Tag Archives: Giveaway

Short on Decor, Long on Miracles: #Hanukkah

 Leave a comment for a chance to win some of my handcrafted stationery! 

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I stopped into The Christmas Tree Shoppe to pick up last minute items for our Annual Hanukkah Party.

(I know, shopping for Hanukkah at the Christmas Tree Shoppe, the irony isn’t lost on me. What can I say? They have great papers goods.)

Traditionally, there isn’t much décor associated with The Festival of Lights, which – truth be told – is fine by me. I see friends struggling with wreaths and trees and ornaments and inflatables and lights. How do I get ready for Hanukkah? I go down in the basement and open up one blue bin, take out my three favorite menorahs and a couple of dreidels, and I place these items on a table.

That’s it. No fuss. No muss.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

Now, you have to understand. I wasn’t looking for anything, so of course that’s when I found it: a colorful door decoration with the word CHANUKA printed boldly on the front.

CHANUKA? I tilted my head, confuzzled.

Because I’d never seen it spelled that way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Hanukkah spelled a lot of different ways. Because the initial sound used to pronounce the word Hanukkah isn’t a sound used in English. The gutteral h is pronounced at the back of the throat, and — when pronounced correctly — sounds like someone trying to hork up a loogey.

So I liked the decoration, but I didn’t want it if Hanukkah wasn’t spelled correctly.

“Okay Google,” I spoke into my phone. “How do you spell Hanukkah?”

Yummy, yes.

Yummy, yes.

As it turns out, the most common spelling for Hanukkah is “Hanukkah” with 8.5 million hits in the Google search engine. “Chanukah” came in with over 3.3 million searches, and “Hannukah” came in with 862,000 hits.

You might be interested to know Xanuka is considered a valid spelling.

And Channukka.

And Chanuqa.

So I’m still standing there, clutching this felt decoration in one hand and my phone in the other, trying to decide if I should buy it or put it back.

You know, because it was spelled weird.

(Or at least it felt like it was spelled weird to me.)

And then I laughed at the silly dilemma I’d created in my head.

Because Hanukkah isn’t about decorations or spelling. It’s about miracles.

As some of you know, I was sick for 15 months. During that time, I didn’t know anyone else who had ever been through what I was going through, and those months were terrifying, isolating and awful. Many times, I felt G-d was punishing me.

And yet.

Some unnameable thing kept me hanging on. Some little voice inside of me – perhaps the G-d part of myself – knew that one day the suffering would end and that I just needed to wait. And pray for a miracle.

What appeals to me most about Hanukkah is the idea that miracles can be found in every day moments, how big and small things that seem impossible can come to pass.

I appreciate the way we gather together to tell and retell the story of how people overcome difficult times, to celebrate the miracle of friends and family whom we love and are loved by; the miracle of having the chance to learn something new everyday; the miracle of our collective curiosity and kindness that inspires us to make meaningful connections with others.

These days, I can even appreciate the eleventy-seven jillion ways we spell Hanukkah.

So it’s decided. Starting now, I’m collecting decor where Hanukkah is spelled any which way.

Because why not?

(So do you think The Christmas Tree Shoppe still has that cute Chanuka door decoration? Or did I miss my chance?)

What are you celebrating this time of year? What kind of decorations, if any, do you set out? What do you love/hate about the holidays? 

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NOTE: I’m participating in #HanukkahHoopla with 7 other bloggers. In the spirit of the season, we’re giving away 8 gifts to 8 lucky commenters. Click on the menorah to find links to other writers’ blogs & increase your chances of winning!

tweet me for an extra chance to win handcrafted stationery! 

What does HOME mean to you? #giveaway

HOME, a 4x4 canvas featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium. Makes a great gift!

HOME, a 4×4 canvas featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium. Makes a great gift!

Enough snow had fallen so Thanksgiving felt festive, but not so much so anyone had to worry about getting from here to there.

I was looking forward to going around the table and sharing with everyone all the things for which I am thankful.

How lucky I felt: to be there – all of us all together – in a warm, cozy home where there is always a comfortable place to sit and a plate of delicious food to eat.

I wanted everyone to know that it’s true what your grandma said: your health really is everything;

That being home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.

It’s a green toothbrush on the bathroom sink. It’s his bowl left on the kitchen table. It’s the sound of the garage door going up at the end of the day. It’s warm zucchini bread cooling on the countertop, the cat lying in that spot on the landing, the laundry twirling in sloppy circles.

If there’s one thing we share – no matter our race, income, religion or beliefs – it’s that we all want a place to call home, a place filled with love.

I’m getting back into the swing of the holidays by offering HOME  to one lucky commenter. how can you win?

Leave a comment in which you tell me what you think of when you hear the word “HOME,” then click HERE for additional information.

This contest is open to residents of the United States only. Enter as many times as you want between now & December 6th. One lucky winner will be announced on my blog on December 15th at 9 AM, so be sure to check back. If I don’t hear from the winner within 24 hours, Random Number Generator will select another winner.

tweet me @rasjacobson

Snacks For Summer Camp: A #Giveaway via @GoGoSqueez

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TechSupport poses with one of his favorite snacks.

When I went to overnight camp, we weren’t supposed to bring any food from home. Instead, we got to visit “canteen” once a week, where we could select two treats. I always selected one half-melted chocolate thing and a purple ICEE.

Of course, that single weekly visit was never enough, and we wrote whiny letters home begging our parents to send us food.

Once, my mother sent me a package filled with all kinds of goodies. Sadly, none of that delicious contraband made it beyond the office, as someone in there figured out that the lumpy Cookie Monster stuffed animal had been unstuffed and filled with all kinds of junk food.

That sucked.

In less than 3 weeks, my 13-year-old son will head off to overnight camp.

For seven weeks.

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So long as it has one of these on it, we’re good.

TechSupport’s camp allows him to bring in food — so long as it’s kosher. This is always a bit of a conundrum as it’s difficult to find kosher snacks that are healthy, tasty, reasonably priced, and don’t require refrigeration.

But this year, I’ve got it figured out.

*insert happy dance*

The good folks at GoGoSqueeZ have nine flavors of applesauce that can be easily put into kids’ overnight trunks —  and they don’t even have to be refrigerated.

Not only is GoGoSqueez kosher, but it’s also all-natural, gluten-free, wheat-free, and vegan-friendly. It doesn’t contain any yucky stuff like high fructose corn syrup or added colors or flavors.

Listen, I know my kid is going to eat his fill of s’mores at camp.

Like every night, probably.

But I also know he loves GoGoSqueez cinnamon-applesauce.

So I’m stoked about sending him off with something homegrown that comes from a company that uses the best ecological practices to grow and harvest their fruit.

Good snacks are like currency at camp, so the kids in my son’s bunk are in for a treat if they want to trade.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 10.18.21 PMAnd guess what?

Y’all are in for a treat too because the folks at GoGoSqueeZ are offering one lucky winner* a chance to try their 9-flavor sampler.

Your kids don’t have to settle for plain ole apple.

Oh no.

You can see which flavor your children like best: appleapple, applegrape, applecherry, apple-banana, applepeach, applemango, applecinnamon, applestrawberry and appleberry!

If you sign up for the GoGoSqueeZ newsletter and place your order online, you’ll receive 10% off your entire order.

I bought the 20-pouch sampler.

I figure that should hold my kid.

For about 3 weeks.

Oy.

What do you have to do to win?

1. Leave me a comment telling me the kind of snacks you remember eating during the summer. 

If you went to overnight camp, which one did you attend? Did you have a canteen to raid? If you didn’t go to overnight camp, why the heck not do you ever wish you did? What other kosher snacks can I send to camp with my kid? Oh, and no, they can’t use hot pots.

2. For an extra chance to win, tweet MY POST:

Need help regarding what to say? Copy & paste this and make sure your handle is on the tweet!

Enter to win a 9-pouch sampler from @GoGoSqueeZ via @rasjacobson! http://wp.me/pViQq-3ZH #giveaway

tweet me @rasjacobson

*LEGAL STUFF: I received a 9-pouch sampler from GoGoSqueez for TechSupport to try. He still loves apple-cinnamon the best. Big surprise. As you know, I only do reviews when I really LOVE the products. Y’all, you can make appletinis with this stuff. And cook with it. What’s not to love?

*NOTE: Comments will be closed on 6/13 and one winner will be announced on this page on 6/14, so be sure to check back. If I don’t hear back from the winner within 24 hours, Random Number Generator will select a new winner. My apologies, but you have to have a US shipping address to be eligible to win.

Yummy!

Yummy!

NOTE: The winner of the GoGoSqueeZ giveaway is Brown Road Chronicles! Congratulations Steve! Send me your mailing address within the next 48 hours!

Don’t Lick The Minivan: A Review and #Giveaway

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When my son was an infant, I knew I was doing everything wrong.

I was sure of it.

Looking around, I saw smiling mommies bouncing quiet babies on their knees.

Meanwhile, I had The Screaming One.

I was failing Motherhood-101, and I had no one to confide in.

Leanne Shirtliffe’s book Don’t Lick The Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say To My Kids has hit the stores, and — boy oh boy — do I wish I had it 13 years ago.

While living abroad in Thailand, Leanne gave birth to twins, William and Vivian. After a bit of a rocky start, Leanne found the babies (she lost them on the way home from the hospital), the right nursing bra (not so easy in a country where boobies are slightly less bodacious than ripe Canadian ta-tas), and she started to find funny everywhere.

You know those days when you’re feeling like you’re the world’s suckiest parent with rotten-good-for-nothing kids?

Leanne teaches us to find humor in those low moments.

She tells us how:

  • Her husband left the babies with drunken strangers. (Sorry to throw you under the tuk-tuk, Chris.)
  • William liked to pee. Everywhere. On everything.
  • Vivian drew on the dining room table. Using a Sharpie. (The permanent kind.)
  • The twins carved their names into her minivan’s paint…with rocks.

She sucks at crafts.

She’s anti-glitter.

She let her son sleep next to a turd.

Leanne has this way of making us see the humor in the exchanges we have with our kids. When you are suffering through life’s most unfunny moments, remember we are all partners in this ordinary, extraordinary thing: raising tiny humans. And Leanne? She reminds us it’s okay to laugh with them – as well as at them.

Because Leanne is yummypickles, one person is going to be able to win a copy of Don’t Lick The Minivan.

What do you have to do to win?

Leave me a comment telling me a naughty thing you did as a child that you thought was hilarious OR tell me something naughty that one (or more) of your kids did that was heinous at the time, but you can look back at now and laugh. Kind of.

Can’t wait to win a contest? Buy Don’t Lick the Minivan on Amazon.

Buy Don’t Lick the Minivan at Barnes & Noble 

They even have an audible version. Listen to the sample.

tweet us @rasjacobson & @lshirtliffe

NOTE: This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Random Number Generator will be helping me on this one. One winner will be announced on my blog on May 27th. If that person doesn’t contact me within 24 hours, I’ll select another winner. Don’t be that turd.

• • •

Ain't she cute?

Ain’t she cute?

Leanne Shirtliffe’s book, Don’t Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to my Kids, has received glowing endorsements from Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy), Kirkus Review, and others. When she’s not stopping her eight-year-old twins from licking frozen flagpoles, Leanne keeps a blog at ironicmom.com and teaches English to teenagers who are slightly less hormonal than she is. Follow her on Twitter at @lshirtliffe.

NOTE: Michelle from Steadily Skipping Stones recorded a fun interview video with Leanne on her blog! When you are done reading this post, click HERE to hear Leanne answer silly and serious questions from her fans.

In Memory of Lilly: Lilly Pulitzer Bag Giveaway

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Lily Pulitzer passed away last month, on April 7, 2013 at the age of 81. I’m confident her legacy of brightly colored fabrics featuring flamingos & seals & peacocks & turtles & elephants & hippoptamuses & flowers & flowers & flowers will live on forever. A believer in the power of whimsy, I like to think we would have been friends.

If you saw my post earlier this week about how I Have One Lilly Pulitzer Dress, you might want to go back and read it.

Seriously.

Okay.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If you are here because to hell with that you want to win the Lilly bag, you’re in the right place.

*smiles*

Today, as I enter my 4th year in the blogosphere and publish my 500th post, I need to thank you, my readers. I appreciate that you read my words and that you keep coming back. You’ve celebrated with me and held me up during difficult times. You laughed when I confessed to being #SoWrong, and you play my silly language games.

You help to quiet the critical voices that live in my head and remind me believe in myself.

Bottom line, you inspire me to write.

Because of you, I want someone out there to have a little Lilly in her life.

Because no one should ever listen to a flat-chested girl named Courtney. 

Also because this bag is adorable.

Men, do not be fooled. This is NOT just a contest for women.

Check out how much Lilly handbags and clothes go for. You can enter and give your winnings a a deserving woman in your life. Or  *insert evil grin* if you win, you can stick the thing up on eBay and use the cash to buy beer and motor oil! So this giveaway is for you, too.

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There ARE MANY WAYS YOU CAN ENTER TO WIN:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me why you’d like to win this bag. (1 point)
  2. Read THIS POST and leave a comment THERE. (1 point) Did this already? Guess what? You already have 1 point! Yay!
  3. If you are a Lilly lover, email me a photo of yourself wearing/holding something Lilly. You can use Photoshop! Be creative. Include a short paragraph telling me why you need this bag. (5 points)
  4. Email me an image of your current sad-looking handbag. Include a short paragraph telling me why you’d like to win this bag. (5 points)
  5. Tweet this post. You can tweet your own way (just be sure to include my handle) or, if it helps, you can copy this text right into Twitter:  I just entered to win a @LillyPulitzer handbag. Check out this #giveaway http://wp.me/pViQq-3WX via @rasjacobson! (1 point)
  6. Facebook share this post. If you can’t tag me, copy the URL of the page where you shared the post and put it on my blog in a separate entry. (1 point)

The Rules

1. The contest is open only to residents of the United States & Canada. Sorry, I can’t spend 11.3 jazillion dollars shipping this bag abroad.

2. Photos should be sent to rasjacobsonny {at} gmail {d0t} com by Friday, May 17th at noon, Eastern. Be sure to include your name. If you’re a blogger, include your blog URL, so I can link up to you. If you’re on Twitter, please include your handle  — as that is the fastest way to contact winners! If you are neither a blogger nor on Twitter, don’t worry, you can still win! Just be sure to include your name with your email!

3. Entrants agree to have their photos appear in a future post. (You know, if I’m actually that organized… Because I think it would be fun to show a bunch of pics!)

4. DISCLAIMER: I have no idea how big or how small this contest will be, but I’m mentally prepared to put all names and associated points into an ridiculously complicated Excel spreadsheet. Every name will be associated with individual numbers based on a point system based on your number of entries. Random Number Generator will select the winner. You can do as many or as few things to win as you’d like. Obviously, your odds of winning increase if you do more things to win! And yes, you can enter every which way. You can comment on both posts and tweet and Facebook share! You can send a photo of yourself wearing Lilly and send a separate photo of your handbag. Just be sure to send separate emails.

5. One winner will be announced on May 20th, on my blog. If the winner does not respond within 24 hours, I’m keeping this bag another winner will be selected. Please don’t do that do me. I think I may collapse after this giveaway.

tweet me @rasjacobson

I was not sponsored by anyone for this giveaway. I just want to make someone happy. Like Lilly did.  Also, please don’t be offended, but I’m not responding to people’s comments on this post. I have a feeling this is going to get crazy. You know, or not.

Interview with my Friend, Author, Kasey Mathews

Click here to buy Kasey’s book via Amazon!

It is impossible for me to close my blogoversary month without celebrating my dear old friend’s Kasey Mathews‘ brand new book Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life & Motherhood, which is being put out on the shelves today at a bookstore near you! I’ve known Kasey since 6th grade. We were in House 3 together. We even went to Senior Ball together with our most excellent dates. (Hi Lenny & JMo!)

Anyway, Kasey’s book has been born! The premise? I’m lifting it from the back cover of her book:

In her early thirties, Kasey Mathews had it all: a loving husband, a beautiful two-year old son, and a second baby on the way. But what seemed a perfect life was shattered when she went into labor four months early and delivered her one-pound, eleven ounce daughter, Andie.

One pound and eleven ounces, people!

A can of Progresso soup weighs one pound and three ounces.

Here is my interview with Kasey. Subscribe to her blog, follow her @kaseymathews or via Facebook.

• • •

rasj: Kase, you are brutally honest in your memoir, especially about how you did not want to touch Andie when she was so tiny. You call her a “half-done baby” and admit that – initially — you didn’t even want to see her. I imagine in anticipation of this book coming out, you discussed these feelings with her. How did you explain things so that she could understand?

Kasey: When I began writing this book, I had to put aside my worries of “what will people think,” and that meant Andie, too. I just never could have opened up as much as I did, and I think the story would have suffered.  Of course that doesn’t mean I didn’t worry once it was all written down. But I decided it worth the risk of judgment to give voice to the thoughts and feelings I believe so many mothers have (not just preemie moms) but are too afraid and ashamed to say out loud.

As far as Andie is concerned, she’s such an old soul and just seems to “get” things on a different level. I haven’t read her the book yet (although I’ve recently decided to) but conversations around her birth and my reaction have been ongoing.  I remember a time when we were curled up in bed together looking at the photo album of her first year. I had pointed to a photo of her just after her birth and told her how afraid I was of her.  She had replied in a teasing voice,  “Well, that’s really nice, Mom. What kind of parent would think that?” To which I replied, “Well, me, I guess,” and we had both laughed. But when we got serious, and I explained to her that my fear of losing her was so great and so overwhelming, and that I ultimately had to learn to choose love over fear, the look in her eyes told me that she understood.

rasj:  You mention that a dog attacked you when you were 5-years old, resulting in 49 stitches and scars. You said that your father offered you plastic surgery to “fix” the scars, but you refused. Looking back now, what do your scars mean to you? And do you think you gained something from that terrible accident that actually helped you on your journey with Andie? 

Kasey: Some of us have scars on the outside, but we all have them on the inside. I believe our scars tell our stories. They make us who we are. Andie’s birth was such a traumatic event, and I think I referred back to my dog bite as a frame of reference, because it was the only other traumatic episode I’d ever known.  What I gained was the perspective of looking through my parent’s eyes and for the first time truly understanding how they felt not knowing what was going to happen to their child.  Although the circumstances were different, that perspective gave me the strength to know that they’d walked the path before me, and that I could do it as well.

rasj: During the darkest times, you found strength in homeopathic medicines. Can you explain how non-Western therapies (like energy work, Reiki and yoga) have helped you and your family?

Kasey: Until Andie’s birth, I hadn’t known about Holistic medicine and discovered that it was truly an “alternative” way of looking at a medical situation. It differs from traditional western medicine in that it approaches the body as a whole interrelated system, such as the lungs, gut and skin are all tied together within the human body.  These alternative therapies made so much sense to me, but I want to stress that we used them in conjunction with traditional medicine, and I truly believe that pursuing these parallel paths account for Andie’s tremendous success.

rasj. Did you ever contact the pediatrician who predicted Andie would always be small and that she would have learning disabilities? If you could talk to him now, what would you want to say to him? 

Kasey: For years I wanted to, but felt it wasn’t worth the stress it would cause me. Recently, however, after Andie’s 11-year-old check up where her growth was nearly off the charts, I used the device of writing a letter to release those pent-up feelings. The letter was never sent but the writing of it allowed me to tell him just how wrong he was about everything. And in that same letter, I also thanked him; because what I came to understand was that as difficult as he was to deal with, his doubt was ultimately a gift. He fueled our belief and conviction that Andie would prove him so wrong and show him, and so many others, that she would not be what they wanted her to be, but what she wanted to be.

rasj: I adore the way you show Tucker and Andie interacting with each other, how he becomes an unofficial part of her physical therapy. But it isn’t always perfect, right? They fight, too, right?

Kasey: Fight? Andie and Tucker?  No! Never! *laughs * Their bickering was so awful one day that I screamed at them to stop fighting and threw the apple I had in my hand straight across the kitchen. Fortunately, it missed both their heads, but… not the window! How’s that for perfect?

rasj: That’s awesome! Obviously, you have a great arm! Now tell us something wonderful that has happened to Andie since you finished writing the book.

Kasey: I think Andie would tell you the most wonderful event in her life as of late, was getting contact lenses.  She’d worn glasses since she was two and started asking about contacts when she was nine.  Her eye doctor (Dr. V. from the book) confirmed that she was a candidate for contacts, but needed to be at an age when she was responsible enough to care for them.  The contacts were her eleventh birthday gift.

rasj: Looking back, is there information you wish you had that you would want to share with parents of preemies?

Kasey: There are three vital pieces of information I want to share with parents of preemies. First, while in the NICU, cover your baby’s isolet with a dark, heavy blanket to keep him/her in as womb-like an environment as long as possible. Secondly, allow yourself to see a vision of your child in the future and hold on to that vision. And lastly — and this is for anyone who’s experienced any sort of event trauma  – remember you are not alone.  Know that most likely whatever you’re thinking and feeling, someone else already has thought those same thoughts and felt those same feelings and walked that same path.

There is Kasey now! Isn’t she cute?

• • •

Because Kasey is awesome-sauce, she is offering a copy of her book to one lucky winner.

For a chance to win:

Leave a comment about something regarding child-rearing that has been challenging for you.

Tweet us @rasjacobson & @kaseymathews

• • •

Other blogoversary giveaways you can enter to win:

The Write-Brain Book

Elena Aitken’s ebook Sugar Crash

A handwritten card from me

Tyler Tarver’s ebook Letters To Famous People

A hard copy of Tingo & Other Extraordinary Words

All blogoversary winners will be announced on June 2nd — at which point I will collapse in exhaustion.


Why Did I Stop Doing Yoga?

A gorgeous day to do yoga outdoor. (I’m in the front row in the green yoga pants.)

I used to practice yoga, but when I started teaching again — I stopped.

I was too busy. I had papers to grade. I had lessons to plan.

Blah blah blah.

Recently, I found my yoga mat and attended an outdoor yoga session.

It felt good for a hundred reasons.

But especially because I did feel a mind-body connection that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I’ve been running on auto-pilot for a while now, planning my son’s bar mitzvah, schlepping to and from fencing lessons, to and from religious school, to and from meetings about things that feel important but really aren’t.

Going through the poses made me slow down and focus on my hands, my hips, my breath.

At one point, I started weeping and I curled up in a ball and just let it come out.

I didn’t even know I had all that sadness trapped inside.

The instructor encouraged me to just be with it, so I allowed myself to cry. In public. I wasn’t exactly quiet. But I wasn’t embarrassed either.

Later, I felt lighter. Ad I decided I’m going to try to continue my yoga – even if it means practicing alone at home to a DVD.

Tweet this twit @rasjacobson

Interview with Author Elena Aitken & Giveaway to Win SUGAR CRASH

Click here to read reviews!

My blogging friend, author Elena Aitken, is offering an e-book copy of her new book Sugar Crash.

The book features Darci, a single mother working hard to raise her daughter after her husband dies. Everything is rolling along pretty well until Taylor is hospitalized and receives a diagnosis of diabetes, which rocks their world. And because Darci doesn’t like to ask for help, she finds her job in jeopardy. Even though the book is about diabetes, it is truly a survivor story – and a story about learning to lean on others in a time of need.

I read Sugar Crash while I was on vacation, and I couldn’t put it down.

Read Elena’s blog, LIKE her on Facebook and follow her @ElenaAitken.

Check out my interview with Elena about her new book & answer the question at the end for a chance to win a copy!

• • •

rasj: Hey Elena, readers know from your Prologue that writing this book was deeply personal for you because you have a friend who went through something like this.  How is that child doing now?

Elena: Well, that ‘child’ will be celebrating her fortieth birthday this fall and has lived with Type 1 diabetes for thirty years.

rasj: Shut the front door! That is soooo cool!

Elena: I am proud to call Deb my friend. She is an amazing role model for not only those with diabetes, but everyone. She’s a busy mother of 8-year-old twins and has run a few full marathons, more half-marathons than I can count and is also a triathlete, having recently completed her first Olympic distance tri. Deb wears an insulin pump now and has actually represented the company that manufactures the pump in an international running event and she is always raising money for The Canadian Diabetes Association. Diabetes doesn’t slow her down even a little!

rasj: She sounds like an incredible person! I like how you show Darci trying to trust her 12-year old daughter to make the right decisions about her health and manage her own sugar readings. I think that is one of the best parts of the book – and probably one of the most confusing things in real life for parents with kids with diabetes. Are you able to speak to how parents of children with diabetes ever feel safe enough to let their children participate in sports (like Darci does) or go to overnight camps — especially when the consequences of mismanaging one’s blood sugar can result in seizures or death?

Look how cute she is? Don’t you want to read her book?

Elena: I think, as parents, we all struggle with letting go when it comes to our kids, but it would be much harder in Darci’s situation. Ultimately, I think it would depend on the family dynamic, but in my personal opinion, I believe it would be crucial to let your child resume their normal activities as much as possible. With the right education and awareness of course. Something like diabetes, while most definitely a huge lifestyle consideration, shouldn’t define a child. They still have to be kids.

rasj: What was the hardest thing you had to do while researching to write this book?

Elena: Because so much of this book is based on the actual experiences of my good friend, I was very fortunate in that she was so open and willing to share with me. She set me straight on more than one detail. But that was also the hardest part. Because she is so close to the story I was terrified of what she would think of it. It is obviously a fictionalized version, but it still struck pretty close to home for her and I held my breath the entire time she was reading the first draft.

 rasj: I adore the romance that you slowly create between Coach Cam and Taylor’s very hesitant mom, Darci. What part of this book do you love the best?

Elena: I have two favorite parts. The first was when Darci and Taylor were in the hospital and Darci realized she couldn’t make Taylor’s ‘owie’ go away. That would be an incredibly difficult moment for a mother. The second was the very end, when Darci and Cam were standing in the race corral getting ready to run. I think it’s very symbolic and it gave me chills when I wrote it.

rasj: What is one question no one has asked you but you wish they would?

Elena: No one has asked me who my favorite character in this book is.

rasj: Really? I was going to ask that but I figured you’ve been asked a skillion times. So?

Elena: I loved Darci and Taylor of course. BUT, Barb was spunky and fun and — her best quality – she stood up for her friend, defending her in front of a crowd. And THAT is one of the best qualities you can hope for in a friend.

• • •

For a chance to win a copy:

Leave a comment about a fear you have had to face.

Tweet for another chance.

Facebook share for a third.

Leave a separate comment for each thing you do so I know you did these things.

Tweet and share as many times as you’d like for extra chances to win.

This contest closes on May 14 when I open a new contest. All blogoversary winners will be determined via Random Number Generator, and all winners will be announced on June 2nd — once I figure everything out.

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March Came in Like a Lion and Brought Me an iPad Cover

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

My husband bought me an iPad for my birthday. I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. I mean, I already had an iPhone. How different can this be? I wondered.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I immediately fell in love with it.

{I would have kissed it except it would have left lip prints on the screen.}

Suddenly, I could read blogs, read books, get email and play Words With Friends — without my glasses.

But here’s the thing.

I am kind of lax when it comes to taking care of my toys.

When Hubby gave me the iPad, he made me promise I would get a good protective cover.

I didn’t.

My friend, Michael Hess, Founder and C.E.O. of Skooba Design told me he would give me an iPad cover; I just had to visit his warehouse. A few months passed, and I finally got my act together and went to Skooba which is about eleventy-bajillion miles from my house.

(And by that, I mean about 6 miles.)

When I got out there, Michael graciously told me I could have any iPad cover I wanted. Seeing as he was being so generous, I pushed our friendship to the limits and asked him if I could have another cover to use for a giveaway on my blog. (Can you believe my nerve? Oy!)

If you have an iPad, I’m guessing you love it and you know that you’ve got to protect that sucker.

But in case you just got one or you are planning to get one for yourself or someone you love, here is the chance to win the best iPad cover in the world.

Seriously.

Because everything at Skooba is fabulous.

The one I use is the tablet sized neo-skin with handles shown in the picture below.

Click on the picture to see more about this bag’s features.


Cool, right?

The one I’m giving away on March 8, 2012 is a navy blue sheath with a gray pocket.

You can store all the cables in the zippered pocket.

In addition to being the head honcho at Skooba, Michael is an amazing public speaker. He has visited my classroom as a guest lecturer to talk to my students, and I can tell you they appreciate the way he explains the importance of possessing solid communication skills in today’s competitive job market.

He’s much bigger in real life. IYKWIM.

Michael also happens to write a twice-weekly small business column for CBS News. He has many fantastic pieces, but — as a educator — my favorite is “Hey, watch your language, will ya’?”

To have a chance at winning the free iPad cover:

1. Read Michael’s blog post and leave a comment here. Tell me something about his piece that interested you. Or you found funny. Or irritating. (I’m guessing Michael will be reading along, too.) Do this before March 7, 2012 at 6 PM EST and receive 1 vote.

**For additional chances to win the iPad cover:

2. LIKE my Facebook page and get 1 vote. If you have already LIKED my page, remind me in your comment.

3. Share this story on Twitter, and I will give you 2 additional chances to win. Feel free to copy and paste the following text: I just entered to win a free iPad cover from @Skooba via @rasjacobson — and include the link. If you do this properly, I will see it on Twitter.

4. Share this story on a public Facebook page — not mine — I will give you 3 entries. (Just be sure to come back and tell me which page you posted it on!)

I will make a big ole Excel spread sheet, and then Random Number Generator will do all the work for me. I’ll announce the winner on March 8, 2012. If the winner doesn’t contact me to claim the prize within 48 hours of being selected, a new winner will be chosen.

Oh, and if you would like to order something else from Skooba, Michael has been kind enough to extend the promotional code TWITS20 to my readers so you can receive 20% off any order of $50 or more (plus free shipping via UPS in 48 states) through the end of March.

How cool is that?

I told you March came in like a lion.

Rawr!

Tweet This Twit @rasjacobson

Skooba provided me with two iPad covers for this promotion. I am keeping one. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

Candle 2: #HanukkahHoopla

Tonight is the second night of Hanukkah!

Check out these bloggers to get a sense of the Hanukkah experience:

  Nina Badzin’s Blog @ninabadzin

  Diary of a Paper Princess  @RishonaMyers

Enjoy this little Hanukkah video.

For people who have never heard Hebrew, this video features the blessings we recite and instructions on how we light our menorahs.

Our generous sponsors Streit’s and Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band, have provided each of the bloggers involved with this project with a little #HanukkahHoopla gift pack. For information on how to win, click on the little menorah button above.