Classroom Workshops featuring The Bumpy, Grumpy Road

DSCN0311I love visiting schools and sharing The Bumpy, Grumpy Road with kids. They all understand exactly the challenges that the main character Dylan faces – siblings who borrow their toys, sibling who don’t listen. And they all struggle with how to handle those challenges.

I recently spoke with a parent who shared that she wants to give her children good advice on handling the rough patches in life but isn’t sure how to tell them in words they can understand.

The Bumpy, Grumpy Road shows kids that life’s challenges are better handled with positive words and calm feelings. My classroom workshops give them a chance to tell their own story of challenges and solutions.

Does your child struggle with grumpiness or frustration? Is your child’s classroom looking for a great program to discuss the tough times kids face and how to handle them? I’m happy to visit and share The Bumpy, Grumpy Road and simple activities to encourage positive behavior! 

 

Customers Love Customization (& Contests)

boy eating white rice

A very happy customer.

Customers love when a product or service can be tailored to their needs. One great way to attract more customers or clients is to be flexible and provide exactly what your client needs without driving yourself crazy. Right from the start, plan how much you can customize your products and services, and keep an open mind when someone asks for a slight modification.

This lesson is especially useful when dealing with picky eaters in your family, like I do. That’s why I loved this meal suggestion for individual pot pies from Debbie Koenig, also a mom of a picky eater. It’s easy to prepare and easy to customize – two components that I try to incorporate into my professional writing services and my personal family services!

It’s a great suggestion worthy of the contest I’m hosting to win a free copy of My Food Notebook.

To be entered to win your copy, make a comment here about a food you are surprised your picky eater loves before February 28, 2013.

 

 

How to Be a Better Blogger (Part 3)

Andy Warhol & another Pittsburgher who sees the world differently

Andy Warhol knew the power of an iconic image.

Need some ideas for your blog?  Look to images for inspiration. Lots of people are more visual, they learn better by seeing things and express themselves better with images. You could be a better blogger by starting with an image. As you go through the day, try taking a variety of photographs that represent your ideas, your perspectives, a problem you would like to solve, a new way of seeing the old world.

I spoke with one client who wanted to know if his business blog could “just have before and after pictures” of his projects because he didn’t feel he was much of a writer. Since his business provided tree removal and landscaping, that was a perfect approach for his line of work.

Don’t feel you have to write lengthy explanations if your images tell a better story. It’s cliche but a powerful image can do more than an excess of words. And photos shared on social networks get high rates of engagement.

 

How does your (picky) eater amaze you?

I can't say I agree with his choice of beverage.

Ketchup: A kid’s best friend

Though my picky eater is picky enough to refuse link sausage and only eat patty sausage, there are some surprising things he will eat. Eggplant with ketchup and smoked salmon are two rather surprising favorites of his!

This article from Parents magazine highlights another eclectic mix of foods that kids will eat even when they refuse to eat things we think should be no-brainers.

What surprising food does your picky eater enjoy? Want to keep track of them in My Food Notebook? Make sure you enter my contest to win a free copy here!

 

How far would you push a picky eater?

I recently read this news story about a teacher who forced a second grader to retrieve a portion of his uneaten lunch out of the school trash can because she was concerned he wasn’t eating enough.

I, too, dread dinners where my picky eater just sits there and claims he doesn’t like anything we’ve served. Some food from his plate inevitably ends up in the trash, though we learned a long time ago to give him very small portions to minimize waste.

Taking food out a trash can would gross me out, too. I wouldn’t be able to eat it unless I was starving. I mean, really starving. I know there are people in the world who live like this. But is it the way to handle a picky eater?

How to Be a Better Blogger (Part 2)

Writing can be a painful experience, especially if you’re sitting in one place for too long. In November 2012, I completed a massive writing project totaling over 50,000 words and logged many long hours at my desk. Unfortunately I didn’t have my workspace set up ergonomically and I developed neck and upper back pain that lasted for several weeks.

I have some new equipment now and new systems in place to help me minimize my chances of causing that kind of pain again. Now my only pain comes from reading bad grammar and incorrect punctuation.

Here are some tips that helped me and can help you minimize the physical discomfort of writing so you can be more productive:

IMG_0676

And you absolutely must read this advice from professional writer John Soares on Writing Ergonomically.

 

Contest! Win a Free Copy of My Food Notebook

I shouldn't be that surprised he loves ramen

I shouldn’t be that surprised he loves ramen

About a month ago, a great blog hosted a giveaway contest of My Food Notebook. Gina, the voice behind Totally Full of It, was looking for creative ways parents handle their picky eaters. I’m so grateful for her support and was happy to partner with her! If you visit her blog, I highly recommend this hilarious video of her little guy laughing hysterically and my kids loved this Imagination Moves video she shared.

I wanted to spread the love (it is February) and give away 2 free copies of My Food Notebook. To be entered to win your copy, make a comment below about a food you are surprised your picky eater loves. In our house, I’m always surprised my picky eater loves smoked salmon. Definitely not something I would have ever guessed!

Tell me the most surprising food your picky eater loves by February 28, 2013 and you’re entered to win a free copy of My Food Notebook!

 

How to Be A Better Blogger (Part 1)

The Guilt Pen

The Guilt Pen

This is the guilt pen. I forgot it at a client’s office one day, and when I came back, noticed it on her desk.

“How’s your blogging going?” I asked.

“Slow,” she replied. “I just can’t seem to sit down and do it. I’m more motivated when you’re here to push me.”

I noticed my pen there and picked it up and transformed it from a little pen into a powerful talisman.

“See this pen? This is my pen. I love my pens. But I am giving you this pen and every time you see it, you will think of me and you will sit down and do another blog post. And if you don’t, you will feel guilty because I gave you a pen that I love!”

I gave her the guilt pen before Christmas and when I returned to her office in mid-January, she was extremely proud to share with me 8 completed blog posts ready to be edited and scheduled!

The pen is indeed a mighty weapon.

Perhaps you need a guilt pen in your life? Maybe you know what you want to say but need a nudge to actually get the words out? Find one on your own or give me a call, I have lots of very powerful pens to share.

Grumpy Kid? Angry Kid? You’re Not Alone

I’m a mom of a grumpy kid. Like other moms, I was looking for ways to help my grumpy kid not be so grumpy. In the search for a way to help understand that he could choose to be grumpy or choose to be happy during his days, I told him a little story.

What started as a story just for my son Dylan turned into the children’s book The Bumpy Grumpy Road. And now other moms are telling me it’s helping their grumpy kids, too.

After I wrote it and read it to Dylan, I mentioned the story to a few close friends. They shared it with their kids and told me the idea helped them, too. So, I wrote an essay about our family’s struggle and slow road to success and sent it to one of my favorite magazines,Family Fun It was a delight to learn they also enjoyed the story and published it in their April 2012 issue.

Not long after the issue came out, I received notes from other moms who said reading my essay felt like they were reading about their own families. I received emails, Facebook messages, even a handwritten note from a mom!  It was a relief  for all of us to know we’re not alone, and that’s something I try to remind my own children – they are never alone when they feel sad, angry or frustrated. We’re always there to help them find their way back to the smooth, fast road.

“Steering Clear of Grumpiness” (page 1)
“Steering Clear of Grumpiness” (page 2)

Grumpy Kids? Not these Kindergarteners!

This post originally appeared in June 2012. 

Kindergarten Thank You Notes

At the end of May, I read The Bumpy, Grumpy Road to two kindergarten classes here in Pittsburgh. At first they laughed with delight when they saw Dylan, a little boy, driving a car. They were impressed! But then Dylan started to use grumpy words. In each of the classes, a child called out, “The sky is getting darker!” They were worried for Dylan. One girl even shook her head when Dylan shouted at his brothers.

I continued reading and we got to the page where Dylan sees the first sign. In each of the classes again, a child called out “That stop sign says “Sorry!” They watched with relief and amazement as the sky brightened and the road got smoother with every good choice Dylan made. At the end, they were beaming and laughing again.

Those children traveled the bumpy road with Dylan and sped down the smooth one with him when he learned that he can choose his words and attitude.

I love the fact that not only did I get to share my book with two wonderful classrooms, but that one class of children decided to make their own books! These thank you notes are actually small booklets complete with author’s names and a few pages inside with words and illustrations! Is there a future writer in this class? Possibly!

These thank you notes are the first I received from children, but I hope not the last. Of course the best thank you came from Dylan the night I read him the story, and he cried and said “That’s me, Mommy. Sometimes I am on the bumpy road and don’t know how to get off.” I’ll never forget that moment and hopefully the children who heard this story will remember they, too, can choose which road to drive!