Family Games

The kids are just starting to get to the age where we can play family games.

Okay, Jack is the right age for it and I’m trying get the others excited about it, with mixed results.

I’ve been trolling pinterest and we have been trying a few of the holiday games.

sarahwrapcandyFirst we tried the sarah wrap candy ball.

Basically, you wrap candy in a ball of plastic. One person unwraps as fast as they can while the next person rolls a dice (we chose 6 as the magic number). When you get the magic number, the next person gets the ball and passes the dice on.

I thought it went well, everyone got lots of candy, but Aaron tired quickly and some people never managed to get a 6 so I just moved the ball along myself.dsc_0057

Last week we also had a visit from our cousins the Baumgartens. They thoughtfully brought the Left Center Right game as well as treats for us to play with.

I liked the game a lot for it’s simplicity as well as how many twists it took. Mari was the first one out of treats and in the end she won the whole game.dsc_0060

The twins had a lot of trouble losing (Sam was on the verge of tears) but Mari shared all her winnings with them all so it was all good in the end.

When we went to Timber Ridge I brought two games for us to do on Thanksgiving. The M & M straw game and Jingle Butt.

The M & M straw game is simply a bunch of peanut m&m’s on a plate and everyone has a straw and has to suck them up and into their own bowl. I thought this would be good because everyone wins something. dsc_0082

Unfortunately the twins and Ben couldn’t suck anything up so Ben got real upset. Finally I filled their bowls up manually.

The Jingle Butt game is just hollowed out tissue paper boxes with jingle bells inside. First person to shake them out wins.


The Jingle Butt game was a bunch of laughs but again when Ben lost he took it hard. Adam had to challenge him and let him win to snap him out of it. Then later he said it was the funnest night ever.

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Thanksgiving 2016 at Timber Ridge Lodge

Thanksgiving at the waterpark is becoming a tradition for us Calisoffs.

Thanksgiving dinner at our usual table in Smokey's Restaurant.

Thanksgiving dinner at our usual table in Smokey’s Restaurant.

Me pretending to Aaron

Me pretending to Aaron

Thankful not to slave away in the kitchen cooking all this food!

Thankful not to slave away in the kitchen cooking all this food!

This year we headed up to the Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva, WI on Wednesday and returned Saturday.

Jack's high score in Skeeball.

Jack’s high score in Skeeball at the arcade.

Luckily the kids have not outgrown the waterpark, and in fact this year we realized Jack can run around with any of the kids fairly unsupervised (you can still see glimpses of them and there is only one door in and out). This relieves Adam and I greatly, after Jack runs off with one, we can focus on one kid each.

Ben was still too scared to try the big green slide this year, but the other kids, including the twins, went down it with glee. I think I heard, “Again! Do it again!” a million times from Aaron.

Jack and Sam exiting the green slide.

Jack and Sam exiting the green slide.

Ben mostly enjoyed the basketball, smaller white slide, the rope climb, and the hot tub. dsc_0079

Occasionally, they all enjoyed something together.dsc_0099dsc_0124

We also spent some time walking around the sister hotel, the Grand Geneva. This was originally the Playboy Club Hotel, and there are still traces of the history on display.

See the playboy costumes in the display case?

See the playboy costumes in the display case?

To get there, you take a trolley. At night you can see all the Christmas lights on display.dsc_0116

Usually we combine it with a special dessert treat of gelato in the lobby.dsc_0121

Hope everyone reading had a happy thanksgiving and has many things to be grateful for!

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A couple of months ago I did a parenting bootcamp on facebook through a high school acquaintance, Kelly Hutcheson.

She is a huge follower of Dr. Shefali’s Conscious Parent, and runs free monthly parenting boot camps to help other parents.

There is a big emphasis on stopping yelling.

I found it very helpful. It doesn’t matter how many books or classes I take on parenting, I find having constant reminders of how to do it better works for me. And giving it to me in small daily doses helps me digest it better.

One of the tips she gave was to start a ‘random act of kindness’ board. I’ll admit I didn’t manage to get it done during the parenting boot camp month. Eventually it made it on the wall and we are reaping the benefits of it every day.dsc_0052

I put any act I find kind on there, big or small. It is usually acts that the kids do, but when someone from outside of our family does it, I put it in there as well so the kids get a larger view of the world and how to interact in it.

Twins cleaning trash up in the park.

Twins cleaning trash up in the park.

It has been a a great, positive influence in our lives so I’m sharing the tip with all you readers in case you want to do the same!

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The Fireplace

Saturday we discovered our heat wasn’t working which meant a cold few days before we could get the problem fixed.

One of the things we did to keep warm was to light the fireplace.dsc_0044

The kids were in shock. We have a fireplace?

Yes, kids. We have two.

We told them we were going to roast s’mores after dinner and afterwards one of them went to put on their shoes to roast marshmallows.

“Our fireplace is inside”, we informed them.

Another revelation.

In a weird Owen Meany moment, Aaron very kindly donated all the sticks that he has been collecting all year for our fire.

Note to self: Jumbo marshmallows are too big to make good s'mores.

Note to self: Jumbo marshmallows are too big to make good s’mores.

The kids loved the fire, and even turned off all the lights when they were done roasting s’mores and laid down quietly, wrapped in their blankets, mesmerized by the flames for a amazing few moments.

The next day Aaron tried to open the fireplace to retrieve the sticks.

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Ben’s Friend

Did I tell you Ben has his first friend?img_5211

I know. I thought it would never happen either.

But as it turns out, the saying is true. There is someone for everybody.img_5487

And these two seems to truly like hanging out with each other.

Because for years I thought it would never happen for Ben, watching this friendship develop is the sweetest thing I have witnessed in a long time.

May it last forever!

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Halloween 2016

Hope everyone had as much fun as we did on Halloween!

We started the morning at Jack’s school checking out the Halloween parade.


Jack as ‘Snake Eyes’


Spectators – another Snake Eyes and the Hulk

Then I spent the afternoon cooking and cleaning so we could have some of Jack and Ben’s friends over to trick or treat.

Our neighborhood rocks for trick or treating, we got about 5 full size candy bars on one block alone. Unfortunately everyone knows about it and it’s packed with kids every year. I spent the entire time in a state of panic that I’d lost my kids. Luckily some houses also hand out adult wine treats as well.dsc_1133 dsc_1144

This year it was so warm we decorated our back deck for the kids to play on. Not sure if they used it at all, all know it that they seemed to be running around in a large circle, between the 2 floors of our house.

Checking out the newly decorated deck last night.

Checking out the newly decorated deck last night.

Ben’s new trick this year was to lay on the ground then sit up and roar when people passed him. He scared quite a few kids and even a few adults.img_1639

Judging by the sleep in the morning and the size of the candy bag, I think it was another successful halloween.

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