Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas ~ 2014

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. And I wanted to share a very special video with you. It's beautiful and moving. I love it! And I hope you will love it too.

This beautiful video includes the musical talents of 
The Piano GuysDavid ArchuletaPeter Hollens, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

In early December, over 1,000 people came together to break the Guinness Book of World Record's title for the 
largest live Nativity scene. The video I'm sharing with you today shows this record-breaking live Nativity scene. I hope you enjoy this wonderful video.

I am thankful for this time of year that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for His birth and for His mission here on earth. 

May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Molasses Fruit Bars

Molasses Fruit Bars
I shared this recipe on my genealogy blog last week and thought I'd share it here as well.

Molasses Fruit Bars are one of our family's favorite recipes. And it's another recipe that was printed in the Relief Society cookbook called "The Best of Everything." Last year I shared a recipe for Peanut Butter Fingers from this same cookbook.

Relief Society is the women's organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This cookbook has been in our family for over 48 years. It first belonged to my mom and she handed it down to me. Here's the cookbook page showing the Molasses Fruit Bars recipe.

Beverly Green originally shared this recipe. As you can see, my mom made notations next to the recipe amounts. The recipe I'm sharing today will fit into a large (approx. 17½" x 11½") cookie sheet.

 Molasses Fruit Bars
As you can see from the photo above, these cookie bars contain raisins. If you aren't a fan of raisins, they can be left out of the recipe. Or (and I've done this), prior to adding the raisins, place part of the mixed dough onto the cookie sheet. Spread the dough to fill part of the sheet. Add the raisins to the rest of the dough in the mixing bowl, mix and spread the remaining dough onto the empty part of the cookie sheet. Spread both kinds of dough out so they fill the whole cookie sheet.

Here's a picture to show you what I mean. It doesn't have to be perfect. You can adjust the amount of non-raisin dough depending on how many people don't like raisins.

I hope you enjoy these soft and delicious cookie bars. 


Molasses Fruit Bars


1-1/2 cups shortening (I use butter flavored shortening)
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup light (golden) molasses

4 cups sifted flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves

1-2 cups chopped raisins


Place shortening, brown sugar, eggs and molasses into large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. Add the following sifted ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves. Blend well.

Stir in 1 to 2 cups chopped raisins (depending on your love of raisins; you can also omit raisins). Grease and flour large jelly roll size (1 inch deep) cookie sheet. Pat dough evenly into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

While warm, frost whole pan of cookies with:

1-1/2 Cups powdered sugar
Hot water to make paste
Approx. 2 drops of vanilla

Cool. Cut into squares and enjoy. These keep well and have more flavor after being stored.

Thanks for reading!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Special Christmas Video

It's early December and the beautiful Christmas season has begun. It's so easy to let this time of year become filled with the hustle and bustle of buying and wrapping gifts, decorating, baking, mailing Christmas cards, and all of the other things that go along with the Christmas season.

As we go about our busy days, I hope we will pause to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas, which is the birth of our dear Savior, Jesus Christ.

I hope you enjoy this special video called "He is the Gift" which reminds us in a beautiful way that Jesus Christ was the first gift of Christmas so many years ago.

May we all keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts throughout this Christmas season.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sweet Songs For Grandma

This last Saturday my husband, our son, and I went to visit my mother-in-law. She's 89 years old and suffers from dementia. She lives in the dementia care center at a senior care facility about two and a half hours from us.

My husband and I have five adult children. We had been empty nesters for about a year while our two youngest sons served two-year full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A couple of months ago, our son (pictured here with his guitar) completed his two-year mission. I shared pictures of the happy homecoming on this blog. If you'd like to see that post, click HERE. Our youngest son is still serving his mission in Arizona. The rest of our kids live out-of-state right now.

My mother-in-law has been suffering from dementia for several years. It's so difficult to see her as she is now. She can't really speak anymore. And we don't really know if she even recognizes us. Before dementia took hold, my mother-in-law was a very well-read, sharp-minded and knowledgeable woman. She was a gospel scholar, having taught seminary for a total of 30 years at church. Seminary is a gospel class taught to high school kids. The course of study centers on the scriptures. You can read more about seminary by clicking HERE. She also taught the adult Sunday School class, called Gospel Doctrine, at church for many years as well.

My mother-in-law was also very politically active. She even ran for congress twice.

For our visit with my mother-in-law, our son decided to bring his guitar to play for her. We took her for a little walk in her wheel chair (which we usually do when we visit her), and ended up at this pretty bench on the care facility property. Our son played a couple of hymns for his grandma and then sang and played for her too. It was just so sweet! My mother-in-law didn't really have any reaction. But, I'm hoping that her spirit was touched anyway. Music is a powerful way to connect with people. And hopefully, she felt something wonderful as our son sang and played for her.

While our son was singing, a sweet elderly lady, who we found out is a new resident at the care facility, stopped walking and came over to listen to our son. She inched her way forward towards us. It was so cute! When our son finished singing, she asked if she could pull up a chair to listen. She also asked if he was performing later at the facility. How sweet! It was about time for us to take my mother-in-law back so she could have lunch, but there was time for one more song. So our son sang and played I Am a Child of God. The sweet lady seemed to really enjoy the song and asked our son for a hug as we left.

I'm so glad our son decided to bring his guitar so he could play and sing for his grandma. He really is a kind and thoughtful person.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Latest Happenings ~ Missionary Son Update - Transfers Week

I thought I'd share the latest happenings regarding our youngest son, who's serving a two-year full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We received his weekly email this last Monday. Last week was transfers week. Transfers week comes along every six weeks. At that time, missionaries may be assigned to work in a different city or area within the mission. Or they may just stay where they are currently serving. Our son found out that he's staying put for now, but his missionary companion was being transferred. That meant our son would get a new missionary companion.

Transfers took place last Thursday. Our son now has a new missionary companion. And his new companion came straight from the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. Our son has the opportunity and responsibility to train a new missionary for the third time since the beginning of his mission! How awesome is that!?

As you can imagine, summers in Arizona can get very hot. So, how's the weather in Arizona now that it's fall? Well, in one of his recent emails, our son said that it's finally cooling down. This is what he wrote, "Speaking of weather, it is finally starting to cool down. And by cool down I mean it gets down to the 60s in the evening. Haha. And the highs are in the 70s."

Our son is doing great and is really enjoying his mission! I'm so proud of him and his desire to serve our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Salvias and Mums

I took this photo of sunny yellow Chrysanthemums and deep blue Salvias many years ago with our film camera. Isn't the color combination fun?

Linking with Today's Flowers.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hiking Casa Grande Mountain Park

Our youngest son is serving a full-time two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arizona. In his most recent email to us, he told us that he and some other missionaries hiked around Casa Grand Mountain Park on their P-day (preparation day).

P-day is the one day a week that LDS missionaries use to take care of personal things like food shopping, laundry, emailing home, etc. The rest of the week is spent sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It's especially fun to receive photos from our son. He sent these awesome pictures from their hike.

He said that they hiked in the morning. Looking closely at the photo below, I noticed headlights on cars along the highway as well as other lights that appear to be at business locations.

Our son told us that the hike was "lots of fun" and that there were "Jumping Cholla cactus everywhere." He said that one "grabbed onto" a fellow missionary's shoe but that thankfully it was "at the sole of his shoe, so it only burrowed into the rubber."

Yikes! It's a good thing the cactus only penetrated the sole of that missionary's shoe. The Jumping Cholla cactus is also referred to as the Chain Fruit Cholla. You can read more about it in an online article called Jumping Cholla. From what I read in the article, it sounds like getting pierced by one of this cactus' spines would not be fun at all.

Our son is loving his mission in Arizona. In one of his recent emails he said, "I love this work. I know that God loves each and every one of us. The Atonement can be applied into every single aspect of our lives. We just need to look for it. The Tender Mercies of the Lord, as well, are everywhere. Seek, and ye shall find."

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 13, 2014

David Archuleta: GLORIOUS from Meet the Mormons

Music Monday Logo

David Archuleta, runner-up on Season 7's American Idol TV show, is an amazingly talented musician. He has performed a beautiful song for the Meet the Mormons movie. It's called Glorious. And it is aptly named, because the song truly is glorious. I hope you enjoy listening to it in this video.

And speaking of the movie Meet the Mormons, it has been very well-received. In fact, it ranked No. 10 nationwide on the day it was released, which was last Friday, October 10th. If you haven't seen it yet, I hope you will take the opportunity to go see it.

To see where it is playing in a theater near you, click HERE.  By the way, net proceeds from the movie will be going to charity, specifically the American Red Cross.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Meet the Mormons

I want to let all of my awesome readers know about a wonderful movie that's coming to theaters this Friday, October 10, 2014. The movie is called Meet the Mormons. The movie tells about the lives of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their families who live in different parts of the world.

The movie was shown at a premiere event yesterday in Salt Lake City. An article about the premiere shared the positive reactions of those who watched the movie. Some of the words used to describe the movie were the following: touching, inspirational, and enlightening.

Our family is looking forward to seeing this movie. And I'd like to invite all of you to see it too.

Here is the Meet the Mormons movie trailer. I hope you'll enjoy watching it.

To see where Meet the Mormons is playing in your area, please check out the movie's website by clicking on the link below.

Meet the Mormons

By the way, all net proceeds from this film will be going to charity, specifically the American Red Cross.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Angela's Awesome Bread

Have you ever named a recipe after the person who gave it to you? That's what I did with this amazing bread recipe. I don't even know the actual name of the recipe. I named it Angela's Awesome Bread because it IS awesome, and my friend Angela gave the recipe to me.

This bread is really delicious and pretty simple to make. There's no hand-kneading involved. At all. So, here we go. I'm going to show you how easy it is to make this amazingly awesome bread.

First of all, place 2-1/2 cups of warm water, 1/3 cup sugar and 3 (3/4 oz. each) packages of yeast in your mixing bowl.

Mix together with a dough hook attachment and then let it proof until bubbles appear.

Add 1/3 cup of softened butter, 6 cups of flour, and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix. Then add 1/2 - 1 cup of flour until dough cleans the sides of the mixing bowl. It should look something like this.

Remove the dough hook and place a damp kitchen cloth on top of the mixing bowl. Place it in a warm oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, replace the dough hook, and mix for 10 seconds.
Repeat this process for an hour.

Grease a large cookie sheet.

Then dump the dough onto the cookie sheet.

Form the dough into two loaves. Score the tops of the loaves with a knife and place in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn the cookie sheet and bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and place cookie sheet on a wire cooling rack.

Place loaves of bread directly onto wire cooling rack.

It really is that easy! I hope you like this delicious and simple bread. It's especially good served warm topped with butter and jam. And it makes excellent toast too. Yum!


Angela’s Awesome Bread

2-1/2 Cups Warm Water (120-130 degrees)
1/3 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast [I use 3 (3/4 oz. each) packages of yeast.]
1/3 cup Softened Butter
7 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp. Salt


In a Kitchenaid Mixer with dough hook attachment, mix together the water, sugar, and yeast.
Let the yeast mixture proof (until bubbles form). Then add the softened butter, 6 cups of flour and the salt.

Mix together and add ½ cup – 1 cup flour until dough cleans sides of bowl.
Remove the dough hook and place a damp kitchen cloth on top of the mixing bowl. Place bowl in a warm oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, replace the dough hook, and mix for 10 seconds. Repeat this process for 1 hour.

Form into two loaves on a greased cookie sheet. Score tops of loaves with knife.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn cookie sheet and continue baking for 10 additional minutes.

Remove from oven. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 29, 2014

Music Monday ~ Vocal Point's "Happy"

Music Monday Logo

I really like Pharrell Williams' song "Happy." Lots of musicians have made covers of this fun song. I've seen a couple of these covers, but I just recently watched this version by Vocal Point, Brigham Young University's amazing 9-man a capella group.

Did you know that the 2010-2011 Vocal Point group competed on NBC's The Sing-Off television show? Yep! They did! And the group made it to the top 5 in that competition. They also have produced numerous CDs over the years.

I hope you enjoy Vocal Point's cover of Happy!

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 18, 2014

He's Home!

Last Friday, our third-oldest son returned home from serving a two-year full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He served his mission in the Massachusetts Boston Mission, which includes most of Massachusetts, all of Rhode Island, and parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut. During his mission, our son served in Keene, New Hampshire, Quincy, Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts, and Manchester, Connecticut.

We hadn't seen our son in person for two years, so as you can imagine, the reunion we had with him at the airport was wonderful! This is a picture of him hugging his dad.

And here they are together waiting for our son's luggage.

Our son loved his mission and served faithfully. He returned with honor. We recently received two emails and a letter from people in the areas where he served. They had such kind words to say about our son and his service while he was on his mission. It was heartwarming and touching to read what they said about him. The following paragraph is an excerpt from one of the emails that we received:
"I just want to tell you how grateful we are to you and your family for being willing to share your son with us for a short time.  He is a wonderful missionary and carries the Spirit with him wherever he goes.  He has been a great influence on our family and the members of our ward.  We will miss him so much, but we are also very excited for you to welcome him home after a 2-year absence.  Just know that he has served faithfully and has helped to change many lives for the better.  We know he will continue to do so as he returns home and moves on with the next chapter of his life."
We're so proud of our son's selfless service to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ and to the people in New England. Well done son! And welcome home!

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Beautiful Wedding

In a previous post here at Jana's Place, I told you about the upcoming wedding of our second-oldest son. Well, the wedding took place about three weeks ago. And it was beautiful!

On my genealogy blog, I wrote a blog post about the wedding and shared some photos taken by Marielle Hayes, owner of Marielle Hayes Photography. If you'd like to read that post and see those beautiful photos, please click HERE.

The gorgeous photos I'm sharing with you today were also taken by Marielle Hayes. She did a fantastic job!

Our son and his fiancé (now wife) were married in the Oakland California Temple. They were sealed for time and all eternity. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that marriages performed in the holy temple can last throughout the eternities and not end at death.

I love this photo of our son and daughter-in-law. It's just so sweet! It was taken on the beautiful Oakland Temple grounds.

Isn't she beautiful?

I'll end this post with this gorgeous black and white photo of our son and daughter-in-law.

Oh, and isn't our son's boutonniere awesome? It was made by our daughter-in-law. It's a paper flower. How fun is that? She also added a few in her bouquet.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

This recipe has become a new family favorite. It's called Chicken Spaghetti Olé. Actually, maybe I should call it Chicken Vermicelli Olé because I use vermicelli instead of spaghetti when I make this dish. I've also changed a couple other ingredients from the original recipe too. It's pretty simple to make and delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

As I mentioned, I've changed a couple of the ingredients in this recipe. Instead of using a 10-oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles called for in the original recipe, I use a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes and a 7 oz. can of diced green chiles.

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

I also don't include the celery called for in the original recipe. Instead I just sauté chopped onion and bell peppers.

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

This is what the dish looks like after adding all of the ingredients except for the vermicelli and chicken.

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

At this point, add the vermicelli and chicken into the sauce.

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

Here we are. All of the ingredients have been combined.

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

Spoon the combined ingredients into a greased baking dish and put it into a preheated 350° oven.

Chicken Spaghetti Olé

Here it is! Out of the oven and ready to enjoy!

Chicken Spaghetti Olé


Chicken Spaghetti Olé


6 ounces uncooked vermicelli
1 tablespoon butter
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (7 ounces) diced green chiles
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 package (8 ounces) process cheese spread loaf, cut into cubes (Velveeta)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cups diced cooked chicken
Sliced jalapeno chilies, if desired


1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Cook and drain vermicelli as directed on package.

2. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook bell pepper and onion in butter, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in tomatoes, diced green chiles, tomato sauce, cheese, salt and pepper; reduce heat to low. Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.

3. Stir in chicken and vermicelli. Spoon into baking dish. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until bubbly around edges. Top with chiles. 6 servings.

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Chicken Spaghetti Olé originally found in Betty Crocker’s Favorite Casseroles Booklet September 1999 .

This recipe is also online. To see the original recipe for Betty Crocker's Chicken Spaghetti Olé, click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved




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