Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures is a book put together by Amber Dusick. The idea for this book came about when she was looking for a way to vent about her frustrations and joys of being a parent. As a result, her blog, Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, was born and morphed to include anything and everything that she needed to vent about in her life, not just parenting. It became so popular that she decided to turn her blog posts into a book. She just came out with one about marriage as well. Go Amber!

Dusick describes her family throughout her book as Crappy Baby, Crappy Boy, and Crappy Husband, though she stresses multiple times that none of them are in fact crappy, JUST her drawings! Since she wanted to tell people about the things that happened in her day-to-day life, she figured drawing crappy pictures, the only kind that she can draw, to go along with her stories would help illustrate her frustration.

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures is broken up into ten different chapters, each detailing one major part of parenting that Dusick and other parents can completely relate to, from the difference in your life before and after kids, how to deal with sickness in your house, remembering the good stuff about being a parent, and also what she calls the “50 Crappy Laws of Parenting”.

Follow Dusick as she regales you with stories about how you just can’t get your kids to BE QUIET while on a road trip especially on a plane, how family dinner time is never actually family dinner since that would require everyone to sit at the table at the same time, and just how much you should treasure sleep because babies, for some reason, do not sleep at all!

Lifestyle blogs are the ‘thing’ right now.  Young House Love, Perfectly Imperfect, Smitten Kitchen, and Pioneer Woman are all written by bloggers who are getting famous simply for letting readers into their homes  (I like to think of them as still life reality stars.)  The best bloggers combine a sharp wit, unique voice, beautiful photos, a glimpse at the personal, and easy to follow how-tos.  Many of these bloggers have published books that you can check out from the Davenport Public Library, so stop by and check them out!

Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik
Apartment Therapy Presents by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan
The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte
Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson
The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman
The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

smitten kitchenDeb Perelman has garnered a pretty significant following from her blog Smitten Kitchen, and has transformed cooking in her 42-square-foot Manhatten kitchen from a feat to a pleasure.  She crafts everything from unique desserts to one pan entrees to sophisticated appetizers, and more; documenting her accomplishments with beautiful photographs and detailed instructions.

One of the primary things that sets Perelman apart from other food bloggers is her excellent conversational writing style.  She is witty and warm, and provides a healthy mix of anecdotes and edification.  That is why I was ecstatic to see that she had released a cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  This charming cookbook features a diverse array of recipes, accompanied by exceptional tips and explanations. Much of the cookbook features vegetarian friendly recipes — as Perelman was a vegetarian for a large chunk of her life — but there are definitely recipes for the carnivores included as well.

When I saw this book at the library, I promptly checked it out.  And then a few days later, bought it. It now sits in my kitchen with a fine layer of bread flour on it from repeated use (the recipe for homemade pizza dough is now a family favorite.)  I bought it because it met my two cookbook criteria: Providing photographs of every dish and using fresh and affordable ingredients.  I recommend checking this cookbook out as soon as possible.  And then you have to make the pizza dough, the sesame-spiced turkey meatballs and smashed chickpea salad, and, of course, the apple-cider caramels.