Dollar Shop Masterpieces

Winter Vacation is coming up and if you have tyrannical offspring under the age of twelve you know that means countless whining sessions of “I’m bored” and even “come and play with me”, “color/draw with me”, “cut and paste with me” in general just “do something with me!” And you probably won’t have time to stop and take a breath with all the cleaning and cooking the holiday season brings. That and the stress of trying to be super woman and not breaking a sweat in front of the in-laws or your other “competitive company” i.e. the women with the perfect manicures, well-behaved children, spotless picture perfect homes and designer clothes who serve up gourmet delicacies they cook themselves. We should actually be thankful for their questionable existence, if it weren’t for them how many of us would actually try to workout once in a while and change out of those baggy plaid PJs?

A trip to the dollar shop can turn up some real treasures, yes and also cheap “use today, break tomorrow, dump in recycling on Wednesday” items imported from China. So you have to be careful. If you go in the aisle that has all that artsy stuff you will be amazed how many things you can find that will actually keep your kids busy for at least fifteen and if you are lucky sometimes a little longer.

Cutout pieces of colored paper, glittery fomic sheets in bright shades, sequins, beads, glitter glue, pom-poms and feathers are great for making cards, murals and other holiday themed decorations. Kids love decorating boxes and empty jars that you can use to give gifts in or candy in. You can make an outline of Santa, candy canes, reindeer or whatever else and have them decorate it as they like or even use old coloring book pages if you aren’t that great at drawing. If you have older kids threaten to take away their Xbox controller or with hold shopping money till they draw an outline of a big fat snowman on a sheet of chart paper for their siblings.

artwork

 

Twin 1 and 2 made these, all this stuff came from the dollar shop.

Empty jars and odd left over pieces from tea sets or serving sets can be made into very pretty center pieces for the coffee table. You could also get stuff from the Thrift store. The pine cones, dried flowers and shiny little pebbles that you find in boxes under the kids’ beds are great to use for these. You can even find elegant (and cheap) glass candle holders to use at the dollar shop.

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We made this one ourselves. I got the tray from a thrift shop, pebbles we collected from the beach and you can find little candle holders at the dollar shop (you can tell this is my favorite place.)

Don’t forget to bake some extra cookies to use as a bribe to get them all to clean up their mess. And if that doesn’t work then you can always remind them of the gifts they won’t be getting, that often helps in convincing them to cooperate.

 

Reading to Children

sarah gives thanks

I love reading to my children. Uhh..I loved it with kid 1 and 2. By kid 3 it was more the guilt and with 4 and 5 my life depends on it. They tie my hands and threaten to ingest large amounts of sugar and coffee if I don’t tell them a bedtime story.

We have a great collection of books and the kids love trips to the library for new ones. We got a new book in December. I sort of won a contest on a blog, not really won sort of won. So Mike Allegra, heylookawriterfellow, sent me  this beautiful book he wrote. Sarah Gives Thanks is a great book. The story is touching, informative and it teaches kids to never give up. It is inspiring and it is true. My kids loved it and I think every parent should add it to their kids’ collection.

Another tear jerker book I love is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. If you don’t have it or haven’t read it, get it and read it to your kids immediately. Besides these I adore the wacky ones, anything by Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss are must haves for your children’s book shelves. They are just so much fun to read.

Reading to young children helps turn them into readers for life and you can find many studies that link reading to success, so get bedtime stories into your schedule!

What do you enjoy reading to your kids? Which book do they love to hear over and over?

I Really Love Writing Query Letters

Query letters are so much fun. I love them. Don’t be jealous because you don’t feel the same way. Query letters just make me want to …

There are so many rules there should be an encyclopedia just to contain them. And no matter how many times you write it out, somehow it just never seems to be quite right. And every agent wants it just a little different. You have to read through entire websites and at least five googled up interviews before you even attempt to write a query to a particular agent. That is a lot of fun. Especially in the summer vacation with kids in the house.

Anyways there are some sites I found really helpful and have been meaning to post them for quite a while. But I get distracted really easily. Did you know piranhas are really mean little buggers?

Oh and that Snooti  Snooki just had a baby.

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Fiance Jionni LaValle Welcome Son Lorenzo!

Of course then I just had to find out who she is. Ironically she has written a book and it has been published. I wonder how she managed to write the query letter. I wonder if she can spell query letter.

Sorry, got distracted. What was I talking about?

Query letters!

They really freak me out! Here are some places that were very helpful.

1.http://elanajohnson.blogspot.ca/p/writing-query-letter.html. She makes it seem so much easier. She breaks it down with lots of helpful examples.

2.http://www.nelsonagency.com/faq.html This is from the Nelson Agency Website. Very helpful.

3.http://agentqueryconnect.com/. This is a great site to learn lots and lots and lots and rant and moan and whine with other writers. And helpful. Helpful helpful.

4.http://www.americaneditingservices.com/. This is a website for an editor who was really nice and she helped me with my query a lot. I needed a lot of help. I now need a lot of vacation from summer vacation. So I can fit the lot of help I got into the rewriting of the query letter. Then I will pray I get a lot of requests. And a lot of books published. And eventually a lot of money. Then I will send a lot of my children to a lot of faraway schools so I can write a lot more without a lot of distractions. I get distracted easily. Did you know Mexican Salamanders are really weird-looking little critters?

(All Images are from Google Images)