Weekend Shenanigans

10:41 AM
Happy Monday Tuesday! My post apparently failed to publish yesterday.

This weekend we achieved the near impossible, we had no plans and nothing major to do around our home. Aside from the normal necessary chores, it was mostly sweet relaxing. We'll get to the mostly part in a minute.

The kiddo and I began the weekend on Friday when I surprised him with a day out at the movies and the zoo. I knew we had to have our fun out and about Friday as we were scheduled to have some awesome storms for the rest of the weekend. The joys of Oklahoma living.

First stop, the movies! I took him to see Rio 2, which he had been begging to see. As I expected it was a cheap sequel to make some money for the studio, no where near as fun as the first. But the kiddo was happy, so what else matters? We also found out we can almost take out two buckets of popcorn together.

And then it was off to the zoo!

We briefly saw a lion, they're always hard to see unless you come in on snack day. But my favorite, the tiger was just posing it up. I don't know where the rest of the tigers went, I thought we had four but this is the only one we saw. I don't even know if it was a he or she, didn't catch a glance.

I made him take a photo in front of the tiger and got this face that says he is clearly doing this only for my amusement.

A wolf came over and said "Hi", he actually looked happy to see us. Maybe we looked delicious.

We saw an elephant getting a pedicure, that's pretty intense.

And then she did some tricks, I missed all her adorable poses but caught her playing dead.

I was pretty jealous of the grizzly bear enjoying a swim.

Mr. Handsome wanted his photo taken by the elephant which reminded me that we did this last spring...

Aw man... look how much he has grown!

Saturday was a different day and one of those not so wonderful motherhood experiences that will stick with me forever... and I'll never let him forget it either.

Hey, here he is being a good kid, helping me water flowers, not much to complain about here.

Then he asked if he could ride his scooter. Sure, why not?

I wasn't in the mood to go running so I slid on a pair of comfortable shoes and geared him up to ride up and down the street in front of our house like he normally does when I don't want to go far.

And so off he goes... but he keeps going... and going. I yell for him to turn back but he keeps going. 

Insert cursing.

I love my child, so I want to give him the benefit of doubt and think maybe the wind carried my voice and he couldn't hear me? But my motherly instinct says he's stubborn and thought he might get away with being independent. What followed was 30 minutes of running, yelling and searching for both my husband and I until we found him being escorted home by another mom.

Sigh, I should have been angry but all I had was guilt. I felt like I failed a motherhood trial because I couldn't keep up with, catch or turn my child around which resulted in me losing him! I was only relieved when we found him and couldn't find it in me to be angry anymore... though his father took it upon himself to deal punishment in the form of grounding. No more scooter for awhile among other things.

On the upside, I think I could run a 5k now... I ran about that and in slip on vans. I wanted to puke afterwards, maybe it was the nerves and stress, maybe it was the running.

Sunday, we just relaxed, for real. I continued working on my quilt, we made bread, watched a movie and spent the day in. We did have to manage entertainment for the little guy because he lost his iPad priveleges in his grounding and wasn't allowed to go to his Grandma's house either. Now you're  stuck with us, kid, hope you're happy. None of the predicted super severe storms occurred in our area, the tornadoes didn't start until the storms got much further west. After last years tornado experience, I'm good, no more for me please.

And those are our weekend shenanigans! The kiddo being the only one who pulled shenanigans, ugh. Next weekend is our anniversary, (6 years!) we have concert tickets, brunch plans and will probably catch our anniversary Marvel movie (they always fall on our weekend, so it's tradition to go).

Here's hoping the rest of the week is peaceful and happy.

Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce

1:30 AM

Today is a wonderful windy Thursday in Oklahoma, the wind is certainly sweeping down the plains... but not in the tornadic kind of way. Just super gusty winds! Which gives me a bit of a headache, makes the allergies flare and despite the beautiful temperature outside, I'm staying in.

I wanted to share my pizza recipe today but first you need sauce. I considered cramming it all into one big post but thought maybe it would better to divide it up. I mean, what if you just want sauce and could care less about my crust? Or vice versa!? I suppose the dilemma is up to you to decide but I can say my household does love my pizza. I'm not so bold or big headed to say this is the best pizza EVAR but it is pretty darn good. Granted there are several local pizza places, like The Wedge Pizzeria and Pizza 23, I would gladly buy my pizza from any day... most days... I love it when someone else is making the pizza.

So let's make sauce!

Begin with green onions, slice off the tip and cut them up.

Add them to a heated pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. AND GARLIC, if you have garlic, add it in now. I forgot, so I get garlic granules later. But you have a chance to make things right and add two cloves of garlic in, sliced, right now... be a hero, save the day, add two sliced garlic cloves.

While the onions are cooking up, feel free to go ahead and open your cans, draining the diced tomatoes. You could use fresh tomatoes, which would be that much more amazing, but my tomato plants are about 3 inches tall right now, so no fresh tomatoes yet. Also a little tip, buy brand name canned tomatoes! If you're getting them at the basic grocery store, get Hunts or places like Trader Joes, Sprouts, etc. the store brand tomatoes are just fine. When you buy off brand tomatoes, they're normally loaded with salt, probably to cover up that they didn't use very good tomatoes. I, without thinking, grabbed off brand tomatoes on sale because they were on the end cap and the store was super busy. So you'll notice I don't salt my sauce because there is already crap ton of salt in my tomatoes.

Once the onions get a little browned, toss in some fresh italian flat leaf parsley if you have it. Let it cook until it wilts, it should only take a minute or two.

Now add in your petite diced tomatoes, I use two cans so I have left over sauce for pizza later. You can drop it to one can if you don't want extra sauce.

Add the tomato sauce! Just one can.

Now allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes until it gets nice and thick like this.

Add another can of tomato sauce and stir.

Now add your spices. I, ahem, have garlic granules because I forgot to add garlic cloves. And a little more flat leaf italian parsley.

A little italian seasoning, a hint of mexican oregano for my peoples and extra basil, because I like basil.

Let this simmer again, until thickened. Set it aside and let it cool.

Blending time! Let me suggest, for future reference, that you NEVER buy a white blender. Mine is permanently stained all over from making asado and pizza sauce. This was a gift, so I can't complain much, but I'll never have white again!

Add the thickened sauce to the blender.

I'm going to start low and give it a loving puree.

Let it puree until well blended, if you didn't let your sauce cool before blending I suggest holding on to the top. I've had pressure + heat pop mine right off before. It was tons of fun to clean up, I swear.

Grab a spoon and give it a check. Do you like the consistency? I wasn't happy yet.

So now, I'm going to viciously liquefy my sauce. Don't worry, it won't turn to actual liquid. I gave it a run on liquefy... I think I would have misspelled that without the picture, liquidfy... computer says that wrong! Word of the day liquefy.

Anywho, I gave it a run on liquefy and it was perfect! Nice, smooth and ready for my pizza.

Remove from blender into a bowl and set aside. Allow to cool until ready for pizza. I have a pizza recipe too, coming up next.

Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce

  • 6 Green Onions
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, To Taste
  • 2 Cans Petite Diced Tomatoes, Drained
  • 2 Cans Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano (I used mexican oregano)
  • 1 Tablespoon Basil
  • Salt, To Taste
Add olive oil to a medium pan and heat.

Chop green onions and garlic cloves, add to the hot pan and lightly brown.

Add in about 2 tablespoons of italian parsley, stir in and allow to wilt. About 1-2 minutes.

Add the drained petite diced tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce, simmer until thickened. About 30 minutes.

When most of the juice has cooked down and thickened, add in the other can of tomato sauce, parsley, italian seasoning, oregano, basil and salt. Let simmer again, until slightly thickened. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Once the sauce has cooled, at least to a warm heat (you just don't want it piping hot), transfer it to your blender. Puree the sauce until blended, then liquefy the sauce. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until you're ready to use on it your pizza.

Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Happy Friday!

8:19 PM

Happy Friday!

I thought I would get a chance to make a happy Friday post earlier in the day but alas today has had me going nonstop. 

It all began at 5:30 am, a time of morning I am not very fond of as I am not a morning person. I've done myself a great favor by teaching my son how great sleeping in is, he generally gives me until 8 to catch my Zzzzzs since I am quite a bit of a night owl.

So yes, 5:30 to take my husband to work, big yawn. We are currently a one car household, it worked for us in the past, when he worked nights, but now it is a bit of a pain with him on days. If I want the car I must get up and take him to work, trust me, I plan to change this situation very soon.

After I dropped him off, I managed to catch a small nap while the kiddo indulged in some Angry Birds Go! And yes, I am admitting that I let the iPad babysit this morning, I haven't any shame. And then it was off to the showers for both of us.

Freshly showered and dressed we embarked on our day of groceries, oil changes, a little shopping for fun and for gardening, and more errands than I really care to count for this weekend. I didn't even managed to complete my tasks before picking my husband back up and dropping my son off for his overnight stay with Grandma. 

So, I whisked my husband along for the final groceries and a Target trip. During which trip he treated me to a new swimsuit (He's so amazing) that I won't get to wear for another month or so. Afterwards he convinced me to pick up a few movies to rent, which puts me where I am currently, watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. 

While I'm waiting for dinner to cook, roast chicken and veggies, I get the opportunity to sit here and geek out a bit! Yay, geeky me.

I fell in love with Tolkien's books when I was a teenager, though I never became near geeky enough to speak elvish, I have read them a few times over. So when the Hobbit movies finally came out, you can bet your chickens I was excited. We haven't bought The Desolation of Smaug yet because I insist on waiting for the extended edition.

Why the extended edition? Because they're soooo special and have all the little geeky goodies that make my heart go pitter patter.

For example in the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey there is an amazing scene in Rivendale with Bofur (James Nesbitt) singing a dwarfish song, dancing on a table, kicking food around while the other dwarves throw food. The looks on the elves faces are priceless as Gandalf is completely unfazed by the dwarvish culture, it's clearly far removed from the sophicates elves.

It's the little details that make me smile, I suppose. 

Just as with the Desolation of Smaug, I accidentally picked a showtime for a 3D showing. I really don't like 3D, but this is the special effect intensive movie that really is worth it. So we watched in it 3D and you can bet something got me. I may have let out a little scream when the first spider showed up. I don't know if it was really because the appearance of the spider startled me or just the fact that I hate spiders and upon seeing a giant 3D spider, I was momentarily terrified. Either way, my husband was laughing and I am comfortable enough in my own skin, to laugh at myself. Plus, the arrival of the new, improved Legolas was welcome consolation. I say "new, improved" because I'm of the opinion that Orlando Bloom is like a fine wine, he's improved with age. I mean, he was fine in the LOTR days but aging a little has done him well. Mmm hmm.

Pardon me, I've always been an elf fan girl.

And with the chicken fresh out of the oven, much later than I anticipated, I bid you a good evening! I'm off to eat, enjoy my movie and continue working on that beautiful quilt pictured above. 

Happy Friday evening and Happy Easter, folks!

Crostini Topped with Tomato & Mozzarella

10:55 AM

Happy hump day! So far mine is going mediocre, I woke up feeling like crud but got up determined to get this post out. And then I'm going to go crawl back into bed and pray the toddler forgets I exist for the rest of the day. Which probably won't happen, so I'll bribe him into some quiet time with a movie and popcorn. Anything I can do to survive! [Though fingers crossed I pull out of this funk and can go on with my day.]

Today I have the best kind of recipe, the kind that does not require any cooking skills! It's all assembly baby, with a little bit of knife skill required. Just try not to slice of any phalanges, okay?

I'm going to admit that while I will probably file this as an appetizer or snack, it normally is a small meal for me. It makes a great lunch, it's not heavy but satisfies my hunger. Granted, if you're calories conscious then beware of the mozzarella. I'm not too worried if I know I'm keeping my calorie intake low and eating healthy foods. By low I mean within 2000 a day, which is easy as long as I am eating properly. Most people don't realize how fatty cheese is, it's not a diet food by any means! Pretty much anything made with milk will not help your diet, check the calories in ice cream, milk + sugar, not your friend, even if it's "healthy" ice cream or organic. But I'm not dieting, just maintaining a healthy body (though still working on the toning!), so I'm not super strict day to day. As a matter of fact, I made these while I was waiting for pizza sauce to cook and pizza dough to rise! See? Not super healthy.

All you need are pre-made crostini (I purchased mine at Sprouts but they are super easy to make), tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes), fresh mozzarella, salt and italian seasoning. And, of course, a knife and a cutting board. It's almost bruschetta just minus the balsamic vinegar and oils.

Step one, line up your crostini... these directions are so simple I could giggle. Anyway, line those suckers up on a plate or serving platter!

Cut up your tomatoes. If you're using large tomatoes, dice them. I just sliced my grape tomatoes in half, like so. Cherry tomatoes may need to be quartered to fit properly.

Transfer the tomatoes to the crostini all neat and orderly like so....

Salt and season the tomatoes to your liking. I'll admit these would be so much better if you had fresh seasoning, but I didn't! I actually tried to pick some up, but the nearby grocery store didn't have much fresh unless I wanted to pay triple for super sad looking herbs. Pass.

Now slice the cheese. I cut it into thirds, you can cut it as large or small as you like.

Transfer the cheese over and devour before anyone else finds out you made these. My kid will steal these out of my mouth if I give him the opportunity.

Now you could put these on a pan and bake them. If you choose to do so, I suggest making your crostini fresh because these little Sprouts crostini will probably turn to brick. They're good out of the bag, but any further baking will compromise the crispness.

This lady is off to do a little yoga, shower and pray she feels better.

Crostini Topped with Tomato and Mozzarella

  • Crostini, baked fresh or purchased "freshly bagged"
  • Mozzarella
  • Tomatoes
  • Sea Salt
  • Italian Seasoning
Arrange your crostini on the tray or plate you plan to serve them on.

Slice tomatoes and arrange on top of crostini.

Season tomatoes with salt and italian seasonings.

Slice mozzarella and add to the crostini.

Serve and enjoy!

Do It Yourself: Tulle Skirt

10:55 AM

It's here, finally, I had time to write about my tulle skirt. I love my tulle skirt, it's comfy and has that sweet, feminine vibe. I did not make mine fluffy because I was terrified of the fluffiness. But I have for you a little tutorial on how I made it... which is much longer than I thought it would be. Curse zippers and their zipperiness. 

For starters, here is what you need:
  • 2 Yards of material for lining, I used cotton in a plain color, you may use anything you like.
  • 4 Yards of Tulle
  • 1 - 7 or 8 Inch Zipper
  • 1 Spool of Coordinating Thread
  • Heat N Bond Ultrahold (optional)
  • A Sewing Machine or very patient hands
  • A Zipper Foot for your machine
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pins
  • Chalk or a Fabric Marker (Washable or Disappearing)
First things first, wash your fabric, but not your tulle, dry it and iron it. If your tulle is wrinkled or creased, put your iron on low heat and press it. If the iron is too hot it will melt! Get all your tools out, scissors and measuring tape. You'll want a large surface, like your dining room table, to lay your fabric out on. I don't suggest your floor if you have carpet, you don't want to cut your carpet.

When you lay your fabric down, fold it in half by bringing the raw edges together, putting selvedge edges on each side. I didn't take a picture of this, I'm ashamed, sorry. It comes from the fabric store folded in half by the selvedge edges (factory finished) together making the material long and narrow. We're folding it with the raw (cut) edges together so that the fabric is wider, does that make sense?

To begin, you'll need your measurements. Take your measuring tape and measure around your natural waist. If you're unsure where that is, place your hands on your sides like you're a little teapot, I'm not kidding. Bend to one side and find where your waist folds and voila! Natural waist. My measurement is 31 and then I'm going to divide that by 3 which is 10.3, now subtract a half inch which brings me to 9.8. Now for sanity's sake, I'm going to round up to 10. Make a note of your measurement and move on to the next measurements.

You need to decide on the length you want. This pattern is ideal for about knee length and shorter. I went with 19 inches so it will sit a couple of inches above my knee. If you're unsure of what length to choose, measure from your natural waist down to where you think you may like it to set. Remember this: It is much easier to shorten the skirt later if you change your mind!

Taking your measurement, start at the fold of your fabric. You're going to measure down, for me that is 10 inches and mark that measurement with your chalk.

You're going to pivot the measuring tape a few inches over and mark again. You repeat this until you reach the other edge. Look at the photo above and notice that top of my measuring tape stays put at the corner, we're making a semi-circle to be our waist.

You're going to repeat the above step but now you're going to measure from your waist marking down to the bottom of your skirt. For me that is nineteen inches, ignore the moment I thought I might want to do 22 inches.

Again, you're going to pivot a few inches at a time and mark your measurements.

Here is the scary step, it's time to cut it out. Just connect the dots, following from mark to mark and make a slight curve. It doesn't have to be completely perfect, just try to pay attention and avoid cutting too low. Once you have cut the top and the bottom, pick it up and wrap it around your waist, does it fit? If you have extra, don't worry! We have to add a zipper and we'll need all that extra fabric. Set this aside and get your tulle.

Begin by folding your tulle in half by the raw edges. Now, we have double the fabric, so we are going to take the fabric from the fold and bring it over folding it in half again. Fun.

Now do all the same measurements. More fun. Fun, repetitive, fun.

And cut! You'll have two individual pieces, this is what you want. Put them aside with your lining.

Next we are going to cut the waist band. The waist band will be 3 inches wide and your original waist measurement (Mine was 31) plus 1 (Which makes me 32!). So we will measure 3 inches and mark it, then measure 32 (err, your measurement) and mark that, making a rectangle.

And cut! Hello happy rectangle. Set your happy rectangle aside.

Now you have a choice to make. I did not want my skirt fluffy, so I get to continue to pinning with two layers of tulle like above. Just lay them flat out on the top and pin it all together. If you're fabric is patterned, make sure the pattern is face up right now.

If you want fluffy then take your tulle and go to the sewing machine. You'll do a basic stitch at the longest setting, on mine this is a 5, along the top of each piece of tulle. Then you'll take one string and gently pull it, causing the fabric to gather. Do this on both pieces on tulle until they are both gathered. Then pin them to the lining, side by side, pulling in or letting out the gather until it lines up with the lining below. Sorry, no photos because I didn't do this.

Now take your pinned fabric to your sewing machine. Run a basic size stitch, mine is 2.5, across the top of the skirt, 3/4 inch from the edge. Now the tulle is sewn to the lining.

With right sides together, pin the waist band to the skirt and sew it into place.

On the opposite side of the waist band, sew down the edge, 3/4 of an inch from the edge. This marks where you will fold under when you finish the waist band.

Fold the waist band 3/4 inch under and then fold it in half, like above, to simulate the finished band.

And then make a tiny clip on the fold! This marks the middle of the band and will help us when we get to the zipper.

Now, fold the skirt in half and pin it together. You can see my tulle peaking out, don't worry, we'll cut off the excess later. (DO NOT cut it off now, you want it there when we get to the zipper)

To begin, you're just going to do a basting stitch, the longest stitch on your machine. Sew down the length of the skirt, stopping about an inch from the bottom. This leaves room for the hem later, I didn't do this and I had to rip mine back out. I'm saving you a little headache.

Then measure down the length of your zipper, 7-8 inches and put it back under the sewing machine at that point. Using a normal length stitch, sew down from there to where you stopped about an inch from the bottom. This secures the seam, later we will pull some of that basting out and we don't want the whole thing coming undone.

Now press that seam open!

Next we are ready to begin working with the zipper. Everyone will tell you that zippers are scary, but they really aren't that bad if you just take your time. Don't rush a zipper or you will have problems. Begin by putting the zipper foot on your machine.

This is a example of what happens when you rush. I put it on upside down? Backwards? The point is, you should see the teeth and you can't! Lucky this was just and example and not sewn on. Whew. 

To pin the zipper: Fold the skirt in half, just as you did when you sewed it together, putting the skirt out to your left. The pressed seam will still lay flat putting the excess fabric(seam allowance) out to the right side. Remember the fabric I told you not to cut off, now you're going to use it. The top of your zipper should be at the notch you cut into your waist band, you can put the excess fabric from your zipper beyond the notch, but none of the teeth should pass it. Then, making sure the middle of the zipper lines up with your seam, pin the right side of the zipper to the seam allowance on the right side of the seam. All of of the skirt should be to the left of the seam so that the zipper and seam allowance do not get pinned to the skirt.

Now baste the zipper in place. Turn the skirt over, pushing the skirt to the left and baste the other side of the zipper into place.

Now turn the skirt right side out. We're making progress, the zipper takes the most time. Again, be patient and take your time! Take your seam ripper or a pair of scissors and remove the basting stitching from the seam until you are an inch from the bottom of the zipper. Now you may open the zipper.... open it!

Turn the skirt inside out, again.

One more time. The skirt is unzipped and the basting stitch is holding the zipper in place for you. Push all the skirt to the left side again with the seam allowance out to the right and starting at the notch, sew the zipper down with a regular stitch. You want to get as close as possible to the teeth of the zipper but do not sew over them, the zipper won't close if you do. I suggest sewing slowly and being careful. Do this on both sides of the zipper and remember to backstitch at the top and the bottom to secure your zipper.

Now we're just going to make a little security stitch where our zipper ends. Find where you did your normal stitch along the basting stitch earlier. Put your needle in about a half inch above your normal stitch, sew down about an inch and back it all the way up and then sew back down an inch. This just creates a little reinforcement so you don't pop apart your skirt when you use the zipper.

Now fold the skirt back out. On your waist band, fold the 3/4 inch edge up along the line you sewed earlier and then fold the waist band in half over the front of the skirt. Pin it in place like the photo above. Sew as close as you can to the zipper teeth, sewing the waist band down onto the zipper.

When you flip it over, it should look like this. Repeat on the other side.

Alright, now it's time to hem the skirt. I told you to stop an inch from the bottom, I didn't think to do that when I was sewing mine. If for any reason you didn't listen and sewed all the way down, you have to rip the seam back out so you can fold the hem of the lining under.

Fold the hem of the lining under only, leave the tulle loose. I press mine under, pin it and then sew it. The hem is done! Now you may sew down the remainder of the skirt, be sure the back stitch at each end to reinforce the seam.

We are almost done, we just have to finish that waist band and I have a super simple solution for you! Hang in there.

Move to the ironing board, this blue surface is my ironing board. We want to fold that 3/4 inch hem from our waist band under for the last time and press it in place.

Once the hem is pressed under, you have two options: 1. You may slip stitch it in place but I hate slip stitching! So I continue to solution number 2.

2. You can Heat N Bond it into place! Heat N Bond rocks when you want to be lazy.

Following the instructions, press the strip of directly to the fabric. Let it cool or it will not pull off properly. Like I said, follow the instructions.

Once you give it time to cool, slowly peel the paper off, leaving behind the sticky heat and bond. Press the band down onto the heat and bond, iron and you are DONE. Slide it on, put on some make up and take this baby for a whirl. Don't forget to go back and clip the excessive string everywhere. I had to trim my tulle up as well, do that if you need to.

I did my best to describe this in the most comprehensive manner I could. But if anything leaves you confused, tell me in the comments. I will gladly help you if I can!
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