The Happy Mommy Handbook…Real Help for Real Moms

I’m so very excited today!  Do you know why?

It’s because I’m reviewing a fantastic book that will help EVERY parent of toddlers and preschoolers: The Happy Mommy Handbook by Katie Norris (a real mom with two small children) and Susan Case (a retired kindergarten, Special Education and early childhood teacher).

And, if you click on this link, you’ll be able to take part in an amazing LIVE Google+ broadcast…there will even be a chance to interact with the authors when the short presentation is over.  It starts on Wednesday, August 22 at 11am CDT (Texas time).  Susan and Katie will be uploading the broadcast to YouTube, so if you miss it, you will be able to see it at a later time.

 

 The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn

Written by Katie Norris and Susan Case

Themes:

Toddler & Preschooler Activities, Real Help for Real Moms, Nuturing Yourself So You Can Nuture Your Children, Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten, Helping Your Child Learn to Read and more.

Synopsis:  

Real moms have real problems as they parent their children.  The Happy Mommy Handbook begins each section with Mommy’s Dilemma…a common scenario any parent might experience.  In Chapter One, a mom is overwhelmed with all that she has to do…ready to turn on the television AGAIN to keep her toddler busy while she starts dinner.  Instead, she opts to set her child up with a bunch of cups and a bowl of sand at the kitchen table.  After sitting with her child for a few minutes, showing her how to fill the cups and transfer the sand from one to another, the mom was able to leave the child, happily “playing” while she went to make dinner…and she even had time to sit down at the table and pay the bills.  In each chapter, Mommy’s Dilemma is followed by Teacher’s Advice,…a simple explanation of the theory behind the activity and why a child needs to have time doing that particular activity.  The book is filled with dozens of simple fun-filled activities, suggestions for books that build self-esteem, recipes for staples like clay and lists of materials to have on hand that will encourage your child to grow in learning and confidence.  The authors also address topics such as fine and large motor skills and the importance of play, both indoors and outside.

Why do I like this book

I love this book because it gives quick and easy solutions to problems that parents face every day.  The explanations will help a parent understand the importance of each activity.  The book encourages moms to keep it simple and positive…which makes for a happier home for everyone.  I even love the size of the book…small enough to slip into a handbag…but chockfull of everything a parent needs to know about keeping young children happy and busy.  This is a book I wish I’d had when my kids were little!  I’m so thrilled that it is available now…what a great gift for any busy mom or grandmom…and a wonderful resource for babysitters, daycare providers and nursery and preschool teachers!

The Happy Mommy Handbook is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.  If you’d like to know more about Susan Case, you can check out her blog, Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers.  If you want to meet Katie Norris, visit her blog, Mommy With Selective Memory.

Please don’t forget we are accepting nominations for your favorite school or classroom to win a copy of Show Me How!  All you have to do is leave a comment on one of my posts…telling which school should get a copy.  At the end of September, we will select a dozen winners using Random.org.

And remember to tune in Wednesday, July 22 at 11am CDT to the LIVE Google+ broadcast of The Happy Mommy Handbook with Susan Case and Katie Norris.

If you come by my blog on Friday, there will be another treat in store for you.  Do you want a hint?  Another book review…this time it’s a brand-new chapter book for kids ages 7+ by a fellow SCBWI member, Marty Banks…and there will be a code available for a FREE download of the ebook ALL WEEKEND!  Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

Five Simple Steps for a Healthier School Year


 Your child is going to school.  As a parent, what can you do to make it the healthiest year ever?

Perhaps your child is a preschooler and will be attending a daycare or nursery school.  Maybe your child is already in elementary school.  Here are five simple steps that may keep your child from getting sick.

  1. Wash hands often: everyone should have their own towel…perhaps a different color for each member of the family.  This helps colds from spreading like wild-fires!
  2. Dress appropriately: when it is cold, children should be dressed warmly, with hats or hoods on their heads…no ifs, ands or buts!
  3. Get enough sleep: young children need LOTS of sleep so set up bedtime routines and stick to them.  Our body renews and cells regenerate during sleep.  Did you know that children between the ages of 2 and 5 need 11-14 hours of sleep?  For more information about sleep and young children, you can go to: http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html.
  4. Make every meal and snack count:  a good breakfast is a MUST and snacks can provide additional important nutrition, especially for picky eaters.  For more ideas on healthy meal planning for the whole family, you can visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/habits.html
  5. Keep a sick child home: I know it is difficult, especially when parents work…but your child will get better sooner and the teacher and the other children in the class will thank you.  With these tips, your children may stay healthy this school year and you won’t have to keep them home.

On September 24th, the Show-Me-How with Miss Vivian program will be at Family Christian Store, 7165 North Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO.  There will be one presentation from 12 to 12:45pm.  I’ll be reading Johnny Lion’s Bad Day to the parents and children and then we will all make Paper Plate Lions.  This program is appropriate for children from two to seven years old.  In addition, there will be a flyer for parents to take home about staying healthy this school year.  I hope we will have a good turn-out…please spread the word and tweet this and post to Facebook…maybe some of your followers are local to Colorado Springs.

SAVE THE DATE

STAYING HEALTHY

THIS SCHOOL YEAR!

SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, September 24, 2011

12 to 12:45pm

Family Christian Store: 7165 N. Academy

719-598-1500 to RSVP

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: Have a Healthier School Year

Vivian Kirkfield is a local author, former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her parenting program and award-winning activity book for ages 2-7, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, has helped thousands of parents build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a stronger parent-child connection.

For more information: 719-237-3111 or vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

Starting School Jitters Be Gone!

COLORADO SPRINGS PARENTS/GRANDPARENTS/TEACHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS

SAVE THE DATE

STARTING SCHOOL JITTERS BE GONE!

THE SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, August 6th

THERE WILL BE TWO IDENTICAL PRESENTATIONS

11:30am to 12noon and 12:30pm to 1pm

Family Christian Bookstore: 7560 N. Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: 5 simple steps to a smoother school year
  • Enter to win free preschool craft supplies

 

Local author, Vivian Kirkfield, is a former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her award-winning parenting book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource of story suggestions and educational fun-filled activities for preschoolers – a true shortcut for busy parents and teachers.

For more information: 237-3111 or vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

National Ice Cream Day

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream…when I was growing up, that was a popular ditty.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. For more information and some special today-only offers, click on this link: National Ice Cream Day

For me, every day is an ice-cream day.  I’ve always loved ice-cream.

When I was a little girl, I remember going to the park across the street with my best friend, Jane.  Each of us would clutch a precious nickel in a little hand and eagerly await the Good Humor Man who would pedal by with the large freezer box attached to the front of his bike.  My favorite was a toasted almond bar!

Years later, on summer evenings, we would sit outside, listening for the calliope sound of the ice-cream truck.  You would hear children shouting, “Mommy, mommy, I need a quarter…the ice cream man is here!”  My dad, who also loved ice cream, would ask me and my sister what we wanted and he would run out into the street as soon as the truck stopped so that he would be the first to give in his order. 

These days, my husband lovingly provides me with a wonderful variety of exotic flavors…double fudge brownie, French silk, coffee with almonds and chocolate morsels…and I treat myself to a small dish of ice cream topped with a spoonful of whipped cream and seven almonds every evening…my reward at the end of a busy day.

Do you like ice cream?  What are your ice cream memories?

Among the 100 simple healthful child-friendly recipes in Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking you will find several for ice pops, sorbet and ice cream treats.  You can buy a copy NOW for 50% off the cover price!  Don’t let the summer pass you by without SCOOPING UP this incredible guide of fun-filled activities and picture book recommendations.  Did you know there is a money-back guarantee?

Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?

Preschool

Image via Wikipedia

 

I speak with parents of preschoolers all the time. 

One of the questions that I hear very frequently is, “I want to send my child to preschool.  How do I know if he (or she) is ready?”

There are several key indicators we can look at that will help us answer that question.  You need to observe your child to see:

1.    How well does he interact with others?

If you feel your child has not had enough opportunities to interact with others then:

START SMALL: arrange play-dates with neighbor children of a similar age and attend library story programs.  The summer before our youngest son was going to start kindergarten, we enrolled him in a three week nature class that was held every morning at a local nature center.  He had not attended preschool or daycare and we wanted to give him a chance to be in a “classroom” setting.  This worked out very well and he adjusted to kindergarten very well.

2.     Has she been away from you?

If your child has not been away from you at all then

START SMALL: arrange to leave your child with a trusted friend or relative for an hour or so (take a walk around the block or a bubble bath) and enroll her in a library story hour or other local program where she will have other adults who are in charge.

3.     How well does he transition from snack to play to story to craft to quiet time?

If your child has not had any experience with this or does not transition well then

START SMALL: during the day, let your child know you will be turning off the TV at the next commercial…tell him it will be naptime after the last page of the book is finished…find opportunities to have your child transition from one activity to another.

4.     Can your child’s speech be understood?

Your child should be able to speak in simple sentences of three to five words and be able to describe an activity or event that recently happened.  If you think there is a problem, then speak with your pediatrician.  If there isn’t a problem, perhaps your child hasn’t had enough opportunity to verbalize.

START SMALL: Give your child opportunities to express himself…when reading a picture book, have your child tell you what is happening on the page and then let your child retell the story to you from the pictures…at the store, encourage your child to describe what he sees.  It is so important for us to listen to our children…they really have a lot to tell us.

5.     Does your child follow directions?

If your child does not seem able to follow directions then

START SMALL: give your preschooler easy tasks to do…put the plates on the dinner table, help fold the clean towels…when cleaning up the toys, ask your child to put the blue blocks away first or tell her to pick up the book and put it on the couch.

There are two other factors that may have an impact on whether your child is ready for preschool: potty training and age.

Many preschools require students to be potty-trained or almost there.  Your preschooler should also be able to put on and take off her shoes and coat, zip up her pants and wash her hands.  These are some of the early life-skills your child needs to learn…please be patient…it takes time and practice to grow up and master these tasks.

Regarding age, educators define preschool as the two years before kindergarten.  The age minimum differs in preschools…some want the child to be three by December of that academic year, while others will accept two year olds.

Whatever your decision is about sending your child to preschool, spending time with your child will result in life-long benefits…building self-esteem, developing pre-literacy skills and strengthening the parent-child bond.   If you visit my website and buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, you will be getting a unique activity book/parenting resource/memory book that will provide you with picture book summaries, easy crafts and healthful recipes…even an hour-by-hour schedule that will simplify your day.   Using Show Me How will definitely help you achieve your child’s school readiness goals.  We offer your money back if you are not satisfied with the contents and the results and the book is on sale now for 50% off the cover price…only $22.50 per copy.

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue: A 4th of July Dessert

Flag of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

 Happy Birthday, America…and Happy July 4th to all!

Whether you are on the road or close to home, enjoy the day and stay safe!

I looked through Show Me How! and found the perfect dessert to serve on this auspicious day…it’s quick, easy, healthy and…RED, WHITE and BLUE!

CHILD-FRIENDLY RAINBOW FRUIT AND RICE PUDDING PARFAITS

Color does lift one’s mood…help your child create a multi-colored dessert for the entire family to enjoy…when everyone compliments this delicious and beautiful treat, your child’s self-esteem will be lifted also.

You will need: 1½ cups cooked white rice (you can use brown rice for more nutrition another time…we want the white for the red, white and blue), ¼ cup honey, ½ cup coconut flakes, ½ cup sliced strawberries, ½ cup blueberries, 1 sliced banana, 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, a large bowl and 4 parfait glasses.

1.     Mix the rice, honey, yogurt and coconut in a large bowl.

2.     Drop a spoonful of this mixture into each parfait glass.

3.     Now spoon in some sliced bananas and cover with another spoonful of the rice mixture.

4.     Add a spoonful of sliced strawberries and cover with the remaining rice mixture.

5.     Top with blueberries.

6.     Makes 4 servings…refrigerate any leftovers.

7.     Creative tip: you can substitute other fruits and or yogurt flavors.

 If this is the type of recipe you enjoy preparing, treat yourself to a copy of my award-winning book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  There are 100 simple child-friendly healthful cooking activities AND 100 easy eco-friendly craft projects.  And that’s not all…you’ll find picture book summaries of the 100 books every young child should hear!  You deserve a hassle-free summer with your kids…be good to yourself and them and grab a copy at 50% off the cover price and you will have fresh ideas and activities for the entire summer and beyond!  Click on this link.

Kids Are Heroes, Too! How Can We Help?

Kids Reach For Confetti

The catastrophic events in Japan occur…and we read about a young child who donates her allowance to help the victims.

A village in Africa is without clean drinking water…and we hear about a child who collects money so that a well can be dug to provide fresh water for children he has never seen.

Children often amaze us with their acts of selflessness.  Sometimes, they seem to see the bigger picture and are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish what needs to be done.

I recently discovered a wonderful organization that focuses on recognizing these wonderful children and encouraging others to become involved in their communities and in causes that they believe in.

According to the Kids Are Heroes founder, Gabe O’Neill:

“Kids Are Heroes is a non-profit that empowers, encourages and inspires children to become leaders through volunteerism and community involvement.  We do this by showcasing and supporting children who are making a difference through their selfless acts of giving.

We teach children to follow their passions at an early age.  This will instinctively stay with them throughout their entire lives.

Kids are indeed heroes and each has the power to change the world.

To see how kids are making a huge impact and to see how YOU can become a hero, click on

Meet the Heroes

and then click on the Meet the Heroes tab.

Our kids are digging wells in Africa, helping orphans in India and building homes in Haiti.

They are recycling and cleaning up their neighborhoods, helping their local animal shelters and making life better for their neighbors.

And guess what?  They are ALL just like YOU!”

Kids Are Heroes is a grassroots effort…if you believe that it is important to encourage young children to contribute to the community and to the world while they reach out and help others, please visit the Kids Are Heroes website, find out more about this fantastic organization and help build the Kids Are Heroes Day Wall.  Show Me How’s brick is already there!  

I already donate a portion of Show Me How book sales to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and to www.Bessthebookbus.org, a family/children’s mobile literacy outreach program.  When I wrote the book, I intended to find three organizations that were child-centered in the areas of health, literacy and the environment.  I’ve been missing the third…and I believe I have found it in Kids Are Heroes!

As parents, we are responsible for helping our children become good citizens of the world.  Encouraging your child to take part in community service events, such as cleaning up a local park or play area, is one way.  Listening to your child’s ideas is another…children often have wonderful suggestions on how to make life better for others.  Kids Are Heroes was founded by Gabe O’Neill because his daughter, MaryMargaret wanted to help animals.

One of the cornerstones of Positive Parental Participation is listening to your children with respectful attention.  All too often when we are busy, we push young ones aside because we feel we have more important things to do.   After you read some of the stories of the child-heroes, you may change your mind.

Spend some quality time with your children today!  If you are looking for great activities to do with them, pick up a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  Click on this link to my website and you will be able to purchase a signed copy at 50% off the cover price.  For only $22.50, you will have a tremendous resource of 100’s of easy craft projects and simple recipes and picture book summaries and parenting tips.   And if you want to buy two copies, each is only $20.  This is a value-packed book and a great gift idea for a parent, preschool or kindergarten teacher, nanny, babysitter, grandparent, daycare provider or early childhood education student.

“I wish Show Me How had existed when my children were young.”

–        Suzanne Williams, author of Princess Power series and over 30 other books

“What a lovely book! Parents will find inspiration in this delightful guide to planning activities.”

–        Katharine Holabird, author of the Angelina Ballerina series

“A valuable, timely and timeless book…it’s sure to be a family favorite.”

–        Sheila Glazov, author of What Color Is Your Brain

“Show Me How offers us a great tool to help our children become people of kindness.”

–        Mary Newquist, Assistant Principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Selma, TX

“This book is an incredible resource for families wishing to foster their children’s sense of self-worth.”

–        Dr. Jodi Harap, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Chicago, IL

“SMH Is a well-planned learning tool full of engaging, educational and family-oriented activities.”

–        Peggy Hicks, MA, Special Education Teacher, Colorado Springs, CO

 

The summer has just begun…don’t let another day go by without this award-winning book by your side.