Excited for the Abilene CALF 2015

We’re really excited for the fourth annual Abilene Children’s Art and Literacy Festival this week. We’ve gone to all the past events and always enjoy it. This year the author is David Shannon. Connor used to love No, David! and his other David books when he was younger. We haven’t read any of his other books but we are looking forward to hearing them at the festival.

The boys were really excited when we received our festival items the other day. It’s always fun we get our package because that means it is almost festival time.


Festival registration includes the festival passes on the lanyards, a festival map and schedule, coupons and other items (pens and notepads this year) from sponsors, and a tote bag. We also ordered t-shirts.

This Year's passes feature Fergus and the duck on the bike.

This year the passes feature Fergus and the duck on the bike.

Tote Bag

Tote Bag



Festival Map

Festival Map

Also included was a flyer for next year’s festival.


Feel free to check out all my other Abilene CALF posts here and you can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter. I will be posting pictures as we have fun at the festival.

Abilene CALF 2014- Day 2

The second day of the Abilene Children’s Art and Literacy Festival was on Saturday. We had done most everything on Friday so we didn’t have much to do the second day. We started the day with breakfast at the hotel again and then we headed off to the Abilene Public Library for the first reading.

The reading at the library was The Man in the Moon. When the reading was over the kids all did a simple spaceship craft using a plastic cup.


After that we had some time left over so we back to Vletas because Connor lost his pin from there so we went to get him another. Then we went to McKay’s Bakery again but this time bought their already decorated cookies. They had Sandman and Jack Frost cookies as well as Toothiana cupcakes. Both boys wanted a Jack Frost cookie. I took a picture of Connor’s cookie but he had already started eating it and it also got messed up from the paper so it doesn’t look as nice as it did when we bought it but you can kind of see how it looked.


We also tried to find Toothiana again with no luck and then we went over to the last reading we needed at 181 Pine Street which happens to be next to 181 1/2 Pine Street.


The reading at 181 Pine Street was Santa Calls and the craft was coloring a Santa hat and beard and making a Snowman on a pencil.




After the reading we tried to look again for Toothiana but still didn’t have any luck finding her so we just went back to the NCCIL because Connor wanted to buy some more books.


That was the end of the festival for us this year. It was a lot of fun as always and the boys enjoyed all the different activities. Next year’s author will be David Shannon. He wrote the book No David which Connor used to love when he was smaller. He actually said that he still likes the book.

Abilene Children’s Art & Literacy Festival 2014- Day 1

If you’ve been reading my blog you might know about the Abilene Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (CALF). If not, the CALF is a festival featuring a children’s author that is held in June in Abilene, Texas and this year was the 3rd annual festival.

The featured author this year was William Joyce. The festival always starts on Thursday afternoon however we didn’t do any festival activities on Thursday so day one for us was Friday. We started with breakfast at the hotel and then headed off to try to catch the first reading time. There are six different readings total; each one is at a different location and there are six times throughout the day that you can go. I didn’t have a reading picked out. I figured wherever I parked would determine the reading since we were running a bit late. It took a while to find parking that morning because Thursday evening there had been a storm with softball sized hail and 70 mph winds. Luckily we were Anson when the storm hit visiting my grandparents so we missed the storm. Before we got to my grandparents house it had been raining there but when we got there it had stopped and there was a nice and complete rainbow.


There were leaves everywhere and they were covering the parking spots so I couldn’t tell where they were. There were also a bunch of cars with shattered windows and some with windows completely gone. Then when I finally did find a parking we had to move because a lady came and told us that they were going to be smashing out the windows of that building or something so they didn’t want the cars to get hit. We got back in the car and found another spot and ended up at the Center for Contemporary Arts for the first reading.

The reading here was William Joyce’s The Leaf Men. If you’re not familiar with the book, it is the book that the movie Epic was based on. After the reading we went on a tour of the Epic exhibit that featured drawings from the movie. Once that was done we went downstairs and the boys did the leaf owl craft. On a side note, the room where the craft was a photography exhibit and the photographs were amazing; I especially love the landscapes. I believe this was the West Texas Photographic Society Annual Exhibit.






After they were done with the craft we walked over to the Paramount Theater to watch the short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. When it was done we walked over to the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). On the way there we passed by the Abilene Public Library and the boys took a picture with the Jack Frost sculpture.


At the NCCIL there was going to be a reading of Dinosaur Bob but it didn’t happen because there was no electricity but they still had the book signing by William Joyce so the boys bought their books and we got in line for the signing.



Outside of the NCCIL was the Nicholas St. North sculpture.


Also outside of the NCCIL was the Little Jimmy’s Italian Ice stand so the boys each got an Italian ice, which they love.


From there we went over to the instrument petting zoo. We went last year and Connor loved it. JT had trouble getting any sound to come out last year but this year he had no trouble at all.







After the boys finished with all the instruments JT wanted to go ride the little train so we went over to get tickets. Our tickets were for 15 minutes later so we waited around there and saw Mini Moo before riding the train.



This year there were mini Dinosaur Bob sculptures hidden through the park. The only thing Connor was disappointed about was that there was not a checklist to find them.


After the train we had lunch at Cypress Street Station and then went to the Grace Museum for the next reading. The reading at the Grace was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. As always there was paper covering the tables so that the kids could draw and the activity after the reading was to create your own book.



Once we left the Grace we found the sculpture of Sanderson Mansnoozie. I almost didn’t see it because it was a small one and placed on top of a potted plant.


The next thing we did was go to McKay’s Bakery so the boys could decorate cookies. If you’ve read my blog about the CALF before you might know that Connor dropped his cookie two years in a row but this year he did not drop it.





Once the boys finished their cookies we went to get some more sweets at Candies by Vletas. This year Candies by Vletas was participating in the festival by offering E. Aster Bunnymund chocolate pops for purchase. Visiting Candies by Vletas also got you one of the CALF pins and the E. Aster Bunnymund sculpture was located outside the building.






Next up was the autograph and photo session. The first to arrive was the Man in the Moon.


MiM was followed by Sandy, North, and Jack.




Last to arrive was the Easter Bunny.

We waited around awhile for Toothiana but she didn’t show up while we there. We saw her in the morning at the reading at the Center but I didn’t get a picture with her because I wanted to wait for the photo session. The boys were disappointed and we went back to the Center twice the next day to try to find her but we kept missing her.

We still had one place left to go to complete our activities for the day so we hopped on the trolley to Frontier Texas!.


Once we got to Frontier Texas! It was too early for the reading so we decided to go through the museum which I’ve written about before here.





The reading at Frontier Texas! was Bentley and Egg. They ended up doing the reading twice at that time because the room was full so we ended up having to wait again for the second reading. While we were waiting we went out to look at the rabbits from the petting zoo and the boys decorated their bags for the Easter egg hunt. After the reading we still had at least 30 minutes before the Easter egg hunt so the boys just ran around. The wanted to play tag with some of the other kids and they asked one little boy if he wanted to play but he said no so they just played by themselves.







That was the last of the festival activities for the day and as we were walking back to the car we found the last sculpture which was Toothiana.


If you’d like to read about the past years you can do so here and I’ll be posting day 2 in the next few days.

Abilene Children’s Art & Literacy Festival 2014

This year is Abilene’s 3rd annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival (CALF) and we will be attending for the 3rd time. The author this year is William Joyce. We were excited to receive our festival items this week. Here’s a look at what we received this year.

We again ordered t-shirts like we do every year. The past two years the shirts have bee white and this year they are black. I personally really like the t-shirt design this year. These are my favorite so far. They also offered Dinosaur Bob caps for the kids so the boys each got one of those as well.



We also received the CALF tote bag and it was filled with coupons, a pencil, two pens, CALF brochures, a CALF map, and our lanyard passes.



The festival starts exactly two weeks from today, June 12th-14th. Check back here after those dates to read about the festival. If you’d like to see my other posts from the Abilene CALF you can do so here.

Abilene CALF Day 3

Moving along to day 3 of the Abilene CALF 3. We started off the day with JT opening another two of his birthday presents. I’m not sure why he opened two that day but he did.

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We made our way downtown and we started out being early and then ended up running late but we made just barely in time to our destination…Sonny the Bird Man Extraordinaire. Sonny the Bird Man had about 6 birds and they all did some tricks. I really enjoyed it and so did Connor. The birds played soccer and basketball, they rode scooters, went grocery shopping with their little shopping cart, and of course rode a unicycle on a tightrope. The show was a lot of fun and the birds were so colorful and talented. Sonny the Bird Man also did a great job at incorporating a good message for the kids. He told them to do their best, keep trying, that anything possible, and to trust. At the end of the show the kids were able to go up and take a picture with the birds and buy feathers or hanging parrots. Connor and JT got all three. JT took a picture with…I’m trying to remember her name…:( I can’t remember, maybe I will remember later. I think Connor’s bird was James (there were two green birds and James was one of them, I’m pretty sure he was the one though), he wanted to take a picture with the bird on his head so James was the bird…if you just wanted to stand next to it like JT did you could pick any of the birds.

I remembered the name now that I saw the picture...this is JT and Cinnabar.

I remembered the name now that I saw the picture…this is JT and Cinnabar.

At the moment, Connor’s picture is lost so I will have to find. We had it when we got home but I’m not sure where it got put so when I find it I will update this.

After the bird show we decided to go to the Abilene Zoo to find the Seymour sculpture and get our passport stamped. I went up to the cashier’s window and asked about it and they told me that Seymour was in the gift shop. So, we went inside and found him, we got our passport stickers and stamps, and then the boys wanted to buy something.

Seymour at the Abilene Zoo

Seymour at the Abilene Zoo

Once the boys were done buying their stuff we drove back downtown for the next reading at The Center for Contemporary Arts. We had to wait downstairs until the Fairy Godmother came to get us. They provided us with a Can You See? while we waited. I think we were able to find most of the things but I don’t think we finished by the time the Fairy Godmother came.

Can you see what I see? Cowboy Seymour

Can you see what I see? Cowboy Seymour

Can you see what I see? An astronaut

Can you see what I see? An astronaut

Can you see what I see? Angels

Can you see what I see? Angels

The Fairy Godmother led us up to the castle that I mentioned in Day 1.

The theme here was Once Upon a Time and the story being read was Cinderella by Amy Ehrlich. It was actually pretty entertaining here because instead of just the usual projection of the story, this story was actually like a digital version and some elements of the story moved. For instance, the fairy godmother would wave her wand and little sparks would come out or the carriage moved across the screen. JT really enjoyed this and it kept his attention more so then just projecting the pages of the book on the screen. When the story was finished we went back out of the castle. I forgot to mention that when we came in the castle the Fairy Godmother used her wand to shrink us all so we would fit inside the door (it was kid size). We received our pins and were told that Cinderella was available for pictures but I didn’t see her.

We went back downstairs to the room with the crafts. The crafts here were making wands and crowns. JT only made a wand but Connor did both.

That little hand with the green crayon is JT's.

That little hand with the green crayon is JT’s.

Remember the green crayon...this wand is green, you just can't tell.

Remember the green crayon…this wand is green, you just can’t tell.

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On the way out I remembered to get a picture of the Seymour sculpture.

Seymour at the Center for Contemporary Arts

Seymour at the Center for Contemporary Arts

Then we walked across the street to Bogie’s Downtown Deli for lunch. Normally Bogie’s is not open on Saturdays but they were open for the festival. Once again Bogie’s will have its own post.

So…moving on…we walked over to the Abilene Library for the next reading. The theme was Treasure Ship and the book read was How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long. There was a pirate standing by the entrance of the room and Connor wanted to take a picture with him but only if his brother would and JT was scared. After the reading the kids made telescopes. They each got to pick a piece of paper and some stickers and crayons to decorate their paper with. When they were done they taped them together to make telescopes.

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Seymour at the Abilene Library- Bad picture :(

Seymour at the Abilene Library- Bad picture 😦

On our way out Connor decided to go ahead and take a picture by himself with the pirate.

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We not only received pins here but the kids also got pirate rubber ducks. We had a while until the next reading so we got Little Jimmy’s Italian Ice again. Connor had been asking for it since he got some on day 1. As we were walking down the street we saw a stormtrooper. I’m not really sure why there was a stormtrooper but we went over to take a picture with him.

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Then the boys finished up their Italian ice and we went to Roberts Studio (you can see it in the background of the Stromtrooper picture) for the instrument petting zoo. They had a couple of different instruments set out that the kids could try. Each instrument is of course cleaned before the next kid can try. JT was unable to play any of the instruments until the last one. He had been having trouble blowing into them correctly. Instead of putting his lip on the inside of the mouthpiece to blow he wanted to put his lips over it but he finally got it on the last instrument.

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Now it was time to go to our last reading at a building on Pine Street. The theme here was Toyland Express and the book was The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper. The activity after this reading was making visors. The kids could pick out the color visor they wanted and then put stickers on it.

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After the boys were done with their visors we went to go look at the balloon sculptures. Connor thought that they balloon sculptures were really cool, he was very impressed. The man that made all of the sculptures was there also making balloons for the kids. He was only doing puppies, swords, or flowers. Connor got a sword and JT got a puppy. The balloon sculptor is also known as Kornpop the Klown and he travels everywhere. If you’d like to take a loot at his website it is here.

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Giant Seymour balloon sculpture

Giant Seymour balloon sculpture

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After that it was time to drive over to the Morgan Jones Planetarium for the planetarium showing of Walter Wick’s newest Can You See What I See? book, Out of this World. We got there early so while we waited the boys took a picture with the robot and some other pictures.

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Anakin Skywalker...I would say that maybe the Stormtrooper was looking for Anakin but there were no Stormtroopers when he was this little.

Anakin Skywalker…I would say that maybe the Stormtrooper was looking for Anakin but there were no Stormtroopers when he was this little.

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When we finally went in to see the show it was different from what I expected. They had all the seats facing the same way and I think it would have been better if they had the seats in a circle all facing the middle. It was a little bit difficult to see everything they way the seating was. We got seats in the middle and I think maybe if we had been in the back it would have also been better. The pictures were also a little blurry at times though so I think it could have been better. The show was based on the new book and had images from the book but Walter Wick created a story to go along with it.

When the show was over we went back out and got a sticker for our passports, the boys got snacks (grapes and apples), and they also got glow stick bracelets. This was our last CALF event.

After the planetarium show we drove up to Anson to visit my grandparents again. The boys love playing ball with them. they also brought all of the stuff they had made or bought to show them.

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We left when Connor said he was hungry and as we drove back to Abilene he asked if they had Chick-Fil-A there. We found one close to the hotel and got that for dinner. Everyone is familiar with Chick-Fil-A so I won’t write about that. We ate it back at the hotel and JT also opened one more present.

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This was our last night in Abilene. We weren’t going to do the Father’s Day picnic this time because we were heading up to Oklahoma City. The next couple of posts will be about Bogie’s Downtown Deli, the Abilene Courtyard Hotel, Wichita Falls River Bend Nature Park, and then we’ll head into Oklahoma.