Category Archives: Self-Help/Motivation

“Mom! I Farted in Church” by Christie Cuthbert

“Mom! I Farted in Church” by Christie Cuthbert

This book is just meh. It’s often entertaining, especially when the author relates anecdotes of the trouble her boys have caused. The parenting advice/advice on how to be less Type A is so-so. It worked for her and I often get the feeling she thinks if something worked for her or was her experience it is everyone’s experience, something she will probably realize isn’t the case as her boys get older. Stories about things her triplets have gotten into were hilarious to me as a mom of twins. So relatable (though probably will horrify those without multiples). She had a whole chapter on quitting the daily glass of wine. She seems to think all moms drink wine every day. As someone who does not drink alcohol I found that really weird. She also seems to think all stay at home moms wish they could be working moms and goes on at length about how awful it is to be with your kids all day every day. That’s not my experience at all. Those two chapters were extremely unrelated to me. She also talked about how she’ll feel when her kids grow up and move out and totally based it on how she feels when she goes on a girls weekend. She wrote it when her kids were 6 and 9. Two of my kids have grown up and moved out and I can assure her the way you feel away from your single digit kids is completely different from how you feel when they are twice or three times that age and in fact it feels good when your well-prepared kids spread their wings. Honestly in many ways I felt like she jumped the gun writing a parenting advice book with such young kids. I don’t really recommend “Mom! I Farted in Church” though it’s not a complete waste of time to read it either.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 50
Pages Read in 2022: 18,160
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: We Be Book'N, Self-Help/Motivation

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Donald Miller learned a lot about making your story the story you want it to be while working on adapting his memoir into a movie and decided to share those lessons in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In the process of intentionally choosing his own story, he lived a full life. In addition to his own experiences, there are lots of anecdotes from others who intentionally created their own story with their lives. It’s a quick read and a good reminder to really live your life rather than letting life pass you by. I recommend it to all adults.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 37
Pages Read in 2022: 13,181
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Book Club, Self-Help/Motivation

Foster and Adoptive Parenting by Kenneth A. Camp

Foster and Adoptive Parenting by Kenneth A. Camp

It is absolutely impossible to take this author seriously or as any sort of authority on fostering or adopting from foster care. He and his wife had exactly one placement, a baby that came to them at 8 months old and they adopted before the child turned 2 and was only 5 at the time the book was written. They do not have any biological children. He makes himself sound like a terrible, selfish father who only chose to foster/adopt for Savior status (he actually says in it that they expected any children they fostered/adopted to be grateful for the better life they gave the child… cringe). It wouldn’t have been so bad if he had included lots of stories from more seasoned foster/adoptive parents, but there were only two or three brief ones. He presented himself as the expert, which he is definitely not. He has very little experience with small children, adopted or not, and it shows. He falls into the trap of thinking every behavior is foster/adoption related. The thing is, even kids who are or were in foster care are still kids and will have behaviors that any child regardless of if they are in their original home or not have. Much of what he describes and attributes completely to his son having been placed in foster care and subsequently adopted are simply kid behaviors, particularly with a father who doesn’t really know how to parent (reading a lot of books and taking a lot of training does not make you good at parenting). I felt like the book was mostly an ad for his blog and Podcast. There were many links to those encouraging readers to go there to learn more. The writing was pretty poor, on a very basic level and not very good at actually getting his points across. The only good part about the book is extensive quotes from actual experts. Save your time and skip this book and go straight to the books he quoted from.

1 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 63
Pages Read in 2021: 19,452

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Self-Help/Motivation

Potty Training for Busy Parents by Allison Jandu

Potty Training for Busy Parents by Allison Jandu

There’s nothing much new in Potty Training for Busy Parents. It’s the same old advice for how to potty train little ones with an extra emphasis on using little potties and pushing potty training younger than most people start trying. There’s a lot of repetition and it’s short and to the point. It really should be called Potty Training for Special Snowflakes, though. The repeated advice to basically demand that daycare follow how you want to potty train and to send in this weird form filled out so the daycare knows how best to train precious little junior (like they havn’t trained hundreds of kids already) is a bit over the top. I also would not say it’s for busy parents, just ones who work and have plenty of time when they aren’t at work to potty train. I suggest skipping this one if you are looking for potty training advice.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 19
Pages Read in 2021: 5116

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Filed under Reason: Vine Review, Self-Help/Motivation

The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis,Wendy Lyons Sunshine, and David R. Cross

The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis, Wendy Lyons Sunshine, and David R. Cross

Parenting kids from hard places can be challenging. The people who worked with Karyn Purvis found so many ideas to help (TBRI). The Connected Child is filled with examples and strategies. It’s a pretty quick read and is guaranteed to have something in it that will make your family’s life smoother and easier. I recommend it to foster and adoptive families as well as parents of biological children who are struggling.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 18
Pages Read in 2021: 5011

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Self-Help/Motivation

Discipline Your Kids With Positive Parenting by Nicole Libin, PhD

Discipline Your Kids with Positive Parenting by Nicole Libin, PhD

The author has one child, and that child doesn’t sound very old. The author does have a lot of experience with advising other people how to parent and extensive academic knowledge. However, academic knowledge doesn’t really give the real world experience needed for writing a parenting book.

I have always parented my kids very much like outlined in this book so she was mostly just preaching to the choir. I believe strongly that discipline should come from a place of teaching as the root indicates it should (discipulus is Latin for student or disciple). I have ten children ranging in age from 1 to 21, six of whom are adopted from foster care. Positive parenting has worked beautifully for us.

The thing is, I don’t think if I was just coming to positive parenting or was looking for help in how to parent differently that this book would be all that helpful. It was long on “just connect! it’s worked with my one single child!” and short of actual how to. I understood what she was trying to say to do simply because it’s what I do naturally.

More real world examples (it would have been okay if they came from situations where she was not the caregiver) would have been very useful. The few examples given were just her parenting her daughter. As anyone with more than one kid knows some kids are just naturally easier to parent than others so examples from one child don’t indicate at all that this way of parenting will work with all kids (I know it does, but it does take time and effort).

The constant focus on “self-care” was completely unnecessary and took away from the usefulness of the book. It repeatedly mentioned mindfulness (the author is a “mindfulness educator”) but didn’t really explain what she meant and just seemed like a bit of psychobabble and use of a buzzword.

I do not recommend this book to people who are interested in learning how to parent positively. There are many other better books on the subject out there.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 17
Pages Read in 2021: 4721

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Filed under Reason: Vine Review, Self-Help/Motivation

Growing Pains by Amanda Hill, M.Ed.

Growing Pains by Amanda Hill, M.Ed.

Covering every year from 4 to 10, Growing Pains is a quick read on basic child development and stages. There are lots of tips for how to handle various situations that are often encountered each of those age years both in the moment and if you wait until later on to address it. The ideas in the book skew heavily to gentle discipline and positive, respectful parenting. It’s written as if you are just having a conversation with the author. It’s got a healthy dose of commiseration as well as her admitting she’s definitely not a perfect parent to her own children and sometimes needs to calm down and back up, too. There are lots of “real life” examples included. While it’s certainly not comprehensive and doesn’t cover everything you’ll encounter raising your children, many of the ideas can be adjusted to fit other situations and it definitely lets you know you are not alone wondering what in the world your kids were thinking. I highly recommend it to parents, particular those who lean toward gentle/positive parenting.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 5
Pages Read in 2021: 1308

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Filed under Reason: Vine Review, Self-Help/Motivation

Beautiful Justice by Brooke Axtell

At just seven, the author was raped by her manny and then trafficked by him, selling her to other men. Because of her experience, her self-esteem was very low and she made some poor choices and eventually had to escape from a domestic violence situation. Beautiful Justice is written primarily to survivors of gender violence. Throughout the book, she tells her story and talks about how she has healed from the abuse. She gives concrete examples and ideas on how other survivors can heal as well. Her path to healing involved a lot of new agey sorts of things, but is clear that her path is hers and others paths do not have to look like hers. This book is well written. It reads fast and gets right to the point. I strongly recommend it to survivors of all kinds of gender violence looking for help on their path to healing.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 43
Pages Read in 2020: 11,565
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Self-Help/Motivation

Stop Staring at Screens by Tanya Goodin

Stop Staring at Screens reads like a series of blog posts. There’s not much new and definitely not much in the way of guidance to help families stop being on electronics all the time. There are a few good ideas in there and it reads super fast so it’s not completely a waste. If you are looking for advice to actually stop staring at screens, however, you can skip this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 23
Pages Read in 2020: 5723
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review, Self-Help/Motivation

Kind is the New Classy by Candace Cameron Bure

What would the world be like if everyone took the time to be kind to each other? That’s the world Candace Cameron Bure is trying to help create through her advice in Kind Is the New Classy. Most of her ideas are obvious, but sometimes we need a little reminder. This book is very religious, filled with scripture quotes to back up what she is saying and why she is saying it. It’s very conversational, like two girlfriends having a chat about how to make the world better starting with themselves. She makes a lot of really great points. She is also very honest. She’s willing to describe times when she failed in being kind and what she learned from that failure and how she tried to make it better when she recognized what she had done wrong. It’s sprinkled with little tidbits here and there about her time on The View, Fuller House, and her personal life in general. If everyone truly implemented even just what one chapter of what this book describes doing, world suck would decrease exponentially. I bought the book as soon as it came out over a year ago, but for some reason I didn’t read it until now. As I read, I felt like God was telling me that I was reading it at the exact right time because of what I am doing right in the kindness arena and also what I need to work on that I now feel motivated to do thanks to Candace’s words and my current receptivity to them. I very highly recommend this book to all religious women who want to help make this world just a little bit better.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 105
Pages Read in 2019: 26,648
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Self-Help/Motivation