Saturday, July 30, 2011


Here's my "top secret" birthday wish-list
1) no dirty dishes
2) all laundry cleaned, folded and put where it belongs
3) everyone uses the potty all day
4) a date with my husband
5) my house in Goshen to sell
6) insurance to magically work itself out
7) something amazingly chocolatey good
8) the wall in my basement to disappear
9) cash, and lots of it!


The winner of Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent is 
Comment #100

Restore: My health week 1 update

Okay, so I'm working on restoring my health, eating better, exercising more...

Not the best start.  We are eating better, more "home" cooked meals (meaning some were store-bought and reheated, some were homemade cooked elsewhere, and some completely home cooked).  We had a quick snack at McDonalds the other day after we went to the zoo.  Monday was the big "Zoo-Loo-Au", and we were served hot dogs, orange drink, potato chips, and ice cream.  We ate at 4:00, so the boys were pretty hungry by the time we left at 6:30.  We also had a milk shake from Steak N Shake on a short family date yesterday.  (Monkey thought the green ice cream was amazing).

We're working on it, slowly doing better.  In times we might usually decide to eat out, we've opted for quick "pick it up at the grocery and throw it in the oven" meals - still not incredibly healthy, but more so than fast food, and much cheaper.  We'll get there.

We've taken a couple of good walks this week.  On Monday we spend a couple of hours walking at the zoo. Obviously there was a lot of stopping and starting, I hurt by the end but kept pushing.

Today we went for a good hike in one of the local parks.  We're working with Monkey on not needing to be carried while we hike - Crackers still rides on my back in the Ergo Carrier that I won from Tight Wad in Utah!  Monkey's getting there, he just needs a lot of prompting - can you run to the bridge, look at that catepillar...

So my IDEAL life with eating healthy home cooked meals every day and getting lots of family exercise isn't here yet - but we're moving in the right direction.. we just have to keep moving that way.

What motivation do you have to live a healthier life?  How do you work with your family on satisfying cravings for junk food?  How do you push your little ones into healthy behaviors?  (My little ones are very active, but when it comes to hiking, for some reason it's tough).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Refresh: Thanks ladies

Ah, being a (mostly) stay at home mom is great.  Mostly.  I miss time out with the girls, I live in kid world most of the time.  It's so nice to have the opportunity to spend time "out" with other women - even if our kids are in the next room ... or in and out of the next room.

Today was a "Mom Time" day.  I had the opportunity to get together with several other women for a couple of hours and refresh.  I am so thankful for the relationships that are still being formed as a result of some hard work by a couple of fantastic women.

Thank you Christine and KeriJo for deciding that we needed a fellowship group and taking action.  Thank you Jessica for opening your home to us today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The games kids play...

Toddlers and preschoolers are so much fun - they make me laugh all the time.  I love the simple games they make up ...

Moments ago Crackers (18 months) was playing the "put the corn cob in a cup and take it out again" game.  When that got boring he decided to start singing into the cup - because, "hey - this makes a cool noise"

3yr old Monkey just ran into the room with a toy something on his head - I dont' know how to describe it, it's an educational toy that you can shape in different ways to make various geometrical designs... he stopped, told me he was a lion and growled loudly into the fan before running off.

Roamer (2) came in moments later with the same toy on his head - looked around the room, and decided to hide under the table (their favorite place to play).

Boys - gotta love them! Review

Have you ever thought of making your own stickers?  You know you can buy blank stickers pretty cheaply at the store and print them yourself - what quality are those stickers though? offers high quality stickers in a variety of shapes, sizes, and variety.  You can make bumper stickers with your baby's face on them, or window clings with your business logo.  The possibilities seem endless!  You make your stickers, whatever the purpose with what you want on them - they put them together with their high quality system, and you've got a fantastic sticker!  Their prices seem reasonable as well, however, I honestly don't know how they compare to industry standard prices.

*Disclaimer: gave me a free product for review as payment for this promotion.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Refresh: My home, Restore: My sanity

When I was a kid my room was always a mess - a BIG mess.  I greatly lacked in organization or motivation to clean.  In fact, I kind of enjoyed it when I was sent to my room to clean.  Generally I played with everything I found, then fell asleep halfway under the bed - why under the bed, I have no idea - but that's how it went.

As a young adult I learned to keep things a bit neater and more organized.  I recognized while I was in college that when my house or room was messy, it was a reflection of what was going on in my mind and heart.  Now, I'm not saying that solution to feeling crazy and out of control is to clean my house - that's silly - but it absolutely does have an effect on how I think and feel.

When I moved into my own apartment, then my own house - I liked to keep things neat.  Now, truthfully - sometimes things got a bit out of place, even a little messy... but for the most part it was easy to clean and I liked the feeling of keeping things neat.  It felt good to my mind and my body - it was a good life.

Now, I'm happily married with 2.5 fantastic children.  Somehow over the last 4 years and 4.5 children (we had a couple of foster children for a while) - I lost the organization.  I lost the ability to keep things clean.  It feels messy in my house, and I don't like it.  When my house feels messy I get angry, frustrated, tired... messy!  I want things to be clean.  I feel like I'm in a constant battle to keep things loosely organized.  I told Mr. Crum last night - I just can't figure out how it is that we have more dirty dishes after every meal!  (he laughed).  

So here I am, working on ways to "renew, refresh, restore" and I find the condition of my house to be a hindrance.  How will I work on it?  Slowly.  We're still fighting the stuff battle - I take things to Salvation Army as frequently as possible.  This morning I felt energized - I got up, started laundry, cleaned the living room, did the dishes, prepared dinner... now it's time for a quick "blog break"... next I'm back to cleaning.  After "the Roamer" arrives to be babysat, we'll be heading upstairs to get the boys' room back in order and prepare our "classroom" area for the start of home preschool in a couple of weeks.

Do you have any great tips to share about keeping your home organized?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cow Patties Cloth Diapers: Review & Giveaway

Here it is, the much - awaited review for Cow Patties Cloth Diapers!

My first Cow Patties Diaper was a One Size All in 2 diaper.  I was super excited about it and love the minky circle print!  I have to be honest, when it arrived I was somewhat disappointed - there were some flaws that made it difficult to use.  I used it infrequently at first, then I sent a message to Cow Patties about it, and guess what - they fixed the problems.  What I want you to get from this is that Cow Patties Cloth Diapers are willing to fix problems with their diapers.  They have excellent customer service - I just needed to be a better customer from the start.

Overnight - the AI2 works fantastically.  Crackers stayed dry, so did his bed.  He woke up in a good mood!

This diaper has side snaps - 4 sets of them.  I love the side snaps, as I feel like they get tighter on his legs and I have less "wing droop" than with front snap diapers.   As you can see, this diaper is snug on his legs without being too tight.

Another view of the side snaps - again - I love them.

I think my favorite thing about the Cow Patties Diapers might be their inserts.  This one has a snap in insert - it's long and narrow.  The shape makes it easier to customize to my child's wetting needs.  I generally double this over and make the back end wider than the front (better for catching poo), then fold the front down so I have several layers where he's going to wet.

Now - this is the diaper I am officially reviewing, and the style that Cow Patties is giving away!  
This is a One Sized Pocket Diaper, and it's fantastic.  I want to show you the GREAT things about this diaper, and share my one and only concern (which I have already shared with Cow Patties).  
I already shared that the inserts are long and thin - this one is even longer than the other!  Also, it's Bamboo - super absorbent.  AND - the inside of this particular diaper is fleece - which makes it water repellent.  When I use the cover like a wrap instead of a pocket diaper, I can use it again and again.  I've used this at times for an entire day without the cover feeling even a little damp!

Like I said about the inserts earlier - the shape makes them totally customizable.  This is how I fold mine most of the time.

The pocket is big enough to put my hand in when I stuff the inserts inside.  It's easy to make sure my inserts are not wrinkled or bunched up.

I love this print.
Here is the picture of what I don't love - This diaper is on it's largest setting.  Crackers is 18 months old and about 25 pounds.  He's not super chunky, but it's already starting to be tight on his legs.  I can still snap the belly almost to the middle snap - I know, babies are all shaped differently, but I'd like to see a bit more stretch in the legs.

As you can see, Crackers is totally uninhibited in his movement, in spite of my concerns about the tightness on his legs.  He seems to like this diaper as much as any others.  (There are some that he does not like wearing - I will not be doing reviews on those.)

You can buy Cow Patties Cloth Diapers from their online store or through Facebook.  

Residents of US and Canada can enter to win a One Sized Pocket Diaper in your choice of pattern right here, right now!  This giveaway will close on Friday August, 5 at 9pm.  For entry instructions, see below.

How to Enter
Mandatory Entry:  In order to enter this contest your first entry MUST be this:  "Like" Cow Patties Cloth Diapers on Facebook.  Yep, it's that easy!  You don't have to thank them, but it would be polite.  Leave a comment below telling me you have done this - don't forget to include your email address.

Additional Entries: You may complete any or all of these additional tasks for more entries.  Leave a comment below for each entry you complete - remember your email address in EACH comment.

1) Look at Cow Patties fabric inventory - tell me which you think you would choose for a diaper.
2) Share about this giveaway on Facebook (leave a link to the contest and tag Cow Patties Cloth Diapers)
3) "Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook.
4) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect

Bonus: Make a guess at baby #3's gender before August 1 - guesses go on this post.  Leave a comment here letting me know you did this (you don't even have to be right).

*Disclaimer: I received a product free for review.  All opinions are my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Summertime

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Want to win a diaper?

I've got 2 diaper reviews coming up VERY soon...
I'm also going to announce the baby's gender with a little review/giveaway party in August.

Want an extra chance to win?  Make a guess before August 1 about baby's gender.  Leave your guess on this post!

Renew: A commitment, Restore: Health

It's no secret that I'm a type 2 diabetic.  I've actually had a couple of doctors that were surprised by this diagnosis because "I'm too young".  I was officially diagnosed at about 25 yrs old - I already knew that I was diabetic, I had been testing my blood sugars for over a year and was "borderline" before I turned 20.

I am overweight.  I don't always eat well, I certainly don't exercise like I should.  I have a strong family history of diabetes.  All of these things together make for messy blood sugars.

My current doctor wants me to "take a brisk walk for 20 minutes after every meal".  What she doesn't realize, I guess, is that it's REALLY hot outside, I'm 6 months pregnant, and I have a toddler and a preschooler (who both happen to nap immediately after lunch every day).  Am I making excuses for not walking after meals?  Maybe.  The real truth is that it hurts right now.  My body is in a state of stretching and changing in ways that make it very uncomfortable to walk "briskly" for 5 minutes - I cannot physically walk "briskly" for 20 minutes - even if my boys are in the double jogging stroller.

I can control my food intake.  However, I lack greatly in self-control when it comes to food.  Especially on the 3 days a week that I am home-bound because I'm babysitting.  We are working on this - our grocery trip last week included "healthy snacks" - nuts, granola, cheese, carb-master yogurt, etc.  We also loaded up on veggies for salads.  We got a bit of fruit too, but it is not a big temptation for me - I'm not a big fan of fruit in general.

Why am I sharing this?  It's a step toward renewing my commitment to live healthy by eating well.  I don't know yet what I am going to do about getting more exercise right now.  We ARE working on it.  Last night we exercised by walking at the zoo for 2 hours (not a fast pace at all, and with several short breaks).

I want to have a healthy body so I can enjoy my family more.  I want to slow this disease.  I want my boys to grow up knowing how to live well so they can begin to defeat this disease before they have to think about it.  Yes, it's genetic - but that doesn't mean they will get it, and I can help them avoid problems with diabetes by getting them active right now.

How do you exercise when it's too hot or your body hurts too much?  How do you eat well when tempted by foods?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Refresh: My Mind

I am a busy lady sometimes.  I like being busy, and I'm not complaining about that.

Right now I'm a "stay at home" mom with a toddler and a preschooler - baby #3 will be here in a few more months.  3 days a week, I babysit for a sweet toddler boy.  I also work part time with the children's ministry at my church.  So basically - I stay at home and work 2 part time jobs.

Some days I run myself ragged.  I forget to give myself time to rest.  I don't relax my mind.  I frequently don't let myself refresh, even when I take advantage of "nap time" with my boys.

So what is this busy mama going to do in order to daily refresh herself?
1) Spend time reading my Bible daily - while I put the boys down for a nap.
2) Work on at least 1 craft project a week.
3) Create a prayer to say regularly that helps me remember who I am and who I want to be.
4) Remind myself that my health is important as I teach my children.


Comment #175
Nicole Sender
has won the 
Dandelion Tableware Assortment!

Renew, Restore, Refresh

It's that time again.  I feel like I have this constant struggle with my commitment to health and I'm just not sure how to rectify it.  It's really been a struggle recently, and being pregnant hasn't been helpful for that.  In fact, a lot of days I just want to snack all day long.

Did I mention it's HOT?  Not just outside either, we have AC in our bedroom and the boy's bedroom - the rest of the house currently ranges from 82-90 degrees depending on the time of day.  YUCK!  The heat makes me not want to do ANYTHING at all.

Anyway, I'm writing about "Renew, Restore, Refresh"...

The basics: I'm working on changing the way we live - not just me, the whole family.  This includes our commitment to physical health, relationships outside the house, order within the house, the way we use our money, and consistency of scheduling.

I intend to blog about this very regularly over the next several months as we make some positive family changes.  I would love to have people share their ideas, stories, and encouragement with me.  I'd also really love it if people who know me - I mean for real know me - would check in... heck, even offer help if you've got some to offer!

This week I'll be focusing more specifically on what things I am going to be working on "renew, refresh, and restore" with.

Thanks to all for your support as I work on bettering my family.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Keeping cool

It's hot out, has anyone else noticed?  Last night we pulled out the baby pool and put some water in it so it would be warm-ish this morning.  I thought the boys would spend most of the morning in it, keeping cool.  I was so wrong.  Monkey spent about 20 minutes in the pool and was done, "it too cold"... Crackers spent a little longer - mostly standing next to the pool and pouring cups of cold water down his chest.  Our friend the Roamer, didn't go in at all!

The plan for the rest of the day?  I don't know yet.  We'll have lunch around 10:45, then naps.. after naps - staying cool, somehow - maybe I'll keep them in their shorts and give them a popcicle.  I hate sitting them in front of the television.

Any ideas?  What are you doing today to keep cool at home?  What are your toddler & preschooler's favorite summertime activities?

Mixed stories

Oh 3 year olds are fun.  They repeat everything they hear, good and bad.

Last night while talking with some friends at dinner time, we were sharing "birth stories".  I mentioned that my water broke when I had Monkey.  He perked up and started telling stories...

"My water broken, and my Skoshi run away.  Sorry mama, broke water."

Too fun

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Turning 3

And it's only 8:30

What a morning!

Mr. Crum had the opportunity to leave early and spend some time with his friends for breakfast.  I am so glad that he was able to do that and enjoy the time out.  I was especially excited because it meant that I would not feel like I had to get up with him first thing and get things around for the day - a chance to sleep in!

Generally we wake up at 6:20 and leave home at 7:30.  Monkey wakes up around 6:30, Crackers gets woken up at about 7:15.  Not today.  This morning Monkey was in my room asking for breakfast AT 6:00 - I know because that is when the alarm starts going off - he made it in seconds before it started buzzing.  Crackers?  Well, he was up long before 7 also.  It's hot though and I was tired - I got Monkey to lay down with me for half an hour or so, until he decided to go upstairs to his room and shred some paper that he had found yesterday.  The joys of being 3!

I got up and around - I'm on iron pills, that's not fun - I clogged the toilet while my children were crying at me about wanting "eat time".  I got C changed and fed them both - ready to turn this morning into a great one.

Did I mention it's already 82 degrees in my living room at 7am?  I've been having a lot of difficulty with the heat and humidity - it makes it hard to breathe.  I served breakfast and started gagging on drainage from my sinuses.. then.. puke.. lovely!

I ate a popcicle and somehow felt much better.  Hopped onto the computer to see if there are any exciting emails in my blog inbox (nothing new today).  Happened to spot a friend online who lives in China.  While talking with Carrie, I realized that mr. Monkey - the 3 year old - is VERY quiet.  Why is that, I wonder... then I remember noting a bottle of bubbles at the top of the stairs - I'm pretty sure I know where he is.

Guess what - I was right.
Now the Incredible Hulk is sitting at the top of the stairs, coated in green bubble solution - so is the carpet, and the gate... Did you know that green bubble solution turns bath water green?
As I prepare to give Monkey a bath and a good scrubbing, I hear screaming.  Not to be left out - Crackers has gone into my bedroom and decided to play with the change jar. That's a glass gallon jar about half filled with loose change.  He's managed to hurt his fingers and needs a lot of attention.

And now, it's 8:43 - I'm playing "Something More" the newest CD from Heartland Church.  I'm drinking a Diet Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper - and taking a deep breath - getting ready to start over.

Bring on the day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sharing a room

I love it that my boys are friends.  They love to play and jabber and laugh together.  They like to bounce on each other's beds (until mama catches them) and tell jokes that only they understand.  It is so cute, and so much fun.

Recently I decided to move their beds into the same side of their large bedroom.  Previously they were separated by a partial wall for sleep time - now the other side of the room is preparing to be the "classroom" area.  It made sense to move them because their room has 1 air conditioner and 1 heat vent - both on Monkey's side of the room.  So I decided that while Mr. Crum was at work one day, I would take care of it.

Everything fits so nicely the way it's set up.  It's great being able to read with both of them easily at bed time.  It's friendly having them in their together.  Until it comes time for actually sleeping.  We have a couple of problems when it's actually sleep time.

Problem 1:  My boys are friends - they want to play and entertain each other to avoid sleep.

Problem 2: Monkey has decided he is ready to actually go to sleep, but Crackers still wants to entertain everyone, so he squeals and giggles and jumps in his bed... and Monkey gets angry and frustrated.

It's unpredictable exactly which problem we'll run into when.  Generally nap time is easier than bed time for some reason.  We've attempted to fix this problem by separating them at the start of bed time.  Crackers goes to bed first - he's generally easier to get to sleep - while Mr. Crum reads to Monkey.  Mr. Crum puts Monkey to bed when he's done reading.  This works when Monkey feels like he wants to sleep AND Crackers has already fallen asleep.

Does anyone else have struggles with shared bedrooms?  Does anyone have great solutions?  These boys are likely to share a bedroom for a very long time!

Today's goals

Publicly stating my around the house goals for today, let's see if that helps me feel like I've accomplished things by the end of the day.

1) Play outside with the boys (before it gets too hot).
2) Finish 3 loads of laundry.
3) Have no dirty dishes by 3:30
4) Pull together resources for 4th & 5th grade Sunday School
5) Complete, Print, Sort, and email August lessons to appropriate people

bonus: spend some time with a really cool 2nd grader this evening
bonus 2: dinner & a movie in the air conditioning at a friend's house

ultimate bonus: go to sleep feeling as though I have gotten something done today!

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Boil some water..."

Last week I was sick - really sick - nasty cough, trouble breathing... it was not fun.  I didn't go to the doctor because - well, I thought I'd get over it.

I did get over it, mostly.  Today I am still having trouble breathing - likely a problem having to do with the local heat and humidity.  I took the opportunity to talk with my doctor about the illness last week and the breathing trouble this week.  I expected she would listen to my lungs, and maybe give me a script for.. something.

Here's what I did not expect:  I did not expect for her to ignore the troubles and give me advice about how to treat them - she didn't even listen to my lungs to see if I was still having any legitimate sounding difficulties.  I did not expect her advice:  "Boil a pot of hot water, put some Vicks Vapo Rub in it, put it on the floor, cover your head with a towel and lean over the pot.  Breathe the vapors.  Do this twice a day."

Huh?  did I mention that it's 93 degrees outside today with a heat index of 104?  Or that we don't have air conditioning in most of our house?  Do you really think I'm about to boil anything, or put my head over a pot of steaming anything?  Nope - maybe some vapo rub on my chest... or maybe I'll call the income based clinic downtown if this breathing doesn't calm down in the next couple of days.

Tough Call

It's nap time - well, actually - it's WAY past nap time.

My boys generally have a really early lunch (10:30) and lay down for nap around 11.  It's almost 12:30.  I put them down for nap today at about 11:45.  Monkey fell asleep quickly, Crackers is not so lucky.

Here's the problem - we have to leave for a doctor's appointment in 15 minutes.  So I put them down late, but their 3 hour nap time had to be limited to 1 hour (if they fell asleep immediately).

Since Crackers is still awake, every time he starts to drift, mama talks to him.  He's rolling around in his bed crying - too tired to sleep.  I feel bad for keeping them up, but I worked this morning and didn't actually plan to come home at all before the appointment.

Hopefully he'll fall asleep on the drive, and stay asleep for the appointment.

What would you do if you worked half an hour into nap time and had an early afternoon appointment?  Nap or no nap?

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Eat your vegetables"...

and other things my 3 year old surprises me with.

Today my boys had frozen mixed vegetables for lunch.  Yes, I served them frozen.  For some reason my boys are much more inclined to eat veggies this way.  Monkey saw that I had crackers left over from our morning mom meeting - and begged for some.  I agreed that he could have some - AFTER he ate his vegetables.  You know what?  He ate every last bit of veggie on his plate!

Crackers hemmed and hawed about eating his veggies.  He's only 18 months old, but generally a very good eater.  It doesn't bother me as much if he avoids his veggies - he'll get them in another meal.  Monkey is a fruit guy, not a veggie guy - he avoids them.

I let Crackers be done with lunch before his veggies were gone, he was ready for nap anyway.  Big brother, however, was not satisfied with the lack of vegetables in little guy's diet.  He picked up Cracker's plate and followed him - demanding, "eat your vegetables!"

You know what?  Crackers ate EVERY vegetable on the plate.  When he tried to stop with 2 tiny pieces of corn left, Monkey picked the corn up and shoved it into Cracker's waiting mouth.

Too funny - maybe I should make Monkey the food police in our house and get them both to eat it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Argument of the day

I frequently have to smile when my 3 year old, Monkey, feels the need to argue with someone.  Typically it's someone smaller than him, with fewer verbal skills.

Today, The Roamer (2) heard Crackers (1) wake up and cry.  The Roamer pointed at the stairs and exclaimed, "BABY!".  Monkey was upset by this, naturally he took offense and pouted at The Roamer, "No, I boy right now.  I not baby, I boy right now."

They're fun (=

Lamenting, sorry for the whine

It is a beautiful, gorgeous day outside.  I want to be out with my boys - at the park - 4 houses away...

What's preventing me?  This nasty, hacky cough that I've had since Monday (so glad it waited until after the busy weekend).  It hurts my chest and throat, it makes it hard to breathe.  I'm exhausted from it.

There, enough whining.

We got a double jogging stroller last night through a local garage sale page... GREAT deal.  The fantastic thing about it is that it's perfect for the "brisk walk for 20 minutes after every meal" that my doctor wants me doing.  We took our first walk with the "big stroller" this morning.  It was perfect outside for walking!  The boys loved it!  I discovered that once around the center circle of our neighborhood takes about 20 minutes - perfect!

We will not be managing to get in our 3 walks a day, nap time comes immediately after lunch every day - it's non-negotiable - my boys are tired, and if we wait, they won't sleep.  I feel good about twice a day.  It'll help me get to some health goals that I need to work toward!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chronicles of the Mean Lady

Do you ever have days/weeks that you feel like you're just the meanest person in the world - not because you're trying to be mean, but you're trying to help kids learn and grow?

Yesterday at about 3:15 I was standing in my living room and watched the 3 year old neighbor boy take a toy from my yard and run.  I walked outside to confront him, but he was gone.  Sadly for him, his bike was still sitting in front of my house.  So I moved his bike to my porch and walked to his house.  I couldnt' see him, so I hollared to him that he could have his bike back when he brought my toy back.  I'm so concerned about this kid because he's 3... almost 4, and roaming my neighborhood, regularly unsupervised.  We don't live in the worst neighborhood, but this side of town is not known for safety.

Anyway, he came back several minutes later with his head hung low (one of the adults that is at his house sometimes - I don't know who lives there and who doesn't - had found him and sent him over with the toy).  He dropped the toy on the yard, and as he lifted his head, he saw his bike.  His jaw dropped and his eyes grew wide.  "You can't take my bike" he said to me.  So mean lady said, "If it's okay for you to take my things, then it must be okay if I want to take your things."  He did not like that idea.  I let him know that once he brought back my shovel (which I had seen him with 2 days before) and any other toys he had taken from my yard, he could have his bike.

Somehow he figured out what shovel I was talking about and brought it over in exchange for his bike.  Within minutes of me going inside, he was in my yard, picking up another toy.  Lesson learned?  I guess not.

TODAY: I felt so mean - I let the boy I babysit cry for nearly a full half an hour while I washed dishes and made lunch.  He's been gone for several weeks to visit family, so it's hard for him to adjust to being back, I'm sure.  As soon as I sat him at the lunch table, he stopped crying.  He ate nothing at all, but fell asleep on the table.

THEN: My own son, 18 months old, was drinking his milk.  He drinks from an open top cup at home.  He decided it would be fun to stick his hand in the cup.  We have regular "discussions" about that.  Mama was not in the mood to play the cup game, so took it away after only 1 warning.  Mean, mean mama.

Have you felt mean recently?  Has anyone learned from it?  Have you learned from it?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent: Review & Giveaway

If you've been around a while, you know that I love natural products for my family.  I frequently make my own laundry soaps so I know that they are safe for my family.

Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to test Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent.  I tend to be skeptical about stain removal & odors - neither was a problem with the Tropical Traditions Detergent.

Not only do I love the gentle way it cleans my clothes, I love how long it seems to last.  1 container lasts about 40 washes (80 with a front loading washer)!  The 5lb container will last me for nearly 2 months!

Natural, non-toxic detergent for $30 seems like a great deal - but it gets better!  Right now it is on sale for $16.99!  Almost half price.

I absolutely recommend trying Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent with your family!

Try before you buy - you have a chance to win Powdered Laundry Detergent from Tropical Traditions right here!

This contest is open to residents of the US only.  It will close on Friday, July 29.  Please read below for ways to enter.  I have received a product free for trial and review.

You may use ANY or ALL of the following methods to enter.  Leave a comment for each entry you complete.  Please leave your email address in each comment.
MANDATORY: Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter.
1) Check out the Tropical Traditions website.  Tell me another product you are interested in.
3) Follow Crum's This N That via Google Friend Connect (upper right hand column of the page).
4) Subscribe to Crum's This N That email newsfeed (upper right corner for the page).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Word trouble

Monkey is reading a book with Mr. Crum tonight.  There is a picture with an army in the background.  Monkey is currently arguing with Mr. Crum about whether or not it's an "army"... because Monkey's concept of "army" is Salvation Army Store - and he's right - they are not looking at a Salvation Army Store.

"That not army!"

Musical Mix-up

I've been working on the song "B-I-B-L-E" with Monkey and pointing at the letters as a way to help him begin to identify some new letters.  He loves it, especially the part where you yell "BIBLE" at the end.

The other day his therapist was working on an alphabet puzzle with him and lined up the letters "A-B-C-D-E-F".  She pointed at each letter and said them to him.  When she was done saying the letters he proudly exclaimed "BIBLE".

So maybe he doesn't quite get it yet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Looking for sponsors...

Looking for sponsors to promote during my "It's a ?????????" announcement.  I'd love to talk with potential sponsors about green or natural baby products, cloth diapers, mama products, and gender specific items.  I'd love to promote some WAHMs as well as some bigger companies.  Email me with interest -

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 4th of July Weekend

(Borrowed from my sister's camera )
Monkey and Crackers visit Bugsy

Happy Birthday Little Lou

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dandelion Natural Tableware: Review & Giveaway

Summer picnic time is here.  The Dandelion company has a great natural solution for your toddler picnic needs.

 Here is why I love Dandelion's tableware:

 The size:  The Dandelion bowls are perfect for cereal or snack time.  They have helped us immensely at breakfast as Mr. Crum needs a reminder about how big a toddler sized portion is, and the boys are content with knowing they get only one serving.
Dandelion's plates are excellent for helping us see that our boys are not getting too much food.  They are just right for both of our boys to pick up and move to the sink when they are done with a meal.  We rarely have arguments about needing more, because they are big enough for toddler appetites, but not so big that my boys gorge on food.

  The material:  Corn.  Yep, Dandelion's natural tableware is made from corn!  I was skeptical about how these would hold up and extremely curious about what they would feel like.  I couldn't imagine that they could stand up to plastic tableware for my toddlers.  I was so wrong.  These wipe clean easily, they stand up to being dropped, thrown, and stepped on.  They feel like plastic but do not seem to stain like plastic does.  It is important to note that corn-ware should not be microwaved or cleaned in the dishwasher.

The price: The bowls and plates come in 2 packs for $7.99.  The truth about me is that I am thrifty.  I do not like to pay any more than I have to for ANYTHING.  We have several cheap plastic plates that I have picked up on sale at various store.  The cheap plates do not last - they crack, they stain, they get thrown away.  Not to mention, they are really too big for toddler portions.  I would absolutely pay $7.99 for another set.

The quality:  Dandelion's natural tableware is fantastic quality.  The material is smooth and easy to clean.  It stands up to toddlers use and abuse.

Another fantastic Dandelion product is the organic stuffed turtle.  This guy is SUPER soft.  He is about 12 inches long.  His outside is made of organic cotton and he is filled with soft corn fibers.  This turtle is so lovable that I couldn't decide whether to hide him from my boys until baby came, or let him play with them right away.

I let the boys play with the turtle, they fell in love.  Crackers likes to carry him around and give him lots of squeezes.  I don't have to worry about the boys getting him dirty, because he is machine washable.

 Check out all of Dandelion's great natural products on their website.

 Dandelion, Earth Friendly Goods has offered to send one of my readers an assortment of their great corn tableware!  This contest is limited to residents of the US.  Contest will close on Friday, July 22.

You may enter using any or all of the following methods.  Leave 1 comment for each method used to enter.  Please remember to put your email address in each comment.

1) Visit Dandelion, Earth Friendly Goods website and tell me your favorite product.
2) "Like" Dandelion on Facebook.  It's polite to thank them for the giveaway.
3) "Follow" Dandelion, Earth Friendly Goods on Twitter.
4) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect.
5) Subscribe to Crum's This N That email newsfeeds (upper right hand corner of the page)
6) "Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook.

**Disclaimer:  I received a product free for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own.

Potty Time

I LOVE that Crackers is fascinated by the potty and that he likes sitting on it.. but gracious - he needs to start USING it a bit more!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I love what I do

Seriously - I love the role I find myself in now.  I get the honor of working with some amazing people in a church that I love.  I get to work along side with some fantastic men and women of faith to help with developing a plan for building faith in our youngest children.

How exciting to work on curriculum: games, activities, crafts, stories, etc.  What a blessing to be able to support this incredible team in the small ways I am able to do so.

To those of you who have helped me find my place in ministry in this congregation: Thanks!

A Bit of Silliness to start the day


Monkey found a bottle of "lotion" last night after bed time.... we call it school glue.... today he's got peels all over his skin - what a fun new learning experience.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011


It's been a long and busy week at the Crum house.  Lots of stuff to work on and no internet access at home - so I haven't posted.  I've got 2 GREAT reviews to get done VERY soon and a couple more coming in the next few weeks.  We should have the internet problem solved tomorrow and I'll be able to post more regularly again!
Thanks for your patience!