Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Interview with Billionaire Mark Cuban

Many of you may recognize billionaire Mark Cuban from the ABC show Shark Tank. I absolutely love this show and am always intrigued by what type of inventions the entrepreneurs develop and how the sharks react. 

There have been some really neat inventions that have been made famous due to this show. It's fun watching the sharks go head to head and the craftiest of them is billionaire Mark Cuban. Mr.Cuban is one of the most successful businessmen in America. And for you Dancing with the Stars fans he was on the 5th season and was eliminated after four weeks in the competition. I have to say that Mark did an excellent job and think they should have kept him around.(See video at the end of this interview.)

There are many mommies out there that dream of creating their own
business but haven't a clue where to start. What advice do you have for them? 

"Find something you love to do, can do on your own and doesn’t require any more capital than you can afford to lose personally. The most valuable asset you have is your time, talents and ability to communicate. Focus on those strengths and what you can do rather than what you can’t do."

There are many young moms who are just beginning their lives and can relate to you when you said you were sharing a small apartment with 6 people and sleeping on the floor.  How can someone keep their eye on the prize when they’re living on Ramen noodles?

"Who cares how you are living today? I loved every minute of living in
that dump. The low rent and utilities and eating Mac n’ Cheese all
the time allowed me to afford the startup of my business. Instead of
paying myself much, I could put it in to my business."

One part in your book I loved and my heart sank at is when your fiance lost your $7500 ring.  What's your advice for those moms out there who are distracted by a relationship? How do you balance a real life with your dreams?

"I never was able to balance. Each person has to make their own
decisions. But remember, your competitors aren’t sitting by idly
waiting for you to have a nice dinner with your significant other.
They are trying to kick your ass. So choose wisely."

You encourage entrepreneurs not to hire a public relations firm, Mark. How did you get the word out about your eBook?

"I tweeted, posted on Facebook, [used] Google Plus and responded to emails. Nothing more."

Where can we get a copy of your eBook, How to Win at the Sport of Business?

"Anywhere eBooks are sold: Amazon,, and sites that support independent bookstores too."

And for those of you who love movies please visit--- then send me an email for a chance to win two free tickets. In the email's subject line write free tickets. Deadline: December 24th. Happy Holiday's. Send to: publishedauthor at comcast dot net thanks!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Easy Christmas Wreath for the Moms

Here is a beautiful Christmas wreath that I made and it basically cost me a dollar for the wreath and another dollar for the ribbon ---plus things I had in my house.

Materials needed:
Pine wreath
Glue gun and glue sticks
Ribbon (for bow) 
String of lights (optional)
5-6 colored glass or plastic balls
Plastic snowflakes (optional)

Directions--Lay wreath on the table. Position ornaments and then glue with your hot glue gun. Position your bow and snowflakes then glue into place. After it dries add your string of lights and voila! you now have a beautiful wreath to display on your door or wall and it cost a fraction of what it costs in the stores today.

More holiday books--
Merry Christmas Stinky Face
Reviewed on Amazon--Fun, creative book for kids of all ages. We really enjoy the "Stinky Face" series of books. My only surprise was that it was a board book, but that's okay because I have a 2 and 7 year old. McCourt is so creative and if you don't have this book for Christmas, I'd suggest you get it. For more information

Humphrey's First Christmas 

Reviewed on Amazon---"Incredible art work, visually awesome for children and adults of all ages. The story is just as touching, Humphrey wanted his blanket, that he had lost so bad, and once he got it, he gave it as a gift to the baby Jesus, what a wonderful story of giving. A book that is a treasure for all generations. For more information


Snowman ball ornaments are simple and yet a fun craft. Here is what you are going to need:

Package of glass balls or white glitter balls
Miniature black pom-poms
Small red pom-poms
Craft glue
White paint
Fine White glitter
Gold pipe cleaners
Orange felt or pipe cleaner (for nose)

This craft is super simple. You can do it two ways. Either purchase clear white balls and paint them or purchase white glittery balls already done. Next follow  the picture as a guide and glue the mouth and eyes on your snowman's face. Next glue your nose  and ears muffs. Now take a gold pipe cleaner and cut to use as the center of your earmuffs. And voila! you have a beautiful snowman ornament!!

Here is another version I found on 
Snowman Ornament 

Snowman books:

Snowmen at Night
This is a fabulous book, certain to become a favorite! The creative story is written in rhyme, with clever use of humor along the way. The illustrations are breathtaking and silly. I have read this to my 3 year old, 5 year old twins and 8 year old twins. They can't get enough of the fun snowman antics. I've also read this to a Pre-K class and 3rd grade class. ALL CHILDREN HAVE RESPONDED POSITIVELY to this charming story. The best surprise is when you read the last page and learn about hidden images in the book. After reading this book 5 or 6 times we are still finding new images, like the snowman face in the moon. For more info

Snowman (Snow Shakers) 

For more info

Christmas Cheer Ornament

Every year at Christmas time we have a tradition. My tradition is to buy my daughter an ornament. I have been doing this ever since she was an infant and I try to coincide in with whatever the favorite thing is that year. 

Well,in 2009 my daughter was really into cheerleading.
She cheered for the Bayhawks. I couldn't find a blue and white cheer ornament however I did find a cheer ornament in red at Walmart...(and it was only a dollar.) 

I purchased the ornament and then painted it blue and white to match my daughter's school colors. I even made the outfit look just like the one she wore for cheering. I even wrote "Bayhawks" on the jersey to make it authentic! 

Let me tell you that ornament was a hit. It just goes to show you that you don't have to spend lots of money to give your child something special. Make it personal,give them something special that represents them and they will love it.

More holiday books:

The Night Before Christmas
Reviewed on Amazon--"A Must Have for Kids from 1-92! Thanks to this special story, children across the globe go to sleep every Christmas Eve dreaming magical, wonderous dreams that only kids can dream! Save this book for a special, single reading that takes place just once a year - on the night before Christmas. It will become a holiday memory your little elves will cherish for life!"

Bright Baby Touch & Feel Merry Christmas 

Reviewed on Amazon--Cute book!
Our 11 mo. old loves this book. Plays with it all the time. Small, simple and fun to touch. Great little board book!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

Had a very shiny nose.....I love, love, love Christmas!!!! In fact tomorrow we will put our decorations up for Christmas. YAH!!!! One of my favorite children's holiday songs is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Maybe you like this one too or perhaps you have your own favorite.Here is a cute reindeer craft that is easy to make and adorable for the holiday.

Materials Needed:
Brown Foam
Wiggly Eyes
Craft Glue
Green Foam
Red Pom-Pom
Tan Foam
Ribbon(if you want to hang it up) or magnet (to stick on the fridge.)

Reindeer Templates

Print templates and cut out. Once you cut out lay the templates on the foam and trace then cut out the design.

Glue ears and antlers onto the head of Rudolph. Once they are in place and secure you can wrap the wreath around Rudolph's neck and glue securely into place.

Now it's time to decorate. You can either use my picture of Rudolph as a guide and decorate to your satisfaction. Whatever you do have fun!

Books related to our topic:
Reindeer Christmas
Reviewed on amazon--"Another true classic from Mark Moulton with a wonderful storyline, lyrical narrative and incredibly beautiful artwork by Karen Good. Scarecrow Pete was my first introduction to these books and this, plus The Secret Santa of Olde Stonington, will complete all the Moulton books I have purchased for a collection for my grandchildren." For more info

The Reindeer Christmas
Reviewed on Amazon--"Without a doubt, Morozumi's illustrations are the most beautiful we have seen. The story tells of Santa's decision to use reindeer instead of other animals to make his deliveries. Read this book to see how they were chosen. This continues to be a favorite in our household." For more info

Angelic Craft

We love angels in my house. I collect them and have them hanging on a wall in my hallway. This cute little angel my daughter helped to make when she was about 3 or 4 years old.

Materials Needed:
White Foam
Yellow Foam (or Gold--if you can find it.)
Flesh Foam 
Some gold or silver trim (fabric isle)
Craft Glue
Permanent Marker
Gold metallic Pipe Cleaner 
White Lace

Open the template and cut the pieces out. Lay on top of foam and trace with a pen. Once you do that you can cut your foam pieces out. Glue arms to white body. Glue round head to top of body. Now you are ready to glue the wings to the back and the hands and feet.

Once everything is secure in place you can begin decorating. Just look at the pictures to see how to decorate or use your own style and decorate how you see fit. Doing crafts you can be as creative as you wish. As you can see my angel is different from my daughter's and that's makes yours unique.

Angel Template

Books related to our project--
Christmas Angels: Read and Share
For more info

Little Angels' Book of Christmas

Ho,Ho,Ho...Santa Claus is coming to town

Well...Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten. Bellies are full and people are traveling back home after a fun filled Thanksgiving. Now it's time to think about Christmas crafts and here is a cute idea for the older kids and Mom.

Materials needed:
red embroidery thread
white embroidery thread
green embroidery thread
craft glue or glue gun (with supervision)
permanent marker
red felt
little white pom-pom

Santa Claus-
Step#1---Take two toothpicks and wrap each pick tightly with red embroidery thread.
Once you have wrapped the arms cut the tread and glue the end piece to hold it in place. 

Step#2--Now take 1 clothespin and wrap each leg in red embroidery thread. After you wrap the second leg continue wrapping up to the neck of the clothespin. The round part of the clothespin is the head of Santa Claus. Once you secure the thread you can proceed to the next step.

Step#3--Glue arms to body. Once the arms are secure you can take the red thread and go around the entire body (chest area) to help with securing the arms.

Step#4--Once arms are secure you need to add white thread around Santa's legs and waist...and create his beard. I created his beard by taking a bit of white thread and gluing it to his face but you could also use a white cotton ball if this is easier for you.

Step#5--Make a little hat out of red felt and glue it to Santa's head. Once it is secure you can wrap some white embroidery thread around the base of the hat so that it looks like Santa's hat. Glue a little white pom-pom to the end of the hat and voila!

Step#6--Take your permanent black  marker and make Santa a happy face.

And some terrific Holiday Books---
Room for a little one:A Christmas Tale
Reviewed on Amazon--"My daughter is 19 months old and loves this book, which was a surprise to me. She loves finding the mouse, which is very small and somewhat difficult to find. The animals are very real-looking, which is kinda eery, but very beautiful. My daughter enjoys pointing out Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. It is definitely a beautiful book with a neat story. A great christmas gift!" For more info

Merry Christmas, Stinky Face
We really enjoy the "Stinky Face" series of books. My only surprise was that it was a board book, but that's okay because I have a 2 and 7 year old. McCourt is so creative and if you don't have this book for Christmas, I'd suggest you get it. For more info

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

 from Fran and Friends

What does thanksgiving mean to you? To me it means a special day spent with family and friends. A day to be extra thankful and show those I love what they mean to me. 

It means turkey and the trimmings, love, fun and just bliss. It also means unbuttoning our pants to make room for! Come on you know you have done it. What does it mean to you? 

Do you ever wonder where this holiday came from? Well...According to Wikipedia--"Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the United States. Because of the longstanding traditions of the holiday, the celebration often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated."

Wikipedia also suggests that---"its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. There is also evidence for an earlier celebration on the continent by Spanish explorers in Texas at San Elizario in 1598, as well as thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony. The initial thanksgiving observance at Virginia in 1619 was prompted by the colonists' leaders on the anniversary of the settlement. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. In later years, the tradition was continued by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.

"Many historians point out that the first thanksgiving celebration in the United States was held in Virginia, and not in Plymouth. Thanksgiving services were routine in what was to become the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607.  A day of Thanksgiving was codified in the founding charter of Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia in 1619."
Here is a wonderful audio link to a story for children from Scholastic. 
To all my friends and family---

Turkey Napkin Rings

With thanksgiving approaching quickly you will want to do these napkin rings rather quickly. (Sorry, I'm behind---I am recovering from hand surgery.)

Materials needed:
Float Wooden spoons (you can purchase at craft store.You will need 5 for each ring)
Craft paint (basic colors)
Paper Towel or toilet paper tube
Wiggly eyes
Craft glue
Red felt 

Cover area with newspaper. Paint 6 of the wooden spoons in a variety of colors but make sure you paint 1 yellow for it's head.(this will be the tail of the turkey.) Now cut a 2" section of the roll and paint it brown. Glue pieces together and voila you have a thanksgiving day napkin ring. You can take it one step further and add name cards if you wish. Just type the names in a fancy font in word on your computer and print on card stock. Once you print the names out,cut in uniform rectangles and glue to front of the turkey.


Thanksgiving books:
Five Silly Turkeys
Reviewed on Amazon--"I bought this book on sale and planned to save it for Thanksgiving. My five month old son loved it so it is one we read a lot now. This board book has five "feathers" that make that crinkle sound babies love. I didn't give it five stars because ideally it would have a better coating around the feathers to protect it a little more from all the chewing it is forced to endure." For more info

Thanks for Thanksgiving
Reviewed on Amazon--From floating leaves to the family we love, THANKS FOR THANKSGIVING illustrates the grateful attitude in action through a child's eyes as he observes his family preparing for the big turkey Feast and plays through the many ordinary, special moments with his family members in the traditions that impart meaning to this all-important American holiday. Elegantly simple rhymes appear on every page meshed with marvelous watercolors that capture each theme. These are pictures worth more than a thousand words about turkey and pie, school and music, play dates with siblings, friends and pets, winter activities & bedtime routine with daddy and mommy, and finally passing that moonlit night to welcome together grandparents and relatives for a round table full of food - a delicious celebration of family life and a visual appreciation for Thanksgiving." For more info

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Day is almost here...

Sorry folks I was incapacitated due to hand surgery.

There are so many beautiful leaves still falling from the trees. It would be a festive idea to pick these leaves and either tie or tape them to some yarn or string as a decoration for thanksgiving day.

If you can't find leaves then why not make your own and color them in the "colors of autumn".

Another fun thing to make are leaf placemats to sit on the table. Use a sturdy 11x14 cardboard,glue leaves to cardboard and cover with transparent contact paper or laminate. You can write each persons name on the mat before laminating.

Thanksgiving books--
Happy Thanksgiving 

Things to Make and Do for Thanksgiving (Things to Make and Do Book) 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Handprint Turkey

It's almost turkey time. Thanksgiving will be here on November 24th. Here is an easy craft for children.

Materials needed:

Paint or crayons
Sturdy paper plates
Construction paper
Colored feathers
Wiggly eyes
Duck Tape
Hole puncher

TEMPLATE (I made a template for those who need one.)

Directions: (Requires adult supervision.)
  1. First either use the template or trace your hand onto brown construction paper.
  2. After tracing hand, slowly and carefully cut the hand out.
  3. Now glue the hand to your paper plate.
  4. Next decorate and make as pretty as you wish,use your imagination.
  5. If you do not have feathers you can improvise with colored construction paper. Just cut out some feather shapes and glue onto plate. (They will go right where your fingers are on the cut out hand.)
  6. Now trace and cut out the wattle. The wattle is red.
  7. Once you cut out then glue under your turkey's chin.
  8. Now trace two yellow legs for your turkey.
  9. Once they are cut out glue onto your turkey.
  10. Finish by glueing some big wiggly eyes onto your turkey.
  11. Punch a hole into the paper plate and attach a ribbon so you can hang your turkey up for thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Books--
The Littlest Pilgrim
Reviewed on Amazon--"This is a very sweet story with which many little kids (especially ones with big brothers and sisters!) can identify. The book is about Mini, a pilgrim who wants to help. But everyone is too busy or she's too little to help with any chores. What makes this book unique is the setting. She's wanting to help stack wood and mend dresses and bake bread... all of these activities can lead to great questions/discussions about early Americans. So cute!" For more information

The First Thanksgiving
Reviewed on Amazon--"I like this book, it has cute pictures, but the story doesn't really flow well especially with the flaps. There are a lot of flaps on some pages and 1 on others. Some have words under the flaps, some don't. It's just kind of awkward. The story is nice and so are the pictures, but the flaps kind of ruin it all." For more information

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Corn Craft

This is an easy to make craft for the little ones.


  • Print corn template and cut out the pieces.
  • Now trace the pieces onto construction paper or card stock (which I preferr) and cut.
  • Place the corn and husk onto cardboard to make strogner and glue in place.
  • Cover the center corn piece with a layer of glue.
  • Add beans to the glue. You can toss them onto the glue or place one at a time---either way will work just fine.
The finished product should look something like this.

Book realated to thanksgiving---

                                             Ten Fat Turkeys
Reviewed on Amazon---"This cute book counts down the 10 fat turkeys-great for the holidays. One by one, each turkey leaves the fence in a creative way. This book is good for the pre-schooler learning to count or learning the concept of subtraction. The illustrations are great! The turkeys looks as if they have their own personalities, and their facial expressions are adorable. Great buy!" For more information

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Turkey Day is Coming

Here is a fun craft that is easy for the little ones Toilet Paper Roll Turkey.

And a coloring page ---Right click save as and then print or just click print target.

Books related to Thanksgiving--
What Is Thanksgiving?
Reviewed on Amazon---"A quick and easy reminder to toddlers what Thanksgiving is all about. Only caution is that is does have a religious theme so if you are not Christian, you may not like it. I personally loved it and found it a perfect way to explain the real meaning behind Thanksgiving (other than the food, the football, the parade). It rhymes and its short so good really for any age." For more info

Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks
Reviewed on Amazon--"This is a very cute Thanksgiving book. My boys (ages 3 & 6) do seem to enjoy it and do tell me what they are thankful for, after seeing some of the things in the book. It was a bit shorter than I expected though, but otherwise a nice book." For more info