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Summertime vegetarian dinner

Tonight we had such a yummy vegetarian dinner! I wanted to try to recreate a new salad I tried at Zupa’s on my date with Lane last weekend, so I started out this morning putting together the ingredients that I had seen and tasted.

Here’s the recipe for beet and quinoa salad that I created:

Beet and Quinoa Salad

First I toasted a cup of quinoa. Just quinoa from Costco. Nothing fancy.

I poured it into the pan–turned on high–and stirred the dry quinoa periodically until it started to pop out of the pan and smell like popcorn popping.

Then I poured in two cups of very hot water into the pan, stirred it, covered it, and brought it to a boil. Then I covered it, turned down the heat, and set the timer for 10 minutes.

At 10 minutes, the water had all been absorbed. I took it off the heat and let it sit with the lid on for maybe 5 more minutes. Then I put the quinoa into the fridge until dinner prep time.

I measured out the seeds and nuts and put them all into a little bowl which I set aside for when I would assemble the salad later in the day. (It ended up being a fairly crunchy salad, so if you don’t want so much crunch, you might reduce the amount you add to your salad.) I used black sesame seeds, yellow sesame seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, chia seeds, and flax seeds.

Later in the day, we gathered some lettuce from the garden (we planted a lot of lettuce this year, and it’s been so great to have fresh lettuce for our dinners!). One trick Eliza taught me is to put the lettuce into a bowl of ice water to crisp up for about 10 minutes. It also helps reduce the bitterness if the lettuce is a tad bitter.

After spinning off the water, we cut up the lettuce into chunks and put it into a bowl.

We added a container of baby arugula to the salad and then sliced some bite-size grape tomatoes in half lengthwise (just because it’s prettier, and we didn’t have many) and threw them into the bowl.

We peeled and sliced two beets–one large red beet and one smaller golden beet–on a mandolin slicer so that they were “paper” thin and added them to the salad, followed by 2 cups of the quinoa and the seed/nut mixture. Don’t you love the vibrant red, yellow, and greens in this salad? (We served the salad with a citrus balsamic vinaigrette from Costco.)

I sliced up some ripe white nectarines and put them into a bowl, adding some rinsed blackberries and golden raspberries. That was SUCH a yummy contrasting salad!

And to give us some warm, comfort food along with these salads, we sliced up 3 large sweet potatoes, tossed them in olive oil and some freshly chopped up rosemary, ground some sea salt and black pepper on top, and baked them for 10-15 minutes in a 450℉ oven.

Isn’t it amazing to be able to eat such delicous fresh food in the summer? The Lord sure created some beautiful foods for us to enjoy! I love this time of year when sometimes there is a day when I can enjoy creating with food in my own kitchen and with our children helping.


And There Was Light

This month I listened to a book that a dear friend recommended to me perhaps 30 years ago: And There Was Light: The Extraordinary Memoir of a Blind Hero of the French Resistance in World War II by Jacques Lussyran.

WOW. This book is utterly remarkable.

It is an autobiography of a man, blind by an childhood accident, who became a leader in a resistance movement in Paris. He is so full of light and love, hope and faith, and his writing expresses this beautifully.

I decided I want to read it so that I can mark the passages I wanted to remember and do a book club on it, I hope. I’ll get back to this post with some quotes that I want to remember!

I definitely recommend this to high school readers as part of the list of 12 great reads for teens in 2018!


Race Day!

Today five of us got to race together to help fight cancer in our area. We loved it! The race was super well-organized, the atmosphere happy and vibrant, and we had all prepared to run. Three of us ran the 10K, one ran the 5K, and Anna finished up with the KidsK. My mom even came to cheer us on at the finish line! Lane and Pete would have been there (Julia is on her mission), except that they were on their way home from Southern Utah and High Adventure Scout camp.


One of the things I loved most about this race today–aside from the fact that we were all running together and have made good progress in becoming more active as a family–was the spirit of the race. I visited with a woman before our race who was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She had had her biopsy done yesterday and was STILL determined to run the race. THAT is courage!

I loved how families and people of all ages were running together and supporting one another: an 87 year-old woman, children in strollers, people with disabilities being pushed in adult strollers (in both the half marathon AND the 10K!), youth running the longer races (so inspiring as well)–just everyone! If nothing else, cancer has a way of bringing people together in a good way!

Wigs and prosthetics

I saw a friend who works in radiology and sees the end of the money raised: wigs, scarves, prosthetics for survivors. This makes me so happy to think about!

I’m so grateful to those who prepared and volunteered at the race today to allow so many of us to participate today!



Father’s Day, en français

La fête des Pères, c’est un jour tendre pour moi. D’être une fille d’une famille recomposée, j’ai deux pères. Je ne préfère pas parler la-dessus souvent. Mais mon mari, j’aime parler de lui, parce que lui, il est vraiment super. Il est comme celui dans ce vidéo-ci. Il est mon protecteur, mon meilleur ami, et il m’aime de tout son coeur. J’en suis tellement reconnaissante!!



Every summer since 2014, we have used a summer time management system called “The Load.” This year some of the children (who like the actual moving of the wood pieces from one jar to another) are using the old system, while I created this visual reporting system for all those living at home. (Sarah is also living at home, but she won’t report on the chart.)

They do what?

Want to know how the load works or the story behind the load? Go here.

Basically, our children have about 10 things they have to do each day before playing (and these have changed slightly year to year): 1. study scriptures/pray; 2. garden (weed); 3. do their housecleaning jobs (not pictured on the chart, but includes making bed/tidying room/doing their bathroom job/doing their other assigned housecleaning job); 4. do their laundry on their assigned day; 5. empty the dishwasher/set the table on their assigned day (a summer-only job); 6. reading 15 mins of non-fiction; 7. doing 15 minutes of math; 8. practice their language or instrument; 9. do their assigned dog job; and 10. do service. Leisure reading isn’t listed because they just do it, nor is family prayer/scripture study, since we do that everyday. We don’t watch TV/movies unless it’s the weekend or if it’s for foreign language practice.

The surprise

We all actually LIKE the load system: I like that I don’t have to nag (mostly!). The children like knowing what they have to do before they can go play. It’s a “win-win.”

I thought it was fun when I hadn’t even mentioned the load for this year, and last Sunday Anna got out her jar and wooden rounds from last year. She went to work painting them so that they have a new look for this year. I just liked that she knew that with summer approaching, our load would be starting!

(To read more about structured plans we’ve had in summers passed, go here or look under the “Organize ‘Em” tab for “Summer.”)



A new song from my friend Shawna Edwards. Beautiful, Shawna! Thank you!


Real food, real fast 2

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.


What does it mean to minister?

Click on the sign to go to a printable PDF.

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.


The changing of the books

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

What Will You Say, Dear? by

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.

Special Occasion

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!