Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I got a new, bigger, mixer.  So my old white one is going into "retirement" at my mother's.  I'll miss you, old friend!  But the new one is so BIG...the goal is that it will do a double batch of cookies....I have been doing single batches because the little one couldn't handle a double batch. 

New Stuff

Playing Adam's new game - Robot Turtles

Our new sleeping bags!

New Wii Game

The boys got a new Wii game from PaPa...Super Smash Bro. Brawl
Daddy and Adam testing it out - eventually Andrew will take Daddy's place, but Andrew isn't so good yet....

Adam concentrating hard!

Adam and Andrew
Andrew was losing....

Adam and Legos

Adam came now do Lego sets, by the instructions, all by himself!

Playing with our new Toys

Christmas Morning

Our Tree...Santa came!

Grandma and Grandpa and everyone came later

Christmas Breakfast

My Christmas Breakfast!

I have been posting recipes, but I am compiling them here, including some old ones I used.
...and I cooked bacon when everyone got there, because while everything is better with bacon!
So you might ask...why is Andrew sifting flour? Who still sifts flour?  Well, I bought Safeway flour...and it has little flour pebbles in it that WOULD NOT I had to sift it. And I will NEVER be buying Safeway flour again....

Boys' Tree

So I was thinking that the boys' should have a little tree for their playroom...and then Andrew brings this home from school!  Perfect!  We decorated it up for them.  I'll keep it for next year as well. :)


Hmm...a new spot?

Playing LIttle Men Like Daddy


I have had several projects back burners, but I've been working on catching them up.
I bought curtains for the boys' room (light/cold blocking)....and I had to hem them (no biggie)....turned out tough I needed I had to go back, get a second, hem again...ugh....

But now it is all covered!

Valances for playroom

First Lady ornament hanger...needed a new way to display them so I made two of these

Ice Fishing

We took the boys ice fishing about a week ago. We might have caught more, but Andrew was singing as he fished!

In the end, Garrison (the older boy there) caught three....he let each boy haul up one (we threw them all back).  Grandpa caught nothing!

I passed Tot 1!

Andrew passed Tot 1...on to the next...and then hockey, his ultimate goal!

Adam "doing" differential equations

So Adam asked Daddy what math he was bad at...he said differential equations....Adam was asking about I gave him a book....he was playing with it and even wrote out his own equation!

Molasses Cookies (Splenda)

Back when I was trying Splenda recipes, I got this one and am just now getting it up.  I plan to bring these back out with the New Year. :)

Molasses Cookies (Splenda)
Modified from Splenda

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 350. 

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt.  Mix and set aside. 

Beat margarine until smooth.  Add Splenda, molasses and egg white.  Mix slowly to incorporate, then beat until smooth.  Gradually stir in flour mixture until well blended.  Dough will be soft, but not sticky.

Roll into 3/4 inch balls.  Place on baking pan (either non stick or spray them).  Press down with a fork. 

Bake for 8 minutes, or until edges are set.  Let stand for 5 minutes before putting on a rack to cool. 
Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Roasted Chicken and Broccoli

My friend Mo gave me this recipe and said it was the best ever. I have to say it is very good and very easy!

Roasted Chicken and Broccoli
From Mo

2 lbs broccoli, diced up
2 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. chicken broth (or water)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 lb boneless chicken, cut into pieces
Zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 425.  On a large baking sheet, combine broccoli, broth, cumin, chili powder with half the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat and then spread broccoli out on pan and roast for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile combine chicken with lemon zest, rest of oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Toss to coat. 

Remove baking sheet from oven and add chicken, and mix with broccoli.  Return to oven and cook for 8-10 more minutes, tossing once, or until the chicken is cooked.

Squeeze lemon juice over chicken before serving. 

Serves 4.

Honey Spice Fail

I tried this recipe a few months ago and honestly was disappointed - it was heavy, dry and just bland.  I was hoping for more flavor and a much moister bread.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 for Beginning Gamers

Ray and I also worked together on a list of games for "newbie" gamers - these are games we enjoy and think are great to introduce people to because they are easy to teach and quick to learn.  These aren't in any specific order. 

Mystery at the Abbey
This is grown up Clue, so this is a great introductory game because it is very simliar to a game most of us played as a kid.

King of Toyko
This is really just Yahtzee, only you get up to beat up monsters. We play it with our six year old.

Lords of Waterdeep
This is an excellent starter worker placement game. While the theme might seem heavy, it really isn't. It is light and fun and a good way to learn worker placement.

Star Realms
This is a easy, quick, small, deck builder. There are tons of deck builder games (Dominion of any of the Cyptopzoic deck builders (Lord of the Rings, DC)), but this is a light, quick two player one.

Forbidden Island
This is an excellent starter coop game.  It is fun and easy to plan and works great in groups and can easily be taught to kids. 

Ticket to Ride
This is a very easy set collection game and it includes fun little trains.   It is easy to teach to anyone.  There are tons of maps out there for this, so once you learn the base game, you have tons of options.

Rise of Augustus
This gamer bingo. It shouldn't be fun, but it really is.  It is light and quick.

This is an area control game and while it might seem like it would be vicious, it really is fun and tight.  Your races "rise" and "fall" quickly, so it doesn't feel like you are losing people all the time.  

This is a fun little family game that can get quite tense as you try to get your figures onto the land!

This is a standard bearer - there are tons of versions of this and everyone plays it, so it is a good place to start. 

Our Top 10 Games

So Ray and I play a lot of games (check out our board game is quite large....).  We decided to each do our top 10 games.  While we ordered these, really these are all games we really love!  This is our first attempt at this, so we are often wanting to change them!

Ray's Top 10

Suburbia is a great game where you are create a simulated city.  You create your city and try to do better than your opponents. I love this game, it works great for all the player levels and with the expansion this takes my top spot. 

Carson City
Carson City is a worker place/role selection game that allows you to create the city of Carson City. You get different buildings and other ways to get money and resources. This is hard to find, but it also is a worker placement. You can kick someone off the spot you wanted through a shoot out!!! Great game.

King of Tokyo
Okay, this is the odd ball choice. It is Yahtzee only you are using the dice to gain points, heal or beat on the other players. My son Adam can play, but I have had so much fun with adults that I think this is a great game and I would throw down when ever this is brought out. I have not played King of New York so this one might get replaced down the road. 

The solid co-op that most people will jump at. This game is all about people working together to beat the diseases. This can be intense especially when you amp up the difficulty by adding epidemic. I love introducing people to advanced board gaming!

Lords of Waterdeep
The second worker placement game on the list. This game is a simple worker placement, but has enough twists to keep it interesting. It made it into the top 10 because of the expansion. This actually added enough to make it a great game.

A two player game that my wife hates.:)  It is truly abstract, but with a great many ways to win yet you need to counter your opponent as well as move forward with your strategy. It is only 10-15 minutes, but has a lot of depth.

Magic: The Gathering
 Yea, Yea I know a CCG, but it is a great game.  If you just build decks for fun and not tournament play and try and make them better with what you have it is great. It is fun and fast and you can spend time thinking and working on decks and have fun with that as well. So PPPPPP to all you!:)

War of the Ring (second edition)
This is a great war game, with asymmetrical player goals and strengths. This game is fun,  but makes you think. This is an afternoon game, not something that can be played quickly. Get the ring bearer to the mountain or run over the Free People. This may change based when I play Battle for Five Armies.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
This is a fun tactical miniature game where you try to out think your opponent based on movement selection and some dice rolling. I like it a lot and come on, dogfighting!

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
I actually like deckbuilding games a lot, but this one is just fun. I actually get the flavor of super hero fights in a great format. You can play it completely co-op or semi co-op. It is fun and works great two player.

 Jennie's Top 10

This is a great historical coop game. It is rather long, but I just adore it!

LOR Deck Building
I love deck building games, but this is a very easy and quick one. I love that it sets up really quick and is easy to teach and play.

This is a city building game - it takes what I liked about Sim City and removes everything I didn't like in that computer game!  It is timed, which keeps it from getting too long.

This is a great bidding game.  I love the theme and artwork as well as the way you building up your licenses and fish. 

Pandemic: the Cure
This is a great dice vesrion of the traditional coop game. I like this one because it sets up so much faster than the original. 

Forbidden Desert
This is a great intro coop game.  It is fun and enjoyable for all.

Agricola: All Creatures
This is a shortened, two player, version of Agricola. I love that it is much faster (and 2 player) than the original.

Dominion (Alchemy)
This was my first deck builder and I still really enjoy it. Alchemy is my favorite set. 

This is a great dice game.  It is fun and quick to set up.

Catan (Rome)
I love Catan, but it does require 3, which is an issue for us.  I really like the "theme" ones and this is my current favorite.