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, 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
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.)