No More Updates Here

Hey everyone!

It’s literally been FOREVER since I posted anything here. Wow. Sorry!

So here’s the thing, I’m too busy with my other projects/work to post here.

If you still want to follow me, I’d love to see you over at my new blog which is a little bit of everything. Books, things I love, reviews, sneek peeks into my own writing.

www.carolineandrus.com/blog

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Missing Images

So….. apparently my bandwidth with Photobucket has been exceeded.
You can still click on the image and it will bring you to Photobucket though!

First I thought “awww I feel loved!”

Then I thought “Crap! That sucks!”

So I guess in the next few days I’ll try to get my images moved over to my design company website hosting and link them here. Or maybe I’ll just give in and buy a domain name for this blog and host it where my company website is.

(If you’re wondering, my design website is www.candrus-designs.com)

Pizza Bread

I’m a terrible blogger. I know, I know…..

Pizza Bread

This is a recipe I recently made for my meal swap group. The above photo features meatballs, but for my meal swap group we did pepperoni.

SUPER easy and tasty!
You basically take my grandmother-in-laws pizza dough recipe, double it, slice the dough into 6 pieces, roll the dough out, pour on some sauce, put the pepperoni, add the cheese and roll it up (carefully!!!)
For the bread:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Package active dry years
  • 3/4 cup very warm water
  • 2 TBSP Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add the package of yeast to the water. let sit for 5 minutes as the yeast does its thing. The water should be hot, but not TOO hot – you don’t want to kill the yeast!

2. Add the sugar, salt and oil to the water.

3. Mix in flour. You can either use a mixer (I use my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer) or you can knead by hand, for about 5 minutes.

OPTIONAL: The dough is ESPECIALLY good if you add in some pizza herbs and seasoning! I like to add garlic powder, onion powder, Italian Seasoning, Basil, Oregano, etc. SO yum!
For the sauce I use the recipe here.

Cut the dough

Cut the dough

Putting together the pizza bread!

Putting together the pizza bread!

ASSEMBLING THE BREAD:

1. Divide the dough. Shape it into a nice round (or square) lump and cut in half, then cut each half into thirds. These are just guidelines, you can really make as many or as few as you want. What I like about making them small is that each person can have their own roll, plus when the bread is smaller it cooks quicker!

I have an actual dough cutter (I believe it’s Food Network brand? From Kohl’s?) and I LOVE it! It cuts through the dough SO well and scraps any dough left on the counter right off! You can also use a knife if you don’t have a dough cutter/scraper.

2. Spread out one of the little rolls of dough you cut in the previous step. Spread as THIN as you can without tearing any holes. If you do get a hole you can kind of fold the dough back over and try again. You want it thin though because it’s going to rise a LOT when you bake it!

3. Spread the sauce across the dough. Careful you don’t get too close to the edges or you’ll have a HUGE mess when you go to roll it up!!! If you’re like me and LOVE sauce, you’re going to have to hold yourself back. You can NOT put a lot of sauce in these! You can certainly DIP the bread in some sauce once it’s baked though!

4. Add your toppings. In this case, pepperoni. You can add whatever you want though. Meatballs, onion, peppers, olives, etc.

5. Add the cheese! You can probably even put more than I put on in the photo!

6. Now the messy part! ROLLING the bread! Start at one end and instead of actually ROLLING the bread over, it’s best to sort of FOLD it. I find what’s easiest is to fold it, pinch the edges, fold, pinch, etc. Then at the end you need to seal the edges. Pinch them shut and kind of smooth them over with your finger.

7. Finally you’re ready to bake and eat your creations!

Preheat the oven to 425* and bake for 10-15 minutes. The bake time is going to depend on the size you end up making your bread and your oven. My oven is ancient and terrible so I ALWAYS check the food at the halfway point. Since these times are based on MY oven, keep a close eye on your food!

8. Enjoy! Allow the bread to cool down a bit. When we make it for the kids we always cut it open first to let the inside cool off so they don’t burn their little mouths. I like to heat up some sauce as well to dip mine in because, as I said above, I’m a sauce lover!

FREEZING: I froze these for the meal swap group. I put 3 each in the gallon sized ziplocks. Each person got 6 bread rolls. Thaw completely prior to baking.

Roll the dough! This is a bad example... I had a bit too much sauce, did not pinch the edges as I rolled AND forgot the cheese!!! #FAIL

Roll the dough! This is a bad example… I had a bit too much sauce, did not pinch the edges as I rolled AND forgot the cheese!!! #FAIL

Seal and smooth those edges!

Seal and smooth those edges!

Words. Blogger. EVER!!!

I swear, when I created this blog I intended to be an awesome blooger and post at least once a week!

Yeah….. not so much…… Turns out, my life is REALLY busy!!!

Good news, though! I’ve cut down on my Facebook time. Which is great…. but also sad. I’m a part of an awesome mom’s group that I joined while pregnant with the little one. Great bunch of women, I miss checking in with them daily. BUT I am getting more work done! I’ve found more time to convert my companies books to Kindle (and some of these books take HOURS based on length and formatting… ouch!)

In other news, I joined a gym!!! My BFF convinced me to try a Zumba class with her. It was SO much work but I felt great. The best part of joining this gym is the insurance reimbursement. My insurance will reimburse the month’s fee if I attend 12 days a month. This is also key motivation to actually go because money is tight and I need that reimbursement! My membership includes free unlimited classes and I am HOOKED on BodyPump and Fusion (Body Flow – a combo of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates.) Those classes are back to back, meaning 2 straight hours of working out, but even being someone as out of shape as I am (I’m not overweight by any means, however two kids and working computer jobs for so long, I’m not in the best shape of my life!) I thought that the 2 hours would just about kill me. Turns out, after the Body Pump, the Fusion feels AMAZING! I wish they offered the class more than once a week. I also attend Zumba one evening a week with my BFF and am still trying to find another good class to fill in the third required day. If I hate the other classes I’ll just use the machines.

Anyway, what else is new… what else, what else…..

I don’t think I’ve blogged since my baby girl started Kindergarten. 
She went to preschool last year, but it’s amazing how different Kindergarten is! Watching her climb up onto the big school bus and watch it drive away…. it was like watching a piece of my soul drive away. This little person who has been a part of me for 5 years, who has never been so far out of my range…. she just got on that bus, never looked back, and went to school. With preschool we dropped her off at the classroom door. We knew she was in that classroom until we picked her up. Now, adding the bus into the mix… it’s just so different. She loves it though! And her class is very diverse, not all white kids, which is nice. She’s working on reading right now which I am SO excited for because I’m a huge reader myself! She recently came home and was proud to show off that she learned to spell the word “THE.” Tonight The Husband was reading her a bedtime story and every time they came to a “The” in the book she got to read it. In the end, he picked a page at random and asked her to find the word “the” – which she did. I swear I almost started crying. “My baby girl is learning to read! When did she grow up???” I gushed, giving her a big hug. She probably thought I was being the silliest mommy ever….. *sighs* The time goes so fast.

My little girl also got her first pair of glasses.
I’ll tell you this, if your child is sitting with her face plastered next to the TV, don’t assume it’s because she’s so absorbed…. GET HER EYES CHECKED!!! We let it go too long. We assumed the aforementioned absorption was her issue.. nope. At her preschool screening they coaxed her into passing her vision check somehow and told us that “at this age their eyes are still developing, so don’t worry about her eyes.” SECOND MISTAKE! We finally took her in to have her vision checked at the eye clinic in August, after her virtually failing the test again at her April Well Child Checkup…. they told us that she may need eye therapy because the muscles didn’t develop like they should have. They said she’s still young enough that it really shouldn’t be an issue, but the poor thing inherited my eyes. Horrible astigmatism and can’t see far away. She loves her new glasses though!!!

The other big thing that happened recently was that my ACTUAL tiny baby (not my big baby) turned 1. I have a 1 year old again. And I love this age. Love, love, LOVE this age! She’s been walking since she was 10 months so she’s really got it down now. She has the shortest legs, but she sure can move! She’s in the 12% for her height so watching her run around on those tiny legs just cracks me up. I love that little girl. She’s also starting to figure out new words. She’ll sometimes try to say “Baby” and of course she knows “Mama” and “Dada” and “Uh Oh.” Yep, my kids learn “Uh oh” as one of their first words! With Allison, she used “Uh Oh” to mean EVERYTHING. We’re talking Pick me up, Put me down, I want that, Look at that…. Everything was “Uh oh!” accompanied by a pointed finger. Fortunately, Miranda is not using “Uh oh” quite as frequently as her big sister. Usually she uses it for I dropped my cup OR I threw that toy, go get it! 
I can’t recall most of the other words she’s been trying out lately, but I am pretty sure she said “Allie” and sometimes she says “Na-night” but really, her word right now, is “Hi.” I walk into the room and she says “Hi!” and I say hi back, and we go back and forth for a couple of minutes before one of us just stops (usually her, I think it’s so cute I keep encouraging her!)

Anywho, I’m quite sleepy seeing that it’s 2:10 am and we were at a wedding today! (I’ll blog about that later! Hopefully tomorrow…. er…. later today? lol) 

Leave me a comment if you made it this far! And to encourage me to blog more!!! :p
(And BTW, I’m too tired to proof read, sorry for any typo’s or if nothing makes sense. It wouldn’t be me without those things!) 

Working

Working

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!!! 😉

Win an Inflatable Water Park

Omigosh! I want to win this for me! (Er…. the kids… I mean… :p)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NDA4NGNmMWYyYzRmMWU5YTM3ZWQyNzc4YzhjMzgxOjEz/ 

Success!

Guess what!!!!
Today I made meatloaf and it was edible!!!

I’m swamped right now with my publishing company tasks (currently editing a book, not my typical job!) and I’ve got a garage sale coming up on Thursday so we’re trying to get everything ready for that as well.

I was just so proud of my edible (and pretty good if I do say so myself!) meatloaf that I had to stop in and brag. 😉  I’ll post about it later, I’ve got some pix and I’ll share the recipe!

My Little Model

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I went to school and got my degree in photography, so of course, as a mother of two young girls I love taking photos of them! I’ve even just gotten them into boutique modeling! So far I’ve only photographed items that I’ve won or purchased, but eventually I’ll be able to receive items for free or for a discounted price in exchange for model photos.

One of the boutiques I will have my girls modeling for is my very own! My sister Katie and I have decided to go into the bow making business and have started our own business through Facebook over at Enchanting Elegance by K & C

Today my 5 year old Allison and I had our very own photoshoot in the backyard to show off some of my bows, as well as some sweet legwarmers we purchased from A Pocket Full of Sunshine Boutique

Ta-da!

Introduction

EDIT: Forgot to give props to the girls who helped me name this blog!
Thanks to Teresa B. for the exact name and Claire T. for an amazingly similar suggestion.

This is the third blog I’ve started. That’s right. THIRD.
My first blog had 2 posts. I think my second may have had 3.
This time I’m determined to stick with it!!!

What is the purpose of this blog, you my ask?
Well, let me begin by telling you a bit about myself.
I am a 27 year old married mother of two precious little girls.
My Allison will be turning 5 very soon and my little Miranda is just about 6 months old.

When I was pregnant with Miranda I joined an online baby group. Those amazing ladies are my peer pressure. They’ve introduced me to concepts that I’ve thought were neat but chose not to do (cloth diapering – no thanks! I cleaned up enough poop potty training Allison!) and ideas that I loved and have introduced to my lifestyle (making my own baby food, using the crock pot!)

Here’s a fact: I am one of the least domestic people you will EVER meet! We joke that I can’t cook unless it comes out of a can or a box – or it’s cooked in the toaster! The microwave has been my best friend for years.

Until now.

I still use the microwave, but I’m working on ways to make my life more….. traditional and just downright better!

The number of family dinner’s my husband and I have had in the almost 5 years we’ve been married? Before 2012 you could probably count them on one hand! That’s changing. When my husband is not working evenings we are having some sort of hot meal at the table as a family. Not only that, we will all be eating the same meal! We’ve always been a “fend for yourself” kind of family. I’m an extremely picky eater so this will be a challenge, my husband eats everything (I call him my personal garbage disposal!) and Allison is fairly picky. Miranda just sits in her high chair or on one of our laps and whines because she wants real food, too!

Fruits and veggies? In the past they’ve been virtually non-existent in my house! (Did I mention I was a picky eater???) The trouble is, they’re expensive and when you buy them and then forget about them it’s just like throwing your money away! As of two days ago I’ve gotten into freezing bags of fresh veggies for later use! The bell peppers in the photo here? I got those for a steal at Aldi! I think they were $165 for the 3 pack of green, red and orange! At the regular grocery store the green ones are typically about 65 cents and the colored are at least $2 / lb!

Lately, I’ve been scouring the internet for recipes as well – specifically for the crock pot! We had a crock pot that we never used. While moving it one day, my husband picked up the box (yep, it was still in it’s original packaging!) and CRACK! The box bottomed out and the crock pot hit the floor! The stoneware inside of the heating mechanism was cracked beyond repair. We trashed it and, after moving into our house, purchased one on clearance at Target. It sat in the cupboard, gathering dust until I was encouraged by people on the internet to pull it out and give it a shot!

Our first meal in the crock pot was delish! I made Spinach Pesto Lasagna courtesy of The Crockin’ Girls.

The photo doesn’t really do it justice, it wasn’t cooked yet and I kinda sorta forgot to put sauce in most of the layers!!! It was still edible in the end, however the bottom and one side did get a bit burnt. My husband ate those parts 😉 The second time I made it I overcompensated for the previous fiasco and added too much pasta sauce! Oh well, it was runny but still delish!
And did you notice that this has spinach in it? Picky eater! Couldn’t even taste it. Soooo good! I’m a quarter Italian so I love me some pasta!

So that’s it! That’s what this is all about! Trying to do better for my family and myself in the kitchen and in life.

Outside of the kitchen we’ve got other things going on. I signed Allison up for parent/child swimming lessons because my in-laws have a pool and Allison is terrified to get in! She needs to learn to swim! I also wanted her to take a child cooking class, however that conflicts with preschool.  Allison has never taken a class before of any type – aside from her preschool education (she started her first year last September and loves it!) Soon enough I plan on getting her started in dance to see how she likes that as well as piano lessons!k

I’m also a big reader, mostly young adult fiction, so I plan on keeping the girls on track with reading. Every  night we read between one and three bedtime stories. If my husband is home, he’ll often read to Allison on her bed while I rock Miranda in the glider nearby. When my husband is working I’ll sit or lay on the bed with both the girls and read to them. So far they both seem to love books so I must be doing something right!

To continue the reading as well as get the girls out of the house, I’m going to attempt to bring them both to story time at the local library.

Some of our favorite books to read right now are:

And of course we sometimes fall back on the classics:

And we love anything by Sandra Boynton!

Currently I am reading “Envy” by Anna Godbersen – book 3 in “The Luxe” series. I like to refer to them as Gossip Girl… if it took place in 1899-1900!!!

I think that’s plenty for now! I’ll leave you with an image of what we had for an after dinner snack tonight!