johnny 5

Photo: movieweb.com

Over Christmas and New Year’s I got exposed to some new-to-me music, movies, games, and books. One game especially kinda pulled it all together. There’s a card
game named Slash in which you try to find the best mate for each character. All the character cards are from TV, movies, and books. This brought to my attention to how many cards I needed to discard since I was at a loss as to who or what the character was.

I would love to get recommendations for all types of media in the new year. It is so readily available but it’s like diving into the middle of the ocean. Where to begin?
It doesn’t have to be new media either. For example, I watched Die Hard just before Xmas for the first time. Alan Rickman makes a cool bad guy and I hope he’s enjoying some peace just now. Oh, and dear god, get that cop some shoes.

alan rickman

Photo: Buzzfeed

So, can you recommend some media to me?

  • Movies–I like comedies, romances, thrillers, action films. Not keen on angst ridden, artsy films nor horror flicks. Although, classic horror is good.
  • Television–Similar to movies. I like crime shows and comedies. Such as NCIS, Castle, and Parks &  Recreation.
  • Anime or Cartoons–I love all things Studio Ghibli. I am not into mech.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Mostly fiction/fantasy/sci-fi and some biographical nonfiction.
  • Music–I really like singable and dance-able music and sometimes I need chill background music.
  • Podcasts–I like em short, informational (somewhat), and funny.
  • Games–Solitaire type games, two person/small crowd, cards, dice, paper–I’m easy.
  • Recipes–I love cooking! I am not the most experienced, but I love playing with recipes!

Here are a few things I’ve been taking in recently:

  • Movies–Watch Die Hard if you haven’t. If only to hear Alan Rickman say “Yippie Ki yay, mother fucker” one more time. (Spoiler: https://youtu.be/7tKr5XRPGmQ)
  • Television–iZombie has been getting recommended to heaps of folks by me. I want to get into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series.
  • Anime or Cartoons–Last animated feature I watched was Animatrix (again)–some not so bad ones in there.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Reading Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
  • Music–Uhm, I have been listening to same playlists for years…
  • Podcasts–Thrilling Adventure’s Sparks Nevada Marshall on Mars is great!
  • Games–I enjoyed King of Tokyo over the holidays among several others.
  • Recipes–I don’t know why but homemade chicken salad is so simple and worth every ounce of effort.

Please leave me some recommendations in the comments below. I would absolutely love all input! I can quickly do a search and read a quick blurb on the media you suggest, but I would much rather like to know why are you recommending this? I assume because it was good, but it is thinky, inspiring, funny, great for a party, perfect with a cup of tea?

 

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Patriotic Birthday Blast

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Yesterday, was my Patriotically themed birthday party. We played the game True American and were challenged with dressing up as ‘Murican as possible.
I ran to Goodwill and found the above shirt. My mom found tons of red, white and blue star spangled beads for guests to wear.
I also had a headband with ribbons and lengths of nylon that looked like red, white and blue dreadlocks. And, it flashed the ‘Murican colors through the dreadlocks.
My brother went all out on costume. He wore American flag  karate pants, as seen on Napoleon Dynamite. It was super fly.

I don’t have any photos, of course, because my phone died not long after I got home. It was great fun! In addition to the drinking game, there was tons of food. We had potato soup, veggies, crackers, sweets, spinach artichoke dip. We ate like kings. Or shall I say, presidents.

I got to blow out a candle inside the longest cave in the world when my husband led a tour group in singing ‘Happy Birthday’. Another good birthday to add to the list of awesome.

Sorry I haven’t been posting recently as up to my birthday I have been battling a stomach virus.

Top 5 Favorite Toys from Childhood

This turned out to be a mildly challenging list to come up with because during much of my childhood I enjoyed many make believe game. I tried to pick props from some make believe games so I can say I had a favorite toy.
So here are my top five favorite toys in no particular order:

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When I wasn’t running around on all fours as a dog, I was pulling around my own pet dog. I think I enjoyed the doggy cluck noise and flopping ears the most. I had no clue, until Googling, that this toy was so old! Around the middle 1960s apparently; even my husband had one when he was a boy. I am pleased to report that my nephew drags around my old pull-dog when he visits grandma.

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Tree image source
Just like link source, my family always piled our stuffies (stuffed animals) under the Christmas tree. My stuffed anims were more than tree ornaments, they were snuggly bedfellows, confidants and actors.

I have tons of fond memories of my brother and I reading a story from our kids picture bible then acting it out with our stuffies for the family.
I have to say, I thought our bible plays were pretty cool. We acted out fairy tales too from time to time. As an adult, I wish for a rainy day with my brother and a pile of actors.
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soup image source

Another game that I have a fondness for was playing kitchen. This blogger Happy Hooligans has the right idea in keeping her day care kids entertained. My mom wasn’t exactly pleased with this game because it always ended in her having to wash weeks of plant materials out of her favorite soup pots.

Almost any container that could hold a large amount of fluids would work for this game. I even used a sea shell once….and got grounded forever.

The best games I recall were when I had a lid with a pot so I could make a hot stew over a period of several days of play. The other ideal weather were rainy days, I remember making chickory and grass seed coffee one time during a rain. Not just stirring, building a “fire”, but especially the adventring for magical or rare ingredients.

Love this game. Probably where my love of real cooking has come from. I still feel adventurous when I go to the garden for herbs to add to the soup pot.

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blanket image source
There are so many possibilities for blankets. My all time favorite game–that I still play as an adult–is the holcher globber. Perhaps other families would call this the blanket monster.

The rules are simple. Find a large blanket and crawl around until you can attack and absorb another person. It is wise to pick a large blanket if you intend on absorbing a lot of players.

The monster cannot extend limbs beyond the blanket, so no reaching out and grabbing ankles. Mostly, there is little talking unless under blanket communications for directions are necessary. Mostly growling or grumbling the words ‘holcher globber’.
Much like sardines, when everyone in the house is eaten the game is over.

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lego image source

My brothers were the real kings of Legos, but I did get my build on as a kid. My brothers collected and made awesome castles, ships and worlds from their legos. I was lucky to get a four walled building most days.
I played with Legos much the same way that my older sisters created and executed elaborate doll house adventures. Just another medium for imagination. Of course I loved creating female characters with horses and dragons atop barns.

Do you harbour warm memories for particular toys from your youth?

Subconscious Messages and Book Party Games

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Yesterday, I was planning some games for my SiLs Golden Birthday Party (where your age matches the numerical day you were born). I have several great games in the forming stage of awesome.

The party is a Potluck/Bookluck, in which guests will bring a dish inspired by a book, its recipe and a copy of any kind of good book for the birthday girl.

This game is Book Title Guesstures/charades and yes, I realize that I did not invent this game. Guests will pull a slip of paper with a book title on it and have to act it out.

This was the first bit of my kids’ book list…notice anything wrong?
Shortly after starting this list I went and got a beer because I obviously needed one.

Other book related games include,
Book Think–Given a letter of the alphabet, players must come up with a book title or character. “The” and “a” do not count.

Book Scavenger Hunt— Large pile of picture books and chapter books. Players must find words, sentences, characters, copyright dates, photos of the author, etc.

Book Pickup Lines– Nerd/HP glasses and offer the best bookish pickup lines to birthday girl. We will try to write these down or record people saying them.

Poem Writer Book Search– Each player must create a poem, but their word bank only consists of those found in a kids picture book.
Making Bookmarks— Okay, this is a craft not a game, but I figure this might be fun to try. Stamps, construction paper, ribbon, jewels, etc.

Who is it?— Group activity or one at a time. Either played as a 20 questions game or as group guesses. Read off hints and everyone writes down who the clue is about. Then go thru list again and reveal the identities.

Day 301: Sink Me

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Sink me, you’ve sank my battleship!

Kit and I got a travelset version of Battleship. He had an early lead, through the middle we were neck and neck.
Finally, I found his little 2 hit ship and I won the game. Kit is adorable because he always said “You sank my battleship!” Just like the robotic voice.

Does anyone else try to put the ships diagonally every time and forget that it doesn’t work that way?

Day 289: Game Nights

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Around Christmas, we all leave on our PJs (as long as possible) an drag out all the games we can find. The game pictured above is what I like to refer to as a smart folks’ game. It is called Set. There are different shapes, colors and types of shading. I play turns because I’m too much of a space cadet to play free for all. Awesome game for thinkers and I highly recommend it.

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Hoopla is a super super fun game. It’s like a faster okay version of Cranium. Even better, the group works as a team to beat the clock. Competition, although nice at times, is not a strong suit of mine. It tastes yucky.

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Boys playing something on the computer. The serious faces paired with the festive hats just kill me.

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Frog Juice is a fun competive game where players try to collect ingredients for spells. It is a turn based game that is a mix of luck and wit of the player. The artwork on the cards are very enjoyable as well.

The final game I wish I had a picture of is a story telling game. I think it would be cool to play with younger children. The goal of the game, Gloom, is to kill the wretched family of five that you have and kill them in the most miserable ways.
Note, I said miserable not hack and slash gross. You get negative points (good) for making them miserable. You can collect those points when the character is dead.

Example, one of my characters was haunted by ghosts, Beth’s character won the lottery (uh oh, positive points!!), but he got robbed later. Murcia’s character got struck by lightening.
The better you tell a story of how the event on the card occurred, the more hilarious the whole game.
I want to add it to my collection soon.

Do you have a favorite boardgame or cardgame?

Stay-In Valentine’s Day Plans for Playful Couples

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I designed this stay-in date night for my sister-in-law and have decided the plans are too good to keep to myself.
This is a Valentine’s Day date designed for the broke-college students, kids at heart, vegetarians and those wishing to break the stiff candle-lit dinner traditions.
If this is you, read on.

Keep in mind these are plans for adults and they often do adult things together. If you are offended by couples with healthy/happy relationships both physical and emotional then this is your warning to get outta Dodge.

Set the TableMake a blanket fort

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I know it may have been years since you last made one. Just get started and your inner child will fill in the blanks. If you’re timid to try, here is a link to help get you started: School of How To.

Fill your fort with blankets and pillows to lounge on. Then put a string of Xmas lights or a small night light inside instead of a candle–a touch light or battery flameless battery operated candle.
Eat dinner then push the dishes out of the fort and get to snuggling.

Make Dinner

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All Recipes has a fantastic recipe for Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers. This is a vegetarian recipe but you can easily modify it. Fry up some bacon til crispy. Cool and crumble it into your mix. Also, this is a special dinner so if you have fresh onions then dice and saute half an onion (at least).

Cook dinner together. If you don’t think cooking as a couple is romantic then try this: Turn off the phones, turn on music you both love, lock the doors, draw the blinds and get naked. If you’re a little weird about cooking in the buff, then keep on your underwear and apron.

Dessert for Chocolate Lovers

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Fun desserts are messy. I’m working the mathematical correlation now. I recommend fondue or a s’mores lab.
Contrary to popular belief you DO NOT need a fancy fondue pot nor double boiler to make fondue. Just be careful to melt slowly and stir often. Crock pots come in handy if you have one.

This is the same Groovy Fondue recipe I used for my birthday party. It was a HUGE hit. Pro-tip: You can make truffles out of the chilled leftovers. You’ll thank me later.

The tasty alternate dessert is to create a s’mores experimentation lab. Grab plates, ingredients and get ready to create a franken-S’more. A Lot On Your Plate blog has Ten S’mores Recipes that should inspire you to get creative. Marshmallows in the microwave are just hysterical anyway.

Games/Activities

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The first two activities are more passive, but as you will soon find that they are awesome to add to the list.

The Couples Q&A. There are literally tons of these questionnaires on the interwebz and a quick Google search will turn up plenty of results. This list is just to get you started. Keep in mind–Some lists are designed for deep emotional probing that is probably inappropriate on a fun night.

The second activity is for dreamers. Kit and I love making lists like these. Here is an example of a Couple’s Bucket List to get your creative juices flowing. Grab a notebook and dream big!

Minute to Win it Games.These are fun and can be adapted for two instead of a group party. Most of the materials are super cheap–to save even more money, do these games the day after V-Day and buy the sale candies.

The games from that blog that I chose are: Heart-a-stack, Marshmallow Toss, Love Spot (use paper cut outs instead of expensive craft pom poms), and Heart Pick Up. I have seen the Face Cookie on every M2W party blog and am exhausted with its overuse.

How to Get Your Spouse to Play Along
If your partner isn’t the playful sort then I don’t have much hope for you. However, if you’re gamer sweetheart is just a little shy then this is a great date.

Kit doesn’t do well with surprises so I typically spill ALL my surprises. Some guys or gals are like that. They need to be mentally prepared for fun so they can be excited instead of reluctant. Give them really obvious hints. Tell your partner that you will be playing some mini-games similar to Mario Party and that you’ll be making supper together. If you want to keep it a guessing game, tell them some of the ingredients to dinner or dessert.

If you use any of my date night ideas please let me know how your night went!
(You don’t have to share the gritty details).