Sunrise Cooing


I am seeing a lot more of DaddyO now that Baby has arrived. Our little guy is a great sleeper but an early bedtime and sleeping through the night means he's up with the sunrise. It has given him some cooing time with DaddyO.

Painted Wood People


I happened to leave my wood craft box out for a couple of days while I finished a baby gift and wouldn't you know the kiddos found it and came up with a painting project for themselves. "We can paint dolls mommy" was EJ's suggestion, CJ just looked up at me with his big eyes and smiled. I got the paint and they went to work.


EJ used her past peg princess dolls for ideas but hers were much more colorful.


CJ loved to mix the paint and came up with some fun combinations.


In the end they each had a family of dolls as unique as themselves. 

ej's family
cj's family

Then it was time to play.

Sushi Faces


It is amazing what faces can occur while eating something as common as sushi:)


CJ just laughed along.


Grandma joined in.


She got the same response.

Big sis had some to share as well.


Baby B wasn't quite sure what to think.

Grandpa's Love


Grandpa and his boys. Not much more to say than the picture already conveys. So thankful for them all.

Piggyback


I can still wear him in the Ergo and this is how he usually ends up after a ride on the back close to nap time.

I Heart Pizza


We have developed a Friday night pizza routine since arriving in Japan. After quite a few weeks of searching through pinterest recipes we have discovered one we quite like.



To ensure we don't lose it in the future here it is thanks to this blog!

Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe

Follow these easy instructions for creating a thick & chewy pizza crust at home. I do not know how to make this pizza crust gluten free. For the best results, just stick to the recipe as written.
Yield: two 12-inch pizzas

Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)*
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (105-115F degrees)
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (440g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, plus more for brushing crust
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
  • cornmeal, for dusting


Directions:


  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes of until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. This is called "proofing" the yeast. If the yeast doesn't dissolve, your yeast is dead. Start again with active yeast. Add flour, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Mix by hand or with the dough hook on low speed for 1 minute.
  2. Once all of the ingredients are mixed, knead for 7 minutes by hand or with your dough hook on low-medium speed. If your dough is too wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. After kneading, your dough should be smooth and elastic. Poke it with your finger - if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn it over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm environment (about 75F-80F).
  4. For the warm environment, I heat up my oven to 200F. Then, I turn the oven off and keep the door slightly ajar (I opened it wide for this picture). This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, I close the oven door to trap warmish air inside with the rising dough.
  5. Depending on your type of yeast, your dough will have doubled in size in about 1 - 2 hours. I use Red Star Platinum and my dough took 1 hour, 20 minutes.
  6. Punch the dough down to release the air.
  7. Divide the dough into two. Roll each half into a ball and let rest in two separate bowls lightly covered for 15 minutes. You may freeze one of the dough balls at this point to use at a later time. Please read above in the post for freezing instructions.
  8. Preheat oven to 475F degrees. Allow to heat for at least 30 full minutes. Every inch of your oven needs to be very, very hot. Grease and dust 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray or with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal (preferred for flavor and texture) or flour (not preferred). Please read above in the post for why cornmeal is preferred.
  9. Prepare your favorite toppings. May I suggest my recipe for a simple extra cheese pizza?
  10. After 15 minutes, flatten each ball of dough 1 at a time on a lightly floured surface or on a silicone baking mat. You could also do this directly on your cornmeal lined pizza pan. Flatten into a 12-inch round circle, flattening and stretching the dough. If using a pizza stone, place the dough directly on baker's peels dusted with cornmeal.
  11. Lift the edge of the dough up to create a lip around the edges. I simply pinched the edges up to create the rim like this. To prevent the filling from making your pizza crust soggy, brush the top lightly with olive oil. Using your fingers, push dents into the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest for 15 minutes before topping.
  12. Top with your favorite toppings and bake for 12-15 minutes. For the last minute, I move the oven rack to the top rack to really brown the edges. That's optional.
  13. Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Store leftover pizza covered tightly in the refrigerator and reheat as you prefer. Baked pizza slices may be frozen up to 1 month.
What better way to end a night of pizza than with a book read by DaddyO:)

Easter Egg Hunt


Eggs, eggs and more eggs. That is what the kids hoped to find at CJ's first Easter egg hunt.


MWR held it's annual Easter egg hunt on base and DaddyO took the kids to this Saturday morning event.


Armed with their Easter basket and some coaching from DaddyO they made his proud and ran ahead of the stampede scooping up eggs.


Big sister was more than happy to help her little brother with his.

First Bus Ride


I have now experienced the emotions a parent experiences as their child waves goodbye on their first bus ride to school.

One of the questions I had when we first started was whether or not I'd be able to make the early morning pick-ups. The kiddos bedtime had been closer to 9 p.m. and they were sleeping in a bit for me. With Baby B's arrival though I had to get up much earlier so it made sense for the older ones to do the same.

I had extra help getting EJ ready in time for the pick up. First her collared shirt and pleated skirt. The jacket, hat and shoes followed. Finally the buttons.


Ready with time to spare for some pictures.


Her bus stop was just a short walk down the sidewalk from our tower.


We met another girl she will be riding with on the bus.


Before I knew it the bus had pulled up and the bus sensei was greeting the girls with a bow.


Then EJ was ushered on and blew me kisses as they drove away.


Our little girl has reached a major milestone and there is no looking back.

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