A Father’s Day Tribute to the Fathers I Have Known

 To my own father: We both loved Saturday mornings when we watched TV together…Tarzan and Ramar of the Jungle.  Walking to the little grocery store on Sunday to buy Thomas’ English muffins to have with breakfast…you always bought me a Charlotte Russe…if I close my eyes now, I can see the mound of whipped cream topped with a cherry.  Going to the park across the street with you and my best friend, Jane, and her father…eagerly running ahead to grab swings next to each other so both proud papas could push us so high, we were almost parallel with the top bar.   And bowling together as a father/daughter team when I was in college…winning the little trophy that was awarded to the highest scorers…we were both so proud!

To my husband: You were always there for all three of our children, especially when they were troubled…or in trouble.  You never scolded at those times…you supported them 100% and let them know that you loved them.  You encouraged them to follow their dreams and worked hard to provide for them.   When our oldest son was a toddler, you took a second job to supplement your teacher’s income…after working all day­; you had a hurried dinner and then worked at a convenience store till midnight.  When you had your first heart attack at age 36, our three children were all under 10 years old and I know you thought you would never live to see them grow up.  But you persevered and, even though you had your third heart attack a month before our daughter’s wedding, you flew half-way across the country so you could walk her down the aisle and give her away.   I know how proud you were then…that was in 2002…and last week you gave her son his first fishing lesson.

To my oldest son: As a SAHD, you constantly impress me with your loving yet firm approach to parenting.  Your twins are almost six years old already and you’ve supported them in their varied interests in every stage of their development.  They are bright, loving, caring and funny and a joy to be with and I am proud of the father that you are to them.

To my son-in-law: There is a lot of talk about being a “hands-on” parent…we expect it of moms…but often dads are busy with work and they don’t care to spend their spare time with their little ones.  You have been there as an equal partner raising your son…what a team you and our daughter make!  Jeremy has a wonderful role model in you…you are a wonderful father and the bond you are establishing now will last a life-time!

The past two Saturdays, I’ve met quite a few fathers…last week at the PBS Kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park and yesterday at Monument’s Summer Soul-Stice.  I’ve been really impressed with how many dads accompany their families…after all, they could be home watching a ball game or taking a nap. 🙂

Seriously though, to be in your child’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  Dads and moms strengthen the parent-child connection when they spend “quality” time with their little ones. 

I hope you’ll visit my website and check out Show Me How!  It’s really a great book for families who are looking for things to do with their kids.

  • It’s an activity book…100 simple craft projects, 100 easy recipes, 100 picture book suggestions and summaries.
  • It’s a memory book…every other page has a lined area where parents can record important highlights or how a book or activity helped solve a problem the child was having.
  • It’s a parenting guide…100 tips on building a positive self-image along with an hour-by-hour sample plan for your day.

You can’t get much of real value these days for $22.50…that’s a saving of 50% off the cover price.  Start your summer off with a plan of activities…the school bells will be ringing before you know it.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Colorado Springs PBS Kids Fun Fest at Acacia Park

Hundreds of happy children and their parents turned out for the Southern Colorado Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest on Saturday, June 11th at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. 

With music and entertainment on the bandstand and Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George in costume, Acacia Park came alive.  It was also the official opening of the Uncle Wilbur Fountain that many children enjoy during the hot summer days.

I was thrilled to be partnering with PBS and even before the event got underway, early visitors stopped by to check out the SHOW ME HOW table.  Almost 70 parents filled out an entry for the free craft supply kit…and the winner is…Dawn!!!  I’ll be emailing her today to let her know she is the lucky winner!

Many of the participants at the Fun Fest offered activities for the children…at the Show Me How! table, we were crafting Curious George paper plate faces and Clifford the Big Red Dog headbands with doggy ears.  Easy enough for a very young child to do and so much fun…using inexpensive materials that parents already have around the house…paper, crayons or markers, a paper plate, scissors and glue.  Hundreds of happy children walked away proudly wearing their Clifford headbands and waving their Curious George paper plate faces.

It was amazing to see how much the children enjoyed these simple art activities.  Even though my book is geared for children ages 2 to 5, many of the older children sat down and eagerly began decorating their headbands or paper plate faces.  Just because the headband was for Clifford the Big Red Dog didn’t mean that the children had to color it red.  In fact, there were many rainbow headbands and others with detailed designs.  One child decided that his Curious George paper plate face needed to be a frog instead of a monkey and so he used green markers to color it in.  Hurray for the uniqueness of every child!!!!

I was so happy to see the parents participating with their children because that’s what Show Me How!  Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is all about!  The book is a road map for parents and teachers…open it to any page and you will find a picture book suggestion with summary and a simple craft project and an easy recipe.

Are you overwhelmed and tired at the end of the day?  I know I was when my children were small.  I would have loved to have a resource like Show Me How!  In fact, that’s why I wrote the book, because I realized that many parents have so much on their plate these days, they often don’t have the time or the energy to plan fun-filled educational self-esteem-building activities for their little ones.

Please head over to my website where you can purchase a copy of this amazing award-winning book for only $22.50…that’s a 50% saving off the cover price!  You can’t get much for under $25 these days when it comes to gifts and Father’s Day is right around the corner.   Chris Singer @bookdads is doing a tribute to fathers and I did a guest post  on his blog.  You’ll have fresh ideas for the whole summer and beyond!  And here’s a BONUS:  if you purchase a copy from my website during the next 14 days, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free craft supply kit for your preschooler…safety scissors, glue stick, construction paper, and more!

I’d also like to remind anyone who is local to the Colorado Springs/Monument Colorado area that next Saturday, June 18th from 11am to 2pm there will be a town-wide festival for children called the Summer Soul-Stice.  I’ll be at the Covered Treasures Bookstore, crafting with children.  There was an announcement in the Denver Post and other local papers about it…so I’m hoping there will be a big turnout!  Please stop by and say hello.

Can You Take a Young Child Fishing and Hiking?

Our 2½ year-old grandson has been visiting us.

We’ve had so much fun together…reading, crafting and cooking using the suggestions from my book, of course!

But one of the best activities during the last few days was when we went to Eleven Mile Canyon near Lake George, Colorado

My husband is an avid fly-fisherman…and wanted to give Jeremy his first fishing experience.  Armed with a scaled down size spinning rod and reel, Jeremy was put in the competent hands of his grandfather.  What an awesome time they had together.  Jeremy was excited about everything…except for the worms which wiggled too much!

When Jeremy was ready for a break…so that his mom and dad could have a chance to wet the line…he was more than happy to sit on the grass and make dry grass bouquets.

The outdoors is an amazing place for children.  With a little preparation and care (hat and sunscreen, water to stay hydrated, etc.) they can have a wonderful time while learning how to preserve and protect our precious planet.

For those of you who are local to Colorado Springs, please don’t forget about a great FREE event this coming Saturday…Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs from 10am to 2pm.  There will be entertainment and so many activities for children.  Please stop by the Show Me How! table and say hello!  If you bring your kids, they can craft a Clifford the Big Red Dog or Curious George paper plate.

Free Summer Fun for Families

Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park

Image by Alaskan Dude via Flickr

$50…the cost to fill up my little Hyundai Elantra!

$42…the cost to take a family of four out to popcorn and a movie!

$207…the cost to take a family of four to a Six Flags Amusement Park…and that doesn’t include any food or drinks!

$208…the cost to take a family of four to a Red Sox baseball game…that is just for the cheapest seats and again, no food or drinks!

How about some ideas for Free Summer Fun for your family?

1.    Check out your local paper, either the print copy or online…most have a “GO” section where special events are listed…many of them are free like concerts in the park.  Here in Colorado Springs, we have a great FREE event coming up on June 11 from 10am to 2pm in Acacia Park sponsored by PBS.  The PBS Fun Fest will feature Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George plus lots of entertainment and many booths that will offer a variety of crafts and activities for children.  I’LL BE THERE…CRAFTING WITH KIDS AND HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME!  If you are local to Colorado Springs, please stop by and say hello!

2.    Check out your local library.  Most libraries offer many programs, presentations and activities for children…and they are almost always FREE!  A library card is one of the most precious gifts you can give to your children…another FREEBIE!!!

3.    Check out one of our fabulous National Parks…there are several days during the year when admission is FREE…the first day of summer, June 21, is one of those.  A fellow blogger has some great info in her a recent post.

How do you stay within your budget during the summer while still providing fun-filled activities for your family?  Please share…your ideas might be just perfect for another family.

The next few weeks will be pretty hectic for me.  My daughter, son-in-law and grandson arrive today from New Hampshire and will be spending several days with us.  So far our plans include teaching our 2½ year-old grandson how to fish, spending a day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and hiking in Garden of the Gods.  I’ll be sure to post some photos.

Then on June 11, I’ll be crafting at the PBS Kids Fun Fest at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs.

And, on June 18th from 11am to 1pm, I’ll be crafting with kids at the Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument, CO as part of a FREE town-wide festival for children called Summer Soul-Stice.

Still wishing you had some great activities that are easy, inexpensive and fun to do with your kids.  Please go to my website where you can buy a copy of my book at 50% off the cover price during the JUMP INTO SUMMER SPECIAL.

Dollar Store Madness: Where’s Miss Vivian?

Ad for St. Joachim Dollar Store, Boston. From:...

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I took the day off from work today.

I had several vacation days left that needed to be used before May 22.

I thought about turning over and going back to sleep, but then I would feel that I had “wasted” the day.

One of the most important things on my to-do list was to get over to one of our local dollars store to grab some stuff for the upcoming Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest on June 11.

The dollar stores are a take-off on the old discount stores like Woolworth’s 5 & 10 and John’s Bargain Stores.  I remember fondly many afternoons spent combing the aisles in John’s Bargain Stores in New York City as a young girl…colorful scarves, pencils with fancy erasers, costume jewelry and more! 

A plastic tablecloth and items for the bag of craft supplies giveaway were on the top of the list.  After walking up and down the aisles several times and asking one of the women who worked there, I came away with 3 bags of stuff, most of which wasn’t on my list.  Dollar stores are like that.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have a lime green tablecloth, so I settled for red…but now that I think about it, I should have chosen the yellow.  And they didn’t have the glue sticks or safety scissors they had last time.  So I will probably have to go back tomorrow or head over to a different dollar store location to see if their shelves have what I need.

Do you shop at dollar stores?  Are we really getting a bargain or does it just feel that way because everything is a dollar?  I don’t know…maybe the same item is 50 cents at a regular store. 🙂

I wanted to pass along a wonderful post by blogger Kathryn of Kid Culture.  She writes about a topic near and dear to my heart: Self-Esteem and Respecting Others and gives parents some great tips.

We all want our children to grow up with a positive self-image.  There are many things we can do to ensure that…one of the most important is to spend positive time with them.  Open Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to any page and you will find a summary of a great picture book to read to your preschooler, a gentle parenting tip to help you use the story to build self-esteem, an easy eco-friendly craft and a simple healthful cooking activity.  This great resource can definitely be a life-saver for busy parents.  Grab a copy during our half-price sale and you will be ready for the long hot summer days!

Simple Crafts for Summer Fun: To-Do Tuesdays

A "whimsy" from a nautical-themed wo...

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Do ducks like the water?

Does the sun rise in the east?

Do kids love crafting?

The answer to all of these questions is YES!

Here’s a simple craft activity from Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  It requires only 5 things…I’m sure you have all five in your home already.  Your child will love making this puzzle and will enjoy putting it together and taking it apart…great pre-reading skills!


You will need: A picture (from an old magazine for example), a piece of heavy weight construction paper approximately the same size as the picture your child has chosen (or one side of a cereal box), a pair of safety scissors, paste or a glue stick and an envelope in which to store the pieces.

1.    Let your child choose a picture from an old magazine.

2.    Paste the picture onto the construction paper or cardboard.

3.    Cut the mounted picture in pieces.  Depending on the age of your child, this could be a two or three or more piece puzzle.

4.    Help your child put the pieces together to form the picture.

5.    Store the pieces in an envelope.

I’ll be doing a similar craft in downtown Colorado Springs on June 11th at the PBS Kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park from 10am to 2pm.  There will be all kinds of entertainment and many tables of craft activities for children.  If you are local, this is a MUST-GO-TO event…lots of fresh ideas for parents and teachers!

KTSC-KFF- Color Flier

Please stop by tomorrow for What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase for a great picture book suggestion for summer reading.   And don’t forget to visit my website to take advantage of the Jump Into Summer Half-off Sale.

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

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

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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
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!