Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Game of Not-My-LIFE

Chef loves when we have game night - he loves the challenge of trying to beat Papa, even if it is only in a game of chance rather than skill. But the problem is that sometimes, lots of times, he either wants to play games that are out of his league (and thinks he is top-of-the-line at them) OR he wants to play a game that everyone can join in but that is so mind-numbingly boring that we sometimes question why we ever brought it into the house! This past weekend, the choices were "LIFE" or "Super-Scrabble". We love Scrabble, but it is a four-person game and every one of the kids wanted their own piece of the board game pie, which would have dragged it out waaaaaaayyyy past bedtime, at the least!

So Scrabble was set aside for another night and we cracked LIFE out of storage. We started out by taking our little $100,000 bank loans to go to college and rolled downhill in our opinion of the game from there. Now that we're looking with more scrutiny at our lives and what values we endorse through our actions and possessions, we notice more than we might have before.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fantastically Frugal: At-Home Wine Night

Spinster Beth, Slick and I talked about possibly going to the Columbia, MD, Wine in the Woods this past weekend. Slick had a wedding to be at and my own husband was working at Preakness, so I gave it some thought. It could have been fun to go out and enjoy the sights, the people and (who are we kidding?) try some new wines. But alas, five children would have to go along (which I am okay with), and the tickets were $30 per adult and $20 per child (which I am not okay with.)

So putting our collective heads together, we have instead decided to do a wine tasting night at home, where our collective money can be better put to wine and goodies to eat. Each of the three families will bring a new wine to try (we've decided to stick to all whites), a couple of appetizers, and fruit or desserts to share. What a great way to have fellowship, try something new - and still be frugal!

First, some of the appetizers: (total cost, roughly $30)
Just add sour cream and mayonnaise!

  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Guacamole (home-made!) and Chips
  • Veggies and Dips
  • Olives and Garlic
  • Chocolate for dessert
  • Roquefort to go with the dessert wine

Delicious Mango dip (recipe on the back of the bottle)

We decided to do whites for this weekend, and save reds for another time. A "traditional" wine tasting would start with the lighter whites, progressing toward the heavier reds. Since we were doing it our own way, we stuck with whites. 

Next, the wines... (Total cost, minus the Sauternes, - it was a gift - but including the sparkling white, roughly $40)

Left to right, we have the...
  • Apothic White - a "Winemaker's Blend" with Muscato grapes, the Muscato gives it a slightly sweeter taste
  • a Chateau des Palmiers Sauternes - Jeff's favorite little dessert wine that we were given as a gift for Jeff's graduation
  • Yalumba Viogner Chardonnay - from "Australia's oldest family-owned winery"
  • Wente Chardonnay - from San Francisco Bay in California, this was the driest of our four here, but (I thought) quite tasty

The cost breakdown: About $70, split between three families still means we spent less than we would have if we had gone to the local wine event!

We also had a sparkling white, but I don't have a picture of that one. There is value in jumping out there and trying new flavors, but not in breaking the bank. Looking forward to Red Night!

What are your favorite goodies for Wine Night?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Power of Words: Going on a Date?

Dating vs. Courtship

Side note: "Teen" vs. "young wo/man" is a post for a later time, but for this particular post, I'll use "teen" in its most literal sense of "someone with the word -teen in his age."

Anyway... Especially as Maestro reaches his teen years, the topic of "dating" and "courtship" has been taking up more and more of my attention. I have talked with the boys about both concepts many times through the years, but before I know it, push will come to shove and we'll have girls knocking at the door for more than "can so-and-so come out to play??"

So what is the big deal about dating, anyway? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Maintaining Focus

First, an announcement: 

After a lot of hard work, time and (ahem)
focus, Jeff graduated with his Bachelor's of Arts in History this past weekend. This is a big moment for us - and the best part about it is that his brother also graduated a few weeks ago, just as my sister and I both graduated in 2010. 

What a huge achievement for two wonderful men and their proud Mama and wives!

And now a story... from the every-day "life with boys"...


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