Kid's Korner 2014
Saturday, December 13, 2014 or 12/13/14 (This sequence won't happen again for a hundred years.)
Christmas is twelve days away. Are you excited? I know I am. I love Christmas, decorating the tree, baking cookies and peanut brittle, covering the house with lights.
If you're a girl, you might like this idea. Take a small table top tree and decorate it with jewelry. String beads and pearls like garland and hang earrings and bracelets on the branches. Your jewelry tree will sparkle. Neat!
If you're a boy, fill your small tree with rubber insects. Snakes could be your garland. Spiders dangling from the branches and butterflies and lady bugs sitting on the tree limbs. Cool!
My tree has a theme. Santa. All the ornaments are Santa, he's on the sleigh, in a car, flying in a hot air balloon. Santa faces, cloth Santas, and Christmas balls with Santa's image fill my tree. I even have Santa lights and a Santa tree top! My nieces and nephews used to think Santa favored my house because he liked my tree.
Themed trees are nice. Some people do all angels. My aunt once did one with nothing but teddy bears.
I love trees covered in tinsel. The lights reflecting on the silver makes the tree seem magical.
When I decorate the tree, it takes forever because each ornament has a memory. Aunt Luella made several Santa ornaments for me, including a carousel. Aunt Helen gave me the one of Santa standing by a popsicle fence. My mother bought the Santas of Yesterday ornaments. I made the cross-stiched Santa. So much time and love went into each ornament. So many wonderful memories!
It doesn't matter if a tree has a theme or just covered with mismatched ornaments. Every tree is beautiful. I hope you had fun decorating your tree and are making Christmas memories.
I'd love to see your tree. Send a photo or draw a picture of your Christmas tree and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to see my tree, I've posted it in the photo gallery.
Enjoy the holidays! Two of my favorite Christmas stories are Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Night Before Christmas. I also like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Carol. Hope you take time out during this season to read these and other great stories about Christmas. And remember the reason for the season, to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.
God bless you, everyone!
Tuesday, November 26, 2014
It's the day before Thanksgiving. Soon your home will be smelling wonderful with the scent of pumpkin pie, fresh made dinner rolls, cranberries bubbling over on the stove and turkey and dressing baking in the oven. Are you excited that your cousins and Aunts and Uncles and grandparents are coming? Don't forget to watch the Macy Day Parade. That was always one of my favorite things to do on Thanksgiving morn.
However you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I hope it is filled with family and friends and loved ones. I hope you have plenty to eat and enough leftovers so you can enjoy your dinner again.
Thanksgiving is just a stepping stone to a more exciting holiday - Christmas. Shopping begins even that day with super bargains and one of a kind deals. I hope the idea of presents doesn't overshadow the true meaning of the holiday for you and that you find giving is as rewarding as receiving.
I'd like to invite you to send me a drawing either of a turkey or a Christmas tree. You can e-mail it to email@example.com and I'll post it on my site.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday, and take time to relax and read a good book. Have fun!
Saturday, October 11, 2014
I'm enjoying a lovely Fall day! The air is crisp, but not too cold. Sweater weather. The leaves are beginning to change color, getting ready for their final fashion show before Winter.
Columbus Day is approaching. I loved reading about Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean to America with three small ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. It's a fact that he never actually touched foot on American soil, but he did lead the way for other explorers.
A few years ago replicas of two of Columbus's ships were docked on the Mississippi River in Grafton, a town about fifty miles from my home. I drove there and saw these ships, even boarded them. I was amazed at how tiny they were. They weren't huge ocean vessels, just small wooden ships that ran with sail power. It's a wonder Columbus discovered anything with ships as fragile as these. You can see the photos I took that day in the Photo Gallery.
I suggest you find a book about Columbus and his voyage. Meet Christopher Columbus by James T De Kay and Christopher Columbus by Stephen Krensky are two I found at Amazon Books. There are many more. If you read a book on Columbus, e-mail me and tell me about it. I'd love to hear from you. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
On to another subject - Football. Fall is football season and I have a nephew who plays for his high school team in Collinsville, Texas. Austin is a Sophomore, fifteen years of age, and six foot, 2 inches tall. I'm so proud of him. Here's one reason why: The mother of one of the oposing team players was telling everyone she knew about a young man on the Collinsville team. She said her son was being tackled by this player over and over during a game. After tackling her son, the Collinsvile player would offer his hand, help him up, and then tell him what a great job he was doing. This player is my nephew, Austin. This is how Austin was raised. He is kind, courteous, helpful and a good Sportsman. Kudos to you, Austin!
If you enjoy football, you should check out some great football stories. At www.MeeGenius.com you can find sport picture books. The newest one out is Touchdown! by Brenda Sturgis. Brenda won the MeeGenius Author Challenge with her rhyming picture book. It's fantastic and has a surprise ending. As long as you're at the MeeGenius website, check out my picture book Calamity Cat. Who doesn't love cats?
Enjoy reading, and have a great Fall!
Saturday, August 9, 2014
It's a beautiful day. It feels like Fall. The State Fair started yesterday in my state, Illinois, and that means school will start soon. As a child I always felt my summer vacation ended when the fair started.
Fairs are fun, and I hope you've been able to attend at least one this summer. There are rides, clowns, cotton candy, entertainment, horses, pigs, cows, the butter cow, music, so much to do in so little time!
A few years ago I entered my dog, Rascal, in the fair's Stupid Pet Tricks contest. My neighbor's daughter taught Rascal to play a toy piano. His paws moved up and down on the keyboard for a treat. He loved treats! Leslie, the daughter, was to go on stage with Rascal when he did his trick.
It was a hot, sticky August. The walk to the stage area wore me out as I carried my dog. He was the star, I couldn't let him get overheated. I signed him up and then Leslie and I waited, along with her mother. Nearer the time to go on stage, Leslie chickened out. It was up to me!
Rascal and I waited backstage and watched the other dogs perform. One busted balloons. One caught a treat resting on its nose and another walked around in a weiner dog costume and didn't do anything. It was Rascal's turn. I led him out onto the stage and set the toy piano on the floor. I showed him the treat and said, "Play the piano."
This was his cue, but Rascal had stagefright. The crowd, the noise, the clapping, scared him. He lifted his paw and hit one note. That was it! The audience laughed, thinking that was his trick. Our time was up.
Rascal didn't win, but did get an honorable mention for participating. All the dogs got one. His fifteen minutes of fame was over, or so I thought.
That night Rascal was the lead in on the evening news and then again on the nightly news. The dog who couldn't find C on the piano. Rascal was the star of the newscast. So what if he didn't win. He got top billing.
I wrote a short story about Rascal's day at the fair, called Rashol's Fifteen Minutes of Fame. (That was how I spelled Rascal's name.) The story was written as if Rascal was telling it, and it was published by Hob Nob Magazine for Children, in the last issue ever published. So thanks to Rashol's Fifteen Minutes of Fame, I had a bit of fame myself.
Rascal lived to be fourteen, and he was the sweetest, lovingest dog ever. I miss him, but now have Honey and CeCe to enrich my life. Trouble is, neither of them are musically inclined.
Do you have a pet that does tricks? Write about your pet and tell what he does, or draw a picture. Send it to email@example.com, and I'll share it on the website.
I hope you are enjoying your summer, having fun at the fair, and looking forward to school.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
It's a beautiful, though windy, Sunday. Honey and CeCe, my pitbull and chihuahua, are playing outside. I love to watch them. Honey runs around the yard like a rabbit, narrowiy missing the tree, and CeCe stays out of her way. Then it is CeCe's turn to explore, and she walks around the perimeter of the fence, barking at the dog next door, and my brother on his golf cart. Though she is little, it is CeCe who is the boss. Honey's learned not to sneak a bite of CeCe's food. CeCe chases her if she tries.
I don't know what I would do without my pets. They are sweet and loving, and though shy with others, I know they care for me. I'll even admit they sleep in my bed. CeCe curls up by my arm, and Honey takes up half the bed by my feet.
Do you have a pet? A cat, dog, gerbil or snake? Write about your favorite pet and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll post it on this site. Or draw a picture, and e-mail it to me. Tell me why you love your pet? What's his favorite toy? What do you feed him? Does he sleep with you, too? I'd love to hear from you.
If you're sitting inside on this beautiful day, get up, go outside and play with your dog or cat. It's too beautiful a day to spend indoors! I was outside with my dogs earlier, and am headed there again. I wonder what tricks they'll do next.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I hope everyone had a safe and amazing Fourth of July! My favorite part is watching the fireworks. I never cared for the noise they made, but if I watched from a far enough distance, the noise didn't bother me.
The 4th means many things to different people. Some think of it as a family gathering, picnics and outdoor Bar-B-Q's, hot dogs, fried chicken and watermelon. To others it means outdoor activities, softball games, tossing horseshoes, swimming. Darkness falls and then the quiet night is filled with BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! as the fireworks start.
Whenever I see the brilliant colors opening up in the sky, I think about Francis Scott Keys' words that became our national anthem, "And the rockets red glare, bursting in air." I know he was referring to actual rockets being fired at Fort Sumter, but whenever I hear those words, I think fireworks. The next part of F. Scott Key's line gives me comfort, especially in these troubling times. "Our flag was still there." I hope our flag will always still be there for generations to come, waving proudly. I am both proud and grateful to be an American.
What does the Fourth of July mean to you? If you'd like to share your feelings or would just like to write what you did on the Fourth, I'd love to read your essay. Send it to email@example.com, and I'll post it on this site.
Keep writing and reading! Have a great summer!
Tuesday, June 8, 2014
It feels like summer, it's hot and sticky, the daylight is slower to leave, the mosquitos and gnats are biting, and the cicadas are singing. Also, the county fairs are starting.
I'm sure many of you will be attending a fair during the next few months. If you do, take a moment as you walk the midway and think like a writer. If you were to describe your day at the fair, what would you say?
Would you talk about the rides, the ones that went so fast they made you dizzy or made you feel like you wish you hadn't eaten all that fair food? Were you scared on the roller coaster and closed your eyes? Did you wish the ferris wheel would break down while you sat at the very top so you could watch the people below scrambling around the fairgrounds like ants with a mission?
What would you say about the food? The rainbow colored cotton candy that melted in your mouth was not fun if your hair got caught up in it. Did you try the fried ice cream or fried pickles or anything else that was dropped in a batter of grease? The cozy dogs, (you may call them corn dogs), and the lemon shake-ups, how did they taste?
What did the fair smell like? Food? Animals? Sweat from the people strolling in 90 degree temps?
Did you pet the sheep and the goats? Were their fur soft or ruff?
Did you hear the pigs squeal in the barnyard or the roar of the engines in the demolition derby?
If you stayed in the evening, did the glare of the lights on the rides hurt your eyes? Did fireworks shoot up into the night sky, bursting into colorful patterns and soundling like gunshot?
My summer project for you is to write about your experiences at the fair, either this year or one you remember from another time. Use all the senses in your story, smell, taste, feel, see, hear. As you write, imagine yourself back at the fair and doing the stuff you're writing about. When you're finished, share what you've written and then save it, and whenever you read it, no matter how old you become, you'll feel young again, and the memory of your day at the fair will bring a smile to your face.
Also, if you'd like to share your story, send it to me in an email and I'll post it on this sight so others can read it, too. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have fun and enjoy your summer!
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Hi, Kids! Here is is, June already! School is out and you have the whole summer to enjoy yourselves. I imagine you are thinking swimming, bike riding, video games, sleeping all morning since you don't have to get up early for school, and just being lazy. Forget teachers, homework, studying, books. Wait! What? Not books!
I hope this summer you will all take some time for yourselves and read. Reading is a joy, a pleasure. Open a book and your mind will take you to exotic places and on exciting adventures. You can help solve a mystery with Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew, find a lost treasure with Sinbad , or sail the high seas with Long John Silvers. You can visit London, Paris and Rome without leaving your room. You can fight the Civil War with General Grant or go on the midnight ride with Paul Revere. Why not follow Alice down the rabbit hole, or laugh with the March girls in Little Women? Books are your tickets to the most wondrous places in the world. Sit back, open a book, and see where it will take you!
Enjoy your summer, be safe and read!
Friday, March 14, 2014
Hi, Kids! Well, it's the middle of March, but it still feels like winter! Where I live we had snow two days ago and today it's warmer, but windy. I hope all of you are warm and cozy. These cold days are great days to stay indoors and read. Have you checked out the MeeGenius website yet? There are over 700 books in their library, including one of mine, Calamity Cat.
Valentine's Day is past, but St. Patrick's Day is drawing near. Have you ever tried to draw a shamrock? This is a trick I use. I draw three hearts touching, then add a stem. St. Patrick used the shamrock to demonstrate to the people of Ireland how there could be three persons in one God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are three leaves to one shamrock.
In 2012 I was traveled to Ireland and walked the same ground that St. Patrick did. I saw the Rock of Castel, where St. Patrick baptised the Druid King Angus and I visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin and touched the stone encasing the well he used for baptism. Ireland is a beautiful country, home to my ancestors. I understand now why it is called the emerald isle as the grass and trees are so vibrant in green. Killarney Park was one of my favorite places to visit. I rode the horse cart around the park and saw the shimmering blue lake and the reefs. An abandoned tower on a small island made me think of King Arthur and Camelot, and I almost could believe leprechauns and fairies were hiding in the grass.
I hope all of you have a fun and Happy St. Patrick's Day. Perhaps to celebrate, you could find a book about St. Patrick or Ireland, or fairies and leprechauns and read while eating a corned beef sandwich.
And don't forget to wear green!
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Hi, Kids! Another winter storm passed through last night. If your school was closed today because of the weather, I hope you're having fun sledding, and making snowmen and snow forts. Don't forget to bundle up with lots of layers of clothing, and stay warm!
If any of you had trouble finding Calamity Cat at the MeeGenius website, the glitches are gone, and you can find it in four categories, Animals, MeeGenius Originals, Family and Ages 3-5.
Have any of you read Rosie Revere, Engineer and When Giants Come To Play? I bet you have, as well as other books by author Andrea Beatty. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrea through Skype at my writers group meeting last Monday evening. She is a delight, humorous and insightful; and she gave all of us at the meeting wonderful advice about writing and publishing. If you haven't read any of her books yet, I strongly suggest you go to the library or book store and check out her books.
Last week my backyard was filled with deer, at least ten. There's a field there where they come to gaze, usually at dusk when it's hard to see them. I managed to get some photos and I'll share them with you in my photo gallery. Yesterday a coyote was spotted in the same field. I imagine he was hungry and looking for food. I just hope he doesn't think of my dogs as dinner. My Chihuahua, CeCe, would probably run after him if she saw him. She's a tiny dog who thinks she's a lion. From now on I will have to keep a closer eye on my pets when they are outdoors. I also took some photos of the coyote, but by then he was heading back into the woods, so I didn't get a good, clear picture. Seeing the coyote did give me an idea for a picture book. Hopefully someday soon I'll sit down and put it on paper.
I have a challenge for you. What wild animals live near you? Perhaps a racoon raids your garbage cans or you've seen a red fox along the road. Perhaps you've seen beavers, possums, ground squirrels, chipmunks or even a snake. Write a short story about a wild animal in your backyard. What does it look like? What does it do when it sees you? If you don't want to write about the animal, you can draw a picture instead. I'd love to see what you've written or drawn, and will post my favorites on this site. My email address is email@example.com. I hope to hear from you soon.
Enjoy the snow!
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Hi, Kids! So far this year we've had freezing temperatures and warm days, snow, rain, thunderstorms, hail and sleet, just another typical Mid- West winter. I hope you've had fun sledding and building snowmen.
I recently submitted a picture book manuscript to MeeGenius, the publisher of my picture book, Calamity Cat. This new story is called Snow Day and it is about a brother and sister's adventure on a sled. If accepted, it will probably be released by the time winter comes around again.
How about doing a writing exercise? Write a story about a snowman. Describe how big he is, what he is wearing, what was used for his eyes, nose and mouth. If you want him to come to life like Frosty, tell what he did his last day "before he melted away." Or draw a picture of a snowman. I'd love to read your stories or see your pictures. You can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post my favorite on this site.
Have fun playing in the snow, but always dress for the weather. Wear caps and mittens, boots and warm jackets. As I wrote in my Snow Day picture book, "Have fun; but stay warm."
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Happy New Year!
Hi, kids. Another year is beginning and I am so excited. Each day is a blank page waiting for me to fill. I want to fill my days with things I love: doing fun activities with family, visiting museums, traveling, watching movies, writing, reading, playing with my dogs, listening to music, taking nature walks.
What fun things do you plan to do each day? I'd love to hear about them. E-mail me at email@example.com and tell me how you fill your blank pages.
New Year's Day brough snow with it where I live. I love seeing the freshly fallen white powder. I imagine all the sleds found under the Christmas tree are now in use. There is a park not far from my home and it is always filled with children sledding and having fun after a snowfall.
I remember as a child sledding with my brothers down a steep hill by our house. At the bottom of the hill was a small creek, and we always wound up in the creek, soaking wet and freezing. We'd trudge home shivering and our mother would quickly remove our damp clothes and wrap us in blankets. We'd sit by the furnace and warm our bodies with hot cocoa. Once our body temperature returned to normal, we'd be ready to go out again and tackle that hill.
I hope everyone is having fun today and enjoying the weather, but it snow in the midwest or eastern region, or sunshine in the south. Whatever you are doing, you are filling a page in your life with memories.
Have a wonderful year!