September 30, 2011

Gabby, God's Little Angel by Sheila Walsh

I recently read "Gabby, God's Little Angel" by Sheila Walsh , and found it be wanting.  After reading this short children's story I have to say that I am disappointed. I was expecting a sweet story with child characters that my children could connect with.

The message conveyed in the end was good, God Loves You, but the journey there was a little misguided. The character dialogue between what appears to be 6-7 year old girls is far too mature to be realistic. The words and phrases used aren't typical of young girls and seemed to not fit. I also found the book hard to follow because of its strange format, having certain parts of sentences indented, spaced and bolded. It didn't make a lot of sense to me.

I did enjoy however the message, it just wasn't arrived at in a way that children could relate to because of the complex language involved. Not to say I am a fan of "dumbing down" literature for young ones, but there does need to be a degree of comprehensibility in a piece when geared towards young children that I feel is lacking in this book. I hope the rest of the series is written more towards the children.

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews has done it again! The author of The Traveler's Gift, an excellent must read, has produced another intriguing piece. The Final Summit: A Quest to Find the One Principle That Will Save Humanity  is written with an almost satirical flavor. Andy Andrews is an excellent writer, thorough in his research and accuracy. The historical characters represented in the book have been incorporated in such a fashion as to lend to the efficacy of Andrews' statement. The main theme that stood out to me through reading this was that man alone is not enough to save humanity, God must be present to make significant and real change. The main character in both of Andrews' novels is David Ponder, his name an obvious allusion to his role in each stories.
I usually am not a fan of science fiction, preferring to read more practical literature, but this was an excellent read and I recommend it to anyone wishing to have their perspectives broadened.

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

August 4, 2011

Free Nursing Shaws and Baby Carriers

Hi all!

I just got a promo email from, and they are doing another free sling and nursing shaw deal right now! They have a variety of colors and patterns available for both the nursing shaws and slings.

The slings can be found at
**Photo from**

The nursing shaws can be found at
**Photo from**

Use the promo code "breastfeeding" on either site to get your free cover or sling. You only have to pay for the shipping. They generally only do this 1 time a year, during Breastfeeding Awareness month (August), and it only lasts while supplies last so get yours today!


July 31, 2011

I had no idea how many things you can do with a mason jar!

So, while  I was looking on a few blogs today I found Harper's Happenings vlog by Mandy. She was illustrating her newfound obsession with mason jars.. It was hillarious, a must see!

So after hearing her obessing over the many many uses for mason jars I decided to pop onto pinterest to find out what all the hype was about.

Here is what I found, I might be getting sucked into this one.. It combines 2 things I love, vintage style and recycling! My top 5:

1. This is such a cute idea, and best of all you can undo the fabric and reuse the jar for something else. Definitely making me look forward to fall even more, its my favorite season and every year about this time I really start pining for pumpkins and falling leaves.
2. I love the clean and simple look of these!
3. Functional, cost effective, and very stylish!
4. Cupcakes in a jar!
5. And finally..
And I found this, words just do not describe.. Laughed so hard that now my tummy hurts!
(notice the feet as well..)

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

July 30, 2011

Projects for this year

After looking on the internet and seeing all of these neat projects that have been done for pennies or free that brighten the home, I have decided to make a schedule for myself and plan to craft something each month. I originally started with my summer sweater adventure, but have since then abandoned it because I didn't like the shape it was becoming - mainly the neckline which was far too droopy and the shoulders too  narrow.

So here are my crafts for the coming months:

August - Strawberry freezer jam, Homemade Laundry Soap , Kitchen Curtains, Homeschool Planner

September - Quilted Harvest Table Runner,

October - Pumpkin Pie in a Jar (Hopefully we'll have enough homegrown pumpkins), Crochet/Knit sweaters and hats for kids

November - Crochet Afghan for the couch (this will take a while)

December - Quilted Wintry Table Runner

Thats about as far as I have got planned for this year, more will be added.


July 14, 2011

Beating the Night Terrors

My son N has terrible night terrors a couple times a month. It was worse a few months ago and The first time this happened to him J and I were sitting in the living room watching some TV before going to bed and all of the sudden our once peacefully snoozing 15 month old baby boy starts screaming.

This screaming was chilling to the bone and both J and I jumped up to go see what foul thing had attacked little N. We inspected him from head to toe, palpated him belly, checked his mouth and everything else we could think of. He had no temperature, no visible injury, no tenderness, nothing wrong with him with the exception of him sweating, screaming and shaking violently. I thought maybe he was having a seizure because of the shaking but I noticed that tremors weren’t like a seizure.

Abruptly he stopped crying and appeared to go back to sleep. Within seconds he was snoring again and sleeping quite peacefully. We were baffled. I had no idea what could be racking my son and the whole episode was strange. Neither J or I had any experiences with anything like that before.

The next morning I brought N into see our family doctor. He looked him over, palpated him as we did the night before, checked hi from head to toe and gave us a bill of clean health for him. He suggested that the occurrence may have been a night terror, and that they were quite normal in toddlers.

We researched the causes of night terrors and returned no tangible reasons. It would seem that the cause was completely unknown to the medical community and no one had any credible inclinations towards what this might be caused by. I say credible because I am discounting the sites which noted demon possession, aura displacement and need for marijuana before bedtime.

After much dissecting of the subject I cannot give you the cause of night terrors, but I can explain what we have done that have helped my son to conquer these night time horrors.

First we started putting him to bed no later than 8pm. Previously his bedtime was 8:30pm and a little later depending on the night. This may not seem like a huge difference but it make a huge impact on N’s resting ability. J and I read an article recently which stated that toddlers and preschoolers should be put to bed no later than 7:30pm. This is because most children become very tired around this time and if they aren’t put to bed in time their bodies get exhausted and start producing adrenaline to cope with their exhaustion. The adrenaline leads to an increase in Cortisols in their bodies. Cortisols are suspected to cause fitful and less restful sleep. So keeping N up later than this time period, which is what we had been doing, was actually robbing him of the rest that his growing little body needed. Sleep is also essential for good moods in children. A well rested child is more responsive, happier, and tends to be better behaved.

The second revelation we were given pertained to dinner time. We have always been sporadic eaters. After taking a nutrition class at college I learned that this practice wasn’t the best. I learned that eating too late is not good for your body because your body needs to not be actively digesting in order to rest fully. We had been eating around 7pm or so and this was a mistake. Eating so late caused N to be still digesting when he was trying to rest and thus not resting fully. So again he was lacking the rest he needed.

Third, turn out the lights! Many studies have come out in the past few years supporting the theory that light in the room, even the light from an alarm clock can cause sleep interruptions. So we removed all sources of light from his room and covered his window with a heavier drape that completely obstructed the sunlight still pouring through due to the later sunsets in the summer.

So our conclusion after implementing all of these restful sleeping techniques is that if your child is having night terrors it would be prudent to try to make them rest more fully at night time. We have seen a dramatic improvement in his night terrors. He has had only 1 since we started implementing these principles into our schedule (about a 96% decrease which is more than enough to be scientifically relevant).


July 12, 2011

Publicity here I come!

These days it seems like my life is being lived out in Déjà vu. I have been recruited to fill the Publicity position for my M.O.P.S. group for the coming year. I did 2 semesters as V.P. of Publicity for Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society for my first college. I did pretty well, I got many radio stations to donate radio slots for advertisement for free and made contacts in the market in the area. I have moved out of that area now,  160 miles away, and am finding myself guided into the position again.

I am feeling pumped about the position this time around. Previously I had volunteered because the position was going to be left unfilled unless I did. This time around I feel better prepared and I have a much clearer idea of what my duties will be. I also have some creative flexibility, which if you know me you know I am all about creative flexibility :P

So I am signing off on a high point today, I am feeling good about my new responsibilities and the ideas keep flooding my mind at the moment. I hope I can sleep tonight.


July 11, 2011

My Summer Sweater Excursion

So I have decided I want to put my creativity to use for myself on something and I am going to make a sweater this summer for this winter. This is the picture on the free pattern I found on Lion Brand Yarn's patterns site.
I will be making this in Vanna's Choice Dusty Blue yarn :) Photos to come in the next few weeks as I work on this one.

A new, "green"er outlook

This past week I was blessed with the opportunity to not only visit with some good friends who treat us like family, but with my mom as well.

On our drive out of town we saw some sunflowers growing wild on the side of the road. This year they are all over up here. So J indulged me and stopped so I could take a few pictures. There were so many bees around these flowers it was amazing, we discovered when we left there were was a bee farm about 300 feet away, go figure :P

We first went up to see our friends near Chico. It was such a delight to see them, and a truly positive and encouraging experience. My friend has been diagnosed with diabetes and has to loose quite a bit of weight in the hopes that her condition will be healed. She and her husband are on a strict diet, one I am not sure I'd be able to stick to. She has lost a good amount already and continues to show good progress. She is in our prayers. We had a great time visiting, and as always it seemed too short a visit.

This  year even though they had a late spring and there was still a lot of snow on Lassen, we were able to make it clear up to the Emerald lake, which is completely frozen over:

Caution Thin Ice!

I was also able to get a few good pictures of the kiddos while we were in the park :
My little explorer N

N watching people through snow balls behind me, this seriously intrigued
him to the point that at the next rest stop he threw one at me... OH Boy!

My little cutie M

This is right before she noticed there were pebbles around
her and tried to eat them.. Gotta love it.

And a picture with sweet dear Alyssa:

Alyssa and I on the snow bank obscuring the view to the Emerald Lake

After leaving their house we stopped in Chico to visit some more friends. Unfortunately my good friend had gone to a BBQ and wasn't there to see us. I was pretty bummed out. and again the visit was much too short. Chico was ridiculously hot and humid. I absolutely was overwhelmed when we got back into the car. My oh so nice Honda decided that its not going to blow cold AC air anymore. In fact even on the coldest setting the air feels like its shooting directly off the engine at ridiculous heats.

We got to my moms pretty late, which is OK because she is up late every night. We got settled and the next day we went into Stockton, which was an adventure. We went to Jo-Ann fabrics and got 2 more fabrics for carriers, I actually got several made up while I was at my moms house. She has an older Pfaff Tipmatic sewing machine, it sews like a dream and now I am home sewing on my Singer and so sad. I want a Pfaff now.

My mom has been suggesting to me that I switch to cloth diapers for a few months now. Its what she did with my sisters and it saved her a lot of money so she thought I should give it a try.. I have been resisting this for the obvious reasons, but I went online and researched how much I could save in only 6 months of using cloth and I had to re-evaluate. 6 months of cloth diapering will save me over $500.00 and that's not including wipes.

So while at Jo-Ann's we got PUL fabric and flannel to make some diaper covers and bought some diapers to use. I decided to use Velcro to secure them and we got elastic for the legs. It worked out pretty well. I got several fabrics, green and pink PUL, and enough elastic to do many many covers. I got home and whipped out a couple for M to start using immediately. The Velcro wasn't the best idea, M likes to rip her diapers off. The first one I put on her she pulled the cloth diaper out of her cover and was chewing on it.. Don't worry it was still clean and dry. She then periodically ditched her diaper entirely by ripping off the Velcro straps. It was a nightmare.
One of the diaper covers before snaps.

After discovering that snaps were really necessary I got online to check out prices. At Jo-Ann's they wanted $10.00 per diaper's worth of snaps.. I had to find a better deal. I looked online and found a company called KamSnaps,, who sells plastic snaps for diaper covers and such. I got snap pliers and 200 snaps for under the cost to do 4 diaper covers through Jo-Ann's, a huge savings to me! I ordered the package and got a discount on the snaps for doing so, about a 25% discount. They also did free shipping so my overall cost per diaper cover was super low~YAY~

We left my mom's with 3 carriers made up completely, 1 half done (I ran out of thread) and 2 more cut out and ready to sew. I need to get more fabric for the bags and hats for the others. I felt really accomplished and good about not having to buy diapers any more. It was freeing to not have to worry about where that $70.00 a month was going to come from.

We got home late at night and got settled in. The next morning we went out to check out our pumpkins to see how they survived the ridiculous heat wave we escaped for the 4th. They have gotten so big that they started attacking our other plants!

Today I made up some baby wipes out of old flannel receiving blankets and a concoction that I found on consisting of 1/4 cup baby wash, 1/4 cup baby oil, and 2 cup hot water. I folded the wipes into an older disposables container then I poured the concoction over the prepared wipes and let them soak it up. I used them and they were excellent! They were soft yet strong and cleaned up diaper mess quickly without irritating my sweet little M's skin.

Also today I decided to make some insert type cloth diapers to use . I used the Gerber cloth diapers I had and some cream colored flannel:
We also did a lot of planting today, I repurposed an old plastic tote which had no lid into a salad planter box for the back deck, in a few weeks I should have some lettuce for salads and we are super excited about that!

I guess that's enough for now, hope you enjoyed my massive update :)


July 2, 2011

The Journey Ahead, litearally

Tomorrow morning we will be embarking on a 7+ hour drive toward Chico to visit my good friend Alyssa and her parents. I am so excited to see them. They treat us like family and it blesses our heart. I love how God expands your family to include others that will help guide and protect you.

Jerry and Laurie have helped us in so many ways. I truly value their opinions and guidance, it hasn't failed me yet and I feel blessed to have someone to go to for those tough situations that you just don't know what to do with.

I have a group of people that mentor me, though I don't think that they are fully aware of the mentorship that's occurring. Sometimes as a young mom, wife, daughter and friend it is hard for me to find my ground in situations that are complicated by the past that ties and binds me. Its at these times that I look toward my mentors and they generally help guide me in the direction that I should go. If you read this, thank you my mentors!! I am sure you now know who you are :)

June 30, 2011

Stuff of the Day

Today has been a hard day. I have been struggling with aches and pains which mimic the flu for a few years now. Their cause is yet unknown, though the most likely culprit is fibromyalgia. On days like these when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and not do anything, I purpose myself to being productive on the computer. I did get somethings done today though, I sewed 1 wrap carrier with matching hat and bag today. I even dropped it off at the shop, The Kidz Corner in Oakhurst. Here is a link to my photo album on facebook containing a few pictures of the goods I sell in the store: Crystal's Crafts on Facebook

When I was done being productive/ was in too much pain to do much else I sat down and started reading my blogs I love. After reading up I found some yummy looking recipes I am going to try:

This Summer
We will be making homemade freezer pops. The recipe here looks refreshing and yummy : Citrus Ice Pops . I especially like the frozen yogurt layer in them, yum!
This Autumn
we will be jarring home made and grown pumpkin pie in a jar, God willing, and the extra puree will get made into pumpkin bread. A recipe that looks yummy to me for this is here: Pumpkin Bread with of course the alteration of using freshly pureed pumpkin rather than canned. If you haven't had freshly pureed pumpkin pie, you need to try it. Comment and I may put you on our Christmas list that we will be giving out jars of pumpkin pie mix to :P

This Winter
We will be making homemade marshmallows following the recipe here: Homemade Marshmallows with a twist, I will be adding crushed peppermint sticks and/ or peppermint extract. We will have these with a delicious cup of hot cocoa on those cold winter nights here. :)

That's all for today, thank you for reading!


June 28, 2011

The Blessing of Children

Hi all,

I am set with an internal struggle right now. I am praying about this to try to determine whether this is the Lords leading or my own thoughts on the subject. Here is my dilemma:

Since I was a little girl I have always wanted to have a big family. My ideal was to have 4 kids when I got married. We all figured that I'd either have all girls because I am 1 of 4 girls, or all boys because my husband is 1 of 6 boys. When I had my son we all thought, OK so I'll have all boys. 2 years later we were blessed with my sweet little baby girl.

Since having had 1 boy and 1 girl I feel no need to have more children. I am not sure if this is because our family just feels right as it is, if its traumatic avoidance because honestly labor is enough to make anyone think twice about going through it again, or because we are constantly bombarded with the message, "You have the perfect family, stop now!"

Recently I received a revelation from the Lord, a renewed point of view on the subject of parenting in prospective of raising Christian children. It occurred to me that if the Lord chooses to bless us with more children, He'd be doing so in order for us to raise them in the ways of the Lord. To create more messengers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. I feel like He is saying to me, " I saved you to bring light to those around you through your children as well as through you!".

I am torn. I want to be obedient to the Lord, surrendering my body and life to His purposes. raising children to become strong soldiers for  Christ. At the same time I honestly don't know where I'd put another right now. As it is we only have 2 bedrooms, which works for us as we are, but if we were to add another child to the mix we'd have to change something drastically. And it seems that life is geared toward a 4 person family.

Any comments would be welcome.

Discovered some good deals today

Hi all,

I discovered that you can get whisk laundry detergent for just over $2 a bottle at CVS this week. We were blessed with extra coupon inserts and were able to buy 4 for our home and got 4 for my in laws. Here is the breakdown:

CVS Sale : Buy 1 Whisk Laundry Detergent, Get One Free (8.39-8.99(he))
Buy 2 Bottles of Whisk 8.39 / 8.99
Use 2 $2/1 Whisk Coupons
Net Price = 4.39 / 4.99 for 2
Price for Each = 2.19 /2.50 each

Other deals I found today included:

Vons Sale: Sure deodorant $.99 each
Buy 1 Sure Deodorant
Use $1/1 Sure Deodorant Coupon from the 5/15 Smartsource
Net Price = Free

Vons Sale: Weber Grilling Spices Buy 1 Get 1 Free (4.99)
Buy 2 Spices for 4.99
Use 2 $1/1 Weber Grilling Spices Coupons (6/26 i think)
Net Price = $1.50 each

Pantene has been giving away coupons for a free bottle of Shampoo or Conditioner on Facebook. Today I was lucky enough to get in my request before they ran out which was awesome! That coupon should be on its way soon.

I also emailed some of the companies who manufacture the products that I like to use like Johnson and Johnsons. Many of them will be sending me packets of coupons in the mail.

I also talked with some ladies at my church and I think we will be using our newly acquired couponing skills to stock the church pantry which is bare. They have a community pantry that they've been trying to stock with donations from the members but it is completely empty due to so many people requesting aid with food. We will be donating items like toothpaste and toothbrushes that we can get for pennies or free. I am really excited about this new ministry we are starting :)

June 26, 2011

Coupons for Christ

Lately Jason and I have started collecting coupons to use in purchasing and establishing a stockpile for emergencies and disaster relief. Our grand idea is to use these coupons to buy items like toothpaste and such for rock bottom prices, if not free, and stockpile them so that we can send a suitcase filled with these items with people from our church who are going on disaster relief trips.

We have just started this operation and prayers are definitely appreciated. I am still figuring out an effective storage and organization system for the coupons. I am considering the method with binders and baseball card organizers. Currently my household couponing is supported by two small flex file coupon holders but I don't foresee these being effective on large scale, any comments or suggestions would be helpful :)

I am praying that this ministry that Jason and I are embarking on helps to spread the word of Christ and that through our hard work that God the Father be glorified. We are looking forward to this new adventure and as always Jason can't stop talking about it. Gotta love that man, when he gets on a roll on something he just can't stop. He eat, breathes and drinks the subject for months, he will wake up in the middle of the night to tell me a new aspect or idea. He is so cool :)

June 25, 2011

Household Organization

Hi all,

Today I took a look on the net at the ways that some others have successfully organized and kept up their households. My favorite method so far, and I have yet to put it into practice, is one I found on . It utilizes charts with todo lists and keeps everything in an organized fashion. I have a hard time remembering what needs to be done and this is going to eliminate the "what next" phenomena I often times suffer from.
What I like the most about this method is that everything is clearly organized and layed out so that each day, at each time of day you know what you should be doing to maintain a clean and organized home. I have tailored mine to fit our families needs. I found somethings unecessary such as load and unload the dishwasher since I am the dish washer in this home :P So I took those off the lists and added other things like unload the dish drainer... etc.
I rearranged my living room yesterday and finally got all of the stuff put away that had been lingering and in need of organization. My task for next week is to tackle the desk **gasp** and then my bedroom, which has become the storage dumping ground for all the things that we dont use right now but will need, i.e. camping gear, baby clothes in the next size up, winter gear like snow jackets and boots, and other things that simply are too expensive to get rid of now and get new next season. I am hoping to invest in a rubbermaid storage shed from Costco in the near future so that my house can get to a manageable fullness without all the extra storage of things inside of it that I cant get rid of but don't necessarily want in my house taking up space.
Tomorrow is church and coupon day so I am excited, off to bed with me. A well rested mamma is much better prepared to handle the days adventures, especially when they include all day excursions to the city :)
Good night and God Bless!

Coupon Clipping Mamma

Hi all,

I recently got in on the buzz that is extreme couponing, or in my case not so extreme though it is still really amusing. I started learning the process after watching the show "Extreme Couponing" and got into a few really useful blogs. My favorites right now include:
So far I have learned how to effectively use Extra Care Bucks at CVS to rake in great deals on stuff. Most personal care things can be bought by only paying for the tax with the ECB rolling technique I learned on the sites above. It is envigorating to go into a store, buy $30 worth of products and only spend $3 on tax for it all.
I will post my recent adventure to CVS in the near future, for now I am signing off.

April 29, 2011

I guess its time for this.

I have been debating with myself whether or not writing a blog is for me for some time. I have finally decided it is, for the purpose of growing, learning, reflecting and adjusting. I've set out on a jouney to become closer to the Lord, to discern His will for my life, and to help others to know and follow Him fully. This blog is my way of logging my progress, keeping accountable, and reflecting on my actions.
I am a wife, mom of 2, housekeeper, boogie battler, and a defender of unborn children. I believe that Jesus is my savior, and I secretly cry every time I take communion. I am on a mission to better myself through the help and guidance of the Lord, to raise my children in the ways of the Lord, and to serve my husband as unto the Lord. I have also accepted "a dare to an emptier, fuller life".
Thank you for your time, and welcome to my journey!