Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

A Day in Philadelphia

January 18th, 2018

A Day in PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia — the City of Brotherly Love – one of the reasons why I love to visit this city! My favorite way to get to Philly is to take the Septa train. This alleviates a lot of stress and hassle on my part because then I don’t have to worry about parking or parking fees. Plus, who doesn’t love a good train ride! There is so much you can do in Philly, so it is important to really pick what you want to see – and don’t be afraid to go back again and again.

 

For this field trip, we started out by going to the Museum of the American Revolution. This museum just opened April 2017 and it is full of rich history to offer your students from the American Revolutionary War! The museum opens at 10AM, and my family took about 1 1/2 – 2 hours at the museum. When you first arrive, go upstairs to watch the Washington’s War Tent video. This will give you and your student a picture of what it might have been like to be in Washington’s War Tent and the impact that Washington had on the American people. Henry Lee says of George Washington that he was “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

 

Next, begin making your way through four different galleries that tell the story of the American Revolutionary War. These galleries give the perspective of the soldiers, the English, the colonists, and the Indians. It is neat to read about everyone’s perspectives and see how the war affected them all. This is an important time in our history as Americans because it is when we became our own nation, the United States of America, free from England’s tyranny. I also find this war interesting because of all the events that were taking place in Philadelphia at the time. This was the city where the First Continental Congress met during the Revolutionary War. Philadelphia was also a place that Washington’s army wanted to defend from the British, and therefore they wintered in Valley Forge during the winter of 1777.

 

Depending on the time available, stop by for a tour inside Carpenter’s Hall, which was the meeting place of the Continental Congress. Then make your way to the Liberty Bell Center (just a few blocks away), where you can see the iconic bell itself – a symbol of American freedom, whose “voice has never been stilled” (Independence National Historic Park). This is a free attraction, and can take you anywhere from ½ – 1 hour, depending on the amount of people that are there and how much time you want to spend reading about the history of the Liberty Bell.

 

You will find that there are so many museums that you can stop and spend time in while you walk around Historic Philly. I personally love the variety and the ability to come back, knowing that there is always something new to learn about there. There are also some nice parks and gardens to walk around in this area depending on the weather.

 

Finally, one of my favorite places to stop is the Reading Terminal Market. The Reading Terminal Market is especially prominent in my family because my great-grandparents used to have a stand there. There are so many booths where you can find something to eat, whether for lunch, supper, dessert, or something snack-y.

 

Philadelphia is truly a wonderful city to visit with so many opportunities to learn about different historical events that happened in the city. 

 

Previously published in the CHAP Magazine 

Copyright, 2018, Rachel Rittenhouse 

A Day in Valley Forge

January 19th, 2017

a-day-in-valley-forgeStuck in the winter doldrums? Or maybe elongated summer stagnation? That means it’s the perfect time for another field trip! This one is located right in my own backyard – Montgomery County!

 

It’s time now to journey back in time to the 1700s, in the middle of the American Revolutionary War, to a place called Valley Forge.

 

When you arrive at Valley Forge (hopefully you don’t experience as much construction/traffic difficulties as we did!!), head right into the main entrance and begin your field trip at the visitor’s center. From there, you’ll be guided to where you watch an 18-min video (for free!) on Washington’s Encampment. This provides a great prelude for your kids and helps them better understand all that happened at Valley Forge. This video shows every ½ hour starting at 9:30AM.

 

It’s time now to journey back in time to the 1700s, in the middle of the American Revolutionary… Click To Tweet

 

Once you are done with the video, head back down to the visitor’s center. You probably noticed when you arrived that there a lot of different displays off to the right of the visitor’s center. There are displays that depict different details about how with was living in Valley Forge in the winter months. These soldiers went through a lot – snow, starvation, hunger, and separation from families. In addition, was the reality that they were at war with their mother country, England, and had to always be on guard.

 

Valley Forge is a beautiful park with a great driving tour option that you can do on your own. Once you are done inside at the visitor’s center and the gift shop, grab a map and head back to your car. Since the visitor’s center was stop #1, your next stop will be #2 – the Muhlenberg Bridge, where you could stop to have a nice picnic lunch. My mom, brother, and cousins picked a nice spot to have our picnic in a grassy section right by one the artillery canons. When your lunch is finished, you will see some huts up ahead. You and your kids can even take a peek inside and imagine what it must have been like to stay with 6-8 others in such a small cabin. Nothing like the bunk beds we have today!

 

Once you’re back in the car, you can continue on your driving tour. Don’t feel like you have to stop and get out at each spot. There is space along the way to pull over and take pictures and also to read the map which has a description of each place.  Along the way, you’ll pass the National Memorial Arch, the statue of General Wayne, an artillery park, and the Washington Memorial Chapel.

 

My favorite along the driving tour was stop #5 – Washington’s Headquarters. I promise, you will definitely want to get out and experience this stop! You will first notice an old train station. This is the 1911 Valley Forge Station and has a bunch of neat displays and mini videos inside. Next to it is Washington’s headquarters. Inside the stone building, you’ll pretty much just see the setup of how General Washington and Martha lived during their stay at Valley Forge, but be sure to read about it inside the station.

 

The time spent at Valley Forge is such a crucial part of American history and it happened right in Pennsylvania! The courage of the generals and soldiers of the continental army is something to be admired. Valley Forge Park allows us the ability to appreciate all that those soldiers had to go through to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy today.

 

And of course, don’t miss this chance to shop at the King of Prussia mall only 5 minutes away! That is, if you and your kids aren’t too tired after all the amazingness of Valley Forge!

 

 

Previous published in the CHAP Magazine 

Copyright, 2017, Rachel Rittenhouse 

A Day in Pittsburgh

October 13th, 2016

a-day-in-pittsburgWe are now reaching the fall break point in the school year! By now kids start to feel rambunctious and moms are already thinking of fun field trips they can take with their kids.

 

Field trips have always been my favorite part of the school year and discovering new places to visit is especially fun! I’m here to help you find your “Adventure in Pennsylvania” and provide affordable options that will give your kids a chance to learn outside the classroom and also give them a chance to use up some of their energy.

 

Find your #AdventureinPennsylvania and make learning fun! #ADayinPittsburgh Click To Tweet

 

Who knew that there were so many amazing spots to visit right here in Pennsylvania! This past summer, my family and I visited Pittsburgh.

 

Built between 1759 and 1761, this historic fort was occupied by the British military during the French and Indian war and during the American Revolution until 1772.

 

To start out your adventure in Pittsburgh, take a walk down to the 3-point river. Here you will encounter the meeting of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers. Fun fact – the Allegheny River flows north into New York from northern Pennsylvania and then south into Pittsburgh, where it then meets the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River. Pretty cool!

 

To start out your adventure in Pittsburgh, take a walk down to the 3-point river.… Click To Tweet

 

Following that, you will see the Fort Pitt Block House. The block house is the oldest authentic structure in Western PA. It was built in 1764 as a British fortification in the French-Indian War. Inside the building you will be able to see what the soldiers may have experienced as they fought during the war. You and your students can look through little holes, dubbed as “gun loopholes” where the soldiers would have to look through when faced with enemy invasion. Another fun fact about the blockhouse is that civilian families also lived there at different times in history. Standing in that one room and even looking up at the second floor, gives you a feeling at the differences of living in that part of history than what we are accustomed to today.

 

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The block house was also used as a multiple family occupancy after the war. Imagine living in the building that was located in a fort. Throughout the house you will see “points of interest” where you and your children will read a diagram that outlines changes that have been made in the house over time.

 

After visiting the house, you have the option of going through the Fort Pitt Museum. While the block house is free, the museum does have a cost for admittance. I believe you can experience just as much without going through the museum. However, if you have older children and are looking for more information for an essay, walking through the museum may be beneficial.

 

wp_20160627_14_21_02_proAs time allows, another fun aspect of Pittsburgh is just walking around. You are able to walk across the rivers on two bridges. (Caution: only go if you don’t mind heights!) These two bridges are known as the Fort Duquesne Bridge, which crosses the Allegheny River, and the Fort Pitt Bridge, which crosses over the Monongahela River.

 

Walking through downtown Pittsburgh, you can also visit PNC Park, home stadium to the Pirates, which is especially cool if you are a sports fan like my younger brother.

 

Pittsburgh is incredible – whether you are a city person or not so much. One final note to remember: leave before the work traffic gets too terrible!

 

Previous published in the CHAP Magazine 

Copyright, 2016, Rachel Rittenhouse 

Back-To-School Tips

August 25th, 2016

Back-To-School TipsAt the beginning of the summer, I posted my summertime to-do list. I don’t know if this is your experience of not, but summer always flies by and before I know it, it is time for school to start up again!

Some of the highlights from my summer included

  • Beach trips! ~ There is something marvelous about sitting on the beach or wading in the ocean, feeling the salty air in your hair. It’s one of my favorite experiences ever!
  • Camping ~ Does it seem to you that whenever you want to go camping, it’s either rainy or cold? Day 1 of my camping experience resulted in rain, but it managed to clear up by day 2, making it a beautiful weekend for exploring God’s creation.
  • Vacations ~ I love going to different places whether it is to visit friends, field trip, or just relaxing! This summer, my family went out to Indiana for a family reunion and we also made a pit-stop is Pittsburgh! 🙂

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But at the end of summer comes school and how is one to drastically shift paces and adjust to a different life-style?

Here’s some tips to help you get back into the school swing:

  1. Develop a Schedule – Know when you have to do school and when it’s time to have “fun.” You should always plan a little fun during the school year to keep your mind focused. Because you have a schedule, you know when it’s “school-time” and “down-time.
  2. Stay Rested – As tempting as it may be to stay up late and wake up early every night/day, it is important to get enough sleep so that your mind stays alert. If you run on not enough sleep, it may be hard to do the best that you can do when doing homework.
  3. Spend Time with your Family – Even though you are busy with school and hanging out with friends, spending time with your family is so important! They are your biggest supporters and will always be there to encourage you, so it’s important to show them that you care about them too. Help your mom with the dishes one night before going out for ice cream with your friends! The joy that comes with it is so worth it!

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Do you have any back-to-school tips? Share in the comments!

10 Easy Steps to Writing & Publishing — Now Available!!

April 23rd, 2016

cover reveal (1)

 

For those of you who have been waiting — A Student’s Guide: 10 Easy Steps to Writing and Publishing is now available on Amazon!!

For those who have always wanted to write, and even those who never thought they would like it, this student guide will be the encouragement you need to realize your dream of becoming a published author too!

 

Purchase on Amazon for $9.99 —

 10 Easy Steps for Writing & Publishing: A Student’s Guide

AND NOW — RACHEL RECOMMENDS: TIP #1 

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If you want to pursue writing, one of the very first things that you can start by doing RIGHT NOW is to write down any story ideas you have no matter how small. 

My favorite “story-thinking” time is usually when I’m in bed, writing a paper for school, or in the car. In these situations, I may not have time to get to my computer. Instead, I use my phone (either Evernote or OneNote) to type down any ideas that I may have. You can also use a scrap piece of paper or notebook to keep track of these ideas. Trust me, when the time comes when you are ready to start another book, you will be glad for these story ideas!

Cover Reveal!!

April 7th, 2016

cover reveal

A couple weeks ago, I posted a poll wondering what cover I should pick for my non-fiction book. The big reveal has arrived!! 

Description: Do you want to be a writer? Have you always thought about publishing a book? In 10 easy steps, Rachel (published author of 4 books herself) will walk you through the planning, writing, publishing, and marketing of your own book. Publishing may seem daunting, but through this step-by-step guide you will find the journey much more appealing! A homeschool graduate, Rachel published her first book as her senior project at the age of 17.

The book is scheduled to be available on Amazon the end of April. Stay tuned!!

 

nf cover final draftLook at what others are saying!

“What a wonderful resource for a beginning writer.”

“From outlining, and taking notes, to editing, cover designing, and finally self-publishing your book, there were tips and wonderful suggestions on how to really go step by step in this process.”

“10 Easy Steps to Writing and Publishing is an interesting and informative book in which Rachel shares her writing experience and advice for other want-to-be student authors.”

“From brainstorming to holding your book in published form (*squeals*), Rachel covers it all in her new (and first non-fiction) book A Student’s Guide: 10 Easy Steps to Writing & Publishing. For writers of all ages and at all different skill levels, this book is a must-read.”

Read Before You Write

February 18th, 2016

read before you writeYou know the saying “look before you leap”? Or how about “think before you speak”?

Well the same can be said about writing — Read before you write!!

In my upcoming book, “10 Easy Steps to Writing and Publishing,” the first step in the writing process is reading!

If you want to be a writer, you need to be perceptive to the world around you. Start by reading everything and anything. Broaden your horizon by reading fiction, non-fiction, and craft. Reading opens many avenues by allowing you to learn from other writers and get a sense of style and word choice.

 

Fiction:

Fiction is wonderful. Personally, I am a big fan of reading and I am not ashamed of telling that to anyone.

According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, fiction is written stories about people and events that are not real; literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer. When we read fiction, we are allowed a glimpse into the author’s imagination. We can get a sense of their emotions, feelings, and thoughts.

When reading fiction, it also allows YOUR mind to work. An author uses words and it is their job to portray a picture of their character’s life as well as they can. The reader is then going to use the description described by the author to paint of picture of the characters and the story in their head. Whether or not that picture is in accord with the author is dependent upon how descriptive the author was.

As you read books, you can then get an idea on how to capture your reader. Pay attention to:

  • Words that capture your attention
  • Phrases that stand out
  • Plots that keep your attention
  • Characters that resonate (or repel if the “bad guy”)

Find your favorite author and see if you can “mimic” something that they did. You will in time need to find your own style of writing, but as I mentioned before, writing takes practice. The only way you will develop your own style is if you practice.

 

Non-fiction:

As one might guess, non-fiction is the opposite of fiction. Non-fiction encompasses books that are about true events and real people. Reading non-fiction books allows you to gather another sense of writing. These authors have to accurately portray a character that was once (or still is) a living human being. They must carefully craft their characters in a way that the reader comes away with a sense of learning about the real person and what kind of life they must have lived through.

 

Craft:

You can learn a lot from reading fiction books and learning from authors. BUT there is something about reading craft books that help you learn about writing too.

Craft books can refer to a topic that you are studying. In this instance, I am referring to craft books as anything pertaining to writing. This can be on the topic of writing, editing, marketing, or publishing.

As you read through craft books, take careful notes. You are reading these to learn more about writing. You are not just trying to “check it off your list.” Sometimes it is helpful to hone in on one particular topic instead of reading the entire book in one sitting.

Here are some tips to getting the most out of this:

  • Write a list on what you want to learn
  • Look through the table of contents to see what pertains to you
  • Read through the chapter
  • Go back through and write down what stuck out to you
  • Continue forever

Wait…forever? Yes. As author Jerry B. Jenkins once told me, you are never done learning. As an author, you will find something new that you never knew.

You can always get better at grammar and spelling.

You can always improve on plot intensity and character development.

And why wouldn’t you? Don’t you want to improve with each book that you write? Of course! Reading craft books is one way that you can really hone in on that technique.

 

Promise yourself right now that you will always read and learn.

Now, pick a book in each section that you are going to read and share in the comments!

A Homeschooler’s Guide to Writing

November 12th, 2015

Thaaqib Acadia Academy cordially invites you toAre you aching to write a book, but don’t know where to start?

Here are 5 tips that I have found helpful in my writing that you can use to jumpstart YOUR writing as well.

1. Open Ears – Open Eyes = If you want to be a writer, you need to be perceptive to the world around you. Start by reading everything and anything. Broaden your horizon by reading fiction, non-fiction, and school books. You should also pay attention to the people around you. Take notes at their reactions to certain situation. Look at their emotions and the way the hang out with others. All those tidbits may have a place in your book.

2. Outline like the Pro = I love outlines. There is something satisfying at seeing your book planned out in the form of an outline. However, that doesn’t mean that I am against seeing where the plot will take me. Creativity and structure work so well together!

3. Research the Facts = Whether you’re writing fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, or any other genre, it is important to research the facts and make sure that your book fits in the genre you’re writing about. You can do this through going to your local library and finding books on the setting or time period. You can read books from that genre or even do a quick Google search. Either way, be thorough and make sure your facts are accurate.

4. Just Write = Now that you did all your preliminary work it is time to begin the writing itself. You already nailed down your plot in the outline, but make sure you KNOW your characters WELL. Then once you begin, don’t stop! Keep the momentum going. When you do need to take a break, stop at an exciting part that will make you excited to begin the next day.

5. Re-write for Perfection = Before you share your book with anyone (maybe with the exception of your mom!), it’s time to do a re-write. Begin to work out the kinks and check for plot holes. First drafts are typically terrible, but they are a great way of getting your thoughts on the page. And now it’s time to iron it out. Strive for making your 2nd draft the best it can be. Keep going for your best. Once you have your 2nd draft ready then you are ready to search for editors. But we’ll save that for another day.

 

What step is the most difficult for you? How about the easiest?

 

So what are you waiting for? GO. Write your book!

SEARCH Fair Follow-Up

July 2nd, 2015

Two weekends ago, I had the amazing opportunity to be a vendor and speak at the SEARCH fair at Calvary Church. My session was entitled “How to Publish a Book.” If you are interested in having me speak somewhere at either a convention, church, or even small group, I’d love to get in contact with you!

And in case you couldn’t make it, here are some pictures of my day at SEARCH:

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My table!

 

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I love my job!

 

Speaking time - "How to Publish a Book"

Speaking time – “How to Publish a Book”

 

The whole day was such a blast! I love being an author 🙂 Is there something that you are passionate about that you love sharing with others?

 

 

“How to Publish a Book” Sneak Preview

June 18th, 2015

Copy of Writing Is Not My HobbyTomorrow (Friday the 19th) I will be speaking at the SEARCH fair at Calvery Church in Souderton, PA. I’ll be speaking from 12-12:45, but throughout the day, I’ll be there selling and signing my books while engaging with readers like you!

And just to whet your appetite, I decided to offer you a sneak peek at what I’ll be talking about:

 

In “How to Publish a Book” session, I’m going to touch on 5 easy steps in publishing–writing, editing, reviewing, publishing, and marketing.

1. Write: In this step, we will touch on three basic elements of writing, different styles of writing, and the “extras” to include in your book.

2. Edit: In the editing step, we are going to talk about the process of self-editing, hiring an editor, the cover design process, and how it is so important to choose your cover wisely!

3. Review: This step can tend to be an overlooked one, so we are going to touch on how to make reviewing more enjoyable and a little easier on yourself.

4. Publish: There are lots of different aspects of publishing, so I’m going to tell you exactly what I did to get published and who I did it through.

5. Market: Finally for marketing, we are going to talk about four different social media outlets, the basics of blogging, and the benefits to websites and reviewing books.

 

So what do you think? Sound interesting? If your in the Montgomery/Bucks County area, come on out tomorrow at 12 noon to hear these topic discussed in more detail!

 

Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old