Friday, January 29, 2016

QVC Review

I have an unhealthy obsession with all kitchen items.  It doesn't matter if it's a muffin pan, a blender, or a spatula, I love everything equally.  I had more fun than most when creating my wedding registry. Seeing all of the kitchen items on my list made my eyes light up like the fourth of July!  I was truly like a kid in a candy store. Cooking and baking is something I truly enjoy, and I'm always on the lookout for the newest and hottest kitchenware.  Having quality kitchen products in your kitchen is a must-have.



QVC is a home shopping network that allows you to order anything you want from the comfort of your own home.  The best part about QVC is that you can shop in your pajamas on the couch any time of day or night.  Founded in 1986 by Joseph Segel, it broadcasts in five countries as QVC US, QVC UK, QVC Japan, QVC Germany, and QVC Italy.  The name is an acronym standing for Quality, Value, and Convenience.  

QVC truly has everything you could possibly need for baby shower or new baby gifts, birthday and anniversary presents and everything in between.  Buy Dad that new blu-ray player he's been wanting for Valentine's Day, your sister a pair of warm fleece pajamas just because, and a new pots and pans set for Grandma's birthday.  Don't forget a new necklace or bracelet for Mom either for Valentine's Day either.  QVC always offers wonderful prices and flexible payment plans.  Feel free to treat yourself to something beautiful that you've had your eye on.

When I moved into my house two years ago, I was fortunate enough to have a recently renovated kitchen thanks to the previous owners.  There was so much cabinet and drawer space that I didn't own enough items to fill it! Overtime, I've had a ball buying beautiful items to fill the space.  Who wouldn't love doing that? 

When I stumbled across the Temp-tations Old Work Cook & Look 3 Piece Round Baker Set, I knew I had to have it.  My dishes are white, so all of my serving pieces are colored in order to give a pop of color when entertaining.  An awesome bonus about this Temp-tations set is that you can use it to compliment any of your other Temp-tations sets.  Combine everything to feature at your next dinner party, your guests will love it! 


How beautiful is this set? This 3 piece beauty includes a 1 qt round baker, 2 qt round baker, and a 3 qt round baker with lid.  It's offered in a wide range of colors to compliment any kitchen.  The painted old world pattern is gorgeous and I can't get enough of it. There's so much attention to detail all over the set, including the rim of the baker.  The fact that this set accommodates almost any recipe is so convenient.  The glass lid helps you to keep an eye on your dish's progress as it bakes to perfection.  

What I like most about the set is how versatile it is.  You can make anything in it from macaroni and cheese to baked pasta dishes and risotto.  The culinary possibilities are truly endless! The red color is bright and vivid and full of personality.  A convenient thing about this high-quality set is that it stacks and stores away easily when not in use.  Feel free to use the set in the microwave, dishwasher, oven, and fridge/freezer.

I plan on making baked mac and cheese in the 2 qt round baker tonight for dinner.  I'm sure it will turn out wonderfully and I can't wait! I'm very happy with this set and look forward to using it for some time to come.

If you have a friend or relative with an upcoming birthday, they'll absolutely love this Temp-tations set to celebrate their special day with.  Keep the set in mind for wedding or housewarming gifts as well.  Who knows, maybe the recipient will even make you something in it to thank you for it! :)

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to QVC for providing me with a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  





Thursday, January 28, 2016

Landmark Preschool Review

Now that I have my own child, education is even more important to me than ever.  I want Scarlett to develop, grow, and thrive as much as she can.  Since she's only 13 months old, her brain is like a sponge and soaks everything up.  I encourage her to play as much as possible because children learn so much through play.  We have many educational toys at home that are designed to teach which Scarlett loves.  The best thing you can do as a parent is teach your child.  It's never too early or too late to have your little one learn.

Landmark Preschool is a premier independent day school serving children ages 1-5. Landmark has four campuses located in Bedford, NY,  and Redding, Westport, and Ridgefield CT.  Landmark's belief is that children benefit from a joyful introduction of learning.  Their curriculum consists of purposeful learning experiences to support social, emotional, cognitive, and physiological development.  Your child will thrive and enjoy learning while having fun too! 

A wonderful feature about the school is that the low student-to-teacher ratio allows teachers to really get to know your child.  If you're in one of Landmark's locations, why not send your child to their one's program, or even two's program? Head on over to the website to potentially register for the near future.

I'm very lucky that I have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home-mom.  With that advantage, I'm able to see all of Scarlett's milestones and developments which is very exciting.  I do feel like I can only teach her so much at home.  Our days consist of reading books, doing puzzles, and playing with educational toys.  Since I'm not a teacher and have no educational background, I'm limited with my resources for teaching.  I knew Scarlett needed to have a classroom learning environment to further her education and help her socialize.  I'm very thankful that Landmark gave us this opportunity.

Scarlett's first day of school in her Fun for Ones program was today.  Even though she's only 13 months old, that doesn't mean that school doesn't apply to her.  I told her in the days leading up to her first day that she'd be attending school.  She seemed excited and interested and I could only hope for the best.

What I like about Landmark is that their building is extremely secure.  Their building door is locked and you can only get in using a fingerprint scan.  This leaves one less worry for parents who drop their older kids off for school.

Scarlett and I walked in to her classroom and were immediately greeted by her teacher Miss Mia.  Mia was very excited to meet Scarlett and welcomed us warmly.  As we waited for the other kids to arrive, we were encouraged to have some free play.  Scarlett is never one to turn down playing with toys and welcomed the opportunity to play.  Since the children are so young, this is not a drop off program.  The two's program allows you to leave your children and pick them up at the end of the day.

The schedule of the class consists of free play, snack time, and educational songs and stories.  There's always a relevant craft related to the theme of the story.  
Waiting for class to start 

Mia started off the class with a welcome song after all of the kids helped clean up the toys. Cleaning up toys at home is something I encourage, so I like that it was reinforced at school.  It was so adorable to see all of the tiny little ones in a classroom together.  I couldn't take enough pictures!
Playing

A story was then read to the children about race cars and after that a special Landmark alphabet song.  We did snack time (Scarlett is the queen of snacks!) and then a craft of decorating a race car.  This was the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life and I'm so sad that I accidentally left the paper race car in the classroom.  Hopefully it'll be there next week so I can take it home and display it in Scarlett's room.  After the craft, it was more free play and time to go home.

Scarlett working on her race car craft.  Have you ever seen anything cuter? 


Snack time.  This event happens to be Scarlett's favorite time of the day.

Miss Mia is a ball of personality and energy and is very engaging.  I noticed that she would engage individually with all of the children in the class and gave them attention to make them feel included.  That's very important in building self-confidence. 

Scarlett had a wonderful first day and took an extra long nap when we got home! We really enjoyed the first day and look forward to the next 13 weeks.  I'm sure I'll see an improvement in her personality and social development from today versus the last class.  I can't wait for that!

If you're looking to enroll your child in Landmark, they are now accepting applications for their 2016-2017 school year.  Please head on over to their website for more information.

*DISCLOSURE* I received a complimentary admission in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

All New Moms Need a Motorola Baby Monitor

When you have a new baby, it seems like all you do is check on them constantly to make sure they're okay.  New parents have so many worries and fears which is completely normal, it's their first time doing this.  When Scarlett was born I spent so much time watching the baby monitor to make sure she was breathing or moving.   When babies get older you'll watch them on the monitor and see them moving or rolling around which will calm your fears.  If you recently had a new baby, it's essential that you invest in a baby monitor.

Motorola baby monitors continue to be a leader in the industry with innovative features and technology you can trust.  If you're going to be welcoming a child in the next few months, or just looking for a new monitor I have the perfect pick for you.

Every home with children should include a Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor with Wi-Fi.  Not only is the unit remote and wireless, but the monitor offers a 4.3 inch color screen with touch controls on the parent unit.  The camera will stay securely on a dresser or bookshelf when placed in your child's room.  If you're away on vacation, you also have the option to view the camera through your computer, tablet, or smartphone with the compatible free Wi-Fi Hubble app. Your little one will love to see Mom or Dad when they're traveling! Thanks to the app, you'll be able to receive sound, temperature, and motion notifications so you'll always be in tune to what's going on.  That gives parents a big peace of mind.  

The best thing about this monitor is that it will grow with your child.  Feel free to leave it in your son or daughter's room for years.  You'll go from watching them play in their crib to playing by themselves in their room in such a short time.  They are only babies for so long!

Go ahead and make the smart choice of introducing a Motorola video monitor into your life.  Every parent deserves one less worry in life.

*DISCLOSURE* I received a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

My Love of Desserts

Let's face it. My love for desserts knows no bounds.

If I see a plate of chocolate chip cookies, I will attack it. It is truly impossible to ignore those round circles of heaven. I've been known to eat my weight in cookies or brownies. My belly smiles when this happens.

The funny thing is, I really don't love ice cream that much. I am more of a cake, cookie, or brownie lady.

Chocolate is my weakness and I don't discriminate my love for chocolate. Whether it's a chocolate fudge brownie, of a piece of Boston cream pie, I will love it equally.

What are some of your favorite sweet treats? 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Brio Tuscan Grille Review

Italian food is one of my all-time favorite cuisines.  Who can resist perfectly cooked pasta paired with flavorful sauces? You can't forget tons of melted cheese on top either.  Make sure you have a basket of soft and airy bread to go along with your meal.  If I didn't have to worry about calories and gaining weight, I'd eat Italian food every day.  When's the last time you had a wonderful bowl of pasta for dinner?




Brio Tuscan Grille offers a menu using the finest and freshest ingredients with an emphasis on high-quality steaks, homemade pasta specialities, and flatbreads.  Everything is prepared in an authentic Italian oven to delight your belly. Brio is located in certain states and hopefully you're lucky enough to have a location near you.  The location serves brunch, lunch, dinner, and also features a children's menu.  

Sink your teeth into such fabulous eats like lobster and shrimp ravioli, chicken milanese, roasted half chicken, panini's, homemade soups, fresh salads, and more.  Don't forget to have a glass of Prosecco to compliment your meal with.  Save room for dessert and delight your stomach with such treats as chocolate layer cake, tiramisu, or even cheesecake.  You'll have a wonderful dining experience at Brio that you won't soon forget.


My husband and I were invited to dine at Brio tonight to try their new Tale of Two Risottos menu.  I had been there previously, but it was some time ago. I'm never one to turn down Risotto, so I was excited at the chance.  The rich and creamy risotto's can be paired with either cold water Maine lobster and sautéed shrimp, or seared sea scallops and vegetable ratatouille.  Seafood pairs wonderfully with risotto and I was looking forward to trying the lobster and shrimp version.  The best part about our night was that my parents were watching our daughter, so we were able to get a date night out which is rare!

Jay and I started the meal off with a delicious basket of bread and butter. We enjoyed the bread with a glass of Prosecco for me and a beer for Jay. Who can resist bread while at an Italian restaurant? I know I can't.  The bread's crispy exterior paired with the fluffy and soft interior was just wonderful.  



A large plate of calamari was put in front of us next that looked to die for.  I liked the presentation of the calamari with the marinara on one side and the aioli on the other.  Of course I wasted no time at all trying those crunchy round circles of heaven.  I dipped one into the marinara and it was love at first bite.  The crispy and warm calamari paired with the marinara was fantastic! That crunch is so satisfying that you'll be back for seconds and thirds in no time.  I'm not a huge aioli lover so I left that side to my husband.


For entrees, I opted for the lobster and shrimp risotto, and my husband went with the ratatouille.  These dishes were plated so beautifully that they were almost too pretty to eat.  Let me put emphasis on the keyword almost! We wasted no time in digging into our main meals.

My dish was truly out of this world.  You can't say no to a large Maine lobster tail paired with shrimp, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and asparagus. This tasty dish was topped with basil and parmesan to really set it apart.  The risotto was light and fluffy and made my belly sing.  The sauce had an incredible flavor that got better with each bite.  If you're a seafood lover, you'll go nuts for the perfectly cooked and juicy shrimp combined with the bursting with flavor lobster tail.  Seafood and risotto are a marvelous pairing and I couldn't have been happier with my choice.


Jay's dish brought seared sea scallops served over risotto with roasted eggplant, red peppers, zucchini, and tomato compote.  To make it the ultimate dish, it was topped with basil and Reggiano cheese.  He said that the scallops were large and in charge and brimming with flavor.  Those tender and succulent babies were cooked perfectly and everything you could want in risotto.  The risotto was also cooked perfectly and had sensational tomato flavor that you couldn't stop eating.  Jay loved every bite and said it was the best risotto he's had in a long time.



We were so full but our waitress insisted on dessert.  Jay and I shared the caramel marscapone cheesecake.  I had never heard of the combination of caramel and marscapone before, but it was a very interesting combination.  This petite beauty was the perfect size for sharing since we were both so full.  I enjoyed sinking my teeth into the perfectly cool, creamy, and dense cheesecake which had a nice caramel layer on top.  The marscapone was certainly noticeable and my taste buds enjoyed every bite.


My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit at Brio.  The food was delicious, the waitress was very attentive, and we had a great time! We'll certainly be back for future visits.  If you haven't been to Brio before, it's time to make a reservation for dinner.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Brio for providing us with a complimentary visit in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.


Brownies Will Brighten Your Day

Let's talk about brownies for a second.

Brownies will brighten your day.  They will always be there for you and will always make your belly smile.   There's nothing quite like brownies.  

Peanut butter stuffed brownies 

Combine that rich and fudgy brownie with a coconut or peanut butter inside and you've got yourself a real treat.  

Don't forget that icy cold glass of milk to wash it down with.

Go ahead and have a brownie today.  Don't be shy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How I'm Going to Try to be Healthier in 2016-Guest Post



A lot of people have goals they’ve set themselves for 2016. Many of these are big things like climbing a mountain, writing a novel, or running a marathon. Mine is a little more common but no less important - to become healthier. Now, a lot of people have this on their list all the time, but it never seems to be straightforward.
I have always wanted to get healthier but never had the discipline to keep up with it. But this year all that is going to change, and I’m going to achieve my goals! I think that trying to observe a healthier lifestyle will make me much happier, and much better as a mother. So, take a look at these ideas I’ve come up with. These are all things I feel will help me to become more healthy on a regular basis.
Eat Better
I’m not going to lie; I could definitely stand to eat better a lot of the time. It’s just that cooking is sometimes the last thing I want to do. It’s so much easier to just get takeout, or pop a pizza in the oven for 20 minutes. But, I need to change my eating habits this year if I want to be healthier. And this means reassessing my diet and what I like to eat. I’m certainly going to try to get more fruit and veg in there, and make sure I have my five-a-day. I will start using natural sweeteners rather than sugar, and checking out healthy recipes online.
Feet_on_scale.jpg

Exercise More
To be honest with you, the thing I dread more than anything is exercising. This is, I guess, the thing that most of us struggle with, and is probably what puts us off being healthy! Exercise is a pain, but as they say, no pain no gain! So I’m going to welcome 2016 in by joining the local gym, and coming up with my own ‘at home’ exercise plan. I know I’m going to hate it, and it’s going to be a nightmare to begin with. But, by the end, I will be grateful and thankful that I did it!
Cut Out the Booze
Everyone likes a drink now and then, but alcohol can be very unhealthy for you. It makes you put on weight and can make you feel a little fuzzy in the morning. So I am reluctantly going to give up the booze for a few months to help get myself a bit healthier. Then I can hopefully ease back into drinking on an occasional basis. Many people don’t drink during the week and have it for weekends. And I do like the idea of doing this, but I don’t want to binge at weekends so we’ll have to see how I get on!
Get More Rest
As a mother, one thing I don’t get enough of is rest! And lack of rest can lead to one becoming run down and unhealthy. That’s why I’m going to try to become more healthy these days and get plenty of rest. This might mean taking it easy a bit, or having a few early nights, but if that’s the name of the game then so be it. I also might try to take my own nap time now and then!
If all goes according to plan, then 2016 is most certainly going to be MY year! I have a lot of goals and resolutions coming into this year, but certainly getting healthier is one I’ve had for a long while. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to try to follow all these things. They will help me to stay on the right path and experience good results.

Timex Giveaway

Valentine's Day will be here before you know it.  Have you thought about your plans for this special love-filled day? Whether you're having dinner out at your favorite restaurant or cooking dinner at home for your spouse, you can't forget about a gift for them.  Skip the requisite flowers, teddy bear or  chocolate this year and give them something that they'll absolutely love.  If you want to have a memorable Valentine's Day this year, let Timex help you with that.

Timex is your headquarters for all men and women's watches.  Whether you're looking for a gold or silver watch with a small or large face, Timex will be your go-to pick.  The timepieces come in a variety of colors and styles depending on your needs.  A silver watch with rhinestones on the face works well for work to play transition.  Timex is a trusted watch brand and their products are made with dedication and last for many years.  Why not treat your husband or wife to a fabulous watch this Valentine's Day?

In going with the Valentine's Day theme, who wouldn't want a beautiful pink watch to commemorate the occasion by? This sleek and modern Timex Ironman Essentials 30 watch features a clean sport design and countdown timer and alarm.  The built in INDIGLO nightlight will certainly come in handy at night or in dim lighting.  Any lady would be thrilled to display this lovely timepiece on her wrist.  You can't resist that whimsical bubble gum pink color either. 

If working out was part of your New Year's Resolutions goal, this watch would be ideal for you.  Take it to the gym and let it help you with your workout with the handy built in stop watch. If you've been looking for a new watch, this one is a great choice.

Let this watch bring a fun pop of color to your day everyday, no matter what.





Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Food Photography

I've recently developed a love of food photography.  Specifically, I love to take pictures of desserts.  It's so hard for me to resist taking a picture of a beautiful dish or dessert! Here are some recent pictures of food I've taken that I'm very proud of.  I want to continue to learn and develop my skills as I go.








Monday, January 18, 2016

Fun in The Sun in Florida

I mentioned recently that I bought a new camera about a month ago. Pictures are something that I've always loved to take, but I've been wanting a DSLR camera for some time now.   My Canon Rebel XS takes beautiful pictures and I can't be more pleased with it.

We walked to the beach this morning for breakfast and of course I had to take my camera with me.  There's too many photo opportunities along the way to leave it home.  Here are some shots I took during the walk.  I hope you enjoy!








Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies Recipe

Cookies warm the soul and make you smile.  There's nothing quite like a cookie, especially fresh out of the oven.

If you're looking for a satisfying cookie recipe to really make your belly smile, I have the perfect recipe for you.


I've been making these cookies for years, and I always get rave reviews.  The best part about this recipe is that you can truly make it your own.  Substitute coconut for pecans or even peanut butter if you want.  Whatever you put in the cookies, they'll come out perfect and delicious each and every time. 


The ingredients for this recipe are:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup of flaked coconut 

Steps:

Preheat oven to 375F.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture and then stir in chocolate chips and flaked coconut. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.


The cookie dough is beautiful.  Soft, golden brown dough mixed with large coconut flakes and chocolate chips.  What can be better? 


When your timer dings, you'll be left with the most scrumptious cookies your taste buds have ever enjoyed.  These round beauties are soft, moist, and full of fantastic flavor.  Coconut and chocolate are two classic flavors that can't be beat.






Make sure to enjoy a cookie or two.  If you're me, maybe even 3.  Don't forget to pair your sweet treat with a glass of icy cold milk.

*Recipe Courtesy of Nestle*





Saturday, January 16, 2016

Celebrate the Big Game This Year With Walmart and P&G #GameDayTraditions

It's here! Everyone's favorite time of year has arrived again, game day! Are you getting your menu ready? This special event wouldn't be complete without snacks and drinks to satisfy that appetite while you watch.  Sink your teeth into such eats as chicken wings, pizza, and spinach artichoke and flatbread.  Don't forget about such sweet treats like brownies and root beer floats either.  However you do game day this year, make sure you make your taste buds happy.


My husband and I hosted our first game day party two years ago.  I've been to game day parties for many years, so I had an idea of how to format my party.  We had 8 people over and I spent a few hours in the kitchen whipping up crowd-pleasing appetizers and treats.  You can't crowd around the television without food, it's practically a sin! This year, we're having people over again and I'm already planning my menu.

Since I have a toddler, it'll be harder to whip up things from scratch.  I'm thinking of ordering pizza with chicken wings, and serving some chips and salsa to go with it.  For dessert I'll make be making cookies.  My mouth is watering already as I think about it. I can't wait! Is it game day yet?


When you have a game day party, it's inevitable that you'll make messes when prepping food in the kitchen.  To effectively clean those messes, you'll need Bounty's Select-A-Size paper towels.  These durable paper towels effectively clean spills with their unique trap-& lock technology.  It's essential to have Bounty paper towels on hand during your game day party to quickly wipe up messes and spills. Things can get messy especially if you have dips or sauces.  To get stains out of clothing effectively post game, Tide's Spring Meadow pods work like a charm.  These square shaped gems offer a 6x better clean and are a 3-in-1 detergent, stain remover, and brightener.  You'll clothes will be as good as new afterwards.

You can guarantee that these beauties will be present at Game Day!

To get my home party ready, I always light pleasant smelling candles or have Febreze on hand.  Febreze eliminates tough odors rather than covering them up.  When my guests enter my home, they'll be met with a warm and inviting scent that they'll remember.  Plus who doesn't like their home to smell great?

Everything you need to keep game day traditions going can be found at Walmart.  Head on over there to get ingredients for your dips, entrees, or even baked goods! Don't forget Charmin toilet paper and Bounty paper towels too.

*DISCLOSURE* This is a sponsored post on behalf of SheSpeaks and P&G.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 


Friday, January 15, 2016

Your Belly will Love Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Loaves

If you're thinking about sweet treats lately, why not combine the delicious flavor of banana and chocolate chip? This classic combo never disappoints and will make your belly happy time and time again.

The best part about these loaves is that they're mini! These tiny cuties are not only adorable, but perfect for breakfast too.  

To start, you'll need a mini loaf pan.  I found mine at Walmart, but you can probably find them at any major retailer.  The pan holds 4 mini loaves which is ideal for sharing, or freezing for later.  Sharing sweet treats is not my strong suit. :) 


Make sure you have ripe bananas on hand and lots of chocolate chips to make this an ultra-rich treat. 

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Steps:

Preheat oven to 325F, and grease your mini loaf pan.  Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.Stir bananas, milk, and cinnamon in another bowl.  Beat butter and sugar in a third bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs to butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir banana mixture into butter mixture, and then stir in dry mixture until blended.  Fold in chocolate chips until just combined.  Pour into mini loaf pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  This will be about 70 minutes.  Cool in the pan before removing to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.  

You'll be left with a fabulous mini chocolate chip banana bread that will be warm, moist, and just fabulous.  Pair it with a glass of icy cold milk or a mug of tea and you'll be enjoying a wonderful treat.

*This is not my original recipe, but I have altered it to make it my own.* 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pizza Talk

Let's talk pizza.  

Everyone around the world is in love with the triangular beauty.  The best thing about pizza is how diverse it is.  Whether you like plain cheese or want your slice loaded with chicken and vegetables, there's certainly a pizza for you.  

What's your ultimate pizza? Lately, my husband and I have been interested in trying new toppings.  For years all I really liked was plain cheese.  I'm happy to have branched out and try new flavor profiles and tastes. We've come to discover that eggplant and ricotta is a fantastic pairing and utterly delicious.  Plain sausage or plain bacon is also high up on my list.  I believe the secret to a fabulous pizza is the crust.  I do enjoy thin crust, but I really prefer really thick and fluffy crust.  You can't beat a flavorful sauce, perfectly warm and melty cheese, abundant toppings, and a wonderful crust.  For years all I really liked was plain cheese.  In the 

Here's a plain cheese pizza my family had for dinner tonight.  Yes, it's plain.  It might not be as exciting as some pizza's I've had previously, but it's a classic choice that can't be beat. 

Hello my triangular beauty

When's the last time you indulged in a piece of pizza that made you say WOW? If you can't remember, it's time to fix that.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Toddler Years

For the first 10 months of Scarlett's life, I was convinced I had an easy child. She would sit on the floor and be content to play independently for a short amount of time.  I never had to worry about her putting things in her mouth because she wasn't interested in that.   Even when she began crawling at 6 months and could access drawers and cabinets that were before unreachable, Scarlett really didn't have interest in them.  She would be content to crawl around the playroom and only reach for her toys.

Tiny and sweet baby Scarlett

One day, everything changed.  Right around 11 months, all hell broke loose.  Scarlett was pulling herself to stand for months, but near the one year mark she began to really notice her surroundings.  She would crawl over to cabinets or drawers, stand up, and open them.  Inside lay treasures that she had previously no interest in, but now they were all she wanted.  She couldn't resist DVD's, CD's, papers, notebooks, and so many other household objects that made her eyes light up.  The items would go flying across the room like Scarlett was a part of some sort of toddler frisbee team.  When we had to baby proof parts of the house, she would bang on the locked cabinets and scream.  I had one mad little girl on my hands! 

Don't be fooled by that face.  She's plotting her next move. 

Mealtime turned into a chaotic mess that made me cringe.  Scarlett would slam her hands down in a fit of maniacal laughter on the high chair tray and send the food flying.  My dog Lynnie won the food jackpot 3 times a day everyday. My kitchen floor looked reminiscent of Gallagher when he was done smashing watermelons.  

What happened to my sweet and innocent baby who used to just smile and cuddle with me? I was now presented with a new child who wanted to hit the dog in the face with my phone or TV remote, or pull her tail endlessly. Poor Lynnie knows she gets food from her which is the only reason she stands the abuse.

I thought the baby years were hard, but it looks like we're just getting started. Scarlett is now 13 months old.  She tests me on a daily basis and pushes the envelope as far as she can.  Just when I thought I had her personality figured out, she continues to surprise me.  Since I'm a stay at home mom, I get to enjoy the surprises on a daily basis whether they are negative or positive.

Before I was a mother, I never would have dreamed that daily life would include uttering such phrases as "please don't lick the window", or "don't drop my phone in the bathtub!" 

We've now entered the throwing stage.  Everything gets thrown whether you're ready for it or not.  It's normal to walk into my house at any time and see a pacifier or a toy whiz right by your face.  Make sure to duck! Tonight Scarlett celebrated bath time by throwing her pajamas into the water-filled tub.

Moments before this picture was taken, Scarlet threw her pajamas into the bath

 Even though the toddler years are trying and leave me exhausted on a daily basis, I wouldn't trade them for anything.  To see Scarlett grow and develop is priceless. I feel extremely lucky that I have the opportunity to stay at home with her and not a miss a second.  The hugs and kisses and smiles are worth everything. One day, the toddler years will be long gone.