Motivating Kids (and Adults), Free Progress Chart

If I’m being honest, my 10th book was one of the hardest to publish. It had little to do with the book itself, and everything to do with my own motivation…

If I’m being honest, my 10th book was one of the hardest to publish. It had little to do with the book itself, and everything to do with my own motivation.

My goal was to finish writing and publishing Ringo Picked last month…but I was on twelve different planes, bouncing from city to city and it left me feeling overwhelmed.

You’re kind, I’m sure in your head you gave me a pass for not reaching my goal.

But what if I told you that my goal was the same for the last three months and for various reasons I didn’t get there. That changes things a bit.

Obviously life happens, but in reality, I wasn’t making progress because of me.

Sometimes we all need a little motivation to hold ourselves accountable.

Ringo Picked: A seriously silly story about nose picking + practical tips to help quit bad habits to raise healthy, happy kids 3-8yrs finally did get published in June.

I actually made a plan of what needed to happen, set aside an entire day to actually do it without excuse, changed my environment for inspo (cute coffee shops always help me), and planned a reward for myself once I reached my goal.

Whether it’s a bad habit you (or your kids) are trying to quit, or a goal you are trying to reach, visually seeing progress and having a reward to look forward to at the end can help.

I’ve created this free Progress Chart to help your kids (or students) reach their own goals. Get FREE your printable here.

Wondering what my “reward” of choice was? A new coffee mug and a massage! Oh yeah, plus the personal gratification of publishing book ten ūüėČ

Write 30 Children’s Books in 30 Days, Here’s How (Free Writing Prompts)

Think of this as your permission from the universe to write.

Each November I participate in a challenge with a daily goal of writing one children’s book a day. Yes, some of the stories stink, most really. But there are always a few bits of magic in there. And those little gems are the ones I try to massage later in to stories worth publishing.

The key is to do the massaging once the month is over. Having a perfect story by month end is not the goal. Creating thirty totally new stories is.

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Set aside thirty minutes a day, for 30 days straight
  • Use one writing prompt, found below, per day
  • You can go in order, or skip around, but finish every one – even the ones that don’t inspire you at first glance, because you want to stretch yourself to take on new subjects, perspectives, and ideas
  • Use the hashtag #chibowrimo on social media to see what others are writing
    • (Chibowrimo = Children’s Book Writing Month)

Every year I feel excited, and overwhelmed, by this challenge. But when I look back at the last five stories I published, each one started as part of a prompt from #chibowrimo

Now it’s your turn.

Don’t overthink it. Just print out the list of prompts, put it by a fresh notebook and pen, and set a reminder on your phone to get started on Nov. 1st.

If you want some other prompt options check out these, and pick your favorite.

The universe is ready to hear your stories. It’s time to let them out.

30 Stories in 30 Days, Children’s Book Writing Prompts:

  1. A story about a backpack full of…
  2. A story about an epic hike
  3. A story about a cell phone that only calls one person
  4. A story about an animal that lives abroad (ie: a pigeon in Paris)
  5. A story about a kidpreneur that makes money for someone in need
  6. A story about the Worst Teacher Ever
  7. A story that uses alliteration. Pick a letter of the alphabet before getting started.
  8. A Story about a topic kids find hilarious
  9. A story about caring for grumpy people or animals
  10. A story about how to clean a big mess
  11. A story about Plan B being better than Plan A
  12. A story about caring for something small and fragile
  13. A story about a person with an embarrassing secret
  14. A story about your new world record in…
  15. A story about a letter that gets lost in the mail and found again a year later
  16. Free Day, YOYO (Your on Your Own)
  17. A story about a Holiday with a twist
  18. A story about an adult that needs help from child
  19. A story that is a song, or has a rap in it, to teach something new
  20. A story about a train carrying a special surprise
  21. A story that is under 100 words
  22. A story about a magical item of clothing
  23. A story that is non fiction (but still interesting)
  24. A story about going to sleep
  25. A story that is a sequel to something else your wrote
  26. A story about finding $100 and having an internal debate about what to do with it
  27. A story about how you stopped the “bad guys”
  28. A story about how to stop anger in the world
  29. A story about being the first kid on the moon
  30. A story that includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – bonus points for New Years too!

October Craft: Ghost Finger Puppets Free Printable

Just print, color, and cut – to make your own little ghost finger puppets this October!

Okay October, I see you right around the corner . . .

So I’m sharing an easy October ‘beyond the book’ craft activity that pairs perfectly with: The Lonely Little House Ghost

Get the free printable here-> https://mymomistheworst.com/ghost-finger-puppet-free-printable/

Just print, color, and cut – to make your own little ghost finger puppets!

I printed on regular paper, but you could also use cardstock if you want to make the puppets more durable.

Suddenly, every weekend in October is booked with a birthday (including mine)! Books make great birthday gift for all ages, but especially kids. Parents really enjoy that a great book is one less large, colorful toy to house and trip over.

Want your own copy of the Lonely Little House Ghost: a book about friendship for kids 3-9yrs? Grab it here.

Boo Hoo from the Lonely Little House Ghost

Share the printable with a teacher for a simple activity that coordinates with the book and ties in the theme of how to make friends!

Three and five year old approved!

Weekend Craft Idea + Free Kids Book about $$$

Download the Beyond the Book activity to make your own Rock Caterpillar this weekend, and get a free kids book about money + creative problem solving!

With a three and five year old, we spend a lot of time at the park.

If your family is in the same boat, you may want to try this simple weekend activity. It will make your park visits more fun, and might even put a smile on the face of a stranger.

The activity – Rock Caterpillars!

You can download the simple instructions and supply list here.

Each time you visit the park you can bring a fun rock to add.

Plus you can ‚Äúcheck‚ÄĚ on your caterpillar to make sure he‚Äôs growing. Hopefully some other people join the fun and you can have new rocks to admire with each visit.

We set up rock caterpillars at various parks across the country during our road trip, and this morning we got to set one up at our very own neighborhood park!

This activity pairs perfectly with my new book that released this week – How to Sell a Rock.

It’s all about a little kidpreneur that has to figure out how to convince his neighbors to buy a rock so that he can afford a new skateboard. Perfect for kids 5-12yrs.

Bonus – the kindle version is FREE on Amazon until Tuesday! Grab it Here, or the paperback here.

Book Description:

Did you ever want something special as a child,
but then your parents said, “No – too expensive.”

Your dreams were dashed.

Oh, Sebastian understands.
But he decides he won’t take no for an answer once he learns he can make the money himself – even as a child.

When a scrappy little kidpreneur needs money for a skateboard, he’s going to have to learn how to turn his neighbor‚Äôs no’s into yeses if he wants to get rich selling rocks.

How will Sebastian convince his neighbors that what they really need is a rock?

This fun kidpreneur story teaches:

  • Creative problem solving
  • How to start a business
  • How to make Money
  • How to Save Money
  • Rock Painting Craft Ideas
  • Social Skills
  • Self Reliance
  • Grit
  • Confidence
    • Perfect for home or classroom use
    • Ideal for Ages 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Visit: MyMomistheWorst.com for activities and freebies related to the book

Have a great weekend – Cheers!

CA to MI – Road trip!

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

P15-16_ColorP1

 

 

 

 

 

Two Years Later; My Writing Anniversary

I can now say the last two years have been worth it all.  I get to share Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster with literally thousands of parents; Parents that just need a good laugh and a big hug after a long day.

For a parent whose memory has gone to mush, I really heart the Facebook Memories feature.¬† Most of the time I can’t believe things happened so long ago.

Seriously?! That concert was eight years ago!

It’s been that long since I’ve been to Europe?!

Wait.  What.  I used to go out on Thursday nights.

But then again, sometimes we are glad to no longer be in that season of life that we were reminded of.  The reality is that it may not have been our best season.

On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% … and that’s pretty good. – unknown

Let that sink in.

***

Reflection can be difficult, but it can also be empowering.¬† Anniversaries are the perfect time to think about where you’ve been and where you’re going.

A few days ago this photo popped up on facebook and it reminded me it had been two years since I wrote Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster.

BM

Adorable right?!  But those days of adjusting to motherhood were tough.  Here is the post where I shared my own reflections from the last two years:

“This huge smile takes me back to a really tough time in my life. It was taken shortly after I wrote the first draft of what became the loving children’s book: Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster.

I can picture myself sitting in the car, two months postpartum, tears in my eyes. I was trying to figure out the new roller-coaster I had stepped on to. I constantly flowed back and forth between immense love (Did you see that smile?) and silly frustrations (feeling like I was failing at everything).

Reflecting on the last two years, I am so grateful that this Beautiful Monster broke me.

Our highs are insanely high.
We like to get it all out there by silly dancing in the kitchen to Eminem and the Beatles.

Our lows are embarrassingly low. I tell her to go watch Elmo so no one loses their shi….. , even though I hate when she sits there like a zombie.

All in all, we get to practice a lot of love and laughter in our house.

Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster”

I can now say the last two years have been worth it all.  I get to share Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster with literally thousands of parents; Parents that just need a good laugh and a big hug after a long day.

 

The book is a chance  to snuggle up to your Beautiful little Monster and relax knowing that you are doing this parenting thing just fine.  Your track record is 100%.

love_you_to_pieces_B_Cover_for_Kindle
Read it Here

 

 

 

 

 

My Mom is Crazy (About Me)

I hope no one confuses my moments of frustration with my true feelings about my children and motherhood

My baby will be twelve weeks old tomorrow.

Some days are better than others.  Realistically some minutes are better than others.

Parenthood is a roller coaster ride.  I found that out the hard way when my first little love was born.

One minute I find myself ogling at every little thing my baby does, talking baby talk with the best of them, and the next minute I am incredibly frustrated because my kids are screaming while I brush my teeth for the first time that day (at 2pm Рhello coffee breath).  I swear, I often feel like I am the emotional little monster in the house.

But I hope no one confuses my moments of frustration with my true feelings about my children and motherhood, and the joy I get from those precious moments of total sweetness in between the chaos.¬† My babies absolutely know I’m crazy;¬† they also know I am absolutely crazy about them.

Have you been on that roller coaster today?

If so, below is one recent example you’ll relate to, compliments of social media.

Don’t forget to follow both so you don’t miss the fun:¬†Facebook (@StoriesbyJKCoy) and Instagram (@FinishtheBook):

Part 1part 2part 3

“Then all of a sudden you stop.¬† You look in my eyes and grin from ear to ear.

And it’s my turn to tear up.

I freakn’ love you to pieces, Beautiful Monster.”¬† – Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster

I know as a parent you get it.

Get Your Own Copy Here
Get Your Own Copy Here

Parents Talking Dirty

There comes a time in every parent’s life where bowel movements are as common a conversation topic as discussing the weather.¬†

After almost ten years of marriage and two young kids, think you can guess the hottest topic is in our household?

If you guessed POOP, you are correct!   And if you are disgusted that I would even type that word, you clearly do not have a young child.

Honestly, I don’t know when the turning point came.¬† The point where I lost all modesty on the subject.

Was it…

  • When the midwife was wiping my *ss during the birth of our beautiful daughter?
  • During the newborn stage when we were sleep deprived and changing 10+ diapers a day?
  • When our first daughter went through a phase where she would reach into her diaper and smear poop on her sheets?
  • When we potty trained our twenty month old and lost all dignity by referring to ourselves as “Poop Coaches” and offering “Poop Treats?”¬† FYI Candy canes and popsicles are our aresinel of choice.
  • The first time we sent a text message that included a picture of our child’s “achievement”?¬† I’m embarrassed to add that these texts have gone to family and friends at times.
  • At a recent dinner party where we conspired with friends to hide Miralax in our children’s sippy cups?

There have been so many defining poop moments, I really can’t say.

baby poop monster kids book
“In the middle of the night you woke me, to let me know you pooped your pants.¬† I love you to pieces, Beautiful Monster.”¬† Get your own copy of this honest children’s book!

But the point is, there comes a time in every parent’s life where bowel movements are as common a conversation topic as discussing the weather.

And unfortunately the talk isn’t limited to the four walls of our house anymore.¬† It’s at daycare, work parties, over a nice glass of wine…not to mention living forever on this blog.

And even for me, someone that lost all discretion awhile ago, a new low was recently achieved.  Yesterday an acquaintance at church casually asked how I was doing.

Without thinking I responded, “Pretty good, but my daughter just had an explosive diaper on my lap.”

I sent that sentence out like it was a¬† casual text update.¬† After the words left my mouth, I was instantly remorseful.¬† I crossed the line.¬† I dumped my poop talk on someone that was not in the same life stage.¬† That is how normal poop conversations have become.¬† I can no longer see the social line until I’ve crossed it.

Forgive me for having limited social graces these days, but parenting young kids has a way of making you feel like a human Kleenex.¬† I had a shower yesterday morning, but two hours later it felt like it had been a week.¬† In just a few hours I had been spit up on multiple times, wiped boogers with my sleeve, cleaned out our toddler potty five times, changed a few diapers and a blowout onsie, cleaned up all the dog poop in the yard, and had my two year old’s naked butt sitting on me while I tried to get a home workout in.¬† None of which was out of the norm.¬† It was all a typical Sunday.

parenthood is messy

 

I don’t know if there is a point to all this, other than I felt like sharing what was on my mind.¬† And these days, my mind has gone to mush.¬† Brown, stinky mush.

Gross.

*********************

Anyone else in that marital stage where you talk as much potty talk as we do?!

Lady Logic: Wasted Money or Amazing Deal?

So there I was, saving money for my family, and then the Lady Logic creeps in.

You know the rationale you use to validate your crazy?

Well, that’s your Lady Logic.

Let me use myself as an example.

Today I left the house to run errands.

I had showered, and left the house by noon with a newborn.  Just for that,  I was pretty proud of myself.

Gold star!

Eventually I stopped by Old Navy to make returns. We had some extra outfits that we didn’t end up using for family photos this past weekend.¬† So there I was getting $29.00 in returns done, saving money for my family.

Gold star!

And then the Lady Logic creeps in.

On the way home I stop by a children’s resale boutique, just for a peek.

The kids don’t really need anything…but then again, maybe they do?

And apparently they did.

Browse all the cute kids Toms Here.  One of each please!

There were the mint condition¬†kids Toms,¬† because I’ll regret passing up a deal like that…

A long sleeve baby sleeper, because it’s been colder than normal here in SoCal…

The black and white Nicole Miller outfit, because everything looks cute on a toddler…

And the toddler Roxy lounge wear, because…

Just because.

My Mom is the Worst Book Cover
My Mom is the Worst available on Amazon Here

The final damage came to $32.00.¬† And you know what? I left feeling pretty happy.¬† I made those $29.00 in returns earlier, so it’s like I only spent $3.00 and got all these adorable “essentials.”

Gold star!

And that my friend, is Lady Logic.

***

Wasted money, or an awesome deal?  You decide.

 

Eight Minute Birth; Baby Delivered Faster Than Pizza Hut

Yup, eight minutes after arriving at the nurses station my baby was delivered.  

The scene opens on a seedy nail salon in a strip-mall in Orange County, CA.¬† It’s the type of nail place you go when you’ve already spent too much money on personal grooming that month, and you need a deal.¬† Adequate, but so dated that it’s far from a relaxing and luxurious experience.¬† There is a woman painting my toes and massaging my feet, as I quietly try to breath through contractions without causing a scene.

At this point I am ten days “past due” (my thoughts on that here), and I went to bed the night prior with some minor back pain.¬† In the morning it was still mild so I spent a few hours working on a children’s book marketing project, making no bake coconut bites, taking a two mile walk, washing and vacuuming the car, and buying a new house plant, before finally heading to the nail salon at 2:30 pm.¬† By then I had convinced myself that I was likely in labor, but I figured I had plenty of time since the pain was manageable and hadn’t come around to the front of my belly yet – it was still all in my back.

img_2267

So, back at the nail salon…another woman started doing my gel manicure.¬† I’m pretty sure it must have been her first gel because it took her over an hour.¬† She kept applying the paint, then wiping it off and starting over.

Mind you, this entire time the back contractions are continuing to intensify.  I was shooting the woman daggers with my eyes, praying she would get it together so I could go home and be miserable in peace.  I finally asked her if she was almost done because I had to go, this baby was coming tonight.  Every ten minutes I was having a thirty second contraction that I had to close my eyes and breath through.

By 4 pm she finally wrapped it up.  I drove myself home and was in the tub by 4:15 pm.  My husband came in to the bathroom to check on me.  I told him what was going on, but figured the contractions needed to get closer together before heading to the hospital.  I was planning another natural birth (read the first birth story here) so the last thing I wanted to do was arrive at the hospital too early.

I reached out to my midwife just to let her know that I thought we would be heading in to the hospital later tonight.  I decided to track the contractions with an app on my phone.  Come to find out, I am a poor counter in pain.  The contractions that I thought were thirty seconds long, were really a minute, every eight to ten minutes apart.

I showered between contractions, while my husband made arrangements for our toddler, and then I decided to go lay in bed.  My poor husband tried to push on my back during a contraction because the counter-pressure during contractions had been really helpful with my first labor.  This time not so much.  Laying down and having someone push on my back was the exact opposite of helpful.  Contractions were lasting about a minute and a half every four to six minutes at that point.  I was almost in tears and snapped at him to stop asking me so many questions!

That was my first cue that we probably needed to head in to the hospital.  That, and the intensity of the contractions were getting to the point where I could no longer quietly breath through them.  I was moaning out in pain.  We headed out to the car for our four mile drive to the hospital.

During the ten minute drive I was alternating between texting my parents who had just arrived at LAX airport an hour away, giving updates to my midwife Рcontractions were now lasting for one minute Рevery three minutes, listening to my husband yell at every stop light, and me squeezing my cell phone like a stress ball as I moaned through contractions.  As we rounded the corner by the hospital a very intense contraction got me and I firmly pounded my fist on the car door a few times.  That got both our attention.  This labor had gotten REAL really fast.

Once at the hospital I jumped out of the car while my husband grabbed our bags.  I had to pause at a couch inside the hospital to moan through another contraction.  There was a man and his young son near by and I was trying my best not to be too loud and scare them.  By then my husband caught up with me and was trying to get me to take the elevator up to the birthing level.

“Nope,” I said.¬† I needed to keep moving.¬† I had one goal.¬† Make it to the nurse’s station before the next contraction.

“I’m taking the stairs.”

Thankfully I did, because I literally made it to the nurse’s station, saw my midwife behind the counter and smiled at her, then put my head down telling the triage nurse to talk to my husband for any details she needed.¬† I started moaning through another contraction, except this time it was different.¬† I could feel my body start to involuntarily push the baby down.¬† It was like my body knew I had made it.¬† I was in the hospital.¬† My midwife was there.¬† I was safe.¬† The time was 6:08 pm.

As soon as my midwife heard the types of sounds I was making, she took over the situation.  She told the nurses to get me a room NOW.  They offered me a chair to wheel me to a room.

“Nope,” I said.¬† I wanted to walk since I had a break between contractions.

We made it to a room and they had me take off my pants (the comfy Le Tote ones I borrowed), and offered me a hospital gown.

“Nope,” I said.¬† I didn’t want to feel like a patient.

The nurses told me I could climb up on the bed.

“Nope.”

I was a woman on a mission at that point;  my one and only job was to birth this baby, NOW.

“Hand me those pillows,” I said to the nurse.

That was the last rationale thing I said until my baby arrived.  I proceeded to stand next to the bed, lean over, and bury my face in the pillows while I screamed through each contraction as my body pushed the baby down and out.  I knew I was supposed to be trying to keep my voice low and relaxed, but all I could do was shrill and hang on for the ride.

Some how my husband was able to get the video camera set-up during all this (in case you’re wondering, it’s not a flattering angle).¬† He then asked the midwife how much time we had before the baby arrived.¬† She confidently responded, “About two more pushes.”

She was right.¬† Two pushes later, she and my husband were catching a perfect baby girl.¬† I laid over the bed panting as if I had just finished a marathon in record time.¬† They offered to pass the baby through my legs so I could hold her and get up on the bed.¬† Official time of birth –¬† 6:16 pm.

Yup, eight minutes after arriving at the nurses station.  

after birth love other

I’m not sure if that was a hospital record, but my IRONMAN husband is looking in to it.¬† ¬†He laughs because on the video he says it’s like I have a race high.¬† I am really excited and can’t stop jabbering with the nurses about what just happened.¬† In my defense there were a lot of endorphins and hormones rushing through my body at that point.

after birth love

An hour and a half later, the medical staff was finally done prodding my lower half, checking on the baby, and making me answer hospital in-take questions Рsince we bypassed that last bit on the way in.  As they walked out, my parents arrived from LAX.

mommy and baby meet

After a short visit with my parents, we sent them out to get Pizza Hut, the holy grail of post partum.¬† The restaurant was located just a mile away, and they were supposed to deliver the pizza to my parents, downstairs at the main entrance of the hospital.¬† Some how it took over an hour and they ended up delivering the wrong pizza!¬† I thought about calling to complain, but it was 10 pm and I hadn’t eaten since 1 pm…so obviously I just grumbled about it as I ate three pieces.¬† The good news was that it bought us a proper moment to meet our baby girl, and finally agree on a name.

Baby Liv Claire Coy entered our world (2.2.18) fast and furious.  A crazy, yet perfect labor and delivery.  Definitely, the most exciting Friday night these parents have had in a long time.

perfect baby girl

I’ve heard second labors are typically about half as long as your first.
In your experience, was your second labor much shorter than your first?