Prairie Princesses and Pioneers

    Happy birthday to my beautiful mama! My Mom who is a member of the DAR and descendant of pilgrims, kings, queens, knights and all kinds of interesting people from history; her great…great-grandfather William Tracy was the governor of the Berkeley Colony in Virginia the year before the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts. To me she’s the mom who loved me and taught me manners, style and hospitality. Here’s to you Nikki! 

Nikki Lawrence 

    With the celebration of the 4th now a pleasant memory, I’m starting to work on Pioneer Day for my daughter Heather and her littles. She will be staying with us while her brave and faithful husband finishes up his training at the Highway Patrol Academy.

    On July 24th, we will celebrate Pioneer Day here in Utah. It’s hot and crowded in Salt Lake City, so we will plan a pioneer picnic and games in our grassy yard. 

You can download and print this digital file for your own Pioneer Scavenger Hunt on Etsy: 

Pioneer games: horse races with squirt guns to put out wildfires and bag buffalo.

A prairie princess Pioneer Day party - if I had been a pioneer, I would have tied a wreath on my wagon.

    Here are a few photos of favorite Pioneer Day activities with a link to a collection of great photos on my Pinterest Pioneer board: 

Here’s a recipe for beef jerky for the trail ahead

Beef Jerky

Cut into ¼” strips with the grain and remove ALL fat

1 1/2 lbs steak; round, flank or brisket

                Stir together and marinate the meat overnight in

1 tsp seasoned salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 C soy sauce

1/4 C Worcestershire sauce

Remove from liquid, pat meat dry. Line two 10″ x 15″ pans with crinkled foil, leave oven door ajar, bake 8 hours at 150° or use  dehydrator and follow directions. Turn off oven, let dry for 6 hours. Store airtight.

Pioneer scavenger hunt and family reunion activities

Thank you to for publishing 2 of my stories this week: 

A biography of the highly-talented artist L. Aerin Collett:

And a invitation to enjoy Kaysville’s Downtown Stroll on Thursday July 20th

More Pioneers and Prairie Princesses to come…

Pilgrims, Patriots and Pioneers

A story of patriotism and heroism from the archives. This transcript is from The Kim Power Stilson BYU SiriusXM 143 Radio show celebrating “Pilgrims, Pioneers and Patriots: The Builders of our Nation” (25 June 2014.)

Kim, Thank you for inviting me here today to have a little chat about the “Builders of our Nation” – Our heroes the Pilgrims, Patriots and Pioneers.
We’re getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July next week and Pioneer Day on July 24th. I thought it might be nice to share stories about these epic people who changed the world.  We usually think about Pilgrims in the fall, but their contributions and part of the story of the rise of America might be considered around the birthday of our great country.

The dictionary defines a Pilgrim as “ one who journeys in foreign lands :  wayfarer
 one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
capitalized :  one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

When we talk about America, we might consider that some of the first “Pilgrims” were the English settlers in Virginia. Jamestown was established in Virginia and was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. William Kelso says Jamestown “is where the British Empire began,…Established by the Virginia Company of London as “James Fort” on May 4, 1607.  This was an exciting time in world history. The Virginia Colony was named for Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII, who was called the “Virgin Queen” because she never married. At this time in England, there was a lot of religious conflict. You might remember that Elizabeth belonged to the Anglican Church that her father started, and had her cousin Mary Queen of Scots executed after a failed coup involving Spain and the Catholic Church. In 1603 as she lay dying, Elizabeth named James, the son of Mary and King of Scotland as her heir. So James came to England to inherit the throne and Elizabeth’s favorite entertainers, one of which you may have heard of: William Shakespeare who began writing for his new patron works like King Lear and Macbeth which included a reference to King James’s ancestor, Fleance the son of Banquo for you Macbeth fans. In addition to enjoying the literary works of Shakespeare, King James had another project going on, he was continuing the  commission Elizabeth had started on  an English translation of the Bible, which we know of as the King James Bible. 
Back in America, several attempts to establish colonies had failed, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Another Colony upriver, the Berkley Colony was growing and was actually the site of the first Thanksgiving in 1619, the year before the Pilgrims arrived. But Jamestown served as the capital of the colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
The settlement was located within the country of the Powhatan Confederacy. The natives initially welcomed and provided crucial provisions and support for the colonists, who were not very agriculturally savvy. Unfortunately their relations went bad and wars between the settlers and native Americans began .and this unfortunate situation will come into play again during the Revolutionary War. The mortality rate at Jamestown was very high due to disease and starvation, with over 80% of the colonists perishing in 1609-1610 in what became known as the “Starving Time“. About half of the Pilgrims died that first winter at Plymouth.
In 1608, the Virginia Company brought Polish and German colonists to help improve the settlement, as well as the first women. In 1619, the first documented Africans were brought to Jamestown. The following year, the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts.
Shakespeare retired in 1611 and died in 1616.James Fort in Virginia became James towne in1619. In 1699, the capital was relocated from Jamestown to what is today Williamsburg, after which Jamestown ceased to exist as a settlement, and today is an archaeological site.
KIM, Have you ever visited Colonial Williamsburg? American history buffs really need to go see the finesse and culture exhibited by the early colonists. So you have the British colonies established. Let’s jump ahead to 1750 to tell the story of one American Patriot. When we visited on St.Patrick’s Day, I told the story of one Irish-American family and their experience during the Revolutionary War.
Elizabeth Duncan was born in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1750 to Scottish parents who had emigrated from Ireland. When she was six years old her father died and her help was needed to keep the family alive. She grew up a hard worker and when she was 25, she fell in love and married Samuel Porter who had recently come from Ireland to America with his five or six brothers. Samuel had joined the Virginia Militia where he was assigned to protect settlers from Indian attacks. They moved to the Kentucky region which was then part of Virginia to build a homestead with several friends and relatives.
While there, the entire community was captured by Indians and it is thought British soldiers because they were not scalped. All of their livestock was taken and they were marched as prisoners of war to Detroit. Elizabeth was expecting their third child at the time. During the 600+ mile march, Samuel was forced to carry their little daughter Margaret and Elizabeth tried to keep their toddler son form making noise “lest their captors dash out his brains in front of his mother.” Although she was permitted to ride much of the way, she often spent hours with her feet in water. They endured abuse by their captors and nearly starved to death.
When they arrived at the prison camp, they were placed in stockades and pens like animals. Samuel was sentenced to be executed.
Elizabeth was assigned to cook for the British officers, which turned out to be a blessing. She was able to collected scraps of bread and meat and hide them in the “dishwater” tub which she placed near the building where Samuel was imprisoned so he could reach through the boards and get the food, probably saving his life.
Elizabeth and others were then taken over 700 miles from Detroit to Quebec, Canada where they remained prisoners of the British and Shawnee Indians. During the winter of 1780, which has been called a “little Ice Age” because it was so cold that the New York harbor froze and people could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island, Elizabeth and her children were north of New York approximately parallel to Vermont. It was there that her third baby was born.
Can you imagine living in those conditions? In all of the world’s history, the concept of freedom has been enjoyed by a relative few. The fight for a democratic government was so dear to the hearts of the people and so hard won, we don’t even know most of the sacrifices that were made by early Americans.
When the war ended, Elizabeth carried her youngest child and took the two others back to Virginia, about 1200 miles. If you can imagine a young mother, probably in rags with no money and three small children trying to get home, you wonder how they survived. You can see why it is imperative that we help the poor and struggling, as I’m sure people did for Elizabeth. Her home and all of her possessions were taken and she didn’t know if Samuel was still alive.
For a moment, fortune favored Samuel. The British commanding officer had taken a liking to Samuel and had stayed his execution. When the war ended he was free to return to Virginia to try to find out what had become ohis family. But his luck didn’t last long. Because an American officer didn’t like him, Samuel was tried for treason by the Americans. Poor guy, he couldn’t win either way. He was acquitted and finally reunited with his Elizabeth and their three children. They started to rebuild their lives, a home and went on to have three or four more children.
While Samuel and his then four sons were building a house, they were once again attacked by Indians, but a band of wild dogs appeared and drove the attackers away. Another time Margaret and her sister Tabitha were going after water when they passed a group of braves hiding near a stream. For some reason, they left the girls alone. Samuel died and Elizabeth joined her sons in Jackson County Missouri where she died and was buried in 1845.
One of the interesting things about this story is that in Elizabeth’s day, she saw the rise of America and the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Joseph Smith was born on a farm in Vermont, the Church of Jesus Christ and priesthood power were restored to the earth and Joseph died, all within one lifespan. Elizabeth’s participation in the Revolutionary War, her sacrifice and courage have been honored by the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.  

God bless America and thanks to each of you who have sacrificed to make this freedom a reality.

My grandmother Vada Webb Layton used to make this incredible dill potato salad, here it is for your celebration!

Dill Potato Salad

8 large potatoes, cooked, cooled and diced
2 – 2 1/2 whole Claussen dill pickles, finely diced
3 stalks celery, chopped


1 C. low fat mayonnaise
1 C. low fat sour cream
1/3 C. pickle brine
3 TBSP. prepared mustard
2 tsp. dried dill weed + extra for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes, celery and pickles in a large bowl. Blend dressing and gently fold into vegetables. Refrigerate; the taste improves if allowed to blend overnight. Just before serving, adjust seasonings and sprinkle with additional dill weed. Garnish with tomato roses and greens.
 Makes 10 – 12 servings.

Splish splash, its A Mermade’s Tale!

Shell and Pearl are waiting for you to come play and share their summer adventures! Whether riding sea horses, swimming in the Finnler’s tide pool or visiting with friends Coral and Foam, they have all sorts of lovely activities ready to do with you. You can find Shell and Pearl at; the nice lady that sells their books just reduced the price to $2.99, so you can enjoy their fun summer adventures too!

Art for children in the Salt Lake City area

Summer is the perfect time to engage children in the visual arts. The pace of life changes and there is often time for creativity and reflection. I wrote this article that features 13 creative opportunities for children in the Salt Lake City area, it was published on

Here is a Pioneer Day scavenger hunt for your littles on Etsy. Learn the authentic activities
and duties of pioneer children while having fun!

Pioneer Scavenger Hunt

The Truths of Life Gleaned from Art Lessons

For the past 7 months I have been working as an art teacher for the 600+ students at Kay’s Creek Elementary. While I was teaching these 5 – 12 year-olds the elements of art and practices of artists, I was in reality teaching

Respect for oneself and one’s work

Respect for others and their work

Observation and recording skills

Problem-solving using discernment and creativity

Following directions while 
simultaneously incorporating creative thought 

Completing projects


Giving and receiving constructive criticism 

Believing in oneself

Cleaning up one’s mess

Helping a neighbor clean their mess

Using one’s resources and asking for additional resources when needed

The validity of one’s thought process and creative practice

Finding something beautiful and worthwhile in every piece

Learning from mistakes

Being humble in success while enjoying it simultaneously

Respecting one’s environment including people and materials

Most importantly:

Art (and people) doesn’t have to be perfect to have validity and that giving up perfectionism is freeing. 

When you allow yourself to fail you can succeed even more gloriously.

As Picasso said ” Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”

Memorial Day Thoughts

Image may contain: flower, cloud, plant, sky, nature and outdoor

With extreme gratitude, I’d like to direct your attention to the memory of great patriots who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and safety. Although the poppies are a reminder of the soldiers we lost at Flanders Field, I am re-blogging this story from the annals of history about 1 courageous man and his vision for the preservation of Western Civilization and Christianity.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Memorial to Early Defenders of Western Europe and Christianity

As we remember and thank our modern warriors for the incredible sacrifices they make to preserve our lives and freedoms, I am also inspired by those of our ancestors in another time and place.

Image result for charles martel

The year was 732 AD in southern France near Tours…

One hundred years earlier Mohammed had died. His followers had taken the offensive in gathering to Islam lands, wealth and converts. In their wake were devastation and death. Their military leader, Abd al-Rahman, had his eyes on Rome and the destruction of Christianity. At the southeastern end of the Pyrenees Mountain range, one man stood between him and his goal; his name was Charles Martel.

The prophet Muhammed was born in the western Arabian town of Mecca in 571 AD. While Christianity was the predominant world religion, Zoroastrianism and Judaism existed in smaller areas and the Roman Empire had been splintered and overrun by barbarians. The Persian Empire was continually warring with the Byzantines and there was constant fighting over territories and trade routes. With the migrations and influx, various peoples and philosophies began streaming through the Arab world. Jews and Christians brought new tools, ideas and technologies flooded the area along with change and turmoil. On the sparsely settled Arabian Peninsula, nomads and a few farmers made a living. Their identity and survival depended on loyalty to their tribes. Mecca was a small town along a trade route, it had a constant stream of income from visitors journeying to see the Black Stone, a meteoric rock believed to have been found by Abraham and dating back to Adam and Eve. It was there that Mohammed received his prophetic call. The pagans of Mecca worried that he might disrupt their lifestyles and Mohammed fled to Medina where he became a leader and warrior. He returned to, and conquered Mecca, where he died; the last prophet. The new religion spread quickly as his followers expanded the empire by word and by the sword.

Islam has many honorable tenets: faith, family, honesty. Moslems believe there is only one God, Allah, and that Muhammed was His prophet. Daily pray, care for the needy, self-purification and a Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca or Makkah were among the practices of the Moslems. In less than one hundred years after its founding, the caliphate had spread from China to the Atlantic, from the Black Sea to eastern Asia and from northern Africa to the Iberian Peninsula and included most of the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. The Byzantine Empire watched with horror has the seemingly unstoppable military forces of Islam spread and stood against the fragmented kingdoms of central and western Europe.

The Islamic culture was at its pinnacle in the arts and sciences and technological and cultural advancements that were inspired by the Greeks and Persians. But soon the West pushed forward with achievements in culture, government, science and technology. Religious reasoning brought thoughts of self and representational government guaranteeing religious and personal freedoms. Islam’s Sharia or Holy Law did not allow for personal freedom or expression. Every aspect of life was regulated: religious, commercial, civil and criminal. Mankind had no need for creating or changing laws as there was no separation of church and state. And only two states of being existed: one was either a slave or not.

At first, Islam denounced elitism, but within a few generations aristocracy and privilege in the hands of a few had returned and it became evident that Muslim men would have cultural advantages not extended to slaves, women and nonbelievers. In modern times slavery has been abolished, but women continue to be exploited sexually. Military might and powerful tribal connections were and are today the instrument of conversion as are the more desirable points of the gospel of Islam.

The value of education was not recognized and evolution of culture and government was non-existent. Research and inquiry ceased and the canon of acquired knowledge stagnated. Meanwhile advances in Europe in the sciences, arts, technology and industry were taking place rapidly. And because Europe and Christianity were intertwined, The Islamic empire watched with skepticism and suspicion. And the decision was made, Christianity and European culture must be made to bow to the supremacy of Islam.

Warfare and gain were attractive recruiting points for potential troops. Although the scriptural basis for confronting and destroying “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians, was unclear, it was understood that if they were spared, they were to be second-class citizens, subservient and tax paying to the dominant Muslim masters. Pagans and polytheists had less-attractive options: enslavement, conversion or death.

Individual glory and the promise of great heavenly rewards contributed greatly to the morale of the fighters. Armed with broadswords, bows and arrows, they traveled light and fought hand-to-hand. Having survived for centuries before on pillage and assault, Arabs converted to Islam had the dilemma of looking for new sources of wealth outside of their fellow Muslims. By combining the concept of the holy war or jihad, they were motivated to move to new territories to convert or dispatch unbelievers. In their eyes, the whole world was waiting to adopt the faith or submit to their governance.

As the cities of Syria and Jerusalem fell, The Byzantine and Persian Empires, weakened by outbreaks of bubonic plague and infighting, were ripe for the picking. Egypt was invaded in 639 and at some point the unfortunate victims lost instead of only their fighting forces, the entire populations of targeted cities. They turned north and east, taking areas of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, then on to Pakistan where they defeated a Chinese army fighting under a Korean commander. They turned west out of Egypt and into North Africa where they met their first defeat. Angered and emboldened, they fought harder and this time conquered adding untold numbers of slaves, especially young girls that were sent to Medina.  

After decades of war and thousands of miles, they entered the Strait of Gibraltar with Spain in their sights. In 711, the first of the invading army sailed across the Strait and entered a place of political turmoil where a fight for power had followed the death of a Visgoth king. The raiders moved quickly seizing the opportunities and lands. Local leaders made treaties believing this was a one-time invasion, but they were mistaken, these invaders remained in Portugal and Spain for the next eight hundred years. Having a foothold in Europe, it is surmised that the invading forces considered extinguishing the remnants of Christianity in Gaul (France) and Italy to preach the gospel of Allah from the pulpits of the Vatican. From there, converting Germany’s barbarians then onto Greece and Constantinople, controlling the civilized world.

After their victory in Spain and Portugal, the next step was across the Pyrenees Mountains to reach the capitals of Europe. For several decades, raiding parties entered Southern France along the east side of the Pyrenees. In May or June of 732, the assault began. Forces numbered in the hundreds of thousands by Europeans or 80,000 by Arab chroniclers (probably more accurate) of Arab and Berbers invaded. Accompanied by their wives, children and belongings, the Muslim armies intended to conquer and occupy Europe.

Unfortunately for France, three hundred years of assaults by Germanic tribes following the fall of Rome had left the country divided in language, customs and governance. Civil wars and invasions by pagan hordes had weakened and unsettled the population and left the people  disinclined to unite or defend one another. The dysfunctional condition of the people in Southern France practically ensured their defeat and destruction.

The Muslim armies employed the strategies that served them well in other invasions; raiding, burning and looting and feeling out the strength of the enemy and their defensive abilities. They were a united, strong and battle-hardened force with a well-organized infrastructure and a capable commander. They were also vengeful and converted to a cause that required the destruction or captivity of their conquests. In their eyes, resistance was futile and fatal.

As the armies entered towns and villages, burning looting and pillaging homes, abbeys, churches and fields, they were virtually unstoppable. Although hey they experienced occasional defeats, they soon controlled the important cities and much of the territory of eastern and southern Gaul.

The Count of Aquitaine, Prince Eudes confronted the invaders and was defeated. He withdrew  to Bordeaux which was attacked, burned and sacked, the people killed and enslaved and treasures stolen. As Europe teetered on the brink, the birth of democracy and personal freedoms were close to being yoked or extinguished by Koran-wielding killers.

After Bordeaux was all but annihilated, Eudes tried a second defense which ended more disastrously than the first. He fled to Paris and sought out a long-time enemy, but fellow Christian, Charles Martel who acting as the mayor; an equivalent to Prime Minister. His king was not functioning in his office and Martel was the most powerful man in the area. Charles was an experienced warrior, having spent decades in the military fighting for power in Gaul and against the fierce pagan tribes from Germany. Having fought in a dozen major campaigns he had become a strong, courageous and experienced leader and had been nicknamed “The Hammer” or “Martel ” for his ability to crush his enemies.

Except for the fact that he had no standing army, Martel was a force to be reckoned with.

He had a small number of loyal fellow soldiers, all courageous, well-trained and experienced. After being briefed on the invasions of Abd al-Rahman, Martel summoned the men of the kingdom and surrounding areas to war which brought his comrades from earlier engagements and defenders from other areas that understood the Muslim threat to life, limb and property. Martel and his men were very aware that they represented the last defense of Christianity and Western Europe. Surprisingly the Church didn’t support his request for lands and money to finance their own defense and threatened to excommunicate him.  Also convincing men to leave the comfort and security of home and farm to stop the invasion was not a simple task, but when they understood the danger facing their families and themselves, the men of the kingdom answered the call as reason prevailed and the army was raised, trained and financed.

Tours was the next attractive target for the Moors and Martel massed his army just south of the city. In October 732 Charles’ army stood on the ridges of the Pyrenees “like a wall” as the advancing armies of Abd al-Raman launched their attack. The outnumbered yet courageous Franks dressed in armour also hid in the trees and mountain crags. Martel’s men  withstood the attacks as thousand on both sides died in battle. Al-Rahman was killed and in a brilliant stroke of military strategy, Charles sent troops behind enemy lines where they attacked the base camp. Unnerved, the Muslim invaders turned and returned south, never to menace Europe again, until recently when they attacked civilian targets without declaring war.

Martel considered chasing down the defeated army but learned that a German pagan force was attacking along the Rhine River. Eudes and his remaining troops and locals defended the towns against the retreating marauders. One account states that Abd al-Raman lost 375,000 men with about 1,500 Christians killed. The numbers can’t be substantiated but it is fact that the Muslim army was dealt a major defeat. Over the years, occasional raids would be made into southern France, but a major offensive attack against the Christians in Gaul would never again be attempted.

Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day and served as homage to the warriors of the American Civil War. Since that time, Americans have been involved in conflict around the world. 

As American and Allied forces sacrificed thousands of their own lives on the beaches of Normandy to push back the tide of evil another great leader admonished: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Winston Churchill

What’s for dinner? Chicken tortilla soup to boost your veggie intake

Chicken Tortilla Soup is a delicious way to serve your family lots of vegetables. Save and freeze the juices from baked chicken to make broth or use convenient cubes, such as Knorr brand. A vegetarian version may be made by omitting the chicken and substituting vegetable broth. This recipe makes about 4 quarts.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

8 cups chicken broth or 8 cups water and 4 Knorr chicken broth cubes
1 bunch green onions with tops, sliced
10 baby carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 potato, cubed (leave the skin on)
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
6 ounces tomato paste
2 garlic cloves or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 can black beans, drained
12 ounces frozen corn
1 zucchini, coarsely diced
1 yellow crookneck squash, coarsely diced
2 chicken breast halves, grilled and cubed, or half of a rotisserie chicken, meat removed and cubed
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup salsa (I like Pace Picante Medium)

3 ounces sliced black olives, drained
1 bunch cilantro, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped, reserve the leaves from about 6 stems for garnish.

In a large pot, bring to boil the broth or water and broth cubes, then add onions, carrots, celery, potato, bell pepper, tomato paste, squashes and garlic. Simmer for 25 minutes and add the chicken, tomatoes, salsa, olives and cilantro. Heat through.
Garnish with tortilla chips, avocado slices and shredded cheese. Top with reserved cilantro leaves. Serve with tortilla chips or corn bread.

1 bag tortilla chips
1-2 avocados, peeled and sliced
1½ cup shredded cheese (cheddar, reduced-fat cheddar, Jack or Mexican blend)

A Poem for Mother

I am forever grateful for my mother and all that she means to me. 

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom and the wonderful women who enrich my life and make the world a better place. I wrote this tribute for you

A Tribute to Mother
“Mother I love you so,” said the child.
“I love you more than I know.”
She laid her head on her mother’s arm
And the love between them kept them warm.”
Margaret Florence Smith

Happy Mother’s Day to
Sister and
precious women

Who give life,
and give joy.
Who bled
and fed
and hid Easter eggs,
and wrapped gifts
and dyed Halloween costumes.
Who took me to the zoo
and Disneyland,
and grew pumpkins,
and taught me to play chess
and feed my babies.
Who taught me to write thank you notes
And have good manners
and remember birthdays
and ancestors
(and love them).
And gave me crayons
and dolls
and retainers
and fishnet nylons
and a radio to take to the beach.
Who took me to visit my grandparents
and on road trips
and swimming
and had a barbecue.
Who taught me to pray
and love
and find joy
and set a beautiful table.
And to watch out for little ones,
and spell correctly,
and feed stray kittens,
and read books.
And to try,
and fail,
and try again.
Who found our great grandfathers were kings
and great grandmothers were queens.
Who took pictures,
and listened as I learned to read,
and filled a piñata.
And eat Thanksgiving at the beach like Pilgrims,
and go on bike rides,
and read Luke on Christmas Eve,
and sing carols,
and find treats in my stocking.
To share with those in need,
and love art and beauty,
and wear bows in my hair
and shoes that fit,
and remember God and go to church.
Who sewed clothes,
and prayed for soldiers,
and firemen,
and missionaries,
and me.
Who baked cakes
and arranged flowers,
and made 20,000 meals,
and made me brush my teeth.
And bought sugar sticks,
and made drawings,
and bread,
and Beef Stroganoff.
And soothed wounded hearts,
and took us to movies,
and to the woods,
and the sea.
And played
and prayed
and gave time and love and life
Thank you.

Need more vegetables in your diet? Try this hearty corn chowder

For my friends in the Mountain West, Midwest and East; is it still cold where you are? We had ice on the grass this morning.

Staying home with a steaming mug of corn chowder may be just the thing you need on cold nights. This hearty chowder is chock-full of veggies, comes together quickly and can be made with low-fat ingredients, although true connoisseurs love the bacon version. This recipe serves 12.

1 pound bacon or turkey bacon
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped coarsely
1 red bell pepper, chopped coarsely
10 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ¾-inch pieces, diced
14 baby carrots, shredded
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 ½ cups spinach or power greens, chopped
1 can corn, drained
1 can cream-style corn
2 cans mushroom soup
3 cans milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove, drain on paper towels and crumble when cool. Reserve 1 cup for garnish. Pour out the bacon grease, reserving about ¼ cup in the pot.
In the grease, saute the bell peppers, onion and celery until just tender. Remove vegetables, drain and set aside. Place the potatoes in the pot, add water until barely covered, bring to boil and cook about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender but not mushy.
During the last 3 minutes add the carrots and zucchini. Drain the water, add the sauteed vegetables, greens, corn, mushroom soup, milk, salt and pepper. Simmer covered 5 minutes or until hot. Add crumbled bacon and additional salt and pepper, if desired.
Thank you to the following media sources for sharing this recipe:

The Deseret News – Utah
Deseret News Service (syndicated)
Bloomington Herald – Indiana
Bedford Times-Mail – Indiana
Daily American – Pennsylvania
Central Kentucky News – Kentucky
Aberdeen News – South Dakota
DNS (English channel 2)