A Giveaway where Everyone Wins

Because I have a highly successful blog read by tens of people, I get all kinds of email regarding advertising products. Mostly they read like this –

Please stop referencing my product on your blog. Thank You.

But today Chef Jeff sent me an email and a gift – for YOU.

He is offering my readers a FREE e-book, the cookbook featured above. All you have to do is click HERE, and you’ll be on your way to receiving free recipes. It looks like a fine book. Maybe I should do a Moron Test Kitchen on one of the recipes. That would be a nice way to repay him. Or totally ruin his chances of ever being successful. Whichever.

Trading Coins for Books

A few weeks ago, Moon wanted to cash in her piggy bank. We headed to CoinStar because no one wanted to go through the trouble of actually counting and rolling the change. While CoinStar usually charges a percentage, if you take the cash in the form of a gift card – they waive the fee! Moon got most of it in Amazon gift cards but decided to put $45.00 to use at Borders. Then she found that while she could buy American Girl stuff at Amazon, Borders only had BOOKS. So she asked me to “buy” her gift card. Do you think she knew Borders was going out of business? I’m such a sucker.

Anyway, I went online last week and ordered something for everyone to read. The package arrived today – yippee! Here’s a list of what we got, reviews and links included. I’ll let you know what we think about them. Of course, I’m only reading the John Piper book because I’m both spiritual AND intellectual but JD will probably have some thoughts on that other stuff.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

When Clay Jenson plays the casette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he’s surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He’s one of 13 people who receive Hannah’s story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah’s voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah’s voice (italicized) and Clay’s thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played a part in an accidental auto death and a rape. The message about how we treat one another, although sometimes heavy, makes for compelling reading. From Booklist

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers

“Jonathan Rogers has created a new kind of story—part fantasy, part southern fiction. It’s sad and funny and heartwarming. Imagine a southern version of a C. S. Lewis story or a Christian version of a Mark Twain tale. Imagine a world where dragons are alligators, the American South is an island kingdom of cowboys and swamp dwellers, and ugliness, it turns out, is profoundly beautiful. Jonathan Rogers, a Georgia boy with a PhD, a strong faith, and a healthy imagination, gives us a timeless story no one else could have written. I loved it.”
—Andrew Peterson, author of The Wingfeather Saga

Miss Child has Gone Wild by Dan Gutman

My Weirder School weirder than ever!

The third grade has won a weird contest, so they get to go on a field trip to the zoo. That’s how they meet Miss Child, the weirdest zookeeper in the history of the world. She thinks animals are smarter than people! She thinks elephants can paint pictures! She keeps snakes in her pockets for fun! Guess who’s going to wind up in a cage with a lion?

Also, because they were 2.99 – Mr. Granite Is from Another Planet! and Mr. Harrison Is Embarrassin’!

Desiring God by John Piper

“Mind hammering and heart warming.” – Os Guiness
“A must read for every Christian and a feast for the spiritually hungry.” – John MacArthur

Amen, La by Cherie Bennett & Jeff Gottesfeld

When Natalie Shelton and her family move from Minnesota to Beverly Hills, more changes than their zip code. Natalie’s mom accepts a position as pastor with the Church of Beverly Hills—and Natalie’s along for the ride. Before she can blink, she’s living in a mansion once owned by Ricardo Montalban, going to school with hot young Hollywood stars, and partying in the park with kids who know no limits. It’s an amazing new life—but if she doesn’t watch out, Natalie could find herself seriously messed up. Natalie has values . . . but how long can she hold on to them?

Borders is going out of business and has up to 40% off. What are YOU going to buy?

Seven bits of Randomness

Kittens, the weekend writers conference wore me out. And I could totally blog about it, and include PHOTOS, but I’m saving that for my other blog that I started because I don’t have enough to do.

Is this the time to tell you about my THIRD blog? Nevermind. Let’s just move on to the random stuff that constitutes my life.

1. I watched Secretariat today and I want every single outfit Diane Lane wore in the movie. EVERY. ONE.

2. I would also like to be the SIZE of Diane Lane.

3. I started the 17 day diet again today. Day One: Breakfast, 2 eggs. Lunch, chicken on green salad. Snack, Krispy Kreme donut. Dinner, McDonalds Chicken Nuggets.  I’m not sure this would be considered a successful beginning.

4. One of the conference leaders said, “Every word you blog is a word you’re not writing on your book.” So my novel would be done now if not for you and your insatiable appetite for all things Zolli!

5. If my parents had taken me to THIS guy’s church, I might have paid attention.

6. I found a bridge blog today. Now I know how you feel. I couldn’t understand a darn thing he was talking about. I’m guessing he had more than 58 points.

7. It sure is taking a long time for these Washington people to raise the ceiling. My dad could have built the whole house by now. What is UP? Maybe they should try to lower the floor.

Sorry, I could do a few more but I’ve learned no one cares if Carolyn won all three rubbers and made 7 no-trump at bridge tonight. And I’m already 274 words behind on my novel.

Interesting to at least One Person

My friend Patty bought a game for me a couple of years ago.

I think she found it on Ebay. Since JD had no interest in learning the game (GASP!) and Moon was too little, I stored it on the shelf for later. Turns out, later is NOW.

It’s actually very simple. There are holders for the “dummy”. Each dummy gets 6 cards face down, and 7 face up where everyone can see them. Then I look at my hand and my dummies and bid. My opponent looks at her hand and the 7 face up cards in her dummy and bids. Whoever bids the highest get’s the contract. Then you play as normal. When you play from the dummy, you can then turn the card underneath facing up. If you are void in the dummy, TRUMP a suit, then turn up the card only to find the suit you just trumped – no biggie. There is no reneging in Bridge for Two.

Yes, I totally get that I just lost 99% of you.

It’s been great playing with Moon. I usually just let her pick her best suit and set trump. Then we play. It’s fun to see her thinking through if she’s on the board or in her hand, and I constantly ask her how many trumps are still out, etc. It’s a great learning tool! (Don’t ask me why her shoes are on the table. I have no good answer.)

Speaking of learning, here’s a hand that Patty and I played at the club this past week. I flubbed it, so maybe one of you (DAN-O) can tell me what to do. I held:

S: J10

H: A

D: AKQ10x

C: KJxxx

Dude on my right opens 2 spades and I double. Leftie passes and my partner bids 3 hearts. Then I bid 4 diamonds and she passes. Board goes down and she holds

S: Kx

H: QJ10xx

D: Jxx

C: AQx

Of course we made 5. Everyone else was in game – our only 0 of the night. We still came in 2nd but dang! So, should I double or bid my diamonds? How do I mention clubs without her thinking it’s Gerber? Why did that wacko have to bid 2 spades? If he doesn’t open, how do I bid it?

For those of you who don’t play bridge, see what you are MISSING? Come on people, get in the game!

The Moral of the Story

I’ve posted before about a sweet book I bought for Moon.

It’s a nice story about how God gave the Princess a special gift upon her birth – her first kiss. The King and Queen tell the Princess it is hers to safeguard until she’s ready to give it away. Suitors come from across the land to get her kiss, but she doesn’t like any of them. Prince Peacock is all about himself, and Prince Romance is all about feelings that will one day fade. Then we read about Prince Treasurechest, who brought gold and gifts, but the Princess knew with all that stuff, her kiss wouldn’t be special.  Moon stopped at this point and said, “I’m confused. Does she still get to keep all the gifts?”

Later,  the Princess meets a commoner who has saved HIS kiss for her and they’re happily married. I asked Moon what she thought the story was about and she said, very matter-of-factly –

“You can’t trust a man.”

We could re-read it, but that will do for now.

Kittens, It’s a Monday.

And my laptop is all kinds of messed up. See, my lovely daughter decided to FLING herself across the couch in a very dramatic fashion, bumping her head on my keypad in the process. Her head 1, laptop 0. Now anything white, like a Word document, blog posts, the internet – is purple. With bright green, glittery specks. So I’m guessing my Monday is going to entail a drive on 285 to the Apple store so some “genius” can fix it. Or not. The thought of packing up my laptop and mailing it off for who knows how long is making me a little freaked out!

I can actually use my computer as long as its attached to a monitor, but JD is giving me the “better get it fixed before it gets worse” speech, although he has never used that particular speech on HIMSELF which is why I’ve been stranded in every automobile we’ve ever owned on every road in Cobb County. True dat!

So, the weekend. Let’s work backwards. Today was church and it was awesome as usual. JD went this morning but Rachel and I had an appointment and couldn’t make it. Then we cancelled the appointment and stayed home watching tivo’d episodes of The Middle. But LATER we went to evening church so we’re not exactly heathens. Three boys spent the night, so they went too, and it was fun pretending to have four children. I wore almost no makeup and a wrinkled shirt, but who could blame me?? I HAD FOUR CHILDREN TO GET READY. A lot of children will buy you some serious grace.

Saturday Moon hung out with the three boys (see how that worked) and I drove to Big Canoe to have a writing workshop with my friend Deborah. Have you ever been to Big Canoe? Picture 8,000 acres of winding country roads with gorgeous scenery and lovely cabins. Then picture a lady trying to get OFF the mountain for thirty minutes and finally having to wave down a stranger who is kind enough to lead her to the exit so she’ll stop crying. She could have used her phone’s GPS but she had left it at home. Oh wait, turns out it was in her bag the whole time! Good. Times.

Sometime before Saturday, maybe it was Friday? I don’t remember, but at some point I found myself at the Atlanta Food Bank with friends from church and the Girl Scouts.

My job, along with all of the children, was to pick up the food from boxes and put it on the table. It is way more complicated than it sounds. First of all, you have to OPEN the boxes, most of them donated from Publix and Kroger. THEN you have to throw away any chocolate. If one happened to throw the candy in one’s purse by mistake, it’s not like it’s STEALING. It was going in the trash!

Once it’s on the table, other people check the expiration dates to make sure it’s okay to send through.

Being expired doesn’t automatically disqualify the food. You have to check the expiration date against a chart that lists particular types of food and just how expired it can be. The sorters also had to check for fruit juice content, dented cans, recall items and anything leaking or previously opened. This is why I chose to open boxes and put them on the table.

Moon did it for the gloves. Putting the food on the table MAY seem like the easiest job. Okay, it did seem like it. But THEN  I lifted and twisted and hauled food onto the table for three hours  and ended up in bed for the next 36 hours eating Advil and moaning “my back, my back” non-stop. Interestingly enough, Moon was fine.

I guess it was that purse with 14 pounds of Rolo’s that did me in. It wasn’t STEALING, it was going in the trash!

Vintage Fun

One of the fun things about visiting my parents, is that my mother has a house FULL of vintage clothing. Purses, jewelry, hats, gloves, suits, dresses, coats, etc. And if I were a size 0 and she would actually let me wear any of them, it would be a blast.

She has bins and bins of clothing. I pulled a real pea coat from underneath a pile.

She has armoire stuffed with dresses, many from the 20’s and 30’s.

Where else but my mother’s house could you find a cool, suede, 70’s jacket hanging over the bedpost?

This is a bin of hats. She probably has another ten hidden around the house. BINS, not hats.

Every closet is full of fun, vintage fashions. My mother has the collection because she holds fashion shows a few times throughout the year. It’s lots of fun, and women from all over my hometown and beyond, come to the shows to buy. But here’s the EXCITING news – she’s bringing the show to Georgia! That’s right, you too can buy these lovely fashion!

The show will be held Saturday, November 12th in Marietta, Georgia.

To get an idea of how it all works, you can check out her blog. Then let me know if you’re interested in coming and I’ll make sure you get all the pertinent information. Like how to make out the checks. Z-O-L-L-I-G-I-R-L is tricky to spell.