Book review “Keep It Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 tips for surviving parenthood”

The Power of Moms book review

Author: Julie K. Nelson


With her refreshing sense of humor and a “let’s be real” attitude, Julie K. Nelson has written a fun and fast read to help parents in any stage of raising children.Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 Tips for Surviving Parenthood is written just as described. Each tip is a little mini chapter—perfect for reading while waiting in the carpool, waiting for dance lessons to be over, or even (ahem!) sitting in the bathroom.

What I Liked Most:

I loved Julie’s conversational style of writing and her shared experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly that we can all relate to. I also loved the breadth of her tips. She covers everything from potty training to helping teenagers find their greater purpose in life. She also shared sobering and difficult personal experiences of how to navigate parenting during divorce and re-marriage. Her tips seem doable and non-intimidating. This book was always interesting, even when I felt a particular tip was not applicable to my family’s stage of life.

How This Affected My Mothering:

I enjoyed the real nuggets of wisdom in this book. For example,the difference between praise (compared to a Pop Tart) and encouragement (compared to fruits and vegetables), and the related topic of being process-oriented versus outcome-oriented as you guide your children, really struck me. It made me pause to examine myself and how I was communicating with my children. I realized that giving praise on an outcome was passing judgement on a child, while giving encouragement through a process is much more loving, motivating, and character building.

Lastly, I love it when other mothers are candid. I feel that it gives me permission to do the same, something that can be scary for me. This book helped me feel comfortable in admitting, and sometimes laughing about, the craziness that is sometimes in my home. I came away with little suggestions that did not feel guilt-inducing, but just something that a good friend might suggest. This is a great book, with something in it for everyone.

Reviewed by

Jennifer Brimhall

To see the live article, here is the link:

Reidhead Randomness book review

From Reidhead Randomness:

In Keep in Real and Grab a Plunger, humor and wit abound as encouragement, stories and relate-able experiences are shared.  Many topics (and age groups) are covered:  family vacations, talking to teenagers, encouragement and praise, helping kids when they make mistakes, helping kids overcome fears, potty training, and MANY MORE!  The author gives you a very real glimpse into her day……I’m sure most moms could relate!

As a home school mom, I have a different set of challenges, but I have seen family and friends go through many of the challenges.  For example, I don’t have to worry about the frantic “Get-your-hair-fixed-NOW-so-you-don’t-miss-the-bus” scenario, or the “lemme-hurry-and-pack-a-lunch” one either, but….MOST of the book deals with the everyday challenges of being a mom.  This is a fun book for every parent!  It is filled with great advice and perspectives that are easy to implement!

by Mindy Reid

post found at:

Inklings and Notions book review May 13, 2015

My thoughts: I just had to review this book when I saw the title of it, since sometimes parenting can be about trying to survive (I don’t mean this in a bad way!).;) I love the practical information in this book that helps parents to connect with their kids and help instill good values. I like her ideas for making meal time fun and a chance to connect with your kids and spouse. I also appreciate her thoughts on raising kids in a technology savvy world, how to make sure that they don’t have an addiction to social media and teaching them the importance of having meaningful conversations and relationships.

This is an excellent resource for parents!

by Amanda Holmes

review can be found at:

“I’m So Fifty” Gram’s Pick on the Month book review

First Line: I wake up at 7:00am and take a shower.

Great Passage: “A discouraged child languishes in the unclean room. If he or she finally cleans the seemingly insurmountable mess, a parent’s impulse is to remark, “You got it done. Good work.” That response acknowledges the clean room, but it does not validate the child’s valiant effort. An encouraging parent knows that the marathon of cleaning requires that he or she appear in the bedroom to cheer on the child from time to time.” (9)

What Others Are Saying:
“The book covers a range of concerns that basically all parents face, and offers some clear advice in an easy-to-read format, that I found helpful, informative, and encouraging as well.”—Utahtopia

“A couple things that stuck out to me were when she shared the quote, “Right is right, even if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it.” Amen, sister! Love that. And this quote I felt was basically the premise of her book. “In the long run, the only thing of lasting value you can give your child is your time and the memories of the time you shared together.”  —Literary Time Out

“Julie Nelson is a master at “keeping it real” as she gives sound advice amidst terrific stories of her own failures as well as successes as a parent. Her topics include the crucial importance of family rituals and teaching values while kids are young as well as how to stay positive amidst the chaos of raising a family, how to lift family members who make mistakes, and even how to successfully co-parent after divorce. Every parent can benefit from Julie’s extraordinary wisdom.”  —Richard and Linda Eyre

What I Thought: Since my mothering days are over, I’m always looking for ways to cheer on the mothers of my grandchildren. This book is the ticket. Instead of the usual guilt ridden prose of many parenting books, Nelson takes realistic view of the parenting role. She speaks with authenticity and from experience. A perfect gift for that mother that is in the trenches, day in and day out.
by Pam Torres
Review can be found at

LDS Women’s Book Review and Goodreads

My Review:

This parenting book covered each stage of parenting, from infants and toddlers to elementary age and teens. Regardless of which stage you may be in right now, you will find something useful to you as a parent. There are chapters for new parents about establishing good bedtime routines and also a chapter about potty training. As I’ve been parenting for going on 17 years now, these chapters are no longer useful for me. (Thank goodness!)
 Julie also uses a lot of humor in her writing which made this book an enjoyable read. For example, at the beginning of one of her chapters this is what she says, “What should be one of our main parenting goals? Survival? Yes, and that’s enough some days.” I couldn’t agree more!
As always when I review a non-fiction book with tips of any kind, it is too hard to list everything that I liked and learned. So here are some things I really enjoyed reading in this book.
Eight Values That Are Common to Strong Families: Some of those values included: Choices and consequences,Hard work is good for you, Integrity, Serving Others and Love.
Lifting Children Who make Mistakes:“How we react to mistakes directly correlates with the degree a person feels
self-worth and confidence to rise above those mistakes.”
How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: Some of the ideas were to take a break, go for a walk or write down your thoughts. Whatever it would take to calm down and not yell at your children. This is a skill that all parents can work on.
Strategies for Keeping Siblings Close: I liked the ideas of how you need to teach your kids to support each other, give them opportunities to do things together (whether they want to or not), and learn to make happy memories from doing things with each other.
Co-Parenting After Divorce: I have to say that I was VERY happy to find a chapter about this in a parenting book. So many times the past six years I’ve felt like I was all on my own, and wandering through the dark trying to parent as a single mom while still parenting with my ex-husband. Gatekeeping was discussed where one parent or the other tries to keep the children from the other parent whether physically or emotionally, or finding ways to have the other parent look bad in the children’s eyes. The tips to avoid this were to 1-Share information between parents so both parents stay actively involved, 2-Discuss the noncustodial parent with the child:It is helpful to remember that although the other parent may not be physically present, he or she is still ever-present in your child’s heart and mind, 3-Share custodial responsibilities:(I LOVED this next part)Remember that you divorced your spouse; your children did not divorce their parent. Research studies report that if both parents live nearby, it maximizes children’s post divorce adjustment. Welcome the time your children spends with your ex, unless you need to address safety issues. Avoid showing hostility at exchanges. Be flexible when schedules have to be adjusted from time to time. Shared parenting gives you an emotional and physical renewal while the children spend time with another person who loves them like you do.”
Using Technology Wisely: (With two teens in the house this was very relevant too!) 1. Time-out from technology,
2. Avoid anonymity and intolerance,and 3. Check, pry, and supervise. I feel every parent with tweens and teens needs to read this chapter.
In the end I feel like this is a good parenting book that would benefit new and experienced parents. Even if you pick out a few things to try and use with your family, I feel you will see some good changes. This book can be read at several different sittings or when you specifically need information about a certain topic. This book would be a great Mother’s Day present or a gift given to new parents at a baby shower.
Reviewed by Sheila at

“My Book Addiction” blog book review 5/12/15

Blog tour~Julie K. Nelson with the book Keep It Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 tips for surviving parenthood | My Book Addiction and More!

Is was an entertaining as well as informative, funny and educational book. While, my children are grown…Parents! Is is a great resource book!

Filled with insight, resources to help enrich yours and your children’s lives. An informative, entertaining, and enjoyable read! A wonderful “self-help” book, packed full of knowledge, insight, information and a gem of a book. New and young parents, this would be a very helpful book, one in which, the reader, learns so much, it is unbelievable, how much information the author packed into this amazing book. Easy to read, with funny insights from the author’s own experience as a parent. I would recommend to both new and young parents. Enjoyable! Well written!

*Received for an honest review from the author and/or publisher*

**Cross-posted on My Book Addiction and More**

Rating: 5

By April R

review can be found at this link:

Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day approaching in 2 days, I’d like to share my 2 latest videos about parenting. They are completely funny, touching, and real. The first one is “Ten things you wish you would have known before having a baby” and I’ve watched it over and over and always tear up at the end.

The 10 things are:

10. “Don’t listen to anyone else. You’ll know how to take care of your baby. Don’t care one ounce about what other people think about you.” While I DO agree with most of this, I would also say to keep an open mind. We sometimes get in a rut or don’t see clearly the damage we are doing from inheriting unhealthy behaviors from our own parents. So while we shouldn’t be paralyzed with worry about what other people think, we should listen to wise people, especially those with more experience and expertise, to see if maybe they have something better we could be doing.

9. “Get on a schedule.” Yes and yes. Although some parents can do this earlier in the infancy stage because their babies respond to sleeping through the night. I’m always amazed when some mom says her 3 month old is sleeping 6 hours straight. I think, “What drugs are you giving him?” Sleeping was always a hard thing for me. Some of my infants were terrible sleepers and that made me a terribly sleep-deprived Momzilla at times.

8. “Parenting is hard. Take time out to revive and find yourself.” Amen and amen. Ideas they suggested were to get out and treat yourself to ice cream, go to grandma’s and drop the kids off, take a 20 minute nap, and have a weekly date night. I would add that parents need to get away for emotional, social, and physical health. I am SUCH a better mother when I return from a brief (or sometimes lengthy) absence. I think, “Okay you little buggers. I guess still love you after all. I missed you!”

7. “Discover who your children are and let them be.” When we clash with our kids, it’s often because they don’t measure up to our expectations or they don’t agree with us. So what? Most of the time (unless it involves taking drugs, stealing the car, stuff like that…) they are just figuring out who they are and that’s probably going to be different than who we are. Let’s be okay with that.

6. “Be prepared for the unexpected because it WILL happen.” And it usually involved bodily fluids. Like the time my daughter hurled vomit across the isle of the train in Chicago and hit us, the windows behind, and our bags. Just before be boarded the plane. Awesome.

5. “Make room for the baby.” The video talks about the physical needs of a baby. Stroller. Crib. Tons of diapers. Stuff like that. But I would add to make room in your heart for the baby. Especially if this is the first one, our lives are completely turned upside down. It was all about us before having a baby. Not any longer. Now the baby should be our primary focus and we need to give up and sacrifice to be there and meet all his or her needs. That might mean we drop or put aside some personal interests for a time. Change our priorities. Stop watching so many reality TV shows so we can spend time bonding with a new person who is ours to keep forever.

4. “Memories will be the only thing you’ll have so keep these fleeting moments in your heart.”

3. “Be grateful for your kids. It’s ALL worth it.” We may not think this while having to change the sheets in the middle of the night because a child wet the bed while sleeping with you because they were too scared to sleep in their own bed.

2. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. The house can wait. Some days you just won’t have the patience.”

1. “There’s going to be one thing you cannot prepare yourself for, that you cannot know until you experience it is the love you are going to feel. Overwhelming, powerful, consuming love.”

Here’s the link. You gotta watch it. Bring your hankie.

The second video clip is one I found a year or so ago. It’s brilliant! I show it in class to my university students in the parenting class I teach. I have them write a newspaper ad job description of a parent. We share them and then watch this. I hope you still have your hankie from the last video. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

5 Star Book Review on “My Love For Reading Keeps Growing”

I am not usually a “self help” reader, but I have read a few for reviews, and I have loved each of them.  I don’t usually love reading about parenting, because it usually makes me feel like a horrible mother.  This book on the other hand made me feel like “I might be doing something right”, and “Dang, those are awesome ideas”.  It was a great book.

The author is funny.  She shares “real” life trials about raising kids, and shares some great solutions, examples, etc on how to handle them.

I think one of my favorite parts of the book is when the author talks about how we don’t have to “reward” every kid.  She was referring to sports.  My kids are not in sports, thank heavens, but they have done some church sports at times.  I laugh every time when they say “we have to reward everyone so no one feels left out”.  WHAT?  Seriously.  I love how she addresses this issue in the book.  How are we going to teach our kids the importance of good sportsmanship, how to be competitive without conflict if “everyone” gets recognized for the same effort.  No.  There are some kids that do more, and deserve the recognition of doing so.  If others can’t handle it, too freaking bad.  I do not want my kids growing up thinking they don’t have to put any effort into anything because they will get rewarded regardless.  What she does say is how we should recognize each thing that they did do during their sport.  If they made a goal, point, etc. or met or beat their previous best then it’s important to focus on those efforts.  Letting them know we are proud of how much better they did and how proud we are they keep trying.  It’s okay if we are not the best at everything, but to try our hardest at everything we do.

I love how she tackles how to approach every day battles we may have with our kids in a more productive way.   There are just so many great ideas that I intend to apply in my own life.  I love how she talks about each stage of a child’s life.  There are trials with every age, and she has some wonderful ideas on how to approach them.

I really enjoyed this book.  I love the humor that was in this book.  As a parent there are times when I either have to laugh or cry.  I wish I could say I always laugh, but that is not the case, but I try to.

It was mentioned so many times in this book about how we will miss the days when our kids were young.  I can attest to that.  I was such a nervous nelly mother that it was hard for me to enjoy the “little” years like I should have.  I cannot tell you how much I wish I could have been able to relax a little more and enjoy my kids when they were little.  I have to admit that I don’t always “love” the teenage years, but I am trying every day to appreciate my kids because now, with one in college it has hit me in the face about how much I missed so many opportunities with our kids.  I had to get something done.  I had to do so and so.  The author address this many times, and I loved each and every one of them.

This book was inspirational and so insightful.  I loved every minute of it.  Not once did I feel like I as inadequate as a mother.  Instead I found great ideas to hopefully make my household run more smoothly.

Book Review from Rachelle’s Writing Corner

As a mother of five kids, this book definitely looked enticing and I’m so glad that I got the chance to read it.

I liked the format of this book because it was easy to read in chunks here and there in between diaper changes, feedings, piano lessons, homework, etc., etc. Each chapter was short but chock full of great information, anecdotes, and scenarios that help teach the principles that Julie has collected. These 25 Tips are definitely on the top of my list of areas where I could use some extra help. I found myself marking and highlighting several tips and passages as I went along.

One of my children is four, but it still feels like we are in the terrible twos. He’s extremely difficult and headstrong, goes 100 miles an hour all day long and has complete freak-outs about the littlest things. My husband and I have pulled our hair out trying to figure out how to work with this child. Many days I have been in tears over the latest trouble he has gotten into and how to keep my cool and still show love to him. There just aren’t words, so in short, I’ll tell you that this book is so refreshing because I can tell that Julie really does understand the dynamics of parenting. She shares these tips in a way that doesn’t make me feel guilty because I haven’t always got it right, instead I feel hopeful and excited to try out the ideas. I’m already implementing them and in some cases, just a different way of looking at the situation has helped me immensely.
Here’s one thought that helped remind me of where we’re at with this kid:

“Prekindergarten children have difficulty understanding and putting labels on feelings and, therefore, can feel out of control. They don’t know what they are feeling or how to deal with problems. Parents increase a child’s self-awareness by allowing the child to express emotion in a safe situation, labeling the emotion, and letting the child know that you will be ready to talk when he or she calms down. I like to say, “When your voice is calm like mine, we can talk.”

This would be an excellent Mother’s Day gift, or for any day kind of gift as a parenting pick-me-up. The other day I was on the phone changing my baby’s messy diaper with a kid in the background yelling, “Mom, come wipe me!” If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, this book is for you. 🙂

By Rachelle Christensen

The full post and review can be found at:

Book Review at Wishful Endings

The first, short chapter immediately drew me in to this book and made me think: “Okay. I can do this.” Some parenting books feel like one huge long research, discussion, and/or lecture. Keep it Real and Grab a Plungerfrankly did not. Each chapter was concise, but also chalk full of great things, examples, ideas, definitions, etc. It’s definitely a book I’ll be keeping on my shelf to pull out when I need a little parenting lift or a reminder of what I should be doing when I fall into a rut or become frustrated.

Let’s talk a little about subject material. The author tackles some tough and can-be-frustrating (at least to parents) topics. There’s a chapter on potty training (I am so glad I’m done with my own children!) where one line sums it all: “Staying emotionally disengaged and putting the responsibility and internal reward on the child is fundamental.” Then she shares a rather humorous story that was unbelievable, but true. There’s another chapter on co-parenting after divorce that has some points for those not in this situation as well, primarily with “gatekeeping.” There is also a chapter on using technology wisely, which is definitely a hot topic these days.

You’ll find the usual topics as well, but presented in a way that I easily connected with and understood, which made them much easier to apply and implement. I loved the encouragement and praise chapter, the eight values that are common to strong families section of the values-based parenting chapter, the chapter on lifting children who make mistakes, and found the chapter on helping children overcome their fears especially helpful with one of our children. I could go on and on because I basically found gems of knowledge and applications for my own children in every chapter.

Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger was informative, enjoyable, but most of all gave me a lot of things to think about and implement as a parent to enrich my children’s lives. I liked that I didn’t feel each topic was repetitious or overly discussed, but got the point across in a way I could relate to, understand, and easily apply. This is definitely a parenting book I would recommend!

By Tressa Sherman

Find the original review and other post information in the link below: