Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5th Annual Memorial Day Camping Trip

We went to Alta Lake this year which is near Pateros, Washington which is between Winthrop and Wenatchee. We decided to go for east of the Cascades again this year. We expected to get rained out but aside from a few scattered showers and one short storm the weather was actually really nice. Nice enough to lay on a beach towel and enjoy some sunshine on Saturday afternoon!

Alta Lake - Beach/Picnic Area

Matt and Jenn enjoying kabobs, the "co-hosts" of the camping trip. Jenn and Joe do 90% of the cooking. Thanks guys!

Boys enjoying the fire and baked potatoes. The guys put up a tarp shelter to keep us dry.

Mark and Rachel - the newbies to the group this year.

On Sunday we took a little side trip to Winthrop, has an old west feel to it. The boardwalks are pretty cool and all the hand-painted signs. Pretty cool little tourist trap, fun to visit for the first time.

Sheri's had some killer homemade ice cream - I had the lemon custard with a homemade waffle cone, which was surprisingly only $2.75. Winthrop would definitely be a fun place to stop overnight on a road trip if you happened to be up in northern Washington.

Scenic detour to the Grand Coulee Dam on the way home - pretty impressive sight! My dad grew up in a house here that is now gone. It used to be where the new section of the dam is.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Playing with Picasa ... and lady bugs

Caught Malcolm mezmerized by a lady bug this morning. He has been chasing a ton of bugs outside recently, its pretty funny to watch. From a distance you can't tell why he's doing all these crazy little antics. I decided to play around with the picture in Picasa and try out a couple different effects.

 The "Tint" effect with partial color preservation. Left the tint unchanged.

This is the "Focal Black & White" option, I put the focus over the ladybug.

Any favorites?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Monday!

I'm so happy spring is finally here! The lilacs are almost out, the cherry tree has a few flowers and the hawthorne is about ready to color the front yard magenta. We've got half of our veggie garden in and just filled the new window boxes out front. Moved the bird bath out front today and planning to fill the hummingbird feeder tomorrow! Hope everyone else had a happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yummy Cookie Bars

Peach Melba Shortbread Bars adapted from recipe printed in Southern Living magazine. My father-in-law sent this recipe to me. They're pretty tasty! (I still need to make him a batch)

Makes: 1.5 to 2 dozen bars
Hands on time:  20 minutes
Total Time : 2 hr, 20 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cold butter
1 cup peach preserves
6 tsp raspberry preserves

1. Preheat over to 350 '. Combine 1st three ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup flour mixture.
2. Lightly grease an 11 x 7 inch pan. Press remaining flour mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350' for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
4. Spread peach preserves over crust in pan. Dollop raspberry preserves by 1/2 teaspoon fulls over peach preserves. Sprinkle reserved 1 cup flour mixture over preserves.
5. Bake at 350' for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 1 hour on wire rack. Cut into bars. Garnish if desired with almonds or powdered sugar. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Green Thumb?

Will be finding out shortly if I have a green thumb or black thumb this spring :)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Hello Spring!!

Its so nice to have a day off with nice weather! Sunny, few puffy clouds and 63 degrees! I actually mowed the lawn with a tanktop on. After 5 days in "the cave" it's nice to be outside soaking up some sunshine. Joe and I went over to Rockwood Bakery this morning for a coffee and sat out on the patio. We stopped at Northtown to get his phone fixed and I hit up AE for some "summer clothes". Other than that, I been trying to get caught up with some yardwork while he's at work this afternoon. Taking a little break... Some pictures of things making me happy today!

See all that blue sky! Trimmed all the burning bush shoots today.

Cut some daffodils to bring inside, they're so cheerful! You can almost see little smiley faces on each one :)

Bringing the leftover trimmings inside of tossing all in the compost, so much better with some color up there!
This mint somehow survived the winter, just replanted it in a bigger container and put it out front to catch some sunshine. Now just need some limes :)

Me and Mal, I mean, Mal and I. (I can still hear my dad correcting my grammar in my head.) He's such a cute little monster. He can be held directly responsible for me not getting as much sleep as I'd like these days. He used to be "six-o-clock kitty" which was great, recently he's a "four-thirty-in-the-morning-kitty".

Get out enjoy some sunshine!!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Easy Peasy Strawberry Tart

Easy strawberry tart recipe! I made the tart shell the night before, any easy recipe will do, it just needs to be prebaked. If you don't have a tart pan you could use a pyrex or pie dish, etc and just make a very low rim around the base, to mimic the shape of a tart pan. 
Mix the the filling: 8 oz of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar (more/less depending on how sweet you want the filling), 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread over the bottom of the tart. Then layer cut strawberries on top or if you're really hungry and can't wait, pile them on top.

Last step, cut yourself a piece and enjoy a little bite of summer!!

P.S. If I can whip this together after work... well after two days of work, it really can't be that hard. 
P.P.S. If the colors are wonky, its because I've been messing around too much in Picasa :)

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Vintage Rabbit

Picture credit
This last weekend, we had some friends were in town for Bloomsday - all the way from Seattle. We had some down time Saturday so Ellen and I went over to the Vintage Rabbit on Monroe Street. Its one of those places I've driven by a million times while living in Spokane but have never been into. I thought they had pretty good selection, better than other shops I've been to on Monroe. Read another review with hours, address, etc here. I found an ornate receipt holder, a little letter K stamp and an old pastry cutter with a chippy green handle. 

We also went to the Doughnut Parade in the GU District Saturday morning. Some friends of mine have been bugging me to check it out for over a year now. I forgot the SD card for my camera, so no pictures but Jenn did got some fun pictures of us. The doughnuts were pretty tasty and 75 cents each. They're not the next Top Pot, but they're the best doughnuts I've had so far since moving here. However, the inside is not sparkling, so if that's the kind of thing that bothers you, this is probably not your next favorite doughnut joint. One of the scenes from "Wrong Turn to Tahoe" was filmed here (which I've never heard of) but it looked just like this shot. Photo from

Chippy green pastry cutter. I love these things, so much better than trying to use two knifes to cut in shortening or butter into pie dough, for pastries or peach kuchen. You can find new ones for a few bucks at most grocery stores. 
I was really excited to find this, it's an old receipt holder. I'm sure I could find several uses but for now we're using it for its intended purpose. We just decided to starting hanging onto our grocery receipts for a few months. I keep track of all our spending each month. The food bill always seems high, so I'm going to dig a little further and look back at the receipts to see what we're spending the most on and try and find some ways to improve.