Do You Have A Teen Who Loves to Write? Ten Writing Tips for Teens

My teenage daughter loves to write! She spends every spare moment buried inside her little notebook creating character sketches, writing scenes and working out new story scenarios. She’s a good little writer and I’m always encouraging her to continue. The other day I came across this little graphic with 10 writing tips for teens. We both found these tips quite useful so we wanted to share – hope you are all having a lovely week. 🙂2c1a971e3771798e64f26a58e83db96d

Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

Hunter looked outside and remarked, “It’s really windy – I think it’s a good day to fly a kite!”  I knew that we had some old broken kites somewhere in the garage but I wasn’t up for the search.  Instead, we did a little online searching.  The kids and I found some instructions which assured us that drinking straws, plastic grocery bags, string and tape would quickly produce fully functioning kites. Perfect – we set to work!Kites_2011_01 Kites_2011_07I’m sure you are not surprised to hear that once we got our homemade kites outside, they didn’t fly at all… 😦  Hannah took this disappointment in stride but Hunter was pretty bummed. It’s always sad when your hard work doesn’t quite pay off…Kites_2011_09Hannah didn’t give up though! She went into the garage, rummaged through and found one of our old kites. After a bit of sawing, taping and tying we managed to create a NEW-OLD kite that flew perfectly!Kites_2011_05We all know that life is often more about the journey than the end result. My kids and I had a lot of fun constructing those kites together. And in the end, I also learned that making old things new again can sometimes be a better option than starting from scratch. 😉Kites_2011_03

Happy Sunday,

Micheline

Busy Bees

Bee_smallMost of us complain, “I’m just so busy!” We often use the expression “busy as a bee” or “ants in your pants” to describe our incessant activity. But how much does our busyness really compare to that of a bee or an ant?

Apart from producing one of the sweetest nectars on earth, bees are essential to pollinating our ecosystems. If bees were to stop their “busyness” it would negatively impact all of us. Pollination helps preserve our natural forests and wildflowers providing the seeds, fruit, and nuts that sustain wild animals. Pollination of our own vast food supplies sustains us. Our very survival relies on these tiny, magnificent creatures.Paint-2a_smallAnts are equally magnificent; they turn over and enrich the soil more than earthworms, they spread seeds, pollinate plants and control the pest and spider populations. Additionally, they keep the environment clean by consuming dead animals and they themselves are a food supply for many other species.

In all honesty I can’t profess that my “busyness” even remotely compares to that of a bee or an ant. While much of my time is spent caring for my family and community, in all honesty I take on a lot of things that actually reduce the time I have to spend on the people and things I care about.

I suppose the issue isn’t necessarily our “busyness” but instead it’s what we are busy doing.

~ MichelineSpring_2011_17_smallIMG_8178_smallMy Father-in-law found this spectacular “Ant Castle” last year. It has roads winding round and round – all the way up to the top!

Thank-you!

Miss Emily managed to find her way into various homes this Christmas! We just wanted to send out a BIG thanks to all those folks out there who supported our little business and bought our book. We are so grateful for you!

Blessings upon you and yours in 2013,

Micheline & TrinaMiss Em Peeking

Summer Pastimes

Me, Kayla & Babe

HEY – it’s me, Hannah, I’m back! (That’s me pictured above with a little friend and one of my ponies.) If you have never seen my previous posts please check them out by clicking here >>> How to Draw a Dragon & Our Crazy Animals!

I did it! I finished grade 8 (and part of grade 9 actually… there are some perks to home schooling like; going at your own speed 🙂 ). I’m so happy school is finished and that I am on summer holidays! HOORAY!!! What do you do during the summer – when there’s no school to distract you?

Playing video games is all very well, but in the summer??? No, I think summertime is for getting outside for a walk, going for a bike ride, jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath or… you could simply drop a water balloon on a friend when they aren’t paying attention! 😉 The possibilities are endless!

Summer pastimes may vary, but in my opinion it is the best season!
For two reasons;
1: No school!! :}
2: and well…. NOOOOOO SCHOOL!!! (Hee hee! 😉 )

So what do I do during the summer?

Well… usually I go camping with my family at some point but because we live on a farm far away from downtown and a little distanced from most friends then one needs to get creative; I can train the pigs, play with the chickens, give the horses a bath, go for a walk with the dog, or give the barn cats some attention.

This is one of our newest barn kitties – her name is ‘Mrs. Norris’.
(I know, a very grown-up name for such a little girl!)

This is our other newbie – his name is ‘Eragon’.

I really like to  listen to music and hang out with the animals – sometimes daydreaming, sometimes drawing, or thinking up new ideas for a story. (I actually find that a farm also has its own type of music too: the horses are the beat, walking along, the chickens are the guitar chords, clucking and crowing while the dog is a singer barking at the cats. 😉 ) You could ride in the wood-shed wagon down a hill and have it tip with you still in it and fall – hands and knees – into a puddle. Or you could carry a hen around and see if she eats more grasshoppers than your brother’s hen. You could jump into the horses’ water trough when you’re hot and run – barefoot – around their pen, jumping, playing, rolling in the dirt and then getting back into the water… who knows?!  (Just so ya know – these are all based on VERY real experiences! 🙂 )

This is one of our piglets – her name is ‘Squirt’.

This is my favourite hen – her name is ‘Sweets’.
She is so tame that she’ll eat out of my hand and I can carry her around with me anywhere. 🙂

ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!!!!!!!!!
Hannah 🙂

Of Mice and Children

When I was six I lived a couple of blocks from St. Mary’s church. Both grand and inviting this beautiful circular structure was created by aboriginal architect Douglas Cardinal. My sister, friends and I loved to play hide and seek among the confessionals and pews. But we especially liked the mice that lived in the fields around the church.

One crisp October evening we got it into our heads that it was too cold for the mice to sleep safely outside. So we gathered up a dozen of them with the idea of providing warmer beds within the church.

I don’t know where we got the idea that mice couldn’t survive outside, but I have a feeling it had a lot to do with the stories we read as kids. From “The Night Before Christmas” to “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse” these critters seemed to be a lot like us humans. Thankfully, the kind priest helped us understand why mice must live outside.

Even though I no longer view mice through the humanizing eyes of a child I still love the children’s stories that do. I guess that’s why –even though Miss Emily Goes to Bat is the story about a cat –you’ll find mice on every page.

You can have a look at this amazing church at http://stmarysparish.shawwebspace.ca/photos/view/our_church/. The field is gone and the rose garden is new, but the building remains a work of art.

~Trina

Our Crazy Animals!

We very happily live on a farm in Creston, BC. The other day the sun was shining and  so Micheline’s daughter, Hannah, decided to head outside for some relaxing quiet time. The following is what she wrote about her little adventure outside and it also includes some pics of our crazy farm animals – it was so cute we had to share! 🙂

It was such a nice day out! And since I had planned on writing out the lyrics of one of my favourite songs I thought, ‘Might as well go outside and hang out in the sun and relax.’   

I got out there with my pen, paper and iPod, I sat down in the grass not too far from my ponies. The kittens were playing underneath one of the blue pine trees and Nala – our dog – was hanging out as well.

I began to write the lyrics of the song and my pony, Bandit, decided to come and say hi. He was nibbling grass, creeping slowly closer and closer, (He thinks he’s pretty sneaky. 😀 ) I thought nothing of if until he shoved my shoe out of the way to get the grass underneath! He kept shoving either my shoe or my knee or my hand. Eventually I pushed his nose away and kept writing.

Then the kittens decided to join, they came up and rubbed all over me and one jumped onto my lap and was purring in my ear and rubbing on my arms as I tried to write!

And of course who should show up next but Nala!!! She sat down beside me and was licking my hand. So I stopped writing and sat there for a minute petting the dog, petting the kittens. And occasionally shoving Bandit out of the way, thinking, ‘Yeah. This is real relaxing.’

After a bit I began to write again. This time I tried to ignore the animals. One of the kittens was attacking my headphones, one was sitting on my lap and Bandit…well he stole my pen. I wasn’t too happy with him for that.

Sigh…but those are our crazy animals! They just love you to death!!
– Hannah 😉

This picture below is Hannah with her other pony – Babe.  Thanks for your cute story Hannah!

Is April Fools Really Just for Fools?

My kids love April Fools –possibly because it’s a way to get back at Dad for his years of tomfoolery. You see it’s been their dad’s practice to make outrageous claims to our kids for as long as any of us can remember. In fact it’s standard family practice for the kids to look to me for confirmation (or not) whenever Dad tells them anything.

Since toddlerhood my kids have been told that fried chicken is actually “gicken”, a genetically modified chicken that has six legs and runs as fast as a gopher. They’ve been told that that we used to have to cut holes in their diapers when the boys were babies because they were born with tails –which subsequently “dried up and fell off”; when Will or Thom ask where mom is the standard answer is that I’ve “run away with the ice-cream man.”

Our children’s true parentage has ranged from aliens to monkeys and Charley Cat is actually a superior being sent to study humans. Apparently we’ve agreed to allow him to board with us free of charge in exchange for immunity when the cat aliens take over the planet.

Thankfully my children have learned from a very young age that you can’t believe everything you hear. And they’ve gotten really good at questioning what they’re told –even the believable stuff.

According to Wikipedia April Fools has been around for a very long time with possible origins going as far back as 536 BC, Persia (now Iran). It makes me wonder whether these ancients recognized a benefit to foolery on the development of critical thinking skills.  Has April Fools actually helped us to become smarter, more discerning human beings? Or is it just one more way to produce what many refer to as “the best medicine”; laughter.

~ Trina

You can download a free larger printable PDF version of this April Fool’s colouring page by clicking here >>> Colouring Pages

Singing a Different Tune

Last week I got to read Miss Emily Goes to Bat to three different classrooms (photos an updates on these coming soon!). I hadn’t read to a group for over a month and was surprised by just how much I’d missed it.

The thing is, I can’t sing. I love music – blues, big band, do-wop, country, reggae, classic rock, 80’s hair bands, 90’s grunge and yes, even the new bands whose lead singers are young enough to be my own kids.

I watch American Idol, The Voice and even that cheesy game show, Don’t forget the Lyrics. But I can’t sing. In fact I’m such a bad singer that when my boys Will and Thom were babies and nursing,  anytime I began to sing to them they’d respond with a tiny little hand to my mouth. “Please don’t sing mom, you’re ruining a perfectly good meal here.”

So you see, I’ll never make it as a rock star. Naturally I thought that the acclaim of the crowd (or even my babies) was forever out of my grasp. And then Miss Emily happened and the crowd went wild…

Yes, I know it’s not really me; it’s Miss Emily and Will and Thom that the kids love. Yes, I realize that their laughter is really reserved for the three mice riding on the top of the bus, that their attention is on Rover the Dog as he steps in a pail and they lean forward in their seats –breaths held in anticipation– over Coach Burt’s reaction to the “mess that’s been made”.

But when the story is over and I see the small hands lift up from within the crowd of listeners, not to ask for silence but to ask questions, I realize I might be wrong. I think about the melody in narrative, the tempo in the telling, the chorus of action in all the characters. Maybe I’m just singing a different kind of song after all.