Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Positive Discipline: The First Three Years

Positive Discipline offers so much information about disciplining your child through the first three years of life but you have to pick what works for your family.  The title might be misleading but the authors stated upfront that they do not advocate punishment at all but believe in a different approach to discipline that teaches young children in a kind, respectful, and gentle manner. My favorite part of the book is the emphasis on nurturing the connection with people that your child wants to develop which is more important for brain development and discipline than any flash cards or electronic screens.  I also like the concept of redirecting behaviors based on how far along your child is on the developmental road.  A child’s brain goes through constant remodeling and the prefrontal cortex (area responsible for good judgment, emotional regulation, impulse control, and other good “adult” qualities) is not fully mature until after the age of twenty.  With that in mind, parents should understand that their children are highly impulsive little people that rarely misbehave purposely.  

I have mixed feelings about the authors’ philosophy of not resorting to punitive discipline ever.  The authors asked parents not to resort to “screaming, yelling, or lecturing,” which I find impossible to do.  I believe children might not completely understand why their parents are upset, but they can sense a change in tone which indicates that they’re doing something wrong.  I have raised my voice and told my toddler firmly to “stop hitting because it hurts papa” and he got it.  Another thing that was discussed in the book is not using time-outs in children under four because they are not old enough to link cause and effect. I haven’t made a stance on this matter but our pediatrician encouraged it when dealing with a tantrum and it seemed to work for other parents.  In an ideal world, you can follow the authors' advice and tips but all families are different with children of varied temperament so one size does not fit all.

Overall, this book has a lot of good information on bedtime routine, toilet training, special diet, childcare, and many other subjects.  Positive Discipline is definitely a good book to read about using positive discipline but do what works for your family.  

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Friday, May 8, 2015

Seven Spoons

This book is a wonderful collection of the author’s favorite recipes that she cooks for her and her family.  They are delicious and easy to follow recipes with major global influence ranging from Indian, Irish, Middle Eastern, to Asian, and so much more.  So far the bee-stung fried chicken, braised beef, and chocolate chip cookies have been a hit at our house.  We would like to try other recipes but need to make a trip to a specialty grocery store to get some of the Indian and Middle Eastern spices that are not available at the major grocery stores.  The pictures look gorgeous but I wish there was more to showcase the dishes.  We like the recipes from Seven Spoons and how homey and delicious they feel. 

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Modern Way to Eat

A Modern Way to Eat is an incredible cookbook.  With over 200 vegetarian recipes, there’s something for everyone.  All the recipes are easy to follow with clear instruction as well as vegan and gluten free options.  I like how Anna put a chart for building a dish starting with the hero ingredient (ie.kale), how to cook it (roast/saute/raw), adding a supporting ingredient (quinoa/squash), as well as other things for adding flavor (garlic/chili/lemon) and texture (almond/pumpkin seeds).  The overnight oats with peaches, maple granola, and cherry poppy seed waffle were really good.  We will definitely make these again.  The elderflower strawberry sherbet was incredibly refreshing.  We can’t wait to try some of the soup, salad, and dessert recipes.  A Modern Way to Eat is my new go to vegetarian book.  

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher    

Monday, April 13, 2015

Twenty Dinners

Finally, a cookbook from the guys!  I like the casual tone of Twenty Dinners and the authors’ philosophy of cooking with friends.  Twenty Dinners has a year’s worth of recipes for gatherings so there are endless combination of dishes one can put together.  The authors also enlisted their favorite pastry chef, mixologist, sommelier, and baristas to give readers information on wine pairings, desserts, stocking a home bar, mixing drinks, and buying and brewing fantastic coffee. We like to have friends over so this book is the perfect source to get ideas for these gatherings. The photography by Nicole Frazen is gorgeous and makes all the dishes look so delicious.   We can’t wait to cook from this book! 

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share

We love to have friends over for dinner and decided to put together a menu with the recipes from this book.  For our dinner, burrata with figs was the starter followed by the roasted salmon with green beans and celeriac-yukon mash as entree, and mixed berry tiramisu for dessert.  Our friends really enjoyed all the dishes that we cooked for them.  It took us the whole afternoon to prep and cook but the recipes were so easy to prepare.  Other recipes that we tried are the pumpkin pie steel cut oats, tropical smoothie bowl, soaked oat porridge, and seared scallops in Thai broth  which all turned out delicious.  We like this book as much as their first book.  

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto

Mastering Pasta has exceed my expectation.  With great detail and clear explanation, Marc Vetri teaches you the secret of making fresh pasta from scratch, baked sheet pasta, ravioli and stuffed pasta, extruded and dried pasta, flavored pasta, hand-formed pasta, gnocchi and risotto.  Photographs of both Italy and the pasta dishes are abundant and gorgeous in this book.  I have not made anything yet but can’t wait for the weekend to try his recipes.  This is the most comprehensive pasta book I have seen and is definitely better than the Flour and Water pasta book.  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves pasta.  

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What is a dividend stock?

A dividend stock is simply a stock that pays out a dividend to shareholders.  The dividend is a payment from the company to anyone who owns the stock. A simple example would be long time dividend stock AT&T (Ticker: T). In 2014 AT&T paid $0.46 per share each quarter. Doesn't sound much but let's do some math to see what you are getting.

Let's assume you purchase 100 shares Jan 2, 2014 @ $34.95/share and held the shares the entire year and received all the dividend payments.

AT&T (T)Q1Q2Q3Q4Total
Dividend (2014)$0.46$0.46$0.46$0.46$1.84

Cost basis 100 shares x $34.95 = $3495
Dividend payment 100 shares x $1.84 = $184 or $46/quarter
Yield $184/3495 = 5.26 %

To be sure you receive the dividend you must purchase the shares before the ex-dividend date. If you purchase the shares on or after the ex-dividend date the seller will receive the dividend payment.

Dividend payments are not guaranteed, meaning the company is not obligated to provide a dividend.  There are many companies that don't pay a dividend.  Usually, a young growing company needs all the capital it receives to continue it's growth.  A mature company that has a large customer base and is making money in a consistent manner will usually pay a dividend.

Disclosure: I do own shares of AT&T.  This article is not intended as a recommendation to buy any stocks mentioned in this article.  I am not paid to write this.