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How to Make Friendship Pie, beyond the book activity

Want an easy recipe that you can make with the kids? Let’s make Friendship Pie.

It’s tasty, simple, and pairs perfectly with my newest children’s book release: Princess Winnabelle and the Friendship Pie. It’s a sweet and empowering story for girls – with a fun message of friendship and teamwork baked inside!

Follow the recipe below for a ‘beyond the book’ extension activity. I suggest making two – one for your family and one for a friend. I mean, it is Friendship Pie, it’s meant to be shared!

Grab a free digital version of the book here.

Or get the paperback here.

Tag me when you post a picture online, I’d love to hear who you shared your friendship Pie with! (@StoriesbyJKCoy FB and IG)

Photo Credit: Unknown

Friendship Pie Recipe

Makes One 9″ pie

Ingredients:

*two 9″ pie crusts

*9″ pie pan

*7 cups fresh berries (or frozen) – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

*1 cup sugar

*1 Tbsp lemon juice

*4 Tbsps Corn Starch

*2 Tbsps Butter

*1 large egg white beaten with a fork

*heart cookie cutter (optional)

Princess Winnabelle and the Friendship Pie, Beyond the book activity

Instructions:

  1. Add berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a large saucepan on the stove and heat on medium
  2. Simmer until warm and juicy (about 5-10 minutes) – stir occasionally
  3. Spoon out about 1/2 cup of the juice from the saucepan to a bowl. Stir cornstarch in to the juice until smooth
  4. Bring saucepan of berries back to a simmer and slowly pour the cornstarch mixture in. Stir gently until thickened (2-5 min)
  5. Remove pan from heat and stir in the butter, then allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie crust in a 9″ pie pan.
  6. Use heart cookie cutter to cut out a heart from the center of the additional unbaked pie crust
  7. Lay the 2nd pie crust on top of the berry pie and pinch the top and bottom pie crusts together. Optional: Brush a thin layer of beaten egg white over the top of the pie and sprinkle with a pinch of extra sugar
  8. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40-45 min. Check it at 25 minutes and place a piece of tinfoil over the top if the crust is getting too brown
  9. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Allow it to cool for several hours. Once cooled completely, cut it and serve, or cover it and put it in the fridge to serve the next day.

Tip: You can freeze the baked pie for up to three months! Thaw overnight in the fridge then set it out and let it get to room temperature to serve.

Princess Winnabelle and the Friendship Pie available on Amazon – part of the Smart Girl Fairy Tale Series

What to Feed Your Toddler Next: 5 Easy, Healthy Recipes

When my daughter entered the finger food stage, I was elated. We could all sit down together to eat as a family. I didn’t have to airplane homemade baby food purees into her mouth between each bite I took.

As a writer, I sometimes get asked to do fun things like write a guest post for an important site like Kindred Bravely, or read one of my stories to kids in the hospital via a virtual story time. This makes my day.

The Coys

If you have a toddler at home, check out this guest post –

5 Easy Finger Food Recipes for Babies and Toddlers

When my daughter entered the finger food stage, I was elated. We could all sit down together to eat as a family. I didn’t have to airplane homemade baby food purees into her mouth between each bite I took. We could even eat some of the same foods. It was messy, but it was exciting.

It would have been easy to just let her live on the snack foods she immediately liked. But I wanted to make sure she was also eating real, nutrient-rich foods that helped her grow. And truth be told, I didn’t want her to grow up like me – a kid who exclusively craves Pop-Tarts and whipped cream and doesn’t eat vegetables until college (only a slight exaggeration).

Continue reading…

The Coys

Parents, How Are Your Emotions Handling this Crisis?

Parents – If you’re emotions are vacillating from day to day (or moment to moment), I encourage you to print these words and hang them somewhere your family can reflect on them daily.

How are your emotions handling this crisis? That’s a loaded question, isn’t it?!

I’ve thought about it the last few days, and as a parent of two little ones, here’s where I stand…

Obviously, I want this to pass. I want our nations health and economy to be in a better place, I want to move on to making plans and looking forward to the future, I want to wear fewer hats in a single day, and I want to have people over.

On the other hand, I know as soon as all this is over, I’m going to deeply miss it. Specifically, the extra family time, a mostly unhurried pace, and being pushed to try new things that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

Even in knowing that I’ll miss it, I often get frustrated right now.

My husband and I work full-time and have two young kids in the house – two and four. The house is loud and messy. My husband and I manage work and parenting in two hour blocks, always feeling one step behind in each. All of our plans that we were looking forward to for months are slowly being cancelled. And my four year old reminds me daily that she just wants to play at the park and hug her friends.

I know sweetie. Me too.

And thus, my grumpiness creeps in. This crisis highlights some not-so-pretty traits about myself that I don’t have to face often when life is “normal.”

And my feelings are real and valid, but it doesn’t serve me, or my family, to spend too much time hanging out with my negative attitude.

If we let ourselves think something for too long, it becomes our reality.

So I decided that my brain was in need of a new, more positive, default message. One I could read every day, like a mantra or prayer, to start my emotional responses from a better, more serving, space.

I can’t always control circumstances, but I am in charge of my reactions. If I fill my heart and mind with good, good is more likely to pour out when I’m pressed in uncomfortable situations. So I wrote down the positive thoughts I want to start my day with, and hung them in my home.

If you’re emotions are vacillating from day to day (or moment to moment), I encourage you to print these words and hang them somewhere your family can reflect on them daily.

Choosing This Moment - Quarentine Mantra or Prayer by JK Coy

Here is the 8×10 .pdf: Choosing This Moment – Quarantine Mantra or Prayer by JK Coy

If you’re a parent of young kids and need some reading material, check out these titles.

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From Concept to Published, a Princess Story

Back in October I posted thirty writing prompts for the month of November.

The first story is already published!

Back in October I posted thirty writing prompts for the month of November.

I can’t believe how that one thing has helped propel me this year. Every day I showed up and wrote something new. Now I’m using those stories to help me determine what to release this year.

The first story is already published!

Princess Winnabelle and the Missing Jewels released last week.

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Amazon Book Description:

Perfect for little princesses that believe a hero can be fierce, fun, and fancy!

All is well in the magical Land of Five Lagunas…until a stubborn little mouse moves in.

In this modern fairy tale, the sweet and spunky Princess Winnabelle doesn’t have time to worry if her fancy dress gets dirty. She is busy learning lessons that will make her a leader one day.

When Kya Mouse ruins the peace and tries to take over the throne in the magical Land of the Five Lagunas, Winnabelle gets to practice her creative problem-solving and smart negotiation skills.

The sweetest bedtime story you’ll read all year! Girls 3-8yrs. adore this fairy tale, and parents can’t help but fall for it too.

But will that be enough to save the day?
Is this really a job for a little princess?!

Find out now.
Buy the paperback and start reading the kindle version for FREE!

***

My plan is to publish three books this year, and I love having a backlog to pick from. Come November, I plan to do this exact challenge again.

Was it hard to show up every day and fit in it? Yes.

I had to get creative. Not just in the writing, but in the ‘how’ of fitting it in.

One day it was over voice memo as I drive back from Vegas.

Anther day it was on a plane while traveling for Thanksgiving.

Some days it was at 6 a.m. before the kids woke,

and many days it was while they were running around shouting at the top of their lungs (one of their favorite activities).

But in thirty days I wrote thirty stories.

And less than six months later, I am holding a printed copy in hand.

#1 new release PWMJ

Want to hear it read out loud? Check it out Here!

Or, you can grab your own copy of Amazon Here🙂 Share it with your Princess tonight.

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FREE Kids Activity: Plan your Best Trip Ever using the Five Senses

Extended breaks mean more activities to entertain the kids. Here’s a free video where I read one of my children’s books in its entirety + a fun activity to pass the time

Sometimes you just need something to entertain the kids for a few minutes while you prep dinner or send an email.

Other times you have entire days you need to fill: summer vacation, spring break, illness, weekends, quarantines…you feel me.

So…

I’m sharing a video where I read one of my children’s books in its entirety: Best Trip Ever!

Additionally I’m sharing a free resource to help extend this activity. It’s educational and fun!

After Watching the Video, follow along with the activity below.

I’ve included modifications for different age and learning preferences.

FREE Kids Activity:

Plan your Best Trip Ever using the Five Senses

 

 

Opening: You’ve just listened to the story “Best Trip Ever” now let’s plan our own exciting trip! We can do this by thinking about the things we would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear on our adventure. This is called using our five senses.

First let’s brainstorm where we would like to go if you were planning your own Best Trip Ever.

(Jot down a few ideas and pick one)

*For older kids encourage them to choose somewhere they have never been, younger kids will need a point of reference, possibly use somewhere they have been a few times*

Once you know where you would plan a trip, think about what you would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear while there.

Options (pick one – think of your child and how they like to engage):

  • Ask your child to find an object around the house, or in the yard, that represents what they would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear on their trip – for younger children, walk around with them and focus on one sense at a time
  • Write the five sense down and make a list under each of the things on your trip
  • Write out a story of where you would travel and what you would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear while there
  • Do the same as above, but leave out where you are traveling to and see if a parent or sibling can guess the location based on your sensory description

For more books and activities to help keep everyone happy and sane during extended breaks, follow my Facebook or Instagram @StoriesbyJKCoy

May the days be filled with making memories

and may the kids *pretty please* sleep in!

Cheers fellow parents.

 

New Release coming this Spring:

Princess Winnabelle and the Missing Jewels

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How to Write 30 Children’s Stories in 30 Days

#ChiBoWriMo 30 Writing Prompts for Children’s Books. Read on for thirty writing prompts to keep you motivated. 

I’ve fallen off the wagon.

This last year has felt out of sorts.

In the last two months, we have…

…said goodbye to our dog of fifteen years

…our 3.5 yr old daughter left the daycare she had been at since she was four months old and started at a new preschool

…we sold our house

…we bought a new house and did a large remodel in thirty days

…then we moved and went right into having house guests visit

All that to say, I need some routine in my life. Especially in my writing.

My birthday was this week and I’d like to start the year off right.

I want to help you gain a feeling of accomplishment too.  So whether you have thought it would be fun to write your own children’s book, or you just need a new goal to flex your creative muscle, I’ve got something for you!

Come November, you often hear the writing community discussing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Their goal is to finish a 50k word manuscript in the month of November.

It’s a great goal, but it doesn’t translate to those of us that want to write children’s books.

So in an effort to get motivated and try something new, I’m challenging myself to write 30 children’s books in 30 days. One book a day in the month of November,

Sure, these will not all be gems. I know that. But the goal is all about creating routine and space for creativity to come out.

Want to write 30 stories too??? I’m starting #ChiBoWriMo (Children’s Book Writing Month), and you can join me!

(yes I totally just made up #ChiBoWriMo)

Read on for thirty writing prompts to keep you motivated.  Then use #ChiBoWriMo online if you want to share your progress for accountability.

#ChiBoWriMo: 30 Writing Prompts for Children’s Books

  1. Write a story about a pet
  2. Write a short, silly rhyme for 1-3 yr olds (think Sandra Boynton)
  3. Write a story about a bubble bath gone wrong
  4. Write a story where they live in a strange location (spaceship, treehouse, etc)
  5. Write a story about how to promote kindness in the world
  6. Write a story about ice cream
  7. Write a story about kids that sell something
  8. Write a story about a free day with no routine
  9. Write a story about a unique animal
  10. Write a story explaining how you would make new friends if you moved to a new place
  11. Write a story about a grumpy object
  12. Write a story about a hair cut
  13. Write a story about something strange happening at the library
  14. Write a story that has a game element to it
  15. Write a story about an animal that is part of the circus
  16. Write a story about a secret door
  17. Write a story that pulls from a fond childhood memory
  18. Write a story on a hot topic for kids (use google to research)
  19. Write a story that has a character with a growth mindset
  20. Write a poem
  21. Write a story about a food eating contest
  22. Write a story about a shocking gift from a crazy aunt
  23. Write a story about the profession you wanted as a kid
  24. Write a story that revolves around one emotion
  25. Write a story about a child that woke up and was all of a sudden an adult
  26. Write a story about a never-ending supply of something totally normal (floss, paper plates, shoes, etc)
  27. Write a story about your car breaking down and having to ride your bike everywhere
  28. Write a story about waiting in line for a very long time (think about everything you might observe)
  29. Write a story about never growing up
  30. Write a story about something random you find in a junk drawer

 

Happy Writing!

Now I’m off to do ALL the Halloween things.  Thankfully I finally had kids so that I don’t have to be the creepy adult trick or treater in the neighborhood – anymore-:)

 

 

 

 

 

A Shout-Out to the ‘All-in’ Dads

Parenting doesn’t have to be attached to gender roles. Thankfully, it can be a team sport where we back each other up and fill in each other’s gaps.

To the ‘All-in’ Dads out there, we see you.

The Dads that…
Wake up at 4a.m. to console tears, make scrambled eggs for breakfast, pick out twinning shoes for them and their mini-me, make homemade baby food and pack lunches, braid hair and brush teeth, do the daycare/school drop-off, go to work, handle doctors appointments on lunch breaks, always carry the diaper bag, cheerlead at swim lessons and send photos from soccer practice, clean up vomit and pee sheets, make the best forts and sidewalk chalk art, get silly dancing in the kitchen with their little fam, and then wrap up the day with a bedtime routine that includes story-time character voices, laughter, lullabies, and back scratches.

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Photo Credit: @Johnlegend Instagram

But even so, sometimes Dads get shorted just because they’re not Moms. Like a Dad’s contribution to his children is less significant because he doesn’t ‘do it all,’ and ‘needs the Mom.’

Sure, they didn’t carry their children inside them for nine months, or experience breastfeeding firsthand, but the longer women hold on to the idea that they are the one-and-only capable caregiver, the longer they belittle a Dad’s amazing assistance.

Ideally, no parent should be expected to have to do it on their own. Plenty of Dads totally step-up it when it comes to parenting these days, and spoiler – they are making Moms’ lives easier too.

dad reading to kids, best dad ever

Parenting doesn’t have to be locked to gender roles, especially in homes where both parents work. Thankfully, it can be a team sport where we back each other up and fill in each other’s gaps.

It’s about knowing each-other’s parenting strengths, joys, and weaknesses. But beyond that, it’s about stepping up as-needed for the good of our families.

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Photo Credit: @therock Instagram

‘All in’ Dads, we see you going to bed satisfied and exhausted from killing this fatherhood thing all day.

We are lucky to have you, we appreciate the help you provide, and your children are better off by the fatherhood examples you set every day.

In short, thank you.

 

***

Traveling with children? You’ll love my next book. ‘Best Trip Ever’ will be out July ’19. Want to join the Launch Team and get an early copy of the book FREE?

Sign up here – and include the words ‘Launch Team’ in the subject.

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Five Unconventional First Birthday Gifts

If you’re not sure you want to host a reception-sized baby bash or add another toy to the growing piles taking over your home, I’ve got your back.

My daughter’s first birthday was a special milestone I had been looking forward to for weeks.  But after stressing about the big birthday bash with our first, I vowed not to make the same rookie mistake when our second daughter turned one.

Instead we took a more unconventional approach to celebrating our second daughter’s first year.

If you’re not sure you want to host a reception-sized baby bash or add another toy to the growing heap taking over your home, I’ve got your back. Here are some unconventional gifts perfectly suited for your one year old.

Top 5 Unconventional 1st Birthday Gifts:

Write Their Birth Story – You’ve probably been thinking about jotting down notes from the day your baby entered your world, but it takes time and you haven’t had a lot of that in the last year.  Now is the perfect time to prioritize it.  The little details from that special day fade so quickly.  Sit down with a cup of coffee and spend some time reflecting on the day you met your little one.  Quickly write down all the little things that come to mind, then go back and put it in story form.  Need some inspiration to get started?  Read my birth story here. Finally, print out a couple of photos from that day to accompany the story.  It may even become a fun tradition to read your little one the story of their birthday every year on their big day!  If you’ve already recorded their birth story, you could write your child a letter telling them all the fun ways you’ve watched them grow and change over the last year!

Professional Photos – Baby’s one year birthday is a great time to capture the little personality that they are growing in to.  They likely have a few teeth that make an adorable little grin, and they can sit up, laugh, crawl, maybe even walk!  Plus, they aren’t old enough to complain about getting their picture taken yet.  Stop by the grocery store on the way to pick up a small cake. Then let them have fun getting messy at the end of the photo shoot.  You may even want to get in on the cake action; you did just survive your first year of parenting this little bebe!

Create a Will – Sorry, this one is full fledged adulting.  And while we all hope we will never need a will while our children are young, it’s not fair to your children not to address the topic early.  You need to spend some time thinking about who you would want to care for your children in your absence, any burial details, and how you would want your assets taken care of.    It’s not something anyone wants to focus on, but someday it will be a huge blessing to your children that you took the time to plan ahead.  In this case, the sooner the better if you don’t already have a will in place.

Indulge in a Date Night – To be clear, no kids allowed.  After a fun and busy first year, Mom and Dad need to make time to connect.  The first year of a child’s life is an amazing times in many ways, but it is also a time where your adult relationship takes a backseat to baby.  If you haven’t left your little one with a sitter yet, this is a good age to give it a try.  Baby is likely eating solids and sleeping through the night.  I promise your one year old won’t know if you get out without them, but you and other half will be beyond grateful.  Modeling what a happy couple does to STAY happy is an amazing gift we can give our children.  It’s so important, yet often overlooked.  Get out your calendar and schedule the time now.

Open a Savings Account – In less than thirty minutes you can open a savings account for your child wherever you like to bank.  While there, set up an auto transfer from your account to theirs.  By the time they reach eighteen you will have casually saved over $20k in their name by adding just $100 a month.  The auto transfer part is key.  Don’t let it be a choice each month, instead set it up to happen without fail.  Bonus: If you are lucky enough to have family members that like to buy your kids things, consider asking them to donate to their savings account instead, or at least some of the time (because every once in a while it’s fun for them to get something from the wish list)!

***

This entire list has been personally curated and tested by yours truly, a mother of a one year old.

Need something fun to accompany these gift ideas?

This book  has become a favorite for parents to share with their little ones. “Bought this for my daughter, and the first time I read it to her I could relate to every page, by the end I had tears. It nails parenting on the head.” – 5 Stars on Amazon

A FREE Book to Start the New Year – Today and Tomorrow Only!

The book is packed full of tips for those interested in the idea of a minimal intervention birth plan, and the second half of the book is dedicated to empowering and detailed birth stories.

The week ahead is pretty monumental.  It’s a fresh start – a new year!

Many of us are in the middle of goal setting. If you want to read my thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions (hint: run from them) and some of my goals for the upcoming year, click here.

I actually heard from a friend today that said her goal is to read one book a week.  Wow.  That’s impressive.  And though that is not my goal this year, I love the idea of reading more. I know many of us hope to read more in 2019.

So in honor of helping others start the new year on the right foot – I am giving away my latest release for FREE ($9.95 value) on Amazon – today and tomorrow only!

Because You Are Superwoman birth.JPG

The book is packed full of tips for those interested in the idea of a minimal intervention birth plan, and the second half of the book is dedicated to empowering and detailed birth stories.

I’d love for you to share this with friends and family that would love to get their hands on their first read for 2019.

Cheers to your best year yet!


J.K. Coy

P.S. Here is the full link to grab the book FREE thru Monday night: 
https://www.amazon.com/Because-YOU-Are-Superwoman-intervention-ebook/dp/B07KDRK3TC/

 

Because You are superwoman #1 Amazon pregnancy and childbirth.JPG

Quit All 2019 Resolutions Today

Resolutions are for quitters. One slip-up and you feel like all is lost. You’re a failure. You didn’t try hard enough. Game over.

I am a goal setter. Are you?

I’m currently mapping out 2019. My list is long and spans many facets of life (business, marital, social, physical, spiritual, financial, family, hobbies…), but the one thing you won’t find on my list?

Resolutions.

Resolutions are for quitters. One slip-up and you feel like all is lost. You’re a failure. You didn’t try hard enough. Game over.

That kind of self-talk flat out stinks. It’s not motivating. Goals, on the other hand, help you frame everything with a growth mindset. “Today (fill in the blank) happened. What can I learn from that to take the next step toward the goal I set for myself to achieve in 2019?”

I literally just finished four miles on our treadmill, then picked up my phone and started typing this post. Probably not a huge surprise for those that know me, but two of my goals this year are:

1, Set a new PR for a half marathon. (Benchmark: Surf City 2017 1:50:14//8:25 pace)

2. Write daily. It could be in my journal, working on book four (another children’s book), or the next blog post – it all counts to me – I just want to make writing a part of my daily rhythm.

If you want to use the same goal tracker I’ve been using for years – here is the monthly and quarterly template view:

2019 goal box monthly

2019 goal box quarterly view

No matter which way you chose to attack 2019 – be courageous. Set big goals and set out an action plan for each.

Yes. You have to write it down.

More specifically you have to write down the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) action steps that will point you in the direction of your goal, and let you know if you actually got there!

Once you’ve decided on a goal and written down your S.MA.R.T. steps, share it with someone. A boss, a spouse, a friend, Instagram. Me. It doesn’t matter who, but it does matter that YOU DO.

This year I started by writing down every goal I could possibly hope to achieve in each category.  Then I spent the next week just letting them swirl around my head to see if…

…anything else came to mind…

…then really consider which one was most critical in each category.

Not which was the easiest to achieve, but what would truly take that area of life to the next level.

Next week I’ll be putting them in to my template so that I can track them weekly (honestly, sometimes weekly becomes monthly, but do what you need to do to keep yourself accountable).

Don’t be afraid to let this goal-setting process take a week or two.  Remember, you are planning out the next year.  That’s pretty major.

You’re pretty major.

GO GET THIS YEAR!

I’d love to hear which goal you are most excited to work on in 2019.  Drop it in the comments below.

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Happy New Year from the Coys! Cracking up because the little ones eyes are saying, “Help me!”;)