Autumn is in the Air: Time to Turn on the Oven and Bake a Cake

 

I love the fall…cool crisp mornings and warm sunny afternoons.

Here in Colorado, the aspen leaves will be turning to gold, while back in New England where my daughter and her family live; the maples will be wearing flaming headdresses of scarlet, crimson and purple.

 

Many parents will be helping their children plan their Halloween costumes and decorate the house with pumpkins and sheaves of autumn wheat and Indian corn.  Years ago, our local library had an annual pumpkin-painting contest and all of my children looked forward to choosing the “perfect” pumpkin to decorate and enter…hoping to win the coveted first place prize ribbon.

 

As the weather cools down, many of us start getting out the muffin pans and cookie sheets in preparation for holiday baking.  I encourage parents to include their children in meal preparation…and holiday baking is an especially fun time to have your kids in the kitchen. If you are looking for simple child-friendly recipes, you’ll find dozens of them in my book, Show Me How!

Here’s a wonderful recipe for Carrot Cake that doesn’t appear in the book.  It’s special enough for festive occasions, but simple enough so that young children can help.

 

The best thing about this cake is that it is very nutritious (one pound of carrots in each cake) and easy on the digestive system.  I recommend it for anyone who suffers from IBS or GERD problems.

CARROT CAKE

You will need: 1½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, 1½ tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 egg beaten, ½ cup canola oil, 1 tsp vanilla, zest of 1 orange, 1 pound baby carrots grated, ¾ cup pineapple chunks with juice (about ½ cup), 2 bowls, 1 Bundt pan lightly greased, blender or food processor.

  1. Mix in large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  2. Mix in another bowl: brown sugar, beaten egg, canola oil, vanilla, orange zest.
  3. Use a blender or food processor to grate the carrots and add the pineapple chunks and juice and blend until fairly smooth.
  4. Add the carrot/pineapple mixture to the brown sugar/egg mixture and stir well till blended.
  5. Add this to the flour mixture and stir gently but thoroughly..
  6. Pour/spoon into lightly greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.  After 30 minutes or so, turn upside down on a serving plate and allow the cake to continue cooling.
  8. For storage, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator up to one week.

                                                                     For parents who are local to the Colorado Springs area

PLEASE 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

Or email vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

  • 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.

Wrap It Up For Easy Summer Dining: Make-A-Meal Monday

Skewers for eating corn on the cob.

Image via Wikipedia

Want a delicious lunch or dinner idea that’s easy to make and fun to eat?

Fill a whole wheat tortilla wrap!

Use shrimp, tuna or chicken salad and add lettuce, tomato, sprouts, mashed avocado to increase the nutritional benefits.

Do you have creative ideas for filling the tortilla wrap?

You can pair the wrap with corn on the cob or oven fries and your family will think that summer is already here.

Young children love to participate in the kitchen.  Why not invite them to mix the salad ingredients and sprinkle on the sprouts?  Talk about which foods grow and which foods come from animal sources.  While you take care of the corn or oven fries, your children can be creating colorful placemats using construction paper and crayons.

Looking for more healthy child-friendly cooking activities to keep your little ones happy and busy this summer.  Check out my book, now on sale for 50% off the cover price.  Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is an Indie Excellence Awards Finalist and provides hundreds of easy fun-filled educational craft and cooking activities for young children.

What are your plans for this summer?  If you stop by tomorrow, I’ll have a craft idea that your children will love that is educational and fun to do.



Making Memories With Your Children: Summer Craft Activities

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque

Image via Wikipedia

I was in Chicago last weekend for Mother’s Day with my son and daughter-in-law.  I also had an opportunity to visit with my sister and her sons and their families.

One evening, we all got together at a fantastic BBQ, hosted by my nephew and his wife.  We all had a great time…the food was not only delicious, but healthful as well…kudos to Dave and Rebecca!

After dinner, we sat down to look at the old photo albums my sister had brought.  As we turned the pages and my son and his cousin (both in their 30’s) exclaimed over each picture, I realized how important the pictures were…they reminded these grown men of the children they had been and the activities they had been involved in when they were young.

Summer is just around the corner…I know many parents are wondering how they will fill the long hot days with their children.

Of course, there are various solutions to this problem:

  • Put them in some kind of day camp…might be costly.
  • Sit them in front of the TV…how many cartoons do you really want them to watch?
  • Send them to someone else’s house…don’t you want to be the one they get their values and information from?

What is my solution to the problem of young children home for the summer?

READING…CRAFTING…COOKING!

Young children are always eager to hear a good picture book story.


Young children love arts and crafts.


Young children enjoy helping in the kitchen.


If you buy a copy of my book that is FILLED with picture book suggestions and summaries, easy arts and crafts activities and simple healthful recipes, you will be prepared for the long hot summer days ahead.

For starters, here’s a great idea that comes from Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  It will help capture those memories for your child as you create a photo album together.


AN ALBUM OF ME

You will need: A small blank photo album, a selection of photos of your child at different stages of his or her life, self-stick labels and a fine point marker.

1.    With your child, go through some of the pictures that you have of him from birth to the present…and let him choose several to include in his own album.  Make copies if you want to keep the originals in the family album.

2.    Help your child insert each photo and then write a description (with his input) on a label or small strip of paper and press or glue it on the bottom of each page.

3.    Listen to your child while he turns the pages of his album and tells you the story of his life.

4.    Important tip: keep a camera handy…you never know when a photo opportunity arises.

Activities like this help:

  • build your child’s self-esteem!
  • develop pre-reading skills!
  • create a life-long parent-child bond!
  • keep your child busy in a constructive positive fun-filled way that will be fun for you also!

Start planning your summer activities now…with this amazing short-cut for busy parents and teachers!

And please stop by tomorrow for Cinema Sunday: My Picks of Great Flicks.

Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest: That’s Where Miss Vivian Will Be!

Mrs. Laura Bush poses with children and Cliffo...

Image via Wikipedia

Last week was my last Show-Me-How Story-time presentation for this school year.

I wasn’t sure if I would have anything to tell you about in the upcoming weeks on Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian.

But I guess I had nothing to be concerned about. 🙂

Yesterday I met with the head of the District 11 Volunteer Program to go over our plans for the Show-Me-How Story-time presentations for the new school year (which will be here before we know it considering how quickly time is passing).

The response from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive…I know I will be even busier come August and September as the flyer with four new stories and crafts is distributed to all of the kindergarten and Pre-K teachers in District 11 schools.  We decided that these picture books will focus on end of summer and fall themes and I am excited to look through Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to choose four classic picture books and appropriate craft projects that will be enjoyed by all of the children.

We also discussed my connecting with the PTA to offer them presentations for parents and teachers…Positive Parental Participation is a powerful approach that builds a child’s self-esteem and creates a life-long parent-child bond.  I hope to be involved in school book fairs this coming year as well.

When I got home from the meeting, I went online and noticed that there is going to be an awesome local event next month, sponsored by Rocky Mountain PBS Kids and Pikes Peak Parent.  The Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest will take place at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday, June 11 from 10am – 2pm.

I called PBS and was able to secure a spot for SHOW ME HOW!  I’ll be reading and crafting with children (WHAT FUN!) and look forward to being a part of this fun-filled day.  Here’s a copy of the information from PBS Kids’ Facebook Page:

Join us for the Southern Colorado Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest – a fantastic FREE festival for kids and families. (Also, the opening day of the Uncle Wilber Fountain)

Meet Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog; splash in Uncle Wilber Fountain; enjoy live entertainment throughout the day under the band shell; and visit over 20 booths to learn, engage and have fun!

Participants include:

Show Me How! Vivian Kirkfield
Falcon Landing Dental Group
Pikes Peak Library District
Pikes Peak YMCA, Downtown Branch
Girl Scouts of Colorado
Care and Share Food Bank
Imagination Celebration
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Manitou Art Theatre
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Chick-fil-A of Colorado Springs
Western Museum of Mining and Industry
Barnes & Noble
Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale
Marmalade at Smokebrush
Sports Climbing Center of Colorado Springs
FutureSelf
Al Kaly Shriners
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region
Phonics Phantasy Tree House
Mr. E and the Magic of Kyle Groves
Wee Bee and the Smilez
Wells Fargo Bank
And more!

Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest is sponsored by Sylvan Learning Center (2340 Vickers Drive), PikesPeakParent.com, Whole Foods Market and the Friends of the Uncle Wilber Fountain.

They are anticipating a wonderful audience for this opening-of-the-summer-season event…I hope parents who are local (Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo and surrounding towns) will come out to participate with their children!  It will be a great place for preschool teachers and daycare providers to get fresh ideas as well.


Also,the week after the Fun Fest, on June 18th, I’ll be in Monument, CO participating in the Summer Soul-stice town-wide crafting event for children.  If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by at the Covered Treasures Bookstore from 11am – 1pm.  I’ll be doing several craft activities with all of the children who come by.  What a lovely way to spend a summer day in Monument.

What’s happening in your local area in the next few months?  With gas prices expanding and budgets shrinking, parents and other caregivers of young children really need to be inventive in order to provide great activities that keep kids busy, happy and constructively engaged.  Simple arts and crafts activities are a low-cost perennial favorite and whipping up child-friendly recipes with your children in the kitchen is fun and costs nothing…you have to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner anyway.  For hundreds of super easy and economical ideas, please check out my book.  New special offer will be posted this weekend!

AND THE WINNER IS……!

For the last five days, I’ve enjoyed reading the comments left by bloggers who have been entering the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop on my site. 

I’ve tried to visit all of their blogs…there are so many wonderful people out there, writing about their experiences and sharing their triumphs and tragedies.  This was a wonderful way to connect.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, left comments and spread the word about this great resource for parents and teachers of preschoolers.

And the winner of the free copy of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING is…

Phrogmom

The winner was chosen by Random.org  True Number Generator and I’ll be emailing her right away to let her know the good news. 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please go to my website.

I’m offering a SPECIAL $10 REBATE for anyone who entered the giveaway and wants to purchase the book.

Please stop by tomorrow for What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday.

Make-A-Meal Mondays: Child-Friendly Traveling Trail Mix

Flatirons with Spring flowers

Image via Wikipedia

 

Green buds are opening up on our Clematis vine.

Iris shoots are about 10 inches tall already.

The wild cacophony of birdsong woke me at 5:30 this morning.

SPRING IS REALLY HERE!!!

Although we may get a little more funky weather here in Colorado – yesterday was Easter Sunday and a dusting of snow covered the grass when I looked out the window in the morning – the signs of spring are evident.

The school year is winding down and families will be planning outings and trips.  Some of them may have to be local…gas prices are on the rise again and it is quite costly to drive long distances.

But there is so much to do and see…even walking to a local park and having a simple picnic can be a wonderful experience for young children.  On Wednesday, I’ll review a classic story by Miriam Cohen about two young girls whose parents provide them with an exceptional vacation…just steps away from their home.

Whether you drive or walk, here is a great recipe for a child-friendly trail mix that will keep little hands and mouths occupied.

CHILD-FRIENDLY TRAVELING TRAIL MIX

 

Great to have on hand – keep several zip-lock bagsful to grab when you have to run out to the store with your child – it’s a much healthier alternative to candy bars and chips!

You will need: 2 cups Corn Chex, 2 cups Wheat Chex, 2 cups Rice Chex, 2 cups pretzels (thin sticks or mini), 1½ cups mixed nuts or peanuts (optional), 1 Tb margarine (use the healthier non-hydrogenated kind or substitute butter), 2 tsp Braggs Aminos or soy sauce and a 13x9x2 inch microwave-safe baking dish.

1.    Melt the margarine (you can do this in the microwave…just make sure you cover the dish), mix with Braggs Aminos or soy sauce and pour into the baking dish.

2.    Add the cereals, pretzels and nuts and mix thoroughly to coat.

3.    Microwave on high for three minutes.

4.    Stir and continue to heat in the microwave, one minute at a time, until evenly toasted.

5.    Makes about 2½ quarts.  Store in an airtight container.

6.    You can substitute the crispy or chex-type cereals you have on hand and eliminate the nuts if your child is too young or has nut allergies.

I often see young children in a shopping cart, fussy and hungry, mother frantically trying to grab the items she needs from the supermarket shelves.  Just think how much happier everyone would be if the child had a little zip-lock bag of this trail mix. 🙂

This is the last day to enter the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop and Giveaway.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING.  The Traveling Trail Mix recipe is only one of 100 child-friendly cooking activities you’ll find in this great resource for parents and teachers.  Just click on the Hoppy Easter link above, follow my blog, and you might be the winner!  And you can also check out the over 250 other blogs that are participating and offering prizes and giveaways!

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

A HOPPY EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA BLOG HOP

APRIL 20 – APRIL 25

THIS IS A MEGA-GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP HOSTED BY:

I AM A READER NOT A WRITER AND ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT

THERE WILL BE ONE COPY OF SHOW ME HOW! IN MY GIVEAWAY (USA ONLY)

MANDATORY ENTRY: YOU MUST SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG BY CLICKING ON “EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS” AND ALSO LEAVE A COMMENT

IN THE COMMENT FIELD

THERE ARE OVER 250 BLOGS PARTICIPATING IN THIS GIVEAWAY HOP

YOU CAN CLICK ON THIS LINK AND IT WILL GIVE YOU THE LINKY LIST

http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-hop-page.html

SO NOW I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE BOOK AND WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO WIN THE COPY!

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, www.Bessthebookbus.org.   

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!

http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-hop-page.html

Have fun hopping around…and good luck!