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Simplify Your Life with Kids Hardcover – 1 Oct 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Min edition (Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740702173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740702174
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 9.8 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,564,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For all of you considering this book I will save you some cash and start you on your way to simplicity. There is something annoyingly Martha Stewartish about this read and I found myself increasingly annoyed by her insipid little tidbits of advice. I felt fleeced and manipulated. I hate sounding like a cynic. I wanted to like this book, so before I get jumped on by her fans, let me state that the book has some good tips. Enough to fill a
good sized article in Redbook. In a nutshell, here are most of her "tips". I am not making most of this up. Really.
1. Get rid of your lawn by planting a ground cover such as Cudzu, soybeans, winter wheat or Ivy.
2. Throw out all your crap in the basement.Duh.
3. Get rid of most credit cards and pay cash.Duh.
4. Buy only dark garments and wear them so long you only have 1 load of clothes to wash each week.(After doing this you will lose friends who can't stand your odor and your life will be even more simple.)
5. Split meals when eating out.
6. Use trays for meals.
7. Take off shoes before entering your house and make guests do this too. Give them weird little slippers to wear. (This aids in their discomfort and speeds the elimination of "friendship clutter")
8. Use a notebook instead of one of those freakish 5 lb organizers. Besides, with her system you can still be anal retentive, but you'll be anal retentive in a "WHOLE NEW WAY"
9. Use a grocery list and store it in your computer. (now i can finally tap the power of my pentium 166)
9.Read another book on SPEED CLEANING and follow its guidelines.( her cousin?)
10.Drink water instead of colas etc.
11.Cancel the holidays and inform all friends that you are no longer "participating".
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By A Customer on 19 Feb. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Elaine St James does not have children of her own, but she has co-written this book with Vera Coles-mother of three. Despite Coles' parent perspective, much of the writing seems out-of-touch with the daily lives of most parents. But much more frightening, the authors have not done their child development homework, and many of their suggestions could be harmful to children.
St James begins with a description of your typical harried day, which includes having to "rescue your two-year-old from the baby-sitter." Any mother whose typical day includes "rescuing" her two-year-old from child care needs more than to simplify her life. She needs to drop everything and find some better child care! But St James, with no experience in trying to find adequate and affordable child care, doesn't appreciate the magnitude of this problem, and is simply trying to be funny. (Also, most child-care professionals resent being called "babysitters," a term she uses throughout the book, because it does not reflect the care and education caregivers work hard to provide.)
On page 7, St. James attempts to deal with the universal problem of separating from your child. As she does repeatedly, St. James approaches this problem with only the parents' needs in mind. Her focus is on streamlining the adult's morning routine, without any mention of the child's needs. She suggests that you (mommy) let daddy take the child during the first few weeks because the child is probably more used to saying good-bye to daddy. The stereotypes in this statement annoyed me, but worse than annoying was her suggestion that you enlist "another adult" to take the child. Separation from parents is one of the most difficult problems children face in child care.
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Format: Paperback
Let me add one more way to simplify your life. Quit collecting books on how to simplify your life. Books like Elaine St. James all have an anti consumerist, anti "Stuff" tone, unless that stuff you are consuming is their books.
I had to laugh when St. James described her and her husband's downsizing move across the country to Santa Barbara California. Last time I was in Santa Barbara $400K would buy you a small comfy ( bungalow needing "TLC". Ah yes the simple life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Okay but you can get all this from the minimalist blogs now. Having been to the latter there was not much more in the blogs, but if this is the first place you are going to to simplyfy your life then it is good.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that it is hard to put down. There is a lot of truth in it. I just love reading it. Great service with postage, packing and delivery times. I will be buying more in this set
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good little self help book, easy to read (short mini sections that you can read before going to bed and think about while you are falling asleep)

i have recommended it to friends and they all have found it useful. it is written for a quite specific north american audience (i.e. do you really need your boat in the hamptons and things like that) but 95% of the tips are valid for a wider audience

makes a very nice little present

very good, i've read it twice and i don't normally finish self-help books!!
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Format: Hardcover
I have read many of Elaine St. James' books in the effort to simplify my life. Her suggestions are practical, useful and enlightening, and nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in her book about family life.
The idea of simplifying your life when you have children may seem like a contradiction-in-terms, but St. James makes the impossible seem achievable.
Her book is structured according to the key areas of family life, covering important aspects such as housework, discipline, schooling, health and travel. Cherry-picking your way through the book is quick and easy, and gives you almost instant insights you can start to apply. The ones that appealed to me included: 'Create easy-to-follow house rules' (she gives you 7 suggestions), 'Get rid of things on a regular basis' (for hoarders, she tells you the sorts of things to target) and 'Learn the art of making a deal' (with your kids, that is).
Simplifying your life can also be enriching, and the author provides ideas on stimulating creativity in children, getting kids involved in sport and making travelling fun.
Importantly, her suggestions reflect the belief that children are very capable of learning personal responsibility and how to look after themselves from a young age and it is good for them, as well as us, to encourage this. The chapter on 'The Independent Child' shows you how to achieve this.
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