Thursday, July 28, 2011

M.O.B Society Boy Mom BlogHop!

Say that five times fast!

The M.O.B (Mothers of Boys) Society is hosting the first annual Boy Mom BlogHop and I decided to participate in the fun! So if you're visiting from the BlogHop, welcome!

For those of you visiting for the first time, let me introduce myself. I'm Crystal... 29 years old, for the next 3 months at least! I live in the great state of Alabama with my hubby (known on the blog as "The Hubs"). In October we will celebrate our 7th anniversary! We have two boys, Luke (5) and Eli (will turn 3 in August). I've been a stay at home mom since Luke was born! I love to cook and bake! I blog mostly about cooking, life happenings, homeschooling and my relationship with Christ. I will be a newbie homeschooler in just a little over a week! We did a lot of preK last year but this will be our first official year homeschooling! I am a little nervous but mostly excited!

A little about my boys...

Luke is my thinker. He loves building things and figuring out how things work! He's super smart and has a tender heart! He loves to ride his bike and play ball with his Daddy! He also likes to dance and sing!

Eli is my wild child! He is spunky and silly! He's also very much a Momma's boy (and I'm completely fine with that!). He loves his big brother! He has a fascination with weed eaters and lawn mowers! And he loves to play the guitar! Together they put on a pretty good show!

My boys love to read books. We try to get to the library as often as we can to read new books! Luke loves: "Gruffalo", "Duck Soup" and his Clifford books. Eli still loves to look at picture books. He also loves "Llama, Llama Red Pajama" and Blue's Clues books! We're also reading through The Jesus Storybook Bible during the day and God's Wisdom for Little Boys before bed!

Well, motherhood calls! Eli just came to me and excitedly said, "Come look at your new door!" He walked me into the den and said, "Tada!!" He's been washing the doors with a sponge dipped in his orange slushie. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by! I can't wait to hop around and 'meet' other boy mom bloggers! But I must first go wipe down my doors!

Sour Cream Waffles: Recipe Review

As you can tell from my menu plans, we love pancakes around here! But every once in a while I like to switch things up and make waffles! I had tried a few recipes but when I found this one I knew it would be my go to recipe! I found this recipe from the same site that I found our favorite pancakes. They are so yummy! So, as long as I've got sour cream on hand (and we typically do!) I'm making these!

These waffles are rich (a stick of butter and 1/2 cup of sour cream, which by the way are good for you), so we all typically eat less of these than pancakes! I usually serve these with real maple syrup and fruit. And if we're blessed to have yummy nitrate free bacon, we'll have that as well! My boys love them cut into waffle sticks for dipping!

I hope you try Sour Cream Waffles! They are delicious and easy to whip up! Let me know if you try them!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's almost time! (Part 1 ~ Homeschooling)

It's almost time for school!! I am so excited (and a little nervous!)! We will start school in 2 weeks! Over the past few weeks I have been praying and meditating on why I want to homeschool. I've been praying that God will give me the right attitudes and the right heart. I know it's going to be fun and challenging all at the same time! So, as I thought and discussed it with the Hubs, I decided to do a series of post on homeschooling, particularly why we've chosen this route. I'm not sure how many there will be... maybe just two but maybe more. I know there may be some family and friends unsure as to why we would choose this. It may not make sense and even after I explain, it may still not make sense! And that's okay! I want to get my thoughts out there, share my heart and hopefully encourage some other homeschooling mommas!

The Hubs and I wanted a family soon after we were married. We shared the same desires, I'd stay at home with our children. I'm thankful we decided that early on (when we were engaged!). I don't remember when we first talked about homeschooling but I do know it was early as well, possibly before Luke was born. It just made sense to us. And even more so now, it just seems like the natural thing to do. Homeschooling fits our ideals, our wants and desires for our family.

Aside from it just seeming like the natural flow of our family life, our number one reason for choosing homeschooling is that we feel like God is calling us to homeschool. And isn't that the number one reason to do anything? I know God made me for motherhood. I fight it sometimes, but I know I am where He wants me to be! He's given me a great responsibility and I want to do my best to train my babes. He gave them to me, so I will teach them!

Before I move on to any of my other reasons, let me clarify something, we're not doing this because we believe if we homeschool our childre they'll be perfect and never make mistakes. A quote from Ann Voskamps says it best,

"Homeschooling is not a formula for perfection, nor is homeschooling a panacea for all the sin in this world. We're all messy and fallen and sin-scraped. We and our children are born sinners. Homeschooling will not fix any of that. Only Jesus and His grace can."

We are following the Father's leading for how to train and educate our children. We've prayed and we've researched. And prayed more. We trust that He will lead each family who seeks Him in the right path, whatever that may be.

And who wouldn't want to spend everyday with those sweet faces?

My boys are seriously cute.

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

(I plan to end each post with some verses that I'll hold close in praying over our upcoming homeschool year!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 7/25/11

Cheeseburger Soup, Corn Bread

Spaghetti with Yellow Squash, Garlic Broccoli

Cheesy Sausage Pizza, Cucumbers and Carrots with Ranch Dip (trying this crust)

Biscuits & Gravy, Scrambled Eggs, Cantaloupe (this biscuit recipe is one of the best whole wheat biscuit recipes I've ever tried! Since we're having it as a breakfasty meal, I'll just leave out the cheese!)

Bean and Cheese Burritos, Peas & Brown Rice

Other: Leftovers, sandwiches :)

These are our meals for the week! Soup is typically not a summertime meal but I have been craving soup, particularly potato! This soup is like a cheesy potato soup but with the addition of beef! Also, the boys will not eat bean and cheese burritoes so I will probably cook a little chicken for them and shred it! My hubby loves frozen bean burritos but I haven't bought them in a while because of all of the 'extra' ingredients. I'm hoping to try and freeze some so he will have quick snack to pull out of the freezer!

Linking to ! Check it out for more menu and recipe ideas!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chocolate Banana Muffin

We love muffins around here! They are quick to put together and a good double batch will make us a few breakfasts and snacks! I had a few bananas that needed to be used but I really wanted something a little different than banana muffins/bread. So, I decided to use my Double Chocolate Cherry Muffin recipe and alter it a bit. Here is the yummy result!

Chocolate Banana Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sucanat (unrefined sugar)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut oil (or melted butter)
2-3 smashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 375. Grease tins or line with paper liners. In a medium bowl whisk buttermilk, eggs and vanilla together. In a large bowl whisk together flour, rapadura, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With a spatula fold in wet ingredients and bananas until barely combined. Next mix in coconut oil. Spoon mixture into muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes. Toothpick in center should come out pretty clean with a few crumbs! These were super moist!

When I make this recipe, I make 12 regular muffins and 24 mini muffins! You could halve it easily and just make a dozen regular! They do freeze well so it's worth it to make the extra to me!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 7/18/11

We had some unexpected events come up this past week so some of my menu got thrown up in the air. That's how life works though, right!? I've got a decent stocked freezer and that's good because our budget is tight this week!

Salmon Patties, Green Beans, Corn on the Cobb, Whole Wheat Buttermilk Cheese Biscuits

Crock Pot Chicken and Broccoli, Brown Rice (one of the meals we didn't get to last week!)

Chicken, Potatoes and Eggplant/Squash (all on the grill and this will be my first time grilling egg plant! My daddy's is just now coming in! Yum!)

Favorite Pancakes, Bacon, Cantaloupe

Mexican Tortilla Pie

Others: Sandwiches, Leftovers, ETC

I find that when I plan and buy food for 7 meals, we never eat it all. So I usually plan 5 meals and we mostly get to them! :)

Today I'm making mini apple pies with the apples I picked from my dad's trees yesterday! Hopefully I can share the recipe!

What are you eating this week?

Check out to find more menus and recipe ideas!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Links for you!

Yes, you!! I have come across a few good links this week and wanted to pass on the goods!

Motherhood Is A Calling ... if you only read one, read this one. It is so good. I even printed it to re-read over and over! Here is an exerpt:

"Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work."

When You Get To The Root of Some of The Fears by Ann Voskamp. This spoke right to my heart. It stung because it pointed at my sin. But the grace and encouragement Ann gives was a balm to my soul ... "Humility births courage and is brother to the brave."

Laura at 10 Million Miles shares what she and her girls do for Morning Circle Time. I love her ideas and hope to implement some of them!

We had some friends over last night and I made "World's Best Lasagna". It's a recipe my mom uses all the time and it's great! It's a little work but I think it's worth it for a good homemade lasagna! The only thing is that it makes more sauce than you need! This is great for us because the boys do not eat lasagna, so I just boil them some noodles and use some of the leftover sauce for spaghetti. The rest of the sauce (which is almost 3 cups!) can go in the freezer for spaghetti or another pasta dish later down the road!

iPad, iPod, iPhone or The Great I AM is a wonderful post from Courtney on media and your walk with God. Honestly' this is something I struggle with and I am looking forward to reading the rest of Courtney's series on this. She lists four concerns of social media and each one of them gives you lots to think about.

"Media is a-moral. In and of itself – it is neither good nor evil. It is our use of it that determines it’s morality." Courtney @ Women Living Well

I hope you check these out! Let me know if any of them blessed you! Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Plan 7/11/11

I have been slacking on menus because I felt they were all super boring, same old dinners over and over!! We have family favorites (which means the kids will actually eat them), so I cook them often! I've been searching for some quick(er) summer meals and even crock pot meals, so hopefully I'll get out of this rut! I've got two new recipes on the menu this week and hopefully I'll get to them!

Cheesy Black Bean Burgers, Potato Salad, Green Peas

BBQ Grilled Chicken, Potatoes and Squash Patties

Chicken Nachos, Corn on the Cobb (is that a weird combo or what? My kids like it though!)

Lasagna (using a recipe my mom uses and is so yummy!), Salad, Bread Sticks (friends coming over for dinner)

Crock Pot Chicken and Broccoli, Brown Rice

Other: Sandwiches, Leftovers!

Check out for more menu ideas and recipes!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I may make a mountain out of a molehill....

But I'm probably not gonna die on that mountain.

I have lots of passions... from being a stay at home mom, to homeschooling, to breastfeeding, to eating real food. I talk often about those passions here.. in my space. My prayer is that I never come across as haughty or judgmental to those who may not share the same passions. My prayer is that I'll share with others the journey that I'm on, get others to thinking and most importantly see Jesus, whether we agree or not. My passions are deep, and most are even convictions I hold but they are not Scriptural laws. I try hard to not make them laws in my own life but that's hard for this former legalist to do. I continually fight that flesh and pursue living in the freedom that Christ brings. As Luke said the other night, "I'll punch that sin in the face!"

But there is one passion that supersedes all others and that is Jesus Christ and my faith in Him. He is everything and life is nothing without Him. I will not waiver on the truth set before in Scripture. I am dependent on everything He ever said and did and is.

So, readers, please know this, I'm human flesh who loves Jesus (and one day this flesh will be no more!!). And I sometimes make mountains out of molehills. I pray that any information that I ever share is useful in some way. I pray that ultimately my life (and there is much more to my life than what you read on this screen!) will encourage and make much of Jesus.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Pasta Salad

I made this pasta salad for the Fourth. I'm not sure about everyone else but I loved it! I came up with dressing on my own in attempt to avoid unhealthy oils (soybean, vegetable, canola) that are in most pre made salad dressings. It would be a great addition to any summer cookout!

Pasta Salad

2 cups spiral pasta, uncooked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2.5 oz can sliced black olives
1 cup feta cheese


6 TBS olive oil
4 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Boil pasta. While pasta is cooking, mix dressing ingredients together with a whisk and set aside. Be sure to whisk enough to dissolve salt and sugar. When pasta is cooked, drain and rinse in cold water. Drain well. In a large bowl add pasta, vegetables, cheese and olives. Pour dressing over pasta and toss well to coat. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours before serving.

A great addition to this salad would be marinated artichokes!

Let me know if you try it! What is your favorite summer side dish?

Check out Janelle at Comfy In The Kitchen! She shares lots of great recipes and today is link up day where others are sharing their yummy recipes too!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why Extreme Couponing Isn't For Me

If you know anything about me, you know I love to save money. I feel it's part of my job as a homemaker to save my family money in the area of groceries and toiletries. About 2 or 3 years ago I had a little fling with extreme couponing. It was exciting and fun! But over the past year, I've realized couponing, or at least the extreme variety isn't for me. Here are my main two reasons:

1. Time and Energy

I have a hard time keeping the laundry up (who am I kidding, the laundry is never caught up around here). So, adding something into my schedule that takes up a good bit of time is just going to cause me to neglect something else. I have terrible time management skills and I know me. Something important would be neglected. I would rather spend my 'extra' time cooking a batch of homemade oatmeal cookies, making a double batch homemade muffins for the freezer, mixing up solution for homemade disinfecting wipes than clipping coupons and scouring through sale papers. Not forgetting to add in gas money and time driving to different stores. And you know what, all of those things I listed help me save money too.

Now for the most important...

2. Health

I find most coupons are not for real foods. Real foods consist of anything that doesn't come with a bar code or at the very least has 5 (real and known) ingredients or less. Once I started learning about real foods... things like produce, grass fed meats, cage free eggs, cheeses, milk and fruits I quickly realized that you can rarely find a coupon for any of these things. Even organic milk from the grocery store is highly processed, so local (shout out to Wright's Dairy) is best. I started reading real food blogs and learning a lot about natural sweeteners, healthy fats, whole wheat and cooking from scratch. It just made sense couponing and real food don't mesh well. Even organic or natural processed foods are still processed.

As far as non-food items go I do occasionally use a coupon for toilet paper/paper towels if I happen to come across one. I make my own disinfecting wipes. I use a half and half vinegar/water to clean just about everything. Add in some baking soda for my toilet bowls and tubs and that is the extent of my cleaning supplies. I've been doing research on what we put on our bodies and have slowly changed a few of our hygiene products (though not all). The boys use Baby Bee's by Burt's Bees and the Hubs uses the Burt's men's bar. I use Dessert Essence Tea Tree Oil for body wash and Alba Original Fragrance Free Lotion. Coupons for these items are hard to come by. We live on a very limited budget but we are able to purchase them by scrimping in other areas! I told someone recently that I'd rather buy a shirt at WalMart on clearance for $3 and spend $20 on organic produce than the other way around.

As I stated earlier, it's my job as homemaker to help my family save money in these areas. But it's also my job to see that I'm taking care of what goes in and on their bodies! Yes, we have freedom in Christ, but we also have brains and a vast amount of great information on how to take care of what God has given us!

We're not perfect. In fact, there are Cokes in our fridge right now and a gallon of Blue Bell in the freezer. Ok, so my mom bought them both but I do still allow those types of things. And we do eat packaged cereal but only because we get them on WIC. We are a work in progress. Hopefully, I'll share more about what we've kept in our diet and what we will hopefully be changing in the future. I'm not casting judgement, friends. I'm just sharing what works for our family and the journey we're on.

When the inserts in the paper start having $ off for fresh produce and free range chicken*, I'll have my scissors ready!

(*That is only a dream of mine, I can't find free range chickens anywhere!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Meat and Potato Pot Pie

This recipe is a combination of two recipes I found online! It was SO yummy! It's definitely more of a fall/winter dish but really it's worth heating up the kitchen! I had some local grass fed beef from the dairy and potatoes, onion and carrots from my CSA box. I started to do some online recipe searching and came up with this yummy, healthy dinner:

Meat and Potato Pot Pie

(adapted from Meat & Potato Pie)

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
6-7 (1.5 lbs) new potatoes, diced small
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup water
1 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Place potatoes, carrots and onions in a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook on med-high heat until tender. In the mean time cook ground beef and drain.

2. When the veggies are tender add in the cooked ground beef and the garlic and stir for a minute or two. Add flour and cook another 2 minutes. Pour in water, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5-10 minutes until sauce has thickened.

3. Pour mixture into a buttered deep dish pie plate or a 2 quart pyrex dish. Place rolled biscuit topping over the meat mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes, until biscuit is golden brown on top!

I used Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Cheese Biscuits, from 100 Days of Real Food for this recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and they came out great! Check out the 100 Days of Real Food for more ideas & recipes on how to eat real food!

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