Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recipes- Pizza

Need an idea for a fun dinner on New Year's Eve? How about homemade pizzas. Our favorite sauce recipe is Papa John's Copycat ( #108447). I use tomato sauce instead of paste and water (8 oz = half batch = 1 pizza).

If you'd like to make your own crust, this is a good recipe for Stuffed Crusts ( #36121).

We've been making pizza's each week on Friday night. The kids love making their own (from shaping and pricking the dough to making up their crazy toppings). I enjoy making funky toppings like Fajita's or BBQ Chicken to go on top the crust.

The other crust I've been enjoying is from the book "Breaking Bread with Father Dominic". What I find interesting (different) about his recipe is that it uses brown sugar and olive oil. I searched and searched online for a posting of this recipe but couldn't find one. Since it is copyrighted, if you are interested in it, I'd have to say to look the book up at your local library. ;)

My best HOME BAKING TIP comes from my cousin, Bobby. He taught me to precook your crust for 10-15 minutes at a VERY hot temperature (450°-500°F) then add your toppings and cook 10-12 more minutes. This will help your crust "hold up". ;)

As always, I love to hear if you've made use of any of my favorite recipes and how they worked for you. Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Travel Game Boxes

Last night I came up with an idea which I had a blast executing today. I've been playing a lot of educational dice games lately with my boys and my nieces. I tend to see my nieces at restaurants, and as such, we have a hard time keeping the dice from flying off the table. This idea of mine helps contain the dice AND a deck of cards, as well as a pencil. I'm certain (given enough time) I will even find little pads of paper to fit in here.

I want to share the idea AND how to make them. As such, here's a little tutorial, complete with a surprise at the end.

Travel Game Box Tutorial

A quick gift to put together and give to kids and adults alike. Anyone who enjoys playing basic card and dice games will enjoy this little travel set.

Difficulty: Easy (although an adult should work with the hot glue)

Time to Make: Under 30 minutes.

Cost: Under $4 each.


Suggested Contents to Fill:
  • Deck of Cards
  • 6 Dice (nearly all dice games I've found can be managed with this number)
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Instruction Sheet


  • Scrap Paper
  • Ball Point Ink Pen
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutting supplies (optional)
  • Hot Glue Gun

  1. Gather your supplies. I went to Hobby Lobby for the "Catch All Cases" and the felt. (By the way, you could certainly make this item out of any size box that will hold a deck of cards and some dice.) Then I shopped the $1 Stocking Stuffer Bins at Michael's for my playing cards and dice. I spent a total of $21 and made six tins. (I did use three decks of cards and pencils I already had on hand.)

  2. Cut a rough template out of scrap paper to fit into the base and lid of your container. My template measures a hair under 3" x 7 7/8". For curved corners, find an object that approximately follows your curve, then use it to trace the shape onto the corners.

  3. Once your fit is right, measure the actual size and cut the felt to match.

  4. If needed, trace the rounded corners onto the wrong side of the felt with a ball point pen.

  5. Trim the corners.

  6. Check the fit in the item, then glue into place. When using the hot glue on the cooler tins, I found it best to apply glue around the edge of the felt, then quickly (and carefully) place the felt in, pressing to adhere. This step really should be overseen (or done) by an adult... and even then, there are no guarantees that the Hot Glue Gun Operator will walk away burn free.

  7. Admire how nice your cards and dice look in the box!

  8. Test roll a few dice, and pretend to play a game, where you set your "keep" dice up on the ridge so you can see them. Smile at how clever you are!

  9. Fill the tin with all the other lovely goodies (I included a cute little "winter" button in these tins... which has nothing to do with the game tin, but was a fun way to give the item out.)

While I now realize I was able to link to the tins online, I did take this special picture of the label just for you, so, here is the information if you were wondering who creates the boxes I used. That would be "The Tin Box Company".

And now for that surprise... here is the PDF I created with a dozen different dice games.

Dice Games Booklet

You can print it (double sided) then trim a bit off each edge (about 1/4"-1/2"). It will fold up quite nicely to give you an assortment of dice game ideas.

Of course I'd love to know if you use this tutorial (and see pictures of your projects) but even if you don't, you may enjoy this set of dice rules.

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I adapted the rules for these rules from the following sources:,, and

I also wanted to share my original use for these fun tins.

Over the summer we moved, and I needed to put together a new little kit of sewing notions. Now that I've got my things out of storage, this handy little kit STILL sits right by my computer & sewing area. I love how it has everything I need just right there... even a little sweet should a sweet tooth attack!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

added 25 Dec 2010
By the way... the Creative Spark for this idea came after reading a post on
Sara vs Sarah about Joe's Stuff... specifically the cigar box for the Paris, France Journal. Thanks to Sarah Meland for the great ideas and help keeping the creative juices flowing!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gift Wrapping the Easy Way!

A few years ago I started collecting cute Christmas fabric on clearance. Then I sewed pillow-case style bags in all different shapes and sizes with ribbons attached (usually in the side seam). It makes wrapping SUCH a breeze!

The first year, when I made most of the bags, I figure it took me just as long as wrapping, but every year since, it's become SO PLEASANT to wrap gifts! Now, each year, I just add a few new bags (as needed) for new/different sizes/quantities.

I still plan to make some customized tags for our family members, for now, I keep the gifts in separate piles.

While it's too late for most of you to wrap in fabric this year... you CAN take advantage of after-Christmas sales starting this week. Scoop up that cute Holiday fabric for 75% off, buy several yards of ribbon (maybe on sale too) and then you'll be good to go for NEXT year. Oh yeah... remember to keep the fabric out when you pack up your decorations, so you'll be able to sew them and start wrapping early next season!

PS: My hubby likes the boys to have SOME presents to rip open, so he wraps a few for them. ;)