Saturday, July 28, 2012

Interview with Author Jo Linsdell

1.      Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.

I'm originally from the UK but moved to Rome, Italy in 2001 where I live with my Italian husband and our two young sons.

I've been writing pretty much since I could hold a pen. I used to love creative writing classes at school, then I got into poetry in my teens and would write it as a way of venting my feelings. As I got older I had various jobs working on publications and writing research articles but these were about dentistry and neurology and not really what I wanted to be writing about.

In 2006 everything changed. I saw an ad that an English language newspaper in Florence was looking for new writers to contribute to the paper. I sent off an article and it got published in the very next edition as it was. This was a huge turning point for me as it made me realize I could write about things I was actually interested in. Soon after I started work on my first book.

2.      Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. (You can follow this up with any points you hope readers will take away with them)

In Out and About at the Zoo, rhyming text and colourful pictures accompany a fun day out discovering different animals at the zoo.

This book highlights the joy of spending quality family time together whilst also giving small children an introduction to some of the different animals found at the zoo, their appearance and some of the things they do.

3.      Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

I self publish my books and for Out and About at the Zoo opted for Create Space. I like to have complete total over the whole process and so self publishing is plan A for me.

4.      How did you get the idea for this book?

I wrote my children's picture book Out and About at the Zoo after taking my son to the zoo for the first time. He's always shown a big interest in my writing and asked me why I hadn't written a story for him. I figured he made a good point and so Out and About at the Zoo was born.

5.      What is a typical writing day like for you?

With a 4 year old and a 9 month old I don't have a typical writing day as such as I have to write when I can. When the eldest is at playschool I can usually get some work done in the morning whilst the youngest is napping or happily playing in his play-box. On non-school days it's harder to get things done.

I tend to do most of my writing late in the evening after they're both in bed.

6.      What do you enjoy most about writing?

Seeing an idea take form.

7.      What is the most difficult part of writing?

Getting to the point when I can say I've finished a project. I always have so many ideas that it can be hard to stop myself from go back and editing in new bits or changing things. If I'm not hard on myself and give myself strict cut off points I'd be eternally editing.

8.      How has publishing a book changed your life?

It makes it easier to explain to my non-writer friends what I do. When I say I'm I writer I'm often faced with blank expressions or the question "So what exactly do you do then?" It's as if being a writer isn't a real job. Being able to show them one of my books some how makes it magically clear what I do.

9.      If your book is based on true events, how has that affected those around you?

Out and About at the Zoo was inspired by the first time I took my son to the zoo and as such is a special project for my family. It's strengthened the bond between us even more and also helped my son better understand what I do.

10.  What are your plans now?

I'm already working on another rhyming children's picture about a young fairy called May that dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy.

I'm also working on a chick-lit and a non-fiction book about social media.

11.  What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This applies both to your writing and your marketing efforts.

12.  What advice can you give adults, children and/or teens as they prepare for life?

Simply to enjoy it as much as possible. Life should be fun and involve doing things that make us happy.

13.  Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership? (Here you can share about characters, historical facts, setting or whatever else you would like our readers to know about and/or your book.)

This experience has been completely different from my other writing projects as it's the first time I'm also an illustrator. Who ever thinks putting a children's book together is easy is wrong. In a way it's harder than writing a full length novel.

I started by writing the text and that was actually the easy bit. Next I sketches some ideas for the illustrations and made a paper draft of the book layout.

My son was a huge help as at 4 years old he is full of questions and very honest in giving his opinions. He made it very clear, both with the text and the illustrations, what he liked and what he didn't and I made changes until it reached his standards.

It was nice to be able to involve him so much in my work for once and has made the book even more special to me.

Drawing the pictures for the book was fun but making them digital and print quality was not an easy task as I had no experience with illustrator programs. This book has been a huge learning curve for me. I scanned the sketches into the computer and then used Adobe Illustrator to turn them into the finished pages for the book. I would have been lost without the help and advice from my graphic friend Simon, who saved the day more than once with his technical knowledge.

14.  Do you make school visits or do speaking/book signing engagements? If so, please describe a typical presentation.

I haven't yet but I hope to start later on this year when my youngest is a bit older.

15.  Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

My website is and Out and About at the Zoo can be purchased from and all the Amazon European sites as well as directly from

I'm also happy to connect via my various social media platforms:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tips on Moving with Kids

Relocation is often a choice, but sometimes it is a necessity. How can you make a stressful situation like moving less stressful for children?

1. Include kids in the discussion early on when it will include moving and relocating to a new community. Age appropriate language and a positive attitude will help children to learn that a change is coming and that you will all work together as a family to make it fun.

2. Plan ahead as much as possible. Start early sorting and organizing closets, children's belongings, and toys. Allow children to assist in making choices about which toys are important to keep and which ones can be given away or donated to a women's shelter or church. Planning ahead and doing sorting chores early allows you to spend time with your children talking about your new adventure. It also helps to avoid throwing things into a box right before you load it in a truck.

3. Say no to other outside activities or other obligations that add stress to your busy weeks before the move. Spend time with family and friends with special celebrations of friendship before the move. Make sure your children have addresses and contact information for important friends and family so they can remain close after the move.

4. Spend some time investigating your new community. Most places have a website or online presence where you can start your adventure especially if the new home will be too far to travel before the move.

5. Have your kids create a time capsule to bury in your old backyard with messages for the new owners and maybe a picture of how the yard looks when you live there. Then make another or a small photo album of all the fun times you have spent at your present address. Help them make a list of things they want to accomplish at their new school and their new community, ie: join a church youth group, sign up for a sport, find the library.

Moving is hard both emotionally and physically. It is a trying time mixed with laughter but also with tears for both adults and kids. Make sure your children are included in the process and that as parents you recognize their fears about a new place even if they are not able to verbalize it. Talk with them often and be positive about the good aspects of this move. Encouraging your children during a relocation will help them to make a healthy adjustment to their new home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Families Matter 07/25 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

BTR’s World of Ink Network show: Families Matter with hosts VS Grenier, Kecia Burcham and Irene Roth.
The Families Matter show airs live once a month on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 6pm EST - 5pm CST - 4pm MST - 3pm PDT
The idea of this show on BTR’s World of Ink Network is to have guests and listeners (adults or kids) share information to help empower children and their families.

Our July show topic is Empowering Our Children.

This month we have a special guest...our own Irene Roth. She is a freelance writer for kids, teens and tweens. Irene writes about empowerment, drawing on her expertise from philosophy and psychology. She holds a Masters Degree in Philosophical Psychology and writes in the area of autonomy, authenticity and empowerment.

Irene has a series of picture books for kids 3-8. Her first book Courage will be released at the end of this year through Halo Publishing. Irene has also written an empowerment book for teens entitled Seasons of Empowerment. This book should be released in late 2012 as well through Halo Publishing. Lastly, she is working on a book for older teens entitled The 7 Habits of Empowerment.  This book should be completed by the end of 2012.

We invite our listeners to call-in or share through the chatroom questions or their stories.
Learn more at the Families Matter blog

You can find out more about us at

Introduction to the book

     Welcome to the Seasons of Empowerment. In the sections that follow, I will argue that there are four seasons to self-empowerment for adolescent girls. The four seasons of empowerment resemble the four seasons of the calendar year. In other words, each season will become a metaphor for each stage of self-empowerment. I chose the seasons metaphor because self-empowerment is a complex, multi-staged process that doesn’t occur in any linear fashion. You have to develop many psychological skills before you can empower yourself to be who you truly are. Sadly, some of you believe you need permission to become who you truly are. This isn’t the case. In this book, I’ll show you how to empower yourself in your own terms.  Here is a breakdown of the seasons.

     First, there’s the spring season. During the spring, you will generally feel pretty vulnerable. This is very similar to how new plants fare in the spring. They aren’t deeply rooted yet. So, strong winds can damage you. In the same way, outside storms can catapult and hurt you because you’re not deeply rooted in yourself. As the tender plants in the spring, you are unsure of yourself and just beginning to become aware of your beliefs and values. During this time, your actions are usually inconsistent and unpredictable. You may also feel that it’s easier to just follow your peers or the media. One of the defining features of this season is that you will become much more self-assertive by taking the first steps to developing who you truly are.

          During the summer season, you’ll get to know your beliefs and values more intimately and develop boundaries. This season is all about developing boundaries. This is similar to the summer season when plants are becoming rooted, and stronger to withstand storms. The same holds for you. You will become more rooted and not as prone to pressures from your peers. You will be developing boundaries to shield yourself from outside influences from your peers. During this season, you may still slide backwards and have difficulty asserting yourself in situations. Your emotions will still be tumultuous from time to time through this season. For this reason, one of the most important things you can do is to develop healthy boundaries.

     During the fall season, you’ll become even more certain of yourself. Fall is usually a cooler time emotionally. It is a time for going inward, solidifying your values, and developing self-respect. This season is all about developing self-respect. During this time, you will assert your values more often. You’ll have the courage to tell others exactly how you feel as well. You’ll start to become aware of what you need in order to become empowered. You are also more likely to refuse to do anything you don’t agree with. One of the hallmarks of this season is that you will be becoming increasingly assertive and standing up for your beliefs and values in real situations. What a great feeling huh?

     During the winter season, you will be becoming even more certain of yourself. This season is all about being yourself and becoming a free spirit. One of the hallmarks of the winter season is the need to turn inward to stay safe. You won’t allow others to manipulate you, and you will choose your friends carefully. You will assert yourself often because you’ll have the courage to be yourself. You won’t be peer-driven either. It is still possible for you to revert backwards from time to time during this season. However, you are least likely to do so when you are in the winter stages of self-empowerment.

     I used the Seasons metaphor to bring forth the idea that self-empowerment is a fluid, non-static process. Most of you tend to dwell in the first two seasons simultaneously during their middle to late teen years. You can determine your own progress by becoming aware of where you are on the season continuum. Having a visual image of the seasons’ continuum can be very helpful.

About our guest:
Irene S. Roth is a freelance writer for kids, teens and tweens.  She writes about empowerment, drawing on her expertise from philosophy and psychology. She holds a Masters Degree in Philosophical Psychology and writes in the area of autonomy, authenticity and empowerment.

A few years ago, Irene decided to embark on writing about empowerment for teens. She felt if she could reach teens and kids early on, they would have more of a chance to be empowered, balanced and successful. She’s seen so many unhappy teens in her teaching career. And she felt she wanted to do the best she could to help them. And this is the motivation behind these projects.

Irene has a series of picture books for kids 3-8.  Her first book Courage will be released at the end of this year through Halo Publishing. Irene has also written an empowerment book for teens entitled Seasons of Empowerment.  This book should be released in late 2012 as well through Halo Publishing.  Lastly, she is working on a book for older teens entitled The 7 Habits of Empowerment.  This book should be completed by the end of 2012.

Besides that, she is an Editor for Halo Publishing, and an Assistant Nonfiction Editor for Stories for Children Magazine as well as a college teacher. 

Listen to the show here
Families Matter 07/25 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book 3 in The Sam Cooper Adventure Series: River Rampage

Title: River Rampage: The Sam Cooper Adventure Series, Volume 3

By: Max Elliot Anderson

Published by:  Port Yonder Press; Date: 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935600152

Price: $9.95

Ages: 8 and up

Rating:  5 stars

Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker

Synopsis:  Do you think that you would enjoy going down a raging river on a raft?  Twelve-year-old Sam Cooper and his family have moved to Harper’s Inlet on the Treasure Coast of Florida.  His new friend, Tony Dodds, invites him and another friend, Tyler Peterson, to take a white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River in Utah with Tony’s Uncle Harlan. After some initial hesitation, Sam’s parents give their permission, so Sam gets all his gear ready and Tony’s father drives the boys to Moab, UT.  Everything is planned to make the trip as safe as possible, but the unexpected can always happen.  And with Sam, Tony, and Tyler, it usually does.

The second day out, the rope tying the boys’ raft to the one ahead of it catches on a small log wedged into some rocks and snaps, leaving them stranded.  Battling the raging waters in a raft that is punctured by a rock and is now taking on water, the three manage with great difficulty to bring the raft to shore in a very desolate place.  Then when they try to walk out, they find themselves in a box canyon with a kindly old prospector named Gus who has found a gold mine but is trapped in by a group of motorcycle-riding claim jumpers.  What can the boys and Gus do?  Is anyone looking for them?  Will they ever be able to escape?

Overall thoughts: If your tween boys, and girls , like adventure and excitement, they simply have to try Max Elliot Anderson’s books.  I’ve never read one that I didn’t like.  There is nothing objectionable.  Families are usually presented as father, mother, and children in loving relationships.  That’s not to say the kids in them never face any problems, but there are always appropriate solutions which meet the needs. I like the way that Sam and his friends attend church services, believe in prayer, and look to God for guidance.  Yet, the tone is not “preachy” but just filled with good, clean fun.  Most of Anderson’s other books have had completely different characters and settings, so a series is a departure for his writing.  Book number one of the Sam Cooper series is Lost Island Smugglers, which I have read, and book number two is Captain Jack’s Treasure, which I have not read.

     Links: (author), (publisher)

 Book 1 is Lost Island Smugglers:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Transported: The Adventures fo Thomas and Claire

Title: Transported: The Adventures of Thomas and Claire

By: Paul Hankins

Published by:  Word Alive Press; Date: 2012

ISBN: 978-1-77069-511-5

Price: $16.99

Ages: 11 and up

Rating:  5 stars

Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker

Synopsis: If you had a device that could transport you to any place in the world, where would you want to go?  Thomas James Brampton, eleven years old, and his thirteen-year-old sister Claire are typical siblings—they tend to annoy each other and do a great deal of arguing between themselves.  One warm summer day in July, Claire comes to call her brother for lunch.  Thomas has spent all morning in the garage making something out of a small block of wood, two eggbeaters (which he purchased for a dollar at a garage sale), and an assortment of radio parts. In fact, he often created gizmos and pretended they could do special things.  This one is his “Transporter” which is for traveling places.  Claire wonders out loud why eleven-year-old boys waste their time making things that never actually do anything and picks it up to look at it.

However, when Thomas grabs the Transporter back from Claire and accidentally hits the Activator button, they suddenly find themselves riding on top of a train pulling into a station which they learn is in northern India.  From there, it takes them to an auction in a small town, a scary neighborhood in an inner city, a legislature, a Middle East war zone, a hockey game, a retirement home, white-water canoeing, a refugee camp somewhere in Africa, a retail store, and a base camp for climbers on Mount Everest.  In these various situations, they come to understand the importance of getting along better and working together to solve problems.  They also meet several people, some who they help and others who help them.  Finally they are transported to a lush tropical resort where all their wants and wishes are met.  What important lesson do they learn there?  And will they ever get home?

Overall thoughts:  Wow!  I have to say that this is a book whose excitement and adventure will grab your attention immediately and keep you turning the pages throughout.  However, it is more than just a thrilling tale of going places and doing things.  Values such as cooperation, resourcefulness, compassion, forgiveness, and thankfulness, among others, are developed throughout the story.   Also, there are questions at the end of each chapter which will provide a basis for discussion of these issues.  The book has been used successfully in middle-grade school classrooms and by homeschool families.  In fact, author Paul Hankins is a homeschool father who lives in central Alberta, Canada, with his wife and eight children.  A free Homeschool Unit Study Guide has been developed by Hankins’s wife to accompany it and is available at the author’s website.  I highly recommend this book for its sense of humor, the rich, descriptive language, and the emphasis on making good choices in life.

     Links: (author), (publisher)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Interview with Award winning Author Sands Hetherington

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.

Hi and thanks for inviting me.  I'm an old man and have dabbled in fiction since I was fifteen or sixteen.  I received some tear-stained rejection letters from major magazines in my twenties, then went back to graduate school and got degrees in English and creative writing.  I published some stories in "little" magazines.  I quit writing at that point and eventually became six-year-old John's single parent.  We always did bedtime stories.  One night John up and presented me with a red crocodile named Crosley that he'd invented for an after-lights-out companion.  We started making up John and Crosley episodes, and Crosley got to be a real member of the family.  After a year or so, I started thinking about putting the two "Night Buddies" into a book.  I've done it twice now.

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary.

It's called Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare.  It features young John Degraffenreidt who isn't ready to go to bed yet, and Crosley, a zany red crocodile who shows up to rescue him and sneak him out on an adventure.  It seems the whole world's supply of pineapple cheesecakes is disappearing, and since both buddies love the things, something's got to be done.  They take the subway to the great pineapple cheesecake factory and start their investigation.  Things get spooky from there.  Not only that, but Crosley is allergic to water and has to do the Black Bottom dance for hours anytime he gets wet.  Unless he takes his pills.

The second book is Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine and it starts the same way.  Some time has gone by and John is wide awake at bedtime again.  Crosley reappears and rescues him per their Night Buddies Amalgamated contract.  They borrow a really fantastic flying machine and fly off on their second adventure.  This book is much longer and is coming out this fall.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

It's an indie book and I'm the publisher, with the indispensible guidance of  my Book Sherpa, Gail Kearns in Santa Barbara, CA.

How did you get the idea for this book?

As I mentioned, my son practically handed it to me.  Right there was this kid who needed something to do after lights-out, and right there was this zany character for him to do it with, so I only needed to figure out why Crosley happened to be red and then sneak them out of the house.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

Two hours or a little more, starting late in the morning.  Try for 500 words and redo once before quitting.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Mark Twain said it: "I hate writing.  I love having written."

What is the most difficult part of writing?

I think it's sticking strictly to a schedule.  It takes determination with nothing else pushing you.

How has publishing a book changed your life?

Not at all for now.  The first title only hit the street on June 1st.

What are your plans now?

I need to launch the second book this fall.  Then I'd like to get going on the third one.  I've written just one page and can't figure how to get John out of his house.  He was in a tight spot there at the end of the last story.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?


What advice can you give adults, children and/or teens as they prepare for life?

Such a question!  I'm definitely not a guru and would advise everyone to ignore any advice I might offer in this regard.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?

Night Buddies Amalgamated is an organization that sends operatives out to rescue kids who aren't ready for bed yet.  They're crocodiles, actually, and they sneak their charges out on late-night "programs."  (That's Night Buddies-speak for adventures.)  The buddies we are concerned with are John, of course; a smart, curly-haired, round-eyed city kid, and Crosley, a goofy crocodile in a yellow suit who carries a bunch of magic gadgets on his belt.  He is bright red because he is allergic to water.  Kind of.  In a roundabout way.  And he's a total fanatic about pineapple cheesecakes.  Pineapple cheesecakes are always a big deal whenever Crosley is around.

Do you make school visits or do speaking/book signing engagements? If so, please describe a typical presentation.

This is in the works.  I used to do a fair number of animated school readings from an earlier version of the first book.  I like to sit on the floor and read and then talk to the kids.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

You can get the book on  There are some neat reviews on the site.  Also

Thanks again for having me,

Sands Hetherington

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Stories for Children Show 07/16 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Featured Show

Come join host VS Grenier and Irene Roth on BTR’s World of Ink Network's The Stories for Children Show July 16, 2012 live at 2pm EST - 1pm CT - 12pm MT - 11am PST

We bring children's authors together with their readers.

This week come meet author Jo Linsdell of Out and About at the Zoo, a rhyming picture book for young readers.

Out and About at the Zoo is a rhyming picture book with colorful pictures showing children a fun day out discovering different things in the world around them. This first book in the ‘Out and About’ series is a wonderful introduction to a day at the zoo for children young and old.

We will be chatting with Jo Linsdell about her new children's picture book series, the writing life and inspiration behind the books.

The World of Ink Network has joined in helping to tour author Jo Linsdell’s first book from the 'Out and About' series of rhyming children's picture books, Out and About at the Zoo. You can find out more about Jo Linsdell’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at
Want to meet more authors? Visit us at and read interviews under our Featured Guest section.

Follow us on Facebook at

The World of Ink Network has a website! Visit us at

Listen to the show at:
The Stories for Children Show 07/16 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Book Launch for a Good Summer Read for Kids

July 15th is the official launch of
The Nameless Prince,
the new YA Fantasy Novel from Dominick Domingo!

Order in PRINT or EBOOK format ( Kindle, Nook, EPub, PDF ) from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Twilight Times Books:

Word is, the Nameless Prince is fantasy for all ages!

Author Dominick Domingo and Twilight Times want to share this story with as wide a readership as possible! Let’s make The Nameless Prince the next Harry Potter!
Please ‘Like’ the Nameless Prince on Facebook and share this Email with everyone in your address book! The book has a wonderful message worth sharing!

Official Facebook Page:

Official site of the Nameless Prince: ( read synopses, reviews, author BIO, etc! )

Thanks for helping spread the word!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Press Release: New Adventure Book for Kids

( July 11, 2012 -- Like most children, Boochi Malloochi loves adventure, and living near the ocean gives Boochi even more reason to believe in adventure--she thinks there is buried treasure somewhere beneath the sand on the beach where she plays. Armed with her trusty bucket and shovel, Boochi sets out to find the perfect spot to dig up pirate treasure!
Dancing With Bear Publishing Children's LineDancing With Bear Publishing Children's Line
Welcome visit Our WebSite:
This wonderful tale of adventure and mystery is the perfect combination to tempt any child into believing there's buried treasure out there somewhere... maybe even in their own back yard! Author Sal Corrente has set into motion a series of adventures with Boochi Malloochi that kids of all ages will read and re-read while impatiently waiting for the next edition.

The drive to the beach wasn’t far but today, it felt like forever to Boochi. She couldn’t wait to get her shovel in the sand.
“Daddy, are you taking the long way to the beach?”
“No. Why do you ask, Boochi?”
“’Cause it seems so long.”
“You’re just excited to look for treasure, that’s all.” Daddy looked at her in the rearview mirror.
“We’ll be there soon, honey,” Mommy said, looking back at Boochi.
Finally, she looked out the front windshield, and she could see water in the distance.
“We’re here, hooray!” She bounced up and down in the back seat.
“Yay,” Daddy said and found a parking place.
When the car stopped, Boochi shoved her dolls, bucket, shovel, and towel into her bag. “Let’s go. Let’s go,” she said impatiently.
Daddy went around to open Boochi’s door, instead, he smiled at her through the window. “Are you ready?” He asked, teasing her.
“Hello!” she shouted. “Can you open the door, please?” Boochi begged, while jerking on the door handle. “Please, Daddy?”
When he finally opened the door, she jumped out. “Very funny, Daddy,” she said, and grabbed his hand. “Now, let’s go.” She pulled him toward the gate. “Mommy can you carry this for me?” Boochi asked. “I have to hold my Daddy’s hand, you know.”

Available now from Dancing With Bear Publishing, you won't want to miss being one of the first to own book one in the Boochi Malloochi series.

The Adventures of Boochi Malloochi: The Hunt for Treasure is the first book in this wonderful series, and is available at and click on Books for Little Paws.

More information can be found online at

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Safety Tips

8 Summer Safety Tips for Outdoor Fun from Roxanne Porter
Summer is a great time to be a nanny. It brings a relaxed schedule, beautiful weather, and the chance to be outside for the majority of the day. Brushing up on important safety reminders is the best way to make sure that both you and the children you care for have a fun but also safe summer. Follow these summer safety tips:

   1. Make sure your CPR and first Aid certifications are up-to-date. Accidents happen regardless of how many safety precautions you take. Being prepared to handle whatever may come up helps you stay calm during an emergency, take the correct action quickly, and keep injuries to a minimum. If your certifications have lapsed, contact your local Red Cross or American Heart Association to schedule a renewal class. Proper training can literally save a life.
   2. One of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon is playing at the pool, lake, or ocean. But water can be deceptively dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 800 children drown. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 3, and the second-leading cause among kids under 15. Keeping a watchful eye on all children and staying within an arm’s reach of younger children is essential to keeping them safe at the pool, lake, or ocean. Don’t assume children who are strong swimmers are automatically safe around water. Every child can fall victim to a cramp, tiring, or an unseen undertow.
    3.Staying hydrated is one of the most important safety precautions you can take during summertime. Instead of stocking up on juice and sports drinks, invest in a quality water filter and plenty of refillable water bottles. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that “water, not sports drinks, should be the principal source of hydration for children and adolescents.” What about kids involved in summer sports? The AAP says, “Sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but in most cases they are unnecessary on the sports field.” Making sure kids drink plenty of water throughout the day will keep them hydrated and ready to take on summertime fun.
   4. Putting sunscreen on kids 6 months and older every time they go outside is a must. Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before children are in the sun ensures they have full protection. Teaching kids to spell BEENS will help you remember to cover often forgotten spots: Back of knees, Ears, Eye area, Neck, and Scalp. Reapplying sunscreen every two hours, more often if the kids are swimming or playing in the water, will help keep kids safe throughout the day.
   5. Insects are an unavoidable part of summer and painful or itchy bites can quickly dampen any outdoor activity. Using a safe and effective bug repellant makes time spent outside a lot more enjoyable. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control recommend parents and caregivers use an insect repellant that contains 10% to 30% DEET on children 2 months and older. Combination sunscreen / insect repellent products shouldn’t be used because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but insect repellent doesn’t.
    6.Ticks are another troublesome part of summer. They can infect both children and adults with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause serious illness including Lyme disease. Even when using an insect repellant with DEET children can pick up ticks, especially when playing in areas where ticks thrive like the woods and grassy lawn areas. Doing a full body check for ticks each day is the best way to ensure your charges stay tick-free. Adding a daily tick patrol to the evening bath routine makes a routine check easy and fun to do. If you do find a tick, grasp it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out.
    7.Summer is the perfect opportunity for you and older children to enjoy a bike ride on local trails or through a favorite park. Making sure kids are wearing a quality correctly-fitting helmet is necessary to prevent injury in the case of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, “A properly fitted bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.” Helping kids personalize their helmets to reflect their own interests and hobbies is an easy way to get them excited about adding it to their safety routine.
   8. Bikes aren’t the only thing that requires a helmet. Blades, scooters, and skateboards all pose their own risks. Knee and elbow pads are a smart idea for children of all skill levels. Pads should have a hard plastic shield, not interfere with movement, and fit snugly without cutting off circulation. For beginners, outfitting kids with additional gear such as wrist guards, gloves, and mouth guards will offer added protection and peace of mind.

Summer is filled with opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors. Taking a few simple safety precautions keeps everyone safe and makes it easy to enjoy all the fun the season has to offer.

First published on

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Projects for Older Children

If you are running out of ideas for summer projects for your older children consider introducing them to the idea of making gifts to donate to a children's hospital. No one wants to think of children becoming ill and spending summer days cooped up in a hospital, but the fact is many children suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases and do spend weeks to months at a time in the hospital.

Introducing children to the craft arena can give them the chance to explore a hobby too. There are so many ideas for craft projects that children can manage with minimal direction including painting, beading, crocheting, scrap-booking, leather kits for belts or key chains, garden stones, and the list goes on.

Here are some ideas that older children may be able to complete with adult supervision. Most of these ideas are not costly but when completed will put a smile on the face of a child. Even if the children learn a new craft that can be given as a gift to family members, decorate items for school, or used for personal pleasure it will expand their interests and their motor skills while keeping them from boredom.

1. Sew a bright pillowcase for a child, and donate it to your local pediatric unit or children's hospital. It takes only a yard of fabric to sew. If your sewing skills are not up to par, consider buying a plain pillow case and letting children paint or draw, hot glue or applique fun things on the pillow case to make it special. This would work for adults too if you would rather donate to a local nursing home. Make certain any picture or embellishment is secured to avoid choking. Making a gift for a friend can be very rewarding.

2. Decorate plastic buckets and fill with stickers, crayons, or a toy. You can find many inexpensive items at a discount store and the child who is confined to the hospital will be overjoyed to get a surprise package. Consider doing a neighbor hood party where several of your child's friends can get involved. If each donates a bucket and a couple of items to share it can be not only fun but a life lesson on sharing and doing for others.

3. Beading is a rather inexpensive hobby initially. Start with less than 10 dollars and purchase beads, wire, and clasps for bracelets, necklaces, or earrings. Your child might find their talent is in creating something special in the line of jewelry.

4. Paint kits can be found for under 5.00 at your local craft shop. Give kids card stock and a few paints or colored pencils and see what kind of well wishes they can create. You may find a budding artist in your midst.

5. Tied fleece blankets are a great project for their bedrooms. Fleece comes in a variety of colors and your child can cut and tie his or her own blanket for under 20.00 ( 2 yards will do or 4 yards if you are doing it double layered)  which is less than most movie tickets and a popcorn. Let them pick the fabric, assist them in cutting the  3 inch slits all around the fabric and sit back while they tie the strips in knots. Walla... your child has his or her own soft cover.

With some guidance and imagination you can find all kinds of crafty projects for your kids. Summer is the perfect time for many of these projects because you can do them at a table under the shade of a tree outside. Cuts down on clean up and gives them fresh air. What craft ideas do your kids like to do in the summer? Feel free to send me your ideas or pictures of your projects to post here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Stories for Children Show 07/09 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Come join host VS Grenier and Irene Roth on BTR’s World of Ink Network's The Stories for Children Show July 9, 2012 live at 2pm EST - 1pm CT - 12pm MT - 11am PST

We bring children's authors together with their readers.

This week come meet author Sands Hetherington of the Night Buddies children chapter book series.
Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is the first in a series featuring John, a young city kid who isn't ready for bed yet, and Crosley, a bright-red crocodile who shows up in his room to rescue him and take him on an adventure.

We will be chatting with Sands Hetherington about his fun nighttime adventure series, the writing life and inspiration behind the books.

The World of Ink Network will be touring author Sands Hetherington’s nighttime adventure for kids,  
Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare published by Dune Buggy Press 
all through July and August 2012.
You can find out more about Sands Hetherington’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at
Want to meet more authors? Visit us at and read interviews under our Featured Guest section.

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The World of Ink Network has a website! Visit us at

You can listen to the show at 
The Stories for Children Show 07/09 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Healthy Treats for Kids

Healthy treats for kids fall into two categories if you ask your average talking child. Sweet or salty, means candy, ice cream, or chips and fries. And most parents no matter how hard they try buckle under the pressure when tired, over worked, or tired of picky eaters. The drive through it is.

Here are some ideas to make sweet, salty, and quick and easy come straight from your kitchen.


  • Try homemade fries with olive or grape seed oil and sweet potato strips. Sweet, salty, and nutritious all in one snack or side dish.
  • Freeze yogurt layered with sugarless natural fruit jams in paper cups with a stick. After 3-4 hours in the freezer this makes a great nutritious snack for both adults and kids.
  • Freeze crushed or pureed fruit in ice cube trays. Use them with sparkling water in place of soda pop for a refreshing drink.
  • Blend fresh fruit and shaved ice for a frozen slushy in the convenience of your home.
  • Offer pretzels with low fat ranch dip or cheese slices for a salty and filling snack.
  • Apple slices are always a refreshing snack.
  • Chop chicken, tomatoes, grapes, and hard boiled eggs in tiny pieces. Spoon over lettuce or spinach leaves and top with a fruit dressing. Sprinkle sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts or pecans for a finishing touch.
  • Dip strawberries in dark chocolate for a sweet treat that all ages love.
These are just a few ideas and with the help of the Internet you can find many other nutritious snack ideas for your family. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July '12 Book Lovers Blog Hop & Giveaway

Book Lovers July '12 Blog Hop:
Make friends, share the love of reading and be entered to win a FREE book!
All you have to do is post the Book Lovers Blog Hop and World of Ink Tour Banner below to your blog. You are free to copy any of the content here on this blog hop page to help promote the Book Lovers Hop and World of Ink Tours on any social network. 
Tweet it once to twice a day, share on Facebook, LinkedIn, SumbledUpon, Pinerest, etc and then follow others back that leave you a comment. 
By joining the Book Lovers Blog Hop, you are automatically entered in our Book Giveaway! There will be two (2) winners for this Book Giveaway. The winners will win a copy of Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare.

Note: One book per winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 (Right Click to copy/save banner)

Hop Rules:

1.  Follow the Top link of the hop! Hop Host: Families Matter 
      2.  Grab the button for the hop and place it in a post, sidebar, or on a blog hop page and let us know where it is in the comments section below. This will help the hop grow and gain us all new followers. It's a Win-Win for everyone!
     3. Grab the buttons for the World of Ink Tours and place it in a post or side bar. Make sure you let us know where it is in the comments section below.

Please play nice and follow our simple rules! Make sure to FOLLOW AT LEAST ONE PERSON and as many other blogs as you'd like to have more follow back. This is what makes Book Lovers Blog Hop work, so if you're not willing to follow, please don't link up.
Remember to leave a comment on the blogs you follow to let them know you found them here at FAMILIES MATTER, and if someone follows you, be sure to follow back. If you follow us and leave a comment, we'll definitely follow you too!
Book Lovers Blog Hop is Open…
  Sunday July 8, 2012 at 12am MST!
If you want to become a World of Ink Host and do a review or interview shoot me an e-mail:  
Please make sure you Follow the top link of hop if you want to link up!
Note: You can use all or parts of this post for your post about the Book Lovers Blog Hop.


*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.