Minute to Win It Valentine Style

Years ago I was in charge of a Valentine's Day party in Taft's classroom. Minute to Win It was big on TV, so I created a candy obstacle course that I could do with 25 4th graders. 

The original Minute to Win It candy obstacle course!

The original Minute to Win It candy obstacle course!

I posted this idea to my blog and had dozens of email requests for the template. When Pinterest came on the scene, somebody must have pinned this little game, because it was subsequently re-pinned many times. Sadly, the original blog post was lost with the rest of my blog content, but most recently, I received an email request asking about this Valentine game. I dug up an image online and have now recreated it. I'm not sure that it will pass the Pinterest test today, when everything is designed all fancy schmancy, because it's the same old Stacy-sketch style, but hey, it's done, and it's fun and I'm sharing!

Here's my new, updated version. I've replaced the Pixie Stick with Nerds, because they are more readily available!

Here's my new, updated version. I've replaced the Pixie Stick with Nerds, because they are more readily available!

The flow of things is almost self-explanatory, but details are below ...

The flow of things is almost self-explanatory, but details are below ...

What You Need (for each child or family member):

1. One print out (you can download template below)
2. 16 Valentine M&Ms
3. One Red Vine
4. One mini box of Nerds candy
5. One Hershey Chocolate Kiss

The Set Up ...
1.  Put this candy in a ziplock baggie or small cellophane bag and pass it out with the templates. 
2. Explain that Minute to Win It game is challenge that you have only 60 seconds to complete. 
3. Help the kids/participants place the candy on the template, so that the M&Ms are in the little cirlces, the Red Vine is along the bottom, the mini-box of Nerds in placed in the center box and the Hershey's Kiss inside the scalloped circle.
4. Give clear instructions for the obstacle course, so they know what to do when the timer begins. 

The Challenge ...
1. Start with M&M math. Add up the red, dark pink and white M&Ms and then subtract the number of light pink M&Ms. Have them show their work in the box provided, and write their answer on the line. 

2. Open the box of Nerds and carefully dump it into the big heart shape. 

3. Bite both ends off the Red Vine, so that you can blow air through it. 

4. Use the Red Vine to gently blow all of the Nerds outside the lines of the heart, but NOT off the desk of table. Note: You could tell them that Nerds everywhere will disqualify them!

5. Use only one hand to open the Hershey Kiss and eat it.

6. Raise your hand when you're all done. 

7. Depending on how strict you want to be, you might want to check the M&M math to be sure it has been done correctly.

I remember this being a real hit at school. Taft's teacher gathered several of the other teachers together to show it off. But, even if you just do this with your kids at home, it's fun and lively. Why not?!

You can download the template by clicking HERE. 

Happy February, and I hope you have FUN with this. 

No book after all.

I got an email from my publisher on Wednesday. Turns out they no longer want to publish my book. Definitely not the news you want to hear after you've invested hours and hours and hours of work into something. The crazy thing is, this book wasn't my idea, it was theirs! At least it was one of their acquisitions editors that approached me last February, after I presented at RootsTech. Since I had just recently sold bigpictureclasses.com, I was reluctant to jump into a huge project with deadlines, but she assured me hat 1) I could take the summer off and 2) I would have LOTS of support in a collaborative environment as I worked. They were absolutely true to the first promise, and truth be told, I'm not super bummed, primarily because promise #2 didn't happen. As it turns out, my first editor left the company and I was assigned a new one who picked up my project in September. She was delightful, so that's not the problem, but I do think there was something that the first editor experienced at RootsTech (she was probably excited and inspired) that moved her to "sign me up" so to speak. After she left, I never talked to anyone. I never had a chance to share or discuss my vision, my project ideas or my intended audience with anyone. I worked in isolation for months. 

Fun memories of helping Mindy photograph my backdoor bathroom. No natural light whatsoever and it's super small, maybe 5 x 8?? We had to take off the door and set up lights and do all kinds of tricks. I'll be sharing this story and idea next week, right here!

Fun memories of helping Mindy photograph my backdoor bathroom. No natural light whatsoever and it's super small, maybe 5 x 8?? We had to take off the door and set up lights and do all kinds of tricks. I'll be sharing this story and idea next week, right here!

Now, I've worked on the publishing side of things before, so I know a little about the risks that are involved with publishing and I also know that even if a project is nearly complete, there is no guarantee it will be printed, until the sales and marketing group buys in. I don't have all the details, but I do know that this group didn't feel like all of my ideas were fresh and super unique and they are right, but what's interesting is that is actually one of my strengths and one of the strengths of my manuscript. I'm not a trend setter. I tend to stand back and observe. I watch things happen and then I generally take ideas or concepts and I tweak them, or approach them from a different angle. I think (a lot) about what I see being done and shared on blogs and Pinterest, etc.. and then I try to think about those ideas in a new way. Anyway, I'm writing this all out to let you know that I'm 100% ok. I absolutely threw myself a little pity party and had a good cry—that emotional release thing—but then I started to feel really happy. I now have a TON of good content and pretty photos to share, anywhere I want. In fact, I might make a little eBook or some videos or who knows? 

I am kind of hanging out in a weird space right now—between scrapbooking and home decor and family history and I'm not sure people really get it yet. The the other feedback I received, is that scrapbooking and family history are on a downward trend. And, that may be true in traditional publishing, but I hardly think that preserving memories, telling family stories and exploring your roots are going away. I think this space has potential, and that is it ripe for some reinvention and until other people figure that out, I'm quite content to just be here and do some low-key sharing and see how it goes. Stay tuned!

I have been around the block a few times and one thing I've learned is that these bumps in the road are almost always blessings in disguise. It's the whole, "when God closes a door, He opens a window" thing and I believe it. 

No book. 
But, good things to come.
I'm certain of that.