Monday, February 28, 2011

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, sponsored by the American Dietetic Association. 

I hear from a lot of my friends about their toddlers and young children eating only bagels, mac and cheese, and chicken nuggets.  My daughter has not yet turned into the proverbial picky eater, but I imagine she will at some point.  I like the nutrition guidelines, recipes, and tools on the Kids Eat Right website, and already turn to them for ideas for injecting more variety into her diet. 

I also plan to involve her in gardening, cooking, and baking, as soon as she is able to do so safely.  I keep hearing that children who help grow and prepare their own food are more willing to try new foods and eat more fruits and veggies.  There are lots of resources out there to help you and your child get started, including these fun and interactive card decks from Barefoot Books:

Bon appetit!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Celebrating Irish Heritage

As the snow comes down yet again, it seems difficult to believe that March is right around the corner.  For many people, St. Patrick's Day is the highlight of the month of March.  I'm not Irish, so I've always felt like a bit of an outsider on St. Patrick's Day.  I want my daughter, who is also not Irish, to be able to share and enjoy this holiday, though.  Here are some wonderful Barefoot Books products that will help her learn about Irish history and traditions.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do You Like Free Books?

Two cool blogs - Mountaintop Tribe and Life Simply Sweet - reviewed some Barefoot Books products this month, and both are giving away a $25 Barefoot Books gift certificate.  The entry period for both giveaways ends tomorrow, so be sure to check them out and enter right away!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

National Tell a Fairy Tale Day is Just Around the Corner!

I remember parts of the classic fairy tales from my childhood, but I'm a little rusty on details like which mythical characters belong with which hero or fairy princess.  With National Tell a Fairy Tale Day coming up on Saturday, February 26, though, there's no better time to relearn these classic stories and legends so I can share them with my daughter.

Although some of the stories seem outdated and politically incorrect, many education experts believe they teach important lessons about triumphing over adversity and other values.  They also provide a wonderful avenue for children's imaginary play.

Do you know a major fairy tale fan?  The Barefoot Books Fairy Magic Gift Set is a perfect gift to indulge their passion and imagination!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Going Green

One of the things I love most about Barefoot Books is their commitment to eco-awareness and stewardship.  To that end, all of the books are printed on ancient forest friendly paper.  Sounds great, right, but what does that actually mean?  Straight from the home office:

"As the name suggests, this means that we only use paper provided by responsible suppliers running well managed forests who do not destroy ancient trees in the process of making paper. Further, the felled timber is not replaced with an inappropriate fast-growing species (such as pine, which is unsuitable for high quality paper production on reaching maturity) but with a similar species which is given time to mature before being felled for further paper production."

The eco-awareness and earth stewardship themes can be found in many Barefoot Books products, but two that really bring them front and center are the Yoga Planet card deck, and the Whole World Fun Eco Activities book.

This fun and interactive card deck includes 50 yoga poses and games to help you feel connected to the Earth's elements: air, earth, fire, water, and space.  The cards were written by YogaEd.

This earth-friendly activity book was printed on 100% recycled paper, and includes games, puzzles, art activities, and quizzes.  Check out this review of the book from our friends at Mountaintop Tribe!  And while you're there, be sure to enter their giveaway for a $25 Barefoot Books gift certificate, and check out their cool store, Natural Family Supplies.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February Sale Items

Each month, Barefoot Books discounts a variety of their products.  This month's sale items include bestsellers like "The Boy Who Grew Flowers", a lovely story about accepting differences, and embracing people as they are.  It was a finalist for the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award in 2005. 

One of my personal favorites and another bestseller, "The Barefoot Book of Faeries", is also included in the February sale.  It's a sweet collection of stories, legends, and poems about the faerie realm, and includes a narrated storytime CD.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Project: Cameron's Story

I recently learned about Project: Cameron's Story, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.

Cameron was born in Albany in February, 2009, 16 weeks premature. As you can imagine, he suffered a myriad of complications as a result of his prematurity and size. He overcame many challenges, and finally joined his family at home after 213 days in the NICU at Albany Medical Center. Tragically, he succumbed to an infection and passed away on October 20, 2009. I'm moved by Cameron's story for many reasons, but the one I keep coming back to is that my daughter was born in the same hospital, just eight days after Cameron passed away.

While Cameron was in the NICU, his mother read to him as a way of bonding with him, even when she couldn't hold him. This experience had such a profound impact on their relationship, she started Project: Cameron's Story to enable other families have the same experience of bonding with their babies while they're in the NICU. The organization's mission is " to place a brand new, quality, children's book in the hands of every parent of a premature baby upon admission to the NICU at Albany Medical Center, New York."

This month, Project: Cameron's Story is doing a "bookraiser" to collect books for donation. Several bookstores in the Saratoga-Glens Falls area are participating, as am I with my Barefoot Books business. There's a list of participating bookstores on the website, and if you would like to purchase a Barefoot Books book for the Project, there are two ways to do so:

  • Go to to select and purchase your donation(s). Enter the code AMBTWY at check-out to save 20% on your purchase. If you are outside the Saratoga-Glens Falls area, you can have your donation shipped to Project: Cameron's Story; 7 Faxon Street; Glens Falls, NY 12801.
  • If you prefer not to purchase your donation online, just let me know which book(s) you'd like to donate, and I'll order and deliver it for you. (The same 20% discount will apply.)
The Project offers these guidelines for selecting appropriate books: "For parents who are trying to connect with their premature babies through oral communication, the suggestion is for the books to be 'picture storybooks.' It would be helpful if the books were of medium to large size, with lots of pictures, and a long storyline (i.e. lots of words!)." Here are some appropriate options from Barefoot Books:

Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon
The Boy Who Grew Flowers
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales
Storytime First Tales for Sharing
Ruby's School Walk
Shrinking Sam
Shopping with Dad
Emily's Tiger
The Tear Thief
Jack in the Beanstalk
The Gigantic Turnip
The Prince's Bedtime

I hope you'll consider participating in the bookraiser for Project: Cameron's Story and supporting this wonderful organization. If you have any questions, please let me know.  Thanks for your support!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Blogging about Barefoot Books

One of the things I've really enjoyed about my Barefoot Books business, is researching appropriate marketing ideas and venues.  I've come across quite a few neat blogs in the process, and several of them have been willing to collaborate with me. 

Until very recently, I wasn't familiar with the blog giveaway.  Basically, the blogger reviews a product, posts the review, and also posts a giveaway contest for a free item from the same company.  To enter the giveaway, readers have to "like" the company's FB page, visit the website and comment on their favorite product, link to the review and giveaway in their own blog, etc.  Ideally, it introduces the company's products to a new audience and gets them spreading the word, too.

I've jumped on the giveaway bandwagon with my Barefoot Books business, and the current review and giveaway is available here.  Katie reviews the "Animal Boogie" singalong and "Thesaurus Rex", and you can enter to win a $25 Barefoot Books gift certificate.   Good luck!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Early Bird Gets the Preschool Spot

Yesterday I did the nuttiest thing I've done as a parent, to-date: I got up at 4am to line up for one of the 8 available spots at a popular, local preschool.  Yep, the alarm went off at 4:00, I threw on sweats, grabbed some coffee, and drove to the Y.  Amazingly, there were already a couple of people there when I arrived at 4:45! 

This is the kind of thing I used to roll my eyes about, and swear I'd never get caught up in when I was a parent.  To be clear, I didn't do it because I think going to this preschool program as a 2 year old will ensure my daughter has the pick of the Ivy League schools in the future.  She's an only child and just starting to interact with other kids, so I think the socialization will be good for her.  I also like the idea of her getting used to listening to other authority figures and to a more structured environment.  But I understand that preschool for 2 year olds is essentially organized play.

There are only a handful of programs for 2 year olds in our area, and the program at the Y is a favorite.  This is in part because the program has a good reputation, but also because current students get priority registration for the 3 year old program next year.  (I learned from some of the other parents lined up yesterday morning that there were even fewer spots available in the 3 year old program.)  Thus the insanity surrounding registration for the 2 year old program.

Anyway, after waiting outside for 15 minutes, signing in, and waiting for registration to begin 3.5 hours later, I got a spot for my daughter.  As a bonus, two of our friends got spots in the same class, which will be fun for both my daughter and me.  After all, the classes are only 2 hours, so I have a feeling I'll be spending some of them hanging out at a nearby coffee shop with other parents.  :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Barefoot Books Winter Sale: The Home Stretch

Barefoot Books has been having a winter sale for the past month, and it ends tomorrow at 11:59pm.  Without exaggeration - I counted! - more than 100 products are discounted up to 60%.  I placed a big order last week, as I see the sale as a great opportunity to stock up for business, (giveaways, donations, product reviews), as well as personal, (birthday, new baby, Easter, etc. gifts), purposes.

One of my good friends used the sale to purchase party favors for her son's upcoming third birthday party.  She had the great idea - which I'll be borrowing in the future - of giving Barefoot Books activity books as party favors, instead of the usual candy and throwaway plastic toys.  Six of the seven activity books are part of the winter sale, so the timing was perfect!  Like this idea?  Here are the options:

All are available on the sale page.  The regular prices for these books are $5.99 and $6.99, and the sale prices are $2.99 and $3.99.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Take two

Prior to my daughter's arrival, I never bought or sold anything at a consignment store.  Truth be told, I was a little weirded out by the thought of wearing clothes that a stranger had previously owned and worn.  Soon after my daughter outgrew the clothes people gave us as shower and new baby gifts, though, I decided to give it a try.  And now that I know how quickly babies and young children outgrow their clothing, I have fully embraced consignment.  I've made purchases at the Katrina Trask Consignment Sale, the Albany Pass it On Sale, and the Kids' Exchange Consignment Sale, as well as at Trendy Tots, CuddleBugs, and Pixie's Closet.  Getting new or barely worn brand-name clothing at a deep discount has become a bit of an addiction for me.  Still, I had never really considered adult clothing consignment. 

Having had a baby 15 months ago, my body is different from the way it was pre-baby.  I wasn't exactly a hard-body to start out, and I actually weigh less now than I did when I got pregnant, but things just aren't the same.  As a result, I have a good number of items of clothing that no longer fit me the way they used to.  I tried to sell them at a garage sale a few months ago, but only a few things were purchased.  I've thought about putting them up up Ebay, but the photographing, describing, and listing required feels like a lot of work.  Then, while researching new outlets for my children's consignment-shopping addiction, I discovered that there are actually several consignment stores that sell women's clothing in our area.  After conducting online research and scoping out all of their locations, I decided to try selling some things at New 2 You Fine Consignment Boutique.  I called to schedule a drop-off appointment, did some laundry, and gathered the items I thought would sell.  Almost everything I brought was accepted; a few things were rejected because they were cold-weather clothing, which the stores all seem to be moving out these days.  (Who can even think about capris and tank tops with yet another 2-4 inches of snow forecast for tonight??)  I have no idea how many things will sell, nor how much they'll go for, but I'm really excited to find out!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Death and taxes (thankfully, just the taxes part)

I started my Barefoot Books business last October, just in time to cash in on the holiday season.  There definitely was some cashing in, but there were also a lot of expenses.  I think I only bought the barest of necessities to start-up, but even they added up to nearly a thousand dollars.  I needed inventory, a table, display materials, contact labels, paper, ink cartridges, clipboards, etc.  I did NOT purchase many things I wanted, like a nice tablecloth, return address labels, eco-friendly mailers, and countless other questionably-necessary items.  (In case your reading this, dear husband!)

Anyway, I recently learned that there is an upside to operating at a loss in the beginning: it's tax deductible!  I spoke to our accountant this morning, and the list of things I can deduct is pretty impressive.  I think I'm most excited about deducting a portion of our internet service, and mileage to and from events and book deliveries.  It's become a bit of a game for me to uncover every possible business tax deduction I can.  (Dear husband, you'd be proud!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Giving back

One of the things I love about Barefoot Books is their commitment to community and giving back.  Ambassadors are encouraged to do fundraisers for schools and nonprofits in our communities.  Like many aspects of our Barefoot Books businesses, they're flexible and can take many forms - book fairs, cash-and-carry tables, online sales, etc.  These can be a great opportunity to introduce more people to Barefoot Books, while contributing to causes in our communities.

With this in mind, I've added a new feature to my Barefoot Books business: the nonprofit/cause of the month.  Starting this month, I'll designate a nonprofit/cause of the month, and donate 20% of that month's online sales to it.  The first recipient is Friends of Hannah Hughes.  Hannah Hughes is a local seven year old girl who's being treated for leukemia.  In the coming months she'll receive a bone marrow transplant from her younger sister, and her family will join her in Boston for several months during her treatment.  I don't know the Hughes family, but I can imagine the stress they must be feeling at this time.  There's a very well-organized effort to raise funds for them, and I'm happy to be a small part of it.