Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Big Announcement: New Book Launches April 3, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 12.00.29 PMI’m so pleased to announce the launch of my new book “Screen-Free Fun: 400 Activities for the Whole Family.” The book is now available for pre-order.

Book Overview: Fight back against boredom and keep your kids busy and entertained—without staring at a screen—with this handy collection of family activities ranging from DIY projects to outdoor adventures to easy day trips.

While technology often offers a quick and easy parenting solution to keep children entertained, too much screen time can negatively affect developmental and social skills, and even lead back to the original problem—boredom.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 12.10.51 PMScreen-Free Fun offers over 400 ideas to disconnect from tech devices and reconnect with our families in a healthier way. You and your child can pick from DIY activities to games to weekend outings. Since many of the activities work well for kids at various ages, your family will be able to grow along with the different projects and make plans for both younger and older siblings alike. You can try indoor projects like homemade slime, outdoor activities like building a fort, or learn more about your favorite destinations with activities like a scavenger hunt in your wmt_285copy_1235sprk_1neighborhood or an i-spy game at the zoo. There is also space for your family to add your own favorite activities so you never forget a great idea or memory! From summer vacation to holiday breaks and every rainy day in between, with this book you and your family will always have something fun to do together—without ever having to resort to a tablet, phone, or computer.

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Follow important updates on the Screen-Free Facebook Page Here


February 18, 2018 Posted by | Sample Work | 1 Comment

Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

Published March 2018: The Messenger

IMG_1126Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

I’ve always been a dreamer, but a meticulous one. Although on the outside (and in my home of seven), you may not always see that I’m organized, but I believe that dreaming and planning go hand in hand.

Recently, I came across the phrase: “Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do.” It struck me as something very fitting for my home office, so when attending one of those Brushes and Boards party, I made a wood sign with this exact phrase.

Every day when I’m working from my home office, I look up at this sign for motivation, especially when procrastination takes over. My children have walked through my office and noticed it, too. It truly defines how I feel about dreams and what I want my children to know. Continue reading

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Blog, Parenting, Sample Work | 1 Comment

St. George parishioner forges 64-year friendship with pen pal

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 11.41.33 AMPublished November 2017: The Messenger

St. George parishioner forges 64-year friendship with pen pal

Article Excerpt:

While many friendships do not stand the test of time, Marlene Fridley, a parishioner at St. George in New Baden, knows the exception. Fridley forged a friendship 64 years ago with Hawaii-native Theresa Silva, a friendship she credits to a nun at her elementary school in McCartyville, Ohio.

As a third grader, Fridley said she was eager to take part in the school’s pen pal program. It wasn’t until summer break neared that she connected with Silva, though. The two were paired together to write letters over the summer. “I remember her address to this day,” said Fridley, while leafing through a photo album of her recent visit with Silva’s family in Hawaii. Continue reading

February 18, 2018 Posted by | Sample Work | Leave a comment

At Daystar, it’s the ‘most busiest time of the year’

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 11.38.58 AMPublished December 2017: The Messenger

At Daystar, it’s the ‘most busiest time of the year’

Article Excerpt: 

What began as an effort to provide Christmas gifts for needy families by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ 40 years ago has evolved from a pile of presents in a convent basement to Santa’s Workshop at the thrift store of Daystar in Cairo.

Each December, Director Sherry Miller, with the help of her staff and diocesan parish volunteers, clears out the thrift shop and turns it into a winter wonderland for families to choose gifts for their children.

“Each person in the household gets a gift as well as items such as underwear, socks, hats, and books,” said Miller. “Then, we provide them with a food box to help with their holiday meals.”

The Daystar Community Program in Cairo, an agency of the Diocese of Belleville, serves eight counties in Illinois throughout the year, providing assistance to families in need. Continue reading

February 18, 2018 Posted by | Sample Work | Leave a comment

Newborn Essentials: How to Survive and Thrive the First Few Weeks

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 11.35.41 AMPublished June 2017:

Newborn Essentials: How to Survive and Thrive the First Few Weeks

Article Excerpt:

As I was preparing for the birth of my daughter some years ago, I mistakenly thought that all I needed to do was to clean my home and stock her closet with clothing.

However, what I failed to realize is how baby gear can simplify my life with a baby at home.

As a new mom, I was also unprepared for the routine and emotional toll I would feel those first weeks. Arming myself and my home with the right essentials would have lessened the load. Knowing the basics of what you and your baby need well before he or she arrives will help you to survive and thrive as a mom.

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February 18, 2018 Posted by | Sample Work | Leave a comment

Volunteers Keep Food Pantry Stocked and Social

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 11.45.43 AMPublished August 2017: The Messenger

Volunteers Keep Food Pantry Stocked and Social

Article Excerpt: 

While the stock of food fluctuates at the on-site food pantry at St. Augustine’s in Belleville, the volunteers are always constant. Every Tuesday and Friday, senior helpers stock shelves, pack bags full of non-perishable food, milk, and eggs while sorting donated fruits and vegetables in their spare time.

Approximately 15 to 18 parishioners volunteer their time, serving about 50 people who come to the window adjacent to the garage attached to the parish rectory each week. On a typical Friday morning, Clete Blaes makes conversation with a Belleville resident seeking groceries to feed her family.

“We’ve grown to have a personal relationship with many of the people,” said Blaes. “It feels good to volunteer.” Continue reading

February 18, 2018 Posted by | Sample Work | Leave a comment

Do You Sleep Enough? (15 Tricks for New Moms)

Published June 2017:

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 11.27.54 AM

Do You Sleep Enough? (15 Tricks for New Moms)

Article Excerpt:

I can remember as a new mother being able to recognize other new moms while out and about. The disheveled hair and dark circles under the eyes stuck out to me as a clear indicator that these women were just as sleep deprived as I was while caring for my baby.

Rest seems to be more of a luxury than a necessity when caring for a newborn or even a toddler. I can remember feeling grateful for two straight hours of uninterrupted slumber when my babies were little.

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February 18, 2018 Posted by | Sample Work | Leave a comment

Bouncing Back Memories

bouncing backPublished May 2015: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

Bouncing Back Memories

It was a grueling game of one-on-one basketball. The ball swooshed into the basket once and then twice and even though the rebounds bounced on a driveway instead of a court, the sound of the crowd cheering and chanting could be heard. Except, it wasn’t a crowd. It was a 40-year old mom pretending thousands of fans were cheering her on as she gained points on her 14-year old son who for 30 minutes, gave her his time, his laughter, his competitive spirit and a rigorous workout. Continue reading

May 8, 2015 Posted by | Newspaper Writing, Opinion | , , | Leave a comment

The Parent SOS

parent SOSPublished February 2015: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

The Parent SOS

From the time I was a child, I was taught to work hard. This work ethic that was ingrained in me from the start has given me many opportunities to excel at multiple jobs. I’m a go-getter, a type “A” organizer and a loyal employee. I learned this from my mom who tirelessly worked two or three jobs at a time to put food on the table and expected my sisters and me to work just as hard at school, around the house and at our part-time jobs as teenagers. Continue reading

February 28, 2015 Posted by | Newspaper Writing, Opinion | , | Leave a comment

Top Kids Books for the Holidays

kids booksPublished December 2014: Mom.Me

Top Kids Books for the Holidays
It’s a classic: A good story is always the perfect gift

Article Excerpt:

At a time of the year when the holidays bring magic to your child’s world, the gift of a special book can take them on a trip of magical fantasy. “Books stimulate a child’s sense of curiosity, creativity and imagination and validate their feelings,” said Dr. Donna Housman, founder of Beginnings School in Weston, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Choose just the right book as a gift to stir your child’s imagination this holiday season.

Continue reading

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Feature Stories, Magazine Writing, Sample Work | , , , | Leave a comment