Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Simple Mini Pizza Bar

Pizza is one of my family's favorite meals. My kids all like something different on their pizzas, so a Mini Pizza Bar is the perfect way to go. Plus it makes it so fun for everyone to make their own!

This Pizza Bar is super easy to put together. I love simple dinners! I cut up all our favorite toppings into tiny diced sized pieces for the mini pizzas. I made my sauce from scratch. It's just two small cans tomato sauce, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. parsley flakes, a pinch of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Now for the secret for the dough. I use Rhodes Roll Dough. I place the dough on a sprayed piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Let it sit to thaw for 5-6 hours before you want to make your pizzas. One roll is the perfect size for a mini pizza. I used parchment paper cut into squares and sprayed with non stick cooking spray to cook the pizzas on. Press the one ball of dough out with your finger tips. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake at 415 degrees for 15 minutes. You can make homemade pizza dough, but my family actually loves this dough better. And I love how much easier and faster it is! The pizza crust turns out perfect every time and you don't have to waste time kneading it or rolling it out. It's so easy!

My kids had so much fun making their own pizzas. Once a month we let them plan a dinner that they can help make so they can learn how to cook in the kitchen. This Pizza Bar was a huge hit! They loved feeling like little pizza chefs and they got to make the pizza just how they wanted it. No need to pick off toppings they didn't like. They were specialized for each kiddo.

This is the finished product. It was such a fun family dinner and I love how easy the Rhodes Rolls made it. It's the perfect dinner to add some fun to your summer nights.  

The Keeper of the Crayons

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Fun for Kids

Summertime is one of our most favorite seasons. We love spending time outside and playing at the pool or lake. We also love the lazy days around the house just playing in our yard. I love trying new products and activities to keep my kids busy and having fun during the summer.

The first one I found this year was this awesome H2oGo Water Blob! It is so much fun! My kids love it. It is like a big, see through water bed that you can jump on. It fills with water and also has a sprinkler down the one side that keeps the blob cool and slippery on the top so you can run and slide across it. It's been a huge hit at our house this summer! Even the adults love laying on it!

I bought our water blob when it was on sale, online at Target for under $20 dollars. You can find the H2oGo blob that I purchased HERE. They have several different styles and colors out there.

Another fun product that we tried this summer is the Bunch O Balloons. I wasn't sure that they would really fill up as easily as the commercials show, but I was so wrong. They fill so quickly and tie themselves in less than 30 seconds! I never bought water balloons because I hated tying them, so this product is a game changer! My kids loved them and can't wait to have friends over for a water balloon fight. I bought mine with a gift card at Kohls while they were buy one get one, but you can find them at most larger retail stores and online, HERE and HERE.

The next summer product I love is our outdoor chalkboard. This was a DIY project that I made a few years ago and it's still going strong. My kids use it everyday during the summer. It hangs on the fence by their sandbox and keeps them busy for hours. You can find the instructions for the Outdoor Chalkboard I made HERE.

 Last but not least is this Homemade Sidewalk Puff Paint. It is one of my favorite things to make during the summer for my kids to play with. It puffs up on the sidewalk and washes off just like sidewalk chalk. My kids are always so excited when I mix up a batch. You can find the recipe for this puff paint HERE.
I hope your kids love these summer fun products as much as my kiddos do! Happy Summer!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Friday, June 30, 2017

Grotto Falls Summer Hike

If you are looking for a fun, family hike to take this summer, Grotto Falls in Utah is perfect for the entire family! It's a short hike, (less than 3 miles total) and is very simple. There are wood tree trunk bridges to cross the creek and the trail is very well maintained. We went a couple weeks ago, so mid June, and the water in the creek wasn't high or moving very quick at all, but the water fall was still flowing nicely. Our family had a blast on this hike. It was perfect for my three kids and they loved the waterfall. It's a really pretty hike and is easy to get to from the Payson Canyon road. It's a great summer activity and a great way to cool off on these hot days!

Driving Directions:

To get to Payson Canyon take the Payson exit off of I-15. Head straight down main street until you reach 100 N. Turn left on 100 N. Stay on 100 N until you reach 600 E. You will see a sign that says Mount Nebo Scenic Loop. Turn right on 600 E. This will take you up the canyon. From the mouth of the canyon travel approx 7 miles to the parking area for the Grotto Trail.

It's really easy to find. The entire hike took us about 40 minutes. That includes hiking in and out, exploring and the time we spent at the waterfall. Happy Summer!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cotton Candy Grapes

These Cotton Candy Grapes are so delicious I just had to share them with all of you. My family loves these grapes! They are from Costco, and yes, they really do taste like Cotton Candy! I don't know how they did it, but these grapes are our new favorite snack. Since it's summer, my kids are constantly asking for snacks during the day. These taste so good and are so healthy. They are perfect for a yummy, afternoon treat! Give them a try! They will quickly become your favorite food.

The Keeper of the Crayons

***This is not a sponsored post. I just love these so much, I wanted to share them with you.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Honoring Loss Moms

Since the passing of our baby girl, I've met so many beautiful mothers that have lost children of their own. My heart breaks for them, but it's also comforting to know that I'm not alone in my grieving.
One of the amazing mothers that I have met is Crystal. She has helped me cope more than she will ever know. She does a beautiful job paying tribute to her own angel baby as well as being a great mom to her rainbow baby. She is doing an amazing project on her blog where she honors moms and their babies that have passed away. I'm honored that she asked us to share our story and I'm so grateful to call Crystal my friend. Take a moment to read about all the sweet angel babies on her blog livingthroughourloss.com and you can read our story here. I'm blessed that there have been so many opportunities for us to share our story and keep Lucy's memory alive.

The Keeper of the Crayons

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Avocado Tacos

"Taco Tuesday" has become a huge hit in our house. This past week instead of making tacos in regular taco shells, we put the meat in an avocado! We added all the toppings in a bowl along with the avocado taco. It was so yummy and a healthier version. Give it a try!

The Keeper of the Crayons

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Secret to the Best Cinnamon Rolls

Rainy days call for baking cinnamon rolls! I'm going to let you in on a little secret to making the best cinnamon rolls... Use powdered sugar when you are rolling out the dough, instead of using flour. Your dough will come out sweeter and will be fluffy instead of dry from using too much flour. It's a trick I've been using for years and I always get asked what my secret is to my cinnamon rolls. It's an easy trick and makes a huge difference with the dough. Hope this helps you with your future baking.

The Keeper of the Crayons

National Infertility Awareness Week

This day, one year ago, I was sharing our infertility story for #NIAW. We had just suffered 3 miscarriages, had several procedures done, and were starting our first round of fertility treatment. So much has happened in the past year. We went to the Utah Fertility Center. They were so sweet and helpful to us. We got pregnant during our first round of Clomid and I didn't have to use a trigger shot. We made it to 30 weeks with our baby girl (our 4th child), when my placenta abrupted this past January. Our daughter Lucy passed away and was stillborn and my body went into DIC from bleeding internally and I had to fight for my life during a mass blood transfusion. This isn't where I pictured our infertility story would be a year later or how our family of 6 would look like. Since it's National Infertility Awareness Week, I thought I would share some things I've learned that might help others facing that same feeling of "this isn't where we should be in our journey".

Infertility can happen at any time, at any age. Regardless of if you've had children easily before or not. 1 in 8 couples will face infertility AND 1 in 4 women will have their pregnancy end in miscarriage or a stillbirth. This was something I didn't know during my first 3 pregnancies or until we started going to our fertility clinic. I was shocked to hear of those stats, but it also has helped me realize I'm not alone. So many couples are affected by these things, so you are not the only one.

Infertility and Loss doesn't define who you are. It's not that something is wrong with you or that this is who you are. I had to look at it as though this was just a trial we had to go through to prove to others that it's something that you can overcome. I wasn't broken or failing as a woman. Infertility was just a bump in our road. I try so hard to be the same person in the dark that I am in the light. And to have more faith than fear. My faith and my family are everything to me. They are the only things that have kept me going through our trials. Having a support system at home is so important. 

Losing a child is the worst pain anyone will ever experience. It's so different from any other kind of loss. It changes who you are and the way you look at everything. Miscarriages are hard, but stillbirth is a lot harder and more heartbreaking than words will ever express. They are both painful losses but are very, very different. Having a baby that is stillborn is devastating. Giving birth to my baby girl and having her come into this world so silently after feeling her move inside of me for 3 trimesters is the hardest thing I've ever done. This has been a hundred times harder emotionally than any of my miscarriages and physially harder than any of the fertility treatments we went through. Through our loss, I also have learned that infertility doesn't end with a positive pregnancy test, unfortunately. Whether your story is where you hoped it would be at this moment or if it feels like you are a million years away from where you want it to be, God is going to help pull you through this, as long as you don't give up.

I love the quote that says, "The darker the storm, the brighter the rainbow!" I believe this with all of my heart. Losing our baby girl is the darkest, saddest storm I've ever had to go through, but it's also bringing me closer to Our Savior. I know that Joy lies ahead after every single Sorrow. I just have to be patient and look for all the blessings that will come from enduring infertility and the passing of our baby. I hope if you are suffering in silence from infertility or a loss, that you will feel comforted and know that there are many others out there just like you. I hope you will have faith and that joy will come to you after your sorrow. You are not alone.

The Keeper of the Crayons