YouTubers I'm Watching Now

Raising children is a full-time job, and I've tried to squeeze writing in during naps or late at night. Now that all three of the kiddos are in school, I can make writing and illustrating more of a priority. I used to draw almost every day when I was a kid, but grown-up life happened and the dream faded. I'm making up for lost time and experimenting with watercolor and gouache. To help me along the way, I have watched a few talented ladies on YouTube. Their styles are drastically different, and this allows me to learn more techniques and form my artistic style. Here's what I'm watching now.

If you love watercolor botanicals, then Shayda Campbell is the one to watch. I wanted tutorials on leaves and flowers to add to my illustrations. The instruction and techniques she offers on her tutorials can also be applied to greeting cards and seasonal illustrations. Shayda shares about being an artist and her experiences as a digital nomad. 

Take a look at Steph Seed from The Average Artist if you love the idea of using multiple media. She has written a book, a day in the life comic, and a horror comic book. I don't read horror, but I love hearing her story and getting a glimpse of her journey. She uses moody colors and isn't afraid to mix things up. I usually end up laughing at one point in the videos. Steph makes art fun while teaching tutorials. She was the first YouTuber that I started watching, and I still look forward to her videos every week. 

A recent addition to the cram as much knowledge of painting as possible binge is Jess Engle of Studio Jess. She is a fellow Texan so that automatically makes her fantastic. She's also an illustrator and children's author. Her fine art is abstract, but her illustrations are precious. She's another that's not afraid to mix things up. I think there's a theme here. Jess also gives insight into the life of a working artist and the struggles creatives face with self-doubt. She encourages her audience to keep making art. It doesn't have to be perfect. 

What do you subscribe to on YouTube? If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. 

Happy Creating,


Going to Disney With Kids

This year was the first time our kiddos went to Disney World. They loved it! We’ve been three times this year. Since we have a season pass, we plan on going back at least two more times. Shhh! Don’t tell the kids. It’s a surprise. We are going for each of their birthdays.

Going to Disney with kids for the first time was an experience. We learned some valuable insight that helped us on the second and third trips.

Use the Disney App
The app was a huge lifesaver. It allows you to schedule fast passes, order food so you don’t have to wait in line, and see the wait times for rides and attractions. The map was also extremely helpful.

Fast Passes Are Your Friend
We used the app to schedule fast pass times. You are only allowed three per person per day. (Not per park) For the best times, reserve one month in advance. The Buzz Lightyear ride was broke when we were there in March. Since we had a fast pass for it, we could use the Buzz fast pass for any other ride we chose. It was great.

Check Your Souvenirs
At Magic Kingdom, they offer a service for items you purchase. You can check them and pick them up on the way out of the park. We didn’t want to lug around our items, and we didn’t want to worry about them in the stroller while we were in line for a ride. Most people don't take advantage of this service. We loved it.

Collapse Your Stroller
If you need a stroller for your little ones, make sure it collapses easily. While riding the trams, buses, ferry, and train, your stroller must collapse and fit in a narrow seat. The easier it is to fold down, the easier your trip will be.

Order Food on the App
My sister and I waited for over 30 minutes to order and get our food at one of Magic Kingdoms’ restaurants. The line for the pre-order was empty. Very few people use the ordering option on the app. Be smart. Be one of those people that don’t have to wait in line. For the rest of the trip, we pre-ordered all of our food. When children are hungry and tired, it’s a lifesaver.

Ponchos, Please
Buy ponchos ahead of time and place them in the bag you bring to the park. Disney does sell ponchos at all of their shops, but they are a little pricey. Orlando is in a subtropical area. It is bound to rain at least once, especially during the raining season.

See Characters at the Parks
We decided to do a character breakfast one morning. That was our first and last time. We saw Goofy and Pluto for two minutes and paid over $100 for our ordinary breakfast. We also scheduled a lunch at Hollywood Studios with characters. When I found out it was $53 per person, I quickly canceled. We used fast passes to met Mickey and Minnie instead. The rest of the character lines were not long at all. Save your dinero and see the characters at the parks.

Bring Water
If you have a freezer in your hotel, freeze a water bottle for each person. Water is expensive in the parks, so bring your own.

Seeing the smiles on each of their faces was worth all the planning and saving. Disney is a wonderful place to take the family. If you aren’t the planning type, then use the complementary planning service Disney offers.

Have a magical time.

Father's Day Picture Book

Holidays seem to sneak up on me. How is that possible when they come around the same time every year? Oh, that's right. Life!

Well, if you are looking for a great book to describe the dad in your life, look no further than When Dads Don't Grow Up written by Marjorie Blaine Parker and illustrated by R.W. Alley.

While reading this book, I was silently nodding my head in agreement. My husband can be mature when he wants, but when he's playing with the kiddos his age drops drastically low. That's alright. The kids will remember when Kevin played with them, laughed with them, and laughed at them.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads who take time to be a big kid and play with their kiddos. You are making a positive impact on your children.


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School Book Fair Finds

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Our home library is brimming with books, but I can't refuse when the kids ask for books from the school book fair. Of course, I put in my two cents about what book they should get. Ultimately, it's their decision.

Javen chose a picture book. He's been reading chapter books but didn't find his preferred series. The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex, makes him laugh every time he reads it. Good find! 

Pierce received a shark book for Christmas. It didn't stop him from picking out another shark book. He is obsessed with ocean animals right now, and I love his desire to gulp up knowledge. This book came with three toy sharks. It may have swayed his decision.

Alayna chose a PJ Masks book. Honestly, I was a little surprised. There were so many options for her age range, but she went with PJ Masks Make Friends! She has seen the cartoon, and being familiar with the story put this book in the buy pile.

Where do you buy kid's books? My favorites are Half Price Books, Amazon, School Book Fairs, and garage sales.

Happy Reading.


What I'm Reading Right Now: War Storm

The Red Queen series has been an intense ride. The first book of the series by Victoria Aveyard has been the best out of the four books thus far. Right now I'm eating up the last installment, War Storm. The journey from one book to the next is less and less intense, but still captivating. Even though I'm only in the first few chapters of War Storm, the book seems to hedge on the right to love whomever you want instead of fighting for freedom which the series started out projecting with enthusiasm.

I'm all for love stories thrown into the mix of an epic war-torn story. However, for this last book to focus more on the infatuations of young love rather than the civil war seems a bit odd. I'm hoping that the author will bring it around full circle. Will slavery be abolished and civil rights granted to all? We will see.

Happy reading,


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