It’s here! Investigator Anne – Case #3: Unexpected Excavation

I’m so excited to introduce my newest eBook!  Investigator Anne is on the case again!

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Overview

Investigator Anne finds herself in another adventure as she makes an amazing discovery while building the gumshoe crew’s clubhouse. As they work together to build their new headquarters, their construction site turns into a truly unexpected excavation. This time, Anne has to protect their precious discovery as the gumshoe crew solves a mystery millions of years in the making.
Throughout the adventure, there is a subtle science emphasis. In this book, kids learn about different energy sources and simple problem-solving skills. The book includes a glossary of terms, and a fun do-at-home science activity about renewable energy. Your kids will love reading this book, and they will learn about science and problem-solving along the way. The end of the book also includes fun historical facts about some of the characters and topics in the book.

You can purchase this book HERE.

Outdoor fun in a tiny, boring, backyard

Right now, our backyard is pretty boring.  At least that’s what my kids say almost everyday.  I agree with them though.  Our new backyard is very small and there’s no room for a playset or trampoline or anything.  There’s also a whole lot of wildlife, which makes planting anything interesting near impossible.  We make enormous efforts to go to fun parks and places that are more fun…but sometimes mommy needs to do those boring mommy jobs (laundry, dishes, cleaning…more laundry) and the kids have to settle with playing in the boring backyard.  Anyway, lately we’ve tried to make the boring backyard a little more fun.  Here’s what we’ve come up with.

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Non-messy, cool-offy water painting! 

Yes, paint on the cement with water.  It’s brilliant, don’t you think?  No stains, no mess, get cooled off and the kids feel like they are painting.  They can make cute drawings, and then the drawing just dries up.  I really like this activity . Smile

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Fun with cars!

Sometimes we’ve made car cities on the patio with masking tape.  You could use sidewalk chalk too, but this is less messy.  They can crawl all over the city, driving the cars around, and not get chalk all over their clothes.

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They even made a ramp for car races, and used a tub of water for a “car wash.”  I put a shade tent up to keep them out of the sun.  They thought that was pretty cool too.

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The “car wash” tub soon turned into a mini splash pool.

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Any room in there for me too?  This little yard and mini pool is pretty fun, but I have to say, I’m pretty excited for the big pools to open soon!  Smile

Piano Makeover

So lately, I’ve been on a kick with painting furniture.  Some friends of mine introduced me to the fabulous Annie Sloan Chalk paint.  I was hesitant at first because my past furniture-painting experiences hadn’t been so great.  I took the plunge though, and decided to try it out.  I’m SO glad I did.  I painted a large table for my kids’ study room, and just tackled the piano.  As an illustrator, I’ve use SO many kinds of paints and know their textures and how they react.  I am in love with these beautiful paints.  They are super easy to use—no primer necessary, for real.  Love it!

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Here is the before picture.  I taped off the piano keys, a very tedious but worthwhile process.  Then I began painting.

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I went for a pretty distressed look.  I’m a total texture person.

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I made a paper pattern to make the Chevron stripes.  I used it to lightly pencil in the design, then I taped it off and painted the zig-zags.  (It took me about an hour just to tape it off.  Is there an easier way?  Probably, but I don’t know what.)

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I bought some new hardware for the pulls, and there you go.  The finished piano.  Now I need to do the corner of the room where my desk is.  Next project, here we come. Smile

Homemade Car City

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Today we decided to do an activity that my little boy would love.  Too many times my 4 girls are doing very girly crafts.  I decided it was high time they made something that my boy would love to do too.DSC08292

We started by getting a poster board for each child.  Each poster was each child’s city.  We taped off the spaces for the roads, making sure that all the roads connected to the other poster boards.  .DSC08291

We used paint color sample cards for the parking lots, and printed some clip art to use for the buildings, parks, stores, etc. in each city.  Each city was built with it’s own unique style and flare.  Some had pet stores, candy store, toy stores, etc.  They also made bike trails and parks and schools too.

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My little boy was pretty thrilled with this activity.

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Here are all the cities attached together.

I loved this activity because it made the kids think and problem-solve each road and space, as well as having to be creative.  I love projects like this, that the kids will spend several hours creating, and then spend days playing with.  It’s definitely worth a few dollars in poster board and tape.  My 1-year-old, however liked to play the part of natural disasters in the cities, by tearing the pictures off.  I’m thinking it would be a good idea to get it laminated.  But all-in-all, this was a fun activity.

Book Nook

Where is your kids’ favorite place to read?

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I’ve caught my kids reading in countless places.  This one was pretty unique though.  I love that they love to read…no matter where it may be.

Right now I have several kids reading at different levels.  One of them loves to read non-fiction nature books.  I have another child who just started the Harry Potter series for the first time.  She started three weeks ago and is nearly done with book 5!  It’s always so fun to see my kids get into a series.

What do your kids like to read?

The Night Before Christmas

It’s not even the night before Christmas and Santa is here!  Okay, well, his book is here…and that means Santa’s arrival is just around the corner.

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I had so much fun creating the illustrations for this book.  It was a privilege working with Clement Clarke Moore’s delightful poem.  Even though the well-known poem was written close to 200 years ago, the story is timeless.

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In this great new eBook, the text has been updated from it’s original version to help kids identify with the story a little better.  For example, the children in the story dream of candy canes instead of sugar plums, and the story is told by the house cat.  It is a delightful story filled with Christmas magic and tradition. The complete 1823 original poem is included at the end of the book.

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Here is a peek at one of the pages.  Don’t you just love the words?  Clement Clarke Moore’s brilliant rhythm and imagery have shaped what we now think of as Santa Claus—a plump, jolly fellow with rosy cheeks and a twinkle in his eye.  It was so much fun illustrating this eBook, and I hope you and your family will enjoy reading it just as much as I did creating it.  Wishing you a very happy Christmas season!  You can find this book online at Barnes & Noble, just click HERE.

Mermaid Wall Decals

I StickUp just shared this cute video they made of my Mermaid Decal designs.  Carmen is so cute and she did a great job decorating her room.

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Click this link to see the video and get more information about the decals.

http://www.istickup.com/blogs/news/6629948-video-mermaid-wall-decals-for-carmens-bedroom

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Enjoy your beautiful room Carmen!

Dream Big – Printables

The American Library Association’s summer reading program is “Dream Big.”  I created a few Dream Big printables for those of you out there who are interested in enhancing your children’s summer reading.  Enjoy!

 

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NEW! Bunny’s Easter Surprise (eBook)

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This little Easter book was so much fun to create.  This fluffy bunny finds meaning in Easter when he sets out on an Easter egg hunt and finds a bird nest. Click on the pic, or check it out here.

NEW! Mary Reads Sight Word Books

This is the beginning of a fun new series for beginning readers.books

These are early sight word readers designed for kids who are learning how to read. The first part of each book has a series of “flashcard” words to practice and learn. The last part of each book has a fully illustrated storybook that uses sight words learned with the “flashcards.” Throughout the book, the Mary character gives encouragement and helpful hints with those certain “tricky” words. These books were inspired by my own Mary and the character in these books is the younger sister of Anne, from the “Investigator Anne” series for older readers.  Just click HERE to see the books on Barnes & Noble.  Just $.99 each!

To see all of my books, click HERE.