Friday, March 7, 2008

Grand Opening Begins!

Welcome to the
A Blogfest of Blogtastic Blogitude
Presented by the Kitchen Family
Conducted by Jackie

Todays event includes the following blogtivities:

1) Opening Song performed by Aedan
2) In the Beginning...
3) A Tribute - sites outgrown but not forgotten
4) Illinois Jack and the Lost Art
5) Refreshments or what I would have served you

** sorry for the delay in getting this out - blogspot has been having issues this morning. yay.

ABCs performed by Aedan, accompanied by Jackie

Yesterday, Aedan decided he wanted to contribute to the grand opening and so he started saying his ABCs the whole way through by himself. It is a little hard to hear and it is not perfect (hey, he's 20 months old, come on) but cute nonetheless.

We, the Kitchen family, have led a very blessed life thus far and for those of you just joining us, here is a quick recap:

Neal entered the world shortly after his twin brother Dale, and inconsequently he has been shorter than Dale ever since. (See if you can figure out which is which.... ) Born in Provo, UT to a family of Utah natives, Neal lived in the area until around age 7 when his family moved to the east St. Louis vacinity. There he developed a talent for construction, getting into twin trouble, and running cross country (one wasn't necessarily the result of the other). He returned to Utah to attend BYU, served a spanish speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bolivia, continued his education at BYU and transferred to the University of Illinois to complete his BS in Molecular Biology. He promptly began the PhD program in Cell Biology at the U of I and became an Illini basketball season ticket holder (to which he is attending his final basketball game as I write this).

One and a half years after Neal was born, Jackie joined the Welch family, the first of five born to a Hong Kong native mother and a Brigham City, UT native father. Her first year or so was spent living on the island of her birthplace, Oahu, HI. She most likely witnessed a good number of hula shows there for she eventually developed an uncanny interest in hula, participating in Polynesian dance at BYU in her later years. Her family moved to Utah and there they remain to this day. Jackie went to college with the intention of getting a minor in Music (music being a life-long hobby of hers) and a major in Engineering Geology, but graduated from BYU with a BS in Geology instead. A year after finishing her undergrad degree, she moved to Illinois to begin her MS in Geology at the U of I.

And then things started getting interesting....

Neal and Jackie met at what was then the singles branch but is now the University Ward of the LDS church. It wasn't quite love at first sight but we will just say for the sake of brevity, that Neal had to try multiple times to get Jackie on a date alone. But once they began dating, they never stopped, not even today when Neal still has a hard time getting Jackie alone. That is because on June 14th, 2003 Neal and Jackie were wed in the Mt. Timpanogos temple of the LDS church and had their first child, Aedan on June 28th, 2006.

Aedan Oliver Kitchen, also Jun-Ling, has been quite the character (gets that from dad) with quite the set of chubby cheeks (gets that from mom) and he has been extremely entertaining since day one.

While we are new to blogspot, the Kitchen family has been online since 2003. We've learned much through the years, probably haven't learned enough, but we are excited to be free of ads as I'm sure you are thankful for!

Farewell We first meet in 2003 and you were a good friend to us during our engagement, wedding, and post-wedding life.

Goodbye You supported us from 2005 until just recently, at a time when our lives began to get really exciting with fancy travelling, with pregnancy, a baby, to the toddler today.


As I was digging through the jungle of our corner desk, I made some interesting rediscoveries. Long lost memories that probably were better off buried but now that they have resurfaced, there is no containing them now... unfortunately my scanner is down and I had many more planned for this part. We will lock them away in the Kitchen Vault and bring them out another day.

Above: (L) One of my favorite grade school pictures of Neal because that smile cracks me up every time. (R) What do you get when you put together a tight hair perm with a thick head of hair? An afro to be reckoned with. Aahhh, the glamour days...

Above: (L) Neal as Indiana Jones with Jackie as 'the maiden in distress'. Neal was asked to be the hero at our Stake's Gold and Green Ball the spring of 2005 where we had this action-packed skit spread out over the evening where he had a narrow escape from a giant rolling stone, a few good cracks with his whip, and a kiss with the lovely girl. (R) somehow this picture escaped my last website. This is Halloween of 2005 where the Georges, the Parents, and the Kitchens dressed up together as the Addams Family. Neal made a fabulous Gomez.

Great American Cookies Snickerdoodles
These will seem not done when they come out of the oven but trust me they will set up perfectly. I have given this recipe out to others and have found that you can't fail using this recipe - I am a horrible cookie baker but these turn out perfect every time!

Makes 16-18 cookies (which is why I end up tripling this)
1/2 C. butter(1 stick), softened
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. brown sugar(packed)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (Penzey's cinnamon is the best!)

1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar.
3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees while you let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator.
5. In a small bowl combine the sugar with the cinnamon for the topping.
6. Take about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the dough and roll it into a ball. Roll this dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and press it onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat for the remaining cookies.
7. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes and no more. They will seem undercooked. After they cool they should be soft and chewy in the middle.This only makes 16-18 cookies. But they are big cookies. This is a clone of The Great American Cookie Co. They are great!!!

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies
This is from the Heath Bits bag recipes and Neal was the one who first tried these and asked me to make them at home. But get this, Neal doesn't like coconut but he still loved them and I have found many people who don't like coconut still love them

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened or I prefer the butter-flavored Crisco, they turn out better
2 eggs
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits
1 cup MOUNDS Sweetened Coconut Flakes(optional but a must for me - for those who don't like coconut, you cant even tell they are there because of the oats)

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Beat butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; beat until blended.
2. Stir in oats, toffee bits and coconut, if desired, with spoon. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto prepared sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove to wire rack. About 4 dozen cookies


  1. Thank you for being such a wonderful hostess. The entertainment was wonderful and the cookies were fabulous! :-)

  2. Thanks for coming! I must say, so far you win the prize for the guest who travelled the furthest for this event! We sure miss you guys! Kisses for squirrel.

  3. Excellent grand opening! I ran up here at 11:15 this evening to see it- so feel special! Oh and I am definitely the furthest- what would you say, about 100 feet?

  4. I am so glad I got to be part of the grand opening event!

    Great job on the new blog.

  5. Well done! I loved reading everything! I am very impressed by Aedan's singing :) Jackie, you are such a talented writer. Sorry I was late to the event, but I enjoyed it none the less. I just wish I could have really tasted those cookies..yum!


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