Why Children (and you) Should Write Authors

When an adult reads a book they love they often tell people about it or write an online review. Often that online review gets back to the author. But when kids read a book they love, they often don’t do either.

A few years back, my daughter and I did a book club. Our first read? The Mother-Daughter Book Club. Fitting, right? My daughter loved it and wanted to check out the author’s website. Most authors have a site and usually a contact page/email. After writing her thoughts, my daughter was delighted when the author immediately responded.

The author thanked Kat for the encouragement to keep writing at a time when she was feeling discouraged. Now, there are six books in the series! We’re not saying my daughter can take credit for the successful series, but we like to think it. (;

Now my son has guest-posted here a few times about another series, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. He liked it so much he made a Halloween costume out of it:

He went to the author’s website and found out the author was having costume contest.  What luck!  An email later, and my son got a personal response from the author.  The author liked his costume so much that in return he was going to illustrate Sam wearing it.  A few weeks later, we got this in the mail:

It cracked us up! Not to mention that Sam is now likely to be a forever fan of whatever the author does.

So if your kids got books for Christmas or from the library,  check out the author together! Sure, some authors don’t respond, but in general it’s a win-win.  Writers are encouraged to keep writing, and readers encouraged to keep reading.  Perfect activity for holiday break.

Happy Reading!

Fun Ways to Prep for Christmas

I love those Pixar people. They know how to tell a story.  And a few years ago they made my favorite Christmas movie, Prep and Landing:

Why is it my favorite? Aside from the fact that it’s 22 minutes of engaging non-stop entertainment with layers of plot and character development, aside from the fact that it seems they were spying on what happens in our house on Christmas Eve, it always makes me stop and think.

Wayne is a senior elf that has wholeheartedly done Christmas year after year. Been there done that. I know it’s just an animated flick but it just goes to show it’s good storytelling: Whenever I watch his character, I can’t help but think of myself and my family. Have we become lukewarm not just to the thoughts of Christmas but to the wonder and amazement of the gospel?

We all know that we’re celebrating that Jesus was born. Most of us get why we celebrate. But it’s easy to wonder why do we do the decorations, the presents, the cards, the expense, the hassle of running around and exhausting ourselves?
Symbolism, traditions… yes. Fun memories… or at least memories? Definitely.

What I want my kids to look at, what the funny elf learned to look at, is the fruit of Christmas:
People don’t demand gifts, they give gifts.
It’s a time, a reminder, to purposefully think about others instead of ourselves.
We search for ways to show our love to others.
And all of it is an opportunity to retell the birth of our Savior. When you hear it, if you’ve heard it “a million times” it might not hit you in the chest, but often when you tell it something happens and it stirs your heart.

So if this sounds like a fun conversation/family night. Here is some silly fun to go with it! My favorite are the gingerbread men scanners.
Have a look at the disney version then ours and you’ll have yourself a good laugh.

Happy Holidays!

Fast DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater

Inevitably, once a year my eldest gets invited to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party.  Maybe you plan ahead and have an ugly christmas sweater like this one , but I have never put that as a priority in the shopping list.

If you’re in the same boat – here’s a fast and easy ugly christmas sweater: just attach stockings!  Stockings are great because you can put a loose stitch in every couple of inches and it’s hidden because of the two layers of the sock. Then add an ornament or two on the shoulders and you’re good to go.  Maybe next year we’ll add some battery christmas lights!

Happy Ugly Sweater Fun!

Silly Fun Ornaments

In case you hadn’t thought of it already, our rappelling bookmarks make awesome ornaments!  Use the same directions, just skip the tassels!

I had envisioned a holiday photo shoot to make these but as the schedule and to-do lists didn’t leave room, I just used the old bookmark photos and added a little photo fun with Picasa. You could use any painting software or photo software to do the same.  Just add a dash of red and white and you have silly ornaments that make you smile!

At least they make me smile!

And here’s some clean fiction I can recommend for the holidays too!