An Interview With Hidden Scrolls Author M.J. Thomas (Part 3 of 3)

Interview Series:
Our Q+A about Writing (part 1 of 3)
Our Q+A about Reading (part 2 of 3)

We were introduced to a new book series this past year. The girls immediately loved the storyline and characters. The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls takes us back in time to the Bible days with a brother-and-sister duo and their dog Hank. We also love that author Mike Thomas decided to write this series after trying to find age-appropriate books that would teach his 9-year-old son about the Bible.

We had the honor of crafting a series of interview questions for Mr. Mike. (It was actually quite fun coming up with questions to ask him.) It’s always interesting to learn what authors read, how they write, and what their own thoughts are about their books. We hope you will enjoy reading his response as much as we did.

Questions + Answers about The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Book Series

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here

1) How do you come up with the storyline? Do you create an outline or do you just start writing?

I start by reading the Bible story that Peter, Mary, and Hank will be traveling back in time to. I read it over and over and over until I can really imagine the people and the place. Then I try to imagine what Peter, Mary, and Hank would do if they were there. I write a summary and a detailed outline of each chapter. Then I hand write the first draft of the book.

2) Did you come up with the details of the characters first or do you add more to who they are as you write?

It wasn’t hard to come up with the details for the main characters because Peter is based on my son, Peter – Mary is based on my niece, Mary – and Hank is based on my dog, Hank. So I just put them in the situation and wonder what they would do.

29663223_1005838972906497_3616328773712420147_o

3) What was the entire book launching process like from idea to editing to publishing to promoting? Was it what you expected? How long does it take?

This is tough to answer in a short space. It would take a whole book. I will have to say it takes a team to get it all done and I believe we have a great team at Worthy Publishing! One of the hardest parts of writing a series is that you have to do all of these things at the same time. A couple weeks ago I was launching Book 3, finishing Book 4 and starting to work on Book 5 all at the same time. I couldn’t do it all by myself. That is why the writer has to be willing to work with people that can give advice and help. The best source I look to for book launching and promotion is from a friend of mine named Tim Grahl. He has been very helpful and you can find his material online.

4) What was the hardest chapter to write in The Great Escape?

The first chapter in a book is always the hardest for me to write. It sets the tone for the whole book. I want it to be interesting, exciting, and mysterious enough to make the reader want to keep going.

5) What was your favorite chapter to write in The Great Escape?

I enjoyed writing the last two chapters. Not just because I was almost finished. But because I love writing the action scenes. I picture it all happening in my head and listen to Indiana Jones soundtrack music while I’m writing them.

6) Are there any plans to make the books into a show/movie?

I would love for the books to become movies or a series someday. I would also be interested in finding out who they would cast as the main characters.

(Photo courtesy of M.J. Thomas)

Interview Series:
Our Q+A about Writing (part 1 of 3)
Our Q+A about Reading (part 2 of 3)

Emily’s August 2017 Review
Melody’s August 2017 Review
Our April 2018 Review of The Great Escape

*The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

Released: April 3, 2018
Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals
Page Count: 128
Ages: 6 – 9 years

WorthyKids/Publishing: Website | FB | Twitter | IG
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: FB | Twitter |#SecretoftheHiddenScrolls | IG

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through our link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read our disclosure policy here.

An Interview With Hidden Scrolls Author M.J. Thomas (Part 2 of 3)

Interview Series:
Our Q+A about Writing (part 1 of 3)
Our Q+A about The Series (part 3 of 3)

We were introduced to a new book series this past year. The girls immediately loved the storyline and characters. The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls takes us back in time to the Bible days with a brother-and-sister duo and their dog Hank. We also love that author Mike Thomas decided to write this series after trying to find age-appropriate books that would teach his 9-year-old son about the Bible.

We had the honor of crafting a series of interview questions for Mr. Mike. (It was actually quite fun coming up with questions to ask him.) It’s always interesting to learn what authors read, how they write, and what their own thoughts are about their books. We hope you will enjoy reading his response as much as we did.

Questions + Answers about Reading

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here

1) What books did you read growing up?

I read books by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. I also liked the Hardy Boys and a series about a horse named Blaze.

2) Do you currently have a favorite book series? What is it?

My favorite series is The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. He is my favorite writer.

3) What other books does your family enjoy reading?

Right now they are reading books for their school work. Mainly history and Shakespeare. I’ll have to say that Peter is not the biggest fan of Shakespeare.

4) Are there any movies that are based on books that you like?

My favorite movie based on a book is the first version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

(Photo courtesy of M.J. Thomas)

Interview Series:
Our Q+A about Writing (part 1 of 3)
Our Q+A about The Series (part 3 of 3)

Emily’s August 2017 Review
Melody’s August 2017 Review
Our April 2018 Review of The Great Escape

*The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

Released: April 3, 2018
Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals
Page Count: 128
Ages: 6 – 9 years

WorthyKids/Publishing: Website | FB | Twitter | IG
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: FB | Twitter |#SecretoftheHiddenScrolls | IG

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through our link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read our disclosure policy here.

An Interview With Hidden Scrolls Author M.J. Thomas (Part 1 of 3)

Interview Series:
Our Q+A about Reading (part 2 of 3)
Our Q+A about The Series (part 3 of 3)

We were introduced to a new book series this past year. The girls immediately loved the storyline and characters. The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls takes us back in time to the Bible days with a brother-and-sister duo and their dog Hank. We also love that author Mike Thomas decided to write this series after trying to find age-appropriate books that would teach his 9-year-old son about the Bible.

We had the honor of crafting a series of interview questions for Mr. Mike. (It was actually quite fun coming up with questions to ask him.) It’s always interesting to learn what authors read, how they write, and what their own thoughts are about their books. We hope you will enjoy reading his response as much as we did.

Questions + Answers about Writing

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here

1) What do you do when you get stuck in your writing?

I sit down at my desk with a pencil in my hand. Then I pray and listen to music by Kari Jobe. I also read the Psalms and that seems to help get me started. I usually start by writing a prayer: Let the words of my pencil and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord.

2) Where do you like to do your writing?

I like writing in a lot of different places. I write in my office at home. I write in coffee shops. I like to write with a view of the ocean. I even wrote some chapters on a bumpy bus while we were traveling on dirt roads in Africa.

3) What helps you become a better writer?

Writing helps me become a better writer. Just sitting down and taking the time to write. It’s also helpful to read great books. Another thing that helps me is listening to music while I’m writing. It is also helpful to listen to feedback from people who have read your books. You can find out what you need to work on to make them better.


(Photos courtesy of M.J. Thomas)

Interview Series:
Our Q+A about Reading (part 2 of 3)
Our Q+A about The Series (part 3 of 3)

Emily’s August 2017 Review
Melody’s August 2017 Review
Our April 2018 Review of The Great Escape

*The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

Released: April 3, 2018
Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals
Page Count: 128
Ages: 6 – 9 years

WorthyKids/Publishing: Website | FB | Twitter | IG
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: FB | Twitter |#SecretoftheHiddenScrolls | IG

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through our link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read our disclosure policy here.

Planning for a Trip

I shared this Travel Planner Printables pack in the March Monthly Recap and we are itching to travel again. Homebodies that 2 out of the 4 of us are, we usually stay close to home most days of the year, BUT once in awhile, we love to explore our world, both near and far. We have found fun and adventure in the next town over, a few hours’ drive awayacross the country, or even to the southern hemisphere!

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here

We have a general “system” for how we plan for our trips and we’ve always had the girls involved in the planning, but it’s so fun watching them get more and more into it every year. We’ve mostly done planning digitally, but in the past, that meant the girls couldn’t help research places to visit and restaurants to eat at unless we guided them. Like most things online, it is challenging to really “see” the big picture of what’s being planned without having to scroll through pages or switch back and forth between screens or tabs. We’ve also never really narrowed it down to what works for us.

Since travel planning has many parts, we are trying to “automate” as much as we can but finding great systems by those expert travelers who explore the world more often than we do and then tweaking it to us…so that we aren’t worrying about the little things when we are there, but enjoying the people, food, and culture of the place we are visiting. So far, it has been great. This printables pack is just one of the resources we have used to help us not miss important details when we travel.

So we’ve used a mix of things to help us not worry about the little things when we are on our trip, but we’ve adjusted it for us! If you already have a plan, great! If not, this printable (or others like it) is a great place to get started!

How do you plan for your travel? Do you have a game plan or do you like to go with the flow?

*Interested in getting the Travel Planner Printables pack and 128 other AMAZING homemaking (and beyond!) resources? Get your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle here…95%+ off for ecourses, printables, and more to help make your life less stressful PLUS some great bonuses!

>>> *GET YOUR OWN BUNDLE HERE!

Read more about the Ultimate Bundles HERE.

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through our link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read our disclosure policy here.

The Great Escape

Plagues swept the city. People cried out, “Why is this happening to us?” But in the Israelite part of the city, the people were safe. There were no plagues. And a man sat on his throne, refusing to let the Israelite people go, refusing to let them go from their hard work and slavery. They were stuck. Join Mary and Peter on an adventure to find out what happens next!

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here. +We received these books from WorthyKids/Ideals for free in exchange for an honest review.

*The Great Escape (The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, Book Three)

Released: April 3, 2018
Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Page Count: 128
Ages: 6 – 9 years

WorthyKids/Publishing: Website | FB | Twitter | IG
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: FB | Twitter | #SecretoftheHiddenScrolls | IG

What is it about: It is about when Moses led the Israelites out of the Red Sea. And when the ten plagues happened.
Like: I liked the princess in the book because you can somewhat experience it from her view too.
Dislike: I disliked the scroll part when they were trying to find the scrolls because I don’t see how that is realistic. How do they suddenly find one scroll out of one thousand?
Recommend: I would recommend this book to kids ages 6-10. Or if you are interested in this topic at all, then, of course, you can read this book too.

A NOTE FROM MELODY + EMILY’S MOM

I love this series and the story behind the idea of how the book came to be. There’s adventure, exploration, and history. The illustrations are great and I especially love how they document their experiences. Be on the lookout for another fun surprise during this giveaway! 😉

GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader will receive a copy of *The Great Escape. Giveaway ends Monday, April 16th. (Giveaway open to continental US residents ONLY. If you have been a winner of one of our giveaways in the last 30 days, you are not eligible for this giveaway.)

For your chance to win, leave a comment below sharing your current favorite book or just say “Howdy”. For extra entries, tweet about the book, share on Facebook, or leave a comment on any post on our family blog Keeping Up with the Moys. Leave separate comments for each extra entry with a link to entry if possible.

OTHER REVIEWS

Coming Soon!

+We received these books from WorthyKids/Ideals for free in exchange for an honest review.

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through our link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read our disclosure policy here.

Resurrection Rolls for Easter

We usually modify recipes to our own likes, dietary tolerances, cooking skills 😉 , and budget. This is the ORIGINAL RECIPE I followed.

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

I made some notes at the top portion, but the full list of ingredients and instructions is at the bottom. We’re not food bloggers and I don’t always remember to take pics (you know, because the stove/oven is on and things may burn while I’m taking the pics…not that I would know anything about that), but we thought it might be helpful to others out there who are cooking newbies or don’t love cooking (LIKE ME!) if we share some simple recipes we have tried and like that aren’t super difficult to make or with lots of unfamiliar ingredients. Seriously, if I can do it, you will most likely be able to as well. Note: The only dietary limitations we have are no cashews and limited/no shellfish for the kiddos, but if anyone wants us to try any GF, DF, SF, __F recipes, let us know.

PIN THIS RECIPE

The Ingredients

I like that this is super simple and enjoyed by most. You probably already have butter and sugar and possibly cinnamon at your house, so you just need to pick up a bag of marshmallows and a can of crescent roll dough. Or if you make those things from scratch, roll with that. Get it? :p

The Process

If you have a Bible or storybook Bible, you can read the Easter story before, during, or after. I’m sure there are sites/blogs that have more detailed Scripture for each portion, but we read parts of John 19 and 20 for this activity. If you are super duper organized, you can read other Scripture leading up to the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection during Holy Week.

Dough = Linens
Marshmallow = Jesus
Butter = Embalming oils
Cinnamon Sugar = Spices
Oven = Tomb

The Result

See photo above. We didn’t take any other ones.

Our Thoughts

It was a hit with everyone. I’m pretty sure someone said, “This is really good. I mean, really good,” quite a few times during her first roll. And yes, we’ve made these before. And those who haven’t had Resurrection Rolls before was impressed by how the story illustrated what happened when Jesus had risen!

Recipe + Next Time…

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of crescent roll dough
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • 2ish tablespoons(?) melted butter
  • Cinnamon sugar = Cinnamon + Sugar

Instructions:

  • Unroll the crescent rolls.
  • Roll marshmallows in the cinnamon sugar.
  • Wrap marshmallows in crescent roll dough, one marshmallow per dough triangle, making sure to pinch dough together.
  • Feel free to brush (or drizzle like I did) butter on top of the rolls. If you have extra cinnamon sugar, you can dust it on top too. 😉
  • Place rolls in oven and bake according to package directions.
  • Enjoy!

Bolded instructions can be done by younger chefs!

What are you and your kiddos’ favorite recipes to make or foods to eat? Do you like sweets, savory treats, exotic flavors? Do tell!

Here’s the Plan to Eat link if you use that for your meal planning. If not, here’s our referral link if you want to try it out for free for 30 days –> plantoeat.com/ref/moyfam

PIN THIS RECIPE

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Monthly Recap [March 2018]

Goodbye, March!

How did a quarter of the year zoom by already? This month was mostly full of finishing. A new season is starting and we have a few things planned to look forward to, so the girls have worked hard to stay on track with their schoolwork. It can start to drag this time of year.

If you missed the first half of the month, here’s what happened the first half of March: A Mid-Month Update. I think Melody’s paper on SHIFTING DREAMS sums up a bit of where we are right now, individually and as a family. Of course, she was not writing it for the purpose of this update but it was a wonderful assignment for her class.

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Celebrate Good Times

I’m still waiting to feel a bit wiser and I hope I am because of those around me. 🙂 ❤ Thankful for lessons learned…wherever and whenever…this past year of life. My dad cooked up a yummy meal for us to celebrate my mom’s birthday too! We share one!

Never think you are living an ordinary life. Your story is amazing. Why? Because it is yours. No one else’s story is the same as your story. I am glad to have my mom as a part of my story and am grateful for another year to celebrate.

Melody started interviewing my mom about her life last summer. I don’t think she thought her story was different or unique. I think she even said at one point that she didn’t have a good story. But when Melody started asking her the questions, she realized where she came from and how far she has come. I hope to tell my mother’s story one day because she is extraordinary.

Getting Schooled

Take a look at these girls. It was a challenging year for sure but they persevered and are finishers. While I document quite a bit of our lives, I’m not super great or organized about recording milestones and such. Please don’t ask me when the girls got their fifth tooth or when they learned to skip. I have no clue. So, with that said, these may just be the highlights of some of their learning.

We are so thankful for our CC director/Essentials tutor this year. She took on the task of leading our CC community this year and we have been blessed. Ms. Allie always has a word of encouragement for every parent and student.

Goal Get ‘Em!

Crushin’ goals, trying new foods/recipes, and learning those things, oh my!

I may or may not have started reading my April books…in March. Yes, I know, I am a rebel. A March books update: I haven’t done reviews of the books I’ve read this year since there aren’t requests for them, BUT I will say that I loved one, abandoned one, and just getting into one now this last week of the month.

I have much to say but it is sometimes a bit of a jumble in my brain for this limited amount of online space. I have shared some of my thoughts on my recent blog post. If you are a work-in-progress mom like me, you are WANTED. Read the post to see what I’m talking about.

My dear husband who puts up with my antics and general craziness took the girls out for the day on Saturday (check out their photos below) while I refueled for the first time in a super duper long time with a personal planning retreat. So not exactly “me time” but more of a reprioritizing…a rethinking of why I am doing what I am doing…

The day brought some clarity but it is challenging when we are not simply individuals but part of a family collective where others’ decisions and choices impact our life as well.

In hopes of encouraging other mamas, I started A GROUP and we will be working through life stuff as well as practical actionable stuff like BEING READY.

Get in My Belly

We’re always up for some good eats. We love sharing our food finds, but don’t always have the time to blog about them. Let us know in the comments if you want to know our reviews of either of these places.

We get sent home from my parents’ house with these from time to time to time to time. :p

It looked like we had crouton salad today because they were Texas Toast croutons or Texas-sized croutons! 😂 On Thursdays, we like to have a DIY Dinner Bar like hot dog bar, nacho bar, baked potato bar, etc. because we come home from one activity and head to another after dinner. This is the only day that it is like this but I still like us to sit down for dinner so having the “bar” works out since the prep can be done beforehand. This was a salad bar and it was wonderful because it was in the 80s here that day. ☀ I love that we had half a dozen cheeses to choose from. We love our cheese. We apparently have no love for dressings because we never have those or we can’t remember the last time we used the ones in the fridge. BUT luckily, the girls really like my simple salt and pepper salads, which is exactly like they sound…a bit of oil and some salt and pepper on what salad fixins we have on hand.

This was random.

Etc.

We were dropping off something completely different but since we knew the person happens to have a Little Free Library, we brought some books along too. I know the next city over has more than a dozen of these and even have a celebration of sorts, where they had out refreshments for people who visited on that day. Local community fun is the best!

It must be book launch season. Is that a thing? Well, it seems like it because we have many great resources and books to share in recent weeks and weeks to come! Don’t forget to follow along on IG or FB. The last giveaway was for a set of board books and we shared about other great books for young readers. And we have 2-3 more giveaways lined up, so remember to check back. Sometimes I forget to share the posts. :p

Our God is a Lamb
the Lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world
His blood breaks the chains

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Have planner. Will travel. Where should we head next?

How was your March? Any lowlights or highlights? What are you looking forward to in April?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.