August 28, 2012

Writers Center Stage Series Giveaway.

So!  First of all I'm guest posting over at Wait Until Your Father Gets Home today.  The topic was "Back to School" so I wrote about the nonsense I"m going through trying to get my crazy child ready for her first year of preschool.  Funny stuff.  Also I had a great little mini-vaca over the weekend:

I love Lake Erie. #lakeerie
Sunset over Lake Erie.  One of my favorite things ever.

But before I get to that I have a fantastic giveaway opportunity to share with you guys:

I've mentioned reading and books here before but I don't think I've talked about how lucky we are to have the Cuyahoga County Public Library system nearby.  Their toy lending library is one of the coolest things around.  And their Digital Media Section has CHANGED MY LIFE.  No, really.  Being able to download a new book at midnight when your hit with a bout of insomnia is just about the coolest thing ever.  And they automatically return!  No late fees!  So when they contacted me and asked if I would be interested in hosting a giveaway I was more than a little excited about it.
This Tuesday, September 4th the William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Series begins.  This is the signature fundraising series in support of Cuyahoga County Public Library.   And who doesn't want to support the library - especially one as awesome as this one?  

The series launches with a presentation from novelist Emma Donoghue, author of the international best-seller, Room. Donoghue’s talk, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Mother, will draw from her own work and life as well as from other literary mothers.   

 The description from their website:
Irish author Emma Donoghue has made her living as a writer since the age of 23. She writes in numerous genres, but is best known for her fiction. Donoghue's latest novel Room, an international bestseller narrated by a 5-year-old named Jack, has won numerous awards including the Hughes &; Hughes Irish Novel of the Year, the Canadian Booksellers' Association Libris Awards for Fiction Book and Author of the Year and the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award. Donoghue's 1995 novel Hood won the Stonewall Book Award and her 2000 novel Slammerkin won the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction.

Sounds super-interesting.  I have yet to read Room although it is in my "Too Read Next" folder in my kindle after being highly recommended to me by several of my well-read twitter friends.  And thanks to the Cuyahoga County Public Library I have a pair of tickets to give away!  I will keep the rafflecopter giveaway open until Saturday, September 1.  Sometime Sunday I will choose and email the winner.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a copy of Room in addition to a pair of tickets to this talk in exchange for posting this giveaway.  As always all opinions are my own.

August 24, 2012

The Day Joy Came Back.

So last week I was helping my kid pick up her room and we were putting away all of her Duplo's.  I told her something along the lines of "these are your daddy's favorite toy.  Somewhere in this house he has a whole box of Legos.  Maybe next rainy weekend you guys can get them out."

Yeah.  He hadn't even made it in the door before she was telling him this:

"It's raining out a little bit and I think maybe we could get out those blocks you have somewhere."

So then this happened:

Busting out all of Daddy's Legos. I think Matt has waited for this moment for a decade at least. #lego

And this happened:

Not sure who is having more fun with this... #lego #happy

And a whole lot of this happened:

Legos are awesome

I had to forcibly remove the two of them - meaning my husband and daughter - to come eat dinner.  And then again at bedtime.

Legos are awesome
Legos are awesome

Matt described opening up his Lego collection as "The day Joy came back"

Legos are awesome

I'd agree.  So now the Legos have completely taken over our dining room.  The table has been relegated to our main building surface, and we're currently working on a giant waterfall with two castles.

This is serious. #lego #addict
Sunday afternoon when both kids were trying to nap we... kept right on building.  With lots of mocking of each others' building abilities.  Funtimes, indeed.

The kids have been asleep for an hour. We are still doing this. #lego
"I'm not mocking your buiding abilities.  I'm mocking your decision making process." - Matt on my AWESOME vehicle.
Unfortunately once you have kids you can't ignore everything else and get sucked down the vortex of modular plastic.  We ended up needing to go out just to get the kids some food.  Of course after we were 2 Margaritas Happy we thought it was the best idea in the world to stop at Target on the way home just to see what they had:

These would be what was left of our Margarita pitcher poured into our children's cups so that we could bring them home for some drinking and lego-ing.  Best. Idea. Ever.  Also I brought mine with me into Target.
The kids LOVED it:


We showed some restraint and only came home with one very small princess duplo set for our daughter.  She hasn't opened it yet but I think it should be possible for her to read the instructions and put it together with a little help.

I also have a feeling that Santa is going to be very good to her Lego-wise.

Legos are awesome

The joy is back.

August 21, 2012

Wordless Wed: Memphis Kiddie Park.

Memphis Kiddie Park
Memphis Kiddie Park Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis kiddie park

August 20, 2012

Blocking my Ravellenic Shawl.

So I mentioned in my Ravellenic Gold Post - Blocking is what you have to do to lace to make it pretty.  Yeah that was a terrible description.  Basically when you knit lace - anything with lots of holes made by yarn overs - you end up with a big fat mess:

Ravellenic Shawl

So you soak it in water:

Ravellenic Shawl

 Lay it flat, and pin the ever living crap out of it:

Ravellenic Shawl And when you un pin it the shawl will hold it's shape.  So you go from this:

This shawl is pretty even unblocked... #ravellenic #ravellenicgames #knit #knitting #lace

To this:

Ravellenic Shawl

 Yeah.  Or another close up view.  Here's an edge before blocking:

Ravellenic Shawl

And on the blocking wires:

Ravellenic Shawl

I actually messed up the blocking this time.  I had never blocked a crescent shaped shawl before so the first time I attempted it I did this:

Ravellenic Shawl

Which resulted in a really wonkily shaped shawl.  Should have been obvious to me as soon as I pinned it down.  The knitting will take whatever shape you force it too.  Anyways I had to redo it:

Ravellenic Shawl

Which resulted in pretty.  Lots of pretty.

Ravellenic Shawl

I wrote out a whole How To Block a Lace Shawl tutorial when I blocked Adamas:

For tons of great Before/After pictures check out my Shetland Triangle Shawl Post:

Shetland Triangle ShawlShetland Triangle Shawl

For a description of how to block a circular shawl (hint:  INSANITY) check out my Cherry Blossom Shawl Block Party:

For blocking a Lace Hat there's my Ireland for St. Pats Hat (hint:  use a plate):

Ireland St. Pat's Hat

And finally for a more recent example of a couple of Sock Yarn Shawls you can check out my Citizen Shawl and Girl Scout Camp Post:

Citizen Shawl

Yay for Blocking!!!

August 17, 2012

LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar.

So today I'm blogging about another great product from the LeapFrog Touch Magic Line.  The Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar:
I blogged before about how much I love this Touch Magic technology and the same awesome applies here.  The toy just feels so techie - slick, polished, and light enough for the kids to carry around.  The guitar is all about motor skills and musical fun.  I tried to get my daughter to mimic the pose in this promo photo:

But she was having none of it.  All of my pictures of her with the guitar look a little something like this:


I couldn't even get a decent picture of the guitar by itself she dances around it so much:


Basically she plays with this toy like it's her own personal jukebox.  She presses the song button until the specific one that she wants comes up and then dances around like a crazy person to it.  I tried to show her how she could dance with the guitar using the strap but she flat out refused.  She won't wear it around her because - wait for it - "It's not a neck-a-lace."  Hilarity.  But even just using this as a jukebox she has quite the song list to choose from:

The Alphabet Song
Rockin’ Robin
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Pop Goes the Weasel
You’re a Rock Star
Strum Strum Strum!
Having Fun Together
Taking Turns!

That's 10 different songs!  And they all sound like actual songs - not terrible children's toy midi tunes.  Especially when you throw a slamming guitar riff over top (you have the option for either electrical or unplugged if your feeling a little VH1).  

But the real fun is how much The Dude likes it:


 He even tries to put on the strap:


 He's pretty young to understand all of the many, many options and functions of this guitar.  Right now he just flails at it randomly and then bounces up and down to whatever song comes out.  But as he gets older I think this is going to become one of his favorites:

His strumming skills are improving.
Right now LeapFrog is having a Rockin' Guitar Contest.  You can win $500 by taking and uploading a video of your kids rockin' and learning with this guitar or a guitar that they created out of their own materials.  Super fun contest idea!   And the videos posted so far are crazy adorable.  My kids, however, are just crazy.  Instead of a super cute kid bopping around with the guitar I have here a video of some super tired kids dancing to an off-screen Rockin' Guitar.  In their PJ's.  Using their blankets as props like a duo of crazed rhythmic gymnasts.  Enjoy:

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and was given free product by LeapFrog.  The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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