Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pinching Pennies

I found a few ways to get a little extra trickle of income over the past weeks, so thought I'd share and see if you use the same or have any other ideas for pinching pennies.

I got the Varage Sale app on my phone a few weeks ago as another place to advertise the items worth reselling from our ongoing purging of extra stuff and outgrown boy toys.  We have often listed things on Kijiji and Used Regina (we find more people use Kijiji around here), but Varage Sale seems to be better for smaller items, and it really is simpler to use; just take a photo and add a caption, category, and price. Done.  I've had a few sales from there.

I signed up for Ebates last fall and never used it, since we rarely shop online, but I remembered to use it last month when we ordered my new sewing machine from Amazon, then used it for a coffee order from Keureg, then again with Amazon for some new faucets for our broken tub that we couldn't find anywhere in the city.  This is super easy to use, too - sign in, then click on the store you want to shop from, and get 1% cash back or more.  Our coffee order was 6% cash back, which was sweet.  If you have to shop online, or like to, you may as well get money back for it.  It looks like they transfer you whatever you've earned every few weeks or so.

Checkout 51 is an app I read about a few times; I rarely jump on an idea the first time I hear about it.  This one is a list of items that get you cash back when you buy them - sort of like a coupon but in retrospect.  You take a photo of your receipt and upload it, then get credit for each listed item on it.  The items change every week; the first week there were 3 things I actually needed and had on my list, but this past week there was nothing.  So we'll have to wait and see if it actually is worth doing in the long run.  You can request payout once you reach $20, so you'll have to stick with it for a while to make it pay.

The loyalty card that makes the biggest difference for me on a regular basis is PC Points - I have the PC Mastercard that I use for all my groceries, so the points add up quickly.  It doesn't take long to get to $20 off.  It does grow exponentially, so I do try to save this one up for Christmas or when I have a larger than normal cartful, or when I know we have extra expenses coming up.

Another one I save up with is the Plum Rewards Card from Chapters.  I am a book borrower & rarely buy them, but Chapters is a good place for gifts and magazines, so usually by Christmas I have enough on there to help with the Christmas shopping.

What are your go-to money back tools?


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Books... Are you up for a Challenge?

N has had the flu all week, so we've done a whole lot of nothing this week.  I've spent hours on the couch cuddling my boy, and you know what the worst part was?  (Other than him being sick, of course!)  The book I'm in was too heavy to manage holding while I was holding him.  And I didn't have a bunch of other ones to pick from, either.  So sad. 

The reason I don't have a big library stack to pick from is that I have whittled my home library down - I donated what I was not going to read again and what I had been keeping to read and yet never got around to - and only kept those I will read soon. 

I've seen Reading Challenges before and never been interested, but this year, because I was already in purge-mode, when I looked at this list, I could right away think of half a dozen on my shelf that would fit.  This one is from Anne Bogel, who writes the blog Modern Mrs Darcy; I've found over the years it has been a great source of book ideas that I actually enjoy.

On the 2016 Reading Challenge (and some of my picks):

a book published this year
a book you can finish in a day
a book you've been meaning to read
     Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (had it from the library when I saw this list - read it!)
a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller
a book you should have read in school
     Riel - A Life of Revolution by Maggie Siggins (Had it on my shelf on loan from my Mom - this is the big one I'm 1/3 of the way through.)
a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF
a book published before you were born
a book that was banned at some point
a book you previously abandoned
     A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Bookmark still in it at page 106 of 390... I will have to start again, though.)
a book you own but have never read
     The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (This was in a pile of books a friend was giving away - I liked the other ones by this author so thought it was worth a try.)
a book that intimidates you
     Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoyevsky (on my shelf forever - oh those Russians!)
a book that you've already read at least once
     Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (was M's & was on my shelf - read it!)

I'll have to keep my eyes open for ones that fit the other categories, but I've got all year.  I like this for the same reason I like book club - It stretches me to look for books outside the same authors and genres I'd normally gravitate to. 

You can find this list as a printable and join up if you want at Modern Mrs Darcy.

What about you?  How do you choose your books?  Have you ever done a challenge?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Free Printable!

I made up these Scripture prints almost two years ago now, and offered them in this post to whoever wanted them.  At the time I couldn't figure out how to make it printable directly from here without using a third party site, and didn't worry about it too much since I wasn't planning on making this a habit.  Now all of a sudden I am getting emails asking for this print again! So I did a little research and I think technology is friendlier than it was then...

Here is this verse again, in two colour options, and all you have to do is click on it and download if you want it.  You're welcome!!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0QxDCphZlMEMnJMeUtFdXp3Y0k/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0QxDCphZlMES2dkVWFGZkJicGM/view?usp=sharing


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Good Side of January



We celebrated a birthday yesterday - N looks all of 4 and I'm hoping every birthday is this easy!!  I made a construction cake (seriously foolproof) and we had a few friends and family over for supper and playing lego and had a great time together. We picked up some black & yellow striped caution tape at the safety store and taped up the house - no missing our theme!




N is still loving preschool and Awana, and starts swimming lessons next week.  He should end this session in the water without having one of us in there with him!  He's looking forward to getting out sledding with Dad - he's got his own sled, but that's still pretty new and tentative - he really likes riding on Dad's!

Stay warm and joyful!!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

I Built a Lego Sewing Machine

Or... Our Latest Obsession

Late this fall, Nolan and I got out the bucket of Lego a number of times.  The real stuff, not the big chunky baby or the midsize toddler ones.  This bucket contained a basic set that Madeline had when she was a kid plus some odd pieces I brought home from the store at Downtown Disney once upon a time.

It felt kind of revolutionary.  I'm not so great at playing construction.  Or Planes Fire & Rescue.  I try.  I do.  But being able to play something together that I like too?  FUN.  So I thought that for Christmas or his birthday I'd get him (us) some more Lego.  For Christmas I ended up wrapping a cool set for Sean from Nolan of some Lego machines they could make together, and then I used my Christmas money to get an XXL Classic Box of 1500 pieces. (On Kijiji. Still sealed, and for a great deal!)  We picked it up on Monday and it's been out on our coffee table ever since.  And we are ALL having fun with it.

What we sent to Dad when we got home with it.

He's a LOT obsessed with cranes.

And he has to dismantle / modify everything I make.

He made me a trophy for being the best sewer*.



Our previous bucket in the middle there.


He thought it would be a good idea to dump out all the bags.


He might be my favourite.

Told you.  A sewing machine.
On the corner: the library's Lego Ideas Book.

*sewer = one who sews.  Not sewer like stink.  Just to clarify.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Gifts from Alice&Victor







My sales are over, and my shop is mostly updated; all the things I was making for the sales are now finally showing up online!  After a day of many shops yesterday, we actually have our Christmas gifts almost all purchased.  Feeling pretty relaxed.  :)

The shots above are a fun little thing Etsy has set up this year - I finally got around to trying it out.  And now I have to go wrap a wheat bag for Nolan's teacher before I go pick him up from his last class of the year!

If you were interested in purchasing Christmas gifts from my shop, TODAY is the deadline for shipping within Canada!  After today, or if you live outside Canada, convo me for priority rates.  Of course, if you are local, you can pick up goodies from my home until the 24th.  :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Soccer Star #2

If you've read anything much on here, you will have noticed that the girl plays soccer.  This fall, the boy was old enough and we got him involved, too.  The U4's all had a big person with them on the field, and the group, split into four smaller groups, rotated through four stations, each working on a soccer skill or gross motor skill.  It was a fabulous way to do soccer with this age, and Nolan loved going.



So stinking CUTE.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I Read.

And oldie, but a goodie!  It's little M the bookie.

I read to relax.
I read because I love getting into a good story.
I read to experience different times, places, and cultures.
I read because it takes me away from the present - a coffee break from my stay-at-home-ness.
I read because I am too tired to sew anymore.

I haven't blogged about what I've read for a while, so while I do read fast, rest assured that these haven't all been devoured in the last few weeks... I do have a life outside the pages!

These are the ones I rated 5 stars out of 5, which means I quite enjoyed the book.
 The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
 By the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli

These were 4.5 stars - not amazing, but better than just good.
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

These ones rated 4 stars: a decent read; something worthwhile in it.
Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Run by Ann Pachett
Paper Towns by John Green
Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: A Veronica Mars Mystery by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
I am Malala by Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai

And then there was The Maze Runner by James Dashner that only ranked a 3.5.  I know it's aimed at a younger audience, but meh.

So there you have it - a list of names to refer to if you are wondering what to read next. 

Happy reading!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A DECADE OF BLOGGING

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of my first blog post.  Wow. 

I have written about our family, things we've done and updates on the kids, to keep my family and friends in the loop.  I have written about books and trips and things I'm thinking about; shared scrapbook pages and recipes.

I've had years where I've written lots (162 posts in 2009!) and years of less (including 2006 when I wrote a big fat zero posts - but that was also when I met and married Sean...)  The name has changed a few times, and the look has had a number of makeovers.

A few major changes have competed for my blogging time in the last few years - having a little one around, for one, means very little computer time at all! and starting my shop online where I sell the goods I sew.  (I still love that, by the way, and it's going stronger than ever.)

I started with the idea of putting my voice out there, to share my thoughts, my heart, my faith, and today, I have the same desire.  So thank you to all my faithful readers and all my random readers, for sharing in this journey with me, for listening to my voice, and especially for when you share yours back with me.  I'm not going anywhere, and look forward to picking things up again in the new year.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Tis the Season... for Craft Sales!

I don't often go to craft sales to shop, honestly; when I do go, I'm one of those who shops for ideas that I can go home and make.

I am going to a bunch this fall, though, because I am selling at a bunch.  I am hoping that most shoppers are not like me, and are happy to buy rather than shop for ideas only at my table.  [If you do make your own stuff, that's awesome. I bet we would be friends. :)]

Last year I did two sales, they were moderately successful, but I figured this year I would rather do a few big ones through the year and then focus on the online side at Christmas.  Plans changed.  I did a sale at my nephew's school a few weeks ago, picked up a cancellation spot at Christ Lutheran last weekend, and now have 3 shows in the next 3 weeks.  And this weekend, while I'm not at a sale, I had a table at the Women's Wellness Day at my home church in Winnipeg.  Just got a report that it was a good day - thanks to all who bought my goods there and to my sister for manning the table! 

If you are in Southern Sask, this is where I'll be in the next few weeks:

First Annual Indoor CVAF Street Fair Christmas Craft Market
(Cathedral Village Arts Festival)
Saturday, November 14, 10-4
*There are sales in both the Westminster Cathedral and in the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre.  I will be in the Neighbourhood Centre, 2900 13th Ave.

Wascana Rehab Crafty Creations Christmas Craft Sale
Friday, 20th, 12-8
Saturday, 21st, 9-5

Caronport Christmas Craft Sale
Friday, 27th, 5-10:30
Saturday, 28th, noon-10:30
Sunday, 29th, 1-5:30

Now my focus is to find balance between the sales and the online side - I've been sewing lots and producing buckets of goods, but haven't found the right time with the right lighting to get photos and then get them listed.  I aim to do that this week so there's actually stuff to buy in the shop...  Wish me luck!

 Alice&Victor  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adult Colouring Books

A while ago, on a trip to Chapters, I splurged and bought myself this colouring book.




On the first page I used both fine point markers and pencil crayons, and decided I liked the look of pencil crayons better; purging through some of M's cast offs last week, I expanded my pencil crayon count from 24 to 72.  I've completed a few pages and Nolan and I have coloured together a bit, and it's been a fun thing to have close by.


I've seen a number of other colouring books geared to adults lately, enough to know that is is a 'thing', and today I got an email from Margaret Feinberg (Author, Bible Teacher, Joy Seeker) talking about the one she has for sale - with Scripture! Her email highlighted 5 reasons why colouring is so great - read it here if you'd like.

While I was talking to Mom on the phone.


I loved the idea of an adult colouring book with Scripture.  Shipping was too high to order from her site, unfortunately, but it got me looking around online. I found this article from Business Insider saying that the best selling books on Amazon right now are adult colouring books! This one I've got was #2, and the #1 book was The Secret Garden by the same Author / Artist.

I know M has had some more intricate colouring books over the years that I've enjoyed with her - what about you? Have you been captured by the beauty of some of these new books? Are you thrilled with this new trend?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer Memories

August is trickling away... I know there are more hot days to enjoy and we even hope to get in another camping trip, but it is change time.

We often get out camping right at the beginning of summer, and this year was no exception.  This was the first time we went with the Ward clan, though, and it may be the start of an annual thing, it went so well.  We camped on Madge Lake in the Duck Mountain Provincial Park, which has become one of our regular places, and it was great. Clear water, all our campsites right together, lots of cousin time...  The only downside was that a certain somebody had to miss out to go to summer school.





Nolan's first tube ride.
Another crazy ride with Dad.
Monica photobombing a mother daughter shot.
 Also in July this beauty turned sixteen, and chose to celebrate with a load of physical upgrades - makeover, nails, hair, ear piercing...


August saw M at camp for a few weeks, and then an adventure filled road trip week with her Aunt & Uncle & cousins, to Minneapolis, Chicago, then Toronto, where she flew home from while they went on to visit relatives on the east coast.

I was just looking through my August photos and I think that will have to be another post.  I was reminded of all the little fun things we did - good memories!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Books, Books, Books


Good Morning, Friends!  We just got home from camping and I averaged a book every two days.  That's a good trip.  These are the ones I took with me, plus another I'm half done.

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani - 9 - Set in Italy and then in America, it follows the story of one couple who emigrate because they have to, and how they find the better life.  The description of Italy makes me want to get on a plane (and a time machine).  Nicely written, and great characters.

Decider by Dick Francis - 9 - Always love his books.

The Innocent by David Baldacci - 8.5 - Just picked this one off the shelf and was pleased with it.  Lots of shooting and death, but the good guy figures it out and wins in the end.

Thunder and Rain by Charles Martin - 8.5 - A Texas Ranger love story isn't what I'd normally pick up, but I really like the others I've read by him, so figured it was a safe bet.  I enjoyed it.

Also read in the last months and worth a mention:

The Secret Place by Tana French - 9.5
Faithful Place by Tana French - 8
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - 9.5
Landlines by Rainbow Rowell - 8

The Unexpected Pilgrimage of Walter Fry by Rachel Joyce - 7 - A sometimes funny story of an older man almost stuck too far in life's rut to make any changes, who ends up on a journey walking from one end of England to the other.

Home Front by Kristen Hannah - 8 - Full of  marriage issues, woman soldier issues, and dealing with injuries, it stays believable.  A decent read.

The Accident by Chris Pavone - 8 - I expected a little more because I really enjoyed the Expats, but this was still good.

419 by Will Ferguson - 6 - Have you ever got a Nigerian scam email?  This book is a story of a Canadian family who is deeply affected by one, and their search for the root of it.  It's also the story of the Nigerians who do this for a living.  Some parts I enjoyed, like the part set in the Nigerian village before it was all spoiled by the Oil companies.  Mostly it was just sad. 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - 9 - I quite enjoyed this tale of a girl growing up in Brooklyn in the mid 1900's.  Loved her character and the way she details the setting.


We are off to the library today to get some more.  :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Indoors Day




With the wildfires up north sending loads of smoke our way, it was an indoor day today.  We played Planes Fire & Rescue up in his room on his train set and on the Planes play mat... while I hand-sewed up some bean bags.  It clouded over & rained this afternoon, but the morning sun was nice. 

Just a few shots to say hello...
xo