Sunday, November 29, 2009

Game Day 2009

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we celebrate what we call "Game Day".  It's basically a day when  the kids come over and we all invite our friends over.  Then we eat and play as many games as we can.  I honestly can't remember when and how it started.  We did discuss yesterday and it's at least been 7 years that we've been doing this.

We start out in the morning with breakfast stratas.  They are basically egg, bread and cheese casseroles, but they are actually so much more. The one on the left is sausage and monterrey jack cheese and the one on the right is spinach and gruyere cheese.  Both of these are delicious and are a work of art when you pull them out of the oven.  The secret...shallots.

The rest of the day consists of lots of appetizers and eventually leftovers with a freshly cooked turkey.  Yes, I cook another turkey.  Why?  That's a really good question and the answer is because I'm a little crazy.  You see, once you put leftover turkey in the starts to taste like refrigerator to me.  I love a real turkey sandwich and the only way to get that for me is to make another turkey.  And let me tell you, my sandwich was incredible and worth the effort.  It also makes sure I have lots of leftovers to hand out.

Finally, this brings us to the games part of the day.  Over the years, we have built up quite a collection of games and this year was no exception.  We added Wits and Wagers and Likewise to our collection.  Both were very fun, but I think Wits and Wagers turned out to be the best of the new games.

Cait and I discussed all of the games we like to play and came up with our top ten list of games.  Here they are:

Top 10 Games List

1.  Pit - This game has been around for years.  I remember hearing about it when I was a kid.  Just never played it until Krissy introduced us to it.  Object of the game is to corner one of the grain commodities listed on the cards.  You do this by trading with the other players.  It's very fast paced and tends to get a tad loud, so play this one when there aren't any little ones taking a nap.

2.  Loaded Questions - This is a newer game, but it has quickly become a family favorite.   A questions is read out loud and all the players write down their answer to that questions.  The person who is "it" for that round, must decide who gave which answer.  They get to move ahead one spot for every correct answer.  I'm pleased to say we have some very witty folks in my family and some of the answers just leave us all in tears with laughter.  You also find out some very interesting things as well.

3.  The Boat Game - This is a German game with the actual title of Rette Sich Wer Kanin.  Which I believe translates to "Every Man for Himself".  We just call it The Boat Game (darn, we are so clever).  This object of this game is to be the player that survives in the lifeboats to make it to land.  Several boats start out the game and you load up your tokens in the different boats.  You then create temporary alliances to vote the weakest player out of each boat hoping that your tokens survive long enough to make it across the board.  If you get this game on line, make sure you get English instructions....helps a lot.

4.  Snorta - This is great game for a group.  This one requires you to pick an animal from the available pieces.  Every player then makes their animal noise.  The object of the game is to get rid of your cards and to do this you must remember and make your opponents animal noise before they do.  You can't help laughing as people baa, oink and moo their way around the table.  Don't expect to play this game all evening.  Two times is our usual max for this game as our brains quickly turn to mush trying to remember all the right noises.

5.  Cranium - You play this game as teams and what works best about this game is that it appeals to all the different brain type.  If you are a "fact' person, there is a category of questions that just asks you True/False and Multiple Choice questions.  If you are good with words, there is a "Wheel of Fortune" type category.  If you are good at charades or acting, there is a category for that and if you are good at art, there is a category that lets you draw your answers.  Granted, you will have to do all the categories at some point during the game, but you will have a chance to do well at some point.

6.  Catch Phrase - This is a fast-paced game of words.  Basically password with a beeping timer.  You pass the word disc around the table giving clues to your teammates that will get them to guess the word displayed in the little window.  As you play, the electronic timer beeps faster and faster.  You lose if you are the one with the disc in your hand when the timer goes off.  We have decided we need to upgrade our version, cause the little window is proving to be a challenge for some of our older players.  There's a bit of focusing going on that tends to eat up time.

7.  Trivial Pursuit - This game has been around in the main stream long enough to now be a classic.  Many of my family members are trivia buffs (can you say Jeopardy junkies)and this game never goes out of style.

8.  Apples to Apples - Probably the simplest and best game for a large group.  Easy to explain and always fun to play.  Each player is given 7 cards listing places, people, events and things.  Then the player who is "it" for the round, selects a card with a descriptive term on it.  Each player gives one of their cards to the "it" player that best fits the descriptive term.  Your goal is to select the most appropriate card so that your card is chosen as the one that best fits the descriptive term.   Keep in mind that one appeals to a teenager might be different that one appeals to a grandma.

9.  Bang - This is probably one of the most complicated games to learn.  In fact, since Krissy had the boys, we haven't been able to play this game.  It takes a long time to understand and play, but once we got going it was a blast.  Truth be told, we've only played this game once while on vacation several years ago, but it made such an impression that we all still talk about playing it of these days.

10.  Wits and Wagers - Newest addition to the list.  A question is asked that always has a number as the answer.  For example:  How many feet below sea level is Death Valley?  Everyone writes down their guess.  The answers are laid out in order (lowest to highest) on a board.  You then players place bets on which answer they this is closest to the correct answer without going over.  After 7 questions, the person with the most chips wins.  It was very fun and actually quite interesting to figure out the logic and strategy for betting.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have a simply wonderful Thanksgiving.  May your turkey be moist, you potatoes creamy and may you have friends and family surrounding you.

This is my table setting for today.  Caity set the table and I went outside and cut some interesting branches for the centerpiece.  I think it turned out very nice and I also didn't have to go buy any flowers this year.

On Thanksgiving, I give everyone and ornament.  It dresses up the table and I like the idea of of knowing which ornaments came from which Thanksgiving (as I give one to myself a well.)

This year's ornament is a sparkling reindeer.  I love the colors.

Stuffing or Dressing:  I recently learned that it's called stuffing if you put it in the turkey and dressing if you don't.  What do you make?  Stuffing or dressing?  Just curious.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lori Made THE Blog!

See this picture here.  This is my cousin Lori with Pioneer Woman.  It's a great picture right.

But do you want to know the real interesting thing about this picture.  I did not get this picture from Lori.

Guess where I got it.  Go ahead...guess.

If you said I got it from Pioneer Woman's blog, you'd be right.  I can't even believe it.  Lori is as flabbergasted as am I.

To see the post for yourself, just click here.

This is just so cool.  In a small way, it's a little bit of a pay back to Lori for doing this enormous favor for me.  She is now seen by thousands of people who will no doubt say..."What a pretty woman!"

(I'm typing this so fast, there are probably tons of typos, but I just do not care today.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Believe It or Not

Lori waited 6 hours in line yesterday to get Pioneer Woman to sign a cookbook.  I can't believe she had the incredible patients to stand there that long.  She did say she met some amazing new friends.  One of the families near her drove in from Iowa.  The 1st person in line got there at 7:30am and the signing started at 1:00pm.  She said there were people with babies and children of all ages.  The older woman in front of her hadn't eaten in 12 hours.  Ree sure has some crazy, dedicated fans.

Marlboro Man and the two boys were there as well Ree, who Lori said was so sweet to everyone.  There were an estimated 700 people there and everyone had multiple books that needed signing.   After signing so many books, I would imagine her hand would just fall off.  (And my hand gets tired after writing a note these days.)

Lori took a bunch of pictures, so I'll post them as soon as we figure out a way to transfer them.

And Lori, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I will cherish this book always for it represents a lot of love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pioneer Woman and the Mall of America

As most of you know, I'm a big fan of Pioneer Woman.  She is currently on her "Griswold Family" Book Tour and for some crazy reason, she is not coming to the Detroit area (go figure?).  The closest she is getting to Detroit is Chicago and that event is happening...tomorrow.  So, as you can guess, I won't be there.

What to do....what to do?  PW is visiting the Mall of America in Minneapolis on Saturday, November 21 and I've got 4 wonderful, beautiful and talented cousins who live in and around Minneapolis.  Maybe one of them could help.

Riding to my rescue is my cousin Lori.  For those of you who have traveled to the bottom of my blog page and found that picture of the adorable little girl...that is Lori.  Besides being my champion, she is also the originator of the term Mush-Push.  With camera and cookbook in hand, my sweet cousin will be braving the crowds at the MOA (which is crazy naturally and probably a bit crazier with Ree in the house) to get me an autograph and hopefully pictures that I will be sharing with you. 

A big, giant THANK YOU to Lori for so generously volunteering to help me.  I love you bunches.  I seriously hope the line isn't as crazy as it was at The WalMart. 

P.S. Caity made PW's pico de galo last night and used it to make an absolutely delicious guacamole.  (I couldn't wait until Christmas to give the girls their cookbooks.  I'm like a 4 year old, when it comes to giving gifts.  I can barely hold in my excitement.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pirate Radio Movie Review

Pirate Radio
Grade: B

We saw Pirate Radio on Sunday afternoon and really enjoyed it.  It's nothing profound, but a nice story, with quirky characters and a killer soundtrack.

This is the story of a ship based radio station broadcasting off the coast of England in the late 60's, bringing rock and roll to the people of Britian.  The ship is inhabited by an eclectic crew of DJs including Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the lone American DJ, Rhys Ifans as Gavin (back from his "drug tour of American") and Bill Nighy as Quentin, the rascal in charge of these rogues of the sea. The movie opens with Quentin's young godson Carl, joining the crew as he was just expelled from school and his mother clearly, doesn't know what to do with him.

The movie is directed and written by Richard Curtis, the writer behind Love Actually and Bridget Jones Diary, so how could I not like this movie.  You will recognize the video collage technique that was used at the end of Love Actually sprinkled about in Pirate Radio. 

Can I tell you my favorite part about these Brit is the figuring out of who's who in real life and where I've seen them before.  Bill Nighy was of course in Love Acutally, but also there is Jack Davenport as Twatt...he played Commader Norrington in Pirates of the Caribbean and Rhys Ifans was brilliant as Spike in Notting Hill.  Also enjoyed the combination of Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thomspon (my dear Emma).  Granted they were never on camera together, but it's always interesting when ex's are in movies together. (Harry Potter as well.)

The movie is great fun...but with it's R rating, not for the whole family.  I think the soundtrack would be a great Christmas present to your favorite Rock and Roller.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bolognese Sauce

I have this spaghetti sauce recipe that I've developed over the years. I'm actually quite proud of it and it's been a family fav. A couple months back, I happened upon Pastor Ryan's Bolognese Sauce over on Pioneer Woman's blog. This sauce is so divine (pardon my little pun), that I think I am officially retiring my sauce in exchange for his.

It has a deep rich color and meaty texture that make this sauce absolutely delicious.  The secrets are shaved carrots to help fill out the texture and a cup of milk which acts as a tenderizor to the meat.  (This photo reminds me that I need a new dutch oven pot.  I'm using an old Revereware pot that I picked up at an auction years ago.  It's very thin and doesn't distribute the heat very well.  So, I'm adding this to my list of kitchen stuff I want...along with the food processor.  Santa...are you listening?)

If you are looking for a hearty winter fare, please try this sauce.  You will love it.

And on a completely different subject, do we have any Project Runway fans out there?  Who do you think is going to win this season?  Althea, Irina or Carol Hannah?  (Yes, Irina is a #itch...but she does have talent.)  I'm curious what you think.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Favorite Actress

Have I ever told you that I love Emma Thompson?  She came to mind recently as Krissy had started one of those..."What 5 movies would you take to a deserted island" games.  (Keeping in mind, that the island would have to have electricity, a DVD player and a TV.)

The more I thought about my favorite movie list, the more I thought about my two favorite...take your breath away movie moments.  Both moments were created by the remarkable and amazing Emma Thompson.

The first was in Sense and Sensibility.  It's near the end of the movie when Elinor finds out the Edward is not married to Lucy Steele.  That moment...with an intake of breath...she manages to express such emotion.  I am of course, breathless with her and in a puddle on the floor. 

The second is in Love Actually. There is a scene, where she is opening a Christmas present from her husband.  She is thinking it is the gold necklace she accidently found in his coat pocket.  It is in fact...not.  The realization and heartbreak that she holds in, is astounding.  Again, she carries me with her and I am lost for her.

I do, of course realize there are many other brilliant actress today, but no one has moved me that way that Emma has.  So, I love Emma Thompson.

As for the 5 movies I picked for my deserted island...they are:

Pride and Prejudice
Love Actually
Princess Bride
Roman Holiday

If this list says anything about me at all, it is that I am a hopeless romantic!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Garden Bloggers...What do you think?

To all you garden bloggers out there...Please take a look at the following blog.  I got this link from my friend and kind of sister-in-law, Mary.  It's put together by four universities (Washington State, Michigan State, University of Minnesota and Virginia Tech).  The Garden Professors is the name of the blog.  Click on the link and give them a visit and then come back and let me know what you think.

"Why", you may ask...well at this point, it's just a brainstorming kind of thing.  Mary and I are having ongoing conversations about gardens (it's one of Mary's area of expertise) and blogging (which is one of my favorite past time). 

Thanks for your help.  You are truly wonderful!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Card of the Week

Caity had a bridal shower to go to last Sunday.  She always likes to coordinate her wrapping paper with the card.  So...we talk and she tells me that she's going with creams.  I stop by Joann's to get some cool cream based papers and I select some very cool gold and cream patterned paper and I create this card.

I got the idea from some pre-made flower appliques that were at Joann's and I thought, heck, I could make those myself.  And so I used my various flower punches to make these flowers and then layered them to create individual flowers.  I was very please with how it turned. 
I called Cait to tell her I finished her card.  It was at this point that she asked... "Did we ever finish talking about the colors?"  Of course, I thought we had, but in fact we hadn't.  Her paper was cream and silver with black ribbon.

Uh-oh.  I jumped a little to quick on this one.  Back to the store to pick out silver patterned paper. And then using the same concept, I created this card. 
I gave them both to her and told her she could use either one.

I do still prefer the gold version, but the silver one turned out pretty cool as well.  I really liked making these flower.  They might be popping up on my cards for awhile.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This is the Week that Was

It was very hard to not post anything last week while I had my giveaway up. I sure wish Blogger allowed you to create multiple pages for your blog.  Seems to be it's biggest weakness from what I've read on the internet.  Otherwise, I love it.  It's extremely simple to use. could use more templates, but that's another story.

I have lots I want to share. This should probably be three different posts, but what the heck.  I've got to catch up somehow.

Now that I'm healed and feel so much better (and I've managed to keep off 5 pounds too), I want to show you our very cool room at the Inn at Red Hills.

This was one of the king size Select Comfort beds with tons of pillows.

And this is a blurry picture of Austin, just loving rolling around in the pillows.  He and I had some of our best moment frolicking on this pillows.  He especially loved it when he was nakey boy.
This is a picture of the trees in my backyard.  Aren't they spectacular.  All these leaves have since fallen and now cover my yard, but for a few days my yard was just ablaze of color.
My next door neighbor has a little barn in her yard which she has never done anything with.  It just sits there painted a brownish color and I never really much thought about it even though I see it every day. 

This summer I noticed my neighbors who live behind me where re-fencing their yard to incorporate the little barn.  Being the interested sort...I ventured out to see what was happening.  Seems Elaine just loves this little barn and proposed a purchase to the owner.  They went to the city and the city okay'd it and now they own extra yard and a barn.  Elaine has an eye for color and detail and loves gardening.  Here is what she done to that plain little barn.

Isn't it adorable.  She's done such a great job fixing it up and decorating it.  She plans on using it for her garden storage and to start her seeds in next spring. They installed a window on the far side of the barn (south) and she thinks it will ba great for starting seedlings.  I agree with her. 
I feel very fortunate by these changes, because this is what I now see from my deck. Way better view.
Here are some photos of our very Star Wars Halloween.  Ryan you have to understand..."that this is all for you".

And close out this post, a picture taken by Ryan. 

He was just giggling with delight when he showed me that he had taken a picture of his feet.  This started a string of odd floor photos that have since been deleted.  But he had so much fun.

It was a really good week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Watching The Food Network

Nothing gets me more inspired to cook than watching a little Food Network.  There are a few cooks that I just love to watch.  There are also a few I have to turn off (Rachael Ray comes to mind).  Saturday morning I watched the Barefoot Contessa.  Her real name is Ina Garten and I just love to watch her cook.  Besides having this amazing kitchen, she has a calm about her that makes her cooking appear so easy and doable.  She just seems so centered and elegant.

Anyway, Saturday she made a Potato Leek Soup with Garlic Bread that both looked delicious.  Sunday afternoon I stopped at Papa Joe's and picked up all the ingredients and spent the rest of the day cooking my butt off.  And boy, it was worth the effort.  The soup was restaurant good and hearty enough to fill up my meat and potato guys.  Here's the link to the recipe.  Give it a try, you will love it.  Make sure you make the crispy shallots to top the soup.  They really add a wonderful flavor.

And thanks Krissy for the loan of the food processor.  One of these days, I'm gonna get me one of those new fangled contraptions.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

And Zie Vinner Is...

Drum Role Please.....

Commentor #19  (kimberbee) is the winner of Pioneer Woman Cooks.  

kimberbee said...I read blogs to keep up with friends and family. Most of the blogs I read are from people who live far away so it makes me feel more in touch! Maybe one day I'll start my own quilting blog...if I ever have the time!

I used the random generator over at to pick the winner.  I haven't figured out how to copy the little widget over to my blog, so I just used it on their website.

I loved reading all your wonderful comments about blogging, many of your thoughts and feelings are exactly what I like about blogging as well.  Thank you to everyone for participating and congratulations kimberbee.  I hope you enjoy the cookbook.   (BTW - I pre-ordered the book and they said they would start shipping on 11/2, which is tomorrow, so I'll get it sent to you as soon as I receive it.)