Pizza Party

When my friends and I get together, we don’t do what normal people do. We do pizza parties. It’s like a backyard picnic complete with kids, friends, and food. Except of course, it’s held inside and no grill required. Instead we make homemade pizza because somewhere down the line mine has become famous. Now when we decide to do a get together with a houseful a kids, we call it “pizza night”.

First I start with making the crust. I have a bread machine, so it makes it a whole lot easier. Toss in the ingredients, set it on dough, and we’re good. My pizza crust recipe is as follows, and it makes two crusts:

Easy Homemade Pizza Crust

3/4 c. warm water about 80 degrees F
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 Tbl. brown suger
1 tsp. italian seasoning (avoid garlic – yeast will not rise)
1 Tbl. dry milk
2 1/4 c. Unbleached white flour
1 tsp. active dry yeast.

Add ingredients in order in bread machine, making small indention in flower for yeast (Make sure it does not touch liquid). Set bread machine on “dough”. If you don’t have a bread machine, mix ingredients together and kneed dough for 5 minutes. Lightly coat with olive oil and place in bowl. Let rise for 30 minutes.

Use half of dough for thin crust, and freeze the other half if need be. When finished, roll out dough on pizza pan. Poke holes in dough and coat with olive oil, garlic, italian spices, and parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 mins at 425 degrees.

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Next comes the pizza sauce. Sometimes I cheat and grab a can of italian diced tomatoes. Although during the summer when I have tomatoes in the garden, I’ll use my own. I make the pizza “sauce” in the same way I make my salsa – diced and tossed in a sauce pan on high. When it starts to boil, I turn it down to low and let it simmer for awhile. When I’m using my own tomatoes, I put in oregano, basil, and garlic salt. My fresh pizza sauce is a little on the chunky side, but everyone seems to love it. Most likely because it’s homemade and you just can’t beat that.
Next I fry up the hamburger and Italian sausage. Usually we use about one pound hamburger and half a pound sausage. The rest of the ingredients include pepperoni, sliced mushrooms (from a jar), mild pepper rings, and of course shredded cheese. I usually make one “everything” pizza and one just pepperoni for the picky kids.

Now the main reason this pizza has become famous is NOT because of the homemade crust or fresh pizza sauce. Nope, it’s actually because my pizza is called “the mountain pizza” because it’s so piled with toppings. On the everything pizza, there are about 4-5 layers of all the toppings I listed above. I’m not skimpy either. Just for one pizza I require about 2 packages of pepperoni, 1 whole jar of mushrooms, most of the hamburger and sausage, and up to 2 bags (2 cup size, so 4 cups in all) of cheese. Yes this pizza is LOADED.

Now because this pizza is so big, I usually skip the cooking step in the crust recipe. Reason for this is it takes so long for the pizza to cook, the crust risks getting a little too crispy if it’s got a head start.

Because of the size, I also cook it slow. About 375 for at least 45 mins. Cooking it slow helps the crust not to burn, and makes sure it cooks all the way in the middle. You can tell it’s cooked when the cheese is brown all the way across the top.

In all, these pizzas take a whole lot of time, but it’s fun. When we do pizza parties, there is always a house full of kids that love to help putting on the toppings. Make sure you have extra toppings on hand, because quite a bit will walk away with lots of kids around. (My daughter once asked if she could help, then proceeded to steal and eat a pepperoni right off the pizza!)

Give yourself at least an hour for the crust (an hour an a half if you have a bread machine), half an hour to put the pizza together, and at least an hour to cook. We usually start at 2pm to have things at least close to ready by our normal supper time (5pm). The time goes pretty fast when you have friends and kids helping though. 😉

Bubble Bath Recipes & Supplies

This page seems to be a bit hard to find on Idea Queen, so I thought it deserved to be in the spot light. There is actually quite a few bubble bath recipes available, complete with details on where to find supplies.

All the bath and body recipes are listed under “Money Saving Ideas” at Idea Queen because it can be cost effective to make your own. Especially if you decided not only to use them for yourself, but gifts as well.

You’ll need to keep in mind that most of these bubble bath recipes do NOT include a preservative of any kind. They will not keep for more than a few months. Do be sure that if you are giving bubble bath as a gift you let them know this. On the plus side, the ones that use only natural ingredients are free of toxins and better for your body. This is especially great for those with sensitive skin.

For supplies, we’ve found two GREAT places to pick up just about any type of natural ingredient you need for ANY bath and body product. Shamanshop.net has some fantastic options for essential oils and other types of oils. Mountain Rose Herbs has the supplies you need for glycerin and other natural bases for bath products.

Before you start shopping for supplies though, do be sure to stop by and check out our bubble bath recipes!

Baked Potato Recipes

Even though I love potatoes, it’s something we don’t normally have for supper since I have a kid that hates potatoes. 😦 Although I know when I do make baked potatoes as a main dish for supper, he’ll at least pick off the toppings. Maybe even get a bite of that vegetable by mistake. 😉

For me, baked potato recipes need to be simple. While I know potatoes are best cooked in the oven, I almost always take a short cut and cook them in the microwave. Some of the newer microwaves even have a setting for cooking potatoes, which can come in handy. Regardless though, you’ll want to cook them at least 8-10 minutes. Most know this but I feel the need to say it anyway – do NOT wrap them in foil as you would in the oven! Foil is a metal and WILL destroy your microwave! (I’ve seen microwaves smoke with something as small as a twisty tie).

As you wait for the potatoes to cook, you can decide what toppings to put on. If you are doing this as a main dish, you’ll want some form of meat on top. Chili with meat and beans work the best. If you have leftover chili, perfect. If not, just grab a can of chili with mean and beans. You can heat it up real quick after the potatoes are done.

After you have potatoes and chili, the rest is up to you. Just set out cheese, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, or any other topping that works on a potato. If your family has a suggestion, no matter how strange it is, take note of it! Who knows what new baked potato recipes you can come up with. 😉

Game Ideas for Kids

Kids can generally keep themselves occupied for hours on their own. Although sometimes we hear “I’m bored!” and feel the need to help out their creativity a bit. Unfortunately, kids are already more creative than we are so this may not be an easy tasks.

If your family needs some help, there are several ideas you can swipe right off of Idea Queen. We have a whole section of fun activities for kids, many of which are game ideas. Heck you can even take the chore ideas and make a game out of them if you’d like!

Here are a few of my favorite kids games you can use:

Fox & Hen
Taken from the page outdoor kids games. A game that’s played outside of course, usually in the fall or winter. You’ll need to make a maze around the yard with either leaves or snow. Have one child be the fox, and the rest (or yourself!) the “hen”. The idea is for the hens to get through the maze before being caught by the fox. You can make different variations of this game to make them more interesting. Just remember the idea is to stay on the path!

Hide And Seek
You are never too old to play this childhood favorite! It’s listed on our indoor toddler games page, but really anyone can play it. It can also be played outside if you want to make the game more interesting. For older kids, you can also play this game in the dark to make it really hard (one of my absolute favorites when I was about 12, played in the pitch dark basement of my neighbor!).

Online Games
My oldest absolutely loves the computer. He’ll spend the day on it if we let him. His favorite online game sites are listed on the free game sites for kids page.

Remember though, the above ideas should be suggestions only. It’s always more fun coming up with your own ideas for games. 😉

School Lunch Recipes

School has been in for several weeks for most of us, and we may be running out of ideas for school lunch. The main problem is the meals have to be something which don’t need to be hot or cold, and can be left sitting out for half the day.

Lunchables and chips are easy, but the health value is slim to none. My kids don’t really care for those nasty lunch-in-a-box things anyway. They want REAL food because I’ve trained them well! We want to give it to them too, right?

One idea I’ve found to be pretty good is veggie pizza. Not the hot kind either, but rather a cold version using raw veggies and cream cheese instead of pizza sauce. It’s suppose to be an appetizer in normal settings, but if you can get kids to each veggies as a main dish, fantastic! I use cresent rolls for the crust, cream cheese mixed with ranch dressing mix (the powder), and whatever veggies we have on hand.

Sandwhiches are also great, but can get old fast. If you check the healthy school lunch page on Idea Queen, you can find some great sandwich ideas as well as an entire ebook on nothing but sandwiches. (With the ebook you can kill two birds with one stone – ideas for supper AND school lunch!).

I’ll stop right here because most of the ideas are listed on Idea Queen, and hopefully they will be more than enough to get your creativity flowing!

Money Saving Ideas for Kids

A brand new page is now up on Idea Queen. If you need some simple money saving ideas for kids, come take a peek! Some may think these are a little TOO simple, but sometimes that’s all it takes to spark some new ideas.

The page is split into two sections – saving money for parents and saving money for kids. One half is for parents to pick up some tips on how to save money for their kids (such as for a college fund). The other half is how to teach kids to save money.

If you have your own ideas, please be sure to share!

Homemade Christmas Gifts

While Christmas is still a few months away, it’s not too early to start thinking up gift ideas. Especially if they are homemade and are going to take some time to finish.

The best gifts are those that come from the heart, so that’s why we’ve got an entire page on Idea Queen dedicated to homemade christmas gift ideas. Many of these ideas require you to be able to sew, if only a little bit. Some of these ideas are just for gifts for kids, while others are for kids and adults. (Pillows for example – you can make pillows for everyone in the family depending on the type of fabric you use).

Gift jars also make a fantastic Christmas gift, and are super easy to make. You can get creative with the jars too, using different types of decorations making it totally unique.

No matter what you decide to make, going the extra mile and giving a homemade Christmas gift makes all the difference.

Free Download Game for Kids

Looking for something to keep your little ones occupied on the computer for awhile? This game might be just what you are looking for. It’s free for one hour, with easy options to buy the game once the trial is up. Spyware free, so no need to worry about downloading you something you shouldn’t.

The description of the game is as follows:

Turtix didn’t know what would happen when he tried casting a powerful spell without the supervision of his teacher. He lost control, and now things are even worse than he knew! He needs your help! He must find the pieces of a shattered amulet, and help save all the young turtles who were captured in the chaos. Guide Turtix through his world in this charming side-scrolling arcade adventure.

* 3 difficulty levels.
* 5 worlds to conquer.
* Dozens of enemies to defeat.


Click Here to Download

Free Scrapbooking Supplies

Looking for free scrapbooking supplies? We’ve found a great supplier that has them! ComputerScrapbook.com offers some really cool freebies. I mean there really is some cool ones here, and not just junk no one is buying. Remember though, these are digital supplies for the most part, although some are printable too.

I was amazed at the selections and awesome prices of this site (free is always a great selling point for me!). Even the things that aren’t free are way cheap – as far as scrapbooking goes anyway. Scrapbooking is not a cheap hobby that’s for sure, but digital scrapbooking has cut that cost down to almost nothing. Especially when you can find cool free scrapbooking supplies like at this site!

If you need some ideas on what to do with those supplies, you can always drop by the community boards at The Scrapbooking Source. There’s also information on the site about place to score other cool scrapbooking supplies.

Have fun!

Homemade Soap Recipe

Did you know we actually have our bath & body recipes within the money saving ideas section of Idea Queen? We figured there’s no better way to save tons of money than to make your own bath and body items. This includes homemade soap, bubble bath, bath salts, and lots of other recipes.

Anyway, here is the easiest homemade soap recipe we found:

Herbal Glycerin Soap

1 pound Glycerin
1/2 ounce fragrance oil or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon essential oil, amount depends on oil used.
1 T. herbal powder of your choice and/or 1 T. dried flower of you choice

Melt the glycerin in the microwave until completely disolved. This usually takes one to two minutes. Avoid stirring as much as possible because stirring causes bubbles. Pour in herbal powder, dried flowers, and fragrance oil while still in liquid state. Stir lightly to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Pour in the mold of your choice and let set for 1 to 2 hours or longer if desired. If you have trouble with the bar releasing from the mold, place in the freezer for a few minutes and the bar should release easily. I have found that the bar of soap lathers better when it is allowed to cure for 3 to 7 days before use.

This recipe yields 4 – 4 ounce bars of Glycerin Soap.
Need more bath & body recipes? This one along with over 250 more can be found in the Bath & Body Recipe ebook available at Idea Queen.