Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Contest and Sleep Tips for Parents

Do you have trouble sleeping? Some might advise counting sheep. Or, you could read Susanna Leonard Hill’s wonderful picture book, Can’t Sleep  Without Sheep. Or, on May 7th, you could purchase an ebook copy of Can’t Sleep Without Sheep. Or, you could grab some paper and sharpen your pencil and write a jingle.

YES!  It’s contest time over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. To celebrate the release of the ebook edition (come back on May 7th for the link to purchase) of Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, Susanna is holding a contest. Hurry over to her blog to read the rules and join the fun and have a chance to win a fabulous prize!

Here’s my jingle – to be read as an upbeat chant: Continue reading

Picture Book Contest: No Birthday for My Brother

I don’t usually post on Saturday…except when there is something special…which there is today!!

Susanna Leonard Hill is holding one of her FAMOUS picture book contests…the topic this time is a unique or unusual birthday celebration.  Please click on her link and visit…I know there will be lots of great entries!


Birthdays mean CAKE!


Birthdays mean opening presents!


Birthdays mean fun and games and balloons and friends!

In No Brother for My Birthday, a young girl doesn’t want her little brother to be at her birthday party because he is noisy and always in the way.  She finds a very ingenious way to dispose of him…but, almost as soon as he is gone, she begins to miss him.  Read on to find out what happens.  I hope you enjoy it!


No Brother for My Birthday

I’ve a brother, he’s a bother…told my mother and my father.

To my birthday he’s not coming.  He’s too noisy, keeps on drumming.

He can travel to Aunt Lizzy and to Uncle Elmo Frizzy.

So on Monday I got busy…worked so hard my head got dizzy.

Packed my brother in a big box…gave him cookies and his pet rocks.

Closed the edges, taped them tightly…glued the label, not so lightly.

Tuesday came and I felt sickly…to the mailbox I walked quickly.

Slid the package down the drop slot…goodbye noisy drumming marplot.

All day Wednesday, peace and quiet…no more noisy drumming riot.

Thursday dawns and I’ve decided…solitaire is too one-sided.

Friday night I’m sad and gloomy.  This big house is just too roomy.

One more day until my birthday…Saturday is NOT a mirth day.

Sunday noontime, guests arriving.  House is hopping, party’s thriving.

Friends are happy, eating, drinking.  I am sad, I can’t stop thinking.

Then I hear the doorbell ringing…mailman stands there, what’s he bringing?

There’s a big box, taped up tightly…with a label, glued not lightly.

Stamped in red I find a clue…return to sender, postage due!

Hear a rhythm, sounds like thrumming.  Could it be my brother drumming?

Rip the tape off, lift the corner…up pops brother like Jack Horner!

He’s the best gift of the lot, my noisy brother – drumming marplot.



 I had a lot of fun writing this story…although my husband is now questioning my morals because I’ve created a little girl who packs her brother in a box and mails him away.  Seriously though, I think kids will get a kick out of it…and will identify with the frustrations of the older sister who has to “put up with” her noisy drumming marplot of a brother, but then misses him so much she cannot enjoy her birthday party.  Oh yes, and I had to get out the dictionary to prove that “marplot” was a real word!

 I can’t wait to see all of the entries in this contest!

Sunday Post: Landscapes and a February Poetry Contest

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

In addition, Marylin Warner over at Things I Want to Tell My Mother is having a February Poetry Contest 

The Rules:

“Be a rebel with a writing cause; break away from the expected February verses and write a poem about a date or an activity or adventure that WASN’T what you (or your mother) wanted to do…and how it ended.

You choose: rhymed, free verse, a sonnet or a series of Haikus or even non-bawdy limericks, etc.   Just keep your poem to a maximum of 50 words (not counting the words of the title–and please have a title).  JOIN THE FUN!”

I began to wonder how I could combine these two seemingly unrelated ideas into one post.

And then I had an idea!

According to the dictionary, a landscape is a picture representing a view or expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view.

My poem, Fears of the Inner Child, is really a landscape of my life.  I hope you enjoy reading it.


Childhood often invades adult life.

Fears laid down early create later strife.

Afraid of adventure and trying new things,

Mom constantly cautioned: Be careful! Life stings!

To conquer that panic is my fervent wish.

I’ve parasailed, skydived and swum with the fish.


If you have the time and want to see the sky-dive I did with my son in the summer of 2010, you can go here.

It was an amazing adventure…and a wonderful bonding experience to have with an adult son.   With my book, Show Me How! and my school programs and workshops, I encourage parents to spend time with their young children…reading, crafting and cooking or doing anything positive.   “Raising the Next Steve Jobs”, the cover story in the February issue of Parenting Magazine, offered parents some simple advice: read with your children, talk with your children, participate with your children.  I was quoted in that article…and my book was mentioned.   You know that if want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  The fantastic skydive I did with my son only strengthened the connection we forged over thirty years ago when he was a little boy…believe me, those early years are so very important!

If you’d like more information about Jake’s Sunday Post: 

And here are a few of the posts from other participants in Jake’s Sunday Post:


Valentine’s Day Contest


Children's Valentine, 1940–1950

Image via Wikipedia



Several weeks ago, children’s author, Susannah Leonard Hill, announced a contest: write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, about unlikely Valentines.

To tell you the truth, ever since the second week in January when I decided to participate in Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, I am never without a piece of paper and a pen because I never know when a picture book idea will suddenly descend upon me.  Often, in the wee hours of the morning, a picturesque phrase pops into my head…and if I don’t write it down immediately, it disappears.  Of course, reading what is on the paper in the light of the morning is sometimes impossible…my handwriting is not the best and writing in the dark definitely does not improve it.

So here is my entry into Susannah’s Valentine’s Day Contest…as I read each verse, I can visualize the illustrations that might accompany this story.  I hope you all enjoy it and I welcome your feedback and constructive criticism…but please, be gentle…today is my birthday!


A Story of Unlikely Valentines


Whom Do I Love?  by Vivian Kirkfield


Whom do I love?

Quizzed the cloud-covered moon.

I love the dish that ran off with the spoon.


Whom do I love?

Posed the run-away dish.

I love the silvery stream-swimming fish.


Whom do I love?

Slurped the shimmering trout.

I love the rock-hopping toad that jumped out.


Whom do I love?

Croaked the hip-hopping toad.

I love the waddling duck on the road.


Whom do I love?

Quacked the web-footed duck.

I love the pig on the rusty farm truck.


Whom do I love?

Oinked the curly-tailed pig.

I love the floppy-eared dog that can dig.


Whom do I love?

Barked the diggity-dog.

I love the bee in the hollowed-out log.


Whom do I love?

Buzzed the bumblely-bee.

I love the mouse that lives under the tree.


Whom do I love?

Squeaked the scurrying mouse.

I love the curly-haired boy in that house.


Whom do I love?

Asked the sweet little lad.

I love my momma and I love my dad.


I’m excited to read the other entries that link up to Susannah’s Valentine’s Day Contest…we learn so much when we share our thoughts and encourage and support one another.

Healthy Habit Thursday: THE VITAMIN BAND

An Everett piano keyboard.

Image via Wikipedia


Is it a pill?

Is it a collection of musical instruments?

Is it a bracelet?

The answer to the above questions is NO!

The Vitamin Band is actually a unique children’s book by author and PhD. Olena Burda Lassen.

Ms. Lassen has developed a simple yet innovative technique that helps young children learn to play the piano while they learn about healthy eating and have lots of fun at the same time!

What could be better than that!

I met this amazing woman at a book fair and book signing a couple of weeks ago.  Her book cover (a piano keyboard) was so engaging, I had to pick up the book and flip through it.  And, once I had it in my hands, I knew I had to buy a copy to give to my two 5½ year old twin grandchildren.  The book is so appealing and such a great resource, I plan on purchasing another copy to keep on my library shelves for reference.

Her website is a magical place and you will find information about how you can purchase the book, as well as free fun-filled activities for your children.  You’ll also find her schedule of upcoming appearances and events.  Each event is sure to provide an entertaining and educationally enriching time for your children.

The book is perfection itself…printed on eco-friendly paper using soy-based inks, this is a treasure you will cherish and utilize for many years to come.


Please stop by tomorrow for Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian.  I visited the children at Trailblazer School this morning and I want to tell you all about it.

Also, don’t forget, the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop and Giveaway is going on right now until April 25th and you can enter and win a FREE copy of my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  Just click on the above link and it will take you to the post that explains how to enter!  Good luck, everyone!

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: Show Me How! Giveaway and the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop!











My passion for children’s picture books began over fifty years ago.  As I sat on my mother’s lap and helped her turn the pages of The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, a new and exciting world was revealed to me.

As a kindergarten and Head Start teacher, I developed a program that used picture books, not only for entertainment and enjoyment, but also to help young children deal with the challenges they face in those early years.

During my years as a daycare provider and mother of three, I continued reading picture book stories to the children on a daily basis, and I added crafting and cooking activities to enhance and enrich their learning experience.

I found that reading, crafting and cooking with young children helped build their self-esteem.  These activities also developed their pre-literacy skills and each child entered kindergarten ready to read, if not reading already.  Best of all, my positive interaction created a life-long parent-child bond.

So, I decided to share the stories, the crafts and the recipes and I wrote a book all about them.

SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING, is for parents, grandparents, teachers, daycare providers…basically anyone who is involved in the care and education of young children. 

  • It pinpoints 100 picture book stories every young child should hear.
  • It offers a story summary and a gentle parenting tip for each recommended title.
  • It provides a simple eco-friendly arts and crafts project that ties in with each story.
  • It gives an easy healthful child-friendly recipe for each suggested picture book.

Believe me, I know how overwhelming parenting can be…and that’s why I wrote the book!  It’s really a fantastic resource for busy parents and teachers who need a shortcut to educational, fun-filled, self-esteem building activities.  I found that when children are provided with these types of activities on a daily basis, there is balance and harmony and PEACE in the home.

Now, some of you might be saying, “I have too much to do already.  How will I find the time to do those activities?” 

Just 15 minutes is all it takes to read a picture book story.

Just 15 minutes is all it takes to do the simple craft.

Just 15 minutes is all it takes to prepare most of the easy recipes.

There is also a neat schedule at the end of the book that would be perfect for someone who is homeschooling their children or even for a daycare provider who is looking for some time-management tips.

The book has been endorsed by parents, educators, self-esteem experts and picture book authors.  Everyone who picks it up says that it is magical.  Everyone who reads it loves it.  It’s been reviewed on more than a dozen mom and dad blogs…and they have all recommended it.  Several posted pictures of their own children engaged in the some of the craft projects. 

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has also recommended that all of their chapter headquarters, in cities across the country, purchase it to keep on hand as a resource for the families they help.  I donate a portion of the proceeds of each book sale to JDRF.  The sales of my book also benefit a mobile children’s literacy outreach organization,   

So, if you don’t win the copy in this giveaway, maybe you’ll want to purchase it on my website and you will be helping both of these worthwhile causes.  You’ll also be guaranteeing that you won’t run out of ideas of what to do with your little ones in the coming months.  And, if you don’t have little ones, remember Mother’s Day is just around the corner…this would be a great gift idea for any mothers or grandmothers or mothers-to-be that you know.  If you do have little ones, perhaps your child’s daycare provider or nursery school teacher could use some fresh ideas.  And don’t forget about graduation…if you know anyone who is receiving a degree in Early Childhood Education, the book will be a perfect resource for them as they go out to work with young children.

Last month, I visited my daughter in New Hampshire and was able to read, craft and cook with my 2½ year old grandson.  I can guarantee that the book REALLY WORKS!  The Show-Me-How Story-time Program has also been implemented in some of the schools in my city and, if you’ve read my “Follow-Me-Friday: Where’s Miss Vivian?” posts, you’ll know how much fun the children are having when I visit the Pre-K’s and kindergartens to read picture books and do craft projects.

Right now you have an opportunity to win the FREE COPY that I am offering as part of the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop.  To be entered in this giveaway, there are three things you can do.  The giveaway begins at 12:01am Wednesday, April 20th and ends Monday, April 25th at 11:59pm.

1.     Mandatory entry: subscribe to my blog…there is a place on the left sidebar to do that…leave a comment to let me know. (If you already subscribe, please leave a comment to let me know that also.)

3.     Post my giveaway on twitter or facebook.  Please leave a comment to let me know.

4.     Blog about my book giveaway on your blog.  Again, please leave a comment and your blog address.

No matter how you enter, please make sure you leave your name, so that I’ll know how you entered and I will be able to contact you if you are the WINNER!

There are over 200 blogs participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop.  If you click on the link, you should be able to visit the other blogs and see what great stuff they are giving away!

Have fun hopping around…and good luck!