Archive for Books

S is for Smiling Sunrise {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

I am one of those mom’s who is all about multitasking.  Not necessarily doing multiple things at once, but doing ONE thing that has multiple benefits.  That’s why I LOVE reading!  It’s educational, conversational, family snuggle time.  S is for Smiling Sunrise is one of those books that we can all curl up with together and talk about.

smiling sunshine review

About WordsBright

WordsBright is an independent publisher whose goal is to create children’s books that are fun and educational, as well as working toward health and happiness.   S is for Smiling Sunrise is their first book.  In addition to the hardcover book, there are also several freebies you can get on their website — an MP3 of the Alphabet Song, which is the book set to music, a PreK parent printable, a K-3 Teacher printable guide and even a poster of one of the pages of the book.



How We Used S is for Smiling Sunrise

We added S is for Smiling Sunrise to my normal mommy book pile and read it several times a week.  My kids have a lot of leeway in what we read to them, but there are always books that *I* choose to read and I intersperse them in between their picks.  Sometimes they are review and sometimes they are not.  

We read it both with and without the MP3 playing, but they liked it better with the CD or being sung. In fact, I’m not allowed to NOT sing it now that they know the tune :).  If your kids are musical, this is great opportunity to incorporate some rhythm instruments to it.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I hear some rice shaker/maracas in the instrumental pauses between segments.

My ONLY trouble with it is that the MP3 is made to play/sing with the book, but I wish it had a page turn cue.  I grew up with the whole record/cassette tape and book thing :).  It would be handy to have.


If you have a preschooler or kindergartner in the house + older kids and do a letter of the week type thing, this would be a great alternative to reading the same alphabet books over and over and over again.

The illustrations are colorful and attractive and the subjects can lead to some great discussion with older kids. The text is easy to read aloud and has a good rhythm to it.



Check out what other members of the crew thought about S is for Smiling Sunrise!

Jen S.



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St. Joan of Arc {Saint Picture Book Club – May 2015}

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


I have to apologize for not getting a picture book post up last month. We have had every single disease that was going around during March and April. We had a rotavirus-type disease for 2 weeks, than the oldest (who escaped the above disease) got a HORRID cold virus of some sort and was out for a week. We had 4 good days before the whole house — hubs and I included — had a norovirus type bug. Obviously, blogging at such a time is at the bottom of the to-do list :).

st Joan of arc saint picture book club may 2015

This month, though, I am sharing a beautiful book about St. Joan of Arc, whose feast day is May 30. While I try to pick a picture book each month whose contents are appropriate for all ages, Joan of Arc is really directed at an older child. I would say 5 – 12, perhaps. This is due to the VERY large text to picture ratio.

My 4-1/2 year old has really been enjoying the story even though it is very wordy. We have been reading about 2-3 pages per sitting and she is loving every minute of it. I think you will really enjoy it!

As always, I strive to make this picture book club an easy way to live the liturgical year by purchasing a quality book that is easily available and eligible for Amazon Prime’s 2-day shipping. Come back during the last week of May to see a full review of Joan of Arc plus 1-2 of the other books I purchased.  I will share ideas for extra credit (if you have time) and invite you to share any favorites you have as well.

See you in a few weeks!

Jen S.


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Daddy Loves You So Much! {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}

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


Daddy Loves You So Much! is another cute padded board book from Tommy Mommy. Much like Mommy Loves You So Much! this book also has beautiful illustrations of daddy helping his little ones. This book contains 4-line rhymes of things daddy does for little ones.

daddy loves you review giveaway

When does daddy make you laugh?
All day and all night long!
With our games and funny faces,
And silly made-up songs.


We keep this one downstairs and The Little Man frequently brings it to daddy to read. We keep the Mommy one upstairs where I read during the day. It’s a great bedtime book or even a good book when your little is having a rough day.


The verses in the daddy book might be slightly more masculine than in the mommy version, but they are pretty generic and applicable to anyone who loves and cares for a child. If you are interested in getting a copy of this for a loved one you can find it at Sam’s Club or use the widget below to win one.

Please note that a comment answering the question is mandatory. Your integrity is appreciated!


Good luck!

Jen S.

Psst – You can win a copy of Mommy Loves You So Much! too.

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Mommy Loves You So Much! {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}

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


I’m so excited to share two great board books with you just in time for Mother’s Day & Father’s Day. The first, the one I’m sharing today is Mommy Loves You So Much!

mommy loves you so much

Mommy Loves You So Much! is a cute padded board book illustrated by Jo Parry. Each 2 page spread has a short 4-line rhyme and a beautifully illustrated picture of an animal mama taking care of her little ones. The verses all ask a question and answer in rhyming verse.


How does mommy care for you?
With soapy suds, my sweet!
I love to wash you giggly face
And clean your wiggly feet.


The funniest part about this one is that hubs always changes this verse to say daddy because HE generally does baths for the kids. The Little Man really enjoys reading this book with me. I really enjoy reading it to all of them because I am not a very demonstrative person. This book makes it easy for me to show & tell the kids I love them. Is it a lazy way? Maybe, but it works, so I’ll take it :D.

Interested in winning a copy for your little one? Use the widget below & remember that a comment answering the question is mandatory. Thanks for your integrity!

Good luck!

Jen S.

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Life-Long Learning for Homeschool Moms

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Hi, my name is Jen & I’m a book junkie. Seriously, I read hundreds of books a year and took an extra year to get my bachelors because it wasn’t until my junior year that I narrowed down whether I was going to get an accounting, business, or computer degree. I contemplated getting about 12 associates just because I was interested in so many things.

life long learning for busy moms

I really love the Thomas Jefferson Education ideas and since I’m a voracious learner it works really well with how the hubs and I think. One of the things they emphasize is that the parents need to be learning themselves. I’m a firm believer that they catch a love of books & learning. All 3 of my children will spend 20 minutes or more listening to me read. I have 7 & 4 year old girls and a 20 month old boy. He won’t nurse without a book.

Be still my heart.

So how do you fit education into your busy homeschool mom day? Here are 3 of my favorite ways to incorporate learning into my busy life as a working homeschool mom.

Listen Up!

While I am not an personally an auditory learner, I still love to listen to audio seminars. It’s a perfect thing to do when I’m doing things like folding laundry or scrubbing toilets.

Learning for the Ears

Hoopla. Your public library probably offers audiobooks or online access to audiobooks, movies and books via Hoopla or another program.

Audible. With Audible’s membership program, you can get a book a month. The BEST part of Audible’s membership is access to the audio files of The Great Courses. I’ve been learning about Greek history in depth while my second grader studies ancient history.

Amazon & WhisperSync. Some Kindle books from Amazon are enabled with Whispersync. For a low rate (usually $3 or less) Kindle books enabled with Whispersoft allow to to switch seamlessly between your Kindle and audiobook and back again. It will detect your place in the book on your Kindle device and start the audiobook there. When you go back to your Kindle book, it will pick up right where you left off. How cool is that!

Historical Audio Dramas. While most of these are for children, I have learned a ton as well. We won a copy of Your Story Hour and we’ve loved those historical audio dramas. I’ve also reviewed Brinkman Adventures, a Christian missionary series, and In Freedoms Cause, the story of Wallace & Bruce. If you subscribe to Homeschool Freebie of the Day’s newsletter, they also periodically offer collections of books & audio dramas.

Reading in Stolen Moments

As an addictive reader, I keep books everywhere. There are books near every couch, by my bed, the bathrooms and even the kitchen. I have books for all areas of my life — Catholicism, marriage, parenting, homemaking/work, health and even some fiction for fun.

Physical books. Libraries are great sources for books, but I find I can’t get good Catholic books that way. I know finding religious books in general can be difficult. Look into alternate “libraries” like your church or mom’s group. I also find a lot of books used on Amazon.

Kindle Books. I love having a library of books wherever I am and look for awesome deals on Kindle books. A lot of times you can get popular Christian titles for $3 or less if you are willing to wait a few years and get lucky. They are usually only discounted for a few days or hours.

Your favorite deal or book blog is a great source for finding those deals. I also check kindle versus new versus used pricing to find the best deal. I always go with print if the price is close because I can resell the book :).

Book Clubs. This has been a God-send for me. I have been hosting a local group of the Well-Read Mom book club and have had my reading choices stretched. In a good way. Plus, fellowship with other Catholic moms. And chocolate. Duh. Online book clubs are great, too. Various bloggers will have book clubs and the last several book club selections at have been great books!

Educational Television

While books are my favorite way to learn, sometimes I just don’t feel like reading.  Especially in the evening after I have spent an entire winter day reading aloud to my kiddos!  When that is the case, I aim for a little learning from my favorite visual sources!

The Great Courses. These are my favorites! Twice a year (or maybe more often), these Ivy League quality DVD/Audio courses are available for 60-80% off. I just purchased three more Great Courses a few months ago. They also have an app and any program you purchase includes download access!

Amazon Prime. Because not having to take 3 kids to the store when you are almost out of diapers and toilet paper when sick isn’t awesome enough, you can also stream a ton of TV for free. Discovery and the History Channel are my favorites, but you can find educational TV on almost any subject.

Netflix. I have been watching The Inexplicable Universe–a series of lectures on quantum physics by Neil Degrass Tyson, an astrophysicist I was introduced to in my first ever course from The Great Courses. The Hubs & I have also been watching The Men Who Made America which has been fascinating. We also saw a show about the Midians getting their copper from the UP. What?!?!? Obviously, all documentaries are not created equal, but it’s an interesting way to learn and exercise critical thinking skills :).



It’s so important to not only learn, but share about what you are learning with your kids, especially when they may not see you doing it. How do they know the difference between your novel, playing FreeFall or reading a history text on your phone? Or know that you are learning about physics when they are in bed? Share what you are learning or study with them. When you are excited about learning, they will be, too!


Interested in using books for learning in your home or homeschool? Check out my newest post at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog — Book-Based Learning.

What do you love to study in your free time?

Jen S.

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