Monday, January 30, 2006

Chicken Recipe Contest

If you have a recipe that can be prepared in under 3 hours and you think it's contest worthy, you may want to take a gander at this website. The grand prize is $100K! The deadline is in October, so you should get thinking!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A little money obsession

Every once in a while, I start getting this little money obsession. I usually work it out by chatting with my friend Marilyn because we often talk about our personal finances together. I love reading articles on in the Money section and I even have a couple favorite authors! My favorite is M.P. Dunleavy. She's young and in touch with the challenges facing the 20-30 somethings out there.

I was cleaning off my bookshelf of old magazines and found a Money magazine from 2002 that had one the cover "The Great American Wealth Test". Marilyn and I took the test and turns out that we're both ahead of the median stats for our age groups and income levels. So that was the good news! We also confirmed what we already knew: We are both good at saving and good at planning, but not so hot at investing. Other than our 401(k) accounts (and my Roth IRA), we don't have any investing accounts. We both have money sitting at ING earning 3.8%, but isn't the 5-15% we could be earning if we had our money invested in mutual funds or something else. More risk, but potentially more return. By the way, if anyone needs an ING account, email me and I'll send a referral to you so you get $25 when you start an account with $250 or more. I'd recommend putting in the minimum of $250 and then you can add more as a separate deposit so you can take advantage of their winter special of 4.75% on any amount added now til April 15th.

This brings us to my order from Amazon this week. I ordered a book called The Coffeehouse Investor which is supposed to discuss diversification and allocation. I hope it will help me with my 401K and with investing that will be coming up soon!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Games Day

A couple Saturdays ago, I was invited by my friend Lincoln to go to another guy's house for games 10 AM - 2 AM!! I only was there from about 11:30 AM - 5:15 PM though. I got there late because I had to take my cat to the vet because he was limping when I woke up (poor baby!). He's fine now though.

When I arrived, the first game I played was Mesopotamia with Ryan, Greg and Michael (?). Amazingly, I was the only person who had actually played the game because it's fairly new. I was shocked!! I managed to explain the game to everyone's satisfaction and ended up winning. The cool thing was that I met a couple new people that were really cool. Here's a picture of the game board:


Next, I played Aqua Romana with Ryan, Greg and Lincoln. This game was pretty cool. I think I would need to play it a few more times to get a good feel for a strategy. I think Ryan won this one by one point. Greg and I tied for second and Lincoln came in last.

Aqua Romana

Then Lincoln, Ryan and I played Techno Witches. This game was fun and challenges your spatial skills. You have to plot out your witch's path on her broomstick. I won this game by a long shot. And I thought guys were supposed to be more spatially adept. I guess not! At least not at our table! This was fun and very different than any other game I've played so far. Sorry, no picture of this one.

Devon then joined us and we played crokinole. I've seen this so many times at the SoCal Games Days, but I've never actually played. It was fun, but stressful. I scored two bullseyes in a row at the very end when it really counted. It was awesome! Ryan was my partner, so I'm glad I didn't let him down. Once I learned to line up my finger properly, I did a lot better! I'd like to try it again. Here's a picture of the board with Lincoln and Ryan.

Lincoln and Ryan playing crokinole.

My final game was with Rich, Marc G, Jonathan (the host) and someone else but I can't remember his name. We played Alhambra and I came in dead last. I had played this once before but it was two years ago or something like that. It was fun!

Overall, I had a great time and hope to repeat the day! I had to leave early to go meet Jason for dinner and that was awesome too.

Friday, January 13, 2006

WCB #32

This is my first weekend cat blogging, but here's a picture of Russell when he isn't hunting mice and rats as pictured in my sister Dawn's blog.

Russell being a couch potato

For the record, he has lost weight since then... maybe that's why he's out hunting... Oh and the fun never stops. Today I had a dead rat next to my dresser when I woke up. I'd post a picture of that, but I don't think that would be quite as cute. Enjoy!!

Check out more kittie pictures from at Clare's blog!

Is it any wonder people are fat??

I went out with my friend Shane last night to help her pick out new glasses. She always picks out the wire frames, so we went with some black plastic frames that definitely look more funky than her old ones.

After picking out her glasses, we went out to dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy. I have heard good things about that place, but I had never actually eaten there, so I was excited to try a new restaurant. Our drinks were good (caramel apple martini for her, Long Island ice tea for me) and then we set about trying to pick out something to eat. I love spicy food, so I often like to try the pasta dish with the arrabiata sauce on it. I don't know officially what exactly arrabiata sauce is supposed to be, but to me, it means a little extra garlic and some spiciness. Well, it was neither, so that was a little disappointing. It didn't taste bad at all, just not what I thought it would be.

The pasta dishes are sold by either 1/2 order or full order. The waiter said, if you just want to eat your dinner and not really have anything leftover, get the 1/2 order, but if you want to take home leftovers, get the full order. Since I didn't really have anything lined up for lunch, I said, "Give me the full order." If you look at the grainy picture below, this is the full order, AFTER I had what I could for dinner.

Angel Hair with Shrimp & Broccoli with Arrabiata Sauce

Hell-o! Isn't there a problem here? In case you can't make it out because it is dwarfed by the gigantic bowl of pasta, that is a U.S. quarter in my hand for a reference size. That is ridiculous. And, my waiter thought that if I ordered the full order that I'd have a little to take home??? How about 98% of it. When he came to pack it up, I said, "Wow, you must get some really fat people in your section if you think that the full order will leave you a little leftover to take home!!"

Do people really eat that much? I brought HALF of the leftovers home so I could share with THREE of my co-workers for lunch. That is just ridiculous!! Next time I know, get the half order, or one of their entrees. Shane ordered the chicken & spinach manicotti and it was a little on the large size, but it was about 10% of the amount of food I had.

So mental note to myself and anyone who might eat there, get the HALF order!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Garlic and Ham Spaghetti

I had a New Year's Eve party and for the occasion, I purchased a Honey Baked Ham. It was delicious, but after eating ham with leftover mashed potatoes for a few days, it starts to get old!

So, I made Garlic and Ham Spaghetti that I found on AllRecipes a couple years ago. I had only made it once before, but remember liking it, so I gave it another go. It was really tasty! Here's a picture of the finished product:

Garlic and Ham Spaghetti

The original recipe called for mushrooms and olives, both of which I am not crazy about, so I omitted them. Here is the original recipe:

Garlic and Ham Spaghetti

8 ounces spaghetti
5 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained
12 slices ham, chopped


1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic, onion, mushrooms, broccoli, olives, and ham. Saute mixture until onions are translucent.

3. In a large bowl toss cooked spaghetti with vegetable mixture.

Measuring cups

I work in the aerospace industry and the standard in this industry is to shutdown for the week between Christmas and New Year's. So this year, I did something I normally do not do during the normal year. I went to the mall and did some shopping!

This should be under one of those old "I confess" posts...

I confess... that I love measuring cups. I own three sets of normal measuring cups (two stainless steel, one plastic set). So when I saw these measuring cups at Williams-Sonoma, I knew I had to have them.

Odd Size Measuring Cups

And if you look closely, you'll see they come in the best sizes!!!


I was so excited! They were normally $16.00, but on sale for $11.99! I was happy to buy them! The best part is, I already knew that I wanted them before I saw them! I had emailed my sister Dawn to let her know that I would love to receive a 3/4 measuring cup for Christmas. I was aiming too low! I never even thought of getting a 2/3 and 1 1/2 measuring cup!

She had no idea where to purchase one and neither did I. Well now we know! Williams-Sonoma. They don't have it listed on their website, but I found it in their store in case you too are interested in purchasing a set!

In case you're curious, I have already used the 1 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup. :-)