Category Archives: Books

What Baby Needs

We have a new baby in the house! And this time, A GIRL!

We are overjoyed and have been in a baby bubble for the last three weeks. (We are halfway through our Forty Days at home!) My older boys, who are now 7 and 4, have been amazing helpers. I did not know what to expect, but I definitely have not had any behavioral issues with them even though this has been such a giant adjustment.

what baby needs

My 4 year old slept in the crook of my arm his entire life until 2 days before his sister arrived, and he has taken to his new bed beautifully. I think he was ready, he just needed a reason to move out of our room. But there have been a few tears. My 7 year old told me yesterday- 3 weeks after the baby was born- that he really missed me when I was in the hospital. And my 4 year old has some trouble falling asleep at night and comes and finds me and tells me that he can’t sleep because he can’t stop thinking about me.

So the tears have mostly been mine.

I remember a friend saying when he had a 2nd child that he felt like he’d gone through a breakup with his first. And that is a good way to describe it- that unique bond is different now- though still beautiful, it has changed. I didn’t realize I would have the same emotions when welcoming a third child into our lives, but I do. My four year old grew three sizes before my eyes the day he walked into the hospital to meet his little sister.

One book that we read over and over again while waiting for the baby was “What Baby Needs ” by Dr. Sears.

This book helped my younger son prepare for what was about to happen, with great suggestions for parents also. I love it because it shows the baby being breastfed and held in a sling, and sleeping in a co-sleeper which is the way we parent.

Hardworking Honey Bee

We recently happened upon a reading of Hardworking Honey Bee: An Aromatherapy Book for Sleepytime by the author Tiffany Briggs at our local Barnes and Noble. This sweet story follows a day in the life of a delightfully illustrated honey bee.

The illustrator, Liz Guenthner, was also there and she taught the children how to draw honey bees. I might be slightly biased, but this one was my favorite:

b'sbee (2)

An added bonus, this book is Scratch and Sniff! And not just any scratch and sniff- the scents are made from essential oils. Each time the scents are scratched, tiny amounts of these therapeutic oils are released- scents such as chamomile and lavender that encourage calmness and comfort, and promote relaxation and peaceful sleep. What a perfect book for bedtime!

Hardworking Honey Bee is great for those of us who encounter bees on a daily basis. Living in Austin, we are used to seeing bees everywhere at all times of the year. This book gives us a new perspective on these sweet little buzzing creatures and reminds me to be thankful for them (not worried they will sting us.)

I love books that prompt questions and discussions after we read them, and we are still talking about things from this book. Such as how much we love honey. My three year old reminded me how he loves to put it on his almond butter sandwiches. My 6 year old tells me daily how spring is his favorite season because “I love flowers.” They both made the connection that we would have neither without these pollinators.

There is more to learn in the back of the book, details about the olfactory system and aromatherapy. Also there are descriptions of types of bees and a little about Colony Collapse Disorder.

As you will read in the book- “bees do a lot more than just make honey; they help feed our entire planet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers all depend on pollination from hardworking honey bees.”

I encourage you to get a copy of this book!

***For more about the author and illustrator, bees and aromatherapy, check out their website:


Tree Huggers

Recently while having a picnic in a park with friends, I heard a woman start yelling at our children. Then she asked me, “Are those your kids, the ones trying to destroy the tree?” To which I calmly responded, “They aren’t destroying it. They are climbing it.”

Deep breath.

Deep breath.

Anyway, hasn’t she read The Giving Tree? Trees love to give and give and give to children.

I am a tree hugger. I love trees. My children are being taught not to deliberately hurt any living thing, be it a tree or a roly-poly. This scenario upset me because a woman took it upon herself to reprimand kids whose mothers were ten feet away from them.

It also got me thinking- no wonder children today have what Richard Louv in his incredible book Last Child in the Woods calls “Nature Deficit Disorder.”

Kids who see a perfectly good tree to climb, collect nuts off of, and who want to just explore its wonder and beauty, should have the freedom to do it.

It Is, In Fact, All Good

I’ve been reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog GOOP since its inception in 2008. I’ve always enjoyed reading about some of the places I traveled pre-children and I love checking out her latest fashion picks. All the recipes I’ve tried have been delicious too.

When her most recent cookbook was released, It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great there were lots of negative reviews, and plenty of mom blogs were very critical of it. I heard it described as Marie Antoinette-ish as in “let them eat cake.”

I wasn’t sure I wanted another cookbook, as I develop a lot of my own recipes and have been in a good rhythm with my meal planning. But one review put me over the edge and I knew I had to check it out.

During nap time on the day I received it, I read the whole book cover to cover.

The photographs are beautiful, and her personal anecdotes are relatable and authentic.
And from some of the critical reviews I read, I was expecting all kinds of crazy unattainable ingredients, which is not the case at all. I already use everything in these recipes…things like quinoa, honey, sesame seeds, sweet potato, ground chicken, kale, avocado…what’s not to like?

The recipes are quite easy to make and everything has turned out delicious- the biggest test for me is whether or not my kids will eat the dishes in the cook book.

After a long walk last night we came home later than usual and I realized I did not have dinner prepped. In fact I didn’t even know what i was going to make.

We had just picked up some leeks and basil from the farmer’s market, and I had some cod fillets in the refrigerator. I made gluten free fish fingers, roasted leeks and pasta with fresh basil pesto. In 30 minutes dinner was on they table.

I must admit- I had a hard time not gloating over how fabulous everything tasted. But the pesto was amazing. And so were the fish fingers. And when was the last time you saw a 4 or 1 and a half year old eat leeks? That’s what I thought. The kids gobbled everything up.

I have also tried the pumpkin pie shake as an afternoon snack, and it was a huge success. The meatballs and sesame carrots sticks were another dinner favorite.

Again, I base everything on how readily my two small boys will eat what I serve. When it comes to the recipes in Gwyneth’s new cookbook, they have liked everything.

Why yes, It’s All Good.

“Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?” by Jena Pincott

For more than one reason, I was overcome with excitement when I saw the title of Jena Pincott’s latest book, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy.

This book was written for me. And if you love little known facts and interesting information about everything from how what we eat influences our child’s gender to the effect Mozart has on the baby, this book is for you, too.

There are so many factoids I’ve spouted off over the years  from things I’ve read in books and magazines and conversations I’ve had with doctors and midwives. Little gems such as, “it’s been proven if you eat chocolate while you’re pregnant, you will have a child with a sweeter disposition” and, “studies show that if you consume breakfast with a higher fat content you’re more likely to have a boy.”

I’ve read the studies and love to relay the facts, but I never knew the “why” of many of these tidbits.

Pincott compiles the information and fleshes them out in great detail. She explains the “surprising science” with humor and wit as she weaves in her personal pregnancy story.

In this book some of questions answered are:

  • Why are our pregnant dreams more vivid?
  • Is a little tipple really so terrible?
  • How are all sons are mama’s boys?
  • Will exercise strengthen baby’s mind?
  • What happens in the golden hour after birth?
  • Do we really forget the pain?
  • Are breast-fed babies really brainier?

and of course:

  • Do chocolate lover’s have sweeter babies?

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed reading a pregnancy book as much as I enjoyed this one.