Announcing the Saint Picture Book Club!

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I love the idea of celebrating the liturgical year, don’t you? We have such a rich history and so many saints to learn from. And Pinterest has so. many. AWESOME. ideas. That I totally never get to.

And I know I’m not the only one :). So here’s what I finally decided to do. I can read a book a month to celebrate a feast day and I bet you can, too. Amazon can even ship in 2-days with Prime for us slackers out there.

How it Works

To help the families like mine who want to celebrate the liturgical year, I will pick a saint each month of the upcoming liturgical year.

The month prior, I will share which saint we will be reading about and his or her feast day. I will also provide a book recommendation (or 2). Or 3 :).

I will also post a full review the week of the Saint’s feast and I would love for you to share your books or posts about the feast we are celebrating.

Easy Ways To Participate

1. Read Along

To keep things in line with easy and busy, I will find my recommendations primarily on Amazon. Over the year I will try to hit all the price points. However. You can buy your books wherever. If you have a local Catholic store that will order for you, please support them!

You also don’t have to use my recommendations, but if you are limited and don’t want to waste money on a so-so book, they are there to help guide you.

2. Post a Book or Activity

If you have a kid-friendly post or book about the saint, please share it! Especially if the books are worth the hunt or the activities are practically no prep! Remember–crazy busy!


3. SaintMail

If you are interested in doing more than just reading, I’d like to suggest SaintMail. We’ve been doing them for almost a year now and my kids love them! Essentially, its a saint feast day celebration in a box. There is a letter, activity, magnet, and usually several pieces of what we call “Holy Treasures” :). Sometimes there is a bracelet or a medal or any number of trinkets related to the saint of the month. They are available in 6 & 12 month packages and you can buy sibling add-on packs to eliminate fighting. If you subscribe by November 15, you will be in time for December’s saint which will match the book club for the month.

While Molly and I are trying to match up the saints as often as we can, they won’t always. Sometimes, good books are hard to come by! When we don’t match, you’ll get TWO super easy saint celebrations in one month. It’s a win either way!



So, if you would like to celebrate the liturgical year in your home but are just too busy, the Catholic Saint Picture Book Club could be a great option and the SaintMail package would be a fun add-on!

To make sure you don’t miss an update, subscribe to the Happy Little Homemaker RSS feed or our email newsletter! Both will make sure that you are notified of the upcoming feast day.

The December saint will be announced on Friday, November 21.

Hope to see you then!

Jen S.

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5 Minutes to a “Company Clean” Bathroom


You have people coming over in 5 minutes. Yikes! The house is a mess and you can only do one thing before they come. What do you do first?

Clean the bathroom! It’s one room that everyone has standards for. There are apps for finding clean restrooms for a reason :).

Here is how to make your five minutes count.

1. Pre-clean

Let the toilet start cleaning itself–put the toilet bowl cleaner in before you start the rest of the bathroom.

2. Counters

Clear off your counters and give them a good swipe. I love the Methods AntiBac Bathroom cleaner. It’s wonderfully minty smell helps your bathroom smell fabulous without the chemical smells of most cleaners. Oh, and only replace the essentials. Clear = clean.

3. Mirrors

Clean the mirrors next. Why? Because its likely you will spray counter cleaner on the mirror while cleaning the counter. Time needed? 30 seconds. Seriously.

4. Toilet

Spray & swipe the outside, lid, seat & bowl brim. Start at the top, then move to the lid, seat & sides. Finally, get out the toilet brush & scrub the inside.

5. Hand towel

Finally, check the hand soap and put out a clean hand towel.



When the doorbell rings, your home may look lived in, but clean thanks to a good impression where cleanliness matters most– the bathroom.


Jen S.


Have a few more minutes? Check out this month’s column at Homemakers Challenge–3 Quick & Easy Steps to a Faking a Clean House!


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Quick & Easy Treasure Hunts – A Clued-In Kids Review {Schoolhouse Review Crew}


For the first day of school, we had a treasure hunt for our new school supplies. They LOVED it! And now that my oldest is getting to the point where she is finally old enough to do a scavenger hunt on her own, she does every one she comes across. So when I had the opportunity to review some treasure hunts from Clued in Kids, I pretty much begged to be a part of it.



Clued In Kids

Clued in Kids publishes treasure hunts for kids for preschoolers through early elementary school (about 4-7). The treasure hunts are designed to teach as well as entertain and cover areas such as logic, problem solving, and even math, language arts & history, depending on the set. The sets are available in print or digital and retail for $8.99 and $5.99 each respectively. For purposes of the review, I received the physical Pirate Clue Pad and printable Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt.


Likes & Dislikes


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In General

These treasure hunts from Clued In Kids were a lot of fun. From a lazy mom standpoint, they were crazy simple to set up. It took about 10 minutes for the printable one & 5 minutes for the physical one. I love that the bottom of each clue tells you where to hide it and you can even assign clues to people. I assigned mine based on ability to solve the problem. There is also a “key” sheet that tells you the final answers so you can give hints or help as necessary.

Since these are treasure hunts, you need to have some sort of treasure to hide at the end, but you don’t have to go nuts with it. Both times I packed a lunch bag with their snack. They are forever asking for the special snacks I keep for co-op or trips that I don’t let them eat at home. Nothing major, but for some reason a tiny fruit cup and small bottle of water are way cooler than a bowl of peaches from a can and a glass of water. Who knew, right? My kids would be just as happy to find a sparkly sheet of stickers as they would a new book. It’s not worth stressing over.

The Clued In Kids folks did a good job of using super common places to hide the clues. The instructions suggest holding onto a clue that you don’t have in your home. I never had to do that. They were super easy–things like bath, forks, socks, milk and more. There was only one outdoor clue (bike for both) which makes them work well even for winter use.

Both of the treasure hunts I received had the treasure placed in the dryer. Which is a great idea — except on laundry day. And if you have several and the kids skip to the end. I could totally see my 4 year old doing that in a few years.




I was soooo tickled that we received the Pirate Clue Pad before Talk Like A Pirate Day. It was perfect end to Pirate Week. Since we do Pirates in a big way around our house, I was really glad that the clues were not hard.

My 6 year old had no problems except for the first time she ran into a clue that you had to hold up to a mirror to read. There were a good number of clues that my older 3 year old could have done if they were read to her. And, you know, if I had let her :). Because the clues were so simple, my 6 year old had it solved in almost the same amount of time as it took to set up!

thanksgiving dog


The Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt was set up the same way as the first but is intended for a much broader range of people…like everyone at Thanksgiving dinner, right? Their site lists ages 4-104, but aside from the action clue, there isn’t much for the 4 year old. I think I only had 3 assigned to her–a find the out of place item type clue, an action clue, and a simple addition that I walked her through the answers, while big sister decoded the clue.

It was much trickier than the Pirate one and without the key, it would have taken a LOT longer to do. I would guess that a 7 or 8 year old would find it easier, but still a little tough.  An accompanying storybook or a resource to find answers would have been nice.   I led her through answering the questions, but didn’t make her spell or write all the words. Once she gave the right answer, I told her which letter was needed. Even so, it took about 35 minutes, which was substantially longer than the Pirate treasure hunt.

I also liked that you learned a bit about the history of Thanksgiving as you went through it. The Pirate one was more about entertainment. Not all clues were educational. I loved the joke clue card best. Here’s an example.

Q. What sound does a turkey’s phone make?
A. Wing wing!

We love funny jokes around here. And the worse they are, the more we like them! This one would be awesome for a mixed age large gathering. Since its a printable, you could even divide into teams and the first one to the treasure gets it :).


In general, my 6 year old daughter really liked these treasure hunts. My 4 year old was forbidden to do the Pirate one as punishment for an offense I cannot remember now and the Thanksgiving one was too hard. As a mom who can’t get it together enough to do fun stuff as much as I’d like, I really like these treasure hunts.

I liked that the Pirate one was easy, but wow was it quick. I don’t think you can make it take more time & still be easy, though. For the printed ones, the paper quality & illustrations were nice, but I would have rather them been coated to use with dry erase markers so you could reuse them. I saved mine to use again next year, but it won’t be as much fun with some puzzles half solved. This is easily solved with the digital ones which can be used year after year.

Its a great idea and the have hunts focused on school (multiplication, homework, etc), holidays, interests & more. I will probably get Halloween next year since I never do anything special for that holiday; I’m usually too busy getting ready for my daughters birthday which is a week before. These treasure hunts are super quick & easy and my daughters really get excited about them (even the little ones)!

Interested in seeing more? Check out what other members of the crew tested and how they liked them!

Jen S.


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Outer Space Sensory Fun {Poppins Book Nook}

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

outer space sensory fun poppins book nook

There is just something about space, isn’t there? It’s completely fascinating to people young and old. You can see the splendor of God’s hand in creation in nearly every picture from Hubble or the APOD. My kids are no different and while we cannot touch the stars for real, we have been reading and doing hands on activities.

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Usborne Space Books

We have several books on space. I think we have several books on EVERY subject, actually. But, as usual, our two favorites are from Usborne. My oldest got Look Inside Space from her Godparents for her birthday one year. It is a fabulous lift the flap book that talks about space, stars, planets and more. Be warned, it does reference the Big Bang. We just explained that the matter still had to come from somewhere and God can do anything he wanted. He could have made a big explosion to create space; we just don’t know. That’s why it’s a theory. Because she did ask :).

We also bought On The Moon which my youngest liked the most.  Our version is the padded hardcover and its a delightful little story about what its like on the moon.  Very simple pictures, few words per page & really captures how a small child would look at the moon.

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Space Series

I also found a series called Blast Off!  Let’s Explore….   These are thin, factual paperbacks for early readers we found at a library book sale a few years ago.  There are 12 books in total and I think we are only missing the book on comets & asteroids. Lil’ Bit has been reading (and leaving) them all over the place. They are just about perfect for about the second grade level and have beautiful photographs of space on every page.

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Space Sensory Activitites

Because my younger daughter is so hands on, I decided to make our space activities hands on. We did a couple of hands-on space activities last week.

space sensory bin

Space Sensory Bin

The first thing we made was a space sensory bin. It’s not a unique idea; I saw several on Pinterest :).

Here is how we made ours. We used:

  • A plastic shoebox ($1.25 at Target)
  • 3 (2 lb) bags of aquarium rocks from PetSmart ($2.99 each)
  • Star shaped buttons (free for us. We already had this set from OTC)

Pour the rocks in the box. Add buttons. Hide. Dig. Repeat. Even my 6 year old loved this. I think she loved it more, actually. And they are beautiful to look at!

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These rocks, BTW are the larger ones. You can buy similar colored ones in a 5 lb bag that are much smaller. I wouldn’t buy those for a sensory bin. If you try to buy them online, the UPC is 7 37257 19687 2.  FYI, they do get black dust on hands. Great for my older kids!

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Oreo Moon Phases

Since we had a blood moon this month, we used the Halloween themed Oreos :). We watched a video of the eclipse and then used this free work sheet from Teachers Pay Teachers as a group. My kids don’t need that many cookies at once :). Especially with an unknown disease lurking…  I also found this awesome little song to memorize the moon phases, if you have a kid who likes to learn by song.

We intended to do several more, but the Little Man came down with a mystery illness & fever. Bah!

Poppins Book Nook

Check out posts from all Poppins Book Nook co-hosts about the Space Exploration and add your post to the linky below.

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015  Clip Art by Melon Headz

Check out more Poppins Book Nook posts by these lovely bloggers:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

Be sure to follow Enchanted Homeschooling Mom for more book related posts & even lapbook pages to go with each months theme!


Jen S.

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A Year With the Saints {Book Review}

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


a year with the saints book review

Happy All Saints Day! Okay, so I’m a little early, but I had an opportunity to review a copy of A Year With the Saints: Daily Meditations with the Holy Ones of God from St Benedict Press and thought the timing was perfect.

A Year With the Saints is a 365 day journey in Catholicism through the eyes of the Saints. Too busy to read St. John Chrysostom? Or St. Thomas Aquinas?  Or are you like me and your eyes would glaze over anyway?

Like A Year With the Angels, I received the gorgeous leather-like edition with the gold edged pages & ribbon bookmark. If you are a bibliophile, this is your book. It is also available in for Kindle, but unless you only read digital books get the fancy one.  It’s one of those books that is so beautiful and pleasing to all the senses that you WANT to read it.

Each day’s reading is from a famous saint.  It begins with a short summary of the reading in plain english and then the saints thoughts on the topic for the day.  Following the reading is a reflection to prayerfully consider as well as a closing prayer and I’m not going to lie. This isn’t an “easy” book which is why it’s taken me so long to review it.  I’ve easily had it for a year.  The saints are hardcore. I cannot read this with kids climbing all over me. I’ve had to read several days, several times. But it’s good to be stretched. I want to read the saints. I want to grow in holiness. I want to make the effort.

If you are short on time or feel like the saints are over your head, A Year With the Saints is a great place to start. The entries are meaty, but not overly complex. They are short, but provide food for thought for the whole day or longer. And because its not a dated entry each day, you never feel behind and can start any time you want.  Or at least *I* don’t :).

So on All Saints Day, go get your plenary indulgence and start your year of reading with the saints. You can get it on Amazon and get it in plenty of time. Two days if you have Prime and instantly if your prefer Kindle.   How’s that for putting off procrastination :).


Do you have a favorite book for reading about the saints?

Jen S.

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