Friday, May 25, 2012

Hungry For Games

           A few weeks ago my oldest grandson came up with an outdoor game for him and his friends. At first it was just an idea that he presented on his facebook page but it grew in popularity so fast that he knew he had to make it a reality. It was then that Hunger Games The Game was born!

No one had any idea how this was going to work....but we were pretty sure that Nerf weapons would be the weapons of choice. I must admit that spontaneous Nerf wars has been the norm for our family for years. We all own some pretty intense arsenals. My husband and I have been known to do surprise attacks on the grand-kiddos when we arrive for a visits. And our youngest grandson gets so excited when the wars begin that we have nicknamed him The General.....mainly because he will search through all the Nerf bullets (barking orders feverishly) looking for the black tipped ones he calls "The painshots" haha.....yes we get pretty serious!

So when the kids said the Hunger Games was set I knew I had to be there to photograph the event. At first I worried that I was interrupting the game, but then I remembered these are theater kids and photos of their performances is their passion!

Names were placed in a bowl and called out into teams of two. At the count of three and the shout of "GO" from the Game Maker Amy the kids take off from the patio using the strategy they think will work. Some chose to run and gather weapons while others decided to run and find a good hiding place hoping to find weapons from fallen tributes.

If a tribute is shot or struck in the arms or legs we felt that could possibly be a survivable injury.....but only if they could find a hidden medicine bag.

If a tribute was shot or struck in the head or torso, in an area deemed fatal than you were dead and out for this challenge.

The laughter and stories from these fallen tributes was so much fun. It was so hard for them to sit out and just be a spectator, but this gave them time to make new plans for the next set of games.
 Many were killed fast ( which was usually hysterical) while others found hiding places so good that we would have to force them out and back into play.

As often happens the rules evolved as the game did. We quickly learned what worked, and what didn't. So after the first evening of games everyone felt we had it rock solid. Once all of the photos were posted on Facebook Hunger Games The Game became huge!

The numbers grew from 6 kids to 20 in no time. So Hunger Games The Game ll was set. It was again a huge success and now the kids plan on a summer of Hunger Games.

 Most of the close neighbors sat out on the decks and patios to watch all of the fun. The next day one of the neighbors thanked my daughter in law for such a fun evening of festivities. The games went on for hours well past dark. Which allowed us to bring out the glow sticks, my favorite!

Strategies,weapons, matching shirts, and how to shoot silver parachutes to tributes have all been discussed for future games. Other parents have even asked to host the games at their houses. For the adults it brought back memories of innocent outdoor play. Back at a time when neighbors actually neighbored and street lights indicated it was time to go in!
 The important part of all of this was just good old fashion outdoor fun and laughter. Kids being kids! How wonderful too at a time when childhood obesity is at an all time high and many schools have had to work hard to encourage physical activity.
We all laughed till we cried and shared one of the best evening we've had in ages.
 So if your kids or grand-kids are bored this summer or have become couch/computer potatoes.....get them outside and create an outdoor game like this with them. It's safe harmless fun, and believe me there is nothing like being a kid again....... with your kids!!
Happy Summer everyone and have a wonderful Memorial weekend =)

Oh did I forget to mention it was also a surprise birthday for one of his friends......ya gotta love a bunch of kids armed with silly string!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Creating Garden Decor

       Memorial weekend is just around the corner and for us that means our annual family get together. I've been searching for a craft project that the ladies and I can do together. I've really been in the mood to add a couple of small flower gardens around our patio area. With 6 acres to mow and trim, flowers gardens have not been on our priority list.We have added lots of wildflower seeds which is perfect for larger areas and requires little or no maintenance. It's been so much fun watching the wild flowers spread year after year.

Now I'm ready to add some small flower gardens around our lower patio. This has become our favorite place to sit and relax when the weather turns steamy hot!
I've been looking at some decorative garden items and have had some sticker shock at the cost. Plus being a crafter my first thought is always how can I make this myself.

Today I found what I think could be a easy idea for some garden stones on a blog called Sunset Gurl Design. Plus what I like about this idea is it uses something everyone should have or can get easily find which is leaves. I really like how the bottoms of large plant leaves look with all their veins, and it really makes quite an impact in these garden stones.

It's very similar to a project I saw last year on The Martha Stewart show. Cement garden leaves, and once again using plant leaves. I have kept this idea on my "to do" list as a future project. Items like these at your local garden centers would not be inexpensive. So making them seems to me to be a cost effect idea.
The main ingedients are ready mix and sand and of course leaves of your choice. Wouldn't this be fun to do with your kiddos. My grandsons would enjoy a hike down the creek in search of a variety of interesting leaves, just don't pick the itchy ones! It's kind of like combining education with creativity as well as an outdoor experience.

If this ends up being the project that we choose I will share the process good, bad or comical as well as our photos. But really the best part of any project we choose is just being together, laughing and chatting and creating great memories!

What does your Memorial weekend look like? I would love to hear what traditions or activities you and your family enjoys on our nations very popular three day weekend.