Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I love having options....

Image courtesy of Marks Daily Apple

Some of the items that are needed, but tricky to stock up on, are Oil and Shortening as they are shelf stable.  However, they can go rancid over time.  We need these important fats for health.  But, did you know that in baking we have several options to use in place of Fats?   Knowing this, you can think differently about how much of these oils/fats you actually need to store.

There are many options for substituting other foods for oils or fats in baking.  Here are some options:

  • Beans: This is my favorite because this food also has fiber.  You can substitute cup for cup for the fat required in a recipe.  If you are cooking a light colored food, used cooked light colored beans.  The same is true for bakin dark baked goods, used dark cooked beans.  You may be surprised at how moist your baked goods will be.  Beans are also very economical as a substitute as oils and fats are much more costly pound-for-pound.
  • Applesauce:  Many folks use this as a substitution ( 1:1 ratio).  The caution here is to watch your baking temperature as it can scorch or burn and leave an after-taste.  Also, some sources caution you from using more than 1 Cup of Applesauce per recipe that you are preparing.  
  • Shredded Zucchini:  This is great in muffins, breads, and chocolate treats as it provides a great deal of moisture.
  • Pureed Pumpkin:  Have you ever had leftover canned pumpkin and wondered what to do with it?  You can substitute  it for fat. Your food will take on the color and flavor of  pumpkin...but who doesn't love a chocolate chip pumpkin cookie?
  • Dairy:  This was a surprise to me.  You can substitute yogurt (preferably Greek yogurt as it is strained and does not have excess liquid) or cottage Cheese (use half of the required fat called for).  These are good in pastries and biscuits but can add a 'rubbery' texture.  Ricotta Cheese reportedly can be used in some recipes 1:1.  
  • Baby Food:  Specifically carrots, pears and prunes.  This is a good way to take care of left over purees that you may have in the refrigerator.
  • Banana:  Mashed Banana can be used 1:1. 
  • Tofu:  Silken Tofu reportedly can be used (use only 1/2 the amount called for).

Try to experiment with one or more of these options in your when baking your next yummy treat or food.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Expires at Midnight.....

Why am I posting a picture of an empty parking lot?

Here is another view....

Here is the same parking lot about a week ago.

Here is another view.

Today, everyone moved out of the Raintree Apartments.

Last week, there was a 4-Stake Fireside where the boundaries of the 4 Stakes were altered.  In addition, 6 wards simply.....were....dissolved.....effective at Midnight on 4-27-13.  This date and time were important as the leadership wanted to ensure that every student had a Bishop....until they moved out.  The meeting was really amazing, lots of boundary changes, ward name changes, and  Bishopric changes.  

Before the meeting began, I happened to sit next to a member of our YSA Stake Presidency.  I inquired to see if I might ask a few questions of him, and he willingly said he would.  Reportedly, the Stake Presidency was informed in January that this complex would become a Second MTC at the end of the semester   Reportedly, the 4 Stake Presidents provided the General authorities with suggestions on how this could be accomplished.  

Changes that will most likely be taking place at the facility:

  • Each apartment that had housed 6 students will now house 12 missionaries as bunk beds will be installed.
  • The large parking lot in the back will have temporary building for feed the missionaries.  
  • There has been some talk/reporting that some of the buildings will be remodeled to make classrooms available.

Elder Steven J Lund was presiding at this special 4-Stake Conference.  Not only did he carry out the changes listed above, but he also shared more information.  

When it was announced that the  Benemerito de las Americas high school would also be transformed into an MTC in Mexico, some were concerned that the educational opportunities for a High School opportunity would no longer be available to members in Mexico.  Elder Lund explained that originally this school was built as there was no opportunity for a High School education available over 40 years ago.  Currently, Mexico reportedly now does offer High school, so about 5-6 years ago, the decision was made to close the facility at the end of this school year.  Reportedly there had been a discussion about selling the facility.  This is where the glorious plan of the Lord came into play.  With the recent increase in Missionaries applying to serve, this facility could easily be transformed as it had dormitories, cafeterias, classrooms, and staff.  

Elder Lund also mentioned a new Visa that Mexico is offering that can be received in a little as 2 months if the applicant is going to learn the language or be in the country for educational purposes.    Can you think of anything more perfect for a missionary?

A bit of irony....some of our very own students will now be returning to Raintree.....to work as they were already employed at the MTC.

So, what do students do when they know they have to move out....disperse, and finals are over?  Have a bonfire  to burn any homework or notes that are no longer needed...all while roasting Hot dogs and Marshmallows in the Fire pit. There were also midnight runs for waffles, and movie nights.  We must not forget that there were also several celebrating their long awaited Graduations.

Reportedly there was an 'all night cleaning party" on the last night...with much goofing around until 4:00 a.m.  

One other thing that I found very important.  Reportedly President Monson sent a letter to our YSA Stake President indicating that all the records of all the students needed to be sent to their next home and not to Church Headquarters.  Again, this was important so that every student had a Bishop. Our wonderful Clerks spent the last few weeks gathering addresses of either the next apartment or a home address as some students just didn't know where they were going to land.  Extra efforts to complete Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching were also made.

None-the-less, this chapter of our Young Single Adult's lives closing, However, it allows for new Missionary opportunities that will impact the future of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the world.   How amazing it has been for our little ward to witness this small little piece of Church History.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.....his wonders to perform...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Shelter in place...

Image courtesy of offgridsurvival.com
This past week has been a very tragic one for many people, particularly for those injured or killed at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Because authorities were searching for the second suspect (the first suspect, sadly a sibling, had died), a section of Boston was ordered to "Shelter-in-place".  Public transportation, schools, and business were closed.  Thankfully, the 2nd suspect was apprehended and the city of Boston celebrated and cheered the efforts of law enforcement to bring this sad chapter to a hopeful close.

From a preparedness standpoint, people had to 'live' on the things they had in their homes during this difficult time. 

Image courtesy of offgridsurvival.com
Having authorities go from home to home must have been a welcomed, but anxious experience.  The adults surely had a good understanding of what was happening, but the children may not have known why they couldn't go outside or why they had a change in their routine.  Depending upon what you had on your shelves (food and entertainment wise), this time at home could have been welcomed or with a bit of panic.

Have you ever tried to get your children out of the door when you don't have milk in the morning? What would you do if you didn't have milk, cereal, etc while being required to stay at home?  Would you have had things for your children/family to do while you were in this situation?  What if you were asked to Shelter-in-place for days or longer....would you have things in place to do so?  If it were needed, would you be in a position to defend yourself?

Image courtesy of Ebay

We had the opportunity to 'Grandparent' yesterday for  most of the day.  We had  a sweet toddler boy who came over to captivate our hearts.  He played with the dollhouse and said sweet things like "baby", "Mama", and "Dada" while picking up pieces before tossing them on the floor.

image courtesy of dooyoo.co.uk
We also drove cars and trucks all over the living room.

However, when I was just across the room, our little Grandson opened our backdoor for the first time by himself.  Later, when he was in the Garage with Grandpa, he quickly tried to run down the driveway to the street before we caught him. Certainly, in a lock-down situation, our Garage door would not have be opened.  But, in the backdoor situation could have been dangerous and very problematic.

I reflected upon the requirement to 'Shelter-in-place" and taking care of not only him, but siblings at the same time.  It is hard to keep kids entertained, fed, and protected.  It would be important to have precautions in place to manage little one's desires to go outside to play or to spend time with friends in the neighborhood.

As it turned out, we would have been fine if we had locked the doors (which we would have done in a true "Shelter-in-place" scenario).  We could have fed, entertained, and protected ourselves for a long time.  We also would have been in a position to handle hygiene (for the adults), medication needs, communication, and power if need be.  However, this little one is not toilet trained yet and we only had so many diapers.  As I thought about what I would do if we cared for him for a long time, I started looking at our dishtowels and safety pins and tried to think about how I would have had to possibly sew a pair or 'plastic pants' as my family used to call them when my siblings were in cloth diapers.  I had the supplies to do it and could have done so. Overall we would have done just fine.  In fact, we really did have to "Shelter-in-place" for nearly a week following a big natural disaster a few years ago.  We didn't have power, but we had everything else and did just fine.

The following list is from "Backdoor Survival.com":

Survival Woman’s Shelter-In-Place Checklist
2- 4 mil plastic sheeting
Duct tape
Scissors (to cut the plastic sheeting)
Utility knife
First aid kit
Two week supply of non-perishable food
Paper plates and eating utensils
Can opener
Bottled drinking water (your water barrel will not likely be accessible from your safe room)
Flash Light with a hand crank or extra batteries
Baby items (diapers, formula, wipes)
Pet items (food, potty pads, kitty litter, poo bags)
Wind Up/Battery Radio
Phone that does not require power
Cell phone and charger
Extra pair of glasses and/or contact lens & solution
Emergency Phone Numbers
Candles/Camping Lanterns
Lighters and Matches
Garbage bags & ties
Comfort items (toilet paper, personal wipes, Kleenex)
Entertainment items (paperback books, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, playing cards)
Paper, pens, pencils
Emergency telephone numbers
Take a quick look around your home.  How would you have faired?  If you are lacking, make a plan and address it now.  Who could have foreseen a lock down in Boston even just a few days ago.  Being prepared requires a skill-set and a mindset.  Doing so helps keep calm hearts and cool heads in the face of the unexpected.    

Think about it!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Exodus begins....

I have been "Missing in Action" lately here on this blog.  I haven't been sitting back and eating bonbons.  Instead, I have been living life, helping Rooster Senior with his end-of-the-semester projects and homework, and witnessing some modern-day history.  On March 27th of this year, the members of our Young Single Adult ward, along with 6 other wards based in the Raintree Commons were given a bit of news.  Their home-away-from-home would become a 2nd MTC (Missionary Training Center) beginning May 1st.  This means that everyone....I mean everyone is moving out...moving away...and moving on to make way for these newly called Missionaries.  

Now before some of you think that this is unfair.....just remember that (the end of the semester) and most of the rental contracts end on April 27th.  At the end of a semester a majority of these tremendous students traditionally move out...move home....and move on with life in general.   So yes, some folks were inconvenienced, but most already had plans to relocate.

And so the Exodus begins.  There have been meetings with our Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward Council, planning with the Relief Society and Elder's Quorum, with extra efforts from Visiting Teachers and Home Teachers to ensure everyone has a place to land and help moving there.  If you have ever moved one family....multiply that effort by nearly 200 and you will know what this experience is like. We have even made available our own 'Winter Quarters' for those YSA's who are in flux.  By April 27th, the members of our YSA ward...and a piece of heart will be gone.

This next Sunday will be the last block of meetings for our ward.  Everyone will be released, including the Bishopric and the ward essentially will be dissolved. Reportedly the MTC will inhabit Raintree and Wyview apartments for approximately 2 years.

Sooooo, the Little Red Hen has put on her own thinking cap.....which is really a dangerous thing.  As the media coverage states, the Missionaries will not only live on these campus', but will also receive their training here.......I tried to imagine how the training and feeding part would happen.  I could see the living and laundry part already, but the other would be a massive undertaking.  Each apartment has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms along with a an open floor plan for a livingroom/kitchen combination.  There is also a laundry room for all the current residents.  (Our Ward alone is made up of 24 Apartments and there are 6 Wards in this complex)

Image Courtesy of Raintreeapt.com
Soooooo, where could everything take place?  Well, Wyview (across the street)  has a Chapel located on it's campus....that could be very helpful for Missionaries I would venture. However, there is a need for classrooms, large dining area(s), etc.  So, I took a few pictures and have a few thoughts on the matter (and that is all they are....as the Church has a plan to address any and all issues here without the my uninspired input).

This is a view of 2 buildings on the West side of the complex.

Standing from the Balcony of one the above Apartment buildings, I took these 3 shots from right to left....of an enormous parking lot.  Think about it, these missionaries will not need any parking space.  Temporary buildings could be established here  for teaching and dining.

The current clubhouse can manage one YSA ward at a time for things like Ward Prayer and a "Break-the-Fast" meal, but not the entire complex.  I am sure this building will be used however for important functions.  It has folding tables and chairs, a loft, a kitchen without appliances (but has a small sink) and some small office areas that Bishops have used for interviews.

Each Stairwell leads to 6 different apartments (on 3 floors) on the front and back sides of the building.   Missionaries will live (and most likely study) in close proximity without having to travel far.

As with any change, there are 'rumors' about what will happen.  Some rumors are that the Hot Tub will be taken completely out, others are that the pool will be covered for 2 years.  In my view, who knows and really who cares about the pool?  The Lord has a plan, and his work will roll forth.

So, as some of our newly called missionaries (some most likely from our own YSA Ward) prepare to enter the MTC in early May, it is my hope that they will find a sweetly spiritual environment in the newly called 2nd MTC.  I know that our YSA Ward has certainly experienced it and have been greatly blessed by it.

As for our beloved YSA's, I will personally miss you all.  As I listen to your plans for the future, I am amazed at the potential impact for good you most likely will have not only locally, but across the world.  I want to thank you all for the richness that you have brought to my life.....I will miss you.

Until we meet again..........

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Using your Generator.....what can you really run with it?

 I realize I must be so far gone, because I see this item as a thing of beauty.  This is a Coleman Powermate Generator.  We bought this after we weathered a category 5 Hurricane and were without power for nearly a week.  What was really funny at the time was all the people who called to see if we had a generator...and if we did they were asking to borrow it. Really? I found that request to be very, very bold!

However, I digress. We didn't have one and really found out that we really needed one....so Rooster Senior went out and purchased this sweet little machine.

So...does that mean that we have met all our power needs now just because we have this item.  Soooo not!  You need to know what your generator can run and for how long.  How do you figure that out?  Well, thanks to our friends at Home Depot, they offer a brochure that allows you to see what it takes to run your fun little appliances by generator.

This gives you an idea by wattage.

This form allows you to do your own calculations.  I would recommend that you figure this out before you need to rely on your Generator.  

Another important piece of information is that you should start-up your Generator when you first get it, and then monthly to ensure that it works.  Nothing could be worse to have the device and then not have it in working order when you need it.  I know people that this has happened to.

Finally, have a way to secure your Generator to something that is fixed and not moveable.  My  sister shared the following story with me.  It happened to a friend of hers.  The family was in the middle of an ice storm and pulled out their Generator to use.  They set it up outside as the directions indicated.  They could hear it functioning.  Suddenly, the lights started to dim and but they still heard a motor running.  The family went outside to investigate. Without them knowing it, they had been the victims of theft.  Someone had started a lawnmower and left it running as they confiscated the Generator.  What is the lesson here?  Have a way to chain your device to something permanent.

Sooo, do you have a Generator?  There are so many makes and models, so please do your homework to find out what works for you.  Also, consider stopping by Home Depot and picking up one of these Brochures.  It's worth your time.

It's Conference Time again.

Information directly from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  (Today I listened to the first session through my phone, an app, and a set of speakers.....it's was cool!)


The 183rd Annual General Conference of the Church, to which all members are invited, will convene in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, 2013, with general sessions each day at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. mountain daylight time.

The general priesthood meeting will be held in the Conference Center on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. MDT.

Local leaders have the option to adjust meeting schedules or, where appropriate, to rearrange the agenda of regularly scheduled meetings to permit their members to listen to or watch general conference by radio, television, satellite, or Internet transmission.

Viewing Live

Members can watch conference in their meetinghouses or in their homes.

To view conference at local meetinghouses, check with local leaders on availability of the broadcast by satellite or Internet feed.

The live broadcast will be available from the following sources:

Conference.lds.org: Video and audio in 16 languages.
Mormonchannel.org and Mormon Channel mobile apps: Video and audio in English only.
BYU.tv: Video and audio in English only.
BYU.tv International: Video and audio in Spanish and Portuguese.
Facebook.com/LDS: Video in English only.
Mormon Channel on Roku: Video only in American Sign Language, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. (Search for general conference under the “Spiritual” category.)
In addition, many local cable and radio stations make conference readily available. Visit www.bonneville.info for broadcast information or check local listings.

Reviewing Archives

Within 24 hours of a conference session’s conclusion, video and audio files of that session will be available in major Church languages at conference.lds.org. The Tuesday following general conference, text of all talks will be posted in English at conference.lds.org. The November issues of the Liahona and Ensign will feature conference addresses. More information on what and when conference materials become available can be accessed online.

To watch or listen to past conference addresses visit the General Conference section of LDS.org.

01 09 10