Childhood · family · Modern Nostalgia

The New Trapper Keeper Game is a Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

This year, my daughter started third grade. I’m unsure how this happened as I swear she just learned how to walk, but I digress…

Third grade is a big year at her school, because not only do third graders finally move upstairs with the big kids, they get their first lockers. What this meant was that she spent the better part of the last half of the summer deciding how she wanted to decorate her locker. She eagerly awaited back-to-school night with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning. And when that night finally came and I watched her unload a tote bag full of trinkets and decorations and pictures and magnets and a mirror into that sacred metal space, the one that had been assigned specifically to her, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own schoolhood days.

I wasn’t as lucky as my daughter when I was a third grader. There were no lockers for the grade school kids, which meant we were stuck lugging around our books and folders in our backpacks. When the school year rolled around, we weren’t assigned lockers, so we had to look forward to getting school supplies instead. New backpacks, pencil boxes, folders, pens and pencils fueled our enthusiasm for those Monday through Friday days.

I never longed for a locker of my own, mostly because I knew it wasn’t an option.

Instead, my childhood was mostly spent longing for the one school supply that everyone else other than me seemed to have:

A Trapper Keeper.

Image result for trapper keeper

Oh, long-lost Trapper Keeper of yesteryear, how I loved you. From your bright, 80s-inspired colors and graphics to your oddly sweet plasticy smell, you were a were a treasure. 

While I somehow managed to go through school without ever owning a Trapper Keeper, my nostalgia for them remains, even now, decades later.

So when I was presented with the opportunity to check out the new Trapper Keeper Game from Big G Creative, you better believe the little girl inside me raised her hand and waved it around as excitedly as I used to when I wanted to be picked for Heads Up 7 Up.

The packaging alone for the Trapper Keeper Game is enough to send any 80s or 90s child into nostalgia-laced trip down memory lane. An adorable, miniature-sized Trapper Keeper holds all the game pieces, which includes Trapper Keeper folders and a variety of cards you collect during the game. The homework, quizzes, signatures, report cards, notes from classmates, and field trip slips will make you feel like you’re right back in school, waiting for the bell ring for lunch. 

You score points by stashing these cards in your carefully selected (no fighting or you’ll get sent to the Principal’s office…) Trapper Keeper folder. Your overall total points will increase based on how many doodles you collect, too, so be sure to pay attention in class! At the end of the “school day”, the player with the most points wins the game!

The Trapper Keeper Game is actually a simple game, although it doesn’t appear that way the first time you read the instructions and play it. I think it was because it wasn’t quite clear at first what the “game” was beyond collecting cards and totaling up the points. When we were first reading the rather lengthy instructions, we felt there were too many things to do, too many types of cards, too many ways to get points, and the strategy behind it was not that apparent. 

But there actually is some fun strategy involved in deciding what cards to take, what “doodles” to collect, and where to put them in your Trapper Keeper folder. (There are a few YouTube videos you can watch that I think better explain the game play than the written instructions do).  

After playing one round, we understood the strategy, the game got easier, and we got into a groove with the rules and strategies for getting a good score. It seems appropriate for a game with its roots in school, where the same rules generally apply: once you get the hang of things, it’s so much better.

Even though my daughter has never seen a real Trapper Keeper, she thought this game was pretty awesome. Turns out you don’t need to have lived in the 80s or 90s to appreciate the fun products those years are famous for.

Keeping score.

Overall assessment: The quality and design of the Trapper Keeper Game is very good and certainly nostalgic. The instructions are detailed (7 pages), but one thing that seems to be missing is a clear and simple statement about the object of the game. The game is indeed simple to play, but it seems like you need to play it once to really understand how to play it. We actually discussed the game structure and thought this might actually be a better game if it were developed as a board game, along the lines of The Game of Life. For what it is though, it’s a pretty fun game.

So for some old-school fun, pick up the Trapper Keeper Game, play a few rounds, and stash away some new memories courtesy of an old favorite. (Ages 8+)

Childhood · family · Modern Nostalgia · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Why I’m Not Letting this Late Summer Get the Better of Me

I’m struggling with summer this year.

We’re 21 days into June, and it still doesn’t feel like this season has really started yet.

Every afternoon, a smattering of raindrops streams down my window, and I feel my dreams for a magical summer sliding down beside them. As I sit inside at work, watching these rivers snake their way across the glass, I wonder why my stress levels are rising like the puddles I step into on a regular occurrence these days.

Maybe I’m just a little nostalgic for the way summers once were—for the way I remember them.

When I didn’t wake up before sunrise and crash on the couch at an embarrassingly early hour. When the lights from the lampposts were my nightly reminder to go inside and sprinklers solely existed to be run through instead of simply watering the lawn I need to regularly weed. When lightning bugs lit up mason jars and cloud gazing seemed like a perfectly acceptable way to spend the day.

When everything was magical and happy and, most of all, easy.

But I’m determined not to let this late-blooming summer get the better of me.

Earlier this week, on our way home, my daughter and I decided to ruin our dinner and stopped to get ice cream.

We sat outside on a patio and let the afternoon’s post-storm, humid air create sweat lines down our backs. We brushed our hair off our damp foreheads and dipped our spoons into our cold treats, savoring their sweetness. Later, we ate salad on the couch while we watched a silly show, and then I gave my daughter a little pedicure in the prettiest shade we could find.

As I painted her toenails, I looked up, wondering what Zoey might remember about her summers as a child.

Fortunately – or maybe unfortunately I guess – Zoey doesn’t have summers like I once did. She goes off to summer school as I go to work, and her real summertime exists in the evening hours and on the weekends.

But as we sat there together, me worried if I was really doing everything I could to make this summer one to remember, I watched a smile tug at the corners of her lips. I listened as her giggles filled the space between us. And I felt a familiar feeling bubble up inside me.

It felt easy.

I hope Zoey remembers that night. When mango gelato dripped from her chin as a rainbow appeared above us and the sun began its evening descent. When my fingers tickled her tiny toes as I painted them turquoise blue, the exact same shade of her nightgown. When she curled herself up against me as the ceiling fan whirred above us and the eager crickets chirped outside her window.

I hope she remembers her last words before sleep took her away that night.

“This was the best day of summer ever.”

Even if she doesn’t remember those words, I will.

I will carry her words with me whenever I’m feeling guilty that maybe summers now will never be what I remember. For not being able to give her a summer like those I remember.

Because other than being technical term for this season, what really is summer?

It’s a feeling—one I’m determined to create, for both her and for me, one ruined dinner at a time.

family · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Status Update: Perfect

It is the middle of the night—around 2 AM by my best estimation—when I roll over in my sleep onto a tiny hand, an indistinguishable amount of stuffed animals, and a small, hard object that feels suspiciously like a phone.

In spite of my sleepy state, I know the hand belongs to my seven-year-old daughter, Zoey, and that the stuffed animals are hers, too. The iPhone, of course, belongs to me, and the music that I’d put on to help Zoey fall asleep hours before is still softly playing.

I sigh, realizing I had yet again crashed alongside Zoey after reading that extra chapter of Little House on the Prairie she had insisted would be the last one.

Although my intentions are good, stemming from my desire to sneak in a few extra minutes of one-on-one time with Zoey, I can’t help but find myself thinking this falling asleep habit is just one more way I keep failing at the I-have-everything-figured-out-and-I’m-achieving-everything-I’ve-ever-wanted-and-oh-by-the-way-I-do-everything-right-when-it-comes-to-motherhood kind of success I’ve always wanted.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Around the Table series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

 

Childhood · family · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Happy to Be Home

nathan-fertig-271363-unsplashIt’s a typical Monday, and I’m standing in my apartment elevator, scrolling through a handful of late afternoon work emails on my phone as a small brown and white Dachshund stares up at me. The other end of the pup’s limp leash finds another disconnected human staring into his own glowing screen. So here the three of us are, riding up four levels in an uncomfortable silence.

As I wait for the cold, fingerprint-smudged silver door to slide open and deliver me to an echoey hallway leading to my apartment, the quiet surrounding us provides the perfect backdrop for my mind to wander.

This wasn’t how I pictured all of this working out. I once had visions of an idyllic home, with overstuffed couches and a handful of kids underfoot. A bright, happy home with a stainless kitchen sink shining proudly beneath a window that overlooked a sprawling backyard. A comfortable, well-loved home with character to spare and plenty of space to hold the million memories my family surely would make within its walls.

In those dreams, an awkward elevator ride was not part of the plan.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Around the Table series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

 

Childhood · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories · traditions

Come Sit Next to Me

My daughter, Zoey, and I stand inside the small entryway of our beloved neighborhood restaurant, Sylvie’s, waiting for the hostess to show up and seat us.

Zoey, in true six-year-old fashion, fidgets besides me, her tiny bones full of endless childhood energy. Yet in spite of my daughter’s movement, her hand stays nestled in mine, and as we watch the hostess round a corner and head our way, I feel a gentle, familiar tug on my fingers.

“Don’t forget to ask her,” Zoey whispers loud enough so I can hear over the din of the restaurant.

“Table for two?” the hostess asks.

“Yes,” I say, nodding. “But would it be possible for us to sit at a booth?”

The hostess smiles and tells us we are in luck. After leading us to a booth tucked away from the bustle of the room, she places our silverware and menus on opposite sides of the table in standard restaurant protocol and then leaves, telling us our server will be with us shortly.

I slide into the booth bench, but I don’t stop in the middle. I make my way toward the end, knowing what will happen next: Zoey hops up beside me, reaches across the table to turn her place setting around, and then finally settles down next to me, into the place she has rightfully claimed as her own. We spend our meal curved against one another, our conversation and giggles filling in the space around us with love and letting the rest of the world fade away.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Around the Table series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.