Healthy Habit Thursday: The Importance of Vitamins!

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I can still remember the ENORMOUS vitamin pill my sister and I had to take every morning.  It was all but impossible to swallow…and often left us feeling that it was still stuck in our throats, long after breakfast was over.

These days, children have chewable vitamins with fruity flavors, shaped like favorite cartoon characters.

But the underlying premise is still the same…supplementing your daily diet with vitamins and minerals is probably a smart move…especially these days when the nutritional value of processed foods is questionable.

So why are vitamins important and how does each one help?

Today’s post will concentrate on Vitamin B…a complex vitamin made up of eight essential nutrients.  And then, every Thursday in the month of April, we’ll take a look at various other vitamins.

The B-complex vitamins are essential for life and good health.  They help make and regulate our genes, produce energy, regulate blood sugar, enhance mood and cognitive abilities and maintain cardiovascular health.  Since the 1940’s, they’ve been known as anti-stress vitamins because they help strengthen our resistance to the physical and mental consequences of chronic stress.

Eight B vitamins make up this family of essential nutrients.

  • Vitamin B1: Also known as thiamin, this vitamin helps cells produce the right amounts of energy and gives you the power to get through day-to-day life.  If you consume large amounts of sugars and simple carbohydrates like pizza, breads, pastas, bagels and cereals, your supply of B1 will be depleted.
  • Vitamin B2: Also known as riboflavin, this vitamin is at the heart of energy production and thought to be helpful to decrease the frequency of migraine headaches.
  • Vitamin B3: Also known as niacin, this vitamin helps cells produce an enzyme that repairs DNA damage from toxins and it also can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Vitamin B6: Also known as pyridoxine and pyridoxyl-5-phosphate, this vitamin works together with other elements to promote a variety of chemical reactions involved in the production of serotonin and other mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.  It’s been used in studies to decrease PMS symptoms and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Vitamin B12: Low levels of this vitamin can accelerate aging and the risk of cancer and may mimic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Folic Acid: This vitamin is the main contributor to making new DNA which is needed to make new cells for growth and healing.  Studies show that this vitamin can enhance the benefits of anti-depressant drugs and cut hearing loss in middle-age and older people.
  • Biotin: This vitamin activates some of the genes involved in metabolizing blood sugar, protein and fat…it’s especially important for people with pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes.  It also can help lower triglycerides and it improves nail health.
  • Choline: This vitamin is found in all cell membranes where it helps communicate external information to the cell nucleus.  It is needed for normal brain development and function.

This is a photo from my recent trip to visit my daughter and her family.  2 1/2 year-old Jeremy had a wonderful time whisking the eggs and mashing the bananas (both GREAT sources of Vitamin B) for the banana muffins we made.  As parents, we are responsible for providing healthful foods for our children…and ourselves.   Do you find yourself dragging before the day is half over?  Maybe you need to eat some foods rich in B vitamins.

1.     Dark leafy green vegetables

2.     Fresh fruits

3.     Fresh dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese

4.     Meat

Two important tips to remember:

  • Most processed foods these days are “enriched” with vitamin B…but we should all strive to eat foods that are naturally rich in B.
  • The nutritional value of a food can decline when frozen, overcooked or combined with various additives.

If you are looking for some simple child-friendly healthful recipes…please visit my website where you can purchase a copy of SHOW ME HOW, a unique resource for parents and teachers of preschoolers that provides 100 cooking activities your child will LOVE to help with…most take just 15 minutes to prepare and will contribute to your child’s positive self-image.  The half-price sale continues until April 9th…so please don’t miss out if you were thinking of getting a copy.  You can also enter to win a selection of craft supplies for your preschooler.

Please stop by tomorrow for Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian and find out how much fun I had this morning at Edison School!  And don’t forget about the Book Blog Tour for Max the Dog.  You can click on my sidebar to find out more.

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: I LOVE YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE YOU

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WOW!  I just got back from visiting with my daughter and her family in New Hampshire.

As I boarded the plane in Boston, I was missing them already!

While there, I was able to read and craft and cook with my 2½ year-old grandson, Jeremy.  Oh yes, and hug and kiss him a lot.

Young children need to hear how much they are loved and valued…on a daily basis.  As parents, we sometimes get overwhelmed with our tasks and chores.  It warms my heart to observe how loving and nurturing my daughter is…even though she is always busy…she never forgets to let her child know how special he is!

While on the east coast, we visited with my niece and her children and my daughter grabbed some time to read to her son, Jeremy (on the right) and her cousin’s little boy, Jake.  No matter what stories you read to your children, what counts is the joyful and positive time you spend with them that counts.  Today’s story suggestion let’s your children know that you will love them…no matter what!


Written by Lisa Baker

Illustrated by David McPhail

Mother Fox tells her son that she loves him when he is happy as well as when he is angry.  She also loves him when he is sick in bed as well as when he is running around.  She lets him know that she loves him when he is shouting as well as when he is quiet.  Little Fox, of course, is very comforted by the fact that his mother loves him just as he is.

Young children need to know that we will love them no matter what.  This level of unconditional love and acceptance will encourage them to come to us with their problems and concerns.  It will also enable them to show love to others and develop healthy relationships with others, now and throughout their lives.

Overwhelmed by the sheer number of books available at libraries and bookstores?  Check out my website where you can purchase a copy of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRFTING AND COOKING at 50% off the cover price.  This is a great resource for busy parents…it pinpoints 100 picture books every young child should hear and provides a story summary, gentle parenting tip, easy craft project and simple healthful cooking activity for each recommended title.  Just stop by and enter to win the Crafty Easter Basket filled with craft supplies for your preschoolers…no purchase necessary…just fill in the contact form.  You can even leave me a comment here on why you would like to win the craft supplies.

One more piece of information I’d like to share…a fellow author is having a book blog tour…these are great books for children and Positive Parental Participation will be the host on April 12.  There is an ongoing contest to win prizes…you just have to check out each stop on the 30+ day tour…here is the link for more information:

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: YES WE CAN! and the Versatile Blogger Award :)

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It’s been a most wonderful week so far!  I want to share some good news before I review the picture book I choose for today’s post.

Of course, every coin has a flip side…and I guess we all decide which side of the coin we will focus on.  Sunday afternoon, I pulled my back out and was in quite a lot of pain.  No, that is NOT the good news. 🙂  Then, on Tuesday, I went to my doctor who did an adjustment of my back (OUCH!) and when I went to the parking lot to get in my car, I noticed I had a flat tire!  No, that is still NOT the good news. 🙂

The GOOD news is that one of my fellow bloggers, Eliz of Mirth and Motivation presented me with the Versatile Blogger Award…an honor coming from the best blogger I know out there.    She asks that I pass along the “good vibrations” to other great bloggers out there…so many of them were on her list already. 🙂  But, when I get back from my trip to the east coast, I will try to send it out to some of the people whose blogs are so very helpful to so many.  

The other GOOD news is that Jamie of Avant Garde Parenting selected me as Parent of the Week and I’ve posted that button on my sidebar.  You can click on her link to read the article.

Oh yes, and there is still more good news!  I leave on Friday for New Hampshire to spend a LONG weekend with my daughter and her family…I am really excited to see them…I know my 2 ½ year-old grandson has grown so much since I saw him in October.  I’m excited to be reading, crafting and cooking with him and I’ll definitely try to do a post while I’m there…but, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, you’ll know why.

This week, I’ve been concentrating on the theme of companionship and, in SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING, I found the perfect picture book to review, Yes We Can! by Sam McBratney.


Written by Sam McBratney

 Illustrated by Charles Fuge

Little Roo, Country Mouse and Quacker Duck start to make a giant pile of leaves, but stop to rest.  While they are resting, they start making fun of each other for what they don’t do well.  Roo’s mother suggests that each show what they CAN do best.  Little Roo jumps over a log.  Quacker Duck floats on a puddle.  Country Mouse chases and catches his own tail.  The friends agree that each one is special and has unique talents and qualities.

Little Roo’s mother found a creative way to teach her son and his friends to appreciate their own special talents without envying those of others.  Being a good friend and companion does not always come naturally.  As parents, we need to encourage our children to value their own strengths and qualities, as well as the strengths and qualities of others.  We make a start by recognizing their uniqueness and by supporting their creativity, even if it veers in a different direction from ours.

If you are looking for 99 other MUST READ picture books, please visit my website where you can purchase a copy of SHOW ME HOW!…a unique resource that pinpoints and summarizes 100 picture books every young child should hear and provides a matching craft project and cooking activity for each recommended title.  Leave a comment here about why you would like to win the Crafty Easter Basket for your preschooler or fill out the contact form on my website.  At 50% off the cover price, this MUST HAVE BOOK is now a CAN HAVE BOOK.

Quotable Timeless Tuesdays: COMPANIONSHIP

Portada del Viaje del Parnaso, de Cervantes

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“Tell me thy company and I will tell thee what thou art.”Miguel de Cervantes (whose famous book…that every student taking 4th year Spanish has to read…details the travels of an old man with his faithful companion)

As infants, our companions were our mothers and fathers and older siblings.

“Without love, what are we worth?  Eighty-nine cents!  Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals, walking around lonely.”Benjamin Franklin

As children, our world expanded to include friends, classmates, teachers and relatives.

“We have lived and loved together.

Through many changing years,

We have shared each other’s gladness,

And wept each other’s tears.” – Charles Jefferys

As adults, we often choose someone to be our life-long companion.

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.”Mark Twain

But whether it is a long-standing marriage or a friendship between children, it is the companionship that is the foundation of the relationship.

“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.”Joanne Woodward

My husband and I have been married over 43 years, and I can tell you that a sense of humor is so important in a marriage or in any relationship between two people, be they husband and wife or parent and child.

“The first duty of love is to listen.”Paul Tillich

Listening is one of the cornerstones in the Positive Parental Participation approach to parenting.  Young children have a lot to say and they need to be heard.  When we listen, we validate their self-worth and help build their self-esteem.

To find 99 more gentle parenting tips like the one above, visit my website and check out my parenting book on sale till April 9th.  This shortcut for busy parents lays out a simple, easy-to-use program of books to read and fun-filled educational activities.  This is a MUST HAVE book…and the 50% off sale makes it a CAN HAVE book!  SPECIAL BONUS: Purchase a book for an automatic entry to win a selection of craft supplies for your preschooler or you can leave a comment on this post to tell me why you’d like to win the prize…please make sure you leave your email so I can contact you if you are the winner.  Winner will be announced April 10th.

Please stop by tomorrow for What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday.

Make-A-Meal Mondays: Child-Friendly Banana-Raisin Bran Muffins


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The theme for my posts this week is companions.

The dictionary defines companion as one that accompanies another comrade or associate, a friend who is frequently in the company of another.

When I think about ingredients that are happy companions of each other, this simple, child-friendly recipe for BANANA BRAN MUFFINS comes to mind.

After all, how can something with applesauce, bananas, cinnamon and raisins taste badly…and when you add oat bran and whole wheat flour, you get a muffin that packs an enormous nutrition punch!!!!


These highly nutritious muffins make a wonderful snack…or team them with a vegetable salad or soup for a terrific lunch!!

You will need: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 cup oat bran, 3 Tbs milk, 1 egg, ½ cup canola oil, 1 cup mashed banana, ½ cup raisins, 1 cup applesauce, 1 tsp honey, a large bowl and a lightly greased 12-cup muffin tin.

1.     In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.

2.     Add milk, egg, applesauce and oil and blend together.

3.     Mix in raisins and mashed banana.

4.     Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.

5.     Cool well before serving.  Makes 12 regular size muffins.

This recipe is just one of 100 easy child-friendly healthful cooking activities you will find in SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING.  This book is a wonderful resource and shortcut for busy parents and teachers who want to provide educational fun-filled activities for preschoolers.  Visit my website to take advantage of the 50%-off-the-cover-price sale, going on until April 9th!  You can also enter to win a great colection of craft supplies for your preschoolers by purchasing a copy or by just filling in the contact form on the website or leaving me a comment here on why you would like to win the craft supplies.  Make sure you leave your email so I can notify you if you are the winner.  Winner will be announced April 10th.

Please stop by tomorrow for Quotable Timeless Tuesdays for some great quotations on Companionship.

Cinema Sundays: My Picks of Great Flicks: PLAYING THE GAME

Andy Griffith, Tony Award-nominated and Emmy A...

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Last night, my husband and I watched “PLAYING THE GAME”, a 2009 romantic comedy starring Andy Griffith as an 80+ year-old grandpa who has recently lost his beloved wife and is now living in an assisted-living facilityPaul Campbell plays his concerned grandson, a player of women who wants his grandfather to start enjoying life again.  When Paul meets Maria Sokoloff, his player days are numbered and when Andy meets Doris Roberts (of Everybody Loves Raymond fame), a resident of his senior home and grandmother of Maria, he finds a new reason to live again.

Some people may be offended by the sexual scenes (you never really “see” anything) and by the blatant sexual desires of some of the “older” folks (and some may be sad to see Andy Griffith, icon of morality in the Mayberry RFD series, taking Viagra and enjoying the sexual favors of one of the older women at the home for seniors)…but I think it was a realistic depiction of how life is for some elderly people…defined in their youth by sexuality, they feel if they can’t “perform”, then life is not worth living.

Andy Griffith does provide some wonderful advice to his grandson…advice we might all benefit from:

  • Defining a “real” companion, he says, “You’ll know when you meet her and you’ll know when you lose her.”
  • Asking his grandson about his relationship with his love interest, he says, “Are you a player or were you just playing.”
  • Telling his grandson to stop his step-by-step procedure that gets women to fall for him, he says, “To win the game of love, you have to stop playing games with women.”

If you are looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy and won’t be turned off by seeing some elderly people looking forward to sexual pursuits, PLAYING THE GAME is for you.

 The movie also highlighted how we need to pursue our dreams and goals and not get sidetracked by just “working for the money”.  The grandson had put aside his dream of working in the health-care field and was earning a LOT of money, selling cars in his father’s dealership…but he was very unhappy and hated what he was doing.  When he becomes involved with Maria, he realizes that he needs to quit his job and go back to helping people.   How many of us put our dreams aside because of money…either because we don’t think we have enough for our needs or we just think we need more?

This past Thursday, I met with two 4th grade students who wanted to “job shadow” an author…the advice I gave them was to follow their dream and never give up on what they believed in…hard work and persistence do translate into success!  During my years as a teacher, daycare provider and mom, I accumulated lots of ideas and experience…and I was able to use those when I finally wrote my book last year for parents and teachers of preschoolers.  If you are interested in picking up a copy of this unique resource of picture book suggestions and easy fun-filled educational activities, please visit my website at where you can take advantage of the half-price sale and enter to win a GREAT PRIZE for your preschooler.

I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow for Make-A-Meal Monday.  Based on today’s movie pick, our theme for the week is Companionship.

Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?

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St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday…and the luck of the Irish was definitely with me. 

I had the most wonderful day!

Early morning found me at Taylor School again, visiting with the kindergarten children in back-to-back story presentations.

We read Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready For Bed?

When I walked into the first kindergarten room, I did a double-take!  The children were dressed in pajamas!  At first, I thought that the teacher had requested this because the picture book story is about a little pig who is getting ready for bed…and putting on his pajamas is one of his tasks.

It turns out that Thursday was Pancakes and Pajamas Day…and all of the kindergarten children were dressed in their favorite PJ’s.  Some even had robes and slippers…I was definitely jealous…they looked so comfy.

So it was really the perfect setting to read a story about getting ready for bed…and the children did not disappoint…they were eager to discuss the story and knew right away how silly Cornelius was when he fed the gold fish his chocolate chip cookies. 🙂

After reading and discussing the story, the children were ready to move to their tables to construct a No Tick-Tock Clock with movable hands.  I was impressed with their ability to write all of the numbers of the construction paper clock face and I know they will enjoy taking the clocks home and using them to help them get to bed “on-time”.

The second presentation differed a little because we ran out of time and were not able to do the craft project.  The teacher found a wonderful alternative…she handed out small resin-board clocks to groups of three students each…and then drew a digital clock on the board.  Each child had an opportunity to read the digital time and then use the  numeral clock with movable hands to show the correct time.

Telling time is an important skill for young children to learn…and especially today, with digital clocks in most places, parents and teachers need to make sure that children know how to tell time “the old-fashioned” way.

Leaving Taylor School, I headed over to Columbia School, where I had an appointment to be interviewed by two students who had a job shadow assignment.  As each of them aspires to be an author, they wanted to talk to someone who had published a book so that they could find out what was involved.  I had brought the rough drafts of my SHOW ME HOW! book and also the original mock-up of one of the picture books I’ve written.  That mock-up was written over 30 years ago…so it was interesting for them to see it and then to see the finished product with illustrations by my talented daughter-in-law.

The 4th-graders had LOTS of questions…when did I know I wanted to be a writer…and what inspired me to write?  What do I do in a normal day and do I use paper and pen or the computer?  How did I contact a publisher?  Does the author hire the illustrator or does the publisher handle that. 

My advice to them was to follow their dream and never give up.  It takes a lot of patience and hard work and perseverance to succeed at ANYTHING…and writing is no different.  I encouraged them to have confidence in themselves and in what they hope to accomplish.

SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING is all about instilling a sense of competence and confidence in your young children.  Children with a positive self-image are more likely to take on new tasks and accept new challenges.  Isn’t that what we want for our children?

Please visit my website to take advantage of the 50% OFF SALE PRICE on each copy.  You can also enter to win a FREE Crafty Easter Basket which will be awarded on April 10th.  All you have to do is fill out the contact form.