Mom & Dad Christmas Gift Guide

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    I've got your Christmas gift ideas for moms and dads right here. What do you need--gifts under $10 from the kids? Got it. Something that will make mom swoon? Right here! Practical gifts as smart as your baby daddy? Keep reading... First, for the moms (or wives) on your list. Please try your best this year, dads & husbands & kids. Because I just talked to my … [Read more...]

Family Project: Upcycle Old Jars

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Over the past year, our family has collected two years of empty jars in our pantry. Blame it on our love of salsa, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and pickles. Blame it on our German heritage and absolute inability to throw away something we could use again. Blame it on the kids' new understanding of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This is the same reason I have over 200 toilet paper cores in our attic. … [Read more...]

Four Reasons to Send Your Kids to Camp This Summer

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Our kids are back from a week of camp. Right before it was time to send them, I almost chickened out. But I kept thinking of this bit of wisdom,"Parenting is about preparing your child for the road, not about preparing the road for your child." I'm good at road construction for my kids. I always believe they need me to help them navigate social groups, to encourage them to try new things, and … [Read more...]

It’s Your Choice: Anxiety or Not?

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Stress is not a choice. Just getting out of bed is stress. Getting out of your pajamas is definite stress and let's not even talk about checking your email. Then there are the really epic stressors, like finding your life’s purpose. Or raising kids without being both aloof and clingy. Or trying to make it through the day without eating an entire tub of Nutella. But what if our reaction to that … [Read more...]

The Spot: A Place for Crying, Laughing, and Lessons about Stewardship

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For days, the kids have been asking to go shopping, specifically to the Dollar Spot at Target. This is not because they need anything, but because this is their happy place. They are absolutely giddy about the idea of sifting through cheap clutter, looking for a treasure. I’m afraid I taught him this. When you’re feeling less than, head over to Target and buy crap. When you’re a little empty or … [Read more...]

Kura Bed Hack FAQ

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A few years ago we found ourselves with four kids and two bedrooms. We hacked Kura beds to give each kids a cool bed, with lots of space of their own. Buzzfeed and other sites have picked up the original hack and that blog post has had hundreds of thousands of visitors. IKEA lovers from all over the world have asked us about our hack so I thought I would be helpful to collect our answers in one … [Read more...]

Kura Bed Hack to Tween Daybed-40 Days of Posts

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We rearranged our kids’ rooms last month with the goal of giving all of them more space. Sam and Elisabeth, our seven-year-old twins, still loved their Kura beds, and so did Nate, our four-year-old. But I wasn’t sure our ten-year-old, Catie, would want to keep hers. Part of the reason for the room redo was to give Catie a more tween space. Four years ago, we had hacked her Kura bed, but the … [Read more...]

This is What Makes a House a Home-40 Days of Posts

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When we bought this house, I called it our forever home. This was six years ago, when Catie was 3 and the twins were 1. We said this house would hold all the kids' childhood memories. Teen years and first boyfriends and girlfriends and hundreds of sleep-overs would happen between these walls. When we were empty-nesters, Mike and I would decide to move or we live here forever so the kids could come … [Read more...]

Ash Wednesday Should Not Be Messy (and other lies): 40 Days of Posts

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Our family’s Ash Wednesday was a mess. We chose work commitments and homework over church. And when we told the kids we weren’t going, Elisabeth and Sam started to cry. This pricked my anxiety: were our kids so emotionally disturbed they couldn’t handle a little schedule change without falling apart? When had we become that family, the ones who missed big nights at church? Mike left the room … [Read more...]

My Hairstory: No-Sulfate Shampoo

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The Short Version: buy  shampoo without sulfates and see if it helps your hair. The Long Version: Shampoo without sulfates gave my hair volume and shine. Here's my hairstory. Over the past decade, I’ve tried  all the miracle shampoos, emulsifiers, and expensive blow dryers. They all delivered—at first. Right after blow-drying my hair, it was shiny, volumized, not frizzy. But the shine and … [Read more...]