10 Products on My Amazon Wishlist Right Now

10 Products on My Amazon Wishlist Right Now

I may be spending a lot of my spare time just browsing Amazon and of course it has the expected results. There are quite a few books and other items on my wishlist. I’ve gathered ten of my favorite wishlist products to spread the enabling love. You’re welcome. 

bread bible

The Bread Bible

I’ve only recently started dabbling in bread baking and would love to get all-encompassing book to teach me a lot of the basics on bread baking. Plus you gotta love a good ol’ fashion cookbook (more to come…of course)


Morels Card Game

This is just a hella cute board game that would make a beautiful addition to our collection. It’s also a two player game which we are always on the lookout for so we can play games togheter during stay-at-home date nights.


Bluetooth keyboard

The most expensive item on the list, there’s just something so nostalgic about this keyboard. I’ve been toying around with the idea of starting to draft a novel and clacking away on this keyboard makes it seem so much more romantic.


Hedgehog Gloves

Gotta love a whimsical take on an everyday object.

50 hikes

50 Hikes in Michigan Book

Alex and I are taking more opportunities to get out and about this summer and explore Michigan’s nature. Alex kayaks nearly every day and we would love to get into hiking. It would be nice to find some smaller trails near our house to get started and then go from there.

modern macrame

Modern Macramé

I follow this account on Instagram and am super curious to try my hand at macrame since I enjoy the ones I have in my home so much. If I get good enough at it, I’ll be able to nix one of the other items on this list.


There’s Like a Lot of Plants in Here

It’s important to set expectations when someone comes to the door…

sticky pockets

Sticky pockets

I use sticky pockets in all of my planners and notebooks to hold various stickers and mementos so it would be fabulous to have a collection of different sizes to choose from.


Bake from Scratch Volume 2

This second addition will complete my collection of the Bake from Scratch series. My absolute favorite cookbooks for a wide variety of baking recipes. They’re a bit more challenging then recipes you’d find on social media without being impossible.


Hanging Macmares

It truly is an obsession. I’m going to try my hand at dying one of the current macmares and if it works out, I’ll be dying these up a storm…unless of course I’m able to make my own!

Party Games for When You’re Tired of Cards Against Humanity

Party Games for When You’re Tired of Cards Against Humanity

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity
Sure Cards Against Humanity is fun and all the first few times, but it’s like limiting yourself to the checkers of party games. There are SO. MANY. OTHER. GAMES. out there my friends. Here are a few of my favorites.

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity
Sleep in a Bucket is one of the newest games to our collection and a gives you everything you like about Cards Against Humanity, but lets you own up to your answers before the judge picks a winner. You’re given a handful of “would you rather” cards and have to convince the judge that your card is the worst of the mix. There’s no player limit and over 250 different terrible cards to choose from. One of my least favorite things about Cards Against Humanity is how little interaction and discussion that happens during the rounds. This game lets you talk it all out. Plus listening to people’s reasoning why their card is the worst will sure to get some laughs.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a simple game for up to 10 players. Every player is given a secret role card that has special abilities. Players play out their roles secretly during the “night” phase and it’s the villagers job to uncover who are the werewolves while the werewolves try to get the town off their scent. Plus there’s a free app that makes the entire game super easy to follow along to. It’s quick, fun, and family friendly. Plus there are a ton of different editions to choose from.
The Voting Game is one of our favorites. Cards are flipped over and players must vote on which other player they think the card relates to the most. Cards say anything from “most likely to get arrested” to “who gives the most awkward hugs”. It’s a fantastically light-hearted game that gets people talking and telling stories. You’ll get to know the other players well and it’s always fun to see how significant others vote. There are ways to win, but more often than not, we find ourselves playing just for laughs.

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity
The Resistance is one of the oldest games in our collection, but still one of our favorites to bring out at parties. Everyone is given secret roles at the beginning of the game. The majority of players are on the good team, fighting in the resistance to thwart some evil foe. Some players are spies. The game is divided into five “missions” that have to pass in order for the resistance to win. Throughout the game the spies try to keep their identity secret while causing missions to fail. It’s a game of deceit, lying to your friends, and wanting to play it again immediately after the first game ends. Things definitely get heated, in a good way!
If you get any game from this post, Sushi Go Party is the my top pick. For up to 8 players, Sushi Go Party is a larger version of Sushi Go but oh so much better. It’s a card passing game where you’re trying to collect different types of sushi to gain points. Each turn you take a card from your hand and place it in front of you. Then you pass your hand to the left, taking the cards from the player to your right. The round ends when there are no cards left to choose from or pass. Sushi Go Party let’s you choose which items (with different point values and specials) you’re playing with each game so there is a TON of replay-ability. It’s fast paced and kid friendly. 
Monikers combines charades and pop-culture and makes it all a million times better. At the start of the game, all players are handed ten cards and pick five. Those five cards are collected from each player to make the game’s deck. The rest are discarded. The player made deck is used throughout three different rounds. The first round, players can say or do anything besides saying the name on the card to get their team to guess the answer. The first round ends once all of the cards from the deck have been guessed by either team. Points on the cards are added up, and the cards are reshuffled together for round two. The second round teams can only use one word to guess the answer. The final round, teams have to act out the answers. What’s so amazing about Monikers is that after the first round, everyone should know all of the answers on all of the cards. So each following round is spent trying to figure out which one of the cards their team mates are trying to get them to guess. It takes a lot of pressure off players while being super frustrating at the same time. And it’s downright hilarious to watch.

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity
If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging for an eight player game night, Captain Sonar is a great option. I won’t go into all of the rules and details here as it definitely could have an entire video and post about it. In Captain Sonar, four person teams are operating a submarine while trying to destroy the other team’s sub. It’s like battleship on steroids. Each player has a different role that they are doing simultaneously while trying to escape the other team and build up an offensive attack. I really recommend checking out this video from my favorite board game reviewers to get a better sense of how epic this game is. 
Guys. There are so many other games out there you can play when friends come over that are miles above Cards Against Humanity. You’ll have way more fun on your next game night breaking out one of these amazingly crafted games. Trust me.

Photosynthesis Board Game Review and How to Play

Photosynthesis Board Game Review and How to Play

Photosynthesis Board Game
Board games baby. A staple in our household and the perfect gift for any occasion. I’m FINALLY getting around to doing reviews of these bad boys starting with my current favorite: Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a strategy board game for 2-4 players where you’re an arborist growing and harvesting trees trying to become the dominate species of the forest. Turns are marked by the revolution of the sun around the board and are tracked with the sun revolution counter on the side. Points are scored for trees harvested on various soil quality spaces. Only the large trees are able to be harvested for victory points.
Each player starts with a player board filled with seeds, and small, medium, and large trees. These are all available for purchase with light points throughout the game, but players start with a few items available to play right away.
The game starts with players taking turns putting two small trees on the outside ring of the game board. Each round of the game is marked by full revolutions of the sun around the board and each turn is marked by two phases.
Photosynthesis Board Game
The first phase is photosynthesis. Players gain light points based on the position of the sun at certain angles. They’re tracked on the player board and can be used to purchase seeds, trees, and planting in the next stage. Points are accumulated throughout the rounds and are based on tree size. Small trees get one light point, medium two, and large three. Points are lost if trees are blocking the light from getting to other trees. Small trees cast one shadow space, medium two, large three
Phase two is the life cycle phase. Starting with the first player, light points collected can be spent on different actions just as long as those actions occur on different spaces on the board.

a. Buy a tree or a seed and put in the available to use section

b. Take a tree or a seed and plant it using light points

c. Grow a tree where a see was planted, or grow a larger tree where a smaller tree is

d. Harvest a large tree and collect victory points based on soil quality

The game ends after three full revolutions (18 turns) of the sun around the board and whoever has the most victory points by the end of the game is the master of the forest!

Photosynthesis Board Game
The video I filmed to go along with today’s blog post makes the whole explaining a board game thing make a lot more sense. So check that out at the bottom of this post.
This game is perfect for strategy game lovers who still want to be friends with people after the game is over. It’s the type of game you want to talk about after it’s long over. There are so many great mechanics in this game that keep things interesting and so well balanced. The player who gets to go first each turn CHANGES after each full sun revolution. So you may start out as the first player, but end the game as the last player. This makes your strategy have to switch as the game progresses and makes sure no one player can run away with the game. Whenever we’ve played it, it’s hard to tell who’s going to win until the victory points are added up at the end.
Plus the game is just gorgeous. Who doesn’t love a forest full of bright, colorful trees?! And you don’t have to take the trees apart after you’re done playing. The box is set up to pop them all in, fully formed.

This game is so easy to learn and the replay-ability is definitely there since people determine where the trees go to affect other trees’ light. I’m constantly thinking of new ways to approach this game. It’s a favorite for sure and will make a great addition to your growing collection.
Game for Fame Board Game Review

Game for Fame Board Game Review

Game for Fame Board Game Review

Game for Fame Board Game Review
Alex and I are kind of board game snobs when it comes to what we usually like to play. In an effort to break out of our snobbish ways we’ve been trying to play a bigger variety of games lately. Enter Game for Fame
Game for Fame is a team based charades/Pictionary/taboo high-bred. All of the classic games rolled into one where everyone is an actor trying to make it big and win the most money. Ultimately there is only one winner as sometimes team members are pitted against each other to win bonus cash.
Right off the bat the rules seemed a little too oversimplified. I do love a short rule book that gets you playing quickly, but the “bank of celebrity” wasn’t made entirely clear at the beginning. After teammates compete against each other, another team secretly selects who won and writes the appropriate amount of cash on a bank of celebrity card. That card is then put into a pile upside-down. It took a few turns of confusion to understand exactly what do to with this part of the game. Once we figured it all out the game became a lot more fun. It adds a level of mystery as to who actually has the most money as the game progresses.
The cards themselves range from super easy to really challenging in almost unfair ways. Sometimes we had to act out certain words in a story where it was super easy to just use context clues to figure it out. While other times we had to act out one animal while making the sound of another. I’m still not sure how a person acts out “ant.” 
Yet all the confusion and occasionally challenging rounds aside, this game was a lot of fun in a larger group. We played with four people, but this could be lots of fun with larger parties and more people on a team. There were fun twists like people changing teams and hidden tasks people can perform to earn extra money. Rounds got people moving, writing creative poems, and laughing. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, in a good way.
Now if you don’t really like games where attention is on you while you’re doing incredibly silly things, I’d pass on this one. But it’s a great one for families with somewhat older children or adult parties who are just looking for some simple fun. I’d definitely play again and I’ll offer it as a recommendation if someone’s looking for a lighthearted game for family game night.

My Top Five Favorite Board Games

My Top Five Favorite Board Games

In the Benda household, we’re all about board games. We have quite a few and our collection is constantly growing (two new games just entered the mix this week!), but there are a handful that I keep finding myself coming back to. In today’s video I’m finally diving into my top five favorite board games. They’re all completely different from each other and a load of fun.
String Railway is all about making your string trains reach more stations than the other players. The Resistance has the good guys trying to figure out who are the spies in the group all the while doubting their allies. Sheriff of Nottingham has players lying and smuggling to another player and quickly finding themselves being lied to when the tables have turned. Takenoko puts players in a Japanese garden where you either focus on growing bamboo as the gardener, organizing the garden tiles into patterns, or eating up all the bamboo in sight as the panda. But my favorite of them all is Escape, the Curse of the Temple. I’ve gone into detail about this game in particular in a recent post about good collaboration board games, but nothing gets the heart racing like this fast-paced all-or-nothing game. 
I go into a lot more detail in the video and get way too excited. Sounds about right when I’m chatting about tabletop games…
Yours till the board games,

The Best Board Games: If You Want to Work Together

The Best Board Games: If You Want to Work Together

Board games have become somewhat of a staple in the Benda household these past few years. We’ve pushed aside Monopoly for more “indie” board games and haven’t looked back once. In an effort to drop some amazing board game knowledge on you, I’m bringing you a series where I share what types of board games are for which type of players and styles. Up fist, collaboration games.

Castle Panic Review
Castle Panic is one of those kid friendly games where everyone is trying to protect their castle from encroaching orcs and goblins who are trying to destroy it. Everyone works together discussing strategy, sharing cards, and winning (or losing) together. It’s a great game that starts off pretty calm and ramps up quickly after every turn as more and more creatures emerge from the forest. The game dynamics are clear and well thought out. Plus they provide you with a little cheat sheet card so you cn remember the stages of every turn. It’s definitely defeatable among adults as we’ve done it a number of times, but it would still be fun to play with a younger crowd to help them develop more strategic skills.

Monikers Review
Monikers is an adult game that’s best in groups of 5-6. It’s a blend of taboo and sherades done in such a way that even the shyest of game planners won’t feel the pressure to perform. Each game consists of three rounds with a deck of cards handpicked by everyone in the group. The first round you can say and do whatever you need to in order for your team to guess what’s on the card. Next round you can only use one word. The final round you can only act. 
The best part? The deck of cards you use never changes throughout the whole game. After each round when all the cards from the group-made deck have been claimed by either team, they get shuffled back together and used for the next round. Suddenly the game dynamics shift and you can visibly see first-time players “ah-ha” moment as the second round begins. You’ve already seen and heard all of the cards in play be described in the first round so things get a whole lot easier, and funnier in the second and third ones. It’s an amazing game that leaves you talking about it for hours after it’s over. It takes off the pressure I for one always feel playing these types of games and you’re left with just a good, hilarious time had by all. 

Escape, the Curse of the Temple Review
Escape, the Curse of the Temple has to be my favorite board game we’ve played yet. I constantly find myself convincing people to play with me as it’s only a ten minute game from start to finish. You and your friends are a team of explorers uncovering the mysteries of a secret temple by revealing tiles as you explore. Your goal is to uncover gems while looking for the exit by using custom dice to help you move around. Sounds simple until you add in the element that everyone plays at the exact same time, constantly. So everyone is rolling dice, exploring all at the same time all the while listening to an included soundtrack that builds the tension. The soundtrack tells you at two different times when you have to quickly run back to the center of the map or fear losing a dice for the rest of the game. The dice can also betray you by showing black skulls that you have to roll gold skulls in order to unlock. It’s a collaboration game of course so if you’re in the same room as another player, you can share your dice to help uncover gems together or unlock a friend who has rolled all black skulls. If you don’t clear off enough gems and escape the temple through the exit before the soundtrack ends, everyone in your party loses. 
Now I know it sounds pretty complicated in a brief description, but it’s a fun, fast-paced family friendly game that people figure out after one quick round of diving into it. I’ve never felt so much adrenaline from playing a game and everyone always ends up in a panic throwing dice around trying not to get trapped when everyone is rushing back to the center of the map. It’s hilariously fun to watch as a bystander and even has expansion packs that make things more challenging once you can escape the temple like a pro.
If you want more in-depth descriptions of the games, there are actually a lot of game-plays on Youtube. I have wasted many hours watching other people play through games that it’s kind of absurd. Also, if there are any categories of games you want to see my favorites of next (games that screw your partner, strategic games, etc), leave requests in the comments.!
Yours till the board games,