New Year’s Resolution 1: Acknowledge and Face Your Fears

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

I hope your holidays were a beautiful time with family and friends. Now it’s almost the New Year…a time looking back to see what we have accomplished and looking ahead to make changes if necessary and set new goals. Our fears often hold us back…when you acknowledge and face your fears, you can move ahead. Children enjoy what is familiar and often fear changes in their lives.

My Perfect Picture Book Friday pick examines this theme.

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Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport

Written Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Illustrated by Byron Barton

Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company (1980)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes:

Overcoming fears, moving, new places, travel, trying new things

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

“I live at 165 East 95th Street, and I’m going to stay here forever.” says the young hero firmly. After all, out West nobody plays baseball because they’re too busy chasing buffaloes, and you have to ride a horse to school even if you don’t know how, and you can’t sit down because of the cactus. But his parents are moving West, and they say he has to go, too.

Once there, however, the boy doesn’t meet the Gila monsters he expected. And on the ride to his new home (by taxi, not horse) he discovers the West is neither as different nor as bad as he’d imagined.”

Why do I like this book:

Many people want to stay just where they are! And most children don’t look forward to moving to a new place that will be very different from what they were used to. This book will help any child who is facing this type of upheaval. I love the preconceived notions (mostly due to his best friend’s dire predictions) that slowly but surely are blown away as the main character travels to his new home out west with his family…and discovers that things (and people) are not all that different.

Related Activities:

www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

In the story, the little boy worries that he will have to eat chili and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Why not have your child help you make this delicious vegetarian chili…just perfect for a cold winter’s supper! Children who help with meal preparation are more likely to try new foods.

VEGETARIAN CHILI

You will need: 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 2 Tb minced garlic, 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh), 1 cup canned red kidney beans and 1 cup pinto beans (rinse and drain the beans), ½ cup diced carrot, 2 tsp chili powder (optional), 1 Tb honey, ½ cup grated cheddar cheese, ½ cup yogurt and a large pan with a lid.

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions…cook a few minutes while stirring.
  3. Add garlic.
  4. Add tomatoes, beans, carrots, chili powder and honey.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish each serving with grated cheese and a dollop of yogurt.
  7. Serves 6-8.
  8. Important tip: You may want to do some of the prep beforehand…such as chopping the onions and mincing the garlic…we want our young cooks to be smiling, not crying. In addition, your child can help measure and mix into a bowl…and then you can add the ingredients to the pan…we don’t want young ones near hot pans or stoves.

More resources here: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/gila-monsters-meet-you-airport-lesson-plan

 GIVE YOUR CHILD A HEAD START THIS NEW YEAR

Did your children get lots of new toys this Christmas? Or did you go for a more simple approach?

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.

If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft and simple cooking activities like the vegetarian chili recipe above, you can purchase a copy on Amazon of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

show me how build your child's self-esteem, positive parental participation

At $24.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

create a peaceful home,www.positiveparentalparticipation.com,free bookmarks,show me how build your child's self-esteem

My website is still offering free shipping AND a beautiful hand-crafted fabric bookmark…limited time only!  Offer ends December 30th!

About two years ago, a New York Times article questioned the importance of picture books and predicted that parents would be opting for chapter books for their children instead. Now a recent New York Times article seems to be debating that premise: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/12/26/what-books-are-just-right-for-the-young-reader/the-early-push-toward-chapter-books-is-a-mistake

What are your thoughts?

Super Foods for a Super You in 2011

This image shows a display of healthy foods on...

Image via Wikipedia

Next time you are shopping in your local supermarket, think about putting some of these super foods in your cart.  Each one on the list provides important health benefits for you and your family. 

  1. Apples
  2. Avocado
  3. Beans
  4. Broccoli
  5. Carrots
  6. Cinnamon
  7. Dark Chocolate
  8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  9. Garlic
  10. Honey
  11. Kiwi Fruit
  12. Low Fat Yogurt
  13. Oats
  14. Onions
  15. Oranges
  16. Pineapple
  17. Pomegranates
  18. Pumpkin
  19. Soy
  20. Spinach
  21. Tea
  22. Tomatoes
  23. Turkey
  24. Walnuts
  25. Wild Salmon

If some of these foods are unfamiliar, why not resolve to try a new food every week.  There are many online recipe sites you can go to: http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Main.aspx and http://www.foodnetwork.com/ are two excellent sites to start at.  Your local library probably has a wonderful selection of cookbooks that you can borrow for free.  Of course, there are some people who just LOVE cookbooks (like me and my sister) and enjoy collecting them because we love seeing how many ways there are to make a particular dish.   If reading this makes you smile in recognition, a trip to new and used bookstores, as well as garage or tag sales can result in finding a cookbook treasure.

How about a dinner menu that’s beautiful to look at, delicious to taste, and contains several of the super foods…so you know it will be bursting with health benefits for you and your family.  Let your children help you prepare the meal and you will reap several other benefits: fussy eaters often eat what they have helped prepare and children gain confidence and develop competence when they master kitchen tasks and skills.

 GRILLED SALMON WITH ORANGE SLICES

You will need: 1 lb salmon fillet, 1 Tb olive oil, 1 Tb dried dill (you can substitute basil or thyme), 1 Tb honey, 1 orange

  • Wash the salmon fillet and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Mix the olive oil, honey and dill in small bowl and brush some on the salmon, reserving the rest for basting.
  • Heat the grill and place the fillet, skin side up, on the grill.
  • Grill on low for 5 minutes, turn and baste with the oil/honey/dill sauce.
  • Grill an additional 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Slice the orange and use it to garnish each serving of salmon.

This should feed 4 people…add some steamed broccoli and multigrain rolls for a Super Food Extravaganza!

Tomorrow…some more reasons to serve your family Super Foods…and the best Carrot Cake recipe ever!

Have you kept your New Year’s resolutions?

Maybe “kept” is the wrong word.  Perhaps a better phrase would be “followed through on”.  “Kept” might mean you put it in a drawer and forgot about it.  Out of sight…out of mind.  Do people even make New Year’s resolutions anymore?

I am definitely a “list” person…so making New Year’s resolutions was always something I looked forward to doing.  Every year, on January 1st, I’d sit down with a fresh sheet of paper, a sharpened pencil and a heart filled with high hopes and expectations.  I’d think about what I wanted to accomplish in my life for the up-coming year…healthwise, emotionally and academically.  Drink 8 glasses of water every day.   Get to bed early.  Walk or exercise daily for at least 30 minutes.  Be compassionate.  Speak kindly to others.  Read something uplifting every day. 

When my children were growing up, we sat down once or twice together and made our New Year’s resolutions.  I think this was a wonderful family activity that might create a better parent-child bond…sharing the lists might help parents learn more about who their children are…and might help children learn more about who their parents are.

As I’ve matured, most of the items on the list have remained the same.  But, I’ve added others.  Stretch my mind.  Do things that are outside my comfort zone.  Stand up for what I believe.  Speak out when I should.  And, just as importantly, keep quiet when I should. (Good advice to parents of grown children)

Do I follow through on all of my resolutions every day of the year?  No, I don’t.  Do I beat myself up for “dropping the ball” sometimes?  A little, but I try not to.  Will I make a list of New Year’s resolutions next year?  You bet I will.  For me, it sets the tone for the direction I want to move in.   It encourages me to tackle projects I might otherwise choose to postpone or ignore.  It helps me to  be a better me.