4 Other Uses for Pizza Dough

4 Ways to Use Pizza Dough...That Aren't Pizza - Vicki-Arnold.com

Pizza is not the only thing you can make with your pizza dough. There are enough options between creative pizza toppings and these extra options to keep your homemade pizza dough in a weekly meal rotation. Often enough that you will likely memorize the recipe, but not get bored.

Calzones

Calzones are delicious. All you do is divide your dough into  equal parts or you can take handfuls of it off at a time like I do. You roll out your dough until it is thin, but not super thin. On that you put your cheese and other typical pizza toppings. Then you fold it all up into a nice pocket, carefully sealing any edges, and bake.

I usually bake calzones at the same time and temp as our pizzas, 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Serve with small bowls of marinara sauce for dipping.

Bread Sticks

After your dough has risen, you shape them into whatever shape you want. Add any toppings like garlic butter or olive oil and parmesan cheese and let the bread sticks rise about 20 minutes or so before putting them into the oven.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Cheesy Bread

Ok, so essentially this is pizza with no sauce or toppings other than cheese. That doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. Roll out your dough on your pizza stone and slather it with garlic, olive oil, and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. When slightly cooled, use your pizza cutter to slice any way you want.

Stromboli

I discovered this way to use pizza dough about a year ago when I was needing something for pizza night that wasn’t pizza. It is really good. Here are a few different recipes with various ingredients (don’t used store bought doughs, homemade is super easy):

I never realized there were so many stromboli options! I’ll be trying some of these soon. How about you?

11 Picture Books About Art

11 Picture Books About Art - Vicki-Arnold.com

Lots of kids like art. Making art is a pastime that my children love. They like to draw, paint, and sculpt. They are currently enrolled in an art class through our homeschool co-op. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to gain hands-on learning experience with someone who is passionate about art and does it very well himself.

I guess that is beside the point, but maybe not. If you have a budding artist, I’d highly encourage you to look into a local art class. If that is not an option, find some resources to encourage your artist online. I recently put together a list of drawing tutorials and also use Pinterest to curate art lessons/ideas for my kids.

I came across some fun books recently at the library about kids and art, so I decided to do a little more researching and see what other titles I could find. Here’s a list of 11 picture books about art to look for on your next library trip.

Picture Books About Art

Amelia Bedelia’s Masterpiece by Herman Parish, pictures by Lynn Sweat – I’m finding that people either love or hate Amelia Bedelia. I loved her as a kid, but may find her kind of annoying as an adult…it’s hard to say really. I do enjoy the play on words that is commonly found in these books though.

Louise Loves Art written and illustrated by Kelly Light – This sweet little book shows that even when your art doesn’t turn out just like you want it to or if a tragedy strikes it, it is still art and can be awesome.

Draw by Raul Colon – This is a beautiful, wordless picture book. Kids who love animals and/or dream of safaris in Africa will enjoy this one. Wordless picture books can feel awkward to read, but Caroline over on The Library Adventure recently wrote a post on how to use wordless picture books with special needs kids and I think her tips are good for most kids in general, too.

The Museum by Susan Verde, art by Peter H. Reynolds – I love how the little girl in this story experiences the art she sees in the art museum.

You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser – Another fun, wordless book. This one follows the travels of a little girl’s yellow balloon when it becomes loose in front of the Metropolitan Museum and the guardian of the balloon as he attempts to chase it down.

Ella’s Trip to the Museum by Elaine Clayton – Ella and her small class visit an art museum. A good reminder to parents that when we want our kids to experience something, it may not look like we expect.

Art Dog by Thacher Hurd – Arthur guards the Dogopolis Museum of Art. When a famous painting is stolen (the Mona Woofa), he uses his art to catch the criminals responsible. A pretty silly read full of imagination.

Morris the Artist by Lore Segal, pictures by Boris Kulikow – A book about how sharing can lead to a lot of fun. It’s also a good book for discussing things like thinking of others when choosing things like birthday presents and not being selfish, which the main character could use some work on…

I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry – Giant Squid is the best artist in the ocean, but someone isn’t so happy with his art.

Meet Me at the Art Museum by David Goldin – A ticket stub and name tag take us on an after hours tour of the art museum to see all the exhibits.

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle – I love all the colorful animals in this fun Eric Carle book.

Have you read any of these? Any of them you will be adding to your reading list?

Reusable Options for Disposable Household Items

Reusable Options for Household Items - vicki-arnold.com

I’ve heard it said that we live in a disposable world. So many people are caught up in the buy new cycle that creates a lot of waste. Heck, it’s something I fight sometimes. So I know there is some truth to the statement.

One of the best things to come out of the “green” movement is the awareness for reusable items that used to be common place, but are not anymore. Probably the biggest example is cloth diapers, but it goes far beyond your baby’s bottom.

Let’s look at this a little closer.

Reusable Options for the Home

Paper towels

You have a couple options here. We use wash clothes and dish towels for just about everything in our kitchen. The exception I make is when I have a leaky meat package, I use paper towels for that yuck.

For cleaning things like windows, floors, and bathroom surfaces, I use rags. I save old t-shirts, socks, and some types of knit clothing for this purpose.

You can also make your own cloth paper towels if you want something with a little more style. You have the option of making them look just like a roll of paper towels or you can go with another, super easy option.

Napkins

We don’t use napkins much at all in our house. I will put them out when we have guests over…and I remember that other people like to use napkins. We simply use utensils and then wipe up at the sink when needed.

If you need a replacement for napkins, you can use cloth napkins. They sell them in many home goods stores or you can make your own.

Swiffer Pads

Do you have a Swiffer? You don’t have to buy the replacement pads ever again if you make your own. I will likely use this for the Swiffer style mop I have, it’s not an “official” Swiffer, but it works just great for what I need.

Bowl Covers

No need to mess with that ridiculous plastic wrap to cover your leftovers or to carry your salad to the church potluck any more. You can make your own bowl covers. Bonus: they are cute!

Snack & Sandwich Bags

I’ll admit, we still use these. We use them in a variety of ways, but mostly for snacks or lunch items that are needed on the go. You can find a lot of options on Etsy for reusable snack bags or you can make your own.

Lunch Bags

If you don’t have a lunch box and use paper bags for lunch, you could consider switching to either a lunch box, small cooler, or make your own reusable lunch bag with this tutorial. If you are feeling all fancy-pants, you can even make your own faux gold leather lunch bag. Of course.

Grocery Bags

Reusable grocery bags became a big thing several years ago. Maybe it is our area, but I actually don’t see these that regularly. I don’t tend to use them except when I shop at Costco since they don’t have bags and most of the boxes load to be too heavy for me.

Again, you can buy some or make your own.

Produce Bags

Ditch those thin, ridiculously clingy bags for this breathable option. They are a DIY, but a pretty simple project.

Tea Bags

This was a brand new one to me! I’ve seen tea balls and other tea diffusers, which could be an easier to clean option, but these reusable fabric tea bags are simply adorable. You use loose leaf tea with these, you can find this at bulk herb stores online.

Do you use any of these? Are you willing to try? Not only are these better for the environment (less waste), many of these can even save you money in the long run. Pick one and see how you like it.

Free How to Draw Tutorials

40+ Free How to Draw Tutorials - People, animals, flowers, and more - Vicki-Arnold.com

Art is one of those subjects that seems to intimidate a lot of homeschool moms, that or they simply feel inadequate to teach. A hands-on art class is a fantastic tool, but if you can’t afford it or fit it into your schedule, the internet can certainly help.

One recommendation before jumping into the free tutorials. If you haven’t heard about See The Light art DVDs, those are a fantastic resource as well. I reviewed one of the classes previously, so you can read my review of the Pointillism class to get a better idea of what they are.

This post will be part of a series that I will put together over time. This post will focus on DRAWING tutorials. Look for more art tutorial round-ups soon-ish.

How to Draw Tutorials

How to Draw People

How to Draw Animals

How to Draw Flowers

How to Draw Other Objects

Sunday Psalms – Psalm 113:3

Sunday Psalms - Psalm 113:3 - vicki-arnold.com

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised. – Psalm 113:3

Books for Duck Dynasty Fans

Books for Duck Dynasty Fans - For All Ages | vicki-arnold.com

We happen to be big Duck Dynasty fans here. We love to laugh and they make us laugh. With the success of Duck Dynasty, there are beards, ducks, and camo everywhere…inlcuding books. I have actually started a collection of Robertson family books.

Today, I’m sharing a list of books for other Duck Dynasty fans to consider adding to their wishlist or library list.

Story Prompts to Encourage Creative Writing

20 Prompts to Encourage Creative Writing for Kids - vicki-arnold.com

You can probably imaging that I like to write. I kind of love it, in fact, but I know not everyone does. Some kids are reluctant to write, they can’t seem to make a connection with what’s in their imagination to their hand to put it on paper. Some draw a blank when a blank piece of paper is put in front of them.

Some just think it is boring

That’s when a story prompt can be of help. Simple questions or statements that get their creative juices flowing. Here’s a list of story prompts to help the process along:

Story Prompts That Ask a Question

  • What would happen if you woke up suddenly with one super power?
  • How would you spend $1,000 dollars?
  • What would the perfect meal be?
  • Where would you travel if money and time weren’t a problem?
  • What fictional character would you like to live a day in their life?
  • What is your idea of the perfect day?
  • What holiday would you like to create?
  • How would you like to change the world?
  • Which would you rather be, rich and sad or poor and happy?
  • What time period would you like to live in?

Statement Story Prompts

  • I had never been so surprised in my life.
  • There was only one option if they wanted to find the buried treasure, they must…
  • Suddenly, everyone in the room jumped.
  • The best story I ever heard went like this.
  • If there was one thing I dreaded most in school, it would be…
  • He felt the wind in his hair as he rode along the trail.
  • My family always does this when we celebrate Thanksgiving.
  • The little dog scampered up the hill and what he saw made him run even faster.
  • My favorite thing to do in the whole wide world is…
  • If I could witness one event in history, I would pick…

Get creative and you can probably come up with some prompts that involve your child’s interests. Involve superheroes, animals, or family members and see what kind of creative story your young writer can come up with.

How to Make Your Own Pizza Dough + 20 Ways to Top It!

How to Make Your Own Pizza Dough Plus 20 Ways to Top It!

For a long time, we had pizza weekly. Sometimes even twice because we would have homemade pizza one night and then have pizza when we did our Costco shopping. While Costco pizza is a super good buy, it is still cheaper to make your own.

Especially if you are picking up your ingredients at Costco. Which I do.

We kind of got burned out on pizza, but it is now finding its way onto our meal plans again. I used to have the recipe memorized, but since it has been so long the most recent time I made it, it kind of flopped because I thought I could remember the recipe. Turns out, no.

Don’t you worry, I grabbed my recipe card to share with you here. This started as a dinner roll recipe for me and I tweaked it a bit to make it a yummy pizza crust.

Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 1 1/4 c. warm water
  • 3 t. yeast
  • 2-3 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 6 T. butter, cut in pieces and at room temp OR 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 4 cups flour

Put the yeast in the bowl of your mixer and pour the warm water over it (do not get this too hot, it will kill your yeast). Let this sit for a minute or two, this is called letting your yeast bloom.

Add the sugar to your water/yeast mixture. Drop in the butter pieces or pour in your olive oil. Sprinkle your flour on top and then the salt. Using your dough hook, mix up the dough until it is soft and holds together nicely. I usually do this for about 8-10 minutes. Sometimes you need to add a little extra flour or a little water to get your dough the right consistency.

Cover the mixing bowl with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and let sit for about 1 1/2 hours. The dough should be double the size it started from. This dough is enough to make 2 large pizzas on my large pizza stones.

Spread your dough out on your oiled or seasoned pans/stones and then top them with whatever toppings you want.

I usually bake the pizzas at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Ways to Top Your Pizza Crust

Our favorite ways to top our pizza crust:

  • mozzarella, pepperoni, and pineapple with regular pizza sauce
  • chicken, bell peppers, red onion, pineapple, and mozzarella with barbecue sauce
  • chicken, bacon, and mozzarella on ranch dressing
  • brussel sprout, bacon, mozzarella, and parmesan

There are many creative ways to top your homemade dough. Here is a list of ideas to get you going beyond the traditional cheese and/or pepperoni: