Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Went To the Farmers Market ...

Came Home With a Cool Story ...

I know I haven't posted in a while ... I should have captured the WHOLE move in blog posts.  But, I have to admit -- it was tiring and I was stressed.  Now that we've lived in Monroe, WI for almost 2 months, I'm feeling less stressed and more AT HOME!

The summer did not fly by like it normally does ... I've been able to unpack boxes, take a few day trips, visit with my mom, spend lots of time walking the dogs, reading, a little gardening, and a bit of home improvement ... I did want to write more, but that will come! 

I love Monroe.  I was a bit scared to move to a small town; being away from Starbucks and Target and Kohls and Bed, Bath & Beyond!  But -- it's OK ... there's small coffee shops here and stores that I have been able to get everything I need -- and they are all within a mile from my home!  Walking to the post office is FUN! And living 3 blocks from the fair grounds and 3 blocks from the Square are wonderful!

I was very blessed to be OK'd to sell my books at the Farmer's Market!  I've met some wonderful people who are very talented and sell some great products and also producers who have some REALLY GOOD PRODUCE!!!!!! 

Shannon, ROXY, me
 
I also now have a very COOL story to go along with the book -- Went Out To Get a Donut - Came Home With a Muffin!  The secretary (at the school I'm going to be teaching at in a few weeks) stopped by my table a couple weeks ago.  We talked and she thought the Muffin book was super cute!  Her daughter (Shannon) will be going to college in a few weeks and is majoring in Broadcast Journalism -- she wanted to get her a fun book because she also loves to write!  I told her about the Muffin book and so she purchased it!  Last week, while at the farmer's market, this girl comes up to me and explains who she is!  She was SHANNON!  When her mom gave her the book, and she read it ... she actually got really sad and said to her mom "how could you get me a book about getting a rescue dog when you won't let me get a new dog!"  They had lost their dog about 6 months ago and Shannon really wanted another dog!  So ... that being said -- a friend was getting rid of their BEAGLE named ROXY and Shannon was able to RESCUE IT!  All because of Muffin's book!  So Shannon's mom went to the Farmer's Market, got a book, and rescued a dog!  Roxy is super cute and reminds me soooooooooooooooo MUCH of Mabel ....

But, you never know where a story will come from ... here are a few pics of me, Shannon and ROXY in the Monroe Square at the Famer's Market! I'm glad Roxy has found a great home and I wish Shannon much luck in college!



Trying to get ROXY to look at the camera ....
Roxy so looks like Mabel! 
 

 
Muffin & Mabel
Muffin's first week with us ... Mabel showing Muffin how it's done!
 
Muffin bugging Mabel!
How that little pup got bigger than Mabel in like 2 months was amazing!!!!
 
 
 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

RED wins AWARDS!

 
 R E D is Red HOT! 
 

Red Goes To Kindergarten has just been bestowed with a few honors!  I'm really excited about this book because for five years RED lived inside my head and it is always very exciting to see the book go from idea to print!  So it's very exciting that I can share with you the news about the awards RED has recently won!

 
The day RED debuted!  Sharing Kindergarten skills with pre-schoolers!

 
Back in December, doing the audio version of RED -- a FREE audio download  comes with EVERY book purchased!!!
 
 
On March 1, 2016 -- Red Goes to Kindergarten was awarded BEST PICTURE BOOK for ages 7 & Under by the Texas Association of Authors!
 
 
On March 9, 2016 -- Red Goes To Kindergarten was Story Monster Approved!!!!!
 

 
Some HAPPY Red Readers!!!
 
On Friday, March 11, I was interviewed by Dear Texas Radio Interview
I hope you can click on the link and listen to my interview!
I will be participating in the Wimberley Book Festival in May and many TAA Award winners will be there!

 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

DAISY will soon BLOOM!

Greg & I


I'm always nervous, excited, scared, ecstatic and a whole host of other emotions when a new book will be released. I'm extremely lucky to have a great publisher that makes the process pretty EASY and have teamed back with my illustrator GREG WHITE who can do what my hands could never do! He's so very talented!  I did get to meet him a few years back and hope that this coming September he will be able to join me for a book event ... which will be LOTS OF FUN!



Greg hard at work ... illustrating!
 
When Greg gets the manuscript he begins by setting up a really raw storyboard ... he draws some very simple sketches and reflects on what words would best make the story come alive! 
Once the story board is drawn, Greg will sketch some characters ... His pencil drawings are always stunning .... but then he adds color and
 
WOW .... Daisy BLOOMED!!!!!!!
 
 
Here's a sneak peek at a few illustrations from my upcoming book
Daisy:  A Life Cycle Series



I can't WAIT!!!!  I hope you are excited too ...  Let me know if you are interested in a copy from the first printing ... they should be available in May, 2016 ....
 
RED GOES TO KINDERGARTEN ... AUDIO
When The Life of Bud was released, I felt overwhelmed and did not think I could do the audio that comes with the book. Since then, I have been able to do the audio for all of the rest of my books ... it is a LOT of fun!  Here are a few pictures of my trip to Tate Publishing in Mustang, OK back on December 29 to complete the Audio for Red Goes To Kindergarten ....
Tate Music and Audio studio ...
 
 A HUGE ice storm descended over MUSTANG, OK on December 27 & 28, 2015 ... I was supposed to drive to Mustang on December 28 and I'm glad that the audio group could reschedule to Tuesday ... BUT -- I still could not believe how THICK all the ice was the closer I got to the Tate Studios ...

Everything was shimmery and gorgeous in the sun!
 
 
The fields looked as if they were encased in glass ... these pictures don't capture how incredibly beautiful the landscape was!
In the studio -- about to record ...
I only got tongue - tied once
and one time I just couldn't help it -- I had to clear my throat!
So not too shabby ... I got the audio finished in about 30 minutes!
 
As I was driving home and was about 25 miles from Mustang ... I came across these fields flooded.
In the picture on the right ... there is a road that is supposed to be there -- but is totally under water!
Nature is amazing ...
 
If you are a teacher and would like to schedule me to come to your school for literacy night, author meet & greet or to do a fundraiser, please feel free to send me an email at
or leave a comment here.
THANKS!
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TIME FOR REFLECTION part 2

On April 23, 2013, I wrote about Reflecting and Re-evaluating your life ... when the New Year rolls around people look in the mirror and decide they want to shed a few pounds, quit smoking, spend more time with their kids ... all of those are GREAT but sometimes we need to look a little deeper -- the WHO we ARE and WHO we WANT to be part of us ...

Some things won't change ... but the way we look at life may change.  I placed a blank copy of the BIO POEM at the end of this post for you to use!  ENJOY!

Here is my BIO POEM from back in 2013 and I reflected on it the other day and have posted the 2016 BIO of me as well ...
 
pictures from 2013

Laura Wintczak Eckroat
Child of Henry and Agnes Wintczak
Who loves teaching, reading, writing, gardening, my husband, daughter, and Muffin
Who hates people who lie
Who wants to go to Italy again
Who wishes she could've met Benjamin Franklin, and Steven's father Jack
Who wishes she could meet George W. Bush, Robert Downey, Jr., and members of DA BEARS!
Who is scared of dying tragically in a car accident
Who dreams of what it would be like if my books were on the bestseller list
Who is determined to be the best mom and wife I can be and also never give up on any student in my classroom
Who values family, friends, and every student and every moment with my doggie and being a published author
Who is proud of her father
Who graduated from Regis University, Denver, CO and wishes she finished her practicum so she could have gotten her Masters from Elms College, Chicopee, MA (maybe someday soon I will finish!)
Who lives in Fort Worth, TX - but has loved living in Springfield, MA; Woodstock, GA; Denver, CO; Whiting, IN
Laura Wintczak Eckroat
 
 
Some Pics from late 2015


 
Laura Wintczak Eckroat
Child of Henry & Agnes Wintczak
Who loves nature walks and absolute quiet and also the laughter of children
Who wants to go to Italy again and also to witness the Redwood Forest
Who wishes she could've met, Walter Payton and many of the first settlers in America
Who wishes she could meet, George W. Bush, Johnny Depp and the POPE
Who is STILL scared of dying tragically in a car accident 
Who dreams of going on a World Book Tour in a really COOL TOUR BUS!
Who is determined to be a teacher kids always remember!
Who values family, Muffin, Shadow, friends & my students!
Who is proud of her father, Ashley & my former students!
Who graduated from Regis University and STILL wants to get that Masters in Education!
Who lives in a house that she will hopefully NEVER move from again, but cherishes her experiences in Massachusetts, Georgia, Colorado and Indiana
Laura Wintczak Eckroat

 Here is the Bio Poem that you can complete yourself to reflect on your own life - ENJOY!
BIO POEM


Your name
Child of ...
Who loves ...
Who wants to go to ...
Who wishes he / she could've met ...
Who wishes he / she could meet ...
Who is scared of ...
Who dreams of ...
Who is determined to ...
Who values ...
Who is proud of ...
Who graduated from ...
Who lives ...
Your name again 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

All Work & No Play???

NO WAY!

Back in October, I was honored to be chosen to attend the EL Conference in San Diego representing my school. I attended with another teacher (who is one of my FAVES!) and our Principal ... who is really FUN!!!   I was very excited that I learned quite a bit!  AND ... got to see some of this beautiful city and dip my toes into the Pacific!

It was crazy HAT day back at school ... so we had to join in!!


One of the first things I saw as we started walking around to find something to eat. This tree had the coolest flowers on it. I had to stop quickly as everyone was on a mission to find food!  We found a great restaurant that had a patio & had a ocean view. It was so beautiful and peaceful and the weather was perfect to sit outside and eat!  

 Lobster bisque ... mmmmmmmm

Cerviche -- OMG!!!!!
 This little guy sat down in the chair next to me ... I gave him two tiny pieces of bread. He at the first one right there ... gave a couple tweets, grabbed the other piece and flew off ...
Beautiful tree right near our hotel ...
 
I was pretending to be JOEY on Friend's -- behind me is the Mr. Beaumont!
 
This is MY night cap - YUMMMMM...
 

They had these all around the pool area -- it was so relaxing -- I could have slept out there!

Our HOTEL-it was like 5pm! Can't believe how early it gets dark here!
My first Workshop -- it was about Noticing(s) and Wondering(s)
Everyone had a different item set at their place, with a workbook ...
 We emptied our mystery bags -- we were trying to figure out what we were going to study ... it was a whole "element of surprise" and mystery ...
We went on a MINI expedition to part of the BAY ... we were looking at all the trash that collects in part of the bay ...


San Diego is a beautiful place ... it's a shame that the bay, close to the shoreline collects so much GROSS trash ... it really made an impact on me -- each time we walked past this spot for the next 4 days -- I noticed it -- most people stand and look OUT and the Bay and the Ocean so you miss what's right in front of you!

 
When we came back to the class -- we talked a bit about what a classroom of kids could do to make a difference ...
Another workshop -- given a bunch of clay and told to make something! I decided to make "Daisy"
 
 We then found out we were studying ducks and were charged with making a FIRST DRAFT of a clay duck .... it was really difficult! We had no duck to look at ...
The challenge is to then learn more about ducks and keep making better and better sculptures ...
 
After a few more workshops ... it was evening -- time to go find EATS and sight see a bit ... even though it was already DARK when we got out!!!!
The Midway! We just happened upon it!  It's a museum - but was closed when we got there! 

This statue is REALLY REALLY BIG!!!

A memorial to Bob Hope ... there's audio of his many shows entertaining the troops.

Listening to the audio ... I actually was very moved by this memorial ... Bob Hope brought so much happiness, laughter, and a little bit of HOME to so many!
Thanks for the memories ....
 
Another very memorable and cool workshop -- how to incorporate Math into Art and Science ...


 
Telling us about their expedition about the Toy Hall of Fame ... we were then trying to come up with a whole Paper Airplane Airport ... with working paper airplanes ...  

 
 An intense discussion on how to incorporate imaginative play into learning at all ages!
We then had to attempt to make a "timeline" of rigid play to imaginative play ...
 
Many yachts -- this is actually a SUPER Yacht and I'm not sure I would ever be able to afford one -- even if I won the lottery!!!!  We spoke with one of the engineers and it is CRAZY how expensive these are!!! 

 S U P E R     Y A C H T S!
On our last evening there ... we took a quick 5 minute ferry ride to Coronado Island ...
A great picture of the American Flag that was on our Ferry!
Amanda, Alisha & Me ... on our way to Coronado ....

 We walked about 3-1/2 miles to get to the ocean before the sun set!


 You know me ... I had to take pictures of interesting OCEANIC items that were washed up on the shore!!!! 


Me on the beach!  It was funny ... the teacher I was with said "we've never seen your legs!"  lol!!!!
I guess it's good I don't wear shorts to school -- but I wore them under my pants on purpose so I could dip my feet into the ocean and not get my pants all wet!
 
The waves were really BIG while we were there!
 
Night Night SUN!
 
On our last morning there, Amanda and I walked down to have breakfast ... this guy was just hanging out on the dock ...
 
He was one of the final speakers -- from the Renaissance School in Springfield, MA my old stomping grounds!
 
Big, goofy chair at the Marriott!

Greg ... all dressed up ... us ... in COMFY clothes!

This cone has NO CALORIES!!!!  It's amazing I actually gained NO weight on this trip! We did so much walking ... This was sooooooooooooo good!
 The Conference is OVER .... we are ready to go home!

Flight delayed -- bad weather in TEXAS so might as well chill by the pool instead of sitting at the airport!
 
 On our way home -- very tired ... we didn't get home until after MIDNIGHT!!!!!!!!!!
The EL Conference was wonderful, the company fabulous and San Diego weather is PERFECT! It was a great trip!!!!