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Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
It’s my birthday soon, and I hope my husband reads this post. I really, really want chickens. My kids and I could bond this spring while tending to some feathered friends.
Luckily, author Lauren Scheuer has just written the most delightful and plucky family memoir that’s part how-to guide. Here’s what Lauren has to say about her book, Once Upon a Flock based on her popular Scratch and Peck blog.
Dear Husband, read this. Here’s why Lauren (these are her illustrations of her girls) thinks we should buy some hens:
“These days it’s harder than ever to pry our kids off of the electronic gadgets and shoo them outside for some fresh air and sunshine. If you’re trying to find a way to get your family back outdoors, chickens might just be your perfect answer.
A few chickens in a backyard coop add far more color and adventure to a backyard than a sandbox or a jump rope can. Chickens are certainly more interactive than a video game, and it’s possible that both you and your kids will find them to be just as addictive.
Chickens are comical characters with a quirky kind of charm. Their distinct personalities make for fun interactions, and they can be quite social with their humans. Children are naturally drawn to these curious creatures, and chickens are often drawn to kids as well.
A small flock is a practical, useful addition to almost any backyard setting. Popular reasons to start a flock include the promise of fresh eggs, an educational opportunity for the kids, or the wonderful compost their manure can provide for your family garden. Once your flock moves in, however, it doesn’t take long for these personable characters to peck their way into your hearts.
From a mom’s point of view, chickens truly are the perfect family pets.
They’re easy to keep: Just five or 10 minutes a day is all they require for general feeding and maintenance. They don’t ask you to take them for a walk, and they don’t hog the sofa at night. Chickens won’t gnaw on the kids’ toys or shred your favorite upholstered chair, and they’re not likely to dig through the trash.
Out in the sunshine, you’ll find that every child has a unique way of interacting with chickens.
And don’t forget the eggs! Most kids enjoy the daily thrill of skipping out to the coop to retrieve fresh clean eggs. There’s a beautiful bit of education that comes along with that, when a child realizes where food comes from.
No matter your approach to backyard chickens, be warned. Your kids might just step outdoors into the sunshine voluntarily…. and those electronic toys are going to collect a bit of dust.”
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animals, chicken coop, chickens, chicks, eggs, family farm, family pets, hens, Lauren Scheuer, Once Upon a Flock, rooster, scratch and peck blog | Categories:
DIY, Guest Blogs, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Mommy Bloggers, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Q&A With Authors
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
I consider myself organized, but then again, my Christmas tree was still up in February. That’s why I need author Barbara Reich in my life. You might have seen her yesterday on the Today Show talking about her new book, Secrets of an Organized Mom. She’s awesome. Her book covers everything from bills to blanket catalogues to–gulp–holiday decorations. Here’s a guest post she wrote for me that includes three of her Commandments of Organizing.
“In my book, Secrets of an Organized Mom, I compare the lives of mothers to one big game of Whac-a-Mole. Just when we’ve smacked down one problem or responsibility, another one pokes up its stubborn head. Let’s face it; life as a mother is inevitably unpredictable. Just when we think we have everything under control, a child breaks a leg, a partner gets a new job (in another state), or a roof springs a leak. So much rests on our shoulders that it’s easy to see why we’re all running on a treadmill to stay still. It’s a classic catch 22. If we could just find the time to get organized, life would be calm and peaceful. But life is never calm and peaceful, so there’s never time to get organized.
Moms often ask me for the single organizing tip that will make the biggest difference in their lives. In Secrets of An Organized Mom, I talk about the “Ten Commandments of Organizing.” Although all of these commandments are important, there are three tips that, taken together, can help busy moms conquer the organizational challenge
once and for all.
1. Routines work. If you always put your cell phone in the same pocket of your purse, you’ll always know where it is when it’s ringing. If you always put the bills in the same place, you won’t lose any bills. If you always take medication at the same time in the same place, you won’t forget to take it. When things are done the same way every time, the behavior becomes rote. You don’t have to think about what you’re doing. This is the fool-proof way to avoid misplacing items or forgetting anything again.
2. Group like things together, and designate a place for everything. This is the only way to know how much of something you have and when you need more. You’ll also always know exactly where to find what you’re looking for. This applies to everything in your house, from black sweaters to magic markers to batteries. This will help you avoid having too much of one thing and not enough of what you really need!
3. Store things where you use them. Keep school supplies where your kids do their homework, keep your reading glasses next to your bed where you read at night, and keep tote bags in the closet where you store sports equipment. It’s easy and convenient!
Where do you fall on the organization spectrum? I’m deluded. I think I’m a solid 9 or 10 when I’m more like a 4. And that’s on a good day. I need this book!
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DIY, Guest Blogs, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books
Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Bookworms will love the lineup of parenting memoirs and advice that are scheduled for release in 2013. I know I am. Here are the books I can’t wait to read in the New Year. Stay tuned for my write ups about them on this blog.
The Heavy: A Mother Daughter Memoir
by Dara-Lynn Weiss
Did you hear about the mom who put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet and wrote about it for Vogue? Author Dara Lynn-Weiss caused such a stir that she got a book deal. This memoir tells the story from start to finish–how the doctor labeled her little girl obese, and how this mother decided to take care of it. The book is supposed to be brutally honest, and Lynn-Weiss claims that her insights will help other parents in the same situation. (Jan. 15)
Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic’s Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
by Zac Unger
In this memoir, one dad takes his family to Antarctica–Churchill, Manitoba to be exact. In the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” he examines a faraway place that’s one of Mother Nature’s last strongholds. A seasoned writer, he observes the human relationship with the great bears. And he took his wife and two kids there! (Jan. 29)
The Food Allergy Mama’s Easy, Fast Family Meals
by Kelly Rudnicki
The author runs the helpful and popular blog, The Food Allergy Mama, and she also wrote the companion book The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book. She has five kids, one with severe food allergies. All recipes are free of milk, butter, cheese, eggs and nuts. She uses easy-to-find, inexpensive ingredients to make dishes like oatmeal fudge bars. (Feb. 5)
The Secrets of Happy Families
by Bruce Feiler
Popular New York Times columnist and best-selling author promises another warm and helpful book. He often writes beautifully about religion (Walking the Bible), but this one focuses on innovative ways to connect as a family. He didn’t go to psychologists for advice but instead to Silicon Valley execs and folks on the set of Modern Family. Some of the surprising advice in this book will be to ditch the sex talk, don’t worry about family dinner and let your kids pick their own punishments. (Feb. 19)
The Still Point of the Turning World
by Emily Rapp
Rapp’s books (Poster Child) and articles are beautiful to read, but her piece in the New York Times called Notes from a Dragon Mom was particularly heartbreaking. In it, she writes about the short life of her young son Ronan who is diagnosed with Tay-Sachs. In her trademark way, she gently takes readers on her family’s difficult journey. (March 7)
French Twist: An American Mom’s Experiment in Parisian Parenting
by Catherine Crawford
For readers who were into in the controversial book Bringing Up Bebe, this book offers another intimate look into the secrets of French parenting. Instead of going to Paris to immerse her family in French ways, the author brings French attitudes to Brooklyn. She writes about her European hands-off approach and how it worked magnificently–most of the time–with her two kids. Now they eat lamb chops! (March 12)
Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives
by John Elder Robison
Diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40, this dad writes about the adventures he has raising his son Cubby. Irreverent, hilarious and a little dark, this book is gives readers an inside look at what it’s like to be a person on the autism spectrum. He hopes to inspire his readers to embrace and celebrate misfits and geeks. If you’ve seen or read Running with Scissors, you might have met John–he is Augusten Burroughs’ brother. (March 12)
Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures
by Amber Dusik
Hiliarious Parents’ writer Dusik finally gets to crack readers up with her own parenting book, and yes, the pictures are really bad. She’s a popular blogger, but in this book she delves into life with kids while sharing stories. Silly ones like the time her child asked if clowns will throw pies at her at the circus. She’s aiming for a funny run of stories and essays along the lines of Jenny Lawson’s Let Pretend this Never Happened. (March 19)
The Object of My Conception
by Elisabeth Rohm
Rohm, best known for her role on Law and Order, blogged about her infertility for People.com, and she was overwhelmed by the positive responses from women who were going through the same thing. In her memoir, she tells the story of her fertility issues, her IVF treatments and her successful journey into motherhood. (April 9)
Learning to Listen: A Life Caring for Children
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by T. Berry Brazelton
Fans of this caring and famous pediatrician will be interested in the story of his life. From growing up in Texas to heading to Princeton and Harvard to diving into research on newborn babies, this book tells the story of a great man in his own words. You probably know his seminal book Touchstones, a handbook for all parents of babies from birth to age 3. (April 9)
Amber Dusik, Bruce Feiler, Catherine Crawford, Dara Lynn-Weiss, Elisabeth Rohm, Elisabeth Rohn, Emily Rapp, French Twist, John Elder Robison, Kelly Rudnicki, Learning to Listen, Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye, Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, Parisian Parenting, Raising Cubby, T. Berry Brazelton, The Food Allergy Mama, The heavy, The Object of My Conception, The Secrets of Happy Families, The Still Point of the Turning World, Zac Unger | Categories:
Best Of Lists, Best Sellers, Cookbooks, DIY, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Mommy Bloggers, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books
Friday, October 19th, 2012
Today’s a cold and rainy day where I live. I’ve got plenty to do, I just don’t plan on doing it. Instead, I’m loving a brand new book called Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun. It’s got a great message, “Use the world, or let the world use you.” I’m down with that.
The authors, Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, show us that we can always be up to something. We just need to take time to goof off, craft, play games and prank each other. Forget tutoring and extra homework. Instead, use your hands and brains (and old batteries) with your kids to feel feel instantly happier and more connected.
This is the ultimate craft and curiosity book. The illustrations are vivid, funny and, best of all, super clear. Have you ever heard of “The Game?” Oh boy, I wish I hadn’t read about that one. Unbored also talks about how to roughhouse in the section called “Rules of Combat.” And you know that crazy You Tube video with the exploding Coke and Mentos? (I posted it on the next page.) Unbored tells you exactly how to repeat the explosive experiment at home with your kids. (Outside, preferably near a water hose.) The balancing poses for two people, called “Circus Tricks,” will keep my young children busy for hours this weekend.
From recycling old things to learning how to curse without cursing, this is the coolest activity book for all ages I’ve seen in a long time. Build a tipi or an igloo. Giggle while you short sheet someone’s bed. Fix your bike and make a secret book safe. Unbored includes 344 pages of seriously fun stuff to do.
The kids will love the activities–younger ones need supervision but older ones can take this book and run. Mine will just have to pry Unbored away from me first. After all, I may short sheet their beds, but I don’t want them to figure out how to do it to me! (more…)
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activities, crafts, Elizabeth Foy Larson, Joshua Glenn, mentos and coke, recycling, serious fun, short sheet, the game, unbored | Categories:
Crafts, DIY, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
Happy birthday to lots of books! More will come out today than any other day this year. Publisher’s Weekly is calling it The Best Book Day of 2012. I’m just thinking it might be a good day to go shopping–there are so many great picks to choose from. Here are my favorites for October 2:
The End of Your Life Book Club
by Will Schwable
When the author’s mother Mary Ann Schwable was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2007, the family was devastated. This mother and son duo–two avid and accomplished book lovers–came up with a coping mechanism: They decided to form a book club. Over chemo treatments and long afternoons together, they read everything from Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns to John Updike’s My Father’s Tears. Their discussions became bigger than the fiction–they talked about life and death. I hear this book is “astonishing” and “inspiring.” Even though it’s sad, it might help readers come to understand their own relationships with their aging parents.
Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects
by Sarah Goldschadt
Some books arrive on my front porch, and I can’t stop staring at them because they’re so beautiful. (And my kids love to take off with the prettiest ones–this was in my 6-year-old’s bedroom.) Talk about an artful pleasure. The author offers a year’s worth of adorable little projects that will bring friends and family together while they have some fun. I especially like the Ladybug Card and the Candle Topper for cupcakes. Goldschadt offers a crafters paradise for all skill levels.
The Bro Code for Parents: What to Expect When You’re Awesome
by Barney Stinson–as in the Barney from How I Met Your Mother–with Matt Kuhn
If you’re looking for an irreverent book about the perils of parenting, or if you’re a big How I Met Your Mother fan, this one’s for you. ‘Stinson’ writes: “Congratulations! You’re about to have a kid? Well, Bro, you might be asking yourself a series of important questions: Will I ever be able to do awesome things again? Will I be able to afford this? Can I ever have sex again? Will I be a good parent? Am I able to love my own child as much as I love my own life? Can I ever have sex again?! Well, the answer to all of these questions is a rock solid no. But just because your life is now a petrifying turd on the canvas of life doesn’t mean your kid has to be as lame as you’re about to become.” This book advises that South Park is a great show for children. Ha!
Calm the Crying: The Secret Baby Language That Reveals the Hidden Meaning Behind an Infant’s Cry
by Priscilla Dunstan
Dunstan, an Australian parenting expert, deciphers your baby’s sounds to help you cope with those first three months. If your baby says, “Eairh,” she really means, “I have gas.” Her body will be rigid, and she will tend to make sudden, jerky movements with her chin up. Dunstan’s advice covers everything from feeding properly to figuring out the exact moment to put the baby to bed. New mothers will appreciate the specific tips that are tailored to their needs.
Today is a great day to buy a book, read a book or wish the kids would pipe down so you could at least contemplate a book. I’ll definitely be doing all of the above this afternoon.
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Barney Stinson, best book day of 2012, Calm the Crying: The Secret Baby Language That Reveals the Hidden Meaning Behind an Infant's Cry, Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects, How I Met Your Mother, new mom, Priscilla Dunstan, Sarah Goldschadt, The Bro Code for Parents: What to Expect When You're Awesome, The End of Your Life Book Club, Will Schwable | Categories:
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