Saturday, May 28, 2011

yummy pizza

I just had to share this yummy pizza I threw together last night.  I was proud of myself for throwing it together with things I already had, and both Matt and I ended up loving it.  We both gave it a 10, which is rare for us.  We just thought all the flavors melded together perfectly and it really couldn't have been improved upon.  Even my kids devoured it (a rarity).



I made a basic pizza crust in my breadmaker then:
-spread olive oil over the crust
-sprinkled on seasoning salt, fresh pepper, and chopped up fresh rosemary
-to that I added chopped up red onion
-leftover chopped up roasted chicken
-very thinly sliced potatoes (which I coated in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven before putting on my pizza)
-bacon (I used the fresh bacon bits from Costco, but I'm sure actual fried up bacon would have been even better).
-I topped all of this with shredded mozarella and baked at 420 for about 15 minutes.

This will definitely be something I make again!

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Friday, May 27, 2011

birdies and banners

There are currently two bird nests with little baby birds in our back yard.  I love hearing them tweet tweet.  One of the nests is in a low bush tucked way up in the middle.  I was able to take a little peek at the babies.... there are four of them.  I made sure not to touch anything :)  They make a big cute squawking ruckus when mama or dad comes into the nest to food them.  Kind of reminds me of when my own kids are hungry ;)


Mama AND Daddy keep good watch over the nest,
I watch them take turns keeping watch and going in to feed the hungry babies.

I made a couple of festive little banners that are making me happy...
a patriotic bunting banner...






I love red, white and blue.
All I did for this one was cut out stars from some paint samples I picked up while at Lowes yesterday.  I then sewed the stars together.



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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Intentional Moments

Lately I've really been feeling guilty about not being in the moment with my kids.
Instead, I'm keeping an eye on them while I mentally do something else,
or check my e-mail on my phone,
or check Facebook or Twitter,
or try to clean, cook, etc.
There's no doubt that this time of my life with two little ones is very physically draining,
however I don't want to look back and wonder why I wasn't in the moment more often.

Thus, I'm really making it a goal to have intentional moments with my kids every day.
Times where I'm with them, both physically and mentally.
Times where my phone is not in my hand.
Times where I'm enjoying the moment as much as they are.

So, that is my theme this summer...
to be IN the moment,
fully present,
enjoying it to the fullest.
I will be intentional about carving out time to do fun activities and enjoy my family.
In fact I'm working on a summer bucket list right now :)







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Monday, May 23, 2011

bath paints, a sick boy and the yard

Poor Ethan came down with a nasty bug on Friday night.  He woke up at 3:00 am with a croup-like cough and couldn't breathe.  He then had a fever and cough for two days and didn't get off the couch hardly at all.  Thank goodness for cartoons!!  Today he's still feeling icky but at least his fever is gone.  He has no energy.  The poor little guy asked to go to bed at noon :(  I think this is the sickest he's ever been.  The one kind of selfish and positive thing about about him being sick is how calm our house has been since all he's done is lay on the couch.  Sadly him being sick has almost felt relaxing for me.  Hopefully no one else gets this nasty bug!!!
(well, scratch the no fever thing, after posting this he woke up from his nap with his fever back... 102... poor buddy)

Matt spent the weekend in the backyard....
He looks excited doesn't he?  hehe.
Mostly he didn't want his picture taken after working all day.
It's dirty out there.
He is in the process of changing out all the sprinklers and fixing a few,
smoothing out the dirt and making it all level,
and getting it ready for the lawn that will hopefully be planted soon.
I didn't help this weekend since I had to stay inside and take care of my sickies (Alayna has a cold as well).


The other evening (before the kids were sick), I mixed up a little food coloring with shaving cream and let the kids paint with it in the bath.  They thought it was great.  Ethan stayed in the bath tub for an entire hour!






That's pretty much what we've been up to...
nothing super exciting.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cleaning

Least favorite chore: folding laundry.  I'd gladly scrub toilets to get out of putting away laundry.

Most rewarding chore: cleaning the floors.  I love when my floors are clean.  It makes the whole house seem clean to me even if some of my end tables are dusty.

Clutter:  I hate it.  I try to keep my counter-tops clutter free.  If stuff is piled all over I feel disorganized and icky.  I'm constantly picking up stuff to keep my house free of clutter.

Frequency: I clean my floors at least once a week (mop my tile and vacuum the rest of the house).  Dusting seems to take place about every other week.  Sadly cleaning the bathrooms happens only when I notice they are getting pretty bad.  The nice thing about having colored toilets from the 80s is that you can't tell when they start getting dirty.  Also, I noticed a HUGE difference moving from a house with old windows to a house with double pained windows.... the amount of dust in this house is WAY less than my old house, which means I don't even have to dust as often :)

Cleaning products: I use pure bleach in a spray bottle to clean my toilets.  I use Pledge to dust (I've tried using vinegar but I just really love Pledge so much more). I use 409 to disinfect things where I wouldn't use bleach.  My favorite counter cleaner is Mrs. Meyers lemon spray.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mexican chocolate cream pie

I made this for dessert last night and it was scrumptious, so I had to share the recipe.  I'm always a fan of lighter recipes that taste yummy and don't seem light.  I think the key to this recipe is using good quality dark chocolate.  I buy a big huge 17 oz. bar of 72% dark chocolate from Trader Joe's for only $4.99.  I thought the cinnamon added a really tasty twist.  This was easy to make, it didn't take long at all.

This is taken straight from Cooking Light.

Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie 


 
 
 
 
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 cookie sheets), divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons egg white
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cooking spray 
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed 

Preparation
  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 2. To prepare the crust, reserve 1 tablespoon crumbs for topping. Combine the remaining crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well. Stir in egg white and butter. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 9 minutes or until lightly toasted; cool completely on a wire rack.
  • 3. To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the next 7 ingredients (through egg yolk) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place the milk in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until milk reaches 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Gradually add hot milk to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until smooth.
  • 4. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 10 minutes or until mixture cools, stirring occasionally. Spoon filling into crust, and cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. Chill for 3 hours or until set; remove plastic wrap. Spread the whipped topping over filling; sprinkle with reserved cracker crumbs (I grated up chocolate and put that on top).

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Legoland

We took our kids to Legoland for the first time this week.  We were able to go with the Oates and their homeschool group and get tickets for super cheap.

The kids were excited on the way there (well, mostly Ethan, Alayna didn't know what we were doing).  I thought this was too cute.

Alayna with a life sized Bob the Builder lego guy


Legoland was awesome for my kids, it's really meant for little ones.  They loved all the little rides and the fun Lego characters.  It was really a fun day.  We don't often do stuff like this as a family, so it was a special treat.

They have replicas of cities made out of Legos.  Here are Matt and I in front of the Empire State building.... the closest we've ever been ;)

Look, my kids are in New York City!  lol

The little boys got to drive their own little cars.  It took Ethan a bit to understand how to push the pedal and also steer, it was hilarious.  He only ended up doing one lap around the track.  They got little drivers licenses at the end.




Matt and Ethan on a little airplane ride.

Getting ready to go on a boat ride


Ethan loved this ride where he got to "drive a Jeep"

Another little boat ride... this was a Fairytale cruise


After we left the park at 4:30 we went across the street and enjoyed a yummy dinner at the Karl Streuss brewery.  The kids behaved great since they were so tired, lol.  

The kids were BEAT on the way home, but Ethan kept asking if we could go somewhere else really fun.  He didn't want the day to end :)

Thanks for letting us come along Oates!

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Randoms

These two....
drive me crazy and melt my heart all at the same time :)
I really do adore them.
I bribed them with candy to get them to take this picture.


This was the first time I'd ever gotten ALL of Alayna's hair into piggies,
that's a milestone worthy of documenting in my book :)
It's no where near perfect, but I thought it was cute.



A glimpse at the time out corner....
I think Ethan looks a little too comfy here.
Granted, he does spend an awful lot of time in this spot :)


We spent our Saturday tearing out our dead lawn,
rototilling and raking up all the grass (we did this two times).
Then Matt got 3 cubic yards of compost that he wheelbarrowed out
(it took 20 wheelbarrow trips to get it all out).
Let me tell you, this was nasty,dusty, filthy, backbreaking work.
It didn't help that my allergies were insane and I felt miserable while working so hard.
We still have to till in the compost, fix some sprinklers then prepare the dirt and get it all nice and smooth so that we can plant seed.
This is all a lot of work, and not for the faint of heart.
If you do this for a living... 
kudos to you!

Here was part of the lawn before we took it out.

Afterwards with the compost ready to spread.
And, we'll keep on trucking along!
I just keep picturing the nice lush green lawn we'll have :)

We're off to Legoland in the morning, this will be the first time for both of my kids.
G'night!
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