Friday, June 26, 2015

Less Than 6 MONTHS!

Today there is officially less than 6 months until Christmas!!! Steven and I have always loved the Toys-For-Tots program and when Ashley was little we always would go and get one BIG gift ...
Since we do not have a little one anymore, my New Year's Resolution was to purchase toys for Toys-For-Tots. Steven thought it was a great idea!

So each week, when I go shopping I scan the toy aisle for something for a little one!  Here's the STASH so far! If you want to help me with this project at all .... I will take $$ donations and I will let you know what I purchase ... I can't wait to drop these off at a Toys-For-Tots drop off location!!


Sunday, June 21, 2015


After visiting Robin's Nest Montessori and debuting RED! I traveled to Richardson, TX, to the Richardson Public Library to talk about writing & Science Journaling to the kids in the Summer Reading Explorers Club. The children are entering 3rd, 4th, & 5th Grades. As the kids arrived, we talked about what they are looking forward to and their fears of their new grade. The 3rd graders are worried about a LOT of independent work and the amount of it ... 4th graders are anxious about the STAAR test and the 5th graders wish they were back in 4th!  But all couldn't wait to find out who their new teachers would be!
Just chilling with the kids before the program starts!
It was really fun to have a dialog with the kids and get to know them a little before the program started ...

Discussion about The Life of Bud
How long it took me to write, the importance of working with a wonderful illustrator and graphic designer, how to choose a cover design ... some of the events I've done since 2008.
 Talking to the kids about the importance of keeping a journal ...

It's really a lot of fun to talk to older kids about writing -- we had some great dialog and they asked some awesome questions!!!!!

  Reading - A Simpler Time
Kids asking and answering questions about the book!

 The importance of word choice
The kids WRITING!

 Making leaves with FACES .... unlike BUD!
Diane, the Children's Librarian and I listening to some of the wonderful quick writes the kids were able to do!!!!!
I had a wonderful time at the Richardson Public Library
Click the above link to check out the Explorers Club and other fabulous programs!
Thanks for having me!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


It's exciting when one of my new books comes out! A few weeks ago, RED was available at the Azle Book and Music Festival ... but on Thursday, I was able to read it to some Pre-K students for the VERY first time! A first reading always makes me a little nervous!! I was blessed to be asked back by Miss Robin at Robin's Nest Montessori for her Summer Camp Program ... this past week was Author Week.

I met Robin about 4 years ago and I have enjoyed watching her Montessori school grow and change and develop into a wonderful atmosphere for children.  Her new Reggio room is absolutely beautiful and so soothing and a great natural learning environment for kids! If you are looking for a great school and live in the Little Elm area check out Robin's Nest Montessori School.

My new book has many concepts for children to talk about ... In the picture below we are going through the days of the week.
Working on the "Doves" Favorite Color Graph
Me writing upside down ... INTENSE!!!  lol!!!!

Signing the Graph!
Colton with his RED book!  Colton has ALL of my books and I've known him for many years now!
It was a GREAT DEBUT of Red Goes To Kindergarten
After I left the school I wanted to check out parts of Little Elm to see the flooding from Lake Lewisville.
I pulled over on Eldorado Parkway and saw this little guy ... if anyone knows what kind of bird this is please let me know!

Lake Lewisville that over flowed it's banks

These pictures made me sad ... Algae and all that stuff floating on the algae is trash .... SAD!

 I wish I would have captured it better ... but the algae color was really interesting color green!
Now ... onto the Richardson Public Library for their Explorers Club!


Friday, June 19, 2015

TRAINING - a part of being a TEACHER!

On June 11, I had to get up bright and early, but I was excited because I was heading to a Teacher Workshop put on by the Texas Wildlife Association at the Fort Worth Zoo. The weather was perfect and as I walked up to the Education Building, which is tucked away next to the Zoo entrance ... I felt so peaceful! The river was full and the flowers were blooming. There were about 15 turtles hanging out on the rocks and sunning themselves ... and I loved the one that jumped in for an early morning swim!  THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST TRAININGS I HAVE EVER ATTENDED!!!!!!!!!!

 As I stood there and took in the beauty ... this tree and it's perfect reflection caught my eye! I just love this shot!!!!
Amanda (left) and Toni (right) our trainers for TWA ... they were awesome!
One of our first activities was to go behind the Education Center and journal what we saw, felt, heard, & smelled ... I noticed this vine growing across this walkway
 As I stood there ... I felt like it was staring at me! I think it looks like a face, with the vine as hair!
 We did a great creature investigation .... talking about which Texas Wildlife animal may have eaten these eggs ... different animals use different ways to open the eggs!
Very COOL!!!!!!
We learned how to find TRACKS ... and see what animals may be lurking in your neighborhood!
That is flour & a can of tuna in the middle ... you can use different foods in the middle (i.e. birdseed, lettuce/carrots, tuna) to see what animals may visit!
But ... watch the weather -- if you put this out and it RAINS ... the experiment is washed away!
We learned about skulls and skins and our MANTRA
Eyes in FRONT ... it HUNTS
Eyes on the SIDE ... it HIDES!
We received this Texas critter book ... which is really great to learn about all the CRITTERS of Texas!

We also received a flashdrive with a HUGE binder of lesson plans!!!!
 One of the funny things we did was to create a new species of bird ... we received info sheets on feet/body/beak and had an assortment of craft supplies ... ours was called the Bobbing Duster!
We did some water lessons (which will be GREAT for next year in Kindergarten!)
This one was really fun and easy!
We made a "mountain" out of thick paper (just crumple it up)
on the "peaks" draw lines with a washable marker
place skittles "pollution" at various places on the mountain
Use a spray bottle and see where the pollution run-off goes
Decide where are safe places to live ... How does pollution affect the water cycle

Our bird made a visit to the polluted mountain!
At lunchtime we were able to walk around the zoo and eat our lunch!
I visited the Museum of Living Art
super cool reptile exhibit!

This guy looked pretty relaxed!
 These beauties were right outside of MOLA and they kept "talking" to me!
 As I was walking back to the Education Building the flamingos were making quite a lot of noise!
This flamingo right in the middle kept lifting it's back leg up as if doing ballerina barre work! It's crazy that they have great balance on one LEG!

I walked a few feet to the right and realized what all the chatter was about ... the flamingos were sitting on these huge mounds ... NESTING
I did not realize that flamingos mate for life and both take turns sitting on the eggs
I loved watching them stand up and then carefully reposition those big bodies back onto the egg!

 Just some beautiful flowers on my way back to the Ed. Bldg!

This guy took the place of the turtles and I really loved the fluff on his head!
Me and a turtle statue

If he was real I don't think I'd be smiling!

If you want more information on the TWA programs visit their web-site by clicking on the following link ... they have school visit programs, trunk programs, on-demand webinars, and teacher programs! 
ALL FREE!!!!!!!!!
This link leads you to the Conservation Legacy part of the TWA web-site which details the programs including the teacher program I attended