Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy Holidays with a Magic Greeting!

Season's greetings friends!  Do you make your own holiday card?
Every year, I make a special card for the children's publishing editors.

It's great fun, but a lot of work hand crafting twenty cards.
For now, I'm keeping this year's card under wrap, 
but here's my "magic" card from last year.

After creating my preschool shapes book, Away We Go!, 
I was inspired to design letters using shapes.

When you pull the insert, a special greeting appears.

Here it is!  Each image represents the letter.
Try to guess what they are before reading the answers below.
Warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

W - Winter
A - Angel
R - Reindeer
M - Mouse
E - Elf
S - Snowman
T - Tree
W - Wreath
I - Icicle
S - Star
H - House
E - Egg Nog
S - Santa

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chocolate Pretzel Turkeys!

Gobble Gobble!

Every holiday, I try to make a fun food craft with the kids. 
What do you think of my silly chocolate pretzel turkey? 
This treat is easy to make and a nice mini-sized sweet and salty snack.

You'll need orange, yellow, and red Wilton's chocolate candy melts,
mini pretzels, malted Whopper balls cut in half, and chocolate chips.
Melt the colored chocolates and fill in the pretzel spaces. 
Use a halved Whopper for the body and a chocolate chip for the head.
Place them on the melted chocolate, adding a drop to attach the head.
With a toothpick, decorate the eyes, feet, and wattle
using the remaining melted chocolates.

Enjoy making the chocolate pretzel turkeys!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Costumes are made and the desserts are done.
All I have left to do is carve the jack-o-lantern and let the fun begin.
Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Books and Smiles for Haiti #2

The books are coming in!  Thank you to our generous children's book
community for sending the amazing books for Books and Smiles for Haiti.
Please drop me an email if you would like to join us in sharing 
your wonderful stories with the children of Haiti.

Thank you author/illustrator Salina Yoon for sending thirty 
of your plushie, sparkly, novelty titles for the youngest readers.

Thank you author Danna Smith for the wonderful picture books.

Thank you author Uma Krishnaswami for your beautiful stories.

Thank you Ronnie Ann Herman of Herman Agency 
for this great collection of titles.

Thank you author Alison Formento for sending your fun counting books.

Thank you Nanci Moklak for the wonderful selection of books.

More books are on the way, and we are thankful for the generous donations.
Join our Facebook group page to stay updated.

You may also like: Books and Smiles for Haiti!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Celebrating with Fire Trucks!

Finally, a boy themed party!  I really enjoyed making these cupcakes for 
my twin newphews' birthday; A nice change from the usual fairies,
princesses and mermaid themes my girls prefer.

The fire trucks were piped using melted chocolate wafers.
I suggest piping each color one at a time, since chocolate cools quickly.
Pipe first with red, then brown, and finish with yellow.

Our parties are never complete without my daughter's usual book-card!

Can you tell this birthday boy enjoyed his fire truck?  Yum!

You may also like: Surprise Mermaid Party and

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Round-Up of Fun Shapes Activities!

I love seeing creative, clever ways for kids to explore shapes.
This Reading Mama has nicely tied-in fun learning 
with shape pictures and writing.

Swing by her amazing blog and check out the activities and details.

Over at Creative Connections for Kids, this wonderful blogger 
rounded-up a great collection of playful shape ideas.  
I enjoyed discovering new ways to introduce shapes. 

Visit Creative Connections for Kids for the many 
play-and-learn shape ideas shared by creative bloggers.

How cute is this little fella?  I was tickled with the adorable 
pictures and sweet write-up by The Eyes of a Boy.  
I'm so thankful for our wonderful children's community and their 
kind efforts to spread the love and enrich our youngest readers.

Many thanks to the lovely bloggers for checking out Away We Go! and 
sharing their wonderful creative ideas!

You may also like: Away We Go! Shapes and Transportation Activities
and Away We Go! Activities by Toddler Approved!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Liebster Award Nomination!

Thank you Maureen Roble with Eating Kids' Media for nominating 
my blog for the Liebster Award! The Liebster Award is for blogs with fewer
than 200 followers and could use more love from great readers like you! 
 Here are Maureen's questions and my answers:

No judging my 2 minute sketch. Ha ha...

1. If you could be an ice cream flavor, what would it be, and why?
Chocolate chip mint, because I eat too much of it.

2. What is your favorite time of day to blog?
Sweet night time when everyone is in bed and the house is quiet.

3. If you were not a writer (or other current occupation) 
what would you be and why?
A toy designer!  I would LOVE to design games and toys.

4. Your go-to (place, blog, person, book) when you are dry on inspiration?
Design images where I can find them - books, magazines, online...

5. What is your favorite book of all time?
My little girl makes books with drawings of the two of us filled with
mommy-daughter love, and they're the best books ever!

6. The best advice you've ever received?
This is a HARD question and I have to think about it for months
to come up with the best answer.

7. If you could have a super-power, what would it be and why?
To keep my family safe; I am a worry-wort.  
And a sharp memory would be cool too.

8. What is something you are optimistic about?
The fall season! I want to bake lots of apple and pumpkin pies!

9.  I wish I could see....because...
I wish I could see Rome again because I would love to go back 
and experience what I was too young to appreciate. 

10. What is your most indispensable possession and why?
Pictures of my family.  I love looking at old photos and
being reminded of how fortunate and blessed I am.

Thanks Maureen!  And now I pass the award to these fine blogs
and my questions for them.

If you choose to accept, let the fun begin!
 Nominate 5-10 bloggers and let them know of their award.
Ask them 10 questions as well as answer the questions from the blogger
who nominated you.  Link back to that blogger and spread the love.

Here are my 10 questions. Happy blogging my friends!
1.  Summer or winter?
2. Chocolate or vanilla?
3. Who is your favorite children's book character?
4. Who is your favorite cartoon character?
5. What is your happy thought?
6. Sweet or salty?
7. What is your favorite hobby?
8. What is your secret to happiness?
9. If you can do something without consequences, what would that be?
10. If you can have one wish to make today awesome,
what would you wish for?

Be sure to go back and visit the other Liebster Award Nominees
and send them some love.  Happy fall season!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Away We Go! Activities by Toddler Approved

Photo courtesy of Toddler Approved.

I love these playful, oversized activities from Toddler Approved!
The shapes and transportation projects coordinate well with
 Away We Go! and will continue the fun exploration of shapes.

Photo courtesy of Toddler Approved

Swing over to Toddler Approved to check out the preschool
projects and great ideas for Away We Go! A Shape and Seek Book. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Fun School Visit!

I've lived in this area for quite a while, and for the first time had the 
opportunity to visit St. John the Evangelist School, with students ranging
from Pre-K through 8th Grade.  They invited me to join them for Author Day,
and I truly enjoyed meeting the delightful children and faculty.

I met with the students in two groups, starting with Pre-K - 3rd Grade.  
We talked about what it means to be an Author/Illustrator, 
and discussed my art style in Away We Go!, drawing with shapes.  
The children were adorable and eager to participate.  I was impressed!

The second presentation was with the amazing 4th - 8th Graders.
What a great group of kids!  I shared my children's book process, 
and how to develop an idea and get it published.   
They were fun to talk with and had lots to add to the discussion. 

These illustrators were ready to work on their own drawings,
creating animals and vehicles using only shapes.

I invited the students to submit their shape creations for an art contest.
All the drawings were very creative, so I decided everyone is a winner!

Wow!  How great are these drawings from the lower grades?
Good job Emily, Luke and Tiffany!

And the creativity continues, with the upper grades.
Well done Emma, Alice, Matthew, Nicolas and Maggie!

I made a bunch of sketchbooks to deliver to all the talented winners!

I hope the children enjoyed my visit as much as I enjoyed 
spending time with them.  It was a big treat for me!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Books and Smiles for Haiti!

Hello Authors, Illustrators and children's book community!
Please join me in sharing your wonderful stories and books for the 
lovely children in Haiti.  The gift of books will brighten their day, 
and let them know that we are thinking of them.  

A big thank you to President Steven Mooser of
for kindly donating two boxes of books and jump starting the campaign!
The amazing people of Life Connection Mission are dedicated to 
getting the books to the children.  They are a non-profit organization
serving the poorest children in the Western Hemisphere.

Photo courtesy of Life Connection Mission

I am collecting board books, pictures books, beginning readers, and
information books with pictures, such as animals, computer/science, space, etc.
My goal is to have an incredible collection by the end of the school year.  
And I see school and church bake sales in my future, to raise money
to ship the books to Haiti.  I am very excited and look forward to partnering 
with our talented children's book community.

Photo courtesy of Life Connection Mission

I will update often with books that are collected, and together
we will see our efforts grow.  Please spread the word!
It warms my heart to see the smiles on the children's faces when they
received my books this past summer.

If you are unpublished and would like to donate new book(s),
the children will love it!  

Thank you for your kindness.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Operation Shower at the Barclays

Remember when I was so excited putting together the Away We Go!
diaper cake and books for Operation Shower?
The amazing event took place in August at the Barclays' PGA Tour 
in New Jersey, with Hostess Melissa Joan Hart. 

Photos courtesy of Operation Shower

Check out the video from Fox News and photos
by Uptown Girl Photography.  I just love this organization.
The moms are beautiful and glowing!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Despicable Me "Just Because Party"

My littlest minion is a big fan of Despicable Me.  Have you seen the movie?
She asked me last week if we could have an end-of-the-summer celebration
with a Despicable Me family party.  What a fun idea, and why not!

I began by creating minion goggles and logos from the movie characters,
Gru and El Macho.  Being a graphic designer sure comes in handy.  
Feel free to print from my Despicable Me inspired printables for your event!

Our kid-friendly Despicable Me menu included hotdogs, 
chicken nuggets, and mini-meatball sandwiches.
My girls enjoyed dinner from the Gru and El Macho trays.
I've created a template if you want to make these easy trays, and
you can print and cut out the Gru and El Macho logos from my printables.

I filled the yellow minion glasses with pineapples
and the evil minion glasses with blueberries.  For the crazy purple hair,
I used felt wool.  You can find them at Michael's Craft Store.

Yum!  For dessert - chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, topped
with chocolate piped minions.  I used Merckens chocolate candy melts.
I really need to practice more with piping chocolate.  
It was tricky because the melted chocolate would cool too quickly
in my piping bag before I was finished.  I recommend working with
the chocolates one color at a time, before moving to the next.

The party hats were my favorite things to craft!  To make these, 
print out the large goggles from my printables and cut them out.
Glue them onto yellow poster board (4 1/2" high), including a strip
of black poster board for the goggle bands.  Cut out the mouths and 
glue them onto the hats.  I made six hats from a $1 yellow poster board.

We had lemonade with dinner.  That was a winner, from our usual 
milk-with-dinner rule.  I printed, cut and glued the minion goggles from 
my printables onto disposable cups, and glued googly eyes 
over the printed ones.  Don't these look silly?

We had a super fun end-of-the-summer celebration and family dinner.
Good luck with back-to-school season!  Are you ready?