Non-Fiction Review: The Secret Joy of Hygge

The Secret Joy of Hygge by Alexandra Amarotico
The Secret Joy of Hygge: A Practical Guide to Cultivating Happiness in the Everyday
by Alexandra Amarotico

5 out of 5 stars

This sweet book defines what “hygge” (pronouned “hoo-gah”) is and give advice on promoting a cozy hygge feeling in your everyday life. Finding joy in small things and celebrating each moment is the way to embrace happiness with hygge. Doing everyday tasks with mindfulness and gratitude is hygge.

The illustrations show cute little drawings of a fireplace, candles, family photos, a warm cup of tea, or a book, a cat sleeping on an armchair, a plant on a windowsill, warm mittens, a bike, a picnic, a piece of cake, and a hundred other little things that embody the spirit of hygge. The pastels colors are muted and calm.

There are chapters about using hygge in self-care, in your home, with your family, at your workplace, and in daily life.

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Non-Fiction Review: Good Intentions

Good Intentions by Jasmine Tarkeshi
Good Intentions: A Guided Yoga Journal for a More Meaningful Practice
by Jasmine Tarkeshi

4 out of 5 stars

This guided journal begins each 3-page chapter with a few paragraphs on yoga sutras, philosophies of peace, or a proverb of wisdom for the reader to contemplate. Then the reader is encouraged to set an intention for their yoga practice to apply the wisdom to their own lives and reflect on their own spirit. And a few prompts are provided with a blank page where the reader can record their thoughts and introspection about the topic.

The first section of daily meditations focuses on tuning in to yourself and recognizing your own energy, and then there are sections for tapping into the observing witness within yourself, letting go of worries and embracing truth, practicing self-care and compassion, and finally extending grace to yourself and others.

I really liked how the meditations gradually take you deeper into a more positive mind-set, opening up your inner thoughts and providing healing. This is a great companion to a yoga practice! Continue reading

Cookbook Review: The Coffee Recipe Book

The Coffee Recipe Book by Daniel Lancaster
The Coffee Recipe Book: 50 Coffee and Espresso Drinks to Make at Home
by Daniel Lancaster

4 out of 5 stars

Illustrated with cute little drawings of coffee beans, honey, spice leaves, and cozy coffee cups, this book has recipes for 50 different types of coffee and espresso.

It begins with an explanation of types of roast, and types of filters and grinders and brewing machines, with advice on choosing your tools and equipment. There are chapters for basic coffee recipes like cafe au lait, and more complex drinks like espressos and lattes, even including cold coffee drinks, frappes, and milkshakes. (There is also a chapter for alcoholic coffee drinks that I am choosing to ignore.)

With delicious ingredients like caramel, honey, lavender, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and of course steamed milk, these recipes will delight any coffee drinker! Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Lactivate!

LACTIVATE! by Jill Krause
LACTIVATE!: A User’s Guide To Breastfeeding
by Jill Krause, Chrisie Rosenthal IBCLC

5 out of 5 stars

This book has worlds of information about every conceivable situation that might come up while breastfeeding a baby. Whether to use formula, how to encourage baby to latch on, bonding with baby right after birth, breast milk storage guidelines, how to use a breast pump, even what to do if baby is in NICU. There are charts for tracking feeding times, tracking baby’s weight, instructions on burping baby, changing diapers, and how to know if something is wrong with baby’s digestion.

One of the things I really loved about this book are the inspirational quotes reassuring a new mom that she is doing great, she has the right to choose whatever she wants to do for herself and her child, and that each baby will be different. There is no guilt and no shame in doing what is best for your own well-being and for the health of your child! Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Real Science Experiments

Real Science Experiments by Jess Harris
Real Science Experiments: 40 Exciting STEAM Activities for Kids
by Jess Harris

5 out of 5 stars

Using ordinary items found around the house, these experiments are introduced in separate chapters for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. They range from simple activities that a young child could do alone, to more complex experiments that require an adults supervision. Each activity poses a scientific question, and asks the reader to create a theory, examine evidence, draw conclusions, and record their observations.

You can make your own microscope, track sound waves, build 3-D lenses, power a small boat with just a candle, build a robot that hops, create artwork with a pendulum, and weave a magical math square.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow, with photos that show children doing the actual experiments. There is even a glossary in the back for some of the more scientific terms. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Real Chemistry Experiments

Real Chemistry Experiments by Edward P. Zovinka PhD
Real Chemistry Experiments: 40 Exciting STEAM Activities for Kids
by Edward P. Zovinka PhD

4 out of 5 stars

This one is for the problem-solvers, the explorers, and those with curious minds! This book begins with an introduction to the different areas of chemistry, and the types of chemists who study biochemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, even green chemistry which studies how to reduce waste.

The experiments are divided into chapters by Matter, Gases, Chemical Reactions, and Polymers. Although the book talks about atoms, protons, density, noble gases, air pressure, and other scientific terms, a child doesn’t have to understand the complexities of the science in order to do the experiments and have fun! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Migraine Diet

The Migraine Diet by Denise Potter
The Migraine Diet: A Ketogenic Meal Plan for Headache Relief
by Denise Potter

5 out of 5 stars

This cookbook begins with a section about how food can heal the body, and what causes migraines. It explains how a ketogenic diet might help migraines by cutting out carbs. Other therapies and medications are also mentioned to possibly be used alongside the ketogenic diet as a way to treat and prevent migraines. The reader is encouraged to keep a migraine diary and keep a record of their migraines as a way to determine the type, length, and stressors that impact their migraines.

The second section gives general instructions about what ingredients to buy for the most common recipes, what foods to avoid, and what vitamins to take. Gentle exercise and meditation are also recommended as a way to reduce the stress and emotional upset which can lead to migraines.

There is a weekly meal plan and a shopping list for 4 weeks, as well as a weekly page to keep a migraine diary.

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Non Fiction Review: The Mindfulness Journal for Teens

The Mindfulness Journal for Teens by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA,...
The Mindfulness Journal for Teens: Prompts and Practices to Help You Stay Cool, Calm, and Present
by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA, LMFT

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This beautiful guided journal prompts the reader/writer to answer questions, contemplate quotes about peace and mindfulness, practice meditations, focus on the breath, embrace personal affirmations, and write down their thoughts.

The best thing about this book is the beautiful design and calming colors on each page. It makes me want to open the book and notice every little leaf and fruit design around the edges while I do the meditations.

The prompts begin with a simple noticing of your emotions, your body, and surroundings, and then move into more deep contemplations and journal instructions about your insecurities, your strengths and fears. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Quick and Easy Healthy Cookbook

The Quick & Easy Healthy Cookbook by Carrie Forrest
The Quick & Easy Healthy Cookbook: 125 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less
by Carrie Forrest

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Beginning with a color chart of vegetables and colorful foods, this cookbook encourages guilt-free healthy eating that nourishes your body. The recipes include labels for nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

There are also recipes that are extra quick and can be made in 20 minutes or less, recipes that are kid-friendly, and recipes that are freezer-friendly to make the most of your leftovers. There is a list of recommended ingredients to keep on hand in the pantry. Continue reading