The Almost-Giveaway: Thirty Little Fingers

There. Now that you’ve met The Real Sheila J. Petre, let’s talk a little more about her book.

Thirty Little Fingers: Seasons of Young Motherhood is a charming mixture-book, as if Sheila gathered up her best concoctions – the tastiest reserved morsels and most delicious literary crumbs – and sandwiched them all between its covers. There are many short stories about real-life motherhood, some that make me want to cry and many that make me laugh. There are toothsome recipes from her kitchen. There are poems, always my favorite portions of her work. There’s baby talk and word pictures and messiness and color and joy. And superglue. And HoHo cake.

One of my favorite things about the book is this: not only is it about being a young mother, it is perfect for young mothers. You can open it to any page and start reading – that’s what I do. And then set it down to settle a fight or tuck a young ragamuffin back in bed. And then pick it up again in a new place, and read and laugh and cry. A lovely index at the back of the book helps you find the right parts over again, when you want to return to them.

Sheila writes about marriage and mothers-in-law, about jealousy in relationships and about savoring the moment, about other languages and cultures, about mothering mishaps, about meltdowns and giggles, about everyday life with small people. She is an expert at capturing emotion and detail, and surprising you with a twist at the end of the story.

She is selling Thirty Little Fingers for $13 each, which includes shipping.

She’d also like to offer you Confessions readers a chance to win a free copy, but there is one small problem. She loves to give, but as an honest and hardworking Mennonite woman she does not believe in reaping where you did not sow. For this reason, she would like to invite you to earn a copy by taking a whack at the following quiz.

Can you correctly identify the ten titles below, chosen from among the dozens in Thirty Little Fingers?

  • Six of them are stories (in your answer, mark them with an S)
  • Two are poems (mark with a P)
  • One is a recipe (R)
  • And one is not in the book at all (mark N/A)

Isn’t that fun? You are invited to give the quiz your best shot; we will give away up to five free copies of Thirty Little Fingers based on your scores. There shall be nothing random.org about this, unless of course you all tie for the top. Please don’t.

Here’s the quiz:

  1. The Boundaries of an Odor
  2. A Camel in the Night
  3. Domestic in Early Winter
  4. Domestic in Late Winter
  5. How Often Overwhelmed
  6. Incidents in a Paper-Chain Factory
  7. Love, Prayer, and a Muslim Daughter
  8. Mixed Pickle
  9. Supermom and the Super Glue
  10. Yes, You May Come to Dinner, if You Don’t Mind Eating under the Kitchen Sink

I took the quiz myself before seeing a copy of the book, and scored less than fifty percent correct – which all in all I thought was quite good, in fact better than Sheila’s husband scored (and he read the manuscript).

Feel free to tell your friends about this book and giveaway, especially young-mom friends. Remember: even if you don’t find yourself in need of Thirty Little Fingers, you have a young mother somewhere in your life – and I cannot think of a more perfect gift to give her than an hour of your time and a copy of this book.

Want to give it a try?


Obviously if you’ve already viewed this book and its contents, your quiz answers will be considered unfair and your comments will be stricken from the record. So please be honorable.

You can copy and paste the ten-title-quiz into your comment below, or simply do it like this: 1 – R, 2 – S, 3 – N/A, etc. (No clues are contained in the preceding sentence.)

Thirty Little Fingers can be purchased for $13 each including shipping, or $11 each when ordering five copies or more. PA residents should add 6% sales tax. Make checks payable to Sheila Petre. To order, contact Sheila at PO Box 127, Mercersburg, PA 17236, or sheilajoyful@emypeople.net.

I earned two copies of Thirty Little Fingers in exchange for hosting this earnaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

This offer will close next Thursday at midnight, with results to be posted on December 22.

September Farm Giveaway Winners

Hi everybody.

Thanks for entering the giveaway for a September Farm cheese sampler! I’m happy for each of you who joined the fun. Jessica Thomas is our fortunate winner! She said

Oh yum!! I love their cheese!!! We’re traveling to Lancaster this weekend and September farm is on my list of places I want to go.

(If anyone wonders exactly how winners are selected on this blog, see the endnote below for a full explanation.)

Now, for the rest of you, all is not lost. I’m sorry; I know – you never win. You’ve told me that before. However, this time we find ourselves in kind of a win-win situation, because September Farm is offering a coupon code for 20% OFF any orders made in the next two weeks with the coupon code CONFESSIONS20. How great is that?

Again, a few products worth highlighting (including that amazing cheese) are their gift baskets of all sizes, snack foods, smoked meats, best-selling cheeses, and fresh cheese curds. Oh! And their chocolate whoopie pies! Since my last post I had the opportunity to try those little chunks of heaven, and oh my word. They brought tears to my eyes.

Plus, September Farm staff have recently reworked shipping prices, creating more affordable options for those of us who live at a distance.

The 20% off coupon expires November 29, one use only per customer, so be sure to get everything you need right away. You’ll have a chance to enter the coupon code at checkout, and again, that’s CONFESSIONS20.

Thanks for supporting a great business. Happy shopping!


Full explanation: After each giveaway, my husband and I compile the names and email addresses of all commenters who enter (in this case, from each of two blog posts, as well as all email entries) into a spreadsheet. We assign each commenter a number, and check to remove any duplicate entries – such as when someone adds a note to their own comment, replies to someone else’s comment, or inadvertently enters twice. Then, let’s say there are eighty-nine people left. We ask random.org to choose a number between one and eighty-nine, and whatever number is picked, that’s our winner.

Hope that made everybody happy; or if not happy, then resigned. Okay, bye. xo

Trouble entering giveaway

The internet, says my husband, is not as nice a place as we’d like to think. It is more like a dark alley, and every second of every day, there are hands reaching out to rattle the doorknobs, checking, checking, checking all down the alley for any unguarded portal.

I hate that image, it gives me the heebie-jeebies; so I thought I’d share it with you.

Apparently in the past month, my blog has come under attack by an unprecedented number of spam subscriptions. In an effort to address that issue, we tightened some security settings and inadvertently shut down the comment section. Also our email sending service, as I informed you, went on the blink for undisclosed reasons of its own, and failed to notify my readers of the giveaway.

All that to say, it was the quietest giveaway I’ve ever started. The funny side of the story is that in my original post, I’d written “Today, September Farm is offering you a chance to win one of their Small Samplers free of charge. (Seriously, did I just see you jump out of your seat? I know there’s exciting stuff here, but my gracious. Calm down.) Each Small Sampler includes…”

I hit publish, and the next morning I awoke to no comments. Zero. Not one, and I thought, “Good grief, people, I didn’t mean that calm…”

Even after we figured out the email notification issue and I breathed easier and sent another email to let you know about the giveaway, it took us another hour or two to figure out that comments had been disabled. We fixed that (we thought) and are still hearing reports that commenting is not working properly. So our problems are not behind us.

How is it that I can lump along writing about nothing for weeks and things go fine, and as soon as I collaborate with someone else and care about it more, everything blows up as predicted by Mr. Murphy? Believe it or not, we are not doing this to exasperate you. But I’m so sorry if we’re succeeding.

I need you to do me a favor.

If you want to enter the September Farm giveaway and are having trouble leaving a comment on my blog, please email your comment to sharizook@gmail.com and I’ll take care of copying and pasting it to the right place.

If you’re not sure if your comment already posted, double check by searching the page. (Control + F enables you to “Find” text, including your name.)

If you are having trouble accessing parts of the blog, subscribing to my posts, leaving a comment, or otherwise living a happy life online, and you would like to help us solve the problem, please email my tech-support husband at ryan@zookcomputer.com. Your feedback helps us address the issues!

Most of all, thank you for hanging in there with us and our technology. Blogs are human too…

Or something.


As of Nov 14, the September Farm giveaway is closed.

Giveaway: September Farm Sampler

As of Nov 14, 2017, this giveaway is closed.

Confession: I do love a good cheese, a good family, and a good story. All three come together in the business I’m promoting today: September Farm Cheese.

If you live near Lancaster County, you already know about September Farm. Their beautiful store is the place to stop for amazing fresh cheese, sandwiches, ice cream, and more. But did you know you can buy September Farm products from their webstore and have them shipped to your doorstep?

The Rotelle family has been involved in food production for four generations. In 2007, Dave and Roberta established September Farm Cheese, using milk from their own excellent dairy to produce the finest quality cheese.

Since then, September Farm has become ever more widely known for their delicious creations:

Handcrafted Monterey Jack

  • in many delightful flavors
  • including the award-winning Chives & Dill

Handcrafted Cheddar

Authentic Dutch Gouda

And much more, including Swiss, Havarti, Parmesan, and Mozzarella. Their own dairy still produces all the milk used in manufacturing the cheese. They age and ripen their cheese in their temperature and humidity regulated cheese cave.

I’ve been privileged to be a frequent taster of September Farm products – one of the Rotelle children lives in my community, and we always try to schedule our church potlucks for right after she’s visited home and returned bearing gifts. Okay, that was a joke. But still, I’ve loved every one of the cheeses I’ve tried: they’re creamy, nuanced, and perfectly textured.

I’ve also visited September Farm’s lovely store in Honey Brook, PA, sampling good things and making purchases. I love visiting on location, but it’s not always possible – so I’m really excited about their growing online presence!

They’ve recently expanded their online offerings, adding many products that were previously available in-store only, including fresh cheese curds, meats, relishes and dips, and beautiful gift baskets with customizable options, perfect for tasteful (or did I mean tasty?) holiday presents. Purchases can be made from their webstore at any time.

Today, September Farm and I are offering you a chance to win one of their Small Samplers free of charge! A Small Sampler includes

  • Three 8-ounce bars of handcrafted cheese (your choice of eleven flavors!)
  • One 8-ounce Lebanon Bologna
  • A September Farm cheese wire

Here are the flavors one fortunate winner will get to pick from.

Mild Cheddar
Medium Cheddar
Sharp Cheddar
Robertson’s Extra Sharp Cheddar
Smoked Cheddar
Jumpin’ Jack Jalapeño
Honey Jack
Pepperoni Augusto Jack
Chives & Dill Jack
Garlic & Basil Jack
Joy’s Tomato Basil Jack

If you’d like to be entered in a drawing to win a Small Sampler, I’m asking you to share this post on social media, or forward by email to a few friends. Then leave a comment below. Keep in mind that September Farms staff will read your comments, so if you have favorite flavors, or new cheeses you’d like to see them develop, be sure to let them know – and don’t forget to say thank you! {wink}

Cheese, anyone?


Don’t be shy if you are new to Confessions. This is the perfect chance to say hi and leave your first comment. I’d love to meet you!

I was given a Small Sampler by September Farm Cheese in exchange for hosting this giveaway, and it was scrumptious. All facts have been checked to the best of my ability with knowledgeable sources, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Giveaway will remain open for one week, closing at midnight on November 14, 2017. Open only to persons with a US mailing address. Winner will be chosen by random.org.

This giveaway is closed.

Giveaway results

Thanks for joining our giveaway for the Boredom Jar! I’m happy to say that Dorcas S is the winner – the “mean mom” who doesn’t allow her children to use a lot of devices. And no, I did not pick her for that reason. Random.org picked her, for its own inscrutable reasons.

If you’re interested in buying the Boredom Buster set, please contact Linette Horst by sending an email to randyandlinette@aol.com. Put “Boredom Jar” or something similar in the subject line. The price is $10 for a package that includes everything but the glass jar itself:

  • Thirteen colorful pages with over 300 activities
  • A supplies list for items you might not have on hand
  • An adorable vinyl decal to put on your own jar (“Mom I’m Bored” as pictured)
  • Free shipping to anywhere in the United States

Again, thanks for joining the fun.

Happy Thursday!
Shari