Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Margaritaville

Isnt it a thing of beauty?






Monday, August 24, 2009

Finally

The school system has approved speech therapy for Abbe Mae. I'm beyond thrilled and have been beating my head up against this battle for years. I'm tempted to say some really crappy things about the school system from last year and a few other obstacles I've faced, but I refuse to focus on the negative. I'm just thankful someones finally noticed. I only had to ask her teacher this year ONE time about it and she was all over it. She'll be going one hour per week for the remainder of the school year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fantastic Time at the Fair



The kids, my parents and I went to the county fair today. The weather was perfect. The kids were well behaved. And my mom won 3rd place in the stained glass catagory. It was such a perfect day!!

The 3rd firing

Last night was Abbe's birthday party, but rather than discuss the birthday party, lets discuss the 3rd firing of the pizza. The pizza in smoker idea has come a long way in a short time. It started off on a pizza stone, which produced great crust, but cracked within the first five minutes because of the heat. Then it went to left over 2 1/2 inch thick fire brick left over from the fire pit a few years back. That produced good results, but took a long time to get the bricks up to 500 degree's. And the current.. 1 1/4 inch thick firebrick, Publix's dough made in the bakery, homemade sauce and a assortment of toppings.

The sauce idea came from Woody Friday afternoon. Woody, who is a pizza connoisseur, had a one on one conversation with a pizza shop owner in Atlanta earlier in the week. They discussed pizza in the barbecue and gained some valuable knowledge in the sauce department, which was Woodys main source of concern. The shop owner advised him, use canned plum tomatoes, some basil, salt and pepper and garlic, put in the blender and cook.

The results of the sauce were excellent.. I believe that will be the go foward strategy from here on in during the sauce preparation.

I'm still working on the pizza toss deal, im working a "roll/throw" technique to stretch the dough out. 1 dough ball yields 2 pies. (fancy word for pizza)

After stretching the dough. I lay it on the pizza peel thats been covered with a generous coating of corn meal. The corn meal provides the lube to skid the pizza off the peel and onto the hot brick in the smoker. A light coating of olive on the dough.. and your ready for the sauce.

Josh bought me a nifty sauce / kitchen gadget tool to spread the sauce over the dough in a even coat. My current theory on the amount of sauce to put on the pizza.. enough to cover the dough, but not so much it "puddles" (technical pizza term)



I went with straight mozzarella cheese, although woody suggest getting the bricks of cheese and hand grating it over the pie. Perhaps he can elaborate in a comment. I like the cheese to cover the saiuce, but not too much...



A Youtube video said to place the pepperoni's on a angle so the tips point up. This methods causes the edges of the pepperoni to crisp up. I shook a little Italian seasoning on the pizza and its ready to cook.
After its slide onto the brick, the lid is closed and in about 5 minutes its checked and a little wrist action is used to spin the pizza around in a circle for even cooking.



This is about 5 or 6 minutes in, a little wrist action to turn the pizza and the lid was again closed.

After about 10 minutes the pizza is pulled off and ready to be cut up.

This is the crust, nice and crunchy, touch of "burn" (technical pizza term)

Im looking to upgrade my cutting board, all I had in stock. Josh was nice enough to buy me a Kitchen Aid pizza cutter (thanks!) i think he took pitty on my walla walla one.

Woody would appreciate the nice greese trail.

A bottom view....

Cut up and ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Princess Breakfast

Just booked the following for our upcoming Disneyland trip:



Ariel's Grotto-Featuring ‘Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration’

(Park admission required)
Located at the entrance to Paradise Pier in Disney's California Adventure Park. Join Ariel as she hosts a Princess celebration like no other. You may be surprised by a royal visit from Cinderella, Snow White, Belle and/or Sleeping Beauty. A must do for the ‘Princess’ in your family. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Typical dishes include battered fish, chicken biscuit pie, pastas, soups, salads, burgers, as well as kid’s menus. You can eat inside or outside. The d├ęcor is “under the sea.” The food is good and character interaction excellent. *Priority seating reservations recommended.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Abbe Mae's little birthday

Jason threw together a small birthday dinner for Abbe Mae last night. It was VERY last minute and then to top it off, it stormed like crazy. We will be celebrating her birthday in a few weeks with a party at our house with all of her friends, but thought it would be nice to have some dinner and a few cupcakes for the regulars. Here are some highlights:





4J's



JOSH, JODI, JENNIFER & JASON (Pictured above is J2 & J4)
BFF
Whoooo - hoooooo!!

School

She cried. Yes, I expected it and she did it. I didn't cry, but she did. I had to leave her with big ole' crocodile tears in her eyes. But I left her! When I picked her up, she was laughing and playing and being snotty. She had a great day. Funny thing about the backpack - she didn't want her Hannah Montana, Tinkerbell, HSM backpack, instead she took the PGA Golf backpack ole' Harold gave Jason.

I do really like her teacher. She is a very nice lady. Here are several standard shots of both kids on their first day.

Abbe Mae - Kindergarten






Tyler - 4th Grade


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Painting

This weekend, I've started to paint the inside of my house. When we built, the builder offers white, soft white, softer white, or softest white. We've lived here a year with the hospital-like setting.

A few weekends ago, I did Tyler's room and was so proud of myself, it inspired me to move on to the biggest area of the house.

With the help of my neighbor, Josh, I've selected a cool palate with pops of warm, deep color. My living room and halls will be a wheat color with a blue-grey accent wall. My dining room is a deep orange, cinnamon stick is the actual name. Josh and Jodi have the cinnamon stick color in their kitchen and I love it. I'm hoping that will blend with the deep colors in my kitchen, which is off of the dining room.

Painting is a LOT of work and I'm only a quarter of the way done. I'll post pictures of the completed project! BTW: Jason is in hell while all this happens.

5th Birthday

Our middle child, diva-extraordinaire, is turning 5 on Tuesday. Last year was the first time we'd done a big birthday party for her. We had it at Pump-It-Up at it was pretty successful. Summer birthdays are pretty tough to do for many reasons. 1) It's so damn hot out you don't want to have it outside. 2) You lose contact with many of their friends when schools out.

This year, since she has a "base" of friends established, we are going to build off of that. However, I don't want to bombard the parents with a birthday party invitation on the first day of school either. So we are going to have her a luau towards the end of August. I've ordered tons of grass skirts and leis to set the tone. We are going to have Hawaiian music and fruity drinks while the girls play hula-hoop contest and make flowered bracelets. Girls I said, cause this is the first year Abbe Mae has requested a gender specific party. This was a tough one to swallow for me cause she has so many little boy friends. She said it's cause the boys can't wear the grass skirts.

And so it begins.

Hangover

Our neighbors watched the girls this afternoon which allowed Jason and I to putz around town solo for a bit. We decided to take up a movie, and although I wasn't excited about it, I really enjoyed it! We saw the Hangover and it was pretty good. It's one of those really predictable story lines, but still some funny moments. I'd give it three stars out of five. It may be a generous rating, but as we approached the ticket line, I realized that I had a free ticket in my purse. That's definite bonus points.

Back to school!

Tomorrow it's back to the grind for the kids. We have year-round school here so they start the first of August and go until the first of June. A total of eight weeks off in the summer with a two-week break in October, December and March. I really like it. Although, I have to admit, this summer went by fast.

Tyler is going to be in fourth grade. I'm a bit worried cause he has several good friends in his class this year. Worried cause Tyler is a great student, but a horrible rule follower. His teacher last year constantly said, "Tyler finishes his work early, but then begins to talk and bother other students that are still working." I see this problem being amplified x10 with his buddies in his class.

This is a big week for Abbe Mae as well. She turns 5 on Tuesday. FIVE. I can't get over how fast it flies. She also has an abbreviated day of kindergarten on Wednesday and officially starts full time next week. Although I can't get over how fast time goes by, I'm not one to be sad or weep on her first day of school. Instead, I'm excited about how much she's going to enjoy it. I'm thrilled at the happiness and enthusiasm she portrays when it comes to school. I'm proud that we've raised such a smart, strong and adaptable young girl. I look forward to each and every day of this school year cause I know how well she will do and how much she'll learn.

So backpacks are packed and uniforms are ironed and set out for the week. We are excited about our 2009-2010 school year! Picture will follow soon.