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I Needed to Entertain My Toddler

Lisa Forsythe

Lisa Forsythe Author Interview

Simple Activities For Toddlers provides parents with lots of fun and educational ideas that will keep their kids engaged. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Last year (2020) was challenging for many families. In March Spain, along with many other countries, went into lockdown. We were confined to our apartment with an almost 2-year-old. Suddenly, I needed to entertain my toddler all day long whilst making sure I offered a variety of activities and physical exercise while cooped up in an apartment. I drew on my experience as a primary school teacher to create play-based activities to engage my son whilst ensuring he was developing holistically. I started an Instagram page, @simpletoddleractivities, to share some of the activities we were doing with friends and family to offer activity ideas if they needed them. Then, it became something to keep me sane during that challenging time.

Throughout this journey, I realized parents wanted some inspiration for play-based activities to keep their toddlers busy whilst giving them the best start in life. Being a primary school teacher and parent, I wanted to use my teaching expertise to create simple activity ideas that are attainable for other parents and yet achievable for their toddlers. I try to use resources that are easily accessible, like recyclables, household items and common craft supplies. Furthermore, I want to help reduce overconsumption that plagues many families and in turn, has negative impacts for the environment.

The activities were so fun and easy to follow. What is your favorite activity from the book?

Modern art. The activity allows kids to enjoy the process of creation as opposed to creating a finished product. Creating a space where children can freely experiment with colour mixing, different brushes, lines, and materials encourages the use of the child’s imagination and ‘out of the box’ thinking. It is a type of art that they can be totally involved in and requires little assistance.

What advice would you give to parents who are struggling to engage their kids in different activities?

Start with something simple that is based on your child’s interests. For example, if they are into dinosaurs, choose a dinosaur related activity. As a parent it is important that we are playful and get down to their level. Remember your child wants your time, your undivided attention – YOU are enough. The activity does not have to be what you would consider amazing, your presence and engagement is sufficient.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on another book for slightly older children. As we are not in lockdown, I would love to write a book that incorporates more outdoor learning.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Do you find yourself repeating the same activities with your toddler and are looking for new innovative ideas on how to keep them amused whilst making learning fun? If so, Lisa and Thomas have lots of great ideas to help you.

The activities in this book are of high educational quality that maximizes the best use of your time, resources, and space. These play-based activities help your child thrive and ensures that they get a head start in life. All the activities have been ´toddler approved´ or field tested by Thomas.

Lisa Forsythe has over 15 years of experience as a teacher across Australia, NZ & UK. Since becoming a mother to Thomas she has focused her time on developing simple activities that develop foundational skills toddlers need to learn before engaging with more complex concepts and understandings. This is a practical guide for parents that creates opportunities to bond with your child and make beautiful life-long memories.

The activities predominately require things like recyclables, household items and common craft supplies; so, saving you money whilst being kind to the environment. There are a range of activities from sensory play, imaginative play, STEAM, crafts and games. They spark curiosity, enjoyment, motivation, deep learning, and creativity. The hard work of planning and ensuring that your toddler is equipped with the foundational skills they need for life has been done for you.

Societal Annoyances

Tom James
Tom James Author Interview

Your Children Are Boring provides a humorous and cutting examination of modern parenting. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I think like many of us, child-free or not, we’ve noticed some in society leaning towards a position where not only are children treated like little gods, and their parents the high priests, and those who choose not as selfish and sad (particularly women). I simply felt it was time to try and point this out, and perhaps address a few other articles of faith that needed an alternative view. Now I’ve stretched that religious analogy beyond breaking point, I also wanted to make people laugh, have a bit of a rant, and to explore the subject myself. Which is why it ranged from the small societal annoyances to surrogacy.

What is one piece of advice you would give to new parents?

Firstly, I’d say, there must be someone better to give you advice than me. Then if not, I’d suggest they ask yourself why you want children? I like to think most people’s reasons are relatively decent, and not self-centred. Maybe hope is more accurate. And dig deep to think what sort of parent you think you’d be and why. I think people believe there’s this mythical switch that gets flicked and you just become one, but the best parents I know, were thoroughly wonderful people in the first place.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

I think how having a child has seamlessly been woven into social media currency and our current penchant for identity politics. That’s something I felt was not only interesting, but important. Children being used almost as a prop, or parenthood as a badge of honour. I also find the subject of surrogacy interesting as it seems to me to be a massive blind spot morally for some. And then I wanted to expand on that wonderful George Carlin bit about children being special, with the thrust being, you all say they’re special, well they can’t be, otherwise the word loses all meaning…

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

Honestly, I don’t expect anyone to agree with it all, so I hope it makes them laugh from time to time.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Are you sick of a society that seems obsessed with children? Do you find modern parents insufferable?

Your Children Are Boring is a uniquely humorous look at our culture’s obsession with children, a world where virtually every advert has a squawking child in it, where pubs are full of wailing infants, and where every other Facebook post is tagged #ProudDad.

Why do parents themselves behave like infants? Why having a child doesn’t make you less selfish, why it’s extremely unlikely that your child is in fact, ‘special’, and why modern parenting is ruining everything, not least the kids themselves.

All the answers lie within, and it’s your duty to read it.

Yes, Your Children Are Boring will make you laugh, but it’s much more than that. Once consumed you must take its teachings into the world and fix society. Or something. Oh and if you put ‘Dad’ or ‘Mum’ in your social media bios, this book is aimed at you.

Simple Activities For Toddlers

It can be difficult to find activities to please a moody toddler and even more challenging to find something to do with only what you have on hand at home. In addition, if activities are too involved, require oddball materials, or take too long to complete, things can go downhill for a frantic parent very quickly. Fortunately, Lisa Forsythe offers parents, caregivers, and teachers of children ages 2-5 a fantastic how-to guide on quick and easy activities that hold interest and provide important lessons at the same time.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe, is a real lifesaver for families as well as teachers and caregivers. Cover to cover, the author has filled this handy book with step-by-step instructions for engaging projects and quick activities to keep toddlers’ little hands busy in a constructive and not-so-scary-for-parents manner!

This book is a gold mine for things to do on weekends and rainy days. I was especially taken with the format of the activities. Forsythe leaves no parent guessing–she lays out every activity in very simple terms, includes easy-to-access materials, and shows it all in lovely photographs that further excite kids as well as adults. I think my favorite activity is the Sea Creature Craft–so easy and just classically cute.

As a teacher, I can’t say enough about Forsythe’s attention to detail with reading, math, and writing skills. The more parents and caregivers can do at home with toddlers, the better off their children will be once they start kindergarten. These activities are rich with opportunities for little ones to practice those skills side by side with their parents–and none of it will feel like work to the toddlers.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe was written with 2-5 year olds in mind. I can see many of these activities fitting smoothly into elementary classrooms as part of thematic units. From cardboard boxes to noodles and muffin tins, the author keeps it simple and stress-free. Forsythe has given parents and teachers a true treasure!

Pages: 158 | ASIN: B08YS62P5Q

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A Sibling’s Guide To Autism

A Sibling’s Guide To Autism is an educational children’s book written in the form of an essay, or journal entry of sorts, where the author is explaining to her younger sibling what it is like to have an older sibling with autism. I don’t live with anyone that has autism so I, like her younger sibling, am learning about these things for the first time through this wonderfully illustrated book. This picture book is informative as well as enlightening and serves as a wonderful educational resource on the subject.

Author Irene Kim shares her experiences living with a sibling with autism. It sounds tough, but she also makes a point to say that it is rewarding in the end. The book uses a beautiful modern expressionist art style throughout the book to support the ideas presented on each page. Each piece of art and page is focused on an idea that takes on a different and more powerful meaning when you are living with someone with autism, like: pace, volume, people, and attachment. The section about ‘Attachment’ was the most impactful to me. I come to realize that living with someone with autism makes you mature and grow in ways that takes other people decades.

A Sibling’s Guide To Autism is a poignant children’s book that illuminates the up and downs that come with raising a child with autism. This is a fantastic picture book for teachers, parents, and children that are about to have someone with autism in their lives. This will be helpful in understanding that, while it will be difficult, it will also be rewarding, and author Irene Kim captures that in a brilliant way.

Pages: 17 | ASIN: B094HB7338

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Your Children Are Boring: or How Modern Parents Ruin Everything

Your Children Are Boring: or How Modern Parents Ruin Everything by [Tom James]

“You turned your house over to what is essentially a mentally ill dwarf with destructively nihilistic tendencies and no artistic merit.” Your Children Are Boring: or How Modern Parents Ruin Everything is filled with meme-able gems such as this quote. This humorous book is filled with incisive and funny observations on parents, children and humanity in general. Tom James provides an unabashed view of parenting in contemporary society. The tone and humor is reminiscent of the late great author Douglas Adams with his witty views of humanity or the comedian George Carlin, which is funny because I had this thought before seeing a quote from George Carlin in the book.

Each chapter begins with a quote about parenting or children from famous or revered people. This sets the tone for the short chapters and prepares readers for what they are about to dive into. There were many lines that made me literally laugh out loud. A good majority of the book felt perceptive and jocular, while a few times the text felt didactic, but all together felt fun. I’m a parent and can relate to a lot of the observations made and agree with the overall point of the book. Author Tom James makes this point in several clever and well researched ways. One of my favorites was the list of people with parents, at the top of the list was Saddam Hussein, contrasted with the list of people without parents, topping the list with Jane Austen and Francis Bacon.

If you have a good sense of humor, or at least you are not offended by the idea that your child may not be special, then you will certainly enjoy the humor found throughout this sharp examination of kids and parenting. Your Children Are Boring is a short and amusing book that challenges society’s modern view of parenting.

Pages: 98 | ASIN: B084KQXP53

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Adults In Training

Sue Donnellan
Sue Donnellan Author Interview

Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck provides practical advice for parents who feel overwhelmed by misbehaving kids. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was a reluctant parent and reformed yeller. I felt my journey toward discovering how to become a better parent, break traditional parenting patterns we’ve used for generations and let go of worry and control that doesn’t serve you or your child would be immensely helpful for other parents to know. My methods are counterintuitive, even unorthodox, but they work and I wanted to share them with as many parents as I could to ease their stress and free up children to become who the individuals they are meant to be.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before having kids?

That parenting is layered and nuanced when you are doing it right. Parenting is about us as the parent, not fixing our child’s behavior. We’re taught that we’re bad parents if we can’t change the child. The truth is, and no one tells us this, that to save the child we have to change us, not control the child. Changing us requires specific awareness that leads us to the parenting mindset that creates harmony in the home.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about parenting?

That punishment and restriction corrects behavior. Restriction creates rebellion. Parents feel they are doing the right thing when they punish or restrict, but the opposite is true.

What is the single biggest challenge you’ve personally faced as a parent and how did you overcome it?

How to let go of control and see my children as ‘adults in training’. With that perspective, I was able to create partnership parenting techniques that formed a foundation of true respect and built relationships of lifelong trust with my kids. This mindset led to developing children who are independent-minded, self-directed and happy!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Are you tired of yelling, punishing, and reminding, yet experiencing no change in your child’s behavior? 

What if you could learn the transformative mindset that allows parents to get results without “fixing” their child’s bad behavior? 

In Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck, Sue Donnellan, parent mentor, author, mom of four (including triplets), and entrepreneur shares 20+ years of experience cultivating the effective thought process for successful parenting. She delivers a proven playbook for turning misbehaving kids into happy, respectful, well-adjusted young adults. 

End tantrums by learning how to respond to them

Eliminate back-talk by knowing how to avoid provoking it
Minimize lying with trust-creating strategies
Neutralize sibling fights using one simple method
Establish curfews and boundaries both you and your child are happy with
Increase your ability to prevent bad behavior, before it even starts
Directly influence your child’s great decision-making capabilities 
Nurture a strengthened relationship so deep it provides a lifetime of your kids wanting to share everything with you



Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck is the definitive book on parenting. Written as a no-nonsense action plan, this book covers ages 2-20 and all the necessary subjects in between, using humor and wisdom. 

Foreword written by Lana Gomez Maniscalco, Artist, Wife, Mom of two, Creative Director, What’s Wrong With People, Inc.

Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck

Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck: The Non-Conformist Playbook to Raising Happy Kids Without Public Meltdowns, Power Struggles, & Punishments by [Sue Donnellan]

Parenting is the hardest job you will ever love–I stand by those words. It is rewarding beyond measure. But it is terribly and undeniably difficult on the best of days. Not one of us is born knowing how to properly raise another human being to become a productive and happy member of society, and it takes a new level of concentration and determination to get our children to that point. Every decision we make is tempered and, if you are like me–second and even third-guessed. Sue Donnellan has gifted parents everywhere with the most common-sense guide on parenting to date.

Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck: The Non-Conformist Playbook to Raising Happy Kids Without Public Meltdowns, Power Struggles, & Punishments, by Sue Donnellan, is the parenting guide we all never knew we needed but cannot live without. After reading Donnellan’s book cover to cover, I understand myself and my parenting choice much more clearly. Unfortunately, I see myself in the author’s examples of struggling parents and not in her advice. I truly wish I had had this guidebook when my 18 and 19 year olds were in middle school–so many sanity-saving tips offered up by Donnellan.

Donnellan is not only brutally honest, but she is consistent with her advice. So many parenting tips feel iffy; they waver between doing what works and doing what’s comfortable. I have always hated taking the time to read a parenting book or blog only to find the author essentially wants you to become your child’s equal and talk incessantly about feelings in the midst of a full-blown terrible-twos tantrum. Donnellan knows what’s real–she knows how to get to the heart of the matter without giving in and giving up one’s role as the parent.

I love that the author focuses most on changing ourselves and allowing the ensuing changes in our children to happen naturally. This is common sense–why have I not seen it in my 19 years of parenting?

From handling our own feelings of guilt to allowing our children an occasional curse word but not allowing them to call anyone stupid, Donnellan covers all of parenting’s most pressing questions. Speaking of guilt, I am guilty of wanting to become too involved in solving my children’s problems. Donnellan has set me straight–on this and many other issues I have been battling with my young adults.

I am giving Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck: The Non-Conformist Playbook to Raising Happy Kids Without Public Meltdowns, Power Struggles, & Punishments, by Sue Donnellan, a powerful shout-it-from-the-rooftops 5 out of 5 stars! Every parent needs to be introduced to Donnellan and her common sense approach to parenting. Best friends, mothers, co-workers, and neighbors, add Donnellan’s book to your baby shower to-do list–you will make a difference in their lives for which your loved ones will always be grateful.

Pages: 212 | ASIN: B08VDZD9SM

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A Surreal Childhood

Harold Phifer
Harold Phifer Author Interview

Surviving Chaos details your difficult childhood, the obstacles you faced, and how you came to terms with it all. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was a surreal childhood that was full of failures, disappointments, and humiliations. I felt a need to share the stories as a way to gain victory over the demons that tormented me for such a long time. By telling my journey I hope to help others to relate, understand, and prevail against any obstacle or dysfunction.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you shared your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Losing my mom! I wanted give her more than I did so I had to swallow my sense of failure as I wrote above her.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Schizophrenia, Parental neglect, and being a constant Outcast.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

If you know of anyone with a mental condition do try to get them help.

Don’t overlook the effects it may have had on those around the person with the mental challenges especially the offspring’s. Next, even while I was mentally bound I found time to laugh. You can always find a way to turn lemons into lemonade if you just keep stirring.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

For more than fifty years, Harold Phifer’s childhood living conditions remained a secret, even from those who thought they knew him best. No one knew about his past growing up with a mother who suffered from mental illness; a greedy, controlling aunt; a mindless and spoiled older brother; an absent father. It wasn’t until an explosion in Afghanistan that his memory blasted back into focus. This book is the result of a long, cathartic chat with a stranger at a beach bar, where Harold finally found some peace.
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