Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: The Presidential Game

What child doesn't love a good game? What parent doesn't love it when they can combine a game with some learnin'?  I don't know of any in either category.

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We were recently given the opportunity to enjoy a little fun learning when we were given a chance to review The Presidential Game.  Anybody who's tried, and failed, to explain the electoral college to their child will probably appreciate this game.

About The Presidential Game

 photo GameImage_zps8848e8d7.jpgDo you have what it takes to become president? In this game of strategy, you'll get a chance to find out while learning a bit about the electoral college system at the same time.

The game is played in two teams, Republicans vs. Democrats. You can play with as little as two people or form teams if you have more people who'd like to play.

 As in real life, you are battling against the other team to gain control of the electoral votes. Campaign or fundraise, you make the call. Discovery which strategy works best for you.

The game comes with a sturdy board, six dice, politic cards, voting chips, score pad and access to their online, interactive web map. Everything you need to take over the world. ;)

Our Experience

After our initial argument about who would be part of which party, we decided to play in teams. Kevin and Mackenzie, Republicans vs. me, Genius Party. (I decided to form my own. lol) Now before you worry about having to play for the political party that you disagree with, there is no political ideology anywhere in the game. You will not be campaigning on the issues so you don't have to stress about defending any platforms or positions on the big issues. You can save the heated debate for coffee later, when the kids are in bed. lol

The first thing that I did was read the instructions, which I'll admit confused me a bit. I could not wrap my mind around the voting chips for whatever reason. So I made Kevin read them and we came to a consensus. The interactive web map also contains the game instructions and I found a discrepancy or two between the instructions in the box and what was on the web map. We decided to stick with what came in the box.

We decided to play using the interactive web map because we didn't feel the need to do math while having fun. You can access it on the computer, smart phone, iPad or whatever you had. If you don't have those things then you can use the handy dandy score pad. You'll be doing a lot of math on it so make sure you have a pencil with a good eraser. lol

First you have to decide how many "weeks" that your campaign will run. The recommend 30 weeks. All this means is that each team gets 30 turns before the game is over.  A 30 week team lasts about an hour. We went with 15 weeks because that's what our attention span prefers. At the end of your time period, the party with the 270 electoral votes wins.

You have two options for your turn, campaign for votes or fundraise.

When you campaign, you chose three states to campaign in and then roll your 3 colored dice. One you roll you add up your dice total and that's how many votes you get to divide as you wish between the states you chose. Just take your chips and place them on the states. Finding the states is also a great way to study geography. lol

You can also fundraise. You are limited to the big vote states (NY, CA, FL, TX). You chose the state you fundraise in, roll, add your total. In the case of fundraising, you have to place half of what you rolled in the fundraising state but you can use the rest of the votes as you wish. Also, when you choose this option you get a politics card which will get you more votes to use right then or during another turn. The cards do not touch on any political issues, they just say things like "You own two rescue dogs. Animal rights people love you. Pick up 5 votes to be used any way you like."

Kevin and Mackenzie went for the big states. My strategy was to go for as many of the small states as I could nab.

The Genius Party pulled off the win!! I should rule the world. And yes, I know we don't have 270 votes but we were only playing for 15 turns.

All in all, it gave Mackenzie a good idea of how the electoral college works. (She thinks it's stupid and confusing. lol) That being said, this was not her favorite game. I think playing on a team and sharing the decision making took some of the fun out of it for her. My husband and I liked the strategy aspect of it. I think Mackenzie will enjoy it a little more when she's a tad older.



Age Range: 11+

Price: $35 + S/H


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One Year

One year ago 

today, an innocent trip to the park turned out to be so much more. Our sweet Mackenzie braved a finger prick in the name of science and it changed our lives forever.  One reading on a blood glucose meter explained so much about what was going on in her life. It's amazing how one moment can change everything.

That moment landed her in the PICU at the local hospital where she learned about all she needed to do to care for herself for the rest of her life. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As of today, it is a forever disease. Until there's a cure there is no going back.

It's been a long year that has stretched our family beyond our imaginations. We had to learn how to give injections, count carbs, figure out how to dose insulin and change infusion sites. We had to learn not to walk out of the house without glucose meters, test strips, syringes, needles, insulin, and much, much more. We had to learn to function without a full night's sleep. We had to learn to not cry whenever we saw somebody just eating without thinking about carb counts and insulin. We had to try not to allow all of the what-ifs of type one diabetes to rule her life.

I look at the bowl of goldfish in the first picture and remember how easy it used to be to pack a snack for my children. Just dump something into a container and go. Now I have to remember to take the time to figure out the carbs for every, single thing that they put into their mouths. Even the simplest of outings requires a lot of preparation. It's crazy how a single moment can change everything.


My girl is adjusting and doing well. I am so proud of her.  She does most of the things that she's always done, just with a lot more planning and forethought. She is a still a fabulous pianist. She still rides roller coasters. She still plays soccer. She's started running. She's better at math thanks to all the carb counting and insulin dosing.

Candy is no longer a treat but often a life saving device. We're slightly more used to people staring while we do blood sugar checks. We wish more people knew the (huge) differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We're still exhausted from the lack of sleep. We're tired of needles and sites. We're sad that, while we've survived the first year, that she has a life time to go. We are upset each time we hear of a new diagnosis or of someone who didn't survive this disease.

We're thankful for our health insurance that provides the things we need to keep them alive and for all the doctors that created them. We're blessed by the many people who love and support us. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our endocrinology team. We're grateful that there are summer camps just for type 1 diabetics so that Mackenzie doesn't always have to feel different from everyone else, if only for nine days. We're humbled by a God who gets us through each day when we really should have crashed and burned by now.

We're hopeful for a cure.


Related posts you might be interested in:

Mackenzie's Diagnosis Story
The Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes (If I had to pick one post for you to read, this one is it.)
Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2
Our JDRF Walk Page as we are walking for a cure this October

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up:

I'm, once again, a tad behind my wrap-ups. What's a sleep deprived, stay-at-homeschooling mom, full time pancreas for two gonna do? Whatever I am able to get to. Here's what we've been up to the last couple of weeks.

Seventh Grade


Mackenzie has been slowly working her way up to our full load. This week we added in Spanish and art. We got an AWESOME deal on all 5 levels of Rosetta Stone from Sonlight. Score! We've been trying to start for a couple of weeks but it's been slow going. Lots of stuff going on and Spanish kept getting pushed aside. She did finally get one lesson in this week. lol

Mackenzie has been doing a lot of drawing with her Bible and the Draw Through History series but she hasn't done much else in the form of art. We were super excited to finally start our Creating A Masterpiece lessons.

My friend and I discovered this curriculum at the HEAV convention and we were floored by it!  All of our supplies finally arrived and we could start the lessons. I popped in the DVD (don't you just love DVD instruction) and both girls got busy creating their first pastel painting. Yep, Kayleigh gets to do it too.

One lesson in and I'm totally as impressed as I was at the convention. Simple amazing!! I strongly urge to check out the website. Or check them out on Facebook and see what their students are creating. Fabulous!!! Can't wait to see what lesson two brings my girls.

Piano and soccer have also started back up so she's been busy, busy. Wait! Make that busy, busy, busy. I forgot that youth group has started back up too. At least soccer doesn't last all year. Thank goodness.

She's also been running with her dad three times a week. The running has really been helping manage her blood sugar somewhat. Especially when we have that evil devil puberty creating havoc with them.


She's still studying ancient Egypt and that region. She was crushed that there wasn't a sequel to Mara, Daughter of the Nile , lol, but she is now happily reading Hittite Warrior. We've also finished our current read aloud, The Golden Goblet. A few days early. We just had to know what happened. lol

Science was a lot of test prep. Study guides, summaries and other things that Mackenzie felt she could live without. Sorry dearie. This isn't first grade science. She understood why once she took the test though. lol Ha! She's super happy to be back to a new module and lots of experimenting.



Not much going on there for Kayleigh. At the moment she is only taking music class. She was very excited to be back. The girls have the sweetest most wonderful teacher and the love every second with her. Last year Kayleigh, while she loves Ms. Lewis, she refused to practice all year. lol Typical Kayleigh.  This year she practiced every day last week and went to class today so proud to show Ms. Lewis how well she could play her song. So cute!

She's still begging for gymnastics lessons but I haven't gotten around to that yet. One of these days. lol There is a class she could go to at church at the same time as youth group but I'm just not comfortable leaving her there without me to care for her diabetes. Mackenzie would be in the building if she needed to be checked or treated or dosed for a snack but I'm not sure I'm there yet. Kayleigh would love it though.

It breaks my heart that this disease makes what would be a simple decision so difficult. But she doesn't always feel her lows. There have also been times when we've picked her up from church and found her to be low and she'd tell us that she felt low but didn't want to stop what she was doing to tell her teacher to come page us.  Type 1 diabetes makes you second guess every decision.


We've learned a bit about ancient Egypt, Greece, and we're currently learning about ancient Rome. We attempted to make this Greek dip who's name escapes me. Something with yogurt, garlic, cucumber, and olive oil. It was disgusting. lol But Kayleigh had fun making it.

She also made a Roman coin out of Crayola Model Magic. She loved that. Her Roman coin had a Roman unicorn engraved on it. You don't see too many of those. lol

She's still doing a great with All About Reading. We've also starting doing Headsprout lessons online. Mackenzie LOVED this at the same age. I believe they've changed the name to Mimio but I'm still calling it Headsprout. They're both weird so I'm sticking with what I'm used to. lol I don't think she likes it as much as Mackenzie did but she hasn't complained. She doesn't get on the computer much so I thought this would be fun for her to do when I work with her sister.

She's been working a lot with pattern blocks lately. We've been doing one a week and she loves them. After she creates the image we use a printable to re-enforce her learning. 

 She finished another Nursery Rhyme pocket. Little Miss Muffet this time. Her favorite craft was the spider puppet. lol

Her read aloud has been Dolphin Adventure, which she loves. We've been working on a dolphin lap book. Her first lap book ever! No pictures yet. Well I have pictures but they're still on my camera. lol Maybe I'll do a separate post about it if I ever find time.

She's been studying a bit about frogs and we decided to conduct a poll to see who likes frogs and who doesn't. The like frogs have it. Seven to three. Kayleigh approved. lol

The Bad News

We had our quarterly appointment with the girls endocrinologist a week or so ago. We normally love to go because our doctor and our CDE (certified diabetes educator) are fabulous!! We just love them.

Sadly, this was our last visit with Dr. Jensen. One of the big pitfalls of military healthcare is the reality that most of your providers are in the military, which means new duty stations. Dr. Jensen is transferring to a new duty station so we're getting a new doctor. Total bummer. We're trying to be happy for him because he's going to be stationed by his wife and kids now (he's been a geo-bachelor for 3 years) but we're all sad. Okay Kayleigh is not trying to be happy for his family reunion. lol I believe she told him "You made me cry last night," and "It's not hard for me to not be happy for you. I'm just going to be sad." She's nothing if not honest. lol

And that's a bit of what we've been up too.  Now I'm going to go take a nap or check somebody's blood sugar. What have you been up too lately?


Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Greene Bark Press Inc.

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Greene Bark Press recently sent us their board book Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again by Ginger Pate. As you might imagine, this book is about crossing the street safely. Heaven knows that Kayleigh was in need of it. lol God's perfect timing!

About Greene Bark Press Inc.

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Greene Bark Press is a family owned company based in Connecticut. They strive to publish original and imaginative materials to add to help young readers develop language and reading. They also carry a variety of other products that they feel will help stretch your child's mind. You'll find everything from books to manipulatives to puzzles and more.

Our Experience 

Kayleigh, age 5, was thrilled with the book right from the get-go. The charming and brightly colored pictures captured her interest and she demanded a reading right then. Never mind the dinner preparations I was in the midst of. So read it we did. Several times. Then that was the last that I saw of it for a few days as she had scampered off with it. lol

I finally found it. In her bed. She had been sleeping with it. Which should give you an idea of just how sturdy this book is. She is a nightmare in the bed. Rolls and thrashes like a wild beast. After a few days of those beatings the book still looked brand new.

The story is about a little duck named Wally Waddlewater (say that three times fast lol) who wants to mail a birthday card for his grandma. But first he has to make it to the post office across town. A town full of busy, traffic filled streets. Unfortunately for Wally, he isn't "street savvy" quite yet. Mother Duck takes him by the wing and teaches him about how to safely navigate through town.

Kayleigh loves the book. The pictures are so bright and colorful that she loves to look at it over and over. (This is what I found her doing with it in bed when she was supposed to be sleeping. lol) The illustrations are adorable, lots of of cute little animals. Kayleigh would crack up at the lion driving a red convertible or the snake in the fire truck.

The lesson within it's pages is a great one for young children.  After reading the book many times we practiced walking across the street by looking left, then right, make sure the cars are out of sight. Then look left again.  She caught on quick. And now if I don't look exactly like that when I cross the street (don't you dare look right first!) then I'll catch it from the ankle biter.  I guess that means the lesson was learned. lol



Age Range: 3-8

Pricing: $8. 50




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