Sunday, January 30, 2011

Let the Birthday Bonanza Begin!


Samuel turned 6 this week! Now the boys are 6,7, and 8 years old. C-R-A-Z-Y.

We started out the celebrating with cards and presents, among which were...

a nice card from Joe and Larisa...

these from us... "Undew-wayah?!"

And a cool outfit from Great Grandma and Grandpa...

We were going to let Sam pick somewhere to go out for lunch, but we intervened when he picked "Kwispy Kweem". We went to McDonald's instead,

He DID get his way with dinner, though. He wanted Stromboli.

Stromboli is a new favorite for us. We had some at a Sbarro in Bham, and loved it. As far as I can tell, it's really just a rolled up pizza. We make ours with the sauce on the side for dipping.

We use the Pioneer Woman's pizza dough recipe (click HERE for the photo version of her recipe). We roll the dough out into a rectangle, and fill it with cheese and pepperoni and whatever other yummy stuff we have on hand. Tim rolls it up, and paints the top with a mixture of butter, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt. After sprinkling Farmer-Brown (aka Parmesan) Cheese on top, we bake it for about 8 mins at 500.

In case you want to try it (which I highly recommend if you like pizza) here's my tips:

~Yeast is not scary. I used to be afraid to try it, but this simple recipe helped me overcome my fear. There are lots of things that used to intimidate me about of which is the whole "lukewarm" water thing. How vague is that? But, I finally read that 110 degrees is about the right temp (which if you forget, I realized that it's printed right on the back of the yeast packet--how nice!) and it clicked that that's about how hot a hot tub is. By golly, a hot tub feels HOT to me right when I get in...which may be due to my poor circulation, or something. So now, I just make my water HOT. And I use a thermometer. But I only do that to make myself feel better, because I have not had a batch of yeast NOT work yet.

I know, this is a long tip. But just to illustrate my point, I want to tell you about this last batch of yeast. PW (that's Pioneer Woman) calls for 1-1/2 cups of water to 1 teaspoon (or a 1/2 a pack) of yeast. You sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let it sit there while you measure your flour and salt and drizzle your oil. Usually, my yeast turns kind of floaty and foamy. Looks yeasty. Well, this time, it didn't. It just sank to the bottom of the bowl. What to do? When I looked online, everything I could find about sinking yeast made it sound like it was dead. I was about to pitch mine, and start over, when I noticed this little bit on the package about "testing" your yeast. So, I tried it: I sprinkled in a teaspoon of sugar with the water. After about 10 or 20 seconds - BAM! All the yeast popped up to the top of the bowl. It still looked funny, but I figured it was a good sign, so I used it.


Does it look weird to you? Yeh, me too.

But, look!


It worked fine! That is actually a double recipe there, but you get the idea.

~I have started doubling my salt, and decreasing my water. Here's my adjusted recipe:

Pizza Dough

1-1/4 c hot water (about 110 degrees)
1/2 packet of Active dry yeast
4 c flour
2 to 2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 c olive oil

~We like to roll and bake ours on parchment paper. It's WAY easier to transfer, serve, and clean up.

Chef Tim presides:

Usually, we make 1 stromboli and 1 pizza. But, for Sam's birthday, we had dinner at Tim's parents with all the fam. So, we thought we should make 8 strombolis. Whew! That was a lot of stromboli! We got cutesie and put letters on the tops to distinguish the P-epperoni for this kids, and S-upreme for the adults and the eX-treme with the jalapeƱos.


We made them all at home, and baked them at Sharon's.


Yum. Well, the picture doesn't look yummy, but it's all I got, and they WERE yummy, so...oh well.

After we opened presents...

...we sang Happy Birthday.

Sam looks like he just wants to get it over with and play some more with his new toys...

So. That was a fun day.

(How do these blogs get so long???)

Then yesterday we had his "Real"/"Other" birthday's a very confusing thing to have 2 parties when you are 6.

We had a bowling party.

Here's the highlights:

There was a fair amount of ball-launching.

More happy this time...


See the bowling pin on the table? It was party of the party package, and all the boys signed it.



Ahhhh...Happy Birthday Samuel. Now I need to start planning Trevor's birthday....

Speaking of Trevor...we have had a much better week! Monday was a low point, but even it had blessings. I think bitterness was creeping in on Trevor, but we had a good talk about it, and he and the boys we able to make things right. He has been much more cheerful since then. Thanks everyone that prayed for us...we are feeling more encouraged.

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