Monthly Archives: November 2021

Interview with Children’s Author Nancy I. Sanders

Molly and I are pleased today  to tell you about a wonderful bedtime  story for children, called Bedtime With Mommy.

To help us, we’re hosting its author, Nancy I. Sanders, on our blog today! Nancy has written numerous children’s books, and her latest is called Bedtime with Mommy. Nancy is a Mom and Grandma, so she knows how important those last snuggles before bed are for little ones. Bedtime with Mommy is sure to become a favorite with your child or grandchild, so let’s meet Nancy and learn how she came to write this cute board book!

Welcome, Nancy, to Kathy the Picture Lady blog!

Q: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing.

A: I’ve always loved reading, so when my two sons were little and I began reading infant board books to them, I wanted to write books just like that. Little did I know that 35 years and more than 100 children’s books later in a variety of genres, I’d finally get to write a board book, too! The beautifully illustrated padded board book, Bedtime With Mommy (published by End Game Press) arrived just in time this fall to celebrate my granddaughter’s first birthday.

What a special way to celebrate your granddaughter’s birthday! I’m sure she loved snuggling in to read your book!

Q: What’s your favorite “Mommy” memory from your childhood?

A: I’m the youngest of seven children and grew up on a dairy farm. One of my favorite memories of my mother was when I was a preschooler. I remember waking up many times in the early hours of dawn when I heard my father leave the house for the morning milking as he headed up to the barn. I’d climb out of the double bed I shared with my older sister, tiptoe through another sister’s bedroom, and arrive at my parent’s bedroom. I’d climb into bed and snuggle with my mother, falling asleep for a short time in her arms before she had to get up and start cooking a full breakfast for our household of nine. I cherish that memory even today!

This is such a wonderful memory to cherish, and I bet it contributed to your idea for Bedtime with Mommy.

Q: Did you have a pet when you were a child?

A: Living on a 750-acre farm just a mile out of town, our barn became a drop-off place for unwanted cats, kittens, and dogs. My father had a policy about these unexpected abandoned pets—all were welcome! Twice a day during milking time, Dad filled up a huge roasting pan with dogfood and milk and all were well fed. In exchange, the cats helped keep the rats out of the hay mow and the dogs helped keep the groundhogs out of the fields. From Bassett hound to collies to a fluffy orange Angora cat, I have many happy memories of countless dogs and cats and we loved them all!

How fun to have so many dogs and cats to love!

Q: What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

A: It was seasonal. In the winter, I loved to ice skate on the pond and roast marshmallows with my brother and five sisters at the nearby bonfire. In the spring my oldest sister led us on hikes to visit the vernal pools to find the tadpoles. Summer days were spent digging up prized arrowheads from the ancient Iroquois trail that ran through our property. And in the Fall we’d climb the pear trees and wild apple trees to collect fruit for applesauce and tarts.

Ice skating was one of my favorite things to do in the winter, too! I grew up in Maine and we had lots of ice for skating!

Q: What were some of your favorite childhood books?

A: Oooohhh, I have so many favorite “friends” from childhood. Our house was overflowing with books. We even had a bookcase of books in the bathroom! Here are a few that come to mind: Charlotte’s Web. Winnie the Pooh. The Secret Garden. The Jungle Book. Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House series. Little Women. Freckles. Here’s a photo from my blog where you can see the childhood copies I still own today.

I love how you describe your house as overflowing with books!

Q: What is something not too many people know about you?

A: My husband Jeff and I play in a community orchestra that welcomes all levels of skill. (In the photo, we’re sitting on the left at the back of the stage behind the timpani.) Jeff plays the double bass. I played marimba in high school so now I’m one of the percussionists and help play glockenspiel, claves, the guiro, cymbal, timpani, and any other part a classical piece calls for. My favorite concert was when we performed the Nutcracker Suite a couple of years ago. I got to play the tambourine for the Russian dance!

As a percussionist, you have to have a good sense of rhythm, which I’m sure helps you when you write in rhyme!

Q: What do you like to do now for fun?

A: Writing is always my first choice for fun! But my husband and I also like to go camping at the nearby beaches or mountains. We also raise monarch butterflies in our backyard milkweed patch. I’m a Citizen Scientist and help track birds that visit our backyard. We’re right next to a riverbed that flows to the ocean and get some interesting varieties even though we live in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Raising monarchs and tracking birds sounds like lots of fun!

Q: What inspired you to write Bedtime with Mommy?

A: We have four grandkids and reading a book (or more!) at bedtime is a big deal. I wanted to write a bedtime board book about the special relationship a mother and child have. My hope is that this book becomes a favorite.

Bedtime with Mommy shows that relationship so well. I think it will quickly become a favorite bedtime book!

Q: Bedtime with Mommy has so many delightful pictures of mommy animals and their babies from all around the world. Do you have a favorite from the book?

A: The panda Mommy and baby are so sweet. The illustrator, Felia Hanakata did such a wonderful job. Plus I love the words:

It’s bedtime in the FOREST.

Bamboo stands tall and straight.

My mommy shares a bedtime snack

Before it gets too late.

 I hold my special Bible.

We find my favorite Psalm.

We read about God’s promises.

I’m peaceful now and calm.

Q: Bedtime with Mommy is written in rhyme. What do you enjoy most about writing in rhyme?

A: The best part about writing in rhyme is when you’ve worked hard over days and weeks on one particular stanza and filled pages with notes and potential word pairs. Then suddenly there comes that magical moment when you read the stanza out loud and it practically sings because the rhythm and rhyme finally metamorphosize and come together.

Q: I love how you weave prayers and songs into the story! And that the book ends with a human mommy tucking her child into bed. Do you have any suggestions for parents or grandparents to help children enjoy Bedtime with Mommy and share God’s love with little children?

A:  Bedtime is such a prime time to share God’s love on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or wait until everything’s perfect. It can start tonight. Just say a simple prayer as you tuck your little one into bed. Or choose a faith-filled book such as Bedtime with Mommy and read it to them before you kiss them goodnight. You can sing a praise song together as you’re helping them into their jammies. Or tape a Bible memory verse on the bathroom mirror and say it together as they’re brushing their teeth. And of course if you already have a bedtime routine, you can weave in all these wonderful faith-filled moments and more!

These are wonderful ideas, Nancy! I’m sure parents and grandparents will love them.

Q: You’ve written so many wonderful books for children. Can you tell us a little about any new projects you’re working on?

A: I just signed the contract for the next book in the series, Bedtime with Daddy! So be sure to watch for it next Fall in September, 2022!

Molly and I will be sure to watch for Bedtime with Daddy!

Thank you so much, Nancy for sharing with our readers about Bedtime with Mommy! While Molly and I snuggle down to read it together, would you tell our readers where they can learn more about you and your books.

A: At my website at www.nancyisanders.com.

And I love to connect with readers online! Here’s where you can find me on the Internet. Please follow me if you’re on these platforms and like my pages!

Blogzone (for writers): https://nancyisanders.wordpress.com

Christian Children’s Authors: https://christianchildrensauthors.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancyisanders

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancyisanders

Facebook Author’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/NancyI.SandersAuthorPage/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NancyISanders

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nancyisanders/

Amazon Author’s Page: www.amazon.com/author/nancysanders

Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teacher-Plus-Writer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/95924.Nancy_I_Sanders

Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyisanders/

 

 

 

 

 

Set Your Thanksgiving Table with a Devotion and Art Activity Based on Saying Grace by Jean-Simeon Chardin

Let’s set our Thanksgiving table with a cute children’s art activity and devotion that will encourage your family to thank God for all their blessings. 

As always, there’s a cute Molly the Artsy Corgi picture at the end with more things you can do.

The Devotion

Let’s look again at Chardin’s painting, Saying Grace, the moment when the children are thanking God for their meal.

Saying Grace, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1744, The Hermitage, public domain

Do you think this is a special day or a normal one when the mother has called the children from their play for lunch or supper?

What food has the mother cooked?

That’s right–just a normal day with a simple meal of soup, but the mother and children are taking time to fold their hands and thank God for providing for their daily needs, as Jesus teaches us to do in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:11).

You may need to explain that in the Lord’s Prayer, “our daily bread” symbolizes all our daily needs.

Read James 1:17 and ask children to list some of the daily needs and blessings God provides for them.

Read Luke 18:15-17 and point out that, like the people in the Bible, the mother in the painting is teaching her children that they can go to Jesus to talk with Him and thank Him for His care. They don’t have to wait until they’re older.

Invite your children to tell about a time they went to Jesus with a prayer.

Chardin could have shown the mother saying grace before the meal, but his focus is on the children, perhaps to emphasize that we are all like children, dependent on God, who made us. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture, and we must come humbly into His presence with thanksgiving and praise for His loving care.

Read Psalm 100 together.

We know we don’t need to fold our hands or close our eyes to talk to God, but the mother has taught her children to sometimes fold their hands like this for prayer.

We see this same position in the iconic Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer. It’s as if our hands become a church steeple pointing to God, which may just remind us that we can always look up to our heavenly Father who is good and whose love endures forever (Psalm 100:5).

Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer, public domain

Prayer: We praise you, Lord, that we are the sheep of your pasture. Thank you that we can bring every need to you, and you love and provide for us each day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Art Project, Praying Hands

Praying hands for thanksgiving table

This simple project will remind your children that their praying hands can be like a steeple pointing to God as we bring our praises and requests to Him.

It can be done with crayons in about 15 minutes, so could be a simple project to engage children as they wait for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But I’ll also explain an extra step you can do if you have time and don’t mind a little mess.

 At the Thanksgiving table guests may write prayer requests or praises on slips of paper and put these in the bottom of the bag under the praying hands.

Supplies:

  • brown, white, or Thanksgiving-motif paper lunch bags
  • scissors
  • pencils
  • glue
  • crayons or markers
  • Tempera paint, a largish brush, and paper towels if you want to do the extra step

Directions

  1. Place a folded paper bag flat on the table with the folded bottom of the bag facing up
  2. Have child place his or her hand flat on the bag with finger tips pointed toward the top of the bag and their wrist at the upper edge of the folded bag bottom
  3. With a pencil, trace around the child’s hand
  4. Keeping the bag folded, cut in from the sides of the bag (just above the folded bag bottom) to the child’s wrist line. Then cut up and around the traced hand (through both thicknesses of the bag) and out to the bag’s other edge on the other side of the hand
  5. The child may then decorate or color the hands. Most want to add rings, fingernails, watches, etc.
  6. Open the bag
  7. To form the praying hands, glue the tips of the fingers together. (just a little glue so you can still put things into the bottom of the bag)

The extra step:

  1. Before opening the bag, fold the two hands away from each other and the bag bottom
  2. Spread a thin layer of paint on the child’s hands and help them make hand prints on what will be the inside or palm of their praying hands
  3. They need to hold their hand still, fingers together, and just press down gently
  4. They will also need to do each hand separately so thumbs and fingers match

Helpful Hints

  • When tracing the child’s hand, have them keep their fingers mostly together, although you’ll want to draw the lines between their fingers.
  • If you’re not sure how much paint to use for the hand prints, have some scrap paper handy and do a couple trial prints

Cleanup tips

If you decide to do the hand prints, as you finish printing with each of the child’s hands, fold a paper towel into their hand to hold until you get them to wherever you’ll wash up

Before You Go

Are you looking for a kid’s devotion for fall that’s all about God’s care for butterflies and us? Visit Devokids for a children’s devotion I wrote. It’s called, Get Ready, Butterflies! Winter’s Coming!.

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for you whole family!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope this devotion and activity based on Saying Grace has been a blessing as you prepare for Thanksgiving. We put them together so you and your children would have plenty of time to go through the devotion and make the craft before Thanksgiving.  

We hope you’ll come back next time for an interview with Nancy Sanders about her new children’s book, Bedtime with Mommy.

Saying Grace by Jean-Siméon Chardin

Our November artist, Jean-Siméon Chardin, lavished time and great care on still life paintings of foods and genre scenes of everyday children and families. So what better artist for November, when we in the United States gather for a special Thanksgiving feast with family and friends, and give thanks to God for His blessings?

We’ll look briefly at a couple of Chardin’s still lifes and spend most of our time on the genre scene called Saying Grace.

Read on to:

  • Learn a little about Jean Siméon Chardin (Shar dan)
  • Be delighted by his paintings
  • See activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy Chardin’s work
  • See a photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

The Artist 

Chardin (1699- 1779) was born in Paris and never lived anywhere else. The son of a carpenter, Chardin was apprenticed at about 14 to a history painter. Even though he never traveled to Rome or the Netherlands, Chardin could study the works of artists from all over Europe in the various private collections and art markets of Paris.

He went on to join the Academie de Saint Luc (Luke) and open his own studio. (Luke, the gospel writer, was once considered the patron saint of artists, so artist guilds were named for him). Membership in such a guild was usually required for an artist to sell his or her work to the public and to have apprentices.

Though he trained with a history painter, Chardin never had an interest in that type of art. He also resisted the highly decorative rococo style popular in France at that time. Instead Chardin painted still lifes and genre scenes of everyday French people.

Near the end of his life, when his eyesight was failing, Chardin did some beautiful pastel portraits, such as the one of himself working at an easel. Look closely at his eyes and see that he’s looking at himself in a mirror before continuing his self-portrait. Don’t you just love those enormous round glasses? And his curious head gear?

Chardin, pastel self-portrait at an easel,1779, The Louvre, public domain

Chardin’s warm, expressive paintings were loved and bought by collectors across Europe and today are in numerous museums.

The Paintings

In Chardin’s work we see influences from the still life and genre art of The Netherlands in the 1600s. Like Dutch artists, such as Maria van Oosterwyck (see my post about her in March, 2021), Chardin lavished his talents on making still lifes realistic. The many intricate shapes and the red accents catch your attention. His still lifes show off gleaming silver and delicate china. You feel as if you could reach out and touch the fuzzy surface of a peach or the ridges of a walnut sitting in its shell. In the Basket of Peaches the knife handle seems to jut out into our space, showing Chardin’s mastery of perspective.

The Preparations of a Lunch, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1756, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Carcassonne, public domain

Basket of Peaches with Walnuts, Knife, and a Glass of Wine, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1768, The Louvre, public domain

In Chardin’s genre paintings, we catch glimpses of the clothing and interior settings of middle-class French people. We see women check a child’s lessons, arrive home with food from the market, and children play with tops and blow bubbles—all things we and our children can identify with.

In Saying Grace, a mother is putting a meal on the table for her 2 children, who look like they’ve just stopped their play. Notice the drum hanging on the front chair. Chardin’s colors are warm and inviting—muted reds, warm browns, and a rich teal blue.

Saying Grace, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1744, The Hermitage, public domain

Apparently the mother has just asked the smaller child to say grace, and she gazes lovingly at the child’s hands folded in prayer.

Activities to Help You and Your Children further explore Saying Grace

Before doing any other activities, ask children to tell what’s going on in the paintings and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary. Here are some things to notice:

  • What do they think the small pot and pan in the foreground are? (Probably the pot holds coals from a stove or fireplace to warm people’s feet, and the long-handled pan carries the live coals to and from.
  • Encourage children to see how the reds on the smaller child’s skirt and hat are repeated on the chairs and inside the foot warmer. That catches our attention and moves our eyes around the painting.
  • What do they think about the little chair the child is sitting in? How will the child reach the table to eat?

Further Exploration:

This genre painting is so true to its 1700s time period in France, that you and your children may be interested to learn and discuss some of the following:

  1. Did they notice the very pointy shoes the mother’s wearing?
  2. Children may also be interested to know that the small child in the foreground may be a boy. From the 1500s to the early 1900s, little boys usually wore skirts just like girls. This made potty training easier, as pants of that time often had rather intricate fastenings (zippers weren’t invented until the late 1800s and only came into use in men’s and children’s clothing in the 1920s and 30s). So for a long time boys wore dresses until somewhere between 2 and 8. When they reached the age to wear pants, there might be a celebration of this milestone in growing up.
  3. Certain styles of hats, belts, less lace, darker colors, etc. all help art historians decide if a young child is a girl or boy. But since clothes were expensive to make or buy, parents would often hand down clothes as needed, despite style, so it’s hard to be sure.
  4. Children may enjoy looking at a couple other of Chardin’s  paintings of children  here and here
  5. Older children may enjoy researching clothing styles through the centuries. Here are a few questions to get them thinking:
  • How often were pointy shoes in style?
  • When and why did men begin wearing pants.
  • What are some other names for pants?
  • When was the zipper invented and when did it first get used in clothes?
  • What about buttons and pockets?

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpieces for you whole family!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly’s wearing her French beret and posing with a pumpkin in honor of Thanksgiving and Chardin’s work. She and I hope you enjoyed this peek into the ordinary life of 18th-century France, and will come back next time for a Devotion based on Chardin’s painting, Saying Grace.