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.

22 thoughts on “Cold Days, Board Games and Home Cooking

  1. Oh, Lucy looks darling in ther coat. And, I have to admit, I talk to our dogs the same way. Sometimes I catch myself and think, “Good God, I’m an idiot!”

    Stay warm and enjoy your family this weekend.



  2. Ahhh…. so maybe running is looking a little more appealing now…. :)
    I love word games myself. I’ve been hearing about Words with Friends a lot lately, but not sure what it is. I’ll have to check it out. I play Word Racer on Yahoo Games. It’s like Boggle, where you have to find words with the letters they scramble up for you. I race against other players, and it’s very addicting.
    And how cute is Lucy in her winter coat? I can see why you love her so much. She seems to have a very sweet personality.
    Be sure to share your favorite recipes with us! I’m always looking for meals that EVERYONE will like.


    • It’s supposed to start warming up again overnight. Maybe I’ll give that running thing another try!

      I’ll be sure to share any recipes that turn out good, especially if they’re easy to prepare.


  3. I once used ‘scrabble’ playing Words With Friends. How ironic is that. Do you do anything to build skills? Once I discovered that unscrambling anagrams helped with that jumble of letters, my scores steadily went up in WWF and Scrabble. I got so into anagrams, I invented my own TV trivia anagram game. Let me know what you think of it.


  4. I talk to animals like they’re people too. I don’t think that’s weird at all. An OF COURSE they understand… They just choose to ignore. :)

    I play words with friends a lot too, and so I was thrown off by Conner’s LOW score for “Jugs”. Are J’s not worth 10 points in real scrabble?

    Your menu for the week sounds wonderful! I wish I could join you… But you’re right, it does sound fattening!

    Glad you’re having a nice time with Kacey. Enjoy her while you can.


    • Hmmm… maybe the J was on a DOUBLE word score. That would probably make more sense. And I’m thinking they’re worth 8 points in Scrabble. But I’m not sure. All I remember is Connor going on and on about his 60 points. Who knows? Maybe he counted his points wrong and HE was the real winner. I won’t tell him it’s possible. ;-)


  5. I enjoyed the homey post you wrote for today. I could see all of you–your dog in the spiffy coat (I talk to my cats!), the Scrabble game and the menu planning. I love Scrabble too and used to beat people at the game. Now that it’s just the two of us, I use my word-smithing to spell for my husband’s crossword puzzles. He has a great vocabulary but can’t spell at all! Just to let you know–the last time I looked at the thermometer before dark, it was 63 degrees on our patio in Denver. We could use some snow.


  6. I talk to Frank the same way; when he goes out back, if someone forgets to let him in at the appropriate amount of elapsed moments, he comes to the basement window which is where we were watching sports yesterday. He makes just enough noise for us to hear him and when we say, “You wanna come in?” he races for the stairs to come back up to the garage door level. I think she knows exactly what you’re saying :).

    I have a similar cookbook — and have only used it a few times. Have fun!!

    Cheers! MJ


  7. Wait. You mean we’re NOT supposed to talk to our dogs? For two furry canines, my two mutts have a pretty good vocabulary (Walk, bone, Squirrel, NO!, Down, Shake, Bath, Get your toy, No Mike Tysons!). Lucy does look cute/stylish in the coat, but I bet he get’s lots of ribbing from the other dogs at the dog park).

    Scrabble is one of those fun family games we don’t seem to do any more. When we get the tribe together, we like to play dominoes (42, Moon, Mexican Train).


  8. Sixty points for “jugs”? You have to admit that was pretty sharp. I love playing Scrabble. I sometimes play it with young tutor students (paid to play scrabble!). The kids can get pretty competetive.

    Lucys like a wolf in sheep’s clothing! (sorry, lame joke).


  9. Aw, c’mon, Lucy, you look splendid in your coat! And you know how short-haired dogs get cold faster than hairier breeds! Terri, you’re lucky to still have your daughter home — Domer and most of the kids I know have already gone back to campus. Sigh.


  10. As much as I like word games, I didn’t give the quintessential word game, Scrabble, a try until our honeymoon. It was fun, but I’ve already forgotten how to play. I may have to give this “Words With Friends” business a try. I’ve heard of it, but never tried it.


  11. Lucy keeps getting cuter and cuter. That coat is adorable on her. And I think she DOES understand you when you talk to her through the window!

    Having Kacey around again must have been wonderful. It’s so nice she was able to spend winter break at home.

    I love playing Scrabble! I never win, but it’s fun, nonetheless.

    And good for you with all that home cooking. Since my parents are away this week, I have the whole house to myself – so I will be doing a lot of cooking over here too!


  12. The GREAT thing about cooking at home is that you can control what goes into the mix. I just found a marinara sauce with only 50mgs of sodium per half cup. That’s 1/10th of the normal brands!! So you can make your recipes more healthy if you feel like it. Subbing olive oil for butter is one way.


  13. I bought a couple of new boardgames for Christmas and the kids want to play them all the time.
    Sultan is one for younger children, it has little coloured jewels that you have to bid for against the other players. Big hit with my 5 year old. She doesn’t get the strategy part but she loves collecting the jewels.
    For the older children up to adult the surprise smash hit has been Cargo Noir, it has lovely little ships and colourful board and lots of cards and money. You have to compete against the other players to build up an empire smuggling black market cargos. The artwork is fabulous and the whole game is fun and doesn’t take too long.


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