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A Peek Into My Life This Past Week (+ win a stack of books from me!)

Welcome to my weekly Sunday post where we take a break from money-related posts and I share about what I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.

So, this was a bit of a rough week. I tried out something new in regards to our schedule (exercising and showering in the late afternoon/evening instead of the morning like I’ve done for most all my life) and it sort of flopped on its head and I felt out of sorts most all of the week. But hey, you never know if something will work if you don’t try it, right?

We also declared this week a Screen-Free Week at our house for the kids… because watching movies or playing on devices was becoming too much of a default.

The first 24 hours are always a bit rough, but it’s amazing how creative they become after we make it through the initial boredom and whining!

Silas said this afternoon, “Remember that peanut butter apple dip you used to make? I wish you could make it again!” I realized we happened to have all of the ingredients, so I suggested he make it.

A little oversight and 25 minutes later, this boy had made some apple dip for dinner. And he was beaming with pride at doing it almost entirely himself! (Note: Here’s the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Apple Dip recipe in case you are interested.)

I think this Screen-Free thing might be sticking around for longer than a week!! I can’t believe how much calmer and happier and industrious everyone has been this week as a result!

(Note: Our only exception to the Screen-Free declaration is for family movies/shows watched together. We love to watch 1-2 movies/shows together each week and we decided we’d continue to allow that this week!)

Then, I ended up coming down with some sort of sickness mid-week (congestion, fever, headache) that decided to hang around for a few days).

In all honesty, I struggle with frustration when I’m sick. I don’t like to be down and out. I don’t like to be needy.

I used to get sick almost every month because I wasn’t taking care of myself and was running myself ragged. Now, I’m so much healthier, but anytime I do get sick, I start hyper-analyzing my life and wondering if I’m overdoing it.

I’m trying to remind myself that sometimes — despite your best efforts — you just get sick. It’s okay. Don’t stress over it. Just let yourself be grateful that you can cancel and rearrange some things in order to rest. And then just truly rest.

What I’m Loving

Having a rough day? Or feeling a little on edge?

I have fallen in love with these Calm-a-Mama products!! And they really do seem to work!

They are made with herbs and flower essences and taste and smell great! You just take a few drops when you need a little pick me up!

Funny story: I was having a rough day the other day and someone close to me (who shall remain nameless!) helpfully suggested I just try drinking the whole bottle of one of these! 😉

(A big thank you to Megan Tietz from Sorta Awesome for recommending these! I got mine from Amazon. Here’s the link. You can also read more about them directly on the company’s website.)

What I’m Reading

So. I’m going through tell you something I never thought I’d say again: I’m writing another book.

Yup. For real.

After my 3rd book launched, I felt like there was a good chance I’d never write another book. I was all “book-marketed” out and felt like I’d given all the book words I had to the world.

But something has been stirring inside of me over the past few months and when I read Published I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to take up book-writing again. I tried to talk myself out of it. I tried to convince Jesse that it was a bad idea.

But we both knew I needed to act on it — especially since it’s my Year of Yes!

I’m self-publishing this time and plan to take it slowly — just writing for 15 minutes every morning after my morning run (when I’m always crazy inspired!) I’m excited about it — especially because I won’t have the publisher deadlines this time!

Anyone else want to write a book with me? Or are you thinking of maybe writing a book some day? If so, you MUST download this book. It will inspire you that you can actually do it. Yes, you. Even if you don’t have a writing background, a marketing degree, a social media platform, or even love to write.

This book is FREE through midnight tonight!! Just sign up for the free video here and you’ll also get a free download of the ebook! And leave a comment to let me know if you are planning to try to follow the book’s outline to write a book in 90 days!

In addition to reading Published, I also read Be RealHope in Front of MeThe Cozy Life, and I Got This. (I was able in get in more reading time since I was sick!)

This week, I’m reading: Answers to Prayer (an old Christian reprint), No More Faking Fine (a spiritually encouraging book), Gathering Blue (a story-driven book), and Chasing Slow (a book on life improvement).

I’m hoping to finish Answers to PrayerGathering Blue and Chasing Slow this week. I’ll let you know how that goes next week! {See my Reading Goals for 2017. Also, see the 20 books I’ve read so far in 2017 here.}

What I’m Pondering

In the past few weeks, I’ve wondered a lot whether I have what it takes to parent my kids. I’ve worried that I’m failing them. That I’m messing up in a big way.

One child has been going through a really stubborn phase. Another child has been struggling with their faith and questioning a lot of things. And then there’s the child who had to go to the principal’s office recently.

I’ve made a commitment to never publicly talk negatively about specific kids online. But just because you only see the good and the beautiful that I share doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of hard behind-the-scenes.

My husband and I have been crying out to God for wisdom on how to parent these kids and I’m realizing anew that there are no quick fixes or 3-Step Formulas.

But there is this that my Heavenly Father keeps whispering to me: “Love them like I love you. Don’t shame them for their mistakes. Don’t let it be about your reputation. Don’t parent to please others. Don’t parent for behavioral modification. Focus on their hearts. Forgive. Heap on the grace. Walk with them. Love them where they are at. Celebrate the good and the beautiful. And always point them to Jesus and the Gospel.”

I don’t have what it takes in my own strength, but He does. “Love through me, love of God.”

In Case You Missed It

My Posts From This Past Week:

My YouTube Videos From This Past Week:

Also, I’m back to doing my Morning Show on Facebook Live between 9 and 9:15 a.m. every week day morning. I’d love for you to tune in on Facebook and join me live. I share some inspirational encouragement + we talk about deals. And I often take questions live or just share a little peek into my life, too!

Want to win this stack of books?

I thought it would be fun for me to do a giveaway here every once in awhile on Sundays — giving away some of our our products, items I’ve been sent two of, books I’ve already read and want to pass on, or other items I have that we no longer need and would like to pass onto a great home!

Today’s stack includes one of my books, a few books I got for free with credit on that I have and have loved, a few items I was sent two of, a few books I’ve recently read and would love to pass onto someone else, plus a tea I love!

To win this stack this week, leave a comment letting us know what you are reading, loving, or pondering. I’d love to hear!

I’ll choose one winner from all of the comments and will email that winner personally + post the winner next week on my Peek Into My Life This Week Post.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Coribeth says:

    I’m finishing up A Purpose Driven Life which my college aged son did with me. I also recently started The Happiness Dare and it must be going to work wonders in my life because the enemy keeps throwing stuff at me every time I try to read it. I can totally say “Amen!” to the parenting woes. I still have three at home and the oldest who leaves in four months has had major attitude and got into a second fender bender in the past year. My insurance rates just went through the roof and that wasn’t in my budget. My daughter recently broke her ankle and is on crutches and then had oral surgery and now has a cold poor thing, so she has been dealing with pain and being slowed down which isn’t her pace at all. Then her twin had to be pulled out of school and I’m now homeschooling her because she’s missed over a month of school from ptsd anxiety and depression. I’m struggling to get my bearings as a homeschooling mama and give her what she needs. And to top it all off I’m house hunting because our landlords are terminating our lease early so they can move back in. So some days I pull out One Thousand Gifts so I can find the beauty in my crazy life. Next I’m reading Magnolia Story and Fervent and The Circle Maker and Praying Circles around Your Children (maybe I need to read that one NOW!! Lol. Thank you so much for all you do. Your posts give me hope, joy, and strength every day.

  • Beth says:

    I am currently reading through several magazines. They help me relax and give me good ideas.

  • Leah says:

    I’m currently reading Unashamed by Christine Cain and At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott

  • Hannah W. says:

    I’m currently reading Practical Prayer by: Derek Prime (for the second time) and Endurance by: F.A. Worsley (about Shakleton’s doomed expedition to the South Pole). These are both sooo good!

  • Riley says:

    I don’t know why I feel silly posting this, but I’m currently listening to Say Goodbye to Survival Mode on my audible.

  • Kristy Meyer says:

    Hi Crystal and friends!
    I’m currently reading through Made To Crave by Lisa TerKeurst. And If At Birth You Don’t Succeed. And Founding Mothers. And Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (sorry if that’s TMI)
    I’m also wondering if I’ve got what it takes to parent my particular set of children. While they are wonderful and bless me…they are also sinful people in need of careful and prayerful parenting. And the road is long sometimes. But oh-so-worth-it!
    Thanks for sharing these Sunday posts, I’m loving them!
    Kristy-aka-Mama to the Man Crew

  • Vicki Neely says:

    I’m reading A Tale of Two Cities for the homeschool British lit class I teach at our co-op. I’m also reading The Woman in White for my classic literature book club, The Prayer of Petition, and just finished the Shiloh trilogy with my youngest son. I just got finished listening on audiobook Say Goodbye to Survival Mode and just started Money-Making Mom. I check audiobooks and books regularly on Hoopla. I love reading and lately audiobooks and podcasts are the only way I can “read” everything I want to. I’m looking forward to Money-Making Mom. I’ve been writing on a book for years about our journey with our special-needs son. I have a blog but I want to learn how to make money doing what I love – writing. So happy I found Money-saving mom!

  • Jessica says:

    Right now my husband and I are reading love and respect!!

  • Kacy says:

    I’ve just started reading the Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris and I Kmow Why the Caged Bird Sings. Loving them both so far!

  • Melissa says:

    Currently reading Present over Perfect.

  • Halina says:

    Currently reading Grace for the Good a Girl by Emily Freeman.

  • Tracy says:

    Currently I am commited to reading my Bible daily (slowly, trying to really take it in) because it seemed what little bit of time I found to read I was reading other books and neglecting the most important one! I have felt convicted about spending time on other books that may be good and even help me spiritually but I know Nothing can replace His words! Once I get back on track I’ll get back to some other books as well ?

  • Brittany says:

    I am currently reading “The Circle Maker.” It has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about prayer and trusting Jesus. I am so excited to read more of Matt’s books.

  • Rebecc says:

    I’m reading the book, The War That Saved My Life, to my daughter. Yes, she is able to read herself – she is 9, but it is our special time together.

  • Tracey says:

    I just started Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I have to say I really look forward to all of you emails. They really bless me in large and small ways every day! ?

  • Cindi Marcus says:

    The funny thing I saw on TV was an interview with a Japanese Pool player after his winning match. The interviewer didn’t know the man couldn’t speak English. He asked the player a question and the player, not wanting to dissapoint, spouted off the only English he knew from a song, VERY enthusiastically! It made no sense and made me laugh:)

  • Kandi says:

    I’m reading No More Perfect Kids. It is reminding me that each child is different and I need to not have such high expectations for my kids in some areas of life.

  • Anne says:

    I’m reading “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode” and “Celebration of Disciplines” and loving both!

  • Barbara Castator says:

    I just started The Midwife’s Tale by Delia Parr. Recently in my Sunday School class I was talking with another and she asked who I liked to read. In reply I told her the two authors I read the most and she told me how much better to read a variety of authors-so that’s my goal this year-trying different authors.

  • Ashley says:

    First let me say your sharing the harder times have been amazing and God bless you for being so open. I don’t know if it helps at all but you have had perfect timing and I feel like God is answering me through you.

    I have been reading “Smarter, Faster, Better” by Charles Duhigg and “Love your life, not Theirs” by Rachel Cruze. My Magnolia Journal Magazine when I want to just relax and dream. Along with my Bible!

  • Amanda Mott says:

    I’m reading The Pursuit of God, Full, and Present Over Perfect. I’m very interested in that Charlotte Mason book…and the tea!! Thank you for this opportunity!

  • Millie says:

    I am homeschooling my children and reading Phantom Tollbooth. I am also reading Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace. I am always pondering about parenting and family life.

  • Millie says:

    Where did my comment go?

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