About Me

My photo
Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

My Thoughts:

Happy families don't just happen.  They require work and, if you're like me, techniques, advice and motivation which are all found in The Secrets of Happy Families.  My family is currently undergoing a well planned overhaul, thanks to Bruce Feiler

I'm beyond excited to tell you about this book.  It's filled with NEW, easy techniques and guidelines for every family.  Many you've never even heard of before! Take a peek at what's inside:

Introduction: Why We Need New Thinking for Families

Part One 
Adapt All The Time
1. The Agile Family Manifesto: A Twenty-First-Cantury Plan to Reduce Chaos and Increase Happiness
2. The Right Way to Have Family Dinner: Why What You Talk About Is More Important Than What You Eat
3. Branding Your Family: The Power of a Family Mission Statement

Part Two
Talk. A Lot
4. Fight Smart: The Harvard Handbook for Resolving Conflict
5. The Buck Starts Here: The Warren Buffet Guide to Setting an Allowance
6. Talk About the Marshmallows: How to Have Difficult Conversations
7. Lessons from the Sex Mom: What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex (but should have)
8. What's Love Got to Do With It: The Simple Test That Saved Millions of Families
9. The Care and Feeding of Grandparents: How To Avoid Throwing Granny From the Train
10. The Right Stuff: How Rearranging Your Furniture Can Improve Your Family

Part Three
Go Out and Play
11. The Family Vacation Checklist: How To Make Travel More Fun
12. Shut Up and Cheer!: What Successful Coaches Know About Successful Families
13. Give War a Chance: The Green Beret Guide to the Perfect Family Reunion

AND after all this amazing information you'll find ... THE HAPPY FAMILIES TOOLKIT!  (I took TONS of notes in the first 3 chapters and then stumbled upon this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! ) 

The Happy Families Toolkit is a "cheat sheet" of sorts.  It summarizes the wealth of information in The Secrets of Happy Families.  Bruce Feiler created it for busy parents.  Absolute genius and much easier to read than my notes!:)

Each and every chapter is a breath of fresh air.  No old fashioned ideas or stale thoughts printed in this book! I particularly enjoyed Part 1 as it's designed to bring your family together.  I've been using ideas galore this week and no one is the wiser, although my husband is in on the secrets.:)  Here's a picture of our Morning List poster proudly displayed in my kitchen...

The Morning List is a tool to get things accomplished.  Yes, I'm sure you've heard of to-do lists, but the Morning List doesn't involve nagging and yelling.  We've been there and done that at my house, sad to say.  The Morning List items are checked by. your. children.  This helps teach executive skills and allows them a role in their own upbringing.  And, best of all, IT WORKS.  Our mornings ran SO much smoother last week!  The girls chores and school work were done early and everyone was happier.  Success!  And this leads to the Family Meeting...

Our first Family Meeting will be this Sunday.  During that 20 minute period we'll start with a game and then discuss 3 questions:

1. What went well in our family this week? (We'll cover The Morning List among other things.)
2. What didn't go well?
3. What will we agree to work on in the week ahead?

Then we'll discuss rewards/consequences for each item.  Yes, the children get a say!  It's a family, after all, and everyone needs to be heard.:)

It's going to be a special time to talk without judgement and work toward a healthier family.  I can't wait!

One other section that really inspired me was The Right Way to Have Family Dinner.  I'll give you a hint, it doesn't have to be dinner!  It can be breakfast, lunch, or even dessert time.  Go ahead and break the rules!  And, this is SO important, dinner time is NOT about the food, it's about the FAMILY.  Yes, the family!  Bruce Feiler teaches us "games" to play during mealtime to enrich your family's experience.  Some activities are done to learn more about your family- your relatives, history, etc.  "Psychologists at Emory discovered that the more children know about their family's story, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, the more successfully they believe their family functions."  How about an Autobiography Night or Word game Night?  I've already got them on my schedule for Tuesday and Thursday Dessert Nights.;)

Lessons from the Sex Mom was a bit risqué for my taste.  I'd be incredibly angry if a neighborhood mother told my grade schooler (or my teen) about sex.  The "sex mom" also chats with teens about sexual relations while in the car, corners girls about types of sex after dinner and places condoms on the counter?  No, thank you!  It's wonderful to have a healthy relationship with your kids and educating them about relationships and intercourse is part of that. I believe the point was to encourage parents to be honest with their children, which is wonderful, but hearing about the "sex mom" made me uncomfortable.

I really enjoyed reading The Secrets of Happy Families.  I have so many new ideas that I can't wait to incorporate into my family's life.  Being a parent can be exhausting and it's unbelievably encouraging to have new tools to make life easier.  Highly recommend!

The book that revolutionized our view of what makes families happy . . .
Determined to find the smartest solutions and the most cutting-edge research about families, bestselling author andNew York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler gathered team-building exercises and problem-solving techniques from the most creative minds—from Silicon Valley to the Green Berets—and tested these ideas with his wife and kids. The result is a lively, original look at how we can create stronger parent/child relationships, manage the chaos of our lives, teach our kids values and grit, and have more fun together.
The Secrets of Happy Families includes more than two hundred unique practices that will help your family draw closer and make everyone in your home happier. It has already changed the lives of millions of families, and it can do the same for yours.

In The Secrets of Happy Families, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler has drawn up a blueprint for modern families — a new approach to family dynamics, inspired by cutting-edge techniques gathered from experts in the disciplines of science, business, sports, and the military. Written in a charming, accessible style, The Secrets of Happy Families is smart, funny, and fresh, and will forever change how your family lives every day.

Bruce is celebrating the release of his book with a family fun "Happy Family" Kindle HDX giveaway.


One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX

  • The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 15th. Winner will be announced February 17th on the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the Litfuse blog on the 17th to see if you won.

*I was given a copy of this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*


M.K. said...

That looks like a very helpful book. It's hard to see some of those chapter descriptions, b/c 3 of our 4 kids are out of the house, I'm 50, and I feel that our time to really "FORM" a family are pretty much over. Not totally over, but we've does almost all of it already. But I bet there are great ideas in there for improvement. I'd like to know what they had to say about the grandparents ... that's right where we are these days!

~ Toni ~ said...

Sounds like a very interesting books with lots of take-a-ways. The last chapter really caught my eye might be a good one to read before my two family reunions this summer ;)