Saturday, April 24, 2010

Game Night and Everybody Wins

We live close to lots of John's family, and Amber decided to take advantage of it by suggesting we have a game night. Brilliant! The scheduled fun arrived last night, and the food was the star of the show! We actually didn't even play any of the board games but just enjoyed chatting with each other and catching up on our lives.

Some big changes are about to take place. Tyler and Amber will be done with Law School in about two weeks. He will then work and study for the Bar, which will be taken in July. The downside is that it will be tough to get a real lawyer job until he gets the results back in September. They plan to find an apartment to rent once Bill and Ann return this October.

Andy and Barbara are doing well. He has to re-certify as a Physician's Assistant every six years, and this will be his first this summer. Lots of studying is involved in preparation, and Barbara is in favor of him passing! I am sure he will. Barbara is busy raising four good-looking kids and keeping her house in immaculate condition. It was nice of her to offer their home to host our game night.

The food. Wow! We ended up having slightly too much, but that didn't stop us from enjoying it all! John and I brought Homemade Oreo Cookies, Chicken Quesadilla Rollups, Spinach and Artichoke Puff Pastries, Jalapeno Poppers, and a few bottles of various soda. Tyler and Amber brought some fresh strawberries and Fruit Slammers, some frozen fruit slushies that are delicious (I know from personal experience since she shared some last week after some intense yard work). Andy and Barbara kept bringing food out, and my picture didn't even capture the end product! Red Vines, Trail Mix, Chips and Salsa, Easter Candy, and all sorts of Mexican donuts! We ended up covering the game table, which nobody seemed to mind. Except John and I (snicker snicker), everyone had switched babysitting nights to have this evening free. So the house was nice and quiet with minimal interruptions from little ones. We just sat around, flapping our gums at the food and each other. For a few minutes, we played our quick-paced trivia game, Tip of the Tongue. But it kept interrupting our conversation, so I put it away!

It was a nice evening out with family. Tyler and Amber left around 8:30 to pick up their kids, and we stayed for a while longer to be shown how Netflix now works on the Wii. We will restart our Netflix account after John is done with school (three weeks!), and it's neat to know we can stream it on our Wii instead of watching it online! Technology these days! Barbara had never seen anything Saturday Night Live, so we watched The Best of Adam Sandler to introduce her to the good stuff. Operaman was a hit! It was a nice conclusion to a nice evening full of friends and food.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Neat and Tidy

I am a fan of neatness, order, and organized bliss. I am NOT a fan of cacti that require weeding. I don't even need to write that one down for future reference because I have permanent scratches on my forearms as a constant reminder. People formerly close to me now raise eyebrows in she using heroine? I wish such an excuse could be used! These scratches are just part of the fun of maintaining a yard that I mostly have no control over.

John took the day off yesterday to get a ton of homework done for school (3.5 weeks and counting). He came out from studying around 4:30 PM, dressed in very tight jeans and an old ratty t-shirt. I got excited because I knew what this meant...yard work! (Explanation: this outfit was previously John's normal day-to-day clothing, but I introduced him to a whole new world of comfort when we bought a waist size bigger than his ones that he was still wearing from high school. His previous jeans wore a little high on the waist, anyway, so it was a pleasure all mine to bring this guy into the 21st century. I may very well be the best thing that ever happened to John).

My husband refuses to show me how to properly operate the lawn mower and weed whacker so that I can help out when he doesn't have the time. For those of you who think I fly airplanes and therefore should be able to handle operating light machinery such as lawn equipment...I agree. And I've tried. Because of previous improper operation of the lawn mower (not by us!), the engine burned up which required the entire machine to be replaced. I don't dare risk using the new one without a formal education from my husband (which he refuses to do, since he feels it is his job as a man). The weed whacker? I have tried on several occasions just to get the stupid thing started, to no avail. After numerous failed attempts, I am just going to have to trust fate on this one. Maybe John is supposed to do that stuff, allowing me to come behind him and weed all the cacti. I feel bad for the guy because he has severe allergies to freshly-cut grass, which usually goes hand-in-hand with a recently-mowed lawn. But he plugs through and always makes it look so nice. I follow with a rake to get all the clippings for a mulch pile of which (I hope) we will not be here long enough to enjoy the results. We spent three hours outside last evening getting everything in tip-top shape. I just had to take some pictures to remind myself that it can look good. I just wish I could play a bigger part in keeping it that way!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Successful Date Night 101

It is no laughing matter that my husband and I look forward to Date Night all week. Usually, if I am home from work before midnight, we knock this special event out on Friday evenings. We usually head to a fine eating establishment like Chipotle or (occasionally) Taco Bell when we are feeling particularly special that week. However, thanks to a coupon for a free appetizer, this week we found ourselves at Red Robin. Yummmmmm.

I consider it a great moral accomplishment when the words, "I'll have a water, lemon," come from my mouth. Red Robin is home of one of my favorite beverages in the world, The Freckled Lemonade. A bottomless drink of sparkling lemonade, sprite, and crushed strawberries? I would go there just to drink six gallons of the stuff. And the only bad thing is the occasional chunk of strawberry that gets wedged inside the straw. I sidestep that problem in advance by asking for seventeen straws. Nothing should slow me down when I am trying to get my $3.99-worth! This drink is such a thirst-quencher and so sweetly delicious. But because it is so cold and because I drink it in large gulps because it is irresistible, it is easy to fill up on such summery goodness. For the past three months, I have been trying, not always successfully, to be careful on eating a certain amount of calories a day. Sometimes I throw this out the window (on Date Night, for example), but I still couldn't justify getting all that sugary liquid AND bottomless fries. So I picked one over the other, secretly contemplating a couples trip to Krispy Kreme later on for dessert (and luckily for our waist lines, we were both too full from dinner to make this a reality).

Our free appetizer arrived, and just in time for our ravenous appetites to growl so loudly that the table next to us left the premises in a hurry. The Tower Of Onions, with accompanying ranch and Cowboy Sauce for dipping. Ironically, neither of us are huge onion ring fans, but this stack of greasy, crunchy goodness is so crave-able and yummy that we kept looking towards the kitchen in anticipation. I had made up my mind to only eat a few, as I had a great meal on the way. However, something like heavenly onion rings (and a Tower of them at that) are not good the next day for leftovers. So I pulled my weight as a team member to help John devour the entire thing. I stopped counting as I pulled them from lower and lower on the metal pole, just so I wouldn't feel badly about myself later. We'll just say that he ate more of the rings than me, and that might possibly be true. They were incredible! The batter wasn't too thick but has such a perfect consistency. And the Cowboy Sauce is BBQ sauce combined with a little bit of mayonnaise. For someone who doesn't really like mayonnaise, this stuff was too good to skip! I am sure it helped that we hadn't eaten for eight hours in preparation for our Date Night. We would get them again and would highly recommend a Tower Of Onions appear on your own table in the near future.

John's main course was the Burnin' Love Burger. He likes spicy things and made no exceptions tonight. Well-done meat topped with deep-fried jalapenos (he insists these are NOT considered vegetables because they take a swim in oil first), pepper jack cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and spicy chipotle mayonnaise, all on a jalapeno-encrusted ciabatta bun. If ketchup wasn't too spicy for me, I may have tasted a bite of his burger to inform you how delicious this particular monstrosity was. Being the burger-snob that he is, John approved and ate the entire thing.

I ended up surprising myself by ordering my favorite thing on the menu, despite expecting all day to get the Whiskey River BBQ Chicken Wrap. I went back to my all-time favorite selection, the BaconLettuce Tomato/urkeyAvacado Croissant Sandwich. Lovingly known as the BLTA to us regulars. It is a rare sandwich that I actually enjoy sliced turkey, but it may have something to do with the gigantic slices of avocado that make me forget turkey exists on there somewhere as well. Holy cow, it was good. And with hot and seasoned bottomless steak fries dipped in ranch dressing? I was set for the evening. We accidentally ordered some more fries towards the end of our meal but almost finished them, just to be polite!

We rolled out of the restaurant and into the car to go to Wal-Mart for some errands. Walking around was good, however, since we probably burned off 1/1000th of our Date Night intake.

Date Nights can always successfully me measured by how full we feel afterwards. This particular night? An 11!

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