Monday, May 7, 2012

Full Weekends, Spaghetti & Stuffed Pizza

Today was an awesome Monday cuz we ended our day with the first visit to Dairy Queen of the year...  
My girls and I love us some DQ and with it being a beautiful sunny spring day we decided it was time to break it in for the season.  It did not disappoint.  (Does it ever??)  Happy girls, happy mama.  After our sugar fix we passed a park we haven't been to in awhile on our way home and did what I like to call "speed parking"  I put the stop watch on my cell phone and tell the girls whatever amount of time we might have...even if it's just five minutes...and say "GO!"  and these little girls run and try to do everything at the park in that amount of time.  Great way to get in and out of the park when we have less than 15 minutes.  They have as much fun in that little amount of time as if we lingered there for an hour.  

Weekend re-cap.  It was full, it was fun.  I went home Friday night after a little break feeling totally refreshed and ready for date night.  I made what I consider the ultimate comfort food...pasta.  And, not just any pasta...good ole spaghetti....
I used to buy spaghetti sauce at the store, then I got my mother-law's spaghetti recipe and I have never had to buy sauce again.  If you have a few spices and a can of tomato paste you can make the best sauce ever.  I really like her original recipe, but have modified it slightly because I don't usually do meatballs when I make it, so it needs a few veggies to take away a little of the acidity.  

Spaghetti Sauce (best served over homemade noodles!)
-1 small can tomato paste
-2-3 tomato paste cans full of water
-1/2 cup finely diced carrots
-1/2 cup finely diced celery
-1/2 onion chopped
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 tbls sugar
-1/2 tbls freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-1 tsp each of basil, oregano, marjoram
-salt & pepper
-1 bay leaf
1.  Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan, add onion and garlic and cook for around 5 minutes.  Add carrots and celery and cook for 5-10 more minutes.
2.  Add tomato paste, water, cheese and spices and bay leaf.  Simmer for around an hour on low-med heat until sauce thickens.  Remove bay leaf.  Serve over noodles and top with more Parmesan cheese

After Matt and I completely stuffed ourselves with pasta, brushetta and roasted brussel sprouts we decided to have our first fire in the backyard.  We had a glass of wine by the campfire and I didn't think it could get much better.  And, then it did, cuz out popped a full moon in the beautiful clear sky.  I went to bed that night very full, happy and smelling of campfire.  (which I decided is not a great smell in the morning unless you are actually camping)

Saturday the girls and I got to go visit our local Humane Society for the first time since they got a new location.  (first time ever for the girls)  A friend of Ava's was having a birthday party there and when the mom asked if I would be able to stay and help out I was all about it.  I LOVE animals and up until I realized I had a queasy stomach thought I'd be a vet when I grew up.  (Probably a good idea I didn't go that route since I have several incidence of passing out when giving blood).  Nevertheless I still love being around animals and was looking forward to seeing them.  I do find going there a little heartbreaking and leave wishing I could take all of them home.  I promised Matt we would not come home with an animal unless there was a fluffy white kitten there.  At one point, Ava pulled me over and said "Mom, look"  She was pointing to a very large white cat.  She asked "Is that white and fluffy?"  I hated to burst her bubble and tell her no, that's not a fluffy white kitten, but give her props for picking out the only white cat there.  The one animal Ava really wanted to bring home was this sweet thing...
Luckily this pup belonged to one of the staff there otherwise I probably could have been talked into those big brown eyes.  The girls had an absolute ball and I realized that I could have done nothing for their birthday parties at all and just had them at the animal shelter and they would have been very happy girls.  Maybe next year.  Not for lack of wanting, we did not come home with any animals...just doggy treats for Sadi that they got to make at the party...

Saturday night we did a little celebrating Cinco de Mayo style...We had our neighbors over and chowed on yummy Mexican food, margaritas and ended the night with another campfire under the moon.  Matt gave me a hard time doing a Cinco de Mayo theme when I didn't know what it was and I informed him that it is the celebration of Mexico's victory over France during the France-Mexican war, thank you very much.  Good times.  (our evening, not the war)

Sunday was a very big day for little Miss Ava.  First soccer game and with a clear blue sky no chance of cancellation!  She was ready and excited.  I used to think there was nothing cuter than a little girl all dressed up in ballet slippers and a tutu, but now I'm thinking there's nothing cuter than a little girl in cleats and shin guards...
The game was hilarious!!  These girls have only had a few practices so watching them all chase the ball around and kick it here and there was so adorable.  Ava got in there, it's great to see my shy girl in the mix kicking the ball, full of smiles.  Her team totally lost, but they had so much fun and that is all that matters.  I like seeing her part of a team.  Some of my best memories are being a part of a team, whether it was intramural basketball or cheerleading, that being in the group, working together always felt good.  After her game, we stuck around to cheer on her cousin Greg for his game.  Ava, Layla and Kimberly were quite the cheerleaders for that one.
I know I've said it before, I just feel like the gang is complete when the girls are with their cousins.  I can't wait for summer when they all get to hang out more.  These three were pretending to be penguins sitting on their "eggs" during the game...it was pretty funny!!

Once home it was time to throw some girls in the tub and get some dinner going.  After they were all cleaned and jammied they wanted to go back outside to play.  Ava came running in after being out there for a few minutes to grab a couple hats because their wet heads were cold.  When I went out to tell them dinner was ready, I found two girls, in their pj's, with winter hats on playing horses.
I managed to snap a few pictures through my laughter.  These girls crack me up everyday.    We ended this lovely weekend with stuffed olive and artichoke pizza that was crazy good.  The pizza looks small, but it is about 3 inches thick so it is filling!!  I make my pizza sauce and dough like I always do, then split the dough in two.  I roll out one and put it in a 8 inch baking dish, fill it with cheese, artichoke hearts, garlic stuffed green olives and fresh basil.  I then roll out the other dough, put it on top and pinch the sides.  Cook it at 400-degrees for around 30 minutes, then add the sauce to the top and some Parmesan cheese and cook for ten more minutes.  Be prepared to be totally stuffed.  

And that is what you call a very full, fun weekend.  It doesn't look like it will slow down anytime soon and I'm good with that.  I like the hustle and bustle of all the activity and all the experiences the girls get to have.  I also like the simplicity of just watching my girls let their imaginations run wild and play for hours in the backyard during the downtime.  It reminds me of my own childhood.  My sisters and I would play for hours out in the field and the old barn of my Grandpa's.  We'd find rusty tools in there that would become our "kitchen stuff" and just play.  It was simple...we didn't need anything fancy, just our own creativity.  I think that gets missed with some kids and I am so happy that our girls have wild imaginations. There has to be a good balance of activity and nothingness.  And, even though we have plenty of activity going on we are sure to take advantage of the nothingness as well.  
Have a fabulous week.

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