Wednesday, September 3, 2014

TWD: Baking with Julia - Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes

I am a day late on posting this blog, but that was because I was also a day late on baking... whoops, time just seems to really get away from me these days.  It is a great thing to be busy spending time with family and enjoying the great outdoors, but I really wanted to join in on this recipe.  So, I did, just later than I planned.

The recipe this week was Plum cakes!  I watched the video with Julia cooking them last week and they looked wonderful.  I am not the biggest plum fan, so I just thought I would try a few different fruits instead.  I went with an apple and a nectarine.  The nectarine definitely won!  The cake mix was super simple and with just two tablespoons of batter and a half of a nectarine it was quick to put together.  I think the key to the batter was whipping the butter and sugar on high for over three minutes and then whipping in the eggs at a high speed as well.

They turned out great and I am glad I baked the recipe this week.  If you want to check out the other variations head over to the blogroll at Tuesday with Dorie.

Here are few pictures I snapped along they way!

Batter getting fluffy
Just a little batter was needed
Top with an apple and a nectarine
Of course top the fruit with brown sugar
Finished nectarine cake, pretty still in the ramekin
Finished apple cake, the brown sugar melted into the bottom
It fell apart a little, but served with ice cream no one minded!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Remember When

It seems so unreal to me that Noah has only really been a part of our lives for a year and a half.  In some ways it seems much longer than just 18 months and in so many other ways it only seems like he has been our little man for just a few short months.

Today our little baby seems like he is a real toddler, he gives hugs and kisses and throws fits like a two year old.  He cries his little heart out for all sorts of things, but a sippy cup full of juice usually can calm him right back down into the happy little toddler who just wants to give kisses to any stuffed animal nearby.

We haven't had his official 18 month check up yet, so I am not sure what all his stats are, but he is about 23 pounds and over 2 1/2 feet tall.  He is still wearing a lot of 12 month clothes, but the 18 month sizes are starting to sneak their way up to the main drawer in his dresser.  It's a little hard to see him getting so big, but we are loving all the exploring and learning that he is experiencing every day!

Here are some growth pictures to show how big he has gotten over the last year and a half.  He has a full head of hair and sure is making that teddy bear look smaller and smaller!

3 days old
6 months
1 year old
18 months

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TWD: Baking With Julia - Baking Powder Biscuits

I have been missing baking along the last four months...  I can't believe I didn't bake a single thing with everyone for that long, how embarrassing.  Ok, well I am back and ready to bake some more.  The recipe for today, Baking Powder Biscuits, was quick and easy and they turned out great.  I probably could have cut the recipe in half, because biscuits two days later are never quite as good as when they are fresh out of the oven.  If you want some other variations check out the blog role at Tuesdays With Dorie.

It is a pretty simple combination of flour, baking powder and salt.  Added some milk and shortening and was pretty much ready to roll them out.  They were light and fluffy on the inside with a nice crunch on the outside.  They recommended to add a little butter on top before cooking them and I meant to, but completely forgot until they had already cooked for about five minutes.  Oh well, guess that means we just had to add more butter on the inside!  They turned out great and if we ever want some more biscuits I am glad this recipe will be in reach.
Crumbly mix
Ready to roll

Hot out of the oven
Mmmmm butter
Jellies at the ready

Sunday, August 10, 2014

His first haircut!

On Thursday night my Mom came over to the house to watch Noah for us so we could go see one of Julie's favorite singers, Ray LaMontagne, in concert at Red Rocks.  She was so excited to get to be with Noah, she stayed at our house and watched him all day Friday too!  Noah really had a great time with her!  Julie and I had a great time at the concert too, it rained on us a bit, but it never got too bad.

A great rainbow before the show started
The stage and downtown Denver, with the other end of the rainbow
The lights reflecting off the light rain that fell during the show
They call this burying the lead, but Noah had his first hair cut this weekend!  It was really more of a trim to get rid of some of the curly ends and to get the hair out of his eyes up front.  We took him to the hair cutting place right down the road from us, and the lady did wonderful with him.  She moved while he moved his head and let him hold several combs during the process.  Noah also did wonderfully, no tears or screaming and seemed mostly curious at what was going on.  He did so well that he got to have his first ever lollipop after the hair cut!  He was a bit confused about the sucker at first, but he warmed up quickly.  He did not like it when the paper came off of the stick though!

"Driving" the stroller to the barber shop
Walking around a bit before the cutting begins
A side view
Cutting the locks
I like combs Dad! 
Enjoying his first sucker

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Angel of Shavano camping

We enjoyed our last camping trip so much, we quickly scheduled another one!  The main point of the trip was to try to meet Jim and Amanda and kids since they missed the last trip with us.  Unfortunately, our schedules aren't that compatible these days, so we actually didn't get to see them at all.  That seems like as good a reason as any to go camping again soon!

Anyway, B+D again scoped out good camp spots and found one in our first choice, the Angel of Shavano campground outside of Salida.  Julie, Noah, and I made it to the campground fairly late because we left after we both got off of work.  We had planned to leave about 600PM, but last minute details meant we left town about 700PM.  Bill helped us set up the tent and we got to bed at a fairly reasonable hour.  

The drive out was beautiful, we don't typically drive these roads at twilight, but it was really pretty.  The valley west of Colorado Springs was green from a recent rain storm and the low light made it look wonderful.

Great valley pictures
Wonderful sunset
The next day we woke up and found a nice hike.  We did a short hike up to a small waterfall no more than a mile from our campground.  After that hike, Julie and Bill had some books that needed reading, so Debbie, Noah, and I hiked up the Colorado Trail and got some great views of the valley we were camped in.  We also got some great views of the strong thunderstorms that were headed our way, but hearing the thunder echo in the valley was something special.  

Noah leaving the tent in the morning
He really liked the backpack
He is almost asleep here!
The valley we camped in, the site is just off the picture to the right
Those storms made it to our campground after lunch, and we hunkered down in the RV while it hailed and poured on us for a while.  The tent held up great, but with lightning in the valley we decided not to risk it and slept in the comfort of the RV.  B+D know how to travel, it was nice!  

As luck would have it, my parents scheduled a bed and breakfast weekend in Salida, so we met them up for dinner at Amica's, the best pizza place in town.  

The whole family by the river
A rainbow in town, but the storms weren't done yet!
Unfortunately, the next morning meant that we had to leave to go back home.  As before, Noah had a great time with all of the rocks and loved hiking on my shoulders.  We couldn't ask anything more from him in the great outdoors, and that gives us confidence that he'll like camping for years to come.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

4th of July

For the the 4th of July, we made our way to Crested Butte so we could check out the wildflowers in the area.  Crested Butte hosts a wildflower festival every year after the 4th of July, so we figured we could check out part of the festival and get out of town on a long weekend at the same time.  B+D were heading back from their long camping trip and it worked out that they could meet us there for a few nights of camping. 

The first night we actually spent in a hotel because it was the 4th of July and we didn't want to pack the kid up after the fireworks and wait in traffic to get out of town.  We arrived in Crested Butte about 1030A, which worked out well because the parade started at 11!  We joined about 20,000 of our closest friends and watched a pretty good parade go through town.  They have a tradition of wearing cabbage leaves during this parade, I don't know what it is about, but plenty of people had them on!  

Everyone in their cabbage leaves
No parade is complete without a guy on stilts
We went back to the hotel for a few naps, then we went down to claim a good spot to watch fireworks.  We had a picnic dinner in the park while their bluegrass festival kicked off.  The music was fun and Noah had a good time walking around and watching all the people.  The fireworks were excellent and after a short walk back to the hotel we were all sound asleep despite the unofficial fireworks show going on around us.

Playing in the field
A lot of people came out for the concert and the fireworks
The phone camera did OK taking pictures of the fireworks
The next day enjoyed the playgrounds of the town before packing up and heading over to our campsite on the Taylor River.

"I found a bench guys!"
He's a great musician
B+D were already there and had scoped out a premium spot by the river.  We spent most of that day hanging in our hammocks and enjoying the outside.  We woke up the next day and went back to Crested Butte for a hike to Judd Falls, just north of the town.  The falls were a little underwhelming, but Noah really liked the hike and being outside with all of us.  We ate a picnic lunch in town afterwards and got caught in a pretty heavy downpour for about 20 minutes.  We decided not to attempt another hike with dark clouds still looming, so we headed back to the campsite with another successful day in the books.

Getting botanical lessons from Grandpa
Noah had a good time on our hike
Noah really likes the outdoors! 
A full parking lot and a great view
Grandpa teaching Noah the proper way to roast marshmallows
We still had more time camping, so we packed up the Jeep again and headed west of Crested Butte over Kebler Pass.  I had never been over that pass, and it was an amazingly beautiful drive.  The views were astounding and we have earmarked it for a trip in the fall when the leaves change.  On our drive we ran into a herd of sheep grazing along the road and Noah loved the noises that they made.  We then made our way to Lost Lake campground to have lunch and enjoy the views.  I took a quick mile hike to find another one of the lakes up the hill.  Great day all around.  

The sheep along the road, there were a few hundred of them
Grandma teaching Noah to throw rocks in the lake
Unmatched scenery
On the way back we ran into a herd of cows being moved between pastures on the highway.  Noah loved moo-ing at the cows and it was a nice way to end the day.

The next day came too quickly as it was time for us to head home.  We had a wonderful trip and will definitely make our way back to this area again soon.  Noah had a great time camping and even did great sleeping in the tent, good job little man! 
Happy waking up!
"I don't need my hat Mom!"