Gingerbread men

recipe from online, and my changes.

  • 9 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup mild molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium high speed until combined and creamy-looking. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in egg and vanilla on high speed for 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The butter may separate; that’s ok.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick and slightly sticky. Divide dough in half and place each onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each up tightly and pat down to create a disc shape. Please see photo and description above in my post. Chill discs for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. Don’t be afraid to continually flour the work surface as needed- this dough can be sticky. Roll out disc until 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Re-roll dough scraps until all the dough is shaped. Repeat with remaining disc of dough.
  5. Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes. If your cookie cutters are smaller than 4 inches, bake for about 8 minutes. If your cookie cutters are larger than 4 inches, bake for about 11 minutes. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time.
  6. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate as desired.

Research Presentation

We researched the evidence for providing music to patients with cancer for pain relief, and found a small but significant effect. We presented to faculty and local hospital administrators this weekend, and ended up being featured on the university website: http://www.augie.edu/news/nursing-students-present-research-findings.

The presentation was for a class on nursing research. Although the class has been interesting, the material deals in reading academic journals and interpreting statistics-which is very different from the beaten trail of anatomical and medical coursework. Fortunately, the project was done in groups, and I was able to work on the project with my fellow students and friends, and we formed a wonderful team:

nursing-research-2016_0

Our review of the evidence on music and cancer pain ended up taking second place, which means that we will be taking our presentation to a larger conference in the spring.

1

Fall Semester

I stepped out my door this morning to the usual 8 am chill, and felt my foot slide ever-so-slightly. No, I thought. It can’t be quite yet.

Crispy white grass told me otherwise.

The first frost makes it easier to believe October has arrived. School days are flowing by smoothly, thanks to a schedule that accommodates the heavy nursing school workload much better than last year.  Advanced level classes have been incredibly interesting, with studies in mental diseases, nursing research, and detailed health classes. The calmer days won’t last, as midterms are just around the corner, complete with tests and eighteen pages of essays to write. On the other side-fall break!

Large Family Photography

how we styled and posed a photo with ten kids

  1. We chose three colors when finding outfits, two neutrals and a standout color: blue, grey, and Mustard yellow.
  2. We gave the baby a photo friendly prop to play with (in this case it happened to be a yellow corncob)
  3. We looked for natural staging for added height difference. As the older kids have gotten taller, spacing is not as easy as when everyone was clearly different heights according to age. A picnic table worked well in this scene, giving us three layers.  if everyone had been standing, it would have looked more like this picture, which gets the job done but doesn’t look as natural
  4. We placed the children in reverse order of behavability: shoes who could stand still longest went in first.

Our Favorite Underrated Educational Activities in the Midwest

The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, IA. In an unknown Iowa town, this beautiful work of art is built of semi-precious rocks.

Railroad Museum, Council, Bluffs, IA . The Henry Doorly Zoo gets all the credit in nearby Omaha, which is not surprising since it ranks one of the top zoos nation wide. However, my family also enjoyed this lesser known museum in Council Bluffs, IA. It was free and child friendly, and perfect for all the young boys in the family.

University of Nebraska Museum of Natural History– Lincoln, NE. This amazing museum featured three floors of animal exhibits, science displays, and fossils. The enormous woolly mammoth fossils were exceptional. Far from boring, even the youngest kids were riveted throughout the exhibits.

Ashfall Fossil Beds is one destination I haven’t seen myself, but reports from friends place this high on my to-do list.

Steamboat Arabia in Kansas City, MO. shows a slice of life in the post war pioneer frontier. Perfectly preserved artifacts from this sunken supply ship were fascinating, and on the job archeologists are at work and available for questions.