Monday, November 2, 2009

My 5 month old love




















Despite the last month of colds, teething and short, erratic naps, I want to eat this kid up every day. I can’t believe he’s mine. With a schedule more or less established I’m starting to join the real world again. Maybe now I can hem my “new” jeans I bought a month ago and finish Beck’s crib bedding before he grows out of it!

P.S. Beck has a new cousin today! Welcome William David Bryant! And…two new twin boy cousins coming next week. Thanksgiving is going to be a Nielson baby boy party! Beck has no idea he has 36 cousins and 21 aunts and uncles waiting to meet him. We can’t wait!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Waffles, Conference and Oprah – not necessarily in that order


Ever since Stephen told me that as a kid he used to wake up early on Saturday morning to try to persuade his mom to make waffles by pulling out all the ingredients onto the counter, I have not been able to resist making waffles every Saturday morning. It’s become our little Nielson tradition and this last weekend was no different. Well, except that it was conference which seemed like a good excuse to make them on Sunday too. Here’s our recipe. It only makes 2-3 waffles. We don’t need more than that for the two of us and making just enough for about one per person prevents me from having leftovers which I then eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.

P.S. Did I mention it was conference? Did I mention I feel, as expected, ready to conquer anything? Did I mention this might be my favorite talk…or this one…or maybe this one? I’m amazed how I can sit for 8 hours over the course of the weekend and the whole time feel that my eyes are being opened to all my short comings while still feeling comforted, optimistic, excited and refreshed.

P.P.S. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law will be guests on the Oprah Show on Wednesday. Stephen and I are in the third row of the audience. Check it out.

And finally…the recipe


1 eggs

1 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cups milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon to taste (I think I put in about 1/8-1/4 tsp)


1. Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs until fluffy. (It do this in my trusty Magic Bullet.) Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, baking powder, salt, vanilla and cinnamon, just until smooth.

2. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fun and Freedom


Yesterday a very important package was delivered. A present for Beck…and mommy. The Jumparoo – an obnoxiously large, colorful toy – the kind to which you think, before you’re a parent, you’ll never devote that much precious apartment floor space and throw your off your whole decor. Whatever. Bring on the tacky entertainment baby furniture. Although no substitute for good quality mommy and son time, maybe now I’ll be able get in a treadmill workout without depending on his nap (SO unpredictable) or husband rushing home from school when really he should be schmoozing and studying. Jumparoo - fun for Beck, freedom for mommy. So worth the eye sore and half of our living room.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A lazy afternoon


This is Beck, letting it all hang out on the couch – belly, thumb sucking and all – and not napping. Again!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Flashback: A week before Beck surprised us

I’ve realized I haven’t kept a good record, or any record for that matter, of the big events in my life. So, as a matter of record, here is me as pregnant as I got, 34 weeks, at a little family baby shower.



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Oprah, and other festivities


Last week brought:

  • Sitting in the audience of the Oprah Show
  • Leaving Beck for the first time all day to go to said show :(
  • The last BBQ of the summer
  • Beck rolling over the first time!
  • My first stab at my sister’s famous barbacoa recipe
  • A wonderful visit from beloved family, good conversation over Greek food and much needed advice

This week brings:

  • Crisp weather, thunderstorms and falling golden leaves
  • Lots of sewing projects including Beck’s bedding for his new crib
  • Friends in town
  • Setting up house…still
  • And most importantly, early Christmas General Conference!!! I can’t wait to hear our general authorities give us counsel, comfort and many reminders to do better.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The treasure and the keys


The criticism I have most often received regarding my religion is the separate and distinct roles of men and women. I’ve never had a problem with my divine role as a woman but at times it has been difficult to articulate why I don’t just tolerate it but celebrate and take pride in it. Stephen and I discovered this parable given by President Boyd K. Packer as we were studying the Marriage and Family Relations study guide put out by our church. I think it’s a beautiful explanation of why the roles of men and women, although separate and unique from one another, are of equal power, privilege and responsibility and the dependence they have on one another. I’m posting it here to share it and to put it somewhere I can refer to it often.

Once a man received as his inheritance two keys. The first key, he was told, would open a vault which he must protect at all cost. The second key was to a safe within the vault which contained a priceless treasure. He was to open this safe and freely use the precious things which were stored therein. He was warned that many would seek to rob him of his inheritance. He was promised that if he used the treasure worthily, it would be replenished and never be diminished, not in all eternity. He would be tested. If he used it to benefit others, his own blessings and joy would increase.

The man went alone to the vault. His first key opened the door. He tried to unlock the treasure with the other key, but he could not, for there were two locks on the safe. His key alone would not open it. No matter how he tried, he could not open it. He was puzzled. He had been given the keys. He knew the treasure was rightfully his. He had obeyed instructions, but he could not open the safe.

In due time there came a woman into the vault. She too held a key. It was noticeably different from the key he held. Her key fit the other lock. It humbled him to learn that he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her.

They made a covenant that together they would open the treasure and, as instructed, he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the treasure. She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most precious to them both. Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance. They rejoiced, for, as promised, it replenished itself.

With great joy they found that they could pass the treasure on to their children; each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.

Perhaps some few of their posterity would not find a companion who possessed the complementary key, or one worthy and willing to keep the covenants relating to the treasure. Nevertheless, if they kept the commandments, they would not be denied even the smallest blessing.

Because some tempted them to misuse their treasure, they were careful to teach their children about keys and covenants.

There came, in due time, among their posterity some few who were deceived or jealous or selfish because one was given two keys and another only one. “Why,” the selfish ones reasoned, “cannot the treasure be mine alone to use as I desire?”

Some tried to reshape the key they had been given to resemble the other key. Perhaps, they thought, it would then fit both locks. And so it was that the safe was closed to them. Their reshaped keys were useless, and their inheritance was lost.

Those who received the treasure with gratitude and obeyed the laws concerning it knew joy without bounds through time and all eternity.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Love Sac, you are aptly named.


This glorified bean bag has been good to me. It has provided the perfect spot for countless Sunday afternoon naps. Many movies and “24” episodes have been watched surrounded by its comfort. It’s where my husband to be first kissed me and first told me he loved me…the “Love Sac” and I have a history. I regretfully abandoned it for a time, banishing it to my sister and brother in law’s house to make room for a treadmill but we were finally reunited as we moved into our new home in Evanston. I rediscovered my adoration for the “Love Sac” when after sleepless nights with a sick, stuffy, coughing baby, it provided the perfect method for propping my munchkin up so, for the first time ever, he could sleep for 10 hours straight! You can imagine the love I felt and feel to this day as I have enjoyed at least 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night since. Beck now sleeps in his crib, but that one night in the “Love Sac” introduced him to the sweet goodness of a full night’s sleep and for that I am eternally grateful. Now if we could just get some consistent napping in…am I being greedy?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Salmon Chowder


I tried this recipe out on my family when they were in town for Beck’s blessing. It seemed to be a hit and has become one of our favorites. For the salmon, I use the frozen sockeye from Costco, baked from frozen for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 cups diced red potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 3 4-6oz baked salmon filets
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, and garlic until onions are tender. Stir in potatoes, broth, salt, pepper, and dill. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in salmon, evaporated milk, corn, and cheese. Cook until heated through.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Three blocks from our house...


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I could tell when Stephen hopped on a plane to Chicago two weeks after Beck was born to find us a home in Evanston that he was nervous. Probably in part because he was leaving his emotionally and hormonally challenged wife at home alone with a new baby but also because it was up to him to find us a house that we would all feel was our home. He did very well. Just a short walk and I still feel like I live near the coast or on an island. Home Sweet Home.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Four Months...

Monday, February 23, 2009

5 1/2 Month Belly


5 1/2 months brings a growing belly, dependence on nightly back rubs and a farewell to sleeping on my back, squeezing into my regular clothes and sporting my favorite stilettos. I've been lucky enough to skip morning sickness, weird cravings and a host of other horrible symptoms I read about in all the books so no complaints here. Throw in a husband who is eager to help and so far I'm a big fan of this pregnant thing. I hope this feeling lasts...I've got a ways to go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quinoa and Black Beans

In my never-ending quest to eat healthy this recipe has been a staple. I had abandoned it for a time but recently reintroduced it into my repertoire. It's Stephen's new favorite and makes a great lunch since it's best cold. (Recipe and picture from

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

-Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

-Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

-Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Monday, February 16, 2009

We're having a boy...

and I hope he looks just like this...