Barefoot Books - Review and Giveaway!

At the beginning of this year I talked about how I want to add more good children's books to Wyatt and Gwen's collection.  I just realized that I didn't have all that many, and I love a good children's book, especially with colorful illustrations.  It makes it a lot more fun for me to read them for my kids too when I have new material!

I hadn't really heard of Barefoot Books before, but then a couple months ago Teresa Banner, who is a Barefoot Books ambassador, became a sponsor of my blog.  Since then I've checked out the website and they have so many fun books with beautiful illustrations!

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Teresa offered to send a few books to Wyatt and me to review, and of course I said yes!  These are the four she sent me (this image courtesy of Teresa):

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I loved these books, and Wyatt did too.  He just loves animals, and he knows the names of way more animals than any other kid I know, so it was perfect that all the books were animal related!  There were a lot that Wyatt didn't know in the pages of these books, so it was fun to teach him some new animals!

I basically opened the package and we had a free for all.  Gwen got in on the action too!  I think Wyatt didn't quite know which book to grab first, but he settled on "How Big Is A Pig".  Of course.  Farm animals are his favorite.

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I thought "How Big Is A Pig" was so fun!  The illustrations are kind of a scrapbook/quilting style illustration, and they were interesting to look at.  Wyatt, of course, loved pointing all the animals he knows.  I really like how this book introduces opposites to kids.  We kind of flew threw it when we first read it, but I'm looking forward to sitting down and really explaining each opposite while we read.  Very educational.



The next book we read was "Hidden Hippo", and this is just a fun book spoken in the first person as the narrator is searching for a hippo.  It goes through a lot of African/jungle animals and the illustrations are beautiful.  Wyatt really liked this book, and it was a ton of fun hearing him try to say "hippopotamus"!

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I'm planning on reading Wyatt the other two books tonight (I thought we should pace ourselves - too much excitement all at once with so many new books!).  But I read through them and I think he's going to love them.

"Secret Seahorse" is similar to "Hidden Hippo" in that it is an exploration of the ocean and sea life, and it's just a fun book to read.  I already know Wyatt is going to like this one.  He loves fish, and this will be great for teaching him more animals!  What can I say.  I think I may have a future biologist on my hands.

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And the last book, which I am looking forward to working through with Wyatt, is "Alligator Alphabet", which goes through and matches each letter of the alphabet to an animal, with colorful, beautiful illustrations on each page.  We are working on learning each letter of the alphabet now, and I think this will be a great tool!  And I know there are many animals we don't know in this book, so it's for sure going to hold Wyatt's attention.

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The other thing I love . . . these are all board books!  I'm a big fan of board books.  No flimsy pages for little hands to tear.

I definitely suggest that you check out Barefoot Books, especially their sale page.  They have a ton of great books for really reasonable prices!  I spotted several more right away that I know Wyatt would like, and I have my eye on a few books that I think would be really useful for school in future years.  Almost all of their books look to be educational and I love that.

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If you decide to buy from Barefoot Books I also highly recommend you buy through Teresa!  Not only is she just so sweet, but I felt like she really took time to get to know me and Wyatt and send us books that he would like, and she hit the nail on the head!  If you are looking for something specific I'm sure she'd have great recommendations.  And if you are just browsing I'm sure she'd have great guidance too, and she is so nice to work with!



You can also us the code "TWENTY13" right now to get 20% off your order, which would make for a really good deal!

Note: All four books were provided by Teresa Banner, Barefoot Books Ambassador, in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

And one more thing - Teresa has offered to give away a set of the same four books I mentioned above to one of my readers!  These are great books to add to your collection.  Enter below for a chance to win!

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Please note that following my blog and leaving a comment are MANDATORY entries. If you don't complete both of those, none of your entries will count! Good luck!

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Gwendolyn's Six Month Photos

My dear friend Danae took Gwendolyn's 6 month pictures a couple of months ago, and I'm finally getting around to posting them!  She did a fabulous job, as always - I love her photography style, and she and her husband are always so professional.  

Of course it decided to rain right in the middle of our photo session. We had to run for cover and then go back out after it calmed down a bit. I'm starting to think that all we need to do to make it rain is schedule some pictures to be taken outside.  But I love the way Gwen's photos turned out, and Danae managed to get some great shots even though we were fighting the rain!  

I had to narrow it down for this post, but these are some of my favorites. So here's my girl at six months (even though she's eight months now).  Enjoy!

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I can't believe it's already been two months since we took these pictures!  She's growing so fast.

Big Boy Room Ramblings


How was everyone's Labor Day weekend?  We didn't go on any trips or anything, but Derek had a long weekend too, so we pretty much just hung out and goofed off as a family.  It was lovely.

I'm having a hard time catching back up on blog posts since my little break two weeks ago, and the long weekend did not help, so today I'm just going to ramble.  Okay?  Okay.

This week I started looking at bedding for Wyatt's "big boy room".  We obviously aren't going to need the toddler bed for Gwen for a while, but I think Wyatt is ready to move to a big bed, and I want to get started on it.  So I went to my favorite place to shop - Amazon! - and looked for some bedding ideas.

At first I was thinking I might just do the duvet thing for Wyatt when we move him to the big bed, but then I spotted this quilt:

I love the idea of doing a car theme for Wyatt's room, because Wyatt loves cars right now.  I also think this bedding will grow with him nicely. I even found these other items that I think would look so fun in his room:
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Cute, right?

But then I saw this bedding.  Wyatt also likes trucks, but what I really like is how colorful this bedding is.  I could pretty much put it in any color room and it would look great.  This would be good since we may end up moving Wyatt upstairs into the current spare bedroom - which is yellow.  And I think this construction site bedding would look great with the yellow walls, and still look really boyish.

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I also really like this next bedding, because I have a soft spot for dinosaurs for little boys.  Unfortunately it only comes in a twin size, and the bed we have for Wyatt is a full size bed.
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So really, it's between the first two bedding sets.  I'm leaning toward the construction site one because I feel like the colors will work better and be more versatile, but looking at the car bedding and decorations again has me torn because that would be really cute too!  I don't know.  I'll have to ask Derek what he thinks.

I'm trying to think about what to do for a nightstand, because the bed we have for Wyatt is also a really tall bed . . . I might have to go hunting in some Goodwills and see if I can find something that I can paint.  I like the idea of painting a nightstand or dresser dark blue for his room.

And then I want to get one of these cubby-style bookshelves from Ikea (like this one only turned on it's side).  Wyatt has way too many books to fit on that little ledge in his room anymore, and this would give me a place to store books, a place to display his piggy bank and other decorations, and I could also add colorful baskets to store little toys.
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And of course I'll need these too, or some variation thereof.  

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Maybe Derek can make Wyatt a step stool, because they are expensive!  This was one of the most reasonably priced ones I found and it was still forty bucks.

Also, I'm not really sure which color of wood I'm going with for the furniture yet, so I'm just showing the natural wood color for now - don't get hung up on that.

Those are my thoughts about Wyatt's room.  And it took so long to ramble about that, I'm about rambled out.  

Oh!  One more thing!  I took an Influence Network class about being a worship leader in your family, and the teacher was basically saying to just be intentional about sharing with your kids about Jesus and God's love. It really got my creative juices flowing on how to infuse more about Jesus into Wyatt's daily life.  

One of the things I was thinking of is that I want to find more Bible-based movies, and I ran across "Auto-B-Good" movies.  They have a faith-based series, and I totally want to order one for Wyatt!  I haven't watched them yet, but they look like they might be good.  Maybe a Christmas present?

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When did you/are you planning on moving your toddler to a "big" bed?  Anything I'm not thinking of for a "big boy room"?  Biblical movie suggestions for kids?  I'm all ears.  Or eyes.  Whatever.

Fresh Peach Salsa

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I mentioned earlier this week that we went to a peach festival earlier this month, and we bought a huge box of peaches.  And they are delicious - so juicy and sweet and satisfying!  It was definitely worth the 28 dollars to buy a box.

However, I always underestimate just how many peaches fill up that box - and last week I realized we may not get to eat all of them before they go bad.  So what did I do?  I decided to make peach salsa!  And I invented my own recipe, which makes me feel so culinarily talented and creative (even though I'm not). 

So I thought I'd share my recipe for peach salsa with you.  Derek and my brother-in-law were my taste-testers, and they gave it their stamp of approval.

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Fresh Peach Salsa

4-5 peaches, peeled and diced
4-5 roma tomatoes, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 slices of onion, diced
4-5 jalepenos, diced
3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
1tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. white vinegar

1. Combine all ingrediants in a bowl.  Add onions and jalepenos to taste.  Serve with chips or over fish, chicken, etc.

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And that's it!  Super simple, it just takes time to cut up all the produce.  I added 4 jalepenos and it wasn't quite spicy enough for me, so if I make it again I'll probably add more like 6-7 jalepenos.  Also, this makes a rather big batch, so it would be good for a party.  I ended up freezing the extra.  I think it should freeze well, but I guess we will see when I thaw it out in another month or two!

Have any of you ever made your own salsa?  I think I'm going to have to do it again and experiment with making different kinds.  I'm not huge on cooking, but this is one thing I thought was really fun to make, and who doesn't like fresh salsa?



Gwendolyn At Eight Months


I can't believe Gwen is eight months old!

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Gwendolyn is still in 3-6 months and 6-9 month clothes, so we're still making her summer clothes work.  I'm never sure what size to buy her for fall clothes though, because she grows at such crazy rates - at the beginning of the summer I wasn't sure if we were going to make it until the end in the same clothes, but they still fit!  She's in size 3 diapers and size 2 shoes.  Her feet are so delicate and skinny - I love it.

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Gwen is still taking maybe four bottles during the day and usually at least two at night.  We also feed her baby food twice a day right now, and she loves it - she gets upset if we forget to feed her one of her meals.  We keep adding new foods in gradually, and she seems to like everything, but I think we've decided that peas don't agree with her.  She threw up a couple times this month after eating peas.  It was so sad.

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Sleep - oh my goodness.  For this entire month Gwen has been waking up 2-4 times per night.  She hasn't slept through the night once since she turned seven months old, and I have no idea why!  I've adjusted her daytime schedule, tried feeding her more baby food during the day, tried weaning her off feedings at night.  None of it is working, and it's almost worse sleep than when she was a newborn some nights. 

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At first I thought it was a combination growth spurt and teething, and I still think that's probably right, but no teeth have popped through yet.  And I'm just trying to remember how long growth spurts usually last.  After a whole month like this I think she's gotten into the habit of waking up in the middle of the night, so if she wakes up sooner than 3 hours I'll give her some water in it, and then she usually goes back to sleep.

I remember Wyatt going through a really rough sleep patch around 7-8 months too, so I'm just waiting for it to pass.  This last week seemed like it might have been slightly better as far as sleeping goes, so maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

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She sucks her thumb when she's tired!

She is still getting up on her hands and knees, but instead of crawling she just kind of lunges forward onto her stomach and then gets up on her hands and knees again - and she moves all around the house that way!  It's so cute and funny.  She has figured out how to move her knees forward, but she hasn't figured out how to walk her hands forward yet.  So the lunge-crawl it is for now!  I love it.

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Wyatt and Gwen still have a great relationship, but since Gwen has been getting bigger I have to keep reminding Wyatt to still be gentle - he wants to play with her a little too roughly sometimes.  Another year and they'll be able to chase each other around!  Wyatt also started wanting to feed Gwen her food this month.  I just turned around one day and Wyatt was giving Gwen bites of his applesauce, so I let him feed her two jars of her baby food.  It was so cute!

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She babbles a lot, but I've been trying to help her figure out different consonants, and she'll make the "mamama" sound now - I can't wait until she figures out that that's me!

We also went swimming for real for the first time this month - as in, Gwen actually got in the water (8/18/13).  And she loved it!  I think the trick is finding a warm pool since we went to a hot springs.

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She has the sweetest personality, and I feel like her sense of humor is developing - I started playing peek-a-boo more with her this month, and she thinks it's so funny.  She smiles any time someone talks to her or smiles at her - she loves attention.  She laughs when I kiss her feet or tummy.  Sometimes she'll be playing on the floor and I'll say hi to her, and she'll get this big grin and lunge-crawl as fast as she can toward me.

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She is still touching people's faces, but not as much as last month.  She did, however, give me a big slobbery baby kiss the other day (8/26/13)!  I was kissing her face on the couch and playing with her, and she grabbed my cheeks, grinned, and pulled my face toward her mouth to give me a kiss!  I think this one was definitely more of an intentional kiss, and it melted my heart.

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My Sweet Doll Baby,

Gwen-Girl, you are growing so fast!  I love what a sweet personality you have, and seeing you begin to develop a sense of humor is such a blessing.  Your laugh is a precious sound to me - it just bubbles up from somewhere in your belly.  When you laugh, you laugh with your whole body, and I love that.  

I talked about how rough sleep has been for you the last month, Sweet Girl, but there is one thing that I love about waking up with you in the middle of the night.  For some of your feedings I'll make you a bottle and just bring you back to bed with me.  I'll lay you on your side facing me, and I'll prop the bottle up on my neck and snooze while you finish eating.  But then after you are done with your bottle, you are so sleepy and warm.  I'll take it away, and then you usually lean into me and put your hand on my chest, or on my shoulder, or on the side of my face, and you'll fall right asleep.  During the day you are always on the go, so these times of snuggling you at night are so sweet to me.  I'll miss that someday when you never wake up in the night anymore.

I love you Sweet Baby.  You are so beautiful and unique and outgoing.  I love having you as my daughter, and I am so glad God gave you to me.  I'm so glad I have you.

Love you always,

Mama
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