Author: cvegnad

The Manager Mom Epidemic: How Moms Got Stuck Doing Everything for Their Families and What They Can Do about It

Are you that Mom that does everything for your family and others? Hands up because this book is for you.

About The Manager Mom Epidemic: How Moms Got Stuck Doing Everything for Their Families and What They Can Do about It

It’s impossible to deny, most moms continue to do way more household work and childcare than most dads. Working full time, raising kids, cooking dinner, making sure every appointment and activity is lined up and that everyone gets there on time… no wonder you’re tired! But despite all the books and articles lamenting the crushing mental load and emotional labor women bear for their families, no one has come up with a plan to actually make things change. Until now.

The Manager Mom Epidemic is the first book that not only acknowledges the fact that moms are burning out, but shows you how to transfer responsibility for daily tasks from yourself to your partner and also (gasp!) your kids. Clinical psychologist and child discipline expert Thomas W. Phelan, PhD explains how we got into this mess in the first place, and how we can get out of it through a calm, systematic approach to teaching our families how to take initiative and contribute in meaningful ways. Dr. Phelan walks you through real-life situations and shows you how to step back from the things that are dragging you down.

Realistic and simple enough to implement in your home right away, The Manager Mom Epidemic provides a roadmap for you to take your life back and proves that the happiest families share the work and the fun equally.

My Thoughts

Have you ever read the title of a book, stopped and thought – oh goodness this is me. Then you read the book description and you start to fill with dread because everything in it describes you to the T and you are almost scared to see what it says. That is what happened for me when I first read about this book.

I work full time and on top of it part time with my blog. On top of this, we have two young children in competitive sports along with all the normal household and day to day activities we all do. I had been handling it well but in the last year, I have found myself losing my patience more at home, feeling burned out and tired of the arguments. I don’t want to have to remind someone to brush their teeth, pick up their clothes, feed the dogs (this just sounds annoying listing all of it!) but I find I do this on a regular basis. I don’t want to be the mean, nagging Mom and I have had enough.

This book helped me walk through why and how I let myself get this way – I like to help my family, I like to make sure they are fed, happy and healthy. But what I didn’t realize that what I was doing was preventing them from learning the responsibility of doing this themselves and putting additional strain on me that didn’t need to be there.

But how did I need to go about stopping what I had already put in motion? And could we even change our behaviours?

This book gave me so much hope and practical help to implement change in our home. I loved the letter from Mom to her family – this was something I could do and it was honest, to the point but still open and friendly. Whenever I approached my family in the past, it would start off nice but it would slowly turn into an argument over who does more. Throughout the book, there were so many tools that parents can implement at home to bring about a positive change. I felt confident that I could implement some of these changes slowly to encourage the behavioural changes I wanted to see in my family (we started with washing our own glasses after we have a drink and not leaving ten glasses for Mom to come home to after work).

What I really loved about this book was that it felt like you were sitting down to a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) with a good friend, venting your frustrations and then coming up with a solution that works for the whole family. You have laughs over some of the shared stories that we can all relate to (the morning nightmares trying to get kids out the door, homework fights, etc..) but then he breaks down those moments to look at how everyone is feeling and how can we change these moments so that everyone is happy (not just Mom). This is an excellent book for all parents (don’t be put off by the title – Dads you should read this too) and even a great book to introduce to parents of young children to adopt changes before they get to this point. A definite must have resource for parents!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Dr. Thomas W. Phelan is an internationally renowned expert, author, and lecturer on child discipline and Attention Deficit Disorder. A registered Ph.D. clinical psychologist, he appears frequently on radio and TV. Dr. Phelan practices and works in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children

Between 1933 and 1945, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party were responsible for the persecution of millions of Jews across Europe.

About Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children

This extraordinary graphic novel tells the true stories of six Jewish children and young people who survived the Holocaust. From suffering the horrors of Auschwitz, to hiding from Nazi soldiers in war-torn Paris, to sheltering from the Blitz in England, each true story is a powerful testament to the survivors’ courage. These remarkable testimonials serve as a reminder never to allow such a tragedy to happen again.

Our Thoughts

This is an incredibly important story for children, teens and adults to read, read again and read one more time. The stories that are told will touch your heart and stay with you, a reminder of what happens when we let hate and fear rule our actions.

We learn the history of six Jewish children and how they survived the horrors of the war. First we learn about Heinz and his family who managed to just escape out of Germany in time before the war broke out, only to be sent to an interment camp in Great Britain (this was something I was not aware that even happened, so this was eye opening for me). Then we hear the story of Trude – a young girl who shares her view of a child living during the war and watching her family being rounded up and murdered. She was sent to Great Britain to escape the horrors but they followed in her heart and mind, never truly leaving her. She knew her Father was murdered in the concentration camps but she never found the proof that her Mother was murdered as well. Next, we have Ruth’s story whose Mother fought hard to keep her family together and managed to escape Europe before the war broke out. The moment they landed on British soil, war was declared with Germany. Then we learned about Martin who was marched into Poland by the German soldiers, forced out of his home at night. He survives only by the kindness of strangers that take him in. Next we learn the heart breaking story of Suzanne, who was saved from the Nazi soldiers by a neighbour to then face devastating conditions working on a rural farm in hiding. Finally, we hear the story of Arek who survived the ghettos and Auschwitz. Each story is powerful and overwhelming.

This is an extremely powerful book told through the honest eyes of children. It is full of raw emotions and honesty that will make you cry. The horrors they saw and endured are unspeakable but need to be spoken. No child should have ever seen, heard or gone through what they did and we need to ensure this never happens again.

It is told in a comic book style with strips of illustrations and text boxes that help keep the messaging simple and to the point. At the end of the book, is a what happened next where we learned what happened to each of the children in the future. While this gives hope, it is also a reminder of how much was lost during the war – whole families lost in a moment, history taken away and a future denied.

This is such an important book that children need to read and learn about. They need to know how this happened and why we need to fight to ensure it never happens again. This is a definite must read for children, young adults and adults.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Kath Shackleton is a producer and animator at the animation studio Fettle. She is based in Yorkshire, UK.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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There Was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe Book Review

Spark creative conversations about celestial beings with this clever parody from the number one science author for kids.

About There Was a Black Hole that Swallowed the Universe

There was a black hole that swallowed the universe.
I don’t know why it swallowed the universe―oh well, it couldn’t get worse.
There was a black hole that swallowed a galaxy.
It left quite a cavity after swallowing that galaxy.
It swallowed the galaxies that filled universe.
I don’t know why it swallowed the universe―oh well, it couldn’t get worse.

Using the familiar rhythm of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” follow along as the black hole swallows up the universe and everything that exists in it, from the biggest to the smallest pieces of matter. The silly, vibrant artwork is sure to make stargazers of all ages smile.

Our Thoughts

This beautiful rhyming book follows the story of a goofy black hole that goes about first swallowing the universe, then a galaxy and then a star and so on until all there was, was dark.

This is a simple, rhyming book for children that introduces them to some simple concepts (atom, molecules, cells, planets, etc..) with some neat black hole facts at the end of the book. I did have to do look up a few concepts to make sure I was explaining them right to my son (I didn’t know what a quark was). It gave us the opportunity and time to learn together, which is the sign of a great book – when you want to learn more about a topic and it sparks an interest. It may have been helpful to have their own glossary at the end of the book to help parents but it wasn’t necessary.

What was really neat about this book was that you can also read it backwards. There is a hidden message that you can reveal with a black light from back to front so that you get to read a whole different story (similar concepts). While I didn’t have a black light, you can turn your cell phone into a black light using tape and a highlighter and voila! A whole new story full of fun and rhyme.

This is a fantastic read aloud book that will get stuck in your head (yes I was rhyming all about the black hole for the rest of the day). We had so much fun reading the story, appreciating the illustrations (that suited the story so well) as well as learning more afterwards (although I am still not quite sure I understand what a quark is!).

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Chris Ferrie is a physicist, mathematician and father of four budding young scientists. He obtained his doctorate in Mathematical Physics from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada and is currently a faculty member at the Centre for Quantum Software and Information in Syndey, Australia. Chris believes it is never too early to introduce children to the wild and wonderful world of science!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Very Lulu: The (Mostly) True Story of a Training School Dropout

A heartwarming and funny tale, based on a true story of a dog named Lulu who learned that the best job is being yourself!

About Very Lulu: The (Mostly) True Story of a Training School Dropout

A heartwarming and funny tale, based on a true story of a dog named Lulu who learned that the best job is being yourself!

Lulu is training to be a police dog. But while the other dogs sniff out clues and follow orders, Lulu likes to run, play, and chew things instead.

She’s different from the others―she’s just very Lulu.

Our Thoughts

We are a dog family – we have two beautiful dogs whom we love very much. One is quiet, older and likes to do her own thing while the younger one is full of cheek and free spirited. She likes to get dirty and be sneaky (if you don’t pay attention to her get ready for a swipe at your toes or her pulling down towels!). It is just so hard to get mad at her when she looks at you with such love and pride with her tail wagging. She reminded me very much of Lulu, we constantly shake our head at our own dog and say ‘she is just Kay’.

Lulu is a free spirited, full of energy and love of life dog. She is smart, kind and loving with a spark of mischief. Lulu is being trained to be a police dog but the academy is not quite sure if this is what Lulu is meant for. She is definitely not like the other dogs – she is clever but she doesn’t quite follow instructions. When it is obvious that Lulu is not happy with the training, her trainer takes her home to do what Lulu does best – love her family.

This is an absolute adorable book for young children. We loved the story and found it quite relatable. It made us laugh between the words and the illustrations – we could not wait to see what Lulu would do next. Lulu has this adorable, loving look to her in the illustrations that makes you want to just pick her up and give her a squeeze, even if she is not quite following the rules. You can see how good and kind Lulu is – something that is special for her and allows her to share her love with others.

This is a great reminder to children that it is important to be true to yourself. We should always be proud of ourselves and never be shy to be who we are. We are perfect the way we are and should never forget this.

Very Lulu will make an excellent addition to your home library and will be a book that you and your child will love to read over and over again.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Stephanie Campisi is an Australian-born author currently living in the US. When not writing picture books, she works as a copywriter in California. Very Lulu is her fourth book. You can visit her at stephaniecampisi.com

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Christmas Angels Book Review

A heartwarming Christmas story filled with the magic and miracles of the holiday season by USA Today Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle.

About Christmas Angels

Growing up, Liz Westmoreland dreamed of taking over her grandparents inn located in the small mountain town of Antler Creek only for it to be sold before she ever got the chance. While browsing the internet, she stumbles upon a listing for what looks to be the picturesque inn and it’s set to go to auction. Liz places a bid, and by a miracle, wins the auction. But when she gets there she finds the property in significant disrepair.

When Matt Hardy narrowly lost the inn and property that butted his land, he just hoped it wasn’t another city slicker coming to make matters worse after the previous owners gutted the place for an art gallery. But the minute he recognized the sweet, freckle-faced girl from his childhood and heard her plans to reopen the inn, he jumps at the chance to help his childhood crush restore a place where he made so many fond memories.

While working on repairs, Liz and Matt discover her grandmother’s collection of angels in one of the cabins. When the angels start mysteriously showing up all over the inn, she begins to look at them as reassurance—that restoring the inn is what she’s meant to do. But when an accident leaves Liz feeling like she made a mistake, will Matt—and the residents of Antler Creek—be able to show Liz that she’s found a home? And possibly true love as well?

My Thoughts

Liz did not have the typical childhood that you would expect and this has influenced the way she lives her life. She loves her parents but it was her grandparents that instilled the importance of family and what a family really means. Her best memories from her childhood were centered around her grandparents and the inn that they ran in their small town.

When she finds that the inn is up for auction, she bids for it and is successful. She does this against the advice of her friends, colleagues and even her own parents. There is something about the property that makes her feel at peace and at home. Nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to see. The previous owners gutted and tore out so many features of the home that she loved. She is devastated and unsure if she can accomplish everything that needs to be done.

When all seems impossible enter Matt – sweet, kind and thoughtful (he melted my heart!). He had a huge crush on Liz as a child and is more than happy to help her with her new project (and you can see how much he still cares for her even if Liz has blinders on). He wants her to remember her family, the good in people (you can rely on others) and the joy in the simple moments.

This is an absolute beautiful novel that makes you laugh, cry and hope for the best. Family is so important and this novel reminds you of all those cherished memories from years ago. You are rooting for Liz and Matt – you want her to find her happiness and dreams, even if she is stubborn to see it right in front of her. It is a beautiful story of starting over, finding happiness and peace in the storm of life. It not only makes a great holiday read but a fantastic year round read.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Some of her other titles include The Secret Ingredient, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, and Recipe for Romance.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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