Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year - Toga Party?

How do you plan to celebrate New Year's Eve?

Maybe an old school Toga party?

Will you celebrate with Friends?

Monica and Ross do 'The Routine' at Dick Clark's
New Year's Eve taping

Have you made your New Year's resolutions?

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other. 

New Year's Toast

Here's a toast to the future,
A toast to the past, 
And a toast to our friends, far and near.
May the future be pleasant,
The past a bright dream,
May our friends remain faithful and dear.
~ Anonymous

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Gift Wrap Prank

Has anyone ever pulled a prank like this on you? 
Do you think these guys are dedicated friends? 
What would you do if you came home to all this?

Would you laugh or be mad?

One last question:  
Would you save the gift wrap and recycle it next Christmas? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mom, What's a Babe? Parenting Plights & Delights

Ah, I love how children are always surprising us.

My nephews Soldier (at age 5) and his brother Joker (at age 2)

One Christmas when Soldier was six, his mother read him the nativity story. When she got to the part about Mary bringing forth a babe, Soldier stopped her and asked, "Mom, what's a babe?"

Soldier's father Jim overheard the conversation. "I'll tell you what a babe is. A babe is your mom in a bikini." He winked at Cindy. She chuckled along with Soldier and Jim.

Then Cindy went on to explain to Soldier that in this case, a babe was a baby. Baby Jesus in this particular story.

Soldier then wanted to know what a bikini was, so Cindy explained that it's a small swimsuit that women wear.

Satisfied that he now knew what a babe and a bikini were, Soldier listened to the rest of the Christmas story.

A few hours later, the family went to visit Grandma and Granddad. Soldier told his grandma, "I know what a babe is."

Grandma played along. "What's a babe?"

"A babe is Mom in a zucchini," Soldier said with a smile.

Grandma laughed so hard, she cried. Soldier is grown up now, but she still recalls the incident as one of her favorite moments in grandparenting.
Jim & Cindy (in a tankini instead of a bikini)

So, do you have a parenting or grandparenting incident? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I'd like to thank those who shared a parenting story with me last week. 
I'm saving them and will publish some in future posts.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa is Very Real!

For those who no longer believe in Santa, my friend and co-author Maria Toth will tell you otherwise. She works at a craft store, and here's what happened this week, in Maria's own words: 

At work a customer and her two young children stepped up to the cut counter with bolts of fabric. As I began to measure, I asked the brother and sister if they were excited about Santa Claus. They were quiet. Then their mom explained that she told her kids that there is NO Santa Claus. 

Whoa, whoa, whoa. . . As I cut her fabric, I smiled at the kids and told them that Santa is very real. I happen to know this for a fact since I was an elf and worked at the North Pole in the Doll House. 

I told them how every morning Santa came by and said good morning to all the elves. 

And how Mrs. Claus makes the yummiest fudge and gingerbread with whipped cream.

And how the reindeer are real. I've seen them!

At this point, Mom is giving me this odd look. . . so, I stopped and said, "Ah, you still don't believe, do you?" Then I told her that I could take a lie detector's test and pass with 'flying reindeer.' (It's true.) A curious smile began to sprout on Mom's face, and soon her little girl began to tell me about the Easter Bunny. My co-worker tossed in a good word for the Tooth Fairy. I could see the magic in the children's eyes. Sooo much fun!

BTW. . . I REALLY was an elf and worked at the North Pole! Honest.

So what can I say? Years ago Maria really did work at Santa's Village!

Here are some memories from Christmases past: 

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas isn't jolly in this picture. 
In fact, Santa looks downright bored. 
Why are his eyes droopy?
Look at his hands.
 Is he thinking that kids have cooties?
Puck and Tulip when they were little.
How can Burt go anywhere without Ernie?

Here's a beautiful version of Sugar Plum Fairy 
to listen to as you view the photos.

Tulip's got the whole package!
She was in the Christmas Parade with her Girl Scout Troop.

"I don't want to be a queen!"
Lily was picked by Mrs. Weber, kindergarten teacher, to be a queen,
wife of one of the three kings, for the school Christmas play.
She opted to be a donkey instead!

There's Lily, the little donkey, sitting on the left side of the stage.

One Christmas Eve I entertained the family by reading
Kids of all ages get the biggest kick out of this picture book.
So do adults. Such a fun read aloud!
One year I read it to every grade at my kids' school. 
I went to each classroom, from kindergarten all the way to 8th grade! 
The middle school kids enjoyed it as much as the little ones.

To wrap things up (sorry, couldn't resist saying that!) here are some quotes for you:

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, 
'Toys not included.'  ~Bernard Manning

Guilt - the gift that keeps on giving.  ~ Erma Bombeck

May you have the gladness of Christmas, which is hope,
The spirit of Christmas, which is peace, 
The heart of Christmas, which is love. (Author unknown)

Merry Christmas, my friends. 
 Do you have any special plans for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shadow Boxes Make Great Gifts

Just in case you're looking for a special gift to make for Christmas, I thought I'd share my shadow boxes with you. Little mementos or souvenirs are perfect to use in a shadow box.

I once mentioned to my friend and co-author, Maria Toth, that I still have my grandfather's magic wand. (He died when I was in 8th grade, and I inherited many of his magician tricks.)

"You should frame it," Maria said. 

It was a light bulb moment. I found a frame, a photo of Granddad, some of the silk scarfs he used, typed up his magic words, "Abracadabra Presto Picheelo," and added some playing cards.

I loved the way it turned out, so I made another one with the magic wand I used many years ago when I tried my hand as a clown magician.

I was a clown magician for my son's 4th birthday party. 
I added playing cards and Granddad's silk handkerchiefs to this shadow box, too, 
so it tied in with the other one, and I hung them on the wall together. 

I bought the frames at Ross at a good price. They had some 3D funky looking plastic figures in them, which I removed. 

I was on a roll, so I made some more shadow boxes that reflected the Monster Moon books my BBH McChiller co-authors and I were working on. When we'd get together, we'd surprise each other at times with little sourvenirs or dollar store treasures that pertained to things in the story. I had so many trinkets and no more room on my shelves, so I decided to make shadow boxes with them. 

This one reflects the prankster character, Freddy 'Hangman' Gallows. 
Maria bought these gags at a dollar store.
Needless to say, when I take this shadow box to school visits,
kids go crazy over it and want to know how much it costs to buy it! 
To read my post about props and school visits, click here

This shadow box reflects things that are in Secret of Haunted Bog,
which takes place in a fictitious Old Chinatown near a haunted swampland.
Too bad I never took any classes in photography.
My reflection in the glass kind of messed up the photo!

More Secret of Haunted Bog treasures!

This shadow box reflects the first Monster Moon book,
Curse at Zala Manor.

This one reflects Vlad's past. He's the talking pirate rat in Monster Moon.

This shadow box is twice the size of the others and
captures most of the action in Secret of Haunted Bog.

Now that I have grandkids, I'll make some shadow boxes for them one day. I'll personalize them to reflect some of their favorite things, whether it be a sports team, books, ballet, whatever they're passionate about. Only time will tell.

I haven't made a Christmas or holiday shadow box - yet. Anything might inspire me at any given time. They're really not hard to make at all, and you can buy the boxes at a craft store. Or keep an eye out for a frame that has enough depth to add 3D objects. So, if you're crafty and have some special treasures that you want to display or give as a gift, then have at it! 

If you make a grouping, they sure can dress up a wall. 
These hang above my desk. 

The shadow boxes inspired me to stay motivated
on our Monster Moon books while we were working on them.

"Handmade presents are scary because they reveal that you have too much free time."
                                                                                                        ~ Doug Coupland

If someone wanted to make a shadow box for you, what would they put in it to reflect the things you're passionate about?

Writer friends, if you're working to build your platform, 
you might want to check out Kristen Lamb's online class,
  Blogging For Author Brand. 
Read about it in her post here
There are a lot of testimonials in the comments section. 
It's a two-month class for $40 and well worth it. She knows her stuff!
Next class begins in January.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Impossible! - Parenting Plights & Delights

When my niece, Ballerina, was two years old, she excitedly looked through the new Christmas toy catalog and stared lovingly at the pages of dolls and accessories, dainty dresses and shoes, pink buggies, strollers, and bassinets.
Ballerina at two-and-a-half years old

"Mommy, I want to go in there," Ballerina said. Cindy thought she meant the toy store. "No, Mommy, I want to go in there."

"You mean you want to go inside the catalog?" Cindy asked.

Ballerina nodded. Cindy explained that you can't go inside a catalog, but Ballerina couldn't understand why not, so she kept pestering her mom.

Finally, Cindy decided she'd have to let Ballerina discover for herself that she couldn't go inside a catalog. "Okay," Cindy said, "try and squish yourself in there." She held the catalog up to Ballerina's forehead while Ballerina pushed her head against it.

When nothing happened, Ballerina grew mad and cried. Cindy remembered her own childhood disappointment when she was unable to get inside a mirror to explore the world on the other side. She compassionately told her two-year-old, "You can't get in there. You're not Alice in Wonderland."

Although Ballerina gave up on her desire to get inside the toy catalog, she turned her attention to other things, wanting to get inside the pictures on cereal boxes and books! Years later she learned the real secret of how to get inside books: She learned to read and was swept away on exciting adventures.

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ~ John Lennon

What happens to the wide-eyed observer when the window between reality
and unreality breaks and the glass begins to fly?  ~Author Unknown

Everything you can imagine is real.  ~Pablo Picasso

So, do you have a parenting or grandparenting incident? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too. 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post! 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty.)

I'd like to thank everyone who shared a parenting story with me last week. 
I'm saving them and will publish some in future posts.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

Friday, December 16, 2011

DÉJÀ VU - Stepping Into Your Character's Shoes

Today, I'm participating in 
Nicole Ducleroir, and Lydia Kare
Everyone who signed up is posting an old blogpost.

Here's my post from July 4, 2011.
 I picked this post because it's insane and funny!

If the shoe fits . . . well, it sure makes it easier to step into the role of your character. What if you're a male writing about a female? Stepping into her shoes might be difficult.

It can be tricky to balance, especially in spikes. At first it's awkward. You might fall. Dust yourself off and get back up on those heels. You'll soon find yourself strutting or prancing through your plot.

Does your character need to move with the poise and grace of a prima ballerina? Impossible? Not if you practice, practice, practice.

There you go. Much better!

Venturing into a new genre, exploring terrain your psyche never dared to conquer before? Those magic shoes could carry you off into mysterious, mystical realms. Try them on.

Don't forget to pay attention to little details. Does your teen female curl her toes when Dreamy Dude flirts with her?

What if you're a female stepping into a male character's shoes? What kind of stance does he have? Are you taking note of his features, like those hairy legs? With a little creativity (and some black eyeliner - yes, those hairs are drawn on), you'll be on the right track. 

Whether you're a female writing about male characters or a male writing about female characters, in the beginning you might have to tighten the reigns to head them in the right direction. Once they come to life, you could find yourself wrangling with the keyboard to keep up as they gallop down the trail, daring to leap off the edge of the page. Whoa!

So, what are we waiting for? Let's get to work!

How do you find a good fit filling your character's shoes? 

"Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?"   Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

If you're participating in the blog hop, there isn't much time to leave a comment if we're going to visit all the sites. A simple "Hello Weirdo" is cool with me! 

Since this is a DÉJÀ VU Blogfest, have you ever experienced a real DÉJÀ VU? Care to share?

1.Lydia K57.Today's Working Woman113.Empty Nest Insider
2.Nicole Ducleroir58.Mish114.Priyanka
3.Creepy Query Girl59.Lisa Ann115.Laugh Quotes
4.Francine Howarth60.Hywela Lyn116.Kibitz Spot
5.Laura Pauling61.Gloria Richard117.Fiona Faith Maddock
6.DL at Cruising Altitude 2.062.Donna K. Weaver Weaving a Tale or Two118.Botanist
7.Jessica Bell63.Jennifer Shirk119.Far Away Eyes
8.Sarah Fine64.Jo120.Tim Snider
9.David King65.Nancy S. Thompson121.Better is Possible
10.Javid S.66.Melissa Sugar122.Jeremy [2Thumbs]
11.Gina C.67.Sandra Ulbrich Almazan123.Elisabeth Grace Foley @ The Second Sentence
12.cluelesseve68.Nicki Elson124.B. Taylor aka the Under Cover Waitress
13.Julie Dao69.Brenda125.A Nudge in the Right Direction
14.April Plummer70.Em Dashes and Ice Cream126.Julie Dorris
15.Connie, A Merry Heart71.Sarah Ahiers127.Allison (Geek Banter)
16.Haven72.Donna Hole128.shelli johannes wells
17.Liza at Middle Passages73.Sylvia van Bruggen129.Robyn Engel
18.L.G. Smith Bards and Prophets74.That girl from around the bay130.Kari White
19.Ellen Brickley75.Colin Smith131.Alison Miller
20.Em, 35JupiterDrive76.Angeline Trevena132.Commutinggirl
21.Bossy Betty77.Sheri Larsen133.Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan)
22.Erin Jade Lange78.Jossie Marie Solheim134.Stu
23.Shannon O'Donnell79.Donna's Real World on Writing135.Tizzy @ Creative Therapy
24.mshatch80.Kristina Atkins136.Clarissa Draper
25.Nia Raie81.Over Yonder137.Andrea Franco- Cook
26.Brinda Berry82.Green Monkey138.Steven Symes
27.Carrie- Anne83.Donelle Lacy139.Katy Upperman
28.Chippy84.Jennie Bailey140.Medeia Sharif
29.Alex J. Cavanaugh85.tara tyler141.Sophia Chang
30.yvonne lewis86.Amy Lunderman142.mybabyjohn/delores (Feathered Nest)
31.Tammy Polen Manocchio87.M. E143.Becky Povich
32.L' Aussie Denise88.Charity Bradford144.mybabyjohn/delores (Youngish)
33.Heather Day Gilbert89.Mary Pax145.mybabyjohn/delores (Tormented)
34.Dianne Salerni, In High Spirits90.Carla Ecland146.Margo Kelly
35.Jemi Fraser91.Man O' Clay147.Heather Arundel
36.Jennifer Hillier92.Scarlett Stokes148.Ms. Persevere
37.Theresa Milstein93.Julie Flanders149.Cold As Heaven
38.julie fedderson94.J Larkin150.Jessica Salyer
39.Tracy95.Tim Brannan151.Juliann Wetz
40.Wendy S. Russo96.David Brawley152.Jules @ Trying to get Over The Rainbow
41.Amy L. Sonnichsen97.Pearson Report153.Sue Travers @ traverselife
42.Catherine Denton98.Helen Ginger154.Melodie @ Forever Rewrighting
43.Elaine AM Smith99.Stephen Tremp155.Vicki Rocho
44.Sarah Pearson100.Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines156.Lynn Kelley
45.Spunky L. Diane Wolfe101.Enid @ SteamyFantasy157.Nisa
46.PK Hrezo102.Belle Unruh158.Laurel Garver
47.Swagger Writers103.The Golden Eagle159.SJ Driscoll--Come sit by my fire
48.Jennifer Wilck104.Len Lambert160.Coleen Patrick
49.Jenn105.Rhonda Eudaly161.Amie McCracken
50.Leigh Moore106.Holly Stacey162.Margo Berendsen
51.Kelly Dexter107.Callin163.Chris Phillips
52.Arlee Bird108.Blogging from A to Z164.Julie Hedlund
53.Accidentalwriter109.Rafa165.Karen Peterson
54.J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer110.Melissa Ann Goodwin166.Operation Terrible Idea: Parkour Master
55.Fabulosity Reads111.Carol Kilgore167.Sarah Allen
56.LD Masterson112.Alana Garrigues168.