Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cascade, Idaho

Well, where do I start! For those of you who may not know, my father-in-law is an announcer in his spare time and announces at rodeos during the summer. This requires (or so my FIL thinks) that Jeremiah help out by running the sound. So I usually tag along and get a mini-vacay out of it. Let's also make it clear that I am not a rodeo gal! Jeremiah's step-mom likes to tell the story of how at my first rodeo I wore these adorable strappy wedges and when we had to trek over and under the arena fence through dust, dirt, and mud I was quite the sight! Even still, both Jeremiah and I look so out of place at these things and my Honda Accord sticks out like sore thumb in the sea of Fords and Dodges. But I can't say it is not an adventure! We also get to see some beautiful country side that we might not otherwise. Well, this June we went to Bickelton, WA. for their annual fair and rodeo and in August we went to Cascade, ID - way over in mountain standard time. That one hour time change gave me some serious mountain-lag. I didn't snap any photos in Bickelton, but I managed to get a few in Cascade, ID. Cascade is a pretty little town about an hour from Boise with a nice lake and amazing rafting park! Getting there was a little tricky, as a fire closed the main highway and caused us to detour through a dusty and windy mountain road that added on at least an hour to our travel time! During this time, my husband noticed the tire on the car making an odd noise. Turns out, we had a lug nut loose which caused the drive home to get rather interesting. Nothing like changing a tire on the side of the road and stopping in every little podunk town to find a tire shop open on a Sunday to help. But the light at the end of the tunnel was eating at an Arctic Circle after getting the tire fixed. That made everything  better. All in all, it was nice to spend some quality time with my hubby and the hotel we stayed at was adorable and had the best sugar cookies - I may or may not have snuck more than my fair share each night. Below are some snapshots from our trip:

Kelly's Whitewater Park.

My dreamboat hubby.


Souvenir shopping - Jeremiah taught me that girls should never wear Idaho shirts. Period.

The window seat in our hotel room where my daily naps took place.
Cozied up by the fire in our new slippers.

Oh, you know, me and my mother-in-law just helping change the tire...

The universe's reward for our troubles.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup S'mores Bars

The weather has been quite a bit cooler these past couple days and I am not happy about it. Fall may be beautiful, smell yummy, offer the opportunity to wear cute boots, and be filled with candy, but Summer offers all of the above and I am not freezing my baguettes off! This year I feel particularly not ready for Fall. I think it has something to do with the fact that last year Summer was so late to arrive and the winter so cold and icy that when Summer arrived this year, in full force 100 degree temperatures, I did not want to let it go. So if you see me in black the rest of the month know it is because I am in mourning of my favorite season ending. I am already eagerly awaiting Summer 2013 when I can come out of hibernation, get my tan on, and BBQ all of my favorite seasonal foods! In the meantime, baking season is upon us. Cooler temps mean it's time to crank that oven on for some extra heat and get busy in the kitchen! But because it is not exactly Fall, I am paying homage to the last days of Summer with a S'mores recipe. If you know me, you know S'mores are my life in Summer. And while I do have to watch my chocolate intake now thanks to some health stuff, all you really need of this rich and satisfying dessert is a small square. So hurry up and make this before the sun sets on Summer!

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Bars

Recipe via The Sweet Life (adapted from Pinch of Yum and Sprinkle Some Sunshine)

yield: 16 large/20 small squares

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 16 peanut butter cups, regular size
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff*
*Fluff is pretty impossible to measure, so this doesn’t have to be an exact amount, just kind of eyeball it. As long as you have enough to cover the PB cups, you’re good to go.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dishing with parchment paper; coat lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl of the bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Scrape down the sides. With the mixer on low, stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, and graham cracker crumbs until mixed.
  3. Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lightly press the peanut butter cups into the dough, then spread marshmallow fluff on top. Press the remaining dough on a non-stick surface into the shape of an 8×8 square. Place the square on top of the fluff and press down lightly.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Allow to cool for at least two hours* to give the bars a chance to set, then remove from the pan and cut into squares with a large, sharp knife.
* I am not kidding these are amazing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Walla Walla/Dayton - June 2012

In June, Jeremiah and I went to Walla Walla and Dayton with Jeremiah's family to cheer on his awesome grandpa at the Dayton Days car show. J's grandpa has a 1932 Ford Roadster he bought for $150 in 1950 that he enters in various car shows. He was even featured in the Tri-City Herald Cool Desert Night's insert on the front page this year. It's the cutest car and we had fun supporting grandpa and hanging out with family. We stayed at the historic Marcus Whitman hotel in downtown Walla Walla, shopped, ate gourmet food (including Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at The Marc), and relaxed. If you've never checked out Walla Walla, it's a beautiful mini-vacay spot and you must do it. Jeremiah and I make a stop here almost every year and it's so close to the Tri's you can do it in a day! Here are are some pics from our weekend:

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream being made right at our table at the The Marc restaurant at our hotel.
Beautiful downtown Dayton for Dayton Days.

A camel in Dayton. Pretty sure I could pretend I was in Egypt with this one.
Our great-niece, Genesis, walking my mother-in-law's dog, Mitzi.
Jeremiah checking out his grandpa's car.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Parks Family

I haven't posted a photo session in a while. To be honest, I haven't shot a photo session in a while! I usually just take pictures for fun and mainly at family events, but whenever family asks for a photo session I am game! This featured photo session is of my cousin Jennifer and her handsome boys. This mama is one of the sweetest and most beautiful women I know and has always been more like an older sister to me. It warms my heart when family asks me to take their photos because I am not a professional and still have a lot to learn, but the their trust and faith in me to take images that will be displayed in their homes, on their Christmas cards, or even on their Facebook profiles boosts my confidence and renews my joy in the art of photography. Thank you Parks family for allowing me to capture these sweet images and for helping me grow in my hobby.

Parks Family




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Samson Luke

Another 1st birthday of a little one so dear to my heart has come and gone. My nephew, Samson, turned one on August 22nd and he sure partied it up like no other one year old I have ever seen! Of course we all know how quickly a year can go by, but what surprises me most is that this baby looks SO different from when he was first born. He has definitely kept his cuteness, but his eyes and hair have lightened up so much! He now looks so similar to his big brother, Eli, it takes you back 4 years in an instant! It's crazy to think of how much a baby changes in a year. Samson has learned to roll, sit, crawl, walk, and talk all in a matter of months. Not only was he early for these milestones, but I think he could walk before he could sit up for long periods of time. This boy has claimed a special place in my heart and anytime we are out people cannot stop staring and commenting on his cuteness. He loves to snuggle, run, climb, and throw things - I'm thinking we have a serious athlete here, and he has no fear and dives right in to everything he does (see cake photo) - this trait will take him far, no doubt! He also has an incredible attention span for a one year old and will sit on your lap and watch practically a whole movie. My sister and brother-in-law sure do know how to make 'em! This boy makes my day with every smile and hug and I feel so honored that God would allow me to share in the blessing of watching him grow and to be his aunt. Happy birthday, Baby Bubs! Love you SO much!

Handsome boy!

The infamous cake photo.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Harper's 3rd Birthday

My favorite girl in the world turned 3 this past July and I cannot believe it! People always says time flies as you get older and when kids are involved that's even more apparent. The tiny baby girl I couldn't wait to paint nails with, go shopping with, have dance parties with, do hair with, and bake with is doing all those things now and more! My niece, Harper Josephine, is a beautiful, brave, kind, strong-willed, loving, silly, independent, and smart as a whip girly girl! She rivals her brothers and cousins in toughness and fearlessness, all while rocking the sparkliest of nails, fluffiest of dresses, and blondest of pony tails! I am so proud of her and she is only 3! I cannot wait to go to her dance recitals, soccer games, school music performances, or whatever else she chooses to be involved in. But I hope time goes ever so slowly so I can soak in every precious moment. I am very blessed to be a part of watching her grow and my heart cannot hold all the love I have for her and her brothers! Happy 3rd birthday to my littlest best friend, Harper! Love you so much, Baby Bops!

One of my favorite photos of my niece. Even her serious "fed-up with auntie's pictures" face looks gorgeous!