Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: The Portable Pediatrician

The Portable Pediatrician is a new book by the Sears family, a comprehensive guide to children's health.  I have several of the Sears' books and this one has definitely earned a place on my bookshelf.  It covers basic child growth, with a blurb on each of the well baby check-ups, and then the bulk of the book addresses pediatric concerns A-Z.  After seeing the price on Amazon of only $14.95, I wasn't expecting the book to be as big and thorough as it is! has been on my list of go-to websites for quite a long time now.  If one of my children has a fever or a rash or some other concern, I usually look it up there.  Because I was curious as to how the book would compare to the website, I looked up a few concerns in both.  Although the website is very helpful, the book does contain more information.  The website is great for looking up photos of rashes though, as the book does not have any pictures.

I really enjoy the Sears approach and writing style.  They are very down to earth, great at explaining the facts and telling you when to worry and when not to.  I love that they respect parents and empower them with information rather than speaking down to them.  As a mom who often goes the natural treatment route, I appreciate that I can use this book along with other natural remedy books.  I don't feel like the two conflict because The Portable Pediatrician respects parent's choices and offers plenty of information.  I highly recommend having this book on hand as in invaluable resource.

I received a copy of this book for review from the publishers, but all opinions are my own.  :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review: Secure Daughters Confident Sons

Secure Daughters Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity and Femininity interested me.  I mean, who doesn't want to raise secure daughters and confident sons?  However, I didn't really find the book to be as "eye-opening" as the back cover claims.

Part 1 discusses "A Clear Vision For Authentic Manhood and Womanhood".  Although the book is written from a Christian perspective, I found it to contain many generalizations like "men think this way" and "women usually do this" rather than looking at what the Bible says men and women should be like.  I do think that it is valuable to think about what qualities I hope to instill in my children by the time they are grown, to think about what I am aiming for in a sense.  I just did not really care for the way the book went about it.

Part 2 is titled "Why Boys and Girls Need Mothers and Fathers".  Again, not very eye-opening.  The information in this section is pretty basic and did not really keep my interest.  Sorry, but I was just not impressed with this book.

I received a copy of this book for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.  They obviously did not pay me to write this.  ;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Pretzel Day!

Did you know that today is National Pretzel Day?  Me either.  But Laura knew, and invited us to bake pretzels and celebrate right along with her.  So we did.  :)

These turned out great!  Instead of butter and salt we used butter, cinnamon, and sugar on a few.  Yum!

We might have to celebrate Pretzel Day every year!  :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Haba Organic Pull Toy Review

Could Haba toys get any better?  We already love Haba, so when I saw their new line of organic toys I was excited!  Julabug sent us the Pulling Toy Cotti to review.  It is adorable, and just the right size for Esther.  

Esther is very into pointing and saying "ear", "eye", etc.  In the photo above, she is showing me the lamb's cheek.  :)  She enjoys pulling him all around.  The wheels work perfectly on both our wood floors and on the carpet too.  Of course her sisters love the lamb as well and he's already been on plenty of adventures with them.  In fact, I think they wore him out because I just found him all wrapped up in a blanket laying on his side, sleeping.  Thankfully the wheels come off and he is washable, so I don't need to worry about where his adventures may take him.

I love that the outer is made of organic cotton - other plush animals can have formaldehyde or flame retardants in them.  I'm especially picky about having safe baby toys, and this one fits the bill.  This little lamb would make a fun Easter gift or a first birthday gift.  He is already a favorite around here.

You can read another great review of the lamb here.  Be sure and check out Julabug's great selection for other cool baby toys and much more!  (They have GeoPuzzles buy 2 get 1 free right now for earth day.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Its been a bit slow on the blog here lately, sorry about that!  We are in the process of selling our house and phew, its been hard keeping things spotless.  I am going to be without a computer this coming week as well, so posting is going to be scarce yet again.  I'm trying to have patience in this whole process, but I am definitely looking forward to being settled in our new home and back to posting again.  If you're a facebook fan you can keep up with me there for now.  :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Whipped Body Butter (Giveaway!)

One of my readers contacted me about reviewing some whipped body/ hair butter that she makes.  After reading her story, I was thrilled to!  Kiara is selling these body butters to raise money to fund an adoption.  This will be their fifth child, third adoption.  You can read their story here.

I received two gorgeous tubs of body butter, and a chapstick too!  These are made with all natural and organic ingredients, with a variety of fun flavors to choose from.  We really like the Sweet Orange flavor, light and not too strong.  The body butter is a bit greasy, so just a small amount goes pretty far.  We've used it as all over body moisturizer after baths, and I even used it in Julia's curly hair.  Kiara also mentioned that this works wonderfully for moisturizing natural or permed/ relaxed African American hair.  Did I mention that I love the ingredients?  :)

Kiara is giving away two tubs of her body/ hair butter here on my blog!  To enter the giveaway, check out her blog and let me know which flavor you would choose.  For a second entry you can follow their blog and leave a second comment letting me know you did so.  I will choose two winners on April 20th.  If you are interested in purchasing a body butter, you can do so for a donation here.  Thanks Kiara and blessings on your adoption journey!

*Now closed.  Congrats, Jessica and Alice!*

Sunday, April 10, 2011

CSN Stores

I recently got to update my kitchen bakeware with new stainless steel products from CSN stores.  I chose two muffin pans, a pastry blender, a whisk, and a cheese grater, all of which badly needed replacing.  My muffin pans were rusty and the pastry blender was downright dangerous.  It had a really sharp corner right where you hold on to it.  Oh, and my cheese grater was missing two of its three feet!

I've been using these items for a while now and like them.  We used the muffin pans to make pancake muffins (plain, chocolate chip, blueberry, and raspberry).  The pans washed up nicely and baked the muffins evenly.  Its nice to not have to use paper liners or worry about toxic non stick coating getting on my muffins.

Just this morning I used the pastry blender to make Maple Oatmeal Scones - yum!!  These turned out great, I even used soft white wheat flour instead of the all purpose flour.  The pastry blender was great for cutting in the butter.  My old pastry blender was pretty flimsy and didn't work well but this one is nice and sturdy.

Of course the cheese grater is used almost daily around here, and the whisk has seen plenty of use too.  If you're in need of some new kitchen bakeware, check out or their website  :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Isabooties (Giveaway!)

I love seeing little tiny people just learning to walk.

Esther has been walking since 9 months!  I didn't even believe children could walk that early.  Lucy was close to a year old when she started to walk, and Julia was 10 or 11 months.  Esther has two big sisters to keep up with, so she didn't waste any time.  At 14 months now, I'm pulling her down off of the coffee table and anything else she decides to climb on.

I am a big believer in not putting my kids in chunky shoes.  Even at age 5 and 3 I tend to pick shoes with flexible soles for Lucy and Julia.  Esther only wore socks for quite a long time.  Now she wears shoes with very soft soles.  Here is link to more information on this topic.

Recently we had the chance to try out Isabooties soft soled shoes.  I got the pink ballet criss-crossers and Esther looks absolutely adorable in them.  Some things we like about them: they are made in the US, machine washable, and eco-friendly.  They are very durable and have held up well.

The shoes are extremely flexible, which is great.  I do think they are a bit wide, they tend to slip around on Esther's feet.  They are too big for her though, so as she grows they will work a bit better.  Maybe I should have gone a size smaller; check out their sizing chart here.  Esther likes wearing them and I'm sure we will get lots of use out of them.  Lucy and Julia think its great that Esther has her own ballerina shoes.

Isabooties has several cute styles to choose from.  In fact, pop over to their website, pick out your favorite and leave a comment letting me know.  Isabooties is giving away a pair to one of you!  I'll close this at midnight on April 9th.  If you are a follower of my blog (or become one) leave an extra comment for a second entry.  Thanks, be sure to stop by again soon!

*Giveaway Closed.  Congrats Vanessa!*

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Feeding A Picky Eater

Do you have a picky eater in your home?  I do.  I am definitely not an expert on the matter, but I have a few thoughts to share.  The picky eater in my home shall remain unnamed (but she's 3 and has curly hair and her name starts with Ju- and ends in -lia).  We have struggled tremendously with her eating habits and have tried many different approaches.  I understand what an issue it can be.  Here is some of what has worked for us:

- Do not allow junk.  Junk food simply isn't an option.  I do not buy food that I do not want my kids to eat, and even sweets are very limited.  Peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, oatmeal, or scrambled eggs are all things that Julia eats well and that we rotate between.

- Get sneaky.  Deceptively Delicious gave me some good ideas for hiding veggies in foods that we already eat.  I keep ice cubes of pureed carrots in my freezer and add several of them to macaroni, spaghetti, and anything else I can think of.  (Annie's whole wheat macaroni can hide 3 cubes and you'd never know.)  For a child who otherwise hates vegetables, getting little bits of them into her over time is better than nothing.  Also, I figure it might help her taste-buds adjust.

- Serve Smoothies.  Julia loves to help me make smoothies and thinks they are a great treat.  I use kefir, frozen fruit, banana, frozen pureed carrots, and lots of spinach.  (Putting the smoothie in a colored cup helps to hide the brownish color the smoothies turn out sometimes.)  I do not lie about what is in the smoothies, but I do try to sneak ingredients in and just not mention them.  At this point though, Julia knows I add spinach and even told me "This is how you get me to eat spinach mom, because I don't like it plain."

- Make foods as healthy as possible.  Julia likes peanut butter sandwiches, so I buy organic whole wheat no-junk-added bread, and organic peanut butter.  She will eat scrambled eggs, so when we can we purchase free range organic eggs.  Popsicles are made at home from fruit juice, and so on.  Since her diet is so limited, I want what she does eat to be as nutrient packed and healthy as possible.

- Keep trying.  Although we do not force Julia to eat, I do put little bits of things on her plate in hopes that she might decide to try something new.  We refer to foods that she "hasn't tried yet" or "might like when she is older" rather than saying that she hates certain foods.

- Make it fun.  Not every meal around here is a party, but I have had some success with making food fun.  Serving a muffin tin meal or having Julia involved in choosing and cooking meals does help.  Our fruit seed counting resulted in Julia trying and liking pomegranate and avocado!  (Yes, I was shocked.)

- Have a game plan.  It really helps to have a plan in mind ahead of time.  Julia is even more frustrated and worried when I am inconsistent, forcing her to eat a bite some nights and other nights not.  Right now our plan is that we serve dinner and Julia decides if she wants to eat or not.  If she chooses not to eat, she has to wait until we are done eating and ready to make her a sandwich or other option of my choosing.  This gives her a chance to try dinner and keeps me from having to cook too many things at once.  Like I said, we've tried many different approaches including letting her go hungry.  That resulted in blood sugar drops and bedtime battles of extreme proportions.  We may change our tactics from time to time, but we try to be clear with Julia so that she knows what to expect.

- Make a list.  It helps me to have a list of foods that Julia likes.  I glance at the list when I am meal planning and try to include a couple of dinners each week that she will eat.  Writing out all of the foods that she likes also helps when I am wondering for the hundredth time: "What on earth do I feed this child?"

-Resort to bribery.  I recently made a chart for Julia.  She gets a sticker for each new food that she tries and eats well.  After 5 stickers, she can pick a prize from my stash of stickers, coloring books, etc.  So far she got one prize and then hasn't really been motivated to keep working for another.  I write under each sticker what the food she tried was and she does enjoy telling Grandma about the new foods that she likes.  We'll see how far this gets us.  We also occasionally offer dessert to little girls who do a good job eating their dinners.

- Meal time is not a battle.  This is a big one.  For a long time we struggled with meals, her refusing foods and me going through the range of emotions: frustrated, worried, mad, and so on.  Using the tactics on this list has helped me to relax.  I try to let Julia make her choices and then be calm and stick to my plan.

Do you a have great tip for feeding a picky eater?  Please leave a comment and share.  Thanks for stopping by.  (Shared with Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.)