Winner of “Show Me How!” Giveaway

And the winner is…


Congratulations, Liz!

Thanks to all for participating. And for those who did not win a copy of the book and who still would like one, you can order “Show Me How!” from Vivian Kirkfield’s website.

Well, my daughter’s summer holidays start on Friday, so I am going to be slowing down the blogging for the next couple of months. Hopefully, I will still be able to post every couple of weeks though. I wish you a safe, happy, and healthy summer.

“Show me How!” Book Review and Giveaway

I really wish that I had the book “Show me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking” by Vivian Kirkfield when my daughter was younger. The book is divided up into six chapters, outlining several appropriate picture books for different subjects, such as “valuing strengths and qualities” and “feeling appreciated, loved, and accepted.” Each recommended picture book is accompanied by a craft and a recipe.
Vivian generously provided a free copy for me to review. Even better, she has generously provided a free signed copy to one of my lucky readers. But more on that at the end of the post.
It was a rainy day on Sunday, so I decided to test the book out. Although my daughter is now eight years old, and the book is recommended for ages 2-5, I still decided to use her as a guinea pig. But here’s the thing: although my daughter reads chapter books, she still loves it when I read picture books to her. Many people say that picture books are for every age, and I am one of those people who agrees. (Note: The crowd of authors went wild when Allyn Johnston of Beach Lane Press announced at the SCBWI conference I recently attended that they would be taking off the age limits on their picture books.)

Anyway, I decided to start with the book “Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day” by Jamie Lee Curtis, which is included in the section “expressing feelings”. My daughter did not know that we were going to be starting with this book, but she came down the stairs already dressed for it: wearing a bandana on her arm and carrying a balloon. (OK, the balloon was in her mouth.) When she heard that’s what we were going to be reading, and that I thought she was already dressed appropriately, she spent some more time being silly, putting the bandana on the balloon and so on.
Finally we snuggled up to read–or in this case listen–to the book. Now here’s the only slight glitch with the recommended picture books in “Show me How!”. Some of them are older and harder to get. But most of them are available in some form or another, e.g., the library might have it in audio or video format. Snuggling up with your child while someone else reads is also a very satisfying experience.
The book generated little discussion afterwards except for my daughter saying that she felt tired and crabby. I didn’t really see that, but perhaps the crafting and cooking afterwards made her feel better. I know that crafting and cooking always pulls me out of a blue funk.

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We made the sherbet (strawberry instead of blueberry) and then froze it. It was very simple to do.
While it was freezing, we worked on the craft. Confession time: we have never decorated a dress-up storage box. See, I told you I could have used a book like “Show me How!”.

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Does it look like it’s a banana box anymore?

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This craft was definitely a lot of fun.
The sherbert was frozen by the time we finished our craft. Result? Delicious! My daughter’s review: “This is a good way to eat your strawberries. And a delicious one. And this recipe is very simple.”

Now these activities are meant to be done one per day, but I knew that I probably would not have time on another day to review more of the book, so we moved on to another picture book. This time I read “Franklin in the Dark” by Paulette Bourgeois from the section “Acknowledging and Coping with Fears”. I borrowed a 25th anniversary edition from the library. The book is still very relevant today despite its age.
“Franklin in the Dark” generated a rather lengthy discussion. We talked about my daughter’s fears: the dark like Franklin, riding a bike (or more specifically falling off one), roller coasters…Then she wanted to know some of my fears. Definitely roller coasters. Next we talked about the animals that we would be afraid to meet in the wild. Crocodiles for both of us. Finally she showed off some of her knowledge about one of the world’s most dangerous sea creatures: the blue ringed octopus. (Don’t let the fact that it’s only 8” fool you.)
Books that generate lots of discussion are always welcome in our house. Certainly what your child wants to talk about will be different.

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Anyway, we eventually decided to make the trail mix. I had let my daughter pick out what she wanted to include in the trail mix when we went grocery shopping earlier.
Alas, time ran out and we never did get to the accompanying craft, but my daughter was open to doing it another day.
And we will definitely be reading some of the other picture books such as “There’s an Alligator Under My Bed” by Mercer Mayer and doing the accompanying activities.
We really enjoyed our afternoon exploring Vivian’s book. And I think that you will enjoy exploring her book too. So I am giving away a signed copy to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me why you want the book. My lovely assistant (aka my daughter) will draw a name out of a hat on Tuesday June 23, 2015. You have until noon (EST) that day to enter. I will announce the winner on Wednesday June 24. Good luck!

Giveaway Winner

So my lovely assistant pulled a name out of her grandpa’s hat.

And the winner of the Sprang Cleanin’ course is:

My lovely assistant displays the winner's name over the book I am currently reading

My lovely assistant displays the winner’s name over the book I am currently reading

Congratulations Becky! I hope the course helps you to clear out some old stuff for something new.

Thanks to all who participated.

Giveaway: Sprang Cleanin’ Course

(This week’s post is two days early, because I want to give people a chance to enter the contest.)

Those of you who know me well know that I am a lifelong learner. I am always taking some sort of course or other, and I am always really happy when I am doing that.

This year I decided at the beginning of the year that I would not take any more writing courses. I took a bunch last year, and I decided that I want to absorb what I have learned. As well, I have so many writing books that I need to catch up on. So far I have kept my promise except…well except for the fact that I learned that my library is offering free courses…So yes, I am actually taking a writing for children course right now through Gale Courses, which is kindly being paid for by my local library. Who knows if this will ever be offered again, I say, justifying my actions…

But what I didn’t say was that I wouldn’t take other courses. Ha! So I decided to finally take one of Amy Bower’s courses. I have been a member of her Facebook group for some time now, but I have never taken a course of hers. Her Facebook group has such a fabulous group of women in it, and so I decided to finally take the plunge. Her Dream Lab was fantastic! I highly recommend it for those of you who want to explore your dreams.

One of the students taking Dream Lab at the same time as me was Merrick Weaver. Amy’s course convinced Merrick that she should start her own courses. And so she has a brand spanking new offering: Sprang Cleanin’. I am excited about this course, and I hope that you are too, because I am offering a chance for someone to win a spot in her course.

What is Sprang Cleanin’, you say? It is a “three-week online workshop to clear out space & design the life you want. This class runs from May 6th to May 25th. Now’s the time. Get ready for summer & lighten your load!”

To read more about the course, click here. Registration is until May 5th.

Why do I want to take this course? Because I definitely want to clear out some space from my home for something else in my life. For example, I wasted a lot of time doing my taxes this past weekend, because of my inefficient organizational system. I want to clear out the masses of paper I have and find a new organizational system, so I can use more time for writing…

All you have to do for a chance to win is leave me a comment below, and let me know what you want to create more space for.

The contest ends Saturday (May 2, 2015) at noon. My lovely assistant will draw a name out of a hat, and I will announce the winner Saturday afternoon.

Good luck!

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