Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cousins at the Holiday



Woombie Toddler Donut: Review & Giveaway

I have to say that I never expected the Woombie Toddler Donut to be such a big part of everyday life at the Crum house.  When I first considered reviewing it, I thought about how great it would be for holiday travel - and it is, but it has become an essential part of this mama's daily routine!


Monkey was SUPER excited when the Donut came in the mail.  I let him open it and while opening it - I cooked up a plot to get him to sleep at naptime that day.  I told him it was his "special nap bed".  That is the beginning of the Toddler Donut's daily use at our house.  Monkey laid down in it as soon as we were ready for nap time.  He uses it for naps, and even sometimes for bed time, while he waits downstairs for Crackers to fall asleep in the room they share.


The Woombie Toddler Donut is amazing for travel.  My initial thought was that it would help when visiting my parents.  They have 2 pack'n'plays, we have 3 children.  Monkey is VERY possessive about the square pack'n'play, and really he is getting too big for it.  Having his "special nap bed" along with us at Thanksgiving made helping him transition out of the baby bed a little easier.  (It would have been even easier if Mr. Crum had not set the square one up).  This bed will be traveling with us all winter for visiting friends and family.  When we start camping this summer, it will continue to travel with us!

photo from woombie.com
Poor Crackers feels left out.  He often runs and jumps onto the Toddler Donut to antagonize his big brother - but we also find him sleeping on it sometimes if it's been left in their bedroom instead of folded up downstairs!  When we have the money to spare, we will look at one for him too.

What Mama Loves
I love that this helps us solve some nap dilemmas.  The Woombie is wonderful for easy travel.  I also love that it is: Foam Free, Glue Free, Odor Free, Hypo Allergenic, Non Toxic, Lead & Phthalate Free, Non Flammable and Recyclable!

What Mama Would Change
Well, Monkey still wets the bed... I would love it if Woombie would get him sleep trained.  His wetting made me quickly aware of the need to wash our Toddler Donut.  This has to be done in a front loading washer.  We don't have one, so it requires a trip to the laundry mat to wash it.  I would love it if Woombie offered some kind of slip on cover that would soak up bodily fluids and dirt and could easily be washed in a top loading machine.

What the Boys Love
The boys adore the leopard print, Monkey likes to sleep with a stuffed leopard and thinks it's extra cool to have a leopard bed.  They also like the soft feeling of the plush material that covers the top of the bed.  Monkey thinks it is nice to be able to move his bed to different parts of the house, or to other people's houses!
photo from woombie.com
Want One?
You can buy your very own Woombie Toddler Donut in "spring" or "leopard" for only $68!  Your kids will thank you and you will thank yourself!

You can also win a Toddler Donut RIGHT HERE.  Fill out the easy Rafflecopter form for your chance to win the choice of either color.  One winner will be selected on Friday December 9th!

Mommy Lesson #15

Moral: Close the Door


Boys.. I have boys!


This morning I finished getting breakfast ready for Crackers - my almost 2 year old (yikes he's going to be 2) - and called for him.  He did not answer me - Crackers ALWAYS answers when it is time for food, so I went looking.


It did not take long for me to find my chubby toddler, standing in the bathroom... with a cup in his hand... that he was using to scoop water out of the toilet.. and DRINK!


YUCK!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yep, totally a boy...

So, on our way out of the church this morning we were discussing what the boys wanted for lunch.

As ALWAYS - the answer was "peanut butter and jelly... with bread".

When we approached the van, I turned in time to see 3 year old, Monkey, crouching down on the black top
and LICKING the ground.

"Yuck, don't like the ground, what are you doing?"  Said the horrified mother (aka - me).

He looked up at me, confused... "But, it Jelly!"

OI

Monday, November 28, 2011

It started with leaves

I have boys.
They act like... boys.

My boys love to examine nature.  They especially love leaves, rocks, sticks and pine cones.  In fact, everywhere we go they are searching for these special treasures. I love this about my boys.  I want to find ways to encourage this curiosity as they grow.  But this brings us to problem #1.

Problem #1
 Our van floor is covered with broken down leaves and pine cones.  The boys bring them into the house and examine each bit as they crunch them into tiny bits on the floor.  I found a rock in the baby's car seat last week - under him.  I KNOW he did not pick it up, I think it was a gift from one of his doting brothers.

The floor in front of Cracker's seat
I love my boys.  They love to get comfortable as soon as they walk into the house.  Some days I have to walk over one or the other just to get inside, because he is taking off shoes or tugging a jacket off.  Unfortunately, at 23 months old and 3 years old, they are not so fond of putting things away all of the time.  Sometimes we're lucky and I get all 4 shoes where I ask them to put them.  Generally they end up in a bedroom or the bathroom or somewhere in the middle of the floor.  

Problem #2
Things get cluttered and messy.  It is hard to find the right shoe or jacket.  Getting ready to leave the house takes MUCH longer than it should because we are looking for assorted missing items.  It makes me crazy.  I like to be on time.  I also like a clean house.  


Solution
I was really annoyed when I found a rock in the baby's car seat.  It's not a BIG deal, just more mess and clutter.  I happened to be sitting near an unused McDonalds bucket and plunked the rock into it.  I thought, "gee, I should get them each a bucket to use for their nature".  That's how it started.  Then, I realized if I put the buckets on a shelf, behind the front door.  We could collect nature, hats, coats, and shoes as they make it into our house.  

I searched our house for a shelf that was the right size and only found 1 that was narrow enough to fit in this space.  It does not look beautiful, eventually we will make a nicer shelf.  The wall isn't finished yet - but look, organized, functional - now I just have to convince my boys to use it.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Showing Thanks for Crystal #CrystalRollOn

Why does Crystal Deodorant make me thankful for this lady?
Nana Billey holding Baby Crum
By now you know that I am a fan of natural products.  I try and incorporate them into our home as much as possible.  I want to avoid unnecessary chemicals in my body and my children's.  I am working to teach them ways to live more naturally than the way I grew up.  One area that I struggle with is hygiene products.  I know, I know - that should be a top priority because they go on and in my body!  I'm working on it.  Recently I was invited to try out Crystal Roll-On Deodorant.  Crystal is natural deodorant made from chemical free mineral salts!

Okay, so about my mom.  When I was in school we lived near an amazingly huge outdoor flea market.  One summer, she found some deodorant crystals.  They were rocks that you wet and rub on your pits.  She told us about how great they were supposed to be - they are natural and last a long time, and best of all they save money.  We thought they seemed kind of cool and decided to use them.  I used my deodorant crystal for a while and then discovered that none of my friends used anything like it, so I gave up.

I am thankful for this experience with deodorant crystals because it was a step in the right direction.  She was helping us learn to use natural products for hygiene - even if it wasn't her intention.  My mom got me interested in using natural products.  My experience so many years ago made it a lot easier to switch to crystal deodorant as an adult.

Important note: many people use antiperspirant, which is made to cover odors and keep the body from sweating.   Many deodorants are designed to mask body odor by adding another scent.  Crystal deodorants work by forming a barrier that blocks odor causing bacteria.  Deodorants do NOT prevent sweating.


I have used Crystal Roll On Deodorant for the last week and truly love it.  I am not used to the roll on style deodorant.  In the past I've used sticks.  I've also used a lot of antiperspirant.  I feel secure with Crystal.  I'm still getting used to the difference in sweat levels from my former antiperspirant.  I am positive that I will continue to use Crystal Body Deodorants after I have finished this bottle of it.  Honestly, I was surprised by the price, it is only about $4 per bottle!  (I was even more surprised to find it at Walmart).

If you are interested in natural solutions to body odor problems, I strongly urge you to try Crystal Deodorants.  It's absolutely worth the $4 investment in your long term health and short term body stink.

Check out our shopping experience on Google +
Thank you  #CrystalRollOn  for this shopping opportunity!
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias 

Black Friday Shopping

Yep.  I'm one of those crazies.  My mom, sister and I enjoy going Black Friday shopping together.  We don't go for the "big deals" (although I've gotten a few of those myself).  We go for the adventure.  Believe me - it IS an adventure!  I thought I'd share a little bit about our night last night - and it's killing me that I don't have pictures to share!

Our first stop was Target.  They opened at midnight, we got there shortly before opening.  We talked with folks in line and enjoyed getting ready for the adventure.  Oh - this might be a good point to mention that I wore baby Crum while we shopped - the whole time.  

At midnight the line did NOT start moving.  They had done a fantastic job of splitting the line up into groups of approximately 30 and were planning to let people in every 20 seconds.  It seemed like a reasonable system, so why wasn't it moving? Well - another line had formed in the opposite direction and people were trying to push their way into the store.  The employees waited for police to come and deal with the line-jumpers, before letting everyone in.
It all worked out, we got inside.  This was the most calm Black Friday experience I can recall.  Target in Anderson did a fantastic job preparing for the mad rush.  I purchased 2 seasons of a favorite television show, found pajamas for the kids (Nana buys those for Christmas every year), and we headed out the door.  We then discovered flashing lights - a fire truck and an ambulance.  The rumor is that someone had a seizure in their car - yikes.  Prayers to that person.
We planned to go to Meijer store at 4 - we had a few hours to kill, so we stopped at Walmart.  We roamed the aisles, most of the big shoppers had cleared out already, and the special deals were largely gone.  Not a big deal, my mom and sister each found a couple of items that they thought they needed.


Our final stop of the morning was Meijer store.  They had some nice cast iron dutch ovens that had me drooling.  I was really looking forward to getting one and ditching my old dutch oven.  Before heading inside, I fed Baby Crum for a few minutes and discovered that he had soaked through his cloth diapers (we're having a ton of trouble getting diapers that are tight enough on his legs).  He generally sleeps until about 6, so I hadn't thought to bring a spare - oi.  We went inside, found those way cool dutch ovens, and headed to the diaper aisle.  I picked up diapers and wipes and went to the restroom for changing - problem?  Baby had leaked POO through the leg.  Thanks to some generous friends, we had a Meijer gift card and I was able to send my sister to pick out an outfit for him.

I took his diaper back tot he car, returned to find my family chatting with some of their church friends.  We decided not to get the beautiful dutch ovens - because they were MUCH smaller than we had anticipated - bummer.  I sat down while my family talked... and suddenly was very aware that I felt incredibly sick.  Maybe I was just tired, I tried to convince myself.

An hour before the sale, my mom and sister convinced me to go sleep in the car.  Baby and I headed out of the store. 

NOW
Here's my favorite part of the whole story.

A cowboy stopped me on the way out, he eyed me and said, "Is there a child in there?"  
I nodded and said, "mmmhmm"
"REALLY?"  The cowboy exclaimed.
I replied, "yep" and pulled the sling aside to show him the baby.
His eyes grew wide and the cowboy said, "OH MY".

As I walked away I realized that I had been talking to a cowboy.  How did I know?  This man had been riding the mechanical penny horse and eating a sucker.  Yep.  A full grown man, riding the kids' horse at the store.

Okay, back to the adventure.  Baby and I slept in the car.  Mom and sis came back just after 4.  We headed home.  I laid on my parent's house (my big boys were both in the bed with Mr. Crum).  Within an hour I was up, running.. vomiting.  Yuck.

A rough black Friday with a good start.
Did you have any black Friday adventures?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Thanksgiving

From the Crum boys!




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

3 year old: On Dating

The thinker
I recognize that children are born learning.  This guy has been taking it all in since the day he was born.  Seriously he had the most intense stare as he checked out his new surroundings.  He processes everything he hears.   He asks about 100 questions an hour sometimes.  He doesn't just ask "why" to be annoying - he's learning.  I know, because he'll repeat things back to us days, and weeks later.

The last couple of nights he has had a hard time going to bed.  His complaint? "I want to go on date with mommy".  Sweet, no?  Mr. Crum and I decided that I would take him to Kroger on a "date" today and get some groceries for the weekend.  At nap time today I asked if he wanted to do that.

My Monkey thought a moment and said, "No.  Kroger not fun.  Date is fun."  

There you have it.  Dates are supposed to be fun.  He didn't tell me where he wants to go, but I'm pretty sure it won't be grocery shopping.  I do know that the best "date" he has been on recently was with Miss Traci, who took him to McDonalds and apparently they watched a movie at her house and went to an office.  (He's still talking about it nearly a month later).

Where do you take your children when you go on dates with them?

Mommy Lesson #14

Moral: Be thankful for the messes my boys make...

Because they have never done this

WINNERS

Congratulations

Tropical Traditions Omega 3 Greens
Jane S.P.T.

Charlie's Soap Powder & Pre-Wash
Pamela J.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Tea
Mandy K.

Lily Padz Starter Kit
Jessica A

Peaceful Housewife Natural Cleaners Ebook
Pamela M.
Tosha P.

All emails have been sent to the winners!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Overcoming the Nevers: Week 2

Continuing with my journey through the book Overcoming the Nevers - here is the question list for the week.


In order to overcome and experience true freedom, Teri Johnson suggests that we need to decide to let go of past hurts, regrets and pain. How have you done this in the past? Were you successful at moving on? Are there things you are still holding on to that keep you from enjoying true freedom?


I think that in the past, my main mode of "letting go" was just to shove things aside and pretend to forget about them for a while.  I would avoid my past and look toward the future, partly because I want to be forward moving, but also partly because I did not want to think about painful things.  I hope that makes sense.


Recently I've done a lot of work related to this.  Especially as I went through my Restoring the Foundations class, but I'm not done yet.  I recognize that in trying to avoid some of the difficult times, I've pushed aside a lot of people that I dearly love.  It's not that I don't want them to be a part of my life, I just want to live in the now.  I dearly miss those people and need to spend some time and serious effort restoring some relationships that I have let lapse.


If you are one of those people, I am sorry that I have been so bad at staying in touch.  I have not been a good friend to you for a year, or several years - depending on who you are.  Know that I still love you dearly and you are on my mind constantly.  We are unfortunately, in a place that we cannot travel much to see those people whom I love, but I need to work harder at keeping in touch, by email, phone, or otherwise.


I guess, in short - my answer is yes and no.  I have been effective at avoiding pains, but not at being free from them.  By avoiding my pains, I have alienated myself at times - all with good intentions, of course.  I've hurt other people in an effort to make myself feel better about life.


Through recent work, I have been freed from some of those hurts and pains.  I am continuing to work through others.  It amazes me sometimes to realize just how connected a particular pain can be to how the rest of my life functions.  I live in freedom, but continue to work toward COMPLETE freedom.  


Here's a little nugget about freedom that I wrote down during my class tonight.  I don't know if it's original, or something that I've heard elsewhere, but it totally pertains to this post, and to the work I am doing in my life.
Freedom in Christ
means
Freedom from Sin
and
Freedom to have
Abundant Life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Peridot Moon Diaper: Review & Giveaway

If you are looking for super cute diaper prints with a thicker than average PUL, quality workmanship, and an extremely adjustable fit - Peridot Moon is your diaper!

It is comfortable too - or at least Crackers thinks so.  (Sidenote - he stole Monkey's bed this nap time.)

Peridot Moon offers a variety of products, including: double pocket diapers, wraps, organic hemp and bamboo inserts and doublers (sold separate from diapers), wipes, nursing covers, and more!  She also has over 80 fabric choices!  I wish I could get the following print for my boys to do some fun Christmas shots.

 This is the smallest setting on the diaper.  It fits 11lb 10oz baby nicely, I think I should have made the waist just one setting looser, but I wanted to test it out.  I also have some puckering where the rise snaps adjust - that is my own error, I did not have the diaper folded well - my error resulted in leaking during this particular trial.  (Trials with the diaper folded well did not result in leaking).

I just adore this diaper.  The print has got to be one of my all time favorites.  The fit is fantastic on both of my boys.  The double pocket allows for easier stuffing as well as easy washing - inserts wash out of the diaper when the washer agitates.


Can you see how many snaps are on this diaper?  It's hard to see because the snap colors match the diaper so very nicely!  There are 5 settings for rise adjustment and 15 sets of snaps around the waist for the absolute best fit.  

Peridot Moon has offered one of my readers a choice of diaper!
Make sure to check out their shop and Facebook page, then enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Helpless

We are having a problem of helplessness in our house.  There is a 3 year old who suddenly cannot do things like put on his pants and shoes.  He's pretty sure that he needs help to do these tasks - some of them he has been doing for nearly a year on his own.

It makes me crazy - mostly because it makes us late - daily.  It's a problem that generally occurs after nap, in the time that I was hoping to make it to the library early so we could play for a while before Mr. Crum finishes work.  Tantrums ensue, and mama does not help with every task.

I feel mean because I refuse to help my crying child.  I've seen it before though - so many times.  When I worked at the children's home so many of the kids refused to do work that they could do - because in the past they got the help.. and they learned that if they were helpless, someone else would do the work for them.  Sometimes the "learned helplessness" would show up with chores, other times with school work or therapy.

Now, I recognize that Monkey is only 3 and a half.  However - I do not want him to think that laziness makes it okay to refuse a task.  It makes me later than I want to be a lot of times, it causes fits a lot of times - but he is learning.

In fact, it's been 23 minutes now that he's been getting dressed - he's now got pants on, 1 sock, and 1 shoe.  The rest will happen shortly, or once again we won't have time to play at the library.  That would be a bummer.


All For Love

Love
February
Bloggers

What do these have in common?  Well - the All For Love Valentine's Event is coming soon.  February 1-7 will be here sooner than you think.  It's not too late to sign up to be part of this giveaway event.  If you're a blogger, all you have to do is post about the giveaway OR pay a $5 fee.  Once you've done that and added your name to the list, start thinking about sponsors.  Each blog must put together a prize or prize package worth $25 or more.

Join the fun!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Harvest


October 12
November 14
November 16

Tender Tushies: Review & Giveaway

I have to admit, I've learned to love cloth diapers so much more than I ever thought I would when I started using them (3.5 years ago I tried them and quit).  There are so many wonderful reasons to use cloth, one of the many reasons for me right now is economy.  It does not make any sense for me to be spending $40 every couple of weeks to diaper my boys!  ($40 is a conservative estimate because we use store brand diapers when we use disposables).  

Because money is a concern for us, and for others in our lives - I am always on the lookout for quality cloth diapers that are affordable.  I love the beautiful $20 diapers - but is that really practical in my life?  Nope, and not for most of my friends and family either.  Tender Tushies offers a quality diaper for $9-12 a piece.
Look at all those adjustment snaps!
I also prefer diapers with options.  What does that mean?  I want a diaper that I can use on both of my boys - my 29 pound 22 month old and my 11 pound infant.  I like "one size" diapers.  Not only does Tender Tushies offer one size, these diapers offer Crackers (29lbs) plenty of room to grow.  In fact, to get a snug fit on him, I had to move the sides in 3 snaps!  This means that he will be able to wear the diaper for a very long time.  (I sure hope he's out of diapers before he outgrows it).  

Lots of extra room on the biggest setting when Crackers wears this diaper!

Snug fit on little baby legs and waist!


Options also means that I can use it as a pocket or as a wrap.  Tender Tushies has a very nice, wide pocket opening, with a flap to keep the insert in nicely.  I have also used this diaper as a wrap over the top of a prefold.  I know it isn't MADE to do this - but I like the versatility of pockets.

Cozy in the red bamboo - everyone needs a red diaper!

We tried the "bamboo red" diaper.  It is very slim and the insert is extremely absorbent!  Tender Tushies diapers are at the top of my recommendations list for friends and family who are looking into starting cloth.  The shop also offers leggings, wetbags, and bottom wash items at reasonable prices!

Taking turns & Sharing

Oi! These boys are going to learn what it means to take turns and to share if it kills me.  

I know, I know - they're 1 & 3.  Monkey understands the words, "share" and "take turns"  but REALLY grasping the concept of "it's someone else's turn" is a struggle.  He is certain that it's his turn when he asks for something and there should be no delay.  

As much as I sometimes find it annoying that he's chasing his brother and trying to get his turn - I get it.

I really understand.  Because - well - here's the thing ... When I'm in line at the grocery, and someone cuts me off (maybe they didnt' see me there), I'm offended.  It was my turn next.  Or sometimes when we go to dinner, I want my boys to "share" a fry or chip.... even when they're not in the mood.  

So, as much as I try to teach my boys what it really means to share and take turns - my actions and responses are painting the true picture for them.  Their actions are just a reflection of what I teach with my own life.

How then do I begin to help them really learn what "share" and "take turns" means?  I have to think before I respond.  I need to respect the people that annoy me.  I might even need to be bold sometimes and tell the person that cuts me off, "excuse me, but I was waiting".  It seems silly to be annoyed at someone that makes me have to wait an extra minute or two - but it's even sillier to be frustrated about it and just stand there.  I want them to learn what it means to take turns, so I need to do my part to take turns.  And when I am frustrated - I need to either do something about it, or let go of my self-centeredness.  Being Christ - like would probably indicate that I need to think of that other person and his needs first.

My boys, they'll learn turn taking and sharing.  I know it.  It takes time and a good example.  We'll all get there.

Thank you, Monkey, for giving me reason to think about these problems this morning.


How do you teach the skills of taking turns and sharing?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The "Pretty Girls"

You may not be aware that I value good manners.  I also value respectful behavior.
It is my intention that my boys will, from an early age, be gentlemen.

Therefore, when I talk with Monkey and Crackers about girls, we refer to them as "pretty girls".  I want my boys to know how to respect young ladies.  All girls are pretty - regardless of age, race, hair type, warts... my boys are very good about remembering that girls are pretty.

That said, there are some special pretty girls that Monkey always loves to see.  These are the teenage girls at our church.  He loves it that they play with him.  I love that too.  They help us out in so many ways.  Some of them help us by watching children during our mom group, others during evening classes, small groups, or when we're in the office doing work.  These girls bless me several times a week.  I am thankful today for the "pretty girls" in our church.  (Monkey's pretty sure he's going to marry one of the Rockett girls).

I used to be one of those girls.  I watched infants, toddlers, school aged children - anyone that needed care.  I loved the responsibility, I loved the kids, it was a fun job for me and I felt like.. no, I knew.. I was helping some adults that I respected.  What I did not understand at the time was the way it blessed the families that I cared for.  I am so glad that I was able to be a blessing to those families so many years ago.  (Tyler just turned 22 - I watched him when he was an infant - I feel old).

So - thank you, "pretty girls" for blessing our family, I hope my boys are a blessing to you; and thank you families for allowing me to bless you (oh - and blessing me by doing so).

Changing Diapers Book: Review & Diaper Giveaway

I really wish this book had been written (and I had known about it) 3.5 years ago, when Monkey was an infant.  I wanted to cloth diaper so badly, but had no idea what my options were.  I didn't know how to get the best use out of the diapers I had, and I did not know how to care for cloth!

The result?  Frustration.  My diapers leaked and I did not like them very well.  I ended up ditching cloth very quickly and settling for disposable diapers.  

Changing Diapers is a fantastic resource for families who are interested in using cloth.  Kelly Wels takes the reader by the hand and walks step by step through a wide world of information!  She helps with understanding types of diapers, caring for cloth, figuring out what you prefer, where to find more information, how to use cloth diapers effectively, and so much more in her nicely illustrated book.

Baby #3 in his first cloth diaper
Who is this book for?  Well, I loved it.  I think the people who will benefit from it the most are those who are struggling with using cloth diapers, are just getting started, or are really just starting to consider diapering options.  This book would be an excellent gift for congratulating a family who has just discovered they are pregnant, or a baby shower... or a new baby gift.

Seriously.. it's that good.  I read my copy and have enjoyed some refreshers and some new information.  I plan to pass it on to my sister in law who is considering cloth.  (I hope she reads it and feels encouraged... I also hope she uses cloth.)

Kelly Wels wants to give one of my readers a cloth diaper!  Yep, for real!  (She would also love it if you took some time to check out her book).  The book is $17.95 - less than a package of disposable diapers!  Any book that saves me money and frustration is definitely worth it!  Don't forget to visit the Changing Diapers webpage.

Focus

Things are a little different around here today.  Can you find my little tiny change?  

I'll give you a hint - it has something to do with them.

And also with them:

That's right.  It's about my boys and Mr. Crum.

So, what is it?  Crum's This N That has been.. well, a lot of "this and that".  Just whatever comes to mind and blurts out onto my laptop for quite a while.  After a bit of thought about the coming year in the world of blogging, I've decided to choose a focus.

Okay, so this is not entirely different from what I've been doing.  I am still sharing about family life at the Crum house.  It will just be a little more narrow - focused on what it is to be a mother of 3 young men, how we strive to raise gentlemen, our struggles with boys, and some of the craziness of a house full of testosterone.

I'll be working over the next several months to change my blog name as well.  We're moving away from "This N That" and into, "Life with BOYS".  So for now, I've changed the look at the top of my page - just a TINY bit.  It still says "Crum's This N That" - for now.  I'll be working on changing my button as well.  Some day in the not too distant future, I'll also be getting a domain name.  Yep!  No more @blogspot for me.  Soon - we're not there yet.

Thank you for being a reader.  We will continue to host product reviews and giveaways as they relate to our family life, boys, living green with children, and so forth.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"



Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at MelissaAndDoug.com just for voting!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Overcoming the Nevers: Part 1

Do you remember a week or two ago I wrote about my ungodly belief that I cannot escape my diabetes.  Shortly after I shared that, I learned about the book Overcoming the Nevers by Teri Johnson.  This books walks hand in hand with the class we're taking - it takes a little different angle at addressing those things that we convince ourselves are truths in our lives, and allow them to become hurtful to us.  What fantastic timing!

As I work through this book, I plan to do some writing about my thoughts and struggles.  I have a few key questions to help me while sharing my thoughts and accomplishments.

Question #1

 In Overcoming The Nevers, Teri Johnson challenges us to move past the Negative Nevers in our lives. These are the things we never thought we’d experience. You know...”I never thought I’d need to lose 100 pounds” or “I never imagined I’d have to file bankruptcy.” What types of Negative Nevers are you facing? Are you ready to overcome them?

The "Negative Never" that I am choosing as my focus for this series is "I never thought my blood sugars would be this out of control."  Or as I wrote about it the other day:  It does not matter what I eat or how active I am.  I am diabetic because it is genetic.  There is nothing I can do to have "regular" blood sugars.  

Am I ready to overcome this?  When I'm honest with myself, I recognize that question is really difficult to answer.  Do I think I want to overcome this?  Yes.  Do I want to overcome it enough to make real positive changes in my life that will make it possible to overcome?  I think so.  That's an awful answer, so terribly non-committal.  

Yes.  I want to do it.  We have started to change our family diet to help with my needs, and to work on keeping the rest of our family healthy.  In our estimation - if we teach our boys to eat right now, when they're grown, they are less likely to face the "family curse" of diabetes.  If I practice healthy living now, I will be able to overcome it.  

Now, I can't do this on my own.  I am not that strong.  I have terrible self-discipline.  I've got help from my husband, my sister, a Facebook support group, and some friends.  I've got all the help I want and need from my Savior as well.  So, how do I use this help?  That's what I really need to figure out.  I'm working on it.  Changes are happening - slowly.

The biggest/hardest change that I need to make is my activity level.  I've got to get help to get moving.  I need to be exercising more and regularly.  My kids need me to do it too.  We'll get there.... I want.. no, I NEED to overcome this never.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Construction...

I thought we just needed to replace the door... 


hours later...


THANK YOU!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Weird Wednesday

Mama went a little crazy with sensory activities on Wednesday.
The boys needed baths... too many potty accidents, too much dirt and grime.. they looked and smelled like boys!

First we made finger paint.  That was fun and exciting.  We mixed red and yellow - you know what color it made?  That's right, orange!  (We also made blue and green paints).  The boys were excited about watching the paint as it heated and turned colors.  Mama mixed a little sugar into the paint too.  That made it just a bit sweet and tasty (Crackers figured that out).

Once the paint was done and cooled a little, we went into the bathroom and the boys stripped.  (Crackers used the big potty!)

The results

Focus - this boy was seriously concentrating on his painting!

Monkey was pretty excited to discover he could paint with his fingers.

Crackers was silent the whole time they "painted".. probably because he was eating the paint.

The only paint this boy actually got on himself was on his face.. 

Proudly displaying his mama-approved body art.


The masterpiece.

After painting time, we continued sensory play by washing the walls... and then a bubble bath.
For dinner we had black beans and rice - a very sensory experience for Crackers!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Super Undies: Review & Giveaway

Super Undies are top of the line training pants!
 Monkey feels comfortable in Super Undies, even though he generally wears "regular" undies.  He does not seem to notice these are thicker.


Crackers is uninhibited by Super Undies.  They help him rise to new feats!  He's still got a full range of motion and the legs and waist stay snug enough while he moves to keep spills off of my floor.


Do you want to know more? Watch this video.

Crackers tries them out for the first time...

Mommy Lesson #13

Moral: Let him cry

Okay, so I hate it when my kids struggle with sleep times.  Monkey still struggles with it a lot of nights - he just can't relax his body to go to sleep - even when he lays still and tries really hard, it takes a long time.

Crackers has always been a very good sleeper.  That is, until about a week ago.  Suddenly he has decided that it is better to be awake than asleep.  He climbs out of his bed repeatedly - at nap time and bed time.  He cries and screams and carries on.. some nights this has lasted for a couple of hours.  THEN he started waking up in the middle of the night and needing extra attention.

Last night, Mr. Crum went out with "the guys".  I got to put the boys to bed by myself.  This is the first time I've done this since Crackers decided he doesn't like sleep.  I was tired and did not want to deal with the fits.  Mean mommy shut the gate at the top of his bedroom stairs, and let him cry.  Yep.  Mean.. after a while he started yelling, "Help me mommy."... I thought maybe he wanted help to get back into bed.  I was wrong.  I went up to help him and put him into bed.  The screaming went on.. he climbed out, but could not get down the stairs.  He wore himself out at the top of the stairs, laying against the gate on the floor.  He was asleep.

This afternoon it only took about 10 minutes for him to settle down after he discovered the locked gate.  I feel like we have improvement.  I hope it's not just a crazy fluke!  Either way, it is quiet in my house right now.  Ahh, blessed nap time!

I hate letting them cry... but maybe sometimes that's what it takes to help them learn rules and boundaries.


Tropical Traditions Omega 3 Greens: Review & Giveaway



Hoorah for Tropical Traditions.  They've done it again - convinced me that they have yet another great product.  I think Tropical Traditions is an outstanding company with an excellent line of products for the family.  This month we have been trying the Antioxidant Omaga 3 Greens.  This is a dietary supplement meant to support nutrition, digestion, circulation & immunity.  - This has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I like to use this type of powder to help aid in digestion for myself.  I had read some other reviews about the Omega 3 Greens and was looking forward to trying it.  I even was nice enough to share it with my family.  

Tropical Traditions offers 2 flavors: Mint & Berry.  The greens are not grainy like so many similar products.  They dissolve completely and easily in water.  They can also be mixed with other liquids (like a smoothie) to change the flavor.  I tried the Berry flavored Greens and prefer it in a fruit/veggie smoothie myself.  - My boys and Mr. Crum like it in water just fine.

My Thoughts
I love the benefits of Omega 3 Greens.  I think the texture in the Tropical Traditions greens is perfect, smooth and mixable!  
I am not a big fan of the berry flavored mix by itself.  As I stated earlier, I like it better mixed in a shake.  I'm not sure why I chose berry flavor - I guess I forget how I feel about berry flavored products!  As I said, my boys and husband like the flavor as is.
I would recommend this product to people who like mint or berry flavoring.  I think that when we have it again, I will choose mint flavor.  
You can buy it now for $38.99 on the Tropical Traditions website (this is a sale price).

Giveaway
Tropical Traditions has offered to send one of my readers their choice of Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens flavors!  Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Earth Mama Angel Baby: Review & Giveaway

C-Mama Healing Salve
After we brought Baby home, I still had (still have) plenty of healing to do!  My belly had stretched out to an unbelievable enormous size.  My stomach is covered with nasty stretch marks (I'm sure everyone wanted to know that about me).  Because of this little guy's size and other potential problems, the doctor was very certain that a C-section was our best birth option.  So I have stretch marks and a nice scar.  

What did I look for to help with these things?  Organic products that would smooth scars and help clear up stretch marks.  I've also noticed that my skin is just as itchy on my belly as it was when I was pregnant.  Earth Mama Angel Baby offers their customers a C-Mama Healing Salve.  I have been using the salve on my belly for 2 weeks now and can see a difference in my stretch marks.  As of yet, I cannot use it on my scar, but am confident that it will help with clearing that part of my skin as much as it has helped with the stretch marks.  

I love the smell of the C-Mama Healing Salve.  I also love the way it soothes my stomach when it's itchy.  It has become part of my daily hygiene routine!  I recommend trying C-Mama Healing Salve for soothing your wound and belly after a C-section!

Monthly Comfort Tea
I also had the opportunity to try Earth Mama Angel Baby's Monthly Comfort Tea.  I was a little confused by this and thought it was an odd choice for a post-postpartum mama.  However - as I began reading about it, I learned that it not only helps soothe the "monthly" aches, but is also "created to jumpstart recovery immediately after childbirth."  

I don't know how you feel about tea.  We go through spurts when we drink a lot of it.  I am pretty picky about the teas that I will drink - if it does not smell appealing, or if it is too fruity - I just can't drink it.  Monthly Comfort Tea smells amazing to me.  It's infused with cinnamon as well as other herbs.  Each day, as I drink a cup of hot Monthly Comfort Tea, I feel my body relaxing.  In fact, if I did not have 2 "big" boys running around, I believe I would make it part of my daily routine to put my feet up, light a candle, open a good book, and sip Monthly Comfort Tea each morning.  

For $5.97 you can try it yourself.  Find the nearest retailer by checking the Earth Mama Angel Baby website or purchase it online.

Giveaway
Earth Mama Angel Baby would like to give one of my readers a box of Monthly Comfort Tea to try for themselves!  I don't care if you are post-postpartum, post-menopausal, or a man - I recommend you try this tea for feminine health, for its wonderful flavor, and for a good warm cup of relaxation!  Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.