Monday, January 11, 2010

Making A Family Home Book Review

When was the last time you Twittered?  Zapped a microwave meal?  Mixed up a cup of instant coffee?

If you’re anything like most of us (including me), this answer would be: “in the last 15 minutes.”  It’s hard to remember that life doesn’t have to be lived on warp speed, isn’t it?

Making a Family Home (SteinerBooks, January 2010) by Shannon Honeybloom.  A domestic arts expert and blogger, Shannon wrote this book for anyone craving a more nurturing shelter – especially families.   It’s a timely topic too, given TIME’s cover story on over-parenting:,8599,1940395,00.html

Of note from Nancy Gibbs’ piece:

“The insanity crept up on us slowly; we just wanted what was best for our kids. We bought macrobiotic cupcakes and hypoallergenic socks, hired tutors to correct a 5-year-old's "pencil-holding deficiency," hooked up broadband connections in the treehouse but took down the swing set after the second skinned knee. We hovered over every school, playground and practice field — "helicopter parents," teachers christened us, a phenomenon that spread to parents of all ages, races and regions.”

By contrast, Making a Family Home shows readers how to stop the insanity.  Inside, Shannon guides readers in creating the kind of home that provides families a sanctuary from our overscheduled, multi-tasked and generally stressed out world! Think less lists, more mindfulness; less pack-it-all-in, more savor the moment. 

Inside this book, you'll also learn:

•    How to slow your home
•    How to involve your children in homemaking (cooking, crafting, cleaning, and so on)
•    How to select colors and textiles for maximum comfort
•    How to get more play and leisure use out of your yard
•    How to make your home warm and cozy

You can check out Shannon’s domestic arts blog at

When creating a family home, channel Grandma
Room by room, guide offers practical hints for making a house a home

In the past few years, “slow” has made quite a comeback.  The Slow Movement.  The Slow Food Movement.  Bolstered by the recent recession, old-school practices like home cooking, shopping at the farmer’s market, knitting and sewing are now in vogue, providing a welcome reprieve from our typically teched-out, anxious and fast-paced existence.  But in a culture of text messages, Twitter and information overload, how can we support the values of a simpler time?  More importantly, how can we pass on ‘slow’ to a generation of Baby Einstein grads?

According to author Shannon Honeybloom, it all starts at home.  In her new book Making a Family Home (SteinerBooks, January 2010, $20.00, Softcover), she shows readers room-by-room how to cultivate an enriching shelter, one that encourages children to learn and imagine.  

Combining the mindfulness of modern homemakers with an understanding of childhood development, and an attention to universal truths such as love, goodness and beauty, Honeybloom outlines simple steps towards creating a beautiful and nurturing home.  

“Anxiety-driven over-parenting has reached a peak, and parents everywhere are yearning to get ‘back to basics’ at home and with their children,” says Honeybloom, a parent and former educator.  “In the end, it’s not about enrichment classes, educational videos, multiple after-school activities.   It’s not about spending a lot of money or buying a lot of things.  It’s about creating a calm, beautiful, and healthy home for our families.  Such a home is the foundation for happiness and success in the world.”

A former high school English teacher in New York, as well as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, Honeybloom has inhabited a wide variety of homes during her adult life, from a cramped Brooklyn apartment to an adobe dwelling in the desert.  It was when she settled down in Austin, Tex., eventually becoming a mother of three, that she sought to create a living, artistic home.  And for that, she turned to the wisdom of her grandmother.

“My grandmother imbued her household with love, simplicity, and joy,” says Honeybloom.  “In putting together my own home, I asked myself: What makes a space sheltering, harmonious, and healthy?  What kinds of materials can be used that help the development of my children?  So I wrote this book to share my discoveries.”

From the front porch of a home to its basement and backyard, Making a Family Home moves through the entire house with simple suggestions for enlivening each corner.  

Inside Making a Family Home, readers will also learn:
•    How to make your home warm and cozy
•    How to support your child’s development at home
•    How to create a home that is the perfect expression of love for your family
•    How to involve your children in homemaking – cooking, crafting, cleaning, and so on
•    How to create routines that support difficult transitions (bedtime, mealtime, and so on)
•    How to get more play and leisure use out of your yard
•    How to create a community of support for your family life

Shannon Honeybloom earned her M.A. in Literary Cultures from New York University and an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College.  It was during graduate school that she began an academic study of domestic arts, which provided the foundation for Making a Family Home. In addition, Honeybloom’s original screenplay Borders was a finalist in the 2009 International Cinema City Film Festival in Los Angeles.  She is currently working on another novel and a second screenplay, and lives in Austin, Tex. with her husband and her three children.  To learn more, please visit

-Courtesy of Making a Family Home by Shannon Honeybloom


I was looking forward to reviewing the book Making a Family Home by Shannon Honeybloom when I learned that both the author and photographer for the book live in my city, Austin, TX! In fact a lot of the pictures in the book look like they were taken in Austin, though I can't be sure.

This book is beautifully put together with pictures all along the way. In fact I was thinking this could be a coffee table or display book around the house.

The author includes many pictures from her childhood and family history that help shape the storyline and to draw inspiration from.

I love the idea this book gets across. To nurture family and enjoy your surroundings-not everything in life has to be at warp speed!

The Bottom Line: This treasure of a book will sure to inspire you for years to come. The beautiful images and ideas for making a family home contained are timeless. Pick up a copy today!

*I received a copy of Making A Family Home by Shannon Honeybloom to facilitate my candid and honest review. No other form of compensation was or will be given. All views are my own!


Unknown said...

Thank you for your thoughtful review! And I am enjoying exploring your blog!! Yes, the photos are all taken in Austin :) --Shannon Honeybloom

Mary512 said...

Thanks for reading Shannon, loved your book!

512 Kidz


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