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Book Release: Recipes for corned beef, irish soda bread and happy families

On St. Patrick's Day, a new book Strong Happy Family: Unexpected Advice from an Ivy League Mom of Ten, by Irish-American author Donna Conaton Baer will be released via Amazon and other booksellers to answer 10 frequent questions she gets on her less-traveled path as a double-digit mother with a brood to rival those of sprawling Gaelic clans past.

Raised near New York City and regarding herself a feminist when she arrived as a pre-med student at Brown (the Ivy school affectionately known then as “The Democratic National Day Care Center”) along with other Irish Catholic Democrats like schoolmate John F. Kennedy Jr., she imagined having just a couple of kids. But, shortly after becoming an investment banking officer, a baby came: “Then it dawned on me: if one child could create so much joy, what could two children do?” After number three, “We pulled the goalie for good.... For over twenty years straight, I was either pregnant, nursing or both.”

Although her breezy, 116 pages are salted with recipes for corned beef, cabbage and her mom’s Irish Soda Bread, Baer’s book deals with practical, year-round FAQ’s she gets like,

▪ “How do you get children to do what you say?”
▪ “How do you raise happy teens or tweens?”
▪ “What do you do for struggling learners?”
▪ “How do you organize the home?”
▪ “How do you keep them all fed?”
▪ “What do you do about laundry?”
▪ “How do you get through a miscarriage?”
▪ “How do you handle the holidays?”
▪ “How do you give your kids a sense of meaning and purpose?”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David L. Marcus says of Strong Happy Familyand its author, “She writes about parenting the same way she approaches parenting: in a cheerful, practical style, with surprising tips on everything from assigning chores to dealing with ADHD.”

Baer added, “There are many books on families and homemaking in religious bookstores. But, I wanted to write one that's accessible for caring moms and involved dads of any outlook, whether secular, progressive, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or none of the above.” The book includes the friendly Irish blessing, “May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back… May God hold you in the palm of his hand.” For any busy parent, that may be a lot better than “Good luck!”