Thursday, January 20, 2022

Book Review: I Just Want To Pee Alone

You know what I did last week? I ran errands and got to go out to lunch and read.... alone. It was as glorious as you think it was. 

I Just Want to Pee Alone

Motherhood is the toughest – and funniest – job you'll ever love. Raising kids is hard work. The pay sucks, your boss is a tyrant, and the working conditions are pitiful – you can't even take a bathroom break without being interrupted with another outrageous demand. Hasn't every mother said it before? “I just want to pee alone!” I Just Want to Pee Alone is a collection of hilarious essays from 37 of the most kick ass mom bloggers on the web. Including: People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Insane in the Mom-Brain, The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, Baby Sideburns, and Rants From Mommyland. Read hysterical essays like: Embarrassment, Thy Name is Motherhood A Pinterest-Perfect Mom, I am Not And Then There was that Time a Priest Called Me a Terrible Mother So She Thought She Could Cut Off My Stroller.
You guys... this book is funny. It was a good way to fill some kid-free time and didn't require my brain to do any work. Not only did I finish this book in one hour, but I was smiling or laughing the entire time and almost choked on a french fry. What a way to go, lambs. Early on there is an essay about Disney World and honest to God, it is so spot on, I had to call my friend who is planning a first trip... she's worried. HA! Also there is an essay about her husband getting a vasectomy in lieu of her being on birth control the rest of her life, which is something I see on mom blogs and forums all the time. Frankly, stand your ground, ladies. On page 34, 

Physician: [mouthing vaginal shrapnel] "So, are you interested in an IUD?"
Me: "I find it best never to owe people money. Especially family. IOUs can be so tricky."
Physician: "I have a feeling you may not be ready to discuss any vaginal procedures."
Me: "Hasn't my vagina done enough for my family?"
and further down the page: 
"I was pouring a glass of red when this commandment was spoken. 'Catholics don't do that. You can use the rhythm method.' As he said, 'rhythm method', I pointed to baby number four. Any other pearls of wisdom, Father? The conversation soured as I glared at my husband over loudly chewed bites of steak. Looking at my knife, I pondered if Googling DIY vasectomy instruction would initiate any red flags or calls to the local authorities. 
My husband, not necessarily a believer in the actual tenet of no vasectomy, yet, thankful for an argument against it tried to proceed cautiously. 
Husband: "Did you hear what Father said about ahem the surgery?"
Me: "I did."
Husband: "And?"
Me: "Are priests still unable to get married? Unless you plan on marrying him, I think you should consider keeping your appointment."
Husband: "Honey, please put down the steak knife."

I mean, absolutely spot on. I remember after I had Lucy, who shouldn't exist because birth control was used, and I died giving birth to her, I was adamant that I was not going on birth control. Frankly, I've done my duty. If I can die while giving birth, and deal with the awful aftermath for the rest of my life, the very least you can do is get a snip snip and go back to work. Oh yes, ladies, I made him go back to work. Again, if I can push a watermelon out of a small hole and have to start walking around right after, you can go to work. No sympathy will be given here. 

Is this book hysterical? No, but will it make you smile? Will you find yourself relating to at least a couple of the essays? You bet. Each one is rather short and read more like blog posts, which makes sense since they are from mom bloggers, some of which I've read before, but not regularly. I feel like the book also highlights each mom's style so if you wanted more from any of them, you at least know what you're kind of getting into as far as content. 

Overall, a fun little book. It would definitely be a cute one to throw into a new mom gift because I think any of us could have used something funny to read as we're stuck on the couch with a sleeping baby who you know damn well is going to scream for hours if you wake them up now. Been there, done that. 

If you saw on Instagram the other day, this was one of the books Matt got me for Christmas. If you want to see some of the others, head over there and let me know what you think I should read next!
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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Getting Crafty With It..

Do you set any goals for yourself for the year? Not really resolutions, but a goal that you're really going to try to accomplish?  

One of my goals was to get back into crafty things. I've kind of slacked off the last few years, and I think part of it is just my brain isn't as creative as it was. Give me something to copy or follow directions and I can kind of do it, or at least turn my mistakes into an OK result, you know? But the last couple of weeks I decided I'm going to give it a try. 

Sure, it was kind of out of necessity, I needed two birthday cards and a thank you card and I had none. Out of principle, I just refuse to spend $5 on a card at Target that we all know is going to get tossed. I just can't, but also, it's not in my budget and that's that. 
Yes, the argument of "these are more than $5 in supplies" and while that is true, I think the time I put into them adds a little extra to it. Like I cared enough to make this for you. Anyways. Over the course of three days I ended up making 18 cards, so not bad. I'm going to try to make one set (of 5 or 6) each week. 

The other thing I really want to learn this year? 
Embroidery! I bought my first easy pattern (I just have to print it out), and since I have absolutely no embroidery experience, I need to learn how. Of course, literally no place has classes, so I have seen this book heavily recommended on tons of forums and websites so I'm going for it. 
I also picked this one up because again, it was recommended by so many, and I've paged through it and it seems pretty helpful. It might be more helpful once I get going and a basic idea of what the heck I'm doing. So... cross your fingers this doesn't end up a complete disaster. HA! 

I won't even mention that I've fallen hard through the TikTok crafty hole but yeah... I'm there. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Book Review: Getting Good With Money

 Hey... raise your hand if adulting really sucks! Ha! If you are like us, dealing with your financial situation is such a daunting, and stressful, experience and you never really feel like you have any kind idea of what is going on. If you set a goal of being in a better financial position in 2022, this book is for you. 

Getting Good With Money - Jessi Fearon

Certified financial coach and mom Jessi Fearon leads the way for overwhelmed readers struggling to get a handle on their finances and lays out the doable steps her family underwent to pay off all their debts--even their mortgage!--and pursue their dreams, all on a $47,000-a-year salary.

Jessi Fearon vividly remembers the day she broke down, knowing that her family could not pay the bills with a second baby on the way. Like many Americans, they were overwhelmed by debt and living paycheck to paycheck, wondering if it was possible to ever get ahead, or even catch up. But on that day, something changed, and she and her husband decided to make a drastic lifestyle change that would put them back on the path toward their dreams. Their decision not only allowed her to stay home with their children, but in two years, they were able to pay off their consumer debt and, in six years, they paid off their home mortgage--all on their $47,000-a-year income. And now she shares what she's learned with others who are struggling just like she once did.

Getting Good with Moneyis written for the busy, overwhelmed reader who wants to manage the money she does have while still giving her family a good life, even if she doesn't have a finance degree or a six-figure income. With been-there wisdom and step-by-step help, Jessi shows readers how to take control of their finances with practical first steps to budgeting and understanding debt; identify the four different ways people struggle with money and how each one affects the way they manage--or mismanage--their money; replace the lies they've believed about money with the five Money Truths to overcome barriers and better understand how to make their version of the American Dream a reality; and discover various money-saving apps, financial tips, and ideas for generating additional income to pay off debt more quickly.

Getting Good with Money will inspire, encourage, and equip readers to achieve the real-life changes they need. More than just a "how to budget" book, this is a comprehensive roadmap to financial freedom from an average family making things work on a middle-class salary.
The great thing about this book is it came at the absolute perfect time for us. About four months ago Matt and I bit the bullet and decided to switch over to a cash envelope system, which I'm not going to lie, is tough for awhile. Now that we've done it for a little bit, it is not only getting easier, but we're seeing it make a big difference. 

I love that the author talked about how, despite blogging and sharing about their budgeting and financial journey, everyone assumed they had some kind of secret that they were hiding from others. Not just that, but she compares racking up debt to gaining weight, it just happens because it's easy and you're not really thinking about it until oh hey.... the bill comes (or you step on the scale) and you think, oh crap. The rule we still struggle with from time to time? Not using any form of debt. I find that things come up, like Olivia's car needs a repair and we really need to get that fixed, I want to just swipe a credit card and get it done, move onto the next crisis, you know? I know I am that kind of person that I can't have things sitting on a to-do list, just waiting to be done, it makes my anxiety go through the roof. 
I absolutely loved this book so much, it was so easy, it felt like a good friend who knows what she's doing sitting with you at your table and telling you what you're going to do. Do you know how some budgeting and financial books almost sound.... condescending? I don't think they mean to be, but it is what it is. Getting Good With Money is the absolute opposite. Not only is it full of practical information throughout, it has questions that every person is thinking in their head and the answers we need to hear. If you think you don't have what it takes to budget, and slow your roll at Target, I promise that you absolutely do. 

Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson Books for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. I keep referencing this one because it's so easy and concise, we could all use this one. 
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Monday, January 17, 2022

Book Review: Nailing It

Happy Monday, lambs! Do you have plans for this week? I have to entertain the kids today and tomorrow because no school, I've got doctor appointments, and I plan to do crafty stuff... more on that later. 

Nailing It - Robert L. Dilenschneider

This inspiring and encouraging book from respected consultant Robert L. Dilenschneider provides 25 fascinating and diverse profiles of iconic men and women that show where they were at or near age 25—and how they built their legacies across a range of careers, including the arts, business, science, and government.

With a foreword from U.S. Ambassador Donald Blinken.

Do you think Albert Einstein had his act together by his mid-20s? Think again. Would you assume style icon and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn’s life was always as beautiful as she was? Far from it. At the other end of the spectrum is the revolutionary Steve Jobs, who was at the top of his game by age 25. But Jobs’s beginnings were marked by his adoption, displacement, bullying, and then a rocky personal life. This absorbing book examines the trajectories of 25 iconic figures—from Toni Morrison to Albert Einstein and Golda Meir to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—to reveal where they were in their lives in their mid-twenties and the choices that enabled them to make their historic marks. For those who are coming of age now, and for those who care about them and their futures, these captivating profiles provide inspiration, instruction, and encouragement. The profiles in Path to Greatness will be real-life examples of the fact that the turning points that lead to success and happiness come at different times and as a result of different conditions. Some people create their own turning points, other people build on what happens to them.

Many people who seemed to "have their act together" at age 25, had already weathered difficult beginnings to their lives; their turning points came early. And other people who didn't even have an act at age 25, went on to make profound contributions to the world; their turning points came with maturity.

This book will remind readers that it is never too late to make an impact.
I think I found the graduation gift I'm getting both high school and college graduates this year, it's going to be Nailing It. I think all of us felt a lot of pressure to get our future figured out as we were leaving high school and as an adult with a teenager approaching this age, it is so stressful. On one hand, the grown up in me knows that finding a career, buckling down, and investing immediately will be such a stress reducer as they get older. Of course, on the other hand, the twenty-something I used to be is screaming, "let her live her life" and man... it is REAL hard to watch your child make mistakes and know that you have to let them do that. 

Parenting is hard, y'all. 

The great part about this book is that it will be a relief to the kids and twenty-somethings who read this, it reinforces that it's OK to not have an idea about what you want to do. It's totally OK to try things, to fail, and keep moving forward. It's validate the concerns parents will have, but also give them the reassurance that things are going to work out, even if they fail miraculously, they could still end up being fabulously successful in their own way. There isn't a timeline to get things done, you might be flipping burgers at 25 but an in-demand engineer at age 50, who knows? I also like that this book reinforced that success is different to everyone and there is no cookie cutter determination on whether someone is successful. 

I also loved the historical tidbits because it features 25 famous men and women and talks about what they were doing around age 25. It's 246 pages of gentle encouragement for us all, no matter which end of the journey you're on. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour and providing a copy for review. 

This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Book Review: A Scoundrel Of Her Own

Are you a fan of Regency romances? I used to always say I wasn't, that historical romance wasn't my thing, until I read them. They are kind of amazing, and I'm not sure what it is about them that I love so much, but here we are. I'm kind of a sucker for these. Maybe it is the mass paperback size, they just remind me of those books our moms and grandmas used to get in the mail, do you remember those? Are those still a thing? 

A Scoundrel Of Her Own - Stacy Reid

Lady Ophelia Darby exists in two worlds. In one, she is the impudent, willful daughter of a powerful marquess and darling of the ton. In the other, she moves through the underworld’s shadows as songstress Lady Starlight, protected only by the notoriously wealthy scoundrel Devlin Byrne. But when she stumbles upon her beloved father’s darkest secrets, the line between her two worlds quickly blurs. Now she needs the help of the one man a lady should never trust.

Devlin Byrne stands on the edge of London society, knowing he will never be accepted. No one else knows that his obscene wealth and ruthlessness aren’t without purpose. Or that his purpose has golden-brown eyes that shimmer with mischief, the palest of skin, and a lush mouth that beckons to be kissed, and deeply. But having Ophelia is only the beginning of Devlin’s plans.

It’s undeniable that Devlin Byrne is a dangerous temptation—but just as Ophelia begins to trust him, maybe even fall for him, she discovers she’s not the only one with secrets. And his would lead her down more than just the path of scandal…
Fun fact, I love the name Ophelia, it was on the short list for Penelope's name. It was Persephone, Ophelia, or Penelope. It would have really fit her, because like Ophelia in our story, everyone loves my Penelope, and she could also be described as willfill. My Pep is going to do what she's going to do, but she's incredibly smart, but I wouldn't describe her as impudent. 

Anyways... I really enjoyed this one. Fifi is such a great character, but so is Devlin! I loved these two separately, but loved them even more together. I'm also here for regency romances with characters who have sass, so much angst, but also not skimping on the steam. I don't usually love the childhood friends to lovers trope, it just feels weird to me and I know this is me being weird, but I really wanted these two to get together, even if they are technically forbidden. It's definitely a class barrier situation, which is obviously common in historical romances and is sometimes overdone, but it was so well done in this one. Also, while this is book 3 in a series, I'm assuming all of them are standalone, because I haven't read the previous two and was totally fine. I just loved how absolutely gone Devlin was over Fifi, I am a sucker for any book that makes the man a blubbering, hopelessly in love mess with a woman who he shouldn't be, those are my absolute favorite. 

While this is my first book from Stacy Reid, it absolutely won't be my last. I loved her writing, I loved her character development, and I loved how she took a trope that has been overdone but she gave it new life. Absolutely loved this! 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Entangled Publishing for having me on this tour! Give me ALL the romance! 
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Monday, January 10, 2022

Book Review: Shapeshifting

Listen, I know it's been a hot minute since I've been around (OK, more like a full month), but to my credit, I've been super busy. Doing the whole mom thing, then being so dizzy and sick I can't function (more on that soon), and then we went to Florida for Christmas, and now I'm trying to put everything Christmas away and restore some damn order in this house because my anxiety cannot take it another day. 

So you know, just some leisurely activities. 

Shapeshifting - Michelle Ross

The fourteen spellbinding stories in Michelle Ross’s second collection invite readers into the shadows of social-media perfectionism and the relentless cult of motherhood. A recovering alcoholic navigates the social landscape of a toddler playdate; a mother of two camps out in a van to secure her son’s spot at a prestigious kindergarten; a young girl forces her friends to play an elaborate, unwinnable game. With unflinching honesty and vivid, lyrical prose, Ross explores the familial ties that bind us together—or, sometimes, tear us apart.

I haven't read a collection of short stories in a long while, in fact, I can't even remember what they were even for, but this one? This was lovely. Though the book only contains 14 stories and coming in just over 200 pages long, this packs a punch. Normally when I read something like this, I read one story at a time, it's perfect for setting the book down and reading in short spurts as I have time, which is exactly what I thought I would do with this one. Instead, I found myself glued to my couch, flying through one after another, because each one is a gem all of its own, snippets of motherhood that you might identify with. 

Once I finished this, I decided that I wanted to be the author's friend, attend a book tour stop for this, and/or go out to dinner because the conversation would be absolutely lovely and she could write her entire next short story collection just on me and my stories. (Truly, Michelle, if you've hit a writer's block, hit me up, because I will fix it!) The awkwardness of playdates is perfectly highlighted, comparing a mother's existence to used wrapping paper, the competitiveness of being a mom and making sure we get our children the best of the best opportunities (knowing full well I am 100% guilty of this myself), feeling like you're a bad mom and everyone can see it, etc. Bottom line? If ever you need a book that will make you feel absolutely seen as a mom, this is it. Looking for a fun book to put in a baby gift? Or need an idea for a Mother's Day gift for your friend who just really wants to be seen as anything other than a food source? 

THIS IS WHAT YOU GET THEM. 

I finished this and immediately bought two copies for a couple of friends who are really struggling with this whole motherhood set up because honestly, we could all use a little extra right now. Being a mom is really hard. Being a mom right now is even harder. Being a mom, right now, in a pandemic and the uncertainty of the world, is the absolute worst, so kudos to Michelle Ross for not only putting this out there but making it completely funny and relatable at the same time. 

A huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Stillhouse Press for having me on this tour, I cannot tell you how excited I am to read Michelle's next book. I am here for short story collections, bonus if they can make me laugh as I sit under a therapy light eating ice cream, because that's what life is now.  

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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Book Review: The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure

I have no idea how I'm going to get through this upcoming week, I feel like THIS IS IT and all of my Christmas prep needs to be done by Sunday night. You know, NO PRESSURE or anything.  

The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure 

Dr. Chris Thurber

Parents instinctively push their kids to succeed. Yet well-meaning parents can put soul-crushing pressure on kids, leading to under-performance and serious mental health problems instead of social, emotional, and academic success. So where are they going astray?  According to Drs. Chris Thurber and Hendrie Weisinger, it all comes down to asking the right question. Instead of “How much pressure?”, you should be thinking “How do I apply pressure?”
 
The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure addresses the biggest parenting dilemma of all time: how to push kids to succeed and find happiness in a challenging world without pushing them too far. The solution lies in Thurber and Weisinger’s eight methods for transforming harmful pressure to healthy pressure.
 
Each transformation is enlivened by case studies, grounded in research, and fueled by practical strategies that you can start using right away.  By upending conventional wisdom, Thurber and Weisinger provide you with the revolutionary guide you need to nurture motivation, improve your interactions with your child, build deep connections, sidestep cultural pitfalls, and, ultimately, help your kids become their best selves.
As a mom to four kids, ranging in ages 5 to 16, I struggle so much on how to parent, how to put good pressure on them, but not too much pressure, but also push them to do better, try harder, etc. It's really a lot harder than anyone can imagine and unless you're knee deep in it, you can't possibly know how hard it is. 

I have gone through this book twice already, and to be honest I think I need to read it a third time. Each time I've read it I've gained a new piece that I missed. I really liked that some chapters had the parent's point of view and also the child's, which I think is so key. One thing that really stands out is being able to look at different situations/problems from different perspectives. We can't ever know which one fits the bill of our child that day, with that problem, but kind of being prepared for anything is huge. Some of the scenarios are based on real experiences and some felt a little unrealistic, but others actually ARE realistic because parenting teenagers is WILD. I also really appreciate that the book can also be looked at from an educator's eye and there is a joint epilogue for parents and educators that I felt was really relevant. 

Overall, I really liked this one. I think no matter where you are in the world of parenting, there will be something you can take away from it. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Dr. Chris Thurber for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. 
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