(messy) birthday lunch @Moes_HQIt’s really strange not having a baby any more. Our youngest turned six in June, this weekend the second youngest turned eight, and Tuesday the third youngest turns ten. We’ve had a big birthday weekend: the new Winnie the Pooh movie and Cracker Barrel on Friday evening; Moe’s lunch and pizza night on Saturday; church and friends over to swim on Sunday. Our church Labor Day picnic was cancelled because of the 100% chance of rain in our forecast, but really I’m loving the chance to slow down and spend the day at home.

[A note about the new Winnie the Pooh movie: it looks old—like it could have been made years ago—and it’s slow and charming and gentle. My 10-year-old-tomorrow son wanted to see it (as much as I did) rather than the other slick stuff in the theaters; that boy’s a keeper.]

We made homemade pizza Saturday night using some new Better Homes and Gardens kitchen utensils from Walmart.


This scraper is firm, which keeps the cook happy. I like the happy red and the little notch cut out on one side (although I’m not sure what it does).

When I’m in a hurry I use this quick pizza dough recipe that I printed in 2006 from Full Bellies, Happy Kids (obviously Sandra and I are ancient in blog years). We like it a little thinner (and this is still good and thick) so I multiply the original recipe 1 1/2 times to make two pizzas.


This new brush worked perfectly for spreading olive oil on the crust. I like the taste of olive oil and it gives the crust a hint of crispness when it’s cooked. After the olive oil, I press a generous amount of garlic on top of the dough.


There’s no such thing as too much cheese on pizza. I start with cheddar; followed by Parmigiano-Reggiano, which I buy in block and grate myself; and finish by adding mozzarella before the final five minutes of cooking time. Mozzarella is a soft cheese that will burn if cooked too long.

Check out this new hand grater—I’ve always wanted one of these.



What’s a pizza without mushrooms?

Pizza making collage


We grew these tomatoes in front of our house in our garden. (This makes me sound so much more domestic than I am. Don’t be fooled.)

Pizzas seem to cook best one at a time. I put the three cheese pizza in the oven first while I keep working on the other one.


Unfortunately, I forgot the fresh Italian parsley until the cheese pizza was almost cooked. It looks a little crispy sitting there on top.


Here’s the mushroom and tomato pizza.

Ballet collage

Live entertainment: ballet dancing!

Look who’s eight!

Birthday collage

Check out this selection of Better Homes and Gardens kitchen utensils we found at Walmart:

white balance card

[For those of you interested in better indoor/night photography, these two shots of the white balance card (one taken in the kitchen light and one in the dining room) are two of the most important shots I took. They enabled me to remove the yellow tones and make the colors look more natural.]

{Disclosure: This shop/project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.}

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