Play – The Moving Force of Development

I am so excited to share Claire’s post with you today. Claire Adams is a professional development expert and believer in the power of a positive attitude. She is also quite sweet and patient. As many of you have noticed and kindly inquired, The Engaged Home has been quiet lately. As with our daughter, we’ve found the 4-8 month stage one of the most difficult for us as parents. So many major transitions seem to happen. Only now we have two babies and a two-year-old. Between teething, colds, and a severe lack of sleep, we bunkered down as a family … Read more…

Pregnancy Life Savers

As I am well into my third trimester of pregnancy, I am frantically trying to get everything done. The spring cleaning, the many sewing and crocheting projects, the nursery, projects for Rebekah, and yes, enjoying times of sleep and rest because they will be few and far between soon. Some days it leaves me a bit dizzy and exhausted. If I don’t pace myself, I find that I don’t actually accomplish anything. My mind simply races with everything. Which is exhausting in its own way. So I am working on simplification and focus. What doesn’t get done won’t kill me. Right? Mitch and … 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…

Six Tips for Caring for a Baby with Sensitive Skin

Out of nowhere, our one-year-old daughter, Rebekah, decided baths were synonymous with torture. Every time we started a bath–she’d start a tantrum. She kept trying to stand up and crawl out of the tub. So not safe! To complicate the bath situation further, she has also been battling mild eczema for the past three months. We just ended the bath standoff this week–hurray! We have successfully had two baths where she didn’t scream or try to escape this week. I think I even saw her smile . . . Switching her bath time to morning or midday when she isn’t tired, like … 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…

Healthy, Heart-Shaped Pancakes

Rebekah tested low in iron recently, probably because she has been battling off sickness. Regardless, I decided it was time to boost her with some iron-rich foods. She has been more interested in baby purees and finger foods over the past couple weeks. The baby cereals seem to have a lot of iron, but they sometimes feel like filler. It was time to get more creative, so the other day I decided I would try and make pancakes using her baby oatmeal. It’s essentially oat-flour anyways, right? And to make it more fun, I decided to make them heart shaped. Just because … 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…

The Sickness, Quarantine, and the Delicious Soup I Developed in the Meantime

The Sickness Ugh. Hand, foot, and mouth (HFM) can be a nasty bug to fight off! We thought Rebekah’s strain of it resembled chicken pox more than HFM. Rebekah’s primary doctor is older than he looks and had seen more than the typical pediatrician. Due to this, he had seen chicken pox firsthand (many new doctors have not) and many, many strains of HFM. Even though he was confident it was HFM, he sent pictures of her sores to Dermatology to double check. Right before Rebekah got sick, I wrote about treasuring the moments. Well, few things make you treasure your child’s smiles, … 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…

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…

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…

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Roundup

Thanksgiving is around the corner! For most of us anyways. This year we get to celebrate three times! We celebrated with my parents on Monday. We will get together with more family on Wednesday and then on Saturday. Strangely, we have no official plans for Thursday. However, we will be with my husband’s family in Springfield, so I am sure we all will soak up lots of time with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. 🙂 In celebration of this time of year, I have compiled some of my favorite recipes, crafts, decor ideas, and lessons. This is the ultimate thanksgiving roundup. Feel free to share your … Read more…

Don’t Let the Holidays Knock You Off Your Rocker!

I love the holiday season when there’s so much going on, and we can spend time with our friends and family: Christmas concerts, Christmas lights, decorations, holly, hot chocolate, presents, crackling fires, Christmas music, caroling. I feel giddy just thinking about it! But, also a little stressed . . .   From Halloween to Thanksgiving and Christmas, we all get to have a lot of fun together. However, if we are not careful, all the fun of the season can get lost in the chaos and details. Although I try to stay positive, there’s no avoiding the fact that things can get very … Read more…

The Joyfully Empowered Summit

Do you ever have opportunities come along that surprise you, make you feel honored to be thought of, super excited, and yet incredibly nervous?  Well I just had one of those fantastic opportunities come my way! After discovering The Engaged Home, Kristine Farley contacted me about participating in The Joyfully Empowered Summit that she is hosting November 9th through the 21st. Kristine Farley has such an amazing heart for families with special needs children, and moms in general. It was an honor to be able to take part in her telesummit. And, as a new mom, I am thrilled to … Read more…

11 Foods to Eat While Pregnant

Confession: I felt healthier while pregnant than I normally do. This was because I wanted to give Rebekah the very best nutrition possible and take care of my body so it would be in good shape for labor and nursing. I did a lot of research into what to eat and what to avoid while pregnant. I had sweet and smart friends who freely shared their wisdom. And my husband was awesome about cooking healthy foods for us. So when Julie Roy contacted me about sharing her information on healthy pregnancy foods, I was excited to pass on this excellent information. … Read more…

Creating a Happy and Safe Home

(This post is by Liam Thomas, an Engaged Home contributor. It contains affiliate links.) ****Nathana: I am so excited to share these tips with you for a couple reasons: 1) Because as a new mom, creating a safe home environment is crucial. I want Rebekah to be able to function is all environments, but I do believe in protecting her from things that could seriously harm her. 2) My husband still remembers the year his childhood Christmas was ravaged by a robbery. He still protests to putting a Christmas tree in front of the window, because he thinks it invites in robbers.  Part of … Read more…

Encouraging Your Child to Have a Healthy Self-Image

Now that I am blessed to be the mother of a 5-month-old baby girl, I am realizing how easy it is to slip into the comparison and labeling game. I am excited to unravel her unique personality. Yet, the sneaky sin of comparison sometimes sneaks into my mind. She doesn’t laugh as often as so-and-so, but she has more motor skills than that kid . . . etc.  These thoughts are unfair to her. They make me over-analytical and anxious. Plus, comparison is always a lose-lose situation. Either she comes out ahead in my mind and it feeds my pride (a sin I struggle with), … Read more…

4 Money-saving Tips for Household Cleaning

Nowadays there are a lot of commercial cleaning products that promise to remove all the nasty stains in an effective way. You have a wide range of choices when it comes to detergents and substances that will help you provide an ideal cleaning of all your surfaces. You have probably noticed that such cleaners often tend to be more expensive than you would expect. Many people invest a lot of money in getting the latest cleaning equipment because they want to make their home spotless and more welcoming. But you can accomplish this without buying every new product on the … 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…

Snack Attack: Blueberry Crumble Bars

It is no secret on this blog that I have a major sweet tooth. Not so much for candy, rather cake, pie, donuts, cookies, ICE CREAM, etc. The dark thought of giving up all the sweets I love makes me sad and quite frankly, cranky. Another blog I love, Heavenly Homemakers, helped me realize that there are ways to make the sweets I love at least more nutritional through a couple easy substitutions: Embrace butter or coconut oil as your main fat. Use whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour has so much more nutrition, from protein to fiber–it’s good stuff! … 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…