Sunday Post: Entrance…Easter Sunday

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the...

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the trailer for the film The Ten Commandments. (Photo cr

Jake, over at Time after Time, has a Sunday Post challenge…today’s theme is ENTRANCE.

The past few weeks have been filled with holidays, for people of both the Christian and Jewish faiths.  Today is Easter Sunday and last week was  Passover.

Many people will be attending services today to hear about the how Jesus spoke of  the ENTRANCE into heaven…”But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult and only a few ever find it”. (Matthew 7:14)

Have you seen the Ten Commandments?

The networks usually air it during these holidays and it was on TV last night…ALL NIGHT…it’s such a long movie, but, in my opinion, well worth the time invested.

One of the most dramatic moments is when Charleton Heston lifts his arms, holding the staff that God had given him and creates an ENTRANCE into the Red Sea.

Of course, I had to watch it…although I’ve seen it many time before and actually own a copy that my dad had purchased and then had sent it to me as a gift.  My dad LOVED watching movies and had an enormous collection of them.  He was very eclectic in his movie viewing and enjoyed comedies, action/adventures, westerns, romances and thrillers.

As a young child, I would watch television on Saturday mornings with my father…this was before Saturday mornings were flooded with cartoons for kids and cooking shows for adults.  There was always a movie…The Thief of Baghdad, a 1940 film starring the Indian child-star Sabu, was one of our favorites.  Perhaps it was the idea of having three wishes or maybe it was the fact that Sabu was such a little boy and the genie was SO HUGE…my dad was only 5’4” tall and quite sensitive about his lack of height.  It must have made him feel better about himself to see this tiny person triumph.  My dad also loved James Cagney movies…perhaps for the same reason, as the famous actor was only about 5’5” tall.

I’m always encouraging parents to spend “quality” time with their young children – reading, crafting and cooking – because participating positively with a child in these activities really does build self-esteem, develops their pre-reading skills, and creates a life-long parent-child bond.  I don’t remember ever reading, crafting or cooking with my dad (my mom was the one who did those things with me)…but the time my dad spent with me, watching old movies on the television, was his way of participating positively…and it certainly worked!

 Jeremy and carrie easter 2013

 

How do you like to spend time with your kids?!

Reading with young children is one of the best things…and I do it every chance I get. But writing for them is a joy and a pleasure as well. Since it is the last day of the month, I need to post that I have completed my 12×12 picture book draft for the month of March. It’s the story that I submitted for Susanna’s In Just Spring Contest. I’ve already run it by my local critique group…and in April, I will let my fantastic online critique group have a go at it. I’m excited to get it polished because I plan to submit this story to Susan Hawk from The Bent Agency who has graciously agreed to look at Golden Book 12×12 member picture book manuscripts in April.

 

If you’d like to join in on Jake’s Sunday Post fun, you can find out all about it here

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Change Kid’s Behaviors with Kelly Bear

Today, as part of Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’m sharing Kelly Bear – Earth, one of a series of lovely picture books and workbooks that help parents and children talk about important issues and concerns. With Easter coming up this weekend, I’ve included a fun Easter craft at the end.

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Kelly Bear – Earth

Written by Leah Davies

Illustrated by Joy Hallett

Publisher: Bureau for at Risk Youth (2008)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Energy conservation, environmental awareness, caring for the earth, making a difference, behavior

Opening Lines:

“Hi! My name is Kelly Bear and this is a book about me. I live on planet earth. It’s a wonderful place with plants, animals, air, soil and water. There is only ONE earth, so I’m doing all I can to take care of it. I want everyone to enjoy living here.

Synopsis:  

Little Kelly Bear finds many ways to help conserve resources and keep the environment clean. She saves water by taking short showers and turning off the water while she is brushing her teeth. Her family have their own vegetable garden and try to buy foods that have less packaging. Kelly Bear is careful not to open the refrigerator until she knows what she wants so she doesn’t have to keep the refrigerator door open and waste electricity. Her parents help by recycling plastic and glass and paper because “everyone on earth is part of one big family and we must work together to take care of each other and our planet.”

Why  I like this book

Children will love Kelly Bear! The text explains how Kelly Bear and her family contribute to the good health of the planet and the simple illustrations clearly show this as well. The author, Leah Davies, has been dedicated to the well-being of children for more than four decades. Her professional experience includes being a certified teacher, school counselor, instructor in the Family and Child Development Department, Auburn University, and director of educational and prevention services at a mental health agency.

How a parent can use this book:

From an Amazon review: “The Kelly Bear Beginnings Series of books is priceless. In a simple yet powerful way they engage young children and help them understand, verbalize and accept their feelings, improve their behaviors, and learn to care for their bodies. In this fourth book, children learn not to waste water, electricity and food, to recycle, and to keep our air clean. The book empowers the child and makes him aware of his environment. These books are invaluable in the classroom as well as in the home.

For those of you who fondly remember the wonderful Mr. Rogers and his Neighborhood, you’ll find a kindred spirit in Leah Davies. The friendly green bear, drawn by the author’s daughter, Joy Hallett, gives children a warm and fuzzy feeling of acceptance and trust.

The series covers feelings, behaviors, health, the environment and saying no to drugs, and it ends with an activity book that reinforces all of these concepts with fun creative activities. The series would also be an excellent vehicle for working with children in a counseling or school situation, as the questions Kelly Bear asks become a springboard for wonderful open discussions.”

You can find out more about this series of books and the author, Leah Davis here: http://www.kellybear.com/index.html

At the end of each book (and the books are short and simple and easy to get through) there is a parent/teacher page with suggestions about what to do after the book is read. This book on ‘Earth’ has various activities such as

  • Joining a group that is interested in managing our resources and that includes children.
  • Drawing pictures and writing letters to send to newspapers and legislators.
  • Planting flower and vegetable seeds
  • Making a compost bin to recycle plant material
  • Go on a treasure hunt to identify various trees, animals and plants

This book brought back very fond memories. When our oldest son was only 3 years old, we took part in a riverside cleanup. I have pictures of this sweet little boy, dragging a huge plastic garbage bag as we all picked up trash that littered the riverbank. This type of activity encourages a young child to be more aware of protecting the environment. Just as importantly, doing things as a family strengthens the parent-child connection.

Related Activities:

Let’s combine a craft activity for Easter with one for this book!

EASTER BEAR BAG

bear-valentine-holder-craft

Photo courtesy http://www.allkidsnetwork.com

You know how much I love using paper bags for kid’s craft projects. Your child can use this bag for collecting jelly beans or Easter eggs.

You will need: 1 paper lunch bag, construction paper, glue, markers, scissors, yarn and a hole punch.

  1. Cut out eyes, ears, nose and bowtie from construction paper…this craft was made for Valentine’s Day originally so there are lots of hearts.
  2. Glue the pieces onto the front of the bag.
  3. Punch holes at the top of the bag and string the yarn through the holes and tie to make handles.
  4. Draw other features with the markers.

What other activities can you do as a family? Find hundreds of them in my book. No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination and a parent’s participation!   Click this link to purchase a copyShow Me How Build Your Child's Self-Esteem, Positive Parental Participation

Sunday Post: Sentimental Value…Easter Craft for Kids

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge…today’s theme is SENTIMENTAL VALUE.

Sentimental value definition: value placed on something because of its emotional associations rather than its monetary worth.

Easter Crafts for Kids

What has the greatest sentimental value for me?

 People!

My family!

My children and grandchildren!

CHILDREN ARE PRICELESS! And pricey!

Did you know that it costs over $200,000 to raise a child to age 18?

But some of the most important things you can give your kids are free!

1.     Give them your time – participate with them in activities that are fun.

2.     Give them your attention – listen to them when they talk to you.

3.     Give them your respect – ask for their opinions and thoughts.

4.     Give them your love – show them and tell them EVERY day.

5.     Give them boundaries – set expectations and consequences.

Your return on investment will be well worth it!

Spending time with kids can be fun for everyone. If you have young children ages 2-8, my book is a great resource. Join hundreds of other parents and teachers who use the ideas in the book every day. It makes a great baby shower gift…the baby will quickly outgrow those little sleepers, but will never outgrow the benefits of positive parental participation!  Click this link to find out more about it!www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

What are some things you do with your kids?

With Easter just around the corner, how about crafting a paper plate bunny? Arts and crafts activities build self-esteem, develop stronger literacy skills, increase coordination and encourage creative expression and imagination.

PAPER PLATE EASTER BUNNY

paper-plate-easter-bunny

photo courtesy all kids network

You will need: Paper plate, cotton balls, glue, construction paper in white and pink, pipe cleaners, scissors.

1.    Young kids will especially love plunking cotton balls all over the bunny’s face…use a glue stick for less mess.

2.    The picture shows pipe cleaners for whiskers and mouth…as well as a pom-pom pink nose…but you can substitute pieces of construction paper.

Step-by-step instructions at: Paper Plate Easter Bunny Craft

 

There’s lots of fun over at Jake’s Sunday Post.

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http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

 

A Picture for Harold’s Room…Shoebox Crafts for Kids

Do you read with your child every day? It’s fun and builds vocabulary!

Would you like a great list of books to choose from? Head over to Perfect Picture Book Friday with Susanna Leonard Hill and friends.

My Perfect Picture Book recommendation for today is an old classic from master storyteller and illustrator, Crockett Johnson.

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A Picture for Harold’s Room

Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson

Publisher: Scholastic Book Services (Harper Row) (1960)

Ages: 3 and up

Themes:

Imagination, creative expression, adventure, there’s no place like home, art, problem solving

Opening Lines:

“I want a picture to put on my wall” He drew a house with his purple crayon.

Synopsis:

Little Harold thinks the wall in his bedroom looks too bare. He takes his purple crayon and begins to draw. Thus starts an adventure for the little boy who gets into and out of trouble as he draws a new world for himself.

Why  I like this book

This is another classic picture book from author/illustrator Crockett Johnson of Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Carrot Seed fame. I love the simplistic pictures and text…all about problem solving and conflict resolution. Very young children will enjoy the pictures and story…older ones will appreciate the page turning tension and suspense…will Harold ever get back to his room?

How a parent can use this book:

  • As a lovely read-aloud
  • To show children that each of us is the ‘master of our fate’
  • As an introduction to creative art expression
  • To help kids realize that every problem has a solution

 

Related Activities:

THE AMAZING SHOEBOX

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Spring is here! Why not help your child put together several art supplies in a little box to keep on hand for outings. Bring it to the park, keep one in the car, take it along for doctor’s appointments. What should you put in it? Small pad of paper and a box of crayons are the basics…but you can add a glue stick, a pair of blunt safety scissors and a sheet of stickers…hours of fun and very little expense.

You can also use shoeboxes (THEY ARE FREE…most shoe stores or department stores will give you as many as you want) to make dioramas, doll houses, buses and other vehicles…here’s an awesome link for many step-by-step instructions:

http://www.ehow.com/list_6733140_shoebox-crafts-kids.html

spring chick

The voting is still going on over at Susanna’s In Just Spring Contest…if you haven’t already voted, hop on over…the seven stories that made it to the finals are AWESOME! http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-in-just-spring-contest-finalists.html

 

 

Do you want to encourage your child’s creativity? Show Me How gives you 100 picture book suggestions and a simple arts and crafts activity for each one! The book makes spending time with kids fun AND easy!

  You can click this link to purchase a copyShow Me How Build Your Child's Self-Esteem, Positive Parental Participation

How Can a Writer Stay Motivated?

Are you on a writing journey?

Head over to Julie Hedlund’s blog and you will find out a little bit more about mine.

I’m guest posting there and sharing my amazing experience with the 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge.

http://www.juliehedlund.com/tuesday-12×12-vivian-kirkfield/

The encouragement and inspiration I’ve found in this kid lit community is so important to keep one going in the right direction.

7 Simple Steps to Make a Child-Safe Home

English: these are 3 leaf clovers, and a flowe...

English: these are 3 leaf clovers, and a flower, that grows with them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge…today’s theme is BAY.

The definition of bay is a cove or broad inlet of sea where the land curves inward. Many settlements were originally built on the land surrounding a bay because the safe harbor attracted ships that could bring needed goods.

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My husband loves to paint pictures with bays.

Bay pictures give us a sense of peace and calm.

As a bay provides shelter for boats, a home should provide safe haven for a child.

What makes a safe home? There are many factors.

Here are seven simple steps you can take to make your home safer for your child.

  • Keep medicines, cleaning supplies and other poisons in locked cabinets
  • Never leave children alone in the bathroom or tub…even for a minute
  • Check toys carefully for sharp edges and small pieces
  • Use toddler gates at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Use window guards and open windows from the top
  • If you have guns in the house, keep them UNLOADED and LOCKED UP
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove and use back burners for cooking

For more safety information:

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/home-safety/child-safety-keeping-your-home-safe-for-your-baby.html

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/making_your_home_safe_for_your_child.html

Many local community organizations can assist parents in making their home safer.  Please don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out and ask for help…your child is worth it!

Keeping your child safe is the number one priority of parenting. Parents also want to provide educational fun-filled activities for their kids.

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

Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking can help! Click this link to read 23 wonderful reviews on Amazon!

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Join in the fun with Jake’s Sunday Post.

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day…Catherine Johnson is having a limerick contest. Check out her link to see the rules and prize: http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/st-patricks-day-limericks/

Celebrate St. Patrick’s day by writing a limerick of your own…I did…here’s my entry:

When Greenie McTurnips would sing,

Her listeners ear plugs would bring.

They told her to STOP!

Her career to swap.

Now picture book writing’s her thing.

Two Top Kids Easter Crafts and a Story of Hope

Spring is just around the corner! Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. My signs-of-spring-checklist goes something like this:

  • Growing things: Green shoots push up from the ground, tiny buds appear on trees and tulips and daffodils are breaking ground.

  • Birds: Robins and bluebirds greet me in the morning and I hear the welcome cry of geese overhead, returning from their winter holiday in the south.

  • Daylight: The days are noticeably longer…the sun is still casting its warming rays after 6pm here in Colorado Springs.

  • Susanna Leonard Hill’s In Just Spring Contest is starting! Her holiday writing contests are infamous legendary…I wouldn’t miss one for the world. The instructions for this one are: write a children’s story with a spring theme in 350 words or less and make sure the last line says, “(Character’s name) knew spring was here at last!” There is a super prize as well…a chance to submit a picture book manuscript to KidsBooks editor Laura Galvin! WOW! I’ll be linking up on her blog where you can go to check out everyone’s stories. I hope you enjoy my entry.

spring chick

Years ago, most soldiers were men…and most of the time, if they had families, their wives tended house and home and children until they returned. But things have changed! These days, many of our brave soldiers are women…and a good number of them are mothers of young children. According to the government:

 “The demands on military members and their families are increasing and are becoming more complex. Military families sacrifice their personal comfort and experience tremendous upheaval when soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, reservists and National Guard members are called to serve our country here or abroad. Children are especially vulnerable when separated from parents due to deployments. Their unique developmental perspective and limited life experience put them at a heightened risk for emotional distress during the separation period.”

There are very few picture books out there that address this issue…I’m excited to offer this story (344 words…phew!) to little ones who are missing that special person in their lives.

 

WAITING FOR SPRING

“I’ll be back when it’s spring” whispered Rachel’s mom. As the old pick-up disappeared down the hot dusty road, Grandmother gave Rachel’s arm a little tug. “Come on, girl! We need to get busy making cookies for the Labor Day picnic.”

Rachel loved baking with her grandmother. The smell of fresh cinnamon tickled her nose reminding her of the fragrance of her mother’s cinnabar soap-scented skin. Mama hadn’t even been gone an hour and Rachel was already missing her.  How could she wait until spring?

The trees turned scarlet and gold as the weeks passed. Rachel’s dad pushed her in the swing…so high she thought she might touch the sky. Rachel loved her daddy and loved the sound of the wind as it whistled past her, but it made her think of her mother, laughing and singing. Rachel missed her mama’s sweet voice. Spring seemed so far away.

One morning, Rachel awoke to the sound of sleigh bells. The world outside her window was covered in snow and Rachel hurried to get dressed. She loved the snow! She built a snow princess and put her scarf around the princess’ neck. A gust of wind brushed the scarf across Rachel’s cheek…it felt like mama’s soft touch. Would spring ever come?

The yard was a muddy mess for the next few weeks. “It’s the spring thaw,” said her daddy. It can’t be spring, thought Rachel, because mama’s not home yet.

Her grandmother filled a vase with daffodils. “These are the first spring flowers,” she told Rachel. Rachel didn’t believe her because if it was spring, mama would be here.

Rachel went to the barn. “We have four spring lambs,” her dad explained. Rachel was happy to see the baby lambs, but she knew they weren’t SPRING lambs because mama wasn’t there. She walked back to the house. The scent of cinnamon reached out to Rachel. Was Grandmother baking cookies without her?

Rachel ran up the porch steps. The music of a lilting voice filled her ears. “Mama, you’re home!” Rachel knew spring was here at last!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

colored easter eggs

Photo courtesy of www.etsybaby.blogspot.com

NATURAL DYE COLORED EASTER EGGS (a craft from my book)

Coloring Easter eggs is lots of fun…you can turn this activity into an educational one by using natural dyes. You will need three bowls. For yellow, use 1tsp turmeric in a cup of hot water. For blue, crush a bunch of blueberries and cover with hot water. For red, crush a bunch of cranberries and cover with hot water. Be careful to cool the water before the children dip their eggs. You can also use food coloring if you don’t have the time.

After the eggs are colored (or you can use plastic eggs), you can add pieces of foam and felt to make these animal-inspired Easter eggs…use a marker to draw in the lines

easter egg animals.

Photo courtesy www.glueguncrafts.com

Here are some resources for families who have members deployed:

The Association of the US Army http://www.ausa.org/resources/familyprograms/resources/InternetResources/Pages/ChildrenDeploymentResources.aspx (for children who are experiencing separation problems)

From Sesame Street: http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/tlc

From the Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/find-help/military-families/deployment-services

From Military One Source: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/deployment/military-and-family-support-programs

Substance abuse and mental health services administrationhttp://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/dbhis/dbhis_military_intro.asp