Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Pantry Door




I have been seeing a lot of ideas lately on Pinterest and on several of the organizing blogs that I follow about organizing your pantry.  These ideas jump out at me because my pantry needs some TLC.  One thing that I do have organized--for the most part--is all those little things that end up getting shoved to the back of the shelves or fall off because there is no way it will stay propped up in front of the balsamic vinegar bottle, especially since the shelf is only 4" deep.  Really.  I found this idea in a catalog that I received in the mail.  They had this great idea of hanging an organizer on the back of your pantry door to put all those "little ones" in.  That was a great idea, but the price for that puppy was not so great.  My take on this organizer was to head out to Walmart and buy a clear over-the-door shoe organizer for at least half the price.  When I finally get around to organizing the rest of the pantry (you are probably thinking it doesn't need it.  I know.  But visually it is very cluttered to me.  I want a more streamlined look.  It's just too busy), shown here...



...I am going to label my door organizer so that  others in our house will return things to the right place.  Yeah, said no homemaker EVER!  By the way, I have another organizer in my linen closet for all those items like sunscreen, cotton swabs, hotel soap/shampoo/conditioner, bedroom door "keys", extra toothbrushes, etc.  You get the idea.  It is wonderful there as well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spanish Rice Salad



Ingredients:

2 c. cooked white rice
2 (11 oz.) cans Mexicorn, drained
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Dressing

3/4 c. chunky salsa
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder

Directions:

Put salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine dressing ingredients.  Add to salad and toss to coat.  Chill.

Source:  Melva Burke

Monday, February 25, 2013

3 Ingredient White Bean Chicken Chili


I love a quick, yummy meal, and this is definitely one of them!

One day I watched my friend dump some things in a pot, stir a bit, and then call her kids down for dinner. I was truly impressed because it took 5 minutes from start to finish, and it looked so delicious and healthy too!

3 Ingredient White Bean Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
A few cans of white beans, drained
1 can of chicken 
A cup or two of your favorite salsa

I am not going to give an exact recipe, well, because there isn't one and I have made it differently every time depending on how many I needed to feed and what I had on hand. But basically you just dump those ingredients into a pot, in whatever quantities you want, add a little water if needed, and maybe some black pepper. If you want to get fancy, you can add a can of corn! Let it simmer for a few minutes. Serve with your favorite shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips!

A delicious and quick meal! I hope you enjoy! 

PS - You could also make this in a crock pot.

Source: My amazing friend Kim Jones




Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Mustard Seed: The little seed with a big reputation

"The Kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of  mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:  which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."-----Matthew 13:31-32

Who hasn't seen a mustard seed presented at some point in a Sunday School lesson?  Truly, it is a remarkable concept that something so tiny has the potential to become something so large.  There are many applications in life to this parable.  I like to think about the story of David and Goliath even.  I get a swelling in my breast whenever I think about David's faith that must have started as small as a grain of mustard seed but oh how it grew!

I also like to think about the humble beginnings of the life of Christ as he was born in a stable.  The influence of his life and teachings has affected the entire world over many centuries.  I could go on and on with a multitude of applications to the above parable.  However, I would like it if you would just pause a moment and think how this could relate to you personally as a covenant son or daughter.

fyi:  The name "mustard", as well as the use of mustard as a condiment, came from the Romans, who added "must" (freshly pressed grape juice) to the spicy-hot powder from the ground-up seeds.

Source:  The New Era, February 2013


Friday, February 22, 2013

Broccoli & Cheese Quinoa

I'm in LOVE with quinoa! It's been so nice having something new and so versatile in my diet. Have you tried cooking with it yet? You really should give it a shot. My kids gobbled this right up. We served it with some chicken and carrots on the side. Made for a tasty dinner. Plus, it cooks up so quickly!


Broccoli & Cheese Quinoa
Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions
1. Put quinoa, broth and broccoli to a pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered until the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender,about 15-20 minutes.
2. Mix in the cheese, let it melt.
3. Enjoy!

Want some more Quinoa Recipes? Check these out...
Quinoa Primavera
Moni's Quinoa Mac & Cheese

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nigella's Breakfast Bars


Mr. Blue Eyes' parents gave us a Nigella Lawson cookbook a few years ago and there are some fabulous recipes in it. I mean, c'mon. It's Nigella we're talking about. These granola bars are so easy and so good that we eat them morning, noon, and night!

Ingredients:

1 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2.5 Cups of Rolled Oats (not instant!)
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Mixed seeds* (Nigella suggests pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
1 Cup Natural Unsalted Peanuts

1. Preheat the oven 250 degrees F and spray a 9x13" pan.
2. Warm the Sweetened Condensed Milk in a sauce pan. Ms. Lawson suggests a Large one; I used a small one. Tomato, Tah-mah-toe.
3. In a Large mixing bowl, mix all the other ingredients together. Pour the warmed milk over the top and fold it over until everything is looking gooey and good!
4. Press the mixture into your greased pan. At Nigella's suggestion I used a latex (or non-latex for all you latex-sensitive people) glove. Make sure you press down fairly firmly and pack it well. We had trouble with crumbling. Not that that makes it taste any less delicious!
5. Bake for 1 hour. After it's cooled about 10 minutes, cut 4x4 length to width and remove from pan to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container. Makes 16.

*Notes:
1. We have used Unsalted Cashews (1/3 Cup); Salted, shelled pistachios--pictured above (1/3+ Cup); Sunflower Seeds (1/3- Cup). They turned out great!
2. When she says natural, unsalted, she means it. Unsalted just seems to turn out better.

Source: Nigella Express:130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Easy 7-layer Bean Dip

This is my go-to recipe when I need to bring a side dish to a gathering and don't have a lot of time.  This dip is little different than traditional 7-layer dip but I always get requests for the recipe and compliments when I bring it.

The Seven Layers:
1 Can of Refried Beans
1 1/2 Cups Plain Yogurt
1 Packet of Taco Seasoning
1 Bunch of Cilantro
1 Bunch Green Onions
3-4 Roma Tomatoes
Cheddar Cheese

Directions:
1-Spread the can of refried beans on the bottom of the serving dish.
2-Mix the packet of taco seasoning with the yogurt and spread on top of the beans.
3- Chop up the cilantro, tomatoes, and green onions and layer on top of the yogurt.
4-Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top of the veggies.
5-Serve with tortilla chips.

The dip is really easy but also very tasty!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chicken & Wild Rice

 
My family really liked this. Its a recipe I found in my 4 ingredient cookbook.  I changed it up a bit,
and voila! It was SUPER simple and cooked itself! The mandarin oranges add just a bit of sweetness to this dish that really makes it great! By-the -way, this is pretty healthy.
 
 
Ingredients:
1 bag of chicken, boneless & skinless
1 box of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice, original flavor
1 box of Uncle Ben'sWild Rice, Herb Roasted Chicken Flavor
1 big can of Mandarin Oranges   
salt
pepper
2 1/2 cups of water, according to rice directions
 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using a roasting pan, layer the bottom with both boxes of rice.  Then sprinkle one of the seasoning packets over the rice.  Cut all the fatty parts off of the chicken and cut each breast into thirds. Layer the chicken over the rice. Sprinkle the second seasoning packet over the chicken and the rice. Lightly sprinkle salt and over the entire dish.  Pour the can of mandarin oranges over the chicken. Spread them out a bit so all of the sweetness goes everywhere instead of on  just one spot of the dish. Add the water carefully. Cover your roasting pan with tinfoil if you don't have a lid. Then bake for 2 hours.  So, put this on just before you go to get the kiddos from school and it will be ready for dinner!
 
original recipe from 4 Ingredient Cookbook.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Emergency Brownie!

Have you ever had an overwhelming craving for a brownie but didn't want the temptation of a whole pan of them?  Yes?  Then you have to try this microwave mug brownie.  Recipes for these are popping up on blogs all over the place.  This particular recipe is one of my 14-year-old son's stand-by recipes.  He tells me that it's gooey-er than a regular baked brownie but that it still hits the spot.  I can always tell when he's been in the kitchen from the tell-tale brownie dregs in the mug on the counter.

If this particular mug brownie recipe doesn't tickle your fancy you are sure to find a plethora of them online.  It took some trial and error before we found the ones that appealed to us the most.
Ingredients:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch salt
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. milk

1.  In a microwaveable mug (or glass canning jar), stir the dry ingredients together.  Try to get out all the lumps.  Add the milk and oil and stir until well-combined.
2.  Microwave on HIGH for one minute.  After that, microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time until it springs back a bit but still has some gooey-ness on top.  My son says it typically won't look done when it really is, and it easily burns if you cook it too long.  It took him a while to get the right time in our microwave...this time it took one minute and thirty seconds.

We love our brownies drizzled with a little warmed up peanut butter and a little ice cream or whipped topping.

Source:  Babble's Family Kitchen

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Find the Tender Mercies



This picture just makes me laugh because it is so true! Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up and carry on! Life does not always turn out the way you plan, and you just have to figure out how to take the next step forward. And I've learned that you can be miserable and complain while you do it, or you can be positive and happy, but you are still going to have to do it! 

I have a good friend who was so excited to have her son come home from his mission this past week! He had been serving in Chile for two years, and they anxiously awaited his arrival home. They cleaned the house meticulously, and even rented a carpet cleaner and scrubbed all the carpet in the house. Finally the day of his arrival had come, and they were up early having breakfast, excited to go pick him up from the airport. In the middle of their breakfast they heard a funny noise coming from the bathroom and went to check it out. To their horror, they found both bathrooms overflowing with backed up sewage!!!! Within minutes a foul smelling black sludge covered the floor of every room in their home! 

Here's the short version of the rest of the story - they had to immediately evacuate and find a new place to live! Most of their belongings were contaminated and had to be thrown out.They spent several days wearing face masks, heavy rubber boots, and rubber gloves as they sorted through their belongings seeing what they could possibly salvage (like pictures and artwork on the walls, items in the tops of closets, etc.) What a nightmare! Seeing their home like that, and helping them with the task of saving whatever they could, brought me to tears several times. How depressing and frustrating and horrible!

But my amazing friend and her family (including her son who arrived home to the disaster) just picked themselves up and carried on. They were even cheerful in the process, and so grateful for all the help they received, and thankful to their Heavenly Father for all of the tender mercies He had provided. TENDER MERCIES? Perhaps most people would not be able to see the tender mercies in this situation, but they did. They have a long list of them! They are actually still right in the middle of all of it, still trying to make heads or tails of everything, but a huge snow storm yesterday has haulted their efforts. I'm sure they saw that as a blessing too.

This is a good reminder to me of something I have told my children often, "You can do it kicking and screaming, or you can do it with a happy attitude. Either way, you are going to have to do it! And happy is such a better way!"


Photo Source: I could not find where this originated. I saw several sites that had it and gave permission for it to be shared. What a cute photo!




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Olive Garden’s Pasta E Fagioli Soup


Olive Garden’s Pasta E Fagioli Soup
  • 2 lbs. ground beef*
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1 c. celery, chopped
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained* 
  • 1 (16 oz.) can white kidney beans, drained 
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 3 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 5 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1 (20 oz.) jar Prego traditional spaghetti sauce
  • 8 oz. pasta 

  •  Brown meat. Drain fat. Combine all ingredients (other then pasta) in a large crock-pot.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  Add cooked pasta just before serving. 
  • *I usually make this without meat and it still tastes great!
  • *I have never had white kidney beans on hand when I have made this so I use another can of red kidney beans.
Source: www.favfamilyrecipes.com

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chopstick Tuna Casserole



In case you don't know this, I love retro.  I went back to the 60s for this recipe that my Mom used to make for us.  I don't know how often we had it but when I was looking through some of her old recipes one day, I saw it and added it to my collection.  When we were compiling a family recipe book I included this one in it.  I don't make it very often because M doesn't like the word casserole and it has celery in it, which is actually one of my favorite parts, along with the cashews.  Well, there just isn't any ingredient that isn't good in this dish.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and guess what?  It's low fat and healthy.  You can use the healthier version of Cream of Mushroom soup and it is still yummy.




Ingredients:
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
2 cups chow mein noodles
1 can tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup toasted cashews
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup water
Dash of pepper



1.  Combine soup and water in a medium bowl.
2.  Add 1 cup chow mein noodles, dash of pepper and remaining ingredients.  Toss lightly; turn into square baking dish.
3.  Sprinkle with remaining noodles.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  Enjoy the aroma coming from your oven as this bakes.  Seriously.  Mouth watering.



Source:  Patricia D. Brew

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blond Marshmallow Brownies



Ingredients:

1/2 c. butterscotch morsels
1/3 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. semisweet chocolate morsels
1 c. miniature marshmallows
1/2 c. pecans or walnuts, chopped

Directions:

1.  Combine butterscotch morsels and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until morsels are melted.  Remove from heat.

2.  In a mixing bowl, stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add butterscotch mixture, beaten egg and vanilla and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and nuts.

3.  Spread in a greased 9 inch square baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into squares.

Source:  Pillsbury Bake Off Contest via Melva Burke (Daily Reflector, June 19, 2002)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

To Truly Love....

     In the past few weeks I have experienced so many waves of emotion!  Barrett and I decided to move across town to be closer to his work.  There are so many benefits to this, the least of which that we will see Barrett for about an hour more each day.  It was the right move but I did not want to do it!  We have moved about 18 times in our marriage and each time we have moved I have had family to help me, this time I did not.  Who would I ask to watch my kids? Who would help me pack, Who would help me unpack? We moved from a house with a huge yard, to a town house without one.  We moved from a quiet neighborhood, to an apartment complex.  We moved away from neighbors we knew to being next door to strangers.

    I worked really hard to have everything packed and prayed that people would show up to help Barrett load the truck.  I wasn't prepared for what happened!   Enough men came that they had the truck loaded, moved to the new house, and unloaded in 2 1/2 hours!  A friend watched my children for several hours.  Two wonderful women stayed to help me unpack my kitchen. And, last but not least, we had several people offer to bring us dinner.  I felt such an amazing outpouring of love.  It is wonderful how service works, my heart grew to love so many in my ward from one day of service.  I feel a kinship towards them that I didn't feel before.
 
    This is just another experience in my life that reminds me that serving others is truly loving.  Christ is the perfect example of this, in that his life was a service to the whole of mankind.  I am so grateful our church has taught us to serve and that no matter where I live, I will have others I can turn to.  I still miss my family but life on this side of the country just got better!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sesame Noodles

Did you know that Chinese New Year is this Sunday? I've never really celebrated it since I have no ties to China. Well, I do now! My brother in law is fluent in Chinese and convinced my sister to move there for a while. While there they adopted the sweetest little Sheltie, Toby. (honestly, he is the most tame sweet dog I've ever known) So, now I have a Chinese nephew who I love dearly. (yes, in my family dogs are people)

This recipe is so easy and SO tasty. I love this and look forward to making it again this Sunday!


Sesame Noodles

Ingredients
12 ounces, Thin Noodles, cooked & drained (look in your ethnic section, my grocery store had some Chinese noodles)
1/4 C. Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Sugar
4 cloves Minced Garlic
2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp. Hot Sauce (the original recipe called for Hot Chili Oil, I didn't have it nor did I want to buy it!)
4 Tbsp. Canola Oil
4 whole Green Onions, Sliced

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients except noodles and green onions together in a bowl.
2. Pour sauce over warm noodles and green onion and mix until the sauce covers all the noodles.
3. Serve & Enjoy!

Adapted very slightly from The Pioneer Woman

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pomegranate-Avocado Dip


I hope it's not too late and that you can still find Pomegranates in the produce aisle. If it is too late, I'm really sorry, but put this recipe away for next year. Don't be fooled by the variety of ingredients that you wouldn't normally see together. It has just the right amount of sweet/savory to make it ADDICTING!

Ingredients:
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/8 tsp Cayenne (Red) Pepper
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 small Onion, chopped (I used a yellow onion)
1 Roma Tomato, chopped
1-2 Avocados, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 Pomegranate, seeded

1. Mix the chili powder, red pepper, and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Mix all the produce well in a Medium-sized bowl.
3. Pour the lemon juice mixture over and coat well.

Serve with your favorite chips or crackers. We like it with Club Multi-grained or some other multi-grained crackers.

Source: Aunt Beth

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fire Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients:
1-1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos 
Handful serrano chiles or your choice of chiles
1 onion chopped
3 garlic gloves
1 chicken bouillon cube
Water as needed

Directions:
Take the husks off the tomatillos and wash them.

Roast them in a frying pan until they are soft and start to brown and split open.

Roast the chiles until they are browned.


Add both to the blender along with the chopped onion, minced garlic, 1 chicken bouillon cube, and some water.  Start with 1/2 cup of water and add more as needed.

Puree in the blender until it reaches your desired consistency.
Serve with chips or on burritos and enjoy! 

Source: My brother's girlfriend and some experimentation.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Snow Cream

 This my friends, is snow cream.  I can't tell you how much of a delicacy this is in the south. Whenever it begins to snow, which isn't too often in the south, you wait and hope it snows for a couple of hours. Because you can't collect the "first snow"! (I don't know why, some older people have always said it wasn't clean.  -smile-)  But, after its been snowing for a while you place really big bowls outside to collect the snow while it falls.  Then you bring it in and add the yummy stuff to it to make it into snow cream!  It is soo good!  We will actually take the risk of driving through terrible weather to get the ingredients needed to make this, because we love this stuff so much.  Everybody has a different recipe. Some people add eggs. (yuck) But, I tend to go with simple recipes and it doesn't get any simpler than this.  If it snows this winter where you live, give this a try. I promise it will make you like the snowy weather much more!

Ingredients:
Lots of Snow, (about 16-20 cups per bowl = 36-40 cups of snow for 2 cans of condensed milk)
Condensed Milk, 2-4 cans
Vanilla flavoring, 1/8 - 1/4 cup ( for 36 cups of snow.) 

   You begin this with a lot of snow!  A lot of snow! The picture below is the beginnings of our second batch.  The biggest tupperware bowls we owned were needed for this.  LOL!  This picture actually shows you there wasn't enough collected  in the bowls to use both cans of condensed milk.  The bowls have to be packed full and heaping! 
  

Then add one whole can of condensed milk and about 1/4 cup of vanilla. (I know that sounds like a lot, but trust me.)  Then stir and mash.  Stir and mash.  You are going for a creamy texture.  Add snow as you go. You will use both bowls of snow.   The bowls are equivalent to a big stock pot. The biggest one in your set. 
Add the other can of condensed milk. But not the whole thing.  Then add a Tbsp or two of the vanilla flavoring.  Stir and mash. It takes a little while to mash out the snow balls in the mixture and get it all creamy. When it looks like the picture below you are finished.  Enjoy! - and put it in the freezer to keep until its all eaten.  ;)

 
Yummy, yummy!
 
 
recipe by Niki Lewis
 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Boiled Cookies

I had a friend once who thought this was a disgusting name for a cookie.  She said in her family they called them Gorilla Poops.  Not sure why my family's title won the gross-out award over hers.  Anyhow, it's a tried and true recipe that brings back lots of memories for me.  Sunday afternoons were the traditional occasions for these quick treats when I was growing up, and it's a tradition I've kept going in my own family.


Ingredients:
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. milk
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 1/2 c. oats (quick or old-fashioned)

1.  Combine the butter, milk, cocoa, salt, and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook for 1-2 minutes more and then remove from heat.
2.  Stir in vanilla, peanut butter, and oats.  Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and allow to set.

Makes about 3 dozen

Notes:

  • My personal favorite way to make these is to omit the cocoa from the boiling mixture, and then add in 1/2 cup or so of coconut after the boil.  Yum!
  • I used to always use quick oats until I experimented with old-fashioned, which I use more often.  Quick oats give a bit softer texture, but I like them with the old-fashioned oats better.
  • You can pour the mixture into an 8"x 8" pan, sprayed with cooking spray, but it takes a lot longer to set before you can cut it into bars.
  • My ten-year-old made this batch and has become quite an expert at the process!
  • We like to use a cookie scoop for easy portioning onto the waxed paper.

Source:  my mom, but this recipe has been around forever!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Staying With The Sheep


Have you ever thought, "This isn't exactly how I thought my life would turn out," followed by any varying degree of disappointment?

Yeah. I think we've all been there at one point, haven't we? I mean, let's face it. The daily grunge can get...well, grungy. After earning my Associates, I quit school to help my husband get his degree with the least amount of debt possible. Three kids later, I am with kids all day--which is really fun sometimes and I LOVE being a mother--but the menial and mundane start to take over fast. "If I had a nickel for every time..." runs through my head A LOT. I get down on myself because I haven't finished school yet, I feel brain cells wasting away with every load of laundry, and there are times when I think (not that I'm proud of myself, but I'm trying to be honest here), "If I could just hunker down with a good book whenever I want, spend more time with friends, more time in a meaningful position in my church congregation, then I would be truly happy."

I just read an article in the Ensign, the LDS church's monthly magazine, about a woman who was struggling with being "behind the scenes" taking care of her children while her husband participated in the community's Nativity at Christmas time. She said she felt jealous of him and sometimes wished that she could be the one with the big important role. As she watched the scene with the Shepherds, a shepherd yelled back to the one who had stayed behind, saying, "Aren't you coming?"

"I'll stay with the sheep," came the reply.

This answer struck me to the very core. Somebody HAD to stay with the sheep. That was their job, their livelihood. If the sheep got lost, all those shepherds would be in for it. And the sheep, well, they'd be lost. Somebody had to miss out and do the unexciting, wearisome work so that others could fully partake in the joys of that night and the sheep would be there in the morning. I think of all the times that I have felt like I was missing out when that wasn't necessarily the case.

I love watching my children grow. I love answering their questions about life, the Savior, His doctrines.  I love serving the people around me in a little ways. We will never regret helping someone who needs it. Most times we won't regret helping someone who didn't.

I think of my children and I see their primary teachers, teachers who may get frustrated and "want out" sometimes. I am so thankful that they teach my kids. That they show love to them. They are staying with my little lambs.

I look at the people around me who I am asked by my Father in Heaven to help (including my family), and I see the job that somebody has to do. That somebody is ME. And the work is IMPORTANT. Mundane, sometimes. Stinky, yes--especially when I haven't showered for two days. A pain in the rear, most definitely.

But it can be sweet. Rewarding. Fulfilling.

We all have a job to do. That's really what it is. A job. And jobs aren't fun, most times. So, no matter your position in life, don't be discouraged. Stay with the sheep. And if you don't have sheep, find some. Chances are, you won't regret it.


*The account of the shepherd is, of course, not historically accurate per se, but thought provoking.
**I have to give a shout out to my friend, Desiree, who brought the discussion up and inspired this message.