Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pizza on the Grill

Pizza on the grill? You heard right!
I was skeptical too, then we tried it - and it RAWKS!
I used the ciabatta style rustic pizza dough recipe and when you get to the step where you spread it out on parchment paper, just spray the surface of the paper with olive oil AND the surface of the dough. This keeps both sides well oiled and prevents sticking to the grill grate. You can use the dough immediately for a thin crispy crust, or let rise while you prepare the grill and veggies for a little bit thicker and chewier crust.
Once your grill is ready, cook your toppings. We grilled some veggies from the garden, some chicken, and sliced some mozzarella. Next, spray the grill grate with olive oil. Take your dough, still on the parchment, and put it on the grill. Then peel away the parchment and lower the lid on your grill. Once the bottom is browned and has nice grill marks, flip it over with a spatula or tongs. Then top with your meat, veggies and cheese. Lower the lid again to melt the cheese and brown up the other side. When done, place on a cutting board and dig in! I highly recommend you serving this with a pitcher of sweet tea or an ice cold Rolling Rock beer!

Friday, May 30, 2008


We finally have a surplus of tomatoes and today Kyle and I made salsa. It's so easy and really good for you (sans chips, of course!) Here's how we make it:
Put a pot of water on to boil then wash and core your fruits.

Immerse tomatoes in the hot water for just a minute then dunk them in a bowl of ice water.

This ice water bath allows you to peel the skins off the tomatoes almost effortlessly.

While Kyle was peeling tomatoes, I cut half a red onion, smashed two cloves of garlic, and removed the seeds and veins of some jalapeƱo and bell peppers.

Put everything into the food processor and pulse until it reaches the consistency you like then season your salsa with whatever suits your taste! We use cumin, sea salt, fresh cilantro and a little lemon juice.

Then dig in! The salsa is good right after preparation, but it is really REALLY good if you can let it sit refrigerated for an hour or two.
My kids will drown anything in salsa and hopefully this bowl will last us until tomorrow...hopefully, but not likely!


Political Picture - Al Gore

Thursday, May 29, 2008

We call them "Squickles"

The photo doesn't really do it justice, but it is a yellow pickle! My squash plants are right next to my pickle trellis and I guess they got cross-pollinated! The result is a SQUICKLE and it's really not too bad! The flesh is firmer and less juicy than a regular cucumber, and it's yellow! The kids get a kick out of these and I think they make a nice colorful addition to a salad!

Plus, it's a great segway to discussing genetics and cross pollination in our homeschooling. But given my boy's inclinations, they'll be out in the garden making all sorts of mutants! I can see it now, waterloupes, strawchinis, and tomkras!
Hmmm...maybe they'll have a future at the Burpee Seed Company!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Very Cool Picture!

Taken by Doug in our backyard.
Now if Ryan would only use his powers for good instead of evil...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bowling for Ninjas!

Makes for HOURS of fun!

Memorial Day

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may Perpetual Light always shine upon them.

My 568th Way to Make Zucchini

Zucchini Fritters:

1 large zucchini shredded
1 small onion finely chopped
3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup Parmasean or Romano cheese
3/4 C. Milk
2C. flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
Garlic powder and Onion powder to taste
1/4 C. Vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients well and fry in vegetable oil until golden.
These are good right out of the frying pan, but even better the next day after all the flavors come together! Really good in a pita with lettuce, tomato and Ranch dressing!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pickles 101

We made pickles today and I thought I'd show you how simple it is to make your own! This is the easiest and fastest way to get pickles, no canning involved with this method, and you can start enjoying them in about three days!
Here's what you need:
A buttload of cukes, white vinegar, a couple of bulbs of garlic and Ball's Kosher Dill Pickle mix.

Combine your pickle mix with water and vinegar as per package instructions into a large enameled pot (If the vinegar comes in contact with metal it will make your brine cloudy. They won't taste any different, just will look cloudy!)

While your brine is heating on the stove, slice your cukes. We prefer slices as opposed to spears around here, so that's what we did. Heat your brine to just before the boiling point. The package says to boil, but I never do that because it makes your pickles mushy by cooking them. You'll have a nice crisp pickle if you do it my way!
When all your cukes are sliced (or speared!) pour the hot liquid over them and set aside.

While the pickles slices are cooling, peel the cloves off of 2-3 bulbs of garlic. You can easily peel them if you whack them with the back of a wooden spoon!

Do NOT skimp on the garlic! It's what makes these soooo goood! When your liquid has cooled enough for you to handle the slices (about 30 minutes) pack them into clean jars. I just run jars and lids through the dishwasher's "sanitize" cycle.

Put several garlic cloves into the bottom of each jar then pack, and I mean PACK, your slices into the jars. When the jars are full then laddle in your brine to 1/4 shy of the rim. Wipe your rims with a paper towel and screw on the lids. THAT'S IT!

Let them sit out on the counter until they reach room temperature. You'll hear the lids "click" when they seal then put them right into the fridge. You can store them in the fridge for up to three months...but they never last that long around here!

If you want them to last longer you'll have to "can" them. You'll need to sterilize your jars and lids in boiling water. You'll also need to put your finished jars into a boiling water bath for five to seven minutes. They'll last a year that way!

Sonya, you've been asking about these since last summer, so I'm putting about four jars under lock and key and will bring them to you at Cassandra & Sal's shower!

Thrift Chair

Got it for a STEAL! Yeah, you see that correctly! The original price was a hundred bucks!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Saving $$$ During Summer

Besides rummaging for great vintage finds, I'm looking out for cheap entertainment for the kids. Today at the thrift store John Paul found a bag full of Ninja Turtles for two bucks! Ryan has pilfered through stacks and stacks of old books at garage sales and found PLENTY to keep him occupied all summer long! I even caught him reading at the pool the other day! I'm stocking up on games, puzzles, and books most of which are .25 to $3.00. Whenever I hear, "I'm bored!" I'll just send them to the storage closet to find their own entertainment!
We'll also be hitting the library, swimming at the neighborhood pool (thank God for that!), inviting friends over, and, of course, working in the garden.
So, are gas prices affecting what you will be doing this summer? Leave a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Zucchinis Gone Wild!

Kyle's been manning the garden while I've been at work the past couple of days. He pulled this monster out this morning!

It was over four cups shredded! We'll be eating this mutant tomorrow morning in zucchini bread muffins.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

No Shampoo Trial - THE VERDICT!

Our family has been going shampoo-less for two weeks now, and I think I've reached a verdict! I have to say in all honesty that I really, really like it! I think we'll stick with the baking soda "shampoo" and vinegar water rinse from now on.
My hair is extremely thick, coarse, and color treated. The baking soda cleanser leaves my hair really clean, not squeaky clean, but clean. It has a different texture than when I use shampoo that I can't really describe. My hair has not been greasy or overly dry, in fact, it is pretty shiny and feels good to the touch. The vinegar rinse is a MUST! It doesn't cause your hair to stink at all, which I was very surprised at! My color has not turned brassy, as most strawberry blondes will do. In fact, I'm sure my scalp is healthier since using this stuff. I usually have three little patches of eczema on my scalp (behind ears and on the nape of my neck.) Summer time makes it sooo bad because of the heat and perspiration. Since using the cleanser and rinse, I have not had any trouble with those spots on my scalp. Seriously, none!
Also, I don't use mousse or gels anymore! My hair curls perfectly with the curling iron or rollers. All I need is a spritz of hairspray and that's it!
I've used it on the kids with good results, too. Ryan really likes it and refuses to use shampoo anymore. His hair is soft and shiny, and not greasy at all. JP and Danny like it because it doesn't burn their eyes like soap does. Kyle could care less what we use. Their heads don't have that sour, stinky puppy smell when they come in all sweaty from outside.
It's a keeper in our household! But don't worry, I'll store a couple of bottles of shampoo and conditioner away in case anyone comes for a visit this summer!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Freebie For The Garden!

You can get FREE used coffee grounds for your compost pile at any participating Starbucks, click HERE for more information!

Friday, May 16, 2008


The X Files: I Want To Believe movie trailer
RAWK on my nerdy peeps!

Busy Morning!

Ryan and I went out early this morning and harvested a bounty of gorgeous veggies!
They promptly got washed, chopped, and put into the crock pot for a hearty vegetable soup for tonight's dinner! The abundance of jalapeƱos are going into some Mexican cornbread since my tomatoes aren't ripe enough for salsa yet.
With dinner simmering in the crock, I made some "Pop Up Pancakes" for breakfast. You've got to try these!

(Makes 12)
* 1 cup milk
* 1 cup flour
* 6 eggs
* 1/4 cup melted butter
* dash salt
* Preheat oven at 400
Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Pour batter into VERY well greased muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned. John Paul says we should call them "Volcano Pancakes" since that's what they look like when they're cooking! Serve them hot, right out of the oven!
Daniel and John Paul had as much fun watching them pop-up in the oven as they did eating them!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Potty Training is So Fun!

We are SERIOUSLY potty training Danny this week (my goal is to have him completely out of Pull-Ups by the end of the month!) So I put him on the potty and went to go answer the phone. When I came back to check on him, I found this:

Just so you know, I WILL be pulling this picture out to show your first date, at your graduation party, on your wedding day, upon your election to public office and any other event your father and I deem worthy to make you squirm!

Thanks for making me laugh today, silly boy!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ahhh, Queen for the day!

We went to a beautiful early Mass where the kids were well behaved (I think Doug threatened them within an inch of their lives!) We had a little lunch and took a nap. Then Doug made an awesome dinner for all of us! He fired up the grill and cooked a pork loin and some ribs (which Doug's mom brought over-she had them marinating all day!) And all I had to do was gather some squash, zucchini and peppers from the garden. Doug put the flame to the veggies, with a little garlic butter, and voila - dinner was served!
After dinner, we relaxed and visited over warm brownies.
We talked about Mrs. C's mom and what an amazing Italian cook she was. She told me all about the canoli, pizzas, and Italian breads she used to make and promised me that one day she's going to show me how to do it!
I'm holding you to that promise, Mrs. C! Nothing would make me prouder than to continue your fine family traditions and pass them onto my own boys (especially now that I have a budding bread baker in training!) I'm craving canoli! We're going to have to do this SOON!
Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day

If I Had My Life To Live Over
by Erma Bombeck

The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck
after she found out she had a fatal disease.

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

Ever since I can remember, I've hated mother's and father's day. My mom and dad were taken from me way too soon and these days just seemed to bring out the sadness and melancholy in me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful to be a mother and love my children fiercely! God has blessed our lives incredibly through our children. He even allowed John Paul to be born on the anniversary of my father's if that doesn't say "get over it and heal already" I don't know what does! But still, I haven't ever felt like mother's day was for me, it was always for beautiful angel in Heaven.
Bobbie Jo was a beautiful, smart, funny, creative, working mother that loved and gave everything for her family. Everyone loved her. Everyone. Especially me.
I never got to know her (she was taken away from us when I was three.) I am really saddened that she never got to know my boys. Oh how she would have loved them!!! I grew into a young woman without her, married without her, birthed my babies without her, learned to be a mother without her...
I've missed her everyday of my life.
Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord, and may Perpetual Light always shine upon her.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Creamer Boys Win Big!

Yesterday we went to view the boy's projects and have a little fun at the fair. The boys did outstanding in placing with their projects! Ryan received 'Most Outstanding' (which is better than a blue ribbon!) for his apple pie. He also won 'Most Outstanding' for his rosemary herb bread and scored a second place to that with his white loaf!

Kyle won 'Most Outstanding' for his drawing AND for his photograph! He also won a blue ribbon for his other photo entry!

After the celebratory high fives and hugs, we collected their prize money and made our way to the fairgrounds. The kids had a great time riding the rides and playing games. We even saw a real cowboy show complete with trick shooting, whips, roping, horse tricks, knife throwing...the works! Danny and John Paul fed animals in the petting zoo, and we even got to hear a live band!
By the end of the day we were exhausted, sweaty, and reaked of cow manure, but a really fun time was had by all!

Friday, May 9, 2008

When the garden hands you zucchinis...

You make zucchini bread!
If you've ever planted zuccs, then you know that they can almost double in size overnight! The little kids won't eat them plain or cooked, so I sneak them into this wonderful tasting bread:

Lemon Zucchini Bread

* 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* zest of one lemon and it's juice - do NOT omit the fresh lemon, it is what makes this bread so good!


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
2. In a bowl, mix together the zucchini, sugar, egg, lemon zest and juice, and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from heat, and cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

This bread is light, not too sweet, and tastes like summer! I made a double batch yesterday and the kids finished off the last of it for breakfast this morning. I also add ground flax seeds and wheat germ to the recipe, and sometimes substitute raw honey for sugar. It just makes it healthier...but don't tell the kids!

LOL Dogs

funny dog pictures
Cute pictures with funny captions phonetically written makes me giggle and snort!
For more funnies check out: LOL Dogs
There is also a LOL Cats, but just thinking about that site causes me to wheeze and itch!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Vintage Smock Pattern

This month on Sew, Mama, Sew they are doing a "sew along" using a FREE vintage smock pattern. I just love aprons and smocks, especially vintage patterns, so I went and got some funky fabric and trim and whipped up this jewel in just under two hours!

The pattern and video tutorials are VERY easy to follow! It's a handy little smock to wear around the house or out in the garden. Perfect little pockets are just the right size for your cell phone, or tissues to wipe little one's runny noses (which is great because now I can stop carrying them in my bra strap!)

Even added a little bling-bling in the back!