Monday, December 31, 2012

Jake & Yuki

The two animals wish each other a merry Christmas.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jack the Paleontologist

Santa brought Jack a science kit that included a dinosaur digging kit that lets Jack hone is paleontology skills. He spent a good hour patiently chipping and brushing in an attempt to pull out the T-rex bones.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Elle Loves This One!

Elle's expression upon opening Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (or Lotso as he's known as in Toy Story) is priceless. She just refers to him as "big bear" but she's now got another favorite when it comes to stuffed animals. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Arrives in Cali!

As we head to bed this Christmas Eve a quick peek into the family room indicates Santa has found us! Jack appears to have scored exactly what he asked for including a science kit, legos and a wallet. Santa continued the tradition of sticking a Beanie Baby at the top of the stocking as well!

























Elle scored an extremely cool kitchen along with a princess doll.
 
























And a close-up of the stockings!

Feeding the Reindeer!

Won't be long now!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shortest Day of the Year Scores a Cool Sunrise!

Today was the shortest day of the year with only 9 hours and 28 minutes between the sun's rise and set times...but we did score a pretty cool sunrise out of the deal with a storm moving in...

Oh Deer!

Poor Elle wasn't feeling great but still tolerated us posing her around with antlers. She's much better now and the kids are ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Ghost of Jacob Marley????

Just the ghost of rack space once dedicated to selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, King Dons, Cupcakes, Ho-Hos, Pies, Suzie Q's and all the other Hostess style cakes...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Kiddies

Jack's hat seems to channel Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Soft Molasses Spice Cookies

Soft Molasses Spice Cookies
These chewy molasses cookies with all of the right spices are perfect for the winter season. They are reminiscent of ginger snaps, but soft and chewy with the hint of vanilla and molasses. Don't cut back on the amount of sugar called for in the recipe, and don't overcook them or they will come out hard and crunchy. This recipe is from the Cook's Illustrated The Best Recipe cookbook.

Preparation time: 30 minutes.

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsulphered molasses

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Use an electric mixer and beat the butter for 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Place remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Working with 2 Tbsp of dough each time, roll dough into 1 3/4 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake until the outer edges of the cookies begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, about 11 to 13 minutes [I only leave them in for 10 minutes, and without convection... that will mess up the cooking time]. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks .
Note: Do not overcook. The centers of the cookies should be somewhat soft and spongy when you take them out of the oven, otherwise they will end up hard and dry.

Optional Glaze
When cookies have cooled, lay out over a sheet of wax paper. Sift 1 1/4 cups of confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) and then whisk with 2 Tbsp of milk until smooth. Dip spoon into glaze and dribble over cookies.

Yield: Makes 18 large cookies.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Elle Turns Two!

We celebrated Elle's 2nd birthday this week-end with an Elmo themed party!  

Lots of her freinds came and we had great weather.


















The cake, from Karen's Bakery in Old Folsom, looked much better than it tasted... which is generally true of Karen's cakes.  How they can make a fresh cake so dry is beyond me...but it did look good!

 

Happy Birthday to one of the best little girls around!























Elle is definitely ready for Christmas when it comes to unwrapping gifts. Birthday number two (and a little coaching from big brother!) was all the practice she needed.

Xmas Lights 2012

Not exactly a Lights on the Ridge contestant, but cheery nonetheless.


Day


Night

Friday, December 07, 2012

Jack's First Love Note!

Jack received his first "love note" earlier this Fall from his friend Molly in kindergarten class.   So far he's doing fine in school and is kept relatively busy with homework and "reading".

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Rudolph is in the House!

We did a little facetime activity with Granny and Jack donned his antlers and nose to do a his best Rudolph impression for her!


In case you didn't get a great view of Rudolph here's a cropped version.




 






















And Elle is getting into the reindeer mood as well!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Atmospheric River!

We've floating away out in Cali in what has been termed an "atmostpheric river"....  crazy amount of rain over the past few days....


Chocolate Covered Blueberries

Queen Anne, the chocolate covered cherry people, have embraced the blueberry. Bottom line, however you feel about chocolate covered cherries is how you're going to feel about these. With all the sweet chocolate, syrup, and creme, the flavor of the fruit is largely muted. Whenever I see Queen Anne product, I think of Grandma Patty and her annual Christmas gift to Robert and I. Would she have gifted the chocolate covered blueberry?










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