29. October 2013 · Comments Off on Pumpkin Carving Time! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,


Better late than never, right?

Timmy and I enjoyed carving our four pumpkins this afternoon. I’m so proud of Timmy, this year he offered to do everything but got really nervous about gutting the pumpkins. So I did it for him…because I’m a sucker for that stuff.

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29. October 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 17: Spruce Mountain Open Space · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Colorado basks in their “open spaces”. I’m not sure if it’s a special category of park or what, but there are many in our community, and there are several between Colorado Springs and Denver.

That’s where my latest adventure took me.

Just north of the towns of Monument and Palmer Lake, Colorado is the Spruce Mountain Open Space. Last Friday my friend and her sons invited me on a hike at Spruce Mountain on the boys’ day off from school. My sons were in school so I was joining them solo.

Don’t let the word “mountain” in the name fool you. It’s more of a mesa, and we took a very similar hike at Palmer Park in the heart of Colorado Springs. Just the same, Spruce Mountain gives you some beautiful views that are much more peaceful. I’ll take Spruce Mountain.

The parking lot was packed! You can see that it's not a huge "mountain".

The parking lot was packed! You can see that it’s not a huge “mountain”.

A map of the trails available here. We started in the upper right and headed towards the lower left.

A map of the trails available here. We started in the upper right at the parking area/trailhead and headed towards the lower left to Windy Point.

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28. October 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 16: Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
You'll see all of the wolf pictures with the grid of a fence in front of them. You had to pay some big bucks to get better photos.

You’ll see all of the wolf pictures with the grid of a fence in front of them. You had to pay some big bucks to get better photos.

I have a lot of catching up to do on my personal blog, as well as with GeekMom, as well as a guest post for my friend The Country Cook’s blog later this week. We’ve been quite busy with wrapping up our basement finish project, and the typical kids’ activities are cruising along nicely too.

Later this morning I have my annual Air Force fitness test. This year I’m taking it at the AF Academy, which should be interesting: the fitness center is at 7000′ elevation. I know I will pass, at least.

In the meantime, let’s get going on our latest Colorado Discovery trip to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.

Jacob’s BFF-in-Colorado had a birthday trip to the center, which is located in Divide, Colorado. Divide is about 40 miles west of Colorado Springs. It took us about an hour to get there on U.S. 24 west of the Rampart Range.

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center trip was very similar to our October 2012 trip to the Seacrest Wolf Preserve in Chipley, Florida…except for the much colder weather in Colorado.

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21. October 2013 · Comments Off on The Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,



This past weekend I made peanut butter cookies. In part because I had a jar of peanut butter that needed to be finished off ASAP. It was “natural” peanut butter that had separated during our move to Colorado and didn’t look so hot. I figured mixed into the cookie dough well enough it’d be fine.

The recipe I have for peanut butter cookies is adapted from a basic recipe I saw on the All Recipes website. It’s very basic. However, I added in some techniques that makes them almost melt-in-your-mouth! I was very pleased that this recipe worked at my home’s higher altitude also.

It’s science, my friends! See below in the instructions.


Peanut Butter Cookies that Melt in Your Mouth

1 cup unsalted butter (you may use salted, but then you should halve the salt)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, it’s good either way)

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars. DO NOT SKIMP on this step. You want to beat this for 5-7 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Walk away for a few minutes, catch up on your mail…fold the laundry.

Stop the mixer every once in a while to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

You are incorporating air bubbles into the mixture which helps give the cookie dough a lighter texture when baking.

With the mixer still running, add the eggs, one at a time. Beat mixture until it lightens in color, another 1-2 minutes.

Stop using the mixer now! You will now want a large spoon or spatula to slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Roll the dough into 1 – 1 1/2″ balls and place at least 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a fork dusted in flour, make the ubiquitous waffle-like fork-tines pattern on the ball of cookie dough, flattening it just a little.

Bake in a 375F oven for 10 minutes. Do not overcook.


As much as I love the texture of this cookie, I’m still trying to tweak the recipe to bring out more peanut butter flavor. This past weekend’s recipe had dark brown sugar and I think it subdued the peanutty flavor some. Also, this peanut butter was sort of old, dating from this past spring.

I would like to try this recipe with light brown sugar and fresh-made peanut butter. I might be doing that as soon as this weekend, Dave requested peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and I have a bag of Wilbur chocolate chips for him!

What’s your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe! Share it with us!

We awoke to our first snow accumulation this past Friday!

We awoke to our first snow accumulation this past Friday!

We were excited to wake up to snow on the ground this past Friday! The kids had no school, so they had the chance to play outside for a while.

We had about 2 1/2″ total by about 9am, but it was all melted by lunchtime. From what I understand, this is typical in Colorado Springs.

The view from our back deck!

The view from our back deck!

I’m glad I got the boys new parkas and snow pants, but I guess they could use some boots soon. Where do I begin to get some?

12. October 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 15: The Georgetown Loop Railroad · Categories: Uncategorized
The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a nice short rail excursion that's great for kids.

The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a nice short rail excursion that’s great for kids. Love the conductor sticking his head out the window on the right, although we were warned multiple times to NOT do that.

A couple weekends ago our family took a trip up towards Denver to visit the Georgetown Loop Railroad. It was a beautiful early autumn day. I was hoping we’d see brighter aspen, but we were a couple weeks early for that.

The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a remnant of the Georgetown, Breckenridge, and Leadville Railroad from the late 1880s. The railroad was very busy during Colorado’s gold and silver rushes in late 1800s. The line was all but abandoned by the late 1930s. It was reopened in the 1980s for tourist excursions and is still very popular today, thanks to it being less than an hour west of Denver on I-70.

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08. October 2013 · Comments Off on 5 Movies that Make Me Cry — Every Time! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,


I was flipping channels last night. Usually that’s Dave’s job, but he goes to bed pretty early ahead of his teaching days. He has to be at work with enough time to prepare for a 0730 class on teaching days.

There is a batch of movies that I will always stop on if it’s playing on a channel. Movies that include Julie and Julia, Eat, Pray, Love, and The Princess Bride. But those movies don’t make me cry. I even own The Princess Bride but I’ll still endure the commercials for the convenience of it being on.

But there are five movies that I will stop at every time and watch…and have my Kleenex ready!

Last night it was Steel Magnolias.

SPOILER ALERT! I will be describing the scenes that make me cry. If you don’t want to know what happens, please don’t read on! Here’s a picture of a movie poster to break things up for you.

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04. October 2013 · Comments Off on Happy Star Wars Reads Day — With Shakespeare? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
It's the Original Star Wars -- with a twist!

It’s the Original Star Wars — with a twist!

October 5th is “Star Wars Reads Day“. This initiative partners with several publishing companies and involves events throughout the country celebrating Star Wars and literacy. My fellow GeekMom colleague Kay Moore is getting to attend an event at the San Diego Central Library where Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will be read along with a silent viewing of the original (what some of you may call “A New Hope”). That sounds super cool, although I have plans today already.

If you aren’t near one of the events, might I recommend stopping by your favorite bookstore and picking up a copy of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars to enjoy.

I’m not going to cover the plot of this story. If you’re a fan of my blog, you should know I’m a huge Star Wars fan, especially the originals. The latter three (Episodes I-III) don’t appeal to me quite so much.

So I will assume you know the plot of the original Star Wars movie. ‘Nuf said.

But what you probably have yet to realize is Doescher’s ability to convert the story into iambic pentameter and illustrate the book with dozens of woodcut-style scenes from the story. It’s magical how he combines old world and modern storytelling.

The book is set up like a Shakespeare play, complete with a list of characters, settings, and stage directions. The language pays excellent homage to The Bard’s style, with plenty of “hast”s, “doth”s, and “prithee”s.

I read much of Act I aloud to Jacob and Timmy (and our sponsor cadet). I’m afraid their eyes rolled to the back of their heads listening to my overdramatic style of reading, but I was able to introduce a discussion about Shakespeare and iambic pentameter with my boys. I warned them that Shakespeare is coming to an English class near them very very soon and it wouldn’t hurt to study his style with a familiar story.

While I don’t have permission to reproduce the text, you can read the first 20 pages through this excerpt at Boing Boing.

If you get the book, be sure to pay attention to the afterword which explains the special connection between Shakespeare and George Lucas. A fun history.

I had a good time reading William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. The book retails for $14.95 and will make a great gift this holiday season. It’s available at most bookstores and through online retailers such as Amazon.

Disclosure: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

04. October 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 14: Farish Recreation Area near Woodland Park, CO · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
That is the WEST side of Pike's Peak behind us. We have a view of the east face from our house.

That is the WEST side of Pike’s Peak behind us. We have a view of the east face from our house. Cadet Rob took this nice picture of us.

I don’t know about you guys, but fall is officially here!

Heck, let’s just call it winter! We awoke this morning to rain while the temperature continued to fall below freezing. The water droplets FROZE to the car…which made getting the kids to school this morning difficult.

(Yes, I drove the kids to school, since it was raining).

This is going to be a COLD weekend, and I’m looking forward to  doing INDOOR stuff. Sorry, it’s going to take a whle to shake the Florida thin blood out of my system. On Saturday the family is heading up to Loveland, Colorado for the Northern Colorado Mini Maker Faire (read more about it here). Sunday should be a day at home.

But last weekend was delightful! We spent Saturday hiking in the mountains, and Sunday up in Georgetown, Colorado visiting the tourist railroad there (which is for another post).
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