Friday, July 29, 2011

Mac & Cheese

First, a thanks to you all for the birthday wishes passed along yesterday!  I had a great birthday.  Caleb surprised with me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers; I received cards, calls, texts, presents, and love all throughout the day; and Caleb and I had a wonderful evening together.  I love how special I always feel on my birthday!

Second, I need to talk to you about mac & cheese.  It's one of my favorite foods and definitely my ultimate comfort food.  I try different recipes for mac & cheese all of the time, it's basically become a little hobby.  Recently I made two recipes that were SO easy and delicious I had to share.  The recipes are the same except for a different cheese and different topping.  (Sorry for the lack of my own photo, I was in such a hurry to try them I didn't get a good picture.))


Fontina Mac & Cheese 
1 lb small or medium pasta shells
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz Fontina cheese, grated
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, just 1 minute shy of al dente. Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl. Warm the cream in either a saucepan or in the microwave.  Cover to keep warm.

Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well. Stir in the warm cream and Fontina until the cheese starts to melt.  Add salt to taste.

Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish.  In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter.  Add the panko and Parmesan.  Toss with a fork to coat evenly with butter.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the pasta in the dish.  Bake at 400 degrees until sauce is bubbling and top is turning golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Muenster Mac & Cheese
1 lb pasta shapes
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz Muenster, grated
salt and pepper
1/4 cracker crumbs (I used Ritz)

Cook pasta according to package directions, just 1 minute shy of al dente. Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl. Warm the cream in either a saucepan or in the microwave.  Cover to keep warm.

Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well. Stir in the warm cream and Muenster until the cheese starts to melt.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish.  In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter.  Mix in the cracker crumbs.  Toss with a fork to coat evenly with butter.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the pasta in the dish.  Bake at 400 degrees until sauce is bubbling and top is turning golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

source:  recipes from annies eats  (here and here)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


best way to start my day

It's my birthday!  It's been a good day so far, indulging on donuts for breakfast and receiving birthday wishes from friends and family.  I'm going to spend the day doing things I love:  baking, reading, going to the pool with a friend, and finally spending the evening with my sweet husband!  I hope you have a wonderful day as well!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Basic Herb Quiche

One of the things I love making in the summer for dinner is quiche.  It's easy to throw together, it makes for a bit of a lighter dinner, and it's delicious.  This recipe is quiche in its simplest form, but it's one of our favorites.

herb quiche

Basic Herb Quiche
1 refrigerated rolled pie crust
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2-4 Tbsp of dried parsley, depending on taste
4 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 oz Gruyère cheese, grated

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place pie crust in pie pan.  Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly golden, 12-15 minutes.  Remove and reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in parsley and remove from heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, milk, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Gently stir in the onion mixture and the grated Gruyère.  Pour the egg mixture into the crust.  Bake until just set and knife inserted into the center comes clean, about 35-40 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 8.

source:  recipe from woman's day, May 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips for Traveling to Yellowstone

flowers in front of the Tetons

I wanted to do one final post about our vacation to Yellowstone: some tips I would give to anyone who is planning a trip out there.

Know ahead of time what you definitely want to see while you're there. There are SO many geysers, hot springs, trails, and waterfalls in Yellowstone.  It can be very overwhelming if you just arrive and then try to decide how to spend your time. Do some research, buy some maps or books, and pick your "must see" list.  (Some of ours were Old Faithful, the Canyon of Yellowstone, Tower Falls, Morning Glory.)

Be flexible with your plans once you are there.  While we did have a rough idea of the hikes we wanted to go on and what we wanted to see, we didn't stick to a strict schedule for each day.  We made sure we hit one or two of the main things we wanted to see each day, but then we left room for whatever we saw along the way.  There are always animals to stop and watch or a random little turnoff or trail that you decide you want to go down.  I think that's what makes Yellowstone so great:  you could never run out of things to see and do!

Pack a lunch.  Because we never quite knew where we would be during our days, we found that having lunch in our car and/or day pack was most helpful. The restaurants in Yellowstone are all around the major areas of the park.  But if you're driving around or decide to do an extra hike somewhere along the way, it's hard to know if you'll be around a restaurant when you get hungry.  We also found that we were hungry a lot, so it was good that we had so many snacks with us.

Bring bug spray.  I read that there are over 40 varieties of mosquitoes in Yellowstone, and I believe it!  The bugs were literally swarming around us at times.  I did notice a huge difference once we put the bug spray on, though.

Set aside time to drive down to the Tetons.  If you aren't planning to spend any time in the Tetons, reconsider!  They are breathtakingly gorgeous and totally worth the 1-2 hour drive down, depending on where you are in Yellowstone. Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone basically back right up to each other, so it's not that much out of your way.  You won't be sorry you saw them!

Pack a variety of clothes.  We were told that it can get pretty chilly in the evenings in Yellowstone, even in July.  It never got as cold as we expected it to, but we were glad that we brought jackets, long-sleeved shirts, and sweatshirts to wear when we needed them.  We also made sure we had good rain jackets.  We brought hiking clothes for both hot and cool weather, but ended up needing only shorts because of how warm it was.  It helped me to know that we were prepared for any kind of weather.

I think that pretty much sums up what we learned from our trip.  We loved our vacation and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking about going!  If you want any recommendations or further tips, please feel free to contact me!

Birthday Week


Today is the second day of my Birthday Week (yes, that was capitalized).  I absolutely love my birthday and I love anticipating it by mini-celebrating in the days leading up to it.  This week instead of just making my favorite food for my birthday dinner on Thursday, I decided to make several of my favorite dinners throughout the week.  I might post recipes later, so stay tuned.  Most years I pick a random dessert in lieu of the traditional birthday cake, so I'm also thinking about making a couple different desserts too.  I mean, your birthday only comes once a year, right?!


The other thing I'm doing this week is taking advantage of all of the free birthday things that are offered by restaurants and stores.  I know there's like 38459 restaurants that give you a free dessert or free food if you come in on your birthday, but I don't like going out to eat on my birthday and having a bunch of strangers sing to me, so those don't appeal to me.  I read an article back in January that featured some restaurants that email you a coupon to get something free in the weeks around your birthday. Apparently I signed up for a bunch of them! Here are the ones I've received and how you can sign up for them too:

Ruby Tuesday: a coupon to get any handcrafted burger for free, have 2 weeks to use it (here)
Moe's: a coupon to get any entree for free (excluding fajitas), have 1 week to use it (here)
Coldstone Creamery: a coupon for BOGO any creation, have 2 weeks to use it (here)
Baskin Robbins: a coupon for a a free 2.5 oz scoop of ice cream, have 10 days to use it (here)
Rita's: a coupon for a free regular Italian ice, have 1 week to use it (here)
Starbuck's: register a giftcard and then join the rewards program, you'll get mailed a coupon for any drink any size, have 2-3 weeks to use it (here)
Panera: get a MyPanera rewards card and register it, they'll put a free treat on it (usually a sweet or pastry), have 60 days to use it (here)


Also, I've been doing a little shopping with my birthday rewards.  With a Loft credit card, you'll get a $15 off one purchase during your birthday month (here for credit card information).  And with a Victoria's Secret credit card, you'll get $10 off one purchase during your birthday month (here for credit card information).  And if you sign up to be a rewards member at DSW, you'll get $5 off one purchase during your birthday month (here to sign up).


So I guess it looks like Caleb and I will be spending a lot of my birthday week eating!  What did you expect from me, the one who posts a new recipe like every two days?  But then there's also the shopping.  And I'm hoping to spend some time laying out by the pool, and then hanging out with Caleb a bunch.  And we're still waiting for my nephew to be born (any day now!), so hopefully there will be a trip to meet him and see my family.

How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever had a pizookie?  This "pizza-cookie" is cookie dough baked in a personal-sized dish, much like a little pizza.  I was introduced to the concept just last week and am now sad for the years of my life that were without pizookies. Personally, I prefer making these deep-dish cookies rather than dropping dozens of cookies on baking sheets and checking on them every 30 seconds between the 10-12 minute mark to make sure they're not over-cooked.  Your cookie-baking life will be much simpler with the pizookie.

my delicious deep-dish cookie

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
.75 lb chocolate, chopped (I used semi-sweet chips)

Beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and sea salt.  Sift together the flour and baking soda.  Stir into batter. Add chocolate chunks and stir until well mixed.

Fill 4" ramekins (or other small baking dish) with raw cookie dough, about 1/2" thick.  Place ramekins on baking sheet and put in the middle rack of the oven.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-18 minutes (you want them slightly undercooked but not doughy).

Remove from oven and place each ramekin on a napkin (so that you can hold the hot dish).  Top with ice cream.

With the remaining cookie dough you can make chocolate chip cookies, baking the cookies for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.  Or you can roll the cookie dough into logs and store them in the freezer to pull out next time you want a pizookie.

source:  recipe from white on rice couple

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DIY Confetti Manicure

confetti nails

Rarely do I paint my nails.  I just don't find it practical with all of the cooking and then subsequent dish-washing that I do.  However, the other day it was kind of rainy and I was tired and a little bored.  So I decided to try this nail idea I had seen.  I ended up really liking it!  I call it a confetti manicure because I think it looks like I dipped the ends of my nails in confetti.  All you need is nail polish and a couple of bobby pins.

nail polish

1.  I did two coats of essie ballet slippers and let them dry.  
2.  Then, I opened up a bobby pin and bent it into one straight piece.  
3.  I put a few drops of essie peach daiquiri on a post-it note, dipped one end of the bobby pin into the nail polish, and then "stamped" random dots of color on all of the nails on one hand.  I re-dipped the bobby pin after each dot I placed on a nail. I let those dots dry.
4.  I then repeated the "stamping" of the dots with Sephora by OPI Meet for Drinks and let those dots dry.
5.  Then I repeated the "stamping" with essie chinchilly and let those dots dry.
6.  I did steps 3-5 for the other hand, then put a top coat on each hand.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baked Four-Cheese Farfalle with Chicken

While we were on vacation, I asked Caleb if he missed my cooking.  He said yes, he did, but that he mostly just missed being full.  My husband likes to eat frequently (read: snacks before and after dinner and in the middle of the night), so he really missed having a fridge full of food at his disposal.  Caleb loves pasta, so I tried this new pasta dish right after we got home.  I loved the blend of the different Italian cheeses!  If you're also a cheese lover, you will enjoy this dish!

Baked Four-Cheese Farfalle with Chicken
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, or 3-4 smaller ones
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 (28-32 oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained (1 1/4 cups juice reserved) and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound farfalle
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella 
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1/2 cup diced Fontina
1/3 cup grated parmesan Romano

Drizzle olive oil in sauté pan and allow to heat up.  Dice the chicken breasts into small pieces and cook in olive oil until cooked through.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat.  Add flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes to make a roux.  Add milk and reserved tomato juice in a slow stream, whisking, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Stir in tomatoes, salt, and pepper and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions; drain.

In a large bowl, stir together chicken pieces, pasta, sauce, mozzarella, Gorgonzola, and Fontina.  Transfer to buttered 3- or 4-quart shallow baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan Romano cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees until golden and bubbling, 25-30 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

source:  recipe altered from The Gourmet Cookbook

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eye Makeup Removers

One of my favorite things to do is try a variety of products and then compare them to each other to pick my favorite.  I'm that girl that actually buys the products from the road tests that Real Simple magazine does.  The last review of products I posted was mascaras I've tried, and someone asked if I would post about eye makeup removers.  I haven't tried a ton, but I do have some favorites.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser 
check Aveeno for stores
I love Aveeno products because they always smell so good!
This cleanser did not remove a trace of my eye makeup, though;
I ended up using it just like a facial cleanser.  Thumbs down
on the makeup removing part.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover 
$6.49 at Target
I found myself having to use a LOT of this to get
all the traces of my mascara off.  Also, it says it's
oil-free but I found it actually left an oily
residue around my eyes.  Definitely not a favorite.

Yes to Carrots Makeup Removing Cleanser
$9.99 at Target
This does a good job of taking all of the
eye makeup off, but it takes a little scrubbing
in order to do so.  I use this when I'm not in a hurry,
and I like it because it's paraben-free.

Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover
$15.00 at Mary Kay
This is my favorite liquid eye makeup remover.
I don't have to put a lot on a cotton ball, and it takes
off even waterproof mascara.  It's not oily
and because I feel like it lasts a long time,
I think it's worth the money.

Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes
$4.49 at Target
These are hands-down my favorite of all.
They are gentler than a cotton ball, and they 
remove every bit of makeup.  If I'm in a hurry
this is definitely what I grab, and I also
like being able to have them in 
my purse or carry-on if I am traveling.

I've also tried the Target brand eye makeup remover and hated it; I felt like I was using half the bottle just to get my mascara to come off.  I don't think they sell that anymore because now it's the up&up brand.  Has anyone tried that?

What makeup removers do you use?  I would love to know what you recommend!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Streusel Sour Cream Coffee Cakes

Hands down best way to start a week?  A cup of a coffee and a muffin.  Or a donut. Or a scone.  You get the picture:  Monday morning comes around, go get yourself a baked treat and a cup of coffee.

Streusel Sour Cream Coffee Cakes
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest

Stir together flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Blend in 1 1/2 sticks of butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-sized lumps of butter.  Transfer 3/4 cup of mixture to a medium bowl and blend in cinnamon, remaining 1/2 stick of butter, and remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar with pastry blender until crumbly.  Stir in pecans.  Refrigerate streusel topping for 15 minutes.

Whisk together sour cream, egg, yolk, vanilla, baking soda, and orange zest in a bowl.  Stir into remaining flour mixture until just combined (batter will be stiff).

Generously butter 18 muffin cups; butter tops of muffin pans as well.  Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full.  Sprinkle each with streusel topping and press it lightly into batter.  Bake at 350 degrees until cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.  Cool in pans on racks for 30 minutes.  Loosen cakes with a sharp small knife, then carefully remove from pan.  Makes 14-18 cakes.

source:  recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook

Saturday, July 16, 2011


...on my summer bucket list is done!  That's right, I have taken the plunge and joined


So I have no clue what I'm doing.  Any tips from you seasoned Pinterest users? Let's be Pinterest friends (here)!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Piña Colada Dip

I saw this fruit dip the other day and knew I needed to make it.  It was a cinch to put together and now I can't stop eating it!  Thankfully it's a healthy snack because it's half fruit, right?!

Piña Colada Dip
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Beat cream cheese and marshmallow creme together until fluffy.  Fold in the coconut and crushed pineapple.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.  Serve with fresh pineapple, strawberries, grapes, and other fruits of choice.

source:  recipe from val so cal

Vacation Recap: Days 4 & 5

Friday morning we decided to take a tour of the Old Faithful Inn.  I love learning the details and the history of places, so Caleb was gracious enough to agree to take the tour.  We thought the tour was really interesting, and if you have the time during a visit at Yellowstone, I would suggest you take it!  At the very least spend some time walking around the Inn - it is a national historic landmark and is quite fascinating.
the fireplace is made of 500 tons of rhyolite!

love all of the lodgepole pine beams everywhere

this was our view of the lobby from the bench we sat on in the evenings

from the porch of the Inn you can watch Old Faithful 

one of the original rooms of the Inn (built in 1904). you can stay in it for
$96 a night, but you have to use a public toilet and shower down the hall!

After our tour, we headed out to do the last few things we wanted to do before leaving Yellowstone.

this is taken from the parking lot of Old Faithful Inn.
Everywhere you look in Yellowstone is beautiful!

On our way towards the trail to Mystic Falls, we walked by a ton of geysers and hot springs.  This one is Sapphire Hole.  Possibly the most gorgeous one in Yellowstone!


at Mystic Falls

After Mystic Falls we went to see Fountain Paint Pots, another geothermal hot spot (haha get it) in Yellowstone.

Fountain Paint Pot

In the area around Fountain Paint Pot there were geysers as well.  This one I think was called Spasm Geyser, and it just kept shooting water!  It must have gone on for at least 10 minutes.

in front of Spasm Geyser 

Next we drove down Firehole Canyon Drive.  We stopped at the cascades because we just have this thing for watching water. 

Firehole Cascades

loving every minute together

Friday afternoon when we got back to the Old Faithful area, a storm was moving in.  We watched Old Faithful go off (for the 7th and 8th times of our trip!) and then it started pouring and hailing!  We spent the rest of the evening chilling out in the Old Faithful Inn lobby.  I made a list of random things to look for in the lobby (someone laying down, a set of twins, a bottle of wine, etc.) so we people-watched and checked things off the list.  It was nice to just relax.  

Saturday morning we left to drive back to Salt Lake City.  We stopped in the Tetons to look upon their beauty once more.  It was such a long trip back to SLC.  Somehow we ended up on the scenic byway (why do we always do that?!) and I felt like I was never going to get out of Idaho.  Once we made it back to the city, we shopped and ate at The Gateway for the evening.  We took a red-eye and finally got home at 2 pm on Sunday.  It was such a wonderful trip!

goodbye Yellowstone!

goodbye Tetons!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation Recap: Day 3

On Thursday we spent most of our day around Yellowstone's Canyon.  There are two waterfalls in the Canyon:  Lower Falls and Upper Falls.  The Canyon follows Yellowstone River and is 20 miles long, 1000 feet deep, and 2500 feet wide. There are a lot of trails that take you close to the top of the falls, or you can take different trails to give you more of an overlook view.  We did a lot of them, but here are just a few of the views we had of the waterfalls and canyon.

standing right next to the top of Lower Falls

view of the canyon from Lower Falls

overlook of Lower Falls

ok in this next picture I've put arrows pointing to this diagonal line (maybe click on the picture to make it larger) that is a very steep set of stairs.  This trail and all of these steps is known as Uncle Tom's Trail.  It takes you 3/4 of the way down into the canyon to give you an awesome view of Lower Falls.

the steps of Uncle Tom's Trail from across the Canyon

Later in the day we went to the other side of the canyon and hiked down Uncle Tom's Trail.  The steps were SO steep and basically hanging over nothing! Which was really scary!  Going down I just looked at my feet so I didn't freak myself out. It was totally worth it once we got to the bottom, though!  Going back up was a different story: it was so steep and there were so many stairs, and climbing hundreds of stairs at 8,000 feet of elevation was a bit much for me.  I was literally gasping for air and my legs were still burning like two days later.  But it was fun, and we would definitely recommend it to anyone who goes to Yellowstone!

view of Lower Falls from Uncle Tom's Trail

we were so close to the falls!

After Uncle Tom's Trail we went to Artist's Point, which we heard was the best view of the canyon.  We would have to agree!

view from Artist's Point

After we left the Canyon area we went to Tower Falls.  We were disappointed that the trail to the bottom of the falls was closed, due to water and the trail being washed out.
Tower Falls

my first time seeing elk!

On our way back to the inn at the end of the day, we drove by Yellowstone Lake to get a view of something different.  It was very pretty, but basically your typical lake.  We decided we didn't want to spend any time there because we've been to other lakes.  We did stop at this mud volcano though - so weird!

mud volcano
We hadn't originally planned to spend so much time at the Canyon, but once we were there we decided we wanted to keep going down different trails!  There are beautiful views everywhere we looked!

(see part 1 of our trip here and part 2 here!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Bucket List

I've had this summer bucket list in my head for months and on paper for weeks; time to officially document it, now that July is almost half-way over!

Summer Bucket List 2011
1. Get a good tan and keep it all summer
2. Make homemade jam  (here)
3. Start running again
4. Go berry picking (here)
5. Make s'mores inspired desserts (here)
6. Spend a day at the river
7. Get creative with our grilling
8. See books-into-movies:  The Help, Something Borrowed, Water for Elephants
9. Buy an SLR camera and learn how to use it
10. Go to a drive-in movie
11. Catch a jar full of fireflies
12. Drive the MG around town
13. Go on an awesome vacation with Caleb (here & here)
14. Make popsicles (here)
15. Find a new game for the two of us to play (here)
16. Go to the beach (here)
17. Meet our first nephew!  (He's due July 30) (here)
18. Go to the Not Wedding (here)
19. Jump on the Pinterest bandwagon....maybe (here)
20. Read a classic
21. Learn how to make good iced coffee (here)
22. Attend my friend Katherine's summer potlucks
23. Incorporate braids into my currently boring hair routine
24. Figure out something really fun to do to celebrate my birthday! (here & here)
25. Take advantage of the pool down the street

What have you done so far on your summer bucket list?

Vacation Recap: Day 2

Wednesday morning we woke up and drove to the top of Signal Mountain to see the Tetons from up there.  We were so excited about the view!

the Tetons from the top of Signal Mountain

these yellow flowers are everywhere out there

Before we left Grand Teton National Park to head to Yellowstone, I wanted to go back to a turnout we had passed the day before to get some pictures.

this is one of our favorite pictures of us from the trip

After a few pictures we started the drive north to Yellowstone.  Along the way we stopped several times around the lake to take more pictures of the Tetons.  They're just so pretty we couldn't help it!

this is the picture I had been waiting for!  Love the reflection!

I think it took us about two hours to get to Old Faithful from where we were in the Tetons.  We also stopped several times once we got into Yellowstone - at an overlook of a river and then we also hiked to a waterfall.  There are so many places to stop and get out and look around that you could spend your entire day doing just that!  Once we got to the Old Faithful area, we spent some time walking around looking at all the different geysers and hot springs.  There are so many of them!  Everywhere you look there is steam coming out of the ground - it's crazy!

my favorites were the ones that were this beautiful blue.
the bluer the hot springs are, the hotter they are.

After we walked around looking at a bunch of the hot springs and geysers around Old Faithful, it was finally time to watch Old Faithful go off!

just getting started

it goes up so high!

Afterwards, we walked a couple of miles in the opposite direction of Old Faithful to look at more hot springs and geysers.  I have SO many pictures of all the different ones but this one is one of my favorites!

this is Morning Glory.  I prefer to call it Rainbow Hole.

We walked probably four or five miles in the general Old Faithful area looking at all of the hot springs and geysers.  And let me tell you: they smell SO bad!  Old Faithful didn't really smell, but as you're walking on the sidewalks/boardwalks by all of the littler ones, the hot steam hits you in the face and about knocks you over with the sulfur smell.  On our way back to the inn to get ready to eat dinner, we came across this guy!

our first view of bison!

Seeing all of the hot springs and geysers was pretty incredible.  Yellowstone has the largest concentration of them in the world, and it really is fascinating to see steam coming out of the ground, or to watch these huge puddle-like things gurgling and bubbling with hot water!  We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn the entire time we were in Yellowstone, and it was fun to watch Old Faithful go off several times a day and watch the other geysers going off around us.  In the evenings we always spent time in the Old Faithful Inn lobby, watching people, eating ice cream, and listening to this cute little old man playing the grand piano!