Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jesus' Birthday Cake

When my children were small I wanted them to remember the real reason we celebrated Christmas. So I made a bundt cake for our Christmas Eve dinner and I put a large (taper) candle in the middle. I had some other objectives too. I wanted a tradition from Ralph's side of the family so I used a recipe from his grandmother, Sara Ellsworth Madsen. Also, I don't like traditional fruitcakes so this is my alternative.

Grndma Kern's Christmas Cake

1/2 c, butter (1 square)
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. cold applessauce ( 1 303 can)
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. powdered clove
1 c. raisins
1 c. walnuts, cut in pieces
marascino cherries to taste and as you can afford them
dash of salt

Cream butter, and add sugar gradually. Add egg and beat thoroughly. Add applesauce. Add flour sifted with other dry ingredients. Add raisins and nuts. Add cherries (drained) and mix well. Bake 50 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
(Ralph's mom added extra honey but I never have.)

Christmas Baking

Hailey and I made Nutmeg Logs this week. My mom got this recipe from Aunt Donna who called them Rum Logs but my mother thought it was important to change the name to Nutmeg Logs. They are different than most cookies and smell like Eggnog. Haiiley misunderstood me and put in 2 tsp. of Nutmeg instead of 2 tsp. of vanilla. They were a little heavy on the nutmeg for my taste but Hailey's father loved them. I guess the point is that you can adjust the recipe to your own taste.


1 c. butter or margarine
1 egg
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. rum flavoring (imitation is o.k.)
3 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. (or what you like) nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter with flavoring. Gradually add sugar and continue creaming. Blend in egg. Sift flour with nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix well. Shape pieces of dough by rolling into ropes on a sugared board, about 1/2 or 3/4 " in diameter. Cut in 3 inch lengths. Make 3 or 4 diagonal slash marks with a knife. Bake on greased cookie sheets in a 350 degree oven for about 12 - 15 minutes. These are pretty when drizzled with creamy white icing or melted chocolate.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Exercises For the Soul - Music

This is a busy time of year so this may be my only Blog until 2011. I am sure you are busy with your own family's traditions. Music has always been an integral part of my life - especially at Christmas. It became a part of our own family's Christmas even when Sara was too young to play the pipe chimes with the older kids on Christmas Eve. (So she wouldn't feel left out, we gave her a pipe chime and rubber spatula to hit it with.)
When my children were teenagers, one of them told me they were leading the singing in seminary. I asked if they knew how to lead the singing and they replied, " Oh, its easy. You just write your name in the air with your hand." Leading the singing is a skill that is often called upon. In Finland, a missionary led the singing in Sacrament meeting. I was accompanying on the piano. He led a 3/4 meter song with a 4/4 meter beat pattern. I was surprised at how difficult it was to play the hymn under these circumstances. I could not look at him at all.
This is why I chose this topic for the FHE lesson. You may want to spend more than one week practicing musical principles. Enjoy the Christmas season and Christmas music!

Scripture: For my soul dellighteth in the song of the heart; yea,the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me. (D&C 25 :12)

Sing; two or three of the family's favorite hymns or reverent Primary songs.
Ask: What feelings should we have when we worship? (love, reverence, faith, respect etc.)
Discuss: Why is music important in having these helping us have these feelings in our worship service?
We should sit quietly and listen to the prelude music to prepare to worship when we go to church. For many years I was the ward organist. Sometimes while I played the prelude music, it sounded like I was at a basketball game. I love basketball games, but going to church has a different purpose.


True story: I had a friend who grew up far out in the country south of Twin Falls. One day she and her sister decided to go home for a surprise visit. They were both married and had a baby with them.
When they were far out on a lonely dirt road their car quit and wouldn''t start. They didn't know what to do. They decided that my friend would start walking for help while her sister stayed in the car with the two babies even though it was starting to get dark. My friend walked and walked through the dark She was so tired and scared she wanted to give up. She even saw cougar tracks in the dirt road. At the time, she was Primary chorister and she decided to sing Primary songs. She was so tired she wanted to lay down by the side of the road but she didn't. She just kept singing every Primary song she knew and walking. Finally as it was starting to be morning she saw a farm house and they helped get the car started. It turns out my friend had walked over 20 miles.


Practice leading the singing at home or you can practice quietly when you sing songs at church by leading the singing in your lap with your index finger. There are instructions in the back of the hymnbook. If you take piano lessons you already know about Time Signatures. The most common are 3/4 and 4/4. Some easy songs to practice are "Come Follow Me" for 3/4 Meter and "I Am a Child of God" in 4/4 meter. Both of these songs start on the downbeat. The first beat of each measure is slightly emphasized.
Other songs begin on the last beat or two of a preceding measure. It is important to start the beat pattern in the middle or end so that the first beat of the next measure coincides with the strong downbeat of the beat pattern. It is not hard but it does take practice.

Persons of the Week: Emily Manwaring and Ashtyn Hill for practicing hard, memorizing lines and giving outstanding performances in "Charlotte's Web" and "Music Man".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gratitude - Exercises For The Soul

"Gratitude is being aware of and appreciating blessings and kindnesses given to us. We can express it through sincere words of thanks and through actions that show our appreciation. An increased spirit of gratitude will bring increased joy into our lives." (Family Home Evening Manuel)

Ask: What does gratitude mean to you?

Scripture Story: Tell the story of the ten lepers.(Luke 17:11-18).
Ask: How did the one leper show his gratitude? ( Luke 17:15-16)
What experience did the ungrateful miss? (They missed the opportunity of expressing gratitude and love to the Savior.)
Read: D&C 59:7 together. Have each family member write down two blessings they have received from Heavenly Father and two kindnesses or gifts they have received from other people. Then have them write by each blessing or gift the name of the person who gave it to them and how they showed gratitude to that person.
Discuss: How does showing gratitude help us feel closer to the giver of the gift or blessing?

Personal experience : When I can't sleep at night, I count my blessings. Sometimes I can't think of anything to be thankful for so I remember a time in Finland when we took a man to Sunday dinner at a friends' house after church. He was about 60 years old and rode his bike 70 miles to church. He asked us if we would stop so he could get his change of clothes from the place he had stayed the night before. When we reached the house where he had stayed, he got a plastic bag of clothes from under the house. He had slept under the house the night before. I looked at the dirt under the house held up only by stacks of rocks on each corner. I am grateful I have a bed to sleep in and a nice warm house.

(Suggested Hymns or Songs: When upon Life's Billows (Hymns no. 202) I Thank Thee Dear Father (Sing With Me, A-8 )

Person of the week: Alayna Hill - I love reading BLOGs about her creativity and imagination.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Authority - Exercises for the Soul

God gives man authority for his guidance and protection. Without it there would be no order or freedom. God has commanded us to respect the authority of home, church and community.

As a family, make a chart of people in authority.

Person in Authority Source of Authority Lord's Instructions

Parents God Honor
Bishops or
Church Leaders God Honor

Principal or
School Leaders School Board Honor

Mayor or
Community Leaders The people Honor

Ask: How should we treat those in authority?
Explain: To honor means to obey, esteem, support and sustain.
Discuss some specific ways we can honor some of the people listed on the chart.
Ask: Family members to tell experiences when those in authority helped them.

Story: Relate the following story told by Boyd K. Packer
"On one occasion he [Karl G. Maeser] was going with a group of young missionaries across the alps. They were crossing a high mountain pass on foot. There were long sticks stuck into the snow of the glacier to mark the path so that travelers could find their way safely across the glacier and down the mountain on the other side.
When they reached the other summit, Brother Maeser wanted to teach the young elders a lesson. He stopped at the pinnacle of the mountain and pointed to those sticks they had followed. And he said, 'Brethren. behold the priesthood of God. They are just common old sticks, but it's the position that counts. Folow them and you will surely be safe. Stray from them and you willl surely be lost.' And so it is in the Church. We are called to leadership positions and given the power of the priesthood. And we are just common old sticks, but the position we are given counts. It is separate and apart from us, but while we hold it, we hold it.'
("It Is the Position That Counts,"
NEW ERA June 1977, p. 51)

If desired, invite a community,school, or church leader to your home to explain his responsibilities and duties. Have him tell how he can be more effective when people respect his authority.

(Suggested Song) "Follow the Prophet" Children's Sing With Me book.
Person of the Week: Jacob Hill for being so kind and helpful when I visited their house and helping in his own way even if it was just lifting my legs onto the couch.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meal in a Pumpkin and Wheat Chili

For lots of reasons I have been unable to use my computer lately so I am making a very tardy entry. Last weekend Sara and kids came for a visit and we went to the cabin. Jacob (3 years) rode in the car with us. On the way Ralph saw a Farmer's Market and bought a couple of pumpkins. I told Jacob we were going to eat them and he said inn a disgusted voice, "Grandma, you don't eat Jack-O-Lanterns," So, I have included the recipe for "Meal in a Pumpkin" that Hailey and I made last week. I have also included a recipe for "Wheat Chili" which was given to me by my V.T. partner and tastes very good.

Meal in a Pumpkin

1 medium pumpkin ( It is best to use cooking pumpkins like 'Sugar Baby' but this time I used just regular Jack-o-Lantern pumkins that weren't too big {about 10" in diameter} and it tasted fine.)
1 onion, chopped
2 T. oil (I skipped the oil as the ground beef had enough fat.)
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. ground beef
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. brown sugar
4 oz. can of mushrooms, drained
10 3/4 oz.can crean of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. cooked rice ( I prefer regular rice. This week we used instant rice and it was o.k.)
8 oz. can of sliced water chestnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (paint face on pumpkin if desired. I never have.)

Saute onions, brown ground beef and drain. Add soy sauce, br.sugar, mushrooms, and condensed soup. Simmer and stir 10 min. Add rice and water chestnuts. Spoon into cleaned out pumpkin. Bake on baking sheet 1 hour with lid on top.
Serve insides with pumpkin flesh mixed in.

Wheat Chili

Soak overnight: 1 c. red beans, 2 1/2 cups hot water, 2 tsp. soda
Rinse well and add: 1 c. raw wheat, 1 beef boullion cube, 3 c. water.
Cook 1 lb. hamburger and 1 chopped onion
Add 1 (15oz.) can tomatoes, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 3 c. tomato juice, 1 Tb. chili powder, 2/3 c. ketchup, and 1/2 tsp. cumin.
Stir all ingredients together and heat thoroughly.

( I have not made this yet but tasted it and it was very good.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Choosing The Roght - Exercises for the Soul

At our recent family reunion it was fun to see all the grandkids and how much they are growing up. I have been thinking since then, about my hopes and dreams for them. I am certain all their parents have many thoughts too.
In these next 10-20 years some choices will be made that will affect you for the rest of your eternal life. Up till now your parents have been an active part in most of your decisions but you will increasingly be on your own. This is a good thing because you will become independent but it is important to make right choices. Fortunately there are many places to help you.

Ask: List some good sources to turn to for help making choices. (Parents or other relatives who have good experience and your happiness in mind, scriptures, the prophet of the church and other church leaders, the Holy Ghost etc.) One of the greatest gifts God has given us is free agency but it comes with great responsibility.
Ask: Is a person morally clean who talks lustfully but doesn't do what he talks about? (Read 3 Nephi 12:27-20).
Ask: Is a person morally clean who consciously arouses unclean thoughts or desires in another?

Game: "What would you do if..." Make up realistic situations that your children, at their ages, might face. See if your children can think of graceful ways out of bad situations. Sometimes there will be no graceful way out.
Tell the story of Joseph and the wife of Potiphar (See Genesis 39:-13)
Explain that it is better look foolish or displease someone than to disobey one of God's commandments and lose out on blessings of staying morally clean.

Possible songs or hymns: "I Am a Child of God" Sing With Me B-76 or "Choose the Right" Hymns no. 110

Person of the Week: Reese Kern (I heard him make a right choice at the family reunioj even though he was the only one at the time.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peach Jello Dessert

August was a busy month so instead of trying to catch up I will just start with the recipe we made this week. This is a dessert using peaches that is a little different than the usual and quite refreshing.


1. Make a crust in a 9x13 pan. Press into pan and chill 15 minutes.

2. Beat 8 oz. package cream cheese (I used Neufchatel cheese. It is lighter and has fewer calories.) with 1/4 c. sugar. Gradually beat in 1/4 c. milk. Fold in 3 1/2 c. whipped topping and spread over crumb crust. Top with 4-6 peeled, sliced, fresh peaches and return to fridge.

3. Dissolve 1-4 oz. pkg. peach jello in 3/4 c. boiling water. Combine ice cubes and 1/2 c. cold water to make 1 1/4 cups. Add to jello,stirring until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice. Gently spoon jello over peaches. Chill until firm about 3 hours. Cut into squares to serve. Makes about 12 servings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Exercises for the Soul - Temple Marriage

Last weekend a group of us went to the Rexburg, Idaho temple to do a sealing session for others who have passed on. It was a session I could participate in because we could do it early in the morning. Family and friends were there to help and there was a wonderful feeling in the temple.
August has been a busy month and I am ready to get back on my BLOGGING schedule. Because it has been on my mind, I decided to do a FHE lesson on Temple Marriage.

Ask: What happens when you throw a rock into a quiet pool or mud puddle?
Quote: Elray L. Christiansen said in April 1974 General Conference, "Probably the most consequential event in your lives takes place when you are united in marriage. It will have a far reaching effect on your future. Like the ripples caused by a pebble cast on a placid pool, the decision you make in regard to where, with whom, and by whom this event will take place will not only affect you, but the lives of many others, especially your children."
Ask: Why is a temple marriage so important?
How will it affect your life now and in the future?
Discuss: How will deciding early in your life that you want a temple marriage help you make many correct decisions in the future?


On a poster or blackboard have family members list comparisons under the headings TEMPLE MARRIAGE and CIVIL MARRIAGE consider questions such as:
-What preparation is needed?
-Where will this marriage take place?
-Who performs the ceremony?
-How long will the marriage last?
-What will the people married in this way be doing throughout eternity?
-What will happen to the family after this life?

If desired show pictures from your own temple marriage. Talk about your wedding day.

Grandma Kern's feelings: When I was young I knew that eternal marriage was important, It was a tiny little point in time and a decision that would affect an eternity. Now that I am closer to the next life, I can't imagine it without my family and grandchildren that I love so much.

Suggested Songs: Families Can Be Together Forever or I Love to See the Temple

Person of the week: Grandpa Kern for making all the arrangements for last week's Temple visit. He saw to every detail from arranging for his colleague, a Temple Sealer to arranging for babysitters for the grandkids.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fat-free Coffee Cake

I got this recipe from Sara's roomate in college because at the time I was trying to lose weight and regulate my eating habits. Fat was the F-word in our family at the time. I was discouraged and had pretty much decided that I was just going to be a really nice fat person but that I was going to eat healthily. It took years but that's what did the trick. I stopped feeling guilty and deprived and weight was not such an issue. Now I eat what I want when I am truly hungry and have become educated in healthy eating.
I was surprised how good this cake tasted despite all the fat-free ingredients.

Sara's roomate's Fat-free Coffee Cake

Mix the following ingredients and put in a 9x13" greased pan.
1/2 cup fat=free dairy sour cream
2 beaten egg whites
1 c. skim milk
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Mix the following topping and sprinkle on topof cake batter.
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. flour
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 T chilled butter (Cut into topping mixture.)
Bake 13 min. @ 375 degrees.
10+ min. @ 400 degrees.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fish cakes and Creamed Pea Sauce

Last week Hailey and I made Fish Cakes. It is kind a land-locked version of crab cakes found on the coast. It is my style because it is easy and inexpensive. Hailey and I may have made these fish cakes before but I like the creamed peas served with it. You could make a white sauce and add peas but this is even easier than that. Below is the recipe for fish cakes then Creamed Peas:


Open 1 can of tuna (I like Chicken of the Sea water-packed brand.) Drain and pour tuna into a large bowl and make a well in the center of the tuna. Into well put 1 egg, and 1 slice of bread broken or cut into 1/2 inch square pieces. Season with Mrs. Dash and Dill. I do not any salt or pepper as these spices seem sufficient. Spoon onto a heated and oiled griddle or pan. Cook on both sides just until egg is set and fish cakes are lightly browned.

Creamed Peas

Cook 1 package of frozen peas by barely covering with water. Boil peas and season according to package directions. 1/2 tsp. sugar may be added if desired. When peas are cooked add 1/2 to 3/4 of a can of evaoporated milk to peas and water. Bring to a gentle boil and thicken with 1-2 T. of cornstarch mixed with about 1/2 c. cold water. Stir into boiling peas and liquid and simmer until desired consistency. Creamed peas may be served on top of fish cakes like a sauce or on the side.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Exercise For The Soul - The Holy Ghost

One of the most important things a parent can teach their children is how to hear and listen to the Holy Ghost. It truly is a great gift and important for our return to Heavenly Father. It can offer comfort, direction and safety.

There are many times in my life and the life of my children when the Holy Ghost was an influence. It is important to keep the commandments of God so the Holy Ghost can influence us and to listen and obey so that we don't become "past feelling".(See Book of Mormon)

Define: A testimony is a knowledge of the reality of God,the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This testimony can only come by revelation through the Holy Ghost. You cannot get it from your parents, brothers, sisters or friends.

Ask: What can we do to gain a testimony?

Bring out the following points:

1. The first step in gaining a testimony is to want one. (See 1 Nephi 2:16).

2. We must ask our Heavenly Father to help us gain a testimony (see D&C 42:51).

3. We must want a testimony enough that we are willing to work for it. (see Ether 12:6).

4. We will enjoy our testimony as we study and grow and increase in the knowledge of the truth. (see John 8:32).

5. We must care for our most prized posession, our testimony, by keeping the commandments of our Heavenly Father (see Mosiah 2:41, Alma 32:41).

Gaining a testimony sometimes takes a long time and requires diligence in attending church, listening attentively, living the Gospel principles taught at church, studying the scriptures, fasting and praying in faith that you will gain a testimony through the Holy Ghost. (see Alma 5:45-47)
Alma told his people that the word of God was like a seed that needs caring for every day so it will grow. (see Alma 32: 28-43) Our testimony of Heavenly Father is like that seed. We must care for it every day. If we neglect it, and do not nourish it, it will not bear fruit.

If desired, help the family plant some fast growing seeds and watch them grow.

True story: When Grandma and Grandpa lived in Finland we had the missionaries to dinner every week. In addition we had a strong impression that we should invite the missionaries over for Thanksgiving Dinner. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Finland but I made a pumpkin pie other traditional "Thanksgiving foods". A turkey was not available so we had three chickens. Ralph went to look for the missionaries who were not home and found them in town. We were so glad we had invited them. One missionary was brand new and was related to William Bradford of the original Pilgrims. Thanksgiving had always been a big celebration in his family. He even brought genealogy charts that showed his ancesestors. Then we knew why we had been impressed to invite them.
Suggested Hymns: "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" ( Hymn No. 95) or "I Know My Father Lives" (Sing With Me B-39)

Person of the Week: Ben Kern who called me from a slumber party when he was just a boy because he had a bad feeling there.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exercises for the Soul

In case you haven't already guessed, I am using the first four principles of the gospel as indicated in the fourth Article of Faith for topics in these FHE lessons. Today the lesson will be on Baptism. There are two baptisms in our family this year, Jack Manwaring and Reese Kern. So they have been on my mind. There are also several grandchildren that have already taken this important step.
Start by displaying a picture of Christ baptized by John the baptist. Ask what important things does this picture suggest that we need to know. (It is so important that even Jesus was baptized. It is done be immersion [explain if necessary]. etc.)
Ask: What is a covenant? (An agreement or promise between two persons that each will do certain things).
Who are the persons involved in the baptism covenant?
What do you promise when you are baptized? (Read Mosiah 18:10)
What does Heavenly Father promise? (Read D&C 33:11, D&C 20:37 and 3Nephi 11:33.)
Why do you think our Heavenly Father has asked us to make a sacred covenant or promise to obey his commandments when we are baptized? (Because he loves us, he wants us to be happy, and he wants us to be with him in the kingdom of heaven.)

My sister,Stephanie, was baptized in Sinkut Creek by our house in Canada. My dad found a place that was surrounded by trees and was deep enough for her to be baptized by immersion. On the day she was to be baptized, we all walked down a trail to the place and my father baptized my sister. There were others there too, the full time missionaries, and others they had invited including Granny Hobsen, a nonmember who lived in town. Afterward we had a big dinner at our house for all in attendance. Even though it was different than a baptism at a stake center, it had all the important elements that Heavenly Father wants at a baptism. She was baptized by immersion by my father who had the proper priesthood authority with the approval of the mission president.

Suggested Songs: Any if the Baptism Songs from the Primary Children Sing songbook

Persons of the week Jack Manwaring and Reese Kern who are planning to be baptized soon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rhubarb Criso

We have a patch of rhubarb in our back yard that came with the house. It is very good rhubarb and is one of the things that grows well in this climate. It was getting big so Hailey and I decided to do something with it. I do not like all rhubarb recipes but feel obligated to use it because it's there and it is free. Last week the neighbor brought over some rhubarb quick bread but neither Ralph nor I cared for it. It was kind of like zucchini bread which has never been a personal favorite. My mother used to make rhubarb/strawberry jam which to me seemed like a good way to ruin strawberries. We just took the recipe for Apple Crisp and used rhubarb in place of apples.

Rhubarb Crisp
Wash and cut stalks of rhubarb into 1 in. pieces. (Leaves should have already been cut off as I have heard they are toxic if eaten.) Fill the bottom of a 9x12 pan with one layer of rhubarb pieces. Sprinkle about 2/3 c. of white, granulated sugar over the top. (You can adjust this to your taste and the sweetness of the rhubarb.) Then mix the following ingredients and spread or crumble over the top of rhubarb pieces.
2 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
16 shakes of salt (from a salt shaker not the box)
Mix and add 2 cubes of butter cut into slices
1 1/2 c. oatmeal
Mix thoroughly and spread over rhubarb pieces.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 min.

This is good served warm with vanilla ice cream. It is quite tart to me but everything tastes sour to me these days.

Friday, June 18, 2010


This week Hailey and I tried an experiment and made Jar Cakes, a recipe found in Family Fun magazine. They tasted marginal in my opinion. It was presented as an idea to take camping but it is probably like foil dinners which taste much beter in the open air around a campfire. I know because once I cooked them in the oven for supper one night - not as good as when you are in the mountains and really hungry. At any rate, I will include the recipe below:

Jar Cakes

Mix in a large zip-lock plastic bag:
3/4 c.flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix in jar with screw-top lif (pint jars or jelly jars)
1/2 c. water
3 T oil\
1 1/2 tsp.white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
(At this point jars and zip-lock bag can be packed for camping.)
When ready to cook, pour contents of jar into zip-lock bag containing dry dry ingredients. Seal bag and knead with hands through the bag. When mixed, snip off corner of bag and squeeze out batter into 4 clean jars. Screw on lids. (not too tight)and then carefully place in rapidly boiling water. (about an in. deep or a little deeper, just enough so the jars don't float) Cook about 35 min. Let cool 10 min. Cake will be softer than most cakes. Serve while warm. Makes 4 servings.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Exercises For The Soul - Repentance

When I was baptized. I was excited because I would be totally clean from every mistake I had made but I knew there was a chance I would make another one. Then what would I do? Throughout my life I have made more mistakes but I have learned that we get to recommit every Sunday when we take the Sacrament and have Jesus' wonderful gift called repentance.
I got a little feel for what life would be like without repentance when I was in 2nd grade. We lived on Castle Drive in Boise. Idaho across the street from a building site where my father was working on a new LDS Church. Sometimes my friend and I would play in the partly finished building. One day there were some classroom blackboards delivered and we discovered we could write our names in the dust on them. That night my father called me to him and explained that he had to admit to the foreman that his little girl was named Connie and listened to the foreman tell him that possibly the names were permanent and could not be removed. My father asked me if I had written my name on the blackboard. I admitted that I had. I will never forget the awful feeling that I had made a mistake that could never be fixed.
I have not been back to that meetinghouse to see if my name is still on the blackboard but I have been grateful for the principle of repentance every time I use it.

Display baby pictures of each family member. Have children guess which is each family member. Explain that all were pure and innocent when they first came from Heavenly Father to your family. Heavenly Father knew that we would all make some mistakes while we were growing up and learning to do right. He also knew that we couldn't return to live with Him if we were burdened down by sin. (See 2 Neph 9:23 ).
Show pictures of Jesus on the cross and at Gethsemane. Have a family member read D & C 19:16. Remind children that if Jesus had not atoned for our sins, we could not be forgiven and would continue to suffer for them. We should be grateful for repentance and the atonement of Jesus Christ.

As a family, take the following true/false Quiz.
1. The suffering and death of Jesus 2,000 years ago does not affect our lives today. (False. If Jesus had not atoned for our sins, we could not repent and grow. We could never return to live with our Heavenly Father again.
2. When we make a mistake or sin, Jesus stops loving us. (False. Jesus never stops loving us. It is because of this love that we have the gift of repentance.)
3. Because Jesus suffered and died for our sins, they ar automatically forgiven. (False. Jesus can only forgive those who are sorry for their sins and who repent of them. )
4. When we repent of a sin,we are completely forgiven and we do not need to worry about it any more. (True. When we have repented of a sin the Lord not only forgives us, but our sin is also also forgotten [see Isaiah 1;16-18, D&C 58:42)
5. When we repent of our sins, we can learn through correcting our mistakes and continue to grow and progress spiritually. (True. When we repent of our sins, we are free to go on and not be held back because of them. Our weaknesses can even become our strengths.[See Ether 12:27.])

Suggested Songs: "I Stand All Amazed" (Hymns, No. 80) or "I Want to Live The Gospel" (Sing With Me, B-65).
Person of the Week: Emily Manwaring who made a delicious chocolate/raspberry cobbler for everyone at the cabin.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Salad

Today Hailey and I made a macaroni salad. I could not find the recipe so this is totally from memory but it smelled and tasted the same as I remember it. Also, I have always made it with alphabet pasta but Ralph couldn't find it in any of our grocery stores here. Maybe they don't make it any more so we used the small shell shaped pasta and it worked out just fine.


1 bag small pasta ( Alphabet or small shells work.)
1 can small shrimp
3 0r 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Other vegetables to your liking
I used chopped cucumber (I think this one is especially tasty).
I also used onion (green onions or a regular onion, chopped very fine,
You can use vegetables to your liking such as chopped celery, sliced radishes, etc.
You can also add black olives or small cubes of cheese, if desired.
Thw dressing is easy. I just use about 1 cup of Best Foods (Not Miracle Whip) mayonaise with a few squirts of Louisiana Hot Sauce in it. This does not make it spicy hot but just brings out the flavor. Mix ingredients well and serve chilled at your next barbecue or picnic.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whole Wheat Muffins

I have used this recipe a lot. Like the ww cookies they don't "taste healthy". They are good with soup or with an egg-type dish like an omelette.


Melt one cube of butter or margarine
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
Mix well and add
! c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
raisins or nuts if desired
Mix and put in a muffin tin (greased or with paper muffin liners)
Bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My computer has been in the shop. It is nice to have it back but after a wonderful weekend at the cabin with Josie and Blake's family it is back to the everyday world and blogging. We made cheesecake for a couple weeks because it is easier than you would imagine when you get those fancy desserts in a restaurant. I made cheesecake for Ben's Open House in our back yard when he got married and we were eating leftover cheesecake for about a year afterward. I don't know how many I made but though delicious, they are rich and you don't eat several pieces in one sitting. It is a good recipe to have, however, so I have included the recipe for Company Cheesecake which I used. The second recipe is for Everyday Cheesecake which is much less rich and very easy.

Company Cheesecake

Combine 11/4 c. finely ground graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 c finely chopped pecans, and 1/2 c. melted butter. Press on the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9" springform pan.
Beat smooth 3 well-beaten eggs. 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese (softened), 1 c. sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla, & 1/4 tsp.almond extract. Blend in 3 c. dairy sour cream. Pour mixture into crust and bake at 375 degrees for about 35 min. or just until set. Cool. Chill 4-5 hours. Serve plain or with your choice of toppings. Makes 12-16 servings.

Easy Everyday Cheesecake
Make a graham cracker crust and press into the bottom of a 9x13" pan. In a blender mix 1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding. Blend in 1 8 oz. package cream cheese. Pour onto crust and refrigerate several hours. Cut in squares and serve. (I serve it plain or with cherry pie filling for a topping.)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Keeping the Sabbath Day

I didn't find a lesson on this topic so I will just give you some thoughts I have been having. I remember teaching a lesson a few years ago on the Sabbath Day and I was impressed by it's definition of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. It didn't have a long list of Do's and Don'ts. Rather it just gave the simple definition that it was the Lord's day and we should be doing what he wants us to on that day. I suppose one could spend a long time arguing over "the list" but each individual is different. For example, we had to wear dresses all day Sunday in my family,growing up. With five daughters I suppose it was easier than wrangling over every decision of appropriate Sunday activities. At the same time my Dad shot a moose in our corral on a Sunday morning. We needed the meat and the opportunity presented itself as a blessing. He called someone to help him dress it out and then changed into his Sunday clothes so he could take his family to church and fulfill his responsibility as Branch President. He figured out a way to keep the commandment of taking care of his family and fulfilling his Sunday obligations. I learned that one can figure out a way to make the Lord happy if he tries. I have been thankful many times for the Holy Ghost to help us make these decisions which he probably wouldn't do if one was in the habit of going hunting every Sunday.
Recently we re-watched a movie we had seen many years ago. I had remembered it as a good movie but had forgotten it had such a good message about Keeping The Sabbath Day Holy. I recommend it. It is called "Chariots of Fire" and was made sometime in the 1980's.
Several weeks ago I read about an idea called "Sunday Stations". Basically you just gather or purchase a group of karge plastic dishpans or tubs. Cardboard boxes would work too or whatever works for your family. Each tub is filled with an appropriate Sunday activity to be used only on Sunday so they remain "special" and interesting. A few suggestions follow but I am confident you can come up with your own ideas too. You could even prepare these "Sunday Tubs"for another FHE.

Reading Station: Fill container with appropriate reading materials. (e.g. Issues of the Friend, The scriptures in easy-to read cartoon form, good literature or other Sunday reading material that appeals to your children.

Writing Station: Fill container with notebooks and writing materials for journal writing. Materials cann also be included for letter-writing.

Creative Station: Fill with paints, paintbrushes, play dough or whatever. Use your imagination!

You probably can think of lots more to suit your family.

PERSONS OF THE WEEK: Jack Manwaring and Alayna Hill who read for hours to Grandma Kern. Jack read almost all of the stories from his "Frog and Toad" book and Alayna read all of the " Bob Books".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Exercises for the Soul - FAITH

I am feeling very delinquent in posting this. Oh well, I still think it is important so here goes my delinquent post.

Do an object lesson to illustrate belief, faith and knowledge. Start by having the father or mother pick up a child and explain that he or she knows and can show they can pick up the child because of their strength. Then have the child stand with their back to the adult and their eyes closed. Then have the child fall back while the adult catches them. Explain that they believe they will be caught because they trust the adult, they have a knowledge the adult can catch them because they saw their strength when the child was lifted. And they have faith they will be caught by the adult because he or she was willing to do whatever was asked by the adult because he or she knows they are loved and the adult would not let them get hurt.

Tell the story of Lehi's dream from the book of Mormon. Explain that he continued on the path even though there were mists of darkness and he could not see the tree with the delicious fruit. Holding on to the iron rod was important so he would not lose his way. Explain that we will all have times in our life when we will not be able to see what is ahead and it will be importent to hold the iron rod so we do not lose our way.

When Grandpa Kern was a teenager he worked with a sheepherder in the hills east of Idaho Falls. One of their jobs was to dock the newborn lamb's tails. When lambs are born they have tail which is usually gotten rid of because it is a nuisance as they get older. The sheepherder decided to play a joke on Grandpa and told him if he would plant the tails, a sheep would grow. No matter how much faith one has, sheep do not grow from panted lamb tails. It is importent we have faith in the correct thing - Jesus Christ. Exercising faith in Jesus Christ is just like exercising a muscle - the more we execise it, the stronger it grows. As we study the scriptures, pray, and observe the way we are blessed, our faith will be strengthened. If desired have famiy members tell of a time when their faith was strengthened.

Hymn suggestion: To Nephi, Seer, of Olden Times (Maybe it is called
Hold to the Rod.)

Person of the week: Sara Kern for sponsoring a MS walk and participating in Salt Lake.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Cookies that don't taste too "healthy"

Yesterday Hailey and I made whole wheat cookies. My sister gave me the recipe and I have made them quite often. I like them because even though they are made with 100% whole wheat flour, they still taste pretty good rather than tasting like they're "duty cookies" because they are "good for you".

Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies

2 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
2 beaten eggs
2 c, applesauce
2 tsp. soda
4 c. whole wheat flour (you can substitute up to 1/2 white flour if you don't have enough whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. quick oatmeal
1 pkg. chocolate chips (I like semi-sweet)
2 c. raisins
chopped nuts if desired
Cream shortening and sugar. Add soda to applesauce and add both to shortening mixture. Mix flour and other dry ingredients (spices and salt) and gradually add to mixture as with other cookies. Add oatmeal. Add chocolate chips, raisins and nuts as desired. Bake dropped cookies on a greased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I think I will just skip BLOGGING this week. We are going to the cabin in Island Park for a week or so as it is Ralph's Spring Break. He says he can do all his schoolwork from his computer up there. So much for a vacation. Besides he has a book he wants to read and the cabin helps him relax so he can do that. He spent last week at a conference in Indiana.
Josie and her son, Sam, spent the week with me. At first I felt embarrassed that she had to leave a busy family to come and "babysit" me but I thoroughly enjoyed her visit.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Today Hailey and I made home-made pizza. I used to make it a lot when my family was younger but now getting a pizza is a nice break from making dinner so I don't make home-made pizza. However this is an easy recipe and a good one to have in your arsenal.


1 c. hot water (too hot will kill the yeast, so not much over 120 degrees)
1 T. yeast (I like SAF-Instant yeast)
1 tsp. sugar sprinked over water and yeast

When yeast mixture is foamy add:

1 tsp. salt
3 T. oil
3-31/2 c. flour

Mix into a ball and let rise until double. Roll dough into a pizza shape about 1/4" thick. Add toppings to raw dough.
One can tomato sauce
sprinkle with Italian seasoning or basil and oregano
Top with your choice of toppings, browned ground beef, black olives, or mushrooms etc. I like thinly sliced ham (I use deli meat) and pineapple (not the unsweetened kind.)
Sprinkle grated cheese over all. I use mozzarella or Italian blend from the store.
Bake in a hot oven.( at least 475 degrees) until crust is browned and cheese is melted.
I use a round pizza pan but I have a friend who bakes her pizzas on oven-safe dinner plates.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Frozen Bread Dough

This week we made cinnamon rolls from frozen bread dough. (Rhodes bread dough) I learned to become a fan of frozen from Grandma Kern and others. We always had it baked fresh at the cabin. I learned it was pracically indestructible. It was punched down multiple times. Somtimes it would burst the seams of of the plastic bag it was sold in while waitng it's use in the fridge. At any rate, it always tasted delicious. When people would ask our daughter-in-law, Emily, for the secret to her delicious creations, She would say, "It is an old family recipe."
I have borrowed her reply and unabashedly use frozen bread regularly from "an old family recipe".

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Thaw 1 loaf of frozen bread dough and roll out to a rectangle about 12"x 18" or 24". Spread rolled out dough with melted butter or margarine. Sprinkle with white sugar, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts as desired. Roll dough and fillings in a long roll. ( the 18-24" side making the length of the roll). Cut into individual rolls with a sharp knife or string. Place on greased cookie sheet. Set aside and let rise until fluffy and light rolls are formed. (If you desire, you can squish down each roll with the heel of your hand. It will still rise.) Bake raised rolls in a 350 degree oven until done. (About 10 min. or less) Frost baked rolls with a simple glaze made of powdered sugar, a few Tablespoons of milk and vanilla or your choice of flavorings like almond, butter or maple.
I have used Rhodes frozen bread dough for a number of things such as scones, Parker House rolls, or Sticky Buns. Emily R. Kern even made calzones for us once. They were delicious.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Exercises For the Soul

I spent all morning yesterday typing a post for "Exercises For the Soul". I didn't publish it because of an interruption. I tried to find it this morning but can't so this week I guess you'll just have to use your own creative innovations for family home evenings. See you next week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Wednesday we didn't have the correct ingredients so Hailey and I didn't cook until Thursday. Friday I had to go to the hospital in I.F. for a bladder study test. Thursday I spent all day getting my digestive tract getting "cleaned out"
It reminded me of my Dad's opinion of chiropracters. He said, "The best thing about them is that it feels so good when they quit!" It wasn't particularly painful, just a big embarrassing mess. Anyway, I am glad to be on this end of it and think my problems before weren't so bad afterall. Here are the recipes of what Hailey and I made. The first is a recipe I cut out of an Ann Lander's column. She says there is no excuse to not give an expensive gift when you can give this "Economical Pound Cake". The berry topping I learned from Mary Ann Stanger, a lady in my Nampa Ward. I like it because you can make Strawberry Shortcake or anything else with Berry Topping without having to buy junket or "Danish Dessert" type of sauce.

Ann Lander's Economical Pound Cake
3 sticks (3/4 pound) good quality margarine
3 c. sugar
5 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract (or 1 tsp. grated lemon peel)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 c. sifted flour
7/8 c. ginger ale (or similar soda)

Cream margarine and sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in 1 c. flour then add extracts and a little of the ginger ale. Continue adding flour and alternating with Ginger Ale until all ingredients are used and batter is smooth. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans or 1 greased and floured 10 " tube pan. (Ww used non-stick cooking spray.) Bake in a pre-heated 275 degree oven for 1 hour 45 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean and cake has begun to shrink frrom sides of pan. (Baking time will be slightly longer for 10" cake.)
Serve plain or with your choice of toppings.

Berry Topping

1 pkg. berry flavored Kool-aid
1 c. sugar ( more if desired)
2 c. cold water
2-3 T. cornstarch mixed in a little cold water

Mix and heat until thickened
Add frozen or fresh berries .

(This can be served on any kind of shortcake too.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Exercises For The Soul - Prayer

Note: Prayer is one of the most important things you can teach your children so that even when you are not with them they wil always have someone to access for blessings, protection and guidance and they will never feel alone.

Start the lesson by asking family members to share a time when a prayer was answered. The following is a story that really happened to Grandpa Kern when he was a boy.


One summer evening, after our weekly Young Men's Activity, my friends invited me to join them in an adventure that seemed destructive and of questionable value to me. They planned to walk home "the long way"passing a shopping center that included a 24 hour laundromat. The idea that excited them was to put coins in the large clothes dryers and jump in for a ride. There was also an old style pop vending machine that dispensed soda pop in bottles. Since the cap was exposed, it was easy to pop off the lid and use a home made paper cup to capture a free drink.
That summer I had worked as a river guide for the Boy Scouts, kayaking down the Snake River near Jackson Hole Wyoming...much more adventuresome than riding in a clothes dryer. Scouting was a major part of my life at that time and since I really didn't ever learn to play basketball (that was the regular activity for the boys my age), I had spent this particular evening with the younger boys in their Boy Scout troop meeting. I enjoyed scouting and had a very positive experience with the boys that night. I felt good. I was happy. I am no saint and not really a "goody two shoes", but the idea of riding in clothes dryers and stealing soda pop just didn't set well with me...yet I wanted to be with friends of my own age, especially since I had not been with them to play basketball.
While everyone was gathering their coats and using the bathroom, I slipped outside and knelt behind some bushes to say a fervent prayer... "Please Lord, help us find something else to do tonight."
As I joined the mob of 15 year olds we walked (actually pushed, shoved and tipped each other) down the street away from the church building to the intersection where we would normally turn right to go to our homes. That night we turned left. Almost immediately we heard gunshots, enough to make us run for cover in the bushes and behind the low fence surrounding a trailer park. After the firing ceased we huddled together to discuss the possibilities of what had just happened. and what we should do about it. We decided two boys should run back to the church to call the police. The rest of us stayed undercover to make sure no one left the crime scene (yeah right...we were so scared there was no way ant one would have approached someone leaving, but at least we figured we could memorize a license plate!).
The police were quick to respond, They put us in their squad cars for protection, grabbed their guns and entered the trailer park, (pretty exciting for us). It seemed like an eternity before they returned, looking relaxed, unruffled and calm. We were surprised they had taken no prisoners!
The policemen explained that no one had been hurt, but they had ticketed one resident for firing a gun within the city limits. Apparently he was angry with a neighbor's barking dog. I don't remember if the dog was hurt. I do remember a silent prayer of gratitude for "something else to do" that night. I was in awe of the power of a simple heartfelt prayer from behind the bushes...I am still in awe.
We continued our "long way" journey home, passing the laundromat without ever entering. No destructive rides, no stolen soda pop. We felt good. We felt responsible. We felt that we did not want to be a disappointment to the policemen we had just met. I felt a prayer had been answered, lessons had been learned and frienships had been strengthened through a common "bonding" experience. To me, a prayer had been answered.

Conclude the lesson by reminding family members that Heavenly Father answers prayers in many ways. Sometimes he says no because he knows what is better for us when we have to grow a little to understand. Sometimes he wants us to wait and sometimes he gives us something different than we are expecting. But we can be sure he loves us and wants to do what's best for us - just like our earthly father.

Hymn ideas: "Ere you Left Your Room This Morning". The name might be "Did You Think to Pray?" or "A Child's Prayer" from the Children's Songbook.

Person of the week: Grandpa Kern (Ralph) who has been kind and helpful and stuck with Grandma through this difficult stage of life even though it would be understandable to leave.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Whole Wheat Muffins

Despite multiple computer problems, I am determined to post this BLOG. I am sure my ineptness exacerbates things but maybe someday I'll be computer-literate. This week Hailey and I made whole wheat mufins including grinding the wheat kernals into flour. I have never bought whole wheat flour at the store but I suppose it would work.
I like these muffins because even though they are made with whole wheat flour, they don't taste too "healthy".


1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 c. whole wheat flour (often I use 1 c. whole wheat and 1 c. white flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. vanilla (I am generous with this amt.)
1 c. milk
1 c. chopped nuts if desired

Cream melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Alternate adding dry ingredients and stir in nuts. Bake in greased muffin tins at 425 degrees for 12-15 min.
Makes 12 muffins.
Serve with an egg dish like scrambled eggs or with soup. Ralph likes them with honey but since they are already quite sweet, I like them with just butter.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Exercises for the Soul

My "FHM' is turning into a "FHA" (Family Home Afternoon) but thanks to a little encouragement, I'm going to keep trying.

This week's lesson, again, has ideas borrowed from the Family Home Evening Resource Book. It's Title is:

Keeping God's Commandments

Start by telling each child about your feelings the day they were born. Explain to them that because you love them so much, you want them to be safe and happy. First, you follow rules that will ensure their physical safety. Have members of the family suggest rules that ensure physical safety. (e.g. Don't touch a hot stove.) You also want them to be happy. Have members of the family suggest some family rules designed for happiness. (e.g. Take turns.)
Heavenly Father also has rules. They are called commandments. Ask, "What are some commandments that will ensure our physical safety?" (e.g. The Word of Wisdom.) Ask, "What are some commandments designed for our happiness?" (e.g. Serve Others.)
Even animal parents want their children to be safe. When I was a teen-ager I was walking in the woods with my Dad. Suddenly he put out his arm indicating I should stop. In silence we watched a mother bear get her two cubs to the top of a tree where they were safe while she remained on a lower branch to be "guard".

An experience disobeying: Also when I was a teen-ager, the whole family came home from church one Fast Sunday starving hungry. My mother was hurrying to fix us a good Sunday dinner. She had just taken some steaming dinner rolls out of the oven. I couldn't wait until the family gathered for prayers and broke our fast, so I stole a roll and took it into the front yard to eat it alone where nobody could see me. The warm, delicious smelling roll did not taste as good as I thought it would and I have had to spend my whole life remembering that Fast Sunday.

Activity: Have family go on a Treasure Hunt with clues you have prepared ahead of time. (e.g. a picture of a bed where you have hidden the next clue.) The treasure can be a favorite family treat. Remind family members that not following the clues is like not following the Commandments to find our "eternal treasure".

Hymn suggestions: "How Gentle God's Commands" or "Keep the Commandments".

Person of the Week: Blake Manwaring who gets the children ready Sunday morning while Josie has YW meetings and has a good attitude about it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This week Hailey and I made omelets. Really, it was a chance to use my omelet pan which is a novelty and makes omelets so easy. You can make them in a regular pan which I have a sneaking suspicion Hailey already does but she is so nice she would never tell me. Oh well, here are the instructions in case any of you don't have this already have this mastered. If I am serving a large crowd and don't want to make individual omelets for everyone I just make scrambled eggs and put all the fillings on the side so people can mix in what they want. They tasted so good Ralph even made them for his brother who was visiting and just discovered he has Celiac disease and is on a gluten-free diet.

We made two-egg omelets. These were a meal for us but if you want a bigger serving, three egg omelets work too.
For each egg add a tablespoon of water and mix together well. Put in pan and swirl around until the pan is coated. Place over medium heat. When egg mixture just starts to set, add fillings to 1 side (1/2) of omelet. Salt and pepper to taste can be sprinkled over the top of omelet in the pan or added to the egg mixture before putting in the pan. My biggest tendency is to overfill the omelet and then you just end up with a pile of ingredients. If you are not sure you may want to start out by just making a cheese omelet with cheese only for a ffilling.
For fillings I use what I have on hand but my favorite is the following:

ham -diced in 1/4 in. pieces
zucchini - unpeeled and diced in 1/4 in. pieces
a small amount of finely chopped grreen onion
cheese - the amount you like (cheese can also be sprinkled on top if desired)
Fold over empty half of egg mixture and cook a few moments or until cheese melts. ( Be sure to leave a margin around the outside of filling so filling will be sealed inside.) Cook untl egg is cooked and filling is warmed through. (Not long - like frying an egg)
Serve with fruit and some kind of bread and you have a meal.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Exercises For The Soul - Agency

When I was a kindergarten teacher, I would spend one of the first days explaining the classroom rules. Afterwards I would ask, "Who is in charge of making sure you follow these rules?" Hands would shoot up with answers like, "The Principle, you (the teacher), our moms". Then someone would raise their hand, almost bursting, because they were sure they knew the right answer. I knew they were a regular "church-goer" because they would say, "God or Heavenly Father". They would be surprised when I shook my head no to all these answers. Then I explained that they were in charge of their arms and legs and making sure the rules were followed. This was a revelation to most and very empowering.

Teach the "Great Plan of Happiness" in a simple way so your children can understand it. Emphasize the fact that Heavenly Father presented a plan which Satan rejected and Jesus Christ promised he would carry out. Teach the meaning of the word "agency". Emphasize that one of the reasons we come to earth is to prove how we will use our agency - making good or bad choices.

Play a game where children show "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to a list of every day good and bad choices. Agency can also be practiced and discussed by playing the board game "Chutes and Ladders"

Serve a bowl of colored jelly beans or another favorite candy and allow children to choose the one they want. Discuss the great gift of free agency from our Heavenly Father.

For older children, you may want to discuss the book "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl, a member of a WWII prison camp. He learned that even though he had no choice in what he wore, what he ate or when and how much he worked, he still could choose his attitude.

Person of the week: Jessica Kern - When Jessica was very young she came to visit Grandma and Grandpa. During family prayers I blessed all the grandkids. Jessica said, "What about me? I didn't hear my name." She reminded that each individual is important. Now when I say my prayers every night I ask Heavenly Father to bless each grandchild by name and think about their individual needs.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Promise...

Yesterday I had a few distractions so I didn't publish my FHM (Exercises For The Soul) post. Hailey got me off the floor and onto the couch and I have been holding very still since. I promise to get a FHM post out tomorrow. Probably no one cares or reads it but I am surprised by statements from people other than family who comment. I know this sounds like one of those "what kind of pizza I had last night" BLOGS but I really do it for me as much as anybody and I hope there is something valuable in them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ben's Missionary Experience

Interesting experience Ben had on his mission. We got a call from Ben and he said "I was in a boat and we had to jump into the ocean but I'm o.k." and then the phone went dead. I wanted to know how o.k. he was. It seemed like days but it was about 15-30 minutes before he was able to call back. Then we were told the story that is in the March Ensign. If you would like to read the story Click Here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Exercises Fo The Soul

I am using the 1983 Family Home Evening Resource Manuel which we used when our family was growing up. I don't know if the church still publishes it. As I have said before, this is merely for ideas as your family will have unique needs.


Object Lesson to build interest: Show a healthy houseplant and ask family to offer ideas as to what the plant needs to be healthy and strong. ("happy")
Show a member of family household and ask what this person needs to be healthy and strong. ("happy")
Show the suggestion box you have made and ask each member of the family to put suggestions in the box with ideas for making your family grow healthy and strong ("happy") eternally.

The objective here is 1. to empower family members and 2. to find out what their needs and wishes are.

Suggested Hymn or song: 'Love At Home" or "Families Can Be Together Forever" .

PERSON OF THE WEEK: Jay Hill He tended all the kids while Sara and Emily went shopping without kids, something only someone distracted with kids while shopping can appreciate.

Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

This is an easy recipe that fills everyone up and uses things you on hand. Serve with a vegetable (I like green beans.) and some fruit and you have a meal.


Peel and slice potatoes about 1/16 in. thick. (I fill a large skillet about 1/2 full.) Brown potato slices in hot oil like you would for fried potatoes. I use about enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add diced ham (according to your taste) and grated cheese. (Again according to your taste.) Add also 1 can of evaporated milk.
Cocer with lid and cook on low until potatoes are cooked through and tender. (about 1 to 2 hours).

This my style of cooking - easy, fast, and cheap.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Swiss Steak

This is what my family called it but I don't know if this is the name or "Swissed Steak". At any rate, I thought it was time to make something that was not a sweet dessert. It was our alternative to hamburger and uses an inexpensive cut of steak which doesn't cost much more than hamburger when it is on sale.

Swiss Steak

2 lbs. rump or round steak cut 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 T. fat
1 bayleaf (I don't always have it and leave it out often.)
1 minced clove of garlic
2 c. tomatoes
2 c. sliced onion
1 c. diced celery

Rinse or use a damp cloth to wipe off meat. Trim off excess fat if desired. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish and stir to mix. Dredge or pound into steak on both sides. Heat fat in skillet Brown meat quickly on both sides. Combine remaining ingredieandients and pour over meat. Cover. Cook on high until steaming then turn down to low and cook about 1 1/2 hours or until steak is tender. Remove steak when done. Remaining ingredients can be thickened with flour,water and spices to make a sauce that can be poured over the meat. (You might be temped to use the leftover flour mixture from dredging the meat but DON'T. Bacteria can be in this mixture after it has been sitting out for a couple of hours It is best to mix up some new flour and spices and throw out the other.
It makes about six servings. (I like to serve it with fluffly mashed potatoes.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day

This year Valentine's Day and President's Day come on the same weekend. So I am going to post a variety of thoughts. This weekend we are going to the cabin in Island Park with Sara and Emily's families. The kids were a little disappointed they would miss their school Valentine Parties so I said we would have a Valentine Party at the cabin. We are just going to decorate heart-shaped sugar cookies and make paper valentines with stickers. I hope no one is too disappointed. Hailey helped me make sugar cookies yesterday. At first we were going to make my sister's recipe which includes sour cream but decided to use a different recipe, the one I have always used because it doesn't require any special ingredients that I don't already have on hand. We are going to use store-bought frosting for decorating but you can make your own by mixing powdered sugar, a little butter or margarine, a small amount of milk and flavoring. (Vanilla tends to turn the frosting a brownish color.)


1 c. butter (I always have used margarine because that is what I always have on hand.)
2 c. sugar
3 karge eggs, beaten
6 T. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
5 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. (1T.) baking powder

Mix ingredients in order listed. Roll out on floured board or counter and cut with your favorite cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheet. (If desired, can be sprinkled with sugar at this point. I have always preferred to frost them after they are baked.) Bake in a moderate (350 degree) oven until done. (6-8 min.)

We won't be back home monday so I think I will also post my FHM entry also:
Families need some kind of FHE assignment chart. This can range any anywhere from fancy to plain. You might already have something. In our family we had a wooden board shaped like a house and painted in R.S. homemaking meeting. We had each family member's name written on a small wooden heart that was attached to a magnet. Assignments were made each week and each heart was attached to a magnet in a house window. As I have said, there are lots of ways to do this - fancy or as simple as a piece of cardboard. All you need is the name of each family member on a moveable piece and a way to attach it by the FHE assignment. (e.g. Opening song, Opening prayer, Lesson, Refreshments, etc.) Parents will have to help young children with some assignments.

Calendar: I heard that Ben and Emily are moving to Twin Falls about June 1.

PERSON OF THE WEEK: Kennedy Oman is already planning ways to help her new sister even before she is born

Monday, February 8, 2010


Announcing another aspect to my BLOG. Ralph and I still feel like parents and have responsibility for our family (which, by the way, we couldn't be more pleased with the way they are growing up. Yes, growing up. There is a difference between growing up and growing old.) We have tried to have FHE for the two of us but it has not been very successful. I am grateful for the passage of time and nostalgia that makes it seem we had good family home evenings when the kids were growing up. I guess the key is to keep trying and not give up ( By the way, I have attended FHE at a couple of your houses and I am impressed!)
So here's my plan. Each monday morning we will post a FHM (Family Home Morning I am totally wiped out by noon.) It will be a short thought called "Exercises For The Soul". (When I was a child, that's what my father called Family Night Lessons. This was before the Church had any formal program or lesson manuels.
Also we will include "Calendaring". (I can hear Dad's groaning from past FHEs, either audibly or with his facial expressions.) e.g. Sara's and Emily's families are coming up for President's day weekrnd and Valentine's Day which happen to be the same weekend this year. Josie's family is staying home because of Church responsibilities. (By the way, we love to have you visit but totally understand if Church or other responsiibilities take precedent. You are all in the thick of "family life".
Also we will include a feature called "PERSON OF THE WEEK". For example, this week we will feature Emily Manwaring who asked her mother if she could take plates of cookies to each of the neighbors - and she did, This way we can all see some of the good things you all do.
You do not have to incorporate any of this into your Family Home Evenings. You know what is best for your family. Just know that we love all of you and we are grateful for you as well as this technology that makes us feel closer.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This week Hailey and I made gingersnaps. I got this recipe from a neighbor when we lived on Fair Lane whose name was Elaine Russell. Her son, Sean played with my daughter when they were pre-schoolers. He would come over to our house (three houses away) but was afraid he might meet neighborhood dogs on the way. He resolved this by wearing his He-man (a super-hero at the time) shirt. If he saw a dog, he would solve the problem by ripping open his jacket and exposing the He-man shirt. It must have worked because there was never a dog incident.
I like this recipe for gingersnaps because they are soft and chewy instead of thin and crispy like the ones you can buy in the store. Hailey and I have a new project now. We still cook every Wednesday. Every Thursday we do an art project. Hailey was an art major in college and I have made it cear on a number of occasions that I am no artist. I do have some experience with kindergarten art and how to give children confidence and exposure in this area. Today we started by making line drawings of each animal in Bill Martin Jr.'s Brown Bear Brown Book. At first kindergarten age children tell me in a discouraged voice, "I can't draw!' These young children are proud of their recognizable pictures that they drew all by themselves and parents are impressed.
Following is the Gingersnap recipe:

1 1//2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2 eggs
4 c. flour
pinch of salt
4 tsp. soda
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cloves

Make dough into 1-1 1/2" balls and dip into sugar on one side. Place sugar side up on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min. Do not over-bake.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I remember when we bought our first Microwave. It was sometime in the '80s. There was a big snowstorm and most of the roads were closed in our area. We had planned a New Year's Eve get-together at my parent's house but it was cancelled because of the snow and closed roads. We decided as a family to cross-country ski down the lane (about 1/4 mi.) to my parents house and surprise them on New Year's Eve. We enjoyed merry-making anyway on New Year's Eve. Later that weekend we skied to Blackers, a large furniture store near my parent's house and bought our first microwave oven. When we took it home, we didn't have experience using one so we warmed chocolate chip cookies and maevelled at its usefulness. Over the year's I have learned of its versatility and can't imagine living without one now. I have included two of my favorite recipes.

Brown about 8 slices of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
Place in the bottom of a microwaveble dish (about 8x8) along with the following ingredients to make a "crust".
1 c. of swiss cheese ( or whatever you have, I usually use cheddar.)
1/2 c. minced onion (can be browned in bacon grease if desired)
Whip together and pour over "crust" mixture in dish:
4 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Cook uncovered in microwave on high for 10 minutes or until set. Stir every 3 min.


Brown and cook about 5 min.
1 lb. ground beef
2 small cans tomato sauce
1/2 can mild enchilada sauce ( We don't like things very spicy at our house but you can adjust to your taste.)
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. cumin
Heat 6-8 tortillas ( I like flour tortillas but I have used corn tortillas and they are good too.) Fill each tortilla with refried beans, gr. beef and tomato sauce mixture and grated cheese. Reserve some sauce and grated cheese to spread over the top. Cook on high for 9 min. or until heated through.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Carrot Cookies

Both Hailey and I were tired of sweets after Christmas but it only took a day or two to get over so we made cookies. These cookies are different than the usual cookie and the orange frosting is a good midwinter choice, though they don't taste like carrot cake.

Orange Carrot Cookies

1 c. shortening 1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar 2 c. sifted flour
1 c. cooked, mashed carrots
1 egg 2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add carrots, egg and vanilla. Mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to carrot mixture. Mix well. Drop by large teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven about 20 minutes. While warm frost with Golden Glow frosting.

Golden Glow Frosting
Combine the juice of 1/2 orange, grated rind of 1 orange, 1 T. butter or margarine and 1 c. sifted confectioner's sugar.

These cookies don't taste like much without the frosting but I think they are delicious with the frosting.

Friday, January 8, 2010


This week Hailey and I are back to cooking. We made Lasagne. This recipe contains no ricotta cheese (which I don't care for) and was shown to me by Ralph's mom. It is an easy dish to serve company. You just have add a green salad and a baguette or frenvh bread and you have a delicious meal.

Grandma Kern's Lasagne
Brown two lbs. ground beef in large skillet. Saute diced onions and cekery with the ground beef. Add 1 jar of prego tomato sauce to ground beef mixture in skillet. (I like the kind with vegetables in it.) Heat through. Boil 12-15 Lasagne noodles according to package directions. Layer in 9x12 casserole dish as follows:
-A little Pam on pan to prevent sticking.
-cooked lasagne noodles in a single layer to cover bottom of pan
-a layer of ground beef and tomato sauce mixture
-spoonfuls of cottage cheese
-grated mozzarella cheese
Continue making 3-5 repetitons of layers. Cover top of casserole with plenty of mozzarella cheese and a little Paemesan cheese if desired.
Bake until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.
Ralph looked forward to this all day and enjoyed eating it. We had it with fresh oranges, sent to us from Craig Casgneto, a friend who lives in Nampa.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas Leftovers

We had a wonderful Christmas at the cabin! There was not as much snow as usual (about 16 inches) and it was very cold. (about -16 degrees) - so much so that Emily and Chad had frozen water pipes and got water from our cabin.
Each family made a wonderful contribution. The highlight for me was when Emily got out her violin, Sara her cello, Josie played the piano and Ashtyn sang Christmas songs. It felt just like "the olden days" when we used to practice for programs. It was familiar right down to somebody yelling at everyone to be quiet so they could count. For me, it was wonderful.
Each of the son-in-laws contributed a specialty to the Christmas menu. Blake made crab and prime rib. Chad made a deep fried turkey. And Jay made Barbecued Ribs. The best part was all the leftovers. We have been dining on them since. They are even better than at Christmas because we can have them singly for a meal without confusing the palate or being too full.
Each of the families got a little snowmobiling in including one day when Jay's brother and family came up from St.Anthony with an armload of more Christmas goodies. Sara and Jay and brother Jeff and Jenny went out and celebrated dual wedding anniversaries while grandma and grandpa (mostly grandpa) babysat kids. The kids went together and got us a new flat-screen TV for the cabin. It came in handy to keep kids occupied.
We got a call from Ben Christmas Day. I have the best family ever!