Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award


Thanks to my good friend Jenna Hayes at Bows and Leopard for nominating me for another award. 

Here's how it's s'pose to go:
1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself
3. Thank the blogger who nominated you
4. Add the Versatile Blogger Award to your blog post
I am pretty sure I don't even read 15 blogs so I will just nominate the same ones as before plus a few extra.
  1.  Bows and Leopard
  2. do it my way, or else 
  3. All Things Homie 
  4. Craft Hope 
  5. Denise Made This 
  6. Then She Made 
  7. Six Sisters Stuff 
  8. MODG  - Hilarious stuff! 
  9. Happy HapaMama
  10. Dindin Does
OK, that's as good as it's gonna get.  I was scraping just to get those. LOL

7 Random Facts
  1. I was  born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana
  2. Both sets of my Grandparents died before I was 8 years old
  3. My favorite food and beer is of Mexican origins
  4. I lived in Scottsdale, Arizona until I was 7 years old
  5. I grew up mostly in Napa, California
  6. I despise spending money on things needed for the car
  7. I lived in Sacramento, California for 12 years
Whew! That was tough to come up with. Thanks again to Jenna Rink for nominating me!

XO


Grandma Merry's Beef Stroganoff

K's most favorite meal is Beef Stroganoff. I may have mentioned in the past, before K and I got together, I didn't make anything that didn't come out of a box. So after I had been cooking for a while, I wanted to try my hand at her favorite dinner.

Her sister provided me with their Grandma Merry's recipe. It is not only delicious, but pretty easy too! It all cooks in one pot making the clean-up quick and easy!

I forgot to take a pic when I cooked it, so these are the leftovers.

Here is the recipe:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp instant minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced (I do more of a chop... I'm not a huge fan of the texture of mushrooms so the smaller the better.)
  • 1/4 cup red table wine (I just use water.)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups uncooked wide noodles
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Paprika (optional - I opt out of this.) 
  • Chopped Parsley (optional - I opt out of this, too.)
Melt butter in large pot. Add ground beef, instant minced onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until meat is no longer red.

While meat and mushrooms are cooking, microwave 1 and 1/4* cup water for about 3 minutes or until boiling. Remove from microwave and add 2 bouillon cubes and juice of the lemon. Stir until bullion cubes are fully dissolved.

*The additional 1/4 cup of water is to substitute for the wine. If you are making it with wine, I suggest not heating it with the water and simply pour it into the pot with the beef bouillon mixture.

Once the meat is cooked, pour beef bouillon mixture into pot and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Add noodles (and more water as needed), cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until noodles are done.

Add sour cream. (I usually do a little more than 1/2 a cup. Ssshhhh)... Add salt and pepper to taste. (The bouillon cubes make it pretty salty so be sure to taste test before you add the salt and pepper.)

Serve with a side of garlic bread or simply warm french bread with a schmear of butter. A perfect cold and rainy comfort food meal! 

So what it's on a paper plate, Teenah. It's all I had at work.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cover and Pass


One thing you should know about me is I love almost all games. I say almost all because I don't really like the games I am not good at. LOL That's not true, even if I am not very good at a game, as long as it's fun and involves laughter, I will like it. I grew up in a card playing family, but I love a board game and LIVE for game nights with friends! 

I sound competitive, and I can be as long as it's fun competition. Once it gets serious, it's no longer fun. You should see my best friend's husband and I play the game of Sorry. It is cut throat and takes forever to finish a game, but it is FUN!

In my "A Week with Inez" post, I mentioned we played cards. One of the games we played was Cover and Pass. This game is one of my favorites, so I thought I would share the fun and give the directions. 

Players: 3+ or teams

You need three decks of cards with Jokers. (It is much easier to shuffle if all three decks are the same size.)

The game consists of 7 "rounds". Each round has a different goal and one more card than the last.

The rounds are:
  1. Deal 6 cards, get 2 sets of 3
  2. Deal 7 cards, get 1 set of 3, on set of 4
  3. Deal 8 cards, get 2 runs of 4
  4. Deal 9 cards, get 3 sets of 3
  5. Deal 10 cards, get 2 sets of 3, 1 run of 4
  6. Deal 11 cards, get 1 set of 7
  7. Deal 12 cards, get 1 run of 8
Once the cards are dealt the dealer turns over the top card from the stock pile and the player to the left of the dealer starts play. If the player wants the card the dealer flips up, they pick up the card and discard a card from their hand. If they do not want that card, they "cover" it with the top card of the stock pile and "pass" it to the player on their left. They then pick up the top card of the stock pile and play as normal, discarding as they see fit. (There should never be more than on card in the discard pile at all times.) This continues until one person has gotten rid of all their cards.

You want to wait to play your cards when you have completed all the runs and sets required for the round, don't play your runs and sets as you get them. Once a player is down on the board, the goal is to then get rid of the remainder of their cards. They do this by playing additional runs and sets of 3 or playing on what other players have laid down. (It is easiest if you just play the cards on what other players have laid down, rather than starting your own additional piles -- Points are not determined by the cards played.)

Wilds: Jokers & 2's are wild. In rounds 1-5 you may play one wild per run or set unless the wild is played as a "natural" - in other words, a two is played as a two, not a wild. In rounds 7 & 8, you may use up to three wilds, unless the 4th wild is played as a natural.

Once a player gets rid of all the cards in their hand, the round is over. The cards left in the other player's hands will count against them.*

Scoring:

Wild (Jokers) = 50
Wild (2's) = 20
Aces = 20 (may be played as high or low)
K-10 = 10
9-2 = 5

*If playing partners/teams, the team members/partner of the player that goes out, does not count the points left in their hand.

The player/team with the least amount of points at the end of Round 7 wins.

I hope you'll play. It's a lot of fun and guarenteed to bring hours of entertainment. K was not a huge fan of this game at first. She said the cards almost went into the campfire, but after playing with my mom and sister this last week, she is now a fan.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions. One of my most favorite people to play cards with, Ronnie Blue, says when there's a rule dispute, "Your house, your rules." You make the call, just remember to stay consistent. Happy playing!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The One and Only, Buddy!

Sweet, handsome boy

Buddy. Bud-man. Bud-bud. Buderick. Buddy McBudderson. He had many names, but there will always only be one Buddy.

Buddy was K's cat and I got the joy of loving him for the last two years of his life. Oh, and he made sure I loved him. There was no way around that!!

Snuggled in

I don't even know where to begin talking about him. He was, truly, the sweetest cat I have ever encountered.

When he wanted your attention and you weren't giving it to him, you would feel a gentle paw reach out and touch you. When I would lay on the couch watching TV, he would do it to me persistently. It drove me crazy... what I wouldn't do to feel that little paw again.

He loved the back of the couch

I'll never forget the first time he nuzzled into my hair. I was sitting on the couch and he was behind me. All of a sudden, I feel a paw in my hair, then another one, then his head ramming and rubbing in my hair. K was just as confused as I was. She said she'd never seen him do that before. After that he LOVED my hair. I would lay on the floor and he'd just go crazy in it. Clawing and rubbing and flopping in my hair. It was the cutest thing ever.

Buddy loved to get his but smacked. He'd make little noises out of pure enjoyment. Sometimes he'd crawl up on your chest and if you'd start smacking his butt he'd reach out and grab your cheek with his little paw, claws gently out. So sweet.

His way of showing us how happy he was

He touched the lives of everyone he came across and had his little things with each one of us. K was his Momma tho. It was only with her that he would crawl under the covers, lay by her side, purring so loud it sounded like a motor was under the blankets while K rubbed his belly. He got under the covers with me a few times, but never for very long. He'd stay under with her almost all night.

Snuggling with his Momma

Oh how I adored Buddy. His kisses were THE BEST! He would bend his head down for you to kiss the top of his head and when you'd kiss it, he'd nudge his head into you. It melted my heart!

On January 15th, 2012, our beloved Buddy went to play with the angels. He was the first pet I have ever lost and it was so much harder than I ever imagined. Even today, there are times I still expect him to come running around the corner making his little turkey call. Or I think I see him out of the corner of my eye. That cat touched my heart in a way I didn't think was possible.

We will miss you Buddy! More than you will ever know.

Bedroom eyes

He loved a box or basket

These two weren't cuddly normally, but Buddy was sick and Edward knew it so he was staying close by.

"No Paparazzi!" He was always very camera shy!

Bird watching with his brother



Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Week with Inez

Who, you may ask, is Inez? Inez is my wonderful Mom who came out to get out of the cold Indiana weather and visit her daughter in beautiful, sunny California.

Here's how it went:

We took my mom home from the airport via the scenic route down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). One of the most breath taking views is at Crystal Cove where they just so happen to have a Ruby's Diner that over looks the ocean. Of course we stopped there to grab a bite to eat as we oogled at the ocean views!


Ruby's Diner, Newport Beach Coast, Crystal Cove

We spent quite a bit of time at various beaches.



Heisler Park, Laguna Beach

Heisler Park

Two of my most favorite women.

My beautiful Mom, San Clemente Pier

Found cool trees.

Coolest tree ever, Heisler Park, Laguna Beach

Me & K, Heisler Park, Laguna Beach

Second coolest tree, Main Beach, Laguna Beach

Watched some sunsets.

Aliso Beach

Montage, Laguna Beach

Out on the whale watching boat.

 Celebrated my Birthday!

Had a picnic on the beach, San Clemente Pier

Went for a walk on the Pier


Got the most perfect Birthday card


Followed by the most perfect Rockstar Monkey Birthday cake.




And blew out candles, which people missed so I fake blew out candles. LOL


Then my sister Melissa came.

As her son pointed out, if you look closely, her eyes are closed. LOL

We went Whale Watching. (We did see whales and dolphins on the trip, but they're too quick to catch on camera so you get pics of us instead.)

Waiting to board our Whale Watching boat.

She thought we were whale watching in Antarctica.

My mom refused to smile because she said I had hate in my heart. And did I ever, that day! At least until we got on the boat.

Our first whale watching trip together.

Take 1 - Enjoying each other.

Take 2 - Mom?? Hello?

Take 3 - There we go! :o)


 Laughed a LOT.

For some reason my mom would talk during pictures. Yelling "NO TALKING" would result in laughter and a great pic.

I laugh like no other when I am with my mom.


We made fun of her Antarctica coat and later realized we all wished we had an Antarctica coat. Brrr it was COLD on that boat!

I am pretty sure this is another "NO TALKING" shot. LOL


Took silly pictures.

TA-DA

Messing with camera settings.

Showing some sass.


Played lots of cards. (Sorry no pictures.)

And finally, after breakfast at our favorite spot in Laguna, we had one last trip to the beach before everyone went home.

Main Beach, Laguna Beach

It was a wonderful visit with memories that will be forever cherished. So many little side stories I would love to chronicle, but don't want to overwhelm my loyal readers with "you-had-to-be-there" stories. Melissa has gone home, my mom has continued on her journey to Arizona before heading back to Indiana, and we have returned to the daily grind. I definitely went through the vacation blues once everyone left, but when I reflected back on the week we had, I realized my gratitude and decided I will have to make these memories get me through until we have the chance to make some more. Many, many more.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Liebster Award :o)

Hi everyone!!

So I was extremely happy to see that I have been nominated for a blog award from a good friend of mine!

She nominated me for a Liebster Blog award.


She did a little research and here are a few tidbits that she found about it:

This award was originated in Germany and is for blogs with fewer than two hundred followers. It is for bloggers that work hard and enjoy blogging with the world but have not yet been discovered.

And here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have fun!

I would like to thank my dear friend Ms. Jenna "Rink" from Bows and Leopard for nominating me.
I was looking through all the blogs I follow and I'm a little embarrassed to say that I don't really follow any blogs with less than 200 followers. LOL As a result, I will just share some of the blogs I just enjoy reading.

And the 5 blogs that I would like to nominate are the following:

1. Bows and Leopard - Even though she's the one that nominated me, I am nominating her back because she's one of my favorites. (I'm not bias or anything either. :o) Her blog is full of fun fashion, thrift store finds, and more. 
2. All Things Homie - The author of this blog is incredibly crafty and talented. She puts my crafting to shame.
3. Craft Hope - This blog is amazing because they ask people to craft for a cause. Right now they are asking for people to make beanies and bags for little warriors battling cancer.
4. Jennsylvania - This is one of my favorite author's blogs. She sure to give you a chuckle with her witty sarcasm and if you understand Chicago living, you'll appreciate her even more.
5. The Oliver Chronicles - Although she hasn't blogged in nearly two years, her stories of first time motherhood are priceless and funny. Perhaps we all can inspire her to come back to the blogging world. (She also started a cooking blog, but also hasn't blogged there in quite some time either.)



Thanks again Jenna for nominating me and helping me get my name out there! XO