Ramblings

2019 Goals Encouragement and Update

How are you doing on your goals for 2019?

Recently I read on Psychology Today that “71 percent of people who were successful in their resolutions slipped in the first month.” Do you feel like you have been slipping on your 2019 goals already? If so, I hope you find encouragement within the quote and continue to move forward – you can still succeed!

If you need some inspiration and ideas for freeing up some time throughout your week, you may be interested in a free e-book just released by Ultimate Bundles entitled Make More Margin: Free up 1-2 Hours a Week for the Things You Love with These 75 Productivity Tips. It’s only available until Monday, February 11th, so make sure to download it before then if you are interested in it.

You can download Make More Margin: Free up 1-2 Hours a Week for the Things You Love With These 75 Productivity Tips here (affiliate link).

Ultimate Bundles Free E-book

I downloaded it myself, and I was really leery when I saw it was 199 pages long. I was worried I would end up wasting time reading about how to save time, but I discovered it was a very quick read with quite a few useful tips. It was nice to know that I am not the only person who prefers a paper calendar and nontechy to-do lists!

The book provides answers from bloggers who were asked five different questions concerning time-saving tips, productivity tools, refreshing hobbies they have, how they use their small pockets of free time, and what to say to someone who feels guilty for not taking time for themselves. It can easily be read in small chunks of time since each page is simply a response from one of the bloggers to a particular question.

If you do download it, please let me know what you think of it. I might provide more of my own comments about it in a future post, but I am curious to hear what your thoughts are. The end of the book mentions an Ultimate Productivity Bundle that will be offered from February 20th-February 25th. I hope to include a link and more details in the near future for you just incase you are interested in the Ultimate Productivity Bundle.

We can all use some support, and I’d love to encourage you to continue reaching your goals.

Since I had previously mentioned my writing goals for this year, I have decided to give an update on how I am doing.

So, without further ado, here are my 2019 writing goals updates:

  • continue writing monthly for Hands On As We Grow
    • update: I’ve completed my monthly posts through the end of March, so my next post is due April 1.
  • continue writing at least two posts each month for my website
  • attend one SCBWI conference
    • update: There is a conference scheduled in September that I am looking forward to attending. Registration isn’t open yet, though.
  • be accepted by a literary agent to represent my works
    • update: After doing quite a bit of research, I submitted one picture book manuscript to a literary agent in December. Unfortunately, my manuscript wasn’t accepted by her, but I am very thankful I received a response. I also submitted picture book manuscripts to another literary agent this month.
    • Literary agents are flooded with manuscripts, and they can obviously only accept a limited number. I recently read on a literary agent’s website that she received 2,451 unsolicited queries or manuscripts (ones she did not request) last year within the six months she was open to receiving unsolicited works. The lowest month had over 200 submissions, and she had received 570 submissions during the highest month. That’s a lot of submissions to have to sort through! Out of those 2,451 submissions, she signed 10.
    • Needless to say, I will be super super excited if I am able to get a literary agent to represent me. With that being said, I don’t want to submit my manuscripts to just any literary agent. I have been doing research and being intentional about who receives manuscripts from me.
  • research, write a proposal, and submit needed information for a children’s nonfiction project I have recently started
    • I have done a lot of research for this already.
    • I read a couple of books and online articles to learn how to write a proposal for nonfiction books. When writing fiction, you often have to submit the entire manuscript. With nonfiction; however, you can typically submit a proposal that provides an overview, the target audience, comparable titles and how the proposed nonfiction book is different (possibly better) without bashing the comparable titles, a biography of the author and the reason author is qualified to write the book, possible suggestions for publicizing the book, a table of contents of the proposed book, and sample chapters of the proposed book.
    • I don’t want to give away all the details of my book idea, but I am hoping to compile 50 separate biographies together in one children’s book similar to Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels by Linda Skeers and some other comparable books I have recently read.

Women Who Dared Book

    • I narrowed the list of people I would like to include within the book down to 60, so I have 50 plus 10 additional just incase I can’t use someone due to lack of information appropriate for a children’s book. I wrote a quick synopsis for all 60 people and did more research on four of the people, so that I could include four sample biographies within my proposal.
    • I submitted the proposal along with the four sample biographies to a member of my writer’s group who was gracious enough to read through it and critique it for me. I was really nervous what she was going to say, but I trust her judgment and knew she would tell me ways to improve my writing. I was very excited when I received her comments back stating that the biographies were awesome. She gave me some helpful suggestions on ways to improve the proposal itself, and she provided me with names of two literary agents to consider for this manuscript idea. I plan to continue doing some research and hopefully submit my proposal or query (whichever is preferred) to at least one literary agent in the near future.
    • Since this was an idea I came up with (not something a publisher has requested), my manuscript may not get accepted by anyone and may never become a book. I really hope it does, though! Reach High and move one step at a time
  • research, write a proposal, and submit needed information for an adult nonfiction project I have an idea for
    • update: I haven’t even started this.
  • write at least one children’s book manuscript
    • update: I have lots of ideas, but I’ve been too busy working on other projects to start a new manuscript.
  • revise at least one of my current incomplete children’s book manuscripts
    • update: I completely rewrote one children’s book manuscript I have that I had brought to my writer’s group last year as an idea. My original rough draft had over 500 words in it, and it was very clunky. My current revision has less than 300 words and flows much better, but it still needs work.
  • do at least one school visit or story time (I didn’t do any this year, but I had so much fun doing them last year!)
    • update: I haven’t looked into this yet.
  •  submit at least one article to a magazine
    • update: I submitted a query for an article to a magazine and a children’s poem to two children’s magazines, but I haven’t heard any responses yet.
  • research some information about creating a course and possibly create a course (which will require even more research)
    • update: I did research information about creating a course for a homeschool website my daughters and I have been enjoying. I came up with three course ideas, which I submitted. Within a couple of days, I received an email approving all three course ideas, so I am now in the process of creating one of the three courses for the website. In time, I will be completing courses for all three of the ideas I submitted as long as everything goes as planned. I am really excited about this!
    • I plan to provide you with more information in the future on the current course I am working on.
  • decide what to do with a particular children’s book manuscript I’ve had set aside for a while
    • update: I haven’t thought about it much yet.
  • continue going to writer meetings
    • update: The January writer meeting was cancelled due to the weather, but hopefully we will be meeting again in February. We plan to talk about our writing goals, problems we are having with our writing, and what we need help with or want to know more information about at the upcoming meeting. It’s so nice to have a group to encourage me on my writing adventure.
  • continue as a Network Chair for SCBWI Iowa
    • update: I am still a Network Chair for SCBWI Iowa. Each month, I organize the monthly writer group meetings, and I work with the other members to figure out what topics we would like to discuss at future meetings.
    • I also had the opportunity to interview two amazing women recently (Linda Skeers, author of 52 Women Who Dared, and Brooke Van Sickle) about websites they have created to help other writers with their writing journeys. I put the interviews together for a post I submitted to be published on the SCBWI Iowa website. If you are a children’s author, I highly recommend checking out their websites, Nonfiction Ninjas and Journey to Kidlit.
  • continue adding and creating pins (and possibly a few boards) to my Pinterest account
    • update: I have added more pins, and I created a board specifically for pins from my website.
  • maybe join Twitter
    • update: I haven’t yet.

I’d love to hear from you about how you are doing with your goals so far this year. Reach high and see what you can accomplish by moving one step at a time!

 

Crafts and Projects · Ramblings · Writing Appearances

Winter Crafts and Activities Lead to Reflection in the New Year

I am a big baby when it comes to cold weather. I would much rather enjoy the beauty of the snow and outdoors through a window in a nice, warm house than brave the cold.

But snowflakes, snowmen, and snowballs don’t need to stay outside!

I have combined 21 winter crafts and activities to promote fine motor skills, which was recently published on Hands On As We Grow. Kids can practice counting, spelling, fine motor skills, and more with these fun indoor winter activities.

Check out the 21 winter crafts and activities to promote fine motor skills here.

Sometimes, though, it is nice to get outside and enjoy the beauty of creation. Last year I wrote some posts about taking nature walks to search for interesting creatures, find tracks, and see various nests.

Winter can be a great time to find tracks in snow and nests in bare trees (at least where I live).

nest in tree

I may not enjoy being out in the cold, but I really do enjoy the beauty that can be seen within each of the four seasons where I live.

I love how bright and blue the sky appears even on cold winter days.

Birch Trees and Blue Sky

If I hadn’t stepped out of my warm home, I would have missed out on some beautiful scenery and wonderful memories with my family.

Here is a view overlooking the Mississippi River.

Here is another view overlooking the Mississippi River.

We had to hike through some snow to get these beautiful views.

Here is another picture of a frozen waterfall.

I don’t like driving in the ice at all, but the ice does look pretty. Here are a couple of pictures of ice on our grass one morning a couple of years ago.

It was really crunchy when stepped on.

I could have missed all of that if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and explore the outdoors in the winter. It reminds me of how much my writing journey has required me to step out of my comfort zone.

Publishing books, doing presentations, being filmed live on TV, talking to people about my books, and more are things I wouldn’t have completed if I didn’t decide to step out of my comfort zone.

I have been having a lot of fun on my writing journey, and I hope to continue learning and writing. I am excited to see where this new year will lead me.

What are your favorite winter activities? When have you stepped out of your comfort zone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramblings

2018 End Of Year Writing Goals Update

It’s already the end of 2018! Where does the time go?

Earlier this year, I posted some writing goals I had hoped to accomplish during 2018. I know my “goals” shouldn’t technically be considered goals since they weren’t very specific, but this is what I had written earlier this year as my writing goals along with updates for each.

  • continue writing posts periodically for this website
    • update: Including this one, I have published 48 posts this year on my website.
  • continue adding items periodically to my Pinterest page
    • update: I have added quite a few pins, which has generated some traffic to my website. I currently have over 380 pins for my Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles board and over 740 pins for my Jobs of a Preschooler board. I hope to continue adding more pins (and boards) in the upcoming year. I also learned how to use Canva earlier this year to create more eye-catching pins. My daughter really enjoys creating the Pinterest graphics, and she has actually created some of the images for my website and Pinterest account using Canva. Below is one she created for my thankful chain post.

Give Thanks This Thanksgiving

  • learn more about Goodreads
    • update: I did learn more, answered a couple of the “Ask the Author” questions, linked my website to my Goodreads account, reviewed some books, and I joined a group earlier this year. However, I realize as I am writing this (a few days before New Year’s Eve) that I haven’t been on Goodreads for quite some time. I should get on there and add a few reviews of books I recently read.
  • rewrite a story about a planetarium visit
    • update: I looked at it, rewrote some of it, but it still needs a lot of work. I originally wrote it as a rhyming story, but those who have critiqued it have encouraged me to remove the rhyming other than a few key rhyming phrases. This would definitely cut the word count, which would be a good thing. It has been set aside for a possible future project.
  • read at least 240 children’s books
    • I stopped recording the titles of the children’s books I read after reading 240, so I definitely read quite a bit more than 240 children’s books this year.
  • write at least two books for a series I hope to publish some day
    • update: I wrote one manuscript and had it critiqued by my writing group. I ended up spending quite a bit of time creating a character profile trying to figure out who my character is, what he would do in different situations, and why he does what he does. I rewrote my manuscript (again), but I decided to wait to write a second book manuscript. In the meantime, I have come up with many ideas and notes on future books with the same character.
  • write and submit at least 20 articles, stories, or poems to magazines or websites
    • update: I wrote and submitted 13 posts to Hands On As We Grow. Some of them have already been published, but others are scheduled to be published in the upcoming year. I wrote 2 articles that were published in The Old Schoolhouse magazine (1 online and 1 in print). I also had an article published on A Fine Parent. I did write and submit other articles and stories (so I did more than 20), but those have all either received a no as a response or no response.

TOS Magazine Cover

  • write a numbers and letters story
    • update: I looked at it, did some research, read some books to give me more inspiration, but I am still struggling with some of the writing. This one still requires a lot of work before I will even consider bringing it to my writing group to have it critiqued. I’m not sure if this is one that I will work on in the upcoming year, or if it will be put to the side for now.
  • finish and submit an alphabet book I’m currently working on
    • update: I finished and submitted it in January to one publishing company. I heard back from the publishing company in December, which was exciting for me. I am very grateful whenever I hear back from a publishing company even if the answer is a no (which was the response). I’m not sure if I will try to submit it elsewhere or if I will hold on to it for now.
  • submit a manuscript of at least one other book
    • update: I submitted three manuscripts to one publishing company that had an open submissions window.  I also submitted other manuscripts to a few very select places.
  • continue going to the author group meetings

grow picture book conference

New opportunities arose throughout the year that I hadn’t planned for when I had written this list of 2018 writing goals. I ended up doing a lot more research than I had anticipated, listened to a webinar about creating query letters, learned more about websites, attended the two SCBWI conferences, became a Network Chair, signed up for HARO, responded to some queries, was used as a source on a few online publications, wrote multiple manuscripts for various children’s books (even if they haven’t been accepted…hopefully yet), and more.

If only all of that work would actually lead to a book deal. Maybe next year!

So, I didn’t complete all of my writing goals I had written for 2018, but that’s okay. I’m thankful for the opportunities I did have, the time I spent with my family, the privilege to be able to stay home and homeschool my daughters, and other experiences I had throughout this past year. I don’t want to get so caught up in trying to complete my writing goals that I neglect those who matter most in my life.

Plan today and make it great!

With all that being said, I am looking forward to continuing my writing journey in 2019. I would love to get some manuscripts accepted and ready for future publication.

Although I don’t know what will happen in the upcoming year, my current writing goals for 2019 include:

  • continue writing monthly for Hands On As We Grow
  • continue writing at least two posts each month for my website
  • attend one SCBWI conference
  • be accepted by a literary agent to represent my works
  • research, write a proposal, and submit needed information for a children’s nonfiction project I have recently started
  • research, write a proposal, and submit needed information for an adult nonfiction project I have an idea for
  • write at least one children’s book manuscript
  • revise at least one of my current incomplete children’s book manuscripts
  • do at least one school visit or story time (I didn’t do any this year, but I had so much fun doing them last year!)
  •  submit at least one article to a magazine
  • research some information about creating a course and possibly create a course (which will require even more research)
  • decide what to do with a particular children’s book manuscript I’ve had set aside for a while
  • continue going to writer meetings
  • continue as a Network Chair for SCBWI Iowa
  • continue adding and creating pins (and possibly a few boards) to my Pinterest account
  • maybe join Twitter

Again, these are not necessarily very specific. I love lists, and I intend to break some of these goals down into detailed steps as I attempt to complete them.

I found it was beneficial for me to create detailed monthly goals (on a list) last year. These were written on a piece of paper and taped onto a wall for me to easily see. I checked off the goals as I completed them. This kept me focused on what needed to be completed first (items with an actual due date) and what I hoped to accomplish if I still had time. This also made me feel as though I was actually completing something as items were checked off.

I also have a habit of writing a daily list of things to do on a dry erase board when I’m home. I hope my daily to-do list will help me finish my monthly goals, which in turn will help me accomplish my goals for the year.

I’m as ready as I am going to be for 2019. Are you? What are your goals for the upcoming year? I’d love to hear from you. We can encourage one another to succeed!

Jobs of a Preschooler · Ramblings

Simple Science Experiment: Chemical Reaction

This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on one of the links and make a purchase. Thank you!

My daughters and I continue to do our science lessons using Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science for our science course this year.

We’ve had a lot of fun doing multiple science experiments already using this book. I love how the suggested science experiments use easy-to-find (if not already on hand) supplies. I also like the hands-on approach the science experiments add to the reading.

You can click here if you are interested in seeing the books Apologia offers. Please keep in mind the science books are written from a creationist point of view.

I’ve talked about a couple of the science experiments we have already completed using Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science.

We did a simple science experiment that answered the question: do molecules move faster in cold or hot water.

Does food coloring mix faster in cold water or hot water?

We also did this simple science experiment when we discussed atoms and density.

Simple Science Experiment

I won’t be sharing every science experiment we do along with our current science lessons (there are over 50 of them!); however, today I am showing another simple science experiment we completed during our reading.

This was a neat experiment to show chemical reactions. The science book gives a detailed explanation of what the chemical reactions were, what substances interacted together, and what new substances were formed. I’m not going to get that detailed, but I will still show you what supplies we used and a general idea of the steps we did to complete this experiment.

Supplies

  • clear, empty plastic 2 liter bottle
  • white, distilled vinegar
  • balloon
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • funnel
  • purple cabbage
  • water
  • small pot
  • stove
  • ladle
  • measuring cups (1 c., 3/4 c., 1/2 c.)
  • safety glasses

Directions

  • Boil 2 cups of water in a small pot on the stove with some cabbage leaves. The water should turn purple. Let it cool for a little bit and remove the cabbage leaves.

purple cabbage base

  • Pour 3/4 c. vinegar into 2 liter bottle.

vinegar in bottle

  • Pour about 1/2 c. of the purple cabbage water into the 2 liter bottle using a funnel.

Pouring base into vinegar

  • Notice the color change. The white vinegar and the purple cabbage water made the vinegar (an acid) red.

acid coloring

  • Pour baking soda into the balloon using a dry funnel.
  • Cover the lip of the 2 liter bottle with the balloon’s opening. Make sure the balloon is securely attached.
  • Move the balloon so the baking soda falls into the mixture in the 2 liter bottle.

inflating a balloon with vinegar and baking soda

  • Watch the chemical reaction occur as the mixture fizzes and the balloon gets bigger.

inflating balloon with vinegar and baking soda

  • Eventually, the mixture will stop fizzing.

inflating a balloon with vinegar and baking soda

  • Notice how the red mixture has now turned purple when the baking soda (a base) was added.

Up close base color

It’s as simple as that!

Jobs of a Preschooler- I'm a scientist...

“I’m a scientist…” from the book Jobs of a Preschooler

I ended up buying an entire head of cabbage for this experiment even though it only required a few leaves. As a result, we had quite a bit of cabbage left over.

Similar to when we did our grand pumpkin experiment, I searched online for a recipe so that I could use the left over cabbage pieces.

baked purple cabbage

Who knew that these science lessons would lead to some cooking lessons as well? We ended up sampling some baked cabbage later that day.

from book Jobs of a Preschooler...preschooler being a taste tester

“I’m a taste tester…” from the book Jobs of a Preschooler

What’s your favorite science experiment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jobs of a Preschooler · Ramblings

Simple Science: Do Molecules Move Faster in Cold Water or Hot Water?

This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on one of the links and make a purchase. Thank you!

As I had mentioned in a previous post, my daughters and I have been using Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science for our science course this year.

The companion student notebooks (I purchased one for each of my daughters) have been very useful. They have an entire section devoted to scientific lab reports that go along with the course. My daughters are required to complete each of the scientific lab reports when we do the experiments.

Scientific Lab Report 1.2(A2)

My daughters have been getting so much practice following the scientific method lately that they even reminded me of it when I recently declared “Our Grand Pumpkin Experiment”.

We have been able to complete all of the recommended science experiments together so far. I’m hoping we will be able to complete them all, but we will see. There are over 50 within this course!

You can find all of the products Apologia has to offer here.

Below is a science experiment we recently completed during our reading on atomic motion.

Does food coloring mix faster in cold water or hot water? 

We gathered the following materials.

  • 2 quart sized canning jars without lids
  • green food coloring
  • small pot of hot water (heated on stove)
  • cold water
  • hot pad
  • funnel
  • eye protection

Then, we completed the steps listed below.

  • Fill one of the canning jars up to the 400 ml line with cold water.
  • Run the other canning jar under warm to hot water from the faucet. (I did this because I was worried the jar would break with the sudden temperature change of the hot water.)
  • Fill the warm canning jar to the 400 ml line with the hot water. Place on hot pad.
  • Put one drop of the food coloring into each jar at the same time.
  • Watch what happens.

Will the molecules move quicker in the hot water or the cold water?

Does food coloring mix faster in cold water or hot water?

The answer is pretty obvious when you look at the picture. The molecules moved quicker in the hot water than the cold water.

Does food coloring mix faster in cold water or hot water?

Another simple, yet fun experiment completed!

Jobs of a Preschooler- I'm a scientist...

“I’m a Scientist…” from Jobs of a Preschooler

Check out these posts for more science fun.