I read this book a while back, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!
And thought I should be very put-together and informative by writing about it here.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It really is the nuts-and-bolts of not only how they manage their lives, but how they got to this point. It begins with each of the parents' childhoods, and chronicles their lives until the present. They include helpful ideas about child training (including a good description of blanket training, potty training, etc), teenage-mentoring, homeschooling, organization (and moving!), etc. I found some of their testimonies of God's provision very inspirational, and that is a big one for me.
I sometimes find myself the opposite of inspired when I hear of God's dealings with others. I'm not sure why. I used to know a lovely, godly woman who was literally FULL of incredible, amazing stories of God's moving and direction. I'm talking about showing up at an airport because she felt like God told her to "go" - and she had NO money. It would be handed to her, or otherwise miraculously show up before departure. She'd be diverted to a different city, and stuck a while, and while walking along somewhere a man would come up and say, "You are so-n-so" (which was accurate) and give her some special "word" from God -- there, in a place she was never 'supposed' to be. She could stop a stranger on the street (under direction from God) and read her life story, and prophesy to the tiny life inside that was about to be aborted. The woman lived like this daily, I think.
And while her stories and messages were intended to inspire and encourage, I frequently came away with the opposite. Feeling either that something was wrong with *my* relationship with God, or I wasn't listening to Him, because things sure didn't happen that way with me! OR, that I was somehow not 'chosen' to be used by Him in that way, and that made me feel (again), like I was unworthy.
The Duggars' stories were somewhat incredible, but I was encouraged by them. Whether because I could at least relate on the premise of making ends meet for the home and kids, or something else, I enjoyed seeing God move mountains in their lives.
The one drawback, for me, was their many recipes (except the laundry detergent - that one looks worthwhile). I'm somewhat surprised at just how many convenience foods they buy and consume, though obviously I don't know what it's like to manage mealtimes for such a number! But for me, nearly all were unuseable. I just don't use cream-of soups, frozen tater-tots, pre-made sauces, Velveeta, or the like. Canned vegetables, canned beans, these things just aren't in my arsenal of a pantry. :) A few recipes could be altered obviously, using pre-cooked frozen beans, frozen or fresh veggies, homemade pie crusts, white sauces, etc, but I haven't been moved to try my hand at them thus far. I don't know if it was from the book, or an interview I saw online, but I think they mentioned spending about $3000/mo for groceries. I'm not sure if that includes other household items, but I wonder if or whether that could be pared down if they did away with some of the 'spendier' foodstuffs. With their commercial kitchen, I bet they could cook up a year's worth of beans in one batch, and save a few hundred dollars too! But I don't know if there's a natural/healthy/homemade counterpart to velveeta....
Again, though, I must say I enjoyed the book for the most part. I find myself rereading tidbits here and there before bed some nights -- ok, and drooling over their laundry/closet organization and the general floorplan of their home. :)
Have you read it? What did you think? Do you want to?