Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scripture Study

When we went to Stake Conference one of the Stake Presidency asked the members of the stake to read the Book of Mormon. I didn't understand everything that they said, but at the end of the conference they handed out charts to track your reading, where you color in one block for each chapter that you read.

I decided that we needed all of the blessings that we could get, so for FHE this week we talked about personal scripture study, read an article from Elder Bednar in The Friend about how to get the most out of your scripture study, read an article from The Ensign about scripture study and then made some goals. We broke the chapters in the Book of Mormon into 20 chapter segments and then decided upon rewards that the girls could earn. They were things like a candy bar, a pack of gum, and when they finish, a dinner date with mom and dad. The rewards were every 20 chapters for the first 100 chapters, every 25 chapters for the second 100 chapters and then just one reward for the final 37 chapters. We taped the charts up on the wall in the kitchen so that the girls can fill them in when they finish a chapter.
You have never seen such scripture reading in your life. Kaitlin got the first prize (as she had been reading for Seminary) and now Kambrielle is determined to be the next one to earn it. She is allready on chapter 11, after only three days. Mom is the one currently in last place!!! Kambrielle has declined watching Dancing with the Stars with us the last two nights and decided to read scriptures instead. She has fallen asleep with her Book of Mormon on her face for the last two nights!
Today I went to the Distribution center and went a little crazy for Spanish items. I got the CD's for the car of the Primary children's songbook, then I got pocket size hymn books for everyone in the family (there are never enough hymn books in the chapel), Spanish triple combinations and the new Spanish bible. I also ordered a subscription to the Liahona, so that I can read the Ensign in English and then practice my Spanish with the Liahona. Hopefully I can have a moment like Elder Groberg, in the movie The Other Side of Heaven, where he learns the language by using the scriptures........hey, it could happen!
What have you done with your family to encourage individual scripture study?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yummy Black Bean Salsa

A month or so ago I was looking around on and decided that I wanted to make some black bean salsa. Making things here is always a bit of a challenge, since I can't always find the ingredients. So I took a few recipes, tweaked them to the way that we like and threw some things together and came up with this. Granted, it is a little different every time that I make it, but that is how a good salsa is.

I guess technically this really isn't salsa. My friends from Mexico remind me that for it to be salsa the ingredients have to be ground together with a mortar and pestle and the vegetables are usually cooked slightly by roasting them. So, I guess it is really a black bean pico de gallo, if you want to be Mexicanally correct (like that word I made up?)

This is what the left overs looked like..... yep, I should have taken a picture first, but just thought about sharing it after we had all ready devoured a large portion. The bowl was full, so you can see how much the girls like it. Kevin wasn't home, or there would have been no left overs. Plus, it is a very sneaky way to get them to eat fresh veggies!

Black Bean Salsa:
7-9 roma tomatoes
1 large yellow pepper (you can use green or red, I just like the flavor of the yellow)
1-2 large poblano peppers
2 serrano peppers (or to your hotness taste)
1 15 ounce can black beans (or that amount of cooked from scratch beans, what I do)
1 15 ounce can corn (or even better, that amount of frozen sweet white corn, defrosted)
1 medium to large red onion
1 bunch cilantro
1-2 limes
2-3 tsp. ground cumin
about 1 1/2 tsp. salt
about 1 Tbsp. white sugar

Dice the tomatoes, onions and peppers and place in a large bowl. I like to seed the serranos, because we don't like it too hot. When you cut the serranos, make them as teeny-tiny as you possible can and then wash, wash, wash your hands. Add the corn, which has been drained. Drain and rinse the black beans several times until the water from them runs clear. Add to the bowl. Take the bunch of cilantro and cut it up with a pair of kitchen shears. Add to the bowl. Sprinkle seasonings over the vegetables and mix well. Cut limes and squeeze the juice over the vegetables. Mix well and then taste. Season according to taste. Kevin likes a bit more sugar, to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and I like a lot of cumin. Mess around with it until you get your favorite taste. Let sit in the fridge at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.

The salsa is better with frozen corn, but I can't get that here. Or you could use fresh corn on the cob, cut it off and blanch for 2-3 minutes, cool and then add to the salsa.

For dinner tonight I made the salsa, then grilled some chicken breasts and made some rice that I cooked in chicken broth, in place of the water. Served the rice with chicken on the side. Covered the chicken with salsa and then gave the girls a big scoop of salsa on the side to eat with tortilla chips. It would have been really yummy if I had melted a bit of Colby jack cheese on top of the chicken breast before putting the salsa on top..... thought of that one too late.

I have started cooking the black beans from a bag of dried beans and then putting a serving in a plastic container and freezing them. Then I just pop a container out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before (if I think of it), or I will defrost it by letting it sit in a larger container of hot water, like I did today, since I didn't plan ahead. The canned beans are a lot more expensive here than the dried ones, and black beans are very easy to cook.

Give this a try and see if you like it! Buen Provecho!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spanish Humor - Middle School Style

Kari has been working hard in her Spanish class. The girls all have SSL (Spanish as a Second Language) every day for 1 period. It is pretty easy in Elementary school, but gets serious in middle and high school. Kaitlin's class is all in Spanish, no English spoken.

Today Kari came home with some writing on her hands and couldn't wait to show it to me. And so, we share it with you.......

If you don't know what it says..... too bad!!! Look it up! If we have to learn Spanish, so do you! Go to and see what it says!

Kari is on the Middle School Peer Team. They help at school functions, do service for the other kids in the school and when someone new moves in they are there to help them, provide support for them and be a friend. It has been a fun experience and I know that the other girls want to try to do it next year too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bad, Bad Parents

CAUTION - Bad examples enclosed - Don't read if you don't have a sense of humor-

Yesterday we had Stake Conference. It was being held at a chapel that we had never been to before, so we were up and left an hour early so that we could follow our neighbors, the Munive family, who knew how to get there. Sister Anderson and her two sons met us at our parking garage so that she could follow us as well.

We made it to the chapel with plenty of time to spare and we staked out a row that was as close to the front as we could get, while still being under a moving ceiling fan. They were trying to get as many people in the chapel and gym area as they could, and so the chairs were as squished as you could get them (my knees were touching the bum of the lady in front of me when she sat down..... you get the picture......) Needless to say we were a little warm and a bit uncomfortable. There was no A/C, but the fan did help a little.

We were there a full 35 minutes early and so we were visiting quietly with the Munive's behind us and watching people while they came in. There was some cheek kissing going on when people that we knew came in and some hand shaking, but mostly people watching. Kami had her coloring book out and ready and Kaitlin and Kari were working on their personal progress books, the stuff that they could do that involved scripture reading. They were prepared, as there would be no translation and so I knew that no one but Kevin would understand what was being said. The girls were being great. There was no fighting and they were just troopers to go in and sit in that hot area for 2 1/2 hours where they would not understand anything.

Back to the story. There was a woman about 4-5 rows in front of us who kept standing up (this was before it started) and she was turned around, so that she was facing the back. She had her children around her and a baby (maybe 10-12 months) that was pulling on her shirt. After a long while she picked the baby up and was holding it (don't know if it was a boy or girl) facing the back. YIKES!!! You know how some babies are just not cute. Well, this baby fit into that category. It had a LOT of curly hair and was very fat.... but not cute fat.... just, weird fat. I was trying to be polite and just be quiet about the whole thing. A few minutes later, right before the opening song, Kevin leans over to me and says "Did you see that baby up there?" "Yes", I whisper back. "I just can't figure out what it looks like" says Kevin and after a pause we both look at each other and whisper "The Grinch!" at the same time.

I am serious, just imagine this picture with brown skin, no body fur and a lot of curly brown hair and you have an image of this baby. (The eye brows are just about right)

We were trying to control our laughing, but then the girls wanted to know what was causing this quiet shoulder shaking. We told them and then of course everyone was peering around the people in front of them, trying to get a peek at this baby. Kaitlin and Kari were just rolling their eyes at us, they couldn't believe we were their parents.

Later, as we were driving home Sister Anderson was following us to find her way home and when we got to a place that she was familiar with she went into the other lane to try to pass and let us know that she was OK from there. Of course, this resulted in Kevin speeding up and the girls yelling at him to pass her car. "Don't drag race with the General Authorities wife!" was coming out of my mouth, as we were going down the road.

I think that we needed a time out.