Monday, June 27, 2011

Hormone Schmormone

Hormone Schmormone

Okay, so I'm 5 months pregnant and I think this has been the most um.. emotional pregnancy so far.  I've been super hormonal and felt off-balanced and crazy half the time... well, maybe not really half the time, but far more than the last 2 pregnancies.

Little things get me upset sometimes.  In fact, on Friday I went to the doctor.  I tried to explain to her why I am not going to see the specialist she recommended.  She argued with me about my reasoning, she would not listen to it or try to understand my dilemma.  I was frustrated - so I cried.  I'm pregnant, I'm hormonal, that happens.

For real though - she told me to stop crying because, "we're only trying to help you, and crying won't help your blood sugar or the baby".  FOR REAL?!?!?!  Then I was angry.

Finally I worked past it (although thinking about this encounter still makes me angry).  Then I went to the pharmacy to pick up my meds - they informed me that they don't take my insurance - even though I knew otherwise.  Again - I cried.

Yay husband who straightened things out with the pharmacy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Working on some lifestyle changes (again, still.. whatever)... to help with better control of my diabetes.  I'd love to hear tips/suggestions about:
*Diet/Menus - we eat little meat and NO fish
*Exercise - please remember I've got 2 todders and I'm 5 months pregnant
*Diabetes related products
*Anything else related to lifestyle change for better blood sugar control

Leave comments below or email me at

Thanks in advance!

This week's winners

The winner of the 31 Days to Clean Ebook is Zookeeper!

Motherlove Herbal Company product goes to Jenn from!


My 2 year old will be 3 in just 2 weeks.  He's figuring the world out more every day.  Today I am convinced that he's getting ready to be a middle school aged boy.... Here's why:

At lunch today as we sat around the table, he picked up 2 slices of cucumber and held them up to his chest.  "I got green nipples!"  He exclaimed loudly... oi.. what will we do when he IS in middle school and discovering them all over again!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Photo Alphabet: Review, Freebie, & Discount!

Have you seen the photo-alphabet words that people like to sell for great amounts of money so that you can have a cute word or phrase on your wall?  We got one for our wedding, it said "PRAY".  Thank you Jason and Vania for the fantastic gift, we really like it still.

Photographer Jodi Gerber of ArtisticLetters has created an entire catalog of black & white letter images throughout the past 3 years – all by taking photos of objects in nature that resembled letters of the alphabet. She recently decided to offer her ENTIRE catalog of 250+ letter images to the public on CD or Download so that anyone could create their own designs!   It’s a truly original way to make artwork for your home - or even for scrapbooking, greeting cards, and digital designs consisting of wedding invitations, baby’s birth, etc.  Endless possibilities for whatever the mind can imagine!

Jodi teamed up with me and is offering my readers Exclusive Discounted Pricing of up to $6 Off!  Please visit her website www.BuyAlphabetPhotos.comand browse the images, testimonials, and ideas. 
Then check out the Exclusive Pricing and Freebie by clicking on this link:
This link is only accessible here for my readers – you won’t be able to find it on her website.  ;-)

 FREEBIE ALERT:  Jodi also offered my readers a Freebie alphabet set (with purchase) as a Bonus!  And here’s the great part – you get to choose a Damask set from 6 different galleries!  More info is available on the special link above.
 The exclusive pricing and freebie offer expires Saturday, June 25 at midnight so be sure you take advantage of this great deal while it lasts.

You can also visit Jodi’s face book page and click “Like” to find more info, freebies, giveaways, and receive future promotions. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Healthcare Headaches

Mr. Crum got a new job about a month ago. We are still super excited about this. It means that he works Monday – Friday 8-3:30 and has every weekend off, and every evening home. The best part – it's about 3 miles away! He can ride his bike, or even walk to work if he desires. We had been praying for a job that fit this description and it almost fell into his lap.

The downside of this job is that it pays less, the gas makes up for part of the difference, but only part. We've figured out how to cut things out so that we can get by. We've also found some extra income (as I said in another post, I'm working very part time).

The other problem – health insurance. See, when you change jobs, you often have to wait 90 days before you get insurance. That wouldn't be a big deal, BUT – I'm diabetic... and 5 months pregnant. So as we have evaluated our options, we've found, well – little. We're in the waiting period for medicaid – that will cover me until my 6 week appointment after the baby is born. Then – we don't know. His work offers insurance for about $1400 a month if you cover your family. I'm not actually sure we make that much – so that is not an option. We'll find something.

The headache: While waiting for medicaid to kick in, we're covered under a new program called “presumptive eligibility”. This means that I am covered until medicaid chooses to approve or deny my application. BUT I have a limited choice in doctors. I can't continue to see the doctor that I've been seeing, who also delivered Crackers. So I chose another doctor at random, and have seen her once. I don't like her, at all – for so many reasons.

I made a decision – I would ask for a referral back to my old doctor (a specialist). Unfortunately, I have discovered that I cannot see him until we are approved for medicaid, and only then if the new doctor has a good reason to send me there. -sigh- Time for waiting, praying, and putting up with my poor choice of a doctor.

Why am I writing this? Okay, here's what it comes down to: I am wondering what people, like our family, will do if at some point the government really does make it illegal to live without health insurance. As we evaluate our options, they don't look good. We cannot afford to get insurance through Mr. Crum's work – because his work offers insurance, we are not eligible to apply for state insurance. We can probably get “cheap” insurance with something like a $10,000 per year deductible – but I'm diabetic – we can't afford to pay for tons of doctors visits up front. What are people in this type of situation to do in a world that forces health insurance, but refuses to make it affordable? I'm not saying I don't want to be insured, I do... but how?   

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

31 Days to Clean: My Struggle

So here I am, working on getting my house in order so I can honor God and serve my family better. The difficulty? There are so many other things that I would rather do. You know how that is? Not only are there things that I would rather do, I just have a lot on my plate right now.

I am NOT complaining – I like to be active, and I choose my activities carefully. We are so thankful right now that Randy has a new job that allows him to be home with us in the evenings, every evening – and we work to protect that family time. That leaves me the day time to get the house in order, make meals, wash laundry, go to doctor's appointments – and work. Yep, I'm working now – only a few hours a week and I love what I am doing, but all of those things together take time.

Please don't think I'm making excuses for having a “messy” house. I hate feeling like things are a mess, and we're working through our mess and this fantastic book – but we are going a little slower than 31 Days. Maybe this is silly, but I'm hoping that taking things a little more slowly, will benefit all of us in the long run, by helping us build in habits that we need.

The habits we're working on:
  • Getting dishes done after every meal. That's an easy one, right? Well – not always.
  • Doing laundry first thing in the morning. I've discovered that if I start my day's laundry when I first wake up, I can have it drying before we take Mr. Crum to work. This makes the rest of the day feel much cleaner.
  • Putting shoes where they belong. Again, this seems simple – but as I look around my living room at this very moment, I can see 3 pair of shoes that are out of place – yep – it's so much easier to take them off where I want to and let them sit.
  • Making the bed. I have never liked doing this – it seems like a silly task sometimes, since I plan to sleep in it later.
  • Getting rid of junk. Maybe this is a habit that won't last forever – but right now we have a lot of “stuff” that we just don't need. I like to think “I'll save this for our next garage sale”... or “Someone wants this for their birthday”... or “I'll make something out of this”. I end up with a lot of stuff that clutters my house and my life. I'm not saying that it's ALL going away – because I will use some things again, but I am trying very hard to be objective as I clean. We live about half a mile from the nearest Salvation Army donation bin – and I am learning to use it regularly.
  • Putting junk mail directly into the recycle bin. Oh the papers that I find lying around our house! It's so easy to glance through the mail and toss it onto the table. What a waist of energy that is though! Not to mention the clutter I'm adding to my headaches! We have a bin by the door, for now, that collects junk mail as soon as it's been sorted so it can go to the recycle bin.

What habits are you working on? What cheap storage solutions have you used?

Wordless Wednesday: Housekeeping

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DOGGONE: Dog Gone!

We had a great fun Father's day, celebrating Mr. Crum on Sunday. He got toast in bed from his new toaster (yes, you read that right, my husband got a toaster for Father's day). Then a homemade breakfast, including coffee in his new “dad” mug. We had church, which is always a celebration, and he got another mug. A picnic lunch with friends at the park, dinner out, more time with friends... and then it was bed time.

We came home late and put the boys to bed. As I rocked Monkey, Mr. Crum headed outside to bring the dog in. He came back and shook his head, “she's not there.” I was confused – he explained that the dog, Skoshi, had broken her collar and run off sometime in the evening. It's been 2 days, no sign of Skoshi.

Monkey is sad. He keeps telling us, “Skoshi break necklace. That not nice, Skoshi run away. I not too happy 'bout that.” We took a walk and looked for her last night, Monkey told us, “Skoshi not here. Can't find Skoshi.” He gets it – she's gone. Blessing? Curse?

I don't know – we were talking about trying to help her find a new home because we've got some pretty big house repairs that need to have priority over spending money on her – now we don't have to – but we also don't know if she's someplace safe. I have mixed feelings, I liked the dog, mostly, and wanted good for her.

31 Days to Clean Giveaway

HEY! Don't forget about the great giveaway of the 31 Days to Clean E-book.  For instructions and links, check my 31 Days tab at the top of the blog.  The giveaway will end THIS FRIDAY!!!!

31 Days to Clean: The $3 solution

First off, you should know what the problem was. It boils down to this: storage space. This house has SO much more closet space than our old house. (It has actual closets). It is fantastic to have a good place to put things away. The problem is that there are no shelves in most of the closets, so they end up collecting junk (toys, clothes, coats, instruments, etc) and things disappear into the abyss that we know fondly as “the closet”.

Problem #2 – We have 2 dressers for 4.5 people. SO – we've got this nice set of built in shelves in the boy's room – I was stacking clothes on the shelves for a long time, trying to keep them organized, and trying to keep the boys out of them. It did not work well – they are toddlers – they like to remove clothes and toys from shelves.

Some friends gave us 2 beautiful tall shelves that they had been using for homeschool storage. We (I) chose to make poor Mr. Crum help me drag one upstairs so I could use it for Cracker's clothes. (I put Monkey's clothes in the small 3 drawer dresser that my mom had given us when he was tiny). It worked fantastically for holding clothes – BUT – I have kids... they like to pull things off of shelves, AND they discovered that this shelf was particularly fun to climb or hide in.

Back to square 1. We have been hunting for a dresser for a while. In fact, we had gotten 1 from Mr. Crum's wonderful sister, but it did not work to take it up the stairs to their room and it did not fit in our room. We have searched Craigslist for months (when we thought about it) to no avail. This weekend we went driving and hunting for garage sales. I took some cash with us, because I fully intended to find a dresser that would work.

We did not find a dresser.

THE SOLUTION: At a particularly high priced garage sale we found a stack of plastic shelving. You know, the kind that people use to store things in their basement or garage to get it out of sight? This variety stack of shelves had a label that told us it was not so high priced as some of the other items. In fact, this whole stack of shelves was only $3. We bought it.

We took the shelves home and cleaned them very thoroughly. I put them together as they got clean. For $3 we had bought 2 sets of shelves that are each about 6 feet tall, with 5 shelves on each one. The narrower shelves fit perfectly in the side of the now emptied closet in the boy's room. Guess what – their clothes fit on the shelves! I could not use all 5 shelves though, so I stood 1 on the floor for holding shoes – and their box of stuffed animals fits perfectly underneath!


Sunday, June 19, 2011


Earth Mama Angel Baby Tea
Comment #60

Toad Cottages Book
Comment #39

Friday, June 17, 2011

Poppy's Magic "Gate"

Poppy came over on Wednesday this week to build a railing for my boy's bedroom.  It is amazing, not only because it prevents Monkey from attempting to fly over the shelves at the stop of his stairs, but also because it keeps him in his room at night after he's been put to bed.

Usually he comes downstairs about every 5 minutes after we've left.  This week, however, he stood at the top of the stairs and cried at us.  Somehow having a "wall" made him get stuck in his room.

Thanks Poppy for the magic gate!

31 Days to Clean: The Crackers Factor

Yep, this is a good part of my problem with keeping my kitchen clean...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baby Goes Pro: Discover Sports DVD - review

I was SUPER excited to get this DVD for my boys.  They love outside play, especially when it comes to learning how to use a ball and I couldn't wait to share it with them and then try out different sports as we learned about them.

Baby Goes Pro is a unique educational tool for families and educators.  The team has put together great music and sports themes with some fantastic educational foundations in a way that helps to inspire young children to get active.  We really enjoyed the way the DVD was put together - each sport is introduced in the same format as the one before it, so my boys knew what to expect.

Each type of ball is introduced separately and my boys had the opportunity to learn words related to the sports as well as seeing video of people actually using the ball.  Crackers especially loved the songs.  The DVD caught his attention immediately.  Monkey was a little slower to decide he liked it.  What caught his attention the most was the variety of balls used for different sports.

The difference it has made so far for our family:  Monkey is learning to identify different types of balls.  He recognizes that they are used for different things.  We do not have all of the equipment used in the video, but he is interested in trying them out and will get that opportunity over time.

For only $12, this video seems like a great deal for families who are interested in helping their young children learn more about sports.  I recommend that you check out the Baby Goes Pro website and see how your family might learn from it!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Safe in the Arms of Love CD & Book: Review & Giveaway

Safe in the Arms of Love is a beautifully written CD & Book combo that would make a perfect congratulations gift to new and expecting mothers.  I have to be quite honest with you.  I hesitated for about a week before popping the CD into my player.  Why?  Because I feared it would be terribly corny and I would feel obligated to say great things about this CD that I am likely never to use again.

I WAS WRONG.  When I finally put the CD on to review it, I fell in love.  The soft, calming music has beautiful loving lyrics.  In fact, the night I chose to sit down and listen to it, Monkey was having a hard time sleeping.  I played it for him and he relaxed on the sofa until he was ready to fall asleep.

The book is FILLED with great wisdom for mamas.  I enjoyed looking over and reading it.

Here's the problem that I have with Safe in the Arms of Love:  We have a lot of books and a lot of wonderful CDs that we love and I am afraid it will not get used as well as it ought to.  Silly problem, maybe.  So here is what I'm going to do.  I'm giving it away to one of my readers.

PLEASE NOTE:  You will be receiving a very gently used book and CD.  This contest will end on Friday, July 1.

To Enter:
You may use any or all of the following methods to enter, please leave an email address in each entry.  Write 1 comment int he form below for each task you complete.

1) Follow Crum's This N That via GFC
2) Tell me why you would like to win this book
3) Enter any of my other current contests (1 entry per contest you have entered)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

31 Days to Clean - My pantry

Okay, so I felt overwhelmed the other day when I needed to clean my pantry.  You see, our "pantry" is in the basement and it's a variety of shelves we've thrown together... and also, has plenty of other "important things" in boxes that we dig through when we need to find them.  Mess... MESS!  Take a look at before and after.  Note: After is still not perfect, but it's a lot easier to use now, and I know what's in there again!

Wordless Wednesday: The Cage (yes, I know it's Thursday)

That was hard work

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Den: Needs

Remember my friend Melissa and her ministry with youth in Bremen, IN?

She needs some help to find a shed for storage of her family's garage items (bikes, mower, etc).  The Den is opening in their garage until a more permanent location can be found to host the ministry.

Anyone that is in the Bremen area and has access to a shed, it would be a HUGE ministry to Melissa's family and to the youth in Bremen that will participate in ministry at The Den.


Tonight my big man is watching Monster's Inc. for the first time... at this point he has no fears of monsters or dark or any such thing.. I hope this doesn't spawn any!

Monday, June 13, 2011

31 Days to Clean: Day 6

I have NOT completed Day 7 yet - I took a break for my day of rest, and did some other cleaning today while waiting for our "special visitor".  Poppy came to town to help us build a "cage" for the boy's stairs.  The top of the staircase to their room was a shelf with an open top - Monkey is, well, a monkey and worried me because he had already started experimenting with climbing over.

BUT I'm writing about Day 6 -

For Day 6 I needed to make a list and clean out my cabinets.  The list is a fantastic tool for organizing my day.  I am starting it tonight as I look toward tomorrow's necessary tasks.

The 6 things that need to get done tomorrow:
1) Laundry - washing/drying clothes and boy's bedding
2) Laundry - sorting/organizing everyone's clothes (Mr. Crum will have to do his own)
3) Menu for the week & grocery list
4) Make dinner
5) Call Monkey's doctor about ENT referral
6) Call about insurance paperwork

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Motherlove Herbal Company: Review & Giveaway

I'm about to tell you about a company that knocks my socks off.  I was first introduced to Motherlove Herbal Company on a blog.  I won a jar of Diaper Rash & Thrush Salve.  This meets a need in our house.  You see, I'm diabetic and when I'm breastfeeding, my babies really struggle with thrush and we tend to pass it back and forth.  I am not currently breastfeeding, but I do still have a little guy in cloth diapers, and I will be breastfeeding in the near future.  We have recently had some difficulties with rashes.  Crackers doesn't get them often, but when he does they are terrible and hard to treat.  In fact, I have not found another diaper rash treatment that would clear it up.  Believe it or not, this salve is all-natural and has a zero toxin rating - with 96% organic ingredients.

I recently had the opportunity to test Motherlove's Green Salve.  This stuff is amazing.  It's great for taking the itch out of bug bites, poison ivy, and other skin irritations.  It is NOT recommended for diaper rash.  I took this with me for a picnic on Memorial Day and had the opportunity to share it with another adult who had an irritating insect bite.  She used it and commented about how quickly it seemed to take the sting out.  I have also used it on closed wounds on Monkey's Arm - he had fallen and scraped up his arm, now he has a little scarring, this soothed him and seemed to reduce the scarring.  Green Salve is not suggested for use on open wounds.  I love this stuff!  It is also non toxic and has 100% organic ingredients.

Have you ever had a dry itchy belly while pregnant?  Have you ever gotten stretch marks?  Pregnant Belly Salve helps alleviate some of those annoying pregnancy symptoms.  I've tried it for a couple of weeks now.  It's hard to for me to tell whether it's working to minimize stretch marks - other than I know that my belly is getting bigger, and so far I don't see any new marks.  I do know that Pregnant Belly Salve has helped me a lot with the itchy dry skin.  I usually use it twice a day and it feels so nice to put on my belly!  It does not feel super oily or greasy.  This is also made of all-natural ingredients and has a zero toxin rating.
My husband's impression?  He was stunned by the quick reaction that Crackers had to the Diaper Rash & Thrush Salve.  He likes the smells of the natural salves.  Mr. Crum is impressed by the organic bee wax used in the salves as he is a beekeeper and knows how very difficult it is to get an organic rating on any bee product.

Motherlove is an amazing company that values the health of its customers as well as the environment.  You can read about their practices under the tab labeled "Company".

To find a Motherlove supplier near you, check their website!  I discovered that we have 2 suppliers about 41 miles away from our house - in a town we pass through somewhat regularly - THAT is super exciting to me.

You can also order Motherlove products on the company website.

One of my readers will win their choice of a Motherlove product!  (A fantastic prize if you ask me).  This contest is for residents of the US only and will end on June 24.

To enter in this contest you may do any or all of the following things.  Each task is 1 entry.  Please leave a comment in the form below for each entry you complete.  Remember to leave your email address in each comment so I can contact you if you win.

1) Go to the Motherlove Herbal Company website and tell me which product you think you would like to win.  (If you do win you can change your mind about what you would like).
2) "Like" Motherlove Herbal Company on Facebook.  It is polite to thank them for the giveaway.
3) "Follow" Motherlove Herbal Company on Twitter.
4) "Follow" Crum's This N That via Google Friend Connect (right hand column).
5) "Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook.
6) "Follow" me on Twitter.

31 Days to Clean: Days 3-5

It's been a busy week, a lot of extra errands to get done.  I had a hard time keeping up on challenges. Fortunately, yesterday I was able to catch up on days 3-5 (it was day 6 for me) AND conquer a mountain of laundry that needed to get folded in our basement!   The laundry has been on my to do list for some time now and I'm so glad to have it to-done!  I think that will help me immensely with my feelings of not being able to catch up/keep up!

How is everyone else doing with chores this week?

BubuBibi Winner Announced!

Congratulations Cassie
Comment #20
You win the BubuBibi Gift Code!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hormonal Confession

Okay, so you all know that pregnant people tend to have crazy hormones... crazy hormones sometimes lead to ridiculous fears....

Here's my confession of the day... I have been feeling kind of crampy, just exactly like I feel when I first get pregnant... but see, I'm 18 weeks today... I pretty well know I'm pregnant.  Anyhow, I was driving down the road and I thought... "sometimes people get pregnant even though they're already carrying a baby... oh no... what if that happened to me and that's why I'm feeling like this.. I could have babies 4 months apart.. YIKES"

To make things worse:  I called my sister to tell her about my crazy fear.  She comforted me by telling me that she knew a couple people who were not twins but carried at the same time... thanks E!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Columbus, IN area moms... $20 for half an hour work, check it out...

Good Afternoon Columbus Moms!
(Please read through the entire research event prior to responding! Thank you! J)
If you meet the criteria for this event and are able to attend, please reply to this email and provide the following information:
Phone Number (best to reach you in the event of a cancellation)
Number of Children
Age of Child(ren)
First Choice Time Slot:
Second Choice Time Slot:

(All of the above information is required to submit notice of your availability for the research event)

We have a research event coming up at our Columbus office! We are looking for moms to come in and give their opinion on our car seats. (Little ones are more than welcome, but do not have to attend!)
Criteria: Mom with at least one child currently in a car seat
Date: Friday, June 17th
Time: Time Slots are as follows (we are looking for 4 participants per time slot!)
9-9:30 AM

9:30-10 AM

10-10:30 AM
10:30-11 AM

11-11:30 AM

11:30-12 PM

Location: Safety 1st Office (2525 State Street, Columbus, IN 47201)
Event Description: Car Seats
Reward: $20 Walmart Gift Card  
If you know someone who also may be interested in this event, feel free to pass the invitation along to them as well! We will accept participants that meet the criteria until the event is filled J
Have a great day,

Ministry with children and families

Just wanted to share that I am super excited about the opportunity to minister with children and families at our church!  What amazing things are in the works, I'm so glad to be a part of it.

Cloth Diaper Giveaway - 8 hours left!

It's not too late to get your entries in for the BubuBibi giveaway

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

BubuBibi $25 Gift Code Giveaway Ending Soon!

Don't forget to enter to win $25 for BubuBibi Cloth Diapers.  This is a GREAT deal as it can get you 2 diapers and more!  Ends tomorrow!

BubuBibi Giveaway

Wordless Wednesday: Zoo trip

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Earth Mama Angel Baby Tea: Review & Giveaway

The truth? I have a hard time resting. I have a 17 month old and an ALMOST 3 year old... and I'm pregnant. And honestly – I've always had a hard time resting. I like to be on the move. Okay, so I like naps, but really sitting down and relaxing is so difficult at times.

Maybe I'm crazy but it seems like the added hormones from pregnancy make it even harder to let my mind be truly at ease. I lay down at night and think about everything that I should have finished, or needs to happen tomorrow, or what would be a great baby name... you get the picture? There's a lot on my mind when I try and rest and that makes it really hard. I've even noticed that Monkey has a hard time resting, I imagine he's a lot like his mama.

All that in mind – I was super excited to try Organic Peaceful Mama Tea. This is one of many great Earth Mama Angel Baby products that is especially designed for moms! It's caffiene free, so it's safe for pregnant or nursing mamas!
Mr. Crum and I are lovers of tea and I enjoyed testing this. Organic Peaceful Mama Tea tastes fantastic when I drink it from my favorite mug.. it also tastes great when I drink it from other mugs. Does it help me relax? It does! A nice warm cup of tea before bed is perfect for helping to soothe my tired mind. It is great any time of the day, but I especially love it just before I go to sleep.

Earth Mama Angel Baby is offering one of my readers a choice of organic tea to sample!  This giveaway is open to residents of the US and will end on Friday, June 17.

Please leave a comment for each entry and put your email address in each comment.
1) Visit Earth Mama Angel Baby and tell me what product you would like to try.
2) Tell me one way you work on living a healthier life.
3) "Like" Earth Mama Angel Baby on Facebook.
4) Follow Crum's This N That via GFC.
5) "Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook.

Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars: Book Review & Giveaway

Are you like me?  Do you love finding great new ways to help your kids learn and explore?  We especially love helping our boys learn in nature.  A few weeks ago, on a trip to the mall, we accidentally discovered this wonderful book at one of the big bookstores.  (Really, it was an accident).

I picked it up and flipped through it while Crackers played with the train table.  I loved the illustrations, but more than that, I loved all the GREAT ideas for learning with my kids.  Okay, so it says it is Grandma's Bag of Tricks.  The truth is, I have plenty to learn from this grandma.  In fact, I would love her to come spend a week with us and play with my boys.  Or maybe I should send them to her! 

Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars is not a book for grandmas.  Well, yes it actually is - but we all need some help to come up with great new ways to spend quality time with our families.  I highly recommend exploring this book with your children.  There are so many projects that we adore, it was hard to pick out a favorite to start with.

We chose to make a solar oven with our boys - the materials are easy to get cheaply, and the project is simple enough that our 3 year old can help.  What's best is that there is an edible reward in the end!  Our 
choice of foods - mini pizzas!  Yum!

One of my readers will win a copy of Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars of their own.  This contest will end Friday, June 17.  This contest is limited to residents of the US and Canada.

You may enter using any or all of the following methods.  Please leave 1 comment for each entry and include your email address in each comment.
1) Visit Sharon Lovejoy's website, tell me something you learned.
2) Look around the Workman Publishing site and tell me about another interesting book.
3) Follow Crum's This N That via GFC.
4) Subscribe to Crum's This N That via email newsfeed.
5) Tell me why you want this book and who you would share it with.

31 Days to Clean: Days 1&2 a slow start

There are so many reasons that I have committed to participating in this 31 day challenge. Here's an example: Today is Tuesday – I dread Tuesdays right now. This is the day that Monkey has therapy – twice! That means that 2 people are coming into our home to work with him on learning and growing in some necessary skills. I spend a good portion of Tuesday morning cleaning the house and end up leaving my boys to do whatever it is they want to do.

I don't like it that I feel like I have to clean before someone comes over. I don't like it that I feel like I have to make my boys entertain themselves all morning while I clean. I want to change these habits! The good news: Monkey turns 3 in just over a month and he will grow out of First Steps Therapies... that means we just have Cracker's Therapist coming every other week (whichever day she shows up).
Nonetheless, I don't want to live in fear of filth!

Why do I say I've had a slow start? Because the book starts out slowly. It gives me time to analyze my reasoning and really know what I want to accomplish. Day 1 doesn't even require any cleaning! I did clean though, because I've just got to get on top of this! I have not yet completed the Day 2 Martha Challenge, my first cleaning assignment – but I will get it done before bed tonight!

How has my home changed? See for yourself, look at this problem area (it took about half an hour to finish REALLY cleaning this):
The kitchen counter is a landing zone... this is not "normal" for this space, but it does tend to stay messy.
The kitchen counter now

What are your problem areas?

31 Days to clean: giveaway instructions

Did you read my earlier post about the great e-book 31 days to clean?  I'm working through the book right now and planning to share my journey with you (don't you feel special?).  I am also giving away a copy of the ebook to one of my readers.  There are a few simple ways to enter and they are as follows

Complete any or all of the following tasks.  Make sure to leave 1 comment for each completed activity (no need to leave a comment here if you've commented on other posts - I'll track that.  Leave your email address in each comment!
1) Check out the 31 Days to Clean Website, tell me something you learned (leave a comment below).
2) Like 31 Days to Clean, leave a comment below telling me you have done so.
3) Subscribe to the 31 Days to Clean Blog email newsletter - leave a comment telling me you've done this.
4) Leave a comment on ANY of my other posts about the 31 Days to Clean Challenge - you can leave a relevant comment on as many of those posts as you want, each comment is 1 entry into the giveaway.
5) Tell me why you need this book! (Comment below).
6) Subscribe to Crum's This N That via Google Friend Connect.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mary (more on 31 Days to Clean)

Okay, so 31 Days to Clean has a subtitle. “Having a Martha House the Mary Way”. I know the Bible story of Mary and Martha, I've heard it many times and read it more than a few times as well. So what's the big deal?

Well – Mary was a devoted daughter in the Kingdom. She loved to sit with Jesus, listen, and learn. I imagine she asked a lot of questions too. This really frustrated her sister, Martha, who was a fantastic host and wanted everything to be just perfect for her guests. In the story of Mary and Martha in the book of Luke, this is exactly what is going on. Mary is soaking it all in. She's sitting on the floor, listening to Jesus and Martha gets upset. Jesus tells Martha that it's okay, Mary is making a good choice.

What does Mary sitting at Jesus' feet have to do with cleaning? Hmm... she wasn't helping her sister clean, she saw something more important than making the house spotless and went for it. Her house WAS clean though (Martha made sure of it). Mary was not being lazy or irresponsible, she was devoting her time and energy to a greater task. She knew that the dishes could be washed later and the laundry hanging on the line could get folded after she was done learning. She knew she was in the presence of someone amazing.

I was thinking about Mary last night and ways that I am like Mary. I like to find more important things to do than clean – but it's not because they are greater and I know I can get the little things done cleaner. I am not like Mary in this way – I don't like to clean because, well, frankly, I feel overwhelmed by the task at times so I avoid it!

I want to be like Mary though, I want to be able to know that the things I am reaching for are greater than a perfectly tidy house. I want to learn to sit at the feet of Jesus and soak it in. I want to spend my energy doing things that matter.

I can think of one Mary-like time in my recent memory, I know there are others, but this scene comes to mind:
My grandpa was sick, he was recovering from an illness in the hospital – this was near the end of his life. Having a large family has some benefits – when my grandparents were sick we were able to develop a plan so that they never had to be alone. My cousin Ashlee and I were visiting with grandpa while he was there. I loved talking with him – he was my hero (and still is). As we came into the room another cousin was leaving. We had Grandpa to ourselves. He was in a good mood and very chatty that day. Somehow we got him onto the subject of World War II – he had been a prisoner of war in Germany. Ashlee and I sat at the sides of the bed on the edges of our seats, soaking it in, asking questions, yearning for more. All of our energy was devoted to learning what life had been like for this amazing man.

My grandpa was not Jesus, probably not even close. He does however, represent Jesus in my life in a lot of ways. As I remember that afternoon in the hospital, I long to be captivated by the stories of Jesus the same way I was caught up by my grandpa's tale of war and love.

That is what it means to me to be Mary. I am hoping that as I embark on this 31 day journey, I can learn to be more like Mary and practice sitting at the feet of Jesus daily.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

31 Days to Clean!

Want to know a secret?  I am a mess.  It's true.  I like to have things neat and tidy - and I keep my "work" space neat... I used to always keep my house cleaned too.. . then I went from being a single lady to being a married mother of an infant and a teenager in just over a year... and somehow I got overwhelmed by the task of cleaning and I stayed that way.

Even after the "big boys" left our house, I find it hard to keep up with the cleaning.  Staying home with a 1 year old and a 2 year old is a lot sometimes.  It makes me feel angry at times, and very frustrated.  I often feel defeated by clutter and over-run by laundry.

I was talking to my friend Melissa about this last week and she recommended that I look into a book that she just ordered.  It's called 31 Days to Clean.  Honestly?  I'm not big on "how to" books... but as I read the website for 31 Days to Clean, I got excited!

Here's the deal for my readers.  I'm going to do this challenge (and do it well).  I'll blog about my progress every 2-3 days.  At the end of 3 weeks I will have a drawing and one of my readers will have an opportunity to win a free copy of this fantastic e-book.  This contest will be a little different than normal.  In fact, tomorrow I plan to post a quick "pre-view" and some ways to enter the contest.... here's a heads up - for EACH post you'll be able to leave a relevant comment and earn an entry into the contest.  You'll have LOTS of chances to enter over the next 3 weeks as I work on changing my feelings of overwhelmed into feelings of conquering!

Thanks for reading - if you leave a relevant comment on this post you will be entered to win the giveaway in 3 weeks!

Hoorah, Hooray!

I just wanted to share that we bought our zoo pass today!  We had a garage sale yesterday and got (almost) enough to cover the cost of the membership - We had a fun (but short) zoo trip today!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Prefense Winner

You win an 8oz bottle of Prefense!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Smooth movin'

Ah, it's hard not to be a proud mama when I watch my smooth son flirting with 3 girls that are all 3 years older than him (yep, he's 2 and was flirting with the 5 year olds). 

THEN when we were at home he was flirting with the 4 year old neighbor girl (who I think is beautiful)....
I encouraged him to pick a flower for her...

My smooth son walked over, stood in front of this beautiful little girl... and peed his pants!

We've got some work to do!

Coconut Cream Concentrate Winner

The winner of the Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate is:

Congratulations, I'll contact you shortly.