Rock Your Home + Life

While I care about simplicity and need peace and quiet, for this season, our top priority is growing kids, so sometimes the other stuff gets shoved into the cracks and crevices with the stray cheerios, or left off the to do list with chores like scrub the shower. Ain't nobody got time for that!  Seriously, though, there is hope for messy homes...

You can't grow grass and kids at the same time. A friend recently shared those wise words from her neighbor on Facebook.

Makes sense to me. Except I'd go ahead and throw other things into that statement, too. Like organization, cleaning, peace and quiet. It'd go something like, "you can't keep a clean, organized home and grow kids at the same time." Okay, maybe can't is too strong a word. But kids certainly complicate it and add to the challenge.

While I care about simplicity and need peace and quiet, for this season, our top priority is growing kids, so sometimes the other stuff gets shoved into the cracks and crevices with the stray cheerios, or left off the to do list with chores like scrub the shower. Ain't nobody got time for that!

Seriously, though, there is hope for messy homes--whether you're growing kids or growing yourself and maybe a spouse. In our culture today, all of us, moms or not, are busy and distracted and even overwhelmed. Even with limited time and energy, we have hope, because we are not alone. Others are paving a way and finding shortcuts so we don't have to. And any bit of effort creates a foundation to grow from.

Stress-free homemaking is likely unrealistic. (Unless, of course, you hire everything out. In which case, don't tell me about it. I'm better off not hearing all of the glorious details of not having to cook or clean or make donation drop-offs.)

But stress-less homemaking--with the right tools, encouragement, and support--is possible.

And that's exactly what the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is all about. (*Affiliate link used. See full note at bottom of post.) It brings together those authors and their resources that pave the way and even offer shortcuts for us to rock at home and life with less, but more focused effort. And this year it includes my ebook Simplifying Home--yay!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2016 includes 93 great resources (ebooks, ecourses, printables) covering a variety of topics including simplifying, faith, self-care, mothering, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and working at home. It's all available for $29.97 for 6 days only.

Click below to see it all yourself, or keep reading for my top picks, more about the bundle, and a bonus I'm offering you.

My favorite resources from this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

My favorite resources from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle... (they total over $127!)

As a contributing author, I got this bundle for free. I still went through and chose some of my favorite resources and their totals are clearly worth more than the $29.97 for the Bundle. Here are those few top picks from this Bundle and a little about each one. (I tried to keep this list short; I liked lots of other stuff!)

Cozy Minimalist: This ecourse is at the top of my list for a reason. I've been inspired by "TheNester" over the years. I loved reading her book The Nesting Place and still own it (which is saying a lot, since I get rid of most books after reading them). Her tagline "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" (#idhtbptbb) is definitely my motto in decorating and setting up home. This course alone is worth the Bundle price.

Upstream Field Guide: This is an ecourse by Tsh from The Art of Simple. I loved the practicality of her One Bite at a Time ebook (I got it in a previous bundle), and she shares great content on living with purpose and intention. I expect no less from this ecourse, and at $59 it's worth twice what you'll pay for this entire bundle. Seriously.

30 Days of Loving Your Man: These are printable pages with 30 actionable cards, as well as love note type cards, blank and with sayings, to give to your man. The actionable cards are awesome. I love the little ideas of things to do, and the simple design (in the style of the cover) is both attractive and easy to print. The love notes are cute, but almost too cutesy with some reds and pinks and hearts. But I shouldn't be one to complain, it'd be good for me to leave any kind of note for my husband, cutesy or not!

175 Best Date Ideas: I'm guilty of judging books by their covers, but it can sometimes prove helpful, especially when the insides are just as well-designed and thought-out as the cover. This ebook is so fun and easy to browse through all of the great date ideas. It also has some great printable pages in the back that could be used to make some of the dates more meaningful and memorable. If you're needing to get out of a date night rut (or the lack of having one), this would be a great solution.

Mindset for Moms: This ebook was actually included in some bundle I bought a few years ago. These daily readings are just the shift I needed in my mothering mentality. They're short, easy reads (I read them on the treadmill back when we frequented the gym), but they pack a powerful and applicable punch. I also was gifted another of Jamie's books, Steady Days, and took so many notes and made some great changes to our routine. She's a smart lady when it comes to rhythms of mothering.

For more on the mothering topic, I'm also looking forward to reading Raising Kids You Actually Like, Rediscovering Joy in Motherhood, and Guilt Free Motherhood. Okay, so motherhood is an area I need some work in.

Your Retreat--A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day: I recently read a great article about taking a planning day each week to think, plan, and prepare for the tasks ahead. I loved the idea and wanted to try it, but wasn't sure where to start. This is going to be such a good resource in trying something like that out. There are a couple other great looking blogging/branding related ebooks if that's something you're looking into. I'm excited to look them over, but my brain is kind of overflowing on that topic right now.

Plan It Don't Panic: There are some awesome looking cookbooks in this bundle, but with our vegetarian diet and picky kids and my general overwhelm around meals, I'm staying away from cookbooks for the time being. But I'm excited to get into Stephanie's ebook on creating and sticking to a meal plan. We've done great in this realm in the past and I know how to do it; but I'm excited to read her words and refresh it all so I can finally start following through a little better. She also shares about different types of meal plans (weekly, biweekly, monthly, seasonally) which I've wanted to explore, so I look forward to getting ideas for that.

Thinking Outside the Gift Box: I've shared before some ideas for gift giving whether you're in the middle of simplifying or giving to an attempting minimalist. The gift categories in this book are along those lines, it's well-designed with 75 great specific gift ideas and even pictures to get the full visual. There's also some great printable quotes that could be used as part of a gift or displayed for yourself.

Those are some of my top picks from this year's bundle. Click to see it all for yourself or keep reading for more details.


Resources to Rock Your Home + Life

What you need to know about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2016...

Again, this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 93 great resources (ebooks, ecourses, printables) covering a variety of topics including simplifying, faith, self-care, mothering, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and working at home. It's all available for $29.97 for 6 days only.

Now, on to what that all means.

1. The bundle includes a total of 93 awesome resources.

This Homemaking Bundle includes 70 ebooks, 9 ecourses and audio files, and 14 printable pages. They're pictured above and you can browse them all >> here.

Seem like too much information? It is, but that's the point. There's seriously something for everyone in this bundle. Sure, you likely won't read or use it all, and that's okay. It's still worth the price even if you only use a handful of the resources.

2. The bundle includes 9 great free bonus offers.

Other great companies have agreed to offer free additional products, store credits, or memberships for anyone who buys a bundle. (Some are completely free; others will cost shipping only.)  Browse the offerings and if you see something you've been wanting or would use, take note of that as you decide the value of the bundle for yourself. (I love me some well-designed word art for our home, love Mrs. Meyer's products, and snagged some of that natural acne SPOT oil!)

Here are the 9 bonus offers/contributors, all free:
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap, Mrs. Meyer’s Multi Surface Spray, Grove Collaborative Spray Bottle, Grove Collaborative Scrubber Sponges and free 60-day VIP trial with free shipping from Grove Collaborative ($30 value)
  • Online Class from Craftsy ($29.99-$69.99 value)
  • Kids Discovery Box from ($24.95 value)
  • $15 Gift Certificate to InkWELL Press ($15 value)
  • $15 Credit to Hope Ink Shop PLUS Two FREE 8×10 Art Prints with Any Purchase ($71)
  • SPOT Treatment for Acne & Eczema OR a $15 Gift Certificate from Bloom Naturals ($15 value)
  • 90-Day Pro Membership to ($30)
  • 1-Year Membership ($29 value)
  • Hand Massage Routine Videos from Melt Couples Massage ($24 value)

3. You get everything in the bundle for $29.97.

The products in this Homemaking Bundle and free bonuses would total over $1,000, but for this sale only it's all now $29.97. A couple of the courses alone are worth more than that. I've bought a couple past years' Homemaking Bundles before, and the price was worth it in the few resources I read, and they still influence my homemaking, parenting, and blogging today.

Not sure it's worth the price for you? Look through and find the most appealing resources--the ones you're excited to dive into--and add up their individual prices. Also take into account the free bonuses that you plan to redeem. If the total is worth more than $30, then it's a great deal! If the total of your top picks is less than $30, then go find those resources on the author websites and buy them individually. Either way, you'll come out of this equipped and ready to improve your home and life for less than $30. Win-win!

4. The bundle offers an optional ereader upgrade.

The ebooks in this Homemaking Bundle are PDFs, which you can read on smart phones, tablets, Kindles, etc. Sometimes that requires extra steps and doesn't offer great options for font size, highlighting, etc., so you might find the ereader upgrade for $10 a worthwhile addition to simplify your reading.

Not sure if the ereader upgrade is for you? Add $10 to the total of your desired resources and you'll likely find you're still saving money. If you use your ereader a lot and are used to the settings, then you'll probably want the upgrade. Otherwise, I've read many PDF ebooks right on my phone, so the ereader upgrade isn't essential if you'd rather save that money.

5. Offer ends Monday May 2, 2016.

A deal like this can't last forever. In fact, this Homemaking Bundle lasts 6 days only. So, obviously, don't put it off, because by the time your busy self remembers to check back it'll likely be over.

I tried to cover all of the important details in this post. Click >> here for more information (or to see my awkward intro video ;)

To buy the bundle directly, click below ↓


Extra Bonus: Buy through one of my links above and get Epic Beginner, too.

If you buy this Bundle through one of the links in this post, I will also send you my ebook and printable journal Epic Beginner: 35 Days to Start Anything. This is a great tool for diving into a new routine, a new season, or a life change.

After you buy the bundle through one of my links, just email me at trinarcress | at | gmail with subject "I bought the bundle through your link" and I'll reply with your free downloads of Epic Beginner.


Note: affiliate links used in this post. Any purchases made through these links could earn me a commission with no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

How to Brave New Beginnings

A new beginning, or trying out the unknown, is an opportunity to test and see that today's David's still defeat their Goliaths, that today's Joseph's have dreams that come true, and that God is alive and fully involved in my life today.

Trying something new and different hasn't always been out of the realm of possibility for me. That was clear when I was 15 and my first plane trip was around the world to spend 9 months with a friend and her family in Mongolia. There I also somehow ended up teaching English classes to students twice my age. What? Who suggests things like that to their parents and what parents are crazy brave enough to make it happen?

Doing something new and different didn't end there. I returned to the states at 16, got a full time job and my GED before deciding to go away to college. I have a small history of quitting jobs on faith that the next thing would fill my need better--and it always has.

I've been quite the shy, reserved person my whole life. Yet, somehow, with the right encouragement and support and resources I've had opportunities to round out that reserved nature with rockclimbing, public speaking, surfing in Hawaii, travelling around the world. And, of course, there's been the life adventures like having a baby in college or being jobless and homeless for a couple months.

I'm not an outgoing adrenaline junkie, but I do love a good adventure and a good story. And new beginnings are both for me. A new beginning and trying out the unknown is a little act of faith. It's an opportunity to test and see that today's Davids still defeat their Goliaths, that today's Josephs have dreams that come true, and that God is alive and fully involved in my life today.

We're getting ready for some more new beginnings. I've mentioned it on social media and in my emails, it's about time I mention it here in a blog post. My husband will be quitting his job in a couple months and returning to school. We have dreams, goals, and plans, but it all starts right here with the next steps and these new beginnings. We really can't be sure where it all leads and for sure how all the pieces will come together. I am sure of the God-given encouragement, support, and resources that have been providing this adventure and are helping write this story.

With those current beginnings fresh on our minds, and those past beginnings reassuring me forward, here are some ways I've learned to not feel so overwhelmed as a lifelong beginner.

Ways to not feel so overwhelmed as a beginner...

This blog was started on the idea that I wanted to try new things. It evolved as I realized I'll likely forever be a beginner in something and that can lead to joyful adventures and life-growing stories. Here's a few ways I've learned over the years to not get overwhelmed by that awkward beginning process and instead enjoy it.

Bravely take that next right step.

In short, stop talking about the thing and do it. Take the leap, even if it's small. If you keep thinking about something, dreaming of it even, it's worth moving forward in it. Whether it's a small hobby or a major life change, you'll never know if you never try. And planning it out is completely different than actually following through on it.

See failure differently.

What we might call failure actually helps us focus and redirect and fine tune our goals. Sometimes our beginnings don't go as planned and our successes aren't as epic as we hoped. These hold-ups are less about throwing in the towel, and more about refining our goals and our direction. Failure means we started and tried, and that alone should make us proud.

Join the overcomers club.

Struggle is a part of life. Be the type to persevere through challenges. That doesn't always come naturally and it rarely comes easy. It is, however, so worth the effort. Just ask a farmer that labors over his fields to produce crops. Or a momma that labors over birthing her child. Or an artist that labors over a masterpiece. The outcome often outweighs the challenges.

Celebrate successes--even especially the little ones.

Life isn't just one end goal. Okay, for Christians, it kind of is. But while we're here on this earth, everyday is a little checkpoint on our way to eternity. In that journey, success is about others, it happens one step at a time, it is contentment in this phase, and sometimes it's just showing up. Acknowledge those milestones and celebrate them. They could be the very victories that give us hope and courage to keep on keepin' on.

Take a break--not "cheat days," but real rest.

Talk about something else and do something else. Rest refreshes our perspective and energies, and it renews our creativity and ideas. Taking a break isn't like a cheat day where we take a step backward and practically undo all the hard work we've done. Real rest is a God-given opportunity to turn off the hustle for a mid-day break, for each night, for Sabbath each week. It's the rhythm He created us with that almost seems counter-intuitive to productivity, but can actually be the very foundation to success.

Read up--for info, encouragement, and validation.

I was seriously never much of a reader, until after college when I started learning the key to actually like reading was to read books I actually like. Makes sense, right? I'm glad I figured that out, because much of the beginnings and successes I'm most proud of have been largely thanks to reading. Reading blogs and books and testimonials and stories and especially the Bible has helped me learn practical information, and it's helped me feel supported, encouraged, and validated in my journey.

What are you beginning? If the answer is nothing, then maybe it's time to start something. Some small or large way to face your Goliath or to see if your dream really is a vision for your future.


I share more about all of this in Epic Beginner: The 35-Day Ebook + Journal. It's not currently for sale, but will be soon! In the meantime checkout my ebook Simplifying Home. Why? How do those relate? Well, I believe that getting our lives together starts at home. A healthier lifestyle, better work, souls at peace--it's hard to make any of those things happen when our homes are chaotic, cluttered, or disorganized. I want to help you toward new beginnings that matter and I want to help you start in your home.

A Note for the Hard Days of Motherhood

A Note for the Hard Days of Motherhood

I stepped over a crumpled piece of paper on the basement stairs a few times over a few days. I always had my hands full--with laundry or toys or baby--so I didn't get a chance to pick it up.

When I finally did, it was on a rough day of mothering. When patience and perseverance seemed lost and I was texting my husband "I can'd do this." (He's such a good support when I'm over-dramatic.) And I finally got the hands-free chance to pick up this crumpled piece of trash off the basement step.

On it, Jesus is very clearly written on one side in handwriting I don't recognize. And the other is a cut piece of reused paper that reads a chopped up note of: "they are little diamonds that shine... He is doing a great work in them with your guidance... You just keep on hugging them... Showing them your faith and courage... Way to go parents."

Tears sting my eyes at these words I desperately needed to hear. Turns out that crumpled piece of trash was actually a much needed Jesus-note.

It was my turn to do our mom's group devotional the next day, and I shared that Jesus-note. How He doesn't change the circumstances, but He sends an emotional and spiritual boost that changes everything. And I filled in the gaps of those encouraging words and printed the cards shown above for the moms to take home.

Words that had been written by my daughter's teacher in one of her previous letters home to us parents. I'm sure I had read it before. But it was all brand new as I read it that day, burdened there on our wood basement steps. A sweet gift of re-purposed paper carefully inscribed with the name of Jesus, stuck to the shirt of my daughter's friend, and haphazardly divinely placed in that stairwell waiting for when I needed it most.

Over and over God shows me that out of dark days shines His light. And out of my weakness brings His power. It happens, for me, especially in motherhood.

One of my favorite Christian writers, Jen Hatmaker, was on the Today show that next day talking about parenting. She mentioned something along the lines of mothering young kids is like 5 minutes under water. I get that. These 5 minutes sure have been hard and I'm not always sure when or if we'll get above water. I know when those 5 minutes are over, I'll wonder where they went. I may even remember it like some sunny day at the beach.

Until then, I'm so thankful for God's good to shower miracles over the hard.


also see:
new? start here...
motherhood ebenezer
emails + freebies