In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo

Let me get to the point…LOVE the title, LOVE the subtitle “Making Virtues, Love & Laughter a DailyIn This House We Will Giggle book cover Part of Your Family Life”, AND LOVE the cover design for Courtney DeFeo’s book, In This House We Will Giggle!!!! :) Therefore I was really excited to read this book. I DEFINITELY want more giggles in our home!

Through love and laughter, each of the chapters focus on teaching a different virtue. The virtues included are joy, love, forgiveness, faith, patience, perseverance, respect, responsibility, service, humility, gratitude, and generosity. DeFeo presents the option of focusing on one virtue each month of the year starting with Joy in January through Generosity in December. This is a great way to not feel overwhelmed but give your family time to really learn about, practice, and embrace each virtue. The chapters include a section called “catch phrase for_(the virtue)_, a memory verse for the month, a kid-friendly definition for the virtue, questions to discuss, a Bible story to read (from The Jesus Storybook Bible), activity ideas and more.

I started reading the book around the end of January, so I didn’t want to rush to start it in January. However, I loved how some of the virtues go very well with the holidays of a few of the months, such as Love in February, Gratitude in November and Generosity in December. Therefore I decided to start implementing the monthly virtue focus in order, but starting in February with the second chapter Love: Letting Concern for Others Guide Our Behavior. (We’ll go back to January at the end. Don’t want to miss Joy: When the Reality of Life Meets a Heart of Gladness!) The kids have totally jumped on board – doing chores for each other, writing notes, ….! It’s been a sweet family experience so far and we are just starting. :)

I’ll close my review with some good questions from the heart of In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo…

“Our home, and the environment we create within our family, sets up the impression our kids will have of faith and God. Will they believe Jesus loves only well-behaved, model children, or will they know He loves them just as they are? Will they see the Christian life as a series of rules to be followed, or will they follow Jesus because they’ve learned from us what it means to love Him and find joy in being with Him?”’ -pg. 5

More Info

Author Bio

**I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

Love Your Theme

Today’s assignment from Blogging University: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with the one you first chose. Try one you’re drawn to, and one you would never use.

I did and changed my blog theme. Check it out!

Yes, short but sweet. I’m just trying to do something productive with my blog since I haven’t had time in the last week…Not sure how productive this post actually is…

but the change is fun! :)

It’s Just Me,


The Abbot’s Agreement by Mel Starr

The Abbot’s Agreement is from Mel Starr’s Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. Actually it is the 7th book, which I did not realize. (IThe Abbot’s Agreement book cover try not to choose a book from the middle of a series. I feel that there is normally a sense of loss not starting from the beginning with the characters and seeing them grow through their experiences.) I did not have time to read the first six before ;) , but the book worked out as my first book from The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton. There was a few small references that I assumed were from Master Hugh’s previous adventures written in the other chronicles.

The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series is set in medieval England with the main character of Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert. The Abbot’s Agreement starts out with Hugh traveling to Oxford to purchase a Bible. He travels with Arthur, a groom in the service of Lord Gilbert. (From my reading of this book I also assume that Arthur has been involved in the other adventures.) The body of a young novice from the nearby Eynsham Abbey is found on their journey and changes Hugh’s plans dramatically. The abbot from the abbey asked Hugh to look in to the crime in exchange for the brothers to make him his Bible. …Is this agreement worth it?!

Mel Starr includes a glossary at the beginning of the book just in case his readers aren’t familiar with the medieval terms. I read through it before I started the novel to give me a little bit of background information. I have not read any books set in the medieval times! However, I found it very tedious to go back and forth while I was reading the story. Therefore I stopped using it for the most part and I was able to follow the story and enjoy it. I did get lost in some of the titles and names.

I enjoyed seeing how Master Hugh investigated a crime in this time period, without all the technology of today. My favorite part of the book was the humorous exchanges between Hugh and Arthur when Arthur “helped” a with a couple guys who weren’t as cooperative!! While it was an interesting and entertaining read, I’m not sure I will check out the beginning of the chronicles. Maybe later…right now I would rather read a book in a setting that is easier for me to step into as a reader.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Make Your “About” Page Irresistible

Blogging University‘s 5th assignment for Blogging 101 today is to “create and publish your About page, and adapt it for a widget on your home page.”

I created my About page when I started the blog in 2006 and then I simply update it off and on. Just last week I edited my page, because it had been a few years since any changing or adding had occurred–00ps! Now this assignment leads me back to it…

“Why do this?

  • An enticing About page gives your readers an idea of who you are and what your blog is about, and shows off your unique voice.
  • A short description of your blog right on the home page helps rushed, indecisive readers decide to stick around.

…Most importantly, your About page tells your blog’s story.” (from the assignment)

My About page definitely gives a picture of me and where I come from. I’m not sure how “enticing” it is! :) However, I believe it works well. I’m a pretty down-to-earth woman, a loving & encouraging wife and mom (working on the patience though!), a loyal & fun friend, and a Christ-follower who knows she’s still learning & growing in my relationship with my Savior. Also my family is a huge part of my story because all — from my grandparents to my kids — have been/are huge parts of my story – who I am and why.

I already use a couple widgets to personalize my home page. With one I include a picture and another is used for a link that allows the reader another way to get to my About page. I hadn’t thought of adding a shorted “about” in addition to what I have. I’ll work on that through this week since I know I won’t be posting as often (back to regular schedule) – I’ll give myself an extension on that part of the assignment! ;)

In previous posts, (1) I introduced myself, (2) worked on the name of my blog, (3) checked out a few different blogs and topics, and (4) wrote to you while including a few different blog elements. Come back and check out more as the fun and learning continue …

It’s Just Me,


Rethinking My Blog, Again!

I began this blog in January 2006 with no true direction, just to entertain a friend and because I had been thinking about it. I wasn’t very consistent, but for the past few years I have definitely used my blog more as an outlet for book reviews, which equals free books!! :)

After a friend and young mom’s death, I posted Do I want to restart? in Dec 2010. Then I further posted my thought and history of my blog on Why I Blog? (part 1) in June 2011 and the long awaited Why I Blog? (part 2) in Aug 2011. My conclusion was that I would keep enjoying my simple pleasure of reviewing books and sharing them with you, with some actual blogging thrown in here and there.

Now I’m considering and reconsidering the need for my blog. Actually I know there is no true “need”. My friend that I started it for, doesn’t even stop by, and most of the friends that were blogging aren’t anymore. I usually get very little action in the comments. However, it has been totally awesome to get response back from the authors of the books I reviewed, such as Heart Wide Open, Defy the Night, The Passionate Mom, The Night and the Firefly, and Night of the Living Dead Christian!!

Also I have a lot going on in my “real world” life. I love hanging out with my husband and kids! Our kids are older, so my responsibilities have changed from primarily filling little tummies, wiping bottoms, and dealing with nap issues to teaching and training their hearts and minds. Right now I am normally getting more sleep at night, yet my days are very full. I feel like I need to be more and more careful with my time.

I have enjoyed reviewing book – picking out free books, waiting for them to show up in the mail, reading them, telling the world my thoughts, and passing them along to family and friends. It is super fun to give away copies to my readers, like in these review posts: Night of the Living Dead Christian bog tour, Roots of the Journey (which was a CD), How to Control Your Emotions so They Don’t Control You, Women Living Well, and As One Devil to Another. I love it when my review helped someone looking for a new book or not sure wether they would be interested in a certain book – Love & War, Full Disclosure, A Sound Among the TreesLes Miserables (Radio Theatre), and Where Lilacs Still Bloom.

And yet, now I feel like my season of reviewing books may need to sloooooowwww down…not totally end, but I choose to be much more selective. The main reason is that writing a good review takes time, time that I feel I can better invest in other areas. I want to be able to read with no responsibility except for my own entertainment or learning. Also I have a lot of books that I want to read, physical books and ebooks. Also, we have Amazon prime and there are so many books that I can read for free. These are all books that don’t require a review.

So, Cheers to a new direction to my blog. I plan to do less book reviews, but try to write a post at least once a week, and then I’ll decide from there. I’m hoping to grow through this Blogging 101 course from Blogging University,  but I also don’t want to free up time from reviewing book to lose it in blogging. I really want to invest the time where it matters – in my faith, family and friendships.


Blogging 101’s Weekend 1 Warriors Assignment included suggestions such as

  • Spend more time in the Reader. I did and added a few more blogs to follow.
  • Download the WordPress app. I already have this on my phone but deleted it this summer when I has at a concert with my daughter and need more room for pictures! :) I don’t think I’ll worry about putting it back on right now, because I rarely used it.
  • Write another post. This is what I’m working on now… “Rethinking My Blog, Again!”.
  • Share some love in The Commons. Since I’m not “officially” registered, I can’t get into The Commons. I will be registered next month, which still works for me since I know I will continue into February and perhaps into March. My family has been sick, so I’ve had more time to work on my blog. However, we are all getting better! {Thank You, Jesus!!} That also means I will be back to our regular schedule with much less time to devote to blogging. I plan to try to blog at least once a week, maybe twice depending on how I can fit it in.

Write to Your Dream Reader

Today’s Blogging 101 Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

My dream reader is someone in need of encouragement… A Christian sister or brother, a bored stranger, a homeschooling mom, a reader looking for their next book… I’m not really that picky!

Today I’m thinking about Priorities. Since I need encouragement is that area, someone else may too.

As I searched through the blog posts with a tag of “priorities” (which I leaned more about in Assignment 3. You are impressed that I’m using what I’m learning, yes?!), I found other bloggers were focusing on it as well.

  • 101 Ways to Cook Rice and Beans wrote a short but a great post titled Priorities on “Wordy Wednesday” (I’ll have to check that out later). I really appreciate how he focuses us on the reality of the battle involving our priorities…”Your priorities are at war. I’m talking bombs blowing up, soldiers screaming, helicopter just crashed into a barn creating in an plume of flames kind of war.”
  • The Mama Hayes Blog also has a post called Priorities. She shares that “I’m really starting to think I need to quit some stuff and get back to what’s important and focus on my relationship with God.” I love the song she directs us to, which is Francesca Battistelli’s song When the Crazy Kicks In 
  • Living Royalty shares a song too with the tag “priorities”. The post and song are both of the same name Jesus at the Center. Here’s the same video she posted from Darlene Zschech 
  • Becoming His Butterfly‘s prayer reminds me of the heart cry I’ve heard echoed from many other bloggers.

    Lord, may we remember you, even in our most stressful of circumstances, in the demands of our ambitions, in the eventualities that tug us down. Let us slooow down and savor you. Amen.

  • Pictures of Silver encourages us in her post I Don’t Have Time. “We all have our reasons of why we don’t do things, but so many of us are just ‘too busy.’  We can be so busy doing ‘good’ things that we don’t notice those around us who may just need an encouraging word or an invitation for dinner. ..So what are you filling your schedule with?  Are they things that you feel the Lord is calling you to do, or are they things that you feel compelled to do?  …this time has been so good for us to stop and think about what we should be filling our time with. …as the new year just started, what are you busy doing?  How can you allow the Lord to lead you this year to encourage and minister to others?  How can you stop and be still this year to allow the Lord to work in your own life?”
  • I think…shares his views on Establishing Priorities. “No matter what comes out of our mouth, what we do with our bodies will tell the world what our priorities truly are.  The first 30 minutes of the day are crucial to lay down what matters most to you.”

Those are all great words of conviction and encouragement. Thanks, fellow bloggers! Now on to action — on my part!

In the big picture, my priorities are

  1. God – my Lord and Savior
  2. Matt – my husband
  3. Abbye, Hannah, Eva, and Neil – our kids
  4. Their education
  5. Friends – Extended family, church family, and close friends

Those are the easier ones to set. However, it’s the little everyday ones that seem harder. What school curriculum do we need to use?… How can I fit everything in?… What extra curricular activities will encourage growth in our kids’ gifts and talents?… How to protect our family time?…

Ok. I’ve got to close this assignment and really do some planning, offline. God bless :)

It’s Just Me,



For Assignment 4, I wrote to my “dream” reader, which is you, of course! New elements include links to other blogs, specific posts, youtube videos, a couple kinds of lists, and a few different colors of texts thrown in for fun. Actually none of these are totally new for me, but I wasn’t sure what else to add.


Here’s posts for my previous assignments –

1: Introduce Yourself, 2: Say Your Name, and 3: Say Hello to the Neighbors.

Blogging 101 Assignment 3: Say Hello to the Neighbors

Blogging 101 continues with the third assignment of “follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs“. 

“Why spend time reading other blogs?

  • Publishing posts is only half of blogging — engaging with the community is the other.
  • Considering what other bloggers write will inspire you and sharpen your thoughts.

Part of what makes blogging such a rich experience are the relationships we develop with people from around the world.  Those relationships only happen when we engage with one another — Plus, reaching out to other bloggers is the best way to have them return the favor.” (from the assignment)

This makes sense. Blogging is a way to connect. Right now, I’m already following several blogs. However, I don’t sit down to read them very often. So, I decided to check them all out…it’s been pretty sad. Most of the blogs seem to be slowly dying – not deleted, but with not much recent activity. I guess I’m not as behind, since there was nothing to read! :(

The Reader is something I don’t use very often, but I believe it’s suppose to allow me to stay up on the blogs and topics I choose to follow more easily. So, maybe I should check it out more often!? If you need easier…and that’s me!! :)

I do already add tags (which are the topics people can search for) to my posts, but I’ve rarely used them to hunt down topics.

Finding 5 blogs and 5 topics to follow was not easy. (I already had 16 blogs and 6 tags that I was following…not regularly, but I clicked “follow”!)  :) I do not want to waste my time or follow something just because it was an assignment. My thought before I jump in to the assignment: I don’t believe I’m going to get five each, but… I did follow…

For blogs:

*Life and It’s…

*God is Always Faithful

*Reflecting the Son

*Amy K. Sorrells

A couple more addition came as I search through topics:

*Merry Magpie Farm — I found through the “homeschooling” tag

*Quietly Reminded — I found through the “Hello Mornings” tag

For Tags/Topics I began to follow Christianity, motherhood, homeschooling, prayer, Hello Mornings, and book reviews.


Well, well, I actually completed my assignment plus one! I added 6 blogs and 6 tags. Is that because I am an overachiever? Perhaps not since I had to use spellcheck to spell “overachiever”!! But we can’t all assume that all overachievers know how to spell! Most likely there is a little bit of rebellion in there too! ;) :)


It’s Just Me,



Assignment 1: Introduce Yourself

Assignment 2: Say Your Name