Family Friendly Holiday Activities

I received these items free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

Elyptol

I know we’re all staying home for the holidays, but I still want my surfaces clean for all the fun family activities we’re doing. So, before we get started, these hard surface wipes from Elyptol are perfect for wiping down the table or counter.

With natural ingredients and a Eucalyptus clean scent, these wipes are perfect for any solid household surfaces.

Elyptol has hand sanitizer, sprays, wipes, and liquid soap. Even if I wasn’t being extra cautious about germs this year, my 3yr old son is still struggling to accurately hit the inside of the toilet, so, I’m doing a LOT of bathroom cleaning. It’s nice to do it with a product that doesn’t dry out my skin and that leaves my bathroom smelling amazing!

Use code: germ free for a 20% discount when you order.

Adventure Challenge

Now that we have a clean work surface, the first thing my kids wanted to try out was this Adventure Challenge book.

There’s a plethora of fun family activities, you scratch off one, and have to accomplish it before you can pick another one. We just finished the one where you create a sculpture out of something from your fridge. It was so much fun!

There’s tape strips by each challenge for sticking on a photo of your adventures. When we’re all done it’s going to be an awesome book full of fun memories!

It’s hard to beat having fun AND being able to look back easily and remember it.

I’m loving the randomness of the activities, this makes them so fun and unique. And I love that I have a fun activity literally at my fingertips for those days when we just can’t think of anything to do.

So much fun!!!

You’re Pulling My Leg Jr

This game is simple, you ask a question – like tell me about a time an animal tried to bite you – the answerer flips a coin and doesn’t let anyone else see it, heads is the truth and tails is a lie.

The Answerer then answers the question by telling a story with the designated truth or lie and the listeners have to guess if the story is true or not.

We started this the other night and the kids did not want to stop! It’s so much fun coming up with random stories (or true stories) and trying to trick your siblings (and parents).

We got many laughs out of this game and have plans to play it again tonight.

The best thing is, you can easily play this game with a large variety of ages and everyone can have fun tricking everyone else. I plan to pull it out for our next extended family zoom call.

Pando

So this game arrived all wrapped up, with this cool note. I liked the game before I even played it! Obviously, the creators of this game are super creative, which is everything I could hope for in a get to know you trivia game!

This game works as a couples game, a group party game, and even as a family game. It’s funny how my questions my husband and I did’t know the answers to for each other!

The kids thought it was so fun to learn random information about everyone, and there really are so hilarious questions/answers that happened while we were playing.

This is another game that is perfect for family or friend zoom calls as well as family game night.

With all these awesome activities, my kids are well entertained this holiday season, while still learning about each other, and staying safe!

 

Santa in a Snow Globe

Santa in a Snow Globe by A.H. Edelman

NEW ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN’S BOOK HONESTLY EXPLAINS WHY THE HOLIDAYS WILL BE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR — AND HOW TO HOLD ONTO THE CHRISTMAS MAGIC

The holidays are typically a season of unbridled merriment and joy. However, this year’s celebrations are going to look a bit different. Recognizing the challenges this year’s holiday season will bring, New Jersey mom A.H. Edelman was inspired to write Santa in a Snow Globe, the first illustrated children’s book to offer parents, caregivers, and children a starting point to talk about life’s new realities—explained straightforwardly by Santa—complete with timeless advice, beautiful inclusive illustrations, and a big dose of Christmas cheer.

The mom of two was reading the business section of the Sunday New York Times when she saw a story about protecting Santas from COVID-19 this year. “The president of the International Brotherhood of the Real Bearded Santas—yes, it’s a real trade group—mentioned how they would explain to kids this year that Santa would need to sit behind some type of barrier,” Edelman says.

“Evidently Santa is in a high-risk group: many have diabetes, are overweight, and elderly.” Edelman thought about how, in 2020, children have had to adapt to new holiday traditions and celebrations nearly all year long. “Kids already couldn’t celebrate Easter, they sat out most of the summer and Halloween. They’re really going to want to see Santa for Christmas, or at least be assured he’s still coming,” she adds.

Going beyond mask-wearing and social distancing, Santa in a Snow Globe also touches on issues the world is facing today, including climate change and protests. However, Edelman’s Santa still shares a positive message of hope and the importance of appreciating the simpler things in life.

About the Author A.H. Edelman is the author of The Little Black Dress and Manless in Montclair. And, yes, she still believes in Santa. She lives in Montclair, NJ.

About the Illustrator Serge Srećko Gall, originally from Zagreb, Croatia, is a painter and illustrator whose work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Esquire, and The New Yorker. He lives in Hillsdale, NY and is currently working on his autobiographical graphic novel.

My Review

This book is super cute, and I love the simple rhyme and how it explains to children in a lighthearted and easy to understand way why Christmas is going to be a bit different this year, and how that’s OK.

The pictures are so fun and the rhyme is easy to read, it’s a book that my children will enjoy over and over this season, and is a great segway into answering their questions about what’s happening this season.

“Because of Covid” is already a common phrase is my house, and while that makes me super sad as a parent to see my kids missing things that I had hoped for, it’s also helpful for us to talk about why things are different and how we can still have a great holiday.

I love how this book inspires parents and kids alike to talk about not just having fun for ourselves, but looking outside of ourselves and considering how we can encourage others this holiday season.

Plus, we love snow globes in my house, so seeing Santa in a Snow Globe in real life would actually be kind of awesome!!!

Question and Answer with the Author

QUESTION: Congratulations on Santa in a Snow Globe! Tell us about the book.

A.H. Edelman: Santa in a Snow Globe is the origin story of how and why St. Nick will be found sitting ‘in a place that is clear and quite round’ when families come to share their wish lists with him this holiday season. The book offers parents, caregivers, and children a starting point to talk about life’s new realities explained straightforwardly by Santa, complete with some timeless advice, beautiful and inclusive illustrations, and a big dose of Christmas cheer.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

Edelman: I got the idea for the story after reading an article in the business section of The New York Times Sunday edition when the president of the International Brotherhood of the Real Bearded Santas mentioned how they would explain to kids this year that Santa would need to sit behind some type of barrier. Evidently Santa is in a high-risk group: many have diabetes, are overweight, and elderly. I thought about how, in 2020, kids already couldn’t celebrate Easter, they sat out most of the summer and Halloween. They’re really going to want to see Santa for Christmas—or at least be assured he’s still coming.

Q: You are a parent to two girls. Why do you think it’s important for parents to talk openly with their kids about the news and world events?

Edelman: As a parent, I can understand people asking whether this is the type of news we want to share with our children. And my answer is, ‘Yes, we have to.’ Kids are perceptive, and with pretty much everyone wearing masks these days, it’s hard not to know something is up. They stayed close to home most of the summer; some are still not physically back in school. Some have had relatives or friends die from COVID-19. Many have seen, or suffered from, smoke from numerous wildfires. It’s a tough world out there, but this wouldn’t be the first generation of kids to learn the hard lessons of needing to keep a stiff upper lip, thinking of others before themselves, being kind, and giving to those who have less.

Q: What do you want parents and kids to take with them after they read Santa in a Snow Globe?

Edelman: Many kids are already aware they are not living in a world solely consisting of sunshine and lollipops. But they also know—innately—that love is stronger than hate. Perhaps that is a lesson they can share with their parents. As the author of this book, I want to try to change the conversation that we as parents are having with our kids. I’ve learned that kids are resilient, which gives me hope. Our grandparents, or great-grandparents, lived through the depression. Some of my family survived the Holocaust. Our parents were taught to duck and cover in the 1950s—remember bomb shelters? And Bambi’s mom died. In fact, most of Hans Christian Andersen’s and Grimms’ fairy tales are pretty, well, grim. And really, it’s the older kids who are today leading the fight for gun control and climate change awareness—Greta Thunberg was 15 when she started to protest.

Q: You wrote this book with a lot of honesty. Why so?

Edelman: The book offers a starting point to talk and learn about life’s new realities. Some of the messages in the book may seem dark, but these are the times we’re living in. Kids are resilient and they deserve to learn about what’s going on, albeit by Santa. This generation of kids is not the first to have to deal with hardships and reality. Christmas is all about peace on earth and goodwill towards men and women. That’s a good message to send. All hope is not lost if we’re kind to each other and help those who need it most—and believe in science!

Q: You’re Jewish. Why did you write a Christmas book? Do you believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas?

Edelman: I’m an optimist. I’m also an adult Jewish woman who still believes in Santa Claus and happy endings. So, of course, Santa will show up on Christmas Eve, but before he does, he has a few words to say about what he sees happening in the world, how we—both parents and kids— can help change it and what matters most.

Santa in a Snow Globe is available now in hardcover, paperback and ebook at SantainaSnowGlobe.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold.

Vote – and Giveaway

Mommy, Am I American? by Aila Malik, Illustrated by Dawood Marion

This is a cute little book about a little boy asking his mom who is an American? What does America stand for? And how he can be an American?

The author does a great job of staying out of politics and focusing on what really makes us all Americans. Caring for our neighbors, regardless of country of origin, political affiliation, religion, etc.

Parent activist and children’s book author Aila Malik has teamed up with Culk to create the Vote for Kindness clothing collection:  https://tinyurl.com/VoteforKindnessMalik

Elections are opportunities to create new societal norms, new influences, and messengers for our children. Why does our voice matter?

“Who we put into office as leaders of our community, at all altitudes of government, serve as role models to normalize behavior for our next generation,” says Malik. “Kids won’t understand or remember the intricacies of a divided house on pushing through particular legislation, but they will remember expressions of anger, hate, and name-calling interviews. If we expect kindness and justice from our kids, in how they respect others, cooperate at school, and build community, we must be active in choosing candidates not just on their ‘doing’ but mostly on their way of ‘being.”

Malik is a first-generation Pakistani-American, lawyer by schooling, nonprofit executive by trade, author, and mother of three who is on a mission to expand patriotism. Her children’s book, Mommy, Am I American?, helps parents and caregivers of children in grades 1-5 learn the impact they can have through their children, and define kindness and inclusivity as accessible activism.

Malik traveled to 41 countries over a year (8 months before the COVID-19 outbreak) with her family of five–(husband, Kapil, son, Zayan (age 13), daughter, Kenza (age 10), and youngest son, Kaysan (AKA Kaysee; age 8)  and documented their journey on her Franklin Street Globetrotters blog and shares videos on social. Here’s a preview:

Regardless of our political affiliations this election season, let’s show kindness and respect to each other as we vote, work, play, etc. And let’s show our kids how it’s done! Because that’s the American Spirit!

Check out Aila Malik on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Online.

And check out Culk’s fun line of election #VoteKindness gear!

I received these products free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

Enter below to win your very own Vote For Kindness Shirt.

Beautiful Word Coloring Bible, girls gift set – Review

*I received a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls Gift Set from Zondervan (HarperCollins Christian Publishing) for this review. This post is sponsored by Zondervan. *

Created especially for girls ages 8 to 12, this beautiful Bible, sticker sheets and coloring pencil set provides the tools for young artists to express themselves.

Girls will get creative through coloring and journaling in the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Girls. Included are pencils to color, blend and shade the detailed line art surrounding hundreds of inspiring verses. This Bible gift set is perfect for the special young girl in your life and will become a cherished keepsake full of personalized creative expressions of faith.

Features include:

· Complete text of the accurate, readable and clear New International Version (NIV)

· Over 600 verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art

· Four colored pencils

· Six sheets of stickers designed for girls

· Thick white paper for writing and doodling

· Lined, wide margins for notes and reflections

· Satin ribbon marker

· Beautifully debossed and screen-printed cover

· Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface in a readable 8-point print size

I was expecting 1 gift set to review and they surprised me by sending 2. Which is perfect since I have 2 daughters!

My girls are thrilled with their new bibles! According to my oldest, all good Bibles come with a ribbon, and this one does not disappoint!

The colored pencils are soft and perfect for coloring in the beautifully illustrated Bible pages.

And what I find super interesting, the box that the Bible comes in is so pretty, that my girls insist on storing their Bibles, pencils, and stickers in the box after each use.

The Bible cover is so pretty, I keep trying to talk them into getting rid of the box, but they want to keep their Bible safe, and I totally understand!

It is fun to watch them pull out their Bibles and color the page we’re on while we’re reading each day. It’s great for helping them stay focused and for just being creative with their Bible!

This is a beautiful gift set!

You can purchase it on Zondervan or ChristianBook.

Take a peek inside here. I just love how there’s always a place to color or write!

Want to start coloring before your Bible arrives? Download and print these adorable coloring sheets!

Colton’s Time Machine – Review

*I received these books free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

Colton’s Time Machine by Rebecca Massey

I was sent book 3 and book 4. Colton’s Time Machine book 3 is about Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin. Colton’s Time Machine book 4 is about Betsy Ross, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty.

Colton is a little boy with little baby dragons and a time machine in his tree house. They all travel together through time and visit a variety of historical places and historical people. Colton’s Time Machine series is a spin off from Colton’s Pocket Dragon series. That series starts with him finding dragon eggs, helping them hatch, and discovering his dragon friends.

Colton’s Time Machine books each cover 3 historical people or places in American history. The story spends a lot of time on Colton and his Dragons in funny situations back in history and is interspersed with dates and important facts about the historical figure or place. A great way to share historical information with kids without overwhelming them with too many details.

You can purchase all these fun Colton books on Amazon!

Summer Reading for Kids

I’ve purchased so many books for my kids this summer! It’s a good thing. But, that means I’m on the lookout for new books because, for the girls especially, I can’t seem to buy books fast enough!

I received these 2 adorable books for free to review. One for my girls and one for my little guy. They’re both so cute!

Where Are You Puffling? by Erika McGann and Gerry Daly

This is about a cute little puffling who has headed out on an adventure – and her parents search for her. Seriously, the puffling is adorable! I enjoy reading this book to my little guy just because I like the pictures.

The parents talk to the seal and the gannet and the rabbit; they walk to the huts and the cliffs and the cove. They hear lots of stories of the puffling helping others, but they just cannot find their fluffy, black chick. My little guy loves spotting the puffling in each picture, as the parents are always one step behind their puffling’s adventure. – also, kind of reminds me of me trying to keep up with a certain little 2yr old!

Finally, the parents spot her – on a boat out at sea! The puffling is too small to fly home, so the animals of Skellig work together and come up with something very clever…

This is such a fun and adorable book of friendship, helping, and adventure. A terrific addition to my child’s home library!

The Friendship Fairies – by Lucy Kennedy illustrated by Phillip Cullen

This book is written for Elementary students. The reading level is perfect for my 3rd grade daughter! However, because it’s about fairies, her older sister had to read it as well. I never object to the girls reading a fun book about being kind and having good manners!

Emme, Holly and Jess are just like regular girls, always messing and having fun. But they’re also fairies, and instead of regular schooling they go to friendship classes, where they learn all about being kind and having good manners. Then they’re sent out into the human world to teach children what they’ve learned. Of course, it’s not always easy being good! Will they ever be able to graduate from fairy school?

This book is quite funny and entertaining – I enjoyed reading it! And it’s a lighthearted way to remind my kids about the importance of being kind to others and the importance of being considerate towards others in the things that they do.

This book is a fun and charming addition to the girl’s book list.

Carrot Ginger Soup

I was given a pdf copy of My Pinewood Kitchen in exchange for my review. I love cooking and I’ve been doing a LOT of it with being home so much. So, needless to say, I’m getting bored with my recipes and dying for something new.

This cook book looked healthy, hearty, and delicious. And I’ve not been disappointed!

I’ve been attempting to make a carrot soup that I like – and my last one was a major bust (as in, sorry kids, you don’t have to eat it) – so I decided to give this one a try. I definitely haven’t tried one with an apple in it before, so I was quite curious as to how the added sweetness would taste.

Short On Inspiration While Dining In? My Pinewood Kitchen Dishes Out Some Quarantine Cuisine Tips

With COVID-19 keeping us at home more and shopping less, home chefs need to get creative while cooking tasty, healthy meals for their entire family. Chef and author Mee McCormick is an expert: she healed herself of Crohn’s disease, gut issues, and other immune system challenges with whole food recipes when doctors couldn’t help her.

The mom/rancher/restaurateur can share tips for “quarantine cuisine” when you’re hankering for variety in your meals but you’re short on ingredients and inspiration. Perfect for social distancing, many of her recipes are made with items you probably already have in your pantry (for example, her Black Bean Chicken Chili and Immune-Boosting Chicken & Quinoa Soup); she can teach home cooks how to repurpose items to reduce food waste (cilantro pickles, anyone?), and reveal the healthiest foods you need in your pandemic pantry.

My Pinewood Kitchen: A Southern Culinary Cure offers more than 100 gluten-free, whole foods recipes that can be customized for Keto, Paleo, or vegans, making it a truly “all-inclusive” eating plan for the entire family. From smoothies, soups and salads, to dinners and desserts, every recipe is gluten-free and gut-friendly.

•    Curb Your COVID Anxiety with healthy chocolate with Mee’s Chocolate Avocado Mousse & Five-Ingredient Fudge Cups
•    Soups for Social Distancing – Black Bean Chicken Chili and Immune-Boosting Chicken & Quinoa Soup (nutritious, delicious, and they use what you likely have in your home already!)
•    Plenty of plant-based offerings
•    Reduce Waste: Learn how to make cilantro pickles from cucumbers, sweet potato chips from sweet potatoes, a falafel burger from canned chickpeas, and how to make your own healthier ketchup and mayonnaise if you run out
•    10 Gut-Friendly Foods for your Pandemic Pantry

Mee McCormick is a rising Southern culinary and wellness innovator, restaurateur, author, TV cooking personality, farmer, rancher, wife and mother. She splits her time between Nashville and nearby Nunnelly, Tennessee; a tiny, unincorporated community in Hickman County, which is also home to her biodynamic farm and restaurant Pinewood Kitchen & Mercantile.

Mee authored her first cookbook My Kitchen Cure, which led to wild success and a book deal with HCI for her second cookbook My Pinewood Kitchen, published on April 14, 2020. She frequently appears on Today in Nashville, and she participates in nationally-recognized food festivals and events, spreading the same level of care and hospitality to audiences everywhere that she has become known for throughout the state of Tennessee. Visit: www.meemccormick.com or www.pinewoodkitchenandmercantile.com.

My Pinewood Kitchen: A Southern Culinary Cure/130+ Crazy Delicious, Gluten-Free Recipes to Reduce Inflammation and Make Your Gut Happy
By Mee McCormick
HCI BOOKS
Released: April 2020/ $26.95
ISBN: 9780757323522
Available wherever books are sold

There are some absolutely amazing recipes in this book! Think terrific and tasty family meals, and the Carrot Ginger Soup did not disappoint!

Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients: 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or ghee

1 large white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1. pounds carrots

1 apple, chopped and skin on

4 cups Chicken Bone Broth (page 120) or Vegetable Broth (page 121) – directions in the cookbook

2 cups water

1/4 cup raw cashews

3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon miso

Sea salt (to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1) In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil or ghee. Add the onion and sweat until soft. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for about 3 minutes.

2) Add the carrots, apple, broth, water, and cashews. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

3) Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the coconut milk and miso paste. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

Incredibly easy and delicious! I paired this with some leftover ribs and steamed broccoli for an absolutely amazing dinner with the family!

Books to Entertain the Kids

I received 3 amazing kid’s books to review. I’ll be honest, they’re all great! I just can’t pick a favorite … actually, I kinda can, there’s one I really just want to steal for myself.


1. Dino DanaDino Field Guide by J.J. Johnson, Colleen Russo Johnson, PhD, & Christin Simms

Fun facts about dinosaurs for kids. Did you know that the brachiosaurus was the tallest dinosaur that we know of today? That the kosmoceratops had fifteen horns and hooks on its head? That the spinosaurus is the only known dinosaur to spend most of its time swimming? Discover this and much more in Dino DanaDino Field Guide.

Dino Dana‘s field guide for your child. Fans of the Amazon Prime TV show Dino Dana will be so excited to have a Dino Field Guide of their own, put together by the incredible show’s creator and executive producer, J. J. Johnson. Full of colorful illustrations and fascinating science facts, this dinosaur book is sure to amaze any young dino enthusiast. View this book on the Dino Dana Store for more information and interactive content!

Review. My son loves this book! He claimed it the minute I opened the box and hasn’t let anyone else near it. It has so many different dinosaurs and lots and lots of pictures! It even has these cute little stuffed animal graphics that he’s convinced me to use as a guide to make him some dinosaur stuffed animals – I’ll post a tutorial if they actually turn out! This book is colorful, fun, and so re-readable. It’ll be a favorite for a while!

2. Coyote Peterson’s Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World by Coyote Peterson

Animal Stories for Kids: Coyote Peterson’s Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World chronicles some of the wildest encounters Coyote Peterson has had over the course of his travels. The stories begin with his first snapping turtle catch as a kid and lead down a trail of incredible moments he and his camera crew have had while filming their Brave Wilderness shows. From a giant alligator that nearly caught Coyote in its bone crushing jaws, to an 800 pound Grizzly Bear that helped him teach the audience what to do and NOT do if you ever encounter one of these enormous predators in the wild, every tale is laced with fast paced action and daring adventure. With the presence of danger often looming for Coyote, each story reminds the reader that animals rule the wild places of this planet, and if we respect them from a safe distance, even the most frightening creatures are more likely to be afraid of us than we should ever be of them. View this book on Amazon!

Review. I kinda want to claim this book for myself. The stories are interesting and exciting and teach about all sorts of different animals. This is above my 6yr old son’s reading level so I’ve been reading it to him and I’m not sure who’s enjoying it more. Me or him! This book is perfect for those slow days at home when we’ve got nothing to do.

3. I Do Not Like Living with Brothers: The Ups and Downs of Growing Up with Siblings by Daniel Baxter

Learn about the importance of family. I Do Not Like Living With Brothers aims to teach young siblings to see the value and goodness in each other. We never like everything about our brothers or sisters, but if we focus on the positive and recognize that our family cares about us, then we can live in community with greater joy.

Turn sibling rivalry into love and kindness. Exploring the family dynamic of a sister living with two brothers, in this children’s book, our young narrator discovers that while her brothers are dirty, smelly, and sometimes selfish, they are also kind, funny, and helpful. Author and father Daniel Baxter, cohost of the popular YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended, shows kids that perhaps living with your siblings is not all bad. View this book on Amazon!

Review. My 11yr old daughter snapped this one up right away. Which I’m assuming is the whole goal of the title. She read the book through very quickly and found it somewhat amusing. I realize that it’s geared towards slightly younger kids, but she’s not always happy to have brothers, and I’m glad she liked the book. Because with little brothers it’s important for everyone to show kindness even when the boys are doing super annoying little brother stuff. And it’s so nice to be able to encourage that kindness in a fun way.

 

Inspiring Books Review

I received these books for free for purposes of my review.

I don’t know about you, but, when I’m stressed, one thing that really helps me in reading some books just for me.

Between work, homeschooling kids, and not being able to see anyone or go anywhere, I’m just feeling down. Taking some time for me, to read some books that make me think, has been really helpful.

How to Think Like Shakespeare

Lessons from a Renaissance Education
by Scott Newstok

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author talks about current educational methods and compares them to past, renaissance, educational methods. This book has a nice balance approach to this comparison. In that he isn’t saying that one is right and one is wrong. He’s comparing the different methodologies and how they affect education.

A terrific, thought-provoking book that has encouraged me to approach some areas of my kids education a little differently.

My favorite chapter was Of Imitation. Scott Newstok points out that currently in education we are pushing our kids to achieve or create something new without any foundation behind it. Where in Renaissance education plagiarism was almost encouraged, and out of that, people would create something new (like Shakespeare’s writing) after they had copied a lot of other’s work. Basically, learning by imitation.

This one hit home for me because for Easter – at home because of social distancing – I did a scavenger hunt throughout the house for the kids. Complete with hints that were written out as 4 line poems. Incredibly easy for me to write. My 11 yr old couldn’t get over how awesome it was and it was then that I put it all together.

I memorized a LOT of poetry in middle and high school, I loved poetry, actually, I still do. And for me, writing a couple of rhyming lines just happens. It’s fun, it’s easy, and apparently, my kids think it’s awesome. But it’s easy because I memorized a lot of the classics, like The Village Blacksmith and Paul Revere’s Ride. These poems have great rhyme and I find that I naturally fall into a similar rhyme pattern when I write poetry.

My oldest loves to write, and in her writing class they’ve done a lot of summarizing and then writing in their own words. At this point it’s easy for her, and I’m glad she’s moving on to something more advanced next year. But, there’s so much value in studying good writing and reading other people’s good writing if you want to be a writer. It’s important to have that foundation before you try to create your own building.

There’s many other great chapters in this book. In our current moment, obsession with assessment and teaching to the test produces large amounts of anxiety about education. In How to Think like Shakespeare, Newstok argues that education must be about thinking, not just training a set of specific skills. Education isn’t merely accumulating data nor implementing formulas, machines are way better at that than humans. So if there is one thing humans do better than anything else, it is precisely thinking. And who better embodies thinking than William Shakespeare?

Scott Newstok is a professor of English and founding director of the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment at Rhodes College. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Your Story Matters

Own Your Story and Tell it With Clarity, Conficence, & Impact
by Linda A Olson

This book walks you through how to own your own story and then how to confidently share it with others.

For me, one of the things that stuck out, is that I have a story that’s important to others.

I enjoy sitting back and listening to other’s stories and often have trouble sharing my own. So, after reading this book, I’m challenged to think through some of my stories and really try to share them with others.

Whether it’s just sharing them with my kids at the dinner table or typing them up on my blog. I agree with Olson, each of us has a story to tell that can benefit those around us, and I just need to learn how to tell mine with Clarity, Confidence, and Impact.

And what better time than the present to work on this. When we’re all stuck at home and really the best way for me to communicate with people is through written stories.

I’m excited that not only did I enjoy a great book, I now have something productive to work on!

Claudette’s Miraculous Motown Adventure

*This is a Sponsored Post*

Claudette’s Miraculous Motown Adventure
by A.K. Morris & Claudette Robinson
Illustrated by Pamela C. Rice

Summary
Little Claudette lives in the magic kingdom of Motown, where all the happy children sing and dance int he streets. Then one day, an angry witch casts a spell, and the kingdom descends into dark silence. Unhappy and bored, Claudette finds a box of Miracles in her attic. Inside are four little fellows – Smokey, Bobby, Ronnie, and Pete – who sing music so sweet. Claudette and the Miracles begin to sing together, but will it be enough to bring light and laughter back to the kingdom of Motown?

Review
This book was published in 2019, commemorating Motown’s 60th Anniversary celebration. It’s such a cute book, showcasing a little girl’s journey as she discovers the power of music.

The Author, Claudette, uses her own name, and fancifully tells of her journey as the first female artist with Motown Records.

The back of the book has a biography on The Miracles and their lengthy and accomplished career.

About the Author
As an original member of The Miracles, Claudette Robinson was the first female artist to sign with Tamla/Motown Records. In 1960, “Shop Around” became their first million-seller, prompting Berry Gordy to declare Claudette: “The First Lady of Motown.” During the Miracle’s six-decade career, the group has sold more than 60 million records to date, been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2017, the City Council of L.A. awarded a Resolution to Ms. Claudette Robinson for her varied accomplishments in the recording industry and her continuing philanthropic efforts.

Giveaway
Check out the Claudette’s Miraculous Motown Adventure playlist! Print out the coloring sheet for your kids to color while everyone listens. And, enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Claudette’s Miraculous Motown Adventure.

Connect
Follow Claudette Robinson at:
Website
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