Tuesday, July 30, 2013


You only have ONE DAY left to enter to win a copy of Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats By the Red Mailbox, by Angela Shelton.

Click here to enter!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Madeline L! She won the Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats giveaway!

All You Knit is Love: 20 Patterns for Romantic Handmade Gifts, by Debbie Harrold

All You Knit is Love:
20 Patterns for Romantic Handmade Gifts
Author: Debbie Harrold
Publisher: Collins and Brown
Publication Date: January 5, 2012
All I can say is, "Hooray for Debbie Harrold!" Thanks to All You Knit is Love, I can proudly say that I have finally followed my very first pattern. First, a little back story:

About two months ago I took up knitting. Quite frankly, I hated it at first (you can read more about that here) but I stuck with it, mostly out of spite. I wasn't going to let knitting beat me! After a while I stopped hating it and actually wanted to get better at it. I learned to knit, to purl, to cast on (eventually) and to bind off (pretty much). I hoped I was ready for some of those knitting books for beginners. Turns out that "beginner" doesn't mean beginner, at least not really (more about that here). Knitting patterns completely intimidated me. Following a pattern for the first time armed only with a glossary of abbreviations was a little like trying to read music for the first time after being given a list of what the notes meant. Not impossible, but not pretty.

But I knew I could do it, if only I could find a book simple enough, aimed at actual beginners. AND I DID IT! I made a little doll based on a pattern in this book! It may not be perfect, and it may not be fancy, but it was easy. Keep reading to see pictures!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live, by Kathy H. Lee and Lesli Richards

The Homegrown Preschooler: 
Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live
Authors: Kathy H. Lee and Lesli Richards
Publisher: Gryphon House
Publication Date: May 1, 2013 
I'm of two minds about this book. On the one hand, I'm thrilled this book exists (it's a good book) but on the other hand, I'm a little sad that it NEEDS to exist. Let me explain that second one.

The premise of The Homegrown Preschooler is that you can "homeschool" your preschooler by giving them many of the early learning experiences that they might get from daycare or preschool, but in your own home or with outings that fit into your regular life. It's aimed at parents who wish to stay home with their preschool-aged children (for any number of reasons) but would also like them to get the early childhood education that best prepares them for school (whether that means kindergarten, first grade, homeschooling, etc.).
The reason this book makes me sad is because I'm amazed that any of this even needs to be said. OF COURSE your child learns from everyday experiences, like running errands with you, helping with household chores, playing outside. OF COURSE your home is perfectly well equipped to help your child learn, and doesn't need to be turned into a "classroom environment" for your preschooler. OF COURSE you are perfectly capable of teaching your child basics like early literacy and numeracy skills. Isn't that how most of us were raised ourselves?

I don't want this to sound like I'm saying that staying home with your child is better (or worse) than putting them in daycare or preschool. There are lots of factors that go into deciding when or if to put your child into daycare/preschool/childcare and there are always benefits and drawbacks to every option. I myself worked as an Early Childhood Educator at some fantastic daycares for nearly a decade before I had my daughter, and I know that there are great programs out there (and some not-so-great ones). When my daughter was born, I decided to stay home with her and have been implementing many of the things I learned as an ECE into our daily routines at home. So I guess I am "homeschooling" my preschooler already.

The thing that still amazes me, though, is the notion that we all need to be convinced that we, as parents, are CAPABLE of doing this. A couple of decades ago, early childhood education was almost always done in the home environment, either with a parent or another caregiver. Has the pendulum swung so far that we think that children can now only learn in a "real school" environment, even when they are three or four years old?

Here's my feeling, both as an ECE and as a parent. If your child is in childcare, make sure it's a quality facility that focuses on developmentally appropriate learning and has a program that you feel comfortable with. Then relax. Your child is fine! And if your child is home with you, don't spend your time stressing that she's missing out on daycare. Relax. Your child is fine!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Tremendous Pagoda Tree of Martha's Vineyard, by Amy MacDougall (illustrated by Nicole Gsell)

The Tremendous Pagoda Tree of Martha's Vineyard

Author: Amy MacDougall 
Illustrator: Nicole Gsell 
Publisher: Lychee Books 
Publication Date: May 10, 2013 
The Tremendous Pagoda Tree of Martha's Vineyard tells the story of Captain Thomas Milton's famous pagoda tree, a gift from one of his many trips to China as a shipping merchant in the early 1800's. The tree stands in Edgartown to this day, next to the historic Captain Thomas Milton House.

If none of this sounds familiar to you it's probably because, like me, you are not from Martha's Vineyard. Although my grandparents lived in Boston for many years and I visited them a number of times, I'm not that familiar with the surrounding area. I definitely didn't know much about Edgartown, Captain Milton or the famed pagoda tree.

So maybe this book won't exactly have universal appeal. My daughter Magda and I enjoyed the story and the pictures, but I think the real audience will be those children who live close enough to Edgartown to see it in person. The illustrations are faithful to the town itself (I looked it up after reading the book) and I think children will delight in seeing a familiar sight reflected in the pages. I know Magda and I have a great number of favourite books that take place here in Halifax. We've even taken them on picnics with us to read in the actual locations where the stories take place.

If you do live or vacation near Martha's Vineyard, I'm sure you and your child will consider this book a must have. If not, well, it's a lovely story but it may not resonate with you quite as much.

Keep reading to see a video of the pagoda tree today!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy's Journey to Becoming a Big Kid, by Simon Pegg

Nerd Do Well:
A Small Boy's Journey to Becoming a Big Kid
Author: Simon Pegg
Publisher: Gotham
Publication Date: June 9, 2011
Now THIS is how you do a celebrity memoir! Simon Pegg may have been reluctant to pen a memoir (more on that in a minute) but he certainly rose to the occasion. It's a fully fleshed out (get it? like zombies?) account of his early days, his rise to fame, his famous (and less famous) projects, with just the right amount of personal details and lots of humour. AND A TONNE OF PHOTOS! Which, really, is all we ever wanted in the first place, isn't it? 

Plus he included an incredibly geeky fictionalized story of "Simon Pegg, Superhero" interspersed throughout the book. I mostly skimmed it. 

But back to his initial reluctance to write the book in the first place. Read this opening paragraph and just try not to picture about a million celebrity memoirs (*ahem* Mindy Kaling):

"It was never my intention to write an autobiography. The very notion made me uneasy. You see them congesting the bookshop shelves at Christmas. Rows of needy smiles, sad clowns and serious eyes, proclaiming faux-modest life stories, with tiles such as This is Me, or Why, Me?, or Me, Me, Me. ... And who cares anyway? ... There's something presumptuous in writing an autobiography, as if people's interest in your life is a given."

Well said, Simon Pegg. Well said.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life of a Personal TV Guest Star, by Fred Stoller (foreward by Ray Romano)

Maybe We'll Have You Back:
The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star
Author: Fred Stoller (foreward by Ray Romano)
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Do you know who Fred Stoller is? Yes you do, you just might not know it. Check out his IMDb page. He has a hundred credits. Go ahead. I'll wait. Now do you know who he is? Oh right, he's THAT guy! You loved/hated him on [insert name of almost any sitcom here] that one time. He's been an annoying waiter, an annoying ticket taker, an annoying guy on the street, even an annoying biker. But I don't really find him annoying. In many ways he's my favourite guy whose name I never knew.

Maybe We'll Have You Back is the story of a perennial guest star, a working actor who is able to live by his craft but never quite "hit the big time" as they say. I have a number of friends who are working actors and it's not a bad thing to be. Sure, you have to hustle to make sure you get your next gig, but it's pretty great to be able to support yourself doing the thing you love best. So I think this book will have tremendous appeal to a working actors or those who aspire to be one. On the other hand, it's the story of someone who never got his own show and never became a household name, no matter how much people loved him or how many jobs he booked. So maybe young actors would find that a little depressing. Fred Stoller certainly does.

The book is, for the most part, sincere. He's really talking about what it's like to be a comedian who spends his life auditioning or booking one-week gigs. As such, it's not always "funny." Sure, Fred Stoller is funny, but this book is like having a conversation with him, not going to see his act. It's a memoir of a comedian rather than a comedy routine. Which is fine. It is what it is.

Hit the jump to see my favourite clip of Fred Stoller in action...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In the Body of the World, by Eve Ensler

In the Body of the World 
A Memoir
Author: Eve Ensler 
Publisher: Random House 
Publication Date: April 30, 2013

I can't pretend this was an easy read. When the author of The Vagina Monologues goes to the Congo to talk to women who have survived years of systematic rape and mutilation, then fights for her own life against uterine cancer, then writes a book about it, the result is hardly warm and fuzzy. But it is captivating, and inspiring, and oddly uplifting, and even a little bit humourous. 

In a chapter titled "Live By the Vagina, Die By the Vagina," Ensler writes about an experience with a doctor after she had completed her cancer treatment. "If it comes back," he tells her. "We could radiate your vagina." She writes:
"Radiate my vagina. I feel like a character in a futuristic sequel to The Vagina Monologues....Radiate my vagina. Do you know who I am? Do you have any irony?"
Just as Ensler gained strength from the women whose stories broke her heart, because--despite everything--they found ways to survive and so could she, so I found inspiration in her story. Though it did, in so many ways, break my heart.

Monday, July 22, 2013

You Got to Be Kidding! The Cultural Arsonist's Literal Reading of The Bible, by Joe Wenke

You Got to Be Kidding!
The Cultural Arsonist's Literal Reading of The Bible
(also published as You Got to Be Kidding! The Cultural Arsonist's Satirical Reading of The Bible)
Author: Joe Wenke
Publisher: Trans Uber
Publication Date: September 26, 2012
I'm not sure what a "cultural arsonist" is, but this book is pretty funny. It's not, in case you were wondering, "serious scholarship." A lot of other reviewers seemed to be all up in arms because they were "serious biblical scholars" and they felt Joe Wenke just wasn't up to the task. He's not trying to be up to that task. He's being facetious, half-serious. He's pointing out the ways in which a literal reading of the bible would lead to absurdity (think A.J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically). 

But he's not, I don't think, trying to be farcical or even deliberately offensive (a lot of reviewers accused him of that too). He makes some excellent points. If you've carefully read the bible and haven't had some of these same questions, I'd like to know why not quite frankly! 

Honestly, my biggest complaint wasn't with the content or the subject matter but with the font choices. The digital copy I had seemed to have about ten different font types and sizes, sometimes switching within the same word. It was beyond distracting. I'm guessing I must have just gotten a corrupted file or something (it was sent to me by the publisher through Net Galley) because the preview on Amazon looked completely fine. I usually email the publishers when things like this happen, but sometimes it can take a while to hear back from them. So I'll just assume it was a problem with the file I received and not a quirk of the book itself.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sinatra and Me: The Very Good Years, by Tony Consiglio and Franz Douskey (narrated by Norman Dietz)

Sinatra and Me
The Very Good Years
Authors: Tony Consiglio and Franz Douskey
Audiobook Narrator: Norman Dietz
Publisher: Tantor Media
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Buy Now on Amazon.com paperback kindle audio
Buy Now on Amazon.ca paperback kindle audio 
The best and worst thing about an audiobook is that the narration very much affects your enjoyment of the book. And the best and worst thing about a review of an audiobook is that it very much takes the narration into account when discussing the book. Some books are only made better by great narration. Sadly, my experience has been that this is rare. Usually the best an audiobook can hope for is to not ruin the book for the listener with narration that is uneven, filled with weird accent choices, delivered too fast or too slow, read at an odd pitch, or just otherwise odd. This, in my experience, is far too common.

Take, for example, the case of Sinatra and Me: The Very Good Years, by Tony Consiglio and Franz Douskey. It's plenty interesting. It's a memoir of Sinatra's life as told by one of his oldest and closest friends, Tony Consiglio. It's also an audiobook narrated by Norman Dietz. It's the last bit that's the problem.

There's a fine line between bringing a story to life by imitating the voice and cadence of the author (or the subject), and turning your narration into a stereotyped-filled caricature. Actually it's not that fine a line. I felt like I was listening to Jackie Mason as Rabbi Krustofski.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Story of the Voice, by David B. Capes, Chris Seay and James F. Couch, Jr.

The Story of The Voice
Authors: David B. Capes, Chris Seay, and James F. Couch, Jr.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
It's not often that I review bibles or biblical materials, but I was so impressed with The Voice Bible translation that I read last year. It was written by gathering poets, authors and biblical scholars together to create a bible that read well as a story. A lot of translations claim that, but this one really looked different from any one I had seen before. The pages look like a screenplay, with dialogue separated out and prefaced by the name of the person speaking. It's genius, really.

The Story of the Voice is just what it sounds like. It's the story of how those collaborators came together and made the decisions they made in order to create The Voice. I loved reading it. There were some surprises, but for the most part I found myself thinking, "That's what I thought they meant to do! I can see that!" They even refer to the page layout as the "screenplay" approach, just like I thought. 

I know this sounds weird, but The Story of the Voice made me feel like the authors didn't just understand the bible, they also understood me as a reader. I know. That sounds weird, doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Living with Shakespeare: Actors, Directors, & Writers on Shakespeare in Our Time, by Susannah Carson (ed.)

Living With Shakespeare:
Actors, Directors and Writers on Shakespeare in Our Time
Editor: Susannah Carson
(Preface by: Harold Bloom)
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
If there's one thing I've learned from my ongoing Shakespeare in a Year project, it's that reading about Shakespeare can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I've found it helpful to understand the context in which plays were written and to get a some perspective on what they mean. I've read essays on Shakespeare that opened the plays up to me in whole new ways (see: everything Ben Crystal writes). On the other hand, my enjoyment of certain plays has been greatly hampered by reading too many of those types of literary essays before reading the actual play. The introduction to Coriolanus in my Riverside Shakespeare had me convinced I would hate it, and I was half way through the play before I realized I was loving it. It's tricky to take those Shakespearean "authorities" as, well, too authoritative.

Which is precisely why I love this book. The authors of the essays all show their hands. They reveal their biases and specific perspectives and just tell you their opinions. There are no anonymous introductions to the "right" way to read Shakespeare here (like in my stupid Riverside Shakespeare). These are essays by people talking about how and why they see certain plays or certain passages the way they do. You may agree or disagree with them, but at least you know where they're coming from. 

And yes, there's even an essay about Coriolanus. Ralph Fiennes did the movie version and he too was worried that everyone would hate it, even though he found the play, in his words, "addicting." I hear ya, Ralph. It IS addicting, and don't let those anti-Coriolanus "experts" tell you otherwise.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't listen to what Shakespearean scholars have to say. And there are plenty of Shakespearean scholars in this book. What I'm saying is that a literary scholar's opinion about Macbeth, for example, may be very different from an actor's, or a director's, or a prisoner's (see: Shakespeare Saved My Life). And that's what I loved about this book. It offered different perspectives without any one voice being "the one and only true way to feel about Shakespeare." 

As someone who is just now getting around to reading all of Shakespeare's plays for myself, it was a breath of fresh air to realize that it's okay that so many of them disagreed about things. When I was a student, I'm sure I would have been looking for the "right way" to read Hamlet or A Midsummer Night's Dream but now I appreciate the discussions more than the answers. I'm not sure if we would have preserved these plays for 400 years if there wasn't so MUCH to discuss.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I'd like to thank my guest blogger today, Angela Shelton, author of Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats. I reviewed Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats: By the Red Tractor Mailbox (Book One) in yesterday's post, and announced a giveaway contest that runs until July 31 (get your entries in!). Today, Ms. Shelton talks a little bit more about how you can use dress up play--particularly with fun hats--to not only encourage creativity and self-expression, but also to teach the alphabet. 

Teach the Alphabet and New Vocabulary Through Dress Up! 

 Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hats is written to expand the minds of little ones (K-3rd grade readers) and get them thinking about bigger words and ideas! 
Kids are WAY smarter than you think and a great way to get their little brains working is with dress up time! That goes for boys and girls, since they can dress up as anything from a princess to a cowboy.  
The easiest way to play dress up is with hats! Shoes are fun too but can be a tad dangerous with the little ones trying to walk a grownup’s footwear. Hats are another story and tell who you are immediately as far as the imagination of dress up goes. 
I happen to collect hats so I have a huge selection for little ones to choose from. (I keep the very delicate ones packed away from sticky hands though.) 
When a little boy puts on a cowboy hat for example and you say, “Yeeehaw, you’re a cowboy! That starts with C. C for cowboy!” It totally and completely gets that little one excited. You will shortly hear them yell out, “C is for cowboy!”  
If you don’t have a huge collection of hats, you can hit your local thrift store or make your own hats out of construction paper, glue and tape and add in some glitter. Here’s a list of hats that show up in the Tilda books. 

A is for Aviator Hat.  
You can fly high in the sky with this hat!  

B is for Baseball Cap.  
This hat helps you play really well. 

C is for Cowboy Hat. 
Yeehaw!  You can ride really fast in this hat. 

D is for Disco Hat. 
You can dance dance dance with this hat. 

E is for Easter Bonnet.  
This hat has flowers and butterflies. 

F is for Fireman’s Hat. 
Save the day and put out dangerous fires wearing this hat! 

G is for Goofy Hat that makes you laugh.  
Tilda’s hat has a fish tank in it for giggles. 

H is for Helmet to keep you safe. 
Where your helmet when you are riding very fast. 

I is for Intelligent Cap. 
This is a great thinking cap. It is fun to be smart.   

J is for Jester Cap.  
It has bells on the end to ring when you do something silly. 

K is for the King Crown.    
You can wear this and sit on a throne.  

L is for Lace Hat. 
You look very pretty in this hat.  

is for Matador Hat.  
This one is shaped like a bull’s head with the horns for bull fighting.   

N is for Nurse Cap. 
Bandages don’t hurt when you have this hat on.  

is for Opera Hat.  
Sing a song when you have this on! 

P is for a Peaked Cap. 
Military officers and police officers wear these.     

Q is for the Queen’s Crown. 
You can wear this and sit on a throne.

R is for Robin Hood Hat. 
This one has a long feather in the back. 

S is for Stocking Cap.  
This long hat has a pompom at the end. 

T is for Top Hat.  
You can wear this hat to go on a walk or to lead a circus. 

U is for Underwater Swimming Cap.  
You can swim with this hat on. 
V is for Visor. 
This is to shade your eyes. 

W is for Wizard’s Hat. 
This very long hat sparkles with magic stardust. 

X is for the Xylophone Musical Hat. 
This hat makes music when you walk. You can be a whole band! 

is for Your Favorite Hat!  
Which hats do you like best?  

Z is for Zebra Striped Nighttime Hat.  

Sometimes you need to wear this one to fall asleep. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR: REVIEW + GIVEAWAY! Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats: By the Red Tractor Mailbox (Book 1), by Angela Shelton (illustrated by James Murray)

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Thank-you to everyone who entered and congratulations to our winner, Madeline!!

Hooray! It's time for another BLOG TOUR! I don't always love these, because a lot of times the organizers want you to promote all kinds of books on your blog, sight unseen, without giving you a review copy or any promotional materials to work with. What if the book sucks? I always wonder. Anyway, that's not how I roll. I never promote a book on my blog without reading it first, and I never give a book a positive review if I don't truly love the book. Which means I don't participate in many blog tours (it could get a little awkward if I interview an author and all my questions are, "Why did you book suck so much?" and "Did you know your book sucks?"). Luckily, when there's a book I really like and a virtual tour organizer who's really keen, BLOG TOURS CAN BE AWESOME. They can usually mean interviews or guest posts by the author and GIVEAWAYS!
In this case, it's ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I received a copy of Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats By the Red Tractor Mailbox (Book 1), by Angela Shelton (illustrated by James Murray) from Teddy Rose at Virtual Author Book Tours. The book is fantastic (you can read my review and my daughter's input below) AND the author is doing a guest post tomorrow AND the publisher is sponsoring a giveaway (scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway).

The Book

Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats:
Book One: By the Red Tractor Mailbox
Author: Angela Shelton
Illustrator: James Murray
Publisher: Quiet Owl Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2013

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Teddy Rose at Virtual Author Book Tours so I could review it and participate in this blog tour. I was not required to write a favourable review, nor was I otherwise compensated for my participation. All opinions expressed are strictly my own (with a little help from my three-year-old, Magda). The book giveaway will be sponsored by the publisher and will be open to U.S. residents only.

Tilda Pinkerton is the magical owner of a VERY magical hat shop (a magical milliner, if you will). She has thousands of hats of all shapes and sizes (even small enough for woodchucks and gnats!) which she gives away for free to anyone who wants or needs one. The catch is you have to use your magical hat to create something "wonderful, beautiful in the world." For Madison Mae and Albert it's an easy choice: they need hats that will help them come up with ways to save their grandparents' failing farm.

Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats is described as appropriate for Read-Aloud K-2, and Reading Level 3, but I was able to read it to my three-year-old with no problem (though Magda has a pretty high attention span for books and has been listening to chapter books for over a year already). The text is large and the story is relatively simple, but each chapter contains "bigger" words that are a little above the intended reading level. These words are then listed at the end of each chapter and explained in a glossary at the back. Most of the words were ones that Magda was able to pick up from context, but it was fantastic that Ms. Shelton included them to encourage children to expand their vocabulary. And Magda felt very clever when there were "bigger" words that she already knew ("taken aback," according to Magda, means "so startled, like you have to jump back and go Whoa!").

There are other nice touches about the book as well. The large line drawings are left intentionally simple so that children can colour them in themselves (if they own the book, of course!), and there are some blank pages on which readers are encouraged to draw their own favourite hats.

Here's what Magda had to say:

Magda's Take

Me: Did you like this book?

Magda: Yes! It was perfect. I liked Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats because I really like saying "Pinkerton." I like "Tilda" too, but I REALLY like the name "Pinkerton."

Me: What happened in the book?

Magda: Well there was a flood. I liked the part about the flood because it was like the real flood that happened on the news, except nobody got hurt and drowned because it was just imaginary characters. So Tilda Pinkerton couldn't drowned.

Me: Would you like to have a magical hat from Tilda Pinkerton?

Magda: Yes. I think I would want a Magda-Mag hat.

Me: What's that?

Magda: It's a hat with a little kid on it who has hair but not hair on her skin and no beard. Just hair on her head. And you could have a Mommy-Mom hat, and Daddy could have a Daddy-Dad hat. The Mommy-Mom hat would have a mommy on it, with hair and glasses, and the Daddy-Dad hat would have a dad on it with a bald head and a beard.

Me: What would our hats help us do?

Magda: They would support our bodies when we did flips, so we could all practice flips and backflips together.

Me: Wow. Wouldn't you want an astronaut helmet or a farmer's hat so you could be an astronaut or a farmer [her two biggest career goals right now]?

Magda: No, because I want to do those things when I'm older, but I want to learn how to do flips and somersaults NOW.

Me: That makes total sense to me.

The Author

Come back tomorrow for a guest post by author Angela Shelton!

Not only is she an actor, a filmmaker and an author, she also has one of the most engaging author photos I've seen in a while. That's her on the right and also in the banner picture at the top of this post. It just makes me want to know her and hang out with her!

The Blog Tour

You can follow Tilda Pinkerton around the interweb:

So Many Precious Book July 2 Review & Giveaway
Books, Books & More Books  July 3 Review
Books, Books & More Books  July 5 Guest Post
Haunting of Orchid Forsythia July 8 Review
Sweeps4Bloggers July 9 Review & Giveaway
Sincerely Stacie July 10 Review
Library of Clean Reads July 11 Review
Cozy Little Book Journal & The Bookish Elf July 15 Review
Cozy Little Book Journal & The Bookish Elf July 16 G & Guest Post
Carole Rae’s Ramblings July 17 Review
Reading Novels Online  July 18 Review
Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms July 19 Review
Saving for 6 July 22 Review
Saving for 6 July 23 Guest Post
Thoughts in Progress July 23 Review & Giveaway
Joy Story July 25 Review
Haunting of Orchid Forsythia July 26 Interview
From L.A. to LA July 29 Review
Heck of a Bunch July 30 Review & Giveaway
Second Bookshelf July 31 Interview
Pragmatic Mom Aug 5 Review
Sweet Southern Home Aug 6 Review
VW Stitcher Aug 7 Review
Musing with Crayolakym Aug 8 Review    
DWED Blog Aug 9 Review
DWED Blog Aug 9 Interview
City Book Review Aug 12 Review
Giveaways & Glitter Aug 13 Review         

The Giveaway

I'm feeling pretty lazy this summer so this giveaway is (hopefully) super easy. All you have to do is either:

(a) like Cozy Little Book Journal on Facebook;
(b) follow @CozyBookJournal on Twitter;
(c) leave a blog post (either on The Bookish Elf or Cozy Little Book Journal) or Facebook comment telling me your favourite way to play dress up with your kids; or
(d) Tweet about the giveaway.

That's it. You can do any or all of those things. It doesn't matter. Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to let me know you entered.

The giveaway is for a print copy of the book to be sent by the publisher to one winner, so I'm not in charge of the shipping on this one. Unfortunately, that also means the contest is open to U.S. residents only (sorry everyone else...you can still enter my other giveaways though...check the sidewalk on the right for more info). Contest is only open from July 15-31, 2013 so get your entries in early!

Related Posts

The Case of the Ruby Slippers
Charlotte's Web
Funny Frank

Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity

Spaceheadz 3

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist

Bread and Wine:
A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with recipes
Author: Shauna Niequist
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
Finally! Someone who GETS it! As much as I love, love, love those glossy cookbooks with gorgeous pictures of food and home decor that looks like it came right off of Pinterest, the truth is those are ALL KINDS of intimidating. I can't get mine to look like that. Would people eat it if I did? My house is too messy to invite people over anyway. Besides, all of that looks so fattening...

Shauna Niequist knows all that. She thinks the same things. And you know what? She says DO IT ANYWAY! Enjoy food. Enjoy those moments in your life when food memories are made. Food is an essential part of our lives, not just because we need to eat to live, but because so many of our family and social memories are tied up in food. Yes, food and entertaining can cause anxiety and guilt, especially in women, but we can't let that take away all our wonderful experiences with food and loved ones. 

In a lot of ways this book was a healing journey for me. I have had all of the same fears and anxieties as the author (I was particularly affected by the chapter about having a house that is too messy, too small, or too unfinished to entertain...but doing it anyway) but I also miss having that wonderful, positive relationship with food, particularly with sharing food with friends and family. Shauna Niequist really inspired me!