Our party game tips two weeks ago were child’s-play. This week we’re a bit more sophisticated — said with a snooty accent — with our summer amusement ideas. Two summers ago on vacation in Provence, once the kids were in bed, the grown-ups would adjourn to the back lawn of our villa where we’d enjoy an apéritif and what we called Bocce — pronounced “baahtchay” or butchered by most Americans as “bahtchy” — on the villa’s Bocce court. But, now I realize that it was likely a pétanque court — pronounced “pay-tahnk-uh” and likely too French sounding for most Americans to want to attempt since we were in Provence, southern France, where the game originated in 1907.

Funnel Cakes & Fried Twinkies

Yes. We’re serious. First, funnel cakes are relatively easy to make and there isn’t a normal soul who will ever turn down a few bites of a funnel cake. In fact, you should probably look suspiciously on anyone who turns down just one bite of a funnel cake. As for fried Twinkies, I realize Classics like myself and Funs would look suspiciously on anyone who’d actually buy or eat — let alone make — one of these. But, I ignored my better judgement when I came face to face with a fried Twinkie at an Indians game. I took a bite and it was like eating a cloud in heaven. Transcendental.

Jeni’s Ice Cream

I was going to do this tip on artisanal ice cream a month or so ago but it was during Lent and my husband had given up dessert. It seemed a bit cruel to order 4 pints of what looked like the most delicious ice cream during his Lenten “fast.” Oh and it was. Taste test winner was a tie — Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate & The Buckeye State. You can find it at specialty food stores or you can order it online before Wednesday to have it by the weekend. But it’s worth the wait. Your summer party guests will be googling her on their iPhones the moment they take a bite.

Lemon Chicken

This is another great summer party recipe because even though it tastes delicious crispy and warm, it’s also quite tasty at room temperature. If you’ve got a big crowd, this can be a great buffet item or if you’re having a dinner party but are horrendous at getting all of the hot dishes to the table at once then you can pretend the dish was supposed to be cold.

New S’mores

As the story goes in McMenamin family lore, my little brother was three and I was eight, and my parents asked me to get him a glass of milk from the kitchen in the middle of — wait for it — Dallas! Gasp. I know. I was highly annoyed as I should be so I quickly filled a glass with water and told him it was something called “New Milk.” He accepted this new reality with good nature and toddled back to the family room with me. Sweet Patrick. Today’s tip isn’t as evil as I was, but it will make s’mores something “new” you can always serve to rave reviews.

Mint Pesto Pasta

As everyone I know seems to have an herb garden these days, I thought I’d feature a twist on the usual pesto. Anyone who has ever grown mint knows that it is a bit invasive — read: it can spread like gang busters. This recipe will allow you to plant mint without worry because you’ll always have something to DO with all of it. It’s great for parties because you can make it ahead and it almost tastes better that way.


I’m not going to lie to you. Kickball wasn’t the first idea to end our week of fun outdoor games that we used to play as kids. When we were brainstorming for this week, Katie came up with the following game, “Throwing sticks at cars late at night and then running if they stop.” I’ve never heard of this game, nor played it so I decided to feature Kickball. And, if your car was ever hit by a stick late at night when travelling down Ingleside Road, you know who to call. 

Dodgeball and Touch Football

Dodgeball. I personally cringe at the thought of playing it. Perhaps because I have no eye-hand coordination. Read: I instinctively close my eyes when a ball is headed straight for me, therefore, it’s difficult for my hands to figure out where to properly place themselves. Other Pixies thought of this one but since I think it’s only for a few personality types, I included Touch Football as well. But before I begin, did you know that there is a National Dodgeball League?? I thought it was a joke—given one of my favorite movies is Dodgeball—but here is its official website theNDL.com.

Red Rover, Red Rover

I can’t decide which was the most fun about writing this PixieTip: Finding out the meaning behind the name or reading about the risks involved in playing it. Røver is a Norwegian term for pirate and the game is thought to have originated in Britain in the 19th century as a way of showing bravery by taunting Vikings—aka Nordwegians— to try to invade. But if any of this is true then I’d imagine this game was invented more than a couple of hundred years ago since the Vikings stopped attacking the English isles by the end of the 11th century.

Kick the Can

One of my favorite childhood memories was playing Kick the Can after dark with our friends the McNamaras at the beach. I’ve no idea why I remember it so vividly but I thought it was positively the most fun I’d ever had. When I went to research the exact rules of this game, I discovered that it’s just another version of tag. But, since half of the people I mentioned this game to had never heard of it—or rather looked at me as if I was 85 years old reminiscing about my childhood days in the 1930s—I figured it deserved it’s own day.