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2011 A – Z Book Challenge Results

Remember when I said I’d be doing the A – Z book challenge? You know, read a book for each letter of the alphabet during the course of the year? How’d I end up doing, you ask? Well…..

I ended up reading 32 books (and started a few that were terribly awful so I stopped…I’ve NEVER done that before!!)

Having read 32 books, you’d think I would have reached my goal, right? Wrong. I got sucked up into a few trilogies and series and repeated some letters (talkin’ to you, H, S, and A!), and missed *2* letters. And the letters that I missed aren’t necessarily the one’s you expect, either πŸ™‚ I’m actually in the middle of a Z book at the moment…and the other one? A G book. Crazy. Yes, I’ll finish the Z and yes, I’ll read the G that I already downloaded to my Kindle.

Will I do this challenge again? Heck ya! That was fun! I read a whole bunch of books that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Would I do it again this year? Heck no! I gotta catch up on the trilogies and series I ignored this past year πŸ™‚

Giveaway: You’re All My Favorites

Sorry, this giveaway is now CLOSED.

I’ve been reading You’re All My Favorites by Sam McBratney to Logan each night before bed. To say that this story is incredible for families with more than one kid is an understatement.

This wonderful story is about a family of bears: mom, dad, and 3 baby bears. Each night, they’re told that they’re all the best bears in the world – which makes them feel safe and secure until one night when they ask which one is the favorite. The mommy bear’s answer to each baby bear is fantastic!!

This is one of Logan’s favorite books. And I’m thinking that I should probably round up Burke and Maggie and read it to them too – that just hasn’t happened yet. (Bad Mommy! πŸ˜‰ )

Because I love this book so much – I want to give one to you!!

To Enter to Win the book:

There are multiple ways to enter. Only one of the ways to enter is mandatory, all of the others are optional – you do not have to do all of them to be entered!

You have until Midnight on Wednesday, March 9th to enter. The winner will be posted on Thursday the 10th.

Mandatory – 1 entry:

  • How do you let your kids know that they are all your favorites?
    (or … do you have a favorite? Is it known?)

Optional – 1 entry each:

  • Was there a moment that one of your kids asked if another was your favorite?
  • Twitter about this post and leave a comment with a direct link to your tweet.

Optional – 2 entries:

  • Blog about this post and leave a comment with a direct link to your post.

Disclaimer: I did not receive this book from anyone to review; I will not be receiving a copy to give away. I just love the book and wanted to share (and will be doing so out of my own pocket).

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076362442X?ie=UTF8&tag=thzizo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=076362442X”>You’re All My Favorites</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=thzizo-20&l=as2&o=1&a=076362442X&#8221; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Makes My Monday: Free Books and a Warm Welcome

Today’s mail brought me some wonderful things!

The Usborne Book party I hosted (while contemplating becoming a consultant) brought in about $85 worth of free books! I spent a few bucks as well, but this is my stash:

The one I’m most excited about is the Very First Reading collection. The adult reads one side of the page and the child reads the other. As the child gets more confident, the books become “harder” and the child side gets more and more words. How cool is that??


The second thing the mail brought to me today was my new consultant package! I opened the flap and saw:

Cute πŸ™‚ It totally made me smile!


The third thing the mail brought today was my new business card!! (Thanks Vistaprint!)

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: Fairs

Over the past few days we’ve been to two fairs. The first was a Church fair where all of them women’s groups got together to sell home made things and stuff like that. There was a “General Store” where jams and knitted items and such were displayed (where I worked for an hour). There were booths full of flannel blankets and one booth entirely dedicated to pies. There was a crafting booth where kids could go and paint or make a sand necklace. There were booths with hot dogs for lunch. My women’s group put together bags of bulbs to sell (we almost sold out!). They also had a lawn sale with items that members of the church had donated. The Fair was pretty big! I had a good time at my table…and even came away with an apple pie and 3 of those towels with loop-type tops sewn on so they won’t fall off my oven handle anymore. πŸ™‚

The second one was a book fair at the school. So much fun! I remember loving looking through those Scholastic pamphlets at all the books that had the potential to come home with me…and Burke and Maggie have picked that tradition right up. As soon as the pamphlet came through the door, they were pouring through trying to figure out which books would make it into our house. I gave them each a $20 spending limit. Maggie immediately pointed to the book she wanted …which, of course, was $19.99. And Burke spent his time choosing 4 books that equaled $20. (Shows so much about their personality…most expensive vs. largest number of things for his buck…) The fun part of this though was this it was an actual book fair during their library time today. I got to go in and help them choose what they wanted. Actual books! Luckily, Maggie was the first session of the day and she knew exactly what she wanted – I couldn’t sway her in the slightest – so she made a B-line right for her book. I say “luckily” because there were only 2 of those books…and another little girl in her class snapped up the other one. Burke’s session was later in the day (after lunch) after 4 or 5 other classes had already gone through, but he wasn’t as picky as Maggie. I think we made one substitution for him and he was fine with it.

Helping out at two different (but fun in their own way) Fairs Makes My Monday.

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Reading to My Kids – Book Review: Magic Tree House Series

When we went to Vermont, my goal was to bring a Ramona book with us to read a chapter or so to the kids each night before bed. (They’re used to made-up stories from Mike…I’m just not that creative!)

I forgot to bring the book.

Step in Uncle Jason. He brought a book over (without knowing what my goal was) saying that Cousin Grey really likes the series, had we heard of it? I hadn’t, but I’m SO GLAD that he introduced us to it!

I’ve heard that The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne currently has about 45 books it it. (Yikes!) And I hear that she’s still writing. So we should be set for a while!

The first in the series is called Dinosaurs Before Dark. This one is the must-read since it sets up the whole series. In a nutshell: Annie and Jack find a magical tree house. It’s full of books that transport them to places when they make a wish on a picture in a book. For example, in the first book, Jack opens a book in the tree house and sees a dinosaur. He wishes he could see one in real life and Viola … he does.

We read this over 3 or 4 nights while in Vermont. Two to three chapters a night. And the kids couldn’t get enough. They begged for me to buy the book so we could have it at home – not realizing that there are more in the series and they could have new adventures with Annie and Jack. I hopped onto ebay and did my thing…we now have 15 of these books (mostly in order…)

We started reading the second one, The Knight at Dawn, a few days ago. Since we’re home now – and nothing compares to Daddy’s bed time stories – I’m reading to them before Daddy gets home from work…and they’re choosing another chapter over turning the TV on (be still my beating heart!)

Other than my kids really enjoying these books, the thing *I* like about them is that there’s an actual plot. It’s much better (for me) than reading the same silly little book over and over (not that there’s anything wrong with That’s Not My Princess…), and I’m finding that I want to know what’s going to happen next too!

Thank you, Ms. Osborne, for writing such wonderful stories for my whole family to enjoy!

Saturday Snapshot: Reading with Nana

Grandpa, Nana, and Aunt Meghan arrived from Vermont to see Maggie’s recital tonight. Aunt Cathy and Granny Frani are here too.

Nana brought books!

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Go over and have a look at what others are doing on this crazy Saturday.

Blog Farts

Blog Farts – noun. Def: Crappy ideas that are too short to make a real blog post, but when combined, join forces to make one unified, albeit half a$$ed, post. see also: memes, surveys.

(If you follow me on Twitter or FB, you’ve probably seen a bunch of these before. I figure if I get β€˜em here, they’ll eventually end up in my Blog Book.)

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts….


Sometimes…the image in my head is so vivid I have to remind myself that I read it in a book rather than watched it on a show…


Texting is unhealthy for my thumb nails.


Maggie’s wishing star wish the other night: “I wish for everything to stay magical.” Me too, sweetie. Me too.


Last request of the night from Maggie: “Daddy, can you pick me my good dream, please?”


Saw the license plate “SBD” …wonder if the owner is gassy.


I hate it when I spend over $100 at the grocery store and neglect to pick anything up for dinner *tonight*


Burke woke up a few mornings ago and said before anything else “The trees have eyebrows!” And then said it’s what he saw when his eyes were closed.


Burke is trying to convince me that we bought him (and Maggie) at the Hospital.


Walked in to Dunkin Donuts with Burke. He said, “It smells WONDERFUL in here!” Indeed. (Made the guy behind us giggle a little…)


I hate it when my head feels like I have a hat on…I keep checking. There isn’t one there. WTH??


Every time I see a Rotor Rooter van I want to stop and see if it’s Jason and Grant. All Rotor Rooter workers are Ghost Hunters, right?


Must remember that “Play Dough Die” in Logan speak means “Little Star.” As in … sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to me, Mommy!


Conversations from the other morning

Me to Mike: “Bye, Honey! Have a great day!”
Logan to Mike: “Bye, Honey!”



I think closet junk food eaters aren’t that way for the reason you’d think. We’re not embarrassed, we just don’t want to share.

Book Review: Handle With Care

For my book club, I read Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care. I’ve never read anything by her before – although I’ve heard of some of her books (like My Sister’s Keeper). I have mixed feelings. Are all of her books so freakin’ emotional??? I’m not sure I can handle that πŸ™‚ Oh my goodness the tears.

The first thing I noticed was that the book has recipes in it! And yummy-looking ones at that. How can you not like a book that includes information about how to bake something tasty? πŸ™‚

The second thing I noticed was that each chapter is set up as a different character talking (or writing a journal entry) to one specific character in the book, Willow. It feels really, really personal because you know they’re talking to Willow, but it totally feels like they’re speaking directly to you. Another neat thing Ms. Picout did (that I probably noticed right away because of my tech writing background)..? Each character has their own font. So each chapter is a different font! I thought that was a nice touch.

However, since each chapter is a different character and they’re all talking in the first person – it is sometimes a brain “ka-thunk” to remember who is doing the talking. Not a huge one, but it’s still there. There were a few times that I had to page back and look at the chapter title again (the title is the name of the character). Also, even though knowing the character is talking to Willow, when I switched from one chapter to the next, I had to remind myself that the new character wasn’t talking to the previous character; s/he was talking to Willow. Again, not a big deal … but it was there.

The way Ms. Picoult puts you through all these different – and very strong – emotions is amazing. And the way she makes you think “Yikes. What would *I* do in that situation??” is incredible. She just grabs you and makes you read until you can no longer keep your eyes open. πŸ™‚ Very engaging.

I do have to say that I didn’t really like the ending. I’m not sure, exactly, how I would have wanted it to end…but definitely not the way it did. Or if the ending had to happen that way; perhaps it shouldn’t have been the ending because we need more information about how those events impacted the other characters. Perhaps I was just left wanting more…

I’ll definitely be picking up another book by Ms. Picoult – but I need to read a few not-so-freakin-emotional ones first! πŸ™‚

Is It Just Me?

I read a lot. Well, let’s clarify that – I read as much as I can…which was a lot more before kids, but I still get a book in here and there now.

I’ve recently realized that I tend to “take on” the mood of where I’ve left off in the book. It’s only for a split second, but it’s there. For example, if I leave the book in a spot where the main character is in a snit, I’ll be snippy … until I realize “Hey! That’s not MY mood!” Seriously, it’s only for a few seconds with the first person I come across, but it happens. (Sorry, Mike!)

I suppose the same thing happens if I leave off when the main character is in a wonderful mood – but I don’t notice that as much, and don’t mind if I keep it πŸ™‚

Saturday Snapshot 2: A Little Bookish

Marjorie: “Mommy, will you read me, please?”


Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one too. Go over and have a look at what others are doing on this beautiful Saturday. (This is post #2, post #1 is here.)