12 Days of Christmas in New Brunswick

My entry for Susanna Hill’s 6th Annual Holiday Contest (259 words) along with some very quick sketches. I found  the  format to be a bit challenging & some of the days might need explanation if you’re not from NB! I hope you’ll take the time to read some of the other entries over on Susanna’s Blog.

The rules: Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days Of Christmas!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 300 words.  ENTRIES TO BE POSTED BY MON, DEC 12TH.

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN NEW BRUNSWICK

Last year my parents said to me, “We’re going to spend Christmas ‘down home’ with your grandparents in New Brunswick.”

I didn’t know what to say.

“You don’t mess with tradition,” I spouted, “unless it’s a trip to Disney!”

Dad frowned.

“Watch your tone young man.” Alas, I had no choice. 13 days before Christmas I boarded a plane.

Twelve days before Christmas my grandma fed me 12 Mrs. Dunster’s Donuts.

Eleven days before Christmas my sister gave to me 11 potato chips.

Ten days before Christmas my mom took me to see 10 works of art.

Nine days before Christmas my brother shared 9 chocolates from Ganong.

Eight days before Christmas I helped my uncle haul 8 loads of logs.

Seven days before Christmas grandpa drove me over 7 covered bridges.

Six days before Christmas my aunt took me to see 6 great whales at the NB museum. So cool!

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Five days before Christmas great-aunt gave to me 5 fresh lobsters. Yuck.

Four days before Christmas my father took me on 4 freezing ferries. Brrr.

Three days before Christmas my cousin taught me 3 french words. (Bonjour, merci, and salut.)

Two days before christmas I got to feed 2 chickadees.

On Christmas Eve I left Santa a bowl of Chicken Bones and a cup of tea because I thought it might be a nice change from milk and cookies.

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On Christmas morning I found Santa’s note:

Dear Jim,

I hope you enjoyed getting to know your roots. I certainly enjoyed the Chicken Bones. Merry Christmas!

Your Pal,

Santa

 

Hope you Enjoyed! Have a Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!!!

 

Halloweensie Time Again!

 

It seems that no matter how busy I get I can’t resist a good contest. Especially one with a good prompt. And Susanna Leonard Hill knows how to throw a contest. Her Halloweensie Contest is one of my favourites. The rules: write a Halloween story for kids using the words ghost, spider, and moon; must have plot and main character; max 100 words.   She’s tough isn’t she?

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I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to participate but once I read the rules… I hammered out a story in 24 hours! Done, thank you very much. But then I realized it was more concept piece than a story with a plot. So I rewrote to fit the rules. Then I decided to rewrite both versions en français which was just as hard as writing from scratch! And then I had to illustrate both versions. And don’t forget the fine-tuning… (Scroll all the way down for a craft!)

Without further ado, I give you my 83 word entry for Susanna’s 6th Annual Halloweensie Contest:

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Where the Candy Went

Something snuck in my room.

Something creaked cross the floor.
Something ate all my candy and moaned out for more.

But as quick as a spider descends on it’s thread,
I flicked on the light and jumped out of my bed.

Then I growled at the ghost: “You should KNOCK and say PLEASE!”
so the ghost shimmered off on the frigid fall breeze.

I swear it’s the truth and I won’t change my tune
though there wasn’t a witness except for the moon.

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I hope you enjoy! Don’t forget to hop on over to Susanna’s Blog to read some of the other entries. If you like writing with a deadline, you have until 11:59 PM EDT on Monday October 31st to submit your entry.

Here’s the translated version which doesn’t quite fit the rules and probably has meter issues because let’s face it – writing in your second language is hard.

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Qui a Mangé les Bonbons?

Quelques chose a venu dans ma chambre hier soir.

Quelques chose a mangé mes bonbons dans le noir.

Je l’ai écouté dans le sombre de la nuit

et j’étais réveillé par le bruit.

Mais il est sorti quand j’ai quitté mon lit.

Je jure – c’est vrai toute ce que j’ai dit.

I really did have way too much fun with this didn’t I? I was invited to do story time at my son’s school and decided to read my poems and do a craft. I looked for ideas online but wanted something super fun that was also simple, cheap, and sugar-free and came up with this:

mypetghostcraft

It was a huge hit with the kids and a few even asked if it was real when I showed them my sample. It sways inside its jar which is probably the coolest part.

Want To Make Your Own Pet Ghost?

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Attach thread to a cotton ball (I used a needle to thread them in advance but a few kids pulled a small piece of cotton from the top to attach.)

Gently pull the cotton into the shape of a ghost.

Add eyes and mouth with markers.

Use the thread to hang the ghost inside a cup with a piece of tape.

Tape the two cups together & decorate. We used stickers, stamps, etc. If you make a small hole in the cup with a diaper pin or other sharp object you can attach the flag that way. Or you can just tape the label to the side.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Holidays (Contest)

The Holidays are upon us. And that means another contest! I’m a huge fan of Susanna Hill’s contests – they’re free, the prizes are excellent, and it’s a fun and supportive place to practice your writing technique. Rules in a nutshell: Write a story for children using any version of this first line: “Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop,” in 350 words or less. For more details and to read the entries go to Susanna’s site.

Here’s my entry (343 words), enjoy!


Holiday Heist

Sneaking past the iron gate at City Central Zoo was not that hard. Sheila checked her watch, then bee lined to the camels pen. She shook the smallest camel awake. Her pockets were full of treats so the camel happily followed her.

But over at the petting zoo, the sheep wanted all of the treats for themselves. Their baa baa BAAAA set the donkey off. His loud bray startled the cows.  They mooed even louder. Only the camel was quiet. It was busy nipping at Sheila’s pockets. Sheila passed out treats as fast as she could, swatted at the camel, and shushed the sheep.

Somehow Sheila made it back to the gate with the animals. Climbing over would be impossible this time. So Sheila unlatched the gate and carefully nudged it open. C-R-E-E-E-A-K. Sheila jumped but the guard was fast asleep and snoring loudly. When the gate slammed shut behind the last sheep, the guard yawned. But he didn’t wake up. He just cozied further down into his chair and snored louder.

The strange procession made its way along the frozen sidewalks. Sheila checked her watch again. She didn’t have much time. She tried going faster but the littlest sheep couldn’t keep up. He was too big to carry. Sheila took her scarf off and used it to tie the sheep onto the donkey’s back. The donkey wasn’t thrilled, but Sheila bribed him with a double helping of snacks. Now the procession was noisier, but faster.

Finally they arrived at Sheila’s front yard. She divided the last of the treats and gave each animal a small pile to keep them busy. Then she snuck inside. A few minutes later she came back with a toy cradle, fleece blankets, and her baby brother, Ted. Sheila tucked Ted into the cradle. Then she knelt down beside him. A thief had stolen their last nativity scene but this one was way better and she just knew her parents would love it. And they would be up any minute now. Sheila couldn’t wait to see their reaction.


 

 

The holidays are a busy, bustling time, so I didn’t have time to illustrate my story. Which is driving me crazy. So instead I’m posting this painting: Freddy at Night. Perhaps the little procession passed right by? 

15 ML 2015Freddy at Night  copy

Happy Holidays!

Christmas celebrations are already well under way in this house. The advent calendars are out, the Christmas music is on, and we have a stack of Christmas (and Hanukkah) stories in our library bag. Nothing like a good story to help set the holiday mood right?

I had so much fun participating in Susanna Hill‘s Halloweensie contest that I decided to enter her Holiday Contest too. The challenge: write a children’s story in which wild weather impacts the holidays. In 350 words or less.  Here is my entry:

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Stranded

Stranded Santa

“Sugar!” muttered Dad. Sam looked up from his book.

“What’s wrong?”

“We’re stuck.” Sam looked out the car window. He couldn’t see anything but white. Every once in a while a large snowflake hit the window.

Dad called Ace Towing on his cell phone. “I see. Ok. Merry Christmas to you too.” But Dad didn’t sound very merry. “Sam,” he groaned, “we’re stranded.”

Stranded? But he still had to decorate the gingerbread house. And wrap Dad’s gift. “But what about Christmas?” Sam whispered.

Dad flipped on the radio. “…A wall of snow coming in off the lake has overwhelmed snowplows, leaving dozens of motorists stranded on Highway…” Dad turned off the radio.

Sam zipped up his coat and put his hat and mittens back on. He thought about their Christmas tree and sparkling decorations. He thought about the stockings that still needed to be hung for Santa. “But how will Santa find me?” Sam asked.

“Santa will leave presents at the house,” sighed Dad. But Sam knew all about Santa. Santa only came if you were sleeping. If you were visiting Grandma for Christmas, Santa would find you there. But Sam wasn’t visiting Grandma. Sam was stranded on Highway 1. Sam needed to tell Santa where he was. But how?

Sam watched the snow. If he weren’t stranded he’d be sipping hot cocoa and checking NORAD’s Santa tracker.

That’s it! He could call the Santa Tracker hotline and ask them to send Santa a message!

After some explaining Sam was on Dad’s phone with Sergeant Bleak at NORAD. Sergeant Bleak said he’d do his best to get Sam’s message to Santa.

Five hours later Sam woke up to a tap, tap, tap on the window. “Santa!” Sam cheered. Dad rolled down the car window. Santa passed them hot chocolate, warm cookies, and two warm blankets wrapped in ribbon.

“Hang tight,” said Santa, “the roads will be clear soon.” Sam waved as Santa disappeared into the falling snow. Then Sam and his Dad snuggled under the blankets, sang Christmas carols, sipped hot cocoa, and nibbled scrumptious cookies until the snowplows arrived.

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I hope you’re feeling warm, cozy, and Christmasy now. (Did you notice the writing on my Santa picture? No that’s not my signature. I jotted down “Carnivores, by Aaron Reynolds” to remind my self to order it on interlibrary loan. I think the littles will love it.)

Don’t forget to stop by Susanna’s blog to check out the other stories!

Happy Halloweensie!

My 99 word story for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest (100 words or less using creak, pumpkin, & broomstick).

At Grandma’s House Last Halloween

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Just in case you didn’t catch the story on the above slideshow:

In her house so old it creaks,
my Grandma has a door that squeaks.
Just past that door and down the hall,
a broomstick hangs up on the wall.
When I stayed the night last Halloween,
branches tapped on the window screen.
I heard a groan and moan from the creaky floor
and a wheeze and sigh from the squeaky door.
I saw a pumpkin moon and a witch on a broom
who waved to me in my cold dark room.
When I ran to find Grandma that spooky night,
I found an empty bed in the glowing light.