Tag Archive: pizza

Tonight’s Game is…

Lately, we have been hosting a drop-in’ Friday Night on the first friday of the month. We make pizza, have a variety of sodas and games on hand. We ask friends to bring a dish (appetizer, side dish or dessert) and any games they want to share.

Picture by Dzz

This is great because people will bring dips, chips and cookies. Our house might be small but it fills up quickly with kids and noise from music as Guitar Hero revs up.

One of the couples we are friends with are seriously into games. They attend Gen-Con every year and have seen a number of board games when the companies demonstrate their latest and greatest. This allows them to bring two different games every month. So we mix it up with our game collection and have a fun time playing.

Like what, you are wondering? Like this.

Some of you may play Bunco. It is a fun dice game. But if you need to get out of the Bunco rut there is Zombie Dice. Each die has three images on them – footprints, brains and a gunshot. There are 13 dice in the container but each player takes turns rolling the dice – three at a time. As the zombie, you want brains and you do not want a gunshot. When you roll, you keep any brains and gun shots. The footprints you can roll again. But once you roll three gunshots your turn is over and all accumulated brains are gone. If you have two gunshots you can choose to quit and save the count of brains you have acquired in that turn. The person who runs a tab of 13 brains is the winner.

Sure, we watch the inhabitants of these places on some bad reality tv but now you can play the life in Trailer Park Wars. Each player gets some trailer homes, tenants and perks/bad points to start with. As you go through each round, you are trying to collect flamingos and set upon your fellow players bad tenants, take away their perks and make your own park paradise for your good tenants. When the flamingos are all gone everyone counts up their collection. He with the most flamingos wins. Which is why you never want the rapper living right next door to the old crabby lady.

Cash and Guns is all about cash and guns. The premise is that all players were involved in a bank robbery. They have now gathered the loot and are trying to divide it up. With each round, each player decides if they are going to shoot or bluff. With each round someone is going to get shot or runaway to avoid being shot. If you can hold out, there is a good chance you can walk away with the most loot. Each players gets a foam gun and eight ‘action’ cards. It is a game that goes quick and was a lot of fun despite the violent nature of the game.

If you have preschool and primary grade school children in your house, they are going to love Chicken Cha Cha Cha. They also might be the only ones who can ever win at it. This memory games has a border of egg cards that the chicks travel on by way of turning over the next picture in a square of octagon cards on the path. Each octagon depicts an image  that is on two of the egg cards. If your chick jumps over another chick, you get to take their tail feather. The player who gets all of the tail feathers wins. You are thinking this should be easy for an adult but it is not. I have been beaten several times by my daughter because after remembering six items without a problem I could not find the feather.

Do you remember playing war as a kid with a deck of cards? Top Trumps plays like war. The difference is in each deck there is a list of attributes with a numerical value attached to each one. So you pick a line and see who has the highest number, the winner gets to keep all of the cards until there are no more cards. I thought this was a bit of a lame-o game at first. But then I played this with one son who was in the hospital and another who was learning numbers. Plus, you can get a variety of decks on a variety of subjects from the NBA, insects, Star Wars and The Dog. It is a fun little game you can play in the car, on the airplane, at home or anywhere. It lasts about 10 minutes or longer if you want. 

What are the favorite games in your family?

Are You Dreaming?

Family Movie Night

This summer the movie Inception caused a big stir because it is a mystery.

Michael Caine and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Inception." Picture from IMDb.com

The story is about a man who steals things after gleaning information from people’s dreams. It has come at a cost. But then he is given an opportunity to reverse it all and find redemption. It is not easy and there are times that it seems the obstacles are too large and too conveniently placed.

It is a movie of such skill in storytelling and confusing clue-giving that no one is really sure what the story is about or how it ends. People had to see this movie over and over in attempts to understand the movie and figure out just how the story resolves itself.

"Inception" director Christopher Nolan; Picture from IMDb.com

Christopher Nolan directed this movie and recently gave an interview in Wired magazine that gave no clue about the ending. He put forth impressive non-answers that would make the CIA proud. His point is to let the audience think about the story and come up with their own suppositions.

I have not seen this movie which is why I am looking forward to its release on DVD. I am looking forward to watching it and re-watching it so I can figure out the storyline, what is a dream and what is not. Granted I will have to watch Leonardo Di Caprio a lot but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make. It is rated at PG-13 and would be best suited for those in junior high and older.

It is a movie that may be in one of the ten nominated for best film when Oscar season rolls around. I am willing to bet it will receive honors in the technical aspects. Please let me know what you think of this movie which has been called the thinking man’s blockbuster.

Ralphie talks to Santa in "A Christmas Story"; Picture from IMDb.com

As the Christmas season rolls along, it seems as if there are so many movies to watch. One of my favorites for the season is A Christmas Story starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie. Set in the early 1940s, it is a slice of life picture about a young boy’s desire for the perfect Christmas gift – a red rider bb gun.

There is so much about this movie that I love. Every scene is a treasure trove of memories and joy. Who can forget the scenes of the tongue on the pole, the flat tire, meeting Santa and the dogs on Christmas day?

The Infamous Leg Lamp; Picture from IMDb.com

There are so many things to love about this movie that is perfection in the casting in every principle player. Plus it is a movie the whole family can watch together.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.

The Start of the Fall Garden

My volunteer snapdragons


Now that fall has arrived, my garden is looking different again. 

Once the weather gets cooler my snapdragons find life again. They work in shade or full sun. Both places have worked for me in the past. They are great in the spring, hibernate in the summer and come back in the fall to give it one more try. 

Since we are no longer in 90+ degree weather, these babies decided they could bloom again, profusely. All I can say is “Welcome Back.” 

Sedum Close-up


The Sedum, or Hen & Chicken as my mother called them, has been around the whole season. In the past month, the flower heads have been building. Finally now, they are opening, adding a mauve-y tone to the garden. They will be more visable once I get rid of the sunflowers. I need to do it because their time is really up but I love watching the birds perch on and around them. 

Basil on our porch.


I am not sure this plant is really a fall plant. We have had the Basil growing all summer. But that heat wave took something out of it. Plus we have been grabbing leaves for recipes. Fresh basil on your pizza with thinly sliced tomatoes is wonderful. 

Hot weather left, some rains came and the basil made a comeback. I am not sure what it is about rain. I can keep things watered but a good rain makes plants shake up and get bigger almost instantaneously. I also make sure to pinch off the flowers to keep leaf growth at the fore front. What I need now is a good pesto recipe…

Pint Size Perfection

Having one girl in a house of boys is a breathe of fresh air.

 Whereas the boys play yu-gi-oh, cars and beat each other up, my daughter wants to play dolls, games and cook. Granted she can get bossy with her friends and whining moves into an art form. Last week she performed her first “You guys hate me” melt-down because I demanded she come home at the time I set for her.

 Then there are those times are totally sweet and endearing, like last Friday night.

 One of our friends was having a birthday party for his wife, her fiftieth birthday, at a bowling alley on the near-north side of Chicago. The pizza was great with margarita, ham and pineapple, veggie and pepperoni varieties. The table also held chicken wings from mild to ‘OMG-my-lips-are-burning’ hot. The specialty drink was a pineapple-infused vodka.

Picture by Phae Wilk

 We were happy to be with friends, especially the ones whose daughter is about the same-age as our daughter. They get along well and as it turns out have the same taste in music. As the night went along, we found out there was going to be a karaoke time.

 Yes, I partook in the karaoke but only after sipping on that pineapple-infused vodka (tasty).

 Now the girls had been hanging out with us and looking at the karaoke list. disappointment came when the could not find Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana or Taylor Swift. I would say something else that was close but not for these girls.

 So people went up and down. Some of us were great, some bad and all having a great time. The girls, after a break in the game room, decided they were going to sing their song no matter what. However, they did not want anyone to see them. No way, no how. That is when A’s mom suggested they go under the table.

 We were sitting next to the stage. Plus, the microphone had a long wire. It could be done. All it took was someone getting the mic and handing it to them, which I did.

Picture by Monosodium

 The next thing that happens is the sound of girls singing but there are no bodies on the stage. They work through “You Belong With Me” in kid-flawless fashion and sound cute. Everyone else in the room is looking around to see where are the singers. A’s mom and I are pointing our fingers under the table and clued-in adults smile.

 Someone comes around with a camera and takes their picture but they keep going. Once the song is done, the girls hand back the mic and pretend it wasn’t them.

 We left soon after but not before our girl gives A a goodbye hug.

 We drove home admiring the city lights. By the time we had left downtown Chicago, the kids were leaning on each other passed out and the husband was sound asleep on my right.

It is what one calls perfection.

Recently I have been talking about White Sangria on Facebook. It was my drink of choice for our Oscar Night celebration.

My 13-year-old son wanted to make the dinner. His menu was pizza and Red Velvet cake. My husband and I added salad. Plus I made the stipulation that the pizza needed to have two pies that were a bit chi-chi.

When I was in the library last week I looked in a Wolfgang Puck cook book, Pasta, Pizza and More (2000), and found a goat cheese and shrimp pizza. When I reported my findings not a single soul in my house was interested. But we did want to do ham and pineapple. The desire to try goat cheese was still strong so we partnered it with spinach and bacon. These were made alongside a regular cheese as well as a half pepperoni/half mushroom.

Because the entire family was going to be in attendance, this menu allowed the younger children to try something new if they wanted but they could have something to eat in case the different foods did not quite suit their taste buds. Everyone did try the different pizzas but they were not liked by Everyone.

Choosing what to drink was made easy when I realized I wanted something light and fruity. Normally our Sunday meal does have a complimentary alcoholic drink for the adults and I was looking for something to compliment the California theme. I immediately  thought of the white sangria, the recipe being featured in a fashion magazine the year before.

Here is how we made it. In a beautiful glass pitcher we mixed 1 bottle of an inexpensive soft white wine; 1/4 cup of Brandy; 1/4 cup of white sugar; sliced lemons, granny smith apples and green grapes; and crushed ice to desired amount. My husband pulled out the white wine glasses and we sipped on our drinks all night.

It was a good supper and the big hit was the surprisingly mild goat cheese pizza. The varying flavors went well together and were interesting. We also did a spinach, feta, olive and bacon half that was too salty for my taste buds but still interesting. That is what I like about experimenting in the kitchen because you never know what is going to come out of it.

Bon Appetit!

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.