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Keep It Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 Tips for Surviving Parenthood

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As a popular blogger, a college professor, and a frequent parenting guest expert on TV, you might suspect Julie K. Nelson is 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 experience as a mom of five in this entertaining and pragmatic book. Lear As a popular blogger, a college professor, and a frequent parenting guest expert on TV, you might suspect Julie K. Nelson is 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 experience as a mom of five in this entertaining and pragmatic book. Learn how to overcome your natural manipulative, authoritarian tendencies and foster your child’s self-discipline, respect, and emotional maturity. Humorous, insightful, and authentic, this book will get you through the sticky stuff with grace so you can enjoy those parenting moments that make it all worth it.


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As a popular blogger, a college professor, and a frequent parenting guest expert on TV, you might suspect Julie K. Nelson is 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 experience as a mom of five in this entertaining and pragmatic book. Lear As a popular blogger, a college professor, and a frequent parenting guest expert on TV, you might suspect Julie K. Nelson is 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 experience as a mom of five in this entertaining and pragmatic book. Learn how to overcome your natural manipulative, authoritarian tendencies and foster your child’s self-discipline, respect, and emotional maturity. Humorous, insightful, and authentic, this book will get you through the sticky stuff with grace so you can enjoy those parenting moments that make it all worth it.

26 review for Keep It Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 Tips for Surviving Parenthood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    This is a parenting book that is FUN to read! I have read some parenting books where I have felt like such a failure, especially when my children were younger, and this one didn't leave me feeling that way at all. I was glad to see that I already implement some of the ideas she gave. There were plenty more that I want to try to see if they will work for our family. There's a broad range of topics and not all of them applied to me but I still enjoyed hearing her advice in those areas. For example, This is a parenting book that is FUN to read! I have read some parenting books where I have felt like such a failure, especially when my children were younger, and this one didn't leave me feeling that way at all. I was glad to see that I already implement some of the ideas she gave. There were plenty more that I want to try to see if they will work for our family. There's a broad range of topics and not all of them applied to me but I still enjoyed hearing her advice in those areas. For example, co-parenting after divorce and parenting blended families. I also no longer need to worry about kindergarten readiness or potty training (thank goodness!). I'm starting to head into the teenage years and am open to advice in that area so I enjoyed what she had to say about that. One of my favorite chapters was the one on positive v. pirate parenting. They are two different parenting approaches. I started out more authoritarian and "pirate-y" but either my children or my age has mellowed me out quite a bit and I try to use positive guidance these days. I still need to work on this in certain areas (like practicing the piano) and liked the examples she gave which will help keep me on course. I liked the multiple chapters on how to enjoy children in each phase of life and make tons and tons of memories through games, traditions, mealtimes, hobbies and any other way you can think of. She gives plenty of suggestions so there's no reason to feel stuck in any of those areas. I also enjoyed her writing style--it was full of humor while still getting her point across in a succinct manner. If you've been parenting for several years now or are just starting out, there is something for everyone in here. This is a parenting book I highly recommend! I received a copy of this book to review. My opinion is 100% my own. Mel's Shelves

  2. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    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 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, to 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tressa (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 Plunger frankly 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 be 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 Plunger frankly 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! Content: Clean Source: I would like to thank Cedar Fort, the publisher, for my complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie W

    What really caught my eye is the words at the bottom--"surviving parenthood." Parenting isn't easy at all and this author has a unique way of combining fact with great teaching moments and wrapping it all up with a dash of humor. I have four kids, ranging from 9 - 16, yet I learned some techniques that will definitely make the way I parent better. I love how each chapter is cleverly named--titles such as, "Keep It Real...and Put Down the Pop-Tarts." I never would have thought of praise as somethi What really caught my eye is the words at the bottom--"surviving parenthood." Parenting isn't easy at all and this author has a unique way of combining fact with great teaching moments and wrapping it all up with a dash of humor. I have four kids, ranging from 9 - 16, yet I learned some techniques that will definitely make the way I parent better. I love how each chapter is cleverly named--titles such as, "Keep It Real...and Put Down the Pop-Tarts." I never would have thought of praise as something like a pop-tart, yet it's explained in a way that makes sense. My personal preference is that the chapters would have gone in "order." There's a chapter on values, one on potty training, teenagers, kindergarten readiness, and even co-parenting after divorce. For the most part, the order really doesn't matter, but going from teenagers to kindergarten was a bit of a mind jump for me. Since my biggest parenting struggles right now are with teenagers, I really enjoyed that chapter and the advice found there. There were little snippets throughout the other chapters that could apply to me and my family, but it's nice to have one spot to really sit and ponder on. A lot of the information isn't earth shattering news, yet it's presented in a way that encourages a new way of viewing things. I would recommend it! *I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Davis

    Great tips! We feel like our parenting is better than ever! Thank you!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    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 thi 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle

    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 f 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    April

    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 i 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 Heat rating: N/A Reviewed by: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

    There was so many things I liked about this book, it's hard to know where to start. There were so many thoughtful messages and advice. I appreciated them all. Sometimes with parenting books, I feel lectured, or that everything I do is wrong when it comes to my kids, and I didn't feel that way reading this book. I think there are many topics in this book that any parent in any stage could relate to. For example: Lifting Children Who Make Mistakes, How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids, Bedtime Routine There was so many things I liked about this book, it's hard to know where to start. There were so many thoughtful messages and advice. I appreciated them all. Sometimes with parenting books, I feel lectured, or that everything I do is wrong when it comes to my kids, and I didn't feel that way reading this book. I think there are many topics in this book that any parent in any stage could relate to. For example: Lifting Children Who Make Mistakes, How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids, Bedtime Routines (that was and is still a needed necessity in our home), I could go on and on. I recommend this book to parents who are first starting their journey, or like me, have older kids. We could all use a refresher. Received a PDF from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    JoAnn

    Oh, my goodness. What an amazing book. Every parent should read this book. Everyone who is planning to become a parent needs to read this book. It is full of the best advice I've ever read on parenting. Though each chapter was my favorite chapter, my most favorite chapter was Chapter 10, "Keep it Real and Wave Your Wand - making memories at mealtimes. This author has a sense of humor that makes this book even more fun to read. Not only that, but parents can learn so much about, not only surviving Oh, my goodness. What an amazing book. Every parent should read this book. Everyone who is planning to become a parent needs to read this book. It is full of the best advice I've ever read on parenting. Though each chapter was my favorite chapter, my most favorite chapter was Chapter 10, "Keep it Real and Wave Your Wand - making memories at mealtimes. This author has a sense of humor that makes this book even more fun to read. Not only that, but parents can learn so much about, not only surviving parenthood, but enjoying every step they take during parenthood. I strongly advice every Mom and Dad to read this book. You will not be sorry.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Here is an excerpt from my review: "Over 25 chapters, Nelson takes you through all aspects of parenting and how to more effectively discipline, nurture, and prepare your children for their independent futures. Nelson has a lot of personal stories to share on how she did it right or made a mistake. Many of her stories are humorous. I suppose as a parent, you have to find the funny in order to make it through the day sometimes, especially when you're baby has vomited all over the place and is runn Here is an excerpt from my review: "Over 25 chapters, Nelson takes you through all aspects of parenting and how to more effectively discipline, nurture, and prepare your children for their independent futures. Nelson has a lot of personal stories to share on how she did it right or made a mistake. Many of her stories are humorous. I suppose as a parent, you have to find the funny in order to make it through the day sometimes, especially when you're baby has vomited all over the place and is running around naked in public." You can read the full review here: http://cookscrapcraft.blogspot.com/20...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paula Ratcliffe

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was offered this book from Cedar Fort and Julie K. Nelson for a honest and fair review. This book gives tips and suggestions on how to assist with the job of parenting the hardest job many of us have to go through the one that is the most rewarding and heart wrenching. I enjoyed reading this book and the journey this author takes you on with idea and tips of how to do a better job at parenting with ideas of the way in which we go about raising the kids to go into the world. To mold them into ad I was offered this book from Cedar Fort and Julie K. Nelson for a honest and fair review. This book gives tips and suggestions on how to assist with the job of parenting the hardest job many of us have to go through the one that is the most rewarding and heart wrenching. I enjoyed reading this book and the journey this author takes you on with idea and tips of how to do a better job at parenting with ideas of the way in which we go about raising the kids to go into the world. To mold them into adults that can raise their own kids. It was a great story and I think many will benefit from it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Berry

    Realistic and approachable, there is something here for each stage of parenthood that will help you feel like you can manage it. Somehow. Just keep it real! And the plunger isn't a bad idea either. Realistic and approachable, there is something here for each stage of parenthood that will help you feel like you can manage it. Somehow. Just keep it real! And the plunger isn't a bad idea either.

  14. 5 out of 5

    LJ

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Ericksen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janessa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shawna

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  19. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Parker

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dani Lambe

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura Calkins

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tina Moore

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jordy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Becknell

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