Live Well

parents holding hands with child

10 Bible Verses Every Parent Needs to Know

by Keith Simon, Co-Lead Pastor of The Crossing. First posted at Every Square Inch. Jesus: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” God didn’t design anyone to be sustained only by food. We were made to to feed on

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8 Things I’m Loving

I have a recipe that I need to share. But to be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to go there. I’m in a writing mood and combing through ingredient formatting and editing Pesto Burger photos just wasn’t blowing my skirt up this morning. So, I’m giving myself the

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Letter to My Dying Uncle

Comforting words in the midst of suffering don’t come easily. This is especially true when that person is facing a terminal illness. Maybe you’re in this position and want to encourage and bring comfort to someone who is facing death. Or, maybe you’re wondering what happens after death yourself. A friend,

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Life Lessons From a Broken Fridge

For the past 40 days, we have essentially been living without a fridge. While I’ve shared tidbits about this in Instagram stories and in our weekly email, I haven’t take the time write about the appliance drama unfolding in our home. I will say, I’ve learned some very adulting-type-lessons that

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How to Shop for Fashion Items on Amazon

  Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. Hey everyone, it’s Alex from Alex Marie Jordan again! I’m so

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The Why and How to a Weekly Budget Meeting

Is there anything more uncomfortable than talking about money?!? I mean, just saying the word “money” kind of makes my skin crawl. And what about the word “budget”?? That evokes a wide range of emotions, doesn’t it. What if I told you it really is possible to have a civil

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10 Winter Fashion Must-Haves Under $50

I (Polly) come from a small lake down. (Camdenton, MO if you know where that even is). As a child, I grew up wearing combination of a bathing suits, Umbros, over-sized t-shirts, and Tevas pretty much every day of my life. In college, I realized that fashion was not my

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2017 Holiday Gift Guide

We’ve tried to curate a wide-range of quality toys, books, games, and more for all ages that have had staying power in our homes or our friends’ homes. Note: This post did have a giveaway on it, but it has expired. Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services

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The Most Important Moment in My 39 Years

We love helping equip others with practical ways to thrive at home, especially through freezer cooking. But, every once in a while, I get an itch as a blogger to share something really personal or meaningful to me in my life. I’ve wanted to share a little bit about a

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Celebration Giveaway #5: Instant Pot! {EXPIRED}

We are wrapping up our week-long celebration giveaway with something right up your alley… an INSTANT POT!!! Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Celebration Giveaway #3: Sseko Ribbon Sandals {EXPIRED}

We have all the big feelz over here as we celebrate the launch of our cookbook, From Freezer to Table. This is Day 3 of our big-fantastic-week-long-giveaway and we are excited to see who the winner is. Today, someone will get their very own pair of Sseko Ribbon Sandals! It’s

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Celebration Giveaway #2: Cookbook Bundle {EXPIRED}

We’re continuing a big week of 24 hour giveaways to celebrate the release of our cookbook, From Freezer to Table. Today’s giveaway is not just one item but SIX! Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means

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Join Our Facebook Live This Wednesday!

Just wanted to drop in a quick announcement that we will be going LIVE on Facebook this Wednesday. Our husbands will be joining us for a fun little game of “Will it Freeze?”   We’ll share lots of practical freezer cooking tips as we quiz you and our non-cooking, non-freezing,

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Being On Live TV Is Like…

Last Friday, Polly and I made our debut TV appearance in St. Louis. Like with everything in the cookbook publishing world we’ve entered, it proved to be a brand new learning curve. If you haven’t seen the clip yet, you can watch our 3 minute appearance here. What was being

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What Books Are In My Nightstand Right Now

What Books Are In My Nightstand Right Now

  I’m finally at a phase of life where I have time and a little more energy to read at night and in the early morning. I always enjoy getting a peek into other bloggers’ lives to see what books they have lying around and/or are enjoying, so I thought

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10 Things I'm Glad I Did On Our Family Vacation

10 Things I’m Glad I Did On Our Family Vacation

The beach is my happy place. And I’ve always wanted my children to be able to see and experience the ocean and white sands beaches of the Florida panhandle, like I’ve been fortunate enough to many times as a teenager and adult. Being landlocked in mid-Missouri (at least 14 hours

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These 5 random books are among some of my favorites recently. See why I liked them in this post.

Rachel’s 5 Random Good Reads (and Some Confessions)

It’s that time again when I dig through my rather full end table and pull out my good reads as of late. Today, I’m sharing some favs from this past winter and spring that I think are worth picking up. In case you missed it, here were three books I couldn’t put down last summer. Apparently, I’m also

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Keeping the Big Things Big (and the Small Things Small)

“Martha, if your heart stops beating, do you want us to restart it?” I could hardly believe the question that the doctor had just asked my grandmother (technically my husband’s grandmother but family is family.) As much as I was caught off guard by the question, I was even more

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One Small Change to Save Money and Waste {Plus a Mighty Deal for You!}

Sponsored by MightyNest Small changes around the house can really start to add up when it comes to living healthier, saving money, and preserving our environment this year. But, sometimes it’s hard to know where to even start, right? One small but very doable change we’re both working toward is ditching the paper

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That Time I Hugged Our Trashman…

You guys, I just have the SWEETEST story that must be shared. A few months ago, I shared a sweet video of my kids giving our hardworking trashmen granola bars. Since then, my 3 year old son, Tyler has continued to make it a weekly habit to greet these guys

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“Will you and Daddy ever get divorced?”

“Will you and Daddy ever get divorced?” My 6-year-old’s anxious question pierced my heart. It wasn’t the first time one of my children had asked this of me. I remember asking my parents that same question around his age. How do I want to respond his question? What does my child

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Hy-Vee's Market Grille restaurant pleasantly surprised us in 5 ways.

5 Ways Market Grille Surprised Us

 Sponsored by Hy-Vee Columbia. If you’re a mid-Missouri local, this post is for you. Maybe you heard that two of the Hy-Vee stores in Columbia have now opened a restaurant called Market Grille. And, maybe like me, you were skeptical when you first heard it. A restaurant in a grocery store?

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That One Time I Won a $500 Noonday Shopping Spree

I’m not really someone who enters into giveaways often. I do recognize the irony of the fact that I write for a blog that holds a few giveaways a year. I’m so thankful you guys enter them because if there were a bunch of Polly’s out there, our giveaways would be

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Tailgating Made Easy with Hy-Vee

Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia) It was the first game of the season and the weather was perfect. I mean PERFECT. The idea of tailgating with some friends was now coming to fruition and we needed some good ‘ol delicious tailgate food. Problem is, almost all of us have young families

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Laura started losing her hair in high school and has lived most of her college and 20 somethings years as a bald woman in a culture that worships beauty. Her story is incredibly encouraging! Read on and share with others!

I Lost All My Hair…and Gained Something Greater

I first saw Laura Hockett at a week-long church event that I help run called Kids Club. She had a huge smile on her face, was leading a group of elementary kids in some cheers, and, most notably, was completely bald. I thought, “Wow, this girl is going through chemo, but

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Favorite Summer Things Giveaway ($600+ Value)

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. It’s here! It’s here! Our annual Favorite Summer Things Giveaway is

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HUGE NEWS + A $100 Giveaway to Celebrate! (Giveaway Expired)

You can read more about our process of getting a cookbook publishing deal here and here. Thriving Home readers, we love you. We love your encouraging comments, your shared enthusiasm for good food, your appreciation for authenticity, and your loyalty to Thriving Home. We love that some of you have

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Lessons From My Kids’ Confiscated Toys

Guest post by Nathan (Rachel’s husband) Water balloons. The missing ear of a stuffed animal. A Pez dispenser. A doll (inevitably) missing its clothing. Two old iPhones. And both medieval* and futuristic toy weapons. What do all of the things in this picture have in common? Taken together, they look like

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5 Things We’ve Learned About Blogging This Year

Four years ago, when Rachel and I stepped into the world of blogging for business, we had no idea how little we didn’t know. Now, several years in, Rachel and I still feel like we are on a learning curve. Yes, we’ve figured out how to turn our hobby into a

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A carbon monoxide scare that hit a little too close to home.

A Carbon Monoxide Scare that Hit Close to Home

A Rude Awakening It was Friday morning around 6am that my sister and her husband woke up to a strange alarm going off in their home. Both were a little foggy and disoriented by the early-morning wakeup call coming from their basement but realized that the situation needed to be dealt

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Christmas Decor

I Always Miss the Mark During Advent, and Yet…

The angel’s words to the shepherds so long ago really are true: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the

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The Four Marriage Killers & Ways to Avoid Them

Writing about marriage is not something that comes naturally for me. I tend to hover near topics that revolve around the home, kids and food. These are comfortable for me to blab about and to share with the world. But, for some reason, I get a little hesitant when sharing

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Should I Care About Shopping Fair Trade?

So, what’s the deal with Fair Trade? This is something I’ve been asking myself for a while now. I catch wind of bits and pieces about it here and there but have never really sat down with someone who knows more than me on the subject and picked their brain.

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How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home

When you go to the store to buy vanilla you are faced with a dilemma: do you buy the smaller, more expensive bottle of REAL vanilla or the larger, cheaper bottle of imitation vanilla? It’s a battle of values, right? Save money or eat real foods (and pay a bit

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Truth for Trials: Printable Verse Cards

About 7 years ago, my toddler son was so sick he couldn’t sleep without waking up with blood in his diaper several times a night. He was so weak from not eating and his joints hurt so much that he reverted to crawling again. Nathan and I and our doctors had no idea

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Hy-Vee Freezer Cooking Classes: Why We Are BIG Fans

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Hy-Vee but opinions are all mine!  You guys. Last night, we had so much fun at a freezer cooking class at Hy-Vee. Before I launch in to tell you all about why I am digging this new method of freezer cooking, take a peek

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Pumpkin Dump Cake

I honestly cannot remember how I stumbled on this pumpkin dump cake recipe over 5 years ago. What I do know is that I make it multiple times each fall and winter. It is by far one of my husband’s favorite desserts I make and it serves as a great

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A Head Shaving Party for Darcie

This post is a long time coming. I started on it this spring, but due to many turn of events I never finished it. Well, it’s high time I told you more about my friend Darcie’s story. Because, well, she’s a pretty amazing woman and a picture of God’s faithfulness

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Invest in healthy living resources

Healthy Living Small Step #8: Invest in Resources

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. (Note: Some affiliate links included.) Confession I’m a quitter. When I get overwhelmed by something or don’t understand it, I have a tendency to just give it up altogether. I hate feeling dumb or inadequate. When I

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Healthy Living Small Step #7: Rethink How You Make Coffee

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. I have a coffee dilemma. Maybe you do too. The dilemma in my conscience for years has been a struggle between my great love of morning coffee vs. the dangers of plastic in my coffeemaker. You see,

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Healthy Living Small Step #6: Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. Making your own household cleaner really is super easy. You can not only save money but also avoid any extra chemicals you may not want floating around your house. Why Make Your Own Cleaning Products?

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Healthy Living Step #5: Create a Weekly Meal Plan

Healthy Living Small Step #5: Create a Weekly Menu Plan

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. Last Monday, we talked about the small healthy step of moving toward a diet of more homemade, real food. Have you tried to go just ONE day without processed food yet? It’s been a game changer for

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Healthy Living Small Step #4: Sneak in Exercise

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. I doubt I need to convince you that exercise is a mandatory part of good health. But, if you’re like me, the problem isn’t knowing I need it. The problem of exercising regularly is 3-fold in my

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Healthy Living Small Step #3: Ditch the Tupperware

  Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward

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10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living: Step One

Healthy Living Small Step #1: Go One Day Without Processed Foods

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series here. (Note: Some affiliate links included.) Our Family’s Journey Toward Real Food My husband and I used to be fast food and convenience food (think store-bought frozen pizzas and lasagnas) junkies a little over a decade ago.

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How to Fight For Contentment

How to Fight for Contentment

Guest post by Nathan–pastor, dad of three, and Rachel’s husband. Check out his other guest posts here, here, and here. Oh, and you may want to pin his favorite Everyday Smoothie Recipe, too. By most standards, my kids have a pretty good life. And yet, no matter what they have,

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4 Books I’ve Been Enjoying

As a mom, I’ve found that reading good books is critical to my overall well-being. It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in toddler-drama, house-maintaining, blogging projects and simply not thinking outside of the bubble I live in. Good books, both fiction and non-fiction help me to

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True Healing Can’t Come from an Oil

A few months ago a dear friend of mine called me to process some yucky stuff she’s been going through. In short, she had recently had a few panic attacks and was fearful that she may have more. After talking through what had possibly been leading up to these and

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An Honest Review of Stitch Fix

As a small-town, home-grown lake girl, I grew up wearing swimsuits in the summer and sweatshirts in the winter. In high school, my primary goal when picking out clothes was to hide my figure. I distinctly remember wearing two sports bras at one point. In college, when I lived in

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5 Tips for a Stress-Free Summer Party

Disclaimer: This article was created in partnership with Frigidaire. Don’t worry, the opinions are all mine! One of my favorite things to do in the summer is grill out with friends. I love the fun atmosphere of being outside, the smell of the grill, kids running around burning energy, yard

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Two Things You Should Watch Tonight

Happy Sunday, Friends! Just wanted to drop in a quick post and share two things you should take the time to watch. They are totally unrelated but both really good. 1. The Evolution of the Swimsuit Loved this short talk for so many reasons. Here is the description: Fashion matters.

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DIY, Citrus Cleaning Spray

DIY, Citrus Cleaning Spray

This DIY, natural cleaning spray is a great way I’ve been using my essential oils for cleaning. Just like the carpet/room freshener  I previously shared about, I love the simplicity of what is in the product and oh-my-gracious, how I love the smell. Best thing about it is, it SAFE.

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Truths to remember during trials. Life doesn't always go as planned. Here are a few great reminders to hold on to when life get hairy.

A Few Truths to Remember During Trials

Dear readers, life is just HARD sometimes. I don’t know why I’m surprised by trials when they come but I always am. I become all melodramatic when my comfort and easy life is interrupted as if it’s an abnormality. When in fact it’s actually an abnormality to live in the

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8 Things I Try Not to Buy

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. A few months ago I shared a post, 8 Things I

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DIY Carpet & Room Freshener

As a recovering candleholic, I am always in search of ways to make my home smell good. I’m kind of a scent junkie. Not to mention, with two dogs and two kids, it can be a challenge to keep our place smelling nice. Just the other day, I walked into

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DIY, All-Natural Hand Cleaner

Homemade Hand Cleaner Ingredients: 4 ounce glass spray bottle. (You can get these for less than a dollar here) 1 teaspoon aloe vera Water 20 drops Essential Oil Blend Directions: Mix the aloe vera with the essential oils. Put mixture in the bottle and then fill the bottle with water. Use as

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Survey Results: What YOU Taught Us

Disclaimer: Some affiliate links may be included in this article. A few weeks ago, over 300 of you graciously took a few minutes to fill out our quick survey. (In fact, it’s still not too late, if you want to give us feedback and earn a free gift from our

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How to start making money on a blog

Blogging Basics: 5 Ways to Start Making Money on a Blog

Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be included. When you start to see traffic pick up on your site, it can be really exciting. I remember many ecstatic texts and phone calls between Rachel and me celebrating new milestones along the way. What was really fun for us was when we actually

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Blogging Basics: How much money do mom bloggers make? (Plus, a step-by-step beginner's guide to set up a blog for profit.)

Blogging Basics: How Much Money Do Mom Bloggers Make?

Want to start making money on your own mom blog? Get started here now! I admit I googled “How much money do mom blogs make?” a few different times when we first started Thriving Home. You see Polly and I knew from the beginning that we wanted to build a business

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Blogging Basics: Why We Love Blogging as a Part-Time Job -- A week-long series to motivate and equip you to start earning income from blogging.

Blogging Basics: Why We Love Blogging As a Part-Time Job

Yesterday began our Blogging Basics series with “Do You Ever Dream of Starting a Blog?“. Stay tuned all week long for more about starting a blog for profit. “So what do you do for a living?” It’s a common question that often comes out during small chat, right? Usually, my

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Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide

My Story (so far): I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know what an essential oil was until 2 years ago when a yoga instructor unexpectedly put it on me in the closing relaxation portion of a class. I remember having somewhat of a moral dilemma wondering if I was dabbling

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Getting to Know YOU: A Quick Survey and FREE Gift

Dear Thriving Home friends, Polly and Rachel here. We know your time is valuable. That’s why we want to make Thriving Home a place that’s truly helpful in your home when you choose to spend time on our site. We hear feedback from many of you via email, comments and

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Easter Shenanigans

This weekend was a fun one for our family. *Much thanks to my brother in-law for the photos and video! Thursday evening we packed all of our little creatures (two dogs, two kids) into the car and took the circus to my parent’s house for two nights. We were smart

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Megabus Adventures

This past weekend I embarked on a new adventure: The Megabus.  The Megabus is kind of what it sounds like. A huge bus that takes you places. It travels back and forth between Kansas City, Columbia, St. Louis and Chicago.  A bunch of my college friends and I teamed up

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What Should I Freeze My Meals In?

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. Is it possible to be a freezer cooking evangelist? If so,

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Where is God When You Can’t Get Pregnant?

Today’s post has been prayed for, labored over, talked about and worked on for weeks and weeks. Rebekah from Barren to Beautiful has poured her heart and soul into these words and we have high hopes that they will encourage many women out there struggling with infertility. Please pass this

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8 Things I Never Buy

I was talking to a friend the other day about tote bags. I know, I lead an exciting life. I need a new one but am having a hard time forking up the money to buy good one. Reason is, I see TONS at garage sales and know I can

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Can “50 Shades of Grey” Enhance Your Sex Life?

Today’s post is a little out of the ordinary for Thriving Home, we know. But with the opening of the movie 50 Shades of Grey this weekend, we wanted to share this thought-provoking and candid post by our friend Kelley. She co-leads the 20 Somethings Ministry at our church with

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Video Bloopers: Why Shred Your Own Cheese?

In case you missed it, yesterday I shared Three reasons why you should shred cheese at home. If you read it, you know that in the post I share a little video of how to shred cheese using a food processor. Here it is as a refresher…   Well, what

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Confessions: My Daughter Head-Butted Me in Public

This post offers no great parenting advice. It offers no book recommendations. It offers no gospel-centered lesson on parenting. No, this post is simply going out to those who have a youngster who is pushing all the right buttons and whose mama just needs to know they aren’t alone. Yesterday

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Pedometer Challenge Part 3: Kick It Up A Notch!

Updated and reposted from January 2013 Check out Part 1 of the Pedometer Challenge Series to find out how to join in and Part 2 to get motivated to move more. Most of us (not all) could stand to move our bodies more. Yes? I’ve been making the case the

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Pedometer Challenge (Part 1): Step It Up in 2015!

Updated and reposted from 2013 Need a little motivation to either start exercising or to “kick up” your current routine? I may have a fun, easy, and cheap solution for you. In fact, my friend, Candace, kick-started a major transformation because of what I like to call The Pedometer Challenge.

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Confessions: My Family Has a Thing for Costumes

Once upon a time, I might have been the Easter Bunny mascot at our Country Club Easter Egg Hunt. True story. Sorry, no pictures of that but you can let your imagination run wild. This was just the beginning of many costumed roles that either myself or my family has

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Favorite Things Stocking Giveaway + Blog Hop! ($520+ Value!)

WE ARE PUMPED. Behold, you are experiencing our BIGGEST GIVEAWAY OF THE YEAR. Actually EVER on Thriving Home. We have put together a collection of our favorites and are giddy with excitement to pass all of these on to one super-duper-extremely-lucky reader. Wait. It gets better. And so do your

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Profound Pups

One my dogs’ great joys in life is riding in the car with me. When I tell them we are going for a car ride, they scamper as fast as they can to the garage door and eagerly load up once the car door is opened. Last week my sister

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10 Things I Would Like from MightyNest

Welp, I’ve got a good start on my Christmas list! I’ve been eying out the site, MightyNest for days. The more I look at it, the longer my wishlist gets. (Dang it!) Similar to Rachel’s story, these parents were alarmed by what research revealed about the everyday products that we

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UPDATE: Verse Cards are 20% Off through December 24!

Looking for a meaningful but frugal gift for friends or a mom in your life? Goods news! We’re running a Christmas discount on a mom favorite–our printable On the Job Meditations for Moms: 25 Encouraging Verse Cards! We are offering a 20% discount on each verse card pack (regularly priced

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Just Dance Family Exercise Videos--Free!

Winter Indoor Exercise: Family Dance Party Favorites

My kids get crazy when the cold weather hits. And I don’t blame them. I do too! All winter long I look for ways for all of us to get moving, and free Just Dance videos are one of our favorites. Last winter, we did this Just Dance party line-up

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I Heart Operation Christmas Child

Before I jump in, I wanted to remind you of our $100 Target gift card giveaway going on. Make sure you enter by commenting on this post of my review of up & up diapers and wipes! One of my favorite posts I’ve shared about on Thriving Home was about

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Apple Butter Weekend 2014

“It’s Apple butter Weekend.” Anyone who has known me for a while knows what I mean by this. For over 80 years my family has been gathering in October to make homemade apple butter. LOTS of homemade apple butter. Like 42 gallons of homemade apple butter. It is quite the

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The “Unforgettables” of My San Francisco Trip

Hey guess what? I just got back from a killer weekend in San Francisco with my husband. Kid free, ya’ll! I love my goobers but am not afraid to gloat about some adult time in an awesome city. There are three reasons we ended up on this trip: To celebrate

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Candy Corn Halloween Craft

For some reason I’ve been really excited about Halloween. It is a super fun holiday for kids (if you take the focus off the spooky stuff) and there are lots of great crafts little ones can do to celebrate. In light of my unexplainable excitement for Halloween, I’m kicking off

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Confessions: Ultrasonic Scalers, Dog Bowls and Fruit Flies

I had to convince myself to not cry at the dentist. Got my teeth cleaned a few days ago. I’m pretty good about going to the dentist regularly. This even surprises me because there is one part of the cleaning that I DREAD. When they bust out the “ultrasonic scaler”

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Behind the Blog: How did Thriving Home start?

We commonly get questions from our readers and friends about what happens behind the scenes at Thriving Home. How did it start? How do you have time to do it? How do you make money? What do your husbands think? And so on… It would take a monster post to

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Family Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

A few weeks ago my mom, sister and I put together a shower gift idea for our new sister in-law. We put together a basket of all of our favorite kitchen gadgets for her. It was so fun to do and hopefully a thoughtful way to welcome her into our

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Group Gift Idea for a Bridal Shower

Guess what? My brother is getting married! (By the time this post goes live, he will likely already be married). We are super excited to have a new sister in-law. Check out their killer engagement photo. Could that be any more perfect?? I wanted to share about a thoughtful gift

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The One Where I Admit I Can’t Do It All

I’ve been struggling with headaches for two years now–ever since I was done nursing my my last child. They seem to have gotten more frequent–about once a week I end up in bed. I’ve linked them to lack of sleep, sitting at my computer/behind the wheel, lifting kids, and stress

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How to Get a Hummingbird Out of a Garage

How to Get a Hummingbird Out of a Garage

Guest post and photography by my daddy, Curt. He also shared this post a while back. Every summer a strange phenomenon takes place in many American garages:  Hummingbirds fly in, but they don’t fly out.  They will stay in there, with the door wide open, until they keel over dead. 

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How to Freeze and Save Garden Zucchini

I have NEVER had such a great zucchini harvest. It seems like every time I go down to my garden, there are huge zucchinis waiting for me. I have zucchinis in all shapes and sizes and hardly know what to do with them. Here is a snapshot from Thriving Home’s

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book review of women of the word

Women of the Word: A Book Review

I’m a pastor’s wife who struggles to read my Bible. It’s hard for me admit that but it’s true. Like many disciplines in the Christian life, my interest and passion for the Word has waxed and waned but overall, it’s always been an area that has felt more like a

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A Safe, Cheap, and Effective Sunscreen for the Whole Family

Updated from May 2013. I thought this post might be helpful again for those moms out there like me who want a safe, effective, and cheap sunscreen… Every year I find myself doing new research on the best and most affordable sunscreen that will keep my family protected this summer.

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Can Women (and Men) Have It All?

Guest post by my husband, Nathan. In many respects, Indra K. Nooyi is an enormously successful woman. The 58 year-old CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business on the planet, often ranks highly on the list of the world’s most powerful women and top executives in general.

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Hand Print Fourth of July Shirts

I love hand print crafts. Love them. They give you a tangible snapshot of time when your little one’s hands where THAT small and remind you of how quickly they grow. In light of my intense love of anything involving hand prints,  I rounded up a few moms to to

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compared to her book discussion

Compared to Her: A Book Review

Disclosure: Affiliate links included. We all do it. We all compare. Some are more aware of this tendency than others but since sin entered the picture, we have been sizing ourselves up based on the people see around us. Comparison rears its ugly head particularly in the areas that we

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I Heart Sseko Designs

I just got my first pair of Sseko Sandals in the mail. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get some. Not only am I friends with the founder, Liz, but I LOVE supporting businesses that are ethical and have a larger purpose than just making money.

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diy scented soap bars

DIY Scented Soap Bars

by Jessica Ellingsworth of Mayvn, Contributing Author A recent school family project assignment had my daughters and I wondering what to conquer. “Let’s make soap!” one of them suggested. What?! Jessica here, and after a little research I have a fun and easy Spring project to whip up with kids

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A Mother’s Day Special: 25 Encouraging Verse Cards

We’ve got a Mother’s Day special for you on a very special and inexpensive gift! About a year ago, Polly and I had our uber-talented designer friend, Christine Busch, design an adorable little set of 25 printable verse cards called On the Job Meditations for Moms…because, well, we personally needed

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Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

I recently read a post on the Gospel Coalition website called “Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?” The information and thoughts shared in the article have been churning around in my mind since I read it. I thought I’d share a few excerpts from the article in hopes

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Reflections on our Family Mission Trip to Jamaica

For the past 9 days, my husband and two kids (2.5 y.o. and 11 months) have been in an impoverished community in Jamaica called Harmons. We went with a group of college students to serve with an established ministry there called Won by One. My history with this ministry and

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Easter Craft Idea: Little Bunnies

I mean, how you can you not even chuckle a little when you see this? Every time my husband and I walk past this Easter craft we have a little laugh. My two year old was more than delighted to see herself transformed into a bunny as well. I failed

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safe way to show youtube videos

Mom Hack: Safest Way to Show Youtube Videos to Kids

Do you like to watch Youtube videos with your kids? Or are you a teacher in some capacity and show Youtube videos to children? If so, you may find this tip helpful that my friend, Christine, sent me. SafeShare.TV provides the safest way to show Youtube videos to kids. Generating

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How to Refinish an Old Lamp

How to Refurbish an Old Lamp

It’s high time I introduce you to my dad. Although a former U.S. Marshal, I’ve always known him to be an artist and innovator at heart. From photographer to writer to architect/builder of our childhood playhouse, my dad is the most creative (and perfectionist) person I’ve ever met. He seriously

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Take Them A Meal: A Free Site to Coordinate Meals

Guest post by Maureen Witmer from TakeThemAMeal.com There’s nothing like a hot, home-cooked meal after a long day.  And in my experience as a busy mom of two small children, it’s even more enjoyable when it’s cooked by someone else!  Last month, we experienced that yet again.  At the end

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favorite toys for two year olds

Moms’ Favorite Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Note: *Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.  Here’s a mommy pet peeve

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The Beauty of Female Friendship

This past weekend I gathered together with a group of 12 women made up of my best friends and various other women connected to our group in one way or another. While our initial reason for getting together was to live stream the IF Gathering, I look back on the

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An Open Letter from a Doula About Her Miscarriage

Guest post by Holli Best Four years ago this month our family of three experienced a miscarriage. It was my second pregnancy, and we learned we were pregnant around New Years. My confidence was already a bit shaky because I never got a really good pregnancy test. The second pink

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Five Ways to Make Your House Less Desirable to Thieves

Guest posting for us today is my good friend, Ashley. As you will read in her post, she has learned some tough life lessons that she wanted to pass on. As a small town (and slightly naive) girl myself, I have found this information to be super helpful! A few

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how to start a freezer club

How to Start a Freezer Club (and Why You Should)

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means we get a small commission if you make a purchase through one at no additional cost to you. Read more here. Tight budget? Want to eat healthy meals at home regularly? No time to cook homemade meals during the week? I’ve got

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Life Hack: How to Hang Perfectly Level Decor on Walls

Since all of our big projects are pretty much done in our new house, I’ve gotten to work on some decorating. I wish SO MUCH that I had known about this little life hack on hanging pictures a long time ago. It would have saved me from much frustration, time

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Blessings Too Big by Toby Sumpter

Blessings Too Big by Toby Sumpter

On the tough days of motherhood I simply can’t understand why God says children are a “blessing.” I feel like I’m missing something OR he has given the “blessed” kids to someone else. Well, I read this blog post today on this topic over at Desiring God and thought it

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EASY Valentine Craft Idea for Toddlers and Kids

I’ve got a pretty simple Valentine’s Day craft idea for you today. My two-year easily did this with enthusiasm (for about 5 minutes) but it was enough to get it done! It takes very little prep and very little skill. Ready to get crafty? (Or at least LOOK like you’re

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Easy Cheap Science Birthday Party

Science Birthday Party: Blow Up That Balloon Experiment

As I’ve mentioned in Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party: A Complete Guide, we did three different hands-on science experiments for my son’s 7th Science Birthday Party. All three worked well and were a huge hit with the kids (check out Experiment #2 and Experiment #3.) The first experiment we

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Easy Cheap Science Birthday Party

Science Birthday Party: Crazy Cupcake Concoctions

As I’ve been sharing in Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party: A Complete Guide, we had so much fun at my son’s 7th Science Birthday Party. One of my favorite parts of the party, to be honest, was the easiest cake idea ever. You could do this for any birthday

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Easy Cheap Science Birthday Party

Science Birthday Party: How to Make Slime

As I’ve been sharing in Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party: A Complete Guide, I planned three science experiments for the kids including making slime. There’s just no way around it: Slime is cool. Kids and adults alike love messing with this goo. Plus, making slime provides a hands-on way

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Easy Cheap Science Birthday Party: Mentos and Diet Coke Experiment.

Science Birthday Party: Mentos and Diet Coke Explosion

As I’ve been sharing in Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party: A Complete Guide, I planned three science experiments for the kids including this grand finale, the Mentos and Diet Coke Explosion. It. was. pure. awesomeness. My dad captured the action well in this series of shots… I explained to

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Budget Breakdown of the Kitchen Flip

As you’ve probably gathered by now, we have done some major work on our kitchen. As I’ve been talking to friends about it, some have bravely asked how much we spent. Something in me gets a little squirmy when I start sharing numbers. Not sure why because I’m always itching

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Before and Afters of my New Home

I love taking before and after shots. As we’ve been plowing through the house projects at our new home, I’ve managed to keep my camera handy and snap some shots of the progress. Here is a rundown of some of the things we’ve been up to! Entry Way: Put in

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Easy Cheap Science Birthday Party: How to make a science lab photo booth.

Science Birthday Party: Lab Photo Booth

As I mentioned in Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party: A Complete Guide, part of our decor and activities included the Lab Photo Booth. This cute photo session helped our little scientists loosen up when they arrived at my 1st grade son’s Science Birthday Party. Near the photo booth, we

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A House or a Home?

If you’ve ever had your house on the market you know that you have to keep it in order and looking a particular way. An unrealistic way. No clutter, no mess, no dishes, no pets, no pictures, no dust balls, no unmade beds, etc. Each time I would prepare my

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Helping the Homeless Video

There is no way for us to know how God will use the small acts of faith that we do in our everyday lives. Because of one conversation I had with a homeless man, now hundreds are being helped and blessed by on-the-go homeless bags. I had no idea how

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2013 Top Ten Posts: Life Style

One of the best thing about blogging is we simply write about what we do and learn along the way. In this section of life style posts, you’ll find our top 10 posts of the year that were about day-in and day-out living. 1. Homemade All-Natural Carpet Cleaner   2.

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10 Holiday Activities at Family Gatherings

6 Easy and Fun Holiday Activities at Family Gatherings

The Christmas spirit doesn’t have to stop after December 25! Here are a few easy ideas to do with family throughout the Christmas break, especially at gatherings. 1. Make a birthday cake for Jesus at Christmas. Here is our go-to Homemade Chocolate Cake recipe from Ina Garten. We make it

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2013 Top Ten Posts: Creativity

Despite the creative juices slowing down a bit this year due to my 2nd child being born, we still managed to get quite a few posts out there that the creative community liked. Here are the top 10 creative posts from 2013. 1. Wood Pallet Makeover 2. Football Blanket Tutorial

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The Gift of Granola: Cheap and Easy Christmas Idea!

This holiday season, I’ve come up with a super easy, budget-friendly gift idea. Homemade granola! Double the batch, divide it between 3-4 large mason jars, tie a ribbon around the top and you’ve got yourself a gift that almost anybody can appreciate. I think this could be perfect for a

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Apple Fig Walnut Tiny Tart {Pie in a Jar Recipe}

by Jessica Ellingsworth of Mayvn, Contributing Author If eating pie during the holidays is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right. Jessica here, and I, for one, love pie…but don’t like the over-richness that can accompany it. In my latest TH installment, I am giving pie a petite (and healthier!)

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Mirror Makeover

   I inherited this HUGE mirror from my grandparents about a year ago. It’s been hanging above my couch for quite a while and has been begging for a fresh coat of paint for a long time. The original frame was kind of a golden, brass color. While it does

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9 Truths to Believe When My Child is Suffering

When our firstborn son was 20 months old and I was 9 months pregnant with our second child, my husband and I sat in silence in the procedure waiting room, nervously awaiting the results of his endoscopy and colonoscopy. He had been sick for months and no one had a

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Game Night: Make Your Own “Apples to Apples”

It’s no secret. I LOVE games. Especially ones that make a group laugh and make memories together, like the Rate Your Mate Game or The Question Game. Today, I’ve got another DIY oldie but goodie that my family has played time and again. Remember that popular board game Apples to

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Pass the Truth, Please: Guest Post by Gloria Furman

I’m excited to share another guest post from our author and friend, Gloria Furman. When we told her about our printable Bible verses, On the Job Meditations for Moms, she offered to share this personal story in hopes that it would encourage other women to hide God’s Word in their

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The Thankful Tree: A Thanksgiving Craft and Centerpiece

Here’s a craft that I think is worth it: The Thankful Tree. In the rush of preparing a meal, socializing, and entertaining (or restraining?) a house full of little kids, it gave our extended family (ages 2-60) just a moment to reflect on why we had gathered. It focused our

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Spray Paint: I Love You

I have a thing for spray paint. Particularly cherry red. Below is evidence that nothing is safe in my presence if I have a stock of spray paint in my garage. Antique Elephant Project Happy Bucket Antique Children’s Chair Mailbox Makeover Fun Little Box Makeover: I didn’t write a post

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Repurposed Cabinet Door Idea

Since my house is on the market, I’ve been looking for thrifty ways to simplify and organize all of our stuff. One major area that needed some TLC was the top of our fridge. It had become a dumping ground for all miscellaneous food, drinks, canned goods, and more. Not

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Gift Idea for a New Mom: Nursing Time Box

Reposted from January 2012 Here’s a frugal, easy and useful gift idea for a new mom… A friend of mine had her third baby a few weeks ago and is now at home with the infant and her two other small children. As I prepared a meal to take to

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Pumpkin Coffee Facial Mask

Pumpkin Coffee Facial Mask: An At-Home Fall Spa Experience!

By Jessica Ellingsworth from Mavyn, Contributing Author Autumn is definitely in the air (even here in sunny Texas, thank goodness!), and I am here to take seasonal foods to a whole new level by incorporating them into the skincare routine. Jessica here, and I was recently perusing a high-end spa

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Apple Butter Weekend: A Family Tradition

Ever made 150 pints of apple butter at once? Sounds crazy but my family does it every year. “Apple Butter Weekend” has been happening every October for as long as I can remember. It’s always something I look forward to and is the only thing besides weddings and funerals that

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I Know Your Big Secret (Guest Post by Rachel’s Husband)

Guest post by Nathan, Rachel’s husband. He’s also written for us here. I know your big secret. I know something about you that I’m guessing you spend a lot of time and energy trying to hide. You might even try to hide this truth from yourself. A few examples may

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pumpkin latte recipe

Crock Pot Pumpkin Spiced Latte

I am SO excited to share this recipe with you guys! I stumbled on this pumpkin spiced latte recipe and thought it’d be a great drink to serve to my small group that comes to my house each week. It was a hit! Just ask some of the girls who

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Easy Halloween Party Games

3 Easy Halloween Game Ideas: Perfect for School Parties!

Reposted from October 2012 I love thinking of and running games for kids…really people of any age. So, when I saw Katie’s awesome post at Kitchen Stewardship about Easy School Halloween Party Ideas, I put my own thinking cap on. Over the years I’ve worked with kids in various settings–camp

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why eat flaxseed

Why Eat Flaxseed?

I’ll be honest, two years ago I had no idea what flaxseed even was. Now I seem to use in it my recipes almost daily. If you’re like me you may be wondering why everyone is making such a big fuss about this powerful plant food. You may also be

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A Sign in My Life

Sometimes lessons about what is most important in life come in the form of signs. Not miraculous signs from God like the pillar of smoke or the parting of the Red Sea that the Israelites witnessed. Not like the disciples watching Jesus being transfigured on a mountain. But, a sign

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Turn Old T-Shirts into Reusable Grocery Bags!

Turn Old T-Shirts into Reusable Grocery Bags!

  Got a stash of old t-shirts hanging around? Put them to good use by turning them into grocery bags! In the past few years my family has attempted to take small steps towards being a little more kind to the environment. We try to use reusable snack bags,  cloth diaper our little

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Sharing Your Imperfect Home is Caring

I love today’s syndicated post by our friend, Gloria Furman of Domestic Kingdom, because, to be honest, I struggle with this very issue. Between worries about my dinged up walls, old nasty carpet, small house, and that my kids will be punks during dinner, I’m just not as hospitable as

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Wood Pallet Makeover

When I saw this wood pallet makeover that my friend Jessi (and her husband) did I immediately asked her to share how she did it with us. Check it out! I asked Jessi to share how they did this transformation. Take it away, Jessi! Ever since my church used pallets

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DIY Bee and Wasp Sting Remedy

DIY Bee and Wasp Sting Remedy

If you’ve ever been stung by a wasp, you won’t forget it. They put a healthy fear in you that results in a lifelong avoidance. Well, children don’t have the luxury of life experience and in this case, they went right into a little play house where a HUGE wasp

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Parenting Book Review: Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. You may know that Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic was

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How to Host a Clothing Swap

How to Host a Clothing Swap

A few nights ago, six gals accompanied with bags of clothes, shoes, and accessories gathered in my house for a clothing swap. It was SO fun! Not only did I get rid of clothes that I don’t wear but I got to exchange them for clothes that I will actually

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Did Apple Go Too Far? (Guest Post by Rachel’s Husband)

Guest post by my husband, Nathan. As a mom who struggles to get off the computer or my phone daily and focus on my kids (gah…mom guilt just thinking about it), I found my husband’s guest post today particularly thought-provoking. A little background on my man: Nathan and I met

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Breath Prayers

It’s been one of those days. Well, even one of those weeks. Yesterday I came down with my second round of mastitis in the past two months. Last night when I was feeling my worst, plagued with chills, fever, headache, and a very sore body, my 3 month old decided

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How to Prepare, Freeze and Store Fresh Peaches

If you haven’t ever bitten into a freshly picked peach, do yourself a favor and go to your local farmers market ASAP. Tis the season and they are SO delicious. Every year I tell myself I am going to stock up on and freeze peaches for later use and every

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Numbering Our Days: Time You have Left in Jelly Beans

Numbering Our Days: Time You have Left in Jelly Beans

I stumbled on this video a few days ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Nobody wants to think about the fact that our days are numbered. However, I think there is something motivating when we don’t ignore the fact that our days here on earth are numbered. In fact,

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It Works! How to Remove a Broken Lightbulb with a Potato

It Works! How to Remove a Broken Lightbulb with a Potato

We are all about using natural, whole foods around here at Thriving Home. Even when it comes to home maintenance. OK, not really. But this was the case with a broken lightbulb that we couldn’t remove from our ceiling fan.  A few weeks ago, my husband used a bit too much

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Mini Fruit Pizzas with Cream Cheese Frosting

I LOVE fruit. Love it. When I was pregnant with my first kid I went through a stage where all I wanted to eat was fruit salad. After a few months of that I moved into an orange-colored fruit kick. I ate tons of oranges, cantaloupe, clementines, etc. Even though

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Birthday Banner

Birthday Banner

(The following is a sponsored post by Banner Envy) This weekend was a blast. We celebrated my daughter’s second birthday along with her buddy Eleanor. The weather was perfect and the munchkins had a blast in our back yard (inexpensive) birthday party. I was fortunate enough to have one of

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Water Blob Fail

Water Blob Fail

Well friends, my grand ideas don’t always turn out like I planned. This is the case with my attempt at making a water blob for a play date we had a few days ago. First of all, you should know that we had four moms and eight kids under two

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What Supplements Does Your Family Take? (We Take These 4…)

What Supplements Does Your Family Take? (We Take These 4…)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links of products that I personally use and/or fully support. I give you full permission to make fun of me for this. My husband for sure does already. Want to know what I fall asleep reading many nights of the week, besides cooking magazines? Articles

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How to Freeze Green Onions/Scallions

    So, this is one of those posts that many of you will chuckle at and think, “You didn’t know that?” I am here to tell you that, no, I did not know that you could freeze and save green onions for later use. So for those of you

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Find Life in the Mundane

  Ever since I started reading Glimpses of Grace, this quote has been on the forefront of my mind. I thought it was worth sharing.

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The BEST Safe and Effective Sunscreens for Kids

The BEST Safe and Effective Sunscreens for Kids

Every year I find myself doing new research on the best and most affordable sunscreen that will keep my family protected this summer. The good news is that the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that rates the safety of cosmetics and other household products based on their ingredient list,

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How to Transplant (or Plant) Blueberries

How to Transplant (or Plant) Blueberries

This spring, I received a very special gift from my parents who were moving–FIVE BLUEBERRY BUSHES from their backyard! These bushes are about three years old, so they are already producing quite a few blueberries each year but still have some growing to do. After doing some major research about

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Lessons Learned Through Our Adoption Process

My name is Liz. I’m the wife to Jon, the mommy to Charlotte (5), Riley (3), and the soon-to be the mommy to Juliet (5 months). We moved to Seattle about 5 months ago and are adjusting to our new life in the Northwest. We’ve been in process for three

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Practical Ways to Help a Friend Through Grief

Practical Ways to Help a Friend Through Grief

The following post is written by my friend, Ashley. Below, Ashely boldly shares her story of loss with us but also provides some very practical ways to help someone who might be grieving. You may not necessarily need these suggestions at this moment but it is something you want to

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Meet Heather: Mother and Mesothelioma Survivor

Meet Heather: Mother and Mesothelioma Survivor

Heather Von St. James, a mother and survivor of a deadly cancer called mesothelioma, contacted us a few months ago with her story. She’s passionate about raising awareness about this 100% preventable disease and giving those affected by it hope. Here’s a bit of her story and where she found

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Help Child with Separation Anxiety

Five Tips to Help a Child’s Separation Anxiety

Thanks so much to our friend, Jess, for guest posting today. After volunteering and working full time in children’s ministry for years, Jess has a lot of wisdom to offer on this subject! Take it away, Jess! It happens every Sunday in churches everywhere: a mom or dad hands a kiddo

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4 Ways to Go Green for the Glory of God

4 Easy Ways to Go Green for the Glory of God

It’s a day after Earth Day and I have a confession to make. I think Earth Day should have less to do with whether or not Global Warming exists and more to do with what God instructs humanity to do with what He’s given us. The Bible teaches that we

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Pray with Us for Boston: Psalm 23

Pray with Us for Boston: Psalm 23

We pause today on Thriving Home to offer a prayer for those in Boston who are hurting and terrified after yesterday’s attack. May they and each of us know the comfort, goodness, and mercy of The Good Shepherd. Would you join us in making Psalm 23–the God-inspired words of King

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Are Your Cosmetics Safe?

One of the things I’ve been learning on our family’s journey to a healthier home is that not all cosmetics and personal care products on the market are safe.  Everything from baby shampoo to sunscreen to the mascara you wear may contain chemicals that are toxic for the human body.

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Unexpected and Cheap Toys That Have Stood the Test of Time

Unexpected and Cheap Toys That Have Stood the Test of Time

When I’m at a friend’s house, I often like to know what toys their kids have enjoyed for the longest.  It’s almost without fail that the simplest ones are the favorites. The big, expensive ones with lights and sounds get old (or break) quickly. The same is true around here.

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One Baby Step to Make a Difference in the Environment

One Baby Step to Make a Difference in the Environment

In the past few years we’ve attempted to take baby steps towards being a little more kind to the environment. We try to use reusable grocery bags, and snack bags,  cloth diaper our little one, use pyrex or tupperware instead of Ziplocks, recycle, and buy in bulk. By no means are we perfect

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3 Key Ways to Save Money and Eat Healthier

3 Key Ways To Save Money and Eat Healthier

I’m about to make a statement that you might strongly disagree with.  But, I’ll do it anyway…and hopefully convince you. I think having healthy homemade food (vs. eating processed convenience food or fast food) for most meals is doable and is a huge benefit to you and your family. Not

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My Story: Marathons and MS

My Story: Marathons and MS

Guest post by Beth Lewis Things doctors told me before I was actually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis: “Stress.” “Possibly an ocular migraine? There’s nothing wrong with your eye.” “Stress.” “You’re a marathon runner, Beth! Of course you’re tired!” “Stress.” “You probably just banged a nerve.” Before my dad and I

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10 Tips for Throwing a Successful Yard Sale

10 Tips for Throwing a Successful Yard Sale

I don’t know if I should admit this but I associate spring time with garage sales. As the snow (finally) melts away, I have begun to see more and more sale signs popping up on Fridays and Saturdays. This morning I saw one on the corner of a popular intersection.

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“On Purpose” from Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

“On Purpose” from Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

Not only is Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones something kids of a wide age range can enjoy, but it’s something that stirs my own heart every time I read it. In fact, I’ve been reading one each morning before most of the kids are up. It’s

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Helping the Homeless: On-the-Go Bags

I once had coffee with a homeless man. It wasn’t planned or anything. It just happened when he sat uncomfortably close to me at a Starbucks in Chicago. Here I was sitting in Starbucks with my caramel mocha, Bible open having a quiet time, belly full from breakfast and blatantly

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All of a Sudden {Guest Post}

All of a Sudden {Guest Post}

This guest post is from a member of a family that is very near and dear to my heart. Meg began the blog Showers of Grace after losing her husband, a Major in the Air Force, this past fall due to an accident at work. She was left with her

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Stools with So Much Potential!

  Most people would look at these stools and think, “Gross.” Since they came from my grandparent’s house I wasn’t too grossed out by them but they were in serious need of a makeover. The funny thing is, once you’ve reupholstered a few things you start to look at pieces

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How to Take the Musty Smell Out of Old Furniture

How to Take the Musty Smell Out of Old Furniture

If you saw my post from Wednesday, you already know I transformed my grandma’s dresser into a changing table for the nursery. What I didn’t mention in the post was a little trick I used to get rid of the musty smell that the old dresser had taken on over

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Sneaky Valentine’s Day Treat: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Sneaky Valentine’s Day Treat: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Reposted from February 2012 I know there are times that a healthy treat isn’t warranted…especially on holidays. But, the deal with these Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Truffles is that they are decadent, delicious and healthy. So, why not make them today for your family as a special (and sneaky healthy way)

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Grandma’s Dresser Transformed into a Changing Table

Let the nesting begin! Ah, who’s kidding. I’m in a continual state of nesting whether I’m pregnant or not. This week’s warm weather allowed me to start and finish Baby 2.0’s changing table. I prefer to use dressers as changing tables for a lot of reasons. I like that their

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DIY Valentine Garland

Ah yes, Valentine’s Day. The only time of the year that men will tolerate their homes to be decorated in pinks, reds, and hearts. Due to our lack of storage space, I keep the holiday decorating to a minium. However, I was feeling the itch to make a little Valentine’s

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Polly’s 2013 Booklist

I’m totally hot and cold when it comes to reading. I’ll go months without picking up a book and then when I find one I like, I devour it in 2-3 days only to go back into a book drought for another month or two. This year I’d like to

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Rachel’s 2013 Book List

Here are some of the books I’d like to finish or read in 2013. Part of my job at my church is to help identity good parenting resources, so you’ll notice my list is rather “parenting book” heavy. My fun reading usually comes in the form of blogs and magazines,

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Why I Won’t Throw My Kid a Pinterest Birthday Party

Why I Won’t Throw My Kid a Pinterest Birthday Party

I have a confession to make. My son just turned 6 this week. And…I dropped the ball, so to speak, on planning a big basketball birthday party like he had originally asked for. There are so many moms out there who are far more creative than me. It’s easy to look

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The Story of Kaitlyn: From Health-Conscious Childhood to College

The Story of Kaitlyn: From Health-Conscious Childhood to College

I’ve often wondered if by cooking and teaching my kids about “real” food—non-processed, whole food that is as close to it’s original form as possible—is a futile battle in my kids’ lives. Won’t they eventually be won over by the combined multi-billion dollar advertising campaigns of fast food and junk

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The “Seven” Challenge

I’m currently in the middle of a book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. 7 is the true story of how the author, Jen Hatmaker, (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight

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Pedometer Challenge Part 3: How to Kick It Up a Notch

Pedometer Challenge Part 3: How to Kick It Up a Notch

Check out Part 1 of the Pedometer Challenge Series to find out how to join in andand Part 2 to get motivated to move more. Most of us (not all) could stand to move our bodies more. Yes? I’ve been making the case this month that wearing a pedometer is

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How to Transfer VHS Tapes to DVD’s

How to Transfer VHS Tapes to DVD’s

Now that Christmas is over, I can share about one of the gifts that I got my parents. Last time I was at their house, I snuck all of their VHS tapes out of the basement. I then began the process of transferring them to DVDs. Weeks later I had

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Dyeing Baby Clothes: The Do’s and Don’ts

Since we only have one girl, the majority of our stuff is pink. Lots of pink. Tubs of pink. While we are thrilled to have a baby boy on the way, I realized that unless I want to dress him in pink and flowers (which I realize wouldn’t kill him,

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The Pedometer Challenge: Step It Up in 2013!

The Pedometer Challenge: Step It Up in 2013!

Need a little motivation to either start exercising or to “kick up” your current routine? I may have a fun, easy, and cheap solution for you. In fact, my friend, Candace, kick-started a major transformation because of what I like to call The Pedometer Challenge. You must read her story

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The Action Bible: Almost 6-Year-Old Boy’s Review

“Wow, Mom, I have to tell you how exciting that was! It was scary and exciting. It’s my favorite book.” (*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means

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Holiday Cookie Exchange

Holiday Cookie Exchange: A Fun Idea for Groups

Need a fun idea for a group get-together? We’ve previously shared some  fun group games such as Rate Your Mate and The Question Game. This activity isn’t so much a game though. It’s a cookie exchange! How to Organize a Cookie Exchange A few days before your event, tell all of your

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The Question Game: Fun for Small Groups

The Question Game: Fun for Small Groups

The fun group game for couples that I posted not long ago for Christmas parties has been really popular. A friend asked me, though, if I had a game that can be played with couples and singles, though. Why, yes, yes I do! The Question Game is another easy, get-to-know-you

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Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce {Freezer Meal}

People. If I would have known how easy and cheap it is to make your own marinara sauce in the crock pot, I would have started doing this years ago! Instead I’ve been spending money on expensive jars of Prego and other brands. All I had to do was cook

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10 Easy DIY All-Natural Household Products

My son was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 20 months of age. It was terrifying, especially when we had no family history at all. So, I did what I’m guessing many terrified mothers who feel out of control do–I began to research like a madwoman. My goal was to discover what

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My Favorite Christmas Decoration

My Favorite Christmas Decoration

  I typically don’t buy Christmas decorations- especially full price. Most of the decorations we have up have come from my parent’s basement. However, when I saw this print on Etsy, I couldn’t pass it up. “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”  Not only does this come from

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How to Peel a Pomegranate

How to Peel a Pomegranate

Did you know that pomegranates are one of the most powerful, nutrient dense foods for overall good health? This anceint fruit is crazy good for you. Health Benefits of the Pomegranate They are the most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits They have potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects Pomegranates inhibit

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Cabinet to Bookshelf Transformation: Before and After

Ever since we found out we will be having another baby in April, I’ve been making small changes to our guest room with the intentions of turning it into a “big girl room” for my 1.5 year old. This past weekend, I finally got to work on a little cabinet

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Fun Christmas Game for Couples

Fun Christmas Game for Couples

Re-posted from Dec. 14, 2011 Looking for a fun game for couples to play at your work, church, or family Christmas party this year? This is our go-to Christmas game with our small group Bible study groups each year. We get a nice “date night” gift card for the winners

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Recipe for Christmas Tree Water

I was reminded this week how much I love a REAL Christmas tree. Imperfect? Yep. Messy? Yep. A hassle? You bet. Worth it? Yes. The scent of a cedar tree in your house is unlike any other. The smell hits you every time you enter the room. It brought back

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Our Hand-Picked 2012 Gift Guide

The last thing we want to do is to make Christmas about the stuff. We value and celebrate Christmas because it reminds us of the greatest gift humanity has been given: Jesus. Our hope is that gifts are given as a reminder of the ultimate gift of salvation he gives

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10 Holiday Books to Read with Your Kids

10 Fantastic Holiday Books to Read to Your Kids

Guest post by Rachel Johnson from Somebody Come and Play Reading with children, especially with my daughter, is one of my ultimate favorites in life. There is nothing quite like connecting with a child over a great piece of literature. Watching their eyes light up as their eager hands turn

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Seven Benefits of Having a Family Dog

If you can’t tell from my previous post about installing a Pet Peek Window in our fence, we are dog people. Growing up, my family always had 2-4 dogs. My dad hunts and they had lots of land to run around on so it never felt like we were smothered

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Lessons Learned from My Daughter Choking

Lessons Learned from My Daughter Choking

Last night my 17 month old daughter choked. She’s ok but it was pretty scary. My mom was actually watching my daughter, Adelyn, while I was out with my husband and some friends for my 30th birthday. Adelyn was walking around and munching on a snack and apparently just froze

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His Dominion Will Endure

His Dominion Will Endure

The other day while watching the nightly news, I turned to my husband and anxiously asked, “What kind of world is our daughter going to grow up in?” I’m sure every parent and grandparent has shaken their head and worried about the shifting culture they see and grown anxious about

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One More Book Your Toddler Will Love

After reading Rachel’s top 10 book recommendations for toddlers, I felt as though I needed to chime in on what my daughter has been enjoying reading. She is quite the book worm but one book in particular has found its way to the top of the list. It’s a book

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Shower Cleaning Made Easy!

If you are a Pinterest guru, you are probably flooded with all the home and cleaning tricks that are supposed to make your life easier. I have quite a few pinned on my Pinterest boards. While most of the things I pin end up just staying on my pin board

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Video from Rachel: Top 10 Toddler Books

Whether it’s for Christmas, a birthday, or just picking books out at the library, I hope you find these Top 10 Toddler Book recommendations helpful as you’re selecting books to read to your little ones. Here we are in all our morning glory at home. Bed heads on the sick

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Last Minute Trick or Treat Bag

Ready for Halloween? If you plan to trick or treat like we do (or as much as you can with a 17 month old) you’ll need a bag of some sort. This may seem obvious but it didn’t occur to me until yesterday. I figured it’d be pretty easy to

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Easy Halloween Party Games

Easy and Cheap Halloween Party Game Ideas (+ Free Printable)

I love thinking of and running games for kids…really people of any age. So, when I saw Katie’s awesome post at Kitchen Stewardship about Easy School Halloween Party Ideas, I put my own thinking cap on. Over the years I’ve worked with kids in various settings–camp counselor, babysitter, teacher, children’s

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healthy recipes kids like

50+ Ways to Sneak Fruits & Vegetables into Kid Favorites

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here. I’m a big believer in offering my kids fruits and vegetables at every meal and serving my family meat that I can trust. Research has definitively shown that if you keep offering and keep offering, children will eventually try

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DIY Stainless Steel Cleaner

DIY Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner

With six little grimmy hands running around my house, our stainless steel refrigerator and dishwasher get embarrassingly nasty. Fingerprints are everywhere! Want to see? And these pictures don’t even show the half of it! It looks much worse in person. I’ve never known what to do about cleaning my stainless

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Senuti: Save Your Lost Music!

Senuti: Save Your Lost Music!

A while back I had some computer problems that resulted in me losing a lot of my music on my computer in iTunes. I was really bummed but not totally at a loss because it was all still on my (6 year old) ipod. Well, I noticed the other day

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World’s Best Father

World’s Best Father

If you are looking for a giggle today, head over to the Engledow Art Photography facebook page. The photographer has been working on a series called World’s Best Father. In his series of laughable photos, this photographer pokes fun at distracted dads. “When Alice was about eight weeks old, I wanted

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Have a Boy? You Might Want to Get Him This…

Have a Boy? You Might Want to Get Him This…

Warren and his wife, Shelly, are two people I trust implicitly when it comes to grace-centered theology and parenting. They are just some rock solid people. So when I saw that Warren wrote a rave review of The Action Bible recently at Every Square Inch, I knew what our next

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The Pain of the Shot

The Pain of the Shot

Yesterday my youngest little guy, Ben, age 23 months, was so sick. High fever, listless, clingy. I took him to the doctor, and he determined Ben needed some heavy-duty antibiotic shots. These shots are some of the most painful ones a kid can get, from what I understand (and remember

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Baby Shower Decoration

About a month ago, I helped throw a baby shower for a dear friend. We didn’t go too crazy with decorating for it but I did make up some of these paper onesies to scatter around the food and gift table. With my Silhouette, they were really easy to make.

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Easy DIY Fruit Fly Traps

My kitchen is overrun with fruit flies this time of year. They buzz around our bananas, land in my wine, and I even got one stuck down in my ear one time! They drive me nuts! Here are two, DIY methods that I’ve found effective to getting rid of those

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Pinterest Fail: Using Caulk as a Rug Gripper

Pinterest Fail: Using Caulk as a Rug Gripper

One of my Pinterest Boards is titled: Why Didn’t I Think of That?! It consists of a variety of ideas that I wish I would have thought of first. I have found quite a few to be helpful around my house. However, today was a different story. Once upon a

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Funny burp cloth

A Spirited Burp Cloth

Last weekend, we went to a “Little Tiger Baby Shower.” The shower was at a tailgate before a football game which I think is a genius idea. It was a fun, laid back atmosphere that celebrated the baby boy on the way. I figured since we were going to a Tiger tailgate,

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Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

I know there are many of us out there who love to sing the praises of The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, especially the new collectors edition (at right) that includes the audio version. It’s been one of the most influential and perhaps life-changing children’s Bibles I’ve seen in

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Cloth Diapering Update

Cloth Diapering Update

One of our most visited posts on Thriving Home is Cloth Diapering 101. In this post that I wrote back in February,  I share why I cloth diaper, about the brand I use, how to care for cloth diapers, and even a slightly embarrassing video of how it all works. My daughter

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Somewhere Inside: A Book Review (and recommendation!)

Ever since I saw a documentary on North Korea by Lisa Ling, I have been deeply intrigued by the country. That being said, it should be no surprise that when I heard about her sister’s book, Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring

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2 “No Skin Off Your Back” Online Money-Savers

2 “No Skin Off Your Back” Online Money-Savers

I’m not a big sucker for online programs and deals most of the time. I hate giving out my personal info or having more things on my computer to keep up with. I always say no to credit card offers. You get the picture. But, I have found two online

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Craigslist Tips: 10 Helpful Tips on How to Sell Your Stuff

Craigslist Tips: 10 Helpful Tips on How to Sell Your Stuff

I have a longstanding, love/hate relationship with Criagslist. Mostly love though. I’ve made quite a bit of money from selling things off of it but have also had to deal with flakey buyers and dishonest people. Overall though, I’ve learned to navigate the choppy waters of selling things on Criagslist

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DIY Thank you card

DIY Thank You Card

Here is a quick and easy DIY thank you card idea to give to someone who has helped you out with your kiddos. I recently sent this to my parents as a thank you for keeping my little one while we were on vacation. The card is pretty self explanatory by looking

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Blog Love: Polly’s Current Favs

Finding a well-written, good blog to follow is quite a task. Search engines usually don’t know where to point you so usually you’re at the mercy of what you stumble on or what friends are talking about. Today and tomorrow, Rachel and I are going to be sharing a few

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Candace’s Transformation Story

Candace’s Transformation Story

Meet Candace. She’s my friend from work. Kids and adults alike love her. (Don’t you already?) She’s truly one of the most beautiful women I know inside and out. Today, I want to share with you about the transformation Candace has gone through over the past two years. It dawned

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DIY Baby Girl Onesies

DIY Baby Girl Onesies

If I would have known how easy these baby girl onesies were to make, I imagine my daughter’s drawer would have been full of them. This is a fun project for someone with beginning sewing skills. It also makes a great gift for any upcoming baby shower (assuming it’s a

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Reader Question: How Do I Handle My Picky 2-Year-Old?

Reader Question: How Do I Handle My Picky 2-Year-Old?

A friend of mine and reader of the blog emailed me a while back with several great questions about helping her picky eater, as well as incorporating healthy foods into their family’s diet. These are the same questions I was asking, researching, and anxious over only four years ago myself

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How God Refreshed My Soul in the ER {Guest Post}

How God Refreshed My Soul in the ER {Guest Post}

Today’s guest post is written by Gloria Furman from Domestic Kingdom. “I can’t believe we’re wasting a good family hair day,” I joked as I marched my three little ducklings out the door on the way to the Emergency Room. I was mostly kidding about the hair. Of course there

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I Declare War On…

I Declare War On…

…my impatience with my kids. That’s right. I’ve HAD it with my impatience. (Yes, my husband already pointed out the irony of my impatience with my impatience.) My little people mean way too much to me to carry on with business as usual. Want to read more about my ugly

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DIY All-Natural Carpet Cleaner (or How to Get Poop and Puke Out of Carpet)

Homemade All-Natural Carpet Cleaner

Important Update as of 4/11/14: It has been over a year since using this on my carpet. The stains are still mostly gone, but my carpet is now lighter in those areas. I have old carpet so I much prefer this to the dark stains, but I want to give

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prayer cards

Easy and Colorful Homemade Prayer Cards {Guest Post}

There’s a lot of love going around about Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life. Rachel wrote a review suggesting that it was the best parenting book she’s read and Polly has recommended it a few different times, as well. I, too, have enjoyed the book and found some great wisdom

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A Dog-Gone Cute Kid Room Decoration: A Silhouette Project

A Dog-Gone Cute Kid Room Decoration: A Silhouette Project

When thinking about some thrifty decorating ideas for my little lady’s bedroom, I thought it’d be fun to do something with her favorite animal (and the only one she can actually say at this point). Using my Silhouette machine and a picture frame I had in our closet, I came

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The Future of Running Shoes?

The Future of Running Shoes?

After reading Born to Run I started following the author, Christopher McDougall’s blog and as a result, feel a little bit like an insider to the running world. I recently stumbled on this information and thought it was worth sharing. Like I mentioned in my book review of Born to Run,

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meal ideas for a one year old

Healthy Recipe Ideas for a One Year Old

Feeding a little one can be so much fun! I love helping my daughter discover new tastes, textures, and combinations. At times, however, it can result in a lot of frustration. As a mom of a little one, you’re in the middle of figuring out what your baby likes and

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Exercise Ideas You Can Do Anywhere

Exercise Ideas You Can Do Anywhere

I often visit my parent’s house which is in a small town on a lake. I love going home but find that I have a hard time staying on track with working out when I am there. There is no gym and if I want to run it is along

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Creative Storage Idea: Repurpose Old Diaper Boxes!

Creative Storage Idea: Repurpose Old Diaper Boxes!

With a little one around, it seems like we cannot have enough boxes and bins around for all her stuff. That is why I love finding creative ways to create storage around our house. At our most recent Sam’s Club trip, I picked up some diapers that come in this

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An Impromptu Learning Game

An Impromptu Learning Game

When we finished up this huge jar of peanut butter, I randomly kept the jar with the hopes we could put it to use around the house. It’s always good to have a little storage container right? Well, I have found a great use for it. Not only for now,

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Exercise at Home: More 10 Minute Online Workouts

Exercise at Home: More 10 Minute Online Workouts

As I’ve said several times I’m sure, at this stage in life exercising at home or outside works out best for me.  It’s both free and requires no travel time! Honestly, I post these quick workout videos I have done and like for my own future reference. But, I figure

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Fourth of July Wreath

Make Your Own Fourth of July Wreath

After seeing a Fourth of July fireworks stand being set up yesterday, I got really excited for the upcoming holiday! So when I stumbled on this wreath idea from Capital B, I got motivated and made one for myself! Fourth of July Wreath: A DIY Holiday Decorating Idea   Despite this project being a

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Birthday Onesie: A Silhouette Project

Birthday Onesie: A Silhouette Project

Here is just another example of what the Silhouette Machine can make. We just celebrated my daughter’s first birthday. I whipped up a special outfit for the event. Here is the front: …and here is the back. There is a lot of truth to this. Hehe. I love that with

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10 verses to pray for fathers

A Non-Traditional Father’s Day Gift: Commit to Pray for Dad

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” -Billy Graham  Like many women out there, I struggle with what to get my husband for Father’s Day. Grilling tools? An iphone accessory? Gift cards? Some dads are

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Rachel’s Picks: Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Rachel’s Picks: Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is almost upon us! It’s not too late to make some last minute Amazon or other online orders, though. Here are a few of my picks based on what I know the men in my life like. Steve Jobs – My husband, I and many of our guy

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How to Hem Jeans and Keep the Original Hem

How to Hem Jeans and Keep the Original Hem

In one of my garage sale outings, I swung by a small sale that had a few toys I was interested in. I’m so glad I stopped because the mom selling the toys was also selling a few items of clothing. I spotted some Big Star jeans I liked and

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Summer Reading Recommendations

For some reason, I grow more motivated to read during the summer. It probably comes from a combination of factors: road trips, pool time, long summer nights, and a different schedule. Whatever it may be, I’m itching to find a good book to dive into. I personally, LOVE book recommendations. Nothing

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How to Transform a Onesie into a Dress

How to Transform a Onesie into a Dress

It’s amazing how fast babies grow out of their clothes. There were so many cute outfits that my little lady only wore once or twice. It was painful for me to pack barely used clothes away not knowing if they’d ever be used again. That is why I am pretty

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Wishes for the Baby: A Baby Shower Activity

Wishes for the Baby: A Baby Shower Activity

I think most people dread the cheesy games played at wedding and baby showers. Can I get an amen, friends of moms-to-be and brides-to-be?? So when it was my turn to throw a shower, I was really excited to stumble on this baby shower activity from lil sugar that was

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Homemade Card Idea: Use a Sewing Machine!

Homemade Card Idea: Use a Sewing Machine!

Here’s a simple, free way to make your own unique cards for people. You can use this for wedding cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, get well cards, etc. etc. All it takes is a sewing machine that does a few unique stitches and some plain cardstock paper (or something

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A Great Use for Leftover Coffee!

A Great Use for Leftover Coffee!

I’m a coffee lover. I make it almost every morning. My mini coffee pot even made it into my list of favorite kitchen items. What’s ironic about my love affair with coffee is that I often end up not drinking most of it. Moms, you understand: The baby has a

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Free Online 10 Minute Workout Videos

Free Online 10 Minute Workout Videos

As a mom of three young kids, I love finding cheap, easy ways to sneak in exercise. I already posted a free 30 minute Body Sculpting Workout by Jillian Michaels via Hulu and some of my favorite exercise DVDs.  Fitsugar is another website with tons of challenging 10 minute exercise

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All-Natural DIY Drano

All-Natural DIY Drano: Safe and Effective Toilet Declogger

It worked! This all-natural DIY Drano recipe really worked.  Not just once, but it did the trick two different times on my completely clogged toilet. (Yes, we have really crappy toilets–no pun intended.) Let me tell you, I was one happy home owner upon discovering this simple, cheap, and safe

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Bringing Up Bebe: A Book Review

I recently finished a parenting book called, Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.  Like most parenting books I’ve read, I’ve walked away with some good information and ideas as well as intentionally leaving behind some of the convictions of the author. Overall though, I found

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homemade laundry detergent ingredients

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Guest post by Jess from Twenty-Something and Not Counting I’ve been making homemade laundry detergent for about 4 years now. Though I was a little nervous it might not work well or might take too long, I decided to give it a whirl. I made it once and never looked

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Hospitality Tips and Tricks for Hosting Groups of People

Hospitality Tips and Tricks for Hosting Groups of People

I’ve often been told that I have “the gift of hospitality.” Whether this is true or not, almost anything I learned about hosting groups most likely came from my mother. She is the queen when it comes to hosting groups of people. Growing up, it was not uncommon for there

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Don’t forget Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13.  You should have plenty of time to make and receive an Amazon order for your mom or wife if you do it soon.  Here are a few of my favorite things or “I wants” to get you started thinking… (*Some of the

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Decorating Tip: Another Use for Painters Tape!

Decorating Tip: Another Use for Painters Tape!

I love to change our home decor up and move things around. In the early days of living in our house, I cut corners when hanging things on our walls and didn’t used the plastic anchors that hold the screws in securely.  I learned the hard way that this was

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Born-to-Run - A Review

Born to Run: A Book Review

I’m not sure if I would classify myself as “a runner.” I like to run and pound out a few miles a few times a week. It’s a hobby that helped me lose weight and keep it off. I’ve tried twice to train for a half marathon only to be taken

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New chair with silhouette shape

Antique Children’s Chair Makeover

This chair makeover might be my favorite furniture makeover I’ve ever done so far. That’s a pretty bold statement but I can’t remember a piece starting out so rough and turning out so great! I stumbled on this chair at a garage sale a few weeks ago. I almost passed

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Meal Planning Made Simple

Meal Planning Made Simple

Once you get in the habit of weekly meal planning, you’ll never go back. Once a week (usually Saturdays) I sit down and write out what we will have for dinner every night the coming week. As of right now I only plan dinners because we usually have enough leftovers

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Psalm 23 in Action: The Good Shepherd vs. A Monster

Psalm 23 in Action: The Good Shepherd vs. A Monster

My 5-year-old quietly traipsed downstairs. “Mommy, I keep seeing a monster in my mind and it won’t go away.” There are times when my kids use stall tactics at bedtime. You know, like, “I need to go potty!”, “I need a drink,” or “My toe hurts.”  I could tell this

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$3 Worth of Beans Gets You All This (+ Taco Salad Recipe)

With food prices skyrocketing in the past few years, I’ve had to think of cheap creative ways to continue to make healthy, mostly organic, real food for my family.  It’s not easy.  Dried beans are a tremendous help, though! Last week, I accidentally cooked WAY too many dried beans.  I

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My Journey Towards Healthier Living

My Journey Towards Healthier Living

True or False: At my peak weight, I was 25 pounds heavier than I am right now. True. True or False: In my last weeks of pregnancy, I weighed only 5 pounds more than I was 8 years ago. True again. Check out some of the pictures I dug up the

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Highlights of Our Easter Weekend

Highlights of Our Easter Weekend

Happy Belated Easter from our family to yours!  I don’t share these kinds of posts very often at TH, but I thought today I’d tell you a bit about our Easter weekend and give you a little window into our family’s life.  Here are a few highlights:

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A easy homemade granola recipe

Homemade Granola Recipe

For the past few months, my husband has kindly reminded me that I haven’t made my granola recipe in a while. I had good intentions to make it but just added it to the very long to-do list and it never made it to the top. As time went on,

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10 Tips for Throwing a Great Garage Sale

10 Tips for Throwing a Great Garage Sale

Tis the season for garage sales! In fact, instead of going out and hunting for great treasures for my home, this past weekend, I threw a garage sale of my own. Rachel jumped on board and put some of her stuff in it as well. Here is us in all

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Mailbox Makeover

Mailbox Makeover

I love spray painting things. LOVE IT. It is easy, fast, cheap and gives big results. This is a project I’ve been itching to get to for a while. Our mailbox was beginning to show rust and was in much need of some TLC. Here’s what one hour of work

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Going Green…Kinda

Going Green…Kinda

“It seems quite inexplicable to me that there are some Christians who claim to love and worship God, to be disciples of Jesus and yet have no concern for the earth that bears his stamp of ownership. They do not care about the abuse of the earth, and indeed by

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Start Your Day with a Super Food Smoothie

Here’s how our family greets most mornings of the week… …with a Super Food Smoothie.  It’s such an easy, tasty way to start your day with several servings of fruits, vegetables, and lots of fiber. Here’s the approximate Super Food Smoothie recipe, but feel free to experiment with what you

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An Eggcellent Easter Decorating Idea

An Eggcellent Easter Decorating Idea

I love repurposing things. In this little holiday decorating project, I repurposed these paint chips into… …an Easter garland! This project cost next to nothing (except for a few strange looks you may get by stocking up on so many different paint chips).  It could be a great craft idea

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Chair Changes

What is it with numbering things? Everywhere I turn, it seems like someone is numbering a household item and making it look cool. I’m not quite sure I get it. What’s funny though is that I’ve jumped on the bandwagon without even knowing if I like numbering things. I wanted

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DIY Reusable Snack Bags – Go Green!

DIY Reusable Snack Bags – Go Green!

I’ve become more and more aware of how many plastic bags and Ziplocks our home goes through. It’s a crazy amount that is only increasing as our family grows. I don’t like to think how many must be in landfills taking thousands of years to decompose. I realize there are some

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non-toxic foaming hand soap recipe

How to Make Your Own Non-Toxic Foaming Hand Soap

Seriously…why did I wait so long to do this?  For years I’ve either been buying way over-priced safe hand soap or cheap unsafe soap.  Those days are over. This past weekend, I used three simple ingredients to make my own non-toxic foaming hand wash.  It is the perfect consistency, smell,

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DIY Wedding Card: An Easy Silhouette Project

DIY Wedding Card: An Easy Silhouette Project

Ah, wedding showers. We love them and hate them at the same time, don’t we ladies? I went to a lovely wedding shower a while back that turned out being quite fun. I had gotten the bride-to-be a gift off of her registry but didn’t really think about a card

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A Great Gardening Resource: The Smart Gardener

A Great Gardening Resource: The Smart Gardener

Tis the season to get your hands dirty! The idea of growing your own garden can be imitating. If my dad wasn’t gardener extraordinaire, I probably wouldn’t have a backyard garden. In the Spring, it feels like I make daily phone calls to my dad asking questions about my soil, seeds, planting,

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Playdate Skirt Tutorial

I absolutely love little skirts on baby girls. Now that my little gal is in cloth diapers, her booty needs a little more room so I’m on a mission to make loads of skirts. I named this the “Playdate Skirt” because it is comfortable, stretchy, and made for, well, playing!

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Pink Slime, Canned Foods, and Dog Milk

Pink Slime, Canned Foods, and Dog Milk

Note to self:  That has to be the strangest blog post title I have ever typed or will ever type. This post is dedicated to my sweet husband, who has patiently listened to and at times laughed at my passionate rants about America’s food industry over the past several years. 

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Guest Post: Preparing Our Hearts for Easter

Guest Post: Preparing Our Hearts for Easter

Growing up, Advent and Lent were seasons that not just my church but my family observed. Both were times of anticipation and waiting. Both were times of drawing closer to the manger and to the cross. Both were opportunities my parents used to start intentional conversations about the Gospel. Lent

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Five Minute Fabric Flowers

Five Minute Fabric Flowers

Looking for a cheap and easy craft project? One that takes close to five minutes once you get the hang of it? Look no further, my friends. You can see my little lady modeling my newest creation below. I made this fabric flower and attached it to this warm, fuzzy

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4 Mistakes I’ve Already Made As a Parent

4 Mistakes I’ve Already Made As a Parent

One of my fears in writing a blog called Thriving Home and that sometimes speaks to parenting issues is that you’d get the ridiculous impression that I somehow have my act all together as a mother.  Excuse me while I have a good belly laugh at the thought. Bah, ha,

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Pick-Me-Up Real Food Snacks

Pick-Me-Up Real Food Snacks

It’s 2 p.m., your eye lids are heavy, and you’re jonesing for a little snacky-snack.  If you’re like me, you’re likely to fall into the snack crap trap at this point in the day.  Your willpower is weak and only junk (read: processed, packaged, trans-fat loaded) food calls your name.

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Cloth Diapering 101

Cloth diapering. Isn’t that something that hippies who don’t shave their armpits do? OK, so maybe that is stereotyping a bit, but I realized very quickly that not everyone is so keen on the idea of cloth diapering. At my baby shower, I could tell that many people were skeptical about the

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Free 30 Minute Total Body Sculpting Workout at Home

Free 30 Minute Total Body Sculpting Workout at Home

As you may know, I’m all about sneaky exercise or working out at home using exercise videos at this stage of life.  Both save time and money, two of my top values as a stay-at-home mom of little kids.  I’ve recently discovered the free workouts on Hulu and love them.

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Encouragement to be a Praying Mother

Encouragement to be a Praying Mother

As a new mom, I worry when my daughter is in someone else’s care – even if it’s her own grandma! I don’t think I can even begin to comprehend the worry a mother must feel if her child, no matter how old, is in danger or unreachable. Whether a

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Spiritual Dynamics of Sleep Deprivation

Spiritual Dynamics of Sleep Deprivation

  Do you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night that the CDC recommends for adults? Oh, you don’t?  In that case, I want you to meet my younger sister, Lynn.  She’s the tall one on the right. She’s incredibly intelligent, much more talented than I am in

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Give Old Pillows New Life!

Give Old Pillows New Life!

Want to freshen up some old throw pillows? Don’t throw them out! It is a lot easier to makeover an old pillow than you would think. All you need is fabric and some very basic sewing skills. To see the whole tutorial, keep on reading!

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My Reading List

I have a tendency to be rather hot or cold when it comes to reading. Sometimes I have so many books I want to read that I can’t keep track of them all. Other times I’ve got nothing on the reading list and no desire to add to my list

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Guest Post: Sewing Buttons

Guest Post: Sewing Buttons

Several months ago, my husband Jeremy pointed out that he had a couple of shirts that needed buttons sewn on. I remember looking at him like, “yeah right, I’ll get to that someday.” (Did I mention I have three kids, three and under, one of which was born this year,

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A Prayer for Moms: The Music of Loose Ends

A Prayer for Moms: The Music of Loose Ends

This prayer has been a great one for my quiet times. It is from the book, Powerful Prayers for Your Children. I hope this encourages you to rejoice in all of the little things we can be prone to complain about. If you want a printable version of this prayer, click HERE.

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D.I.Y. Yarn Wrapped Letters

D.I.Y. Yarn Wrapped Letters

This craft idea is doable for anyone. ANYONE. It’s quick, easy, thrifty, and fun. You only need two things: 1) A cardboard letter (I got mine for $1.00 at Hobby Lobby) 2) Yarn of any color. I pulled this out from my yarn stash from when I used to knit.

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I Heart Trader Joe’s: Why and What We Buy

I Heart Trader Joe’s: Why and What We Buy

I heart Trader Joe’s.  Who doesn’t, really? They’re the full package if you ask me.  Here’s why they’ve stolen my heart and what favorite TJ’s products make a (smallish) dent in my grocery bill. Three Things I Love About TJ’s 1 – They are a competitive, ethical corporation yet retain their

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Babies with Acid Reflux: Help for Moms

I survived having a baby with acid reflux. I don’t use the term survived lightly, nor would other moms whose kiddos had reflux. But we made it. Kicking and screaming, we made it. And now we have a happy, delightful 7 month old who doesn’t even remember the rough days

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Making Room for the Belly: DIY Maternity Pants

Making Room for the Belly: DIY Maternity Pants

When I was pregnant, I had a hard time justifying buying expensive pants that I would only wear for 4 months. I took a close look at some of my maternity pants and thought to myself, “I could do that…” So I gave it a shot. After some trial and

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On the Job Meditations for Moms

On the Job Meditations for Moms

A dark, short silhouette hovers over you and whispers “Mommy. Why are you still asleep?”  You mutter a dry throat grunt in response, while your hand searches the end table for your glasses forged in 1999.  Once your sight is restored, you eye the glowing green numbers of the clock…6:05. 

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New Mom Gift Idea: Nursing Time Box

New Mom Gift Idea: Nursing Time Box

Here’s a frugal, easy and useful gift idea for a new mom… A friend of mine had her third baby a few weeks ago and is now at home with the infant and her two other small children.  As I prepared a meal to take to her, I wondered if

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A Must-Read for Moms: Loving the Little Years

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. I Like Order. Do You? My poor sweet, patient husband. I nearly

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Six Fiction Books I Love

Six Fiction Books I Love

1) Water for Elephants 2) Little Bee 3) A Thousand Splendid Suns 4) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 5) The Help 6) The Hunger Games

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Quick Fix for Peeling Paint

Quick Fix for Peeling Paint

I had a problem. This was happening to the shelves in our playroom. Last time I checked, peeling paint chips weren’t too baby friendly. There were two solutions I could think of to remedy this situation: 1) scrape all the paint off and paint a fresh new coat or 2)

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Jesus' Birthday Cake

Jesus’ Birthday Cake

I mentioned last week that we’d be throwing Jesus a birthday party, like we’ve done the past few years on Christmas.  My kids seriously go nuts over this whole shindig.  Mainly, they love helping me make, decorate, and eat the cake.  Here’s the crazy delicious recipe I used once again. 

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Carpet Remnant = Money Saver!

Carpet Remnant = Money Saver!

This room in our house is currently the multipurpose room. It primarily serves as an office but will soon be transformed into a playroom. However, a playroom with hardwood floors is not very fun for babies learning to crawl and walk. I looked into getting a rug around 10×12 feet

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Simple Holiday Decorating

Simple Holiday Decorating

Here’s a thrifty decorating tip: put something colorful in a vase! It can work for almost any holiday or occasion. When my blogging buddy, Rachel, offered me these decorative balls, I snatched them up with this idea in mind. I used this vase that was recycled from an arrangement of

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Monogram Gift Wrapping

Monogram Gift Wrapping

Is it bad that I’m tempted to unwrap all the presents under the tree just so I can re-wrap them to look like this? Guess I’ll just have to save this idea for upcoming birthdays. Source

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Creative Thank You Note: A Silhouette Project

Creative Thank You Note: A Silhouette Project

Don’t you love getting random packages in the mail? I do! It made my day when a family friend of ours sent my daughter this hilarious onesie. I wanted to send her a cute, festive thank you note for the gift. I’ll be honest. I hate buying cards. I think

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Fun Christmas Game for Couples (+ Free Printable)

Fun Christmas Game for Couples (+ Free Printable)

I’m known as the “game girl” around these parts.  Man alive, I love a good game or fun question in a group, especially ones that get people laughing or connecting in a social situation.  As an aside, I married a man who typically has an adverse reaction to group games

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How to Make Your Own Window Cornice

How to Make Your Own Window Cornice

I really like the simple look of window cornices. They are clean, fresh, and from what I discovered, easy to make! I was also pleasantly surprised at how cheap the supplies for this turned out to be. AND it doesn’t involve any sewing. Do I have your attention?? Here’s how

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Make Your Own Nursing Cover

Make Your Own Nursing Cover

Once again, I have run into an expensive baby product that I have scoffed at and murmured, “I could make that…” In this case, it is a nursing cover, AKA, “hooter hider.” This one, for example, is selling for a little over 30 dollars. Really? $30 for a piece of

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Make Your Own Baby Wipes

Make Your Own Baby Wipes

Due to some stubborn diaper rash on Adelyn’s bum, I started asking questions about things that could possibly help it go away a little faster. I got a few good suggestions from my expert mommy friends. One told me that her doctor told her to stop using wipes and switch

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DIY Baby Gift: Owl Pillow and Burp Cloths

DIY Baby Gift: Owl Pillow and Burp Cloths

A friend of mine had a little boy yesterday. I used it as an excuse to whip up a few fun burp clothes and an owl. These burp clothes are actually made from cloth diapers. If you have any sewing skills whatsoever, you can for sure make these. All it

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How to Sell Fabric on Ebay

How to Sell Fabric on Ebay

Over the past few years, I’ve collected quite a bit of fabric. Too much actually. Most of it I gleaned in mass quantities from garage sales and estate sales. Since I go the thrifty route in buying fabric, I would often come home with a box full of pieces that

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How to Make a Pacifier Clip

How to Make a Pacifier Clip

My little lady loves her pacifier. She also loves to spit it out at inconvenient times and in gross places. One of the most useful things I’ve made for her so far is a pacifier clip. They were SUPER easy. I made these four in an hour or so. Its

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How to Clean Uggs

How to Clean Uggs

I love my Uggs. I got them around 3 years ago and wish I could wear them every day. They are a heavenly place for my feet in the winter. The problem with my deep love for my Uggs is that they have gotten very dirty over the past few

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DIY Carpet Deodorizer

 Have a smelly rug? I do. Our living room rug is the gathering place for all creatures large and small. A few days ago when I was down on it playing with my little gal, I was totally grossed out by the scent of dog and feet. After the close

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Toy Swapping Mommies

Want to clean out all the toys that have lost their luster in your house?  How about get some free Christmas gifts for your kids?  What if you could do both of those things while having a fun night out with your friends? If you were nodding your head along

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This Might Be My Favorite Morning Prayer

This Might Be My Favorite Morning Prayer

The prayer below is something I’ve returned to for years now.  It’s from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions or from this website that has some of those Puritan prayers listed.  My favorite line has to be the last one: “May I speak each word

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Losing That Baby Weight: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Losing That Baby Weight: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

In labor with baby #1 in January 2007.  I was smiling because I FINALLY got to go to the hospital after three days of laboring at home. Mid-contraction with baby girl in October 2008.  A much, much, much easier birth than Jack’s. Here’s comes #3 in October 2010.  My water

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Homemade Disinfectant Recipe

In an attempt to reduce toxins in our homes and save money, we’ve  become official wannabe hippie pioneer women.  Well, at least I like to think I am.  Polly, have you been converted yet? Below is my homemade disinfectant recipe, which I found here.  I use this on my kitchen

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Book Review: Spiritual Parenting

Book Review: Spiritual Parenting

Dear Dads and Moms: If you pick up one parenting book this year, might I suggest Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families?  I’ve been reading and rereading it this past year and am consistently encouraged, convicted, and challenged as a parent as a result. This book has also influenced

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Guest Blogger: Natural Parenting Does NOT Have to Be Expensive

Guest Blogger: Natural Parenting Does NOT Have to Be Expensive

Although I admit I’m not as “natural” of a parent as she (i.e. I love my epidurals and hospital births and disposable diapers still), I admire and have learned much from my friend, Holli, about living more simply.  Here is a post she recently wrote on her blog Thoughtful Parenting

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Cold Weather, Crazy Kids

Cold Weather, Crazy Kids

Although the sun peaked through today and the temp actually got up to 51 degrees, the past few weeks have been cold, snowy, wet, gray and just plain miserable!  As you may know, cold weather means completely insane little kids (and parents!).  So, what do you do with your children

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