Storystorm 2021

Storystorm 2021

Every January Tara Lazar, author, hosts Storystorm.

Participants read inspiring posts from published authors and illustrators.

Each post is filled with creativity, innovation, and imagination for picture book writers and illustrators.

Today is day fifteen and my journal is quickly filling up with thoughts and ideas for possible stories.

Registration is now closed to be eligible for prizes. However, you can still read all of the great content

My Storystorm Notebook from Michele Ziemke
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Move Forward With Smart Goals

   With a new beginning many review and reflect on the 2020 year and then move forward into 2021 by making personal and/or career resolutions.

   Did you make resolutions or did you set goals as a new year was ushered in?

Resolutions can be defined as a promise or a wish to do better. Most often resolutions are made with good intentions, purpose, and determination. However, by February many resolutions are left behind. They become abandoned resolutions.

    Most often goals include tangible objectives and plans for what one intends to accomplish all through determination. Goal setting provides direction to achieve desired outcomes. 

    To be more precise—set SMART goals.

To learn more about SMART goals read my post on the GROG Blog.

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Happy New Year 2021

It’s a new year. It’s a new beginning.

Wishing you a year filled with health, happiness, and many blessings.

Through faith and hope, the best is yet to come.

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Book Giveaway: EMPOWERING STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE of VOCABULARY by Mary Jo Fresch & David Harrison

Students who read are students who write. It’s a reciprocal process.

Teachers who encourage vocabulary development create stronger readers and writers.

Authors Mary Jo Fresch and David L. Harrison teamed up to write a resource book for teachers, EMPOWERING STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE OF VOCABULARY; LEARNING HOW LANGUAGE WORKS, GRADES 3-5, National Council of Teachers of English, 2020.

Five chapters share definitions and examples as students are introduced to the “Nyms Family”—Similes, Metaphors, Idioms, Figurative Language, Word origins, and more.

Teachers, readers, and writers are sure to find this book a handy resource tool.

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Merry Christmas

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.

Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And heaven and nature sing.

Nativity Set from Bethlehem

Let there be peace on earth as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

May your Christmas be merry and bright.

May your New Year be filled with wonder, good health, and happiness.

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Our Seven, Sweet, and Sometimes Sassy Grands

Johannah Elisabeth Palomo is 22 years old. J1 graduated from John Jay Science and Engineering Academy in 2016 as salutatorian. In May 2020, J1 graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas that included a policy research intern at ACLU. This fall she headed to University of North Carolina. This is her first year in a PhD program studying sociology. 


Joshua Alexander Palomo is 17 years old.A senior at Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas, J2 is currently third in his graduating class of 3,000+ enrollment. He plays the oboe and tenor sax. Scholarship opportunities are already coming his way for Ivy League colleges since he scored 1500 on his SAT. 

Joshua and Jaxon

Jaxon Zachariah Palomo is 13 years old.J3 aka “Red” attends Stinson Middle School where he is an 8th grader. Both he and Joshua participated in a dual language program elementary through middle school and are bilingual-English and Spanish. Red plays soccer and football.

Henry Owen Leopold is 14 years old.Mr. H attends Founders Classical Academy in Schertz, Texas [northeast of San Antonio] and is in 8th grade. Henry participated in a culinary school extra curricular program. He plays the violin. Henry even built his own computer.

Charlotte and Henry

Charlotte Eleanor Leopold is 10 years old.Miss C attends Founders Classical Academy and is in 5th grade. At one point she participated in music lessons with a cello. Charlotte participates in running events with a program called “Girls on the Run”. She likes to garden.

Lily Catherine Leopold is 11 years old.Lily is in 6th grade at Hoffman Lane Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas [north of San Antonio]. She enjoys reading, dancing, arts and crafts, and swimming in the backyard pool.


Lane Austin Leopold is 10 years old.Lane is a fifth grader at Hoffman Lane Elementary School. He is acquiring Spanish as a second language as he participates in a dual language program. Always full of energy, Lane is on the move. He rides his bike and swims.


Pa Perry and Oma Sue are proud of our seven grands.

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Thanksgiving Blessings

Sending sincere wishes for a meaningful and safe Thanksgiving Day.

I have all that I need and most of what I want. May we be grateful for our blessings.

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By Melissa Sweet

Juvenile nonfiction, Biography, 40 pages

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011

Tony Sarg, loved to figure out how things moved. R. H. Macy asked Tony to design the Macy’s department store holiday windows in New York. In 1924, the Macy’s employees were treated to a parade with the invention of the “upside-down marionettes” created by Tony. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade became a celebration for all on Thanksgiving Day. The type of helium Tony used continues to be used the today’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This biography about Tony, the marionette man, encourages creative, engineering inventions.

Grab a pair of scissors and print the following PDF file for a Balloons Over Broadway Activity Kit.

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Hello, Sunflower!

Hello, Sunflower!
Picked from my Illinois Prairie Garden


By Suzy Leopold

I begin as a seed— gray with stripes.

Planted in the garden. On a warm spring day.

My seed cracks. I sprout beneath the soil.

A root digs deep. A shoot breaks through. 

A seedling sprouts. I reach high into the sky.

Spring rains. Strong winds.

I stand tall and strong. 

Storm clouds part. Rays of sun return. 

My woody stem shows specks of green and purple.

Sunshine rays. Summer days.

Tight buds. Open slowly.

Petals appear. Blossoms unfurl.

Heart shaped leaves of chartreuse.

I am a sunflower making a debut.

Hello, world! I am a sunflower!

My smiling face follows the sun.

I stand tall and strong.

Pollinators gather.

Bees buzz. Butterflies hover. 

Harvesting pollen. Drinking my sweet nectar. 

Shorter days. A faint Summer sun. 

Blooms drop petals. Autumn is here!

My smiling face takes a bow.

Weight of many sunflower seeds cause my droopy head.

Left in the garden, I share my seeds.

Birds peck. Dropped seeds. Squirrels feast.

Forgotten seeds on the ground will germinate.

Cold winter days. A veil of snow.

I snuggle in the garden bed.

Waiting for the cycle to begin once again in Spring.

And welcome a smiling sunflower.

Hello, sunflower!

Thank you Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Sanchez for the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Fall Frenzy Writing Contest.

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Book Giveaway: WAY PAST WORRIED by Hallee Adelman
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