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30.3.12

52 Weeks of Grateful: Chit-chat



Last week I was all about the click-clack, this week it's the chit-chat. I am nothing if not musical.


I went out to the launch of the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers Awards on Wednesday night. It was so kind of them to invite me and I had such a lovely evening meeting bubbly, brilliant, beautiful bloggers (check them out!). I am not a 'shy' person by any stretch of the imagination, but I can be very self-conscious about my larger-than-life personality and appearance. Consequently, heading out to a party is not something I particularly relish, but I so enjoy myself when I'm there.


The thing I find hard at parties is all that small talk. I find small talk really awkward. I was definitely the kid tucked into a dark corner having a 'D&M' at parties, rather than the social butterfly flitting from group to group. Do people 'D&M' in the dark anymore? Ah, the eighties.


But, this week I'm grateful for...


224. Chit-chat - it has it's place after all. How marvellous to share a little moment here and there with so many wonderful bloggers. However, the temptation to launch into a serious discussion about something I had read on their blogs was almost too much to bear!


225. A night out - always nice to smarten up and paint a little merriment on.


226. Flats - every time I venture out in heels, I am always grateful for flats. Why totter painfully when you could run with abandon?



Come over and say 'hi' at Kidspot. 'Cos this week I'm also grateful for music... and particularly singing. Yep, I kinda sing. Kinda. 

Join our Grateful community by adding your post to the list below (please add a link back to our list here or at Kidspot). Visit some of the other lovely link-ups - it's a beautiful way to spend a little time. Oh, and it would be lovely if everyone visited a few of the 'late arrivals'  to the list each week... it's sad to be late and not get any love, don't you think?





[Image by LinkyQ found on Deviant Art]

29.3.12

The I Wishes can come true


My earlier post about the I Wish Beast went off like a rock (as Cappers would say). It seems we are all a bit prone to letting that beast run riot and get us down.

As so many of you pointed out, it doesn't have to be a bad thing.

I realised after reading all of your thoughtful comments, that I actually need to be taking the 'I Wish' list seriously. I actually need to be wishing harder.

For what is it about 'that girl' that I really wish for? I don't want to be her... I just want to be a better me. A me that is more like the me in my dreams.

So, I have made a list. My 'I Wish' list. No beast in sight.

I wish I could sew
I'm going to sew three little drawstring bags by the end of April using this tutorial and linking up with my all time beautiful clever clogs when I'm done.

I wish I grew some of my own vegetables
I am planting some rocket, watercress and spinach seeds this weekend. You've gotta start somewhere. I'll be checking in with Little Eco Footprints and Down To Earth to keep me grounded (heh, heh).

I wish I was a better photographer
I started Fat Mum Slim's Photo a Day, but on reflection March probably wasn't a great month to start something new. I am going to commit to doing April and I'm getting photography tips here and hoping I can learn by osmosis from this one.

I wish I had better design skills
I'm investing in the Adobe Creative Suite and teaching myself some fantastic new skills using the tutorials at Lynda. Did you know that full-time Australian primary and secondary school students qualify for the student version of this package? I can't wait to get started.

I wish I loved carrots
Remember my list from yesterday's post? Well, I'm going to give up everything on that list for the month of May. Thank god I forgot to put bacon on there...

I have other wishes. More than anyone needs to be going on with. But I'm just going to focus on these five wishes for the next few months and see how I turn out in the end.

What do you wish for and what can you do about it?

[Image via weheartit, please let me know if it is yours.]

28.3.12

Carrots are (sadly) not my favourite food


A dear friend of mine insists that carrots are her favourite food. Carrots. There was not a food on this planet that I could throw in her mouth that she thinks she would love more than carrots.

Carrots.

The tiny conversation we had around our favourite foods changed everything for me. I realised that being fat or thin is actually genetic after all. The act of eating a carrot sets off a feel-good, love-my-life, endorphin rush in my mate's brain, and only the sanctimonious one in mine.

"What's your favourite food?" I asked her.

"Carrots," she replied.

"Carrots?" I said, my brow crinkling in disbelief.

"Yep, carrots."

"Roasted with honey? Carrot cake? In, what, like a pie? A carrot pie?"

"No, just raw. Crunchy. Why?" she said, noticing that my lip was curled in something approximating distaste. "What's wrong with carrots?"

"Nothing!" I said, in my best reassuring voice. "I really like carrots. It's just that...well..."

"What? What's wrong with carrots? They're a good food, I absolutely love them."

"More than green chicken curry?"

"Yes!"

"More than chocolate mousse?"

"Yes!"

"Pasta? Steak? Cheese? Oh my god, more than cheese?"

"Yes, Bron, more even than cheese. For gods sake, can't I just have my favourite food and not be judged so harshly? I won't judge yours, I promise. What's your favourite food?"

Oh, let me see... in no particular order (and I apologise for omissions), my favourite foods are:

  • Cheese
  • Cashew nuts (but also walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, brazil... any nuts)
  • Butter
  • Yoghurt (but not those thin wimpy yoghurts, I like those greek-style yoghurts that are really desserts)
  • Porridge with (lots of) brown sugar
  • Anything that comes encased in flaky pastry
  • Chocolate
  • Noodles

Cheese, nuts, buttter... You can see what I'm up against here. No wonder I'm a fattyboomsticks and my friend looks like carrots are her favourite food.


What's your honest-to-goodness-or-badness-we-won't-judge favourite food?

[Image via Flickr]

27.3.12

Awakening the 'I Wish' Beast


I know, I know, I KNOW that I'm supposed to be living my own life and not worrying about what everyone else it up to. As my mum always told us, "you do your thing and let them do their thing." In an ideal world, in an ideal me, I would be doing all the things that make me content and I wouldn't even have a clue what everyone else's 'thing' was. I wouldn't have a clue.

I don't know if it's this blogging business or if it's just plain life business, but lately I'm not doing that. Lately, I just can't stop comparing myself to others. I just can't.

My life is a good one - an unbelievably good one - and I'm happy as a kid planting sunflowers with it. I'm happy, I think I do okay.

But then...

That girl's got so many friends.
That girl's so smart and funny.
She's making her own skirts.
She's growing her own minestrone.
That one owns a holiday house.
That one feeds her kids quinoa.

Many etceteras later...

That one, this one, she and her. I can't stop looking and it's making me think 'I should be doing that too'. Like all the girls who are doing great things could possibly be rolled into one great, big, giant achiever who does all those things put together. That great, giant achiever should be me.

I wish, I wish, I wish. I wish I could do this, I wish I could do that, I wish I was funnier, prettier, cleverer, nicer, friendlier. For all it's wonderfulness, blogging is a poisoned apple sometimes. It allows us to delve into so many lives, not just a few. More, more, more. It awakens the 'I Wish' Beast and she's a beast that will not rest.

That Beast makes me dissatisfied with who I am and what I do. Even if I'm not especially into the things that I'm looking at, that Beast makes me think that I should be into them. The 'I Wish' Beast makes me wish that I could do lots of things that I don't do and even more things that I don't especially want to do.

It is a very complicated beast.

What I mostly wish is that I could grow-up and stop comparing myself to others like I'm fifteen years old and desperate for my life to start. I get angry with myself. For godsake, when will I be enough?

Do you do this?
Does it make you feel angry with yourself sometimes?

[Image by Marta Bevacqua]

25.3.12

Meet my girls


We've had chickens for a few of months now and we just love them. They are the ideal family pet - social, fun and no trouble whatsoever. I am not an 'animal' person by any stretch of the imagination, but our sweet little flock has already enhanced our family life immeasurably. There is something so relaxing about watching them forage and play and I am learning an awful lot about social practices from observing the strict criteria of the chicken world. Besides, keeping hens is just so darn 'country'.


We collected our chickadees from New Leaf Nursery - the most delightful sustainable nursery in one of those funny little 'rural' pockets that are dotted about Sydney. The owners set up the place as a 'children's garden nursery' and the little scooters, bikes, pictorial signs and petting area are just a joy for children and parents alike. The place is crazy with herbs and vegetables and chickens, ducks and quail roaming about the place. The cockadoodledoo of a glorious rooster or two is never far away.


So, we brought home three chickens initially - one for each Tsunami. For reasons unknown, Cappers' chicken Peep died in the night about three weeks ago, so we went back and brought in two more chicks, who are about 10 weeks old now. So we have Daffy Duck (Badoo's, an Isa Brown) and Benjamin (Maxi's, a Wynandotte - and wouldn't you know it, I keep calling Benjamin a 'he' too) who are both about 18 weeks, although we're pretty sure Benji is a bantam. The two new chicks are Sparkle (Cappers') and Chirp (everyone's) and they have only this week been invited to hang out with the older two during the day. That may well be because they are both bigger than Bantam Benji already...



Keeping chickens is such a simple, almost instinctual, practice. If you don't look too closely at them, they are really rather cute. I was initially very scared of all the flapping and the worry about whether we were 'doing it right', but now we just get on with it and enjoy watching our flock do just the same. In the end, whist initially nervous, I gained a lot of courage from reading Mrs Bok's lovely blog, The Bok Flock, and then we just went ahead and did it one day.


Speaking of 'flock', when I told Maxi that we needed to replace Peep with two new chickens as it was very difficult and lonely to introduce a single chicken to an existing flock, he snorted and said, "what, our two chickens. Some flock." Which seemed like the kind of thing a teenager ought to be pointing out, rather than a seven year old boy. That boy, I tell you!

Are you chicken keepers?

23.3.12

52 Weeks of Grateful: Click-Clack


I got a little dressed up on Thursday. I went clickety-clack into the school yard and quite a few heads turned. Usually I swan around merrily in frizzy clothes, blotchy hair and daggy skin. Ah, my signature look.

It was nice to make an effort for a change. Back in the day I was a 'glam' sort of girl and it's good to know she's still in there... somewhere.

So, this week I'm grateful for...

221. Click-Clack heels - they sound like you're pretty.

222. Healthy kids - we must never take them for granted.

223. Flushing toilets - seriously. Imagine life without them.


This week I'm also ever-so grateful for baking... do stop by to visit me at Kidspot and leave us your baking go-to recipe. I have time to bake and I'm on the hunt for inspiration!

Join our Grateful community by adding your post to the list below (please add a link back to our list here or at Kidspot). Visit some of the other lovely link-ups - it's a beautiful way to spend a little time. Oh, and it would be lovely if everyone visited a few of the 'late arrivals'  to the list each week... it's sad to be late and not get any love, don't you think?

Do you like the new 'thumbnail' style of linky? I thought it brightened us up a bit!


[Image found on weheartit, no idea whose feet these are but they are definitely prettier than mine!]

22.3.12

Through the Instagram: little peek at February


I'm determined to do one of these Instagram wrap-up thingies each month. I am falling behind and it's only February (actually it's March, see!!).

 Random Badoo fest. Don't you just love the stripey socks? I have more photos of The Badoo than the rest of the family combined.


Self-portrait with grumpy face. But I'm all dressed up for a night out with ma man and I thought I painted on nice eyes that night.  Sadly, I cannot say the same thing for the old couch on our verandah. Would it have a bath already? Geez.

Speaking of grumpy face...

And speaking (quite a while ago now) of stripey... Cappers does a striped sock so well.

This movie totes freaked me out. I can't even talk about it. Needless to say, don't miss it.


Late afternoon BBQ at Tina's place. That's my niece up top and my nephews in Security and green stripey (and MultipleMum's hand applying sunscreen)... Maxi is without a t-shirt and came home with 32 grass ticks, all snacking merrily. Horrors!*

Bye bye tooth!

Of course, the big news of the month was my resignation. I took this photo just before I jumped.


After which I went home, stopping along the way to stare at our local park for a goodly while. 

And polishing off this as soon as I made it in the door.


And after that she felt muuuuch better.


What's your favourite ice cream?


* To remove an infestation of grass ticks, soak in a bath with one box of bicarb soda added for a half hour. Works a charm.

21.3.12

The children of the Latch-Key Kids

The title of this post makes it sound like some horror movie set in some forgotten cornfield. Nothing good ever happened in the corn.

I digress.

I have a theory (yes, another theory) about helicopter parents. This may seem like another digression (seriously, when did anything good happen in a movie after the lens panned longingly across a field of corn?) but it's not. I think that the Latch-Key Kids (LKKs) of the eighties have become the Helicopter Parents of the nowties.

Now, before I get started (properly... without corn references... hang on, what's that movie? Children of the Corn, I just had to go and google that because I swear the title of this post and the whole corn field thing is creeping me out a bit and it did not surprise me to learn just now that the Children of the Corn were not nice children), I should divulge that growing up we weren't LKKs -

- Sorry. Sorry. Just one more thing... see, now that I'm referring to the LKKs it's a bit too much like the KKK and I've set this whole eerie scene up with the those creepy corn kids (who kill grown-ups) and long shots panning across the whispering fields of corn and... well, now I think I'm actually writing a very different post to the one I started writing.

Has that ever happened to you?

[Image via Flickr by Ione Lovey]

20.3.12

Secret Working Mums Business: WMP


Much like the kid who wants to be an actor but trains to be a plumber, every mother needs a second job.  It's a self-esteem thing, but not as you might think.

Yes, it's busy being a working mother. Busy, busy, busy. It requires the strategic planning power of a General and the stamina of his army, but...

But.

This could just be me, but the thing about being a working mum is that expectations are generally lower. If you're not doing such a great job as a parent this week it's because 'work is just so busy'. Sympathetic nods all round. If you're not matching up on the work front it's because 'there's lots going on with the kids this week'. Sympathetic nods all round. You never really have to show up 100% to either work or parenting and nor is it expected of you.

You can do that as a SAHM or as a child-free worker as well, of course. No-one ever expects 100% of everyone all of the time. We are not machines and there are plenty of reasons why we might not be able to give our all, but...

But.

When you're a working mother you get praised all the time for not doing a particularly sterling job. At least, I felt like I was. In fact, when I was doing a particularly sucky job at either work or parenting, that's when I got the most praise. Working Mother Praise (WMP) is rampant.

"You're amazing, I couldn't do what you do," said my co-worker when I ballsed up a project we were working on together. The Badoo was sick.

"You're amazing, I couldn't do what you do," said my friend when I was an hour late to pick the kids up from her place. Couldn't get away from work.

You're amazing, if only I had your energy, you deserve some time to yourself, I don't know where you find the energy, I should be taking lessons from you, you're amazing. That there are colleagues who haven't had a slick of good feedback in months who are slaving away day after day, giving it their all. That there are mothers mothering around the clock without a single kind word some days, slaving away day after day, giving it their all. Well now. All that WMP makes you feel guilty. Amazing, but guilty.

I miss the praise. Now I'm just another mum at the school gate and no one is telling me I'm amazing just for showing up. It's the way it should be, but oh my, do I miss that Working Mother Praise.


When was the last time someone told you you were amazing just for showing up?

[Image from Steady Mom - Are you a professional mother?]

Flower Pressed


Hey now, would you look at that. Susie from Flower Press has interviewed me for her 'Show & Tell' feature. I'm in there posing as a clever crafty clog wearer. Shhhh... do me a favour and only look at my interview. Don't be going and seeing all the other non-imposters who have gone before me...

Won't you come on over for a visit?

19.3.12

Word veri makes me veri smoltmc



Eomeo mtret egi polleon! Rolleo tavits mceonx psreq gobbln ertey melns progni dopple. Qermm dislov imptiy ribbet, solvo grippin sloig mippin abt rtwewegs. Wbogh restar yepsa nittee sesseo pwle

Please stop the madness! Don't make me type nonsense words that I can't actually read anyway. I love your blog to bits, but I am so utterly tired of typing painstaking nonsense. I do enough of that on my own blog.

Brlast opeon riccoh hgjhg wert mobble sootre dasaj markedi hoppe lillim sgrop mista ghropt riggam spone squt. Reset poppt!

It's so easy to remove the word verification off your Blogger blog and I've never had a problem with spam since I did. Believe me!

Ipprn quimpl ghde ribe.

Here's how you do it.

If you are using the 'new look' Blogger interface, you'll need to go back to the old Blogger interface (at least, that's the only way I know how to do it...). Just click on the little steering wheel looking thingy (technical term) on the RHS of the new interface. This will take you to your old-school Dashboard.

Click on 'Settings', then 'Comments' then scroll down to 'Show word verification for comments' and click select 'Absolutely, you bet, please get rid of these ridiculous words from my precious blog because they are making people not want to leave a comment because it's all too hard and they are weeping, weeping I tell you' (or you could just click 'No') and you're done!

I also have 'Comment moderation' set on my blog for posts older than 3 days. This is mainly so I never miss a comment, but I think it's a good back up so that spam doesn't get sprinkled across your older posts. You can delete them as they come in. I have done that an astounding 3 times in the seven whole months that I haven't had word veri on. The spam catcher gets pretty much all of the spam whether you have word veri on or not...

So, there you have it.

Pretty please?

[Image by Panna Lemoniada. Word verification by Oscar Wilde.]

18.3.12

Dear Lovelies: What do you call a group of bloggers?


There is something very special about Maxabella loves... and it's not me, it's you.

The little community we've grown here together is absolutely amazing. I know that lots of bloggers have 'met' each other through the the comments on each post, liking the way a person phrases something and checking out their blog. Through the Grateful linky many have gone on to become great friends and that makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

People come over here to hang out and continue the conversation. Intelligent, creative, wise and wonderful women all contribute to this blog. My posts are just the entree, the comments have always been the main course.

Which got me thinking about dessert...

I've got this idea to turn my Sunday posts into 'Dear Lovelies' - where we pose a question to the Maxabella Lovelies that needs a collective solution. You see, I get emails seeking advice from time to time (I know, they forget I'm just the entree!) which I give some thought to and email back what I think. But I think it would be great if I posed their question on Sundays and sought the advice of all who come here... together we can help!

I've sort of done it before here, here and definitely here, but I want to enhance this by doing it weekly, and adding a collective solution to a conundrum based on the comments left on the post. I'd add this to the end of the post after all the comments were in, linking back to it the following week.

A bit like an Agony Aunt column but there are lots and lots of Aunties. Blogging Aunties. I can't wait to get started next week. Oh and you can email me with an idea for a problem to discuss, confidentiality firmly assured. If you're facing a challenge, just something you're struggling with, something that happened that you don't understand, something big or little that you're facing and you just don't know what to do.

Now, this may seem a little off topic, but bear with me. I realised that we need a collective noun for a group of bloggers and I'm thinking 'an advice of bloggers' or 'a support of bloggers'... see, it ties in!

What would you call a group of bloggers?

16.3.12

52 Weeks of Grateful: Peace


Yesterday I had a moment of complete peace that has calmed me ever since. I noticed it, I captured it, I kept it close.

Life can be a whirlwind in the middle of a thunderstorm at the best of times. I realised yesterday that in order to manage the stress of modern life we need to open a space within ourselves where it can't get in. A snug, wrapped-up-tight space deep inside where all is calm, all is bright.

So, this week I'm grateful for...

218. Moments of peace - if we give them our fullest attention when they happen, they may just be all we need.

219. A cool breeze - that shift in the heat of the day when a sliver of a stir in the air makes the world seem fresh again.

220. Fairy lights - my trees have permanent solar fairy lights and I'm looking at them right now and they are making me feel so glad.


This week I'm also ever-so grateful for books... stop by to visit me at Kidspot and remember the joy of words on paper rather than on screens!

Join our Grateful community by adding your post to the list below (please add a link back to our list here or at Kidspot). Visit some of the other lovely link-ups - it's a beautiful way to spend a little time. Oh, and it would be lovely if everyone visited a few of the 'late arrivals'  to the list each week... it's sad to be late and not get any love, don't you think?




[Image by Amy Haslehurst]

15.3.12

Sitting



I'm just sitting outside
with the breeze singing by
and thinking
there is much to come.

[Image pinned here, please let me know if it is yours.]

14.3.12

Do the cool kids think they're cool?


More school drop offs and pick ups means more time to observe the schoolyard politics. Not a good thing for a paranoid over-thinker like me. Now I'm not just worried about my own children making their way in that murky battlefield we call the playground. Now I'm worried about everyone's kid.

I overheard a group of year 4 girls today discussing who was rostered on to play with Emily. Yes, Emily rosters out her available playtimes. See, apparently Sarah gets to play with Emily on Mondays, Georgie gets her Tuesdays and Julia gets her Wednesdays and Thursdays, but not at recess because Sarah is back on for Thursday recess. I don't know what Emily does on Fridays because Fridays were not discussed.

Part of me loathed Emily on sight (good hair, neat looking, entitled) and part of me felt sorry for her because a forty year old stranger loathed her on sight*. I wanted to go over to that group of year 4 girls and say 'hey, girls. Listen to yourselves! A roster for friendship. What's so great about Emily? Why don't you all play together and leave her out for a change? See how she likes it? Roster her on for no-day, never, no way. Or, if you're not mean and jaded like me, you could just ditch the roster system (which is overly complicated and surely not sustainable) and all just play together. See, you don't ever want to let anyone have that kind of power over you. Don't let them be the one to decide what you're going to do and what you're not going to do. As soon as someone is 'letting' you do something, it's time to run, run for the hills and don't look back, not even to pick up your favourite dolly. You hear me? You listening, girls? Girls?'

Instead, I backed away slowly. It was best for everyone.

I want to know what Emily's got. What makes people flock to one kind of person and not another. Is the charisma thing working for them even in primary school? Does Emily just have more barbie dolls or parents that think that high heels and daisy-dukes are suitable attire for an 11 year old? What is it about Emily? And how can we best deal with her kind? (I can so feel a 'difficult people' post coming on ...)

Every grown up person you talk to who must have been cool for school because they're so hot right now attests to feeling just as left out as the rest of us. Will Emily say something like 'oh, I was popular, but I just never felt like I fit in at primary school... I always just wanted this cool girl called Kate to like me but she wasn't free on Fridays so... you know, that was that...'

Do you think the cool kids think they're cool?
Did / do you know an Emily?

* Of course it was me all along who I really felt sorry for. Don't I have anything better to do than eavesdrop on 11 year old girls and judge them? Don't I?

[Image uncredited via weheartit, please let me know if it's yours]

13.3.12

Party on down: Games


And so we come to the MOST important bit of the party. The games.

It's all well and good to have a kick-ass invite, a pretty table, yum-yum food, amazing decos and awe-inspiring cake, but without good games, a kid is going to wonder when the party is going to start. Stylists beware - you've gotta have good games.

Never under-estimate the power of story telling. Whatever the theme of your party, there are so many wonderful games you can come up with that will enhance the story. Weave some words around all the activities and get the kids involved. At Capper's Mermaid Party, we went on a submarine ride to the bottom of the sea to see what we could see. We could see amazing things, apparently.

Just about every party I do has a treasure hunt with some kind of 'mystery prize' at the end. Treasure hunts are fab because they last and last and last. You get all the kids following you from one clue to another and they even line up sorta-kinda and behave themselves while it's on. They are great fun to put together too.

A quick word on prizes before we leap into alternative options. My sister MultipleMum recently hosted a Scooby-Dooby-Dooooo party (as one does when one has cable and a five year old) and she came up with the brilliant plan of having a mystery to solve throughout the whole party: who stole the presents? The winner of each game (Pin the Tail, Pass the Passel, Ice-mania (more on this later) and other good times) got to be the  one to read the next clue to solve the mystery. Brilliant idea, the children were delighted.

Another favourite of mine is medals. You can buy cheap medals at toy shops or make your own as I did for Maxi Potter. There isn't a cheap gift in town that can top a genuine medal.

But, enough about prizes, let's get on with the show!

Quiet games for arrivals

Parties can get out of hand very quickly. Successful kid-wrangling requires careful planning and well-timed activities. The best thing to do is to start as you mean to go on, so my advice is to have a quiet activity ready to occupy early to late arrivals.


Make some scratchies with key words to kick off a mystery hunt... you could make all the clues scratchie.


Staying with the scratch theme, scratch art is really fun.



You can't beat a colouring competition. Pin the entries up on the wall for all to admire and choose a lucky winner at the end of the party.


A little twist on the colouring competition - a painting extravaganza. Boards are pretty cheap at the $2 shop.


Set up a fun photobooth. This one has an amazeballs backdrop, oh that we were that clever, but a paling fence with a few happy streamers would work for the kiddos.


Girls love a wand (never understood the appeal, personally - just one more thing to carry around) and you can theme them to suit any party. Get all the bits and pieces ready in advance and then help them put together their own creation. They are so proud when they get to take them home.



Boys are a bit tougher to settle until everyone arrives. Make a few of these dinosaur eggs a week or so before the party, hide them in a sand pit, add some wooden digging and scraping tools and get the boys involved in an archaeological dig. They could also dig for pirate treasure.


And, of course, there is always goop.


Warming up with the classics



I am not a fan of pass the parcel, but I went there for Capper's Rainbow Party and, as expected, it was about as exciting as watching paint dry. However, I have never seen children so patient, so focused and quiet, so I had to conclude that they actually enjoy the odd paint-drying session and so can only recommend this old favourite as a stand-by. I used old tissue paper with different colours to wrap the gifts, but newspaper works just as well and you can even buy in the whole thing if you are feeling wrapped-out and listless (and rich).


As the owner of 57 cushions, we skip the chairs and play musical cushions. Regardless, it's a fun game and if the ones who are 'out' early help you with the refereeing, no-one gets left behind.




Pin the tail on the donkey, the propeller on the airplane, the pot of gold on the rainbow, the wand on the fairy...

Other classic party games include What's the Time Mr Wolf?Tug of WarCharades and Duck, Duck, Goose (whose rules I have never understood nor cared to learn).

The new classics


I have personally never done the donut on a string thing, but 300 million Americans cannot be wrong. When we were kids, we did that chocolate game, where you freeze a block and then each person has a turn to try and eat the chocolate blindfolded and with a knife and fork. Hi.larious.


The bean bag toss in all its forms is a good party stand-by. I like the standard cans and a bean bag, but I'm also a bit taken with the sock toss and any game involving socks when it comes down to it.




Themed games that are rather complicated, this one involving lego and industrial piping.


It's not really called 'Ice Mania' - it probably has a real and important name, but I call it Ice Mania. You freeze little toys in a block of ice, make two so you have a competition. Each child runs down with a cup of warm water and splashes it over the block of ice to 'rescue' the toy. This picture has lots of toys, but I think one toy is better.



Getting a bit clever


Depending on your theme, you can come up with all sorts of cool party games. Some might question the sanity of a woman who sets up an entire cowboy ranch in her backyard complete with horse and panning for gold, but I say, 'cool lady, can I come to your next party?'


Oh, don't mind me, I'm just that Cooper kid who's parents brought the carnival into our backyard for my fifth birthday. 


Well, my dad made a vintage railway in my living room. All aboard!



Enough!

Sky's the limit, people, sky's the limit.


What's your favourite party game?


Next time: Thank yous

[Main image from Grey Likes Baby]