Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Potato, Cucumber, and Dill Salad

Potato, Cucumber, and Dill Salad

This is so good!

2 lbs. baby red potatoes, sliced
3 1/2 Tbs. rice wine vineagr
1 1/2 Tbs country-style dijon mustard
2 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
3/4 lb. pickling cucumbers, sliced
Fresh dill sprigs

Cook potatoes in pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain.
Transfer to large bowl. Add 2 Tbs vinegar to hot potatoes and stir
gently. Combine remaining 1 1/2 Tbs vinegar and mustard in small
bowl. Gradually mix in oil and mayo. Add chopped dill. Mix into
potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made six hours ahead.
Cover; chill. Bring to room temp before serving.) Mix in cucumbers.
Garnish will dill sprigs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ten minutes

That's all I'm giving myself to write about today.

Today was a big day, and normally I would spend an hour and a half on a post like this. I want it to have accompanying videos and images and be worded just perfectly. But I don't have time. And I know if I wait until tomorrow it will never get done. So whatever I can come up with in ten minutes will just have to do!

My Franny has been receiving therapy since September 2006. We're going on four years! It's called EIBI (Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention) or ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). It has changed our lives and hers for the better. When we were first told that she would need 25 hours of therapy a week at 2 1/2 years old, I could hardly believe it. The day she turned three years old she started going to school from 8 AM to 3 PM and had 1:1 therapy all day. ALL DAY. We noticed a huge difference right away. We have had amazing therapists, para's, consultants, doctors, and administrators helping us along the way. People that now feel like part of our family.

I could go on and on about this, but I have a deadline.

I got a call today from one of Franny's consultants. You see, Franny has had a whole team of people who evaluate her needs and her progress on a monthly basis. She said that Franny is ready to "graduate" from the EIBI program. Which basically means she has caught up to her peers. She'll still receive a few services like speech therapy and she'll work with a writing specialist, but nothing compared to what she had before. No team, no monthly meetings, no EIBI minutes.

I can't believe it. It's been such an emotional day. I remember taking this video footage the first day of therapy. She screamed and screamed because she didn't want to play "my turn" with Melinda. (Melinda would pass the ball to Franny and then say "my turn" and Franny was to give it back.) It's a video of a very sad Franny. I remember that as I was recording her melt down, I was hoping that someday I would come back to watch this video and say, "Wow, look at how far she's come!" Today's news is exactly what I hoped and prayed for when we first learned about Franny's diagnosis. I prayed so hard for this. And now that we're here... it feels great. It also feels scary. We won't have the same support we're used to having. And I will miss seeing these people regularly. It's so exciting! There should be a big party with all the people who helped her get to this point! Melinda, Mary, Tiffany, Chrissy, Karen, Stephanie, Jen, Mary Ellen, Liz... and OH SO many more. Bobby and I are both so grateful for the help she has received and so proud of our Franny, the hardest-working kid we know.

It was a good day. Wow, look at how far she's come!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Anniversary Dinner

Bobby was only home for a few short hours on our actual anniversary, but I wanted to do something so I planned a nice meal. For dessert I thought it would be fun to make something sort of resembling a wedding cake. I thought the kids would like blowing out the candles and thought that might help them understand that Mommy and Daddy are already married. (They're always asking us if we're going to get married in the temple.)

Flank Steak Burritos- basically the same as these that I posted about before. They tasted amazing with the flank steak.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
We had some amazing iron skillet cornbread at a restaurant in Kansas City. This was my attempt to recreate that experience. Not exactly what I was looking for, but still very moist and delicious.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
  • 3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers


Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Coconut Cake- yummo.


  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Baked Oatmeal-Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Mayonnaise

It is with a heavy heart and an empty stomach that I bring you this recipe. Dieting sucks.

But this was actually pretty good for a healthier meal. And my kids LOVED it surprisingly.

I served this with parmesan couscous and yellow squash and zucchini sauteed in a little olive oil and butter with garlic.

Baked Oatmeal-Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Mayonnaise
  • 4 whole Tilapia Fillets (fresh Or Frozen)
  • 2 cups Quick Oats
  • ⅓ cups Bread Crumbs
  • ⅓ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, Chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Parsley
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons Low-fat Mayonnaise (you May Need A Little Extra If Your Fillets Are Bigger)
  • ½ teaspoons Grated Lemon Rind
  • ½ teaspoons Lemon Juice

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Defrost/rinse fish and pat dry. Place fish fillets on the baking sheet.

3. In a bowl, mix together oats, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, chives, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, measure out the mayonnaise before adding lemon rind and juice. Stir.

4. Brush tops of fish with mayonnaise, then top with the dry coating. You may feel the desire to scrimp on the mayo or feel anxious about how the texture will bake. Don’t and don’t be! The mayo melds with the coating of dry materials and thickens, creating a creamy texture. It barely tastes of mayo. Don’t go overboard with the mayo, but don’t underestimate its role in the success of this dish. If you’re not a fan of mayonnaise, I’ve read that sour cream and/or plain-flavored yogurt are excellent substitutions.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes when forked. Serve over the pasta of your choice or with vegetables.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Celebrating nine years

Our anniversary was on Tuesday, but Bobby and I are heading out tonight to celebrate. I'm so excited to have some time alone with him. (Claire will be with us but at least she won't be interrupting my sentences all night long to say something really insightful, like "Boof in your bottom." I swear, it's a wonder Bobby and I are ever able to talk about anything!) It's not like he's been working crazy hours or that he's been out of town or anything, but I really miss him! I guess it's just part of the whole adjusting to three children thing. I can't believe it's been nine years. Ten years ago I was pining away for this boy while he was on his mission. I was saying the words, "I can't wait for Bobby to get home" out loud many times a day. So many times that it almost started that they all started to kind of slur together into one very long word. I was thinking of him constantly and dreaming of all the things I have now and thinking: "Gee. Wouldn't it be cool to be Bobby's wife?"

I was right about that. Happy Anniversary Bobby! I love you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jayne says...

One of the perks of staying in K-ville is I get to be here when the students come back for graduation. I was so happy to see these two especially. I've missed them so much ever since they left. Natalie is going to be only three hours away for residency, so I am thrilled! I'm hoping to see Jessica next time when I'm visiting my mother-in-law in Idaho. Thanks you two for coming and visiting me during such a busy weekend. Congratulations!!

Natalie smuggled five pounds of cinnamon bears and a giant container of Stephen's hot chocolate out of Utah for me. Cinnamon bears will always remind me of baby Claire. I think I've had a handful every day since she was born thanks to Natalie and my friend Sara!

Jayne came up from Kansas City for a wedding reception and stayed with us for a night. It was so great to have her. While she was here, Claire smiled at Jayne for the very first time ever!! I didn't get it on camera, but this was taken right after. Jayne moved a year ago and I've really missed having her around. She was going to stay in a hotel, but luckily for me it was our local university's graduation and she couldn't find a room. Otherwise we wouldn't have had all that time to sit and chat. I always soak up everything Jayne has to say because she has great perspective and gives great advice. And with Bobby following in her husband Shawn's footsteps as an anesthesiologist, it's nice to know what's coming. I'm hoping we can get down later this summer for a quick visit with the Crook's. It's just not the same without them here!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Maybe she's born with it.

Today is Franny's last full day home before her half day summer school starts for the month of June. We had just finished eating lunch and the baby had just fallen asleep in her swing when Franny said, "Let's go on a walk." I wasn't thrilled about waking up the baby, but I knew the kids would enjoy being outside. I woke Claire up, put her in her stroller and went outside to meet the girls. Franny said the neighbors had set up their pool and then she said, "I was just kidding. I don't want to go on a walk anymore." Ha! I laughed at her and made her go around the block with me once anyway. I told her I didn't wake Claire up for nothing! So we made it around once and Franny and Sophie ran straight for the neighbor's pool. When I caught up to them, I found the two of them in their [brand new] clothes splashing around in an inflatable pool with two inches of water, already soaking wet. Awesome.

Earlier this morning, I was putting on my makeup when Sophie joined me in the bathroom. Sometimes she likes to take one of my powder brushes and put her makeup on too. Today she had her baby doll with her and was applying the makeup to the doll as well. She was asking me what all the different brushes were for. Then she picked up the mascara and asked what it was for. I said it was for your eyes and I was sure she would just pretend to put it on instead of unscrewing the tube. I was wrong. I looked down when I heard her say, "I like this mom. I like this on my eyes." At first I was like, "SOPHIE!! No! You can't play with that." Then I guided her to the mirror and told her to look at what she had done to herself. She burst into tears when she saw her reflection. Then I couldn't help but laugh. She wasn't real happy with me for taking this picture. I knew I'd be sorry if I didn't take a picture of the first time one of my kids got into my makeup.

Claire started sleeping through the night last Thursday night. She slept through the night five nights in a row, until last night when she woke up every THREE hours! I'm so hoping it's just a fluke and she wasn't teasing me before. It's got to be her just trying to increase my milk supply, right? I mean I know that sleeping through the night is more than most can expect when babies are only 7 1/2 weeks old, but I was starting to get used to the extra sleep and it just seems too cruel to take it away at this point! :) She's also cooing now. I love that so much.

Claire's blessing day


I normally would spend much longer writing a post like this, but since it must be done, it must be done quickly! I have so very little time for blogging these days.

This post may seem a bit more personal than my typical posts. But it's got to be recorded and it's an opportunity for me to share a little of my testimony, which I should probably be doing more of.

Claire's blessing day was perfect. We planned to have it while my mother-in-law Louise was here helping with the baby, and Bobby's brother Wes and his family came, too. I slept as late as I could the night before since Claire woke up at 3 AM ready to party and we were running out of time. Bobby took everyone to the church early and left Sophie, Claire, and I at home to finish getting ready. I wanted to give Claire a bath or at least wash her hair, but I looked at the clock and knew there wouldn't be time. Louise had told me about a baby blessing she was at where the mother of the baby kept the whole congregation waiting because she was "fixing the baby's hair." I did not want to be that person. :) I started dressing Claire in the blessing dress that my Mom made for Franny and all of the sudden I felt so good. My eyes started to tear up. It just felt like my Mom was right there with me watching me as I got Claire ready for her blessing. Sophie started asking questions about the dress so we talked about Grandma for a minute. We put Claire's bonnet on and got in the car to hurry over to the church. As I walked in to the church building I could hear the music playing and once we reached the chapel we quickly found Bobby and sat down. When I realized what they hymn was, my eyes filled with tears and my heart nearly burst: "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." My mother's favorite hymn. I've noticed it's often played at meetings I've been at on the toughest days since she passed: near/or on the anniversary of her death, her birthday, Mother's Day... I didn't know it was her favorite hymn until we sang it at her funeral. So I can't hear it without thinking of her. I love this song because it's such a beautiful and descriptive testimony of the Savior. It covers so much of what he does for us. So when I hear this song, I feel so loved by both my Mother and my Savior.

I thought of what I must look like to the people sitting around me: the epitome of the new mother- all emotional and hormonal. I mean, I just walked in, sat down, and immediately started crying. That's so weird! Bobby noticed and asked me if I was okay and I told him it was my mother's favorite song. Soon after that he was standing up and giving our third daughter a blessing as beautiful as the ones he gave our other daughters. He sat down with me and held Claire and we smiled as she spit up just about everything she consumed from her last feeding. He looked at me and whispered how sweet it was that all of our daughters had been blessed in the same gorgeous dress. He asked me if I was going to bear my testimony. I told him I hadn't decided yet- I was still a bit emotional and afraid I wouldn't get through it. When it seemed clear to him that I probably wouldn't, he went up to bear his. He talked about how his heart went out to me because I had lost my Mom, how sweet it was to have my mom there with us in a way since she had made that beautiful dress, and then to sing her favorite song- a testimony of Jesus Christ and how he lives to wipe away our tears and calm our troubled hearts. He talked about how touched we were to feel her there on such an important day. I was especially touched to hear Bobby saying all the same things I was thinking without even having the opportunity to discuss them together. So I left that chapel feeling the utmost gratitude. I was grateful for our sweet baby Claire, for family who came so far to be with us, for a righteous husband who knows and loves me, for feeling my mother's presence on that special day, and for my loving Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives.
Family picture taken by Jen. I love the way everyone looks except for me. This pregnancy did a real number on me!

I love this group so much! (Not pictured: Colton and Nicole.) Thanks for coming out to celebrate with us! Thanks Louise and Jen for helping me feed everyone! Thanks Jen for all the beautiful pictures!
It was fun to share Claire's blessing day with little Henry Holmes. He's so cute! Stephanie and Brendon are some of our favorite people! (Brendon is my brother-in-law Grant's (Julia's husband) brother. So we're practically related.)
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