Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and family (and if you're reading this and we've never met, I still consider you all friends).

It has been one of the most stressful years of my life.  Between the failing state of our economy (global and personal), having my oldest daughter go off to college, turning 40, and life in general, I am ready for a little sanity on my plate tomorrow.

When times are good and things are going smoothly, it's easy to forget how wonderful the simple things in life are.  While I would not wish hard times on anyone, I will say that I am grateful to them for a few things.  I can now stretch a dollar further than silly putty, I can entertain my children for damn near free while still going places, I've learned that making nearly everything from scratch is wayyyy cheaper than buying chemicals in a box, and I've turned my car into "lawn art" more often than not. 

So be it cheesy or not, let us all pretend we're sitting around my dinner table now.  (The food smells good, doesn't it?!)  What are you thankful for this year? 

I am thankful that my family is healthy.  I'm thankful that all of my children will be eating dinner with us tomorrow.  I'm thankful that Mary has excelled so damn well in school.  You rock, Mary!  I'm thankful that I have a husband who, not only puts up with me, but is the best daddy ever and works his arse off.  No one works harder, is more dedicated, and believes that things will get better more than he does.  No one is more honest than he is.  I'm thankful for my sewing and cooking skills.  While not fabulous, they get the job done and I love being creative. 

What do I wish for?  Ahhhhhhh.......I wish to be out of this pit.  And we will.  And once we do, I want to help others who are in the same rough spot, because I know how bad it sucks, how lonely it can be, and I've learned many things that hopefully will help someone else out.

So tomorrow, I hope you are all surrounded by friends and family, good food, lots of laughter, and love.  Oh yeah, and football!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm such a slacker....or.....Downtown Disney, a week later.

Really, this should have been done much sooner than this.  I have no good excuse.  I wasn't whisked off to some exotic location, I wasn't held hostage by my children, and I certainly had enough time to get this done.  I'm just a slacker right now and I'm okay with that.  I'm embracing my slacker-ness.  ;) 

Last weekend we met up with some friends at Downtown Disney for the Festival of the Masters art festival.  It was really nice and I have to make sure we go back next year.

There was a ton of stuff for the kids to do.  Hannah was making a crown for herself.  Kali was upset about something (I think daddy ticked her off somehow) and refused to join in. 

Vanessa and Bella were in there, too. 

They had this lego spot where you could make a square with certain colors that were marked on it.  Once they checked it, you brought it over to be put on this big wall. 

Kali decided she was no longer ticked off and got in on the fun. :)

And then the guy checked your number and put your square in the appropriate spot.  For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the picture was supposed to be.  It's Buzz and Woody from Toy Story. 

We walked around and saw lots of fabulous art. 

Check out that bear!  Look closely.....

The bear (and the dog) is entirely made out of nails!  Crazy, isn't it? 

We had to take our usual boatride across the water.  The weather was absolutely perfect that day.

I asked Alex how much he loved me.  This is what I got.

Then he decided he loved me a little more.

Then Hannah asked him how much he loved football.  I think he needs to sleep on the couch after that one.

Bella and Kali hanging out by the water. 

Me and my happy margarita that Vanessa and Chris got for me.  It was yummy.

Buzz and Woody after more progress.

We went over by La Nouba and let the girls run off some steam for a while. 

We all hung out in the grass for a while.  I think that was my favorite part of the day, just chillin' in the grass. 

The chalk drawings were spectacular.

They were crazy-good.

The windows are decorated for the holidays.  :)

Sunsets at Disney are always pretty.

We had a blast.  I am ready to go back again!!! 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pizza Dough

A few friends have asked for my pizza dough recipes, so I figured I'd put them up on here.  I like to share.  ;)

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust:

1 tsp. Sugar
1.5 C. Warm Water
1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Salt
2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1.5 C. All Purpose Flour

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the
    top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

  2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the
    whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts
    to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the
    remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been
    absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place
    dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely
    with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size,
    about 1 hour.

  3. When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured
    surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to
    make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45
    minutes, until doubled.

  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough
    with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape
    it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while
    rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place
    on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such
    as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.

  5. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated
    oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is
    melted on the top.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

2 C. Warm Water
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Yeast
1 Tbsp. Salt
5 - 6 C. All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Dissolve all (except flour) in the water.  Blend in flour and knead until smooth and springy (by hand or with your mixer).  Place dough in oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450.  Punch down dough and divide into 4 pieces.

Roll out each piece into a pizza, add toppings, and bake for 15 minutes.

There you go!  They're both super simple and make excellent pizza.  Gee, now I'm drooling again.  Too bad the girls finished the leftover pizza for lunch today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Thoughts

You know what I like?

A nice, warm apple crisp?  You know what my husband likes?  Not apple crisp.  Picky man likes apple pie.  I guess I'll make him one for Thanksgiving.  Maybe.

You know what else I like?

Making bread, and Dunkin Donuts coffee.  My husband does not like coffee.  At least he likes my bread!


We took the girls to the park on Sunday so we could have lunch and play.  I love this park.  I love hanging out here with the girls and eating lunch. 

Kali decided we had to go over where the swings are.  It was extremely windy that day; something about a hurricane going up the gulf may have had something to do with that!  ;) 

You know what else I like?

Playing in my office.  I got these fabulous designs (thank you Pat!) and had to test them out on a towel.  My bright light made the color a bit off on the top one.  I currently have another one going in my machine right now. 

I am very much looking forward to this weekend.  On Saturday we're meeting up with some friends in Downtown Disney for the Festival of the Masters art festival.  There's a TON of stuff for the kids to do and I know my girls will have a blast.  Hannah said she wants to learn how to draw Minnie.  I have to make some food for us to take with us, and since I'm sure we'll be there all day long, I'm bringing dinner, too.

On Sunday a friend of mine from high school is coming over.  We have not seen each other in 20 years.  Now, I'm not certain is possible that I'm old enough to not have seen someone in 20 years, but that's debatable.  :)  Of course, this means she hasn't met any of my girls; I wish Mary was able to be here, but she has to work.  It ought to be a really fun day and I'll make sure to take some pictures.  Now, if only Anita were able to join us. 

Monday, November 2, 2009


Well, I hope everyone had a lovely Halloween.  It seems as though once Halloween is over, the rest of the year flies by in a nanosecond.  I have a million things to do and I better get started on them all.

I was so afraid that Kali was not going to be able to go Trick-or-Treating with us.  She had been sick since the previous Saturday and still wasn't completely better.  Poor thing had the cough from hell that kept her up a lot at night. 

She fell asleep on the couch right after the Gator game started.  Thankfully, she got a good 2 hour nap in.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd make a downright gross dinner for my kids.  Nothing says love more than cauldrons floating on maggots, blood clots, and liver chunks, right?

Appetizing, huh?  It was stuffed zucchini on risotto with tomatoes, onions, and peppers.  It really was yummy.

I made some mummy dogs, too.

Just some pretzel wrapped hot dogs.  They're lovely with a side of maggots, you know. 

Oh my.  Someone remind me that she's only 8, please.  I kept telling her "Tell mama how much you love me."  And she kept laughing.  Darn kid. 

Hey, look!  Princess Jasmin decided to wake up and join us.

Which evil villaness is that?!  Hannah just seems amused and not scared.  Darn kid, again.  I'll get her yet.

Really, she's only 8.  And not wearing heels.  I am in trouble.  But why is she grabbing Jasmin's chest?!  That darn kid!!!

There was this crazy-wonderful house down the road a bit.  People were lining up just to take pictures; it was nuts! 

Kali wanted nothing to do with this house.  I think she kept her eyes closed until Hannah was done there. 

Daddy had to run home with the princess for a bit for a much-needed potty break.  By the time he got back to us, we had met up with some friends and were heading our way back home.  There were still plenty of houses for Kali to go to, and by the end she was tuckered out and needed to be driven home in her carriage.  Poor thing hadn't moved in nearly a week, so all that walking knocked her out. 

Hope everyone had an equally fun evening!