Ramblings · Writing Appearances

2020 End-of-Year Writing Update

As 2020 comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on what I had posted last year for my 2019 end-of-year writing update and 2020 writing goals.

In that post, I had written:

I think it’s beneficial to have some kind of an idea of goals for the upcoming year, but things happen, plans can change, and ideas may lead in a new direction. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I have found it to be more beneficial for me to create monthly (and even daily) goals with a few long-term goals still in mind.

Well, this year was full of plans changing and things happening! It certainly did not go the direction any of us had originally planned.

I had no idea at the end of 2019 that my family would be dealing with COVID, numerous cancellations, an inland hurricane that unexpectedly tore through our area on my birthday leaving us without power for eight days and without internet for three weeks, and multiple other events that had happened throughout 2020.

I’m sure you can relate to how unexpected things have been this year!

Besides numerous cancellations that affected my family personally, I was disappointed about the cancellations of pickle festivals, the local farmers’ market, and other in-person events for my writing adventure. Those cancellations made it more challenging to sell my books and journals this year.

Through it all, though, I am grateful for all the blessings our family has had even when things didn’t go as originally planned.

My 2020 Writing Adventure Accomplishments

This year became my “year of learning about writing” since I had the opportunity to attend multiple writing webinars, a nonfiction conference, an SCBWI spring conference, and the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference because they were all virtual. In fact, I filled an entire binder with all the notes I typed from these various virtual learning opportunities!

As a result of a one on one virtual meeting with an editor through the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference, two writings of mine (so far, at least) were accepted for publication in a children’s magazine (scheduled for 2021).

I created and published four journals. I was hoping to use the field trip journal quite a bit this year since I was organizing monthly field trips for a homeschool group I had started a couple of years ago. But that didn’t happen. Interestingly, our last field trip as a group was in February at a local airport.

I also published a hardcover version of Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles and created and published a picture book with my 12-year-old daughter called Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure. As a result of that publication, my daughter and I had a few interview opportunities. I really enjoyed working on that project together.

I created one course for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, two courses that I published on Udemy, a class that I taught at a local community college in October (since the class was cancelled in May and July), and a webinar that I presented at the KidLit Indie Publishing Summit.

I continued as a monthly contributor for Hands on As We grow and other writings of mine were published in various places online and in print. I also wrote a couple of picture book manuscripts, which I have submitted to a few places.

How to Raise Entrepreneur Kids Contributor

I was hoping to reach out to state parks and airports to try to sell my Adventure Writing Prompt journal, but I didn’t. I figured they would not sell well with all of the restrictions and cancellations for travel this past year. I was able to sell my Reading Journals to an educational resource supplier, though.

I’ve continued volunteering as a Regional Social Chair for SCBWI IA/MN, and I am still leading monthly writer meetings (albeit virtually instead of in-person). I also had the opportunity to attend a few virtual picture book meetings, which I hope to continue in 2021.

Finally, I joined Twitter and edited a book for a publishing company located in Iowa.

My 2021 Writing Adventure Goals

I am not sure what 2021 will bring especially with my family expecting some big changes in the upcoming year. But I do intend to continue my writing adventure.

Here are some things I am planning to do in 2021:

  • present a webinar hosted by SCBWI IA/MN at the end of January (more info here)
  • continue writing monthly posts for Hands On As We Grow
  • create and present a webinar hosted by Journey to Kidlit
  • teach at the local community college
  • create and publish at least one more course on Udemy
  • edit some more books (I have 5 tentatively scheduled for 2021)
  • decide what to do with a manuscript I have written (submit or publish)
  • research and explore the possibility of writing a book (or a series of books) based on an idea I have (and then start writing it)
  • look into work-for-hire opportunities and decide if it is something I want to pursue

Last year, I had also written something else that still resonates with me.

As Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” I am excited to see where this writing adventure will lead next.

Yes, I have some plans but I don’t know exactly what will happen in the upcoming year. My writing adventure continues to be a part-time endeavor that I hope to continue working on when I can.

What About You?

I have rambled on long enough. Did you accomplish any of your 2020 goals? What are some goals you are hoping to reach in 2021?

Happy New Year!

Crafts and Projects · Ramblings

Simple Crafts for Kids to Display Gratitude this Thanksgiving

This year has been quite the year! Need I say more?

I’m sure you have all kinds of thoughts about how this year has not gone as originally planned. Through everything, though, I know I still have a lot to be thankful for. And every morning I thank God for what I do have.

I think Thanksgiving Day serves as a reminder for many to focus on the blessings they have in their lives. So, I figured I’d round up some simple Thanksgiving crafts to do with kids I’ve shared before that show gratitude for what we have.

Thankful Tree

Thankful Tree
Thankful Tree

Each year, my daughters and I create our own thankful tree using a small artificial tree, construction paper, a hole punch, yarn, and writing utensils. We write one item we are thankful for on each of the little tags, which we display on the tree.

You don’t need an actual tree to create a thankful tree, though. You could use construction paper to create your own tree (like the fall leaves one my daughters and I created below).

Fall and winter activities

Thankful Chain

thankful chain
Thankful Chain

Not only are these thankful chains a great way to decorate your house with what you are thankful for, but they can also promote cutting, writing, colors, and pattern making practice for the little ones.

I wrote step-by-step instructions on making a thankful chain in a post published on Hands On As We Grow. You can check it out if you are interested here: Make Your Own Simple Thankful Chain for Thanksgiving.

Thankful Wreath

Thankful Wreath
Thankful Wreath

And another fun fall-inspired decoration. Again, I created step-by-step instructions for this thankful wreath, which was published on Hands On As We Grow. If interested, click here: Kid Made Thankful Wreath to Show Gratitude.

With everything going on this year,

what is (at least) one thing you are thankful for?

Crafts and Projects · Ramblings · Writing Appearances

Simple Science Experiments for Kids in the Kitchen

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I greatly appreciate all purchases you make using these links. Thank you!)

My daughters and I have done a lot of science experiments together over the years!

Some of them we have only done once. I don’t think I’ll ever soak chicken bones in vinegar again. Not sure if we did something wrong, but that reeked!

Other science experiments have been so much fun (and simple) to do that we have done them multiple times. One such experiment is elephant toothpaste.

You can make your own elephant toothpaste using the step-by-step directions I provided on Hands On As We Grow (here). Make sure to scroll towards the bottom of that post if you’d like to download a PDF that includes the needed supplies and directions.

I also recently wrote an article for The Old Schoolhouse magazine about some more fun science experiments to do in the kitchen.

Make sure to check out “Science in the Kitchen” if you are interested in experimenting with roux, toast, yeast, and baking powder in your own kitchen.

All of the science experiments I shared in that article were adapted from the book The Science Chef: 100 Fun Food Experiments and Recipes for Kids and the course Breadmaking Devotional (found on SchoolhouseTeachers.com).

I also mentioned some additional books that encourage science in the kitchen including a few cookbooks for kids. Here they are for easy reference:

So, learn how to make elephant toothpaste here. And check out some fun science in the kitchen experiments here.

I’d love to hear what your favorite simple science experiment is. Please let me know in the comments below.

For even more simple science experiments, make sure to check out these posts:

Ramblings · Writing Appearances

Author Interview Available on Book Goodies

An author interview of me was published on Book Goodies the same day the interview of my 12-year-old daughter was published on Frog on a Blog.

You can read about what inspires me to write, what my writing process is like, how I decided to publish my books, and some advice I recommend to new writers in the interview on Book Goodies here.

Do you have any other questions for me you wish I would have answered in the interview? If so, please ask me in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

Aah! Blown Away · Ramblings · Writing Appearances

Interview of 12-Year-Old Published Illustrator Available on Frog on a Blog

Interview on Frog on a Blog

I had the opportunity to interview my 12-year-old daughter on the process of illustrating her first published picture book, Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure.

Aah! Blown Away, Crash! Cover

Alyssa answered questions about how the book was started, what the process was like for her, what she enjoyed the most, what the hardest part was, and things she learned. You can read the entire interview on Frog on a Blog here.

Are there any other questions you have about how we published Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure? If so, please leave them in the comments below.

Happy Reading!