Roscoe Ragwort’s Favorite Snickerdoodle Cookies

That Roscoe Ragwort loves to eat! In fact, all of the gnomes in the Ragwort Chronicles and Phillip’s Quest series, love to eat! Gnomes, however are known for their “sweet-tooth” — they love anything sweet, and so, this is one of the recipes included in The Ragwort Chronicles, Along the Way: Roscoe’s Journey.

On Amazon

On Amazon

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These cookies are meant to  be chewy, so don’t overbake! Bake 10-12 minutes and they will firm up as they cool! Enjoy!

Look for more recipes in all of the Phillip’s Quest and Ragwort books! The newest Phillip’s Quest book, Book III:Across the Elusive Sea, will be out in November!

I have been remiss …

In posting any more crafts for the month of July, but I hope you have been working on your Story Box! The reason I am so remiss is that I have been working so hard on two projects myself! First, the publication of the newest book in the Phillip’s Quest series, “Across the Elusive Sea.” You have been looking at a cover for quite a while and I promise you that it will be even more fun than the first two books: “Winterfrost,” and “Above the Stars.” If you recall, “WInterfrost” introduces my friend, Phillip Tuber(a farmer gnome from the land of Twistedoak), and sends him on his journey, with his friend, Edward the Squirrel, to the land of ice and snow — Winterfrost! “Above the Stars,” tells of the many adventures Phillip and Edward have trying to get to Azur, the Blue Wizard’s castle and to the Carnelian Sea! Don’t forget about “Stinky” the Dinosaur and Chaspére, the lizard who’s a wizard! Now, they’re on a great pirate sailing ship, the La Fortuna, where they come in contact with sea monsters and sea creatures — including the mermaid, Kala! The excitement continues! My other project has been working with the Little Free Libray initiative. Have you seen one? They are popping up as fast as the ‘shrooms in Twistedoak. Write by the Rails is a large group of writers and authors from Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas City, Virginia, who has been building these libraries to install in certain locations. The first one will be installed at the New School, a school for literature and the arts, on August 8th. So, we have been busy. Check out littlefreelibrary.org and writebytherails.org to see these wonderful programs.

This is our Alice in Wonderland library! Enjoy and will catch you later for some of Roscoe’s favorite cookies!

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This WbtR Little Library will be installed at the United Methodist Church in Nokesville, VA

Winterfrost Crafts Presents: Bats and Butterflies!

An unlikely duo, but nevertheless, both very important for pollination and for my books! First, a little something about bats — an equally important pollinator. Some of us think of bats as evil, blood sucking creatures that turn into vampires! Somebody had a great imagination when they thought of that. In fact, Bram Stoker wrote the very classic, but scary book about a nasty vampire from Transylvania (a real place), named Dracula! And, did you know, the story was based on a history! There really is a castle in Transylvania, a part of old Romania, believed to be Dracula’s Castle.

There are also bats called “vampire bats”. But, the main bat in my books, the Phillip’s Quest series, is not a vampire bat. The main bat-in-charge is named Bael. And is found in “Above the Stars.”

The head chiroptera, named Bael, flew through her window and landed before her. He bowed, in respect to the Red Witch.

“How can I be of service, Your Majesty?” A low deep voice ensued.

The chiroptera was huge, almost as big as Jet, with a blood-red body, tall pointed ears, and huge black wings. His eyes were black, and they reflected no light. He had long, sharp fangs and a forked tongue. His paws and feet had razor-sharp talons.  

Phillips Quest, Book II: Above the Stars

Now, you are probably wondering why I call Bael and his notorious friends, a chiroptera, and not just a plain old bat. Well, here’s why!

  1. Bat
    Animal
  2. Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Wikipedia
  3. Scientific name: Chiroptera
  4. Rank: Order

Now, you know the scientific name for a bat, and why decided to use it.

image

Making a bat is not the easiest thing to do, especially, in origami. Origami is the ancien tart of paper folding. Perhaps you have learned or have seen an origami bird or crane?

Each piece of origami starts out with an absolutely square piece of paperAll you need is a piece of paper from a printer, or copy machine, to start. When you get good at the folds, you can use some light weight colored, or black paper.

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Andy Origami has a great video on You Tube, that shows you how to make a square. Just click on the link. Be sure to make your square perfect. Now, you’re ready to make anything!

For the origami, bat, chiroptera or Bael, here is a great link for you to follow! Watch his hands and notice how carefully he folds!

Here’s an idea! Don’t have black paper? Unfold the bat and color it or make several and use for Halloween decorations!

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Next, the butterfly! Butterfly fairies are also in “Above the Stars.”

Again, they heard the hushed voice. Phillip immediately unsheathed Lionslicer and spun around, only to come face to face with the most exquisite butterfly he had ever seen. Her wings were an iridescent blue, outlined in a beautiful gold. She wore a pale pink gown that shimmered in the sunlight, her beautiful black hair braided with small white flowers.

“Oh! Dear gnome, I didn’t mean to frighten you. I’m Farfalla, the Butterfly Queen!” Farfalla landed on a large river rock. “I am here, at the request of Azur, to guide you to the bridge.”

No sooner did she say that than six other butterflies, equally beautiful, but not as large, joined her. When their wings were open, they were as colorful as the flowers that surrounded them. Some were orange and green, some yellow and black, and some were beautiful shade of pink, but all with a blue dot at the tip of each wing.

Phillips Quest, Book II: Above the Stars

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Beautiful butterflies can be made quite easily. Don’t forget to start with that square paper. Wrapping paper is great to use! Again, you can decorate your own, after you get your square!

Here is an easy set of instructions from YouTube! Easy Origami Butterfly by Maggy Woodley and some ideas of what you can do with them!

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Butterflies, Bees and Bats! Oh my!

Did you know that June15-22 was National Pollinator’s Week? While this post comes to you a week late, I thought it might be fun to do a few crafts in honor of our favorite pollinators — the butterflies, image image the bees, and imagethe bats!

First, however, a little bit about pollination and why it’s so important to all of us. Here is a diagram about how  “pollination” occurs!. Pollen is made by the male part of the flower,  the anther. It is the powdery substance you find on flowering plants. Pollinators love to drink the sugary-sweet nectar that is made by the flowers at the base of the pistil or female part, as they move from flower to flower. When they go in to suck up the nectar, they brush against the anthers and get the pollen on their bodies. When they land on a flower, the pollen will brush off their body into the pistil. If it’s close to the opening, at the top of the pistil, it will make it’s way down to the egg. When the pollen and egg meet, a seed is formed. The seed makes a new plant! Without the seed, we would not have any fruits, vegetables, trees, grass or flowers. This is extremely important to maintain life on earth.File Jun 22, 1 11 10 PM           Now that you know the importance of these three creatures, I can tell you that each of them, the bat, the butterfly and the bee are in the Phillip’s Quest books! So, here we go — First: Let’s make a bee! This comes from our friends at Crafty Morning  and is made from egg carton containers. A great recycling craft for those cardboard egg containers.

Materials needed:

  • Yellow paint,
  • Black paint or marker,
  • Paper plate,
  • paint brush,
  • 2-egg carton cups,
  • Scissors,
  • Black and silver pipe cleaners ( 2 black and 1 silver),
  • Googly eyes,
  • Hot glue gun or glue dots.

Cut off two attached egg carton cups and neatly trim excess paper and stuff. This may be something that your mom or dad may have to help you with.

Next, pour some yellow paint in a paper dish and paint both of the egg carton cups bright yellow! When the paint is dry, poke two holes on the top of one the cups. These are where the black antennas will go.

Take a glue dot or hot glue gun, and glue the head and body together.

Pour some black paint in a plate or use a black marker to make stripes around the head and body. Let the stripes dry.

While they stripes are drying, fold one of the black pipe cleaners into a “U.” This will be pushed up through the head, for the antennas. You can leave them straight, or make them squiggly.

Cut the other black pipe cleaner in half and twist together to make an “X.” This will be the bees legs — or knees!

Use the silver pipe cleaner and bend it into a figure “8.” These are the “wings.”You may want to squish it together a bit so that the wings are not so fat.

From the underside of the cup, push the antennas through the holes on the top of the head. If they are very long, you can cut them off or twist them into squiggles.

Using a glue gun or dot, glue the legs to the underside of the body and form the legs.

Glue the wings to the top of the bee.

You can make six from each container! and hang them in your room! File Jun 22, 2 59 52 PMFile Jun 22, 1 54 54 PM

Next week, the butterfly and the bat!

Hint!!! Do you know what origami is?

Hope you enjoyed this week’s craft! As always, be sure to leave me a comment! Get your folding fingers ready!

Describe YOUR Favorite Gnome!

 I must admit that ever since I was a little girl, I have believed that gnomes and fairies were real — and still do! I must admit, that my favorite one is Phillip! No surprise there! He lives in the village of Twistedoak, has a squirrel friend named Edward and wellllllll, a bunch of other friends.

Phillip, as you know, if you’ve read Winterfrost, has gone on a very to save his brother, Phallow, but before he left, he had time to spend in his garden with Edward. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of Winterfrost.

Describe your favorite gnome and his or her garden, and where they live! Twistedoak? Brokenfell? Or a place of their own! As always, don’t forget to leave me a Comment!

If you haven’t read WINTERFROST, you can click on any of the pictures and buy it through Amazon.com.

CHAPTER I: Phillip’s Garden

A blue, summer sky smiled upon Phillip’s garden. Colorful butterflies danced from flower to flower as crickets chirped and bees buzzed along herb-filled windowsills. Rows of neatly tended plants lined the soft soil and stretched their hungry leaves towards the warm, mid-morning sun. Lush plants cradled shiny, red tomatoes and yellow squash grinned from beneath curly vines. Phillip puffed from his carved pipe as he stood between rows of taters and onions.

“A beautiful morning,” smiled Phillip.

Phillip was a little gnome who lived in an old oak tree on the side of a grassy hill. He stood about two feet tall and wore purple pants with an orange patch on the right knee. His favorite red suspenders  fell neatly on top of a bright blue shirt. A pointed, green-rimmed hat sat atop his bald head and a long flowing brown beard hung down to his belt and ended in a curly point. Streams of purple smoke rose from his pipe as he surveyed the progress of his garden. A brown squirrel named Edward hopped along the fence that bordered his yard.

“Good Morning, Edward.”

“Mornin’, Phillip,” replied the squirrel as he picked a juicy tomato from one of the large, green tomato plants. “Your garden has really come along this summer. It looks great!

“Yes indeed it has! Thank you!” exclaimed the gnome. “I’m very pleased with it’s progress. We had a bit of trouble with the squash and cucumbers early on in the season. Some nasty little critters were eating them to pieces, but thankfully Mr. Curlyvine showed me how to get them under control with a special type of vegetable oil. I still see an occasional bug from time to time.”

Edward hopped down from the fence and disappeared under a few of the broad, green leaves of the squash plants.

“Found a few!” he proclaimed when he finally popped back up. As he flicked the bugs over the fence, he noticed that Phillip was deep in thought and staring out into the distant hills.

“Thinking about _________________ ?

Easter is Not Just for Rabbits!

Edward the Squirrel, here! Just want to remind all of you that Easter is not just for rabbits, chicks and ducks! Squirrels like Easter, too! Oli, Piper and I have been busy since the Vernal Equinox, clearing and cleaning out the ol’ nest and getting it ready for the nice weather. Here, in Twistedoak, the buds have already burst and there are beautiful flowers everywhere. We’ve been busy digging up our buried acorns getting them dried out and ready for some of Oli’s famous biscuits, (page of Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: WInterfrost).squirrel

Now, back to the Easter thing. We’re always running around being busy and you should be, too! Especially because there’s Spring Break coming up! Instead of having those kids of yours inside, playing with those video games and driving you nutz, buy them a book! Even an e-book to read! Nutz and acorns!!! Expand their minds!!!

Did you know that our PQ books (short for Phillip’s Quest, in editor lingo)have all kinds of things in it? Goodness me, there are two maps, one from Twistedoak to Winterfrost and one, just a map of Twistedoak! That’s the one I like. Have your kids draw a map, like the ones in the PQ books, of your house, your street, your village! You can even get them started by teaching them which direction is North! Or, tonight, look for the North star!!! Who knows, they might even see Azur, the Blue Wizard!

In the back of Winterfrost, there’s even a family tree! Not my family tree — we’d need at least a whole book! But, there’s the Tuber family tree — funny names those Tuber folks! Sound like a bunch of potatoes, if you ask me. Anywho — the kids could do a family tree of your family, starting with themselves!IMG_0115

Oops, I hear Oli calling –needs more acorns for her biscuits!  She has that recipe in the back of the book, you know! All of our books have recipes!!! Gotta run — will post more activities for the Spring break — please remember to put a few nutz out for us! And, nutz and acorns, Happy Easter!

— Edward the Squirrel. Editor-in-Chief

Winterfrost Publishing

Springtime at Winterfrost…

roscoe cover

May Release! Illustrations by Annie Wilkinson

Publishing, that is! Yep! Phillip and the crew have their very own publishing company — along with the Ragworts, of course. The beautiful Mushroom Castle in Twistedoak, has been converted into the WF headquarters! Everyone is very excited. Of course, Edward had to be named Editor in Chief, although he has a hard time keeping focused! (Rilefor and Holly do all of the editing.) Stinky, aka Dreamspinner, keeps the production rolling!

It’s been a wild ride since Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars was published in December, 2014! So many things have been going on — 2015 is going to be a banner year! First of all, we have new illustrators! Can I just say, they are super? Well, they are!

Our first new illustrator for the Ragwort Chronicles is a talented and experienced artist from British Columbia, Canada. Her name is Annie WIlkinson. She is amazing and creates much of her artwork with a computer program — I tried it, not pretty — leave to the hands of the pros, which she is! Click on her link and check out some of her work, here is a sample!

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May Rerelease! New cover design by Victor Rook

Yup! That’s the new Ragwort book, Along The Way: Roscoe’s Journey! And there is Roscoe Ragwort! The release date will be late May, 2015. Just in time for Summer break.  And, she will be doing additional artwork for the republication of The Ragwort Chronicles, The Beginning: The Ragworts of Brokentfell! Also due in late May, early June!

 How cool is this new cover for The Beginning? It was done by my dear friend and very talented artist, author and film-maker, Victor Rook! Another wizard to add to the list. We are loving our new look and new price! Look for it on Amazon in May — we’ll keep you posted!

Our second spectacular new artist for Phillip’s Quest, book three and beyond, is my amazing cousin, Lorraine Gonda! Book III: Across the Elusive Sea, will be available in November, 2015. It’s already written and I’m itching (no Edward does not have fleas), for the book to be available to you — alas, brilliant artwork takes time! Unlike Annie, Lorraine uses a mixed media. Not only are her sketches amazing, but the coloration rocks the house! A sneak peek!

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Coming in November: Across The Elusive Sea! Art by Lorraine Gonda

This illustration was drawn from a passage in the last pages of Above the Stars, so if you haven’t read it … Needless to say, 2015 has been busy, already!

Before i sign off, the Winterfrost gang has partnered up with AIM-VA who is a part of the Helen Keller Foundation and have offices at George Mason University. AIM is the acronym for Assistive Instructional Materials. They, along with the Virginia Dept. of Education, provide FREE books — texts and literature, for children who cannot normally read. These children could be dyslexic, sight-impaired or physically unable to hold a printed book. All three books, Winterfrost, Above the Stars and The Ragwort Chronicles have been converted for use.

So, keep in touch and ENJOY, the new website, designed by Bethany Carlson of Artists Partner. Leave me a message, write us a review on Amazon or a note at: Winterfrost Publishing, PO Box 258, Manassas, VA 20108!

From all of us at Winterfrost Publishing — “Boots ‘n’ britches, find yourself a twisted oak to sit under and read!”

–Phillip Tuber, Publisher

Phillip Tuber

Phillip Tuber

Autumn in Twistedoak!

Autumn in Twistedoak is, like many other places, a time for harvest and celebration. Besides being the most beautiful time of year, the gnomes celebrate the coming of the new season on the day that they have equal hours of day and night. During that time, the Equinox, they complete the gathering of their food, and do their canning and preserving of that food for the winter.  This is all done in a communal setting. That is, the men of the village, up until age 300, get together and go from farm to farm to help with their neighbors’ harvest, while all the women meet in the square and set up a “kitchen” for doing the preserving. They work, all together, making sure that each and every resident of Twistedoak has enough food to get through the long winter months.

As soon as the sun sets, samples of the food that was prepared, along with other goodies, that are contributed by all, are laid out on several long tables. There is also plenty of mead and beer–gnomes are great brewmasters! A huge bonfire is built and all the gnomes eat, drink and dance and sing until the sun comes up!

Gnomes are workers. Besides being good farmers, they are the first “environmentalists.” Much of their day is spent on their farms, during the growing seasons, but when the season is over, they spend time in the forests, planting seeds and saplings that they care for, and grow to repopulate trees and as food for the animals. There are many gnomes, like Nonna Ragwort and Grandma Polli, who tend to injured animals that are brought to them. A gnome always helps a hurt or wounded animal.

The gnomes are very careful about the materials they use. They do not waste anything. Before the snow arrives, the homes of Twistedoak are supplied with dried berries and nuts, firewood and pinecones. They make sure that they have enough to care for their family.

The women are especially busy in the Fall.  That is their time for weaving and sewing. They use the fur and hair shed and combed from various creatures to create the cloth they need. Autumn is the best time to collect the shed animal hair, as it is much softer before the animals grow in their thick, winter fur.

This year, however, their routine has been disrupted. This year, they must prepare for another challenge, besides Winter. Goblins and trolls are the gnomes archenemies and when they are controlled by a witch… This Fall, in Twistedoak, Mr. Ragwort and Edward’s sister, Oli are preparing the once peaceful village of Twistedoak, for battle.  The “Battle of Twistedoak!”

Read about Phillip, in the land of Winterfrost, and his mission to save his brother, Phallow, and the village of Twistedoak from the onslaught of Razorsnoot and his goblin hoard! Book II, Above the Stars, tells of his adventure and the struggle of the Twistedoak gnomes to overcome the fight of their lives!

Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars will be available on ebook and in print on or before Dec.1, 2014. If you haven’t read Book I: Winterfrost, now is the time to read it!  Winterfrost is available, now, in ebook!  Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars is available for pre-order, through this website.

If you would like to receive a newsletter from Phillip and the gang, please complete the form on the sign-up page.  Thank you.

Wait to read in October, 2014

Wait to read in December, 2014

Live and in Color! Preorder “Above the Stars” on KICKSTARTER, NOW!

ATS KS Live Now

Phillip took a deep breath, and rose to his feet. He wiped his eyes with his sleeve and turned towards his companions.  With a stern, and focused voice, he said,

“LIVE from KICKSTARTER, it’s  “Above the Stars!”

Dear Friends,

Boots and britches! I am excited to announce that Book II of Phillip’s Quest: Above the Stars is available for pre-order on KICKSTARTER, today!

THANK YOU to everyone who has supported Phillip and myself on this journey to publication. Phillip’s Quest is a series of beautifully illustrated Middle Grade books of the tale of an ordinary garden gnome, Phillip Tuber, on an extraordinary quest and is the inspiration of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Lewis’s Narnia.

You can preorder your copy of Above the Stars on the KICKSTARTER site, until September 30–but, if you want to give Phillip, the book, and me a SPECIAL boost, please consider buying your copy today, on launch day, and help build an early momentum. And remember, if I do not reach my goal, I do not get one dime! All you have to do, to get to my KICKSTARTER page is click on the picture or the links embedded at the end of each paragraph!

In addition to the books, there are all kinds of great perks available at the campaign. They range from the original artwork of Dean Kuhta and Louise Goodchild to my own jewelry and an Italian dinner for four! Please check out the campaign for more details.

Again, many thanks for your support. I will be back in touch with campaign updates throughout the month of September! Ciao, grazie.

Love,

Belinda

PS – In case you’ve never visited KICKSTARTER before, or you don’t even know what it is, I’ve attached a little example that shows how to order something there.

KS pledging instructions 1KS pledging instructions 2KS pledging instructions 3

It’s a few easy steps. KICKSTARTER is the largest crowd funding platform in the world, having raised over $1Bn for creative projects like Above the Stars. They process payments through Amazon, the largest retailer in the world. So, preordering Above the Stars on KICKSTARTER is a snap!

And, just in case you missed the link, here it is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1907899413/above-the-stars

August is almost halfway gone…

“Good grief, Charlie Brown, it’s almost time for school!” Certainly, that phrase was said over and over again, by the wonderful Peanuts’ kids. And here we are again, almost mid August.

I don’t know about you, but my summer has definitely been eventful–in a good way. Every time I look at my blog page, I am more and more aware of how far the internet stretches. I see people from all over the world that have looked at my page. I wish I could meet them all. Regardless, thank you!

I think it takes a year for things to really start to percolate for a writer. As some of you know, my year–Phillip’s one year anniversary was July 7th. Since then, things just started to rock ‘n’ roll. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/061593739X&quot; title=“Phillip’s Quest, Book I: Winterfrost”>Winterfrost” has received new energy and new followers. The Gnome Gnewsletter was published and accepted by most. Personally, I would recommend a newsletter for any author. It allows one to get the word out to those who are not a fan of social media–yes there are some “un-fans.”

It certainly takes a village to market a book. So, I was able to put together a team of unbelievably professional women to help me out. From one of the sweetest and most brilliant ladies I know–Ms. Katherine Gotthardt, who helped me when I was a floundering guppy (floundering flounder?), to the amazing Bethany Joy Carlson, of The Artists’ Partner (my personal cheerleader and marketing guru), to the wonderful Jessica Parker and her team, at BookLogix Publishing Services, I couldn’t be in better hands.

So, Phillip will be ready for his next adventure without the bumps and bruises he suffered before. Can I just tell you how important it is to find the right people!

Our next endeavor happens September 1, 2014. The Kickstarter Campaign begins for Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars. Don’t let anybody kid you, it is definitely laborious. But, with the support of a great team, it can be done. We have put in many pledge rewards. There are different rewards listed for the level of pledge you make. When I say “pledge,” I mean MONEY! As I said, producing and marketing a book takes some outgo of cash to pay the team members and help defray other costs, so anything you can spare to keep Phillip’s Quest, on the shelves is very much appreciated.

September 18, 2014 will be the closing night for Virginia’s <a href="http://fallforthebook.org/2014/08/10/haute-cuisine-at-the-hylton/&quot; title="Fall for the Book”>Fall for the Book festival. The event starts in Fairfax, Virginia on September 11th at George Mason University and ends at the Hylton Center for the Arts in Manassas, Virginia–you can follow all the activities on their app. The event is a Haute Cuisine event and will have food tastings, demonstrations and discussions by a variety of chefs, foodies, cookbook authors and Cluadia Lefeve, a fellow author and friend. Oh! And me! From the recipes of “Winterfrost”, and “Above the Stars”, to the recipes from my Mom’s table. I was and am honored to have been chosen to participate and will be serving; Ivy’s Tater Dumplings, Phillip’s Mater and Hazlenut Sauce and one of the recipes from the new book!

This week, I was able to start scheduling my signings for the Christmas season and was thrilled when the owner of <a href="http://www.thethingsilovemanassas.com&quot; title=“The Things I Love”>The Things I Love, an exquisite shop in Old Towne Manassas, allowed me to do that on December 5, 2014, during the Tree Lighting Festival. This store and the downtown area comes alive and turns into a Winter Wonderland. I am thrilled, to say the least. Then, on Sunday, December 7th, I have another signing at <a href="http://www.flowergallerymanassas.com&quot; title=“The Flower Gallery”>The Flower Gallery. Another magical shop where I will be part of their Holiday Open House. Such a special opportunity and I am grateful.

Not to leave out one of my favorite events for November! I will again be reading to the children at Mayfield Elementary School–as I did last year.

So, this summer has flown by, but what a great summer it has been. Thank you to all my gnomes, fairies and angels! I’ve loved every minute.

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