a.o.k. "trial" gourmet (26) home-made pizza

For an introduction to the a.o.k. "trial" gourmet series - click here

This past weekend I hosted a Girls Night "IN" to raise money for the summit for their wishes fundraising project that I recently took on.

Pizza is the perfect food to serve for any kind of gathering... a game night, a last minute dinner, cooked ahead for a picnic lunch or cut up small to serve as an "appetizer-type" food.

When I was planning my food for my party, I was originally thinking I would run out and pick up a couple of the fresh (not frozen) pre-made pizzas at Costco. They've actually got a nice range of different toppings (from 4-cheese, tomato and provolone to bacon, ham and pepperoni), are super quick to bake (8-10 minutes in the oven) and are quite good and cheap ($12 for two). However - since I was hosting the "event" to raise money, I thought it would be a good idea to keep my costs as low as possible. A quick calculation told me that by using the ingredients I already had on hand to make my own home-made pizza (dough and toppings), I would save at least $12.

And I decided to try and make my own pizza from scratch for the very first time. There's really nothing like a gang coming over to entice me to try something new in my kitchen...

Wordless Wednesday: loving the pool!

With the arrival of hot weather - we are so happy that our pool is ready. Here are some shots of our first "pool" experience of 2010!

Back to Work: Balance?

Back to Work is a series of posts over at http://www.everythingmom.com/ dedicated to the good the bad and everything in between for a mom (me!) returning to work following a year on maternity leave. Did you miss parts 1 and/or 2? Click here to read Already Time or First Day Back.

Part 3: Balance?
After having my first child, my response to people asking “So what does having a kid change?” was almost always a shrug followed by “…not that much actually”. Three years later, with a chatty toddler and a busy one-year old, my tune is starting to change. There are days when I wonder how and when my peaceful, organized life disappeared, leaving behind a noisy and chaotic race against time – with me trying to maintain at least the appearance of sanity and order.

There – the secret is out – I try very hard to look like I have it all together, but I am just like almost every other mom out there. I struggle to find balance and to meet all the different demands on my time – being efficient on the job, managing my home properly, spending important quality time with my husband and kids, fostering friendships, and taking care of me (mind, body and soul)!


Back to Work: First Day

Back to Work is a series of posts over at http://www.everythingmom.com/ dedicated to the good the bad and everything in between for a mom (me!) returning to work following a year on maternity leave. Did you miss part 1? Click here to read Already Time.)

Part 2: My First Day Back

6:30 a.m. I am woken up by the sound of my 3-year-old daughter’s feet padding up the stairs to our bedroom. I do not dare move a muscle or open my eyes as I feel her looking up over the side of the bed. If I pretend I am sleeping, my husband will take care of her. One Mississippi, two mississipi, three mississ… “Layla, go pee”. I have tricked them both – or I have proven that I am more stubborn than my husband – either way, it worked! Brandon gets up to take her to the bathroom and stick her in front of the morning cartoons so we can catch another 20 to 30 minutes of sleep before the day begins. I fall back into a restless sleep.


a.o.k. "trial" gourmet (25) Sloppy Joes!

Brandon loves his job. He loves it so much that he enjoys volunteering his time and working extra hours to coach basketball. I thought my evenings of making and eating supper alone with the girls were over when basketball season ended, but no, Brandon and a few of his colleagues decided that this was the year to start a flag-football team. The sparkle in his eyes when he talks about the team is hard to resist. He really does enjoy his work... and that is not something everyone is able to say (and he honest about!).

However... I would be lying if I didn't say that I sometimes find it hard to come home to making (and eating) supper alone with the girls because of an after-school practice or game. I know I shouldn't complain.  It's only a couple times a week. But what can I say? The major perk of being married to a teacher is that his schedule allows him to home earlier (and more) and I'm used to it.

On one such evening last week, I came home with almost no plan for dinner. I say almost because I did have ground beef thawed in the fridge. Not enough time for shepherds pie, not enough time for meatloaf, no hamburger buns... but I did have hot dog buns... hmmm... michigan style hot dogs? sloppy joes...?

Going back to work (a series)

To stay home with the kids or to work outside the home – it’s an issue that every mom has to address at some point or another. While many women choose to stay home and take care of their kids, statistics show that more than half are deciding to work outside the home.

Most will agree that simply being a mom is a full time job, so being a mom AND working – for whatever reason (financial, personal goals, need to get out of the house) – can be daunting and/or overwhelming.

As a mother of two girls, I will soon be returning to my office job following a year of maternity leave. Follow “Back to Work” (a series of articles written for http://www.everythingmom.com/) dedicated to the good, the bad, and everything in between for a mom returning to work.

Read more over at Everything Mom!

Wordless Wednesday: Nature Walk


The small things...

Mother's Day
May 9, 2010

Neither my husband or I make a very big deal out of Mother's Day or Father's Day. As much as I like the idea of having another day in the year (other than my birthday of course) that is supposed to be all about me and how great I am... Mother's Day kind of falls into the same category as Valentine's Day for me. The "if you're only going to do something on one day, I'd rather you didn't" category. In other words, I think it's nice to set aside days that are meant to make us think about the people in our lives, but if you only pull out the stops and/or give your mom, dad, mother, father or lover appreciation on a day that is designated by the calendar... puh-lease...

That's not to say I don't like a nice gesture that says I love you in a special way, or a family get-together (because that's what families do on days like Mother's Day). What do you know... that's what my mother's day was like this year :-)

a.o.k. "trial" gourmet (24) PANCAKES!

For an introduction to the a.o.k. "trial" gourmet series - click here

What will you be having for breakfast this mother's day? If you're in my close circle of friends I'm hoping that your answer is pancakes and that those particular pancakes are made from the home-made pancake mix that you bought from me this week to support my first Kilimanjaro/Make-A-Wish fundraiser (which was a truly incredible success - thank you very much!). Whether you bought pancake-mix or not and whether you'll be eating it this weekend or not, the home-made "Bisquick" mix that I used is definitely worth sharing.
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