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…

A Cute Combo and a Great Deal

A couple weeks ago we drove down to Springfield for our nephew’s first birthday. Though sadly, he got sick so his parents delayed plans. I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in Missouri the cold and flu season hit hard. My sister-in-law asked for books for boys, since their daughter is into princesses and the like, they wanted to make sure they had some quality boy books for our nephew. And if you know me at all, you know buying books is one of my favorite things to do! So I set about looking for a fun, … Read more…

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Under $15

Looking for a great gift for someone in your family for under $15? Here are some fun gifts for men, women, and children, all for under $15! ***This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links at no extra cost or obligation to you. We only share products or resources 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! 🙂 1. Jane Austen Coffee Mug  (Can you ever have too many mugs?! And this one is … Read more…

Confessions of a Writer and Recommended Book Purchases for High School and College Kids

I am hesitant to tell people I majored in English. People associate that with crazy things like being able to spell and use proper grammar. The truth is I struggle with both. I don’t think I am an awful writer, but I have to edit a lot. Otherwise, well, embarrassing things happen. Like, um, using the wrong grammar on the sign you scrawl out in 5 seconds for your announcement photos that you then post all over social media . . . Yep. That was not the fault our sweet photographer, Grace, that was all me. ” . . . then … Read more…

2016 Family Gift Guide

(This post contains affiliate links.) As usual, we are going the frugal route for Christmas. I make the majority of my Christmas gifts and will be posting on some of my favorite DIY ideas soon. However, with so many family members asking for ideas, I thought I would share some Christmas present recommendations with you for different ages. Though keep in mind, most of these are products that we (Mitch, myself, and my 19-month-old daughter) love. Enjoy our 2016 family gift guide! 1. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name I’ve recommended this before, but I will keep on … Read more…

Walking The Broken Way to Abundant Life

I think our long wait for autumn may be over. I dug out my sweaters from storage and started wearing them. Many trees are in garbs of orange, red, and yellow. Still, others are completely green. Rebekah and I keep examining our young Silver Maple in the front yard. It is holding out as long as it can before it turns red. This past week we’ve spotted a handful of leaves just beginning to turn. The red seems to travel up the stem then slowly encroach from the edges of the leaf. Catching a leaf in transition is one of my favorite things … Read more…

A Coloring Experience and Giveaway

We weren’t sure what the teens would think. At least the guys. Teen girls almost always love coloring, but boys tend to be “too cool” for such fun. But our teen guys took to it as readily as the girls. Maybe it was the cool designs that didn’t feel innately girly, like so many generic coloring books. The teens chatted as they chose their medium (colored pencils, crayons, or markers) and decided on a color scheme. Even parents and volunteers joined right in on the fun. The only complaint we received was that we did not give them enough time to finish. … Read more…

Inviting Imagination: Storytelling and Illustrations

Children are natural storytellers. They love to spin tales birthed in the purity of their imaginations not yet as tainted by harsh realities. Stories also draw children into new worlds. Storytelling draws adults in as well. Why else would we bing watch shows on Netflix like The Office or Doctor Who? We connect and relate to stories on a deep level. We compose them to preserve history and memories. Even throughout scripture, God uses stories to teach and preserve. Jesus’ utilizes parables to impart the wisdom and truths of heaven. Maybe God wrote storytelling into our DNA. As a result, some children are … Read more…

Blue Box Gifts

Do remember that moment when you came home from the hospital with your new baby? Or that day a couple weeks later when all the family left? Or that one 2AM feeding with tears streaming down your face from exhaustion because you couldn’t figure out what was wrong: I thought I was supposed to have a mom-instinct for these things?! Wait, I am a mom?! And I have no idea what I am doing . . . Babies should come with instructions . . . I remember those moments well. Becoming a mom requires a lot of trust and prayer, … 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…

Excitement All Around

I think this week can be summed up in one word: Exciting. The right house, for the right price opened up for us a couple months ago, and this week we closed on it. It is our first time buying a home, and it is a landmark moment for our family. Owning a home means we get to live somewhere longer than a year and a half. We have moved five times in five years. We are laying down roots. Maybe it won’t be a forever home, but we are anticipating all the memories that will resound within its walls: … Read more…

Thomas Locker Wins My Heart Again

Sometimes there are books that appeal to the teacher in me, or the mom in me, or the historian, or poet . . . But rarely do I find a book that wins the whole of my heart. Thomas Locker has a way of stunning me on all fronts. Every page in a Thomas Locker book is a work of art. His landscapes are worthy of being framed–and many are in prestigious museums. I am slowly buying all of his books for our personal collection. Home: A Journey through America (amazon affiliate link) celebrates the beauty of the different places across America … Read more…

Gathering Around Inspirations: Losing Yourself in a Good Book

This past week has not been my most productive. At least not in the practical sense of productivity. I have always loved reading, so much so that I have to be careful it does not consume all my free time. I could lose myself in a good book for hours. And this past week I have become totally sucked into good books. It started with Because of Winn-Dixie (affiliate link). I’ve read this book several times, but I decided to start reading it to Rebekah while nursing her. It is a quick read and hard to put down, even on your fifth time reading … Read more…

The New Recipe I am Obsessed With: Miracle Dough

Okay, so I could go on and on about how awesome this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is and how it is such a great deal. But I won’t. If you’ve checked out the bundle, you will realize that for yourself in seconds. And, to be honest, these bundles are a great value, but sometimes the amount of resources can be overwhelming. So I thought instead I would highlight the ebook that I have gotten the most use out of so far. I have started several of ebooks and one ecourse. It is hard to pick a favorite. I feel like I … 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…

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…

Yarn Along: Thinking of Others This Week

This week I am trying to finish up a couple gifts to mail off to encourage some special people in my life. The first is a hanging towel (I will make a matching dish cloth too) for a blogging friend who got married last year. It will only be a year late, so let’s call it a one-year-anniversary present . . . 😉 When I saw this kitchen towel, I knew it would look great in her kitchen, and it reminded me of them. My aunt has recently undergone some serious surgeries for a bad break in her leg and … 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: 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…

Gather Around Inspirations: A Special Gift of Love

I grew up knowing most of my extended family on my mom’s side. And I am talking extended family . . . like 4th and 5th cousins extended. Growing up we always went to family reunions and annually gathered at my great-aunt Margie’s for Memorial Day lunch after placing flowers on the graves of extended family in Arnold, Nebraska. My husband has always marveled at the interconnectedness of my family. Even in Phoenix, we had the blessing of getting to know my mom’s cousin (so my second cousin) Doris really well. In fact, on most family vacations we would visit some cousin … Read more…

Gather Around Inspirations: Unpacking My Childhood

I don’t have much to share by way of Yarn Along Wednesday, except a dream I have to crochet Rebekah a light yellow dress for this summer. I crocheted a darling little yellow flower for a hair clip to match her Easter dress, but I failed to get a fantastic picture of it. Now that she is walking, she is a busy body. I don’t walk away with many pictures that are not blurry. And our Easter family picture was a bit mopey. Rebekah was on the brink of sleep when we took it. As always, remember to check out more … 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…

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…

Gather Around Inspirations: Heidi

As a young girl I dreamt of a loft bed of hay with a little window over looking the mountains and fresh goat’s milk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I always remembered how Heidi  is described in the book and the vivid descriptions of the mountains and her loft bed. My mom had this old, large, edited version of Heidi. I can still see the blue cover with a picture of a small girl in her thin, white smock. I don’t know where that book ended up, but I hope I can find it again. As a pre-teen at a scholastic book … 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…

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…

Lilla Rose Sale–Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Lilla Rose hair products are beautiful, functional jewelry for your hair. Plus, they are oh so comfortable and durable! Whether you sport your hair in a ponytail, half up, or a bun or french twist, there are many styles you can create with Lilla Rose products. I am kind of obsessed with their hairbands because they are adjustable, comfortable, and stay put better than any hairband I have tried. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and Lilla Rose is hosting a 48-hour flash sale. It only lasts today and tomorrow: January 26th and 27th!  … Read more…

Motivational Books for the New Year

I’ve lost my rhythm with reading. I still love it. But sometimes it feels like such a luxury that it gets pushed off into a dusty corner of my mind and life. TV at least allows me to multitask: crochet, fold laundry, etc. I’ve been reflecting on changes I would like to make in 2016. I decided that reading needs to become a bigger part of life. Reading is more than recreation. And I need it to be more than an auxiliary activity in my life. Reading encourages my imagination, sparks ideas, motivates action, helps me relate to others, relaxes me, stretches … Read more…

Reader Survey and Giveaway!

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

Last Minute Gifts to Buy

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

2015 Gift Guide for Your Family

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

Lilla Rose Black Friday Sale and Giveaway

One of my favorite places to buy presents for Christmas is Lilla Rose. I am so excited to shop their Black Friday sale for Christmas gifts (and for myself . . . )! I really want to get my hands on one of their adjustable headbands. I have the worst time with the pretty headbands actually staying on my head, which is why I think it is genius that Lilla Rose’s headbands are adjustable! 🙂 3 Day Black Friday Sale For Customers & Guests Only 20% Off Everything, including New Releases 25% Off select Festive Styles 30% Off select Holiday Styles, 30% … 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…

Flash Sale: 3 Reasons Why You Should Check Out Lilla Rose

The Engaged Home has been quiet lately for a couple reasons. 1) We have been busy and my blogging time has been unorganized–we are working on finding that consistent slot of time to write (if such a thing exists!). 2) We are also working on creating a stronger focus. We have many interests, and we want to make sure what we write about and share is beneficial to you and your family. So, we are taking some time to vision cast. Please be patient, we have some great things in the works for the future!  But in the meantime, I am going to try … 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…

Steady Joy Amidst Chaos

Alicia Britt Chole

Steady joy: A joy that cannot be tainted by circumstance. A joy that persists on our darkest of days. This is what God offers.  Over the past five weeks I felt both more joy and more stress than I have ever experienced before. Who knew they could co-exist? If having a new baby for the first time was not stressful enough, we decided to add in traveling across the country when Rebekah was just over two weeks old, a job tryout, and now a cross-country move and another trip to see my family in Nebraska. Call us crazy, but I do believe these … Read more…

A Perfect Pairing: Goats’ Milk Soap and Crocheted Wash Cloths

lomah acres soap

I have been working on little gift sets as thank you presents for our amazing midwifes. I decided to give them each a Starbucks’ giftcard (When your profession means a lot of all-nighters, coffee is your friend!), a bar of Lomah Acres‘ nourishing goat’s milk soap, and a crocheted wash cloth. I hope this will be the perfect pairing for a thank-you present. I have made plenty of crocheted dish cloths over the past several years. They work great and make wonderful wedding presents paired with other items. Since I was giving goat milk soap, I really wanted to crochet wash … Read more…

A Giveaway From Lomah Acres Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

I have been on the search to find safer skincare products that do not have strange and obscure chemicals listed in the ingredients. Along the way I found many products I could not afford and many that though were “all natural” I found them sticky or ineffective. Then a couple months ago I read a review by Amy Miller about Lomah Acres, a small family-owned farm in Nebraska (my home state). Owners Kathy and Jim (and their 10 kids) have made a successful business of making and selling primarily goat-milk products: soaps, lotions, lip balms, perfumes, laundry detergent, face cream, and … Read more…