Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our Happy Thanksgiving, 2014

Well, I've come to the end of my Thanksgiving posts. I've had a great time writing about the foods I created for my family's happy day. Here's what our finished dinner table looked like:

Even though our table looks a bit sparse (I didn't want to show milk jugs in the photo!), my little family had a wonderful meal together. We savored each other's company, shared what we're thankful for, laughed, and just felt the love. We enjoyed our quiet day tremendously! And really, that's what Thanksgiving is all about!

Food aside, here's what I want to remember about 2014 (Read left to right, top to bottom—at a slight diagonal. Hopefully, you won't get blogsick—you know, like carsick!):

Puffy clouds
Swelling hearts

Yes, 2014 has been a year filled with goodness! My soul is overflowing with gratitude for the many wonderful things, feelings and experiences my little family has been abundantly blessed with. When all is said and done, I wouldn't change a thing about our lives because we have each other for eternity!

As An Aside...

Because Greg and I decided not to do a traditional Thanksgiving this year, I didn't cook as many side dishes as I have in past years. We stuck with the tried and true we knew our children would eat: corn and carrots!

I really wanted corn on the cob, but I forgot that after a certain time of year, fresh corn on the cob isn't available anymore. Boo. :'( I didn't want to do frozen corn on the cob because the tiny little packaged cobs just didn't seem so appetizing. Thus, I went with frozen cut corn instead.

Our corn really was so yummy! Although, I probably would have enjoyed it more had I not been worried that it was genetically modified corn! Well, it didn't say that on the package, but since it didn't say Non-GMO, I decided it must be GMO. Seriously, what have food manufacturers done to our food supply?!

Anyway, I forgot to take a photo of our delectable corn, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter. ;) Besides, microwaving corn in water with a few shakes of salt isn't much of an accomplishment, is it?!

For our carrots, I used organic baby carrots. I've had an official recipe for these "brown sugar glazed carrots" in the past, but I didn't use a recipe this Thanksgiving. I'll just write down what I remember doing. It's not an official-looking recipe, so just deal with it! ;) It's probably one of the easiest recipes ever! Oh, and I made-up the recipe name because I like the sound of it. :)
Buttered Brown Sugar Carrots 
Use as many carrots as you think you'll eat. (I should have made more, my kids devoured them!)
Put carrots into a saucepan or pot.
Add water—only enough to nearly cover carrots (don't drown them).
Bring carrots to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and continue lightly boiling until carrots begin to soften.
Once the water is nearly completely evaporated (continue stirring so the carrots don't stick), add about 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and several shakes of salt. (You'll want to do less of these amounts if you didn't cook very many carrots.)
Stir well until the brown sugar and butter have melted together.
Continue cooking and stirring until sauce begins to steam and thicken slightly, about two to four minutes.
Remove from heat and cover pot with lid until ready to serve.
I know these carrots look a little on the mushy side, but trust me, they were spectacular! They were probably more of a dessert than a side dish! To quote my very wise father, "Sugar and fat is where it's at!" Ha ha. I'm just grateful my children loved them and ate them right up. Yum yum! :)
P.S. I wanted to make a gourmet salad for Thanksgiving, but I decided to be realistic: no one else in my family likes salad! I'll save that for lunch on Monday! ;)

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Family's Favorite Gluten-Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I discovered these glorious gluten-free garlic mashed potatoes when I lived in Texas. I was watching a PBS show, Essential Pepinand the chef, Jacques Pépin, made me immediately want to try his recipe! I was so happy when I discovered he has a website dedicated entirely to his amazing talent as a legendary chef!

Here's the link if you want to watch Jacques' charming little video "Episode 106: Special Spuds". He will show you exactly how to make his delicious garlic mashed potatoes—they're so easy to make! (Begin the video at 2:50.) They are not technically titled "gluten free", but notice there are no gluten-containing ingredients in his recipe.

As I watched Jacques' video again, I realized he doesn't specify the ingredient amounts. Thus, I found his recipe in a few different places online, but I tailored the recipe to how I make them.
Gluten-Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes 
2 pounds potatoes (Peeled or scrubbed, they're delicious both ways.)
4 large peeled garlic cloves
1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I probably use more butter than this!)
1 cup milk (I don't use exactly this much milk, I continually test the potatoes until I get the thickness I like.)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Peel potatoes, rinse under cold water and cut into large chunks. (I cut potatoes in half and then cut the halves into fourths. If you want to leave the peel on, make sure you scrub them very well and cut out any impurities.) 
Place potatoes in a pot with water to cover; add garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. 
Drain potatoes and garlic. Add butter to bottom of pot. Return potatoes and garlic to pot on top of butter (you won't be able to see individual cloves anymore). Add milk. Mix well until butter, milk and potatoes are creamy. (Sometimes, I like my potatoes a little chunky.) Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix well.
Now, you must know that I totally wing these potatoes every time I make them! Sometimes I make the recipe following the two pounds of potatoes rule, but other times I'll just cut up as many potatoes as we have. Yesterday for Thanksgiving, I made about 16 large Idaho russet potatoes! (My cooking pot is enormous!) When I alter the recipe like I did yesterday, I'll at least double if not triple the amount of garlic cloves. It also depends on how garlicky I want the potatoes to taste. I think I put in at least 12 garlic cloves yesterday!

In terms of the salt and pepper, again, I just season the potatoes until I get the taste I want. I know that drives some people crazy to not know exact amounts, but I love cooking that way. :)

Also, I mash the potatoes with my hand-held Kitchen Aid mixer. I know Jacques says not to over-mix them, but my potatoes have never tasted rubbery in the least. Plus, the potatoes are really well combined and it doesn't make your arm tired!

In addition to using russet potatoes, I've used this recipe with red or yellow potatoes too. I've even combined red and yellow potatoes together. When I use the red/yellow potatoes, I always leave the peel on. This recipe is amazing for any kind of potatoes you want to use. :)

To give you an idea of how much my family loves these gluten-free garlic mashed potatoes, just know that my oldest son ate them for breakfast this morning!

You can't tell it from this picture, but my strainer is huge!

Again, I wish you could understand that this bowl of gluten-free garlic mashed potatoes is enormous!

The Tastiest Gluten-Free Spiral-Sliced Ham

Remember how I said my family wasn't having the traditional Thanksgiving spread this year? Well, for our main course yesterday, we had the most divine Hormel Cure 81 Bone-In Spiral-Sliced Ham with a delightfully delicious glaze! I found it while shopping at Target last week for gluten-free hams. Granted, I double checked Hormel's website just to make certain it was completely gluten free, and it was. Yes, I'm a nervous gluten-free guard, for sure! ;)

I don't have a recipe to share for this one, as I just followed the instructions on their handy dandy glaze packet. Their directions worked like a charm and my children were gushing over the delectable goodness for hours! Oh, their happy little souls made my heart sing!

Here are my obligatory main course photos:

This ham was amazing!
It's interesting to note that I bought the Hormel Cure 81 ham because it was gluten free, but now that we've eaten it, it will be the only spiral-sliced ham I'll buy again! By the way, it's not that I don't want to branch out to other brands, I just don't find the need to switch when my children are actually thrilled to eat what I've made! Ha ha.

P.S. It tastes even better when combined with my gluten-free garlic mashed potatoes!

My Family's Favorite Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

My family has loved homemade pumpkin pie forever. Over the years, we've tried several store and restaurant pumpkin pies, but we keep going back to our favorite pie ever: Libby's. Thankfully, this recipe is also naturally gluten free(!)—as long as you use gluten-free spices too. Here's the recipe, direct from the can!
Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie
(Makes 2 pies, 16 servings) 
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 can (29 ounce) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
2 cans (12 ounces each) Carnation Evaporated Milk
2 unbaked 9-inch (4 cup volume) deep-dish pie shells 
Mix sugar, salt cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. 
Pour into pie shells. 
Bake in preheated 425°F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F.; bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. (I usually cook them about 55 minutes) Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
For the pie crusts, I used America's Test Kitchen's recipe found in The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook. It's literally the best pie crust recipe I've used. I've also tried various pie crust mixes, and there is truly no comparison to this recipe! This gluten-free pie crust dough actually feels and tastes very similar to regular gluten-containing pie crusts! I was so happy to have pie crusts that don't crumble when you cut into the pie!
America's Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Double-Crust Pie Dough
(Obviously, just use one crust for each pie!) 
5 tablespoons ice water
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 and 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons America's Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour Blend*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and frozen for 10-15 minutes
Combine ice water, sour cream, and vinegar together in bowl. Process flour blend, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum together in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter butter over top and pulse mixture until butter is size of large peas, about 10 pulses. 
Pour half of sour cream mixture over flour mixture and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses. Pour remaining sour cream mixture over flour mixture and pulse until dough just comes together, about 6 pulses. 
Divide dough into 2 even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into 5-inch disc. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling out dough, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 15 minutes. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
*America's Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour Blend

24 ounces (4 and 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
1 and 2/3 cup brown rice flour
1 and 1/3 cup potato starch/flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
3 tablespoons nonfat milk powder 
Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Transfer to airtight container and freeze. (I use a Ziplog gallon bag.)
*I didn't use a food processor when I made this pie crust, I used a regular Kitchen-Aid hand mixer—you know, the ones with two beaters you can remove and lick! ;) You see, there's no need to worry about over-mixing gluten-free flour—and making the pie crust tough—because there's no gluten in it! So, just continue mixing until the dough comes together. Also, I didn't refrigerate the dough for very long and everything worked very well! Although, I'm sure if you follow ATK's recipe exactly, you'll have even better results than I did—and mine were pretty fantastic!!! :)

Here are some photos of my happy pie progress!

I used the extra dough to make pie crust cookies, a childhood favorite of mine! :)

Our gluten-free pie crust cookies were so yummy!

Seeing this photo of my happy pies fills my heart with such joy!
Oh, and I made real whipped cream for our yummy pies, but it was much too heavy for my palate. My favorite is Land O Lakes Aerosol Light Whipped Cream. I can't find the link to their light cream, so you'll have to "survive" with the heavy cream link.

Lastly, I've recently read up on recipe copyright laws. While I assume I'm okay posting these recipes here, I must state that I'm not trying to infringe on anyone's copyright! As far as I've read, recipes are okay to post as long as we give credit to where we originally found the recipe. Obviously, there's no need to give credit if we've created the recipe ourselves! :) Also, as one website put it, "The ingredients and directions are fair game." I completely agree! Plus, I just found a story about America's Test Kitchen on NPR and they put the recipes directly on NPR's website as well. If anything, I'm helping spread the word about the awesomeness of America's Test Kitchen! :)

Gluten-Free Strawberry Muffins

I made these Glutino gluten-free muffins the first time for Thanksgiving, 2014. It was a muffin mix my dear mother gave me, so I was excited to try them.

I wanted them to be a little more special, so I added one frozen strawberry to the middle of each muffin. To do this, I used a small cookie scooper and put one scoop of muffin batter in the muffin liner. Then I added one frozen strawberry and covered it with another small scoop of muffin batter.

Because of the frozen strawberries in the middle, I knew the muffins wouldn't bake for the same amount of time listed on the box. Thus, I kept a very close eye on them until they were finished. It took 30 minutes to cook each muffin tray! I was surprised and pleased they actually cooked all the way through.

Here are the finished gluten-free strawberry muffins! Please note: the muffins taste much better the first day they are baked. I had one this morning (four days after I made them) and while they are still completely edible, I prefer fresh-baked flavors. :)

I could have topped these muffins off with some type of sugar, but it seems like prepared foods have too much sugar in them already, so I decided not to. My family was divided half and half in their likes vs. dislikes of these muffins. Thus, I probably won't be making this particular mix with strawberries again. I'm hoping to get better results from the muffins section in The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.

P.S. No, I'm not being compensated in any way for my enthusiasm of America's Test Kitchen's cookbook. I simply love what I've made from it so far, and I know they truly know what they're doing—which makes this gluten-free mama very happy! :)

My Family's Favorite Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix

I haven't made gluten-free cornbread from scratch simply because the mix made by Hodgson Mill can't be beat! Well, that, and the fact that I have yet to find a certified gluten-free cornmeal in a store closer than 10.8 miles away from my house. Yes, I totally searched. I try not to add additional stores to my five-store shopping routine unless absolutely necessary, otherwise I'll spend even more time and gas money on grocery shopping than I do already!

I wish I could give the owners of Hodgson Mill a great big hug!!
That said, I will keep searching for certified gluten-free cornmeal because I found a recipe for gluten-free cornbread in The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook that I really want to try. Until that happens, Hodgson Mill is where it's at for my gluten-free kitchen! :)

Besides, please look at this happy deliciousness Hodgson Mill provides for such a nominal price and baking effort! By the by, I used two mixes and poured the batter into a 10.5 x 14.75 baking dish. Anyone can make this golden cornbread—their recipe is foolproof! :)

P.S. I've tried other gluten-free cornbread mixes and, in my opinion, none of them compare in taste or price to Hodgson Mill.

My Family's Favorite Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

These delicious cookies have been a favorite of my little family since Greg and I were first married! Thus, when we realized nearly half of our family members couldn't eat them anymore because of their deadly gluten, I knew I had to find a way to make them gluten free!

*Side note: for tips on avoiding gluten cross-contact while baking in your kitchen, see my post Celiac Disease: Gluten Cross-Contact.

When I first began making these cookies gluten free, they were not so good. They were crumbly and gritty. So sad face! :(

Thankfully, my little family endured my baking experiments and their patience paid off. After reading the superb baking tips in America's Test Kitchen's The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook, I finally figured out a way to make our beloved cookies gluten free—and moist and chewy—just like they were originally intended to be! Yay YAY! Without further ado, here is my recipe for...
Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
by Adrie Peterson 
2 cups America's Test Kitchen gluten-free flour blend*
3/4 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (two tablespoons less than two sticks)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or othervegetable oil of your choosing (just eyeball the 1/2 tablespoon)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 10-ounce package Reese's peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, sugar, and xanthan gum. Add butter, extra-virgin olive oil and vanilla extract. Mix very well. Add eggs. Mix very well. Add peanut butter chips, combine. Use a small cookie scooper and drop cookie dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F. for 11 minutes. (I like our cookies a little firmer than the original recipe calls for.) Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. Makes 4 dozen cookies! (I've found these cookies stay moister/chewier if I freeze them inside two Ziploc gallon bags and take them out a few minutes before we're going to eat them.)
*America's Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour Blend 
24 ounces (4 and 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
1 and 2/3 cup brown rice flour
1 and 1/3 cup potato starch/flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
3 tablespoons nonfat milk powder
Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Transfer to airtight container and freeze. (I use a Ziplog gallon bag.)
I hope you enjoy these yummylicious cookies! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Prep, 2014

For Thanksgiving this year, I'm doing a non-traditional spread. Yes, I love a classic turkey/cranberry sauce/stuffing/mashed potatoes/french green bean casserole/yams/carrots/rolls/pumpkin pie Thanksgiving dinner, but frankly, I get tired of my children saying, "Mom! I don't want to eat this!" or "Why did you make this?!" I'm tired of hearing myself say, "Please just try one bite of it?! I promise, you won't have to eat any more of it if you don't like it..." Inevitably, they decide they don't want to eat at least one food item I've made for Thanksgiving, and our menu becomes a waste of my time and money...I detest wasting either! :)

Some people might say, "Your kids are spoiled. They should just eat what you make for them, and be grateful. There are starving people in China, you know!" Yes, I'm well aware we are blessed beyond belief here in America. I'm so unbelievably grateful for ALL that we have! Every day is a gift, and I'm so thankful for everything I am blessed to be a part of! :) Yet, when it comes to my children's food choices, I totally side on giving them what they want to eat, especially since they have so many diet restrictions already. Granted, my youngest son doesn't have celiac disease, but I don't want him to feel left-out in his food choices either.

Thus, I'll be making different foods/snacks/treats for my children to nosh on. I'm so excited to give them exactly what they want for Thanksgiving dinner, not what traditionalists say we should make! And I'm fully aware, the food items I've chosen are most certainly not fancy or gourmet, but I simply don't care! :) My little family is gonna party and have a marvelous time together!

*Please hold for my recipes. I'll post them as soon as they become available! ;)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Have You Forgotten?

Today as I watched a very depressing news program (only for a few minutes), I had a very strong thought come to me in regard to all of the craziness going on in our world. I couldn't finish cleaning my room (Yay me! I mean, yay that I was cleaning! Ha ha.) until I wrote down my thoughts. Thus, I decided to send my words into our amazing and beautiful universe...hopefully someone will find them to be useful! :)

Have You Forgotten?
by Adrie Peterson

Dear Humankind,

Have you forgotten where you really came from?

Has your soul misplaced those fraGmented heavenly memories you tried so desperately to retain?

Can you not remember our Heavenly Father's loving arms wrapped around you?

Have His tender words faded into the deep recesses of your mind?

Do you not recall what a soul kiss feels like?

What about your spirit brothers and sisters, did you forget they are here on earth, too?

Together, we sang and shouted for joy at the creation of our earth.

We could hardly stand the anguish of waiting to receive our precious and blessed bodies!

Yet we were elated when our loved ones received news that their souls finally had a place to reside.

Tears were abundantly shed at the birth, death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, as we were with Him—freely giving our support—in every special moment.

His life impacted us all for eternity!

Because of Him, we decided to do our very best and live each day to its fullest.

We agreed and promised we would be there for God's children who were purposely placed in our book of life.

We are each other's angels in the flesh!

One day, each of our spirits will separate from the physical and resume their position in the presence of divinity.

Oh, please, please remember...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Downton Adrie

Cleaning. You won't find that word and I hand in hand very often. Don't get me wrong, I'm an excellent cleaner when I want to be, but is cleaning in my nature? Is cleaning a part of my innate (defined as: inborn; natural) being? No, it's not. I'm a very clean person—hygiene and clean-clothing wise, but do I have the desire to endlessly clean things (houses, garages, basements, cars, etc.) like some people do? No, I don't.

For me to want to clean my home, I either need to be bothered by the mess, or have people coming over for a visit. Yes, people are a great and positive motivator for me! I'm the complete opposite of Scrooge! ;) All I would need to do is have a party once a week and my home would be spic'n'span clean all the time! Yeah YEAH! :)

I really do try to be and stay organized—and I'm so much better at this than I used to be, but again, is the continual and incessant act of cleaning in my nature? Nope, it's totally not!

I have to make a conscious effort every day to focus on what needs to be cleaned/organized, otherwise I'm perfectly happy to just let those messes lie. And no, I most definitely don't have ADD or ADHD. I simply have zero desire to be structured, regulated, scheduled, etc. Cleaning checklists are complete torture to me!

I don't wake up thinking of my endless list of things to be done. In fact, a list like that doesn't even exist in my world! Ha ha. Instead, I wake up thinking of all the fun I'm going to have that day!!! I honestly have a rough time pulling myself out of the Adrie World happy clouds and getting busy.

That said, after a little bit of internal convincing, I can absolutely do everything that needs to be done—and I'm very successful at cleaning/organizing when I put my mind to it, but again, it's simply not a desire of mine.

If I had my way, I'd have a housekeeper and a cook! Hey, while we're at it, I'll take a yard care company, chauffeur, and personal assistant, too! Ha ha.

Thus, I was so happy to read this article, The Psychology Behind Messy Rooms: Why The Most Creative People Flourish In Clutter, from Elite Daily:
"Consider this from Albert Einstein, 'If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?' 
"Einstein wasn't alone. Mark Twain, too, had a cluttered desk. Perhaps even more cluttered than that of Albert Einstein. Mark Twain was one of the most imaginative minds of his generation."
I LOVE that article because it pretty much explains my entire life! Just ask my parents and siblings how clean/organized my room was back in the day. To give you an idea of their answers, my maternal (step) grandfather nicknamed me Missy Messy! You could also ask my darling little family if our home is always perfectly clean. I'll give you a hint: it's not!

*While writing this post, I came across two additional great articles that made me feel so much better about my situation—I highly recommend reading all three articles I've shared in this post!
"We want to be better than our parents; we want to give our kids more than we were given. There’s an instinct in every parent (we hope) to try to give our kids everything. 
"But 'everything' doesn't have to be living up to some picture-ready ideal you saw on the Web. 
"You’re not going to be Gwyneth Paltrow, creating kid-friendly meals out of quinoa and kale. 
"Actually, Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t be Gwyneth Paltrow without all the behind-the-scenes cooks, drivers, personal assistants, photographers and editors. 
"And real perfection happens when you aren't looking."
Amen to those words—especially the paragraph about Gwyneth, for it is so true! I know that article isn't so much about cleaning, but I believe perfectionistic tendencies in cleanliness is also a problem for modern moms. We've got to make every minute count with our families and friends, and not be overly concerned with our homes looking like a spread in Architectural Digest! Oh, AD is so lovely—I love how its photos soothe my soul! *For illustration purposes, please check out AD's stunning slideshow of Villa Cetinale!
"We’re all in the same boat. I won’t look in your dining room if you don’t look in mine."—I love those words! :)
Granted, my home is so much cleaner than when my children were younger. Although, now it seems my family accumulates messes of the clothing/shoes/homework/technology/bathroom accessories sprawled-all-over variety, instead of the toy clutter and sticky little-kid messes of our past. I'm grateful Greg and I are on the other end of the messy spectrum.

When all is said and done, the best motivation I've found for me to want to clean and organize my home is—don't laugh—Downton Abbey! For some reason, whenever I watch Downton, I have an intense desire to make my home beautiful and immaculate—it's the strangest thing! Thus, I pretend my life is Downton Adrie! I know, I'm so silly! I also know that technically speaking, I should probably call it Adrie Abbey, as an abbey is a building, not Downton—which is a town name. But I like the way Downton Adrie sounds, so I'm keeping it. :)

To really let you into my psyche, let me share this tidbit: After watching Downton Abbey, sometimes I'll pretend I'm the housekeeper for my home (like Mrs. Hughes), and I've got to make sure everything is neat and tidy before the Lord and Lady and their guests return! Other times, I'll pretend I'm the Lady of our house (like Lady Mary) and I expect everything to be lovely and pristine for when our other friends of the nobility come to stay! Ha ha. Either way, creating Downton Adrie has totally helped me in my clean-home pursuits!

This is the first time I've straightened my hair since 2011! But don't get used to it, I'm not interested in taking 40-45 minutes to straighten my hair every day.
Seriously, don't laugh at me!! Okay, you can chuckle, but not in the mean way, okay?! ;)

In matters of homemaking, I always refer back to one of my favorite teaching moments of our Savior, found in Luke 10:38-42:
38 ¶Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I completely understand that His words aren't a free pass to guilt-free messiness, as we've been told time and again in the scriptures to keep our homes organized and treat them like a temple, as it says in D&C 88:119 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God... Yet, our perfect Savior's lovely words (in both of those scriptures) give me permission to continue spending my time researching spiritual things—without feeling guilty that my house isn't immaculate every minute of every day, and that makes me very happy. :)

*Here are links to some of my favorite spiritual-knowledge resources:
Holy Scriptures
Ensign articles
General Conference talks
Mormon Channel programs
BYU Devotionals and Forums
BYU Idaho Devotionals and Speeches
CES Devotionals
Women's Conference talks
BYU Education Week
LDS books

In the end, my spirit, knowledge, wisdom, memories, experiences, and spirituality are the the only things I can take with me when I leave this earth. Thus, I'm trying my best every day to grow spiritually and increase my knowledge and wisdom of everything. Even though I know it's impossible to know everything, I so love trying! And thanks to our amazing access of ever-improving technology, I'll continue to learn spiritually while simultaneously doing my best to make my home a happy, healthy, peaceful place on earth where my family loves to be.

P.S. Feel free to use my Downton Adrie idea: just put Downton before your name, or anyone else's name that needs motivation to clean their house! It works wonders! Ha ha.

Updated 11/15/18

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Follow-up to President Obama's Speech on Women and the Economy

Last week, I had a facebook encounter that I would describe as a bit unpleasant...okay, it totally burned my butter—I was smoking mad! Ha ha. Here's what happened:

I clicked on a facebook link that discussed in very short detail, President Obama's speech on women and the economy. I was dismayed when I heard his words, "Sometimes, someone—usually mom—leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that's not a choice we want Americans to make." That link was the catalyst for my inclusion of his words in my blog post Self-Reliance. I "liked" the facebook post and left a comment, sharing my disgust. As you can tell from my blog post, I was very upset at his words!

*By the by, I debated editing Self-Reliance, but decided to leave it as-is and write this post instead. You know, because, life is life! Our reactions are human and we can't completely erase how we feel like we can delete our words on a computer, we can only move forward!

Later, I saw through my facebook notifications that some other people disagreed with the initial facebook post. They shared that Pres. O wasn't attacking stay-at-home moms, and the comment was taken out of context. Thus, even though I had initially watched a majority of the video, I went back and watched the entire video. Yes, in a broad sense, I understood that he wasn't attacking stay-at-home moms and I appreciate that. Yet I feel he totally downplayed the importance of stay-at-home motherhood and I absolutely take issue with that—which is why I left my self-reliance blog post as-is.

I then left a lengthy response to those facebook comments. Before I commented, I prayed a lot and thought very long and hard about what to write. I felt really good about my words! :) (I might write a version of my comment in a blog post sometime in the future.)

However, the next morning, there were follow-up comments to my comment, and I could tell that they didn't agree with my position. I was frustrated because I felt that they weren't even trying to understand my point, so I deleted my "like" and two comments on the facebook post. I felt much better after having done so because my emotions were being negatively affected. And I know I shouldn't let people bug me, but again, I'm human. Without going into too much detail, just know that some of the comments weren't from random strangers, but my extended family members. Thus, it was hard feeling misunderstood by the people I'm attached to for life!

I was also ready to deactivate my facebook account and just keep my blog's facebook page active. I sadly realized facebook would also deactivate my Enthusiastic Fantastic page if I deleted my personal page, so I left everything open and decided to take a facebook break. However, that night, I read an amazing article, Difference and Dignity, by the Mormon Newsroom, that calmed my troubled heart. I highly recommend reading it! :)

So after all of my blabbing, what it comes down to is this: Many people in this world—including President Obama—are passionate about women's rights. I don't want anyone thinking I disagree with supporting women because I completely, utterly, and unequivocally support women's rights! I totally agree that men and women should be treated with equal rights and respect in absolutely every and any situation!

But I am even more passionate about children's rights because, until they are grown, children are helpless in the life situations they find themselves in! Children have zero input as to what their child-rearing choices are, and I have a problem with that. For I feel that if children were given a voice, they would say they want to be home with their mothers. I sincerely want what's best for children, and I believe daycare/babysitters/schools are not the answer. Mothers are the answer! There I go's just so hard for me to stop! ;)

Thus, today, I was thrilled beyond description to stumble upon this article in the Deseret News National edition, 6 things you should understand about stay-at-home moms, by Herb Scribner. I love how Mr. Scribner points out the immense value that stay-at-home mothers bring to our society. And he has solid research to back-up every single one of his points!!!

Thank you, Herb Scribner, for sharing your wisdom with the world! This supremely happy stay-at-home mama and her children appreciate your words more than you will ever know!

To wrap-up, I must share an interesting tidbit that happened to me this past Thursday night. I had a conversation with some wonderful women who were kindly trying to convince me to go back to school, i.e., a university/college. I've researched this idea previously and had decided against it, but after talking with them, I decided to look into it again.

As I researched the universities near me, I was overcome with emotion. I realized that most of the programs I was interested in pursuing would cause me to go be gone while my children were home. Just thinking about going back to school while my children are living at home literally made made me cry. Thinking of missing out on any time with my children—when they choose to be home and engaged with me—made my soul feel like it was being twisted and pulled to the point it would break into a million pieces.

No, I am most definitely not ready to go back to school. Unless things change significantly for my family, i.e., a tragedy befalls us and I'm forced to reenter society's workplace, I will not return to professional employment, either. And I still make that statement even though my family could really use the additional money for our budget!

Mothering my children is my greatest joy and most important calling! Below is a poem that perfectly describes my feelings. I had tears the first time I read it! And now, I must be on my way...I hope you enjoy your day!

*I mean no copyright infringement by sharing this from Belle Bébés, and I couldn't find a copyright statement anywhere on their website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's Perfectly Okay to Be Imperfect

A few weeks ago, I was introduced to the new documentary-style series This Is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN. I've always liked Lisa Ling, ever since I saw her on Channel One (my junior high and high schools' morning news program) with Anderson Cooper—I've always liked him too! Side note: I love seeing how Anderson and Lisa have progressed so far in their news careers. They are excellent at what they do. Plus, it's fun to say, "I knew them when!" (Although, I have nothing to do with either of them!)

All of the episodes I've watched have been very interesting, but episode 2, Unholy Addiction, had me spellbound. Here is CNN's YouTube introduction of it:
"Utah, home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has the lowest rates of tobacco use and alcohol-related deaths in the nation. Yet, every year more people in Utah are dying from prescription drug overdoses than are dying in car accidents. In this episode, Lisa travels to Salt Lake City to discover how the hard hit LDS Church is battling an epidemic that is wreaking havoc on its faithful followers."

I found it fascinating yet sad to see active and inactive members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints baring their souls on CNN about how hard it's been for them to deal with their prescription drug addictions.

Disclaimer: I've never been addicted to anything in my life, unless you count my husband, Greg! Ha ha. But in all seriousness, I think the worst nearly-addictions I've experienced are a love of chocolate and socializing. FYI, they don't need to happen together, but it's always fun if they do! ;) As you can clearly see, I'm not an expert when it comes to addictions. Even when I had an eating disorder as a teenager (you can read about it in my post Love Every Breath), I was not truly an addict. It was just something I was trying to become good at. When I did become "good" at it (which was a very bad thing), I had a seizure that thankfully shook me to my core, and I chose to totally change my way of life. Thus, all I can offer are my thoughts on this subject. I mean no harm in writing this post! That said, let's move on...

As I listened to the four people Lisa interviewed, I kept seeing/hearing recurring themes. Here are their points of view about prescription drug abuse. I've enlarged their points that were similar.

Kathy (I'm unsure how she spells her name.):
"There are things we're taught in the Mormon church that we're not to do... There are some ideals that we strive for... There's that pressure to be perfect and since we don't drink [alcohol, or caffeinated beverages or, use tobacco], there's always the pills—which aren't really talked about." 
"...I know a lot of people are like me, they want to keep it [prescription drug abuse] secret. There's this pressure to be perfect.
"They [the drugs] make you feel like everything's okay and you can manage everything, which leads to feeling like they're necessary to get through your daily life." 
"...I was worried about the shame of it [of hiding her addiction], and having this weakness. It's not so much the Church putting it [the pressure to be perfect] on people, but it's people getting that idea that there's a certain standard that they've gotta live up to. You know, heaven forbid if there's a problem in your life. You're not gonna talk about it."
Shannon, who is Kathy's daughter:
"I felt worthless. I didn't fit the box of being like this housewife. Everybody else in church gets married and has five kids by the time they're 30. Yeah, they're not telling you to do that, but how do you feel when you go to church and you're the only one that doesn't."
Sarah, who is Shannon's friend (By the way, I spelled her name Sarah because her parents were both religious, and I'm assuming they took it from the Holy Bible. I could be totally wrong on the spelling.):
"She [Sarah's mom] just doesn't relate to me at all. We don't relate with each other.
"...Honestly? I think they're depressed, or they're hiding some type of issue in their life. You know? They just don't want to be judged by their church."
"People are worried about what the neighbors think. The LDS Church lives by a higher set of standards. And if they're living their life in a way that's wrong, then, yeah, they're gonna do everything they can do to hide it."
Even Lisa Ling fell into the same "trap" when she said,
"The LDS 12-Step Meeting was really emotional. Everyone in that room shared such painful and candid details about their addiction. Not just with each other, but for the world to see. I couldn't have done it."
I know everyone sees and takes things differently, but what I took away from this documentary is that many people struggle mightily with being judged as less-than, imperfect, weak, or different. They want to connect with others, but are afraid of not fitting-in, or not measuring up to someone else's standards. Furthermore, it seems that some people will do whatever they deem necessary to hide their flaws—even if it endangers their health and well-being. For some, their pain is too much—too real—to deal with. Unfortunately, they believe the only relief available to them comes through prescription drugs.

What saddened me the most about this episode is seeing the pain in the interviewees eyes. Even though many of them were sober and healing, I could still see their pain. So here's what I wish I could say to everyone—not just Church members:
  • It's okay to feel any and every feeling we have. We need to allow ourselves the time to feel our feelings and come to terms with them. No one can tell us how long we should feel—or not feel—a certain way. It's up to us, we get to be in charge of our feelings!
  • Masking, numbing, or ignoring our feelings with any vice (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, technology—anything) that we might be tempted to use, is simply destructive to our souls. We should avoid those vices at all costs!
  • We must allow ourselves to feel discomfort in our lives. The beauty of feeling discomfort is that it motivates us to want to change for the better!
  • We can make mistakes and still have immense value. We can learn from our mistakes and become better people.
  • We strengthen ourselves and others when we open our souls and share our weaknesses and fears.
  • There's nothing wrong with crying! In fact, I think our sinuses need a good cry every now and then to help prevent sinus infections. Seriously! I could be totally wrong, but it sounds good, right?! ;)
Speaking of crying, Moses 7:28-29 tells us (emphasis added),
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? (To find out the answer, read the rest of Moses 7!)
Also, in John 11:35 we are told,
35 Jesus wept.
See?! Crying isn't a bad thing! Now, back to my list. :)
  • We must be honest with ourselves and others, for if we are not honest, we are living an incongruent life. I can't think of anything more torturous than forcing my soul to live incongruently!
  • While none of us wants to be judged by others, the truth is, judging happens. We can either acknowledge that fact and learn how to deal with it while choosing to live our lives well, or we'll continue to have issues with others when they dislike or disapprove of our choices.
  • I cannot stress enough that it's perfectly okay to be imperfect!
*All of that said, do we give up trying to become better people? No, it most certainly does not! I never want anyone to stop improving themselves. There is great joy to be found in our journeys of personal discovery and self improvement. Why wouldn't we want to do our very best every single day of our lives here on earth? Everyone gets discouraged, and we all regularly experience disappointment, but I think those feelings are necessary for our souls to become stronger.

Truth? We can be happy! Everyday, we make our choices. Unless we have a severe emotional/mental component that needs professional medical help, we can feel all of our feelings, and then choose to be happy! :)

And the next day, if we feel sad, that's okay. We might feel sad for several days, and that's okay too! Because when we deal with our emotions and allow them to properly run their course, we make room for the happy feelings to fill our lives again!

But back to prescription or over-the-counter drugs: I won't take them unless they're absolutely necessary because I hate not feeling like myself.
  • I hated taking Benadryl (the one time I took one pill because I thought it would help my cold) because it completely sped up my body to the point that I couldn't sleep and was pacing my house! I've read the possible side effects and know that my reaction was not normal. I'll never take any form of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) unless the doctor forces me to!
  • I definitely didn't like taking 800 mg of Ibuprofen after my first child was born (for episiotomy stitches) because it took away my pain to the point that I totally overdid my first day home from the hospital. I felt completely exhausted the next day, and my stitches hurt even worse than the day before. I decided right then and there that I would never take extra-strength pain pills again unless there was a significant problem that made me incapable of functioning without them.
  • Similarly, I had nitrous oxide once at the dentist and felt so loopy and out of control that I vowed to never use it ever again.
However, I received epidurals when I gave birth to my three children. I'm very grateful for that medical benefit, for it helped me enjoy the birthing process and not be incapacitated by contractions—my contractions were so intense with my first son that the nurses gave me a synthetic morphine to tide me over until the anesthesiologist was available. I guess I just have a super effective uterus. ;)

Obviously, none of us can live completely pain free and it's unrealistic to think we can. I view pain as our partner: it's a way for us to really listen to our bodies and make changes in our lives for the better!

Last week, I watched a fabulous CES DevotionalWe are the Architects of Our Own Happiness, given by Bishop Gérald Caussé. He shares so many wonderful thoughts, I highly recommend watching all of his talk! Begin at 12:12:

If you don't want to watch all of it, here are some of his wise words:
"My dear brothers and sisters, my message for you today is that there is a different path than ones of fear and doubt, or self-indulgence—a path that brings peace, confidence and serenity in life. You can't control all of the circumstances of your life. Things both good and challenging will happen to you, that you never expected. However, I declare that you have control of you own happiness. You are the architects of it!" 
"Though your happiness is not really the result of the circumstances of your life, it is much more the result of your special vision and the principles upon which you base your life. These principles will bring you happiness regardless of the unexpected challenges and surprises you will inevitably face during your journey here on Earth."
Brilliant, right?! :) Also, I just had to create a typographic design of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's famous words:

Again, we must do our best to improve ourselves, but simultaneously love and accept who we are! We must not beat ourselves up for our faults, but acknowledge them and find ways to become better. And we must not forget that we will deeply regret if we allow anyone or anything to sway us in our efforts. We must truly love ourselves and remain strong in our endeavors to live our lives positively! :)

I believe we can all learn from what Sarah said at the end of Unholy Addiction.
"I want to stop [using prescription drugs] more than you even know. I've been in and out of jail. I've lost everything. I wish I had my parents. I wish I had my daughter.
"...And sometimes, I just want to scream out like 'I want my mom!' You know? I'm 26 years old, and I just want a hug from my mom. How hard is that?" 
"I am sorry, Mom and Dad, that you have to see me like this, but I think this is a good thing, I guess. I don't know why I want you guys to see how I live, but, I do..."
We can clearly see from her experiences that healthy communication with our loved ones is vital! We must not allow painful issues to get in the way of our special family relationships, for some might run the risk of finding dangerous alternatives to cover that pain. No matter how badly some words might hurt to speak or write, it's worth being brave and expressing them!

And we must never forget how important unconditional love is. Obviously, I don't understand what Sarah's family has gone through with her, and from what I understand of addicts, they can be dangerous to others. Thus, we must protect ourselves and keep our families safe while attempting to give our unconditional love. It's a tricky balancing act, for sure. But I believe with dedicated determination, anything is possible!

In the end, we must never forget that we are beloved children of our Heavenly Father (God). We have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who loves us enough that He gave His perfect life for every single one of our imperfect souls! Again, we see that it's perfectly okay to be imperfect! If our Savior was willing to die for us—as imperfect as we arewe must see, understand, and fully internalize our tremendous value and worth. If we allow it, that loving knowledge can propel us through every trial!

*I must add, however, that just because our Heavenly Father and Savior perfectly love us, that doesn't excuse us from repenting. Repentance is a very important part of our lives that everyone should partake of daily. I don't want to put us on a guilt trip because I know everyone is very good at going on those trips unaccompanied and unfunded by anyone else (ha ha), but I do want us to remember that Jesus Christ died for us. Because of His sacrifice, He gave us the ability to repent and return home to our Heavenly Father. We must not take His sacred gift for granted. We must accept His precious Atonement and repent daily, for that is how we show our love for Him.

Finally, when we experience heartbreaking feelings, we can and must(!) go to our Heavenly Father in prayer for "...the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all [our] faces..." – Isaiah 25:8It's true! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be teaching the lesson What does it mean to be self-reliant? to my Mia Maid class. It is a great lesson and chock-full of very helpful and inspiring information!

I've been taught self-reliance throughout my entire life, so this idea is nothing new to me. :) Now, I hope I can say this next part without sounding prideful because it's certainly not my intent... I am greatly pleased that Greg and I have done everything within our power to be self-reliant. That previous statement sounds funny to say because we're together in our self-reliance! Should we call it couple-reliant?! Ha ha.

Anyway, Greg's and my desire to remain self-reliant is probably one of the main reasons we've moved so many times. Well, that, and our desire to have me continue as a stay-at-home mom. Yes, we've gone to great lengths to live our lives self-reliantly and honorably.

Although Greg and I have never had to ask for government or church assistance (my church has an amazing welfare program: The Church Welfare Plan, A Mission of Self-Reliance and Service), there have been two times in our marriage when Greg and I chose to borrow money from extended family members to get us through a financial rough patch.

Thankfully, we absolutely paid back every penny to our generous family members! I'd like to point out that we could have made ends meet without their assistance, but they were kind enough to help us out with an interest-free loan, and we will be forever grateful for their generosity! :)

D&C 104:78 is direct and to the point about our debts—this is our Savior "talking" to us:
78 And again, verily I say unto you, concerning your debts—behold it is my will that you shall pay all your debts.
It doesn't get much clearer than that, does it?! Thus, I'm grateful again that Greg and I have done our best to stay out of debt. Granted, we're currently paying off Greg's MBA student loan, and the mortgage on our home will be there for the next 25 years(!), and we're still recovering financially from our move in 2013 (it's been hard recovering this time!), but we're whittling away our debts every month, and I know eventually we'll get our balances back to zero! :)

One of the lovely talks I read for this lesson is Strengthening Future Mothers, by Susan W. Tanner. Here are three of my favorite paragraphs from her talk, emphasis added:
"Homemaking skills are becoming a lost art. I worry about this. When we lose the homemakers in a society, we create an emotional homelessness much like street homelessness, with similar problems of despair, drugs, immorality, and lack of self-worth.  In a publication called The Family in America, Bryce Christensen writes that the number of homeless people on the street 'does not begin to reveal the scope of homelessness in America. For since when did the word home signify merely physical shelter, or homelessness merely the lack of such shelter? … Home [signifies] not only shelter, but also emotional commitment, security, and belonging. Home has connoted not just a necessary roof and warm radiator, but a place sanctified by the abiding ties of wedlock, parenthood, and family obligation; a place demanding sacrifice and devotion, but promising loving care and warm acceptance.' 
"So we must teach homemaking skills, including practical ones such as cooking, sewing, budgeting, and beautifying. We must let young women know that homemaking skills are honorable and can help them spiritually as well as temporally. Making a home appealing physically will encourage loved ones to want to be there and will help create the kind of atmosphere that is conducive to the Spirit."
"My best and most consistent example in learning the joys of homemaking and mothering was my own mother. She told me many times every day how much she treasured being a mother and homemaker, and then she lived those words in every action. She sang as she folded laundry; she exulted over the clean smell in a freshly scrubbed bathroom; she taught me how to read and write, sew and cook, love and serve. Because she emanated the Spirit and the fruits of love, joy, peace, meekness, long-suffering, and temperance, I felt it, and I knew I wanted the same things in my life (see Gal. 5:22–23). Her example continues to teach me daily."
I couldn't agree more with Susan! I love her words!

While I'm always trying my best to be a good/happy mother and homemaker, I know there is more I can do to step-up my game, and I will do it—whatever it may be! :) *That said, I will continue taking good care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, for I know I'm a better wife, mother and homemaker when I feel fulfilled, uplifted and happy inside.

Yes, women must always fill their buckets first, so they are able to endlessly give the water needed to their family members and others in society. :)

Speaking of being a good homemaker, I just stumbled across a video of President Obama speaking in Rhode Island titled President Obama Speaks On Women and the Economy. Sadly, I was completely disappointed (and frankly appalled) at his words from 13:34 through 14:34:
"In many states, sending your child to daycare costs more than sending them to a public university. True? And too often, parents have no choice but to put their kids in cheaper daycare that maybe doesn't have the kinds of programming, uh, that makes a big difference in a child's development, but, you know, and sometimes, there may just not be any slots, or, the best programs may be too far away. 
"And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. That's not a choice we want Americans to make.
"So, let's make this happen, by the end of this decade, let's enroll six million children in high quality preschool. And let's make sure we are making America stronger. That's good for families..."
Um, no, President Obama, I completely disagree! Granted, I'm not disagreeing that preschool is a good idea because preschool is great for kids—I love preschool for all children! That said, I feel strongly that moms (or dads) need to be home with their children before and after preschool. Daycare is not the answer!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Children grow up and move-on. We only get to care for our children for such a short period of time! We must enjoy our children and raise them while they need us! Sorry to be repetitive, but daycare is not the answer! (Unless there is truly no other option.) Then, when our children are grown and gone, we can absolutely go back into the workplace—it's not going anywhere, it will still be there when we want to return!

I completely and fully intend to return to working outside our home when my youngest child is ready to venture out on his own. In fact, my patriarchal blessing talks about the career I will have one day. It's pretty specific, so I'm very interested to see where I end up in my career when my children have left my lovely little nest. :)

Yes, I strongly believe that self-reliance absolutely applies to raising our children ourselves, instead of depending on babysitters, nannies, daycare, or other private/government programs to do the job that our Heavenly Father intended us to do as parents! Seriously, how do so many people not understand this, or choose to ignore it?

What really irked me is President Obama's implication that money is somehow more important than mothers caring for their own children. I can't believe he doesn't want American women leaving the workplace to care for their children because they'll earn a lower wage for the rest of their lives. Seriously?!

Sorry for my tangent-rant...I'm just very passionate about mothers being there for their children. :)

In the book True to the Faith, there's a section on welfare. It points out so many good things, but my favorite paragraph is this,
In order to become self-reliant, you must be willing to work. The Lord has commanded us to work (see Genesis 3:19; D&C 42:42). Honorable work is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity.
See? I'm not against work! I'm simply for mothers working inside and around their homes—having their family be their greatest joy and most important priority! :) *Again, I know it's not always possible for mothers to stay at home with their children. I understand when single mothers or married mothers must work outside the home because there is truly no other choice to keep their family financially afloat.

That said, I continually wonder how often women work to provide for the extra$ of life? Could women do more with less? Julie Beck said in her amazing (and somewhat controversial) 2007 talk Mothers Who Know (emphasis added),
"Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all..."
I cannot state enough how much I completely agree with Julie! I loved her words when I first heard her talk, and I love them even more today! She was truly inspired when she wrote them. :)

If only President Obama could have an inkling of Julie Beck's beautiful understanding, he would not have said what he did. He would understand that, just like Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Truly! There is plenty of time for women to raise their babies and later have their careers. Life is long, and we will have many years to make money, but we only get 18 years with our darling children!

To finish up this post, here are the handouts I created for my Mia Maids. I hope they like them because I love them! :)

*Update: 11/10/14:

For a follow-up of this post, please read A Follow-up to President Obama's Speech on Women and the Economy.