I’m a structured, scheduled, careful, attentive, purposeful mom, but not the most likely mom in the world to grab a pillowcase and initiate a sack race out in the grass with my kids. That’s why I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Courtney DeFeo’s book, In This House We Will Giggle. I prepared myself to learn from a more ‘fun mom.’ I also prepared myself to feel like a mom-failure just because my parenting style and natural personality isn’t the same as the author’s.
The book isn’t at all what I expected and I ended up loving it. She does scatter “60 ways to bring out the giggle” ideas throughout the book, anything from a family talent show, to swimming indoors by putting swimsuits and goggles on in the bathtub, to those pillowcase races I mentioned earlier. Any of these ideas could be fun or creative, but they weren’t the heart of the book. Essentially, DeFeo gives 12 virtues to focus on as a family, which this ‘purposeful, schedule-loving’ mom loved even more than any of the giggle suggestions she also provides.
You can read straight through the book like I did and pick up general ideas to use with your family. You can also follow her suggestion and take one virtue/chapter per month and spend a year as a family growing our kids in Christ with intentionality. Each chapter includes some thoughts from DeFeo about the virtue, how to teach it, what are the pitfalls, why it’s needed, etc. The virtues match up well with the calendar, focusing on love in February, Gratitude in November, and Generosity in December, for instance. I love the natural way the virtues fit with what might already be happening in our kids’ lives.
Even more helpful, she includes a one-page section for each virtue called “Catch phrases.” These are a string of phrases to use with your kids all month long to cement the principles you want to teach. Then, the chapter concludes with a teaching section. This is what I loved. She gives a memory verse for the month, a simple definition of the virtue to teach your kids (I love her definitions), a passage to read in the Jesus Storybook Bible, Questions for Discussion, a prayer, and then a family activity or two to put the virtue into action. Here’s what I loved—nothing about her teaching sections was overwhelming. It wasn’t memorize a verse a week or read this daily devotional or do an activity every day….. It was one thing to focus on all month. That sounds doable to me and I’m a practical and busy mom with 4 kids: Doable matters.
There are a million ways to feel guilty as a mom for not doing enough or not measuring up, especially in this world of Pinterest and blog ideas. Everyone has a plan or method to teach our kids something important. If I tried to do everything, I’d exhaust us and end up failing completely. But this book offers a fun and Christ-focused way to spend a year highlighting Spiritual virtues with our kid that you can easily tailor to your family.
More than that, DeFeo ends the book with just what most moms need—a message of grace: “I have to remind myself daily that God offers grace. Yes, we are going to mess up. We will not, cannot, get all this parenting stuff just right. But God fills in the gaps and gives us tremendous grace and mercy along the road.” Amen!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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