Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to Reinvent Yourself: Enter a Writing contest!

Here are a few current writing contests.  Good luck!

12th Annual Writer's Digest Short Story Competition:

Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing:

Highlights Fiction Contest:

Children's Writer, Poetry or Verse Story Writing Contest:

Cheerios is searching for the next great children’s book author. It could be you! Just enter your original children’s book story.

Pockets (Connecting Kids and God the other 6 days) Annual Fiction Contest:

Have you entered a contest and did you win?  Please share your story!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Want to Hike NH with your kids?

Four Great Kid-friendly Hikes in New Hampshire: 

Justin hiking Mt Major last spring

1.  Mt Major:  Locate a short hike to a beautiful view on one of the main tourist arteries in the Lakes Region and you’re sure to generate plenty of interest. Within easy driving distance of Meredith, Weirs Beach, and Laconia, this well-trod path to the summit of Mount Major is a convenient family outing with sufficient challenge to give those who climb it the feeling they’ve completed a “real ” hike. From the summit, a unique summertime vista also encompasses two Mount Washingtons, the White Mountain peak on the northern horizon, and the historic steamship that plies the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. Special attractions: Wide-angle views of Lake Winnipesaukee spread before a backdrop of White Mountain peaks.
Our favorite hike between Gilford and Laconia, NH!

2.  The hike to Blue Job’s (near Strafford, NH)  fire tower is a popular one with local families. An easy, appealing climb leads to an open summit with views that stretch to Boston, the Atlantic, and the White Mountains. What more can you ask of a mountain? Because the views make the hike, save Blue Job for a cloudless, sunny day. From the northeastern side of the parking lot, head southeast (right) on a wide, well-worn path, following the orange blazes. At first glance, the world of field and forest seems limited to greens and browns. But ask the kids to look for reds, yellows, pinks, and blues, and you’ll all be surprised at how colorful nature is.  Great 1.4 mile hike.
3.  Odiorne Point State Park’s(near Portsmouth NH) 135 acres include 2 miles of seashore, the largest undeveloped coastal tract in New Hampshire. Extending from Odiorne Point to the Witch Creek salt marsh, the park is an ironic blend of serene, natural beach, once called Pannaway by Native Americans, and concrete casements from the long abandoned World War II coastal defense installation of Fort Dearborn. Easy and educational 2.2 mile loop hike.
Marely loved hiking Mt Major!
4.  Boulder Loop:(near Conway NH)  As you hike the Boulder Loop, you’ll feel as if you have your very own naturalist along. Equipped with a White Mountain National Forest interpretive leaflet (available at the trailhead or at the White Mountain National Forest Information Centers) that is keyed to numbered stops along the route, you will gain a better understanding of such common trailside phenomena as lichens, felled trees, and fallen boulders. Looking for the various stations will keep kids moving and will mark their progress in a way they can understand.  This 3.1 mile moderate hike is a bit more of a challenge for some children.

Have you hiked any great trails lately
Coming next: tips for hiking with kids and dogs!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Keep your marriage up!

Please visit my friend Rhonda's blog, Your Christian Marriage Restoration Station, an encouraging place of hope for those who want a vivacious marriage experience.
My guest post has been published here:
Read about 5 ways to keep your marriage up when life gets you down!
Thanks again Rhonda!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Truth About Father's Day

Happy 102nd Father's Day!   Who came up with Father's Day?  Bet you think it was a man, jealous for attention.  Did you know that there are 70.1 million estimated number of fathers across the nation?  To find out the truth, keep reading!

The True History
The idea of Father's Day was conceived slightly more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. A day in June was chosen for the first Father's Day celebration — 101 years ago, June 19, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane's mayor because it was the month of Smart's birth. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Father's Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

How much Time is spent with Daddy?

53% of children younger than 6  ate breakfast and  71% ate dinner, with their father every day in 2006. The corresponding percentages who ate with their mother were 58 percent and 80 percent.

Mr. Mom?

There were an estimate 154,000 stay-at-home dads in 2010. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for 287,000 children.


My son loves his Daddy so much that he still runs into his arms every time Daddy picks him up at school.  Believe me, he is not easy to catch, Justin is 86 pounds! 


What are you doing to honor your father? My son and I have a tradition for Father's Day (if doing it for 4 years can be called a tradition).  We always get Daddy a few "You're the Best Dad Ever" T-shirts, make him a card and buy him something practical from Duluth trading.   This year he wanted the shorts you see on the home page that are $5 off.  He wears the T-shirts so often, by the time next June rolls around, he is in dire need of T-shirts that remind of his son!

Homemade card

Here is the card Justin made Daddy at school:


This card is one-of-a kind.  

It is actually a Father's Day jumbo, booklet card with 2 pages inside.  

The front and back are made with manly scrap paper.  The tie and collar are made with construction paper.





The best part is what it says on the inside:



"My dad is special because he is nice and helpful. 

"I make my Dad smile when I do something for him.  

My dad can do many things.

He is good at making things.

I love my Dad because he loves me."

Does that make you want to call your Dad?  Please remember to hug your Dad today!

Just for fun

DADvice: Stuff Dads really say:

"Don't make me turn this car around."

"That dog isn't going to walk itself."

"You're going out looking like that?"

"There's nothing a little duct tape can't fix."

"I had to school barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fun Friday: Fabulous Finds for Kid Writers

Where do you find magazine markets for your fairy tales? For an up to date list for children's magazine writers, the Kid Magazine Writer is the place to go.

Where do you find statistics and reliable information when writing for children?  Wikipedia may not be the best choice for facts.  Here are a few of my favorite links.  Feel free to share yours! The American Academy of Pediatrics, dedicated to the health of all children, is a fantastic resource for current health dilemmas from asthma to immunizations.  Writing an article on childhood obesity?  Check AAP for the latest statistics. Fast Facts is just that!  Facts that are well organized and quick to find.  Stumped for ideas?  Come click around Fast Facts for a fanciful find! : Energy Kids is run by US Energy Information Administration.  Do you want to keep up with solar energy and alternative energy sources?  Visit Energy Kids to boost your knowledge. National Geographic Kids Dares you to explore into worlds unknown.  Explore continents, animals everywhere and current news stories that change our world.

Please share your favorite links!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A pea-sized post on politeness

Just a few words about how much we take manners for granted.  How often do we notice when someone is polite?  We don't.  We only notice when they are impolite.  We go through our day, please this, thank-you that, but never really realize how important these few extra words really are.  I realized it today with a person I can in contact with that they lacked manners of any sort.  In fact, they were down right sarcastic, rude and manner-less. 

First, what does being polite mean?  WikiHow says:" Being polite is all about being considerate and appreciative, but for many people, it remains a challenge." 
Merriam-Webster defines it as " marked by an appearance of consideration, tact, deference, or courtesy."
Being polite to me means treating others with respect at all times, even when we don't feel like it.

We teach our children please and thank you from their first years of life.  Somehow, we seem to forget to practice our teachings when we deal with everyday life situations.   They best thing to do when others forget their manners is to be as polite and kind to them as possible.  Kill them with kindness, turn the other cheek and don't forget to smile!

Do you have story about a time when you were not treated with respect, kindness and courtesy?  Feel free to share them!

Please have a wonderful day.  Thank you for reading!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

FIve Phenomenal Links for Writers

1.  Need help citing sources for your writing?  Use The Citation Machine.
Son of Citation Machine allows you to enter title, author, magazine, etc; choose which format and with one click, you have your source in the correct format!

2.  Need help writing a query letter?
Agent Query has an excellent post on many do's and don't s in How to Write a Query.

3.  One of my favorite words:  Onomatopoeia!
For a refresher on Onomatopoeia, Examples of Onomatopoeia makes every writer zip, giggle and flutter with delight!

4. Want to make your words a work of art?  Use Wordle!
"Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes."  It's a fun and creative way to express yourself!

5.  Do you use the same word in the same sentence/paragraph too many times?
Check out Write Words.  This page counts the frequency usage of certain words in certain parts of your work.  Very helpful site! 

Happy Writing!
"Learn as much by writing as by reading."  Lord Acton

Friday, June 10, 2011

Need motivation and inspiration? Meet J. Aday!

Please welcome J. Aday to Pam's Pen!  J. Aday writes for children and adults is a motivational speaker.. Two picture books have been published by Guardian Angel Publishing and seven more are under contract. She is know as a differentaly-abled writer and speaker.   Did I mention that she is a legally blind ventilator-dependent quadriplegic and absolutely amazing?  You can learn more about J. Aday at her website.

PGM: J. Aday, can you tell us you come up with your characters? 
JAK: I draw them from people I know and observe. When I’m reading and a find a character that appeals to me, I write a character sketch incorporating what I like and invent qualities or looks. I piece my characters together like puzzle pieces.

PGM: Are any of your creature characters based on real people?
JAK: Yes. In Klutzy Kantor, my sister Tada was the inspiration for the clumsy, but intelligent Pegasus. In Marta’s Gargantuan Wings, the cheeky monkey is based on my impudent older sister, Yestrada. In Stella the Fire Farting Dragon the characters don’t reflect a particular person, but the idea came from my nephew (literally). It was a noxious inspiration.

PGM: When do you write?  Do you have a set schedule to write or do you write when you feel like it?
JAK: I begin writing between 5 pm and thru midnight. I begin to answer emails, prepare blog posts, plan marketing, and any number of miscellaneous duties from 12:00-1:00.  Until that time I’m having therapy.

PGM: How do you fight writer's block?
JAK: I write through it. If I’m stuck I write about being stuck. There’s no excuse not to write something.. I don’t allow it.

PGM: Do you write with music or TV on?  Or do you need complete quiet?
JAK: I rarely write in complete quiet. I have Pandora radio stations playing in the background.

PGM: Do you like writing fiction or nonfiction better?
JAK: Fiction

PGM: I see you have a few blogs out there.  How do you come up with ideas for those?
JAK: I write about what I want to know (I research it), review books I’ve read, or interview people. When I find interesting tidbits on the internet or  TV I write about them. 

Please visit J. Aday's Blogs:  The Writing Playground and The Brain Fart Explosion

PGM: What is the biggest mistake people make when writing?
JAK: Using weak verbs.

PGM: Do you use any computer software programs to help you write?  Do they help with your creative process?
JAK: I use TextAloud to read what I’ve written to me and Inspiration 8 to plan my books. Inspiration 8 is a great tool. I just started using Write it Now software. It’s great for dreaming up characters.

PGM: And lastly, please tell us about your books and where we can buy them!
JAK: My latest book is Stella the Fire Farting Dragon.
Stella’s nerves threaten her chances of winning a talent contest, but she marshals her nerves and does her best. A lesson of perseverance wrapped in a humorous bite makes the most reluctant readers gobble up this story. They’ll giggle themselves silly as Stella Dragon performs and farts fire.

I’m offering FREE temporary tattoo of Stella. All they have to do is send an SASE to
J. Aday Kennedy
PO Box 71
Mineola, TX 7573
I sell whoopee cushions & coloring postcards visit my website  

Please Visit A Writing Playground to learn about an inspirational quadriplegic, painter, and man, Kennedy Ng´ang¢a.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Four Fantastically Helpful Links for Writers

Here are a few helpful website when you need a boost while you are writing:

  1. OneLook Reverse Directory:  OneLook's reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word. Just type it into the box above and hit the "Find words" button. Keep it short to get the best results. In most cases you'll get back a list of related terms with the best matches shown first.  When you just can't think of what you really want to say, try OneLook!
  2. Dan Lazaar: Crafting a Winning Query Letter:  The dreaded query letter....We all cringe when all that's left to do is write a great query letter. Writers House agent, Dan Lazar, points out that if you can write a good book, then you can write a good query letter!
  3. The Dreaded Writer's Resume:  Jan Fields, ICL, shares just what writers need to include if a publisher asks for a resume.  
  4. Grammar Girl:  Quick and Dirty tips for better writing.  Do you know when to use Affect vs Effect?  Find out anything you need to know about grammar right here!

Hope you have a fantastically fun and functional writing day!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Five chores you CAN get your kids to do!

Chores is an evil word in some households!  Kids run and hide when Dad hollers for help and Mom mutters for more.  How can we, as parents, make chores fun and rewarding?  Here are a few ideas:
  1. Set and Clear the Table: As soon as your children are old enough to carry a plate without breaking it, it's time to teach them to set the table.  Make it fun by having a certain color plate or napkin for each family member.  Kids learn colors and memorizing while they help set the table.  When it's time to clear the table, make it a race.  See if you child can clear the table, without breaking anything, in the time it takes you to put the leftovers away.
  2.  Feeding pets:  A dog can be a child's best friend.  One way to teach responsibility, is to give your child the job of making sure their pup is fed.  Make sure the dog (or cat) food is easily accessible in a plastic pail or container. Write reminder notes, this encourages kids to learn to read to make sure they are doing their job.
  3.  Emptying the Dishwasher:  My son loves to help with this one.  I put the silverware away and we race to see who gets done first.  Sometimes, he likes to stack the plates and bowls up as high as he can reach.  So far, they haven't fallen over.
  4.  Making their Bed: This is a particularly hard thing for my son to remember.  He has bunk beds that are pushed into a corner of his room.  We make it fun by not only making the bed, but setting up his stuffed animals in a pattern or fun design.  One time he laid out his animals in the shape of a heart on top of his comforter.
  5.  Vacuuming:  Because this is one of my least favorite things to do, I bought my son a $40 lightweight vacuum so he could help me vacuum around the house.  He picked out a green vacuum that is light and easy to use.  It was the best Mother's Day gift I ever got....the gift keeps giving, he keeps vacuuming!
I hope these ideas help put a little fun into those dreaded chores.  A reader told me about a book that might interest you:
"WORK: Wonderful Opportunity for Raising Responsible Kids."  To read more about the book, click here.

What kind of chores do your kids do?  How do you make it fun?

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    What can you learn from a cub scout? or his mom?

    Tonight my son graduated from a Wolf Scout to a Bear Scout.  He is so proud of his accomplishments with scouts.  He loves earning belt loops, patches, pins and Pinewood Derby Trophies.  

    Cub Scouts bring families together through one exciting adventure after another. 

    Today I am honored to interview Scouter Mom,  a Scouter with experience and invaluable knowledge for parents of  Scouts of all ages.  

    Please visit Scouter Mom's blog for ideas, inspiration and all things scouts!

    PGM: Can you please tell me a little about your self and family?
    SM: My husband and I have been married almost 20 years now. We are both very involved in Scouting. I am the Crew Advisor for the Venture Crew, which serves as our church youth group. I am also a Webelos Den Leader for my youngest son's Cub Scout den and an Assistant Scoutmaster in the Boy Scout troop.

    My husband is the Scoutmaster for the Boy Scout troop and an Associate Advisor for the Venture Crew. He is also the Camping Coordinator for the Cub Pack.

    We have four sons. My oldest is will be a Senior in high school. He is an Eagle Scout and is currently the Senior Patrol Leader for the Boy Scout Troop and the Treasurer for the Venture Crew. He will be serving on staff for a resident Cub Scout camp this summer. My second son is starting his Sophomore year. He is a Life Scout and is a Patrol Leader in the troop and the Vice President - Program for the Venture Crew. My third son is entering 7th grade. He is a First Class Scout and is also a Patrol Leader in the troop. My youngest son is entering 5th grade and is a Webelos Cub Scout. He will be crossing over to the Boy Scout troop next February.

    PGM: How long have you been involved in Scouts?
    SM: I've been involved for about ten years now, since my oldest son got involved in Cub Scouts.

    PGM: How has Scouting affected your family?  Does it help bring your family together, especially with all the camps, outings, hikes and fundraisers?
    SM: Yes, we spend a lot of time Scouting together. Although we always seem to be camping separately, since usually I go with the Pack and my husband goes with the Troop. One time last year, my husband and I both camped with the Crew and my two older sons. The younger two were with the Pack and the Troop. It was really fun camping with my husband and the teenagers. Although camping with a coed teenage Scouting unit is a whole new adventure!

    PGM: If you can remember life before scouting, do you think your parenting style was different?  If so, how has it changed?
    SM: I think it is pretty similar to before. I tend to bring my parenting style to Scouting rather than the other way around. My goal is to raise confident, independent kids, and that really fits in well with Scouting.

    PGM: What is the funniest or most exciting activity your den ever did?  What was the worst/most disastrous activity they did?;

    SM: I've had a lot of great experiences thanks to Scouting. I think camping is the most fun. I never camped before I got involved in Scouting and there is just something fun about taking a group of kids out and letting them explore the world. Many kids are so scheduled and busy that they have never just gone out in nature and really experienced it. It is a beautiful thing to see the excitement on their faces and let them enjoy the adventure of playing in the creek or going on a hike.

    However, my first camping trip goes down as one of the toughest experiences of my life. I was the Webelos den leader for my second son's den, and we went to a camporee. It was late April and the weather was supposed to be beautiful. Well we got there and the weather quickly turned ugly. The wind was so strong that one of the poles on our dining fly bent. It was extremely cold and rainy. We had a freeze out the second night. The boys hung in there and managed to have fun though. Fast forward about a year to when they crossed over to Boy Scouts. They all got to tell about their favorite Cub Scout memory. Almost all of them talked about that miserable campout. They remembered sitting around the fire and playing games in the field. The whole time I was listening to them I was thinking "What campout were you on? What about the rain and the ice and the howling wind?"  I think that is an important lesson, that what is sometimes a less than perfect experience from an adult point of view can be a great success from the point of view of a youth.

    PGM: Can you tell us why boys need Cub Scouts?  What keeps boys motivated to stay in Scouts?
    SM: I think Cub Scouting is important because of the broad experience it provides to the youth. Like I mentioned above, many have not had much outdoor adventure. The Cub Scouting program lets them find what they are good at - be it sports or chess or learning about weather - and then be recognized for it. The younger ranks in Cub Scouts provide an opportunity for boys to get together and enlarge their social circle. Often kids who don't hang out together at school can be found in a group in the Cub Scout program.

    As Cub Scouts work together as Webelos, they also become more independent and tackle more challenging projects. And that is good, because it really prepares them for the youth-led aspects of Boy Scouts and Venturing. In today's world where it is difficult for parents to let their children be independent, our youth really hunger for that opportunity to determine what they will do rather than having the adults plan everything for them. It is that youth-led aspect of the program for the older Scouts which really keeps them in for the long term.

    PGM: Thank you Scouter Mom!  Please visit her blog to learn even more about Scouting.
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...