Mar 04

Change Happens: Don’t Let It Eat You Up

by Hannah Holt »

one comment

Last week we talked about frogs and self acceptance. This week let’s talk about something totally different. Change.

wolfie the bunny cover

Change happens. It comes whether we want it to or not.

In this picture book by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora, a family of rabbits wakes to discover a foundling wolf on their doorstep. The parents immediately fall for this sweet little charmer. However, the little sister isn’t so smitten. HE’S GOING TO EAT US ALL UP, she keeps reminding them.

Despite her persuasive and logical arguments, the parents keep the baby wolf. What’s a girl to do?

I like this book because…

1) So many times we don’t ask for the change life brings. It just–poof–appears on our doorstep. WHAT WE DO about it determines who we become so much more than WHAT IT IS that happened.

2) The little girl-bunny in the story is totally passionate, and totally ignored, and totally right. Or is she right? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

3) Family love triumphs over all right in the middle of the vegetable aisle.

4) That pink suit. I want one.

5) Buster. The little girl uses words like buster. I love her.

Activity Time

While we have wolves and rabbits on the brain, here are a few games and activities to go along with this book.

  • Wolf, Wolf, Rabbit (Duck, Duck, Goose)
  • Bowling for Bunnies

Bowling for bunnies

  • Hopscotch
  • I love Wolfie’s suit. I want one for my girls. (I kinda want one for myself.) Anyway, here’s a coloring template for the bunny suit so kids can draw in their own Wolfie The Bunny. Or maybe it’ll be Kitty The Bunny. Pig The Bunny? I’ll let you decide…

Wolfie suit coloring page

Feb 26

When Frogs Have Identity Crises

by Hannah Holt »


Okay. This book makes me laugh so much.

I dont want to be a frog cover


First, it’s a really clever look at accepting and embracing the parts of ourselves that we might find lumpy, bumpy, or filled with flies. But also our family just happens to own this odd little puppet (pictured above), which my children named Green Cheetah.

Green Cheetah is a troubled puppet. He looks like a frog, hops like a frog, but always wants to play at gazelle hunting.

Thank goodness Dev Petty and Mike Boldt’s book arrived to help with this crisis!

I dont want to be a frog inside


It’s not that we want to change Green Cheetah. No, sir. We love him just the way he is, googly eyes and all. He’s still welcome on gazelle hunts, but deep down he’s a frog. And we want him to love the frog in himself, too. After several reads of this delightful book, I think we’re making progress.

Now for a very froggy craft…

What you’ll need:

  • an index card (any rectangle size will work)
  • markers (optional)

I WANT TO BE A FROG (jumping frog origami) 

I colored my card two different colors of green to make it easier to see, but coloring the cards is totally optional. You could also get green index cards if that makes life easier. Here’s how to fold it.

1. Top triangle fold down to the left.



2. Top triangle fold to the right.



3. The top will now be divided into four parts. Pinch the two side sections inward and squash fold down.



4. Bring the top right and left pleats up at a 45 degree angle.



(It’ll look like this without my fingers in the way.)



5. Fold the bottom sides inward until they meet in the middle.

Step 5


6. From Line A fold upwards.

Step 6a


Like so:

Step 6b


Step 6c


Step 7. Bend the top fold back about halfway to form the frog’s legs.

Step 7


Fold it all the way and press hard…

Step 7b


8. Turn him over and you have a frog.



By the way, if you bow out the folds in step 4 above…

step 1


…and reverse the fold in Step 6 (bend Line A backwards)…

step 2

…you get a rabbit instead of a frog.

step 3

Feb 10

The Funny Thing About Normal

by Hannah Holt »


The other night I ate dinner with a group of professional soccer players. Over grilled vegetables, one of them made the comment, “I’m not that athletic.”

Me: Um, you’re a professional soccer player. What do you mean you aren’t athletic?

Her: Well, for a professional soccer player…

Just to be clear here, this individual is a starter for one of the nation’s top teams. If she’s not athletic, I’m a pudding pop.

This exchange reminded me of an interview I heard on NPR with classical pianist Emanual Ax. Of his schooling, he said, “I was just a normal piano student.”

Peter Sagal: Normal piano students tend not to end up at Julliard has been my experience.

Emanual Ax: Well, maybe normal for Julliard.

Normal is a tricky beast. It’s a lie but also a gift. The lie part says, “You’re not that good, sucker.” But there’s a biological reason for self doubt and deprecation. That’s gift part: sensory gating.

Char sleep study 1

{My daughter in a University of Colorado study on infant sensory gating.}

Gating is how the brain filters out unimportant information. It’s why people living next to hospitals will eventually learn to sleep through ambulance sirens. But it’s also why professional pianists aren’t continually thinking, “OMG! I’m playing Rachmaninoff! Do you see my fingers? They’re like lightning!”

When the brain receives a signal it makes a snap decision: Is this new? Is it important? Is it dangerous? If the answer is no, the signal probably won’t get our conscious attention. Gating is good. People who can’t gate have trouble tuning out unimportant sights and/or sounds in their environment. They might also have trouble distinguishing between thoughts and reality.

Just imagine if every time we drove down the freeway all we could think was, “Holy! I’m sitting in a chair and travelling 65 MPH!!!”

It’d be impossible to drive. So the brain filters out the miracle of modern travel for most of us, and suddenly we are home without any recollection of driving there.

But sometimes gating goes too far. There is no joy in driving life on autopilot.

Lately, I’ve been working through a creative funk. Trying to break out of normal, I’ve been testing boundaries and trying new things. I wrote a novel in a new genre. I also started several new art projects using only canvas and embossing powder.

I wish I could say the results of these new projects are extraordinary. They aren’t. My new manuscript kinda stinks. And the embossing projects have been a lot of trial and error (mostly error).


Every time I work, I pick up new ways to improve. Expanding normal is a messy process. Sometimes I feel like I’m flying down the highway at 65 miles and hour. Other times, I’m stuck on the side of the road with a flat. However, I hope to come out of this funk with a stronger and bigger creative tool set.

The line between ordinary and extraordinary might not be as far as it feels.

After all, if my professional soccer player friend feels “not athletic” and Emanual Ax considers himself “average,” maybe all of us are unknowingly living über cool lives. Maybe the only thing standing in the way of us and this alternate universe of awesome is opening the gates and trying something new.

Extra ordinary

Feb 04

Book Love Tour: The Open Ocean Review (and More)

by Hannah Holt »


With the holidays and my grandpa’s funeral, I’ve had trouble starting up the blog again. I needed an extra push to get me going, so I was delighted when Carrie Finison tagged me in her Book Love tour. What a lovely way to start to start the year.


Here’s how the blog hop works:

1. Pick some books you love (any genre) that you think deserve more attention than they are getting. (As much as I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle does not need my help to sell more copies!)

2. Post reviews for the books you chose on Amazon/social media. The reviews can be brief – even a short review on Amazon helps. Posting on Goodreads or Shelfari is great, too, or Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. The more places you can publicly proclaim your love, the better!

3. If you want, you can also post the reviews on your own blog, or link your blog back to your reviews on social media.

4. Feel free to display the BOOK LOVE badge on your blog – and if you want, link it back to this post so your visitors know what it’s all about.

5. Tag some friends to do the same! Tag friends through their blogs, or on Facebook. That’s it! If you don’t want to wait to be tagged, you can jump right in and start reviewing and tagging yourself.

With that in mind, I’d like to shine the spotlight on a few non-fiction books my children and I have enjoyed this week.

Review #1: The Open Ocean by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais

The coast is hands down my family’s favorite place to be. We go in swim suits and snowsuits.


Any day we can make it to the beach is a good day. But on those days when we can’t, we have another way to explore the ocean.



This luscious, over-sized picture book by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais is a sensory experience. It’s like diving into the ocean.

reading the open ocean

{My girls on the mix-and-match bodies page.}

The book has silhouettes, pop-ups, flaps, and more.

A few facts you’ll learn from this book, include:

  • the difference between skates and sting rays
  • how far a sand hopper can jump
  • what sea urchins and hedgehogs have in common

The artwork is gorgeous and produced lots of oohs and ahhs from my children. It’s been an instant favorite. We’re looking forward to reading more books in this series.

Book Review #2The Wild Cat Book by Fiona Sunquist and Mel Sunquist

My children are wild about their wild cat facts. Here’s a convo from yesterday.

4 year old: Cheetahs are black.

7 year old: Cheetah’s aren’t black! They aren’t even a member of the panther family!

4 year old: They are black when they are babies.

7 year old: Okay, but only sort of and only for a little bit.

After reading dozens of books about these powerful predators over the last six months, my children have finally discovered the Bible of wild cats.

The Wild Cat Book

Gorgeous photos accompany this 280 page in-depth discussion of these fascinating creatures. If you have a child who is ready to make the jump from wild cat fan to major enthusiast, this is the book.

Book Review #3: Help Your Kids With Computer Coding, Dk books

computer code

Despite its adult centered title (and the fact it was published by Dk Adult), this is a great book for kids interested in computers and programming.* Our eight-year-old needed help getting started, but after that he was up and running independently.

As parents, we could see our son was drawn towards technology and computers. Rather than let all that energy go into passive technology (watching and surfing), we wanted to encourage a creative experience. This book has really helped with that. Now when he requests “tech time,” he usually wants to play with code.

*There is a separate companion book specifically designed for kids, but this book has worked great for us. Check out Helping Your Kids With Computer Coding: For Kids if you want an even more child centered book.

I’m tagging Erin Bylund of Chicken Babies to continue the blog hop! Happy 2015 everyone. Now that I’m rolling again, I should be checking in more often. Cheers!

Nov 06

Water Cycle Coloring Page

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on Water Cycle Coloring Page

It’s been a while since I did a coloring page, and I’ve had rain on the brain lately:

water cycle coloring page


For a pdf copy of the coloring page click here. Enjoy!