Sunday Post: Cities…A Good Place to Raise Children?

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


Do you live in a big city like Chicago?

Or are you raising your family in a smaller town?

Wherever children grow up, they enjoy doing things with their parents.

If you want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.”

How can we do this?

Read with them.  This is Carter with the interactive Cheerios Halloween book that was part of the Halloween Prize Package I sent to his family.

Introduce them to nature and let them get dirty!  This is my grandson, Jeremy, having a ball with mud!

Share your interests with them!  This is my granddaughter, learning to fish.

Be joyous with them!  Laugh with them!  Love them!


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Sunday Post: From a Distance…Parenting Solutions

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

Are you wondering how I will connect this theme to an aspect of parenting?

Family dynamics are constantly in a state of change.

We shouldn’t expect everyone to get along all of the time.

Siblings do fight…and parents do disagree.


Hopefully, harmony prevails in your home most of the time.

If it doesn’t, perhaps you want to change that.

Do you feel like you are constantly yelling at your kids?

Are you dealing with a family issue that seems to be getting out of hand?

Sometimes it ‘s helpful to take a step back.

FROM A DISTANCE, we can view the situation from a different perspective.

When we are in the middle of the problem, it is hard to think clearly.

Here’s a thought:

  • Take a time out…tell your child or significant other that you need a few minutes.
  • Go for a walk…family walks are a wonderful bonding activity…but walking alone allows you to think without distractions.
  • Consult a professional…an objective observer can guide the conversation or help with alternate responses.

To strengthen family bonds, why not plan activities that the family can do together. 

We had an evening reading time when our children were small.  Books are enjoyed by children of all ages and the older ones still love being read to.  They also like to read to younger brothers and sisters.

Here’s a plan:

  • Set aside some time after dinner for family reading.
  • Children need to see their parents reading for pleasure.
  • Choose a picture book and read it with your young child.  If you have older kids, they can take turns being the reader.

If you need help picking great picture books: Show Me How!

Or visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.


Schools are opening all over the country and we’d like to give a free copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingto your favorite school or classroom.  Nominate your child’s school or other childcare facility in the Show Me How School Initiative by leaving a comment and telling us why you’d like them to have this book.  If you don’t have young children, but know people who do, please tell them about the free book their child’s school can receive!

Have you checked out the new book by children’s author Marty Banks?  The Adventures of Tempest & Serenais a wonderful chapter book for readers ages 7 and up.  I reviewed it the other day and want to remind you about the free download…Sunday is the last day for that!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

Sunday Post: Splendid…Places, People and Things

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


The sky is SPLENDID: heavenly, grand, phenomenal!


Oceans and rivers are SPLENDID: impressive, magnificent, exquisite.


Family time together is SPLENDID: brilliant, memorable, charming.

Positive Parental Participation is celebrating the beginning of a SPLENDID new school year by donating a dozen copies of Show Me How! to schools all across the country.

The Show Me How School Initiative is a SPLENDID way to help schools put this award-winning resource of multi-sensory lessons and activities in their classrooms.

If you’d like your favorite school (or home-school) to receive a SPLENDID free copy, please leave a comment.  At the beginning of October, we will announce the winners.

Will you be SPLENDID?  Please help spread the word through your social media network…blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterist…however you love to interact with your followers.

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post…click on a link and travel around the world:

Sunday Post: Road: Which One Will You Follow?

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


  The Road Not Taken  (1916) 
by Robert Frost

“The Road Not Taken Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Children need a parent’s guidance as they embark on the road of life.

As parents, we also need to make a choice as to which road or parenting approach we will take as we raise our children.  Here are five simple tips:

  • Be consistent with your children…set guidelines and stick to them.
  • Be compassionate with your children…show them love and respect.
  • Teach consequences…children need to learn that for every action there is a reaction.
  • Communicate with your children…a two-way street of talking AND listening.
  • Connect with your children…participate together in all types of activities.

Speaking about participating in activities, have you ever tried creative writing with your children?  It’s lots of fun and will help strengthen their literacy skills and exercise their creativity.  I’m taking part in a little creative writing over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.  It’s called Summer Short and Sweets.

This is week four of Susanna’s challenge…if you click on the link above, you’ll see that this challenge was to take a letter of the alphabet, possibly the first letter of your name, and think of as many words (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc.) that begin with that letter and then write a 50 – 100 word story.  You are not supposed to peek at the detailed instructions until you choose your letter.  I picked “V” since that is the first letter of my name (had I peeked, I might have chosen an easier letter)…and here is my submission:

Viscountess Vanessa Versailles, a virginal Venezuelan virtuoso with varicose veins, vigilantly clutched the valuable Venetian violin in the velvet valise and vaulted over vipers and violent voles, her out-of-gas veneered van parked in the valley behind her. Her view blurred by a veil of venomous vapors, Vanessa valiantly raced onward, vowing to validate her promise to the vacationers who were even now vacating their seats for the violinist’s Valentine’s Day performance. Is she racing in vain?

Why not give it a try…just visit Susanna’s blog and hop aboard the Summer Short and Sweets train…it will be a fun ride.  Then you can adjust the challenges for your children, depending on their ages.  Young kids can draw pictures to tell their story and have a parent or older sibling write the words.

What else can you do with your kids this summer?  For the price of a large pizza, some breadsticks and a liter of soda (that will only last a few minutes), you can have quick and easy activities that will keep kids busy and happy and learning till school starts…and beyond!  Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is the book I wish I had when my kids were growing up.  Suzanne Williams, author of over 27 children’s books says, “I wish Show Me How! had existed when my own children were young.”  Clinical psychologist, Jodi Harap adds, “Ms. Kirkfield presents concrete examples and helpful recommendations that are sure to give parents a newfound sense of competence and confidence in their own abilities as well.”

I want to remind everyone that the book is now available for shipment to Canadian residents…please visit my website and click on the special PayPal buttons for Canadian shipment!  I’ve already mailed out two copies of the book to Canada last week…one to Bowmanville, Ontario and one to Regina, Saskatchewan.

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:

Sibling Rivalry and Prayers for Those Impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire

Two Sisters

Two Sisters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Mommeeeeee….Rachel pushed me!”   “Mommeeeee…Brandon took that toy and I had it first!” 

If you grew up with brothers and/or sisters, the above scenarios probably sound familiar.

If you have more than one child now, you have probably heard similar complaints in your own home.

Sibling rivalry seems to be inevitable, but is it ALL bad?

And what, if anything, can parents do to ease the tension and reduce the conflicts between their kids?

Last year, the University of Cambridge did a study that showed that siblings can have a positive effect on a child’s early development of social understanding (the awareness of others thoughts and feelings) even when there is some discord such as arguing or teasing.  The communication between siblings helps them learn to express their feelings and emotions.  It is important for parents with only children to make sure they are providing their child with many opportunities for conversation about thoughts and feelings.

Sustained or continuous sibling rivalry, however, can result in behavioral problems and relationship building issues later in life.

With summer here and kids at home, here are some simple steps parents can take to create a more peaceful and positive atmosphere:

  • Plan family activities that are fun for everyone.
  • Make sure each child has his or her own space.
  • Encourage cooperation, not competition…when picking up toys; have the children race the clock, not each other.
  • Teach conflict resolution.
  • Don’t play favorites or compare siblings.
  • Make sure your kids are not hungry or tired or bored.
  • Plan family time such as eating meals together.
  • Teach positive ways to get attention from each other and from parents.
  • Set aside along time with each child.
  • Don’t take sides.
  • Teach kids to compromise and respect one another.
  • Encourage children to express their feeling and find words for them.
  • Be a good role model.

Picture books are a wonderful tool to use as well.  If you are looking for a great picture book that addresses this problem, there are several to choose from:

Queen of the World by Thomas Yezerski

I Love You Purplest by Barbara Joosees

Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick by Kevin Henkes

And one of my favorites:

The Day No One Played Together by Donalisa Helsley.

The Day No One Played Together: A Lesson About Compromise, is a beautifully illustrated (by the talented Sarah Harkey) story of two sisters who want to play together.  However, each wants the other to play HER game.  When the sisters come to a stalemate, their mom steps in with a suggestion: COMPROMISE.  The girls begin to brainstorm many ideas of how they can incorporate what each wants to do so that they can play together.  They happily solve their problem and the book ends with the sisters spending the rest of the day playing with each other.  Parents…read this story with your children…help them apply the concept of compromise next time there is an argument…and enjoy the peace and harmony.

On the last page of the book, Ms. Helsley provides a simple definition of some of the words in the story that young children might be hearing for the first time.  I love this feature of the book…we should always encourage children to understand what they are reading or hearing…this helps build their vocabulary…one of the most important components of literacy. 

You can find out more about this great children’s author by visiting her website:  She has a new book out, I Love You Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies.

To contact her:

The book is available for purchase on Amazon, B&, Goodreads and the author’s website.  

Take advantage of the more laid back pace of summer and provide your children with fun-filled moments they will remember forever.  Spend time reading with them and doing other activities.  If you are looking for great book suggestions and quick and easy activities, please check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

Life has been turned upside down, here in Colorado Springs.  The past week has brought devastation and terror to many residents as the Waldo Canyon Fire raged…fueled by record heat and an exceptionally dry winter and spring.  Over 300 homes were destroyed on Tuesday night…consumed by the hungry flames before our eyes as we watched television coverage in shock and horror.  The fires are still burning…and the impact will be felt for years to come.  Please join me in praying for the brave firefighters and others who are still battling the fire…and for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

Building Self-Esteem: The Chocolate Rabbit


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

I’m always looking for books with characters who are engaged in self-esteem building.  Not only is this the case with my selection today, but the book is also a perfect choice for the upcoming holiday of Easter.  I know that parents and teachers will enjoy the simple eco-friendly craft project at the end of my review.

Do you know where the first chocolate Easter bunnies were made?  Here is the scoop, according to picture book author and illustrator, Maria Claret.



The Chocolate Rabbit

Written and illustrated by Maria Claret

Translated by Jane O’Sullivan

Publishers: Barons Juvenile (originally published in Spain)

Ages: 2 – 8

Themes: Mastering tasks and skills, Easter, crafting, dealing with disappointment, family togetherness

Opening: “Not so very long ago, the Rabbit family lived in a little town not far from here.”

Synopsis:  Bertie Rabbit and his sisters want to help their artistic father who paints beautiful Easter eggs, but they are too young.   Bertie decides he is old enough to help his father and buys eggs with his own money, intending to decorate them and surprise his father.  The little bunny is sadly disappointed when he trips and the basket tips over, breaking all of the eggs.  Bertie’s mother makes a pot of chocolate to lift her son’s spirits…but when Bertie climbs up for a taste, disaster strikes and Bertie is covered in lukewarm chocolate.  Bertie’s father looks at his son and has an ingenious idea…chocolate bunnies! 

Why do I like this book

Success often comes on the heels of failure!  I love books that encourage children to keep on trying as they learn to master tasks and skills.  Self-esteem is not built with empty praise…it is developed and strengthened as young children learn to do things for themselves.  A child’s sense of self-worth increases as he takes these important steps…and learning to deal with disappointment is one of those steps.  This is a sweet story about working together as a family…relevant with the busy hectic pace many families experience today…each family will find their own unique ways of spending quality time together.

The illustrations are charming…they remind me of Beatrix Potter’s work.

Related Activities:

Child Care Lounge has quite a few lovely Easter crafts as well as bunny poems here

Angel Fire has an Easter/Spring Unit with many book and craft and cooking ideas here.

Mama-Knows (colored egg picture below) has lots of recipes for coloring Easter eggs here.

Children love arts and crafts!  Here is an activity that will please every eco-minded parent.



You will need: Hard-boiled white eggs (cooled), Q-tips, one or more of the following depending on how many colors you want: ¼ cup blueberries (blue), ¼ cup cranberries (red), 1 tsp tumeric (yellow), markers, a small bowl for each color, cover-ups, two small pots and water to boil.

1.      Cover the work surface and workers to protect from staining (wear disposable plastic gloves if desired).

2.      Boil ½ cup water, add crushed blueberries, simmer for 5 minutes and then pour into small bowl and let cool for a few minutes.  Do the same for the cranberries.

3.      Pour 1 tsp tumeric and ½ cup hot water in a small bowl, stir and let cool.

4.      Put an egg into each bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes, turning several times with a spoon.  Then lift each egg out and let dry.

5.      Use markers to add designs.

6.      Tip: while waiting for the eggs to absorb the color, go on a color-naming hunt throughout your house…how many red, blue and yellow items can your child find? 


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

Sunday Post: Treasured Pleasure or Guilty Pleasure

Mommy, you said just one bite!


Which is my pleasure?  My daughter and grandson whom I love dearly?  Or the chocolate ice-cream they are eating?

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

Life is filled with pleasures…watching a sunset, dancing in the moonlight on a summer evening, completing a difficult project successfully, carving out a chunk of time so that you can read a great book, riding in a convertible with the top down (as long as the weather is pleasant)…the list can go on and on. 

For me, the greatest pleasure is spending time with my loved ones.

But food is also one of life’s pleasures…that’s probably why cooking shows are so popular on TV.  Each of us has our own particular favorites.  For me, ice-cream tops the list.  I must admit that EVERY night I have a small bowl of ice-cream…and my dear sweet husband makes sure that the freezer has at least four or five exotic varieties so that I will never be without…here’s a look at what’s in our freezer right now: Denali Extreme Moose Tracks, Black Raspberry Chocolate, Italian Café Tiramisu, Chocolate Ganache, French Silk and Rocky Road.  Do you notice that each has chocolate in it…that is not by accident, you can be sure!  It’s a good thing we have a good-size freezer…honestly, we do have “real” food in there also!

This love that I have for ice-cream is probably a carry-over from childhood, as are many of the things most of us like or dislike. If you haven’t seen the poem I wrote (it won second place!) that addresses the topic of overcoming childhood fears, you can go to:  Marylin Warner: Things I Want To Tell My Mother: February Poetry Contest Winners.

Ice-cream has always been a part of my life.  My dad loved ice-cream…Friday night was shopping night (I guess Thursday was payday) and my sister and I were allowed to stay up until he came home from the store…there was always a box of ice-cream sandwiches or pops, and we were allowed to have one as a treat.  And on summer evenings, when the ice-cream truck rolled down the street, playing that calliope melody, my dad would always ask us, “What do you girls want?”  Those are memories worth holding on to.

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