Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Vatican Christmas Cookbook, by David Geisser and Thomas Kelly, Sophia Institute Press, 2020.

Book review by Rosa M. Sautner, Catholic Homeschooling Mom of Two. 


A sequel to The Vatican Cookbook also by David Geisser, this Christmas edition is worthy of its name. Exquisitely illustrated, with delicious, inspiring recipes, this gorgeous cookbook deserves a place of honor in your kitchen. 

The recipes are categorized into Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Christmas around the World, and Epiphany recipes. Some of the outstanding recipes include: Pumpkin Soup Amaretto, Polish Borscht, Filet Mignon with Racy Pepper Sauce, Roasted Trout with Fennel and Baguette, Ricotta Lemon Ravioli, Maple Cream Cake, and Chocolate Cake Surprise. 

Between the pages of the more than seventy recipes you will find full-color photographs of the Swiss Guards, the Vatican, four of the Popes, religious paintings, and an illustration of every recipe in the cookbook. 

For that very special cook in your life (or for yourself!), this is the perfect gift. Beautifully bound, delightfully illustrated, and filled with delicious recipes, this is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I have ever seen.  


The Spider Who Saved Christmas, by Raymond Arroyo, Illustrated by Randy Gallegos, Sophia Institute Press, 2020.

Book review by Rosa M. Sautner, Catholic Homeschooling Mom of two. 


by Raymond Arroyo, a New York Times Best-Selling Author, spins a magical tale in this story about The Spider Who Saved Christmas. Sweet and inspiring, this story explains the meaning of the Christmas tinsel, and gives a lesson of seeing God's action and providence in the most insignificant details and dark moments of our lives. 

The tale is captivating and the illustrations haunting. This splendidly told legend will inspire and move its young readers. It will make a cherished addition to your family's Christmas book collection.  


The Grumpy Old Ox by Anthony DeStefano., Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey, Sophia Institute Press, 2020.

 by Rosa M. Sautner:  Catholic Homeschooling mom of two.


This is another delightful book by Anthony DeStefano.  This rhyming picture book is the tale of a blind, disgruntled ox who comes to learn the meaning of unselfishness in the birth of the Savior on that cold night in Bethlehem so many years ago.

    With colorful illustrations and easy cadence, this new Christmas book will surely be a favorite addition to your family's Christmas book collection.



Saturday, November 14, 2020

A Family Guide to Spiritual Warfare by Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S., Sophia Institute Press, 2020.

 Reviewed by Rosa Sautner, a Catholic  homeschooling mother of two.


In a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, then Archbishop of Bologna, Italy, Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three seers of Fatima said, ‘The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.’ (CNA. (2016). Fatima visionary predicted 'final battle' would be over marriage, family.

    It is no surprise then that we are seeing such unrelenting attacks on marriage, the family, and children.  We are in a warfare, the battle between good and evil, between Christ and the devil.

    Kathleen Beckman has done families a great service by compiling this resource of strategies and prayers for protecting families against the attacks of the devil.  

    In this book the reader will find "Five Common Entryways for Demons" (p. 54), "The Six Categories of Demonic Activity" (p. 91), "The Ten Commandments and The Diabolical Counterparts" (p. 127), and "Unmasking Diabolical Disguises" (p. 173.)

    Chapter 8, "Unmasking Dangerous Diabolical Disguises" is exceptionally useful in explaining some common ways that the devil insinuates himself into the lives of unsuspecting people who sometimes unwittingly play the devil's game.

    A particularly instructive and rather chilling part of the book is Appendix B "Family Deliverance Case Histories," where Kathleen Beckman explains how certain sins can draw down the influence of the devil in a family.

    This book is highly recommended and I would go so far as to say that it should be required reading for every family today.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Book Review - The TimeOut Papers, by Sally E. Follett, Sophia Institute Press, 2020

 Reviewed by Rosa M. Sautner - Catholic homeschooling mom of two.

When I first read the title of The TimeOut Papers, I thought, what an interesting title for a book!  Now that I have read it, I thought, what an inspired idea, why didn't I think of that!

    Sally E. Follett, has done us all a favor and has put together a spiral bound book filled with copywork "papers"  that address each particular fault or infraction a child may commit. 

    The first section of the book is entitled, TimeOut to Teach and it addresses the faults committed by younger children.  Some of the pages include, Pouting, Whining, Calling Names, Slamming the Door, Feeling Mad or Bitter, Gossiping, Being Late, Being Lazy, Boasting, Lacking Gratitude, and many more.  On each "paper" that focuses on a fault, there is a gentle lesson on the correction of that fault, a short heart-felt prayer, and a Scripture quote.  These are to be read to very young children, with them repeating each line, or given to a good reader to read for himself.  Sally states that if an older child who knows better commits one of these faults, they are to copy the whole page, except for the Scripture quote.

    The second part of the book, TimeOut to Write, deals with sins or faults committed by older children.  Some of TimeOut Papers for the older children include, Lying, Cheating, Stealing, Teasing, Bullying, Swearing, Not Keeping My Word, and many others.  Since these are faults usually committed by older children, they are to write out the Paper to help the lesson sink in more effectively.

    A fault that is quite common in the best of homes is complaining about going to Church.  Sally's TimeOut Paper for this fault is:  "We must keep holy the Lord's Day; that is one of God's commandments.  We go to God's house on earth to worship Him and receive the life of Jesus in the breaking of the bread."  The TimeOut copywork concludes with this short and encouraging prayer:  "Dear God, I want to stay in communion with you!  Help me go to church joyfully, to show you that I'm happy to be Your child." 

    When raising children we often wonder, "Why can't they just obey, why can't they learn from their mistakes!"  As Sally says in the Note from the Author, "In speaking of the Gentiles in his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul explains why mercy and gentleness are encouraged in using the The TimeOut Papers, for he teaches, '...For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.' (11:30-31)"

    This is really a very practical way of raising virtuous children.  The habit of identifying the fault committed, repeating out loud the reason it is wrong and how to do better, and a prayer for help in improving, as well as writing out these papers will surely instill in a child a willingness to do better.  This is a highly recommended resource for all parents.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Book Review - Seeing God's Action in Our Lives


Seeing God's Action in Our Lives by Leann Thieman, Sophia Institute Press, 2019.

Review by Rosa M. Sautner, Catholic Homeschooling mother of two.

    Most of us need to take a long break from reading internet news, reading the newspaper and watching the evening news.  What we need now is to be reminded that God is still in charge of our world no matter how chaotic it seems.  Seeing God's Action in Our Lives by Leann Thieman will reawaken Christian hope in the reader.

    During the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent social disruption, we have been inundated in discouragement, violence and negativity.  What we need is to see and experience God working in our world despite the trials that we face. 

    These seventy stories are uplifting and encouraging.  They are stories of ordinary people in sometimes desperate situations that have experienced God working in and acting in their lives. 

    This is a hope-filled book that will at times bring tears to your eyes or a smile to your face.  I think the most beneficial result of reading this book will be to encourage the reader to pray to our Heavenly Father who can work miracles in our everyday lives if we but pray to Him.

    It is highly recommended and would be a perfect gift for just about anyone right now.