Recommended Reading for New Parents

This post will be updated as I find and read additional books.

The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle AlexanderDissing Sandahl

This title could wait until the kids are a few years old. Not much in it for infants. I will be using the mnemonic of PARENT when my son is older.

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

I really wish I had read this book before my son was born. I would have do so many things differently in those first few months.

Favorite Baby Items from 6 mos. to 1 year old

Here’s additional stuff we used all the time once Little One turned 6 months old:


ezpz Tiny Cup (Gray) – 100% Silicone Training Cup for Infants – Designed by a Pediatric Feeding Specialist – 4 Months+

Weaning Bib, BIBaDO Baby Feeding Coverall Straps To Any Highchair, Ideal for BLW >> LOVE LOVE LOVE these things! We didn’t have 1 when we first gave our son avocado. That onesie is still green! We have 3 of them, in different designs.

Silicone Baby Feeding Bibs – Waterproof, Easy Wipe Silicone Bib for Babies, Toddlers – Baby Bibs with Large Food Catcher Pocket – Travel Bibs Set for Boys, Girls – Food Grade BPA Free (Cloud Nine) >> We double up on bibs with our son. He uses it to store the food he’s not done with yet!

Chicco 360 Hook-On Chair, Scarlet >> We started using this long before we began our Baby Led Weaning (BLW) journey. We had our son join us while we ate dinner. We also love the fact the it rotates 360 degrees because after we’re done feeding him, we spin him around so I can wipe him up and remove him from the chair.

Graco DuoDiner DLX 6 in 1 High Chair | Converts to Dining Booster Seat, Youth Stool, and More, Mathis >> At both grandparents’ houses, we have this high chair.

WeeSprout Suction Plates with Lids for Babies & Toddlers>>These have 4 suction cups on the bottom, so even if the child pulls up 1 or 2 cups, the others stay down. I do like that they come with lids so we can pack away what he didn’t eat and save it for his next meal.

2 Pack Silicone Baby Bowls with Super Suction>>These are nice, but there’s only 1 large suction cup on the bottom and my son pulls it up easily. At the moment, we don’t fill the bowl with much except a few spoonful’s of yogurt so he can practice feeding himself with a spoon. I wish it had 2 small suction cups instead of 1 big one. But it’s still very useful.


Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat, Infant to Toddler Car Seat, with 10 Years of Use, Bryant >> It was a very sad day for me when I was forced to accept that my baby was too big for his infant car seat and needed to be upgraded to the next step up. The 4 in 1 can be used from newborn stage on, but I liked the idea of having the traditional style bucket cart seat to load and unload. And since kids have to be in booster seats until they’re practically driving themselves, this one will grow with him and we [hopefully] won’t have to purchase a different seat for him.

Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard, 4-In-1, Bonus Kit, Includes 4 Pack of Wall Mounts >> We have this gate along the front of our living room, blocking off the TV stand and our fireplace.

Summer Extra Tall & Wide Safety Baby Gate, Cool Gray Metal Frame – 38” Tall, Fits Openings 29.5” to 53” Wide, Baby and Pet Gate for Extra-Wide Doorways, Stairs, and Wide Spaces >> We have several of these gates blocking off other spaces in the house. We got a bronze color, not the cool gray metal.

Evenflo Position & Lock Classic Pressure Mount Gate, 26″-42″ >> We have several of these style of gates as well for doorframes.

EasyBaby Products Indoor Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate>>We have 2 of these gates. They come with 2 sets of hardware each, so we have multiple options of closing of various portions of the house if necessary.


Misc. Ideas for Montessori-inspired Treasure Baskets and other toys: I ended up making a lot of rattle jars and sensory bottles for my son. I’ll post some YouTube video links that inspired me to make some toys. We also received hand-me down toys as well as toys at Christmas. We don’t intentionally buy electronic or battery-operated toys for our son, and our family understands that for the most part. If we are gifted an electronic toy, after thank you’s are expressed, we either figure out if we can still use the toys in the OFF option or if we truly need to exchange it for something more appropriate. Most of the time, our son uses the electronic toys without them being turned on or having batteries in them at all. He still gets some benefit from them.

DIY Montessori-style Toy Video Links:

MONTESSORI AT HOME: DIY Montessori Toys for Babies & Toddlers

MONTESSORI AT HOME: DIY Montessori Materials (on a Budget!)

Sassy Stacks of Circles Stacking Ring STEM Learning Toy, 9 Piece Set, Age 6+ Months >> As much as my husband and I love Montessori, these called to me so hard! They appeal to the inner child in me. Plus the different textures allowed them to double of teethers for our son.

VTech Sit-To-Stand Learning Walker>>My son used this to learn to walk-assisted, and even though he can run laps around our house, he still likes to push it around. Yes, it is electronic, but we just keep it turned off. There are other ways of playing with it which don’t involve it being turned on.

VTech Light and Move Learning Ball>>I call this thing the Demon Ball from Hell. It’s one of those toys that is pointless unless it is turned on. AND IT WILL RANDOMLY START UP!!! (Hence why I call it Demon Ball.) My son wants to play with it occasionally, but he’s not too fussed about it.

Bright Starts Wobble Bobble Activity Ball Toy>>Okay, compared to the above item, this toy has been worth its weight in gold. Yes, it is an electronic toy. We call it the wobble ball. To quote my new obsession (The Minimalists), my son gets so much value from this item. When it wobbles, it has a strong vibration and he holds it up to his mouth when he is cutting his teeth. Even now with his molars are coming in, he still uses it as a sort-of face massager. AND IT DOESN’T RANDOMLY TURN ON BY ITSELF, but it will if you accidently kick it. It’s the one toy we always triple check is off before we begin the bedtime routine.

VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube>>This is a toy my son can use without it being turned on. He has figured out how to turn it on, but when he does play with it (i.e. when it’s rotated in) he generally leaves it in the off position.

Play Day Mini Sports Balls, 3 pack>>This admittedly was an impulse purchase on my part. We’d been talking about getting our son some non-foam balls (he was biting and tearing at things). His preferences in order: soccer ball, basketball, and football. He’s not quiet sure what do it with the football yet. Once again, he gets a lot of value from these.

Wilson Pentagon Soccer Ball>>We decided to get him a legit soccer ball since he loved his little one so much. We recently had our front yard re-sodded and having a nice big ball to play with out in the grass. Possible future soccer player?


Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrush, 0-2 Years, Soft Bristles, BPA Free 4 Pack >> I bought this 4-pack when my son’s first teeth have started appearing through gums. He is showing interest in trying to brush his own teeth, but we may need to upgrade his toothbrush already.

Parent’s Choice 2-Step Stool>>Now that my son is standing regularly and can reach the top of the bathroom vanity, we got him a simple (yes, plastic) step stool with rubber grippy stars. Even standing on the 2nd step, he’s barely taller than the counter top, but it is allowing him to get into the habit on washing his hands and brushing his teeth.

Pros and Cons of Multiple Baby Registries

I had 3 different baby registries. Did I need 3 of them? Of course not! But I still did. I’m going to share why the pros and cons of having multiple baby registries, which ones I had, and why I chose to do that.

Pros: each registry can be themed to a specific thing like diapers or breastfeeding supplies; if you need to return a duplicate or exchange for diapers your baby is too big for, you don’t have to hunt for wherever they came from.

Cons: if you don’t theme the registries, you can end up registering for duplicates of items that are a pain to return; one more thing to keep track of on top of everything else when you’re expecting.

My Main Baby Registry: Amazon

Everything I could think of went on there. What’s nice is Amazon will baby step you through all the categories you could possibly need stuff for, which is nice if you have no clue what you may need or didn’t no you absolutely needed for your bundle of joy. It’s also a great catchall place. People can give gift cards and if you end up needed other items that aren’t on the registry but are available on the website, BOOM! Gifted money to help fully pay or offset the cost.

A wonderful example is the bassinette we ended up buying when I was 9 months pregnant. We hadn’t planned on getting a bassinette at first, because we planned on using the heirloom cradle some close friends had. When we brought the cradle home and began to put it together, it became apparent rather quickly that it was going to be too short for our bed. Our bed is quite high. The top of the mattress is 3 feet off the ground. Lots of research and checking the tape measure later, we found the ONLY bassinette on Amazon that came up high enough. It was a pricey surprise, but my husband’s work had gifted us almost $200 in Amazon gift cards (as well as a basket of goodies) and we used those to offset the cost.

My (supposed) Diaper Registry: Walmart

The original plan for my Walmart registry was for it to be nothing by diapers and wipes, because (pre-Covid shut down) Walmart was open 24 hours. I ended up adding other stuff to it, and forgetting that I had (blame pregnancy brain). I do recommend having a diaper registry. Again, if you’re gifted gift cards to this store, you also have the option for using them towards other needs and essentials to pay or offset the costs.

My Breastfeeding Supplies Registry: Target

I put all my eggs in the breastfeeding basket. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t end up working out as hoped.) Target had the best selection of breastfeeding supplies and care products compared to Amazon and Walmart. So I set up this one with everything I thought I was going to need: storage bags, manual pump, the Haakaa pump, nursing pads, etc. In hindsight, I’m glad this one wasn’t as popular of a registry because most nursing supplies are considering medical supplies and wouldn’t be returnable.


So, by now, you’re asking yourself, okay, Cori, so why did you drive yourself crazy with three different registries? Pregnancy is a “fun” mental and emotional roller coaster on a normal day, so why add more to think about?


You read that correctly. By starting each registry (and fulfilling the requirements to get the free stuff), my husband and I received some cool stuff for our baby. All three boxes (okay, Target’s was a bag) had a bottle which came in handy when we realized we needed baby bottles for formula. Diaper samples, travel size lotions and shampoos/washes, pacifiers, and the occasional clothing item (we got a onesie from Amazon).

I don’t regret the additional time and effort it took to put these registries together. My son is almost a year old at this point and we’re still using some of the free products we received.

P.S. All my registries were created online. I did not run (okay, waddle) around Walmart and Target with a scanner gun. One place I didn’t have a chance to check out and possibly make a registry at is Buy Buy Baby. The weekend we’d planned on going to BBB was the weekend my state shut down due to COVID. Maybe one day I’ll go.

You read that correctly! By creating

5 Minute Meditation Practice

Before I got pregnant, I had a fairly consistent yoga and meditation practice. It continued until my son was born, and then I no longer had the time, energy, wherewithal to do either.

Yes, there was the occasional pocket of time where I was able to indulge in yoga, but I didn’t try to get back into meditation. I was already mentally struggling with being a first-time mom, and in hindsight (it’s always hindsight isn’t it?) I should have prioritized meditation.

The other weekend, while my husband was rocking our son to sleep for his first nap of the day, I sat in another room, laying on the loveseat, and decided to try to meditate again. I didn’t turn on a YouTube video or an app. I experimented with my own way of meditating.

If you count to 300 slowly (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc.), five minutes will pass.

I closed my eyes and began counting to 300.

Now, for most people, trying to sit quietly with their thoughts or clearing their mind only results in the opposite. Hundreds if not thousands of thoughts swirl around inside our heads at any given time. And normally, my brain is no different.

But this time, I only allowed myself to focus on images that brought me peace and joy: images of a cabin in the mountains I hope to visit one day with my family, a campfire blazing as the sun sets, my son asleep in my arms….

Five minutes may not seem like a long time, however, by the time I reached 300, I felt calmer and more at peace than I had in a long time. Five minutes was all it took.

As a parent, and especially as a mom, finding time to do anything for yourself seems selfish and impossible. But you can find five minutes. We need to. I shared my “epiphany” with my doctor last week and her emphatic agreement has encouraged me to try for a 5 minute meditation daily. I don’t always succeed, but tomorrow is another day.

Books Read in 2020

Maureen Johnson Truly Devious #2 The Vanishing Stair Couldn’t put down!

John Curto Perry & Constantine Pleshakov The Flight of the Romanovs A long slog but really enjoyed the last 5 paragraphs.

Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrow The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society Interesting side story of WWII

Candice Flemming The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Insightful Read

Terri Dulong Sunrise on Cedar Key

Terri Dulong Post Cards from Cedar Key

Andrew Cook The Murder of the Romanovs More about politics & finding the remains

Mur Lafferty The Shambling Guide to New York City

Mur Lafferty Ghost Train to New Orleans

Sarah Knight The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck (#1) Loved the TedTalk; can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Sarah Knight Get Your Sh*t Together (#2)

Sarah Knight Calm the F*ck Down (#3)

Sarah Knight You Do You (#4)

Sarah Knight F*ck No! (#5)

Jen Mann People I Want to Punch in the Throat Funny & Relatable

Isabel Sharpe Knit in Comfort I knew the blow up was coming, but there are still unanswered questions.

Dr. Rebecca Sharpe Redemption Good escape reading for newborn phase of parenthood

Ursula Vernon A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking Took a bit to get into, but I enjoyed it

Caballo Publishing Freeganism A tad militant, but informative

Will McCallum How to Give Up Plastic Disgusted with all the plastic in the world, but also inspired me to change some things

New Recipe: Cojito

I was given the Disney Festivals Recipe book. Of course the first thing I make out of it is an alcoholic drink! Happy New Year!

Bullet Journaling How I Adore Thee

In my last post, I mentioned reading The Bullet Journal Method. I adore the idea of bullet journaling, but I need the flexibility of rings. And the fact that the Mead Flex binder also bends back like a spiral notebook makes it even better.

I’m in several Bullet Journaling Facebook groups and several people have shown how they are doing bullet journaling in rings. But no one can really tell me if they’re going to archive their pages or not. One of the points of Bullet Journaling is to be able to look back on past entries, thoughts, and ideas for reflection purposes.

I definitely use the Collections aspect of the method. So that will continue regardless of if I make the experiment work or continue using my current set up.

One notion of bullet journaling I’m not a fan of is setting up my week or in this case, drawing it out every week since the vertical weekly layout works for me. I may have found a work around. Something I’ll update you on later.

2020 Blog Update

Dear Friends,

The blog has been pretty silent this year. I haven’t been doing much, except for the occasional YouTube video. I spent January to June going through my 2nd and 3rd trimesters, while dealing with the fallout of COVID-19, like the rest of the world. I was lucky enough to not only keep my job, but work from home from mid-March to mid-June, until my son was born. From June to September, I was on Maternity Leave, and went back to work in September. 

If you follow me on YouTube or Instsgram, you’ll have seen the random videos and posts I made there. To be honest, everything became a low priority as my pregnancy progressed. My energy levels varied each day, and with the mental stress of the pandemic also happening, I just wanted to lose myself in writing, reading, and knitting. 

So where does that leave this blog?

I’m not going to shut it down. I see no reason to do that. In the most recent years, I haven’t been a regular poster. There will be updates to the overall blog coming, once I can catch my breath. In the meantime, here are links to everything I’ve posted on YouTube, if you don’t follow me there:

Tales From A Polk County Girl YT Channel:

Planner Use in Quarentine 

A Year of Me Journal 

Goals Update Jan to June 2020 

Custom Planner Inserts from SewMuchCrafting 

Dollar Tree Haul July 2020 

October 2020 Planner Update and Walk Thru 

Knitting All The Blankets YT Channel:

June 2020 Knitting Update 

Fibreshare Spring 2020 Unboxing 

Twin Mommy Creations June 2020 Purchase 

Writing Update:

I finished writing the final chapters for my A to Z Knitting Stories project. I’d wanted to finish them before my son was born and I achieved that! Whoo! Now I’m working on getting them typed up before the end of the year. I’m halfway through the chapters!

Upcoming Writing News:

  1. Finish typing up the A to Z Knitting Stories chapters. I do plan on eventually self-publishing this book as well. 
  2. Finish writing the [Baking Competition] short story I started a long time ago.
  3. Outline and write another short story that has a cooking competition setting. 

Upcoming Reading News:

I’m planning on listing all the books I’ve managed to read this year by the end of the year. Surprisingly, I’ve read more than I thought I would this year, and I’m not including the books I’m reading to my son. 

Upcoming Knitting News:

As much as I’d like to be knitting and working on my various blankets and pattern designs, infants take a lot of energy and time. (He’s so worth it!) What little knitting I do is blanket squares, because I can do those in the car, while at stoplights. For those of you who are rolling your eyes at this, some of these lights are long, and this is really the only knitting time I get. I hope to get some time to work on the Mixed Stitches Blanket pattern that I finished knitting before my son was born-it’s his toddler blanket. And one day, get back to my 10 Stitch Blankets. 

Upcoming Blog Changes:

  1. I plan on making a page for my knitted dishcloths as an inventory page / catalog, so I can send potential buyers there to see what I have in stock. 
  2. Revamping the overall look of the blog and some of the tabs up top.
  3. Adding a page for my published works. 


3/18/2018 Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin I Hate Everyone But You Nice refreshing piece of fiction after a long piece of nonfiction
3/27/2018 Maureen Johnson Truly Devious Very good. Really enjoyed it. Can’t wait for the next 2 in the trilogy.
5/8/2018 Andrea Curtis What’s For Lunch: how schoolchildren eat around the world Cute children’s book. Want to own a copy.
7/4/2018 Irving Stone The Agony & the Ecstasy very interesting
7/28/2018 Annie Spence Dear Fahrenheit 451 Cute. Especially funny if you’re a librarian.
8/11/2018 Florence King Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady Hilarrious, and scandelous.
9/29/2018 Rockridge Press The Mediterranean Diet for Beginners Yummy
10/25/2018 Michael Pollan Cooked: a natural history of transformation Dense, but full of information; worth reading
12/15/2018 Bill Price 50 Foods that Changed the Course of History Bibliography used for CD purposes
12/19/2018 Edgar Cantero Meddling Kids OMG SOOOO GOOOD!
12/20/2018 Sally Goldenbaum Seaside Knitters Mysteries #3 Moon Spinners
12/22/2018 Sally Goldenbaum Seaside Knitters Mysteries #4 A Holiday Yarn Didn’t see the murderer coming!
12/23/2018 Sally Goldenbaum Seaside Knitters Mysteries #5 The Wedding Shawl
12/26/2018 Sally Goldenbaum Seaside Knitters Mysteries #6 A Fatal Fleece
12/27/2018 Sally Goldenbaum Seaside Knitters Mysteries #7 Angora Alibi
12/29/2018 Sally Goldenbaum Seaside Knitters Mysteries #8 Murder in Merino


Finished reading this book and working through the Breakthrough Exercises in this book. Really enjoyed it.


Amazon link


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