Library Reading Programs for Babies and Kids (+ Book Recommendations!)

Babies really need to get off their iPhones and crack open a good board book every once in a while, right? The Multnomah County Library agrees, which is I guess why they hold a summer reading program for babies, kids, and teens. Read to them, or have them read to themselves for fifteen minutes, a half hour, or an hour (depending on the age group), and they (or you) color in a space on the game card. Fill out so many squares, claim a prize. If your kids fill in the entire card, they get a T-shirt and a bigger, better prize. Last summer Audrey chose a book, but there were also coupons for local ice cream shops and passes for activities around the city.

Sunscreen Woes

Fun in the sun

Fun in the sun

Frances loves swimming, so we’ve been hitting the pool pretty regularly this summer. I’m a bit paranoid about her getting a sunburn since her skin is still that perfect newborn white, so I try to keep her in the shade and slather her with plenty of sunscreen. I’m running into some problems with the sunscreen, however, and it’s driving me crazy!

Episencial Sunny Screen SPF 35 is so difficult to apply, and Franci isn’t happy about it. I make sure to put it on before we even leave the house so we’re not trying to do it pool side, but it still doesn’t absorb by the time we get to the pool. So there she is, sticky and white as a ghost with streaks all over, and once she’s wet she becomes as slippery as a greased watermelon! I’m afraid she’s going to slip through my fingers.

Book Review: French Kids Eat Everything

French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy EatersFrench Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters by Karen Le Billon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I’m into French Parenting books. As a reformed picky eater, I’m fascinated by the topic of food and kids. Frances still has two months before she tries her first bite, and I still can’t help but read all about it!

In French Kids Eat Everything, Le Billon and her French husband decide to leave Vancouver, B.C. and take their two young daughters to spend a year in the village where he grew up. They found that it was impossible to fit in to their new home without adopting French eating habits, so that’s how the story begins.

White Noise Apps

Now that Francis is sleeping more at night, she’s having a harder time falling asleep for her nap.  Unless I’m carrying her around on my back, she fights sleep no matter how tired she is.  I didn’t mind too much until I hurt my back and carrying her meant my back never had a chance to heal.  Since a well rested baby is a happy baby, I needed to find another solution.

It wasn’t until another mom at my breastfeeding support group brought it up that I was reminded about white noise.  Of course!  Later that day when Frances started rubbing her eyes and getting inconsolably fussy that I downloaded a white noise app on my phone and gave it a whirl.  Let’s just say it worked like magic.

Father’s Day Product Review: EO Products for Men

I’m a sucker for beauty products, and I usually stick with ones with plant based ingredients. EO Products have all the things I’m looking for: sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate free, no parabens, and pure essential oils.  I thought I’d review a couple of EO Products For Men just in time for Father’s Day.  The soap is a shampoo/shower/shave combo and the lotion is for hands/face/body and both come in a large pump.  So not only are they organic, but multi-use too!

I had my husband try out the EO Everyone Soap For Men so I could include a man’s perspective.  He said the scent was light enough that he didn’t notice it, and it got him clean enough.  He said that he had to use a lot of it, four pumps for his chin-length hair and three pumps for his body.  It wasn’t a deal breaker, but he only has to use one pump of the conventional soap and shampoo he normally uses. I tried it myself to see if I agreed, and I did have to use quite a bit more than my regular soap and shampoo.

Book Review: Black & White

Although Frances is seeing in color now, she still loves her book Black & White by Tana Hoban. The pages of this board book fold out so you can prop it up on the ground in front of her. The high contrast images capture her attention and hold it until she’s had her fill. Her favorite image at the moment is the butterfly.

My only complaint is that if these images are really “objects from your child’s ever-growing world”, then what’s sailboat doing in there. I wish all the images were things she’s familiar with at her current age, like maybe a crib instead of a chair. Or a hand instead of a fork.

Book Review: Lois Lowry’s All About Sam

All About SamAll About Sam by Lois Lowry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All About Sam was recommended to me by my first grader. “I just love this book!” she said. Obviously I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Lois Lowry is perhaps most famous for her dystopian Y.A. novels The Giver, The Messenger, and Gathering Blue. However, as a child of the ’80s, I knew her for her heartfelt books about ordinary family life. I cried over A Summer to Die and Find a Stranger Say Goodbye and laughed my way through the entire Anastasia Krupnik series. Well, it turns out that there is a Sam Krupnik spin-off series, too! It all started in 1988 with All About Sam. I must have been off reading Flowers in the Attic or something by then and missed it altogether.

Review: Diaper Rash Creams

For the first three weeks, Frances had the worst diaper rash.  We tried powders and creams, like Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Diaper Cream, but nothing seemed to work.

It wasn’t until a friend suggested Weleda Calendula Diaper Care, 2.8-Ounce that the rash finally went away. I’m pretty sure that means it was a yeast rash.  Frances is so much happier now, and I don’t have to waste my time worrying about her sad red tushie!

Tried this one, maybe these other calendula creams would be good too.

Have you had issues with diaper rash? What did you do to get rid of it?

Book Review: Bringing Up Bébé

I’ve always felt a little French (probably because of growing up with a French last name), and I guessed it rubbed off on my parenting style. It turns out that we have more in common with French parents than American, based on what I read in Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.

According to the author, Pamela Druckerman, a big difference between American and French parenting is letting your baby have alone time and having her wait a minute if you’re in the middle of something and she starts to fuss. And not being guilty about parenting choices. We’re more than just moms, and our children should know and respect that.

Why Buy an Expensive Diaper Bag?

Can you answer this question for me? I’m baffled by baby registries that include requests for designer diaper bags. Like this Kate Spade Diaper Bag, below that costs $418 dollars. That’s more than I spent (total) on cloth diapering both my babies!

Important disclaimer: I live in Eugene, Oregon where Birkenstocks, yoga pants, and french braids are considered high fashion. Maybe if I did live in a more urban area, I would feel the pressure to have a top of the line diaper bag. But really, when I think of the conditions that a diaper bag has to endure (without giving specifics, but mentioning the word “blow-out”), I can’t imagine investing so much in a bag. (Especially when it can’t be thrown in the washer!)