Category Archives: January Photo Challenge

A sweet story and a building project!

I had three completely unrelated things to share seeing how I needed to post a photo for challenge days 18, 19, and 20…  but then I realized I could very honestly share a project the three of us worked on today and have it fit for all three topics.  Yeah, it may be a bit of a cheat – but it’s not a huge one, especially considering I did grab snapshots on both Friday and Saturday, even if I’ve decided to only share a series of images from today.  LOL

But first?  First I have to share a really quick little story that is super cute and totally warmed my heart.  😀

On Friday I was over at my parents place – watching everyone so Mom could go with Dad to an out of town gig.  When Marie, my sister (whom Lily-Ann is named after), got home she came upstairs as usual then asked for my attention.  I stopped working on supper and looked over at her:  “Yes Marie?”

“Moby.”

“Yes.”

“Moby, look.”

And with that she held up the index finger on her right hand as if to say just one second.  Then she bent WAY down to where little Thor (one of my puppies from the Avenger litter whom is now my Dad’s puppy) was standing, and gave him a little pat.  She then stood back up.  “Moby.”

“Yes Marie?”

My sister, who has never been much of a pet person and who does her best to just ignore the other two dogs in the household, gave me a great big grin and an enthusiastic thumbs up.  To which I replied “Awwww….  Marie!  I’m so glad you like him.  He’s a cute little guy, isn’t he?”  She nodded in approval, which made me feel awfully wonderful.  😀

Okay…  now onto my challenge photos.  😉

So, I need to share for something I bought, sweet, and someone I love.  Well…  here are the girl and her Dad working together to put up the last couple of shelves in her room (which he and I started putting up while she was out with my sister Riki earlier today).  I think this series of pictures covers all three challenge topics pretty darn well.

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photo a day challenge for january

TJ Bown, Summerset Abbey, and Water.

In the brief teaser I tacked onto yesterdays blog post I let you know there would be a special interview today, and I’m not going to disappoint!  I had the chance to ask author TJ Brown a few questions in regards to her new release Summerset Abbey and the series it kicks off.  So, let’s jump right in!

TD:  Was there a certain event or idea that inspired the book?

TJ:  I have always loved the Edwardian period, but after Downton Abbey aired, I really wanted to write something in that period. I told my agent, we should pitch an Edwardian and she asked me what I had in mind. 5 weeks later I had a contract for a three book Edwardian series!

TD:  I know this is your first foray into historical fiction, did this pose any particular challenges or did you find it was a natural fit for you?

TJ:  It actually isn’t my first foray into historical fiction. Six months prior to getting the Summerset Abbey contract, I got a contract for a young adult series set in the 1920’s. So even though it won’t be out until June (Born of Illusion, June 15th!), I wrote it before the Summerset Series.

I honestly never thought I would be a historical writer, even though I love history and reading historicals. I just thought I had a more modern voice and the research intimidated me. But I had this idea that wouldn’t go away and once I wrote Born of Illusion I was hooked. Of course, Summerset is in a different time period, but before I started writing it, I figured that I had done so much research for the twenties, surely ten years prior couldn’t be that big of a difference could it? Was I ever wrong. 1914 England was a whole different world than 1924 New York. I had to start the research all over again! And I love it!

TD:  Can you tell me a little about your process?

TJ:  Usually, I start with a concept for a plot. Just a sketchy idea. Then the characters’ come. It’s rather like putting together a puzzle. And then my plot constantly changes and develops as I write. I’m not quite a seat of my pants writer, but the Summerset books have been unusually organic for me.

TD:  How many books do you foresee in this series?

TJ:  I am contracted for three but I have an idea for a fourth that my editor likes. Nothing is set in stone yet, and it may not happen, but I do have a fourth Summerset book in mind. We’ll see! But four for sure.

TD:  Do you have a favourite character or is there one who resonates more with you than the others?

TJ:  Victoria. In all of my books I have at least one over the top character and in Summerset Abbey, Victoria is the one. She is smart and imaginative and she says almost everything that comes into her mind. I adore her. Even though all girls are featured, Bloom in Winter is her book, and I had such an awesome time working on it!

So there you have it folks!  TJ Brown on her new book, Summerset Abbey, her process, and on writing historical fiction.  Now all that’s left is to drop a few details.  😉

Summerset Abbey is available at:

Book Blurb:

  • Summerset Abbey
    1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women
    seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of
    society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .
    Rowena Buxton
    Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women
    in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister
    Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she
    believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under
    their uncle's guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey.
    Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the "under class" in
    this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive
    social circle of aristocratic "rebels," Rowena must decide where her true
    passions-and loyalties-lie.
    Victoria Buxton
    Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams
    of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most
    unladylike wish is not her only secret. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a
    family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever.
    Prudence Tate
    Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their
    bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess's daughter, and
    to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her
    true place in society-as ladies maid to her beloved "sisters." But Pru
    doesn't belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than
    she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls.  And when a young lord catches
    her eye, she begins to wonder if she'll ever truly carve out a place for
    herself at Summerset Abbey.

For more check out TJ at http://tjbrownbooks.com/

TJ Brown, author headshot

Author TJ Brown – Hooray for MomWriters!


Now, as if that alone doesn’t make one heck of a blog post, I still have more for you!  That’s right… we’re still in the middle of the January Photo Challenge – and I’m not one to give up on a challenge.  So here we are.  😉

The challenge today was to photograph water.  Easy peasy, right?  Yep.  Here’s the girl, immersed in the stuff:

kid in the bathtub

My little bathing beauty.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a LITTLE more of an actual challenge…

photo a day challenge for january

Something I’ve bought?  Well…  I guess there’s at least a little bit of thought to go into that one.  😉

 

Good Morning!

This morning I got in some puppy snuggles before even getting out of bed.  Thankfully I keep my phone on my nightstand so snapped a quick “good morning” photo of little Bruce.  I do have to admit, I’ll really miss this boy when he goes.  He’s such a snugglebug – and I’ve always been one who loves an itty bitty little snugly baby.

Little Baby Bruce, Our Tiny Hulk.

Little Baby Bruce, Our Tiny Hulk.

 

It’s strangely quiet in our house tonight as suddenly there were just two.  With Rogers in Regina with his new family, and Thor having a trial sleepover with my Dad we only have Bruce and Tony home.  It’s an odd feeling.  I’d kinda gotten used to the chaos four three and a half month old puppies can create.  😉

I really do hope things work out with my Dad and Thor.  With Thor being Lily-Ann’s favourite, it would be really nice to keep him in the family.  And my Dad hasn’t had a dog that was really HIS in such a long long time… and Thor might actually get to accompany my Dad on his many out of town gigs.  With Thor staying, I’d also get to show him – which would be fun too.  I do have other options for him if it doesn’t work, but it would just be really nice for all of us if things panned out.

photo a day challenge for january

 

In addition to the challenge, tomorrow I’ll be sharing a very special author interview.  So make sure you pop in to check it out.  Her newest book is hitting stores and she’s shared a little with me about herself and what you can expect!

The Happiest Place on Earth!

For the last couple of years we’ve been scrimping and saving…  often as little as ten bucks here or twenty bucks there…  putting it aside in the hopes that we’d have enough money to take the girl to Disney World while she was still young enough for the magic to be “real”.  It’s a stupidly expensive trip, and we’re a low income family, so we knew we’d be saving for a few years (at least).  Then we sold our house.  Yes, we bought a new one.  And yes the new house has issues that we really should fix before doing anything else…  but instead of renovating the bathroom, insulating the walls, fixing the plumbing, or purchasing a new oven and dishwasher?  We’ve used the cash to top up our savings and we’re taking the girl to Disney World!

The problems with the house will still be here when we get back, and we can slowly work towards fixing each problem…  but the magic of a place like Disney World only holds true for such a short while.  And even by the time they are seven, kids know way too much to put their belief in actors and actresses paid to portray cartoon princesses and princes.

Kid kid is five and a half, and if we have a way to do it, I couldn’t imagine not taking her on this type of once in a lifetime trip.  So on January 28th Damon, Lily-Ann, her Auntie Jewles, and myself will be hopping on a plane and heading for Orlando – and we’re not coming back until February 6th!  Thankfully my sister Riki and her girlfriend Kate have volunteered to stay at our place to care for our animal family, which puts my mind at ease over leaving them all for so long.

We're going to Disney World!

We’re going to Disney World!

When I decided to do the January photo-a-day challenge I could think of no better time to announce our trip than on the day we’re challenged to photograph “happiness”.  After all, what greater happiness can there be then seeing a dream come true and taking your daughter to a place where all her childhood fantasies can materialize right in front of her.  Pixie Hollow, Cinderella’s Castle, Prince Eric’s Castle, Belle’s Cottage…  and all the characters who belong there.  She’ll get to experience it all!

So yeah…  There may be smarter things we could do with the money, but there certainly isn’t anything more wonderful!

photo a day challenge for january

Pandora strikes Lily-Ann mute!

Okay, so y’all are probably getting sick of me mentioning the Goddess Girls series…  well…  too bad!  LOL  Today the challenge was to photograph something that I’m reading, and that’s what I’m reading.  Book nine:  Pandora the Curious.

Our copy of Pandora the Curious by Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub.

Our copy of Pandora the Curious by Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub.

Usually we’ve been inside the heads of the popular girls, but the last couple of books have taken us inside a couple of secondary characters (the girl and I ADORED Medusa the Mean).  Pandora, along with Medusa and Pheme are the anti-heroines to the cool clique of Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite and Persephone.  So it’s kinda fun to get to see inside their lives.

This book, in particular, is awfully special to Lily-Ann.  The first time she saw it she was actually rendered speechless for the first time in her five and a half years…  well…  since she uttered her first word (which happened to be “woof”) at three months of age anyway.  😉  What exactly caused her awestruck silence?  Take a peek:

There she is, the first name on the third line...  Lily-Ann S.

There she is, the first name on the third line… Lily-Ann S.

Kid kid managed to keep her wits about her when she saw that it was an autographed copy (she has a couple other autographed books too)…  but seeing her name actually inside the book?  Her jaw dropped and her eyes nearly bugged out of her head.  She just stood there and stared at it for several seconds, completely mute.  It was pretty amazing.

Lily-Ann LOVED the little heart.  :)

Lily-Ann LOVED the little heart. 🙂

So, that’s what we’re reading right now.  And I imagine we’ll keep on reading the Goddess Girls books for as long as Joan and Suzanne keep writing them.  I do have to admit…  I really look forward to the day that kid kid goes back on her own to read #1 all by herself.

You can keep up with Joan and Suzanne at the following addresses:  www.joanholub.com   www.suzannewilliams.com

Lily-Ann (hat hair and all) proudly showing off her Goddess Girls books.

Lily-Ann (hat hair and all) proudly showing off her Goddess Girls books.

 

Suzanne and Joan thank you so much!  You’ve given the girl and I many wonderful memories and are helping to build a love of books in a new generation – and that is something that deserves much appreciation.

Join me tomorrow as I share a little “happiness”:

photo a day challenge for january

My bag, a glimpse into my life.

Rogers, who we are registering as Aes Sidhe Captain America, left us to go live with his forever family.  Of course, they have a thirty day trial period to ensure things work out first, but I’m confident in this placement.  I really do think he’s a perfect fit for them…  and the picture they sent me earlier this evening – of him all snuggled in for a snooze under his new Daddy’s chin, the two of them laying together on the couch – just further cemented it.

It’s always a weird few days after someone leaves.  Whether it’s a puppy going to their forever home, or a client dog who is returning home after being a part of our pack for several months…  when someone leaves the entire dynamic of the house shifts.  And that’s happening here now.

So…  onto today’s challenge:  “in your bag”.

My bag used to be a purse.  Because I used to be a girl.  Now I’m a mom, and more fierce than any girl…  Grrrl, gurl, or Woman works for me.  And my bag is not a purse…  it really is a bag.  And instead of a compact, lip colour, and moisturizer I carry a spare pair of pajamas for the kid, snacks, reusable bags, cloth pads, and cute princess and fairy bandages.

A person’s bag (if they carry one) can reveal a lot about that person.  You really do get a real quick glimpse into their life and the things that are important to them.  Amidst the papers and bits of “stuff” one just naturally accumulates (that needs to be cleared out every so often) are bits of treasure and parts of a life well lived, or wasted, depending on your point of view.

pjs, strawberry bags, dog paw wallet, treats, cloth pads in a plastic baggy... all the momcentials.

…all the essentials in one place.

Tomorrow?  “Something you’re reading”.  After that?  “Happiness”.  Something that having all the right things in your bag can help ensure… at least when you have a little one about.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

Friday and Saturday – January Challenge

Friday’s challenge was “where you sleep”, and before Lily-Ann goes off to school it looks less like a place to sleep and more like some crazy play space.  Some days we read, craft, play, eat, etc on the bed in the morning – generally just on a lazy morning.  And we happened to have just such a morning on Friday.  So here is my bed, after I got home from walking the girl to school, before I cleaned it back up and returned it to a place actually suitable for sleeping:

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Today the challenge was “close-up”.  Now, I had taken a picture of a book I had sitting on my desk… one I really enjoy…  but Damon thought it might be nicer to grab a snapshot of one of the ornaments on our tree (and yes, it’s still up…  we haven’t found a storage box for the ornaments yet – first year with a full size tree, remember?).  And after doing just that, I think he was right.  Much more fun and colourful:

jan12

Let’s see what we can expect to see tomorrow:

photo a day challenge for january

Literacy and Childhood

Childhood is about learning who you are and how you fit into the world.  It’s about trying on as many different hats as possible, and seeing how well you wear each.  It’s about learning through play.

Lily-Ann, building together with some of her school friends.

Lily-Ann, building together with some of her school friends.

 

I really though I’d have a lot to say today… but in all honesty?  I’m tired out after a day of play.  I love spending Thursdays in school with kid kid, but it does wear me out.  Some very positive news came out of today though!

A literacy expert sat in on the girl’s kindergarten class for about an hour this afternoon – and she was excited by the girl.  She’s promised that they will come up with a program that challenges Lily-Ann, one that helps encourage her already present enthusiasm for reading and creative play.  I am feeling so much better knowing that the girl is going to have someone (other than me) pulling for her at school.  Someone who gets just how important it is to not only focus on those who are behind, but those who have the potential to really excel.  So YAY!  🙂

photo a day challenge for january

A glittering sparkling sea of tulle

I had full intention of sharing a little of our daily routine today, just as the January photo a day challenge demands…  however, our routine wasn’t routine.  In fact, our routine simply WASN’T.

Early this morning I got a phone call from my sister.  She wanted to take Lily-Ann out for breakfast and then for a walk down by the river.  The girl has been aching for some time with her auntie, and I was more than happy to make things work.  So the girl and I jumped out of bed, she picked out some clothes (I sent her back to pick out something different – a summer dress just doesn’t work for a walk in the snow), got dressed, threw on her outerwear, and she was ready to go!

So what did I do with my kid-free morning?  I worked on a tutu her pre-k EA had commissioned.  🙂

Last year I made a purple, plum, and black tutu for Rhonda’s Halloween costume.  She was a wicked fairy.  It turned out wonderfully.  I made it extra long and super wild.  It ended up being such a big hit that she keeps it at school to wear every so often, just for fun (and has even lent it to some of the other staff – both male and female).  Well, last month she asked me to make another one for her… this one with a water theme.  And I have to say, it’s turned out beautifully!

It was the most complex tutu I’ve done to date, with five different colours of tulle.  All various shades of blue, including one earthy blue that was covered in sparkle.  I alternated lights and darks so that while Rhonda walks it will look like ocean waves, cresting and flowing – light to dark.  It’s a very elegant tutu.

Lily-Ann and I dropped it off for her at school on our way to Lily-Ann’s classroom.  Rhonda was just thrilled, and I’m sooo glad.  Damon even overheard her raving about her tutus when he went to pick the girl up after school – which made me feel pretty good.

tulle, elegantly flowing from dark to light and back again

the tulle elegantly flows from dark to light and back again, like the ebbing of the ocean tide kissed by the glittering moon.

I really do love working with tulle.  Tutus are one of my very favourite things to sew.

I really do love working with tulle. Tutus are one of my very favourite things to sew.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be a little more successful with the challenge topic.  After all, with such an open topic I’m sure the bigger problem with be narrowing it down.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

Breaking the Silence is Fast Approaching

Though our sky was dark and dreary for much of the day today, my heart was happy as I look forward.  We are coming into crunch time for planning this years Breaking the Silence conference.  This conference is something that is very near and dear to my heart and I am so blessed to be on the board.  And while our key theme this year is a sporting one (focusing on issues in the locker room and beyond) it will deal with the same truths we all care so much about, bullying and living as our authentic selves.  I’m looking forward to another highly successful conference this March.

The website still contains information from 2012, but it should be updated shortly with information on our keynote and registration for 2013:  http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/

Grey skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face...

Things are looking up! 🙂 The view from my front walk.

And join me tomorrow as we take a look at my “daily routine” in another exciting photo a day challenge post:

photo a day challenge for january

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