***CHILDREN’S BOOK GIVEAWAY (2 Copies)*** Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach {Elizabeth Gerlach}

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

As soon as I finished reading this book with my children, I sent Elizabeth Gerlach an email which contained only 1 sentence:

“This might just be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.”

Description from Amazon:

Awarded 5-stars from both Reader’s Favorite and the award-winning “Read With Your Kids” podcast, as well as a Certified Great Read.

Meet young Benjamin who takes us on an inspiring & fun adventure to the beach in this first book in the Ben’s Adventures series. You’ll smile and be inspired as you follow Ben into his imagination and he shows us that all kids can play and dream.
 
In his first adventure, Ben imagines a perfect beach day where he builds sand castles, flies kites, plays with crabs and enjoys special moments with his family. Ben loves the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. He can dream, he can play, and he can interact and have meaningful experiences. Ben smiles, and you will too.

“Let’s build a sandcastle”, I say to my friend.
He says, “Sounds good.”
And we make our plan.
With one tower built,and two more to go.
I kick and laugh and then think “Oh No!”

A Great Book for Introducing Special Needs or Disability to Young Children Ben’s Adventures provides a simple and subtle way to introduce special needs and disability to your child. It can easily open the discussion for what disability means. Why does someone need a wheelchair? If someone’s in a wheelchair, can they still play with me? It will help young minds recognize and understand differences among us and ACCEPT those differences. And the main character Benjamin will reinforce the important take-away that just because someone might be different or need assistance, he/she is still a kid, can be a friend, and can enjoy kids’ play.

Teach Empathy, Inclusion and Acceptance from an Early Age Kids will have as many (if not more) similarities than they have noticeable differences.It’s our job as parents to talk about these issues with our kids. Understanding and accepting others throughout our lives is learned in childhood.

Ben is a young triplet brother that shows all kids can play & dream. Ben’s Adventures was inspired by the author’s son Benjamin who had cerebral palsy. Despite Ben’s challenges in life, he smiled everyday. It’s a wonderful message that is important for typical families AND those with special needs. And it provides a good introduction of disability for any family. In writing it, Gerlach wanted to show that all kids are capable and able to do great (or even simple) things.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely, positively love this book.  So much.

The story itself is beautiful, the pictures are adorable, and the discussion that it created between my 7 year old daughter and I after we finished reading was amazing.  We discussed differences in people and even though someone might not always be able to communicate in the same way that you do…they still have feelings, thoughts, and dreams.  It was an amazing and inspiring discussion and this book was a perfect catalyst to discuss such an important topic.

It would also be a wonderful book for a classroom!  The discussions and writing assignments that could follow would be endless.  If you have any teachers in your life, their classroom would greatly benefit from this book.

I love, love, love this special book.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite books that I’ve ever reviewed on my blog.

A Conversation with Elizabeth Gerlach, in Her Own Words:

Briefly give a description of your book:

Ben’s Adventures is about a young triplet brother who has cerebral palsy. He loves his family/friends, creating memories and taking adventures! He’s in a wheelchair but shows that ALL kids can play & dream and create meaningful connections and memories.

In this first book, Ben takes us to the beach where he plays with crabs, builds sandcastles and flies with kites.

How did you create the idea for your book?

It’s inspired by my triplet son Benjamin. Ben passed away from a serious illness in 2016 at almost 4 years old. Despite his/our challenges, he always had a smile on his face and laughed quite a bit. As a family, we loved to have different experiences and adventures and just spend time together. I wanted to show that even though a child might have additional needs, it doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy ‘kid things’ and have fun. And I wanted to represent disability in a children’s book by creating a main character who uses a wheelchair.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Ben’s Adventures is probably most suited for Preschool through second grade. It’s a good message for any child/family (not just one with additional needs). I’ve been told it helps to introduce the concept of disability with kids that aren’t yet familiar. Families have been able to have meaningful conversations around the book.

Where can your book be purchased?

Signed/Dedicated copies are available on my website here: www.Bens-Adventures.com

But it’s also available on Amazon in both Hard Cover and Kindle format.

https://www.amazon.com/Bens-Adventures-Day-at-Beach/dp/173270340X/

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Inspirational

Sweet

Touching

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:

Ben’s Adventures just received a 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite and has average 5 star review on Amazon.

As a family, to honor Benjamin, we established the Ben Smiles Memorial Foundation to purchase switch-adapted toys and other devices to kids with motor challenges. www.BenSmiles.org

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

I have 2 copies of Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach to give away (US only for this giveaway)! 
Winners will receive an autographed and dedicated copy of Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

2. Leave a comment below telling the first name of the person you would have the author write the dedication inside the cover to if you are chosen to win a copy

**You must complete both of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will end Friday morning at 6:00 CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday morning’s blog post.

Make sure you check back on Friday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winner to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Random Thoughts From a Book Blogger

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Ours was jam packed with all the good stuff…pizza, a royal ball with princesses, a birthday party, a Father/Daughter Dance, our favorite Chinese restaurant, and trips to both Target AND Costco. If that’s not the definition of a perfect weekend, I’m not sure what is.

Our town is wonderful and I so love raising our children here. Cinderella’s Royal Ball is the cutest annual event where kids dress like royalty, see a princess show, meet the princesses, eat ice cream, have a dance party with a DJ, and then receive a Royal goodie bag. It’s precious and my kids love going every year! My daughter dressed as Cinderella and my son…well…he was a dinosaur??? No amount of persuading could change his mind to go as a king or a knight. We tried.  So in the end there were lots of beautiful princesses in attendance…and 1 adorable little dinosaur.

Which kids are mine?

I FINALLY finished reading this book and I have SO many thoughts. Too many to type! I actually plan on filming a video instead so I can talk my way through my review…I will get that filmed and up on the blog soon! Stay tuned 🙂

In other news, I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon this morning for more elbow x rays.  MY ELBOW IS NO LONGER BROKEN!  Still a bit sore….but HEALING!  I’m so happy 🙂

Anyway, I was quite early for my appointment so I stopped by the library for some quiet reading time first! Heavenly.

I started reading this book while at the library this morning and I’m already almost 100 pages in and LOVING IT so far!  It’s been on my TBR list for months as I’ve read so many positive reviews. Have you read this one?  It’s great so far!  I’ll write a full review once I’ve finished.

Check out my current Instagram story to see what else happened to me while I was at the library today, lol…(insert face plant emoji here)…

How are you? How was your weekend? What are you currently reading?

Be sure to stop by the blog on Wednesday for your chance to enter a GIVEAWAY for an amazing book!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Let’s Chat: Spoilers. Love Knowing or Better Blind?

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You’re in the middle of an amazing book.  You tell someone what you’re reading.  Without thinking, they give away the ending.

Or…

You’re in the middle of an amazing book.  You close it without bookmarking.  When you open again to find your place, you open the cover a wee bit too far and mistakenly read ahead.

Or…

You’re in the middle of an amazing (uplifting) book.  You tell someone what you’re reading.  They tell you how tragically sad the ending is and how it will make you sob.  You spend the rest of the book trying to figure out the sad twist that you never knew existed.

Or…

Someone posts something on Facebook and while innocently scrolling through your newsfeed, you now have books (AND REALITY TV) ruined for you.

THE.  WORST.

All of these situations have happened to me and I’m quite certain they have also happened for a number of you.  Admittingly, I am more sensitive to this than most people.  I absolutely HATE knowing anything ahead of time.

When I’m reading a book and the plot is getting GOOD, it’s not uncommon for me to physically put my hand over the rest of the page so I cannot mistakenly read ahead.

When I am watching reality tv (my favorite), I mute the sound and look away when Chris Harrison announces, “Tonight on the Bachelor” or “Coming up after the break”.  Scenes from next week?????? FORGET ABOUT IT.  Hell no.

I saw Hamilton without listening to a single song first although everyone told me I needed to.  I did zero historical research.  I walked into that theater completely blind and I truly think I had a better experience because of it!

Have you ever noticed the following disclaimer that I include with every book review that I  publish on my blog?

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I have heard that there are people who when they receive a book, the very first thing that they do is to read the last page of the book.  Do people like this really exist?!?

I never Google a television show for any reason unless I am 100 percent caught up in the current season.  I have blocked people on Facebook when they post status updates about current television shows so nothing will be ruined for me if I’m an episode or 2 behind.  I turn away from the magazines in the grocery store checkout aisle when they post photos of current reality tv stars.

I once told a friend how excited I was to watch the Bachelor finale that night and she responded with “Oh!  ____won!  I just read an article!”  This was roughly 3 hours before the finale aired.  And of course my friend was right.  And of course it was the girl who I NEVER thought was going to win.  It would have been such an amazing finale.

When I’m reading or watching television, I NEVER try to predict the ending.  I just enjoy the present and not give too much thought into trying to figure out what will happen next (on a side note, this is also a fantastic way to go about life…but that’s a different post for a different day).

To me, nothing beats an amazing twist that I never saw coming.  Nothing is better than a surprise ending.  When an author has the ability to make this happen, it’s brilliant.  So many specific books come to mind…but I don’t want to spoil any of them for you!

What are your thoughts on all of this?  How do you feel about spoilers?  Tell me a story about a time when someone ruined something for you!  

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

GREETINGS FROM THE POLAR VORTEX and a Book Review: The Light Between Oceans {M.L. Stedman}

When my husband and I were dating, I lived in a condo in downtown Chicago. One night, we had tickets to a comedy club called Zanies to see Gilbert Gottfried perform.

We walked there and it was the absolute coldest either one of us had ever been in our entire lives. I remember my legs going completely numb through my jeans as we were walking. It was probably only a 4 minute walk and by the time we got there we were both literally chilled to our bones. Our faces were bright red, we had no feeling in our fingers, and I was convinced my toes would stay numb forever. After the show, we hailed a cab and enjoyed the warm and lovely 1 minute ride back to my condo. One of the smartest financial decisions we have ever made 🙂

11 years later and my husband and I still use the term “Zanies cold” to describe the weather. As in, “It’s cold outside today! Almost Zanies cold!” or “Oh come on, it’s not that cold. It’s nowhere near Zanies cold!”

The weather we are having here today makes “Zanies cold” feel like a tropical vacation.

Greetings from the Polar Vortex!

Its absolutely crazy here. Our entire state has shut down. Schools have been called off, stores are closed, mail service has been canceled, garbage pickup has been canceled, etc.

Melting ice outside has caused water to leak into our kitchen and family room. We currently have towels everywhere, fans blowing on our carpet, and a family birthday party this weekend for both of my kids which now needs to be relocated from our home to our kids’ favorite local restaurant. Thank goodness they are able to accommodate all of us so last minute!

Yesterday my son and I ate lunch in the car after I finished leading storytime. I had packed us sliced grapes which had frozen from sitting in the car by the time we went to eat them!

Here’s a fun new fact that I learned last night:

Apparently when the temperature goes into these frigid numbers, it causes the materials used to build the house to contract.  As the heat warms the inside of the wall, it  simultaneously warms the outside of the wall and the materials inside of the wall contract.  It causes a very loud noise!

***DISCLAIMER*** I actually have no idea what I’m talking about and the above paragraph is extremely likely to be completely wrong. I read a ton of online articles about this topic somewhere around 2:00 AM and that was my takeaway…but science is not my strong suit, lol.

What I DO know is that the noises were HORRIBLE. For about 2 hours in the middle of the night, random loud BOOMS kept me awake every 10 minutes. The only thing that calmed my fears (after getting out of bed to check that everything was ok) was reading on our local town’s Facebook page about all of my neighbors experiencing the exact same thing at the exact same time! I swear nobody slept in Buffalo Grove last night…except for my husband. He slept peacefully through all of it. *insert eye rolling emoji here.*

Today my kids are home from school and my husband is home from work. We are warm, we are safe, and we are together. I stuck my head outside of our back door this morning just to see what it would feel like and my lips immediately started to tingle!  Even our dishes are freezing to the touch inside of our kitchen cabinet.  This is crazy.

Current scene in our kitchen as I blog this.  Note the giant coffee next to my computer!  It will need to be refilled at some point soon.  I’m so exhausted today.

Our heat is working just fine but our EcoBee (affiliate) couldn’t even comprehend all of this madness to report it to us this morning, lol.

Yikes.

One great thing about being trapped inside of the house during temperatures like this is the ability to escape into a book.  I’m not sure how much escaping I’ll be able to do today with both of my kids here, but fingers crossed I’ll be able to read for at least a little bit later on!

I posted this on Facebook last week:

It made me think of my own question and one of my all time favorite books immediately came to mind.  This older book turned out to be one of the best books I have ever read….unfortunately with one of the most boring beginnings of any book I have ever read.

thelightbetweenoceans

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia – the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written debut novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

This book is a PERFECT example of why sometimes you just need to push through even if you’re not 100 percent in love with the book that you are reading.  I absolutely hated the beginning of this book…it was so boring.  I kept thinking, “Ok.  I’m giving this 10 more pages and then I am giving up”.  I pushed through, kept reading, and…WOW.  This book turned out to be one of the most beautifully written and moving stories I have ever read.  In my entire life.

I read this book years ago and I still think of these characters and their choices often.  As a mother, this story spoke directly to my heart.  It’s such a complicated story with so many fascinating points of view.  My feelings about certain characters completely changed as the story unfolded and I COULD.  NOT.  PUT.  THIS.  BOOK.  DOWN.

In fact, I remember I was reading this book while receiving a pedicure.  There was a television playing a very loud movie that nobody in the salon was paying attention to. I may or may not have asked the salon owner if she could please turn it off so that I could give this fascinating book the attention it so rightfully deserved.

Bottom Line:

One of the most boring beginnings of any book turned into one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful and memorable books I have ever read.  YOU MUST PUSH THROUGH.  And then thank me.

Stay safe and stay warm, local friends!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Play Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, puppets, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Random Thoughts {SNOW, Movie Night, Best Friends, Michelle Obama, Children’s Book}

This is seriously the current weather forecast where I live:

INSANE.  It’s so cold.  I accidentally left a peach in my husband’s car and when I went to retrieve it, it had completely frozen.  As in, icicles were dangling from it.  Ridiculous.

Needless to say, both of my children are home with me today.  Both of their schools are closed and I have a feeling there may be more snow days in their future throughout this week!

How was your weekend?  Mine was lovely.

Friday night was family movie night which included pizza, pajamas, robes, and Harry and the Hendersons (my daughter’s pick.  The 4 of us rotate who gets to choose the movie each time).  It was perfection.  Movie nights will become one of my cherished memories of my kids’ childhoods when they are older, I already know it. 🙂

Saturday night my 4 best friends (we call ourselves the Goats…it’s been our nickname since college) and I celebrated a double Goat birthday!  Amy and Beth have birthdays 10 days apart so we always celebrate them together.  We had reservations at a delicious restaurant downtown but once we started driving, the snow started coming.  We quickly realized that the same restaurant recently opened a location much closer to us!  Same restaurant, same delicious food, much better snowy commute.

The birthday girls!

As always, our dinner was spent laughing, telling stories, and allowing new inside jokes  to make their way into our friendship.  I just love these girls so much!

My beautiful best friends and I:

Yesterday Jon, the kids, and I went out for a lovely Sunday morning breakfast and then did the usual pre snow preparations along with everyone else in this town:  Costco and the grocery store.  The grocery store was so crowded…there were no carts!  Trying to get turkey at the deli counter was truly every man for himself.  We got everything needed for a snowy week at home.

People here always go nuts right before a big storm and with good reason:

I’m currently reading this book (affiliate) and the jury is still out on my feelings about it.  I posted a few stories on Instagram asking if I was the only one not absolutely LOVING this book and I was overwhelmed by the responses of people who agree with me???  I thought for sure that I would be the only one who feels this way but it turns out that I am not alone.  Have you read it???  I’ll do a full review once I finish reading.

And lastly…a cute story about my daughter.

When my husband and I confirmed that we were pregnant with our daughter, she was the size of a poppy seed.  We called her Poppy throughout my entire pregnancy!  I saw this picture in a store a few years ago and had to buy it, it now hangs in our kitchen:

For my birthday this year, one of the gifts that she gave me was this book because it had the word Poppy in the title (she loves when we talk about when she was Poppy)!

She bought it and gave it to me with the intention of her and I reading it together 🙂  How sweet is that?!  We read chapter 1 last night, it’s cute so far!  Excited to read chapter 2 with her tonight.

I loved writing this post and sharing little bits of my life with you today…I hope you enjoyed reading it! 🙂

Stay warm, local friends….Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….

Xo,

Jenny

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Book Review: This Is How It Always Is {Laurie Frankel}

Happy Friday!

If you are reading this that means that I haven’t actually frozen into a block of ice by this point.  Silver lining, right?

It’s. So. Cold.

Breathtakingly beautiful outside?  Absolutely.  Ridiculously unbelievably freezing outside?  You betcha.

I just walked in the door from driving my daughter to school (I was not about to let her wait at a bus stop this morning) and the thermometer in my car was reading in the negative numbers.  Holy hell.

I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday and titled it “My Favorite Summer Reading Spot”.  It’s funny and yet heartbreakingly sad all at the same time.

Stay warm, local friends.  It’s insane out there.

One great thing about spending time inside when it’s too cold to leave is the opportunity to read a well written book!  Unfortunately, the book that I reviewed for you today is not well written.  I would encourage you to browse through past blog posts to find book recommendations because I definitely would NOT recommend the following book…

thisishowitalwaysis

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

2 Stars

I know I’m in the minority here but I really didn’t like this book.  I SO BADLY wanted to!  I was very excited to read it because I heard such great things.

The actual story was beautiful and the message behind it was important.  However, the characters were underdeveloped and the writing was…painfully long.

There were certain moments that were well written and others that felt like they were never going to end.  Ever.  This book took entirely too much time for me to finish because honestly, I was so incredibly bored through so much of it.

I wanted MORE out of the writing.  I wanted the author to dig deeper into this intricate story and these characters. I wanted her to develop these characters on an entirely different (deeper) level. So much of this book was just “surface writing” on a topic which truthfully deserves so much more than that.

Bottom Line:

This book had all of the potential to be wonderful.  It wasn’t.

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Book Review: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing {Marie Kondo}

Have you watched the new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo?  Everyone is talking about it!  It is currently causing millions of people to reorganize and declutter their homes. I read and fell in love with her book and her logic years ago.

Synopsis

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

My Thoughts

When The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was released in 2014, I ordered and read it immediately.  It’s fantastic!  I currently keep it in my nightstand to refer back to when I need a refresher.  It’s about keeping the absolute most special and useful physical things in your life and getting rid of everything else.

The older I get, the more into minimalism I become.  I started on this journey a few years ago and I work on it bit by it each day.  It’s important to me and has been so beneficial to our entire family.  I used to be the EXACT opposite.  I used to buy things just to buy them without giving much thought to if I even wanted or needed them first.

My thought process really changed once I had my children.  The baby industry is RIDICULOUS, making new moms think they need every baby product on the market.  By the time I had my 2nd child, I knew that there were very few products that we actually needed and would be using. The true things that all babies actually need cannot be bought!  This really opened my eyes as to what we were bringing into our home and why.

One of my favorite things to do is to hold our annual garage sale.  I spend all year putting stuff into bins to sell and when the time comes to haul those bins into the garage, a feeling of peace comes over me!  I LOVE getting rid of stuff.  In my opinion, a clutter free home leads to a clutter free mind.

I work hard on keeping my house clean and free of clutter.  I truly believe that when my house is clean and clutter free, I feel calmer.  I make our bed every single morning.  I try to do at least 1 load of laundry each day.  I try to never have dirty dishes in my sink.  These things not only keep our home in working order, but keep my mind in working order as well!

My daughter had a play date here a few months ago and when her friend’s mom came to pick her up, she told me that couldn’t believe how organized my house was when there are 2 young children living here.  I loved hearing that!  I truly believe that kids can have toys, but those toys don’t have to take over the entire house.

I’ve been trying to teach my kids to clean up after themselves.  When they finish playing with something to put it away before taking out something new.  This is a work in progress 🙂

Our family and friends know how we feel about this. When it comes to buying gifts for our children, they have been respectful in following our wishes to not allow clutter into our home. Our kids already have way too many toys that they don’t play with.  TOO MANY TOYS. In this house, toys truly just equal clutter because they are abandoned within 5 minutes of receiving them.  As for clothes, I’m very picky with their clothes and like to pick them out myself.  This leaves my absolute favorite gift that people give my children…gift cards for experiences!  Plays, concerts, zoo/museum memberships, movies, fun restaurants, etc. Experiences are ALWAYS welcome, especially ones that will give our family lasting memories.  One can never have too many memories with family…but one can DEFINITELY have too many unplayed with toys.

As for Jon and I…when we got married, we had a massive (gorgeous) comforter with THIRTEEN throw pillows.  THIRTEEN.  Every single morning, I would artfully arrange those pillows and every single night, I would carefully pile them in the corner of our room.  I would fold down the comforter so that all of the designs were in perfect harmony.  It was stunning.  It was gorgeous.  It was a production.  It was insane.

Our bed now is simple, beautiful, and perfect.  It takes me exactly 1 minute to make each morning.  So much better.  Our nightstands are always neat and clutter free.  When we go to bed each night and wake up each morning, we are surrounded by peace and not by chaos.

I work hard to keep our home clutter free and only keeping things that we love and that “spark joy” as Kondo would say.  My husband came home from work one day and discovered that I had gotten rid of everything in our downstairs bathroom because I was “over it”.  That was over the summer and I still haven’t replaced everything in there because I refuse to buy things until I find things that I absolutely love!  In hindsight, I probably should have bought all of the new stuff BEFORE getting rid of the old stuff?  Live and learn…

Bottom Line

If it doesn’t spark joy, you don’t need it.  Period.

Did you read Marie Kondo’s book?

Have you watched her Netflix show?

Do you practice minimalism?

Xo,

Jenny

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