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March 30, 2012

From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds: a book review + giveaway!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that when I do book reviews they are typically on self improvement books, organizing books, or decorating books, as these are the kinds of books I most enjoy reading. On the rare occasion that I stray from my genre of choice, my next favorite type of book is humorous, non-fiction—a comedic recount of real life events—like Julie and Julia and Eat, Pray, Love. These two books, by the way, just so happen to be the only two non self-improvement and non-organizing books I’ve read since starting this blog. Well…until now.


I recently finished reading the book From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds, by Amy L. Peterson. This book is about “Amy a 30-year-old woman who spent many years polishing an unapproachable outer shell and maintaining a long list of reasons why not to have children. She keeps a canoe on her front porch, a mountain bike in her kitchen and a balance in her checking account.


Mark is an older, divorced man with four kids. He sleeps on an Army cot and eats out of pots and pans given to him by his therapist. He has a Ph.D. in stream ecology, a VW Rabbit with 285,000 miles on it and enough fishing tackle to sink a small boat.


Amy falls for Mark hook, line and hundreds of dollars in sinkers.


This is Amy’s humorous yet compelling story of becoming a stepmother. The book’s catchy chapter titles and over 70 tips make this a must read for stepmothers and future stepmothers. From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds is a fun ride that will convince women that with the right guy, being a stepmother can be rewarding, fun and full of surprises. Amy wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

From-zero-to-four-kids-in-thirty-secondsLike most of the other books I review on my blog, I was asked by the author’s “people” to read the book. In this case, however, the author’s people just so happen to be my people, too. You see, Amy, the author, is my sister and this is her story—a comical recount of how her life turned upside down when she fell in love with Mark, a man with four kids.


I can’t begin to tell you how fun it was to read this book—it was like spending the afternoon with my sister, which is a rare treat for me (since we live over eight hours apart from one another). Her writing is real and personal, as are the stories she shares on the pages of the book. And like the other memoirs I mentioned above, this book made me literally laugh out loud on several occasions. (And I don’t think this was simply because I personally know the entire cast of characters in the book.) Amy is, and has been for as long as I can remember, a gifted writer with an incredible sense of humor. (One book reviewer on Amazon compared her to Erma Bombeck. How cool is that, right?)


Aside from being a fun love story, the book also has 70 useful and humorous tips for step moms.  Like this one:


Tip #34:  If your man is like most men, he doesn’t fumble very often, so enjoy yourself.

This tip is from the part of the book where Mark asks my Dad (who is also Amy’s Dad, in case you are skimming) for Amy’s hand in marriage. My Dad probably saw this coming…but he didn’t use that as any reason to take it easy on poor Mark.


“So---,” Mark started, as he reached for his tie like he wanted to loosen it.

“So--,” my dad repeated. He looked at me kind of funny. I shrugged and tried to wipe the grin off my face. My Dad cleared his throat and wiped his mouth. Mark wiped his mouth for the third time.

Finally, Mark said, “So. Well. I’ve been trying to figure out something all during diner. How to ask you something.”

“Any particular kind of something?” my dad asked, sitting up straight now and looking cool and controlled.

“Well, as a matter of fact a pretty special something,” Mark said, and, then, in the same explosive breath added, “Like asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”


My father said nothing as he coolly removed a comb from his back pocket, combed his mustache and said, “Well, that is kind of a special something.” Then staring right at Mark he added, “So, why don’t you go ahead and ask me?”




Mark’s face turned beet red as he reached for his tie and fumbled with the knot. After swallowing loudly, he finally sat back and sighed loudly before admitting, “I wasn’t expecting that.” He laughed an odd little laugh. “Okay.” He cleared his throat. “Mister Peterson, would it be okay if I took your daughter’s hand in marriage?”

“Well now,” my dad began, “you really should take all of her, you know, not just her hand.”


“Lord,” I said.


My father broke into a smile and said, “Of course you can marry my daughter. I trust her judgment completely and if she says you’re the guy, then I’m all for it.”


So Mark, now glowing with perspiration, turned to me and asked almost plaintively, “Am I the guy?”


I sat back, looked him up and down and with a critical eye and said, “Well, now let me just think about this--.”


Throughout the book Amy shares that my Mom told her (over and over again) that she had no idea what she was getting herself into, marrying a man with four kids. And mom was certainly right. But from the sounds of the above, Mark didn’t really know what he was getting into either by marrying a Peterson. None the less, it turned out great for everyone. My sister went from living alone, with no T.V. (and truly a bicycle in her kitchen) to living with five people who loved to watch T.V. She went from living in an apartment with an oven she never turned on, to baking birthday cakes for kiddos four times a year. (It was when she started baking that I knew Mark had caught her hook, line and sinker.)


Amy truly never wanted kids—or at least that’s what she thought. What I know for sure is this:  Amy is and always has been an amazing sister, daughter, and wife, and I think she is a pretty incredible step Mom, too. She approached becoming a step mom with a sense of knowing that she really didn’t know what she was getting herself into, and with a willingness to do her best as she figured it out. Most of all, she went into her role of step mom with one of her very greatest gifts—her sense of humor. And this is exactly what she shares on the pages of From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds.


So here’s some really great news, Amy’s people ;) have arranged for me to giveaway a signed copy of her book. Woohoo!


To enter for your chance to win a signed copy of From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds:

1) Follow Amy on Twitter and then leave a comment here letting me know you did.

2) Like Amy on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you did.

3) Subscribe to Amy’s blog and leave a comment here letting me know you did.  And / or 

4) Share your thoughts on this question in the comments:  Do you think if you married a man with four kids that you would a) laugh to tell about, b) write a book to tell about it, or c)                                               (fill in the blank.)


Please leave a separate comment for each thing you do and post your comments by Monday, April 2 at 9 PM US CST. Winner will be selected at random and notified by email! Thanks for entering!


Have a great weekend!


**Comments are now closed! Thanks so much for entering. :)**


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Sherry Coleman

I subscribed to her blog. Thanks for the chance to win!


I am following her on Twitter, I like her on Facebook, I subscribed to her blog, AND here you go:
if I married a man with four kids I would a) laugh to tell about, AND c) have twice as much fun as I did marrying my man, who had two kids!!!
Being a stepmom is great - all the fun and hard work, minus the diapers and spit-up (my kids were 12 & 10 when we met, 21 and 19 when their dad and I married (although we were together all that time).


I married a man with six kids and I had five. Two were married, one away at school and two on missions but we had plenty at home and while it was challenging, it was oh so wonderful. Now we are on a mission (for the third time) and can't wait to get back to all of the grandchildren. Life is a grand adventure.


Thanks for your comments ladies.

@Krys72599 I'm adding some extra comments here for you so you're entered four times...since you left a comment and tweeted....


@Krys72599 liked Amy on Facebook...


@Krys72599 subscribed to Amy's blog.


Aby :)


liked Amy on Facebook


followed Amy on twitter


followed Amy's blog


b) many times I've thought of writing a book about the exploits with my two step-children, so I'm pretty sure 4 would have gotten me over writer's block!


I subscribed to Amy's blog. After reading a couple of posts, I couldn't help myself!


I'm now 60 but if I had married a man with four kids, I'd be thrilled because then we could have 4 or 5 more and I'd have that big family that I wanted!


Wow! She sounds awesome!! Today I'd probably cry about it b/c I can barely handle one little girl. And I'd probably blog about it.

Jessica Budd

I am laughing because I am dating a man with three kids. Having no children of my own, let me tell you it's an experience (especially since they are all boys!) I wouldn't have it any other way though.

Jessica Budd

I subscribed to her blog, I need all the help I can get!

Jessica Budd

I liked her on Facebook


I think that marrying a man with 4 kids requires laughing AND a huge amount of patience. As a 30-somthing singleton, I've come to the conclusion that if I every marry, I will probably be a step parent. I'm intrigued by the book and will probably find a copy to read!


ok - sorry, I don't do twitter, so, I didn't follow Amy there, I did like on facebook and I tried to subscribe,but not sure if it worked.

C: laugh, cry sometimes and write about it!!
I got married to a man that had two kids and within our first two years of marriage added two more! It was all way more than I ever dreamed...being a mom/step-mom is hard, challenging and the most awesome thing all at the same time

Julie Braga

Blended families are really a growing group in our church. Added Amy to my Twitter list.

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I find her extremely awesome. To be a mom is not an easy job.

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