Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Four Things and a (regular) Give-Away!


Thing One:
Thanks to reader Susan’s request, I have added a couple older recipes to the blog:
Soy-glazed Tofu, Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce, and Perfect Oatmeal Cookies (now with MORE SPELT). I really am trying to move them all over here, but I am slow, and requests like that are a kick in the pants. In a good way. Please do ask.
Ben's word hole, in action.
Thing Two:
Thanks to reader Jody, whose family owns the Anomia World-Conquering Empire of Fantastic Games, we are in possession of a new game, and we are loving it so much. It’s called Duple, and it’s basically like Anomia crossed with a really great word game, like Boggle, and a really terrible neurological disorder, like amnesia. Or, from the company's description: “Players flip letter cards in turn until the symbols on two players' cards match. Matching players face-off by being the first to shout a word which contains the letters on both cards. Sound easy? Think again. Correct answers must be at least 5 letters long and conform to ever-changing categories.” So, for example, when the category was “verb,” and the letters on the table were f and u, Ben yelled frustrate, while my mind was still turning over a verb that was more obvious but neither long enough nor not an obscenity. “Wow,” Ben said. “That really shot out my word hole!” Indeed. Sadly, my own personal word hole is producing only a demented trickle.
Whale Rider. This face. You will die a thousand deaths.
Thing Three:
We have a hard time finding movies that suit Birdy’s level of—what?—gravity, maybe. It’s not that she doesn’t love comedy—Portlandia, say, or anything Demetri Martin—but where Ben will watch Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock until dawn breaks over the mountaintop, Birdy finds much of it too cynical and really prefers a more meaningful story she can mull over. To that end, let me recommend the wildly inspiring Mad Hot Ballroom and the beautiful and difficult Whale Rider, both films from a few years back. (Do remember, as I did not, to tell your kids that there is not actually a lot of whale riding in Whale Rider. My kids were mistakenly picturing a kind of Maori remake of Free Willy.) We also honored the legacy of Martin Luther King by watching the first segment of Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke, his four-part documentary about Hurricane Katrina, which has provoked many conversations about both magnificent heroism and persistent racism. This is a very difficult movie (there are dead bodies in it, for example, and a great number of people who are frightened, angry, or injured) and you might want to screen it first if you’re thinking about watching with your children. Finally, the older PBS reality series Rough Science (which we borrowed from the library) is a delight in every way: like Naked and Afraid, but with happy, smiling, cooperative, creative English geniuses. (Please share your own recommendations in the comments, won’t you?)


And, finally, Thing Four:
I just finished reading The Good Mother Myth, edited by Avital Norman Nathman, which is a staggering work of heartbreaking . . . wait. Except that it is. It’s an anthology of essays about being a parent through the lowest of lows, the rottenest of our own behavior, the most crushing defeats and prejudices. And yet, beautifully, it is an optimistic collection. In the way of good anthologies, each piece offers a different flavor of perfect imperfection, and you can kind of pick around, which is fun. Sometimes, as I stuck my hand into the book’s gorp, I grabbed a random, welcome fistful of nuts and raisins, and sometimes I picked out all the cashews. (Full disclosure: I am friends with many of the contributors, so those were my own personal cashews.) When I went to a local reading of the book last weekend, every single piece, read aloud, gave me actual goose bumps. Seal, the book’s publisher, has graciously offered to give a copy of the book away here, so please let’s do the usual: simply express your desire to win in the comments. This one I’ll do randomly, I promise.

Stay warm, dear mamas. And papas. And other people, who I love.

xo

110 comments:

  1. Julie P7:06 PM

    Oohh... Me, Me! I'm always up for a vulnerable, transparent take on parenting.

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  2. We just watched Hairspray (the John Travolta version) with my seven and ten year olds. I was surprised at the discussion it brought up about segregation. We all loved it. Birdy might like The Secret of Roan Inish as well. It is a little slow, but beautiful and magical.

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  3. I would love to give that lovely book by those lovely people a read. :)

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  4. Melissa7:44 PM

    I've been rereading Waiting for Birdy and then just happened upon this blog without even realizing you still had an active online presence. What a nice surprise! I'd be glad to read other honest accounts of parenting.

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  5. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Yes to a book!
    Ellie who can't figure out commenting too well

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  6. Anonymous8:00 PM

    ... and I liked Moonrise Kingdom and Airplane with my 9 year old girl

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  7. Oh, I'd love a copy!
    Jiro Dreams of Sushi was the last serious thing I watched and loved.

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  8. Yes, please, to the book! (I'll probably get it somehow anyway, since your recommendations are awesome.)

    Side note: I am culling sweaters, and hope to do a blanket by next winter! Having a tough time felting most of them though.

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  9. Ellen W8:29 PM

    I would love to win a copy of this book - they don't have it yet at my local library.

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  10. I don't usually enter give-aways - there isn't much I need. But this. This I maybe need. Just for the solidarity right now. Oh, and the tofu recipe. I need that too.

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  11. elspeth8:34 PM

    oh! that book sounds wonderful!

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  12. I would love a copy. I need something to read until you get *your* next book written. -Becky

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  13. shelli8:53 PM

    This sounds perfect for the week I'm having. It's the kind of week where I could use the written camaraderie of other moms who understand... Thanks for the suggestion and for the offer! :)

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  14. That sounds like a book I need to read!

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  15. Thanks for all your funny and serious recommendations for various things. However, whenever I try your tofu recipes, the tofu sticks to the pan. Do I need more oil? At any rate, thanks for the book giveaway and happy to throw my name into the random ring.

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  16. The book sounds wonderful!I would love a copy. I am going to try the tofu recipe for my suddenly vegetarian bean hating teen. Thank you for re-posting your recipes. It is like going through your favorite cookbook and going "Oh yeah! We liked that!"

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  17. I'd love to read the anthology. Whale Rider story: went into the hospital (with my third pregnancy) thinking I was in labor - was sent home having fairly regular contractions and quite uncomfortable. My husband and I sat down to watch Whale Rider while waiting. That first scene was less than ideal in that situation! After that we really enjoyed the movie (especially having lived in NZ for 1.5 years).

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  18. I think I could really use that book right now in my parenting life...

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  19. I love it just from the title. When people say "You are such a good mother," I sort of cringe, because that comes so loaded with the other side...what would you be if you didn't do that particular thing. I think we need more books like this!

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  20. What about Strictly Ballroom? One of Jez Luhrmans early movies. I remember it as great, but its been a few years. Muriels Wedding came after, but that might be a bit more teenagey. Or the Commitments?

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    1. sorry, meant to say Baz not Jez. Oh, and The Railway Children!

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    2. Yes! Strictly Ballroom is great. It's very funny, but it has a serious core about it.

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  21. Oh Catherine, your word hole never fails to inspire. I would love to read this book. I already feel as if I am living it...in only the best possible way of course!

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  22. Oh my gosh, I have been playing Anomia with my brother, sister-in-law, sister-in-law's sister, and sister-in-law's brother, and we laugh so hard we actually have to hold our cheeks because they are getting unpleasantly sore. We will have to try Duple.

    I liked Akeelah and the Bee, if she hasn't seen it yet. Oh, and that one about the boy who wants to be a ballerina! Not Step Up, the other one. Younger boy, fewer abs, better accents. ...I just seriously searched "boy wants to be a ballerina movie" and it's Billy Elliot. I recently watched The Sapphires and found it mully and issue-heavy (plus lots of good singing), but there are a few sad/upsetting scenes (soldiers fired upon from above; a ward of sad, very-injured soldiers), and I can't remember how much s-e-x is in it because I was watching with grown-ups so I wasn't paying attention.

    I am not entering to win the book because I have already won a book here, but I am putting it in my Amazon cart (though first I am going to nag the library to get it) because the way you describe it is the way I felt about The Bitch in the House, which I own and love.

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  23. Would love to win the book. I have to admit - your children intimidate me a little. Mine have much less sophisticated taste. Although my 14 year old has glommed on to Dr. Who and Sherlock, engendering an appreciation for all things BBC, my 10 year old is in full American Girl swing and my 11 year old is wrapping up the Hunger Games trilogy.

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  24. Oh my goodness. How I would love to win that book, read it, and then pass it along to my fellow-mom BFF.

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  25. Not entering, just popping in to say thank you for continuing to move your recipes over!

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  26. I would love to win and I promise to share with my tribe. Thanks!

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  27. Anonymous8:23 AM

    I would like to read that, even if I don't win. Thanks as always for sharing with us!
    Margie

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  29. I've been wanting to read that one!

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  30. It's on my wish list, but I wouldn't hate to win!

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  31. Jessica10:20 AM

    I would love to win this book!!

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  32. Oh -- a book to fit in between book club selections. Actually, this one makes me a bit sad that we went to a new process where we've already chosen our year's books. I think I want to win, read and then talk about it! Thanks for the opportunity

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  33. I'm expressing my desire to win this book, and I love 'random'!

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  34. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the opportunity.

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  35. That book is right up my alley! Thank you.

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  36. Would love this book - presenting at the Pop Culture conference in april on how expectations for mothering (especially concerning how we feed our children) has created an environment which forces feminism backwards in some ways. If I don't win it I will buy it :)

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  37. Okay, movies for kids with gravitas--maybe because you started with a foreign film with an animal in the title, my mind goes to Duma (about a boy and a Cheetah and a dying father in South Africa), Rabbit Proof Fence (Aboriginee kids escape from orphanage--didn't watch this with kids so maybe a bit heavy, not sure), We Bought a Zoo (another dead parent story, with animals), and, well, back to funny but still in strange lands, my all-time favorite The Gods Must Be Crazy and, by the same maker, Animals Are Beautiful People which is like slapstick on the Namib desert.

    And, also, I would LOVE to read (and win) that book.

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  38. Would love to win! Essays are my favorite.

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  39. Yes please, I could use some debunking of the good mother myth!

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  40. I loved Whale Rider, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild and nearly any Miyazaki movie (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, The Secret World of Arietty, etc).

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  41. Desire to win, expressed.
    And gratitude for all your stories.

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  42. School is cancelled due to cold weather. Again. It is all the way up to -14F (-35F windchill). Not so bad, unless you are a mostly hairless mammal.

    Since I didn't get a game, maybe I will get a book. Either way, I got a couple more recipes. Thanks.

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  43. Add my vote for Billy Elliot.

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  44. Oh Catherine, I picked up the Good Mother Myth at the library on a whim, for the only reason that I was absolutely sure you had a piece in it. I didn't have time to check the contents since my son was darting out the automatic doors, but needless to say I was so so sad that your work did not appear in the pages. However, it was a great read and exactly what I needed to hear as I am struggling with my identity as a mother, as a woman, a wife, as a person at all. Having young children sometimes feels like a buoy, and sometimes like an anchor. I struggle daily with the choices I have made, to have children when I had never really planned to. That I stay home with them adds another struggle I haven't quite come to terms with, even after 8 years of doing so. So, my point is, this book, raw and so frank about the complexities of motherhood, made me feel normal and not like I was alone in my own existential hell while Curious George plays in the background and our carpet slowly becomes an endless plane of Legos. It is so reassuring to have you out there and the other amazing writers who put works like that book together. Where I live the topic of conversation steers more towards who your plastic surgeon is and whether or not you have a full or part time nanny. Thank you for being there for us all!

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    Replies
    1. This is not a 'win the book' entry, but I wanted to say to Erin, thank you for this post. Its where I am too, right now, and your words resonated. Thanks for your honesty.

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  45. I see someone else already suggested The Secret of Roan Inish. Alas, I can't think of anything else at the moment. I'd love to read that book though.

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  46. I second all of the Miyazaki movies. And what about The Illusionist (which made my 9 year old son cry because it was "just so sad")?

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  47. Oooh! I would love to win this one. I'm expecting my first in a few months and am nervous as all get out.

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  48. The book sounds great, and I love everything you recommend.

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  49. I've heard great things about this book and would love a copy. Thank you!

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  50. Verity4:45 PM

    Oo I don't want to win because thanks to your earlier recommendation I already ordered this & hopefully it's flying across to UK soon via Amazon magic :) but I love all the recommendations - just bought owl moon for a friends new baby & now I might need another baby just to own it ourselves ;))

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  51. how lucky are your friends to have you and you them! i can't wait to read this book but know that it will happen a lot sooner if i win it. thanks!

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  53. I would love to win the book. Thanks for sharing!

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  54. I'm throwing my name in the hat for the book, too. I've picked it up at the bookstore twice, but am on a strict no-new-books diet for a few months! I wish my library had it, but no. I will donate it to them if I win it, though.

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  55. Sure, I would love to win the book! But really, I mostly wanted to comment that "now with MORE SPELT" should probably be the subtitle of your blog. (-:
    (You know, unless it's something about the half/double salt thing that I can never keep straight and have to look up every time.)

    -Loren

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  56. Jeanne5:24 PM

    I would also donate the book to our local library if I should be lucky enough to win it. Definitely do want to win! Thanks for sharing all that you do!

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  57. I want it, i really really do! ;-)

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  58. That book sounds wonderful. We moms are too hard on ourselves.

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  59. Danabee6:07 PM

    Would love to win a copy of that book. Thank you for your lovely blog.

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  60. Erin K.7:15 PM

    I want to recommend the movie "In a World" as one that is sweet empowering and funny...but as I am writing this now I can't tell if it might be too mature (?) - There is one instance of questionable decision sex - not graphic, and a conversation between sisters that circles how detrimental 'just the tip' is to a marriage. Maybe you should watch it on your own first :)

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  61. Delanie7:43 PM

    My library does not yet have a copy! I would love to win this.

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  62. Allyson7:59 PM

    It's 16 degrees, and I need a good, worthwhile book to hide under the covers with!

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  63. Yes to the book! Thanks from frosty Decatur, GA.

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  64. I would like to win, please!

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  65. Sure, I'd enjoy winning.

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  66. I had to comment because I love Whale Rider with an unreasonable fierceness and I always cry my way through it. My nine year old daughter says that Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is the best movie she's ever watched. (Also Ponio and Spirited Away, by the same Anime director are amazing) And I just watched the Secret Life of Walter Mitty and thought it would be kind of awesome for kids.

    (I'd love to read that book- but I don't know if you're shipping to Thailand. :) )

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  67. Eleanor8:42 PM

    Would love to win that book - I think parents need a sense of optimism more than just about anything else. Unless its a strong stomach; my daughter just brought me some pus.
    I agree with all of the Miyazaki comments and also recommend "The Flame Trees of Thika" and "Flambards." (unless Birdy dislikes period costume dramas.)

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  68. I've been waiting on that book from the library. I'd love my own copy. Thank you for the opportunity!

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  69. We got Duple too, but haven't played it yet. I didn't BELIEVE I could like it as much as Anomia--just like I didn't believe I'd like the Cuppow BNTO as much as the Cuppow lid. Now we will crack it open for sure. The game. Thanks!

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  70. And I would like to win.

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  71. thanks for all the tips- and the book sounds most interesting- i`m in!
    best from icy berlin, anja/ tair@gmx.de

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  72. would love love love a copy of the book!

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  73. Lisa Darling9:29 AM

    Oh, yes, please!

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  74. Would LOVE the book.. anything with you in it, Catherine!!

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  75. Samantha G10:12 AM

    I would love a copy of this book!

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  76. Thanks for the chance to win....sounds like an interesting book!

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  77. I'd love to read that book (pick me?)! And also I have a game recommendation via my family (bc I, gasp, do not actually enjoy playing board games): Guts of Glory ( http://gutsofglorygame.com/ ). My kids (6 & 9) play this with their dad EVERYDAY and wld play multiple times a day if they didn't have to go to school. It is a little complicated at first, but once you've got it (apparently), there's no stopping.

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  78. I would love the book :)
    And yay for tofu! Yay!

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  79. I plan to reserve the book at the library, but I'd really love to win my own copy. Hugs to any other divorced or divorcing "good mothers."

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  80. As a SAHM mom to three, it is do hard to say out loud how HARD it can be to be a parent without sounding whiny or regretful. That's why I need to read some one else who can articulate what I mean to say more eloquently than I can!

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  81. Anonymous1:59 PM

    My hat! In the ring! Thanks! ~ Kelda

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  82. Anonymous3:34 PM

    I read some great reviews of that book and have wanted to read it. I'd love to win it!---Linda M

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  83. Whale Rider is one of my favorites of all time, so I'll recommend another of my favorites: About a Boy. So funny and charming, but also awkward and dreadful (features attempted suicide rather prominently, so you may want to screen it for your children, if you haven't already seen it). Also, I loved HBO's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I just really love Precious Ramotswe. She's perfect.

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  84. Yep - been wanting to read that one for a while now.... We are loving Sherlock... all 4 of us - the quality - WOW!

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  85. Erin A5:36 PM

    Would love a copy of the book. All our regular games come from your recommendations, which we all love. Thanks.

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  86. Ditto to Erin A's comments re: wanting the book and having a collection of games that came recommended by you! Oh, and we watched Invictus with the girls when they were about 9 and 12 - had to stop a lot to talk about things, but they grasped it very well and were really involved in the drama of it

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  87. This book looks wonderful! Would really love to win a copy .........

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  88. I need all the help I can get! Please and thank you!

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  89. Anonymous10:20 AM

    My favorite movie, for special children: The Fox and the child. May seem small, but so beautiful, especially for kids that don't due cynicism or dead bodies

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  90. Anonymous6:04 PM

    The Gods must be Crazy; Bend it Like Beckham (my 12 year old felt quite empowered); #1 Ladies Detective Society; she even loved "Cinema Paradiso" but not as much as meeeeee - and I am "anonymous" but also a facebook friend who can't figure out how to sign this silly thing. :) Julie from CT.

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    1. Anonymous3:06 PM

      Love all you listed, Julie from CT! You may like "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy as well as Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya. Have seen The Gods Must Be Crazy at least 5 times in the past 20 years. Seen the other two movies and loved them and have read all of #1 Ladies Detective Society! Kim from BCN

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  91. Mazie9:01 PM

    Ooh, I would like to read it, too. We also loved Whale Rider and have recently watched a bunch of Miyazaki movies. I watch Call the Midwife with my 11-year old daughter. It has some heavy stuff that I wonder/worry about at her age, but she is very engaged and begs to watch it together.

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  92. Anonymous9:24 PM

    Children of Heaven

    Roger Ebert's review in the Chicago Sun-Times called it "very nearly a perfect movie for children" that "lacks the cynicism and smart-mouth attitudes of so much American entertainment for kids and glows with a kind of good-hearted purity".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_Heaven

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  93. Please include me in the drawing

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  94. “Wow,” Ben said. “That really shot out my word hole!”

    I frequently chuckle to myself when reading your blog. This quote from Ben made me laugh out loud (for real!).

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  95. Please enter me in the drawing!

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  96. word hole had me laughing out loud as well...love it.
    please consider this my entry into the drawing
    thanks
    shari

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  97. Laughed out loud when I read the Whale Rider comment. Such a beautiful movie even if there is not a lot of actual riding. Would love the book but I'll add it to my kindle wishlist just in case.

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  98. whale rider -- the sweaters! incredible!

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  99. another movie that's rather wonderful is Sea Biscuit.

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  100. So bummed I missed this give-away... but we loved the movie Whale Rider, too. Re: movie recs... two were already mentioned above -- "Akeela and the Bee" and "Secret of Roan Innish." Other recs: The Water Horse, Hugo (based on the Brian Selznick book), and in my house we are rather wild for Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    Cheers!

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    1. I forgot to mention the film Strictly Ballroom directed by Baz Lurman (the other ballroom film you mentioned reminded me of this one... it's pretty hilarious.)

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  101. I loved Empire of the Sun (early spielberg) as a teenager. (http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0092965/)

    Also loved whalerider!

    Also try Tsotsi (won an oscar for best foreign film a few years back)- the book by Athol Fugard is even better.

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  102. plazamom10:45 AM

    I know this is a couple weeks late, but I wanted to let you know that we bought Anomia last week based on your post (will add Duple to the wish list, but thought we should start with Anomia first), and the kids love it. We have played at least one round literally every day since it arrived, and it's so much fun! Thank you for the recommendations -- all of them -- I love reading your blog (and all the great comments) because it makes me feel like I'm part of this community of fellow mothers, and the great book and game recommendations are a wonderful bonus!

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  103. I will read the good mother myth...I would just like to thank you, I religiously followed your blog when I was pregnant with my second child, our children are roughly the same age (9 and 12) you inspired me at a time of vulnerability and overwhelming emotion, I even picked up mindful parenting on your recommendation and treat it like a bible..thanks so much for your inspiring blog

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