Home Hacks

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…

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,…
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…
How I save time and money by shopping for groceries using HyVee aisles online

Groceries Delivered to My Doorstep: A Review of Hy-Vee Aisles Online

/
Hey guys. I've been itching to share this video and post with you for so many reasons. Kick back (for like 3 minutes) and give it a watch. Then read on for more info! (This post is sponsored by HyVee.…
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…

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…
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…
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…
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…

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,…
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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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.…

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…

How to Freeze 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…

Exercise

"Shape Up In May" Challenge

/
Sometimes you just need an excuse to jumpstart the engine again, right? This is why we're hosting something really fun this month. We'd LOVE for you to be a part of our "Shape Up In May" 10-Day Challenge.

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…

Pedometer Challenge Part 2: Here's Your Motivation to Move More

/
Updated and reposted from January 2013 Check out Part 1 of the Pedometer Challenge Series here and find out how you can join in. My kids and I are read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls…

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,…
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,…

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…

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. …

Good Reads

shelves of colorful books

10 Read Aloud Books for Kids Who Hate Reading

/
Every child loves books. They just don't know it yet. For the kid in your life who says they hate reading, here are 10 read aloud books that are sure to change his or her mind.

Childlike Remembrance: A Lesson From My Little Ones About the Heart of God

/
Today's post comes from my friend and author, Erin Hawley. Not only is she a great storyteller, but she has a knack for translating simple observations of her young kids into deep spiritual truths that…
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…
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…

3 Books I Couldn't Put Down This Summer (+ A Bonus One)

/
For the first time in my 9-year parenting journey, this is the first year I've finally felt not quite so tired at night. And so...I have found time and energy at night to read again. Don't get me…

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…
7 Excellent Children's Bibles

7 Must-Have Children's Bibles For All Ages (And How to Avoid All the Bad Ones)

/
There are a LOT of bad children's Bibles on the market. It's important for parents to understand that. As both a former children's ministry director and family events director for nearly 17 years…
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…
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…

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.…

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…

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…

Video from Rachel: Top 10 Toddler Books

/
*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…
A Praying Life by Paul Miller

Best Parenting Book I've Read Lately: A Praying Life by Paul Miller

/
If I'm totally honest with myself, a book about the topic of prayer would typically make my eyes glaze over with boredom.  Or is it my heart glazed over with cynicism? Note: Some of the links in this…

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.…

Party and Holiday Ideas

31 Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids

/
We've put together a list of fun, adorable and easy Christmas crafts for kids to get your family in the holiday spirit. Bonus, they will keep your children occupied while you check things off YOUR to-do…

Gift Guide: Grandparents

/
Where do we even start to say thank you to the grandparents in our life? A thoughtful gift from the family can be one small way to show our appreciation for their love and support. With help from our…

Pumpkin Dump Cake

/
Pumpkin Dump Cake is an easy to make, crowd-pleaser recipe goes a long away (serves 9-12 people). It is a delicious twist on classic pumpkin pie that almost any age will like. It's also a great make-ahead…

Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte

/
This homemade Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte is EASY to make and is my go-to drink when entertaining in the fall or winter. It's made with REAL ingredients from your pantry and everyone loves it and is…
Easter lunch on table with salad, ham, hash brown casserole, and wine

Easter Menu Plan Made Easy

/
An impressive, yet simple Easter meal for a crowd. Just follow our easy 4 step Easter Menu Plan!

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…

Our Cookbook Launch Party In Action (+ The Best Flowers in Town!)

/
This post is written in partnership with the Hy-Vee stores in Columbia, MO, who helped provide delicious food for our launch party and continue to be cheerleaders for our cookbook and our blog. Thankful…

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…

What Will Be Next Year's Christmas Memory? (+ $100 Macy's Gift Card Giveaway!)

/
Holiday Traditions. Take them or leave them, we all have them. Even if your tradition is NOT having any traditions. Sorry to break it to you, you have a tradition of being non-traditional. OK, I'm being…

"Good News of Great Joy!" Family Christmas Devotional (Only $4.99!)

/
What story will most capture your child’s heart this holiday season? Children begin to form their understanding of what Christmas is about from very early on. The only real question is who or what will…

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…

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…

Candy Corn Halloween Craft

/
This Candy Corn Craft for preschoolers and toddlers couldn't be easier. Either use scrap paper or scrap fabric, our free printable template, and some glue and let your child get to work. Halloween…

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.…

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…

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…

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…
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…
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…
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.…
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.…
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…
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…

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…

Natural Living

Top 10 Safe and Budget-Friendly Sunscreens for Kids (2019 Edition)

/
Did you know most of the sunscreens for babies and children on the market are filled with harmful chemicals, from endocrine disruptors to cancer-causing ingredients? If you want to keep your child safe from the sun's damage and safe from toxic sunscreen ingredients without breaking the bank, pick up one of our curated Top 10 Safest and Budget-Friendly Sunscreens for Kids this year. We've done all the research for you!

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…

Pique Tea: Possibly the World's Healthiest Beverage

/
I've always wanted to be a tea drinker. I've even bought cute tea pots in an effort to motivate myself to dabble and experiment with different flavors, leaves, and brewing methods. However, I never quite…

Healthy Living Small Step #10: Switch to an All-Natural Laundry Detergent

/
As we've journeyed through our 10 Small Steps Towards Healthy Living Series (start here if you are just joining), there have likely been steps that you chosen to skip over. Some require a bit more money…

Healthy Living Small Step #9: Diffuse Essential Oils Instead of Burning Candles

/
Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. Step #9: Diffuse essential oils instead of burning candles. Can we be honest with each other? I am having a hard time…
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…

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…

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…
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…

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…

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…
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…

10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living: What Does "Healthy Living" Actually Mean?

/
In the past 10 years, my definition of "healthy" has dramatically changed. 22 year old Polly would have described healthy living simply as limiting your calories and eating low-fat foods. Like most women,…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…
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…

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…
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…
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…

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,…

Faith

15+ Advent Resources for the Whole Family

/
This year, Advent begins on Sunday, December 1st. The true reason we celebrate Christmas - that God sent His only Son for us - can get lost in the hustle and bustle of preparations for the holiday. Advent…

9 Must Have Tween and Teen Bibles

/
We've curated some of the best Bibles on the market for tweens and teens in this article. With our tips and recommendations, we hope to help you find an engaging and trustworthy Bible translation,…
moving truck

3 Lessons from Moving Across the Country

/
By Erin Hawley, Contributor Our family has recently relocated for my husband’s job.  There have been some difficult moments as we moved our two small children away from their school, friends,…

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Strengthen Your Faith and Family

/
These 5 New Year's resolutions to grow your faith and family may be the most meaningful ones of your entire life.

Childlike Remembrance: A Lesson From My Little Ones About the Heart of God

/
Today's post comes from my friend and author, Erin Hawley. Not only is she a great storyteller, but she has a knack for translating simple observations of her young kids into deep spiritual truths that…
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…

3 Devotional Books for Elementary Kids We Are Loving

/
If I get one thing right as a parent...it's not to get them the right education. It's not to make sure they play the right sports. It's not to help them avoid pain at all cost. And it's not even to make…

My Fight with Binge Eating, Excessive Exercising, and Self Image

/
Today I'm sharing about a big struggle that God brought me through in my 20's. I pray that whether you are going through this same trial or face another seemingly hopeless sin pattern in your life, that…

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…

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…

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…

"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…

To Think God Had This in Mind for My Family 15 Years Ago

/
I never would have thought this would be the case 15 years ago, but God had it mind. In 2001, my husband and I recruited a few couples from church around our same age, in our twenties at that time, to…
Do you know how to tell a good devotional resource from a mediocre or even a bad one? It's important to ask at least three questions before purchasing faith-building devotionals or children's Bibles for your family.

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Family Devotional (Plus 25+ Recommendations!)

/
As a children's ministry staff member at my church for the past 16 years and a mom of three elementary-aged kiddos, I'm always on the look out for great faith-building resources for parents. Devotional…
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…

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…
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…

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…

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…
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…

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…
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…

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…

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…

Homemade Household Products

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…

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…

Healthy Living Small Step #10: Switch to an All-Natural Laundry Detergent

/
As we've journeyed through our 10 Small Steps Towards Healthy Living Series (start here if you are just joining), there have likely been steps that you chosen to skip over. Some require a bit more money…

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…

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…

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…
6 Ways to Reduce Chemicals in Your Home

6 Simple Ways to Reduce Chemicals In Your Home (+ Win $79 Worth of Young Living Products-EXPIRED)

/
Sponsored post by Essential Oil Living. The following information in this post has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. Six years ago, when my son was…
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…

All Natural Orange Vinegar and Orange Peel Household Cleaner

/
A long time ago, before we even started Thriving Home, Rachel recruited me to make some DIY All-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. This was the first time that I saw how cheap and easy it was to make your own…

Easy Homemade Playdough Recipe (+ FREE Printable Recipe Card)

/
A printable recipe for playdough is available at the bottom of this post! I have such fond memories of making playdough with my mom and siblings. We'd watch in anticipation as my mom stirred up the mixture…

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,…

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…

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.…
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…

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…
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…
homemade laundry detergent ingredients

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

/
Making homemade laundry detergent is easier than you might think. You'll save so much money and know that you're using a safe option for your family.
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…

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…

Fashion

Fall Fashion Must Have Wardrobe Staples from Target (2019 Edition)

/
Simplify your closet and look totally put together with these mix-and-match fall wardrobe pieces from Target...all without breaking the bank!

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.…

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…

About the Noonday Collection & Why I Hosted a Trunk Show

/
This weekend I turned 33. Unlike the past few years, I think I'll actually remember how old I am thanks to a friend of mine pointing out that I am at the age that Jesus was when he died. Thanks, Erin. Despite…

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…

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…

Household Recipes

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…

Confessions

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…

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.…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

Confessions: Tomatoes, Little Dogs and the Ice Bucket Challenge

/
Sometimes I get into blog mode and feel like I can only write about helpful things--things that someone will want to pin or share. Recipes, crafts, book reviews and kid ideas are all great. And, probably…

Saving Money

Top 10 Safe and Budget-Friendly Sunscreens for Kids (2019 Edition)

/
Did you know most of the sunscreens for babies and children on the market are filled with harmful chemicals, from endocrine disruptors to cancer-causing ingredients? If you want to keep your child safe from the sun's damage and safe from toxic sunscreen ingredients without breaking the bank, pick up one of our curated Top 10 Safest and Budget-Friendly Sunscreens for Kids this year. We've done all the research for you!

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,…

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…

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…

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…
How I save time and money by shopping for groceries using HyVee aisles online

Groceries Delivered to My Doorstep: A Review of Hy-Vee Aisles Online

/
Hey guys. I've been itching to share this video and post with you for so many reasons. Kick back (for like 3 minutes) and give it a watch. Then read on for more info! (This post is sponsored by HyVee.…
Stock Up on Summer Produce to Save Time & Money (+50 In-Season Recipes)

Stock Up on Summer Produce to Save Time and Money (+ 50 In-Season Recipes)

/
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Frigidaire. But the opinions are all ours! Ripe berries, juicy peaches, zucchini the size of your forearm, more tomatoes than you can shake…

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…

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.…

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…

Essential Oils

Healthy Living Small Step #9: Diffuse Essential Oils Instead of Burning Candles

/
Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. Step #9: Diffuse essential oils instead of burning candles. Can we be honest with each other? I am having a hard time…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Marriage

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,…

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…