Motivate Your Child {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links; thanks for your support.

One of the biggest areas I struggle in is parenting. I never feel like I know what I’m doing. I’m impatient and lazy and once they start having their own will AND ability, I am lost. I’m too lazy to be super strict, but I can’t get into the super “attachment parenting” thing either. I’ve read some great books about parenting from the heart, but they just left me at the door.

motivate Your child review

Motivate Your Child is the book that bridges the gap between telling you how wonderful it is and HOW to do it when you’ve never seen it. I have read it twice and taken 8 pages of notes! In fact, I even purchased the accompanying book, Motivate Your Child Action Plan. While the book has a full picture of how to motivate your child’s heart, I am busy and need a little more hand holding :).

Divided into two main sections, Motivate Your Child first goes over how children develop morals. It discusses areas such as internal vs. external motivation, strategy, valuing integrity, encouraging compassion, taking initiative and even consequences. The second section goes into the spiritual development of children. It begins with God’s plan and then spends several chapters talking about Family Time — the what, how & whys. The last few chapters talk about how to teach children their faith.

I loved all the tips for me on what is really important. My favorite parts of Motivate Your Child were the real examples from real families on how each tip might look. I just don’t have the mental energy to think outside of my rut right now, so I bought the Action Plan book :). The Family Time plan is kind of a fun idea, but the final chapters at the end we’re not really useful to me.

As a Catholic, we have a theology & sacrament/training program for kids built into every parish. It’s also a little more complex than just bring a child to Jesus and having him accept the Holy Spirit. We pretty much just teach our beliefs as truth from birth. As a practicing Catholic, we do most of what they advise in a way that supports our faith. If you don’t have a strong faith background, though, the final chapters are probably an excellent resource & place to start.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent book. I’m excited to work through this book as well as the accompanying Action Plan book. If you have read of touching a child’s heart but we’re at a loss as to how to begin, Motivate Your Child is the answer. I totally recommend this book for anyone who wants to be more purposeful about reaching their child’s heart AND wants to know how to teach them difficult things like self-monitoring.

Did you have a good parenting mentor?


Jen S.

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Simplify Everything 2015 {Task 17 – Bed Linens}

Today’s task is to take care of our bed linens.

simplify everything 17 bed linens

I’m not sure about your family, but we have been moving and rearranging and selling beds around here like we are a furniture store.  I know I have queen sized bedding floating around, but we no longer have the queen sized bed or the camper we used the bedding in.

Beyond that, I know we have extra King blankets and things.  How about you?  Do you have blankets or sheets in need of repair or replacement?  Or excess bedding?  How about lap blankets?  Or even baby blankets?

Donate or sell any extra bedding you may have.

simplify everything 2015

If you recently done this, pick something else or take the day off!

Do you need to simplify the things you need to make your house a home?  Subscribe to my RSS/email feed to get each new post so you don’t miss a thing. Share your results with the hashtag #simplifyeverything2015 on twitter or instagram.

Jen S.

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“Decorating” Your Home for Lent

I am not usually on top of the whole decorating your home thing. I despise clutter and I hate trying to keep the little ones out of everything.

BUT I have this corner shelf (my “mantle”) that our builder made in some wasted space by our stairs. Unfortunately, it’s proximity to the stairs makes it a clutter catcher for stuff coming up or going down. I’ve decided the only way to keep it clean is to keep it pretty. Thus the holiday displays :D.

lent home decorations

When I was putting away the Valentine’s stuff this year, I took a quick inventory of the Easter decorations.  After I took a closer look, I realized that I have enough things to decorate my “mantle” for Lent.  And oddly enough, I made several of the items.  And I am NOT a DIY Diva.  So, you know, if *I* can do it, so can you!

Lent Subway Art copy

Printable Subway Art.

I took a clearance picture frame and added a piece of printable subway art from CatholicAllYear. Or you could use the one I made (this one is in my kitchen). The glass is broken but it works great and photographs well–no glare! LOL!

stations of the cross ornaments

The Stations of the Cross Tree

This stations of the cross tree came from Jesse Tree Treasures on Etsy. It’s been on my wish list for years! I bought the Stations & Holy Week kit from her store in January.

Lent Wreath

Grapevine Wreath

This is so simple. Buy a grapevine wreath and a roll of purple ribbon. Wrap around until you are satisfied. Tuck it under the vines (what I did last year) or use a glue gun to keep it in place (how I improved it this year). Done.

Remember - Lent Sign DIY

Remember… Sign

This was easy too. I already had the canvas board for my daughters art classes and I painted it purple. I think I used 2 coats, I grabbed some leftover chipboard alphabet stickers leftover from my Thankfulness Tree project for the word. The idea & rooster cut out came from OhAmanda and I used leftover gold card stock (an old scrapbooking supply).

lent home decor

Table Scatter.

Okay, so it’s not *really* table scatter, but I loved my Valentine display so much that I had my heart set on finding nails for Lent. I used masonry nails. 1-1/2 inches. $5.99 a box and available at your handy local hardware store. Sold under the name Maze and comes in a yellow box.


Do you put up Lenten decorations in your home?

Jen S.


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Saint Picture Book Club – March 2015 Books Revealed!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

This month, I found so many great books that I will be sharing them all in my full post. I kid you not we read 7 books for this saint all in a row. And I got a new one later in the week. The saint picture book club for March is:

St. Patrick!

saint patrick book club

We had several good books already and we also bought a few new ones so I had several to pick from. The kids picked one new book and one old one from our stash.

Here are their recommendations:

New to Us- Patrick: Saint of Ireland

This is a beautifully told factual story of saint Patrick. I loved Patrick: Saint of Ireland because it wasn’t s fact-filled textbook, but a beautifully told story. There is a lot of text on the page, but it’s so well presented that littler ones may not notice. It was unanimously voted the best new book in our home. It’s well worth the investment!

Beloved Favorite – St. Patrick’s Day

This is a book that really bridges the gap between secular and religious. St. Patrick’s Day starts out with a short page about the holiday and goes right into the actual story of Saint Patrick. Then it shares how people in the US & Ireland celebrate. It ends with a handful of different legends of St. Patrick.

It wouldn’t be MY first choice, but the kids do like it :). I’ll show you ALL of our St. Patrick’s Day books the week before St. Patrick’s Day. I will also share a full review of a cute Saint Patrick book I received for review.


Also, if you are a fan of corned beef, you HAVE to brine your own corned beef. If you can’t get brisket, a regular roast will work just fine. Be sure to start it by 3/7!

Are you in for this month?

Jen S.

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Deepen Your Knowledge of Jesus this Season of Lent with Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.

How are you doing in your Lenten goals? Have you been able to spend some extra time in prayer or scripture? What about other spiritual learning? Have you considered replacing some of your media/tv time with spiritual subjects?


CNN has created a new 6 part series–Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery. The series will air beginning Sunday, March 1 at 9pm ET/PT and will investigate the value & authenticity of various relics as well as explore the relationships and events during the life of Christ. Among the relics covered will be the Shroud of Turin, the gospels of Judas & Mary Magdalene, relics of the cross, and others. Among the experts providing insight & commentary are James Martin SJ (author of Jesus: A Pilgramage) and David Gibson, a filmmaker who specializes in following the Catholic Church.

I was able to preview the first episode on the Shroud of Turin last weekend. Each episode is an hour in length. I had originally intended to watch it with my kids but it was a little intense, which explains why it isn’t on in prime time :). I was a little wary of the series due to the fact it was on a mainstream station, but I was pleasantly surprised at the tone. They did a great job at showing the artifact with the story of Jesus. I thought they did a masterful job at presenting the argument that the Shroud was not authentic, followed by other people who have reason to believe that other results may be inaccurate. It ended by stating that they are valuable pieces that will continue to be studied as more scientific research methods are developed.

Not only was the tone of the video friendly to Catholics, but it was friendly to all Christians. There was respect for the people who believe in Jesus and these relics and religious items. I liked that there were viewpoints from people on both sides of the authenticity issue as well as from Catholicism & Protestant denominations.

If you are looking to convert some of your screen time to a more faith-oriented, Finding Jesus would be a good place to start. Knowing about more of these relics and items related to Jesus can help you deepen your faith journey and even help with apologetics.

Due to some of the topics (the gospels of Mary M. & Judas and the brother of Jesus), I might stick with high school aged students or older middle school students who are excellent critical thinkers. I’ve noticed that my younger kiddos take everything they read or hear as truth & gospel ;). They simply don’t have they base of knowledge to draw from yet. Overall, though, I really recommend checking it out as part of your Lenten learning.

Jen S.

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