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Mothering › Family Fun Articles › A Big Blog Giveaway: Soliciting Feedback About What You’d Like to Read

A Big Blog Giveaway: Soliciting Feedback About What You’d Like to Read

“What’s the date today?” I ask to no one in particular.

“Mo-om!” my 11-year-old rolls her eyes in my direction. “It’s the 13th of January. It’s my half birthday. You didn’t remember.”

Half birthday? We barely celebrated poor Baby Leone’s first whole birthday. We just couldn’t decide whom to invite or when to have a party. So we ended up celebrating quietly, just us. In contrast, we had an over-the-top birthday party for the very same 11-year-old when she turned one: presents galore (she liked the ribbons on the boxes and the wrapping paper better than the gifts inside), loads of friends, and a ducky banana cake with mango webbed feet and blueberry water. But over the years I’ve come to realize that the first birthday party is mostly for the grown-ups. We grown-ups totally deserve to be noticed and patted on the back for surviving the first year of parenthood. But since this is the fourth go around and no one else throws your child a first birthday party, we decided (mostly by not deciding) to save our energy for a birthday party when the baby’s old enough to care.

I also didn’t celebrate the first anniversary of this blog, which passed unnoticed and unmentioned on October 26, 2010.

But I love parties.

And I love it when bloggers celebrate blog dates with something special to mark the occasion (especially since when Words to Eat By celebrated the five year blogaversary mark, I won some ultra delish cookies.)

So now that it’s the new year and the days are getting longer and there’s hope that spring might come again, I’ve decided it’s time to do something special.

That special something is a giveaway. I have mixed feelings about giveaways and I suspect this will be the only one I do on this blog. But giveaways are fun. Plus I’m hoping this is a good way to say thank you to all you wonderful readers who have shared your wisdom in the comment section or simply did me the favor of loaning me your eyeballs to read my words. Plus, I really want your feedback. (You didn’t think you were going to get a chance to win one of the goodies below with no strings attached, did you?) Since I ignore all those surveys in my in-box (even the ones with frequent flyer miles attached to them), I figured you might ignore my plea for input without some incentive. And finally, Candace Walsh gets like 700,000 hits when she gives away all the amazing stuff she gives away on her blog (I often enter though I have yet to win anything. Not sure if I’m even eligible…).

Here’s what you can win:

A hardcover copy of the New Doubleday Cookbook (sells for $49 on-line):


A Loveybums pull-up wool cover, size small, color: sunflower ($30):


A copy of an amazing new memoir, If A Tree Falls: A Family’s Quest to Hear and Be Heard ($16.95):


A gently used Bric’s drawstring backpack, bright red (retails for something like $69.99):
Screen shot 2011-01-20 at 10.10.37 PM

A super soft, super gorgeous hand knit wool newborn hat, orange (priceless. Knit by my friend Shana but too small for baby’s big head). No photo available but it’s adorable.

A signed copy of the Baby Bonding Book for Dads, which was just mentioned in the Toronto Star as one of the best gifts for a new dad and is co-written by yours truly ($15.95):


Regular readers, occasional visitors, lurkers, and activists unite! I mean, please show yourselves!

To win one of these prizes, all you have to do is tell me what you want to read more about and which posts or category of posts you find most compelling. (If you’re only here for the booty and never coming back, that’s okay too. In that case, you can just tell me what a favorite blog that you read regularly is and provide a URL so I can click over and learn from what that blog is doing right.)

Here are some questions to get you started (feel free to ignore them though):

I occasionally run guest posts like Pesky Peanut and this heartfelt testimony by a dad whose daughter is severely disabled. Would you like to see more guest posts on the blog?

I often write about vaccine controversies. I’m working on a feature right now for the print magazine about pregnancy and the flu vaccine. Here’s a post about how 12-year-olds in Britain can be vaccinated without parental consent and another about why the flu vaccine may not be safe for pregnant women. Are you interested in vaccine debates?

I tie posts to the news and add original reporting. Like this one about the infant taken from the NICU and circumcised against his parents’ will or this one about a breastfeeding mom who was ushered off a plane by armed police. These are tough. They take a lot of time and they have a tight turn-around. I love working on them but I’m wondering if they are worth all the time they take. Do you love the news reports or do your eyes glaze over?

Then there are the personal posts, which include updates about the baby (should I keep doing updates or is it time to stop navel gazing?), honest stories about tough issues that I grapple with in parenting, and more.

I’ve done one reader response post on this blog and I’ve been thinking of doing more. Love it or hate it?

And what do you think of book reviews? Like this one about No Impact Man (I liked this book so much I bought five copies) or this one about Project Happily Ever After: Saving your marriage when the fairy tale falters?

To enter simply leave a comment telling me what you want to read and which of the giveaway items you want to win.

If that feels like too much trouble, there’s another way. Follow me on Twitter (I’m @JenniferMarguli) and leave a comment that you’ve done so, and you’re in.

Hesperus’s sister made her a huge HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY sign in rainbow letters. I baked an elaborate and delicious homemade flourless chocolate cake with lemon curd frosting. She’s doing her homework at the dining room table as I type this. I ask her if she was pleased with her half birthday. “It wasn’t a celebration. We just had a cake,” she says, stretching and grinning at me. “But the cake was amazing.”

Contest open only to those with an address in the United States (overseas readers, forgive my empty pockets). Contest closes one week from today, Friday January 27 at midnight Pacific Coast Time.

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Tags: Baby Bonding Book for Dads, celebrating this blog, giveaway, soliciting feedback


Comments (53)

I love your blog and look forward to it especially because of the news reports and book reviews! The news reports and book reviews have often been jumping off points of conversation during my mommy group and at family dinners (No Impact Man sparked lots of conversation!). I feel uncomfortable sometimes reading about the ultra personal things that are written about the kids (as I have mentioned in a previous comment). I love hearing about them and seeing how they've grown but I look to you more for information about the world then a resource for bed-wetting, etc.). However, I recognize that this is my own ultra-private persona coming into play -it was hard to even post this comment! I would love to win the cookbook! This is a new frontier for me since my baby was born and I am really enjoying it! Thanks for seeing our input!
Belated congrats, Jennifer. And here's to your second year in blogland. Since you ask, I'm partial to posts that play off the news, but can totally appreciate your point about how much time they take to write. .-= sarah henry´s last blog ..Good Food Awards Showcases Sustainable Food Artisans =-.
I love your blog and read it religiously. My favorites are the book reviews and news stories! My life has been seriously changed by No Impact Man, which I never would have picked up if it weren't for you. My partner and I are embarking on our own project happily ever after after I tore through that book. I am hoping it will change our lives even more (and create a happier home for our children too!). I hope that helps make it worth the work. I certainly appreciate it! I like the personal stories as well, and your family seems beautiful.
Hi, I just started subscribing to the MDC blogs and was only introduced to your blog very recently. But the reason I started subscribing is that, as a new mom-to-be in a few months, I realize there is so much I have never learned that I need to learn... QUICK! I'm mostly interested in hearing about people's opinions on vaccines and other routine medical procedures that maybe shouldn't be routine. In addition to opinions, I am looking for info and research to arm myself with, ready to meet the attacks I may get for my choices (doctors, family, etc). I don't expect you to have all this info, but that's why I subscribed to the MDC blogs to start with. Thanks for your awesome blog, and I'd love to win any of those items that you mentioned... but that hat sounds especially adorable. :)
Jennifer, I adore your blog (and you) for lots of reasons, even though I assume we'd be sitting on opposite sides of the aisle during the State of the Union Address (I guess that makes me Matalin to your Carville...). You always make me think, and I appreciate that. As far as content, I guess it'd be nice to see posts that talk more about adopting small changes that are good for kids and the planet, even if a person, say, can't -- or doesn't want to -- go completely crunchy or off the grid. It might also be cool to hear how different people make peace with their own "green" choices and compromises (e.g., I drive nearly every day and embrace nearly everything modern medicine has to offer (out of necessity, as you know), but I also recycle, compost, Freecycle, and don't eat meat; you rarely drive, you use cloth diapers and live in a low-impact way, etc., but you fly fairly often, too). I think most people are trying to do the best they can for themselves, their families, and the planet; there are just lots of opinions out there on what constitutes "the best." Otherwise, columns about special-needs (or even just pain-in-the-rear high-maintenance) kids are always appreciated! Can you guess why?? :0)
I love the personal stories best! I'm a regular lurker. My pick would be the cookbook. Thanks!
Jennifer, as I read each type of blog category, I thought "...yeah, Ilke that...then yeah I like that too...." so for this easy to please reader, maybe my two favorites of what you already do include (i) the personal triumps and not so triumphant stories of parenting, and (ii) the vaccine thing is still an issue close to my heart, as are all health related stuff. some new things to think about: (a) love in times of hands so busy? how do you, any of us commit to making love the center of our life (as opposed to cleaning dishes, getting work done, going to the Y, grocery shopping, getting enough sleep!, and then (b) adoption stuff, as the mom of an adopted boy, what are some heartfelt, or newsworthy topics? or (c) the compromises we make in the moment for the greater good, like we are committed to a nature-based, sweet lifestyle, yet we do some video time with kids (to have some quiet spouse time), or some plastic heros from grandma, etc., or we use paper plates at a party when we are overwhelmed. Keep it up, I feel like we have a celebrity right here in sweet ole Ashland mountain town! thanks for your work, gretchen
oops, re reading I didn't mean MAKING love, as in sex, but mkaing universal love, the center theme of our lives!
Letting us know about things we wouldn't otherwise know about - like book reviews, products or processes. Reading what works well for you and what doesn't work well -- honest stories, yes! Not so interested in the vaccine thing myself. thanks for sharing your thoughts and your life! PS - for prize my pick would be The Tree Falls book.
I too like the news stories and book reviews the best. I like the personal stories when they are mostly a jumping-off point for talking about a more universal issue (like extending nursing, cosleeping, etc.). Likewise, I have enjoyed posts about tough parenting issues, again especially when they include some "reporting." The entirely personal posts do make me feel a bit too voyeuristic. I'm interested in the vaccine debate and have appreciated those posts. I'm not so interested in guest posts. Great work; great blog! As I'm expecting a baby, the diaper cover and bonding book for dads (which I cannot find at my local library network) would be lovely. P.S. Do we get the recipe for the half-birthday flourless chocolate cake (and lemon-curd frosting?) It sounds amazing.
I love reading your blog! Although the news and current events sound like the most work for you, they are definitely very enjoyable for this reader. We don't have TV and although we have internet, the news isn't always my first pick, so I enjoy reading about interesting stories that are parenting related. I also enjoy your personal stories and issues that you may be grappling with as a parent, especially if it's something I can relate to (which is mostly everything since I have a 7yo, 2yo, and one due in June). While the vaccine issue is certainly a hot topic, I'm mostly over it. But that's just me...I believe it is quite important to educate parents about vaccine safety/dangers. Keep up the good work Jennifer! And I have any say...if I happen to win I would love the wool diaper cover. Thanks!
Jennifer, I love the fact that you present so many different things in this blog. I have a monkey brain and like the variety. I especially loved the book reviews- I've read both No Impact Man AND Project: Happily Ever After now. Along with what Holly said above, I'm also interested in how people come to peace with their own green choices whether those relate to parenting or not. Keep it coming! BTW, I can alway use a new cookbook... .-= Melanie @Frugal Kiwi´s last blog ..Frugal Kiwi Homies =-.
Jennifer, Congratulations on the completion of your first year of this blog! I have loved reading about your personal journeys as a parent. I love book reviews and entries that play off of what's new in the news regarding parenting. I would like to read more about you as a parent- what you find important to imprint on your kids and how you do it, and specifically about how we can create responsible, accountable, considerate people out of our children in a world that is so self-centered!! I think it's just really helpful to hear from other parents on most subjects.
I like personal stories best, followed by hot topics once in a while. One great thing about what you write is that it varies and isn't more of the same each time. So I wouldn't suggest you cut anything out. Go with whatever is flowing. I have my eyes on the diaper, the orange knit hat, or the Bonding Book for Dads. Please, do share the cake recipe, too.
I like your take on news stories, book reviews, and social issues. I also like reading about your family life. I think what I would like to see more of, since you're a mother, an academic, and a writer, is posts about how you make it all balance. For me personally, I would love to see the lines between these categories in my life blur a little more, and I enjoy hearing about how other people overcome these issues. I think the occasional product review type post might be fun, too. Just if you happen upon something, be it an item or idea or new system of doing things, that improves your quality of life just a little bit :)
Jennifer, Congratulations as you enter your second year of blogging. You've done an amazing job with this blog. I love hearing your personal stories and your personal take on controversial things in the news. Gives me another point of view to consider. Keep up the good work and I'll take the cookbook (if I win, that is!) .-= Sheryl´s last blog ..How to Stop Stress in its Tracks =-.
congrats! i love what you write about regularly. the personal, and the news and vaccine news is especially intriguing to me since i miss out on reading the news these days.
One of the things I like about this blog and many others that I follow is that the subject is often an interesting and happy surprise!
Vaccine debates, commentary on news headlines, and book reviews are my favorites!
I appreciate the touches on current events that affect us as parents. I also like the book reviews and just to throw it in here one of my favorite blogs is www.soulmama.com I love the mix of her life, crafts and silently living the farm life though her posts. I would love to win the lovely buns diaper cover for 3# that's on the way. Or the cookbook:) but I think really need the diaper cover, who know two would trash the diapers I had...and I was sure they would last through all the kids I planned to have.
Mothering › Family Fun Articles › A Big Blog Giveaway: Soliciting Feedback About What You’d Like to Read