Sunday, May 22, 2011

If that chemistry gig doesn't work out for him, he has a back-up plan

Nick is home for a week.  He finished up his finals last Wednesday and got home Thursday night.  He leaves next Sunday for his summer job at camp.  Scott and I are thrilled to have him home and are enjoying every minute with him.  The guys are planning to golf in much of their spare time.  Anyway, he is officially a junior in college.  Where did the time go?

Nick's part time job while going to school is making pizzas at a local pizza shop.  He is so fortunate because the people who own the shop treat him as part of the family.  As a mom, it makes me feel so good to know that he has a 'second mom' who looks out for him.  I met them when I visited Nick during my spring break.  He was invited to have Easter dinner with them because he couldn't come home for the holiday. They are good people!

Nick offered to make pizzas for us for dinner last night.  He made the dough and besides the ingredients, I have no clue how he did it.  Secret recipe...well, he really didn't know the recipe, he kind of guessed, but the crust was wonderful!

the pizza guy

mugging it up for the camera

the dough on the left wasn't stretchy enough...

getting ready to stretch the dough
action shot
showing off his tossing skills

stretching the dough

The first pizza we made was Scott's request.  He went to a restaurant in Santa Fe, NM during one of his business trips and had a pizza that he really enjoyed.  The pizza had roasted garlic (to roast garlic, cut the end off of a head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes...then squeeze it out and smear it on the crust), fresh mozzarella, baby portabellas, regular mushrooms, oregano, and grated Romano cheese.  When the pizza came out of the oven, we drizzled it with truffle oil.  (I hope I can find more uses for that truffle oil because that was an expensive purchase!)

the mushroom pizza ready for the oven

the mushroom pizza freshly baked

The second pizza had pesto, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Pesto and tomato pizza with mozzarella and grated Parmesan

pesto pizza freshly baked

Nick also made a small Stromboli with some extra dough.  He filled it with baby bellas, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese.  It was divine!

Stromboli (after we took a few bites)

Before he left for home last Thursday, Susan treated him to dinner.  He had chicken Marsala and cannoli.  He brought home a cannoli for the three of us to share.  I could eat my weight in cannoli!  He said that Joey (Susan's son) made the sweet dessert.  What a talented kid!

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (couldn't resist quoting my favorite movie)

We used my pizza stone and had the oven temp set for the highest it would go, 550 degrees, but the bottom of the pizzas didn't get as crispy as we wanted.  However, they still tasted delicious.

He was the chief cook and I was the chief 'bottle washer.'  Tossing dough is a messy business with all of that flour flying around!  We shared many laughs, talked in our fake Italian accents (he's really good at  Not so much), and just enjoyed the time we had together in the kitchen. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inspiring me to be Fabulous

Thanks to Trop50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 Fabulous Wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous!

I have spent many years reading blogs.  I enjoy reading about the goings on in other people's lives (I can do without the TMI that some people blog about, though.)  I have a handful of blogs that I read on a daily basis.  I don't personally know all of the bloggers, but I feel like I do after we leave comments back and forth.

My first fabulous blogger is a no-brainer.  Melisa, from Suburban Scrawl, and I go way back.  In fact, we've been friends for so long that we're like family....our husbands are best friends, our boys are friends, we get together for extended family get the drift.  We've been friends since 1985 and have been through a lot together.  She was the first person I told I was pregnant (I had to send Scott a telegram because he was deployed.)  I could go on and on, but that would take up the entire post.  ;)  

Melisa is fabulous for so many reasons.  One reason is when I wrote my first blog post, she sent her blogger friends over to read it and to comment.  How sweet was that? Another reason is that she turned her blogging into a writing career.  She wrote a book a few years ago about dealing with the loss of a pet.  The beautiful dog that was featured in the book was her beloved beagle Bijoux.  Recently, she wrote a travel guide and her launch party is next week.  I'm so excited and proud!  She's my tiara-wearing friend and I love her!

Ringing in 2011 together.

The Pioneer Woman is another fabulous blogger.  Her name is Ree, but I refer to her as PDub.  Ok, so maybe I don't call her that to her face.  In fact, the time that I met her, I was so star-struck that I got verklempt and suddenly got diarrhea of the mouth and couldn't. shut. up.  It was as if I was bound and determined to tell her my life story in the time it took her to sign 5 copies of her cookbook.

I love her blog!  She has a cooking section (with step-by-step recipes), a photography section, a homeschooling section, a home and garden section, and a section for just everyday blogging.  The photographs she takes are breathtaking.  I love to see the animals on her ranch and I especially love reading about her punks and about her basset hounds Charlie and Walter.  (Oh, and her husband Marlboro Man is especially easy on the eyes, if you know what I mean...wink wink).  Ree is going to have a cooking show on The Food Network.  I can't wait to watch!
This is the only picture I have of the two of us with my mouth closed.  Seriously.

Another fabulous blogger is one of my friends that I met on a message board about 10 years ago.  Betsy is a young mommy of 3 precious little boys.  The name of her blog is The Peculiar Homemaker.  I love reading the recipes that she posts in her blog, hearing about how her family is growing, and the fun things she does with her boys.  She's a stay-at-home mom who knows how to stretch a dollar and makes it seem effortless.  She is fabulous because she takes care of her three boys, cooks from scratch, and has at-home date nights with her husband, The Tomato King.  Betsy, you're the Best-y!  ;)

Next on my list is Liz from This Full House.  I've mentioned her on here a few times.  She posted an accent vlog and I posted an accent vlog and we made fun of each others' accents (although I have no accent and she's from Jersey...'nough said.)  The thing with Liz...I've never met her and only know her through our blogs and other social networking sites, but I feel like I know her, know her.  Make sense?

Liz is hilarious as she tells stories about her husband Garth (not his real name), 4 children, and one Doofus Dog all living in a 7 room house.  Because I was also raised in a small house, reading her blog is so comforting to me for some reason.  Liz, I want to come visit!   She is fabulous for many reasons, but one reason is that she can even make folding laundry sound fun!

Liz and Melisa at the blogging function...2 of my fabulous bloggers together.
My fifth fabulous blogger, (and it was hard to narrow it down to just 5) is Lincee Ray from ihategreenbeans.  I can't remember when I first started reading her blog.  I may have heard of her from tv?  I'm not sure.  Anyway, she is a huge fan of a certain dating show.  She posts recaps the day after the show airs.  If you don't watch the show or even like reality tv, it's still fun to read her blog, because the show can be a trainwreck.  However, I like those types of programs (they make me feel normal), so I watch the show and then read her blog the next day.  Good times.  She is fabulous because she can take a sometimes boring episode and make it hilarious with her recap.  She's the type of person I could hang out with! 

Don't forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Got Sucked into the Mania of Twitter

Remember when I first said I caved just to follow @BravoAndy?  I think I came up with a lame twitter name (or whatever it's called when you name yourself on twitter.)  I told myself I would just follow people and then read their tweets.  Well, after I joined, I forgot about it for awhile and then never checked twitter.  Recently, however, I got the idea to change my 'name' to something catchy and now my tweet name is iamdawndi.  Perfect for me, right?  Well, I AM Dawndi.  ha.  And then all of a sudden...I got sucked in!  I can't help it.  It just happened.  My friend Melisa sent out her 'posse' (as I call it) to follow me, so I followed them back.  I guess that's the proper twitter etiquette?  I don't know.  That's what I heard, though.

So yesterday, I sent out the tweet, "It's Friday, it's sunny and I'm not afraid #fridaythe13th." or something like that.  Then I tweeted, "I just used my first hashmark!"  I was so proud of myself.  Then, I got crushed (not really) when I got a tweet back by Melisa saying that it's really called a hashTAG.  ugh.  That's ok, though, because I made up a new word, just like her mom who calls tweeting, 'twixxing.'  hehe


Friday, May 13, 2011

That Darn Cat

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know that we had to put our precious black lab to sleep two days before Thanksgiving.  (If you are new to my blog...WELCOME!)  Anyway, Scott and I told each other that we aren't getting any more dogs, even though we love them.  We want to be free to come and go without having to find a dog-sitter.  Boarding our dog isn't an option after the time we boarded our yellow lab and were kindly asked to never bring him back.  Yes, we are THOSE pet owners.  We can't help it.  We loved our dogs and spoiled them endlessly.

This past fall and then this spring, I noticed that we had a cat taking up residence on our lower deck.  He (or maybe he's a she?) enjoyed sunning himself on one of our deck chairs.  I neglected to bring in the cushions, so he had a very comfy place to stay.  He wasn't going anywhere.

I regularly looked out the window to check on 'my' cat.  I even referred to him as 'my cat' and would say, "Aw, look at my cat out there!  I bet he's cold!"  Scott told me that under no circumstance was I to drag that thing into the house.  No worries since #1 I'm allergic and #2 I don't like cats.  Plus, if we were to have a pet, she would be a chocolate lab named Enola and she would be the sweetest thing that ever lived.  What?  Doesn't everyone name their non-existent pet?  Whatever.

Anyway, I digress...this past week I cleaned all of the leaves off of the lower deck so that I could scrub the deck and the porch furniture.  Cat was nowhere around.  He did leave evidence of his existence, though.  There is a huge hole in the cushion of 'his' chair.  dammit.

Note to self...bring in chair cushions at the end of the season.  Lesson learned.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

He Would have been Happier in a Sombrero

During our Disney trip in 2009, I bought Nick a pirate hat.  I should have bought him a sombrero instead.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Love in the Mailbox

Sunday is Mother's Day.  I actually bought cards and got them in the mail in time.    At least this year I don't suck!  I got a surprise of my own in the mail yesterday....a Mother's Day card from my father-in-law.  How sweet is that?  Of course, I cried when I read it.  I love that man.  

As soon and I can talk about it without crying, I'm going to call him to tell him how much it means to me.  I still can't think about it without getting tears in my eyes, though. 

It makes me want to get better about sending random cards and notes in the mail to make someone's day.  Hopefully I'll get better about sending cards.  Maybe.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I'm going to share my sister's Enchilada Casserole recipe.  As you probably already have guessed, I am NOT Mexican (the huge clue being my very fair, freckled skin and reddish hair).  I am basically a European Mutt.  But that's ok.  I'm going to celebrate the Mexican holiday anyway by making one of my new favorite recipes (thanks, Margie!)

Enchilada Casserole
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
Southwestern seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash's Southwest Chipotle), to taste...I'm going to say about 1 Tbs or so.
Cumin (I leave this out...but you can use however much you like)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
12oz bag of frozen corn, thawed
4oz can chopped green chiles
dried cilantro (about 1tsp) or fresh if it's available
Mix above ingredients together

8 6-inch flour tortillas
shredded Mexican cheese
1 large can or 2 small cans mild enchilada sauce

Pour enchilada sauce to cover bottom of casserole dish.
Cover with 4 tortilla shells
Layer 1/2 of the chicken mixture
Cover with shredded cheese
Spread more enchilada sauce over chicken/cheese
Cover with 4 tortilla shells
Pour rest of enchilada sauce over shells
Layer remaining chicken mixture
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees
Uncover and put more cheese over the top
Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes

Pour a margarita and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We Were Practically Sisters...Without the Sorority

I come from a very small town, so going to a very large university was a huge deal to me.  I moved into a dorm at WVU's downtown campus with a group of strangers.  I met my roommate at orientation because my dad recognized her from the pictures she sent to me.  She happened to be right in front of us in line for lunch.  Sadly, she and I didn't hit it off so well. 

Luckily, however, I was in a suite with another pair of girls.  At first, things were a bit rocky, but once we got to know one another, we really hit it off great.  I hadn't learned to come out of my shell and was still quite shy, but Karen, one of my suitemates...whoa!  She was a firecracker!  And I loved that about her!

Things were a bit strange in the beginning because I was meeting all new people and none of my high school friends lived downtown, except for one of my guy friends Philip.  However, life as a co-ed is so much better than life as a high-school student, so I bonded quickly with the gals on my floor.  We kept our doors open during the day and would pop in on one another if a song we liked was playing on someone's stereo, or if there was a funny story to share, we could find someone with which to share it.  And the day the space shuttle exploded?  I was walking down the hall to my room and I heard screams coming from down the hallway.  I ran to the lounge and we sat and cried together.

At the end of freshman year, a few of us decided to rent a house together for our sophomore year.  I think it was Karen who knew the girls who were currently renting the house, so we went over (it was 2 doors down from our current dorm) to look at the house.  It was a horribly old, run-down house, but we saw it through different eyes.  We saw it as our key to freedom.  It had four bedrooms and one bathroom and was quite expensive, so we decided that 6 of us would move it.  Yes, six females in a house with one bathroom.  It got interesting to say the least.  Lani and I shared the biggest bedroom upstairs.  Theresa and Amy each had their own bedroom upstairs, and Karen and Cheryl shared the bedroom downstairs.  We had a small kitchen and a very large living room with a window seat on the large front window.  We made a bathroom schedule based on our school schedule and things usually ran like clockwork (except for the time I came out of the bathroom a bit late and Karen was waiting on the top step...not too happy....oops.) 

People usually congregated in our house.  Girls who lived on the floor in the dorm with us came over quite frequently and we had such a great time in that house.  Nevermind the fact that there were times we chased mice around attempting to squash them with a broom in the kitchen.  Did I mention that house was old and run-down? 

These friends and I stuck together through thick and thin.  They came to our wedding.  Karen even came to visit me in Virginia Beach while Scott was deployed.  Sadly, I lost contact with all of them except for 3.  Karen and I speak frequently on facebook.  Trudy and Cinda (two of my dorm friends who frequented our house our sophomore year) are facebook friends of mine.  However, it's Karen I'm closest to still.  She'll always be that girl with the big hair (hey, didn't we all have big hair in the 80s?) who encouraged me to have big fun.  She made me laugh and she still does.  I'm a better person to have her in my life.