Monday, June 25, 2012

You can rent textbooks?

When I went to school, it was back in the Dark Ages.  One friend -- and only one friend -- had a laptop.  Not only that, there was a way he could call in to some place and find out different information.  I thought he was a show off when he lugged his laptop to class to take notes.  In the computer lab, we had big computers that took 5 1/4" floppy disks, and connected not to the Internet, but to a printer.

So when I was in undergrad, the only way we could save on textbooks was to put the word out about what classes we were taking and hope someone had a book they would sell you cheaply.  The only place we could buy our texts was the campus bookstore, and of course with a monopoly on them, they raised prices astronomically.  I remember the fury of a friend when she went to sell back a textbook she paid $75 for, and they told her they would pay her $4 for it.  It was going to be used the next semester, and of course, they planned on selling it for $75 to the next student.

Times have changed.  First there was the Internet and you could go online to find textbooks you could buy.  Now, you can even rent textbooks!  Campus Book Rentals is a place you can go to type in what books you need for your classes.  It doesn't matter if your school runs on a quarter, semester, or if you are doing the dreaded summer school, you can rent for the time frame you need, and pay accordingly.

Before I was in the hospital in February, I was accepted for a distance learning program, so I decided to check out what I could have saved on the books I needed.  The list price of A Survey of the Old Testament is $50, but if you click this link, you can see I could have rented it for a semester for $23.68.  That is a 43% savings!  I checked another book they offer.  I remember when I was in school my Abnormal Psychology textbook was expensive.  The list price on this book is now $135, but they rent it for $26.81 for the semester.  Think of all the pizza you could buy saving over $100 on one textbook! 

 But, because I was doing distance learning, I had six months to complete the course.  Because of their flexible dates, I could have rented that book for $29.02!   Not only that, they offer free shipping both ways on rentals, so you don't have to worry about how much extra it might cost in shipping!  If you decide to keep your book once you're finished with it, you pay the difference between the book's value and what you have already paid.  If you happen to drop a class, there is a 30 day guarantee and you can receive your money back!

I know when I was in school I always loved highlighting in my books, and when I bought a book, I prefered a highlighted one.  Well, with Campus Book Rentals highlighting in your books is not a problem!  You are welcome to do so!

And what if you bought your books last semester and couldn't stand to sell them back to the bookstore?  They will also buy your used textbooks!

You can also feel good about renting from them because they give back with each rental!  They partner with Operation Smile to help provide cleft palate surgeries to children in developing countries.  Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft lip, and in many countries their only hope for a normal life is through donation of funds for surgery. 

Connect with them:


FTC disclosure:  This is a paid post by Campus Book Rentals.  I was allowed to choose what features of the website to discuss and I only promote companies where I believe in their products.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Table Grace Dice

I recently received a very unique item to review from Catholic Family Gifts.  This is a die (singular of dice, but I'll refer to it as dice since I like the word better!).  It is large for a dice -- about 2 1/4 inches.  It is wooden and weighs over four ounces.  On each of the six sides is a prayer you can use for saying grace before meals.

The prayers include:

Bless our food, dear God we pray, and bless us, too throughout this day. Keep us safe and close to you. Keep us just in all we do. Amen.

We thank you, Lord, for generous hearts, for sun and rainy weather. We thank you, Lord, for drink and food, and that we are together. Amen. 

For life and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy Goodness sends, Almighty God, we thank Thee. Amen. 

Thank you for the earth so sweet. Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything! Amen. 

God, bless this food we are about to receive. Give bread to those who hunger, and hunger for charity and justice to us who have bread. Amen. 

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty! Amen

What a neat idea to involve children in saying grace before you eat!   Those too little to read could roll it and allow an older brother or sister to read the prayer that comes face up, or allow mom or dad to read it.  Those who can read, this is a fun way to encourage prayer before meals.

My biggest concern about it is that it is wooden.  For an item like this it would likely be kept on the kitchen table, and I wonder about how it would hold up to spilled milk and juice.

It has rounded corners for safety.  Also, I do like the size.  It's too big for the youngest set to choke on.

This would be ideal if you are wanting to introduce saying grace before your family meals so that children will find it fun.  Or if you are looking for a way to have your children be more involved in praying.   I know I would have thought this was really neat when I was little! 

You can purchase this for $11.95 plus shipping here:  Table Grace Dice from Catholic Family Gifts. They also sell a number of other items such as baptism gifts, cross necklaces, nativity scenes, VeggieTales DVDs, and many other items.

Catholic Family Gifts is going to give one of these away to one of my readers.  The giveaway is open to those 18 and older who live in the United States.  It ends at  11:59 pm on July 2st.

FTC disclosure:  I received a free Table Grace Dice from Catholic Family Gifts in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions are my own.

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Weekly Mail Wrap-Up June 23

It was a very slow mail week around here.

I received a $5.99 refund check.

I also received a Kringle I had one.  It was delicious and my only complaint about it is I planned on having a birthday Kringle instead of a birthday cake.  The company got mixed up on which month to send it and sent it in June instead of July.  Oh well, I celebrated West Virginia's birthday with a Maple Walnut Kringle.  I had been entering their giveaway for about four years so was excited when I finally won!  It tasted even better than I expected it to, and after four years of entering, my hopes were REALLY high!

I also received a Chiquita Banana Mom kit.  There was a magnetic notepad, reusable grocery bag, magnet, car sticker, and family stickers in the shapes of bananas to put on the back of your car.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: The Search Committee

The Search CommitteeThe Search Committee by Tim Owens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In The Search Committee, Tim Owens introduces us to seven people, all members of a shepherd-less Presbyterian flock.  Their duty is to find a man (and some insist it must be a man) to pastor their congregation.

They are as unique as any seven random people in a congregation, and each week they travel in an old church van to hopefully complete their task of finding just the right minister.  In an attempt to keep it secret from the churches they visit, they split up during the service and try to keep a low profile.  That isn't always easy because of the adventures they find themselves in -- from being covered in dust by taking a back road to a couple of them getting stuck in an elevator in a sombrero. 

While that might be the plot, we get a glimpse of each of the seven members and the struggles they face.  We all have skeletons in our closets, and The Search Committee shows a cross section of good church people and their problems from the death of a spouse, someone who is a afraid to have children, someone who witnessed the death of her mother and brother on the same day, and a man whose girlfriend gets pregnant and the baby isn't his.

Life isn't easy.  In fact, it's hard.  But somehow if we can continue on through the pain, we find that God is still Good.  Somehow, we find it.  Just as they did.

I loved this book.  It was a bit confusing at first because there were so many members of The Search Committee, but once I got used to the writing style, I enjoyed the look into each one.  Usually I hate when fiction books include sermons.  I think there has to be a better way to get a point across than a sermon thrown in.  However, in this book, it worked quite well.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a female minister thrown in the mix and how that issue was handled. 

This book hits the target for everything I expect in a Christian fiction book.  It's fun, and since fiction should be entertaining, it is a must.  There is plenty to point to God, which is something I feel is a requirement of Christian fiction.  Finally, it's a book that leaves you pondering your life, and what would be written about you if you were part of The Search Committee, and if you have brought resolution to the hard parts of life and have found in the end that God is still Good, and quite possibly the answers (and God) are closer than we think. 

You can purchase it here:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Goodbye, Einstein.

Einstein May 2009 - June 14, 2012
He was a brave guinea pig.

In May 2009, two kids rang our doorbell.  They had two girl guinea pigs and no food for them. Would we want them?  We had two boy guinea pigs and we knew the combination would mean a lot of babies, but we decided since the two guinea pigs had been living outside, not even in a cage, we could keep them in another room until we found homes for them.

However, the guinea pigs weren't girls, they were actually boys, and to make a long story short, we kept them.  These guinea pigs were apparently brothers, and as far as we know never had been apart.  Oh the joy when Einstein found one of our other guinea pigs.  (I wonder if they thought there were no other guinea pigs on earth except for themselves?)

Einstein seemed to be the smarter of the two, and always was protective of his little brother.  He would call Fuzzy to come and eat or if he heard a noise he didn't know what it was, he'd rush to make sure he was okay.

When they arrived on our doorstep, we had two pigs already, they took us to four.  Yesterday we lost Einstein.  I'm not sure exactly what happened.  He had some tooth problems, but we had those taken care of.  It was just his time.  Now we are down to one pig, Fuzzy.  It's really quiet around here today.  It's amazing how much noise one little fellow can make by running through hey, eating veggies, and playing with his brother.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: Love, Sex, and Happily Ever After

In the book "Love, Sex, and Happily Ever After", Craig Groeschel presents ideas for singles to help them achieve the marriage they have always dreamed of -- before it starts.  For instance, he points out if you are constantly attracting the wrong kind of person, it could be you are putting out the wrong kind of signals.  He mentions you should make a list of what qualities you want in a future spouse, once you are done with the list, work on those areas in your own life.  After all, should you expect traits in someone else you are not willing to give yourself?

He explains that you are not to be looking for "The One" as God should be your number one.  Instead you should be finding "Your Two".  He talks about seeking advice from mentors or people you trust, admire and respect as well waiting for "Your Two".

Of course he discusses hot button issues such as sex before marriage.  (In a nutshell, don't do it.)  Also living together before marriage.  (Don't do it, be committed to the relationship more than just moving in together.)  He also discusses how to break up with the person you are dating without hurting them.

There is a chapter each for men and women on how to be a good husband or wife.  He discusses leadership and how that looks lived out in a practical manner (leadership in spiritual issues, financial, etc.)  He also explains that this is not something you can beat your wife over the head with and make her do whatever because you are the leader, but there should be mutual submission in place.  For the women, he discusses rebelling against the lies that our culture tells us.  These are things like we have to have a man to be complete or we can change a man.

There is a study guide included in this book, which would make it ideal to be used in a small group setting.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  I thought some of his attempts at humor were a bit lame, but he got his message across even if I didn't always think some of the jokes were funny.  This book was previously published as "Going All the Way" and I read it when it was published under another name, not realizing this was the same book when I requested it from the publisher for review.  I rarely re-read books and wouldn't have read it again had I realized this.  As someone in my thirties who is single and has never been married, I didn't find a lot of new information in this book, but it's still a good read to remind myself of certain ideals.

Please rank my review here:

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The opinions are my own.

Read the first chapter:
Love Sex and Happily Ever After by Craig Groeschel Sneak Peek

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Mail Wrap-Up 6/9/12

I had a full mailbox this week.

Not pictured, I received a box of five bags of "Food Should Taste Good" chips for being their weekly winner on Facebook.  Also, I received a $100 prepaid Visa I won when voting for a friend in a voting contest.  It really does pay to help others out!

I won a Lace Trim Baptism Bonnet with White Shamrocks from Mandi over at Catholic Newlywed.

From Kate at Parchment Girl I won a copy of Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt.  After reading the review Kate had posted on this book, I was really hoping to win one in her giveaway.  It sounds like a great book and I'm looking forward to reading it!

Aprile over at The Steady Hand Blog had chosen me as a winner for her giveaway of  Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms: Simple Ways to Stress Less and Enjoy Your Family More.

Grace at Blessed Elements chose me as a winner in the giveaway she was running for   Biblical Beauty: Ancient Secrets and Modern Solutions.   This is another book that looks absolutely great and I can't wait to read it.

The New Living Translation Blog ran a giveaway a while back where 300 people would win a  Bible that was numbered in a limited edition of 3000 in the Celebration edition of New Living Translation Bible.  I love this translation of the Bible, and was very happy to win one of the very first Bibles ever printed in this translation.

Finally, (not pictured) I won a $25 gift certificate from Henrietta over at A Hen's Nest to celebrate her birthday!  Happy birthday Henrietta!  :)  I am not sure what I'll get with my gift certificate, but I know it will be fun!

It was a fun mail week!  :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review: Illusion

IllusionIllusion by Frank Peretti

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although I don't read much fiction, I've been a fan of Frank Peretti since the late 1980s, so when I heard he had a new book out, I was very excited to read it.

Peretti's style changes.  I never know what to expect.  In Illusion, a government experiment and a couple magicians converge to create time travel.  Mandy is wheeled away, presumably dead, but the story picks up as young Mandy goes from 1970 with her friends at the fair to present day.

The story seems to drag a little in places. We know she is a magician, but the same tricks each time in detail could be skipped over as she does similar things with the tennis balls, hula hoops, etc. in each consecutive show.  The first time she does each trick would be enough to describe it.

I think this book would lend itself to a movie -- perhaps even better than the book as it is a very visual based book with lots of descriptions that run through this volume.  I watched the movie made from Peretti's book The Visitation, and that film fell short of my expectations as that was my favorite book of his, but unlike that one, this one I could picture very easily on the big screen.

The last hundred pages I read straight through, which is usually typical of me with any Peretti novel.  I need to finish it and find out what happens. 

My biggest complaint about this book isn't even something I would have said last time Peretti published a novel.  If you are going to buy this, I highly recommend it as an eBook.  Being a hardcover novel, it's just big at 495 pages, bulky, and at 1 pound 8 ounces, a bit heavy to hold for extended periods.

I very much enjoyed this book.  I think Peretti is a genius storyteller, and although it's not my favorite, it's still an excellent read and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Christian fantasy.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Farm Rich Foods

When I was in high school, a friend's mom always invited all of us to her house.  She and her husband said (over the din of 50 teenagers) that if we were there, they knew we were staying out of trouble.  She always made food for us to eat.  I was thinking, though, how much easier it would have been if she would have just bought some Farm Rich products.

Their jalapeno peppers are delicious.  Just put them in the oven for sixteen minutes and you've got a great appetizer or teen snack! ! How quick and easy is that?  And while they are cooking, you can watch to make sure the teenagers don't wreck your house!  I love jalapeno peppers and these are absolutely delicious!  I sometimes buy some jalapeno snacks from a local fast food place, and these are even better, and of course more economical.   Just look how good these look!

Another time saving item is Farm Rich meatballs.  I chose to get the turkey meatballs.  These are super easy to prepare as well.  In fact you can put five in a microwave safe bowl, add a tablespoon water, cover, and microwave on high for two and a half minutes and you've got meatballs ready to use!

Unlike the jalapeno peppers there are recipes on the Farm Rich site for using the meatballs.  Just go to the product page and click on recipes and you'll find recipes such as blue cheese buffalo balls  and easy sloppy joes.

For my review, though, I decided to make two different meals with the meatballs.  The first I decided to go with the classic spaghetti and meatballs.  I boiled angel hair pasta, fixed the meatballs in the microwave and in less than 10 minutes, dinner was on the table.   I couldn't believe how quick and simple it was.  My mother loved the meatballs and her only complaint was I didn't make enough!

For a second meal with the meatballs, I decided to take one of my favorite meals and use meatballs instead.  I went ahead and microwaved the meatballs, then added them to the crock pot with two regular sized cans of mushroom soup.  I let it cook an hour and a half to two hours, boiled some noodles, then fixed some vegetables and once again, a super quick and easy meal that was delicious!

I'd never tried Farm Rich products before now and I have to say I am extremely impressed.  My mother keeps asking if I've bought more meatballs!  They certainly have her approval.  I loved the jalapeno peppers and this is going to be a treat for me on occasion.

Farm Rich makes a number of different items.  A few I haven't yet tried but hope to are the mushroomsqueso cheese bites, and mini bacon cheeseburgers.

If you haven't yet tried these, you are in luck because Farm Rich Foods is going to send two coupons each one good for a free item to one reader of The Radar Report.

The giveaway is good in the USA only to those 18 and above and ends June 9th at 11:59 pm.

FTC disclaimer:  I received two coupons for free products in exchange for hosting this review and giveaway.  The coupons in  no way influenced my review.

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Weekend Mail Wrap-Up 6/2/12

This was a great mail week.  It started with a blog win that included:

Box of Lucky Charms (not pictured)
"spilt milk" bowl
two light up cups
two "tangle toys"
one straw to drink milk from your cereal bowl.

I also won a baseball glove and and Amp Energy t-shirt.

I ordered the book Fifty Shades of Grey  It is not normally what I read, but I've heard so many things good and bad about it, I am curious to see what *I* think.

For review I received:   Love, Sex, and Happily Ever After: Preparing for a Marriage That Goes the Distance.  I hope to be posting that review on the 11th or 18th. 

Also, not pictured, I received $32.29 in refund checks.  :)