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<<October 2016>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: vacation, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Around the world in 15 travel health tips

It's time for holidays! Your suitcase is packed, you're ready to leave, and cannot wait to get a proper tan to show on social media. Mark Twain used to say that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, but unfortunately the health problems we may come across while travelling are far less poetic. Danger is always lurking, especially in far-flung and unexplored destinations.

The post Around the world in 15 travel health tips appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Take Your Imagination On Vacation

imagination on vacation

Children don’t need planes, trains and automobiles to be transported to different countries, different worlds or even different points of view. All it takes is an engaged imagination and the right resources and they can explore the far-off corners of their active and growing minds.

First Book offers books and resources that will stimulate children’s creativity this summer and take their imaginations on vacations!

Imaginative Play

Children can fly to outer space, perform surgery, put out an inferno, explore uncharted territories and do it all before lunch with the help of fun role playing costumes. When children imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut or a doctor their world expands and they begin to dream bigger. In this section you’ll also find puppets, building blocks and even a toy taco!

imagination on vacation

Fairy and Folk Tales

This section is filled with old classics as well as exciting new titles that will keep young minds captivated. These stories, legends and myths from different cultures all over the globe will give children endless worlds full of princesses, monsters and giant beanstalks to explore.

imagination on vacation

Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Books and stories from different dimensions and galaxies! Free from the rules of space and time, the books and stories in this section will help children think beyond what seems possible and imagine freely. Children can go to the beach in another galaxy or visit an amusement park in the future…the imagination vacation possibilities go on and on with these engaging books.

imagination on vacation

Arts and Crafts

All of the beautiful paintings or paper planes children dream up can’t come to life without the tools and resources they need. This section features a wide variety of kits and activities that will help children turn their creative ideas into fantastic works of art or fun puppets.

imagination on vacation

The post Take Your Imagination On Vacation appeared first on First Book Blog.

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3. July Blogging Break

Announcing a short pause in our regular blogging schedule

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4. #AtoZChallenge, L is for Let's Go!

One of my most beloved toys as a child was actually a greeting card. Sent to me when I was five years old and cooped up in bed with the chicken pox, it arrived in the form of a multi-page booklet telling the story of a paper doll named Ginger. Ginger and her wardrobe had perforated edges that allowed me to easily extract the whole kit and kaboodle as quickly as possible while I sat up in bed supported by a mountain of pillows.

The cover of the card was pink and decorated with iconic landmarks from various countries: the Eiffel Tower for France, a windmill for Holland, the leaning tower of Pisa for Italy. Ginger was a twenty-something flight attendant, or as we said back then, a stewardess. She had beautiful long red hair, a perky figure, and a sense of style straight out of Mad Men. I remember being particularly entranced with her white fencing outfit complete with netted helmet and mask. There were also evening gowns, a trench coat, and best of all, her suitcase. Brown cardboard "leather," it was covered in travel stickers from all around the world, stickers that matched many of the icons on the front of the card. As far as I was concerned, Ginger was the It Girl, putting all my other dolls and toys far back into a lowly second- and third-place.

Looking back, it's amazing how much pleasure I received from a flimsy little card, but from that moment on I was determined to travel. To me, Ginger signified much more than a toy; she was the real, adult world I couldn't wait to be a part of. As I waltzed her across my bedspread and blankets, I imagined myself traveling just like she did, wearing, of course, her white fencing outfit I was certain was de rigeur for foreign travel. Ginger became my childhood role model, and every time I pack my bag or board an airplane, I still think of her.

Today's journal page celebrates the spirit of adventure. Where do you want to go for your next holiday? What steps do you need to take to get there? Dream big. En garde!

Tip of the Day: Write it down, make it happen. Your art journal makes an excellent vision board or treasure map for creating your next vacation. Find images in travel magazines or travel agency brochures (that's where I found the printed stamps to cut out for today's page). Paste everything in place along with some positive affirmations, a list of wardrobe items to take and sights to see, and off you go. Send a postcard!

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5. Make Every Day a Vacation

2015 was so travel-filled for me that I'm actually looking forward to staying home as much as possible this year. There are dozens of fun things to do in here in Albuquerque and never enough hours in the day (or night) to fit them all in. But as much as I love seeking out new museum displays, creative groups, or shops and restaurants, it can also be too easy to to become complacent and take them for granted. This year I want to change that.

One of the things I was most aware of while I was traveling was how different everything felt to me--from the air I breathed to the way the light struck a windowpane, and how quickly I stopped noticing those little nuances once I was back home. Around Christmas-time I was desperate to know why that was. 

Beyond the obvious answers such as, "Well, you don't have to wash the windows when you're on vacation," or, "Each day abroad is a chance to re-invent yourself," I realized that when I travel I put a lot more effort into what I can only call mindfulness, probably because I know it might be my only chance to experience that particular travel destination ever again.

So my major question for the year is: How can I cultivate that same travel mindset here at home and not just when I'm riding a tour bus? How can I make every day a vacation day? To get the ball rolling, I made a list while I was writing out some morning pages and here's what I came up with.

Have afternoon tea. One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to have afternoon tea either in a tea shop or right in my hotel room. I especially like trying out different flavors and brands that are foreign to me. Lesson learned: relax, savor, and enjoy some new tea brands (yay, oolong . . .).

Get up early, even when I don't have to. When I travel, I can't wait to get up and get out the door. All those places to see! Here at home, struggling to wake up before it's entirely necessary can be torture, especially in the winter. Then I remembered how much I love those fancy little shampoos and body washes the hotels provide. Stocking my bathroom shelves with spa toiletries has made my mornings a lot easier to face and far more luxurious--just like when I'm on vacation.

Sketch, sketch, sketch. Take photos. Of anything and everything. Sketching and photographing my surroundings lets me to see the world with new eyes--even the places I already know. Having a sketch plan or goal before I leave the house each day reminds me to take the time to look.

It's okay to draw like a little kid. When I sketch in my travel journal, I don't care how it turns out. I'm just going for first impressions and ways to capture the memories. The same applies to my daily journal entries. It's a viewpoint that cuts out the angst and makes creativity a joy to pursue and express.

Love the day without expectations. It's impossible to know in advance what you'll encounter in another country outside your own, yet, somehow, that never seems to matter. As far as I'm concerned, if it's a vacation, it's all good--exactly how I want to experience my day wherever I am.

Trust I am being taken care of. Goal: Give up daily worry, anxiety, everything negative that keeps me fretting and wastes my energy. The bus driver knows where we're going--so let him drive. My one and only job is to enjoy the view.

Eat well, eat small. Thanks to my vegetarian lifestyle, it isn't as easy as it should be to find a wide array of food choices when I'm on the road. And that is probably a good thing--less chance of stomach upsets, less chance of over-eating, and less chance to spend/waste money on not-so-great meals. This year I want to stay more conscious of only eating when I truly need to, rather than because "it's so yummy I can't resist and I don't care about stupid old calories." 

Walk more. Walking in Albuquerque (at least for me) isn't always a great idea: lots of traffic (and drivers who run red lights), broken and uneven sidewalks and streets with potholes, and the neighborhood shops aren't close enough to home to bring back groceries, etc. on foot. What we do have to counter that, though, are beautiful parks, open-air shopping malls, and a number of museums worth visiting throughout the year. It's no problem to drive to these places and then go for a good long walk once I'm there--with my sketchbook in hand. A wonderful way to stay in a holiday mood.

Travel light. I've always been a big fan of down-sizing, minimizing, and de-cluttering, but even when I think I've done my best, sure enough I find something more to give away, toss out altogether, or purchase yet another storage bin for. This year I am going to put a lot of thought into what I buy, asking myself: will it fit into my suitcase (i.e., my house/life) and how heavy will it be? And do I really need it? The answer, just like when I dithered over purchasing an entire set of Portuguese tiles last year, will probably be "no." And that's fine with me.

Tip of the Day: Whenever I travel I like to immerse myself in learning about the history, the food, the art, the entertainment, and of course, the people of each new place. One way to make every day a vacation is to do the same in my own backyard. A concentrated "course of study" about subjects as diverse as New Mexico's santos or native plants will go a long way to make being at home more interesting to me. I'm sure you'll find just as many fascinating topics in your own home town!

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6. Am going to try hard NOT to be like these writers while I'm on vacation

Have a great week, everyone!

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7. July Blogging Break

It's time for our annual co-author summer vacation. But wait, we have lots to keep you going in the meantime!

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8. Road Trip

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9. Summer Fun for the Family: Pickin’ and Grinnin’ at the Earl Scruggs Center

  by Sally Matheny
photo courtesy of Wikipedia
The lazy days of summer are about to plop on the sofa. As comfy as it is, we know it's not healthy to veg out all day. It's time to plan some fun activities for the children. Here's an idea that'll make your kids smile.

If you've ever watched The Beverly Hillbillies,you may remember musicians Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt. Occasionally, they sauntered through the Clampetts’ mansion door pickin’ and grinnin’. If you missed their appearances, you didn’t miss out on their music. Scruggs and Flat also performed the theme song for the show.

You can share the history of the toe-tapping, bluegrass music with your children by visiting a wonderful museum in western North Carolina. The Earl Scruggs Center, which opened in January 2014,  is located on Lafayette Street in Shelby, North Carolina.

My local homeschool group recently visited the museum, housed in the former 1907 Cleveland County Courthouse. An array of activities provided opportunities for learning the history, music, and cultural traditions of western North Carolina. 

Presented with complimentary ear buds upon arrival, each visitor is encouraged to plug in and participate throughout the museum. Receiving a set of ear buds, to keep as their own, brought immediate delight from the children in my group! 

At the museum, you’ll learn about the legendary banjo player, Earl Scruggs, known for popularizing the three-finger playing style. Through live demonstrations, short films, and exhibits you’ll discover how Scruggs continually stretched music boundaries by learning new techniques to grow with the changing times.

The Common Threads Table
The museum is definitely pushing the edge with fascinating technology. One of the most popular, interactive exhibits is the Common Threads table. Touch screens, the size of your dinner table, make different instruments, various music styles, and musicians come to life. The students in our group found the hands-on learning extremely fun!

Another exhibit allows participants to adjust the speed of a banjo picking visual so they can actually see the placement of each finger and the sound it produces. Very cool.

In addition to the evolution of banjos and playing styles, the Earl Scruggs Center also houses exhibits on other aspects of N.C. history, such as the cotton industry, cooking, and the advancements of technology. 

I want to go back and read all the interesting tidbits I missed. Someone, excited to go see the next exhibit, kept tugging me away. I know Earl Scruggs recorded some Christian bluegrass at one time. I'm curious to see if there is anything posted about how his faith influenced his music.

All ages will find things of interest at the Earl Scruggs Center. The exhibits are best suited for children over age five, but those under five get in free. 

Special events occur at the center on a regular basis—from southern cooking demonstrations to outdoor performances. You can find out what’s taking place as well as the hours and prices on the website: www.earlscruggscenter.org

That's me with my fifth cousin, Earl Scruggs.
Allow plenty of time for your visit. We went with a group of sixty people and stayed about three hours. We still didn’t feel like we explored it fully and look forward to returning.

Pull the kids off the sofa. They may not be guitarists or banjo-pickers, but I'm confident they'll leave the Earl Scruggs Center grinning.

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10. April Vacation

We're taking a week off from blogging to catch our breath after the SOLSC (aka: our version of an ultra marathon!).

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11. Getting Ready for Taiwan: Art Pack

I'm leaving for Taiwan in the morning! I’m pretty much all packed, ready to go, and have even shopped for, and prepared, a dozen meals for my husband to eat while I’m gone.  In other words, just put me on the plane. 

It seems like I’ve been getting ready for this trip for months, concentrating mainly on choosing and gathering the right art supplies. My dithering had a lot to do with the fact that I’ve never been a big fan of plein airsketching or painting. Past experiences of trying to sketch outdoors usually include me being (in no particular order): too hot, too cold, too thirsty, hungry, under attack from various evil insects, struggling to keep my paper flat and dirt-free from a wind that never stops blowing, and then by the time I've got everything under control I desperately need to find the restroom. I’m hoping this trip will be different, or at least teach me some better survival skills. 

Another big factor in choosing my supplies is they had to fit in my travel purse without being too heavy or bulky. So what I've narrowed the kit down to is:
  • A Stillman and Birn Epsilon 6"x 8” sketchbook. After weeks of experimenting with various papers, this seemed to be the very best book for both dry and wet media, as well as giving me plenty of pages for journaling. The paper has a lovely smooth finish and suits me well.
  • A large striped rubber band to keep my sketchbook closed and the pages protected from all the other stuff in my purse (and the wind once I'm outside). This one is from Smash products and has a nice jaunty flair, don't you think?
  • A zippered pencil case to carry:
  • 1 Caran d’Ache techno B pencil.
  • 1 Caran d’Ache watersoluble graphite B pencil.
  • 1 mechanical Bic pencil with rubber grip and extra leads inside the pencil.
  • 1 Caran d’Ache red watercolor pencil.
  • 6 Faber and Castell watercolor Art Grip pencils (yellow, blue, brown, violet, and 2 greens because I couldn’t decide which green I liked best).
  • 1 waterbrush--this one has a large-size tip, but a short handle, perfect for packing.
  • 1 black gel pen (from my favorite coffee store: Moon’s Tea and Coffee here in ABQ).
  • 1 Uniball BLX Siglo pen in green ink (for journaling).
  • 1 glue stick (for collaging).
  • 1 double pencil sharpener.
  • 1 kneaded eraser.
And that’s it! I figure if there’s anything else I’ll need, I can purchase it there, but I think this should cover all possibilities and sudden inspirations. Thanks for visiting; see you in a couple of weeks!

Tip of the Day:  Travel light--it's so easy to be tempted into carrying an entire art studio's worth of supplies for a day of sketching or even writing. In the last few weeks as part of my travel-prep I've been sketching with a black ballpoint pen--and I loved the results. Sometimes simple really can be better.

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12. Vacation!

I'm taking a vacation for the next few weeks---exciting, but also tiring, at least ahead of time. I'm right at that point where I wonder why we were going in the first place. There's pet care to figure out, stuff to pack, weather to research... We're flying this time, so that's always extra complicated.

But I'm looking forward to a break! Good for the soul. We're not going anywhere tropical like the picture (I wish), but to London, which will be cool.

Earlier this week, someone asked me in an interview what places I still want to visit. I realized most of my wish list location have to do with food: Italy, Greece, Ireland...

How about you? Any wish list destinations?

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13. Why I Get Nothing Done During Spring Break


North Myrtle Beach, S. Carolina

I actually do take a stack of grading to the beach with me. I pull out a report. Start reading.

Is that a dolphin? Oooo it’s two.

Look down and try to find where I left off. Jot down a comment.

Oh look. A gull landed so close I can touch him. “Hey guy. How you doing?”

Look down again. Read the same paragraph.

This would be so much better if I took my shoes off, and you know, squish my toes in the sand.

Set report aside. Take off shoes and socks. Dig feet into sand. Dig for a long while. Pull out report. Read the same paragraph.

Oh the heck with it. I’ll grade on the plane.

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14. Sailing the Inside Passage to Alaska


Finally. We’re on Holland America’s Statendam. Look at that water – smooth as GLASS!!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from our 2013 Alaska trip:


I want to blow this one up and hang it – soooo pretty.

Here’s a short video to show how smooth the water was in the inside passage…

We were also fortunate to see some whales, too.

I wish I could say the trip back down to Vancouver, after our cruise was over, was equally smooth sailing but alas, no, it was not.

We were one of the last cruises of the season and we ran into a storm on the way home. Luckily, our ship was small enough that we were able to stick to the inside passage and though it was not as smooth sailing as above, it wasn’t too bad. Whenever we passed by an area that there were no longer mountains on either side of us, the waters got very choppy and I got seasick. In fact, we have a video, somewhere, of the water in the pool sloshy so much that it soaks the deck. The pool water got so bad, that Holland America had to drain the pool it was making such a mess. But at least we were able to keep to the inside passage most of the way back to Vancouver. We were sailing side-by-side a Royal Carribean ship and it was too large to sail the passage so I heard they had some REALLY choppy waters on the way back.

That is definitely a con to cruising – even though the captains do a fantastic job of avoiding rough waters, it will occasionally happen. That’s when your Dramamine comes in handy.

Filed under: Cruise 13, Vacation

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15. Winter Recess

The six of us will be celebrating holidays, recharging our batteries, and coming up with more posts to share with this incredible community of teachers and writers for the next two weeks. In the meantime, we have lots to keep you going over winter break.

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16. The Front of the Parade

I dislike parades. Not a little, a lot!

I don’t care about the pageantry or the spectacle. I just get bored. A.D.D.? Maybe. Every time I’m stuck watching them, I can’t find an ounce of enjoyment – I just think about two dozen other things I could be doing. This couldn’t be truer than when I’m at Disneyworld.

My kids, on the other hand, love parades. So when people start lining the streets, they want to stop riding roller coasters and wait. UGH…

Wait for what? Floats. No thank you! If a float doesn’t contain root beer and ice cream, I don’t want it.

I figure with half of the eligible riders standing along the parade route, the lines to the cool things are shorter. Not my family. We wait – and not for the good stuff.

A funny thing happened on our trip last week. We were headed to a ride at the back of the park while people were lining up for the parade. No one with me suggested we stop to watch (miracle), so I powered into the street. We must have been the last ones let out before they closed the rope because we found ourselves about 20 paces in front of the parade with all of its flags and music.

Maybe it was the fact that I was pushing my daughter’s wheelchair, or possibly because I looked so stately and official, but it became apparent that the spectators thought we were supposed to be the ones leading the parade. We all realized it at the same time as they clapped and waved at us.

My kids became confused.

They grouped together.

“Should we pull off and get out of the way?” they wondered.

The oldest asked, “What do we do?”

Of course they looked to me, the leader, the head honcho, the alpha male for direction and what did they find me doing?


With a dopey grin on my face, I waved back at all of my adoring fans.

When life puts you at the front of the parade, smile and wave!


The kids laughed at me, but it caught on. All of us began waving to the crowd.

You know what? Everyone waved back. The people didn’t think we looked out of place – they just waved at us. I wonder what they thought when the real parade came and they realized we didn’t belong. Oh well, we were gone by then. We walked over half of the parade route unencumbered by the bustling crowd until we got near the ride we wanted. Then we simply ducked into the masses and became one of them – anonymous once more.

I still hate parades… But for a moment, I was the grand marshal.

Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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17. Pete the Cat in the Big Easy

I just spent a week in New Orleans, a place I’ve wanted to visit since first reading Interview with the Vampire as a teen. The week held plenty of sights and experiences I’d been highly anticipating (a ghost tour, the Garden District, blues and jazz clubs, and — of course — beignets) and some I hadn’t expected (Mardi Gras beads hanging in many trees; the informative but emotionally intense National WWII Museum, which Cindy also visited last year; lots and lots and lots of rain).

litwin pete the cat i love my white shoes Pete the Cat in the Big EasyOne pleasant surprise during my trip to NOLA was an encounter with Pete the Cat, star of the series of picture books and early readers written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. During a leisurely stroll in the French Quarter, I spotted Pete’s familiar face in the window of Gallery Rinard. My parents are huge Pete fans (and I’m an unrepentant cat lady), so I dragged my boyfriend into the gallery to take a look at Dean’s original art.

While the gallery offered lots of original canvases, prints, and even puppets of the cartoony Pete his picture-book readers will know and love, many of Dean’s paintings are geared towards adults in content and humor (such as this “Most Interesting Man in the World” Dos Equis commercial parody). A series of re-creations of well-known photos and paintings — including The Mona Lisa, Klimt’s The Kiss, and Munch’s The Scream — features cameos by Pete.

And much of Dean’s work portrays his feline friend in a softer, more realistic manner, revealing the artist’s deep affection for the real-life Pete. After quite a bit of deliberation, I eventually chose one of these as a souvenir for my parents:

 Pete the Cat in the Big Easy

“Pete the Cat: Weather or Not” by James Dean

Like Cindy encountering a Dahl book at the WWII Museum, I didn’t expect for my kidlit life to come out to play while I was on vacation — but I’m glad it did!

share save 171 16 Pete the Cat in the Big Easy

The post Pete the Cat in the Big Easy appeared first on The Horn Book.

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18. Good for the Brain

Want to help your students focus better during independent writing time? A recent NY Times piece by Daniel J. Levitin may hold the key to making this happen in your classroom.

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19. Lulu's Mysterious Mission - a booktalk

I'm still working my way through all the books I picked up at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.  Lulu's Mysterious Mission is the third installment in this illustrated, chapter book series.  I don't know why I never got around to reading the first two, but I'm making it up with a booktalk and a book trailer.  Enjoy!

Viorst, Judith. 2014. Lulu's Mysterious Mission. New York: Atheneum.
(Advance Reader Copy supplied by publisher - artwork not final)

Lulu's Mysterious Mission - a booktalk

Lulu's parents are going away on vacation, and they're doing the heretofore unthinkable, they're going without Lulu! When she meets her babysitter, the militant, Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinsky, and eats her first bean-and-beet omelet (a "taste" of things to come), Lulu begins to hatch some desperate plans.

Eeny meeny miney mo,
That babysitter’s got to go.
Sooner, not later,
Fast, not slow.
That babysitter's got to go.

Funny with frequent asides by the author, Lulu's Mysterious Mission will appeal to humor fans, ages 6-10. Oh, and, yes, there may be a mysterious mission.

On a bookshelf near you, beginning April, 2014.

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20. April Vacation

Here in Vermont, winter is white and sparkly, all jingle bells and sleigh rides. Summer is green and luscious, with blue skies and sunshine. Fall is golden and red and drop dead gorgeous.… Continue reading

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21. Comic: Writers On Vacation

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22. Summer Institutes Here We Come!

Whether it's an institute put on by your own district, or an expert is coming to town, or if you'll be traveling many miles to take part, I hope that you are as excited about attending your institutes as I am about teaching them.

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23. Two Writing Teachers Summer Vacation

The six of us will be recharging our batteries, planning and brainstorming, coming up with even more great ideas to share with our lovely community of teachers and writers. But don't worry, we've got lots to keep you going in the meantime!

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24. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–Busy, Busy, Busy!


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

I’ve had a busy week!  Last weekend, Dean and I took a mini-vacation.  We went to Columbus to visit the zoo, the Olentangy Caverns, and one of the Metro Parks, where we saw real, live, wild Bald Eagles.  We also stopped at Coon’s Candy, which I drive by every time I go to a horse show in Columbus, but I have never had the time to stop before.  We had a really good time.  I tried to embed the “story” of the trip that Google+ built from pictures I took with my phone, but the service is so worthless I can’t find the embed link option.  Sigh.

Tuesday night I had to take Poppy to the vet. I discovered to my dismay that she had developed an ear infection the night before we were leaving on our trip.  A frantic call to the vet yielded an ointment to squeeze into her beet-red ear, which the kennel staff kindly took care of in our absence.  Her ear was still very red Tuesday night, so we went home with a medication for pain and inflammation, as well as instructions to continue with the ointment for another 10 days.  We have a recheck next weekend – hopefully the infection will cleared up by then, because it’s upsetting seeing how uncomfortable she has been.

Wednesday night after work there was a local open horse show, and I decided to take Pixie.  I have been a little nervous to take her to an outside show because she can be so jumpy, but she was really good!  Just a few bobbles, and I’m pleased with how well she did.  We had a 2nd, 4th, and 5th place in fairly large classes.  The bugs were bothering her by the last class, but overall, we both had a good time.  I am looking forward to more of these smaller shows next summer.

And that’s my week!  I was exhausted Thursday because I was out way past my bedtime because of the horse show, so I have just been lounging around this weekend.  I guess I’m due a break after the busy week.

How was your 4th of July weekend?  Did you do anything special?

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

This is two weeks of books

Poison Promise  (This is a finished copy – I will be giving it away in a few weeks)

The Game and the Governess

The Return of the Discontinued Man

The Pearl That Broke its Shell (1.99 for the Kindle – this looked different, so I bit at the price)

The Honeymoon Trap (.99 for the Kindle, and since I love Kelly Hunter’s writing, I snapped it up)

I Adored a Lord

Falling for Max

Across the Line

Dangerous Calling

When I Fall

Taking it All (I’ll have a copy of this to give away, so check back next weekend!)

Black Dog

Zomburbia (I couldn’t resist – zombies!)

Generation 18

Falling for the Pirate

Heart of Dread: Frozen


Ringworld Graphic Novel

Winning Ruby Heart (A sports scandal – I couldn’t resist this one, either)

The Texas Twins (I think the cover is so cute!)

Maverick for Hire

Captured by the Sheikh

Breaking All Her Rules  (Maisey Yates is one of my favorite HQN authors)

Marine for Hire

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

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The post The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–Busy, Busy, Busy! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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25. The Great American Road Trip

Partially packed, but ready to go.

Partially packed, but ready to go.

This month my family and I returned from our LONGEST ROAD TRIP EVER. Longest in duration (one month), if not in miles (3,033).

We started from our home base in Rockford, IL and drove through eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, stopping in various towns along the way. What were some of the biggest differences between all these states? Well the gas price for one thing: varying by 60 cents, and the temperature: a high of 104 ° F in Georgia and a low 48 ° F in Illinois. Our journey looked like this:

The long and winding road.

The long and winding road.

Did I mention there are five of us? By the time we were done, as you can imagine, we pretty much had had enough “family time”. There is a phenomenon known as too much vacation. When we finally got home we didn’t even unpack. Instead we separated to our individual rooms.

madcatAlthough we were glad our trip was over, we did accumulate some great memories along the way. Like when we went to the Driftwood Beach at Jekyl Island. Very hot day, very cool views.

Driftwood Beach, Jekyl Island, GA

Driftwood Beach, Jekyl Island, GA

And walking the beach while the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Phenomenal. I’d honestly never seen sand turn pink before.

Sunset at the beach, St. Petersburg, FL

Sunset at the beach, St. Petersburg, FL

And of course a trip to Florida is never complete without a jump over to Orlando. For . . . you know . . . Harry.

Hogwarts castle, World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

Hogwarts castle, World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

My enthusiasm at World of Harry Potter easily trumped my kids’. One of my favorite memories was having a woman’s portrait in the Hall of Portraits blink when I took her photograph using my flash.

Hall of Portraits, Hogwarts Castle, World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

Hall of Portraits, Hogwarts Castle, World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

On the other hand, one of my youngest daughter’s favorite recollections wasn’t eating at great local restaurants, swimming in dozens of different swimming pools, or exploring southern architecture. Nope. It was rescuing someone’s Barbie from a perilous fate.

Tortured Barbie left at the beach, owner unknown

Tortured Barbie left at the beach, owner unknown

She (Barbie) is currently in quarantine.

Mad cat photo © Nikolai Nikonov, text added; all other photos © Karin Blaski; route map © mapquest

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