Cold Days, Board Games and Home Cooking

I feel like an idiot in this stupid coat!

We’ve had a stretch of cold weather over the last few days, with below zero nights and only slightly warmer days. We even got a little bit of snow. Lucy finally succumbed to the winter coat a little bit and stopped trying to bite it off of her body long enough to sit and chew on a stick.

She’s also discovered that the house has ground level windows and has begun to peek in them when she’s out in the yard. Of course, I play right into this and if she appears outside the family room window, I go over and talk to her through the glass. The other day, I asked, “Do ya wanna come in? Do ya?” And then I motioned upwards and said, “Go up on the deck! I’ll let you in.”

Mark wanted to know if I seriously thought she understood me.

Anybody in there?

I just had to laugh at myself after he pointed out how silly it all seemed. I don’t know why I talk to my dog as if she can understand reason. Maybe because she’s the only one willing to listen without passing judgement. And besides, I knew she would hear the patio door open and come running, so whether she understood me or not really didn’t matter.

I was off of work the last couple of days in an effort to spend some time with my daughter before she goes back to school. She’s been on winter break from school for nearly a month and somehow those days managed to just slip away. I love having her home. It’s going to be hard not seeing her smiling face every day and hearing her stories. I’m going to miss the way she manages to make me laugh and smile with her infectious, fun attitude.

Since it was so cold yesterday and we really hadn’t made any plans, we decided to just hang out at home. Connor came over and we spent the afternoon playing Scrabble at the kitchen table, talking smack to one another and laughing throughout. Connor played the word jugs, laying the J on a triple letter score and the S on a triple word score, earning him sixty points! For the remainder of the game, he continued to remind us of his skill and pat himself on the back for having such good strategy. However, I somehow managed to pull ahead in points and beat him by just a few points. (Must be due to all of those Words with Friends games I have going online. Practice makes perfect!)

Connor couldn’t stand the thought of being beat, so he demanded another game. The Letter Tile Gods were smiling on me in game two and before each of my turns, I was already plotting out where to lay the next amazing word. Since I took the lead from the start and never looked back, my opponents felt the need to make fun of me. I played the word festoon and a day later, have still not heard the end of it. Kacey and Connor keep finding ways to work the word into conversation and Connor keeps telling me he doesn’t think it should have been allowed on the board because it’s not even a word people actually use any more. I said that wasn’t true and reminded him of the wintery festoon that still hangs in my foyer, even though the other holiday decor has been put away for the season. The coup de grâce came when I played the word jingles, laying the J on a triple word score for forty-eight points, leaving no chance for them to catch up.

I hope they’ll be motivated to improve their skills and play me again. I haven’t played Scrabble in years and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it!

After a lazy Friday, there were things that needed doing today. I’ve been slacking a bit the last few days on my effort to do more home cooking. So first thing this morning, I plucked one of the many underused cookbooks from the baker’s rack and began browsing for ideas. This week, I’ll be working from the Top Secret Restaurant Recipes cookbook, a five-dollar bargain I found at a Kohl’s store about three years ago and have never once used.

One nice thing about this cold weather is that it makes it easy to want to stay inside, which makes it easy to want to cook. This week , on various days, I’m going to make Tony Roma’s Carolina Honeys (barbecued ribs), Ruby Tuesday Potato Cheese soup, and Olive Garden Alfredo Pasta. From another cookbook, I’m going to make a pork chops and hash brown dinner. Tonight, at Kacey’s request, we’re having her favorite Cheesy Wild Rice soup.

Aaaaand… I just realized, we’re all going to get fat if I keep cooking this way. Next week I’d better work on home cooking with a bit of a healthier aspect to it.