Thursday, April 17, 2014

Where I Have Been (again)

So I really don't like doing lots of "where am I" posts, but due to my long absence this time, I think I owe all of you an explanation.

As longtime readers have noticed, I haven't posted anything since December.  Well, at the beginning of January, we had some changes that happened at work that really bummed me out and made me really upset, so that was kind of the beginning of things.

Then as January went on, I noticed that I was starting to feel more and more tired and just feeling generally sick all the time.  Went to the doctor, she said everything was fine, but lets run some blood work.  Which was followed up with more blood work in February, and then a referral to a specialist in March.

So long story short, I have been diagnosed with Graves' Disease.  It's an autoimmune disease where my body makes lots of thyroid hormone because it thinks I have an infection, but since I don't have an infection, the excess thyroid hormone attacks my body instead.  Its one of the reasons I have been feeling really tired for the last 6 months or more, since my body spends a lot of my energy attacking itself, and then trying to fight the attack off too.

Emotionally, that was very hard news to hear.  There is no cure for Graves' Disease, only ways to treat it, and all 3 options mean I might be on medication for the rest of my life.  Which when you're only in your mid 20s, it's hard to imagine being on multiple medications for the rest of your life.

So that was the second thing that shook up my world the past few months (1. change at work, 2. body out of whack).  Also, in the end of February, my grandfather died.  It was very unexpected, even though he was old, because he wasn't sick or anything.  So with my grandfather gone, my grandma is getting a little weird, so my Dad has been up at her place a lot trying to sort out the estate (my grandpa didn't believe in having a will, so it's a bit tangled). So that's thing number three.

And just to make another very long story short, there's been some other traumatic things going on in my family right now that I won't get into.  All very stressful, which doesn't help my energy level (especially with the thyroid problem).

Which brings me to the last reason for my absence...

In a few weeks I'm moving from California to Mississippi. Why?  The easiest way to answer that question is to say it was an answer to prayer and leave it at that.  I have an aunt who lives out there that will help us get back on our feet.  But we're leaving our California home of 20+ years, so it involves a LOT of packing, sorting, trashing, cleaning etc. and until Monday, I'm still working full-time during all of this.

So hopefully I will be back sometime in May, when we get out there and I get back on my feet.  In the meantime, I wish everyone happy reading, and you can still reach me at my normal email if you want to get in touch for any reason:  shadyglade AT mail DOT com

Monday, December 23, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway-a-Day: Day 12 Reese's Trees

Today's prize is also one that's handmade.  And it's got a bit of a story behind it too.  One of the things I love about Christmas is Reese's.  I love them, and I always get some in my stocking at Christmas.  This year for my coworkers, I found instructions on how to make little trees out of Reese's candy.  They turned out pretty cute:

So to the winner of today's prize, you will get a pair of handmade Reese's trees.  What's better than chocolate a Christmas, right?  :)

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below (sometimes it takes a bit to load!). Open to US only (sorry, since it's food!)  

Good luck to all who enter!


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Sunday, December 22, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway-a-Day: Day 11 Christmas Bookmarks

Today's prize is a little bit different.  One of my favorite things to do during Christmas is to hand make some of my presents.  Not everything of course (DVDs are kind of hard to manufacture at home :)   But a small gift every once in awhile packs a big punch and always comes from the heart.

So today's prize is a handmade gift to you.  It's a handmade green cloth bookmark with the word "NOEL" stitched on it.  You can choose from either Gold or Silver stitching.  Unfortunately, my camera decided to act up when I was trying to take pictures to post, so you'll have to imagine how it looks.  Although, I posted pictures of a similar "work in progress" a couple years back, which you can see on this post.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below (sometimes it takes a bit to load!). Open to US and Canada only.

Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 21, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway-a-Day: Day 10 Holly Claus

With today's prize we've come to the end of our "santa streak".  I'm very excited about this one.  It's a gently used copy of one of my favorite Christmas picture books, Holly Claus: The Christmas Princess by Brittany Ryan.  I love my copy of this book, so I wasn't about to give it away, which is why I was so excited to find another copy so I can share it with a reader who will love it.

I reviewed this book a few years ago, so if you'd like to see my review of it, click here.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below (sometimes it takes a bit to load!). Open to US and Canada only.

Good luck to all who enter!

About the Book:
"When young Christopher writes a letter to Santa Claus, he poses a question no one has ever thought to ask before: "Dear Santa Claus, What do you wish for Christmas?"

Miraculously, Santa's longtime wish comes true, and a baby girl is born--Princess Holly Claus. But just as the Land of Forever joyously celebrates her arrival, far away an evil is unleashed. A curse is placed on Holly, freezing her heart in ice so her future will be bound by a world of darkness. And with the Gates of Forever now locked, Santa can no longer spread the magic of Christmas to children everywhere. As soon as Holly finds a way to make a daring escape, she begins an astounding journey to the Empire City, determined to free herself and, once and for all, bring back Christmas.

This extraordinary and beautifully illustrated adventure is an everlasting gift of Christmas enchantment."

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Friday, December 20, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway-a-Day: Day 9 Love Santa

Today's contest continues along with the santa theme for prizes.  We all know Christmas is more about giving presents than getting presents.  There's been several years where our family has participated in a "giving tree" where you can go and buy presents for a less fortunate family or a girl or boy who isn't expecting to get anything for Christmas.  It's a wonderful experience.  Today's prize, an ARC copy of Love, Santa: A Different Kind of Christmas Story by Sharon Glassman is about that kind of experience.  This is a really cute Christmas book that is sure to make you go "aww...."  And it's short too!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below (sometimes it takes a bit to load!). Open to US and Canada only.

Good luck to all who enter!

About the Book:
"In this lighthearted book filled with hip illustrations and children's actual letters to Santa, Glassman shows readers how to become an "undercover Santa" by becoming involved with the U.S. Post Office's Operation Santa Claus."

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Post: Lizzy from Cornucopia of Reviews

Today I'm very excited to welcome Lizzy  from the excellent blog Cornucopia of Reviews for a guest post about her favorite holiday traditions (which also happen to match many of my favorites). After you're done reading this post, you should really check out her blog too.  :)  So without further ado, take it away Lizzy!

I absolutely love the holiday season. I mean, it's kind of unhealthy how much holiday cheer I have, even when we have a shorter number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The reason why I love it most is because of the time that I get to spend with my family. We all have different schedules, so getting these two weeks a year to catch up and relax together is awesome. Here is how we celebrate:

The weeks leading up to Christmas: It's time to get in the festive spirit. This means that I don't brave the mall (because usually I don't find that too fun). Instead, we start watching Christmas movies and TV episodes. This usually hits me in the 90's nostalgia, and we re-watch a bunch that my dad had originally taped for me at Christmas in 1993 (obviously they are now on DVD...and I sort of miss the game boy and 7up commercials).



We always watch the classics: A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon), Rudolph, and Garfield's Christmas (which has the best music ever). I always wrap gifts while watching Love Actually and sobbing openly during the sad bits...and usually give up trying to make them look good about halfway through the movie. My favorite, however, is The Santa Clause. So I usually force my family into watching it a couple times in December (sorry I'm not sorry).

I also have a couple of books that I love to read this time each year. I'm not sure why Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a Christmas read for me. Maybe it's because I love that I have time to curl up with some tea and get into Elizabeth's story. So, my poor paperback copy is all worn out...I should probably invest in a second copy...and it's just about time for me to start reading it again.

On Christmas Eve: We go visit extended family, and when we get home it's time to hunker down for my dad's dramatic reading of...

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg: This is a new family tradition that started last year. Both my sister and I are adults, but we talked my dad into reading it aloud to us. It was the most hilarious part of our Christmas. So, I'm looking forward to hearing if my dad has improved altered any of his character voices this year.

We also always watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. I've grown up with the Muppets, and this is one of my favorites. During college I worked in a video rental store, and this was one of the movies that I could consistently watch, shift after shift, without getting sick of! There's something fun about this version...maybe it's because there are jokes for the grownups that I now understand, and maybe because the last ghost was so scary that it still gives me the creeps. Regardless, it's the last thing we do before we all head to bed!
A big thanks to Alyssa for letting me ramble on about my favorite time of year!

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway-a-Day: Day 8 How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas

Well, the next few prizes are going to have a "santa" theme it seems.  Today's a gently used copy of How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas by Jeff Guinn.  This sort of a sequel to Guinn's first book, The Autobiography of Santa Claus (which I loved).  But it can stand on its own too.  The thing that's really cool about both books is that they can be used as sort of an advent calendar as you wait for Christmas to arrive.  There's 24 chapters, so if you read 1 chapter a night (they're short) then you'll be finished by Christmas Eve.

This copy was generously donated by one of the blog readers.  Thanks Jennifer!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below (sometimes it takes a bit to load!). Open to US and Canada only.

Good luck to all who enter!

About the Book:
"In How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas, Jeff Guinn combines solid historical fact with glorious legend to deliver another heartwarming holiday book for the whole family.

It's 1620 and Mrs. Claus's dear husband is off in the New World planting the seeds of what will become a glorious Christmas tradition. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus has chosen to stay in England, where the first signs of a dangerous threat to Yuletide cheer are in evidence. The Puritans have gained control of Parliament and appear determined to take all the fun out of Christmas. But Mrs. Claus knows that it's time for serious action when, in 1647, a law is passed by Parliament that actually punishes anyone who celebrates Christmas. Using as its springboard the actual events of a day in 1647 when ten thousand peasants marched through the streets of Canterbury demanding their right to celebrate a beloved holiday, How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas is rich in historical detail, adventure, and plain ol' Christmas fun."


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway-a-Day: Day 7 Celebrating the Spirit

Well, we're halfway through the contests for this year.  I hope you're enjoying them so far.  :)

Today's prize switches back to the true meaning of Christmas for a bit.  It's a darling gift book called Celebrating the Spirit of Christmas will darling illustrations by Tim Coffey. This book may be little, but it's full of all sorts of fun stories, traditions, songs, etc. about the holiday season. I just love the style of the nativity on the cover.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below (sometimes it takes a bit to load!). Open to US and Canada only.

Good luck to all who enter!

About the Book:
"Charming nativity scenes, roly-poly penguins, and humorous reindeer reflect the wonder of Christmastime. Traditional holiday hues decorate this gift-worthy collection of literary quotes, joyful sentiments, Scriptures, and delicious recipes, ushering in the season with joy and cheer.

This combination of whimsical images and inspirational content will be the hit of the year as an ideal hostess gift, family reader, and centerpiece for all who adorn their heart and home with the true spirit of Christmas."

 a Rafflecopter giveaway