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Monday, August 3, 2015

Bachelor Gulch Colorado Vacation | Itinerary for Beaver Creek & Vail



You may have guessed last week that we were on vacation.  We live in Kansas City, so one of our favorite getaways is Colorado.  The flight is about 1 hour to Denver, and the drive to the mountains is about 2 hours.  You may remember that we went two years ago when Emma was just 18 months old.  We'd said we would go back every year, but last year the summer got away from us.  Every year around the end of July/beginning of August I itch for a change of pace and a break from the heat and humidity.  This year we planned ahead (like 3 weeks...) and were so thankful to get out of town for a break just as the temps were peaking.

After our time in Boston, I realized how many people have not been to Colorado, or the Rocky Mountains.  Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the clean, clean, fresh, sweet scent of Colorado mountain air.  The site of the mountains are breathtaking.  Breathtaking.

The people that live there live there by choice (for the most part) and they are all genuinely friendly and kind and happy.  Servers at restaurants, Bellmen at the hotel (who gave Emma a stuffed animal or lipgloss every day), staff running the chairlifts - everyone is so pleasant and kind.

I've included a slew of photographs from our trip as well as our itinerary, in case you get inspired.



 This is our hotel,  The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, the same hotel we stayed at two years ago.   Mike stockpiles all of his Marriott points the entire year of work travel for this splurge.  It is a very special spot - all by itself mid-mountain.

Because I had already documented the hotel last time, I didn't take any photos of it this time - but you can see the details, here, in my older post.


Day 1 : Travel Day
Day 2 : Gondola up Beaver Creek and 5 mile hike down




In case you think Emma's having the time of her life, she's actually saying "I just want to go back to the hotel and get in the hot tub."


She finally gave in to the carrier backpack and took a nap : )





That night we had dinner at Sweet Basil in Vail Village.  Vail is a pedestrian ski village full of people strolling and chatting with live music and fountains - it feels very European.




Day 3 : 1 Hour Drive to Turquoise Lake for Beach Picnic and Hike




Camera on the ground trying to out run the timer shot.  Emma got a kick out of watching mom try to run.


There is nothing like being knocked off of your feet by the pure majesty of nature.  I love vacations that do that for me - whether the ocean, the mountains or an awesome sunset.  I feel like that is always what I'm searching for on vacations - to be taken away from the rigors of everyday and to be reminded that I'm a small piece of a huge puzzle that moves and is beautiful without me directing it.  It helps me to remember to go with the flow and just enjoy.



This was such a peaceful afternoon.





Day 3 Dinner : Beano's Cabin on Beaver Creek Mountain


Beano's is an Mountainside restaurant.  You have options of riding a horse up the mountain, taking a wagon ride or a shuttle.  Emma opted for the shuttle bus, which was just fine with me.

Emma's favorite part was frolicking in the meadow, of course.


Day 4 : Rodeo!  We spent most of the day at the pool, the treated Emma to a night at the Beaver Creek Rodeo.  She loves anything that involves face paint.


Cotton Candy!





Thanks for joining us on a little memory photo tour.  We are back refueled and rejuvenated with lovely memories of fun family time.

Too often after busy seasons without a real break, the stress and anxiety of life can sneak up on me too quickly.   I'm trying to be better about scheduling our vacations and time off too relieve us before we are maxed out.  What are your favorite summer vacation spots?  I'm already thinking about our next trip : )

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Blueberry & Orange Muffins




Not only do we have a lot of blackberries around here, but we also have (had) a lot of blueberries.  We've made gobs of blueberry muffins this summer and I needed a twist of something new.


I added some orange juice and zest to our most recent batch and love how it turned out.  It was just the right amount of something different.  I was considering even doing an orange glaze on the top - I love anything with a glaze, but opted for a crunchy sugar sprinkling instead.

I also baked these a little longer than I normally do because I had a craving for a browned sugar top.  Don't ever underestimate the power of texture when it comes to food.  Yum!

A morning baking at the baking counter - I really do love having a big separate area to spread out on. 



This is the morning we went blue berry picking with our friends.  Sweet Emma. 


I think she tried a green one ; )




Blueberry Orange Muffins

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
2¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 orange, zested and juiced
6 oz. fresh blueberries
....
coarse sanding sugar*


For the muffin batter, stir together flour sugar baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl.  Add melted butter, eggs, orange juice, zest and milk and stir just until combined.   Fold in blueberries.  With an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into a muffin tin lined with papers.

Top generously with coarse sanding sugar.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.


I sprinkled generously with sanding sugar before baking.



I don't have any in-stock in the store right now, but they will be restocked soon.


Love that crunchy sugar top!



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Clearance + 20% Off

 Summer Clearance + 20%

Not only are there so many items on sale, but now I'm offering 20% off all orders over $50.   This sale includes some of my favorite items that have just been restocked like the Kitchen Brush SetLaundry & Bathroom Bottles and the Classic Platters Collection.  Just yesterday, I restocked all of the Tablet + Le Pens - sorry it took so long for all of you that have emailed me : )  It is the perfect essential to get you organized for fall.

Use the code : SUMMER20

Shop the Sale + 20% Off >

I love these lightweight linen towels in classic Blue & White.


The Tablets+LePens are restocked in lots of colors including the ever popular, Falmouth Grey. 


Take the opportunity to get 20% off your favorite baking items, too, like this Jumbo Tip for Hydrangea cupcakes.


This collection of Classic Platters are quickly becoming an essential around my home - the come beautifully packaged, too.


The Laundry & Bathroom Bottles have just been restocked, too!  Happy Summer Clearance Shopping : )

Use the code : SUMMER20

Shop the Sale + 20% Off >

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Homemade Blackberry Preserves | Printable Labels | Saving Summer


Easy Homemade Blackberry Preserves


As I mentioned last week, we have a prolific amount of blackberries due to my Dad's blackberry patch.  After making several Blackberry Cobblers, we still didn't seem to make a dent in the berries.  

Sometimes in the middle of summer bounty, you can almost forget the bleakness of winter that is just 6 months away.  Our Granny used to always put up peaches in the summer and get them out on Christmas morning.  They were always a little frozen and slushy, and delicious on Christmas morning.  A little breath of summer.  

The thought of bottling a little bit of our carefree summer in the form of Blackberry preserves gave Emma and me a little motivation after school last week.  I can't wait to get these out to top our biscuits for a snuggly fire-side breakfast this winter. 


While I did consults some recipes, truth-be-told, I have no idea how much sugar is in our preserves.


That's what happens when I'm behind the camera and Emma is in charge.

I was shocked to find out how much sugar other recipes sited - ours was not nearly as sugar heavy.  I wanted it to taste like fresh blackberries, not sugared jelly.

I think it was a little something like this : 

6 cups of Blackberries
1 1/2 - 2 cups of sugar
juice of 1 lemon


Put it in a big saucepan and cook for maybe 30 minutes.


As I said, I wanted to preserve the taste of a fresh summer blackberry, so I didn't mash or smash or attempt to remove the seeds.  Not only will they be more of the essence of a real summer berry, it was much easier.  Much easier.


While the berries continued to simmer and thicken (cooking for almost 1 hour on low heat), I sterilized the jars in water for 5 minutes.  Just make sure the water is simmering.


I removed the jars with tongs and put them on a pan for filling.  Make sure jars are still hot when spooning in hot jam so the jars don't break.


I found that ladaling the mixture into a pouring measuring cup made filling very easy.


Our recipe made 5 jars.


I sealed the jars by submerging them in simmering water for 10 minutes and watching until there were no more bubbles coming out.  For detailed canning instructions, try here.


Of course I needed some cute labels for our jars.  I used the 2.5" Printable Circle Labels from my store.  They come as 6 sheets of 12 for $5.  I love having them around to make homemade goodies look great.



Here is the template download for the labels.  You can personalize them, of course, for anything.





Now, if I could just bottle up this...  




Happy Summer : )
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