Parent Well

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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Gift Ideas for a 5 Year Old Boy

My Ty-Guy turned five a few weeks ago. Looking back at his birth story, I am flooded memories from that day and totally sound cliche when I say that it went so fast. Long days, short years. Another cliche but oh-so-true statement. As with every birthday that comes, I find

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Table Talk Conversation Cards for Dinnertime

Table Talk Cards: Use Dinnertime Wisely

Time together as a family is precious. Maybe like us, you want to use these years of having kids under your roof wisely. We want to build life-long relationships with our children and influence them to be successful, compassionate, loving adults. Sometimes that feels like the most overwhelming task. Where

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101 Meals to Take to New Moms

Whether you’re looking to stock up on freezer meals for yourself, or for recipe ideas to take to a new mom, this roundup is for you! You’ll love our 101 Meal Ideas to Take to New Moms.  Gosh. I look back at these pictures and I remember. I remember how

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One of My Favorite Holiday Traditions

Growing up, every Christmas morning we had monkey bread. While the sticky sweet recipe is delish, what makes the monkey bread so special is the tradition behind it. The thought of our Christmas morning monkey bread warms my heart and is something I want to carry on in my family.

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Christmas Tree Troubles

Gather round, friends. I have a Christmas tale for you that is sure to bring some jolly to your day. It is a tale of a young mother who had large Christmas tree ambitions. Ambitions that were thwarted by the brokenness in this world. Yet, she persisted. And ended up

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15 Books That Share the REAL Meaning of Christmas

“In a culture that uses this season to get children to dream about how their lives would be made better by possessing a certain material thing, where Christmas has been reduced to a shopper’s nightmare and a retailer’s dream, it is vital to draw the wonder of our children away from

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10+ Halloween School Party Ideas

Need some ideas for a Halloween school party? Or even some game ideas for a Halloween party coming up? Keep reading… Am I the only one who draws a blank when it comes to brainstorming up school party ideas? I feel like I see awesome game ideas all year long

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Before you fire off an email or social media post, be sure to read this article about some great ways to encourage your teacher.

How NOT to Encourage Your Child’s Teacher

Meet our friend and Virtual Assistant Jennifer Shackelford. She works behind the scenes every week to bring our Real Food Menu Plans to you. We are incredibly blessed to have her our on team. And, as if Polly and I being lookalikes isn’t strange enough, Jennifer happens to be a

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3 Ridiculous Arguments I Continue to Have with My Preschooler

I absolutely love the things that come out of preschoolers’ mouths. There are too many one liners to keep track of. The stream of thought dialogue is innocent, precious, and sometimes, down right hilarious. Recently, some friends and I were chatting about the hilarious things that kids say. Here are

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I’m Not the Mom I Thought I’d Be

Yesterday, I was in a flurry of busyness. I was attempting to bring some order to the office in our new home but my productivity was being thwarted by my three little people who sensed my distraction. I remember thinking, if I could just have an hour of alone time,

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5 GREAT Road Trip Activities for Kids (Cheap Ideas too!)

As I mentioned in a previous post, my family just returned from a trip to Florida. From mid-Missouri, the trip takes around 16 hours, depending on how quick your stops are. We had initially planned to stay in a hotel half way there but since our kids, four and six

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We Need to Tell Our Kids That It’s Hard to Follow Jesus

Photo credit: All photos in this post are property of The Crossing, Columbia, MO. See originals here. I just spent the past year with a team at my church writing and producing a curriculum for our one-week kids camp, called Kids Club. This is my 16th year of helping run

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Round up of easy summer learning activities for preschoolers

20+ Summer Preschool Learning Activities

Summer is a-coming! All of my little ducklings will be back in the nest and quickly clamoring for things to do. So, in theory, I’m OK with my kids facing a little boredom. It forces them to be creative and play together cooperatively more. Yeah boredom!  BUT, in reality, in

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Resource for How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex (Ages 3+)

5 year old: “Mom, how do the eggs get in the mama bird’s belly?” Mom: “Um, well, (frantically trying to formulate an answer that will not spur more questions) the daddy puts them there.” (Not my best parenting moment). 5 year old: “Does it hurt for the egg to come

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5 Lessons I’ve Learned This Year as a Mom of Three

My sweet “Clay-Bay-Bay” just turned one. It seems so cliche to say that this year has gone fast but it also feels wrong to not say it. We have officially completed an entire year with three kids, 5 and under. I get tired even thinking about it. To be completely

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Two Questions to Ask Your Child Every Day

Dinner time is far from picture perfect these days. While I do have hopes of one day sitting around the table and talking about the happenings of the day, our current meal times are a combination of sibling squabbles, standing up in chairs, spilled drinks, and complaints. It’s usually all wrapped

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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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Why Mommy Meltdowns are OK Sometimes

A few weeks ago I was having a hard day. Minor things had been chipping away at me all day long and my resistance was low. When my infant refused to go down for an afternoon nap I hit my tipping point and began to crumble. A mommy meltdown was

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Jesus' Birthday Cake

A Birthday Party for Jesus on Christmas Night

When the gift opening frenzy is over, all toys have been played with, and everyone has sufficiently stuffed themselves on Christmas dinner..there’s still one more Christmas tradition my children can’t wait for each year: our birthday party for Jesus on Christmas night. I love that our celebration ends with setting our

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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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“Seeds of Christmas” Album and DVD Review

*This post is sponsored by Seeds Family Worship but opinions are all mine! Well, they’ve done it again. Seeds Family Worship has come out yet again with another scripture led, kid-favorite, easy on the ears of parents, wonderful album. Except this time, it’s a bit different. It’s CHRISTMAS themed! Teaching

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5 Reminders for the Sleep Deprived Mom (or Dad!)

My third kid was about two months old and I was TIRED. So very tired. The newborn honeymoon stage had worn off only to be replaced by an accumulation of sleep deprivation. One night, after already being up multiple times, I was woken up by my husband talking. However, he

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The Gift of a Granola Bar

Monday mornings are a big deal around our house. Reason for all the excitement? Trash day. My kids not only love trash day because of the huge trucks that give them a honk and a wave but they have formed a sweet bond with the hardworking men who pick up

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Character is Caught, Not Taught

As a child of the 80s, I grew up watching my dad get his newspapers out of those huge, metal dispensers. I loved putting the quarters in for him and the immediate ability to pull a previously-locked door open. One particular Sunday morning we were in front of the Casey’s

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A Third Kid is Like…

“So, how is life with three kids?” is a common question I’ve been getting these days. It’s such an innocent question that I can answer in one sentence or in three hours. And, as with most things in the realm of parenting, one’s experience is entirely dependent on the existing

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This well-done, biblical devotional book is perfect for families with elementary and teenage children. Parents will find it easy to use all year round.

Book Review of “One Year of Dinner Table Devotions”

Do you know what one extensive study shows to be the three crucial factors in teenagers retaining their faith through high school and beyond? The first and second of those three factors are two things that you and I can start doing when our kids are young. The #1 factor is

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Dig In

My kids’ room was a mess. They had been playing hard and managed to undo any type of organization I had attempted to create in the past 4 years. While I was thankful for the extended conflict-free play time, I wasn’t thankful for the unearthing of every toy that existed

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One of My BEST Postpartum Soreness Tricks

After having three babies, I’ve managed to pick up a few tips and tricks when it comes to recovering from childbirth. Because of some complications with a two-vessel umbilical cord, my first baby was a cesarian. My next two came into the world VBAC style (Tyler’s story & Clayton’s story). The truth

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‘Tis the Season…to Not Keep Up with Life

I like a clean home. Not a spotless clean but a tidy clean. My home is far from perfect or clutter-free but I always felt like I had somewhat of a handle on things. I’m just a person who is usually on top of things. However, since my third child

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These 8 Hy-Vee hacks for parents make for the best shopping trip ever.

8 Hy-Vee Hacks Every Parent Should Know

Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia) Many years ago when I started having children, I quickly realized that grocery shopping with small people in tow can be a nightmare. I knew I had to hit a small window of opportunity to get in and get out without major meltdowns. That’s honestly why I

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10 Ways to Cultivate Grateful Hearts in Your Kids

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. Yesterday I shared a bit of our parenting struggles as of late (read: entitlement!) and

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Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

Book Review: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

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. We moved to a new school last August. My 3rd grader in particular has

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He’s HERE! Clayton’s Birth Story

He’s here! He’s here! If you follow any of my social media, you have known that for a few days now that baby Clayton was born on March, 23 at 7:01 pm. He was born three weeks early but is my biggest baby of the three coming in at 7lbs

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15 meaningful Easter books that will help you and your family focus on the meaning of the holiday

15 Meaningful Easter Books

Easter is such a happy holiday. Bunnies. Egg hunts. Special Easter Sunday dresses (and an excuse to put little boys in vests or ties). Easter brunch with the family. Fun candies. Spring time. It really is one of my favorite holidays. Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,

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Bed-Resting (Part 2)

So, here we are. On bed rest. (If you want the backstory to how I got here, hop over to yesterday’s post.) If I’m being completely honest with myself, the idea of being on bed rest for the last few weeks of pregnancy didn’t sound all that bad. Kicking back,

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Bed-Resting (Part 1)

Hey Friends. Polly here. Because I can get a little chatty when I write personal posts like these, I’ve decided to break this up into two different posts: 1) The backstory to how I ended up on bed rest and 2) Some initial observations and things I’m learning from sitting on

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Storm the Castle: A Mini Catapult Launching Game

Storm the Castle: A Mini Catapult Launching Game

My 5-year-son and I made up this game one afternoon that we called “Storm the Castle”. We had so much fun together, as you can see in our snippet of video at the bottom. A bonus was that he was also learning problem-solving, counting, and fine motor skills with me “teaching” him. I call that

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How to Get Yellow Stains Out of Stored Baby Clothes

A rumbling-tumbling-jumping belly, achy back, out of breath…all the time, decreased appetite, and hating 95% of clothing can only mean one thing: the third trimester! It’s game time baby. The nursery is starting to take shape and I’m starting to knock off some to-do’s before baby #3 arrives. Since we

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The Mighty Mundane

As an expectant mom, I doubt I’m alone when I confess that I have some anxieties and fears about the unknowns of what the future holds. Along with the excitement and anticipation of a new baby, there is also a touch of nervousness. I mean, will I be able to

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You'll never regret giving this thrifty, yet meaningful gift this Christmas.

Giving the Gift of Time To Our Kids for Christmas

Guest post by Erin Anderson. Being six years younger than my sister, I always wanted to be more than an annoying little sister. That’s likely why I still remember when she invited me at the age of 14 to stay with her at college for a weekend. When I was

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5 Devotional Books Our Family is Loving

5 Devotional Books Our Family Is Loving

There are so many things my husband, Nathan, and I find ourselves regretting that we do or say as parents. But, one that I’m fairly confident we will not regret is taking the time to read to our children–especially books that encourage them to have a bigger, truer view of our

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Five Reasons My Strong-Willed Child is a Blessing

I’m currently in a pretty large women’s Bible study filled with moms. What I’ve learned from listening to moms in all stages–some with their first infant, to some with kids in college–is that most families have a tough kid in the batch. We’ve finessed it down to calling them our

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Polly’s Big News

Woot woot!! I’ve been dying to share fun our news with you all.  Today is finally the day! In April, my husband and I will be officially outnumbered by children. You guys. Now that I can openly talk about this, I must tell you that the first trimester kicked my

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Pacifier, Be Gone!

The time had come. My 2 year old, pacifier-loving son has reached a point in his manhood that takes much courage. Much strength. Much hardship. It was his time. His time to lose the pacifier. Every young man comes to this turning point in his life. Some at the ripe

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When Motherhood Gets Messy

When Motherhood Gets Messy

This guest post by Rebekah, from Barren to Beautiful, has touched my heart. It had me laughing and crying all in the same 5 minutes. Rebekah has a true gift of sharing her heart and providing much-needed encouragement for mothers. We are thankful to have her share on Thriving Home today.  

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Free Printables for Summer

FREE Fun Printables for Summer

Hey there, Thriving Home readers! My name is Julie and I blog over at Happy Home Fairy. One of my favorite things to do on my site is create fun FREE Printables that help sweet mamas like you build a happy home! Polly and Rachel asked if I would share

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No time for grumps--perspective for motherhood

No Time for Grumps

This morning I was woken up at 5:30 a.m. by my dog, who sleeps under our bed, scratching. And scratching. And scratching. I still have no idea why we let our 70 pound lab/Shepard mix sleep under our bed but we do. He’s got issues. I laid there for a

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Does Having a Loving Family Give a Child an Unfair Advantage?

Does Having a Loving Family Give a Child an Unfair Advantage?

Guest post by Keith Simon, our friend and pastor at The Crossing, as well as, father of four children. This post was originally posted at Every Square Inch. Inequality is in the news. There’s economic inequality (1% vs. 99%), racial inequality (see Ferguson and Baltimore), and educational inequality (all schools

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Make This Summer with Your Kids Count - How to create intentional summer goals that will make a difference in kids' lives.

Make This Summer with Your Kids Count (2015 Edition)

Ah, summer. For many of us, the word is synonymous with any number of good things: long, sun-drenched days, vacations, going to the pool, the smell of freshly cut grass, baseball, etc. But the summer months also offer a great chance for parents to help their kids grow and develop

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encouraging Bible verse cards just for moms

Mother’s Day Special: 50% Off Verse Cards for Moms

If you’re looking for a thoughtful, last minute gift idea for a mom, we have an idea for you! For one week only we are offering 50% off our Bible verse cards. (This is our biggest discount of the year on these!) Swing by our store and use the coupon:

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These are the Best Days

The following post is from a college friend of mine, Justin Ricklefs. His warm and authentic reflections on family, marriage and relationships have captured the heart and attention of many readers. Reclaiming the meaning of what matters most is what motivates his writing and it is evident in everything he shares. We

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Rainy Day Activity with marshmallows and toothpicks is one of the simplest learning activities for many ages.

Marshmallows + Toothpicks = Rainy Day Activity

This activity isn’t rocket science…but it might further your child toward that career. Simply give your child toothpicks. Gasp! You mean hand my child those sharp pointy objects!? They will poke their sibling’s eye out! Yes, hand them toothpicks. And then hand them a bizillion little marshmallows and watch the

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Gift Ideas for a Two Year Old Boy

*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.  This little man is turning

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Boredom Buster: Paint a Box!

We’ve been cooped up way too long. Between yucky weather, fevers and snow days, my kids were getting major cabin fever. I needed something… stat. As of late, my three year old has taken to painting and can actually do it now without creating a masterpiece on the table, wall,

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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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My Preschooler’s Favorite Counting Game

I wanted to share a super easy counting game that is great for toddlers and preschoolers. This number learning game is something you can put together at home and will keep your kiddo busy. When I was part of a Busy Bag Swap, I came home with this little counting

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“Do You Sometimes Just Cry?”

The blog helps me make friends. Seriously. People read my parenting posts (or parenting woes), totally relate, want to talk to me about their similar experiences, we connect over harrowing kid stories and eventually become friends.  Real life example: my friend, Laura.  This gal is a doll. Love her. Like

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Ball Toss Game: Learning to Add by 10s

Anybody remember The Bozo Show? I think I just dated myself…big time. But, that’s where this ball toss game idea originally came from. My kids, ranging in age from 4-8, love this game on rainy or cold days. As they play, they are learning to count by 10s. Even my

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When Grace is So Good That It Hurts

The following post is written by my dear friend, Sara. Despite being 9 months pregnant with her 3rd she is still full of spunk, fun, humor and wit. When she shared this post on her blog, Moves Like Jaeger, I couldn’t believe how well she articulated how I currently feel

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14 best educational toys

The 14 Best Hands-On Educational Toys We Own

*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.  Every year around Christmas and

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Seven Things I Swore I’d Never Do as a Parent

I knew so much more about parenting before I had children. Yes friends, I had it all figured out. I knew the type of mom I’d be, the type of kids I’d raise, the type of foods we eat, the countless learning activities we would do together and so on.

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Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party

Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party: A Complete Guide

Although a while back, I swore off a Pinterest birthday party for my kids, here I am. I found a pocket of creative time this past year and dove head-first into my 7-year-old son’s request for a Science Birthday party. I won’t lie. The research and preparation took a long

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preschool math learning game

Preschool Math Learning Game: Twist On the Game of War

Here’s a quick and easy math learning game you can play with your preschooler. My 4-year-old son loves this one. It’s a twist on the game of war which will help your child learn the concept of “more than and less than” in a visual way. This War Game also

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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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6 Easy and Fun Activities for Holiday Gatherings

  Updated from December 2013. Want to spice up that next family gathering or Christmas party? Try a game or activity to get everyone involved. Here are some of our favorites to do together over the holidays with your kids, with friends or at extended family gatherings. Enjoy!

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Family Christmas Celebration

Santa or No Santa?

Last weekend I had a girls weekend with my college besties. As we’ve talked about before here and here, getting away with girlfriends is refreshing for the soul. We had a blast (and almost got snowed in!!) The weekend was full of laughs, good food and great conversations. One conversation

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“Mommy, Are You Happy?”

Mommy Monster has been on the prowl. I’ve just found myself in a little funk in which I’ve been quick to anger and acting like a hormonal teenager in the way I have been snippy and quick to anger with my kids. After a middle of the night battle with

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Easy Halloween Party Games

3 Easy Halloween Party Games

Updated and reposted from October 2013. I love thinking of and running games for kids…really people of any age. (Some favs on our blog are Homemade Apples to Apples, The Question Game, and Rate Your Mate.) So, when I saw Katie’s awesome post at Kitchen Stewardship about Easy School Halloween

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Bible Learning Cards

We are all about getting the word out there about toys, products, websites and music that we love. A product that I recently stumbled across (well, actually it was sent to me to try out) was a set of these Bible Learning Cards made by Words2Remember4Kids. No, I’m not getting

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Much Love for Lana at Art and Soul Photography

Along with our site being updated, you may have noticed that our pictures have been updated as well. We were lucky to snag our friend, Lana Ekland at Art and Soul Photography to take the job. I’ve actually have known Lana for over five years now because once upon a

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talking to your kids about sex

6 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Sex

Guest post by Nathan, Rachel’s husband Rachel and I are the parents of three kids, and though the oldest is just starting second grade, we’ve been occasionally discussing how to talk with our kids about sex. In fact, it might be better to say that we’ve been discussing how to

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Preschool Number Learning Game

This preschool number learning activity is almost too simple to deserve its own post. Anyone can whip this matching game up at almost any time. All you need is some paper and scissors.

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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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Field of Dreams: A Family Business Venture

My mom (i.e. the real pioneer woman) has a dream. It’s a pretty cool dream. It might help to see this picture of my mom, me, and my little sister from my childhood first. See, my mom has always had a thing for pumpkins. And she won first prize at

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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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A Word to the Struggling New Mom

I recently got together with a sweet friend who has a six month old. It was the first time we had actually talked face-to-face since he was born and the first time I was able to hear firsthand about the struggle and hardship she had been going through since he

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Mom Hack: The Problem of Legos

Mom Hack: Make Your Lego Problems Go Away

All moms of boys know the problem of Legos, eh? They breed and then migrate. That’s my best guess for how they get under the refrigerator, next to the toilet, and in the van, among about 206 other locations. One solution that I’ve found helpful is…wait for it…wait for it…

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Making My Summer at Home with Kids Count

Today is my 1st grade son’s last day of school (finally!). After one last trip to the Dollar Store this morning, I’m ready! Summer provides a magical (well, at least at first) and unique time to pour into my three kids at home. The great amount of free time together,

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Stacking Cheerios: A Preschool Counting Game

My almost-three-year-old has been enjoying all things counting as of late. I’ve been trying to run with the momentum and find all sorts of things to count. I saw an idea similar to this on Pinterest and thought we’d give it a whirl. Here’s the game: Take two skewer sticks

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Thoughtful Father’s Day Gift Idea

I wanted to share about a DIY Father’s Day gift I put together for my dad a few years ago. It took a little preliminary work but the thoughtfulness and time put into it was totally worth it. Weeks before Father’s Day, I asked my two siblings to send me

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World’s Toughest Job

World’s Toughest Job

This video has been going around for a while but I couldn’t help but smile and laugh my way through it. Happy Mother’s Day.

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alphabet soup preschool learning activity

Alphabet Soup: Preschool Learning Game

Dinner is going–pots boiling, oven cranked and chopping knife in hand. And the only thing the kids want is to be near mommy. I mean right on top of me. Know that feeling? Years ago, we coined the term “counter activities” in our house. These are small learning activities that

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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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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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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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11 Healthy Make Ahead Meals for Little Eaters

My little guy is now 9 months old and pretty much eats what we do at the table. I guess you could say my infant food philosophy falls near the Baby Led Weaning philosophy except that I do make an effort to mush up certain foods and make a few

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The Oh-So-Average Snow Day

Sometimes snow days look like this or this or this. But, let’s be honest, the majority of the time they don’t look like blog or Facebook pictures, do they? After the third impossibly cold snow day in a row and now a sick kid, here’s how today has unfolded… There’s

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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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Indoor Snow Day Activities

7 Indoor Snow Day Activities for Kids

Guest post by Rachel Johnson These cold winter days can feel long and dreary for everyone, especially our little ones. Although snow days can be fun, they can be disappointing when it is too cold to actually go out to play in the snow. If your kids are like mine,

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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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valentine's day scavenger hunt for kids

Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt for Kids

A couple I work with have been doing a Valentine’s Scavenger Hunt for their kids as long as I’ve known them. It began when their kids were very young, but, now that all of them are teenagers, it still continues. The mom told me that her kids used to get

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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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Indoor Snow Play (for REALLY Cold Snow Days)

Does your weather look anything like this today? Folks, I live in Missouri, not Alaska. We don’t really know what to do with ourselves. We cancel school. My neighborhood streets are barren. Everyone is afraid to go outside. And, as all moms with kids at home know, this kind of

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2013 Top Ten Posts: Parenting

  1. Cultivating a Heart that Obeys: Dealing with a Whiny Insolent Child 2. Make Your summer at Home Count 3. Packing a Hospital Bag Printable Check List 4. Three Questions to Ask a Child Who Has Done Wrong 5. Baby Gear: What do you actually need? 6. What to

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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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Interview with Author Rachel Jankovic

Have you heard of author, blogger and mom of six, Rachel Jankovic? She penned two fantastically brief and poignant parenting books I’ve reviewed: Loving the Little Years and her latest release, Fit to Burst. If you have children at home, put a show on for the kids (and don’t feel

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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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Alphabet Train: Toddler Learning Activity

I’m always looking for creative learning games that my toddler will engage in. Here is a fun one that helps toddlers with letter recognition that we have been doing as of late. I saw it on Toddler Approved and thought I’d give it a shot. Alphabet Train Letter Game Using

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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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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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Jaw-Dropping, DIY Nursery Decor

My dear sister is due to have their first baby ANY day now. Poor gal has been instructed to say at home and simply wait. Talk about a long couple of days! She’s had a great attitude through her entire pregnancy and has been a great example to me about

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25 Encouraging Bible Verse Cards for Moms–Get Yours Today!

Just one minute of looking up instead of down–at the dirty floors or a crabby kid– can change your whole perspective as a mom. When you meditate on biblical truth throughout the day–whether it’s in the car, at the kitchen sink, or while changing a diaper–your heart and mind are

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Family Devotional Cootie Catcher

Easy Family Devotional Activity: Make a “Verse Catcher”

You know you have a great babysitter when you come home and she’s playing “Psalm Catcher” with the kids. Remember those paper thingy-ma-bobbers that we made in grade school called “Cootie Catchers”? It’s the same concept, except our sitter had listed Psalms to look up on the inside. The kids

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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’m a Broken Parent Today

Note: I wrote this cathartic piece for myself earlier this week. I went ahead and posted it today, though, on the off chance there are a few other parents out there who need to these reminders, too. The rest of the day and week went better after this self-reflection and

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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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craft idea for toddlers

Easy Craft Idea for Toddlers

  Looking for a cheap and easy craft idea to do with the kiddos? Here is one that even a non-crafty person can easily do. Simply use painters tape to create a shape or word and then let your kiddo go to town with painting all over it. The messier

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What to Expect When Transitioning from One Kid to Two

First of all, I think this post’s title is a bit misleading. Each family dynamic is different and there is no formula on what to expect when a major transition happens in your life. That being said, I am now close to 5 months into my transition from one to

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Calm. Fair. Firm.

I’m only two years into parenting but one thing I’ve learned quickly is our little ones get into funks. Every seasoned mom can testify to it and there is almost no way around it. Our kids get into funks and that is part of it. My two year old happens

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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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Simple Toddler Activity

Simple Toddler Activity

Am I the only mom whose kid seems to instantly need my attention when I’m in the midst of making dinner? Or who suddenly thinks they are starving and won’t make it for the 20 minutes that dinner has left to cook? I hope not. Often times I’m looking for

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10 Things Babysitters Wish You Knew

I must admit, I’m pretty excited about this post. It took a lot of work and research but I think the information in it is so valuable not only to moms but to our children that our babysitters watch. Just like any other job, having a babysitter who is happy

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Understanding the Fourth Trimester

We have a great and very thorough guest post today from our friend, Holli. I SO wish I would have read this before my first baby! It would have explained so much of what I was feeling and helped me navigate the first few weeks of having a newborn a bit more

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Parenting Inspiration for Real Life

Recognize this picture? Well, I know most of you probably don’t recognize my family, per se, but recognize what’s going on here? This was taken several years ago, but I love it because it shows us as a REAL family. Toddler tantrum, tired baby, and me with my stay-at-home mom

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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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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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Fourth of July Craft Ideas

It’s June! It’s summer! I’m already seeing some Fourth of July crafts floating around the blogland so I thought I’d throw a few of mine in the mix. Pin it if you like it! Here is a Fourth of July Onesie I made this little festive outfit for my daughter

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Glimpses of Grace

Glimpses of Grace

If you’ve been around Thriving Home a bit, you know we love books and to recommend good reads to our readers. (Most of the books we’ve recommended can be found in our store so if you are looking for a good read, check it out.) I’m excited to add another book

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How to Make a Chore Chart

How to Make a Chore Chart (a.k.a. Swift Kick in the Pants Chart)

You’re probably not like me. You probably don’t sweep your kitchen mostly just when you notice the ants beneath the kids’ stools nibbling on crumbs. You probably don’t check off everything else on your to do list but “swish the toilets”. And, I’m sure you don’t make a discrete pile

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Simple Toddler Activities

Simple Toddler Activities

Keeping a toddler busy is hard work. While I really do believe it is ok to let kids be bored sometimes, I’ve found that our home is happier and simply more stable when my two year old is occupied. It takes some planning and work to have creative outlets for your

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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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Growing Pains

Growing Pains

This post comes from my good friend, Sara. After reading it on her blog, Sara J. Writes, I immediately texted her and asked if I could share it. I hope you find Sara’s honesty and humor as refreshing as I do.  Growing Pains When I was little I would get

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Newborn Gear that I’m Loving (The Second Time Around)

*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.  I can’t believe it’s already

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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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Welcome to the World, Little Tyler!

As you have probably gathered by now, our little man is finally here! He was born on Monday, April 23 at 9:14 a.m. 7 lbs 3 oz. His arrival couldn’t have gone better. I’m not just saying that. I have truly seen and felt God’s hand in the timing and

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40 Reasons To Go the Full 40

In hopes of encouraging me to endure these last few weeks of pregnancy, my RN mother forwarded me these resources from the OB Nurse manager at the hospital she works at. Hope they can help any other uncomfortable pregnant mamas out there to hang in there! Download a printable version of

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Best Pregnancy Announcement. Ever.

Hey guess what? My sister is pregnant! Here is how she and her hubby told the world: So gross but so hilarious. Poor thing. She is 13 weeks along and doing great (despite what the picture may communicate). We are excited to have a cousin on the way!

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A Review of My Panasonic Bread Machine

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been going a little crazy with the bread machine recipes. Ever since I got my bread machine four months ago we’ve continually had some type of bread, pastry, or pizza around the house or in the freezer. I love the ease of dumping a

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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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DIY Nursery Decor: Trains!

With a baby boy on the way in about a month, I have been working hard to get his nursery prepped and ready. Since it was previously decorated for a girl, part of this includes making changes to the room to prepare it for a boy. I’m honestly not sure

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Olliblocks: A Mom’s Review

Olliblocks: A Mom’s Review

While we for sure have our share of toys that light up, play music, and even dance around, I’m always on the hunt for toys that encourage creativity and thinking. Since creative toys are sometimes hard to find, I was excited when I stumbled onto Olliblocks on Pinterest.  After poking around

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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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Thought-Provoking Quotes for Parents

Thought-Provoking Quotes for Parents

In six years’ time, our family went from this… To this… No, I’m not pointing out my husband’s drastic hair change. Although, like the addition of two more children, it was a much welcomed change. 🙂 Yes, it’s gone by fast so far. All those veteran parents who have told

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10 Things to Do Before the Baby Arrives

All through this pregnancy I’ve felt as though I’ve had plenty of time to get things ready for Baby 2.0. However, as my due date inches closer and closer, I am starting to feel the time crunch. Here is a list of 10 things to do before a baby arrives:

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Practical Ideas for Teaching Children to Give

Practical Ideas for Teaching Children to Give

How kids learn to view and use their material possessions from early on has eternal significance in their lives. Today, I want to explore where we as parents can begin when cultivating a giving heart in our children. I write this for myself as much as for anyone else, since

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Snow Ice Cream Recipe (or Snow Frappacino)

Snow Ice Cream Recipe (or Snow Frappuccino!)

Who doesn’t love those sugar-filled icy cups of frappy goodness at Starbucks, really? But, at nearly $4 a pop and a whopping 50 grams of sugar and 240 calories in each one (that’s the plain coffee ones–I’m not even counting the dolled up Mocha or Caramel Fraps), why not make

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Seven Practical and Easy Ways to Help a New Mom

Motherhood confession: I had a very hard time transitioning to motherhood when my first child was born. For a lot of reasons I really struggled to enjoy that season of life. God got me through it and taught me A LOT but it was tough. Because of my experience, I

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Flushable Liner Fail

Flushable-shmushable. In my post, Cloth Diapering 101, I raved and raved about the flushable liners we used to help with the clean up of a poopy diaper. Turns out when you have a 70 year old house, the plumbing doesn’t handle “flushable” products very well. Below you will see the

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Packing a Hospital Bag: A Printable Checklist

Packing a Hospital Bag: A Printable Checklist

If you’re a first time expecting mama, you may be wondering what you will need to pack for your stay in the hospital. I know I was.  I also knew the last thing I wanted to be doing while in labor was worrying that I forgot something important at home.

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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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Baby Gear: What Do You Actually Need to Register For?

Baby Gear: What Do You Actually Need?

  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 recently found out a friend of mine is 7

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Bible

Hiding God’s Word in My Toddler’s Heart {Guest Post}

Guest post by Rachel J. from Somebody Come and Play. Throughout my teaching years, one learned lesson has always stuck with me: adults (parents and teachers alike) often underestimate what children are capable of. I saw it over and over again in the classroom. A kindergartener tackles a book “too

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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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Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

We just returned from a great 5 day trip to Breckenridge, Colorado. Even though I didn’t get to ski (thank you very much, Baby 2.0), I had a good time in the mountains and spending time with good friends. This was the first family vacation we have taken so we

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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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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 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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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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Boy on Board!

Bring on the trucks, balls, trains, footballs, blocks, bandaids, and E.R.visits… We are having a boy in April! I’ll be honest- I’m a little out of my comfort zone with little boys. I like little girls. I’m experienced on how to get their attention, keep them entertained, calm them down,

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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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Save Money at Christmas: Throw a Toy Swap!

Save Money at Christmas: Throw a Toy Swap!

Repost from Nov. 21, 2011 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

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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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3 Questions to Ask a Child Who Has Done Wrong

3 Questions to Ask a Child Who Has Done Wrong

Note: You may want to read the full blog post on this topic called How to Cultivate a Heart That Obeys: Strategies for Dealing with a Whiny, Insolent Child first. Proverbs 6:23 says, “Correction and instruction are the way to life….” Did you know that spending time correcting our children

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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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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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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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Apple Butter Weekend

Apple Butter Weekend

I’m excited to share with you all a family tradition of ours that I am pretty proud of. Last weekend we headed to my hometown and joined up with family and friends for “Apple Butter Weekend.” I don’t know how long the tradition has been going but it’s been WAY

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Lessons from The First Trimester

Well friends, I’m through the first trimester. Anyone who has been pregnant understands the small celebration that is going on in my head right now. Even though this pregnancy has treated me a bit more kindly than my first, there have still been many moments and days that I don’t want

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My Salary (I wish!)

My Salary (I wish!)

I stumbled on a little factoid when reading Real Simple that I thought our readers might find interesting. Did you know that the yearly salary of a 2012 stay-at-home mom would be $112,962 (that is, if she were paid), as determined by the career-advice website Salary.com. Real Simple states: “The

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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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halloween decor-painted jars

Painted Jar Jack-O-Lanterns

A few nights ago I was getting the itch to do a little crafting. I honestly can’t remember where this original idea came from but my vision was to paint the inside of some mason jars, add a face to the outside, put a candle in them, and let them

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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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Polly’s Big News

Remember the picture of my little lady on the yellow bench I painted? Here it is if you don’t remember: Well, I was super sneaky and photoshopped something out of the picture. Can you figure out what it was? This Spring we are going to be a family of four!

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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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Mommy Spotlight: Shannon

Mommy Spotlight: Shannon

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way. Today’s Mommy Spotlight guest is Shannon,

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Do We Make Parenting Too Complicated?

Do We Make Parenting Too Complicated?

There are times when I know I don’t think hard enough about the implications of my parenting and behavior toward my kids. Like this or this. There are other times that I make parenting too complicated, though. I know I do. All the parenting books I’ve read are helpful…to a

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Mommy Spotlight: Rebecca

Mommy Spotlight: Rebecca

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way. Today’s Mommy Spotlight guest is Rebecca,

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Blog Love: Rachel’s Current Favs

Blog Love: Rachel’s Current Favs

This post was a hard one for me. There is so much great (and bad) content online now. I am a lover of blogs and find it amazing that we can learn from one another around the world in such an informal way today! I divided my Blog Love into

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Saturday Funny

Saturday Funny

The truth behind this picture makes me giggle. Hope it brings a smile to your day.

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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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I love you because frame

A Craft That is Good for a Marriage

A Craft that is good for your marriage? What? Before I get to the craft idea, I need to give you a little back story. If you don’t care on how I arrived at this project, just scroll on down! I’ve been married almost three years now. I don’t think

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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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books for one year olds

Books for One Year Olds

*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.  My 14 month old has

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Mommy Spotlight: Kara

Mommy Spotlight: Kara

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way. Today’s Mommy Spotlight guest is Kara

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Meal idea for new moms

A Treat for New Moms: Homemade Granola

I’m guest posting over at Moola Saving Mom today. You can probably guess what my post is about by the picture but you’ll have to stop by her site for the details. Here are a few more meal ideas to take new moms and another new mom gift idea called a

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easy kid activities at home

10 Summer Boredom Busters: Easy Kid Activities at Home

I don’t know about where you live, but it’s been blistering hot in these here parts for weeks on end. Too hot to play outside for most of the day, in fact, unless water is involved.  When you have three small kids at home all day, especially an energetic 5-year-old

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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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Fourth of July Onesie

Fourth of July Onesie

This onesie was super easy to do and was quite a hit with anyone my daughter ran into. I was inspired to make this last minute when I saw a similar one by Make it and Love it (one of my FAVORITE sewing blogs). 4th of July Onesie Tutorial This is

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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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Decorate Burp Cloths with Fabric Scraps

Decorate Burp Cloths with Fabric Scraps

Got a pile of scrap fabric? I can never bring myself to throw any away! If you’re like me, the pile slowly grows bigger and bigger until it needs some downsizing. Here is useful way I found to use up scrap fabric: Decorate burp cloths! I started by cutting my

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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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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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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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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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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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Learning Activity for Young Readers: Word Post-Its

Learning Activity for Young Readers: Word Post-Its

Do you have a post-it pad and pen?  You do? Then you’re all set for this super simple yet fun learning activity for young readers called Word Post-Its.  There’s also a version for older readers, as well.  Hop on over to I Can Teach My Child where I guest posted

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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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The Power of Music: Recommendations for Kids and Families

If you haven’t seen this viral video of how listening to familiar music causes this elderly man to respond in amazing ways, it’s worth the 6 minutes. After watching it I thought to myself, “Wait, I’ve seen this happen first hand!” A few years ago I was on a mission

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Mommy Spotlight: Bonnie

Mommy Spotlight: Bonnie

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way. Today’s Mommy Spotlight is my (Polly’s)

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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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Everywhere Improv: Stop by for a Laugh

Want a good laugh? Spend some time on the Improv Everywhere site. Over Easter weekend my family gathered around the TV and watched scene after scene until our faces hurt from laughing. Improv Everywhere is a New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.

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Mommy Spotlight: Liz

Mommy Spotlight: Liz

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way. Today, we introduce you to our

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Mommy’s Store: Where Playing Leads to Learning

Mommy’s Store: Where Playing Leads to Learning

When it rains it pours.  Not only was one of my original posts, Busy Night Recipes: Cheap, Easy, Healthy, Kid-Friendly Meals, featured at Meet Penny today.  But, I am also featured today on one of my newest favorite blogs, I Can Teach My Child. Jenae, the author of I Can

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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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Mommy Spotlight: Abi

Mommy Spotlight: Abi

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way. Tell us a little about you

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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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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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Mommy Spotlight: Holli

Mommy Spotlight: Holli

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way. Today, we introduce you to my

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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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Guest Post: Reading Aloud With Our Littlest Bambinos

Guest Post: Reading Aloud With Our Littlest Bambinos

In my years as an elementary school teacher, I saw the benefits of reading aloud to my students everyday first hand. It sparked their creativity, increased their vocabulary and grammar, improved their attention span, stimulated their interest in new ideas, promoted communication skills and gave us a platform to discuss

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In The Kitchen: Rachel’s Faves

In The Kitchen: Rachel’s Faves

Disclosure: Affiliate links included. I am a sucker for kitchen tools and appliances!  These are a few of my favorites that I use regularly in my own home. 1) Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater I use this for all kinds of things, such as… …grating raw carrot or apple for my baby. 

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In the Kitchen: Polly’s Faves

In the Kitchen: Polly’s Faves

My mother is the kitchen gadget queen. I think we had a tool or contraption for EVERY need in the kitchen. I’m not to that point yet, but I do have a few favorite things that I’d recommend. Below are six of my favorite kitchen tools. Check back tomorrow for

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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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Mommy Spotlight: Erika

Mommy Spotlight: Erika

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way.  Today, we introduce you to Erika,

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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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Mommy Spotlight: Sara

Mommy Spotlight: Sara

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting.  Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way.  Today, we introduce you to Sara.

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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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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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Stuff We Love for Newborns

Stuff We Love for Newborns

  1. Infant Lounger This was great to have around the house in those first few months. You can plop it down anywhere and it serves as a resting place for your little one. 2. Noise Machine: We live in a one story house, on a busy street, with two dogs, and

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Because Silliness is Next to Godliness

Because Silliness is Next to Godliness

Tonight, my kids and I had a super silly time dancing and singing with hundreds of other little kids.  I won’t lie, acting like a kid with lots of other kids is one of my favorite things in life.  Maybe that’s why I like my job as a Family Events

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Football Blanket Tutorial

Football Blanket Tutorial

These cozy blankets are easy to make and can be a great baby boy gift. I made this one for a friend who has a baby boy on the way. Can’t wait to see their little guy wrapped up in it! Until then, I’ll just have to use my little

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Chew Beads: Inspired by Teething Babies, Worn by Moms

Chew Beads: Inspired by Teething Babies, Worn by Moms

Ever heard of Chew Beads? I hadn’t either until I got some at a baby shower. I didn’t think much of them until my little gal reached a stage where she is desperately grabbing and chewing on any jewelry I wear. After unclamping her jaw for the 56th time from my

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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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Favorite Toys for Six Month Old Baby

Favorite Toys for Six Month Old Baby

Six months old is a busy age for babies. Now that they can almost sit up, they are more interested in the world around them. Those hands are working and exploring anything and everything. I’ve found the following toys to be some of my daughter’s favorites in this busy stage

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20 Questions: A Birthday Ritual

20 Questions: A Birthday Ritual

I LOVE this idea I just saw on Pinterest. Starting at age 3, ask your kiddo the same questions on every birthday until they are 18. Assuming you were able to follow through with the idea for 15 years, you can make a book out of all the questions and

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3 Tips for Less Stressful Travel with Little Kids

3 Tips for Less Stressful Travel with Little Kids

Our family has gone from a low maintenance two adult caravan to a five person traveling circus in the past five years.  Traveling to and staying with family is something we look forward to, but we know it’s not easy anymore.  Besides the minivan overflowing with kid gear, some of

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Homemade Rice Cereal for Babies

Did you know you could make your own rice cereal for your baby? No need to buy the boxed stuff from the store. It is so easy to make your own, healthier version out of brown rice. Here’s how you do it. (Note: this is for babies 6+ months old)

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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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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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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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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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little kids at home

My Not So Edited Life

Ironically, as much as I love it, social media like blogs, Facebook, and Pinterest overwhelm me at times.  I can sometimes feel like I’m falling so short of where I should be as a mom, homemaker, wife, Christian, etc.  People–me included–post ideas, pictures or status updates that often show the

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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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Bring Him Unto Me

Bring Him Unto Me

This Morning’s Meditation by C. H. Spurgeon  “Bring him unto me.”—Mark 9:19. DESPAIRINGLY the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when

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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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Simple Learning Activity: Sorting in an Egg Carton

Simple Learning Activity: Sorting in an Egg Carton

I’m a teacher by training, a former children’s ministry director, and a current mom of three.  Like many of you, I understand the importance of and enjoy the teaching of my 2 and 4-year-olds. Am I alone in saying, though, that I disdain complicated activities that require a lot of

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Sick Day Fun: Play Dough, Mr. Potato Head, and Me

Sick Day Fun: Play Dough, Mr. Potato Head, and Me

Having three small sick kids at home in the winter can be a bit of a challenge at times. Ok, if I’m honest…sick or not and winter or not, staying home with small kids is a challenge.  I can often get discouraged at how much “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training

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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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Lesson Learned: Getting My Preschooler to Eat

Lesson Learned: Getting My Preschooler to Eat

Just wanted to pass along a little tip I gleaned tonight.  If you have a wonderful picky-strong-willed-often-distracted preschooler like I do (or someone in that genre of little person), you know that mealtime can be quite a struggle at times.  Temper tantrums, whining, looks of disgust, or any combination of

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That Feeling When You Think of Home

That Feeling When You Think of Home

I wrote this post when I first had Jack (about three years ago) at Every Square Inch.  But, as I read it the other day, it was a good reminder to me of what I want to continue to strive for in our home.  I’m learning that the older my

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