Book Review: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I read a lot. It’s my favorite thing to do, and I wish I could do it even more than I do now! I have lots and lots of favorite books (you can see them all at Goodreads), and only a few of them have changed me after reading them. Only a very few have had a huge, long lasting impact on me. And this book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is one of those books.

Are you a pack rat or collector of everything? If so, the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a MUST READ. It will make you think very differently about your "things"

I’m a pack rat. I save everything. I save mementos and knick knacks. I save things just in case I may need them again (even though I haven’t used said thing in years.) I collect(ed) books because I love them. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up made me change the way that I think about “things” that I hold on to. It gave me a different outlook on why I keep them and made me realize I no longer need them.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up focuses on Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo’s step-by-step method for simplifying, organizing, and storing. She challenges you to ask yourself whether each object you have is achieving a purpose. Is it propelling you forward or holding you in the past? In most cases, my things hold me in the past because there are memories attached to them. She also says you should ask yourself a very big (and for me, this is the life changing part) question: does it spark joy? If it doesn’t, get rid of it. It’s that simple.

Except when it’s not that simple. Some things, especially mementos and things that are full of sentimental value, are harder to let go of. Kondo’s advice is to ask yourself “Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear for the future?” You’ll be surprised how easy it is to answer that question, and then figure out if you should keep it or not.

Are you a pack rat or collector of everything? If so, the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a MUST READ. It will make you think very differently about your "things"

Instead of going room-by-room like most organizing people tell you to do, she suggests going category-by-category (according to Kondo: clothes first, then books papers, miscellany, and lastly mementos.) So if you are going to clean out the kids’ closets/clothing, get all of their clothing (for all of the kids) and dump it all in the middle of the floor. Hold each and every item and feel its energy. See if it still “sparks” joy. For me, this was a little too “woo woo” and very impractical. So while I took the room-by-room approach, I did actually ask myself if things sparked joy. And what I found was that no, most things I was holding on to did not spark joy! Each time I decided to let something go – even if it was something that I had had for years – it got easier to quickly realize there was no joy.

I was holding on to things out of guilt. Let me explain…

Let’s talk books….I had books upon books upon books. I kept them because I “collected” books. But after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and asking myself if all those books sparked joy, the answer was no.

You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it. There’s no need to finish reading books that you only got halfway through. Their purpose was to be read halfway. – Marie Kondo

I kept them because I felt guilty about giving them away. Stephen King is my favorite author, and I had all of his books. I’d be a terrible fan of I just let all of those books go; I was holding on to those books out of guilt. So I let them go – except for Stephen King On Writing…that one sparks joy and I look through it often.)

One thing I read somewhere long ago was that if you hold on to things (like clothing, etc) because it was so important to you long ago, why not take a picture of those things and then get rid of them. I mean really, how often do you get out those old things and look at them? Probably not unless you are trying to clean.

Kondo also talks about how you should fold your clothes and how to give them positive energy. Again, too woo woo for me, but her folding techniques really are simple and make your clothing look nice in the drawers. And her explanation of why you should fold does make sense – if you take good care of your “stuff”, it will last longer and take care of you.

I have started using the concept of sparking joy in other aspects of my life. When I shop for things, I take a second to see if whatever I’m considering purchasing sparks joy, or is it just something I feel like I want/need (even if I don’t.) Asking myself that life changing question has made me stop buying things just to buy them.

Same with invitations, volunteering, being asked to do things. Am I saying yes simply because I hate saying no and upsetting people? Will what I’m being asked to do spark joy? If not, I say no.

Even Jason “gets” this new outlook on life. No, he didn’t read the book and I don’t see him passing positive energy to his socks, but he agrees with the concept of sparking joy. The other day, he asked if he should keep something that we had had for years simply for sentimental reasons. I asked him if it sparked joy – if he really enjoyed the feeling he felt when he looked at it. He looked at me weird, and said no. So I said get rid of it. That easy! Then I explained about the book and he said, well that makes sense. And it does.

I highly recommend that you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up…it was truly life changing for me. I read it almost a year ago and still practice many of the things I learned. I still think about the book a lot. In fact, after writing this, I think I’m going to read it again!

Did you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? What are your thoughts on the book? If you haven’t read it yet, do you plan to?

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and/or other affiliate sites.

Begin The Jesse Tree Tradition With Your Family With Countdown to Christmas ::Book Review::

Traditions are important to me, and during the holidays we have many of them. From filling our Sparkle Box to communicating with Santa to putting a pickle on the Christmas tree, we have a lot of fun keeping these traditions alive, and I hope these traditions are something that the kids will do with their kids one day. Have you ever heard of the Jesse Tree Tradition? I had no idea what it was, but after checking out Countdown to Christmas with the kids, we will be starting a new tradition this year.

Countdown to Christmas isn't a book that you read in one sitting - it's follows the Jesse Tree tradition, and it's a book that you begin reading on December 1st and finish on December 24th.

What Is The Jesse Tree Tradition?

The Jesse Tree tradition is a very old Christmas tradition first started in medieval times. The tree is used to help tell the story of the Bible from creation to the story of Christmas. The name comes from Jesse, who was the Father of the great Jewish King David.

So now that you know what the tradition is, what’s the tree? In short, the Jesse Tree is Jesus’ family tree. It’s a small Christmas tree that you put paper ornaments on as you countdown to Christmas. Each ornament has the picture of a different person in the Bible, Jesus’ family.

And that’s where Countdown to Christmas comes in. Countdown to Christmas isn’t a book that you read in one sitting – it’s a book that you begin reading on December 1st and finish on December 24th. Each night, your family will read a story from the Bible (it’s just a page long) to learn about Jesus’ family. After you finish, you’ll place an ornament on your Jesse Tree. By Christmas Eve, your Jesse Tree will be filled up with ornaments representing all of Jesus’ family!

Countdown to Christmas isn't a book that you read in one sitting - it's follows the Jesse Tree tradition, and it's a book that you begin reading on December 1st and finish on December 24th.

By starting the Jesse Tree Tradition, you’re family is doing so much more than just putting ornaments on a little tree. Your family will learn the stories of the Bible and come to know Jesus’ family. Your family will learn that families are the most important thing in the world, even to Jesus. They’ll learn the importance of family and God’s role in family.

I sat down last night and explained what the Countdown to Christmas was all about and what the Jesse Tree tradition is to the kids. They were very interested! They sat down to look through the book and actually read the first few stories, unprompted! They asked if we could start the book now. I explained that we have to wait to December 1st, and they are excited to start reading and learning more about Jesus’ family.

Countdown to Christmas isn't a book that you read in one sitting - it's follows the Jesse Tree tradition, and it's a book that you begin reading on December 1st and finish on December 24th.

If your family is religious and knows Christmas is more than just giving and getting presents, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Countdown to Christmas. And why not start the Jesse Tree tradition with your family? It’s a fun way to learn about the Bible and Jesus’ family, and it’s an easy way to take a few minutes out of your day to praise Him as a family.

One more thing…did I mention that the author of Countdown to Christmas is only 11 years old?! Theresa Seidlitz wrote the book because “I wanted to see what it would be like to be an author and write a whole book! I also wanted people to know about Jesus’ family tree. I hope the book will make the Christmas season even more exciting for kids as they count down the days to Jesus’ birthday.”

You can learn more about Countdown to Christmas and the the history of the book on YouTube.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Countdown to Christmas in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Does ‘The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep’ Really Make Kids Fall Asleep Quickly?

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review or a sponsored post. I heard about The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep and didn’t think it would work so I decided to try it out and see. 

I have two 6 year olds who HATE bedtime. This is nothing new…I’ve been dealing with their loathing bedtime for years. I’ve written tips about getting your kids to sleep. I’ve written about how much sleep kids need. And yet, it’s still a battle. Every school night is a fight…there’s begging and pleading and whining and crying. And that’s just from me!

Kidding…it’s really all coming from them. Most of the time.

Why does Ethan get to stay up longer?

I don’t want to go to school tomorrow!

I want you to sleep in my bed.

Why can’t we stay up for one more show?

I’ve created monsters, and I’ve hated bedtime with a passion. Until tonight…

I do social media management for Smart Moms and also manage their Mom Videos site. While uploading videos there, I came across a video about a book that will make your kids fall asleep in just minutes. No way, I thought…not possible.

Have you heard about the book The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep? It's supposed to make your kids fall asleep in just minutes. Find out if it works here.

 

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep

So I checked out The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep: A New Way Of Getting Children To Sleep on Amazon and read the reviews. I went to the author’s website (Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin) to research there too. It seemed legit, but also too good to be true. I had no choice but to buy the book and try it on my girls for the sake of research and to prove it was BS. BUT IT WASN’T BS! It worked, you guys! It really worked!

I bought the Kindle version of The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep on Amazon. The girls were not happy about it. They like reading from “real” books. But I didn’t want to have to wait for the book to get here; I wanted to to try it immediately.

How does it work? From the author’s website: The book is written with a specific language pattern based on psychological techniques that will help your child to relax and fall asleep. If you analyze the language and the structure of sentences you will soon see a pattern emerge. It’s all about giving the right suggestions to the child, to help it focus on relaxation and falling to sleep. I did notice the pattern quickly, though the girls did not.

I read it just as the author had recommended. In the introduction of The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep, there’s are instructions for how to read the story. For instance, when you see words in bold, you read them with emphasis. When you see words in italics, you read them slowly and calmly. I also read them quieter.

When I started reading, I didn’t think it would work because the girls kept talking. They were mad that there were no pictures in the book (there are some, but not on every page.) They asked a lot of questions like how their names were in the book. I just said that they are part of the story and the book said to include their names with Roger the Rabbit. Nope, this wasn’t going to work.

Unbelievably though, within five minutes Lila was already asleep. Mia was yawning and complaining about being really tired. I couldn’t believe it was working!

I don’t play around with luck, so even though they both ended up falling asleep within 10 minutes, I finished reading the entire book.

At the end of the book, I looked at them both and they were completely out. I was shocked! I started to move out of the bed, and Lila said “Mama.” I told her I was going to the bathroom and that I would be right back. She never woke up again. This book is amazing!

Have you heard about the book The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep? It's supposed to make your kids fall asleep in just minutes. Find out if it works here.

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep really made my girls fall asleep quickly. They liked it enough that they asked me this morning to read it to them again tonight so that they can hear the rest of the story.

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You can find The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep: A New Way Of Getting Children To Sleep on amazon.com, or you can download the free e-book directly from the author’s website!

Have you tried reading The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep to your kids? Did it work?

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

Lose The Cape Book Review

Disclaimer: I received an advanced PDF copy of Lose The Cape in exchange for this review. No other compensation was received. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

I remember back to when I first had Ethan. I dreamed that motherhood would me wearing a billowy white nightgown while nursing the perfect baby in the perfect nursery. Never once did projectile vomiting or being covered in poop because baby blew out his diaper find their way into this dream.

Neither did Ethan teething and leaving teeth marks in his crib, or when I had the girls, them literally peeling paint off of my perfect nursery walls.

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I thought all of my perfect babies would be happy and content all of the time,

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and that everything would be put in its place at the end of the day in the toy room.

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Oh how wrong I was! And it wasn’t too long into my motherhood journey that I realized that I wasn’t perfect and that the kids weren’t perfect. And that it was all okay. I even wrote a post titled Real Moms: You Can’t Be Perfect Everyday, But You ARE A Good Mom and included the mantra: “I am not a bad mom. I’m a good mom having a bad day” as a reminder to all moms to go easy on themselves.

Lose The Cape, Realities From Busy Moms and Strategies To Survive

I think that’s why I loved the book Lose The Cape, Realities From Busy Moms and Strategies To Survive so much. Think that you have to be a "supermom" to be a good mom? You don't! Lose The Cape, Realities From Busy Moms and Strategies To Survive is a must read for all moms.

Lose The Cape book description on Amazon:

This mothering gig is serious stuff.

There’s no handbook on how to deal with your kid, yet many moms feel pressured to be “supermom.” Sure, there are parenting books and websites and Pinterest, but it’s overwhelming. There’s so much to do, and despite our best efforts, we likely feel guilty for not doing more, doing better, doing it all.

This book is an attempt to reach out to all moms and let you know you’re already super.

Motherhood is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It’s frustrating, and confusing, and full of joy, and full of good days and bad days, and it’s humbling. I learn so much from the kids about what kind of mother I am and want to be.

I wish Lose The Cape was around when I had my babies! It really keeps motherhood in perspective…in real life perspective. In the book, authors Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera fight to kill off the image of “supermom” because none of us can be perfect moms. They recognize we are doing what’s best for us, our kids, our families….and we are all doing it our way. This no-nonsense, humorous and informative book Lose The Cape would definitely make a great baby shower gift for a first time mom!

Some of the tips in the book I found particularly useful were tips about:

  • Nurturing your marriage after kids (this is SO important because your relationship absolutely changes!)
  • Finding your support group (mom friends are important because they “get it” when you say that you are ready to sell your kids to gypsies)
  • Putting down electronics to enjoy the moment (I need help with this)
  • And one of my favorites: Not letting Pinterest make you feel like a failure (I love Pinterest, but I will never be a super creative DIYer)

When I was a new mom of twins and a 2 year old, life was not fun. It was work, and it was hard. It’s so important that you and your partner are on the same page, and luckily, Jason was more than willing to help and give me breaks. So were my sisters and mom. I think one thing I took away from Lose The Cape and that I always tell new moms is to not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. And when it’s offered, take it! You aren’t super mom and you don’t have to be. It takes a village, as the saying goes.

Another point the book made that I loved was that we don’t have to spend every waking moment doing everything for our children to be good moms. Teach them to entertain themselves. Teach them to be independent. Teach them life.

Just remember that you are a good mom. You are doing your best, and that is enough.

Now head over to Amazon and get a copy of Lose The Cape…it’s a great reminder that you don’t have to be perfect!

You can also follow Lose The Cape at LoseTheCape.com, on Twitter, Facebook, and (ironically!) on Pinterest.

This House Needs A Mouse – Book Review

Kids love books full of rhymes and cute pictures that have them finding new things every time they look at them. They also love books that make them giggle, and parents love books that teach kids something important (even though the kids may not realize that it’s happened.) This House Needs A Mouse by C. Jeffrey Nunnally fits the bill on all accounts.

This House Needs A Mouse – Book Review

This House Needs A Mouse by C. Jeffrey Nunnally is an entertaining read for kids about a mouse with a mission to leave his caged life by finding a family to take care of. It's full of rhymes, silly pictures, and is fun to read!

This House Needs A Mouse is the story of a:

A MOUSE WITH A MISSION.

A RODENT WITH RESOLVE.

CRUMB-FINDER EXTRAORDINAIRE!

This mouse is a very busy mouse who wants nothing more than to find a home full of crumbs he can take care of. He hates living life in a cage, and decides that he needs to find a family who will take him home.

He finds the perfect family – or they find him – when they go looking at the pet store for a mouse to take care of all of the crumbs that their toddler leaves throughout the house.

Life is good, and he becomes an important part of the family, until the mom has a baby and they realize the house is too small. The mouse stays with the house, and the family moves away as another family moves in.

The new family isn’t quite so crazy about having a mouse living in their house. They try to get rid of the mouse by getting a (very lazy) cat who ends up being taken back to the pet shop.

The new family tries everything to get rid of the mouse, but this is a rodent with resolve! Nothing works. Until the family realizes they really do need a mouse and decide to let him stay.

With a cheerful surprise at the end of This House Needs A Mouse, it’s quickly become a book that my kids have asked to read again and again. Ethan likes to read it to his sisters “because it’s fun to read all those rhyming words.” The girls like to have the story read to them “because of the words and the funny pictures.”

I like This House Needs A Mouse because it teaches that a family can be more than just the people you are related to. The best part about having friends (or loving a helpful mouse!) is that you can choose to make them a part of your family.

This House Needs A Mouse is available now for you to purchase on the book’s websiteAmazonBarnes and Noble, and Big Tent Books. You can also find This House Needs A Mouse on Facebook and tweet with the author C. Jeffrey Nunnally on Twitter.

Disclaimer. I received a copy of This House Needs A Mouse to assist in my review. No other compensation was received.