|Ben graduated from 6th grade.
|Can you see the Garfield tie that he bought on ebay?
I've mentioned Agricola, right? Someone here first recommended it to us, and it is my all-time favorite game. If the summer loosens up for you at all, this might be the time to try to learn it. I may have mentioned that Ben sat with the rules for hours and hours, predigesting them for us, and it was still challenging. That said, it is the most edgy edge-of-your-seat strategy game ever and, seriously, two hours of your life will whiz by in a blur of delightful anxiety.
We've also become completely devoted to Bohnanza, which, again, someone here first recommended to us. (Thank you!) At first you'll think it's really stupid. It says something on the box like, "The fun bean-trading game!" and you'll wonder if I only like it because of my weird obsession with pinto beans. But the strategy kind of creeps up on you in a great way. Plus, it's super-easy to learn and not that expensive. I don't love the art (I'm kind of picky that way), but it is nonetheless our current go-to birthday present.
Cities and Knights expansion to Settlers of Catan, and have been LOVING it. Again, it is about as easy to learn as Organic Chemistry, and it makes Michael and me want to choke each other to death in competitive homicidal rage, but it is really worth it. Just to add a weird gamer's caveat: this is an expansion, and you need to have the original Settlers of Catan game as well or you won't be able to play it.
The folks at Blue Orange Games kindly sent me this Pocket Yamslam game, and it's our new keep-in-Mama's-bag at all times game, which means it's what we play when we're waiting for our chicken wings. It's like Yahtzee, but much quicker. And it takes about 1 second to learn. It is currently replacing
Pocket Farkel, which had been the game in my bag, and which is another simple, quick, awesome one. In truth, we just had our dice from Yahtzee and a Farkel scoresheet, but I think the actual game is adorable. It's less about strategy than gambling--and just be sure to play with the "piggy" rules to maximize your fun. (Google them if they're not included in your set.)
But we're not just gaming.
We're whittling (again).
We're eating strawberries. (I'm sure you need a gadget like another hole in your butt, but this really is a fun one for kids.)
We're crafting. Those are the matching cupcake shirts we made for our friend Noe and her doll Julia. We made the cutest pattern for it--does anyone know how to post a pdf of a pattern? I'd happily share it! (Julia's shirt is made from the cut-off top of a newborn onesie, and it's the perfect size for an American Girl type of doll.)
And crafting. That's the frog sock puppet Birdy made for her doll Nadia. Have I mentioned this book before?
It's not all fun and games, of course. We're also working a ton (Michael and me) and barfing (Ben) and "dying from heatstroke" (Ben again). The cat lies around like a whale who was clinically depressed even before the beaching.
Oh, but have you read The Art of Fielding? "You were wrong," I complained to Michael, 20 pages in. "You said that even though it was about baseball I'd love it. And it's really, really about baseball, and I'm dying of boredom." Only then I turned out to love it completely; it has the most perfect final paragraph of, perhaps, any book I've ever read. Also, you've probably already read this or had a million people recommend it to you, so let me be a million and one. Totally harrowing and lovely.
Stay cool, my chicks, and have fun. And please, please share books, games, fun summery things with us!