This is the best banana bread... ever! It is so moist and soft and easy to make. So, if you're on the hunt for a great banana bread recipe then look no further. Ingredients: 1 cup butter (it tastes better with butter rather than margerine) 1 1/2c granulated sugar 2 large eggs 4 very ripe bananas 1 tsp vanilla 1/4c buttermilk 1 tsp baking soda 2c flour 1/2 tsp salt
1.Cream butter and sugar together 2. Add mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla and mix well. Batter will be curdley. 3. In another bowl, wisk flour, soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and combine. Add buttermilk and mix until combined. 4. Grease and flour two 8 1/2"x4 1/2" bread pans. 5.Bake @ 350 45-50 min or until bread pulls away from sides and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
My visiting teachers came yesterday for their monthly visit. They are two of the oldest women in the ward and both have been widows for a number of years. They are sweet and gracious and caring. When they were first assigned to me, I couldn't help but wonder if there had been some mistake. However, it's been more than two years since they first started coming to my home and they have rarely missed a month. They are so kind and loving to my children and genuinely care about my family. They never seem like they're in a rush (well, they honestly have no other obligations) and they always sit next to each other on the couch and they hold hands as they laugh and reminisce about all of the years they've spent serving together in our ward. They always tell me to cherish the time I have with my children because it goes by so fast. It isn't unusual for one of them to get a little misty eyed when talking about the gospel and what it means to them and to their children and grandchildren. They both express such joy whenenever they talk about their families. They are happy and optimistic and encouraging and fun! I hope I have a full head of beautiful white hair when I'm old just like one of these sisters- a crown and symbol of all of her years of experience and wisdom. It makes me think of this quote by Elder Maxwell from my favorite book of his "All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience:"
Are not the real heroes and heroines of today those who are givers rather than demanders, those who are selfless rather than selfish, those who share rather than grab, those who care about tomorrow as well as today, and those who do their duty quietly without the accompaniment of crashing cymbals and trumpets? The faithful but perhaps plump woman whose nails are worn but who is a giving mother, wife, and neighbor has a queenly beauty and a regal way, if we would but see her as she really is; her beauty will not be taken from her by the passing years."
I have another gem of a story from my darling sister, the same sister who supplied me with the cat stories. This story also comes from her quirky in-laws. It is a true story.
I believe it was my sister's sister-in-law who decided to share her testimony one fast Sunday about her husband's recent surgery on his scrotum. She went on and on about his scrotum surgery. When she was done her husband immediately got up and said, "I had surgery on my sternum." I love that story.
I am currently serving as the Young Women's president in my ward and for the last six months or so we've been working on a HUGE quilting project. In early Spring, my stake YW's president told us that Sister Cook from the general YW presidency was going to speak at a regional YW conference in October and every young woman in every stake was asked to make a quilt to donate to the humanitarian fund and all of the quilts were going to be presented to Sister Cook at the conference. Do you know what kind of massive undertaking it is to have each girl make their own quilt and make sure it gets done right? Let's just say that I am soooo glad this project is over. It was a good experience and I'm glad we were able to donate nine quilts from our ward. That's pretty amazing considering we only have about 17 active girls, two of which joined YW's only a month ago. In total, there were over 300 quilts on display at the conference. It was wonderful to see so many beautiful quilts and to know that they would bring cheer and comfort to so many men, women and children. In my mind's eye, I can imagine a little child receiving one of those big warm blankets and I can almost see the excitement and joy in his or her face. I also think of the mother and how thankful she would be to know that her little child would be kept warm during the coming winter months. I'm grateful that I belong to a church that offers a variety of opportunities to serve.
I love this time of year and I especially love pumpkins. They're so friendly and colorful and cheery. I love the smell of fresh pumpkin as I'm scooping out its innards. Indeed, I'm kind of on a pumpkin kick this week. On Wednesday I made a batch of pumpkin spice cookies and I pretty much ate the entire batch by myself. I know Adam only had a few and James didn't really like them and yet they somehow magically disappeared by the next morning. Hello! The same day I also made casserole in a pumpkin. It was alright. I didn't eat the whole thing thankfully. I think I was too busy eating the cookies. I could go for some right now. My sister bought pumpkin chocolate bread from Great Harvest the other and I really had to restrain myself from eating more than one slice. I must be vitamin A deficient or something because I'm still craving more pumpkin delights!
The father of one of my very good friends passed away last Friday and I attended the funeral on Wednesday. My friend and his dad were close and it was hard to see him hurting. Funerals always make me reflect on my own life and how I can improve my relationships with my loved ones. I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I had a conversation with my dad. I think it's been years, literally, and yet I see him every Sunday and a few times during the week. Either he's always asleep (I'm serious, he borders on narcolepsy) or I'm busy with the kids, etc, etc. I also thought about my friends. I sat on a row next to several of my very close friends and I thought about how we hardly see each other anymore, perhaps only two or three times a year even though we all live in the same city. I always say that I'll host more social functions when we have the house fixed up or we have money or we move into a bigger house... And yet while I'm making these excuses time keeps slipping by. I need to live more in the moment and 'enjoy the journey' as Pres. Monson counseled last week. I need to make more of an effort in all of my relationships and spend less time doing things that really won't make any difference in the grand scheme of things.
I've been perusing one of my old journals for the last few days in an attempt to remember what my personality used to be like. I think I sometimes forget that I have a personality aside from being a milk machine. I've been reading about my European adventure when I backpacked around Europe during the summer of 2002. I'm so glad I kept a journal. It's brought back some great memories and feelings of adventure. Here's an entry about Venice:
Ah, Venice. City of love. The train shot us from Munich to Verona yesterday, coming to a final halt around 9:30pm. the Veronese air was thick and warm and moist as we leapt from the train with the reverie of Interlaken trailing behind us. We decided to take a taxi to our hostel rather than deal with the bus. To our delight, the taxi spit us out in front of a large Roman structure with a large garden splayed in back and dabbled with eroded statues. We bid adieu to Verona this morning after only one night sojourn and arrived in Venice at midday. Venice's public transportation system consists primarily of boats. No wonder Venice is internationally known for its romantic and beautiful setting. We took boat number 82 which dropped us off directly in front of our hostel. We were able to secure beds after an hour wait. We sunk heavily into our squeaky bunk beds and allowed our eyes to give in to afternoon sleepiness. I awoke to the sound of the rhythmic squeaking of the dock below our window. I gazed out the window and across the sea channel at the other side of Venice. Dark clouds loomed overhead foreshadowing an afternoon storm. Fortunately, the stagnant hot air, which welcomed us, had retreated with the rising coastal wind and forthcomeing storm. We walked around a bit, allowing our stomachs to guide. We eventually ended up back at the hostel for dinner. It was very good pasta. We took another short walk after dinner, stopping for gelati along the way. The rain began gradually and slowly increased in intesity and rapidity. It drove us back to the hostel. Now, as I lay writing in my room next to the sea, the romantic, senseual music of three flamanco guitarists is swept into the room with the wind, along with the sloshing of water, the scraping of the dock, and the occasional murmer of voices. Ah, Venice, city of love.