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Peach-Mango-Pineapple Sangria

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Lets be honest, momma likes to have a drink every now and then.  A beer after a day on the beach.  A cocktail with dinner.  A just because celebratory glass of champagne.  All good things in my book.  It’s taken me a while to appreciate  wine though.  I didn’t understand all the hubbub over wine until I entered my thirties.  Maybe it’s my taste buds maturing?  Who knows.  Even still, I can’t drink a dry wine.  Give me a sweet moscato though and I’m in heaven.  Mix that moscato with fruit and schnapps, and well, I’ll call that breakfast.  Just kidding.  Maybe. 😉

Me with my babies on Mother's Day.

Me with my babies on Mother’s Day.

I had the most amazing peach sangria on Mother’s Day this year at a Greek restaurant that’s been in business since the 1970’s, Hellas Restaurant and Bakery, located on the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  If you’re ever in the area, stop here for an authentic Greek dining experience.  Absolutely delicious.  While there, be sure to browse the shops and learn a few things about the strong Greek community and the harvesting of sea sponges. You can even embark on sightseeing tours, where you can get the opportunity to look for dolphins, watch sponge diving exhibitions,  see the historic lighthouse, explore natural estuaries, and some boats even beach on an island where you can look for shells. It’s a great place to just stroll around and explore.

Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs Florida

Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs Florida

Since dining at Hellas I’ve had a slight obsession with Greek food and recreating some of my favorites.  Some recipes were definite misses, and some were big hits!  This Peach-Mango-Pineapple Sangria is one of the hits.  Sweet and fruity, it’s a great, refreshing drink to serve anytime of the day or night.

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery on the historic Sponge-Docks in Tarpon Springs, FL

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery on the historic Sponge-Docks in Tarpon Springs, FL

Another thing I love about sangria is that you can add almost any fruit to it.  All is fair in fruit and sangria.  Except bananas.  That would probably be really gross.  Save those for smoothies.  Have some lemon or lime slices leftover? Toss those in.  An abundance of berries?  Throw those in too. Why not?  It will only enhance the flavor.  Plus you can convince yourself that it’s healthier because you’re getting extra servings of fruit, right?  Maybe not, but who cares.

Light, refreshing, sweet, and fruity sangria

Light, refreshing, sweet, and fruity sangria

 

Peach-Mango-Pineapple Sangria

1.75L bottle Barefoot Moscato (or your favorite white wine)
2/3 cup peach schnapps
1/4 cup sugar
16 oz can chunk pineapple in it’s own juice
1 mango, cut into cubes (or frozen chunks)
Optional: Other fruit. I used peach, blueberries, and strawberries.

In large pitcher combine wine, schnapps, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add fruit and the juice from the pineapple can.
Chill. For best results, refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Overnight is better.

Peach-Mango-Pineapple Sangria

Peach-Mango-Pineapple Sangria

Pizza Quesadillas – AKA Pizzadillas

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Pizza Quesadillas – AKA Pizzadillas

Happy Sunday!! We are having a lazy day here, or trying to at least.  The last week has been insanely busy and Buddy and I needed a day to just veg out.   Sadly, Hubby and Sissy couldn’t join us today.  Sissy is away visiting her far-away family for the summer and Hubby is stuck at work.  Bummer 😦

Funny enough, being lazy is actually hard work.  I keep wanting to go clean something or at least pretend to be productive.  Relaxing is not my strong-suit.  I get bored and anxious.  Buddy, on the other hand,  has been perfectly happy just hanging out this morning and rediscovering some forgotten toys since he hasn’t had a lot of independent play time recently.  I think independent play is so important for children to have.  It boosts their creativity and imagination, helps develop  problem solving skills, inspires confidence, and gives both of you a break from each other.   Some of my most treasured moments with my children have come from independent play.  How can you not smile when you peek in on your 3-year-old and see him dressed up as a cat-superhero-rockstar, talking on a spatula telephone, while baking imaginary eggs for his family of stuffed animals or using the bottom of a drum as an astronaut helmet?

Independent play isn’t something that comes easily to some parents and children, so start slow if you need to.  Set aside 15 minutes dedicated to independent playtime.  Start off by setting them up with a favorite toy, some dress-up items, crayons and paper, blocks, and/or interesting, safe things like kitchen utensils (whisks, spatulas, plastic bowls,etc).   Go through the items with your child and see what sparks their interest.  Let them lead the way.  When they start to engage with a particular item, let them know you’ll be right back and walk away for a few minutes.  If they instantly come running after you, that’s ok.   Just lead them to their play area and remind them you need a few minutes to use the bathroom (start dinner, put a load of laundry in) then you’ll be right back.  Gradually increase the amount of playtime as your kiddo gets comfortable.

While they are learning how to play independently you can whip up this fast and tasty lunch.  The pizzadilla is also perfect for hot summer days where you don’t want to heat up your kitchen and lazy afternoons.  Use your favorite pizza toppings and customize it anyway you want it!  Serve with fresh fruit, cut veggies, or a salad and you have a complete, light meal.
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Pizza quesadillas – AKA Pizzadillas
Makes 1 pizzadilla. Double/triple/quad recipe for however many people you are serving.

  • 2 white corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon pizza sauce (plus extra for dipping, if desired)
  • 1/8 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (use up to 1/4 cup if you like it extra cheesy)
  • 2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of italian seasoning
  • 4-5 pepperoni slices – or topping of your choice (diced green pepper, onion, mushrooms, crumbled cooked sausage)

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Preheat skillet to medium-high heat.  Put 1 of the tortillas in the pan.  Top with pizza sauce and spread to the edges.  Sprinkle half the cheese onto the tortilla.  Add toppings.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and seasonings then top with second tortilla.  When bottom tortilla is lightly browned, flip carefully.  The Pizzadilla is done when both sides are browned and toasty. Cut into quarters and serve with extra pizza sauce for dipping.
*Note: Corn tortillas shrink slightly when cooked. The bottom tortilla will be smaller before you flip. Once both sides are cooked, the size will even out
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The Parent of the Year award goes to….

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The Parent of the Year award goes to….

Pssst. You.

Hey you.  Parent over there.  Just a little reminder.  You’re only human.  You will have days like both of these mentioned.  Most days will fall somewhere in the middle. You are rad.  Your kids think you’re pretty OK too, most of the time- until you start doing the wobble in the middle of their school dance.  It could go either way at that point. 

Some days you’ll have 3 full, healthy home cooked meals on the table.  Nothing will be prepackaged.  The laundry will be washed, dried, folded, AND put away.  There won’t be spots on your windows or fingerprints on the walls.  The beds will be made, there won’t be dried up toothpaste in the bottom of the sink.  Crumbs won’t stick to your feet as you walk across your floor and that sticky spot that’s been there for a week will finally be wiped up. The sink is empty, counters are cleaned, and the stack of random mail and papers that lives on the table is sorted and put away.  You AND the kids will be showered and dressed.  They will play together quietly, cleaning up after themselves as they go.  And you?  You haven’t had to raise your voice all day. Your energy tank is full and your mood meter is set to Mary Poppins. You.have.arrived.   It’s the day you’ve always imagined, dreamed of, wished for.  It’s the day you’ll compare all other days to and desperately try and recreate.  It doesn’t get better than this.  You’ll feel like a super parent.  You surely deserve a reward.  A trophy.  A feature in the news.  Maybe even a book deal or  TV show.  Don’t forget to take notes! You’ve figured out the equation, now all days will be exactly as this one was. Right?

WRONG.

Then there are the other days….

You are beyond exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed and the quiet children from days past have sensed your weakness.  They have taken over,  becoming mini terrorists trying to destroy everything in their paths, including themselves.  That sticky spot is back and you still don’t know what caused it.  The freshly cleaned windows have face and fingerprints on them, and you’re hoping the brown smear on the wall is chocolate and not poop.  There’s a smell coming from your children’s room that suggests something crawled up and died under their bed and the closest thing you’ve come to a shower is walking into the bathroom that has the removable shower head 30 seconds after you realize what your kids meant by “playing car wash”.  Your son insists on being naked and streaking down the street any chance he gets.  Your daughter makes up games where the main objective  is simply to either get someone else in trouble or beat them up.  The only fruit or vegetable your children have seen is a grape they picked up off the floor from snack time yesterday and a smear of jelly from the sandwich they made themselves at lunch.  There are shrill screams, yells, and someone is always crying.  There’s a good chance it may even be you.  You are on empty and your patience flew out the window.  You’re done, you give up.  You’ve failed as a parent and your children obviously hate you otherwise they wouldn’t act as they do.  CPS is going to be knocking at your door any minute because of the dishes left in the sink.  When you see comments on Facebook about bad parenting they are obviously being passive aggressive and talking about you.   Right?

WRONG.

Guess what?  We ALL have those “other” days.  Every one of us.  If someone says they don’t, they are lying.  Liars suck, and you have my permission to punch them in the face. (Disclaimer: Don’t actually punch anyone in the face. Violence is wrong and I’m not OK with it. Mmmmk?).

So on the chance that you’re having a day more like the latter, as I am today, I want you to do something with me.  Declare this day crazy train day and let it go. Don’t try and strong arm it into being something it’s not. It’s a craptastic day, and that’s OK!  You’re allowed to have those!!  Try as you might, you are not June Cleaver and life does not come with a complimentary pearl necklace.  Leave the dishes in the sink, let the kids jump on the bed for 10 minutes.  For one day only, inside voices are optional and no, you don’t have to eat your broccoli.  Go ahead, take a shower yourself and let the littles watch some extra TV.  Babystep your way through the day.  Have a glass of wine, no one is judging you.  Now go polish this turd of a day,  give yourself yet another reason to be declared Parent-Of-The-Year and have ice cream for dinner.  When the kids are grown, I’m 99% sure they will remember the one time you let them have ice cream for dinner more than every day your windows had a streak-free shine.

Ice cream for dinner :)

Ice cream for dinner 🙂

Free Comic Book Day – review!

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I have a secret. I’m kind of a dork. My whole family is kind of dorky.  I’m completely O.K with that, we embrace it. This post caters to our dorky side.

The weekend of May 3 and 4th, 2014 has proven to be a pretty epic weekend. Between Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars Day  we were busy, busy, busy.

What IS Free Comic Book Day? Let me give you a brief history!

Beginning in 2002 the first Saturday in May was (unofficially) declared Free Comic Book Day. Its a day when specialty comic book shops around the world give away free comic books to anyone who visits their store. Comic books are a true American art form dating back to the 1930’s, when the “Golden Age” of comics began with none other than Superman. From the superheroes we know and love, to Japanese Manga, fantasy, romance, horror, even historical events – all have graced the pages of a comic book at one point and time. From young readers to adults, there is truly something for everyone at every age. Comics are a great way to get your children interested and excited about reading and may even inspire them to to write or draw their own.  Go here if you’re looking for more information about  Free Comic Book Day .

Yancy St. Comics

Yancy St. Comics

In celebration of Free Comic Book day we visited a local specialty comic shop, Yancy St. Comics. We arrived a couple hours after opening so many of the popular comics had already been snagged up by the mass number of people in attendance but there was still a table of free comics left.

Sissy was particularly excited about meeting the artists behind Realm Quest and receiving a signed print.
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There were over 15 comic book artists there sharing their amazing artwork, many selling sketches they drew right in front of you. Others were selling prints of various sizes of their original artwork.  They were more than happy to chat for a few minutes and let you snap pictures. We picked up a few free comic books, bought a beautiful Tommy Castillo print and zombified coloring book (not for the kids, obviously), checked out some of the people there for the costume contest, and spent some time browsing the shop and their awesome sale.

It took him 4 months to make this - it's his FIRST build.

It took him 4 months to make this – it’s his FIRST build.

The photo doesn't do this justice. The colors are beautiful.

The photo doesn’t do this justice. The colors are beautiful.

Tardis

Sheri and the Tardis

I, of course, had to have hubby snap a picture of me and The Tardis.

All in all, we had a pretty fun day. I wish we had gotten there earlier so we could check out more of the free comics because their supply was gone through pretty quickly. Next year we’ll go earlier. It does make me very happy to see so many people getting excited about comics, so I can’t complain too much.

Did you attend any Free Comic Book Day events? Have any suggestions on rad comic books I should check out? Let me know in the comments!

Buddy and Sissy on Free Comic Book Day

Buddy and Sissy on Free Comic Book Day

 

My Family, My Niche

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When I started thinking about starting a blog, a million thoughts invaded my brain.

  • What would I post about?
  • Who would read it?
  • Am I *really* that interesting?
  • How does one even write a successful blog?
  • What is a successful blog anyway?
  • Do I even have time for that anyway?

You get the drift, it just goes on from there. So in an attempt to answer my own questions, I turned to Google and simply searched “how to start your first successful blog”  and was bombarded with information. From the huge number of pages, blogs, and articles about it, I can tell I’m not the first (or last)  person that sought the same answers. Thank goodness you can’t see my browser history, its embarrassing how much I read.  One thing kept coming up within all of the pages; to start a successful blog I had to find a specific niche. Something I know a lot about. That I can speak confidently, freely, and intelligently about. Something that I enjoy.

“That should be easy!” I thought.

So I sat down to make a list of things I’m particularly good at or know a lot about…

and…
wait for it…

Nothing. My list had nothing on it. I spent hours thinking about it, talking to Hubby, trying to come up with ONE thing I was good at. Could that be though? Could I really not know enough about *one* thing to start a (successful) blog?  That’s when it hit me. I may not know a lot about one thing, but I know a little bit about a lot of things. I know my way around the kitchen well enough to feed my family, and I enjoy trying new recipes. I’m fairly crafty, or at least pretend to be. I like to fix things myself, and if I don’t know how I’ll figure it out. I like to try new things, go new places, re-purpose items some would find as garbage. Stretch our dollar so life doesn’t become just about working. Keeping schedules figured out, how to best utilize our time, sneaking learning moments into fun activities. All of this while making time for not only Sissy and Buddy, but Hubby, and hopefully myself.  It’s a balancing act that is ever-changing, as I’m sure this will be too.
PicMonkey Collageall

That’s how this blog was born. I suppose my niche as well, a place for me to share everything that helps us babystep through life.

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