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".