Friday, January 28, 2011


Since so many of you have asked how to play bunko, I'll tell you. If you don't care how to play bunko, then I have another game for you: count how many times the word bunko(s) appears in this post.

Okay. So find twelve women with $10, three tables and nine dice. One table is the head table, and the other two tables will be the middle table and low table. It does not matter who sits where to begin with. Each table gets three dice and four ladies. The person diagonally or across from you is your partner for that game. So in this picture, taken at our first bunko ever:
I am wearing my denim skirt as a tube top and Jamie (white denim) is my partner. Sarah (jacket) and Stephanie (hat) are partners as well. And don't get worked up if you don't have three tables in your house. We've played on the floor before. As long as there are three areas for people to play, then it's all good.

So now that you know how to set up, here's how to play.

Have everyone put their $10 in a pot. That's important, especially if you end up being the winner.

The "head table" needs a noisemaker of some sort. A pot and spoon, a movie clapper from your local party store if your theme skews Hollywood, whatever you have lying around. That starts the game. At each table, the ladies take turns rolling dice (anyone can have first roll at the table). So, in the first game, you're rolling for ones. The next game you'll roll for twos, and then threes and so on.

So you go around the table rolling for 1s, the magic number in this game. If you roll one 1, then you get 1 point. If you roll two 1s, then you get five points. If you roll three 1s, you get 21 points and that's called a bunko. Every time you roll that magic number, you get to go again. If you only hear one thing, hear this: KEEPING SCORE IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE GAME. But it gets much easier after your second bunko meeting or so... right Erin?

Let's say we're at bunko, we're partners (lucky you) and it's my turn.

3, 3, 1 = 1 point. I rolled a 1 so I go again.
2, 1, 5 = 1 point. I rolled another 1 so I go again.
1, 1, 6 = 5 points. Roll again.
5, 5, 5 = 5 points. This is called an ON THE TOWN. Now even though I didn't roll a 1, this is still a good thing to roll. Anytime you roll three-of-a-kind that's NOT whatever magic number you're rolling for that particular round, you get 5 points, but do not roll again. So my turn ends. The girl to my left rolls while you and I mark 12 points on our score sheets.

The girl to my left goes. She does not roll a 1. It's your turn.

You roll 1, 1, 1!!! Three of the magic number = A BUNKO. We mark 21 points down and you roll again until you do not roll a 1.

Now if you and I were sitting at the head table, then that would be the end of the game - someone would bang the pot or clap the clapper or whatever noisemaker is handy and that game would be over. Each game goes until a team at the head table gets to 21. If you're not at the head table, you can go until 70-something (that's happened before, by the way... to me) because everyone keeps playing until the head table gets to 21.

At that time, everyone adds up her points and at each of the three tables, the pair that wins moves up a table while the losing pair stays put. One way to remember this is "winners walk, losers lie dormant." I made that up, aren't you proud? Regardless if you "walk" or "lie dormant," you can't have the same partner twice in a row. So even one of the losers needs to move seats and not lie entirely dormant.

The table switching goes like this: The winning pair at the bottom table moves up to the middle table, and the winning pair at the middle table moves up to the head table. The exception to all of this is the head table: the losing pair goes all the way to the very bottom table (bypassing the middle table altogether) and the winning pair at the head table stays at the head table (though one of you gets a new seat because, again, you can't have the same partner two times in a row [though honestly, it wouldn't really matter, just makes it more fun]). Once everyone is seated, the bell is rung/pot is banged and we start rolling for 2s.

At my bunko club, this goes on for two rounds of 1 through 6 then we then have "halftime" - aka, dessert is served and we take our group picture(s). We also vote for best costume if necessary and if it's getting late in the evening, decide if we want to play two more rounds or just one.

At the end of how ever many rounds you decide to play (again, my club is usually four rounds of six games split in half by dessert and a few group photos), have everyone add up her total number of wins and losses. Points per game do not matter as much as wins and losses do in terms of who takes home the money. We allow each hostess to decide how the $120 is allotted, but usually it goes something like this: $10 to whomever has the most total losses, $25 to whomever has the most bunkos, and $85 to whomever has won the most games of the night. Sometimes there'll be a prize (cash or not) for having the most On the Towns. Originally, there was a hat or similar object that each person was to get up and fetch and hold onto whenever she rolled an On the Town, with the idea being that whomever had that object at the very end of the night got the prize. But that caused too many fights ("the bell had already rung!!!!") so we nipped that in the bud and that person usually gets some of the money or a small gift card.

The key is having a good score sheet; that really makes it idiot-proof, even while drinking. That's the final rule - everyone sips on something. Except the pregnant ones. Okay, okay, that's not really not a rule, but it does make the night more interesting. Also, a small bowl of candy at each of the tables. But I digress.

Mary Byrne designed a great score sheet for us:
You can see there's space for ticking off your points during the games, then circling if you won or lost, and boxes for keeping count of your Bunkos and your On the Towns. Only the player who rolls the bunko or the on the town marks it in the box on her score sheet, but both players (the team) get the points during the game.

And that's pretty much it! Much easier than it sounds. E-mail me if you have more questions as I'm sure the rest of the kids are bored out of their minds.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Last night was my turn to host bunko. Sweet Julia (PS - she's blogging now; look out Martha) let me use her house to host our group. I think I came up with a good theme, but you decide:


This is what the invite looked like:
I wrote it by hand, scanned it and then flipped it using Paint on my computer. Easy-peasy.

As the girls arrived in their backwards clothing, we had dessert first. Duh. That was the best part. We had a reverse ice cream sundae bar, so they put topppings in their bowl, then a warm brownie, then I scooped them some ice cream. Delicious and a huge hit!

Then we got down to playing bunko in reverse. Normally bunko is played in four rounds of six, with you rolling for 1's, then 2's, then 3's etc. in each round. This time we rolled for 6's, then 5's, then 4's and so on. Also, as in most games, the goal is to win. But this time, we were playing so that the goal was to lose the most times. Quite a twist!
At "halftime" when we normally eat dessert, I served the group some lasagna and salad and then we finished up our game.
It was a super fun night! I love bunko. Did you know that studies show that joining a club that meets just once per month can have an effect on your happiness equivalent to doubling your salary? It's true - it was on the Oprah show yesterday apparently. That's pretty amazing. If you want help on starting a bunko club in your neck of the woods let me know - we're franchising.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011



I want to see Justin Beiber's movie.

That's all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I have started reading the Harry Potter books. I know. Welcome to the 21st Century! I wonder if this Y2K thing will be as bad as they say?

I was planning to time it so that Deathly Hollows part 2 comes out right around the same time that I start the last book but I don't think that is going to happen. I read Book 1 over the weekend and started Book 2 last night. I think the books get much longer soon, so maybe that will slow me down some.

I love reading. I have a question: this scene in Sex and the City 2 where Carrie and Big are snuggled in bed and they are both reading a book - does that happen in real life? I think that would be a great way to fall asleep.

Monday, January 24, 2011



Where was the Ben & Jerry's Pint Lock when I was growing up??!?!

I should have invented this, you guys. "Someone" in our house was NOTORIOUS about not wanting to incur the wrath for eating all the ice cream, so she'd leave a tablespoon to teaspoon-sized corner left in the bottom for her growing teenage daughters to find at the exact moment one of them would decide she was hungry for a late-night snack. "JUST EAT IT ALL! I WOULD RATHER YOU EAT IT ALL, THAN LEAVE ME THAT MUCH!!!!"

Ahhhh, those were the days.

Of course, if I had gotten ahold of the Pint Lock, none of this ever would have happened. Who cares if we were a Bluebell family; I'd have gone and bought my own Ben & Jerry's just so I could have used this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Evan sent me this YouTube video because he knows I like good art. Robyn, singing "Dancing on My Own" and accompanied by just a piano, is ART. Actually, this feels a little like worship to me, if I can be so bold.

Enjoy it, with or without the same fervor I did.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


So two of you have asked where my post about Auburn's championship win is hiding. I'll tell you where - in my heart.
If you were there, or watched it at home, and pulled for Auburn, then you get it. If you pulled against Cam "for Oregon", then no words I could put together here would matter. Auburn fans know how I feel. Auburn fans understand why all I could do was weep when Wes kicked the field goal. It was an uphill climb and we summitted. And the view from up top is pretty.

However - I would like to say that I told you so.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


What a week. Six days with a broken trackball will really unglue your shingles. Don't worry, that phone got tossed to the left, to the left. AKA - replaced. That plus some other issues warranted some comfort food this weekend.

When I moved back in with my mom, I used to make this chicken soup that is to die for. I love it. I would make and consume at least 2 pots a week. I'd eat it for lunch. I'd eat it for dinner. Then I'd eat it some more. And then make more. I think I got the recipe while living with the Haleys (shout-out!) my second senior year.

So I made this last night. And just had some for lunch. It's a staple.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked then chopped or shredded
16 oz block of Velveeta
1 can Rotel
2 cans chicken broth
3 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can creamed corn
1 can shoepeg corn (or more, if you LOVE CORN like me)

You get the idea: pour into a pot, melt the cheese and stir. A nonstick pot, it turns out, works wonders as far as avoiding a nice layer of burned cheese at the bottom.

I inhale it serve it with Scoops.

Have a soup-er week.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Last night I made my first dinner in the new pots and pans. It didn't go perfectly, but it was edible, and I guess that's good enough.

This week's menu includes three different kinds of chicken recipes. One is a simple sauté, one is more of a casserole, and the third is also a sauté but with a complex(ish) sauce. I am so glad chicken was on sale at Kroger.

So last night was Rosemary Chicken, at the recommendation of my sister. I have found it's helpful to make recipes that she also makes, because I can call and ask her stupid questions such as: how do you brown butter? Can I use dried rosemary instead of fresh? Should I add something to the pan before putting the chicken in? Should I chop or mince this garlic, or just put it in whole? I expect her to disconnect her home phone line any day now.

I came home from the gym and prepped the chicken before hopping in the shower. After it was sufficiently marinated, I put it in my preheated pan and let it get to cooking. I also had my tortellini (which I used instead of ravioli) cooking.

My issue right now is with an inaccurate stovetop. "Medium high" on my stove is really "high." I need to get it fixed, or just adjust every recipe. Because as you'll see here, the outside of the chicken cooked far faster than the rest of the chicken so it was a little burned on the outside. But it was also undercooked (for my preference) on the inside... boo.

Y'all know I love asparagus, so a few stalks oven-roasted in some lemon juice, squirt butter and Accent seasoning made the perfect side. In fact, that was the best part of the meal.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


What’s up, 2011? Hope everyone’s year is off to a bang. Mine has been pretty good so far, aside from a few hiccups. Where shall I begin?

I saw Garth Brooks on the first of his 9-show run. It was awesome…. just as perfect as I’d ever imagine a Garth show to be. Trisha came out for a handful of songs and he ran around the stage like a kid on Christmas morning. He raised millions of dollars for the flood relief, so to know the money was for a great cause made the show even more special. The drunk guy next to me – not so special. But still, a fun night.

A few days afterward, my sister and brother-in-love rolled into town. I had a great time showing them around town, finishing up some last minute shopping, getting a manicure (Jamie sat that out, obviously) and just doing fun every day things that we never get to do during busy, jam-packed holidays when I normally see them. Mom drove up their second day here and all of them got to see Garth as well.

A few days later, I headed home for the holidays. Mom and I ran a few errands that night and then the next day, I met up with some dear, dear friends at the Summit for breakfast. I would LOVE to make this a tradition, but not all of these girls will be in Alabama every Christmas Eve. We’ll take it year by year. Three of these girls are mommies now, but the kids stayed at home so the mamas could relax for a bit. And if any of you “sisters” (did I really just type that?) are reading this and want to join us next year, let me know!
That afternoon, Mom and I went south to spend Christmas in her hometown. It was really unusual being in a new place for Christmas Eve and with a group of people I had never met before. Are you reading between the lines? But it was what Mom wanted to do, so I was along for the ride. They were very welcoming and it ended up being just fine. The next day, we had Christmas with our lifelong friends the Arnolds, where Jennie and Jamie met back up with us. We had a great time with them before going to see my mom’s mother in her assisted living home, and then trouping back north to Birmingham. We drove straight to Joey and Luanne’s house, and did Christmas with that side of the family.

We finally got home after 9 pm, where we discovered that Mom had left the oven on for a full 30+ hours (true story), and everyone loved their gifts and Christmas PJs.

The next day we laid low until it was time to go over to see my other side of the family and meet our new cousin Tristan.

Monday brought lunch with Eric and the Bondses, whom I understand are now parents to the baby hiding under that bump, followed by lots of shopping and running around town with the family until we had no more energy or money.
Jennie and Jamie left bright and early on Tuesday and I got to visit with my friend Kathryn and meet her second daughter Maggie before heading back to Tennessee that afternoon. The rest of the days between then and now are kind of a blur since I was so sick. I had some kind of virus + sinus infection from hell. It was awful. I didn’t leave my house except for an attempt at celebrating New Year’s Eve, which lasted about 45 minutes into dinner. I did do a lot of reading (the Help and Decoded), watched some of my new DVDs and finally watched some old programs that were hanging around on my DVR.

Now I am back at work, holding down the fort, trying to face reality that I will probably NOT be going to Glendale even though I have a plane ticket and a hotel room, and trying to uphold my new year’s resolution. So far, the only thing I’ve cooked is soup. Oh well. Hope your holiday was great!

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