Friday, May 20, 2011

Exercises for the Soul - Money Management

i saw this lesson in the FHE Resource Manuel and reflected on what we taught our children which I am sure was not perfect. I thought this was a good lesson.

Scripture: Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
Proverbs 16:8

We should use the financial resources with which we are blessed to perfect ourselves and build up the kingdom of God. ( Family Home Evening Resource Book )

A Practical Experience In Budgeting: This uniqie way to help family members understand their part in helping with the family budget was suggested Dr. Dwayne Belt of the Brigham Young University faculty. You may wish to use some of his ideas or adapt them to the needs of your own family:
"I told the children to sit in a circle on the floor to prepare for a special activity for Family Home Evening. To their astonishment, I gave each one of them a large bundle of one dollar bills. My wife and I also had a bundle.
"All of this money together is the amount earned each month in our family", I said .
"Tonight you are all going to help Mom and Dad spend it."
[Note: It might not be practical to have this much currency in your home. You may want to make paper bils or use play noney or money from the Monopoly game. If possible, place a real bill on top of the bundle. ]
"For some time my wife and I had felt that one of the important things we should teach our children was the wise use of money. Although we felt the children should not be overburened with concern about the family budget, we believed that a better understanding of our financial resposibilities and goals would contribute to the harmony we desired in our home.
"You need to know that there are some things we are required by law to pay", I explained. " After those things are paid, there will be other things we need and must pay for, and then we can use the rest of the money as we wish."
"Tithing was quickly agreed upon as the most important thing we have promised to pay followed by other Church donations. Each person counted out his share and handed it to me.
"We have always paid our tithing first even when we 'owed' only $9.00 a month, and we have always been blessed for it," I reported to the family.
"So we continued on down the list - taxes, social security, house payment, insurance, utilities annd many others. The children looked distressed as their piles of money began to get smaller.
"Occasional questions arose about things such as retirement funds. These were discussed in an attempt to help each one see the reason for these kinds of programs.
"In our family," I said, " savings comes under the list of things we have promised to pay. We have promised ourselves that we would save regularly to prepare for missions, college or family emergencies. To help us keep that promise to ourselves my employer pays some of our money to our savings account each nonth."
"When we had exhausted the list of the things required by law and promises, we moved to other things we needed. Food was mentioned first, followed by clothing and medical care.
"Soon we began to mention a few things we would like to do or to have, and as families often do we found that we had too much month left at the end of the money. Long before our list of needs and wants was exhausted, the piles of one-dollar bills had disappeared.
The children stared in disbelief. My wife and I smiled knowingly.
Some of the comments were:
"I'm sick1"
"What do you do at Christmastime?"
"I didn't realize how fast we spend the money you make, Dad."
"Boy, it must take a lot of time to figure out the budget and pay the bills each month.
"It's all the dozens of little things that really add up."
"You sure have to plan ahead."
"Is it wrong to buy things we don't actually need?"
"It is not wrong to have and enjoy many of the beautiful and wonderful things in the world,", we told [our children], "as long as we keep two things in mind: First, our desire for material posessions should always be secondary to our desire to serve the Lord and your fellowmen.
Second, acquiring luxuries should always be secondary to acquiring necessities."
'That was fun.', said one of the children,'but what does money have to do with the gospel?'
" We have been told that our Heavenly Father gives us no temporal commandments. Everything he tells us to do is for our eternal good. And every part of our life, including handling the family finances, is part of living the gospel."
"That evening the following commitment were made
"I will keep track of what I spend for an entire month and then make a priority list for using my allowance."
"I am going to be more careful about the little things I buy that I could get along without."
"I'm going to try to save $100 from my allowance and baby sitting by the time school starts next fall."
"I'm going to pay my tithing the very first Sunday after I get my allowance, without fail."
"With an occasional reminder, our family have noticeably made sincere attempts to use our resources financial more wisely since this experience. We will never forget the night we helped 'spend' the family income." ("They All Held The Money," The Instructor May 1970, pp. 158-59.)

Suggested Hymn: "Count Your Many Blessings" Hymns no. 202.

Person of the Week: Alayna Hill for drawing a cute picture of fish in a fishbowl. I like all the wonderful pictures my grandkids make.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Porcupine Meatballs

Last week Stephanie and I made Porcupine Meatballs. Every time I make them I remember a friend who said, "Do they really use pocupine meat in them?" No, they use just regular ground beef and are called pocupine meatballs because there is rice in them which pokes out like miniature porcupine quills. At any rate they are delicious and easy to make. I am also including this week's recipe which I may have posted before. It is for Ann Landers Economical Pound Cake. She says that there is no excuse for not giving a gift because it is inexpensive and it tastes good.

Porcupine Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 c. uncooked rice (Ralph got Uncle Ben's Instant Rice and it worked ok but before that I had always used just regular raw rice which I think I prefer.)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can tomato soup
1 cup or can water
1 T. minced onion

Combine meat, rice, salt, pepper and onion. Shape into small balls. (about 1 1/2 " in diameter) Combine and heat soup and water in oven safe pan or pressure cooker. Drop meatballs in soup mixture. Close lid securely. Place in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. When using pressure cooker place regulator on vent and cook 10 min. with regulator rocking skowly. Let pressure drop of its own accord. (I have never used a pressure cooker.)

Economical Pound Cake

3/4 lbs. good quality margarine or butter (I used butter.)
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3 C. flour, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon extract or 1 tsp. grated lemon peel (I always use lemon extract because I never have a lemon.)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
7/8 C. ginger ale
Cream eggs (the recipe says eggs but I think it must mean butter.) and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings and mix well. Add flour alternately with ginger ale, mixing after each addition. Bake in two loaf pans in pre-heated 275 degree oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until skewer or tablle knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly in pan before turning out.