When Matt told me he wanted to hosting a gaming week, I thought he was a little crazy.
He’s going to take a week of his vacation and create something awesome not just for his son to enjoy but other kids as well.
I’ve recently learned that Matt’s 9 year old Minecraft playing son has set up his own server and has been not only learning a lot about the game but some other skills as well. Check out Matt’s blog post about this.
Don’t believe Matt? Here’s someone on PBS saying the exact same things in video format:
So what are my top five reasons your 7ish to 12ish year old kid should go to this weekend?
1) Matt and Emily will make sure everyone has a great time.
2) Your kids will learn skills that will translate into the real world.
3) There will be non-computer games too to give kiddos a break.
4) They will meet cool people in real life they might not get to otherwise.
5) It’s a relatively affordable learning opportunity.
I made olympic rings out of pipe insulators, spray paint, and electrical tape. Thanks Paradis Hardware for the hookup!
In planning a huge event like this, you try to think of the little things. I was obsessed with making a life sized Olympic rings that people could take goofy pictures in front of. Derrick was obsessed with having fireworks. We tried to think not just of the adults but the kids too.
The bulk of the Norway Drive Winter Olympics happened on Saturday starting at 1 pm. We began the day with a snow sculpture contest (with food coloring in spray bottles for additional interest).
The winner was the sea monster:
The winning sculpture and its creators.
But honestly, I think the taco was pretty awesome:
The snow taco with evergreen bows as its lettuce. Sean is a genius!
After snow sculptures, we did the luge, which was difficult due to warming conditions but we made the best of it:
My fiance Derrick hitting the luge he’s been piling snow for for months.
Moving the party inside, we at some food and held a Pass The Pigs tournament. A small badminton tournament was held as well:
Badminton in the snow? Of course!
Alice then cooked us an amazing Armenian dinner and we all ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. Then the final competition began: the dessert tournament.
The winner decided by popular vote was Hope. And it was even her birthday so the victory was even sweeter.
All the entries in the dessert competition explained their entry before we all dug in and voted. Note Hope is in black wearing a gold medal she won earlier that day. (Happy Birthday Hope!)
The ceremonies closed with some fireworks by pyrotechnic expert Derrick.
Thanks to everyone that came and even before it was over saying they couldn’t wait for next year. This will definitely be a yearly event.
Me in my toga, awaiting partygoers. I picked the picture where the cat looks most annoyed. Yes, that is real ivy on my head.
Sometime in the last few years, I told Alice that I’ve always wanted to go to a toga party. Much like a food fight, it’s something I’ve seen in movies but always wondered if it would be cool if it actually happened.
“We should do something in the winter when it’s boring.” Alice said.
“Like a long john toga party!” And the idea was born.
We encouraged our friends to dress up in togas, giving out prizes to the male and female best dressed.
To give the event a bit more clout, and to combine two good ideas into one, we decided the toga party would be an excellent way of having opening ceremonies for a sort of ‘olympics’ we would host.
Since this summer, Derrick and I have talked about having some kind of game day at his house where we set up things like our badminton set and get friends to have fun and be slightly competitive. Since life is slower here in the winter, this seemed like a ‘winter olympics’ kind of thing.
The Olympic Planning Committee set the agenda and a date. These winter games (with a snow and no snow plan) would be an excellent weekend event people could look forward to, whether they were into the party the night before or the day of games and fun the day after… or ideally both.
After the lighting ceremony, we all enjoyed the fire. Great photo by Derrick!
We decided to hold a ceremonial torch lighting to ‘open’ the games and light off a few fireworks this night before to make the toga party not only a fun (and slightly random) event but to give it some importance.
You know you’ve thrown a good theme party when people who *aren’t dressed up feel uncomfortable. And this was one of those cases. Good thing Mike and Lynne, veterans to throwing great parties, brought extra sheets and ivy to dress up everyone.
Some Fridays on this blog, I write about whatever I want. Because I can. :^)
Happy Veteran’s Day! I am so proud of the people who have served and grateful that their sacrifices have made my life possible. Thank you, veterans.
I usually get a lot of condolences this day every year about my father so it’s natural to think he was a veteran. He was not, he just happened to have a fatal accident on Veteran’s Day four years ago. (You can read about it here if you want.)
Part of the reason I think I do this is that I like to take some time on this date every year and think about my father. (I usually even try to do something he would have gotten a kick out of, like drink a red wine with an ice cube in it or have a frozen Snickers bar.)
And the other part of why I revisit this every year (and a less all-about-me reason) is that I somehow want to take the shame out of grief. As a society, we don’t grieve publicly so I’ve tried to do things like write about how I joined a support group and letting people in on what you shouldn’t say to someone who is grieving. I like to be public about it not because my struggle is somehow more important or difficult than anyone else’s but because I want people to know their feelings are normal and it’s ok to talk about them and otherwise deal with them.
This year, I thought I’d change up the format. Dad, this playlist is for you. (Well, more accurately it is for me about you.) Because music helps.
Father Daughter- Paul Simon
I could totally picture my dad saying ‘Trust your intuition, it’s just like going fishin’.” He was kind of cheesy… sort of like how I’m kind of cheesy.
Cap Enrage, Zachary Richard
In case you don’t speak French, this song is about a shipwreck and someone drowning, thinking of their loved ones and what they wish they could say: “I love you, I’ve never loved anyone as much as you.” It took me a couple years to be able to even be able to listen to this song again. (Song starts about one minute in)
Life Ain’t Always Beautiful, Gary Allen I found this song after everything happened. It’s a good one and I bet my dad would have liked it too.
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground, Willie Nelson
This is the song my sister and my father danced to at her wedding. We remember thinking it was a slightly odd choice I think (Dad’s idea) but reminds me of him whenever I hear it and ends up being quite fitting.
Stop This World, Diana Krall
The last Christmas he was around, I remember putting Diana Krall’s CD in my dad’s CD player and him realizing my taste in music didn’t totally stink. He made me copy a bunch of my CDs so he could listen to them in his truck.
Every Day, Stevie Nicks The other day when I was running, this came on shuffle on my iPod. It made me smile and think of Dad so it is in the mix.
http://youtu.be/IG2r3MMzm2Q (Stevie, you’re killing me by not letting me embed!)
I’m sure I’ll think of tons of other songs once I publish this. My dad loved 70s rock for example and I’m sure some Elton John or Janis Joplin song may come to mind at some point.
So if you are missing someone, I hope you take some time today and remember them, with music or otherwise. Losing someone requires a constant recovery process that is never quite over but we can take comfort in knowing we share it with many other people out there.
Anyone else have good songs to add to my playlist here? Maybe a good remembering someone song or something my dad would have gotten a kick out of (if you knew him that is)?
So I have an informal goal from everyone I meet and become friendly with: learn a recipe from them. It’s not something I disclose or even have said out loud (until now) but something I’m really happy I’ve actually done over the last ten years.
It all started with Madame Granier who was my host mom during my semester in France. I really loved her cooking so about a month in, once I was a bit more confident in my French, I asked if she would mind giving me her recipes. This began an almost nightly tradition of sitting at the kitchen table with tea with Petite Beurre biscuits and Mme. Granier dictating me a recipe. Looking back on it, maybe this was so M. Granier would do the dishes while we chatted but she seemed to enjoy dictating recipes to me. She was not expecting my follow up questions like “How much salt?” but she tried to guess as best she could. Even almost ten years later, I’m still making crepes from the original recipe along with an occasional endives au gratin and soupe au lentils. (The lentil soup involves three containers and has a drawing complete with arrows that goes with the recipe).
Ever since Mme. Granier, I’ve tried to learn a recipe from everyone I meet. And whether we become life long buddies or the relationship fizzles, I can always take something really tangible away from each person who has been a part of my life. And making the recipe makes me think of other good memories from them.
A side effect is that learning ended up being a great way to get to know people. I would have never known about my friend Alice is Armenian had she not shown me how to make her delicious version of tzatziki (served with zuchini crisped up in a little olive oil- yum!). I discovered a boyfriend’s Italian roots when he revealed his grandmother’s calzone recipe. What better way to know someone then to cook with and eat with them something that they love?
The biggest cooking experiment was the Vinalhaven dinner club. As five single women living on an island bound together by our weekday supper club, we certainly learned a lot about everyone by taking turns cooking and eating with everyone five meals a week.
I love that most of my fondest memories involve food and getting back to those times just involves an hour or so in the kitchen.
What’s your favorite thing to cook that reminds you of someone? (Share links to recipes if they are online!)
Let me just say right off that I am far from being some kind of smooth lady on the relationship front. But I’ve recently did something where I accidentally encouraged my new boyfriend to do something nice for me, and then it kept happening.
Dan likes to cook. The second meal he made me, I decided to take out my digital camera and record him on video.
The next day, I watched it. What surprised me was that the video was actually good. I asked if I could post it on Facebook, thinking his friends would get a kick out of it. Almost immediately, he got phone calls, emails, and comments, mostly asking when the next video was coming out.