Family Game Time with USAopoly – A Review

In the hall closet, under the beds, on the bookshelves are all spots that we have games stacked and shoved. The only thing better than playing a game or two is adding something new to the stash. Recently we added two new games, Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone and Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game, to our game collection. USAopoly kindly allowed us to review these family friendly games and I am excited to share them with you.

You can learn more about USAopoly at their About page. Take a moment to watch the  Our Company Story Video. 

Tapple is designed for 2-8 players/Ages 8 and up. Game play takes about 10-20 minutes. Allow extra time for laughter.

Tapple Fast Word Fun for Everyone!  Do you enjoy word games? Can you think fast? Like to laugh? Yes? Well, let me tell you about Tapple. The simplicity of this game is what really makes it shine. A small deck of Category cards that are double sided provide for plenty of play.  Some of our favorite categories are: Historical Figures, Cities, and Fictional Characters. The Tapple wheel (two AA batteries are needed) has 20 letters and a 10 second timer in the middle. That is all you need for a quick, fun game with the family.

Game play is easy! Here’s a quick video to show how it’s done.

Creative thinking can be the key to winning those challenging categories. With this fast paced game, it isn’t what you know but how fast you can recall what you know.

Tapple has provided much laughter around our table. My kiddos ages 9 and up have enjoyed playing a quick game in the afternoons. It provides a great “brain break” after a day of studying. It has been interesting to see who is better at quick thinking or perhaps thinking outside the box. The oldest does not always take the easy win.

Tapple could be easily adapted to allow younger ones to play. Simple turn the timer off so the pressure of “beating the clock” is gone or perhaps give them two timer rounds to give an answer. You can also come up with your own categories that are easier for younger players or work in teams. With a large family finding games that allow for a large group to play can be challenging. I love that Tapple not only allowed up to eight players but that I could flex it a bit for my younger ones as well.

Wonky is designed for 2 or more players/ 8 year of age and up. This game is great for large families.

Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game – This game has been a huge hit in our home. Who knew that stacking wooden blocks would be engaging, frustrating, and hilarious all at the same time? USAopoly has created another game that is genius in its simplicity.

A deck of strategy cards, 9 crazy wooden cubes, and a flat surface is all that is needed for game play. Trust me. You are going to want a flat, sturdy surface. Here’s how you play:

 

Stacking the blocks in Wonky is challenging because not only are there three sized cubes, the sides are not even and flat. All of the cubes have curved sides. This can quickly throw towers off balance. While you definitely need cube stacking skills, the essence of this games comes down to strategy. You really have to know how to play your cards so that you use your cards up first.

Of course with a game like Wonky choosing where you play the game is almost as crucial as strategy. Especially if you have a 15 month old in the house. Ezra, our resident block tower demolition master, found the colorful cubes of Wonky too much to resist. He was more than happy to bring the towers crashing down. Perhaps USAopoly should put a warning on the box if playing near a toddler.

We have loved playing Wonky. This is a game that doesn’t limit the number of players. You just adjust the number of cards dealt according to the number of players. Perfect for the large family game night! While game play is for ages 8 and up, my three, five, and seven year olds love playing Wonky. It is stacking blocks, right? Preschoolers are masters of the blocks! Naturally, they do not have the strategic skills to use the cards to their advantage. But the cards are very easy to understand so even the three year old knows which blocks to play. She doesn’t really care if she wins or not. She is just happy to be playing with the big kids.

Tapple and Wonky have added fun and laughter to our afternoons and family game nights. We are still waiting to see who will be the one to master stacking all the Wonky blocks. A competitive spirit may run strong in the Tribe. These game would be great to add to your family’s stash of games. Perfect for a birthday gift or the holiday season.

But don’t just take my game loving family’s word for it. See what other Crew members thought about Tapple and Wonky! Don’t forget to check out other games from USAopoly!

 USAopoly Review
Crew Disclaimer

Friday’s Fun Find!

Well, I actually discovered this new little treasure a couple of days ago. Today, however, was the first episode of Melody, Mystery & Mayhem Podcast created by the Burr Family.

Once upon a time I read aloud to my cute little kiddos while they munched away at their lunch. While these precious little cutie pies napped, I enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch. Once upon a time. In the here and now with nine kiddos prepping and eating food, asking for seconds, chatting around the table, well, a read aloud would become a form of yelling eloquently. And that quiet lunch while naps are underway? I have one napper in the house, people. One. And he has embraced the wonders of the power nap.

Don’t get me wrong. We have quiet time but someone always wants to chat.  I still read aloud. Often. More than one book is usually going at a time. But that perfect lunch time read aloud? Not happening.

This, my friends, is where Melody, Mystery & Mayhem becomes a sweet little treasure you are going to love. The delightful Burr family brings us fun songs, exciting stories, silly jokes, and interviews with every day heroes of the faith. There are even ways that your children can participate in future episodes. This 30 minute podcast is perfect for our lunch time gathering at the table. The story read by the Burr dad was perhaps our favorite part today. We are eager to see what the next podcast episode will bring.

To learn a bit more about what Melody, Mystery & Mayhem is about and to meet this precious family, you can watch this short preview video. The schedule offers up a new episode twice a month. We listened to Episode 1 straight from the computer but you can easily download it or listen via itunes.

Check it out and let me know what you think! What treasures have you found this week?

*I am in no way affiliated with Melody, Mystery & Mayhem. I just happened to hear about this via  Story Warren (another great site to check out). I just love finding resources that enrich and encourage imagination, laughter, truth, family, and joy.

 

 

The Buddy System, Exercise, and Snow

Do you use the buddy system in your home? Over the years we have had various forms of the buddy system in play. It could be that an older child is the buddy of the little one next to her in the van. Older child helps with buckling up and getting in and out of the van. At church during fellowship meals, we buddy up to help get through the line efficiently and to help monitor those who might not have good judgement on a fair sampling of the yummies.  We sometimes buddy up at chores as well. This is a great help in training younger ones on chores. Isn’t working more fun with a buddy?

And so is working out. A year or so ago, I started C25K and lasted a couple of weeks. It was hard. Life is busy. I was just lazy. Why is being healthy so hard, right? After having Ezra, I am in need of getting back into shape. Guess what? It isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago! A few of the children have joined me occasionally when doing a workout video or walking at the track. I still opted to skip exercise frequently. Now I have a dedicated and devoted workout buddy. Mary, my daughter, was interested in doing the C25K program so I decided to join her.

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. Running is painful. Thoughts of quitting have crossed my mind more than once. Guess what? Mary won’t let me. She reminds me when it is our running days. She tells me that the below freezing temperatures today are not a reason to skip it. Trust me, I tried to convince her that it wasn’t smart to run in below freezing temperatures. We are in the south, people!

She didn’t back down. So we layered up and headed to the track. It was cold. It hurt. Well, it hurt for a while. Then I didn’t focus so much on the pain in my knees or how long we had to run. I was enjoying setting the pace, making it to the end of each running session, and enjoying laughs with my daughter.  I’m thankful that we finished before the snow started. I have no doubt she would have made me run in the snow. (Feel free to pray for sunshine on Wednesday aka the next running day.)

Having a buddy to run with makes all the difference.

Let me say that again: having a buddy to run with makes all the difference. I’m not talking just about doing an exercise program. Really a buddy can be a great encourager and motivator in any area.  Struggling with your homeschool day? Want to dig deeper in to the Word? Having trouble making smart eating choices? Parenting your precious one challenging you? Need encouragement to love your husband? Get a buddy/mentor/friend.  Pray about those you know and seek out someone to walk along side you.  Someone who will hold you accountable even when it is below freezing and you just want to snuggle under the covers and ignore what you need to do.

Life is hard.  Beautiful, miraculous, and hard. Having a buddy, a dear friend, to lift us up helps us to push through.

 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I have a dear friend who I can be open about my struggles with. I know that she understands because she is a mom, too. I know that she doesn’t mind speaking truth to me and she wants me to speak truth to her. We are buddies. Encouraging one another in this run of motherhood; especially when the temps are freezing and the knees are hurting. Even better: we get to share in the celebrations, too. The buddy system is a beautiful thing.