Crafts and Projects · Jobs of a Preschooler · Ramblings

How To Make Glass Disappear

Last summer, my daughters and I enjoyed some programs at our local library as part of the library’s summer reading program.

At one science program we attended, a large clear glass aquarium was set on a table in the front of the room. The aquarium appeared to be filled only with a yellowish color liquid, which we later found out was vegetable oil. I was surprised when the presenter and a volunteer wearing gloves pulled numerous glass beakers, test tubes, and jars from the aquarium. Apparently, Pyrex glass appears practically invisible inside other glass containers filled with vegetable oil. I had to try this at home!

My daughters and I gathered our vegetable oil and glass Pyrex bowls.

disappearing glass experiment

One of my daughters added the vegetable oil to the larger bowl.

disappearing glass experiment

Then, my other daughter filled oil in the smaller bowl. I can see why the presenter and his assistant were wearing gloves when they did this experiment!

disappearing glass experiment

Once filled, she placed it in the larger bowl.

Disappearing glass

After experimenting with the bowl facing up, we decided to flip the little bowl upside down and place it back into the large bowl. The top part of the bowl is visible where there is no vegetable oil, but the bottom part is not as easy to see.

disappearing glass experiment

It looks as though the little bowl has disappeared on the bottom of the large bowl. Just like magic!

disappearing glass

Maybe your little one would like to be a “magician” like the girl in the book Jobs of a Preschooler and try to make things disappear with this simple experiment!

Magician from Jobs of a Preschooler

What can (s)he make disappear?





SCBWI Adventures in Nonfiction Conference

I was really excited about attending the SCBWI Adventures in Nonfiction conference, and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. I had a lot of fun and learned so much!

I came home with 14 pages of notes in a notebook, multiple worksheets (with even more of my handwritten notes), numerous ideas for nonfiction children’s books, and a personalized signed copy of Women Who Dared that I won as a door prize.

Women Who Dared is a beautiful book about 52 (not as well-known) women in history who dared to dream big.

Women Who Dared Book

Some things we discussed at the conference include:

  • numerous nonfiction formats with lots of books as examples
  • ways to come up with ideas for a nonfiction book (did a fun exercise for this)
  • trends of nonfiction
  • job of an editor
  • effective submission strategies
  • work-for-hire information
  • visual appeal
  • word counts
  • sources to use/research information
  • when to follow-up with a submission
  • common mistakes in manuscripts
  • types of educational markets
  • advantages/disadvantages of working with educational markets
  • resources to look at to find more information
  • cover letters and resumes
  • writing for an existing series
  • writing for a specific grade level
  • picture book biographies
  • “through lines” (with another fun exercise)
  • matching voice of story with subject
  • openings

I am still trying to process all of the information, but I am excited to create some works of nonfiction using some of the information I learned. Nonfiction does not have to mean boring!

What is something you are trying to learn more about?









2018 First Quarter Update

I wrote a post about my “writing adventure” goals for 2018 earlier this year. I have decided to give an update to my goals since we are already about a quarter of the way done with 2018. Where did the time go? Hopefully, this will keep me motivated to do more! Below is a list of my “goals” and what I have (or haven’t) accomplished so far this year.

  • Continue writing posts periodically for this website
    • wrote and posted 11 posts
    • wrote 7 other posts to be added in the future
  • Continue adding items periodically to my Pinterest page
    • added over 500 pins to 7 public boards
    • learned how to use Canva to create more visually appealing pins, which I wrote about here
    • converted from a personal Pinterest account to a business account
  • Learn more about Goodreads
    • read more information about Goodreads, although I have room for improvement
    • linked my website to my Goodreads page
    • answered a couple of the “Ask The Author” questions
  • Read at least 240 children’s books (and review those I like on Goodreads)
    • read 133 children’s books (and skimmed through many others)
    • rated 23 books on Goodreads (2 were books for adults – I do read those, too!)
  • Rewrite a story about a planetarium story
    • haven’t started
  • Write at least two books for a series I hope to publish some day
    • wrote one
      • I brought it to my author’s meeting to be critiqued and was provided with a lot of helpful suggestions/insights, so I edited it quite a bit. I’m hoping to bring my edits to the next meeting to have them critiqued.
  • Write and submit at least 20 articles, stories, or poems to magazines or websites
    • submitted 3 posts for Hands On As We Grow (which have either been published or will be published in the near future)
    • submitted 5 queries (2 were accepted, 3 I haven’t heard anything from)
    • submitted 1 short story (declined)
    • submitted 3 articles (one accepted and published on and the other two for the magazine that accepted my queries)
    • created a list of potentional magazines and websites to query
  • Write a number and letters story
    • created a lot of notes for this story and did some research
    • did not complete the rough draft
  • Finish and submit an alphabet book I’m currently working on
    • Finished and submitted it to one publisher in January
      • I wrote this book specifically for this publisher because they have many beautifully illustrated books with a similar format. I haven’t heard anything back yet, but I hope to hear something from them (even if it is a no).
  • Continue going to author group meetings
    • went to the author group meetings in January and February (March meeting was cancelled)
      • read and discussed multiple children’s books together
      • discussed books that have won the Caldecott Award
      • discussed the differences between picture books and magazine stories
      • discussed query letters
      • looked at and discussed children’s books with controversial topics
      • completed a fun brainstorming activity
      • critiqued manuscripts
      • set goals
      • had a lot of fun while learning!
    • attended another writer’s meeting in February
  • Submit a manuscript of at least one other book
    • wrote and submitted a short nonfiction riddle type book
  • Have fun!
    • definitely doing!

Other things I have done that weren’t on my list include:

  • registered for a SCBWI nonfiction book conference, which I will be attending in the near future
  • listened to a webinar about creating query letters
  • researched and wrote a nonfiction story about an event
  • applied to a one year author mentorship program (only two people will be selected for)
  • researched some information for an adult nonfiction book
  • researched the authors (and publishers) who will be presenting at the upcoming conference
  • researched nonfiction books for children

I have been getting really excited about the upcoming nonfiction book conference. Last week, I borrowed over 50 books from the library to look through and see how nonfiction books from specific publishers have been written and presented. I do a lot of research!

The publishers that are presenting at the upcoming conference generally do not accept unsolicited manuscripts (meaning they won’t accept manuscripts of books unless they have asked for them), but they are allowing attendees of the conference to submit nonfiction manuscripts after the conference. So, I am trying to figure out what topics I could write about and how it could be presented in a fun manner to children.

I also found another publisher (not attending the upcoming conference) that is accepting nonfiction manuscripts only through the beginning of May, so I have been researching their company as well. I have a lot of ideas for nonfiction books, so I am going to be doing a lot more research finding as much information as I can about these specific topics. My problem is I have too many ideas – I need to narrow down my list and stay focused!

Just because I do the research, write manuscripts, and submit them to the publishers does not mean they will actually turn into books. Publishers can only publish so many books each year, and there are a lot of writers submitting to them. It is almost like entering a competition (or a lottery). Only so many can be accepted and published each year.

All I can do is try my best and continue to learn as I go (and of course actually write something to submit!). I have decided to not let rejections discourage me because rejections are part of being a writer. In the meantime, some of my fiction children’s books I have been working on have been put to the side momentarily.

I am eager to continue working on more books and writings through the year. I have post-it notes with ideas posted to a wall in my house. I hope to slowly move the post-it notes from my “ideas” area of the wall to “submitted manuscripts”. I have also been posting monthly goals to accomplish on a paper taped to the wall. As I complete certain goals, I mark them off. It seems to be keeping me motivated to get things done and focused on what I need to do. Thank you for being a part of my writing journey!

How are you doing on the goals you set for yourself this year?

Plan today and make it great!

Crafts and Projects · Writing Appearances

Fun Craft to Teach Kids Financial Responsibility

“How financially savvy and responsible are your children? How good is their Money IQ?

Do they understand ATM machines and credit cards don’t actually offer an unlimited supply of money?

Are the words debt, budget, interest, income, and savings like a foreign language to them?”

This is the introduction to an article I recently wrote that includes ideas to teach children financial responsibility. If you are interested in reading the article with more than 20 tips to boost your child’s money IQ, you can read the article here.

One of the tips I included in the article is creating a “bank” with your kids. My daughters and I had a lot of fun creating their little banks. To create the banks, I hot glued four square bottomed containers (purchased from the Dollar Tree) together. Then, we labeled each of the jars: donate, invest, save, and spend. They decorated them with ribbons. They could have added stickers or other decorations, but they decided they didn’t want to.

Fun craft to teach financial responsibility

I explained the bank concept further in the article entitled How to Quickly Boost Your Child’s Money IQ posted on A Fine Parent:

“My daughters and I enjoyed making their “banks” together. Each bank consisted of four square plastic containers with lids that I purchased and hot glued together. My daughters decorated the containers and labeled them: Donate, Spend, Save, and Invest.

We discussed what donate (give to others), spend (buy items), save (short term and long term), and invest (long term) meant, although they didn’t add anything to the invest container initially.

As my daughters received money, they divided the money into the separate containers. I had also created a sheet of paper similar to a checkbook ledger, which they updated (with my help at first) as they deposited or withdrew money from their containers.

This allowed them to easily see how much they had within each container, and it was great practice for balancing an actual checkbook. Every once in a while, we would take the money out of each container to count and make sure their total balance equaled what was written on the sheet.”

Fun craft to teach financial responsibility

Do you have any other fun tips to teaching children financial responsibility?

Crafts and Projects · Ramblings · Writing Appearances

Creative Way to Display Seasonal Activities

The first day of spring is only a week away! My daughters and I have brainstormed a list of activities that we would like to accomplish this spring and summer to prepare for the new season. We have been doing this for a number of years, and we have had fun creating ways to display our lists. I have discovered that having the activities visible helps us on those days when “there is nothing to do”, keeps us focused on completing the tasks that we want to finish, and serves as a fun reminder of all of the activities we have done.

I have written a post for Hands On As We Grow, which you can read here, about how we are displaying our spring and summer activities this year.

Here is our ice cream cone display of finished spring/summer activities from last year.

display your spring and summer activities

In the past, we have had “bucket lists”, which were plastic buckets with clothespins (each labeled with an activity) attached around the rims. As we completed the activities, we put the clothespins into the buckets. Another year, we wrote our spring/summer activities in bubbles I had drawn on poster board and then we “popped” (crossed off) each bubble as we completed the activity.

Now, it’s time to take down all of our fall and winter activities. This past year, we chose to write all of our fall related activities on leaves (I found a free printable on First Palette here) and all of our winter related activities on Christmas lights (I found a free printable on A to Z Teacher Stuff here), which my daughters and I printed on various colored pieces of construction paper, cut, labeled, and taped (with painter’s tape) on to a wall on our main floor. As we completed each activity, we moved them from the wall of unfinished activities to a different wall and created a wreath. I’m sure we will have fun discussing all of the activities we have completed as we take down the leaves and ornaments.

Here is our wreath of finished activities from this past fall/winter.

Display your winter and fall activities!

Do you have a fun way to display upcoming activities you would like to do?