It’s a new year, let’s learn new skills! In fact, we at AmericanMom are challenging you to learn 11 new skills in 2023. Are you up for the challenge?
We loved the response to Knead November and wanted to continue to invite our fellow American moms to discover and cultivate new skillsets that benefit themselves and their families. It’s a treasure to be blessed with curiosity and the ability to learn new things, so let’s make it our goal, as a community, to learn something new together!
The Nourished Home year is about so much more than learning a new skill, it’s the cultivation of a home environment where you and your family find health, the stuff that feeds your soul, become better stewards of your possessions, property, and homes, and cultivate the feel good moments that make life beautiful.
Join the AmericanMom community in learning new skillsets that disconnect you from systems that don’t serve your values and distract you from your true purpose, and reconnect with the things that matter.
A Curated Home on a Shoestring Budget
Big or small, sprawling country estate or apartment in the heart of the city, your home is yours! And its decor should reflect who you really are. But we’re all penny-pinching these days, and in general want to be smart with our finances. So how do you curate a home that reflects you, your family, your culture, and your values on a shoestring budget?
Danielle Haynes shares her own experience as well as her best tips for curating your home – and it might be simpler than you think. So don’t get overwhelmed, simply follow Danielle’s how-to for decorating with purpose.
Incorporating Heritage and Values into a Child’s Play Space
“An attraction to possessions that are unique, economical, well-made and full of meaning is probably in my blood.”
When decorating with purpose, it can be hard to know what about you, your spouse, your family, your country to prioritize. Especially when you have a number of different heritages to incorporate into your child’s life. This was the challenge that faced Amy Devins when she set out to curate a play kitchen space for her toddler. She wanted to connect to the American roots and spirit of her family, while incorporating her husband’s French heritage, help her daughter build up her own identity in both of those, while also repurposing items.
Family Table: The Makers and Memories
Can we talk about the dining room table for a minute? You know, the place where your family tackles the hard stuff, the heart stuff, and finds love and laughter while sharing a meal. A lot happens around a kitchen or dining room table. It’s where memories are made, traditions start, and family and friends come together. That’s why it’s important, especially if you’re decorating with purpose, to purchase a table made with quality materials, passion, and maybe even a little American spirit.
Enter Outside the Box. Founded and run by David and Kelley, Outside the Box has been creating heirloom quality tables for families since 2011. Through this business they have found so much more than an outlet for their woodworking talents and an income for their family—they’ve found community and connection with people from all walks of life who value meaningful objects. Through tables like those from Outside the Box, we can fill our homes with what matters, and create a space where there’s a seat for everyone.
Read more about the family table, why it matters, and David and Kelley’s beautiful story.
4 Ways to Dress up Your Walls
“Like most American moms I’m trying to create a welcoming home without breaking the bank (on every single wall).” Kristine Teno
Decorating a whole home can be overwhelming in so many ways. Firstly, where do you start? Secondly, where do you get meaningful decor that actually reflects you, your family, and your values? These are things that homemakers have dealt with over and over again. But Kristine Teno is here to help. With years of experience as an interior designer, she knows the struggle as well the some of the solutions.
Among the the solutions offered by Kristine are art, silhouettes, and story book pages. Not only does Kristine help us see the value in these items, but she offers some advice and where to look or the best way to start crafting! Check out her 4 ways to dress up your walls to decorate with purpose!
The Benefits of Thrifting: Ultimate Guide to Secondhand Shopping
The concept of thrifting is certainly not new. But as we keep drudging through the age of throw-away culture, and cheaply made products shipped from overseas, it is becoming more and more apparent that thrifting might actually be the best way to get quality products in your home—and for a fraction of the price.
Thrifting is good for your wallet, but it’s also good for your home. From unique pieces, to quality items from the built-to-last era, to like-new furniture and decor, thrifting consistently proves to be a fantastic way to curate a beautiful, purposeful home. Take it from Danielle of the Homebound Hippie. She has thrifted a large part of her home and continues to do so as her family needs new things and as her sense of style changes.
In her latest article, Danielle offers valuable tips on how to thrift a curated home that is decorated with purpose.
National Reading Month: Creating a Nourished Mind
As we continue the nourishment of our homes, what better place to go next than our minds? Lucky for us it’s National Reading Month!
This month, as you continue to nourish your home, pick up a new book (or an old favorite on) and start reading. It’s becoming harder and harder to find clean, good books these days, especially for young kids, so we wanted to curate a list of books for everyone in the family. Without a doubt, we got a little carried away, so keep an eye out for further lists!
This first list contains classics and adventure fiction for kids and adults. As always, please use your own discernment for content and themes in certain titles, and have fun!
Saving the Bookworm: Long Live Reading
Not all of us were bookworms when we were kids, and not all of us can be bookworms as adults. In her recent article, Taylor admits that it is a struggle, especially as a tired and busy mom, to find time to sit and read. On the other hand, she knows the power of the written word. There is something so vital about the heft of a book in your hand, the quiet of a reading hour, and the contemplation and pure emotion that comes from reading.
No matter what genre you prefer, who your favorite author is, or how much time you have to sit down and read, it is becoming more and more essential that we revive the love for reading and a well-told story—and even more important that we instill that love in our children.
Read more of Taylor’s thoughts and find out what books she’s already enjoyed this year!
Classic Literature Must-Haves for Boys and Girls
National Reading Month continues with our curated list of classics! Whether you’re a regular reader of classic literature or looking for a way to break into the genre, we’ve got you covered with a list of books for both boys and girls. Classic literature can teach us so much about history and society and is often filled with adventure. While these lists are meant for boys and girls, these stories can be enjoyed by all age groups.
All of these books have held a special place in the hearts and minds of individuals across the decades, making them a part of your history and connecting you to those who came before. Whether you realize it or not, classic stories have helped shape you and the world you live in, they have been the groundwork for all literature that came after them and are a vitally important part of everyone’s education. Today (and every day) pick up some classic literature and delve into magical worlds that help you understand where you come from.
The Challenge of Writing Wholesome Books Today: An Author’s Perspective
“Whether in reading, writing or child-rearing, what is good comes not from fear but from the truth in one’s heart.”
And what a challenge that is in this modern world. When fear surrounds so much of what we do, it’s hard to let creativity and our own voice come through. As an author, Amy faced this fear down first-hand when writing her first novel. She wanted the story to encapsulate her own values and pass them on to her daughter—a heart-to-heart, from mother to daughter through a beautiful, truthful story.
As Amy navigated the fear of not “fitting in” to the modern approach to stories, as she worked through the fear of not reaching a large, world-obsessed audience, she found herself veering away from her purpose as a storyteller. When she removed the passages influenced by the modern world and expectations, her creativity flowed again.
Read more about Amy’s writing experiences and the inspiration behind her beautiful novel Emmy and the Iris.
Reading aloud to your children sets a foundation for them for life. Not only does reading aloud help form bonds, but it also helps with speech and reading skills development. Create special moments and instill a love for reading at all ages with our list of family read-aloud books! Gather everyone around and enjoy beautiful and inspiring stories together in honor of National Reading Month (as well as all year long). Link in bio.
Have a favorite read-aloud book?
Life Lessons from a Little House on the Prairie
“Our days are made up of a million little moments that create a life.” And the life lessons we learn as children, tend to stick with us, helping make up the whole that is our adult selves. Christa reminisces about her childhood, filled with daydreams and guided by the charmed life and stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Through the Little House on the Prairie books and TV series, Christa found an escape, a friend, and invaluable life lessons that would guide her for the rest of her life.
From “Make your own fun with what you have” to “Hard work is a good thing” there is infinite wisdom in the Little House on the Prairie stories that children and adults alike can apply to their lives.
Read Christa’s thoughts and reflections on Laura Ingalls and all that she’s given us through her life and books.
Pascha Bread Recipe for a Blessed Easter
There are many traditions that are part of Orthodox Christian Pascha, but one that everyone can take part in is making Pascha bread. Using an enriched dough, Orthodox Christians celebrate the end of the Lenten fast and the Resurrection of Christ, making Pascha bread a part of their festal meal that is shared with fellow parishioners, friends, and family.
This bread is fairly simple to make and can be decorated with braids and crosses made from the same dough to create beautiful loaves of delicious bread.
Even if you’re not an Orthodox Christian, this is a fantastic bread recipe to add to your own Easter traditions.
Simple Hospitality for the Uninspired
This is the hospitality of intimacy.
This is the hospitality of helping.
This is the hospitality of spirit.
This is the the hospitality of laughter that revives the soul. Hospitality comes in many forms and doesn’t have to consume large amounts of time or resources. In fact, Christa reminds us all that hospitality is often just the gift of availability. You don’t need to construct a five-course meal, or decorate the whole house with streamers and balloons. You just need a hot cup of tea, a board game, a minute of your time. You just need to adopt a spirit of giving — no matter how much you have to give. This is hospitality (even for the uninspired or emotionally and socially exhausted).
Even more, know that you are not alone. This world has a way of wearing us down, draining us of all of our neighborliness. But take heart, and a deep breath, and welcome others into your life. That is the hospitality of survival and human connection.
Read Christa’s analysis of the current hospitality mood and her suggestions to reinfuse our lives with hospitality and the giving spirit!
Fermented Garlic Honey and Rosemary Sourdough Focaccia Bread
Ready for fresh garlic honey focaccia?
Join Jennifer in her kitchen as she bakes her family’s favorite focaccia! Deliciously herby, this recipe requires a little bit of devotion and time, but it’s totally worth the wait with fragrant garlic, sweet honey, rosemary, and sea salt.
Make this bread as fancy or simple as you like, but definitely save space in your recipe book for this one because it’s about to become a must in your kitchen!
Sunday Soul Food
“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” -Ronald Reagan
When was the last time you gathered for a family dinner? This age-old tradition, for most, has been downgraded to a Super Bowl Sunday-only gathering. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking a sit-down, every family member you can possibly gather, people talking, games played, good, homemade food shared family dinner.
So, what’s stopping us from making Sunday family dinner a tradition again across America?
There is certainly a lot to be learned and a lot to be given and a lot to be gained from this simple, but truly important, tradition. It’s a beautiful chance to gather family, friends, and strangers for a love-filled, hot meal in a warm and welcoming kitchen.
What’s your Sunday Soul Food? Comment below with recipes, memories, stories, and suggestions on how to restart this fantastic tradition!