About Larissa Larsen

Larissa Larsen was born in Chicago Illinois. She has a Master Degree in Education and specializes in developing character and value literature for children. She has a great passion for creating curriculum which engages children through the creative arts. Her stories and developmentally challenging texts have been used internationally to promote imaginative 21st century learning skills through story-telling. Larissa believes in engaging the whole child. Her publishing services and blog Storyteller Shop.com reflects her philosophy of lessons of wisdom through the eyes of global understanding and respect. Larissa now resides in New Orleans LA with her family and pet Yorkie Brad Warren.

Great Ideas to Celebrate Saints And Holy Creatures

st-kevin-the-blackbird1Pub­lic Domain Image

Learn­ing about the saints is a per­fect oppor­tu­nity to teach young­sters to be aware of the impor­tance of ani­mals. Saint Fran­cis con­sid­ered all ani­mals “broth­ers” and“sisters” because they were cre­ated from the same heav­enly Father. The lives of these saints have taught us that God’s crea­tures are fam­ily to us. As stew­ards of cre­ation, we should care for them like fam­ily, assist­ing them, pro­tect­ing them, and advo­cat­ing for their welfare.

If young­sters are nur­tured and encour­aged to model the saint’s min­istry to all crea­tures, then they will become com­pas­sion­ate and kinder indi­vid­u­als to all of cre­ation — includ­ing humankind.

 Prac­ti­cal Ideas To Become Saint-sational Keeper Of The Earth:

1. Design a spe­cial spot in your back yard for a but­ter­fly or bird sanc­tu­ary. Lovely to look at and a safe haven for God’s feath­ered and fly­ing creatures.

2. Make sure pets have I.D.‘s and are spaded and neutered. Be sure your pet has a vet­eri­nar­ian to have reg­u­lar health­care checkups.

3. Be a wise shop­per. Sup­port prod­ucts and ser­vices that respect ani­mals lives.

4. If you live in a state that may require nat­ural dis­as­ter evac­u­a­tion, be pre­pared with a kit for your pets and a plan of safety for them.

5. Be a com­mu­nity leader and get involved in ani­mal projects to sup­port our furry, finned, and feath­ered friends.

Here Are A Few “Fur” Rais­ing Ideas:

a. Furry Friends Food Drive — Select a day to col­lect non-perishable food items to be given to ani­mal shelters.

b. Toys For Pups — Lead a toy drive for toys and sup­plies for train­ing dogs.

c. Miss Kitty’s Kitchen — Spon­sor a drive for cat food, health supplies,and toys.

d. Pooch Spa Clinic — Lead a drive to col­lect groom­ing needs for our canie friends.

e. Con­duct pledge dri­ves and ask for dona­tions to help aban­doned animals.

f. Pledge drive can be min­utes read­ing books, min­utes away from tech­nol­ogy, walk­ing, swim­ming, and yes, even studying.

g. Spon­sor bake sales that focus on sell­ing pet treats, sup­plies, toys, blan­kets, and food.

h. Con­tact home­less shel­ters regard­ing their pol­icy on fam­i­lies who also have pets. Donate pro­ceeds from your event.

6. Pur­chase cruelty-free cos­met­ics and house­hold products.

7. Adopt a pet from a local ani­mal shel­ter or res­cue group.

8. Work with your local parish to encour­age a “bless­ing” of pets day.

9. Hold a Saints And Holy Crea­tures Day on All Saints Day. Chil­dren can come dressed as a saint who loved ani­mals and tell his or her story.

Encour­ag­ing young­sters to be good stew­ards is a bless­ing and prayer for the whole universe.

Want To Know More About Saints And Holy Crea­tures?

Opposite Land’s Birthday Party Blast Planning Guide


Birthday Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­day Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­day cel­e­bra­tions are not about presents alone.  It is a price­less mem­ory of cel­e­brat­ing a life and the joy of “liv­ing” in gen­eral.  Giv­ing your child the gift of self­less­ness is price­less.  Birth­day par­ties that make a dif­fer­ence can be just as excit­ing and fun-filled as con­ven­tional children’s celebration.

It’s easy and quite sim­ple to take the pos­i­tive steps to “throw” a birth­day party that is unique, cre­ative, and mean­ing­ful for all.

You don’t have to have a mul­ti­tude of games or exces­sive field trips to ensure that this birth­day cel­e­bra­tion is suc­cess­ful and joy-filled. There are a mul­ti­tude of great ser­vice party activ­i­ties that all par­tic­i­pants can do in less than 20 min­utes. Be sure to talk to your child for his or her input about the project that they feel would be all best and most helpful.

 Ready To Begin?  

Check out some help­ful tips and tricks to get you on the sim­ple path for a cre­ative,   enrich­ing, and mean­ing­ful birth­day bash for your child.

 Take The First Step: Birth­day Party Planning

Birthday Party Gifts

Plan A Party With Your Child

Chil­dren love to par­tic­i­pate in ser­vice projects.

  • Talk to your child about the idea of a birth­day party that gives to oth­ers.
    Allow­ing your child to have input into the plan­ning and choos­ing of the char­ity gives them own­er­ship and a sense that they are doing some­thing impor­tant and meaningful.
  • Be sure to assure them that this spe­cial kind of party is just as awe­some as a tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tion and one of kind.


Rainbow Clip Art

Involve Your Child

  • Ask your child what he or she feels the need to help.  Does your child love pets?  Is he or she an active in sports?  Are books and sto­ries impor­tant to them?
  • Cen­ter on choos­ing a char­ity or non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that would sup­port your child’s passions.
  • Be sure that inves­ti­gate the char­ity to assure that your gifts or dona­tions are going to an estab­lished orga­ni­za­tion.  There are sev­eral online ser­vices that can accom­plish this for you.

                                                  Check out:
                                                  Char­ity Nav­i­ga­tor @http://www.charitynavigator.org/                                                             GuideStar @ http://www.guidestar.org                                                                                     Local Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau.


Modern Art Heart With Red And Blue

Gifts From The Heart

  • Be sure that you and your child are totally in agree­ment about the giv­ing and receiv­ing of gifts.  Stress that the gifts guests bring will be heart-felt.  These gifts will be help­ing peo­ple or places in their name.
  • You can relate to your child that they will get a present from imme­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers with trea­sures such as great books, toys, and memories.
  • If fam­ily mem­bers feel inclined to buy a present, there are a myr­iad of prac­ti­cal or edu­ca­tional enter­tain­ing items chil­dren love.  Those presents would not, how­ever, be opened at the com­mu­nity birth­day party. Be sure that your child knows that gifts their guests will bring will be spe­cially crafted or donated in their name.  Pur­chas­ing a present is more than just com­ing with a char­i­ta­ble dona­tion to drop in a box.
  • Your child’s guests may choose not to bring a phys­i­cal gift but donate time or talent.


  • Once your non­profit orga­ni­za­tion has been selected, it’s impor­tant that all of the birth­day guests know that this birth­day cel­e­bra­tion is a very spe­cial one.  Include some mate­r­ial about the non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that chil­dren will be supporting.
  • Be sure to let guest’s par­ents know that there will be NO GIFTS for this party.  The birth­day guest of honor would really like some­thing very unique.  Encour­age guests to bring or donate a phys­i­cal item.
  • Post sug­ges­tions in the invi­ta­tion for dona­tions to be made in the child’s name. It also can include request­ing that dona­tions such as toi­letries, books, or non­per­ish­able items be brought.
  • Be sure to include these activ­i­ties even though some guests may not be able to come but still can donate.
  • Don’t miss out and join the Sto­ry­tellers Fam­ily next month for the next steps of plan­ning a birth­day party theme and ser­vice projects that will rock!

Visit me at my web­site: http://www.storytellershop.com

Ama­zon: http://www.amazon.com/Opposite-Land-Amazing-Adventures-Birthday-ebook/dp/B00L5P2FU2

Cre­ate Space: Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Paperback

Face­book : Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Com­mu­nity Page

Pin­ter­est: Sto­ry­teller Shop Pinterest

Twit­ter:  https://twitter.com/AuthorShopStore


4th Of July Fun Family Activities

List Of Wholesome Family Activities To Do On Independence Day

Fourth Of July Fam­ily Fun Activities

This is a sim­ple list of whole­some fam­ily activ­i­ties that are fun and enrich­ing.  Cost effec­tive as well.



Birthday Parties That Make A Difference

Birthday Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­day Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­days have always been spe­cial events in our fam­ily. Being a vol­un­teer and serv­ing oth­ers has also been a part of my life since I was a small child. Between school and fam­ily ser­vice projects, vol­un­teerism became part of my inner core identity.

Encour­ag­ing young­sters at any early age (includ­ing tod­dlers and pre-school) to engage in ser­vice ori­ented activ­i­ties fos­ters deep qual­i­ties of gen­eros­ity, empa­thy, com­pas­sion, appre­ci­a­tion, and social account­abil­ity for the greater world com­mu­nity around them. These qual­i­ties will lead them into adult­hood as respon­si­ble car­ing indi­vid­u­als.
A won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to fos­ter appre­ci­a­tion of vol­un­teer activ­i­ties is to cre­ate a birth­day party that will make a dif­fer­ence in the life of your child and their guests.

Many times children’s’ birth­day cel­e­bra­tions become very com­pli­cated, time con­sum­ing, and overly exces­sive of activ­i­ties, themes, and gifts. The sim­ple idea of cake and
ice-cream seems to be fad­ing from pop­u­lar­ity. Lav­ish expenses include over-the-top good­ies bags, hoards of gifts, con­tracted enter­tain­ers, and catered food. These are becom­ing an accepted real­ity in a child’s world of birth­day gatherings.

Young­sters seem to need to keep up with or “top” their friends by lav­ish birth­day cel­e­bra­tions. Being big­ger and more “epic” seem to veer the true mean­ing of the day. Chil­dren may expe­ri­ence feel­ings of envy, peer pres­sure, or dis­ap­point­ment that their day did not have enough to impress or sat­isfy friends or their needs.
Par­ents and guardians can do a great ser­vice to guar­an­tee a joy­ous, fun-filled birth­day cel­e­bra­tion with­out all the exces­sive stress and pres­sure. Plan­ning a unique party by
“mak­ing a dif­fer­ence” to oth­ers will assist party-goers with the impor­tant mes­sage that true impor­tant gifts come from help­ing hearts and hands.

Your child, friends, fam­ily, and guests will expe­ri­ence a great feel­ing that doing some­thing for some­one else is not only great fun but the best gift one can give to any­one –
birth­day or not.

It is easy to plan a party that makes a dif­fer­ence with the birth­day girl or boy.

Check out my next blog at Sto­ry­teller Shop for party plans that rock the heart and soul.

For early read­ers and some great birth­day party ser­vice ideas, check out my lat­est book: Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast  for more great suggestions.

Click here:
Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Ama­zon Paper Back
Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Ama­zon Kin­dle
Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Barnes & Nobles

Butterfly Thoughts — Can You Be A Butterfly

Butterfly Leaving Cocoon

Even A But­ter­fly Has To Work Hard

I was walk­ing with my lit­tle dog Brad War­ren yes­ter­day, and he found an empty cocoon cas­ing.  I could see the tiny open­ing where the lit­tle but­ter­fly flew out.

I can remem­ber a time when as a child when I really did see a but­ter­fly that was try­ing to escape from its cocoon.

It was so mind-boggling to see that frag­ile crea­ture fight­ing his way to escape that cov­er­ing. I stood there quite a while and began to worry that maybe that lit­tle insect might not be able to escape.


I decided it was time for me to come to the res­cue so I found a lit­tle branch and began to make a hole to help the but­ter­fly leave its shel­ter more eas­ily. My friend Janie stopped me and would not let me do that. She knew a lot more about but­ter­flies than I did.

She told me that if I helped the lit­tle crea­ture out that it would most prob­a­bly not live the day.

You see, all the flap­ping and strug­gling to break away from the nest was really help­ing the but­ter­fly to become strong and healthy.
All the hard work that was going on had a very good rea­son.  It was build­ing up the butterfly’s strength so it could fly.

Janie also told me that but­ter­flies have a spe­cial fat in the cocoon when they strug­gle to get out. This fatty oil goes all over its tiny body and wings. If the oil did not spread on its body, it would not be made safe from the weather and the elements.

The butterfly’s wings might even get break­able and cracked.
They most likely would fall apart and the lit­tle crea­ture would never be able to soar.

Janie explained to me that the but­ter­fly is made that way for a spe­cial reason.

Even though it works hard, feels trapped inside its cocoon, and want total free­dom;
it is in the hard work that is get­ting ready to be free and live in the beau­ti­ful out­side world.

This is such a great les­son for all of us to learn.

We all have to expe­ri­ence things in our life that are not easy.  We all have chal­lenges and strug­gles we have to go through.  There are even times we are unhappy and won­der if
we will ever be free from what makes us sad or worried.

But Remem­ber The Butterfly


Remember The Butterfly

Per­se­ver­ance Pays Off


There may be times in your life when you have to strug­gle or work hard to be suc­cess­ful.  Then – after you have done the hard work – and because you have been true to that goal you set–  you can feel free and full of hap­pi­ness that you have succeed.

Think about it.…..

Can You Be A Butterfly?

Love And Wisdom






Are You A Valentine Chocolate Surprise?

Are You A Valen­tine Choco­late Surprise?


Box Of Cholocates Almost Eaten

What Kind Of Choco­late Sur­prise Are You

How may of us look for­ward to Valentine’s Day when our friends and fam­ily give us that won­der­ful box of choco­late hearts we love so much?

What do you think is the best part of get­ting those sweets? Eat­ing them or guess­ing what fla­vors are inside? It’s a real choice for some of us to try to fig­ure out which ones will be the best.

This Valentine’s Day if you get a spe­cial gift like a big box of choco­late candy, see if you can do this:

1. Choose a piece that you think you might want to try, but don’t eat it right away. Do you think you can do that?

2. The best part of choco­lates is that they all hold a secret. Although all the can­dies have some dark and light choco­late on the out­side, they all have dif­fer­ent fla­vors on the inside. Some have straw­berry, some choco­late, vanilla, cherry, nut, and tof­fee.
You name it, it can be hid­den in that tasty lit­tle treat.

3. Can you really tell with­out pinch­ing any­thing, what is in the inside of that treat? You can if you have x-ray vision but not most of us do.

4. Here comes the best part. Take a bite and find out what you got.

The Choco­late Connection

Row Of Different Chocolates

The Choco­late Connection

You know, most folks are like the choco­lates you choose out of a Valen­tine box.
You just can’t tell who or what a per­son really is by just look­ing at the out­side of them.

Pay atten­tion how they look or how they really act toward you.

It really does not mat­ter if you are an older per­son, adult, or child, tall or short, heavy or thin, what color or coun­try you come from — these things that how on the out­side of us do not really share the secret of who one really is.
By remem­ber this, we have to remem­ber to take steps to really get to know
how a per­son really feels or thinks or what makes them blue or happy,
what they really enjoy or not, and what they believe by get­ting to know them
on the inside and who they are.

Each one of them is just like that spe­cial chocolate.

They are made dif­fer­ently and have had life expe­ri­ences that may make them just like us or very dif­fer­ent. It does not make them strange or bad.

It makes them unique.

Here is a lit­tle story to help you remem­ber the next time you see some­one who is dif­fer­ent from you and you begin to judge them from their outer shell.

Water Well Story Where Goodness Lives

Story Of Where
Good­ness Lives


Once upon a time, in a far-away land, three young men stopped by an old farm-house where a lit­tle boy lived. The men were thirsty. They needed some­thing to drink.

They asked the young boy,” Do you think you could let us get some cool water from your well?”

The boy thought and thought. He did not like the way that the men were dressed and was afraid they were going to harm him.
But the boy said, ” I sup­pose you can. Please just help yourself.”

Well, after the men had taken their water, they began look­ing down the deep well.

This make the lit­tle boy very nosy as he never thought about look­ing at well bot­toms.
So has ques­tioned them, “What in the world are you look­ing for or at?”

The trav­el­ing men told him, “Don’t you know?” Good­ness lives down in the well.
The boy was amazed. He had never seen any­thing, but dark­ness down there.

He asked the men, “Can you pick me up, so I can check it out for myself.“
The men boosted him over, so he could check it out for himself.The boy only saw the water below.

He only saw his own face. Dis­ap­pointed he said to them,

But that is only my face.” “That’s not good­ness, that’s only my reflec­tion.“
The three wan­der­ing men said, “Now you know where good­ness lives.
It exists inside of you.”

The weary group then explained that good­ness can be in many places at once.
 It can in the sky
— It can live on land
— It can thrive in the water

But where in the uni­verse does good­ness really make a home?

In the deep water well?
In the lap-top com­puter?
In your cell phone?
In the ipod?

Where in the uni­verse do good­ness and kind­ness live?

Well, do you know?

Boy And Girl Embracing

Good­ness And Kind­ness Lives Inside You

The answer is so sim­ple. It is inside of you.

It’s not found in any machine, or toys, cookie, treat, or piece of chocolate.

Next time you look at your­self or oth­ers about you, remem­ber to say, ” I’m look­ing at the best place where kind­ness and good­ness do live.

It is found in the heart.

Like that spe­cial box of choco­lates, take one piece of good­ness each day and make it spe­cial for you and some­one you love.

Take time to know your Valen­tine Choco­late Surprise.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Heart Power Is In You

Good­ness And Kind­ness Come From You