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Showing posts from September, 2014

Seven Super Secrets to Enjoying General Conference with Kids

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Every six months, we enjoy General Conference, which is up to ten hours of listening to talks on a variety of subjects related to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We're excited to participate again this Saturday and Sunday.
Two of my favorite talks from last April's conference were  The Cost -- And Blessings -- of Discipleship "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds."At the zenith of His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”16 To make certain they understood exactly what kind of love that was, He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”17 and “whosoever … shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be … the least in the…

Aspen Groves (Wordless Wednesday)

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Choosing Children: Motherhood, Aging, And Childlessness by Choice

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For about two months now, I've been reading all the General Conference talks from the last thirty years that mention motherhood. It's been a good exercise for me. I think when I first became a mother fifteen years ago, the excitement and thrill of it all constantly brought me joy. There were new firsts all the time and I was young, energetic, and determined to do it everything right.  I embraced motherhood with all I had to give it.  I read about it, thought about it, and probably even dreamt about it.


 And of course, I also lived it, welcoming our first three children into our lives in the span of three years.


I scrapbooked and journaled and wrote letters to my children and documented all their firsts.  I even learned to sew and made all of our Halloween costumes.

Over the years, though, motherhood and its novelty has worn off a bit.  I've learned that I can't do it all or be everything I want to be as a mother, and that children don't exactly always want to be…

The Only Muffin Recipe You'll Ever Need (Friday Favorites, The Recipe Edition)

I've gotten a few requests lately for the recipe to some of my favorite dishes, so I decided to use some of my Friday Favorites to post about some of the awesome food at my house.

First up is my Universal Muffin Mix.  I mix up two batches of this mix and put it in a four gallon bucket in my cupboard.  Then I pull it out and make 2 dozen muffins at a time, often for lunch.  The mix is wonderful, but the add-ins are what make it unique.  We've made blackberry muffins, granola muffins, all-bran muffins, banana muffins, apple muffins, and pear muffins and we've loved almost all of them.  The only exception was the blackberry muffins, which surprised me because we love blackberries.  I often add chopped nuts and even chocolate chips to my versions.  I make the full 2 dozen at a time because all the extras get eaten by my older kids for after-school snacks.

Lately, my favorite way to eat them is to add two or three soft pears mashed up, a bunch of chopped walnuts and a sprinkle …

Building Up and Tearing Down

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In 1998, my husband and I, after a year of marriage, bought our first home.



Build by Geneva Steel to house its workers in 1943, during the height of World War II, this lovely home boasted three bedrooms with tiny closets, a small kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom.  At all of 950 square feet, for two students hoping to expand their family while finishing their undergraduate and graduate work, it felt spacious.

The home was a bit of a fixer and we set right to work.  Over the three years we lived there, we made the basement apartment legal by pouring another parking space and passing off various inspections, re-did part of the kitchen, added built-in bookcases and cabinets, put in a washer/dryer on the main floor, and re-did the landscaping.  I loved tending my three little rose bushes, planting my first garden, and seeing my tulips and daffodils bloom that first spring.

You know what else happened our first spring in that home?


My husband and I graduated from college and Lillian…