Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year

The Johnson Family wishes you and all of your loved ones a...


Check back tomorrow to find out the winner of this post and an exciting way to start off the new year, trust me, you won't want to miss it. Here's a hint, have you made a new years resolution yet? Party safe tonight and here's to a great 2009! Cheers!

A Morning Treat

Dots Donuts is a cute little donut shop that opened up close to our house. The donuts are delicious! I like the fact that they are a sweet treat but not overly sweet like some donuts, there is a nice balance between the cakey, spongey donut part and the sweet part. I also love that they are not huge, just a nice little tasty donut to enjoy. HOWEVER, they know their market and always have some fun flavor that the kids are drawn to, like this one for example...

A cake donut covered in blue cotton candy flavored icing. Sorry about the missing part, those boys are quick!And yes, I tried it and honestly it wasn't bad, made me think of our friend, Tony, who used to buy the cotton candy flavored yogurt at TCBY's.

Noah enjoyed his but thought it didn't go too well with the orange juice he was drinking.

And I'm pretty sure this trouble maker enjoyed his too but I could be wrong.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pot Calling the Kettle Black

"MOM!" Oliver screams then says, "That squirwell is holding hers tummy. She needs better foods wike fruit and begetables." At least I know that he's listening...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pizza Ideas

Another person asked for our taco pizza recipe so here it is...and a few others that we've made.

Mix one can of refried beans (we've also used refried black beans) with enough taco sauce to make a pizza sauce like consistency. Spread bean mixture onto pizza, throw on some chopped onions and if you like them, olives, top with cheese. Bake. Set out chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and crushed up taco chips to garnish individual pieces with.

Canadian Bacon, tomatoes and shredded dill pickle. This is tastier than it sounds and one of my favorites!

Shredded or chopped grilled chicken, chopped grilled onion, fried and crumbled bacon, use your favorite BBQ sauce instead of pizza sauce.

Veggie pizza: pick your favorite veggies...we've done a veggie pizza with regular pizza sauce, pesto sauce or Alfredo. Shredded carrots are great on veggie pizzas.

Chicken, bacon and pineapple (this is also good with green peppers).

Make or buy a pesto, use that in place of pizza sauce, top with whatever strikes your fancy.

Dessert pizzas:
Peanut butter and your favorite jelly/jam. Don't knock it people, bake the crust and while it's still warm spread on the peanut butter and jelly/jam - so good!

Spread par baked crust with butter sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar bake until crust is golden brown and sugar is starting to caramelize.

Honestly, you can be very creative and put just about anything on a pizza on YOUR pizza.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Like I mentioned in the previous post, we had some friends over tonight. Amy, Alan and three of their kids and Melanie and Jim and their three kids came over for dinner. Tamara and Ali were also supposed to be here tonight but had to cancel. We wish we could have seem them too because we had a great time. Melanie, Amy, Tamara, Alison and I all went to high school together. Four out of the five of us actually went to grade school together! Mel and I tried and tried to get Amy into the picture with us but she refused...don't worry, we'll get her next time.

Joel Is Da' Man!

We had some friends over tonight, 6 adults and 8 kids, so I asked Joel this morning if he would make up some of his famous pizza for the crowd. He said yes! I thought that I would share the pizza crust recipe that we use so that you too could make your own homemade pizza. The toppings are up to you, go ahead be creative, try something new and just enjoy!

PIZZA CRUST (makes 4 thin or 2 thick crust pizzas)
1 2/3 cups warm water
1 tsp lemon juice
2 TBL oil (we use olive oil)
2 TBL sugar
1 tsp salt
2 TBL dry milk (you can substitute liquid milk just reduce water by 2 TBL)
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp active dry yeast

I let my KitchenAid do a lot of the work for me. I add the warm water, sugar and yeast to the bowl, let it proof for about 5 minutes or until you see the yeast start to foam. Add the remaining ingredients and with the bread/kneading attachment mix on low until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and let the machine knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. It can be noisy and our mixer likes to walk across the counter so don't leave the area. Pull the dough out of the bowl, form into a pretty ball, spray the bowl with oil, return the dough to the bowl and let it rise for about an hour or until about double in size. If you won't be ready to use it in an hour then put the bowl in the fridge to slow the rising. The rest of the work is done by Joel...

Split the dough into your desired amounts (2 pieces for thick or 4 pieces for thin crust). Roll out the dough, prick it with a fork, place on pizza pan and par bake for 5-7 minutes at 425 until it starts to get a little brown. At this point you can let it cool, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for a later date. Otherwise, top with your favorite pizza makings and put back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes. You want little bubbles to start forming in the cheese but hey, it's your pizza and there is a lot of leeway there so cook it until you think it looks great! Joel usually par bakes the crust on the pizza pan but cooks the topped pizza right on the oven rack.

Beautiful! This is after the rise.

Joel working the dough into it's pizza shape.

Poking all the holes in the dough.

Onto the pizza pan. Roll under the edge.

Fresh out of the oven - perfection!

Then turn it into these...
Edited to include recipe: These delights are known as "bones" in our household. Joel starts with a fresh (don't par bake this one) pizza crust. Brush on some olive oil, sprinkle with bones seasoning mix, top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Check for and pop any bubbles in the crust about half way through cooking time. If you like thin crispy bones roll out the crust and bake immediately if you like big chewy bones then roll out the dough and let them rise before baking. Serve with pizza or marinara sauce for dipping. This is the bulk recipe for the bones seasoning mix, you may want to half or quarter the recipe if you don't plan on making these very often.
3 cups garlic powder
1 cup Italian seasoning
1 TBL cayenne
1 TBL ground black pepper

or these...

or this - enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Stockings Weren't Hung


The stockings weren't hung because they were too full! Apparently, Santa and his moose thought the boys' stockings were a lot bigger than they really are.

Oliver wanted to know what was on the table? It took him a second to realize that the pile on that end was his!

Noah doesn't waste anytime at all.

I have many pictures like this.
"Oliver, show me what you got...thanks!"

Noah still working and he's almost done.

We got the boys beginner chopsticks. They both love to use chopsticks but get frustrated after a while. These were an awesome find!

Here are Noah's chopsticks, they are connected at the end in his hand.

One of the big hits of the stocking stash...WALL-E! Our plan is to stay in our pajamas, welcome visitors if they stop by and watch this movie. Thank you GrandBob!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It was tradition when Joel was a kid to open presents on Christmas Eve and we have carried on that tradition with our boys. Santa and, according to Oliver, his moose will come tonight and leave stuff for their stockings. Quick side note, I thought I was going to be able to tell you all that the snow was on it's way out because things started to melt a bit late afternoon but alas I can't. It stopped melting and is snowing again, we have at least another inch so far. Okay, back to the festivities...our church decided to be on the safe side and cancel all services otherwise we would have gone to that tonight. Instead we had dinner, some entertainment (see below), then the boys got into their pajamas and met us by the tree. They had a lot of fun and it's always fun for me to watch them. Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Stocking pictures to come...

The evenings entertainment was provided by Oliver. I certainly hope that this isn't a sign of things to come in his future. Nothing like some table dancing to get the night started off on the right foot. That boy has some moves!

In this picture we have them in the pajamas and getting started on their gifts. From top left, their first present, sweater from Gammy, trains from Grandma Ricki, skateboard skills book from dad, shoes & an educational game and a model car kit also from Grandma Ricki.

In this picture we have Noah with his big gift of the night the Lego AT-TE Walker, a gift wrapped in so much tissue from Gammy that the boys thought it was a practical joke and almost gave up, Ollie getting his Dino Diego toy and Noah admiring it, Oliver checking out his new Chevron firetruck and finally the flashlights that were tucked inside that mass of tissue paper above.

This was my gift from Joel, he did good! A necklace bought from Beth at Heartstring Primitives. It's a beautiful necklace made from other pieces of jewelry that she has found while out searching for treasures. I wanted to show you this though because of the unique way that she presented it! Seriously, how cute and clever is that?

Then I just threw this picture in there to show you all how my brain works. Noah started to tear open his new Lego set and I couldn't take it anymore. I sat down, sorted them by color then by shape/size. Ahhhh, much better now. Those who work or have worked with me won't be surprised by this one bit.

Doesn't Show Signs of Stopping

First of all, for some REAL snow pictures check out Beth's blog. She takes some beautiful pictures and I'm sure she would enjoy the visitors even if it is in blogger sure to leave her a comment or two. Now back to East Vancouver, it is snowing again. All of our church services have been cancelled, the neighborhood has tucked in for the holiday and the few that are out and about are in 4x4's and/or chained up. I trekked outside to snap a few pictures of what's going on out there. The boys have decided to stay inside so far today so I'm sorry I don't have shots of them.
Joel cleaned off the driveway before leaving for work.

Car was spotless this morning.

Noah had cleared all the snow off of this bench yesterday.

This bush has had just about enough.

The poor bird feeder, empty (no thanks to the squirrels) and covered in snow.

This bush, however, shines in this environment.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How I Met Your Mother

Have you seen the TV show "How I Met Your Mother" yet? If not, and you like to laugh then you really should. As I was getting ready to go to work last night this episode was on. It's probably not as funny when you haven't watched the show but when Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) chimes in with melody on this song - hilarious!! Here is a small bit of background to help you understand. Barney lost a bet to Marshall, Barney could choose to get slapped once right then and there or 5 slaps whenever Marshall wanted to deliver them Barney decided on the 5 slaps. Marshall created a countdown to the 3rd slap which was to happen on Thanksgiving hence the term "Slapsgiving." Seriously though, go rent seasons 1, 2 and 3 and enjoy the hilarity!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Crept In

December kind of crept up on me this year, it's been like that for most of 2008. I am hoping that 2009 can be a fresh start and I can get back to my regularly scheduled organization! I decided that instead of escaping to the beach (or wherever) that we would stick close to home. The snow and now ice definitely helped with that decision. So to bring a little bit of the Christmas spirit into our home, I had Joel and Noah pick up a tree on Friday. After playing in the snow yesterday, we came home, warmed up and decorated the tree. I have collected Hallmark ornaments for quite a while now and am at the point where I almost need two trees. Noah helped a lot this year and I have some sections of the tree that are HEAVILY laden with ornaments to prove it, but that makes the tree even more special. I thought I would share a couple pictures of my favorite ornaments that I have collected, inherited, etc. over the years.

This little Christmas fairy loves to help decorate the tree.

A lot of my ornaments, like this one, are from when I was a kid.
I love the sparkly, snowy roof.

Hold on little guy!

The small details, like the mouse-sized bite taken from the donut, are what endear me to the Hallmark ornaments.

This was a series of ornaments that highlighted different churches. Each church can be lit up to show the details of their windows.

Just cute!

I used to hang this ornament and wish that I could ride too.
Fine, I still wish that I could hop on for a ride.
This ornament (the picture does not do it justice) has always been my favorite. Wynken, Blynken and Nod sailing away in their wooden shoe. The pearly water, their tiny toes, the buttons on their pajamas, the moon laughing at the three that seek fish...all details that I love. I like this ornament so much that our first three fish were named Wink, Blink and Nod! The nursery rhyme is below...

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe--
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea--
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish--
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam--
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'T was all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 't was a dream they 'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea--
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Load of Pictures

For about a week now, the weather has been crazy. Snows a little, melts a little, freezes a little, snows a little bit more etc. Today, however, it has not stopped snowing and the wind is blowing a lot! We did manage to bundle up and sneak out though before the wind became too extreme and unbearable. We have drifts on our front porch and in our backyard that are over a foot deep!

This is what Oliver and I woke up to. Actually it was a couple hours after we woke up but Joel and Noah were still sleeping so that counts right???

Look at that boy's hat! We walked to a park about 3 or 4 blocks from our house to test out their sledding hill. Not too extreme but it worked for us.

Noah making his way back to the top of the small hill.
I love that smile.

Oliver took a turn at sledding. My little daredevil loved it!

I took a turn too and the boys decided to race me. Lucky for them there wasn't more snow on that hill!!

Never too cold to swing.

A frozen metal slide and snow pants makes for a QUICK ride down.

Here is Noah almost hitting one of the ramps that the neighborhood kids had set up on the sledding hill.

And here is Noah catching some air after hitting a different snow ramp that the kids built.

Mountain man towed the boys home.