Common Shopping Mistakes That Bust the Budget

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a money tree in our backyards, so we have a finite amount of money with which we need to pay for our homes and utilities, clothe and feed our family, and then think about luxuries after that. Trying to get a family budget to go further and spread thinner is an artform in itself; but when retailers both online and in the store are trying their hardest to convince you to part with even more money, you can have a real challenge on your hands. With all the best intentions, it’s still far too easy … Read more…

Money Management Tips for Young Adults

Money management is one of the hardest things about young adulthood. At least at first. Unless your parents taught you well, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. As a result, when you land your first “real” job, it may feel like you are making a lot and finally have financial freedom. Regardless of how much you are actually making, it is a great time to start setting some financial goals and employing smart habits. Mitch and I have never had a lot of money. But we’ve always made things work and avoided many (not all) mistakes because we had … Read more…

Four Great Activities to Engage Your Whole Family

It’s often hard to find activities that all of your kids will enjoy, especially if they’re a range of ages. Luckily, there are some simple activities the whole family will enjoy.  Hiking/Walks/Bike Rides It can be hard to drag kids away from screens, but it’s also important for you as a parent to give them opportunities to exercise and appreciate the great outdoors. Walk around your neighborhood or local park. Or, if the weather is nice, find a nearby trail. Let your toddler stop and explore and pick up rocks. Let your older kids bring along nature journals or digital cameras … Read more…

Get Back on Track This Spring with These Organizational Resources

I used to consider myself an organized person. But since I became a mama, my free time to reorganize all of our closets greatly diminished. Now, as we are preparing to spring clean, buy our first house, and host a garage sale, I am realizing how full our closets have become! I also was not prepared for how much stuff we would acquire after Rebekah was born: baby clothes, baby toys, baby paraphernalia . . . Her stuff is slowly encroaching on all of our living spaces: toys and books in the living room, toys in the kitchen, diapers and wipes … Read more…

Make Your Home Kid Ready for Summer

With summer right around the corner, most kids will soon have more time on their hands. How can you prepare your home and plan ahead for ideas that will stimulate children’s imaginations and keep them from mischief? With a 12-month-old toddling all over I am trying to answer that questions for myself. After all, we all know what is said about idle hands . . .  I will be talking more about summer activities that engage the family, learning, and creativity over the next few months. But, if you’re wondering how you can make your home more fun for the children, consider these … Read more…

Plan to Be Surprised

I am a planner. I like to know what is going to happen. I tend to set unobtainable expectations. Unlike my spontaneous, easy-going husband, a change in plans can really derail my day. The past several months I have been reflecting on what it means to give thanks in every circumstance, even when plans change. A couple months ago I read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (affiliate link), which opened up my mind and heart to how often God tells us to give thanks. Jesus was always giving thanks, regardless of the circumstances. Even when … Read more…

Refresh Your Home and Family Calendar for Spring

(This post was contributed by Georgina Parkinson.) Spring has arrived, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on months gone by and look forward to the future. Whether you’re planning a summer of fun or you’re looking to build on discoveries made in the winter, here are some simple tips to create a refreshed, organized home. Out with the Old and in with the New Spring is all about change and new beginnings. It’s arrival is an ideal excuse for a spring clean. Devote a couple of spare afternoons or a weekend to getting rid of any unwanted clutter and giving your home … Read more…

Yarn Along: Imaginative Play

One of my favorite things ever is to watch children imagine, create, and play. Many of my own best childhood memories involve imaginative play. Even now, I like to think I have a healthy and active imagination. 😉 Because I love encouraging imaginative play, I have been creating some whimsical crowns. I made this one for Rebekah, and though it turned out a bit tight, it fits great (I am a tight hooker). I decided to make a couple for my friend’s daughters because they are 3 and 5–the perfect ages for imaginative play! But, because I am a tight … Read more…

Hospitality When You Have Young Children

I used to wonder how parents could manage to be hospitable when they were wrangling small kids, constantly picking up toys, wiping noses and bottoms, and trying to maintain children’s sleeping schedules. Fortunately, I have been inspired by many young moms through the years. Currently at church there are several moms who consistently open up their homes for playdates, small groups, bonfires, or other get togethers, despite having young kids. I love that young moms still stretch themselves to be welcoming and hospitable, even if their homes are not perfect or the sliding glass doors have finger prints. Hey, life happens. And … Read more…

If Only Life Came with a Pattern . . . Oh Wait, It Does!

In Psalm 142:3 David proclaims, “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Reading this made me feel both grateful and disappointed. I am thankful that God will breathe strength into our weary hearts and guide us when we are overwhelmed. Still, some days I want a pattern in life to follow that will reveal the finished product. What will the tapestry of my life be? Like the picture on the front of the puzzle box, I want to know how it all fits together. But, oh, how forgetful I can be! God gave us the ultimate pattern to … Read more…

Stay-at-Home Mom Seeking a Friend . . .

Have you ever felt like posting a wanted ad for a friend? For me, the realization hit when we graduated college and moved across the country: it is a lot harder to make friends as a young adult (post-college). At least it felt that way to me. During college, I was surrounded by friends, ranging from close, intimate friendships, to friendly acquaintances. Whether studying, grabbing coffee, watching movies, talking, praying, or eating wings at Applebees, there were always available friends. And, I am happy to say that I have stayed in contact with many of those friends–thank you technology! However, we are separated … Read more…

What is #EngagingLife?

#EngagingLife

If your new year didn’t come with the changes you had hoped. Remember that God gives us not only new years, but new days, and even new moments. Yesterday I had to hit the reset button several times. Gratitude is the key to joy, but Satan wants to keep us stressed and discouraged. God has been working on my heart to seek the beauty in every moment. To fully connect and claim the moments. To choose to see the beauty, even in the ugly. Over a year ago, this idea was but a whisper in my mind. This very whisper lead to me … Read more…

What I’ve Observed on Raising Healthy Children

As a new parent, I sometimes find myself stressing out about whether or not I am giving Rebekah the best start in life possible. Crazy thoughts sometimes bombard me: Oh no! We haven’t started a college fund yet . . . Can I feed her non-organic food?! (Just typing some of my thoughts out loud make me realize how nutty they are!) One of my favorite things to do is to observe others. I know that makes me sound like a creeper . . . but I promise I am not! I like to observe couples and families who are raising healthy children … Read more…

Post-Sickness Cleaning Tips

Chores can really pile up. Especially when you have several loads of laundry after a week-long trip. Compound that with your baby coming down with a bad case of hand, foot, and mouth right after you get home. Then you get sick. And you realize you need to sanitize EVERYTHING before your husband gets sick too . . .   Sigh. Thank you for listening to my mini rant. 😉 Things are looking up. I am at least caught up on laundry. However, I am getting ready to make a game plan for the rest of the house. I find that the … 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…

Tips for Creating a Functional Homeschool Space

This is a guest post by Ella Andrews.  Creating your very own homeschool space is not exactly an easy task, since you will need a location to not only hold school, but store your supplies. That being said, you will have a chance to make a lot of great choices both for storage and tutoring purposes, so make use of the following tips to make it work: Make your space more functional and comfortable, ensuring there is enough space to walk between the desks or other furniture. Basements and garages can be good areas to deal with this, especially if you work on them with … Read more…

My Simple Guide to Decluttering Your Home

(This post was written by Laura, an Engaged Home contributor. Laura’s post includes her affiliate links.) A cluttered home is a cluttered mind, as they say. Over the years, many of us are guilty of hoarding and collecting things – and they never get thrown away. The result can be a house that is packed to the brim with useless objects and old stuff that will never see the light of day again. While some people can happily live like this, it makes my skin crawl.  Studies have also started to reveal that there is a correlation between clutter and … Read more…

4 Ideas for Making Your House a Home

Have you ever walked into a house that felt sterile or staged? Those houses always make me feel uncomfortable because I cannot envision the family actually living there. Since our home is where we spend a lot of our family time, and since we are considering homeschooling in the future, we really want to make sure that our home is a comfortable, cozy, and a positive place for Rebekah. Based on that, here are four ways I’ve learned to make a house a home your family can relax in and enjoy: Personalize it: Your home should be filled with things that you want … Read more…

Snack Attack: Customizable Trail Mix

I love trail mix. But I get annoyed with the mass quantities of peanuts found in the store-bought varieties. Plus, with as much as boughten trail mix costs, I want something better than peanuts! (Sorry peanuts, I don’t mean to hate on you.) I always fish through to find the pecans, almonds, cashews, dried fruit, and yes, candy bits. When we lived in Phoenix, there was a store called Win-Co that had a fabulously cheap bulk foods section. I would go there and pick out all of the trail mix fixins’ that I wanted. No peanuts. Just the good stuff. It … Read more…

What’s the Balance in Your Bank Account?

Before you think I am being incredibly intrusive, let me explain . . . Our bodies are like a bank account. We can make deposits, investments, and withdrawals. What we eat can be a deposit or withdrawal: eating a salad versus a greasy burger, hydrating with water instead of Dr. Pepper. The level of activity in our daily lives can also be an investment in our future. Taking daily walks or runs, stretching, doing yoga, etc. are all investments in our health. Spending our spare time sitting in front of the TV, after many of us have sat all day … Read more…

Creating Space and Seeking Balance #Whole Mama

It makes my head spin some days trying to comprehend how much others accomplish. To be honest, it often makes me feel less-than enough. How can she juggle so much and still look so good doing it?!  We live in a do-it-all, have-it-all-right-now world. I have learned through listening to women bear their souls and through simple observation that having it all, at least all at the same time, is impossible. I believe we can have it all over the course of our lives, but not all at once. Something will inevitably suffer: our marriages, our children, our job performance, our … Read more…

Farmers’ Market Finds and a Summer Squash Recipe

Ready for the farmers’ market mom!  You can’t beat delicious, ripe tomatoes! Not a bad haul at all if you ask me! Mitch and I decided (bribed ourselves) that after tackling our giant to-do list for this past week that we should reward ourselves and celebrate making Columbia home. What better way to celebrate and explore our new home than to grab a chocolatey cup of coffee, peruse the local farmers’ market, and then eat at one of our favorite places: Pepper Jax Grill! Mitch also surprised me by baking a yummy summer cobbler from some of the blackberries we bought … Read more…

Snack Attack! Green Apples and Yogurt

A couple weeks ago my in-laws took us out to Cheddars for my birthday. In an attempt to be healthy, I took a chance and ordered the apples and yogurt as one of my sides. I was apprehensive because I am not a huge fan of yogurt, at least on its own or as a dip. While I was eating, I had two thoughts: 1. Wow! I actually like this. The yogurt is incorporated well . . . I might even love this!  2. I could totally make this myself . . .  And so, a couple days later, I set … Read more…

5 Tips for Exercise and Healthy Living for Busy Moms

Hi ladies! I get asked a lot about how to get your workouts in when you’re a busy mom or working professional. It seems impossible sometimes  to get to the gym when you’ve got a job, a family, or if you’re a brand new mom. And that is where I come in! I know that adding exercise into your life is difficult sometimes. I can imagine with busy families it feels like there is no time for YOU. But all you need is about 10 minutes. 10 minutes is enough time to get in some bodyweight exercise and healthy living … Read more…

It’s Not About a Number on a Scale

I love my post-baby body. I am proud of what my body accomplished. Stop and think about it for a moment–the human body is an amazing work of art by our creator! God made our bodies as a temporary residence for our souls here on earth. But the quality and quantity of time we have to spend in our temporary bodies are influenced by how we treat our bodies. Sore, sluggish, fatigued. That is how I feel. When I brush my hair, handfuls of loose hair come drifting out. All I can think is Ugh, here again. I’ll be the … Read more…