Playing Games: Our Favorite Five Plus One

Holiday Traditions

I grew up in a game-playing family.

In the summer, we played hide-and-seek (and on our farm there were amazing places to hide) and a variation called, I have no idea why, W-Raw. Instead of trying to get to base, you avoided capture by the “it.” The winner was the last person “it” found. (Not sure I even have the spelling right. It could be W-Roll.)

In the winter, we played board games, lots of board games, including Masterpiece, Rook, Clue, Aggravation, Scrabble, Boggle, Yahtzee, Chinese checkers, Life . . . I am sure there were others. We seemed to get on game binges.

We also played cards: euchre, canasta, Tear the House Down, Tripoli, and various variations of rummy.

Naturally, I played games with my children–Bethany, Jillian, and Nate–especially during the holidays. I asked them to share their favorites and here’s the consensus of our favorite five in no particular order.

  • Hand and Foot
  • Risk/Lord of the Ring Risk
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Euchre

The fifth is one you’ve never heard of because the kids created it a few years ago: Donley-opoly! It’s a handmade, personalized game that includes family fun and foibles.

Plus One Bonus Game

Castle Panic!

I learned to play this cooperative gave this past Thanksgiving.

In this game, the players work together to defeat the monsters, openly discussing strategy and trading cards to keep the orcs, trolls, and goblins from knocking down the castle towers and walls.

Individual players also earn points so if all the monsters are defeated, there is a winner among the players.

We played several games, though, and found ourselves ignoring the individual points (unless someone did extremely well) because we were so focused on beating the monsters together.

Memorable Moments

Bethany and I once played Hand and Foot, which requires six decks of cards including the jokers, on an airplane. Thankfully no one was sitting in the middle seat because we had cards everywhere.

Nate and Jill’s husband Jacob played LOTR Risk when it first came out–moving from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room as other activities took over their spaces. We’ve played the game since and it’s never taken as long as it took the two of them that night. I’m not sure now what they were doing–perhaps making up their own rules.

Nate taught us to play Settlers of Catan. So annoying! He’s so good at it that he barely paid attention but won over and over and over again. We finally sent him away.

A group of us were playing Apple to Apple late one night when Jill’s younger daughter, a toddler, sleepily wandered in from her bedroom. She looked at all of us then made a beeline straight for my arms. Be still, my heart!

Your Turn

What are your favorite games? Or do you have other traditional activities when family and friends gather for the holidays?

A Last Look at PEI

Exploring Prince Edward Island: #Write31Days

exploring-pei-memeMy daughters talked me into participating in the #Write31Days Challenge. I hesitated at first, unsure what to blog about.

But since I’d just come home from a vacation–and had a ton of photos–it seemed like a great opportunity to write about my trip to Canada.

I got a late start on the challenge, and I didn’t blog on the weekends.  So instead of thirty-one posts, this one is my twentieth for the series.

It’s also the last. That’s kinda bittersweet, isn’t it?

To complete the journey, here’s a brief recap of the trip with links to the individual posts.

west-point-lighthouse-03You can also begin with the first post then follow the link included near the end of each one to “hop” to the next.

On Our Way & Lighthouses

We visited the lighthouses at North Point and West Point but didn’t get to go inside either one. The tourist season had ended a week or two before we arrived.

Our Canada-Bound Adventure (With a Detour to Boston)

Exploring Prince Edward Island: North Point

Exploring Prince Edward Island: West Point Lighthouse


The Bottle House Museum

Edouard Arsenault, the last resident keeper at the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, built a six-gable house, a chapel, and a tavern out of approximately 30,000 bottles.

It’s an unusual museum, and certainly worth seeing.

A replica of the lighthouse is also on the grounds, and the landscaping is lovely.

Bottle House Museum

Bottle House Museum Chapel and Tavern

Bottle Museum Gardens

beach-05On the Beach

Walks along the beach. Polished stones. Sea glass.

Breathtaking sunsets and restful evenings.

We stayed at a cottage located near the island’s west shore and enjoyed every moment.

Sea Glass Amongst the Stones

PEI Sunsets

Green Gables

A highlight of our trip, especially for me, was our drive to the North Shore. I loved seeing the places that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery to write Anne of Green Gables and her other stories.

On the Road to Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables Museum

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Post Office


Green Gables Heritage Place Visitor Center

The Barn at Green Gables

Stepping Inside Green Gables

Upstairs at Green Gables

Outside Green Gables

Saying Goodbye

You know how vacation days tend to fly by, and how on the last day you find yourself wondering where the time went?

That wasn’t true of our time on PEI.

Instead it was like time slowed down. Perhaps it reflects the slower pace of life we enjoyed while on the island.

Our Last Day at the Cottage

In Charlottetown

Vacationing in PEI

I’ve had a great time reliving my days in PEI with you. I hope you’ve had fun, too.


In Charlottetown

Exploring Prince Edward Island: #Write31Days

Charlottetown is a historic city, and I wish we’d had more than an afternoon to wander its streets. At least we had enough time to visit the harbor and have an ice cream cone from Cows. (Mine was PEI Strawberry.)



Our last evening in PEI we ate at a McDonald’s. (No judging! It was next door to our hotel.) While waiting for our order, I checked out the snacks at the adjoining convenience store. How much fun are these Pepsi cartons?


The next morning we began our long trek home.

From Charlottetown to Toronto. From Toronto to Chicago. From Chicago to Memphis.

From the Atlantic time zone to the Central time zone.

The trip is over but not the memories. So come back tomorrow for more photos and observations.

Your Turn

This memorable vacation also had its glitches.

We were bumped from a flight because of overbooking, my luggage was pulled from the plane but not my sister’s, I almost caused a wreck by pushing on the parking brake button (hey, I didn’t know what it was!), and I almost didn’t make the Chicago flight because of a delay getting through customs. And customs confiscated the jar of jelly my sister bought at the Toronto airport.

Now it’s your turn to share a travel glitch!

Our Last Day at the Cottage

Exploring Prince Edward Island: #Write31Days

On our way back to the cottage after visiting Green Gables, we stopped at a lovely pottery shop. I loved so many of the colors but this one spoke to me. I wanted several of the pieces but finally decided on one of the graceful mugs. You can see them at the left of the photo.


The next day we packed our bags, locked up the cottage, and drove to Charlottetown. But before we left, I took a few more photos.


The rocks we gathered then left behind.


This grass is made for barefoot walkin’ even when there’s a chill in the air!


We saw several picturesque churches as we drove around the island. We passed this one on our way to Charlottetown.


Our last stop: Charlottetown! Come back tomorrow for photos.

Your Turn

When’s the last time you walked barefoot in the grass? (It’s never too late!)