Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review: The Magic Christmas Carpet: 25th Anniversary Edition



Product Details 
The Magic Christmas Carpet: 25th Anniversary Edition
By: K. K. Corner and Sharon L. Richert
Published by:  Tex Ware Publishing; Date: 2012
ISBN: 978-1478349815
Price: $15.99
Ages: 4-8
Rating:  5 stars
Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker

Synopsis: Where would you go if you had a magic carpet that could take you anywhere?  Brian lives in a cozy house on the snowy and wintry edges of the midnight sun exactly one horizon away from the North Pole with his parents and his dog Sir Jeffery which is old and nearly blind in both eyes.  He is a fortunate boy because his home is Santa’s first stop on Christmas Eve.  In fact, every year, two nights before Christmas, Santa’s elves warm up the restless reindeer above nearby housetops, and Brian has heard them prancing on his roof, but he has never been quick enough to catch them.
      
However, for the past two years, Brian has been able to climb on the slippery roof and collect glistening strands of reindeer hair, which he keeps in a matchbox under his pillow.  On Christmas Eve, the matchbox suddenly begins to glow, and when Brian reaches for it, it starts to soar around the bedroom, so he decides to use his mother’s darning needle to weave the strands of reindeer hair into the folds of a scatter rug.  The rug can fly!  It also tells him that it will take him anywhere he wants to go on Christmas Eve.  Brian determines to go to Spectacle Valley to get a pair of glasses for Sir Jeffery.  However, on the way, they pass by Pirate’s Gold Creek where he fills his pockets with bright yellow nuggets, but he will ultimately have to choose between keeping something for himself and getting the dog glasses.  What will he do? 
     
Overall thoughts:  This charming story by author K. K. Corner, which was first published as a Christmas feature for the Nordstrom stores of the Pacific Northwest in 1987, helps youngsters to understand better and truly appreciate the spirit of giving which we associate with the Christmas holidays.  This 25th Anniversary Edition of the classic tale has full-page, colorful, eye-catching artwork by illustrator Sharon L. Richert.  Corner, who is the grandfather of eight, has been writing children’s stories for over 25 years, and his previously published books include Mee-Ander the Gander, Jaw-Jaw the Donkey, and The Gawky Giraffe, each with illustrations by Richert.  Also, he has been a consultant to game developers, and one of his most successful projects helped launch the popular game Pictionary.  The Magic Christmas Carpet deserves to become a Christmas reading tradition.
      

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tips For Teaching Kids About Compassion

Helping your child learn to feel compassion and empathy for others is one of the most important lessons you can instill in them as a parent. As bullying and cruelty become more prevalent, and children and teens are resorting to extremes to find relief from the torment of their peers, helping your child to understand how important it is to respect the feelings of others can make a very real difference in the world around her. While it’s not always easy to help a child grasp such an abstract concept, there are steps you can take, as a family, to make the concept of being compassionate more understandable.
  • Model Compassionate Behavior – Just as your child learns to mimic your mannerisms and speech patterns, she’ll also take most of her cues about how to treat her peers, elders, animals and the environment from you as well. Making a conscious effort to model compassionate, altruistic behavior in everyday life is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that your child also learns to behave in such a manner. When your child sees you treat the world around you with compassion, she will instinctively follow the shining example you’ve set for her.
  • Take Opportunities to Talk about Caring for Others – When your child is confronted with images of violence, cruelty or bullying through television, movies and even her everyday interactions with the world, it’s important to take the opportunity to talk about how she thinks the victims of those actions feel and how she might be able to help. With these examples to examine as points of reference, a largely abstract notion can become more concrete and easier to understand. Take the time to discuss empathy and compassion every day, especially when events or images bring the issue to the forefront.
  • Volunteer as a Family – Spending time as a family performing volunteer work can give your child not only an up close and personal view of compassion and empathy in action, but also the satisfied feeling that comes with making a positive difference in the world. Making an effort to choose volunteer activities based upon your child’s existing interests, the age-appropriateness of the tasks involved, and her ability to immediately see a perceptible difference due to her actions can help your child understand that helping others is both important and rewarding. Working together as a family can also strengthen bonds, give you an opportunity to continuously model compassionate behavior, create talking points for later discussion, and allow you to monitor what she’s exposed to in the course of her volunteer work.
  • Teach Kids to Stand Up to Bullying – While your child should understand that it’s never acceptable to approach a bully in a confrontational or violent manner, and that retaliation isn’t a solution to the problem of bullying, you should also encourage her to make an effort to stand up to school bullies in a compassionate and productive way. Reporting harassment of another child to school authorities, making an effort to befriend children that aren’t easily accepted by their peers, and never engaging in bullying activities are all effective ways of combating the problem without retaliation. It’s also important to explain that standing aside and doing nothing to assist a victim of bullying or laughing at cruel pranks is the same as condoning the treatment her classmate is receiving.
  • Donate Outgrown Toys and Clothes – When your child outgrows her toys and clothing while they’re still in serviceable shape, it’s a good idea to get her involved in the sorting and packing process, and then let her accompany you when you go to make a donation. Seeing that the belongings she no longer needs are finding good use in a needy home can instill the importance of charitable giving, and ease any pangs of separation anxiety she feels.
  • Practice Random Acts of Kindness – Keeping your eyes open for small acts of unexpected kindness that you and your child can perform together can not only help her understand the concept of altruism, but can also help to make it an everyday practice. Look for ways that you and your child can help whenever you’re out together; in no time, she’ll be spotting potential random acts of kindness herself.
While it’s not always a popular notion with harried parents, allowing your child to keep a pet can provide her with an everyday incentive to be compassionate and caring for a living being that needs her help to survive. Smaller pets, like fish or hamsters, can be just as effective as dogs or cats. Depending on your living situation and schedule constraints, adopting a pet for your child to take responsibility for can be another very effective way of passing along a lesson in compassion.

First published on Becomeananny.com 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BTR's Featured World of Ink Network show: Families Matter Tackles Cheerleading

Join the Families Matter show hosts VS Grenier, Irene Roth & Kecia Burcham November 28, 2012 at 6pm EST - 5pm CDT - 4pm MDT - 3pm PST

This month the hosts will be talking about high school cheerleading along with the dangers involved with this popular sport many school districts do not have classified under the sport catagory and therefore the popper safeguards are not in place to keep these teens safe during practice and events.

The parents along with the media are calling for reform. Learn more at the following links.
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/cheerleading-dangers-bring-calls-reform-medical-group-17538311
http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/49866576/
http://www.childrenshospital.org/dream/summer09/the_dangers_of_cheerleading_and_mixed_martial_arts.html

To learn more about the Families Matter hosts and The World of Ink Network visit http://worldofinknetwork.com
You can also follow us on our Families Matter blog http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com

Listen to the show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2012/11/28/families-matter-show--cheerleading

The Simple Hat

Winter is approaching and with it snow, ice, wind, rain, and any number of uncomfortable weather changes depending on where you live. The simple hat can make just about anyone of any age more comfortable in frigid temps.

So it is time to find the hats, gloves, and scarves and make sure everyone in the family has a set. It is also a great time to think about those kids who may not have such things and make it a family project to grab a few sets while they may be on sale and donate them to a shelter or school.

Many parents are not financially able to contribute to a coat drive or other fundraiser. But a couple pairs of gloves or a simple stocking hat may make the difference for a child who is not well prepared for winter. Use the holiday season to reach out to others and make it a life lesson for your youngsters. Include your kids in picking the items, wrapping them, and delivering them. What better way to share and pass on to others your abundance?

The simple hat.... there is a story in there somewhere. What story will your gift of a simple hat tell?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Set Up a Homework Station to Limit Distractions

With the kids back in school you may be worried about how much your children are learning.  For parents who want to provide their children with the tools they need to reach their potential, creating a homework station can help.  By creating a homework station for your child you can help him focus on his assignments and limit any distractions during homework time.  Whether you have a lot of space to work with or not much at all, you can create a suitable homework station.


Choose a designated area for the homework station.  Ideally the homework station will be located in an area that is free from noise and distractions.  According to educator Dennis Mitchell, a child’s room is an ideal space for his homework station because there will be fewer distractions from people and noises.  However, if there isn’t space in his bedroom, look for a nook or corner in the living or dining room where you could fit a desk or a small table and chair.  When choosing your space, be sure to select an area that has bright lighting and is free from clutter and distraction triggers.  While the dining room table may seem like a great place to have a homework station, since he typically eats while sitting there you may find he complains he’s hungry and is unable to focus on his assignments.

Create the homework station.  Set up a desk lamp so he has adequate lighting to see his work.  You’ll also want to make sure he has enough room to spread out.  If you are using an area where others could walk by, you may want to create a screen.  Purchase a tri-fold display board from a craft or discount store for a few dollars and paint it or cover it with paper in his favorite color.  Hot glue some clothes pins on it to hang folders, homework, and any other important information.  Be sure to find him a comfortable desk chair to use.

Stock the station with the supplies he will need to do his homework.  Make sure he has plenty of pencils, erasers, paper, scissors, tape, and a stapler handy.  What is needed will vary by the child’s age so make sure to stock it with age-appropriate supplies.  If he has everything he needs he won’t be tempted to get up to sharpen his pencil or be forced to look for what he needs to get his assignment done.  The fewer distractions and interruptions he has, the better he’ll be able to focus on his homework.

Provide a way for him to stay organized.  Now that he has all of the supplies, he needs them to be organized in a way that he can find and access them at a moment’s notice.  If he is using a tri-fold display board, these items can be stored in folders hanging from clothespins.  A small rolling set of drawers can also be used to store all of the items he needs and is portable enough that he can move it out of the way if necessary.  Make sure there is a folder for completed homework so that it can be checked over by a parent and it won’t be misplaced.

Creating a homework station is only the first step.  Setting aside a specific time each day for your child to work at his homework station is the next.  Having a set homework timeframe can ensure that he spends an appropriate amount of time at his homework station working. If he finishes early he should still remain at the station for the allotted time and use the remaining time to read a book or review his homework.  This will prevent him from rushing through his work so that he can go play.  By providing your child the tools he needs to do his work without distractions you are helping him to reach his fullest potential.

First published on Nannyjobs.net 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Post: Fulltime Dad



Parenting is a very important aspect of our lives. Like most of you reading this post, it’s probably the most important thing I have lived for. At 47 years of age, I am living my dream, dedicating all my time to the care of my 17 and 4 years old daughters. And to do this, all I had to do was quit my job! Since I quit my job, my aim has been mostly, apart from enjoying every moment I have with them, to also help them become better students and performers, the best way I know how. In this post I share my essential insights and journey into how children learn in school and how to help them become good at their studies, as a parent, through my experiences because we all understand, college tuition isn’t cheaper anymore. 

My Motivation to retire at 47
The biggest motivation for my retirement at 47, like most of you, was obviously for a reason larger than me. I always wanted to leave the corporate world and venture fulltime as a father to my two daughters; nothing would give me greater joy. And over the course of time, I have come to really like and enjoy it because every day is a challenge and exciting because the energy these two have, is amazing. My four year old daughter is so full of creative energy and hives me lots of busy work than no other. On the other hand my eldest daughter has inspiring energy. That’s what motivates me as a father.

My fulltime fatherhood in the early days
In the initial days after I quit my job at 47, I was just too excited and didn’t plan. I would barely pass through the day without plunging myself fully into some form of work. And because my children are school going, I was left with pretty much less to do when they were away. But the question that begged to be answered all day was how I would help them become better students. Of course I had a horde of things I needed to impart into them. Education seemed the nearest goal. After a good amount of reading and experimenting on the subject with my daughters, this is what I realized about children.
I call my 4 year old girl, the explorer.  She is so curios, amazed and full of energy, the world seems to take her breath away and I enjoy seeing that. It’s almost like she can’t have enough. To help her develop the reader and writer in her, I have come to realize some working techniques that have been amazing with her in this respect.
I started by getting her to associate with order. She is in kindergarten for god’s sake! As such, the little I teach her is just enough for her small mind to comprehend, in most cases. In general, our learning routine is centered on rhyming poems, singing games, telling and retelling stories (of course I make them sound original each time and she seems to not have enough of this), playing with sequences and scribbling. What most parents fail to realize that the little ones are growing too fast and they need to keep this pace up. Don’t slow her up, let her move to what interests her, because, sometimes, she just wants to chill.

Helping out my 17 year old with homework
Whatever they teach in schools these days is just too much for kids to comprehend. They are required to write essays and with the larger amounts of data they are exposed to with the internet available here and such; it can be chaotic and confusing for the young readers without mentorship. For my 17 year old daughter, I have come to appreciate that helping teenager’s learn good essay writing skills is the best morale booster you can ever add to their academic prowess as a parent. When I started off, I created a ten step process as a template to help her write great essays.
After she was done with these, I ensured she proofread all her work. Often, she reads her essays to me aloud. This helps her correct her mistakes and also helps me correct her whenever. This practice has not only improved our father-daughter bonding sessions vis-à-vis my early retirement, but it has also elevated her confidence and performance even in other subjects. Another thing I insist to her in her essays is originality and we regularly use plagiarism checkers to check for plagiary and I must say I am a happy man with the progress.
 For those of you who are looking forward to become fathers or mothers fulltime after a long corporate career, I would like to encourage you to take the step. However, only do it for a fulfillment that’s higher than you and your children. I don’t regret retiring at 47 because I use this time to mold and shape the lives of those I love. 

Author bio: George is a fulltime dad, he uses Rush writing service to help his daughter to write essays.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

10 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Bedroom Safe

Your child’s room, whether he’s a newborn or a teenager, should be a safe haven for him to retreat to. Ensuring that his personal space is as safe and free from potential hazards as possible is a parent’s responsibility, and it can seem like a daunting one. While every room and every house will contain their own individual hazards and injury risks, these 10 tips can help you reduce some common dangers in your child’s room.
  1. Use Low-VOC Paints – VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are harmful substances that evaporate from paint as it dries. Many of these are toxic to humans and can be released from the paint for years after it’s been applied, making it a dangerous choice for kids’ rooms. If you’re decorating a nursery for a brand new bundle of joy or painting your tween’s room in a new house, it’s best to opt for low-VOC paint to protect his respiratory system.
  2. Keep Crib Bedding Simple – Fluffy, elaborate bedding is the cornerstone of dream nurseries and is showcased prominently in decorating magazine nursery features. These soft pillows, snuggly comforters, and beautiful crib bumpers are all aesthetically pleasing, but they can also be deadly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that bedding for babies be as simple as possible to reduce the risk of SIDS, so if you do opt for the elaborate bedding set you’ve been dreaming of, you should remove it all before putting your baby down for the night.
  3. Use Safety Rails on “Big Kid” Beds – When your toddler graduates to a “big kid” bed he should have safety rails on the bed until you’re absolutely sure that he won’t take any midnight tumbles. For older children with bunk beds, those rails should be in place for as long as the top bunk has any chance of being used. Even teens and young adults shouldn’t sleep in loft beds or top bunks with no safety rails.
  4. Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms – Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are such obvious safety measures that they can simply slip parents’ minds. Be sure that you install and maintain these alarms, changing the batteries twice each year and testing them periodically to ensure their functionality.
  5. Anchor Shelves and Heavy Furniture to Walls – Children will, when left to their own devices, scale shelves, chests, and dressers to reach items that are calling to them from high off the ground. Because you can’t thwart this dangerous behavior 100% of the time, it’s best to ensure that all of these pieces of furniture are securely anchored to the wall to prevent them from tipping over and falling on your child as he climbs them.
  6. Choose Safe Window Treatments – While you should never place a baby’s crib or a child’s bed near the window, you should still make sure that all blind cords and curtain ties are out of reach to reduce choking and strangulation risks. There are cord winders on the market specifically designed to keep window treatments kid-safe.
  7. Keep Toys Age-Appropriate – When a friend or relative gifts your child with an expensive or heirloom toy, it’s tempting to put it in your child’s room before he’s quite old enough to play with it. If these toys have small pieces that present a choking risk, heavy pieces that could fall on him, or moving parts that could pinch, it’s best to keep them in storage until he’s old enough for those toys to be safe for him.
  8. Opt For Toy Boxes With Removable Lids – Old-fashioned toy boxes with hinged lids can crush your little one’s fingers if they fall, which isn’t altogether unlikely. To keep tiny hands safe, it’s best to opt for toy boxes with lids that are completely removed.
  9. No Locking Doors – Your child’s room should not have a door that locks if he’s very young, to prevent him from accidentally locking you out and finding himself stranded in his bedroom alone. If his doorknob does have a working lock, you should at least ensure that you can easily and quickly pick the lock yourself from the outside. If not, the knob should be changed.
  10. Choose Night Lights That Stay Cool – When little ones aren’t quite comfortable in the dark, a night light can be their best friend. Some models can generate quite a bit of heat, however, leaving the bulb hot enough to scorch sensitive skin. If your child needs a night light in his room, be sure to find one that stays cool to the touch. For all outlets, remove the standard outlet plate and replace it with a protective outlet cover. This will keep unused outlets secure and will automatically slide shut when cords are unplugged.
After setting up your child’s room, it’s best to walk through it with your eyes open to any possible safety hazards. Crouch, kneel, or crawl to get on your child’s level, paying close attention to anything that he can easily reach.

First published on Babysitting.net

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Interview with author Shirley Kufeldt



After growing up with four sisters in Illinois, then raising two daughters, Shirley Kufeldt and her husband left Illinois and her daughters to retire to Northern Wisconsin in 2007. Having participated in Bible studies for over 30 years and hearing of the efforts of so many others over the years to document their personal walk of faith, she developed the Bible Bites series. Mrs. Kufeldt participates in Tea Party activities as time allows and cares for her one grandchild (when asked) with joy.


Tell us about your current books.
Bible Bites are small pocket-sized journals.  Each journal focuses scripture on a particular topic.  There are two pages for your current prayer requests. 

The remainder of each book includes a different scripture for each day for journaling to develop the habit of journaling regularly with direction and purpose.  This is an easy format to spend time with God and to learn, memorize and meditate on Scripture.  With reflection on Scripture, you can respond to God with rejoicing, repentance, renewal and reconciliation.  


There are four journals to start:
            MEET GOD AND HIS SON
            THE WOW FACTOR
            GOALS THAT LEAD TO SUCCESS
            AMERICA, LAND THAT I LOVE

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?
I really began the process at the end of 2008, slowly moving toward my goal.  It was always “out there” but I never solidified the process because I could not find a printer that met my specifications for size and cost.  I searched numerous websites for self publishing, made numerous phone calls, send various e-mails and finally came across Halo Publishing.  More phone calls and e-mails.  In summer 2012 I mentioned to Lisa Umina that Eagle River has their Cranberry Fest in October which is attended by 40,000 people.  Lisa grabbed on that and found a printer that would deliver just prior to October Fest, which features many crafts and baked goods using cranberries.  My booth was not a success at a craft event but I have great faith in my four titles because I’ve been journaling for three years and have enjoyed answered prayers many times.

 
How did you get the idea for this book?
My retirement income dwindled and the prospects for economic prosperity are slim in northern Wisconsin.  Asking God what to do is always a good starting place and the idea for Bible Bites is the result of prayer.

Over the years we all discover something that we’re good at.  My talent is as an admin who is good at organizing.  If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  This just came naturally to me.

Writing books was never a life-time goal, but over the years I’ve learned that I have certain talents and have been developing them over the past few years in some of my personal interests.  My Mother brought all five of her daughters to church all the time as we grew up.  I knew John 3:16, but somehow I missed something very important.  I assumed the heaven is a free gift for everyone.  I believed in God, but I never knew that I had to BELIEVE God, take Him at His Word, confess that I am a sinner and needed a Savior. This is all very important to me now because I missed it and I’m quite certain that a lot of other people missed some very important details as well. 

What do you enjoy most about writing?
My favorite part is finding the verses.  The first year I had no idea how to accomplish this task.  I asked God where to look to find verses for my Bible Bites series.  I spent a year in two books:  My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers; and Search for Significance by Robert McGee.  Because of the need for a wide variety of verses for so many different topics, I’ve also purchased a number of books with selected verses by topics. 

I finally got the “brilliant” idea to just read my own bible and developed the skill of reading scripture and selecting those verses that can easily apply to journaling that I will be able to categorize by topic.

Once verses are categorized, they must be arranged for the audience, with a beginning that leads to a topical conclusion.


What is the most difficult part of writing?
I don’t do the writing.
  • I compile verses
  • Sort by topic
  • Arrange the verses to reach a conclusion:  God is in control and sinners need a Savior.
How has publishing a book changed your life?
Not too much change at this point. 

What are your plans now?
Blog on a regular basis.  Write on a regular basis so that others can learn to incorporate God’s Word into specific prayers.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?
I’ve learned that when God continually puts the same idea into my mind, it’s for a reason.  I should take action at God’s prompting.  Once I’ve taken action as a result of God’s encouragement, either anxiety melts away, or the prompting totally ends.  That tells me that I obeyed God and He is in charge of the results at some point in the future.  Learn to pay attention to those prompting – take action – pray – do something.  The results are up to God.  I’m good with that.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?
Most of my life I’ve always been a shy person but current events have brought me out of my shell in the past four years.  First, my financial conditions and the need for retirement income brought me closer to God as the One who can meet my needs.  Second, I have participated in a tea party here in WI for over three years now.  We begin our meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer.  These are the two main ingredients that brought me out of my shell and propel my life to a purpose that will glorify Him.

Where can we go to buy your book?
Halo publishing

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
www.BibleBites.net

   
The World of Ink Network will be touring author Shirley Kufeldt’s personal devotions book series, Bible Bites published by Halo Publishing International throughout November 2012.

About the Books:
Albert Einstein stated:  God always takes the simplest way. 

WHY BIBLE BITES?
For too many people, reading the Bible, God’s Word, is too much of a challenge so they neglect picking up a Bible and do not learn what God has to say about any number of topics. Too many people only know God as judge who only punishes sinners, but have a misguided conception of His love, grace and compassion. They blame God for the sins others commit against them. They live their lives based on misconceptions about God, and a secular lifestyle is the result. 

We each look differently at Scripture, and respond to and reflect on God’s Word based on “where we are today.”  In a non-threatening manner, Seekers are introduced to God as the One who loves them unconditionally and pursues them by answering prayer His Way: 
Definitely, Denied, Delayed, Differently, Distributed a bit at a time.  

You can find out more about Shirley Kufeldt’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/bb3ofxd

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit http://worldofinknetwork.com  

PLEASE NOTE

*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.