Friday, August 16, 2013

Taco Pizza

Our family love, love, LOVES Mexican food! We eat it at least once a week and whenever we go out to eat the girls ALWAYS choose Mexican. Tacos are a huge hit, I think being able to build them themselves adds to the appeal. 

School starting means a flood of activities as well and less time to prepare dinner. PW's Mexican Flatbread Pizza, or "Taco Pizza" as it's called in our house, is a great twist on the taco. It has all the delicious ingredients that we love and I think it's a bit healthier than tacos. When we make tacos each of us can eat 3 or 4...or 5 or 6...with the pizza we each eat one (less shells=less carbs) that is loaded with lots of fresh healthy veggies. My girls love to top them with tomatoes from our garden, avocado, cilantro and black or refried bean. The possibilities are endless. You can also make the taco meat ahead of time, (You can use leftovers too, but we never have any in our house!) to make it an even faster go-to meal that can be ready in under 20 minutes!

Taco Pizza
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman


  • 1 can Large Biscuits (non Flaky, 8 per can)
  • 1 whole can refried beans (we sometime use black beans too)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Taco Meat 
  • Shredded Iceberg lettuce (we like cilantro instead)
  • Sour Cream
  • Any other toppings that you like!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Flour work surface and roll out each biscuit until very flat. Brush very lightly with olive oil. Bake for 8 minutes, or until starting to turn golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat up (leftover) taco meat.  

To assemble, spread refried beans over each flatbread. Top with plenty of meat. Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the top. Return to oven for three minutes, or until melted and bubbly. 

Top with your favorite taco topping goodness.

Cut into wedges and serve immediately.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

The First Day of Kindergarten and 2nd Grade (WOO HOO!)

Summer officially ended yesterday with the start of school and we were ALL ready! Lo was looking forward to seeing all her friends again and Noa just couldn't wait to be one of the big kids, riding the bus and being at school with all the neighborhood girls.

First up is Feisty McFeisterson...oh my was she ready to go! It was painfully obvious the last few weeks of summer that I was not enough excitement or stimulation for her! She has the same teacher that Lo had for kindergarten so she was VERY happy!
A few things about my monkey:

  • Loves to do hair (she changed her hair at least 5 times before we left for the bus)
  • Has a great memory
  • Loves My Little Pony and will sing all the songs from the show and knows all the horses and their character traits
  • Can tie her own shoes!!!
  • She is madly in love with her little brother and the feeling is mutual. She can get his belly laughs going like no one else and when he sees her his eyes light up. 
  • She has a big heart. I think her feistiness sometimes overshadows this, but she is always thinking of others before herself. She will share toys, money, candy and herself without a second thought.
  • Thing she was most excited about for school? Using scissors! She lost hers early in the summer when I found a drawer full of doll and pony hair that she had cut. 
  • Her favorite surprise is to get all ready "secretly" in her room. The other day she popped into my room at 6:45AM dressed, hair brushed and room cleaned. It's the best surprise ever!

Showing off her new (and enormous) backpack that she picked out.
Logan was looking forward to school so she could see her friends and have access to the school library! I think she spent most summer with her nose in a book! She is so like her mama! 
A few things about Lo:
  • Loves to read!
  • Still loves everything art! I find little "projects" on my bedside table daily. Right now her drawing of choice is horses. I find horses of all shapes, sizes and colors all over the house!
  • She is getting really good at piano! I LOVE to listen to her play and I am so impressed by the progress she has made in such a short time.
  • She is growing out her hair for Lock Of Love. She saw a Facebook picture a friend of mine took of her daughter who had just donated. She thinks it would be really cool to help another girl and finds it pretty amazing that they can use her hair to make a wig for someone else.
  • We're reading the Harry Potter series together. We finished the first book this summer and have started the second one. I'm pretty sure she's reading ahead when I'm not looking. She just can't stand not knowing what's going to happen next!
  • When making big decisions, she gives things lots of thought and consideration.
  • She loves her friends! I hear lots about her friends, the silly things they did and the things they said. She really pays attention to what they say and do. Whenever she has a friend over she always plans activities and foods they love. It's very thoughtful!

Her new backpack has so many pockets and zipper pouches, it's a hoarders dream!
We decided that Miss Izzy was probably the only one in the family that was sad school was starting. I know she's going to miss Lo very much, but I promised to play with her so she doesn't get lonely.

GG wasn't too sure what was going on, but he had a fun day playing with his toys ALL BY HIMSELF! He also was happy to have a quiet house to nap in. He took a 3 hour nap! We were both happy about that!

One last kiss for daddy and they were off!

...and then GG and I were off too! Our plan is to get our run in right after the girls get on the bus. He LOVES his new stroller and so do I! It rides so smooth.
This is what I got when I asked them how their day was...despite the crazy faces I know they had a good day! Noa told me EVERYTHING she did while Lo granted me three questions with the promise of giving me more information after she had time to "relax."
Despite my exuberance over school starting I still worry about them while they are gone. I have so many hopes for them, but my greatest is that they see the endless potential they have and that they don't let anyone or anything stop them from being who they are. 

Have a wonderful Thursday,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The end of summer and the beginning of my sanity...

In some ways this summer flew by and in others it seemed to take FOREVER! Today I put both girls on the bus for their first day of school. It's hard to believe that I am the mom of a kindergartener and a second grader. While summer seemed to go on forever, the girls are growing up just way too fast! We took the obligatory 1st day pics on our porch and at the bus stop and we were all smiles this morning. I share those with you tomorrow. Today I'm sharing the last bit of summer fun we had.

A few weeks ago Noa got to go to her very first concert, BIG TIME RUSH. She was so excited! She loves her BTR CD and couldn't wait to hear them in person. 

Lo opted not to join us this year so it was a special Mommy-Noa event.
Logan was very kind and offered Noa her BTR shirt to wear to the concert.
We were on the lawn again this year and it's really the best place for the kids. There were 3 opening acts!!! BTR didn't play for over 2 hours after the first band. That's like an eternity to a 5-year-old (and her mommy too!). Noa kept asking, "When are they going to sing a Big Time Rush song?!?!" At that point she didn't even care if BTR was singing their own song!
During the 3rd opening band she decided to take a short nap. You know, so she could power-up for BTR.
We had a great time and she loved the BTR performance. They always have trampolines on stage which she thought was pretty cool. She kept looking at me with a huge smile on her face saying, "I HAVE THIS SONG ON MY CD AT HOME!!!"

The state fair comes every August and we love to go and enjoy all the fun it has to offer! Daddy takes the day off and we spend the day eating, looking at animals, eating, exploring, eating, going on rides and eating! This year most of the local schools had already started so it was not the least bit crowded which was AWE-SOME! We even had great weather, it was a little hot and sticky but not one drop of rain hit our heads!

We love to eat so picking our fair food is a big process. The girls stayed with their traditional corn dog and chicken fingers, while the hubby and I happily treated ourselves to our favorite Wisconsin fried jalapeno cheese sticks-SO GOOD!
Of course the girls wanted to hit the Midway and go on some rides. This was Lo's first year going on the rides. Normally we give them a choice of a toy or rides. As you can imagine, our little stuffed animal hoarder Lo ALWAYS picked a toy.  Thanks to our new allowance system the girls didn't have to choose.  This year we happily bought ride tickets and if they wanted a toy they needed to use their own money. Both bought stuffed animals and Noa also purchased a slinky and a lemonade shake-up.
Nothing but giggles on the rotating bear!

This girls sure does love her cotton candy! 
GG was there too! He spent most of the day in his stroller and was such a good boy! He is so easy going and just happy to be with the family!

One of our favorite back-to-school traditions is haircuts, Five Guys and the all important first-day-of-school outfit selection! 

First the girls got their hair cut. Lo is growing hers out for Lock of Love so she just got a trim. Noa surprised all of us by wanting to chop hers all off. She wanted to go shorter but our wonderful hairstylist Amy was worried she would look like a "young Justin Timberlake"

Silly face after...
Lo INSISTED that Amy leave out the big piece of hair. I guess it was a fashion statement she wanted to make. Hmmmm not too sure that one is going to catch on...
They LOVED their braids!
Next stop was Five Guys for lunch! 
This lil' guy is a HUGE fan of Five Guys. He ate an entire cheeseburger and lots of fries. I think he would have kept going if I hadn't cut him off. 

We ended our day shopping. Both girls picked out a few outfits and hair clips and couldn't wait to get home to show Daddy what they picked out. I like seeing their different personalities come through with the clothes they pick. Lo's all about comfy and cozy while Noa's eyes go directly to sequins, sparkles and tulle. 

Last, but not least, we visit Orange Leaf the day before school starts for a refreshing frozen yogurt filled with all our favorite toppings! It's a great way to end the summer!
Someone can't wait for his taste! 
Phew. We have been BIZ-Y! Now that school has started I'm looking forward to quieter afternoons, organizing the house and getting to be crafty! Around Mid-June I gave up any hope of completing any projects on my list, but I am so ready to get back to a little "normalcy." Whatever that is! Of course our evenings are steadily becoming packed with after-school-activites but we have let go of a few so I'm hoping for one or two "relaxing" nights at home!

Thanks for checking in and thank you for being so patient with my sporadic blogging this summer!

Have a great day!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Concert in the Park & Kid Friendly Pasta Salad

During the summer our town has concerts in the park each Tuesday night. They're a lot of fun and remind me of home. The kids get to run around and dance, while the parents catch up and try to relax. This year they took place in the new amphitheater and it's pretty amazing. 

I finally got my act together and rallied the troops and we went to see my favorite local band, Dave and Rae. We got there pretty early to stake out our spot. Lucky for us we found a tiny sliver of shade.
Someone REALLY liked the pre-concert music...

...and the cantaloupe...
GG LOVED the music and won the award for The Best Behaved Murray Child. He bobbed his head and danced the whole time. 

Of course it was one of the hottest, humid-est days ever and the girls were pretty cranky AND Nate was traveling so I was flying solo, but I was determined to go! I decided that a cold pasta salad was the way to go. I literally googled "kid friendly pasta salad" and what do you know, my good friend PW had a recipe by that very name! It really was "kid friendly" too! Lo loved it all, minus the basil, and ate 3 helpings! Noa, who was extremely feisty and cranky, claimed she didn't like it but still ate two servings of the pasta she didn't like!

Kid Friendly Pasta Salad 
Source: The Food Network, The Pioneer Woman

  • 12oz fun-shaped pasta, such as radiator
  • 8 slices thin bacon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash sugar, optional
  • 1/2 cut grape tomatoes (yellow and red), halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound Cheddar, cut into small cubes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ground black pepper
  • 24 whole basil leaves, chiffonade
Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Then drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.

Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and throw into a large skillet. Saute until slightly crisp, and then remove to a paper-towel-lined-plate.

For the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt and sugar, if using, in a small bowl.

Stir together the pasta, dressing, tomatoes, bacon, Cheddar and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Stir in the basil at the end.