Children’s Book Week

Children’s Book Week is this week. There’s no doubt that we’re a family where books reign supreme. We have tons of books of all types for both Ben and Katie. We have books from both of our childhoods (boxes of them) that we’ve been slowly introducing our children to. We started Ben on his first chapter book this week. I decided on Stuart Little in part based on chapter length and in part based on the fact that I think E.B. White rocks.

Ben also loves Amy Hest’s books: Kiss Good Night. This is one of the books that we’ve read to him since he was a baby. He loves the fact that the Mama is forgetful, and that the young bear has to remind her about the “best” part of the bedtime ritual. Ben’s whole bedtime ritual is built around this book and it thrills him that it fits him and he fits it.

We also love: Mama’s Day. There are so many reasons to love this book. It shows a million different babies doing different things and gives attention to all the different things that mothers do. It shows a very simple, natural picture of a mother breastfeeding a baby. I love it because it reminds Ben how much MomMom does for him in a day and he loves picking out different things. One day, we’ll look for the babies sleeping; another day we’ll look for babies fussing, and so forth.

My last unusual book that we love: Z is for Zamboni. P is a hockey fan. P doesn’t expect Ben to play hockey, but he does want him to have an appreciation for it. Ben LOVES this book, so the appreciation that he was looking for seems to have worked out. It’s a different sort of alphabet that focuses on the interesting and the unusual. And the “sound effects” that we do for Lord Stanley’s Cup always crack Ben up.

There are a lot of people discussing books . A few of them are:

BabyToolKit. This is a review of a favorite that they have that we’re waiting for from the library.

No Time For Flash Cards You’ll find a lot of interesting ideas here for craft projects, but what makes this a standout is how she links books to the craft projects. So, for example, the Letter Pizza post gives instructions for creating a letter pizza craft project, but also follows up with three books that involve pizzas as part of the story.

Simple Kids At Simple Kids, Megan is exploring the unsung classics. The books that we love that aren’t part of the traditional canon of children’s literature. So P’s favorite book, Petey the Penguin and the Pink Pajamas would fit in quite well on this list, though it can be frustrating because some favorites are out of print like this one of P’s.

Day 2: My Favorite Parenting Blogs

Day 2 of the challenge feeds into my usual Wednesday post as I usually do review/list posts on Wednesday. I think Darren does a nice job of explaining why lists are so popular for blog posts, so make sure you click the link at the bottom and read his thoughts on the subject!

Today, I thought I’d identify my favorite parenting blogs. Some of them are strictly about the act of parenting itself and some are more about the logistics of parenting — as in, what stuff do you need or how do you find materials and so forth. So, my favorites:

Cool Mom Picks. This is an outstanding website that provides a minimum of three reviews a day of new products that could be useful to parents or kids or both. Recent reviews covered things like Chocolate covered Matzo for Passover, an Etsy shop selling cute barrettes, and cool boys clothes. It was through them that I found the Sara Bear basket that I reviewed here a couple of months ago, the camera that my husband used to take my profile picture, and my son’s shoes.

Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond’s blog. This blog covers a variety of different topics from decorating to cooking to photography to homeschooling. She’s been my inspiration to try homeschooling my children and her recipes are to die for. Not everyone can live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, but everyone can benefit from her ideas about how to approach life and her sense of humor. She’s a good reality check for me when I think I’m in over my head on just about anything.

Parent Hacks This site has saved my life more times than I can count. Some of the great ideas that I seemingly come up with out of thin air that impress my husband so much? Come from here. I am always amazed at the endless creativity that people exercise and exhibit when it comes to doing things with kids. Some of these are ingenious and clever, some are just plain common sense, and some are really wacky, but all are useful. Features a good google search to help you find out how to do just about anything you can think of.

Motherhood Later . . . Than Sooner. This is a really cool blog for those of us who came to motherhood after the age of 35. Sometimes it can be a bit, um, overwhelming to realize that everyone around you is getting ready to graduate their kids while you’re still changing diapers. These women can relate and they share their experiences and feelings on the subject. There are a range of voices here so one is sure to resonate.

A Little Pregnant. This started as a blog of a woman’s experiences pursuing fertility treatments. It has become both an advocacy blog for infertile women and a parenting blog for a woman with two adorable children. It gives me a lot of hope to read this and realize that everyone has challenges to overcome on their way to becoming parents and it gives lots of interesting ideas about parenting and validation over the voices in our heads that tell us we have to be more permissive because it was harder for us to have children.

Baby Toolkit. This is my other favorite product recommendation blog. The authors combine product recommendations with advocacy for key parenting issues (BPA-free, for one). It is from them that we got the idea for Ben’s tent. We also finally decided to try Relish because of them. The key difference between Baby Toolkit and Cool Mom Picks, I think, is that Baby Tool Kit focuses on a lower price point in most cases. I really appreciate that aspect of their reviews. I also really appreciate the follow through. A product that they really liked had some issues and they pursued it as well as documented it for the reader, so that we all could see how the company in question responded to their concerns. A very honest and upfront blog that is really helpful for readers.

So, that’s it. My favorite parenting blogs. Hope you find something useful and if you have a favorite I didn’t mention, please feel free to leave a link in the comments. I’d love to see some more useful blogs!

Darren’s challenge post

Top Five Household Tools

So, I thought it might be fun to end the month with a top five list. I know, the norm is ten, but that’s a lot of pressure, and I thought it might help to start slow. So, my top five household/cleaning tools are:

1. Post-it Notes. I have a love affair with these. I use them to label things I want to get rid of and make lists for P to review.

2. Dymo LetraTag Plus. The label maker to the stars. I love this thing and use it to label everything. From things in my freezer to things in my office to things I put in my attic.

3. Hoover Floormate. We have mostly hardwood/laminate and tile in the house with two dogs. As you might imagine this means lots of mess and muck on the floor. Add in a kid learning to use a cup without a lid and you have a definite need for something to clean the floors quickly and easily.

4. Automatic Shower Cleaner. All right, it’s not exactly like having a maid scrub the shower, but it does allow me to not worry so much about cleaning the shower and more about scrubbing out the tub.

5. Fantom vacuum cleaner. Yes, like every self-respecting lab owner, I wish I had a Dyson, but my Fantom was the big thing before the Dyson was the big thing and it works really well. I’ve always been pleased with the amount of stuff it gets off the floor and how well it cleans my house for me. I cannot complain and though I lust after the Dyson, I believe I will wait until my Fantom can suck no more.