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Review of A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family

Posted By Jessica Fisher On September 7, 2009 @ 10:06 am In Book Review | 5 Comments

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So many blogs, so little time. The internet is just filled with all sorts of great stuff! I could spend days reading all there is out there about home and family management and life as MOM and probably never exhaust it all. Not everything you read, though is that great. So, when you find a gem, you want to share it with others. This past summer I read, not a blog, but a book by a blogger.

A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family [5] was written by Mary Ostyn, also known as Owlhaven [6]. Mother of ten children from three countries, Mary has a heart for homemaking and making home a wonderful place for her family. Though the book’s title implies that it is for mothers of many, I’d say that any mom of any size family could take Mary’s tips and adapt them to her home. Couldn’t we all use a few more tips about getting the laundry done, feeding a family on a budget, and making the most of every minute we have at our disposal? Moms of many have a huge need to be efficient with their time since there’s only so much of mom to go around. But, I’m sure every mom wishes to redeem the days as much as the next girl.

Addressing issues of adoption, money, space, activities, vacations, respect, relationships, education, and parenting hacks, this book tackles some of the challenges that all of us face in our day to day.

Some things that stood out to me from my summer reading of this book:

  • Ten kids – that’s a bigger brood than my own, yet the Ostyns make ends meet on one main income. I love hearing success stories such as theirs. Mary offers great suggestions for stretching your dollars just a little farther.
  • I admired her dedication and focus when it comes to her kids’ education. As a homeschooling mom with fewer years experience, I appreciated her example of sitting with the kids and working through lessons. I love her reminders about offering appropriate praise, paying attention to different learning styles, and teaching children to be hard workers.
  • I love her household tips, especially as concerns laundry. She’s got me shopping for a Whirlpool Duet! But, high-ticket appliances aside, I love her suggestions for laundry management. As soon as I read that section, I went out and bought extra laundry baskets for each room. Her method of sorting each room’s laundry into a basket rather than into individual piles for each person was very freeing. While my kids haven’t completely clued in, we’re working on their own sorting and putting away and hopefully, freeing up some of my time.

The book is an easy and informative read. I’ve since started following her blog [7] and am enjoying it very much. Owlhaven’s currently hosting a $75/week grocery challenge [8] that you’ll want to check out. It’s so fun to watch her put feet to some of the things I’ve just read about. I saw her vlog for canning tomatoes which was really fun. Mary appears to be a very likeable mama, one whom you’d love to hang out with.


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[5] A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family: http://astore.amazon.com/lifeasmom-20/detail/1423604512

[6] Owlhaven: http://www.owlhaven.net/

[7] her blog: http://owlhaven.net

[8] a $75/week grocery challenge: http://www.owlhaven.net/2009/09/01/join-the-september-75-grocery-challenge/

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