Saturday, February 12, 2011

What My Child Is Reading (and Give Away!)

Astro: The Steller Sea Lion

This give away is now closed.  The winner (LitLass) has been notified by email.

Astro: The Steller Sea Lion by Jeanne Walker Harvey chronicles the early life story of Astro, a Steller sea lion (an endangered species) rescued off the coast of California by the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California.  The staff of the Marine Mammal Center tried many times to release Astro back into the ocean, but because he was rescued when he was so young, he didn't know how to live in his natural environment, and kept trying to return to land.  He was eventually sent to live at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. 

I grew up in New England, and our family had a membership to the Mystic Aquarium.  The sea lion show is a wonderful childhood memory of mine, and I was able to bring the Bibliophile there last year on vacation.  So, we were thrilled to read this book, and both enjoyed it very much.  The Bibliophile is 3, and probably a bit on the young side for it, but he sat through the whole book and said he liked it.  I thought that the author did a nice job conveying a story that could have come across as a bit sad in a gentle, even amusing, way.  Like all texts from Sylvan Dell publishing, the book contains additional educational facts and activities in the back.  The illustrations by Shennen Bersani are beautiful - very realistic and vibrant.

Win Your Own Copy

Thanks to the generosity of the author, you can win your own copy of Astro the Steller Sea Lion.  To enter:
1) Leave a comment here.
2) Follow or subscribe in some way to Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile and leave a comment letting me know.
3) Tweet, facebook, or blog about this give away and leave a comment letting me know.

That's three possible entries per person. The deadline is February 20, midnight EST.  Prizes ship to U.S. addresses only. Please remember to leave your email address in your comment if it is not accessible from your profile.

Other books we have been reading this week:
There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)The Best Book of Spaceships

And a few of the baby girl's favorites this week...
Baby Baby Baby!The Going-To-Bed BookPeek-A Who?

I am linking this post up with What My Child is Reading.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Astro the Steller Sea Lion at no cost by its author in order to write this review.  If you click on any of the links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with

CSN Stores Product Review: Zojirushi Mini Breadmaker

CSN stores recently offered us a $75 store credit to review a product, and I decided to buy a bread maker.  With the Bibliophile's food allergies, our choice of breads is very limited.  We had been buying a loaf of rice bread at the market, and he likes it toasted, but it is not very good.  I discovered a local bread shop that sells a safe bread for him, and it is delicious.  But, we had a scary incident in which the ingredients were changed and not properly labeled.  I also have recently cut the top 8 most common allergens from my diet (egg, milk, wheat, nuts, fish, etc.) while we figure out if our baby girl has food allergies (since she is exposed to what I eat when she nurses).  So, we could use some homemade bread around here.  The model I chose was the Zojirushi mini model.  The Zojirushi name seems to receive high praise in bread maker reviews.

The Bibliophile fell in love with it immediately, grabbing hold of the recipe book and the accessories and running around the house excitedly pretend baking me bread, cake, and cookies in it.  It was quite an effort to get him to agree that I could use it up on the counter.

I chose this model because of its compact size.  It makes a 1 lb load instead of the typical 2 lb loaf.  Since gluten free bread tends to be far better tasting on the first day, and I like the idea of smaller appliances, this seemed like the better choice.  I also like that the beep for adding ingredients mid cycle (raisins, nuts, etc.) isn't as loud as it is on some other models.  If you are buying it for gluten free baking, though, you might consider the benefits of the double paddle and gluten free setting that the bigger Zojirushi offers.  So far, I haven't noticed anything lacking by using the mini, but I'm not much of a baker.  This is the first bread I've ever made.  I was excited it was edible.  The machine could not be any simpler to use (I just pushed start!), and the bread slid right out of the pan when it was done.

For our first loaf, we used the Gluten Free Pantry French Bread mix.  And it was delicious!  And pretty!  The outside was crusty, the inside was soft, and the taste was nice.  It reminded me of bread you'd be brought in a restaurant with olive oil for dipping.  I think I'll buy the mix again and try making it with olive oil, basil, sun dried tomatoes, and rosemary.  Since we only use 1/2 the box for use in the mini bread maker, it was probably slightly cheaper than the specialty bread we had been buying (admittedly, not by much), but we also didn't have to leave our house, and we controlled the process and the equipment, which is worth paying for when you have food allergies.

A couple of days later, having scarfed down my first loaf in record time, I decided to get a little more adventurous.  I used an Arrowhead Mills all purpose baking mix as my flour, and cobbled together a few cinnamon raisin bread recipes from online.  Sadly, my bread never rose.  I can't blame the bread maker, because I think my recipe was doomed before it hit the knead cycle.

Next up is a King Arthur's gluten free bread mix.

As for the Bibliophile, I'm trying to get him to settle for this, but he still makes me pull down the Zujiroshi for him every couple of days:

Comment: Do you have a bread maker?  What is your fav recipe for it?

Disclosure: We received a $75 store credit to CSN stores in order to purchase a product to review.  We paid the remainder of the purchase price ourselves.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Age 3 years, 2 months

Some memorable remarks from the Bibliophile this week:

The "Best Delivery" award --
To UPS man delivering a box of diapers for his sister: "Oh, she does a lot of poos, so a big box is good." (Do you know about Amazon Mom? We buy our diapers at 30% off that way).

While baking bread together --
Me: Do you want to add honey or sugar or both?
Kevin: I don't think bugs would be good.
Me: Huh?
Kevin: What did you say? Honey or sugar or bugs?
Me: Not bugs, "both!"

Me: Please stop; that hurts my leg.
Him: "Come on you silly thing, no it doesn't."

From other room --
"I made up a song, Mama! 'Oh where oh where has my mama gone? Oh where oh where can she be?'"

During bath when I said it was time to wash his hair --
"No, I am a pretend fish. I don't have any hair."

I am linking this post up with Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Comment: What cute things have your kids said this week?

Disclosure: if you click on any links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a commission through our affiliate relationship with

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Last week, we visited a large aviary that we hadn't been to in awhile. The Bibliophile loved it (he insisted we should visit every day from now on. Every day? Yes. Every day. At 9:00. He was quite specific). I decided to take advantage of his enthusiasm to do some educational activities. I'm not sure how useful these ideas will be for other families, but they are very typical of the way we do things around here lately, so I wanted to share them.

Bird (DK Eyewitness Books)He went with his Dad to the library and I suggested they get a relevant book.  I think this is the one they chose; it is in the other room and I find myself trapped under a sleeping baby.  We haven't read much of the text yet, but it includes photos of many different birds, so it has been serving our purpose well.

I took a poster-sized sheet of paper and labeled it "Birds of the Aviary," and wrote the first letter of many different birds we had seen there. He guessed (with hints on some) all of the birds and we wrote them in. He asked for a second sheet for me to write more, so I labeled that "Other Birds," and we named birds we knew outside of the aviary.

Once our lists were done, he decided he would point to a bird and I should make the noise of that bird. I used YouTube on the iPhone to look up bird calls as he pointed to them and we imitated them together. (Later, I downloaded a free iPhone app called AnimalChatter that also has free bird calls).

Next, we looked through his book together and called out birds we saw from our list and then other birds not on our list.

We played with our Audubon stuffed animal birds. I love these! We included his baby sister in the fun. (They make accurate bird calls when squeezed. We have a purple finch, Kirkland warbler, and Northern cardinal).

We took out his world map, and read the little tags on the birds that show where they are native to and their migration patterns.

Then he decided the map would make a nice slide for the birds.

I suggested he "pretend migrate" places. This has come in handy when we want him to go somewhere without fussing ("Time to brush your teeth. Hey, how about you pretend migrate there!").

The next day, we did this word unscramble with bird names, and a penguin activity sheet with our do-a-dot markers. I almost got him to agree to make a craft nest with me, but he changed his mind.

For other books about birds, see our previous reviews here.

 I am linking this post up with Weekly Wrap-Up, Preschool Corner, and Tot School.

Comment! Do you have a favorite type of bird, bird craft, or book featuring any fine feathered friends?

Disclosure: if you click on any link on this site and purchase anything, I may earn a small commission through my affiliate relationship with