Saturday, June 29, 2013

Whispers Through Time Review and Giveaway

          I am very excited to once again be a part of children and parenting author L.R. Knost's book launch tour. I previously reviewed the first book in her parenting handbook series, Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages. You can read that review here. I really liked Two Thousand Kisses a Day and was super excited to read the next book in the series, Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages Of Childhood. I liked this book even more than the first one. In fact, I LOVE this one!

          Good communication is the foundation of any positive relationship. It is, therefore, no surprise that gentle, positive parenting is also dependent on how well you communicate with your child. Starting with newborn babies and on through adulthood, L.R. Knost teaches parents how to communicate well with their children through the different stages of life. She uses simple, easy to understand language and keeps the chapters short and to the point. This is a huge plus for busy parents who may not have tons of time to read but would still like to improve their relationships with their children. My kids are 2.5 years and 14 months old now and I barely have time for myself. However, I found this book very engaging, simple, and easy to read. I was able to read bits and pieces of it throughout the day when I could steal 5 minutes to myself.

          This book has given me new insights into my toddlers' brains and stages of development. It has helped me to try to think from their point of view instead of assuming things are the way that I think. One of my favorite chapters was Chapter 7, The Taming of the Tantrum: A Toddler's Perspective, which shows us the reasons why young children have tantrums and how to try to prevent them from a toddler's perspective. I found it pretty amusing but also pretty insightful. I am far from being a perfect parent. In fact, I have A LOT to improve upon, but this book has helped me to see my children in a new light and I will strive to do my best at connecting and communicating better with them. This is a must read for any parent wishing to improve their communication and strengthen their relationship with their children!

          The book has an appendix at the end with Twelve Steps to Positive Parenting which I really love. My husband and I are trying to slowly implement those steps and I have printed the steps we are working on and taped them to the wall in our room as a daily reminder. I cannot wait to read the next book in this amazing series and to continue on this journey to improve not just my parenting but my relationship with my boys as well.

Here is a chapter by chapter synopsis of the book from author L.R. Knost herself:

Chapter 1 ‘Communication: Whispers Through Time’ explores  the importance of communication and connection in parent/child relationships.

Chapter 2 ‘Baby Talk’ celebrates those first moments and days and weeks of communication between newborns and parents.

Chapter 3 ‘Becoming Mommy’ shares the beauty of embracing parenthood.

Chapter 4 ‘Baby Signing: A Gentle Introduction to Communication’ introduces the concept of using baby signs to communicate.

Chapter 5 ‘The Power of Perception’ explores the connection between a parent's perception of their child's motives and the parent's response.

Chapter 6 ‘Eleven Tips to Beat the Mama Blues’ shares eleven ways to work through those sometimes hard, sometimes humdrum days of parenthood.

Chapter 7 ‘The Taming of the Tantrum: A Toddler’s Perspective’ explores life from the perspective of a toddler and offers guidance on how to use communication to reduce or eliminate tantrums.

Chapter 8 ‘The NO Zone’ shares ideas for how to respond when a toddler discovers how to use the word, "NO!"

Chapter 9 ‘The Secret of the Whisper’ offers a unique response to little people's sometimes big emotions.

Chapter 10 ‘Ten Ways to Play When Play is the Last Thing on your Mind’ shares ten ideas for weaving play into an ordinary day.

Chapter 11 ‘A Listening Heart’ breaks down the concept of listening and offers ideas for how to pinpoint the issue if listening is a problem.

Chapter 12 ‘A Child’s Heart’ shares a glimpse of the power of communication and connection.

Chapter 13 ‘Why Whining is a Win’ offers a unique perspective on that age-old annoying behavior...whining.

Chapter 14 ‘Can We Talk?’ explores adults' use of figurative language and the confusion that can result for children.

Chapter 15 ‘Age of Reason: Why, oh Why, Do They Always Ask Why?’ examines why the why stage is so important.

Chapter 16 ‘Five Gentle Tools for Handling Lying’ shares a practical and gentle approach to lying.

Chapter 17 ‘Rethinking Tattling’ explores the importance of listening to tattling.

Chapter 18 ‘The Artist in the Child’ celebrates the differences in children through the unique perspective of the artist.

Chapter 19 ‘Whisper Words of Wisdom’ examines the unseen wounds that thoughtless words can inflict.

Chapter 20 ‘Love Means Sometimes Having to Say You’re Sorry’ shares the importance of making things right when you've done something wrong

Chapter 21 ‘The sWord and the sTone’ covers the importance of living what you want your child to learn.

Chapter 22 ‘Chatterboxes and Dreamers: Is Your Child an Introvert or an Extrovert?’ discusses the different parenting approaches to different personalities.

Chapter 23 ‘I is for `I dunno’ and That’s Good Enough for Me’ shares some insights into the mysteries of the adolescent mind.

Chapter 24 ‘Backtalk is Communication: LISTEN!’ tackles the startling truth that when children talk back they are actually communicating.

Chapter 25 ‘My Huckleberry Friend’ shares the reasons that a parent should not only be their child's friend, they should be their best friend.

Chapter 26 ‘Whispering Winds of Change’ explores the process of letting them go while still holding them close.

Chapter 27 ‘Messages in a Bottle: Our Hope for the Future’ shares thirty-two messages to write on the hearts and minds of your children before sending them out into the world.

 This post is part of the Virtual Book Tour for the launch of L.R.Knost's newest release Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood. Click here if you’d like to check out all of the other stops on the tour! 

Best-selling parenting and children’s book author, L.R.Knost, is an independent child development researcher and founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. A mother of six, her children range from 25- years down to 25-months-old. Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages and Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood are the first in her Little Hearts Handbooks series of parenting guides. The next book in the series, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline is due to be released November 2013. Other works by this award-winning author include the children's picture books A Walk in the Clouds, Petey’s Listening Ears, and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series for ages 2 to 6, which are humorous and engaging tools for parents, teachers, and caregivers to use in implementing gentle parenting techniques in their homes and schools.

Buy The Book:

You can purchase the book on Amazon for only $7.19 here.

Win It:

L. R. Knost is kindly giving one lucky readers the chance to win one copy of the book. Giveaway ends Monday, July 1st, 2013 at 6pm EST. Winner will be announced here and on the Diary of a Natural Mom Facebook page once the contest is over. See Rafflecopter form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 24, 2013

Boba 3G Baby Carrier Review

          If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know that I love babywearing and started wearing Daniel when he was about a month old. I didn't have a back carrier while I was pregnant with Joshua so I either carried Daniel or wore him on my hip in my Moby Wrap for short periods (it's not very sturdy that way due to the stretchiness of the fabric). I started wearing Joshua in my Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap) and Moby Wrap when he was about a month old and have done my share of tandem wearing as well. In my quest for the perfect carrier, I have tried quite a few different ones. I had tried on a friend's Boba briefly once but not long enough to form an opinion of it. I was very excited to receive my Boba in the mail to try out and review. I received the carrier free of charge from Boba and I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. All opinions in this review are solely my own and based on my experience using the carrier.

          The Boba is a soft structured carrier: basically a rectangular piece of fabric with straps that you buckle at your waist/hips and at your shoulders (in a front carry) or chest (in a back carry). There are plenty of soft structured carriers out there of different sizes and with different features. The Boba is designed to be worn with babies and toddlers from newborn to 45lbs. It has a higher panel than the Ergo and other similar soft structured carriers, which means it will hold bigger toddlers. There are carriers with higher and wider panels than the Boba out there but at a much higher price. These are usually toddler carriers and can be much more comfortable than the Boba if you have an older/bigger child. The Boba is unique in that you can wear newborns in it without purchasing an extra insert. You simply have to adjust the straps differently. It also has purse straps on the shoulder straps to keep your purse from falling off your shoulders. I usually use a back pack as a diaper bag but I tried them out with a tote bag the other day. They are pretty effective at keeping the bag in place but I don't like where the bag strap sits on my shoulder. It makes me feel like the bag is falling off even though it is pretty secure but maybe I'm just weird.

          Another cool feature of the Boba is that it has patented foot straps to keep bigger kids comfortably seated and their spine supported. Both of my kids are tall enough now that their legs dangle a bit since the fabric of the seat no longer reaches the backs of their knees and the foot straps definitely come in handy to keep their legs comfortable. The Boba also has a hood to support baby's head while sleeping and protect baby from the elements. It is also supposed to provide some coverage while nursing but I didn't find it too helpful for that. Finally, the Boba has a pocket at the chest to keep the hood in (can fit small items if the hood is out but won't be able to zip) and a small zippered and a small open pocket on the waistband to keep your keys, phone, etc.

          I really like the ease of putting the Boba on and taking it off and usually reach for it over my wrap when going for a quick walk or just going to be in and out of a store quickly. That being said, my husband and I are different sizes and it takes some time to adjust it properly when switching users. I find that the pockets are small, which is okay for carrying my phone and debit card when going into a store quickly, but not so much if I'm going to be a while. I did not find the Boba to be the most comfortable carrier ever but it is more comfortable, in my opinion, than a lot of other carriers out there like it. I prefer to wrap when wearing for longer periods but the Boba is my go to for shorter wearing periods. Daniel still prefers to be wrapped but Joshua does not seem to mind either way as long as he's worn. My husband finds the Boba uncomfortable on the front and prefers back carries in it.

Here are some action shots:

Daniel- Front Carry
Daniel- Back Carry
Joshua- Front Carry
Joshua- Back Carry

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Benefits of Baltic Amber

           If you're like most parents, you dread the moment your baby starts teething: the pain, fussiness, and general uneasiness. You'd do anything to relieve your baby's discomfort and see him or her smile again. There are many teething medicines on the market but with so many recalls and dangerous ingredients even among some of the natural remedies, what's a parent to do? There is hope! Enter Baltic amber teething jewelry.

          The Baltic region contains 80% of the world's amber and Baltic amber is the most prized amber in the world. Baltic amber is the fossilized resin from pine trees that grew in the Baltic region about 45 million years ago. Amber is a warm to the touch gem and, when worn against the warmth of your skin, it releases healing oils. These oils contain succinic acid. Baltic amber contains a higher amount of succinic acid than any other amber in the world and that is why it is so highly prized. Succinic acid is a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used in Europe as a natural teething remedy for centuries. Baltic amber can also be used by adults and also helps with strengthening the immune system, restoring energy,maintaining wellness, and reducing chronic inflammation. Baltic amber can also be used to help with anxiety, depression, relieve stress and help maintain emotional health.

          Traditionally, babies wear amber teething necklaces around their neck for teething. However, Daniel is really curious and just has to touch everything so my husband and I were really worried about putting a necklace on him and were glad to find that an anklet can be a good alternative. There are many people out there selling fake amber so I must tell you what happened to us. We went to a festival and there was a man who was selling loose amber beads, amber chunks with inclusions, and a few necklaces. He recommended that we buy 12 polished beads at $2 each to make Daniel an anklet and even threw in some stretchy string for free. Daniel had seemed really uncomfortable with serious teething symptoms so we were really excited and did as he said. When I tried to make the anklet, I realized I did not have enough beads, the stretchy cord would not work and I had no idea what I was doing so I did some research online. I found that we paid way too much for the beads and I could have gotten a necklace or anklet for that price or even cheaper. I also came across a few posts on how to tell if the amber is real or fake and found that my beads were fake! I was very angry but the festival was over and nothing could be done.

          A few tests to determine whether your amber is real are: Put it in a bowl of 1 part salt to two parts water. Real amber floats in salt water. However, my fake amber passed this test. rub it in between your hands. Real amber becomes really warm when you do this but this test is highly subjective. Wet a cotton swab with nail polish remover and swab a bead with it. Real amber will not be affected but fake amber will melt. This is what happened with my fake amber beads. The  Inspired by Finn anklet I got for my first son survived this test of authenticity. We now use necklaces from there as well but I've never tested them since I trust the company.

A few tips for buying amber:

-Make sure you are buying from a trusted source. There are many fakes on Ebay and similar websites. Go with recommendations from friends and look for companies that can provide a certificate of authenticity.

-The lighter colored beads contain more succinic acid than the darker ones. The lighter the color, the better.

- Make sure the company you are buying from takes appropriate safety measures when making jewelry for babies such as having a knot in between each bead to prevent the beads from going everywhere if the necklace or anklet were to break, an easy to open clasp to prevent strangulation, etc.

- Make sure that you measure your baby's neck before placing your order. You don't want the necklace to be too long or it can become caught on things and become a strangulation risk.

- Always supervise baby while wearing amber jewelry.