Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quote Tuesday

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, 
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
– Carl Bard
* * *
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. 
-Theodore Roosevelt

* * *
You will never win if you never begin. 

-Helen Rowland

* * *
If all you can do is crawl, start crawling.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Success Quotes

Hey kids! Today I have some success quotes to share with y'all! Enjoy!

"If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do." Anonymous

"Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Edison

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out." Robert Collier

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Overcoming Fear - By Tara

Mama says I was three when I read my first book. It's not that I'm overly intelligent, I was just born with such a love for books I couldn't risk waiting until a normal age to begin reading. Who knows what I might have missed? 

My dream is to one day be a librarian. I can’t imagine anything better than being surrounded by books all the time.  

I go to our library a couple times each week. Mama says it’s good practice for me. 

“I declare, Tara, you’re so quiet I hardly even notice you’re around.” Mrs. Holden, our librarian said with a smile when she almost tripped over me. 

I looked up from my seat on the floor where I was reading a new mystery book. “Sorry.” 

“Oh, it’s not a bad thing. I wish more of our children would be as quiet as you are.” Mrs. Holden began to walk away, then turned back. “Tara, have you ever thought of helping out with the children’s story time? Or even reading to them sometimes?” 

My heart began beating faster. “No.” I like being in the shadows. Talking to one person is hard enough.

“You’re here a lot and we’d be delighted to have your help. You’d be a perfect fit.” Mrs. Holden’s smile got even bigger. “Besides, your mother said you want to be a librarian when you grow up. It would be a good experience for you.”

I sucked in a breath and tried to smile. “I’ll think about it.” I said it to make her stop trying to convince me. I couldn’t purposely make myself the center of attention. 

Mrs. Holden told Mama about the idea when Mama came to pick me up; Mama agreed that it was wonderful. 

“Mama, I can’t,” I told her when we were in the car.

“Tara, I know you’re quiet, but sometime you’re going to have to learn how to talk to other people if you want to be a librarian. This would be the perfect place to start.” 

What she said made sense, but it still scared me. 

* * *

“Come here, Tara.” Daddy patted the arm of his easy chair. 

Snuggling next to him I took a deep breath. Daddy always made me feel safe. 

“What do you think?” I asked in a whisper, knowing he would understand. During super Mama had told everyone about Mrs. Holden’s offer. 

“I think it’s a mighty fine chance. It won’t be easy, but it will be good and eventually you might even enjoy it.” 

“I need to conquer my fear?” 

“That’s right, little lady.” Daddy gave my shoulder a squeeze. 

I thought about it for a long time before nodding. “I’ll help Mrs. Holden.” As scary as it was, I felt a strange sense of excitement inside me. It felt good to step outside my fears. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Responsibilities - By Ivy

Hey Everyone! Ivy here! 

I am an animal lover. Of course horses are the best, but really any animal is better than none at all. Sometimes people just don't know what to make of my obsession (that's what my mom calls it) with living creatures. Dad says it's because I'm an only child so I like to have the company.  

I love getting to visit Miss Aidyl because she's got a huge variety of critters. That's why I was so excited when Miss Aidyl offered to pay me to take care of her animals when she went to a cooking conference for a week. Like of course I wanted to!

"Are you sure that you'll be consistent?" Mom wanted to know. "Miss Aidyl is counting on you, that means you'll have to take care of the animals even when you'd rather be doing something else."

I sucked in an exasperated sigh. We were talking about animals here; there wasn't going to be anything I'd rather do. Or so I thought at the time.  

For two days before Miss Aidyl left I helped her while she did her animals so I would know just what to do and she also wrote down detailed instructions for me. I was feeling pretty good about myself by the time she finally left for her conference. I felt rather accomplished that Miss Aidyl had chosen me even though I was the youngest of all the Action Kids. 

Friday morning I walked into our kitchen to see Dad standing at the counter with a cup of coffee in one hand, looking out our big window over the sink. 
“Good morning, Dad!” I sang out cheerily. I was in a good mood because I was allowed to go down to the stables down the road every Friday and help out with the horses. 

“Ivy.” Dad gave me a fist bump. “Are you busy today? I mean other than the stables?” 

“Not really, why?” I got out a packet of instant oatmeal and then flipped the switch for the hot water pot. 

“I have this afternoon off so I was thinking it would be fun to go and visit Grandma and take her out for supper.” 

Nice! Grandma lived two hours away so we didn’t get to see her as often as I wished we could. “That would be super cool!” Before I was even done with my sentence I felt my surge of excitement plummeting. “What time do you think we’d get home?” 

“Not until late, but that’s ok because I have Saturday off, too. In fact, we might just stay at Grandma’s house over night.” 

I felt like crying. Staying at Grandma’s house was such a big treat, but there was no way I’d be able to go along. “Thanks, Dad, but I can’t go this time.” I ripped the packet of oatmeal open and dumped it into my bowl, blinking rapidly. 

“Why not?” 

“I’m taking care of Miss Aidyl’s animals this week.” 

“Oh. I had forgotten.” Dad was quiet for a moment, then he smiled at me. “I’m proud of you, Ivy, for being diligent with your job. You thought of your responsibilities right away, that shows that you’re maturing and growing up. We’ll just have to plan our visit to Grandma’s for another weekend.” 

I thought about Dad’s words as I ate my oatmeal. By the time I was done I had a big smile on my face. I wasn’t going to get to visit Grandma, but at least I knew my parents were proud of me and I was helping Miss Aidyl. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tara on Time

“...And make sure you put the casserole in the oven at 4:30 so it’s ready in time for supper.” 

I gave a small nod, still engrossed with the Hardy Boy’s book I was reading. Joe had just been hit over the head and had been knocked out. Frank didn’t know he’d gone to the old mansion, so who would ever find him? 

“Tara!” Mama’s voice broke into my head. I quickly skim read the last of the sentence before looking up. 

“Yes, Mama?” 

“You weren’t paying attention to me, were you?” 

“I’m supposed to put the casserole in the oven so it’s ready to eat by 4:30.” At least I thought she’d said. 

“No, no, no.” Mama looked a little bit frazzled. 

I closed my book and put it next to me on the couch. “I’m sorry. What am I supposed to do?” 

“I have to go to Forward Focus for about an hour to finish up some work. I need you to put the food in the oven at 4:30 and please make sure you have the table set by 5:00. Alright?” 

I nodded. I wished I was a bigger help to Mama but I got so engrossed in my books that I sometimes forgot anything else existed. 

After Mama left I glanced at the clock on the wall. I needed to take care of the food in thirty minutes. I started to pick my book up again, then stopped. I didn’t want to lose track of time and disappoint my family. 

Walking into the kitchen, I set the timer on the stove and then settled at table with my book. I’d just read in the kitchen to make sure I heard the timer and that way I could make sure my family had a warm dinner at 5:30 when my parents got home from their job. 

* * *
Sitting at the table an hour and a half later with my family all around me, eating the delicious broccoli and cheddar concoction Mama had made us, I smiled. It felt good to know that my family could count on me and that I’d helped get this wonderful meal ready. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Action Kids Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I wanted to post a extra-specail post on here to let y'all know about a blog tour that's going on right now to celebrate the release of Action Kids' Club! There's a lot of cool stuff going on, including giveaways and games! 

Check this post out for your chance to win a $50 gift card and this post to see the prize for the quote puzzle and comments game. You can get more entry points each day.

Find Action Kids' Club here (e-version) and here (paperback)! Thank you everyone for helping me celebrate!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Here are some inspiring quotes. :) 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jokes from Olivia

Olivia likes telling jokes. Check out some of her favorite ones. :) 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Game is a Game - By Alex

"Come on! Throw the ball!" I leaned around the kid trying to block me, stretching my arms out so Nathan would have a clear shot. 

Nathan hesitated for a moment, then looked toward the basketball hoop. I knew what he was going to do, he was going try and make a basket. 

“Here!” I yelled again. There was no way Nathan was going to make it. Caleb was taller than him and would easily knock it down and probably even steal it then get the point himself. 

Nathan took the shot, Caleb stole the ball, got a point and the game was over. We had lost.  

“Way to work as a team,” the other kid laughed as he jogged to the side of the concrete slab that we used as our court and took a swig of water from his water bottle that had been leaning against Caleb’s garage. 

Trying to hold in my impatience, I sat down in the shade and wiped the sweat off my face with the edge of my t-shirt. 

“I could have made it,” Nathan mumbled as he sat down next to me. “The wind was blowing the wrong way.” 

I glared at him and scooted over a few inches. “I could have made it from where I was standing. You should have thrown it to me. That’s what teamwork is all about.” 

Nathan looked at me for the first time since sitting down and frowned, “Are you mad at me?” His eyebrows rose a half-an-inch, making his glasses wiggle. 
“We lost the game.” I wanted to add that it was his fault, but I figured he caught my drift. 

“Yeah, but it was a game. Nothing important.” 

That did it. Standing up I stalked over to my bike and threw my leg over the seat. “See ya later, guys!” I tried to keep my voice light so they wouldn’t know how upset I was. Just a game. Nathan’s words echoed in my brain, keeping time with my feet as I peddled down the road. 

“How did-” Olivia’s cheerful greeting as I rode up to our back porch stopped when she saw the look on my face. “Did you get in a fight?” Her eyes grew wide. 

I snorted. “No.” I put my kickstand out and parked my bike. 

“Oh. You lost?” 

“Yeah. I was on Nathan’s team again.” Olivia knew what that meant. It sometimes seemed like I had gotten twice my share of competitiveness and Nathan had missed out on his share altogether. 

“Sorry, Alex. You still got the opportunity to practice though, right?” 

I gave her a half-smile, she was trying to make me feel better. “Yeah. Coach would be happy.” 

“What was it he always said? Always remember to practice two things every day: Ball and a good attitude.” Olivia deepened her voice when she said it, trying to imitate Coach’s voice and make me laugh. 

“Oh!” I snapped my fingers. “Attitude! My attitude stunk.” Even though it was Nathan who had messed up and made us lose, that didn’t give me a right to have a bad attitude. I should have congratulated the other team and at least thanked Nathan for playing with me. 

Jumping back on my bike I felt some of my tiredness fading away.

“What’s going on?” Olivia asked. 

“Just going to thank the guys for playing with me. After all, a game is a game, no matter who wins.” 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Criss-Cross Puzzel - 001 - Olivia's Words

Tara's really good at creating word puzzles, so she made this criss-cross puzzle using some of the wordsOlivia has been learning about recently. Copy and paste it onto another page to print it out, or just re-create the puzzle on your own sheet of paper.

5. You were created with a reason. You have ___________
6. Very enthusiastic and eager
7. Use this wisely, you can never get it back

1. You are amazing. You are the opposite of a loser
2. The opposite of End
3. A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something
4. Having a clear, written idea of what you want to do

Crossword Puzzle - 001 - Forward Focus

When Olivia Hall moves to Ohio, she has a lot of new things to look forward to and learn about. 
Tara decided to put this crossword puzzle together for fun after talking to Olivia about what it's like to move.

Copy and paste the puzzle onto another page to print it out, or just the work it out on here.

F H J D I C O X Q F O C M N L 
E O M G J L L H U Z A G S M R 
C O R H O U S E I T C R S B R 
A O U W U B U B T O C B X G Z 
F P F H A G M I H J B Y L V I 
O P W Y Z R T U O Z C H Y N O 
S O F D P U D E N O Z S D I K 
D R Q D D D H F E Q G P M L W 
S T S E Y H T Y O N Y Z Q J R 
D U Z S J K H J I C W F A Y Z 
N N N L E O P V N B U I Q R Z 
E I M Q K C O Y J A L S P M N 
I T P D B M C V D U R H T C K 
R Y I K D S Q U A V D X Q Z Z 
F R Q D D N M X S K J I K W E