Sunday, November 17, 2013

Easy Meatball Pizza Sandwiches

Ready for an easy dinner idea? (We're not going to call this a recipe - my husband would be embarrassed). This is such a great recipe for this time of year - simple, quick, hearty, and warm. And even though these are the easiest thing ever, for some reason this had never occurred to me as a dinner idea until my mother-in-law mentioned it. Thanks, Nancy!

These actually started out as plain meatball sandwiches, but my kids would not eat them until they were re-represented as "pizza sandwiches" with a few harmless meatballs on top. And, turns out, I loved the addition of the pepperoni!

Easy Meatball Pizza Sandwiches
*Hearty dinner rolls
*Meatballs (homemade or store-bought)
*Spaghetti sauce (homemade or store-bought)
*Provolone cheese
*Italian spice blend
*Pepperoni (optional)

Cook meatballs and spaghetti sauce in crockpot or on stovetop. Cut dinner rolls in half, and top one side with pepperoni, and meatballs. Sprinkle with Italian spice blend, and top with Provolone cheese. Broil until rolls are toasted and cheese is nice and melty. I love my bread nice and toasty, so I give it a little pre-broil before adding the ingredients, as shown below.


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Thursday, November 7, 2013

If You Could Change One Thing....

While I'm not accepting the challenge to blog daily for NaBloPoMo, I am trying to blog more often for the month of November, and I was intrigued by their post prompt yesterday. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

The answer came easily to me. If I could change one thing about my personality, I would love to have the gift of making conversation. 

I am doubly challenged by this seemingly-perplexing concept. On one hand, getting to know new people is next to impossible for me. If I didn't have a friend to go with, I would be way more likely to stay home from an event than go and make conversation with people I don't know. It's not that I don't like making friends, it's that I literally CANNOT think of what to say to people before I know them well. I am horrible at making small talk. I can't think of a good way to open the conversation, I can't keep a conversation going, I live in fear of awkward pauses. Meeting new people is terrifying to me.

Then... it gets worse. I meet people. I get comfortable. And then I can't shut up! I tend to dominate conversations, talking loudly, telling stories, and just generally getting all wound up. I thrive on the energy and laughter of the group, and get more and more animated, and more and more talkative. When I come down from my "high," usually after I've left, I kick myself for how obnoxious I've been and how much I talked about myself. Really, the art of making conversation is not one that I've mastered.


I have two aunts who are beautiful and gracious conversationalists. When they meet new people, they ask all the right questions to get to know them, and to make the person feel comfortable. They always manage to strike that balance between asking and sharing, and make each person they talk to feel special and valued. It's such an amazing gift, in my opinion, and one I would love to someday cultivate.

But for now, luckily, somehow I manage to make friends, and somehow, once I have them, I manage to keep them. Despite the fact that they've heard the story three dozen times already about when I broke that one girl's nose at Color Guard practice. Heh. 

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Monday, November 4, 2013

10 Gift Ideas for the Little Lego Lover

My son is OBSESSED with Legos, but sometimes it seems like you can only buy so many sets, know what I mean? On a recent trip to Costco, I wanted our trip to seem more legit than just going to eat at the food court, so we walked around browsing, and they had some great books that caught my eye. I thought I'd pass along the ideas, along with a few more, for anyone else thinking ahead to the holidays!

1. I posted last year on Facebook that we had gotten this Lego Ideas Book for our son's birthday.

This is NOT a book with instructions. Instead, it is a large, coffee table-style book filled with Lego creations organized by theme. It gives ideas on different ways to use specialty bits and bricks they may have gotten in other sets. It also has interesting interviews with people who build Legos professionally. My son still spends hours thumbing through this book, and even has us read pages for his nightly bedtime story. "Be creative with your bricks! You can use different bricks to achieve the same effects. If you don't have green cabbages for your farm truck, but you have yellow bricks, you have hay bales!" Zzzzzzz for me.... !!excitement!! for him.

Other books I saw at Costco.... We don't own these so I can't speak to how loved they might be, but all three of my kids were clamoring for these at the store!

2. Lego Minifigure Year by Year

3. Lego Play Book: Ideas to Bring Your Bricks to Life

4. The Lego Book

5. Building Brick and Minifigure Ice Cube Tray/Candy Melt
While we didn't use these for our Lego Birthday Party, lots of other parties I saw online did! How fun would these be to make ice cubes, candy, crayons, and more!? My kids would love these!
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6. Lego Candy
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As seen in the cake we made for Parker's Lego party, these Lego brick candies actually stick together! My husband and I may or may not have stayed up playing with these little guys. Fun and tasty, they would make a great stocking stuffer!

7. Lego Advent Calendar

I have always wanted to get one of these for my kids, but I never have. I'm tempted every year, though! Maybe 2013 is the year.

8. Lego Alarm Clock

Maybe if I got this for my son, he would actually be willing to get up for school! Nah, doubt it.

9. Trio Blocks
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Okay, I know these look kind of "young" compared to what Lego guys might normally be into. And it's true that we started buying these for my son when he was probably 2 years old. However, these are still a building favorite with my crew and their cousins (ages 4-11). They create all sorts of buildings, vehicles, animals, and bugs. We actually keep a tub of these over at Grandma's house because it can entertain the 6 kids & cousins endlessly, and they're much easier to clean up.

10. Giant bag of Peanut Butter M&M's
These have nothing to do with Legos. But, um, hello? Who would not want to be the recipient of a giant bag of the best M&M's on the planet? Does anyone have me on their Christmas list this year?

I'd love to hear any other reader ideas on what to get for a kid who loves Legos!

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