Book giveaway: Waking Up White


Later this week I’m going to answer some parenting-logistics questions that I’ve been asked lately– things like what we do about allowance, how old our kids have to be to babysit siblings, etc. If you happen to have questions about how we do things at our house, will you shoot them to me in comments? I’ll add those questions/answers to Wednesday’s post.

Today, however, I am giving away an intriguing book called Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving.  She grew up in a privileged white community in the 60’s and 70’s, and realized well into adulthood that, first of all, she was so uncomfortable with race issues that she was often nervous talking with black folks, and second, that she desperately wanted to be the type of person who works to break down barriers, rather than pretending they don’t exist.

I think a lot of white people would like to think that racism is a thing of the past, that everyone plays on an even playing field these days.  But the more she explored this, the more she came to realize that’s just not true. It’s a proven fact that black boys get pulled over by police more often than white boys. White women still cross the street when black men walk by.  And black men have to dress much more neatly than average to go shopping at the mall without being covertly watched and sometimes even questioned by security people.

Chapter by chapter, the author shares her own personal journey of racial awakening– of really understanding the privilege she gained simply from being born into a white family.  She also came to realize that the reserve and politeness she learned from her family of origin, were sometimes causing her to avoid the kinds of deep conversations that might lead to understanding another person’s point of view, to really imagine life in their shoes.

She talked about the different values in different families, and how some of those values might add layers of complication to how we perceive folks.  For example, a student  she’d labeled difficult and distractible because of her tendency to leave her seat and go chat with other students turned out to be from a culture that highly valued cooperation.  The child was honestly trying to help other students out.

Another time the author realized she was inadvertently offending black associates by being too quick to call them by their first names instead of honoring them by saying Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones.  From her cultural standpoint, she saw it as a sign of friendliness. But many people, especially those growing up in the South, do not.

Yet another time she learned that calling a black person ‘articulate’  can be seen as an insult — a stinging jab often heard as ‘he’s unusual for a black person’– and not a true compliment at all.  Of course relationships between any humans can be complicated, even at their best.  But the overarching message of this book to me was how important it is to be honest and humble in our dealings with each other, to not assume that everyone is coming from the same frame of reference, and to be willing to hear and believe people telling you that life is very different for them than it may be for you.

As a mom to children born in several different countries, I read this book with interest and found it to be very worthwhile.  It left me with greater understanding and a renewed determination to be the type of person who builds bridges and grows relationships wherever I go.  As the author states in this book, we’re all different, but we all belong here.  We should treat each other as such.

If you would like to enter the drawing to win a copy of this book, comment below. I’d love to hear how you talk about race with your kids.  Do you encourage your kids to help all kids feel welcome in their classroom? How do you respond when your child points out someone of a different ethnic heritage in the grocery store?  If you are adoptive parent, how do you talk about race with your kids without leading them to expect bad treatment around every corner?

 

Splash

Related story:  Raising Black Kids in a ‘White’ State

Movie Giveaway: Against the Wild

The winner of The Perfect Score is commenter #5, Ticia.  Send me your address, Ticia, and I will get that book headed your direction.

~~~~~

Today I have yet another giveaway.  It is for a family movie called Against The Wild.  You can see the trailer here on youtube.  Our family watched it together and to be honest, my older teens didn’t find it riveting material– I think it’s geared more toward the elementary age group.  But it is  safe movie to watch with the whole family, and the dog is just beautiful.  (Of course I’m biased there– we have an Alaskan Malamute too.)

If you’d like to enter to win a copy of the movie, comment below and tell me about the best family movie you’ve watched lately.  I’m always eager to hear family movie recommendations.  Most recently (after reading the book to the younger girls) we watched ‘City of Ember’ again, and really enjoyed it.  I’ll select a winner of the video on Friday.  And if you’re interested in buying a copy of this movie, it is on sale at Wal-Mart.

Free movie tickets!

Son Of God movieThis seems to be a month of giveaways! The winner of the book The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle is commenter #12  Tracy Stanley.  Tracy, send me your address and I will get your copy headed in your direction.

Today I’ve got a new giveaway–  four vouchers  to go see a new movie that comes out this weekend.  It is called ‘Son of God‘  and the vouchers can be redeemed to use in any theater as long as it is showing. Here’s what the Dove Foundation had to say about the movie.

I’m always a little leery of movie presentations of faith– often producers use their creative license pretty liberally.  But  John and I are looking forward to taking our teens to check this one out for ourselves.  If nothing else, it is a great springboard and opportunity to talk with others about our faith. And the musical score was done by Hans Zimmer, one of my husband’s favorite composers.  (He’s a big fan of dramatic orchestral musical numbers.) Here’s the official movie trailer so you can get a feel for it.

I am going to give away these tickets in pairs, so that two families will have the chance to see this movie more affordably — or free, depending on the size of your family.  To enter the drawing, comment below and tell me about a movie you enjoyed recently.  I’ll choose a winner on Thursday, so get commenting!  :)

Because these vouchers are e-vouchers, if the winner replies quickly, I might even be able to get them to you in time to see the movie this weekend– if I can find time in the midst of the Refresh conference anyway.

Speaking of which, if you’re in the Seattle area and are interested in attending Refresh (a conference for adoptive and foster families) online registration is closed, but you can still show up on Friday and register in person.  There are lots of good speakers, including Deborah Gray (she wrote Attaching in Adoption) and Milan and Kay Yerkovich (authors of How We Love).  I’m excited to be team-leading a couple sessions with two awesome mommas.  Lisa Qualls of One Thankful Mom and I are doing a talk on having faith in hard times, and Jen Summers (a fellow mom of ten!) and I are talking about large family logistics.  Should be fun!

Of Chaos and Coffee

Coffee in the morning One of the things about having lots of kids is that you’re always trying to control the chaos one way or another. Sometimes that means putting multiple kids in the same activity to save driving, or doing fewer activities overall. Other times you triple a cookie recipe while you’ve already got a mess in the kitchen, or nix a messy snack and instead suggest one that is easier to clean up.

Recently it dawned on me that years of parenting many little ones left me in the habit of saying ‘no’ more often than is necessary in my current life. My youngest is 9, and I’ve got lots of capable teens, all of whom can wash dishes and do all sorts of other useful things, and some of whom can even drive each other places. That makes for a little more margin in our lives. I’m on a campaign this year to say yes to my kids more often. Sure, there are still limits. But ‘yes’ is definitely flying off my lips more often.

One of the example of this is hot drinks in the morning. For years I saved cocoa, tea, and coffee in the morning for sledding and snow days just to save on hassle and mess, but these days when kids ask for coffee or tea in the morning, my answer is a happy yes. The kids enjoy the extra pampering and so do I. This month, thanks to some freebies from Maxwell House International, we are enjoying cafe style coffee along with our tea and cocoa. This mildly sweet coffee is mellow enough that I’ll even let my 9- and 11-year-old daughters make half a cup in the morning. I also occasionally add a spoonful to my Ethiopian coffee for a bit of a different flavor. My kids really like the French Vanilla, but I prefer the Vanilla Nut myself. Swiss Mocha and Hazelnut are a couple of other options. You can see them all here.

Did you know that not only can you enjoy Maxwell House International as a cafe style coffee beverage for a flavorful and creamy coffee experience, but you can also add a few spoonfuls instead of creamer, to bring some romance to your coffee? In honor of Valentine’s Day, Maxwell House International wants you to try it. It’s delicious!

International Cafe

 Click here to get a sample (or a coupon) while they last. For additional fun, you can comment below, tell me which Maxwell House International flavor you would like to try. There are so many–including French Vanilla, Vanilla Nut, Hazelnut, Suisse Mocha, Vanilla Caramel, Café Vienna. You’ll be entered automatically in a random drawing for a $100 Visa gift card.

 

 

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 2/12/14 – 3/24/13.

Be sure to visit the Maxwell House International Page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Capri Clear giveaway (and random fun from our house)

I was asked recently to try out a sample of Capriclear Soothing Oil.  The only ingredient in this spray-on moisturizer is fractionated coconut oil. I’ve learned so many good things about coconut oil in recent years that I loved the idea of trying it as a spray. Awhile back I tried out another spray-on moisturizer, and loved the convenience of the spray bottle, but found that it didn’t last long on my Ethiopian daughters’ very dry skin.  In addition, one of my daughters is very sensitive to fragrances, and because of this she has almost given up on moisturizers.

WilonaThis spray goes on very light and after being rubbed in,  it absorbs nicely and lasts well.  Several times I even used it in my girls’ hair, to add some shine and extra moisturizing. I liked the way it worked for that purpose too. The spray was billed as perfect for babies, due to it being only one ingredient and fragrance free. So after trying it at our house for a few days, I handed it off to my daughter to try with her baby, whose skin was a little broken out at the time.  Amanda reported that it worked well for little Wilona and seemed very soothing.

I will be giving away a bottle of Capri Clear to one reader early next week.  If you are interested in entering the drawing, comment below and tell me something interesting that is happening at your house this month.

Lidya and HenryAs for us, we are chugging along with school, trying not to get too tired of it all.  We have an ambitious schedule this year and I’m hoping we can keep up so we can have a long Christmas break like we usually do.  The biggest two things on the list are high school Chemistry  (Apologia) which I am hoping to complete in ONE year, AND an essay a month for everyone.  Writing and editing can take lots of time, and Chem is very time consuming as well.

So far, the most exciting thing this month that has happened is that our 18 year old daughter Lidya was invited by her friend Henry to go to the homecoming dance at his school.  We had great fun shopping for her dress (yet another score for thrift shopping!) and also adding a bit of bling to the dress.  She and Henry had a very nice evening, first going to Outback for dinner with some friends  (where an anonymous stranger paid for ALL their dinners) and then off to the dance. Such fun!

Writing is going well.  I’ve got 7 out of 10 chapters pretty much pulled together.  However, I keep thinking of more and more I need to write about!  Hopefully I will have it all pulled together within the next month or so.  I’d love to get it turned in early, but we’ll see.

I’m starting to keep my eyes open for fun Christmas ideas for my clan– with so many people to shop for, I always need to start thinking early. These days the grandbabies are the easiest to shop for, and the teens are more challenging.

Little baby Ali is getting bigger.  Isn’t she sweet?

Ali

Looking forward to hearing what’s going on in your world!

Have kids who like to draw? (‘See the Light’ Art DVD Giveaway)

This week we had craft day at our church– a homeschooling coop with a bunch of friends.There are usually 20-25 kids — some teens, a few toddlers and preschoolers, but most of the kids are probably in the 5-12 age range.  Moms each take turns being in charge of the craft, and we don’t really expect anything huge or involved.  But when it’s your turn, you always want to do something that is enjoyable for all, which can be tricky with that broad an age span.

I was in charge this month, and decided to go with an art project that I’d seen online.  This cartooning video is part of a whole series of DVD art classes designed for homeschooling families.  I watched it ahead of time, and decided to show about 25 minutes of the 70 minute video.  This was the first time our group had done anything quite like that, but it ended up working really well.

Cartoon veggiesThe teacher steps kids through the art in a really doable way.  For example, she began by showing kids how to make different kinds of cartoon eyes, noses, and mouths in a collection on a sheet of scrap paper.  It was all very simple and non-intimidating for folks not sure of their drawing ability, but varied enough to also intrigue the kids who did like to draw.  Then she showed how to cartoonize shapes of vegetable using a mix of the features that she’d already shown the kids how to draw.

Not every kid adored the activity, but at any given moment during the 25 minute drawing session, a good 75% of the kids were happily engaged, which in a group that diverse I consider a big success.  The preschoolers ended up being happy mostly coloring and drawing free-form, but several of the 5 year old kiddos were able to follow along and do some interesting faces with the instruction of the DVD.  I’m looking forward to showing the rest of the video to my kids at home.

Now, the fun part:  I am giving away  a cartooning DVD to one of you!  All you have to do is comment below and tell me a bit about your family and art.  Do you enjoy drawing or does it intimidate you?  What about your kids?  Who do you think would enjoy this video most at your house? For a second entry, you may share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter, or you may ‘like’ See The Light on Facebook. I will choose a winner early next week.

Want a pair of Monster headphones?

Monster-NTune
This post is brought to you by Monster Headphones and BlogHer.

Recently I was sent a set of Monster N-Tune Headphones to review here. Mine came in a really pretty shade of blue. So shiny and sleek– I wanted to pet them. I tend to use earbuds. I find headphones to be bulky and I don’t like not being able to hear a thing going on around me. Must not dull my Spidey momma-senses, ya know! You never know what will happen while you’re oblivious. But when I tried these lovelies on, my mouth hung open. Ohmygoodness. The beauty of the sound that comes out of these things. It’s no wonder I have been seeing headphones on people all over the place these days.

I tried them out for about an hour yesterday, while sitting in my bedroom working on a writing project, and I felt utterly enveloped in my own beautiful world. These things just wrap you in utterly luscious sound– I wanted to keep them on forever. The ear pieces sit on, not around your ears, which I found to be very comfortable, and the curved piece that connects the two earpieces is adjustable for a variety of head sizes.

I was planning to give them to my husband for his birthday in November, but I ended up giving them to him WEEKS early because I was so excited about them. And let me tell you, I loved them so much that it was more than tempting to keep them myself. Maybe he’ll share with me now and then!

I’ve got to say up front, the price point is painful. $150 is outrageous, in my book. But oh, the sound. Even cheapskate me was sorely tempted to spring for a set. If you’ve got a music lover on your Christmas list, and your budget is fairly generous, this might be something to consider– it would definitely be something that any music lover would enjoy. These things are durable and beautiful, and feel like they’re extremely high quality.

Now the really fun news: There’s going to be a giveaway of 25 sets of Monster headphones, valued at $150 each. All you have to do for a chance to win is to click over to the Monster Headphones page on Walmart.com and let us know in my comments which is your favorite NTunes color. All comments left on all participating blog posts will be combined and 25 pairs of headphones will be awarded from those comments. Winners will be chosen November 1st. So comment away, and good luck!

I was given a pair of these headphones and compensated in exchange for this review. The opinions stated are my own.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

BlogHer will pool entries from participating blogs and select a sweepstakes winner at random and will contact the winner with details about fulfilling the prize.

The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/2/13 – 11/1/13

Giveaway: The Knitted Slipper Book

knitted slippers

 

Today I’m giving away a copy of a lovely book that came to me for review recently. It is called The Knitted Slipper Book: Slippers and House Shoes for the Entire Family. This collection of 30 designs contains styles for everyone in the family. In addition to knitting instructions, the book teaches you how to do felting, shaping, sizing, attaching soles, linings, and insoles. Some of my favorite designs include tiny-baby Mary Jane style shoes with soft leather soles, and Indian-style moccasins complete with beading.  The author of this book is Katie Startzman and she writes a knitting blog called Duo Fiberworks.

If you would like to win a copy of this book, comment below and tell me about the favorite knitting project you ever did.  For me, it would have to be a soft mint-green baby sweater I knitted for my second-youngest daughter when I was waiting for her to come home.  She and my youngest both ended up wearing it, first as babies, and then into their preschool years as an elbow-length shrug.   I loved it and it held up beautifully.

I’ll choose a book winner next week.  And if you’d like just a little peek inside this book, watch this cute little video.  If you have little children, they’ll enjoy watching it too.

 

Cool Creations in 35 Pieces

Here’s a fun book to keep in mind if you have a Lego fanatic on your birthday or Christmas list.  It’s called Cool Creations in 35 Pieces and features many uber-creative ways to use the same 35 lego pieces to construct some very cool looking little critters.  This book would be a great gift all on its own, but would be even better paired up with some new Legos.

The book mentions an age range of 4-8 years, but the creations in this book are enough fun that I could easily picture a 12 year old enjoying it.  Now the great news: I have one copy of this book to give away!  All you have to do to enter the giveaway is comment below and tell me one sure winner of a toy that your kids have enjoyed for years.  At our house the answer is Legos and Barbies, no contest.  What do your kids enjoy most?

If you’d like an additional entry to win, share/like this post on facebook or twitter, using the buttons below, and comment again, telling me you did so.  I’ll choose the winner of the book on Monday.

 

Keep On Singing (Little Mermaid giveaway)

Little Mermaid on DVD

Way back in the 90’s when our now-grown girls were tiny, one of the movies that found its way to our VHS player fairly often was Disney’s Little Mermaid. As a family who loves to quote movie lines, we still joke now and then about dinglehoppers, and I think we all ended up memorizing at least part of the song, ‘Kiss the Girl’.

 

We still own that same well-worn VHS copy of Little Mermaid. Only problem is, all but one of our VHS players have bitten the dust, and the one that survived happens to be one of those all-in-one TV/VCR combos. So when our little girls get a hankering to watch Little Mermaid or another movie in our VHS Disney collection, one of their brothers has to tote out the TV/VCR, and attach it to our regular TV before they can let their movies play. Yes, it works, but it’s a little clunky, and every time we pull out that TV, I wonder how much longer that VHS player will last. That’s why I was pleased when I was offered a ‘Diamond Edition’ copy of Little Mermaid to review. The girls had fun popping it in and watching a favorite again. When ‘Part of Your World’ came on, I might have broken into song, just for a moment or two. And my 15yo sons might also have looked at me cross-eyed.

They ought to be used to me breaking out in song by now — singing has always been a love of mine, something that really brings me joy. As for my little girls, they joined right in and sang along. They’re still at that gloriously unselfconscious age where they don’t spend a second worrying what other people will think about them. I hope that even when they move into the teen years, they’ll keep doing what brings them joy– yes, even if they get a cross-eyed look now and then. For one of my daughters, that joyful thing is definitely art. And both of them love to sing. What activities bring your child joy?

In conjunction with this review, I am giving away a $50 Visa Gift Card and a Little Mermaid Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack. All you have to do to enter the drawing is comment below and answer this question: How do you encourage your children to follow their dreams and do what brings them joy?

 

Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “”#SweepstakesEntry””; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post”
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/9/13 – 10/15/13.
Be sure to visit the Disney’s Little Mermaid page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!