Atomic Fire Balls, Hot Tamales and Cry Baby Sour Balls……photo shoot…..

So, I am still following along with the Giver’s Log Shoot Along and this weeks assignment was to do a sour face or fire ball photo shoot.  So, we went out and bought some Hot Tamales, Atomic Fireballs and Cry Baby Sour gum.  Everyone got in on the act and got their picture taken.  The real challenge of the day was to put all three different candies in your mouth at once…but no one was up to that challenge!

River didn’t want to try the hot stuff…and I didn’t force her….she thought the sour balls were delicious and didn’t make any good faces…except cute ones!!!!!  Tuesday was convinced that River is too young and didn’t know what sour was…but I assured her, that River knows what sour is…but for some reason…thought the sour balls were yummy!

It was  a lot of fun to look over all the funny faces….especially my own!  I think Tuesday made the best faces of all…with Quinn coming in a close second!

Ciabatta Bread with a bread machine……

I’m into making bread…but using my bread machine.  I’m trying to make all different kinds of breads.  I have perfected my plain rolls and my french bread recipes.

I decided to try Ciabatta bread.  The first recipe I tried is considered for beginners…, I will have to try the more complicated version….supposedly using sour dough or “sponge”…..I will keep you posted on the outcomes.

The recipe was incredibly easy…it did say that the dough will be incredibly sticky and runny…and it was!  The bread turned out flat…I don’t know if that was due to the high humidity that day…or just my baking skills..but it was tasty..and as always, much better when eaten fresh!

Ciabatta Bread – Bread Machine Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast


  1. Place ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle, and Start.
  2. Dough will be quite sticky and wet once cycle is completed, resist the temptation to add more flour. Place dough on a lightly floured board, cover with a large bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Lightly flour or use parchment lined baking sheets. Divide into 2 pieces, and form each into a 3×14 inch oval. Place loaves on prepared sheets, dimple surface, and lightly flour. Cover, and let rise in a draft free place for approximately 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  5. Dimple dough for a second time, and then place loaves in the oven, positioned on the middle rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. During baking, spritz loaves with water every 5 to 10 minutes for a crispier crust.

Butterfly Friend….

We have had a butterfly hanging out in our driveway for several months now.  Whenever we are playing in the driveway..he (or she) is there….fluttering about.

Truthfully, I don’t know that much about butterflies. Someone asked me if it was a moth…so I had to do some research and I think he is definitely a butterfly…..butterflies have a “hook” on the end of their antennae and when they are resting, they rest with their wings together, not spread out.  And this little guy seems brightly colored, not dull.  Now, supposedly, there are exceptions to these rules..but in general….I think he is a butterfly.

If you sit still, he will instantly land on you.  Sometimes he has a friend with him, but mostly he seems to be by himself.  He seems to come out around late afternoon and he hangs out until dusk.

When he flies close to your ears, you can actually hear his wings fluttering….pretty cool.

River wants to have the butterfly land on her…….at least she thinks she does…she sits still…and just as the butterfly is about to land…she runs away…….I kept trying to get shots of the butterfly landing on her…but she kept moving away……though she made a cute pose as she waited for the butterfly!

Shark Cupcakes…..

I had to bake a dessert for a bake sale for my childrens swim team….I couldn’t make something simple..I had to make something fun… I did a search on the internet and found these on the Martha Stewart website:

So, I made my own version.  For the cupcakes I used my Simple Cake Recipe, which is one of my favorite recipes!  I wanted to make really fluffy icing….so I find a fluffy white frosting recipe.  It worked out pretty well.  The icing tasted more like a meringue.

I made the shark fins by melting white chocolate and adding a tablespoon of light corn syrup and some food coloring.  I let it refrigerate for about 3 hours and then cut out the shapes.   All in all, I think they turned out pretty cute and they were a hit….I’d definitely make them again…..though I think I would try to make these from Hello Cupcakes:

FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING (taken from Coleen’s Recipes)

In a large bowl, put two egg whites, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon of almond extract…set aside.

In a saucepan, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar, dash of salt and 1/3 cup of water. Cook and stir until it just comes to a boil and sugar dissolves.

Start beating your egg whites and extracts on HIGH while you slowly drizzle in the hot syrup. Keep beating on high until stiff peaks form.

With a hand held electric mixer, this can take up to 7 minutes, but with my stand mixer it only takes about 4 minutes. Recipe makes enough to frost a 9″ two layer cake or a 10″ tube cake or 24-36 cupcakes.

Farm Fair….

So today we went to our local Farm Fair.  The kids had a great time checking out all the cows, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks………and many more….

It was hot.  Really hot.   Luckily, the animals were under tents and they had lots of fans.  The bunnies had frozen bottles of water in their cages to keep them cool!

We got there late, so we missed the milking contest..and the women’s skillet throwing contest!  We couldn’t find the pig tent, so we missed the pig races!

There were lots of different types of pigeons and chickens and rabbits!  I never knew there were so many varieties!

We also got to the chicken incubator just in time to see a baby chicken being born..literally pecking its way out of the shell!  But I couldn’t get a good picture!

The animals are so gentle..they don’t mind being petted at all…..which is great for the kids!

Birthday gift for Gram…..

We came up with a great gift idea for my mother-in-law, who is blind.  My husband took profile shots of all the kids and then printed them out and cut out the profile.  He didn’t make the to size..he made them slightly smaller.

We were going to use some nice thin wood, but then he found some really great pieces of compressed wood in our basement.  It was much better than natural wood because it didn’t splinter at all and it didn’t have to be sanded.

He used our scroll saw to cut out the shapes.  They turned out great!  The kids loved giving them as gifts and, most of all, Gram loved them!  She was able to feel each one and knew just who they were!

Taking Photos……

One of my favorite blogs is Giver’s Log.   They are having a Giver’s Log Photo Shoot Along.  You can read all about it at the site.  I love photography and I love taking photos…so this seemed perfect for me.

The first assignment was to “think about what is part of your life right now that you’ll want to remember in a couple years? If you have kids, what is your kid doing right now that he won’t be doing six months from now that you need to remember?  Does she love a special stuffed animal?  Does she read a specific book while she sits on the potty? Your homework is to get out your camera, (fancy or not) set up the story, and take the shot. ”

So, I got my daughter River to play along with me…..she loves her stuffed elephants right now…so they had to be included in the shoot.  Also, I love her little freckles.  She has freckles, only in the summer, just like her big sister..and I love them.

So, here are my best shots from our photo shoot today…….

Peppermint Pattie Chocolate Brownie Bars……

So I wanted to make something new and yummy for dessert.  I went through my recipes and couldn’t find anything.

So, first I made my favorite home made brownie recipe.

Then, I went to the store and saw Peppermint Patties…I had to get those….so, I thought I would cut up the brownies and insert a Peppermint Patty into each one…..

Then I found some delicious Belgium chocolate that a friend had given me….so I melted that…..and began to dip all the brownie things into the chocolate..but that didn’t I ended up just spooning the chocolate over the brownies….

And that seemed to work out pretty well.  Then I stuck them in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate……They were quite yummy!  Have a great weekend!