Baker Stone Pizza Oven Box

When we were planning our new backyard living area the Hubs was contemplating building a pizza oven. While I love pizza, I just didn’t feel that we would use it enough to justify the cost. 

After researching alternative options to a built in pizza oven, we decide to purchase the Baker Stone Pizza Oven Box. 

So. Glad. We. Did! For right around $120 we now have an amazing little pizza oven that works right in our existing gas grill.  

This oven cooks a beautiful pizza in about 5 minutes and the crust turns out beautifully baked and toppings are cooked to perfection. 

We have had fun pizza parties with the kids and grandkids and everyone gets to choose their own toppings. There are a ton of great recipes on Pinterest to try and believe me, I have pinned a bunch for future use. This Apple Cheddar Rosemary Bacon from climbinggriermountain.com has become one of our favorites. 

I highly recommend this pizza oven as an addition to your backyard cooking options. You will not be disappointed. 

Kickstarter-I Really Am Hip Now!

I try to stay up to date on tech things as much as I can. Not in a nerdy, tech-y, super up to date way. The things that I try to keep up on are the things that I hear my kids and grandkids being interested in.

I love the newest iPhones when they come out but I will never wait in line for one! No, I will wait until I can get one a month or two or six after the release.

We just bought the new Nintendo Switch and I enjoy playing with the grandkids on that. Tetris is a fun game for the Switch. That was a game that we spent a lot of time playing together when my boys were younger. I was glad that it came out on this platform as it is my all time favorite video game.

As I mentioned in this post, we love to play games. So I was intrigued when I came across a new interactive board game by Mighty Boards on my Instagram feed. It is called Petrichor and it looks like something that my older grandkids would like. And what better way to bond with them than spending time playing a game with them.

Now here is the catch – it is a Kickstarter campaign game. Which basically means that they raise money on Kickstarter before they make the game and the people that back them get the game first. Kickstarter is not new. It has been around for awhile but this is the first time I have actually backed something on it. I am kind of excited! I feel like I have helped someone with their dream. And….. I get a new game.

I will get it in December which is so opposite of how I usually purchase things. I am all about Amazon Prime and the two day shipping. Patience is not my strong suit. But it will be fun to get updates on the campaign from the Kickstarter app until December.

This Kickstarter app will be fun to explore and find new products that we all might be interested in. What about you? Have you tried Kickstarter?

We Play Games

We are game players. All of our kids are game players. We are teaching our grandkids to be game players.

There are two types of families. Avid game players and not-so-much game players. Our family is definitely in the former category. Give us a table and we will play a game.

One of the best memories that I have of my childhood was playing canasta on summer evenings on my next door neighbor’s screened-in patio. She was a little Italian gramma who we loved just like our own gramma. I loved playing games with my own children as they were growing up. We spent many a summer afternoon playing cards. Often we would have tournaments that would last all summer long.

Now that most of my grandkids are old enough to play games we spend frequent Sunday afternoons playing. I play Farkle two mornings a week with my nine year old grandson who stops by for breakfast on those days. We have lots of fun and we are both pretty competitive. The Hubs and I play Hand and Foot sometimes almost every night after dinner. Games, games, games!

Right now there are so many new games that the kids are into. I love to learn a new game that they enjoy. Quite a few of them are games that all the players are playing as one team to beat the game. Those are my favorite.

I bought the Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle game for two of my grandsons for Christmas and we are having so much fun playing it. It is a cooperative deck building game. Aren’t you proud of me that I know what that even is?! We really enjoy it because those two grandsons and I are are fans of the Harry Potter book series.

I encourage you to get involved in some of the newer games that are out. I find that it gives me common ground with the grandkids (and even my sons who like these games). Even if I don’t totally “get” all the games I still enjoy the time spent together. And that’s what its all about for me!

Another favorite game we recently bought and enjoy playing is Codenames. This is a very fun, quick playing game that sparks lively discussions.

For a lot of laughs we play Blurble. Oh my gosh! This one is super lively and super funny. It is a fast game that can be played by all of my grandkids. We just change the rules a bit for the younger ones who don’t read yet.

Our tried and true games are Mexican Train Dominoes, Gin Rummy, Hand and Foot, Hearts, Spades, Phase 10, and 5 Crowns.

Play games! Make some memories! You will be glad you did.

 

 

Pulled Pork Anyone?

Pulled pork salad made from leftover Apple Juice Brined Pulled Pork

The stars recently aligned perfectly for the most amazing string of dinners! We recently hosted a couples bridal shower for our son and his soon to be wife. They will be married in May and will blend two families into one big “Brady Bunch”. She has four kids, he has two. “Here’s the story of a lovely lady……” Now I bet that song will be stuck in your head all day.

We did a bbq theme with pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, cole slaw, watermelon, and a s’mores bar for dessert . It was super fun.

Getting s’more supplies ready.
I cooked the pulled pork on our Traeger Wood Fire Grill the day before the shower. This is the recipe I used. They have so many great recipes on their site and so far every one is a winner. If you do not have a Traeger, I highly recommend checking them out. The Hubs bought it at Costco because he HAD to have it. Even though we have a perfectly good gas grill and at the time we had and electric smoker as well. At first I didn’t see why we needed it so desperately.

This is the model we bought at Costco.
And then I cooked on it! Let’s just say that I LOVE IT and we DID need it! Everything, and I mean everything, that I have cooked on it has been so so good. I have made ribs, tri tip roast, pork loin roast, pork chops, steaks, salmon, prime rib, roasted whole chickens, and I even cooked our turkey this Thanksgiving on it. Actually, I cook on it WAY more than the Hubs does. We even gave our electric smoker to one of our sons because we don’t need it anymore. The Traeger can do it all.

But, I digress. Back to the pulled pork. I made way to much for the shower. I am terrible at figuring out amounts of food to have for a crowd. I always (not an exaggeration) cook too much. I bought 28 pounds of pork shoulder for 30 or so people. I could have got away with about 10 less pounds. Hence, leftover pork.

Not to worry. We made more sandwiches for dinner one night. The really pretty pulled pork salad above for another night. Pulled pork tacos last night. And last tonight we used up the remainder for pork and cabbage (my favorite).

I served the pork and cabbage over brown rice with a side of the left over watermelon and it was delish!

Here is how I made it:

Pork and Cabbage Easy Style

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp grape seed or canola oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 cups leftover pulled pork

1 small head of cabbage medium shredded

Soy sauce to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Heat grape seed oil in large sauté pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 4-5 minutes until onions are soft. Add toasted sesame oil and pork and heat pork through stirring frequently. Once pork is heated through add the cabbage. It will look like a lot of cabbage but it shrinks down as it cooks. Continue cooking and stirring frequently until cabbage is cooked. Add soy sauce to taste as you are cooking the cabbage. Make sure to leave the cabbage with a little “bite” to it so it doesn’t taste soggy.

Serve over brown rice with a little sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.

Enjoy! And check out those Traegers next time you see them at Costco!

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Gift Idea. Personalized Recipe Towels by LindsayBurckDesigns on Etsy.

I love this towel! “Love a towel? you say. I say “Yes!” The reason that I love this towel so much is because the corn bread recipe that is on it is my Gramma Jessie’s actual recipe written in her actual handwriting! Every time I use this I get the warm fuzzies that remind me of being a child and being in the kitchen with my Gramma.

“Where did I get this towel?” you ask. I got it on Etsy at LindsayBurckDesigns. On her site Lindsay says “These beautiful flour sack towels are printed with a special image to honor your loved one—it could be a recipe, receipt or other memorable photo. The 100% cotton fabric towels have your image printed directly into the fabric, which means that the towels are easy to wash and iron.”

Photo from LindsayBurckDesigns

I bought ten of these from LindsayBurckDesigns and gave one each to my DILs, my sister, and my nieces and my cousin. What a beautiful way to honor my Gramma.

They wash up like a dream the image has not faded at all over the many, many wash cycles they have been through. And because they are 100% cotton they feel soooooo good!

These towels would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift for the special mom in your life who loves being connected to family.

Head on over to LindsayBurckDesigns on Etsy to check out how easy it is to order them. You will love them! I promise!

Lego® Batman Sets – A Hit With the Grandkids

                 

I love Lego®. All three of my boys loved playing with them when they were young. Truthfully, I think that the two who have kids still enjoy helping their little ones assemble the sets.

The Hubs and I took our two youngest grandkids to Costco recently. Now really, who takes their grandkids to Costco and DOESN’T come home with a little something extra in their cart that the kids found to buy? No one I know!

Our 5 year old granddaughter perused the books, dresses, and toys seeing what was available that day at her “favorite” store. Our 7 year old grandson, on the other hand, walked in, saw the Lego® Batman sets and knew just what he wanted. He chose the Mr. Freeze Ice Attack set.

Our little princess had three different things in the cart that she was trying to decide on. Wonder where she gets that from! Then she saw her brother’s choice and decided that was what she wanted as well. We went back to the Lego® display and she was excited to see that there was a Catwoman Catcycle Chase set. That did it. Everything else went back on the shelves.

Let me tell you. They had a great time assembling and playing with these. The older one helped his younger sister build hers. Even the Hubs and I got in on the assembly. Ok, I admit, I sat nearby and read while Grandpa was helping. But I was there for moral support and super tough Lego® related questions!

It was fun to see them working together to assemble the sets and to also see them playing together with them. I loved watching their interaction with each other while they were playing.

The sets were around $15 each which I felt was a great price for the amount of pieces in each and the size of the completed items. My boys played with Lego® sets all the time when they were younger and I have always appreciated  the quality of the Lego® brand. I love that the Lego® brand teaches kids to follow step by step directions while simultaneously inspiring them to design their own creations.

Yay for Costco! Yay for Lego®! Yay for grandkids!