Google+ August 2013
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Friday, August 30, 2013

What's Your Love Language? Receiving Gifts

I think that today’s love language – Receiving Gifts – can be very tricky.  It seems easy enough to give a gift but how many people have heard the story of the wife getting a vacuum as a birthday present?  My point exactly – just because you think your gift is useful, practical, wanted does not mean the person receiving the gift thinks the same thing.  This is where you have to be careful because the love language is not giving gifts, its receiving gifts.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Fun with Blackberry Cobbler Pancakes

Sundays are  good days at our house.  Usually we sleep in a little bit, there isn’t much on the day’s agenda (or at least we try!), and best of all it’s pancake day!  At our house pancakes are quite controversial – my girlfriend likes thin pancakes and I like nice fluffy ones (and chocolate chips are always a good addition).  She likes lots of toppings as in anything in the fridge or cupboard is fair game, and I like just a little bit of peanut butter and syrup.   If you ever come over on a Sunday morning you will get pancakes made to order with lots of topping choices and you will not go hungry!  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Enjoying Summer Til The Bitter End with Spiced Peach Pie Cupcakes

I am not ready for summer to be over yet.  Everyone keeps talking about how fall is just around the corner but I am from Washington where summer doesn't start until July 5th and doesn't end (if we are lucky!) until the end of September - that's a whole month away!  It's still 80 degrees outside lets enjoy summer until its over and then we can have some fall fun!  Call it denial but I am gonna hang on to every last drop of summer that I can!  So I made cupcakes, actually I made peach pie cupcakes, to celebrate summer.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Little Piece of Home - Blackberry Cobbler Cookies

My mom makes the best cobbler – apple and blackberry are her specialty!  And now that I am now 2,500 miles away from home if I want some cobbler I gotta make it myself!  I decided to put a spin on her recipe and make blackberry cobbler cookies.  You can use any filling you want but the tart blackberry filling really helps balance out the sweetness of the cookie and crumble top.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to See Yellowstone in a Day {Part Two of Our Cross Country Move}

Yellowstone is just a short drive from Livingston, Montana.  Neither of us had been to Yellowstone before so we were excited but didn’t know what to expect.  I wish we would have done some more research before we left but we just ran out of time.  So if you are going to Yellowstone for the first time - please read this before you go! 

Learn from our Rookie Mistakes (or tips on visiting Yellowstone):
1)  Get there early in the day especially in the summer – there will be more animals to see!

One of the many picnic areas
2)  Pack food and drinks to take with you – there are tons of great places to picnic in the park.  There are a few places to buy food in the park but they are expensive and far and few between.  

3)  Be prepared to stop and get out of your car A LOT!  Yellowstone is HUGE and there is a ton to see but its not all conveniently located (God Bless Mother Nature!) so be prepared to do a lot of driving and a lot of getting in and out of your car.

Bison cruising down the road next to us - clearly I did not have the camera ready!
4)  Make sure your camera is charged and ready to go!  There is usually no warning when an animal is going to cross your path so be ready!

5)  Stop at the visitor’s center at the entrance you come in and ask where the most animals have been seen that day.  They have electronic maps that update frequently so they will know the best places to go!  We ended up missing the turn to go to the area where a lot of the animals were and decided not to turn around -  big mistake!  If I could change anything about our trip that would be it – we did see a few animals but nothing compared to what we were hoping!  We still are talking about how we wish we had turned around. 

6)  Wear good shoes – you have to walk to a lot of the sites so good shoes are must!

You can get really close to a lot of the sites using the boardwalks - if you don't have your dog with you!
7)  Pets are not allowed anywhere except for paved areas - normally this wouldn’t be an issue but since we were moving we had our dog with us.   This limited what we could see because we couldn’t go on any of the boardwalks that led to the really cool stuff.

8)  Prepare for a long day – you will be driving a lot and a lot of sites to see especially if you are doing it all in one day! 

9)  Use the map they give you - you will be lost without it!

10)  Fill up your gas tank before heading into the park!  We only saw one gas station in the park (I'm sure there are more) but it was a lot more expensive than outside of the park.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day:

Thermal Waterfall

These dandelions were so big we had to take a picture!

Old Faithful
These next ones are right outside of the park - we actually saw more animals outside of the park than in (see Tip 5)!

Now we are off to South Dakota!
Our next major stop is Mount Rushmore!

Want to read our entire Cross Country Moving Story:

If you have been to Yellowstone what are your tips for first-timers??  

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blackberry Muffin Top Bread with a Cream Cheese Swirl

I don’t know about you but in our house the tops of freshly baked muffins and cupcakes mysteriously disappear – its always been a problem… must be a ghost or something!  But today I have the solution – Muffin Top Bread!  I know, I know the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “Muffin Top” is the unfortunate event of a woman’s pants being too tight around their waist creating a “muffin top” – HOWEVER  today’s muffin top bread is a delicious combination of sweet bread, fruit, and a cream cheese swirl that come together to form an easy-to-make bread that tastes just like the top of a muffin.  

Problem solved – no more fighting over everyone’s favorite part of the muffin! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Washington to Montana {Part One of Our Cross Country Move}

Originally we had planned on leaving first thing Thursday morning and arriving at our new house on Sunday night or Monday morning... shoulda known better than to plan!  We started off pretty good - we packed most of the car the day before and only had a little bit of arranging left.
If you ever have to move you have to get these giant bags - you suck the air out of them so they shrink!

Loading the car top carrier - it took 5 of us to get it up there! 
Almost finished! 

And we sent our last night in Washington out in style!  We had dinner with my family which turned into a dance party (that may have had a little assistance from a few drinks)!  We laughed, told stories, listened to music, and danced the night away - a perfect way to ignore the good-byes that were coming next.  We had to say good-bye to my brother and his girlfriend that night and the tears flowed - I'll blame my sister since she is usually the one who starts it. :)

Thursday morning we said terribly sad good-byes to my family (with ugly crying and all!), and took off down the road.... only to turn back around after less than 5 miles when we realized the car top carrier was too heavy and we wouldn't make it through the first sharp turn!  We did some quick unloading, sorted through what we absolutely needed and what could be shipped, and we were off again.  In reality I am glad we went back because saying good-bye the second time wasn't nearly as hard as it was the first.  Because we got such a late start we decided to only go as far as Spokane and stay the night with some family.  It was a nice short trip over there and it was so good to see some more family before we left!  

We drove from Spokane through Idaho which had some nasty wild fires which meant lots of black smoke on our drive.  We decided to stop in Livingston, Montana for the night because it's one of the last stops before you drive into Yellowstone.

Livingston, Montana

I am so glad we stopped because it was the cutest little town!  We grabbed dinner at a little walk up burger place called Mark's In and Out and ate dinner in the park.  If you are ever near Livingston you HAVE to go to Mark's In and Out - the burgers and milkshakes were so good!

Plus its a great little town to walk around - lots of cute shops! 

Main Street looks just like the new Car's Land at Disneyland! 

Our next stop - Yellowstone!  

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flavorfy with Dasani Drops

Welcome to August!  When the heck did that happen?!   In celebration of summer I am excited to share a new discovery with you – Dasani Drops!  Have you tried them yet?  Do you love them?