Monday, January 31, 2011

My favorite part of the day

My husband doesn't know this, but my favorite part of the day has everything to do with who he is as a daddy.  I love bed time.  We've worked it out that I put Crackers to sleep and he puts Monkey to bed.  Monkey loves this.  He begged tonight to go upstairs after dinner because he knew that daddy was there with Crackers, and he wanted daddy to read to him. 

I love that I can put Crackers in his bed and mostly ignore him while he puts himself to sleep.  I also love sitting on the end of Monkey's bed, playing on the computer, and listening to Randy read book after book to our sweet Monkey.  He becomes the book, he is the character.

I love their interaction at bedtime.  I also love my personal quiet time during this (-=

The Stink Hole

Okay, so I guess the technical name for the hole in the basement floor is not actualy "the stink hole"... but that's what I named it the first time I discovered it was spewing yuckiness into my basement and onto the floor.  This week the stink hole made another appearance into my agenda, as it has started backing up again and more frequently...

In a desperate attempt to avoid dumping hundreds of gallons of acid down my toilet, I convinced Randy that he should call Dave.  He came over and within a coupe of hours, and for a reasonable price (something that's entirely important to us right now), he cleaned out our stink hole.  All plumbing works now.

Thanks Dave!

For the record, the "Stink Hole" is an old toilet drain... I guess someone used to use it for.. well.. stink!

The invitation

Lately I've been trying hard to notice and take advantage of the many times every day that my 2 year old is inviting me.  He invites me quite often to be part of his life, and quite often I'm "too busy".  This is no good.  I've got to remember that I stay home so I can be actively involved with my children. 

Sometimes it is obvious that Monkey is inviting me to do things.  This morning, for instance, he grabbed my hand while watching one of his favorite TV shows.  He was inviting me to dance with him.  A little while ago he brought me a canister of play-doh and wanted me to play with him and make balls.  Again and again I make tiny little play-doh balls for him to squish.  These seem like such little tasks to me, but for him they are important.  These tasks tell my son that I care enough to take time for him.  He is more important than dishes or laundry... or even the computer.

Once in a while his invitations are more subtle.  Over all, he is not so subtle yet.  Sometimes though, he grabs my legs while I'm working on something.  This drives me crazy.  See, I'm busy and need to get things done.  At least, that is what I tell myself.  I have all day to play with him.  But he needs to know that I'm there with him and willing to make him more important than the other stuff.

Loving on my boys this morning.  What a great way to spend my time.

What reminders do you get that someone needs your attention more than your tasks?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Preschool Party #2

Bubble Experiment
For our second preschool party, we had 5 children, ages 1, 2, amost 3, 4, and 5.  Wow, what a group!  We had a great time!  We started our party with a story about Noah's Ark and playing with Monkey's ark.  We practiced putting the animals in and talked about the story.  Next we did 2 experiments from 60 Quick and Easy Science Experiments.  We made our own animal puzzles out of some thrift store books.  We played Miss Melody Kitty Matching Game.    Had some play time in the boy's bedroom/playroom.  We ended the night with rest time and Veggie Tales.  A great time.  We are looking forward to our next preschool party!
Miss Melody Kitty
Making Goop

My Egg-free, Peanut-free, Gluten-free, Low Carb Life: Menu 6

Still living low-carb, but not quite as strictly (as evidenced by our trip to the McDonald's Playland today - that's another story entirely).  Now, for this week's amazing menu, I am including lunches this week because I've found it's easier for me to be creative ahead of time than it is when my boys are whining and signing for lunch!

Sunday - 
     Lunch - McDonalds, due to an unfortunate event in our basement, I refuse to stay home today.
     Dinner - Soup, it's already on!

Monday -
     Lunch - Mini Corn dogs, bananas, carrots
     Dinner - Stuffed Peppers (we skipped them last week)

Tuesday -
     Lunch - Popcorn chicken, rice, oranges
     Dinner - Stir Fry

Wednesday -
     Lunch - Soynut butter and jelly on corn tortillas, kiwi, tomatoes
     Dinner - Artichoke Chicken with Dill and Caper

Thursday -
      Lunch - Pizza rolls, yogurt, frozen veggies
      Dinner - Taco Salad

Friday -
     Lunch (for everyone) - Soynut butter and jelly, string cheese, applesauce
     Dinner - Mystery, possibly on the road (weather depending)

Saturday -
     Lunch - Black beans, rice, cheese, salsa
     Dinner - Black bean burgers, brussel sprouts

Sunday -
     Lunch - Eli's Chicken Enchiladas

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Some exciting things coming soon on Crum's This N That...

A review of Miss Melody Kitty's Daydream Adventure

A review and giveaway of a Green Bumkin product

A review and giveaway of 60 Quick and Easy Science Experiments with Everyday Items (an ebook)

A review of The Shelter of God's Promises

A review of Lioness Arising

A review and giveaway of a Snappi diaper fastener

and more that you'll have to wait and find out about.. good stuff I tell you, good stuff.. keep your eyes open!


Yesterday my boys and I had the opportunity to share lunch in a warming house.
Mama took his plate away
Before I get too far, let me explain what a warming house is:  It's a shelter that is open during winter days to help people who don't have a safe place to get out of the weather. 

This particular warming house is located in Anderson, IN and run by the kind folks at Main Street Church of God.  It's pretty big news around there, because (to my knowledge) there is no other place like it in Anderson.  This church chose to open the doors of their fellowship building to meet a need.  You see, they knew of a couple that lives in the neighborhood, who has no access to heat, water, electricity, etc.  There is no possible way for them to get these things in the place that they are staying.  Yikes!  It has been a cold winter.  This church has invited anyone that needs warming.  They have cots for napping, free hot lunches, movies, board games, coats, gloves, sweatshirts, socks, a bathroom (no shower). 

My boys enjoyed spending time at the warming house.  They did not just enjoy the food, they liked watching movies and spending time with the people there (especially the pastor).  When we left I kept thinking about one couple that was there.  They've been on my mind since yesterday afternoon. 
Enjoying lunch at the warming house
I don't know much of this couple's story, but I do know that they made a choice to live in a way that has cost them greatly.  They chose to get away from trouble, but that meant that they lost everything.  I don't know if I have that kind of strength.  I wonder what they miss the most.  I wonder what motivated the to make such a decision.  I wonder if they know how strong they are, or how much I admire them for their willingness to lose it all in order to better themselves.

Wow.  You know.  I bet they'd make amazing Christians.  I don't know anything about their faith.  I just now am thinking about Jesus telling the rich man that he had to get rid of everything and learn to be dependent on Him in order to follow.  What things do I need to get rid of so I can follow better?  What things am I unwilling to get rid of that hold me back?

I really wanted to write about being thankful for having warmth and food and a shower... sometimes I get in the way of myself though.

I think if I chose their lifestyle, I would miss my privacy the most.  What about you?  What's the one thing you would miss most if you had to give up everything you know?


Seeds Seeds everywhere.  Oh, and seed catalogs too.
A tiny pepper plant, grown from seed.  It didn't make it.
If you don't know, my husband loves seeds.  Last year we must have collected at least 100 seed packets for our garden.  Note I didn't say we bought them all, we found lots of free ones, and bought a few.  We also rented a 20x40 foot garden plot from the city parks department.  A great deal at $8 for the year, we made fantastic plans for our garden.  We took care to plant and water and weed it.  Then we got busy with moving all of our things from one house to another and well, the garden was across town.  It was not entirely prosperous.  In fact, the only thing we actually harvested was onions, and not $8 worth.  We did have a lot of fun when we were in our garden space though.
Monkey "helping" in the garden.
We (I) decided that we would not rent the garden space again this year.  Though our yard is fairly small, I think we will do much better at gardening if we do not have to drive 15 minutes to get to our plot.  Did I mention that we had to take our own water with us, there is no water source at the community garden.  So from our house we can carry water all the way to the yard, that is a much shorter walk.  We've already decided just exactly where our 2 small garden plots will be, and what we'll put in pots on the front stoop.  Now, how do we ensure a successful garden?
Daddy Crum planting something
I have no idea.  We did a great job growing about 100 onions 2 years ago, and some radishes in another garden the same year.  This year our list is big.  We want onions, garlic, peppers, peppers, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, watermelon, pumpkins... and some herbs. 

What are you growing this year?  Do you have any suggestions about how to grow a healthy, vibrant garden?  We're not good at this yet, but we want to succeed so badly!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Signs of Spring

Grandpa used to tell us that robins were a sign of spring.  He was a bird lover and a bird watcher.  I loved to sit with him and watch the many kinds of birds that came to his feeders.  He could name each type as it showed up.  I loved that.  Grandpa was a fascinating man.

I was thinking of him this morning as we got ready for or field trip to the pet store.  See, we showed up at the store before my sister, so we sat in the car for a few minutes waiting.  Monkey quickly noticed a bird in the tree near our van.  He pointed and yelled about it repeatedly.  It was a robin.  A sign of spring, new growth, warmth, melted snow, warm rain showers, and muddy boots. 

I wish I hope my boys learn to love birds the way he did.  I sure miss him.
Monkey's first robin sighting of the year.

Beginning Bible: Week 3

Story: Noah's Ark

Monday -
Story - We read the story from the Adventure Bible Story Book
Art - Building a Boat out of a cardboard box
Science - Water play (bath) - identifying animals while in the tub, washing off paint
Math - Sorting animals by color
Language - Identifying animals
Painting our ark
Bath time = Water play & Noah's animals!

Story - We read the story from A Child's First Bible
Art/Sensory - Tearing Paper in rainbow colors
Free Play - Using our boat to tell the story
Music/Movement - "Arky, Arky"
Putting the animals into the ark
Watching Monkey to figure out how to tear paper

Story -On Noah's Ark by Jan Brett
Art/Sensory - Gluing torn paper into rainbow shape
Movement - Acting like animals
Science - Making rain (I used the torn paper for rain and dumped it over the boys)
Using torn paper from yesterday to make a rainbow today!
Proud of his artwork.  I love this shot, in spite of his dirty face.

Story - Noah's Ark by Lucy Cousins
Life Skills - Hammering a nail
Math - Counting Noah's animals
Science - Ocean in a bottle (from 60Quick and Easy Science Experiments with Everyday Items)
Monkey is practicing hammering, just like Noah hammered to make the ark.

Ocean in a bottle

Friday - FIELD TRIP 
Life Experience - Visiting the pet store (because the zoo is closed)
Media - Watch Noah video (didn't find one at the library, so we're not watching one)
All of the boys loved the birds

The fish at the pet store were fascinating

This lady looked a little unsure about her audience while grooming a poor dog.

Monkey gets some advice about caring for fish.

And for your enjoyment...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hold them tight

Tonight I am reminded about how precious the lives of my children are.  I know that there are children dying every day around the world.  Perfectly innocent babies and young children from all sorts of terrible things.  Unfortunately I do not often stop to think about these young people, most of whom are dearly loved by someone, and if they aren't - they should be. 

Tonight I learned of a tragedy a little closer to home.  A little girl that is associated with my family through a daycare where my mom, sister and I have all worked at some point, died.  She got sick yesterday and today she died.  Even with all of the crazy medical advances and health care that we have available, a sweet baby girl left her family on her 5th birthday.  Ouch.  I can't even begin to imagine.

I'm grieving and praying for the family of this sweet child.  So many questions.  It's going to be a tough season for them as they miss their little girl.

Where is God?

Oh my, of all the strange things to say while reading the "Bible book" to our 2 year old, my dear husband chose, "Oh no, we lost God"... He was referring to the time that Mary and Joseph could not find Jesus and then discovered him in the temple.  My 2 year old now thinks that we lost God and seems to think it's a good idea to go looking for him.

Ah the importance of choosing the right words!

Modernize your office with All Modern at CSN Store - Giveaway!

Giveaway is closed
Congratulations Rae, Comment #145!
I have a secret corner in my basement (not so secret now) where I keep all of my craft supplies.  It's my hidden office for crafting, and it is scary.  I could really use some modern office furniture.  I recently discovered CSN stores, over 200 stores where you can buy anything from bookcases to bird baths, desks to diapers, and lamps to love seats.  I really have a lot of fun searching through all of the many stores that CSN offers.  

If I were going to spruce up my craft office, here are some of the things I would buy

CSN stores has offered to give one of my readers a $35 gift certificate to be used in any of their 200+ stores!  All you have to do to enter is click the above link and tell me your favorite product.  It's that easy!  Make sure to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  Good luck!
One entry will be chosen on  This giveaway ends on  Thursday February 3 at 12:00 noon EST.  Open to residents of US and Canada only.

For an one extra entry each, you can follow my blog on Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs.  Please remember to leave a comment for each entry.

My Phrase: Part 3

If you haven't read about "My phrase" and want to know what it's about, click here

I wrote yesterday about how, as a parent I have the responsibility to help my children write their stories.  I have the power to influence what they think about themselves, and who they will become.  Right now Randy and I are the ones that tell them who they are and what it means to be that person. 

Yesterday I wrote about the phrases that I want to speak into Monkey's life.  If you want to know what those things are, read the blog about him.  Today I want to share a little about Crackers.  You may remember that he has had some significant struggles in the first year of his life, particularly in the first month.  If you want to reread this, click here

Crackers first week.

This young man has already shown us that he is a miracle.  I hope that he hears that enough in his life to make that part of his story.  The phrase I really want him to learn, however is this:  I am an overcomer. 

As Cracker's grows he will face challenges.  We all do.  He already has faced a few and he has shown us again and again that he is an overcomer.  He is a fighter and as he grows, I want this boy to know that he can make it through the tough times.  At this point he does not stand on his own more than a second or two, and that is with a lot of help and encouragement.  He does not walk yet either.  He is just 12 months old, so we are not too concerned, yet.  He also has a therapist that watches him and is doing what she can to help him continue to meet his milestones. 

My boy will learn that he is an overcomer.  I have not pinned down a second word for him yet, we'll get there.  At this moment he is trying to learn how to overcome the potty chair.  I'm not saying he's trying to go to the bathroom, he wants to figure out how to climb it and sit on top of it without falling off.. or maybe he's trying to fall off, he'll conquer it in his own way, little boys are funny!

What positive words have people spoken to you recently?  A friend told me yesterday, "I appreciate you".  You better believe that has a huge impact on how I feel about myself.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Phrase: Part 2

A week or so ago I wrote about my phrase.  That is, the phrase that God wants me to know about myself.  He calls me "devoted daughter".  I also recognize that as a parent, I have the power, and responsibility to speak positive words into the stories that my children will eventually tell themselves about who they are.

I've spent some time thinking about this.  What do I want my children to remember about themselves as they grow?  There are so many thins that I want Monkey to hear about himself: Learner, Wise, Friend, Devoted, Courageous... but these are not the main thing.

When Monkey thinks about himself, the first thing I want him to see is "compassion".  Now, I don't expect him to walk up to people and say, "Hi, I'm Monkey and I'm compassionate".  I do, however want him to learn to act out of compassion for others.  I want that to be a central theme in his life, even as a young child.  In fact, he already acts out of compassion, but I recognize that I have to continue to foster that and help him to make it part of who he is.  What a challenge!
Monkey trying to rock Crackers when his brother is upset (it didn't help).
The other key phrase that I want to speak into his life is "Strength".  I am not talking about physical strength, although he is a strong lad!  I want him to recognize that his actions have power.  His choices matter.  I also want him to learn strength of character.  When tough times come, I want him to have the strength to face them head on without fear.  How do I go about encouraging him to recognize his strength?  Oi, it's going to be a challenge.

What words or phrases do you want to speak in to the stories of your family members?  What suggestions do you have for teaching compassion and strength to a 2 year old?

Wordless Wednesday: Standing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to build an ark - a tutorial, by Monkey Crum

Start with a diaper box, ask your mom to make windows and doors.
Then take some of your daddy's old newspapers.
Carefully tape the newspapers onto the box.
Admire your work.

Make sure the doors will still open.

Strip down to your skivvies and begin to paint.

Wash off the paint with several of your best friends.

Once the paint is dry, put animals inside!

Quick confession

I want to learn how to write grants for people.  Any ideas how to go about learning such a thing?

The Den

About a year ago, this woman had a vision.  
She recognized her vision as a calling from God and shared it with a few friends who encouraged her to follow that call.  Melissa Hullinger wrote about it in her blog My Clutter and Fun on February 23 of last year.  This was the beginning of a journey.  She is not finished yet, in fact, her family is still at the beginning of the journey, packing their bags and getting ready for the next part of their big adventure.

Melissa's passion, her calling is to start a youth center in her home town of Bremen, IN.  It has been amazing to watch the way God has pulled things together for the Hullinger family.  I'm not saying they haven't had some tough times over the past year, they certainly have.  Through all of their following his call, he has been faithful to meet their needs.  Amazing how God does that.

Very soon they hope to have a building that will host The Den.  This wonderful family is living a life of obedience and I look forward to watching them grow in faith as God continues to bless them.  The den exists to create a safe environment for teenagers to hang out, be real, be taught, and be loved.  Wow!  I wish we still lived closer so that we could be more a part of this ministry to the young people in Bremen.

Doesn't this just make you smile?  As Melissa and her family prepare for the opening of The Den, which is scheduled to open in August, they have started to look at how to fill the building with materials that will not only keep young people occupied, but help them grow.  If you have any of these items that you wish to donate, or know of someone that does, please contact myself, or Melissa.  I'd be happy to help her gather the essentials as she prepares to set up.  There is an incomplete list of needs at the bottom of this article.

Some more links to blogs about The Den:
Melissa's blog
Her calling
The Den's blog
More about The Den

Items needed for The Den
Pool Tables
Ping Pong Tables
Dodge Balls
soccer balls
racquet balls
tennis balls
foos ball table
air hockey tables
crochet needles
pots and pans
art supplies
office supplies
stems & amp
dvd players

Learning with two

As I write this blog, I am wearing a hard hat.  Not because the subject is messy (but it is.. REALLY messy).  I am wearing it because my sweet 2 year old thinks it's a good idea to wear hats this morning.  He is gaining so much independence these days that it's hard to keep up with him.  I'm not sure where it started, getting the milk out of the fridge, turning on the upstairs light, picking out his own clothes... this boy is his own man!

Independence is only a small part about what I set out to write about today.  I really wanted to write about potty training with 2.  I suppose a lot of people do it, but many of them have twins, I don't.  When Monkey was a baby, I told him that as soon as he started walking, we were going to start using the potty.  He started cruising at 7 months and decided not to walk until he turned a year old.  I'm convinced it was just because he didn't want to sit on the chair!  Now he's 2.5 and we're still working on it, more consistently now than we were even half a year ago.  He wears underpants all day, every day.. and refuses to leave a BM in the potty.  Normal, I know.  Messy and annoying also, I know he can do it, he was doing it 4 months ago, then he got sick and a well-intentioned mother put him in diapers while he was sick, so he stopped.

Crackers just turned 1, he doesn't walk and is not really motivated to learn right now, he really does not even care to stand very long.  (His therapist is pretty sure it wears him out and wants to get orthodics to help with that).  Anyway, I decided that I would work earlier with him, we started putting him on the potty for a few minutes at a time when he was about 9 months old, and wearing cloth diapers more.  That's a silly statement, maybe, but we've done cloth off and on since Monkey as tiny, and I really prefer it, I just get lazy sometimes.  Also, from everything I've read, it tends to be easier to potty train cloth wearing babies than disposable wearing ones.  Crackers likes to sit on the potty and play.  He's even had BMs a few times on the potty (which makes mama REALLY happy).

Monkey is mostly using the potty, as long as mama reminds him.  Crackers loves to sit on it, but mostly doesn't use it.  I'm okay with that, like I said, he JUST turned 1, we don't expect the same independence.
Pottying is hard work!

What worked, or is working for you?  Do you have any funny stories?  Monkey decided to try standing the other day, he stood on top of the potty and went.. what a mess!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What happened?

It is cold outside.  Really cold.  Randy and I were talking about this the other night and I am just befuddled.  See, I love winter, it used to be my favorite season: cocoa, sledding, ice skating, snow balls, snow angels, warm sweaters... In fact, I really missed winter when I was living in Florida. 

I remember wearing outfits like this (only not quite so boyish), and having a blast in the snow!  What mystifies me, the thing I just can't figure out, is this:  When did winter get so cold?  Or maybe the problem is "When did I turn into such a wimp?"... I remember the snow and bundling up.. but somehow, now.. it seems a lot colder than it used to!

Can anyone answer me these things??? I still love the beauty of the white snow, but I prefer to love it from behind my window!  Fall is my favorite now, I love the colors, the smells, the hiking...

What is your favorite season?  Why?