Category Archives: Games

SWINGBALL!!

There is something very special about sharing something from your childhood with your own kids. I don’t remember exactly which birthday I received it, maybe I was about the same age as my elder son (9/10), but it’s probably one of my most memorable gifts. Our garden wasn’t very big, but big enough, I can picture it screwed into the ground like a beach umbrella & batting the ball back & forth for hours. It went everywhere I could possibly take it, caravanning holidays, the beach, picnics, & I never got tired of it. I don’t remember when or why I lost interest, but I do remember it becoming very rusty over time so maybe that’s why I gave up on it, but I’d had several years of fun out of it by that point.

My in-laws dug theirs out a few years back, I think my elder boy would have been about 5 maybe. Of course it was a much later version of my original one, some things were better, some not. I remember it being very plastic looking compare to the heavy metal of the original version. I had been saying to myself since then that I must look out for one because it’s a version of tennis I can play with the kids without all the running around.

When I saw it in Costco today I almost screamed with delight. At that moment I didn’t care if I didn’t buy a single item of food on my list, I had a SWINGBALL to play with instead. As soon as the boys got home from camp we got it out of the box to play. Once again this version has moved with the times & is very different to mine. The first thing that is notable is that it has it’s own base, which doubles up as a storage box/carry case. It’s also quite plastic in appearance but it has nice features that actually make the game easier. It was so much fun showing my kids how to do something that I learned at their age – but on my own because that’s just how it was in my childhood. Then they played each other, it made me smile because my brother was too young & not really interested in playing with me. But there they were, playing together, laughing, batting & enjoying a childhood game that will create new memories for me all over again.

Kayaking with Cedric Diggory & A grizzly bear

We are all home safely after a great week of family time & believe it or not, relaxation. Although the mountain weather was fairly typical we still managed to…

  • Kayak, both boys going solo for the first time & doing amazingly well.
  • The boys swam in the lake.
  • The dog was in heaven at all the new aroma’s that the forest had to offer, we walked her in there most days.
  • I was really good about stretching most days, even took my yoga mat down to the dock & did pilates in the sunshine.
  • Played ‘Whiffle ball’, a crazy golf kind of set up that one of the locals has made in the forest. 19 holes of fun that anyone can have a go at, there were golf clubs of all sizes with whiffle balls, & gnomes watching over you as you lose your balls. A neighbor in a cabin 2 doors down told us about it last September just as we were about to leave so it was high on the list of things to find this time. What was really great about it was the boys could take them selves off to play without us, it’s completely free & nobody else was seen using it.
  • We barbequed most nights while drinking Mason jar G&T’s.
  • After dinner we all played a board game, the kids thrashing us at Harry Potter trivial pursuit!
  • Hubby & I then read, did grown up colouring or I scrapbooked while enjoying peace & quite with a glass of something.
  • We had lazy sleep-ins, even the dog wouldn’t move some mornings until I got up.
  • The cats came too. I don’t think Salt moved off the top bunk all week, she just slept & watched the birds. Pepper, who is much more sociable hung out with us in front of the fire.
  • We saw some wildlife, a young grizzly bear on the driving range in the local village. A few dear, & discovered a Marmot lives under the front deck. He used to tease the cats & the dog by sitting on the deck outside the glass front door.
  • We even made ice cream with younger child’s ice cream ball that older child bought him for his birthday – & it was delicious. Basically you put the ingredients in one side, ice & salt in the other & roll it around the floor for twenty minutes, au voila… ice cream!

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t blazing sunshine every day like it was a couple of years ago when we were there. It was quality family time & a lot of fun for everyone, I think even the cats were happy to be cozied up with us in a quarter of the space they are normally used to. It was the kind of family vacation that you can’t put a price on, & will be one to remember in many years time – the one where I got the name of the contestant in the tri-wizard contest from the Goblet of Fire mixed up & called him Seamus Diggory instead of Cedric. They all thought this was hilarious, you will too if you have read Harry Potter & know who Seamus is.

… And we are STILL on vacation for the rest of the week with more adventures to come.

… possibly pink!

It’s hard work getting organized to go on vacation but I think we are finally there. This time tomorrow we will be relaxing in a lakeside cabin drinking something white, or maybe red, or possibly pink. The sun will be setting on the other side of the lake turning the mid summer sky vibrant shades of orange & red – possibly pink. Sadly it is not our cabin, but when I’m there I pretend it is. I love it so much that not only do we return every year at some point (usually in summer) I also based my 4th novel around it. I hope hubby’s work colleague never finds out what I get up to in his cozy holiday home as my other self!

The week ahead will hopefully be spent down by the lake. The boys love it too; kayaking, canoeing, & swimming are just a few fun activities they enjoy. Their imagination never ceases to amaze me, & what they can turn a jetty into. This is how kids should spend summer, in the great outdoors covered in Mother Nature & glowing through the dirt of the day – possibly even a bit pink from the strength of the sun. They eat & sleep well, enjoying slightly later nights playing family games & creating memories – even the dog crashes out easily. The cats come too, appreciating not being left out & abandoned in the vet with a fraction of the space. They love watching the wildlife & then curling up on a comfy knee at the end of the day.

There is no phone signal, no Internet & no TV. It is what very few kids appreciate these days, encouraging good quality family time & teaches our boys how to enjoy the company of those around them without always relying on technology for entertainment. And yes, they complain about only being allowed a very short time to play Minecraft, but once we engage them in something we can all play a part in they soon forget, especially with a bowl of chips & a glass of Lemonade close by – possibly even pink!

I’m signing off now, for about ten days – I’m officially on vacation…

 

Bombed out!

It was even hotter today so by this afternoon we were melting. My boys wanted to play with the hosepipe, but after the amount of water they wasted yesterday at a friend’s BBQ I didn’t feel right about saying yes. Instead I opened up a pack of ‘Buncha Balloons’ I picked up in Costco for $20. We all know how tedious it is to fill & tie water bombs? Well some genius has invented a system in which you screw on about 20 ballons to your hosepipe. They all have tiny elastic bands ready to close them up once you’ve filled them. Just give a short sharp pull on the pipe once they are full & it release the thin tube used to deliver the water. The band closes the neck & ‘au voila’, twenty bombs in about 20 seconds – it’s awesome.

At first I watched the boys have a rather amusing showdown, all the time thinking how much fun it looked. I was being a bit mean saying they could only have one round, but then hubby (who is on call this weekend) arrived home…

In no time at all we were all battling it out. First, myself & elder child Vs. hubby & younger child. The boys wanted to video it & I thought I was, but as usual I had hit the wrong button. Of course this called for a re-match, this time parents against kids. It was so much fun, & I’ve got to tell you those bombs can really hurt if they are thrown well & at some speed. Both boys seemed to know just how to throw them accurately enough to cause instant pain. The rule was that between each battle we had to pick up the debris from the last one, which was not so much fun. However, although we all seemed to pick up copious amounts of fluorescent rubber I think I’ll be picking it up for weeks.

Hubby as since asked if I can get Costco to deliver a case of them – oh yes I’ll just drop 100 bucks on water balloons & we’ll eat bread a water for the rest of the month while we battle it out!

Another day goes by…

… & I haven’t used algebra… or long division… or trigonometry…

My elder child’s grade (4) put on a math fair today which parents were invited to. Now, along with failing English on my first attempt, I also sucked at math. Somehow I eventually managed to scrape through these torturous subjects, or may be someone just took pity on me I don’t know, but I eventually passed both. So as you can imagine I’m just raving about the idea of having 44 9/10 year olds proving they are smarter than me. I decided to go to the 9.30am slot, which already screams disaster because I don’t do sums in the afternoon never mind at that time of the morning. Of course I go to my son’s table first…

He & his partner (a boy he doesn’t really get on with but his teacher had made of point of mixing friends up) had taken the theme (Wizards/witches/magic etc.) & devised questions to with counting wands. Each par of students had to make a poster advertising their mathematical question. My son’s poster was quite good, but difficult for failing eyes to read. They had also broken the questions into grades so that every student from kindergarten to grade 12 could take part. I attempted the grade 4/5 level…

After trying to work out the answer on a piece of scrap paper more than once I submitted it – wrong!! How humiliating, what does this say of me as a parent? At least it was my own child. As I moved around to the various stations I found my brain warmed up a bit & I actually managed to complete some ‘hard’ sums. Some of the students had done really well, producing a well thought through & clever way to work something out, where as others clearly had an idea fixed in there head & ran with it to then produce something that didn’t quite work. I think my favourite was a problem that a bunch of witches had when the bridge over a lake sank. They only had one broom between them that could only hold 100kg. There were 4 witches & 20kgs of potions to transport, & the broom could not fly on it’s own. This particular pair were kids I knew well. They had a pond (laminated blue paper), a broomstick (a pencil with paper strands taped to the end), a tiny bag of potions, & each witch with their weights on individual bits of paper. I was stood with another mum so we did it together which was fun pretending to fly the broom back & forth. It turned out we were the first to solve it – a bunch of grade 12’s before us had tried several times & got it wrong every time – YAY! We were magical mathematical geniuses. I moved on & I don’t think I solved anything else. In fact, I missed out a few stations because honestly it wasn’t worth the shame!

A Sunday of scanning & crafts…

08.30 – YAY! A sleep in!

10.00 – Hubby & elder child have disappeared off on their shiny bikes wearing smart new lycra. Younger child & I are going to build BB8, R2D2 & C3PO – a book he bought with his pocket money at the school book fair. He had done quite a lot himself but they are just made of strong cardstock with flaps & slots to hold them in place – quite tricky for a 7 year old to do. We set up in my craft room & begin.

11.00 – We have built BB8 & put a joint of beef in the oven to roast.

12.00 – We have almost completed R2, attended to the beef & prepared the potatoes.

12.40 – R2 is finished, the potatoes are roasting & the beef is almost done.

13.00 – Hungry smelly bikers return after 33kms & elder child didn’t fall off once. They also saw some friends from school & caught the tail end of the emergency services clearing up after a hit & run. Slightly more eventful than our morning in the craft room!

13.30 – We are sitting down to a proper Sunday lunch for the first time ever – I think (we normally have this at about 5pm). Elder child declares war on the chef because she forgot to buy Yorkshire puddings!

14.30 – I abandon hubby with all the dishes to head to the hospital to have a CT scan of both my knees this time.

15.00 – I arrive bang on time. No need to get changed because my cropped pants will roll up – even better. However, in the process of doing this in front of the radiographer (a guy, of course it was a guy) I discover that I must have dropped chocolate into my lap when eating my dessert. I large blob of melted chocolate was sitting between my legs in an embarrassing spot! I scoop a bit off & lick my finger announcing that it’s definitely chocolate. He did not find this amusing. The scan takes all of 2 minutes & I’m on my way home.

16.15 – We all sit down to play Cluedo, a game the boys only just learnt yesterday at our friend’s house. Considering they are not quite tuned into listening what is being said beyond their own turn, they didn’t do too badly. There was also gin involved.

17.30 – I make 2 Spiderman cards for a birthday party younger child is attending next weekend, while the boys get bathed & pj’s on early so daddy can finish reading the Narnia book to them.

19.00 – I organise everyone’s life for school, work & the morning boot camp routine.

19.30 – I thought getting ready for bed early meant that they should be in bed by now, but hubby is still reading.

19.45 – I gently remind him of the time, & he promises he’s nearly finished. They are going to be disgusting tomorrow mark my words.

20.00 – Finally! So much for their early night before school, after having two late nights over the weekend.

20.15 – All is calm & right in the world again. It must be time for wine?