Sunday, September 6, 2015

Texas Word Wrangler Book Festival

This Thursday, September 10, (bright and early) I will be travelling to Giddings, TX for the Texas Word Wrangler Book event.  I will be reading Went Out To Get a Donut, Came Home With a Muffin to over 150 first graders and also sharing with them how a book becomes a BOOK!

On Thursday evening, I will be a guest at the Author Gala!!  Can't wait to meet the other authors, enjoy dinner, and share my books with guests of the Gala!

On Friday, September 11,  ... Texas Word Wrangler Book Festival will begin at 9am and run through 5pm at the Giddings Public Library, 276 North Orange Street, Giddings, TX

If you are in the area, I hope you are able to attend ... stop on by and say HI!

Sunday, August 30, 2015


A few weeks ago I posted about my beautiful Passion Flower lovingly giving it's life so that the Gulf Fritillary could live ... out of about 13 caterpillars I witnessed 5 butterflies emerge and fly away on their journey. A couple days after the last butterfly flew away, I took some coffee grounds and turned them into the soil ... I made sure to give EXTRA water to the plant AND .... yesterday I was truly amazed!  The plant is coming back and ... quickly!!!  These leaves were not there 3-4 days ago!  YAY!!!!!

The plant has a couple more months of outside time and then will find it's place in the greenhouse for some R&R over the winter!


Yesterday I drove up Jacksboro Highway to Azle, TX (about 15 minutes from my house) to RED's Burger House. What a great place to do a reading of Red Goes To Kindergarten! 

Terie Russell, the owner of Red's is a wonderful person and used to be a school teacher as well.  The restaurant is very inviting and when you walk in, the aroma of burgers is heavenly!  They have a great big room upstairs (where the big windows that look like EYES are) and it was a great space for children to hang out, talk and read!

I took the graph worksheet paper from my Red Goes To Kindergarten and blew it up, attached it to my easel and after we read the story, the kids fill in the graph with their favorite color!

This little girl was having a wonderful time!  She is four years old, can read and was doing lots of addition problems for me! She and I read the Muffin book and she was able to read almost the whole thing by herself!  She colored the picture for MUFFIN and wanted me to take it home to her!
This is why I LOVE DOING BOOK READINGS!!!!  The kids I meet make book events
I meant to take a picture of our food after the book event -- but I had a cheeseburger and fries!  It was soooooo good -- they toast and butter the buns and that always adds to the flavor! The tea was great and I had them add a bit of their homemade lemonade to my tea for a little kick!  YUM
If you're looking for a new burger place, check out Red's Burger House on Main Street in Azle, TX
Watch for news about Spring Break 2016 STAYcamp events at Red's!!
I am honored to be attending the Texas Word Wrangler Festival
Friday, September 11, 2015
Giddings Public Library
276 North Orange Street
Giddings, TX  78942
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Dinner & Silent Auction
The Sanctuary at Costa Grande
Tickets are $25.00 -- if you're interested in attending
contact the Friends of Port O'Connor by clicking on the above link
I am booking for Summer 2016 for daycares, schools, camps and libraries
If you would like me to be a part of your Summer Camp program, please email me at

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Muffin's Birthday!

5 years ago we went out on a Sunday morning to get a donut and we came home with
Muffin! She is the sweetest most loving dog we have ever had! Can't believe she is
A birthday SELFIE
Muffin sporting her B-day hat I made for her!
Not sure if she's impressed with my HAT making abilities!
Shadow actually WORE a hat this year ... but hats kept slipping off as they were waiting for the b-day treats!
Ice Cream flavored birthday cookies!
Wearing their HATS!!!!
and eating their cookies!
 Shadow waiting "patiently" for his puppy peanut butter cup
but Birthday Girl goes first!
Me and the B-day girl!

Present time!!!!
 The stare down with Muffin's new sock monkey ...
hey Shadow -- I'll look in here to see what mom got you
even though it's MY birthday!
 WHAT's in here? 
We BOTH have new SOCK MONKEY TOYS!!!!!!
And ... it's not a PUPPY PARTY until .....
Someone gets a bag STUCK on their HEAD!!!!!!!
Thanks HOLLYWOOD FEED for the B-day Cookies, Sock Monkeys,
If you're interested in ordering either of Muffin's children's books, email me at
and mention this BLOG POST and get both books for $5.00!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Today, August 6, 2015, I walked out onto the backyard patio at about 6:50am and had to run back into the house and grab my phone. The Gulf Fritillary Butterflies were emerging!
I missed them popping out by about 5 minutes ... but was able to watch them "learn" how to be a
I love these EYES!

Still hanging on to the chrysalis

This guy let me get really close ...
and these wings look like they are almost ready to take flight.

The 2nd little guy is still drying and still not wanting to let go of that chrysalis!
You can see that her wings are still not dry and are not fully expanded.
I LOVE this FACE!!!!

Still hanging on to that chrysalis ...
The striped abdomen is a true fashion statement next to the psychedelic silvery white underside of the wings!

Starting to flutter those beautiful velvety wings!

Those wings look ready to FLY!
You can see the 2nd butterfly in the background and you can see how their markings are the same. The one long white oval with the black dot that looks like an eye ... you can see that on BOTH of them!

 I took this picture showing how tightly she was holding on to her chrysalis!
I find it fascinating that they pop out and the chrysalis stays almost completely intact and is strong enough to hold them while they are drying and learning how to be a butterfly!

When will you fly??? It's now 7:30am
ABSOLUTELY gorgeous ... if you look on the right side of the picture you can still see "the twin" not moving or fluttering ....
Click on the video to see her getting ready to fly!
Here she is walking up the trellis and then as she got to the top ... she took off flying!

When this butterfly took off for the first time I was actually shocked to see how awkward of a flyer she was ... she made it to the tomato garden and as I crept up on her this is what I found ...
She was upside down hanging on to this weed! She was there for about 5 minutes and I was hoping she didn't hurt herself! But, just as caterpillars show perseverance -- so did this butterfly!
But, I really like seeing the underside markings!
 She flipped herself over, and flew into the middle of the yard -- NOW ... Muffin and Shadow were very curious and love chasing butterflies ... so I had to make sure a BIG FURRY PAW didn't accidentally step on her .... so I guarded her in the grass and as a THANK YOU
She opened her wings for me ... SO PRETTY!!!!!!

She took off again and was all jittery and jerky and made it to the fence!
This is when I noticed the white spots on her head ...
 She would fly around the backyard and kept coming back to this spot before she flew off ... at about 8:00 am she left the yard!
 Just as the 1st butterfly left the yard, the 2nd butterfly let go of the chrysalis and flew to the plant right next to the Passion Flower ...
These eyes are incredible and look at that proboscis (which is their "tongue" that is like a straw that drinks nectar!)

She seemed a little more "shy" to take off and fly!
Or she just wanted to pose for a couple pictures before she left her home.

It was as if she did this on purpose for a FUNNY picture!!!!
 She liked hanging upside down to soak in the sun ...
She finally did take off and was shaky ... but landed on the top of fence and then by about 8:20am flew over the fence and on her journey!

 and ... here is an empty chrysalis ... and two of my butterflies have spread their wings and have taken flight! Bittersweet  ....
Out of 13 caterpillars, 2 just emerged, 2 more are in their chrysalis and 2 placed their chrysalis in a precarious spot and because of the HEAT, have died ... the chrysalis turned a deep black ...
I'm not sure where the other caterpillars are hiding ... but I hope they found a safe place to make their chrysalis ...
Today, I also purchased a NEW Passion Flower Plant from
The person who walked me to find the plant was so helpful and was lots of fun to talk to about the caterpillar! This plant actually has 2 caterpillar on it -- but is a LOT heartier than my first plant ...
so ... The Life Cycle continues!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Life Cycle--UPDATED

When we lived in Massachusetts, I started a 6'x6' plot in my garden full of flowers and plants for butterflies! Sadly, I never got to see it do what it was meant to do ... attract butterflies, lay their eggs, and produce new butterflies.

Last spring I purchased a Passion Flower plant and knew it would attract butterflies, which it did ... it sat dormant in my greenhouse during the winter and was placed back on the patio in April. Well ... it did more than just attract a butterfly this Summer ... a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly (click on link to find out more about this butterfly) used my passion flower plant as the HOST plant!

Early last week, I noticed teeny, tiny caterpillar crawling around the plant ... I checked the plant and found really small eggs on a couple of the leaves ... by the end of the day, a few of the caterpillar were BIG and I was able to google to see what kind of caterpillar they were.
The first caterpillar I noticed!  The underside of this leaf is where there were quite a few eggs!
The little guy below ate that ENTIRE seed pod by himself!

The caterpillar are orange with greyish/lavender stripes and black spikes ... that are actually soft, even through they look like they would hurt!
NOW ... the dilemma ... I knew these guys would be HUNGRY .... and unlike The Very Hungry Caterpillar, they do not eat ice cream cones and pizza .... they would eat and e a t and e a T and e A T and E A T and EAT and EAT and
the Passion Flower plant .... which they DID!
Part of me was sad that the plant was going to be decimated and part of me was
bursting inside because the plant did what it was supposed to do!
Sometimes in life ... one thing must give of itself so that others can flourish!

This guy went rogue and was exploring!

It was so awesome to watch what I teach the children each year happening in real time right on my patio! I so wished I would have been able to share all this with the Kindergarten Kids as it was happening!!!!

Close up ... I absolutely love the colors of this guy!
I love the picture below because you can see his antennae and his legs and I love how he's hanging onto that one part of the plant that used to have LOTS of leaves on it!!!!
and ... I knew it was coming .... today I went out at 7am to water my plants and the caterpillar were still crawling around the plant ... I went out at 11am and BAM!!!  there are three chrysalis!  I'm so thrilled!!!!!  Below is my favorite shot of one of the chrysalis! It's almost kind of creepy!!!
It looks like it's staring at me and it's glowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I knew what was going to happen to the Passion Flower plant and it now will require LOTS of TLC! There are sprouts popping up near the bottom of the plant and I'm hoping I can get those to become strong and save the plant ... time will tell ....
As you can see ... my HUNGRY CATERPILLARS (all 13 of them) were VERY HUNGRY!
I now will watch the chrysalis ... and in about 7-10 days, hopefully I'll see them emerge!!!!
Below are a few cute pics of other friends in the garden.
The grasshopper on the left reminds me of JIMINY CRICKET
and the baby on the right was having fun chasing the caterpillars on the Passion Flower -- his antennae are soooooo long!!!!  and his back legs look awkward ... but he's cute!
I hope I'll be able to share pictures of the Gulf Fritillary as they emerge from their chrysalis ...
hope you enjoyed these pictures.
UPDATED -- Today is Thursday, July 30 and
one of the caterpillars got caught in the act!
AND ... I got lucky and actually saw a GULF FRITILLARY land on the Passion Plant!!!!
July 30 - 2015 @ 7:30am
July 30 - 2015 @7:45am
July 30 - 2015 @8:05am 
July 30 - 2015 @8:20am
Could it be???
July 30 - 2015 @9:45am
I believe it is a GULF FRITILLARY!!!!!!!!