Sibling Rivalry Got You Down?

Portrait of Lady Cockburn and her Three Eldest...

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It’s hard to share!

That goes for toys, treats and parent’s attention!

Here’s a wonderful picture book story that focuses on sibling rivalry.


Written and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan

            Poor Minerva!  Her older brother and her baby sister seem to get all the attention, so Minerva decides to do some naughty things like poke her brother with a fork and pick all the leaves off her mother’s plant.  Her father speaks very kindly to her and explains that she is very special to him, but that perhaps she would like to be noticed for other behaviors.  Minerva helps her brother set the table and reads a story to her baby sister and, enjoying the wonderful praise she gets from her parents, Minerva resolves to be noticed for good behavior instead.

            When young children exhibit negative behavior, they are usually sending out a cry for attention and help.  We need to let our children know, on a daily basis, that they are loved and valued.  Try not to wait until your child is misbehaving to notice what he or she is doing.  Why not notice when your children have picked up toys without being asked to do so or have amused themselves for a short period of time while you were busy on the phone?

     It’s not easy to be the one in the middle.  It’s difficult to be the older child who has been “replaced” by a baby brother or sister.  And sometimes it’s hard to be the only child.   Growing up is a challenge, no matter what!  And being a parent is a challenge as well. 🙂  A positive can-do, matter-of-fact attitude on your part helps create balance and harmony for the entire family.

Choosing stories from the overwhelming number at the library or bookstore can be difficult…Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking divides the 100 story titles into six chapters, each focusing on a different component of building self-esteem.  This great resource is filled with simple fun-filled activities that go along with the stories…and you can pick up a copy during the Jump Into Summer Sale…50% off the cover price.

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

Skewers for eating corn on the cob.

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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

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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?


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.


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...

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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),, 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!

Have You Abandoned Your New Year’s Resolutions: Healthy Habit Thursday

Hiking Symbol

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If you’re like me, you start the New Year off with good intentions.

All of us probably KNOW what we should be doing to stay healthy.

Every January 1st, I make a list of New Year’s resolutions or goals.

Many of them focus on good health habits like walking every day, drinking 8 glasses of water, eating nutritious foods and getting 8 hours of sleep each night.

Then, life gets in the way!

We all lead busy lives and many of us have so many responsibilities that we often push our own needs to the back burner.

Can you believe that 2011 is almost half over?

I’m revisiting those resolutions and goals to see how realistic they were and whether or not I need to revise them.

Taking a time-management class would probably be a great thing for me to do.  I know that 24 hours should be enough time to accomplish what I want to do…the problem is making sure that I am devoting the right amount of time to each task.   Blogging always tends to take more time than I thought it would, but I love connecting with everyone. 🙂

I think what I need to do is write down a schedule of how I think each day should go…and then keep a log of what is actually happening…I’ll then see where I am spending time that might be better used in some other activity.

How do you plan your time?  I’d really appreciate your input because right now, unless I give up sleep, there is no way I can fit everything in. 🙂

I do know that I must walk and exercise…if I let a few days go by without doing it, my muscles tighten up and my back hurts.

I do know that I need to stay hydrated by drinking enough water…if I don’t, I wind up eating more…my body seems to tell me it is hungry when really all it wants is a glass of water.

I do know that I have to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night…if I try to make do with less sleep; I have a lot less energy in the morning and am less productive throughout the day.

I do know that I need to watch what I eat…if I eat “fast food” or highly processed foods, my body complains.

So I am rededicating myself to my 2011 New Year’s resolutions and goals that focus on staying healthy.  The warmer weather is here, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming…it’s time for my walk!

Please stop by tomorrow for Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?  I have several exciting upcoming local events (Summer Soulstice in Monument, CO – June 18, and PBS kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park, Colorado Springs – June 11) to tell you about and also a new special book offer that will go up on my website this weekend.

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase: Rebecca Dunning – Award-Winning Author

I’m honored to present our first-ever guest author feature…a post by award-winning author, Rebecca Dunning.  If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a writer or what obstacles one has to overcome to become an author of a book that gets published, please read her wonderfully candid and informative words.  It takes determination, tenacity and the ability to stay positive and motivated even when obstacles loom before you…Ms. Dunning has all of these attributes and more!  When you are finished, please check out the links at the end of the post so you can visit her website and blog and find out more about her fantastic children’s books, Real Life Princess and Beetle Hunter.


A Personal Reflection on Becoming a Writer: by author, Rebecca Dunning

Being a writer is something that has always been with me. It’s not something that happened over time or due to a defining moment like I’ve heard many writers talk about. Now that I’ve said that, I must admit it has been a long journey into sharing my writings with anyone, feeling like I have anything of worth to offer in comparison to the “greats” and overcoming the resistance that stops me as an artist from exercising my gift.

In the early years of my life, writing brought me sanity. For me, processing my emotions on paper is like breathing air – clean air. When I write it is a catharsis. I feel most normal after I’ve given life to something on paper, even if it isn’t that great.

Beginning in early elementary school, I remember writing short stories in mass and, by the time I was in eighth grade, I entered a competition and got third place. I was devastated that I didn’t get first. So there, I’ve let you in on my biggest hurdle to being a writer:  ME.

Before I got married, I regularly journaled and wrote poetry. Then I married an amazing visual artist and thought that my gift paled in comparison to his. It wasn’t until a couple of years into our marriage that I shared with him anything I’d written. My husband told me that he thought I had talent and really should pursue something with it, but I thought he was just being nice and didn’t do anything with it. Then there were kids and I “was too busy” and so on. There was always an excuse.

Four years ago, my husband and I found a group called Greenhouse Artist Community and joined. I was a writer that didn’t write so I felt like a total poser. The group was organized by a now good friend, Christi Bovee, for artists of all mediums and was meant to facilitate the creative process and give an outlet to share bits and pieces of whatever we were putting our hand to. It was a small group which made it comfortable but the sharing was done on a microphone, which at first was a hard thing, even though I’d traveled for years doing public speaking. After someone shared we then gave feedback.

The first time I shared, I cried like a baby because I brought in one of the most vulnerable pieces I’d ever written…maybe not the best idea. Afterwards, the silence in the room was thick; tears ran down a few faces and, in all honesty, the feedback kick started my career.  I guess I needed a group of people to tell me I had what it takes.

Because of this and a book they recommended called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, I now have two children’s books published and write for various organizations, publications and have a well followed blog.  I’ve just finished my first novel and hope to write for the rest of my life.

I still come up against the big ME sometimes but I have several artists in my life that help me push through it. Getting your most vulnerable writings critiqued by publishers and reviewers can be brutal to the sensitive artistic soul, but it can also be rewarding and has helped me hone my craft.

I get a lot of questions from writers on what to do to get going. There is a lot to say actually but here are a few.

First, write!  Then write some more.

Second, get someone(s) good to edit and critique it. (Not a nice friend who tells you what you want to hear.)

Thirdly, if you want to get published, get a thicker skin than you presently have. When you get ripped apart, learn from it and make yourself get back on the horse as soon as possible. Remember, most people who make it in acting, writing or any other kind of art get a lot more NO’s then yes’s. Get your no’s out of the way so you can get to your yes’s.

All in all, the only way to be a writer is to write.  Period.


Rebecca Dunning is an award winning writer who lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. She not only loves to read and write but also enjoys hiking, climbing mountains 14,000 feet or higher, running, biking, traveling the world and about anything else out-of-doors. Rebecca is the author of two children’s books, The Real-Life Princess and Beetle Hunter and just finished her first novel, The Awen:  Book One of the Sacred Oak Series.

Link to The War of Art:

Link to The Real-Life Princess:

Link to Beetle Hunter:

Link to website:

Link to blog:


I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to welcome Rebecca to Positive Parental Participation.  In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be visiting with several other children’s book authors…hope you all enjoy hearing their stories.

Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?

Interesting Story

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Yesterday I enjoyed my last Show-Me-How Story-time presentation of this school year at Queen Palmer Elementary School in Colorado Springs.  I did two programs…the first teacher had picked Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed by Barney Saltzberg.  What child doesn’t want to hear about a silly pig that has a unique idea of how one should get ready for bed.  The children chuckled when they saw how Cornelius brushed his teeth with a body brush and soap.  They were horrified when Cornelius fed his fish chocolate chip cookies.  They counted the number of books Cornelius had picked for his father to read to him…19 books, they said, NO WAY!  After the story, all of the children made construction paper clocks with movable hands and were excited to be able to take them home to show their parents how they could tell time.  The second teacher had chosen Frederick by Leo Lionni.  The children in that class loved hearing about the little mouse that collected sun rays, colors and words while his family collected nuts, seeds and wheat.  I believe the children understand the lessons behind Mr. Lionni’s story…we need to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual, and every member of the family (even young children) contributes in his or her own special way.  Do you celebrate your child’s uniqueness?  Many of the activities in my book focus on celebrating a child’s unique gifts and talents. 

The teachers loved the book and one of them is going to request that the school obtain copies for the kindergarten classes…she commented that teachers are so busy (just like parents) and would appreciate a resource like Show Me How! because it just about provides 100 lesson plans…complete with story suggestion, arts and crafts project and a simple cooking activity (and many of these are no-cook)!

As many of you read this, I’ll be winging my way from Colorado Springs to Chicago.

I’ll be spending the Mother’s Day weekend with my son and his wife.

Since we all LOVE eating sushi, taking long walks around the lake, watching classic foreign films and being with one another, I know I will have a great time.

My daughter-in-law (the talented artist who designed and drew the cover for my book) is picking me up at the airport.   She’ll be taking me to Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, where I’ll be meeting with the owner of Lollie’s, a beautiful children’s boutique.  Alexis has already read Show Me How!  Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking and is interested in offering it for sale in her shop.  I’m really excited about that!  My hope is that indie bookstores and shops across the country will carry the book to make it more accessible to parents and teachers.  Several libraries in various states have also purchased the book for their collections…if you are not in a position to buy the book, why not ask your local library to purchase copies…many libraries welcome suggestions from patrons regarding future book purchases.   If you feel the book would be a valuable resource for your community, let your library know!

The rest of my time in Chicago will be spent having fun and also connecting with my sister and her sons and their families, all who live in and around the Chicago area. 

So, I may not be able to post in the next few days…but I’ll be back Tuesday afternoon and am eagerly looking forward to my first featured author guest post with Colorado Springs award winning author, Rebecca Dunning.

Also, a quick reminder about the Mother’s Day bonus offer that ends May 8 on my website.   If you purchase a copy of the book (at 20% off the cover price), you will also receive, with your order, a $10 Marshalls/TJMaxx gift card.  What a great deal…a wonderful resource of great fun-filled activities and story suggestions for you to use with your child and a gift card to stores that are overflowing with great stuff for mom…Happy Mother’s Day!