November 22, 2010

Bread bowls…getting closer

I’m no quitter.  Even though my attempts to make bread bowls in the past have failed miserably, I’m going to keep trying until I get them right.  I got closer the other night, still not perfect, but getting closer.


I made a version of seafood stew or cioppino.  We had dinner at a friends house where they made cioppino and I wanted to recreate it at home.  After cleaning out my freezer a few weeks ago I found that I have an abundance of shrimp and fish which are some of the main ingredients.  The only thing I needed to pick up at the store were the clams and those were hard to come by on a Wednesday night. It seems people in my town only want to eat fresh clams on the weekends…strange.

I wanted to make fresh bread and thought the stew would look pretty in bread bowls. Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe has had great success with her bread bowls.  And since I have failed at them in the past I was happy to find pot pie tins at the grocery store.  I figured I could cheat and use them as a form.  In the past my bread bowls turn out flat


This is what they looked like just before I put them in the oven. You can see some of them did flatten out.  After reading some of the comments on the website where I got the recipe, I feel like I under floured them.  Thankfully I had the tins to help them hold their shape.


They cooked up fine and tasted wonderful, but I still have some room for improvement.  I will keep trying.  I’m sure I’ll get it right one of theses times until then at least the failures are tasting better!

Winter wonderland


One of the perks of living in a small town with other small towns near us is all the fun holiday festivities.  A town near us just spent a lot of money to uncover a creek that was running under the streets and building in their downtown area.  The area was in desperate need of a revitalization project and the city hoped by uncovering the creek and creating a park like area it would bring people into the area and the businesses would benefit. They have several festivals through out the year and for the last few years they have created a Winter Wonderland area with thousands of lights and holiday decorations.


The lights were just turned on Friday night, so Saturday night we headed over for some family fun.  We didn’t tell the kids were we were going, we just told them to dress warm.  As you can see even Mark didn’t follow his own instructions.  He is really in shorts.  We have lived in Idaho for 12 years and he still wears shorts in the winter. I guess you can take the man out of Vegas, but you can never take the Vegas out of the Man.


The area follows the creek and has a few foot bridges that cross the creek. All the trees are wrapped in lights and the bridges are covered in lights.


I took this opportunity to mess with the shutter speed on the camera and tried to get pictures without a flash.  With some trial and error I think I did well.

028 copy

Some of the pictures I just used the Auto feature so I could see the kids.  There were several of these lighted bears playing all over the area.


The reflection of the lights in the water is so pretty.  Luckily the bridge on this end had a large hand rail and I was able to slow the shutter speed while the camera was steady on the hand rail.  I just added camera tripod to my Christmas wish list.


I forgot to speed up the shutter speed, but thought this picture was pretty in it’s own way.

048 copy

Over by their old train depot they had Winnie the Pooh train. Allyson was piglet one year for Halloween. Hello old friend!


Happy Holidays Piglet.


Ballerina Ashley liked the candy cane walkway.  I guess ballet classes are paying off, this seems to be her standard pose lately.

November 21, 2010

12 years and going strong


13 years ago today I sat down next to the most amazing man. One year later I was smart enough to marry him.  Happy 12 year anniversary Mark. These 12 years have been so great.  You are my rock and bring out the best in me.  I’m looking forward to the next 12 years.

After looking through the past year of photo’s I found we have no recent pictures together…so I will just end with this….


I’m the luckiest girls I know!

November 19, 2010

PB & J cookies


I was just telling Mark how I wanted to make a Peanut butter and Jelly cookie when Melanie posted a yummy Peanut butter cookie recipe on her blog.  I figured I could adapt it a little and fill my craving.


I made the cookie dough and placed it on my baking sheet.  Using my teaspoon I created a little indent.


Then I filled it with grape jelly, because that’s the only kind I had…but any flavor would work.


I baked them as directed and let them cool.


I made some with jelly and some without. I made some bite sized and some large.  I like variety and this made a bunch of cookies.  According to the original directions they are able to be frozen. I tested this out and they are perfect after coming out of the freezer, even with the jelly.  So make some yummy PB & J cookies, they are worth it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from

*Makes about 4-5 dozen

  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
  • ½ cup jelly

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the butter and peanut butter and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy Add the brown and white sugars and mix until well combined. Add the eggs and mix for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined and light in color. Add the milk and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix just briefly. While there are still large spots of flour, add the chocolate chips and mix until the flour is completely mixed in and the mixture is well combined. Let the cookie dough sit for 15 minutes before scooping onto the baking sheets. It will firm up as it sits.

When ready to bake, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets leaving about 1 to 2 inches in between the cookies to allow for spreading as they bake. Using the back of a tablespoon make an indention in the cookie; fill indent with jelly. Bake for 10-11 minutes, taking care not to over bake. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes after baking before removing them to a cooling rack. This will help them set up and be firm enough to transfer without having them over bake in the oven. The cookies may look slightly under baked but they will firm up as they cool. Cooled cookies can be placed in the freezer in a storage container. Let thaw for a few minutes before eating.

November 17, 2010

A quick trip or small vacation.

A few weeks ago Mark was telling me how swamped he was at work. They had some big deadline they had to meet and a few things they did didn’t meet with the engineers expatiations.  He prepared me for possible overtime, which means he wouldn’t be able to come home on the weekend.  Just to give him a hard time I jokingly said “We don’t have anything on the calendar this weekend, maybe we should take a quick trip to Vegas?”  He responded 8 hours later by saying, “We are busting this work out.  Plan the trip. I’m in”


So I planned a last minute trip to Las Vegas.  We packed shorts and tank tops, a great change from the long pants and sweatshirts we had been wearing, picked up a rent a car and headed south.  Mark’s sister lives in Vegas and it just so happened that there was a birthday party for our 3 year old nephew that weekend.


We took the girls downtown on the strip.  They were amazed by all the buildings and things to look at.


Look a pirate ship!


A skull…this place is great!


Prettiest Walgreens I have ever seen.


We met some stars….


Played some hoops with Shaq….


Helped Simon pick the next American Idol…


And made sure President Obama was doing his job correctly…..Did I mention we had a nice time at Madame Tussauds?

050 037 068

Ashley was hangin with MJ                            Mark helped Jessica with the flag         Allyson was the first Hosick on the Moon

054 041

Ashley showed off her ballet skills.                                     And the girls rocked it with Gwen.


After sight seeing we made a quick stop by Trader Joe’s for some groceries.  I miss this place. Such yummy unique items, I picked up some great popcorn/rice puffed snacks for the drive home.


No trip to Vegas is complete with out a meal (or two) at In-n-Out burger.  Greasy burgers, fresh cut fries, and creamy strawberry milk shakes….yumm!


And don’t forget the Pump N Snack…I think the name says it all!  O the fun you have in Vegas!

November 16, 2010

The Pirates of Briarwood


Another Halloween has come and gone.  Which brings to a close a frantic month of sewing costumes.  When we first talked about what the girls wanted to be for Halloween, they told me we could just go to a thrift store and buy some clothes they would cut up and make into pirate costumes.  Thinking I would have an easy October, I agreed to make capes for the Star Wars concert.  But after a few trips to the fabric store to get cape supplies, the pirate costumes morphed and my sewing list grew.


Each of the girls helped create their own costume.  And for the first time Ashley’s costume was easier than expected!  The girls were very happy with the results and I think these were the best costumes I have made.

mark 048

This was Halloween 2009 A vampire and the queen of hearts.

002  006

Halloween 2008 a fairy and a bar maid.

I’m glad I can find the time and have some skills to sew the girls costumes.  It’s something my mom always did and I loved having custom made costumes.  In addition to the Halloween costumes, I also finished a few projects that have been partially made in the sewing bucket for a few years.  Allyson now has a few more skirts to wear this winter!

October 25, 2010

A busy weekend

We have a wonderful friend who works for the Boise Philharmonic.  For a few years now she has been telling me about all the wonderful things that the philharmonic is doing and inviting us to check them out.  Life always gets in the way and we have been unable to attend any of the concerts…until this weekend.

019 copy

You see, the philharmonic put on a Star Wars concert.  The girls (and Mark) were very excited to hear the music from one of their favorite movies.  I even volunteered to make capes. 

007 copy

The philharmonic had Star Wars characters in the lobby before the show and of course the girls took several photo ops.  The music was wonderful.  The conductor was very animated and lots of fun to watch.

013 copy2

Mark even joined in the fun, though he didn’t have a cape.  I offered, but he declined.  O Darth Vader how tall you are!  We all enjoyed the show so much we are talking about getting tickets to see the Lion King performance they are doing next year.  What makes it perfect is they have a “Family Series” of performances that are only an hour long and on a Saturday morning.  So the kids don’t get antsy.  This was the first time the kids had ever seen and orchestra, choir, and conductor.  They both realized how much goes into making a song after seeing all those people at work.  I’m glad we finally got it together and went to a performance and I hope we do it more often.

009 copy

The lighting in the lobby was terrible and I had to use the flash for most of the pictures so everyone has that pretty yellow glow.  But heck we have pictures with Darth Vader…

012 copy

Clone troopers….

016 copy

014 copy

007 copy


011 copy

and did I mention Darth Vader?

012 copy

Allyson wanted to be Darth Maul so Mark and her painted the mask.  It turned out really great and was a fun project for them to do together.

Now that Star Wars is behind us I’m sewing pirate costumes for Halloween.  Hopefully I get them done before the weekend…why do I always wait until the last minute?!?