Fun homeschool alphabet bundle – Get A & B for FREE.

Like many of us this past, I’ve been at home teaching my children as we continue with homeschool preschool and virtual/distance learning! One of my favorite resources I’ve been using with my 3-year-old has been this fun A-Z bundle from the Teachers Pay Teachers online store Fun with Mama! And the best part! You can get A & B for free by clicking here. If you pay a little extra supporting an amazing Mama you can get the full set!

My daughter’s favorite so far — U for Unicorn!

I’ve also been holding on to all the thumbnails included on each page. I plan to extend the learning when we finish and play a letter matching game. Can you find the letter on the wall that matches? And once I feel like we have completed the project all together I will place all the letters into a keepsake book, and use the thumbnails to create an alphabet collage. My daughter has truly enjoyed creating her alphabet wall. She is so proud and often shows them off to other family members. In addition to letter recognition, she has also been able to build up her fine motor, gluing skills, and cutting skills.

Epic! App for Kids: The netflix for children’s books and research gold for writers

appstore_audio_480x360Raise your hand if you have young children? Now keep your hand raised if you also like to write books for children? Still have your hand in the air? Then you NEED to try Epic! An amazing app available on apple and android smart devices.

They have thousands of children’s ebook titles available, and are adding more each day including huge, mega popular titles and characters such as “Ramona”, “Peter Rabbit” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Here’s what my evenings look like now that we have Epic in our home. First, I set up a profile for my daughter and I to read together. Her current favorite books include “Old MacDonald’s Letter Farm”, “Duck Goes Potty”, and “Hello, How are You?” to name a few. That last one has taught her how to engage in a conversation with others. It’s very sweet!

Kids Profile_300x250After, my daughter is asleep for the evening, I switch to a second “research” profile and devour as many picture books, chapter books, and middle grade titles that I can before going to bed myself. If I find stories with structure or prose I admire, I can add those to my favorites to come back to and observe again later. I do this because, as a writer, it is difficult to write in your genre of choice without first taking the time to read many, many books in that genre! This is certainly helping me to shine up my very rusty writing skills.

lifestyle_fourkids_thousands_300x250You can try out Epic for yourself for 30 days for FREE!! Thereafter it is 4.99 a month to keep your subscription. That’s the cost of 1 board book per month, which I would likely easily be doing. (Or making special trips to the library to check out books, but who am I kidding? I’m a busy mom of a toddler … How often do I reliably make it to the library? In a perfect world we’d attend twice a week and engage in 20 minutes of uninterrupted storytime, but I digress.) Epic! makes life so much easier. We are building up a list of favorites and introducing new books here and there as well. She just loves the Beth and Bert stories from Highlights! Yup, Highlights! One of my favorite children’s literary magazines. Did I mention they have stories from Highlights?

SDSU Writers’ Conference 2017 features R.L. Stine, best-selling Children’s Author

conference-clipart-student-conference-clipart-1Alright. Any 80’s and 90’s babies out there? You likely grew up reading “Choose Your Own Adventure Novels”, “Babysitter’s Club” and “Fear Street/Goosebumps”! I am personally a total super-fan of Ann M. Martin, Christopher Pike, and R.L. Stine. How fabulous would it be to meet one of your favorite childhood authors in person?

Coming up in January 2017 SDSU will be hosting its annual Writers’ Conference in San Diego! This year R.L Stine will be featured as one of their Keynote Speakers along with J.A. Jance. I can only imagine their speeaches will be insightful and inspiring. I had the privilege of attending this event back in 2013. I found this conference to be fun, friendly, and informative . I love that along with their informative panels they also provide opportunities for networking and one-on-one sessions with industry professionals.

Follow this link to find out more about this fabulous conference: http://www.ces.sdsu.edu/wc

You can also sign up to receive updates about the event. They will be introducing a new conference format this year. I look forward to hearing all the details about their breakout sessions!

 

I’m appearing at a local author’s book fair!

localauthorsbookfairI’m so lucky to be participating in the Local Author’s Fair in Costa Mesa on March 26th. Writers from all genres will be there promoting their respective publications. I plan to bring stickers and coloring pages for the kiddos! I’m looking forward to meeting other authors and book lovers. Thank you Orange County Writers for hosting this event!

Find out more about it at: www.ocwriters.org

Picture Book research at Barnes and Noble

This past sunday, I was able to get out and do something I haven’t done in quite awhile! I walked into a yummy book-scented Barnes and Noble complete with a cd section ala Blockbuster Music, and headed to read some popular picture books! Of course, whenever I pass anything that might of interest to my little one, I get distracted.

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I mean, come on, what 22 month old wouldn’t enjoy a soft barnyard full of chickens, ducks, cows, and pigs? Then again, maybe it delighted me just as much!

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I finally made my way to the picture book section, and pulled out these five fun stories — and devoured them! A new Enya song I’d never heard came on for my listening pleasure making the experience even more pleasurable!

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This little book, “Shh… we have a plan!” by Chris Haughton made me laugh out loud. The tiniest character on the left — That’s my daughter to a “t.”

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I left feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to write my own manuscripts. Being a children’s author certainly has its perks!

Writing and rain

 

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I opened up the front door earlier this evening to check for packages on my doorstep, and while I was not blessed with a bundle of goodies, I did get to take in a deep breath of damp, cool air with a slight musty smell that only comes with new rain. Though it is hours later now, I can still close my eyes and re-create the serenity that washed over me during that moment. I carried my daughter outside to show her the wonder of evening rain. She delighted in it so much, she ran inside telling her Dad “it’s raining.” Later, when putting her to bed for the evening, the tranquility continued. It wasn’t a raging in storm, just a light, constant pitter-pattering. It made me want to write! So after she was sound asleep, and for the first time in what felt like ages, I let words flow from my fingertips.

First Year Favorite Books

My daughter and I have shared many great reads this past year, but some certainly stand out. Here’s some of our favorites!

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1. Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

When my daughter was very young, she loved staring at the bright colors, and as she grew more aware she loved rubbing her tiny fingers over the ladybug shapes and into each of the holes in the pages. This book is still one of her favorites.

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2. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean

Not exactly the typical baby book, this one my daughter loves due to the repetition, and sing-songy tone used when reading it aloud. It has sure brought about lots of baby giggles from her!

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3. Ladybug Girl and her Mama by Jacky Davis

Admittingly, I may have enjoyed reading this book more than my little one, but what mother wouldn’t enjoying reminiscing about their day with their babes. It was always a nice way to wind down for the evening.

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4. Hug You, Kiss You, Love You by Joyce Wan

By far our favorite this year. When my little girl was just two months old she would smile and coo at the whimsical characters created by Joyce Wan. Now, at almost twelve months it has become such an interactive story for us to enjoy together … well if she let’s me turn the pages that is. =)

I’m back!

tortoiseSo … I’m back!

Where did I go? I ventured into the land of new-mommydom! And my daughter is almost a year old now. Oops! That was quite a long hiatus!

To make a long story short, the last year or so has been quite a transition for me, but I am finally finding my blogging/writing feet! And while I am moving at a turtle’s pace, I am making progress in all areas of my life.

I think if ever I could compare myself to a children’s book character it would be now. I am the tortoise in “The Tortoise and the Hare.” I can see the finish line, but I know it will take me a little while to get there. And that’s ok!

It’s good to be back!

 

Three baby puppies

I love English Bull Terriers! I have a post that’s been in the works about how much they touch the lives of their owners, but it’s not ready yet. In the meantime, I wanted to post pictures of these cuties. My mom breeds English Bull Terriers, and she recently had a litter of three baby boy puppies. They are the cutest pups ever (well that I’ve seen in a long time … I may be slightly biased.)

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Django and Cim

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Raisin

Two of my published children’s stories feature bull terriers. They are true characters! I think these little guys just may show up in a new manuscript soon!

How to make Grandparent’s Day Special through children’s books

happy-grandma-mdGrandparent’s day is coming up on Sept. 8th. National Grandparent’s Day originated with Marian McQuade and was decreed a National holiday by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Grandparents play such an important in family life. They are our heritage, and they have so much to share and to teach. Even when they pass away, they are not forgotten. They are still alive in the hearts of those that live on. I have lost two grandparents in the past year, and yet, myself and family members still feel their love, and include them in many aspects of our lives.

I wanted to share a several of my favorite and recommended children’s book reads featuring Grandparents.

How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan

Book type: Picture Book

A fun twist on a typical Grandparent/grandchild story

Little Bear’s Visit by Else Holmelund Minarik 

Book type: Early Reader

A true classic filled with short chapters detail Little Bear’s Visit to his Grandparent’s house.

What Grandmas Do Best by Laura Numeroff

Lyrical, with lovely representations of Grandparent/grandchild relationships. When you flip the book over you will find ‘What Grandpas do Best

The Magic Brush by Kat Yeh

Book Type: Picture Book

This book is beautifully written, telling the story of Jasmine and her Agong or Grandfather. They pen magical stories  using an enchanted Chinese calligraphy brush. But when Grandpa passes on, Jasmine must cope with her sadness, and figure out how keep the memories and magic alive.

And last but not least my own e-book, RIGHT THIS INSTANT from MeeGenius.

My E-Book

Book type: Picture Book

In this story, Eli teaches Grandpa all about new, fast technologies while Grandpa teaches Eli about the art of waiting.

How will you celebrate Grandparent’s Day this year?