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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Children's Literature Festival

Over Spring break, I spent 2 glorious days, with my children and mother, in Warrensburg, Missouri. We had the opportunity again to attend the 45th Annual Children's Literature Festival.

The literature festival is two days long with the chance each day of sitting in on 6 different one hour sessions. There are over 40 authors and illustrators who attend each year. This can make it really difficult to choose who to see. We fell in love with a few authors last year that we decided it was necessary to see again. But for the most part, our time was filled with new authors. It was very exciting and enlightening!

children's literature festival

I have spent the last week working my way through the books suggested by each author, 10 books total. This was an even bigger adventure than the festival. These authors, most of them hailing from the Midwest, are seriously talented individuals. I didn't pick up a book that I didn't love. They all were superb!

The klipfish code by Mary Casanova Mary Casanova was the first author on our schedule, and was a repeat from last year. She writes picture books, and early elementary chapter books, along with some young adult fiction.

The Klipfish Code was the first book I chose to read. It sounded very intriguing and I was not disappointed. I could hardly put the book down once I began.

This is a historical fiction book which takes place in Norway during WWII. When the main character, a 10 year old girl, Marit, survives having her home bombed by the Germans, she is sent along with her younger brother, Lars, to live with a grandfather and aunt on a coastal island. Marit is very disappointed with how willing her grandfather cooperates with the Nazi's and eventually is faced with her own life-altering decision. Will she cooperate too? Or will she be brave enough to take a stand for what she believes is right, even if it means danger for her own family?

The man who loved clowns by June Rae Wood June Rae Wood was another favorite author from last year. Since this was a first time experience for my daughter and mother, Gabe and I decided they must hear her speak.

The Man Who Loved Clowns is about a young girl, Delrita, with an uncle, Punky, who has Down's syndrome. She struggles throughout the book with feelings of love for Punky, but at the same time she is ashamed and hides him from the watchful, sometimes judging eyes of the world. The book is based on the author herself as a young girl. June Rae Wood grew up in a family of 12, one of them being her brother, Richard, who she modeled the character Punky after.

One of the benefits, June shared, from writing her books is that children have been sending letters letting her know they are no longer afraid of people who appear different. Kids have been approached by someone with Down's syndrome and they remember Punky and how special he was. Several times during her session I was moved to tears. The book will deliver the same experience. It is a beautiful story.

June Rae Wood
The real "Punky", June Rae Wood's brother, Richard
June Rae Wood
Our first day was full of authors from the previous year. The second day was for the new. The festival takes place in the small, friendly town of Warrensburg, MO. This is home to the University of Central Missouri, the location of the festival. My favorite part of staying overnight was the fact we chose the right hotel! What do I mean by that?

Almost all attendees are elementary and middle school students from the Missouri area. The schools will chose one day or the other to attend the festival. They go home at night. They have a schedule pre-made and follow it perfectly. Since we come by ourselves, we have the freedom of attending whenever we want, and to whatever session we want. We also spend the night at a hotel. Remember how small the town is?

University of Central Missouri

All the authors stayed at our hotel with us. They were constantly filling the lobby with their conversations and meetings. It was so much fun to eat breakfast surrounded by so many talented individuals. Every author we choose to see stayed at Comfort Inn with us. We were privileged to see them on a more personal level. None of the other students at the festival got to experience this.

Mary Jane Auch along with her husband Herm was our first session of the second day. They are a husband/wife team of illustrator/author. It made for an entertaining time. Every time Herm would start to tell us something "And now I'm going to talk to you about ..." Mary Jane would interrupt him and finish his thoughts. Authors appear to be very wordy individuals and you could tell who did the writing in this couple. Herm was front and center, but hardly got to say a word.

mary jane and herm auch

guitar boy by mj auch Guitar Boy is the story of a 14 year old boy, who is thrown out of his home. The mother has just been in a very serious car accident, and it is expected she will live her life in a nursing home, completely unaware of her surroundings. This throws some chaos into the life of her husband who is left with 5 children to raise himself.

Travis, the boy, has nothing to his name but a few dollars, bread and peanut butter, along with a can of beans he can't open, some shoes that don't even fit, and a guitar that's been in his family for generations.

The part of the story that had me hooked was during the session at the literature festival when MJ began to tell us of this story from her own past. Years ago she served as an occupational therapist. While there, she encountered a teenage boy with a traumatic head injury that reduced him to the capabilities of an infant, with no speech whatsoever. The boy had been a big fan of folk music. After repeated sessions of listening to others play the guitar, the boy sang out strong and clearly the words to the song. It was then that his recovery began. Music unlocked him. A miracle for sure! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book!

one handed catch by mj auch
One-Handed Catch is the story of Mary Jane's husband, Herm. You may not have been able to tell from my earlier picture, but Herm is missing his left hand. When he was an 11 year old boy, he lost his hand to a meat grinder. His father left him to work in the family store. Herm was rushing through things, trying to finish his chores so he could make it to his older sister's birthday party.

The book is written for children, and is not at all overwhelming or graphic. It's kept very lighthearted. You will be impressed by the strength, Norm (the character in the book), shows. He has the dream of being a baseball player, and teaches himself to play against all odds. His mother is very supportive of him and gives no special treatment. She requires everyone to treat him like any normal healthy boy. The day he comes home from the hospital he is expected to take out the trash himself. It's a very inspiring story, and uses humor to get the message across.

wing nut by mj auch Wing Nut was not a book that Mary Jane discussed with us, but I wanted to read it just the same. For all the bird lovers out there, this is the book for you.

Grady and his mom have been moving around since his father died. They've lived in some crummy places which cause embarrassment for Grady, and leaves him lonely without hope of a friend. As they are moving once again, the car, held together by duct tape, breaks down outside a small town in Pennsylvania. With no money, and no place to go, Grady's mom finds a job with a cranky old man, Charlie. Through an unlikely friendship, Grady learns about birds, cars, and forgiveness.

All of the books I have recommended here will leave you with a satisfying sensation. They are written for children, but they can be received by adults. The messages are clear and to the point. A book always has the potential to change you. I believe these live up to that potential and leave you with a fresh perspective. I was inspired!

If you ever have the opportunity to sit with an author, take the chance. You might learn something. They have a fresh way of seeing the world.

"You don't have to read every day;
just on the days that you eat!"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thank You Checkers

I have become a huge fan of recycling. This might be due to the fact that our city is making it mandatory for all households. Yes, you do have the option of accepting and filling your recycling bin, but you do not have the option of paying for the service.

I especially enjoy seeing how much stuff I can recycle rather than throw out like I would have months ago. We hardly have any trash these days! I also have built up quite a collection of items to use for crafts. I have cereal boxes. (Great source of cardboard. You can use these for a pattern to have kids trace items they otherwise couldn't draw themselves!) I save glass jars, toilet paper rolls, plastic containers, and so forth. The most kids I can have on any given Sunday is between 30 and 35. This means my collections revolve around that number. Once it has been reached, I send it to the recycling bin. I do not want to become a hoarder! And it's all stored out of sight in my basement.

A month ago I was really excited to create this checkerboard craft to do with the kids. Lids are one of those things that most recycling places don't want. I have a HUGE 5 gallon Ziploc full of various sized lids. This craft specifically used the size that fits pop/water bottles. With my mother's help, I had collected almost 400 lids of this size, about 6 months of saving!

thank you checkers wants vs needs

God always provides our needs, not necessarily our greed. There is a promise in the Bible that, "You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (The Message)

God not only supplies our needs, but He often times blesses us with some of our wants too. My family has been given so much that we really don't need, and we thank God for it. "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires." Psalm 37:4

To illustrate this point, I made a game of Thank You, God checkers. One person will be the "Wants" and one person will be the "Needs."

I know you can read this on the checkerboard, but I wanted to point out that when you jump a piece from your opponent, you must stop and say a prayer of thanks. If you are the "need" player, and you jump over the piece "money" from your opponents "wants", you must stop right there and say a short prayer thanking God for what He just provided. It goes both ways, if you are the "want" player and you jump over a "need" called "food", you stop and thank God for giving you food.

thank you checkers wants vs needs

I made the board a little smaller than a normal checkerboard. I wanted mine to fit on a piece of letter sized paper, and I didn't have enough lids to make a complete checker set for 35 kids. I printed my board on cardstock to add a little stiffness.

thank you checkers wants vs needs

To make the playing pieces, I used a dozen pop lids for one game, 6 lids for each side. I painted my mismatched lids to add a more professional look. If you don't want to paint, collect enough lids of each color to have two different sides represented. Or you can make the sides different colors by choosing colored paper to glue on top.

thank you checkers wants vs needs

thank you checkers wants vs needs

thank you checkers wants vs needs
To make it personal, I challenged the kids to come up with their own "wants" and "needs". It's always better if you can apply things to yourself instead of taking someone else's word for it. I did give them examples and categories, but I expected them to come up with their own answers. Some kids were very creative!

The needs were the hardest for the kids to come up with. They couldn't quite figure out the difference between a need and a want. Right now there are things that seem like definite needs to them, but in fact generations of people have lived their entire lives without them. I explained a need to them as being something your life depended on; something you could not survive without. The items on the list below that seem questionable were absolute necessities to these kids. I could not talk them into calling it a want. They were convinced they could not survive unless they had it. Aren't we all spoiled?

Some "needs" I saw and heard were:
Electricity so we can heat our houses
Electronics for our jobs

My favorite "want" was for a computer... "because I already have one so it can't be a need."

"Don’t ever worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.

So don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:31-34

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I think some of the funniest things my kids say comes from watching TV with them. It's like experiencing a whole new world through their eyes.

Our latest series we have immersed the family into, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. We've even gone so far as to wear costumes to the showing of it in our living room.

At the close of the show, as Lex Luther got away with killing 3 people, and it was speculated that he probably had killed even more, Gabriel sighed in exasperation. "Aww... it's a hook-off!"

Bewilderment followed, "What?"

"You know, when you're hooked, and then you fall off the hook. A hook-off."

Completely perplexed I asked again, "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!"

He laughs at me, as if I am very uneducated in my vocabulary. He proceeds to give me the definition, "A hook-off is like at the end of a really good chapter, and you want to know what happens, but you have to read more of the book. It's called a hook-off."

"You mean a cliffhanger?"

More giggles follow, "Ohh.. whoops!"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Running on Empty?

I'm sure you have noticed my blog posts are becoming fewer and farther between. (At least I hope you've noticed.) Lately, my life has been a bit of a blur. Each thing I've done has led right into the next, with little or no time in between. I'm finding that my blog is one of the last things I have been prioritizing; which is really sad to me. I love writing down my thoughts about life and writing about all the things that make up my days.

The problem is, when I write out a blog post it can take me hours to complete it. I write, and rewrite, and read, and reread it many times before I allow myself to click publish. Sometimes I even wait for my husband to proof it for me to make sure that I'm making sense. I have not had an extra two or three hours in my day for quite some time.

Ever since I made the commitment to work with the elementary aged kids, Kidzone, at my church, my blog has been difficult to keep up. The time I normally would put into a post has been instead put into planning a Sunday morning project or a Wednesday evening lesson. I am experiencing great fulfillment right now! I know that God has given me certain creative gifts and abilities for such a time as this. I found my place and it feels incredible.

In order to plan a lesson, I will sit on the couch with my laptop for hours designing worksheets or researching the latest lesson I'll teach. All extra brain function is reserved for those kids. My heart is there with them right now.

I'm not saying I'm giving up on my blog. I'm just letting you know in my absence that's where I'll be.

If you remember at the beginning of the year, God was telling me this was going to be a year of stretching. He wasn't kidding! I have been stretched and pulled thin.

For the past couple months, I have given completely of myself. I have brought children to 10 different Dr. appointments. I have done things I never would have dreamed of doing. I love my children, and I will do whatever it takes to make them healthy and thriving. I collected poop for 72 hours and kept it locked in my refrigerator.

If that's not love, I don't know what it is.

Life began to overwhelm me. Emotionally I was exhausted. I started to lose sight of all that was important to me, and I didn't know where to go, or what to do. I had so many commitments and I was dreading all of them, aside from those required of me for teaching. I knew without a doubt I wanted to be with the kids I taught on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights. Everything else became a chore. I showed up for things for other people's sake, but not my own.

It wasn't until a Sunday morning two weeks ago, during Kidzone, that things began to clear up for me. It may have been a child who asked the question, but the answer went straight to my heart. I knew what my problem was. I was taking naps physically, but emotionally I never slept. The fatigue I felt had a reason beyond not getting enough sleep.

"Why does he get a week off from teaching?"

Our life is like a pitcher of water. When we teach, give advice, help others, or do anything for someone else, we are pouring into them. The more we do things like this, the more we pour out of ourselves, the emptier the pitcher will become. Eventually the water will be gone, and the pitcher will be empty. We only have so much to give. We are not made with eternal water.

What do you do to keep yourself from getting to the bottom of the pitcher? To keep the water from running out?

You fill the pitcher back up. It's that simple. You need other people to be pouring into your pitcher. You cannot survive by completely pouring yourself out.

While I was thoroughly enjoying pouring into the lives of these kids, I wasn't filling up my pitcher fast enough. I was slowly filling it up. It felt very similar to a leaky faucet. Drips were filling up my pitcher and I was immediately trying to pour them back out.

We all need friends and people who will pour into us.

I'm not talking about a person who you mentor. I'm talking about a friend who you will walk away from feeling like your steps are lighter and you have more bounce.

Several months back I had felt drawn to a certain lady in my church. I wanted to become friends with her. In the few conversations we had had, I would always walk away smiling. While all this was going on and my emotional pitcher was running low, God blessed me with a new friend. She approached me and asked if we could be friends and hang out more. I was literally blown away. God is omniscient! Months before I knew I would need a friend, God had the steps in motion.

We are human. We cannot expect ourselves to be everything for everyone all of the time. It's not possible. I was wearing myself out trying to be who I thought God wanted me to be. I was starting to give what I didn't have. I was missing out on the church services I could attend where I would be filled up again because kids were sick at home. I missed almost a month of filling myself back up in a regular church service.

I was even guilty of trying to pour out myself during my "God time." I was reading my Bible so that I could teach better. I was using my prayer time to pray for others, pleading on their behalf. I'm not at all saying this is a bad thing. But it wasn't really pouring back into me. Isn't that a crazy thought? Praying for others can cause fatigue?

I needed to spend time listening to God. No agenda. No lists. No requests. No speaking. Just soaking in God's presence.

The last 5 days have been spent filling my pitcher back up. I have done little for those around me. My anniversary was this past weekend and my husband took me to a hotel for the night. I had no responsibilities. I was childless with the help of a wonderful friend who stayed with my kids. I did no dishes. I prepared no meals. I cleaned nothing.

When I arrived back home, I packed stuff for another trip. The kids and I, along with my mother, drove to Warrensburg, MO for a Children's Literature Festival. (More to come on that later) We spent two days with 9 different authors. Each author had 1 hour of our time. It was water pouring back into my pitcher. I was required to do nothing but show up and listen. I was energized!

Yesterday I spent the day reading, a pastime I had placed on the back burner. I was able to be in an adult church service for the first time in almost a month. My pitcher was full.

We all need balance in our lives. We need to experience the fulfillment that God's plan provides, but we also need to be inspired and encouraged by others. We cannot be expected to do it all and survive on empty. If you are going to be in a position of serving others, you must make sure your own spiritual/emotional pitcher is full. Find people, and go places, where you will be filled. Soak up God's presence.

inspirational quote

Monday, March 11, 2013

Love Your Enemies

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you." Luke 6:27

Who is your enemy? And how do you respond to them?

Whenever I want to meditate on something I always start by using a dictionary. It's the best way I have found to jump start my thoughts.

    1. a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.

    2. an entity, whether an individual or a group, that is seen as forcefully adverse or threatening.

I think a lot of times the word enemy brings to mind a bully. Someone who makes our life miserable. Someone who has made it their goal in life to be cruel, or mean.

But what if that's not the case?

What if our enemies are our own friends? Or people we love and care for? Maybe even ourselves?

I found it really hard to come up with a true enemy in my life. However, it was pretty easy to find friends or family members that I have felt threatened by. We compete for affection and admiration.

I'm going to be perfectly authentic with you here. When I heard the line in the verse, "do good to those who hate you," I immediately changed it to, "do good to those you hate."

Hate sounds like such a strong word. Let's fix that... how about "do good to those who you have an extreme emotional dislike for."

This obviously can fluctuate day to day as our emotions change. There are days I have extreme emotional dislike for my husband. My kids. My friends. Myself.

How do you combat those feelings? Pray. Do good to them.

When you force yourself to ask God for their best, the bad feelings can vanish because you are focusing on their needs and not your own. When you step outside yourself and do something nice even when it's the last thing you feel like doing, God rewards you for it.

I cannot tell you all the different times that with God's help I have defeated my evil side, and God has turned things around for good. Whenever you focus on others, it changes things inside you.

love your enemies pac-man puzzle Luke 6:27

A couple weeks ago, I made these popsicle stick puzzles with the elementary age kids at my church. I shared with them an example of an enemy to draw, but ultimately left it up to them how they wanted to illustrate God's love to their enemies.

Before class started, I counted out 10 popsicle sticks for each puzzle. I put a piece of tape on the back to hold them in place. I knew it would be too difficult for the kids to draw on them without this. Once their picture was complete, they were allowed to take the tape off.

They took turns putting together their own puzzle, and the puzzles made by the other kids at their table.

love your enemies Luke 6:27 pac-man

love your enemies Luke 6:27 pac-man

Next time you think about loving your enemy, remember you might be the one doing the hating. You cannot hope to change others. But you can change yourself!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hand and Foot

We LOVE card games in this family!

For the past couple of months we have become addicted to playing the card game Hand and Foot. It was a game I had heard about years ago, but just recently played for the first time. You don't want to start the game unless you have plenty of time to enjoy it. I have only played one complete game. Each round can take a long time, and we don't normally have 4 or 5 hours to kill. The game consists of 4 rounds, but you can play as few or as many as you have time for. But be careful! It's addicting!

This is a game where everybody seems to have different house rules, but the idea behind the game is the same. It can be played as teams of two, or every man for himself. Playing as teams seems to speed up the game a bit, but you've still got a long game ahead of you.

I'm going to share with you the house rules we play by.

hand and foot card game
Start by gathering your decks of cards. Keep your Jokers; you need them for this game. This can be two decks per person, or 1 per person +1. I think it's more fun when you have more cards, so we typically do two decks per person. We have a huge card collection (at least 30 or 40 decks), so it isn't a question of how many we can come up with. A deck of cards is usually the first souvenir we will hunt for when we're on vacation to a new place.

You want to shuffle all your decks together. We like to do a table wide smearing of the cards. It seems to shuffle faster and more efficiently this way. Once the cards have been shuffled, you make piles of cards leaving room in the middle for discards.

hand and foot card game
There is no official dealer in the game, everyone will participate. You have two piles of 12 you will be dealing, the Hand and the Foot piles. We give 100 bonus points to any individual that can pick up exactly 24 cards, no more, no less.

hand and foot card game

Instead of keeping the Hand and Foot piles that you dealt, you are going to hand one of the piles to the person on your left, and the other goes to the person on your right. They will do the same for you. Once you are given your two piles, you can choose without looking which one you will use as your Hand. You will set the Foot aside, and you cannot at any point look at the cards in it. (At least not until your Hand is gone.)

The point of the game, in each round you will try to get two clean books, two dirty books, and get rid of all the cards from your Hand and Foot. If you are playing as a team, you collect the two clean and dirty books together, and only one of you needs to make it through your Hand and Foot. You are not allowed to talk about what cards you have with your team mate. The only question you are allowed to ask is at the end, you may question whether they are ready for you to go out (Win the round.) Since every single card has a point value, you want your team mate to be as close to finishing their Hand and Foot as possible. Just because you are able to finish a round, does not mean you will be the winner of the game. The team with the highest points wins the game. Each game has 4 rounds, kind of like mini-games.

Sound confusing? There really is a lot of information and rules, but it's very easy to catch on to how the game is played.

I'll start by explaining point values. The winner will be the one with the most points at the end of 4 rounds. Every card that is laid down on the table is worth points. Every card that you are caught still holding in your hand is worth negative points.

I have a cheat sheet on the points that we keep on the table for new players. It helps to lessen the confusion and questions. Feel free to print it off and use it.

hand and foot card game sheet

I have mine folded in half and laminated. They don't take up much space on the table; you need all the room you can get!

hand and foot card game

Point Values:
Red 3 is worth 100 points
Black 3 is worth -100 points
4, 5, 6, 7 is worth 5 points
8, 9, 10, J, Q, K is worth 10 points
A is worth 20 points
2 (wild card) is worth 20 points
Joker (wild card) is worth 50 points

Clean Book (7 cards with no wild) is worth 500 points
Dirty Book (7 cards with wild) is worth 300 points
Book of number 7's (7 cards with no wild) is worth 1500 points
Going out is worth 100 points

At the end of each round, when someone gets 2 clean and 2 dirty books, and goes through their Hand and Foot, you will add up the point values of the cards laid down on the table for each player. There will be two totals you will add up. You get individual points for each card laid down, and you get bonus points for each book you complete.

A book is at least 7 cards. It cannot be made out of 3's or all wild cards (2, Joker) It can be either dirty or clean, depending on if there are wild cards in it.

A clean book has no wilds and is worth 500 points, unless you are making a book of 7's which is worth 1500.

hand and foot card game

To make a dirty book you will need to have at least 1 wild card in it. The ratio must have a +1 card to wild. (For instance, if you are collecting 4's, you must always have 1 more 4 than you would wild cards. 4,4,4,4,2,2,2 or 4,4,4,2,2 or 4,4,2) And remember Joker's are also wild!

hand and foot card game

Now to start the game! You should be holding your Hand which consists of 12 cards.

hand and foot card game
Two sets are allowed to be laid down, 4's and Jack's, however neither is enough points to make initial minimum requirement.

Each turn consists of the following 3 parts:

1.) Drawing. You must begin by taking two cards from any of the piles in the middle, and add them to your Hand. You cannot touch the discard pile.

2.) Laying down. *Optional on Your Turn* You can lay down any set of 3 or more cards. (Remember wild cards can be added if you have the correct ratio.) You can add to previously laid down sets to try to make a book. If you are playing in teams, once a set of three cards is laid down on the table, your team mate can now add their own cards to help complete a book (on their turn).

If you are holding a red 3, you can set it down anytime during your turn, and immediately draw a replacement card. You don't need to make a set, and they are exempt from the point requirement. The replacement card is also different from the two you draw at the beginning of your turn. If you pick up a 3 during your turn you can lay it down immediately, and draw a new card.

hand and foot card game

Before you initially lay down your cards in a round (3's are exempt from this rule), there is a minimum point requirements you must first meet in each round. This means all sets of 3 or more must equal the point requirement. You don't need to meet this requirement with one set or book. You can use as many sets as necessary to achieve this. After you have met the point requirement, the point values do not matter in subsequent turns for lying down. If you are playing in teams, only one team member must first meet the point requirement.

Round 1 – 90 points
Round 2 – 120 points
Round 3 – 150 points
Round 4 – 180 points

3.) Discarding. You must always discard 1 card at the end of your turn. At the end of the round, when you have completed your clean and dirty books, and have gone through your Hand and Foot, you still must be able to discard 1 card. If you pick up a black 3, you want to discard it as soon as possible. If a black 3 is still in your hand at the end of a round it is worth negative 100 points!

hand and foot card game

To get into your Foot you need to first finish off all the cards in your Hand. This means either laying them down or discarding them. If you can get rid of all the cards in your Hand without discarding one, you can immediately start playing your Foot cards. If you have to discard your last card, you will be able to pick up your Foot cards BUT you must wait until your next turn to play them.

A little bit of game etiquette: when you finish a book, you close the cards and stack them at the top of your other sets. If it is a dirty book, you leave a black card on top. If it's clean, you leave a red card on top. This helps other players quickly know where you stand in the game. This is always helpful to watch for. There are times you are holding out for something, and you would want to close out if you notice another player is about to finish the round.

hand and foot card game

To go out in a round you need 2 clean books, 2 dirty books, you must go through your Hand AND Foot, and discard your last card. Once an individual or team is able to go out in a round, the round is over. (Remember playing in teams, only one team mate must finish both Hand and Foot.) Everyone left with cards in their Hand and Foot must total the point value, and subtract it from their total score for the round.

hand and foot card game
The player or team with the most points at the end of all four rounds wins the game. To shorten the game, only do 1 or 2 rounds, or agree ahead of time on a score you want to play to.

hand and foot card game

If there is anything I didn't explain well enough, or if you have any questions at all please feel free to ask! It may sound complicated but it's really worth the trouble of learning how to play.

Come up with some of your own house rules! If you don't like one of our rules, tweak it; make it your own. It's the only game you can make up rules or change the ones you've got.

Next time you get together with friends, consider playing Hand and Foot! You're guaranteed a fun time!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things

One of our favorite things to do with our kids on a weeknight is watch old TV shows on DVD. We don't ever watch live TV. It can be a little risky and we don't want to view anything we would be uncomfortable watching. This way, there are no commercial interruptions, and we know ahead of time what we will be getting ourselves into.

Months are spent getting to know all different characters. We have spent years with I Love Lucy, Monk, and Columbo. We have spent time with Zach from Saved by the Bell, and Cory from Boy Meets World. We've enjoyed evenings with Steve Urkel from Family Matters. We have been entertained by lots of different families. But I think my absolute favorite has got to be the Tanner family from Full House.

full house

As we concluded an episode of Full House where DJ Tanner wins tickets on the radio to meet and attend a concert for the Beach Boys, Zech had stars in his eyes. He was deeply impressed by the concert.

full house beach boys
He fell back onto the couch, his feet flying high into the air, and exhaled, "I hope someday the Beach Mans can be in our town."

He stopped a second, "Oh wait. I mean the Beach Boys."

I found this exceptionally funny because right now on Full House, Stephanie Tanner is the same age as Zech, and at her first impression of the Beach Boys, she utters the words, "Big Boys."

The name just doesn't make sense to little kids...


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