Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Times and Good Company

December is definitely my favorite month of the year. I love the lights, the hot chocolate, the decorations, the Hallmark movies and, of course-the reason for the season-celebrating Jesus' birth. We started a new and pretty awesome tradition this year. I wanted to get in as many Christmas projects as we could. We did and had a blast! I hope you enjoy the pictures! Also, since this is an author's blog and all, I did include a few children's book recommendations at the bottom for some seriously amazing stories. I still cry every time I read one of the stories with George.

Cotton fun!

Gingerbread house! Yeah, I didn't do the candy kind yet! I'm a monster!!

This is a neat way to talk about Jesus' birth. The door hanger went on the window, away from Emma fingers!!

                  Fun with garland!

I love a Christmas wreath!

 Hot chocolate and a paper bag Santa.

Yes, he said fire!!! Scary!

A winter owl!

This was as much fun for him as it was for me. I'm looking forward to it again next year, and I can't wait for Emma to get more involved.

Now, about those books! We read "Twas the Night Before Christmas." George really liked the rosy Santa, and he requested it several times. That was a lot of fun, but I think my hands-down favorite story was Max Lucado's "Itsy Bitsy Christmas." George requested this story over and over. Lucado tells the story of Jesus' birth through the eyes of two little mice in the stable. The idea is that Jesus came for even the smallest of us. Wow! I always cry. I tell George they're happy tears! So, we had an AWESOME Christmas, one full of good times and good company.

We are praying for a wonderful 2014 too!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ear Infections and MMA Fighters

The season of sickness is upon us. My son's string of ear infections had us in the hospital while he received ear tubes. Going to the hospital can be pretty terrifying for little ones (not to mention the parents of little ones). As the day grew closer along with a persistent fever and surgery preparations, I felt the very primal mother who hides just beneath the surface, wanting to break free and pounce on anyone and everyone like the most savage MMA fighter. The thought of my sick, little man sedated and away from me was about to be too much. Was I dramatic? You bet! When our babies are sick, everything feels dramatic!

Instead of going momma crazy, we discussed the procedure beforehand, but not a lot, because I didn't want to scare him. We also read Little Critter: My Trip to the Hospital. Maybe this sounds over-the-top, but it did seem to ease a few of his fears, so why not? And the story actually calmed my nerves some, too, so a doubly why not?

In case you were wondering, the procedure went well. I do believe the story helped along with some major praying.

I hope your little guys and gals can stay healthy this winter, but if you do find yourself making doctor appointments or hospital visits, do your best to keep calm, pray, and you might just think about picking up a few stories.

Books to Read:
1. Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margret & H. A. Rey
2. Good-bye Tonsils! by Craig Hatkoff
3. Little Critter: My Trip to the Hospital by Mercer Mayer
4. Franklin Goes to the Hospital by Paulette Baurgeois

Friday, September 20, 2013

Whatever the Weather, We Go Together

This week's blog is filled with testosterone and tools. Not exactly what you were expecting, huh?

Tonight, my husband whipped out a present my uncle gave George. It was a dragon mailbox building kit. I know, totally awesome, right?

I couldn't help but snap picture after picture (My poor family got text message after text message). Anyways, here are a few snapshots of the awesomeness that was the dragon kit.


George, busy reading the instructions. 

 Fun with tools (Yeah, major supervision happening here)!

The "Ta-da!" moment and the dragon mailbox in all its glory.

Can you find George's new prized possession?

This was how we chose to end such a fun-filled evening. What better way to end a daddy and son experience than with Amy Sklanky's My Daddy and Me, especially with text like, "We go together like honey and bees, like peanut butter and jelly, like hide-and-seek. Whatever the weather, we go together." 
Whatever the weather, these guys really do go together. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Oceans and Deserts and Rainforests...Oh My!

The last few weeks my son and I have been studying ecosystems, particularly oceans, deserts and rainforests (hence the title).  :)

He is only three, so the idea was more for him to become familiar with the vocabulary like ecosystem and the various plants and animals you find in each. I wanted to give him a foundation, hopefully, helping him not be a total fish-out-of-water later. Below are a few of the activities we did with each ecosystem.

The Ocean

Here is a picture of my son with the ocean he made. We discussed things like fish, plants and water, and how they all work together and have their own function in the ecosystem. The "talking" part was pretty brief. He was into the "doing." :)

We also listened to Ernest Borgnine read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister on Storyline Online.

George played with his tugboat in the bathtub and we had a quick discussion about what would be in the water beneath the tugboat if it were in the ocean. This is simple and fun but does reiterate the ocean ecosystem.

The Desert

George is holding his desert ecosystem in this picture.
George loved coloring the scorpion, camel and snake in this ecosystem. The sand, although messy, was still a must. I didn't really get into too many interesting facts (as a teacher, that's super hard to do), because I knew I had a small window for his attention. Did you know that some camels can drink 25 gallons of water at one time? Eeeeek!! I love facts!

We read Davis Brooks' You Can Count in the Desert. This book helps expose kids to desert animals and the math can't hurt! :) We also read Rhonda Lucas Donald's Deep in the Desert. This book is perfect for George's age. He knows many of the traditional nursery rhyme songs, so he loves how the tune is the same but the words are changed to information about the desert. Fun!

One afternoon, we spent a few minutes, pretending to be snakes slithering in the desert. We also pretended to sweat and be hot during the day and shiver at night. Fun!

The Rainforest

George (and I) had a lot of fun making this rainforest ecosystem.
We used tissue paper to cover the rainforest floor with thick grass and I enjoyed the blue construction paper waterfall. Nice touch if I don't say so myself! Haha! George really liked coloring the monkey, frog, butterfly, tiger and bird. We discussed why it's called the rainforest. George thought that was funny.

We also listened to rainforest sounds. Emma liked the sounds too!

George had fun finding the rainforest animals in this hidden picture. George's nina actually sent the link to both the sounds and picture. I love how we announce our projects and help and ideas are sent our way!

All in all, these were simple, fun activities to merely introduce some ecosystem vocabulary and a few concepts. Next week, I think we'll bring it home and look at urban ecosystems. That will be fun!

If you guys have done or know of activities that would go well with ours, please share in the comments. We'd love to try them!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

TheTransportation Station

My son, George, and I studied transportation last week. We read several books including Things That Go and How Our Car Works. We also did numerous activities such as rolling toy cars in paint and painting tracks on paper, rolling cars down slides and homemade ramps and picking up passengers to take across the bathtub in George's tugboat. I thought I'd share one of our activities below.

George helped me tape together an old dryer sheet box. He decorated it with construction paper strips and colored it using markers. We then taped four muffin tins as the wheels and taped two circles as headlights. You could add more like taillights and windows, but our project maxed out the attention span of three-year-old George. He loved his little bus and is still playing with it this week.


Small box
Muffin tins (4)
Construction paper

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hey, I Just Met You, Daniel, and This is Crazy, but Here's My Number....


Okay. If I were going to slap the Fallen series by Lauren Kate with a theme song, it would have to be Carly Ray Jaspen's Call Me Maybe. And, yes, I'm serious.

Read the lyrics. I don't know if you'll ever look at them the same way.

I threw a wish in the well, Don't ask me, I'll never tell I looked to you as it fell, And now you're in my way
I'd trade my soul for a wish, Pennies and dimes for a kiss I wasn't looking for this, But now you're in my way
Your stare was holdin', Ripped jeans, skin was showin' Hot night, wind was blowin' Where you think you're going, baby?
Hey, I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
It's hard to look right, At you baby, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
Hey, I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
And all the other boys, Try to chase me, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?

You took your time with the call, I took no time with the fall You gave me nothing at all, But still, you're in my way
I beg, and borrow and steal Have foresight and it's real I didn't know I would feel it, But it's in my way
Your stare was holdin', Ripped jeans, skin was showin' Hot night, wind was blowin' Where you think you're going, baby?
Hey, I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
It's hard to look right, At you baby, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
Hey, I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
And all the other boys, Try to chase me, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
Before you came into my life I missed you so bad I missed you so bad I missed you so, so bad
Before you came into my life I missed you so bad And you should know that I missed you so, so bad
It's hard to look right, At you baby, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?

Hey, I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
And all the other boys, Try to chase me, But here's my number, So call me, maybe?
Before you came into my life I missed you so bad I missed you so bad I missed you so, so bad
Before you came into my life I missed you so bad And you should know that
So call me, maybe?

Yeah, I know it's not a word-for-word match, but wasn't the attraction Luce had to Daniel crazy to her? Didn't she have other boys (Cam) chasing her? Didn't she feel complete with Daniel (she maybe missed him so bad before he came into her life)? As far as theme songs go, this would be at the top of my list. 

Thoughts anyone? I'm sure some diehard Fallen fans have a few.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Author, Linda Black, is joining the blog today. She's here to tell us all about her new book,
S.T.O.P. BULLYING. What a timely topic for young people. 

Welcome, Linda! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A native Arkansan, I grew up in a very small town the fourth of twelve children. I kid with people all the time about my “lucky” number being “four” because of the many incidences of four in my life. I’m the fourth child with four children. I was born on the fourth day of the fourth month. My two oldest children each have four children apiece. I truly don’t know if the number four has ever been my good luck charm, but it is coincidental. My husband and I have six children between us, again four girls and two boys, ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Writing for children has been and still is my greatest inspiration. I am a member of the Village Writer Club in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas where I live. Also an active member of the NLAPW (National League of American Pen Women), I currently serve as secretary of our local branch, Pioneer Branch, in Little Rock.

Please tell us about your new book.

My latest book, S.T.O.P. BULLYING, I had been working on about nine months before self publishing it. I felt a need to get it out there because of the growing need to address this subject. Current events inspire me, especially when children are affected or involved. The title is self explanatory, but I will elaborate on it a bit. My thirteen year old cousin, who is a strong advocate of anti bullying and has won many awards through his involvement in various programs, was himself bullied and was my inspiration for writing the book. Earnest is featured in my book, but is the only real name I used. The rest are pseudonyms but are actually real stories.

Below is an excerpt from S.T.O.P. BULLYING.

“Most of the time bullying goes unreported for fear that nothing will be done about it or for fear the perpetrator will retaliate. The victims suffer in silence, and that’s why many make the tragic decision to stop it themselves.”

“Children who are bullied are two to nine times more likely to think of suicide, and boys are of higher risk of committing the act. While girls usually bully socially, inclusion and exclusion, boys are more prone to using physical and verbal attacks. With the expansion of technology, cyber attacks are becoming more frequently used. Forty six hundred adolescents kill themselves worldwide every year, and a large number is due to bullying. Even though suicide is only one of many consequences of bullying it can’t be overlooked because of the link between bullying and suicide.”

Where do you get the ideas for your books?

My ideas are generated from different outlets. A book I’m presently working on came from a simple event of looking into the sky on a starlit night. One thing led to another and a book was born. I may wake up in the middle of the night thinking about one thing and my thoughts shift gears and soon another bright idea for a book is formed. My first book’s idea came from my experience of living in snowbound places like Illinois and Michigan. I often wondered how long someone or something could last if they were rolled up in a snowball. Voila. The Adventures of Boots: The Giant Snowball was created. I don’t remember where the idea came from when I wrote A Porpoise For Cara.

Do you have advice for aspiring authors?

Read, read and read; research, research and research; edit, edit and edit. When I started my first book, I learned that I knew nothing about writing at all. There is so much to learn. Make sure as you write and submit your work pay close attention to “Submission Guidelines” of the publisher. I was so ignorant of everything; I had to ask what that meant. All I knew was I wanted to write a book. I even try writing poems and have learned that even poetry has its own guidelines and styles that must be strictly adhered to. I learned a lot on this website: http://www.writersrelief.com/

Do you have a memorable moment since beginning your writing career?

I think the happiest moment of my writing life would be the day I received the email from my publisher accepting my first book and sending a contract. I sincerely thank Ami Warren and Willow Moon Publishing for giving me a start. My husband thought I was having a heart attack or merely going crazy when hearing me yell and something going “bump.” The bump was my knee hitting the keyboard tray on the desk. He came running and said, “Girl you’d better calm down.” My thoughts went back to my instructor, Mrs. Martin, of Communications I, II and III. She recommended me for Honors Writing when I was in college, but of course, I didn’t take it. She often told me she could see me being a journalist or even an author one day. Here I am!

Linda's links:

(She would love for you to visit her blog)

My blog page on Blogspot            Linda's Write Place

My author’s page on Amazon:           

Facebook page                             Linda Black~Linda's Write...                          

My web page on Yolasite               Linda's Write Place

My Twitter                                     Linda Black (LindaKBlack) on Twitter

My LinkedIn page                          Linda | LinkedIn

My Pinterest                                   Linda Black (lindakblack) on Pinterest

On Barnes and Noble                     LindaBlack--B&N

Monday, April 15, 2013


I Really Love You, Ava will be available in an eBook format on Friday, April 19th. This is my first time to author a story in this format. I am thrilled. It will be available on Amazon, the Willow Moon Publishing website, and the Barnes and Noble website. Ava will be releasing in print in only a few short weeks. I will add the links to the bottom of the page when they are up. Until then, enjoy the book trailer for I Really Love You, Ava.


The eBook is now available at Amazon, the Willow Moon Publishing site, and Barnes and Noble for you Nook users.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Enjoy Valentine's Day with a Picture Book

This week George will receive A Charlie Brown Valentine on Valentine's Day to read over his Valentine's muffin breakfast. I saw the book at the store in all of it's heart-shaped adorableness and had to have it. George is really into hearts right now, you know with it being Valentine's. So, I knew it was the perfect present. For anyone thinking about a present for your kids, check out the list of fun Valentine's books below.

Totally Fun Valentine's Day Kids' Books (Yes, I put titles on all of my lists!)

1.  Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George by N. Di Angelo and Mary O'Keefe Young
2.  Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli
3.  The I LOVE YOU Book by Todd Parr
4.  The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever by Brenda Ferber and Tedd Arnold
5. Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki
6.  Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book by Karen Katz
7.  Valentine's Day Jokes, Riddles and Quotes - A Children Picture Book (Children's Holiday Series) by Sirius Seven, Rriiver Nyile and Leslie Garland 
8. Valentines Are For Saying I Love You (Reading Railroad) by Margaret Sutherland and Amy Wummer 
9.  My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
10. Love, Splat (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotton

 Also, I plan to check out several books for George from the library for my Kindle. Many libraries have great ebook selections. This is easy and affordable! 

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated Look to WJ May's Chronicles of Kerrigan Series

Rae of Hope and Dark Nebula from W.J. May's The Chronicles of Kerrigan series are still the same AMAZING stories but with new, fabulous covers. You can learn about the stories and see the covers below. I can't wait to read the third installment, House of Cards.



How hard do you have to shake the family tree to find the truth about the past?
Fifteen year-old Rae Kerrigan never really knew her family's history. Her mother and father died when she was young and it is only when she accepts a scholarship to the prestigious Guilder Boarding School in England that a mysterious family secret is revealed.

Will the sins of the father be the sins of the daughter?

As Rae struggles with new friends, a new school and a star-struck forbidden love, she must also face the ultimate challenge: receive a tattoo on her sixteenth birthday with specific powers that may bind her to an unspeakable darkness. It's up to Rae to undo the dark evil in her family's past and have a ray of hope for her future. 



Nothing is as it seems anymore.

Leery from the horrifying incident at the end of her first year at Guilder Boarding School, Rae Kerrigan is determined to learn more about her new tattoo. Her expectations are high, an easy senior year and a happy reunion with Devon, the boy she’s not supposed to date. All hopes of happiness turn into shattered dreams the moment she steps back on campus.

Lies and secrets are everywhere, and a betrayal cuts Rae deeply. Among her conflicts and enemies, it appears as if her father is reaching out from beyond the grave to ruin her life. With no one to trust, Rae doesn’t know where or who to turn to for help. Has her destiny been written? Or will she become the one thing she hates the most—her father’s prodigy.

BIO of W.J. MAY:
Wanita May grew up in the fruit belt of Ontario - St.Catharines. With a crazy-happy childhood, she has always had a vivid imagination and way too much energy. The youngest of six -- four older brothers, and a sister -- taught her at a young age to be competitive in all aspects of life.
At sixteen, she began competing in athletics (track and field) and before she turned seventeen, she was representing Canada in high jump. She continued to compete, breaking Canada's JR High Jump record (1.92m - 6' 3 1/2" for those metric-ly challenged). She attented University of Toronto, and Kansas State University - winning CIAU's and becoming All-American 6x - NCAA Indoors Runner Up + more.

But you're not interested in her athletic career - unless of course you're curious to know she stands 1.70m (5'7") and has jumped 20cm over her head on more than one occasion. She's represented Canada at the World Championships, World Jrs., won Francophone Games, and loved every minute of every competition. From the grueling workouts, the crazy weights she lifted on her back, the days she thought her lungs were going to spit out of her mouth for lack of oxygen, the traveling around the world and the opportunity to read - her favorite past time.

Life continued with her husband (a distance runner from Liverpool, UK, who she met at KSU) and then their first, then second and finally third child. Their house became full of more imagination and stories. Wanita and her husband run an online business, dealing in antiques and collectables - particularly jewelry and porcelain

After her father passed away in 2009, from a six-year battle with cancer (which she still believes he won the fight against), she began to write again. A passion she'd loved for years, but realized life was too short to keep putting it off.

She is represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Wanita is a writer of Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction and where ever else her little muses take her.