Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Social Book Review - It's all of your Facebook posts, in book form!

Ok, so I've held off on recommending My Social Book for... years, even though I've ordered five of them. But every time someone sees them in my house, they LOVE them and exclaim how they never knew such a product existed: it's a website that turns your Facebook posts into an actual book, kind of like a year book. And since I clearly love them, too, AND since I have a link that will give YOU $15 off of one and ME $15 off of one, whatever, I'm just going to share this. (For the record, I think this is just a link they give everyone who orders one. I didn't contact them or tell them I was a blogger or anything. It just came in my order confirmation email. They didn't ask me to write a review, and I didn't tell them I was going to.)
First, the bad (and the reason I've never recommended them before now): they're kind of... glitchy. (If books can be glitchy.) Sometimes the page numbers are wrong. Often the posts in the book are slightly out of order for some reason, and a few of mine have been left out altogether. You don't get to pick the sizes of each picture or the layout, so a picture you don't particularly love might be huge while an adorable photo might be small. My books from past years have an annoying amount of white space on the pages (which is mostly annoying because you pay for the books by page, so it's frustrating to pay for half-empty pages,) but that seems to be a lot better in this year's book. If you want to choose your layout, sizes, etc for professional photos or a special vacation or something, order a book from Shutterfly. (I also have a bunch of those.)
But, the good: every picture of my children that I've put on Facebook, every time I've posted something hilarious they said, is now IN A BOOK. You know how people always talk about how nobody actually prints pictures anymore and how someday our kids will have no photos of themselves?? I have a book of big events and small, everyday moments for EVERY YEAR OF MY KIDS' LIVES. Not just pictures, but funny things they've said and photo captions, too. And it's SO much easier than designing a book on your own, because you literally just log into your Facebook account through their site, tell it which types of things you want to include (photos only, photos and status updates, comments left by other people, etc,) and order it. It can be done in under 10 minutes. (Though if you want to, you can also go through and remove individual posts that you don't want to include in your book.)
To me, the glitches are worth it, because I know I would literally never print all of these pictures and put them in an album otherwise. Plus if you're like me and forget to write things in your kids' baby books but DO remember to post milestones on Facebook, ta da, you suddenly have all of your kids' major moments in a book and look like a rock star instead of a slacker. Since discovering My Social Book, I make even more of an effort to post pictures of my kids on Facebook regularly, because I know I'm just adding to the book I'll order at the end of the year. Bottom line: I recommend these books, with the caveat that you shouldn't expect to be 100% thrilled with the formatting. If you want $15 off of your first order, click here! (And full disclosure, I also get $15 off if you do that.) They almost always offer a percentage off your order (I've seen anywhere from 15%-40%) so search on a site like Retail Me Not first to see if you can get a discount, too.
Have any of you tried My Social Book? Are there other sites that make a similar product? Let me know in the comments!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

So Glad They Told Me - Book Release Day!

I've always tried to be real about both the great and the really hard parts of motherhood on this blog and on my Facebook page (shameless plug, follow it if you don't already. That's where I share the really juicy stuff. Also ridiculous pictures of myself for some reason.) I try to tell the truth about parenthood, to laugh (and make you guys laugh, too) and to cry, and to be honest about it all.

Last year, an awesome blogger named Stephanie Sprenger launched a campaign called So Glad They Told Me and asked other moms to share honest, real and helpful advice that other people had given them about motherhood (or the advice they wish they'd gotten.) And since I try to be real to the point of embarrassing myself, I shared this picture of myself sitting on an embarrassing pile of laundry along with some helpful advice that my dad gave me about housework when you've got an infant.

Spoiler alert: I no longer have an infant, and my laundry situation is still this embarrassing. 
The campaign went viral, and the above photo of me, my baby and my ridiculous pile of laundry appeared on television and on The Huffington Post. I'm so proud.

Then a while later on Facebook, Stephanie posted a call for submissions for a book, also to be called So Glad They Told Me. Guys, I wanted to be in the book so badly! I ended up submitting two essays on the very last day they were accepting submissions, and then I waited. And waited some more, because it turns out that I was wrong about it being the last day to submit. So then I waited some more.

And then I got an email telling me that ONE OF MY ESSAYS HAD BEEN ACCEPTED FOR INCLUSION IN THE BOOK!!! AAAHHHH!! The essay they accepted was about my parents - two amazing people who I'm proud to know - and about the only time I can ever remember my mom refusing to talk to me.

And today, that book is available for sale!! With my essay in it!! And my name!!! And a little bio about me that was somehow harder for me to write than the essay itself!!!


Honestly, since I just got my copy of the book three days ago, I haven't even had a chance to finish reading all of the other essays in the book yet (shocking, I know, with two young kids at home,) but I've loved the ones I've read! The book is a refreshing and honest look at parenting - both the amazing parts and somewhat less than amazing part. And it HAS MY NAME IN IT!!!

If you want to buy So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood, you can do so here!! (Full disclosure, if you buy it through that link, it will cost the same for you, but I'll get a small percentage of the sale. Like literally a few cents. But if you don't want me to get a few cents, you can just type the name of the book into Amazon and buy it that way.)

So, to summarize, I JUST GOT PUBLISHED IN A REAL LIVE BOOK!!!! And so did some other amazing women!! And you can read it if you want to.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Four Reasons Having a Messy Car is Actually a Good Thing


I'll be honest: I've never really been great at keeping the inside of my car clean. Once when I was in college, my car broke down in the middle of an intersection, and I made my roommate help me shove all of the stuff from the seats and floor into the trunk so that the tow truck driver and mechanic wouldn't see how messy my car was. It took us at least ten minutes to move everything.

Now that I have kids, the mess has multiplied. Plus, since I'm carting around two kids and all of their stuff, we've had to upgrade to a vehicle that's a bit bigger than the '94 Nissan Sentra I was driving in college, so there's more floor space that seems to magically attract junk. I've been meaning to clean my minivan out for a while now, but then I started thinking about all of the benefits of having my vehicle piled high with crap. So in case you're like me and are putting off emptying out your car, check out this list of reasons that having a messy car can actually be a good thing!

1. You're prepared in case of emergency.
When I was a new driver, my dad used to tell me that I should always keep a blanket and some water in my car, especially during the winter. That way if I got stranded somewhere during a blizzard or because my car broke down, I'd be warm and hydrated until help could reach me. And now that I drive my mom-mobile, I've always got blankets and water. And Cheerios. And apple sauce pouches. And toy cars. And stuffed animals. And empty plastic bags. And seven mittens that don't match each other. Sure, the water is mostly contained in 14 half-empty sippy cups, the blankets are baby-sized, and the Cheerios are as old as the minivan. But the point is, if we got stranded in the middle of a snow storm, my family and I would be set for at least a week.

2. No more last-minute stops at the store on the way to events.
Have you ever been on your way to dinner at a friend's house or a work gathering when you suddenly remember that you were supposed to bring something? If your car is full of stuff, you've almost definitely got items that will work in a pinch for just about any situation. Forgot to bring a potluck dish? Here are six packs of sandwich crackers! Will the party have a white elephant gift exchange? A book about going to the potty will be a great conversation starter! Need a hostess gift? Everyone loves juice boxes and a handful of fast food napkins!

3. You can eliminate the need for a diaper bag or purse. 
When my son was a newborn, a well-stocked diaper bag was a must on any excursion. If I forgot to refill it or - even worse - forgot to bring it altogether, I was in big trouble. One time we ate dinner in a restaurant with my son wearing only a diaper and a windbreaker because he had a diaper blowout right after we were seated, and I'd forgotten to put spare clothes in his diaper bag. But now my son is nearly four years old, his sister is one, and there are enough clothes and diapers in our vehicle to dress at least half of the children in any given neighborhood. My van also contains approximately 17 partially empty containers of wipes, no less than four boxes of tissues, and enough change in the center console to buy each of my kids at least one meal at a restaurant (assuming, of course, that the restaurant has a dollar menu.) I can leave my diaper bag and purse at home, since the contents of both are strewn throughout the back seat.

4. You're less likely to be detained for suspicion of car theft.
Let's say that someone in my town has their minivan stolen, and it's the same model and color as mine. I might get pulled over just to make sure that I wasn't driving said stolen vehicle. But just by showing the cop the things that were on the floor and shoved under the seats, it would only take about 15 seconds for me to prove that the vehicle was actually mine. Look - here's a picture of me with my grandpa! And fourteen pieces of junk mail addressed to me! And some Christmas cards with pictures of my family on them that I forgot to mail last year! I mean, yes...my license and insurance card would probably clear it up pretty quickly, too, but you can never be too careful.

By cleaning out your car, you could be doing yourself more harm than good, so it's probably best to leave it the way it is. And then you can use the time you saved by not cleaning your car out to help me come up with a list of reasons that I shouldn't clean the closets either. I'd really appreciate it.


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