cover pic

cover pic
Showing posts with label potluck dinner parties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potluck dinner parties. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Learning Bunco!

In my quest to bring people together to enjoy one another's company face-to-face, some friends and I decided to start up a Bunco group.  When our family lived in a charming Southern suburb decades ago, Bunco was the big thing with the SAHM crowd.  I was never a part of one, but I did create Bunco-themed soaps to sell as prizes at these Bunco parties.  They sounded like a lot of fun, so when a friend approached me with an interest a few months ago, I jumped on board.

There is a plethora of information on the Web regarding this game.  We thought that would make it simple to learn the rules, but what we discovered is that nearly every website has variations of the rules, which made things rather confusing for all of us newbies.  However, the themes and food and decorating ideas I found on blogs and Pinterest were fantastic.  There are so many fun things I'd like to try the next time I host one of these gatherings, and maybe I'll actually have the time when I'm not overseeing so many outdoor projects that are happening simultaneously. 

I didn't actually have a Bunco game myself, so I was fortunate enough to find free downloadable printables of score sheets, table markers, and extra lists of rules.  These can be found at

Although I found adorable homemade cupcakes with sugar cubes made to look like dice, I took a shortcut and bought miniature cupcakes from Weis and placed real dice on them that we can use to play with later.  The awesome edible ones found on Pinterest can be made by following the instructions at

All kinds of prizes can be used to award the various winners (and losers, and random participants).  Some groups simply pitch in $5 each month and the prizes are monetary.  Since this was our first time to gather and play, and it was at our farmhouse with our bottom refrigerator shelf full of farm fresh eggs, every prize was a carton of brown eggs.  I look forward to playing this again next month, especially now that we all have a better idea of how to play and keep score, and I especially look forward to hosting again and trying out some Pinterest Bunco inspiration.

For those of you interested in hosting your own group or who just need some fresh ideas, these are  some of the pins I collected:

And just to show you what was going on in my backyard in the hours leading up to our first Bunco Night (along with another wicked thunderstorm and broken water pipes on the other side of our property): 

This is where our pool had been, now covered in grass seed and straw with last year's garden down below covered in plastic to kill weeds until we can get some raised beds built for a flower garden.  This job was literally finished just a few hours before my game-playing friends arrived, and although it's an eyesore, it's still a vast improvement from what it looked like last week.  Five days ago you'd have thought we had a mini-landfill in our back yard.

I'm now in the fun dreaming and planning stages of a backyard oasis.  Back to Pinterest I go.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Potluck Weekend

We attended two fantastic fall potluck dinner parties this weekend: a Bilbo Baggins Birthday Party & a Stone Soup Supper.  The weather could not have been better, the food was fabulous, and it was so good to catch up with old friends again, as well as make new acquaintances.  Both parties were in wooded settings with lots of room for all the children to run and play and make noise, and each one was so unique.  I'm including the recipes of the foods we prepared and took along, but what I really wish I had was a cookbook filled with the numerous recipes used and shared this weekend.  Despite what many people believe, potluck dinners are still alive and thriving here in rural America.

 Vegetable Bars
Cover a cookie sheet with 2 packages Pillsbury crescent rolls.  (Press seams together to form one large crust.)  Bake 7-8 minutes @ 350.
Mix 3/4 cup Miracle Whip with 2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese and 1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dry dressing mix.  Spread the mixture on cooled crust.
Top with finely chopped veggies and shredded cheese.  I used broccoli, cherry tomatoes from our garden, black olives, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. 

Pumpkin Dip
Beat 2 cups powdered sugar with 1 (8oz.) package softened cream cheese with mixer till blended.  Add 1 can pumpkin (15 oz.), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger.  Blend well.  Serve with ginger snaps, graham crackers, or sliced apples.

Peanut Butter Pie
Prepare 1 box vanilla pudding (cook kind) according to directions.  Add 1 cup peanut butter to it while it's hot.  Pour into prepared chocolate graham cracker pie crust.  Cool.  You can top with whipped cream or cool whip.  I just added 2 crushed Halloween Oreo cookies to the top without the whipped cream.

Shells & Vegetables Italiano
Prepare 1 box Velveeta shells and cheese as directedToss shells and cheese with 3 cups of blanched broccoli florets, 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes, 1 (3 oz.) can halved, pitted ripe black olives, 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing, and 1/2 cup sour cream.  I chill it, but it can be served warm immediately after making.

Honey Balls
Visit my post from June 9, 2015 for the recipe found here.

***All of these dishes were simple enough to put together in one morning.  It only took me about three hours to prepare everything, wash the dishes, and do a quick photo shoot.

Scenes from the Bilbo Baggins Birthday Party:

The children had to treck through the massive spider webs to kill all the enormous "spiders" popping up all over the place (made from black water balloons.)

Our 11 year old looked like Bilbo after the spiders were finished with him; although, to hear him tell  it, HE finished off the spiders.

Entertainment at the Stone Soup Supper:

The hosts' alpacas finally had babies this year (crias).  And there were also goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, an enormous wrestling mat that the younger children covered, buzzing beehives, a guesthouse/treehouse, and more to see. 

What a terrific way to spend an autumn weekend.  What fun things did you do?