Category Archives: Books

New Book ‘Why Have Kids?’ + #WhyHaveKids Twitter Party Thursday September 13th 7-8pm CT


A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti

Why have kids? Is this a question you’ve asked yourself time and time again? To many parents, this seems like a senseless, no-brainer question, but it’s a legitimate one at that. Parents as well as childless adults have been asking this question for thousands of years. Author and feminist Jessica Valenti discusses the truth about parenting and happiness in her provocitive new book.

WHY HAVE KIDS Twitter Party!

Join #WhyHaveKids 9/13 8-9pm/ET for a Twitter party on the new WHY HAVE KIDS? book! Win prizes, too! RSVP:

TOPIC – Why Have Kids? with Jessica Valenti

TIME – Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 8-9 PM Eastern (7-8 PM Central, 6-7 PM Mountain, 5-6 PM Pacific)

HASHTAG – #WhyHaveKids


PANELISTS – @MomSpark, @MomSparkMedia, @JessicaValenti, @mommyltloriley, @momwithadotcom, @thefrugalette and @OMGhada (follow everyone before party!)

Follow @JessicaValenti on Twitter!

One of the most high-profile young feminists in America, Jessica Valenti takes on the controversial—but necessary—question: Why Have Kids?

If the statistics confirm that parenting is making Americans unhappy, then Valenti’s question is poised to spark an essential and honest conversation about modern parenthood. Through on-the-ground reporting, new scientific studies, and her own burgeoning motherhood, Valenti offers an in-depth exposé of the world of having (and not having) children. She moves beyond the black and white “mommy wars” over natural parenting, discipline, and work-life balance to explore a more nuanced reality: one filled with ambivalence, joy, guilt, and exhaustion.

“This is a book about how the American ideal of parenting doesn’t match the reality of our lives, and how that incompatibility is hurting parents and children,” says Valenti. “The truth about parenting is that the reality of our lives needs to be enough. Seeking out an ideal that most of us can never reach is making us, and our kids, miserable.” The pursuit of perfection in pregnancy and parenting is giving American mothers a guilt complex and taking the joy out of parenthood. Valenti reveals the disconnect between parents’ hopes and the day-to-day reality of raising children and argues that while debating whether or not to breastfeed means we care about parenting, we really should really focus on raising our childrenas a community exercise. Forming communities of action rather than communities of judgment will help mothers and parents support each other.

Why Have Kids? tackles the tough questions that many parents and potential parents should be challenged to address. Brutally honest and refreshingly insightful, Valenti articulates the problem with modern parenting and offers solutions to social and political issues that can bring joy back to parenting.

A provocative and intimate exploration of modern parenthood by “a gutsy young third wave feminist” – The New York Times

“Timely… [Valenti] states early on that her book is meant to anger people and incite discussions… she wades deeply into the moral and logistical problems facing mothers, with interviews, research and her own anecdotal experiences.” – Kirkus Reviews

“In a culture that glamorizes motherhood, Jessica Valenti daringly articulates the hard work and the personal decisions that are an essential part of parenting. This book is a must read for new parents.”
– Gayle Lemmon, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

Jessica Valenti is the author of three previous books, including The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women. She is also the founder of, which the Columbia Journalism Review called “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.” Jessica – called one of the top 100 inspiring women in the world by the Guardian – speaks at universities and organizations in the U.S. and abroad about feminism, activism, and media. She lives with her family in Boston, but remains a New Yorker at heart.

Visit to learn more about the author and her book WHY HAVE KIDS.

Disclosure: This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a copy of Why Have Kids? and compensation nfor my time investment and work on this campaign.

Join me at the “Inside the Crayon Box” Facebook Chat with Crayola and Lisa Loeb March 7th!

The first “Inside the Crayon Box” live chat is tonight, Wednesday, March 7 at 9 p.m. EST or 8 p.m CST.

Lisa Loeb Crayola Inside the Box Live Facebook Chat

If you find yourself looking for new ways to inspire your children to express their ideas and build their creativity, you’ll want to join us to learn and share!

Join Crayola and musician, children’s author and mom, Lisa Loeb for a 45-minute live streaming video chat on the Crayola Facebook Page.  Lisa, best-known for her number one hit “Stay (I Missed You),” will share as personal stories, practical advice and ways she brings a little creative play into every day for her daughter.

Participants will be encouraged to ask Lisa questions during the event, too!


Lisa Loeb Crayola Inside the Box Live Facebook Chat

Topics to be covered during the chat:

  • Why Does Creativity Matter? Creativity is not about who´s the best artists or becoming an architect. It´s a way of thinking that encourages kids´ original ideas and develops their confidence.
  • Growing Up Creative. Lisa will share stories about growing up in a home where creativity was encouraged.
  • Simple Tips. Easy Ideas. Like most moms, Lisa juggles a lot. She´ll share simple, easy ways she sparks her daughter´s creativity as part of their daily routine.

“Creativity Matters”



If you are a huge Lisa Loeb fan like I am, check out Lisa’s book Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs (Sterling Children´s Books, 2011) available at Barnes & Noble and Sing, laugh, and play with pop Lisa in this fabulous collection of ten of the silliest songs ever. Fun activities, games, and recipes accompany whimsical songs. Take Lisa’s Silly Sing-Along with you wherever you go and get the high-spirited good times started. Includes a 10-song CD recorded by Lisa!

To learn more about the tools from Crayola that make it easy for parents to help children develop their creativity and like Crayola on Facebook!

Alicia Hagan, Editor

Disclosure:  The Crayola “Inside the Crayon Box” prize pack, product information and prize pack for giveaway have been provided by Crayola through MyBlogSpark.

Frito Lay and ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books – Special Promotion and Giveaway

Frito Lay and Choose Your Own Adventure books

Frito-Lay Variety Packs is partnering with the Choose Your Own Adventure series in perfect time for back to school shopping!  During this promotion, you will be able to purchase Frito-Lay Variety Packs that have a code on the packaging to download three original digital Choose Your Own Adventure books online.

Choose Your Own Adventure books online

One of the things that makes being a parent so much fun is seeing my kids enjoy the same things I did when I was young. Correct me if I’m wrong..when you were young nothing was more exciting than mom coming home with a multi-pack snack bag of chips that had all of your favorite flavors in it.  Mix that with a Choose Your Own Adventure book.. Shut Up!.. the fun just didn’t stop! I LOVED Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid and now my 11 year old son loves them too.  These books are a fabulous way to occupy kids for hours and keep kids interested in reading during the summer break which is so important.

During this special Frito-Lay and Choose Your Own Adventure books promotion families can not only choose their own snack adventure but a book adventure to go with it.  Pretty great huh?

Look for the promotional displays in your local store.


I have a $25 gift card and a boxed set of Choose Your Own Adventure books for one lucky The Mommy Insider reader. Leave a comment below to enter and get extra entries for each item you complete from the list below.
Entries accepted through 11:59 July 23rd.
Winner will be contacted via email and must respond within 24 hours or an alternate winner will be chosen.
Contest open to U.S. residents age 18 and over.  No P.O. boxes.

Update: If you entered this contest before you saw the contest entry form below, don’t worry.. all of your entries will be counted!

Be sure to tell us in the comments below what you’ve done (Twitter, Facebook, etc)!

To enter leave a comment telling me why you want to win these prizes, in the comments below.

Extra entries:

Be sure to tell us what you’ve done in the comments below!
This review was made possible by MomSpark Media. I was given a Choose Your Own Adventure Book and Frito-Lay Variety Packs in return for posting information about this promotion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Alicia Hagan, Editor

Goony Goo-Goo and GaGa Too! Madelyn is HOOKED on this book

Goony Goo Goo and GaGa Too
Goony Goo Goo and GaGa Too

Like I’ve said in previous book related reviews, Madelyn LOVES to read.. or rather, be read to, at this age.  From what I’ve seen, most 3-5 year olds get hooked on something and it becomes part of their routine.. for a long time.  Such is the case with Goony Goo Goo and GaGa Too written by children’s book author Kia Morgan Smith.

Goony Goo Goo and GAGA Too
Goony Goo Goo and GaGa Too
is a tale of two sisters Selena and Celeste who are less than enthusiastic about their new baby brother.   They don’t understand why he can’t talk or walk and at the first indication that ‘Baby Boy’ understands what the girls are saying, the girls go on and on assigning him chores and such.  Mom is none to happy about the girls attitude about Baby Boy and gives them a piece of her mind by explaining to them that Baby Boy isn’t their servent boy and that the girls should appreciate their little brother for who he is and what he can do.  The book is whimsically illustrated by Brandon Fall.

Click this link to buy Goony Goo-Goo and GaGa Too on

Here’s a brief video of Madelyn showing off the book and her favorite children’s book author:

Kia Morgan Smith Twitter

Follow Kia Morgan Smith on Twitter

Kia Morgan Smith on Facebook

Follow Kia Morgan Smith on Facebook


We are giving two lucky readers a copy of Goony Goo Goo and GaGa Too. To enter, leave a comment (click to jump to comments) below telling us why you want to win.   Get an extra entry for following us on Facebook here and and an extra for following us on Twitter here.  Be sure to leave a comment telling us that you are following us and include your Facebook & Twitter ID’s so we can give you extra entries!  Entries accepted through November 29th.

Bedtime Stories for Preschoolers

Tuck Me In bedtime story

If I ask Madelyn (4 yrs old) if she wants to me to play a game with her or read to her she choses to read.  I love that!

Madelyn has so many more books than Sebastian (11 yrs old) did when he was her age.. he would have rather played with toys than read.

Madelyn’s bedtime routine includes that I and/or my husband 3-5 books to her. While I try to choose relatively short books so as to not drag bedtime out, my husband reads long books.  Yay, Daddy!  I’ll be honest.. by bedtime, I’m just ready for her to go to sleep so I prefer to read shorter stories.

Madelyn has three stacks of hand-selected ‘bedtime books’.. sorted on her bookshelf in order of importance.  A few of Madelyn’s favorite bedtime books are Tuck Me In by By Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt, A Bedtime for Bear By Bonny Becker, and Moon Dreams By Ruth Martin.

A Bedtime for Bear bedtime storyA Bedtime for Bear is about a Bear who, when impish Mouse comes to spend the night, is in for a rude—and very funny—awakening and is the companion story to the New York Times bestseller A Visitor for Bear.

In Moon Dreams Luna loves to look at the moon.  But Luna wonders where the moon goes during the day and each night, after desperately trying to stay awake, her dreams taker her on a journey as she searches for the moon far and wide.

Tuck Me In - bedtime storyTuck Me In.. one of my favorites.  Who needs to be tucked in? Turn each page until all baby animals–and little readers–are cozy and ready for sleep in this bedtime ritual.  Tuck Me In is the last book we read at night because after tucking all the baby animals in, in the book, Madelyn is ready to be tucked in.  Thank goodness!

We recently acquired two more bedtime stories, Interrupting Chicken and Switching on the Moon, so stayed tuned to see which stack these books end up in on Madelyn’s bookshelf!