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Karen McQuestion not only admits to having lied to her children, she lists it as one of her top secret parenting strategies. Some of her finest parenting moments, she recounts, have involved deception. On planes she’s translated the garbled pilot’s announcement to her advantage saying, “This plane won’t ever land if you keep kicking the back of that seat!” and once introduced a new entrée to her fussiest eater by saying, “Honestly, we’ve had this before and you really liked it.”

Among the 29 essays collected here (many previously published in the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, or broadcast on NPR’s Lake Effect) are the author’s account of her first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the in-laws, an identity mix-up at a Chinese restaurant, and a description of the most important place she visited while in Washington D.C.—the women’s bathroom in the Department of Agriculture building. Throughout, McQuestion shares stories of her life and family with humor and heartwarming insights.

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