Saturday, December 15, 2012

November Book Reviews

September until mid-February is always our eye-twitch season. Hubs is away A LOT. Both of our kids have their birthdays in there along with 10 nieces/nephews/aunts/uncles; not to mention friends!
After mid-February we can usually breathe fairly nicely until the next September as most other things are spread out more.

Even with hectic rush I still find time to read as much as I can. I carry a book with me in the car at all times so I sneak in a few minutes when I pick the kids up from school or wait at appointments. I don't fit in as much as I'd like but I did get these five completed this month:

1. The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket: This is book 3 and I love this series! It's super sweet and I can't wait until the kids are a little older so I can read these books with them. There's not much point to go into detail in any of these books as they absolutely have to be read in order.

2. Grimms' Fairy Tales - Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: I can honestly say I had no idea they wrote so many famous fairy tales. I knew they had done a handful but basically they supplied Disney with the majority of their bread and butter. I'd suggest getting the book so you can read the real versions of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, etc. One thing I would suggest is that you don't read the entire book front to back. Take your time, read a few, and come back to it after a few days or a week. I read it without a break and started to find some of the tales repetitive. Still a book with great value.

3. The Miserable Mill - Lemony Snicket: This is book 4 and as above there's not much point to telling you the plot unless you've read the first 4. But I must say that I love all the new scenarios and characters the author comes up with.

4. The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton: I loved Kate's previous 3 books so had high hopes for this one. It's about Laurel who witnesses her mother kill a man when she's in her teens and how in the future when he mother is about to pass she can't give up on what she saw and wants to know the truth of what happened. In typical Kate Morton style the story continuously flips between the present and the past. The characters are interesting as is the storyline. About just over halfway through the book I woke up in the middle of the night and realized what I thought the twist was; what fun! Got to love a book that makes you think about it in the middle of the night.

5. The Voluntourist - Ken Budd: Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Ken tells us how the loss of a loved one spurred him on to want to do something more meaningful with his life. He did something the majority of people would never think to do; he gave up his holidays and used them to volunteer and make a difference in another part of the world. I found his writing to be very candid, humourous and informative. He takes us through several different areas of the world and several different types of volunteer projects. All the while we get to know about Ken's struggles with the acceptance of his father's death and reality that he and his wife will not be having children. It's a very inspiring book that I'd certainly recommend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Because Edmonton Cares - Year Two

It's officially been two years since I started Because Edmonton Cares so I thought I'd do a year in review for our second year of running.

In the past year we have grown from around 35 members to over 130 members. That's HUGE! Partially this is due to the fact that our group was featured in City and Baby,  MODCITY  and Edmonton Examiner . But I also think the word is getting out about our group through friends of friends. It makes me happy to know that our volunteers are enjoying their experiences enough to tell their friends about us.

We volunteered at a number of non-profits but it was our first time helping out at the Jeans and Jerseys event for the Alberta Diabetes Federation, Basically Babies (we went twice!), and we went to the Food Bank twice as well.

The members of this group is really what makes it so great! One of my favourite additions to the group is a couple who attend some of our outings as a version of Date Night; how sweet is that??

A great big THANK YOU to all our volunteers. Everyone is busy, but those people who pause for a few hours to give back to their community make my heart swell.

Great work Edmontonians!