Blog Book Tour | “Keep it Real and GRAB a Plunger: 25 tips for surviving #parenthood” by Julie K. Nelson

Posted Sunday, 10 May, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Keep It Real & Grab a Plunger” direct from the publisher Plain Sight Publishing (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I’ve been a bit vocal over the past year as I’ve explored topical fiction and non-fiction which open the door of insight into motherhood and adoption about my own path I’m walking towards becoming a Mum through foster care adoption. I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum as I’m gathering resources that will be beneficial to myself to read ahead of proceeding into the journey to become a mother as much as I am happily finding inspiring fiction to introduce to my future children. Not only on the merits of giving them healthy choices for adoptive literature but for Children’s Literature as a whole, as that is why I maintain an active and evolving Children’s Literature page on my bookish blog. Most of the titles originate inside my Story Vault and are then archived inside this secondary page.

I am planning to adopt multiples, as I feel led to adopt a sibling group of boys – siblings here is a bit loose and broad, as it can infer a biological connection between the boys or a friendship developed into a close-knit bond all brothers share as sometimes un-related boys grow close due to being placed in the same foster home or group home. To me, siblings is a general term and can apply both ways, especially in unconventional families where family is stitched together by heart and faith, moreso than traditionally being placed and raised in the home in which you were bourne.

What intrigued me about this particular book is how the author herself has raised five children, and I felt this might be a wicked good book to read as a future Mum of siblings!

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Blog Book Tour | “Keep it Real and GRAB a Plunger: 25 tips for surviving #parenthood” by Julie K. NelsonKeep it Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 Tips for Surviving Parenthood
by Julie K. Nelson
Source: Direct from Publisher

You might suspect that a college professor, frequent parenting guest expert on tv and radio, and popular blogger like Julie K. Nelson would be immune to the realities of actual  parenting. But in fact, she's been there -- through all the late nights, huge messes, and tough moments.

Now she combines her expertise with her own experiences to reach you how to

* overcome any manipulative and authoritarian parenting tendencies

* foster your child's self-discipline, respect, and emotional maturity

* and get through the sticky stuff with grace

Humourous, insightful, and authentic, this is an entertaining and pragmatic book all parents will enjoy.

Genres: Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Plain Sight Publishing

on 10th March, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 176

Published By: Plain Sight Publishing (@PlainSightBooks), an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #KeepItRealAndGrabAPlunger

About Julie K. Nelson

Popular radio personality, university professor, author, and TV expert Julie K. Nelson combines her professional expertise with her personal experience as a mom of five in this book. Humorous, insightful, and authentic, this must-read will help you enforce rules without manipulation or coercion and addresses a wide variety of essential parenting topics.

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There are twenty-five individual sections of focus inside Keep It Real and rather than write a general overview of the entire book itself, as it’s proportionally set-up as an insightful chapter specific resource guide to parents, I decided to hand select my top five sections and blog my thoughts about what I found to be resonating with me as I picked up this book for the first time. It is definitely going to be re-read in the future when I have more time to lay thought to mind on the contents, as I was a bit delayed in starting my readings of this novel due to personal stress and a three-day migraine.

Section of Interest No.1 |Chapter 3: Keep It Real . . . and Practice Values

As soon as I first read the title of the chapter, I had an inkling of where this was headed, and thankfully it went straight to the juggler of what I have long since felt is part of the problem in society today along with my parents. We’ve developed into this ‘instant-me society’ where the barriers between self-indulgence and self-gravitation are so blurred that if it’s not instantly (and I mean *snap your fingers* instantly!) available IT simply doesn’t exist!

I have noticed this trend evolving since the years I was in school straight into my thirties, as children today are too gadget oriented and too contained ‘indoors’ to where they are plugged into so many different devices they forget what it is like to live in a world where you have inter-personal relationships with live-voice exchanges and in-person meet-ups. There was a bit of an ‘inside joke’ inside a new Hallmark Channel movie (a very well-writ, edited, directed, and produced Hallmark Channel movie!) “Just the Way you Are” starring Candace Cameron Bure where one of her daughters in the film has to take a ‘hiatus’ from texting, emailing, tweeting and otherwise engaging with a boy she’s crushing on in exchange for honest to goodness real-life conversations and interactions. The ‘joke’ she expressed to her mother was simply ‘it’s a bit retro, but I like it’ meaning that she was so unfamiliar to talking in person with her peers that she was finding it wicked cool once she tried it.

I see this happening all the time whilst I am out in the world — the lowest point I think is when I see children at tables in restaurants (from fine dining to fast food or even a coffeehouse!) who are striving to gain their parents’ attentions only to be given a smart phone, a hand-held game console, or just brushed off because ‘the adults’ are talking. The other side of the spectrum is finding two adults sitting across from each other at a major coffeehouse exchanging the entire conversation via text messages whilst drinking their lattes! I KID YOU NOT! I was sitting at the table adjacent to them and had commented they must have high octane jobs if you cannot take a coffee break to which they replied, “Huh? We’re talking to each other!” Hmm,… something’s up in Dixie, eh!?

I agree with Nelson about compassionate parenting and a series of cause and effect logistics of how to parent through guidance and re-direction where the child learns from the mistakes made; however, on one particular issue — I had first-hand observation about school lunch, and to me, the consequence is enough to eat the lunch provided by the school not to be responsible for paying for said lunch that is billed to the parents. Honestly school life is difficult enough, and when you forget your lunch at home, trust me, the consequences are already met by the embarrassment of having to eat the ‘free’ lunch that is hardly satisfying and generally it leaves you asking to beg off your friends to make up the lunch fare. I’d rather have a child who borrows lunch money and then pays back a friend than to have to deal with the issues with lunch ladies who are never very understanding nor sympathetic to a forgotten lunch. To put it another way: school lunch is not something I’d seek reprimand for because of my own personal experiences and those of my classmates.

My heart just won’t allow it because food should never have a negative attachment to it. Some children are forgetful but not in a bad way, they simply have issues with remembering certain things or they get caught up in ‘the moment’ and crazy fray of getting off to school. That’s not something to punish, but something to help them circumvent by instilling memory triggers and/or a simple reminder before they go off to school, “Do you have your lunch and/or enough monies for lunch and snacks?”

The rest of the section is a bit of a tug of war between Nelson and I, because although in theory I can meet her half-way my own parenting instinct take me down a different route. I can sense it’s because I was raised differently than she’s raising her children, but it’s a bit more than that, as she’s a bit absolute in some instances and a bit too strict as a whole. I hated school for the structure and thrived outside of it when I was with my parents and extended family because I had the freedom of choices and I could explore educational opportunities outside the scope of the traditional structure of a ‘school’ by participating in community-based learning experiences. Everything from the local Science Center to the local library and the hands-on Children’s Museum were my lifeblood of educational mecca points.

The one bit to this section where I truly enjoyed reading was about the practice of writing down gratitude notes inside of a journal; this is a practice I’ve learnt about over the years and one I’d love to implement myself. The closest I’ve come is a daily quick journalling of my hours and days; little bits that mean something to me on my desk calendars which are a bit of a diary of gratitude in of themselves. This past year, it’s become a place where I’ve logged blog tours, book reviews, or books I’ve read through the library moreso than other events, but journals have a way of evolving as our life moves forward and our focus shifts from one experience to another. I think though I’d like to separate the notes of gratitude into a stand-alone journal — one of those beautiful ‘lays flat’ ruled journals?

I agree, that if we take more time out to recongise the simple joys in our lives, we end up with a bounty of happiness that sometimes is not air apparent because we all have harried lives where everyday stress and strife can boil over.

The main reason I earmarked this off as a favourite chapter is because I definitely agree in instilling in our children the values we uphold ourselves in the world as much as we want to inspire them to see the world through a pair of lens we had ourselves when we were growing up in a more innocent time. By this I am referring to the fact that for each new generation, there is a new sea of worries or concerns, and for each generation in the past there was a bit more innocence because children did not grow up as fast as the proceeding generation would. To put it another way, when I grew up we had ‘car phones’ not ‘smart phones’ nor did we have reality tv, so thereby, life in the 80s/90s was a bit more subdued and based more on your own motivations than what could be curated through a digital screen.

I thought maybe this chapter was going to be an extension of what I saw in the film with Bure; where you can inspire your children living in today’s high tech world with ideas from your own childhood and adolescent years by giving them new ideas that might seem ‘out of the box’ today simply because too many children are growing up at a faster rate of accession. Stepping away from tech and appreciating socialising in person is only one experience to allow them to see the value of but you could also say that inspiring game play with board and card games is another thread of yesteryear that has merit today, because it encourages interactions and conversations. Balance is everything.

When Nelson talks of instilling an honour of service for others in children, this is something I grew up with myself, as helping out neighours in need was quite second nature to me as a child. I loved being able to pass forward clothing or toys or even books; although I was better at parting with clothes. Books were my friends and even though I grew up with libraries, I cherished the books I had in my personal collection. Clothes on the other hand felt like a special hug you could give someone because if you enjoyed wearing something, you’d hope that little spark of joy might touch them next when they try it on. Clearly I developed a love of thrifting and second-hand boutiques at a very young age even if I didn’t frequent them until I was older.

I even appreciate helping local, regional, state, national, and international charities, but I yield to those that are stateside the most except for Heifer International which I feel gives the most because each blessing of a gift they receive is twicefold passed on to a family in need. Joy shared is always the best kind to have in our lives and if children can see how joy can be given through love and charity, I think the circle continues to knit along the threads of where humanity’s light will never grow dim.

On a closing note, as I made the choice in my early twenties to become an Adoptive Mum, I find it interesting how most books on parenthood are only focused on one method of being a mother rather than keeping it more broad and inclusive of the different Mums that are raising children. Even when I was younger, I never excluded parents who did not fit the typical role of ‘Mum and Dad’ because I had classmates raised by single Mums or Dads, widows or widowers, grandparents, elder siblings, Aunts, Uncles, Step-Moms, Step-Dads, or they were half and half raised between divorced parents. Strangely I never met a foster child but I did meet a few adopted children along the way. I never purported motherhood or fatherhood to only being inclusive to ‘children bourne of the biological Mum and Dad’ because to me, the evolution of family had already occurred.

When I think about parenthood it incorporates such a large net of possibilities that I am not recognising I am taking issues with the ‘exclusions’ rather than smiling through them as being written from a traditional point of view. This is my own personal bias coming through because again, as I declared at the beginning I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum, and I guess at some point, we all decide what is important to us and I guess I’m just going to have seek out books on parenting that are more general in scope than bare bones traditional. I was a bit curious if Nelson realises that even Adoptive Mums have intuition to raise their children and it’s not completely based on conception and birth?*

*I will add Nelson does expand into step-parenting and parenting after divorce but my previous comments were directed to my readings of this section without skipping ahead to the others.

Section of Interest No.2 |Keep It Real . . . and Read a Bedtime Story

I loved this section because I grew up with a multitude of stories at bedtime, in part because I had trouble falling asleep without hearing from my ‘friends’ as the characters in those picture books and chapter books felt so very real and dear to me. And, I think partially because my Mum aced reading out loud (a trait I am hoping I will find alight when I need it) and had a way of ‘telling stories’ that simply illuminated the layout of the tales inside my imagination that were both comforting and enchanting.

I, do agree children need to know that their not only loved but they are wanted, by how we interact with them during our daily routines and how we encourage them to spend time with us whilst they are at home. Too often I think parents forget that taking time out to talk, listen, and interact are just as important as homework or extracurriculars. I have my own rituals of memory from when I was picked up from school, where I happily chatted about my daily adventures or downfalls (as let’s face it school is brutal!) and where I looked forward to going somewhere ‘other’ than school or home after such a long and hard day. It was nice to break-up the routine of here or there, and go elsewhere for a hiatus out of the hours to where you can unwind and just ‘breathe’. I do look forward to finding out where my sons will want to go after school; where their favourite haunts will be or where they might like to explore a hobby or an interest outside the sphere of their education.

Honestly bedtime routines are not that complicated, but I do recommend parents watching ‘The Nanny’ as Jo clearly shows how firm time tables and a definitive action on not giving in to a children’s whim at night can lead to healthier tomorrows. Nelson talks a bit about this in the book as well, by having clear guidelines and walks you through it in written form. I only mention Nanny Jo in case your a more visual learner and wanted to get live action inspiration because trust me, Nanny Jo rocks bedtime!

Overall, . . .

There are portions of Ms Nelson’s personal journal interlaced into the snippets of advice she is giving the reader who finds her book; some of the journal entries are quite ‘raw in the moment’ of when they were written; giving an honest look inside the mind of a mother whose living through what happens on a day to day basis where anything can occur when you have young children in the house. I appreciated seeing her internal thoughts as she originally wrote them, but also, the honesty in how she wrote down the bits that described the ‘moments’ she was dealing with as it gives an impression of how parenthood is definitely lived on the fly and a heap of things cannot be foreseen until they happen.

For those who remember ‘Pop-Up Video’ she has lovely pop-up bubbles throughout the text which are short take-away advice bubbles that allow you to think a bit more on a particular theme of advice per section. Similar to cross-indexed and concordance Bibles that give you a bit of extra depth to the readings you have in the scriptures, this is a nice addition for readers who want a bit of a recap of what the key elements of discussion are and to lead them forward on a personal walk towards pondering the finer points of what is being addressed.

Fly in the Ointment : Content Note:

The hardest part for me reading this book is not the collection of antidotes and personal journal entires or even the parenting advice or snippets of reality all parents face when raising their children; it was the absolutes of it. The structure of how the book is laid out felt a bit easy to swallow initially and a bit fluffy, light-hearted and fun, but the deeper you get into it, the more issues I took with it personally. It’s a bit more discipline-based than affirmative-based, more hard-core parenting than organic parenting. Not so much ‘survival guide to parenting’ but how to raise children in a very strict and controlling environment where there is barely room to yield the yoke.

It’s an about-face to how I was raised and that in of itself wasn’t offensive, but it’s how the chapters would have these off-topic inclusions that did not quite fit inside the topic on point that drew my brow to furrow. Tangents are a-plenty and when I had hoped a section would expand in one area, it went off into a completely different area of thought!

Clearly I misunderstood the book based on it’s description but I never would have fathomed it was as intense to read as it became. I originally was going to highlight five sections but decided to highlight two. I changed the titles of my review from saying ‘favourite sections’ to ‘sections of interest’ because somewhere between the head of the sections and the body, I became a bit lackluster in wanting to see the endings.

There are certain passages I appreciated outright such as never ‘label’ a child because labels do nothing but to discredit self-esteem and destroy any progress towards self-confidence. I also appreciated being in tune with your child whilst seeking out hobbies or blending families where everyone feels equal and has worth. It’s just not quite the book I was seeking to read, but you can still find takeaways that are relatable and worth the effort to dig out.

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Book Trailer for ‘Keep It Real & Grab a Plunger’ via Julie Nelson

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Virtual Road Map of “Keep it Real & Grab a Plunger”:

Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger Blog Tour via Cedar Fort & Publishing Media

Previous non-fiction reviewed for Cedar Fort:

You’ll notice this is my second entry in a new category under ‘Non-Fiction’:

Motherhood | Parenthood | Mumhood | Adoption

{ I review quite a bit of non-fiction each year, more selections in Story Vault! }

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

I welcome your comments & conversations!

Click-through to mark your calendars for more bookish events!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comComing up next,

an author Guest Post ahead of the blog tour:

Enslaved to Saved by W. Reid Litchfield

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{SOURCES: Tour badges for “Keep It Real & Grab a Plunger” & “Enslaved to Saved”, the Cedar Fort badge, author photograph of Julie K. Nelson, the book cover for “Keep It Real & Grab a Plunger” and the book synopsis were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Post dividers & My Thoughts by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. The book trailer for “Keep it Real & Grab a Plunger” had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Sunday, 10 May, 2015 by jorielov in Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Chronicles of a Prospective Adoptive Mum, Content Note, Education & Learning, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Journal, Memoir, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Siblings, Sociology, Vignettes of Real Life, Wisdom of Life Threaded in Devotions

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