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review 2018-01-23 18:55
Book Suffers From Backstory Issues
A Bump in the Road: From Happy Hour to Baby Shower - Maureen Lipinski

I really would have liked this story more if the author, Maureen Lipinski, had spent more time setting up the backstory of our main character and secondary characters. That through me so much while reading. At one point I did go back to Amazon to make sure I wasn't missing a first book or something. But nope, this is the first book in the series. Since I read the sequel right after finishing this, I realized that book (Not Ready for Mom Jeans) ended up causing me to dislike the first book more than I did and dropped this down to three stars. 

 

The main character is Clare Finnegan who has been married for several months at the start of this story. Clare and her husband Jake (who I can't even remember his name at this point...shows how much he stuck with me--I did go back and look it up though) are flying home from Vegas and thanking the gods they don't have kids. Of course the gods smile and then Clare ends up getting pregnant by accident (birth control + antibiotics = not a good idea to have relations). Clare and Jake go through a series of emotions since they are in their late 20s and were not really thinking of children yet. They do proceed with the pregnancy and go through the ups and downs of expecting their first child while dealing with their families, friends, and jobs.


For the most part I found this book slightly funny. Clare has a unique voice. She is an event planner and also a blogger. Apparently a blogger that gets 20,000 views a day (I feel like that is unheard of) with her providing details to her readers about her day to day life. I wish that we had gotten some excerpts from Clare's blog or anything that showcased her writing, since I was flummoxed why she would be so popular. There are allusions to her blog taking off, but that is one of the weird passages that this book contains that makes you believe there is another book before this. 

 

The secondary characters just fit character types. Clare's two best friends Reese and Julie (who haven't spoken in like a year after some blow up during Clare's bachelorette party) are the type A super mom/wife and the party girl. She hangs out with them while also judging them. I also ended up not caring for Jake too much since he made cracks about Julie and her upbringing. Apparently if you live in a mobile home you are white trash and that's that. God. Forget not caring about him, he and his sanctimonious family sucked.  

 

The writing was so-so. As I said there are whole passages alluding to things that Lipinski writes about that in a way that makes it seem you should already know about these things. It drove me up the wall and took me out of the story every time. I was wondering if this book came with a prologue and even went back to the title page at one point and worked me way through again.

 

The book takes place in Chicago and I really wish we had gotten more flavor of the town in this story. One reason why I love Jen Lancaster and Stacy Ballis's book is that they make Chicago come alive. The only settings you read about are Clare's workplace, her apartment with her hubby, and Reese's home. 

 

The ending has Clare delivering her first child and wondering what is next. 

 

 

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text 2017-09-25 10:56
Conscious Parenting Best Deals
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Conscious Parenting by Nataša Pantović Nuit Best Deals COUNT-DOWN

 

Conscious Parenting is the Alchemy of Love Self-Development Course designed for parents. We use Transformation Tools and Spiritual Exercises to help parents get in touch with Soul, with Love, and with Patience when dealing with kids. Exploring the magic work with: Soul's Diary, Spiritual Parenting Diary, Developing Parenting Virtues, Meditations, Rhythm, Day-to-day Routine, Happy Family Structure, Cultivating of Relationships, etc. the course explores some very inspiring exercises to examine the mind, subconscious and conscious thoughts, emotions, relationships. Conscious Parenting Course looks into the parenting goals, dreams, from simple day-to-day task planning to the each parent's dream of the bigger vision.
Ivana Milosavljevic Mgr. Education, with Masters and keen interest in Special Needs, co-author of the book says: 
'After many years that I've spent examining and studying children’s psychology and exploring the wonders of pedagogy some essential questions kept following me and inspiring my journey:

- Is there such a thing as an ideal parent and an ideal growing environment for our children? 
- What is it that our little ones need to grow into happy, independent and fulfilled human beings? 
- What is it that we (grown-ups) need to do so that our children stay stress-free and joyful? 
- How to understand the needs of these gentle and pure souls that are given to us for our guidance without suffocating their inborn happiness? 
- How to cultivate the perfect goodness that is a part of their being without distorting it into: anger, doubt, distress, unhappiness? 
- How to protect them and what is it exactly that we need to protect? 
The Conscious Parenting Course was born out of these Magic Questions.'
All through the mindfulness exercises of the Conscious Parenting Course, the parents are encouraged to listen to their Souls and to come back to love, awareness, consciousness hoping to inspire the parents capacity to stay Creative, Loving and Full of Energy.

 

Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents

 

Source: www.amazon.com/Conscious-Parenting-Mindful-Mindfulness-Training-ebook/dp/B00U8V75SQ
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review 2017-09-16 03:50
Book 58/100: How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes by Denise Topolnicki
How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes: The Complete Guide to Managing Your Money Better So You Can Spend More Time with Your Kids - Denise Topolnicki

This book probably had some good advice, but it was so dang boring that I couldn't really absorb much of it. I am frugal and I care about saving money, but Topolnicki's book goes a bit too much into the weeds of stuff that is a little too "economic" for me, like various types of retirement plans, college savings funds, etc. I just want to know how to pay my bills every month!

This book is fairly old, and because Topolnicki's advice is SO specific, it dated itself far more quickly than more general advice would. She gives SPECIFIC amounts that you can expect to pay for things like insurance, mortgages, etc., which doesn't do much good to a reader 20 years later, not to mention that price tags can vary widely from one part of the country to another. Also, it's super annoying that she assumes the stay-at-home parent is going to be the mom, even though she's upfront from the beginning about this assumption. And the fact that she just expects the husband to shoulder so much of the economic burden also rubbed me the wrong way -- there are several places where she suggests hubby get a second job so Mom can stay home, essentially depriving him of any sort of family life whatsoever. Following all the advice in this book might help your family financially, but it could be hell on your relationship.

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review 2017-09-02 18:25
Book 52/100: The Blue Jay's Dance - A Birth Year by Louise Erdrich
The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year - Louise Erdrich

The postpartum period after giving birth to my first son seems like the perfect time to reread Anne Lamott's "Operating Instructions" -- unfortunately, I gave my copy to my best friend when she was pregnant, having no idea that my own pregnancy was so close at hand. I thought Erdrich's book might serve as a good stand in, which it did to a certain extent.

Unlike "Operating Instructions," this is not really a journal or a traditional memoir but rather a series of loosely connected essays written in the year after the birth of Erdrich's third baby. As a new mother, this format makes total sense to me -- when you are writing in snatches grabbed while Baby naps or you pawn him off on someone else for half an hour, you learn to write "small" or not write at all. While this is undoubtedly part of Erdrich's personal style, I found myself bored by how often she wrote about nature and wanted her to write more about parenting a baby, since that is what drew me to this book. And when she does write about new motherhood, her writing is beautiful, aching, and insightful, whether she is delving into postpartum depression or the travails of sleep deprivation. I always was left wanting more in these sections, as well as in the sections where she wrote about the challenges of maintaining any sort of writing practice at all with a new baby in your orbit. In these moments, I had that wonderful feeling of being fully understood, of having someone give voice to questions, feelings and experiences that I was in the midst of grappling with and not yet able to articulate.

Unfortunately, this comprised only about a third of the book. In addition to the musings on nature, stories about her cats (which I didn't mind in the least), and brief glimpses into the rest of her family life (also interesting), she includes quite a few recipes. I skimmed these because most were far too involved for me to consider making them, but I understood their inclusion because food takes on a whole new level of meaning when you are pregnant and breastfeeding, especially when it is prepared by someone you love.

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review 2017-08-29 03:40
Book 47/100: Best Lunch Box Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford
Best Lunch Box Ever: Ideas and Recipes for School Lunches Kids Will Love - Katie Sullivan Morford

I found out about this book while reading a review of "Beating the Lunch Box Blues," and since I enjoyed that one, I gave this one a read, too.

This is a more traditional "cookbook" in that it actually has lunch recipes in it, but its approach is similar. The recipes are simple and would satisfy a diverse palate -- again, I perused this for ideas for my husband's lunches, not for kids, and there's plenty here for adults to enjoy. None of the "recipes" has more than 10 ingredients or so, and most of them only have about 5. This book is also a little more health and budget-conscious than "Lunch Box Blues." Taken together, there's lots of inspiration to be had for lunches, whether for school, work, or the occasional picnic!

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