Who Else Wants Less Clutter? Plus a Giveaway!

Hodgepodge! Jumble! Chaos! Muddle! Holy Mess!

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There are many words to describe clutter—but it all boils down to one thing: a state or condition of confusion. And that is what most of us should be trying to avoid. Life is stressful enough without adding more, right? Yet even though studies show that clutter contributes to stress, many people live with it.

  • Do you have more than one ‘junk’ drawer in your home?
  • Is your email inbox clogged with messages you don’t even open?
  • When you open your closets, does stuff fall out on you?
  • If unexpected company comes, do you rush around, clearing books, papers, and other items?
  • Have you had a late fee from an unpaid bill because it got lost in the mess on your desk?

If you answered YES to any one of these questions, it may be time to take control. If you are a parent, organization is especially important – those last minute searches for missing homework or a lost shoe are no fun at all!

This is my plan:

  1. Get a big shopping bag for each room…clear off every counter/desk/shelf/chair of anything that doesn’t belong. Ahhh…now that looks much better. When I have time, I can go through each bag and decide whether the items should be stored, given away, or thrown away.
  2. Use a letter file holder to keep bills and important mail…if possible, set up auto-pay.
  3. Set aside 15-30 minutes every day to go through one drawer or one closet or one cabinet and divide the contents into three piles: keep, give away, throw away. If you are a fan of Craig’s List or garage/yard sales, you can have a fourth pile…you might even make some money!
  4. Do the same thing with my emails—15-30 minutes every day to delete and unsubscribe from unwanted spam.

Are you ready?

It’s really as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. CLEAR
  2. CLEAN
  3. ORGANIZE

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I’ve got a busy year ahead of me, so it’s really important that Continue reading

Artie Bennett: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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ARTIE BENNETT

Don’t you love to be around happy people? And when they are funny, it is just that much better, right? That’s why I’m dancing for joy that Artie is my guest today! From the first time I connected with him and reviewed one of his picture books, I knew this guy was a keeper. He’s super sweet and smart…and his books are laugh-out-loud hilarious!

He is the author of several picture books, each one loved by parents and children alike. And his website ‘about’ page will have you rolling on the floor. I’ve read every one of his books and have reviewed several of them…they are among my grandson’s favorites.

I promise you are all in for a treat with this interview…so buckle up, you are in for a wild ride!!!

Welcome, Artie! It is a pleasure having you here. I’ll get right down to the questions.

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child? Continue reading

PPBF: Peter Panda Has a Meltdown – Six Quick Ways to Deal with Temper Tantrums

Today is Friday. But before I share our Perfect Picture Book Friday review, I wanted to tell you about Susanna Hill’s 5th Annual Holiday Contest. Today is the day she reveals   the winners of this much celebrated, highly thought of, exceedingly popular event. If you’d like find out who all the winners are, go here. As of 10:30am, she hadn’t posted yet.

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Thank you so much to everyone who visited and read and commented and voted for my story, The Christmas Seed. I’m thrilled and honored that it won 2nd place!

The talented and ever-so-funny Artie Bennett will be here tomorrow as our Will Write for Cookies guest. So I’m sharing one of his many books that I reviewed earlier last year.

 Artie Bennett writes funny books that kids love. If you are looking for GREAT read aloud stories that kids will want to hear over and over again, I highly recommend all of them. Here’s one of my favorites.

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PETER PANDA MELTS DOWN!

Written by Artie Bennett Continue reading

PB 14:14 – Day 3 – Top 10 Picture Book Story Elements – Character

Today is Day Three of Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14…I had fun yesterday, hopping around to several other blogs to read the other entries.

If you are just tuning into the challenge, click here to go to Christie’s blog post where you will find the link up with today’s wonderful entries: http://christiewrightwild.blogspot.com/2015/02/day-3-vulture-view-by-april-pulley.html

If a book is going to be enjoyed, it has to be strong in certain elements. And, whether it is an adult murder mystery, a light-hearted teen romance or a picture book, the main character must grab our attention and engage us.

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Title: PETER PANDA MELTS DOWN

Author: Artie Bennett

Illustrator: John Nez

Publisher: Blue Apple

Date: 2014

Word Count: 500 est

Top 10 Element: Character (and also Rhyme, Pacing, Word Play)

What child wouldn’t identify with this adorable panda bear who gets frustrated and loses his cool? My grandson loved this book the very first time I read it to him – and he has wanted to hear it many times since then….probably because Continue reading

#PPBF: Belches, Burps and Farts – Oh My!

Welcome, everyone! Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday – I review a picture book, provide a simple fun craft you can do with your kids and then I link up with dozens of other writers, moms, librarians and other lovers of picture books on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

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I hope all of you have had a great summer. I stepped back from blogging to work on my vegetable garden and focus on picture book writing. I took Kristen Fulton’s Non-Fiction Archaeology class in June, Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab in August, and attended a writing retreat at Squam Lake in New Hampshire just last weekend. It’s definitely been a rewarding summer.

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Back in June, I did a review of Peter Panda Melts Down by Artie Bennett. My grandson loved that book! So I am really thrilled to be reviewing Artie’s newest picture book, Belches, Burps, and Farts – Oh My!

 

Belchess_CVR_forppt_lrBELCHES, BURPS, AND FARTS – OH MY!

Written by Artie Bennett

Illustrations By Pranas T. Naujokaitis

Publisher: Blue Apple Books (2014)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Facts about belches, burps and farts and how to deal with them, humor, body functions

 

Opening Lines:

“On these pages, we’ll explore some body sounds we can’t ignore! No, not the sneeze, the wheeze, the sigh, but belches, burps and farts, oh my!”

 

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

“Young readers will discover many fascinating facts about burps, belches, and farts. Real science and zany rhyme combine to teach kids the how, why, and where of gas-tastic eruptions made by people and animals, such as:

• why we can’t burp while on our backs
• which animals can’t “cut the cheese”
• how fish communicate via burp bubbles
• why soda and burps go together
• who farts more—boys or girls”

 

Why I like this book:

  • A fun way to learn about a topic most people are embarrassed to talk about – I learned a bunch of stuff I didn’t know
  • I read it to my grandson – he thought it was hilarious and was really interested in the facts
  • I love the mix of humor and nonfiction which is very appealing to reluctant readers and perfect for classroom units on body science

How a parent can use this book:

  • Talk about belching, burping and farting – they are natural functions of our bodies – but we can be polite and say excuse me
  • Have fun with the book with your kids

Have you seen Artie’s other books? They are hilarious!

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If you’d like to find out more about the author and his books, please visit: ArtieBennett.com

Related Activities:

Cartoon Drawing for Kids

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Photo courtesy: http://artforkidshub.com/how-to-draw-a-raccoon-cartoon/

Kids love cartoons. And they are really easy to draw. Click the link above to find detailed instructions for drawing the raccoon and many other animals.

 

And a big thank you to Artie for the final picture…quite appropriate for the END of this post, wouldn’t you say?

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#PPBF: Peter Panda Melts Down – Dealing With Temper Tantrums

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday – I review a picture book, provide a simple fun craft you can do with your kids and then I link up with dozens of other writers, moms, librarians and other lovers of picture books on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

 

I recently connected with the author of today’s selection…Artie Bennett is super funny and super talented…so it’s not surprising that his new book is super awesome as well! My grandson was repeating the refrain after the first couple of pages…and gave the book an enthusiastic thumbs up.

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PETER PANDA MELTS DOWN!

Written by Artie Bennett

Illustrations by John Nez

Publisher: Blue Apple Books (2014)

Ages: 3 and up

Themes: Expressing feelings, appropriate behavior, temper tantrums

 

Opening Lines:

“Let’s meet the Pandas. Here’s Peter. He’s three! And Mama, who calls, “Climb down from that tree!”

 

Synopsis:

From the author:

“Uh-oh. Here it comes. Here comes that frown. Peter Panda melts dowwwnnn!”

     Poor Peter Panda. He’s only three and filled with frustration. And when things don’t quite go his way, he’s apt to throw a tantrum—in the car, in the library, in the supermarket, in the . . . He’s the most meltdownable panda we know. Continue reading