December 16, 2011

Peppermint Creme Bars

These are delicious. They are like a peppermint patty with an oreo layer. Pretty easy to make, just need a food processor and time (they are a bit time consuming, it seemed to me at least).

  • 1 package crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with white filling

  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 6 cups powdered sugar

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract

  • 1 pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips (or 1 1/2 depending on how chocolatey you like it)

  • 4 teaspoons shortening


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the pan edges; set aside.


In a medium bowl, combine crushed cookies and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack.


Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and softened butter in a food processor. Cover and process until butter is evenly distributed. With processor running, add milk and peppermint extract to make a paste. Spread peppermint mixture evenly over the prepared crust. Put in freezer for 45 minutes.


In a saucepan, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Pour chocolate over mint layer and spread evenly. Freeze again, or let set out until chocolate in firm (I put in freezer for about 20ish minutes). Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Cut into square.

*I added Christmas sprinkles to the mint part, and snowflake sprinkles on top the chocolate part (before the chocolate hardens).

*adapted from HERE. The original recipe is in a 8x8 pan which I thought was way too small for the amount of time put into these, and I made a change in the peppermint layer part, I like more peppermint creme, so I more than doubled the original recipe, but don't worry, it's been tested and works just great.

August 29, 2011

Some of my favorite Things

I am moving to UTAH!
So I will most likely not be doing Colorado updates, unless something amazing is happening that I wish I could go to and think that no one should miss.
So, with planning to move out of Colorado, I am jam packing our last month with some of the things I loved doing in Douglas County and will miss the most. I couldn't fit everything into our last month here, but here is my list:

"The miniature train has run in Belleview Park for over 30 years, averaging 60,000 riders annually."

"Come on down to the farm for a little bit of yesteryear. Enjoy getting to know some farm animals. Our barnyard will host cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and sheep just to name a few. The farm also features Buttercup, a life-size fiberglass milking cow. Try and see if you know how to milk our cow and experience how people used to get their milk down on the farm!"
$1.50 per person for the train, and $1.50 per person for the farm (under 2 is free)

The Children's Farm and Miniature Train are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

"The Littleton Museum is a 14-acre site encompassing an 1860s farm and 1890s farm with costumed interpreters, Littleton's original log schoolhouse, a 1903 working blacksmith shop, and an ice house. It is host to many events and programs each month. The museum, which is free to the general public, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed on Mondays and holidays."

"Climb the Rock" (the Castle Rock)
"Climb the Rock that is located in Castle Rock. This is an easy hike-a dirt path will lead you to the base of the Rock, from there you have to climb up the rock a short distance to reach the summit."

" A trail that leads to a fire tower lookout from where you can have a 360 degree view of the Rockies and Eastern Plains"

This is a little pricy, I think, for a one day visit with the family, but get a year membership, and you can go whenever you want and I think it is well worth it. You may even be able to find some good deals. I recently got a year membership through mamapedia for 60% off, so I got the Family Premier Membership (normally $100) for $40! This is great because it is all indoors too, so you don't have to worry about too hot or too cold weather.

This is my favorite and the only festival we go to. My husband isn't a festivally kind of person; but he looks forward to and loves this one. The kids love it because of the grape stomp (to make the little feet merlot wine). It takes place in September. This year, one September 10-11. Entrance and activities are free and you can easily find free parking.

The Spice Shops
So this isn't really an activity or event, but I love LOVE the two spice shops in Downtown Historic Littleton. Penzeys and the Savory Spice Shop. You have to try these out, changed my cooking! (This is kind of a few things in one because the Historic Downtown Littleton is awesome as well, and you HAVE to go to the Ladies Only Sample Tour if you can. I went one year, and tried to get tickets for the next year and they sold out on the first day, so you have to be FAST, but go if you can!)

Douglas County Parks
Civic Green Park is the new one I JUST discovered, of course, a month before having to move, but it is awesome. It has a little stream for the kids to play in, two splashpads, playground, grass field, covered picnic area, everything! Also right by the Highlands Ranch library!

I love Cornerstone Park in Littleton as well, and it is across the street from the Belleview Mini Train and Farm, it has a splashpad and fun park equipment and sand box.

There are probably 100s of parks in Douglas County, and they are all amazing and have different and fun things to offer, but I really love splashpads and fun playgrounds, so they are my top two. O'Brien Park in Parker is pretty awesome too, and Bison Park, Paintbrush Park, and Gemstone Park in Castle Rock are also some favorites. And they just built a brand new park on Castle Pines Parkway that is HUGE and awesome and has splash pads, so go check it out, the grand opening is September 17th. It is called Elk Ridge Park and is "located on Mira Vista Lane off of Lagae Road, just north of American Academy Charter School. Elk Ridge Park is multi-generational and consists of approximately 12 acres with trails, turf athletic fields, open space, art features, playground equipment, a natural amphitheater area, climbing wall, water features and much more."

This has a car entrance fee, but we all spent the day there and had so much fun!

The Streets at South Glenn water fountain

And just some other things I really love about Douglas County:
Douglas County has amazing libraries with awesome events for children going on all the time, and it's free. And membership is free, and rentals are free. It's all free, unless you rack up late fees (like me). AND you don't have to return books/movies to the same library you checked them out at, just any of the Douglas County libraries. Take advantage of the library if you live here!

These were REALLY close to where we lived and always had some great deals going on.

The Dever Metro area has tons of free days going on for all types of places, like the Zoo, Hudson Gardens, The Children's Museum. Check out HERE for more details. (this is a list of 2010, but you get the idea, and can know which places do free days from it).

This is a little pricy also I think, and doesn't offer any free days, but it is worth it. I would have gotten a year membership to either here or the Children's Museum if they weren't so far from my house. It is pretty big, has a large variety, and has an interactive stingray reef touch tank. The kids loved that part!

August 20, 2011

Oreo and Peanut Butter Layered Baby Lattice Pies

I saw this on Picky Palate and decided to make it for my husband's lunch club dessert. I thought they were pretty easy, and I have never done anything lattice before. They were also pretty delicious; I thought at least. The only things I would change would be to not be skimpy on the peanut butter. I wish I would have added twice as much in the layers, and the lattice actually looked pretty neat (although you can't see in the picture) but I would make the strips thicker. The recipe says to make long thin strips, so I did that, but on the pies that had thicker strips so that the lattice completely covered the top looked better. I also used a 4 inch round cookie cutter to cut out the dough instead of just "eyeing it" like the recipe says to. Someone at my husband's lunch club suggested to crush the oreos and then do the peanut butter, which I thought would be neat too, however you wouldn't get those cool looking layers. I also thought of putting chocolate chip cookie dough instead of the oreos but I didn't know how well that would transfer for cooking times, ect.

Click here to go to the recipe at Picky Palate.

August 10, 2011

Banana Blueberry Cream Pie

1 Banana, sliced
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 graham cracker crust
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ox.) container cool whip

Cream together the cream cheese and cool whip. (I added a little powdered sugar and vanilla extract to mine). Pour half of mix into crust. Layer with bananas, then pour the rest of cream mixture on top. Top with blueberry pie filling and chill.

*the original recipe called for 2 cream cheese packages and 2 cool whips, but that was WAY too much for my pie, it also said to do 3 layers of cream/banana/cream/banana, but I could only fit one layer. If you did want to do two pies, you could definitely use the two packages of cream cheese and cool whip and split one can of blueberry pie filling. I got this recipe from my Mom, but I can't remember where she got it from.

August 05, 2011

Summer Hose Wreath

Even though most everyone has started school already, I can still post a summer craft thing, right? This is a cute summer wreath that my mom made using a hose, some flowers, gloves, and a nest. A very cute, easy and inexpensive way to decorate for summer.

July 19, 2011

Colorado White Water Rafting

(that's me, my husband, and our rafting group)

This past weekend I went white water rafting with my husband and his work company. It was a blast, we went to the Royal Gorge, by Canon City (about 2 hours away from Denver). We did the full day rafting trip and rafted about 10 miles. I would definitely recommend this if you like rafting, and it's not too far from Denver. It is absolutely beautiful there with some amazing views!

Here is the website for the rafting company we went through:

Here is a little more info on the raft trip that I took, in case you're interested:

"The ultimate white water raft trip in Colorado. This rafting trip is ranked in the top ten white water trips nationally. The best of Bighorn Canyon in the morning, including class III & III+ rapids Wake Up, Three Rocks, Spikebuck & Sharkstooth. We then stop for a rest at the Parkdale beach and enjoy our famous riverside lunch. Be ready to focus and paddle hard through the class III - V turbulence that is the ROYAL GORGE. Seven out of ten miles of continuous white water thrills including Sunshine Falls, Sledgehammer, Wallslammer & Boateater. The Gorge is home to the most spectacular scenery on the river as you pass under the highest suspension bridge in the world, 1053' above you. The premier Colorado rafting adventure on the Arkansas River!"

July 11, 2011

Colorado Springs

Thought I would give a shout out to Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak area. I have been there once I think for a minute, and didn't really think anything of it, but I came across this website and I would love to spend a weekend a month in Colorado Springs area now. There are tons of things to do. Here are some of my top choices:

(I've heard tons about it, and your kids can feed the giraffes)

July 01, 2011

4th of July Desserts

I found all of these desserts through different blogs. I can't make all of them (I mean, I suppose I just shouldn't but...) here are my top choices, I'll probably just have the family look through them and vote.

Which one would you pick?

Wall Mounted Book Shelf (pallet shelf)

My parents just came up for a visit and I asked my dad to make me little wall mounted shelves to put by each of my kids' beds. They have been really into reading themselves to sleep lately. We got all the wood at home depot. Most of it came from the cull section. To make both shelves, (all the wood) and to get some screws and washers, it cost about $6. The kids love their new shelves. I can't give you a tutorial on how to make them (because my dad made them), but hopefully it can give you some ideas if you are looking to make something like this. I think I may put those little push button night lights that hang on the wall by them.

May 24, 2011

Recipes to Try

Over the last year (or more) I have been bookmarking recipes on my computer tabs that I wanted to try. Afraid that my tabs might be lost accidentally, I decided to make a post with all the recipes I have saved. One day, I will have tried all of them (okay, maybe one day). I have made some already; and I put a star (*) by those ones. Feel free to look over my collection of recipes that have caught my eye:















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