Archive for Books

Catholic Bible Talk & a Bloggy Break

I’ve had the bible on the brain this last month and I’ve written two columns over at Catholic


For my tech talk column, I wrote about my wish for a Catholic Bible tracking app for iOS.   There are tons of apps but none for Catholics.   Any programmers looking for a project?


didache bible review

I also found the most rockin’ Catholic Bible EVER!   You know how everyone always asks what one book you would want on a desert island?  And most people say the bible?   I was never one of those people, until I found this bible.  Go to to find out why I think The Didache Bible is awesomesauce!


Also, in order to observe Holy Week, I will not be posting or participating in social media this week. See you next Monday, April 6, 2015!

Jen S.

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Last Minute Resources for Lent & Easter

Disclaimer:  The book and faith folder were received by their publishers in exchange for an honest review.   This post also contains affiliate links; thank you for your support!

Even though Lent is nearly over, there are still two weeks until Easter.   That is plenty of time to work on some Lent and Holy Week activities as well as prepare a few fun things for the Easter Octave.   After all, Easter is 50 Days of celebrating; don’t let it end on Easter Sunday!

Last Minute Resources for Lent & Easter @ Happy Little Homemaker.

Lent & Holy Week Activities

Lent does not always go as I planned or as I wished and so I look at Holy Week as a way to give it a short concentrated burst of looking to God before Easter.   Here are a few last minute activities for the rest of Lent and Holy Week.


1.  Sense of the Resurrection

If you have little kids, a Sense of the Resurrection is one of my favorite activities.  There are only 12 activities and they all have to do with one of the 5 senses — tasting vinegar, washing feet and more.  While many people use these throughout Lent, I recommend doing as many activities as you wish during Holy Week.  And because it’s an instant download, you can buy today, shop tomorrow and spend the rest of the week working through it ;).

lent faith folder

2. Lent Faith Folder

My daughter has recently become enamored with lapbooking and I found these fabulous Catholic Faith Folders from Holy Learning.  They were kind enough to send me the Lent Faith Folder to review and it is a fantastic resource for Lent & Holy Week.  The faith folder requires two file folders and has 19 elements on topics like the history of Lent, words we hear during Lent, Palm Sunday, the Triduum, countdown calendar, Stations of the cross and more!  If you were to start this on Ash Wednesday, you would need to do an element every other day to get through it all.


My 7 year old has been the one working through the Lent Faith Folder and I would consider her to be on the young end of users for this.  Personally, I would think 7-12 would probably be about right.  There are elements for Lenten Commitments & a countdown calendar, but she isn’t yet at the age or maturity to do her own goal setting/tracking so I left those pieces out.  Perhaps we will add them next year.   It’s not too late to make use of the Faith Folder for this year, though!

There are at least 6 elements that could be done during this week and next.   Each element is included 4 different ways– prefilled b&w, prefilled color, blank b&w, and blank color.   This is awesome because I don’t mind using color ink and writing things is a special form of torture for my 7 year old.  Alternately, you could print b&w files on colored paper.


Each element of the Lent Faith Folder covers the essentials of Lent and is faithful to Catholicism.  It does a fabulous job of sharing the different practices of Lent and events of Holy Week, as well as providing space for tracking the days of Lent and Lenten sacrifices.  You could use this every year as a refresher and moving from pre-filled to blank as skills improve.  You could also slowly work through it over two years.  That’s probably what we will do since we didn’t get to the first few weeks of booklets and things.  My daughter has loved working on it and already asked if we could do a Christmas one :).



Photo from Used with permission.


3.  Resurrection Peg People

If you are lucky enough that you already have a stash of blank pegs on hand, you could easily finish the set of Passion Peg People from Catholic Icing to use during Holy Week.  And, if you have wooden blocks, combine them with this interactive map of Jerusalem!  If you have older children, they could make them as a craft instead of YOU making them for little ones :).

Easter Resources

I tend to lose sight of having adequate resources ready to celebrate Easter.  I find that I spend a ton of time getting ready for Holy Week and Easter is usually dictated by visits with extended family.  This year, we are taking Monday & Tuesday off of school to spend a little more time celebrating Easter.

If you are in the same boat, here are some great last minute Easter resources.

1.  The Easter Book Basket

Every year I purchase new Easter books for my crew.  I get out books about Holy Week activities on Palm Sunday and the rest come out around the time of the Easter Sunday vigil (that’s 8 or 9 pm around our neck of the woods).

I recently was sent a new book to review by Laura Wagner, Saint Mary Magdalene and the first Easter Egg.


Like the book of Saint Patrick, this book likes like the illustrations are made of felt.   This super short story of Mary Magdalene and the first Easter egg is about 20 pages long and tells the story of how Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus and went to tell Caesar of His resurrection.   Caesar, not believing her, said that if he did rise, the egg in her hand would turn red.   It did and that is why we now die eggs for Easter.  I’ve never heard this story before and it is very simply and cutely done.   We were glad to add Saint Mary Magdalene and the first Easter Egg to our Easter book basket.  You can see my review of her book about Saint Patrick here.


Photo from  Used with permission.

2.  Easter Peg Dolls

Now, Laci @ CatholicIcing hasn’t released the Easter Peg dolls yet, but she said that she was going to just released the Resurrection Set of Peg dolls and they are BEAUTIFUL!  So.  If you love having these peg dolls for your little ones or your older ones need an artistic outlet, plan ahead.   Buy a few bags of wooden peg people.  Her last two sets were only $5 each so you are looking at a dozen peg dolls for the price of one on Etsy.  Go get your craft on ;).


Colorful Easter Eggs

3.   Color Easter Eggs

You could either color regular chickens eggs, paint paper mâché or wooden eggs in whatever color scheme you go for, OR you could try your hand at Pysanky.  You can find directions and traditional patterns at and the wooden eggs are available at Amazon.



Let’s finish Lent strong and observe the Tridiuum of Holy Week and give Easter it’s due.

Need more quick and easy tips and ideas?   Try these:

7-activities-children-holy-week-lent       keep-easter-out-of-lent


Have a blessed Lent & Easter season!

Jen S.

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Devotionals for the Little Girl Who is Growing Up {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}

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


My “newborn” turns two in a few months.  Two!  And if I thought that THAT was bad, I realized that my oldest is now 7.  Seven!  I swear I just had her.  Not only is she not little anymore, but she is working her way through the change from being a little girl to being an honest-to-God big girl.   Being responsible and having privileges and starting to think outside herself.

brave girls devotions giveaway

She is in desperate need of guidance.  And I am a poor choice.  Still working to overcome my own selfishness and failings and learning to be a better child of God, I’m glad to have such great resources to help my daughter as she grows.   I have had the opportunity to read Better Than Perfect and Faithful Friends, both on my own, and with my 7 year old.

These two 90-day devotionals are aimed at young girls ages 7-11 and are spot. on.  Seriously.   Both Better Than Perfect and Faithful Friends are 90-day devotionals.  These are books meant to be used and are affordable grayscale interior paperback books.  Faith & Hope are the Brave Girls guides in Better Than Perfect.  Each of the 90-day devotions is divided into 6 sections, truth, beauties & beaus, Gods design, character, self care, and mind games.  The 90 devotions are centered on doing well for God, but NOT on perfection.  All of the Brave Girls are guides in Faithful Friends.  Like Better Than Perfect, the devotions are broken into several sections.  Faithful friends has 8 sections covering friendship, both with God and others.  Topics include Friendship starters, friendship fixes, quizzes, and even friends from the bible.

While neither book is a prayer journal, both have several journaling pages & prompts as well as games and word searches near the end.   I really love the approachable language and scenarios that bring God’s will & wishes for us into real life!   There is a great mix of practical ideas for living your faith, getting closer to God, and how to care for others God’s way.

Getting and reading these books has prompted me to get back to “special time” with my oldest.  As she works through the difficult transition from little girl to big girl, it’s important to make sure that I am trusted now with the little things, so that she will feel safe to come to me with bigger problems when she gets older.  My 7 year old asks to do these devotions every day.

Better Than Perfect and Faithful Friends are ideal for cultivating relationships with your daughters who are no longer little girls.  If you are looking to form deeper relationships with a niece, Goddaughter, or granddaughter, you would benefit from using this book, too.  Alternately, you could gift it to the young girl in your life for independent reading, but I think it’s ideal for discussion and heart to heart talks.

Would you like to win a set?  Use the widget below to enter.  Please note that a comment is a required entry.  Thank you for your integrity :).

Good luck!

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A Menu of Lenten Apps and More {@ Catholic Mom}

I’ve written a book review and a post about Catholic Apps for Lent over at Catholic and didn’t get a chance to share them yet.

First, I found a book by Kathi Lipp, whose books I enjoy, called Clutter Free.  This would be great for a Lenten decluttering project

How have you been doing on your New Years Resolutions?  Was decluttering one of your goals?  While I had made great strides in decluttering & simplifying during our Florida excursion a few years ago, having kids & homeschooling have caused us to back pedal on our progress a bit.   As a result, clearing kid-related clutter has ended up on the radar this year.

9780736959131_centered_283x437I was recently able to review Clutter Free: Quick & Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space by Kathi Lipp.   There are lots of simplifying and decluttering books on the market, but very few go into how the stuff got there in the first place.


You can read all of my review of Clutter Free over at CatholicMom.


The second post I wanted to share was a very simple way to quickly and easily spend more time with God during Lent, even for the busiest among us.

Menu of Lenten Apps

As usual, I spend more time planning than doing and Lent is no different. I’ve downloaded no fewer than 5 apps for Lent. When you add inthe handful of books, there is no way to read and do ALL of it. To make things easier, I’ve decided to narrow it down to one for each of the three pillars of Lent — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving…

Go to CatholicMom to see what 3 apps, I’ve been using to support the three pillars of Lent in my busy homeschool mama life.

How is your Lent going?

Jen S.


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6 Books About the Life of St. Patrick {Saint Book Club}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of a book by the author, in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

I hesitated to pick St. Patrick as my saint for March’s Saint Picture Book Club pick. It’s such a common saint! Even non-Catholics know St. Patrick. And there are so many great books about the life of Saint Patrick.

saint patricks day books saint picture book march


Saint Patrick’s Day Books

We have a good half-dozen awesome books about the life of Saint Patrick and I have 3 to share with you, in particular.

For Review- The Story of Saint Patrick

I was recently sent a copy of The Story of Saint Patrick by Laura Wagner. She has written a series of children’s books of saint stories and she sent me this book and another that I will share closer to Easter.

story of saint patrick inside review

These books are self published by Laura and available on Amazon. The Story of Saint Patrick is a very simple book. By that I mean, that the story is told very simply, making it suitable for young children. It is also very simply illustrated. It almost looks like they were made from a felt. She stuck to the well known parts and pieces of his story well and even included a bibliography. The dork in me loves that :). Its a very gently told story that mentions the kidnapping and escape in such a way that make it good for small children. Children as young as 3 could be exposed to the real story of Saint Patrick at an age-appropriate level.

Mom’s Favorite — Patrick: Saint of Ireland

Patrick: Saint of Ireland is my favorite book about Saint Patrick. This book doesn’t feel like an an encyclopedia entry. Instead, it’s a beautifully woven story of Saint Patrick. Joyce Denham does a masterful job of painting a beautiful picture of the life of St. Patrick.

patrick saint of ireland review inside


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!


Kids Pick – St. Patrick’s Day

This is a book that bridges the gap between secular and religious. St. Patrick’s Day is a book that talks not only about the holiday & how it is celebrated in the US, but shares about the life of Saint Patrick as well as traditions from Ireland.

saint patricks day book review inside

It concludes with a handful of different legends of St. Patrick. It’s a book that would appeal to non-Catholics and not offend Catholics with poor history and inaccurate facts.

Other Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Picture Books

Saint Patrick’s Day Activities & Printables

If you are in the mood for doing a little more, you can check out the following activities based on the life of St. Patrick:

Saint Patrick’s Day Feasting

You could take St. Patrick’s Day Feasting down many avenues…Irish, green or symbols to name a few. Here are a few ideas for all three :).

Irish Foods for St. Patrick’s Day

Green Saint Patrick’s Day Treats

Symbolic Yummies

If you go to Pinterest, there are hundreds of ideas. Frankly, hundreds of ideas paralyze me, so I just shared a few :). Because St. Patrick’s Day almost always falls during Lent, I don’t really decorate for it, though sometimes I wish I did.

What about you? What are your Saint Patrick’s Day traditions?

Jen S.

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