Category Archives: book reviews

Fast & Fabulous: White Chicken Chili


I adore Lisa Leake’s cookbooks.

I always get a little nervous when I review new books  (in this case 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous)  What if I hate it?  What if I find it just so-so?  I’m of course always 100% honest in my reviews, and as a writer myself, skewering someone’s work of art is not my favorite thing to do.  But thankfully that’s not an issue here.

I love this cookbook.

From a purely physical and aesthetic standpoint, it is big and substantial, with a sturdy hardback cover, and nice thick pages.  There is a gorgeous photo on every page.  (Am I the only one who gets sad when cookbooks don’t have pictures?  I need pictures.)  The recipes are clear and easy to follow, and use simple, whole food ingredients that you can find at a regular grocery store.

Last night, I made the white chicken chili, which is perfect for fall-like sweater weather – if you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the country where the end of October actually is fall-like sweater weather.   It was easy to make, and Oh. So. Delicious.  Comfort food at its finest.  I doubled the recipe to feed my crew of six, and there weren’t any leftovers when we were done.  Twelve enthusiastic thumbs up, and multiple requests to add it to our weekly repertoire.


White Chicken Chili

Difficulty: Easy
Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook time: Less than 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw)
Two 15-ounce cans white beans (such as Great Northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth, store bought or homemade (page 103)
1/4 cup heavy cream

TOPPINGS: Chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, and/or corn tortilla strips

Whether you call this dish a chili or hearty chicken and bean stew, it’s definitely a winner. The first time I made it for my kids, they asked me so many times what it was called, but by the end of the meal they cared much more about getting second helpings than remembering the name! If you have time be sure to double the recipe and store in the fridge or freezer, because, like most soups and stews, the leftovers are amazing.

1. In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside (add more olive oil if the pot starts to dry out), 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Toss the minced garlic and spices into the pot and turn a few times to coat the chicken evenly. Add the corn, beans, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, about 20 minutes.

4. Break up some of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon to help thicken the chili. Stir in the cream, garnish with the desired toppings, and serve!

100 Days of Real Food:  Fast and Fabulous is available TODAY, and you can grab your copy here.

This is Lisa Leake’s second cookbook, and her first – 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love – is just as wonderful, so check that one out while you’re at it!


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Book Review: Gentle Firmness by Stephanie Cox


It is clear that fear is the main effect of spanking, no matter how it is done. Believing that God wants children to be hit often leads many children to struggle with their relationships with God or to be so afraid of Him that they totally reject Him.

~ Stephanie Cox

Gentle Firmness, by Stephanie Cox, is one of the most important new books to join the gentle parenting movement, particularly for Christians.  Thorough and well-researched, it takes an unflinching look at the history of spanking within the Christian faith;  why the Bible doesn’t actually say what so many well-intentioned pro-spankers think it says; the harmful and often long-term effects of spanking;  and finally, practical suggestions on what peaceful parents can do instead.

While there are thankfully a growing number of prominent Christians speaking out against spanking, this particular book stands out for a couple of reasons.  Though it is woven with personal accounts, it is rooted in research, history, and details.  The entire first section of the book clearly shows exactly how the practice of corporal punishment within the Christian faith comes from man, not from God.  Cox gives detailed accounts of the influence of Jonathan and Susanna Wesley, and the beliefs of Calvinism, had on spanking.  It goes on to illustrate the very real lifelong effects of this kind of parenting (I was happy to see that she thoroughly addressed the oft heard, “I was spanked as a child, and I’m fine!”)

One complaint that I often hear from pro-spankers is along the lines of, “Well that’s all well and good.  But if you don’t spank, what do you do?”  It’s easy for a spanking advocate to make the leap in thinking that says that if you don’t spank, then you must not discipline at all. That is of course not the case, and Cox spends Part Four of the book discussing exactly that. It’s important to note that she isn’t advocating for swapping spanking with other types of punishments such as time-out either.  What she espouses is truly parenting in Jesus’s footsteps:  parenting – and by extension, disciplining – with kindness, compassion, and grace. Lots and lots of grace.

I am utterly thankful for this book, and for Stephanie Cox and the important work that she is doing.  My own personal knowledge of the history of spanking was spotty at best, and while I truly believed that the Bible did not advocate spanking, my responses to the contrary generally never got more in-depth than, “Jesus wouldn’t hit a child.”  This book, and Stephanie’s research, fills in all those gaps.  It provides the answers, it cites the research, it documents the history.  It exposes all the misinformation, and puts Christians firmly (but gently :)) on the right track of truly following the Bible when it comes to matters of parenting.

The tagline reads, “Conveying the True Love of Jesus to Your Children Through His Example,” and that’s exactly what it does.  This is truly a refreshing and encouraging book, one that should be on the bookshelves of churches and Christian parents everywhere.

You can follow Stephanie on the Gentle Firmness Facebook page here.

*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.*




Filed under book reviews, gentle discipline, gentle parenting

Book Review: 100 Days of Real Food, by Lisa Leake

100 Days of Real Food cookbook

I have been so looking forward to receiving and reviewing this book.*  I’ve reviewed many different things on my blog, but this may well be my favorite to date.  It’s a book, and it’s about FOOD!  Two of my favorite things.

The first thing that you need to know is that this is just a really lovely book.  Visually stunning.  It is big and heavy (I love that!) and filled with gorgeous pictures.  Particularly in this day and age of e-books and digital recipes, I truly appreciate a bound, paper book that I can hold in my hands as I flip through the pages.  I may have even smelled it in order to inhale that “new book” smell.  The layout is clear and organized, the pictures of the recipes are mouthwatering, and the pictures scattered throughout of Lisa Leake’s family and children provided a really nice, personal touch.

Leake family at farmers market

As for the content itself:

The first third of the book is an introduction to get you started on your journey to ditching the processed stuff, and eating and cooking with real, whole foods.  What is real food, you ask? She covers that, as well as outlining the changes you can start making to improve your diet. She even includes 14 weeks of challenges for a step-by-step approach to making slow and gradual dietary changes.  Week 1’s challenge is to include two fruits or vegetables with every meal.  Pretty doable, right?  She also gives detailed tips and information on shopping, meal planning, budgeting, and getting the whole family on board.   This section is invaluable, especially for those who are just starting out.

Following the introduction are the 150+ pages of recipes and their accompanying beautiful photos.  They are organized by type of recipe – breakfast, lunch (including a whole section for lunch box ideas), snacks, dinner, desserts (desserts!!), and homemade staples such as salad dressings and sauces – so it’s easy to quickly flip to and find the section that you want.  The recipes themselves are simple, clear-cut, and easy to follow.  They don’t call for any crazy or hard-to-find ingredients, and they don’t ask you to do anything that’s intimidating for someone who’s new to cooking from scratch.  The recipes use food as their ingredients, and give you an easy step-by-step plan for preparing it, no matter who you are or how experienced (or inexperienced) you may be in the kitchen.

Cinnamon Raisen Quick Bread2

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread with cream cheese. I love these lunch box ideas!

Another nice touch is the inclusion of the list of recipes organized by dietary need in the back of the book.  You can quickly and easily find all the recipes that are, for example, gluten-free, vegetarian, or dairy free, without having to search through the entire book.  Leake truly thought of everything, and as such has succeeded in making one of the most user-friendly cookbooks I’ve ever read.

If you’re someone who is wanting to get back to basics and start eating good whole foods with simple ingredients,  get this book.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if I have everything I need to make the mini chocolate truffles….

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my own.*


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Filed under book reviews, nutrition

Book Review: Jesus, the Gentle Parent by L.R. Knost




“We are our children’s first experience of God.  How we treat them, how we respond to them, what we model for them, those are all images of parenthood that are imprinted on our children’s hearts from the moment of birth, and they will carry those images with them for life.  God’s unconditional love, his gentleness, his compassion, his acceptance, his sacrifice…. those are the images our children need to see reflected in our parenting, to have tenderly woven into the fabric of their childhood, to carry forever as whispered memories etched on their hearts, echoing the heart of God.” ~ L.R. Knost


I was so excited when I first heard that L.R. Knost was releasing a book about gentle Christian parenting.  I absolutely adored her previous books – all of which I’ve reviewed here on my blog – and I knew that this newest offering was one that was sorely needed in the landscape of gentle parenting resources.  Far too many well-meaning Christians (and I do believe that they are well-meaning) mistakenly believe that the Bible instructs parents to parent with harshness, when the opposite is true.    Jesus was in fact all about love, grace, and gentleness, and Knost understands this oh so well.

In what I believe is her best book to date, L.R. Knost combines personal experience, well-researched scripture, and inspirational testimony to take the reader through what the Bible does (and does not) have to say about how we should be parenting as Christians.  With the same straightforward yet warm and conversational tone I’ve come to appreciate in all her writings, she guides and encourages, teaches without preaching, and gently corrects and re-directs the misguided and often harmful messages given through the years by Christian parenting “experts” such as Gary Ezzo, James Dobson, and Michael Pearl.

So much more than a book about a personal opinion, Jesus, the Gentle Parent digs deep into scripture and doctrinal belief, examining the main tenets of mainstream Christian parenting advice, debunking widely-held beliefs about what it means to parent in biblical way, and providing practical and scripturally sound alternatives to guiding your children with unconditional love, grace, and gentleness.

Not shying away from any of the tough questions, she tackles such issues as spanking, sin, authority, obedience and submission…. and what it all means (and doesn’t mean) –  to a gentle parent whose desire is to parent in Jesus’s footsteps.

I have been a parent for 17 years, and this beautiful book has truly touched my soul like none other.  It simultaneously taught me something new, and strengthened what I already knew in my heart of hearts to be true.  Jesus was a man of endless compassion and grace – more grace than we can ever understand – and the only way for our children to truly experience it is if we, as their parents, give it to them.   I am deeply indebted to L.R. Knost for getting this very important message out there, and into the hands and hearts of Christian parents around the world.

You can buy Jesus, the Gentle Parent here.




Best-selling parenting and children’s book author, L.R. Knost, is an independent development researcher and founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, as well as a monthly contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine.  She is also a babywearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, homeschooling mother of six.  Her children are a twenty-six-year-old married father of two;  a twenty-four-year-old married Family Therapist working with at-risk children and families; a nineteen-year-old university pre-med student on scholarship; fifteen- and eight-year-old sweet, funny, socially active, homeschooled girls; and an adorable and active toddler.

Books by award-winning author L.R. Knost, include Two Thousand Kisses a Day:  Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages, Whispers Through Time:  Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood, The Gentle Parent:  Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline, and her newest release, Jesus, The Gentle Parent:  Gentle Christian Parenting, the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook parenting guide series; as well as her children’s picture books:  A Walk in the Clouds, the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series;  and Petey’s Listening Ears, the first in the Wisdom for Little Hearts series, which are humorous and engaging tools for parenting, teachers, and caregivers to use in implementing gentle parenting techniques in their homes and schools.




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Filed under bible, book reviews, gentle discipline, gentle parenting, mindful parenting, parenting

Book Review: The Gentle Parent, by L.R. Knost

The Gentle Parent final cover high res

I am so excited to bring your attention to another must-read parenting book by L.R. Knost.  The third in her Little Hearts Handbook series (the first two were Two Thousand Kisses a Day, and Whispers Through Time), The Gentle Parent gets right to the heart of parenting and disciplining gently:  with cooperation, communication, and connection.    While I wholeheartedly recommend that you read – and implement – all three, you needn’t have read the first two in order to read this one!

As she did with her first two books, Knost presents her information in a clear, easy-to-read conversational style, in short little chapters that are perfect for busy parents.  Using both a wealth of facts and her own tried and true personal experience, she takes the reader’s hand and guides her through all those tricky moments that trip up even the best of parents.  Always keeping your relationship with your child as the utmost of importance, she shows you why punishment is not the answer, and how you can gently and kindly deal with such issues as:

~ A toddler who is hitting, kicking, and biting

~ Parenting in public

~ Strong-willed children

~ Lying

~ What it really means when a child is acting out

~ Teens who are hurting

And so much more!  This little book is FULL of information that you can begin implementing in your household right now…. information that will help you have a happier, closer, more peaceful relationship with your child.

It is simply a must read.   And you can pick up the Kindle edition for less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee drink.  And that’s not all.

Today Only!  You can get the accompanying Gentle Parenting Workshop on Kindle for FREE.

Gentle Parenting Workshop 1 Getting Started on Your Gentle Journey

From it’s Amazon description:

The Gentle Parenting Workshops from award-winning author, L.R.Knost are companions to her best-selling parenting books, ‘Two Thousand Kisses a Day,’ ‘Whispers Through Time,’ and the newest release, ‘The Gentle Parent.’ The first workshop in the series, ‘Gentle Parenting Workshop 1: Getting Started on Your Gentle Journey,’ will help you set your gentle parenting goals, identify specific parenting problems, and target practical solutions to help you along on your journey to gentle parenting.

There are few parenting authors that I can recommend with such wholehearted and unwavering faith, support, and trust.  L.R. Knost is one of them.



Best-selling parenting and children’s book author and mother of six, L.R.Knost, is an independent child development researcher and founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. 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 newest book in the series, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline was just released on November 1, 2013. Other works by this award-winning author include the children’s picture books 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.



Filed under book reviews, gentle parenting

Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood


I was thrilled to be asked to be part of L.R. Knost’s virtual book tour for her new book, Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood.  Her first book in the series, 2000 Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages, was truly one of the best, most comprehensive gentle parenting books I’d ever read, and I couldn’t wait to read its follow-up.

Let me just get this out of the way and start by saying I love this book.  Once again, L.R. Knost has written a beautiful and inspiring little book, filled with gentle advice, personal stories, and specific actions you can take right now to improve your communication and connection with your child.   The book is broken up into clear and logical sections, with each chapter being only a few pages long, so it’s perfect for busy moms who may only have a couple of minutes to read at a time.

Again working her way from infancy right up through the teenage years, she reminds us that even the most challenging behaviors are simply our children’s attempts to communicate.  Our job as parents is to listen, with patience and with love.  Knost covers all the tricky topics that can trip up even the most experienced of moms, and she shares how to communicate and respond with gentleness and grace to such difficult issues as:






Apologizing to your children

Your changing teen…

… and so much more.

This is a book that every parent should read, and will want to refer to again and again.   I simply can’t say enough good things about it.  I wish books like this were around when I was a brand new mom, struggling to find my way around this gentle parenting thing, but I’m grateful that they’re here now … and I’m grateful for L.R. Knost and the work she’s doing through her advocacy group Little Hearts Book/Gentle Parenting Resources.   Her tagline reads, “Changing the world, one little heart at a time,”  and that’s exactly what she, and these beautiful books, are doing.

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.



Filed under book reviews, gentle parenting

Keep Your Cool (and read this book)


I was excited when I heard that Flo Gascon had written a parenting book.  I know Flo, and her parenting style based on kindness and connection was one I’d long admired.  I knew even before I started reading that it would be filled with valuable information for both new and seasoned moms alike.

I was not disappointed.

Keep Your Cool:  How to Stop Yelling, Spanking & Punishing is a workbook-style book that delivers on its promises and then some.  It is not a book that simply tells you what not to do as a parent, but a book that gives you all the tools you need to learn what to do instead.  It breaks it all down into small, manageable pieces, and gives you specific strategies that you can implement right away… strategies that can both transform your relationship with your children, and give you a lifeline during those moments of stress, conflict, and frustration.

What makes this book truly great is that Flo recognizes that parenting is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  It is a unique journey for each and every parent, with each and every child.  The common thread between any successful parent/child relationship is connection and compassion, and this book understands that so very well.  The steps, suggestions, and questions it offers will guide you through tapping into that connection and compassion with your children, even (or especially!) on those tough days.

Simultaneously challenging and reassuring, the in-depth questions contained in each chapter help you do the self-reflective work that’s necessary to improve your relationship and interactions with your children.  They illuminate areas that need improving, and help identify issues that may be holding you back.   Also worth noting:  Not once as I was reading this book did I feel bad about past mistakes as a parent.  In fact, I felt lifted up and encouraged, excited about new tools I could implement to make my relationships with my kids all the sweeter.

We’ve all had our moments where we feel like we’ve lost our cool with our kids (the author of the book included, some of which she graciously shares), but by doing the necessary work and employing the strategies outlined in this book, we can tip the odds in the other direction.

Keep Your Cool is simply a must-read for anyone who wants to be empowered to make better decisions, less knee-jerk reactions, and enjoy a happier and healthier relationship with her kids.



Filed under book reviews, gentle parenting, mindful parenting, parenting

Book Review: Two Thousand Kisses a Day, by LR Knost

Two Thousand Kisses a Day-Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages

“Getting to know and enjoy your children as individuals, intentionally focusing on building and maintaining a strong and healthy parent/child connection, and living what you want your children to learn are the best bedrocks of gentle parenting.”  ~ L.R. Knost

A little bit of a confession, if I may:  Sometimes when I read parenting books, I do so with a little trepidation.  It’s just happened too many times… I’ll be reading (and loving) a book, nodding along in agreement, and then I’ll hit a section that will leave me cold.  A veiled suggestion for punishment in a book that claims to endorse no such thing; or a disrespectful and one-size-fits-all “trick” for getting your kids to listen, instead of a gentle reminder to be doing more listening yourself.

And that’s exactly why I’m so excited to be able to wholeheartedly recommend Two Thousand Kisses a Day:  Gentle Parenting Through The Ages & Stages, with no hesitation, and no disclaimers.   That moment of pause simply never happened when reading this book, which I devoured almost entirely in one sitting.  From the first page to the last, it refreshingly does exactly what it promises:  it shows you how to parent gently, with kindness, compassion, and connection, always keeping that strong and healthy relationship with your child at the forefront of your journey.

It is truly a breath of fresh air amongst all the harsh traditional parenting books advocating for punishments, rewards, and control.  It takes you back to what parenting should be:  a respectful partnership.  A dance between parent and child, where everyone’s voices are heard, and everyone’s needs are met.

And while it speaks beautifully to the wonderful parts of parenting, it doesn’t gloss over the hard parts either.  The author also speaks with great candor about a few difficult moments she had with her children, as well as how she handled them as a gentle parent, and what she learned from the process.  It is honest, and it is enlightening.

Covering just about everything you’d need to know, from birth straight through to adulthood (yes, there’s even a section on relating to your grown child.  How cool is that?) she takes you through the issues one by one, logically organized by the ages and stages.  Just a few of the topics you’ll read about:


Child-led weaning

Feeding your toddler

Learning to use the toilet (without “potty training”)

Healthy limits

What’s wrong with punishments

How to handle chores

Dealing with childhood anxieties

Being that safe place to fall during adolescence

Gently parenting your teens

Teens and self-esteem

Dealing with the hard issues

She even includes useful sections on topics I don’t believe I’ve ever seen in a parenting book before, such as dealing with “mommy guilt” and determining whether your children are introverts or extroverts.  And through it all, the underlying themes remains true, intact and clear:

Connection.  Trust.  Communication.

It’s an absolutely lovely book, and one that should be on every new parent’s shelf.

You can purchase it through Amazon for under $10, and for the next few days she’s offering a free Kindle edition with every purchased paperback copy.  Here’s what you need to know.

ttk kindle promotion book tour March 10 to 16



Filed under book reviews, gentle parenting

Hacking Your Education, by Dale J Stephens


“I’m not arguing against schools.  I’m writing in favor of choices.”  ~ Dale Stephens

And choices is exactly what this book is about.  More choices than you likely ever thought possible.  This is not a book for someone who’s content to follow the status quo, content to be a product of the “system”, or content to stick to the (seemingly) tried and true course to higher education.

No, this is a book for those who want to take charge of their own education.  Those who aren’t afraid of following their own passions.  Those who want to chart their own course.

Dale J Stephens is a grown unschooler who, at the age of 20, founded to help those who want to eschew the traditional path of college and instead continue to learn and live on their own terms, unschooler-style.  He helps people learn how to design their own uniquely individual educational experiences (and ultimately, their own uniquely individual lives.)

Drawing from his own experiences, and the true stories of countless others, he gives the reader everything he needs to know to begin taking action… from identifying your talents, to formulating a game plan and keeping yourself accountable, to finding mentors and teachers, to networking, to learning from travel, to taking advantage of (mostly free!) educational resources.

What I absolutely love about this book is that it isn’t all theory and no substance, so it doesn’t leave you shaking your head going, “Well that sounds marvelous, but how do I do it??”

He tells you how to do it. 

Every single chapter includes what he calls The Hack of the Day, a list of practical things you can do right now to start taking control of your education and your life.  Some are simple, and some require some fortitude.  ALL are do-able.  Warning:  He will challenge you, and he will push you out of your comfort zone.  Hacking Your Education is not for those who like to sit around and wait for life to happen.  It’s for those who have the courage to get out there and MAKE it happen.  My only wish is that this book had been around two decades ago when I was wasting my parents’ money on a college education that I ultimately decided wasn’t right for me.   Thankfully my own kids can learn from my mistakes, and from the experiences of people like Dale J Stephens.

If you’re young and thinking about college (or, really, even if you’re old and NOT thinking about college) read it, and be inspired.  I dare you.

Hacking Your Education is available on Amazon, starting today.



Filed under book reviews, unschooling

Gentle Goodnight – Interview and Giveaway

I recently had the chance to read the book, Gentle Goodnight, a lovely little book (only 60 pages, so you can read it in one sitting) outlining the author’s method of nursing and dancing her babies gently to sleep.  I wanted to share it with all of you, because it’s something I would have loved to have read when I was a new mom, still figuring it all out!   No sleep training here….. just a loving, conscientious way to help your babies and toddlers get peacefully to sleep.  The book’s author, Lyssa Armenta, was kind enough to answer some questions for me.  She’s also giving away TWO copies of her book, so keep reading to find out how to enter.

1.  Parents like to hear from other parents.  How long have you been a mother / how many kids do you personally have, and what are their ages?

I have been a mother for 12 years now. My oldest son is Sterling who is 12, my daughter Samantha is 9 and my youngest son Spencer will be 5 next month.


2.  Tell us a little bit about what prompted you to write this book?


I wanted to share the Dancing Method I had been using almost non-stop since becoming a mom to get my own kids down for nap and bedtime. Gentle Goodnight can be used into toddlerhood if you are still nursing. My oldest was 2 and a half when he stopped, and my daughter and youngest son were both 3 and a half when we stopped. I felt I had a duty to not let this gentle sleep method stop with my kids. Every time I put them down and saw how peaceful they were, I was convinced it would help other new moms. My kids were each so different that I learned more tricks and things to include so I felt I was perfecting the Dancing Method with each one of them. To me, parenting is so much trial and error, and I felt I should share the finished product. This way, new moms do not need to make the errors and this will hopefully make their lives a little easier. Being a new mom is so overwhelming.   I felt so vulnerable with my first that I thought any method that gives them more confidence or helps them out in any way has to be a good thing.


3.  How is your book different from other books about sleep that are on the market?


This method meets your babies where they are at before nap or bedtime in terms of how awake and active they are, and then matches their energy level to be able to slowly bring it down to fall asleep. Every nap or bedtime can be different (activity-wise or mood-wise) and the songs can all be adjusted to start where your baby is at with the dancing intensity, volume, beat or rhythm…to get them to first start to relax and finally to sleep. This method also provides the benefits of exercise for mom. Most moms have no energy or time for exercise but this is multitasking at its best:  getting your baby to sleep, losing a few baby weight pounds, and the exercise is also stress-relieving for both of you.  It is not strenuous enough to effect milk supply, yet it is considered weight bearing exercise with the baby as the weight. This book doesn’t suggest things to try.  Instead, it gives you detailed instructions on how to prepare, how to do the Dancing Method, how to put the baby down, and things to take into consideration that could be keeping the baby awake.  Gentle Goodnight provides ways to overcome obstacles by giving many modifications you can make to meet the needs of your own unique little one. The last thing I want to mention is that this sleep method can be done anywhere, as long as you have a little music. From visits with friends or family to vacations, you will have confidence that your baby will still be able to enjoy his familiar routine of getting to sleep. This eliminates anxiety for mom and baby to be able to enjoy any outing.


4.  Some parents who see the phrase, “A proven sleep method” worry that this is just another controlling, “sleep-training” book, and/or that it employs some hidden crying-it-out.  How would you respond to those concerns?


It is a proven, loving, gentle sleep method that has been personally tested over 6000 times with a 99.99% success rate. I say that with confidence because I know this method works, but of course you can not say it will work for every baby.  No sleep method will work work for every baby. In the beginning of the book I have a Note From The Author saying that the book was specifically written for nursing, co-sleeping mothers for the purpose of not wasting anyone’s time or money.  I am trying to get the book in the hands of trusted sources such as Dr. Sears (who has a quote on the book’s cover) and The Path Less Taken who are publicly known to be against cry-it-out and controlled crying. This way they can share with their fans or readers who trust them already when they say that the book contains no cry-it-out or controlled crying. I am honestly trying to give moms an alternative, fun, quick, easy method to try to get their babies to sleep.  I understand the suspicions and I am willing to try to gain trust one mom at a time to help one baby at a time find a peaceful, gentle way to catch some zzzzzzzzzz’s.


5.   If you could give just one piece of advice to brand-new parents, what would it be?


Do whatever you can so that when your kids are grown and you think back that you have as little regret as possible in the way you raised them! I love the quote: “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”


You can read more about Lyssa and her book, as well as purchase a copy, at the Gentle Goodnight website.



Lyssa is giving away two copies of her book (this is a soft-cover book, not an e-book)  to two readers who will be selected at random.  There are four chances to win.


1.  Leave a comment on this post, letting us know why you’d like to win the book


3.  Share the link to this post on Facebook


4.  Share the link to this post on Twitter
Please leave ONE comment telling me which ones you’ve done.    You’ll receive one entry for each method.  Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!



Good luck, and thank you Lyssa!


This giveaway has now been closed.  Thanks for all who participated!  The winners are:


Lydia, and
Maria Wong


Congratulations!  Please send me a message with your mailing address so I can get it to Lyssa, and she can send out your books!




Filed under attachment parenting, book reviews, gentle parenting, giveaways