Pizza, Pizza.

Growing up in the seventies suburbia (of nothing) an hour away from Mickey Mouse, we saw the pizza industry blow up. Pizza used to be an agonizing wait in the deep red vinyl booths at an actual Pizza Hut restaurant or a Chef Boyar dee pizza in a box kit.

We saw the dawn and sunset of Little Sleaser’s, I mean, Caesar’s–and now its new sunrise. In their infancy, you ordered a pizza from Little Caeser’s and go two. The little cartoon guy chanted, “Pizza! Pizza!”

Pizza was always a treat we didn’t think too much about, except, “When will we have it again?”

Top, Bake, and Eat This.

Now we’re not only a little bit concerned by all the bread for health reasons, but it turns out Red2 is terribly sensitive to wheat and dairy. We diagnosed her food allergies when she was still nursing. She was way cranky and would break out when Mrs SFDaddy ate anything with wheat or dairy. Long story short, we are now mostly gluten and dairy-free.

There goes the pizza, or that’s what we started to think. Over the last few years as going gluten free has become more popular, our lives avoiding for allergy-reasons have become easier.

Mixing up our own dough to make a pizza was a good adventure and very doable. There are a lot of great recipes and alternate flours that taste great, but how about a good quicker alternative? Udi’s to the rescue. Udi’s bakery has a gluten free frozen pizza crust you can get in the freezer section of the grocery store. Yeah! Thank you Udi’s.

Our first great experience ‘out’ getting pizza was from Blue Moon Cafe. They make a great gluten free pizza. We brought our own dairy-free cheese and they were happy to serve us.

Four people at a pizza joint can be pretty pricey though and add the premium price for getting the special dough.

Look for specials! Recently, Uncle Maddio’s opened up and on Sunday nights they offer a 2 for 1. It’s Pizza! Pizza! all over again.

But wait there’s more. We’ve recently joined a group of families with kids about the same ages who regularly share a weekly pot-luck together. In addition to that, some of us have started frequenting another pizza place, Your Pie. Both Uncle Maddio’s and Your Pie offer gluten free crusts and vegan sauce and dairy free (or vegan) cheese. Both of these places have great products.  Your Pie actually mixes their own dough which bumps their review up a few notches for us. Both locations make a serious effort to change gloves, use different surfaces and even move out of the normal prep areas to assemble your order.

Thank you, to all the restaurants who recognize legitimate food sensitivities, even if it’s becoming just fashionable to go gluten free right now. Hear that Dominoe’s? (They just announced their new gluten free crust (but use the same utensils and workspaces to prepare their pies. If you are deathly allergic, you’ll want to read the fine print.)

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Oh, these orchids!

Red2 has a green thumb. Grandma gave us these orchids 2 years ago. Red2 kept them alive and they even bloomed again. How awesome is that? 
She has a little spritzy water bottle and everything. 
{Clue from yesterday’s post: The flowers were not in the box.}

Mine Minecraft Miracle Mire

The Minecraft Periodic Table of Elements
& the Anatomy of a Creeper.

It’s a game.
It’s genius.
It’s a game!
They’re learning!
They’re fighting.
Just zombies.
How is it learning?
Well…

If you’ve not heard about Minecraft, {really? is that even possible?} it’s a tiny little indie game about digging in the dirt and building with the materials you gather. I found it a while ago and thought the kids would love. They did. They loved it so much we had to figure out how to turn it into school to somewhat justify the attention they’re giving the game.

It turns out it wasn’t hard. Red2 enjoys mining for diamonds. In her travels in the real world that sparked an interest in geology. She’s picked up a knack for identifying rocks. She’s always been the one who lingers the longest in the museum store looking at the crystals and filling her $1 bag.

As an assignment, she needed to build a working electrical circuit with redstone. Redstone is the power source in the game. She made a sculpture of a car with red wool that she dyed in the game. Then she outfitted it with working windshield wipers, doors that opened and closed and seat-belts.

Red1 build her own Mayan temple complete with lava traps. I’m not sure Indiana Jones would be able to escape that one.

There are a lot of schools that are putting Minecraft to use to teach basic computer skills. The girls have ventured into the server space and with just a little nudge, they took a ruined village and built up a great city on a server, organized a team of other players to move in and build a huge wall around it, expand the buildings. They raise crops and livestock in the game and sell crafted items in little stores they build.

It is a game. But there’s a lot in there and they’ve found a lot of ways to make learning fun.

Their next goal is to master the art of installing the many game mods and to perhaps start programming their own. Nudge, nudge.

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