Winter Adventures: A Blog Hop

This winter has brought some new adventures for our crew - most recently a ski trip and water park getaway in Wisconsin...

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We also have gotten together with three local families of children with WHS. Anytime we connect with this group, I feel so blessed!

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In addition to sharing family news here, I also contribute to a Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome website that connects families of children with WHS. If you'd like to read more about our recent winter activities - and watch a great vid of Elsa practicing standing! - you can check out my latest entry by clicking here on Our Stories.

Thanks for taking the hop, and stay warm out there this week!

World Read Aloud Day 2018

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

If you're unfamiliar with this annual event, the organization LitWorld created #WorldReadAloudDay to encourage people around the globe to read aloud together, as a form of advocacy of literacy as a human right that belongs to all people. Who can't get behind that?

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The read aloud experience is such a special thing. Books come alive anytime they're read, but when someone reads aloud, it creates bonds - to the words, and to those in the room. 

I read to the girls throughout the day, and quite often at meal times. In our house, we have eager readers, but reluctant eaters. A spoonful of literary theater helps the applesauce go down!

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Bedtime books, however, are my husband's territory. Dan loves this time with the girls. His favorite book to read aloud? Sesame Street classic The Monster at the End of This Book. Its binding is loose and shifty, and bites have been taken out of the corners. A well-loved book is such a beautiful thing.

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This World Read Aloud Day 2018 (#WRAD2018 on Twitter), I wanted to shine a spotlight on the magic that takes place when dads read aloud to their kids. So I asked seven fathers from across the country to share which books they treasure reading to those they treasure most.

A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna

Andy Alexander (Texas)

"I like this book because it’s about discovery - discovering a new place and finding confidence in yourself on an adventure. The artwork and maps are also excellent."

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Chris Lang (Nebraska)

"The book is great for a bit older kids and adults - the magic and mystery make the reading fun and get the kids really excited about what’s next."

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The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak

Steve Chung (Missouri)

"The kids make reading this book so much fun. It is all about making us adults say funny sounds and silly things, and they just love hearing us say crazy stuff." 


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Jerry Nwosuocha (Illinois)

"I always appreciated the art work and even as an adult it reminds me of our wonderful human imagination."

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Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney

Nick Kinney (Michigan)

“The boys love anything with big engines - especially construction related - so this book is perfect. It’s fun to read, the pictures are great and the boys can make the noises as we read along.”

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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Robby Boroff (Ohio)

"This is my go-to because it's such a classic and I love how my daughter remembers the words so easily and can now read along."

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Doggies by Sandra Boynton

Andrew Heck (New York)

"I love to read it loud because it usually makes them giggle."

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Thank you, fine fellows, for sharing these precious moments! 

This World Read Aloud Day, make time read to someone you love and share the gift of literacy. Ah, what a gift it is!

Kidlit Spotlight: Hello, Door

I get pretty excited when I see a trailer for a new Wes Anderson movie, like the upcoming Isle of Dogs. The main characters can be traveling brothers (The Darjeeling Limited) or coming-of-age campers (Moonrise Kingdom). The setting can be a submarine (The Life Aquatic) or a grandiose inn (The Grand Budapest Hotel). No matter the story, I know the film is sure to deliver... Style. Quirk. Musicality. Action. Humor.

  The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Hello, Door - the latest picture book by Alastair Heim, illustrated by Alisa Coburn - arrived on my stoop just a few days after its Jan. 2 little bee books release - looking a lot like a hybrid of The Royal Tenebaums and Fantastic Mr. Fox... 

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So, I had a hunch that some Andersonian storytelling devices might be found within. At every twist and unexpected turn, Heim and Coburn (creators of another Schulte family fave Love You, Too) delivered what I hoped for, and then some:


What could be more chic than a Georgian townhouse? Hello, Door is set in a two-story powder blue charmer. The order of the home's brick exterior and landscaping lets us know that the owners are well-to-do and meticulous. What a delightful stage for some disruptive and perfectly-styled mischief: Enter sly red fox in navy turtleneck, sporting up-to-no-good leather gloves.   

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Soon the fox sets to work creeping and sneaking. But things don't go very smoothly for this criminal. He climbs into the window, only to SPLASH into the kitchen sink. And when he comes upon a delicious sandwich, he obviously can't pass it by. As the fox makes his way through the home, it's clear that his journey will be whimsically circuitous.

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The repetition and cadence of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a familiar comfort to kids and parents alike. Hello, Door is a very different book, but in a similar fashion, Heim pulls readers through his tale with rhythmic two-word combos: Hello, door. Hello, house. Hello, mat. Hello, mouse. As we go deeper and deeper into the home - discovering valuables and oddities along the way - each rhyming "hello" pair memorably rings and sings.

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The thieving fox in Hello, Door starts somewhat on task, but before long he finds himself waaaaaay off course. Why? The townhouse is full of distracting treasures. Each hallway and suite reveals a new place to stomp and romp. As he tosses feather pillows, dons bathrobes and takes a swing at golf, the reader is all-too-aware that someone is dilly dallying. I won't reveal more here, but the action only picks up from here. (And it's beary exciting...)

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Hello, Door is chockfull of amusing moments. A humorous highlight for our crew? The rhyme of "plants" and "Mr. Fancy Pants." The line lands EVERY TIME with my daughters, who count "pants" among the short list of words that sound like potty talk but won't put them in time out... 

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Further talk about this wonderful book would ruin the awesome ending. One way you can discover it for yourself? Win an *autographed* copy!

Alastair Heim (@alastairheim, featured in this 2017 Author Spotlight) is giving away a signed copy of Hello, Door to the winner of my weeklong Twitter contest. Here's how to enter:

*** WIN Hello, Door ***


1. "Like" this post (click the heart below)

2. Follow me (@anitraschulte) on Twitter

3. Retweet my pinned contest tweet by EOD 2/2/18 

(Submit a blog comment below and get a BONUS ENTRY!)


Reflection: The Right Path


The year 2018 is off and running. How are you feeling about it all? Are you making progress toward a new goal? Do you feel encouraged that you'll get there?

It's been a while since I've set New Years resolutions. Since becoming a mom, I've pursued goals and made plans in a different way. Instead of pinpointing specific things to achieve, I step back and look at the year ahead: What commitments, events and travel are already set?

With this in hand, my husband and I brainstorm and insert doses of family fun, as well as time for personal priorities (ESSENTIAL: a long-overdue getaway for just the two of us) and, for me, creative development.

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Next I zoom into the current month. The calendar squares fill - yes, I am still on paper. Then the current week. The to-do list crystalizes. Then the very day I'm in. The task X-ing commences...

And yet all the while, writerly things are bouncing around in my brian. These are the things that I cannot wait to do. Each activity knocks incessantly on the front cover of my daily planner, begging and bartering for a minute of my time:

  • That manuscript I want to write
  • That manuscript I want to revise
  • That book I want to get at the library
  • That author I want to research
  • That blog post I want to write
  • That podcast I want to hear
  • That Twitter chat I want to join
  • That conference I want to attend

What may look like busy work or frivolous tasks to some are pure adventure to me. Creating. Learning. Connecting. These are the things that defined my youth, adolescence and college years. These are the things that define me still today.

So, that's what I want to do with my time. But the central question is, What does God want me to do with it? As I step day-by-day through the new year, this is the thought that is most on my heart. This Bible verse provides the hope and clarity that I find myself seeking:

Psalm 25:4-5: Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.  

Happy New Year to you, and may God bless your endeavors in His name - today and always.