people who will get you a gift card or just give you money. At this point in your life when you don’t have much, any gift is going to be of help. My dilemma was, however, if I probably won’t get 75% of the things I asked for on my registry was it even worth it? I would have been easier not to make one at all.
The last thing I learned on my registering adventure was actually a positive thing that might trump all the negativity of the situation. Going and registering made me more excited to be married to my best friend and it gave me a dose of reality. Making the list before the trip and deciding what we needed for our new lives together made me excited to have my own “home” (if you can call a college apartment home). I’m so excited to share a living space with my new companion and be able to decorate it how I want and have the items that I want. It also opened my eyes to what two people require to live comfortably and what may not necessarily be needed for a comfortable and humble beginning. It was an enlightening experience that will most definitely help us in the future.
I still haven’t decided whether or not having a registry was worth it. Maybe I will make up my mind after opening the presents and seeing what we got and what we still need. It still was an interesting experience and something I’m not sure I would want to pass up, but I leave it to you to decide.
Whenever I take my friends home to visit my family, one of the first responses I get is that of surprise, usually followed by the words, “Your family is really close!” To that statement, I whole-heartedly agree! I am the second youngest of six children, four of which are married and have children of their own. From the oldest sibling down to the youngest sibling there is an age gap of fifteen years. Many of us are hundreds of miles away from each other, but even now, we are closer than ever.
Ever since my oldest sister went off to college, my parents have made it their mission to make sure we stay together, no matter the age, distance, or obstacles that may be between us. Being a close-knit family requires a bit of flexibility and creativity, but it is absolutely worth it. Seeing the different ways that my family has decided to stay close to one another has me itching to share, so I decided to write down some of my family’s favorite ways to stay connected.
The Texting Chain For years we have had an ongoing texting chain between each member of the family. We share thoughts, pictures, jokes, stories, and encouraging notes with one another all throughout the week. Because of our texting chain, we are constantly being updated on everyone’s lives and can share in each other’s joys, and help encourage each other in difficult times.
G chats Every Sunday we have all set aside a time that we can hop online talk to each other face to face. It is like we are all in the same room! We have spent countless hours wiping away tears after laughing way too hard. We also set apart a time to have everyone tell about the best part of the week. This not only keeps everyone updated, but it unifies us in our love for one another.
Traditions We Look Forward to All Year Long Traditions can be one of the most unifying aspects of a family. One of our traditions just happens to be making movies. A few years ago, my brothers and I decided to put together a movie during our Christmas break. We started out jotting down ideas for a plot including zombies and an apocalypse, and before we knew it our ideas had exploded into a full-blown theatrical production created in iMovie. Ever since that year, the entire family brings their talents, skills and creativity to the table to create the year’s Christmas movie. And when it’s done, we start planning next year’s movie.
There are so many ways to keep connected, no matter the distances that may separate family members. Now, I’m not saying that you have to make yearly movies in order to stay close, but rather, find something that your family can all contribute their strengths to and watch how such a simple act can bring a family together!
This is a recipe I’ve seen pinned fairly often, and to be honest, the main reason I want to share it with you is because it is DELICIOUS. It’s perfect for fall (and pretty much any other time) and the ingredients aren’t too crazy.
Photo from here.
The original recipe can be found here. I made a few small adjustments (of course) to make it even easier on my limited pantry and my tastebuds.
Firstly, I did not have any quinoa on hand, so I substituted white rice for it. I cooked the chicken and white rice ahead of time to save me an extra half hour; the recipe has you cook both of those in the same pot (which is nice if you have the time).
The only other thing that takes a little bit of extra time is the cooking and mashing of the butternut squash. But trust me, it’s WORTH IT.
Also I left out the olives, because who likes those? (Sorry olive lovers.)
This is such a comforting meal. It is a “hearty stew” as the name implies, but it doesn’t feel heavy after you eat it (unless you consume the entire pot, as I came close to doing). The chunks of squash give the soup a creamier texture than it would have without, and you don’t even have to feel guilty because you didn’t use cream! Use this recipe on a crisp fall day and you will be more than satisfied.