Ring, ring…why don’t you give me a call

MOTHER’S DAY!

Yep, and you know what that means….that long awaited phone call.

So here are my suggestions on some things you might want to include in on that conversation.

Believe me…you may think you have a grip on what you want to talk about, but when comes the voice on the other end, all thoughts flee and you become a babbling mess (well, maybe not for all of us, but it has been known to happen).

Here is that list. I posted this last Mother’s Day and at Christmas too…but always good to repost for those who may be new missionary mums and dads.

Downloadable version available at the end of this post…

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These suggestions are kindly shared by Betty Pearson, who hosts the LDS Missionary Moms Email Groups. If you have a missionary serving somewhere in the world and have not yet signed up for an email group, then you are truly missing out. Betty volunteers endless hours of her spare time to provide this free service, and there are literally thousands of missionary mums connecting every day because of it.

No matter where your missionary is serving in the world, there is an email group of missionary mums connected to his/her mission. The women in these groups are fantastic. I personally belong to two groups; one connected to the mission my daughter is serving in, and the other connected to the area I live in.

Now for that list…

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, I am sure there are many more ideas that can be added to it, but it is here merely to get you started. Also, don’t think that you have to ask all these questions in one sitting.

I would suggest that you have pen and paper on hand to record any significant responses your missionary may have.

The Church in Your Area:
How many members in your ward/branch?
What is the church building like?

The Area You Serve in:
What is the town like?
Rural, small town, small city, med. city, large city?
What does the area look like?
Flat? Rolling hills? A lot of trees?
How hot is it?
How cold is it?
How often does it rain?

About Your Companion:
How is your companion?
How long has he/she been out?
Is his/her family LDS?
Do they support him/her with letters?
Life member or convert?

Your Wellbeing:
Are you sleeping well?
How is the food?
What is the best food you’ve eaten?
What is the weirdest food you’ve eaten?
How many dinner appointments do you get?
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Lunch?
How are your clothes?
Shoes?
Socks?
How are your feet?
Any problems?
Do you need more toothpaste?
Deodorant?
Vitamins?

Your Surroundings:
What is your apt like?
Is it in a big building?
Are your neighbors friendly or scared of you?
How far away is the Mission Office?
What do you see outside your window?

Other Missionaries You Serve With:
How many in your District?
Where are they from?
Who is the District Leader?
Zone Leader?
How often do you have Zone Conference?

Your P-day Routine:
What do you usually do on P-day?
What service do you do?
How often?

The Work:
Who are you teaching at the moment?
What do they do for work?
What are some of the questions they ask?
How much door knocking do you do in a week?
How much teaching do you do in a week?

Another suggestion by one of the mums from our email group was to ask the missionary to open their journal at a random date and start reading.

Well, I hope these questions have been helpful. You may even be able to come up with some more.

Enjoy the call with your missionary and I would love to hear from you how the experience went.

Download and print a PDF of these questions – Questions to Ask on Mothers Day Use the back of the page to record any special comments or information your missionary shares.

A Word of Warning

This message is for all missionary mums, dads, family and friends...in fact it is well worth everyone taking note. So please pass it around.

Betty Pearson, from the LDS Missionary Moms Email Group, just circulated an email amongst the mums. It was a warning on the dangers of concealing certain items in packages to our missionaries.

While it may seem extreme to some, it is well worth remembering that there are often items that many countries do not permit within their borders. Indeed, if some items are sent (which to us might appear quite innocent) they could result in legal action against, or worse jail for, the missionary.

For example, did you know it is illegal to post photos to anyone in Italy? Crazy, huh? But try it and they will most likely be confiscated by customs officials before they reach your missionaries mailbox.

I have copied below the information that Betty passed on to us. So please take heed, and be very careful about what you send. I have included information below that will help you determine if something is ok to send.

Email to all LDS Missionary Moms (Dated 7th June, 2012):

Never, ever, hide anything in packages! No more hiding stuff in PopTart packages, or other clever “disguises” to get important, or even “treat-ish” stuff past…customs officials. Why? Because Customs in many countries– with more all the time–have high-tech equipment to scan your packages without ever opening them. Just like carry-on luggage at the airports, they can see everything in the package. Yes, Superman vision. Used to prevent terrorism.

This is a warning to ALL of you!

Here is what happened last week:

A concerned missionary mom mailed a package to her missionary son, and because she wasn’t certain the non-prescription allergy meds, which her son really needed, would clear customs, she hid it in a stuffed animal. The package was scanned by Customs. The police were alerted, and they wanted to arrest the missionary and put him in jail to be charged. There was an interrogation, and the missionary was finally cleared.

Pay strict attention to the words of the Mission President who contacted us:

“This IS ‘smuggling’ and is extremely serious. Penalties include, deportation and in most cases jail time. The American government can’t do anything for 21 days to help if you are jailed. I don’t think any of us relish the thought of our children being jailed with hardened criminals. Customs will not just throw away the item, they will prosecute your child. It’s like yelling bomb in an airport. No one takes that as a joke. If you are extremely lucky (which is rare) you will be fined. It will take people away from their mission to deal with the problem. It will cost a large sum of money to travel to the customs office at the airport which may be out of the mission boundaries. Interrogation of the missionary will last all day, no one will be allowed to be with them. All of the fines and costs will be the responsibility of the perpetrator. The Area authorities will be involved due to the serious nature of the matter. Some will worry about possible national press coverage. It will cause great embarrassment to the family and the church. There are many ramifications from this seemingly harmless act. “Oh be wise, what can I say more.”

Heed this warning, pass it along to relatives and others who might be mailing packages–even in the U.S.

Do NOT try to mail illegal items. Please go to USPS.com and find the country where you want to ship a package, and their list of items they will not allow in their country.

Pay attention when the postal clerk asks you if the package contains anything flammable, etc. You wouldn’t want to end up in jail for mailing illegal items.

If you are sending a package internationally, below is the USPS website listing of all countries. Click on the country and you will see prohibitions, restrictions, and sizes and weight limits. 

UPS Website:
United States Postal Service – Individual Country Listing

Here is a listing of U.S. prohibitions and restrictions:
UPS Postal Service within the US – Can You Ship It?

Not sure if what you’re sending is hazardous or prohibited and you are sending from the US? Just call 1-800-ASK-USPS. For others, call your local Post Office and they should be able to advise you.

Many household items can’t go in the mail. Hazardous materials come in a wide variety of forms and can be chemical, biological, radioactive, or a combination. Find out what is restricted and what is prohibited.

If you have any questions then contact me and I will endeavor to answer them.

Please pass this along to anyone you might know who currently has a missionary serving. 


Just Desserts

Today I will be offering two desserts for our Food Friday spotlight. I am sure you will all agree that there are few of us out there who don’t like a bit of sweetness in our day. Missionaries need it just as much as we do, so I am including some very simple dessert recipes so they can feed that need for some comfort food after a long hard day out on the footpaths.

The first recipe is from a very good friend of mine, Paula. Impossible Pie is an amazingly easy recipe. It is a kind of baked egg custard with a lovely crunchy coconut topping. While I am not an egg custard kind of girl, I really enjoyed the coconut topping on this one!

Paula and I go a long way back to a day as single girls navigating the, sometimes depressing, path of dating and identity creation (glad to report that it was all worth it in the end). In fact, you may remember the pancakes recipe I shared a couple of weeks ago? Well, I have to admit that the idea was not uniquely mine.

It was in Paula’s tiny flat (apartment) back in the 80’s that the idea of pancakes with the YSA was born. Paula, a very hardworking nurse at the time, would often work a full shift, come home and get ready to go out with the girls. Then she and her roommates would have anything from 6-20 YSA come back to her place and serve up pancakes for everyone till after midnight. When the last person left she would grab a couple of hours sleep, and then head out for another grueling shift of work. Some fantastic memories were created as a result…thanks Paula.

The second recipe is from one of our missionary mums over at the LDS Missionary Moms Email group. Angie explained to me that she is a type 2 diabetic, and is in the process of writing a low carb/sugar free cookbook (stay tuned, I am sure we will hear more about that here). She has kindly offered to share many of those recipes – particularly those ones that will suit the missionary lifestyle. 

I have not included a picture of Angie’s recipe for Frozen Pudding Dessert, as one of its main ingredients, cool whip, is not available here in New Zealand (nor I think in Australia). But with so many of our missionaries serving in the US, I thought it still worthwhile including. So thank you Angie for sharing and we look forward to more of your recipes. If any of the missionary mum’s try this, then I would love for you to send a photo for me to include here

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Impossible Pie
By Paula

Impossible Pie served with New Zealand’s Hokey Pokey ice cream – YUM!

Ingredients:

 ½ cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
4 eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Method:

 Blend all ingredients together.  Pour into greased pie dish.  Bake at 180C (350F) for one hour until centre is firm.  The flour settles to form a crust; the coconut forms the topping and the centre is an egg custard filling.  Serve with cream or ice cream.

**If you prefer it less eggy, then I would use small eggs, and add a bit more flour and milk to the recipe.

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Frozen Pudding Dessert
By Angie

Ingredients:

Low carb and sugar free version…
1 box of your favorite sugar free pudding
1 1/2 cups milk ( I use Hood’s or Almond milk)
1 x 8 oz container of cool whip…..mix it all up and freeze !

The regular version would be….
1 box of your favorite pudding
1 ½ cups milk
1 x 8oz container of cool whip (or store brand)

Method:
Mix it all together and freeze.

Printable Recipe:

Download Word Doc with colour image – Impossible Pie and Frozen Pudding Dessert with photo

Download Word Doc without colour image – Impossible Pie and Frozen Pudding Dessert without photo.

I am fast coming to the end of my recipe resources for Food Friday Missionary Meals, so if you have a recipe you would like to include here then please email me at macytraine1@hotmail.com, or leave a comment below. Remember, anything that is quick, easy, and tasty will fit the profile.

Pasta Parmigiana

Pasta Parmigiana

Today’s recipe is an absolute favourite of mine. It was a recipe that I adapted a few years ago from some fancy magazine. There is nothing particularly fancy about it, but it is something very simple, light, tasty, and very easy to prepare. I will often use it as a last minute meal for the family, or if I am craving something really nice for lunch I will whip up a single serve of it.

If I am having it on my own, then I will add the chilly, as I love a bit of heat. But the rest of the family doesn’t, so I will omit that. The dish is still very tasty without it.

It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare…

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Pasta Parmigiana

Ingredients:

½ pkt thin spaghetti pasta – more if you need (the thinner they are, the quicker they cook)
1 onion or 2 spring onions finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed (if you don’t have a garlic crush then peel the clove and with the flat
side of your knife lying on the clove smash the heel of you hand
down on it. Then slice it finely in strips one way and chop finely the
other way).
3-4 rashers of bacon sliced into thin 1” lengths (shaved ham can be used also)
1 ½ cups frozen peas
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese – best if it is freshly grated (but you can use
pre-grated cheese if you want).
Fresh chilly – seeded and chopped finely (Optional if you like some heat)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Bring 1/2  pot of water to the boil. Add pasta to boiling water and stir them around with a fork for about 30 seconds (this stops noodles from sticking together). Boil until ready (about 10-15mins).

While you are waiting for the pasta to cook, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a medium frypan cook the bacon strips for about 3 minutes. You can add a bit of olive oil to this if the bacon is lean. Add chopped onion, crushed garlic, and chilly to pan. Saute over medium heat with bacon for another couple of minutes.

At the same time place peas into a microwave bowl with a lid, or plastic wrap, on the top; microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Add peas to the bacon and onion mix. Cook for another minute or two.

Take frypan off the heat and wait till the pasta is finished.

Remove pasta from the boiling water once they are cooked. Rinse under hot water to clean off the starchy water. Drain the water off well. Place frypan with bacon, onion, garlic and peas back on the hotplate and throw the pasta on top. Heat for a minute or two to dry any water from the pasta.

Splash the pasta with a good amount of olive oil (about ¼ cup) and toss the pasta and other ingredients through. Heat through. Just before removing from the heat sprinkle ¾ of the Parmesan cheese on top and mix through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

If you have any recipes that you would like to share with MMM, then email me at macytraine1@hotmail.com

Printable Recipe:


Download Word Doc with colour image – Pasta Parmigiana with photo


Download Word Doc without colour image – Pasta Parmigiana without photo

The Excitement is Building

Mother's Day card

Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Are you excited?

I am…

What will this day hold for you?

For me, I am going to have to wait an extra day before I get my call. With time differences, if my daughter rang me on her Sunday morning, it would be middle of the night here. So I will have to be patient.

Indeed, we don’t expect our call till about 10am Monday morning (for which my son is extremely excited, as it means having the morning off from school). This is due to the fact that my missionary has a baptism on the Saturday, and then the confirmation will occur on the Sunday (afternoon church). What a busy little missionary she is.

So I will happily wait the extra few hours to talk with her. I can just imagine the excitement she will exude after such a great weekend.

Don’t forget to have that list of questions at hand when the call comes through. I have added a downloadable version of them at the end of the post Ring, Ring…Why Don’t You Give Me a Call.

Here is a link to a Time Zone and Meeting Calculator. It may be a bit late for this time round, but I usually calculate the time difference on the date/s they can call, and then copy and past the results directly into the email to my daughter a few weeks before the call happens.

Tell us about your arrangements for the day. Are you allowed to skype? Or is it a phone call? Do you expect to get a call at all? Who will be there for the call? What are some of the unique things you do when your missionary calls?

I would also love to hear how it all went, so I will post again on Tuesday to get an update.

What More Could a Mother Want?

The leap

When your missionary daughter says to you she loves you but doesn’t miss you, is not homesick, and doesn’t want to come home, you really know that those apron strings are being cut.

Direct quote just two days into her MTC experience, “I love you guys so much, don’t miss me too much because I’ll be having the time of my life …I am definitely not homesick yet”

But I am ok with that. I have never been one of those mums who dies a little bit inside every time her child steps out into the big wide world and discovers something new to explore (without being there to make sure they don’t hurt themselves).

My parents left home when I was 19. They packed everything up, stored it away (including me), rented out our family home, and moved to the other side of the world to discover their family history roots in the UK for 2 1/2 years. I was left behind to fend for myself.

I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. But I had no choice. I was thrown into the waters of life and was told to sink or swim.

It was a difficult time for me. At times I struggled to keep my head above the water line. I really didn’t know who I was without my family.

Looking back on that experience now, it was a defining time in my life. I discovered an independence I never knew existed. I discovered an extended family within the church that became my support when I needed it.

But most of all I discovered who I was and what I believed. I no longer just believed on the traditions of my fathers. I learned for myself the rich blessings available to me, as I trusted in the Lord. I began to apply everything my parents had taught me, and I discovered that it was all true.

My parents had planted the seed of faith in my heart, but that faith wasn’t going to grow much more without me applying it on my own. I no longer needed the faith of my fathers to get me through. They had helped to plant the seed, now it was time for me to nurture it.

So when my daughter says to me she loves me, but doesn’t need me, it is not a sign that I have failed. It tells me she has found her swimming style and is on her way to becoming all that her Heavenly Father wants her to be.

As a mother of a missionary, every time I receive an email or a letter from my missionary daughter I feel fed, and alive. My faith is strengthened as I see my purpose here on earth bearing the fruits of my labour. She is discovering for herself who she is, what her purpose on earth is, and is bringing that purpose into the lives of those she teaches.

Hang on, did I just throw my daughter into the waters of life and tell her to sink or swim? Or did she jump herself?

Whatever it was that just happened, I know that she is making the most of the experiences she is having. Her faith is increasing, and she is discovering who Heavenly Father wants her to be. And she is having the time of her life.

What more could a mother want…