Blog Birthday Bundle of Joy Giveaway!

Mr Cornelius and the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers are especially excited to be celebrating 15 years of blogging. 15 years! So that means I started when I was just a toddler (picture chubby little hands tapping away on a keyboard). 😀

Back in 2007, I never dreamed I’d still be crafting posts in 2022. What’s most surprising is that I haven’t yet run out of things to say – pretty unusual for someone who’s not that talky in real life. But I do have the smartest, most inspiring blog readers so . . . 

15 gingersnap hearts for you.

Recently I was thrilled to stumble upon the perfect poem by former Maine poet laureate Stuart Kestenbaum. He’s new to me, and all I can say is, “Stuart, where have you been all my life?” Surely he wrote this one just for me.


by Stuart Kestenbaum

What was it we wanted
to say anyhow, like today
when there were all the letters
in my alphabet soup and suddenly
the 'j' rises to the surface.
The 'j', a letter that might be
great for Scrabble, but not really
used for much else, unless
we need to jump for joy,
and then all of a sudden
it's there and ready to
help us soar and to open up
our hearts at the same time,
this simple line with a curved bottom,
an upside down cane that helps
us walk in a new way into this
forest of language, where all the letters
are beginning to speak,
finding each other in just
the right combination
to be understood.

~ from Only Now (Deerbrook Editions, 2014).
Kate Greenaway (A Apple Pie, Frederick Warne, 1886)


Kestenbaum’s poem pretty much sums up my primary reason for blogging: to spread joy and happiness.

Sure, book reviews, interviews, and recipes are nice in and of themselves, but my overriding motivation these last 15 years has been to put some positivity out in the world. So, if I’ve brightened your day even a little bit, mission accomplished.

15 Paddingtons for 15 years of blogging.

Kestenbaum was inspired to write “Prayer for Joy” after eating alphabet soup for lunch one day. He calls it “the perfect meal for a writer.” Wiser words have never been spoken.

How much do I love that the letter ‘j’ rises to the surface? Jumping for joy is a good thing. But I beg to differ with his assertion that the letter ‘j’ isn’t “really used for much else” – unless it happens to be the first letter of your given name (ahem). 

Come on: where would we be without jars of marmalade, jingle-jangle mornings, “Jabberwocky,” jazz hands, Jockey underwear, or Get Out of Jail cards?

Do you ever jostle and jiggle? Jet to the south of France? Jog around the block? Juggle in the jungle?

Safe to say, blogging is Jama’s jam. 🙂

Speaking of jamming, BTS, who are the world’s most beloved purveyors of positivity, dropped by recently to help us celebrate.

BTS is joy personified.
They gave us “Permission to Dance.”
Rapt audience members call for an encore.

After performing 15 dynamite songs, they took audience questions (Mr Cornelius translating). Paddington was pleased to learn they like marmalade. 🙂

Mr Cornelius jubilantly noted that four BTS members have first names beginning with ‘j’ — Jimin, Jung Kook, Jin, and J-Hope, and two have surnames beginning with ‘j’ — Jung and Jeon. As if we even needed more reasons to love them. 🙂

They were anxious to teach us how to say alphabet soup in Korean: 알파벳 수프 (alpabes supeu).

I guess it’s good in any language. 🙂

Cupcake in Korean: 컵케익 (keobkeig).

So fun!


For our blog birthday, we thought it would be nice to give away a bundle of joy. Mr Cornelius handpicked a dozen happy-making things to remind you of Alphabet Soup.

Bundle of Joy!

Books include:

1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (Special 120th Anniversary Edition (Frederick Warne, 2022).*

2. Signed copy of Good Luck Gold & More by Janet Wong (Pomelo Books, 2021).

3. Dinner with Dickens: Recipes Inspired by the Life and Work of Charles Dickens by Pen Vogler (CICO Books, 2017).

4. Girls Standing on Lawns by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (Abrams, 2014).

Other Stuff:

5. Mr. Darcy 11 oz. mug by Kate May of Unmotivated Goods (microwave and dishwasher safe).

6. Downton Abbey Estate Blend Limited Edition tea (classic Earl Grey + vanilla) by The Republic of Tea.

7. Campbell’s Tomato A-Z’s soup.

8. Eight Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup pencils. 

9. Pack of 8 Raven and Cauldron Note Cards by Robyn Hood Black/artsyletters.

10. Bear Naked Chef cocktail napkins by Hatley.

11. Rainbow Designs Paddington Bear plush bean bag toy.*

12. BTS eating McDonald’s 7″ x 9″ composition notebook.

*Specially ordered from the UK.

As you can see, we have here the requisite Britishness + a little Maira, Janet’s awesome poetry, a chance to sip some tea with my secret husband (who turned 62 on September 10), write some spooky autumn notes to friends, jot down joyous memories in your BTS notebook, and even cook something delicious à la Dickens. Your new Paddington will be only too happy to keep you company. 🙂

For a chance to win this Bundle of Joy, please leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) Friday, September 30, 2022 (I’d love to know how you found this blog and if you have a favorite post). Extra chances to win if you share about the giveaway on social media (indicate in the comments). You may also enter by sending an email with JOY in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!!

We’re looking forward to another year of merry blogging. A big welcome to all the new subscribers. Everyone, thanks for joining us and for your continued support. Keep on slurpin’ the soup!!

Love and pie,


P.S. Just because my first name begins with ‘j’ doesn’t mean I have a curved bottom. 😀

P.P. S. If you need me, I’ll be hanging out in the forest of language cooking up my next post.


Kathryn Apel is hosting the Roundup this week all the way from down under. Zip on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up around the blogosphere. Enjoy your weekend!


*Copyright © 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

86 thoughts on “Blog Birthday Bundle of Joy Giveaway!

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a wonderful celebratory post. 15 years? My goodness. I still keep learning from you and Mr. Cornelius in all the nicest ways. Whenever I see alphabet soup noodles or references to alphabet soup I always think of you! I am super happy to share the celebration!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the letter J. Maybe it’s because my mom named me Joanna and called me Joanne. Either one will do! One of my favorite blogs is your recent blog about Queen Elizabeth II. I think she was just refreshing at any age, and that last video of Elizabeth and Paddington was just priceless! My favorite J word is a proper name, Joe, my husband! Thank you Jesus, another great name, for helping me find him almost 54 years ago!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on 15 delectable years, Jama! I have found so many favorite poems, artists, and dishes on your blog! ❣️ “Prayer for Joy” is just right for the occasion. Great giveaway, too 🙂 (Have you seen “Crash Landing on You”? I think you would like it if you haven’t.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen the first few episodes of CLOY and keep meaning to finish watching the series. I think you’ve been blogging longer than I have?


      1. You know me better than I know myself! When I read your message, I thought “it’s only been ten years I’ve been blogging, right?” But I checked and it was 15 in March! I didn’t even notice! Dang. I guess I’d better celebrate next March 🙂 (Sweet sixteen?)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Blogiversary JAMA and swonderful ALPHABET SOUP!!!!! 🎉🎊💙💗💜 sending you Joyous, Jubilant, and Jolly oodles of 💕 for 15 years of Joy filled posts!!! Please pass on my thanks to BTS for stopping by, and thanks also to all the beautiful bears. I so enjoy your blog post and Tuesdays posts too! And all the smiles 😊😌☺️ they fill me with! I’m happy to share this JOYFUL post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your JUBILANTLY JAZZY comment, Michelle! Love all the hearts and exclamation marks!!! Thanks for being such a faithful reader and regular commenter. Means a lot to know you’re out there!! BTS sends their regards.


  5. Congratulations on 15 years of wonderful ness!! I don’t remember how I stumbled across your blog, but I enjoy it so much. As an aspiring children’s book illustrator, lover of picture books and a joyful grandmother. I find so much inspiration in your writing. You often introduce me to new books and new ideas. Thank you so very much! Here’s to another 15 years of joy!! ❤️🎂🎉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy blogiversary, Jama, and many thanks to you, Mr Cornelius and friends for a fantabulous fun and food filled 15 years. Nobody celebrates being alive like you do! Here’s to many more!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I am always here for the joy and happiness. It is one of my goals in life – to share joy. (And kindness.) And for sure your comment about running out of things to say put a smile (a little snort-laugh, actually) into my day – doubled by that curved bottom.🤭 So glad you’re here, Jama!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So, I kept reading, wondering if you had forgotten about your own name, Jumping for Joy Jama! You’ve given me so many smiles through these years, Jama. Thank you! I guess I found you through my own beginnings on Poetry Friday but sorry, I don’t remember. JIMINY! I must end with a thanks for this poem, a wonderful thing is a J. (My maiden name is Jones!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know your maiden name was Jones!! Curved bottom, too? 😀 Yes, I do think we first “met” through PF, though you were blogging before that. How many years for you?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. LOVE the Poem for Joy just as much as we all love our favorite J: JAMA! And lucky me, I already have a Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup pencil that is nearly as old as your blog! Remember when we met at the Kidlitosphere bloggers’ get-together? I think the first one?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, I remember it well. I was in awe of meeting the famous Mary Lee from A Year of Reading. I’ll never forget your question, “what is your process?” As you can see, I still don’t have one. 😀


  10. I wish you could see how wide my smile was reading every line of this post; looking at every delicious picture! HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY! 15 – Wow. Here’s to the next 15, and 15 after that, etc. My life would be much more bland without all the tasty goodness in YOUR corner of the “Forest of Language.”
    Thank you for inviting us all to your JuBiLaNt party (and thanks for including my cards!). I love that the late queen is a part of it, too; I sent a similar figure to my brother years ago – in pink – and she held watch in their house this week.
    Happy Birthday to your secret hubby – My hubby’s birthday was a few weeks ago, and just a couple of years behind yours. ;0) As always, a kiss to Mr. Cornelius….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your Oatmeal Jam(a) Bars are still the official AS recipe! Can you believe you first shared it for a 2012 Poetry Potluck?

      My red Queen has been standing guard next to Paddington on our kitchen table. Such a poignant week. Can’t believe all the people queueing up every day for the lying in state. She was SO loved. It’s humbling to be a part of this historical moment.

      Please tell Jeff I said Happy Belated Birthday!! Mr C, as always, sends big hugs.


      1. That “official” recipe status has been a source of great pride for me this whole decade! I’ll be watching the service Monday as I’m sure you will be. Jeff says Thank You! Hugs right back.


  11. congratulations and a sincere thanks for spreading joy to others. I know i have truly benefitted from your outlook. in the J words you forgot jelly doughnuts 🙂
    Happy Blogiversary

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you, Jama. I think you may have already figured out, I never, ever slurp your soup! Sometimes I quietly sip pausing to soak in your offering, other times I simply gulp it with joy. Good going, dear Jama!!!
    Happiest Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your blog makes me so happy—it is full of JOY and always brightens my day. I always look forward to your posts. Congrats and thank you for spreading sunshine!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jama, I am always overjoyed to find joyful content at your blog so congratulations on spreading joy around social media. Congratulations on 15 years of joyous writing. Your alphabet soup takes the cake every week.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Congratulations on your 15 year blogaversary, Jama!!! Wonderful! I have learned of new authors, illustrators, books and a variety of other things through your lovely blog! My favorite blogs were about the Queen, Paddington and children’s book authors and illustrators!! Keep doing what you do best, Jama!!! I love reading your blog! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hooray for the Queen and Paddington! Glad you liked reading about them, Marjorie. Paddington would like you to have another marmalade sandwich. 🙂


  16. Happy Blogaversary, JJJJJama (without a curved bottom)!

    “Kestenbaum’s poem pretty much sums up my primary reason for blogging: to spread joy and happiness.”

    And THAT you do! And we love and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Iza. Now, I didn’t say I definitely don’t have a curved bottom — maybe I’m still working on it. 😀 Your friend, JJJJama xo


  17. Happy Blogiversary, Jama! Thank you for finding the coolest things, and introducing me to new poets and artists. You take such care in crafting thoughtful and informative and wonderful posts! Love being one of your followers! May there be many more years ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Happy Blog Birthday, Jama! Your joie de vi·vre is infectious and inspiring. Thank for shining your light and sharing your goodness. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  19. According to Hallmark, the traditional anniversary gift for 15 years is crystal! How apropos for celebrating your sparkling posts. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh, your BTS figures are SUPER adorable. Happy Blogaversary! FIFTEEN YEARS of being a place to be happy about everyone’s new books! Thanks for the joy that is Alphabet Soup, and the terror that are Tuesdays at Alphabet Soup when there are so many things I don’t need to buy but do anyway…

    Liked by 1 person

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