Saturday, January 31, 2009

Retro Peanut Butter Pie

I made 2 "Retro Peanut Butter" pies for the bingo lunch stand tonight. See, every Saturday night, the Lions Club in our town holds a bingo. And every week, different organizations in town take turns hosting the bingo lunch stand. The organizations are from various places. Our church sometimes has a group from the Sunday School or the Ladies Fellowship, some of the scout organizations take a turn, other churches take turns, there's a Relay for Life team that participates, etc. Most of the food sold at the lunch stand is donated by members of that particular group. Tonight it is the Ladies Fellowship from our church. I just came home from taking my pies there. My mom and 3 other ladies are working the stand. They have a lot of good-looking desserts tonight. Here was my contribution: These are actually really easy to make. I got the recipe from some sort of family magazine I used to subscribe to. It's been in my recipe box for awhile now and since Bruce doesn't like peanut butter, I don't make it much at home, but it is my "go to" recipe for the bingo lunch stand.

For one pie:

1 graham cracker crust
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 8-oz. container whipped cream plus additional for decoration
2 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, frozen
chocolate syrup

Cream the cream cheese and brown sugar together for 2-3 minutes until well blended. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and milk and blend. Add the whipped cream about 1/3 at a time and blend completely before adding more. When everything is mixed, pour into graham cracker crust. Cut each peanut butter cup into 8 pieces (like a pie). Dollop more whipped cream on top (or use cake decorating tools) to make the pie look "fancy." Place peanut butter cup pieces at random places on pie. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the top. Voila!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blackjack Bullies

As I mentioned in a previous post, I went to Lumiere Place with some friends on Saturday night and played some blackjack. I am not a big gambler and neither is Bruce, but we do enjoy going to the casinos. We have our (usually $40) limit, and if we use it all, then we are done. Compared to many people, $40 is nothing to spend at a casino. I have enjoyed playing blackjack for the past few years. At first, I was kind of nervous about it but now I am OK sitting down at a table and playing.

With my spending limit being as low as it is, I usually try to find a $5 table and stay there. But typically on a weekend night, the minimum betting table that one can find is $10. This was the case Saturday night. I walked around for a little while looking for a $5 table with no luck and then opted to sit down at a $10 table. I cashed in $50 (yes, more than my usual limit) and bet $10 on the first hand. Someone asked me if I was going to wait for a new chute and I said "no."

On my first hand, I was dealt an ace and a 7. The dealer was showing a 5. I had either 8 or 18 (not a bad blackjack hand) and we are supposed to believe the dealer is going to bust because they are holding a "bust" card. Well, anyway, I chose to stand. Some middle-aged white woman at the other end of the table (I was sitting in the spot right next to "3rd base" (one spot from the last player)) starts saying something like "double down on that!" and I just looked at her and said "no." FYI.....I almost always double down on 11 and sometimes on 10 if the dealer is showing something lower than 10. I never double down on anything else. This is my own personal choice and I make it mostly because I don't have that much $$$ to lose. I realize that doubling down might win me twice as much money, but it could also lose me that money. And I am not comfortable doing so on anything other than the 2 aforementioned situations. Well, immediately, this woman starts ranting about how that was a stupid decision and that she is now going to sit out the next hand because she's not going to play when someone who can't make the right decisions is at the table.

OK, whatever, lady. So I keep playing. And I lose a couple hands and then start winning. I double down when I feel comfortable with it. I hit on 16 and anything lower when the dealer is showing anything higher, and I begin winning. I think she then saw that yes, I really do kind of know what I am doing. She only sat out about 2 hands and then got back in. So we keep playing. A man comes to the table and begins playing. The woman at 3rd base keeps playing. And finally, 2 barely 21-year old college girls come to play. They only have $20 each and are helping each other and encouraging each other, and sharing money. They are doing fine. I now have my original $50 in chips (which I stuck into my purse and did not touch again, so that I knew I would at least break even on the night) and about $35 more on the table. I tell myself that if I lose that $35, I am done. We play some more hands.

Eventually, during one of the rounds, one of the college girls cannot decide whether to stay or hit. The two people on the left side of her who still have to play are myself and the woman at 3rd base. The girl looks at me and says "if I hit, will that mess you up?" I look back at her and say (in a very nice voice) something like "I don't care what you do; I'm not going to get mad at you for anything you chose to do at this table. It's your money." And I LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE EYES OF THE %ITCH ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THEM as I am saying this. Well, we finish that hand and then the %itch looks at me and says "what is your name?" I tell her. She then says "Beth, I owe you an apology." I said "thank you" as sternly yet nicely as I could. I wanted to get the point across to her that yes, I certainly thought she acted out of turn.

I just don't get people who get all worked up at what decisions other people make at a blackjack table. Seriously, do you really think that my not hitting on one hand can mess up the entire chute? Get real! And worry about your own money. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe that being a math teacher, I should realize more about the cards than I do. I don't know. I do know though that I absolutely hate it when someone tries to influence the decisions of others who have not asked for their opinion. People are not going to learn unless they make mistakes. That's how I learned (and also by playing on my phone). So don't worry about them. Worry about you. If you really can't stand it anymore, get up and move to a different table quietly, without belittling anyone else. Gees people, get a life!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


OK, so I don't usually post more than once a day (or more than once every 3 days for that matter) but I have to write about the basketball game today. We won but not very easily. At halftime, the score was only 6-2 (us winning). Even for 6th graders, this is obviously a very low score. At one point mid-second half, we were only up by 2, then 3 and finally 5 and then 7. I felt good. With about 3 minutes left, we were ahead by 5. I began texting one of my best friends who is also a sports mom and actually was the one who brought B1 to this tournament last year when Bruce and I were in Vegas. By the time I got the text typed into my phone, there were only 15 seconds left in the game and we were still ahead by 5. Well, one of the Troy players then made a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left so now we are ahead by 2. Then, our girl inbounds the ball under their basket and they steal it and shoot with 1 second left and make the shot. Game tied. UGH. I never did send that text. I instead called her during the time between regulation and overtime, simply because I needed to tell someone about what was going on!

We played the first 2-minute overtime and at the end of that, the score was still tied (each team scored 1 point in the overtime period). In the second overtime, one of their girls got a technical for guarding our player over the line while she was trying to inbound the ball. So we got foul shots but missed them both. Finally, we were winning by 2 with like 30 seconds to go and ended up just kind of passing the ball around to end the game. It was very exciting. I know the mouths of our players, coaches, and fans were on the floor at the end of regulation though with their 5 points in the last 15 seconds. Wow.

No's always nice to beat a team from TROY. I still don't get why they get to call themselves the Knights when we are all Knights when we get to high school. Then again, they've always done stuff like that. Us little Cubs beat those big old Knights! YAY JAKEY HOOPS!!!!! We are proud of YOU! And great game Jordyn Alford (who scored 10 of our 19 points today)! Way to go!

Mickey Pancakes!

While eating my cereal yesterday morning, I noticed a lot of little scratches on the spoon I was using. Scratches on the front and the back sides.....just little scratches.....nothing you can feel when you are using the spoon to eat, but something you do notice if you look closely. I started to wonder where they had come from. And then I realized that those are 15 years worth of our life. When we received that silverware set as a wedding gift, everything was smooth and perfect. It's not as noticeable on the forks, but on the spoons, you can see the wear. I like it. Those scratches remind me of 15 years of happy times. I remember at my wedding shower that someone said something like "I think everyone should have another shower after they are married for 20 years, just to get fresh towels, utensils, linens, etc." Back then I had no idea why this might be necessary, but now I do! Here is part of our breakfast this morning. I went out with some girlfriends last night to the Royal Dumpe, which was a lot of fun. I got the show, dinner, and a HUGE pina colada (picture fishbowl), tax, and tip for $40.50. Not a bad deal. Anyway, afterwards, we went to Lumiere Place for an hour or so. I played blackjack (there's a story for another post). I didn't wake up this morning until 8:30 and everyone else was still asleep too. So......we were bad parents this morning (sorry Patti) and didn't have our kids go to Sunday School. I think this is the first time they have missed this year. Anyway, we had pancakes and bacon for breakfast. This was the first time I have used my Mickey Mouse shaper thingy that I purchased at Disney World this summer. We also have an ice cube tray in the shape of Mickey. The girls like to pop those out and just have them as a snack.

B1 plays in the championship basketball game of the tournament today against Troy. Oh how nice it would be to beat them. We have already beat them once this year and I know they would definitely like to beat us. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sushi Anyone?

I bought some sushi tonight at Schnucks in O'Fallon. Well, I think it's sushi. If there is no raw fish in it but it still has the rice and seaweed stuff, is that sushi?

I never thought about tasting this stuff until I went to Japanese Garden with my friend Katie in the summer of 2007. She ordered some kind of roll, maybe a California roll? I can't remember. Anyway, I tasted it and I liked it. I visited this restaurant again back in November with some other teachers and I ordered the California roll for myself. I honestly don't remember what was in it but I know there was no raw fish.

Ever since then, I have been hungry for more sushi. I can't say I've been craving it, but I do have a taste for it once in awhile. So tonight, while B2 was at gymnastics, I did some grocery shopping and this particular Schnucks (which used to be a Hart grocery store) has sushi in their deli area. I bought one called cream cheese sushi. It had cream cheese of course, cucumber, and a little crab meat (I know, I know.....this is fish, but since I love crab legs, I don't consider it to be "gross" like I think raw fish would be) as well as the rice and seaweed stuff (is that really seaweed or some other kind of wrap thing?). Anyway, it came with 12 pieces, the 2 little sauce things, and a packet of soy sauce. I ate 6 of them for dinner tonight and am taking the other 6 in my lunch tomorrow.

Last time I was at this grocery store, I bought a new kind of salad dressing that has the flavors of teriyaki and ginger. I made a salad to go in my lunch tomorrow too that has crunchy chow mein noodles in it. lunch is going to definitely have an Asian flair tomorrow! Never mind the Girl Scout cookies for dessert! Ha ha!

Monday, January 19, 2009

6th Grade Basketball

B1's basketball team is in a tournament this week in Bethalto. They won their first game on Saturday pretty handily and tonight, supposedly played against a "good" team. They won though, 24-3. Now, B1's team is certainly not a bunch of all-stars. They were lucky to win a few games in the league they played in earlier this year in Highland. But I guess this tournament is more to their liking as it has teams from a few smaller towns, like ours. Anyway, B1 and 4 other players participated in the free throw contest on Saturday. She made 4 of 10 that day and advanced (with another girl on her team who made 5 of 10) to the next round. Tonight, they shot again, this time 20 free throws each. B1 made 9 of them and her teammate made 5. I am guessing she will advance to the next round but I am not positive about that. It is fun to watch though! She has this routine where she bounces the ball 5 times, then kind of spins it upwards a little above her head, then places her hands on the ball and finally shoots. I guess it works for her!

Last year, her team won this tournament. It was in February last year and Bruce and I were in Las Vegas with his mom and sister. B1 made a shot with 2 seconds left in the game to win it! And yeah, we missed it. But at least we know she did well. Hopefully the team will repeat their championship this year.
The next game is on Saturday morning at 11:00am. Win or lose, we will play again on Sunday, either for 3rd place or (hopefully) 1st place.

Dan and Willy.....maybe you guys could come to the game on Saturday! It's not very far from your house really. And B2 can entertain your kids while you watch! Give us a call!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold Weather!

Bruce was off school today and will be again tomorrow due to the cold weather. We tough folks at Triad were not off. We can make it through the cold. Not that I'm still not holding my breath for tomorrow though! Ha ha. But yeah, I'm 95% sure we'll be in school tomorrow and I know that I will be glad about it when May and June are here. But sleeping in on cold days is suuuurrrrre nice! :-)

We're doing a trivia night tomorrow night at my school which should be a fun evening with friends. I always look forward to that.

Lots of basketball games are on the schedule for the weekend and also an annual meeting/potluck at church on Sunday. Monday we are off school for MLK Day. I plan to watch the presidential inaguration on Tuesday. One of my former students was invited to attend it. He is very excited and leaves tomorrow for a weekend full of activities.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Bulletin Board

I like Christmas cards. I like sending them and I like receiving them. I especially enjoy the letters and pictures that people often send with the card. I really like catching up on the lives of everyone and seeing how their children have grown.

For the past 3 years, I have made our Christmas cards. In 2006, I did a red theme with a picture of the girls dressed in Cardinal attire. This was to celebrate the fact that they had won the World Series that year. In 2007, it was a blue theme with a picture of the 4 of us at Niagara Falls. I figured the blue paper would go well with the water.

Here is a picture of what this year's card looked like:
We are on the Disney Wonder cruise ship. We had spent the day on Castaway Cay, which is Disney's private island. This is why we look so tanned! I swear, Bruce is already that dark in April! And B1 tans just like him. B2 and I have some pretty decent color in this pic as well! This had been an awesome day and this picture was taken on our last night on the ship. I chose the red Minnie Mouse polka dot paper and black background to go with Mickey for this year's card.

So, after Christmas, I take all of the real picture we have received in our cards (I don't use the pictures that were printed on paper within a letter) and make a collage of them on our bulletin board. I take down the pictures from the previous year and put them away first. This bulletin board hangs right behind our front door in the kitchen. We see it every time we come in that door or the door from the garage. We also see it when we turn a light on or off. I love looking at these pictures. Some of them are of people and kids we see all the time. Some of them are of kids we have never even met (but we know their parents). And then there are all the people and kids in between. As it seems to grow all the time, we have more pictures on our board this year than ever. I have begun taping pictures around the wooden edge of the bulletin board too. I have to save some room at the bottom of the board for our grocery list, Wal-Mart list, and coupons!
I like it. I like it a lot!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Not much happening with us. That is good I guess. We went to the movies tonight and saw "Bride Wars." It was pretty predictable but the girls enjoyed it and the popcorn was good. What more can you ask for? Tomorrow, we actually have nothing much planned. We shouldn't even have to leave town! We are going to church (down the street), eating supper at home (home-made pizza), and then Bruce has a Khoury League meeting at 6pm at the park (down the street again). It just about kills him to not have anything to do. I like hanging out at home all day. There is always something for me to do!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Day Off Already!

OK, I survived the first day back with no trouble. But now we have a snow day today. Don't get me wrong, I love the unexpected day off, but I also know that I am going to hate this come June! Ugh.

Goals for today: type minutes for church (I am the secretary of our council), walk on the treadmill, take pictures from everyone's Christmas cards.....cut them down to size.....put them on our bullitin board, finish setting out all the "normal" stuff that was put away during the holidays, organize my scrapbook stuff, and catch up on laundry. If there is time, also list some things on e-bay and organize some of my recipes.

Yeah, that's a lot on my list so I better get going!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back to the "Grind"

Well, today is last day of "freedom" for this school break. It has certainly been a nice one, 16 days total. This is one of the best perks of being a teacher, the breaks! And every time we have one, I fall into a bad rut of staying up waaaayyyyy too late and sleeping late. Last night, I went to bed at 1am and for about 3 nights prior to that, it was 2am. But then my times of rolling out of bed in the morning have been getting later and later as well. Today was actually an early day for me at 9:08am!

Yeah. Tomorrow's gonna suck.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


We spent last night bowling with friends. We had a great time as this has pretty much become our tradition on New Year's Eve. We all bring food, we play cards while we bowl, and we just have a good time together. The kids get to have the bumpers up on their lane, and I think us adults wish we did as well! I thought this was kind of a neat picture of the lanes with the main lights off and the disco lights on!

Me and Bruce

Rick and Kim

Mike and Michelle

B1 and B2

Bruce and Mike after doing the "Whammy Bowl." They didn't fair so well. Nice look on Bruce's face, huh!?!

B1 trying to be all serious about her bowling. She was 'posing' for this picture!

Two of the other kids being all serious about keeping score on paper. They were really copying from the machine in front of them I think!

All the kids together. We had a very fun time! Thanks for joining us everyone!