When Work Calls…

Have you ever heard of illustrator’s block? Well, evidently it does exist. And I had it.  Now, normally, this would not be a big issue, as I tend to always work ahead of pace and schedule. However, this time is was causing problems. I am already behind on the book I have been illustrating.  When I say behind, I mean MONTHS behind. Between eye surgery and my boss throwing whammies at me non stop, I managed to fall drastically behind on everything.

As I absolutely adore this author, I was gutted.  I was doing everything I could to seek inspiration.  Even the Magic Kingdom seemed to fall short of vanquishing the dreaded block. I decided, in an effort to save time, to start formatting the book.  You may or may not know, I do it all.  I illustrate, edit, format and create all social marketing for the books I do with Fox Tots….that is on top of running Fox Tots as the chief illustrator and C.O.O.

This was it! Formatting was just what I had needed to do.  I was stuck at illustration number 23.  A typical book will contain at least 32. As I began adding the text to my drawings, it was as if a light bulb went off.  Suddenly I felt inspired.  More so than when I even began first illustrating. Now I am excited again and cannot wait to complete this project!

formatting books
A look into the formatting of My Trip To The Library. Written by Barbara Poor
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The Typing Coach Online Typing Course (A Review)

Reviewing

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course

From

The Typing Coach

Today, I will be reviewing The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.  The course is intended to be used at a pace of a lesson per week, over ten weeks, which we followed. Although, at first, Kira’s pace ran a little over a week to master the first lessons.

Imagine if you will, for a moment, a teenager who loves to write books.  Now imagine said teenager hating to type.  It seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Especially in today’s digital age.  However, that is what I had on my hands! Kira would always cringe with her typing lessons.  I tried YEARS ago, first with Jumpstart, then with Elementary Advantage and Middle School Advantage.  No matter how I tried to help Kira, the connection was simply not being made. My Grandmother gave me my first typewriter when I was only 6 years old.  If memory serves, she purchased it at a garage sale.   As a daughter of a Word Processor, I learned typing quickly by watching my Mother when I would go to work with her.  Back then, the typewriters were simply gigantic! As time went on, the typewriters were replaced by computers. I loved to play on the computers at the law firm my Mother worked at, and pretended I was one of her employees!  I loved it so very much that I took typing courses in middle school and then business classes in high school. Unfortunately, my daughter did not share in my enthusiasm!

Then we received The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach! As with any subject Kira does not love, there was the initial anxiety.  The angstitude (My regular readers will recognize the term. For those of you who have not read my blog before, I make up words. They are easily discernible as a rule) had begun.

I imagine it comes from her father.   He even texts with one finger.  His typing….well…you can imagine.

Before giving up all hope and praying for technology to advance fast enough to predict our thoughts and virtually type them,  The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach provided just what Kira needed!

The course layout from the audio and the student packet to the leaning checks and test were just what did the trick for Kira to actually enjoy the learning process into typing.  She went from her angstitute to actually asking if she could do her typing lessons!!!

It was refreshing to watch Kira actually typing without looking down at the keyboard every millisecond and having BOTH hands placed properly on the keyboard!!!!

I asked Kira for her opinion on The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.  She said, “It is an awesome program! One thing that I like about it is, with other programs I had to type what was on the screen and when I looked at the screen, I could also see the keyboard. In reality, I wasn’t actually learning the keys, I mean I could still see them after all! Whereas, with The Typing Coach Online Typing Course, what needed to be typed was off to the side, not directly on the screen, ensuring I memorize the keys and properly learn them.”

Kira and I both highly recommend  The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach. Whether young or old, this course is absolutely wonderful and can help the worst typing students become a typist!

 

 

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/thetypingcoach

Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew

The Good, The Bad, The Irony

I am a bit behind posting.  I would apologize, but as no one really reads my blog I am not sure why I would have a need to.  Actually even if someone does read it, I would not apologize for having a life and living it.

I recently realized over obligating myself to others is a huge mistake.  When you do so and then have extremely urgent needs, those you have obligations to care not about what does not directly impact them…whatsoever! Freshly from a review on home school parenting, a topic addressed within their advice comes to mind. Learning how to say NO. This is something I have yet to learn. Only I see the irony in all of this.  Family comes first.  This will be my final year for many things.  I can no longer be all things to all people as where I am needed most tends to suffer.

To the point, this is a late post.  I shall lump what would have been probably three posts into one short post.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day

I had an absolutely beautiful Mother’s day.  I am blessed with an extremely loving and supportive family.

Mother's Day GiftsAs if their love was not enough, they also give me presents, make me gifts and cards, as well as take me out to dinner!

I certainly am blessed.  I do not know what I have done to deserve such a loving and supportive family, but I am extremely grateful!

 

Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Rescue (A Review)

Reviewing

Homeschool Rescue

from

Only Passionate Curiosity

 

Let it not be said that I begrudge being a homeschool parent.  I absolutely love being able to spend each day with my daughter.  But….after over 13 years of spending each and every single day with my daughter 24/7, without a single babysitter or day off since she came home from the NICU when she was born, the exception being,  the one night after her hernia surgery when she was a baby……well…..there are a few days where I start to question what the heck I am doing.

At first, homeschooling was a breeze.  I mean, seriously, Kira learned her ABC’s at two and was reading by three.  It seemed only logical that I foster this young prodigy and help her learn at her extremely rapid pace. Flash forward to a teen ager with a teen ager’s angstitude. Yes, I make up words, but admit it, you know EXACTLY what I mean! There are some days where I feel as though I am in a sinking hole surrounded by dirt, with no way to claw my way out!

I remember the nay-sayers on homeschooling.  Mainly my husband’s family.  I mean, who wants a pasty white unsocialized freak? Not my words, this is what they said. Actually, I have had friends (using that word loosely here) who actually said homeschooling is a form of abuse that Christian cults use as a way to control! Although I still think they all have a warped sense of what homeschool is all about, those notions and those words stay. Like a cancer, they spread and infiltrate the mind…..especially on those dark days when I wonder if I made the right choice for my daughter, and her future.

Now, Kira will be the first to tell you that she has zero desires to attend a physical school building.  Whether it be public or private, Kira is completely against traditional education.  I honestly have nothing to do with her opinion on this either. I ask her routinely if she would rather go to school. I have even pleaded with her previously to at least try school. This would be amidst an angstitude moment!

When I first began homeschooling, I told my husband as long as she was progressing and learning to pace with her age range/grade level, I would continue homeschooling. I just never realized what it all entailed. Being a result of the public education system in Miami, I now realize how little I actually had to learn. I was blessed with electives.  I personally always chose art or music. How I managed to get by and never have a form of geography, or even economics, is beyond me. My daughter, however, is not afforded such luxury.  (That is a joke, it is not a luxury to be ignorant!)

The best part of being a homeschool Mom is learning everything you were never taught, right along with your child!

When days come where rolling out of bed and having to not only illustrate a book, create multiple advertisements for published books, deal with social media for a global company, do the laundry, cook meals, and be mentally alert, but then also have to be an attentive educator arise, and all I want is to sleep happen……what the heck am I to do?!?!?! I had been mentally unplugging.  Virtually going on autopilot.  Mind you, I did not know I was doing this.  I did not know the word NO! In doing this all, I managed to over obligate myself.  When I say over obligate, I mean full on 18+ hour days.  And these obligations provided virtually no reward of payment, or anything else, for that matter. My autopilot mode had lead me straight towards what could have been a meltdown.  Then I visited Only Passionate Curiosity!

Homeschool Rescue.  Those words are apt, it is a rescue!

The entire course provides immeasurable content and resources. Whether you watch the videos or read the transcripts, (this is what I did as I read as Kira was amidst her lessons) you realize you are not alone! Additionally, the Facebook group also provides an even greater sense of inclusion. Learning you are not the only Mom doubting every move you make is certainly a relief!

I personally was ready to jump straight to module 5.  However, I am glad I did not.  Each module presented key points and valuable resources for our homeschool.

I only wish this was available when I first began teaching Kira.  However, I do believe all things happen for a reason.  This came just in time for me personally.  My burnout was about a week away, in all honesty. Between my health, my increased workload,  and Kira’s angstitude, I began drastically doubting everything I was doing.

The 60 day planner alone was a God send.

I highly recommend Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity to each and every homeschool family!

 

 

Social Media Links:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OnlyPassionateCuriosity/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/opchomeschool
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/OPChomeschool/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/onlypassionatecuriosity/
Goggle+:  https://plus.google.com/b/110290451358830656260/+OnlypassionatecuriosityHomeschool

Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew

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High School Essay Intensive From Institute for Excellence in Writing (A Review)

Reviewing

High School Essay Intensive From

Institute for Excellence in Writing

 

 

High school writing can be overwhelming with preparing for SAT and college applications. I was excited to receive High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing for my daughter.

Today I am reviewing High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing.

 

By now, if you avidly ready any of my  blog,  you may realize that my daughter loves to read. What you may not know, however, is that Kira LOVES to write.  This passion began early on with Kira.  I have totes full of her stories.  I remember at the tender age of 6, Kira writing cute stories.  She also illustrated the stories at that time, which was an extra special treat! Now, at the tender age of only 13, Kira has 3 books, (not published yet, of course) and has several that are unfinished. Her imagination is simply unmatched. I remember when she was very little, watching her play with her toys, creating multiple voices, and adaptive story lines to coincide. Honestly, this child has talent. I am biased, I am sure, as her mother. Nonetheless, I am always impressed by her imagination and story making skills.

Kira has always excelled in Language arts. Spelling, well, spelling is not her strongest suit. Her writing style also lacked somewhat.  We were both extremely excited to receive  High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing.  Kira seemed a bit miffed when she first opened the box.  No doubt, she was expecting a book to read.  I swear, this child loves to read anything.  So when she saw the beautifully encased 5 DVD set, she was visibly disappointed. Immediately, she focused on the paperwork inside.  It was something she could read! Her frown instantly revealed a smile. She quickly unwrapped the printed materials and began to read.  Perhaps my little one might come around to actually enjoying watching a DVD and learning!

Much to her surprise, Kira found the DVD’s enjoyable! From the humorous instructor to the surprising elements therein, and the student responses, Kira was HOOKED! I absolutely loved hearing her giggle along with the other students as she watched the DVDs!

Prior to the lessons, I asked Kira to write a couple of paragraphs.  I wanted to have a comparison to show how she was able to display what she was learning.

This was her preliminary writing, prior to using  High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing;

A Day at the Beach

 

                The sounds of waves crashing upon the rocky shore and seagulls flying overhead surround me. The ground is grainy and rough beneath me, but the water is cold against my bare feet. A refreshing breeze brings relief from the heat and with it the sharp, tangy smell of salt.

                I feel at peace, in harmony with nature, here. I could sit upon these rocks and watch the tide change and waves roll all day, watch the clouds move through the sky and birds circle overhead, and be content. I love the beach.

 

Once she had completed several lessons, I asked her to please rewrite her paragraphs, but this time, I asked that she apply what she learned from High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing;

 

A Day at the Beach

 

 

                The sights and sounds of the beach surround me. Crashing upon the rocks, the waves roar as if lions. Loudly, but not too annoying, the seagulls squawk overhead. Beneath me, the sand is hot and grainy, but the lapping water is cool against my bare feet. A refreshing sea breeze brings the sharp smell of salt. It is a beautiful day on the water, and I have lost myself in the sensations of the shore.

                In this calming place, I could stay forever. Sitting upon these rocks, watching the waves roll and the tides change, I would never leave. The beach is another world, where peace reigns and war is not known. Upon this rocky shore, I am at home.

 

I am sure, as the reader, you notice a drastic difference. I was absolutely thrilled by the results. The TRIAC method works.  I kept hearing Kira repeat this along with the DVDs and she actually memorized it.

High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing is simply wonderful.  Whether your home school student is preparing for the ACT, SAT, or simply wants to further their general understandings for essay writing.  Kira and I highly recommend this fun Seminar and Handout set.

 

 

Social Media Links:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/excellenceinwriting
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/iewtv
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/iew  @IEW
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/iewriting/

 

Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew

May The Fourth Be With You

Growing up as the original Star Wars generation is simply wonderful. Not only did I get the best movie and toys ever growing up, but I now also get to experience it all over again with my own child!

When Kira expressed her love for Star Wars, I squealed with excitement.  The geekiness had indeed been passed down to my young Jedi offspring!

There has to be something said about the way it feels to watch the return of Star Wars to the big screen, (Yes, I know there have been many prequels, sequels and everything you can possibly imagine in between) and having your child watch it with you.  What made the experience of watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens all the more special was the fact we watched it at the drive-in! This added to my sentimental nostalgia.

Kira as Princess Leia. Halloween 2015
Kira as Princess Leia. Halloween 2015

Halloween 2015

Before the movie even had been seen, Kira decided she wanted to be Princess Leia.  Thankfully, she already had the hair for the costume! Being an exceptionally tall child made finding a costume difficult, however. The solution came in an oversized sweatshirt/hoodie! I was amazed that this little costume, which was thrown together, virtually last minute, was a hit. Kira loved it.

Chew and Kira

Flash forward to Kira’s 13th Birthday.  Guess who she wanted to spend it with? That’s right, Star Wars.  A week in the Magic Kingdom it was.

From Storm Troopers to R2D2 and C3PO, we were in heaven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I this year even had lesson plans to celebrate Star Wars Day! I know, silly but fun!! You really should visit this website; http://www.starwars.com/may-the-4th

Kira colored BB8

BB8 is perhaps my new favorite character. I was extremely lucky this Christmas and received a rc BB8.  He is the sweetest little thing ever, and drives our cats nuts!

In honor of Star Wars day, I also decided to push my neuropathy ridden, arthritic hands, and fibromyalgia ridden body, failing eye sight, and glaucoma eyes to their limits and paint a teeny tiny 2×2 acrylic Yoda!

Paint Yoda I Must
Progress shots

So, as you can see….this is somewhat of a family holiday. We embrace the force.  We also wish you all a very happy Star Wars day! May the force be with you all!!!

Lamplighter Publishing and The Secret Bridge ( A Review)

Reviewing

The Secret Bridge

From

Lamplighter Publishing

Kira was very excited when we received The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing to review!

Kira absolutely loves when she receives mail, but, to receive a book in the mail, well, she actually does her happy dance!  Needless to say, my little avid reader dove straight in! The beautiful binding to this book had me, as an illustrator of children’s books, in absolute awe!

Beautiful binding!
Amazing detail and texture!
Attention to detail, throughout!
Attention to detail, throughout!

By now, if you have read any of my posts about Kira, you know she is quite the little reader! Within as much, it was no surprise to me that Kira read The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing cover to cover in only a few days!

Kira loved this story.  She said it is well written, and that she loved how the story delved into the phycology of the characters. Kira especially loved the fact the book contained footnotes and direction to each verse in her bible.

Job 22:22 “Receive, I pray thee, the law from His mouth, and lay up His words, in thine heart.”

This passage is the one Kira said most represents the story in its entirety.

Kira found herself lost in the 1800’s!

Her favorite character would have to be, Mr. Jocelyn, because of his good heart and intelligence. She also liked his quirks.

I asked Kira what her one favorite part from the story was, and she replied, “How determined Bridget was when Godfrey returned home, that he would go to his family first.”

The Secret Bridge from Lamplighter Publishing  is simply wonderful. To think my daughter was actually enjoying a story written in 1899 is simply astounding. A vast contrast to the tales of myth and lore, such as Maze Runner, one of her favorites.

The story and the physical book itself are absolutely beautiful.  The intricate binding is absolutely unmatched.  This book leads to be passed down generation to generation…providing Kira does not warp the binding from rereading.  You should see some of her books; many look as though they were run over by a train! Kira has a tendency to reread books over and over and over!

Kira highly recommends this book to everyone.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lamplighterministries/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lamplighterbook  @lamplighterbook
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/107546529632801860503

Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew

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