Today I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour for Marianne Jantzi’s non-fiction book of “snapshots” of her life as an Amish mother.
I’ve always been fascinated with the Amish and how they live their lives. These stories are short glimpses into the daily life of their household, from pregnancy, to child care, to jobs, to household “dailiness”. It was a lovely read and very insightful. And that cover just brings a smile to my face whenever I see it!
I read that the publisher is one that focuses on having Amish individuals tell their stories so that the world can have a better understanding of Amish life and culture. Love this!
Here’s the description from Litfuse:
Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family’s life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.
Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her Northern Reflections column for the Connection. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store in the Milverton Amish community of Ontario.
Follow the tour and discover a new blog!
Mary | The Mary Book Reader
Karen | Karens Korner
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Pam | Southern Gal Loves to Read
Amy | Forever Beloved
Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Terra | Heck Of A Bunch
Cristi | Cristi’s Reviews
Lisa | A Rup Life
Margaret | The World As I See It
Shawna | Not The Former Things
Laura | Lighthouse Academy
Gloria | Amish Reader
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Heidi | Heidi’s Wanderings
Susan | Susan Heim on Writing
Tammy | Bluerose’s Heart
Melissa | Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers
Heather | Mom 2 Mom Connection
Athena | The Loose Screw
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Megan | When life gets you down…read a book
Beth-Anne | Book Reviews
Brenda | WV stitcher
Kristie | Moments
Pat | Living Life With The Love’s
Colletta | Colletta’s Kitchen Sink
Sarah | Running Through The Storms
Alyssa | 1 Six 1 Five
Crystal | Eccentric Eclectic Woman
JC | J.C.s BookShelf
Donna | Donna’s BookShelf
Alison | NOVA Frugal Family
Carol | Buttercup Counts Her Blessings
Julie | More Of Him
Annie | Just Commonly
Kemi | Homemaking Organized
LeAnne | Rockin’ My Mom Jeans
Joyce | Joyce Maree
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Dominique | Mama and the Bears
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog
Patty | Tammycookblogsbooks
Vicky | Walking in Grace
Alaina | The Untrained Housewife
Wendy | Life at Rossmont
Maureen | Maureen’s Musings
Lindsey | Growing Kids Ministry
Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
Leslie | Did you hear about the Morgan’s?
THANK YOU for my review copy and for making me part of the tour!
I usually try to keep these posts short and to the point: what did I read, what is it about, and did I like it? I figured most folks are pressed for time and are looking for an opinion or a book suggestion. However – today I just MUST take more time and get chatty and talk about my dear friend Amy Clark’s new book: “The Good Life for Less – Giving your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget”. Amy sent me a copy hot off the press so I could review it, and she wrote the most touching note to me on the inside – I will cherish it along with my memories of our friendship!
First some back story (if you aren’t interested in our back story, please skip this paragraph). I met Amy through community theater over ten years ago, here in Massachusetts. Amy, originally from Indiana, was a young newlywed and she and I hit it off right away. We had a lot of shared interests and had similar personalities, and we enjoyed our “girlfriend moments” together. I was going through a period in my life when I really needed a good friend and I had recently moved to a condo which just happened to be right across the street from Amy and her husband Ryan, so we saw a lot of each other and they were definitely there for me when I needed support. Amy became pregnant, which was very exciting, and I knew she looked forward to being home with their baby. Then one day Amy called me to say that Ryan had been laid off unexpectedly from his job. This was a huge blow and understandably threw them into financial crisis. Amy was pregnant and working to try to support them and worrying about the baby coming. I was dealing with my own personal crisis and trying to be a good friend to them. I remember one specific day I took Amy out to lunch and we talked about how sometimes you think you know God’s plan for you, but apparently he had something in mind for both of us that we were still discovering! In time Amy and Ryan moved back to Indiana where Ryan was offered a new job. Of course I missed her terribly but we stayed in touch and one day Amy told me she had started a “blog” for at home moms, using her experiences, focusing on budgeting, house ideas, and recipes. I had no idea what a blog was. I remember saying, “You mean a listserve or a “web log”?” (People – this was a long time ago!). She asked me to sign up for it and I was proud to be number 12 on the roster. Little did I know that this was the beginning of big times for Amy! Her site – “Mom Advice” www.momadvice.com – became huge and she has become a major blogging force. She is a spokesperson for several companies (places you’ve heard of – like Wal-Mart!) and her happy face often appears in the women’s magazines I read. Now, she has her first book, which compiles a lot of her advice from her website. I was thrilled to be able to read and post about it here on my blog (my web log – just kidding!).
At just over 200 pages, “The Good Life for Less” is not too long and gets right to the point. The chapters include making a budget, the frugal kitchen, recipes, holiday/special occasion ideas, and keeping your house clean and organized (when my nine-year-old saw that chapter she said, “hey, now there’s something we need!”). Amy shares her experience, her opinions, and her resources throughout, from how to establish and keep to a budget to her recipe for pumpkin waffles to how to make times special without blowing your bank account. This book is written in Amy’s voice and I felt like I could hear her talking to me throughout — with that touch of a midwestern twang to it! The book also has short inserts of the best tips or specific ideas that are highlighted. All in all, this was a great read and a good resource to have on hand. This is the type of book I wish I had when I was in my twenties. It’s a great gift for a newlywed and/or young parent, too. I look forward to Amy’s next book (there is a next one, right, Amy?)
The other day I was listening to an interesting piece on NPR about marketing aimed at children, and a caller recommended this book. I found it at my local library (surprisingly, since it seemed to be out with holds everywhere in the system). I enjoy reading parenting books and wanted to see what this one was about. I just loved this book! This is a book that pretty much puts down on paper so many of the things my husband and I hold to be true about parenting – and it has a whole lot of ideas to add to our repertoire!
First off, let’s consider the subtitle: “Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids”. When I first read that I gave a bit of a guffaw. What?? Basically, one of the main tenets in this book is that there is too much “stuff” in kids’ worlds these days: toys, electronics, lessons, activities, etc. etc. etc., and we’d be well-served to get rid of a lot of it. Payne, who is an educator-counselor (Waldorf Schools) and family therapist, espouses that too much “stuff” and not enough quiet and rhythm/ritual is overwhelming kids and basically driving families crazy. Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree. He suggests taking all your children’s toys and removing (donating/tossing/storing) half of them (great idea that I will have to try). That you clear out clutter (on my to-do list every year but I never do it). That kids don’t need to have ten different lessons/activities each week (one of our rules around here is ONE weekly after school activity at a time – and I’m deemed weird by other parents). Kids don’t need to experience EVERYTHING before the age of ten (I agree – though most people think we’re getting the kids a “late start” on stuff). And kids should be doing things because they want to, not just because the parents want them to or think they have a future expert in that area. Payne writes about the importance of rhythm and ritual, such as in the family dinner (yes!), previewing the day with your child in advance to set expectations (something I’ve always done), keeping a consistent schedule (another thing my friends deem “weird”), and keeping a “Sabbath” day that may or may not be religious in nature, where the family relaxes together and there are no scheduled activities, etc., and everyone shares dinner together (something we try to do, though sometimes things creep in on Sunday afternoons).
All throughout this book I read about great ideas that basically allayed my sense of guilt: if you are not giving you kids EVERYTHING, it really is okay. You are not a slacker parent. In fact, it can be the simpler things that really are the most meaningful.
A highly recommended read, especially if you are parenting children at this time!
This title jumped out at me while I was trolling Net Galley one day. I figured I’m always looking for ways to be a better parent and I should check it out. I have delved recently into the Christian genre, and this was my first experience with a Christian parenting book.
First let me fill in some personal info for those of you who don’t know me. I am Catholic and was raised in a (very strict) Catholic household. My husband is Catholic and we are raising our children Catholic. So while I’ve often been drawn to Christian literature, I sometimes have a bit of a disconnect as my experience as a Catholic in terms of church services, etc. is different from other Christian churches (though I have attended some friends’ churches while visiting them or for events, and as a child loved going to Wednesday night youth group with a Baptist friend). That said, you have an idea where I’m coming from when I read these books.
So – in “52 Things”, Angela Thomas covers various things kids need their moms to do, like learn to play a video game, or say no and mean it, or be “groovy”. All the suggestions here are God-centered and child-centered and offered to help parents connect and forge stronger bonds with their children and within a Christian framework.
I loved reading these short sections of different ideas! To be honest, I only had two which didn’t speak to me as something I do or want to do. One had to do with celebrating “Hallelujah” instead of “Halloween”, with some reference to Halloween as celebrating evil. Personally in our house we love Halloween and the celebration of the connected next day’s (Catholic) All Saints’ Day holy day. The other was a great idea that is generally not available to us Catholics: dropping the kids off at youth group on Wednesday nights and getting some alone time for a couple of hours with the spouse! I’d love that! It’s like free babysitting and Sunday school all rolled into a Wednesday night.
All in all, I loved Angela’s voice while writing, which was a bit reminiscent of my favorite gal, Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman. I appreciated her suggestions and how this book was easy to pick and read over time and if I only had ten minutes at a time (and what busy mom has more time than that?). I would recommend it to my fellow parents who wish to raise children within a household of faith and Christian tradition.
Thank you Net Galley and Harvest House Publishers for my free download!