Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Look Out! I'm about to get controversial.

Being an ethnic minority at my high school taught me a few things. Though I was valedictorian of my graduating class (with the best grades of the entire school I might add), I watched classmate after classmate come forward to accept their scholarships. Some of the students walked away with literally tens of thousands of dollars. I received one scholarship in the amount of $500.

In those days, the internet was still a fairly new contraption, so the best way to find grants and scholarships was through the school counselor. I’d applied for every scholarship I could, but my minority status made me ineligible for 90% of the scholarships available.

Please don’t pity me! I did get a college education and am living a very satisfying life now. But what I learned that day was that being an ethnic minority has nothing to do with the color of your skin.
Because, you see, I’m white.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?: My Blog is Moving

So, it's kind of rough right now, but I'm publishing a website at

It's already up, so you can check it out. It's far from perfect or even polished, and I'm not officially launching it at large quite yet, but I want my blog followers to get the first look at it.

For a while, I'll be publishing both here and on the new website. Eventually, though, you'll start to see "This post has migrated" messages here as I exclusively post on weebly. I keep you updated.

Why am I moving? Well, I've been getting a nasty error message on blogspot for  months, and I'm tired of it.

Thanks for following, and I hope you'll join me at my new site. :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

In the Air: Themes I'm seeing from Aspiring Authors

One of the biggest challenges I face as an aspiring kid lit author is writing something that is ahead of the trends. So when I see themes in what my critique partners and writer friends are working on, it's like a neon sign:



  5 Themes I keep seeing

(in random order):

1. Paranormal Romance

                   From Vampires and Zombies to Ghosts and Aliens, everyone is falling in love while struggling to overcome their own supernatural gifts and personalities. Some editors are still eating it up, while others would frankly like to see more humans being attracted to their own kind.

2. Mind Reading and Mind Control

                  This theme is popping up a lot in various forms and I have to confess to a work-in-progress with this in it. Twice. Maybe three times. What I don't see is many books on the market with this theme, so if you have a polished manuscript, submit it quick!  

3. Schools and Summer Camps
               Secret campuses, summer school and crazy camps are always popular among middle-grade books, but this theme might be getting a bit overused. I know a good part of a kid's life is spent in school, but isn't there anything else worth writing about?

4. Books About Bullies

                   I think most people are tired of hearing how to handle bullies from stories. The definition has been changed so much since I was kid, that I don't think I could write a convincing story about it anyway. If you have something to add to the onslaught, then more power to you. But I'm going to avoid if I can.

5. Apocalyptic Dystopian

                   I wrote a dystopian short story in college, but I never tried to get it published, for good reason. It was awful. I won't even tell you what it was about because you'll get the wrong idea. Now, I know this genre is huge right now, but when I sit down to write, I can't help but ask: "Is our future really that bleak?"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Parable of the Personal Trainer - a Fairytale

A personal trainer found himself in demand so he began interviewing prospective clients before taking them on.

One hopeful came into his appointment gushing with praise. “They say you are a miracle worker! That you can whip any body into shape.”

The trainer waved the man to a seat and began his interview:

“How often do you plan to come to the gym?”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Writer's Bloc Welcomes Erin Dealey in June

The Publishing World is Wild! Find out how Erin Dealey navigated her way into traditional publishing at 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 7, at the Placerville Library, 345 Fair Lane.
Erin Dealey writes in many genres, from board books to YA. Her picture books have taken her to school visits as far south as Brazil and as far north as Tok, Alaska. A former SCBWI co-Regional Advisor for the Califronia North/Central region, Dealey is an experienced K-12 Language Arts/ theater teacher, actor, and motivational speaker. In the summer, she heads the theater department of Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp. As a member of the Area 3 Writing Project (UCDavis), she leads writing workshops for teachers and students of all ages. She has presented at conferences for reading associations, school library associations, the California Kindergarten Conference, and SCBWI. If you're still reading this bio (thanks!), check out her Writer's Rap at http://www.erindealey.com and follow her on Twitter: @ErinDealey.
We are excited to have Ms. Dealey as one of a series of guest speakers addressing the library’s writing group, The Writers’ Bloc, which meets the first Saturday of the month. For more information on this free public event, contact the Library at (530) 621-5540 or visit the Upcoming Events calendar on the library’s website http://www.eldoradolibrary.org./

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS: Behind the Scenes with Anaiah Press

Looking for a traditional publishing house with a Christian heart? Anaiah Press just might be what you’re looking for. I went behind the scenes with managing editor Jessica Schmeidler to learn more about this digital-first publisher that is currently building its list for 2014.

JEN: Hi Jessica, can you tell me a little about what we will find at Anaiah Press?

Jessica: When you go to our website, what we hope you find is inspiration and success. We operate as a family in many respects, and I believe our website represents the fun professionalism you’ll find with us. If you have any questions regarding which Imprint your manuscript would fall under, you’ll find a list of readership and genres with the description of each of our imprints. Likewise, while we allow for a variety of content, there are three exceptions that you’ll find on our submission’s page.

JEN:  If more than one of your editors have requested a query, should I choose one or submit to all?

Jessica: You may choose between the editors who have requested, if you have a preference. Otherwise, I would send it to the editor who either first requested it or whichever editor is listed as associated with the imprint of your manuscript. We are a very close-knit family at Anaiah, so regardless of who you choose, we all have the ability to request to see it.

JEN: Most traditional publishers pair up picture book manuscripts with illustrators of their choice. However, small presses sometimes like the full package. Which do you prefer?

Jessica: We operate like many other traditional presses—once we accept a picture book for publication, we like to choose the illustrator. If the author already has his or her picture book illustrated, that’s great! Or if they have an illustrator who has offered to work on their book, we would be more than happy to consider them. Otherwise we do pair up the manuscripts with an illustrator of our choice, yes.

JEN: How interactive are your digitally published books? Do they any dynamic content? Searchable text? Links to online content?

Jessica: This is fully determinate on the book in question. Our books will be published to high digital standards. However, not all books require the same interactive features. We intend to do whatever is the most appropriate with each particular book.

JEN: Do you have any sample pages so that a reader can get a taste of your offering?

Jessica: We will be offering pre-release teasers that will be available with such offerings, yes. Most distributors allow for a bit of content to be shown, as well, and we do intend to utilize that feature.

JEN: Are your books formatted for public libraries to purchase and offer as check out?

Jessica: Our books will be available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, GooglePlay books, iTunes, as well as other, smaller retailers. Our marketing plans also include access and availability for public libraries, which will be particularly important for our middle grade books.

JEN: What specific “bad words” would never be acceptable for your list, even if they are said in character?

Jessica: Crass expletives as well as the use of our Lord’s name in vain.

JEN: How long do you anticipate a “digital print run” to be? Do you have plans in place for adapting to new operating systems? At what point are titles offered for print-on-demand? Will a “buy the print version” information be added to the ebook?

Jessica: Wow. Talk about getting right down to the nitty-gritty behind the scenes, huh? What I can tell you is that Anaiah plans to be very transparent, and any such plans will be made readily available to our readers and authors. I can also add that our picture books and illustrated early readers will be published simultaneously as both print and digital. As far as the length of digital vs print run, that is going to be, again, determined largely on a book-by-book basis.

JEN: If I publish with Anaiah, do I have to give you first look at my future manuscripts?

Jessica: Not for unrelated works, no. Of course, we hope that you’ll want to, even though you don’t have to. J

JEN: Will book trailers be a part of my publicity/marketing plan? How about quizzes and teacher's guides for picture books?

Jessica: Yes. If you head to our blog, we have already started to release several of our book trailers. As far as the academic materials, I can say that I would definitely not be opposed to such an inclusion, but we don’t have any such additions scheduled for release thus far. Eventually, I would like Anaiah to be recognized as a great place for Christian homeschoolers to turn, though. Perhaps that offers a bit more insight?

JEN: Yes it does, thank you taking the time to do this interview.

If you think Anaiah Press would be a good fit and want to know what their editors are looking for, you check out their wishlists on their website or follow them on Twitter.

About Jessica: Jessica has a bachelor's degree in English (writing & literature), a bachelor's degree in Political Science (pre-law), as well as a certificate in Paralegal Studies. She began working as a freelance writer, editor, and paralegal in January 2007. After her freelancing career bloomed, she quickly decided editing was her passion, so she temporarily benched plans for law school. Now, seven perfect years later, there is no doubt she made the right choice. Jessica plans to stay on with Anaiah Press until she can no longer see to edit. Most important note: There is nothing in this life that is more important to Jessica than her Father.

Here’s a sneak peek at her current manuscript wish lists (broken down by Imprint):

Jessica blogs and roams Twitter as The Write Shadow where she hosts pitch contests in May and October, and spends the rest of the year encouraging everyone to “Just Write It!”


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 1st is the DAY for Writing Contests!


My Check List Tomorrow:

  • Set up to Pitch my MG at the #JustPitchIt contest on Twitter. (I'll probably use HootSuite.) I'm still trying to decide whether my NF picture book fits.
  • Enter the Rafflecopter for The Writer's Voice contest hosted by this blog, and this one, and this one, and this one too!
  • Get my first pages ready for the First Five Contest this Saturday (May 3rd) and keep my eye out for more info on the First Lines Contest on this blog.
  • Tweet about the Writing Course, Contest, and Free Webinar available at The Children's Book Academy.
  • Write a Picture Book for NaPiBoWriWee.
  • Get my new play ready for the next round at Chameleon Theatre Circle (since it won't be ready to submit today). 
  • Look Forward to entering the upcoming contests in May 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Can I Hook an Agent with a Question? (A rhetorical blog of questions)

Why should you read this blog of questions?

Is it possible to make a point by not only answering every question with a question, but also taking this argument to the point to absurdity in this very blog post?

Do you want to see if I can do it?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Writing Contests - More than Just Sweepstakes

So, my friend just wrote an awesome blog post about why entering writing contests is a good idea, even if you don't win. I was going to blog my thoughts on this, but she put it so well, I'm just going to link to hers:

Lisa's Take on Writing Contests
But I have to add to number 2: don't make your pitch too similar.

Monday, April 14, 2014

May Speaker Event at Placerville Library

Eva Lisle: "Writing Your Inner Voice"

Guest Blog By Krystal Owens

   Finding your inner voice is considered to be an important factor in successful writing. But how do you find your inner voice? And, once found, how do you express it in your writing? Writer Eva Lisle addresses these and other questions at 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 3, at the Placerville Library, 345 Fair Lane.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Parable of God's History

First what is God's History? Where is it written?

One place is in the scriptures. So let us turn to the scriptures for a piece of history:

1 And the athird day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; it was well attended.
 9 Refreshments were served; the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dating That Agent: First Contact

On this journey of an aspiring author, I keep hearing the dating to marriage analogy.

The query is that first contact. It's like passing the Check Yes or No* note that says, "Do you want to go out sometime?"

So here's some DO's and DONT's I'm learning when it comes to that first contact (and sending a query):

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Aha Moment - The Difference between MG and YA

Now, for those who don't know, MG is Middle Grade and YA is Young Adult.
Got that out of the way? Good. Now the problem.
MG and YA overlap. Yep. You can have a 13-year-old protagonist in both MG and YA. Take Harry Potter (yeah, yeah, I know not Harry Potter anything but that! Bear with me...)
Harry Potter starts the series out at 11 years old. Well, that's clearly an MG, right? Nope. Harry Potter, even just the first one, is YA.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Those Facebook Social Graces

Let me tell you about my high school. I was late for the social class. I embarked on the public high school scene after being homeschooled until my sophomore year, and I was so socially backward…
Wait don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t think I was socially backward because I was homeschooled. My friend Teresa was the most un-socially backward person I know, and she was homeschooled all the way through high school. She could out-trend the top of the public school totem pole. I’m sure of it. But I was socially backward for different reasons.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Two Books that Are Officially on my Wish List

Beyond the regular writer prompts, this book invites you to use your own imagination to help the author finish this book. Tied together with a story about random pages found in the woods, Finish This Book looks like a great read... er... write. 
Now, I've never had trouble filling a diary with story upon story, yet I absolutely want this book. Each page give you a suggestion to creatively destroy this journal, and there by infuse it with your creative juices. According to the preview, among the ideas were to "Rub this page on a dirty car," and "Attach this page to another."I so want to destroy my own copy of Wreck This Journal. Knowing my history with journals, I may need two. :)

Now, I obviously haven't read either of these books, but this is one of those rare occasions that I'm breaking my own rule of "Read it before you Recommend It."

I'll be telling you if it was a wise decision when I have my copies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What is a Book Dummy?

A book dummy is when you take your story and make a "picture-book" out of it, with the text where you envision it to go.
If You are an Illustrator...
    Sometimes editors ask for dummies from illustrators, just to get an idea of their artwork across a storyline. After all, it's a lot easier to make one really cute character in one scene than to make a bunch of scenes with that character in different situations.
IF You are a Writer... 
   From writers, though, editors do NOT want to see dummies. If you are a writer, sending in a dummy shows that you haven't done your homework, and it's sure to get rejected. (Well, never say never, but why give them a reason to say no before they've even read it?) That's actually a good thing for you, because it saves a boatload of paper.
   Even though you shouldn't send a book dummy in, it is good practice to make a book dummy for yourself. Remember that books are generally 32 pages  (because the printer prints 8 pages to a sheet), with 28 of those pages reserved for the story. Try making a dummy, then rearranging the pages. You might find a better story, or you might get a good laugh (which is just as good in my opinion).
    So what do you do with all those book dummies, if you're not submitting them? I use mine to teach my kids to read. I mean, How cool is it that your kids are learning to read on your own (unpublished) picture books?
One More Note: Since I wrote this, my friend pointed out something I didn't mention. Picture books today tend to have more illustrations spanning two pages, so when you're making those dummies, it is a good idea to think in terms of 14 page spans rather than 28 single pages.

Nick and Tesla's Science Book

I planned to blog a glowing review for this book, and Amy beat me to it! So, I'll just let you read hers.

The Scientific Mom: Nick and Tesla's Robo Kitty Dog Distractor!: My daughter loves to read. Ever since she entered the world of chapter books and young novels, her voracious appetite for reading has b...

Can The Scientific Mom get any more awesome?

I think not. But she keeps surprising me!

I heard about Nick and Tesla from Amy, read their book myself.
It's every bit as cool as she says it is. Science Bob has provided some stiff competition for my unpublished The Super Scientific Notebook of Jay Adams.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Parable of the Earth

When the Earth was flat and riding on the back of a turtle, most of the world was seriously concerned about their loved ones falling off and being eaten. I'm sure several tried to dissuade their friends and family from taking the trip.

Now the Earth is round (well, almost) and careening recklessly around the sun. And now we have a new serious concern: Global Warming.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Parable of the Top 10 Percent

Parable of the Top Ten Percent


Today's parable is not a new one. In fact, it comes from one Jesus Christ himself told.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Speaker Event at Placerville Library



Writing World Insights at the Library

Guest Blog Post by Krystal Owens 


Calling all writers! Looking for insights into the writing world? Writer Lori Moore shares her experiences and answers questions on writing to a faith-based audience at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 5, at the Placerville Library, 345 Fair Lane.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do We Really Use Common Core in our everyday lives?

I think the answer is C: Yes And No.

Scenario: I'm on a shopping trip. I buy diapers, clothing, shoes, food, and I have a coupon for toilet paper. Oh, I have to buy a few things for my charity. I fill my cart and proceed to the checkout. An associate scans my purchases (the charity stuff first), bags everything and hands me the two receipts. Now, let's go back to the empty shopping cart. For simplicity sake, let's say I only have my two youngest with me. Did I use Common Core?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review and Point of View!

I just read an awesome book called The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester (2008). In it, Piper can fly and that causes problems. So she's sent to a top secret school where they promise to fix her. But Piper soon finds out that being fixed is worse than dealing with the problems she caused at home.
I highly recommend this book not only for its story but for the way the author skillfully changes the pov from one character to another.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Should I Point Out Your Typo?

Let's Face It: We make mistakes.

I make them.

You make them.

Even She makes them.

And in this online world of POST-IT NOW, mistakes abound. But whenever I see one, I always pause. Should I mention it?

Now, I know that if I have a typo, I'd want to know about it. Just don't insult me when you point it out. That's kind of rude.

But not everyone wants their mistakes pointed out. Some would

Monday, March 3, 2014

My "Not" Poem

It lurks in ALMOST
It’s a five-tailed cat
And ten-hooved pony,
It eats up HAPPY
 Speeds up SLOW
And slows down HURRY,
Yep, I think NOT is wonderful word
Though it’s the most negative thing I’ve heard.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The SELF Rule

The stage is in my blood. I was hooked from the first play I saw. The way I remember it, My Dad was the star (he played a chimney sweep) and I was wearing a brand new dress with white pantaloons underneath. I remember my dad also played a grey mouse in another play, and later directed several others.

Sometimes I lined up my stuffed animals and dolls like an audience on my daybed and tilted my bedside lamp like a spotlight. My toys must have attended thousands of my plays. (Most people don't know that... Well, I guess they do now!)

When I was in high school, I wrote The Dramatic Handbook for an assignment in English class. It had all of my best tips and tricks to put on a great show. Below is an excerpt from it, "The S.E.L.F. rule"

Friday, February 21, 2014

The 3 Components of Reading

Learning to read can be broken down into three components:

1. Decoding
2. Comprehension
3. Interest


1. Decoding - The *What* of Reading

This is the component most reading curriculum concentrates on. From recognizing sight words to sounding out CVC's to breaking words into their roots, prefixes and suffixes, decoding is probably the easiest component of reading to teach. The student reader doesn't have to know the meaning of the word in order to pronounce it correctly.

My daughter is a decoding queen...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thank You for Checking Out my Blog

"I checked out your blog."
I've heard this a couple of times in the last few days. This statement usually incites an internal war of feelings in me.

I'M HONORED       VRS.       WHOA, WHAT?
First, the thought that I might get someone curious enough to even look at my blog is amazing to me. I know so many awesome people, and the idea that I might be awesome, too, is a little unnerving.
Second, I'm really hoping I haven't launched my blog prematurely. I'm still learning the ins and outs of blogging, and I know I am making rookie mistakes. So I really hope that if your first impression of me was a bad one, that it wasn't your final answer. 
Third, I'm not one of those who polishes to perfection before I publish, because if I was, you would never see anything I'd written. I know that I will never be able to produce something so perfect that I couldn't improve on it tomorrow. That's why I just publish it, even when it isn't ready. I figure I can go back and edit later if there's something really wrong with it.
So if you checked out my blog,

Thank You!

If you liked it, I hope I can keeping writing content you like. If you didn't, I hope you'll give me another chance down the line when I've learned the social graces of online media.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On a Quest to Replenish my Chocolates!

Amy Oyler, TheScientificMom.com, shared a darling conversation she had with her daughter after Valentine's Day. Her daughter, Kat, was on a quest for chocolates... Amy's chocolates.  Here's a simple recipe to replenish all those empty chocolate boxes...  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Science For Little Eyes

We tell children that if you can read, you can learn about anything. But this truth is then often set aside while our children learn to read the first 20 - 100 words. Instead we give children stories of characters doing impossible, imaginative things that have little or no bearing on the real world around them.

Honesty, a yard full of pink snow? And I don’t know any talking rats, cats, or foxes.

While these wonderful, entertaining books do play a vital role in learning to read, why not also show our children from the very start that reading can be a practical tool for learning about the world around them?

Monday, February 10, 2014


I have seven bad habits when I write. Luckily, I'm aware of them and have put in place some saving graces to combat. So here they are: My Seven Deadly Writer Sins.

My First Sin: I’m in love with my writing.
               When I was a teenager I used to sit on my dresser and just think about my writing. Well, I don’t sit on my dresser anymore, but when I write something really good, I savor every word.

My Saving Grace: My writing is never perfect.
               One time I was collaborating on a script, and I wrote some lines that I thought were really good. I sent it off to my friend, and she emailed me back, “How married are you to this idea?”

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Parable of the Intelectual Testimony

    When Paul was young, things were magic. The car got him to school by magic. The stove magically warmed his food. And it was magical the way the rain fell from clouds.

   Magic for Paul was just the yet unexplained. As he grew, Paul began to understand what made the car go, the stove heat, and the rain fall. There was a reason things happened, a method to them.

   Somewhere in that lifetime Paul found out about God. No one knew when Paul gained a testimony, least of all Paul. He didn't need one of those "burning in the bosom" events to know what was right, he just knew. It made sense, it sounded right, in a way only real truth can.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Why Having 5 Kids Makes Marketing Easy

               I've been told that my writing is quality, but I have yet to attract a publisher. When professionals in the publishing world find out that I have five children under the age of 12, their knee-jerk response is, "Ma'am you don’t have time to market your books."
             These women know from experience the demands a child has on her mother’s time, and they don't want to invest their time in something I can't help them sell. I respect that.
Being the mother of 5 children is time-consuming, but it wouldn’t hinder my ability to market books as much as you’d think.
       Because I have 5 young children…

Friday, January 24, 2014

14 Ideas for Building your Online Platform and Community

Until last year, I was "No Facebook, No blog, No Twitter, No website" person. I'd even delete all my contacts periodically so essentially I was a "No email list" person, too. Then I learned how important branding on social media is.

It's like a credit card...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Science Crafts and Gifts

This is the last of three posts where I explained some of the Christmas gifts the children made based on Science.

Find it Tube
This is inspired by Steve Spangler science. You can buy his Find it Tubes,
Which are much more colorful and sturdy...

or you can make your own.

I emptied a Sparkling Ice Carbonated Water bottle. This picture came from Walmart.com, and they sell them for about a dollar. But I found some at Biglots for half that price.
I don’t like carbonated drinks, but for 50 cents, I was willing to buy it for the bottle.

The awesome thing about these tall thin bottles is the label comes off without leaving a lot of residue.

I put the bottle on the shoe rack in my dryer. I knew the plastic would melt if I didn't allow it to dry slowly and on the coolest setting. But my 6-yr old is not known for patience. When the dryer beeped, she saw that the bottles weren’t dry and turned the dryer on high.

The bottles that were the driest deformed the most. One of them looked like a clear pickle. (Funny Coincidence – a play I wrote “Hot Fudge Pickles” was just performed Indiana.)
We filled the tubes with rice and other little trinkets. Each Find it Tube is personalized. The letters of the recipient’s name is hidden among the rice.

Recap: You need a clear bottle, rice, and trinkets (buttons, foam  beads, paper clips, brads, etc).

Funny Face Box
A homemade version of Mister Potato Head. We used face pieces from a Pumpkin kit.
My son took a Ritz-Bits cracker box and covered it with duct tape.
He glued an empty face cut from this template (I found it on lds.org)
Then he marked where the pieces should go, and poked slits in there.
The Science: The duct tape holds the pegs of the face pieces in.
The same thing happens when you poke a pin into a balloon. It doesn’t pop because of the cellophane tape.
A variation: You could make this project magnetic, or laminate the face so that you can draw on it with dry erase markers. Of course, this changes the science of the project as well.

Recap: You need an empty Ritz-Bits box, duct tape, face template, scissors, glue, and face pieces

Rag Box

My youngest loves pulling wet wipes out of the package, and tissues out of the box. My boy made this reusable tissue box for her. When you pull one “rag” out, the next one is supposed to come, if you do it right.
First we duct taped the outside of an empty tissue box. My boy decorated it with stickers.
Then we cut a flat scrubber into little squares.
We glued the squares onto the corners of felt rectangles.

Finally, we folded the felt so that it stacks in the tissue box. (I folded this one for a long tissue box. You need to fold it more square for the box I duct taped.)

Now carefully put the whole pile into the box. When you pull one "rag" out, the scrubbers grab the next one and pull it too.

Recap: You need duct tape, an empty tissue box, felt rectangles (I bought the precut from my local Dollar store), flat square scrubber (the scratchier the better), glue, scissors, and stickers. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Christmas and Science go together!

Bathroom Snowman
This craft came from a Challenge. Which came from an accident. Let me start at the beginning.
We all know that Ivory Soap expands in the microwave.

But my hubby kind of got onto me for all the wasted soap. So I added a half cup of water and (tada music here) made a soapy snowball.

Well, my boys thought that was pretty cool, and decided to challenge Steve Spangler to make it bigger.
“I’ll bet he could a snowman out of this.”
“Or a whole castle…”
My 3-year-old had the best idea yet: “I challenge Steve to a snowball fight.”

Well, throwing these little babies at people may not be the best idea. But the snowman had merit.
I found these candles at Biglots.
Add bath fizzies for buttons (they came from Walmart). The fizzies disintegrated, leaving colored impressions.
And a washcloth for a scarf.
I put this in a small bucket full of bath salts, next to a bath puff.
But my son was not happy that we were building snowmen instead of a snowball fight.
So I let him throw a couple at the hill.

Secret Message Ornament
I sent this to the Scientific Mom. (Check her blog out! It’s awesome.)
The idea came from a combination of two ideas.
An episode of The Spangler Effect. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) Steve Spangler was showing off his jelly marbles. He made a "secret message appear" with them.

And an ornament sold at Walmart. I can’t find a picture, but the ornament was clear with a scene glued on the back. The back was covered in glitter paint.

Here’s how I made them:

I started with a clear plastic (um I mean… shatterproof) ornament sold at Walmart for less than a dollar.
I took a Christmas card and cut a circle around the scene. This one was a new card, but go ahead and save your used cards. No one will know.

I found the jelly marbles at my local Dollar Tree. They are actually found in two places

I think the clear ones work best, but try colored ones!
Instead of glitter, I glued on a snowflake that I bought at the same Dollar Tree.
Now, put water in it to make the scene appear.
To empty the water, stick your finger in the top to keep the marbles in and let the water out.

Recap: You’ll need (ahem) shatterproof clear ornaments, jelly marbles, a snowflake, a Christmas card (used is okay), glue, and scissors.

Throw Lights
Here’s a craft I DIDN’T make. I have little ones at home, and I don’t want a trip to the hospital. Button batteries are really dangerous when swallowed. But for OLDER kids, this would be really fun.
We replaced our Christmas lights this year. Don’t tell my hubby, but I kept a strand. Or two.
Take one bulb out of its socket. Press one wire on each side of a button battery. It will light up. If not, the bulb is either dead or you have it backwards.
Electrical tape secures the bulb to the battery well.
Attach Velcro, magnets or a corner of a kitchen scrubber.
Now you need a target. Make one out of felt, metal, or paper. If you’ve used Velcro or scrubber, your lights will attach to a felt or fleece blanket.
They also attach to my felt spinner.
And my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Coconut Tree.
Otherwise, you can attach a paper target to the fridge, if your lights are magnets.
Toss away!
The idea came from a Steve Spangler episode of The Spangler Effect. Watch their version here.
Remember, don’t do this if you have kiddies under 5. I don’t want any swallowed button batteries! 
(Note, I tested these when the kids were asleep and quickly locked up the results. That's why there aren't any pics.)