Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, The Salty Mamas Bookclub

The Super Salty Giveaway!

This post includes affiliate links in addition to items that have been generously donated by some wonderful companies.  As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. You can read more at our Legal & Disclosures page. Thank you!

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Giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to our winner, Vicki Wilkinson!

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As you may remember, The Salty Mamas loooooove October.  Jaymi, Christine, and Lil Salty Izzie have birthdays in October, Christine and Chad have an anniversary, and we all love Halloween.  And so we feel like celebrating- with YOU!

The Salty Mamas have compiled some of our VERY FAVORITE products into one HUGE GIVEAWAY just for our favorite readers! We contacted companies, told them about how awesome you were, and they agreed. So they sent us some amazing products that we think you’re going to love.

A few highlights:

A Passion Planner– This is the system that Jaymi uses to plan her months and weeks, get focused on her goals, and even as a bullet journal system using the blank pages in the back. We’ll be focusing on it in more depth in a future post, but trust us-it’s awesome. (Color included in the giveaway may vary from the listing).

A Copy of “The Miracle Morning“- if you are feeling adrift, or like you never get enough time for yourself- this book could truly be a game-changer for you. This book is all about carving out time and setting your intentions for the day- and your life!- first thing in the morning.

A Lip Bon-Bon from Younique (courtesy of Beth Griffin)- this is the best.lipbalm.ever. Jaymi is kind of obsessed with it, and we think you will be too!

This adorable unicorn tank top that Christine wore to Izzie’s Unicorn-Themed Birthday Bash. It is perfection.

A copy of our next book club selection- “Only Dead on the Inside“. This book is hilarious, and we’d love for you to read it so you can watch and laugh with us as we talk about it on Facebook next month!

Some Chick Fil A Swag. Because we’re obsessed, obviously.

This time around we are using Gleam to help you keep track of all the ways to earn entries for our grand prize drawing.  Share our Facebook posts, visit us on Instagram, leave us some Blog Post Love- choose as many (or as few) entry options as you’d like (or as many as you can get to before someone demands milk or hits their sister). Click on the link below, which will take you to our Gleam landing site and show you all the ways you can earn entries for our big giveaway!

A Super Salty Giveaway, featuring a Passion Planner, Books, Unicorn Clothes, Younique BonBons, and more! From thesaltymamas.com

To win, you must be a resident of the United States or Canada (sorry, International Salties, we aren’t rich enough to ship to you just yet).  The contest will run from October 15, 2017 through October 31, 2017 at midnight. The winner will be announced by November 5, 2017. Once announced, winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize and provide their address to The Salty Mamas. Good luck to all!

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Giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to our winner, Vicki Wilkinson!

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Kids' Activities, parenting, The Salties

10 Amazing Picture Books (That Happen to Feature Children of Color)

This post contains affiliate links. We will get a small percentage off of purchases made off of clicking one of our links. Thank you for supporting the Salty Mamas! We are also thankful for the sponsorship of Sterling Children’s Books, who provided a book for us to give to YOU! Check the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!

As the mother of two children of (varying shades of) color, I am always on the lookout for books that feature main characters of diverse backgrounds. Considering how important it is for kids to see people who like them in print and in the media, it is actually pretty shocking to me how few books feature characters that aren’t white (or aren’t animals for that matter, but that’s a different thing).  And while I love books that explicitly teach kids about differences (Happy in My Skin and It’s Okay to Be Different being two of our favorites), my favorite thing is finding great books where the child’s ethnicity/race/culture is not the focus of the story, but simply a part of who the child is. The character might (and should!) live in a world that is cognizant of their culture, but they are going through things the common kid goes through- like getting a new pet, being scared of monsters, or participating in the school’s science fair.

So, here’s a list of our favorite children’s books that just so happen to feature children of color in a starring role.

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

1. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown

This book may seem to be all about culture (it is written in both English and Spanish), but it also has a great storyline about a little girl who can be whatever she wants to be. From her red hair and brown skin to wearing green polka dots with purple stripes, Marisol McDonald doesn’t care if she matches, as long as she’s being true to herself.

Flower Garden

2. Flower Garden by Eve Bunting

This book is simple but oh-so-sweet, with gorgeous illustrations full of color and short, rhyming verses. It’s a fun, short read that my daughter just loves.

Monster Trouble

3. Monster Trouble by Lane Frederickson and Michael Robertson

When Winifred Schnitzel runs into some Monster Trouble (She’s not afraid, they’re just not letting her sleep!), she puts on her thinking cap and finds a way out of the problem herself. She is a bold and clever little lady, and the rhyming words are fun for me to read. One of Lila’s favorites, for sure!

Too Many Mangoes

4. Too Many Mangos by Tommy Pakai and Don Robinson

This is the sweetest little story about sharing. When Kama and Nani have too many mangos to eat themselves, they share them with the neighbors, and get lots of fun surprises in return. The pictures are just too cute, and there’s plenty of culture without making a thing of it, if you know what I mean.

The Bot That Scott Built

5. The Bot That Scott Built by Kim Norman and Agnese Baruzzi

I love this book, for both the storyline and the STEM tie-ins. Scott builds a spectacular robot for the science fair, but all kinds of chaos starts happening as soon as he introduces it. Luckily, he and his robot are able to save the day. Fun story structure and lots of silly happenings made my daughter giggle out loud, which is actually a rarity.

Mice and Beans

6. Mice and Beans by Pam Munoz Ryan

Abuela is trying to plan a birthday party, but things keep going astray. Little does she know the mice that she is fighting so hard to get rid of are both the problem AND the solution. Very cute, with just a few Spanish words sprinkled in, but the story is what really sings here.

City Shapes

7. City Shapes by Diana Murray

This story has illustrations that are just AMAZING.  The pages are bright and simple, and each one focuses on a different shape for kiddos to find in a cityscape. It’s almost like a seek-and-find book, but with a storyline, too.

Not Norman

8. Not Norman by Kelly Bennett

Poor Norman is a little salty about getting a goldfish as a pet, when what he really wanted was a dog. Through the course of the story, he falls in love with his new pet, and so did my daughter.

You Can Do It, TOo

9. You Can Do It, Too by Karen Baicker

We love this little board book that features a big sister helping her little brother to participate in her daily activities. It’s just a portrait of a normal day, but honestly, that seems to be what my kids relate to most of all (Especially since Lila is on a daily mission to mother her little brother within an inch of his life).

Ada Twist, Scientist

10. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty

Ada is a little girl with a passion for science. She is full of curiosity and “why,” and is a strong and bold little lady who goes after her dreams with abandon. A wonderful role model for kids everywhere, and once again, we are loving the STEM tie-in here.

Thanks to Sterling Children’s Books, one lucky winner (US and Canada only, thanks!) will receive their very own copy of “The Bot that Scott Built.” And trust us- you’re going to love it! To enter, all you need to do is follow our blog (the button is in the sidebar on a desktop, and below this post on your phone) and then comment below with your favorite children’s book.  The contest will close next Friday, September 8th at Midnight, PST. Good luck, and happy reading!

Giveaway closed! Thanks to Sterling Books, who will be sending our lucky winner, Anitra, her own copy of The Bot That Scott Built. Thanks to all who participated, and make sure you are following our blog to ensure you never miss out on a Salty Mamas Giveaway!

Tired of the lack of diversity in children's books? Us, too. Read to find out our favorite picture books featuring lead characters of color.
Mama Mojo, Married with Children, momlife, parenting, The Daddys, The Salty Mamas Bookclub

Book Review: Baby Proofing Your Marriage

Welcome to the first in our ongoing series of Salty Mama Book Reviews! We hope you’ll join us in The Salty Mamas Book Club – read with us, join us in discussions on Facebook, and check out our reviews!

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There are two things you should know before you add “Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less and Communicate Better As Your Family Grows” to your “to-read” list.

The first is that you must either a) read this book in total secret or b) be ready for anyone and everyone to ask if you and your partner are doing okay. I’m a big fan of carrying a book EVERYWHERE. Which means that inevitably I leave books all over the place. Which leads to everything from sad looks from strangers or concerned questions from close friends and family when you read a book that implies that the baby in your belly is going to destroy your marriage. So just be prepared.

The second is something a very good friend gave me a loving heads up about, and I am now paying that forward to you, dear reader.

There is no delicate way to put this, so I’m not going to dance around the issue.

This book is going to tell you to do certain acts. Oral acts. A MAJOR takeaway from this book is that these loving services may very well save your marriage. So be prepared.

That stuff aside, there’s a LOT of awesome information in this book, so even if you think “are you kidding me? I made him dinner and am raising his kids and am up to my elbows in spit up and poop and now I’m supposed to do what???,” just trust me for a solid second and give it a try. The book. And probably that-which-shall-not-be-named, but the book for sure.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, onto the review!

Gut reaction: LOVED IT.

There were some MAJOR takeaways that I implemented darn near immediately. One of the first things I realized was that I’m HARD on my husband. On a daily basis, I don’t think I am. I think he has it easy. Heck, I generously give him TONS of advice on what to do and how to do it! How loving is that?? Unfortunately, I learned recently that he just think this makes me a control freak! And guess what? It makes it not super fun for him to do things with the kids! Fun fact: Men do not like to do things when they are set up for failure. Now, I try to empower him and set him up for success. In some cases have I lowered the bar for him? Sure have! But it gives him a chance to fly over it. To gain confidence. And the positive reinforcement makes him WANT to do more with the kids. Win – freaking – win!!!

The other thing that I now preach to everyone I can find is to GO OUT OF TOWN AND LEAVE THE KIDS WITH YOUR PARTNER. Whenever I first suggest this to someone, I always get a response that’s some version of, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Why? “Well he doesn’t know what she eats.” “My kids are REALLY busy and it’s just a lot to take care of.” “He’s never been alone with both kids for more than a couple hours.” “We have a unique situation because my kids are [fill in the blank].” Well guess what? Lots of people have kids that are really busy. And we ALL have unique situations. But if you don’t give him the chance he will never know what she eats, he’ll never be alone with the kids, and by God he will NEVER understand what you do each and every single day until he gets the opportunity to live your life. Not for a few hours, not for a day, you’ve got to go out of town for a solid two nights to let the reality really sink in.

Lest you think I don’t practice what I preach, after reading this book, I booked a three day cruise with my girlfriends. Yes a cruise. I couldn’t turn around, come home early – shit, I didn’t even have cell phone reception. I left my husband with three kids. Cole was 3 years, 9 months. Evie was 2 years, 3 months. Izzie was 5 months old. And had never taken a bottle, no matter how hard we tried. And yes, I left them all. Here you go, take a minute to be appalled at how heartless I am, I can handle it.

Done? Okay, moving on…

Guess what? He handled his SHIT! He kept the two older kids fed, entertained, alive. He got the baby to take a bottle. He did all the carseat buckles and got clothes on the kids and kept them in clean diapers the whole weekend. Did I think he could? Eh, I was pretty skeptical to be completely honest. Did he think he could? He was a healthy blend of overly confident and naïve enough to have no idea what he was getting himself info. But the end result was that he stepped up, took care of the kids, and best of all, had an opportunity to bond with the kids that was never available to him with me always hanging out in the wings.  And I knew he could do it, which is such an amazing feeling to have.

Now, I know I said I wouldn’t bring up you-know-what (and yes, I’ve equated this act with Voldemort a few times, so sue me) but I feel like I need to clarify something before y’all write me off as someone who turned in their feminist card, put on an apron and bowed down to serve my husband. THAT is not what the book is endorsing. At the end of the day, you need to find what makes your husband feel loved. Feel appreciated. Feel special. That-which-shall-not-be-named is generally a safe catch-all way to show your partner appreciation. But that might not be your Boo’s favorite way to be appreciated. That might not be on your menu. That’s FINE. But find what is, and do that. A lot.

These are just a few of the nuggets of advice that I swear I couldn’t live without. And in case you’re thinking, eh, our kids are older and my partner and I are doing just fine, I’d STILL say to read this book. I finally got around to reading it when we were gearing up for Baby #3. It’s like a textbook in my house. I am forever flipping back through it to find a helpful hint, tip, or piece of advice.

I can honestly say that my marriage truly is better because of this book. And that is worth every single penny.

Grab your copy here! We’d love to hear what you think 🙂

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Next month we’ll be reading/reviewing “It’s Okay Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.” We hope you’ll get a copy and join The Salty Mamas Bookclub!!  Don’t forget to follow The Salty Mamas on Facebook so you don’t miss out on our upcoming Facebook Live event, The Salty Mamas Book Club Margarita Monday, on September 18, 2017!

Book Club