What’s in Your Creative Writing Toolbox?

NEW PODCAST! Creative Writing Toolbox (Part 1 & 2)

Creative writing toolbox? What toolbox? I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to writing!

Creative writing? What’s that? We are so busy following our strict writing curriculum we never have time for creative writing?

You have a toolbox? What’s in it? I’m always running out of ideas of things to write about?

If one, some or all of these questions sound like you, keep reading! Then listen to this week’s Coffee With Carrie Podcast, “Creative Writing Toolbox.” Then go back to Season One of CWC and listen to the episode, “Writing Lessons: YOU Can Do It!”

I like to refer to my creative writing activities as my “toolbox.” My goal is to not only help my children become competent writers but more importantly, I want my children to love the creative writing process and to appreciate the value of creative writing process. I am “building” creative thinkers, persuasive speakers, and eloquent writers. Like you, I run out of ideas and steam so it is nice to have a “toolbox” handy with ideas, activities, and resources I can just pull out and use on any give day for any given problem.

The basic tools in my creative writing toolbox are the following:

  • Daily Journal Writing
  • Story Starters
  • Writing Prompts
  • Story Titles
  • List Making Suggestions
  • Questions and “Which is Better”/ “What If”
  • Creative Writing Games and Word Games
  • Wordless Picture Books
  • Photographs of interesting doors, gates, bridges, and houses
  • Landscape Pictures
  • Lots of food
  • Poetry exercises
  • Fairytales, Fables, and Tall Tales
  • Meaningful Writing activities (birthday cards, thank you cards, invitations, emails, etc)

Over the years, I have collected writing prompt resources and story starter ideas, websites, and games. I record simple and thought-provoking questions to ask and ideas for lists. I keep on hand picture books, poetry books, and wordless picture books and read aloud all kinds of fables, fairytales, myths, and tall tales for inspiration. I collect interesting photographs of people, places, and things. I never seem to run out of writing prompts or activities with my handy dandy toolbox full of ideas, activities, games, and books.

The main goal is to WRITE SOMETHING (anything….) EVERY DAY!

A goal like that might sound daunting but not if you have a creative writing toolbox.

For ideas on how to use the tools listed above, LISTEN to this week and next week’s Coffee With Carrie Podcast.

All of the resources mentioned in “Creative Writing Toolbox (Part 1 and 2)” are listed below. Also check out Coffee With Carrie on Instagram. Many of the activities mentioned in this episode are shared in past posts. After you read them, don’t forget to save them for future reference.


resources mentioned in the podcast

The “Writing Lessons: YOU Can Do It!” Coffee With Carrie Podcast

Coffee With Carrie on Instagram (Writing Idea Posts)

642 Big Things to Write About: Young Writer’s Edition: (Writing Prompt Journal for Kids) by Valencia

Wreck this journal! By Keri Smith

3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids by Modern Kid Press

Fun Journal Prompts for Kids by June and Lucy Kids

A Question a Day Journal for Kids: 365 Days to Capture Memories and Express Yourself by Mary Anne Kochenderfer

Story Starters: Creative Writing Prompts for Kids Online Game

The Story Telling Game by Heather Collins

Read My List! Game by Educational Insights

Apples to Apples by Mattel

Tall Tale Story Telling Board Game

Once Upon A Time Card Game

Rory’s Story Cubes

Rhyme Out! Game by Educational Insights

Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

GoodNight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Tuesday by Weisner

The Journey by Becker

Good Dog  Carl by Alexandra Day

The Red Book by Lehman

Real Story of the Three little Pigs by Jon Scieska

The Other Side of the Story:  Fairytales with a Twist by Eric Braun

Katie and the Sunflowers by James Meyhew (and the Katie Series)

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (Personification)

The Tale of the Three Trees by Angela Hunt (Personification)

Aesop Fables

Pourquoi Tales (or Origin Stories)

Bing.com for daily photographs

Tom Swiftly Puns

Hinky Pink Riddles

Celebrating Holy Week

NEW PODCAST: Celebrating Holy Week

This coming Sunday begins the most solemn and important week of the year.  

It is Holy Week, a week we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  Our entire Christian faith and our blessed hope of eternal life rests entirely on the events of this coming week. 
Paul reminds us “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

God began the plan at the beginning of time in the Garden when He promised that he would put enmity between Satan and the woman, between his offspring and hers; that the savior would crush the enemy’s head. The prophets of the OT foretold of a coming Messiah who would rule righteously forever and forever but who would come first to save his people from their sins.  John the Baptist preached that the Messiah had come and was in their midst  and Jesus himself revealed through actions, words, and miracles that he was indeed the Messiah promised by God.  

Our faith, our lives, our existence, and our eternal hope rest completely on this week, on the death and resurrection of Jesus.  It is a solemn week but also a week of celebration. During Holy Week, take a break from the “usual” to do something special.

In this week’s Coffee With Carrie Podcast, I share simple Bible readings you can read and simple activities you can do as a family each day during Holy Week. So take a break. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me for a little coffee break this week. After this week’s episode, you will have several ideas of how to make Holy Week impactful and special. You do NOT need the items mentioned in this week’s podcast, however, I did list them below with links in case you want to include them.

Happy Easter! He is risen! He is risen indeed!



DK Illustrated Bible, 2013

The Children’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos

Resurrection Eggs by Family Life

Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson

Cross Made Out of Palm Branches: Youtube Directions

Recipe for Simple Hot Cross Buns

Butterfly Garden and live Caterpillars

Homemade Resurrection Eggs:

8 or 9 Plastic Eggs, piece of a palm branch, piece of bread (or cracker), 3 dimes, a thorn or nail, a wooden cross, a little pebble or stone, and a piece of cloth. Leave one egg empty for Easter.

Good Friday Symbolic Lunch:

Place on each plate the following:

  • a few olives (Mt. Olives and Garden of Gethsemane)
  • a purple Hersey Kiss (Judas’ kiss)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs or 3 strips of chicken (Peter’s denial and cock crowing)
  • 3 candies (or anything you want) wrapped in foil (30 pieces of silver)
  • 2 pretzel sticks in the shape of a cross
  • a few salt and vinegar chips (gall or vinegar given at the cross)
  • Ritz cracker with spread peanut butter. Add broken pretzel pieces to the edges to create a crown of thorns

Living in Hope: Lessons Learned From Hannah

We had such a great time at our annual Special Weekend for Homeschooling Moms last weekend! It was so much fun seeing familiar faces, reconnecting with old friends, and meeting a few new ones. Since our main goal of the event each year is to give moms a much-needed break filled with fellowship with like-minded homeschooling moms, our event was in person! The sessions are great but the best advice and encouragement happen during breaks between the moms at each table. We didn’t feel streaming it live would have the same impact. However, many of you asked if I could share the sessions on upcoming podcasts for your friends who were not able to attend.

So this week, our podcast is a recording of our first session on Saturday morning, “Living in Hope: Lessons Learned From Hannah”. We dug deep into 1 Samual Chapters 1 and 2 as we learned how to apply the principles of Hannah’s hope and faith to our lives, parenting, and homeschooling.

In this week’s podcast, we learn how to:

  1. Have Hope in the midst of taunts (1 Samual Ch 1: 1-8)
  2. Have Hope in God’s promises ( 1 Samuel Ch 1: 9-28)
  3. Have Hope in God’s Word & His Character: (1 Samuel 2: 1-10)
  4. Hope while living in a lost world (1 Sam 2:11-26)

In Hannah’s story, we learn these vital truths:

  • God will not be mocked!
  • In God’s timing, He will bless the faithful and he will judge the wicked.
  • The Lord hears our cries and answers them.
  • Finally, Even Surrounded by ungodly behavior and in a godless world, our children, like Samuel, can still grew in stature, serve the Lord, and find favor in his sight.

I hope you enjoy this week’s study in God’s Word and this week’s podcast! If it blesses you, please share it with a friend who is living in a “hopeless” situation.


NEW PODCAST! Homeschool Athletes

Homeschool Athletes: Playing (and Winning) the NCAA Game

If you homeschool and you have a serious and competitive athlete, then you don’t want to miss this week’s Coffee With Carrie Podcast.  After announcing that my son committed to play baseball at the collegiate level, I received tons of emails and messages from relieved moms, dads, and high school homeschoolers!  Sadly, many talented homeschool athletes give up homeschooling during the high school years thinking public or private school is the only door to collegiate sports and scholarships.  This simply isn’t true!  Homeschool athletes are scouted and recruited at the college level every year, even during this crazy Covid year!  

In this week’s episode

  • explain NCAA & NAIA Eligibility Guidelines,
  • how to get ahead of the paper work game,
  • the different ways to play competitive sports as a homeschooler during the high school years,
  • and so much more. 

So if you have a child or a teen who excels in a particular sport and you think he or she may want to pursue this in high school, in college and maybe even as a future career, then don’t put them in traditional high school just yet! 

Homeschool Athletes can pursue their sports dreams and goals!  Get your pen and paper ready, pour yourself a cup of coffee and hang out with me for this sports-related coffee break! 

Click here to listen


NCAA Official Website: information on requirements

NCAA Eligibility Center: register here and more information

NCAA Homeschool Packet: download and create an account

NAIA Official Website: information on requirements

NAIA Homeschool Waiver Process: steps and information

Field Level: The Athlete Recruiting Network

It’s NOT to late to join us for our Special Weekend for Homeschooling Moms!

Tomorrow evening, we will continue our discussion on homeschool athletes and all things HIGH SCHOOL! Friday night’s session, Homeschool High School, is a Q & A Session you don’t want to miss! You can register at the door ($55). Email c3@mdcbiz.com for more information

Join Me for a Coffee Date!

Happy March!  

I can’t believe it is March already! This year feels like it is moving like molasses and at warp speed all at the same time! We’ve been scaling this February Wall, and after this Covid-Crazy year, I know we all need a weekend of encouragement, fellowship, worship and laughter.

Join me for an extended Coffee Break.

Our 4th annual Special Weekend for Homeschooling Moms is March 12th and 13th! Unfortunately, last year’s event was scheduled for the weekend the nation shut down. God-willing, this year’s event will happen. After a year of survival schooling and distance learning, we need a sabbath break like this!

This year’s theme is “Just Breathe:  Rest, Refresh, & Refocus.”

ONLINE REGISTRATION CONTINUES THIS WEEK! It is only $35! We only have a few spots left!

CLICK HERE to register.

MNO image just breathe conference.png

CLICK HERE for details about the weekend, our guest speakers, and the sessions. We will start off Friday evening with everyone’s favorite Q & A Session, “Homeschool High School.” Saturday will be full of encouragement from God’s Word and guest speakers. We will also be sharing ideas on ways to regain your sanity, reclaim your schedules, and re-ignite your love for homeschooling! Oh yeah, there will be LOTS of coffee too!

just breathe conference image.png

**Refunds will be given if the event is cancelled due to state or national shut downs.**. If you live outside of SOCAL and have enough friends to fill up a room, let me know.  We would love to host our special weekend outside of CA too! 

Please share with your friends and homeschooling co-ops.  

PRINT FLYER and share with your homeschooling friends! For a glimpse into what our sessions look and sound like, check out Coffee with Carrie Podcasts.The following podcasts were talks we were suppose to share at last year’s special event before it was cancelled:

I hope and pray I get to see each of you again at this year’s Special Weekend for Homeschooling Moms! Save the date and REGISTER TODAY!