Weekly Link Roundup

I come across so many parenting related articles and blog posts each week, I thought I would round them up regularly. We can all use a little extra reading on Friday, no? Hope you have a most fantastic weekend!



The Best and Worst States to Raise Children In via CNN

What Good Preschool Looks Like: Snapshots From 4 States via NPR Ed

Winning the Battle but Losing the War? Behind the Science of Early Reading instruction via The Huffington Post

How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development via Psychology Today

The Reading Rules We Would Never Follow as Adult Readers via Pernille Ripp

A New Argument for More Diverse Classrooms via The Atlantic

To Learn More, This High-Schooler Left the Classroom via NPR Ed

Amazon Unveils Online Education Service for Teachers via The New York Times

Why America’s Business Majors Are in Desperate Need of a Liberal-Arts Education via The Atlantic

The Future of College? A brash entrepreneur thinks he can reinvent college by stripping it down to its essence eliminating lectures and tenure along with football games, ivy-covered buildings, and research libraries. What if he’s right? via The Atlantic


Why Disney Princesses and ‘Princess Culture’ are Bad for Girls via The Washington Post

The Connections Between Spanking and Aggression via The New York Times

Raising Empathic Kids via Psychology Today

‘Time-Outs’ Are Hurting Your Child via TIME

In Defense of Absurdly Early Bedtimes via Slate

Great Expectations: Holding Children to Higher Standards than Adults via Boston Parents Paper

Is Selfie Culture Making Our Kids Selfish? via The New York Times

The Power of Casual Gratitude via The Atlantic

Sunscreen & Bug Spray: Children’s Summer Skin Care via The New York Times


Too Afraid to Have a Baby via The Atlantic

Postpartum Anxiety Might Be Even More Common Than PPD via The Huffington Post

The Ugly Secret of Working Moms via The Week

Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers via The New York Times


Ikea Recalls 29 Million Chests and Dressers After 6 Children Die via The New York Times

T R A V E L  &  H E A L T H

20 Extraordinary Family Vacations Kids Will Actually, Truly Enjoy via Travel + Leisure

Zika 101 via Travel Channel

Scary News: More Birth Defects Linked to Zika via Fit Pregnancy and Baby

The Danger of a Third Trimester Zika Infection via The Atlantic


An Honest Birth Announcement via The New Yorker

Emoji Women Can Now Get Pregnant, But They Still Can’t Work via Slate

If You Saw This Little Girl On the Street, Would You Pass Right By? via UNICEF

An open letter to the parent that thought it was OK to invite the entire class to their child’s birthday except for my son via Facebook

Mom was mad when Dad skipped their daughter’s dance recital… but he had bigger plans via Omeleto (this made me tear up!)

How to Get Started with Process Art for Pre-schoolers

How to get started with process art for pre-schoolers

A little while ago, this article about typical pre-school crafts popped up in my Facebook feed. It was the first time I had really read about process art and it really clicked with me.

Basically, the article argues that traditional pre-school art projects, like the classic Thanksgiving hand-turkey, do very little for children, and actually serve more to give parents and teachers a sense of accomplishment.

“Teachers’ and parents’ attraction to such crafting projects is understandable, which is no doubt why they have stuck around for so many years. For one, it’s an efficient way for teachers to get an idea of each individual child’s attention span (how they handle sitting and listening to instructions), or their cognitive development (how they demonstrate fine motor control in the neatness of their work).

…there’s another big reason why these preschool crafts have persisted: The resulting creation becomes a handy way for busy parents to quickly get a sense of what their kid did in school all day – and it’s an equally handy way for teachers to demonstrate what their charges did in school all day. “Teachers know that they are judged — as most Americans are — by what they produce,” Christakis writes. “It’s a lot easier to say ‘Here’s the construction paper jack-o’-lantern we made today’ than ‘I’ve noticed that Michael is really excited by what happens when he mixes blue and yellow paint.’”

Ugh. I had never really thought about all the Pinterest-crafts I was excited to do with my kids in this light. But looking back, I realise that I was definitely end-product-focused when I crafted with my children. And this probably comes from being a product of that type of exposure to art and creating when I was a child. But while something definitely felt off about watching my children present grandparents with handmade Christmas gifts in which I often saw more of my own handiwork than theirs in the end result, I didn’t really understand that there was another way to create with such small children. But there is.

The antidote to the mindless mimicry of traditional product-focused crafts? Process art.

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What’s In Our Toddler Bag?

From the time Mini PBJ was born, I just never really got “into” carrying a diaper bag. I mean, I know that most Moms never really enjoying lugging around that thing, but I feel like some are just better at it than others. Some Moms are awesome at being prepared, and don’t mind having extra stuff to carry if it means they can feel like all their bases are covered. That was not me. I was always flying by the seat of my pants and taking way too many “jumps without a net,” if you know what I mean. I was doing good to at least remember to put the bag in the car, let alone have it packed with what I needed. I hated feeling like I was “moving in” everywhere I went, and I left that bag in the car every chance I could! Needless to say, when Mini Pbj reached toddlerhood and no longer required as many accessories, I was all too willing to get rid of that cumbersome diaper bag, and switch to something smaller. I love the fact that we have been able to downsize into just a small backpack with only a few necessities!


1) Extra Panties – Mini Pbj doesn’t wear diapers anymore, so we keep one or two pairs of these with us instead! We have some cute ones like this with her favorite characters on them!

2) Change of clothes – I carry at least one change of clothes in the bag at all times. Mini Pbj is potty trained for the most part, but accidents are always possible. Since I usually don’t change the outfit that’s in the bag too often, I try to make sure it’s going to match just about anything she might be wearing on a any given day. So right now, I have either a pair of black bike shorts or some denim shorts, and then a t shirt.

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Introducing a Lovey

When I was a kid, I was fiercely attached to my lovey. I had a little blanket that had ruffles on the edges – I can still vividly remember that I would soothe myself to sleep by wrapping my fingers up in the silky ruffles. I lost the blanket when I was very young in a house fire, and I remember that as one of the most traumatizing moments of my childhood. I was too young to understand how devastating it was to lose the house as a whole, but I knew it was a big deal…so when it hit me that my blanket was also gone forever, it was pretty tragic.

I don’t think that we intentionally decided that Jackson should have a lovey, but when he was about five months old we introduced one. It was a little earlier than the official recommendations (which are that you shouldn’t put anything in the crib until one year of age), but he was consistently rolling over and moving his head with ease so we didn’t worry too much. The reason it was introduced in the first place was that we were nap training and we were pretty desperate to get him to sleep in his crib. One day on a whim I placed a small blanket in there with him and it soothed him right to sleep. I realized I had struck gold, so we decided to run with it and pretty soon he couldn’t sleep without it. It was so helpful during nap training, and I don’t even know what we’d do without it at this point!


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Cooking With a Young Toddler

Like many kids, our two boys have always enjoyed the kitchen. Panda is only five months, so we’ll put him in his high chair so he can see all the action. I will hand him a rubber spatula or rubber spoons for him to gnaw on while I cook and he’s pretty happy.

Lion is 22 months and the kitchen is undoubtedly his favorite room in the house. He much prefers “helping” in the kitchen to playing with his magnatiles or his train set. He can be deeply involved in just about anything, until he realizes I’m cooking and will immediately drop everything, run into the kitchen and shout, “Cook with Mama!” Sometimes he’ll run over to his learning tower, which we keep folded up and in the corner of our kitchen when it’s not in use, point to it and start clamoring, “Tower! Tower!” (we’ve thankfully gotten him to stop trying to drag it out on his own).

We started “cooking” together when he was nine months, but things really ramped up around when my dad bought Lion a learning tower for Christmas; this has been by far the most useful piece of “toddler gear.” There have been a few mishaps, like the day Lion dumped a bowl full of eggs onto the floor. Twice in a row. Or the time that he flung the wooden spoon in the air while it was covered in dry ingredients and got flour in his eye. For the most part, though, he’s gotten much better and is at the point where he’s actually helpful.

While I do sometimes rely on tricks like cutting up vegetables and having him transfer them into a bowl so I can focus on cooking other items that I don’t let him near (like raw meat since I still can’t get him to stop poking his finger in whatever we’re making and tasting it), there are some things that he can (mostly) make himself, at least until we get to the actual stove or oven part. I love that we combine one of my favorite activities of cooking with his development of motor skills, learning to follow directions, counting and more. Here are some of his favorite things to cook:

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Story of a Miscarriage

I originally wrote this post on April 25, 2016.

At our first prenatal appointment for our second pregnancy, the baby measured small, about 10 days behind our guesstimated age. It wasn’t something I thought was too alarming, but my husband, he knew it was not a good appointment. And so I began to worry just a little bit; the idea would sneak up late at night, when I was alone. I started not sleeping, blaming it on my newly pregnant body, and not the fact that my mind wouldn’t shut down because there was something I needed to think about, a reality that I needed to consider. I was constantly vacillating between being terrified that something was wrong with the baby, upset that I was likely going to miscarry and talking myself out of being a unnecessary worrier. I was in a constant state of denial. Denial to sadness, denial to joy, denial to anything about this new baby. People constantly asked how the baby and I were doing and I became withdrawn and quiet, evading the question, answering vaguely. It’s no wonder I was so grumpy and sleep deprived.

Our next prenatal was scheduled to be April 20th, and Mr. Seashell went out of town on April 7th. April 8th I got really scared, and felt like I was definitely going to miscarry. I just didn’t feel pregnant. I wasn’t gaining weight, my hair wasn’t thicker and my exhaustion was starting to wane. I talked myself out of worrying and justified all that I was feeling: I felt less tired because the first trimester was almost done, my pregnancy weight gain didn’t come on until the end with my first, I was being paranoid. And just like that I was done with the worrying and stressing about whether or not this child would stick around.

After dinner on Tuesday the 12th, with my husband still out of town, I started bleeding. And I knew that it was the miscarriage I had been expecting — the miscarriage I had expected with my first, but the one that I didn’t anticipate for my second. Even though I knew, there was still that glimmer of hope, the chance that I could be wrong. Some women bleed while pregnant and everything is fine. The ob pointed out a blood clot in my uterus during the ultrasound; perhaps that’s what was happening. A miscarriage still holds all of the same 5 stages of grief as any other other tragedy.

Mr. Seashell’s parents were thankfully in town and while my father-in-law watched Eli, my mother-in-law drove me to the hospital. I had wanted to be alone, to be vulnerable, afraid and scared alone. But I’m so grateful that she was there. Being poked and prodded, having blood drawn and an intense ultrasound, waiting three hours to hear the words you’re expecting, “there is no heartbeat,” it was comforting to have someone there with me and join in the waiting. The feelings surrounding the whole process have been all over the place.

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Craft activities – for my five year old.

Craft Ideas at Five - How we Montessori for Hello Bee

With my children being on school holidays, I’m looking to some fresh craft ideas to keep them busy. These are all activities that my five year old enjoys. In the Montessori way, we have presented them in trays and baskets on our shelves.

  • Beads with crafting wire. The wire is thin enough that my five year old can cut it. He loves to make bracelets and key ring holders. He will also thread beads on the chenille sticks.
  • Knitting. This is our first time knitting and we have used large needles and a chunky rainbow wool. For younger children I recommend using a knitting fork or try French knitting.

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