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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Monopoly is 80!!

A long time family favourite is celebrating 80 years in 2015. Monopoly has been entertaining us and bringing families together for game night since 1935. Wow.  This one has always been high on my list, and we've amassed a little collection of various versions that have been released over the years, including one Hubs just purchased - a special Beatles edition!

A portion of our collection, including a game from the early 80s. Missing from picture - Boo's fave, Cityville Monopoly.
The 80th Anniversary Edition has all the classic property names, and includes a selection of 8 game pieces reflecting the 8 decades of Monopoly. The pieces are a gorgeous burnished metal, really solid. Personally I'm sad there's no wheelbarrow, but that's just me. These are a great cross-section, and I am happy to play with the latest addition - the cat.

The board and cards have a lovely, unbleached, vintage look to them. I thought the Community Chest and Chance cards looked a little flimsy at first, but they aren't. They are a nice, heavy cardstock. Even the dice are more ivory than white, giving everything an aged look. Very appealing.

Monopoly 80th Anniversary board

Perhaps the part I love the most about this new edition - the bank. This is the best organizer I have ever seen. It has spaces for each denomination of bills, a section for organizing and separating the properties, and wells for the houses and hotels. Awesome! This keeps everything super tidy and easy to access for the banker (always me - I'm a control freak).

The game follows classic rules, so it's the familiar game we've grown to love. The rules include auctioning of properties - when a player lands on an unowned property and doesn't want it, the bank must auction it off.  This rule will speed up game play, but doesn't make sense unless you have 3 or more players, so Boo and I have opted to ignore that rule during our 2 player games. I've toyed with the idea of introducing the Free Parking rule (any fines or taxes go in the middle and are collected when a player lands on Free Parking), but I haven't yet. This version explicitly says not to.

A final note - when playing Monopoly with kids, be sure to take advantage of the educational opportunities.  Buying properties, paying rent, calculating fines based on numbers of buildings owned - there are awesome opportunities to work on math skills. Whether it's figuring out the fine on your 3 houses, or subtracting to make change for rent, be sure you encourage your child to figure it out for themselves and only offer assistance if they really need it.

Are you the ultimate Monopoly fan? Monopoly is looking to crown the next Canadian National Champion, and it could be you! The big tournament will take place in Toronto, May 1-2, 2015. 48 participants will compete for the title, selected after completing a qualifying quiz. You can see all the details at

Monopoly Canadian Championship 2015

Or if you're like me and still at the recreational Monopoly level, just grab some family and friends and settle in for a great game at home!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate this review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let Your Smartphone Do Your Laundry! #LGNFC

Laundry has got to be one of the most frustrating of household tasks. As soon as you finish a load, there's another one piled up and ready to go. It is a truly never-ending task, without more than an hour of everything ever being clean at the same time. So, anything that makes that task a little less aggravating is a good thing in my books. 

And laundry machines have certainly gotten a lot more high-tech lately. With my tech-nerdiness I think this is pretty exciting. Have you seen what LG has developed, using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology?? Forget social media and surfing YouTube. Your smartphone can now help get your laundry the cleanest it can be.

Customize your washer or dryer cycle with a tap of your phone using the LG Smart Laundry app. Your washing machine needs may change but your laundry machines don’t have to!

LG NFC Tag-on technology takes your laundry at home to the next level. It eliminates the need for dry cleaning, by providing you with various and very specific wash and dry cycle settings right from your phone and in the comfort of your home.

What if you could customize your washer or dryer so it only has the cycles you want? LG’s NFC Tag-On technology lets you download new cycles directly from your smartphone. Simply download the app, select your new cycle and touch, or “tag,” your LG appliance to download your selection.

What else can NFC Tag-On do? From one-touch cycle options that help you choose the right setting to instant solutions to your troubleshooting questions, LG puts smarter, simpler laundry in the palm of your hand.

Check it out!

Want to know more? connect with LG on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Disclosure: This post has been brought to you be LG. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own. 

Black Dog Summer, by Miranda Sherry {Book Review}

I know book reviews aren't my usual offerings here, but this book looked so interesting I decided to take it on. Turns out it was right up my alley, and I'm happy to share it with you today.

“Something seems to have gone wrong with my dying. A small, bright thread of a story weaves out from the moment of my passing and seems to tether me to this place. Perhaps this is why I have not left yet. Perhaps I have no choice but to follow the story to its end.”

A powerful tale of secrets and loss, Black Dog Summer begins with a murder, a farmstead massacre, in the South African bush. Thirty-eight-year-old Sally is but one of the victims. Her life brutally cut short, she narrates from her vantage point in the afterlife and watches Gigi, her teenage daughter, move in with her Aunt’s dysfunctional family.

Gigi is unable to see beyond her deep grief and guilt, while others become more confused and frightened by the violent energy stirred up and awakened by the massacre. Little does the family know, the darkness lingers and there’s an impending danger that could destroy the lives of all who were left behind.

Black Dog Summer is the debut novel from Miranda Sherry. It is well-written, suspenseful, and I found it difficult to put down. Sherry really drew me into the story and successfully created a feeling of "needing to know" what had happened, both with the massacre and in the family history. The characters were well-developed, and their relationships compelling.

A secondary, but connected storyline centres on a mysterious next door neighbour, who has a special connection to the afterlife. She becomes an important player in the unfolding drama surrounding Gigi and her new family.

My only quibble with the novel - I felt Sherry moved too quickly into the climax. It's difficult to explain without giving too much away, but I did have a "where did that come from?" moment and maybe needed a little more foreshadowing. But, that should not take away from Sherry's overall accomplishment here. She has woven a compelling story, with great characters, suspense, and a suitably exciting ending. I definitely recommend!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary early release copy of this book for review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.  This post includes an affiliate link.
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