Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Category: Dating & Marriage (page 1 of 4)

Killer Recipes: Cake Mix Cookies

Ingredients: 

One package plain Devil’s Food cake mix*
 1/3 cup water
 4 tablespoons melted butter
 1 large egg
 1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
 1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F
1. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
2. Put water, cake, melted butter, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 more minute. The cookie dough will be thick. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
3. Drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (still a little soft in the center). Let cookies rest on pan for 1 minute. Let them cool for 20 minutes.

*You can use any kind of cake mix. Be creative!
Makes 3 dozen cookies

BY LAURA BUSHMAN

Killer Recipes: Homemade Pizza Crust

You know that feeling on a lazy Friday night, when you don’t feel like doing anything but watching TV and eating some of your favorite comfort food? I know I do, and while I have many comfort foods I love, pizza has always been a favorite! Ordering a pizza always seems to be the go-to pizza option, but sometimes it’s hard to decide on a certain type of pizza, or adding more pizza toppings makes the pizza more expensive. So, why don’t you just make your own pizza!? You can just buy your favorite toppings from the store, and odds are you will have enough toppings leftover to make at least one or two more pizzas. My husband and I love doing this. It’s quick, easy, and so much fun! I have had a hard time finding a really good pizza crust recipe that gives me the thick crust and crunchy outside crust with the soft inside that I love—until I found this recipe. It’s my favorite pizza crust recipe, and I hope you all enjoy it!

Ingredients:
½ tablespoon of active dry yeast

2 ½ cups of flour

1 teaspoon of sugar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup of warm water

1 teaspoon of salt

In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast. Set it aside, and let it rise for aboutten minutes at room temperature. Also, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, in a big bowl, mix the flour, salt, and olive oil together. Sometimes the olive oil will create little clumps in the flour. If this happens, you can try to press them out with your fingers, but it will not affect the bake or the taste either way in my experience. After the yeast has risen for about ten minutes, combine the yeast mixture with the flour mixture. Mix either with a bread mixer or with your hands until smooth and the dough stops sticking to your hands. You can add a little bit of flour if the mixture is still too sticky. Then, roll the pizza dough into a circle and transfer it to a buttered or oiled pizza pan. Add your favorite toppings! I personally love doing tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and cherry tomatoes. This is your time to create exactly the pizza you want. Then back the pizza at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15–20 minutes. The more toppings you put on, the closer to 20 minutes it will need to bake. When the crust has a light brown color to it, it should be just about perfect.

BY: ELIZABETH HANSEN

Provo Gem: The Soap Factory

Provo.

This place has a ton of character to it. Although I complain about the construction and zero parking and bipolar weather most of the time, it really is a great place to live and explore. There are so many startup companies around here that you can’t ever truly be bored (unless you’re hungry at 11:30 pm on a Friday or Saturdaythen you’re in trouble because nothing is open).

There are some real gems in our backyard, and I think it’s important that we give each of them a shoutout. The one that I’m going to focus on today is The Soap Factory!

This place is so much fun. I went on a date here back in 2015 and when I tried to go back later, it was closed! Have no fear, the company only moved to a bigger location, and it’s now on Center Street.

It can be a little tricky to find because it’s on the second floor; it is not a shop that you walk past on a sunny day, but it’s a rare find if you ask me. It’s a pretty cheap date for a really great time. It’s $5 per person (studio fee) and then 5 cents per gram for whatever products you make. (A bar of soap is usually less than $5.) There are literally over 400 shapes, 150+ essential oils, plus colors and paints to create your own healthy, all-natural soap, scrubs, lotion, lip balm, and tons more. This place is full of creativity. You choose the scents/oils you want in your product, the mold/shape of it, and then you paint it to your liking.

I personally think that this a great place for all ages and relationships. A girls’ night, birthday party, couples date, you name it. The first time I went here was on a blind date and *luckily* the date was a smooth one. You can easily strike up a conversation while creating your art, but it also allows you to have silence if 1.You really want to concentrate on your work and 2.The date is struggling.

I highly recommend checking this place out and don’t forget to make a reservation. Just try itI promise you’ll thank me later.

BY: CARLY CALLISTER

Limiting Social Media: Dropping the Phone Addiction

A child tugs on her mom’s pant leg.

“MomomomMOMOM!” she yells, begging for attention.

“Just hang on, I’m on the phone!” the mother pleads, attempting to finish her conversation.

How often have we seen this scene play out in various ways? I remember being that child, desperate for attention. I can sympathize a lot more with my mom now, knowing how needy kids can be; sometimes you need a minute on the phone just to get something done. But now it’s far easier and more common for technology to distract us from the needs of others around us, especially in our families. Today that phone scene might look like a family member only half-listening to a conversation, too involved in a text or a new Facebook status to give their full attention, or a child too glued to their screen to participate in family activities.

I personally have noticed a difference in my life the last few years as I’ve become more and more dependent on technology. I have a shorter attention span; I’m not as good of a listener as I used to be; I’m more easily distracted.

I am definitely addicted to my phone.

I’ve decided on several occasions that enough is enough; I need to stop using social media, go on a “phone fast,” and quit cold turkey. However, that rarely works out as well as I want it to. If technology is an addiction, it’s going to take more than one all-or-nothing attempt to really change my habits. These are a few struggles I’ve noticed as I try to limit my use of technology, and some tips that help me be more aware of the time I spend on my phone:

  1. Everyone has their own personal weaknesses in terms of time-wasters. For me, it’s Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  2. It’s hard for me to cut them out all at once because they aren’t all bad—I use Facebook to stay connected to my family, and I use Pinterest for recipes. I’ve found it’s easier for me to set specific, limited times each day that I can use them. For example, I can get on Instagram for ten minutes (and only ten!) to take a break from homework, or I can only look at Facebook while I’m donating plasma, etc.
  3. I’m much more likely to stay off of Facebook and Instagram if I’m logged off them. Some people like to delete the app, but I find that even if I’m just logged off, the extra effort of logging in often deters me from doing so because it reminds me that I’m trying to stay away.
  4. Fixing social media settings so notifications don’t pop up on my desktop/phone screen is a BIG help! I could be working diligently on homework, but as soon as that Facebook notification popped up I’d go to check it just real quick and WHAM! I’d be down the rabbit hole. No notifications means no distractions jutting into my other activities.
  5. Tell someone your goals; they’ll keep you accountable. I know it’s kind of cheesy when someone makes that status saying, “Well I’m taking a break from Facebook for [x amount of time], see ya,” but if you at least tell a roommate or family member, they’ll be able to give you a hard time if they see you breaking your commitment, and maybe just make you feel guilty enough to keep it!
  6. Apparently when my brain wants its addiction it gets super resourceful. Even if I stop using my main time-wasters, I go to secondary ones like playing Candy Crush and online window-shopping with Wish. When that happens, I have to limit those ones too!
  7. Finally, perhaps one of the most important tips I have is to find other positive things to fill your time with. When I stopped using social media, I realized just how accustomed I was to filling every moment of boredom with it. I used it to numb myself when I was stressed or needing a break. Finding other things that act as stress relievers has been a huge help in slowing my automatic impulse to reach to my phone whenever I’m looking for a distraction because I have other things to turn to instead. I’ll pick up a book or spend a few minutes talking with a friend or a family member instead of scrolling aimlessly.

Technology can be a great source of connection, but only when we control it instead of letting it control us. How each person uses technology will be different, but I believe that if we set personal boundaries for ourselves and for our use of technology and social media, we will be able to more fully connect with those around us and be more present in our own lives.

BY NATASHA ANDERSEN

Vintage Ice Cream vs. Modern Ice Cream

Ice cream is a beloved treat all across the world. Nowadays, it seems that most ice cream shops are in a buffet set up, either where you make it yourself or the store puts it together for you. I absolutely love these places because I choose exactly what ice cream and toppings I want. But what about the old-fashioned ice cream parlors? We don’t see many of those around anymore, but they are still here and absolutely delicious! There are pros and cons to both types of ice creams shops. I mean, how can you go wrong with ice cream!

I will refer to modern ice cream shops as ice cream bars. At ice cream bars, you are allowed to select the flavor of ice cream or ice creams you want. From there, you can choose the toppings that you want. Depending on where you go, you may have to pay for each topping separately, or the final price may be calculated from the weight of the final product. If you are paying by weight, the fruity toppings will make your final purchase cheaper. Unfortunately for me, I am a complete chocoholic, so mine are always more expensive—but they are always worth it! Basically, with modern ice cream shops, the main pro is that you are in charge of your order. You get to pick exactly what you want—no questions asked. The main con is that sometimes these shops lack in quality because of their vastness of ice cream and topping selections.

I have only been to a few vintage ice cream shops, but from what I have seen, you get an experience along with amazing ice cream. The waiters are dressed up like they’re from the 50s and the whole shop is decked out like you just walked into a scene from Grease. Generally, you have to pick an ice cream creation that the shop already has on the menu, but they do not skimp on ice cream and toppings! Generally, vintage ice cream shops serve their creations in old-fashioned milkshake glasses or vintage glass bowls. It comes with mounds of ice cream and with the syrup pouring over the top and dripping down the side to make a pool of deliciousness on the plate below. A lot of vintage ice cream creations will also come with a baked good—cookies, brownies, cakes, etc. If the shop makes their baked goods in-house, then you usually have a winner. The main pro to vintage ice cream shops is that the quality goes up a notch from modern ice cream shops in the ice cream and presentation. The main con is that the ice cream generally comes in large portions that are pretty expensive, so you end up paying more money to oftentimes not even finish eating the delicious treat.

Granted, this opinion piece does come from my own experience, so go out there and try them both for yourself! Sometimes different moods call for different shops. If I just want a lot of cookie dough, sprinkles, marshmallows, syrup, and more on my ice cream, I’ll just go to an ice cream bar. But if I am in the mood for a whopping amount of ice cream and a baked good that is simpler in its contents, then vintage ice cream it is!

Treat yourself to some ice cream today—you know you deserve it!

BY: ELIZABETH HANSEN

March Madness

Everyone has a tradition, and every society has traditions. Sometimes they line up with each other, creating a hodge podge of creative ideas, unique perspectives, and stories you can tell over and over, like March Madness! I have been curious about the thousands of different ways that the culture of a country and its society interacts with families. You see it in big things like the many different ways each family opens presents on Christmas, or what everyone eats on the Fourth of July. This month the national craze is March Madness!

Now, even if you are not a basketball fan, you have still probably heard about March Madness. It is a huge deal; it is the culminating event of college basketball, the big dance, bracket-mania! Even the President of the United States creates a bracket! Last year, President Barack Obama picked the Kansas Jay Hawks as the winners, and while they sadly did not win (since I had also picked them), this just goes to show how invested this country is.

That is where the family comes in. Every year my in-laws send out a bracket competition invite where we have fun using our own convoluted strategies to decide how to pick which teams will move on to each next round, and finally who will win! It is a really fun family tradition and it has been interesting hearing about other people’s March Madness traditions as well. Whether the stakes are high (I heard of a couple that competes and sees which gets to pick where they eat out at their end of the month dinner), or the stakes are low (another family disregards who analysts say will win and ritually place their favorite team in the winning spot as a “sign of faith”), the traditions are always fun. So, this month live a little! Make a tradition and join in on this national insanity, but don’t forget to bring the kids!

BY JOSHUA HANSEN

Overcoming the Daily Downs in Your Marriage

Wake up on time, work out, get the kids to school, pick up the groceries, drop off the package, visit your sick friend, clean that mess in the backyard, go to work, get along with your coworkers, put gas in the car, get in a petty argument with your spouse, get over the petty argument, scold the dog for breaking the lamp . . . are you feeling stressed yet? Daily hassles are a part of every married couple’s life. They kind of suck, huh? But! Although they may never disappear, they can become bearable and less stressful, if we know how to deal with them in a positive way.

As a married college student, I am finding my family adaptation and resiliency class to be extremely helpful. I am learning about how to help families, including my own, deal with many different causes of stress, including daily hassles. I will include one of the concepts we have studied that can help take the unavoidable stressors in our lives and turn them into positive learning experiences.

We all have daily tasks that can start to pile up throughout the course of a day. These stressors are real, and I want to focus on is the stressor of daily marital distress.

Whether there was a mess made in the kitchen, your spouse disciplining your children in a way you did not agree with, your being late to leave, or an argument about that mistake your spouse made last week, marital distress often occurs daily. What causes these daily stresses to happen? I mean, you both know you love each other and there are plenty of great times. So, why do there have to be so many stresses from what seem to be petty arguments? A good place to start looking to fix the problem is in communication.

Communication. That thing we use to say I love you, express gratitude, create inside jokes, and form a relationship could be the same thing causing so many daily marital stressors. Sometimes tensions are high and tempers are short due to all the responsibilities we hold in our lives, and we explode over a simple cup of milk our spouse spilt at breakfast. Then, we say things we don’t think about and don’t mean. It just comes out leaving both parties hurt and stressed. I have seen this same process happen in my marriage. I get frustrated and start to complain without thinking about what I should say first.

My mother once made a cross stich for me that said, “Forgive quickly, kiss slowly,” and I think it applies in this situation. Instead of being quick to anger and slow to rationality, we should be quick to forgive and slow to respond (which can also lead to kissing!). For those minor, harmless daily hassles in a marriage, we need to have better communication. We need to slow down our reactions to analyze the situation and respond rationally, without high emotions leading the response. When we do this, we can resolve the stress quickly before it turns into a monster snowball rolling over the rest of our day.

This is one of many solutions to the daily hassles in a marital relationship. It may not be the solution for every hassle, but it is definitely one to be recognized and considered in our pursuit to ease our daily burdens. Good and healthy communication is arguably the most important aspect of marriage. Let’s all take time to practice it in the stressful moments of life. In those moments, anger might seem easier, but it’s pausing to communicate that will lead to a positive resolution.

BY ELIZABETH HANSEN

A: Aspirations as a Married Couple

You spend your whole life planning what you want to do and be for the remainder of life, and then . . . BAM! You get married, and everything changes. It’s a challenging experience to try to take two lives with two plans and merge them into one. In some cases, there has to be a lot of compromise so that the two partners can live their idea of a fulfilling life.

When I was deciding to marry my husband, Tyler, I thought integrating my plan into his life would be pretty easy. My plan in life was to grow up, go to my dream college studying the thing I love, marry the love of my life, have some cute little kids, and otherwise insert myself into his plan. I thought my plan was very conducive to married life. This plan would have worked out great, except that life doesn’t always go as planned, and I didn’t have a back-up plan.

Shortly after I married Tyler, I realized that the thing I was studying was not something I loved. This was problematic because I was almost done—and if I wanted to insert myself smoothly into Tyler’s plan, I had to graduate when he did, or not at all; so changing my career track was not an option at that point.

Another problem we encountered was the fact that Tyler’s plan wasn’t fully developed. Sure, we knew the basic outline: graduate from college, get a master’s degree, get a job. But, all of a sudden, we started figuring out that the track he was on would not lead him to the career he thought it would. We applied for internships, but he didn’t get any because he just wasn’t in the right field (even though he’s brilliant, and any company would be lucky to have him).

These problems led to many nights of stress for Tyler and worrying for me. Sometimes we’d lie in bed about to go to sleep, when I would start worrying out loud and end up in a fit of tears. Why aren’t things working out for us? I’d ask. Why didn’t everything go as planned?

Now, I still don’t have the solutions to our problems, but I have a formula for dealing with aspirations as a married couple that I recommend to anyone having similar issues.

First, you have to talk to each other. You have to get together and write down the things you enjoy doing, the things you could see yourself doing as a career, your ultimate dreams and goals.

When you’re done with that, I recommend that you rank the things on your list in order of importance to you. Talk about the things that you feel are non-negotiable, and things you wouldn’t mind doing without. Work out possibilities for the future, and how those things might affect your relationship and your family.

Then you have to make a plan together. And not just one plan, but several that range from broad to specific, from semester to fifty years, from ideal to worst case scenario. This could take several hours, so make sure you have a block of time set aside for doing this, or else you could end up scratching things out at 3 o’clock in the morning.

The last step is making a plan of action for right now. What will you do today to set you on the right path? Even if it’s just research, it will help you out in the long run. Decide on a timely plan for both of you, and help each other out. Remind your husband when his internship application is due. Encourage your wife to look for opportunities to acquire new skills. Take it day by day—if you always make sure you’re on the right trajectory, you will eventually end up where you want to be.

BY CARI AVERETT

I: How to Deal With Imperfections in Marriage

imperfectionsIntelligence has been humorously defined as an adjective used to describe people that agree with oneself. The wisdom in that joke is very applicable to this entry in our marriage series: our perception of perfection will be based on our imperfect understanding of the world and our desires. With that in mind, before we seek to improve all the weaknesses of our spouses as though on a religious crusade, it is good to remember to keep our own imperfections in check in the following ways:

Realize that weaknesses are often closely linked with strengths.

If your spouse is someone who really sticks to something, you may find in her or him stubbornness, or you may find dedication. If your spouse is someone that shows little emotion, a possible word to describe that attribute would be, well, emotionless—but if you analyze that attribute you may see that calm would be a better description. As such, be grateful for what your spouse contributes to your marriage and find out how to work as a team despite the difficulties that may be associated with his or her strength.

Don’t be unrealistic in your expectations.

Perfection should be defined according to one’s capabilities and efforts rather than against an unrealistic standard. One unrealistic standard is expecting to have at the beginning of your marriage everything your parents have after years of marriage. It is likely that the only way you could have all the tools, toys, and luxuries they have would be to go into considerable debt, which is not a good financial decision. You may not even have enough extra cash for more than a monthly ice-cream cone, as my parents did when they started out.

See what is really important.

You may be bothered by little imperfections every now and then. When this happens, consider if they are really important. If not, move on with life. If they are important to you specifically, communicate about that need and see what you can work out together. For example, if you can’t live with your spouse’s bad breath, you might be able to keep mints on hand. And if he or she doesn’t like mints, maybe you can take a toothbrush and toothpaste everywhere. Whatever the specific circumstance, you can work through it, as long as you do it together.

In summary, dealing with the imperfections of our significant other is likely to require dealing with our own inability to judge perfectly and doing whatever is necessary to improve that judgment as much as we can. This might not be an easy task, but with that special someone that committed specifically to be with you in the good times and the bad, it should work out.

By Austin Tracy
This is the fifth post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post will highlight a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are just preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition. 

R: Resources for Married Couples

couple-168191_1280If you’ve ever started a fire with flint and steel, then you know how frustrating it can be—or at least, it frustrated me. There I was with my small steel striker, charred cloth, and the only rock I could find in the wild that barely made a spark. I hit that rock for probably an hour, bloodying up my knuckles in the process, and getting colder by the minute.

And then it happened: I started a fire, and in the process, I learned a lesson.

In life and in marriage we can find ourselves doing all the right things, striking in very different ways at the rocks (or relationships) in our life, getting a spark but no fire. It can get frustrating, and yes at times it can be easy to give up, but if you don’t keep striking, you don’t get a fire. You don’t even get sparks.

So when marriage gets hard, what do we do to keep the sparks flying and to work at keeping that fire? Here are just a few resources married couples can use.

  1. Prayer and Scripture Study

First and foremost, your best resource is the third member of your relationship: God. Coming together as a couple to pray and receive guidance and inspiration from the scriptures should be the first thing you do when the going gets rough. Spend time searching the scriptures and praying not just on your own, but together.

  1. Speak with an ecclesiastical leader

This can be a Bishop if you are LDS or a Priest or other religious leader if you are of a different faith. The important part here is that you go together. Ecclesiastical leaders can receive inspiration for you and your spouse; however, it’s important to remember that if you are dealing with a more serious and sustained problem, couple those visits to the bishop with seeing an actual professional.

  1. Consider marital therapy

Therapy and professional counseling sometimes come negative connotations. However, most professional therapists advise couples to see a counselor before any problems arise. For example, premarital workshops and therapy can help prevent future problems in a marriage.

  1. Go to a marital workshop

Universities will sometimes host marital workshops, as well as professional counseling organizations. These workshops can be especially insightful about communication styles and how little adjustments can drastically improve a couple’s communication. For example, BYU Counseling and Psychological Services holds a six-week marriage prep course each semester.

  1. Go on a couple retreat

A couple retreat doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, even a simple date or series of dates can be a way for couples to reconnect and stay connected.

  1. Read a good book

And by “good book” I specifically mean marital books (although I don’t oppose reading aloud to each other your favorite book every night). Some well-known, successful marital books have been The Seven Principles of Making a Marriage Work, His Needs Her Needs, and The Art of Intimacy. If you are seeing a counselor or ecclesiastical leader, ask them what books best meet your needs, or do this research together on your own.

  1. Do what you love

Think of the last time you and your spouse were at your best. Think of all the things you were doing at that time of your life and then do it. Maybe you were serving more, or you were more attentive, or you went on more dates. Whatever it is, try to revive those good habits.

Of course, it’s always to easier to keep a fire going than to start one. Don’t be afraid to use these resources before you’re in the dark striking at a rock and praying for sparks. And if you are at that point, keep striking, keep going: the ember will catch and the fire will come.

By Jessica Olsen
This is the next post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post highlights a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are just preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition. 
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