Monday, June 27, 2016

Amazing Quiz Books


Summer is finally here and with it a brand new boutique that is just in time to celebrate all things Canadian.   The Oh Canada Boutique from DK Canada put the emphasis on books that highlights Canadian contents of all sort.   As a for post to celebrate the Oh Canada Boutique, I will be reviewing three amazing books that contain fun quizzes for your kids; Amazing Animal Quiz Book, Amazing Space Quiz Book and the Amazing Earth Book.


Each of these books is jam-packed with incredible facts and eye-catching images .   Inside the books you will find over 1000 brain-straining questions that can become as addictive as  they are fun. Covering a vast range of subjects from creepy crawlies to our home planet and beyond these books can become a lifesaver when waiting for an appointment, travelling to visit family, or just to keep the kids busy at the campground.  

You will find three different levels of difficulty for the quiz - easy (green), medium (blue) and hard (red).   Each question will have a multiple choice answers where the child has to choose from.   Also throughout the book you will discover fun facts about the subject of the book.    For example, in the animal book you will learn that a housefly’s feet are 10 million times more sensitive than a human tongue.   In the Space book you will learn that the first record of a meteorite fall is in an Ancient Egyptian papyrus.   In the Earth book you will learn that coral reefs are home to 25 percent of all marine fish species.  Also at the end of each book you will also discover more about the subject in hand with fast facts. And to top it off, all answers are found at the end of the book. 

Wondering what kind of questions you will find for each level?   Here’s a sample (answers will be at the end of this blog post).


Frog spawn is laid in clumps.  How do toads lay their eggs?
a) individually   b) like frogs   c) in strings  d) in circles



Which of these animals can propel itself through the water by clapping the two halves of its shell together? 
a)swan mussel   b)scallop   c)oyster   d)giant clm



What do ghost knifefish use to communicate? 
a) bubbles   b) color Changes  c) electrical signals   d) chemical signals


I find these books to be great to quiz your kids on specific subjects.  Like I mentioned I have received the Animal, Space, and Earth books.   A fourth title is also available which covers dinosaurs.   These books would make a great addition to a personal library whether you homeschool or not.  They are packed with great questions that you can challenge your kids to find the answer whether by digging in books or do a search on the internet.  I think these books are great to pack for a long trip, to bring along in the car, to discover at the dentist, or simply use in the backyard.   They are perfect in many ways and can be a source of learning where your kids learn something while having fun at the same time.

The Oh Canada Boutique contains numerous other titles that could be interesting for you.

The Amazing Quiz Books are available at your favourite bookstore, even on and



Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for allowing me to promote these books. I was not monetarily compensated for this post . Please note that the post was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

ANSWERS:   Easy: C  -  Medium: B  -  Hard: C

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tantrix Discovery Game Pack

It’s summer time and face it – there will be time when your kids will say the dreaded words “I’m bored!”  Well be joyful right now because I have a great game that will kick the boredom out of their life and had some challenge at the same time.  The game is Tantrix and I have received the Discovery Game Pack to review.  First let me tell you how I discovered Tantrix.IMG_1656

Not too long ago, I had to bring my second son to the orthodontist for a consultation.   His older brother is at the end of an orthodontic treatment but his specialist is a bit far from our home.   Just for the drive alone I am looking forward to finish these treatments.   Anyhow, our dentist has recommended a guy that is much closer to home – a 10 minutes drive maximum compared to a 30-40 minutes drive (one way).   So we decided to go check him out.   So Dominic got some x-rays done and we sat with the orthodontist and his assistant to discuss treatment.  Turns out we have to way 6 months which is about the time when oldest brother will be done with his own treatments!   Anyhow, as we were talking about what needed to be done, the assistant gave Dominic Tantrix to play with as we chatted.     I thought it was a great game to have at the RV or to simply challenge yourself while waiting somewhere.

However, what I didn’t know is that the game exists since 1988 and that you could also play online of download an app on your device.

Now you might be wondering – what is Tantrix?  Well Tantrix is a coffee-table strategy game that comes from New Zealand.   The game has to be resolve with skill and chance.   It is a fun family game that will bring some interesting memories while you play it.

The Tantrix Discovery Game Pack contains 56 numbered tiles which can be used in 4 unique challenges:  Discovery Puzzle, Rainbow Puzzle, Tantrix Solitaire, and Tantrix Strategy Game.


Discovery Puzzle consists in building loops of various shapes and sizes starting with tiles 1-3.  The more tiles you add, the more challenging the puzzle.  This is what we were originally introduced to.  The game can be played with up to 30 tiles.   For the purpose of this post, I decided to take only 14 tiles for the pictures.


Once you resolve the three tiles loop, you can add a fourth one.   As you can see on the image below, the #4 is red which means that I have to make a red loop.


The four tiles loop being completed, the fifth tile tells me that I still have to make a loop in red.


And then the sixth tile informs me that I need to do a loop in blue the next time.


And you pursue this pattern until you finish all the tiles you have selected for your game.  My husband tried it and was able to do up to 10 tiles which was how many I had taken out for him to try out.  He thought it was a bit too easy.  Me on the other hands I was stuck at 8 tiles.  So depending of the ability of a person to resolve problems like this it could be easy or difficult.

The bag I have received also have three other games.

Rainbow puzzle consist in splitting the tiles into five color-coded piles and form unique loops or lines of color.  The objective is to solve all the five puzzles and you would need the 56 tiles sorted into 5 piles.  For the Green tiles you will have to make a green loop with all ten tiles.   For the Yellow tiles you will have to make a yellow loop with the 12 tiles.  For the White puzzle, you will have to make a loop with all nine tiles but you have to figure out which color it will be.  The Blue puzzle will challenge you to make a 0-tile pyramid whilst building a continuous blue line that passes through all tiles of the pyramid.  Finally the Red Puzzle will challenge you to make a 15-tile pyramid whilst building a continuous red line that passes through all tiles of the pyramid.

Tantrix Solitaire requires you to make a red line or make a red loop using 14 tiles.   And finally, Tantrix Strategy Game will challenge players to form the longest line or loop.  In order to do this, you will have to develop skillful moves and a competitive spirit.

As you can see there are plenty of fun time inside this bag of tiles.   It is perfect to bring while travelling whether you are going at the beach or the campground.   It is easy to carry if you go to appointments where you know that you will have to wait a bit.  But the biggest bonus I find is that it will challenge your kids to develop quick thinking and resolve problems in order to complete the game you decide to do.


Disclaimer: Thanks to  Family Games America for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Give Your Child the World

_225_350_Book.1964.coverGive Your Child the World – Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time
Written by Jamie C. Martin
Published  at Zondervan

About the book

Young children live with awe and wonder as their daily companions. But as they grow, worries often crowd out wonder. Knowing this, how can parents strengthen their kids’ love for the world so it sticks around for the long haul?

Thankfully, parents have at their fingertips a miracle vaccine—one that can boost their kids' immunity to the world’s distractions. Well-chosen stories connect us with others, even those on the other side of the globe. Build your kids’ lives on a story-solid foundation and you’ll give them armor to shield themselves from the world’s cynicism. You’ll give them confidence to persevere in the face of life’s conflicts. You’ll give them a reservoir of compassion that spills over into a lifetime of love in action.

Give Your Child the World features inspiring stories, practical suggestions, and carefully curated reading lists of the best children’s literature for each area of the globe. Reading lists are organized by region, country, and age range (ages 4-12). Each listing includes a brief description of the book, its themes, and any content of which parents should be aware.

Parents can introduce their children to the world from the comfort of home by simply opening a book together. Give Your Child the World is poised to become a bestselling family reading treasury that promotes literacy, develops a global perspective, and strengthens family bonds while increasing faith and compassion.

My Thoughts

I will honestly tell  you I did not know what to expect…  actually I thought that this book was about teaching your kids how to think globally.   But after receiving the book and taking some time to explore the pages in it, I have in awe and impressed by what I have found in  it.   Let me tell you why the book is interesting for homeschoolers.  By the way the author of this book blogs at,  has three children with two of them being adopted and that her own home life represent four countries – England, India, Liberia, and USA.  

First of all the book is divided into two parts – one contains three chapters on Falling in Love with the World while the second section is more specifically titled Read the World.   The first chapter is essentially the life story of the author and her family – how they came to be together.  The second chapter of the book will give you some ideas on how to bring the world in your home with décor, meals, maps, study and many more ideas that will encourage you to discover the world from your home.  The third chapter of the book (and last one for the first section of the book) explains how the author has developed the story-solid foundation and how you can use books of all genre to expand your global experience of studying the world.

The second part of the book offers books ideas based on ages (4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12) on specific themes like multicultural books, Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East, North America, Latin America, and finally Australia, Oceania, and the Polar Regions.  I am beyond ecstatic with the list of books provided within the pages of this resource.  As part of our homeschool coop we cover various units throughout the year.  For example the units we will do next year are New France, Light & Sound, Christmas in France, Renaissance, Astronomy and Oceania.   This book will allow me to select specific titles for the Christmas in France and for the Oceania units.  I couldn’t ask for a better resource in my hands.

My only disappointment is that there are no suggestions for teens in this book.   I would have liked to see books suggested for this group age.  It would have made it even more interesting for me as I have a teenager that has decided to pursue homeschool during the high school years.  Apart from that small disappointment, I find the book to be a wonderful resources for families who want to discover the world from the comfort of their home and with books that will allow them to explore specific regions of the world.

Give Your Child the World is available at your favourite bookstore, even and


Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Nelson for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Science in the Beginning

Science in the Beginning IMG_5004
Written by Dr. Jay Wile
Published at Berean Builders

Many homeschool mom sometimes panic when it comes time to teach science. I think that these moments of panic often comes because we sometimes don't know where to start and how to make it interesting. Fear not anymore because now there is a new elementary science curriculum that has been written by none other than Dr. Jay Wile (best known for his science courses for high school). The series currently offers four titles at this point in time but a fifth one will be published in the future.

The series is essentially a hands-on, multilevel elementary science series that introduce scientific concepts using history as its guide. The first book of the series is Science in the Beginning.  And today I am presenting you this beautiful book that I have received.  When the author started to write this elementary level science series he decided to stat at the beginning of history which is given in the Bible's creation account.   It made sense to start with the days of creation. The book will introduce concepts like the nature of light, energy conservation, properties of air and water, introduce botany, explore the solar system, discover basic zoology as well as aspects of the human anatomy and physiology.  And let me tell you that this book is very different from another popular days of creation science series that many homeschoolers use.   Why you might ask?  Well, each lesson offers a hands-on activity that will help to cement the concept learned and concludes with three different levels of review depending of the age of the students – youngest students (grades 1-2), older students (grades 3-4), and oldest students (grades 5-6).

In all the book contains 90 lessons that you will be able to read and do with your children. Essentially there are fifteen lessons for each of the creation days mentioned in the book of Genesis. The first twelve lessons are considered "normal" lessons and the last three lessons are considered "challenge" lessons. So you have the choice of doing all the lessons or just simply doing the normal ones.   There are two ways to schedule the lessons – you can choose to do a lesson every IMG_5005other day or you can opt to do two lessons each week.    Each lesson has a hands-on activity – usually an experiment – in order to help cement the information covered during the reading of the lesson.   The lessons are short (about three pages maximum of learning the concepts), contains photos and/or illustrations in order to illustrate the subject of the lesson, and will be completed with review questions that are divided based on the three levels of students you could have.  Everything in the book is clearly identified for the person doing the reading.   Most experiments will be done at the beginning of the lesson so I would suggest that you quickly check the lesson before starting in order to collect the items needed for the experiment.    Then sit comfortable, gather your children around you and learn together about the science behind the days of creation.

The book also has a Helps & Hints booklet which is a great help for the mom doing the teaching.   This booklet contains the lesson reviews answers for each lesson included in the book.   You will see clearly which answers apply for the youngest students, the older students and the oldest students.   Inside this booklet there are also tests provided as well as the answers for these tests.  However, Dr. Wile do mention that he do not think that the tests are important for the elementary years.   He has included these for parents who desire to test their kids.   Personally, I think it was nice of him to include the tests and answers because I strongly believe that the oldest children could practice taking tests before getting in upper grades like middle school and high school.  Also, a free notebook is available for your students to fill in at the Berean Builders website

Needless to say I am very impressed with the Science in the Beginning.   Not only does it introduce you to science based on the days of creation with fun experiments to explore but your children will have the opportunity to slowly learn how to review material learned and possibly practice doing tests if you choose to do so.   The fact that each lessons are short and offers experiments which are useful to understand the concept learned.   My kids and I were able to better visualize and understand the concept we have learned during lessons we have done.  The fact that this particular science book is designed for all elementary levels maybe be interesting for families with multiple children.  Bottom line, this book is complete to cover science lessons for a complete year for children grades 1-6.  It is a fabulous book that homeschool families should seriously consider when it comes to teaching science to your kids because it contains numerous experiments which allow them to better understand the scientific concept taught each time.

To conclude let me tell you a bit more about things that are linked to this specific book.   Nature’s Workshop offers a  kit of supplies to help you do the experiments.  However, you do not have to purchase this kit necessarily.  It is easy to collect the items to do the experiment at home or at a store near you.  I suspect that this kit was made available to make it easier on moms who might be overwhelmed with teaching science or dislike shopping. A lapbook is also available for families who prefer to take this route through A Journey of Learning. Finally, the author also has made available a series of downloads for the book including three very useful documents which align his science series with some of the history curriculum available:  Mystery of History, Story of the World, and Tapestry of Grace.

Science in the Beginning is available at your favourite homeschool store, even on

Disclaimer: Thanks to Berean Builders for sending me the above mentioned curriculum for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Smash Up Core Set

IMG_7367 Recently I have received a copy of Smash Up to review and over the week-end my husband and I have discovered this game.   The game is for 2 to 4 players but apparently we keep hearing or reading that it is better when you play 3 people.  Personally, we will try to tweak it have 6 players so that our kids can play with us.  We realize that it could make the play time a bit longer if we do so.   

The goal of the game is pretty simple – use your minions to crush enemy bases and the first player to score 15 victory points wins!  The game is essentially a shufflebuilding game where you select two factions which contains twenty cards each, shuffle them into a forty cards deck and compete to smash bases.  

As I mentioned previously there are 8 factions in this game.   Let me present them to you:

  • Aliens
  • Dinosaurs
  • Ninjas
  • Pirates
  • Robots
  • Tricksters
  • Wizards
  • Zombies

Each faction is composed of twenty cards.  You will need to choose two factions in order to play.


You will also have sixteen bases included in the game.   Before the game start, you will shuffle the bases and positioned some for play.  You will have to put as many bases as you have players plus one.  For example, if you are three players you will put four bases on the table.   The rest of the bases are put on the side for future use when a base if conquered.  Oh!  Each base also has a breakpoint that needs to be conquered as well as three value point listed on the card for the first, second and third.  Bases also possess an ability that could be done during or after conquest.


So the first player to play is the person who got up the earliest that morning.  Most board games have funny rules to decide who is the first player.   It had some twist I find!  Play continues clockwise.   On your turn you will play one minion, one action, play one of each or play none.  Once you have finished your turn you can pick two cards for your hand.  You cannot have more than 10 cards at a time in your hand.  

To play a minion, you will select a base and put the minion card beside it, facing toward you.   Do what the card says and move on to the next step.   To play an action, show your card and do what it says.   Once you have finished, you need to discard the action unless it has an ONGOING ability.

Slowly as the game progress, you will check regularly if the base is ready to score.  Scoring a base happens if    the total power of all minions on that base equals or exceeds the bases’s breakpoint.


When a base is score, the player with the most power on it is the winner.  That player gains victory points equal to the number on the left on top of the base.   The second highest gains the middle number and finally the third place gets the number on the right.   Once a base is score, all cards return to the discard piles of each player except the ones who have some special ability allowing them to move to another base.  Once a player reach fifteen value points, the player wins the game.

For the price of the game, you get quite a bit in it – 8 factions, amazing dividers, and 16 bases.  The game is easy to learn and play.  You should expect a game time of about 45 minutes.  This game is perfect for ages 12 and up.   However, I am pretty sure that my younger kids ages 8 and 10 will grasp the concept quite rapidly – maybe even faster than me…   After two games with my husband, I have yet to win.  However, even if I get frustrated because I do not completely get the ability that I need to do or simply because my hands is packed with minions with no actions (or vice versa), I persevere and I hope to win Smash Up one day.

Smash Up has also a bunch of expansions which will make you game even more interesting like Awesome Level 9000, The Obligatory Cthulhu Set, Science Fiction Double Feature, The Big Geeky Box (Essentially this is a storage box which allows you to store the game and its expansions in it.   It also contains plastic dividers, one factions and two bases.), Monster Smash, Pretty Pretty Smash Up, Smash Up: Munchkin, and It’s Your Fault.  And from what I have seen on a new expansion titled Cease and Desist is coming out this year.

Smash Up and all its expansions are available for purchase at your favorite game store, even on and











Disclaimer: Thanks to AEG for sending the above mentioned game for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this post . Please note that the post was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Science Art Fusion

The Young Scientists Club has recently released some interesting science kits for kids.   Called Science-Art Fusion, this new series of themed kits is sure to encourage your kids to explore science and have fun at the same time.

For the purpose of this review, I have received two different kits:  Science- Art Fusion Sculptures and Science-Art Fusion Space.  Before sharing my thoughts on these kits let me present you what you will find in them.

imageScience-Art Fusion Sculptures

This kit on Sculptures  is a member of our Science-Art Fusion series which combines art and science to inspire creativity while at the same time introducing basic scientific concepts. We have included a unique Science-Art Fusion poster that has the instructions for each project placed in a framed space which can be covered by taping a photo of your final art piece to create a Sculptures Art Gallery. Each kit comes with a customized art/science tray, introduction sheet, large 24 x 24 inch poster, and components to perform 10 exciting experiments and activities such as creating an animal track, constructing a DNA model, making an atom sculpture, growing salt sculptures, designing a colored ice sculpture, shaping a foil shadow sculpture, and more. Embark on an exciting Science-Art Fusion Sculpture adventure.

Science-Art Fusion Spaceimage

This kit on Space is a member of our Science-Art Fusion series which combines art and science to inspire creativity while at the same time introducing basic scientific concepts. We have included a unique Science-Art Fusion poster that has the instructions for each project placed in a framed space which can be covered by taping a photo of your final art piece to create a Space Art Gallery. Each kit comes with a customized art/science tray, introduction sheet, large 24 x 24 inch poster, and components to perform 10 exciting experiments and activities such as making gravity art, building a solar system, creating centrifugal art, performing planet Earth chromatography, drawing constellations, constructing a space rocket, and more. Embark on an exciting Science-Art Fusion Space adventure.

My Thoughts

I like the idea of combining art and science together because often these are both subjects that can cause homeschool moms to stress a bit.    Each kit contained all the things that is needed to do all the experiments.  If something is not included like for example the play dough, you would find a recipe to make your own at home.   In the Science-Art Fusion Space, you will be able to do the following activities: Solar System Model, CentriPETAL Art, Constellations, Orbits in Space, Gravity Art, Space Rocket, CentriFUGAL Art, Solar System Orbits, Planet Earth Chromatography, and Phases of the Moon.  In the Science-Art Fusion Sculptures your kids will be able to color ice sculptures, do a molecule sculptures, make a DNA model, create numerous sculptures like a red ant sculpture, a salt sculpture, some animal tracks sculpture, an airplane sculpture, a shadow sculpture as well as a floating sculpture.

In all there are plenty of activities within he two sets I have received.  However, my kids are age 8 and up.  When I received the boxes, I was personally a bit disappointed of how simplistic the experiments were for my kids.  But thinking about it more, I can see that they would be perfect for grades kindergarten to 2 in order to explore a variety of things on a specific subject.

On another note, I personally dislike the huge poster as I find it too big to properly have the instructions of an activity on hand.   I would suggest that each experiment be explained on cue cards for the parents to have when making the experiment right.   It would be a quick reference to have in a way and so much easier to deal with than the big poster.


Nevertheless for younger kids in your family these kits are perfect to explore science during the summer time.  

The Young Scientists Club Science-Art Fusion Kits are available for purchase online on their site or on do not have all the kits on their site.

Disclaimer: I received the two Science-Art Fusion kits for review purposes from KidStuff PR and The Young Scientists Club. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife

IMG_1552Valley of the Kings: Afterlife
By Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)

About the game

When you die, you can take it with you!

Take on the role of Egyptian nobles at the time of the pharaohs, preparing for their death and burial in the Valley of the Kings.  Using an innovative deck-building mechanic with a crumbling pyramid, players fill their tombs with jewelry, chambers, weapons, tomb art and other treasures.  The player who collects the most valuable artifacts in their tomb wins the game.

Our Thoughts

My husband and I played Valley of the Kings: Afterlife recently and we had a great time learning this game.  Essentially the game is a deck-building game but with a different twist as it uses a pyramid design to allow you to purchase your cards.   Let me explain.

After learning how to play the game, we decided to used our lazy Susan in order to be able to switch the play between the two of us.   We find that when it comes to deck-building games it is good to be able to have the flexibility to flip the game play between the persons playing in order to make a better decision.     So we set up our stock (which contained the level II and level III cards), the boneyard (aka the destroy pile), and the pyramid before starting our play.


Each player gets starter cards which are composed of level I cards.  You will receive in your hand 4 Shabtis, 3 Urns, 2 Boxes of Food, and 1 Offering Table.   You also get a Tomb card as well as a reference card if you need it.   In front of you, you would set up your area in whichever way you desire. 

The goal of the game is to get the more points.   Each turn you play you can do one of three things: 1) buy a card from the base of the pyramid, 2) execute the action listed on a card, 3) entomb a card (once per turn).  How can you buy?  Well each card has a cost which you can find at the top right corner.  For example the Sphinx has a cost of 7.   Each card also have value which allows you to purchase other cards.   The Sphinx has a value of 3 which is indicated in the gold area on the left of the image.   Each card also has an action which allow you to do something else.  Again in the case of the Sphinx the action allowed is to put the next card you take or buy this turn into your hand.  For this specific action it means you will be able to use the new card right away.  Also as you play and purchase cards, the pyramid will crumble allowing the cards located at the top to come down in place on the pyramid.  Once you have crumble the pyramid you can incorporate more cards at the top.  However, the pyramid will always have  only six cards.


There are three types of cards: starter cards (the ones you received initially in your hand), the unique artifacts (like the Sphinx, Ibex statue and so on), and the sets (mummification, jewelry, chambers, weapons, and tomb art).

As you play, you need to entombed cards in your Tomb.   At the end of the game the entombed cards will be used to score the victory points.     For starter cards and unique artifacts the victory points are calculated based on the VP listed on the card.  Simply add these up.   However, there is a different twist in calculating the points for the sets.   In this case, when you have entombed sets you have to determine how many different cards in each set you have (do not count duplicates) and then square the results.  Here’s what my tomb looked like when we finished the game.   So for my Chambers set (orange cards)I had five cards in this set which gave me 25 (5x5) victory points.   The rules also include a scoring example for people who might have difficulty in calculating the points. Also a quick note on our setting… My husband discovered that it would be more visual for him to see the cards stacked in categories so that is what we have decided to do but the idea is to stack your entombed cards under your Tomb. 


We really enjoyed playing Valley of the Kings: Afterlife and look forward to play many more games with it.   It is different than the other deck-building games in many ways as you entomb cards and purchase cards from a pyramid.   There is strategy in this game as you have to build set within your tomb in order to score more points.  Consequently, you have to be aware at what your opponent is doing and think before crumbling the pyramid so that you do not give an advantage to your opponent.     The instructions are easy to follow and very clear from what we have seen.  There was one time we wondered about the action associated with a card and we checked for more insights in the instructions book which provided more information about that card.   However, most cards are very easy to understand.  What I particularly like as well is the tidbits of historical information found at the bottom of each cards where you will be able to read about how the Egyptians used different things in their everyday life or preparation for the afterlife.  This game is perfect to wrap-up some studies about Ancient Egypt.  Thought it is mentioned 14 and up for this game, I am pretty confident that my 8, 10 and 12 years old would understood the rules and pick up the game rapidly.   They already play other types of deck-building games that are above their ages.


The best part is that even if Valley of the Kings: Afterlife is a stand-alone game, it can be mixed with the original Valley of the Kings to play a different game each time and also play up to 6 players.    We enjoyed Valley of the Kings: Afterlife so much that we will probably invest in getting the original Valley of the Kings so that we can play with our four kids as well. 

The box contains 96 artifact cards, 4 tomb cards, 4 reference cards and a rule book.  The game is planned for 24 players but it also include a solitaire rules if you desire to play alone.  Expect a playtime of about 45 minutes.

Good news for people who enjoy the Valley of the Kings games – a new version titled Valley of the Kings: Last Rites will be available soon.  In this new version you must hire artisans, builders, and priests to prepare  your tomb for the afterlife.  Again you will be able to mix this one with the two previous titles in the series. 

Both Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Kings: Afterlife are available at your favourite game store – even on and



Disclaimer: Thanks to AEG for sending the above mentioned game for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this post . Please note that the post was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Spelunking at Bonnechere Caves

This past week, we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.   Since we were at our campground located near Eganville, we were trying to figure out what we could do with the kids on our special day.   I approached Bonnechere Caves to see if it could be possible to visit and an agreement was made.   I will be honest is telling you that I always wanted to check out these caves since we were camping at Logos Land Resort for over 10 years but it never happened.   Originally we had the idea of visiting Bonnechere Caves on the day of our anniversary which is June 6th but the rainy day on June 5th ended up the day we took the tour.   It was perfect in many ways and we had a blast exploring the caves.   

Bonnechere Caves is located near Eganville next to the Fourth Chute Falls.


The caves were discovered in the late 1800s by a guy while he saw these holes near the chutes. 


Looking for adventures, he explore the area and found this hole in the ground which he decided to explore by simply attaching rope on a tree and slide through it.


And he entered the cave to explore it…  but before I give you too much on his explorations – which is after all the story you will learn while visiting Bonnechere Caves – let me tell you more about the tour itself.

The first part of the tour will introduce you to fossils found in the area (not only in the cave).   We somewhat arrive a bit late for this part of the tour but we got a private presentation at the end of the tour which was very thoughtful from the tour guide.


After this presentation, we are guided toward the area where you can see the caves via the river nearby and to the entrance of the Bonnechere Caves.  The entrance is easy to access and wooden stairs have been made for visitors.


Throughout the tour, you will hear the story of the first explorer of these caves.  I will not tell the story as it wouldn’t make it interesting for you if you decide to visit Bonnechere Caves.  However, we found the story fascinating and very interesting to follow.  Now only do you get the history of the caves but you also get the snapshot of the person who explore the caves.  You will also learn how to be more secure when spelunking and how it is important to never be alone when doing so.


At one point, our tour guide needed a volunteer.  Our son, Dominic, stepped up to the place and inserted his hand in the hole found on the wall.    There is a story linked to this hole in the wall but again it is part of the tour so I won’t spoil the mystery surrounding this particular place.


At some point during the tour we arrived in the bat cave.  Unfortunately at this time of the year the bats have left the cave for the spring/summer so there was no little brown furry friends to observe.  If you want to be able to see the little brown bats, it is suggested to go in the fall which is when they come back to nest for the winter.  This is where they would be found.   When the first person to explore the caves arrived at that point there was over a thousand bats hanging there.  Nowadays, there are about a hundred of them coming in the fall.


The next thing that you can do if you are not claustrophobic is to go through the path that was taken by the original spelunker of the caves.  The area is not too bad to walk though you might get your shoes wet at some places due to water accumulating in some areas.   There is one section that get very tight and can be frightening for some. But it was fun to retrace the steps of the person who first visited the caves.


At one point, we stopped and we could see a rope crossing the path.  I thought that it was an area not opened to visitors but we learned that at some point pumps were used to remove the water from the area further in order to explore more of the caves.  So in the spring, the pumps remove the water and in the falls the pumps are stopped.   It would take about three days for this section to be filled with water.  At this point in the story, the tour guide will warn everyone to stay together and will demonstrate how dark the caves can be without light.     Let me tell you that it was pitched dark…


Finally at the end of the tour before exiting the caves through another entrance, you have the opportunity to take a picture.


Once the tour is finished, you can get back out in the woods.   Be aware that you will have a bit of climbing to do with the help of a staircase that has been added to help the visitors.  The area is almost magical and reminded me of scenes in the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit or the Narnia movies.


The tour for the Bonnechere Caves starts daily (rain or shine) and happens every 20-30 minutes.   Plan to spend about one hour for the tour alone.  However, you can explore the above ground site to see the original hole where the first explorer went through or the falls nearby.  By aware that it is extremely recommended to stay on the paths due to the presence of poison ivy.


In case you are wondering how easy it is to walk in the caves, I can assure you that it is beautifully setup for anyone who desires to explore.   The paths are sturdy with wooden trails (except for the excursion to retrace the path of the first explorer which has patch of water here and there…) and the lighting is making the exploration easier to do.


We were extremely blessed to have been able to visit the Bonnechere Caves in exchange of a review.  However, for a family of six like ours the fees would have been almost 90$ which is expensive for us.  And I know numerous homeschool families with many children who would enjoy doing a tour and spelunk as well.  It is a great way to discover caves in the area.   It would be interesting if a special family fee would be put in place in order to facilitate large families to come and visit.  However, they do special pricing for homeschool groups if you desire to organize a field trip.  Homeschool groups qualify for school rate which can be seen by going at the Teacher’s Info section on their website.

Nevertheless, exploring Bonnechere Caves will cover history, spelunking, security, and learn a bit about the bats that live in the caves and the beavers that were found in the caves at some point.    It is a great field trip to do with your kids.  Bring a picnic and explore the area afterward.  There are beautiful falls close by and many other things to discover in the Ottawa Valley.  

Bonnechere Caves is located at 1247 Fourth Chute Rd in Eganville, ON.   If you desire directions please visit their page which listed directions from Ottawa, Toronto, Algonquin Park, and NorthBay-Petawawa-Pembroke.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Chris for allowing us to visit Bonnechere Caves in exchange of a review. I was not monetarily compensated for this post . Please note that the post was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own. All pictures posted on this blog post were taken with our own cameras.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Big Ideas Boutique from DK

Did you know that DK has books that will help you understand a subject or some books better?   Whether you desire to learn more about Economics, Philosophy or Shakespeare, you will find a book in the Big Ideas Series that might interest you.  

To promote these books, DK has set up a Big Ideas Boutique where you can see the titles available for you.


I have received two books from the Big Ideas series – the Literature Book and the Sherlock Holmes Book.  Without wasting any more time, let’s see what these books can teach you about literature or Sherlock Holmes.

The Literature Book

A global look at the greatest works of Eastern and Western literature and the themes that unite them, for students and lovers of literature and reading.

The Literature Book is a fascinating journey through the greatest works of world literature, from the Iliad to Don Quixote to The Great Gatsby. Around 100 crystal-clear articles explore landmark novels, short stories, plays, and poetry that reinvented the art of writing in their time, whether Ancient Greece, post-classical Europe, or modern-day Korea.

As part of DK's award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Literature Book uses infographics and images to explain key ideas and themes. Biographies of important authors offer insight into their lives and other writings, and a section on Further Reading details more than 150 additional works to explore.

Discover masterpieces from the world's greatest authors, and explore the context, creative history, and literary traditions that influenced each major work of fiction with The Literature Book.

Series Overview: Big Ideas Simply Explained series uses creative design and innovative graphics, along with straightforward and engaging writing, to make complex subjects easier to understand. These award-winning books provide just the information needed for students, families, or anyone interested in concise, thought-provoking refreshers on a single subject.

The book’s table of contents is divided in specific eras:

  • Heroes and Legends 3000BCE to 1300CE
  • Renaissance to Enlightment 1300 to 1800
  • Romanticism and the Rise of the Novel 1800 to 1855
  • Depicting Real Life 1855 to 1900
  • Breaking with Tradition 190 to 1945
  • Postwar Writing 1945 to 1970
  • Contemporary Literature 1970 to present day

Obviously this book do not cover every possible titles written since the beginning of time but it will give you a great list of literature to explore like Epic of Gilgamesh, Iliad,Beowulf, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Pride and Prejudice, Moby-Dick, Les Misérables,  War and Peace, The Little Prince, To Kill a Mokingbird, and many more.  The titles presented in this book are listed chronologically through over 4000 years of literary works.   Essentially it contains explanations and insights on over 150 works of poetry and fiction.

Whether you are an avid book lover or a student exploring literature, this book can be beneficial to you.  I can see it to be also very helpful for a high school student who is exploring world literature as part of his/her studies.

61jPXqY6HvLThe Sherlock Holmes Book

The Sherlock Holmes Book, one of the latest in DK's award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, tackles the most "elementary" of subjects — the world of Sherlock Holmes, as told by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Sherlock Holmes Book is packed with witty illustrations, clear graphics, and memorable quotes that make it the perfect Sherlock Holmes guide, covering every case of the world's greatest detective, from A Study in Scarlet to The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place, placing the stories in a wider context. Stories include at-a-glance flowcharts that show how Holmes reaches his conclusions through deductive reasoning, and character guides provide handy reference for readers and an invaluable resource for fans of the Sherlock Holmes films and TV series.

The Sherlock Holmes Book holds a magnifying glass to the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective.  I have read numerous books of Sherlock when I was a teenager and I was immediately drawn to this book because of the subject.   Can you seriously learn more about Sherlock or its writer from these pages?   I sincerely think it is possible.  


What makes this book very interesting is that you will discover facts and information about the author and the main character in a chronological order from the early cases until his death.  I find this book could be a great reference for pleasure while you read the novel of Sherlock’s cases or if you give your child some assignments on the novels from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Either way, it is a great addition in your personal bookshelf.


Here’s a list of the current Big Ideas books available for purchase: Business Book, Economics Book, History Book, Literature Book, Movie Book, Philosophy Book, Politics Book, Psychology Book, Religions Book, Science Book, Shakespeare Book, Sherlock Holmes Book, Sociology Book and finally Star Trek Book.

Each of these books are available at your favourite bookstore, even on and



Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for allowing me to promote these books. I was not monetarily compensated for this post . Please note that the post was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.