Blog with Friends - Tell your Story

A while ago I was deciding against taking part in yet another writing challenge called Story Cube. However, I was intrigued, and this Blog with Friends theme brought the idea back up.

Call it negative premonition, but I was convinced I couldn't purchase these cubes in my country. Geez, we don't even carry peanut butter crackers or chocolate mint anything!

This is why I had this brilliant idea of creating my own story cubes. I had it all figured out. Printed out the layout for a paper dice:

Using an online word generator I picked six random words. Then I chose a free image to go with. Even if I was just going for nouns I ended up with expressions that were hard to turn into a picture. 

How do you illustrate "desperation"?

You can tell, I could have used a picture of my face because I was in fact getting desperate. But hey, I just skipped the words that describe conditions (is there a word for these words?) and went on to try and size them so they would fit onto my cube. 

Harder than I thought. 

Don't give up, though, it's supposed to be a challenge. Right?

Print, cut, glue. Assemble the dice.

Crap! This looks crappy.

I need pre-made dice! Paper, cardboard, wood, firm foam, doesn't matter, I just want to be able to stick on my images. I have so many ideas for themes, you know? 

I wanted to use each of the nine cubes for an element of a story:


I could have sworn that at some point I saw some decently sized cubes at a nearby DIY shop, but no. 

So I finally broke down and googled if there was a store that carries them. Well, whatdoyouknow! Right across my office!

They come with instructions, and they basically say you may play in smaller or larger groups of people, use all the dice or just a number. Roll them, and make up your story.

What I'm going to do is using them to tell you about this past weekend. It was the bi-annual Jugendfest - youth festival - at our village. 

Preparations began mid-week. The kids helped making wreaths that were used to decorate arches all over town. They had to use a fire truck's lift to erect them. Public busses had to wait patiently until the road was cleared for the traffic.

On Saturday there was the traditional parade in which all the playgroup, kindergarten and elementary school students, the authorities, association members, etc. take part. 

It was going to be Colin's last time. Next year he'll be in sixth grade but there will be no Jugendfest at our village. He'll, however, be invited to join the cadets for the Lenzburg manoeuvre. 

Last time local businesses - such as ours - were invited to take part as special guests. This time it was the people who were born in 1944 and turn 75 this year. They met for a school reunion, and the parade was part of their get-together. My Godfather was among them. 

Their first grade teacher is still alive, a lovely 92 year old lady. She was also my Dad's teacher.

She didn't feel like walking though, so they rented the coolest vintage car for her.

They had the right idea to bring umbrellas, I thought. The weather forecast had predicted some thunderstorms, and indeed, later that day there was some ugly rain that, fortunately, disappeared as quickly as it began.

Later, the VIP participants like the 1944-er guys and the authorities got a free lunch at the school yard. I don't know who came up with that menu, it just made me wonder. With temps just below 30°C (=86°F) and humidity through the roof they thought why not make red curry chicken bowls? 

My mom, being the official photographer, was invited, too, and they waved at us to come say hello at their table. 

I did so reluctantly. Not because of my parents, but because they were sitting right next to the principal. She has a reputation of being moody, but I have to say, prior to the incident I only ever experienced her to be friendly. 

Now the incident took place a few weeks ago when Colin had to hold a presentation in class. He chose hockey for his theme, surprise! He insisted he needed to basically bring his entire equipment plus training goals and sticks for his friends to check out. So we loaded the car and dropped the whole bunch off. It was half an hour before school started, so we were the only ones on the premises. 

I had just kissed C goodbye, and boom - Ms S darted out of the main building towards me. I honestly thought I had dropped something, or she needed my help, she ran towards my car looking upset and serious. What followed was a lecture not to take my kid to school by car and above all to use a regular parking space and not to block the entrance to the building as this is the kids' space. 

What??? I explained to her that this was a special circumstance, and I pointed out that no kids were running around, but she didn't want to hear it. 

Of course, a few days later, Colin needed to bring his stuff back, and I drove to school, way after the last class was over. Parked in a regular spot and waited for him to get it. 

I don't know what this woman is doing all day. Does she sit in her office with her binoculars just waiting for parents' vehicles to make an appearance? Sure enough she intercepted Colin in the hallway and yelled at him why his Mom was driving him to school again? Didn't he have healthy legs to walk? He explained it to her and offered to show her the spacious and heavy items he was supposed to take home. She declined. I hope, however, that she observed him and his two lovely friends who helped carry out the goals, sticks and bags.

So back to the festival lunch. There she was sitting at the table with my parents. I murmured to hubby "I don't wanna go there, the old witch is sitting there!" He tried to calm me down. "I think you're safe. Too many people around, she'll know better than to behave badly in front of the village council. Besides I can't see her broom."

Well, are you sure about that????

As we live in Western Europe it's hard to fit an elephant into a story - except it's in the room, haha - but I did find a monkey wearing the traditional Jugendfest-Chr√§nzli, the flower wreath. It's sitting on the monkey fountain. This fountain, built in 1601, is located about halfway between our house and school, and it's typically a good reason for kids to be late to either place. Be it that they pour beer into the water - happened a few years ago - or just have a good time kicking a ball into the fountain while wearing their school bags.

Back in the days when I was a kid, the formal celebration took place at the church on the hill. 

Today there are way more kids, though, and so the ceremony is held in a giant rented tent on the school premises.

Colin's religion class was in a play. As usual it's hard to get decent information from this guy. 

All he said is he had to wear filthy clothes and be barefoot. Turned out it was the story of how David became the King of Israel. Colin played the young shepherd David who was chosen because he had a good heart. Wow!

(In all fairness, as the story goes, he was Yeshua's youngest son, and Colin is the shortest boy in his class...)

Now on to the real highlight - according to Colin! The uni hockey aka floor ball tournament.

I wish this team of seven field players and one goalie (my son) had picked the name "Octopus" so I could use this word, but they didn't, they called themselves Graffitis. Well, now I've used the word anyway, haha! The pretty lady in the back row may look only a few years older, but she's in fact their wonderful teacher and team coach for the day.

The organization committee always tries to balance tradition and modern things. One activity that goes back to my days and most probably way beyond, is the good old balloon contest: tie a card with your address onto a helium filled balloon, wait for the cannon shot and let go. The cards contain a message to the finder to please drop it in a mailbox, so the card makes it back. The balloons that flew the furthest, win the contest.

Of course there are always, always a handful of young children who let go of their balloon at the wrong time at the wrong place like too early in the festival tent. 

This sweet guy ran to get a ladder and rescued several balloons. Us spectators didn't feel too good about it, though. The terrain wasn't 100% flat, and we would have hated to see someone get injured just because he saved a stupid, replaceable balloon.

And just like that, another Jugendfest weekend is in the books. The kids enjoyed the fairground, the freedom and the food: chicken nuggets, fries, hotdogs, candy cotton and ice cream, repeat. On the plus side, they had fun that didn't involve phones and other devices all weekend long!

As for the adults. We mostly spent our time socialising in the tent and being the hub for the kids do drop the trophy they won at the shooting gallery, to put some sun lotion on them and to give them money for yet another ride... 

Sadly there was no prosecco on the menu, but hey, it was still nice!

I hope you enjoyed tagging along for our youth festival while reading a story cube story!

No please head over to my friends' contributions and check out what they have come up with:

Karen of Baking in a Tornado made a yummy Orange Blueberry Cheesecake - and I'm pretty sure there comes a story with the dessert.    

Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiment says Tell your story! Nobody else can...

Jules of The Bergham Chronicles keeps is sweet and short: Me.

Dawn of Spatulas on a Parade may go down a similar route: The Story of me

Lydia of Cluttered Genius made an Anniversary Memory Book

Tamara - that's obviously me - of Part-Time Working Hockey Mom used Story Cubes


  1. Those story dice are pretty cool, sort of a visual version of our "Use Your Words". The best part though is all the stories that rolling those dice brought to mind.

  2. How fun! I love those story cubes - what a cool idea for classroom or just to have at home!

  3. That was very creative. I've never seen or heard of the story blocks. I bet they'd be a lot of fun at a party.
    Spatulas On Parade

  4. My eldest Barbarians has Dr Who story cubes :) (and the word you are looking for to describe conditions like desperation is "emotions").

    It wouldn't be possible for all the students at my kids' school to walk. Some travel many kilometres to get there. I assume most kids must live reasonably close to school? Or that would make the Principal even meaner.

  5. Never heard of story cubes till now they sound so cool.

  6. Can't believe you can't drive to the school and park in front?! We do that all the time in the US! It does sound very European for a principal to ask if your child has "healthy legs and can walk" though. lol. Glad you didn't have to interact with the principal and loved reading your post Tamara!

  7. Thank you for your articles that you have shared with us. Hopefully you can give the article a good benefit to us. Writing teacher Australia


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