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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Sunday Post: Famous Movies…The American President…A Father’s Day Tribute

 

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

 

It seems that the whole world has a fascination with movies.  In this country, we host the Academy Awards…and present the coveted “Oscar” to dozens of actors, actresses, directors, producers and others who are involved in creating the visions we enjoy at the theater.

With a tip of my hat (wait a minute while I put one on) to all the fathers who are reading this and with a thought to the upcoming American presidential elections, I’ve chosen one of my favorite movies about a president, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Benning.  Not only is it my favorite movie about a president…it is also in my top 10 favorite movies in any category. 

The first time I saw it, I wanted to nominate Michael Douglas to be the REAL American president.  Ethical, yet human, and not above making mistakes, the character he portrayed was willing to do ALMOST anything for what he believed in…and was able to listen and process what he had heard and then change his mind and his tactics, if necessary, FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE. 

Ahhhhh….isn’t that why we elect a president…to look after the good of the people in our country? 

The American President was a loving father and a thoughtful lover…he puts his love and concern for his daughter above everything and the scene where he tries to order a bunch of flowers for Annette Benning is priceless.  

I’ve seen this movie quite a few times…and never tire of the hope it inspires in me.  I do believe that each president we elect really does want to do his best for the country…and I understand that politics and the economy and the world situation often get in the way of each president carrying out their original plans.

 

The election for President of the United States is coming up in November.  I hope that everyone who is eligible to vote will examine the issues and the candidates and then exercise this precious right…people in many other countries would die (and some do) to be able to have a say in who governs them.  As parents, we need to be good role models for our children…by voting, we are teaching our children to be involved citizens.

For more great parenting tips and a whole bunch of quick and easy activities that will keep your little ones busy and happy all summer long, you can get a copy of my book, Show Me How!  In the last week, there have been a couple of new reviews of this great parenting resource: Kirsten over at Creating Curious Kids did several of the activities with her own children…http://creatingcuriouskids.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/summer-fun-shortcut-show-me-how/ and Tom over at Your Family Book Club was happy to recommend as a great way to spend quality time with your kids this summer…http://yourfamilybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/book-review-show-me-how-build-tour-childs-self-esteem-through-reading-crafting-and-cooking-by-vivian-kirkfield/.

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

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

http://cyclingrandma.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/west-side-story-911-anniversaries/

http://cuoreq.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/sunday-post-movies/

http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/the-sunday-post-famous-movies/

Photo credits: Mount Rushmore – Ed Menard Ranger

Have You Seen This Movie?

 

In 2003, 13-year old surfer, Bethany Hamilton, lost her arm to a shark attack.

Soul Surfer tells the story of her miraculous recovery and re-entry into the world of competitive surfing.

The movie was released in 2011 and stars AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt and features singer Carrie Underwood in her first film role.

This is not a movie for young children, but it is definitely a must-see for parents.  Bethany’s parents support and embrace her in every direction she takes.  The love and the positive affirmation she receives from her family are major contributing factors in Bethany’s acceptance of herself.  When Bethany joins a Christian mission in tsunami and earthquake-ravaged Thailand, she discovers that while she may have lost her arm, others have lost everything.  This experience helps Bethany put her situation in the proper perspective and she is able to encourage and motivate others to have the courage to live.

For more information about the movie, you can visit Soul Surfer on Wikipedia.

Home movie night is just one way for families to cut down on expenses.  I got the DVD of Soul Surfer from our local library for free. 

Do you and your children have a library card?  Do you make good use of this amazing community resource?   If you haven’t already done so, please check out your library…many libraries have amazing programs for children and adults of all ages.  The librarian can assist you in finding wonderful picture books that you can share with us in the 2012 PPP Challenge to read every day with your children.

 

No Rules…Just Read!

Project 365 Challenge: Are You Thinking of Having a Baby?

 

“I really want to have a baby!”

This is what a co-worker told me the other day.  She also told me that her husband is not excited about the idea and she feels he is not ready to be a father.  In addition, their relationship is, according to her, not in a very good place right now.  And, she complained that she had trouble sleeping at night and didn’t function well if her sleep was disturbed.

Hmmmm….sounds like a recipe for disaster, wouldn’t you agree?

Deciding to have a baby is not like deciding to order fries with your meal or deciding to buy a red dress for a party.  When the fries arrive, you can always throw them away if you’ve changed your mind or ask the waitress if you can have a baked potato instead.  If the red dress doesn’t look good when you get it home, you can always return it or exchange it for a different one.  

Becoming a parent is a forever decision…one not to be taken lightly.  The people involved need to understand the implications and agree that it is something they both wish to undertake.  Of course, sometimes pregnancies are unplanned and a surprise.

I’m always encouraging parents to read picture books with their children because part of my Positive Parental Participation program involves the utilization of the messages in picture books to help young children cope with many of the challenges they face in those early years.

One can say the same thing about movies.  And, many movies contain important messages for adults.

My husband and I watched 9 Months with Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore on Netflix last night.  If you are contemplating having a baby, this is the movie for you!  It’s a light-hearted look at a young successful couple who have been living together very happily for five years.  When Julianne discovers she is pregnant, Hugh is not happy about it, but she tells him that the baby won’t change their life.  Then she tells him he will have to sell his sports car and get rid of the cat he has had for thirteen years.  His disconnect causes her to leave him and she tells him, “You’re not ready to be a father!”

Will Hugh ultimately accept the situation?  At the end of the movie, is he ready to be a father?  Watch the film if you want a hilarious look at pregnancy, labor and delivery…with Robin Williams as the obstetrician, you are guaranteed to be rolling on the floor, laughing till it hurts.

But the movie has a serious side…it asks couples: are you ready to have a baby?  It will change your life.  It won’t make a weak marriage stronger.  It will test the limits of your patience. 

What are your thoughts?  Please share them with us.

A Parenting Lesson from Buck, the Horse Whisperer

Last night we watched “Buck”, a documentary about a horse whisperer that is an absolute must-see for every parent and teacher.

“Horse whisperer?” you say.  “I raise (or teach) children, not horses.”

Please let me explain.

Buck Brannaman was raised by a bullying abusive father.  As young boys in the 1960’s, he and his brother performed as trick rope artists.  On the surface, the life of these children looked glamorous…fancy cowboy outfits, cereal commercials on TV, traveling across the country.  But behind closed doors, Buck’s father beat them mercilessly.  When a school coach discovered the situation, he intervened and Buck and his brother were sent to a foster home.

Fortunately for Buck, the Shirley’s were loving nurturing foster parents who understood that he needed to learn to believe in himself before he could trust and believe in others. 

Parenting is a very difficult task, probably the hardest job in the world.  And we often model our parenting on the way our own parents behaved towards us when we were children.  Problems arise when our parents were not good role models…and that’s what is so amazing about this documentary.  It reveals that Buck was able to turn his back on the bad parenting he had experienced as a young child and instead, mirror the skills of his foster parents, not only with his own child, but also with horses.

Buck travels around the country forty weeks out of the year giving four-day horse clinics.  People come with their horses to learn how to improve the connection between horse and rider.

Can we take some of Buck’s horse whisperer advice and apply it to our own situations, raising our children and improving the parent-child connection?

We definitely can and should!

1.    Take Buck’s advice, “live in the moment…you don’t have to live in the past”.  If your parents lacked good parenting skills, find other role models and do a better job with your own children.  There are many resources in your area that you can turn to for help and support.

2.    “Horses (and children) are a mirror of your soul”, as Buck so aptly put it…observe the behavior (or misbehavior) and then see what you are doing (or not doing) that might account for that behavior.  If your child is exhibiting a behavior that is inappropriate, you need to act…be consistent, enforce consequences, and always show compassion.  Again, local agencies are available to offer help and support.

3.    Buck says, “discipline and encourage…don’t discipline and discourage”.  If you feel that you and/or any other adult in the home have anger management issues or you have a concern for the safety of your children or yourself, contact Childhelp immediately or call 1-800-4-A-CHILD

You’ll find similar suggestions in my book for parents and teachers, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAY SPECIAL

GET A HEAD START ON YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING

For a LIMITED TIME (October 23 – November 23), we are offering a brand-new signed and inscribed copy of Show Me How! for $19.95.  This is the lowest priceit has even been…over 50% off the cover price!  You won’t find a new copy cheaper ANYWHERE.  This is a ONE MONTH on-line special only on my website where you can purchase the book securely through PayPal and or on Amazon, if you prefer.

What a great gift this book makes for parents, grandparents, preschool and nursery teachers, nannies, daycare providers, babysitters and early childhood education students!  Are any of those people on your holiday gift list?

“The book is both a tool and a workbook that helps loving adults encourage children to identify and safely communicate their feelings, to develop skills to problem solve and to make healthy choices.” – Ellen Levy, MSW, LCSW, Executive Director, Adoption Choice Center, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Story suggestions help you choose the right book to read with your child.
  • Arts and crafts projects are QUICK AND EASY.
  • Recipes are CHILD-FRIENDLY AND HEALTHY.
  • Empowers parents
  • Engages children

Click here for another great review of Show Me How!  And please don’t put off buying a copy at this great price…for under $20 you will be giving a unique personalized gift to a friend, teacher or family member and the gift of self-esteem to a child.

Top Ten Books You Were Forced to Read in School: Should You Read Them Again Now?

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On Sundays, I usually review and recommend (or not) a movie that I think parents would enjoy.

Today, I was online and happened to see some lists of the top ten in many categories.

I was intrigued by the following list: Top Ten Books You Were Forced To Read in School. Top Ten Books You Were Forced to Read in School

Scrolling through the list, it occurred to me that almost every one of them was a depressing tale of the darkest sides of man’s nature.

I’m not surprised that many high school students don’t want to read!

Here’s the list…what do you think?

1.    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2.    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

3.    A Separate Peace by John Knowles

4.    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

5.    Animal Farm by George Orwell

6.    Lord of the Flies by William Golding

7.    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

8.    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

9.    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

10.Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Are these great works of fiction?  Yes, they most certainly are.  But they portray the worst of what we can be and only a few also show the better side of human nature.

It’s been so long since I’ve read these books.  Many, if not all, have been made into movies.  I believe it is time for me to revisit these classics in literature.  I plan to start at the top and work my way down the list.  Most of these books are probably available at the local library and I’m sure the film versions are available there as well.  Perhaps next Sunday, I’ll be able to give you a movie review of To Kill a Mockingbird and I’ll let you know if it was true to the story as written in the book. 

I’m not sure I agree that surrounding our junior high and high school students with depressing reading material is the right path.  I think I’d prefer to see some book choices for them with a more positive slant on life and our journey through it.  What are your thoughts?

If you are looking for positive stories and activities for your preschoolers, please check out Show Me How!, my award-winning book.  You can get a copy for 50% off right now on my website.  Summer is just around the corner and this great resource will provide you with story, craft and cooking activities that are easy, inexpensive and fun!

Also, if you are local to the Colorado Springs area (Monument, Woodland Park, Denver, Pueblo, etc.), please come by on June 11 from 10am to 2pm at the PBS Kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs and say hello to Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George and me.  I’ll be doing simple craft projects with children along with many other participants.

And last bur not least, please tune in on Tuesday, May 24 at 10am EST to www.RadioEarNetwork.com.  Lisa Hein, host of Everyday Parenting, will be interviewing me.  We’ll be talking about many topics that are of great interest and importance to all parents.

Cinema Sunday: My Picks of Great Flicks: The Andy Griffith Show

Alexandra Fox

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Yes, I know that The Andy Griffith Show is NOT a movie.

However, my husband recently got a membership with Netflix and we now have available to us so many of the TV series from years ago.

I can remember watching The Andy Griffith Show…loving and kind Sheriff Andy Taylor, well-meaning Aunt Bee and little Opie.  It was a great family show!

The other night, we watched the very first episode of the very first season…originally telecast in 1960…it ran for 8 seasons!

Blended families often have unique problems…step-parents worry that the children of their new spouse may not accept them, the children resent this new person who, in their eyes, can never take the place of their natural parent.

This first episode addressed that issue. 

Sheriff Taylor is a widower and his long-time housekeeper, who had been caring for his son, has just gotten married and is moving away.  Sheriff Taylor contacts his Aunt Bee and asks her to move in as a replacement.  Young Opie rejects her immediately.  He is rude and refuses to join in any activities where she is present…he misses the other housekeeper and doesn’t believe he can love anyone else who tries to take her place.   Aunt Bee tries to bond with Opie…but she doesn’t seem to be able to do the things he enjoys such as fishing.  When she hooks one and sees the little wiggling fish at the end of her line, she runs off into the woods – screaming! 

When Aunt Bee decides to go back home, Opie begs her to stay because he believes she won’t be able to get along by herself since she doesn’t know how to do important things…like fishing.  She needs HIS help!

If you are experiencing a similar problem, take a look at this episode…it will give you hope.

And, even if you are not, it was a wonderful series that brings us back to a “kinder, gentler” time.  Like The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, The Andy Griffith Show reminds us that family values are important and family time spent together is priceless.


Summer is coming sooner than you think and children will be out of school and looking for things to do.  For a great resource that provides HUNDREDS of fun-filled, educational, self-esteem building activities for the entire family (older siblings can help their younger brothers and sisters by reading the stories to them and assisting with the craft project…and the whole family can prepare the recipe together)…please go to my website and check out SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING.

Come by tomorrow for Make-A-Meal Monday.  I’ll also be up-dating my website with new activities for the month of May and a special offer in celebration of Children’s Book Week – May 2-May 8 – the oldest national literary event in the US and Mother’s Day – May 8.