Gift Ideas for Little Girls That Encourage Creativity and Character

***Includes Amazon Affiliate Links. These links do not increase or affect the prices or make you obligated to buy anything. It simply means that I receive a small percentage toward helping our Engaged Home. Thank you–anything you buy through one of our links helps! *** Does anyone else get dizzy when walking through Walmart during the holidays? On one hand, all the decor and toys make me giddy. But they also make me feel overwhelmed. Like pull out a paper sack, my head is spinning dizzy. The sights, the smells, the price tags, that music they play to make you want to … Read more…

Scaling Back

(This post contains affiliate links.) I have a small obsession with the holiday season. I love the festivity, the togetherness, the decor, the traditions–all of it. But upon reflection, I can see how I can turn so many of the special holiday activities into a burden. All the memories I want to make become a looming checklist that brings more stress than joy some days. As a result, I am attempting to scale back and focus on just a few special traditions: Advent We believe it is important to celebrate Advent because it allows us to teach, reflect, and worship … 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…

The Homestretch

Welcome to the final days before our boys are born. I am 37 weeks pregnant with twin boys if you missed the news. And while I think all the big things are in place, little things to clean, organize, or prepare keep pestering my mind. But at this point what will get done will get done. Rebekah and I both caught colds, so we are slowing down, resting, and recovering. I don’t imagine being sick when the boys are born is the best scenario! On my nightstand currently sets Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Amazon Affiliate Link) … Read more…

Reducing Costs to Save Money

We all want to live frugally so that we have money for the future: college, vacations, and helping our kids get started in life. Or, if you are like Mitch and I, you are going through a financial adjustment (and about to add twins to the mix!) and figuring out how you can live on less and make your budget stretch. Fortunately, there are almost always areas where people can cut back. Here are a few money saving suggestions to help you cut costs. Reduce Your Energy Bill It makes me cringe when I hear how much some people pay in … Read more…

Common Shopping Mistakes That Bust the Budget

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

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…

Money Management Tips for Young Adults

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

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…

Easy and Free DIY Gift Tags–Not Even a Printer Required!

If you are like me, you LOVE after-Christmas sales. These sales allow me to stock up on almost everything I need as far as wrapping and decor for the next year. However, it is not too often I come across new gift bag tags. That, combined with my love of Christmas card art led me to make my own DIY gift tags. I hate it when I’ve already used tags on a gift bag. Before I started creating these tags, I resorted to putting stickers on the bags. This means the following year I am trying to find a sticker tag the … 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…

Save Money on Household Bills

Paying bills is a part of adulthood. I still remember setting things up with the electric company and Verizon before Mitch and I married. It really was a “you are an adult now” reminder. Whether it is our grocery budget, electricity, or the internet, we learned quickly the value of shopping around and cutting costs. Here are some tips to help keep your family’s expenditures under control. Take a long, hard look at your spending and budget Get real here. How much are you actually eating out? Did you sign up for the free month of Audible and forget to cancel the subscription? If you don’t … 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

10 Tips for Grocery Shopping on a Budget, Eating Healthy, and Meal Planning

Do the rising costs of groceries have you nervous about how you can afford to feed your family fresh, healthy food? Does making your grocery budget each month for a growing family become a task you dread? I know we have unfolded our grocery envelope half way through the month and realized we only had $25 left to last us two weeks! Stretching our grocery budget used to be a consistent concern for us. So how did we manage to wrangle in our grocery budget and make it work for us? Let me tell you! What we finally realized we needed to do was … 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…

Get Your DIY Projects On: Flash Sale for The Ultimate DIY Bundle

* * * This post includes affiliate links. It is important to us that we only share products with you that we love and use in our home. Thank you for supporting our expanding Engaged Home!*** If you’ve been following my posts lately, you know that with our baby girl due any time now. Plus, several of my friends are having babies! Their sweet pictures are flooding Facebook and making me even more anxious to meet our Rebekah. With baby on the brain, I have been trying my hand at more DIY projects than usual. Sometimes I find inspiration from Pinterest, … Read more…

DIY Nursery on a Budget

I am hoping to do a “grand reveal” next week of our DIY nursery. (Keep in mind we are keeping it simple, our nursery won’t end up in any magazines!) However, I did finish several projects, which makes me feel accomplished. 🙂 1. The bow organizer I made a few weeks ago has a few more bows on it curtesy of youtube and Pinterest ideas and a bunch of cute ribbon sent from my mother-in-law and salvaged off shower presents.  2. Rebekah will have an assortment of cute bootie options!  3. Here is the finished DIY Shower Card Art.  4. … Read more…

A First Kiss, An Almost Proposal, and Our Favorite Spring Date (Romantic and Free!)

favorite date

(Engagement picture taken at the York arboretum in autumn. Engagement pictures taken by Summer Dickinson.) There is something so enticing about springtime. You cannot help but want to be outside (unless it activates your allergies . . . ). I remember feeling so full of energy in the spring after a l-o-n-g Nebraska winter. The world comes alive again with gentle rains (Okay, sometimes not so gentle . . . and the occasional tornado), cool breezes, warm sunshine, budding trees releasing their floral fragrances (except for the white ones . . . they usually smelled bad), green growth sprouting from every crease … Read more…

A Deal Too Good to Pass Up, Nursery Decor Projects, and Learning to Knit

Last Saturday our knitting and crocheting group consisted of all knitters. I didn’t mind. It meant I was able to relearn some of the basics of knitting: casting on, the knit stitch, even purling. In case you remember, I had started to learn several months ago. But I failed to continue practicing and forgot everything I’d learned. This week, I am determined to carve out some time to watch youtube videos on learning to knit to keep the basics fresh in my mind. If you have any knitting tips, or video suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! One … Read more…

Last Day to Buy Your DIY Bundle!

Yesterday, I mentioned on Facebook how much I was enjoying my purchase of the Ultimate DIY Bundle. I have barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. But since I am in nesting mode with a baby on the way, I am loving all the inspiration! What exactly am I loving so far? 1. All the thrifty DIY craft and home decor ideas. If you didn’t know, “thrifty” is my middle name! If a project requires a lot of money or supplies, I won’t do it. Simple and affordable are two qualities that I look for in DIY projects. … Read more…

A DIY ultimate bundle of eBooks, eCourses, and freebies for $35? Yes, please!

When I saw this deal online, I knew I had to share it with you! It is too good of a deal not to share . . . it would be just plain selfish on my part! This bundle offers 76 eBooks and eCourses from some leading DIY bloggers, plus bonus offers! Do you love trying new things? Acquiring new skills? Refining existing interests? I know I do! While The Engaged Home is not a DIY blog, it is a topic that I cover from time to time because it is a personal interest of mine. My right brain (the … Read more…

Embracing Creativity and a Deal Too Good to Pass Up!

When was the last time you decided to do something creative, just for you? Just to express yourself? Crocheting, baking, sewing, writing, and crafting–all of it can nurture your imagination and soul in healthy ways! The past several months all my creativity has been channeled into making gifts or writing for you. Don’t get me wrong–I get incredible joy out of making presents and writing for this blog! {I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t.} However, it is on my heart this year to get back to enjoying pockets of time set aside simply to express myself. Little known fact: … 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…

Keeping More Cash in Your Pocket: After Christmas Sales

Have you noticed how much Christmas lights, ornaments, trees, gift wrap, Christmas cards, and decor cost? It’s ridiculous. If you wait until last minute to buy those items, you will have no choice but to pay the high costs or go without them altogether. Fortunately, there is a wonderful way to get what you need for 50-80% off. You guessed it! After Christmas sales. Major stores like Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and Dollar General slash their prices drastically to clear out 2014 inventory. It is a great time to stock up (if you have budgeted to do so) on every thing you … Read more…

10 Hand-Crafted Gifts That I Love

Hand-crafted gifts are a beautiful part of Christmas for me. Whether I am making or receiving a hand-crafted gift, I know there is special thought put into it, from the color chosen, to the time they took to make it. I am always trying to expand my abilities, so my gifts are not too predictable. I want to crochet and knit socks. I just started attempting and it has been slow going . . . but it my goal to be flawless at it by next Christmas. This list contains 10 of my favorite tried-and-true hand-crafted gifts that either I have … Read more…

8 Tips to Stay on Budget This Christmas

Christmas cheer can disappear when your post-Christmas shopping credit card bill appears. It is no secret that Christmas is expensive, mostly because of the the presents we buy. But it doesn’t have to break the bank and set you back financially! Here are eight tips to help you stay on budget this Christmas: 1. Actually Make a Christmas Budget I know this tip is rather obvious. Nonetheless, many people fail to actually make a budget, which leads to more spontaneous spending, credit card bills, and a not-so-happy-January when you must pay it all off. I recommend next year deciding how … Read more…

2014 Black Friday Deals

Black Friday shopping is a tradition in my family. Seriously, it is what I remember most about Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, it never intruded on our family time. It was just family time part II. After our big Thanksgiving dinner, the men would fall asleep and all of us girls would get out the newspaper adds and pour over them. Then, at like 3 AM (back before stores started invading on Thanksgiving time), we would get up, bundle up (it’s cold in Nebraska!), and go stand in lines stretched around stores only lit by street lights, while we strategized further … Read more…