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This blog is for kids and parents who love to read. Any topic relating to the themes of the author's book, The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica will be covered here. This includes books, reading, travel, Costa Rica, plants and animals, conservation and more.
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1. Four Years of Running the Steps and Counting

 DSC_0003  This morning’s run

Four years ago today I started running the courthouse steps. I had been doing aerobics for many years, and one day while walking my dog past the courthouse, I thought I’d just see what it was like to run the steps; I was instantly hooked.

What I love about running steps goes way beyond the rigorous workout I get.  I wake up just before the sun rises, get dressed in an early morning daze and head out the door with my water and sweat rag on my bike when it’s just light enough outside to see where I’m going. The air is always fresh at this time of day and my senses are on high alert. My neighbor’s sprinkler overflow is scurrying down the street like a river along the edge of the grass, and I pedal faster to pass it up. Sloppily thrown newspapers sit patiently on driveways awaiting to be retrieved. Yellow parakeets chatter loudly as they fly over the rustling palm fronds, and through the slats of the metal fence around the water treatment plant, I see the sunrise glow as it pushes away the pink clouds. The workers at the plant know me now. I wave and speed down the street.

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At the corner of the busy intersection where I must cross, I observe the blank looks on drivers’ faces as they head to work in the congestion of Metropolitan Miami. Some are looking down at their cell phones, unaware the light has turned green. The courthouse pigeons have moved their perch to the telephone wires on this corner after the courthouse officials installed sharp anti bird spikes along the roof’s edge. I look up at the pigeons for a quick second, but make sure to keep my mouth closed.

I park and lock my bike in front of the courthouse and head to the top of the steps where I remove my sandals and start my stretching routine. The security guard on the second floor nods at me and smiles. Invariably the pigeons on the corner take off and circle over my head, putting on a show as if to welcome me to their former perch. Overhead I can see planes from Miami International Airport ascending, and I daydream about the exciting places where they may be going. The cloud formations are ever-changing.

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As I start to run up and down the steps I instantly go into a zone of sorts, whereby I no longer think about what I’m doing; it’s as if a force beyond my control is moving me. Out loud I count the “innings” or rather laps up and down as I listen to Mick Jagger singing in my ear. Negative thoughts are not allowed here. Courthouse employees arrive to work early, shuffling their feet, looking defeated to have to walk through the doors. I smile and make eye contact with them.

I see another familiar face. It’s Alaina, an avid walker, a 65-year-old breast cancer survivor, and she chats with me, telling me her dreams about getting rich with her cell phone invention. One day three years ago, a thin woman in a clean, long, white night gown sat in the middle of the courthouse steps and started belting out American songs. “Marines’ Hymn, You’re a Grand Old Flag, God Bless America” and so on. I never realized how many patriotic songs there were until this day. She was protesting something, but I don’t know what. There was no one there to listen except for me. Her off-key singing frustrated me for 30 long minutes before she marched off with her poster that just read “Justice” and her collection of flat tunes.

As the run progresses and I ascend the steps, I manage to keep up my pace and continue to not think about the challenge of what I am doing and that gravity is not my friend. I am competing with no one. I don’t dare acknowledge the heat and humidity of South Florida. Passersby ask me where the entrance is to the courthouse and a whole host of other questions. “Passports – room 160, Parking and Traffic Violations, well that’s room 200. No, there’s no entrance at the top of the stairs – it’s down there behind that wall, but you’ve got a long wait until the courthouse opens.”

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People stare at my bare feet. Some men yell comments out their car windows as they whiz by. Thinking I couldn’t hear her, one day a young woman walking past the steps whispered to the young man next to her, “That running bitch is not wearing shoes. What must that bitch be thinking?!”

“That bitch is thinking she can hear every word you just said,” I blurted out as I ran past her.

Sometimes young men, who are on their way inside the courthouse to fight traffic tickets ask me about my workout and my shoeless feet and are looking for motivation to start a fitness routine of their own. I give them words of encouragement and explain that I run without shoes because this is how I keep injuries at bay – especially plantar fascitis, shin splints, hip and knee pain. Read the science of barefoot workouts from Harvard University.

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Across the street is the Walgreens shopping center where I wave to Alberto, the hardworking groundskeeper there, whom I met many times when I used to cut through the shopping center to get home. On occasion I see my dry cleaner peek out the door of his shop to wave at me and the Coke and Lays trucks making their daily deliveries to Walgreens. Just how much Coke and how many chips can one Walgreens sell? I love it when the doormat cleaning truck pulls in from of the courthouse once a month, bringing fresh mats inside and dragging out the filthy ones.

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I run up and down the 28 steps 20-25 times and then take a 90 second walking break on the top landing. In between sets I often do 10 pushups. I run between 3,360 and 4,200 steps each visit. When I finish, I text before and after running selfies to my daughter, who is in grad school in Colorado.

On the ride back I’m treated to an endorphin rush; it should be illegal to be this happy and energetic – not to mention sweaty. I’m 4 ft. 11″, middle-aged and strong. It’s only 7:30 am and my workout is done. Soon I’ll experience a calmness that only devoted yogis speak of.

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Other than, “Why are you not wearing shoes?’ the most common question I am asked is, “How do you motivate yourself to keep running?” Running for me is a habit – like brushing my teeth every morning – and if I don’t workout at least 5 days a week, I don’t feel good. There’s always a long list of excuses not to run, but I won’t entertain them. I have never been athletically inclined – actually more accident prone and was the last girl picked for teams in gym class in school. It’s uncomfortably hot and humid most of the year. I have chronic asthma and debilitating allergies; luckily the only time my nose and lungs are truly clear is when I’m running.

So today on my four year anniversary, I am grateful to be able to continue to run the steps. I’m 55 years old, and as long as I can walk, I can run. And run. And run.

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2. Life Cycle of the Monarch the Highlight of Author Visit with SOREF JCC After Care Programs

I was thrilled to be invited back to the SOREF JCC Morrow Elementary After Care Program for the third time and to North Lauderdale Elementary for the 2nd time! What a pleasure it was to see some of the same smiling faces and respectful students again.

This visit was extra special because I brought with me one empty chrysalis, from which a monarch hatched in my own garden and another that died naturally and was still in full form. Along with a magnifying glass, the students could see up close what they looked like. The life cycle of the butterfly is so fascinating, there is so much to learn.

Morrow Elementary

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How does one get from Miami to San Jose, Costa Rica? Big maps are always a big hit with children.

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I’ll never grow weary of all the oohs and ahhs I get from showing the students my watercolor pencils and the  detailed questions I get about how a book is made and bound

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With my new poster the children can see my daughter, Rachel, who composed music for the story and my huge standard poodle, Darwin

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The adult Morpho Butterfly lives for only about three weeks!

North Lauderdale Elementary

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It’s important for children to learn about how writers find heir inspiration

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I shared my own photo of the monarch butterfly in my garden right after it emerged from the chrysalis

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It’s so exciting to see what the chrysalises look like through a magnifying glass

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The students could barely wait their turns to take a look at the chrysalises up close themselvesDSC_0069

The best question of the day by a sophisticated 2nd grader: “What is it that made you want to be an author and what is it about being an author that you most enjoy?”

A big thank you to all the curious students who love Lilly Badilly. I hope you start writing your own stories! Thank you Sharon Schwartz, SOREF JCC Elementary Services Director, Site Directors, Ms. Angel, Ms. Nancy and all to Mark, Travis and Jordan, the friendly, helpful 4th grade students who helped me carry my props to and from the car on a very windy day.

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3. Broward County After School Programs Promote the Love of Reading

Recently, I have visited two wonderful elementary After School Programs (ASP) in Dania Beach, with my Reading, Writing and Geography Program. If you’re not familiar with ASP, this Florida grant-based, non-profit organization provides excellent on-site After School Programs in Broward, Miami-Dade, Collier and Orange Counties to more than 10,000 children.

Dania Beach Elementary

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Rainforest beetles are so colorful and fascinating!

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Leafcutter ants are among the world’s most fascinating creatures!

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The magic of watercolor pencils always inspires the children.

Collins Elementary

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Learning about the many ways real life experiences inspire fiction writing

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No one can resist the rainbow of colors in my watercolor pencil collection.

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All children love giant maps, and geography learning is so important!

I wish to thank Janeka Fleurejuste for inviting me to visit these schools and site Directors Renee Lewis and Betty Pierre as well as the staff members who so graciously welcomed me and assisted me with setting up.

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4. Author Visit at Kids in Distress Aftercare a Whole Lot of Fun!

Being an author and teaching artist has in turn taught me so much. Most enlightening has been learning about the many outstanding grant-based and donor-funded programs available to South Florida parents and their children. Because of these programs, many parents have affordable and often free before and after care options, so they can work to support their families financially. And there’s so much more to these wonderful programs, including dedicated staff members.

Kids in Distress was created to for “the prevention of child abuse, preservation of the family, and the treatment of abused and neglected children.” Since 1979, the Broward chapter has been educating children through their preschools, aftercare program and day camps. They support families with numerous programs such as adoption, foster care, recovery services, and health and counseling services. The Children’s Services Council of Broward is at the forefront of this agency’s funding.

I was thrilled to be invited to present my literacy program to 75 students who participate in the MOST Aftercare Program, under the direction of Kevin Bochenek. These kids were curious, eager to learn and asked me more questions than I’ve ever been asked before. By the end of the author visit, they had a new appreciation for the biodiversity of the rainforest and seemed excited about reading more about it on their own.

DSC_0015Learning about the many animals species of the rain forest is so exciting!

DSC_0008We learned about the importance of geography literacy and reading maps.

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One five-year-old boy knew how birds are responsible for planting so many trees (Yes, they poop out the seeds!)

DSC_0023Any and every child who has the privilege of learning with MOST Director Kevin Bochenek is lucky indeed. Kevin has been a dedicated child advocate for more than 25 years, and he’s so kind and caring with the children.

DSC_0002I love seeing art projects made by the children, and this beautiful facility has them decorating their bright walls.

DSC_0004The charming children’s library offers kids a wide variety or reading and learning options.

I want to thank Kevin from Kids in Distress for inviting me to present Lilly Badilly and all the children for making my day so bright. Keep reading and learning!

Readers, to contact Kids in Distress, click here. For more information about foster parenting, volunteering or mentoring, click here.

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5. What I Learned at Lake Stevens Elementary School

I was invited to bring Lilly Badilly to Lake Stevens Elementary School in Miami Gardens as part of the school’s Literacy Week. What better way to talk about reading than in the school’s lovely Media Center?

The children were fascinated by how the physical book is illustrated, printed and bound and how a CD is recorded. They learned about the biodiversity of the rain forest and how imperative it is that we each do our part to preserve our planet. We talked about life as an author, the many ways reading opens doors to life’s opportunities and how much more interesting a person can be when he or she is an avid reader.

The children demonstrated absolutely perfect behavior and had so many clever questions, making this was one of the best author visits I’ve ever had. One of the second grade boys asked me, “Is it true that mosquitoes make chocolate?” I was unable to answer that question. But following the visit I did a little bit of research, only to discover that mosquitoes are one of several insects that do in fact pollinate the cocoa tree. Who knew?  I love learning from the kids I meet.

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I wish to thank Principal Daniels for inviting me to Lake Stevens Elementary and Reading Coach, Mrs. Dinah Gay-Dorvil for coordinating the event and for welcoming me and hosting this memorable visit. I’ve never felt more welcomed at a school than I did here!

 

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6. An Action-Packed Day at American Heritage Summer Camp in Delray Beach, FL

I had the pleasure of visiting American Heritage Summer Camp in Delray Beach yesterday, where I was welcomed by many friendly staff members and hundreds of campers. The library there, which was built two years ago is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen in any school, with it’s beautiful resin trees and skylights that change colors. There’s even a choral reef story time room! Who wouldn’t want to read in here?!?!?!?!

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Thank you  Sally Schleifer and Ally Stein for inviting me and making me feel very welcome at your beautiful school. And an additional thank you to the extra friendly Mr. Jim from the library for helping me carry my props out to the car.

 

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7. Celebrating Children’s Book Week at Miami Children’s Museum

I was invited to share The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly with visitors at the wonderful Miami Children’s Museum on Saturday May 9 in celebration of Children’s Book Week.

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Miami Children’s Museum is located on Watson Island along  the MacArthur Causeway, overlooking the port and downtown Miami. It’s one of the country’s largest children’s museums and includes 14 galleries, a wide variety of impressive educational outreach programs, an auditorium, a pre-school and a charter school. You can even have an awesome birthday party here. The building is so uniquely beautiful; check it out . . .

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Parents and their kids stopped by to see what Lilly Badilly was all about.  We had a great time dancing and learning about the animals of the rain forest. Children are never too young to love maps! Each child at the presentation received a free copy of the book, courtesy of the museum. Everyone is so nice and accommodating here, and I’d love to come back for another visit.

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I want to thank Ashley Harrison, Public Programs Manager for inviting me to Miami Children’s Museu and Laura for helping me bring in all my props, setting up and taking photos.

If you’re in Miami and have children, you’ve got to visit Miami Children’s Museum:

980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132

305 -373 -5437

 

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8. A Special Afternoon in North Broward County with Soref JCC After Care Programs

Last week I visited two after school programs in North Broward County run by the Soref JCC After Care Programs. I was overwhelmed by how welcomed I felt, by the dedication of the staff and the behavior of the students. Good leadership = good students! These were large crowds – about 80 students in each presentation, yet you could hear a pin drop in those cafeterias where I presented my program.

In addition to the attentiveness, I was treated to some of the best questions I’ve been asked. “Where did you get the information to write your book?” “How did you sew your costume?” “How can I learn to draw with watercolor pencils?”

 

Dancing to “Granny Wears a Wig.”

Big group photo!

A surprising number of students knew that it’s the wings of the hummingbird that make that buzzing sound.

The biggest ooos and ahhhs come when I show the children my watercolor pencils.

And then I show them how water magically turns these pencils into paints.

A Big crowd!

Some new Lilly Badilly fans!

I’d like to thank Sharon Schwartz from Soref JCC for inviting me to present and to the friendly, caring Site Directors, Ms. Angel, Ms. Nancy and all the assistants who help me carry books, maps and other stuff! Thank you also to the wonderful, curious students who made this such a special day! Remember to KEEP READING and WRITING! I hope to see you all again some time.

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9. A Special Afternoon in North Broward County with Soref JCC After Care Programs

Last week I visited two after school programs in North Broward County run by the Soref JCC After Care Programs. I was overwhelmed by how welcomed I felt, by the dedication of the staff and the behavior of the students. Good leadership = good students! These were large crowds – about 80 students in each presentation, yet you could hear a pin drop in those cafeterias where I presented my program.

In addition to the attentiveness, I was treated to some of the best questions I’ve been asked. “Where did you get the information to write your book?” “How did you sew your costume?” “How can I learn to draw with watercolor pencils?”

 

Dancing to “Granny Wears a Wig.”

Big group photo!

A surprising number of students knew that it’s the wings of the hummingbird that make that buzzing sound.

The biggest ooos and ahhhs come when I show the children my watercolor pencils.

And then I show them how water magically turns these pencils into paints.

A Big crowd!

Some new Lilly Badilly fans!

I’d like to thank Sharon Schwartz from Soref JCC for inviting me to present and to the friendly, caring Site Directors, Ms. Angel, Ms. Nancy and all the assistants who help me carry books, maps and other stuff! Thank you also to the wonderful, curious students who made this such a special day! Remember to KEEP READING and WRITING! I hope to see you all again some time.

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10. Children’s Writing Workshop at Fairway Park a Big Success!

Today I conducted a simple writing workshop at Fairway Park in Miramar, FL. This was my fifth visit to the park’s after care program as a teaching artist. With the first group of 30 kids, ages 5-8, the children wrote 1-3 sentence stories entitled, “My Best Day Ever” and drew pictures to go along with their stories. Then they read them out loud to their peers. There were lots of spelling questions, and one impressive six-year-old boy seemed to know how to spell just about every word. Stories included themes about Disney trips, Christmas day presents, birthdays, family outings and getting good grades at school.

Kindergarten through second graders

This adorable five-year-old’s handwriting was perfect, as was his grammar and spelling for his birthday party Best Day Ever story.

 Sharing his artwork of a bus with superpowers with the group

Time to show off their hard work!

With the older group of 35 children, ages 9-13, the assignment was to write a letter to someone they know who has had a positive influence on them. First I read to the group a personal letter of thanks I wrote to my late grandfather as an example and so they were not the only ones pouring their hearts out.

I am happy to report that overwhelmingly the children wrote thank you letters to their parents and a few to teachers,- a few with impressive detail. Some were so incredibly thoughtful, I’m sure it will bring tears to the recipients’ eyes. It takes courage to stand up and read a personal letter to a large group of peers – especially at this age – and I’m proud of all who did!

Concentration!

Some lucky people will be receiving this kind, thoughtful letters!

A letter from a nine-year-old boy to his dad

What I learned today is that children want to be good writers. Some decided not to read their work out loud, and some others wanted me to read for them. All the children listened to the stories being read by their peers with respect. What surprised me most is that the children were excited to write by hand, although all printed and none used cursive.

The message I left with the children is, “Reading is the number one factor in determining your financial success in the future. The only way to become a good writer is to read a lot and practice writing a lot. Any worthwhile writing requires numerous revisions. No matter what career you choose down the road you’ll be a lot more successful if you are a good writer. Read what others have written and decide what you like – or don’t like – about it Then get inspired to write something amazing yourself.”

What a rewarding and fun day we all had. A big thank to Site Supervisor Randy Kaiser for inviting me back to visit today and to the dedicated teachers there who keep the children focused and learning. I look forward to another visit with Fairway kids!

0 Comments on Children’s Writing Workshop at Fairway Park a Big Success! as of 9/18/2014 7:10:00 PM
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11. Children’s Writing Workshop at Fairway Park a Big Success!

Today I conducted a simple writing workshop at Fairway Park in Miramar, FL. This was my fifth visit to the park’s after care program as a teaching artist. With the first group of 30 kids, ages 5-8, the children wrote 1-3 sentence stories entitled, “My Best Day Ever” and drew pictures to go along with their stories. Then they read them out loud to their peers. There were lots of spelling questions, and one impressive six-year-old boy seemed to know how to spell just about every word. Stories included themes about Disney trips, Christmas day presents, birthdays, family outings and getting good grades at school.

Kindergarten through second graders

This adorable five-year-old’s handwriting was perfect, as was his grammar and spelling for his birthday party Best Day Ever story.

 Sharing his artwork of a bus with superpowers with the group

Time to show off their hard work!

With the older group of 35 children, ages 9-13, the assignment was to write a letter to someone they know who has had a positive influence on them. First I read to the group a personal letter of thanks I wrote to my late grandfather as an example and so they were not the only ones pouring their hearts out.

I am happy to report that overwhelmingly the children wrote thank you letters to their parents and a few to teachers,- a few with impressive detail. Some were so incredibly thoughtful, I’m sure it will bring tears to the recipients’ eyes. It takes courage to stand up and read a personal letter to a large group of peers – especially at this age – and I’m proud of all who did!

Concentration!

Some lucky people will be receiving this kind, thoughtful letters!

A letter from a nine-year-old boy to his dad

What I learned today is that children want to be good writers. Some decided not to read their work out loud, and some others wanted me to read for them. All the children listened to the stories being read by their peers with respect. What surprised me most is that the children were excited to write by hand, although all printed and none used cursive.

The message I left with the children is, “Reading is the number one factor in determining your financial success in the future. The only way to become a good writer is to read a lot and practice writing a lot. Any worthwhile writing requires numerous revisions. No matter what career you choose down the road you’ll be a lot more successful if you are a good writer. Read what others have written and decide what you like – or don’t like – about it Then get inspired to write something amazing yourself.”

What a rewarding and fun day we all had. A big thank to Site Supervisor Randy Kaiser for inviting me back to visit today and to the dedicated teachers there who keep the children focused and learning. I look forward to another visit with Fairway kids!

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12. Time for a New School Year of Author Visits

I’m excited to start a new year of school author visits, returning to some I’ve visited before and many new schools and aftercare programs. In anticipation of this season, I’ve spent a great deal of time updating my author visit materials and presentation. I’ve got a pile of new posters I’ve hand-painted too. Check them out!

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

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13. Time for a New School Year of Author Visits

I’m excited to start a new year of school author visits, returning to some I’ve visited before and many new schools and aftercare programs. In anticipation of this season, I’ve spent a great deal of time updating my author visit materials and presentation. I’ve got a pile of new posters I’ve hand-painted too. Check them out!

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

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14. Three Memorable Visits to United Cerebral Palsy After School Programs

I was invited to visit three separate After School Programs this week for United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida. This generous organization serves over 1,800 children and adults in South Florida with Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, autism, spina bifida, prematurity, hearing, intellectual disabilities and speech delays with a variety of programs such as occupational, speech and music therapy, skills courses, respite care, counseling, after care and much more.

I discovered that most authors decline invitations to visit organizations that serve those with special needs. I suppose it is because they feel their books are not geared toward that type of audience. I was happy to visit these children knowing  they would simply enjoy listening to my cartoon voices, looking at the colorful pictures and dancing to the music. Some may not understand the story I am telling, but that’s not what enrichment is all about.

All the participants enjoy my world map and were proud to use the pointer to show others where their favorite places are in the world.

We learn about the animals of the Costa Rican rainforest.

The kids cheer when I tell them the book is recorded on CD with music and sound effects, and of course they want to know all about the story.

What I realized this week while spending time with the program participants is that they teach us how to live in the moment and be truly happy from the inside out. Dancing is the best!!!

And they sure like to give great hugs!

Teacher, Mr. Albert wanted to get in on the hug action too! LOL!

Ah, learning about the magic of watercolor pencils!

The teachers and assistants who work in the UCP After School Programs are equally as inspiring as the children. Their energy, dedication and love for what they do are truly remarkable. I wish to thank Allyson Nanny for inviting me and Site Directors Pat McGee and Lakeya Hariott as well as all the other wonderful staff members.

For more information about UCP programs, be sure to visit the United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida website.

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15. Three Memorable Visits to United Cerebral Palsy After School Programs

I was invited to visit three separate After School Programs this week for United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida. This generous organization serves over 1,800 children and adults in South Florida with Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, autism, spina bifida, prematurity, hearing, intellectual disabilities and speech delays with a variety of programs such as occupational, speech and music therapy, skills courses, respite care, counseling, after care and much more.

I discovered that most authors decline invitations to visit organizations that serve those with special needs. I suppose it is because they feel their books are not geared toward that type of audience. I was happy to visit these children knowing  they would simply enjoy listening to my cartoon voices, looking at the colorful pictures and dancing to the music. Some may not understand the story I am telling, but that’s not what enrichment is all about.

All the participants enjoy my world map and were proud to use the pointer to show others where their favorite places are in the world.

We learn about the animals of the Costa Rican rainforest.

The kids cheer when I tell them the book is recorded on CD with music and sound effects, and of course they want to know all about the story.

What I realized this week while spending time with the program participants is that they teach us how to live in the moment and be truly happy from the inside out. Dancing is the best!!!

And they sure like to give great hugs!

Teacher, Mr. Albert wanted to get in on the hug action too! LOL!

Ah, learning about the magic of watercolor pencils!

The teachers and assistants who work in the UCP After School Programs are equally as inspiring as the children. Their energy, dedication and love for what they do are truly remarkable. I wish to thank Allyson Nanny for inviting me and Site Directors Pat McGee and Lakeya Hariott as well as all the other wonderful staff members.

For more information about UCP programs, be sure to visit the United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida website.

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16. Two Years. 2,000,000 steps!

Celebrating a Milestone

This weekend I’m celebrating a milestone. Two years ago I began running on the steps in front of my local courthouse. In these two years I’ve run up and down about 2,000,000 steps – between 3,400 and 5,600 steps per day, depending on how I feel and what the weather is like. On my 53rd birthday in October I challenged myself to run 10,000 steps. I did it in one hour and 38 minutes!

 

Why I Love Running Steps

Running steps more than anything is meditative.  I walk about a half mile from my house to the courthouse, through my alley and down a semi-busy street. I watch the sun rise every morning, listen to the birds chirping, often flying overhead. I pass by morning glories opening and alley cats that scamper as I approach. I arrive at the courthouse while no one else is there, except for the security guards. I count the number of laps I do up and down, which I like to call “innings.” I don’t really focus on counting, it just happens naturally and keeps my mind light and free.

I live in Miami, so it’s hot here – really, really hot and humid. That adds to the challenge of keeping up my energy. But it also allows for a really good sweat, providing that feeling that I’ve sweat out the toxins and have accomplished something worthwhile.  It may sound crazy, but the hard work is worth the euphoric feeling you get when you’re finished. I leave with happy, positive thoughts. Running the steps is free. No club membership! Plus it doesn’t take much time – about 45-minutes of time from start to finish.

I run barefoot because shoes cause injury to my feet and knees. Here I am running the Rocky Steps in Philly.

 

 What Motivates Me to Run

When I was a child I was always the last one chosen for sports teams whether at school or at play. I wasn’t an athlete; in fact I couldn’t hit a volleyball over a net, hit a baseball or golf well. But as I got older I realized that not being athletically inclined didn’t mean I had to be unfit. My father passed away when he was 40 from a heart attack and my mother had two forms of cancer suffering for 9 years before passing away at age 70.  I can’t change my genetics, but I realized I could get and stay fit, eat right and do what I can to stay healthy. Thinking about my parents’ health challenges motivates me every day. I live by my motto, “Shut your pie hole and move your ass!”

It’s Not Discipline

In the beginning, running steps was really challenging. I was already doing aerobics for years at home, but running up and down steps is really a strenuous workout. It took a lot of self-talking to get up and out of the house early every morning. But then after a few months, gradually I began to look forward to going. Now I can best describe running as a habit. It’s sort of like getting up and brushing your teeth. You just do it. I do have sluggish days when I just don’t feel like running, but I go anyway. My husband calls those “bonus days,” because although your time may be slower or your step numbers may be lower, you went out there and did something on a day when you just didn’t feel like doing it.

A white layer cake I made to celebrate.

What Running Has Taught Me

It’s wrong to label yourself in any negative way. “I’m not athletic,” “I’m too old,” “I’m uncoordinated” or “I don’t think I can or should do this or that.” Running has taught me that I can have as much energy as a 25-year-old, and that if I can stick to something athletic and challenging, then I can transfer that success to other areas of my life. The only boundaries are the ones we put on ourselves.

 

 

 

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17. Two Years. 2,000,000 steps!

Celebrating a Milestone

This weekend I’m celebrating a milestone. Two years ago I began running on the steps in front of my local courthouse. In these two years I’ve run up and down about 2,000,000 steps – between 3,400 and 5,600 steps per day, depending on how I feel and what the weather is like. On my 53rd birthday in October I challenged myself to run 10,000 steps. I did it in one hour and 38 minutes!

 

Why I Love Running Steps

Running steps more than anything is meditative.  I walk about a half mile from my house to the courthouse, through my alley and down a semi-busy street. I watch the sun rise every morning, listen to the birds chirping, often flying overhead. I pass by morning glories opening and alley cats that scamper as I approach. I arrive at the courthouse while no one else is there, except for the security guards. I count the number of laps I do up and down, which I like to call “innings.” I don’t really focus on counting, it just happens naturally and keeps my mind light and free.

I live in Miami, so it’s hot here – really, really hot and humid. That adds to the challenge of keeping up my energy. But it also allows for a really good sweat, providing that feeling that I’ve sweat out the toxins and have accomplished something worthwhile.  It may sound crazy, but the hard work is worth the euphoric feeling you get when you’re finished. I leave with happy, positive thoughts. Running the steps is free. No club membership! Plus it doesn’t take much time – about 45-minutes of time from start to finish.

I run barefoot because shoes cause injury to my feet and knees. Here I am running the Rocky Steps in Philly.

 

 What Motivates Me to Run

When I was a child I was always the last one chosen for sports teams whether at school or at play. I wasn’t an athlete; in fact I couldn’t hit a volleyball over a net, hit a baseball or golf well. But as I got older I realized that not being athletically inclined didn’t mean I had to be unfit. My father passed away when he was 40 from a heart attack and my mother had two forms of cancer suffering for 9 years before passing away at age 70.  I can’t change my genetics, but I realized I could get and stay fit, eat right and do what I can to stay healthy. Thinking about my parents’ health challenges motivates me every day. I live by my motto, “Shut your pie hole and move your ass!”

It’s Not Discipline

In the beginning, running steps was really challenging. I was already doing aerobics for years at home, but running up and down steps is really a strenuous workout. It took a lot of self-talking to get up and out of the house early every morning. But then after a few months, gradually I began to look forward to going. Now I can best describe running as a habit. It’s sort of like getting up and brushing your teeth. You just do it. I do have sluggish days when I just don’t feel like running, but I go anyway. My husband calls those “bonus days,” because although your time may be slower or your step numbers may be lower, you went out there and did something on a day when you just didn’t feel like doing it.

A white layer cake I made to celebrate.

What Running Has Taught Me

It’s wrong to label yourself in any negative way. “I’m not athletic,” “I’m too old,” “I’m uncoordinated” or “I don’t think I can or should do this or that.” Running has taught me that I can have as much energy as a 25-year-old, and that if I can stick to something athletic and challenging, then I can transfer that success to other areas of my life. The only boundaries are the ones we put on ourselves.

 

 

 

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18. A Stellar Day at Overtown Youth Center

Today I had a fantastic author visit at the Overtown Youth Center in Miami, FL. Last year some very caring people donated funds so my books could go to children who could most benefit from them. So I was thrilled to be able to deliver 100 books to this outstanding organization.

Since 2003, the Overtown Youth Center has provided a variety of youth enrichment programs to foster learning and empowerment in inner-city children who may not otherwise have these resources available to them. Among their programs, they offer academic support, after school services, summer camps, creative arts, physical fitness and nutrition programs, family activities and more in a beautiful facility in Overtown.

Elementary Program

The elementary school kids learned about the process of making a book, what inspires an author and about the plants, animals and climate of the rain forest.

Introductions by TK Pratt, Overtown Youth Center Community Relations Coordinator

Learning about how we recorded the book on CD

How my grandparents inspired me to create the characters Grandma Nellie and Grandpa Willie in the book

Learning why stick bugs are at risk in the rainforest

It may be gross, but we learn that birds are responsible for planting trees because they poop out seeds they eat!

A group celebration with just some of the many elementary students who each get a free book

Group hug!

Middle School Program

These kids, who are all interested in writing learned about the difference between traditional and self-publishing, writing inspiration, the importance of reading, geography literacy and how to stay fit and have energy if you want to be a visiting author.

Discussing countries I wrote about, including Madagascar, as a travel writer for cruise lines

Answering questions about what it takes to be an author

Showing off some of the benefits of my hard work as a stair runner

Challenged to do some men’s push ups

Middle school students who love to read and write pose with their Lilly Badilly books

I want to thank TK Pratt for inviting me to visit and welcoming me with open arms. The elementary students helped me drag big maps and five big boxes of books out of may car, and they did all the heavy lifting for me! All the children were so kind and respectful, it was a total pleasure. Also a big thank you to teacher Diana Gibson, who was so supportive of my program with the middle school students. There are some amazing programs available for children in my South Florida community, and Overtown Youth Center is at the top of the list. I look forward to another visit soon!

 

 

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19. Set a Thanksgiving Table

I set up my dining room 10 days before the holiday, because I have a lot of people and a lot to do before Thanksgiving in between working. Some years, I set a very formal table, and this year I was in the mood for a more rustic look. I make all the food from scratch and choose to shop at many different markets so I can get the highest quality foods possible.

I’m having 12 guests so I need 2 tables. This is the main table.

Chocolate turkey pops are the place cards, set on top of my granny’s English china from 1945.

Second table pushed against a wall leaves plenty of walking room and seating for 4 more.

Gotta have a horn of plenty!

Buffet table right in the dining room so it’s easy to get up and get 2nds or 3rds! I use boxes under the table cloth to raise the back row of food. You can get a lot more on the table that way, plus it’s easier to reach the back food and it looks nicer. I put notes inside each plate/bowl so I know what goes where.

 

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20. Hike at Big Cypress National Preserve

My family loves the great outdoors, and we are so fortunate to live in South Florida near The Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Yesterday, my banker husband had the day off for Veteran’s Day, so we ventured out to Big Cypress for an off road hike, which proved to be quite interesting!

We hiked a 5-mile loop

My husband signed us in as hikers at the entrance to the trail

A construction worker at the entrance to the trail was feeding a baby gator some bread. Not supposed to feed the gators!

Open wide!

Some critter ate this snake for lunch – all except the bones and the head

This vulture had his eyes on me as he did not like the sound of my Nikon’s shutter

Gorgeous White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae) posed for me

Feeling adventurous, we took the Red Trail, the one less traveled.

Pine cones at their fall peak

Bobcat tracks perhaps?

Bear scat! Oh no! Is he watching me?

Woodpeckers thrive here with all the dried wood!

Yours truly, after sliding through a muddy trail with many signs of wildlife – bear, deer, bobcat and more

All photos © copyright Debbie Glade. You may not use them without permission.

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21. Kindness, Love and Caring – Kingdom Academy of Miami

This morning started the best way it could possibly start – with an author visit to Kingdom Academy in Miami. When I got out of my car, one of the parents (from Costa Rica!) recognized me from the photo in my book and had many kind things to say about Lilly Badilly. I walked through the front door and was greeted by one friendly staff member after another. And they’re not being nice, just for the sake of politeness – they are truly happy, caring people, and so are the students I met. You know you are at an excellent school when the teachers all have smiles on their faces, are gentle and kind to the students, have a creative and competitive curriculum and the students are incredibly well behaved. Kingdom Academy is one awesome place to be!

Kingdom Academy is housed in a bright, clean, new building and the classrooms are big in size – but the number of students per class is not. I was extremely impressed by all the beautiful posters in the halls with terrific messages the children made!

 

My presentations were in the cafeteria and it was so refreshing to see all the nutrition posters and healthy eating tips on the walls! It’s so important to educate our children about what they are eating- just as essential as reading, writing and arithmetic!

 

Let the presentations begin!

My first presentation was to the younger students PreK-1st grade, and they sure had fun dancing with me and laughing at my Lilly Badilly voice. Everyone was wearing a costume of their favorite character from a book, and boy were they cute!

Incredibly polite behavior makes for a perfect author visit. Everyone gets to listen and learn!

Ultra smart 3rd grade class had really creative costumes and questions.

Nothing like a spider to get everyone’s attention!

You can just tell this is a group with perfect behavior! No whisperers or squirmers among the crowd!

What an honor it is to have the children take home Lilly P. Badilly!

Lilly with Curriculum Specialist Elena Navarro

Thank you Elena Navarro for inviting me to your school and for being so well organized, friendly and accommodating! It truly was a special day. Also, thank you to all the welcoming staff, teachers and students. I hope to visit Kingdom Academy again soon just to say hello.

 

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22. A Stellar Day at Overtown Youth Center

Today I had a fantastic author visit at the Overtown Youth Center in Miami, FL. Last year some very caring people donated funds so my books could go to children who could most benefit from them. So I was thrilled to be able to deliver 100 books to this outstanding organization.

Since 2003, the Overtown Youth Center has provided a variety of youth enrichment programs to foster learning and empowerment in inner-city children who may not otherwise have these resources available to them. Among their programs, they offer academic support, after school services, summer camps, creative arts, physical fitness and nutrition programs, family activities and more in a beautiful facility in Overtown.

Elementary Program

The elementary school kids learned about the process of making a book, what inspires an author and about the plants, animals and climate of the rain forest.

Introductions by TK Pratt, Overtown Youth Center Community Relations Coordinator

Learning about how we recorded the book on CD

How my grandparents inspired me to create the characters Grandma Nellie and Grandpa Willie in the book

Learning why stick bugs are at risk in the rainforest

It may be gross, but we learn that birds are responsible for planting trees because they poop out seeds they eat!

A group celebration with just some of the many elementary students who each get a free book

Group hug!

Middle School Program

These kids, who are all interested in writing learned about the difference between traditional and self-publishing, writing inspiration, the importance of reading, geography literacy and how to stay fit and have energy if you want to be a visiting author.

Discussing countries I wrote about, including Madagascar, as a travel writer for cruise lines

Answering questions about what it takes to be an author

Showing off some of the benefits of my hard work as a stair runner

Challenged to do some men’s push ups

Middle school students who love to read and write pose with their Lilly Badilly books

I want to thank TK Pratt for inviting me to visit and welcoming me with open arms. The elementary students helped me drag big maps and five big boxes of books out of may car, and they did all the heavy lifting for me! All the children were so kind and respectful, it was a total pleasure. Also a big thank you to teacher Diana Gibson, who was so supportive of my program with the middle school students. There are some amazing programs available for children in my South Florida community, and Overtown Youth Center is at the top of the list. I look forward to another visit soon!

 

 

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23. Set a Thanksgiving Table

I set up my dining room 10 days before the holiday, because I have a lot of people and a lot to do before Thanksgiving in between working. Some years, I set a very formal table, and this year I was in the mood for a more rustic look. I make all the food from scratch and choose to shop at many different markets so I can get the highest quality foods possible.

I’m having 12 guests so I need 2 tables. This is the main table.

Chocolate turkey pops are the place cards, set on top of my granny’s English china from 1945.

Second table pushed against a wall leaves plenty of walking room and seating for 4 more.

Gotta have a horn of plenty!

Buffet table right in the dining room so it’s easy to get up and get 2nds or 3rds! I use boxes under the table cloth to raise the back row of food. You can get a lot more on the table that way, plus it’s easier to reach the back food and it looks nicer. I put notes inside each plate/bowl so I know what goes where.

 

0 Comments on Set a Thanksgiving Table as of 1/1/1900
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24. Hike at Big Cypress National Preserve

My family loves the great outdoors, and we are so fortunate to live in South Florida near The Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Yesterday, my banker husband had the day off for Veteran’s Day, so we ventured out to Big Cypress for an off road hike, which proved to be quite interesting!

We hiked a 5-mile loop

My husband signed us in as hikers at the entrance to the trail

A construction worker at the entrance to the trail was feeding a baby gator some bread. Not supposed to feed the gators!

Open wide!

Some critter ate this snake for lunch – all except the bones and the head

This vulture had his eyes on me as he did not like the sound of my Nikon’s shutter

Gorgeous White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae) posed for me

Feeling adventurous, we took the Red Trail, the one less traveled.

Pine cones at their fall peak

Bobcat tracks perhaps?

Bear scat! Oh no! Is he watching me?

Woodpeckers thrive here with all the dried wood!

Yours truly, after sliding through a muddy trail with many signs of wildlife – bear, deer, bobcat and more

All photos © copyright Debbie Glade. You may not use them without permission.

0 Comments on Hike at Big Cypress National Preserve as of 1/1/1900
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25. Kindness, Love and Caring – Kingdom Academy of Miami

This morning started the best way it could possibly start – with an author visit to Kingdom Academy in Miami. When I got out of my car, one of the parents (from Costa Rica!) recognized me from the photo in my book and had many kind things to say about Lilly Badilly. I walked through the front door and was greeted by one friendly staff member after another. And they’re not being nice, just for the sake of politeness – they are truly happy, caring people, and so are the students I met. You know you are at an excellent school when the teachers all have smiles on their faces, are gentle and kind to the students, have a creative and competitive curriculum and the students are incredibly well behaved. Kingdom Academy is one awesome place to be!

Kingdom Academy is housed in a bright, clean, new building and the classrooms are big in size – but the number of students per class is not. I was extremely impressed by all the beautiful posters in the halls with terrific messages the children made!

 

My presentations were in the cafeteria and it was so refreshing to see all the nutrition posters and healthy eating tips on the walls! It’s so important to educate our children about what they are eating- just as essential as reading, writing and arithmetic!

 

Let the presentations begin!

My first presentation was to the younger students PreK-1st grade, and they sure had fun dancing with me and laughing at my Lilly Badilly voice. Everyone was wearing a costume of their favorite character from a book, and boy were they cute!

Incredibly polite behavior makes for a perfect author visit. Everyone gets to listen and learn!

Ultra smart 3rd grade class had really creative costumes and questions.

Nothing like a spider to get everyone’s attention!

You can just tell this is a group with perfect behavior! No whisperers or squirmers among the crowd!

What an honor it is to have the children take home Lilly P. Badilly!

Lilly with Curriculum Specialist Elena Navarro

Thank you Elena Navarro for inviting me to your school and for being so well organized, friendly and accommodating! It truly was a special day. Also, thank you to all the welcoming staff, teachers and students. I hope to visit Kingdom Academy again soon just to say hello.

 

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