Category Archives: Waiting Games and Amusements for Families

Funny Ice Cream Story

Funny Ice Cream Story

When my oldest son Derek was in kindergarten, some of the other children gave out Friendly’s Ice Cream Shop gift certificates for a free small ice cream cone. Derek was the recipient of one of these gift certificates. Derek loved Friendly’s. He still does. When we had a meal there, he always ordered the Monster Sundae for dessert.


Soon after he received the gift certificate, I took him into Friendly’s to redeem it. We went into the small foyer where one orders ice cream desserts to go. I wanted to be sure that he understood that he could not get a Monster Sundae so I reminded him that he could only get a cone. His eyes started to well-up and he looked very sad. Surprised, I asked him what was wrong. He was upset because he could only get a cone. Initially, I thought he was upset because he could not order his usual Sundae. But, no, he had taken my words literally and believed he could only have a cone, but no ice cream. I laughed, corrected my wording, and assured him that there would be any ice cream flavor he wanted inside the cone. You just never know what a child will hear.



Learning from bad behaviour

When Derek and Jack were little guys, I had a very specific method for punishing bad behavior. Like many people at that time, bad behavior was initially treated with a time out. He was told to be alone and to think about what he had done wrong. What I found most useful about the time out process was that it gave both of us a few moments to calm down and access the situation with less anger.

However, I never felt that time out was enough. So after a few minutes alone, I would go in and talk to him. I had two questions I asked. The first – Do you know what you did wrong? We would talk about what happened and why. I wanted to be sure he understood exactly why he was in trouble and given a time out. The second question – what can you do differently next time? We discussed more appropriate actions and behaviors such as talking things out, telling the truth, being kind, etc. I felt it was important to be proactive about the correct response to a situation when he again felt tempted to behave badly. It is easier to act appropriately if you have a plan. Finally, I would have him apologize for the bad behavior, whether to me, his brother, his father, his friend, or whoever was most affected. This was followed by forgiveness.

It’s behavior not being

I read about this somewhere many years ago. When my boys acted inappropriately, I always told them that it was not good behavior and not that they themselves were bad or not good. A bad behavior is changeable and does not affect the person he is. He is not bad, his behavior is bad. I would say, “Boys, that is not good behavior.” It seemed to work. The behavior would stop and they would understand for the future that they should not do it.

Family memories


Great family memories can happen in the most unexpected ways. Last Monday, for example, I really had not planned the timing of dinner well. The grocery store had a sale on a box of whole squid the other day. My family enjoys all types of seafood so I went ahead and purchased the squid. I left it in the fridge to defrost. I did not do my usual big grocery shopping trip on Sunday, so by Monday the only main dish available to serve was the squid. It was already defrosted and needed to be cooked anyway.

Derek, my oldest son, had various activities I needed to drive him to and from, I had three conference calls for work in the afternoon, and we had an event at church in the evening. By the time we arrived home it was after 8 pm.

I have never cooked squid before. I had no idea how much work was required to prepare the little guys. I am not exactly sure how many squid were in the box, but it was a lot—and it was an inky mess. Derek looked online for a site describing how to clean and prepare the squid. It was going to represent quite a bit of work. More than I anticipated. My boys, Derek and Jack, and my husband Mike, all rolled up their sleeves, put on my various aprons, and we all worked together to get the squid ready to cook. And it was fun! And a little gross.

It probably took about twenty minutes, but we worked together and talked and laughed. Mike played early 80’s music on his phone and quizzed the boys about the songs and musicians. He assured them that their future girlfriends would be very impressed with their knowledge of early 80’s music. The boys and I are skeptical, but it was fun anyway.

Like I said, great family memories can occur at the most unexpected moments.



Waiting Games and Amusements for Families

Waiting Games Bok



My brother had been planning a family trip to Walt Disney World since his son was born. Last year my nephew turned seven and my family met up in Orlando to see all of the Disney parks and Universal Studios. So we knew way ahead of time that this trip was coming.

I grew up in San Diego and so had taken many trips to Disneyland and I knew how long the lines could be. Some trips you feel more like you spent the day in line rather than riding rides and seeing shows. My boys, Derek and Jack, and I talked about what the visit to Walt Disney World might be like. We were concerned that the lines could make the visit more tedious than fun. We started talking about how we could pass the time.

Games have always been a big part of our lives. We love playing board games, card games, and word games. It had become a tradition for us to go out to eat on Friday night to a casual family restaurant. While we waited for our seats or our food, we would play games. Mostly just the usual, I Spy, Twenty Questions, I’m going on a picnic, etc.. Some games we made up ourselves like Patterns and Where in the World. We looked forward to the games as much as we did eating out.

As we talked about our upcoming visit to Walt Disney World, we realized that we already had a variety of games we could play while waiting in line. We also challenged ourselves to think of new games. Just thinking of new games was fun. The summer before we went to Orlando, I remember walking to the lighthouse by my father-in-law’s home with Derek and Jack and we started talking about games to play. I decided it would be fun to write down our ideas and share them in a book. That is where it all started.

As I started writing the book, I began to realize how useful it could be in a variety of settings. Some of the games were inspired by games I played with my own family growing up during family game nights. Other games were inspired by games I played as a student when we had to stay in for recess. A few of the games were meant to be educational when the boys were younger.

As the boys have gotten older and the temptation to play video games on the Nintendo DS, the iPad, or the cellphone has gotten much stronger, I feel more than ever that these games and amusements are needed to encourage us to interact and build pleasant, lasting memories. I don’t want the boys to look back at their youth and remember only screens. I want them to remember our time together and moments of fun and laughter.

I have organized Waiting Games and Amusements for Families into several themed chapters. The games are divided into Word Games, Guessing Games, Math Games, and Pencil Games. There is also a chapter, Amusements, for fun but less competitive activities. Some games you will recognize and I have included variations on the standard. Others we created together as a family.

My hope is that the games in Waiting Games and Amusements for Families will bring your family enjoyment and wonderful memories.

I intend to continue to use this blog to share some of my family’s experiences. I am an ordinary mom doing the best I can. I am blessed to have a wonderful family. I hope some of our stories will amuse you, distract you, remind you of your own life, and even make you laugh.

I would love to hear your stories and about your family’s games. I welcome your comments using the button at the top of this page.