How to get a signed copy of my picture book with recipe cards included…

Hello out there in the blogosphere!

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker makes a great gift for any child in your life, (ideal age 3-8 years). The book includes a pancake recipe and a repeated rhyme which will have children chiming in with the story as you read along.  What a great way to encourage children to work with you in the kitchen!  See below to get your copy.

If you order early, I can send you a signed copy along with a recipe card in time for Christmas.  Just send me an email with your mailing address to and I’ll be happy to send you a signed copy of the book by mail.

Give the gift of reading AND the gift of a memorable cooking experience.



A Sense of Place

Have you ever thought about how living in a place can shape you and the life you live?

I live on the southern tip of an island.  It is a big island; big enough that I’ve never actually driven far enough to see the northern towns of Port Hardy, Port McNeil and Coal Harbour.  Still, living on an island means that I am limited to where I can go by car.  And it also means that unless I want to limit my entire life to staying put on that island, I’ll need to travel by ferry (less costly) or by plane to see other parts of the world.  IMG_4851

Ferry travel shapes our lives here on Vancouver Island.  So much that my preschoolers’ play frequently features ferry boats.  They build ferry boats that have room to carry cars and people.  They create ramps for cars and people to walk or drive onto the ferries, and they even rescue people from the water, tossing in life preservers.  It is a pleasure to watch the ferry boats become more complex with moving parts and new ways to transport people and vehicles.










Here, we all understand what it means to wait for a ferry.  To miss a ferry and for those of us who’ve spent our lives using ferries as a means of travel, we know how it feels to be the last car on the ferry.

How does the place you live influence your life?  What methods of travel are popular where you live? How do children come to understand their sense of place in your community?  What is your sense of place in the world?

Feel free to leave a comment!



Ordinary Moments: Surprises


Being a preschool teacher is wonderful.  Each day if I pay close enough attention, I get these ordinary surprises which are absolutely delightful.  The shelf pictured above with the tree stump blocks is located where you would expect… in the block area.  When I look at the blocks there are certain things I expect the children might do with them.  I can imagine children might want to stack them.  I can imagine children creating a tower as high as possible.  I can imagine children using them a seats.  I can imagine children jumping from one stump to another.

So here’s my ordinary moment of surprise.  This is something I did NOT imagine children doing with these tree stump blocks.  I’m placing the image further down the page just so you can have the opportunity to imagine what other ways these blocks might be used.  Think about it for a little.  Do you have any ideas?  Okay.  Now scroll down for the surprise…


I just love how children can do unexpected things in creative and imaginative ways.  Don’t you?

Now let’s look at the potential learning through play here:

Children have opportunities for…

-taking turns going over the stumps

-balancing the stumps carefully so that they don’t tip

-gross motor development as children climb over the tree stump blocks and lift and carry the blocks into position

-cooperation to work together to line up the tree stump blocks

-creativity to find new and innovative ways to use materials

And that’s just the beginning. Learning through play is fabulous!

Ten Picture Books Related to Inspire Loose Parts Play and Creativity in Children


Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld This clever story of friendship quickly captured the hearts of my preschoolers.  Written in rhyme.


Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert This story illustrates the beauty and potential of leaves as the wind blows them into different configurations.  It will spark your child’s imagination.


Look What I Did With A Leaf by Morteza E. Sohi Similar to Leaf Man but with wonderful instructions for pressing and drying leaves.  This book really values the beauty of nature and the artistic possibilities of creating new artwork with leaves found in the fall.



Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Dave Roberts Rosie feels shy about showing people her creations because they might fail or be laughed at.  Her aunt shows her that failures can be a good thing. Cleverly rhymed and beautifully illustrated.  Full of detailed illustrations.


The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires This book explores the way it feels to have an idea and try to make that idea become a reality.  The trial and error and the frustration are all part of the process.  When frustration takes over, not much creativity happens.  It is only when she gets past her anger that she can have success with her project.  This story is very much like the creative process.  Lots and lots of trial and error, doing and re-doing before completing an end product that is… the most magnificent thing!



Fraiday Zoo by Thyra Heder Little T is afraid to go to the zoo so the whole family helps explore what might be causing the fear.  Illustrations provide great inspiration for loose parts creations.



When I Build With Blocks by Niki Alling A child shows his love of block building with all the possibilities of creating things and pretend play.


Hannah’s Collections by Marthe Jocelyn Hannah values her collections but which one will she take to school?  She loves them all so this is a difficult choice.  In the end, Hannah finds a satisfying solution.


The Button Box by Margarette S. Reed Shiny buttons, big buttons, sparkly buttons and small buttons are celebrated in this book.  Harkens back to a simpler time.


Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker by Cynthia Mackey, illustrated by Paula Nasmith Katie uses her collection of loose parts to help her realize her pancake dream.  With a little magic and some help from a friend, she finally finds a way to make lots and lots of pancakes. A great read-aloud story.





A little peek at my picture book

Here’s a Peek at Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith

If your kids love pancakes, collections, pretending to sell things and parties then you need this book.  If you have grandchildren, this book makes a great gift as it will encourage little ones to work with you in the kitchen.  A cute repeated rhyme and a recipe included.  Check it out!

Self-published by an author and illustrator team from Victoria, B.C. Canada


What’s new?

Ah Life.  The amazing, the brilliant, the love, the pain, the disappointment, the frustration.  I’ve had it all over these last two months.  Thanks for sticking with me. Bloggers are like neighbors and I’m devoting some time tomorrow to catch up with my blogging neighbours whom I’ve been unable to keep up with in the past months.  Can’t wait to read what you’re all up to!

Here’s the amazing nature poster I purchased for the preschool this summer.  I think it really succeeds in bringing the outdoors inside. Our classroom revamping has really taken shape.  It is very cozy and much more inviting.

This is short and I hope to have more regular posts soon. I’m still working on the 12×12 picture book challenge, teaching and running a small community preschool, and fully immersed in family life as a happily married mom of one undergraduate philosophy student and one soccer playing student in her final year of high school. Hope you’ll check back with me for updates on preschool, life as an emerging writer and other fun stuff.


My Latest Review!

Yay! Just read another positive review for my new picture book, Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker.  If your children love Jillian Jiggs, then they’ll love Katie Shaeffer too!  You get a book with a catchy rhyme to engage young readers and you get a recipe included for super yummy pancakes too! Here in Canada, we’re getting into the perfect season for making pancakes. And by the way, if you’ve read the book and want to leave a review, it would be much appreciated.


Amazon Review