Tuesday, November 29

Let's Hear it for the Girl: Elizabeth Owen and her Not So Storybook Life (AND A GIVEAWAY, TOO!)

My (not so) Storybook Life, Elizabeth Owen

And the winner is....
entry #5
If your name is Kat and your avatar is a super cute pair of socks, email me at Savannah (at) chasingmybees (dot) com!

I mentioned my friend Liz's book once before here on the little ol' blog. If you follow me on the twitters, you've seen me mention it at least 16 times. Leading up to its pub date, the actual pub date, the day I received my copy, the day Liz had a book signing (which I couldn't attend and am still pouting about)... Lots of tweeting about this book.

Clicking on this link will take you to my first post about My (not so) Storybook Life, where you can read an excerpt to get a taste of how delicious Liz's writing is.

Clicking on this link will take you to Barnes & Noble where you can purchase the turquoise wonder.

Clicking on this link will take you to Amazon where you can buy the hardcover OR the Kindle edition.


Liz and sweet baby Jane. Happy girls.

I really loved this book. There were more than a few times I lol'd, and you guys, I don't lol over just anything. There were also several, "Uh-huh, girl. I know exactly whatchu mean" moments. And some unexpected sweetness, which, I totally should have expected. This tale of friendship and faith, both honest and imaginative, is one of the loveliest books I've read in a long time. 

And it can be yours.* 

Let's make this easy, shall we?
Tell me your favorite work of fiction or your favorite memoir and tell me, if you can, why it's the best.
That's it. Just leave a comment (with a valid email address. very important.) and you could win a copy of My (not so) Storybook Life

But you might as well buy a copy to give your sister, too. 
Or for your BFF. 
Or yo' momma. 
Or (even if only because she birthed your favorite guy) your mother-in-law.
Really, this book deserves to sit on the shelf of every woman you love. 

*I received a copy for review because I am super awesome. Or, more likely, Liz asked her publisher very politely if I could have a copy, because she is undoubtedly a politer person than I.
The giveaway will be open until Friday, December 2nd. On Friday, some magical forces will reveal the winner to me, and I'll reveal the winner to you, and you'll get a copy, too. 

Thursday, November 17

Clearly, She Wrote This Book for DestructoTot

Emily Jenkins is fast becoming a family favorite 'round here. She is basically who I want to be when I grow up: a picture book and kid lit writer, a YA author, and novel-er.

The first Emily Jenkins book we read was Invisible Inkling, a middle-grade chapter book with really great pictures. The Boy and I loved it instantly, and quickly moved on to the The Secret Life of Billie's Uncle Myron (which she wrote with her dad) and the Toys series.

But what I love most about Emily Jenkins, so far, is that apparently she bugged our house and watched The Baby very closely and then decided to write a book about her. Which is weird, because Love You When You Whine was published in 2006, and The Baby wasn't born until 2008. Semantics, schemantics. She's got a crystal ball. Probably.

Judging on title alone, Love You When You Whine is a perfect book for The Baby. Judging on Jenkins' words and the illustrations by Sergio Ruzzier, it was made for her.


"Love you when you whine."

"Love you when you pour cereal on the floor."

"...and chew with your mouth open."

"Love you when you mess with my checkbook."

There are over two dozen "Love you when..." scenarios, which account for roughly four hours of one day with The Baby.

I love this book so, so much. There are no saccharine, "You're the most perfect baby ever to have never puked on her mommy" moments. There are no, "I made one hundred and twelve organic carrot cake cupcakes with applesauce-sweetened icing made from the apples grown in my pesticide-free orchard that I cultivate with my own hands and don't forget there is a soccer game tonight of which I am coach and also have you noticed my beautiful highlights and perfectly manicured fingernails and by the way I showered today before 7 am" mothers. Nowhere. None. 

As much as I love the sticky-sweet stories and illustrations in many classic children's books (and really, I really do), I am absolutely in love with this book, because through hilariously sad illustrations and simple declarations, it's clear that the parents are not afraid to say Look kid, you are bat-snot crazy, and you wear me out, and I wish you would just take a nap already, and oh my gosh you are wonderful and exquisite and I love you so much that there are just no adequate words to make you understand how important you are to me.

Because that's exactly how I feel about The DestructoTot Baby.

Friday, November 11

We're Off to See the Wizard! Ticket Giveaway!

I am so excited, y'all. Dorothy and her pals are coming to town as part of UCA's Public Appearances Broadway series!

The show, at 7:30 pm on Saturday, November 19th, is already sold out. 

But I, faithful friends, have tickets. No, that's not an opium haze from the poppy field you're feeling... you read that right.

The performance is sold out but I have four tickets. For you!!

My Bees and I will be there, representin' Little Rock Family magazine and taking pictures of all the costumed show-goers before the show goes. The wonderful wizards at UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall will have a yellow brick road ready for sparkly shoes and scarecrows and lions and tinmen, oh my!
We just happen to have a Dorothy outfit in our dress-up trunk, so The Girl will be donning the iconic blue gingham dress (or, an approximate polyester variation thereof). I'm considering making The Baby go as Toto. She certainly barks enough for the part.

from UCA Reynolds facebook

Entering to win the four emerald tickets is easy. 

Just leave a comment telling me your favorite Wizard of Oz moment, or your favorite memory associated with the Wiz and Company. 

The giveaway will be open until Thursday, November 17th, when I'll announce the winners. 

*disclaimer* I get comped tickets because I'm awesome, and also because I'll be there photog-ing for Little Rock Family. The lovely folks at UCA totally agreed when I emailed them, saying, "Hey! A ticket giveaway would be super!" I received no monetary compensation for this post, so don't sic the flying monkeys on me. 

Monday, November 7

Live, Love, and Leap. A LeapFrog Review

We love Leap Frog 'round here.
The Bees still play with the (now ancient) My First Leap Pad...
And the (also ancient) first Leap Pad...
And a vast array of other Leap Stuff...
Didj, My Own LeapTop, Text and Learn, and My Own StoryTime Pad
That's not even including the Alphabet Pal pull-along toy, the TWO talking Baby Tad toys, the My Day with Tad magnetic toy, and the four LeapFrog movies we have in our Netflix instant queue.

I'm telling you, we love LeapFrog products.

So when the Clever Girls Collective had an opportunity to review a new LeapFrog product, I... well... leaped on it. 

This is the new My Own Story Time LeapPad
Find it here!
This is what LeapFrog.com has to say about the Story Time Pad:
Personalized play, stories and activities on a tablet just for little learners! Children can watch fun animations and listen to stories, emails and music as they explore the world of Scout & Friends. Parents can personalize the story time pad with their child's name, favorites, customized “emails" from family and a music playlist. My Own Story Time Pad comes pre-loaded with 1 story, 1 email, and 3 songs, and holds up to 5 stories, 10 songs and 3 emails at a time.

And this is what my kids say:
It's awesome.
And here's what I say:
It is actually pretty awesome.

We personalized it for The Girl (since The Baby has the My First LeapTop personalized for her), using the LeapFrog Connect computer app we downloaded. Any of the LeapFrog interactive/personalized toys use LeapFrog Connect. I really like the Connect app because it shows the Learning Path of each kid/each game, and they're all available in one glance.

The programming of the Story Pad is very similar to the LeapTop. But, like laptops vs. tablet computers, there are some differences. The Story Pad is very light, and has stories in addition to "emails," songs, and games.

It was super easy to set up, and super super easy for the girls to figure out. The Baby was very excited to see and hear from her friends, Scout and Lilly.

The only drawbacks I can see are that the screen is a bit smaller than I'd expected, and the keyboard is ABC format, instead of QWERTY. The Text and Learn toy is QWERTY, and I wish the StoryPad was, too. However? The girls didn't care. :) They loved it.

I am certain there will be a few LeapFrog items under our Christmas tree this year, like there are every year. I love that they teach letters and numbers and technology, and the kiddos love them- flat out.

Thank you to LeapFrog for sponsoring this review. While LeapFrog provided the product to me for this review, the opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest point of view.