Janis Burns believes priorities in life are important
Janis Burns has always tried to instill the same values and morals in her children that her parents instilled in her. She believes she’s been successful.

Both of her children attend the University of Alabama. Branna, 22, will graduate in May with a degree in television communications and film, specializing in production management. Hunter, 18, is a freshman majoring in management.

Janis expresses how proud she is of both of them and how honored she feels as a parent that as they enter adulthood they are confident, dependable and well-rounded.

“We’ve been very blessed with our children. I have to say that.”

In high school and also after graduating from high school, Janis was a lifeguard, worked in concession stands and at the community center in Boaz. That paid her way through college. She went to Snead State for two years, then transferred to Jacksonville State University to get her degree in recreation in 1987.

“My parents gave me good, strong work ethics,” she said. “Daddy had a requirement for us. He said he could pay for us to stay at home or he could pay for our college, but he couldn’t do both. He encouraged us to tithe 10 percent of our earnings, put 50 percent in savings and the other 40 percent was to spend the way we wanted. I went through school with no loans. I didn’t owe a penny when I got out.”

Janis and her husband, Randy, don’t have the same rules for their children, but the rules they do have are similar.

“We don’t make them put their money into savings, but we have taught them that they are supposed to tithe. They are active in church in Tuscaloosa and they both tithe there. That’s one of those core values I was taught when I was growing up. You can’t make somebody tithe, but you can encourage them.”

Janis said she considers herself to be “a very old-fashioned person. I have a lot of old-fashioned values. We enjoy our lives as a family. We try to go with God first, family, then work. I think if your priorities are in that order, then everything is in its proper place. I’ve always been taught that if you do that, then everything is where it needs to be.”

Janice was born in Boaz on Sand Mountain. She and her family live in the Lenlock area. She will celebrate her fifth anniversary as director of the parks and recreation department in May.

“I love what I do,” she said. “Each day brings something new. Some days are challenging. Things have to be done that put us out of our comfort zone a little bit. But the rewards outweigh the challenges.”

Janis oversees about 30 employees. That number jumps to about 45 in the summer when seasonal staff come in to help.

“We’re more like a family here,” she said. “We’re more than just co-workers. We all get along really well.”

Randy has worked almost 30 years at Coca-Cola where he is a full service supervisor.

Janis and Randy, married 24 years, met in a singles group at First Baptist Church of Saks, where they are still members. Randy is a deacon, and both are heavily involved in the children’s ministry. Randy is AWANA commander, and Janis is AWANA’s secretary and teaches a fourth grade Sunday school class. She is chairman of Alabama Recreation and Parks Association, District 4.

Janis likes all outdoor activities, and she especially likes camping with her family in their travel trailer. They camp locally and have gone as far as Disney World, but she said Pigeon Forge is their favorite place to camp.

She’s always been an Alabama fan, but she and Randy are now even more avid Bama fans with two children going there.

Her parents, Joe and Catherine Hunt, live in Boaz.

“They had a little hardware store there for over 50 years,” Janis said. “It was one of those little icons in that area, kind of like our stores on the square.”

Janis is one of four children. Her brothers, Wayne and Bobby, live in Boaz. Her sister, Joan Edwards, lives in Ringgold, Ga.

“I like to cook when I have time,” she said. “It’s a challenge to work full time, get home, and get meals done quickly after working all day. I like to cook when we take the camper. I’m not rushed.”

Janis says she often cooks like her mother -- never measuring ingredients.

“I watched her cook, and she never used them. A lot of times, I’ll still call her and say how do you make this or that.”

Grape Salad, Taco Soup, Apple Dip and Charlotte’s Chicken Corn Chowder are some of her favorite recipes.

Grape Salad

4 cups green seedless grapes
4 cups red or purple seedless grapes
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
½ c. sugar
½ c. light brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans

Pick and de-stem grapes. Wash and dry completely. Mix cream cheese, sour cream, white sugar, ½ of light brown sugar and vanilla. Add ½ of the pecans to the creamed mixture. Toss grapes in mixture. When ready to serve, top with remaining brown sugar and pecans.

Taco Soup

1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can white beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can white corn
1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 can Rotel (Janis prefers the original)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 lb. ground beef

Brown ground beef and drain off excess grease. Set aside. In a large pot, mix all canned ingredients (not drained) together. Add two cans of water. Add seasoning packets and mix well. Add optional ingredients of garlic powder, salt, pepper and onion powder to taste. Add the browned ground beef, cover and let simmer on low for at least one hour. You can also put this in a crock pot in the morning, set on low, and it will be ready for you when you get home from work.

Serve with corn chips or tortilla chips, Mexican or cheddar cheese (shredded) and sour cream.

Apple Dip

1 pkg. Hershey’s Heath Toffee Bits
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

Blend cream cheese, sugar and brown sugar together. Mix in toffee bits. Serve with slices of Granny Smith Apples.

Charlotte's Chicken Corn Cheddar

Chicken (boil and save broth; dip out chicken to cool and then shred)
1 lg. can cream of chicken soup
2 cans cream corn
2 cans niblet corn
1 can Mexi-corn
1 can original Rotel
1 small block Velveeta cheese (melted in microwave)
1 onion, sautéed

Add above ingredients and then add broth until desired consistency.
© 2013