Weekend Fun Recap

Our weekend was full of fun.  On Friday, Hattie and I had lunch with Gracie and a few of her friends.  She requested Chick-fli-a.  It was so nice not having to pack another lunch…I know all you moms feel my pain.  It’s so fun to see Gracie with her friends and I love that they are all such sweet little girls.  They were all full of giggles and shared so many cute things about themselves.  If you notice in the photo, Gracie is wearing a fake ankle brace she bought with her cousins….she told her friends that she fell out of bed and twisted her ankle.  It’s so incredible that all of them truly believed her, kids are so gullible;)

My little lunch buddies

Hattie’s shirt was Gracie’s, but similar here and here. Gracie’s top is from Justice here.

After Gracie went to that adorable paint party, she wanted to paint a larger picture.  So we had the neighbor girls over and they all painted away.  I drew Hattie and elephant she picked out and Gracie did her own thing.  They all turned out so adorable, it’s fun to see their creativity.  We love having such great neighbors with such sweet little girls, they are the bestest of friends.

Later that night, DJ and I went out to dinner.  It’s funny how early I ask the babysitter to come over now days…we just kind of want to get out ASAP, we need a break.  And secondly, the older we get, we like an early bedtime (well I do anyways).  If you know DJ and I then you know that Dad’s and Dudes is our favorite restaurant in the area.  They are a local brewery and pizzeria that is hands down the best….their combinations are spot on with the brews and the pizzas. The Munchies pizza is our all time favorite pizza and our friends all agree…the jalapenos and chunks of ricotta are to die for(can you tell how much I love this place?!?!?) So seriously if you live in the area, run out and try it, you won’t be disappointed.

Also, I am excited to share this great tank.  It comes in a variety of solid and stripes.  The fabric is so soft and and thick so it’s not see through.  I love how the shoulders and neck cut in, it gives the shoulders a more defined look.  With this type of top, a bra can be tricky so here is what I wore and it did the trick perfectly.

 

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a day that has changed and meant something different for me every year depending on what stage of life I’m in.  But one thing I know is that after becoming a mom, I have a deeper appreciation for my own mother.  This year especially, I understand all her worries, sacrifices and hard work she went through as a mom, even though she made it seem effortless.  The love I have for my children is indescribable, but with all that love comes fear.  I am in charge of shaping and molding these 2 little girls and I don’t have an instruction book to guide me in this crazy world.  When they were babies, I could protect them from everything, but now that they are in school, they have so many outside influences.  My role as a mom is far more complex now, I have many hats that I have to put on daily.  But then I have to stop and realize that I can do this because I have such a great mother that molded me into the person I am today. (I too lucked out with a great mother in law, that I seek advice from often).  I GET to nurture, love and create security for them….I get to mother them.  I am also blessed to be surrounded my other amazing mamas that I admire, respect and look up to daily.

So today on Mother’s Day,  I know that my girls won’t fully understand the love I have for them and that’s okay, they will get it one day.  But I hope they understand that I am always here for them, and that they always feel safe and secure.  I had an awesome Mother’s Day:  I hit the gym, we had hibachi and as always over ate the Strawberries and Cream Bundt Cake!!

Seriously this is all we got for photos……:/

The school gifts are the best, they always make me tear up.

Here is part of Gracie’s….I’m apparently good at jump roping;)

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone.

 

 

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Weekend at the Reservoir

It is so awesome to live in Colorado.  There is so much to do outdoors and we are lucky enough to have a reservoir right in our backyard.  It is full of pavilions, BBQ’s,  bike paths, a park and of course a sandy beach area for play.  We loaded up the sand toys and headed over.  The girls dug and created mazes for their crawdads we caught and of course Hattie swung and chased bubbles.  The weather was perfect and they played for hours.

 

On the lookout for crawfish

 

 

With the girls loving to be outside all of the time, I’ve ended up buying them more play/comfy clothes this spring.  I buy a lot of the terry cotton shorts with a variety of tanks.  Gracie is going through a Justice phase (lord help me;)) ha and of course I still have full control over Hattie;)

Check out some of Gracie’s favorite shorts here and here and here favorite tanks here and here.

Check out Hattie’s short here and her tanks here and here.

My shorts are the J. Crew New Balance athletic shorts and I love the fit and the length.  I got mine on sale and they are still on SALE with the code SHOPSTYLE as of today.  My tank is another favorite workout top that can be worn both in and out of the gym.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Night = PIZZA Night

For about 2 years now, we have been having family pizza night and it’s our FAVORITE night of the week….secretly DJ and I love it the most and we plan around it.  With the weekdays being so busy, this has become a fun tradition that we love.  It gives us the opportunity to slow down, live in the moment and enjoy something that we have created as a family. The best part is is that it is all homemade and very simple.

A few years ago for Fathers Day, I bought DJ the Breville pizza maker from Williams Sonoma and it quickly became our favorite appliance.  Seriously, if Breville contacted me, I would totally be their spokesman for this particular product 🙂  It is $150.00, but it often goes on sale for $99.00 around different holidays. Honestly, it is worth every penny. With everything new, it always takes a few tries to get things how you like them, but now we have this process down to a science and I could literally do everything with my eyes closed.  I am so excited to share our favorite recipes with everyone.  Even if you don’t have the pizza maker, you can bake it in the oven.

Through experience, I have learned to prepare everything ahead of time so I just have to make the dough. Just cook, slice and put in the refrigerator.

RECIPES

Pizza Dough

  1.  1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees) very warm, but not HOT
  2. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (I use the Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast)
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)

Directions:

In your KitchenAid mixer bowl, stir in the water, sugar and yeast.  Let sit for about 10 min or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved.  With your hook attachment, start stirring and add the olive oil, salt and 1 1/2 cups flour.  Gradually mix in 2 more cups of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides. (I have to use a rubber spatula to push the flour off the side of my mixer).  If your dough seems a little wet, slowly add more flour until the dough barely sticks.  Once the dough is at the right consistency, knead in the mixer for another 3-5 min on medium low.

In a medium bowl, spray with cooking spray.  Add the dough to this bowl and cover quickly and tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1-2 hours. (mine typically seems to only take an hour)

After dough has doubled, remove from bowl.  Sprinkle your counter with some flour and knead your dough a couple of times.  From here, I divide the dough into 4 balls and cover with a towel for 15 min. (we each get our own ball to create our own pizza)

If you are using the Breville machine, it takes 30 min to warm up and then from there I put it on the medium crust setting.  If you are using your oven, preheat to 475 degrees.

On a piece of parchment paper, roll out your dough into a nice semi-thin circle. From here brush the edge of your crust with olive oil and garlic salt.  (I mix the garlic salt with a nice amount of olive oil  in a small bowl first) use a fork to prick holes in your crust.  Then add your sauce and toppings.

Parchment paper is a must in order to transfer your pizza to the stone.  If using the Breville machine, place your pizza on the parchment paper on the stone and close the lid.  After about 1 min, you can slide the pizza off the parchment paper and let it continue to cook, by just watching your crust.  Anywhere from 6-10 min.

In the oven, place your pizza on the parchment paper on a pizza stone or round circle pan and cook for 12 min and then broil for 2 min to get the cheese nice and melted.

SAUCE (seriously the best)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl:

  1.  2 cloves of garlic….I use the squeeze garlic and  typically squeeze out 2 to 3 squirts of garlic.
  2. 1 tablespoon of ground Oregano
  3. 1 (6oz.) tomato paste…..do not get the no salt added, salt is a must.
  4.  1 (15oz.) can of tomato sauce….again make sure it is the one with salt.
  5. 1 teaspoon paprika
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar
  7. 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning.

Toppings:  The possibilities are endless!!!!

Hattie’s pizza= just cheese bread because she refuses to try the sauce.  But is great for us to eat her extra pieces and dip in the sauce.

Gracie’s pizza=cheese pizza.

My pizza=everything…..Italian sausage, veggies, jalapenos, bacon, ricotta cheese(I use a spoon to just dollop it around my pizza), cheese and pepperoni. (I go ALL out on pizza night with no regrets!!!)

DJ’s pizza=Italian sausage, bacon, pepperonis, jalapenos, ricotta cheese and pizza cheese.

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Books

We all know how important it is to read to our children for a variety of reasons. Books have been a daily part of my children’s lives since birth and I love reading to them. It’s so fun to watch their little imaginations grow and run wild.  I love that through books, they develop a better understanding of the world.  For the last two years, Gracie has been working hard on becoming a reader.  Although it has been fun watching her growth, it was also been very trying  for ALL of us.  Teaching your own child to read is totally different than when I taught my 1st graders to read.  There has been a lot of frustration, tears and tantrums on all sides, but now all that hard work has paid off and the ugly is only on rare occasions.  Reading time is now enjoyable and it’s so fun listening to her read.  With beginning readers, finding independent books can be difficult.  When children have limited reading skills and word knowledge, books can seem boring and less engaging.   I wanted to share of few of our favorite books that have guided Gracie to  not only become a more fluent reader but have also made her feel successful as a young reader and on top of it, they are cute stories.

 

Gracie’s Favorite’s

LINKS:

  1. George and Martha
  2. Ira Sleeps Over
  3. Elephant and Piggie 
  4. Nate the Great
  5. Fly Guy
  6. Junie B. Jones

Nonfiction Favorites

National Geographic Readers Level 1

Family Favorites

Links:

  1. The Day the Crayons Quit
  2. The Day the Crayons Came Home
  3.  Dragons Love Tacos
  4. Interrupting Chicken
  5. Gingerbread Man 
  6. Pinkalicious

Remember to always take advantage of your local library.  They have wonderful resources for the whole family.  It’s a great way to try out different series before making a purchase.  This is how we all became to love the adorable Elephant and Piggie books.  Don’t forget that most libraries offer story time for different age groups as well.

Also utilize your school’s various websites that they offer and the kids use in class. Scholastic book orders have books for fabulous prices.

We also love to hang out at Barnes and Noble.  It is so fun to grab a coffee, browse and read books. They too offer story hour that usually ends with a small snack.

Epic is an app I found for the girls.  They have thousands of books for every level. There are both audio and regular books with a variety of genres.  The first month is free and then it is $5.00 monthly…I think that it is definitely worth paying for.

My Recommendations (with cute life lessons):

BOOK

This book is the sweetest book for teaching children about important life lessons using cookies.  It has some great new vocabulary words for kids with illustrations to match.  We love to give this book to our friends as a gift.

This is another sweet book that Hattie and I came across at Barnes and Noble.

BOOK

BOOK

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