Category Archives: Everyday Living

My Favourite Pizza Crust Recipe

Like so many others, pizza is one of my absolute favourite meals! However, like so many tasty dishes, this one can often be a little on the unhealthy side…

Thankfully, a very smart individual came up with the idea of making your own pizza dough at home! That way, you can enjoy the cheesy goodness of pizza, but in a much more healthy way!

Now, I realize that not everyone always has the time to make their own dough, and honestly, there have been many times when I have just ordered in because I couldn’t be bothered to make my own, but if you do find that you have a little extra time, I would strongly suggest giving it a try! There is nothing like homemade pizza!

Of course, like so many other things, I found this recipe on Pinterest! (Someday I may actually come up with my own recipes, but today is not that day)

Here’s the link to the recipe, entitled “perfect pizza crust”

http://www.carlsbadcravings.com/perfect-homemade-pizza-crust/

This recipe makes enough for two pizzas, so naturally, I cut it in half!

Here is the “halved” recipe

  • 3/4 cups warm (105-115 degrees) water
  • 1/2 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast (active will take longer to rise)
  • 1/2 tablespoon. sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • Olive oil/nonstick cooking spray
  • Garlic salt
  • Cornmeal

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (preferred), stir in water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. Add olive oil, salt, and 3/4 cups flour and mix until combined with your hook attachment (or with a wooden spoon if not using a mixer). Gradually mix in 1 more cups of flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough is too wet, add 1 more tablespoon of flour at a time (up to 1/4 cup) until dough barely sticks to your fingers. Once dough has pulled away from the bowl, knead in mixer on medium-low speed or by hand for 5 minutes.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place back into your large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
  3. Guestimating 15 minutes before your dough is ready, preheat your pizza stone or baking sheet in middle rack of your oven for 30-60 minutes at 475 degrees F.
  4. After dough has doubled, remove from bowl and knead a couple times. Divide dough into two equal balls and cover with a towel for 15 minutes. You can freeze one of the balls at this point if desired.*
  5. Carefully remove your pizza stone/baking pan and GENEROUSLY grease the entire surface with olive oil or with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
  6. After dough has been resting 15 minutes, roll each dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface or parchment paper into a 12-inch round circle. Transfer pizza dough to your baking sheet or pizza stone then pinch edges to create a rimmed crust (if you have trouble transferring, you can place your entire piece of parchment paper on your stone/baking sheet and bake directly on your parchment paper). Lightly brush the top of the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes at 475F degrees with favorite toppings then broil for 2 minutes or until cheese is golden.

There you have it!

Just a couple of notes on this: If you’re using broil at the end, just keep a very close eye on it! With my oven, I only have to broil for 1 minute. Also, the dough freezes really well! At step 4 in the instructions is when you would want to do it. Then when it comes to thawing it, leave it out on the counter for about 30 minutes and then proceed with the directions!

Of course, my favourite part about making may own pizza is that I get to choose the toppings!

Last time, I used chicken, onions, green olives, and artichoke hearts!

Yumm!!

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It’s Been Awhile

Hello Again!

First of all I would like to apologize for how long it has been since I have been on my blog! There have been some serious life changes for me recently and in the midst of that, my blog (sadly) took a serious hit…

I’ll go into more detail about what’s been going on in mine and Dylan’s life over the summer, in a not-so-far-off blog post! but suffice it to say, I have some pretty exciting news!

In the meantime, I just wanted to say “hello” and make an appearance! Hopefully such a long pause from writing won’t happen again!

I  also wanted to talk about the blog itself.. as I’m sure some of you noticed, the layout of my blog has been changed! The original format I went with, just wasn’t working with my vision of what I wanted my blog to be like. So, I’ve been playing with different backgrounds and such to see what fits best! If you notice, next time you stop by, that things are a little different, that’s why!

Continue reading It’s Been Awhile

Broccoli Salad Recipe

Now that summer has officially arrived, it’s time to start eating copious amounts of delicious salads!

I’m a big fan of most salads! The only ones I’m not super keen on are the ones that have avocado, (eww) and ones that don’t have a good dressing on them!

But, there is one salad that stands above the rest in my eyes…. Broccoli Salad!! I’m not sure what it is about this tasty dish that I love so much… maybe it’s the bacon… at any rate, I adore it!

So I thought I would share my particular take on this favourite of mine!

Ingredients

  • Broccoli, chopped – I used 3 small heads
  • White onion, minced – 1/4 cup
  • Raisins – 1/3 cup
  • Bacon – 4 slices cooked bacon. Chopped
  • A Sprinkle of grated, marble cheese

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Combine all these delicious ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing, and sprinkle with cheese.

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Enjoy!

My Weight Loss Journey

Like so many people, I have struggled with my weight.

I was always a bigger child; always a little more rotund than my older sister, but, that didn’t really bother me when I was young. I was never insecure about who I was as a kid. I was happy being the way that I was.

It was only when after I became a teenager that I started to notice that I looked a bit different from most of my friends. In two ways of course. I mean I realized that I was a bit heavier than the next kid and also I was becoming more aware of my limitations as a visually impaired person. (but the latter is a story for another time)

Even though I became aware of my size when I was 13, I was only slightly concerned about the way that I looked, and not at all concerned with my health. Looking back, I’m happy that I wasn’t super anxious about what others thought of me, but I wasn’t smart about the way that I viewed my health. I wasn’t taking care of my body, and that was a problem.

So, after a few more years of not caring, (I was 16 at this point) my family decided that they were going to start going to the gym, and I agreed to get a membership also. I remember going for a few weeks and then one day, I thought it would be a good idea to weigh myself. Well, it was a good idea. I have never been so disappointed in my entire life! I thought the scale was wrong, but I weighed myself again and it said the same thing. 206 pounds.

There were so many emotions going through my head for the next few weeks. Anger, disappointment, frustration… I just couldn’t believe how much I weighed. How unhealthy I was. I was so upset. But, these emotions fueled my determination to fix this problem. I went to the gym, and tried to eat better, and tried to be a healthier person in general, but at the time. It was hard though. I was young and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t have very many resources, or a lot of knowledge of how to go about losing weight.

Despite not really knowing what I was doing, I did manage to lose about 20 pounds over about 2 years, which was incredible, but I still needed to lose a few more in order to reach a more healthy weight

But my weight loss was put on hold because I went to college, and fell back into a slump of not eating right. I didn’t gain any weight (thankfully) but, again, I wasn’t taking good care of my body.

After I graduated, I went to camp for the summer and again, didn’t really do anything to take care of myself and continued eating poorly and not exercising. Bu then the fall came… And something happened that I can’t even really describe, or remember correctly. I remember there was a moment, at the end of the summer, when I was in the change room, trying on clothes, when I looked at myself, and said “I don’t want to be like this anymore” And that’s really the only part that I remember. The next year was honestly a blur, but  I jumped back on the “being healthy wagon” and I did an extraordinary thing! I completely cleaned up my act. I stopped eating junk. I started exercising between 4 and 5 times a week, and between September 2012 and May 2013, I lost 40 pounds!!! 40 pounds!! Looking back it still amazes me that I was able to accomplish that! I started my journey at 206lbs and by 2013 (19) I was down to 145lbs. That’s right, I lost 61 pounds!! I was so proud of what I had accomplished. I finally liked the way I looked. I enjoyed buying clothes and I was finally healthy!!

But like so many others on the journey to better health, I was not able to maintain my weight loss. I went to camp in the summer of 2013 and went through a lot of emotional stuff in my life and gained almost 25 pounds. which was unfortunate, but I learned a lot about myself that summer and despite my weight gain, I was happy with how I grew, and I knew that I would be able to lose it again.

And I did. sort of. I lost 10 pounds, over the next year, and by the time my wedding day came, I was 160 pounds. Not too bad, but still not what I wanted to be at. I will say this though, looking back on my wedding day, I don’t think that I really looked overweight or unhealthy, and I’m very pleased with how I looked and felt on that beautiful day

In the beginning of 2015 I lost an additional 10 pounds so that brought me back to 150, so close to where I had once been at! Since then I’ve been in a constant state of fluctuation in my weight. In September of 2015 Dylan and I went on a special diet. It’s called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. This diet is made for people who have Crohn’s Disease, and similar conditions, but to make it easier on Dylan, and to make life less complicated, I went on the diet with him. While on this diet I lost 7 pounds, which put me at my all-time lowest weight. 143lbs. But because of life circumstances we weren’t able to maintain this diet, and so my weight fluctuated, yet again!

And that’s how it is to this day. I’m currently sitting at 153 pounds, but over 2016, my weight has been anywhere from 148lbs to 155lbs! And that’s mostly because my eating habits aren’t always the best. There are weeks that go by when I don’t exercise at all, or eat very well. But then I’ll usually have a few good weeks in between where I’m very conscious of what I’m putting in my body, and making sure I’m being fairly active.

But that’s why I wanted to share my story with you. To hopefully inspire those of you who share a similar life path, and to offer some empathy to those who have reached their goals but have not been able to sustain them. We all fail sometimes, and there are many days when I want to just give up on being healthy, and sit and eat an entire bag of chips, but it’s on those days that I look back on my life and I see how far I’ve come, and I find the motivation to keep going, and never give up.

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Being a Housewife is Hard



As Web-141I said in my very first post, I am a housewife.

Almost as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a housewife. I mean, when I was like 13, I wanted to be a vet or a horse trainer, but that’s beside the point. When I actually started contemplating what I wanted to do in life and where I wanted to go, it always came back to the fact that I wanted to stay at home, take care of my husband and eventually, my kids.

Well, the opportunity came for me to fulfill my dream much sooner than I thought it would.

shortly after we got married I was still working at Wal-Mart, but I had approached them about changing my work hours to accommodate a bus schedule, but they were unwilling to work with me. Which is unfortunate as I am not able to drive due to my vision loss.

So, after discussing the whole situation with Dylan,  we decided that it was time for me to move on from that chapter of my life.

So that’s where my housewife journey began! I was so excited to start doing what I felt I was meant to do!

But, never. Not in a million years, did I imagine that doing what I love would be SO hard!

I know how strange that must sound. I mean all I do is stay at home and do whatever I want, right? Right? Well it would seem that life would be that simple, but the fact is, being a housewife is really hard!

It’s not the work itself that I’m talking about here. Aside from doing dishes, which is my least favourite task, I really quite enjoy puttering about the house cleaning, tidying, and making food for my amazing husband. The part that I find hard, is that I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to stay motivated to do the things that I love.

I’ll admit, that there are definitely days when there isn’t a ton to do around the house. But there is ALWAYS something to do. But all too often, on the days where there isn’t a whole lot of jobs to be done, I find myself sitting on my couch doing one of three things: sleeping, sitting on my phone, or watching tv. Sometimes all three! And if I spend one afternoon doing this, I find it hard to not repeat the same thing the next day.

And lately, I’ve found that more and more I’m sitting on the couch watching the time go by until Dylan gets home from work. Which is not ok! Of course there is nothing wrong with taking a day to just relax and have fun, but it’s not acceptable to just sit and waste the entire day on electronics!!

So over the last week, I’ve been mulling over what to do about my issue of laziness. I started thinking about all the things that I still want to accomplish in life, and aside from all the work that I need to be doing in a week, what kind of hobbies I could get into, so that when I am bored during the day, I will have something to fall back on!

So I made a list of a few things to choose from when boredom strikes!

  1.  Exercising! I’ve been wanting to get back into regularly exercising and taking care of my body.
  2.  Reading! I have a  rather large pile of books that I’ve been meaning to read but have always made some excuse about why I didn’t have time to read.
  3.  Knitting! I LOVE knitting!! and it only seems appropriate to  work on something that I love, especially since I have so many projects to finish!
  4.  Education! For months I’ve been contemplating going back to school, so I’ve been researching several different certificate programs that I’m hopefully going to take later in the year!
  5. Blogging! I’ve really enjoyed writing and sharing my journey with people via this blog, so I really hope to get more involved in writing posts and keeping you all up to date!
  6. Baking! Since I was about 15 I have loved baking! It’s a great pass-time, and the benefits of baking is that there are tasty things to eat at the end! Plus, I’ve been wanting to experiment more with recipes!

On top  of all these hobbies, to distract me from the temptations of technology, I’m going to try my best to make lists of the tasks that I need to complete around the house on a daily and weekly basis. Hopefully this will keep me more on track!

So, I have my work cut out for me, that’s for sure! But I wanted to share some things that I’ve been struggling with for the past few weeks, and I wanted to just share some of my hopes for the future, in order to keep myself accountable and to be more effective in fulfilling my dreams of being a great housewife!

I’ll try to keep you all posted on my progress!

Knitting Noah’s Ark

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 I’m pretty sure that most people are quite familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark.

How God told a man named Noah to build a giant boat, and fill it with two of every kind of animal, (seven of a few special ones) in preparation of a world-wide flood.

Of course, that was my abridged version, but you get the idea. We’ve all heard the story, and have all seen the cute animations of it. With the over-sized animals stuffed into a little ark, all adorable and corny…

And that’s what got me. The adorable, corny, cute little animals all shoved into a little ark, only this time they were knitted! That’s right, I found a knitting book on Noah’s Ark! How could I have passed that up?

Now, I didn’t just buy this book for fun. Well, I mean, I did, but I also had an idea in mind when I saw it! My twin nephews are turning one this year! And I really wanted to knit them something special for their birthday, but also something that they could play with. So I thought that this would be perfect! A good excuse to buy more knitting things for me, and a super-cute gift for my nephews!

Had I known how long this project was going to take, I probably wouldn’t have bought the book…

But, I’m the type of person who, buys first, and asks questions later!

Right after I bought the book, I went to Starbucks (because coffee and knitting are a match made in heaven) to see what materials I needed to complete this rather large task. Upon looking through the book, I realized that there were many different yarn colours that I would need for the various animals listed, which meant that I needed a shopping buddy! A.K.A. someone who could pick out colours for me because I’m colour-blind!

Luckily, my husband is usually up for the task! We went to Michael’s, and picked through, what seemed like, endless amounts of yarns! But eventually we found what we needed and moved on. We went to Wal-Mart to buy stuffing, and then proceeded home so I could start knitting….

I started with the ark. I figured that I should start with the biggest part of the project and work my way down. I originally thought that the ark would only take about a week, and each pair of animals, a day or two… Needless to say, that was not how it went at all… The reality was, it was a lot harder than I anticipated! Not hard, I guess. Just time-consuming! It took me about a month to finish (most of) the ark! And honestly, I still haven’t sewn it together….

Because the ark was taking so long, I decided to start some of the animals. I decided to start with the rhinos. For two reasons: One being that, rhinos are grey, and Dylan wasn’t home to help me pick out the colours for the other animals, and two, because I thought they were really cute!

They went pretty well! They were more finicky than time-consuming, but it was still a bit of a challenge getting them done, mostly because I get bored pretty easily.. and because, I may have taken a few weeks off of knitting… (sometimes I’m hopeless at getting things done..) But even after I came back from my lull, I have only managed to get a pair of zebras done.. sigh…

I can’t exactly remember when I started this project… I believe it was in February… So you would think, February to May would be enough time to finish this project…. Oh no! Somehow I ran out of time! As I stated above, I’m terrible for getting bored with big projects.. and I should have expected no less from this one…

At any rate. I’m nowhere near finished, and the boys turn 1 in a week exactly! So my life right now is all about knitting this ark and getting as much of it done as possible before their birthday!

So far I have done: Rhinos and Zebras and the ark should be done tomorrow.

What I hope to get done before Saturday: Elephants (which I have started) alligators, lions and toucans!

At this point I figure, worst case scenario, I’ll give them the ark with what animals I get done, and just add more to their collection as I finish them! At least they’re still too young to notice that their aunt left out some of the animals from the story!

As I finish the ark and animals, I’ll post some pictures for you all to see!

Two Hearts, One Love

   Hello again!

I am thrilled to be writing  this post today! I’ve been waiting anxiously all week to be able to sit and write!

My post today is part of my wedding series, and today I get to tell you all about the wedding that Dylan and I got to be a part of on Saturday!

The wedding took place near Bancroft, Ontario at a place called, Joy Bible Camp.  Now, the location is special in two ways. One being that, for many years, the bride and her family attended as campers; And second, this camp is where the Bride’s parents got married 26 years earlier! (so special!!)

The setting was beautiful! The ceremony was going to be held down at the waterfront. Perfectly nestled in between the dining hall where the reception would be held and the Lakeside Lodge, where post ceremony refreshments were offered to all those who attended. All three points were connected by a path lit by lanterns! It was truly romantic.

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The ceremony was exquisite: The waterfront lined with white chairs, accented by lanterns and crates of flowers, all leading up to a beautiful white arbor, surrounded by mason jars filled with flowers! Pacabel’s Canon started playing and the groom sat his mother, and then proceeded to stand at the front, by the arbor. Then, one by one, each of the six groomsmen, dressed in grey dress pants and white shirts, walked over to stand by their friend, while in turn giving him a hug on their way by…

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The music faded, from the familiar tune into a different song. A beautiful rendition of “Just The Way You Are”. The bridesmaids, each wearing a different pastel dress, started making their way to the front, all smiling at Liam as they walked by, knowing just how beautiful his bride looked, and how magical that moment would be when he saw her.. The anticipation grew as each bridesmaid took her place… Green, yellow, peach, lavender, blue, and finally pink, the colour of the Maid of Honour’s dress…  The music came to a great culmination, and the guests were asked to rise. There she was. A stunning bride. Her dress a beautiful A-line with a magnificent train, all detailed in lace. Joanna was escorted by her mother, down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be-husband. The look on his face: Priceless! The love that was shared in that moment, when the bride and groom saw each other for the first time, was incredible. Here mother gave here away, the audience (and bridesmaids) were in a puddle of tears, and so the two began to take the steps of committing their lives to one another. The ceremony was a bit different from the traditional wedding. The bride and groom wanted to sing a congregational song with their guests, and they had asked myself and my brother to sing. We led the congregation in the song “Amazing Love” and then they proceeded with their vows. the vows were beautiful, heartfelt, loving. Both of them finished by saying “I just love you”. They exchanged rings, and shared their first kiss as husband and wife! And then, as they went to do the signing, my brother and I got to sing for this amazing couple again. We sang “Multiplied”. And then as the lovely married couple made their way back over to the arbor, the preacher announced for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Liam and Joanna Tait!!

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Girls

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I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who left the  ceremony feeling overjoyed for them! They were married!!

Right after the ceremony, the bride and groom had requested that the photographer get a group photo of all those who attended the wedding! It took a bit of time to get everyone organized, but in the end it was a great shot!

After that, the guests went to have refreshments, and the wedding party went to take pictures around the camp! The weather held off for almost the entire time that we were taking pictures, and it was only during our last shot, that it started to rain! But, we simply retreated to the dining hall, where there was a photo booth set up for the guests, and used that for a few shots. Also the guests were happy as they got to get their picture with the bride and groom.

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Dinner was served at 6pm, in the dining hall. The room was set up beautifully! Round tables, with burlap and lace runners. The centerpieces; a mason jar filled with baby’s breath, as well as, carnations and roses. And the favours: Tiny mason jars, filled with personalized m&ms that said “Joanna and Liam”, “May the Force be with You” and some that had two hearts on them. The dinner was absolutely delicious! The chef prepared chicken and rice, asparagus, and mixed veggies, and on top of all that, there was a salad bar and amazing, homemade dinner rolls!! And for dessert: Root Beer floats, mini cheesecakes, and lava cakes!

Over the dinner, there were a few games to make the happy couple kiss. And of course there were many speeches made. There were also a few songs that were sung. I had the privilege of singing so many times that day, and the final two were at the reception. I sang the song “God Gave me You” with Liam’s two sisters, and his brother’s girlfriend. Later on, Joann’s sister sang a song that she wrote, while Jo and her brother danced. And my brother and I had the honour of singing the song “I see the light” (yes, from Tangled) for the couple’s first dance!

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Throughout the reception, there was one thing that really stood out to me, and I’m sure to many others. Something sad and beautiful. Of course most of the speeches revolved around Joanna and Liam, but throughout the speeches made by Joanna’s family, there was also mention of a very special man, who was absent from that beautiful day. That man was Joanna’s father. He had passed away when Jo was quite little, and his absence was definitely felt by all who knew him, but also by those  of us who didn’t. At the end of the evening, the family released balloons  to remember him, as they have done every year since he has been gone.

It was truly a beautiful day! Emotional, also, but in a good way. I don’t believe that I have ever cried so much at a wedding before!!

All I can say is, congratulations Joanna and Liam! You guys are amazing and love you, and I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

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