MIXED: A COLORFUL STORY by Arree Chung is what we all need to read

Published: 2018

Age: 3-7

Themes: Accepting differences, love, understanding, community

Let me first say, I just discovered this book and it is WONDERFUL! I read it to both my 7 and 5, and they both enjoyed it for similar and different reasons. One, it’s a colorful tale that starts with the primary colors living in harmony until RED decides they are the best. The other colors disagree and then segregate. Until one day, a yellow takes a liking to blue, they MIX and make a new color they call GREEN. The story unfolds and new colors start mixing with non like colors and in doing so, make a more beautiful colorful world.

Why I like this story: To start, it can teach young children colors. For the older children in the picture book age group, there are opportunities for educating children about diversity and love. The first learning lesson is that the story is about loving someone despite the color of their skin in a way they can understand. I made sure ask questions as I read to my children.

For example, when the colors are segregated, I asked them how they looked. They both responded sad. Yes! The colors were happier together. Then in the story where yellow and blue mix, they make a new beautiful green color. I told my kids the color of our skin doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside, how kind, loving and caring a person is that’s important. I gave them a real life example of my friend’s sister who married a man with a different skin color than hers. They had a baby with a beautiful new skin color all his own. This made sense. So not only does this book provide a cute colorful story, it provides an opportunity for parents to discuss the theme of love and diversity.

I highly recommend this book. Happy reading!

So we’re getting a puppy…

Shhhh….don’t tell my kids! That’s the first thing you need to know before reading on. And yes, after 7 years of not having a dog, we’re taking the plunge…because…take a look at this picture I call Exhibit A.

These fluffies belong to my kids. They took this after the dog finished their OLYMPIC GAMES. Yes, this is them…on the podium stand… receiving their “medals”. Now let’s move along to Exhibit B.

Here, the dogs are being taken for a walk. Yep, in a baby stroller because that’s the only way to walk a STUFFED ANIMAL. They love their dogs, and make sure that even in cold,winter like weather, their dogs get some fresh air.

These dogs are definitely loved, and luckily we live on a street with lots of dogs. My kids have pretty much adopted every dog as their own. This has tided them over for many years. But that only works for so long.

Seeing their love for animals, how kind and gentle they are with other dogs, AND and the fact that my husband and I have always wanted a dog led us to cdfinally deciding to get one of our own. Is this a good idea? Well, puppies/dogs are a lot of work, need a lot of care, but….they’re also really wonderful. I’m excited to see where this trail takes us and will post pictures when we pick up our new member in August (if everything goes according to plan).

I wanted to share something fun and light-hearted during this trying times. And what could be more light-hearted than getting a puppy!?!

Dark Days

These days, things are anything but easy. Some days, its taken all of my mental courage to keep it together. I have felt down, and low, and have had moments of uncertainty and tears. If I’m feeling the darkness of COVID and isolation, I can only imagine what those battling mental illness are feeling. These are tough times, times that can darken mental illness into complete blackness.

It’s unfair.

It’s unfair for life to hand you something that you have to learn, to understand and wrap your head around. Through the doctor visits, medications, therapy, you’ve worked hard toward progress. Towards a better understanding, a better handle of your disease..and now this.

It’s unfair.

It’s unfair for life to come along and derail the progress you have made. To make you fight each and every moment harder, longer, and by yourself.

It’s unfair.

Know there are people out there who love you, who are waiting to see you after all of the restrictions are lifted. Life wants more from you. I do not know you, but am rooting for you, cheering you on. I wish you light during these dark times.

If you are feeling unsafe please please reach out to someone. Friends, family, anyone that can help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.1-800-273-8255

What to get a graduate

It’s that time of year when you ask yourself….what should I get the graduate? There’s always money, and who doesn’t love that? BUT, but….maybe, just maybe, think outside the regular pinterest/etsy list and be bold…be daring…be unconventional.

As some of you may know, I write picture books. It is only natural, then, for me to have stumbled upon a BEAUTIFUL picture book. It speaks of finding out who you are, staying true to yourself, and to…. “Dream your own dreams, hear your own heart, you could change the world, you just have to start.” – the great Pat Zietlow Miller.

I believe there is a picture book for every season and special life moment. One for healing, for happiness, for indecision, and one to inspire. THIS IS THAT BOOK. I know what you’re thinking….a picture book….for a graduate? YES! YES she cries with all her might. This book is so beautiful, so inspiring, it speaks of holding on to one self, about making a difference, sharing what you’re good at and not changing who you are, where ever you are. If that doesn’t sound like a great book to have your graduate read before embarking on the next phase of their life, then I am speechless (which doesn’t happen to often).

My next door neighbor doesn’t know it yet, but i’m going to gift her this book. (Shhh, don’t tell her!) Will she look at my and wonder why I’m giving her this book. Yes, yes she will. But once she reads it, she’ll understand. And now more than ever, we need to support those who have gone through such a unceremonial end to their schooling.

This book has heart, and love. I tear up every time I read it. So, instead of money, maybe try this book…and a gift card ūüôā

BE the good in the world.

Today, I started crying

This is the first time I’ve posted anything since February. COVID hit, changed all of our lives, and I just couldn’t bring myself to talk here. I held my cards to my chest, steeled my core and kept a schedule for my kids to keep life for them as normal as possible.

I did tear up a few times but tried to keep it together. I needed to have it together so I could be their teacher everyday, their mom, their friend, their opponent at cards (which they seriously beat me at UNO all the time) and their buddy. With all of this, I had to block out the outside world. Anytime I would read the news, I was reminded how fortunate we’ve been that our family was healthy and safe. COVID has brought such devastation to so many lives and I can’t even truly grasp it’s horrible actions.

Tears.

My 7 year old have their last virtual meeting with their class. Their wonderful teacher put together a slide show that played Jason Mraz “Have it All” in the background and I cried. I cried because of the lyrics, because of the fact that my kids didn’t get to have class in school with their friends and their teachers. I cried that this virus has ROBBED so many of graduations, proms, final seasons of sports. I can’t imagine not having the last few months of my senior year be at school. Heartbreaking. I cried for those who have lost their lives, for families that have been torn apart. I cried for those who died without family around them, and for the families who haven’t been able to have a proper burial.

Healing.

All of this does not sit well with me. Now that I am letting myself feel, the tears come more freely. How do we pick up? Start over or start again? How do we heal? One day at a time. It’s hard to move past something that still has a firm grasp on our lives. I can only pray for the medical profession, the scientists, doctors nurses and all hospital staff. May they develop a vaccine, get the care THEY need and deserve.

I am thinking of everyone today. And hope, hope that healing is just around the corner.

Spring Fling Writing Contest: HERO OF SPRING

First, I hope everyone is staying safe during these difficult times. My prayers go out to each one of you.

As you can tell from the post title, I’m entering Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez’s Spring Fling Writing Contest. I love writing contests. It pushes my creativity and is a great outlet, especially during times like these. This one requires a word count of no more than 150 words, must revolve around a Spring theme and be kid friendly. I had fun writing this and I hope you enjoy it!

Hero of Spring (Word Count 148)
Groundhog: "I don't feel like going outside today."

Worm: "But they're all waiting for you!"

Groundhog: "No."

Worm: "With cameras and news reporters!"

Groundhog: "Still no."

Worms: "And balloons and cake!"

Groundhog: "Can you go out for me this year?"

Worm: "Me?"

Groundhog: "Yeah... yeah. You could crawl up, look for your shadow and oh...be the hero."

Worm: "Me? A hero!"

Groundhog: "Yes! The Hero of Spring!"

Worm: "Well, that does have a nice ring to it. I'll do it!"

Groundhog: "Perfect." 

Worm: "What should I wear? This is my big day after all."

Groundhog: "You can't be serious. You're a worm."

Worm: "Fashion show! I'll be back with my outfits!"

Worm wiggles off.

Groundhog: "Outfits? Fashion show? I'm out of here!" 

In a panic to escape, Groundhog scurries left, and climbs up, 
up
up 
to find….
his shadow!
Groundhog: ‚ÄúTricked again! That‚Äôs one slippery worm!‚ÄĚ 

We could use some love right about now

Hi everyone. I’m not going to sugar coat this, these times are tough. Whether your juggling children and work, or sick family members, or just trying to safely wrap your head around the state of our world, the word “challenge” comes to mind. If I’m being honest, I’m not feeling 100% sunny either. You can only block out so much of the negative before it starts impacting you. It did that to me yesterday and I found myself short on patience. (Which is when I feel the worst about how I act.)

So I’m trying to dig myself out. I baked banana bread yesterday and that helped a little, but sadly it wasn’t a cure. So what else? What else can I do to make myself feel better? What do you do when you feel lower than normal?

Exercise does come to mind, but eh. I do plan on taking my kids for a walk, which is always an adventure. They’re 7 and 5 and still get excited over how many worms they can find on the sidewalk after it rains, or pointing out cool things they see. Seeing the world through their eyes helps me, and even writing this tweaks at my heart. See, I can’t just crawl into bed and give up for the day. There are two beautiful beings, my two hearts, that walk around on this world….a world that has been turned upside down.

I’ve explained why we have to stay home from school and from their friends. I’ve told them that there’s a virus making people sick and to keep from getting sick or spreading it to our friends and family, we need to stay home. I told them that we want to keep Gigi (they’re 96 year old great grandma) healthy. They’ve accepted this and occasionally ask questions. But for the most part, they’re happy to play at home and do their school work.

I do know this isn’t always how it is. There are fears and anxiety children feel. These are real and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Children need us to help them figure out their emotions, and we need to be there for them. We are their protectors, we are the adults in this relationship. I will pray for everyone out their and send thoughts of support. I can’t do much more than that, and I know it doesn’t really help, but I hope just knowing someone is thinking of you, rooting for you, wishing you peace and calmness maybe gives you a little extra strength. We all could use a little love right now. Let’s try to do our best to be kind to one another because we’re all in this together.

Loss During Corona Virus

We are all experiencing some kind of loss because of the Corona virus. Whether it’s the loss of freedom, normal daily routine, free time, jobs, income, or a loved one, this is a challenging time. Never did I expect that I would be isolating myself and my family in our home to protect us and others.

When change happens, it’s usually difficult to adjust. If the change is expected, at least you can prepare for it mentally and emotionally. This change, however, came without warning…drastically altering our lives in every aspect. It leaves us asking, “How do we cope? What do we do? How long will it be like this?”

Lets look at the first question, how do we cope. The easy answer is the best you can. But how? To be honest, it will be different for everybody. What I can say is that panicking, taking pictures of empty shelves, or fighting in the store for items is not going to help anyone. These actions only increase negativity. Let’s try to join together as a community (in theory because we need to be social distancing) and remember we are all in this together.

If you are like me, I’m ordered to stay at home. I’ve been teaching my two young children and explaining things to them in a non threatening manner. I am a stay at home mom and do not have to juggle work. I can’t imagine trying to work full time and teach my children. My husband is working from home and adjusting to his new “office”.

To cope, we make time for ourselves. We read the news, which I don’t recommend doing all day. Try to do other things to distract yourself because too much focus on Corona virus isn’t going to be healthy. Stay informed, but try not to make it your main focus. Life needs balance to be healthy. Try other things like baking, reading, writing, painting, coloring with your kids, playing cards, board games, cleaning your home, or if you can…go outside. If you have a backyard, you can have your children find examples of spring (blooming flowers, grass, buds on trees.) If you have snow, try making a snow angel, foot prints, look for animal tracks, let them write in the snow with food coloring. (Pinterest is wonderful for crafts and ideas for children.) I don’t know what your situations are, but I did want to at least reach out to you know we are in this together.

Feel free to write me. I’m here to listen….and wish you well.

Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words Contest

Hi everyone and happy Saturday. Today I am entering Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 precious words writing contest. Below is my entry followed by the guidelines for the contest if you’d like to enter. It really encourages creativity and…it’s fun! Have a great weekend!

Playful Puddles

Janie sits
by the sill
as the gray draws near.

She grabs her coat
jumps in her boots
and thunders
out the door.
 
She holds her breath…
anticipates.
The magic’s
almost here.
 
Then presents plop,
            drip and
                        drop!
 
She jumps.
 
SPLASH!
 
She smiles
and laughs.
 
Spring
is finally here.



  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, that has a total word count of 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. he contest officially opens today, Saturday, February 29, in this special post on my blog.
  6. Between February 29 and March 5, post your story in the comments of this special contest blog post. If you have a blog of your own and want to post it there also, that is terrific‚Ķplease add the link to your comment so we can all go and visit you there.  Also, please make sure you put your name in the post.
  7. Only ONE entry per person, please.
  8. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Thursday, March 5, at 11:59pm.
  9. Winners will be announced Saturday, March 21.
  10. Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too! There are critiques with EDITORS, seats in WRITING CLASSES, CRITIQUES by published authors, SIGNED PICTURE BOOKS…and more. The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please.

CHICKS RULE! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen Illustrated by Renee Kurilla

Theme: girl power, self belief, teamwork, ingenuity, perseverance

Publication: 2019

Age: 3-8

Let me just start by saying I LOVE THIS BOOK! It’s such a call to arms/ wings really, so to speak. This book starts with a chick on her way to a space rocket meeting. She’s excited. She’s enthusiastic. She’s…..not welcomed?! The nerve of that club excluding chicks! Well, this chick marches on, and finds other wonderful chicks that specialize in everything from art, to construction, to coding and more. They all come together and decide to use their skills and talents to make something together.

My daughter loved this book. My SON loved this book and asked me to read it again! The illustrations are beautiful! It’s colorful, it RHYMES, which is honestly, a talent in itself. I’ve tried to rhyme and failed. This book does so flawlessly.

I highly recommend this book! (If you can’t tell). It’s a great book to read aloud, and I guarantee you will be asked to read it again, and again.

Happy reading and re-reading!