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Friday, March 28, 2014

It's Always SOMETHING....

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It's true, it's always something going on with me at Farm and Fru Fru.  Today,
I have two new fun things simmering in the pot.
First, Monday, I start a fun fun fun class with the
super fabulous Lilla Rogers!  It's called Make Art That Sells
(MATS) and it's going to be great....scary but great.   There will be lots of very
talented people taking this class to learn all about selling their art....and I'll be there too
picking their brains!
Check out the link for can still register for this fabulous
If you're not familiar with Lilla, she also wrote a great book I bought not long ago
which is one of the most colorful, fun books I've read in a long time.
It's become my 'go-to' as it's full of really helpful info.
Lilla is an agent so she knows what she's talking about.
The book is full of fun worksheets, thoughtful questions and tons
of answers.
I'm excited to take this art class and see where I land.
The second fun thing to share is I'm in the midst of planning a
Farm and Fru Fru workshop for May...
I can accommodate 12 people and have 2 spots left if you are local
and are interested.  We will be making a mixed media canvas,
playing with all sorts of paint, paper and anything else we can find,
and we will have snacks, lunch, super-fantastic SWAG bags, and did I mention
the SNACKS??
One thing about the workshop I'm very excited about is it's location.
I've commandeered a nice spot from "the farmer," and am in the process of spiffing
it up for this, and hopefully other, Farm and Fru Fru workshops, so
if you are interested, email me for all the's gonna be FUN!
Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


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Title: A Sandy Grave
Category: Chapbooks for Tweens
Author: Donna M. McDine
Illustrator: Julie Hammond
Hardcover ISBN: 9781616334543; 1616334541
Softcover ISBN: 9781616334550; 161633455X
eBook ISBN: 9781616334567; 1616334568 
Available: Barnes and Noble, AmazonGuardian Angel Publishing and through the author for autographed copies.  
Leah and her friends are looking forward to a fun-filled
vacation at the beach.  A whale isn't in their plans, but there he is
mysteriously beached, dead, and missing teeth!
Donna McDine has written a wonderfully suspenseful
 book colorfully illustrated by the equally talented
Julie Hammond, that will be fun reading for any child
who loves a bit of mystery.  Her descriptive language
is easy enough for a tween to understand yet interesting
for an older child as well.  Just in time for summer
reading, the story follows Leah as she
unravels a mystery Nancy Drew herself would
have loved.  But, the story is not just a good beach tale.
There's a subtle lesson here too:  Doing the right
thing can be scary, but it doesn't change the fact
that right is right.
I love this book.  It's well written, timely, edgy enough to
keep a tween on the edge of his/her seat, (me too!) and
fun to read.
Here's a creative little
for A Sandy Grave you will surely enjoy.
Donna is generously offering a wonderful giveaway
for a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card!
Click and enter to WIN!
About the author: Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.
Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership. 

Donna's Books...
Learn more about McDine’s writing career at and for a full virtual book tour schedule.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


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There is nothing, hear me, NOTHING daring about me.
I don't know how to paint.
So it makes perfect sense that I would take an
art class called

Well, maybe not.
But then, I've never been one to do things that make sense,
just ask my husband.
Her colorful, happy, bright, fun, quirky, artwork
just makes me smile every time I see it.
So I decided to step outside my comfort zone and take her six week
Daring Adventures in Paint class.
It has been a TON OF FUN!  There's even a FB group
of supporters...we post our art attempts and make each other
feel good about our work, offer suggestions etc.
Who wouldn't smile at a floating elephant.
and a lady with feathers in her hair?
I have learned SO much in her class.
I've absolutely LOVED it!
But mostly, that art and "art-making"
should be really.
And who can't use a little more play?
Mati will offer her class again soon,
check it and her site, art and blog out
Maybe you too could use a bit of playful
fun in your life!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


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One of the best side effects of having a book out, is that people invite
you to really fun last night.
I got to go to Doggie Book Night at
Local Nursery School, Kiddie Kingdom.
Emma, my wonderful assistant sat at my table with me so I did not
look so alone.
There were games....
Treats for dogs...
and snacks for us!
There was a special visitor...Bentley,
and storytime.
It was such a fun night!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


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A Little Dog Christmas
Christmas was coming and Little Dog was scared.  His dog pals were excited and talked of Christmas as if it was a good thing.  They danced excitedly and   talked about giant men made of snow and dog treats brought down the chimney by a chubby man dressed in red.  Down the chimney? Little dog worried.  Giants made of SNOW?  Little Dog quivered.
Then there was this business of tiny little elves with pointed ears that peeped around corners and hid in closets, then reported misbehavior to the chubby man.  Little Dog had trouble behaving when his person was close by let alone when he was by himself.  This was something new to worry about
And so he did.
His friends told of trees being brought into the house and decorated with lights and glass balls as if this was a good thing.  It did not sound good to him.  Why would anyone want a big tree in the house?  Didn’t they know pesky squirrels lived in trees?   And now they wanted to bring one inside.  He shook just thinking of it.
Just the other day at the mall when someone set a little person on the lap of a man in a red suit the little person screamed until his person removed him!  Little dog shuddered at the thought.
But the thing that really struck terror in little dog’s heart was hearing his person invite the dreaded Mrs. Thistleberry to tea!
“I will hide under the bed,” thought Little Dog.
And so he did.
A knock at the door confirmed his worst fear.  Little Dog tucked his head safely under the dust ruffle.  He lay as still as a stone.
 “Little Dog,” called his person, “come out and see Mrs. Thistleberry and show her your new red sweater.”
 Little Dog didn’t move a muscle.  He held his breath and closed his eyes.
  “Silly dog,” said his person scooping him up…”I can see you, you know…your hind end is sticking out!”
And so it was.
Little dog began to shake.  He began to shiver.   Everyone knew Mrs. Thistleberry did not like little dogs.  Everyone knew Mrs. Thistleberry did not play stick.  Everyone knew Mrs. Thistleberry was a cat person!  But there she sat sipping tea.
But, what was this?  Mrs. Thistleberry smiled!  She stroked Little Dog’s head and said
 “Merry Christmas Little Dog.”
She handed him a bone all tied up with red string.  Little dog sputtered.  Little Dog stared …but mostly Little Dog took the bone and danced around the room!   
  Little Dog looked at the tree all lit and sparkly.  He looked out the window at the fluffy white snow.  Maybe Christmas wasn’t so bad after all.
That night as he drifted off to sleep, the chubby man in the red suit slipped down the chimney and filled each stocking.    As he was leaving, he patted little Dog’s head.
 “Merry Christmas Little Dog.”
And so it was.


Little Dog and I thank you for your support of his new book, for reading the blog
and for visiting us from time to time.
We wish you a
 and look forward to seeing you in 2014!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Trees of a most Unusual Nature...

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To get you in the mood for next week, I offer up some trees for your consideration.
There's something for everyone...readers, eaters, decorators and those among us who are...well, lazy.
Offers this cute tree for the book lover!

How about a cute little washi tape tag?

Or a cute little paper tree...super simple.

Here's something I can USE!

Just because anything from pretty little things is beautiful.

Not sure where this one made of book pages came from but click through and perhaps you can locate it.

Now these are simple and just as cute as can be!

But this one speaks to the lazy me....and I love that!
I have more and hope to post later in the week...I can't help myself, I do love these tree options this year~

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Real Santa...A True Story

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The fabulous Susanna L. Hill is holding  
 The 3rd Annual Holiday Contest!!!
and I decided to enter!  Here is Susanna's contest info.  My submission is below. 
If you have the time, you are welcome to vote beginning Monday, December 16 and running through
Wednesday, December 18

The Contest: Write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster (a la Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer :)). 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 350 words not counting the title (aren't I being generous?! :) It can be as short as you like, but no more than 350!) Did the dog knock over the Christmas Tree? Did little Johnny's costume get grape juice all over it moments before the holiday pageant? Did the menorah go missing? Did travel arrangements get snarled or miscommunicated? Did Santa's sleigh have to make an emergency landing? The field is wide open! Have fun! (And because so many people have mentioned this, the story does not have to be funny! You can have a holiday mishap that is serious or sweet or mysterious... Please don't feel that you have to go the humor route! Also, because a number of people have mentioned it this time, no art notes please.)

Post: Your entry should be posted on your blog between now and Friday December 13 at 11:59 PM EST and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Sunday December 15. (There will be no WYRI or PPBF this week.) If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below. (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you!)

The Judging: My lovely assistant(s) and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on Monday December 16 for you to vote on for a winner. The vote will be closed on Wednesday December 18 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Thursday December 19. Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to sixth place. Remember, judging criteria will be kid appeal/friendliness, originality/suitability of mishap, quality of story, and quality of writing.

The Real Santa...A True Story
Sharon P. Stanley
341 words
The year I turned 10, it snowed on Christmas Eve… a lot.  We rarely have a white Christmas, so when we do, things come to a screeching halt.  It was l966, and my mother happily wrapped gifts secure in the knowledge all was ready for Santa.  Daddy decorated the tree.  My brother and I were tucked in bed, dreaming of sugar plums…or in my case, a Kissy Doll.
Kissy was the doll that year.  Dressed in red gingham, she stood, arms outstretched ready to “kiss” anyone who squeezed them together.   Kissy was all I asked for, so when Ma took her from the box for a test kiss, she almost cried when Kissy would not oblige.  It was late and snow was flying, already several inches deep.  Kissy had been purchased at Miller & Rhodes downtown, 20 miles from home.
Ever the optimist, Ma called the store hoping someone would answer.  The gentleman who did was obviously enjoying a last minute party, jovial spirit sounding in his voice.
“Madam,” he said, “you have my solemn promise, your daughter will wake up with a Kissy doll under the tree tomorrow morning.”
Ma gave him our address, more hopeful than certain this would be the case.  She assumed by the time he removed the lampshade from his head, he would not remember it was Christmas, let alone locate a Kissy doll in the six story department store, and deliver it in a raging snowstorm.
 The snow fell hard and fast.  Soon after 11pm, a yellow cab rounded the corner and slid to a stop barely missing our lamp post.    A well dressed gentleman knocked on the door, red-faced from the cold, the office celebration, or both.  When he handed her the Kissy doll, bowed deeply and wished her all the joy of the season, Ma did not see a tipsy executive, she saw the real Santa.  Needless to say, we shopped at Miller & Rhodes until they closed their doors many years later, and I, that little girl,  had the merriest of Christmases.
I hope you enjoyed my entry.  Click the link to Susanna's blog above and read some other fun fun holiday submissions, and peek at her blog beginning December 16 to vote for your fave from the finalists!  In the mean time, complete your Christmas shopping with.....
LITTLE DOG!! (who else!?)