December Theme: Gifts From the Heart & A Book Trilogy Give-Away!

by Trudi Trueit

I'm pretty easy to shop for. I'm a confessed aroma-therapy addict. I have a wide assortment of wraps, blankets, slippers, and animals to heat or freeze to my liking. I am also a big fan of unusual kitchen gadgets. True, I don’t use the S’Mores maker I just had to have all that often, but it’s nice to know it’s there, between the cotton candy maker and cherry pitter/garlic press/apple peeler doo-hickey. Shoes, chocolate, and precious gems also top my list (though not necessarily in that order).

A S'More maker Dr. Frankenstein might have appreciated.
Still, as much as I enjoy these items, my favorite gifts can’t be found in any store. The presents I most treasure are those that friends and family have made for me. For so many years, I couldn’t wait to get my annual Popsicle stick ornament from my god-daughter, Marie (now that she’s in college, I really miss them). I also adored the lavender scented soap my niece, Trina, made for me when she was in the third grade and the drawings my nephew, Carter, still creates each Christmas. Artwork, stories, poetry, music - anything from the heart touches me. Hand-made gifts don’t have to be perfect. In fact, that’s what makes them so special. I love the knitted scarf that’s lopsided or the hand-dipped spearmint candle that smells a little too much like Vicks VapoRub. 

In that same creative spirit, I’d like to give away something from my heart. I enjoy crocheting and, over the years, have crafted throws, scarves, baby booties, and other items from friends. But then along came Kira, my ragdoll cat. Kira is a sweet, loving furry friend. However, she has an obsession - and I do mean a complete and utter fascination - with string. Despite my attempts to get her interested in something else while I crochet (catnip toys, her favorite mouse, treats), she has a one-track mind. I have even hid in the closet to do my work, but to no avail. It's a single needle. There is no noise. Yet, this cat knows the minute I start crocheting. I don't know how she knows. But she knows.

With this face, all feline crimes are forgiven
And so, after more than a few tug-of-wars over my ball of yarn, I’ve had to hang up my crochet hook (at least, for now). This year, it looks like you’ll have to be content with entering to win something else that I have created from the heart: my books. 

Here is what I am giving away:

~ One winner will get the complete Secrets of a Lab Rat series, a three-book set featuring these middle grade titles:
- No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay) 
- Mom, There's a Dinosaur in Beeson's Lake 
- Scab for Treasurer?
The series is designed for boys and reluctant readers, ages 8 and up. You can read more about it at my website,

~ Two other winners will each win an audiobook of the third book in the Lab Rat series, Scab for Treasurer? (narrated by Oliver Wyman).

Please enter to win through the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. The contest runs from today, December 5th, 2012 to December 14th, 2012. U.S. residents only, please. Winners will be notified via email and first names posted here when the contest ends.

Best of luck, everyone, and may you give and receive many, delightful gifts from the heart this year. I'm hoping Kira will let me finish a throw to give away next year, but the odds aren't good (she just attacked the string on my hoodie). Looks like we'll have to stick with books for now!

P.S. I am hoping Santa will bring me this contraption that makes square eggs. Ooooo!
*** The Secrets of a Lab Rat Give-Away has officially ended. Thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations to our three winners:

Janet L. (trilogy winner)
Janet S. (audiobook winner)
Erika H. (audiobook winner)

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!! 


  1. I love this post. My husband is a gadget person, too. The best gadget to pit cherries is a hairpin! Learned that from my next door neighbor. I love getting and giving homemade gifts! This year I'm giving my blog readers the gift of posting about a different Christmas picture book each day until Dec 24th! Thank you so much for your book give away, I'll jump right up there and enter now.

    1. Thanks, Blackberry! And how wonderful that you are giving your readers that gift of picture books. Fantastic! And I'll definitely try the hairpin idea!

  2. Kira is such a beautiful cat! Have you ever tried making her a small crocheted little blanket of her own, complete with loose strings hanging out, that she can play with while you crochet your own current project?

    1. I'll try that, Holly, though it's the thrill of the hunt she loves! She wants to chase the yarn as it goes from ball to needle and then she will chew it in half. So I will be crocheting along and then surprise - I am at the end of the yarn!

  3. Square eggs!! Think they taste different? :) I, too, love the handcrafted gifts best of all... and what a sweet giveaway!

    1. Thanks, Irene! I know, I need professional help for my gadget obsession, don't I? ;)

  4. The Square egg maker- you're supposed to cook and peel the egg first? That's where I am going wrong. I love this post, Trudi. I'll help spread the word.

    1. Yes, that's the tricky part, Jim. Unless we can find a chicken that lays square eggs ...
      And, FYI, readers, Jim is the amazing artist that illustrated Secrets of a Lab Rat! Thanks for stopping by the blog, Jim!

  5. Hi Trudi, just thought I'd let you know I received the audio book a couple days ago. Thank you so much, I look forward to listening to it.

    1. Thanks, Blackberry! And congrats on your win. Hope you enjoy the audiobook. I think Oliver Wyman does a a super job of bringing mischief-making Scab to life!


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