Just How Big Can a Petite Dream?

My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? and My Name Is Not Alexander are two books that I ordered for my daughter from scholastic last year.


Okay, back to the two books that my petite is loving at the moment by Jennifer Fosberry.    What is so cool about these books is that they are about strong, smart, brave, daring people and Isabella and Alexander embody these characteristics of the famous people who are highlighted throughout the story.  My petite loves to know more about the real life people they are talking about and in the back of the book there is a little biography about the women and men discussed.   Another terribly cute aspect is that at the end of the story Isabella and Alexander are not themselves, but Mommy and Daddy.  I find this to be so incredibly nice that a child can look up to their parents as a hero and want to be like them.  I love books that inspire petites to dream about all the possibilities that are out there for them.  These books do just that.  Not to mention that Mike Litwin does a fabulous job with the illustrations.

Sally Ride - My Name is not Isabella


Isabella Girl on the GoI’ve also seen these two but have yet to add them to the petites shelves. Isabella Star of the Story

Isabella: Girl on the Go
In looking through these I am again in love.  Isabella is off on a magical journey around the world, she travels through her yard in her sandbox to the pyramids of Giza and on and on.  It gives a sense of adventure for any petite who likes to dream of far off places.
Isabella: Star of the Story is so incredibly cute.  Isabella starts her day out at the library and then she travels into the world of the story books that she is reading.  What is not to love about that?  So cute!  Again the illustrations are just adorable.

These books are just fantastic reads and so much fun to look at new vocabulary that go with the people they are discussing; my four-year old is now gliding around the kitchen and trying to whirl her little sister around like Fred Astaire.  I think I am going to have to go and get Girl on the Go and Star of the Story to add to our shelves.
Happy Reading,


If you enjoyed this post check out some of my other book recommendations

Tilly and Friends Books | Let’s Go on a Journey Together | Ordinary People Change the World: Biographies for Petites | A Cute  New Addition to the Book Shelf







It’s Children’s Book Week – Tilly and Friends Books

This week is Children’s Book Week, how exciting is that?  Recently I’ve spent quite a bit of time writing about the books that my petite is loving these days.  I have a not so secret desire to open a children’s book store.  When I told my fabulous husband I was adding owning a children’s book store to my ten-year plan, he said “great, what do you know about running a business”, to which I responded “oh, absolutely nothing, but I do love children’s books”.

So…with all that said, this love affair with books is genetic, I am convinced that this is true.  One of the very first things we put into my petites nursery was a bookcase and then we lovingly stocked it full of books.  We all know reading is so important and critical to brain development and to school success.  So this week I am going to highlight some of our all time favorite stories.  I link the books to Amazon so that you can read more about the books, but I think it is also important to check out those independent book sellers in your town too.

Doodle The first story that we love to pieces is Doodle Bites, but Polly Dunbar.  This book was a gift from a family friend and our little one just loved it.  She loved it so much that she was able to memorize the words when she was about 2 years old and her little squeaky voice saying things like “Doodle woke up feeling bitey!” “Ouch that’s my tail!”  Too cute.  It also came in handy when she was at daycare and one of her friends bit her, we read the story a lot more and talked about why it’s not a good idea to chomp on your friends.

The fun thing about these books, is that they all have a really sweet message or moral and that they are hardback so they are able to handle lots of reading by tiny hands.  This is also a series called Tilly and Friends.  There are a few: Hello Tilly, Happy Hector, Good Night Tiptoe, Pretty Pru, Where’s Tumpty. Pretty Pru is also a Petite Stag favorite, because she wears lipstick.  I am partial to Hello Tilly, because she’s just so darn cute.

Tilly and Friends

Have any of you seen the new lift the flap books that Polly Dunbar published?  They looks so cute, but we’ve not have a chance to check them out yet.

Happy Reading.  If you like this post you might also like some of my other posts:

Let’s Go on a Journey Together | Ordinary People Change the World | A Cute New Addition to the Shelves | Little Green Thumbs | An English Majors Daughter

Keep checking back or follow my blog for more great book picks,


Let’s go on a Journey Together

Journey by Aaron BeckerJourney, a 2014 Caldecott Medal Honor book written and illustrated by Aaron Becker is stunning from the first to the last page.  This is a wordless story which allows for your petites’ imagination to soar.  A sweet little one is armed with a red crayon and in using her imagination she goes on, you guessed it, a remarkable journey to far away places.  The illustrations are just amazing.  With her crayon she escapes her boredom and travels to far off places and having some quite extraordinary adventures.

Journey 1Journey 2

This book provides the opportunity to talk about making predictions and problem solving.  What’s not to love?  For children to be able to make predictions and identify problems and possible solutions are fabulous talking points to prep little ones for critical thinking and school.  Really fostering the use of imagination is such an amazing skill that I think is all too taken for granted; but when you have a book like this it is such an amazing platform.  All you need to do is get this book and embark on your own journey.

I thought some cute activities would be to have your petite use this as a platform to talk about or draw about the journeys that they might like to go on.  I love using stories like to this have kids think about things that they would like to do and places they would like to go.  After all, it never hurts to dream a little now does it?

Happy Reading,


Ordinary People Change the World – Awesome Biographies for Petites

I am Amelia Earhart


Brad Meltzer has created a new series of books called Ordinary People Change the World.  These books are amazing.  The illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos has created these comic book type images that make these books so enjoyable to read and look at.  Recently my petite went to the museum of flight and we learned about Amelia Earhart.  I am Amelia Earhart was so much fun to piggyback on our experience at the museum.  She just loved looking at this book and learning more about Amelia and how she was adventurous, brave and curious.  She loves the silly images of Amelia trying to fly as a little girl and then going on adventures.



Abraham LincolnI am Abraham Lincoln is another title in this series.  Lincoln is my husbands favorite president; and our petite even has a Lincoln stuffed doll.  So this book purchase was a no brainer.  This book talks about how Lincoln as a little boy loved to read and loved animals.  About how he stood up for what was right no matter what.  These books cover pretty complex issues, like slavery and social injustice.  Meltzer does it in a way that is easy for young readers to understand; this is something that I think is not always easy to do.  These books are character builders, fostering traits that you want in your children


I’ve seen many books about Amelia Earhart and Abraham Lincoln in the last few years as an elementary teacher and these books I think are just great for kids.  They don’t “dumb down” the content, it is just written in a really accessible way for kids to understand.  Which as a mom and a teacher I find incredibly appealing.

The next two books for Ordinary People Change the World are I am Rosa Parks  (released in June) and I am Albert Einstein (released in September).  So exciting. I am really excited to see what Meltzer comes up with for Einstein and even more so to see the illustrations of his hair.

Albert Einstein Rosa Parks

I have always thought Brad Meltzer was a thought-provoking guy and I love watching his Decoded TV show.  But now after exploring his website and reading the rationale behind why he created these books, I am even more of a fan.  When he was asked how he came about this and why he chose these books to write this is what he said:

For me, this isn’t just a book series.  It’s my dream for my daughter. My dream for my sons. My dream for all of us who need to see the power of an ordinary person…and the power – and potential – in each of us.

Look around. We live in a world that is starving for heroes. This is my solution.

– Brad Meltzer

I think that this is so true.  I am so glad that these books are available and that there will be more to come.  Let me know if you get them and what you and your petites think.  If you like this post, check out some of my other posts about books my petites and I love.

books on gardening | St. Patrick’s Day Books | Valentines Day Books | Tea Rex

Happy reading.



A cute new addition to the shelves

Tea RexToday I was at a local independent bookstore for story time and they had this book on display.  Wouldn’t you pick this lovely book off of the shelves for perusing?  The cover just begs you to open it and read.  It came out last April, and let me tell you Molly Idle who is both author and illustrator created an enchanting read.  The illustrations are just fantastic.  It is a terribly cute story about a little girl who has a T-Rex over for a tea party.  The silly things that happen when the too large T-Rex desires a spot of tea; as you can imagine with a tyrannosaurus at a tea party it is pretty silly.  This book is a must for any petite who loves tea parties and unexpected guests.

t rex

Stay tuned for more fantastic reads in future post, also if you have a story that you think is a treasure I would love to hear about it in the comment section.

Happy Reading,







My Gram’s Green Thumb

My Gram could grow just about anything.  She had an amazing garden.  I used to spend hours with her in the garden tending to the flowers and giving them lots of extra love.  She grew these amazing orchids in her sun-room.  These orchids lived long after she passed away in the care of my aunt and uncle.  My uncle has the green thumb too, he used to live in a house in the bay area where he had this, what I remember to be a, secret garden behind the main yard where he grew these huge tomatoes, you could almost get lost in his tomato plants.  I am sure there were lots of other delicious things in there too, but I remember the endless tomato plants and the huge amazingly red tomatoes.  My grams passion for growing things lives on in me as well.  I love gardening.  I love that you can grow amazing things in the garden and take them to your table and provide delicious meals from foods that you grew for your family.  When I think of gardening, my real strength and passion is in growing edibles, rather than flowers – don’t get me wrong flowers are lovely, but with limited space I tend to attempt vegetables and herbs.
Unfortunately, I do not live in a rural location where I can have the garden I dream about.  But aren’t these amazing?  I am in love with all of them.  They all have something in common…space and raised beds.  Yes, please!
My reality is a concrete slab and beauty bark.  Boo! So I attempt to make do.  Sometimes it is an epic fail, but honestly that never stops me – there is always the chance it will be a mini garden of my dreams.  This year I’ve agreed to a challenge.  The goal is to spend only $50 on the garden.  In the past two years I’ve spent a lot of money and had very poor luck.  Basically, my garden has been a disaster the last two years.
This year is going to be different.  Usually I would have given up on this gardening in this yard, but I just can’t do it.  It feels wrong to give it up.  So, with my $50 the petite and I decided we are going to have our own little victory garden.
Last year I ordered seeds from a catalog and didn’t use them all so I attempted to grow them indoors to see what would happen – since they were out of date I consulted the web and found that yes indeed they have a much longer shelf life if they are stored properly.  We were so excited to see the seeds start growing.  I decided to make a gutter garden since we are so limited on space outside and the rest of the garden is in containers.  Some of these are found containers, wine crates, old Tupperware bins that I have drilled holes in.
garden 1
We’ve got quite a bit going on in the garden so far, in the gutter gardens we have strawberries, two types of lettuce and chard.  We’ve also planted peas, green beans, kale, cucumbers and zucchini.  We recently sowed some seeds outside now that it is a bit warmer.  We have scallions, carrots, 4 different types of lettuce, and beets.  We’re also attempting to grow potatoes in a clothes hamper – I have no idea if this is going to work.  If it does, I will be so excited, if not oh well it was a good effort.  What I really struggle to grow from seeds is tomatoes, we’ve tried a few varieties, and will see how they grow, but I’ve already reserved some of the budget to buy tomato starts.  I just need to decide what types of tomatoes to get, last year I bought the “doesn’t grow tomatoes” variety so I am hoping to not have that happen again.
My Budget $50
  • Kale, chard, strawberries, peas – $10
  • Watering can $8
  • Fertilizer, bamboo for the peas, and arugula starts $13
What’s your favorite go to vegetable in the garden?  I’m always curious as to what other people grow in their gardens.
Happy growing,

Little Green Thumbs

gardening books for kidsThere are so many amazing books for young children.  Here are some of my favorite books about gardens, plants or gardening for the petites.  I love how these stories feature boys and girls and above all the love for growing things.

The Tiny Seed a sweet story where children get the opportunity to learn about the life cycle of a seed.   

Planting a Rainbow this is a great story about planning seeds, both my girls love it and the rainbow of colors, more for younger kids.  The board book is a particular hit.

The Curious Garden a great story about a little boy named Liam who lived in a dreary city and found a little plant and helped it to grow into a fabulous garden.

Grandpa Green – this is by far one of my favorite books, it is beautiful.  The story of a man’s life is told through the hedges that he shapes in his garden.  I’m not going to lie, I cried the first time I read it, it’s so sweet.

Ladybug Girl Visits the Farm – who doesn’t love a good Ladybug Girl book?  I know my girl does.  This one combines a lovely story and stickers that can be placed within the storybook.

Growing Vegetable Soup – this is another great book about growing your own food, so much fun, more for younger kids.

My Garden – I love this story a little girl who helps her mother in the garden and then uses her imagination to create her own remarkable garden.

Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash – My girl has loved this silly book and how it rhymes since she was about two.  She loves the giant squash and how silly it is.

Jack’s Garden –  This is the story of Jack and how he made his garden, this book shows the steps and the tools needed to make a garden.


I love all of these books, so many have amazing illustrations and inspire the love of growing things.  These books pose as fantastic conversation starters as well.  As a teacher, I have spent a lot of time speaking with parents about reading.  One of the most common questions I got was: How do we do more than just read with our kids, and what does that specifically look like?  Here is what I suggested based on the age of the kids.

2-3 year olds

  • What illustration/picture did you like the best? (start using words like illustration)
  • What was your favorite part of the story? Why? (if not verbal have them point)
  • Asking specific questions about what they see in the illustrations, having them point out specific things.

3-4 year olds

  • Before you read a new book, have the petite look at the cover and then do a “picture walk” where they just look through the book at the pictures.  When they are done ask them to make a prediction about the story.
  • It is also good to start using words like title and author as well.  Make sure to point these out on the cover.
  • Asking what they predict will happen next in the story at different points?
  • Asking them what the problem is in the story? How they think it could be fixed?
  • Asking them to retell the story, what happened first and last?
  • What was their favorite part?
  • What did the illustration make them think about?
  • When the story is over ask if they would want to tell a friend about it and who they would tell.

These are just a few things that will support your young pre-readers and get them thinking more actively about the stories they are listening to. Of course just pick a few of these each time, or questions that are more pertinent to the story.  All in all these questions are a great way to bridge listening to thinking about stories.

Happy reading.


Best Banana Bread Ever

Best Ever Banana BreadThis banana bread is so good, we love it.  I don’t know about you, but I always buy bananas as if they were going out of style, not to mention no one in my family will actually eat a ripe banana.  They all prefer them to be slightly green, and once they are yellow, it’s all “no thank you”.  So, considering all of this and the fact that I buy them in bulk it is inevitable that 1-2, okay usually 3 of the bunch turn a lovely shade of brown.  As soon as that happens I put them in the freezer, where sometimes they sit for a very long time.  Really they shouldn’t be in there for more than two months, so if you’ve got some in your freezer that have been in there longer, you might wanna toss them out.


So this is really the best banana bread ever its super moist (ugh such a gross word – but damp, wet, humid and soggy don’t seem to hit the mark)

Here is the recipe:

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 stick of butter softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs beaten

6 overripe brown bananas – thawed if they’ve been in the freezer, not the liquid just the banana

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Using a mixer mix the butter and brown sugar, when they are mixed together add in the Making the best ever banana breadeggs and then the bananas.  Then slowly on a low-speed, so you don’t overwork the bread, add in the flour mixture.  Then pour it into a loaf pan, I use the Emile Henry Loaf Pan from William Sonoma so I don’t spray it or grease it before, if you use a metal one go ahead and wipe some butter on the edges or spray some cooking oil on it.  Depending on what type of pan you use it could take anywhere from 55-65 minutes to cook through, best use a toothpick to see if it is done.

It is great, we struggle to not eat it all in one sitting.  Even the smallest petite is a huge fan of this banana bread.photo 3

My Petite and Epilepsy – Diagnosis

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my petite has epilepsy, but I’ve never gone into too much detail about it.  Part of the reason is that the more I talk about it the more it becomes real and part of me is still possibly in a sense of denial.  You see I want to wrap her in my arms, much like I swaddled her as a baby and hold her close, close so I can protect her and keep her safe.  Recently, I admitted out loud that maybe I am not okay. I’ve been trying to put on a brave face and advocate fiercely for my girl.

How in a single moment everything changed:

In October my girlie was home from school and taking a nap, she woke up and seemed a little bit out of it, she seemed like she was still really tired.  She came down the stairs and just stood there, when I called her name she didn’t respond, her eyes were not focused.  In the amount of time it took me to get to her from where I was sitting, the “episode” was over.  She was back to her normal self.  I assumed she was just tired, maybe had low blood sugar or needed a snack.

The next day she woke from her nap and came downstairs and tried to talk to me and couldn’t.  She stuttered out mommy and was unable to focus her eyes and fidgeted with her dresses hem, her lips started smacking like she was chewing something that wasn’t there.  She stood, just looking off into, well into nothing.  Her father and I were panicked, we had never seen her doing anything like that before.  We immediately called the pediatrician and were seen two hours later.  We described what we had just seen and he checked her out and said she seemed fine now, but that it sounded like something neurological had taken place.  We left with a referral to a pediatric neurologist the following week.

The neurologist told us she wanted to get an EEG before she saw us in her office.  So we scheduled that.  In the meantime we started taking videos of the behavior that we were seeing if we could capture it.  We caught two seizures on video in less than one weeks time, both of them over 3 minutes long.  We showed up to the EEG appointment, the petite was nervous, as were we.  She was very confused because she had no memories of the seizures and in her mind only sick people go to the doctor and she wasn’t sick.  We started the EEG and almost instantly the tech held up a note asking when we were to see the doc.  We had no set apt, which we told him.  Unbeknownst to us, the tech had paged the neurologist with a 911 and she came down immediately to watch the EGG as it was happening.  Apparently, her EEG showed a multitude of disturbances.  My husband had stepped out of the EGG room with the baby since she was starting to fuss (we had our other daughter with us who was only 12 weeks old).  He had no idea the neurologist was out in the hall watching the EGG live.  She matter-of-factly told my husband that our girl had epilepsy.  I was laying in bed with the petite as she slept during the EEG trying to hold back the tears.  Later after she woke, I walked out to see what was going on with the baby.  When I walked out, my husband held my hand and told me that she has epilepsy.  I sobbed.  Before I even had time to process what epilepsy might mean the doctor was telling us about the medicine that she would be taking and what to do if the seizures turned into grand mal.

Epilepsy is a very scary word.  It is a very scary diagnosis.  It can mean so many different things depending on what type of seizures and the occurrences.  Of course when you hear that your four-year old has something that could impact her in ways unknown it is terrifying.  My heart ached.  There are moments now, where I can barely breathe when I think about my sweet girl and what all this means.  At the time, I had no way of knowing what was to come in the months in weeks ahead.  Even as I write this I have no way of knowing what is to come in the weeks or months to come.  What I do know is that I have an amazing daughter who is incredibly brave, smart, empathetic and hilarious,  Yeah epilepsy is something she has, something that is still scary, but it doesn’t define who she is.

Traveling with Young Toddlers

Traveling with babies ItemsOne of my dear friends is traveling with her petite to Hawaii in a few days, I was trying to remember what all we packed for our little one when we traveled to California when she was 13 months old and then to Ireland when she was 16 months.  There are a few things that really saved us on our travels:

Stacking cups were great for her because we could put snacks in them and then hide things under them as well.

AquaDoodle book is a must for any kid who is on a plane or in the car it is great.  At 4 years old she still uses it in the car.  It was one of the best purchases we’ve ever made, just don’t lose the water pen.

Easter eggs are great too, buy them now, I always seemed to want them when it wasn’t near Easter.  They are great to put little snacks in or you can put beans in them and make shakers.  Plus they are fun for the kids to open, its like a little present.  Try to find the eggs where they shells are attached that way you wont have to try to find tops or bottoms.

Colorful Post-its these are fun to stick onto the tray table as well as window.  They are also fun to pull off of the little stack, not very environment friendly though.

Blue Painters Tape this stuff is awesome, same idea as post-its, fun to peal on and off of the tray table and windows

Cheerios we used these in the eggs when the petite was 12 months, then used them with pipe cleaners when she was 16 months, she enjoyed putting them onto the pipe cleaners and then eating them

Fruit/Veggie Squishies these are a must for traveling babies, they are the perfect size to take on the plane and virtually mess free.

Toddler or Baby Crayons these are awesome, you can color on small notebook pages. Really easy for little hands to hold onto.

Window Clings I just saw this one on Pinterest, and thought it would be a good idea to have these little cute clings to decorate the window.

Some other items to pack, an extra shirt for you especially if the petite will be sitting in your lap.  A scarf/pashmina for nursing in private.  Extra set of clothes for the petite and binkie if they will use them.

I am sure there are a ton of other ideas out there for traveling with toddlers, if you have a suggestion for something that you do and love please let me know in the comment section.  All of the stuff I listed above can be found at Target, the only thing that I have to order online was the AquaDoodle and you can find it here.

Traveling with a little one can be very overwhelming, I find that the more planning I did the better things turned out and who knows the petites might even just sleep the entire time.  🙂sleeping

Happy Travels.