The Musings, Notes & Book/App reviews of a Children's Writer

Posts tagged ‘Summer’

Aug ’13 Book of the Month – My Head is Full of Colors

As back to school season looms around the corner, and I get my youngest son ready for 4th grade, I realize it’s time. Time to get back to my picture book of the month posts.  Sadly my sons have moved on from picture books but thankfully I haven’t and never will.

X 001 My Head is Full Of Colors

I’m a print designer by day and a children’s writer during every waking and dreaming moment. My Head is Full of Colors is the book that flipped the switch for me. It was because the Author was telling my story and the illustrator drew everything that was in my head as a child. It’s the story of every child whose mind is wide open to the wonders of the world around them.

X 006 My Head is Full Of ColorsAnyone who’s read my Bio knows how much I love the designs incorporated within the illustrations. I cherish my 20-year-old copy of this book which was originally bought for design reference.

The story this book tells about a creative and imaginative little girl is wonderful. The mother is wonderfully supportive & embraces the fact that her daughter sees things differently. Maybe one day i’ll have the privilege of meeting this Author or illustrator. I hope this book is still in stores, if not it can be found online at Amazon.

X 008 My Head is Full of ColorsMy head is full of colors by Catherine Friend & illustrated by KiKi

Drop a comment if you’ve read this book or share a book that left a strong impression that you could identify with.


Creative Kids Activity

Kids are naturally artistic and love nothing more than grabbing a handful of crayons or painting something wonderful. Here’s a summertime activity to help design the lead character’s pet in the upcoming book app ‘Grendel’s Great Escape’ & the chance to win a Cameo role as well. (Like )the M Darville Anaya Face Book Page or                                              * Grendel’s Great Escape “App Star” Contest *                                                                                                                   

*Be an App Star Contest is designed to encourage children/ entrants ages 4-9 years old to decorate Martin’s pet ferret Grendel. Any artistic media is allowed; crayons, water paints, pen sketch, collages etc. 
 * PRIZES. Four talented Winners will get a cameo role on one page of the book app; Grendel’s Great Escape

Help design Grendel’s Ferret for a chance to be an App Star!


* Key Dates *
Artwork/picture of pet Entry Deadline: 8/7/2012 
Winners Selected: 8/8/2012
Winners Announced: 8/9/2012 on M Darville Anaya Face Book Page or
© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Blue Sandpiper Imprints LLC.

Surviving Summer in Texas

This will be my 5th Summer in Texas and I’m learning to love it. Summer in Texas means; Summer camps for the kids,Trips to the water park, Heading to the Soccer Stadium, Outdoor festivals, amazing  BBQ, and lazy evenings by the pool. It also means 100+degree temps, June bugs, mosquitoes, spiders, flies ,fire ants, cute bunnies, and side stepping the toads who aren’t eating enough bugs. It’s difficult to open the back door without being swarmed, I’ve almost mastered the art of getting in and out without letting the flies in. Entering the great outdoors can be quite the adventure, armed with 1.sun screen (to avoid 3rd degree burns)  2.Bug spray and  3. Fly swatter. If you can deal with all that…..then by all means, fire up the grill!

***Myth or Fact? hanging a plastic bag of water will repel flies…..I tried it and it works!*****

Grilled Lobster Thermidor recipe (  By Angela Boggiano

I’m not one to follow recipes exactly so I added extra lemon and a dash of garlic and Old Bay seasoning. it was Yummy Perfection. Bon Appetite!

Amazing Summer Treat – Grilled Lobster Thermidor


3 Partially Steamed lobsters

2 table spoons butter

3 large shallots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh fish stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup double cream

4 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives and dill

Pinch of cayenne pepper

3 Tablespoons Parmesan, finely grated

  1. Prepare the lobsters. Remove the claws, then crack them by covering with a cloth and gently hitting with a rolling-pin. Remove the meat in large pieces and put in a bowl. Remove and discard the legs.
  2. Cut the lobsters in half lengthways, first through the head, between the eyes, then turn around and continue to cut through the tail. Remove the tail meat from each lobster half and cut into chunky pieces. Add to the bowl with the claw meat. Remove the red row and add to the bowl – it has an excellent flavor. Gently mix.
  3. Remove and discard the grit sacs and intestines – the long, thin, black line running the length of the body.
  4. Transfer the empty shells to a baking tray. Divide the meat equally between each shell cavity, cover and chill until needed.
  5. Make the sauce. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the shallots for 3-4 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the fish stock and wine and boil until reduced by half. Stir in the cream and cook gently for a further 5 minutes, until the sauce has a good coating consistency. Take off the heat and stir in the chopped herbs and cayenne. Season to taste.
  6. Pre heat the grill to medium-high. Spoon the sauce over each lobster half and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Grill for 3-4 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately, garnished with extra herbs.


There’s nothing like a Monday put an end to a perfectly good week-end.  Many people just don’t do Monday’s well, myself included. Unfortunately, hitting the snooze button indefinitely isn’t usually an option.  Getting yourself and the kids ready to tackle the day can be quite the challenge, tack on walking the dog and dealing with traffic or public transportation….it’s just exhausting. It helps to get things prepared the night before, clothes, lunch, snacks, pocketbook, keys etc. A partner who’s a ‘Morning person’ is a plus, then you can divide and conquer.  Caffeine is often a necessity just to get out the door.  Wouldn’t it be great if Corporations avoided Monday morning staff or sales meetings, why do they do that?  Breakfast to go is a given, and a smoothie is not only healthy, it leaves you with a free hand to do a balancing act with the keys, pocketbook, tote, baby, holding your child’s hand etc.                                                                                                                                                                        Energy-Boosting Smoothies

Mocha Smoothie

Frozen Fruit Smoothie










These easy to make smoothies are more than just delicious drinks. Sip one to revitalize your energy level. These refreshing drinks are the perfect way to start off your day.

Cappuccino Smoothie – Healthy smoothie recipe for coffee drinkers.

2 cups brewed strong coffee
1 pint coffee ice cream
6 cups ice
1 1/2 cups milk
whipped cream, optional
cinnamon or mint for garnish

Place coffee, ice cream, ice and milk in blender. Mix well until smooth. Top with whipped cream (if desired) and cinnamon.   277 Calories

Frozen Fruit Smoothie – Healthy smoothie recipe for fruit lovers.

-Greek yogurt will improve the taste  and will add more protein and calcium.

1/2 cup frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey or a hand full of grapes to sweeten                                                                                                                                   1 cup ice

In a blender, combine and mix all the ingredients until smooth. Pour smoothie into a glass, and enjoy! This recipe is great on those hot summer days.  488 Calories


School’s out! and the kids couldn’t be happier, today the entire elementary school ran unto the school grounds for an end of year party.  The principal got to sling water balloons at the kids who welcome the cold splash of water on this hot sunny Texas day. Yaaaay! Let the summer holidays begin!


Kids crowd around to get pelted by water balloons on a hot day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer



Summer is warm sand beneath my toes, sunshine and beaches. It’s family vacations or stay-cations. It’s sitting on the patio chatting with friends on a warm afternoon, hoping for a cool breeze. It’s long walks thru the park with the kids and the doggie in search of the closest playground. Summer is camping trips, fishing on the lake, spending time bicycling outdoors enjoying nature.  Tank tops, shorts, sun dresses and flip-flops, sun glasses and cannonballs in the pool……..bring on those endless summer days.



Summer Blooms

Summer’s almost here and everything’s in bloom.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m all about gardening. I love growing plants and flowers with a passion for English Roses, Ornamental grasses and Bonsai. Whenever I travel, I put flower markets, botanical gardens and Japanese gardens high on the list. Here are a few favorites.

**Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Florida has six gardens inspired by  different historical periods and styles of Japanese gardening.


**Plants are in bloom year round in the New York Botanical Gardens & Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.


Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden | Plants and imaginations grow in the Family Garden, where you’re encouraged! to play in the dirt.

 **Located on the Singel Canal, the Bloemenmarkt floating market is one of the most colorful locations in Amsterdam. The unique floating stalls are filled with fresh flowers which are delivered daily. This is the only floating market in the world. The market can be accessed from the adjacent street or along the canal by canal boats. Dutch souvenirs are available in the market as well as pre packaged plant bulbs for export.


Canal access by boat


Floating flower stalls


Wooden Dutch Clogs – They’re not just souvenirs they’re actually wearable.

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