Monday, August 31, 2015

Homemade Pasta Recipe...It's EASY...I promise!

Homemade pasta...sounds complicated and time consuming right? 

It's really not!!! So don't be intimidated because I promise you that once you taste the difference, the small amount of time and effort you out into making it will all be worth it!!

And its a GREAT way to bond as a family; to get the kids involved in cooking. They can easily help. I use the attachments for the Kitchen Aid Mixer. I recommend those for ease, but you can just as easily, roll your dough and cut it with a knife.

Melina rolling the dough
through the attachment.

Basic Egg Pasta Recipe

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 T water 
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Put all ingredients into mixer and mix on a low speed with a flat mixer for about 1 minute.

Exchange flat mixer for dough hook and beat until a large ball of pasta forms. You may need to add more water to get it to the right consistency. You want the dough to form a ball, but not be sticky.

Let it rest for 20 minutes.
I recommend a drying rack. Makes it easy to hang the noodles.

Making the Pasta

After the dough rests divide it into 4 balls. Flatten each ball with your hands into an oval about 1/4in thick. Put it through the roller attachment; starting at 1. You will probably need to cut it in half after the first time through to keep the size managable. Keep putting it through until desired thickness. About 4-5 for thicker noodles and 7-8 for thin noodles. Set aside and roll out all 4 balls of dough. 

Then decide on how you want your noodles cut and add the right attachment. You put the dough through and out comes the noodles. Just be sure to catch them on the way out. The kids LOVE this part! 

You can do this by hand by rolling out your dough onto floured cutting board and then cutting with a butter knife.
One of my favorite whites for a Summer day that
will go great with a nice olive oil sauce.

Cooking the Pasta

Here is the GREAT part... fresh pasta cooks only for about 3 minutes; even less if you made angel hair! 

Add your favorite sauce or ingredients and a great bottle on wine and ENJOY a meal that will be so delicious and fresh!

Cut tomatoes in half. Sprinkle with salt,
pepper and drizzle with olive oil and
roast for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

The dish above that I made yesterday was made with roasted cherry tomatoes, grilled zucchini, roasted garlic, basil and pearl mozzarella balls in a olive oil and butter sauce. Simple, Fresh, Delicious!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to School Organization

With school in session and so many papers coming in and out we have to have a way to stay organized. I put together this wall as our command area, so everything has a place and kids can be responsible for their own stuff.


I used extra large command hooks for the backpacks. Are they the most, but they hold up well and are movable if need be. And there are no holes in the wall! The stickers above the backpacks are dry erase wall stickers that I got off of Amazon. I thought they would be fun to write cute messages or reminders, such as PE today, on them. 

Folder and Agenda Organizer

I bought this wall organizer off of Amazon. Its hard to find one with four slots, but this one is perfect! The school gives every child an agenda book which must be brought home nightly, and signed for the younger ones. and of course, we have homework and folders. So everyone can unpack themselves and I can go through their stuff and put back in the cubby what goes back to school. In the morning they know to take everything that's in their cubby and put it in their backpack. 


The kids like to know whats going on, so I put our family calendar in that spot as well. Its color coded so they know who has activities each day. I of course still use my trusty COZI app for my main calendar. I know I have raved about that app on here before; of your in need of a calendar for your device check it out. 

Bulletin Board

I have the Bulletin board there for school newsletters, birthday invites, etc. Those things that need easy access.


My sister-in-law got me those two frames. They make it easy to display the kids artwork. And of course, they love having it up! It can hold up to 100 papers, so you can just keep adding work to them. 

That's our little corner of school organization this year. Cheers to an organized and  FUN school year everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First Day of School

Here we go again...another year, another state, another new school....

Logan (5th grade), Melina (3rd grade), Meeka (1st grade) and Carson (Kindergaten)

The kids were nervous and excited to start. Its always hard to start a new school. And this school is a little different in the way is laid out; it doesn't have any inside walls. But after meet the teacher day last Friday, they couldn't wait to start!

Carson at his desk on the first day of K
This mama on the other hand had a hard time this year. I sent my baby off to Kindergarten. And YES, I knew the day was coming, but it wasn't going to be this year. I wasn't prepared for it to be this year. But here in Florida I had to send him, so ready or not here we go...yes, there were some tears. In fact I was shaking so bad after dropping everyone off the first day that I had to sit in my car for a few minutes before I could drive home.

Everyone came home all smiles and excited for Day 2, so that makes my heart happy!

And its PRETTY COOL that they get to be together in the SAME SCHOOL for 1 year. The first and only year this will ever happen!!

I have a ton of things to get caught up on, errands to run, cleaning and yard work, but later this week, I plan on sitting down and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week of Fun (before school started!)

Its been a busy summer with the move and all, and the kids were excited, yet nervous, about starting another new school. So we had some FUN the week before the school!

Busch Gardens

We got season passes, so we went to check it out for the first time.  I have to say, it was so nice to be able to go and not worry about "fitting it all in." We went with a relaxed attitude and just saw and did what we wanted. We came home later in the afternoon to have a relaxing evening at home; with the thought process that we can just go back in a couple of weeks. 
Logan and Michael on Falcons Fury

Up they go...before going down, down down....

The cool thing about Busch Gardens is that its not just rides.

This is the biggest tortoise I have ever seen.

Carson getting ready or his first roller coaster ride

Ready or not here we GO! 
He loved it! 

Beach Day

We decided to get some exercise and fun all at once. We packed a towel and a football and rode our bikes over to the beach. It's a 2 mile ride, so easy for everyone. After the beach we rode another 3/4 mile down the street to Candy Kitchen for some ice cream before heading home. We had a minor setback about a mile from home; Meeka's bike got a flat tire. The others rode home and Meeka and I had to walk our bikes the rest of the way. Thats reminds me...gotta get that tire fixed! 

I have to say it still amazes me that we can do this on a regular basis!

Checking out all the old fashion candy goods!

Soda Cap Wall

Candy bar wrapper wall

Old fashion toys...such a neat little shop!

Johns Pass

We decided to check out Johns Pass one day. Such a neat little area with shops restaurants, water sports and attractions. We had lunch on the water. Visited the alligator attraction, went to an arcade and had some ice cream! Yum and Fun!

 All but Carson (he was having nothing to do with holding an alligator) holding French Fry; 
a 4 year old alligator.

Going in for the kiss!

Meeka loved the tortoise!

What summer without more ice cream?

Lunch on the water; watching the boats and sea life

Water Sports Day

The day before school started we had a water sports day. We rented jet skis and went out on the Gulf. It was a beautiful calm morning and we got to get up close with the Dolphins. It was amazing! We ate lunch on the water and then picked up some kayaks and took them to our regular spot on the beach and everyone took turns taking rides out on the kayaks. It was also a great day for shells and sea life. 

Ready to head out

Taking a quick dip

My camera was in a baggie and I couldn't see what I was shooting, so its not the best picture, but it was an incredible thing to see them so close in the wild.

Check out this cool mollusk! 
The shell was Perfect!

I took Meeka and Carson out for a long ride. One lay on the front, the other on the back.
They had it made; napping, while I paddled.

And to school!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fresh Fish with Corn and Tomato Salsa

The kids have been fishing with the neighborhood boys and they caught some Sheepshead the other day (well, one of the other boys technically caught it). He filleted  it and gave it to us to have for dinner. It was a nice mild fish with a great full body texture. You could substitute Tilapia or any mild fish. I just pan fried it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. You could use butter too. Cook about 4 minutes and turn over and cook another 4-5 minutes or until it easily flakes. Make sure you don't lift up or turn delicate fish over to soon or they will break apart. Just let it cook 4-5 minutes and it will flip just fine. I served it with this corn and tomato salsa and some couscous. 

Corn & Tomato Salsa

1 ear corn 
20-25 mixed color cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup basil, shredded
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lime
salt & pepper

  • Cut the corn off the cob and pan fry in a skillet for about 8-10 minutes. Until it starts to darken up. Let cool for an hour.
  • Cut the tomatoes into halves or fourths depending on the size
  • Mix the corn, tomatoes and basil together with the vinegar, olive oil & lime juice, as well as salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour.


Friday, August 14, 2015

My fitness journey

Fitness and working out has been a part of my life for a very long time. My goals have changed, and my time and ways of fitting it in have changed, as life has changed. I have had 4 babies and that has changed my body dramatically too, but I wouldn't change it for the world! They are a HUGE reason WHY I want to continue to be healthy. I want to be able to have the energy to keep up with them. To ride bikes, run and jump on the trampoline with them; to play sports outside and go on adventures! I want to be their example. Strong, healthy and fit can be fun!

This Spring I was thinking about what I can do that would be new. I like to mix it up. I have done p90x, Insanity and p90x3. Plus some other workout videos. I fall back into running as a default, which I really enjoy, but I need strength and agility too. I don't have time for a gym membership anymore, or even an hour a day sometimes. So when a friend of mine said she was doing T25, I decided to give that a try. My results are right here....for you all to see (stretch marks and all!). When you stick with it, it works. And in all honesty who doesn't have 25-30 minutes a day to better themselves? Make it a priority.

After moving, and all the stress that comes along with that; then having company and going on vacation, I am back at it. I am currently trying a t25 and p90x3 hybrid. The Florida heat is a killer (our workout area is in the garage now that our house size is cut in half), but man do I feel like a Rock Star whenI finish! Look at that sweat! Phew!

I have also learned it great to mix it up. Living in Florida there are so many options for activities. Anywhere you are has options though; hiking, biking, swimming, skiing...there is something for everyone in every area, every climate.

The kids and I have gone on some bike rides...YES, Ice cream may have been involved in the middle of the trip (not everything has to be healthy)!!  I went on a leisurely 8 mile trek last Sunday up the coast. Melina and I are planning on going Kayaking and I want to try Paddle-boarding...the options are endless! 

Find a friend, a group, or even an online community. Be Inspired! 
Just keep moving! 

And if I can help, let me know, because I can always use new inspiration!

We LOVE the beach!

We have always LOVED the beach. And now we live less than a mile, as a crow flies, and less than 2 by car to the Gulf. We can just go over for an hour or two. And the Gulf is perfect; it's warm, clear and calm! I have come to terms that my car, washer and dryer, shoes, phone and house will be permanently sandy...and I'm OK with that! Beach pictures just make me happy! So here are some random shots from the last month taken at our favorite little place on Indian Shores.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer Veggie Recipes

Fresh fruits, veggies and Summer are the perfect combination! On Sunday, we went to the beach for the afternoon and came home and made a light and fresh dinner, including rotisserie chickens (set it and forget it!) and a couple veggie recipes. Paired with a nice crisp white wine and perfection!

This Mediterranean Tomato Salad came from the Food Network Magazine. I went to a local produce market for the fresh tomatoes since we don't have a garden this year. 

  • Thinly slice 4 heirloom tomatoes and arrange on a platter.
  • Top with 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds and 2 T each; toasted pine nuts and chopped mint
  • Season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil
  • sprinkle with crumbled feta

Grilled Vegetables are a summer staple. You can grill anything and it tastes amazing. Just season with olive oil and salt and pepper...thats it!! Asparagus, broccoli, corn, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, corn, tomatoes....ANYTHING you can think of...even lettuce! 
A summer staple in our house is Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella stacks. We had never grilled them before though...who know why not...they were delicious! I drizzled the bread with olive oil and rosemary and garlic bread seasoning. Grill one side for about a minute, flip and add cheese and tomato and let sit for another minute while cheese melts slightly, but not all gooey. Add fresh basil and Wa La!