Friday, September 30, 2011

The Friday FIve 9-30-11


Hi All – It’s the last day of September – this month went crazy fast, I feel like I missed the entire thing! I blame it on our insane schedule (and by “our” I mean my kids.) How has your week been? Let me know about your Friday Five in the comments! Here's what's been going on with me...


1. Happy New Year! To those who celebrate the Jewish New Year: L’Shana Tova! May you have a sweet new year filled with happiness, good health, and peace. As my parents say “all good things.”


2. Kindle. I usually don’t get excited over every little upgrade in technology, but I have been wanting a Kindle for a while now. I have the Kindle app on my phone, but its so small and a huge battery killer. Both my anniversary and birthday are coming up, and I’ve been dropping hints telling my husband I want one. So when news came on Wednesday of the new Kindle – well let’s just say, I went straight to the source and emailed my hubby the link. Thanks babe! It will hopefully be arriving in late November.

3. Play Ball! So the practices are all over and both my boys had their first games this week. My little guy had fun playing soccer (he may have scored a goal, just saying) and my teen started football without injury (In case you missed my football neurosis, you can catch up here.) No pressure, but college scholarships would be nice!

4. Blog Award.  In case you missed it last week – I have decided to incorporate the rules of the Versatile Blog Award I received a few weeks ago into my Friday Five (listing seven things you may not know about me and passing the award to fifteen blogs) one week at a time ... so as promised:

  •  7 things may not know about me - #2: I’m shamelessly addicted to Bravo TV (don’t judge.)
  •  Versatile Award blog of the week goes to: On the Border - a great blog about life on a ranch by mom and author Diane Stringham Tolley. Check it out and show her some love!




5. Book News. Today is the last day to get Nate Rocks the World for just $0.99 for your digital reader! This offer is available only through Smashwords and only with coupon code QH26Y. Then, for those who love a great giveaway, don’t forget about the giveaway at Just Children’s Books between now and October 2nd. Visit Just Children’s Books for a chance to win a beautiful bookcase filled with over fifteen books including a signed copy of Nate Rocks the World!

Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mom vs. Football: Stay Away From My Baby!

Yesterday, my oldest son played in his first middle school team football game. Well technically it was just a scrimmage, but the fact remains that other bodies were going to be slamming against his. He was excited – I was nervous.

It took me a long time to even agree to let him play football. Yes – I’m that Mom. But I had good reason. Four years ago, my son went snowboarding for the first time. He came home with not one, but two broken arms. It’s one of those things I’d rather not have to go through again. But I know it’s unfair of me to want to keep him in the house – preferably wrapped in bubble wrap. So my first baby joined the team and started training.

Now I use the term “baby” loosely. My nearly fourteen year old is 6’3” and 175lbs – way over the average size of every other player. My hope was that the other team would take one look at my child and decide not to go near him. That did not happen. But, in the end, he had fun, the team did well, and Mom gets to breathe easy for another week. Only six more games to go.

Go Wildcats!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Nate Rocks the World: The Party

It's Sunday and you know what that means! Time for another random pull from the world of Nathan Rockledge and Nate Rocks the World! Today, is Nathan's sister Abby's 14th birthday and she is planning a big birthday bash with some of her girlfriends - no boys allowed - especially Nathan! Will Nathan grant her wish or does he have something else in mind?

******


Our living room looks like a purple and pink volcano erupted, which is good if you like that sort of thing, but I, for one, do not. Mom and Abby spent all afternoon hanging pink and purple streamers all through the living room and even in the kitchen, which also had a pink and purple tablecloth on the table along with pink and purple plates, cups, napkins, and forks. In fact, I am pretty sure the A&P must now be sold out of anything pink or purple.

Abby says I’m not allowed anywhere near the living room, which is fine with me. Who would want to hang out with Abby and her friends anyway? Besides, I have something else to do.



For more about Nate Rocks the World - including reviews, events, pictures, and a coupon code for a $0.99 ebook that ends THIS WEEK please visit www.karentoz.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Friday Five - 9/23/11

Hi all... it’s the first day of fall! Even with the killer allergies (& boy have they been brutal this week!) I still love fall! So what has been in your Friday Five this week? Leave me a comment below – I love hearing from you! Here’s what’s been going on with me:

1. Soccer! My youngest started soccer on Sunday. It was his first time doing an organized sport. He was very excited to do something that his older brother had done, so we went and bought him his itty bitty cleats & shin guards (so cute!) Nothing is funnier than watching a herd of 5 year olds all charging for the ball at the same time. It was a bit chilly out, but he had a great time. Here’s to a fantastic season!


2. Back to School Night. Now that I have three kids in school, I have three back to school nights in three different schools! This week I had two out of the three. I love seeing the classrooms and their schoolwork displayed. It was great to meet all the teachers, meet some new parents, and catch up with parents I hadn’t seen all summer. One more back to school night to go!

3. Guest Blogger. While I usually try to keep my blog posts light & (hopefully) on the funny side, this week I blogged about a subject quite serious in hopes of raising awareness about “Invisible Illnesses.” I was touched by the number of people who came forward either through comments left on the blog or privately through email to let me know how much they appreciate me speaking out on the subject that effects so many. In addition to my post, I had my very first guest blogger – my husband! He so eloquently wrote about ‘our’ condition through his eyes – something many people don’t think about. To all who left comments, thank you so much for the support!


4. Versatile Blogger Award. So you may remember that my friend Amberr at Bump on a Blog passed down the Versatile Blogger Award to me. Thank you Amberr! The “rules” state I am supposed to tell you 7 things you may not know about me & then pass along the award to fifteen more blogs that I love. Rather than bombard you with a list of fifteen – I thought I would add a blog a week to my Friday Five that you should check out, along with one thing you may not know about me (until we get to 7). So...

* 7 Things you may not know about me #1: I’m shy (stop laughing!)

* Blog of the week: Kristy K James : I love Kristy's blog for so many reasons, but mostly I love it because she writes about the moment, whether it be about writing, something that triggers a memory, or about her love of animals. Every post is refreshing, honest, and many times funny. She is also an accomplished author with a new series coming out soon! Visit Kristy's site & show her some blogging love!

5. Book News – There are some great give away opportunities happening with Nate Rocks the World this week!

* My friends at Wild About Reading are giving away a signed copy of Nate Rocks the World. All you have to do is “like” their Facebook Page: here and leave a comment that you would like to win the book & presto – you are entered to win a signed copy! While you are there, check out my interview on their blog.

* If you miss out on that giveaway, there is another crazy huge giveaway taking place at Just Children’s Books between now and October 2nd. Visit Just Children’s Books for a chance to win a beautiful bookcase filled with over fifteen books including a signed copy of Nate Rocks the World.

* For those who use Kindles, Nook, Sony E-Readers, IPads, IPods, etc, etc, etc... Nate Rocks the World is available for $0.99 for just one more week in honor of National Literacy Month!! This offer is available only through Smashwords until 9/30 and only with coupon code QH26Y.

Also – if you haven’t been by my website lately: www.karentoz.com come check it out! There is a great new section called “Meet the Kids” along with some new reviews posted! Let me know what you think!

Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

Monday, September 19, 2011

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know


Last Week was Invisible Awareness Week. I know I'm a few days late, but I am participating in this simple blog post meme to help spread awareness, not only into the public eye, but because there is still so much even my closest friends and family do not know.

It took me a long time to be able to talk about my disease. Fear, denial, confusion and shame all played a part in my life. This year is definitely a turning point for me. I have accomplished so much, despite my condition.

A few months ago, the Eastern Pennsylvania Arthritis Foundation asked me to be their 2011 Annual Jingle Bell 5K Run Honoree. I proudly accepted and decided it was time to open up about my silent disease. Over the next few months, I hope to blog regularly about my condition – my struggles and my accomplishments.

For now, here are my "30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know":

1. The illness I live with is: Rheumatoid Arthritis.

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: August 2007, a few weeks before my youngest turned one.

3. But I had symptoms since: It’s hard to say. I definitely had days when I was in pain prior to that summer, and exhaustion (a symptom of RA) had been present for a long time.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Asking for help. I had always been an incredibly independent person (some may even say stubborn...) Realizing I could not do many things was a huge blow. I still have trouble asking for help – it’s a daily adjustment.

5. Most people assume: I’m fine. They hear arthritis and think I can pop a couple of Tylenol and be on my way. They don’t realize I have to carefully plan out every day: plans, errands, vacations, work schedule, everything. In fact, most people don’t know I have RA.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting out of bed. You know the tin man from the Wizard of Oz? That’s me for a good half hour.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: I used to watch ER & Grey’s Anatomy, but haven’t watched a medical TV show in years.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My heating pads! I have a wide variety – I have the plug in moist heat pad, a variety of different shaped microwavable heating pads and my favorite - the disposable Therma-Care 8 hour heat wraps... can we say heaven?

9. The hardest part about nights are: Finding the energy to get things done.

10. Each day I take: more Tylenol then I care to admit. I also take zyrtec/sudafed 365 days a year for allergies and prednisone as needed. Once a month I go in for an IV treatment for my RA med, but often I have to skip it due to illnesss.

11. Regarding alternative treatments: I have nothing against it if it works for you. I’ve read studies where alternative treatment is effective for immediate relief, but does not stop the progression of the disease. To me the long term treatment is most important.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I’d prefer invisible. I’m learning to be more vocal when I need to be, but I also like the fact that I can hide it at my discretion.

13. Regarding working and career: It is difficult. I have had to cut back my schedule. I work part-time now. I write and blog when I can. I often don’t stop when I should, and I pay for it later. Live and learn.

14. People would be surprised to know: I need to take a nap almost everyday. People don’t often associate arthritis with exhaustion, but it is one of my biggest symptoms.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: The Unknown. When will I have a flare? What will I be like five years from now? Ten years from now? Next month? Will I have to cancel tomorrow’s plans? Will I have any long-term side effects from my meds? The list goes on.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Walk a 5K! Last year I decided I wanted to participate in the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell 5K run. I joined a gym & started to “train.” I didn’t care if I could only walk 15 minutes on the treadmill at very slow speeds. I worked hard and managed to finish. I came in last place – but it didn’t matter. I’m planning a repeat performance this year.

17. The commercials about my illness: I’m laughing. Whenever I tell people about the drug I take, they say, “Oh that’s the commercial where the list of warnings takes up almost the entire time.” Yup – that’s the one.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Knitting. I’ve been knitting since I was a little kid. I can still knit occasionally, but I have to use big fat needles so my grip is not tiny. It’s just not the same.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: Control. This goes back to the whole independence and asking for help thing. I’m still working on it.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Writing! Who knew this accountant had a creative side? But I love to write! Of course, my hands don’t always cooperate, but I manage to squeeze in a little writing time everyday. I’ve even published a novel (Nate Rocks the World) and have two more in the works!

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Play on the playground with my five year old. It is the one thing I have really missed, running around and playing with the kids.

22. My illness has taught me: Acceptance and patience – with myself. I used to get angry that my body was failing all the time. I had slipped into a depression. I was miserable. But as time went on, I realized this was the card I was dealt, and it wasn’t fair to anybody, including myself to feel this way.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: when people compare RA to their sprained ankle or broken toe or pulled muscle. I get it... you are in pain – a lot of pain. I’ve had my share of bone & ligament injuries over the years before I was diagnosed. Yes – they hurt! But guess what? The pain goes away. There is an end in sight even though at the time it may not seem that way at the time. Until there is a cure found for RA, I have no end to my daily pain in sight. Do I say this out loud? No, I try to be sympathetic (and I truly do feel bad for you), because I know how bad the pain can get. But please don’t tell me you know how I feel.

24. But I love it when people: Include me in things. I have a condition – I am not contagious, you will not catch it I promise! I may or may not accept your invitation. I may accept your invitation and then cancel at the last minute. But just the fact that you invited me puts a smile on my face.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: It is a writing called The Spoon Theory. Everyone who either has or knows someone who has a chrinic condition must read it regularly.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: First off – gather all of your loved ones together and have them read The Spoon Theory (see above!) Make sure you have a doctor that you feel comfortable with – don’t be afraid to switch! You are your best advocate when it comes to your own health care.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How amazing my family and friends are. You quickly learn who is in your support system and who is toxic.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: My husband and children are constantly doing.. there are too many things to list – even small things like helping to carry in groceries mean a lot ... I could not get through this without them.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: It’s important to educate people. Millions of adults and children suffer daily.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: loved. grateful. hopeful.

To help support me in my fight against Arthritis, please visit my Jingle Bell Run Donation Page  -- we would love to have you walk or run with us. Even the smallest donation can make a difference!

xoxo - Karen

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Nate Rocks the World: The Science Project.


Time for another random six sentence pull from Nate Rocks the World (it is Six Sentence Sunday after all!)

In this scene... Nathan has to spend his Saturday working on his science project with his partner ... the dreaded Lisa Crane. You know Lisa - she is the annoying class know-it-all. Sounds like another fun afternoon for poor Nathan:

~~~~~~~~~

“Okay, so I have everything all planned out. We are going to make a prism out of plastic and then show how the light reflects through it to make a rainbow.”

“Rainbows?” I could already hear the other kids laughing at me at recess, asking if we are also researching fairies and leprechauns. “How about something more exciting like lightning instead?”

“Sure Nathan, we’ll just stand outside during a storm and play with big bolts of electricity that shoot from the sky,” Lisa says, rolling her eyes at me.


~~~~~~~~~

Want to learn more about Nate Rocks the World?  Visit my website! Read reviews, meet the kids, download the first chapter & more! For a limited time you can get Nate Rocks the World for your e-reader for just $0.99. Details at www.karentoz.com



Friday, September 16, 2011

The Friday Five - 09-16-11

Hi all – back to school is officially underway with our first full week back. I’m busy figuring out carpools and making sure everyone is on the right bus (see below), but for the most part, everyone is settling in nicely. Here’s what else has been going on this week:

1. 9/11. It is so hard to believe it has been ten years since 9/11. It just doesn’t seem like that much time has passed for me. Like most people, I can remember exactly what I was doing when it all happened. I was at work, huddled around the computer with the rest of my co-workers watching cnn.com. We were watching the live stream, expecting to see the replay of what happened. Instead, we saw the 2nd tower getting hit, live before our eyes. It was completely surreal. The rest of the day was a blur, until I went to pick up my then 4 year old from my babysitter’s house. She, like most people, had the television on. My 4 year old was sitting on the floor building towers with leggos and knocking them over with a toy car (acting as an airplane). The magnitude of the event in his little eyes was beyond apparent.

2. Birthday Party Anyone? This past Saturday was one of the most hectic days we have had in a very long time. We started out at our friend’s house celebrating their adorable identical twin boys’ third birthday. It was just a quiet and intimate party with us and twenty other 3 year olds and their families. Luckily they have a ginormous house (& hopefully a good clean up crew!) From there, we went to my daughter’s birthday party which was re-scheduled thanks to the hurricane. I got smart with her party and had it at a bowling ally. I didn’t have to do a thing other than show up and bring a cake. The kids had a blast and I was able to sit and relax. Immediately after her party, we went over to another birthday party. This time for our cousin’s two year old. What a cutie - with the most amazing smile and eyes! Our energy was sapped by the time we arrived, but it was so nice to see everyone and help them celebrate.


3. The Phone Call. Tuesday afternoon was one I would prefer not to repeat. I was waiting at the bus stop at the corner of our street waiting for the school bus to safely deliver my 5 year old from Kindergarten, when I see my daughter who had arrived home a few minutes earlier from her school, running down the street toward me. She tells me that the principal called to ask if I had picked my 5 year old up, and that they were not quite sure where he was. WHAT?! I had my cell phone on me and immediately called the school. The teacher tells me he must have gotten out of the bus line and that they are trying to locate him and will call me back. WHAT?! Several minutes later (which felt like several hours) they call to say they found him on a different bus and they were bringing him back home. Apparently he thought he heard his bus being called, and in his little mind, he thought all the buses went to our house. Not a fun afternoon.

4. Book News. – Confession time – I think my favorite part about having this book is getting notes and pictures from parents telling me how much their kids are enjoying Nate Rocks the World. I decided I wanted to dedicate a portion of my website to honor these great kids, so with their parent’s permission, I now have a “Meet The Kids” section on my website – take a peek! I hope to soon have it filled with lots of smiling faces! If you know someone who has enjoyed Nate, send me a picture! If you haven’t had a chance to check out Nate Rocks the World, there are currently a few great opportunities happening:

*Check out my interview with Donalisa Helsley from Wild About Reading on Monday September 19th, then visit the Wild About Reading Facebook Page from the 21st-24th for an opportunity to win a signed copy of Nate Rocks the World.

*Our friends at Just Children’s Books are sponsoring an amazing givieaway between now and October 2nd. Visit Just Children’s Books for a chance to win a beautiful bookcase filled with over fifteen books including a signed copy of Nate Rocks the World.

*For those who use Kindles, Nooks, Sony E-Readers, IPads, IPods, etc, etc, etc... Nate Rocks the World is available for just $0.99 until September 30 in honor of National Literacy Month. This offer is available only through Smashwords and only with coupon code QH26Y.

5. Blog Award! What’s better than being awarded The Versatile Blogger Award? Being awarded The Versatile Blogger Award a second time!! Thank you to my friend Amberr Meadows over at Like a Bump on a Blog. Please go visit her blog – it is awesome!! My official acceptance and nominations will happen at some point over the weekend – so stay tuned. I have to nominate fifteen fellow bloggers. If there are any you think are worthy, leave me a comment and I’ll check them out!



Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

From the Archives: "What is this New Math?"

The following is a re-print of a post I wrote last spring... Last night was *our* first night of math homework for the year. What better way to kick off the new school year than by posting about my favorite subject: "The New Math." Try not to break out in a cold sweat while reading....

******************************************************


**WARNING** The following blog post involves a discussion about math homework. Proceed with caution!

I am a numbers person. Yes, I enjoy writing. I write a blog and have two fiction manuscripts under my belt. But, when it comes down to it, numbers are more my thing. In college, I took Derivative Equations… as an elective... enough said.

So why am I having so much trouble helping my kids with their math homework? True, they are in accelerated math classes, but that has nothing to do with my ineptness.

Let me start out by saying that I do not blame the teachers. I can honestly say that for the most part, my kids have had and continue to have AWESOME teachers. But, for some odd reason, the powers that be who created the curriculum, decided all of the tried and true math problem solving skills which have proven successful for the last fifty years (and probably longer, really) were no longer valid.

Here are my issues:

-Why is multiplication now done in some odd looking grid? By the time the kids get done drawing all the lines, I could have figured the problem out five times. (Or in my head, since I had to memorize my times tables back in second grade, something else my kids never had to do).

-Why is long division even longer? For example – for the problem 83 divided by 7: instead of subtracting the 7 from the 8 and then bringing down the next number, my children must subtract 7 from 83, then subtract 7 again and again, 11 times until they get to the remainder. (Once again, because they have not memorized their times tables, I suspect.)

-Forget about how they would solve 83 divided by 17! It has something to do with pulling out the 10's that I still cannot figure out. (Don’t worry if you did not follow that – you are not alone!)

-As long as we are talking about division, why is short division not even taught?

-Why is it that my 7th grader still looks at me with glazed eyes when I talk about percentages?

I have more issues, but you get the idea.

The other night, my daughter was just starting to learn Algebra. The homework problem was:

7 - x = 14

On her paper, there were half-erased scribbled out numbers, but no real “work” showing how she got the answer (which she had incorrectly written as 21). I showed her how to isolate the ‘-x’ by subtracting 7 from both sides. I then showed her how when you have a negative in front of the “x” you have to multiply both sides by “-1” to make the “x” a positive number. The answer then is x = -7.

When I was done explaining, my daughter looked at me and stated, “That is so easy, why didn’t my teacher show us that way?”

Good question.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately for Nate Rocks the World, and the number one question has been, “Did you always want to be a writer?” The truth of the matter is – no – I only fell in love with writing a little over a year ago. Should I have always wanted to be a writer? If it wasn't my passion since the moment I picked up my first crayon, does that mean writing is not meant to be for me?

photo credit: Fort Edmonton Park via photopin (license)
I then started thinking about how different my life is now compared to what I always thought “I wanted to be” at different points in my life:

When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be the next Marie Osmond. I loved “The Donny & Marie Show” (dating myself...) - I couldn’t sing, act, ice skate or dance, but for some reason I thought I could get up on that stage (next to Donny of course) and be ‘a little bit country.’

I outgrew that, thank goodness ... next moving into teacher, a fashion merchandiser, a choreographer, and then an MTV VJ.

In high school, I decided I wanted to go into business, leaning toward accounting. I loved math and numbers, so it seemed a logical career path. I entered college as an accounting major.

photo credit: Numbers And Finance via photopin (license)
From there I made the giant leap to wanting to get rid of all of the corruption in the securities market. (I believe it had something to do with the movie ‘Wall Street’) and promptly switched my major from accounting to finance. That one stuck with me for a while as I then continued on to law school only to learn, I did not want to be a lawyer. But, I was already there, and learned I loved tax law. So I stuck it out, graduated, and passed the bar. Then, I went back to the accounting side to do the tax thing. Sixteen years later, I started writing.

When my oldest graduated pre-school, the teacher did a slide show where each child held up a picture they drew of an occupation with the words, “When I grow up I want to be a...” My son chose farmer. I guess we had been doing a lot of gardening that spring. When we got in the car to go home, he started crying. I asked him what was the matter. He cried, “I don’t want to be a farmer anymore!”

I smiled and told him he had many years to decide what he wanted to be when he grew up.

*****

http://bit.ly/KPTbooks

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Friday Five 9-9-11

Hi everyone – I don’t know about you, but for me September sure has been crazy so far! So what has everyone been up to? Leave me a commet and let me know!

1. Happy Labor Day! I love long weekends. We celebrated the unofficial end of summer at home. My husband went on a cleaning spree – laundry & vacuuming (no complaints here!) and then we celebrated with friends and neighbors at a couple of parties. It was a great chance to catch up with everyone we didn’t get to see enough of over the summer. The white pants are officially put away.

2. First Day of School. Well, I’m now the mom of an 8th grader, a 6th grader, & ... a Kindergartener! So far so good – the kids like their teachers and their classes – and most importantly, they have the same lunch as their friends. We’re still working on the bus schedule as it is always a bit off the first couple of weeks, but we’ll figure it all out eventually! Now if only we can get them to stay in school. Two days in and they already have a day off. (See#3 below)

3. Mother Nature Strikes Again! First we had the earthquake, then the hurricane, and now floods and mudslides! Early on Thursday morning (2:30am to be exact), Mother Nature once again lost her temper, bringing us monsoon like storms complete with the requisite thunder & lightning. They lasted the entire night and into the morning. I am not kidding when I say the rain overnight made Hurricane Irene seem like a drizzle. We got the call at 6:00am that school was closed – turned on the news and couldn’t believe all the flooding and destruction. Prayers going out to so many who lost so much!

4. Book News – part 1. There is so much going on with Nate Rocks the World, so this week, I decided to split ‘book news’ into 2 parts. First up – I had the pleasure of being interviewed by some amazing people this past week:

September 2: Feature Friday on Three Boys & A Dog
September 9: Interview with Stuart Aken
September 10: Interview on Write What Inspires You by Donna McDine

I also would like to congratulate my two Goodreads winners: Marilu Turillo & Jay Marguerite. Your books are on their way!

5. Book News - part 2. Who doesn’t love a sale? In celebration of back to school and National Literacy Month, the e-version of Nate Rocks the World is just $0.99! Available formats are Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, IPad, Kobo, epub, rtf & pdf. Available only through Smashwords and only with coupon code QH26Y. Offer good through 9/30/11.

I hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

As I Head Off to Kindergarten...

Today is my first day of Kindergarten – yes “my” first day – today I accompany my five-year-old into his Kindergarten classroom for the first time.

Last June, I wrote about my son’s last day of preschool. I listed off all of his “lasts.” But today is about all his “firsts.”

His first time walking down the halls of his new school.

His first time meeting new classmates, he will soon call friends.

His first time carrying the new backpack and lunch box he carefully picked out and has been eagerly waiting to use.

His first time eating in the school cafeteria.

His first time taking the school bus home.

His first time giving me a kiss as a Kindergartener.


... My first time saying “my Kindergartener”...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nate Rocks the World - Six Sentence Sunday

Hi friends - today I am participating in "Six Sentence Sunday." My task is to post just six sentences from my book, Nate Rocks the World. This is not easy - but at the advice of my twitter pal Gena Morris (@themorrisbunch) I am randomly opening up a page and pointing my finger to.... Ah - this is a fun scene actually.

 Okay - we are in chapter 5 and it is Halloween night. Nathan has decided to go as a cowboy. He is extra excited because for the first time in 10 years, he is getting to put together his costume all by himself. Usually his mom helps, which wouldn't be so bad except that her sewing skills are a little ... well ... unskillful... Just as Nathan thinks he is in the clear - his mom arrives with a surprise - a fringed vest she made just for him - one arm hole is too big, one armhole is too small - you get the picture......

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 The entire vest is lopsided, and the fabric looks like it was made out of black trash bags.

 "Hmmm," Mom says. She tries to pull on the left side to straighten it out. "Something is not quite right here."

No kidding, I think to myself, but Mom keeps fiddling with it, trying to make the vest work. Then, as if ten years of praying has finally paid off, Mom pulls the vest off me, balls it up, and throws it in the trash.

 ****************** 

 Did you enjoy this tiny excerpt? Let me know & I just may post another Six Sentence Sunday for you next week!

Check out Nate Rocks the World at Amazon in print & now for a limited time for your kindle, nook & other digital readers for just $.99!! Use coupon code QH26Y at Smashwords.com.

Karen

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What is it About the Night?

I can honestly say I weigh the same weight as I did on the day I graduated high school. While some may wish this were true for themselves, for me, it is not a good thing. I have struggled with my weight my entire life – you know me – I was the chubby girl in the class.

When I went off to college, I experienced the ‘freshman fifteen’; only in my case, thankfully, I lost fifteen pounds. I think it had something to do with awful cafeteria food and no money to eat elsewhere. By the end of college, I was down thirty pounds. The weight stayed off for many years. I managed to get through two pregnancies and still maintain my weight within ten pounds.

But now, I find myself back full circle. While pregnant with my third child, I consciously ate enough for a football team, figuring the weight would come right off as it did with the other two kids. I was wrong. I was also much older. Now that my youngest just turned five, I can no longer call it “baby weight.” I have tried to diet more times than I care to admit over the past five years. I feel like I keep gaining and losing the same ten pounds. I’d like to blame it on my arthritis – you know the meds, my inability to exercise as much as I should... blah–blah-blah. But I can’t.

The truth of the matter is - I eat too much – and for some unexplainable reason – only at night. I am the model eater during the day: healthy meals, healthy snacks, water, even a little exercise. I do it all. But then it falls apart. After dinner, I start thinking about the ice cream and the cookies and the chips and the... I swear they all talk to me – luring me into their trap. It is as if 'evil night eater' comes out and overcomes 'healthy day food eater', always winning in the battle, using excuses such as: well you exercised today (does folding laundry count?), I’ll just have a taste (never), once it’s gone I won’t buy it again (yeah right), & my favorite – tomorrow will be better the same.

So I’m waging a war against you my evil night eater! I’m calling you out over the Internet for all to know about your malicious ways. Leave me alone or deal with the wrath of the blogosphere! Who’s with me?

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Friday Five - 09/02/11

Hi all – Happy September! Boy this has been a crazy week – especially here in the northeast. I hope all who were in Irene’s path stayed safe and have power. Speaking of Irene – let’s get right to it!

1. More Birthdays. Last week we celebrated my blog’s birthday and this week I celebrated the birth of two of my children! No I do not have twins, but my 5 year old and my 11 year old were born just one day (and 6 years) apart which always makes a very busy end of August for me. When my son was born, my daughter made it very clear to me she would not be sharing her birthday with her brother. Since she is older and her birthday comes first, I always let her pick on which day of the nearest weekend she wants her party. This year she picked Sunday. Oops – big mistake. We had to cancel her party due to the hurricane, while her younger brother managed to squeeze his party in on Saturday before the rain hit. The good news is I was able to reschedule her party for the 10th and now more of her friends can come.

2. Hurricane. You didn’t think I was going to leave it out of my Friday Five did you? In fact, it was such a big part of my week that I blogged about Irene separately as: Our Uninvited Birthday Guest. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit scared terrified as Irene blew through. In addition to the hurricane warnings, we also had tornado warnings. Not comforting when trees surround your house. (Note to self, do not buy next house on a wooded lot). On top of all that, I had to try to stay calm to keep my almost hysterical 11 year old calm. In the end, there were some downed trees and powerlines in our neighborhood, but we remained unscathed. Hope you all did as well!

3. Bowling. Well because I felt so bad about canceling my daughter’s birthday party on Sunday, I decided we would do whatever she wanted on her actual birthday the next day. She picked bowling. In case you missed it, check out the pictures. I don’t know what possessed me since my arthritis was already acting up, but I decided to participate. Look, I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it – I bowled a 31. Let’s move on.

4. Book news. That’s right – it’s time for another Goodreads giveaway!! I am giving two copies away of Nate Rocks the World – you can enter below – good luck! Speaking of giveaways, I have been in touch with the winner of my last contest – her comment to me regarding her daughter: “She loves it! She almost fell on her face getting out of the car this morning to go to school because she had her nose in it!” So before you enter my Goodreads contest, I just want to put a general disclaimer out there: I am not responsible for any injuries incurred while reading my book. Also this week, I was the featured author on TS Welti’s Wacky Writer Wednesday. Visit her site for some fun questions!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Nate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz

Nate Rocks the World

by Karen Pokras Toz

Giveaway ends September 08, 2011.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


5. Kindergarten. I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry... I knew it was coming, but this week it became just a little bit more “real.” On Monday night, we had Kindergarten orientation for my youngest – my baby! They talked about ordering lunch and riding the school bus. Then on Wednesday, we went back for a tour of the school and a party on the playground. My son already has two best buddies and school hasn’t even officially started yet. He seems happy and excited. Mommy is not doing quite so well! School officially starts next Wednesday.


Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. For those in the U.S., have a happy & safe Labor Day weekend! See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner! Karen

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