Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keeping up with Miss Busy Bee

For Father's Day I had to make this cute card idea that I found. You just trace your child's hand and then cut it out with paper doubled. Then just cut a long strip of paper and fold it over and under until it can fold in and out accordian style. Then you write "I love you" or "We love you" on the hand and inside write "this much" it's a darling way to have a cute memory of their little hand. He loved it!

And since he didn't get home till late on Father's Day since he had to work. I made him a yummy breakfast the next morning. Taylor is such a wonderful husband and father. I love watching Keira run to him when he gets home from work. He picks her up and she's so happy to see him. The first thing she does is take off his hat and put it on herself, or she'll take off his sunglasses and put them on. Then she loves to inspect what may be hiding in his shirt pocket. I keep telling him that he should hide something in there once in awhile just for her to find. She'd love that. Another cute thing Keira likes to do is when Taylor is sitting, she'll climb up to his shoulders and then slide down his stomach and say, "Wheee!" like she's going down a slide. It's so funny and cute! Anyhow, luckily I managed to finally get my husband to let me get a picture of him with our girl. (He's usually in his work clothes all dirty when I want to take pictures of him with Keira.) And I love this picture of them earlier this year at church.

Anyhow during Spring, I was fretting about what the heck I was going to do to entertain my toddler indoors all summer. Just a reminder, our Summer is our Winter here in Arizona, this is when we hibernate. You get burnt, parched and fatigued after just one hour outside. Let me tell you, it was soooooo, soooooo, soooooo, soooooo (hopefully you got the picture) nice to have a cooler May and June, the coolest in years, I savored every moment I could outside.

Anyhow, so far this is what I've done to keep the busy bee "busy". I got her play dough, (which by the way, I still love the smell of!) We use cookie cutters and shape toys to cut out the dough with. I like to make animals for her too (the one below is a pink dog). I got her a princess tent a couple months ago. Which will be fun for her to play in for a long time. I've taken her to the splash park and the swimming pool often. And she loves playing in the sprinklers. Back in May we were at the park and the huge sprinklers came on and she immediately left the playground to go play in them. I, of course, couldn't resist and joined her! heehee! I got her a fun water table. That way she can play under the patio cover so I don't have to worry about too much sun and she can still play with water, when we can't swim. (The only down side was that the heat caused the legs to reshapen and now it stands funny! :P)

She had to climb inside to try to swim in it! hahaha! And whenever she gets bored or has lost interest in almost everything, all I have to do is open my closet and she'll just start putting on my heels and walk around, change shoes, and play with my necklaces. She loves being in mom and dad's room (what kid doesn't?) She rocks at walking in high heels...Haha! She's always loved shoes, any shoes, ever since she could walk. She's also crazy about her boots from last fall. She loves to wear them. She still managed to get them on when I thought they woudn't fit (being barefoot helped) But yesterday, she put them on and her feet were squeezed in so tight, I just had to sneak them away and store them in the garage. I let her play in them as long as I could. Sad day. I'll miss her in those boots. But I'll get her a new pair this fall and hopefully she'll be just as crazy for them. The latest milestones for Keira has been being able to count to ten for awhile now. She's drank from sippy's for a long time now, but would only drink milk from her bottle, but I got her to stop almost two weeks ago, yay! Next thing to tackle. The binky. I try to give it to her when she sleeps, because she literally will not sleep without it. Even when I hide it during the day, she goes around and looks around for it saying, "binky?" ~sigh~ As for foods she's still a cheese freak like her mom. She loves PB&J sandwiches. And she hate's pickles. Keira also just did her first painting a few days ago. for weeks she's always grabbing my paint brushes and pretending to paint. So I let her try it and of course she loved it.

{Keira hates pickles, she got that from dad, which makes him happy!}

So we went to Chuck E. Cheese on Tuesday. And holy crapola! We ordered the pizza first and sat down to wait for it. Meanwhile Keira was freaking out in the high chair, dying to run around and explore. So since the pizza took forever, I took her out and followed her around and let her go on some rides. Then when the pizza finally came. She fought me while putting her back in her chair. And she just whined loudly and kept pushing away any food or drink we tried to give her. She even pushed away her favorite snack...'Annie's' fruit snacks! (they are so yummy, if I must say so myself!) So finally she realized her squawking wasn't getting her anywhere, she finally grabbed some pizza and took a chill pill. ~Whew-Wee!~ Crazy girl I tell ya.

Taylor and I chased her around a little more, she didn't care about the rides anymore, she was just running about everywhere. She is so fast and hard to hold on to, whether at home or anywhere else. Some toddlers her age are a bit more hyper than others I've noticed. And mine is one of them. Luckily she's not a real trouble maker. But I just pray this will be her crazy peak and then she'll mellow out a bit by age three. Mainly, I just want her to stay close to me when we go places. Because she's quite the busy bee, I always keep my eyes on her when we're out somewhere, but she is seriously fast. Buzzing from one thing to another. Like I said, she'a great work out. But if three is worse than two like some moms have experienced. Then Heaven help me! :D ~hahaha!~

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Best Pizza is Made At Home

The last few months I've been mastering the wonderful pizza dough recipes my mom always made. Which was a huge family favorite. It also won the hearts of every guest she served it to as well. I'll never forget when the missionaries ate at least 5 whole pizza's each. It's obvious they ate as much as they could before reverting back to their normal Ramen noodle and Mac & Cheese diet. Anyhow, after posting on Facebook how thrilled I am that I can actually make the pizza just as good as my mom's. I had some requests for the recipe. So I posted it here since this glorious pizza cookbook is becoming rare and getting harder to find. I'm still stoked my mom found and gave me my very own copy as a Christmas gift. It's called "The Best Pizza is Made at Home" (revised version) by Donna Rathmell German. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Lemon Pepper Thin Crust

1 tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups bread flour (you can do half white and half wheat if you want or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tbs. lemon juice

Garlic Herb Thin Crust

1 tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
1 tbs. olive oil
2/3 cup lukewarm water

Choose one of the recipes above or do one of each. In seperate bowls of course. And follow the directions below. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and bake each pizza and bake 8-10 minutes. Check on it around 6 minutes so it doesn't overbake. If you're feeding more than 3 people, double the recipe. (One recipe makes two medium sized pizza's.)

Place 1/4 to 1/3 of the warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar and the active dry yeast into water. Stir until dissolved and let sit in a warm, draft-free location for 5 minutes. Add remaining water and olive oil and stir well. Add all remaining ingredients and stir together until you can no longer work the dough with a spoon. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Pat the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly. Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away from you with a rolling motion. Rotate the dough one quarter each time you repeat this process. Copntinue kneading for 5-10 minutes. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover it with a clean towel. Place it in a warm, draft-free location (such as an oven/microwave) and let it rise for 30-40 min.

Roll dough on floured surface. Spray the pizza pan with olive oil or dusting it with cornmeal to prevent sticking.(Baking stones work phenomenol for this dough!) Transfer flattened dough to baking stone. Add sauce, cheese and any toppings. I love adding artichokes, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, cilatro, spinach, fresh chopped basil and pretty much any vegetable. And my motto of course, there's never too much cheese. I even make BBQ Chicken Pizzas! Have fun creating your own gourmet pizza!

Allow to cool 2-3 minutes before slicing.

I love making my own breads and doughs from scratch. Especially because I know what's going into it. I always love to cook healthy for my family, just like my mom did for me. I'll be posting my bread recipe soon when I a chance. By the way, making this pizza dough is really fast and easy. Just remember most of the prep time is rising the dough. And you can even make it ahead and refrigerate it up to one week wrapped loosely in a plastic bag. (Easiest to roll out when cold.)

So what are your favorite toppings for pizza? I'd love to know!

Whole Wheat Bread recipe will be posted as soon as I get a chance! :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rally Around the American Flag

I believe this was the first time Taylor was home for Memorial Day. All weekend I made new yummy recipes. On Saturday I made this deee-licious Baked French Toast Casserole, just for the man of the house cause he deserved it! It was amazing....and of course, unhealthy. But I will definitely make it again. And want to try to make a healthier version. Taylor always tells me, you don't enjoy sweets to be healthy! Yeah, it's kinda true, but if it can be more guilt-free, it's worth a shot to me. Since now of course I'm working out like crazy to burn all dat butta off! :P hahaha!

On Sunday I made these Southwest Quesadilla's with sour cream that has cilantro and fresh lime, your taste buds will not be bored with this dish! Mm-mm! a new family favorite! I also added some chopped up seared ribeye steak seasoned with cumin, salt and pepper (since my man has to have his meat.) And on Memorial day we had ribeye steaks with hickory seasonings and red potatoes. I seared the steaks in this Green Earth frying pan I just bought. And let me tell you it cooks amazing! I wanted it because I wanted to replace my current skillet with a skillet that's 100% non-toxic, since I've been concerned about the coatings in most cookware that can leach bad toxins into your food. Read more about the dangers of non-stick cookware here. The safest cookware is ceramic and is pretty costly. So I was thrilled to find this one on Amazon for such a phenomenal price. Words cannot describe how much I love this pan!
The ceramic cooks and cleans off so well. You'll just have to cook with it yourself to believe! ;)

On Memorial Day I prayed and reflected a lot on the past and current wars. And I'm so very grateful for our military and also the border patrol agents that live to protect our lives and freedoms. I know that I can't fathom the experiences they've endured and witnessed. I've also had my thoughts and prayers constant for those affected by the tornadoes. The stories I've read are so heartbreaking. I wish so badly that I could go there to help and just give them love and comfort. But I know the Lord is there for us always and will not leave us comfortless.

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, either knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
~John 14:16-18

May those that are grieving be comforted that you will see your lost loved ones again.

I will always love my country and the great history of it. I strive to never lose hope in our country and that we will always remain free and will become stronger through all the conflicts and uncertainty that exists. I know that if we teach our children the real history of our country and the belief in divine providence we can and will have a strong empowered future generation and honorable leaders that will have faith in God and embrace integrity.

I found this awesome picture and poem below from this site ( Which quotes:"You are viewing a stunning illustration of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War soldiers and sailors rallying around the flag. This illustration is from the October 1, 1864 edition of Harper's Weekly. At this time, the country was growing weary after 4 long years of bloodshed, and the democratic presidential candidate, George McClellan, was running on a platform of "Compromise with the South". The democrats planned to end the Civil War by appeasing the South, and allowing slavery to continue, and once again Flourish. Lincoln held firm in his position that despite the great cost of life, so causes were worth so great a sacrifice, and the end of slavery was one such cause. This illustration helped stir the nation, and join Lincoln in "Rallying around the American Flag". The illustration was accompanied by this poem:

Rally round the Flag, Boys!
Rally one again;
There are traitors in the camp, boys,
And pirates on the Main:
There are rebels in the front, boys,
And foes across the sea,
Who hate the proud republican
And scoff at you and me.

Rally round the Flag, Boys!
Rally in your might;
Let the nations see how freemen
Can battle for the right;
Make the throbbing mountains echo
With the thunder of your tread;
With music sweet of martial feet
Salute our gallant dead.

Rally round the Flag, boys;
Rally with a cheer;
For all you love and cherish most,
For all that you hold dear,
Defend the brave old banner,
Unsullied from the earth
Within its folds enshrined it holds
All that this life is worth.

Then rally round the Flag, Boys;
Rally, rally still!
Rally from the valley,
And rally from the hill;
Rally from the ship, boys,
And rally from the plow;
Now or never is the word --
Never! failing now.

Love these moves! ;)

I love constantly mixing up my workout. I really like this workout and I also added doing 25 minutes of jump rope with different feet techniques.