Family, Food, and The Fun Game

Alright folks.  If you’re not down for holiday cheer and lovey dovey sappiness about family, stop here.  You’ve been fairly warned!

I love the holiday season – particularly, Hallowthanksimas which spans from October through December.  Halloween throws open the door to winter festivities with sweets and costumes, ushering in my two favorite holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas because those are times that my extended paternal side of the family – all 31 of us – try to make it back to the northwest corner of the U.S. to be together, catch up, give hugs, and EAT.  

Food is a common way my family shows love.  I am fortunate that my family boasts a number of fantastic cooks who love to cook and bake from scratch.  They don’t mess around when it comes to food.  This year, we had an incredible Thanksgiving spread to feed 24 people: brined roasted turkey, succulent roast beef, ham with crisp blackened skin, steak with mushroom sauce, three different types of gravy, roasted cauliflower with bacon, squash with a delicious gouda sauce, caesar salad, cranberry walnut bread, challah bread, wild rice, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, baked sweet potatoes and yams, tofu and avocado in a soy/sesame sauce, pumpkin cheesecake, jello cheesecake, peanut butter pie, apple pie, jello jigglers, homemade whipped cream, wine, coffee and milk!  I was so pleasantly stuffed, I had to be rolled out of the house. 

~ Thanksgiving spread ~


I feel very lucky and thankful to have such a wonderful family.  Because of my grandparents’ strong family values, my extended family is quite close even though there are a lot of us and some of us live far away.  In addition to cooking, eating and gabbing, we also love to play games.  Two nights in a row this Thanksgiving holiday, we were up past 2 AM playing and hanging out.  We play enthusiastically, we play to win, and there are usually tears rolling from laughter.  (You guys should see my sister act out a “tank” – it was awesome.)  One of our favorite games is The Fun Game.  I’m including the “recipe” below, as well as a few more pictures from the feasting that occurred.  I hope you all have had a lovely, relaxing holiday season so far!  

The Fun Game

You need:
- 4 or more players, divided into at least two teams
- Two bowls or containers
- Pens and paper
- A timer to time one minute

Set up: Divide people into teams; how many members per team is up to you.  Cut the paper into small pieces and dole out the pieces to each player.  How many pieces per player is up to you.  For four people, I’d recommend 10 pieces each.  Anywhere from 30-50 pieces, total, is a good number.  Each player writes down a noun, folds the paper in half and drops it into one bowl.  Proper nouns are okay.  Once all the paper is in one bowl, you’re ready to play. 

How to Play: The Fun Game has three stages, but can be played with four or more depending on how creative you’re feeling.  Determine a "batting order" for each team so that each player gets a one-minute turn to get their teams to guess what is written on the paper.  In Stage 1, each team has one minute to guess as many slips of paper from the bowl.  To get your team to guess the word, you can say anything except for the word on the slip of paper.  However, if there is a parenthetical on the slip of paper, for example, "Luigi (from Mario Brothers)," you can say any of the words in the parenthetical.  Once one minute is up, tally your points and pass the bowl to the next team.  The bowl gets passed from team to team, with each player getting one minute to get their team to guess as many slips of paper as possible.  Once the bowl is empty, the next stage immediately begins.  Pay attention to all of the answers, because in Stage 2, all rules stay the same except now you can only say ONE word.  Continue as before, with one minute for each team.  Once the bowl is empty, the next stage begins immediately.  In Stage 3, all rules remain the same except you can’t speak or make sounds – you can only act, like charades. 

Suggestions for more stages: Puppet: each player chooses a player from another team to be a puppet.  The puppet doesn’t move except when controlled to do so by the player.  No talking or sounds.  Drawing: draw out the answer on the slip of paper without using numbers, symbols, or cues (such as an “ear” to signify sounds like or dashes/boxes to signify how many words, etc.).

All players have to get their team to guess answers at some point – no passing! 

How to Tally Points: A team gets one point for every piece of paper that it guesses correctly.  If a player truly does not know the noun written on the paper, the player can skip without penalty.  If a player starts to talk or act and the team doesn’t get it, the player can skip, which results in minus one point.  If the player breaks a rule (e.g. says more than one word in Stage 2), skip the paper, continue playing, and take one minus point.

The night I returned home, I found my sister made blueberry turnovers from scratch… no biggie.
They were freaking delicious.

Some of Mama’s home cooking!
(L-R, T-B), steamed taro root with pork belly, stir fried garlic green beans, garlic and ginger stir fried sprouts, bamboo shoots with pork belly and tofu, ginger soy chicken with shitake mushrooms.

Oh… did I mention that my sister is a professional cook?  She’s amazing. 
She’s also a total brainiac. Both my sisters are – they’re ridiculous.

Dim sum!

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