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    Cooking with Dice: Making Delicious Food, RPG-Style

    I love to cook. I get a chance to do it quite often because I’m a single mom and I can’t afford healthy, gourmet restaurant dinners every night. I can barely afford pizza once a week!

    I love gaming. That, I often have to skip because I also have to make money. My time is pretty much always taken up writing, trying to get more writing work, getting my school work done, and doing mom things.

    So – I don’t always have time to game. I have a new PS4 I’ve barely touched. I have Zelda: Breath of the Wild, sitting in my living room starting at me. I drop my kid off at D&D games and then go home to study. This doesn’t stop me from sneaking a few minutes of smartphone gaming at bedtime and Pokemon Go when I’m out and about. But it does mean my gaming time is cut pretty drastically. Every year my #1 New Year’s resolution is to Play More Games.

    So, what’s the compromise? This fall, I’m finding it in a little book called Cooking With Dice.

    Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is. A kitchen-based RPG. And it’s going to save my season!

    What is Cooking With Dice?

    This original game, the first in what will be a series, turns cooking into a game you can play alone or with the entire family.

    This past spring, Cooking with Dice was a Kickstarter project offered by the people behind Adventure Scents. Creator Jennifer Howlett says that the project, and her company, started as a way of gamifying cooking to make it more fun for her kids, and to help her family connect. “I think that gamifying something is a great way to drive learning and motivation,” she says. “I love watching TV cooking competition shows (it’s a guilty pleasure) and have always wished I could capture that adventure in my own kitchen. I feel like Cooking with Dice has helped me to experiment more with cooking and try out things I’d never done before.”

    She did plenty of research to create the recipes in the book, and utilized family members and volunteer play testers to complete the project.

    There’s a story. You’re an adventure-chef, journeying through a fantasy setting with different scenarios. Like Dungeons & Dragons, there are classes and races, and you roll your dice to introduce an element of chance into your endeavors. Actually, you start out at Level 1 as a Plongeur (dishwasher), and work your way up to Chef de Cuisine (head chef).

    And it’s fun. Using formulas and gaming tables rather than outright recipes, Cooking with Dice allows you to gamify different aspects of cooking. You can be more creative and flexible, and, as Howlett says in the book, add “your own personal magic.” This first installment of the series forgoes heat in favor of chemical changes caused by acid. Every food you create is a bit different, because the dice decide.

    The Good:

    Quickles (my version had rosemary)

    I’m not really an RPG gamer. I don’t have any patience to read the manuals, and no one has ever invited me into a D&D session that evolved past character creation. But Cooking with Dice is short and the instructions are clear and simple.

    But this concept has made my grocery shopping more interesting. I hate grocery stores. Now, though, I take my copy of this game, and a bag of dice, and I roll to see what ingredients I’m going to be buying. If you see a random person in the produce section trying to find a flat surface, then rolling a 20-sided die, that could be me. Or someone else playing the game.

    Also, this type of cooking is unfamiliar to me. I tend to be more hit or miss when it comes to dishes that require chemical reactions as the main form of food alteration. However, this is giving me a chance to try things I’ve never done. It’s fun, and getting kids on board is easy. The writing is engaging and witty, and the recipes and instruction are creative, well thought out and simple.

    I made pickles (see above)! In fact, I made quite a few items that are outside my comfort range, and my son helped. He hates pickles, but would eat the game’s Quickles all day. (Ours were cucumber seasoned with rosemary, based on our roll.)

    So, success! Howlett’s goal worked for me. I’m sold! And my son has never had so much fun cooking. I haven’t quite finished the book yet, but I’m getting there. This is a really good way to get your kids involved in the kitchen.

    The Bad:

    I can’t think of anything, except that failure can be discouraging, and I failed with the cheese the first time because I used pasteurized milk. I also failed with the Dragonfly Jam because I could not locate the right kind of pectin. But those things aren’t Cooking with Dice’s fault. The book clearly said I could not use pasteurized milk, and I could not locate the correct kind of pectin. Oops. Like I said, this is not an area of cuisine that I’m terribly familiar with.

    Ceviche Tomato Bombs (with shrimp)

    To be honest, it’s actually taking me a long time to get through the game because I’m always so busy, and finding other ways to use up ingredients I bought for the game is sometimes beyond my mental capability, even though they aren’t weird or anything. So my son and I have to make an extra effort to do the game justice, but Cooking with Dice gives our kitchen a much-needed culinary spark on nights we decide to play. It’s a good thing the game is so easy and flexible, because otherwise it’d just be another Crock-Pot dump meal for us.

    The Final Word:

    In a world that’s becoming more and more digitized, in which we have much less free time than we’d like, Cooking with Dice is a breath of fresh air. My son isn’t always a super-adventurous eater but he’ll try new foods, especially if we make them ourselves.

    Cooking with Dice lets us fit gaming into our busy lifestyle, and eat better food while we’re doing it. That’s a win-win in my book!

    Howlett and her 12-year-old daughter are working on a sequel for 2018, which would contain formulas that are easy for kids to make with minimal supervision. I’m on board with that!

    If you’d like more information on the book and Adventure Scents, visit www.cookingwithdice.com. Next month, Cooking with Dice: The Acid Test will be available via the website and through Amazon.com.

    New Fortnite Update Introduces Battle Royal PvP Mode

    Fortnite Battle Royale PvP Mode The Mommy Gamers

    Today, Epic Games announced Fortnite Battle Royale, an all-new PvP mode coming to the action-building game Fortnite on Sept. 26, available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. Fortnite released in July as a paid early access game for Xbox One, PS4, PC and Mac. PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds players will find this new mode familiar as Fortnite Battle Royale similarly drops 100 players onto one giant map. Combat and building skills will be put to the test and the last commander standing wins. Check out the Battle Royal Announce Trailer here:


    Fortnite will also be available on discount this week at 25% off the Standard and Deluxe Founder’s Packs. The price discount runs through Sept. 18. Anyone who owns Fortnite can immediately play Battle Royale in the special Public Test for Fortnite Players that runs now until the launch on Sept. 26. Though it is worth reminding everyone that Fortnite is still an early access game, so players will likely experience crashes and bugs. From my personal experience with the game thus far, the crashes are few and far between.

    The Mommy Gamers community has been enjoying Fortnite on our Twitch streams found here. We also frequently team up through our Discord server, so if you are looking for friends to battle and adventure with check out our Discord community here.  I know I haven’t been bringing you guys a lot of gaming news, but I am really having a great experience with Fortnite and PUBG and I had to dump my excitement out somewhere. You’re welcome?

    For more information on Fortnite and to pick up the game visit the Epic Games site here.

    Best of May 2017 Twitch Clips ~ The Mommy Gamers

    Just the Clip Twitch Clips May 2017 The Mommy Gamers Jaxboxchick Marcia Morgan
    With more than one hundred hours streamed on Twitch in the month of May our community clipped a LOT of memorable moments. Here are some of the best, compiled in a super fancy YouTube video for you all to enjoy!

    If you’d like to have a shot at making an epic clip that might be included in future videos make sure to hang out at www.Twitch.TV/TheMommyGamers and clip away!

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    Darling VoxBox Influenster Unboxing

    Darling VoxBox The Mommy Gamers Influenster

    I’ve been a part of Influenster for a few years now. Influenster is a site that rewards your social media prowess with products that you can enjoy in exchange for honest product reviews. I don’t have to pretend I like the things I get, and sometimes I do not like them at all. This isn’t the case with all of the products in the most recent Darling Voxbox I received. I’ve already used pretty much everything in the box. Curious what was inside? Check out this unboxing video to see what I got, and then stick around for my thoughts down below.

     

    Instead of talking about every product in the box I’d like to highlight the one that I was the most impressed by. First off is the Live Clean gentle moisture baby lotion and tearless shampoo & wash. Because my youngest “baby” is seven I was going to pass this along to my sister who happens to still have baby age people in her house. However, when my youngest daughter did a sniff test on these products she proclaimed them hers. The lavender, aloe and chamomile scents blend together so nicely that I will admit I have used the lotion myself…recently. The products have an eco-friendly tag on them boasting 97% plant ingredients, SLS free (whatever that is) and paraben free. If those things are important to you and you enjoy hugging an amazing smelling child after bath time you should keep an eye out for their products.

    Honestly, all of the products in the Darling VoxBox are being used right now and I’m not dissapointed. If you have a nice social media reach and like trying out new products you should totally check out Influenster. Or just keep coming back here from time to time to check out what we get.

     

    Hoagie: Kids Card Game Review

    Hoagie Card Game The Mommy Gamers Review Kids Game

     

    Hoagie is a strategy card game for ages five and up that tasks players with building the perfect sandwich. In Hoagie, the goal is to be the first person to create a complete hoagie while spoiling the other players’ ingredients using Oogie cards. Oogies are mischevious creatures who will spoil your delicious sandwich ingredients in a hilarious variety of ways, such as a couple of Oogies who grow a mold farm on your fresh slice of bread. Spoiled ingredients are easily fixed by placing a new fresh ingredient on top, but with only six cards in your hand at a time it’s not always an easy task. Other cards may reverse game play, skip a turn, or allow you to play two cards at one adding some extra fun ways to foil your opponents plans.

    Hoagie Card Game The Mommy Gamers You can tell by my daughter Hailey’s face that we had an absolutely amazing time trying out this new game. Her PaPa joined us for a few rounds and we all agree that this is a great game for any age range. Hailey, who turns seven next month, was easily able to grasp the rules of gameplay and found the pictures included in the instructions to be a helpful guide. As a parent, I personally found the quick game play perfect. The game lists a play time of about twenty minutes, but we were able to breeze through most games much faster than that. The short game time coupled with the small size of the game, makes this perfect for tossing in your bag for a few rounds before dinner out or anywhere you may end up with a few minutes to fill in your day.

    When I asked Hailey what she thought about Hoagie, she said it reminded her of Burgertime, a classic arcade game from the 1980’s where players create hamburgers…except the bad ingredients weren’t really trying to hurt you. This is clearly a sign of two things: Hailey has great taste in games, and she and her mommy spend a little too much time in the local classic coin arcade. But honestly, this girl knows her games, and considering she has asked to play it every evening over the last week…I’d say this game has the Hailey seal of approval. That means the game also gets The Mommy Gamers seal of approval, because any game that makes our kids happy makes us happy.

    You can purchase a copy of Hoagie for $17.50 on their website: www.quirkyengine.com/store/hoagie-game-limited-edition

    *Please note: The Mommy Gamers were given a copy of Hoagie for review purposes, but our opinions are all our own.

     

    Care for Our World

    CareforOurWorldGameTheMommyGamers

    My daughter Amber and I received a copy of Care for Our World, an interactive storybook app for iPad, and we had a blast playing around with it. Care for Our World, written by Karen Roberts, was originally published as a book in 2012. It included punch-out animals for children to play with. Sunbreak Games, have brought that creative play to the app with features like Habitat Playset (Amber’s favorite feature) where children can use interactive stickers to create their own animal habitats, Coloring Book where you can color a scene from the book almost anyway you want to, and Animal Encyclopedia where your child can learn about all of the animals mentioned in the story as well as hear what they sound like, and see pictures of them in the real world.

     


    The actual storybook part of the app is well done for the most part, and is highly interactive. Nearly everything you touch has a reaction, and narration. The colors are vivid, and the illustrations are whimsical. In fact, the only thing that didn’t sit well with me was the narration. In my opinion, when you have a story with words that are rich and full of life, you should strive to have a narrator that matches them with their voice. Unfortunately, in this case the narrator falls a little flat, and while his voice is not unpleasant, he’s not far enough away from monotone for my liking. I also feel that since the app is geared for ages 3-8, not having an option for narration in the, Animal Encyclopedia section of the app was a missed opportunity, as younger children will need someone to read for them.

    Overall, I think Care for Our World is lovely, and has a great deal of replay value for children. It is well worth the $2.99 investment. You can download it now on the iOS App Store by clicking here.

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    The Kids From Stranger Things Reviewing Retro Toys Gives Me Life

    I’ve made it no secret how much I love Stranger Things. If you aren’t aware, read how excited I was to hear it was renewed here. A huge part of what makes Stranger Things so magical are the incredibly talented child actors who served as stars of the show. These kids have incredible careers ahead of them, and I can’t wait to follow each and every one.

    Earlier today, Buzzfeed released a video of the kids from Stranger Things reviewing retro toys. It is the most amazing video I have seen in a while. Caleb McLaughlin (who played Lucas), Millie Bobby Brown (who played Eleven), and Gaten Matarazzo (who played everyone’s favorite toothless hero, Dustin) review everything from Pop Rocks to Furby and more. Check it out for yourself below.

    These kids are seriously too adorable. What was your favorite part of the video? Let us know in the comments below!

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