Pizza Bake_Apr 27 2009_0006_edited-1This pizza bake caught my attention because I thought it would be easy and I already had all the ingredients.  It was on my monthly menu for tonight’s dinner but I did not leave work until 5:45.  I already had the meat ready from my once a month cooking marathon so I was a little ahead as I had, surprisingly, remembered to take the package of cooked Italian style ground beef out of the freezer before I left for work.  I started the pizza dough at 6:15 and we were eating at 7:10.  Not bad and soooo good.  My family actually said they can’t wait for leftovers.

First: Pizza Dough

  • 3 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 pkg instant yeast, or 1 tbls yeast
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 2 tbls oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Add yeast and sugar to the water.  Let sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast grows.  Add salt and oil.  If using a bread machine to knead (which I recommend) pour all liquid into bread machine pan and add flour, stirring after each cup added.  Knead until smooth about 5 in the bread machine, about 10 minutes if by hand.  Place dough ball in a greased bowl lightly covered and let rise for 10-15 minutes.  While bread is rising-

Second:  Pizza Stuffing

  • 1 lb. cooked and drained ground beef cooked with 1 small diced onion
  • 1 tbls Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of thyme
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp minced or powdered garlic
  • 1 tsp sweet basil
  • 1 tbls garlic salt
  • 1-2 tsp pepper
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 3 tbls flour
  • 1 cup or more of mozzarella cheese
  • pepperonis
  • small amount of milk to brush on top and sesame seed to sprinkle over the top

Cook the beef and all the above ingredients EXCEPT the cheese and pepperonis.  Let cool.  Can do this fast by putting in a large baking dish and putting in the freezer.  Not that I did this, not me, I have all the time in the world.

Third:  Roll out the pizza dough into a 14x11 inch rectangle.  Lay dough on a greased cookie sheet.  Place meat mixture down the center third of the dough, leaving 2 inches on each end and cover with the cheese and pepperonis. 

Pizza Bake_Apr 27 2009_0001_edited-1Cut the sides of the pizza dough diagonally 2 inches apart.  I used my kitchen shears which I really hope were clean.

Pizza Bake_Apr 27 2009_0004_edited-1Fold the ends up and then fold the sides over.

Brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Pizza Bake_Apr 27 2009_0005_edited-1 Yum!!  Just like the picture except that I used homemade pizza dough instead of pre-packaged pizza dough and so mine was HUGE.  I though that it might spread out over the pan while it was cooking. 

Good thing everyone wants leftovers because this could feed an army.

Pizza Bake_Apr 27 2009_0007_edited-1

I think this might be good with some sort of chicken bake.  I have all sorts of ideas.  My husband loved how light the crust was and not heavy at all. 

This was the recommendation Amazon sent to my inbox. I realize that my blog posts are in no way scintillating and a must read but this, a book telling me no one cares about my mundane life, just really makes me want to put pen to paper.
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I did it, I joined Facebook. I am completely amazed at how far I can go into my life's history and find people. I can see where it could be a complete time sucker. But I am drawing the line at Twitter. I just can't do it.

I remember back in the days of AIM and Yahoo IM. All day long, at work of course, I would be instant messaging. One day the owner of my company, Al, asked me who I had sent 350,000 messages to. I played it off like Al was crazy, no way it was 350,000, maybe 150,000 but not over a quarter million I had a job to do so how could I have that much time.

I doubt Al would have been impressed that my typing WPM went from 35 to almost 100 since he was not paying me to type anything. Still it is a skill I perfected while in his employment and I thank him for that opportunity.
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On the way to church last night:

Anna: Can we turn off all our lights tonight for one minute to celebrate Earth Day?

Tony: Remember the ice storm year before last? I think we did our share of conserving energy, a lifetime worth of celebrating Earth Day.

Eight days without electricity in 20 degree weather was our contribution, not that I would have hugged a tree anyway just happy I am off the hook.
Nothing was settled this morning in the hearing to modify child support.  Here is an overview of what happened.  

  • His ex-wife did get a new lawyer.  
  • They now have a scheduling conference order 
  • The judge is making them go to mediation and hopes to not see them back in his courtroom because they will resolve through mediation.
  • Mediation is $200 per hour, per person, minimum of two hours.
  • Her attorney was required to explain all the proceedings to Tony since he was representing himself.
  • Her attorney stated that she has had many cases where the father cannot pay and the judge will tell him to "go flip burgers".
  • Tony said he was completely willing to "go flip burgers" if he has to pay but then there will then be child care expenses that they will both have to split.  
  • Her attorney scoffed at the amount he was ordered to pay originally, saying "$390 is nothing for two kids".
  • Tony agreed that $390 was not much except when you do not have it AND they have joint custody with the exact amount of time and custody for both parents.
  • Her attorney asked if he was behind in his ordered payments and he told her that yes, technically he was BUT he paid $400 in January after losing his job January 7th.  He paid $250 in February and then he filed for a Motion to Modify February 3rd.*
  • She gave him some options for mediators and they have to have made an appointment with a mediator by end of April and they are to have a decision/agreement to the judge by the first part of May.
The good news is that he was not required to write her a check for child support, back or current, today, nor was that brought up.  He does not have to agree to anything in mediation and can take his chances in front of the judge.  

Our Pre-Paid Legal (I cannot say enough great things about PPL, I even used it when I was in Oklahoma pregnant and divorcing Anna's dad as a resident of California) consultant said that the purpose of mediation to for her side to say what they want and for him to say what he wants of can do.  They will still have to use the child support calculator and what will be decided is which income it will be calculated on.  

Custody cannot be decided during this Motion to Modify Child Support, so even though they have made other arrangements this past year the judgement will be based on the 182/183 split.  In order for his ex to receive more child support than in my previous post, she will have to get more custody and that would require a separate Motion to Modify Custody to be filed.  

Tony is going to inquire about childcare costs in the area and bring that to mediation.  He did inform her lawyer that he is watching the kids all summer and during the school year he gets out at three and will still be able to keep them.  His ex came back with the argument that they would be standing around for 15 minutes until he got there.  He informed her that is what they do now since the kids go to different schools.  

Let's just say, worst case scenario, that he has to pay based on his last three years average, $252.  In order to do that he would have to get a part time job after school and the kids would go back into daycare.  And let's just say daycare is $400 a month.  His ex would net $52 but we would have to pay $452.  It is crazy and yet that is what she is.  

* My advice to anyone that loses their job or has a reduction in ability to pay child support by more than 10%.  FILE A MOTION TO MODIFY, IMMEDIATELY.  The decision to modify becomes retroactive to the date that you file.  That is why Tony is not paying child support now, based on the legal advice of our previous attorney and PPL, he can take his chance that the judge will decide a lower amount or none at all.  If that happens the decision goes back to the date he filed, February 3rd.  If he had continued to pay her she would either have to give it back, not going to happen, or he would be ahead in payments.  

Even if you do not have all your ducks in a row, FILE A MOTION TO MODIFY and then get all your paperwork and lawyers in order.  It will be worth it and you can file without an attorney.
The Motion to Modify Child Support hearing is less than a half hour away. There are so many different emotions that I feel as the step mom and second wife. I think most people think of the divorced mother struggling to eek out a living with a meager earning and barely enough child support to put clothes on her children's back. And that is if she is lucky to get child support.

But what about the exceptions to this scenario? What about the father that has been ordered to pay child support and never misses his payment? What about the fathers that never questioned the payment as being unfair or too much, but resigned themselves that the ordered payment is just part of the consequences of getting divorced?

That is my husband. He has paid his child support, in cash, every month since his divorce was final. He did not question the amount, nor did he complain about paying his child support. He even paid ten dollars more to round it up to a hundred dollar increment. My husband has paid his ordered amount even though HE is not the one that wanted the divorce, and tried to stay together, but was unable to compete with the new relationship she had started while Tony was at work so she could stay home with their kids.

But the judge didn't and won't care about that. It is just math, at least in the state of Oklahoma, and for that I should be glad. Yes, I could bitch and moan about how she spends the money and how she wants ME to have to pay her now that Tony has been laid off. Yet, she does not want the kids to know that I am the one that is having to support her. She and I have not spoken since we all got together to talk about the future after Tony was laid off. She was very angry, though she never let on while I was there, that their daughter was led to believe that I, her step mom, would be supporting them. Even though that is specifically what the ex said should happen that now I needed to pay her since Tony wasn't working.

I am getting off on a tangent. Back to today's court case.

Tony will only have five minutes or less to state his case. He is representing himself, pro se. Oklahoma has a child support computation worksheet available online. You fill it out and then you use the commutated worksheet to present to the judge and have him sign off and file. Since their kids do not have extenuating circumstance, yet, like braces, medical issues, tutors, competitive sports, and the like that require extra out of pocket money, it should be cut and dry. They both have joint custody with him having 182 nights and her 183. However, since he has not been working he is the day care provider. He will continue to watch the kids all summer and the next two school years. If he has to get a part time job she will have to pay half of the day care expenses, thus taking away from the child support she could possibly get.

The what if today is- what income the judge will use for Tony? Her income has changed from $890 per month when she was a part-time waitress, while they were separated, to $13 an hour since July of 2006. A 35% increase! The child support was calculated and ordered at her part-time salary, below minimum wage. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE IN A RUSH TO JUST "GET IT OVER WITH".

Here is what can be ordered depending on what wage earning the judge uses for Tony:
Unemployment - ($24.64)
Minimum Wage, because unemployment runs out in May - ($29.04)
Based on his previous earnings at a three year average - $282.56
Median Income of what he could make in two years as a Radiology Tech - $134.95
Mean Income of a Radiology Tech - $171.02

All of this worrying could be for nothing. We do not know if she will show up today, if she has a lawyer, or if she will bring all the paperwork that is required to make a judgment. I should know by ten or eleven this morning. Once I am no longer on pins and needles I am going to outline how to create and get a Motion to Modify Child Support Order because not all divorced dads are deadbeats.

I have been busy working and worrying. My husband goes to court tomorrow to modify child support, and buy am I scared. Yesterday was the 15th and the owners of my company were suppose to tell us what our new, presumably lower, salaries were going to be but they have not made any announcements, yet.

Tony and I are debating what to do with our tax refund, pay off debt, finish the bathroom remodel in case we have to sell our house, or sock the money away in case we need cash. We are leaning more toward the paying off debt since I know without a shadow of a doubt that is what Dave Ramsey would advise. I made a pretty great spreadsheet detailing our plan of action and I am actually considering posting it for accountability purposes (and maybe to encourage others) but my pride is standing in the way of hitting the publish post button.

I was sent this video and it put the biggest smile on my face and I thought it was awesome- More than 200 dancers were performing their version of "Do Re Mi", in the Central Station of Antwerp. with just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! Those 4 fantastic minutes started the 23 of march 2009, 08:00 AM. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of "The Sound of Music".

Hopefully, I will have positive news tomorrow after the court appearance for the Motion to Modify and I must write about this process because doing a search on the Internet is pathetic when it comes to unemployment and paying child support. Such completely false stories and useless information that do not support what it legally available, and the steps that can be taken to alleviate court battles and falling behind in child support payments.