Christmas Card 2013

Here is our Christmas Card for 2013! We’re really sorry if you didn’t get one in the mail! Every year there seems to be more of a mix up of addresses and names. We are thinking to convert to a digital Christmas Card but then it’s just so sweet to receive something physical in the mail. We usually do a postcard because it cost only 35 cents to send it. May be we’ll do a Christmas video next year.

Here’s our past years Christmas Cards:

2010

2011

2012

How do you send out your Christmas greetings?

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Marriage: 1 man, 1 women

I woke up with my email, news feeds, Facebook, and WordPress swarmed with  the news about “A federal judge Friday struck down Utah’s voter-approved constitutional amendment — which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” [Deseret News]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has already put up an official statement on Court Ruling Regarding Same-Sex Marriage in Utah. It is short and simple.

The Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect. This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court.

Emmanuel Knowles’ Blog is what motivated me to re-blog. I’ve already blog about this issue before here.

This fight will continue but we must not give up hope, our beliefs or faith. Satan wants us to get discourage and give up; but the prophets have already declared that “voters in Utah did the right thing”. We can’t give up now. We may not win in the higher courts but I know that Jesus Christ is the ultimate judge. We will all have to stand before Jesus Christ one day and testify to Him that we’ve done the best we can to to defend His laws.

There is hope. If you’re struggling with same-gender attraction or any other temptations. God can help you. God loves you. God can bring you happiness and peace in your life. Pray to God, I know He will listen to you and He give you answers to your prayers.

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Here is an official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about this issue:

Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction

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Dallin and I have been married for 3.5 years. It’s been a lot of hard work but marriage and raising a family has been the most fulfilling thing we’ve done as a couple. In a short 3.5 years, we have gone through tough times and good times. Marriage has brought us lots of joy and happiness and we want to protect the gift of marriage for future generations. We believe that marriage between 1 man and 1 women is ordained of God.  [Family Proclamation to the World]

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Cinnamon-Sugared Candied Popcorn

We’ve been making Christmas treats all week for our friends and neighbors. I found this recipe of Cinnamon-Sugar Candied Pecans. I made the pecans and fell in love with it!! It tasted just like it does those cinnamon pecans you see and smell at the mall. I wanted to look up a cinnamon sugared popcorn recipe online but I couldn’t find one I liked. So I tried using the pecan recipe but substituted it with popcorn.  It worked out just fine. 🙂 Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels (~10 cups popped)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Butter a large cookie sheet.
  2. Put the popped popcorn in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water and vanilla extract. Add the sugar, cinnamon and salt to the egg mixture. Mix well.
  4. Pour the egg mixture on top of the popcorn in the large bowl while mixing the popcorn with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring the popcorn until the popcorn is evenly coated with egg mixture.
  5. Place the popcorn on evenly spread on the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, stirring them every 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker Cinnamon-Sugared Pecans.

What other candies do you think you could make with this cinnamon-sugar mixture? 🙂

Taking a Break During Finals Week

I graduated almost 1 year ago. Why in the world am I writing about finals week? Probably because I still feel so busy during finals week even though I no longer have school. I feel like haven’t had time to sit down this whole week. Winter semester always seems the most busiest because finals week ends up around the holidays. My husband is in graduate school and my brother is also college so “school” is still on my mind all the time. Dallin and I stayed up all night yesterday trying to get his paper done. I’m exhausted today… all I can get myself to do today is sit at the computer during my kid’s naps. I’ve also been making Christmas treats all week and today I just want to take a break!

Most of the time, sitting at the computer is relaxing for me. I love going through my computer and organizing my pictures. I have taken so many pictures since the baby! I am way behind sorting my pictures but all I do is take more pictures. During the Christmas devotional last week, President Monson said, “Christmas is a glorious season of the year. It is also a busy time for most of us. It is my hope and prayer that we may not become so caught up in the pressures of the season that we place our emphasis on the wrong things and miss the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Holy One of Bethlehem.”

So I’m going to take it easy today and let myself sit down at the computer to do something relaxing for me. I recently discovered totally awesome natural lighting in my apartment… it’s almost like studio lighting. We have east facing windows and white curtains. During the morning when the sun is out, the white curtains provides almost perfect diffused lighting for indoor picture taking.

Thank you God for providing free lighting in my apartment shining strait onto our kitchen table! I was able to get a few pictures edited today but now my kids are awake.

What kind of things do you do when you take a break?

FHE #1 – Creating Paper Mache Worlds

FHE stands for “Family Home Evening“. To tell you the truth, our family has not been very good at preparing for family home evening. When Monday night comes around we usually ask each other, at the last minute, “What’s the lesson for FHE?” We decided that our lack of planning wasn’t working for us. We decided to set aside a time on Saturday to plan out our family home evening. We did it for the first time last week and our FHE rocked! We had time to think and plan the lesson. Then we had time to go buy supplies for our activity and also had time to plan out a treat to eat at the end.

Our church believes in modern-day prophets whole receive inspiration from God and give counsel to the church. The prophet Joseph F. Smith announced in a letter on April 27, 1915 that the church members should hold a weekly family home evening (FHE) in their homes. FHE is family time that is set aside for  “prayer … hymns … family topics … and specific instruction on the principles of the gospel.” In 1970, the prophet announce that FHE night is preferred to be on Monday nights throughout the church and asked that church/leadership meetings should not be held on Monday nights.

I believe that the LDS church sets aside time for families on Monday because we all get so busy with work, school, sports, and other activities that it’s hard to fit in family time at home. In the end, our families is the most important entity we have here on earth and I enjoy spending time with my family on Monday nights.

FHE #1

Song: My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, 228–29)

Lesson: Genesis 1:1 & Lesson 7 in Nursery Manual – Jesus Christ Created the World for Me

Activity: Make paper mache worlds. I found this blog about making paper mache planets.

Ireland Miracle #3

Sorry I realize that I never finished my Ireland miracles. I’ll just schedule these stories in once in a while. Better late than never right?

For the first month in Ireland, we solely relied on public transportation which was mainly double decker busses and the Dart which is a fast train. Dallin studied at the University College Dublin and we lived in Dun Laoghaire. It was about 45 minutes by bus but only a 15 minute drive. The bus system was fantastic and there really wasn’t much to complain about except for the fact that Dallin took 1.5 to 2 hours or more commuting everyday depending on traffic.

We felt like the Spirit was telling us we should buy a car. We researched it out and miraculously found an old Nissan Almera (aka Nissan Centra in the USA) for 1000 euros. We registered it and bought insurance from Liberty Mutual Insurance which was the cheapest insurance we found. Buying a car was easier than we thought it would be and it eventually ended up saving us money even though the gas tax in Ireland is like 50%.

Driving in Dublin, Ireland is super fun… well kinda. So you drive on the left hand side of the road and the roads are very narrow. Parking is pretty much just parallel parking. You have to get really good at parallel parking. You can use your native driver license for one year before you need to get an Irish license.

We took this old cheap car to every shore of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We drove this car from Dublin to Giants Cosway in Northern Ireland. Then to Cork, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle and the Ring of Kerry. Fortunately the only problem we had with the car was the windshield wipers and a mechanic in Cork fixed it for 10 euro.

On one of our last adventures in Ireland, we were driving to the Blarney Castle in Cork. A local guy rear ended our car and made a dent in the back bumper. The insurance company said that the car was totaled. They let us keep the dented car and gave us 1000 Euro. So in essence we got this car for free. This is what the bumper looked like and if you look around on the streets of Ireland…everyone has the same dent in their car because the roads are so narrow!

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We thought purchasing this car was a tender mercy of the Lord. We drove this car everywhere. We drove it to church and drove the Dublin area missionaries to their visits. Dallin used this car to go home teaching and we used this car to drive to the hospital when we had the baby. We ended up giving the car away to a friend and then he was able to use the car for a few weeks while his car was broken. After that he ended up selling it for 200 euro. We thought we got our money’s worth out of that car. What a blessing!

Writing about Ireland again brings tears to my eyes because I miss Ireland so much!

Micah is growing up!

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This little kid always has a dirty face! I’m proud to be his mom. He loves to sing songs and dance. He is 27 months old (2 years and 3 months). He is starting to speak in sentences. He says things like “I want fire truck”. “Mommy, where did you go?” “Bye bye mommy, nap time”. “I want pancake!” “Pee pee in potty? Ok.”

As difficult as 2 years old are… I love it all at the same time!