Category: Parties and Entertaining

The 10 Best Games for a Fantastic Family Game Night

Life moves fast!  Games are a great way to slow things down and enjoy precious time with your family.  Schedule a family game night!  While games are fun to play and provide excellent entertainment, they also provide excellent opportunities for learning.

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Benefits of playing games

Enjoyable and important time together

Game time provides a relaxing activity and environment for you and your family.  This is a perfect time to have important conversations about what is happening in your child’s life.  How are they feeling about their friends?  How are things going at school and are they facing any difficulties that you might be able to help with?   What are their dreams and ambitions?  Don’t push too hard or be critical.  If the conversation is meant to happen it will.  The important thing is to keep this as a fun and safe opportunity for sharing.  When the time is right, your children will share their thoughts and concerns.

Catan, family, playing

New skills and concepts

Games also provide an excellent opportunity to master knowledge and skills that will help children in school.  These include:

  • number and shape recognition, grouping, and counting
  • letter recognition and reading
  • visual perception and color recognition
  • eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity
  • strategic thinking

When you are having fun, learning  comes more easily.

Social Learning

Games teach important social skills that help children successfully navigate life’s transition and move into adulthood.  Such skill include effective communication with other children and adults.  Communication is critical for teamwork, which is becoming more and more important in school, work, and life.  Communication is important in resolving conflicts.   Games provide excellent opportunities to resolve conflicts, especially when cheating is suspected and at the end of the game when there are winners and losers.

Games also provide an opportunity to experience fun, low-risk competition and learn about good sportsmanship.  Good sportsmanship occurs when opponents treat each other with respect.  Children can learn the basics of sportsmanship from parents and other adults in their lives.  Having role models who behave in a sportsmanlike way helps children understand that the real winners are those who know how to
persevere and to behave with dignity — whether they win or lose a game.  This could include small gestures like congratulating the winner and acknowledging good plays or moves.  Children who practice good sportsmanship are likely to carry respect and appreciation of other people into every other aspect of life.

Playing games also teaches children about setting and achieving goals (e.g. winning the game), as well as the importance of sticking with something when times are tough.  While you might fall behind during the game, most games provide an opportunity to catch up and even take the lead.  If you don’t win the game, you can always play again for another chance at victory.

Family, playing, Yamslam

Games for different age groups


  • Argh!:  This game is great for children 5 and over.  Adults can also have fun playing this game.  The goal is to collect treasure to earn points without being robbed by pirates.  Argh! provides a good opportunity to learn more complex rules about matching and grouping to get ahead in the game.  It also provides an opportunity to experiment with playing it safe or taking some risk.
  • Left-center-right:  A great game for children 4 and over.  This is a simple dice game that requires no decision making.  The dice tell you exactly what you need to do.  The goal is to win all of the chips.  To make things more exciting you can use pennies or candies in place of the chips.

Family Game night Scrabble


  • Ticket to Ride:  This board game is great for children 8 to 80.  An exciting game where you earn points for building railways between cities.  A great opportunity to develop strategic thinking.
  • The Settlers of Catan:  Catan is appropriate for kids 10 and over, along with adults.  The goals is to collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities.  The board can be changed to add variety from one game to the next.  This is a game of strategy.
  • Risk :  Risk is another board game for kids 10 and over, along with adults.  In this game, players strategize to conquer other players with their armies to take over the world.
  • Scrabble:  Scrabble is a crossword game that is perfect for kids 8 and over, along with adults.  Points are earned for each letter used and the goal is to earn as many points possible until no one can build words any longer.  This game provides and excellent opportunity to increase vocabulary.

Family Game Night Settlers of Catan

All ages

  • Blokus:  This is an excellent game for kids 6 and over, along with adults.  This game is easy to learn.  It’s a great strategy game where players try to arrange playing pieces on the game board attempting to block their opponent to prevent them from using all of their pieces.
  • Sequence:  This game combines cards, chips, and a board.  Kids approximately 6 and older, as well as adults, will enjoy this game.  Players compete to create rows, columns or diagonals of 5 connected chips.  Chips are placed based on what the player has in his/her hand.  Jacks are wild!
  • Life:   This game is fun for kids 7 and older.  Adults enjoy this game too and many remember playing it when they were young.   This board game with a spinner and cards allows you to choose a career path, have a family, take vacation, and deal with lots of surprises along the way.  The player with the most money at the end of the game is the winner.
  • Yamslam:   This is a great game for developing skills around strategy and probability.  Perfect for those 8 and older.  Yamslam is similar to Yahtzee, but scoring uses chips.  No pen or paper required. Players compete to grab the best chips before they run out.  The tin makes this game easy to pass around a room or even a pontoon boat!

We recently discovered a new favorite, so I will add it to this list as a bonus.  Escape Rooms have become very popular, but they can be fairly pricey.  Now these exciting Escape the Room games are available in a box and can be played at home.  If you have a large group, you can purchase multiple games and have a race to see which team solves the puzzles and escapes the room first.  If you get stuck there are clues and many of the boxed games have a website for support.

We all have great memories playing our favorite games with our favorite people.  Please share your favorite games so we all have an opportunity to try something new.

game night

12 Cocktail Party Essentials to Light Up Winter Nights

Winter nights are dark.  Light up the night.  Family time is essential around the holidays, but be sure to plan time for special moments with friends.  If you’re looking to plan a party or need a suitable gift for a party or lodging hostess, here is everything you were hoping for and more!  There are the twelve days of Christmas, but have fun over the winter season and light up with nights with these twelve cocktail party essentials.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the seller’s profit at no additional cost to you.  Please see my Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for additional information.

Party Essentials – Decor & Serving Pieces

Gold Sequins Table Cloth

Gold Sequin Table Runner

Let’s be honest, nothing is more important than where the food (and the booze) goes.  Let your guests know this is a party with this fun and festive tablecloth.  What better to carry over the celebrations from Christmas to New Years than with a sparkly gold sequin table runner.  Other colors and patterns are available to add just the right sparkle to your party venue.

Mercury Tealight Holders

mercury votives

You will definitely want to scatter a number of these sparkly tealight holders around the food, drink, and party venue to create even more light and charm.  Feel free to use battery powered tealights to reduce any risk of fire in case one of your excited party guests knocks over a tealight.

Customized Stemless Wine Glasses

custom stemless wineglasses

Stemless wineglasses with a customized message are a sure way to add a special touch to your party.  These glasses also make great party favors so your guests are reminded of their fun cocktail celebration experience long after the party ends.

Metallic Foil Straws

sparkly foil straws

Even your drinks can have seasonal bling with these metallic foil paper straws.  They are available in gold, silver, red and blue, perfect for all of the holidays and any other special occasion.  Take your drinks to the next level with this unique accessory for sipping, enjoying, and celebrating.

Gold Holiday Plastic Stadium Cups

gold holiday stadium cups

A bonfire is a perfect way to warm up and light up long winter nights.  These festive stadium cups are perfect for beer and cocktails, especially when the party heads outdoors.  Make sure you have plenty of blankets or extra sweaters and jackets available to keeps guests comfortable and enjoying the party.

Festive Beverage Napkins

cocktail party essentials

Every party cocktail party needs beverage napkins, so why not make them fun to match the spirit of your get together.  These napkins have plenty of gold and champagne sparkle.

Party Essentials – Entertainment

Gold Wireless Karaoke Mic

Wireless handheld Karaoke mic

We’ve talked a lot about drinking, so what do we do once we’ve hit the limit.  KARAOKE!!!  This 3-in-one mic will get the party going no matter where you are.  Grab a Karaoke app on your phone and use this gold wireless to get the crowd singing their favorite traditional and non-traditional holiday tunes.

Prosecco Pong

prosecco pong

Because no party is complete without games, Prosecco pong will be the go-to game from now until…well forever.  A classic spin on the traditional college game, up the class and the fun with these champagne glasses designed to keep you playing, drinking, and having fun.

The Ultimate ‘Reindeer Game’ – Unicorn Snow Tube Races

cocktail party games snow tube races

Who says unicorns are only for kids?  If you are fortunate to live in a locale with snow, this fun snow tube is certain to bring out the kid in everyone.  The adult antics are certain to provide the perfect photo opportunity during your holiday party.

Party Essentials -Goody Bags and Hostess gifts

Silver Snowflake Bottle Stoppers

snowflake wine stopper hostess gift

When its time to say goodnight, nothing “tops” off a holiday party like these festive silver, snowflake wine stoppers.  They’re the perfect way to send everyone home with a surprise party favor they’ll use over and over again.

Gold Foil Snowflake Treat Bags

Treat bags for party favors

Your guests brought gifts (well mostly drinks) so why not send them home with something too?  These shiny gold foil treat bags aren’t only festive, they’re functional and fabulous.  Perfect for candy, favors and, well alcohol infused gummy bears since this is cocktail party for adults!

Champagne Gummy Bears

champagne gummy bear party favors

If you don’t have time to prepare homemade cookies or other candy treats for party favors, everyone will love going home with a cute packet of champagne gummy bears.  The labels can even be customized to add just send just the right message to your wonderful party guests.

If you are looking for a classic cocktail recipes check out this article on bar accessories or this collection of lemon cocktail recipes.

What are your must-have items when you host a cocktail party?  I’m always interested in new ideas.


all the items you need to add sparkle to a cocktail party on a dark winter night

10 Easy, Low Mess, Transportable Tailgate Recipes

It’s fall and it’s football season.  You have tickets for game day.  Now it’s time to plan the tailgate menu.  Here is a collection of easy, low mess, transportable tailgate recipes to get you started.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the seller’s profit at no additional cost to you.  Please see my Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for additional information.

Tailgate Recipes

Image courtesy of skeeze @ Pixabay.

I selected the following recipes to please picky kids, satisfy grown-up appetites, minimize prep work on game day, eliminate the need for crock-pots and barbecues, keep utensil and serving -ware requirements simple, and to keep the mess to a minimum.  Sorry, no saucy wings in this tailgate recipe collection.

Tailgate Recipes


A wide variety of appetizer recipes is included here.  This collection will take care of those who like pizza, tacos, or even the classic corn dog.  I think every tailgate appetizer collection needs at least one dip, so be sure to check out the cheesy bacon ranch dip recipe.

Homemade pizza puffs from Cafe Mom.

pizza puffs

Sausage Roll Ups from Dreaming-n-color.


Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip from Deliciously Sprinkled.

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip

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Plan an Oktoberfest celebration for family and friends

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the seller’s profit at no additional cost to you.  Please see my Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for additional information.

Planning guide for Oktoberfest

OKTOBERFEST!  The best fall party of them all!  This is a perfect time of year to enjoy beautiful fall weather with family and friends.  Attending Oktoberfest in Munich Germany is on many people’s Bucket List (mine too).  For good reason, the party (originating from a wedding celebration) has been a tradition since 1810.  The official event in Munich typically takes place between mid-September and early October (Official 2017 dates: September 16th-October 3rd).  It’s time to start planning your Oktoberfest event.

Event Budget

This party can be as simple/complicated and budget-friendly/expensive as your heart and bank account can manage.  Smaller is simpler, but Oktoberfest provides a great excuse to mingle family, friends, and co-workers.  Just be sure to ask for help.

As the size of the party increases, consider asking guests to bring appetizers, entree, desserts, or beverages to share.  Many guests love the challenge of preparing a special, party-appropriate dish.


Evite is a great way to send out a party invitation.  It’s easy to set-up and allows you to review guest RSVP’s quickly and easily.  You can even ask guests to sign up for food or beverage contributions.  This feature makes it easy to ensure your guests will have adequate food and beverage and prevents having too much of any one item.

If Evite doesn’t work for you e-mail is an easy option.  Hard copy invitations dropped in mailboxes or formal written invites sent by mail also work, but they do require a bit more planning.

Venue or Location

You driveway, patio, or yard provide a perfect venue for Oktoberfest.  If it’s cool build a bonfire or have baskets filled with blankets and extra sweaters to keep guests comfortable.  Tents are part of traditional Oktoberfest celebrations.  Don’t have a tent?  Consider borrowing a tent from a neighbor.  Tents and tables can be rented, but this will add significant cost to your party budget.  Another option is to decorate your garage or open your home to guests.  You might also consider renting a picnic facility in a nearby park.


Oktoberfest food and drink

In my opinion, the guest list is the top priority.  Next in importance?  Food and beverages.  To keep the party simple, enlist the help of your crock pot, family, and friends.

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