Willow House magazine launches!

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.14.42 AMExciting times in WriterJax World this week! A new lifestyle magazine has just launched and I’m psyched to have an article in the premier issue.

Willow House magazine is geared toward young couples and families looking to make their lives a little better, brighter, funkier, more organized… you name it.

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Photo by Sarah Severson

An idea for an article on DIY Souvenirs has been in my pitch book for years, inspired by the little freebies I’ve collected along the way as a broke college student, frugal travel writer, and now penny-pinching working mom. Gladly, the topic was a perfect fit for Willow House, and now it’s finally seeing the light of day. That’s a win in WriterJax World. Hope you can take a look, and please share your own DIY Souvenir ideas in the comments — either here or at Willow House!

The 2013 Samurai Games

With Halloween just around the corner, it was time again this weekend for the annual Halloween games with one side of Ben’s family. It’s a great event for the kids, but also gives the adults some much-needed exercise and outdoor time.

This year, the games were held in the spirit of the Samurai, and each leg of the event taught a different principle. All of the events were devised and strategized by ‘Mimi,’ the Samurai Matriarch of the day. Where I could, I added links below to some resources that are similar to what she put together for us.

Game One: The Samurai Scavenger Hunt

Principle: Tenacity

Halloween Samurai Games 2013

Divided into teams, the Samurai Warriors set out looking for the items on their lists — a series of spooky doodads ranging from newts to ninjas. The twist in this game was that teams searched while holding hands, as samurais need to stick together. Check out some of the kids’ haul below… love the pumpkin duckies.

Halloween Samurai Games 2013

Game Two: Borrowing Bones

Principle: PrecisionHalloween Samurai Games 2013

This game had us asking a talking skull if we could ‘borrow’ his bones, relay style. As teams, we grabbed different bones from the pile to create a full skeleton at the other side of the lawn. The goal was to create a neat skeleton, with all bones in the right places. Here’s a similar template for a cut-out skeleton.

Halloween Samurai Games 2013

Game Three: Ninja Centipede Vs. The Zombies

Principle: Courage

Before we could get cranking on this game, there was first some spirited debate regarding how fast is too fast for zombies to shamble. There are fast-moving zombies after all, a la The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later. These, it was decided, were garden variety lawn zombies who could only shamble at a moderate speed. The goal was for the Ninja Centipede – actually a family of Ninjas working to defeat the zombies as a group (the ‘lead’ could tag them with pool noodles, thusly freezing them in place. The rest of the team needed to stay connected).

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Game Four: Guiding Voices

Principle: Mindfulness

This final game was mercifully less physical than the Ninja – Zombie Face-off, and had us working in teams of two to put a puzzle together. The pieces were on one end of the lawn, the puzzle was put together on a table at the other end, and one team member needed to keep their eyes closed at all times, guided by their teammate. This is Ben and his brother aiming for the dish of puzzle pieces:
Halloween Samurai Games 2013

What games are you playing this Halloween season? Leave links and tips in the comments!