Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday's Words: Taking down the tree

My Christmas tree fell over so I was forced to take it down early. Perhaps it was the premature nature of this task that made it harder than usual this year. So much so that my feeling expressed themselves in verse (as often happens when something moves me).

I hate when Christmas is over,
when the festivities are finally done,
and all you have are memories
of the family, food, and fun.

Now you face the cleanup
and tossing the tree out to the curb.
Blues replace the red and green,
so much they deserve this blurb:

I’ve sent a request to Pfizer
to develop a brand new pill
that will make taking down the tree
give you that “putting it up” thrill.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday's Words: Infinity Ring

Yesterday I learned of some exciting news from two of my favorite writing friends, Matt Kirby and James Dashner. It is a innovative project put together by Scholastic, and I think it is a sign of what is to come in the publishing world, as least as far as kids' books are concerned. But what impressed me more than anything, was the fact that out of the six hand-picked childrens' authors Scholastic has contracted for this amazing project, half of them are from Utah: James Dashner, Matt Kirby, and Jennifer Nielsen. I think that speaks volumes about the caliber of writers that this area, with its LDS values, generates.  

The following is a clip from the Scholastic press release:
Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and the pioneering force behind the groundbreaking and international bestselling The 39 Clues™ book series, expands its innovative multi-platform publishing program with the worldwide launch of Infinity Ring™, an alternate-history time travel series for readers ages 8-12. To be written by a team of six authors, this exciting new adventure combines books, an interactive “Hystorian’s Guide” map feature (named for a centuries-old secret society featured in the books), and a fully-immersive online game experience where readers travel back in time to fix history. Infinity Ring will launch simultaneously in September 2012 in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, with “Book 1: A Mutiny in Time,” written by New York Times bestselling author James Dashner (The Maze Runner), who also outlined the program’s overall story arc. Dashner will be followed by a team of bestselling and acclaimed authors including Carrie Ryan (Book 2; November 2012), Lisa McMann (Book 3; February 2013), Matt de la Peña (Book 4; June 2013), Matthew J. Kirby (Book 5; September 2013), and Jennifer A. Nielsen (Book 6; December 2013). The last book in the Infinity Ring series also will be written by James Dashner (Book 7; March 2014).

Read the complete article that appeared on the front page of the New York Times arts page here.
As a children's writer myself, I can't wait to read this new series.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Snuggie (easy instructions how to make one)

Last night at a Christmas party I chatted with a neighbor and she mentioned how her daughter wanted a Snuggie for Christmas, but out of a specific fabric. She told me how she dug up a two year old post on my blog so she could access the instructions I had created on how to make a Snuggie. I had totally forgotten about that post, but I think it would be a good idea to re-post it for my new readers who might be in need of a Suggie pattern and be unaware that such a post exists on my blog--or anywhere for that matter.

Here is my original entry I posted December 17, 2009:

Last week my daughter got one of those infamous Snuggies as a white elephant gift at a party. When she showed it to me I couldn't believe how easy it would be to make. So I made myself a pattern (more of a recipe. I first wrote the dimensions on a recipe card in case I wanted to make another one), and then made a
Snuggie. It zipped up so fast I made another, and another. I was able to buy polar fleece from Hancock fabric for $3.99/yard. It only took 2 3/4 yard of fabric, so it cost less than $12 to make. By the way, Hancock will continue to have their polar fleece on sale at that price until Christmas. I wrapped myself up in one of them and watched a movie one night. They are really quite comfy, especially made with the heavier, better quality fabric than the official Snuggie my daughter has. I even made an unofficial offical tag like the real snuggies just for fun. But instead of calling it a Snuggie, I've made a tag that reads, "This is not a Snuggie, it's a CUDDLE from Carolyn.

I would love to share my "recipe" with those of you who like to sew and or are looking for a cheap easy gift to give for Christmas. I've upgraded my pattern from a recipe card, but if you can't read this clearly, feel free to email me and I'll send you the pattern via e-mail in a pdf format. Contact me at

Have a Cuddly Christmas

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday's Words: Soaring Health Care Costs

I'm sure there are numerous ludicrous reasons why health care costs are through the roof, but I've got to share one that takes the cake, so I'm going to step upon my soapbox for this post. (Wow, three cliches and a trip to the thesaurus; I should rewrite that first sentence).

My husband works for United Health Group as a programmer. The week before Thanksgiving a woman pushed a cart through his neighborhood of cubicles, handing out a small printed box to every employee. As my husband opened the box, he expected a bottle of cologne, (the size and shape of the box prompted that guess), or at least some sort of useful item--a gift as a thank you to the employees. When he opened the box he discovered a thick stack of cards. They weren't playing cards, nothing so useful, but about 100 cards printed in vivid color, with statistics and various propaganda like statements as to why United Health Care was so good.

If that health care company was so good, I would argue that they would use the thousands and thousands of dollars spent on those cards in lowering their costs. Instead they wasted money on a worthless promotion to recipients that were not even in a position of making a choice of what health care they would choose. And the waste of money didn't stop with the cost of the cards. They had to pay the lady with the cart to hand them out, which probably took her all day because the company is so large--and their Salt Lake City office is only one of many across the country.  My husband told me how numerous guys used their cards to build things (they have notches in them to easily facilitate construction of a house of cards), thus wasting numerous man hours. The very next day, my husband was supposed to have received a turkey for Thanksgiving. The company had promised a turkey to all employees the week before. But my husband came home empty handed. He told me the company had changed their mind about the turkey and wasn't giving them out this year.

I think the turkey would have gone a lot further in promoting good will among employees than that set of cards ever could have. And it would have been a heck of a lot cheaper. But that would have been too logical and made too much sense. Those boxes of cards basically summed up what's wrong with health care companies today, (and it's not just United Health Care; most of my kids work for IHC and they tell me it's no different). Health care today isn't about making sense. It's about creating waste.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book Review: Variant by Robison Wells

Variant (Variant, #1)Variant by Robison Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an "Oh, my gosh" book. I couldn't put it down. It's been awhile since I've read one of those and I absolutely loved it (not just the story line, but the fact that I was reading a book that so thoroughly enthralled me).
Benson Fisher has hopped around from foster home to foster home and finally is going, to what he thinks is an elite boarding school, where he hopes to finally have a somewhat normal life. But he soon discovers that the school is absent of all adults and his peers are running the school. But this is only the beginning of his problems--and the intrigue. Wells does a great job of painting the dystopic nature school as well as numerous believable characters that I was immediately drawn to. The pace continued to escalate, sending me twists and turns that kept me turning the page. Even though this is a YA book,  I think it would appeal to readers of all ages who like a totally clean sci-fi or adventure, or just a fun read.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Books for Christmas Giveaway Hope

I'm participating in the give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop, hosted by Inksplasher.

What's a Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop? It's a group of bloggers who are giving away books as prizes!

The hop runs from December 1 through the 15th. all books will be shipped on December 16th. We can't guarantee books will arrive in time fro Christmas, but we're going to give it a good try! at the end of this post, you'll see a list of the participating blogs. Just click the links and go check out the contests.

I'm giving away a copy of The Sapphire Flute, by Karen Hoover.
The world of Rasann, the mage trials, magic jewelry, and shape shifting characters are only a few of the things that make The Sapphire Flute a page turner you won't want to put down.
Karen Hoover has created characters that youth will identify with. Kayla and Ember are each on an individual journey of self-discovery that is full of action and unexpected twists and turns. Although the main characters are girls, Hoover includes enough action that boys will enjoy her book as well.

Open to International entries. Must have email.

Deadline to enter: Thursday, December 15, 2011.

To enter to win this book:

  1. Become a follower of my blog (right sidebar)
  2. Leave a comment telling me the title and author of a book you're giving as a Christmas gift this year.
  3. Optional: Tweet or Facebook to spread the word. (Let me know in the comments what you've done. One extra entry per post.)
That's it! The winner will be posted and notified at the end of the hop.