Category - Literature

Think Beyond Act – Life Lessons for Kids {Guest Post}

author1-250As a single father of three young sons, Adam, Chase and Kyle, I always tried to foster kindness. When one of my sons would be bullied I would call those parents and invite that boy for a sleep over. By Monday, they were BFFs. Problem solved. It’s about separating the pack leader from the herd.

I also encouraged my boys to “Think Beyond the Act” and reinforced this message whenever they would get into trouble; making it a teachable moment. I had a Leave to Beaver mind-set. I would sit them down and discuss why they did what they did. Having a conversation with them and showing them where they went wrong was more educational and informative than punitive.

Helping them evaluate the consequences before they acted, wasn’t always achievable.

My middle child once said to me, 4th grade I believe, “Dad, I thought about what might happen to me but I decided to risk it anyway.” Hey, you have to know I held back the urge to laugh out loud. But at least he was thinking on his own and taking his medicine too. Owning it.

Linking a consequence (or many consequences) to an impulsive act was the message of the day I always conveyed. I attempted to get my boys to think what might happen. The worst possible scenario. Most of us do (or did) things never expecting to get caught. I assured them, they would always be caught. (We live in a small Southern Oregon town and the eyes are upon them.)

Once, I had this same son draw up a Consequences Chart. It was outstanding. revealing that his one lone act of poor decision making, created many consequences. Eventually I think 15 consequences as a result of one minor incident as a high school freshman. His diagram was so good, the school used it to further educate students and has been used widely by other organizations.

As the world evolves into a more connected space, and now that my three sons are grown and out on their own with their own children, I began writing my children’s books, as bedtime stories. I want to continue doing my part to help kids feel warm and cozy and safe at bedtime.

Stevie Tenderheart booksOne mom shared how their daughter, Isabella, 4, who used to sleep in her and her husband’s bed every night, now sleeps in her own bed after reading her Stevie Tenderheart bedtime storybooks. Isabella says she’s a big girl now. Stevie is changing lives, one page at a time.


I think SMOG is a beautiful thing. (Stevie’s Messages of Grace)

1. Try a Little Tenderness
2. A Change of Heart Changes Everything
3. Choose Integrity as Your True North & You Will Never Get Lost

By sending out positive messages to children at an early age, it is my hope we can instill a sense of self and confidence along with “integrity” within their hearts and souls. By integrity, I mean, doing the right thing even if no one is looking. I believe once we get children to own this core value, we will have turned the corner with our youth.

Steve Laible, MBA is a retired USAF Captain and Creator/Author of the Stevie Tenderheart Comic Strip and Stevie Tenderheart children’s series of bedtime stories. Check out Stevie Tenderheart’s website here:

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day Gift Guide MommyB CollageI personally can’t believe Mother’s Day is less than 2 weeks away! If you are looking for a great gift for your mom, your wife, mom-to-be, or a special woman in your life here are some of my suggestions for perfect presents this year.

Mother's Day Gift Guide MommyB

For the technology loving mom: 

The new Plus Motif Tablet Case is offered by Papier de Maison and is available in 4 sizes to accommodate tabletsand e-Readers.  It comes in 16 colors and is complimented by 72 different Motif Designs.  The Motif Design snaps easily on the cover to give a customized look to your tablet cover.

  • The large case that fits the iPad case retails for $39.99 with Motif Designs for $5.99 each.  
  • The medium size fits the iPad mini retails for $34.99 with Motif Designs for $4.99 each.  
  • The small size fits eReaders retails for $29.99 with the Motif Designs for $3.99 each.  
  • There is also a journal that retails for $17.99 with the Motif Designs for $3.99 each.    

Buy one here:

For the healthy mom:

I love Edible Arrangements fresh selection of quality fruits. Their Mother’s Day products come in beautiful, reusable vases, and you can also add a stuffed animal or balloons as well. This gift is great because it can be delivered right to her door and she won’t have to worry about how she’s going to work off those extra calories!!!

Edible Arrangements for mom start at $29 and you can pick the bouquet of fruit that she likes best. Take a look at the wide selection here: Edible Arrangements Gifts for Mom

For the earth conscious mom:

We all have one, two, or one hundred of the plastic reusable totes, but be you be true cotton bags are adorable, washable, and inspirational. For an additional fee you can personalize the tote and add mom’s name. Best of all you can fill with a few of mom’s favorite things, like a book, bath products, her favorite candies, what a nice way to spoil her.

This tote without personalization is $28. Check out more totes and other be you be true products here:

For the mom who loves to read:

We all need a little humor in our lives. Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir: How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs by Tracy Beckerman is all about the many things in motherhood that make us laugh. Any mom is sure to relate to Tracy’s stories of kids mistaking adults for being pregnant, fishing toys out of the toilet and more!

Find Tracy’s book on

For the mom who wants to smile:

I know Invisalign isn’t an obvious Mother’s Day gift, however the more I chat with mom friends, other moms at my daughter’s school, and people in playgroups I hear mom’s wishing they could “fix” their smile. Some moms had braces as a child but didn’t wear their retainer, some of their families couldn’t afford braces when they were little, and some have seen overcrowding issues as they get older.

As a mom, often times we put our own health and appearance on the back burner to care for our children. If you know a mom who would be interested in making her smile shine as bright as her personality, consider arranging a consultation to see if she’s a good fit for the Invisalign treatment program.

Invisalign pricing ranges depending on the case. Average treatment is around $3,000-$5,000 but is often less depending on length of treatment. Find a doctor here: Invisalign Doctor Locator 

For the mom who wants to give back:

Prosperity Candles are beautiful handmade candles manufactured by female entrepreneurs in and from distressed regions of the globe. My favorite Mother’s Day gift is the Gem of a Woman gift set that comes with a uniquely scalloped bowl soy candle and a fair trade summer scarf, both made by underprivileged women from around the globe. 

Each set comes with a gift box and story card, and burns for 40 hours. There are three scents to choose from: Himalayan Bamboo, Magnolia Blossom, and Sea Mist. Each candle/scarf set retails for $54.00 Purchase yours here: Gem of a Woman gift set.


There you have it, a few great ideas for Mother’s Day gifts. Now what will you get your mom for her special day??


This is a compilation of products that I have received for review, and products that I have not personally tried out but think are a great idea for Mother’s Day. In any regard I chose these specific gifts on my own as Mother’s Day gifts that I thought would be a good fit for shoppers. Any opinions in this post are my own, honest words written with integrity. 





Tracy, The Wonder Mom {Guest Post}

People often assume that since I write a parenting column and blog it means I am a parenting expert. The truth is, I am much more of an expert in what NOT to do when raising kids. My kids have actually grown up to be responsible, happy, and well-adjusted people in spite of me, not because of me. It’s not that I didn’t have their best interests at heart. It’s just that I forgot to read the manual when I had them.

Oh yeah… there was no manual. That might explain it.

I always found it somewhat ironic that you have to practice driving for a year and take a written and practical test in order to get a driver’s license, but all you have to do to have a baby is forget the condom.

Fortunately, nature took over when I was pregnant and I didn’t really have to “do” anything to make the baby grow inside me. But once that baby was out, it was all on me… and a little bit on my husband. And when I say it was all on me, I mean, it was quite literally ALL on me. For the better part of ten years I was covered in all manner of baby stuff from poo and spit up to finger paint and glitter. If the amount of mess I was covered in was directly reflective of the kind of parent I was, then I guess I was at the top of my class… or the bottom, depending on whether or not being covered in goo is a good thing or not.

I was a very hands on parent. Except when I wasn’t. Yes, I accidentally let the baby roll off the changing table once, and he was fine but I cried about it for a week. Then I realized that he was OK, if maybe just a little dented, but it was alright because I going to screw up and so would they. So I made sure to give my kids a little space and let them explore their world without a leash or a parachute. This is not to say I let them go bungee jumping when they were four because clearly that would be bad parenting and everyone knows you should really wait until they are at least six years old to do that. But I let them ride a skateboard and fall down. And then I kissed the boo-boos, cleaned them up, and told them to get back on the skateboard because that was the right parenting thing to do but also because I had a column to write and needed them to get out of my hair.

I also let my kids eat junk. When I was growing up we had nary a Cheeto or Dorito in the house. But I knew what I was missing so I would go to my friends’ houses and pig out on their junk food. I didn’t want my kids to be closet junk food eaters like I had been so I kept some of it in the house and showed them how to indulge in moderation. Of course we had some disagreements about what was an appropriate amount. I felt two scoops of ice cream was right whereas they thought a quart was a single serving container. Like most things, we met somewhere in the middle.

My oldest is now the one who is learning how to drive. He takes it very seriously and gives the car the respect and attention it deserves. I told him it’s good practice for when he becomes a parent one day. And when he accidentally hit the garage door with the car and dented it, I told him not to worry. That’s good practice for becoming a parent one day, too.

Lost in Sub_6.20.inddTracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column, “Lost in Suburbia” and is the author of the new book, “Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs,” available at Amazon and other booksellers.

Mary’s Son – A Christmas Book Review

Marys Son Book Cover

Marys Son Book Cover

Often times the holidays can become a chore, extremely busy, or sometimes we just plain lose sight of what that holiday stands for. With Christmas less than one week away, stores flooded with people looking for the deals or hottest toy on the market, the rush of sending out cards before the day is finally here, and of course making sure the decorations are hung just right. That’s what Christmas is really about right?!?

I love the book, Mary’s Son – A Tale of Christmas by Darryl Nyznyk. This is a great book to remind yourself the true meaning of Christmas, whether you live in a beautiful home and are blessed with all your needs, or if you’re struggling this season just to make ends meet.

This book was awarded a Mom’s Choice Awards and if I had my say I would totally agree. I also think it would be a good book for you to read with your teenagers or even smaller children based on their maturity level.

The way the book is written, it’s an easy one to really “get into”. And even though I know the Christmas story I enjoyed reading the character’s journey and the author’s perspective.

I suggest you grab a copy of this at your local bookstore or maybe even download it for Kindle or on your smartphone and read it when you’ve just had enough of the holidays and want to be filled with CHRISTmas.

PS!!! The author is offering the e-book for only $2.99 on Amazon for the month of December 2012!

I received a copy of this book purely for review purposes. All statements and opinions are my own honest thoughts. Yours may vary, but you’re not allowed to give your opinion until you’ve read the book…as the old saying goes, “you can’t say you don’t like it if you don’t try it!!!”

The Super, Incredible Big Sister Personalized Storybook

B Sisters

Have you ever seen a set of sisters cuter than this??

B Sisters

Okay maybe you have, and maybe I’m a little partial, but I love these two and love even more the way they love each other. Now, don’t get me wrong, they have their moments when they’re arguing over the same Disney Princess dress up shoes, or complaining about what color their snack bowl is, but all in all they love each other tremendously and it melts my heart.

DaddyB and I make it a priority for the girls to be sisters and best friends, we want them to grow up supporting, and lifting one another up as a team. To help facilitate that we give them joint tasks, have them do something nice for the other, and look for other resources to encourage them to want to be the best sister ever.

I received The Super, Incredible Big Sister, and this is totally a tool that has encouraged Miss A to want to be a great big sister. This personalized story shows Miss A and Lil C’s name throughout the book. making it even more relevant to her {and she always gets excited to read her name too}. We love the bright, colorful illustrations and the cool award that we often use when Miss A has been a good big sister. She loves it!

Miss A Big Sister Badge

Personally, because of the tense of the book, it’s better for someone who is going to be a big sister, or who has a new sibling, but sometimes we’ll change the words to make more sense. Perhaps I See Me!, will come up with a book for siblings that are a little older.

I would recommend this book if you are bringing a new baby into the home or as a baby shower gift to a friend with older children. I personally like to bring a gift to mom and older siblings when they are in the hospital after baby has been born, it makes everyone feel involved in the joyous event and excited too.

Check out The Super, Incredible Big Sister Personalized book for $32.95 and more unique books here:

I received a copy of this book and have given my honest opinions about the product in order to help consumers make more educated choices. The opinions expressed in the post above are my own, however yours may vary.

Sally the Stinkpot Turtle

Sally the Stinkpot TurtleThese days there are a mix of children’s books on the shelves of Public Libraries, in retail stores, and in our homes. Some books are for amusement, some are great for teaching, and some fall into both categories. Sally the Stinkpot Turtle by Diane Hamele-Bena and Mary Sue Rosen, is one of the books that exemplify a silly story with a lesson.

In this book, Sally, a Stinkpot turtle longs to be something other than stinky. One day she swims upon a berry necklace, but not just any berry necklace, and from that point on her thoughts become wishes and her thoughts and dreams become wishes upon wishes as we follow Sally through a variety of things she’d “rather be.”

It’s fun to follow Sally’s wishes throughout the story, see what animal she wants to be next and see why it’s just not the right fit for her. The illustrations are fun and even though Sally’s appearance changes there are running themes that will help your child recognize that each metamorphosis is the unhappy Stinkpot turtle.

Even though she’s a tad fickle, I like Sally, not only because she’s from Upstate New York {like me}, but she reminds me that sometimes in life the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

This story has a happy ending and a great lesson, but I won’t give that completely away, you’ll have to buy the book to check it out.

Head here: to check out more images from the book and purchase your own copy for $9.99

I was not compensated to write about this book, however I do know one of the authors and fully support her work in this book. 


Good Enough is the New Perfect

Good Enough is the New Perfect CoverAre you the type of mom who’s a little bit of a perfectionist? Want to be that mom who has a spotless house, happy kids, and dinner on the table when hubby walks in? If so then join me in learning how to lighten up a little and if not then you’ll get a great treat from, “Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood“. This book is a great new release from two moms and authors, Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple.

In an interview they recently published they were asked some pretty interesting questions and here’s what they had to say: Read More

Glimpsing God

Glimpsing God CoverAfter having so many friends dealing with hardships, reading about acquaintances or friends of friends tragedies on Facebook, for me, it’s been very integral in making me thankful for everything that I’ve been blessed with. Yes, there are moments we all want to complain, we want sympathy when we’ve had a long day with the kids or the car breaks down, or things just don’t go our way, and that’s okay, but in the end we are blessed and the book, “Glimpsing God; Snapshots from one family’s enduring faith through unbelievable trials.”  Rachel Alkire’s amazing true story reminder of why we should be thankful for what we have and her family’s personal journey with faith and tragedy.

As Chapter 1 begins there’s no real shadow of what’s to come in the following chapters however Rachel’s faith is presented. I love how she speaks about God being more than rituals and ceremonies and how we’re always looking for the God that fits our “rules”. If anything, throughout this book she shows how the God we are looking for is there for us but in His way, not always the way we are hoping for. Read More

The Rose Princess and the Special Gift

The Rose Princess and The Special GiftThe Rose Princess and the Special Gift written by Mike de Vetter with illustrations by Travis Orams is an amazing story of a beautiful princess who shares a message of selflessness with the readers in a fun and beautiful way.

From the fun, cartoon-y animations to the message of giving to those in need, Little Miss A and I LOVED this book from start to finish. I must say that I even cried because of the amazing kindness of the Princess and her Father, the King, and of course the meaning behind it all.

Even at 3.5 years old Miss A gathered a lot from this book’s message and asked questions throughout the entire story. I love talking to her about the people in need and am glad that it opened up conversation about how we can help people and give gifts to those in need and what God would want us to do in situations like these.  Read More

Raising Confident Readers Review

Raising Confident Readers Even at age 3 Miss A is starting to read. She’s always had an interest in letters and spelling. She knows most site words, can write her name, and sounds out longer words. But not all children are interested in words like Miss A, however because it is something she loves I encourage that and thought it would be interesting to read, Raising Confident Readers; How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write – from Baby to Age 7 by Dr. J. Richard Gentry.

Personally, I believe that you can encourage and nurture a child’s natural learning style without being the pushy, hovering parent that you see in media, in your community, or even sometimes in your own home.

This book has been called, “The first parent-centered book of it’s kind…” and stresses how important early writing is, gives you activities that target your child’s level of reading, literacy goals, and most importantly to reiterate, this book touts moderation, the last thing you should be doing is making readingm (or any activity for that matter)stressful for your child.

The book starts off letting parents know that one of the best ways to increase your child’s dialogue is to use more vocabulary with them. Don’t be afraid to use normal or even “big” words with your child, they’ll ask what words mean and understand more in the long run. {Plus, it’s pretty funny to hear little kids say mature words, and I’m not talking curses by the way.} Read More