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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Salt Life or Salt Lick?

“You must go to the beach all the time?”  A frequent question of my land locked friends. The answer, surprisingly no!   The sand, sticky air, and scorching temps do get old.  Ever since we moved here it feels like a constant vacation, this being a big plus.  But am I growing tired of the beach enough to make us want to move somewhere else?  Not sure if I can answer that yet.   And what about the hill country, where our family lives?  That’s where were from anyway.  Austin - we miss the hills, Salt Lick Barbecue, and the live music venues.  The closest thing we have to hills, are the sand dunes, most of the restaurants down here serve barbacoa, and the music scene is ten years behind the times.  I’m thinking SIRIUS Satellite radio could at least fix this one.  And where’s my water?  - Sorry Mickey, I'm not talking bout your game, even though we do love it!  There’s just not enough water in the Texas hill country.  The rivers are either low or without water, and when you do find a Blue Hole so has everyone else.    At least the beach doesn’t suffer from water shortage.

I have always longed to live in John Denver country.  I remember playing his songs on the 8 track, and did see him sing a few concerts.  Colorado Rocky Mountain High, who wouldn’t want to live on a snow covered mountain?  But still, Colorado is no Texas!   

Who knows what the future will bring, or what I will bring to the future?  It’s important to find happiness wherever you are, even when you’re stuck in a ferry line behind beach flocking tourists. That’s why we travel north when the rest of Texas comes south.  In fact we spent the Fourth of July in Wimberley Texas, an old fashion American celebration.  Just like it should be ;-) 

In between riding the VBS Colossal Coaster last week, hooking up the teenager with his first car, I also completed another book, or so I thought.  Got ready to publish it, had the cover re-designed again, and something told me it wasn’t as good as it could be.  So back to the drawing board until I get it just right!   But on a positive book note: My Fourth of July EBook has done well considering it was published on July 4th, not before like I hoped.  And for my Pinterest peeps, here are my latest projects.
Scrap book papers, push pins with rhinestones, summer fun stickers from Michaels, and  family pics via Snapfish.   All this went on a bulletin board, and there you have it. 
Find red & black cupcake liners, turn them inside-out, and push them into a foam wreath with long stick pins. (Two packages of cupcake liners are enough.) Then hot glue lady bug buttons on it and use an adorable ribbon to hang.  It’s that simple!

Random Note:  The upcoming school year is right around the corner? Just check out your local Wal-Mart, the shelves are crammed with school supplies.  But don’t they usually put out seasonal items way before the season?  I’d bet the bats and witches will hit the shelves next month.  

And as for this upcoming year, it’s gonna be emotional.  Bittersweet with a high school senior, a middle child starting junior high, and a first grader starting yet another new school.  And thanks to being let go at the private school, the youngest is making a shift to public school.  UGH…   Some of you might be asking when my letting go session with Dr. Phil begins. 

Think I’ll go to the bird park, put my chair in the sand, soak in the beauty of the waves, read my latest Kindle download, Descendent, and leave a message in the sand.  I’ve found this to be my escape, my sanctuary, the place to go when I need to figure things out, or grab a little me time.  And have I got it all figured out yet? Nope, still searching for the questions. 
And why is it when you have a stick in the hand and sand at your feet do we feel compelled to write SOS?  What exactly are we trying to save?   Is this a call for help to the one above, letting some unknown person know we are lost, or simply just a cliché?  Little Reader’s answer, “Birds read the messages and take them to those in the sky or sometimes the ocean.  Or the pretend that sometimes Sandy Cheeks comes to land, reads it, and goes to tell Sponge Bob in Bikini Bottom.” Very intuitive!

A Few hours later…  
I’m a bit burned and sandy, but did leave my mark in the sand. 

Chillin’ Summer Reads
I Am Not a Copycat!
By Bonwill, Ann
Some would say imitation is the best type of flattery.  But here Hugo the Hippo doesn’t think so, as Bella Bird does exactly what he does.  Can they pull off being unique together, maybe?  Super cute read that early readers can get through on their own.
My Teacher’s Secret Life
By Krensky, Stephen
Do teacher’s really live at school?  Well Mrs. Quirk does, along with the entire school faculty.  A delightful zany story capturing how children feel when seeing their teacher out of school.  If it’s not awkward enough seeing your teacher at the grocery store, what about seeing them trying on roller blades at the mall. Don’t’ you just love a child’s curious mind and seeing where their imagination takes them?  Me to ;-)
I’m Not a Baby!
By Mc Elmurry, Jill
A clever Victorian picture book mixed with modern element.  The storyline being no matter how old you get, you are always going to be a baby to your parents, but on a rather odd note.  If you like books that are a little off, then you’ll really get into this one.   Little Reader giggled on each page turn seeing the boy aging, while still wearing baby clothes. 
Drop Everything, It’s D.E.A.R. Time
By McGovern, Ann
Like I need to be pumped about books ;-) Love how this one not only shows everyone stopping what their doing to read books, but also the really cool things that go on in school.  Though “Little Reader” was quick to point out this school was more fun than hers, especially the cooking classes.   Important message shown, as the school falls silent for D. E. A. R.  In case you didn’t know, it’s Drop Everything And Read.  We have B.E.A.R. where my youngest cuddles up and reads with the giant Mr. Bear.
Be Excited About Reading!
Millie Waits for the Mail
By Steffensmeier, Alexander
Mille the cow is like no other.   In fact this particular cow lives to scare the dickens out the mailman.  And she must be stopped!  A laugh out loud with a funny twist, that Little Reader has already read through many times.  This read would have gone passed its due date, but I found the online book renewal link, so no more late fees.  That’s not entirely true, it can be tedious keeping track of 30 + library books at a time, and lets not bring movies into the equation. 
Help Me, Mr. Mutt!
By Stevens, Janet
Meet Mr. Mutt, the canine counselor that advices other dogs on their people problems.  You know, when humans yell not bark, make them sleep on the floor, and don’t play with them regularly.  And although Mr. Mutt’s advice might be entertaining, it often ends up causing more problems.  Cleverly written through a series of letters, kind of like a Dear Abby for dogs.   A fun, engaging, colorful read, even so for a non animal enthusiast.  
Come To The Fairies Ball
By Yolen, Jane

An imagination packed story with gnomes, goblins, and dwarfs.  All fairytale princesses will adore this magical story of a ball, a long lost fairy, and of course Prince Charming.  The detailed pictures kept the conversation going on this read.   
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ebook for the Red, White, & Blue

I’m done, and I don’t mean this in negative sense.  Although it should be!  Due to cutbacks and being the new teacher on the block, I got chopped.   My teenage son got his first speeding ticket and yesterday my mother drove her Mercedes into a yogurt shop in Wimberley. We are thinking they need to come up with a crash flavor.  Any ideas?  But looking at the positive side, I now have more time to keep up with my blogger friends and publish EBooks.

I’ll elaborate on the EBooks uno momento!  But first let me recap my library romp journey.  You know I love books, but initially started the romp in attempt to answer what makes a writer.  It’s been a full circle, and now I’m back to where I was with publishing my first book. (Its been10 years)  So what does make a writer?  Did I find the answer between the pages?   Actually it was with me the whole time, just needed to be unearthed. 

It’s so simple!  There are many talented writers out there, but only a few people get lucky, or have the who-you-know piece needed to launch them into the publishing world.  I’m not a passive person that does well waiting for something to come my way.  So I’m taking control and publishing on my terms.  We all have a story to tell, and don’t need a publishing house deeming what’s print worthy.  (In fact some are using staff to write their books, resulting in crappy poor told stories.  And just because the illustrations are outstanding, this doesn’t mean it’s written well.) 

So what I’m saying is, “take what’s going on in your life, be creative, share, and connect with others.”  That’s what we should do, at least that’s what I feel driven to do.

So I’m making my words work for me. Why not get paid for something you love to do, right?  I did it, and wrote my first cookbook for the Amazon Kindle, Fourth of July Recipes.  Though it was time consuming, I love cooking summer foods and wanted to share this with others to enjoy.   I also changed the name of what was going to be The River of Life, and so redesigning the cover.  The Missing Piece will soon be available, and the results are absolutely amazing thus far.  You’ll understand when you see what it’s about.  And no I have not abandoned writing children’s books, and have found some art students at our local college to help with the illustrations.   And that about sums it up!  I will say, there won’t be any gardening books published any time soon, as my green thumb seems to be turning brown this summer.  

On the home front we are heading to the hills for a couple days and then back to the beach to hang out with visiting family and friends.  Living at the beach does have its perks.  We know that every summer people come to visit us, with a little help from the sandy beaches and rolling waves.  I even had one viewer ask if I would write in the sand, Will you marry me?  

But don’t worry; we’ll continue to romp alongside of writing.  It has changed lately, now that Little Reader is independently pouring through the books.  But I still get a cuddle most nights for a story or two.  And when it comes to romping, she bounces about pulling surf magazines and other girly books.  She doesn’t want to read what she calls, “baby books” so I role with it and just glad she still loves to have a book in her hand. 

Favorite reading spot, the hammock.
Favorite writing spot, the trampoline.   

Hot Reads
Snip Snap What's That?
By Bergman, Mara

Not an eye popping read but its repetitiveness makes for good read aloud.  When an alligator sneaked into a residential unit do you think the children living there were afraid?  “You bet they were!" But that’s only until they took matters into their own hands and got rid of the scary visitor.    

Imagine Harry
By Klise, Kate


We’ve all had imaginary friends around at some time or another.  The ones in our house were culprits of trouble so we put them on an airplane a few years back.   But this imaginary friend, Harry is a sweet friend to Little Rabbit.  They do everything together, even go to school.  But Little Rabbit begins to see less and less of Harry when he makes new friends.  It’s colorful, charming, and bittersweet in that our kids are growing up and losing their innocence. 
The Sheep in Wolf’s ClothingBy Lester, Helen

Ewe gotta read this hilarious story about a sheep and a wolf going to a costume ball.  When Ewetopia doesn’t fit in, she decides to go to the ball dressed as a wolf.    Things go awry but she manages to save the day.  Ewe'll just have to read it to find out how. It was somewhat complex and the ewe names were a bit tedious, but a good moral of being yourself.
A Porcupine Named Fluffy
By Lester, Helen


Have you ever wondered why some parents give their children such ridiculous names?  I kid you not, my husband's work friend had a son and they named him Justin.  Problem being, his last name was Case.  Really!  But can you imagine a porcupine named Fluffy?  This unhappy porcupine tries to make himself fluffy by covering himself with marshmallows and other like things.  No it doesn’t work, but he does meet a rhino sharing a common bond.  “This one gives me a case of the giggles!” - Little Reader.  We are now sticking toothpicks into potatoes and putting mini-marshmallows on top. Never know where a book will take us, right! 


Mirette & Bellini Cross Niagara Falls

By McCully, Emily Arnold

Kind of a long worded book, but Little Reader really got into this one.  I think because last years VBS theme was Amazing Wonders and we explored the great falls.  This read launched us internet searching other death defying acts people have done over these Falls.  In this story Bellini and Mirette sail to America in attempt to cross a wire over Niagara Falls.  Their new friend Jakob detects a cheating villain who is trying to sabotage the crossing.  You’ll find the time piece paintings of Niagara Falls, the New York City Harbor, and the SS Magnifique intriguing.  Great read!
Here’s a clip of someone crossing the falls on a wire. 
A bit long but still interesting to watch. 
Princess Hyacinth
By Heide, Florence Parry
In this quirky, tad bizarre, and silly read Princess Hyacinth has a problem.  There’s one thing different about this little girl.  She floats!  This means that she can’t go outside and play with other children… that is until one day.  And what amusing situations does she get into?   Overall a well put together princess story, even with a little romance included.  
Penelope and the Humongous Burp
By Radford, Sheri
Penelope won’t stop drinking soda, and ignores her mom’s advice to stop.  And soon after, her tummy feels funny and begins making weird noises.  And when she lets out a HUGE burp, the house begins to shake causing dishes to fall and plaster to come off the walls.  What a mess, but in the end she says, “Excuse me!” and all is back to normal.  Funny, engaging, and throws in a little manner lesson. 
Little Hoot
By Rosenthal, Amy Krouse
A playful twist on bedtime rules.  Most kids do all they can to stay up late, and so does Little Owl.  Well, not exactly he wants to go to bed early like all his friends.  Being nocturnal his parents make him stay up and play swords, build forts, and ride his skateboard.   A funny, precious read that your little one will think it’s a hoot!
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo
By Vail, Rachel
We’ve all gone a little Bombaloo!  Sometimes Katie feels angry and turns into a monster.  Usually she behaves, but just like us feels like raising Cain.  A creative story but Little Reader says Katie has issues.  I agree she did take acting out too far, but still cute non-the less.  
I’ll get back to you after the Fourth and wish you a safe fun Holiday
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