An Accidental Mother by Katherine Anne Kindred – Book Review

An Accidental Mother by Katherine Anne Kindred
Published by Unbridled Books

Kate Kindred was content with her childless life, fulfilled by her job and her dog. Still, she was perfectly happy to help out her boyfriend, Jim, with the logistics of raising his children, particularly his two-year-old son Michael, of whom he had custody. As Kate’s relationship with Jim progressed, her relationship with Michael – and to a lesser extent, his half-sister Elizabeth who lived primarily with her mother – progressed as well. Kate, Jim, and Michael spent six years living together as an unofficial family, and over time Michael began referring to Kate as his mother, and Kate felt for him a mother’s love, even asking Jim if she could formally adopt him. Eventually, the thing that mattered most in the world for Kate was that Jim promised to never deny her access to Michael, no matter what happened between them. Until he changed his mind.

An Accidental Mother is Kindred’s love letter to the boy who is her son, even if their kinship is neither biological nor legal. She leads the reader gradually through her relationship with Michael and Elizabeth, how they grew closer as they lived together and continued to capture each other’s hearts. The reader can tell just how genuine Kindred’s feelings of parenthood are, because every few chapters there is a collection of cute and memorable moments with the kids – the sort of things those without children complain about seeing too much on the Facebook walls of their friends who are parents.

A very short book, An Accidental Mother  is also an extremely compelling and heartbreaking book. In addition, it raises the question of what exactly makes someone a parent. If you live with a child for six years, care for him when he is sick, get up with him when he has a nightmare, help him with his homework – and all of these things out of love, not the obligation of a job – are you not his parent?

Highly recommended

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie – Book Review

Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie

When Laura Brodie’s daughter Julia ran away one day, it was the last straw with her and public school. Julia didn’t run away without reason, you see, she ran away to avoid her homework. Her 4th grade homework. Her 10 minutes worth of 4th grade homework. And she hid for an hour before Laura found her. Laura had always known that Julia wasn’t thriving in a conventional classroom, but that was the point at which Laura knew she had to do something different.

Eventually, she decided that the something she needed to do was homeschooling. Brodie was a somewhat reluctant homeschooler. She planned to do it for only a year, to give Julia a break from school. She also wasn’t planning to homeschool her two younger daughters, one of whom was thriving in the classroom, the other of which needed the experience of being away from her mother.  “Love in a Time of Homeschooling” details Laura and Julia’s year together, beginning with Laura’s decision to homeschool her for a year. It was a learning curve for both of them, and not always as successful as Laura might have hoped.

My favorite thing about “Love in a Time of Homeschooling” is that Brodie was totally and completely honest about her experience. There was no sugar coating, either of Julia’s temperament or of the homeschooling experience. Frankly, Julia seems like an exceptionally difficult child. This is not to say that Laura vilifies her daughter, but she does not idealize her either. Not only is Julia incredibly stubborn, but she also lives in her own little world and doesn’t have much desire to spend time with human beings. Although she appreciated not being in the classroom, taking only a year off of public school meant that Laura and Julia had to roughly follow the state learning guidelines, so that Julia would be able to return the following year without being any farther behind.

Since homeschooling is something I’ve vaguely thought about for awhile – particularly with the state of education these days with budget cuts everywhere – I found this book really fascinating. Brodie didn’t only describe what she did, but also a variety of other homeschooling models, but without turning “Love in a Time of Homeschooling” into a dry textbook of homeschooling. I also appreciated the great list of resources she put in the back of the book, definitely helpful as a starting point if I ever do decide to go the homeschooling route.

If you homeschool or have ever considered it, or if you are simply interested in education, or memoirs dealing with family dynamics, I would highly recommend “Love in a Time of Homeschooling.”

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

This review was done with a book received from the publisher at the author’s request.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook by The Sleep Lady, Kim West – Book Review

The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook by The Sleep Lady, Kim West

For a long, long time the sleep situation at our house has been kind of complicated. When Daniel was an infant he would NOT sleep in his crib or an open area like a bassinet, so he slept with us. Any attempts to put him in his crib (even transferring after he was already asleep) unfailingly ended in a VERY unhappy baby, and me picking him up and bringing him back to our room. Even so, we felt that sleep was mostly working for us and I initially only accepted this book for review because we had trouble getting Daniel to go down for naps.

And then we realized that Daniel wouldn’t let his daddy put him to sleep anymore. Since I was heading for New York soon for 4 nights (next week, now!), that was going to be a huuuuge problem. So I stayed up really late one night reading “The Good Night Sleep Tight Workbook” and trying to plan out a sleep solution that would work.

“The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook” has a great layout and is very easy both to navigate and to understand. The table of contents is helpful, and it is easy to zero in on the information pertinent to your child and your situation and ignore the information that is not. Of course, the real test of a book like this is not simply how easy it is to read through, but whether or not it actually works.

The basic premise of the book involves the ‘Sleep Lady Shuffle’ where you are slowly weaning the baby away from your presence, to help ease them into the transition. There may be some crying involved, but this is definitely not a ‘cry it out’ method, as there is a good deal of comforting the baby the first few nights, and even picking him up to calm him down (but not put him to sleep) if that is helpful and not a hindrance.

We started the program the evening of April 29th (slightly modified as we thought Daniel needed), and I took notes on the events of the first couple of nights. Note that I was positioned sitting/laying on an air mattress right next to Daniel’s crib, where I spent the entire night.

Day 1: Night
7pm put Daniel to bed. 8pm he finally sits down in the crib, 8:40 he finally lays down for the first time. Lots of crying. 9 pm he’s finally asleep.
10 pm, wakes up again, but actually falls asleep in about 5 minutes.
11pm, up again, very upset. Finally goes back to sleep at 12:30.
Up briefly at 3, then sleeps until 6:30

Day 2:
Day
We try for 90 minutes to put a tired Daniel down for a nap. He is only upset for about the first 15 minutes, then just fusses/cries a bit off and on. Although he probably lays down 10 times, he always sits back up and never naps until later when we’re in the car.

Night
Put him down at 7:30, a little crying, but not upset like the previous night or the beginning of the nap. He was mostly sitting, although stood a couple of times and laid down a couple of times. Within 20 minutes he was laying down quietly without me shshing or stroking his back. Asleep after another 10 minutes

By contrast, last night my husband put Daniel to bed. Daniel fussed a bit when first put down, but my husband made 30 seconds worth of “shhshh” noises outside Daniel’s room, and Daniel was asleep in the next 3-5 minutes without a big production. Less than three weeks, and in plenty of time for me to be able to relax about their sleep situation when I am in New York.

I would definitely recommend this book to parents whose children need help learning how to get to sleep. Daniel’s still not fantastic at putting himself BACK to sleep, but he’s getting better, and we’re working on it.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound
.*
Amazon
.*

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Check out some of the other tour hosts for more reviews.  Links go to the host’s site, not to their specific review.

Monday, May 3rd:  Simply Stacie

Tuesday, May 4th:  Baby Dickey

Thursday, May 6th:  As the Forest[e] Grows

Monday, May 10th:  NOT Mommy of the Year

Wednesday, May 12th: The Daily Fuss

Thursday, May 13th:  Kristi Maristi

Monday, May 17th:  Red Headed Book Child

Wednesday, May 19th:  Devourer of Books

Thursday, May 20th:  Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug

Monday, May 24th:  Tales of a Capricious Reader

Tuesday, May 25th:  There’s a Book

This review was done with a book received from the publisher for this tour.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Eat Nap Play by Robyn Spizman and Evelyn Sacks – Book Review

Eat Nap Play by Robyn Spizman and Evelyn Sacks

Since this isn’t exactly a narrative, I feel like it would be sort of silly to describe it for you myself. After all, people are paid to do this, right?

Moms will concur—routines and creative ideas help your day and save your sanity. And once you’ve established a routine that works, the inclination is to stick with it until the kids are off to college. But sometimes the rigidity of a ‘tight ship’ doesn’t allow much time for good-old fashioned, spur-of-the-moment fun. Well, hang on to your itinerary because here comesEat, Nap, Play!

Written by moms for moms, this timely guide centers on back-to-basics philosophies: spend quality time with your kids and spend less money. But this is not a guilt trip—it’s a fun-filled adventure. Jam-packed with clever, cost-effective, low-maintenance, often nostalgic ideas you can easily slip into your existing routine, Eat, Nap, Play shows you how to turn everyday mayhem into precious moments to build memories, foster growth, strengthen bonds, and just have fun.

  • Simple trips to the mall or grocery store transform into treasure troves of adventure
  • Beat boredom in unique and unexpected ways while in the car or on the go
  • Find out how to plan the perfect, age-appropriate parties for less
  • Get the most out of the latest technology and discover a ton of useful websites along the way
  • Plus, unearth cash-free ways for kids to learn, socialize, and grow into independent and resilient people

So I don’t think I actually read that description very closely (or I did, and then forgot about it) before I read this book, because it is more or less accurate to what this book is about, and the book wasn’t quite what I expected. I think it was the title and the subtitle, “Eat Nap Play: How to Get Even More Out of Your Child’s Day for Less.” I guess I thought it would be more of a focus on integrating fun things into your every day routine, with perhaps a focus on doing things efficiently (I think it was the subtitle that gave me that part of it).

Okay, so that’s not what it was about.

Basically, it was how to keep kids entertained and have family fun without spending more money, which is a great topic, even if it doesn’t help me get more things done in a day.

I definitely did a lot of skimming in certain chapters, because they are all written for older kids than 10 months, but there are a lot of really good ideas in here. Some of my favorite were found in the food chapter, from the quick ideas for family meal-planning to fun ways to help kids learn about eating balanced meals. Beware the section on cheap or free gifts, though. A lot of them would be good gifts for kids to make for parents/grandparents/teacher/other adults, but I have to say, I think any kid who brings home made luggage tags to a classmate’s birthday party is sort of lame.

If you need some new ideas for what to do with your kids, this could definitely be a book to look into.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound
.*
Amazon
.*

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Check out some of the other tour hosts for more reviews.  Links go to the host’s site, not to their specific review.

Monday, April 5th:  Simply Stacie

Monday, April 12th:  lit*chick

Tuesday, April 13th:  Red Headed Book Child

Thursday, April 15th:  Turning the Clock Back

Monday, April 19th:  Devourer of Books

Tuesday, April 20th:  The Activity Mom

Wednesday, April 21st:  There’s a Book

Thursday, April 22nd:  Heir to Blair

Monday, April 26th:  Southern Institute of Domestic Arts & Crafts

Tuesday, April 27th:  JDaniel4’s Mom

Wednesday, April 28th:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life

This review was done with a book received from the publisher for this TLC tour.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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