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Favorite November Books Giveaway

We want to share some of our favorite stories with you. So this month we are giving away three of our new favorite children’s books. Like this post on our Facebook page to be entered to win.

Here are the three books and a bit about why we love them so much:

An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton

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This story reminds kids of a simple practice that sometimes in our busy lives we lose sight of – Simply being thankful – for the big things and the silly things. It is full of great lines like “Thanks for patience and hopes and rewards and revisions. Wizards and Lizards and delightful decisions.” The book does a masterful job of pairing the silly with the serious. And the illustrations are hilarious. Both kids and parents will love this story. It is the perfect Thanksgiving read for any family. IMG_9063 IMG_9066
Want to win this book along with the other books featured this month?  Here’s how you enter- Link

Beekle by Dan Santat
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“The magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born.  He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and -at long last-is given his special name: Beekle”

Whether your child has an imaginary friend or not, they will enjoy this story with beautiful illustrations and a heartwarming happy ending. I also liked the approach of the imaginary friend taking matters into his own hands and looking for a friend instead of waiting for one to find him.  A great lesson for any child.

(The book is also quite influential, as we’ve been reading this story for about a month and just today our six year old decided she wanted to have an imaginary friend. “Shine” the star has been teaching her cartwheels all morning.)

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Want to win this book along with the other books featured this month?  Here’s how you enter- Link

 

What Do You Do with an Idea?
Written by Kobi Yamada and Illustrated by Mac Besom

“This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had and idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult.  It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and see what happens next.”

I loved this book because I like to encourage my kids that dreaming is productive and bringing an idea to life is awesome.  It’s usually not easy or without obstacles.  Whether your child is 2 months or 9 years old, this story can build the foundation for thinking and dreaming big!

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How to Remember Baby’s 1st Halloween

Whether your baby is still in utero or is taking first toddling steps, their first experience of any holiday is important. These are the moments that, at the time, you might think you will remember clearly forever. But too soon it will be a distant memory. Taking a few minutes to jot down favorite moments and taking a few special photographs make all the difference. It is these cherished pieces that are worth adding to your baby book; they are stories you will treasure for years to come.

Here are some creative ideas we have compiled about how to remember baby’s 1st Halloween.

Pumpkin ideas:
“Baby’s 1st” stenciled cutout –

 

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Putting that cute little pumpkin of yours inside a pumpkin –

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Or dressing them up as a pumpkin – 
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Costume photos:
This clever momma dresses up her baby while she is napping and sets up whimsical baby dream scenarios, like this spooky witch –

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his littlest witch is obviously a good witch – ( sometimes all you need is a black sheet, a placemat and a little creative vision)

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hen photographing your baby, make sure to not miss getting a snapshot of mom too

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Baby foot print keepsakes:
A spooky ghosty –
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Halloween Keepsakes:
A cozy onesie –
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The perfect shirt for a pregnant momma on Halloween –
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We got this book when our oldest had her first Halloween and it has been well loved ever since. Make sure to write a quick inscription in the front cover.
My First Halloween by Tomie dePaola

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October’s Member Profile

Meet My Own Little Story User Erin Campbell
author of No Chance, Toastypants
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This is a story for anyone who has ever wondered “Am I really good at anything?”
The charming tale of Tom Toastypants and his friend Tobias Beeswax
emphasizes the importance of trying new things, and that trying is much
more important than comparing one’s self to others.

Written by Erin Campell with Illustrations by her husband, Aaron Campbell

 

My Own Little Story’s Kristin Coons got the lucky chance to get
to know Erin Campbell and hear about the book that she wrote. 

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Why did you decide to write a children’s book?

I have always loved stories; I owe much thanks to my parents for fostering this love in me.  The value they placed on books was very evident.  They often had a book in their hand; there were stacks of them on bedside tables and full bookshelves throughout the house.  A new book was part of every celebration – from the first day of school to Christmas and birthdays.  My parents took the time to read to me from a very early age.  It was a tradition to end the day with a chapter from a “big” book.  If I was very still and quiet, my Dad would read another chapter.  I don’t think parents can overestimate the influence they have on their children when it comes to fostering a love for reading.  Even if you haven’t developed a love for reading yourself, spend time reading books with your children!  The development and conversations a good story can inspire are priceless.

All this is to say that for me, the imagining of and writing of stories was just something that was part of who I am.  Would stories have pulsed in my heart if I had not been exposed to so many growing up?  Perhaps.  While writing stories is something I cannot stop doing, publishing them is a different matter entirely!  I had all the mind games so many of us have…these stories aren’t any good, no one will like them, it will be a waste of time, energy and money…I will put myself out there and it will flop, etc.  It wasn’t until we were facing the rather large (for us) financial costs associated with adoption that I was spurred out of my “these aren’t any good” sulky fear party and just went for it.  It was the growing love in my heart for child that would soon fill my arms that gave me courage.  And that is a good rule of thumb for sharing our gifts.  Very rarely will someone go, “This is awesome.  I am awesome.  Everyone, line up and get some of this!”  More often it is a love for that story, that art, that song, that creation that will kick us out of our complacency and excuses to step out and share.  We love it and we know that keeping it to ourselves is a love dead end.  Don’t wait until you think no one will criticize.  If there is an idea that has been rummaging around in your heart for weeks, months or years, do it because that gift that you have is meant to be shared and to bless someone else!

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Tell me what the journey was that led you to adopting your precious son, Jack.

Big question!  I had been diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis prior to my marriage to my wonderful husband Aaron, so we had some warning that conception could be a challenge.  It was.  After a few years, many procedures and a couple of surgeries (including some ovarian and uterine cancer scares along the way) we had a peace that we had wrestled with this biological process long enough.  My body was tired and both of our hearts were beating in a different direction, that of adoption.  We had always held the idea that we would love to adopt someday; so the transition wasn’t a rocky one.  We had cried it out, felt and shared our grief, been comforted and were in a peaceful place.  Not to say that the process of adoption is not without significant ups, downs, twists and turns!  I am so glad we had each other.  At night, when I hold my son Jack and talk about the day, we snuggle and talk about how we are forever and always family.  We belong together.   He is the child of our hearts.  I have used My Own Little Story to record the story of Jack’s amazing, brave, and loving birth parents, the moment of his birth, what our dog Sherpa thought about it all, the day we stood before the Judge…just everything.  Once we publish our *gasp* two volumes, they will be the Life Book that Jack will have to refer back to when he is wondering the things we all wonder…was he wanted?  Does he have a place all his own in this world?  Is he worthy of love?  Is he loved?  This book shouts “Yes!  Yes you are.  Read it as many times as you want and it will be the same every time.  You are lovable and you are loved.”
Several users of MyOwnLittleStory have expressed lack of time or talent for writing their children’s story.   Since you are a writer, can you give others advice who second guess their ability/time  to record their child’s story.

Second-guessing is such a thief.  It robs us of the pleasure and joy of so many good things!  When it comes to telling your child’s story, who better than you?  You don’t have to be perfectly eloquent, or spend agonizing hours at the keyboard pounding out the memories.  Just do something.  It helped me to pull out my phone (yay for smart phones!  A notebook would work just as well…but I never have one with me and I almost always have my phone. My husband will dispute this, but I FEEL like I almost always have my phone) and jot down a few words that would bring back a particular event so that when I did sit down to work on a page of our My Own Little Story book I had some notes to refer to and didn’t have to tackle a blank page with a blank mind!  It is true that the words won’t magically appear, but there will be magic there in the years to come as you and your little one sit down and remember the story of his or her life together.  Each of our stories are worth telling!

 
Erin has graciously offered a Coupon Code that you can use toward the purchase of No Chance, Toastypants and other stories that she has written which you can find on her website.
Use code: STORY20 http://www.erincampbellstories.com/store/

Welcome two new faces at My Own Little Story!

welcome 2 new facesNew face at My Own Little Story, Betony Coons and her family

About Betony Coons:

As a mom and an artist, I try my best to bring my children into the story I’m living. The work I do involves lots of creating: children’s books, murals, set design, and paintings (my husband and I share our story at giantsandpilgrims.com). Right now I am both a stay at home mom AND a full time working artist, so time is always the greatest commodity around here. For me, taking the time to snap little Instagram photos of our days, jot down a note or two of something funny my kids say, or just taking an extra moment to pause and hold these littles dears close, helps me savor the now that I know will be so fleeting. 

Betony is responsible for our new blog, our pinterest boards, our Facebook posts and all things social media related.  Her creative input is helping us see the website and all of our products in a whole new light!

 

My Own Little Story's Julie Johnson and her family

About Julie Johnson:

As a little girl, Julie fell in love with a certain type of art. She always carted around words and images and drawing materials and glue. Luckily, at a young age, she stumbled upon an amazing profession called Graphic Design. But little girls grow up, go to college (UCLA and Art Center College of Design), get married (to a super supportive husband), make a home (in Manhattan Beach, California) and become mom (to Hatcher and Madeline). These days, Julie creatively does a little of everything while appreciating both life’s challenges and also life’s wonderful rewards. She likes to keep her eyes wide-open welcoming new ideas, personal growth, and especially the collaboration with others.

Julie is responsible for the design of our fresh-looking website and newsletters, and collaboration on the development of our new features of our site.  

Two Stories That Will Warm Your Heart

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Over the course of the year I will be sending out monthly newsletters.  My goal is to reach out to parents and share thoughts and stories that have motivated me to follow my dreams,  parent with inspiration and treasure every moment with my family and friends. This month I want to share stories of some inspiring kids.   Kids who took action to make a difference.
  Remember, everyone’s story is important.  Don’t forget to record you child’s story today.  Kristin Coons, Founder MyOwnLittleStory.com

Jessie Rees- Jessie’s Joy Jars

Jessie was a beautiful, athletic, smart and compassionate 12 year old girl who bravely fought two brain tumors (DIPG) for ten months and two days. On January 5, 2012 Jessie earned her angel wings.  But before she died, she did an amazing thing.  Jessie created JoyJars®.

The idea came to her one day early in her fight against cancer as she was leaving the hospital, she asked her parents when the other kids in the hospital would get to go home.  Her parents explained that some kids have to stay at the hospital for treatment and care, unlike Jessie who got to go home after her initial treatment.  When they returned to their home, Jessie got right to work decorating brown lunch bags with stickers and encouraging words and filling them with toys and stuffed animals.  After checking with the hospital, they loved the idea but told her she would have to put her “treats” in plastic jars, thus JoyJars® was born.

Before Jessie passed away, she distributed over 3,000 JoyJars®.  Since her death, many more jars have since been distributed.  The most amazing thing about her story is how in the midst of her awful battle, she was able to think of others.

Jessie’s motto was to NEGU (Never Ever Give Up). This message of hope, strength and perseverance has made its way around the world inspiring both young and old to stay strong and reach for your goals. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit herFacebook Fan Page, or visit her website: negu.com

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The Burrito Boyz Serve Up Free Breakfasts for San Diego’s Homeless

By Ken Lee
While most teens are impossible to rouse at the crack of dawn, the Burrito Boyz of San Diego, Calif., are out of their homes by 6:30 a.m. every Sunday.

Their mission: Making breakfast burritos for the city’s homeless, something they’ve done for 167 consecutive Sundays since November of 2010.

Comprised of a core team of seven high school boys and a small army of volunteers, they’ve given away more than 51,000 burritos and counting.

“We show the homeless community that we’re not giving up on them, so they shouldn’t give up on themselves,” explains Alec Johnson, 15, who started the Burrito Boyz nonprofit with his father, Michael, 49, and best friend Luke Trolinger, 16.

The nonprofit began after Alec, then 12, presented his Christmas wish list to his parents in 2010: an iPhone, MacBook Air and other pricey items.

“I thought, ‘Holy cow. My son’s growing up quick, asking for such mature items,’ ” explains Michael, a former sports marketer. “My wife, Mehrnaz, and I instead decided to teach him what’s important in life,” he says.
The very next weekend, they handmade 54 breakfast burritos in the family kitchen – paid out of their own pocket – and greeted the less fortunate on the downtown streets with the hot meal, bottle of water and a touch of dignity.

“It felt like punishment at first when my dad told me the idea,” Alec says with a laugh.
“But to see human beings sleeping on the cold ground outside, it really touched me,” he says. “To realize how much they don’t have, and how much we do. It’s a huge part of my life now.”  To read more, click here.