Hello 2013…Turning The Next Page

viviankirkfield,show me how,2013,new year

Happy New Year, Everyone! We say goodbye to 2012…and hello to 2013.

A new year gives us all the opportunity to:

  • Start afresh
  • Create a plan
  • Say sorry
  • Keep a promise
  • Make a vow
  • Get in shape
  • Change direction
  • Share love
  • Connect with nature
  • Eat healthy
  • Take a breath
  • Reach out
  • Stand up
  • Step in
  • Work smart
  • Practice time-management
  • Smile more
  • Move forward

I’m excited to be taking part in several writing challenges for 2013:

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 (to write 12 picture book drafts in 2013)

Alayne Kay Christian’s Sub Six (to submit 6 picture books in 2013)

Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (to review a picture book every Friday)

Nancy Hatch 1st ever SLTW Writing Contest

Highlights Fiction Short Story Contest (thank you, Hannah, for the heads-up about this)

I’ll also be doing Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write for Kids online picture book writing course that I won as part of Julie’s 12×12 Prize Extravaganza.

And I’ve just found another challenge that will add some balance to this picture book writing/submitting frenzy…No/Low Spend and De-cluttering January Challenge  sponsored by Carla at My 1/2 Daily Dozen

I’ve been wanting some encouragement and support for these tasks…not sure which will be more difficult…budgeting or throwing away stuff we don’t need! I actually think it will be the de-cluttering. But I know that a less cluttered workspace can mean less stress and more efficient use of time…no more hunting for hours for that slip of paper with the important story ideas. If these are areas where you need help, check out Carla’s link above.

So, this is my plan:

  • Stick to our budget by trimming spending to only necessary items.
  • Reevaluate at the end of the month to see if more cutting is necessary.
  • I already cook/bake almost everything myself…I treat myself to take-out Indian once a month.
  • Go through the house…one drawer, cabinet, closet at a time…perhaps there is money to be made (which will help the budget) by selling stuff we no longer need/want/use.


I’ve connected with the most amazing people…writers, photographers, artists, teachers, librarians, moms, dads and kids…I thank all of you for visiting my blog and commenting on my posts.

We donated 20 copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to libraries in 8 states and 3 provinces in Canada.

We also donated 12 copies of Show Me How to schools in the US and Canada.

new year,vivian kirkfield,2013,show me how

A portion of the proceeds from my book sales went to several children’s organizations:

  • JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)
  • Bess the Book Bus (a mobile literacy outreach)
  • STAR (Sit and Read Together…a literacy program funded by CPCD in Colorado Springs)
  • Books of Wonder (for renovation of this NYC indie children’s bookstore)
  • Kids Are Heroes (recognize children all over the world who reach out to help their community)
  • Reach Out and Read (nationwide program that connects books and kids via pediatricians)

As most of you know, there are big changes in my life…I am retired as of January 1st.

What does that mean?

As my son so aptly wrote, “We wish you all the best as you turn the page to the next chapter in your book of life.”

I could not have said it better!

So on this first day of the New Year 2013, I wish all of you the best as you turn the page to the next chapter in your book of life!

Sunday Post: New Year 2013…12 Critical Parenting Goals

As parents, what should our goals be for New Year 2013?

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is NEW YEAR 2013.

Here are 12 critical parenting goals for the New Year.


1.     Make sure your children get to go outside to play…fresh air and physical activity are so very important to a child’s good health.

DSCN50292.     Encourage family time and activities for your child…participating with your child in a simple craft project takes just a few minutes…,but it builds self-esteem, develops stronger literacy skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond.  

Here’s a wonderful book that gives 100’s of quick and easy activities for young kids: Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking


jeremy dancing at Star Island summer 2012 3.     Help your child gain social skills by encouraging interaction with other kids.

filling muffin cups 4.     Promote good eating habits…invite your child to help in the kitchen, provide nutritious foods and set definite times for meals.

Jeremy cleaning house with vacuum5.     Help your child develop a sense of responsibility by assigning chores and expecting your child to carry out age-appropriate tasks.

DSCN3517 jeremy at the zoo 3 6.      Encourage your child to interact with the world and its inhabitants…visit zoos, museums, concerts and other places of interest.

free play, outdoor activities for kids 7.     Help your child develop independence…but always keep your child safe.

DSCN09998.     Encourage your child’s love and appreciation of nature and help him develop an awareness of the need to preserve and protect the environment.

viv reading with jake 9.     Find time every day to read with your child…studies show that children who are read to on a daily basis are more successful in school…and in life.

Here’s a great resource for the perfect picture book: Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Page

jeremy sitting with pumpkins 9_11 10. Establish traditions that are right for your family…for example, hunting for just the right pumpkin for Halloween…the memory of these traditions will make a positive impact on your child throughout his life.

jeremy in bath 11. Help your child to feel good about his body and to learn good hygiene…for example, washing hands often and proper dental care.

Fishing Jeremy looking up at Grammy 12. Show and tell your child every day that you love him and care about him.

What goals do you have for New Year 2013…for yourself…for your children?

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?



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  6. http://carolloethen.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/sunday-post-new-year-2013/
  7. http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/sunday-post-fun-facts-about-new-years/
  8. http://wp.me/p23TG1-1VJ
  9. http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/
  10. http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/a-new-year-is-upon-us/

New Year’s Resolution 1: Acknowledge and Face Your Fears

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

I hope your holidays were a beautiful time with family and friends. Now it’s almost the New Year…a time looking back to see what we have accomplished and looking ahead to make changes if necessary and set new goals. Our fears often hold us back…when you acknowledge and face your fears, you can move ahead. Children enjoy what is familiar and often fear changes in their lives.

My Perfect Picture Book Friday pick examines this theme.


Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport

Written Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Illustrated by Byron Barton

Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company (1980)

Ages: 5 and up


Overcoming fears, moving, new places, travel, trying new things


From Amazon:

“I live at 165 East 95th Street, and I’m going to stay here forever.” says the young hero firmly. After all, out West nobody plays baseball because they’re too busy chasing buffaloes, and you have to ride a horse to school even if you don’t know how, and you can’t sit down because of the cactus. But his parents are moving West, and they say he has to go, too.

Once there, however, the boy doesn’t meet the Gila monsters he expected. And on the ride to his new home (by taxi, not horse) he discovers the West is neither as different nor as bad as he’d imagined.”

Why do I like this book:

Many people want to stay just where they are! And most children don’t look forward to moving to a new place that will be very different from what they were used to. This book will help any child who is facing this type of upheaval. I love the preconceived notions (mostly due to his best friend’s dire predictions) that slowly but surely are blown away as the main character travels to his new home out west with his family…and discovers that things (and people) are not all that different.

Related Activities:


In the story, the little boy worries that he will have to eat chili and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Why not have your child help you make this delicious vegetarian chili…just perfect for a cold winter’s supper! Children who help with meal preparation are more likely to try new foods.


You will need: 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 2 Tb minced garlic, 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh), 1 cup canned red kidney beans and 1 cup pinto beans (rinse and drain the beans), ½ cup diced carrot, 2 tsp chili powder (optional), 1 Tb honey, ½ cup grated cheddar cheese, ½ cup yogurt and a large pan with a lid.

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions…cook a few minutes while stirring.
  3. Add garlic.
  4. Add tomatoes, beans, carrots, chili powder and honey.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish each serving with grated cheese and a dollop of yogurt.
  7. Serves 6-8.
  8. Important tip: You may want to do some of the prep beforehand…such as chopping the onions and mincing the garlic…we want our young cooks to be smiling, not crying. In addition, your child can help measure and mix into a bowl…and then you can add the ingredients to the pan…we don’t want young ones near hot pans or stoves.

More resources here: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/gila-monsters-meet-you-airport-lesson-plan


Did your children get lots of new toys this Christmas? Or did you go for a more simple approach?

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.

If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft and simple cooking activities like the vegetarian chili recipe above, you can purchase a copy on Amazon of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

show me how build your child's self-esteem, positive parental participation

At $24.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

create a peaceful home,www.positiveparentalparticipation.com,free bookmarks,show me how build your child's self-esteem

My website is still offering free shipping AND a beautiful hand-crafted fabric bookmark…limited time only!  Offer ends December 30th!

About two years ago, a New York Times article questioned the importance of picture books and predicted that parents would be opting for chapter books for their children instead. Now a recent New York Times article seems to be debating that premise: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/12/26/what-books-are-just-right-for-the-young-reader/the-early-push-toward-chapter-books-is-a-mistake

What are your thoughts?

Merry Christmas to All…More or Less

Cookies...check! Note to Santa...check! Glass of milk...check! Bottle of ale...well, I guess delivering presents all over the world is thirsty work!

Cookies…check! Note to Santa…check! Glass of milk…check! Bottle of ale…well, I guess delivering presents all over the world is thirsty work!

Merry Christmas to All!

May 2013 bring:

More peace

Less war

More joy

Less sorrow

More love

Less hate

More hope

Less despair

More people reaching out to help others

Less people reaching the end of their rope

More parents participating positively with their children

Less children living without basic necessities

Perhaps you wonder what you can do…or if what you do can really make a difference.

Have you seen “It’s A Wonderful Life“? In it, George Bailey asked that exact question:

http://youtu.be/wl0BWUsAYyY Supposedly the entire movie

http://youtu.be/-oxeoiEGSyw A three-minute review of the movie

Remember what the Pencilmaker told the pencil before he put it in the box: Everything you do will leave a mark!

Do something to help someone else everyday…even if it is just a smile or kind word. Read a story to a young child. Listen to a teenager. Call an elderly relative or friend. Make the mark you leave a positive one.

I wish you all a beautiful holiday and a Happy, Healthy, Joyous and Successful New Year!

Choose Your Own Adventure: Section 15 of Erik’s B-Day Quest

this kid reviews books,vivian kirkfield,show me how

If you have arrived in the middle of the adventure, you may start at the beginning by going HERE

Erik seeks information from the Gossip:

Erik and Benton followed a winding path through the dense forest to a clearing with a small house smack-dab in the center.

Erik knocked on the door. An old woman leaning on a crooked stick, with a shawl over her head, answered the door. Erik said, “Are you…”

Before he could say anything else, the old woman grabbed his arm with one of her bony hands and pulled him inside. Benton followed, since there didn’t seem to be anything else to do. The old woman said in a screechy, scratchy voice, “It’s about time someone showed up. I have news to impart, and no-one to tell it to.”

Smiling with relief, Erik said, “Oh good! We’re searching for…”

Again he was interrupted. “Do you know the old widow two forest glades over? I’ve heard tell that…”

It was Erik’s turn to interrupt. “That’s not the information I’m seeking. Have you seen a…”

“I know just what you’re talking about. I’ve seen that cow, too, and I’m positive that Yeoman Joseph was the one to take her,” the old woman said.

“We’re not here about a cow. We’re here about a…”

“Oh! It must be the farmer’s dog you’re looking for. Well, I saw someone sneak by at midnight last night, with a dog on a rope, and …”

“NO! It’s not a cow or a dog or anything like that. We’re looking for a black…”

“The wrinkled woman in the black cape. Aha. There’s many a lad looks for her. Tis said she knows the secret of youth, but I say, if she knows the secret of youth, why is she so wrinkled? Eh? I ask you! Nay, if you want the secret of youth, I can tell you where to find it. No one knows but me, and, er, the thousands I’ve told since first I learned it…”

“That’s not it either,” Erik exclaimed. “If you would just stop talking and listen for a minute…”

“Stop talking? You’d ask Greta, the Greatest Gossip in the Great Forest Grove to stop talking? How could I ever tell you the answer you seek if I stop talking? I know stories upon stories. I know more gossip than you could ever hold in your head. But if I stop talking, you’ll never hear one of those stories, no, not one. No, I can never stop talking… why, the idea is preposterous! Now let me tell you…”

Erik tugged on Benton’s reins and led him out of Greta’s house. “She’s never going to help us! She won’t even let me get a word in edgewise to ask about the black horse, or Josie, or my present. We might as well go back to the road to the mountain.”

To go back and choose to attempt to pass through the pods, click HERE

Sunday Post: Christmas…A Holiday of Gifts

positive parental participation,show me how,vivian kirkfield

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is CHRISTMAS.

Christmas is a holiday that is all about gifts!

vivian kirkfield,positive parental participation,show me how]

Christmas: Gifts for good boys and girls!

 vivian kirkfield,show me how,positive parental participation,three wise men

 Christmas: Gifts for the Baby Jesus!

What’s the best gift you can give your young child? Your love and your positive parental participation in some simple activity like reading a picture book or doing an easy arts and crafts project.

And now some “gifts” from me to you…links that might be helpful.

Are you needing a picture book, but don’t know which one to pick?

Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Page

Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking

Are you a writer of children’s stories who needs inspiration, motivation, encouragement and support?

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 in 2013

Alayne Kay Christian’s Thirty-One for Fun

Alayne Kay Christian’s Sub Six

Happy Holidays…and May the New Year Bring Good Health and Much Joy to All!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

time after time, positive parental participation


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Newtown Tragedy…How Do We Move Forward?

http://www.viviankirkfield.wordpress.com,newtown ctFor twenty-five years, we lived in Watertown, a small Connecticut town just down the road from Newtown.

One doesn’t have to be a parent to weep for those young lives lost.  One doesn’t have to be a family member or friend to mourn the adults who were killed.

There have been many tributes to the lives so tragically lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Here’s one video that conveys its Norman Rockwell-like atmosphere…which only makes it more difficult to accept the reality of what happened.

Perhaps this is the ‘straw’ that breaks the camel’s back…perhaps this tragic event will spur much-needed legislation in various areas..

What can be done to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future?

  • Begin a dialogue concerning mental illness and how it is treated/viewed.
  • Legislate to ban automatic weapons except for law enforcement and the military.
  • Ensure that home weapons are securely locked and not accessible to anyone except the registered owner.
  • Reduce violence in the movies, TV shows, video games.
  • Increase one-on-one interpersonal connections…we are living in a society where people are disconnecting from each other.

What do you think? Do you agree? What would you add to the list?