Monthly Archives: November 2013

Shop Black Friday today and Small Business Saturday tomorrow – 60% off my calendars

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones yesterday. My turkey wasn’t stuffed but I sure was at the end of the meal. My French American Thanksgiving meal was a success. The tarte tatin I made for dessert was a delicious way to wrap things up.

Tarte tatin - French apple tart

Tarte tatin – French apple tart

Tomorrow (November 30, 2013) is Small Business Saturday. This is the one day of the year (and hopefully you do it more often) to remind you that shopping small is good for your community. Make your purchases at your local mom and pop shop rather than at the mall or at a large online retailer.

I’m taking this opportunity to remind you that my 2014 nature photography calendars (choose between five different themes) are available for sale. For Black Friday, save 60% by entering code BLKFRIZAZZLE at checkout (valid on 11/29 until midnight). If you buy them tomorrow, look in the left sidebar on my website for the most up-to-date discount coupon code.

All calendars are made to order in the USA so you support the US economy with your purchase, and a self-employed single mom (me!). I also appreciate any referral through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course your blog or website.

Shop small - small business Saturday 2013

Shop small – small business Saturday 2013

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Happy Turkey Day!

Just a quick reminder that my 2014 nature photography calendars (choose between five different themes) are available for sale. Look in the side sidebar of my blog for the most up-to-date discount coupon code (usually between 20 and 50% off). All calendars are made to order in the USA so you support the US economy with your purchase, and a self-employed single mom (me!). I also appreciate any referral through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course your blog or website.

To make this cute little turkey below, you need a red apple, big and small marshmallows, cranberries, raisins, a gummy worm and toothpicks. This is a fun craft project for the kids for Thanksgiving!

To make this cute little turkey below, you need a red apple, big and small marshmallows, cranberries, raisins, a gummy worm and toothpicks. This is a fun craft project for the kids for Thanksgiving!

I want to wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving. My sister is visiting us and she’s going to get a chance to have a real Thanksgiving meal. Well, “real” may not be exact since I do use some of the same ingredients but I change the recipes. I guess you can call it a French-American Thanksgiving meal!

I’m thankful for many things this year, but here are just a few that come to mind:

  • I’m thankful for my health.
  • I’m thankful for my kids. They are my rock and I’m so proud of them and how they’re growing up.
  • I’m thankful for my kids’ teachers, who do such an awesome job every day.
  • I’m thankful for the internet, which has opened up so many opportunities to connect with people from all over the world for work or leisure.
  • I should add I’m thankful for WiFi, especially when it’s free.
  • I’m thankful for the new work clients who gave me their trust this year.
  • I’m thankful for my camera and the great pictures it lets me take.
  • I’m thankful for PiBoIdMo 2013 (Picture Book Idea Month), which gave me the opportunity to come up with so many book ideas in just 30 days. I’m now motivated to start working on a manuscript for several of them in 2014.
  • I’m thankful for books. All sorts of books, for adults and for children, funny books, sad books, books about real stuff, books about made-up stuff…

What are you thankful for this year?

By the way, we have a white board at our house on which I draw a new picture every few days, usually something funny or unexpected. My 5-year old didn’t seem very impressed with my turkey drawing (I found the original online), which was apparently “BORING!”, so he asked if he could add some “color” to the picture. He ended up with a Thanksgiving, Fourth of July (fireworks), Christmas (snowman) and Easter (basket and Easter eggs) picture. I’m not sure what that holiday would be called, but I think it would be… amazing! Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Turkey Day!

WordPress weekly photo challenge: unexpected – and 50% off my photo calendars

I’m reblogging from my nature photography website today, simply because I have the perfect photo for this theme and my kids were with me when I took it.

I also want to start this post with a big announcement: my 2014 nature photography calendars (choose between five different themes) are available for sale at 50% off on my online Zazzle store today (all other products are 20% off). Enter code BLKFRIDAY541 at checkout; code valid until November 22, 2013, midnight. All calendars are made to order in the USA so you support the US economy with your purchase, and a starving artist (me!). I also appreciate any referral through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course your blog or website.

Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is “unexpected”. If you like what you see, feel free to subscribe and receive nature photography updates a few times a week.

I know the Oxford Dictionaries recently named “selfie” as word of the year, but seriously, “photobomb” would have been my pick. Here’s nature’s version of a photobomb: an unexpected mallard duck flying in front of a white pelican as I was trying to take its picture. Thanks, dude.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Unexpected duck flies in front of pelican

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Unexpected duck flies in front of pelican

You can view the rest of my photos of white pelicans in San Diego here.

WWW Wednesdays – November 20, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

Remember that my 2014 nature photography calendars are available for sale on my online Zazzle store.  All calendars are made to order in the USA so you support the US economy with your purchase, and a starving artist at the same time (me!). I appreciate all referrals through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course your blog or website. Save 10% off my 2014 photo calendars (choose between five different themes) and up to 60% off on other products. Enter code HOLIDAYCOUNT at checkout; code valid until November 21, 2013, midnight.

My bookshelf

1984 by George Orwell– What I’m currently reading 
I’m reading two books at the same time (this is not the most efficient way to read for me, but one of them is a fast read):
1984 by George Orwell. Last time I read it was in high school, so it will be interesting to see what I get out of it as an adult.
The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People by David Niven. I enjoyed reading his book The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People a few months ago (you can read my review here) so I thought I’d go ahead and read the other books in the series.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov– What I recently finished reading
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I’ve wanted to read this book for a very long time and finally got to do it for my upcoming book club meeting. I think everyone will have a different opinion about this book depending on their gender and their age when they get to read this story. As a woman reading this book in my 40s, I’m fascinated by Humbert’s twisted mind and the many ways he justifies his thoughts and actions. He goes at lengths to explain why what he does is perfectly OK, and that gives me an idea of what goes through a child predator or a sex pervert’s mind. As for Lolita/Dolores, wow… First portrayed as an innocent pubescent child, you come to realize she’s got a much mature mindset and attitude than her age indicates. Overall I liked this book but I thought Part 2 dragged up for a little too long. The two-year long trip around the US bored me a bit and I found myself scheming that part of the book. The end is fascinating though. This is definitely one of those books you need to read in your lifetime.

The Optimistic Child by Martin Selingman. This book may not be so helpful if you have very young children but is definitely worth the read if you have tweens or teens. Seligman clearly marks the differences between seeing the glass half empty and the one half full. This book not only contains a lot of research data but also a ton of valuable concrete examples of what children can go through and how they handle it. Seligman shows what a parent should or shouldn’t say in some situations to be supportive, and he provides a lot of tools to help children become more optimistic than pessimistic. His 5-step problem solving process works for adults too, clearly explaining how to identify a bad event as temporary rather than permanent, take a fresh perspective, set new goals and a plan of action for the future. I definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in the subject for yourself or your kids.

– What I think I’ll read next
Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies, or “Fat Envelopes” by Madeleine Levine. Several people I know have read this book, so I thought, why not? I’m interested in coping skills for children, so hopefully I can find some good advice in this book.

My kids’ bookshelf

The Ninja Meerkats series by Gareth Jones and Luke FinlaysonWhat they’re currently reading
The Ninja Meerkats series by Gareth Jones and Luke Finlayson. I have not read these books yet but I have flipped through the pages. More importantly I’ve watched my seven-year old devour ALL 6 books in the series, and go back to reading them again and again. And I have seen my 5-year old flip through the books too, asking his brother to tell him what happens in each chapter and read him the story. Just check out the characters’ names: Jet Flashfeet, Chuck Cobracrusher, Donnie Dragonjab, and Bruce Willowhammer. Ninja Meerkats with super cool names? Can it get any better??? Hi-yah!

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew DaywaltThe Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This is the second time we’ve borrowed this book from the library because we like it so much. A boy’s crayons each write him a letter to tell him why they’re upset in the way he uses each color. Having boys, I know too well that red (and black) is indeed the pencil that gets used all the time, and I have plenty of unused pink pencils. Oliver Jeffers drew the illustrations for this book, with crayons, of course, and they are brilliant.

– What they recently finished reading
This Plus That: Life's Little Equations by Amy Krouse RosenthalThis Plus That: Life’s Little Equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. My kids and I really, really like this book. We read it several times and never got tired of it, seeing each equation in a different light. This books sums up (pun intended) the little joys (and sorrows) of life in simple, yet smart equations, such as “wishes + frosting = birthday”. We’re big fans of Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Exclamation Mark!) and this book doesn’t disappoint. This is one of my favorite pages in the book:

This plus that

This plus that

The Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian BlackThe Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian Black. Comedian Michael Ian Black can be funny on TV but he’s also hilarious as a children’s book author. This isn’t the first book of his we’ve read but my boys really enjoyed this one, especially because Peter Brown’s illustrations go so well with the text. The narrator monkey bets that he can read your mind. How can this be? He bets that you’re thinking… about… a purple kangaroo! No, you weren’t thinking about a purple kangaroo? Are you sure you weren’t thinking about a purple kangaroo on roller skates… the story goes on, adding on to the ridiculous concept until the very end, where the monkey knows that you’re thinking about a purple kangaroo now! This is one of those books my kids ask me to read again as soon as I’m done, to see if it’s just as good as the first time. It is.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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