Monthly Favorites

My Game Night Favorites.

Hello, friends! Happy Wednesday to you all! I thought today I’d write about some of my favorite games to play. I have a previous blog post that details the importance of not only community, but game night as well. I really enjoyed writing that post, but I failed to mention my favorite games to play on game night! I feel like people don’t often make posts about board games, so I thought I would fill that void! (Although I’m sure that many lovely people have written posts about games, I just haven’t seen them!)

  1. Scrabble. Ah, a classic. I am TERRIBLE at this game, and I mean TERRIBLE. Regardless, I really enjoy playing it. I am a horrendous strategist, and the second I see a word that can be played, I play it. I think that this game is also really wonderful for younger children because it teaches them new words and helps them work on their spelling. I remember playing various word games with my mom and being blown away with how many words she knew. And by the end of the game, I knew the words, too! It’s a great and sneaky way to learn, even for adults!
  2. Cover Your Assets.This is a game that is fairly new, as far as I know. And oh my goodness, is it fun. It’s a quick-paced card game that is sure to bring out the competitive nature of everyone, but in a fun way. (Notice that Monopoly failed to make this list… I get very competitive.) And it’s super easy to pick up on, which I like. There are plenty of games out there that I can’t play because I can’t figure them out. (I’m ashamed to admit that I still don’t understand how to play euchre… I know, I know… How dare I call myself Midwest Mattie, right? Maybe one day…)
  3. Chameleon.As of right now, this game is probably my favorite. I’ve tried to explain this game to many a person, but my words fail me. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. Or you can read the instructions and reviews for it. That works as well. Another fun and silly game that is sure to be a favorite at any game night.
  4. Scattergories. This is probably the game that I played the most as a kid. My mom, brother, and I played this one all the time. It’s also wonderful because it really stretches your brain muscles. Which I think is really important. I remember trying to argue to my mom and brother that Kim Kardashian could be considered a historical figure, but they shut me down on that one. Fair enough.
  5. Uno. I don’t think that this one needs too much of an explanation. I think that most people have probably played this. I know there’s a bunch of different versions, but I just have the classic one. I think this game is so great because it just brings out the silliness in everyone. Especially when a Draw Four is played. And the most tragic — when one fails to say uno and they’re required to pick up the stack. Ugh!

Thank you so much for reading, friends! I hope that you enjoyed this post, even if it’s much shorter than usual. I’d also like to hear your game night favorites!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

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A Journey into Self-Love

Healthy Living Through a Child’s Eyes.

Hello, friends! It is Friday! HOORAY! Some weeks just seem to take the longest of times, and for whatever reason, this week has felt that way. This is a post that has kind of been forming in my mind for awhile. I’ve realized that many people, myself included, do not spend as much time outside as we used to. The busy lives we live can make it somewhat difficult to do this. I began to think of this in relation to how we handle exercise. Two different events helped me come across a little epiphany.

Number one: an Easter round of Eenie Einie Over. A game which NOBODY seems to know about. Anyone outside of my family ever play it? I’ve looked it up online and it seems like more people call it Annie-Annie Over.  Anywho. It’s been a game that my cousins, brother, and I have always played when we get together. We played a round on Easter for the first time in years and years. We used to play this game for hours and I don’t remember getting half as winded as I was during Easter. As adults we don’t often do physical activity just for the fun of it. Our activity is calculated into calories, sets, and reps. Or our activity is planned within an inch of its lifeat 10:00, we’ll take a hike, but I have to be back at 1:00 so I can do this and this and this. Which may be a slight exaggeration, but honestly, it’s pretty true to life.

Playing Eenie Einie Over made me realize a couple of things.

The first being how out of shape I am. YIKES.

The second being that I miss playing outside like I used to. It’s fun to be outside and to exercise. To make the conscious decision to allow ourselves to channel our inner-child and be silly and explore the world around us.

We often view exercise as a punishment for not looking the way that we want to, instead of it being fun and allowing us to be thankful for all our body can do. Everyone has different abilities, so what we’re thankful for WILL differ person to person.

I know that many people will disagree with me on this, but I don’t think the gym is the best place or way to become fit. I think that it can be utilized in a way that makes it quite beneficial, but I also think there are many other ways to get exercise.

Number two: On Wednesday, Bobby really wanted to play basketball, so we bought a basketball and went to the park. Something so simple, but we were able to get moving and have fun. Working out doesn’t have to be rigid. For me, I don’t ever want it to be. I know that there are some instances where it may need to be, but I just want to suggest that we start thinking like children again. When not busy, run outside and explore your surroundings. Revel in the world around you and what you’re able to do. Healthy living is so much more than what our bodies can or cannot do, it’s also about what’s going on inside.

Spending time outside allows us to care for ourselves physically and mentally. Walk trails, smell flowers, play a game or two.

Summer is (finally) coming and I’m so ready to take advantage of the beautiful weather. I get giddy when I think of all the hiking trips, camping adventures, and canoe rides I have in the future. Being able to exercise like a child, really allows us to regain a relationship with our mind, our bodies, and the world around us.

As a child, I loved being outside. I still do, but often I feel as though I need to plan out my time outside, but I don’t! And neither do you! Walk out your front door and ask your inner-child what they want to do.  Our hearts long to feel what they once did, we just have to listen to them. Sometimes when I get outside, I  just can’t help it — I want to skip, I want to twirl. Obviously, this is not always a possible thing, but listen to yourself! Really listen!

We have such an innate connection to the outdoors, we just can’t help it! I think that by listening to ourselves, we’re able to strengthen our relationships. If on a hike with yourself, you’ll be able to strengthen your relationship with your body, by giving it exercise. You’re able to strengthen your relationship with the Earth, by surrounding itself with its beauty. You’re able to strengthen your relationship with your heart. Listen to what it tells you. Oftentimes, we don’t let our heart speak with us, because it feels things that we may not want to focus on. Feelings aren’t always practical, which can be hard for us.

Spending time with others in nature is a great bonding experience as well. One that I don’t think you’d quite get if going to the gym. Have you ever tried having a conversation with someone while both being on the treadmill? Nearly impossible, haha! Being surrounded by beauty allows us to be more vulnerable with not only ourself, but others.

In conclusion: listen to the heart you had as a child. Allow them to explore the world, to learn, and to make relationships with others. It’s all too easy to ignore them, as the business of adult life grows louder and louder. Listen to your body, too. What does it need? Listen to yourself and be conscious of the splendor the world provides us. Sometimes, feeling small in the world is what we need. Not unimportant in the world, but just small. Our worries aren’t always life or death. A childlike perspective is sometimes all that we need.

I hope that you are having a great day! And a great weekend to boot!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

 

Musings

The Joy of Cooking for Others.

Hello, friends! We’ve made it! It’s Friday! I’m SO ready to put on some cozy clothes and relax. Maybe figure out what I want to cook for lunch. Speaking of lunch…

I was lucky enough in life to be born into a family of fantastic cooks. I’ve been fed so many delicious meals in my life. And gosh, homemade cooking certainly is filled to the brim with love. In my experience, the secret ingredient is always love. My family always jokes around, “The secret ingredient is love!” “Oh! That’s why it tastes so good!”.

In our hectic lives, it sure can be a challenge to find the gumption to make a meal from scratch. We typically will opt for something a little easier, a drive-thru or pizza delivery, or perhaps a frozen meal. And believe me, I have utilized all of those and with zest. Especially as a busy college student.

I’ve been making the biggest of efforts lately to make more food at home. As I said in my last blog post, I was making my first-ever homemade batch of banana bread. For those curious, it turned out wonderful. Bobby said it was one of the best pieces of banana bread he ever had! I’ll take it!

I absolutely love that I’ve been getting more into cooking lately. It’s so fun looking for different recipes online, utilizing cookbooks, and, my personal favorite, trying out family recipes. Bobby’s favorite is my Aunt Nonie’s white chicken chili. I kid around with him saying it’s the only reason he proposed to me, hehe.

To me, it’s so exciting being able to give someone a handmade dessert to make their life a little sweeter. Or maybe bring them a little container full of soup when they’re too busy to cook for themselves. It’s a way to nurture those you love. I love when I have days off to spend cooking and baking for Bobby and myself. He is a very gracious eater, he will tell me my cooking tastes good even though I know, 100%, that it is a little too burnt. Or when I overcook rice, he swears up and down that he likes when rice is crunchy. Isn’t he wonderful?

I have many fond memories of cooking and baking with my Aunt Nonie. We made brownies, cookies, goofballs, potpies, deviled eggs, and so much more. Yesterday, she stopped by to bring me some goofballs and I was able to give her some banana bread. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to be able to gift her something handmade, as she has done for me my entire life.

I feel like one can use cooking to fulfill each and every love language! Let me explain…

It is a gift you can give to your loved ones, making someone’s favorite meal shows that you listen to their likes and dislikes. People whose love language is receiving gifts, I think, like to know that people are listening to them. If they talk about how they hate the raisins in oatmeal cookies and you give them a batch, despite your best intentions, they probably won’t feel loved. BUT, if you make them a batch of oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips instead, they will appreciate that you were not only listening to them, but also gifted them with something so thoughtful.

You can spend time together cooking, for those whose love language is quality time. Cooking can be done together, which is such a fun thing to do. Decorating cookies can be a fun and silly way to be in the kitchen, even if both parties aren’t very good at cooking.  Another way that you can spend time with each other is to eat the food together! You could have a little tea party with coffee and tea with some yummy sweets or cute little sandwiches. On a side note: why don’t we have more tea parties? All my practice as a little girl was for naught, I have been to ZERO tea parties as a young adult.

You can compliment each other on your cooking, for someone whose love language is words of affirmation. (Me! Me! Me!) Or if you’re cooking for someone else, you can compliment them by saying, “I know that you’ve been working so hard lately, I thought you might enjoy a home-cooked meal. You deserve it!” Or maybe even a nice little pasta dish with a cute note attached. Just showing them that not only were you thinking of them, but you were also appreciating them.

Some people’s love language is physical touch. Bringing someone a fresh batch of cookies with a hug can be a really powerful thing as well. I can’t think of anything cozier than a batch of cookies AND a nice hug! Sometimes life gets complicated, and something so simple can fix it, even for just a moment.

And for the one that fits the absolute best, acts of service! Cooking for someone is such a great idea if this is their love language. Cooking can be quite labor intensive and is certainly an amazing fit. Or, if you have a loved one who cooks for you, doing the dishes for them would be a great act of service to do as a thank you! Bobby does really well at doing the dishes if I make a big meal. Acts of service is Bobby’s love language. I find it so cute, because making a dish for us is like saying, “I love you!” and when he does the dishes, it’s like him saying, “I love you, too!”.

There are so many wonderful ways we can tell each other that we love one another, but today I wanted to focus on cooking. I’m such a sensitive and sentimental person that writing this blog post has made my little heart ache with all the love I have for those close to me! I’m thankful for all the new ways I’m learning to show people my love, and cooking is my new favorite!

Have a great day!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

The Importance of Community and Game Night.

Hello, friends! I hope that ya’ll are having a great Monday! Today was such a gloomy lil day,  which I usually enjoy, but I’ve been really craving some sunshine lately. April showers bring May flowers though, so that’s a thought full of sunshine on its own!

As an introvert, I generally default to wanting to be alone, but I think it’s times like those that make it all the more important to seek community. I grew up being so excited for holidays because it meant that I would be surrounded by all of my favorite people. It was always so fun to me and made me wish that there were more holidays. But you know what’s really amazing about being an adult? There’s nothing stopping you from making your own holidays! Anything can be an excuse for getting together with the people that you love.

That being said, I still get very nervous being the host, so I haven’t done that as much as I’d like to. My apartment is also the size of a hallway, but that’s neither here nor there. Hosting shouldn’t be about what your home looks like, but the sense of community felt is what’s important. I lose sight of that sometimes. I question what I have to offer, I don’t have the nicest apartment, I’m not the best cook, and I’m not the best hostess, but those things aren’t the most important thing when it comes to building a community. We all have our talents and when everyone is able to come together to create a fun night, it makes the night all the more special. There are so many ways one can contribute, making a homemade dish, supplying chairs, or even bringing a deck of cards. The list really goes on.

I think with social media we face a brand new problem, we’re so connected with one another and disconnected at the same time. I love that phones are able to connect us with people that are so far away from us, FaceTime is one of my favorites. I love being able to FaceTime Bobby when he’s away for work and I’ve been able to FaceTime my Grandma recently! It’s so much better than talking on the phone! There are so many wonderful ways that the internet allows us to connect with people and it’s a great way to make an online community, but I will say that it does not replace having that community in person.

Sometimes we aren’t so lucky to have friends near us, or maybe even friends at all. I remember my summer before college, all of my friends had already left and I felt so alone. I would bike around town and it made me feel a lot better. I yearned for that interaction with people and wanted nothing more than to feel that sense of community. I think that sometimes we just need to be around people, even if we don’t directly interact with them. Humans naturally need that interaction. I know that on days when I’m feeling especially down and lonely, it does me so good to be out and about.

Just as we need our alone time, we really need time with other people. A sense of community is something that is so important. As an introvert, sometimes it’s hard to recognize that I need that time with other people. And not to isolate myself! That’s another thing that I tend to do. One of my favorite ways to socialize with people is to have a good, old-fashioned game night. It’s especially great if you’re just getting to know people. It busies everyone and makes sure that there aren’t (as many) awkward silences. Add some yummy snacks to the mix and BAM, instant success.

The amount of social time people need varies, but it’s important for us all to build a community. I think that community is an overlooked aspect of life. I think it’s crucial that we don’t let community fade into the past. We have to be conscious in our efforts to create our own community filled with people who lift us up and help us grow.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope that you enjoyed this post!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae