Monday Funday!

Let’s start this week’s posts off with a day of riddles! Everyone likes riddles, right? Even if sometimes they are what my mom used to call “groaners” because they are so silly they make you groan. πŸ˜‰

#1.) What belongs to you but your friends use it more than you do?

Answer: Your name!

#2.) What has a tail and a head, but no body?

Answer: A coin!

#3.) What has keys, but no locks; space but no rooms; you can enter but you can’t go inside.

Answer: A keyboard!

#4.) What kind of room has no doors or windows?

Answer: A mushroom!

#5.) What is orange, wears a green hat and sounds like a parrot?

Answer: A carrot!

Hope these riddles tickled your funny bone and made you grin! πŸ™‚

Pork and Sauerkraut for New Year’s?

I’m curious. Do you and your family eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day? It’s been a tradition in my family for as long as I remember. As a kid, I wasn’t all that impressed. πŸ˜‰ I remember my mom adding some kind of dumplings on top of the sauerkraut. That was the only part I wanted to eat. But now I enjoy sauerkraut although I need mashed potatoes too. Today we had pork sausage, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes for lunch.

Did you ever wonder why people eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day? I looked it up today so in case you are curious too, here’s why: It seems Germans have been eating sauerkraut and pork on New Year’s Day for many generations and its because they believed it would bring them good luck. The legend says that they ate pork because pigs look forward when they root for their food while chickens and turkeys scratch around backwards. In a similar way, the Germans were looking forward to the new year. They also wished each other as many riches as there are shreds of cabbage in sauerkraut. So when some Germans immigrated to Ohio and Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries, they brought their traditions with them. (I found these interesting facts at wildbrine.com.) Some of my ancestors were German and we live in Ohio so I guess that’s why we enjoy pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day.

Whatever you had to eat today, I’m wishing you the best for 2021! Thanks for being with me in 2020! Stay tuned for more fun times ahead!

Love and hugs, everybody!

Anita

Family Games Played With a Deck of Cards

Are you looking for some fun family-friendly games for New Year’s Eve but all you have is a deck of playing cards? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Grab your cards and let’s get started!

#1.) Spoons. This game is great fun and can get a little wild! (It’s best played with people with short fingernails.) πŸ˜‰ Set up the game by placing spoons in the middle of the table, one less spoon than the number of players. Make sure there are spoons within reach of each player. Deal 4 cards to each player.

The dealer places the remaining cards face down on his/her right side. Play begins with the dealer drawing one card from the pile. The idea is to get 4 cards with the same number. The dealer looks at the card and decides to keep it in his hand and discard one card from his hand OR he passes the card to the next person. Everyone plays at the same time, once the cards reach your spot in the circle. Each person does the same thing, either swapping the card for one in his hand or passing it on to the next person. You should always have 4 (and only 4) cards in your hand. When a player has 4 cards with the same number, he takes a spoon from the middle of the table. All other players then try to get a spoon too. The person that doesn’t get a spoon loses that round and loses a life. If you lose 3 lives, you are out of the game. Some people will sneak a spoon quietly and keep playing while others will yell and swoop in to grab one. Either way, you’ll be laughing and having fun!

#2.) Go Fish. This game has been popular for a very long time and you probably already know how to play it. When playing Go Fish with a full deck of cards, you need to get 4 of each number for it to be a match. (Some actual Go Fish card games only need 2 matching cards for a match.)

The dealer deals 5 cards to each player. Arrange your cards so like numbered cards are together. The player to the dealer’s left starts by asking another player for a certain card. Example: “Joe, do you have any Queens?” If Joe has any Queens, he must give ALL of them to that player. If Joe doesn’t have any Queens, he says “Go Fish” and the player must draw one card from the draw pile. If the player draws from the draw pile and gets the card they asked for, OR if they get the card they asked for from another player, they take another turn. When a match of 4 cards is made, it is laid down in front of the player.

If a player runs out of cards and there are still cards left in the draw pile, he draws 5 more cards. Play continues until all the matches have been made. The player with the most matches is the winner.

#3.) Cuckoo. This is a game I haven’t played yet but it sounds like fun. It’s very simple to learn. Each player begins the game with 3 lives. The dealer gives 1 card to each player. The remaining cards are set aside and not needed.

The idea is to avoid being the player with the lowest numbered card at the end of that round. When it’s your turn, you can choose to keep your card or swap it with the player on your left. After each player has taken their turn, everyone shows their card and the player with the lowest number loses that round and loses a life. You continue to play rounds until there is only one player left in the game. The last player in the game is the winner.

#4.) Crazy Eights. This game can be played by fairly young children, perhaps with a bit of help or prompting from a parent. Set the game up by dealing 5 cards to each player. (Deal 7 cards to each player if there are only 2 players.) Place the remaining deck in the center of the playing area for the draw pile and turn one card over to begin the discard pile. If the card is an 8, place that card back into the middle of the draw pile. The goal is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

The player to the dealer’s left goes first. They play a card from their hand that matches either the number or the suit (heart, club, diamond, spade). In my example, they would play a 2 or a card with hearts.

In this example hand, the player would play the 9 of hearts on the discard pile then play continues to the next player. If the player has no matching card, he draws one card from the draw pile. If it matches he can play that card. The player continues to draw 1 card at a time until he gets a card that matches. This game is called Crazy Eights because all 8 cards are considered WILD! You can play an 8 as a wild card and then you decide what the suit will change to. Example: if the card to play on is a 2 of Hearts, a player can play an 8 card and then say the play will now go to Clubs and the next player must play a Clubs card. Play ends with the first player to play all of his cards. If you want to keep score after each round, the cards that are left in the other players hands are added up and the points are given to the player winning that round. Kings, Queens and Jacks are worth 10 points each, 8’s are worth 50 points each and all other cards are at face value.

#5.) Memory. This is another game that has been around for ages and ages and you likely know how to play it too. Memory is good for well, your memory! πŸ˜‰ You can play with the entire deck of cards or you can make it a smaller game by only playing with 2 suits. The game is set up by laying the cards out face down in even rows or as close to even as you can. The example game is using just 2 suits.

Play begins by turning over 1 card and then turning over a second card. If the NUMBERS match, you take both cards and place them in front of you and then you take another turn. If the 2 cards do not match, they are turned back over and play moves to the next player.

Play continues until all the matches have been made. The player with the most matches is the winner. The trick to this game is to pay close attention when other players take their turns and try to remember what you see.

#6.) Trash. This is another game that I haven’t played but I am looking forward to playing it at my first opportunity! I found this game on the Bicycle Playing Cards website and I will just copy and paste their instructions. (The pictures are mine.) Here is a link to the page if you’d like to check it out there: https://bicyclecards.com/how-to-play/trash/#filter=.kids

THE PACK

Two players use one standard deck of 52 cards, 3-4 players use two decks, 5-6 players use three decks

OBJECT OF THE GAME

Be the first player to complete your layout of ten cards Ace through Ten (A,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)

CARD VALUES/SCORING

Aces count as one, cards 2 to 10 have their face values, Jacks are wild, and Queens and Kings automatically end the player’s turn

THE DEAL

Each player is dealt ten cards face down in two rows of five cards each. Players are not allowed to look at their cards. The remaining cards are placed face down to form the stock pile.

THE PLAY

The first player draws from the stock.  If the card is any card Ace through ten, the player places that card in its correct location in the layout (the top left card of the layout is the 1 or Ace position, then 2, 3, etc.).  To do this, the player must remove the face down card that is occupying that location and turn it face up. This card, in turn, is placed in its appropriate location, if available, displacing the face down card that was there. This continues until the player finds a card that cannot be placed – a Queen or a King or a number card whose location is already occupied by a face up card with that number. The player must then discard the unplayable card, placing it face up on the table next to the stock pile to begin a discard pile, and the turn to play passes to the next player.

The next player will begin their turn by drawing either the top card of the face down stock pile or the top card of the discard pile (the card discarded by the previous player). The player will then place their card face up in the correct location in their layout, if available, displacing the card that was there to its own location, and continue until they find an unplayable card, which they add to the top of the discard pile to end their turn.

Since Jacks are wild, a Jack can be placed face up in any location containing a face down card, displacing the card that was there. Also a pip card whose correct location currently contains a face up Jack can be placed in that location displacing the Jack, which can then be moved to any other location with a face down card, displacing the card that was there.

If the stockpile runs out before anyone completes their layout the cards of the discard pile, apart from its top card which is left in place, are shuffled to make a new stock pile.

HOW TO KEEP SCORE

The winner of the hand is the first player to complete their layout by having an appropriate face-up card in each location.

The cards are then shuffled and re-dealt, but the winner of the hand has one fewer card in their layout. After winning one hand a player only has locations A-9 and Tens become unplayable for them. A player who has won twice only has locations A-8, and so on.

The winner of each hand plays first in the next hand.

The game continues until a player has only one location and wins the hand by filling it with an Ace or Jack. This player wins the whole game.

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I hope you find these games fun and entertaining for your family! And if you are reading this on New Year’s Eve, I hope you have a wonderful time welcoming the new year in! πŸ™‚

Games For New Year’s Eve

Are you planning a party for your family to welcome in the New Year? This year we will be having a quiet evening at home, just my husband and I, due to Covid restrictions. It’s not what we would like to be doing, but we will make the best of the situation. Our family likes to play games together on New Year’s Eve. In fact, I remember many special New Year’s Eves as I was growing up that my family got together with good friends and played games until the New Year arrived. Playing a game is a great way to have some quality time together as a family. So what games do you like to play? Here are some of the games we have at our house:

#1.) Pit – This is seriously one of my all-time favorite games. It’s not hard to learn but it is a lively game of trading cards while you try to get the corner on one grain.

This is an older version that we’ve had for years so the new game probably looks a lot different. It’s a blast to play but its rather loud, so don’t play it when the baby is sleeping. πŸ˜‰

#2.) Uno. This is another great game for families. The idea is to be the first player to run out of cards. It’s great fun to make someone “Draw Two” or “Skip” them. Even better is giving them a “Draw Four”. But just be sure that when you dish those cards out to someone else that you are prepared for paybacks! ha!

#3.) Crazy Eights. This is a good game for younger kids that involves matching numbers or shapes.

#4.) Battleship. This is only a 2 player game but still lots of fun. See who can sink the other person’s ships first.

#5.) Scrabble. This game is all about making high scoring words so you need to be able to read and spell to play this one.

#6.) Yahtzee. Another of my favorite games while growing up that was played at our house quite often. It’s all about rolling dice and getting the right combination of numbers to fill up your score sheet. If you can roll the same number on all 5 dice within 3 rolls, then you made….you guessed it…a Yahtzee!

I realized when looking at our selection of games today, that we really need to add a few more! We seem to be missing some of the younger crowd’s games like Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land or Memory. What is your family’s favorite game? Tune in tomorrow when we’ll talk about some fun games you can play with kids if all you have is a deck of playing cards. πŸ™‚

Taste Testing Tuesday – #21- Oatmeal Toppings

We’re back for the latest episode of Taste Testing Tuesday! Are you ready to see what we’re taste testing this time? It’s oatmeal! Ok, ok, I know oatmeal can be REALLY bland and boring, but it doesn’t have to be! There are many, many ways to liven it up and please your taste buds! We’re going to look at 5 toppings you can try adding to your cooked oatmeal and I’ll mention several other ways you might try it.

Mmmm! Now don’t those look worthy of a taste test?! πŸ˜‰

#1.) Oatmeal with butter and maple syrup. Those are two of the best ingredients ever, right? I’m guessing you’ve eaten them on pancakes or French toast, so why not on oatmeal?

#2.) Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon. These are two more top ranking foods, am I right?? They are scrumptious on oatmeal!

#3.) Oatmeal with raisins and honey. This is probably my husband’s favorite way to eat oatmeal. If you don’t care too much for raisins, try some other kind of fruit. Think about other dried fruit like blueberries, cranberries, cherries, etc. Or even fresh, frozen or canned fruit. Do your kids have a favorite fruit? Try adding it to oatmeal.

#4.) Oatmeal with your favorite type of jam. This is strawberry jam and it was very tasty!

Do your kids love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Add some peanut butter to the jam on the oatmeal. πŸ™‚

#5.) Oatmeal with a dollop of yogurt on top. Try your kids favorite yogurt flavor. This one is greek yogurt with peaches. (Though you can’t even see the peaches.)

There you have the taste tests that we did at our house to find some yummy ways to liven up oatmeal. Some other things you can add to oatmeal are nuts or seeds, applesauce, apple butter, chai tea, granola, etc. I read some suggestions to add vegetables to your oatmeal, like pumpkin, butternut squash and carrots. I was surprised to see some suggestions that I’ve never thought of using before like salmon, a fried egg or a soft-boiled egg, avocado, feta cheese or sausage and onions. Oatmeal is so versatile that I hope you’ll give some of these ideas a try and find something new to go in/on your oatmeal. πŸ™‚ Happy Taste Testing!

After-Christmas Blues, Anyone?

When all the hustle and bustle and excitement leading up to Christmas has passed, do the After-Christmas Blues show up at your house? Sometimes taking a break from all the “new” toys and kits that arrived on Christmas Day, can be a help. Try going back to some of the “old” crafts they’ve done before but haven’t thought about in a while. New toys and things will seem more fun again after the kids have had a little break from them. There is comfort to be found in the tried-and-true. Here are a couple of suggestions of things we’ve done on here before but might be fun to pop out for the kids again.

#1.) Making paper snowflakes. It’s still obviously winter and cold outside so how about doing a craft with snowflakes that don’t make your fingers cold when you play with them. Follow this link to this project: https://thekidsniche.com/2019/12/12/do-you-want-to-make-snowflakes/

#2.) You can even make a snowman with your paper snowflakes. https://thekidsniche.com/2019/12/16/do-you-wanna-build-a-snowman-from-paper-snowflakes/

#3.) Hide and Seek Snacks. Try making up a fun snack in little cups and hiding the cups for the kids to find. Look for that post here: https://thekidsniche.com/2020/01/07/hide-and-seek-snacks/

There are over 200 posts here on my blog so I hope you can find some fun things to do with your kids to help everyone get back on an even keel again. Those new gifts will look even better afterwards! Have fun! Hugs to all of you! πŸ™‚

Craft Stick Snowflakes

Are you looking for something to occupy the kids while they are off school for Christmas break? Here’s a super easy but fun way to make some great snowflakes. Our grandkids made these and shared these pictures with us. πŸ™‚ (Thanks, Megan!)

They used colored craft sticks, glue, glitter glue and curling ribbon. If you only have the plain craft sticks you could add an extra step and paint them first. If you don’t have glitter glue, regular craft glue and glitter will work too.

Glue the colored or painted craft sticks together into a snowflake pattern. As you can see from the pictures, there are several ways you can glue them together.

After the glue has dried a little, use the glitter glue to decorate your snowflake. Or if you are using glue and glitter, put drops or lines of glue on the craft sticks and then sprinkle glitter over it. Gently shake the snowflake to let the extra glitter fall off.

Tie a piece of curling ribbon onto the snowflake and hang your snowflakes up for everyone to enjoy.

If you open a pair of scissors and pull the ribbon across the blade part of the scissors, the curling ribbon will curl up and look pretty. You can do this to some extra pieces of curling ribbon to add a little more pizazz to your snowflakes. Hope you enjoy making craft stick snowflakes!! πŸ™‚

Taste Testing Tuesday – #20 – Christmas Cookies!

It’s time to rev up your taste buds! Yep, it’s Taste Testing Tuesday once again. And I’m betting today’s taste test will be your all time favorite! What are we testing? Christmas Cookies!!! A special thank you goes out to my daughter, Megan, for sharing some pictures with me of some of the Christmas cookies they made at their house this week. πŸ™‚ Here are some suggestions for yummy cookies you can make and test out:

#1.) Peanut Butter Blossoms. Oohh these are soooo yummy! A peanut butter cookie with a chocolate kiss added on top. Drooooooling…

#2.) Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees. These are made just like the original Rice Krispies Treats recipe on the cereal box plus some green sugar and sprinkles added. Then cut them into triangles and you’re done!

#3.) Molasses Crinkles – This is one of my favorite cookies. I remember making them with my mom when I was a little girl. πŸ™‚

#4.) Sour Cream Cookies – I was looking for the recipe that my Grandma used to make for us and these are similar but not quite the same. The recipe calls for adding a frosting glaze to these while they are still hot but I went with sprinkles instead to cut down on the amount of sugar.

#5.) Cut-Out Butter Cookies – Ok, this has to be my all-time favorite cookie! (Molasses Crinkles are a close 2nd.) This is another recipe I made with my mom when I was little. Well, and even after I got “big”. And then I made them with our kids and now our daughter made this batch with her kids. πŸ™‚

I have to admit that decorated cut-out cookies get my vote for at least LOOKING the best! πŸ˜‰

#6.) Russian Teacakes – This cookie is one of my hubby’s favorite cookies. They rank pretty high with me too. I make them with finely ground pecans but you can use other nuts instead. They are rolled in powdered sugar which helps to make them especially tasty.

#7.) Peanut Butter Cookies – Another one of our favorites! Ok, yes, there seems to be a pattern developing here, doesn’t there? I have a lot of favorite cookies! Haha! One of my jobs when I was little and helping my mom make these was to make the criss-cross pattern on each cookie. I always thought that was pretty cool. πŸ˜‰

So what is your favorite Christmas cookie? Do you make Christmas cookies at your house? Maybe you buy some from a store? What is your all-time favorite cookie that you would ask for if you could have any cookie in the world? I hope you have a Christmas cookie Taste Testing Tuesday at your house!