Pre-Spring storm & #50 Precious Words

Hey, everyone!  So sorry I’ve been mostly silent. I’ve been having quite a struggle with depression and tiredness and feeling overwhelmed with things going on.

Yesterday was a good day, though. In the morning my husband and I spent 1.5 hours with the man (family business) we’ve hired to build the cabinets for our new kitchen. In the afternoon he paid us a visit at our house to do final measurements and decision-making. It’s been a long complete renovation, started in summer last year, but it’s going to be so nice when completed. My husband did all the work in our remodel to this point, and has done a very fine job. Since November we’ve had our kitchen spread over, and stored in, several rooms in our house, so not an easy way to manage meals. We’re expecting that at the end of April our new cabinets will be installed, then we can get the countertop in place (a separate piece of workmanship to match our new floor – both done by our son-in-law) and have our new appliances delivered. Yes, it’s a major undertaking after 40 years of a tiny kitchen and dining area. Save and plan, plan and save.

This is exciting to me, too:

 

 

 

 

 

Today I want to show you the pretty results of a late winter/pre-spring snow storm that came upon us yesterday and last night. Apparently, many areas – including at my house – lost power and phone lines – but not here at my dad’s. The snow is very wet, so extra heavy, and as you can see in these first photos it weighed trees right down over roads. Some we could drive under but others were so low it meant driving around them and hoping to not meet vehicles coming the other way. Unfortunately, the best shots were blurred since we were moving and swerving (cautiously to get under).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next 4 are of the view out my dad’s windows at 8:00 this morning. Snow is falling off the trees in big whomps! so when out there one does not want to be under the trees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had barely any snow left anywhere before yesterday. Winter’s last hurrah, we hope.

A final note: There is a writing challenge called #50 Precious Words in its second year and created by Vivian Kirkfield. Entry time is over now and the many brief stories are posted for your enjoyment and are being judged. One of my stories, simplified and changed, is posted near the end of the comments/stories. I expect nothing special to come from it in the form it’s in, but it’s there anyway. You can read all the stories HERE.

What’s going on in your life as we approach a new season? I’d love to hear about it.  ♥

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

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Book Review: Excellent Ed – by Stacy McAnulty

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Excellent Ed
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Julia Sarcone-Roach
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Date: 2016
Genre: Picture book; preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99
My rating: Enjoyable story showing everyone is excellent 
at something

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty is an enjoyable and funny read. But more than that, it is encouraging and hopeful.

The Ellis family had many talents. Each child excelled in something, but Ed, their dog, didn’t seem to excel in anything positive.

What the five children did Ed didn’t do in quite the same way. He was not allowed to eat at the table with the rest of the family, or sit on the couch, or use the inside bathroom. And he had to stay home when everyone else left in the van. He just couldn’t understand why. Julia Sarcone-Roach‘s fun illustrations reveal to the reader the reason … one hint – Ed could be quite destructive.

Ed wanted to be excellent too so he would be allowed to do what they did, only he always seemed to make a big troublesome mess of things. Each time he thought of something that maybe would earn him that privilege, one of the children excelled in his or her more acceptable way. Poor Ed began to think he wasn’t good enough to be part of the family! Then one day he was praised for being excellent at something without even trying! It was so easy he didn’t even have to change himself.

The subtle message in Stacy McAnulty‘s Excellent Ed is that we’re all good at something and we are okay just the way we are. It’s a wonderful story with a funny ending, and with great illustrations by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

You can find Excellent Edwritten by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

The Valentiny stories are ready for your vote

Hi, Everyone!

Sorry I haven’t posted in over a week. I’ve been swamped.

I’m writing now to let you know the Valentiny stories are ready for your vote – if you are interested in participating in that. It’s very easy.  Susanna Hill has posted the twelve she and her helpers feel are the best ones and she’s made it easy for voting. Just read the twelve little stories, and then select in the poll the one you like best. I’ve voted.  And, no, mine didn’t make the cut.

Thank you so very much for all the kind and encouraging comments about my story.

 

 

 

GO HERE TO VOTE.

I’m still plodding along – reading many books, mostly picture books (as you can see on my books I read this year page), and hoping that I’m learning as I go. I’m behind in the writing class I’m taking (no surprise) but I find that interruptions – frequent interruptions – set me back a lot. It’s frustrating.

So, that’s all for this time.

Have you written anything fun lately? or read a book I might be interested in?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

and blessings on your day.

My entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny Contest

It’s that time of year again! Valentine’s Day is coming up and Susanna Leonard Hill has issued her writing challenge. Here’s what she wrote on her blog:

write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is hopeful!  Your someone can hope for something good or something bad.  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone hopeful (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using hopefulness and success in making us feel the hopefulness!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

If YOU want to enter her contest there is still time if you are reading this before the cut off date. If you don’t want to enter, please go to her blog anyway and read all the stories. I think you’ll even have opportunity to vote.

Here is my attempt in 208 words, I hope you like it:

                                          A Hopeful Valentine

You don't enjoy my sticky hugs, but helped me catch some icky 
bugs,
And when my best cap blew away, you gave me yours to wear
today.

A bully pushed me to the ground, but quickly knew the grief he'd 
found;
Because I'm small you stood for me, you stared him down, he let 
me be.
You held my hand to cross the street, and bought for me an ice-
cream treat.

At home you said to go away, to find some other place to play.
It's not my fault your vase got trashed and all your smelly flowers 
smashed.

You hung a sign upon your door, YOU CAN'T COME IN HERE
ANYMORE!
"Don't touch my stuff! Leave me alone! And NO, you can't play on
my phone!
Don't bother me, you little pest! Stop bugging me, I need a rest!"

I'm sorry! do you want a kiss?, I hope you'll soon get over this, 
Because when I'm afraid at night, you welcome me and hug me 
tight.

When you calm down I have for you a card I made with sparkle 
glue.
It's not a mushy valentine, because you are already mine;
You're my big sis and I love you, and by the way, you need more 
glue.



Thanks for reading, and ... Creative Musings!  :)  

Book Review: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! – by Karen Beaumont

 

 

 

 

 

Book: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!
Author: Karen Beaumont
Illustrator: David Catrow
Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: April 1, 2005
Genre: Picture book; age 4-7; Gr Preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99, hardcover
My rating: An excellent book in every way!

This is one of the select few picture books I would not want to have missed – ever.

First of all, look at the cover illustration! That child is creating a blissful experience, totally immersed in his art. 🙂

On the inside of the jacket it says “To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” … so I sang it merrily – albeit rather badly – to my dad. And he enjoyed it. Dear man.  :)

This story is hilarious! Karen Beaumont‘s words fit perfectly with the rhythm of the song, and David Catrow‘s illustrations? Oh. My. Gosh. Stunning. Full of expression and colour and fun and hilarity.

The little boy loves painting. The problem is, everything is his canvas. Everything. By the time he has painted the floor and the walls his mother enters the room. “WHAT?” Immediately the paints are put up onto a high closet shelf. Undeterred, he climbs a pile of teetering props – with his little dog nervously watching – and rescues his beloved paints.

This is where the story really kicks in. To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More”, our little artist begins painting himself, his dog, and everything he missed before. The way Karen Beaumont has each page spread and page turn planned out is so funny with the illustrations. It gives the reader the opportunity to guess what’s coming next and the clue is in the rhyme. Yes, this is a beautiful rhyming book! Right to the very last page there is humour and rhythm. It’s delightful.

Karen Beaumont has other picture books out, and a new one coming this year. You can find I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

About books and writing them

It’s the first day of February and I am happy to say that I am now a student of Susanna Leonard Hill’s picture book class called Making Picture Book Magic! Susanna teaches small personalized classes that run for a month each. I chose to sign up for February to follow immediately after Storystorm which was the whole month of January. 

Storystorm, run by Tara Lazar, was very inspirational, as usual, and yet it seemed a little different this year but I can’t say just how. All I know is that the ideas I got this time around seem to be improved over previous years in that there were a greater number of possibilities among them. I had more clear ideas for stories whereas in past years they were more vague with many as simply titles and character names. My total this year, after the month of brainstorming, is 41 ideas for stories.

So, back to Making Picture Book Magic … Susanna gave us a list of books she suggests we read if we can, so, of course, I made my requests at the library. I have a few of those books now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also had already been going book crazy – about which my librarians are very happy – and I have “a few” others out now. You can see for yourself.

 

 

They’re three views of the same box of 90 books, most of which are picture books. Another 60+ are on hold for me and will arrive as they’re available.

So, yes, you can guess I’ve been doing a lot of reading; over 100 books in January as recorded on my Books I read in 2018 page. I’ve immersed myself in picture books with the occasional chapter book or novel tossed into the mix. Maybe that’s why my Storystorming was improved this year.  hmm

My only regret is that my book reviews here on my blog have been lessened, and the books that are in my queue to review are still … in queue. I apologize to those authors waiting to see theirs highlighted here. I have yet to figure out how to make progress in my own writing while keeping up everything else, too. Even on Goodreads I write mostly short blurbs after reading a book, but that’s something.

Now I have to get back to my notes for the writing class.

Will you share with me what you have found works for you when you want to learn something? Do you take classes? Do you immerse yourself in trial and error? Do you shadow someone who has the experience? What do you do?

Happy February everyone!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Plugging along, and quotes for readers and writers

I should have been twins. 

If I were twins I could divide between myself all the things I want less to do so that it takes half the time to do them. Then all I want to do and have the most interest and desire for can be enjoyed … giving me a better chance to feel accomplished in completing things – or getting better at them.

Or maybe not.

If I were twins I would most likely take on twice as much, get hopelessly overwhelmed with no recovery possible, and continue to not have enough of me to go around.

So, I am plugging along. Not getting nearly as much accomplished as I want to. Being way too tired too much of the time. And behind as usual. Almost hopelessly behind with little chance of catching up. That’s me, plugging along.

The good news is, I found some quotes to share with you today.

For the writers:

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later i can build castles. – shannon hale

I like that quote. 🙂 

Now this one for readers:

ordinary people have big tvs. extraordinary people have big libraries. – Robin Sharma

I think I would have a fairly decent-sized library if I could shelve all of my books in one room. I’m aiming for a big library. One day I hope to be that organized. 🙂

And a final one for today:

Dinosaurs didn’t read. Now they’re extinct.

Keep reading, folks! 🙂

Anything you want to say about anything today?  What book(s) are you reading – or writing – now?  🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂