About The Country Wife Blog

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mission: The Best Christmas Ever!

Yes, I know we just had Thanksgiving, and it was so nice to be with four other senior missionary couples and a lady from Afghanistan.  One day I will talk about it but now: Do you want to have the best Christmas ever?!

There is so much darkness in the world and in our lives that it is glorious to know there is a Light that we can all enjoy. In fact, we can contribute each day to that light.

We can #LightTheWorld!  Yes, we can, and in lighting the world around us, we light up our own lives.  I hope you will follow this link and participate.  I will be doing it here.  It will make me smile with love to know  you are doing it in your own way wherever you are this Christmas season.

Each day from the first to the 25th of December there is a short...mostly about a minute or less, I think...video, and suggestions of what you can do to light your own world.

Putting up pictures of your efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc with #LightTheWorld attached will let others see your good works and give other people ideas.  We, in our own small ways, can bring much needed light to our surroundings.

With loving wishes to all,  Sister Crossett.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mission: Quick (Ten Minutes or so) and Easy Cranberry Sauce

Jut found a recipe somewhere...I am embarrassed not to remember where...that I used as a foundation for making my own renovations.

Quick and Easy Cranberry Sauce

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground nutmeg
a smaller pinch of ground ginger

In a large saucepan (I used a 6-quart pot because that was all I had, not being in my own kitchen...) place the sugar and orange juice.  With a long-handled wooden spoon, stir until smooth.  Add the picked over cranberries and heat over medium to medium high heat, stirring almost constantly.
The cranberries just starting to cook.  Notice the nice tollhouse pie in the background.  NOT burned!!

After the berries come to a boil, don't stop stirring.  In less than ten minute the berries will be mostly popped open and the liquor will have thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool a little while then place in a clean glass jar and cover.  Let sit until cool then refrigerate until you want to eat it.

This stuff is so good that you will want to spend it on nice fat toasted whole wheat bread or Dakota bread or even waffles!  So good.  The first try was perfect. I am so glad since we are eating it at Thanksgiving dinner with the senior missionary couples who are available.

Cranberry sauce cooling--about 3 cups of it

Monday, November 20, 2017

Munchie Monday: Lemon Ginger Water

All of a sudden I wanted a refreshing non-caloric drink.  I had just gone to the Grocery Outlet and found a bag of fresh ginger for a good price. I brought it home along with a fresh lemon.  I still have the jars I plan to use to make sauerkraut sitting on the counter waiting for the kraut...so I took one of them.

To make this I thinly sliced about an inch and a half of fresh ginger and an inch and a half of fresh lemon and put it in the bottom of a glass quart jar. I filled the jar with water and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning I had a tall glass.  So refreshing!

Even Dear One had a full glass of this for breakfast, then asked for the dregs that were in the bottom of the jar!  I refilled it with water for the third time.  I will see tomorrow if it works that long or if I need to add fresh fruit after three refills.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mission: Great Week!

So many things happened this week.  The best came at the end of the week:  On Saturday we went to the Portland Temple with the brother for whom we taught the Temple Preparation class.  He is such a nice man.  It has been a joy to meet with him and so lovely to attend the temple with him when he went for the first time.

At the end of the session, after changing into street clothes again, I stopped at the Family Card counter.  Our cards were not there so I sat down to wait for them and for Dear One who seemed to be taking forever to change.  That did not bother me because as I was sitting there on the couch waiting it occurred to me that maybe there was a reason for the wait beyond Dear One and the family file cards.

Eventually the sister came with the recorded family cards.  When I stepped up to the counter as she was filing the cards, she asked my name.  Our sister card was right on top!  I thought for a moment that that was the reason for my wait...that I could save her a few moments of filing.  Since is was fifteen minutes since I had come out I thought maybe I had misunderstood where I was to meet up with Dear One so I went closer to the lobby to check.  He was not there so I decided to just sit on that couch.  Moments later, and I mean, MOMENTS,  in walks Misty B!!!!  It was so glorious to see her. So very wonderful.  It has been years since she and Chad moved on from medical school at Dartmouth.  It could have been yesterday.  She lives an hour south of the temple.  Maybe we will be able to get together again, or at least send more frequent emails since we are in such close proximity.

Later that day we went to the stake center to attend the baptism of a woman in our ward.  There were quite a few people there and the baptism went well.  She brought her darling little daughter and her mom.  Afterwards there were plates of cookies. I managed to sneak by the cookies without any of them reaching out to grab me.  Of course, I appeared pretty anti-social but in this case, I needed not to get into the sweets, and did not mind passing up the socializing.

This week one of the office-y things I have been doing is working on a beta test of the Correspondence module of the IMOS (Internet Missionary Office System or some such thing) system.  It has been somewhat  taxing as it really is a beta test and not everything works right.  The thing that I personally use it for most is to make forwarding address labels for missionary mail.  That part of the module works very well.  They only have one size of label usable currently but it is the Avery 5160 which is an easier size for me to work with to put on letters, cards, and packages.  The only glitch, and it is a minuscule one,  is that I have to put a second "Please Forward" label on the envelopes.  The old way of doing this used a very large label that I had to cut up a lot to get on small envelopes and post cards without obscuring the recipient already on them..

Letter templates are a way of life in our office for the other two sisters. I am trying to create some new templates so they are ready to go when the data loss problems are fixed.  I typed in three or four letters for Sister J to check over.  She has a good editing eye so I was able to correct many errors I had made in field placement.  When those were done I went back to IMOS and put in the correct salutations for the missionary parents...very easy when the missionaries have intact families but more taxing when there are multiple parents...also multiple languages. I have learned that Irmao or something like that is the word for Sister in Portuguese.  As you can see, I really have not learned it yet...!  Anyway, this week I have quite a few more salutations to complete.

Christmas packages are coming in hurrah-boys!  So many packages come in each day. We asked families to put Christmas stickers on the packages so we would know if they are Christmas packages or regular ones.  Apparently lots of people just go to Amazon for gifts.  They do not say they are gifts so we have to guess.  I have called a few parents to ask.  Since we asked for them to arrive before Thanksgiving I am expecting a ton more this week. The store room is beginning to fill.  Knowing how to categorize the boxes for easy dissemination at our Christmas party took some time but then I thought...why not just put the first letter of the surname on the end of the box?  That would be easy.

Pansies at the end of their ropes, though Thanksgiving pansies don't exist in Vermont.  Most years, anyway!
These pansies are so cheerful even though you can see they are mostly spent.  They are in front of the building across the parking lot from us.  One day soon I will do a post on all kinds of cool wildlife around here.  I can tell you these pansies and the beautiful roses that are still in full bloom here and there in the area are a real shot in the arm for a Vermont girl. (Well, girl is probably not the right word, but....)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Food Friday: Quick and Easy Pain au Chocolat

One of the food items I really loved while I was studying in France was pain au chocolat.  I tried once to make it in our own kitchen.  It was so very time-consuming.  It was very good, but not worth the work.  This method is worth the effort.

You need fresh croissants and your favorite chocolate chips.

Put paper toweling on a microwave-safe plate.  Put one or two or possibly three croissants on the paper towels.  Slice the croissants part-way through horizontally.  Lift up  the top of the croissant and insert a handful of chocolate chips.  Replace the "cover" of the croissant over the chocolate chips.  Put in the microwave for about 20 seconds, depending on the temperature of the microwave.  Remove the plate and check to see if the chocolate chips are mostly melted.  If so, let them cool a few moments, then enjoy them greatly!  If they are not melted,  put them back in for a few more seconds.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mission: Flying By

The last two weeks have been pretty heavy duty!  We all had so much to do to get ready for the new arriving missionaries.  Dear One had to find and outfit a couple of new apartments and re-work one of the old ones for two sets of elders.  Amazingly, we got it all done.

We changed this transfer from middle of day transfers to evening transfers and they worked!  

Wonderful news:  We in our office were approved for better internet!  Until then, every day I have to shut off the syncing of my computer files to the cloud since it eats all the bandwidth and no one can do anything.  (I tried to check in and get boarding passes for two of our "visa waiters" whose visas had come through so they could go to their own missions.  Checking in the one going to the Dominican Republic went just fine.  For the sister going to Taiwan, I could not for anything get her passport image to upload to the airline so she had to wait until  she arrived at the airport to check in and print her boarding passes.  That seems like a long time ago, but it was only this past Monday!!  On Thursday I checked in and printing boarding passes for five of the other seven departing missionaries.  The one going to Philadelphia could not be checked in nor could the one returning to Cambodia.  Well, they were getting to the airport in plenty of time.  I found out later that there were no problems.

Thursday was the departing dinner at the President's house.  Sister J and I got to the house at 3:30 and scrubbed, pierced, oiled, and salted many many baking potatoes and had them in the oven by 4 PM.  We then chopped green onions, washed and tore lettuce, laid out the finger desserts on platters, and generally got things ready that were the last minute things.  President and Sister were at the temple with the missionaries and then President had some interviews.  Sister returned  shortly after five and was happy to see everything set up.  She had done a ton of work before she left for the temple which made life so much easier for us.

The potatoes cooked.  The salad was ready.  The toppings for the baked potatoes were ready.  Sister B.  came with buckets of chili and broccoli cheese soup and wonderful chewy bread as well as oyster crackers.  The missionaries and President arrived then we just had to wait for the senior departing missionaries to arrive.

In the foreground on the left is a big stainless bowl of baked potatoes just out of sight.

It was a nice dinner and a fun time for everyone.  After we ate we helped take care of the food  and  refuse.  Most of the dishwashing was done in the trash bin, good planning on Sister B's part,  I think.  Made life so much easier. I think Dear One and I left shortly after 7 PM.  I went out to the car with him, just about done in.  There on the front seat was Sister J's scripture case.  Dear One was kind enough to walk the scriptures back into the house.  President came out to thank us and say good night. He walked all the way out to the car to speak to me as well.   That was really really nice. He did not need to do that.  This is what we signed on to do: help in any way we can.  It makes us feel good, even when we are taxed just about to the limit.

Last week a really good thing happened when one of the apartment complexes which is owned by some kind people was dispersing some furniture and other things from a model apartment and clubhouse that they were renovating.  They thought we might like these things for the apartment we are opening there at their complex in December.  Dear One, Elder and Sister B and some young missionaries moved everything into the truck and trailer, then put it into the storage garages until we can move it into the apartment in mid-December. There was a fabulous small laser printer they were donating. Since Dear One knew I wanted a printer, they brought it home to me.  I set it up and figured out how to make it work. I felt so smart.  I was so thrilled to have it.

Today Elder and Sister J came over to borrow our Freecyle Mixmaster for some whipped cream she wants to make tomorrow for senior missionary FHE.  They went to the dumpster on the way to our apartment and reported there was a great office chair over there.  Elder J said I needed to go before it rained.  I thought I would go look at it.  I walked over there, sat in the chair, rolled in the chair, then rolled it home, turned it horizontally then carried it up the seventeen stairs and into our apartment then rolled it in the work room.  I sat in it to write this post until time to go to stake conference.  The chair is comfy enough to use plus I think the people who come after us will like it.  (That is, if any other senior missionaries are willing to go up the stairs every day...I am sure they will). Anyway,  I enjoyed the chair, BUT I discovered that there had been rain before I went to get it...my whole back, etc, are damp to the skin now.  Oh well.

The recycled office chair.  Nice tall back.

So, here is a newsflash:  regarding the laser printer.  On Friday we received an email from the complex manager's office who had donated all the furnishings, including the laser printer.  She said that the printer was her office printer and she was in dire need of it.  Huh!  Isn't that a funny thing.  The things that we did not take for the new apartment went to Goodwill.  It is a good thing that my kind husband brought the printer home to me.  I doubt she would have been able to get it back from Goodwill.... So Monday morning we will carry it back down the stairs and take it to our office where the lady will come pick it up.  Easy come, easy go....!  At least the lady is coming to pick it up and we don't have to return it...


This weekend was Stake Conference, a time twice a year when Latter-day Saints get together to listen to our local and stake leaders on inspirational subjects and to receive instruction on current issues we need to address.  Sometimes we have a visiting authority from Salt Lake City.  The other times the conferences are presided over by the stake president.  This was our first stake conference on our mission.  We had met one of the counselors in the stake presidency since he resides in our ward.  (His wife is a wonderful kind woman who has made me feel very welcome here.  She is so interesting to talk with AND she is a very crafty lady.  She always wears a hat to Church.  Hats which she has made.  Well, she says she finds the hats at yard sales then decorates them herself.  They match her outfits. I am so impressed.)

So at the Saturday evening stake conference session to which all members of the stake 18 years old and older are invited, both President and Sister B spoke.  They gave an invitation to all of us.  Since the people I want to invite live far away I thought I would issue those invitations via this blog.

Sister B said that she has just started sharing The Book of Mormon with people, an open Book of Mormon with a verse marked.  Well, she is a full-time missionary and so am I.  We both want to invite everyone to come unto Christ and find the joy and peace that comes from living His gospel.  The Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ, just like the Old Testament and the New Testament in the Holy Bible.  I love all three of them and read in them every day.  They make my life better.

So, in the interest of sharing Sister B's invitation with you, I am posting a picture of an open Book of Mormon.  I will tell you a story about that marked verse.  When I was seventeen years old missionaries came to our farm in Vermont and asked if they could share a message about Jesus Christ with us.  We were already Christians and somewhat active in our local church.  When these missionaries shared the story of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church He instituted while he was on the earth in mortality, they started us on a journey that has brought inexpressible joy to us, even in the midst of personal tragedies that have beset us over the years.  The joy in knowing Jesus Christ and living His gospel is unending.

So, when I started going to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I met a pretty old lady (probably not as old as I am now, actually, but she seemed old to me at the time!!!) who shared with me her favorite scripture.  It was in the book of Alma chapter 37 and verse 37.  I did not even know a person could HAVE a favorite scripture at that time!  This is the verse I am showing you because it became MY favorite scripture, too, and one I have read, and relied upon so often over the years.  Because I love this verse, I want to share it with you, my friends.

In case you cannot read the verse from this picture,  go to LDS.ORG and find the toolbar that says Scriptures.  Click on that, then click on The Book of Mormon, then the book of Alma then chapter 37 and finally verse 37.  Well, that whole chapter is good...Alma's advice to one of his sons, but it is good advice for all of us.

I find that "lying down unto the Lord" at bedtime with a final prayer, mostly of gratitude for the wonderful day just past,  helps me close out the day.

One thing that I am doing in the scriptures is reading all the verses that refer to Jesus Christ and His many attributes.  There are 63 pages of them.  If anyone wants a copy of that pdf document, email me at my regular email address and I will send it to you.  I may have issued this invitation before...it makes me smile when I read some of those verses.  Right now I am reading on the topic:  Jesus Christ, Lamb of God.

President B invited us to write down three friends who might enjoy more peace and joy in your lives, and invite you to come unto Christ in a more consistent way.  My suggestion is that you see if you can find a local missionary companionship and invite them to share the same message that missionaries shared with our family fifty years ago.  You may not decide to embrace this Church as we did, but you cannot go wrong adding time every day making a place in your life for our Savior Jesus Christ.  Perhaps the three of you that I wrote down will find yourselves in this blog post.

With loving wishes to all who read this blog post.  This is meant to help you find more joy in your own lives.  We all need to live in peace and joy.  It is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Savior of us all.