Book Lists, Parenting, Parenting Resources, School Room, StudioLab

Favorite Parenting Books for Creativity and Learning

January 21, 2015


(*this post contains affiliate links)

I take a creative approach to parenting. This probably explains why I’m drawn to parenting books that encourage parents to get creative in order to evoke deep thinking in their children. We’re a very sensory and play based home. There are lots of happy messes, art projects, and various play scenes constantly being built up (or torn down) in every room of the house

In a tech heavy world, I still get most of my parenting inspiration from actual books. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest and use it frequently to get ideas for daily activities, but it’s just not the same as flipping through beautiful pages of carefully designed book on creativity. With a real book, I can feel the author’s creativity jump right off the pages and into whatever plane of existence my own creativity is pulled from; something I don’t really experience from staring at a computer screen.

When I was just starting out on my mama journey, I found You Are Your Child’s First Teacher to be incredibly influential. It helped to cement in my head just how important and special these early parenting years are. It also gave me some great ideas for play activities with a baby who was only a couple of months old at the time. Sometimes, when I’m feeling too scattered and exhausted to make another day at home count, I check out this book from the library and feel a great sense of reassurance wash over me. It’s an awesome book.

I frequently reference Seven Times the Sun for daily rhythm ideas and it was my main inspiration for putting together Mealtime Verses and a Healing Basket. I stumbled upon the book in a thrift store, and knowing exactly what kind of treasure it was I bought it as quick as I could.

Here is a list of my favorite parenting and teaching resources:

Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments- Mike Adamick

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher- Rahima Baldwin Dancy

The Creative Family- Amanda Blake Soule

The Handmade Home-Amanda Blake Soule

Rhythm of Family- Amanda Blake Soule

Playful Learning- Mariah Bruehl

Festivals Family and Food- Diana Carey and Judy Large

Seven Times the Sun- Shea Darian

Tinkerlab-Rachelle Dooley

Maker Dad- Mark Frauenfelder

The Write Start- Jennifer Hallissy

The Artful Parent; Jean Van’t Hul

Baking Bread with Children- Warren Lee Cohen

Junk Drawer Physics-Bobby Mercer

Show Me A Story- Emily K. Neuburger

 Beyond the Rainbow Bridge-Barbara J. Patterson and Pamela Bradley

Art Lab for Little Kids-Susan Schwake

I usually have a combination of at least 5 of these books checked out from the library at any given time. My favorites are: Play Learning, Rhythm of Family, Tinkerlab, and The Artful Parent; with Playful Learning being my go-to reference book when I feel like I’m in a creative parenting slump or need some new ideas for play space layout. It’s a beautiful book.


Foodie, Main Eats

Real Food Fruit and Nut Yogurt Bowl

January 20, 2015


One of my favorite quick and easy breakfast (or lunch) solutions is this awesome yogurt bowl. It’s chock full of protein from the greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, and chia. It has just the right amount of sweetness from the fruit and honey. Plus, it keeps your belly full for several hours.

This is my go-to post workout meal choice. The protein and fat content are great for muscle recovery.

*I cannot stress enough how important full fat dairy products are. However, it’s almost impossible to find full fat AND organic varieties of greek yogurt. Ideally, you can just make your own (but even I don’t make yogurt). I almost always choose full fat over organic when it comes to yogurt. End Rant.*

Here is what you’ll need:

-1 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt; full fat variety like Fage

-1 sliced up peach or a handful of berries

-1/4 cup of mixed nuts and seeds; my favorite is chopped walnuts with raw pepitas and raw sunflower seeds

-2 tbs chia seed

-1 tsp of raw honey; local is the best. Go find a good “Honey Guy” this week. 

*add more or less sweetener depending on your palate. I like the tartness of the plain yogurt, so I only add a scant amount of honey. However, some people may prefer their yogurt bowl a bit sweeter.

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl. Devour.

yogurtbowl 1


Name Change | Game Change

January 19, 2015


What’s in a name? Well, it turns out a lot of inspiration (or lack there of) is tied up in a name and blog identity.

After nearly 4 years of blogging with The Feel Good Foodie, I hit a wall. I just couldn’t find an ounce of inspiration to write from. I grew resentful of the name and identity I had created for myself. I no longer thought of myself as The Feel Good Foodie; making it nearly impossible to write from the perspective of my former self.

Truth is, a lot has changed in my life since rolling out The Feel Good Foodie in August of 2011. I still spend most of my days cooking, or thinking about food, but it’s such a small part of my everyday life. It didn’t feel right having a blog dedicated to all things foodie when I no longer cared as much about foodie stuff.

But just to be clear, I still care about food. I really love food. 

I felt like I painted myself into a corner and was stuck. I threw around the idea of stopping all blogging for a few years, archiving the foodie site, and not thinking about writing until I could figure out what in the world I wanted to write about.

That seemed a bit extreme, so I tried to think of ways to reinvent myself.

I wanted to have a blog that reflected my day to day passions, and show people what our life at home with kids looked like. At this stage in my life, raising our girls is my top priority. Sure, I still do all kinds of other awesome stuff; but creating a home environment where they can flourish is my current calling.

Out of the ashes of The Feel Good Foodie blog,  Growing Roots and Wings was born.


Look! I kind of know a thing or two about design now too!


A few years back, I heard a quote about parenting that struck a chord deep within me:

There are two gifts we should give to our children.

One is roots, the other is wings.

It perfectly sums up how I want to raise the girls.

I want them to be independent, free-thinkers who are not afraid to go out into the world and shake things up a bit.

But I also want to provide for them an environment where they always feel loved, supported, encouraged, and “home”.

Even if the location of our family changes, our home will always be there for them to come back to.

So there is the long and short of it. Stay tuned for exciting posts, lots of pictures, and creative ideas for everyday life.





Book Lists, Homeschooling, Parenting, School Room

January Reading List

January 17, 2015



Happy 2015! I thought I’d kick off 2015 with a January Reading List!

Here is a a list of the books we are reading this month in our home:

Animals in Winter- Henrietta Bancroft

Iggy Peck, Architect- Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere, Engineer- Andrea Beaty

A Perfect Day- Caron Berger

Snow Moon-Nicholas Brunelle

When It Starts To Snow-Phillis Gershater

Toby and the Snow Flakes-Julie Halpern

Angelina Ice Skates-Katharine Holabird

Lemonade in Winter-Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas

Over and Under the Snow-Kate Messner

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold- Joyce Sidman

Ladybug Girl and Her Mama- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Ladybug Girl Dresses Up- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Ladybug Girl Makes Friends- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Cold Snap-Eileen Spinelli

A Little Bit of Winter-Paul Stewart

Flannel Kisses-Mari Takabayashi

When Winter Comes-Nancy van Laan

When Blue Met Egg-Lindsay Ward





Being Present

December 3, 2014


In case you haven’t noticed, I never finished that photo-a-day project.

I found that the more grateful I felt, the less I wanted to spend time online. I wanted to spread that gratitude around in the real world. So, after 15 days of trying to follow through on a project 1 put down the camera and decided to be present.

You know what? It was liberating.

Even now, I really don’t want to be sitting at my computer writing this. I want to be quiet and still. My own form of hibernation.

Our little family is preparing for a simple and quiet holiday season, and a possibly chaotic 2015 with lots of travel. In order to prepare ourselves for that, I’ve decided to put all other projects on hold.

Blogging is on hold.

The photo business is on hold.

Craft projects are on hold.

Planning elaborate ANYTHING is on hold.

Running ourselves ragged is on hold.

We’re going to focus on being together and enjoying the present time.

I may touch back in before the end of December…but I may not.

Enjoy the remainder of your year. Reflect on all that you have accomplished this year, and all the ways you hope to grow in 2015.

Don’t be afraid to hibernate. It’s kind of awesome.





Grateful Project: Days 11-15

November 16, 2014

Day 11) Healthy Kids


I am grateful to have children who are so robust and healthy. I think JBird has only been sick about 5 times in her little life; which still feels like a lot but is a drop in the bucket compared to so many other children. I just love their little rosy-cheeked, glowing faces.

Day 12) Bond of Sisters


I am grateful for the love that Jbird and Moon Baby share.These past few weeks have been really something in our home. The girls are becoming real playmates and companions. The sisterly bond that these two share is magical and makes my heart sing. Sometimes I’ll catch one of them snuggled up next to the other; gently playing with her sister’s hair or rubbing her back while the other plays quietly or flips through a book. Don’t get me wrong, they still scream at each other plenty.

Day 13) Breastfeeding Journey


I am grateful to have been a successful breastfeeding mama for over 4 years. I nursed JBird until she was 2.5 years old with only minor hiccups along the way (early issues with over production). After 1 full year of nursing, Moon Baby is still going strong and will likely continue nursing until she is 2 as well. Extended (and exclusive) breastfeeding has been more difficult mentally than it has been physically, but I’m so happy that this has been a part of my life for so many years now.

Day 14) Giving Back


I am grateful to be in a position in life where I can give back to others. I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of no strings attached generosity and thoughtful charity, and it feels really good to give back where I can.

Day 15) Food In My Fridge

day15I am grateful to open my fridge to find it full of healthy, real food to feed my family. I take for granted my full fridge and our full bellies everyday.

(And yes, that is a 3lb box of uncured bacon in my fridge. YOLO).


Everyday, Rhythm

Mealtime Verses

November 13, 2014

versesOur day always seems to fall apart right before dinner time. Both girls are usually in serious need of mommy-time, and mommy almost always has to finish cooking.

As soon as my husband walks through the door, I hand off a screaming child, or two, and quickly try to get food on the table; because let’s face it, I’m starving.

Our meals are always so rushed.

As the preparer of the food, it would be nice to actually take a moment to enjoy it; instead of eating as fast as I can because everyone is losing it and I just want bedtime routine to begin ASAP. 

To help carve out a good mealtime rhythm for us (that hopefully will no longer involve screaming children), I’ve decided to put together a “verse basket”. Once the table is set (a new “big helper” activity for JBird), she can select a verse from the basket and we’ll say it aloud as a family. I couldn’t decide on a single verse to use, so I picked a couple. Simple verses and blessings that can be memorized over time and all have a sing-song rhythm to them. After a few months of this new rhythm, I’ll probably retire the verses that don’t seem to stick for her and we’ll just make one our mealtime blessing.

By adding something as simple as a mealtime verse, we are taking the time to all enjoy a collective exhale from the chaos of our days. We are able to come together for a moment, and regroup as a family unit.

We need to breath out.

We need to acknowledge each other.

We need to take a moment and listen to one another, instead of just talking at each other.

Mealtime Verses (taken from or inspired by Seven Times the Sun):

We are humbled in our questing
As we open to receive
We’re a family changed and changing
By the tapestry we weave

For each new morning
With it’s light
For rest and shelter
Of the night
For health and food
At days end
For everything thy
Goodness sends

Dear Earth, Dear Sun
By you we live
Our loving thanks,
To you we give.
Blessings on our meal,
Our family,
Our friends,
And our world 

We thank the earth
Who grew this food
From little bursting seeds
And the Keeper of the earth
Whose gifts fulfill
Our needs

Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you, Lord, for everything

Book Lists, School Room

November Reading List

November 12, 2014


It’s no surprise that many of our books for November have to do with giving thanks or being grateful. Here is this month’s reading list in our home:

Otters Under Water- Jim Armosky

Raccoons and Ripe Corn- Jim Arnosky

Fox- Kate Banks

Flora’s Very Windy Day -Jeanne Birdsall

Before We Eat (from farm to table)- Pat Brisson

A Turkey for Thanksgiving- Eve Bunting

The Awesome Book of Thanks- Dallas Clayton

Alligator Arrived With Apples: Crescent Dragonwagon

Mermaid Dance- Marjorie Rose Hakala

I’m Thankful Each Day- P.K. Hallinan

Abc’s From The Whippety Wood- Pamela Harden

The Thanksgiving Bowl- Virginia Kroll

Giving Thanks- Jonathan London

Give Thanks for Each Day- Steve Metzger

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt- Steve Metzger

The Forest- Claire A. Nivola

The Cardboard Box Book- Sarah Powell

In November- Cynthia Rylant

Bear Says Thanks- Karma Wilson

The secret of saying thanks- Douglas wood



Everyday, Photos

Grateful Project: Days 6-10

November 12, 2014

Day 6: My Family

family1(my little brother aka Uncle X)

I am grateful to have the supportive family that I do. They have always accepted and loved me no matter what.

Day 7: My Nearby Friends


My support system. My pseudo-family. My soulmate sister wives. I am grateful beyond words to have found these amazing friends.

Day 8: My Faraway Friends


The few friends I’ve been close to since elementary school. The handful of friends who I’ve known since high school and college.  All the  other great people whose paths crossed mine before we moved to WI. I am beyond grateful to still have them be a part of my life; despite the long distances.

Day 9: My Neighbors


We won the lottery when it comes to our neighbors. On our small street, each neighbor helps out our little family anyway they can. From helping out with childcare (and giving me a break when Daddy Bear is away), to delivering all sorts of tasty treats just because. We are surrounded by generous and loving people.

Day 10: Staying home with the girls


Even on our not so great days, it’s still the greatest job I’ve ever had. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to stay home with these girls (and Toby Dog). Not only am I enriching their lives, but they are enriching my life as well.

Everyday, Family

Grateful Project: Days 1-5

November 11, 2014

This has been a pretty hectic year and I find that the more crazy life gets, the easier it is to lose sight of all the things that really matter. To help refocus myself on all the good that I have in life, I’ve decided to use November as a photo-a-day project month; focusing on all the things that I am grateful for.

Since it’s already the 11th of the month, I’ve decided to combine the first 11 days of photos into several posts.

Day One: My Husband


I am where I am today because of a dude who used to knit in the corner at Starbucks. I’m grateful to have him as a partner in all things. This awesome life of mine wouldn’t be what it is without him.

Day Two: My Girls


My loves. My life. I am a better person because of them. Plus, they’re just so awesome!

Day Three: My Toby Dog

tobyMy boy. My doggie soul mate. I love him as much as I love my girls. I love him like people.
Day Four: My Health


This is probably the one thing in life I take for granted the most. I am lucky beyond words to be as healthy as I am.

Day Five: My Home


I love this little slice of heaven. The house we bought with the intention to sell in 5 years has quickly become a place I hope to stay for many many years.