Happy Memorial Day and Goal Check-in

We pause in our outdoor celebrations and 3-day weekend fun to honor those who died serving our country. We thank them for their sacrifice and for keeping us safe. 

Back in January, I set an approach for achieving my 2016 goals. I planned to build on my blessings, and add some patience and hope. I gave myself the room to meet my goals, each in their own time.

So how’s it been going? There is much in my life that requires patience – relationships, plans, and the long list of things I want to accomplish. Some days I am more patient than others. And some days I do a better job of working towards my goals.

As I look back on the last 5 months, I have:

  • Finished the first draft of my latest middle grade novel
  • Began a new day job
  • Celebrated my daughter’s 6th birthday with her first slumber party
  • Helped my son discover the 4th and 5th Harry Potter books
  • Built my son a loft bed
  • Cleaned a carburetor 
  • Read 3 novels and probably over a hundred picture books
  • Stood strong through significant personal challenges

The next five months will likely be a combination of challenges and triumphs. I can’t guarantee how it will all turn out, but I can try to remain patient and hopeful. And keep my promise to myself that this will be good year, no matter what.

Review: Chalk and Cheese

Chalk and Cheese CoverChalk and Cheese

Written and Illustrated by Tim Warnes

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; 2008, Hardcover

Target Audience: 3-8

Genre: Fiction

Theme: Friendship, Respecting Differences

How We Discovered This Book: My daughter found this book in our library’s new books bin. It was published a few years ago, but we’re glad to discover it now!

Summary: In researching the odd name of this book (I could understand the name Cheese for a mouse, but I was stumped with why a dog was named Chalk), I learned that “Chalk and Cheese” is based on an obscure British saying – as in, “They are completely different. As different as chalk and cheese.” This book takes the concept and tells a story about a British country mouse and an American dog. They are friends and pen pals, and one day Cheese comes to New York City to visit Chalk. They each look at the world differently, so we get to see two different perspectives on what they see and experience.

What I Liked: I enjoyed the illustrations and the narrative – spare text with simple illustrations. There are visual jokes and gems to find throughout. The message of embracing each other’s difference was nicely delivered without being heavy-handed.

What Did My Kids Think? Most kids like animals in their books, and my kids are no exception. They followed right along with Chalk and Cheese’s New York City adventure. They enjoyed when Cheese didn’t understand something – just like kids sometimes – and Chalk patiently explained it to him (or even better – showed him).



Brainstorm things that are very different (story characters in other books, inanimate objects, family members), and give them an adventure. What would they do? Where would they go?

Illustrate your own adventure story set in the place you live. Are there secret places for hiding? Are there things a visitor to your town MUST see? No worries if you don’t consider yourself a strong illustrator – stick figures will do. Adding some color and an interesting perspective make all the difference.


Max is back from Spring Break with his review of Chalk and Cheese. Check out his video to see what he thought!

Email subscribers: Please click over to this post on the website to see Max’s complete video.