A new song from my friend Shawna Edwards. Beautiful, Shawna! Thank you!
May is the month for easy meals.
Let’s be real: which month ISN’T the month for easy meals? LOL
If you like angel hair pasta with roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts and pesto sauce, you should try it with spaghetti squash.
I’m not kidding!
It is SOOO good! (Even my husband liked it…mostly. He’s still not sure squash in any form is worth the effort.)
You preheat an oven to 400 degrees F, wash off the outside of a spaghetti squash, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, put some water in a baking dish, lay the two halves flesh-side down, and bake it for maybe an hour. It will be done when a fork goes in and out of the flesh easily, and the flesh starts to come out like strands of spaghetti.
After the squash is baked, rinse off some grape tomatoes. Pop them back into the baking dish with a little water in the bottom (or just toss them in a little olive oil and put in the baking dish). Stick them under the broiler on high and broil them until they look like they are about to pop. Take them out.
Scoop out the baked spaghetti squash and place in a bowl. Pour in some pesto–as much as is to your liking. Add some marinated artichoke hearts and the roasted tomatoes. Toss and serve!
The BAKING part of this recipe isn’t fast–you have to plan ahead–but the rest IS fast, simple, easy to prepare, and nutritious!
We served our tomato/artichoke/pesto dish with some tossed fresh berries, warmed up lentils and a chopped cabbage/kale salad mix from Costco.
Ever since April general conference, I’ve been feeling really excited about the changes made from home and visiting teaching to ministering. I think the change in name, program, and attitude will help me and my family think more about Christ and practice more the ways He loves and nurtures others.
We decided that one way we could begin to think more about ministering to those around us would be to study the general conference talks on that topic. We assigned each child a Family Home Evening for this month to read a talk and teach us what they learned.
Rebecca taught us the first week. I was very tired that night, and we were hurrying with her lesson because of our activity. I’m sorry to say I don’t remember what she taught! Haha
This past week I was more awake. Eliza shared from the Relief Society lesson she had attended with her Laurel class the day before. She showed a funny Studio C video to start us off with the importance of empathy and to keep us all smiling.
Then she showed a video that explains what empathy is. This really got me thinking: How often do I say “at least” to others instead of showing empathy?
Her challenge to us this week is to listen empathetically to others and to report back at dinner. We forgot to report back last night. Today I remembered and made this little sign (the shepherd photo is from ministering.lds.org.) to hang on the fridge to remind us of our goal.
I’m excited for these invitations! I want to minister better. I need to learn how. This will be good practice.
At the beginning of a new month, I change out the books I have on display to match what we are celebrating that month.
The arrival of this surprise book in the mail sparked the book-changing. I have yet to discover who sent it to me!
I had so much fun pulling out children’s books (plus a few other books for older folks) and recalling the happy times reading aloud to children for years. The book open on display, All the Places to Love, was one we got early on in our marriage. The binding is almost broken and the dust cover long since gone. It’s story has a treasured place in my heart, and many times I have thought of all the places we love because of the special events that have taken place there: Provo, Salt Lake, Midway, Riverton, the temple, church, school, Orem, LaJolla, Palm Desert, Cody, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Montreal, Prince Edward Island, Paris, Lake Windemere. Home is my favorite spot for the best memories.
One good memory is what inspired the purchase some years ago of the painting in this photo. Peter, a young, treat-loving child, went to our next-door neighbor’s home to climb up into their pantry to get a treat. Yep, when they weren’t home! My neighbor walked in to see 3 year old Peter caught red-handed. She was so kind about it. (Embarrassing mom moment for me!) The story has always made us all laugh, and one year, when Lane and I went on a date and saw this painting, we both secretly bought it and gave it to each other for Christmas. Opening up the same present had us both laughing!
To read about most of the titles pictured above on our home library shelves, go here. Here are the titles shown above*:
Abuela by Arthur Dorros
A Baby for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
The Birthday Queen by Audrey and Don Wood
The Book of Nurturing: Nine Natural Laws for Enriching Your Family Life by Linda and Richard Eyre
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
Glimpses Into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley by Virigina H. Pierce
Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures illustrated by Marla Frazee
I Am a Mother by Jane Clayson Clawson
I Love You As Much by Laura Krauss Melmed
I Want to Be a Mommy by Judy Cooley
A Joyful Mother of Children by Linda Eyre
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Mailing May by MIchael O. Tunnell
Momma, Where Are You From? by Maria Bradby
Momma, Will You? by Dori Chaconas
Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith
My Home Can Be a Holy Place by Kristen M. Oaks
Once There Was a Mom by Emily Watts
The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright
The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
Sister Eternal by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson
That Kookoory! by Margaret Walden Froehlich
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
When Mama Had a Quick Little Chat by Amy Reichert
You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan
*All titles linked to amazon.com are for readers’ benefit only. I do not earn anything from purchases made from these links.
I finished my fabric napkin project in March. It shouldn’t surprise me, but we almost never use paper napkins anymore! I love that! I really have enjoyed getting to use these every night because I’m a sucker for variety, and I love changing the whole set out every couple of months!
I started the project in the fall of 2017 as part of a Young Women Personal Progress project. I was getting eager to finish it in the spring as I had been sewing the napkins for about 6 months, and I am kind of a “burst” project person. I like to start, and I like to finish. I needed a project like that, so I was grateful for the inspiration to do this. It was so satisfying as well as completely within my ability and resources to accomplish.
(If you would like to learn how to make an everyday fabric napkin, go here.)
I made sets for fall, winter, Christmas, Valentine’s, spring, summer, and special occasions (such as baptisms, temple days, etc.). I had SUCH a fun time picking out fabrics and looking for more as the months went by. Here they are:
This set includes napkins for the 4th of July, hot air balloons, summer fruits, ocean fish, and rodeos.
Fall includes bandana red, cornucopias for harvest time, Halloween, chemistry table symbols for school, and Snoopy in the fall leaves.
Winter includes St. Patrick’s Day, warm sweaters, more chemistry napkins, winter sports/Olympic sports, snowmen, computer motherboard, and other fun prints.
I sewed more than six of some fabrics for when we would have all (or more) of our family around. In the Christmas set, I found some wonderful Norman Rockwell fabric at Wax-Mart from which I sewed a LOT of napkins!
I love Valentine’s Day! I already had sewn some everyday napkins one year from some inexpensive dish towels I bought. So I didn’t sew all of these this year.
Our spring set is full of color because it can be pretty cold and drab at the beginning of spring in Utah! As the weather warms and the landscape begins to pop with color, nature’s changes reverberates into our place settings.
I especially love the Icelandic poppy print, the road trip print, and the bumblebee print in this collection.
The special occasion set has napkins for birthdays, movie nights/performances, BYU (and soon to be added: a U of U set), and a temple/church pattern that is adorable from Spoonflower.com.
I was delighted that there is just enough room at the top of my kitchen pantry to store the napkins. I only keep the basket we are currently using in the silverware drawer.
Having fun napkins to change up dinner makes setting the table that much more fun!
May is such a busy time of year, and dinners often get lost in the shuffle.
Grocery store and Costco to the rescue!
I was so tired the other night, and in my hurry I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some pre-made veggie shishkabobs and pre-made salad mix. I went out to the freezer and found some pre-cooked chicken kabobs from Costco. VOILA! Dinner is ready.
(OK, well, we did cook the veggies on the BBQ and heated up the chicken in the oven, but that was the extent of it. And it was delicious!)
I know this isn’t an inexpensive way to go, but it was a healthy and fast way to go, and cheaper than a restaurant for 7 people, so it was a WIN!
I can’t wait to thank them!
Once There Was a Mom is akin to Five Minutes’ Peace, in that it is a book both for children AND adults. It is comforting to the mother to read it and empathy-enlarging for others.
The story tells about how a woman became a mother and discusses what she loves about being a mother, what she worries about in being a mother, and an epiphany she had when worrying about how much of an impact she is making as a mother. It is comforting to read. (I don’t want to give away the ending!)
It is definitely a new favorite.
My heart beats with happiness thinking of this surprise!
There are so many poems that I love, and since I was thinking about poetry today, I looked at the page I created a long time ago on my blog for poetry. I saw that there is just a skinny sliver of the poems I love represented in my list–not much for someone who is hankering for a mouthful of tasty poetry!
So I decided to create a link on my sidebar so that I can remember to add the poems I love, as they come to my mind, to my blog.
Mother’s Day is in coming! Here is a poem that I had our older children memorize when they were younger. I used actions to help them learn it. I wonder how much of it they would recall today? One thing I know, they have learned the essence of it because all of our children have found beautiful ways to show me they love me. I think they learned that from their dad.
“Which Loved Best?”
“Which Loved Best?” by Joy Allison
“I love you, Mother,” said little John;
Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on.
And he was off to the garden swing,
And left her the water and wood to bring.
“I love you, Mother,” said little Nell;
“I love you better than tongue can tell.”
Then she teased and pouted full half the day,
Till her mother rejoiced when she went to play.
“I love you, Mother,” said little Fan;
“To-day I’ll help you all I can;
How glad I am school doesn’t keep!”
So she rocked the baby till it fell asleep.
Then, stepping softly, she took the broom,
And swept the floor and tidied the room.
Busy and happy all day was she,
Helpful and happy as child could be.
“I love you, Mother,” again they said,
Three little children going to bed.
How do you think that Mother guessed
Which of them really loved her best?
(in McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader (1879), 146–47.)
To learn more about the poetry I love, go here.
I went for a walk with Rebecca on Sunday to a young women meeting. The weather was so joyful that I had to share a poem that I love with her, an excerpt, actually, from a longer poem:
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, grasping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there ‘s never a leaf or a blade too mean
To be some happy creature’s palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest, –
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back, with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God so wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
‘T is enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For other couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer’s lowing, –
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
(from “The Vision of Sir Launful” by James Russell Lowell)
Talking like the rain
And when the raindrops were pittering on top of the picnic table outside earlier in the week, it just felt like a poetry moment as well. I pulled a few books (okay, 5) off the shelf to open up and see what I might find. I thought of “Daffodills” by William Wordsworth, and I wanted to see what Emily Dickinson had to say to me. I also plied a favorite children’s poetry book, Talking like the Rain, to glean some poetic inspiration.
Upon returning home from poetry group
I long for time to think and write
the musings of my soul–
For time to read and write some more,
a poem or a goal.