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Elder Larson to return from Thailand soon

Soon is relative, I suppose. Our son has been away from home more than a year and a half as he has been volunteering as a full-time missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since September 14, 2016. He will be home in four months and is working so hard, knowing his time there is winding down.
He has been assigned to train Elder Ben Meyer, from Sydney, Australia, as they serve in Ubon, Thailand. Christopher has been there since November. We are very proud of his dedication and hard work.

This week in Thailand, the new prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, with his wife, Wendy Nelson, along with one of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and his wife, Patricia Holland, will be on their world ministering tour and be where our son is. The Church members and missionaries in Thailand are very excited and happy for this special visit! I can't wait to hear how it goes, and I look forward to pictures and stories to come.
Recent posts

Class of 2030 first day of school

First day of kindergarten was a huge hit!
The only thing that went wrong, other than arriving to school a few hours late due to our flight from Denver and no sleep the night before from seeing the 2017 American solar eclipse in Casper, Wyoming, was losing two small, black buttons from his brand new blue and gray plaid Hurley shirt.
My little boy started kindergarten and I'm so excited for the freedom it will give me while he's away at school, but especially I'm glad for the fun times he will have in learning and being with new friends.  He was so ready and excited!  I didn't know any of the kindergarten teachers at the school, but after meeting Mrs. C, I'm so glad we got her!  Her body language and introduction to Isaac were so sweet and made him feel safe, loved and welcome.
I ordered this fun and festive balloon from ATXBubbles and they delivered it to our front door.  Isaac loved his after school surprise.
He picked out this backpack because the inside says &quo…

Flagstaff House Executive Chef Mark Monette's Family Legacy

Mark Monette, executive chef and partner of Flagstaff House, has been the man behind the scenes in the kitchen for countless special occasions and celebrations. This fine dining restaurant situated a few miles up Flagstaff Road in Boulder, perched at the Flatirons' edge with a bird's-eye view of the city, is where Monette has spent more than three decades fine-tuning his craft in this family run business. The restaurant and staff have received accolades and notoriety locally and nationally, including recognition for being named "Top Ten Restaurant in Boulder," "Most Romantic Restaurants in America" and "Best American Cuisine and Best Wine Selection." (This article is from a Q&A interview I did with him in February, 2017.)
Your father, Don Monette, bought the Flagstaff House in 1971 when you were 10 years old. What do you remember about the restaurant back in those days?
"We would come up here in the summer and work, and it was just busy al…

Pralines and Dreams

I considered myself to be a decent cook and baker.  However, candy making had been unchartered territory until I recently cracked the code of a favorite—chewy Texas Pecan Pralines.  This culinary epiphany came only days before I left my home sweet home in Austin, Texas, to return to CU Boulder after an epic hiatus to wrap up my bachelor’s degree in journalism.

When I was a little girl, I remember tasting heavenly, creamy homemade pralines, bursting with pecans, handcrafted with love by my mom.  She only whipped them up a few times, but I just couldn’t get the memory of those buttery, sugary treats out of my head.  They were that good.  I asked her if she still had the recipe, but I knew it would be hopeless since my mom wasn’t one for keeping track of her down-home style cooking.

I married my college sweetheart, a guy with the same first name as me, and began teaching myself to cook.  Becoming “Kelly Times Two” was amazing, and I had a lot to learn as an aspiring home chef, plus a long …

Buttery Pie Crust

Pie crust 101
Get a cold stick of butter, cut it into sixteen pieces. Put some ice cubes into a measuring cup with water to get it cold. Measure 1-1/4 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove ice cubes (and excess water) to measure to 1/4 cup ice cold water. Add butter, flour, and salt into food processor and pulse until it is all mixed into fine, crumbled, and loose pieces. Slowly pour the cold water in until it turns into a big ball. Take it all out and put into a gallon sized zippered plastic bag, pressing dough to form a thick, slightly flattened disc, that will be rolled out later. Refrigerate for approximately an hour. I like to use a mat for rolling out my pie dough, although I have made a ton of pie crusts directly on a clean and floured countertop surface.
Sprinkle flour over the surface, and take the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place in the center of floured surface.
Add additional flour to the top of the dough.
Press the dough down to flatten it a bit before usin…

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut cream pie, one of Kelly's and my favorites! Here's how I make the filling.

Filling
5 tablespoons corn starch 1 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 2-1/2 cups milk 3/4 cup heavy cream 3 egg yolks 2 tablespoons butter 2 teaspoons vanilla 1/2 cup coconut
Mix cornstarch, sugar, salt, milk, cream in pan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and thick. Pour small amount of egg mixture into egg yolks, blend thoroughly, then pour back into pan. Cook additional 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into cooked pie crust. 

(My preference is to use a tart pan with the bottom circle that lifts out, rather than a traditional pie pan or plate. I used a tart pan to make the pie in these pictures.)  

Chill 3 to 4 hours. Whip one cup heavy cream, add sugar as it starts to thicken, then spread whipped cream over top. Calories: 458 per 1/8 slice.   


BYU football weekend

Hello blog world! It's been a while. So tonight's occasion to check in is rather lame, considering I neglected to cover events such as my daughter returning home from her mission in Hong Kong and Macau in April, or my toddler turning two in March, or my other daughter starting middle school recently, etc. Football season apparently gets me off the couch with updating the blog. So, here we go!  We first got asked by Kelly's cousin, Tim, a month or so ago, if he could stay here with us during the BYU game when they come to Austin. Then in the past few days, several other out of town friends texted me to say they will be out for the big game. I've been so anxious for the Cougars to come to town that I did what I always do when an upcoming event is approaching, I started planning a party menu. I whipped up all manner of BYU blue treats, and built up the anticipation for the big weekend. 
Our social worker who flew to Taiwan when we did our home study to adopt Hannah, was one…