Star light, Star bright…

books

Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Hopes and Dreams

I never imagined I would be working on a Children’s book series with my husband. I never thought I would know about things like Bookstagram and Authortube, or what ARC copies were. But here we are 1 day away from announcing the release date of our debut Children’s book!

I always dreamed of writing a book someday. I had a few chapters written, but then life happened and honestly, I couldn’t even tell you where it was saved. I always thought to myself, I am not sure what to do once I get a book written, so I think my brain just started stalling. Years ago there was no such think as Amazon Direct Publishing, or IngramSpark. Even with 100 YouTube videos and “how-to” articles, the whole self publishing platform has been quite the learning curve. Connecting with you all on Champ and Nessie has been a dream come true. I want to thank you all for following along with us on our self publishing journey.

I have read that the #1 rule for marketing your book (or yourself as an author) is to make sure you are honest with your community. If you say you are going to do something – do it. No false promises. I struggled with this last month because we decided to delay our book release. I felt like a failure. And most importantly, I felt like I failed you all. The point I am trying to make is, we are all human. Sometimes circumstances are out of our control and you hit a road block. So I did something I have never done before – I did not quit. I refused to be defeated, especially by technology. So, I restocked the Oreo’s and regrouped. As it turns out, this was the best thing that could have happened. It showed me that not only was I capable of overcoming this obstacle, I am now better because of it! And so is Champ and Nessie! I can’t wait to share our story with you, and I pray you will never give up on your hopes and dreams.

Think about your hopes and dreams and then move a little closer to them each day. Embrace them, nurture them, and work towards them every day. Then follow your hopes and dreams as far as you can. Do not let little road blocks defeat you. Let each day be filled with new possibilities, and every question keep you going. Like Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Raising Readers

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Children are made readers in the laps of their parents.

Emilie Buchwald

At my baby shower in lieu of a wishing well, I asked everyone to bring their favorite children’s book and inscribe it. As a writer, and lover of books, I wanted to start Logan’s library as soon as possible. And let’s be honest, books can be expensive.

My almost four year old has accumulated over 150 books. Each one in its special place on his meticulously organized bookshelf. (I can’t wait to get Champ and Nessie on the shelf!) We have spent so many Monday’s at Story-time meeting authors at Barnes and Noble. And of course, we come home with a new book every week. Since birth, I have purchased a special book for him for every milestone and wrote something Love, Mom inside every one. I’m that mom crying in the aisle at B&N reading a story like I’m reading a Hallmark card. For instance, have you read Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You, by Nancy Tillman? Or God Gave Us You, by Lisa Tawn Bergman? PSA if you didn’t, grab tissues! I always like to purchase a book as a souvenir or a gift. If it brings you back (or takes you to), a special place or memory even for a moment, it’s worth the space it takes up on the shelf.

If you read the blog post “On Frayne Pond” which was published on Champ and Nessie September 11, 2019. You would have read about why we love Vermont. While we were there this past summer we took a ride to the “OG” Vermont Country Store. Being a tiny book lover, Logan picked up Night Night Vermont by Katherine Sully. It’s a beautifully illustrated story depicting all the memorable landmarks and landscapes in Vermont. Every time we read it, he recognizes a place we went or something we did in Vermont and it jogs his little memory. It warms my heart to see him excited for reading. Pair that with my D. Lasser Ceramic hand crafted mug, and you have a match made in bedtime heaven. Bring on the Sleepy Time tea!

Everything is linked below!

Night Night Vermont

God Gave Us You

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You


https://www.lasserceramics.com

Vermont Country Store

On Frayne Pond

books

These Walls… If these walls could talk of things that they remember…Stories of cherished loved ones, rooms filled with joy and shouts of laughter. If these hallowed halls could share the tale they speak…of children having pillow fights and playing games of hide and seek. If these window panes were eyes, I guess they would have seen it all…Each dream dared big enough to dream, each little tear, each hug…each sigh. If this house could share its talks of the lives inside these walls…it would tell you of unfailing love and all the memories tucked away…That is what these walls would have to say.

Anonymous

Many years ago, before Zeb and I were officially a couple, he asked me if I would be interested in spending a weekend together in one of his favorite places on Earth. His family home in Vermont. Being that I was head over heels for him, I happily agreed. He later told me he knew “I was the one” that weekend, and truth be told, I knew too.

From the moment we arrived I knew this was a very special place for Zeb. We spent the next 72 hours wrapped up in conversation, holding hands watching the fireplace flicker. He was filled with stories and recanted memory after memory of all the time he spent there as a child. I just sat there in awe of the affection he had for his family. I was having all the feels for his loving and sweet sentiment.

We relived all those memories together as we swam in the pond on the property, took a spin in the kayak, listened to his Grandmother’s Mozart and Beethoven collection as we sipped coffee from our ceramic mugs. Quietly enjoying each other’s company and the peacefulness of the evergreens from the deck perched off the side of the house. We walked hand in hand through his Grandparents beautiful garden, picking the last of the blueberries and raspberries. It was completely enchanting. He took me to Bromley Ski Mountain and we took a ride on the alpine slide, ate artisanal cheese from the local farm, drank wine and consumed about 4 boxes of maple candies. I vividly remember Zeb standing in the doorway to the kitchen holding two glasses of wine, he said “So, I’m not seeing anyone else…how about you don’t see anyone else either?” And that sealed the deal on our now 11+ years together.

This past winter our 3 year old son made his first ski tracks at Bromley, and played in the ski school while we drank a beer around the outdoor fire pit and reminisced about how we “fell in love” in Vermont. In July we spent a few days together “On Frayne Pond”, what I jokingly refer to it as. We are blessed to be able to keep making new memories here as a family. Watching our son fearlessly jump off the dock in the pond with our nephew, swimming and playing together. As their Great Grandparents, Grandfather, Uncles, Cousins and Father has in the years before. Precious times spent together in a very precious place.

We all have different memories of this magical place. But together we have a beautiful story that will be apart of the “Frayne Pond” legacy forever.

Monster-iffic Dino-tastic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies! With all the extras! Gluten free – Vegan options

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These cookies are loaded with plant based protein, fiber, healthy fats and a whole lot of goodies! They’re chewy, satisfying and just the right amount of sweetness. I like to think of them as a hybrid between banana bread and an oatmeal cookie, but I couldn’t resist and got crazy one day cleaning the pantry and decided to throw in nuts and chocolate. I have even swapped out banana, cinnamon and nutmeg and substituted with 3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree and 1tsp pumpkin spice. Swap your coconut for pumpkin seeds and you basically have the best pumpkin cookie ever! Yay for PSL season!

The best part about these gluten free cookies is that you can switch up the toppings with any dried fruit or nut you like. Or leave them out altogether if you want. Raisins aren’t your thing? No problem, use some dried cranberries or blueberries instead. Not a fan of pecans, use walnuts. Want to substitute your peanut butter for almond butter, go for it! My sons favorite add in’s are M&M’s! While mine are hemp seeds. There really is no wrong way to make this cookie. Sometimes when I’m feeling fancy, I drizzle some melted chocolate on the top for some added sweetness.

Tip: To make your own oat flour all you need is a high speed blender or food processor. Just place your old fashioned rolled oats in the blender and whiz them up until they are a flour like consistency. Don’t skip this step, you need the density from the oat flour to help bind your cookies. Almond flour alone will be too loose. (Ask me how I know?!) If you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, you can use all purpose flour in place of the almond and oat flour.

Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 25 min Total Time 40 min

Ingredients

  1. 1 ripe banana
  2. ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  3. ¼ cup avocado oil/vegetable oil/or coconut oil
  4. ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (or pumpkin purée)
  5. ¼ cup maple syrup (or agave)
  6. 2 eggs (you can also you flax or chia seed egg)
  7. 1 tsp vanilla
  8. ½ cup raisins (or dried fruit of your choice)
  9. ¾ cup chocolate chips
  10. ½ chopped pecan (or nut of your choice)
  11. ¼ unsweetened shredded coconut
  12. 1 ¾ cups old fashion oats
  13. ½ cup oat flour
  14. 1 cup almond flour
  15. 1 tsp cinnamon
  16. ¼ tsp nutmeg
  17. ½ tsp baking soda
  18. 1 tsp baking powder
  19. ¼ tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mash up your banana and then mix in the remaining wet ingredients; peanut butter, oil, applesauce, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla until well combined, then set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine all your dry ingredients; oats, oat flour, almond flour, shredded coconut, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Next, combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredient bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined.
  5. Fold in all the fun stuff.
  6. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet for each cookie. (I like to make them large, because they are Monster-iffic after all!)
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
  8. Once out of the oven, allow them to sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to fully cool and set.
  9. Optional: In microwave, melt 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips and drizzle over cooled cookies. Let set 1 hour.
  10. Enjoy with a tall glass of almond milk or store in an airtight container for 3-5 days (if they last that long before someone eats them all!).

Cookie Storage Tip:

I learned this many years ago from my sweet Stepmother, Lisa. She is the original cookie baking queen. When storing soft baked cookies, place a piece of good old fashioned white bread (or wheat bread) whatever you have on hand, in the bottom of your container. Your cookies will last twice as long!

Our Illustrator Marco Cammayo

books, illustrator

“Artwork is at least 50% of your story…”

Anonymous

I would like take this opportunity to introduce you to our extremely talented illustrator. Father, husband and fitness enthusiast, Marco Cammayo. Without his vision and creation of characters Champ and Nessie, this book would not be getting published.

Zeb and Marco have been friends for a long time. When we decided to illustrate our book, we knew without a doubt that Macro was the best person for the job! They met in High School circa the 90’s, and since then have been triathlon buddies. They enjoyed training together and geek talking about the latest accessories for their sweet bikes. Always on the lookout for the next great race. This site is PG, so I can’t tell you what they referred to themselves as. But they all lived up to the name!

Marco made Champ and Nessie come alive. He gave them a face, a personality, and most importantly a place in our hearts. I remember the first reveal of the cover art. We were sipping coffee in our living room and Zeb trepidatiously asked me, “Are you ready for this?” I had no idea what he was talking about and showed 0% excitement because it was 6 am. When he turned the laptop screen around and I saw those two adorable plesiosaurs, I jumped up so fast I spilled hot coffee all over my legs! I could not believe that these characters Zeb dreamed up to represent us, was exactly how I imagined they would look! It was in that moment I realized that we were, no matter what, publishing this book. And we have been through the “no matter what” part for the last year and a half.

As the story came to life, so did our characters. Charlotte, Macro’s sweet daughter, is one of our main characters, the whale. In the story, Charlotte eagerly joins Champ and Logan on a journey across the sea to help find Nessie! Life imitates art, far more than art imitates life – because Marco happily accepted the challenge of illustrating this story and has been on this journey with us!

Marco, we are so thankful for your dedication to this project! Your vision brought Champ and Nessie to a whole new level. Thank you for seeing it through to the end with us!

Need printwork? Logo Design? Help with your Website?

You can check out Marco’s work via his website at the link below!

http://www.marcocammayo.com

Nothing worth having comes easy…

books, mindset, positive thinking

Mindset is what separates the best from the rest.

“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently. Working hard at anything needs to become a habit, you have to make it fun! You will begin to feel self satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit.” — me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

On the record, I had a really hard time with this book. I wasn’t on board with the plan for many years. I had no intention of spending any money to illustrate, edit or publish it. I kind of thought my husband was crazy! But if I have learned anything from Zeb in the 10+ years we have been together it is, the way you speak to yourself impacts your life so much. What you allow yourself to feel and think controls your life. I never thought we would ever publish this story. Ever. To quote my very sweet and wise husband, “Everyone has to start somewhere.” Which automatically makes me break out into song, “If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention!” From one of my favorite movies, Sister Act 2. No matter what your goal is, you have to put in the work. That can be really hard when you work full time, have endless responsibilities and sometimes you just need time to catch up on Outlander. But the truth is, no one cares if you don’t accomplish your goal. No one will know your struggle, or what goes on behind the scenes. No one cares about your fears. You either show up and get it done, or you don’t.

Truth be told, Zeb dreamed up and wrote this story in 2013 with every intention of selling the storyline to Disney. You have to appreciate his optimism and infectious high hopes. I lovingly played along for years, as the document was revised time and time again. It wasn’t until winter 2018, I decided to really use my writing skills and see if I could make his manuscript come to life. I spent weeks with my red pen, adding dialogue and creating a conversation between the characters in the book. All while taking care of my 3 year old, selling our house, packing up my entire life, moving in with my in-laws, renovating our new home from top to bottom and working full time. But once Champ and Nessie had a voice, I fell in love. Paying tribute to a very dear friend, I added a new character, and the words just started jumping off the page. It was worth every sleep deprived night. Thank goodness for wine and Oreos.

Words cannot express how happy we are for our book to be published next week! August 29th! 10 days away!

We have already begun writing the next adventure in our series, “The Journey to Montauk”, and are so excited for what the future holds!

I get by with a little help from my Friends…

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Friendship.

The dictionary defines of a good friend as a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. A friend is someone who provides support when times are tough, or someone you can rely on to celebrate a special moment with you. You might see them everyday, once a year, or less. Or, you might hardly see them, but keep in touch by phone, email, or online. Some friends will come and go throughout the different seasons of your life, but true friends will stay with you forever. Having great friends to share your life with is a gift like no other.

I am blessed. I have so many amazing friends. I could go on and on about them, they are pretty cool peeps. But today I want to talk about one friend in particular. We met merely by chance, as we are from different parts of the world. She has become one of my favorite people, my girl, Bogi. Bogi and I were introduced to each other in 2009. She was the fiancé of my then boyfriend’s best friend, now my husband. She has so many amazing qualities. She is silly, we are always laughing when we are together. She is inquisitive, and super smart. My favorite thing about her is her heart. She is the truest person I have ever known. She will never judge you, or make you uncomfortable. She is genuinely concerned for the well being of her friends. Maybe it is just her culture, she is Hungarian, but I think its just her sincere personality. She is a very special person and I am so happy the universe brought us together. (Even though we are apart right now) — insert crying face here.

Combined we have spent more years that I can count trying to conceive. We have both been through some pretty hard times in that department. She is now the mother the most adorable twin girls, Sophie and Ella. You will meet them in Champ and Nessie, they are twin sea turtles. Like their Momma, they are apart of our journey to help encourage us to not give up. They are little rays of sunshine and we could not be more in love.

About Me

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Hello and Welcome to Champ & Nessie! My name is Sherry Frayne, momma to a wonderful son, wife to the most amazing man, working girl, writer and now blogger! Writing about myself is the last topic on earth I would ever choose to write about. But I feel it’s necessary to introduce myself finally and say hello! I recently launched Champ and Nessie’s blog in April 2019 in preparation for our upcoming book release August 29, 2019! Yay! Follow along on Instagram for giveaways, updates and details, @champandnessie.

Along with book content and fun facts surrounding the setting and creatures in our story, I will be sharing my own interests that range from books, interesting articles, crafts, recipes, mom life and more. Writing is a dream I have had for a long time. Since college when my English Professor told me I should be a writer. However, I was working as a clerk in the Emergency Room and then I was promoted. I was also caption editing for the New York Post, a gig my Professor put me onto. But the years just flew by and I decided not to pursue a career in editing. Sometimes the universe just has a different plan in mind. Along with my full time day job, I have been working as a freelance content creator for many other awesome blogs, but that’s a story for another day.

I feel so grateful for the opportunity to share our story, and our actual “story”, Champ and Nessie. It has been a long and bumpy road that led us to our book launch this August. I have learned so much along the way. Sometimes the imperfections and mishaps in life bring us to the version of perfection we need most. What can I say, I am a type-A, Italian tempered, control freak and I am an Aries.

Becoming a Mom has been absolutely the most humbling, moving, frightening, exhausting, and wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. But it left me wondering, how do we balance Motherhood (a whole world in itself), our marriages, work, friendships, and our own personal hobbies or interests? The struggle is real! You kind of know on some level, but no one tells you when you become a Mom you sacrifice your body, sleep, social life, spending money, drinking hot coffee, peeing alone, patience, energy and sanity. But we do it all unapologetically for LOVE. If you ask any mom (or dad, or caregiver) they will say the same thing, “Its worth every second and inconvenience.” And/or “I would do it all over again.” Every day I learn I have new strength I didn’t know I had, and deal with fears and concerns I never knew existed. Its a delicate balance between having a nervous breakdown, and just knowing I am doing the best I can.

My hope is that this Blog and our book will be a way to connect with fellow moms, dads, writers, children’s book lovers and anyone who feels like dropping by our page. I look forward to exchanging tips and sharing stories.

Please take a moment to explore our website, check out the Fun Stories About Us section! I look forward to connecting with you all!

It’s a…Shhaarrkk!

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Kids and adults alike are fascinated by Sharks. I am sure some of it has to do with the blockbuster movie Jaws, but also because we read about shark attacks and shark sightings more and more in the news. The perception of sharks as dangerous “man eating” monsters has definitely deeply rooted in our minds.

But that’s so little about what sharks are all about. In fact, out of the 420 different types of sharks, only 4 species have been involved in these sometimes fatal, unprovoked attacks on humans. You may even be surprised to know that the Whale Shark, the biggest shark of all is referred to as a gentle giant. The Great White Shark, the shark Champ and his friends encounter on their journey, has an infamously bad reputation for being a big bully. It is responsible for more recorded human bite incidents than any other shark.

Here are some interesting facts about Sharks!

1. Sharks have been around for 4 million years, long before dinosaurs. A shark dinosaur was called a Megalodon.

2. There are over 400 kinds of sharks!

3. The shortest shark is about 7 inches and the longest is about 45 feet! The shortest shark is a Spined Pygmy. The Whale Shark is the longest. A Great White Shark is in-between. Most are the size of a human adult, 5-7 feet!

4. Sharks have rows and rows of teeth. When one falls out a new one comes forward. They can have more than 20,000 teeth in their lifetime!

5. The most harmless shark is the biggest shark, the whale shark. (This is the gentle giant I was referring to above).

6. Some sharks have babies called pups. Some sharks have eggs that are either laid or are hatched inside mom before they are born.

7. Sharks have a super nose. They can smell their prey from far away. A shark can smell a single drop of blood in the water. Two thirds of a shark’s brain is dedicated to its sense of smell.

8. Sharks do not have a single bone in their bodies. They are made of cartilage.

9. Sharks have eyes on the sides of their heads allowing them to see in front and in back of them easily.

10. Sharks never sleep and they never stop swimming.

11. Sharks have no known predators in the Ocean, except (on rare occasions) the Killer Whale.

The Journey to Montauk

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My favorite place on Earth.

Montauk. Where it all began, where it will end, and most importantly where our next journey will bring Champ and Nessie!

Lovingly nicknamed “The End” some people also refer to it as “The Beginning”, as we always do. Montauk is the Eastern most point of Long Island. Wikipedia would refer to it as “A major tourist destination that has six state parks, particularly famous for its fishing, claiming to have more world saltwater fishing records than any other port in the world.” Me personally, I  would refer to it as my Heaven on Earth.

You know when a place just speaks to you? That feeling you get when you come home after a long day. I know this may sound a bit silly, but it’s almost like Montauk is a person and we love her. We miss her when we don’t get to see her often, and are sad when something bad happens to her. I can vividly recall speeding up and over the steep hills on Old Montauk Highway as fast as we could. Anticipating those “butterflies in your stomach” like when you are on a fast roller-coaster. On April 30, 2011 I relived that “butterfly feeling” again when Zeb and I were married at St. Teresa of Lisieux Church in Montauk town. It was always my dream to be a bride in Montauk. To be in my wedding dress in front of the Lighthouse, with the wind carelessly blowing my hair and my prince charming passionately kissing me on the hill overlooking the ocean. And let me tell you, it was worth getting my heels dirty and my hair messed up for!

My love for Montauk started many years ago as a kid. It has become such a special place for us, and by us I do mean my husband and I, but also my family. For as long as I can remember we have been driving out East to the Hampton’s and to Montauk. Those long, traffic jammed 3 hour car rides have become some of my most treasured childhood memories. It was always a “journey” and never just a long drive. We would always break up the trip with a “designated stop” at 7-11 and grab snacks. My cousin Anthony and I would make up skits and pretend we were hosting a talk show, broadcasting live from the backseat of the emerald green Mercury Villager Minivan. We would just laugh the whole way. I think those long rides made me the road warrior I am today. I am always excited for a road trip!

Whenever we feel overwhelmed with life, we head out East and we head to Montauk, its free therapy. We drive in silence with the windows down to feel and smell that salty air and if I am being 100% honest, Tim McGraw is blasting on the radio.  I have learned that all roads lead me to Montauk, no matter what the season or circumstance. It has become a place where we feel most like ourselves, and we know how lucky we are to have that. Especially in today’s insanely busy, internet/cellphone driven society where it is impossible to unplug and relax.  

I am proud to say my son loves Montauk too. It’s funny how life comes full circle and I find myself taking him places my mom would take me when I was little. Like driving out to Montauk on Forth of July to get a great spot to watch the fireworks, or going to the duck pond in East Hampton town and kayaking in the bay by our house. Watching him collect hermit crabs from the same spot I did as a kid is surreal sometimes. It makes my heart so happy.

Logan loves going to his “East Hampton House”, and even though he is three and a half and tells us REPEATEDY from the back seat “Mommy, East Hampton is too far away” when we are sitting on the Belt Parkway in bumper to bumper traffic. When we pull down the driveway and all our troubles from the busy week fade away, I know the trip was worth it. We look forward to making many more memories out East together. Who knows, we may even have a re-boot of our famous talk show “Milky Way Morons and Butterfinger Buddies” from the second generation of cousins!

We look forward to writing our next adventure and sharing it with you!

Champ and Nessie, The Journey to Montauk. Coming 2020.

And mom… please stop crying.

Here are a few links to help you discover Montauk

Home

https://sttheresemontauk.weconnect.com/

http://ehamptonny.gov/333/Montauk