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Costco, Tough Mudders, Crockpots, and Camping

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

I posted asking you all about whether you thought I should get a Costco membership and MAN, you all delivered! There were 100+ comments on the original posts + so many other comments I got on social media and emails you all sent in! Part of me just wants to try shopping at Costco for a few months, but the other part of me thinks that many of you are very right: I won’t be able to beat the prices I currently get.

Also, I found out that you can buy seaweed at Kroger (I had no idea since I’ve never purchased it before!) and you can usually get it for less than a $1 per package by pairing coupons with sales. I also heard that it’s even less expensive at Asian grocery stores. So I guess that 10 packages of seaweed for $8.99 at Costco wasn’t such an amazing deal after all!

I started the Eat at Home Challenge on Thursday and I am so enjoying getting on Facebook Live at 6:50 a.m. in the mornings to share what I’m cooking for dinner.

Plus, having dinner all made before our day starts makes the afternoons and evenings so much calmer! I’d love to have you join me live tomorrow morning, if you’re up at 6:50 a.m. CST!

I got this new book in the mail from my friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee. AND I got to interview her on my soon-to-be-released podcast! It officially launches next week and I am crazy excited about it and have been having so much fun learning a brand-new skillset! (Sign up here if you want to get to hear the very first episode before anyone else does!)

Jennifer sent me a copy of her book and these beautiful cards that made me smile! 🙂

On Friday, we left for a weekend camping trip with our Community Group. I brought my Instant Pot for the first time to use for dinner — and it worked like a charm!

Psst! Looking for some of my newbie camping advice? Check out my post from our last camping trip on How We Prepared for Our Very First Camping Trip.

After we got camp all set up and ate dinner, we began with a reading and prayer from our pastor.

(Kaitlynn took some amazing pictures of the lights.)

He was the only boy on the camping trip, but he did great at holding his own and having fun with all the girls!

One of the families brought their dog — and the kids enjoyed playing with him! (Not sure why Silas had one shoe on and one is missing! Who knows?!)

They made a bunch of mud creations with the clay in the lake. The girls then painted them and sold them to the parents. I thought it was quite creative entrepreneurship!

A good ‘ole fashioned game of “chicken”.

We rented a camper trailer this time around in order to try to help us sleep better, make the set up and tear down quicker (since we had the Tough Mudder on Sunday), and help our outdoor allergies not be so awful from camping like they were last time we went tent camping.

Well, it was the best thing ever! We rented it from an RV share site and got it for a day and a half for less than the price of a hotel room. And we absolutely loved it! I’ll probably be writing a complete post on our experience because so many people asked me to do so after I shared about it on Instagram Stories.

By the way, it only took us a few hours to get all packed up and out the door this time — as opposed to 10 hours last time. It helped tremendously that we already had most of the supplies in tubs and I had put together the Master Camping List last time around.

(You can read my post on the Master List of Things You Should Take Camping here.)

The four families who came (one family from our Community Group couldn’t make it, sadly!), all were each in charge of their own breakfasts and lunches, but we had Communal Dinners and everyone pitched in and brought stuff.

We did hot dogs and brats the first night (I brought all of the ones I’d gotten from various Kroger deals and markdowns the last two months — I had them in the freezer and it was plenty to feed all 20 of us!) and then we did a Taco/Fajita night the second night. This worked so well and made it so that no one had to do a lot of work.

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early for the Tough Mudder. It was our third time to participate in a Tough Mudder (see details on our first Tough Mudder here — look how tiny our kids were then!!)

I had been looking forward to the Tough Mudder so much because we had convinced some of our best friends to do it with us. It had been SO hot on Saturday, so we were worried it was going to be too hot today. But it was perfect. Warm, but cloudy and the perfect temperature.

We loved getting to hang out, walk 10 miles together, push and encourage each other on the obstacles, and challenge ourselves outside our comfort zones.

(We didn’t get any pictures on the actual course, but one of the volunteers at the finish line offered to take these pictures at the finish line and text them to us!)

I ended up only skipping one of the 23 obstacles this time — which I was super excited about since I had always bypassed three obstacles in the past. I wasn’t able to complete two of the obstacles that I tried out (both requiring upper arm strength — something I really need to improve in!), but the fact that I didn’t chicken out and went for it and tried it encouraged me.

Plus, the entire Mudder as a whole just felt so much easier and fun than the two we had done in the past. I think that the more you do hard things, the less scary and daunting they become!

If you ever get a chance to do a Tough Mudder, I highly, highly recommend it.

By the way, the tickets are expensive, but you can sometimes find them discounted on Groupon (that’s where we got ours) or you can get in free or highly discounted if you volunteer at the event the day before.

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 58 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 34 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 348 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: We’ve finished three books so far.

7. Take the kids to South Africa. We took this trip in July. What a memorable experience!

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this and are planning to make this happen over Fall Break. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is DONE and the office is almost done!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!

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  • Brandette W. says:

    There doesn’t seem to be any text in this post. I am only seeing one picture of the seaweed package.

  • Dee says:

    Not sure what you have in your area, but we get organic seaweed in 3pks at both Grocery Outlet and Dollar Tree for $0.99. I typically but 10 packs at a time (30 individual snack packs) since it is pretty much the only vegetable my son will eat without me lugging out the juicer or having a battle 😉

  • Kimberly Eskes says:

    I also saw seaweed ar Aldi yesterday.

  • Anna Rose says:

    While I love the Asian stores and am myself Asian, I prefer the Costco brand organic seaweed. It tastes so much better than most of the Korean and Chinese brands that I have tried over the last 6 years. Plus the Costco ones come with more in the package. So… maybe get the Costco gift card or just go with the friend once in a while. The Annie Chung ones you get at regular stores like Kroger might taste better, but I haven’t tried those. If you do get them at the Asian store, make sure you get the plain ones. I didn’t look closely at ones I got because they had so many different kinds and bought one that was flavored with grapeseed oil. It did not taste good!

    One thing we love to do with seaweed is cook jasmine or short grain rice and put a spoonful of hot rice in a seaweed sheet and roll it up! It tastes so good, sorta like sushi. I have also cut small strips and added it to ramen noodles.

  • Susan says:

    Not to rehash the Costco idea, but I’m not sure if anyone mentioned Costco for glasses or tires. Those would be something to consider looking into the next time you need new ones. The savings might even pay for the membership. When I needed to “upgrade” to bifocals 4 or 5 years ago everyone was quoting me around $400 for just the lenses (I wanted progressive, so you don’t see the bifocal), even WalMart. At Costco I averaged out around $200 per pair of glasses when I bought 3 pair, that’s frame and lenses. As for tires, it depends on what your car needs. For my old car the savings was not significant, but for my current car the savings was huge.

  • Rosanna says:

    I agree about buying glasses online. My hubby bought his glasses from Zenni last time. Even with us being Canadian, (and there’s been sold in American dollars) he got 1pair of glasses and 2 pairs of sunglasses for significantly less than he bought his previous one pair of glasses almost 10 years before.

  • Kathleen Hignight says:

    Well I have to defend Costco as well, lol. 😉 The thing is, there are times when a grocery store is cheaper for many things, but I’ve done a lot of research and it’s never by much. The big deal though is the quality. If I pay .69/lb for apples that are taseteless and get thrown away, that wasn’t a savings. Apples at Costco may be 1.79/lb but they’re amazing and every one gets eaten. That’s just an example; every single item I’ve ever bought at Costco is simply superior in quality to anything I’ve found in a grocery store. Also for us, because we have 7 kids, we get the executive membership and Costco pays us every year for being members since we get a kickback for everything we spend and it far outweighs the cost of the membership! 🙂

  • Dena says:

    Did the Jason Pearson diet allow you to get off your allergy meds? I’ve been looking at his information.

  • Alea says:

    I liked the cards, but I looked up the verse and don’t see a connection. What’s it all about?

    • Mark 4:38 talks about Jesus sleeping. 🙂

    • Dee says:

      I don’t think Jesus napped in a modern day self-care kind of way. It was more of a up all night blessing other people, not eating well, not resting, etc. The card kind of has that “treat yourself” feel that is nowhere to be found in Jesus’s life.

      Not that relaxing or even treating yourself is a sin or anything, but it is certainly not a virtue espoused by Jesus.

      Context matters.

      • Diane says:

        I get what you are saying. I will say that I lose lots of sleep over caring for people and am a more patient loving person when I can get a quick nap. And I am not prone to sloth or laziness.

  • Amanda says:

    Crystal, just wanted to say that you look absolutely beautiful without makeup (in the picture with Jesse). Just sayin’.

    • Thanks so much! I prefer to wear makeup because I love it (and Jesse loves it on me, too!) but I don’t always wear it — and if you follow me on IG stories, you’ll see me without makeup on all the time! 🙂

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