Balls of Fun

Play These Three Classic Ball Outdoor Games

Balls of Fun

There's an indoor playground called "Balls of Fun" where my mom friends and I take our kids for some rainy day fun. Let me tell you, there's no shortage of ball jokes to be made the entire time we're there. We're clearly pubescent teens disguised as mature mamas. 

Pardon my vulgarity, but the word balls makes me laugh. When my friend from teacher's college was doing her first placement in an elementary school teaching P.E. she instructed the grade five students to, "Stop and grab your balls!" Of course this was followed by a gym filled with ten year old laughing hystercially. 

I laughed too when she told me. Apparently I'm not smarter more mature than a fifth grader. 

Balls are indeed fun so this is why I'm sharing three fun outdoor ball games! Play them with your kids and/or invite some adult friends over. You'll sweat, you'll relive your youth and you'll laugh your balls off. 

1. Ladder Ball. We played this relatively new game with friends at their house last weekend. Played in teams or one on one, the object is to hurl your balls across the yard and hook them on the rungs to score points. Of course, the guys were the blue team. (That last photo is of a shot that whizzed past my head and ended up hooked around the legs of a patio table. Zero points for that by the way, but ten bonus points for narrowly missing my Gin and Tonic.)

2. Tether Ball. I played this rather violent and highly competitve game often as a child. It explains a lot I think. The traditional apparatus is a single pole with a volleyball hanging from a rope. The object of this two person game is to whack the ball back and forth until one player gets the upper hand and is able to twist the rope completely around the pole. You can buy a portable version of this game called Swing Ball. We bought it a fews ago and it got a lot of use. Finallly, the pole bent and snapped. I still say I won that game.


3. Four Square. Do you remember playing this bouncy game in elementary school? It was fun then, and it's just as much fun now. Grab three friends and give it a try. Smack talk is highly encouraged by the way. If you forget how to play, you can find the simple rules here

I was going to add Croquet and Bocci to this list until I remembered... they're boring. No offense to Croquet or Bocci Ball fans. I just prefer a little more swing or bounce to my ball games. It's the way I roll. 

Related: Top Five Classic Childhood Games


Ready For School

Let's Get This Party Started!

Ready For School

Hear that sound? It's the muffled sobs of mothers lamenting the end of summer, followed by squeals of delight as they taste the freedom that comes with fall. 

Whether you're happy or sad, there's no escaping it — our kids are heading back to school. Life marches on like that. And my kids are marching while carrying swanky new back packs!

My daughter has packed and unpacked hers a dozen times over the past week. The kid sleeps with her back pack beside her bed. Excited much? As the parent of a child with special needs, this thrills me more than I can say. She enjoys school so much that she can't wait to start Grade Two. How wonderful. 

To say that my son is excited is a stretch. He enjoys school, but he enjoys the carefree days of summer more. Can't really blame the guy — we had one heck of a summer; a trip to a cottage in New Brunswick, Summer Camp in Michigan, adventures at a resort up north. As far as summers go, this one was stellar. 

My boy is going into grade five, so I pulled out an old album and shared some photos of me in all my bowl cut fifth grade splendor. Seems like only yesterday. Time goes by so quickly, doesn't it? My "baby" is growing into a giant tween with an appetite to match. His "little kid" lunchbox is no longer cutting the mustard. The boy can eat. This school year he'll be PACKING HIS OWN LUNCH *fist pump* in this extra large lunch bag. (Hilroy brand, available at Walmart Canada). 

I bought these BPA free containers (Lunch Bloks by Rubbermaid) for snacks, sandwiches, pasta, etc. They come with an ice block to keep food cool on days when I put mayo on his sandwich. Correction...on days when HE puts mayo on his sandwich. He will also be responsible for cleaning out his lunch bag and washing the containers. Man, I love grade five. 

There's another large pocket in the front of the bag for more food and a side mesh water bottle holder. This boy won't be starving by 2pm this year. 

I donated his old back pack which was still in good shape. But now that he'll be toting more books and a heavier load, we've graduated to a more "back friendly" bag. This large Ergo back pack has a unique padded shoulder strap design — the straps are attached further down the pack — which provides "superior load compression." Basically this means he can walk or bike to school while carrying his pack without straining his little man spine. (Five Star brand, available at Staples Canada). 

It also has an external zippered pcket and organizer panel and pockets to protect his iTouch and new cell phone. Yes, cell phone. More about that Bubble Wrap Mom story later...

My kids are ready to take on anything the school year has to offer. The question is, am I? *sob whimper laugh squee snort cry*.... it's a mixture of emotions all up in here. 

Happy BTS everyone!

Disclosure: ACCO Brands sent me these back packs and lunch bag for the purpose of this review. Thoughts and opinions are mine and my scholarly children's. 


The Best Summer Vacation Location...


The Best Summer Vacation Location...

To be clear, this post is NOT sponsored. My family and I paid the full-ride for this vacation. Last summer we were invited up to Clevelands House as part of a Yummy Mummy Club event. We loved it so much, we booked to come up again for a second year and we plan to make it an annual vacation. We hope you can come too!

I guess I'd be suspicious if bloggers from a website invited me to come along on a vacation with them. I'd be all, "There's a discount when you book? Is there Koolaid or something? What's the catch?" 

I have no hidden agenda (other than wanting more fun people along to play with on my summer holiday) and there is no catch. Well, unless you go fishing and get lucky. It's just a special place. Think *Kellermans* ala Dirty Dancing. There are planned activities; water sports and activities for the kids. Crafts. We lounge by the pool and dress for dinner. We play tennis and golf and shuffle board and cards while the kids run free. It's all very 1950s. I love the 50s.

My son golfed with the big boys and showed them how it was done. 

My daughter who doesn't often get the chance to be independent gets to be. She attended the Cleve Kids' Club and she had the time of her life. Nobody puts Baby in the corner. They didn't even try.

She made friends and tried new things while her parents took a moment to breathe for the first time in a long time. 

And what did I do while my family was otherwise engaged? I read, I relaxed, I floated in the pool, and did yoga in an open air studio surrounded by a pond and ducks and quiet. It was bliss. 

We came away from this weekend as a family closer, happier, calmer. 

Will we go next year? Absolutely. We'll start saving up now. And perhaps you'll join us? 

I hope so because there's this...

and this

and this (I'm not exactly sure what "this" is but it was sure fun!)

and also this

We tried "hallway" babysitting for the first time. It's free. A babysitter (usually a university student who is a Kids' Club counselor by day) sits in the hall outside the rooms starting at 9 pm. I was nervous, but my son had a cell phone so he could text us if there was a problem. Seems I was the one with the problem since I did most of the texting.

Some have said, "It's too expensive." It's not really. 

This year, everything is ala cart. This means aside from the room, you only pay for what you use. To save money, we brought along some food and beverages. Each room has a fridge so we brought milk, juice, cereal, bread, peanut butter, fruit, granola bars, pizza buns, apple sauce cups and yogurts. This got us through breakfast and lunch. Then we ate dinner in the main dining room or at Dukes on the dock. We also brought some wine and beer and a jar of dish soap to wash plastic dishes, cups and cutlery in the sink.

We'd love it if you joined us next year. If only for the kids' talent show. It's off the hook. 

Erica and her family have been vacationing at Clevelands House for years. She loves it so much, she wanted to share it with everyone. I'm glad she did. My husband spent many childhood summers at the Cleves with his family, so it has an extra punch of nostalgia for us. You gotta love nostalgia. 

See you next summer?