Friday, November 11

No Chimney? No Problem!

The Halloween decorations have just been put away and the turkeys are currently hoping we all become vegetarians before Thanksgiving. But that's neither here nor there because Christmas is pretty much gonna happen tomorrow.

And while I'm going crazy for the same reason all of you are going crazy, Buttercup is focusing on more critical how Santa Clause is going to drop off her presents if we don't have a chimney.

An entirely valid question, I would have to agree.

Rather than answer awkward questions and have to hire a therapist tomorrow, I decided to log into etsy and search a few key words. There's a lot if you decide to look...but I'll save you some trouble and tell you about the sweet little deal I found on One Strange Girl's shop. Prices vary greatly, but for a little $5 price tag, you get this cute little skeleton key and a wonderful little poem that explains the magic of they key to the little ones.

The shop owner was kind enough to send me an extra key with my paid order for one of my readers. I'm figuring there are probably three of you, so odds are pretty good, yes?

Good. So leave me a comment and make sure to include a way to contact you (email or twitter handle). Comments will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Nov. 15. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 4

My Kingdom for a Book

First let me say that if procrastination were an Olympic sport, I’d be bringing home the gold. Why? Because I was approached to review The Reading Kingdom program ages ago and after shouting out an enthusiastic YES! I just let it fall on the back burner. Not because the program isn’t incredible. It was more to do with the fact that we started Buttercup a little early and I wanted to give her a chance to master a few of the skills before giving my thoughts. That, and I’m just really really good at that procrastination thing.
The Reading Kingdom is a program designed to get children ages 4-10 reading and writing at a third grade level. Obviously, Buttercup isn’t there yet, but I love the fact that she is the one who comes to me asking if she can play her “Birdie Reading Game” on my laptop without me bribing her with cookies. (She’s referring to the cute owl you’ll see on the site and in the program lessons.)
Because the program customizes itself to your child’s individual learning needs, there’s no need to worry about information learned not being absorbed. Buttercup has been at the same level for months now, but that’s okay with me. I’m not trying to get her to pick up Harry Potter tomorrow. I just want to give my four-year-old a literacy boost since I myself didn’t even know how to write my name until I was six. She enjoys learning and I love programs like this that allow for me to help foster that love.
You just need a computer with a mouse and the program does the rest. A 30-day free trial gets you and your kid going and then if you like what you see, it’s basically about 50 cents a day to get your kid on the happy path to learning.
For more information on The Reading Kingdom, check out their website and blog, follow them on twitter, or like their Facebook page.
But before you go, check out this cute interview I attempted with Buttercup on her point of view about The Reading Kingdom.

*The Not So Fine Print: I was offered the opportunity to try out The Reading Kingdom at no cost to myself. But this is my blog and my sandbox which means I only write about what I want to and my opinions are my own. That being said, thank you to The Reading Kingdom for your patience and understanding and for this incredible learning opportunity for Buttercup.

**This post originally appeared on Aspiring Mama

Monday, September 26

The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby

I was recently approached to review a copy of The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Pregnancy by Erin MacPherson. I might not be pregnant and I might not go to church often enough (make that only for events with invitations and religious holidays involving rabbits and chocolate), but I had taken a peek at Erin’s blog, liked her style, and figured my ability to say The Lord’s Prayer in two languages qualified me to give my opinion on this book.

First, let’s get the fine print out of the way. Again. Yes, I received the book for free. In fact, I didn’t pay for it. And? There was no monetary exchange involved. But maybe more importantly, my blog belongs to me and so do the opinions expressed within. That being said?

This book is awesome.

With a bit of sass, a lot of humor, and a great blend of expert with a dash of girlfriend thrown in, Erin MacPherson covers pregnancy from the obsessive days of peeing on a stick to, “Holy Wow-the baby has to come out where?” While it might not be a necessary read for experienced mamas, I would definitely recommend to first-timers who are searching for a pregnancy book with a practical and sweetly-stated spiritual side.

But enough with the pleasantries. It’s time to talk. Read on for a fun interview with the author.


Berrie Sweet Picks: Fact or fiction: praying really, really hard will make all labor pains magically disappear.

Erin: Fiction. Well, I don’t want to put God in a box so I’m going to go ahead and say that God COULD take my labor pains away if he wanted to, but so far, no matter how much I prayed and moaned and groaned, labor still really hurt for me. And, similarly, I’ve been praying and moaning for two weeks now that God would make my water break or put me into labor again and I’m still huge and pregnant… so that’s not working so well either.

BSP : You talk about pretty much every aspect of pregnancy, labor, and the first few days after baby arrives in The Christian Mama’s Guide. And you do it with adorable sass and an authoritative but encouraging manner. So my question is: Can we go shoe shopping together?

Erin: Yes. Please. But if you’re looking for someone to help you, let me warn you ahead of time… I’m not the best at doling out shoe advice but I will definitely buy you an iced coffee and chat with you while you try on a million pairs.

BSP: You asked for potty training advice (on your blog). As the proud mama of a recently potty-trained almost four-year-old, allow me to shed some light on the subject: pray for patience. It will happen when they are da..uh..darned good and ready. But turnabout is fair play, so I’d like some advice, too. Please explain how I might avoid gaining 45 pounds the next time around…

Erin: Thank you for this. I have a friend who just potty trained her one-and-a-half-year-old and she’s just ranting about how EASY it was and how it just takes patience and dedication and well, darnit, I don’t have patience and dedication and it took me almost a year to potty train my second. And, she peed her pants yesterday while we were at Target. I think you’re right, they must be darned good and ready or you’re going to end up with a lot of wet panties to clean. As far as the 45 pounds, I can’t help you. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve gained this time (I conveniently avert my eyes at the doctor’s office) but I’m sure it’s not pretty.

AM: *Running out of material* *Thumbs through book again for more questions* *Lightbulb* *A-Ha!* What do you mean I was acting psychotic while I was pregnant? Have you been talking to The Husband? And if so, nothing he says is true.

Erin: Well, I certainly haven’t acted psychotic at ALL during this pregnancy (Case in point: I did NOT wake my husband up at 3 am this morning to tell him that he was “breathing too close to my pregnancy pillow”)… but apparently a lot of women (not me, of course) get all hormonal and cranky when they’re pregnant. Who knew that being 50 pounds overweight and throwing up every 10 minutes could do that to you?!

BSP: Will there be a Christian Mama’s Guide to Not Going Crazy the First Time Your Kid has a Public Tantrum in the Toy Section at Target? ‘Cuz I would totally buy that.

Erin: I’ve been scheming The Christian Mama’s Guide to the Terrible One-and-a-Halfs but perhaps your idea is better. And, if you want my advice, get an iced vanilla latte at the Starbucks at the front of Target and when your kid starts throwing a fit, turn across the aisle to the electronics section and yell “Hey, someone’s kid is really losing it over here? Does anyone know where his mom is?!” Then stand back and enjoy your latte. Works like a charm until your kid is old enough to say something like “Mommy?! I don’t see anyone ELSE throwing a fit!”

AM: Number three just joined your family. Any new pregnancy insight to share with the world? Or does Fudge Ripple still reign supreme for cravings?

Erin: Coconut Frappucinos. Pregnancy craving #1. They’re new at Starbucks and so, so yummy. And, they’re coffee-free so they don’t mess with my coffee aversion. BUT, word to the wise, if you have kids, it’s NOT a good idea to share your coconut frap with them or you’ll end up with a sugar-fueled meltdown which is NEVER fun when you’re nine months pregnant. Just sayin’.


It’s giveaway time, people. Up for grabs is one copy of Erin’s book. All you have to do is follow Erin on Twitter or stop by her Facebook page and click the like button. Stop back here and leave me a comment telling me what ya did and boom.


Entries will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Monday, Oct. 3.

Sunday, September 18

I'm back!

Listen up, y''s been a while, hasn't it?
I've been busy over at my new(er than this) blog and am now revising the book I'm trying to get published. So naturally I thought it a great time to relaunch Berrie Sweet Picks.
Have I mentioned I am crazy?
I am working on getting my ducks in a row and hopefully migrating over to wordpress while lining up a few reviews/giveaways, but for now here's the plan:
*Post once or twice a week in order to maintain some semblance of sanity and allow for real and honest reviews to be written and not come out sounding like commercials.
*The fine print? I will only be posting reviews for items I endorse and have a) personally used or b) have direct knowledge of someone I know using. Example: Company A sends me a boy related item I hand off to a friend with boys and I review based on her experiences.
*If you are a company interested in a review this is how I roll: you send me the item in question and I respond by email to let you know if you made the cut for a review. Contests and giveaway prizes are to be held by you to ship directly to the winner(s) once they are randomly selected in order to reduce the need to ship items twice.
*Did I mention the Fun part? I've been loving the time to refocus and get serious about my writing, but I did miss this! Hope to see you soon!