>Time for a Giveaway!!

July 12, 2011

>Everyone loves a contest right? Well today is your lucky day (hopefully). Today through Friday I have my very first giveaway open on Goodreads. I am giving away three copies of my book NATE ROCKS THE WORLD.  Good Luck!!

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Nate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz

Nate Rocks the World

by Karen Pokras Toz

Giveaway ends July 15, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

>Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great week and are staying cool – we are in the middle of a heat wave here – but I’m not complaining (well maybe a little.) It still beats all the snow. This was definitely a (mostly) fun week… here’s what’s been going on…

1. Happy Fourth of July! We had a really nice 4th of July weekend. As usual, we stayed home. There is nothing I hate more than fighting traffic on holiday weekends! On Saturday, I took my little guy to the pool. He actually went in, which is a big improvement over last summer… baby steps… The next day, we went to see Cars2. He definitely loved it. Mom & Dad enjoyed it as well. It was a pleasant surprise, since the reviews had not been stellar. Then on Monday, we went over to see the parade with some good friends and topped off the holiday with a barbeque at our neighbors. Good food, good drinks, & good company – now that’s my kind of weekend!

2. Bee Sting. It had to happen eventually. My little guy was stung by a bee on Tuesday at camp. Thankfully, he showed no signs of any allergy. It was traumatic for him nonetheless. On the ride home from camp, as his big alligator tears streamed down his face, he declared that the only thing that would make him feel better was lots of TV. FYI – it seemed to have worked.

3. Jingle Bell Run.  Team Toz is officially official!! We are now set to run/walk the Arthritis Foundation’s 2011 Jingle Bell 5K Run on December 11th in Malvern, PA. If you would like to help contribute to the cause, or if you will be in Eastern PA on Dec 11, come support us! Walk or Run – the more the merrier! I am super excited to be the 2011 Spokesperson/Honoree for the race this year. For information, please visit our team website.

4. Book News. So much is going on, I don’t even know where to start! Nate Rocks the World is now available on Amazon.com! For those who use a Kindle/Nook/Sony Reader, IPad, or other electronic device, the digital version can be found on Smashwords.com. Thank you to those who have picked up a copy. The reviews are starting to come in! For more information, reviews, purchase links, and interview dates, visit my website: www.karentoz.com Thank you to everyone for the overwhelming support!

5. Camp Update. After writing my last blog post, I decided I would do a weekly letter tally from now until the kids return on the 24th.  Here are the results for this week’s letters from camp: In an unprecedented turn of events… son-1,  daughter-0 . Here is a little snippet from his letter: “Can you send me some Axe and Old Spice Swagger Spray?” Watch out girls…

Hope everyone has a great weekend. See you next Friday… and hopefully sooner!

Karen

>There is a growing debate in our household and it stems around accents.

I grew up in Connecticut – I don’t have an accent (that’s my story & I’m sticking to it). My mother grew up in the Bronx – she does. For example, she likes to add the letters “er” to any word ending in an “a”. Soda becomes Soder. My alma mater, Ithaca College, becomes Ithacer. Santa was always Santer. You get the idea. She also likes to drop H’s – the word ‘huge’ becomes ‘uge’. For the sake of our relationship, I will stop here…

Besides, I have a bigger pet peeve: the Philadelphia accent.

I have lived just outside of Philadelphia now, for 17 years. All three of my children were born here. My husband was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia. Talk about accents! I’ve managed to brainwash (I mean teach) them pretty well, but every now and again, their phillyspeak sneaks through.

For example, my youngest thought water was spelled ‘wooder’. My daughter said ‘goil’ instead of ‘girl’ for the longest time, and my oldest will often ask if he can make himself a ‘begel’ instead of a ‘bAgel’. My husband has miraculously managed to lose most of his accent, but it always sneaks back in when he watches sports. You can hear him yelling, “come awwwwnnn” for miles, when he watches the ‘Iggles’ aka the ‘Eagles’.

Now back to my supposed Connecticut accent … my Philadelphia family constantly mocks me because of my accent. So let’s set the record straight …

Clothes are kept in drawers, pronounced “draws” not “draw –ers”
I clip coupons, pronounced “Q-pons” not “coup – ons”
I talk on the phone, pronounced “phOne”, not “phowen”

Oh & I drink “wa T er”

Let the comments fly … oh & to all my Philly friends: xoxo love youse guys 😉

Hello world!

May 28, 2011

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

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>Dear J, S and C,

Today all around the world, families are celebrating Mother’s Day. But today, I want to celebrate you, my children. Without you, I would not be a Mother. Without you, I would not have three beautiful and strong children to raise, love and cherish.

I have written a lot over the past year about the things you do that make me crazy (and make me laugh.) I want you to know that for every moment of insanity (and there are plenty) there are a hundred more moments of joy.

Each one of you brightens up my day with your smile, your hugs and your love. You are each so special, talented and unique. I am incredibly proud to watch you grow up (although way too fast) before my eyes.

While I may have gotten a few more wrinkles and grey hairs over the last 13 years, I would not trade my life with you for anything. Continue to be strong, compassionate, and humble. Work hard at everything you do and help others whenever possible. Dream big and know that I will always support you.

I love you more than words can say.

Love forever,
Mom

PS – Now go clean your rooms– it’s Mother’s Day for goodness sake!

>Is it Monday Yet?

May 6, 2011

>I know most people will wake up this morning and say TGIF. But more and more, I find myself counting the hours until it is Monday again. As the weekend approaches, I look to my calendar and am faced with a familiar dilemma: how in the world will I get my kids to all of their activities and events, manage to get the grocery shopping done, do the laundry, get the house presentable enough for our company, and have a relaxing weekend?

My calendar looks something like this:

Saturday:

-Child#1 has a Bat Mitzvah to attend – needs to be there by 9:30am

-Child #1 needs to be picked up at 11:30am

-Child #2 has dance from noon to 1:00pm

Sounds easy enough right? However, my Saturday, will most likely end up something like this:

I drop #1 off at 9:30. I come home, jump in the shower, make a shopping list, wake #2 up, get child #3 dressed, straighten up the house a little and generally feel calm that I have everything under control.

I take #2 with me at 11:15 to pick up #1. I figure I can drop #2 at dance on my way back and I feel a sense of accomplishment that I can pick up/drop off on one trip. I plan on going to the grocery store in between drop off and pick up from dance. Child #1 will just have to come with me. I mentally prepare myself for teenage attitude.

Half way into the drive, #1 texts me to say the Bat Mitzvah service is running late and can I come in twenty minutes instead? (Of course he uses all abbreviations and I have to pull over and spend the next five minutes deciphering his text.) I drop #2 off at dance and head over to the synagogue to wait and strategize as to when I can go grocery shopping for my company, who should be arriving at my house at any moment.

I wait in the parking lot of the synagogue another fifteen minutes before #1 comes out. There is definitely no time to shop, nor is their time to go home. We drive over to dance where we wait another 10 minutes for #2 to come out. It is now 1:00.

At this point you may be asking: “well where is your husband?” Don’t worry, he is not at home lounging about. He is taking care of child #3, cleaning the house and probably doing some laundry. Yes, I said cleaning and laundry. He uses our vacuum much more than I do. I am a lucky girl.

After successfully gathering #1 and #2, I race to the grocery store with two hungry children in tow and manage to get everything on my list while fighting off several attempts at “can we get this?”

We head home. My company (aka my parents who live out of state and just drove 3.5 hours) have arrived. They look hungry. I quickly unload the groceries and throw together some lunch. Nothing fancy, but food none the less.

By the time we finish eating and cleaning up, it is nearly 3:30. Normally, #1 and #2 would have asked if they could go over someone’s house or get a ride to the park or the mall by now, but because Nana and Papa are here, I know that my car and I can get a little break. But not for long.

My husband has tickets to a baseball game and leaves between 4:30 and 5:00. (It’s all good, I learned many years ago not to come between my husband and The Phillies) At 5 o’clock, I need to drive #2 over to her friend’s house for a birthday party/sleepover. At 6:o’clock I need to drive #1 and some other kids over to the party from the morning Bat Mitzvah. The party is a half hour away. I get lost. (Luckily, one of the other kid’s parents is driving everyone home). I am grateful my parents are over, otherwise I would have had to take #3 along for all these rides.

I finally make it back home and collapse on the couch, unable to form complete sentences with my company. The next day will most likely be more of the same.

I am thankful my husband decided #3 was too young to play T-ball this season and wondering exactly how I can squeeze a taxi service into our budget – oh wait, that’s me….

>Last week, I posted on Facebook something that my 4 year old said – He said: “Sarah doesn’t want to play with me & she said tomorrow & today is today yesterday….” I thought it was funny. My son was dead serious. Not only that, but also he believed that what he was saying made perfect sense. I suppose it did to other four-year-olds. If I learned anything as a parent, it is that little kids definitely have a language all their own. They take everything literally and they say it like it is.

When my oldest son was four (forgive me as many of you already know this story), he went to preschool at a synagogue. The class learned a prayer called “The Sh’ma.” The first line of the Hebrew prayer translates to: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is one.” My son politely raised his hand and asked, “Well when will he be two?”

As long as we are on the subject of my oldest son, my favorite question that he asked when he was four was if I would marry him. I explained that parents cannot marry their children, then promised him I would love him forever. His response: “Ok, but when you die, will I still get all your stuff?”

My daughter, a natural performer, spent most of her toddler years singing. In particular she would sing “the potty song” to everyone and anyone who would listen. You know – the one that goes to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” except the words are “Wipe, wipe, wipe yourself, always front to back, carefully, carefully, now you’ve got the knack.” Definitely one of the many things that a cute little girl with blond curls can get away with… not so much when you are an adult.

Now for my youngest – he has definitely mastered four-year old speak. The other day he stated “I’m hungry. That’s why my foot hurts.” My reply: “That really doesn’t make any sense.” His response: “Well it makes sense to me.” Of course it did – he wouldn’t have said it otherwise.

His four-year-old friends speak this language as well. The other day, one of his friends at preschool learned my son possessed the Lego Batcave, apparently a hot commodity among four-year-olds. This friend came up to me and asked, “Can I come over to your house to play? But not today – I’m good.”

The problem with four-year-old talk is that it progresses each year and gets harder to understand. I’m much better at deciphering four-year-old talk than I am at figuring out teen talk (a discussion for another day).

I suppose my children think the same about “parent talk.”