Our Top Five Favorite Posts of 2015

It is always interesting to look back over the year when on the cusp of a new one. 2015 held more change for us than we could have predicted. Looking back over my posts from 2015, the word transition kept popping up. This was a year of transition. But it was beautiful and wonderful. Due to all the changes, it went by fast. Now, I am trying (hopelessly) to remind myself that tomorrow is January 1st, 2016. As we close out the year, here are our five favorite posts from 2015: Joy Redefined: My Heart Now Resides Outside Itself: The moment Rebekah … Read more…

Small Things

faithfulness

This Christmas season has left me a bit worn out. I’ve been battling my first cold in a long time. The day we drove up to see my parents last week, I found myself shivering and utterly void of energy. Not a great way to start out our Christmas travels. Fortunately, the worst of the cold passed within 24 hours. Now, I am left with the annoying cough and stuffy nose. But I will take it. Dealing with the initial debilitating fever and sore throat made me so thankful for Mitch picking up a lot of my slack, especially during the … Read more…

Are You Ready or Not?

Today we celebrate Jesus’ birth in the flesh. Think about that for a second. He was born: blood, placenta, labor pains, and all surrounded by animals. (Probably not on December 25th, but still . . .) He came to earth fully human, fully God. I think sometimes we almost romanticize his birth in a cozy little stable with fluffy sheep. But Jesus was born without luxury, hospitals, or even a familiar family home. He came to encounter what we encounter: hunger, dusty feet, an aching back, fatigue, and much more. More importantly, he came to touch the untouchable and to … Read more…

Our Christmas Letter

Maybe it is a bit old-school, but I love writing and receiving Christmas letters. And since I didn’t get around to writing one to go with our photo card, I am sharing my Christmas letter here with you. Dear Friends and Family, Our hearts are so full when we think of all our friends and family stretched across the country and even the world. We wish we had time to sit down with each of you over a steaming mug of coffee as we catch up on one another’s lives. But sadly, that is not possible. I think that is … Read more…

Reader Survey and Giveaway!

I am passionate about a wide variety of topics. My interests are probably too numerous. I am sure you have noticed by now. However, my focus, goal, and prayer with The Engaged Home is not to ramble about my various interests, rather to write about topics that are of interest and benefit to you. Of course, I will only write about topics within the realm of I can write about confidently. If you want to learn about baseball or how to become a ninja, this is NOT the blog for you! 😉 I have created a quick, easy, and hopefully painless survey. Would you take less … Read more…

My Beautifully Crowded Bed

Mitch and I joke that we keep trying to chase all the little foxes out of our bed (bad Bible joke from Song of Solomon). But they keep burrowing back under our covers. This morning Rebekah woke up at 5:15 AM to nurse. My alarm was set for 6 AM, so I decided to bring her into our bed to nurse and snuggle for a bit before I got up (She was wide awake, on her tummy, and attempting to crawl around her crib when I went into her room. Can we slow things down a bit?). As I was … Read more…

How to Encourage Your Child’s Education

Read the statistics. Ask the teachers. Ask the youth ministers. Parental involvement and encouragement are huge, whether considering your teenager keeping their faith when they reach adulthood, or your child or teenager embracing learning and education. Parents, please don’t underestimate your power of influence here, and the volumes that your example will teach your children. If you are homeschooling or your children go to public or private school, here are some ways that you can actively engage in their education as you encourage them to be lifelong learners. Educational Apps I will admit that I often resist technology. Just ask my husband. I … Read more…

The 12 Treats of Christmas

Sugar Cookies

I have to admit that I have stressed myself out a bit trying to make a bunch of Christmas treats to share. I keep telling myself to stop, relax, or, you know, finish my Christmas gifts! But, for some reason baking, giving, and frosting cookies is so compelling for me during the Christmas season. I have fond memories of my grandma’s frosted, cut-out sugar cookies and my aunt’s Oreo balls (or truffles). And then after Mitch and I got married, every December we would dip pretzels in chocolate, make cookies, fudge, cocoa, and many other wonderful treats. I hope that … Read more…

The Pattern for Rebekah’s Flower Headband

I never thought I would be the mom that would want to have matching hair bows for my daughter’s outfits. Well, I am. She really doesn’t wear them that often. And she usually pulls them off and makes a toy out of them. But my recent preoccupation with making hair bows probably has less to do with wanting her to wear them, and more to do with how cheap, easy, and fun they are to make. I experimented with fancy ones before she was born. (Note the red and green bows.) But now I find I have one ribbon style I really … Read more…

3 Clever Ideas for a More Child-Friendly Home

As any mom will tell you, children are pros at making a mess. They spill juice, splatter food, and sometimes, even draw on the walls. This leads many parents to think that they can’t have a nice home because their little ones will only mess it up. However, that’s not the case. Children might make a mess, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful home. It might be a little harder to keep your house looking good when you have toddlers and young children about, but it is doable.  The key to keeping your home in good shape … Read more…

Last Minute Gifts to Buy

Yesterday, I realized that in my gift guide I failed to share a couple of my all-time favorite Christmas gifts to buy for others! And then I realized how quickly Christmas is coming! Breathe Nathana . . .  The problem is not that I procrastinated on shopping. My issue is that I have way too many DIY Pinterest gifts to make . . . Time to prioritize I guess and save the rest for next year!  You can always follow what I pin on my handmade gifts’ board on Pinterest. I am hoping to follow up this post with cheap and … Read more…

Reality Check: Six Things I Don’t Usually Share

Vulnerability is hard. It takes courage. Letting down barriers and letting people see into the dusty corners of our lives means risking rejection. But it’s so desperately needed within our churches, marriages, friendships, and, even blogs.  One of the things that I truly love about following blogs are the posts where those men or women admit their humanity. Yes, they are a food blogger, but this recipe failed miserably. Or the mom blogs where they talk about their personal struggles with yelling or how messy their homes are. It helps me relate to them and realize I am not alone. Being … Read more…

The Final Reveal: Rebekah’s Fall Sweater

As of Thanksgiving week, I finally finished Rebekah’s fall sweater. It was a really fun and easy pattern to follow, minus all the ends to weave in from changing colors. If anyone has a pro-tip about how to manage those, please let me know in the comments! (Rebekah’s fall sweater pattern is pinned on my Yarn Along Pinterest Board, along with many more crocheted sweater patterns.) (Those teeth . . . She has four coming in on top right now. All things considered, she handles it well. But she has her moments. Does she ever. But my heart goes out to her … Read more…

Lengthening Your Baby’s Attention Span

First of all, I am not a medical professional. Also, I am right in the thick of this parenthood thing with you! But I have researched and learned many things from people with vast medical and non-medical experience with babies that I have successfully put into practice with Rebekah. We have seen positive outcomes. So I am excited to share these tips with you. All of that said, I do understand that each child’s development is done at their own pace.   Before I jump in, I do have three more disclaimers: 1) playing with your child is a good thing 2) engaging … Read more…

Helping Your Teen Find Their First Job

Do you remember your first job? I do. I worked as a hostess at Red Lobster. I was so excited that I did not have to resort to working in fast food or detassling! (Unfortunately, I did still end up detassling one summer during college. If you don’t know what that means, consider yourself fortunate!) I owe a lot my success to my parents encouraging and equipping me, and my high school English teacher drilling us on how to write resumes and cover letters. Ugh. To this day, I hate writing resumes and cover letters. But, knowing how to do it well can … Read more…

2015 Gift Guide for Your Family

As I have confessed before, I am that Aunt. The one who buys you books for Christmas. Yep. That’s me. This year, I intentionally pushed myself to try and find more fun gifts.  I thought I would share some gift ideas that have made my list this year or in past years. Enjoy my 2015 gift guide. As much as possible, I try to encourage gifts that will bring your family together! 🙂 ***Disclaimer: These are Amazon affiliate links. There is no obligation or cost to you. But if you buy anything through our Amazon link it blesses our family!*** 1. Devotionals for Children … Read more…

A Thankful Year

I know I am a bit late on my “thankfulness” post for November. Nonetheless, I felt moved to share all that God has done in our lives in just this past short year. We have faced challenges, goodbyes, and hard times, but it has also been a year of life-changing blessings: the birth of Rebekah, Mitch’s new ministry position, a cross-country move, laying down roots in a new job and new state, and a so much more. We put our trust in God when we had no idea what the future contained, and He not only brought us through–he brought … Read more…