Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Life Cycle--UPDATED

When we lived in Massachusetts, I started a 6'x6' plot in my garden full of flowers and plants for butterflies! Sadly, I never got to see it do what it was meant to do ... attract butterflies, lay their eggs, and produce new butterflies.

Last spring I purchased a Passion Flower plant and knew it would attract butterflies, which it did ... it sat dormant in my greenhouse during the winter and was placed back on the patio in April. Well ... it did more than just attract a butterfly this Summer ... a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly (click on link to find out more about this butterfly) used my passion flower plant as the HOST plant!

Early last week, I noticed teeny, tiny caterpillar crawling around the plant ... I checked the plant and found really small eggs on a couple of the leaves ... by the end of the day, a few of the caterpillar were BIG and I was able to google to see what kind of caterpillar they were.
The first caterpillar I noticed!  The underside of this leaf is where there were quite a few eggs!
The little guy below ate that ENTIRE seed pod by himself!

The caterpillar are orange with greyish/lavender stripes and black spikes ... that are actually soft, even through they look like they would hurt!
NOW ... the dilemma ... I knew these guys would be HUNGRY .... and unlike The Very Hungry Caterpillar, they do not eat ice cream cones and pizza .... they would eat and e a t and e a T and e A T and E A T and EAT and EAT and
the Passion Flower plant .... which they DID!
Part of me was sad that the plant was going to be decimated and part of me was
bursting inside because the plant did what it was supposed to do!
Sometimes in life ... one thing must give of itself so that others can flourish!

This guy went rogue and was exploring!

It was so awesome to watch what I teach the children each year happening in real time right on my patio! I so wished I would have been able to share all this with the Kindergarten Kids as it was happening!!!!

Close up ... I absolutely love the colors of this guy!
I love the picture below because you can see his antennae and his legs and I love how he's hanging onto that one part of the plant that used to have LOTS of leaves on it!!!!
and ... I knew it was coming .... today I went out at 7am to water my plants and the caterpillar were still crawling around the plant ... I went out at 11am and BAM!!!  there are three chrysalis!  I'm so thrilled!!!!!  Below is my favorite shot of one of the chrysalis! It's almost kind of creepy!!!
It looks like it's staring at me and it's glowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I knew what was going to happen to the Passion Flower plant and it now will require LOTS of TLC! There are sprouts popping up near the bottom of the plant and I'm hoping I can get those to become strong and save the plant ... time will tell ....
As you can see ... my HUNGRY CATERPILLARS (all 13 of them) were VERY HUNGRY!
I now will watch the chrysalis ... and in about 7-10 days, hopefully I'll see them emerge!!!!
Below are a few cute pics of other friends in the garden.
The grasshopper on the left reminds me of JIMINY CRICKET
and the baby on the right was having fun chasing the caterpillars on the Passion Flower -- his antennae are soooooo long!!!!  and his back legs look awkward ... but he's cute!
I hope I'll be able to share pictures of the Gulf Fritillary as they emerge from their chrysalis ...
hope you enjoyed these pictures.
UPDATED -- Today is Thursday, July 30 and
one of the caterpillars got caught in the act!
AND ... I got lucky and actually saw a GULF FRITILLARY land on the Passion Plant!!!!
July 30 - 2015 @ 7:30am
July 30 - 2015 @7:45am
July 30 - 2015 @8:05am 
July 30 - 2015 @8:20am
Could it be???
July 30 - 2015 @9:45am
I believe it is a GULF FRITILLARY!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red Released!

I'm very excited to announce the release of my 5th book ....
Writing the book is just the beginning -- when it starts to come to LIFE it's very exciting!
When the character drawings are set ... it's like family!!!!!

Picking a cover is always nerve-wracking! I always show the cover choices to children and have them pick which is more appealing. This time the children chose the cover on the left ... I think that was the BEST choice!!!!

When you see in print what an endorser says about you and your writing ... it brings tears to my eyes ... It puts what and who I'm writing for into perspective!
It's exciting when a new idea/concept is used in my books ...
I wanted to have a book that was educational and interactive ...
The end of the book has a workbook and kids can do all the things RED does during the first week of school!!! I think this is a great way for parents and kids to read and learn together.

Working on something new and different to hand out with my bookmarks and books that stands out is always a challenge .... this one is FUN ... everyone loves to color!

But, the BEST reason to write children's books, is to read them to KIDS!!!
It's also a lot of fun to work on the Favorite Colors Graph with them
which is one of the concepts in the book!
They learn colors, counting, and graphing ....
 Another GREAT part of having a new book released, is seeing the faces of readers!

If you are interested in ordering a copy, feel free to message me here or email me at
Bulk discounts available for teachers who would like to purchase them for their classrooms!
Red is also available on Amazon -- click the above link to find it there!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2015


I was invited to the FIRST Chisholm Trail Arts Festival on Saturday, June 27 in Duncan, OK. Since we were not going on a vacation this year, Steven and I decided I should make a MINI weekend of it. I left for Lawton, OK on Friday, June 26 ... I was able to see the RED RIVER with water in it, which was really cool -- I was unable to get pictures because it started raining and on the way back there was no safe place to pull over ... so I was a little bummed about that! When I arrived in Lawton, I did a search of the BEST places to eat! I found this GEM of a place!  I had a cheeseburger, fries and a phenomenal chocolate malt ... It really was good eats! But, after that I went back to the hotel and started feeling guilty just sitting in my room -- went to the pool, but it was too crowded ... so I put on my sneakers and walked 2.5 miles on the treadmill!
That's better ... then went outside and read!
All set up

Debuting my sister's clay bowls!

RED was a HIT!

The lady next to be had really pretty, hand painted silk scarves
It's hard not to spend a LOT of money at these events!

yep -- a cowboy on STILTS!
 Some new readers!
Kids from the Chisholm Trail Theater Group -- MULAN!
After a long and fun day at the festival -- I headed back to Lawton and this place was right across the street from my hotel .... if you EVER have the chance to have pizza at this place YOU NEED TO!
You choose your crust ....
 And your toppings ....

They pop it into the oven and ....
VOILA!!!!  OMG ... crispy, hot, not greasy ... AWESOME!!!!!!!
YEP -- this happened -- I ate that much! It was about the size of a dinner plate 
 PERFECT size pizza-baked to PERFECTION!!!!!
This was tempting -- but I did not get any gelato!
I think cows are so incredibly cute ...
these cuties were enjoying a late afternoon soaking after all the rains we just had!


I just thought this was a very cool picture! With the way the sun was shining you could barely see the water and I loved the branch sticking out of the water!
I had a great time! Loved seeing great parts of mother nature, had some incredible food, and met some awesome people!
for inviting me!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Kishma is the Author of -- Dylan's Big Surprise at the Doctor

Kishma reached out to me after visiting my web-site ... she asked if I would take a look at her book ... she sent me a copy and after reading it I thought it'd be a great addition to my library at school and I will use it for our Community Helper Expedition ... there are not many children's books out there about nurses.  This is a sweet book about Dylan and his "fear" of going to the doctor to get shots. It highlights the importance of caring and passionate nurses and their impact in children's visits to  the doctor!

Here is a little about KISHMA:

Kishma at the Decatur Book Festival -- Dressed as Nurse Jennie
   Kishma is from the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Kishma participated in several plays as a child in her school's Communication Arts Showcase Program. She now lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area and has worked as a childcare provider. In December, 2014 Kishma received her Masters in Healthcare Administration. In her spare time she enjoys having fun, spending quality time with family and close friends, and writing about Dylan and his experiences.

Where did you get the idea about Dylan? 
    I was sitting in a car repair shop and was inspired by a friend who saw a picture of me and thought that I had an authors "look".  Also, I was a pre-nursing major and I, too, was afraid of shots as a child. Dylan and Nurse Jennie's character aligns with my jovial personality as well.     

What kind of books do you read?
    Biographical memoirs, romance and of course children's books!!    

What was one of your favorite author moments?
    Sitting in a crowd at the Decatur Book Festival dressed up like Nurse Jennie reading and interacting with the kids!! Also, signing my books!!     

Are you working on other books?
    Yes, I am currently working on a book titled, Dylan and the Big Toothbrush.     

How can people find out more about you and your book(s)?
     Dylan's Big Surprise at the Doctor  on Amazon
     To find out more on Facebook click on the following link
       Not So Scary Shots   
If you are a teacher and discuss Community Helpers -- this is a great book to add to your library.

If your child is a bit fearful of going to the doctor -- it's a great book to begin the discussion of what happens at the doctor and how nurses are there to help make your visit less scary ....

A great addition to this book are the DISCUSS WITH DYLAN questions at the end of the book and are perfect for parents to use to discuss an upcoming or follow-up doctor's visit ... ALSO -- teachers can use the questions for writing prompts or an opening dialog about Nurses as Community Helpers!

Thanks KISHMA for allowing me to read your book and share with my friends!