Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Another Bookish Post

It's been 3 months since I did a book post - here's what I read and what I thought was worth recommending.  I should post these more often since some I can't remember the book off the top of my head!

On the top of the pile at 5 Stars:
Wonder by RJ Palacio - This one is a kid's book, but so good.  About a kid who is different, and the reactions of others as he enters regular school.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - a wartime story, set in France. Very good.
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman - I wasn't sure into the first chapter, but then it got more understandable, and was really entertaining.
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery - This migrated from M's bookshelf to mine, and I chose it for the 'Book That You've Read Before' category of the 2016 Reading Challenge.  I haven't read this since I was a kid, and found it delightful. 
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - Three women's stories that intersect around this uncovered secret - a good read.  Set in Australia.

Have I ever mentioned that I hate rating books?  I'm looking at these now and thinking, well, if I gave that one a 4 I should move that one, and didn't I enjoy that one just as much as that one?  So it's an imprecise art...

4 Stars
The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristen Harmel - a girl with a falling apart life has to travel to France for her Grandmother's last request - a wartime story and family coming together.  I do enjoy getting glimpses of other places and other times.
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - A back in time to find out what really happened kind of book.  A good read, similar in structure to all her others, (except I haven't read The Lake House, her latest, and hear it doesn't fit her usual formula.)
Crossing to Safety by Walter Stegner - A story of two couples and their friendship spanning decades.  Insightful writing.
Get Lucky by Katherine Center - Loses job, becomes surrogate to have baby for sister - some good comedy. 
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand - The meticulously researched story of an amazing racehorse.  Another time & place again - US in the depression. 

3.5 Stars
The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up by Marie Kondo - I had heard from people who had read thiis and were following her method, and I browsed a few pages in Costco a couple of times, then bought it.  Then my book club decided to read it too.  Our consensus - while a bit hokey at times, she does have a lot of insight and practical tips that you can adopt even if you don't jump in the deep end.
A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor - Set in London in 1912, about the flower sellers.

3 Stars
The Corpse with the Diamond Hand by Cathy Ace
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I'm not reading tonight because I am browsing the interwebs checking out the new modern calligraphy and brush lettering... I dug out my calligraphy stuff yesterday and made a shopping list for Michaels for tomorrow night while N is at Awana...  A new obsession?  Aaahh... but it's cheaper than Lego!

As always, share a book in the comments that you are enjoying - my to-read list is always open to new suggestions!

Monday, February 15, 2016

RV for Rent!

We are a camping family. We love to get away to a campground and relax, chop wood, make fires, get out on the water in a canoe... but sleeping on the ground in a tent in the rain with babies crying across the path?  That got a little old a few years ago, and since, we've taken a few hotel-camping trips (to South Dakota and Jasper) and borrowed the in-law's trailer for some closer to home camping trips.  Last year, though, we planned a big camping trip with the family - the in-law side - and so we had to come up with a plan B, since Gramma and Grampa would be there in the trailer we usually borrowed!

We found a trailer to rent that seemed reasonable and booked it, and had a great experience.  Sean talked quite a bit to the couple we rented it from, and ever since it's been in the back of our minds to get one and do the same.

And now... here she is!!

Take a tour here:

Pre Owned 2009 Sportsmen LE 272 LE - YouTube

And if you are interested in renting it, give us a call!

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?