Write a Winter Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too! —”Snowfalls” (Haiku from MY MAINE) by Bette A. Stevens

Another great post from Bette’s blog. Here’s something to get the kids writing.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Enjoying another snow day at the farmstead in central Maine. This haiku is from my current work in progressMY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasonsa poetry collection schedule to be released early in 2019. The photo of field and forest (taken from the back patio at the farmstead) inspired me to write today’s featured haiku. “Snowfalls” is a verse from the WINTER TALES section. Wherever you are, whatever the season, I invite you to get outdoors and get inspired. Join the fun and write a seasonal haiku about what’s inspiring you. It’s easy as 1-2-3… You’ll find the definition and descriptive details of writing haiku below. If the kids are around, make it afamily affair—they’ll love it!

SNOWFALLS

Silently—snowfalls

Reign over field and forest

Supremely sovereign

~Bette A. Stevens

HAIKU

noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin…

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Have an Amazing New Year! (Poem + Monarch Butterfly Resources from author Bette A. Stevens)

I discovered this beautiful blog and wanted to share this post with you. Help to save our beautiful monarchs and enjoy the lovely poem and free resources. And visit Bette’s blog for more great posts.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Have an Amazing New Year!

May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

© Bette A. Stevens

Learn about Monarch Butterflies

Bette in her garden with one of the monarch butterflies that emerged from its chrysalis at the farmstead in central Maine.

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their scientific name—Danaus Plexippus— Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. Monarch butterflies embark on an amazing migratory phenomenon as they have the ability to hibernate and metamorphose.  International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens.

  • Resources for kids…

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#writephoto lavendar & rose garden

A lavender lined stone walk leads to a blooming rose bush
surrounded by a metal circular seat

I’m participating in a writing prompt today (a new blog I discovered through a suggestion of a friend)

You can join in the fun by going to the blog Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

The sun shone brightly on the gravel walkway as the lilting fragrance of lavender filled the air. The rose bush that had been meticulously trimmed and braided to stand tall above the other flowers cascaded delicate pink flowers down towards the metal circular seat that surrounded it. The garden exuded a sense of peace to all that came to visit.

In the distance, the carefully mowed grass created a playground for squirrels and other small critters. The tall stately evergreen trees lined the garden and provided nesting grounds for several species of birds that could be heard chirping and singing throughout the day and long into the evening.

This place was well loved. The gardeners took special care to keep everything just so for their beloved princess. She had loved this garden since she was a little girl. Often, she would be seen reading one of her favorite books under the rose bush. As she grew, she wrote love letters there as well. And in time, the right suitor had discovered her and woo’ed her until he finally proposed last year down on one knee underneath the blooming rose bush. She said yes, of course.

Now, the day had arrived. They were to be wed. Everything was set. The garden was ready. Two more days and she would become a wife, a queen, and woman. Everyone was excited and yet a bit of sadness too as they wondered would she come back to visit. Would she remember them? This garden?

The celebration was grand and everyone said farewell. But, alas their fears were put to rest when she returned a few seasons later to tell them how she would be spending summers there, with them, with her garden, and with her soon-to-be family. Yes, she was pregnant and her child would be raised spending summers in her favorite place and with the people that loved her.

“Never fear, my friends. All that is loved shall remain.”

What Happened to 8?

What Happened to 8?? Book Cover with a detective holding a magnifying glass over the numeral 8.
Author Jon Lefkovitz and Illustrated by Joe Bearor
(descriptions provided for those with eyesight limitations)

Hi everyone,

I want to let Jon,the author, of this cute picture book tell you about what happened to 8…

This book began several years ago when I was pushing my three-year-old nephew Isaac on a swing as he giggled and counted, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9…” 


“Wait!” I said. “What happened to 8?” 


The giggling turned to full-blown laughter as we started counting again, each time skipping a different number and following the ‘mistake’ with an incredulous, “Wait!” And with the invention of this bit, an idea was born. I researched the concept and saw that, although there are a lot of counting books out there, I couldn’t find one that centered on skipping numbers as a means of engaging readers in learning.


I proceeded to write the book, coming up with a rhyming exclamation for each number. Isaac’s favorite was “fiddlesticks” – that’s even what he called the book for a while. My personal favorite was “man alive!”, a bizarre expression that’s not used much anymore. The most difficult number to figure out was nine. Lots of things rhyme with “nine,” but nothing seemed to work. My sense of humor initially led me to “swine!”; that didn’t go over well with anyone to whom I showed the book. My parents suggested “shine”, which felt nice, but didn’t make enough sense if you really thought about it (Sorry, Mom and Dad!) I finally brought the dilemma to my ingenious wife Talia, who instantly suggested “whine!” I love collaborating with loved ones.


Once all of the text was complete, I had a new problem: I needed an illustrator. Luckily, my brilliant friend Joe is also a brilliant artist – I asked him to illustrate the book, and to my eternal relief, he agreed. It was Joe who came up with the story of the hapless detective trying to locate each of the eight missing numbers. It was Joe who was able to translate the humor and playfulness of the game Isaac and I created into a visual format. It was Joe who brought the idea to life. 


I was thrilled to discover Amazon’s CreateSpace platform; having the book available all around the world is an incredible feeling. It’s been a joy hearing from friends and strangers whose children are enjoying the experience. Multiple people have sent me a photo or video of their child’s gleeful reactions as they read the book out loud. I was also happy to finally answer Isaac (now eight years old), with a resounding “Yes!” when he asked if the book was published yet. Needless to say, it’s dedicated to him.


So that’s the origin story of “Wait! What Happened to 8??” I want to thank Wanda for the opportunity to invite you to join the number-finding adventure!

Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/waitwhathappenedto8


Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1729762352/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542484106&sr=1-1&keywords=wait+what+happened+to+8


-Jon 

Thank you, Jon, for sharing your very creative, fun, counting book with us today. I hope you all will check out this book for your child or grandchild or niece/nephew and/or leave a comment and let Jon know what you think about his book. As always, shares are appreciated!!

Becoming A Caretaker Changes Your Relationship

When someone you love becomes seriously ill and you become their caretaker, your relationship to that person changes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a parent or a spouse, the dynamics are now different.

Sure the old ways of relating are still there but when you make all the decisions about their care, it’s a tall order, especially if you don’t have any medical knowledge, like me.

You want to keep the person comfortable, you want to make good decisions, you want to actually help them get better, yet you don’t really know how.

You don’t really know if you should push them to be independent or if it’s best if you do things for them.

You don’t know what questions to ask them or the doctor.

You don’t know when something is serious and when it isn’t.

Largely, you have a lot of responsibility but very little knowledge on how to carry out that responsibility.

Back in my psychology training days, that was the recipe for stress.

Your loved one depends on you.

They don’t know how you can help them either but you are all they got.

They may not trust you to do everything right.

They may want to dictate to you what to do, possibly because they have lost so much control and controlling you gives them that sense of control.

You may not be good at taking orders, like me. I have never liked being told what to do. Yet, you understand that the person is helpless and dependent so if the roles were reversed, you would want someone to help you. So, you bite your tongue and do your best to care for them and meet their demands.

You feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. You can’t see things improving. You feel like crying but don’t want your loved one to see. You need a break but there isn’t one. You are tired beyond anything you have ever experienced yet nothing you are going through compares to what they are going through.

People tell you to take care of yourself but sometimes you forget to brush your teeth or you’re too tired to take a shower.

You aren’t hungry but then when you are, you can’t figure out what to cook so you eat something available like cookies or chips.

You don’t meditate anymore. You say quick, pleading prayers.

You don’t exercise but you feel your body aching with soreness from lifting wheelchairs and walkers awkwardly and trying to get them into and out of cars.

Your world has been turned upside down and so has your loved one’s life. You need each other but often can’t talk about it without an abundance of tears.

You feel alone even with many people reaching out.

You don’t know what tomorrow will bring but you hope and pray for a miracle.

You have good days and bad days.

You have good reports that are celebrated and bad reports that cause sadness and concern.

You are on an emotional roller coaster and would love to get off but there is no end in sight.

Yes, you’re relationship has changed. They need you. You do your best to meet their needs. Your own needs are put aside. The relationship is no longer a mutual give and take.

Your love is strong but relies on memories to carry you through.

Laughter is seldom.

I never knew what caretakers went through. But, now, here I am. I can say that it’s the hardest job you will ever have.

If you know someone who is a caretaker continue to reach out to them, let them know you are thinking about them and their loved one and that you are praying for them both. Offer meals because that’s the last thing they are thinking about. Offer to sit with their loved one while they run an errand or take a nap. You can ask what they need and they may know but they may not. Ask again later because needs change and even though they didn’t need anything before doesn’t mean they don’t need anything now.

Let them know they are not alone and that you are available anytime to talk or anything else they may need.

My heart goes out to all the caretakers in the world! May you find peace in the middle of stress and joy in your darkest hours because you are not alone and this too shall pass.

Hold on, keep plugging, and don’t look too far down the road. Today is enough to be concerned about. And please know that I love you! I feel your pain. And I’m here for you.

Friday Faceoff – Time travel is possible. Will explain later. #Brainfluffbookblog

This is one of my favorite things—Friday Faceoff! Here are several different covers of the same book and people weigh in on which ones they like best. They do not always feature children’s books, but this time they do. Also, Sarah Higbee’s blog is one of my favorites. While you’re here, poke around and check it out. She’s also an author. If you like science fiction, you’ll enjoy her books.

Brainfluff

This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the object this week featuring on any of our covers or the story is an AMULET, so I’ve selected a book I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading, The Story of the Amulet – Book 3 of the Five Children series by E. Nesbit.

This edition was produced by Penguin Classics in March 1995. I love the artwork and the green-hued backdrop which gives a real sense of the drama and danger of a trip back to Egypt. But that clunky red something doesn’t remotely resemble any amulet I’ve ever seen – what a shame, given the wonderful lighting giving it centre stage. And my other peeve is that dreadful red text box…

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Wally’s Misadventure

Children's book author, Chrys Wimer, holding her book Wally's Misadventure and a stuffed toy raccoon wearing a blue top with lace and beige pants standing in front of a beige wall with green plant and framed spiritual saying behind her

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your friends and family. We sure did. Even though our lives have been turned upside down lately and we couldn’t do much for Christmas other than keep it simple, it was a very blessed time. And I pray everyone has a very blessed new year!

Now, on to sharing another awesome book find I have come across, I’ll let the author introduce it to you, take it away Chrys…

I’m excited to introduce my first children’s book called “Wally’s Misadventure”.

Wally's Misadventure Book Cover by Chrys Wimer shows a raccoon walking through the forest upright
Available on Amazon

“Wally’s Misadventure” is about a young raccoon who had been longing to explore the forest.  Wally knows he is supposed to take a friend with him, but when none of his friends can go he decides to go alone.  During his adventure Wally encounters trouble along the way! In the end, Wally realizes rules are meant to protect him.

The story of Wally Wilson Raccoon Jr. began with the thought that raccoons are mischievous and tend to get into trouble.  The beaver came about because I like the beavers in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (which is one of my favorite books).  I wanted a bird in the story and as I thought about a name the first name that came to mind was Ivy.  Ivy was named after my maternal grandmother who lived to be 105 years old and loved church music.  I chose the wren because that was the last name of one of my pastors and his wife had a great soprano voice.

The biggest inspiration was the part about Wally getting attacked by the bird which actually happened to my cat, Zipper.  Zipper was a big gray and black tabby who was a gentle soul.  He didn’t like to hunt or eat anything but his dry cat food.  His food was always on a picnic table out on the back porch so the dog wouldn’t eat it.  For a while there was a Scrub Jay that would dive bomb Zipper while he was eating.  Zipper finally got fed up with the bird and Zipper killed it!

As a teacher for many years and now a substitute teacher, I have spent many hours around children.  I have seen how children don’t use their imagination very much.  It is disheartening to try to get a child to use their imagination and come up with so little.  My hope is that children will not only enjoy “Wally’s Misadventure”, but learn from Wally’s mistakes and develop their imaginations.

When I am not teaching or writing I enjoy photography, traveling, baking, reading, and crafting.  I sing in the choir and Worship Team at my church as well as help with the Ladies ministry. 

Holiday Homebody (Education doesn’t have to take a holiday during the break from school)

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist.

Holiday Homebody

The clock is ticking, the phone is ringing, excitement is in the air! The children can’t wait to sleep in late, yet, learning can still find a place in your home. Holidays can be a time of enrichment and creativity for young minds. Here are six ways to turn the holidays into an enjoyable learning experience to share with your child.

1.  Discuss the meaning and the origin of your holiday celebrations. You can also talk about how other cultures celebrate at this time of year. Identify various customs, foods and traditions.

2.  Vocabulary:  There are many words related to holiday celebrations. Start a list and add to it everyday. Words can be classified into nouns, such as apply pie, candy canes, ornaments, candles and so on. They can be identified as emotions, such as happiness, sharing, caring, joy, and similar responses.

3.  Read: Give books as gifts. Refer to classic stories that celebrate your holiday traditions. Talk about real vs. make believe and encourage critical thinking about fact and fiction. Discuss fairy tales and characters in children’s books. Decide which parts of a story are about real things and which parts are pretend.

4.  Cultural beliefs.  Research the history of various celebrations. Talk about the significant religious, social and cultural aspects of the holidays.

5.  Food Celebrations.  There are certain foods we enjoy during specific holidays. You can find simple, no-cook recipes for children to make and enjoy together. Discussions can include favorite holiday foods and the basic healthy food list. You can read the ingredients used in desserts and compare them to the healthy food list. This can also lead to a discussion of sharing food with others in the community.

6.  Talk about giving, receiving, and sharing. Gifts don’t have to have a monetary value to have meaning. Make a connection between work and money and making financial decisions about how and why to spend money for the sake of others.

Just because school is out, learning doesn’t have to take a vacation during the holidays!

# # #

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist and author in Melbourne, FL.  She 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!

Sophia the Christmas Eve Snow Bunny & the Real Gift


Sophia the Christmas Eve Snow Bunny & the Real Gift book cover with a white bunny sitting on top of a red sleigh filled with presents in front of a decorated Christmas tree sitting on snow and blue starry night sky

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to pop on and share my newest picture book called Sophia the Christmas Eve Snow Bunny & the Real Gift.

My illustrator, Mara Reitsma, wrote up a great blog about it complete with hints on what animal is featured in the book (although if you look at the cover pictured above, you’ll be able to guess)

This book was inspired by my own white bunny when I was a child. His name was BunBun. I know, not creative, but he was well loved. The bunny in the picture book is an orphan but she learns the real gift of Christmas this season. Join her on her journey and discover places and animals from around the globe.

Check out Mara’s blog here…

http://itybityqt.wixsite.com/marareitsma/single-post/2018/12/20/Shes-here-shes-here

And you can get your ebook copy on Amazon by clicking here…


Also, please like, comment, and share so others can discover this wonderful tale!!

Thank you!

Merry Christmas!!