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5 Things I’m Loving This Week

I usually post this on Saturday night, but we were traveling back from Kansas on Saturday, so I didn’t get this posted then. But I figured you wouldn’t mind if I shared it on a Tuesday night instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Fun Selfies With My Kids

We had so much fun taking the above picture and laughed so hard doing it. I mean, it’s a shame we have no personality at our house. None whatsoever.

{The short story behind the photo: Jesse encouraged me to start tracking my nutrition since I’ve been kind of dragging recently. By doing so, I realize I need to be eating more good carbs and protein, so I’m working on that.

Jesse suggested I try one of his shakes since “it’s loaded with good carbs,” he told me. It looked good when he gave it to me in the shaker bottle, I thought it was a chocolate shake, and I promptly took a big swig… And quickly discovered it tasted and smelled nothing like I expected. Blech! It smelled like garden veggies and tasted plain wrong!

He came into the room and saw me plugging my nose and trying to down it and just laughed. And then I about gagged when he told me it was a sweet potato shake. Excuse me? Sweet potatoes are what you eat with steak, they do NOT belong in a shake. Trust me on this.}

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Josh Groban’s Album: Stages

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Groban fan. In fact, I may reach Groupie levels.

Yes, I’m the kind of fan that my husband knew even frugal me wouldn’t object to paying for VIP tickets to his concert… and then I felt all excited over the fact that when he came out into the audience, I was just about ten seats away from being able to shake his hand.

TEN SEATS, people. That’s basically like he and I are best buds.

I mean, really, what are a few chairs between us and the fact that he doesn’t know me from Adam and the fact that he’d be completely scared off by my inability to act like a normal non-stalker fan if I actually did, indeed, get close enough to say hello sometime??

Yes, we’re practically close friends. So, of course, I have to support my friends and spend my Swagbucks-earned credit on their albums. Because I don’t want my friends to be starving artists or anything.

Sarcasm aside, I adored almost every song on this album. And it’s been on repeat while I’ve been working online recently. You can listen to clips of all of the songs here.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Creativity

I love how Kaitlynn always sees possibility and potential everywhere she looks. She’s always creating. Whether it’s cards for other people, paintings to hang on the wall, loom band creations for a friend, or some kind of needlework, her hands are never still.

With her skillful eye for beauty, scraps of paper, bits of yarn, or broken crayons are not things to be discarded, but things to transform into art. She sees all of life as her “studio” for expressing new artistic ideas, experimenting with new art forms, and combining various YouTube tutorials into her own variations on a pattern. This week, one of her creations was this baby hat complete with pompom side decor.

Her fierce independence and strong personality has kept me on my knees many a time as a mom and there have been many days when I wanted to throw up my hands in despair, but more and more, I see how her tenacity is going to be one of her greatest gifts to the world. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her future!

She’s taught me so much about being brave and bold, about being true to yourself, and about always looking for the beauty in the middle of the brokenness. Because you might not see it at first, but it is there, just waiting for someone to notice and nurture it.

5 Things I'm Loving

4. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App

I feel as if I’m finally transitioning into the 21st century this past year because I’ve actually started using my phone for something other than talking on the phone, texting, and checking email.

Yes, I’ve discovered this new-fangled thing they call “apps”! And while I’m still only using a few of them, the few I use are actually really impacting my life in positive ways.

My recent new favorite app is the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App. This app tracks your sleep and wakes you at the most optimal time in your sleep pattern to be woken up.

Not only am I waking up feeling more rested, but I’m finding that the statistics on how well you slept and how long you slept are really enlightening — and they are encouraging me to figure out different things that really improve my quality of sleep.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Cute New Shirts from Cents of Style

Squee!! Our new t-shirt line with Cents of Style is finally here!

I walked down the stairs yesterday afternoon and asked Jesse if he could snap a few pictures of me modeling the shirts because I wanted to use the pics in a blog post.

Only problem was, I yelled into the kitchen as I was walking down the stairs: “Honey, can you take a picture of me since I have my shirt on!” And then I turned and saw that one of the older neighbor boys was standing right there off to the side of the bottom of the stairs.

I pretended like it was no big deal, but inside I was dying from embarrassment and laughter thinking what that request must have sounded like to him!!

And then of course, I didn’t know Jesse was actually taking pictures when I was trying to tell him to take a few shots just getting the text section of the shirt. This photo looked so ridiculous that I had to share.

{The shirts have some of my favorite phrases on them that have served to transform my perspective on life: Choose Love, Choose Gratitude, Choose Joy, and Choose Courage! You can get one for yourself for just $14.95 shipped this week only when you use coupon code CHOOSE at checkout. See all the designs here.}

What have you been loving recently? Tell us in the comments!

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  • LadyRhinoa says:

    Choose love – that’s a great tee!!

  • Charlotte says:

    Congratulations on your new t-shirt line. The shirts are adorable and I hope they do well selling. Such a wonderful message on them.
    What I am loving this week? I actually blogged about my new goals (I didn’t have any really put on paper until I took your Make Over Your Mornings course and my husband is doing a happy dance). I also blogged about my weekly menu list which I am hoping will keep me accountable to actually keep with it. I am getting a crib donated to us tomorrow. So excited about that!! Found a really cute shirt at a consignment shop! Thrilled with my find. Searching for ways to stay at home as much as possible with my infant girl. I am loving it being at home with her right now.

  • Victoria says:

    I too would rather eat sweet potato on a plate with butter than in a shake!

    5 things I am loving this week…
    1. A great time with friends on the 4th of July at our house.
    2. A water fight with my daughter in the backyard.
    3. An entire day to myself in a nearby town spent blogging (almost done all posts for July!)
    4. A campsite booked for later in the month in a place our family has wanted to visit for years.
    5. Homemade chocolate chip cookies baked last night and enjoyed while still warm.

    Hope you have a great week.

  • kariane says:

    This week, my boys and I are loving kite flying. So much fun (even if we’re not the most successful about it — I wrote about that too).

    If you’re looking for a way to get more healthy carbs, try this recipe. It’s full of greens, but not in a smoothie. It’s been a favorite side dish of ours lately: it’s healthy, not too complicated, and tastes great with a bit of sweet and crunch to balance the greens taste (plus, you don’t drink it). Even my kids like it:

  • Kathryn says:

    This whole post made me laugh. Especially the entire section about the shirt. I actually LOLed. I do really like the shirts though!! I hope they will still a good price in a few weeks because I would love to get one, but I can’t right now. A “choose peace” one would be awesome too!

  • Lana says:

    1. A great visit with our youngest son and his wife. We love going to their home for the weekend since we are so comfortable there.

    2. The listening ear and sound advice of our pastor.

    3. Tomato plants that are loaded with green tomatoes. Tons of beautiful basil ready for use.

    4. Anticipation of time with my parents at their beach timeshare.

    5. A husband who always takes such good care of me! As we get older some times we just have days when we need a little help. (I am glad he does not make sweet potato shakes for me though. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  • Tabitha says:

    Random suggestion (I too found I was not eating enough protein): I have found Quest Bars to be reasonably good and they have 21 g of protein in them and only 1 g of sugar. So you can “beef” up your protein without a lot of extra sugar. Quest has a ton of flavors: some are good, some not so much. You can purchase them at some grocery stores but to get the best variety go to a Vitamin shop or GNC. Would love to hear what you think of them compared to the drink ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Thanks for the suggestion! Pretty sure just about anything would be better than the sweet potato smoothie… though Jesse thinks I’m nuts because he really loves the smoothies. And I can’t convince him otherwise. But to each his own, eh?

      • Jean C. says:

        I needed more protein too… my go-to items are eggs (for breakfast or hard-boiled for a snack), yogurt, and almonds or other nuts.
        I have a friend who makes makes protein/veggie smoothies – Bleh! I’m not a fan of beets and I prefer my spinach on the side, not in a smoothie. But to each their own, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Melissa H says:

    I have mentioned before how your Kaitlynn is very similar to my daughter.

    I loved this paragraph “Her fierce independence and strong personality has kept me on my knees many a time as a mom and there have been many days when I wanted to throw up my hands in despair, but more and more, I see how her tenacity is going to be one of her greatest gifts to the world. Iโ€™m excited to see what God has in store for her future!”

    Ya my daughter graduated from h.s and less than a month later is in Europe backpacking! She’s doing it alone. (She’s has been safe and is doing very well. By God’s grace momma has had peace about it too)

  • Olivia says:

    I am huge Groban fan too. Hope to see him I concert some day! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Susie says:

    I just ordered the “choose joy” shirt, used the code to get it for $14.95, and then they offered a free pair of earrings! Wow, Cents of Style! What a great deal!

  • Olivia says:

    Oh, and this is regarding an old post, but, I eat spoonfuls of peanut butter with chocolate chips on them a lot as well. I didn’t realize other people did that to!

  • Tracy says:

    This post really brightened my day…especially the first photo. It was so cute!

  • Carrie S. says:

    I love Josh Groban too!! I’m glad you got such a great opportunity to hang out with your new bff. haha!

    Great post, Crystal! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kristen says:

    Congrats on the new line of shirts! They look great! I can’t imagine how a sweet potato would taste in a shake…I usually like mine loaded with butter and brown sugar haha. I have been using Isagenix shakes for the past few months for a boost of protein/good fats/vitamins and minerals, and they taste great! Their chocolate tastes more like chocolate milkshake than sweet potato!

  • Janie K says:

    I LOVE the new shirts!! Thanks for sharing the link!

  • Bronwyn says:

    LOL, I saw the t-shirt pic and my first thought was that it was so artistically posed and that your hair and make-up looked amazing. Then I went on to read the back-story behind it. I guess this is why I don’t work in a creative field ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Guest says:

    In my world, sweet potatoes are meant to be eat when fried and served with praline sauce. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Made a big splurge (for me) and bought a Fitbit Charge HR. It has been SO motivating for me to get 10,000 steps (minimum) in each day, tracks my heart rate so I can see on my phone (app) how many minutes of active exercise I’ve had and it tracks my sleep also. I’m a little obsessed.

  • Amy says:

    A sweet potato shake sounds so wrong!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am about to order a “Choose Love” shirt (if I can figure out where to put the coupon code …)
    Love your posts!

  • Amanda says:

    I love the shirts, especially the “Choose Love” one! <3

  • Jen says:

    Love this weekly post! I love not only how your week has gone, but to read about what other moms (and non-moms) are loving this week!

    My five:

    1) seeing the joy on my two kids faces while they were playing with their cousins (we live in different states and don’t get to see each other often).

    2) a dad who loves to garden and preserve food. I came home with a HUGE (like really gigantic) red cabbage, an onion (the first from his garden) and several zucchini. He also gave us homemade salsa, red raspberry jelly, cherry jelly, plum jelly and strawberry-lemon marmalade.

    3) Aldi – I know that’s kind of random, but I was able to purchase 10 ears of corn, two pounds of strawberries, a pound of sweet cherries and a pint of blueberries for less than $6!

    4) the beach. It got warm enough for us to go to the beach (aka Lake Michigan) over the weekend!

    5) a mini-date day with my daughter for $0.57 short stacks yesterday.

    And, I have one that is really an all summer happy memory – my daughter joined the swim team in our area. She can’t really swim but is loving learning. She spends six hours a week in the pool and continues to love it!

  • Jean C. says:

    I wanted to thank you for your posts about encouraging your kids’ entrepreneur ideas. I usually worry about them being disappointed or that it will also involve lots of time on my part, but last week…. my daughter, age 8, learned how to make mini-catapults at a library event and decided to make a bunch and sell them at a home-made stand. I said “Yes!” she could have her stand. The first day she didn’t sell any (major disappointment), but then sold a bunch on the 2nd day to neighbors (who were very generous). She then made over 20 to sell at our church picnic. She was so scared when the time came to sell, but she had worked so hard, so I sat with her for an hour while she sold every single one! She was so excited that the other kids thought they were cool and she made $22! She was so creative and brave and it really paid off. I was so proud of her and we both learned a lot! So, thank you, Crystal, for the encouragement.

  • I love sweet potatoes in just about any form but I think “smoothie” would be pushing it! Love the photos!

    5 things this week:
    * Beautiful weather – eating lots of meals on our patio is one of my favorite things this summer!

    * My children maturing into amazing young adults – they’re only 10 but I’m so proud of how they’ve handled some really difficult things these last few months. I also love that they still want to give me a hug every morning. If they ever outgrow that I’m going to be totally bummed!

    * Finally getting into physical therapy for my hip that has been bothering me for months!

    * We bought a “date night” package at a fundraiser (theater tickets and a restaurant gift card) at a fundraiser for a song a few months back and we finally got that date scheduled! I love spending time with my husband and he’s been so busy with his Seminary internship that this will be fabulous treat!

    * My garden going crazy – I think we’re going to have enough tomatoes and zucchini for the entire neighborhood this year! I love it!

    Thanks for sharing and hosting this, Crystal. I love the inspiration I get from reading everyone’s lists!


  • I’ve been loving desserts this week! LOL! I made a post of my most recent dessert crushes this weekend – one of them is a s’mores bar that just sounds decadent! {}

    Thanks for the recommendation for the Sleep Cycle app. I’m going to check into that – happy to see they have it available for android!!

  • Lorrie says:

    I just love your transparency and honesty. You cracked me up about the pics of you in your shirt and the neighbor boy. Thanks for brightening my day as you often do. Love the selfies also!!

  • KerryLynn says:

    Congratulations on your fabulous new t shirt line.I just ordered the “Choose Joy” t shirt and matching earrings. Can’t wait until I get them!

  • Billie Y. says:

    So, I’m just wondering how did you know you weren’t getting enough carbs and protein in your diet? I’d love to know how I’m doing…but even if I track my intake, I don’t know how much I should be getting…Any help is greatly appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That would be thanks to my husband… he studies nutrition and fitness, works out with a trainer, and knows WAY more about it than me and helped me figure out — based upon my weight/activity — how much I should be getting each day. It’s been really eye-opening to track it and see how I was eating so many good fats and not enough good carbs and proteins. Eating more balanced for even just 5-6 days has made a big difference for me in my energy levels.

  • Stacey says:

    I hope this isn’t TMI, but I seriously almost wet myself when I saw the first picture of your daughter on the right with her eyes crossed. I was laughing so hard my kids couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Such a great face! Too funny! Thank you so much for sharing pictures of your family. It makes me feel like I “know” you. :). Have a blessed day!

  • Cynthia says:

    I just ordered two for myself! Squeee! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heather says:

    I also ordered the Choose Love shirt….along with the black/white checkered midi skirt. Its the type of thing I wear to work every day ๐Ÿ™‚ This totally made my day….and since I am beyond super excited about it, I spent a little extra on the express shipping ๐Ÿ™‚

    My fave smoothie that is packed with protein and good stuff—1/2 c raw oats, 1 TBS ground flax seed, 1 TBS cinnamon (ground all up before adding anything else as chunks of oatmeal are not pleasant when sipped through a straw) then I add 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 c frozen blueberries, 1 c of unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 of a 5.3 oz container of plain greek yogurt and a few ice cubes…blend into breakfast heaven. Makes me happy all day…well that, and coffee.

  • Alisha says:

    I literally snorted out loud at your “Honey, can you take a picture of me…” comment. Sounds SO MUCH like something I would do…so humiliating…but so funny!

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