Monthly Archives: December 2012

Kiddie Lit Trends

Check out this article from Scholastic!


Chinese New Year Telling at Chapin Libraray

Inbox Input

My inbox provides tips on writing, places to market my work, and contests to enter. My inbox also provides more tips on marketing than I can execute–but they are all good ones!

One of the very good email newsletters I receive is John Kremer’s book marketing e-letter. He is doing something called infographics for writers and has done one for a children’s book writer that also serves as a wonderful reminder on the essentials of putting together a picture book–here is the link:

If you want to subscribe to Kremer’s great newsletter, write to him at

Read This Book!

I reviewed Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman for the Sun News (no byline–done under their Reading Corner section)

Here is the link:


Cookie Countdown

My plan for Christmas cookies was interrupted by a long session with our computer expert–I am about to start on the almond crescents. But key tot he plan is not trying to do more in one day than is reasonable for you–better to space out the baking.

Although I made a few that keep well ahead, I waited until the week before–Monday night we made pizzelle–Joe and I.

Monday afternoon was ginger cookies and the dough for ginger cutouts.

Tuesday I made the ginger cut outs. Had a lot of other things to do outside of the house too.

Wednesday–date bars finished before the computer guy came. Now time for the almond crescents.

Tomorrow is pretzel caramel thumb prints.

Friday is for pignoli nut cookies

The list helps me remember what I need to make and to remind me of what I need to have on hand to bake them!

If you want any of the recipes, sign up to follow the blog and ask for the recipes you want in a comment.








Catch up for Monday

check out Karen Chace’s blog to find resources for dealing with children and crisis, helping them to heal.

A Moment of Silence

Friday morning I was working on a deadline. I worked, then went to lunch with some friends, and came back to do my post. Then I heard about the horrible massacre in CT. No post. A moment of silence instead. Sometimes silence is the best response along with quiet prayer, and if you are nearby, a hug.

Writing can help the healing process. For younger children, writing and drawing–let your child write about what happened if he or she is reluctant to speak. Read the writing . Ask questions. Hug a lot. Pray together for the families invovled and the children invovled, those still living as well as those who died.

Coconut Oil Continued!

Great news about the cookies–the coconut cookies I made substituting the coconut oil for the butter, turned out great–only problem–the cookies are soooooo  good they are almost all gone already–if you want the recipe, post your request to my FB

joanleottawriterperformer page on Facebook with your email and I will send it to you!

Monday Musings

Christmas is coming! Do you have an Advent Calendar that marks off the days before the holiday? Anticipation is a great part of the joy of celebrating. It’s a great time to help them think about what they are doing for others. A RAK (random act of kindness–a blessing to others) done each day, noted someplace for the child. A place to simply mark each day..all of these things can help them also think of others besides themselves which helps them learn to enjoy the holiday on many levels.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, make your own waiting calendar for a set number of days before the child’s birthday, a big ethnic or religious holiday of your own. Anticipation–giving to others. Real fun, building blocks of a caring loving adult.


Book Review

Virgin Coconut Oil

By AndBrian W. Shilhavy and Marianita Jader Shilhavy

Usually 25.00, the book was on sale at the site for $14.99 when I checked on December 8


Right up front, I need to tell you that Tropical Traditions (at my request) provided me with a free copy of this book to review.

If you are new to using coconut oil in your diet (as I am) this is a book you should consider purchasing this slim volume It’s  a great reference for all of the uses of virgin coconut oil.


Most of the information is on coconut oil, its chemical make-up and uses. Tropical Traditions makes no health claims for its product and emphasizes the use of coconut oil in cooing as its aim by providing a group of recipes at the back of the book. There are stews and desserts and vegetable side and main dishes–something for everyone and I am anxious to try them all.


While the authors in no way claim any medical properties for their product and urge people to follow the advice of physicians in treating medical problems, individual testimonials included in the book attest to individual success at success in supplementing traditional medicine with the use of coconut oil topically or in one’s diet. Various writers testify to a wide variety of uses for the oil from helping to correct small thyroid imbalances, aid dry skin and scalp situations and help with acne. Others have written to say that since starting to use coconut oil in their diet they have seen better results for mental acuity, weight loss, and even various stomach and fatigue disorders. Even if you do not agree with these testimonials, the purity of the product sold by Tropical Traditions recommends itself as a healthy addition to any diet.


Although Tropical Traditions has posted a lot of information and many wonderful recipes online, I like being able to hold the book. I’ve already recommended it to several people and am giving a copy to my daughter as a part of her Christmas presents along with a jar of the Virgin coconut oil. Certainly an interesting read for anyone new to the idea of adding coconut oil to the pantry and array of OTC remedies for things like dry skin and scalp.

You can purchase a copy at

About the authorsMarianita Jader Shilhavy, CND (Certified Nutritionist/ Dietician in the Philippines)
Marianita earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition at Centro Escolar University in Manila. Understanding the nutrition of Filipino foods, Marianita worked for over eight years as a hospital dietician and nutritional counselor in the Philippines.

Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA
Brian earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible/Greek from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and his Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Tropical Traditions, Inc