Harvest of Ice

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Iceharvest

We spent a gorgeous winter day at our friends' resort harvesting ice, as has been a mid-winter tradition in our neck of the woods.  We got a wonderful dose of sunshine, we all broke a sweat and shed layers.   Today I am happy with sunburned cheeks and a fun and productive day under my belt.   It is fun to get more involved as my role has changed from children-tender and life guard to ice block hauler.  It was fun to see our children get more involved as well - almost all of them made it the mile ski out to the resort on their own power and they all helped out throughout the day as well.  Fun times with good friends, keeping a fun Northwoods tradition alive.


Interview with author Teresa Harris - (plus an American Girl ® Gabriela, book giveaway!)

I am happy to share in the excitement of the new

American Girl® -Gabriela McBride™; Girl of the Year® 2017 with this author interview and giveaway!

American Girl Gabriella

American Girl is excited to celebrate the New Year with the debut of its 2017 Girl of the Year - Gabriela McBride! Gabriela is a true talent who uses her passion for the arts—specifically spoken word poetry—to overcome personal obstacles and create positive change for her community. Gabriela launches with a beautiful 18-inch doll, plus several performance-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys.
 
 
Learn more about Gabriela and the development of her character by reading this series of questions and answers with author Teresa E. Harris:
Theresa Harris
Teresa E. Harris

Teresa E. Harris earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Columbia University and an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College, where she won numerous awards, including the Flying Pig Grade-A, Number-One Ham Humor Award. She is the author of the picture book Summer Jackson: Grown Up and the middle grade novel The Perfect Place, which was selected as one of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year in 2015. Teresa is a high school English teacher in New Jersey, where she lives with three very bossy cats. She spends most of her time grading papers, writing novels, and wishing she could dance like Gabby.

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Teresa,  can you tell us a little bit about yourself?     Where do you live?  Tell us about your family.  What are your interests?  I grew up in Teaneck, a town in Northern New Jersey. Now I live just a few minutes away from where I grew up in a town called Hackensack.   Unlike Gabriela, who is an only child, I have two sisters and one brother, all older than me. As the youngest, I got away with a lot more than my older siblings.   My interests?  I read—A LOT—and I try to make sure I read across all genres. I read a lot of children’s books (of course), but I also read a lot of political articles and blogs, blogs about celebrities, adult fiction, and because I’m a teacher, I spend a lot of time reading my students’ work too. As much as I love to read, my absolute favorite thing to do in my spare time is to write.

Please tell us about your writing career - your other books - and how you found your way to writing the Gabriela series for American Girl.  I have been writing for so long; I cannot even remember when I began. I used to come home from school and instead of doing my homework, I would dive into the worlds and characters I had created myself. One such story was about Buster and Twinkles, a pair of time-traveling cats. It was the first story I’d ever written and when I decided definitively that I wanted to be a writer.

To achieve that dream, I minored in creative writing at Columbia University and went on to receive a Masters degree in writing for children from Vermont College of Fine Arts. There, I wrote my first ever full-length novel, The Perfect Place, which I sold to Clarion Books. About two years later, I sold my first picture book, Summer Jackson: Grown Up, to HarperCollins. And then, when I was least expecting it back in 2016, an awesome editor at Scholastic, whom I had worked with previously contacted me about writing the Gabriela books for American Girl. I said yes, and wasted no time diving into Gabby’s world.

Tell us about Gabriela.
Gabriela is a triple threat; she’s a dancer, a poet, and comes to find that she is an activist. She stands up for what she believes in, never thinks twice about helping people and works hard to overcome challenges, both external and internal. One of Gabby’s major struggles is her stutter, which sometimes makes her feel like she is at war with her own words. However, when the city of Philadelphia threatens to shut down the Liberty Performing Arts Center, her second home, Gabby is determined to help. She puts her fear of public speaking aside and uses her voice to save the arts center.

How did you develop her character and stories?
This project was a collaboration between myself, Scholastic and American Girl.  As I mentioned earlier, an editor who I formerly worked with and who knew my work thought I would be a good fit for this project. From the initial outline, I knew that Gabby was a gifted dancer and poet. Then I was given the amazing task of filling in all the rest – her voice, energy and heart. I spent a lot of time imagining how Gabby – a poet, activist, and dancer – would tell her own story. I knew she’d be confident even in the face of self-doubt, lyrical with her words and have the ability to see the world in a unique way. I spent some time writing and rewriting scenes, until I found Gabby’s true voice.

Did you have any particular inspiration?  Because Gabby is a young poet, I conducted my research by reading poetry written by children and young adults and watching videos of children’s poetry competitions. To say I was impressed by the poems I read and the performers I watched is an understatement – I was awed and amazed. Those talented and brave girls and boys inspired me to find the poet within Gabby and, in turn, within myself.

What’s next for you?  The second book in Gabriela’s series comes out at the end of April and I absolutely can’t wait! In the meantime, I’m hard at work on my own second novel about a girl who is a witch but really, really, really wishes she wasn’t.

Anything else?  Stay tuned!

Thank you Teresa for this insightful interview!


In celebration of the release of the 2017 Girl of the Year, I have the privilege to share a fun giveaway!

Gabriella

Scholastic has given me 10 copies of the Gabriela book by Teresa E. Harris to give away to Kids and Eggs readers! 

To enter to win a copy of the first book in the Gabriela book, simply leave a comment on this post.   If your comment is selected by the random number generator, you'll win!  Giveaway ends 2/14/17 7:00 a.m CST

*Want even more chances? 

Follow Kids and Eggs on Instagram, and/or Facebook.  You can also give yourself another shot by sharing a link to this giveaway on your social media as well. 

Just make sure, whatever you do, you come back here and leave a comment letting me know how you shared.

Good luck!!

Comments are closed!  Scroll through the comments to see if you are a winner!


School Days - February

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The February Issue of Minnesota Parent Magazine is available throughout Minnesota and online now.

My School Days Column in this month is "Snuggle Up and Read".   

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You can find the article through THIS LINK.

If you like what you see, social media 'shares' are appreciated!

Be sure to check out all of the other great content in the full issue as well!

As always - thanks for reading!


Getting Out

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It was such a beautiful day, 20 degrees + and sunny.   We took advantage of the weather and went for a lake ski and exploring our backwoods.   It feels so good to be refreshed and energized with some vitamin "N" and some sunshine.


Around here

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Around here we enjoyed a wonderful weekend. During the work week we were experiencing extreme sub-zero temps (Friday we woke up to -33 F *and note that is below zero) Both Saturday and Sunday we experienced above zero temperatures - reaching into the 20's with sunshine! We fought our children back into winter gear as they were complaining that today it was "hot," and we spent a significant amount of time outdoors skiing and snowshoeing.

We are recharged and refreshed, ready for the week ahead.

Wishing you a great start of your week from our little corner of the world to yours!


Gratitude Snapshots

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In the course of a busy day it can be so easy to just go through the motions.  Today, happened to be one of those particularly busy days.  I will spare you all of the details, but I will just spend a moment reflecting on the idea of slowing down and practicing mindfulness in the midst of the chaos.   I know that even on the busiest of days, and perhaps on these days the most, it is important to slow down.  

This afternoon I decided to take just 15 minutes with my camera to capture some gratitude snapshots.   Simple things like a pile of stacked word, a basket full of eggs, or a crooked smile from on of my middles are just enough to elicit a feeling of gratitude, which equates to happiness in my heart.

I encourage you to capitalize on pockets of time in your life and find moments of your own for this simple practice of gratitude.

 

...more thoughts on this on my post on mothering.com


Around Here

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Outside:

Although we are experiencing some sub zero temperatures, we are finding our way outdoors.    We have a solid base of snow for cross country skiing and between after-school ski practices, MYSL and weekend outings, we're logging a fair amount of kilometers on the trail.

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Duct tape crafts

Inside:  

We are staying warm, even given our recent sub-zero temperature cold snap.   We recently tried out a new coffee shop in town with a welcoming atmosphere after a cold and snowy ski.  We have been keeping ourselves busy inside, the kids experimenting with duct tape crafts, the mama with some knitting projects.  On these winter days we are also savoring summer blueberries and backyard maple syrup with pancake breakfasts.

Wishing you a great start to your week!