Happy Valentine’s Day!


It’s Valentiny time again! I almost didn’t enter Susanna Hill’s contest because I’m tired, I’m busy, & I have a lot of projects on the go. The usual! But then I got a little carried away making Valentines for my family – I made 5 & there’s only 4 of us! So here’s a quick little 87 word Valentiny & Valentine just for you.

(The rules: Valentine’s story for kids where someone is confused – max of 214 words. You have until Feb 14th to enter. Lots of great prizes too!)


“Brains… Brains…” The zombie smiled at Zack. Then it moaned again. “Brains… Brains…”

“Eeek!” Zack hid behind a tree.

The zombie shuffled closer. “Brains… Brains…”

Zack darted under the slide. The zombie stumbled after him. “Brains… Brains…”

Zack dashed under the picnic table. The zombie followed. “Brains… Brains…” It stretched one arm down towards Zack, a heart-shaped box in its hand.

“Brains… Brains… I love you for your brains,” it said. “I mean, will you be my valentine?”

“Oh!” Zack laughed. “That’d be nice Zonya.”



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?



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:


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.


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.


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:


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?


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!

Pirate gets a Valentine

I’m a huge fan of Susanna Hill’s contests because they are a fun way to practice writing skills, see how your work compares to others, and get involved in the kidlit community. So of course I HAD to enter when she announced THE FIRST ANNUAL PRETTY MUCH WORLD FAMOUS VALENTINY WRITING CONTEST!!! (You have until Friday Feb 12th to enter!) 

I decided to recycle the character from my Halloweensie entry. 



Pirate Love day frozen harbour


Pirate Gets a Valentine

Winter comes by northern breeze.
Nights grow longer. Harbours freeze.
Pirate gets the winter blues,
red-hot temper, shortened fuse.

So Pirate hides from winter’s wail.
‘Til she reads her Love Day mail.
Boats are brown. The sea is blue.
All your friends are missing you!

Pirate shivers, peeks outside,
sees her friends all smiling wide.
“Come out Pirate,” call her mates.
“Bundle up and bring your skates!”

But Pirate’s skate is way too tight.
and nothing fits her peg leg right.
Pirate grumbles. Pirate gripes.
Friends all stop and Viking pipes,

“Come on Pirate, try these skis,
glide across the snow with ease!”
But Pirate cannot bend both knees,
manage hills, or dodge the trees.

Pirate whimpers. Pirate whines.
But can’t deter her Valentines.
Nanuk offers. “If you like,
“we could take a snowshoe hike.”

But Pirate’s snowshoes are too small.
They don’t help her out at all.
Pirate kicks and Pirate cries.
But Jack has brought a sweet surprise.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

He digs right down into his pack,
“Pirate, would you like a snack?”
Steaming cocoa, heart-shaped treats.
Friends all wait while Pirate eats.

Pirate snickers. Pirate smirks.
Sharing cookies always works.
Pirate rumbles, “Snowball fight!”
Heaves the snow with all her might.
Pirate sparkles. Pirate shines.
and she delights her Valentines.

Pirate Love Day web


Peer Critiques

This past week at the school, as part of our special project, I talked about critiquing. The students really enjoyed reading each others stories. I gave them this form as a guide for giving feedback, emphasizing the need for kindness and helpfulness.

Guided Critique 

I had them critique one of my stories first. Afterwards, we discussed the experience of giving and receiving feedback. A few weren’t thrilled with their feedback, even though it was kind. This was a great reminder on why being kind is important. I told them it was up to them to decide if they wanted to make any changes. It was great to see that a few did. 

My favourite comment: “I wish I was in your story.” 

On Tuesday we start the art & illustration part of the project.