Sunday, November 18, 2018

Get a FREE Printable Christ the King Novena Set!

 Get a FREE printable set!
Get a free printable set.

Okay.  I admit it.  I have never been good a praying novenas, and, therefore, my children are not either.  Yet, I know that praying novenas can be a beautiful way of imitating the Lord's command of the Apostles when hey prayed for nine days in anticipation of he coming o the Holy Spirit, can help connect us to the liturgical year, and can focus us on the powerful act of praying and trusting in God.

Thus, even though I have missed Days 1 and 2 of the Christ the King Novena, which leads up to movable feast day being celebrated in the Church next Sunday, I thought I would begin the Novena anyway - simply doubling up on prayers for two days.

As a prayer aid, I also thought I would take the time to make simple Christ the King Novena copywork set to offer my children this week.  I am sharing them here in case your children can benefit from them, too.

This FREE printable Christ the King Novena set contains on copy of the novena prayer in print, one in cursive, and blank lined sheets with images, too.

To pray the novena, recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, one Glory Be and the Novena Prayer.
You might also enjoy our:
We so enjoyed celebrating Christ the King with books and symbolic eats.

Christ is King of Our Hearts, so my baby wore this crown at our simple family tea.

O Lord our God, You alone are the Most Holy King and Ruler of all nations. We pray to You, Lord, in the great expectation of receiving from You, O Divine King, mercy, peace, justice and all good things. Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth. Guard us we pray Most Faithful One. Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment.Forgive us, O Sovereign King, our sins against you.Jesus, You are a King of Mercy.We have deserved Your Just Judgment Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us. We trust in Your Great Mercy. O most awe-inspiring King, we bow before You and pray; May Your Reign, Your Kingdom, be recognized on earth. Amen.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Try Out Guitar 360 Method Using a Coupon Code!

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

Ooo!  You have to love when you find a course that both a dad and a daughter can enjoy.  That's what's happened here when we were offered a chance to review the Semester 1 Bundle from Guitar 360 Method - an excellent resource for online, immersive lessons which include music theory.

Deal Alert!

If you've already heard of Guitar 360 Method and have just stopped by looking for a coupon code,  you're in luck! Krisz Simonfalvi, the author and instructor of Guitar 360 Methodhas kindly offered a limited time only coupon code for Training Happy Hearts readers.  Just use the code HOMESCHOOL20 at checkout for 20% off!

What is Guitar 360 Method?

If this is your first time hearing about Guitar 360 Method, let me explain a bit about what it is and how it works.

Guitar 360 Method is a series of online video guitar lessons designed for students who want to gain confidence in their guitar skills, enjoy freedom in when they learn, and exercise creativity in their playing. 

The program aims to help you do more than JUST learn songs.  It teaches how music works, so you can succeed with your aims, whether they be strumming for fun, playing in a band, or writing your own music.  

Guitar 360 Method is best suited for tweens, teens, or adults, and can be excellent for you if you are an absolute beginner that wants to understand the guitar while learning practical music theory.  It can also be ideal for you if you've been playing for a while, but wish to learn more in order to unleash your creativity.  The author and instructor of the program also states that children as young as nine can do well with Guitar 360 Method if they have a strong personal desire and drive to succeed.

The Semester 1 Bundle comes with:

  • the Free 5-week Absolute Beginner Course that takes you through Parts of the Guitar, Left Hand and Right Hand Basics, How to Tune, 4-Finger Warm Up Exercises, Your First Chord, Next chord(s), Basic Strumming, Pickups and Multiplying Chords, Parts of a Song, Practice, etc.
  • Bonus Content Songs carefully instruct you with an Introduction and Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, and Practice
  • 13 Weeks of Semester One material takes you from being a beginner to confidently playing in any key anywhere on the neck with dynamics, musical interest, and variety.  Among other things, you'll learn about Chords, Strumming, Music Theory, Scales, and Adding Texture and Variety.  By the time you finish the material, you'll have learned enough to a play rhythm or lead guitar.

When learning with 
Guitar 360 Method, you'll find a Cyclical Pedagogy where every bit of knowledge acquired connects to everything else you are learning, allowing you to build confidence, freedom, and creativity instead of being stuck in the mire of a tedious linear-approach.  

In fact, the instructor and author of the program, 
Krisz Simonfalvi, has succeeded due to his mix of skill and down-to-earth music theory!  He started playing classical guitar at age six, quickly became good at it, but did not enjoy it, because his teacher never taught him how to understand the guitar.  So, Krisz quit playing after six years.

Then, in Krisz's teens, he picked up an electric guitar and found his music theory teacher's voice ringing in his ears. He realized how easy it is to understand the guitar with practical, down-to-earth music theory and went on to tour with bands, record in studios, produce music, and teach lessons to pros and newbie alike.

In his career, Krisz has:

  • taught over 200 private students - from beginners to professionals
  • instructed in guitar, bass, music theory, songwriting, stage performance, music production, arranging, and engineering
  • recorded 20+ projects for a wide range of international artists on four continents
  • and, of course, launched Guitar 360 Method.

That means Guitar 360 Method, though fairly new (launched in 2017), comes with a long history of success.

It also comes with ease of use.

We found log-in super simple, and, pulling up content easy.  There was no wasted time as we navigated the course through targeted, bite-sized lesson videos.

Lessons vary, but, typically, each one contains one or more of these types of videos:

  • Goal, where you find out what you'll be learning
  • Instruction, where the actual teaching takes place
  • Ear, where you practice listening to differences between chords to help you play by ear
  • Practice, where you follow instructions and see fingering and chords
  • Quiz, where you check up on what you've been learning by taking a multiple choice test with instant feedback

There are also some downloadable files to help you retain your learning.

The course is set up so you can take things at your own pace, reviewing prior material or even jumping ahead as you wish.

Guitar 360 Method truly is solidly designed and taught.

A Happy Girl

My 11 year old was the person in our home who most wanted to try 
Guitar 360 Method, since she her daddy bought her a guitar a while back that she has been wanting to learn to play.

She was excited to start 
Guitar 360 Method, and, thanks to Krisz's kind and clear demeanor, was not chagrined by the fact that her fingers are still a bit small and tender and her fingers lack practiced dexterity.  In fact, she is content going slowly with Guitar 360 Method and has this to say:

I have wanted to play guitar for a couple of years. 
On my ninth birthday, my dad got me a guitar and said he'd teach me. That did not go very well.  So, I was excited when I saw we could do the Guitar 360 Method.
I  have only used the beginner lessons, because I am very slow, and the teacher says, "Take it at your own pace."  So, I took him seriously. 
So far, it is going better than lessons with my dad. 
I like how the teacher is up front.  For example, when he teaches how to use the pick, he showed me how to use it a certain way and, then was like, "and right off the bat, my problem with this series... There are people who use the pick this way (the wrong way), and they are legends, but we're going to try it like this."  I like how he says that there is not one way to do things.  Other people are like, "This is the only way to do it, and you have to do it this way!" (Not my dad or Krisz, but many teachers.) 
I also like that the videos are short.  That makes it easier to find videos with a certain skill.  You don't have to go through a long video, but can see it in a short video that is labeled. 
I also like that the teacher seems fairly happy. He is easy to listen to. 
My mom told me Guitar 360 Method is not a subscription that runs out.  That's good, so I can actually finish it. I am slow and there is no pressure.  I like this and would recommend it to kids like me, who are kind of beginners, and people who have started playing but want a refresher and to learn new things.

A Pleased Dad

My husband, who has played guitar on and off for years and even played in a paid band for while, has also been viewing the course.  He says:
As an experienced guitar player, I wasn’t sure if I would get anything out of the Guitar 360 Method program. Much to my surprise, I actually learned some new things. 
For example, I had never heard of Solfege prior to starting the program. Another example is the shortcuts to finding notes. Although I have been playing for many years, I still struggle to find all of the notes on the guitar without having to think about it. This is a common issue with many guitar players. However, Krisz Simonfalvi gives several easy-to-remember tips on how to quickly find notes on the guitar. I found this section to be extremely helpful.
Not only did the program teach me new things, but it also helped re-establish ideas and techniques that I am already familiar with. He spends time going into music theory, teaching the student how to connect minor and major scales, analyzing chord shapes and even string bending. And he also has a check on learning by giving quizzes periodically throughout the program. 
Overall, I think that it’s a good program because it helps the beginner go from the basics of the guitar to music theory which will help students take their playing to the next level. Further, it helps the experienced player learn a few new things and reinforce prior knowledge in a unique and interesting way. I would definitely recommend it for a self-taught, non-classically trained experienced player like myself to learn more.

My husband is also a huge Youtube fan and has viewed countless Youtube videos to pick up different guitar skills through the years.  When I asked him what he thinks about Guitar 360 Method in comparison to most free Youtube videos, he said this program definitely gives a bigger picture and is more methodical.  On Youtube, you have some guy that just quick says, "Here, I am going to show you how to do this," and does just that. With Guitar 360 Method, you can definitely see the whole method.  The program can take a beginner from where they are to where they want to be and can be a resource for more experienced players, too.

No Need to Rush to Finish

One thing I dislike about many online programs is the rush to finish them before a subscription runs out, or, worse, the fact that life sometimes gets in the way of studies and, then, when you return to pick up where you left off, your subscription has ended and you cannot continue without paying again.  With 
Guitar 360 Method 
this will not happen!

Once you get 
Guitar 360 Method its yours to keep, and I love that! For, like many homeschoolers, my family struggles with actually getting the "home" in homeschool. Between work trips for my husband, homeschool community commitments, outside classes and service opportunities, my own work needs, and more, our family often finds that we're short on time at home to enjoy things like learning and playing music.  Add to that that one of our computers recently died, and, once we have attended to priorities of eating, sleeping, chores, and basic lessons, there just are not enough screens to go around for everyone to dive in concurrently with what they wish. For us, that means that subscription-based programs, even when liked, don't always get completed and often become more stress than enjoyment lately.

Guitar 360 Method is not a subscription, though, this has not happened. My daughter has been able to begin to self-pace through the program in small pockets of time while my husband has referenced it around work and family.  My boys - who both want to give it a go - know they can when time allows in another season, and I can, too! You see, I have always wanted to play an instrument, and after seeing parts of Guitar 360 Method in play for my daughter and husband, am confident that when I some of my current commitments and life concerns wind down, I can finally begin learning.

Yes, I just LOVE that 
Guitar 360 Method does not come as a subscription, but is our family's to keep!

Learn More

Remember, if you want a FREE taste of Krisz's teaching style and the high-quality of his lesson videos, you can use his Free Course for Beginners.  Then, if you like what you see (like we do!), move on to the Semester 1 Bundle using the coupon code HOMESCHOOL20 at checkout, which, for a limited time, will offer you 20% off.

If guitar isn't your thing, keep an eye out at 
Guitar 360 Method  for the release of upcoming Keys 350 (piano) Method and Drums 360 Method in the near future.

Find Guitar 360 Method on social media:

Find all the reviews!

Read how 50 Review Crew families have been learning how to play guitar online using Guitar 360 Method with tweens, teens, adults, and even younger children.

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Enjoy An Illustrated Rosary Book for Kids and Their Families {A Review, Giveaway and Coupon Code!!}

Don't you just love when you find a wonderful faith-based resource and have the opportunity to give one away for someone else to enjoy?

{Some links which follow are affiliate links.}

With thanks to a friend who works for 
Gracewatch Media, that's exactly what I am getting to do.  At the end of this post, you can enter a giveaway for an individual softcover Joyful Mysteries, Luminous Mysteries, Sorrowful Mysteries, or Glorious Mysteries Illuminated Rosary book.

First, though, I would like to share with you why I appreciate the 
Illuminated Rosary books so much.

A Simply Beautiful Tool for Praying the Rosary (and Doing Picture Study!) with Children

It's no secret that praying the Rosary with children can be challenging.  Attention wanes.  Strings of rosary beads morph into fidget toys instead of prayer aids. Antsiness happens.  So it is helpful to have resources that draw your children into praying the Rosary and keep them focused on each mystery prayed.

In the past, I've used everything from cookies and cupcakes, to 3-part cards, to celebrations with friends to entice my children into joining in full Rosaries with prayerful attention. Eventually, such efforts helped us get used to praying the Rosary, and we developed habits of praying one decade or a full Rosary as a car rosary, on a rosary walk, as part of the Children's Rosary prayer group movement, or as a bedtime rosary daily.

Now, you'd think that with such habits in place, praying the Rosary with my children would typically be a peaceful and reflective experience. However, I have to be honest: it can still be challenging, especially when we pray the Rosary before bedtime. There is just something about that time that makes my children lose focus and act out.

Until recently, then, our best strategy for praying the Rosary at bedtime has been to use Youtube videos with beautiful artwork in them, which kept my children's attention focused.

Unfortunately, I don't relish screen time just before bedtime - even if it is prayerful screentime, so I've been looking for another engaging strategy.

 The Complete Illuminated Rosary: An Illustrated Rosary Book for Kids and Their Families by Jerry Windley-Daoust at Gracewatch Media.  As soon as I saw digital samples of it, I thought, I know just what I am getting with my birthday money this year!

I was excited to order a hardcover edition of the The Complete Illuminated Rosary at a discount pre-publishing rate and have been happy to use the prayer aid with my children. 

This Rosary resource is perfect for our family at bedtime: It is large enough for each child to see when we cuddle together and allows us to 
pray while perusing artworks which help us with meditation and attention.

Okay, admittedly, the first time we prayed each decade of the Rosary using
The Complete Illuminated Rosary, the artwork almost drew too much of my children's attention, and I found that they kept interrupting our prayers to comment on the images - what they liked, what surprised them, and more. 

Now, though, my children simply examine the artworks while remaining engaged in prayer.  Thus, 
The Complete Illuminated Rosary has been serving us as an effective alternative of sorts to typical rosary beads, helping my children pray bedtime Rosaries with peace.

Using the book is so simple. 

We just open to the appropriate set of mysteries for the day, then read the prayers, which are printed in an easy-on-the-eyes font while meditating with the
large reprints of artworks that accompany each prayer.

These reprints vary in style,

...time period,

...and cultural lens,

...with some classic...

...and some modern...

All artworks, however, are carefully selected to be child-friendly and engaging.

There are also "prayer beads" of a sort include on the bottom of each page.

For each set of mysteries, a large circular detail of an artwork follows the Canticle of Mary, another follows the Creed and Our Father, and three small detail circles accompany the "Hail Mary"s for Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Then, each mystery begins with a brief paraphrased text from the Bible for meditation as well as a prompt to remember your intentions just above another large circular detail.

Then, the "Our Father" page, too, includes a large circular detail of an artwork, acting as a large Rosary bead.

After that, on each "Hail Mary" page, strings of roses act as beads, allowing children to count to keep track of the number of prayers prayed should they wish to do so.

The Complete Illuminated Rosary also contains pages listing art credits and ideas for how to pray the Rosary using the book.

It is truly a well-designed and lovely prayer aid that, in my children and my opinion is only missing one thing: a list of which day to pray which mystery of the Rosary.  (Sure, we should have this memorized, but do not, so we're sliding a bookmark with this information into our book.)

Same Wonderful Rosary Resource, Several Formats

The Illuminated Rosary comes i a number of formats:
  • single volume softcover
  • single volume hard cover
  • individual volume softcovers for each of the mysteries.
Each of these formats measure 8 1/2  x 11", and The Complete Illuminated Rosary, which I purchased in hardcover, has 368 pages.

So, if you like a lighter resource, the softcover individual format might be for you.  We like the all-in-
one hardcover ourselves.

Purchase Your Own Illuminated Rosary at a Discount

If you'd like to purchase an Illuminated Rosary book
, but are not sure which you would prefer, the following videos might help you decide.

You can purchase  a
 hardcover copy of  The Complete Illuminated Rosary on Amazon (which, at the time of this writing is 26% off with free shipping!) You can also get the Joyful Mysteries, Luminous MysteriesSorrowful Mysteries, or Glorious Mysteries Illuminated Rosary books and other books by author Jerry Windley-Daoust on Amazon.

Alternately, purchase an Illuminated Rosary book direct from Gracewatch Media 
between now and December 12 using the coupon code ROSES 25 for a 25% off discount!

Or, while supplies lasts, get an imperfect copy for 50% using the code dents&dings, for as Allison Gingras from Reconciled to You posted on Facebook earlier this month:

We all acquire a few dents and dings along the journey of life, right? Well, so did a shipment of our new Illuminated Rosary books. Grrr.
On the bright side, while these books aren’t perfect enough to sell new, they’re still in “good” condition, with minor flaws or damage: banged-up corners, dented page edges, ink smudges on the last (blank)page, imperfections in the glossy coating on the spine, etc. You can give these less-than-perfect illustrated rosary books for kids a home for 50% off the sale price using coupon code dents&dings at checkout. Quantities are limited and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.


We’re so confident that you’ll be satisfied with these books, we’ll honor our usual no-hassle return policy…we’ll send you return postage and a full refund if you don’t like them.

You can also always check the deals page at Gracewatch Media for other deals and discount codes on wonderful faith-related publications. There product line is truly fabulous for families of faith!

Enter the Giveaway!

I am excited to be able to offer one reader a softcover copy of an individual mystery in the Illuminated Rosary series using this giveaway Rafflecopter.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

You Never Know which Habits Will Stick... and How Much Hope They'll Bring

My oldest has been in a tween-ragery stage and sometimes the blustering is still full blown at bedtime. Yet, no matter how silly or sullen he's been being, I almost always see him go out to our living room helves, grab his little blue book, and pray his bedtime prayers, which, by now, he's more or less memorized.  

So why does he grab his blue book? Why does he flip to its final page to pray an Examen and Act of Contrition?

Why doesn't he just pray his bedtime prayers from memory? 

Why is it his particular habit that has stuck for him when so few of the other habits we attempt to build here have not?  Seriously, why this one?  

Habits we have been encouraging for many more years have been rejected or are still in development.  Some of the other prayer habits that the same prayer book tool promotes have been ignore.

Other prayer habits - like morning prayers - are oft only habitual with my son when done as a family.

But the Evening Prayers ritual? It has become a strong habit.


To be honest, I just do not know, and I am no sure I ever will. I am, however, ever-grateful to his prior co-op teacher for initiating this independent prayer habit and to the Spirit for whispering to my son each night, prompting him to pray even when he's being stormy.

Bedtime prayers with his falling apart blue book. Undoubtedly, the act or praying them brings grace to my son, and, surely, witnessing my sometimes challenging tween grab his prayer book brings hope to me.

Lately, there are many nights when, by bedtime, I am spent.  Drained. Discouraged. Weary from efforts to connect, correct, redirect, reset, and, of course, love my son through the challenging phase he is going through. The glaring difficulties of the day sometimes make it hard for me to reflect upon the quieter moments of sweetness, virtue, and Spirit-led growth that are there.

Then, my boy's hand opens his blue book, his lips move silently in prayer, and the Spirit reminds me - Momma, not despair, prayer.  

What habits are helping you and your tween or teen make it through more challenging day and nights?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Create Your Own Starry Night Masterpiece {A Review}

Would your child enjoy creating artwork inspired by a maser artist using simple tools and techniques?

Some links which follow are affiliate links. makes creating such masterpieces easy with its Master Kitz The Starry Night.

My Daughter - the Test Artist

We ordered our 
Master Kitz The Starry Night  for review with thanks to, and my daughter enjoyed testing it out.

After reading the packaging and playing with the fun magnet closure on the box, we laid all of the enclosed materials out, having to hold down the paper and stencil that wanted to keep rolling up.

Then, after putting brown paper on the table and taping the provided art paper down, my daughter got right to work, following the easy included instructions.

She placed removable adhesive star masks down on the top of her paper and, then, began rolling on blue acrylic paint with a special textured roller.

She, then, went, to layer on the white according to the instructions, but was not happy with how the paints blended to make a lighter blue, leaving no distinct white. So, she paused to let the blue paint dry a bit while I washed the roller.  Then, she continued the project, painting on the white, before taking off the star masking stickers.

At that point, my daughter took another break before taping the flattened but rolling stencil onto her artwork and painting on the black paint using a foam roller.

During another extended pause to let things dry,
 we read the enclosed background information on Van Gogh with her little brother, chatting about what we read, looking at the images, and connecting to our past art studies. 

Then, my daughter got to work with the included oil pastels.

She was not thrilled by the lack of colors among the pastels, but I asked her to work just with the ones that came with the kit.

After that, she asked if she could add a bit more color using our own oil pastels, and, of course, I said, "yes". For my daughter, as the artist, had every right to want to create her artwork to her liking, I felt, as long as she, first, honored the review by using only included materials - which she had.

So, my daughter added a bit more color and called the project done.

Her little brother then asked if could use the other art paper that came with the kit to make his own artwork another day.  of course, my daughter and I said, he could. My daughter also said she wants to use the textured roller again herself. I have no doubt all my children will be using the roller and kit pieces again!

My Daughter's Thoughts

After my daughter completed her artwork, I asked her for her opinion of Master Kitz The Starry Night.  She said:
This kit makes people feel like they can create great art simply.
The materials themselves are good and the packaging looks cool.  I like how the box closes with a magnet, but when you take out the paper and the stencil, they are all rolled up and hard to work with.  So, you have to tape everything down a lot and, then, your art's corners are white.  
I also felt like I couldn't get the swirl in very well, so I probably will go over it with a paintbrush next time or explore with the roller tool more. 
I would also like a teeny bit more colors with the pastels - like maybe red, so we would have all the primary colors - and I feel like the paper should be a light yellow like pictured on the box and in the directions.
Besides those little things, it was pretty good. I had fun trying it and will use the kit again 
There is another piece of paper and the rollers can be used over and over again. My favorite roller was the one that makes the squiggly lines in the sky.  I want to use it to paint wrapping paper and skies.
I would recommend this kit to others.  As it says on the package, 'ages 5-105'.  That's true, but it may be a bit hard for a 105 year old depending on their shape.
I agree with my daughter: Master Kitz The Starry Night is simple to use and can be enjoyed by all ages!  If you'd like an easy art project with reusable tools and a bi of art history included, too, Master Kitz could be for you!


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