Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Author: Stance Studies on the Family (page 3 of 35)

Gilmore Girls Family Lessons

Do you perk up when you hear the words, Gilmore Girls? Are you still hoping that Netflix will put out a season two of A Year in the Life to answer all those loose ends we were left with? I know that I am.

Gilmore Girls is loved by so many people. It has its hilarious, as well as touching, moments that so many people can relate to in their own lives with their own families. The Gilmore Girls may not live within a traditional home of a married father and mother, yet they are still as much a family as any other family. Rory and Lorelai are truly the ultimate dynamic duo between mother and daughter. They have their rough moments, but they always come back together in love and unity, while making countless, unforgettable friends along the way.

Since we could truly write a book about the different family dynamics in the Gilmore Girls series, the following are just three of the amazing family lessons we can learn from the Gilmore Girls:

  1. Eat Together: One might wonder how the Gilmore Girls can consume so much sugar and take-out while remaining in great health and how they can afford the take-out in the first place, but they can! So many wonderful memories are made for Rory and Lorelai over take-out from Luke’s Diner, Pete’s, and more. It gives them time to bond and have meaningful conversations with each other. Take time to have a special meal or take-out with your family to just enjoy some good junk food and conversation.
  2. Always Apologize: Let’s admit, Rory and Lorelai, especially, do not have the best communication skills. Lorelai and Luke should have been truthful all the time and spoken their true feelings to each other! Lorelai and Emily should have taken the time to communicate their feelings in a civil manner when Lorelai was a teenager. Rory and Lorelai could have even used better communication in their many disagreements over boys, college, and more. No family is free of arguments or explosive communication, however, the Gilmore Girls always make up in the end. We can take this lesson and apply it in our lives—the importance of saying sorry, asking for forgiveness, and never loosing the close bond between family members over a dumb argument or harsh words said in a moment of frustration.
  3. Home is Home: One final lesson to learn from the Gilmore Girls, is that you can always come home. Despite all the craziness that happened in the family dynamic of the Gilmore’s, there was always a home to go to. Despite Lorelai’s struggles through her teenage years, she and her family are always welcome to Emily and Richard’s house. The love was always there; it never left. When Rory struggles through her issues in high school, college, and even post-college life, Lorelai is always there to welcome her home. Sometimes discipline is necessary or advice must be given on a questionable decision, but this does not mean the love is gone, but rather that the love is strong. Let’s remember the family we love in our lives and always have a home for them to come home to in hard times.


Killer Recipes: Cheesy Garlic Swirls

My family and I love these rolls; and the best part is, they’re super easy! I whip them up whenever I want to impress people with my cooking skills, but don’t want to stress about it. Bread, butter, cheese, garlic—mmm. You cannot fail with this recipe. Seriously, just take a look at that photo; no filter, no editing whatsoever—that is the true form of deliciousness.


1 bread dough recipe (You can use any bread dough.  I usually use half a recipe of the bread dough featured on this blog a few weeks back. Alternately, I’ve also used rolled-out Rhodes Dinner Rolls freezer dough—just use what you have time for.)

½ cup butter

1 ½ tbsp garlic salt

1 ½ cups shredded cheese (You can use any cheese you want, really. I’m a fan of using classic cheddar, but I’ve also used mozzarella and it is just as divine.)

  1. Allow your bread dough to rise.
  2. While the dough is rising, combine softened butter and garlic salt.
  3. Spray your work surface with cooking spray, and roll the dough into an 18×6” rectangle (or do your best). Smear butter and garlic mixture evenly on the dough and sprinkle with cheese. Roll the dough up along the long edge to make a long tube of goodness.
  4. Use dental floss to cut it into individual rolls. I like to start in the middle of the tube and cut each piece in half until I have roll-sized pieces.
  5. There are two options for baking. You can place the rolls into a greased 10” pie plate, which works fine, but if you’re making a full recipe, I highly recommend putting each roll in a greased muffin tin. This way they stay contained, and they’re actually easier to serve and eat.
  6. Cover your rolls with a clean cloth and allow them to rise while the oven is preheating to 350°. 7. Bake for 20–25 minutes. If the tops are starting to look done before the rest of the rolls are done, cover them with aluminum foil and put them back in the oven.


A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Tradition

When I was in high school, my parents went on a low-carb diet. It turned out to be great for them, but it was kind of disappointing for my sister and I because it meant my mom stopped cooking the delicious comfort foods we had grown up with.

Okay, I guess a person can live like that. But not me—especially because my favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving—the holiday of carbs, pretty much. I had been known for taking everything on my Thanksgiving plate and making it into a big delicious sandwich on my roll. It was great.

Anyway, that first Thanksgiving rolled around, and my mom decided she wasn’t going to slave away in the kitchen all day making delicious foods that she couldn’t eat.

But she knew my love for Thanksgiving, and she didn’t want to just throw away the holiday, so we started a new Thanksgiving tradition. We decided that we’d all go to Golden Corral, and my sister and I would eat all the carbs we wanted, and my parents would stick to the meat and vegetables.

It. Was. Great.

Granted, it didn’t have all the cherished family recipes, but it had some pretty darn good mashed potatoes and gravy, and the turkey was nice and moist.  And on top of all that, it had cotton candy.

So for the next three years before I left for college, we went to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving, and we took a picture every year of me eating cotton candy, because I’m a dork.


Thanksgiving 2Thanksgiving 3








We always had a really great time on Thanksgiving, and the point is that it doesn’t matter what you do for Thanksgiving. The point is that whatever traditions you have, no matter how “traditional” they may or may not be, you can always have fun while you spend time with your family and think about all the things you’re grateful for.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my awesome husband and the time I get to spend with his family, participating in their Thanksgiving traditions. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father who has given me all of the wonderful blessings I usually take for granted. Oh, and I’m really grateful, too, for carb-a-licious food.


Is Mint by Intuit Right for You?

The word finances makes many newly-married couples cringe in fear. While everyone recommends budgeting, saving, watching credit scores, and tracking financial growth, these tasks bring with them extra time and energy demands that are often unrelenting. New and old families alike know they are supposed to do those things, but often do not know how to get started. And that is where the age of technology comes in! Over the past few months I have been using a very popular mobile app called Mint by Intuit to help me wrangle in those pesky tasks and hopefully plot a course of financial security. I will be going through some pros and cons of this service and hopefully allow those looking for a way to budget efficiently decide if this product is the right choice for them.

  1. The user base is huge! To be honest, the reason that I am reviewing Mint is that it was one of the first apps that showed up when I searched for budgeting tools on the iOS app store. The good news is when an app has a large active user base, the company that manages that platform is more likely to keep the app up-to-date and to respond to suggestions and emerging technologies. This puts users in a good spot since they know that they are syncing their personal financial information with a widely used and respected service and not some shady back-alley app.
  2. It is free! This has to be on this list. An app gets put in many people’s good graces, including mine, when it can be downloaded for free. And the free train doesn’t stop there; the service does not have any premium or “pro” features that require a subscription service, meaning it is a truly free app—not one of those sneaky mostly-free ones.
  3. Automated! Using technology is supposed to make life easier, right? Well in this case, the answer is yes! Once you sync your bank account to this secure application, Mint does the rest! It creates charts and tracks spending patterns automatically and religiously. Before using this app I did not know to the exact percentage point what I was spending on entertainment, but now I do. With the information that is ready at your fingertips immediately after signing up, it is simple to start making plans and adjusting habits to align better with your financial goals. My wife and I were able to see that we were doing super well on some categories (food, clothes, and movies) but could use some work on others (eating out).
  1. Ads. While the service is completely free, we do live in a world where money, unfortunately, does not grow on trees. As such, Intuit has decided to display banner style ads throughout the app and saturate the “Suggested Investment Products” feature of the app with its own systems. So while I revel in the app’s freeness, I do note that purchasing any other services strictly from the in-app recommendations without any third party advice is probably not the most recommended course of action.
  2. Automated. I know this appears on both lists, but for good reason. The automation does wonders on productivity, but I kept feeling like I was missing out on truly learning how to budget and plan the family’s finances. When the system was doing everything for me I realized that while I had great information now, I hadn’t learned anything. For those that want to learn budgeting, and not have it done for them, there may be better options explored in the future.

All in all Mint is a great product. It looks clean, it is easy to set up and use, and it has provided me with wonderful information that my wife and I have begun to use to our advantage. It truly is important for every family to budget and work toward financial security. With that being said, Mint just may be the right app for you to get on that road to financial success.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash


Killer Recipes: Mississippi Pot Roast

I’ve never been to Mississippi, but I am oh so grateful for all of the amazing people that live there now, thanks to this pot roast. IT CHANGES LIVES.

I was on Pinterest, looking for fast, easy meals and this blessing popped up on my screen. As with all my Pinterest meals, I was a bit hesitant, but after the first bite I was sold. It’s honestly that easy and good—so good that my husband volunteers to make it for dinner at least once a month.

Some people serve it over mashed potatoes, others take leftovers to make a sub sandwich with a slice of mozzarella cheese and a diced up pepperoncini pepper. In the end, you do you, and enjoy! (But in my house, the only way we have leftovers of this particular meal is if we buy a 5 lb chuck roast . . . for the two of us. Anything less is eaten in one sitting. Oops.)

If you’re worried about the peppers burning your mouth off, there’s no need to stress. The peppers are more of a background flavor that make everything that much better. However, if you’re like me and love a meal that has a kick to it, you can also pour some of the pepper juice into the mixture to cook and then slice up the peppers into the meal when serving.


(1) 3-5 lb. chuck roast
2 tbsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – REAL salted butter, not margarine
8 pepperoncini peppers


*If you’re in a hurry you can skip steps 1–5 and just season the meat before putting it into the crockpot*

  1. Heat up oil in a large skillet on high. You want it really hot to brown the beef quickly.
  2. Dry both sides of the pot roast with a paper towel.
  3. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper and add the roast to the hot oil.
  4. Allow the roast to cook for 2–3 minutes.
  5. Flip the meat over and sear the other side of the roast for another 2–3 minutes.
  6. Transfer meat to slow cooker.
  7. Sprinkle packets of dry ranch dressing & onion soup mixes over pot roast
  8. Top with a stick of butter then place peppers on and around roast.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4.5–5 hours)
  10. Slice or shred meat before serving. Be sure to throw away any fatty pieces.

Cook’s Notes: If you are sensitive to sodium, you could use unsalted butter for this. Be sure to use butter and not margarine. Margarine is basically oil. We did not find this recipe salty at all if you use this exact recipe, but be sure to adjust to your preferences.

Credit to “The Country Cook” at


Killer Recipes: Waffles

Every Saturday while I was growing up, my dad would make either pancakes, crepes, or waffles. The waffles were always my favorite. As I got older I began to pay more attention to how he made the waffles, and I asked him to teach me. Eventually I would make the waffles for the family whenever Dad wasn’t there for whatever reason. The recipe is pretty easy and it makes a lot of food! The number of waffles the recipe makes depends on the size of your waffle iron, but a medium sized iron will make around 20.


1 stick butter

2 c. flour

½ c. sugar

2 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp. salt

4 eggs

2 c. water

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Melt the butter and beat all of the ingredients together into a big bowl until smooth.
  3. Pour into waffle iron and cook for four minutes.


E: Extended Family

Fred and Rick were golfing. Fred says to Rick, “My mother-in-law is an angel.”
Rick replies, “You’re lucky. Mine is still alive.”

One of the trickiest parts of becoming united as a new couple is deciding how to handle in-law situations. While there are many jokes about in-laws, they don’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, most of the time they become a wonderful part of your life. It just takes a little bit of adjusting.

When I first got married—so long ago I can hardly remember—I found myself getting grumpy about how my in-laws did this or that. It wasn’t that they were doing anything bad, it was just different from what I was used to. I allowed myself to be disgruntled and even gripe a little about their habits and choices. One day it occurred to me that there was a different perspective available to me. I realized that my in-laws had raised my husband to be the wonderful person that I loved and wanted to be with forever. Therefore, they had done something right. Could it be there were other things they did right? Of course there were. From that day on, I chose to embrace all the good things my in-laws did and ignore the inconsequential things that had bugged me before. My relationship with my in-laws improved dramatically, and I am continually grateful to them for blessing my life.

As a new family unit, it’s important for newlywed couples to make decisions on their own in every aspect of life. These decisions include happenings such as family dinners and Christmas traditions. Parents, remember that while it’s easy and often fun to encourage your newlyweds to join you for various events, it’s critical that you do not put pressure on them to conform to YOUR traditions. It’s time to let them make their own.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when it comes to your in-laws. Stick to these, and your family reunions could go from slightly uncomfortable to events you look forward to all year long!

For newlyweds:

  1. Be grateful. Your in-laws raised that wonderful spouse of yours. If you fell in love with him or her enough to agree to spend your life together, then you need to give your in-laws some credit. They obviously did many things right. Once you give them credit for the good, it’s easier to ignore the other inconsequential things. It’s ok that they do things differently than you do. Odds are, so do your own parents. So, cut them the same slack and spend your energy getting to know their personalities.
  2. Look for the good. If you want to moan and groan, you will be able to find plenty to moan and groan about. But if you look for the good, you’ll be amazed at how great those in-laws are. And never criticize your in-laws publicly. In fact, pass out compliments every opportunity that comes your way—trust me, they’ll hear about it.

For parents:

  1. Let them go. You raised your children with the idea that they would go out in the world and start their own family. LET THEM. Do not insist they come to Sunday dinner every week. Do not expect them to come for Christmas and participate in YOUR traditions. Allow them to come and go as they choose, and if they choose to join you, welcome them. Remember how fun it was for you to get to make your own way? Or remember how much you hated being forced to do things the way your parents wanted?
  2. Recognize how wonderful your in-laws are. This works both ways. Look at the talents they have. Notice how each in-law is perfect for his or her spouse. Allow them to be themselves, and compliment every great thing you observe. And tell them often how grateful you are that they married your son or daughter.

For both:

  1. Remember, there is more than enough love to go around. Don’t be stingy with your love. Allow the new in-laws a place in your heart and you will increase your joy and happiness more than you ever expected.


Fitting Christ into Your Family

My husband and I recently attended a Sunday school lesson that opened our eyes to how these doctrines of the gospel are truly one and the same. In the lesson, the teachers asked us to get in groups and discuss how two documents are related to each other. One was The Living Christ, a testimony from the leaders of our church discussing Christ’s life and His importance to our lives. The second was The Family: A Proclamation to the World, a declaration of our church’s beliefs about family and the plan of salvation.

I loved the comparisons we drew between the documents, and I’d like to share a few of them with you. In each point I will explain how a quote from The Living Christ relates to the doctrines found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

1. “He ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example.” The Living Christ

When Iooking back on my family, I think of all the good things my parents did for me, but sometimes I resented those same things. I hated being disciplined for arguing with my siblings. Sometimes I really didn’t want to stop what I was doing to read scriptures as a family or join in family home evening. But in retrospect, the lessons I learned from those activities are really meaningful to me now. I love my parents even more now because of the love they showed for me, even when I despised their actions and decisions. The Family: A Proclamation to the World says, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, [and] observe the commandments of God.” My parents’ discipline and commitment to the gospel taught me in word and deed the things that Christ taught. These things they taught are the good things in my life, the things that have eternal value.

2. “He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our pre-mortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.” The Living Christ

The Family: A Proclamation to the World teaches that “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” In other words, the family is the eternal basic unit of God’s plan. God is our Father, and all of us are His spirit Children; He wants us all to come back to him. This is the purpose of life on earth. “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” Our divine destiny is to live with God and our families forever, eternally progressing to become like Him. God is the ultimate example of fatherhood, and He lays out the example for how he wants our families to be in the words of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

3. “His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.” The Living Christ

The Family: A Proclamation to the World affirms, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” There is no other path that can give you as much joy as the path that is led by our Savior and Friend. He loves you. He wants the best for you. He gave His life for you.  I testify that if you abide by the teachings of Jesus Christ, and strive to live your life like He did, you will be happy. And this happiness, not the brief strokes of pleasure of the world, will last into the eternities.


G: Family Goals

As we are coming to a close on our M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E. acronym series, we must cover the importance of setting goals in a marriage.

Here is my most important piece of advice: make goals as a couple, and keep making goals. Life constantly changes. The unexpected always happens. So, it is important to adapt when necessary.

Where do you start? Well, if you are single, consider making personal goals you would like to implement with your future spouse. Then, once the future spouse becomes less futuristic, you can discuss those goals with him or her. If you are dating someone, consider learning more about that person and what types of goals he or she has for their future marriage relationship. If you are engaged, take this time during your engagement to really make sure your goals for the future are in line with each other. It’s better to figure out sooner rather than later if you are both on the same track. Finally, if you are married, choose now to sit down and make some goals together. There is no time like the present.

I have a friend who mentioned she and her husband spent many times on their honeymoon discussing and making goals for their marriage and family life.  This a great idea! If goals are made in advance, then when life brings you lemons, you will already have the recipe to make the lemonade!

Try breaking down the goals into topics.

  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Family
  • Couple relationship

Then consider breaking down those general topics into subtopics.

  • Spiritual
    • Have FHE weekly
    • Morning family scripture study (or evening, whichever you feel will work best for your family)
    • Couple prayer
    • Family council each fast Sunday

These are a few ideas of goals that you can make as a couple and as a family.

I know it can seem daunting. But remember, we do not have to be perfect now. Our quest to perfection will not be completed in this life. We get credit for trying, and that is what goals are all about. Life happens; things happen. Sometimes paths change, and we need to reevaluate. I know that when we are diligent in keeping the commandments, and we work in our families to follow the council of living prophets, our lives will be blessed.


Killer Recipes: The Best Bread EVER

Let me tell you a little story.

I am a little bit of a cheapskate . . . or maybe a lotta bit.

Sometimes, as a result, my husband and I eat some foods of questionable quality, because why would I spend 20 more cents per ounce on the name brand?

But sometimes, it results in some really great things.

Ever since getting married, my husband and I have been buying the cheapest bread we could find at the local supermarket. It was 89 cents a loaf, so we thought it was worth the slight stale-ness, and overall cheap-o flavor. I soon started to get sick of it; never wanting to pack a sandwich for lunch because the bread was THAT bad. Food, in my opinion, is all about the pleasure factor, and this bread scored about a -12 on a scale of 1 to 10.

But I wasn’t about to buy the most delicious bread in the bread aisle! No way, José!

So I thought to myself, “How can I have a more pleasurable experience eating cheap bread?”

And then it came to me.

I would just make my own bread. Who doesn’t love homemade bread?

I’d never made homemade bread before—at least, not without the help of a pre-packaged mix—but I figured that buying a mix would defeat the purpose of saving money, so I started my search for a delicious bread recipe.

Since this was my first attempt at the bread making business I decided to go the fool-proof route and save the internet searches for delicious and fluffy bread recipes for another time. That was my first mistake.

I came across this recipe for no-fail Amish bread, and the picture looked yummy, so I trusted it. Ha.

Anyway, I did know at least one thing about baking bread, and that was that it’s different in high elevations, like Utah. I wasn’t sure where this recipe came from, so I looked up what adjustments you could make to bread recipes for high elevation, and I did all of those things, just to be sure. That was my second mistake.

The bread came out of the oven a little stumpy looking, but it looked like bread, so success! Right?

Wrong. It was dense, crumbly, and all around not so delicious. I figured that’s just how bread was going to be, so I kept making that horrid bread recipe! Why, oh why did I do that?

Weeks later, as I began my bread-making, I thought, “Why am I even making this? It’s not even that great.” I slumped down and berated myself as a baker, telling myself I was a failure because my homemade bread didn’t taste nearly as delicious as literally everyone else’s.

But YOU, TOO CAN BAKE. I promise you, if it’s not working, just try a new recipe. You’ll see.

I finally searched for a fluffy bread recipe, because the denseness of my bread was the feature I most disliked about it, and I found the winner, folks.

This recipe is from Connie Armstrong, and was featured on It is already adjusted for high altitudes, so don’t worry about it not working (unless you live in a lower altitude than Utah. I haven’t tried it anywhere else, so I don’t know).

Here it is, friends: The tried and true Best Bread EVER

Makes 2 large loaves, 3 medium loaves, or 1 large loaf and 2 mini loaves


2 1/2 cups HOT water

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup sugar or honey

1 T salt

3/4 cup flour and about 5-7 cups of flour (divided) *I give flour notes and tips at the end.

1 1/2 TBSP yeast (any kind)

Spray oil

  1. Whisk water, oil, sugar/honey, and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Add 3/4 cup flour and whisk for 30 seconds, then yeast and whisk for 30 seconds more.
  3. Add 2-3 cups of flour and mix together with a spoon. If using a mixer, add the rest of the flour.  (The total flour should amount to about 5-7 cups, not including the flour used in step 2.) Let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes plus. If mixing by hand, add the rest of the flour and mix until shaggy looking and hard to work with a spoon. Knead in the bowl a few times and then turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Knead for 5+ minutes. The dough should be soft, but not really sticky.
  4. Let rise in a clean, greased, covered bowl for about* 30 minutes. You can let it rise on the counter, but it will rise nicely in the oven. Set your oven for 450 degrees for a minute or less, then turn it off before placing the oven-safe bowl inside.
  5. When the dough has risen, remove from the oven and heat the oven to 175 degrees.
  6. Grease your bread pans and the counter with spray oil. Divide the dough.
  7. Roll out the dough into a long oblong shape until all the air bubbles are gone.
  8. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder, tuck the ends under or squish them, and place it in a greased bread pan. Repeat with remaining dough.
  9. Place loaves in a warm oven (175 degrees) for about* 1/2 hour, or until the dough has risen to fill the pan.
  10. Turn the oven up to 350 degrees, and cook for about* 30 minutes. The bread is done when you hit the top and it sounds hollow. Don’t worry about time as much as this indicator. The bread isn’t done until you hear the hollow sound. If you are worried that the crust is getting too brown, cover it lightly with a piece of foil.
  11. Turn out on a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting. Smother the top of the loaves with butter if you desire.

* The times listed for rising and baking are approximate. Weather, altitude, your oven, the moisture content of your flour, etc. can all affect how quickly your dough will rise and bake. Make sure that you check to see that the dough has doubled for the first rise, filled the pan for the second rise, and that you hear the hollow sound to know when it is done baking. All these indicators supersede any time estimates given.


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