Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pizza Bread

The other day for lunch I planned on making individual pizzas using biscuit dough. I'm made these many times before and the kids love them. When I went to grab the can of biscuits from the refrigerator I realized a made a big oops--I failed to get biscuits on my weekend grocery run. I quickly scanned the kitchen for ideas and settled on whole wheat bread. Sure I've made pizza bread lots of times using french bread or other specialty breads, but with just a plain ole' slice of bread? I could make this work....And did it ever. The bread was perfectly crispy, the cheese ooey-gooey, and I was easily able to hide chopped up peppers amongst the pepperoni and under the cheese.

Easy peasy recipe:

100% whole wheat bread
pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
veggies (I used red peppers and green peppers chopped super small so they're undetectable to little eyes)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay bread out flat on a baking sheet.

Spread on a thin layer of pizza sauce. Too much and the bread will be soggy, so a thin layer is key. I added garlic and oregano to the sauce to give it more flavor.
Put toppings on. I added pepperoni and green and red peppers chopped super small so they were undetectable to little eyes (the kids have yet to catch on to this whenever I make homemade pizza).
After toppings are all on, put on shredded cheese (I shredded my cheese very thin so it melts easily). Put in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. The result was extra crispy pizza bread with gooey cheese.
The kids didn't even notice that their pizza was on sliced bread--I had feared this may be an issue and the kids would refuse to eat it, but this was a lunch hit! Several of the kids even had seconds. We will definitely be adding this meal into the lunch rotation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weekend Getaway

This winter has been wearing us down, so we were all thrilled to get away this weekend to Honey Creek Resort in Moravia, Iowa. We went with my parents and sister to celebrate my 30th birthday, my mom's 50th birthday, and my parent's 30th wedding anniversary. It was the perfect way to celebrate these milestones and to break up this winter for us

 It was Chinese food and movie night at home (and early to bed) while I packed bags. We were only gone for 24 hours, but it felt like I had to pack half of our house! Harrison (the middle mini) had a very hard time leaving behind our things: he wanted us to pack the tv, his bed, a couch, an entire cupboard full of food, all of our movies, the Wii, and ALL of the toys. After a long discussion and some reassurance, he settled on 4 shirts, 2 pants, 1 pair of pjs, 6 pairs of underwear, 2 socks, 3 toothbrushes, snow/outside gear, 3 pairs of shoes, his pillow, 4 stuffed animals, and a canvas bag full of random toys. Good grief.

Before we headed out, we had some errands to run: the bank, gas station, getting my glasses fixed thanks to a random headbutt (again the middle mini), and another stop back at home to grab DVD's for the portable DVD players in the van.
Elizabeth was thrilled to eat a donut and watch "Rella" ("Cinderella") for the first time on our drive down to Honey Creek Resort. She even started whistling like the birds and singing along to the songs.
The ride down to Moravia was easy and took very little time. The kids were well behaved for the 1 1/2 ride too. Our first stop before we checked in was to get our regular vacation picture. Then we made our way to our hotel rooms, the kids jumped on the beds, and we went right down to the water park.

The kids LOVED the water park. It took Elizabeth a while to warm up to being in the water, but once she did, she loved having us swim her around. Max's favorite part was the water slide and Harrison loved the pirate ship toddler area (I failed to get pictures of this part, but it was a big pirate ship with little slides and water cannons). The biggest disappointment of the water park was that Max was the only one of the kids that could go down the water slide. Otherwise, this was a great smaller water park for younger kids and great that the adults can see the kids from the hot tub!

This was our first go at a water park and we definitely all loved it. We had plans to head to the Wisconsin Dells for spring break, but after realizing that there may be many things that not all of the kids can do (such as water slides, like we found out at Honey Creek) we decided to wait a couple of more years for the Dells.

The lazy river was a favorite of all of the kids. There were parts that were shallow enough that Harrison and Elizabeth could stand.

After a few hours in the pools, we went back to the rooms, showered and headed for a hike on the grounds to explore a bit. There was a beautiful paved trail leading from the resort to the beach area and an unpaved trail leading around the lake. The highlight of the walk for Elizabeth was dog poop on the trail....that's a big deal when you're almost two!
We had packed snow gear for the weekend, but we were pleasantly surprised to see very little snow. Of course, my kids just had to find the very little snow there was and walk in it.
The boys admiring the beach area. They were very disappointed they couldn't go for a swim (yes, they needed reminded that it was only 32 degrees out). This places will be so fun to visit in the summer.

We worked up quite the appetite swimming and walking. We headed to the resort's restaurant Lake Shore Grille for a nice dinner. The food was yummy (but pricey) and the portion sizes were huge! We could have easily order half of the food we did. One of the best meals was the kid's homemade mac and cheese--it was the cheesiest, creamiest mac and cheese I've ever tasted. Unfortunately the kids were more concerned about getting back to the pool than they were with eating, while Elizabeth practiced getting in and out of her highchair. It was just one of those meals with them.....
One of the best parts of dinner: the homemade rolls and butter. But not just any butter--there was strawberry butter and honey cinnamon butter. Oh. My. God. I've never been a fan of butter but I could have just eaten the butter for dinner. Fantastic!
My sneaky parents had the restaurant surprise me with chocolate molten cake and ice cream. One of my faves!
After the kids went to bed, it was adult night which included cherry wine and Cards Against Humanity.

We adults stayed up nice and late playing games and these little mini's woke us up nice and early.
Sunday sunrise at Honey Creek Resort.
The kids with Grandma and Grandpa Harmeyer and Aunt Jenny. Thanks for a great weekend!
One of my favorite parts of the resort was the lobby's massive fire place that was toasty warm. By the time we checked out at 11 a.m. the kids were beyond tired and instantly fell asleep in the car. HOWEVER, they only slept for 40 minutes so we completely expected them to crash for nice long naps when we got home. Can anyone guess what happened when we got home? NO NAPS. Instead they ran around and informed us they were we headed to Old Navy and Target to get the last of our errands out of the way.
Yep, we bribe our kids with bouncy balls from Old Navy for their good behavior and I got a start on their spring wardrobes. That's how we do it.
Lily will only hold one of her brother's hands while walking.
"Look mom, I caught a cat!" said Max. Elizabeth thought it was the funniest thing in the world. Thanks Target Dollar Section for the $1 laugh.

We had such a wonderful, fun weekend at Honey Creek Resort. It was such a great way to break up the usual winter weekends and gave us great memories. I couldn't think of a better way to spend a birthday weekend getaway!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Week In Review: February 17 - February 21

The week was busy with lots of kids, school activities, conferences, and of course the blizzard (that never really happened but the kids loved it anyway). Our week looked something like this:

How many kids does it take to play with one toy? least they were doing a good job sharing, taking turns, and helping each other out. The older kids were explaining to the younger ones how much each coin was worth.
The kids have been enjoying puppets lately, so I had them make sock puppets (the socks were $3 for a pack of 3 pairs at Wal-Mart). I had the kids color their sock with washable markers, that way the socks can be washed and the kids can color on them again and again.

I think this is a sign of what's coming in the future...... he reminds me of a teenage boy in this picture.
Monkey see, monkey do. Harrison grabbed a chair from the table and pulled it into his room so he could reach "the top of the Lego poster so I can see all of the figurines." Right behind Harrison was Elizabeth with a much smaller kids table chair. She too pulled it up to the poster and pointed out all of the "Lego guys." Just. Like. Harrison.
We had two gorgeous days this week. The kids were able to go outside to run around, but by the end of the afternoon, the backyard was completely flooded. At the moment, it seems to be a frozen grossly muddy ice rink. Sadly, this will make our backyard completely unplayable until the ground completely thaws and it's not so muddy.
3 little boys (and 1 little girl) were completely taken by the tree service cutting down tree limbs.
Foam stickers courtesy of Dollar Tree
More butterfly shape coloring.
The end of winter means I rotate toys frequently (like, almost every day). The kids were excited to see the Wheelies again after a week and a half without a race tracks.
The potty training kids have been working on pulling their pants up and down themselves, learning buttons, and putting their underwear and pants on themselves. Elizabeth (who is not officially one of the potty training kids, but likes to think she is) has suddenly mastered getting her pants on and off and putting her shoes on. The only thing left that she needs help with is her shirts.....clearly she needs more practice.
Shapes painting

Wednesday night we had Max's conferences at school. His teacher could hardly wait to give us his spring pictures and show us a self portrait he drew: both included his eye patch. We will definitely be keeping this pic for the memory book! Conferences were fantastic and he's all set for first grade. I can't believe how big my accident prone boy is getting!
The minis woke up Thursday morning to Target dollar section goodies: new toys, water bottles, stickers, and color books.
Vegetable painting (see post for details)
"Snow painting" (see post for details)
Coloring the coloring book pages (Harrison decided he wanted to share with the daycare kids).
During the hail portion of the blizzard, I stuck a bowl outside, brought it in once it filled bottom, and let the kids explore hail for the first time (see Iowa Weather post for details). The kids loved it and had numerous questions about the hail. The best part about it: I failed to explain to the kids that the hail would melt. After exploring the hail a bit, they set the bowl down and got involved in something else. A while later, one of the kids went over to bowl and shrieked to everything "the hail is gone!" This lead to all of the kids accusing each other of "stealing the hail" which lead to an in depth discussion about what happens to hail....I even had to pull up wikipedia to help me explain all about hail.
 A big thanks to Target's dollar section for my kid's hour and a half long bath.

Sponge painting.

Every day when Max gets home from school, Elizabeth wants a cuddle (that turns into wrestling at some point). These two melt my heart.

After a busy week and a sneak preview of spring (this is what I'm calling our two days of 50 degree weather), we're combating our winter restlessness and heading to Honey Creek Resort for a weekend getaway. Next week, we've got lots of sensory activities planned and a few new games for the kids to try out.