Thursday, October 28, 2010

Guy Fawkes Day, Pie Contest & Autumn in Cache Valley

We are so lucky to be blessed with such wonderful friends who share traditions with us. The Monson's invited Mark & I to judge a pie eating contest - I know, fun, huh? for their annual Guy Fawkes Day. They lived in England for several years and this tradition is a big celebration they hold over there with huge bon fires and fireworks. We had no idea. Apparently they are commemorating when Guy was caught when he was planning to plow up Parliament way back in the early 1600's. Everyone makes their own "guy" to toss in the bon fire and we all cheer. Alrighty then. It was fun to see the little guy-creations that the kids came up with. The food was great - pies were delightful (don't love being the judge except for the tasting part!) and Kris's yard was beautiful. The rainy weather didn't dampen anyone's spirits. Roasted jacket potatoes were served in the garage accompanied with some amazing salads. The rain stopped when it was time to light the fire and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Thanks K & M for being such wonderful hosts. We love our friends so much!

Some of the guy-creations
Kris is such an amazing gardener! Look at her beautiful pumpkins!

The upper left photo shows what happens when you are way to close to pile of
sticks that someone has just poured gasoline all over and then throw in a match!
I thought I was a goner!
The Rootbeer Float Pie was the winner! We thought it was so unique and yummy.
They were all really delicious. How do really pick a winner?
We were the real winners because we got to taste all of them!

Cache Valley Autumn Colors

We LOVE the wonderful fall treats :: Thank you Emily!
These photos were taken last Thursday - just before
the weather took a big, cold, snowy, wet turn.

one last thing...check out these adorable shoes!!
I fixed the link ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

T H R I L L E R & Girls Night Out On The Town

We are enjoying every moment of our Fall Break. Hope you are too!! Wed night we traveled to the big city to enjoy dinner & a show. If you haven't ever seen Thriller by The Odyssey Dance Company you are really missing a great show! (Pretty intense for youngsters, though) It was a blast! The talent was top notch and we really enjoyed ourselves. We spent the night in the big city and then spent the next day enjoying great food and some awesome shopping. Gourmandise is wonderful for breakfast. Oatmeal Creme Brulee smothered with fresh fruit and whipped cream - homemade yogurt parfait - sinful cinnamon french toast with berries galore! Oh yummy. Just get yourself there if you are ever in the area. I still can't get over that oatmeal combination. We will definitely be experimenting with that. And I was so inspired that I came home and made some yummy cinnamon bread the next day and a huge batch of tomato bisque to freeze for the winter months ahead.

We went for treats after the show - Hires in the big city - BEST soft serve icecream so of course the root beer floats were great - as well as the shakes. My niece spotted a Cache Valley celebrity - and he was nice enough to take a photo with her and chat with us for minute. We also had a lot of fun poking around in Decades - a great second hand shop! The girls found some super buys at the Gateway and then we boogied home to bed.

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Camber's Camera

She is collecting sunset pictures
and one day
she will have
beautiful portfolio.

A Sweet Night

Recently, the young women invited the bishopric and their wives
to special thank you dinner.
It was a wonderful evening with them. The girls had earned money for the meal and then all helped in preparing and serving it. As a special bonus they provided some wonderful entertainment for us during dinner. We sure love them!!

A Sunday Drive

Last Sunday Mark & I took a leisurely drive around the valley. The leaves are slow in turning this year but we have enjoyed beautiful, warm days with those crisp, cool nights we all love!
We were quite amazed at the beautiful wildflowers still in bloom.
It's hard to believe that winter will be on our doorstep before long.

Double click on photo below to see the hundreds of birds - I had tried to sneak out of the car to catch them all lined up on the telephone wire but I wasn't sneaky enough.

The golden wheat fields are spectacular in the early evening light.
Mark always sees muskrats in this pond when he loops around on a morning ride.
They must have had other things on their mind tonight.

The Greenhouse offers new yard art!
Spray painted shrubbery :)
Here is a proud replica of BIG BLUE
stand very proudly.

The bees are busily getting their winter stores.
They have been medicated and Mark has started feeding them.

Beautiful Logan Canyon

And just for Liam...
The duck pond is alive and well!
(First Dam, up Logan Canyon)
Our sweet little grandson fell in love with this place last summer.
We took Papa's remote control boat and bag of bread
crusts with us and spent a morning with him. Ever since that day, every prayer he utters ends with, "and please bless the duck pond and Jesus". Every single one. He is something else.
Look at this little guy, Liam -
he has a pretty blue wing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Trinumeral *Updated*

I think that's what it is called - the date for this coming Sunday.
Have you thought about it?
What will you do to make it fun, interesting or memorable?

We are thinking hard over here at Deer Hollow.
Events make life exciting.

So we are working on our *TOP TEN*, movies, books, travel, songs...and such. Sometimes its really hard to narrow it down.

Here is a favorite cookie from one of my TOP TEN recipe books
Chocolate Snowball

(and other fabulous pastries from Deer Valley bakery)
by Letty Halloran Flatt.
This is an excellent book. Every recipe is a gem and it is full of wonderful tips and things to think about. She gives a great little analogy about how skiing and baking are very similar experiences.

I chose this recipe for several reasons - it is scrumptiously delicious - Anna wants a copy of it really bad (she searched me out in the church last week to compliment me and plead for the recipe :) and it has 10 ingredients! (after I left out the espresso powder)

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of combined: semi-sweet, milk chocolate & white chocolate morsels

Preheat over to 325 degrees. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs & vanilla. Mix well and scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix into the creamed mixture. stir in chocolate morsels.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly oil them. ( I used my silpat liners) They do stick to the pan if you don't.

For regular size cookies bake for about 12 minutes. It's hard to tell when dark chocolate cookies are done; by the time they color they have over baked. *Her trick is to lift the baking sheet and bang it down on the oven rack; if the cookies still have a dome, leave them in; if they flatten, remove from the oven* I did this and it worked great - about 11-12 minutes in my oven. For large cookies formed with an ice cream scoop - bake about 20 minutes. This low oven temperature makes a crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside cookie.
Love them with an icy cold glass of milk! Enjoy...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Trip to the East Coast

Last week I was able to take a trip to the Maryland/DC area where Brady, Dani & family have recently moved to. Lindsey was able to join me on my buy one get one free ticket (thank you American Express) & Miss Molly, being under two, got to come along for free as well! It was a great trip ~ 5 days packed to the brim with lots of exploring, great eats, long visits into the night and some humidity ( a bit unknown to us in the west). How do you take hundreds of photos and then try to pick a few to post?? I decided to narrow it down to the highlights of what we saw and collage them. One night we go lost on the wrong side of the tracks - those pictures are etched into our minds. The situations people live in is quite a story. We are very blessed to have a roof over our heads and feel safe when we crawl into bed and night and turn out the lights.

A gem of a building to say the least. The stained glass windows were some of the most beautiful I had ever seen! My photos didn't capture them in the least. We were there when a childrens choir was practicing. Beautiful.

This had to be on of the funniest moments of the trip! Liam has decided to he wants to be a dragon for halloween. He was working our the logistics of how to make his teeth green! We laughed til our sides ached! Sure love that little guy.

M & S Grill on 13th F street. SOOOO yummy!
The crab cakes were delicious! Liam had the most tasty
Mac & Cheese we had ever tasted and Brady's dish was a winner!
We had our own little room all to ourselves.

Lindsey & I were facinated at the Wright Brothers First Airplane. It was really neat to see.
Our other Fav was when we were able to go into the Nat'l Archives and see the Constitution, Declaration of Independece & The Bill of Rights. Very very cool.
*Funny sideline ~ The oriental couple snatched Molly out of my arms for a photo.

Danielle has friends in all the right places. She was able to arrange a tour of the Capital Building for us. We loved it! What an amazing building. The star their feet are on marks the very center of DC and it is said to bring good luck if you rub your foot on it. We all rubbed!
the rug the kids are on in the office of Senator Bennett and the room with the black & white flooring was where back in the day....the congressmen would duke it out here while the wives would bring their children and sit up in the balcany to watch it all. Politics have always been a little crazy, don't you think?

The Butterfly Room is FREE on tuesdays! We picked a great day to visit! They were very active! More humidity :)

The Museum of Nat'l History was awesome. I need to go back because I didn't get to see it all. It was fun to have Liam give us a tour as he has already been a half a dozen times!

Sadly, we only had about 45 minutes in here. Another day ~ but it was certainly a treat.

The DC Temple is a sight to see. The clouds made things even more dramatic.
The rain made my hair stunning! Loved being there.

Ah, The White House. Why am I so facinated by this building? Someday I will take a tour there. It was so beautiful all lit up the night we took a walk to see it.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch at 2 Amy's.
Best pizza around they say and we have to
agree with them! The appetizers were phenomenal, really! Especially the little
deep fried cheese balls - truely amazing. I don't recall their Italian name but if you say,
"the little cheese balls" they will know exactly what you are talking about :)
Our favorite pizza was a special of the day. It had amazing cheese and sliced green tomatoes with a fresh egg cracked on top. Very nice.

We completely wore out the babes with all our sight-seeing.
They were little troopers.

Molly & Lindsey had such a great time, but were wishing Jake could
have been with them. I missed the rest of my family as well.

This wonderful little family is in for a wonderful adventure as they begin a new chapter in their family history storybook. We wish them much success and joy in the journey!
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