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 […]
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
BY PHYLLIS ROSEN
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 deliacreates.com. 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)
- Whisk water, oil, sugar/honey, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Add 3/4 cup flour and whisk for 30 seconds, then yeast and whisk for 30 seconds more.
- 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.
- 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.
- When the dough has risen, remove from the oven and heat the oven to 175 degrees.
- Grease your bread pans and the counter with spray oil. Divide the dough.
- Roll out the dough into a long oblong shape until all the air bubbles are gone.
- 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.
- Place loaves in a warm oven (175 degrees) for about* 1/2 hour, or until the dough has risen to fill the pan.
- 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.
- 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.
BY CARI AVERETT
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a document titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” that discusses the role and importance of the family. This beautiful document intends for the whole world to benefit from it, not just those of the […]
I was going to write about new and creative ways to organize, but while I was looking for inspiration, I saw this phrase: “Why organize when you can declutter?”
When I was a senior in high school, my mom read a book about decluttering. The following Family Home Evening on decluttering was traumatic for all of us, a family of pack rats, but it was especially traumatic for me, as I knew that going off to college soon meant I would have to do some serious decluttering.
I remember cradling each of my books (more than 120 in total) in my hands, bawling, and asking myself, “Does this spark joy in me?” and if it didn’t, I hesitantly placed it in a pile destined to end up at the local thrift store.
Now, I’m terrible at decluttering (I only threw about 6 books out), but I can see how necessary it is when space is limited, and things are just getting too hard to organize.
I think that one of the problems I encountered when attempting to declutter so long ago, was that I only had the one question to base my decluttering on, “Does this spark joy in me?”. Joy is defined as a feeling, source, or cause of great happiness, not just something that you’re used to having. This makes things hard, because some things you just have to keep, even if they don’t bring you joy. Conversely, some things that you may think bring you joy just have to go.
William Morris said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” So how can you decide what is clutter and what is not, with so many vague parameters? I have compiled a list of questions you can use to evaluate.
- Do you know what it is? (I’ll give you a hint on this one: if the answer is no, just toss it.)
- Does it have sentimental value?
- Does it work?
- If not, can you fix or repurpose it?
- If you can, do you have a realistic plan to do so?
- Does it take up a lot of space?
- Have you used it in the last year?
- If you were shopping right now, would you buy this?
- Do you have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
- Does it spark joy in you? (If your item answered yes for 6 and 9 and no for all the others, be very strict about the definition of joy in this question.)
I encourage you to use these questions to aid you in your decluttering. And maybe if you do, decluttering won’t be as much a traumatic experience (like it was for me), and more of a joyful experience.
BY CARI AVERETT