Simple Small Bear - FO!

Finally! I finished the Simple Small Bear from The Best-Dressed Knitted Bear! Could I have taken any longer?

Probably. If I'd tried just a little bit harder.

Anyway, here he is in all his glory.

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All my pictures of V with the bear look pretty much like this:

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So R was kind enough to help me out.

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Whew! I'm going to go update my Rav status as soon as I finish this post! Victory is mine!

Ok, so here's the thing - I'm glad I made him, but I'm not so sure that I want to make another. Or really any other sort of knitted stuffed animal. I love them, they're just not my thing.

So I figured I'd give this book away here on the blog because I'm sure there are plenty of people who would enjoy knitting several bears and the outfits that go with them.

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Am I right?

So here are the details to win The Best-Dressed Knitted Bear book:

Your comment is your entry.

If you want to tweet it, Facebook it, blog it, or something-else-I-haven't-thought-of it, go ahead and do that. Just make sure you leave me at least one comment telling me what all you did and with links to where I can find it. That'll get you extra points. If you want to tweet it 10 times, that's way cool, but only the first time will get you an extra point.

Comments will be open until sometime Tuesday morning - whenever I can get to the computer. I'll close the comments then and announce it soon after.

Contest is open to folks around the world. Woot!

Ok...I think that's it.

Sneaky Weasel + giveaway (yay!)

Comments are closed - I'll announce the winners later today. Thanks for playing!


Does this little girl look like she's in the mood for her mama to take her photo?

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Let's try again.

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Ok, now that's more like it!

Recently, I got my weaselly little mitts on a really great children's book, my favorite in a while. It's called Sneaky Weasel and it's by first-time children's book author/illustrator Hannah Shaw.

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The premise is simple: Sneaky Weasel is a bully and, when he finally realizes that nobody likes him, he mends his fences and his ways and then there's a party.

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It's a good story on its own, but the illustrations! Oh my! This book is vivid. Right down to the font and word choices, there is a lot of really fantastic artwork going on here. V and I could spend all afternoon picking out things we didn't notice the last time and laughing over just how sneaky that weasel is.

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At 3 & 1/2, V is just now getting to the point where she understands the moral of a story and can begin to relate it to her own life. And we've just scratched the surface of this book - it will continue to unfold for her for a long time to come. Right now, we're just enjoying the book and talking a bit about it in connection with situations in our lives, but there are opportunities here to talk about bullying, apologizing when you're wrong, being a good friend, and what to serve a hedgehog at a party (apparently, they quite like chocolate bars).

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Our favorite part is where Sneaky Weasel comes up with his "being good plan." V likes to talk about how Sneaky Weasel paces around the table and comes up with a few plans that won't work before he finally hits on a solution. We're big on thinking about our problems and talking it out to find solutions and this part of the book is a nice reinforcement. If it worked for Sneaky Weasel, it can work for you.

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We also like how Sneaky Weasel retains some of his sneaky nature at the end. As we all do - even the sweetest among us has a mischievous streak.

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Wait, one more time. Ah, there she is - there's my sweet girl!

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Now, here's the part I'm really excited about - the lovely folks at Random House are letting me give away four copies of Sneaky Weasel. Is that nice or what? This is a really great book and I'm thrilled to give four of you the chance to find that out for yourselves.


1. The giveaway is only open to those living in the US.
2. Please leave a comment on this post if you'd like to be entered.
3. For a second entry, please tweet a link to this post & come back and leave me a comment with the link to your tweet.
4. For two extra entries, blog about the contest and leave me two comments so I can count both entries.

I will close comments on Tuesday morning, May 19th, and announce the winners later that day.

Good luck!

P.S. Don't blame me, her Grandmo bought her the Crocs!

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Please join me at Julia's party, Hooked on Fridays, to see what everyone else is hooked on this week!

An awesome day & book & giveaway

Don't hate me, but it's 65 degrees here today. So we went outside to play.

Check out that sunshine and the lovely breeze...

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We took out V's beanbag, some pencils/crayons and paper, and An Awesome Book to read.

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I plan on doing a lot more of this, at least until it gets really hot - it's much more fun than drawing and reading inside.

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I was a lucky ducky and got Dallas Clayton to send me his book, An Awesome Book.

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I especially like the drawings - very detailed. V says they're silly and lots of fun.

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The message of the book is to be sure to dream. Without dreams, life would be megaboring.

So true.

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V likes to dream about playing with lots of kittens and puppies. I like to dream that I can fly.

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And because he's a nice guy, Dallas has offered me two signed books to give away. Wanna win one? You've got up to four chances, but I ain't your momma, so you're responsible for following the rules:

For one point: leave a comment, telling me what you like to dream about.
For one point: twitter a link to this post and then come back and leave me a comment with a link to your twitter post.
For two points: write a post on your own blog, mentioning the contest and linking to this post and then come back and leave me two comments. Yes, two comments - this will make it so much easier for me.

Contest deadline is Wednesday, February 18, at midnight and I'll announce the winner on Thursday, February 19.

Good luck!


I entered this post at Julia's Hooked on Fridays party. Come on and join us!

Mr. Pine's Purple House - giveaway

Leonard Kessler's Mr. Pine's Purple House was my favorite book when I was a kid.

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It's the story of a man who lives in a little white house...

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...that sits among 50 other little white houses, all in a row.

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When Mr. Pine plants a pine tree in his yard so that he can more easily tell which house is his, his neighbors think it's such a great idea that they all do the exact same thing. So he plants a bush next to the pine tree, and the next day he wakes to find that yet again his house is no longer unique. Eventually, they all work it out and everyone gets to show his or her individuality. Or at least their house color preference. Ha.

I started looking for this book a couple of years ago so that I could get it for V, but it was really hard to find. When I did find it, it was outrageously expensive. Purple House Press to the rescue! Their mission is to "revive long lost, but well loved children's books." I can get behind that (*wink* to R!). When I found their website the other night, I noticed that they sell remainders at a discount and I had to get one. In fact, I got two. One for me and one for you! These books have a small black remainder line, but otherwise are in absolutely perfect condition (I'm all about a deal).

So if you would like the chance to win my second copy, please leave a comment by Tuesday, October 14th, at 11:59pm EST. If you blog about my giveaway on your blog, I will enter your name twice (leave two separate comments, if you would be so kind). And if you come over to my house and help me finish unpacking, you can have any of my books that you want and I'll bake you cookies. (Just kidding about that last part. Sort of.) I will announce the winner on Wednesday. Best of luck! International entries welcome.

A typical kid

Something I never think about: In the fall of 1986, I started my senior year in high school at a boarding school where you were in the classroom for four hours a day and worked at a job on campus for four hours a day. I started out that school year working in the new nursing home that had been established in the old hospital right next to campus.

It wasn't long before I was screaming to get out of that job. By Christmas I had been given a job helping the home ec teacher. But while I was there, part of my job was to go to each patient's room in the morning for "reality orientation." I'd walk in and tell the patient the day and date in a cheerful voice and then pull open their curtain for them. I'd get them water or whatever they needed and help them out of bed, if necessary.

The patient I most identified with was a woman named Ginny. Though she had cancer, she seemed the least sick of all the patients there. There was another woman whose name I forget now, but I spent a lot of time with her too. She would hold my hand and tell me what I'm sure were lovely stories of her childhood that I couldn't understand because she'd tell them in Croatian. She spent most of her time strapped in a wheelchair. Often she would wheel herself over to the door and spit behind it.

There are other stories I could tell, but I'd really rather not think of them. I will say that my least favorite days were the days when I would come in to find a room cleaned and empty. I hated that job because it made me so sad - sad when someone was gone and sad to see someone new come in to take their place among the sick and demented and dying. I was already an angst-ridden teen; I really didn't want any more sadness in my life.

So if you knew that about me, and if you knew other certain things about me, like exactly how tenderhearted I can be or how full of rage I get when I hear stories of parents who abuse and neglect their children (don't we all?), then you might wonder why I picked up a book called My Lobotomy: A Memoir. I was in Barnes and Noble when I saw it. I picked it up and read the back cover and put it down and walked away. Five minutes later, I picked it up again. This is what the back cover says:

My name is Howard Dully. In 1960, when I was twelve years old, I was given a lobotomy. My stepmother arranged it. My father agreed to it. Dr. Walter Freeman, the man who invented the "ice pick" lobotomy, performed it. My family paid the hospital $200. And I never understood why. I wasn't a violent kid. I had never hurt anyone. I wasn't failing out of school. Was there something I had done that was so horrible I deserved a lobotomy?

I asked myself that question for more than forty years. Then, when I turned fifty-four, I went looking for the answer.

I read that and I had to know. Why on earth would a doctor perform a lobotomy on a normal twelve-year-old? Why would his father ever agree to it? Wasn't there any advocate for this boy? I absolutely had to know.

Once I started reading, I discovered that the book came about because someone from NPR found Howard and decided to do a story on him. I thought it was going to be hard for me to listen to, but I wanted to hear his voice. I'm glad I did. Howard has made a life for himself - against much greater odds than most. He is one of Dr. Freeman's luckier patients. He was young enough when it happened for his brain to adapt to the "surgery," and he has been able to tell a story that others have not been able to tell. Though I thought that I would find this book depressing, and it is rough-going there for a long while, by the end Howard is at peace with his past. And I'm thinking of Howard often and wishing him well.