Christmas Day

Christmas suspense was building. This little watcher kept a tree-side vigil patiently:

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Well, mostly patiently.

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We enjoyed Christmas music from family musicians old:

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and new:

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One of the best parts of the day was a father-son Jingle Bells duet. Alexander has been taking clarinet lessons for about three months.

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Keeping time:img_1981

Little brothers-my favorite.
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Daniel and Dominic sweethearts. Joseph is not amused.

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Grandparents visited:

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Dominic and Claire love to play ‘puppysitting’

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Landon won the originality award for wrapping presents for himself:img_6610

Merry Christmas!

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Misc- Christmas

“In twenty years, we’re going to need to rent the events center to hold a tree to fit everything underneath”-Landon (The Christmas spoils included many sibling gifts to each other, so the stack formed a small mountain this year).

“The wine glass is for you Mom, because I broke your other one”

 

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:

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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.

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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.