Monday, September 15, 2008

Your Calendar Just Got Full

Yep, election time is approaching fast.

So in order to REALLY get to know the candidates, let's say you are given the opportunity to visit on
  • Monday with Obama
  • Tuesday with McCain
  • Wednesday with Biden
  • Thursday with Palin
  • Friday with Ron Paul
and do the following things to find out who they really are:

1. Play any table game / board game, or outdoor sport (your choice) with each candidate. Which game, and why?

2. Take him or her out to any restaurant you choose, for small talk. Which one, and why?

3. Ask the candidate one hypothetical question, such as "If you were in office and...."

4. Ask the candidate the following question: "What is your favorite....? "

5. Ask one completely random question, your choice.

6. Take the candidate to a national landmark, where you can take it in together, and where you can have a picture made with the candidate. Which landmark?

7. And just for fun, What would you wear??

It will be simpler if you answer each question
the same for each candidate/ day of the week. You can wash your outfit each night : )
But if you want to tailor each day differently, feel free.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Noah Buncha Good Names?

As you've probably noticed (if you've been around this blog for a while), there is a good bit of variety to the challenges I post. This is, of course, intentional. A few of you love a good writing challenge, even if it means devoting 5 or 10 minutes (or even more) to it. Others see the serious assignment as just that -- an assignment, thanks but no thanks.

So I try to strike a balance. Some more -- shall we say -- strenuous exercises, for those of you who came over for a good stretch.... and some quick and painless toe-touches for the rest of you.

Today, once again, you get off easy. You won't even have to break a sweat.

Today's focus is not so much on your organizational ability, your lovely framing of ideas or events, or your ability to rhyme or even to remember. Today you get to show (yourself) that you can succinctly sum up (or name) a mental image. Or ten.

Sound daunting? Nah.

Here it is:

Pretend for a moment you are Noah (this can be a first century Noah, or a present day Noah).
Or Mrs. Noah. But here is your task:
To keep the animals straight (and to pass a lot of ark time), you've decided to name some of the animals. Thinking of them as pets make this job a little less arduous, especially around Day 39 of closed doors.

So, what (pet) names would you give the following list of critters? (Each couple needs 2 names, like Fred & Ethel.)

1. Mr. & Mrs. Alligator
2. Mr. & Mrs. Flamingo
3. Mr. & Mrs. Boa
4. Mr. & Mrs. Sloth

5. Mr. & Mrs. Rabbit
6. Mr. & Mrs. _________

7. Mr. & Mrs. _________

8. Mr. & Mrs. _________

9. Mr. & Mrs._________

10. Mr. & Mrs. _________

You may pick and choose any 5 of the ten couples listed, filling in your own animals or using mine.

Now aren't you glad you stopped by ?
: ) I am.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Easy time.

Complete the following sentence:

If I could somehow set in stone three memories from the past year, so that I could always remember them vividly, those memories would be:




There you go. We're all ears : )

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"One small step for man...."

Okay, the new list has been released, and your name is on it! You get to be on the next space shuttle flight!
Of course, the media is camped out in your yard to get the big interview, and here are some of their questions:

1. What are you most looking forward to about the trip?

2. What part makes you nervous?

3. You're leaving in a month, and you'll be gone for 3 weeks. Anything you'll miss at home?

4. If you get to broadcast one sentence to earth from space, what can you imagine yourself saying?

5. Do you envision any difficulties readjusting to being back home?

Well? What do you say?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

You Really Otter Join Us

Well, since all of two people remember being seven, a little memory work appears to be in order (although the same can be said for me, since my once-weekly postings have been so random lately).
That's okay, we'll do something different. Don't want to tax those over-worked memory banks for too long!

(But thanks to both of you, and if someone else suddenly remembers being 7, feel free to post on that last entry.)

How about some new poetry? (Wait, come back. You can do this.)

You might remember last year's haikus. Well, let's try cinquains this time.
Easy cheesy. Like this.

Five line poem.
Line 1: a one-word title, a noun that tells what the poem is about
Line 2: two adjectives describing the title
Line 3: three -ing action verbs
Line 4: a related phrase
Line 5: a synonym for the title
(Description from

My attempt:

Playful, babyish
Flipping, darting, gliding
Not a worry in the world

For your topic, you might choose animals, a certain friend, your favorite shirt. You name it.
Hope you'll share with us.. and feel free to write more than one.
(And by the way, if you are a home schooler and you make serious efforts on any of this site's challenges, you might ask your Mom to let you count it as part of your week's English. It's worth a shot : )

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sweet Seven

Good grief, what's it been, 6 weeks?

I'm so sorry....we had a wonderful wedding, and I guess I just took time off!
But I have a new challenge for you. Something, uh, autobiographical.

I've let it pass, but "today" was 7/7. A pretty cool date, and it is past midnight as I prepare to go to bed. I've been thinking about the number 7, specifically the AGE 7. Our little 7-year-old has had a totally unpredictable year, with LOTS of challenges. It will always be some kind of reference point in her life. But through God's compassion and protection, she is marching through a turbulent year and doing great!

So I began to wonder: Since 7 may be one of the earliest ages many of us remember clearly, can you share a memory of the year you were 7? (If not, you can try years 6 or 8.)

Is there some special day or event that stands out above what may now be a colorful blur in your mind? If so, please share it with us. It doesn't have to be exciting, only something that managed to be a memory.

And just to make it more fun, can you write your account in exactly 7 sentences? (Unless you are not much past 7 now; then I'll be happy with 7 words : )

Oh, and thanks for painting such a terrific picture, Mr. Rockwell : )

Thursday, May 22, 2008

If Only...

Now that was fun! Thanks, everyone who participated! You can still go back and add to the last post if you want.

Okay, something new. Time for an opinion poll, of sorts.
Before I give you the one question, I need to make sure you are in the right frame of mind to answer it.

If you are a student, great.
If you aren't a student, have you ever been one? Well, recall the happy-go-lucky (yeah, right) days of school. Put yourself once again in the schoolroom (or home schoolroom), long enough to answer the question (as you might have back then).
If you're reading this and you've never been a student: Hmm. How'd you manage that?

Here is the question:
If I ran the school, we'd completely do away with this subject: ___________________.
And here's why: __________________________. *

Rules :
1. It's okay to pick the same subject someone else chose. And your answer can be serious, fun, or just wishful thinking. But don't forget the "why?"

*2. And hey, let's add a twist: Whatever letter your subject starts with, you must also have a word in your reason that starts with the same letter. Here is an example:

I think I'd eliminate recess. Why? It takes too much time from our real goal of getting educated. (Sorry, I was trying to pick something no one else would. Don't believe the example for a second : )

Okay, you're on! Just be sure to raise your hand first : )

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Lists

C'mon, I know Mary isn't the only songwriter out there! But thanks, Mary.... I loved it!

Let's see, how about this week.... let's do something easy.

Take the letters of your name (first, middle, last -- you decide) and make a list of some things you like. Each entry can be one word or as many words as you want. You can list foods, activities, any combination of things (or ideas, or people) that grab your fancy or make you smile.

Shouldn't take you long, and since it's easy, maybe I'll be able to tell if we still have an audience. Besides Mary, that is : )

Here is a quick example:

B - Babies, and particularly little grandbaby David, who ALWAYS makes us smile.
L - Leisure time to just enjoy home, hearth and loved ones.
O- Open books: Bible, hymnals, fresh blank notebooks.
G- Good friends.
M- My hard-working husband.
A- All my precious family.
R- Roses, and all perky, colorful flowers.
M- Most of the items pictured above (especially the chocolate ones).

Wait! I need more letters.....(and by the way, it's completely okay to use something someone else mentioned. I don't have a monopoly on chocolate. Or babies : )

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tune Time

Thanks for all your wise nuggets of truth and fun!

And to not leave that last entry dangling, how about

...might just be too bashful to bubble?

(If that makes no sense to you, please see the last post and the creative responses it evoked.)

Okay, didn't really mean to leave that last post up for two weeks, but I got busy!
On to new horizons....

Here is a fun job for you for this week:

1. Think of a family member (if that doesn't work, think of a friend).

2. Think of something they DO that drives you slightly nuts (don't get too personal.... we don't want to embarrass anyone).

3. Write a song (a verse or two will do) of, um, appreciation : )

Here's an example:

Tim, Tim

Ring, Ring,
I call you and I call you on your cell...
It's true
That you

Are busy but I call to no avail.

Tim, Tim

Ring, Ring,

You used to see I'd called and call me back...

But now

You're successfully impossible to track!

Okay, your turn.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Any Ben Franklins Out There?

Now that was a fun story!

Thanks to ALL who participated! It was really fun to hear from people who live a distance from our North Carolina, uh, Just Write Office : )
A special thanks to the Bowes Family on the West Coast, who helped keep the last hours of the story hopping! Maybe we'll do it again in 6 months instead of waiting another year....

If you haven't yet read our story (and don't want to wait for the movie), check out the previous post and all the illustrious comments!

I don't want to leave you without a new writing challenge, so here's something you can be chewing on for the next week:

Try your hand at rewriting a well-known expression of wisdom, updating it for today or for your life. Please be very careful to be original and NOT to just use a redone expression you've heard before.

As we often do, we're adding a twist. I will give you the beginning of your saying. The first person who wants to try completing it should

a. Click on "Pencil Scratches"
b. Post the rest of the saying (your way). Start with "...."
c. Add a new "first half" for the next person to complete.

d. (Be careful to use a new "first half" and not one someone else has used.)

e. If these instructions are confusing, look at the "starter" below, then check the first few responses. We've done a few to get everyone started.

Here is the first starter : A bird in the hand.....

Your mind is probably chock-full of wise sayings, but just in case you
need help coming up with a starter, we found a great site with
lots of truisms. They're not all well-known, but you can browse and find that
perfect expression you were trying to remember, or one you'd forgotten about.
(The site includes BIble verses, but please don't rearrange any of those!)
Go to the site, type in a key word or click on a starting letter at the bottom of the page.

Looking forward to your profound, renovated expressions!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just - uh - Scouting Out Some Good Writers : )

Okay, I give up. It's getting harder and harder to get words out of you people! Where did you all go?

So, desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. Last year, early in the life of this blog, we all collaborated on a continuous story. Folks around here have been asking for another one.

If you helped out with that story, you might remember that we ended up extending our deadline by four days, and by the time it was over we had 75 entries and a pretty crazy-fun story!

We did have some rules, and I think they worked out well, so I am going to use the same ones again. Here they are, with new dates:

1. I get to start it.

2. Try to keep it unified. Let's keep characters to a few, and events well coordinated (in other words, try to keep the story following some logical sequence). Having said that, you can still surprise us, it can take twists and turns, and it can definitely be funny!

3. Unique handicap: (This is a rule.) You can only add one sentence at a time (but you can add a short exclamation such as Oh! along with your sentence), and your sentence must start with the letter the last person's sentence ended with.

4. You can post as many times as you want, but you cannot post just after your last addition. You have to let there be 2 sentences in between each of your turns.

5. I guess it needs an end, so we'll set this deadline to end the story: Thursday, April 24th. If you really, really want to have the final word, you may have to stay up late, because on the 25th the party's over.

(Hope you read these carefully, because if you don't follow the rules, I have to (oh no!) DELETE your comment. Sorry....)

And by the way, if you want to go back and read our masterpiece from last year, go to the April 19, 2007, post, titled Hope You Don't Mind, Snoopy) .. or click here.

Ready for your opening sentence? (Do I hear a drum roll?)

Once again, we will borrow our opening line (loosely) from one of the masters:

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem broke his arm.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

All Together Now: A Rainbow?

Not a very politically ambitious lot, are you? Looks like Catherine is elected, or at least she wins the Just Write Nomination! Congratulations! If any of you still want to try your hand at a speech, go back to that post and go for it.

For this assignment, get out your trusty box of Crayolas (at least mentally). I'd love to see you give us a word picture.

Here is your assignment: Complete this sentence, and if you wish, make it into a paragraph:

The ___________est thing I know is _________________.

In the first blank, you must insert a COLOR. In the second blank, insert whatever it takes to complete the thought.

It can be any number of words, sentences or paragraphs, but draw us a word picture.
Be creative, be vivid, make us see it. I'd give an example, but I don't want to steal your color. However, you may certainly use a color someone else has used, and you may put as many responses as you like.

I'm looking forward to reading your brilliant observations.... wait, I need to go get my sunglasses first.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just a Little Invitation ... To A Pretty Big House

Well, I guess it had to happen.
Someone has complained.
Too cutesy, these last few challenges.
That's what he said (he knows who he is : )
in defense of his lack of participation.

So this one won't be, uh, cutesy.
No babies, no puppies.

So, let's say you are running for President (yep, back to the election).

Just this time, let's say they are letting the age requirement (or maybe born in the U.S.A. requirement) slide. Also the near-requirement of being rich enough to buy support. So you are running.

Let's hear your first speech.
If elected, I will do all I can to.....

Complete that thought, with 5 to 10 resolutions of your own.
It can be serious-as-a-heart-attack, tongue-in-cheek, utterly ridiculous, or a combination. You may list your commitments and stop, or you may compose a speech that would make the history books as proud as they are of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

You might choose to address real, major national issues -- or more fun ones that affect regular people in their daily lives.

And you don't have to think about it forever, unless you are really going for the work of art. Just put something down. Don't even give writer's block a chance!

Okay, why should we vote for you?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's A Baby's Life

Thanks to all the pets who visited us and gave us the low-down on their owners! C'mon, people, can you give your furry (or feathered) friends a break ? : )

I felt a little like I was discriminating on that challenge - against the petless. So I figure, everyone knows (or has known) a baby!

Tell us this. What appears to you to be the BEST thing about being a baby? Or if you could change places with one for just part of a day, what part would it be? How does a little one seem to have it made in the shade?

Waiting to hear.....

And hey, if you've never tried your hand at one of our challenges - or if it's been a while - we'd love to have you start this week! Just click on "Pencil Scratches, " then click on "Name / URL" and put your name in the name box. (You can leave the URL box blank if you want.) Or else you can select anonymous if that seems easier, and just type your name in the same box as your comment. There's a big box for you to put your comment in, then click on publish (or preview first if you want).

Oh, and thanks to Anne Geddes for the baby picture. I'm afraid I didn't ask her permission, but I at least want to give her credit.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Payback Time (OR Pet Peeves, Part 2)

Well, my mom sounded like maybe she'd respond to the Pet Peeve challenge, but I haven't heard yet, so I guess I'll just keep checking it as we move on. I wonder what pet she was going to come up with? The only animals I remember at their place in recent years are squirrels and birds in the yard.... But they've probably got some peeves to share about them!

Thanks for all the great responses... most real, one imaginary. You all did a great job!

Let's see how you do at this....
Pretend for a moment that you ARE your pet. And that the assignment has just been reversed. Pick a pet (it can be the one you wrote about but doesn't absolutely have to be) and tell what about your owner (this would be YOU, of course, or a member of the owning family) -- you (the pet) find very annoying. What do you wish they'd do, or not do , or consider, to make your life easier? What are your, uh, Human Peeves?

If you don't have a pet, you can always use your imaginary one again. (This assignment will require some imagination anyway!) Or you can reach into the past and give voice to a former pet.

Your response might look something like this:
I am Stormie, a poodle, and I belong to Dee Dee and her family. I just wish they'd let me sleep on the bed. Everyone else around here gets to!

Okay, pets ..... it's your turn. Tell your masters what to write ......

Thursday, February 21, 2008

PET Peeves, Real and Imagined

Okay, we'll switch gears a little. All those of you who have been ducking your heads under water until the poetry is over, you can come up now!

But before you read this week's challenge, can you please do us a favor? if you will look around the upper right corner of the page, you will see a place where you can let us know what kind of writing challenges you kind of prefer. Can you go vote on that and then come back? Blogmarm, and the young Blogglings who help her out, will wait right here.

Now that you've given us your vote (or at least tried to.... if cyberspace or your computer doesn't want to cooperate with you for some reason, you are excused), .....

I'd like to hear about your pet peeves.

Wait, it isn't that easy. Your PET peeves. In other words, what does your dog do that drives you NUTS? How does your goldfish act that makes no sense at all? Be sure you tell us your pet's name, what kind of animal, and what the baffling habit is.

Oh, and don't worry if you have no pets. Or if your pet is perfect and simply never peeves you. You're not off the hook. (Thought you were, huh?)
You get to tell us about an imaginary pet. It might be your pet - oh, I don't know - walrus. Picture the big fella, name him, and decide what strange or irritating behavior you might have to contend with, if he were really yours. Consider it a very-mini-novel for us to read.

And if you just feel like picking an imaginary pet instead of your own trusty-true Fido (maybe you don't want to publicly embarrass him : ), that's okay, too. Hopefully we'll be able to tell the difference between the non-fiction reports and the works of literary art. (So if you go fictional, you might as well make your pet far-fetched, to help us out!)

Okay, peeves, anyone?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Garden Musings, in February

It can be .....

a declaration of love or some other feeling or state of mind...

a marriage proposal...

a math or logic problem...

an observation...

a poem or song, or neither...

something that rhymes, or doesn't....

a question or riddle...

long or short....

profound wisdom....

sheer fun....

But it HAS to contain 4, 8, 12, 16 (multiples of 4) lines....

It HAS to be original (except where it obviously isn't, if that makes any sense)...,

It HAS to start with these two words:

"Roses are...."

Have fun.

Oh, and Happy Heart Day.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super What?

Okay, thanks to both of the history buffs.... : )
In case that rather academic assignment scared anyone off, here's another easy one. Answer some of these questions:

1. Did you watch the Super Bowl?

2. If so, with whom?

2b. If so, did your team win?

3. If not, what did you do instead? (You can also tell who you did that with, if you want.)
Easy enough to get you to write? (And in case you are even LESS into football than I am, the Super Bowl was Sunday afternoon, the 3rd of February : )

Monday, January 28, 2008

Eleven Score and Twelve Years Ago, Our Forefathers.....

Okay, a challenge for the history buffs (well, that leaves me out).

It's getting close to election time (in case you hadn't noticed), and you can't really get through a day without hearing about it. Maybe you have already chosen your perfect candidate (or your he-or-she-will-be-better-than-the-other-choices candidate). Or maybe not. So here is your chance to make your choice easier.

If you could bring back one great leader or thinker (political or otherwise) from the past to run for President (or maybe it's someone present-day who just isn't running), who would it be?
Don't feel like you have to dissect or research it to death. I am completely happy with your gut feeling or quick thought on this. And you really don't have to be a history expert at all. Who? And, if you want to add why, go right ahead.

As always, this challenge is open to kids, parents, grandparents and anyone else who wants to join in!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Live and Learn

(Thanks for the poem, Catherine : )

Okay, here's an easier one, guys.

Rack your brains (just a little, you don't have to write any poetry today) and tell us about a purchase you made that you'd love to go back and undo. In other words, WHY IN THE WORLD DID YOU BUY IT???

I could probably tell you about at least one per week, but if you can, take one from the past year. Or if you need to, you can use any year at all. Just tell us about it.....
It can be a car, a pair of boots, or maybe a candy bar. You name it.

And if you want, you can tell us what you'd do with that money if you - sigh - had it back.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rhyme Time

I love the cartoon characters! I have a plan for another challenge later on.
But for now..... It's poetry time again.

This time, I want you to come up with a few lines of poetry with an AABB rhyme scheme. This means that every pair of lines rhyme. The twist is that the first letters will spell either your subject or something connected to your poem. I'll compose a couple of quick examples (remember I am not spending much time on these and don't expect you to either : )

Fins fanning with grace and poise
In a wet world that has no noise.

Swimming your way, and going where?

Happy in your tank, with scarcely a care.

Happily sipping from my cup

Only till my drink's used up.

The smooth concoction slips right down

Canceling many a worry and frown.
O happy remedy for winter's chill
Comforting cold bones with a toasty thrill!

Outside I can dream of the warmth that I'll find

As I take off my mittens and leave winter behind!

You can do this! Have fun!