Preparation and Safety Strategies for Raising Children

As parents, we need to be prepared and to prepare our children well for navigating the world around them. Despite what some may think, we don’t have 18 years to prepare them for the “real world”. They start encountering the real world as soon as they are born. Children may encounter unsafe situations with sexual predators, or teenagers may make reckless decisions to do things like text and drive. We can’t protect them from everything, but we can do our part to prepare and train them. This means we have to take certain precautions, help them develop common sense, and … Read more…

Playing Catchup As We Reinvent Normal Life

So it has been quiet around here. The Engaged Home blog, not our home. Between a toddler and two newborns, we have a fair amount of hustle, bustle, crying, giggles, and impromptu singing. The singing comes mostly from Rebekah. Occasionally from Mitch and I . . . What can we say, Moana has catchy music! This is just normal life in the Clay household. 😉 I must admit, part of me is tempted to do a huge photo dump. Mostly because it is way too much fun taking baby pictures, and it is hard to select which ones to include. And Grace, who took our … Read more…

A Busy Two Weeks–Blessings and Adjustments

(So many causes for celebration! Pink decor from Rebekah’s birthday, blue in honor of our boys, and lovely flowers my husband brought home for Mother’s Day. It has certainly been a season of blessing and celebration!) Well, most of you have probably heard our big news (thanks to social media). But I am so excited to finally share it with you here on our blog! Our boys Daniel Alan and Joseph Morris joined us on May 2nd. The past two weeks were full of new adventures and adjustments. Due to having a completely different birth experience (more on that later) than with Rebekah … Read more…

To My Growing Family

Call it pregnancy hormones, excitement, I don’t know, but over the past couple days my heart keeps threatening to burst wide open with a kaleidoscope of emotions. Overwhelmed with excitement for what is ahead, tired at the thought of sleepless nights, anxious and all love-achy to hold my boys, and even sad to say goodbye to our precious trio of a family. Right now I am writing from bed, unable to sleep, with Rebekah nestled down between us softly snoring. (Not something we allow her to do often, but she protested sleeping on her own from 2-5 AM. She wore us … Read more…

Connecting with Your Child at Home

I am not going to pretend to be supermom. Because if there are two things motherhood has taught me, it is 1) I am more selfish than I like to admit, and 2) I am so thankful for God’s grace and new days! Like most of you, there are probably days you think Huh, I’m not too shabby at this whole mom thing! I feel like I handled that tantrum really well by connecting to her heart. And she already knows so many shapes and colors!  And then there are days I think What did I get myself into? My goal today … Read more…

Promising Careers for Teenagers to Consider

Whether or not your teenager worked during high school, they still have to figure out what is next for them. Is your teen nearing the end of their time in high school and still trying to figure out post high school plans? While I am not one to speak about being career-oriented (I chose my majors less on job options and more on areas of interest and passion.), I have observed job areas that offer promising options for teens merging into adulthood.  Real Estate Agents There is a lot of potential to grow in the property industry, and there are courses out … Read more…

Preparing for Baby’s First Outing (Part Two of Encouragement for First-Time Moms)

The first time I took Rebekah out of the house was a big deal. At least for me. In addition to trying to figure out a carseat for the first time (I am challenged in this area), I had to decided how to dress her. Fortunately, we learned a lot about our daughter on night one. Most babies have a hard time regulating their temperature to stay warm enough. However, Rebekah overheated quickly in her footie pjs and small cap. She takes after her daddy and is often warm. Nonetheless, I remember how stressful those early outings were. I still … Read more…

A Practical Home Education

Most people think of home education as homeschooling. And yes, it can be one and the same. But home education is so much broader. It encompasses what we teach our children about everyday kindness, how to follow Jesus, responsibility with chores, and home and car upkeep. You should strive for a practical home education for your child, whether you homeschool or not. So many of us graduate high school and move out of our parents’ house without much of the needed knowledge for adulthood. Now, while I agree experience is the best teacher–there are so many home projects and practical … Read more…

Encouragement for First-Time Moms Part 1

Many of us dream of that day when we get to snuggle our beautiful, perfect newborn in our arms. And those moments are nothing short of bliss. Your eyes well up, your heart is full, and if you are breastfeeding–your milk comes in. However, there are a lot of hard times: cluster feedings in the middle of the night, sore nipples, unexplained crying and wailing, sleep strikes, flipping days and nights around, sickness, acid reflux/spit up, and worst of all the nagging fear that you are doing everything wrong and messing up your new child. If you are pregnant with … Read more…

Leaving the Nest: Preparing for College

Winter is quickly closing up shop for spring. That means scores of high school seniors will be making their final decisions about college, applying for scholarships, and preparing to graduate and leave home. This can be an intimidating and stressful period for both seniors and their parents. Every mom and dad hopes they have emotionally, spiritually, and academically prepared their child for this next stage of life. College challenges beliefs, refines or corrupts character, and (hopefully) expands one’s knowledge and world view. How can you make sure your child is ready for this next chapter of life? Encourage Involvement (to … 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…

Our Snowy Day

***This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links at no extra cost or obligation to you. We only share products we love or have on our own personal wishlist. It does not cost you a cent extra to buy through our link, but if you do buy anything on Amazon through our link, it greatly helps us out! 🙂 Snow days and nostalgia: no school, sleeping in, tromping through the snow, sledding with friends, and warming up with a mug of hot chocolate. To most kids, snow days equate to bliss. I still remember sledding the hill by my middle school, and of … Read more…

Finding the Right Balance of Indepedence and Boundaries with Children

This post is contributed by Sarah, a contributing writer. Edited and approved by Nathana. From the moment our kids are born, they are precious. They mean the world to us and when we bring them home from the hospital, we handle them like a fragile family heirloom. In some ways, I guess, that’s exactly what they are! But that simple need to protect, that desire to make them secure, never leaves us. Speak to anyone with grown-up kids, and it’s still the same. Even the 80-year-old great-grandma will fuss over and look after her own children into their fifties and beyond. … Read more…

The Color Blue on my Mind

Blue. A serene, peaceful color. The color of Rebekah’s eyes. I’d long been saving some lovely blue yarn to crochet into a sweater for her because I knew it would look beautiful with her eyes. A couple weeks ago I finally decided on a pattern and started. But since December 27th, I’ve had blue on my mind for different reasons. I started reading Fantastic Mr. Fox (Amazon Affiliate Link) to Rebekah the other day. She seems to really enjoy it, though I decided not to read it to her before bed because it gets a tad scary for a 21-month-old! It has … Read more…

Big Changes

Leaning back in the examination room, trying to ignore how full my bladder is, I crane my neck to see the screen. Any moment I’ll get to see our baby. Remembering back to seeing Rebekah for the first time, around 11 weeks along– kicking away like crazy, her little legs like a soccer player. This time all I see are blobs. And the dark, watermelon size balloon that is my near bursting bladder. Mitch has a better angle. He is totally engrossed. I rest my head back on my thin pillow, hoping for a better view later, or the ultrasound nurse to enlighten me about this strange … Read more…

Advent as a Family: Waiting, Hope, and Peace

Advent–the time leading up to Christmas when we reflect on Jesus becoming flesh and dwelling among us. But even more so, we anticipate Jesus’ second return. This is what I truly cherish about Advent. We not only get to celebrate Jesus’ willingness to become man–experiencing temptation, filth, hunger, pain, and grief–but we get to look forward to his return where he will make all things right. Advent is not practiced by many people in the churches of Christ, our faith heritage. In fact, some churches of Christ hardly acknowledge Christmas because of the dating inaccuracies. (Of course this varies greatly from church … Read more…

Serving Together

Giving back and loving others doesn’t have to be complicated. Though sometimes with words like philanthropy and charity it can sound complicated and reserved for those with wealth. Philanthropy may be a big word for your children to get their heads around, but the actions of compassion, empathy, and loving others can be taught and modeled. Children learn by example. So it’s a good idea to show generosity and humanity throughout all you do in and outside of your home. Serving together with your kids can leave a powerful impression on them. The life lesson of giving back is an … Read more…

A Prayer for Students, Parents, and Teachers

Sunsets, camps, sticky games, water balloons, devotionals, campfires, cards, classes, and sleepovers filled our summer days with our amazing teenagers. My husband is a youth minister–so summers for us are a festive and crazy time of year full of travel, camps, and special memories. We know it is for you as well. Fitting in all the summer appointments, camps, and even vacations makes June and July fly by! Though the weather is still warm, summer is drawing us into its final act. School is starting this month all across the country. This week we are joining their parents–and parents across the country … Read more…

I am NOT a parenting expert.

Mistake #1: Impulse buying an Oreo milkshake during Happy Hour from Steak N’ Shake. (It was hot outside and sounded good. I promise we are mostly healthy eaters . . . ) Mistake #2: Buying this milkshake right before grocery shopping at Walmart with my 15-month-old in tow. Bad idea all around . . .  Mistake #3: Letting my screaming 15-month-old have a sip. This sip then turned into several long–DON’T YOU TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME MOM BECAUSE I WILL SCREAM BLOODY MURDER–sips. Who knew she would like an Oreo milkshake so much! 😉 Mistake #4: Giving in and letting her suck down … Read more…

What is Enough?

Contentment is made elusive by comparison. Our culture tells us that enough is never enough. We always need just a little more money, time, talent, success. We sit in our air-conditioned homes, richer than most people on our planet, and we feel empty and emotionally bankrupt. No amount of money in our bank account brings the love we desire, the excitement of each new success or conquest wears off, and we try desperately to jam everything we can into the limited time we are allotted each day. We rush forward, failing to just be. And when we look around at our kids we … Read more…

Teaching Your Kids About Quiet Time

This is a topic I want to talk more in depth about over the coming weeks; however, I am on a major time crunch today. First of all, this affiliate resource I am sharing is only available (in this amazing bundle) until the end of TODAY! Yikes! Also, we are in the middle of our move–so this may be one of the quickest posts I ever do. (You’re probably like–“Yay short!”) But I knew I had to share it with you. Putting affordable and quality parenting resources into your hands, especially ones that help build your kids’ faith, is one of … Read more…

Tips for Mastering the Family Road Trip

With summer now upon us, I am excited to share a guest post by Marie Nieves about ways to have an enjoyable family road trip! As you set off this summer for your own road trips, family time, and adventure, my prayer is that you may be blessed with safety and lifelong memories. – Nathana Most youngsters are prone to showing defiance when removed from their common environment (their room, the company of their peers, etc.). Road trips can be troublesome due to the long ride in the car. As the pumped air circulates through the car with the smell of stale Cheetos, … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum: Motherhood

Thank you for those who joined in the Faith in the Home Forum conversation last week! I really appreciate your input. I cannot wait to talk about motherhood and how we can overcome the societal pressures that draw us away from what is really important. Here are a couple responses from Andrea and Jessica last week about intergenerational mentorship, dealing with doubts, and keeping your faith vibrant: “We have been very intentional about making sure our kiddos have several people in the church to connect with in part by having high school kids and college kids babysit but also by … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum and a Giveaway

Welcome to the first official discussion for the Faith in the Home Forum! I am excited you could join in the discussion today about creating a “Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids”  (affiliate link) through intergenerational mentorship, navigating doubts, and modeling genuine faith. Now, I did share some resources/homework for those who were interested, but it is not required to join in the discussion. I would love to hear your input as a parent, young adult, or from the perspective of whatever season of life you currently reside in. In Kara Powell’s research she found that intentional intergenerational relationships, … Read more…

Join us for “How to Save Your Marriage From Your Kids”

The foundation of a healthy family has got to be Christ. But, I think once we start having kids, it can be easy to forget how important it is to continue to cultivate and care for  a strong marriage. Too often, with the demands of kids, work, and everyday life, our spouse fails to be a priority. Mitch and I swore this would never happen to us. We were so dedicated to the idea of marriage maintenance. But when you are busy with kids, it is so easy to fail to connect with your spouse. And the busyness and demands of parenthood can almost … Read more…

Faith in the Home Forum

Alright wonderful readers and friends! I have a proposition for you . . .  The Faith in the Home Forum.  Above all else, I believe our calling as parents is to introduce our children to their creator. To nurture and model what authentic faith looks like in daily life. But how do we do this? I want to start a discussion here at The Engaged Home about nurturing faith in the home. Mitch and I love to share what we are doing in our own family, and we have experience working with teens and their families. But we know that you also … Read more…

Is Imitation the Greatest Form of Flattery?

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately. Rebekah wants to do everything I do. She will sling her mini purse over her shoulder and walk around perusing her toys. She’ll pick up her baby doll and feed her with a toy bottle. She will sit and look at books, slowly flipping through them, studying the pictures and words she does not yet know. She will imitate sounds that I make, tongue clicks, and blowing air. When we are playing, she will mimic silly faces back at me. A few weeks ago she … Read more…

How to Make Learning Fun at Home

A love of learning and a natural curiosity are traits I am seeking to develop in Rebekah and our future children. A heart that loves to learn (in my opinion) is more valuable in life that straight A’s or a 4.0 GPA. Part of cultivating young hearts to love to learn is realizing that most kids love learning already. It seems to be innate to their very being! They are curious about the world around them. Sweet Rebekah will sit and slowly flip through a board book, pondering each picture. (Though she is very much in the “independent” phase of reading. … 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…

Cost vs. Value: The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Bonuses

I am very careful about what I promote and put my name on as a blogger. But the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle pretty much sells itself once you look into everything it has to offer. What originally drew me to it as a buyer, before a blog was ever a dream in my mind, was the quality of the bonus offers. There is no doubt the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a great deal for the quantity of resources that you get. Remember you get this entire bundle of 93 resources for only $30! But the real question is “Is it worth it for you?” … Read more…

The First Time I Changed a Baby’s Diaper

Many kids grow up babysitting or taking care of younger siblings. I did not. Well, I did babysit, but mostly later in college. I somehow managed to make it all the way until college without ever having to change a baby’s diaper. So when my friend and I enlisted to sub for another friend in the one-year-old Bible class, I thought how hard can changing a diaper be? To be fair, it is not that hard. Ahem. As long as the child is not actively using all their strength to squirm away from you . . . Rebekah! (We’ve improved a lot … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Spring Learning Activities

I need to get outside ya’ll!  Spring is in full swing here, and I love it so much I could just cry with joy! To be fair, I love every season. But when winter turns that corner into spring, I feel consumed with excitement. It is like the whole earth is waking up and unfurling before our eyes after its long winter slumber. The birds are singing all day long, the grass, trees, shrubs, and bushes are all the richest of bright greens, the weather is that perfect 75 degrees with a light breeze, the rain makes everything bloom, the … Read more…

What are you afraid of?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my relationship with God. And I think that there are two fears that most people, myself included, struggle with overcoming. If we believe that the Holy Spirit is powerful and active, as outlined in the Bible, we are either afraid that 1) If we ask God for something, He won’t show up, or 2) That God will show up and ask us to do something we don’t want to do.  I grew up in a rather conservative church, especially when it came to the Holy Spirit. I did find faith there that I made my … Read more…

My Blogging Mistake and “The Truth About #MomFail Culture” Free Video Series

Have you ever had one of those days where you know you have reached your limit, but you are determined to press on anyways? Well, I hit that wall on Saturday.  Last Saturday was Rebekah’s birthday. My parents were in town, we were throwing her a birthday party at the park. I was determined to blog about her birth story on her birthday. If I had been more on top of things, I would have prepped the post earlier in the week. But alas dear friends, I did not.  As a result, I was sitting in bed typing away after a fun, but loooong Saturday (Mitch … Read more…

One Year Ago Today . . .

One year ago today, sweet Rebekah, you were born.   Your dad and I paced the house, walked the block, and walked the mall waiting for your arrival. 10 days you made us wait. I guess due dates are more of suggestions anyways . . . 😉 During those days we nested, rested, and dreamed of meeting you. We had to go in for a 7-days-over-due ultrasound to make sure you were okay. And you were great–but we barely glimpsed your face because you were so cramped in there. But a two-second glimpse revealed your expression and filled my dreams … 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…

Gather Around Inspirations: The Life Giving Home

When you walk into somebody’s house and feel at home, what is it that makes you feel that way? Is it the physical environment? Probably not, though that can contribute to it. That feeling of home that embraces you like a warm hug is often a combination of things. But most of it is relational in nature. Casting a vision for your marriage, family, and home is crucial. We all need direction and focus. Without it, we wander aimlessly. Meandering about letting our days and precious moments with our families slip away from us. To recapture and engage the hearts of … 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…

A Family Tradition–Watching the Sandhill Cranes

Rebekah’s fever finally started to break and stay low enough to get out a bit. And by “get out” I mean drive around. After all, we didn’t want to overwhelm her. We had been wanting to drive around to the cornfields and river to look for sandhill cranes, so we packed up and set out. Most of the cranes have already continued on with their migration, but we still saw quite a few rummaging in the cornfields. Going out every spring to see the cranes is a favorite family tradition of mine. Some years, like today, we just casually drive the … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations and Yarn Along Wednesday

Today I am blending my Wednesday feature with my Tuesday feature–sorry! However, I think that they fit together very well. I often talk about what I am reading during Yarn Along Wednesday, and what I was going to talk about this week is also one of my favorite “read-together books.”  After discovering what fun it was to crochet boot cuffs, I decided to make some more. This green pair is going to a friend who is having a rough time. It is my prayer that they brighten her day and let her know that she is thought of and loved. If you … Read more…

A Breath of Fresh Air: Dealing with Anxiety

I understand that for many people, anxiety is a severe disorder that requires medication to function. I am not arguing with that reality. However, I do believe that we all struggle with and internalize anxiety in our day-to-day lives. You may not even realize that you are dealing with it because our culture is addicted to self-medication–and I’m not talking about prescription drugs.  We all seek out things to numb our pain, help us cope, or provide an escape. This could be food, books (depending on the type of book this isn’t necessarily a bad thing), TV, pornography, drama, social … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Poetry

In case you missed what Gather Around Inspirations is all about, let me fill you in. It is about introducing quality literature (but also art and music) into your home. Looking for a good book to read as a family? I’ve got you covered! Through Gather Around Inspirations, I am sharing some of my favorite (past and present) read-aloud books. I believe we cannot effectively pass on a love of reading to our children by nagging them to read more. Instead, we need to be willing to come alongside them and share the joy of reading with them, together. Which leads me … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Tap the Magic Tree

I love to wander the aisles of children’s books at the library. I always come home with way too many picture books. And I have the unfortunate habit of picking out books that I think look awesome, rather than thinking of what Rebekah would like. Right now, we are mostly reading aloud from Heidi while nursing, or enjoying board books together (which I often don’t like to get from the library because every baby chews on them). She loves turning the pages of board books and will sit while we read several. She does has a few picture books she … Read more…

The Battle for My Epic Door Collage and How My Parents Encouraged My Self-Expression

The Battle In middle school I started a door collage. A door collage, you wonder . . . . Yes, it was my pre-teen, then teen form of self-expression. I am not sure what motivated me to start. Maybe it was my obsession with Allen Iverson from the 76ers . . . I don’t really follow many sports, but I saw an article about him in my dad’s Sports Illustrated magazine and it spurred a short-lived interest in him and professional basketball. Embarrassingly, his pictures were the first to be taped to my door. (To be fair, I do really enjoy basketball, … 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…

How do I connect with God when I am a busy parent?

Each week I am going to begin taking one to two days to talk about intentionally building faith in the home. This is at the heart of The Engaged Home and at the heart of what I believe is a major purpose of parenting. This is not a new topic to The Engaged Home. However, it is one I want to engage in conversation about more by sharing my insights, my ideas for different ages of kids, my favorite resources, and by opening up the conversation in the comments or through guest posts. I have several things I am excited to share with you, … 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…

Gather Around Inspirations

Gather Around Inspirations will be my new Tuesday feature, focusing on books, art, and music worth gathering around. Call me old-fashioned, but I love the imagery of families gathered in front of the hearth, sewing or relaxing while someone reads aloud or plays the violin. Often they read from the Bible or classics like Tennyson. It is idyllic, I know. It may not have involved a fireplace, but some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around books. Whether that meant reading through Laura Ingalls Wilder books with my mom, The Chronicles of Narnia with my dad, admiring pictures in picture books, scoping out … 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…

Valentine’s Day: A Family Affair

Valentine’s Day. Do you love it or hate it or celebrate it at all? I know people who are all over the spectrum on their feelings about this famous holiday. Mitch and I always treat it as an excuse to go on a slightly nicer date than usual. Sometimes we will budget to buy ourselves gifts while we are out. One year, while we lived in Phoenix, we trekked up to the Grand Canyon, snow and all. It was Mitch’s first time. We remember just standing at the edge and staring at the vastness in silence. Later, on that road … Read more…

Are You Kind to Yourself? #WholeMama

I think we often associate kindness with our attitude toward others. But I am learning that kindness begins with myself. If I am beating myself up with guilt over my failures or perceived shortcomings, if I am constantly comparing myself to the edited versions of others, I am creating a heart that is critical. Critical of myself and critical of others. This heart opens itself up to bitterness. Though I may don a kind smile or share a kind word, if I am not learning to treat myself with kindness and grace, the contents of my heart may not be … Read more…

A New Take on Coloring: An Interview with Andrew Miller

Have you ever known someone who has inspired you to be more creative and to pursue your passions?  I have a couple of those people in my life who inspire creativity and courage within my heart simply by their example of embracing creativity and hustling after their goals. One of those people in my life is Andrew Miller. He was a college classmate and friend of mine and one of my husband’s college roommates. (Andrew with his wife Sonia and daughter Anya.) Mitch and I made a point to stay in touch, as much as possible, with Andrew and his wife Sonia after … 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 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…

Winter Picture Books

1948 winner of The Caldecott Medal. Its age shows in its faded, worn cover and mostly black and white pictures. The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader is one of my favorite winter picture books.  I recently found this book at Goodwill, and I am so glad I nabbed it up. (I am always on the prowl for quality picture books.) Not only is The Big Snow a classic, but it is perfect to read this time of year. It teaches about what different animals do during the winter. For the past couple months I have been watching the flocks of geese settle … 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…

Treasuring the Moments

“And his mother (Mary) treasured up all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51B) From a young age, this verse about Mary treasuring the moments always stuck in my mind. We don’t have many specifics about Mary after she is visited by Gabriel. Or Joseph for that matter. But I’ve always loved this glimpse into her heart. She knew who her son was born to be. But he was still her son. I used to think that she treasured all these things because Jesus was Emmanuel, God’s son. And, be warned, I am getting solely into the territory of my opinion here. But, now … Read more…

Connecting with Your Children Through Everyday Opportunities

For better or worse, there are many fears shared by parents around the world. Even before their child is born, mothers can go through all kinds of uncertainties. One worry that I find particularly prevalent is a fear that you’re not engaged enough in your children’s lives. This is a common qualm. But, be careful! Don’t let your fear turn into a negative self-talk and guilt complex. Instead, let it lead you toward intentionality and motivation to engage more fully with your children. If you really are drifting out of touch, don’t panic. There are various ways you can become … 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…

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…

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…

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…

Do Not Be Deceived

Deception is alive and well. Satan is the master of lies and a deception artist. Truth can be difficult to discern. Intuition can be muddled. Consciences can be dulled. Our world has lost sight of truth. A lack of truth has led to watered-down morality. It has also led to anger, confusion, and darkness. Desperate for truth, many people–like the youth persuaded to join ISIS–buy into extreme, radical lies. Our world is polarized between extreme, hate-fueled philosophies and a post-modern disillusionment.  But, there is nothing new under the sun. Paul addressed self-delusion in Romans. He explained how many people strayed so far … Read more…

DIY Baby Pat Mat (Free and Only Takes 3 Minutes to Make)

We are participating in Parents as Teachers, and a couple months ago we learned about this super fun and easy baby pat mat. The best part is that most people already have all the supplies needed to make it!  It is super simple, and if your baby is 3-9 months, chances are they will love playing with it. Plus, it teaches about cause and effect. Talk with you baby about “When you hit it or pat it, what happens? Did that blue piece move? What if you pat it here?” Supplies: water 2 gallon plastic bags (you’ll want to double bag) tinsel or … Read more…

Indoor Activities for Kids During the Cold Winter Months

You’ve probably noticed that over the past few weeks the weather has started to change. Winter is headed our way. When temperatures start to drop and rain becomes more regular, we can no longer spend as much time outside with our families as we would like to. For many parents, this means sticking the kids in front of the television to keep boredom at bay. While a little television is okay, like many moms, I don’t believe in letting kids spend all day in front of a screen. I believe that boredom is not always the enemy–in fact, I believe … Read more…

Join Me on Monday!

Mark your calendars for this Monday! Tomorrow is the kickoff for the Joyfully Empowered Moms Summit. This is a free opportunity to learn from 21 different women about topics such as stress-management, self-care, creative outlets, business development, and more. The heart of the summit is about living each day with joy. Yes, it is geared towards moms of special needs kids; but the host, Kristine, emphasized that the summit is designed with all moms in mind, and it would even be beneficial for dads. So, if you are feeling a bit frazzled (cough, cough, I know the feeling), if you feel like you are barely surviving … 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…

DIY Bible Box with Supplies From the Dollar Tree

Rebekah loves Bible class. I started dropping her off when she was only three months old. I honestly didn’t know how she would do, but she adores it! Sweet teachers, Bible songs and rhymes, and objects to grab and play with make it a fun experience for her. (I’m sure she will go through separation anxiety at some point, but for now she loves going to class.) I genuinely believe that babies can learn a lot more than we give them credit for. So, why not start teaching them about the most important thing: The fact that God made them and loves them!  … Read more…

Gift Ideas for New Moms

Whether you’re a mom yourself or not, choosing a gift for someone who has a new baby can be challenging. The main problem is that most new moms will receive almost everything that they need for the baby at their baby shower. So you have to think outside the box when it comes to post-birth gifts. Here are a few tips and gift ideas to take note of: Personalized Presents   So the new mom has everything that she needs, but there are still plenty of things you can get her. Some of the best presents I received when my little one was born … 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…

What Defines Your Self-Image?

Shy. Spoiled. Tom Boy. Only Child. These are all adjectives, or more accurately labels, that I remember struggling with as a child. I was quiet. I loved my friends and family, but I was not naturally extroverted. I was simply not your “normal” 5-year-old chatterbox, at least not around those I didn’t know very well. Now get me around friends and family and that was a different story! In addition, I was an only child–though by no choice of my own, mind you. Every day I prayed for a brother or sister, even writing God a letter with the request of a sibling. … Read more…

Equipping Our Children to Engage a Broken World

equipping our children to navigate life

Some days I wonder about what type of world our children will live in. I think of the challenges we faced growing up and wonder what is in store for them. It doesn’t surprise me that more and more parents are trying to shelter their kids from the world. Yet, I do not think that approach is always beneficial. I believe we need to teach our children to navigate and engage the world around them in a healthy way. Teaching our children truth, so they can filter out lies is essential. How do you teach your children the wisdom they need … Read more…

When Your Child Asks “Why would someone do that?”

The "Why" question

I think one of the most intimidating (but healthy) questions a child can ask is why. Recently, a friend of mine mentioned how her young daughter came home from school, where they had talked about 9/11, and asked “Why would someone do that?” Why? I think we could jump into a discussion about how the terrorists believed false ideas of glory, how America was evil, etc. And historically, that is good to talk about if your children are old enough to understand it. But doesn’t why come down to hatred?  Whether you are Muslim, Christian, Atheist, or Buddhist, isn’t it hatred that causes … Read more…

How to Talk With Your Child About 9/11

Do you remember what you were doing when you heard about the terrorists attacks on 9/11? I do. I saw it on TV as I walked into 7th grade history after band class. Those images are forever imprinted into my mind. However, this is not the case for most children today. They were not alive, and if they were, they were too young to remember. So how do you introduce this historical subject to elementary age children? And should we?  First of all, yes we should talk about it. It is an important part of our national history, it lead … Read more…

4 Children’s Books That Will Make You Tear Up

More than once I have whisked a tear away while reading to our Rebekah. And more than once I have heard Mitch’s voice crack as he gets choked up reading to her. I could blame the hormones (at least I don’t cry at every animal youtube video anymore), and we could both blame sleep deprivation. But I believe the real cause is that sometimes a book perfectly conveys what we want to communicate to our child: never-ending love and comfort. These books hopefully remind our daughter that we love her, but they also refocus us on what is important–cherishing these … Read more…

“Inside Out” Embraces the Wholeness of Life

Inside Out movie review

Pixar has perfected the art of high-quality, funny, and cute animated movies that tug on our heart strings. Both Up and Toy Story made me shed a few tears. My husband cried too. He called them “man tears“ . . . but his ability to cry is one of many reasons why I love him! Inside Out proved to be just as cute, funny, and touching. Plus, it tackles the topics of personality, emotions, and life transitions in a way that I think kids and adults can both relate to and learn from. My in-laws invited us to accompany them to the movie, and though we had not … Read more…

8 Father’s Day Gift Ideas

gift ideas

I have been brainstorming for the past month what to get Mitch for his first Father’s Day. I think I have it narrowed down now, but the juries still out because I want to get him too many things. Decisions, decisions! 😉 In case you are still unsure about what to get for the father or husband in your life, here are some of my favorite Father’s Day gift ideas (because, let’s face it, men can be hard to buy for): 1. Father or Grandfather Willow Tree Figurines:  * * This post includes affiliate links. You are by no way obligated … Read more…

Joy Redefined: My Heart Now Resides Outside Myself

Our midwives were awesome! Grandma Teri. 🙂 Grandpa Jim. 🙂 Grandma Connie. 🙂 First Bath. Not her favorite experience . . . Our midwives decorated our board. 🙂 Last Thursday, our Rebekah joined us after a long, but peaceful labor in our home. I knew life would change forever, but I don’t think I fully grasped how much our hearts would expand. It feels like this rich, deep joy that I have never experienced before. A joy accompanied by a new sense of complete vulnerability. The child I carried safely in my body is now out in the world and my heart along with … Read more…

5 Ways to Support Your Child’s Self-Esteem by Holly Doherty

1) Don’t praise them just for showing up. I know this statement flies in the face of conventional wisdom, in a world where every kid in the soccer league gets a trophy just for being on a team, and some leagues don’t even keep score lest they hurt a child’s supposedly fragile self-esteem. But life doesn’t give you a trophy just for showing up. Teach your kids to work hard, to take pride in their work, and to do their best. To praise them just for showing up breeds entitlement and an empty, false sense of self-worth. 2) Praise their … Read more…

Final Nursery Reveal and a Super Simple Crocheted Gift for That Little Girl in Your Life!

nursery revelation

We debated how much to decorate our nursery. We are renters, so we didn’t want to paint and do a complete overhaul. Also, Rebekah will probably spend the first couple months in a bassinet in our bedroom. As I started to work on the nursery, I debated over some cute themes like “baby animals” and “Noah’s Ark.” I kept a few of those elements, but in the end, I decided to go a more “simple elegance” route. What helped me decide was the fact that I loved the curtains we already had in there (I’ve had them since college). They are a … Read more…

Book Review and Giveaway: The Magic of Family Meals

http://hollydoherty.com/

Does your family eat on the go a lot? Are you looking for ways to recover the habit of family mealtime? Does your family zone out in front of the TV or retreat to separate bedrooms during mealtime? Are you looking for more quality time as a family? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, The Magic of Family Meals: 115 Conversation Starters to Connect With Your Kids will be a helpful tool for your family. You CAN retake lost ground and reclaim family mealtime! Here at The Engaged Home I am dedicated to intentionally moving toward an engaged home life … Read more…

Family Movie Night: Courageous

Courageous

We didn’t go out to the movies much while dating or when first married (we still don’t, unless it’s at the cheap theater for $3). Young, married, and poor, we were picky about the movies we were willing to spend money to see. Nonetheless, one weekend the itch struck us and we indulged. Popcorn and all! Courageous had been in theaters for a week or so, and we felt good about supporting a Christian movie with our money. However, we did not know much about the movie and as a result we were inadequately prepared. Bring tissues . . . Trust me … Read more…

Dads Hurt Too: Miscarriage Support

miscarriage

***Disclaimer: This is an account of a miscarriage we had back in April 2014. Thankfully, our Rebekah is growing, kicking, and developing just as she should at 8 months in the womb. Dedication: I would like to dedicate this post to Cadence, the child we lost early April 2014. Daddy will always love you, even though I never had the chance to meet you. I can’t wait to see you face to face in Heaven… My wife (who most of you know quite well by now) wrote an amazing post called “Breaking the Silence: Miscarriage Support”. This post takes you … Read more…

“Are You Faithful?” Family Devotional on Faithfulness

Faithfulness: Reflecting God’s Character I would first like to challenge parents who are preparing to go through this character study with their children. Your children are watching you. The example you set in your marriage should be one that lifts up the character traits of love and faithfulness. I believe that love and faithfulness are deeply intertwined. God created marriage to be a reflection of his image. What is your marriage reflecting to your children? Are you leaving a legacy of faithfulness and love, or strife and infidelity? Explore the Meaning: What does it mean to be faithful? (Being faithful … Read more…

Building Character: Faithfulness

Faithfulness is something we can all relate to on a personal level. All of us have experienced the never-ending faithfulness of God. While we were still sinners, Christ loved and died for us. He is faithful, even when we are not. Many of us have also experienced unfaithfulness. Maybe even in a close friend or spouse. That breech of trust in an established relationship is difficult to overcome. Trust is not built over night, rather over time. Chances are, we know how deeply that unfaithfulness can wound. Yet, when we were at our most unfaithful, Christ still died to make us right with … Read more…

Welcome to the Brag Table

I hate bragging. Maybe it’s a Midwest thing, or a family thing. But I stink at verbally sharing my accomplishments. I also struggle at accepting compliments. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate them. I just never know what to say back to the person other than, “Aw, you’re too nice.” or “Aw, shucks.” or down play the compliment in some way. I guess I associate people who “brag” as cocky, self-promoting, and prideful. It just rubs me the wrong way, ya know? However, I am learning that there is a time and place for sharing our accomplishments. In his book Start, Jon … Read more…

If It’s Not a Definite “Yes”, It’s a Definite “No”

I have issues saying “no.” It feels rude and selfish. But it is a powerful tiny two-letter word. Due to my inability to say “no” I even found myself dating a guy I had no interest in dating. My attempt to “let him down lightly” without saying a straightforward “no” backfired. Unsurprisingly, that short-lived relationship led to an awkward breakup. That experience was a wake-up call for me. Even if “no” didn’t feel very nice, it was a word I needed to incorporate into my vocabulary. In college I wanted to do it all. I feared the thought of passing up an opportunity or missing … Read more…

Cloth Diapers, a Jewish Guru, and a Maternity Blessing

“Let me share a Hebrew blessing with you.” The owner of Zoolikins (a local baby store where we were taking a crash course in cloth diapering) said as we shook hands, ready to leave. She continued, “I always want to say something when pregnant mothers leave my store, but ‘good luck’ just doesn’t sound right to me. English doesn’t have the right phrase, so allow me to use some Hebrew. B‘sha’ah tovah. It means ‘in a good hour’. May the hour of your child’s birth be a good one for you both, your child, your family, and your midwife or doctor.” She … Read more…

4 Ways to Empower Teens to Protect Their Hearts

Do you remember the old saying “Garbage in, garbage out”? It was a popular churchy phrase I heard a lot as a teenager. It was a catchy way of saying that what we allow into our hearts will overflow into our life in good or bad ways. We are all susceptible to this problem. We don’t outgrow it. It just looks different when we are children, teenagers, young adults, and then adults. Teenagers are bombarded junk and lies. They buy into the lies that they need to have a “thigh gap” to be hot or that the “right” clothes = confidence. As adults we too struggle … Read more…

Mental, Spiritual, and Physical Health

In 2015, I want sharpen The Engaged Home’s focus. Our core message is that learning and faith begin at home. We will explore ways to strengthen our families as a unit and as healthy individuals. In my opinion, there are three overarching aspects to a healthy family: Mind/Mental Health Spirit/Spiritual Health Body/Physical Health (Some people would also include a fourth: the heart. I believe the heart can fall into any of these three categories depending on how you look at it. The Bible does say that out of our hearts, the mouth speaks. I also know that if our hearts are … Read more…

Engage Life in 2015

“Don’t let your year happen to you–Happen to your year.” –Mitch Clay How will you engage life in 2015? This idea of actively engaging life goes back to the root purpose of The Engaged Home. At The Engaged Home, our purpose is to engage life, specifically our family life. If we live life passively, then we are like a paper boat carried here and there by the tide. Some days it is smooth sailing, but other days we run adrift. When we live passively, life happens to us and all we can do is react. It may seem easier, but it … Read more…

What are Your Christmas Traditions?

There is something special about family traditions at Christmas time: baking cookies for Santa, caroling, driving around to see lights, decorating the tree, reading the nativity story, and playing games together. Traditions are what your kids grow up remembering and wanting to pass on to their children. Consistency with traditions is difficult for us since we are normally traveling for Christmas. But since we are staying home this year, we’ve had ample time to think about and rekindle some of our personal Christmas traditions. Growing up, when we were not visiting my Dad’s side of the family on Christmas Eve, … Read more…

Family Devotional on Peace

Intro for parents: Sometimes we are guilty of simplifying the idea of peace to a quiet, nice feeling. The truth is that peace is powerful. Teaching your children the power of peace enables them to face the challenges of life with an anchor and a strength, not born out of the hardness of sorrow and failure, but rooted in a relationship with God, where they are living in the presence of their Lord and Savior. Our children need to not only learn what peace is and how to experience it, they need an example of peace in their lives, both from the … Read more…

Teen Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daugther of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a series by Laini Taylor that falls into a currently popular genre for teens: Fantastical Romance. I must admit my bias against this genre. In fact, my dislike of it is so strong, that I almost quit reading this book after chapter one. I felt like I was reading Twilight. At times, I had to laugh, and sometimes gag, at the overly dramatic, sensual language. Bias aside, I have friends and family who genuinely enjoy reading this genre. I will not judge you, or hold it against you in any way if you like … Read more…

Letters to Rebekah

My friend Natasha recently encouraged me to start writing letters to Rebekah (the name we chose for our daughter, due in April) in a journal. I brought the idea up to Mitch, and he latched on to it immediately. This past weekend while we were shopping, a simple but beautifully elegant journal caught my eye for Rebekah’s letters. We plan to fill it with prayers, letters, verses, memories, wisdom, encouragement, and affirmation. Our prayer is that we can affirm her that she is as a beautiful, strong, daughter of the King. We also want to remind her often of our constant love for her. The … Read more…

Embracing the Pink: Our Baby Girl

      Nathana (mom): A baby girl: pink, ruffles, hair bows, and dolls . . . I know this is a stereotype, but we are trying to wrap our heads around a baby girl. When taking these last minute announcement photos, we realized that we do not own any pink clothes. Opps! But red and white make pink, right?! Fortunately, my mother-in-law surprised me with a beautiful pink maternity sweater a couple days later. I certainly was a tom boy growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I liked princesses, dresses, barbies, and baby dolls. But I could climb trees, build … Read more…