Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Territory.

Alright friends, we are venturing into new territory here. I am about to post a link to a story about a lady with cancer. She is the sister to Katie, one of the neighborhood gals and one of my young women (church calling) buddies.
I'm really not accustomed to soliciting money...if all you offer is a prayer or two---I know that would be appreciated as well.
Stories like this just kinda shed a little light and perspective on what a real problem is.

This is a link to Jonathan Canlas, a photographer, who is helping to raise money.
This is a link to Sarah's blog.

There you go, Katie...I hope this will help spread the word.
Just doing all I can from my little corner of cyberspace.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sure signs....

Of a youngest child.

-I am willing to peel his apple, he's not a big fan of the skin.
-I find it more cute than annoying when he climbs into bed with me (long before the light of day) and says, "Hey, Mom, hey! It's me!! It's Grant Delicious."
-He doesn't just have a train table. He has a rice train table. (I know, I know...who's brilliant idea was that???? It is a huge mess, but the kid loves it--they all do actually.)
-His brother is happy to spend hours setting up the train (of which he will ruin in moments).
-When I find him laying in the rice instead of yelling, I go grab the camera.

-His dad takes him on grand adventures to find HUGE TRACTORS!

-He has his own guitar, which he cannot and will not play without a pick in hand. Want a little concert?? Okay, I just happen to have one recorded...

(He's a little hard to understand over his awesome and amazing music, so I thought I would include the lyrics. "Take me down to the paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. Oh, won't you please take me home." Nothing like a three year old belting out some Gun's N Roses on a Sunday afternoon.)

-We all find him superbly entertaining.

-We (and it's not just me--the whole family is guilty) photo document nearly everything he does.

Why didn't any one tell us the last would be so much fun??
Had we known, we would of considered having him first.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Idaho Cookie Call

Oh. Hello, there.
Miss me?
Out of the loop for a while there...and re-entry into blog life was a little slow.

Spring break has come and gone--and as I have already mentioned,
I spent mine in the good old gem state on a very important Idaho Cookie Call.
Cookies (and other baked goods) were not actually the reason for the the visit...

The main reason for the visit was these two lovely ladies.

Miss Anna: the beaming eight year old.
She pretty much wore this face the entire weekend.
This girl was one happy amiga, being baptized clearly agreed with her.

And cute baby Tily: also known affectionately by her brother
(and now the whole family) as "Baby Chilly".
After two crazy boys (one of which has been nick named-rightfully so-'Wild Bill', well actually three boys if you want to count my brother who is just as crazy as his sons) my sister-in-law, Natalie, was over due for this little sweety.

The whole Nelson crew was in attendance (minus one BIL). That's pretty good.
All 7 of my siblings and their chillens were there--we are a big, big, big, and growing group.
We're not a half bad looking bunch of people...wanna see?

What'd I tell ya? Not bad, right?
top row: we have Amanda, David, Richard, Yours truly, Howard, and Molly
sitting: Jonathan, Mi Madre, Mi Padre, and Sara

All right, I have put it off long enough. It is time I tell you why we call this visit the Idaho Cookie Call. So, baptism and baby blessing...what does that call for? Naturally, a big family dinner, right?
Dinner was simple. Soup and Subs. Perfect.
Dessert? Cookies, MMMmmmMMM.
Dessert might have possibly gotten out of hand. Many of us were assigned to bring cookies and boy oh boy did we ever deliver.

How does 57 dozen cookies sound?
We figured it came out to roughly about a dozed per person, that's normal--isn't it??
Of all the things I have ever captured on film, I have NO idea why I didn't get this one. It was a cookie extravaganza.
The dinner plates hadn't yet been put away and smaller dessert plates set out when the cookies emerged-- the children were literally filling a full size plate, stacking a wide variety of the delectable goodness and walking away with HUGE grins on their faces.

Why don't I just go ahead and air out all the Nelson dirty laundry....
those 57 dozen cookies?? Ummm....ya, they were gone the next day.
In our defense, we did send them home with people. Something you should know-that is fairly obvious at this point- we can really put away the goodies. It's a darn good thing life isn't fair or we would need a wide angle lens for the above photo.

Wanna know what else the following week included??
~Peanut butter brownies (two pans actually, there was a minor measuring mix up and we ended up with a 9x13 and cookie sheet full, included in the measuring mix up was six times the amount of chocolate chips) *note to pregnant ladies: have someone double check your math. ;o)
~Cinnamon Rolls. What??? They had been previously frozen and needed to be baked and eaten. We don't let food go to waste, there are starving people in China, ya know?!
~My mother and I may or may not have stopped at the Peppridge Farm factory outlet store to purchase more cookies in bulk. We did not, I repeat DID NOT purchase any. This may or may not have been due to the fact we were too late in the day and all the good stuff was gone....OR....maybe we just decided that would just be plain crazy to buy more cookies. Cuz we have good, common sense like that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Efficient Kitchen.

A few years ago my mom remodeled and updated her kitchen. It is beautiful and super efficient. She now has two ovens. A conventional and a convection.

Last summer during my Farm Days (which may or may not have actually been Farm Month) I decided to make some peanut butter cookies. My mom wasn't around that day--it was just me, my chitlens, the men folk coming and going from the fields and a few little cousins roaming around. I knew I needed to make for the masses, because- well, there's always masses of people at my moms.

So began my adventure...I pulled out her baymix, (the giant kind that hold crazy huge amounts-like 18 cups of flour) with that bad boy I was prepared to bake for the multitudes. Now, a word on these particular cookies, first of all--they are delicious, secondly--you have to roll them in sugar prior to baking them. This not only adds to the deliciousness, but adds another step in the whole baking process.

I made my cookie dough. So, I was now ready to start baking. I thought to myself: Self, you don't have one of these newfangled convection ovens, but word on the street is you can bake multiple sheets of cookies at one time. That sounds like a good idea. And if you also fire up the regular oven you can have one more sheet baking in there as well! WoW!! This is going to be cookie central in no time!

I got the first batch in and started getting the next batch ready, now to be more efficient I always do the old pan switch-a-roo when I make cookies---get the next batch ready so that as soon as the first batch is out in goes the next one, you know the system. I really didn't think through this well, because I had six pans flying in and out of those ovens. I could barely get the hot cookies off the pan, scoop the dough, roll the dough in the sugar and back on the pan before the alternate oven was beeping for me to get that batch out.

Mix in the fact that I had multiple children coming and going needing me for random things, plus the boys (okay, they are men-but my little brothers will always be "the boys" to me) coming in scrounging up something for lunch, not to mention I was quickly running out of room in my mothers very large kitchen to stack cookies-- it was total mayhem.

Yes, I was making fantastic cookies at an alarmingly fast rate.
Yes, I was still helping all those little people.
Yes, I was finding food for the big boys.
Yes, I was keeping the rest of the house some what together for my mothers return.
All of these were good things.
It was just a little overwhelming in the moment.

I tell you the Analogy of the Efficient Kitchen because that is
kind of how my life feels right about now.
Between Mike and I, we have found all sorts of avenues for bringing home the bacon. It seems one of us is always doing some sort of work related something or other.
We have five fabulous children who all need us (me mostly, but whatever). There's lots of homework, reading, listening, playing, just plain old family stuff to do.
We both have church callings that can be fairly time consuming (Mike mostly, but whatever). We are both gone every Wednesday, and he is always gone one weekend a month camping.
Throw in all the rest of the craziness that we call "life" and it is one crazy train ride.

It's all good stuff.
I wouldn't want to change a thing. I am grateful for the work opportunities, my wonderful family, and for the opportunity to serve in the church.
I'm not complaining here, I'm just saying that sometimes life feels like making cookies in my mom's kitchen--just flying at me faster than I can gobble it down.

And, because you knew I couldn't leave you without passing it along...
here you go...

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.
Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely. Makes about 45 cookies.

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Peeks last week...need this for noncommentors. Lame. commenting is cool.