Super Space Shuttle

Look at this super cool craft you can make with your own little “astronaut!”

Maximus Octavian

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As you may (or may not) know, Max loves magazines. He was very excited about this one, as he wants to be an astronaut.

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I cut out the pieces for him…

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We stuck them together, and this was the result, a wonderful rocket!

For more on Max’s love of magazines, click on the following links:

Mini Beast Adventure with Jess

Paw Patrol

Robin, Snowman & Penguin

Paint Your Own Bunny & Chick

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Enchantments, A New YA Book Coming Soon!



Enchantments Book Cover by Claire Plaisted
Pre-Order on Amazon



I’d like to introduce you to a new YA Book coming soon called Enchantments.

The Shadow Realm had found a gap in space and time, a place where they could observe the Human world before they claimed it as their own.

Farron is one of six, chosen to embark on an epic adventure against the Shadow King and his evil Realm; but how can six Humans fight against the perils of the Shadows of Death?

Because they’re not really Human…

First born sons and daughters of the Bul’ith, Farron and the others must accept the truth and the animal energies they inherit, heed the words of their trainers and defeat the Realm of the Shadow King.

If they ever wish to restore their world

They thought they were human…and though their DNA was similar and they each had human ancestry their lives were about to change…so you could live.


an excerpt from the YA book called Enchantments with a picture of a cheetah, tree, and wide open plains
Available for Pre-Order on Amazon


Meet the Characters who will keep the human world safe from the Shadow Realm.

Farron – Bul’ith – British living in America

Praxel – Bul’ith – American with Egyptian Ancestry

Briar – Bul’ith – American

Ruben – Human American with European heritage

Fleur – Bul’ith – French Canadian

Mitsuoshi – Bul’ith – Japanese heritage

Maxwell – Bul’ith – New Zealander with British & Maori Blood

Bunita – Bul’ith – Indian

Meet their Trainers and the Animals they will be matched with.

Qwain and the Wolf

Quawn and the Falcon

Ngaire and the Cheetah

Avron and the Black Bear

Avrain and the Anaconda

Nikau and the Komodo Dragon

Kendrall and overall leader and the Wild Boar

Meet the Shadow Master and be careful of his minions…They are daring and act quicker than most can move. Their claws could grab your ankles at any moment and suck your soul.

Written by Claire Plaisted

Pre-Order Here

Books by Claire Plaisted


A little about Claire 

Claire Plaisted lives in Rotorua, New Zealand with her family. Rotorua is one of the main tourist stops for a cultural Maori experience with lots of things to do, be it walking, cycling, museums, spa days etc.

Claire is a Multi Genre Indie Author, with side lines in genealogy where she researches and formats family history books for clients. Claire also developed a business to help Indie Authors self-publish, assisting over thirty clients so far

Claire has published twenty-six books. Two are short stories, six are part of a series which is called ‘Garrett Investigation Bureau.’ She has one adult fantasy, one children’s mythical story. Along with six contemporary romance novellas under her pen name ‘Beth Bayley.’ Claire has a children’s book series called Girlie Adventures. The first three are now available. ‘Girlie and the War of the Wasps,’ ‘Girlie and the Quest for Pedi’s Family and ‘Girlie’s Circus Adventure. They are adventure story for children from four years upwards. Each one sold gives 40% to a charity. The first book is, in essence about healthy eating and the book will help raise funds for ‘Chasing a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes.’

Enjoy your lives and read a book.


Also, Claire runs a successful publishing house!

Plaisted Publishing House graphic

Here’s how you can contact her and/or follow her

Pre-Order Enchantments HERE

Stay tuned for pre-order information

What Stardust Trail Are You Leaving Behind?

night sky, stars, shooting star


It’s been awhile since I have just shared from my heart. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts of other children’s authors. I love to help promote other people’s works!

As you may know, I’m a High School Guidance Counselor and here in Florida, school starts on Thursday. I’ve been busy meeting with children and their parents getting their schedules all set for the big day.

I love my job! Not everyone can say that and I know I’m fortunate to be able to say it. I’ve been at my job for 20 years and honestly, I don’t know where the time has gone. Now, not every day and every minute of those 20 years have I loved it. I mean, let’s be real. Some days are really hard. Some days people are incredibly unhappy because I can’t do what they want me to do. That’s hard. I don’t like not being able to make people happy. I try to understand where they are coming from and explain why something can’t be done and most of the time people understand.

We had a wonderful motivational speaker during pre-planning! His name is John Perricone. Look him up. He was a teacher for 31 years and won all kinds of awards and is not a consultant and speaker. He reminded us why we all got into this business in the first place and that was to make a difference in children’s lives.

One of the things that makes me love my job is, of course, the children. They are full of energy and hope for the future. But, some need hope right now. I’m glad I can be there for them–to listen, to care, and to encourage them. It makes my heart glad to see them succeed and overcome whatever obstacles are before them. And I love seeing them as adults following their dreams.

Add to that my new job of writing children’s books. I write positive messages woven into magical adventures. I do this to help kids. But, what I didn’t realize was that I might also touch parents, too. Saturday, I was at a book event and I got to talking to a Mom who was of a different ethnicity than I. We grew up in the same city but had very different lives. She explained the fear she had lived in. She brought her children to Florida to get away from that and is very happy where she lives now. She feels safe, she has started her own business, and her children are happy and successful in school. These are things that would not have happened had she stayed where she was. We had a heart to heart talk and I hugged her goodbye.

It was as I was driving home that day that I realized something–it’s not my job title that allows me to touch lives, but it’s me. It’s how I interact with others and care about them. Just like our motivational speaker who not only touched the lives of his students but also everyone he meets now.

I want to encourage each of you reading this to reach out and speak to someone new, find out more about them. Don’t be afraid to ask them their life story. You never know what you might learn and how willing people are to share. We are all just trying to make it on this beautiful planet spinning in the darkness amongst the stars. Let’s be part of helping each other make it in this life. Let’s leave a bright stardust trail in our wake!



Top 14 Essential Items For Every New Mom

Hey new Moms–here is a list of your essential needs when having your first baby. Check it out!


Becoming a mama especially for the first time can be overwhelming! A lot of us moms want things to be perfect, and we want to be well-prepared for our little one’s arrival, however, it can be challenging to know exactly what one needs. Despite the market being flooded with items, it’s not every item you see that you NEED. Some are more wants than needs.

The following 14 items are must-haves for any new moms.

  1. Diapers

A Good stash of diapers is a necessity for any new mom. Whether you’re using disposable or reusable, it goes without saying that you’ll use up diapers like they’re going out of fashion especially the first few weeks/months. So it’s always advisable to buy as many as you can.

A good way of ensuring you do so is to keep an eye out for specials and buy them when you’re doing your grocery shopping.

  1. Wipes


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Ready or Not: It’s Back to School

Yellow legal pad, 2 yellow pencils and scrabble game letters spelling Back to School


It’s August and in Florida, that means school is starting in a few weeks. Please welcome our favorite school psychologist, Dr. Valeria Allen with a few tips to help your children be successful in school.

Ready Or Not: It’s Back to School


 Dr. Valerie Allen

The sound of the pencil sharpener, the smell of book print, and the sight of new clothes gives a clear message: school is in full swing. A new school year can offer the fun and excitement that comes with learning. School provides discovery, new friends, and personal growth for your child. Parents can set the stage for a successful school experience for their youngster by using a few common sense strategies.

  1. Have a positive attitude toward learning. Encourage your child to do well and expect them to do their best. Participate in educational opportunities through the community or at the library. Make a decision to purchase “educational” gifts and books for special occasions. Set a good example, read a book, or take a class.
  2. Support the school. Make a commitment to have one parent-teacher conference every month in person. Write, text, or email your child’s teacher and comment on specific classroom activities. Volunteer your time or resources to help at school. You may have items at home or at work which the school could use for projects, remember one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Enforce the school’s rules and policies at home. Speak highly of the school, the teachers, education, and the joy of learning.
  3. Be prepared. Make it easy for your child to handle all of the “nuts and bolts” of getting ready for school each day. Have adequate school supplies and buy items ahead for future use. Prepay for school lunches whenever possible. Select an outfit for each day at the beginning of the week and keep ‘school clothes’ in a separate place. Establish a drop-off spot at home for books, backpacks, lunch boxes, and so on. Use a large envelope with the child’s name on it to keep correspondence and school notices handy. Promptly respond to requests from the school or teacher for permission slips, field trip money, and similar items.
  4. Have routines. Set up a daily schedule for routines for bathing, eating, dressing, homework, and play time. Keep distractions to a minimum; regulate and put time limits on telephone, television, radio, computer time, and electronic devices. Limit daily use of “electronics” to a total of two hours, in 30-minute increments.
  5. Schedule learning time. Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes each day for educational activities. This may include assigned homework or practice skills, which the teacher has sent home. Use workbooks or learning activities, such as cross word puzzles, card games, or board games which encourage logic, decision making, and problem-solving. During learning time, do not allow phone calls, television, computers, electronics, or visits from friends.
  6. Create a star! Find something that your child likes and does well and let him or her “show off” a bit. Encourage fun and the pleasure of having a good time in a positive way. Give your child the message that it is okay to read a book, draw funny pictures, play an instrument, plant a garden, groom a pet, collect stamps, or learn about motor cycles. Find a way to showcase his or her talents, perhaps at a senior center or with an elderly relative or neighbor. Children need to “sparkle and shine”!

These are just a few things parents can do to help their youngsters benefit in a formal learning environment. The goal is to enjoy and maintain an interest in school related activities and learning in general.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a school psychologist in private practice in Melbourne, FL.  She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development and has published two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Lifting the Burden of Perfectionism in Children

Excellent article on perfectionism in kids and how to help.

Free Spirit Publishing Blog

By Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D., author of  What to Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough: The Real Deal on Perfectionism: A Guide for Kids

Lifting the Burden of Perfectionism in ChildrenIf you are reading this blog post, you’re probably well aware that we live in a society steeped in performance pressures. For our kids, the competition to be at the top of the class in school, to make it into the best colleges, to have the best shot at prestigious careers, and to be outstanding in those careers is intense. Their A game must be brought to every encounter.

The anxiety attendant to all of this pressure is visible everywhere, and it’s one horn of a major dilemma: We worry that our children won’t make the grade, and we worry that the pressure to make the grade is too great. All of this creates a social context in which perfectionism—the desire to be perfect, plus the…

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Is There a Place for Character Education in School?


As summer draws to a close and we start shopping for school supplies, our thoughts naturally turn to what our children will be taught in school this year.

I read a provocative article recently about whether there was a place for character education in our public schools. Stephanie Petit, the writer of the article, says that not everyone agrees on what “good” character is, nor exactly how to teach it, and that results are anecdotal, therefore, maybe it shouldn’t be.

According to Petit, there are several ways to teach character education from encouraging good character through posters called the “cheerleading” approach all the way to a strict environment enforcing good character called “forced-formality.”

I would like to encourage dialogue on this topic but will give you some of my thoughts here.

While teaching good character may be difficult, I think teachers influence values and behavior regardless of what they do so it might as well be done in a conscious rather than unconscious way.

I also have read articles that state if the whole school is in on the teaching of good character, this goes further than each individual teacher teaching it. I agree with this because if everyone in the school is on the same page, it creates a culture and that has more impact than the culture in one specific classroom alone.

With my background in psychology, I don’t believe that good character should be forced or punitively instituted. I believe role modeling what character is desired and then reinforcing it with words and in teachable moments has the greatest lifelong impact.

So, what do you think? Yay or nay? Or something in-between?

You can read the full article here

Wonderful Children’s Books that Feature Sports

picture of Suzan Johnson, children's author, outside on the grass by a tree and water
Suzan Johnson, Children’s Author

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a special children’s author that I met at a recent book event in beautiful Boca Raton, FL. When I  met her, I immediately knew she was going places. I want to share her interview with you and you’ll see for yourself what I’m talking about.


Tell me something about yourself. (Where did you grow up, significant relationships, what do you do for fun besides writing, as little or as much as you want).


I am from the Caribbean but I grew up in the South Florida area, with my mom and brother.  Besides writing I enjoy reading, going out with friends, shopping, and trying new things like skydiving.


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have always written journals but after college, I began to write stories in my head.  Then about six years ago I decided to put them on paper.


What have you written? Tell me about them.


So far I have self-published five children’s books:

My friends’ daughter Sofia inspires the first two.  In Sofie at Bat, she has the dilemma of learning how to hit the ball without using the tee.  In Sofie at Dance, she has become friends with Chloe from her dance class, and their friendship is challenged when they both want the top spot in an upcoming recital.  My third book is a compilation of poems dedicated to the children that I know and have worked with.  The book is called My HeartbeatsAiden the Soccer Star! Is my fourth book.  My cousin’s son who is also named Aiden inspired this book.  Aiden has to overcome his fear of a new position on his soccer team.  My latest book is Our Military Family. This book tells how a family has to cope when Mom is away serving in the Army.

Sofie at Bat, a children's book by Suzan Johnson, book cover
Available on Amazon


What is your favorite genre to write?

Currently, I am enjoying writing Children’s Books


Tell me about your writing process.


When I write, I create the stories in my mind first.  I will change and rearrange the story multiple times before I actually write it down.  Sometimes I write an outline other times, I scribble down the whole thing.


Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?


My inspiration comes from people that I have met, then I ask myself, What if?


What sort of research do you do for your novels?


Depending on the book I may talk to people who play the sports, I have read about players involved.

With my latest book, I combined my ideas of how to help military families with those I found online from public agencies.


Do you have a special place where you write?


I can write anywhere,  different locations are better for me.


Do you have any type of music you listen to while you write?


I don’t really listen to music, while I write.  But background noise does not affect me.


Do you have any rituals before or while you write?


My writing ritual is to handwrite my outline/story first then I type it up.


How long does it usually take you to complete a book?

The time varies, because I organize the stories in my head, first.  The stories are ongoing all the time.


What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

After my mom passed away, I felt more inclined to do what I had not done before.


Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time


How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I feel that I constantly moving, and with each book, I become more confident in what I write, that is my evolution.


What are you passionate about?


I am passionate about education.


Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?


The poetry book had a great effect on me.  One of my poems was dedicated to my mother, called Flashback, and I wrote it in one setting from my soul.  I did not know I had it in me.


What can we expect from you in the future?


You can expect more children’s books, I have another series in mind, and I want to complete the Aiden trilogy.


In the far future, I plan to put my adult books together, for now, I am just rolling the stories around in my head.


If you could jump ahead in time, w, at would be happening for you?


I will be touring my children’s books, doing readings, and projects with the kids.  I will also be touring my adult books and doing book signings.


What influenced your decision to self-publish?


I began with self-publishing because I knew two people who went that route.  I have considered the traditional way, and I may try that too.


How do you market your book?


I market through, Facebook, Instagram, and my website.  I have also joined writing associations to help with networking.


Do you design your own book covers?

I do not.


Suzan Johnson has been the Media Specialist at an elementary school for the past nine years. She is a voracious reader of books of all genres. Growing up, she loved and enjoyed participating in sporting activities such as cheerleading and softball. As a teacher, she encourages her students to read a variety of books and participate in sports. Suzan is a member of Florida Reading Association and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Johnson currently lives in the South Florida area.

Facebook and Instagram: shjstories

All of Suzan’s books are available on Amazon


Peace Talks: 101

lioness with open mouth showing teeth
Children can sometimes make you want to scream!

Do your children like to argue with one another? Are you at your wits ends to stop the fighting and want to scream yourself? Today, we have our favorite child psychologist to help our children learn the art of peace talks.


Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Case Manager


Peace Talks :   101

Part of being a child is “testing the waters”, with siblings, peers, parents, and authority figures. Children can quickly hook us into a debate or refereeing to settle their disputes. There are strategies which encourage youngsters to stop and think before they take action. We can use these skills to help children think for themselves and solve their own problems.

  1. State the facts. Avoid the who, what, why response. Questions such as “Who started this? What are you into now?” and “Why did you do a thing like this?” focus on blame and gathering evidence. It also puts you in as “judge and jury” to decide the issue. Stating the facts helps children distinguish between fact and opinion.
  2. Seek solutions. Simply state the problem and invite children to offer ideas to solve it. Don’t be critical of their suggestions, no matter how wild or inappropriate. Talk them through it with responses such as “If we did that, what do you think would happen next?” or “How do you think so-and-so would feel it we did it that way?” or “How do you think that would make things better?” Considering various solutions helps children see things from another perspective and fosters responsibility for their decisions and behavior.
  3. Words as tools. Teach children to use words to express their thoughts, emotions, and needs. Eventually, they will learn to use language to express their point of view, negotiate a compromise, and persuade others. Help them label their emotions beyond “happy” and “sad”. Expanding their emotional vocabulary will enable children to identify and discuss their feelings more accurately.
  4. Stand their ground. Children must learn when to stand their ground. They need to know in some situations it is alright to tell someone to go away or to stop bothering them. It is okay to tell a friend they do not want to play or share their things. They need to be able to say they need time to be alone or their feelings have been hurt. Knowing what they need, how they feel, and verbalizing it helps children become self-confident and self-sufficient.
  5. Zero tolerance. Children must develop a firm belief that it is never alright to hurt others, physically or emotionally. Along with this is the fact it’s never okay for someone to hurt them, call them names, or take or destroy their possessions. Zero tolerance helps children learn that aggressive behavior should not be denied, minimized, or justified.
  6. Calling in the troops. There are circumstances when the wisest thing a child can do is walk away, ( perhaps run!) Youngsters need to learn when the situation is beyond them and the best choice is to get someone else involved. Asking for help teaches children there is a difference between tattle-tales and needing adult intervention.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has published two childrens’ books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hat, Good Hair, New Friends.”for grades 3 -5. Oh yes, she has also has raised six children!