Monthly Archives: March 2015

Board Games: A Trip Down Memory Lane



A post by blogger George Schalter:

As a father and an admirer of technology, I love the time I spend with my kids – putting a gadget together, racing cars (toys, of course), and playing online games (educational, of course). But these times, splendid though they are, take me back to my own boyhood and how our family bonded when we were younger. Rest assured, you wouldn’t have seen my father bellowing while swiping his finger madly around a rectangular piece of screen. No, sir. Those were the days when we sat at the kitchen table with steaming hot cocoa mulling over a game of Monopoly or Clue. Whoa! That makes me a living testament of changing times.

Of course, I was delighted when I discovered that they had digitized some of those old classic board games. While it is a rather addictive experience, it is not the same. It does not come as a surprise that some of these board games have acquired the status of a collector’s item.

This got my wife and me reminiscing about the board games we enjoyed as kids, and look what we pulled up! Many of these games have their roots in earlier centuries, though we’ve known them only from the 50’s. To play them we relied on brains, chance and strategy.

Candy Land – Candy Land gave us sweet treats such as Gramma Nutt and Peppermint Forest as we raced down the board till we reached the Candy Castle where King Kandy waited for us.


Monopoly – One of the most popular board games ever that still has many takers like Chess. The game was recently in the news. Guess what? Hasbro France is releasing the game and this time they have included some real money! A dream come true, wouldn’t you say?


Chinese Checkers – I think I still have a board somewhere, though not so sure about the marbles. This was the perfect game for those long winter nights and when we had cousins over.

Chinese Checkers


The Game of Life – We loved playing grown-ups, more so when we were young than we do now, and The Game of Life offered us just that as we studiously picked our career and what not.

Game of Life

Trivial Pursuit – Another household name, the trivia game Trivial Pursuit recently celebrated its 35th birthday, though I’ve heard the versions that were released later were not as challenging.

Trivial Pursuit

Clue – Clue wins hands-down as one of my favorites. Playing this murder-mystery game was as good as reading one of those whodunit page-turners. It was funny the kind of familiarity that one developed with the characters!


Scrabble – If any game made vocabulary interesting, it has to be Scrabble. We still have a board at home; the tiles are intact after all these years, not a single letter is missing. Despite an online version available, it warms the heart to see that the kids prefer the board.


Chutes & Ladders – This was always one of those games for the rainy day. I came across an article where a library or classroom got kids to play a life-size version of the game.

Chutes and Ladders

Sorry! – I had a strange fascination for the pawns we used in Sorry! Like many other games, this game grew from another game that was originally known as Parcheesi.


I must say that the 20th century gave us some of the best board games ever that are still being adapted to suit contemporary tastes, and while many were evolved versions of ancient games, let’s hope we are left with tangible proof of good times in this age of digitization.

George Schalter loves being a dad. He and his wife share the joys and responsibilities of bringing up their two children. As believers of good all- round education, they spend a lot of time playing with their children and spending time outdoors. George is the writer in the family, and he blogs at Educational Kids Games.

Find George on:




Losing Mom: A Life in the Details


Nancy Kiehne Miniature Books

In recent years, I’ve wondered: Is life about the big picture or is life in the details?

The big picture is good. It keeps us from wasting time on things that don’t matter. It enables us to step back and analyze problems, trends, and accomplishments. The big picture lets us rise above pettiness.

But details are good too. Your fingers trace the geometric design on a throw pillow. Your eyes catch the wink of a favorite cousin. You hear the clack of the roller coaster the second your feet hit the boardwalk. Details help us mark our days with appreciation and whimsy.

My mother died on Friday after a short bout with cancer. I prayed she would go once the pain became intense.

And so the job, or perhaps I should say the honor, of mourning her begins.

Do I grieve the big things? The loss of a mother. The ending of an era. The last parent.

Or do I grieve the small things, the details? I unpack Easter rabbits she painted and recall how Mom loved holidays. My grandson flies his first kite, and I can’t phone her with the news. I take out a recipe card, and there’s my mother’s handwriting.

Mom was a collector. In the photo above, you see some of her miniatures: books, animal figurines, tiny houses, a doll, and doll house furniture.

And she was an artist. Here are those Easter rabbits.

For collectors and artists, it’s all about the details. And although this grief is new, I’m thinking that’s how it will go for me. Photo by photo, memento by memento, flashback by flashback, I’ll miss my mother. I’ll miss her in the details.

But I’m not complaining! For as the big picture tells me, who would want it any other way?

What about you? Have you lost your mom? Any words of wisdom for those of us fresh to the loss?

Photo Below: My mom, Nancy Kiehne, on her 90th birthday in December


Toasts! A Book Giveaway




I’ll toast to just about anything. I love to celebrate (and I love to raise a glass). When June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling put out a call for toasts for their upcoming anthology, I couldn’t resist!

I’m lucky enough to have 14 toasts featured in Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion, published last fall by Viva Editions.

Since  it’s almost April Fools Day, I present to you my toast, “To Foolish Fun!”

Friends, you can fool me once!

Friends, you can fool me twice!

Here’s to lots of foolish fun,

Before this crazy day is done.

 USA Today calls Toasts an “adorable collection of special thoughts.” You’ll find toasts and blessings for weddings, funerals, christenings, retirement, birthdays, graduations, bon voyage, holidays, and plenty of  other occasions.

I was surprised and touched to read my name in the Introduction:

Toasts Intro

Wouldn’t my British Literature professor at Duke, now gone to the ivory towers in the sky, get a jolt out of that one! I remember her quoting Wordsworth with gusto shortly after returning papers. Mine had a less than stellar grade at the top in a large red letter.

Back to April Fools Day. Promise me you’ll use my toast on April 1. Offer it at breakfast, send it over the office email, put it on your FB page. I’d be delighted, no fooling!

Giveaway: Thanks to Viva Editions for offering Friend for the Ride one copy of Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by April 5. (The comment link is at the bottom). U.S. and Canada only. Thanks!

You’ll want your own copy of Toasts, and the book makes a creative gift, especially for graduations, wedding showers, and birthdays. Click here for the Amazon link.


Sex After Menopause: A Vibrant Nation Live Webcast



Sex and menopause.

What a topic, a topic that’s often top on our list of menopausal concerns. Vibrant Nation, a leading online community for women 45+, is sponsoring a Live webcast discussion, “Sex After Menopause,” on March 31 at 1:00 PM (EST).

Here’s why they chose to focus on this complicated and sometimes touchy (no pun intended!) topic:

“We women deal with many physical and emotional changes during and after menopause. Some of these changes can take a real toll on our relationships, including our sex life.

To complicate matters, it’s often difficult to find straightforward, trustworthy information about how to deal with issues like changes in our libido and pain during sexual intercourse.”

Vibrant Nation sexual health expert and blogger, Dr. Barb DePree, will lead a panel of women in sharing their stories and advice for getting that spark back in the bedroom.


And guess who’s going to be on the panel? Me!

Sign up here to attend. See you then!

And here’s the link to a post Dr. Dupree wrote for Friend for the Ride.

Disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network campaign. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with Pfizer and do not earn a commission.

The sponsor has asked that I turn comments off for this post, but if you have any questions, just email me. My address is on the right.