Keep it Clean Kids!

I think this post has the potential to not only help authors, but anyone who wants to do other activities in addition to keeping a pretty clean house. Keeping my house clean and working takes a ton of time, so anything to help make the process more efficient is fantastic. The faster the house is clean, the more time I have to write. I'm learning that maintenance is key!

My two kiddos are old enough now, that they can help. Yep, they actually help. A month or so ago, I created, and taped on a wall, a routine they can follow every day. They get to put a sticker on for each completed task. I'm a gold star kind of person, I think most people especially kids love a sticker reward! I posted my routine chart on Facebook today, and a couple friends wanted a copy. I figured if there are two people it could help, there are probably more people who need something like it!

Many parts of my routine come from the website You can check out swish and swipe there (bathroom maintenance, quick wipe of the counters and a swish in the toilet with a toilet brush.) She's got lots of great ideas, I do some of them. The form I use is in Excel on my Mac. Make it personal for you, or for your kids. I'll share what I have for myself another time. It started as a paper, now it's in my phone calendar. Anyway, here's my kiddos chart. I write their name on the top of their chart:

Daily Routine and Chores for Kids
Now, don't expect perfection from yourself or your kids! Keep a good attitude and make a game of it. "Let's see how many stickers we can get today!" After a month, my kids took action today to see how many they could get. They even worked ahead to the afternoon piano practice. Be patient and know that a little at a time creates good habits, which in the end produce a clean, or at least more clean home, and more time to write.

The One-Worded Book

At our most recent trip to the library, I found a gem of a book! We took it along with the rest of our haul on vacation. I read it to my kiddos before bedtime after a day of playing in the snow in the woods. I laughed, my kids laughed, my mother-in-law laughed and told my husband he had to read it, and he laughed! It was fun, simple, and endearing. The book is called Ball. On the front it reads, "Word and pictures by Mary Sullivan."

Don't let his sad look fool you, this dog loves to play! I had interrupted his dinner. Rocky will fetch his ball until the cows come home!

There was no need for more than one word, it was brilliant! Although ball is the only word used for dialogue, emotion and expression are not lacking! The characters are adorable. Through the illustrations and the annotation of the word ball, the dogs personality is clear. An enjoyable book for anyone, but we particularly loved it because it reminded us of Rocky.

As I think about what I can learn from this book as I move forward, a couple things come to mind. First, illustration can make or break a story. As an author who will likely have no say in the matter, it makes me nervous. Dialogue can certainly keep the pace of a story where it needs to be, but with good illustration, it's not the only method that should/could be used.

That's it for now! I've got some work to do!

Here's Mary Sullivan's website: