Sunday Post: On-Going…Picture Books and Projects

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge…today’s theme is ON-GOING.

The seasons are on-going…soon it will be spring and the flowers will bloom.

MLK Mini-poster

Black History Month is on-going during the month of February.


On January 1st, I celebrated my first day of retirement.

Now that I am retired, I have many on-going projects which I have shared with you.


De-cluttering the garage is a project that is still on-going.


School classroom visits are still on-going. This semester I am reading Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems and the children are constructing their own storyboards. I enjoy working with the kids and the teachers and, as a picture book writer, I believe it is important to stay connected with young children.


I’m taking Emma Walton Hamilton’s “JUST WRITE FOR KIDS’ online picture book writing course…this 8-week class is on-going…fortunately, you can work at your own pace…it’s been WAY more than 8 weeks. What I love most about it so far is that it encourages me to look REALLY carefully at how classic picture books are constructed. With that understanding, I hope to write picture books that kids will want to read over and over again.


Participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge is on-going. If you haven’t signed up yet, please check out the link…you have until February 28 and then it will be too late to hop aboard this year. As part of the program, I submitted a manuscript this month to agent Stephen Fraser and am currently working on a new manuscript for next month’s submission. I’m excited about this new one…it’s about wildlife conservation. My local and on-line critique group work is on-going as well…reading the manuscripts of others and the comments and suggestions they make on mine is like taking a workshop class. I never realized how helpful it would be to participate in a critique group…I recommend it to everyone who writes.

The chance to win $25 for the literacy charity or organization of your choice is on-going. Simply leave a comment on last Friday’s post. Next Friday I will pick one of the comments using and that person’s choice will receive a check for $25…$25 is not a fortune, but it can purchase a couple of books…who can say what a difference those few books may make in a child’s life.


Nancy Hatch’s Writer’s Desk Competition voting is still on-going. If you would like to vote, you can go here. All of the entries are great…I am honored to be among them with my piece…I Write, Therefore I Am.

inner title page color smallppp

My desire to provide quick and easy activities for their kids is on-going. Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers with picture book recommendations, simple craft projects and child-friendly recipes.  Click this link if you would like a copy! Engage your child, encourage creative expression and, most of all, have fun together!

What’s on-going in your life?


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De-clutter Equals De-Stress

Need to organize!!! 136

Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that living in a cluttered environment actually adds to your stress level?

It’s doubly hard for me because I would like to be organized and live more minimalistically, but my husband is a collector…of many things!  Books, all things flyfishing, art supplies (he has taken up painting and is really very good).  So you can imagine how difficult it is to keep things neat and in their proper places because we have so much STUFF that we sometimes run out of the proper places and stuff winds up on tables, chairs…even the back of the couch!  If this sounds familiar, maybe the list of books below will help.  

 I am always waiting for the BIG block of time to REALLY get organized 🙂 but I think the secret is to simply make a decision to DO IT and when you have an hour or a half hour, clear one drawer or one table and just keep at it.  Even if it takes a month or more, eventually you will be more organized and surrounded by less clutter.  AHHHHHHHH! 

There are hundreds of books available on organizing and cleaning up clutter.  I’ve listed just a few you might want to get from the library or bookstore if you’ve decided to organize and want some more direction.  Some of the books listed are geared for homes with children…children definitely benefit from living in an organized environment also!  You can also go online and find a wealth of ideas.

1.    Helping Kids Get Organized – Activities That Teach Time Management, Clutter Clearing, Project Planning and More by Robyn Freedman Spizman

2.    Organized Kidz: E-Z solutions for Clutter-Free Living by Debbie and David Williams

3.    Stop Clutter From Wrecking Your Family: Organize Your Children, Spouse and Home by Mike Nelson

4.    Organized Living: Clutter Clearing Strategies and Creative Storage Solutions by Dawne Walter and Helen Chislett

My husband asked me the other day what my New Year’s resolutions were…now I know.  In addition to trying to blog EVERY day with something of value, I am going to take my own advice and grab an hour or half hour every day and clear out one drawer, cabinet, counter or whatever…I promise to blog in a month and update everyone with my progress.

6 items or less…in your child’s toy box!

Yesterday I shared my thoughts on applying the “6 items or less” phenomenon to parenting rules.  It hit me that life gets more complicated as we add more “stuff” so maybe if we get rid of some “stuff”, our lives will become easier and smoother.

So, why not take this minimalist idea and go through your child’s toy box and pare down the items to 6 or less.  Have you ever been to (or had) a birthday party for a young child where there are so many presents, the child is overwhelmed and doesn’t even know half of what he has been given or who gave it to him?  And that is just the point, having too much stuff, whether it is kitchen gadgets, clothing, toys or ANYTHING, is just overwhelming and stressful.  Life can be overwhelming and stressful enough without adding to it by accumulating too much.

Just think about it…wouldn’t clean up time be quicker and easier if there were only 6 items for your child to pick up?  What will you and your child choose to keep in the toy box?  If your child is VERY young, put away all the toys except for 6 items that seem to be favorites and are age-appropriate.  If you have doubles and triples of some items, maybe you can donate them to family shelters or local children’s hospitals.  If your child is a little older, sit down with her and talk about what she most enjoys playing with.  If you are also taking this 6 items or less to heart and are paring down your “STUFF”, she may be thrilled to be “doing what mommy is doing”.  Point out how much easier it will be at clean up time…life uncluttered creates a sense of peace and well-being.  Again, box up toys that you feel she will grow into…encourage her to donate usable items that are too immature for her.  If something has great sentimental value, create a memory box and carefully store it in there.

You will notice I haven’t said anything about your child’s books.  Now you’ve discovered MY weakness.  However, in this area as well, there can also be too much…I think.  What’s the sense in having dozens of books, haphazardly stuffed in toy boxes and under beds.  Go through your child’s book collection, donate doubles and triples of any items you find, wean out those in really bad shape, and create a special place (little bookshelf in your child’s room, separate box, etc.) where these treasures can be kept and enjoyed every day.  Could I apply the 6 items or less theory to my children’s books?  I honestly don’t know.  The best I can say is that I would try to keep 6 at hand to be used on a daily basis and rotate the rest.

Depending on your child’s age and maturity, what toys would you choose to keep in your child’s toy box, if you could only keep 6?

And, which 6 books would you choose to put on the bookshelf?