Book Review: In This House We Giggle

A few months ago I received a review copy of the book In This House We Will Giggle by Courney Defeo from Blogging for Books. I was excited because I’d heard good things about it, and I’m always on the lookout for good parenting books. The book focuses on encouraging love and laughter in our homes and children’s lives by letting go of some of the rigidity and rules that are often imposed by parents.

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I really wanted to like this book.  Parts of it I really did like, but a lot of it seemed to be recycled material from every other faith-based parenting book out there.  I also didn’t really see how the chapters all tied into the idea of encouraging the lighthearted home atmosphere that was the primary focus of the book.

The pros:

  •  I really, REALLY enjoyed the introduction.  It made me have pretty high hopes for the book.
  • The 12 chapters each focus on a virtue to encourage in your child’s life and were full of good thoughts and advice.
  • I loved the practical applications listed at the end of each chapter.  The activities look fun and worthwhile and I’m sure I’ll end up using some of them.
  • Scattered throughout the book are 60 fun little things to do with your kids to encourage giggles.  I really loved this element.

The cons:

  • If this book had just been about encouraging virtues in your child it would have been excellent, but again, I didn’t really see how the theme of the book tied into the chapters very well.
  • I felt like the author used laughter as a diversion tactic sometimes instead of correcting bad behavior.
  • After that awesome introduction the rest of the book was a bit of a letdown.

This book didn’t end up being what I expected, but I do plan to keep it and incorporate some of the ideas into our family.  I love the idea of focusing on a virtue every month and having practical ways to encourage that.  I also really like some of the activities listed throughout the book and know that being playful with my kids is not one of my strong points, so I’ll be working on that, too. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, practical book that teaches children about Biblical virtues.

**I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  As always, my opinions are my own.**

Day 1: Beautiful Words

I’m going to just come right out and say that I don’t know much about poetry. I’ve never really read it, although I think I would like it (in small doses). One of my sisters writes poetry on occasion and I love it so much when she does that she compiled a book of her original works for me.But if you asked me if I liked Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

I do like books that use beautiful words and thoughts, though, so here’s a list of books that enjoy and consider poetry (even though I doubt they are classified as such).

image source - The Catholic Catalogue
image source – The Catholic Catalogue

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – by Annie Dillard
This was assigned reading in second year college English and I adored it (I think I was the only one, though!). I know that this was Dillard’s personal account of year (or maybe more, I can’t remember) of solitary life out in the middle of nowhere, but she wrote such beautiful, detailed accounts of the most ordinary things that it felt like poetry, even if it was more of a memoir.  I know I could never write about a bug or plant with such wonder and enthusiasm, but I loved her descriptions so much that I kept the book after the class ended and still pick it up occasionally on a quiet afternoon.

One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts – by Ann Voskamp
I’ve written a little about this one before, back when I first read it.  This book is all about seeing the beautiful in the ordinary, being thankful for everything (good and bad) in our lives, and intentionally recording the things that make us happy. I adored most of this book, although the end lost me a little. I love the premise of this book, but I especially enjoyed the description and lyrical flow of her words. It’s just one of those books that make my soul smile.

image source - Centsational Girl
image source – Centsational Girl

Gift from the Sea – by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Much like One Thousand Gifts, it was the lyrical flow of this book that really reached me. Anne writes with clarity and beauty about contentment and tranquility, finding balance and peace as women, and time-shifting relationships and priorities. It’s a lovely, timeless book that applies to women today as much as it did when it was written (1955). I did not agree with everything she wrote, but several passages spoke to me so deeply that I recorded them in my journal to remind me of her words.

I just realized that every one of these authors names is Ann (or a variation, anyway).  How odd is that?!

I’ll be back tomorrow with something totally different. 🙂

You can see the rest of the series here.

Reading Goal Update: April & May

Up until May I was doing pretty well with my reading list. In fact, I was (amazingly) ahead of schedule, which pretty much never happens in any area of my life.

The books I read in April were:

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider 51P6UVsI9rL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

This was my second time reading this little gem, and I’ll probably continue to use it every year when I do my big spring cleaning projects. I love it because it’s both thought-provoking and practical. It includes lists for de-cluttering, cleaning, and organizing each area of the home, as well as tips and ideas on simplifying your life in general. I’m also a regular reader of her blog, Simple Mom. It’s a short read, and well worth the time.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin 51takLmkBBL._BO2,204,203

So I started this book fully expecting to love it. I’d had it on my to-read list for quite a while, and the idea of a happiness project was so intriguing to me (and still is, really). Unfortunately, I felt like a lot of her ideas were weird and/or shallow, although the book was well-written. To be totally honest, although I appreciated her honestly, I pretty much finished the book with the impression that the author was self-centered. It wasn’t a total bomb, but definitely not what I was expecting.

And then in May I don’t know what happened, exactly. I read a ton of books, more than any other month this year, but none of them were on my list. I was on a fiction kick, and pretty much read whatever I could get my hands on. Some were great, some just mediocre, but it was kind of nice to read purely for the enjoyment and relaxation of holding a book. Reminds me of my younger years when I would get totally absorbed in a book for days (or hours, depending on the length of the book). Unfortunately, my old bones don’t particularly appreciate staying up till 2am to finish a book anymore….

Anyway, I’m back on track for June, in the midst of Don Quixote and My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife.
I keep asking myself how on earth I’ve never gotten to Don Quixote before now. It’s funny. And also about ten million pages long, which is a little intimidating and drags up thoughts of The First American. (Shudder.)