Monical’s Pizza: Sweet & Tart Dressing

I was so excited a couple of weeks ago when my mom and dad came for a visit and  brought me something very very special. This coveted item below.

swttart300-200x200
Monical’s Sweet & Tart Dressing

If you have never had it on their delicious thin crust pizza then you aren’t living in the Midwest. Living in Central Illinois you might take this wonderful concoction for granted. I sure did. Even up here by Chicago you cannot find a Monical’s Pizza (wishing and praying that changes someday!) My son likes to eat it on mashed potatoes—he is a goombah. It is actually dressing, so I am guessing it would be good on salad too!  But what is wonderful is that you can order this delicious sauce-y sauce online here. Since we don’t have a Monical’s pizza close to us, we use it on just about every other pizza we buy.  The closest I can come to Monical’s up here is probably Connie’s Pizza. I can find their frozen pizzas at most grocery stores.1_small

But if you are ever driving through Illinoisor Indiana and are craving pizza try to find a Monical’s  near you. I bet you will love the dressing as much as our family does! Go check out their pinterest page for recipes too.

Advertisements

Fostering a Rescue: It wasn’t in the cards for me.

About a month ago I was interested in fostering a dog from a local rescue, Starfish Animal Rescue,based in the Chicago suburbs.  They do a wonderful job working with the kill shelters in Kentucky to try to get as many pups as they can rescued and in to foster homes.  One day while perusing FB,  I saw a post on my feed of dogs needing fosters for the next transport. That is when I saw him, the dog that looked like our Rigs coming out of the same shelter! I felt like it was fate. Much to my husband’s chagrin,(he thinks we already have enough heartbeats in this house), he gave the go ahead.

rigs

It was going to be perfect! I raced to my computer and printed out the application and sent it back. My only reservation being “What if I did find home for him—would I be able to give him up?” I  waited on pins and needles for them to tell me how wonderful I am for opening our home to this poor pup and fostering.  But that didn’t happen. I was sorely mistaken. Apparently, the pup was from a hoarding situation and the reply I received stated that this dog would not be suitable for our family. I was shocked. How could that be?

So, as I do with most things that plague me, I hopped on the internet and researched articles on fostering dogs from hoarding situations.  A fostering blog I ran across laid things out for me. I began to realize the rescue was right. With all the activity in this house that poor dog would have been terrified.  It could have ended up being a bad situation for everyone.  I was overjoyed to see that they found him a foster and he would soon be in a safe environment, but I was let down. As a result I became extremely apprehensive about my ability to foster for many reasons.  What if the dog was horrible with the kids? What if he was great with the kids? What if I got attached? What if we found him a home?  Ahhhh! Owning a pet is a big commitment and fostering is an even bigger commitment. I was completely naive to what I was about to get in to.  Bless the hearts of those wonderful people who foster, it is not an easy thing to do.

So while I pondered all these thoughts,  I decided to be patient and wait to see if there was another dog that would somehow reach out to me. What is meant to be will be.   It was during this time that I got a message from the wonderful woman that had fostered our dog, Rigs. Rigs had a brother(the runt) that went to another family and they were looking to re-home him. If he wasn’t re-homed they were going to see if a rescue could take him. Okay, the heartstrings were pulled.  However, I  knew that if I took this dog I would be hard pressed to think of it as a foster situation. Would I be able to part with him? It is Riggy’s brother!  Am I going to end up as my husband always envisioned? The foster that couldn’t re-home?

I called my husband and told him the situation. He already said yes to fostering the one dog and now how could he say no to this? It was his beloved dog’s brother. Well needless to say we took Ziggy (he was already named that…seriously!)  The kids and I made the trip to go get him and the minute they saw him I knew there would be no parting with him. He is just like our Riggy, same mannerisms and behaviors. It was truly the cutest thing when we figured out they both skip with the same leg held up. It took awhile for them to get use to each other, and no I don’t think they remembered they were brothers. But they are so similar that the transition was easy. Now we have two sweet pups and maybe someday when I buy that huge ranch in the middle of the country, I will pursue fostering again. But for right now I am happy that I wasn’t foster material.

zig-and-rig

My View from the Sidelines— What I Have Learned From Youth Sports.

drewfootball

I love watching my sons play sports(football mostly)—there is nothing like it for me.  At times it can be bit stressful especially if we are playing a team with obnoxious parents.  We have just come off a game playing a team exactly like that. The parents were walking through our crowd yelling “We’re #1! We’re #1!” It still burns me—If only I had no dignity or conscience I might have given them a few choice words.   Most of the time  I try to stay calm (I am suppose to set an example right?) I am famous for afterward wishing I woulda, shoulda, coulda. However, I know my boys appreciate my tight lips.

“It is a fine line keeping everyone grounded in reality”

Throughout the years of youth sports,  I have seen many things on the sidelines, not just the classless parents of our recent opponents.  I have seen our own parents berate volunteer coaches, I have seen our parents not understand the skill set of their child (Size and speed do matter!),  I have seen coaches not put my son in to play, I have seen my boys cry after a loss, I have seen them cry after a win, I have seen it all—the beauty of it all. The sweaty, dirty, blood stained beauty of it all. Which always makes doing laundry interesting (Zout® and Resolve Gold® I worship you!). The lessons I have taken away have been invaluable to me and my sons. I have learned it is a fine line keeping everyone grounded in reality—kids,parents, and coaches too. As my husband says, “None of this really amounts to a hill of beans.” How right he is, I love that guy!

“Youth sports is a battlefield!”

As a personal rule I have always tried to let my guys stand on their own two feet.  I thankfully only had to get involved a couple of times when my middle son was never put in to play at all during several games (he was only 8 years old).  I was not proud of it though—I didn’t want to do it. Its hard to know when is the right time to complain and or the repercussions of being “that” parent.  I never asked for my son to be a QB or run the ball(that apparently is a big deal for some parents). The truth is my kids weren’t built for that so I kind of got off easy on that one. However, it seems in this day and age that life does not move slow, hang back and hold your tongue, and you are about guaranteed to be run over by a truck. Youth sports is a battlefield!  But you don’t have to let it be. Fostering good relationships takes a little bit of effort but it is worth it in the end. Your kid will appreciate it, the coach will appreciate it and thus the team benefits.

“I expect coaches to be partial to their own kid”

I have always had a real appreciation for all of our coaches knowing they are volunteering their time. I seriously don’t know how they do it. We have been fortunate in that most of our coaches have put the kids in the right positions and try to give adequate playing time. But there have been few coaches that are coaching strictly to highlight their own kid, win or lose. We all know who they are—everyone who has children in youth sports knows of at least one. And yes, that kid is usually in the QB position or a running back in football. The parents on the sidelines take notice of the preferential treatment and thus begins a season of sideline griping. In my opinion a coach’s kid must have the talent to back it up—no brainer right? Well unfortunately for some parent coaches it is not. However, I expect, yes I do, that the coaches be partial to their own kid. Why? Because it is alot of time and effort on their part. If I am so disgruntled then why am I not coaching instead of sitting on the sidelines?  It was always my philosophy that I don’t care where my son plays just as long as he plays. The rest is up to him—put forth the effort and the field is wide open!

 …kids must be coachable for petes sake!

 If you want your kid to be successful your kids must be coach-able for petes sake! Parents—quit badmouthing coaches around your kids, if you have an issue keep it from them. They will go through years of sports thinking every coach is out to get them and that it is someone elses fault they are not the star QB or running back.  As parents we must be realistic, understand our kids strength and push them in that direction.  They will be given chances to prove what they are capable of but they have to want it too. And they won’t if they think they have no chance. If you are having issues privately contact the coach with your concerns.  It will not benefit your child to discuss with him the issues you are having with his coaches.  A good rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours from the incident before contacting coaches with your concerns. If the coach is a good one—they will be completely open to hearing you out without giving you excuse after excuse for what they are doing. (I know that one from experience!)  There is nothing more sweet than seeing your kid overcome and be successful. Very sweet indeed!

Coaches—Motivate don’t denigrate!

Now don’t get me wrong—there are some coaches that just don’t get it; what it is all really about. Coaches we are talking about you being a part of shaping the lives of young boys into respectable young men. Show some respect!!! This lady is not a fan of constant panic yelling. The kids do not respond well to it and it leaves the parents feeling spiteful. I want to see a coach who has a passion for the sport and a passion for seeing each kid excel. Positivity is the key—the best teams we have been on have all been positively reinforced. No screaming at the kids about everything they did wrong for 20 minutes after the game. Motivate don’t denigrate! I am all for being tough but be tough with training them to be the best they can be.  There is a big difference. At this age they don’t hold on to a game… after a bad one all I have to do is take my kid for a burger and it is all but forgotten.

“Sports are suppose to be fun!”

We as parents must take time out to see the full scope of what sports are really about. Youth sports are not the end all.  The truth is maybe 1% of our youth athletes will get to a higher level.  I never think about my kids being professional athletes, if they do and it is their passion—awesome! But I want to know what their other interests are too.  I always tell my boys—sports are suppose to be fun —if it is not fun and you don’t enjoy it we will try something else. That is exactly what happened with baseball. We spent alot of time and money on travel baseball and realized we were doing it for the wrong reasons.  Neither of my sons enjoyed playing and as a result, we as parents didn’t enjoy watching.  It is hard to see your kids miserable even though they may have some skill at it.  And as a parent you  are thinking “I spent all this money, you better enjoy it!”   Ahh! It was a battle and it wasn’t worth fighting.  Now my kids both just do the sport they love more than anything, football,  and I have noticed such a difference in their confidence levels.  I have decided to scale back on pushing my kids to do sports back to back.  We as a family needed a break actually, time  together outside of youth sports. Truth is that the years are rolling by and special family moments outside of sports were becoming more rare.  I believe that what the kids honestly will remember more than sports is that family time.  A lesson I learned from years of playing back to back sports as a youth. I only remember a handful of those games and I believe it will be no different with them.

 

 

 

Doggie-Oggies

There is nothing more remarkable than the love of a pet. It is hard for me to imagine a life without that kind of unconditional love. These two deserve a spot on the blog…because well…they are just so darn cute!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jack’s Hot Corn Dip…My Most Requested Recipe

In honor of the huge weekend of football we have ahead of us, I thought I would share my son Jack’s favorite dip recipe. When we think football food, this is it.  It truly is a recipe that has been requested from me over and over. We have tweaked this recipe that I found on Pinterest years ago. The original can be found here Hot Corn Dip. The first time I made this was for a family get together but before I knew it I had eaten half of the thing along with my sister in law. The crusty cheese bits on the edge just reel you in. Once you have succumbed to it, you find yourself hovering around the dish saying ” Just one more bite.” Walking away takes the will of a God.  It truly is a joy to bring to a gathering because it provides much entertainment. Just sit back and watch which one of the guests has been overtaken by its charm. They usually are not very far away from it. It always makes me giggle! You will definitely not bring any of this home with you. So if you love it as we do…you better make a double batch:) Go Knights!!

jacks-hot-corn-dip1

Jack’s Hot Corn Dip

Fantasy Football Baby!

Football is a big deal in this house. All 3 of the kiddos play. My oldest is on the Sophomore team, my middle is on a 10u team and its my youngest’s first year of flag. We spend all our time lately going to or coming from football. Which I dearly love! Is there any sport better? And if that wasn’t enough…then there is Fantasy Football to add to the mix.  I currently run our family league which is appropriately named  “The Family Feud”.  My team already has taken a hit with injuries in week 2. A torn meniscus Adrian Peterson??? Really? Danny Woodhead a torn ACL? I have several others that are either out or doubtful. I feel like it is going to be a long season. Let me get on the waiver wire asap!  However, something I have learned along the way is to stay vigilant.   For the past two seasons the ladies have done very well in our league. I have often wondered why this is? Are we just lucky?

The dudes in our league OBVIOUSLY know more about football than we do. I mean come on they have been watching and/or playing since they were young lads. I only began to understand it when my oldest started playing 10 years ago.  Maybe the guys overthink things. Uh…no…that can’t be it. My thoughts are maybe that the ladies really research the players. Every year I have made the playoffs with half of the team I started out with. But somehow along the way I picked up players that were studs! That was the year of Eddie Lacy. He was very good to me. Yes, yes, he was.

My method for picking up players was blown after the season last year. My husband once again didn’t make the playoffs(hee hee) and has never won the pot(we only put in $20 a team so nothing extravagant). In seeing how frustrated my husband was I told him my little secret. I look at the research category and click the +/- tab. This shows the changes in ownership. A high plus percentage and this girl is all over it! I mean all those fantasy football users can’t be wrong can they? I truly thought that everyone knew this? Duh! Well apparently he did not look that deep into it. Sometimes watching ESPN may not be enough.  Another one of my tricks is to go to fantasypros. They help me figure out who to start and who to bench. They are not always right…but usually I have good luck.

I am thinking that this year may not be my year. Although I have taken a hard hit early we will see if my method pans out later. I will update and let you know:) Either way I still love to watch the games…I have a purpose now.  How genius? All these women who never watched football are now as into it as their spouses. Football is on! Get out of my chair and give me a beer!