Category Archives: Molly the artsy corgi

Laura Sassi Tells Us about Her Newest Children’s Book My Tender Heart Bible

Molly and I are thrilled to welcome children’s author, Laura Sassi back to our blog. We’ve loved Laura’s previous books and are excited to help tell you about her newest—My Tender Heart Bible.

Kathy:  For those who may be new to this blog, would you tell us a little about yourself and My Tender Heart Bible.

Laura:  Thank you for having me on your blog, Kathy.

Laura Sassi and her writing companion, Sophie

I am a former teacher who is now blessed to be able to spend my days writing books, poems and other pieces that offer messages of hope and joy for little ones and the grown ups who love them. Over the years, I’ve discovered that I have a special passion for telling stories in rhyme, so eight of my nine books for children are rhyming.

My very first book, Goodnight, Ark, came out in 2014. It was followed by Goodnight, Manger, Love is Kind (the only one that doesn’t rhyme), Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse, Little Ewe, Bunny Finds Easter, Happy Birthday Christmas Child, and, just out, My Tender Heart Bible. The ninth, My Tender Heart Prayer Book will release in Fall 2023.

Kathy:  Congratulations on all these sweet books! Little Ewe was the first book of yours I read, and I fell in love with the little lamb who went off on her own and became lost and afraid. I knew children would identify with Little Ewe and cheer when the Good Shepherd rescued her. I’ve since shared the hope and joy of many of your books with little ones in my family and at school!

Would you tell us how My Tender Heart Bible is different from your other books?

Laura:  My Tender Heart Bible is very different from my first seven books because it’s not a picture book story or even a board book story. Yes, the format is board book, but the content is 12 of my favorite Bible stories rendered in poetic rhyme. Each retelling is accompanied by a Bible citation, a beautiful illustration by Sandra Eide, and a Heart Moment of prayer. The book is inspired by memories of sitting with my own children when they were little to read or re-tell Bible stories so they could grasp just how much God loved them.

Kathy:  You chose 12 wonderful Bible stories to retell in rhyme, and I especially like the Heart Moment of prayer. Did you have certain themes in mind as you chose these 12?

Laura:  I prayed over which stories to include because I really wanted them to fit together as a collection so that individually, and as a whole, they would show God’s redemptive love. Other themes threaded throughout include that God is good and that He keeps His promises. I also wanted stories about God’s beloved who were both girls and boys, men and women. That’s how I decided upon Esther’s story, for example.

And I wanted six from the Old Testament and six from the New Testament so that the book would be balanced in that way and could be used as an introduction for littlest ones to the whole Bible. And, of course, I had to finish with the story of Jesus’ glorious resurrection!

Kathy:  I’m so glad you finished with Jesus’ resurrection! Little ones will love listening to the rhyme and rhythm of each story. And we know that rhyme helps children remember and hold these words about God in their hearts.

I love your rhyme that creates such beautiful pictures! Some of our readers may have older children, too. Do you have any hints for those who might want to write poetry?

Laura:  Poetry, especially rhyming poetry, is harder than it might first appear because it’s not just about good rhyme. It’s also about meter and keeping a consistent beat throughout a piece. But if you love playing with words and have a passion for rhyme, I suggest beginning by writing something just for the pleasure of it and seeing where it takes you.

Once you have a rough draft, go back and test it for meter. See if the established beat is consistent. If it isn’t fix it. Check also to see that the rhyme pairs you are choosing are fresh and fun. Using a rhyming dictionary helps immensely with this.

To grow as a poet, it’s also important to immerse yourself in poetry so I suggest going to the library and checking out and reading as many children’s poetry books and rhyming picture books as you can. If your readers are interested in learning more, here’s a post with tips I wrote several years ago:

Kathy:  Great ideas, Laura! I know these and your post will be very helpful to children and adults who may be interested in writing poetry.

The illustrations by Sandra Eide are colorful and have lots of children for readers to identify with. Molly and I also enjoyed finding different animals from creation in each illustration. We think children will enjoy that, too. Do you have any favorite illustrations?

Laura:  Warmth, love, and charming detail emanate from each of Sandra’s illustrations. Pictured below is one I especially like because it really captures Jesus’s love for the little children. I actually had this spread enlarged to poster size so that little ones at events can come up and point to various elements.

I love the diverse depiction of the children as well as their joyous expressions. I also love the soft, warm color palette Sandra has chosen for this spread and throughout. And little ones, I have noticed, love Sandra’s inclusion of a dog! That’s just one example of the wonderful extra details she has included throughout the book.

Kathy:  Molly really loves that dog and is sure Sophie does, too!

Every page of My Tender Heart Bible, presents children with so much to hear and see and think about. How can caregivers help children slow down to appreciate each of its delightful layers of thoughtfully-chosen Bible stories and prayers, lyrical rhyme and rhythm, and colorful illustrations with so much to see?

Laura:  Here are few ideas to help caregivers and their little ones get the most out of each spread.

  1. Before reading each story, take a moment to ponder the title and the illustrations. Using just those clues, can they guess what the story might be about? Do they recognize anyone or anything?
  2. Next, take a moment to note the Bible citation. Maybe even open your own Bible to that part and have it there alongside you as you read the story so that little readers make the connection that the story comes from God’s word.
  3. As you read, pause to think about each part of the story. Maybe see if your children can spot the action that is being described in words somewhere in the illustrations. Don’t rush. Instead, encourage your children to explore the illustrations, listen to the words, and ask questions.
  4. After reading, reflect together on the retelling as a whole. What was their favorite part? Did they learn something new about God? What?
  5. Finally, see if your little ones can locate the “Heart Moment” at the bottom right corner of each spread.  Explain that this is their chance to respond to God’s loving word with a prayer. Then read and pray it together.

Kathy:  Thank you for these thoughtful ideas to help children and their caregivers enjoy and see God’s love for them in each story of My Tender Heart Bible.

Molly and I have enjoyed learning all about your newest book, Laura!  Where can our readers get their very own copy of My Tender Heart Bible?

Laura:  My Tender Heart Bible is available wherever books are sold. The publisher has also created a website for the book called That website includes all sorts of fun things like the book trailer and an inspirational video. There’s also a free activity kit you can download.

The website also includes quick and easy links to many of your favorite vendors. And in the super neat department, it’s called My Tender Heart Books because there are more My Tender Heart books in the pipeline!  Next up? My Tender Heart Prayer Book which releases this coming Fall.

Kathy:  How exciting that My Tender Heart Bible is part of a series! And it sounds like there are many fun things on that website! Molly and I love videos and activity kits, so we plan to visit it real soon. Thank you again, Laura, for visiting our blog to tell our readers about My Tender Heart Bible.

Molly sends puppy hugs to Sophie!



What’s So Special about the Mona Lisa?

What’s so special about the Mona Lisa–a portrait of a woman who lived in Florence in the early 1500s? Lisa Gherardini wasn’t famous; she was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant of Florence. Francesco was a friend of Leonardo’s father, but not famous either. And the portrait isn’t large—only about 30 inches by 21 inches.

  • So why, in 1963, did millions of Americans at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. line up to get a 20 second view of this portrait?

    President and Mrs.John F. Kennedy and VP Lyndon Johnson at the National Gallery, Wash. D.C., public domain

  • Why did millions more view her in Tokyo and Moscow in 1974.
  • Why do most of the millions who visit the Louvre in Paris each year mostly just want to see the Mona Lisa?
  • Why is she valued at over $700 million?
  • Why have songs, like Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa been written about her?
  • Why can you find her image on everything from t-shirts to umbrellas?

Let’s look at some of the reasons Mona Lisa become a super star

Some of it is because of the Artist

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was born near Vinci, just west of Florence. Contemporaries said he was handsome, charming, and a talented singer. He loved animals, mountain climbing, and art.

At 15 his father apprenticed him to the Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio. There he learned painting, sculpture, and mechanical skills. Apprentices eventually began painting parts of their master’s works, and the angel closest to the viewer in Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ, was painted by Leonardo when he was still in his 20s. Compared to Verrocchio’s figures, Leonardo’s angel is far superior in color and realism.

Baptism of Christ by Andrea del Verrocchio, 1472-1475, Uffizi Gallery, public domain

Leonardo was interested in everything from nature and anatomy to flying. In Milan, where he worked a number of years for the duke, he’s listed as the duke’s painter and engineer. As such he designed sets for court festivals, as well as working on architectural, military, and engineering projects.

While in Milan Leonardo painted The Last Supper for the dining hall of a monastery. But he was always experimenting with materials, and the paint of The Last Supper, began flaking off while the artist was still alive.

Despite his great talent Leonardo found it hard to settle and finish works. Though there are many notebooks with 1000s of drawing,

Study of a horse by Leonardo da Vinci, public domain

we have fewer than 20 works completed by him. But the masterful paintings, the drawings of inventive ideas, and accounts of his curiosity and brilliance in many fields, have all led to his being an icon of the multi-talented genius.

When Leonardo was an old man, France’s King Francis I invited him to live and paint at the French court. Leonardo died in France, which helped lead to the monarchy owning the Mona Lisa. Since the French Revolution, she has been owned by the French Republic and has her very own wall in the Louvre.

Some of it is because of the painting

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci 1503, The Louvre, public domain

Here’s are 11 special things about the painting:

  1. It’s one of the first easel paintings, meant to be framed and hung on a wall.
  2. It uses the new oil paints, (developed by northern European artists) whose long drying time allows artists to work longer and make changes.
  3. Mona Lisa’s face, hands and body are made up of many layers of thin, almost transparent paint (scientists have found 30 layers on her face). So instead of hard outlines, Leonardo used his knowledge of anatomy; used  lights and darks (called chiaroscuro) to create depth; and softly blended colors (called sfumato) to make her one of the most realistic portraits painted at that time.
  4. Mona Lisa’s pose is relaxed. Instead of the usual profile portrait, she sits in a chair and is turned toward the viewer. This became the norm for later portraits. Because she’s looking right at the artist, her eyes appear to follow the viewer.
  5. Leonardo used a pyramid or triangular composition to focus our attention on Mona Lisa’s face.
  6. Leonardo was one of the first to put a realistic landscape behind the sitter, using one point perspective that has all the receding lines end in a vanishing point behind the sitter’s eyes. This also helps focus our attention on Mona Lisa’s face.
  7. Leonardo used aerial perspective, showing distant objects as blue and blurry. (another innovation from northern European artists).
  8. There’s still some mystery about who the sitter is. Most experts agree that she is Lisa Gherardini, but a few hold out for others, including Leonardo’s mother.
  9. Of course Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile intrigues viewers. Early accounts say that Leonardo hired musicians and jesters to entertain her while he did studies and painted.
  10. Then there’s also the theft. An Italian worker at the Louvre stole the Mona Lisa in 1911. He hid in a closet until the museum closed and walked out with the painting under his coat. He took the portrait to his apartment in Rome, and it wasn’t discovered there for 2 years. The their claimed it belonged in Italy.
  11. Then there’s its estimated worth. Some say billions, others just say priceless. Today the French have spent their money on preserving and protecting her. She is in a bullet-proof glass case that has a controlled humidity and temperature all its own.

Let’s Enjoy the Painting Together

1. With this portrait, it might be fun to talk about the sitter and what she’s thinking. Do children think she’s smiling?

2. Many good copies have been made of the Mona Lisa, some by his students—all believed to be made after Leonardo’s death. But around 2010, conservators at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain discovered that their copy of the Mona Lisa, done by one of Leonardo’s assistants, was done at the time Leonardo was actually working on the original. It shows some of the same changes Leonardo made. They cleaned their copy of layers of varnish and found bright colors on Mona Lisa’s clothing and in the background.

The original Mona Lisa has also become darkened over the years by layers of varnish. So it’s probable that the original was also much brighter.

So it might be fun to compare the original and the Prado copy to see similarities and differences and encourage children to wonder what the original may have looked like. Here they are together.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci 1503, The Louvre, public domain

La Gioconda, Prado Museum copy, public domain

Two Takeaways

Art Activity Suggestion Try drawing or taking photos of each other in the same pose as Mona Lisa and with that enigmatic smile.

A Little Inspiration from God’s Word

Students in one of my art classes are learning to draw their portrait. We start off with the ways all human faces are similar, and make some light marks to show where we’ll draw eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. But then we begin to look even more carefully at all the details that make each individual unique. We are each wonderfully made by our loving heavenly Father. Psalm 139:14.

Picture of Molly the Artsy Corgi

Molly has given her spot to a special visitor today, The Mona Lisa Duck!

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, 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, You’ll also get a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit.

Visit Molly’s and 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.




Whistlejacket, Life Size Portrait of a Horse by George Stubbs

I’ve always loved horseback riding, and as a child, I read every horse book I could find. One of my favorites was King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. So, when I stepped into gallery 34 in London’s National Gallery of Art and saw the life size portrait of Whistlejacket, I stood there, amazed by such a beautiful animal.

Let’s Learn about the Horse

Born in 1749, Whistlejacket was an Arabian stallion and a grandson of the Godolphin Arabian—the King of the Wind of Ms. Henry’s book. Her story was based on several legends about the Godolphin, but one thing is certain. He was one of 3 Arabian stallions British breeders imported between 1690 and 1730 to become foundation sires for the thoroughbred breed. All thoroughbreds are said to be descended from these three stallions: the Godolphin Arabian, the Byerley Turk, and the Darley Arabian. Whistlejacket did fairly well as a race horse, but was retired early to sire more thoroughbreds.

 Let’s Learn about the Artist

George Stubbs, self portrait, public domain

George Stubbs was born in Liverpool in 1724. He loved to draw and was interested in anatomy. He may have been briefly apprenticed to a painter, but was mostly self-taught. George later moved to York and painted portraits and taught drawing.

After returning from a short visit to Rome, Stubbs decided he needed to learn from nature, not classical sculptures. So, he moved to a rural area and for 18 months dissected horses and studied their anatomy. He made detailed drawings that he published in a book in 1766. The Anatomy of the Horse became a reference for artists and naturalists, but only a few pages survive.

His reputation as a painter of horses grew, and in the early 1760s the Marquess of Rockingham, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, commissioned Stubbs to paint several of his horses, including his prize stallion, Whistlejacket.  During his career, Stubbs studied and painted other animals, too, but is still best known for his horse paintings

 Let’s Learn about the Painting

Whistlejacket, c. 1762 by George Stubbs, National Gallery, London, public domain

This painting is huge—about 9 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Whistlejacket is life size, and is just as much a portrait as Renoir’s portrait of Julie Manet and her Cat, because it’s a particular horse. Whistlejacket was a chestnut horse with a flaxen mane and tail. He also had a white star and one white sock. Apparently, he was named for a popular cold medicine that was about his color. We can also glimpse a little of his character from his pose and his face turned towards us.

Although, Stubbs has painted Whistlejacket very realistically, he’s used loose brushwork on the horse’s flank. Closeups also show the edges as being a little blurry. No one knows if Stubbs did this on purpose, but it does make Whistlejacket look more active.

It was once thought that Stubbs left the painting unfinished, because there’s no background and no rider in the tradition of grand equestrian paintings like Napoleon Crossing the Alps by French artist Jacque-Louis David.

Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1801-1805 by Jacques-Louis David, public domain

Most experts now believe Stubbs left it plain and with no rider on purpose to show off the beauty and spirit of Whistlejacket. Whistlejacket is also shown doing a levade, one of the “airs above ground,” practiced in the classical dressage of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna or by the Cadre Noir of Saumur, France. Only the most powerful and best-trained horses can do these movements.

Whistlejacket, c. 1762 by George Stubbs, National Gallery, London, public domain

 Let’s Enjoy the Painting Together

Before telling children too much about the painting, ask them to tell what they think is going on in the painting and what tells them that.

  • Ask them if the painting is of a real horse or not. And why they think that.
  • Do they like the horse’s color?
  • Do they think the horse is tame or wild?
  • Is the horse painted realistically or not?
  • If you haven’t told them the name, ask what they’d name the horse

Use their observations and the information about the horse, the artist, and the painting to help them further enjoy it.

2 Takeaways for More Fun

Art Activity Suggestion

If you have a child who loves horses, they might enjoy learning to draw them. There are many tutorials online for drawing horses, as well as drawing books available at bookstores or libraries.

A Little Inspiration from God’s Word

Horses are prey for many animals, such as wolves, and the best way for horses to protect themselves from predators is to run away quickly. So, God has given them an amazing feature that helps save precious seconds when a predator approaches. They have a special combination of tendons and ligaments called the stay apparatus that locks the major joints in their legs so they can stand while they sleep. That way horses can grab some shut eye and still be ready to run at a moment’s notice. God, in His wisdom, knew just what each creature needed to survive and thrive! Genesis 1:24-25.

Picture of Molly the Artsy Corgi

Horses may be able to sleep while standing, but not dogs! Molly fell asleep under the tree after a busy Christmas morning.

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, 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, You’ll also get a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit.

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


Weaving the Beauty of Jesus into Every Part of Your Day, A Kid-Friendly Devotion

Look at this colorful paper weaving. For their cat on a mat project children chose their favorite color to be the lengthwise (warp) part of their weaving.

Then for the strips that weave across (weft) they painted with watercolor paints. They added colors and let them swirl and mix.

They didn’t really want to cut apart their beautiful design, but they knew a tabby weave, which goes over and under, would create an even more beautiful pattern when combined with their favorite color.

Psalm 139 says God created your inmost being and wove you together with your color hair and eyes, your favorite foods and colors, and even how tall you’d be. He has given you the ability to play music or soccer, love math or art. You are wonderfully made. And above all God has made you to be able to love and worship Him and love others as we love Him.

But it’s not always easy to do that, is it? We may get angry when our friends don’t want to do something we like. We don’t always obey our parents. We may get tired and cranky and say mean things to our brothers and sisters.

So God sent His Son, Jesus, to us. He came as a baby and grew up just like you, except that He never sinned. Jesus is more beautiful than the most beautiful watercolor painting you’ve ever seen. He showed us the perfect beauty of God’s love and care, wisdom and guidance, and understanding and forgiveness.

Jesus was willing on the cross to be cut apart, separated, from God the Father to save you and weave His beauty into your life.

You are wonderfully made, and when you allow Jesus to weave the colorful threads of His perfect love, wisdom, and forgiveness through your day, you will become an even more beautiful creation to glorify God.

When you start each day, pray and thank Jesus for coming into your life. Then watch for how He weaves His love and care over and under you at school, playing with friends, and at home with your family. Then those beautiful threads of love will show in your life, too.

 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 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

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. Add link

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on our Cat on a Mat watercolor and weaving art project. If you missed it, here’s the link.

And if you’ve signed up for our newsletter, next week you’ll receive lots more connections—fun research ideas and children’s books about the Impressionists and cats, as well as links to a museum gem with online art activities for all ages.

Molly and I wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!




Cat on a Mat, An Artsy Corgi Art Activity

Let’s have fun making a cat on a mat. We’ll paint wet-in-wet with the light-filled colors loved by the Impressionists and weave the painting into a mat for a happy cat! You’ll discover how to draw a cat and learn a basic tabby weave.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Creative variations and adaptations for different ages
  • 4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn
  • 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s have Fun Making Art!


The Mat

  • 9X12 “ Watercolor paper (smooth or rough is fine). You can find inexpensive pads or packs at craft stores and in the craft section of places like Walmart.
  • Choose your favorite color of construction paper for the loom.
  • A larger white piece of paper as a background for the mat
  • Crayons or oil pastels
  • Watercolor paint set and brush

The Cat

  • Pictures of cats
  • Drawing paper
  • Pencils, erasers, scissors
  • Crayons to color the cat
  • White glue


The Mat

  1. With crayons draw curvy and straight lines, dots, spirals, etc. in different colors all over the watercolor paper. Leave lots of white space for the paint. These marks have to be crayon or oil pastels.
  2. Mix several puddles of watercolor paint. Your puddle should flow, but have lots of pigment.
  3. Use a large wet but not dripping brush or rag to wet paper with clear water. The paper should be a more than just damp, but no standing water.
  4. Start adding watercolors, allowing them to flow and mix . Paint right over the crayon or oil pastel. The wax resists the paint and stays bright.
  5. Allow to dry.

The Cat  (do this while your painting dries)

  • Really study pictures of cats. Notice these details:
  • the roundish shape of heads
  •  the oval shape of bodies
  •  the rounded triangular-shaped ears that are more on top of their heads
  •  the shape are eyes and pupils
  • the thickness of tails
  • cats often wrap their tails around themselves so you can’t see their paws
  1. Before drawing, picture in your mind where the cat’s head and body will be. Use your fist to help you imagine where to put the head that will leave room for both the ears and the body.
  2. Draw lightly, sketching, so you can erase a line you don’t want.
  3. Color your cat. You may want to color it in a Tabby pattern, which is stripes in any color.
  4. Cut out your cat

The Loom and Weaving

  1. Cut the painting into 1 inch strips the long way.
  2. Make a paper loom  (See pictures)
  3. Use masking tape to temporarily hold the loom on the white paper
  4. Weave the 1st watercolor strip through the loom—under, over, under, over
  5. Start the 2nd strip the opposite–over, under, over, under
  6. In tabby weave each strip should be opposite to the previous strip
  7. Keep gently pushing the strips together and up toward the top of your loom, until you run out of room for more strips

Putting It All Together

  1. Glue your mat to the white paper
  2. Glue your cat on top of the mat
  3. Draw and color cat-related designs around the border of the mat

Now display your happy cat on its colorful mat for everyone to see! Enjoy how the crayon glows through the watercolor!

More Ideas and Tips to Make Your Cat on a Mat

Helpful Hints:

  • As you paint, pick up your paper and move it around to help colors mix
  • Don’t mix too long, or colors become muddy
  • If your painted paper curls, flatten it with a book after it’s dry
  • When drawing lines for the loom and watercolor strips, do these on the back so they don’t show later
  • Masking tape holds the loom in place but can be removed without as much damage as cellophane tape

Variations and adaptations for different ages:

  • Cut wavy lines for the loom
  • If you don’t have watercolor paper, sponge paint some sturdy paper with tempera paints
  • Add ribbon or yarn bows to your cat
  • I do this project with 1st graders, and I cut the watercolor strips and make the looms, but they love doing everything else!
  • If children aren’t sure whether they want their painting to be cut, number the strips so they can weave them in order.
  • Color your cat in wild colors

4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn

  1. Crayon resist—crayon’s wax content resists water-based paints and remains bright. Oil pastels work the same way.
  2. Sketch—to draw an object with short, light strokes, sometimes lightly redrawing a line before erasing the unwanted line.
  3. Pattern—the repetition of a design. Tabby cats have a striped pattern.
  4. Tabby weave—the over and under pattern that is opposite in each row.

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Weaving helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Drawing helps children take time to look carefully, seeing details as well as the overall picture. Important in every subject, but especially in learning to recognize individual letters and word patterns for beginning reading.
  3. Making choices with colors, patterns, etc. enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Paper towels
  • A plastic dish tub holds things to be washed
  • A wastebasket for paper scraps
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles and lay them flat to dry. Store with bristles up in a container.

Check out these Great Freebies Before You Go

Watch for a special thank you gift for our newsletter subscribers coming in early December. Molly the Artsy Corgi has some Christmas art ideas you and your children will love. These fun and easy projects will provide shared moments of calm and invite Jesus into your busy holidays. Don’t miss out. Sign up for our newsletter today!

If you sign up, you’ll right away receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. And once a month more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources will come to your inbox.

Visit our website to get 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 the Artsy Corgi hopes you enjoy making a happy cat on a mat! You can read our first post about Renoir here, and Molly and I hope you’ll come back next time for a devotion based on our cats on a mat art activity.

And finally a cute Molly Photo

She thinks she’s helping me get ready for our walk!


An Artsy Corgi Art Activity Based on Lighthouse Paintings

Ahoy, Matey, let’s make a seascape with a lighthouse and lots of fun details! In this Artsy Corgi art activity, you’ll discover an easy way to draw a lighthouse, learn several fun painting techniques, and finish up with some 3-D effects. We call this type of project a mixed-media activity, because we use several different art mediums.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list It looks a little long, but most of it is stuff you may already have
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • Vocabulary and art and design elements and principles children will learn
  • 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s Make a Seascape!


  • Sturdy light blue paper for a background (with light blue paper, you can paint clouds and water on an already sky and water colored background)
  • White foam plates make great paint palettes and can rinse off easily for reuse or be thrown away
  • Tempera paint in white, black, blue, green, and purple
  • Clean damp rags to paint with
  • White drawing paper for the lighthouse
  • Pencils, erasers, scissors
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or markers to color the lighthouse
  • Tan or white paper to spatter for sand
  • Watercolor set and 2 brushes for spattering
  • A fork or old plastic card to make sea grass
  • Small sea shells (gathered yourself, or available in craft stores)
  • White glue

Directions: (I’ve split these into sections for easier use)

Sea and Sky

  1. Lightly draw a horizon line to divide the sky and water
  2. On the palette, pour a small puddle of white and a very small puddle of black, leaving space between each puddle
  3. Scrunch up your rag or hold it over your index finger to paint
  4. After looking at clouds outside or in photos, use the rag to paint clouds. They can be fluffy or straight. You may swirl the paint to suggest movement. See the picture at #7.
  5. If you wish to add gray to clouds, put a little white in another spot on your palette and mix in a tiny bit of black to make different grays. Always mix just a little of the darker color into the lighter color. The opposite way takes way more of the lighter color to change the darker color.
  6. Add blue, green, and purple to your palette.
  7. Use these colors or mix together to make the ocean. You may make a calm sea or big swirling waves. Add white to the top of waves for foam.


  1. Sand comes in all colors, so use a sheet of white or tan paper.
  2. Swirl a wet brush into the brown pan of a watercolor set.
  3. While holding it over the paper, tap the brush against the handle of another brush to spatter paint. Use other colors if you wish—maybe some yellows and even a little green and blue for beach glass.

Lighthouse (The camera has distorted some of the lines)

  1. Look at a glass or towel tube and help children draw a cylinder’
  2. Look at a picture of a lighthouse and see that it’s a tower, which is a cylinder.
  3. Some lighthouses taper towards a narrower top, but they are still cylinders.
  4. Encourage children to look at other details, such as the rounded top or roof and the balconies with railings that often go around the outside. Keepers needed to get outside to keep the glass clean. These railings should curve.
  5. If children wish they can add some out buildings around the lighthouse tower. Don’t worry about 1-point perspective, unless they’re older and want to learn. There are lots of online tutorials for it if they do.
  6. Color the lighthouse and cut out.

Putting it all together

  1. Cut out stretches of sand and glue in place over the water.
  2. Glue the lighthouse somewhere on top of the sand.
  3. Use a fork or old plastic card to make sea grass.
  4. Glue on seashells.

And there you have it–a beautiful seascape with a lighthouse.

More Helpful Ideas and Tips for this Activity

Helpful Hints:

  • Painting with rags and spattering paint is fun and easy for all ages, but it is messy, so if the weather cooperates, you might want to do these parts outside in one session.
  • You may spatter paint with an old tooth brush and a popsicle stick, but remember to scrape towards yourself. It’s a little counterintuitive, but the other way just spatters you!
  • Paint shirts are a good idea !
  • To help prevent globs of glue, pour a small glue puddle on a plate and have children use their finger to spread the glue.
  • Place waxed paper under things as you spread glue. It keeps things from sticking in the wrong places.

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Paint a sun setting over the horizon

    sunset over Higgins Beach, photo by author

  • Use gray paper and paint lots of black clouds over a stormy sea
  • Use black paper and use thick yellow tempera paint to show the lighthouse’s beam of light
  • Draw and cut out small ships to sail out in the ocean
  • older children may want to get more detailed with their lighthouse drawings.
  • Sometimes children get discouraged if their drawing efforts don’t look just as they’d like. Remind them that drawing is a skill just like playing soccer or making a cake. It takes practice and time. Encourage them to try and praise their efforts!
  • Younger children may need help cutting and gluing all the parts together.
  • You may need a glue gun to make the shells stick.

4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn

  1. Seascape—a painting that has views of the ocean
  2. Color: tint=a color plus white, shade=a color plus black—in this activity children learn how to mix tints and shades for the clouds and water. They also learn how to mix just a little darker color at a time into lighter colors.
  3. Texture: how something feels to the touch, rough, soft, etc. In painting we often simulate texture by spattering, etc.—as children use this different painting technique and spatter paint, they learn about putting texture into paintings.
  4. Perspective: the ways artists create the illusion of depth in a painting, creating a foreground, middle ground, and background—without getting technical, children can discover 2 ways (differences in size and overlapping objects) to create the 3 distances in paintings.

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using pencils, brushes, scissors, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. This activity helps develop visual/spatial skills as children create a picture with 3 distances.
  3. Making choices in creating art enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Have paper towels handy
  • A plastic dish tup is great to hold tools you will keep and wash
  • Keep a wastebasket handy for trash
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.

Before You Go, See Molly’s Photos and More about Lighthouses

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 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. You can also learn more about us and see more fun activities on our website

Photos of Molly the Artsy Corgi with a few ocean things

Molly was a little worried at first

then she decided a shell might be good to eat.

Finally she settled down for a good photo. She knows it means a treat!

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 the Artsy Corgi hopes you enjoy making a mixed media art project of the sea and a lighthouse! If you missed them, be sure and go to earlier posts about lighthouses this month—Shipwrecks and Lighthouses and Lighthouses Tall and Small, A Kid-friendly Devotion about Lighthouses.

Next week in our newsletter you’ll discover connections to other subjects, a museum gem with activities for kids online, freebees, book reviews, and links to continue learning about lighthouses!

Molly and I hope to see you back here soon for a new Kathy the Picture Lady art series.




Lighthouses, Tall and Small, A Kid-Friendly Devotion about Lighthouses

Tall lighthouses have helped steer ships away from dangerous rocks and to safety for thousands of years. Almost 300 years before the birth of Jesus, the Egyptians built a lighthouse that was 330 feet tall. That’s taller than the Statue of Liberty!

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt had bronze mirrors that reflected sunlight during the day and firelight at night. That light guided ships safely into the harbor. A tall tower with a light at the top has usually been the pattern for lighthouses ever since.

Lighthouses in America

The British built the first lighthouse in America in Boston harbor in 1716. Lighthouses were costly to build, though, so just a few more were built during colonial times.

When America gained independence, it didn’t have many good roads. Travel and trade were faster and easier by sea. Lighthouses helped keep ships and their passengers and cargoes safe at sea and as they entered harbors.

In 1789, one of the first acts of the new Congress was to pass a bill to maintain existing lighthouses and build new ones. One of the first to be built was Portland Head Lighthouse in 1791. President George Washington signed the commission for Captain Joseph Greenleaf to be its first keeper.

Portland Head Lighthouse, Library of Congress photo, 1933, public domain

The Light of the World

Portland Head’s light can be seen 24 miles out to sea. That powerful light guides ships through the dark to a safe harbor. We have an even more powerful light in Jesus Christ. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And the place Jesus guides us to is an eternal safe harbor with Him.

Small Lighthouses

This lighthouse is also in Portland Harbor. It’s much smaller than the other lighthouses, but it has a big job to do. It guides ships safely around a breakwater.

Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, Maine, author photo

Even if you’re small like the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, you can be a light to the world, too. Whenever you say a kind word to a friend or help your parents, Jesus says your good deeds are like a light guiding others to God.

Don’t hide your light like Molly is doing in this photo!

What is one way you could shine brightly like a small lighthouse this week?

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 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

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 hopes you enjoyed this devotion and will join us next week for a fun art project about lighthouses.


Shipwrecks and Lighthouses

It was nighttime, August 11, 1897, and a thick fog had closed in around the Howard W. Middleton, a 3-masted schooner carrying 894 tons of coal from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine. The schooner had just passed rocky Black Point, made famous by the stormy seascapes painted by American artist, Winslow Homer.

Rather than risk sailing farther, Captain Shaw decided to put into a harbor on nearby Richmond Island, but in the swirling fog he missed the island and wrecked his ship on a rock just off a mainland beach.

sunset over Higgins Beach, photo by author

The Middleton’s crew made it to shore, and eventually tugboats from Portland retrieved much of the coal. A lot of coal also washed up on the beach, and people came from miles around to gather it for the coming winter. But with a huge hole in her hull, the Middleton was declared a loss and left on the rock. That winter a storm broke up the ship and carried it onto the beach, where today,125 years later, its seaweed-draped keel and ribs still lie half buried in the sand. I’ve walked around it many times at low tide.

Howard W. Middleton shipwreck, photo by author

If the Middleton had been able to round the next headland,

headland at Two Lights, photo by author


rocks and waves at Two Lights, photo by author

Several lighthouses, including Two Lights

Two Lights, photo by author

and the iconic Portland Head Lighthouse, both often painted by Edward Hopper, could have guided her into Portland’s safe harbor.

Since ancient times ships have depended on lighthouses to help them navigate dangerous waters. After independence, in 1789, the new American Congress passed a law to provide for the maintenance of existing lighthouses and for the building of new ones. Edward Hopper is famous for his paintings of lighthouses.

In this post you’ll:

  • Learn a little about Edward Hopper and his paintings of lighthouses
  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Discover 3 activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy Hopper’s work
  • See a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

The Artist

Edward Hopper,photo in public domain

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was born in a small town on the Hudson River north of New York City. By the time he was 12, Hopper was already 6 feet tall, making him feel out of place and lonely. After high school he studied at the New York School of Art,

Soon after graduation from art school, Hopper traveled to Europe. He wasn’t interested in the modern art movements such as cubism. Instead he was drawn to the work of the French Impressionists. Over the next few years he made 2 more trips to Paris, studying the Impressionist’s emphasis on light and nature, their lighter colors, the cropped compositions, and the buildings many painted.

For a while Hopper struggled. His art didn’t fit either type of art that was prominent in America in the early 1900s–gritty, city scenes or idealized paintings of rural America. By the 1930s, with the help of his wife, Josephine Nivison (also an artist), people began to appreciate his work. His landscapes, and paintings of houses, lighthouses, diners, and storefronts all have a similar style that has greatly influenced American art. Hopper painted in both oil and watercolor. His most famous painting, The Nighthawks, was painted during WWII and seems to show the darkness and anxiety many people felt during those war years.

The Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942, Art Institute of Chicago, public domain


These words, which will be in bold green the first time they come up, will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  • Impressionists:  artists who wanted to show the effects of changing light in their paintings. They also painted scenes of everyday life. Claude Monet was a leader of the French Impressionists.
  • Geometric: when used in art–simple shapes showing squares, circles, triangles
  • Mood: the way an artist uses color, shadow, and other aspects of composition to makes us feel a certain way.
  • Composition: how colors, shapes, lines, etc. are arranged in a paintign to create a balanced work.

The Paintings

Hopper’s lighthouse paintings aren’t in the public domain, so I’ll use The Nighthawks and The House by the Railroad to explain his style and then give you links to see his lighthouses.

The House by the Railroad by Edward Hopper,1925, Museum of Modern Art, public domain

Like the Impressionists, Hopper liked to show the effects of light on objects and their colors. Part of this house is in bright sunlight, while the angles of the roof and windows produce sharp shadows—some of them very deep. Unlike the Impressionists, Hopper didn’t blur the edges of objects. He used a definite line and used lots of geometric shapes.

Hopper’s compositions are spare, with just enough detail to tell you the setting of the painting. Notice that in Nighthawks, the counter is almost bare, as are the walls and the windows across the dark street.  Many of his paintings look like snapshots.

Most of Hopper’s paintings have few, if any, people, and there is often a mood of silence and even loneliness in them. The diner lights in Nighthawks are harsh. Fluorescent lights were still new, and Hopper seems to have enjoyed the eerie mood they produced.

Here are links to 2 of Hopper’s lighthouse paintings:

The Lighthouse at Two Lights

Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore Hopper’s Paintings

  1. Ask children to tell what’s going on in the paintings, (at least with Nighthawks. The others don’t have much action!) and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.
  2. Talk about mood, and what colors placement and actions of people, etc., give them the mood of Nighthawks and why the other paintings seem to be so quiet and lonely.
  3. In the other paintings, ask children to find different geometric shapes. How many ovals, squares, rectangles, etc. and of what colors, can they find.

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 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

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. Add link

Here’s a photo of Molly with the canvas bag I always use to carry things back and forth to school. It has a picture of Hopper’s painting, Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Molly hopes you enjoyed learning about Edward Hopper and will join us next week for a devotion based on his lighthouse paintings.





Happy Birthday, Christmas Child by Laura Sassi, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Laura Sassi has been reading and writing stories and poems since she was a child. When she grew up, she became a teacher, and guess what subjects she loved best. That’s right—reading and writing! Her many books share messages of kindness, comfort, and faith with children and their families. Today Molly and I are happy to welcome Laura, along with her cockapoo, Sophie, to tell us all about their newest release, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book.

Kathy’s Interview with Laura

First, I’m going to ask Laura to tell us 5 special things about herself. Then Molly and Sophie will woof about Happy Birthday Christmas Child. Translation to human provided, of course!

Kathy: Are you ready, Laura?

Laura: Yes, thank you. 

 Kathy: What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

Laura: Since we are talking about books, I would say one of my favorite memories is reading with my mom when I was the age of the readers of my books. We read aloud together everyday and not just at bedtime. Books were always around and we picked them up and enjoyed them often.

 Kathy: Your Mom gave you a very special treasure, indeed! Do you have a favorite place to read and/or write?

Laura: My favorite summer and fall writing spot is out on my front porch. In fact, that’s where I am writing right now and Sophie is right here beside me, keeping me on task. When the weather turns wintry, I like to sit at my desk in our foyer or in a cozy chair in our living room. 

 Kathy: Writing on your porch or from a cozy chair sounds delightful! Where did you get the idea to write Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura: The story is inspired by a favorite Christmas verse in the Gospel of Luke that describes Marys soul-filling wonder as the events surrounding the birth of Baby Jesus unfolded. It reads, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, ESV).  Likewise, I hope this simple counting story of the night Jesus was born will encourage littlest readers and their caregivers to slow down and explore and count and marvel on each and every spread. I hope readers will find the story soul-filling and fun in a joyful Christmas way.

Kathy: Slowing down to marvel at the wonder of Christ’s birth is so important, and I think Happy Birthday, Christmas Child will help children do just that! What is a favorite Christmas tradition in your family?

Laura: I asked my daughter to chime in on this one since I couldn’t decide. She said two things: decorating the Christmas tree (which involves much singing and reminiscing) and opening presents all together as a family Christmas morning. I wholeheartedly agree.

Kathy: I enjoy those traditions, too! What do you like best about school visits?

Laura: Oh, my goodness, I love everything about school visits. I used to be a teacher and there’s nothing like interacting with children using  a good book as the conversation spark. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say that my favorite part is the Q&A when we really get to interact.  I’m always impressed by the thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) questions children ask and the insightful observations they make. 

Kathy: As a teacher, I understand—children’s questions are so much fun! Thank you, Laura!

Okay the ball’s in your corner, Molly and Sophie. Go fetch it!

Molly’s Interview with Sophie

Molly: Whenever Kathy writes something, I feel a part of the project. I’m especially good at encouraging her to take breaks. I think it makes her a better writer, so I sit and stare up at her until she takes me for a walk! Sophie, what are some ways you help Laura with her writing?

Sophie: Funny you should ask. Laura recently shared about this on her Facebook Author Page as part of #FridayIntroductions Pet Edition! This is what she said: 

“Meet Sophie, adorable assistant to the author. Sophie enjoys curling up beside the author during work hours. She also enjoys reading, assisting with bookish photo shoots, delivering books to Little Free Libraries and more. Her favorite foods are kibbles and bunny poop (which we were sure she would outgrow, but she hasnt ). Her favorite Laura Sassi book?  Hmmm… not sure but maybe Bunny Finds Easter – because of her dietary tastes? In any event, she is delighted to meet you and hopes you will check out our books!”

Woof, that pretty much sums it up, with one exception. I would say that my new favorite book is actually her newest Happy Birthday Christmas Child because it’s about two of my favorite things:  Jesus and birthdays!

Molly: How about that! I help with bookish photo shoots, too, and Kathy also gets a little upset about some of my dietary choices. It sounds like you know all about Laura’s newest book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. Can you tell us about it?

Sophie: Yep, like I said it’s about a very special birthday – Jesus’s! It’s told in counting rhyme.  If you can count to ten, you can help tell the story! If you can’t yet count, this book is a fun way to learn.

 Molly:  I love stories of Jesus’s birthday! Who are some of your favorite characters in the story?

Sophie: Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus are my favorite human characters.  I also love the spiders – all six of them!

 Molly: Wow, six spiders! God’s creatures are so interesting! God has given us dogs great hearing, and we love to listen. Does Laura sometimes read aloud to you and try out rhymes?

Sophie: Yes. I’m one of her most dependable listeners because I am always by her side.

 Molly:  We dogs are also known for our loyalty! How do you let her know when a rhyme is just right?

Sophie: I wag my tail!

 Molly: Well, you must be wagging a lot, because Laura writes such good rhymes! Do you know how to count, Sophie? Puppy kindergarten didn’t teach me, but I think children love to count. What are a few things they’ll count in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: There are lots of fun things to count in the book.  My favorites are the spiders, the mice and the stars.

 Molly: Spiders and mice and stars, oh my! What fun!  Sophie, I like to use my nose to check out the presents under the Christmas tree. Do you? Kathy says children don’t use their noses as much. Instead, they love to look at pictures and point to things they find. What are some things children will enjoy finding in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Spiders, mice, bales of hay, lanterns, stars and so much more! You can catch a glimpse of them in this book trailer:

 Molly: Your book trailer is great! You know, we dogs don’t see as many colors as people, but I bet you still have some favorite illustrations.

Sophie: I love all the illustrations, but here’s one of my favorites.  I love how it shows that even though there was no room at the inn, the stable animals welcomed Mary and Joseph in.  And you know what, I’d welcome them into my dog crate too!

Molly:  I would, too, Sophie! What are Laura’s and your hopes for what children and their families will enjoy learning from Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Laura already stated this in her part of the interview, but I know what her greatest hope is. It’s that the book will help children and their families pause to count and look and wonder and marvel at the real gift of Christmas —JESUS!

Molly: I know it will, Sophie ! I’ve really enjoyed woofing with you about Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. I love that God sent His son to be born in a stable with lots of creatures like us around. I hope someday we can share a bone. Well . . . maybe we can each have our own. God gave us dogs lots of skills, but sharing is something children do a lot better than us!

Sophie: Woof… it’s okay. I’m on a very strict diet, so I’d be happy to instead share a game. Fetch, perhaps?

Molly: Count me in! I love fetch and you and I are about the same size, so we’d be a good team!

Kathy and Molly: Hugs and woofs to you, Laura and Sophie, for sharing with us about your very special new book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book! Molly and I know children and their families will love sharing its colorful illustrations and beautiful message!

Where You Can Find Happy Birthday, Christmas Child

Kathy and Molly:  Where can our readers buy Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura and Sophie: It’s available wherever books are sold! If you place a pre-order before October 4th, be sure to visit the book’s landing page at to get your own activity kit that goes with the book!

Kathy and Molly: That’s terrific! Activity kits are so much fun! And, Readers, you can learn lots more about Laura Sassi and all her terrific books on her website, Laura Sassi Tales!

Before You Go

Molly and I have enjoyed learning about all these special children’s books this past month, and we hope you have, too! Our newsletter next week will recap all 6 books, so you can review them all in one place. And we’ll tell you about an amazing museum you won’t want to miss!

So be sure to sign up for our newsletter. You’ll also receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. 

In October we’ll be back to our regular schedule with activities and devotions centered around an art masterpiece. We hope you’ll join us!

You may also visit our website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands









Bedtime with Daddy by Nancy I. Sanders, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Little ones love to snuggle with their mommies and daddies before bed, and Nancy I. Sanders’ board book, Bedtime with Daddy, joins her previous board book, Bedtime with Mommy, to help make those times extra special. Prayers and songs, stories and colorful illustrations about animal daddies and their little ones will send children off to sleep, feeling safe and loved.

Molly and I are thrilled to welcome Nancy and her kitties, Sandman and Pitterpat to our blog today!

Nancy and her husband, a retired elementary teacher, live in southern California. Nancy began writing when their sons were young. Today those 2 sons are grown, with families of their own, and Nancy is an award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books!

Kathy’s Interview with Nancy

Kathy: Nancy, let’s find out a little more about you before we let Molly and Sandman and Pitterpat blend their meows and woofs to chat about Bedtime with Daddy. Have you always lived in California?

Nancy: I grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. I moved out here to California when I was 20. I met my husband, Jeff, here and decided to stay!

Kathy: What a very special reason to stay! What are your favorite things to write about?

Nancy: I love writing about God and Jesus and prayers and Bible facts! Plus, I enjoy writing stories about nature and God’s amazing creation.

Kathy: Your books sure show those loves! What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Nancy: Right now I’m sewing a Farmer’s Daughter’s patchwork quilt along with one of my sisters. We’re each making our own Christmas quilt but following the same pattern of 111 different quilt blocks! I’m nearly halfway done. I also enjoy gardening and hiking with my husband. And, of course, spending time with grandchildren tops the list!

Kathy: I’ve never heard of that kind of quilt. It sounds amazing! Do you have a favorite place you’ve visited?

Nancy: For our 35th anniversary, Jeff and I took a Jane Austen tour and walked in her footsteps around England from birth to death. It was the dream of a lifetime.

Kathy: What a wonderful trip! What’s your very favorite animal?

Nancy: Cats. And birds. A funny combination, right? Southern California is an amazing place to live in if you like birds. Many migrate here for the winter and end up in our backyard. Others come for the summer. I’m trying to entice swallows to build nests in our eaves!

Molly’s Interview with Sandman and Pitterpat

Okay, Pitterpat and Sandman, Molly has promised she won’t chase you, so we’re looking forward to hearing from you about Bedtime with Daddy.

Molly: I love to lie next to Kathy while she works. And when it’s winter I keep her feet warm because I’m so furry. How do you two help Nancy with her writing?

Sandman and Pitterpat: We’re actually writers, too, so we help Nancy with all sorts of writing advice. We even have our own website with tips and freebies. It’s the cat’s meow! You can visit us at

Molly: Your very own website! I can’t wait to visit it! I also love cuddling with Kathy when she reads books. In this picture of her reading Bedtime with Mommy, I was enjoying the rhymes and prayers. Do you have favorite rhymes and prayers from Bedtime with Daddy?

Pitterpat: I like the seahorse rhyme where the daddy seahorse prays for his baby.

It’s bedtime in the OCEAN.

The water’s dark and deep.

My daddy prays a blessing now.

I settle down to sleep.

“Dear God, pour out Your blessings,” I hear my daddy pray.

“And teach my child to follow You

In every single way.”


Molly: I love seahorses! I think they’re so cool . . . water/cool . . . get it? And such a wonderful prayer for children! What did you think when you saw a lion, one of your wild cousins, on the cover of Bedtime with Daddy?

Sandman: That’s MY favorite! One day I plan to save up money from all the empty tuna fish cans I recycle. My bucket list includes going on a safari in Africa where I meet some of my lion cousins. It will be like a family reunion!

Molly: That will be a reunion to ROAR about! I especially love the penguins. Did you help Nancy choose the animal daddies?

Sandman: Of course! First, I helped her brainstorm the settings to choose the different habitats around the world. I even have a freebie that you can download to help you brainstorm your settings, too! You can download and print it out from this link:

Pitterpat: And I helped her pick the daddies for the different settings. I suggested she choose some of the best daddies around!

Molly: I like that the animal daddies and babies come from 8 different habitats. I think even my thick fur wouldn’t keep me warm in Antarctica. If you could live in a different habitat, which one would you choose?

Sandman: The grasslands in Africa. With my cousins, of course!

Pitterpat: The tundra. I’d love to watch the northern lights each night before I got to bed.

Molly: I think those would be great places to visit! Children sometimes have trouble settling down to sleep. I do, too, especially if there’s thunder. How do you think Bedtime with Daddy will help little ones feel safe and secure?

Pitterpat: Bedtime with Daddy helps remind families to pray, sing songs of praise, and read a Bible verse when they are settling down to sleep. This helps little ones end their day comforted and filled with peace that their heavenly Father is watching over them.

Sandman: Plus, there are lots of snuggles and hugs in this book to remind them their own daddy loves them, too!

Molly: We’ve been reading Bedtime with Daddy and I get snuggles and hugs before bed! So much fun! I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Sandman and Pitterpat! I feel like I’ve made some new friends that have changed my opinion of cats! If you’re ever in Colorado, we should hang out!

Sandman and Pitterpat: We’ll bring some doggie treats to share! We’ll ask Lira, our neighborhood corgi, to give us some of hers to bring along.

Kathy: Molly, I’m so proud of how well you and Sandman and Pitterpat got along! Thank you, Nancy, Sandman, and Pitterpat, for sharing with us about Bedtime with Daddy. It’s such a sweet companion book to Bedtime with Mommy, and we know it will help daddies and their little ones have lots of snuggly good times before bed!

Where You Can Get Bedtime With Daddy

Kathy: Nancy, would you tell us where we can learn more about you and find Bedtime with Daddy and Bedtime with Mommy, too?

Nancy: So many folks tell me they like to order batches of these little books. They’re perfect for baby showers, neighborhood new baby gifts, Christmas gifts, and for sharing in your local Little Free Libraries, too!

You can order in both books from your favorite local or online bookstore. Or you can order directly from the publisher (End Game Press often has amazing deals!) at

You can learn more about Bedtime with Daddy and Bedtime with Mommy at my website at:

Follow me on your favorite social media sites under Nancy I. Sanders and follow my blog for children’s writers at:

Kathy: those are such good resources and ways to enjoy Bedtime with Daddy! Thank you, Nancy, Pitterpat, and Sandman for visiting with us today!

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas from Molly and me 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 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

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