Sunday, April 22, 2012

Author Guest Post/Giveaway - Amy L Peterson - From Zero To Four Kids in Thirty Seconds

First, thank you Sue, for giving me this opportunity and for being a host for my April 8-28th book tour. I also appreciate your honest review, if, of course, it was a good one. If it’s not, then, well, wish me better luck next time.

From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds is my humorous story about falling hook, line and sinker for a guy with four kids, a VW Rabbit with 295,000 miles on it and an Army cot for his bed. He ate more macaroni and cheese than a second grader, and had enough fishing gear to open his own tackle shop. The kids were three, five, 13 and 15, and as my mother often reminded me, I hadn’t a clue what I was getting into.

It is because I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into that I wrote a light-hearted, yet honest and helpful book for other stepmoms and future stepmoms. Throughout the book I include 70 tips, including “Tip #57: You may become grateful that holidays only come around once a year.” At the first holiday concert I attended, my beau acted like “the fifth kid,” the musicians never hit the same high note at the same time, and I was the one that had to say “Happy holidays” to his Ex when my beau couldn’t bring himself to do so. Yet, it was more entertaining than any other date I’d ever been on.

The excerpt below is from Chapter 9, “Can’t We Just Duct Tape Them Together and Send Them Outside?” This chapter describes all four kids moving into a two-bedroom apartment with Mark and me for the entire month of July. The chapter includes “Tip #40: Getting kids to do simple things usually isn’t simple.”

It took a couple of days to get into a regular workday routine, because for several days adjustments had to be made. For example, because Mark and I were both tired when we came home and the kids were still full of energy, I suggested that we solicit help from the two oldest kids to clean up the kitchen. This, however, was not one of my better ideas.

“Where does this go?” one asked.

“Do you want to keep these leftovers?” the other asked.

“Does this go in the dishwasher?”

“Do I really have to hand-wash these pots and pans?”

“Just clean everything up and put things where it seems logical to put them,” Mark finally said, his patience wearing thin.

After dinner, Mark plopped down on the futon and told the kids to go outside for a while and chase cars. As we watched the news on TV, we analyzed the child-chore situation and agreed that this was the first time the teenagers had had to clean up, so next time it would be easier.

The next day, Mark and I returned from work to find two teenagers watching TV on the futon, surrounded by a pile of ice-cream bowls, empty glasses of pop, and an empty bag of Cheetos.

I approached this head-on.

“Uh, Mark, could you maybe get the big kids to do something about all the stuff in the living room, you know, before someone steps on something?”

He walked into the living room, barked out an order and everything was carried out of the living room and dumped into the sink.

“Uh, could you maybe throw the garbage away, rinse the dishes, put them in the dishwasher, that kind of stuff?” I asked meekly.

This went on for several evenings -- kids made messes, Mark barked orders, kids cleaned up messes, and I lamely suggested ways to improve the cleanup effort. Until one evening, I finally had had enough. I was tired. The kids had too much energy. It wasn’t right.

“Okay,” I announced when dinner was over, “it’s time for all kids to start clearing their own dishes, rinsing them and putting them in the dishwasher. And any dishes you use before or after dinner must be rinsed and likewise put into the dishwasher.”

All of sudden it grew dead quiet in the dining room. All eyes were on Mark. He looked at each of them, then at me, and after a moment’s delay, said, “Good idea. And no more afternoon snacks.”

There was a strange moaning noise as the two big kids got up, dragged themselves and their dishes away from the table as if weighted down by anvils, rinsed the dishes using ten gallons of hot water each and finally lowered their sterilized plates into the dishwasher.

That night, I began my Rinse and Load Campaign in the hopes that all four children would finish growing up automatically rinsing their dishes and putting them in the dishwasher. For the next few nights, I cheered them on with, “Rinse and load, rinse and load! All ya `gotta do is rinse and load!”

On the fourth night I merely yelled, “Hey you!” when Elizabeth and Simone tried to sneak off without rinsing and loading their dishes.

“You know,” a very sleepy Mark reminded me one night, “Simone and Samantha take care of the finer details when it comes to caring for the little kids. Like brushing their hair, washing their hands before dinner, showing them how to put their carrots in their napkin so they don’t have to eat them.”

“So are you suggesting that they shouldn’t have to put their dishes in the dishwasher?” I asked.

“Naw,” he mumbled. “We just have to remember to thank them now and again.”

“Thanks, kids,” I whispered.

And with that, we both fell dead asleep


To learn more about how I coped with four kids, you just might have to buy my book at It is available as an e-book and a paperback. Older review comments are summarized on my web site.

About the Author

Amy L Peterson is a happily married wife, stepmother, author, amateur photographer, outdoors woman and keeper of numerous spoiled fuzzy animals. Her writing is diverse, her photography of animals and wildlife unique, and her pets have trained her how to get what they want.

Amy met Mark at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the early 1990s and married him after he carried a rubber raft, oars, foot pump, camping gear, and fishing gear to 10,000 feet while backpacking in Montana. In addition to his prowess, Amy was attracted to Mark’s limitless supply of fishing tackle, and his interest in every kind of critter. The fact that he came with four children in denial about until she married him.

Amy summarized just some of the fun of entering into instant stepmotherhood in From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds. This humorous, entertaining book includes over 70 tips for stepmothers and women thinking about taking such a plunge. These tips are tried and true since all four of Mark’s children survived their time with Amy. Amongst the kids is one social worker, one mechanical engineer, and two college students.

Between bouts of being a wife and stepmother, Amy spends way too many hours photographing and writing about wildlife. Her publications and photos have appeared in Grit, Moxie, Montana, Travel Impulse, Women’s World, Bonaire Nights, and Pacific Coast Sportfishing. Her article about Nunavet wildlife was featured on the Nueltin Lodge web page, along with a photo of a monstrous pike she claims to have caught.

Check out her website


  1. Sounds like a hilarious book!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. This does sound so funny. It looks like a great read!



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