Happy Mother’s Day!


Sunday Post: Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who has eveR held a baby or read to a child or sat white-knuckled in the passenger seat as her teenage son or daughter took the wheel of the family car for the first time. Happy Mother’s Day to every mom, grandmother, auntie, teacher, daycare provider or counselor who has held a child’s hand and offered love, encouragement, a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.

Should You Write to Your Kids?


My mother was a stay-at-home mom in the 50’s and 60’s..the days of Father-Knows-Best and Leave it to Beaver. She was Continue reading

To Write Or Not To Write: Letters To My Kids

Should You Write to Your Kids?

In honor of Father’s Day (which is next Sunday, June 16), I was asked to contribute to Bob Brody’s Letters to My Kids blog.

Bob is passionate about encouraging parents to write letters to their kids to share family stories…this helps kids gain a sense of self-worth and a stronger parent-child bond.

Here is the link for the Father’s Day post: http://letterstomykidsdotorg.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/fathers-day-guest-columnist-vivian-kirkfield-never-enough-but-always-plenty/

I also participated on Bob’s blog for Mother’s Day and wrote a letter to my children about my own mother: http://letterstomykidsdotorg.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/guest-columnist-vivian-kirkfield-the-grandmother-you-hardly-knew/

When and what should parents write letters to their kids?

  • On holidays or special occasions
  • Anytime
  • To share your own childhood experiences
  • To share things that happened when they were very young
  • To relate interesting family stories
  • To say I’m sorry
  • To congratulate them on an accomplishment or goal reached

Many years ago, when my children were very young and they wanted to give me a gift for a birthday or other special time, I would tell them, “Write me a love letter!” Those letters and cards that they made themselves are still tucked away carefully and treasured by me. When your children give you a gift like that, it will outlast any box of candy, bouquet of flowers or trinket they might find at the store.

Sunday Post: Mother’s Day

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge…today’s theme, very appropriately, is MOTHER’S DAY.

Sunday Post: Mother's Day


Sunday Post: Mother's Day

Here are some flowers!

Sunday Post: Mother's day

And some chocolates!

          ”When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”  ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

And a quote!

Here are several articles from around the internet that you might enjoy: Continue reading

PPBF: Mother’s Day Edition and Tribute to Maurice Sendak: David Gets in Trouble

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

Picture books have a special place in the hearts of many people…and there are a few authors whose names are instantly recognizable around the world.  Maurice Sendak was one of those…an author/illustrator extraodinaire…anyone reading his books (Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There and many others) would be instantly aware that this man remembered what it feels like to be a child.  For more information about this gifted groundbreaking artist and writer: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/books/maurice-sendak-childrens-author-dies-at-83.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

My book choice today has a flavor reminiscent of the work of Mr. Sendak…it celebrates mothers (yes, Mother’s Day is only a few days away)…and shows what they have to deal with on a daily basis…the good, the bad and the ugly.

David Gets in Trouble
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
Publisher: Little Brown and Company (2000)
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Family, unconditional love, misbehavior/consequences, boys
Opening lines: ”When David gets in trouble, he always says, “No! It’s not my fault!”

From an Amazon reviewer: “No and David were the first words David Shannon learned how to spell. Shannon’s Caldecott Honor Book No, David! is based on a book he made as a child showing a kid doing all the things he isn’t supposed to do. In the sequel David Goes to School, it turns out that teachers say no, too.
In this third picture book, it’s David’s turn to talk back. What does he say when he gets in trouble? “I didn’t mean to.” (Skateboarding into a lamp table.) “It was an accident!” (Hitting a baseball into a window.) “I forgot!” (Happily walking down the street… in his underpants.) “But Dad says it!” (Boy in corner with mouth full of soap.) Of course, the cat-tail-pulling, burping, grape-juice-dropping, runny-egg-hating, out-of-control David wins us over in the end. A defiant “No, it wasn’t me!” evolves into a guilt-ridden, late-at-night shout, “Yes! It was me! I’m sorry. I love you, Mom.”

Why I like this book:
Caldecott honor award winner David Shannon knows how kids feel…and children love hearing about the adventures…or misadventures…of little David. This is a wonderful book for moms as well…it is heartening to know that our own kids aren’t the only ones who test a parent’s patience! The message at the end of the book is a perfect Mother’s Day gift for every mom…”I’m sorry. I love you, Mom.”
Related Activities:
David’s mother used soap to wash out his mouth when he used inappropriate language, but you can utilize a bar of soap with your children in a much more enjoyable way.

Soap Boat
Make this super boat and customize with your child’s name. They will be begging you to take a bath!
3 and up
What you need
• Foam Paper
• Soap
• White craft glue
• Popsicle stick
• Letter Stickers

What you do
1. Un-wrap a single bar of soap.
2. Cut two triangle shapes out of the foam paper (one slightly bigger than the other)
3. Glue the triangle pieces to craft stick ( one in front the other in back)
4. Decorate the sail; we used a small star out of the foam paper in coordinating color.
5. Insert Popsicle stick into soap.
6. Name your boat with letter stickers.
7. Set sail.
The above instructions and picture came from the website of The Crafty Noodle.
For more soap bar projects, visit Artists Helping Children: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/barsofsoapcraftsideasdecorationskids.html
Video interview with David Shannon: http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/shannon/


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.

Making Blood Draws Easier for Kids: Healthy Habit Thursday

A female doctor examines a child.

Image via Wikipedia

Do you like going for blood draws?

I don’t know about you, but it’s not my favorite activity.

In fact, I don’t think there are very many people who would look forward to that…unless you are a character in the Twilight series. 🙂

And if having blood drawn is unpleasant for most adults, imagine how little children feel about it!

In two weeks, I have an appointment to see my family doctor for my annual physical and he always wants me to have various lab tests done beforehand.   So, the other day, I went to Healthlink, one of Memorial Hospital’s outpatient lab facilities in Colorado Springs, to get my blood drawn. 

While sitting in the waiting room, I saw a notice hanging on the wall entitled, “Making Blood Draws Easier for Kids”.

After reading it, I spoke to the staff and asked if I could copy it and post it on my parenting blog because I knew that there must be many parents who would appreciate the information. 

They were happy to have me pass along these simple tips that may help parents whose children need to have blood drawn.

1.     Your attitude is contagious!  If you are tense, your child will get tense as well.

Be positive!

Be honest with your child that it might hurt!

Talk about where or what you are going to be doing when you leave!

2.     Your child could sit on your lap during the blood draw.

3.     You could stand behind him or her and give a shoulder rub during the draw.

4.     You could hold his or her other hand.

5.     You could tell his or her favorite story.

6.     You could leave the room…sometimes older kids would prefer this…it makes them feel grown up.

7.     When it is all over, tell your child that you are proud of him or her…no matter how he or she acted during the draw.

8.     Things NOT to say:

  • Don’t say it won’t hurt!
  • Don’t say just think of something else!
  • Don’t say just act like a big boy or girl!

As a parent, I appreciate how hard it is to see your child being stuck with a needle.  I applaud the Healthlink staff for their foresight in posting this notice to encourage parents to be positive and honest with their children.  If you have a child who needs to have blood drawn just once in a while for a particular test or on a regular basis because of some ongoing health problems, I hope these suggestions will be helpful.

Here’s another suggestion: Mother’s Day is only a few days away…and the long days of summer are just around the corner.  We are offering a special Mother’s Day bonus for anyone who purchases a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  Get a copy of this wonderful resource, brimming with fun-filled educational activities for young children, and receive a $10 Marshalls/TJMaxx Gift Card for mom as a bonus.  Visit my website for the details.  Offer ends on May 8.

Please stop by tomorrow for Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian and find out about my visit at Queen Palmer School and my exciting plans for the Mother’s Day Weekend!

Mother’s Day Special: What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday

Mrs. Ramsay and her children, Montreal, QC, 1891

Image by Musée McCord Museum via Flickr

“You may have tangible wealth untold,

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,

Richer than I you can never be,

I had a mother who read to me.”

This well-known verse by Strickland Gillihan points out so clearly how important it is to read to your child.  I know that most of you do…for those of you who don’t…you are missing out on something really special.  Reading picture books with young children is special for several reasons:

  • It engages the child in the story and events between the pages.
  • It develops pre-reading skills.
  • It opens up a window of opportunity for you and your child to discuss, not only the story, but how it relates to your child.  Often, during story-time, children are able to talk more openly about issues that bother them.
  • The time you spend together creates a life-long parent-child bond and can be so much fun for everyone involved.

Here’s a great children’s book that celebrates Mother’s Day.

No Time For Mother’s Day by Laurie Halse Anderson is a story about a little girl who has two days to decide what to get for her mother.  She goes shopping with her cousin whose mom had given her daughter a list of what she wanted and the money to buy everything.  However, Charity does not see anything she wants to get for her mother.  What she really wants to get is an extra pair of hands for her mother who is always so busy.  On Mother’s Day, Charity’s present to her mom is revealed…a day of peace and quiet.  Charity has turned off all of the phones and things that go beep.

Some other good Mother’s Day titles:

1.      My Mother is Mine by Marion Dane Bauer

2.      Berenstain Bears & the Mama’s Day Surprise by Jan and Stan Berenstain

3.      Happy Mother’s Day by Steven Kroll

4.      A Present for Mom by Vivian French

5.      I Love You, Mama by Isabel Gaines

Reading, crafting and cooking with young children are wonderful activities that build self-esteem, develop pre-reading skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.  If you’d like some more activities to fill the summer days ahead, you can purchase a copy of my book.   It provides hundreds of great picture book suggestions, simple craft projects and easy cooking activities…enough to keep everyone happy and busy all summer long and beyond!

If you go to my website, you’ll be able to buy a copy at 20% off the cover price AND receive a bonus $10 Marshalls/TJMaxx gift card that will be mailed to you with the book.  This is a special Mother’s Day offer, good only until May 8.  The book is a great Mother’s Day gift for any mom who is time-short.  There are 256 pages that are chock-full of easy eco-friendly activities that will keep your young children busy every day.

Buy a copy between May 1 and May 8 and receive a $10 Marshalls/TJMaxx Gift Card (aren’t these two of the best stores for moms?) with your order.

Please stop by tomorrow…for Healthy Habit Thursday…I’ll have some great tips about how to make blood draws easier for kids.

On Friday, I’m flying to Chicago to spend Mother’s Day weekend with my son and daughter-in-law.  I will be meeting with the owner of Lollie’s, a children’s boutique, to discuss placing Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking in her shop…she’s read the book and loves it and would like to have it available for her customers. 🙂  So, Miss Vivian will be in Chicago for the next few days!

And I’m really excited because next week, we’ll be featuring a guest post from a local Colorado Springs author, Rebecca Dunning.  She’s a really special lady and I’m thrilled to welcome her to next week’s What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday.

Make-A-Meal Mondays: Mother’s Day Special

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday.

What does every mother really need?

Perhaps some of you might say a day at the salon or a new dress.

Others might dream about a romantic get-away or dinner at a fancy restaurant.

But budgets are tight for most of us and young children really don’t have money to spend.

So what can your young children give you?

Here’s a beautiful solution that involves your young children in the planning and preparation (children love to help in the kitchen and it builds self-esteem, develops pre-reading skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond. 

It’s also fun for the entire family and costs nothing more than a regular lunch or dinner at home.

Have a Mother’s Day Picnic…outside if the weather is mild (at a local park if you have one nearby) or indoors if it is cold or rainy.  Spread out the blanket on the living room floor and you are all set!

Use paper plates for no-hassle cleanup…not having to prepare or clean up the meal is a wonderful gift for any mom.


You will need: An assortment of fruit such as grapes, strawberries and apples, a small block of American, Cheddar or Swiss cheese, several slices of cooked turkey or chicken and bamboo skewers.

1.     Wash the fruit, cut stems off the strawberries, cut the apples in chunks.

2.     Cut the cheese into small cubes.

3.     Cut the meat slices into strips.  Roll each strip before you push it onto the skewer.

4.     Push pieces of fruit, cheese and meat onto each skewer in a colorful arrangement…let your child decide.

5.     Wrap each completed skewer in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready for the picnic.

To round off the meal, choose whole wheat rolls or crackers and a juice box for each member of the family.  Bring a ball to toss back and forth if you go to a park.   If your picnic is indoors, why not turn on some music and have a family dance-off.  I guarantee that your young children will treasure this Mother’s Day memory for years to come and, hopefully, you will as well. 

Spending fun positive time together (that doesn’t cost a fortune and cause financial stress) builds family bonds.  If you want some more Mother’s Day activities, including a craft project that will make beautiful note cards your child can give to a beloved grandmother or preschool teacher, please head over and click the activities tab on my website at http://www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

Summer is just around the corner.  I know that many parents are wondering what they will do with their children.  Great activities abound in my new book.   

For this week only, in honor of Mother’s Day, we are offering a $10 MARSHALLS/TJMAXX GIFT CARD (two of the favorite stores of every mom) that will be included when your book ships out to you…a treasure-trove of fun-filled simple activities for your child and a lovely gift for you!  Happy Mother’s Day from MoneyPenny Press, Ltd.