Friday, October 23, 2009

Cookies for College Kids

One of the really great things about being part of a large extended family is that there are lots of fabulous emerging young adults to be proud of....and tons of cute little guys and girls too but that's a story for another day.

The current crop of familial college students is a pretty amazing bunch and every now and then I like to let them know I'm thinkin about them...and that good things come to those who check their mail boxes.

So these are going out to Iowa State University, Marian College of Indianapolis, University Of Dallas, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Universal Technical Institute of Sacramento.

We love of you guys! Study hard and make your Mama's proud.

Aunt Cathy/Mom

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Homecoming 2009 and Life In A Small Town

Last week was homecoming week for the local high school.

It's always a busy week with all the silliness that comes along with homecoming week.

On Friday the kids finished up the week with a pep assembly and then a noise parade.

Each class rides down Hwy 101 on the back of a big truck and decorates a "float" for the parade.

Every now and then I still giggle inside from these small town experiences.

I mean I've been here for sixteen years and it still cracks me up.

You remember that song ....Everybody Dies Famous In a Small Town?

Well I walked a block over to Hwy 101 about the time the noise parade was supposed to be starting and positioned myself so that I could attempt to get some unobstructed photos. Hoping that with any luck I'd end up on the same side as Dylan.

This is not a large this is not a large parade.

Things happen pretty fast.

There I am in position.

Here comes the Junior class truck.

All of a sudden all the kids start yelling "Dylan's Mom!" and going nutso.

Sorry for the photo quality obviously I didn't check my shutter speed very well...but you get the idea.

If I were to die this this small town.... I'd be famous for being "Dylan's Mom".

That's fine by me.

Saturday night was the big dance.

Dylan's date, Heidi, had a few friends over for a really nice dinner prepared by her mom and her brother... and of course the requisite photo ops.

Just before the kids were ready to eat the sky got really pretty outside so everyone went out for the photo shoot.

Heidi's mom also made her dress for the dance... a woman of many talents I tell ya.

The whole group.

Check out that sky

Gotta love Brendan's purple Van's ordered specifically to match.

It's always fun to see the kids all dressed up.

But the stuff I usually like the best are the candid shots.

The real stuff.

The fun stuff.

And the downright goofy stuff.

Ok now in the midst of all this silliness...take a look at the background.

As I was driving up to Heidi's house for this stuff I had a sense of de ja vous.

The next day it came to me.

In May of 1993 we came to Brookings for the first time for Rich's job interview and to look around at relocation possibilities.

We took a bunch of photos of places on that trip to help us remember what things looked like so we could dicuss them later.

The first piece of land that we really loved was this.

It turned out to be too much acreage for our budget but it was still a place we talked about for a long time and would probably have bought at the time if it were possible.

Now scan back up to the last picture on the deck...I'll wait.

Ummm hmmm same place.

How weird is that?

Life in a small town.

Dylan didn't remember looking at that piece of property.

Probably cause he was a little short on that trip.

And he was really more about eating rocks...and dirt...and grass on this stopover in Novato on our way up.

Check out those awesome Birki's I have on.

Admit it.

You had a pair too.

Those were the only thing that made carrying a ten and a half pound baby a doable thing for my feet.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Fuel 'Em Up Apple Bread

Before we get down to brass tacks I have to show you this

This is the Reading 78 Apple Peeler from Lehman's that I adore.

I ordered it about this time last year.

It was a splurge for sure.

But I figured we'd have apples forever and it would be an investment.

An investment in apple pie.

An investment in apple bread.

An investment in applesauce ... and apple whatevers of all kinds.

It took 3 months for me to get it because they were backordered.

They are made by hand in the USA.

Gotta love that.

And it's so easy to use.

I ♥ it.


Enough of the apple peeler love fest.

On to the apple bread.

I based this on a basic apple bread recipe that I had gotten.

I beefed up the nutrition levels by tweeking it some.

I wanted to share this version that we like.

This recipe is not Weight Watchers approved.

I came up with this version because we have teenage athletes in the house.

....actually only one now....*sniff*

The thing about teenage athletes is that it can be tricky to keep them fueled up so I try to pack in the good stuff when I get a chance.

This recipe make two loaves of apple bread.

Grease and flour two loaf pans and preheat you oven to 325.

Start by combining 1/2 cup of bran flakes and a 1/2 cup of milk. Set aside to absorb.
We use rice milk and it works fine.

In a bowl, slightly beat three eggs.

Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar. I like to use this Demerara sugar... it's a little less refined.

Also add 1/2 cup of date's a not so sweet sweetener.

And add vanilla and oil to the mix. I like these particular products. Feel free to use what you like.

Coconut oil needs to be heated slightly to liquify. I love it for baking.

Also add the bran muxture at this point and set aside the liquid mixture.

Combine whole wheat flour, unbleached white flour, baking soda, cinnamon and the optional unsweetened shredded coconut if you like that the way we do.

Stir to combine.

Stir the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients just until evenly mixed.

The mixture will become very thick. This is normal.

Add four cups of pared, chopped apples and one cup of chopped walnuts.

It's still really thick.

Divide between the two loaf pans and prepare the topping mixture.

Two tablespoons of brown sugar (I like Organic Dark Brown) and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Bake at 325 for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Check to make sure the tester comes out clean and bake longer if neccesary.

Let the bread cool on racks for ten minutes.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pans and remove the bread to cool.

My guys like it best with cream cheese or neufchatel. I've had it with vanilla yogurt pored over too. You really can't go wrong.

Here's the recipe all in ine place for ya:

Fuel ‘Em Up Apple Bread

½ cup bran flakes
½ cup milk (I used rice milk)

3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ½ cups sugar (I use Florida Crystals or Demerara which are a little less refined)
½ cup date sugar
1 cup oil (I prefer coconut oil but you can choose your fav)
1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
optional- ¼ unsweetened shredded coconut

4 cups pared, chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pans (or you can use those mini loaf pans)

2. Combine bran and milk in a small bowl and set aside to absorb.

3. Stir together the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla in medium sized bowl until well mixed. Add bran mixture and stir.

4. Combine the flour, soda and cinnamon in a bowl, and then then stir into liquid ingredients until just evenly mixed. Stir in the apples and walnuts. The mixture will be thick and gloppy.

Divide between the loaf pans.

5. Prepare the topping: combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small cup, and sprinkle over the loaves.

6. Bake in preheated slow oven at 325 for 1 hour and 10 minutes, approximately. Check it with a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Make sure it's done. Sometimes they take longer than the time specified.

Let the breads cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the pans. Remove the breads from the pans to wire racks to cool.

The breads are better the second day. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or foil and store at room temperature or in the frig.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy 19th Birthday Collin

I celebrate today at a distance from you.

Thankful for all the smiles you have brought our way.

All through your growing up years you did things "Just for fun."

You hardly ever just walked.

You skipped.

You hopped.

You did strange wobbly combinations of the two...and when we asked why you were doing that you always said..."Just for fun."

We could always tell it was you coming across the house long before you got there.

The quick patter of goofy footsteps gave you away.

You had a sort of Maggie Simpson thing going on.

The pacifier was ever present.

And there was a wisdom far beyond your years.

We must have harrassed you to take it out for pictures cause I hardly found any where you had it in.

You were the easiest baby ever....easy shmeazy...

As long as we connected.

We called you our Velcro baby.

All was right and the world was a beautiful place if I was holding you.

If not... well not so much.

You thought that the world had just ended...abandoned and betrayed by your own mother...never to see her again....ever.

And how could I cause angst to that pudgy cheeked face?

I almost happily gave up dance classes and ...well anything that required me setting you down...for about three or four years til you got your bearings.

But like I said as long as I was holding you...or at least in line of sight you almost never needed parents at were that easy going.

1992 workin on the futon.

Ya the tool thing started that early.

As soon as you could pick one up.

Every morning you and your little footie jammies passed right thru the kitchen and headed straight for the garage.

You shimmied up the leg of the work bench and sat on top til Dad built you your own tiny workbench.

You were the only 2 year old we knew who could handily weild a Makita Cordless.

Can you believe some parents do things this mean to their children?

You and Sean 1992 on Lopez Island

A Christmas photo shoot at Oceanside Harbor about to go South. I hand painted those shirts for you guys...hey it was cool back then...and you were in your Thomas the Tank Engine phase.

1992 I could probably spend all of December posting nothing but Christmas card photo shoots getting outa control.

I just might do that.

1992 Captain Collin on the tiller with Dad - Catalina Island- We used this little Sabot as a dinghy for our sailboat on weekend trips to Catalina.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever.

I have an enlargement of it on the wall in my studio.

I just love it. You were the sweetest thing.

November of 1994 so you had just turned four and we were in our new house in Brookings.

Nothing could ever put a smile on your face like a good take-apart day.

September of 1996 so you were amost six. You thought it was so awesome to take apart the dryer with Dad and fix it. "Just for fun."... Well not really but that's what you thought.

May of 2000 at Floras. You were nine.

Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. You put the Playmobil guys in there with their hands up "Just for fun."

You spent lots of time working on this little go cart that Uncle Dave had built using a dolly as a frame.

My favorite part is the "SIT HERE" you made on the seat out of electrical tape after wrapping the whole thing in duct tape. "Just for fun."... Well the duct tape was to hold the seat together...the message was for fun.

September of 2001. You are about to turn eleven.

You made some use of our insurance every now and then. Here you are after you got the bad end of a kick starter stuck in your leg.

July of 2003. You are twelve.

You and Dylan working on one of many motorcycles that came through our garage.

August of 2005. You are fourteen.

Your fish hatchery rehabilitation project on the Rogue River. It was pretty darn cool and you managed your crew well.

January of 2006. You are fifteen.

Our amazing trip to Maui. You guys windsurfed, snorkled and mountain biked the back side of Haleakela.

March of 2003. You are fifteen.

One of many truck lifting projects you did in our garage. "Just for fun".

August of 2006. You are fifteen. ....Wait you did this to your truck before you even had a license?? What were your parents thinking?

Ahh yes... this is what they were thinking.... You come from at least three generations of mechanics, engineers, and fabricators...not to mention race car addicts.

August of 2006. You are fifteen. You and your best bud Marc at Eagle Point acting as pit crew for Grandpa.

This kind of thing might be strange in some people's living rooms... not here.
In fact this might be one of the least strange things...there was the rollerblading,and the kiddie basketball...hey it took a while before we got a garage!

2008 You are seventeen.

This is another one of my favorite pictures.

Spring break at San Elijo. It was so much fun taking you and Dylan for a week.
This shot sort of sums up the easy friendship you guys have.

March of 2008. You are seventeen.

Happy Day! Nothing better than sharing it with your best friend.

June of 2008. You are seventeen.

We don't get to see as much of you as we would like right now. We take what we can get and smiles like this we treasure.

May of 2009.

You have so enriched out lives.

You taught us to relax.

You reminded us to have confidence.

And most of all you showed us how do things "Just for fun".

Love ya tons!
Happy Birthday Bud.