The Remedy for Love: Two adults find themselves in a survival situation during the snow storm of the century. One straight-laced. One free-spirit. #love #winter

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A quirky bookstore has a secret layer. Newest employee hunts down ancient answers and unlocks the secret using modern technology. #nerdy

The Boys in the Boat: Combo of human interest, sport, and history during 1936 #Olympics. Perfect #nonfiction book for fiction lovers. #rowing #ifyoulikedunbroken

What Alice Forgot: Typical amnesia story-lovely just the same. Women wakes up to life she doesn’t recognize. Must piece together and fix before it’s too late.

My True Love Gave To Me: 12 holiday stories focused on love. Christmas might be over, but winter is still here. Great to read one each night as a snack. #Christmas

The Expats: CIA agent turned SAHM moves family to Europe. Discovers intricate web of lies and deceit. Some graphic parts. #suspense #intelligent #lovedit


Tell me the best thing you’ve read lately, puhlease.
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Twitterature: What We’re Reading


Falling for Your Madness: By @10minutewriter. Def. fits criteria for a book w/ a fresh plot line. A little bizarre, but interesting and easy enough to keep attention.

The Stupidest Angel: Not a fan. Thought it’d be a quirky Christmas story. Turns out it’s all zombies and serial killers. Not even in the cool Burton way. #nope

I Don’t Want to be a Hoo-er: A summary of @TheAnchoress’ best pieces. Thought-provoking but easy to read because it is broken into short essays. #catholic #politics

Teaching in Your Tiara: We’re still on the fence about homeschooling, and this book makes it seem possible for people like me. #honest #funny #logical #keepinitreal

Stardust: A friend’s fiance based his proposal on this book bc it is her fave. I had to read. Magical, fantasy, light, adventure. One of my new faves.

You Cannot Be Serious – and 32 Other Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom: Meh. A bit funny & relatable, but humor seemed a bit forced. Light read (my MO). Used as a kickstarter to get back into the reading groove.

Dear Mr. Knightley: Liked this mucho. Didn’t see the end coming. A little disappointed in her choice, but didn’t ruin my read. #fostercare #chicago #journalism

Spice Up Your Marriage: @HallieLord’s fun way to date your hubs again. Easy to read in bits w actual action items to try.  #selfhelp #love #bowchicabowwow #catholic

Parnassus on Wheels: Quirky, bookish and light. Great book for those who love books. Story of a woman who leaves her quiet life to be a traveling bookseller.

The Search for Delicious: #YAlit Please read this. Charming. Boy travels country polling kingdom to find out what’s most delicious. #fantasy #adventure #published1969


What We’re Reading

Call Her Happy Summer Reads

Do I need to give you an introduction, or do you get it? …You get it. Good. Also, maybe you heard? Baby bird is the word.


Non Fiction

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World

From Grouchy To Great: Finding Joy In The Journey Of Motherhood

You Cannot Be Serious – and 32 Other Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom



Will and Lina: When Two Worlds Collide

Life in the Palace (The Palace Saga Book 1)

The Truth About The Sky


Modern Mrs. Darcy Picks for Moi

What Alice Forgot

Parnassus on Wheels

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

The Search for Delicious



The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home

Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World

The Fulfillment of All Desire

Trusting God with St. Therese


Are any of these on your list? Or better yet, are any of these on your Run Far Far Away From list? That would be helpful to know too. And, this post contains affiliate links.


5 Things I Look for in a Book + a review

I’ll tell you what, this is a big deal. I don’t do this often. Mostly because who has time to sit down and honestly list out her favorite books (innoparticularorder)? Only a mom who uses and abuses Netflix, my friends. Uses and abuses.

So, while I’ve got Straw-ba-ba-ba-ba-berry on loop, let’s do this. To be one of my favorites, a book needs to fit the following very academic criteria:

  1. have a unique, fresh plot line that I haven’t come across a hundred times (hello, unlikely friendships)
  2. be written well enough that I don’t feel like I could have penned it (not hard, but still)
  3. plot-driven rather than descriptive prose (because I like my brows low)
  4. doesn’t make me depressed or anxious or a sobbing mess (all the children must LIVE!)
  5. easy enough to read with two kids underfoot (talk to me like I’m seven)

You’d be surprised (or not). It’s not easy finding books that fall into all of those categories. Many times I have to compromise. So terribly sad, right? And, because I am so picky, my favorite of all time list is short:

  • The Giver
  • Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • The Homeschool Experiment
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  • Princess Academy
  • Pope Awesome and Other Stories
  • The Great Gatsby

And now I wanna adda anudder: Something Other Than God.


“But, you haven’t finished reading it yet, Jenna!” How did you know that? Because I know Jen’s writing. I know her story. I’ve read enough. This book is where it’s at.

And, honestly, it’s perfect for Summer. Jen has a knack for hitting the heavy and making you nod your head so vigorously that you consider suing her for whiplash, but this book still maintains a level of readability that pulls you along into the wee hours of the morning just so you can finish.

Humor. Catechism. Hope. Reality. Inspiration. Other noun. Order it.

And, have you seen Jen’s video trailer for the book yet. I’m just sayin’ you should watch it. Maybe pay special attention to 1:17. Just sayin’.



The Romantic Idea of the Bedtime Story


I’ve always had this romantic idea of going to the library with my daughter, checking out a classic chapter book, and reading a chapter each night before bed. She’s two, so it’s not really time for that yet, but I decided to jump the gun and give it a whirl.

I got a read-aloud copy of Charlotte’s Web and told Ellen we would be reading it at bedtime. The first night was mostly fielding questions about why we couldn’t finish the book in one night, what chapters are, character names, etc. Things you don’t realize that need to be entered into a child’s schema.

She may not be grasping the entire plot or really understand everything that is going on from night to night, but in subsequent nights, she has remembered character names, asked plot questions, and asked to keep the book in bed with her so she could flip through the pages.

She even goes down easier when she has some snuggle time with her momma. And, after I head downstairs, I can hear her up there reading to her dolls until she just can’t hold her eyes open a second longer.

And all of that up there? That is the romance I am talking about. A girl and her love for a book. I guess I’m calling this a parenting win and never looking back.

So, you got to the bottom of this post and thought, “Wait, where is the punchline? Where did she fall flat on her face? Where is the joke? The backfire?” You can stop looking because it’s actually been a pretty sweet deal.

Ladies and gentlemAn (I am fairly certain there must only be one), this is actually working for us. So far, it has made bedtime more, well, enjoyable. I didn’t know I could put those words together, and I am not completely certain I should (are we all knocking on wood on my behalf?). But, we’re going to stick with it.

So, what’s the point of all of this? Why am I telling you this? I suppose it’s Monday, and I am reaching for something to write. Or perhaps there is some merit to getting ahead of ourselves and trying something that our kids aren’t supposed to be ready for. Maybe they will not get out of it what we might intend, but you might be pleasantly surprised at what does come of it.


That’s all. On with your day.

Oh, wait. Check out Fine Linen and Purple and The Annery (Do you care that I keep calling it that??) to win a necklace from my Etsy shop. xxoo


Tell me your nights look like this + Giveaway!

You or your hubs or both get home from work around 5 or 6. Dinner needs to be put on the table. Toddlers need to be coaxed into tasting everything even if they don’t think they’ll like it. Dishes need to be cleaned up. Then, all of a sudden, it is 8pm and the bedtime routine begins.

I’m sorry, but where in there am I supposed to cultivate a happy family that is well-bonded and centered in Christ? WHERE??

Oh, I know. We do usually have about 10 minutes between dishes and brushing teeth. So, as long as I can fit it all in there, we should be good…

Or, how about this? You do have a little bit of time to spend together as a family, but you spend it together but separate. You’re too exhausted to come up with an enriching and fun activity that the whole family will enjoy because the baby slept a total of three hours last night, your husband had to wake up at 5 for work, and you dealt with more poop that day than an outhouse emporium. I get that.

"Play with usssssss!"

“Play with usssssss!”

The Solution

In steps Sarah Reinhard and her book Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless.

“In Catholic Family Fun, Sarah equips all of us parents who share the goal of getting our families to heaven with the tools for making real progress. Instead of just weekly pizza and a movie, Sarah brings our faith into the mix in a vibrant and tangible manner by suggesting ways we can serve others, meals we can make together, and adventures we can experience hand-in-hand.” -Greg Willits

How about that? Promising, right? And, listen to what our fearless 7QT leader has to say about it:

“Every Catholic family needs this book on its bookshelf. Drawing from person experience as a busy mom, Sarah offers parents creative ways to lead their families in entertaining, faith-centered activities.” -Jennifer Fulwiler


How It Works

Each section has different activities (sorted by time and cost) that any family can execute with ways to modify for your own family and ways to incorporate the Catholic faith.

Make your next trip to the library a Catholic trip. Create a Mary Garden. Set up a treasure hunt. Have a silly story time. Have tea with God. So. Many. Ideas.

And Sarah wants you to try them. That’s why she is giving away a copy of her book to one Call Her Happy-ite (Do you call yourselves that?).

The Giveaway

Be honest, y’all.

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I was given a copy of this book for review, but I really super love it.

My Living Liturgically Arsenal: FEAST! Giveaway

I think living liturgically will become much easier when my kids are a tad bit older. Right now is more just practice as they learn very little (of the intended information – they are always learning something!) from the things I have planned so far this year. Don’t get me wrong: I think it is very beneficial that I am doing this. I am learning a lot, I’m creating a habit, and the kids are enjoying and learning in their own, age appropriate ways. So, I want to continue on this path, but I will need some help. I can’t come up with ideas all on my own. That’s why I have found an arsenal of wonderful books that have all of the ideas already laid out for me. One of my faves? Feast! cookbookcover2r2_new-682x1024 You know Haley, right? Carrots for Michaelmas? Her and her husband created this book out of a true labor of love. Check out her site for more info, but here is a little preview:

Feast! is the book we wish we had when we first started observing the Christian Year. It is 125 pages of real food to celebrate the liturgical year and lives of the saints and reflections on the seasons of the Christian calendar and simple traditions. Feast! features 23 simple real food recipes for the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter, and well-known saints’ days like St. George’s Day, St. Rose of Lima’s Day, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Day as well as less familiar saints like St. Charles Lwanga and St. Raymond Nonnatus.


Feast! is on sale for $4.99 and today is the last day to take advantage. Get yer copy now, or enter to win a digital copy right here. I’ve got your back. RaffleCopter on, my feasters:
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Pope Awesome with a Chainsaw

Silly Facebook memes.


You’ve read this book, right?
You haven’t?
For shame.

Just read my thoughts on this gem:

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 11.13.21 PM

And, I don’t want to brag or anything, but three out of three people found this review helpful. Batting a thousand here.


And, I always love sharing (except when Ellen asks me to share my chocolate covered potato chips in which case, no.) so, I want to give you a digital copy too. Rafflecopter away:


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Chit Chat with Simcha + Giveaway

Tell me you have read The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning. If you have not, you know the drill: stop, drop and download.


This book took me all of three days to read, which, for a mother of diaperlings, that is HUGE. That’s some good stuff right there. I could go on about how fantastic it was, but you can read the review for yourself on Amazon. That’s what they are there for. And, the fact that I am writing about this book should tell you that I recommend it. So there’s that too.

But, what about the gal behind the book? Getting to know her a bit better might give you an idea of the tone of SGNFP. Simcha was kind enough to chat with me a bit about herself, her home, her brain and so on. And, the fact that she took the time to answer a few questions should tell you just how wonderful she is.


Talk to me about your very first blog post.

As you know, my blog centers on medium to heavy theology, edifying and uplifting thoughts about motherhood, and helpful tips for maintaining a God-centered household — that kind of thing. One day, I looked over to see my toddler eating spaghetti out of the garbage.  Naturally, I rushed right over to take a picture.  Then I realized that other people ought to know about this; so I started a Blogger blog, and that was my first post.  And it’s been downhill ever since.

When you do have time to yourself, what do you think about?

I think mostly about people, and why they are the way they are, and whether anything can or should be done about it.

Which Saints are favorites in your family?

We have a special fondness for Thomas More.  My husband and I kind of improbably met at Thomas More College; and of course he understood how important it was to give his daughters a good education.

St. Francis de Sales always has something helpful to say — something that requires you to do better, without making you feel like a loser.

My oldest daughter has chosen Joan of Arc as her confirmation saint.

Oh, and my other kids are all in love with Miguel Pro.

And Don Bosco has the nicest face I ever saw.

I don’t know if all these saints have anything in common.  Maybe just a deep, unwavering conviction that God will care for them, and that He loves them and wants only good for them.

What three blogs do you read most days without fail?

Cari Donaldson of Clan Donaldson is so entertaining.  I just finished her upcoming book about her conversion story, Pope Awesome and Other Stories, and it was fantastic.

My sister, Devra Torres, blogs for the Personalist Project.  She is always insightful and funny, and brings home her point clearly but so gently (and she finds the greatest illustrations on the internet).

And my brother, Joe Prever, writes about being a celibate, gay Catholic at Steve Gershom.  He has so many insights, not only about what it means to have SSA, but also what it means to be human.  He doesn’t know how to write a dull post.

Why are you proud of The Sinner’s Guide to NFP?

The thing that makes me happiest is when people tell me, “It’s already been helpful.  I’ve already had some good discussions with my husband.  We’re feeling more hopeful about NFP.”  There are so many people trying to make marriage harder:  the secular world putting horrible temptations in our paths, the super uptight Catholic crowd tying up heavy burdens for other people.  I would be very proud to help people remember that God gave us sex and marriage to sanctify us, but also because He thought we might enjoy it.



So, pair this personality with the glowing reviews, and I present to you The Sinner’s Guide to NFP. And I’m giving away a digital copy because I want you to love this book like I love this book. Best of luck, my friends. (Oh, and legal stuff: I was not paid to read this book, nor was I given a copy to give away. I just like it. Deal with it.)


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What We’re Reading Wednesday

In which my love for daily devotionals borders on obsession.


The Love Dare Day by Day

You’ve undoubtedly seen 2008’s #1 indie film, Fireproof by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. And, like thousands of others who loved the movie, you may have been asking, “But, what is the real Love Dare?” So, the fictional book in the movie became a reality.

Now, the Kendricks have created the next installment of The Love Dare - The Love Dare Day by Day. 

Come read my review of this book at, and hear more about the book that is best summed up by this blurb from its website:

“Love is a choice.” and “Marriage is a covenant,  not a contract,” Stephen Kendrick reminds us. “A contract says, ‘I take you for myself.’ A covenant says, ‘I give myself to you.’”

Now head on ovah. Okay?