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It was a BIG week at our house last week!

Welcome to my weekly 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.

Whew! It was a BIG week at our house last week! We got a new pet, we celebrated Jesse’s birthday, Jesse and I ran the Tough Mudder, and I spoke at the Tribe Conference! Here are a few pictures and more details…

Meet Quill, our brand-new hedgehog We have been researching, learning, and planning for him to join our family for a number of months, so getting him this week was pretty exciting!

I will try to refrain myself from sharing too many Quill photos on here, but we kinda think our hedgie is just about the cutest, so yeah, no promises that I won’t at least share a favorite photo here and there! 😉

For September 11, Jesse and the kids did the 343 Workout of the Day at Crossfit — one rep for every firefighter who lost their life on 9/11.

Since we had the privilege of getting to go to the 9/11 Museum & Memorial this summer, our kids have a much deeper understanding of the significance of this day.

Silas did all 343 reps because, he told me, he, “wanted to make sure to honor every single hero.”

There were many, many more heroes on that day, but it was a small way for our kids to stop and remember.

May we never forget.

Jesse celebrated his birthday this week and we had fun doing some fun things for the occasion — including a dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants and some surprise gifts we had planned for him. His birthday also caused me to reflect on the last few years.

3 1/2 years ago, because of how unexpectedly well the blog was doing, we made the decision for me to step into the primary bread winner role. I haven’t talked about this much online, but there were definitely a lot of challenges to us as we’ve navigated this new season.

Some days, we didn’t see eye-to-eye. Some days, we both wanted to throw in the towel. Many days, people questioned or criticized or didn’t understand our decision.

But I’m grateful we stuck with it — even on the hard days. Because we are growing in our communication skills, growing in our respect for one another, and growing into the gifts that God has uniquely equipped us with.

With each passing day, I become more grateful for this man and the sacrifices he makes so I can live out the calling God has given me. Our family is stronger, our kids are happier, our marriage has been strengthened, and individually we are more fulfilled.

This year, I feel like we’ve really found our sweet spots and both feel so content and fulfilled in knowing them. This peace was hard won and required many honest and difficult conversations. It required compromise and sacrifice on both of our parts. But it’s been worth it.

Sometimes, God calls you to take a leap of faith that doesn’t make sense to many people. Sometimes, it’s hard and lonely and filled with wondering whether you really made the right decision.

But you keep trusting, keep taking the next step, keep having the hard conversations, keep going when people tell you you should turn around.

And then you wake up one day down the road and see that it wasn’t a big mistake. It was actually the road to greater blessing and joy than you ever dared hope.

I had the opportunity to speak at the Tribe Conference on Saturday. I talked about How to Build Your Blog Without Killing Your Soul — sharing some of my lessons learned from my Year of Rest. I loved getting to be there — and to meet some of you!

On Sunday, Jesse and I ran our second Tough Mudder. It was 10 miles and 23 obstacles and we did it in less than 4 hours — which was our goal!

We had so much fun and this one was MUCH easier for me than last time around. (Read all about my very first Tough Mudder experience here.)

I realized that not only am I physically stronger and healthier than I was last time, I’m also mentally much stronger. All that working out + eating healthier + taking better care of myself + deep heart work is paying off!

Was I scared about some parts of this Tough Mudder? Absolutely! Were there times when I wondered if I’d be able to complete an obstacle. YES!

But even though I was scared, even though I had doubts, I did it scared… and I totally surprised myself by what I was capable of! Plus, I had so much fun!

Take that, fear! I don’t have to live in bondage to you. I can sign up, show up, do the thing, and have fun in the process. Because you are not the boss of me!

Links You Should Check Out:

Ever thought about becoming a virtual assistant? There is a HUGE need for this right now as I know many blogger and online entrepreneurs who are looking to hire those with excellent skills. If you are interested in what it takes to become a virtual assistant and what types of jobs you can do, you don’t want to miss Thursday afternoon’s free webinar I’m hosting with Gina Horkey. Sign up for it here.

27 Ways to Feel Happier For FREE! I had fun putting together this list of some of my favorite ways to have a pick-me-up, without spending any money.

Like free samples? Sign up to get free samples from PinchMe!

I’m so excited that the trees are starting to turn colors! I’m determined to soak up every bit of fall foliage this year and here’s why.

Looking for a yummy weekend breakfast? I highly recommend these Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls.

Did you take the free Productivity quiz yet? If not, go take it here. I found it really insightful — and encouraging!

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


  • Guest says:

    I appreciate you sharing that you and Jesse prayed about and decided to focus on who was best situated to be the breadwinner. My husband and I both have careers and there was a very lengthy period (10+ years) that I made more than my husband did. It caused a lot of issues for us because he resented that I made more and I resented that I made more but still had the bulk of the responsibility for home/family. A couple of years ago we had multiple conversations and we both had a better understanding of what the other wanted and needed. We are now in a situation where he is making more and we do a much better job sharing home/family responsibilities. There aren’t many Christians who are vocal about earnings and responsibilities when it varies from the traditional model but there are many reasons that is sometimes not the right solution for the family. It’s important to pray, seek God’s guidance, and decide as a couple what is best. Also, being flexible that it can change throughout your marriage, sometimes multiple times!

  • I just love reading these! And I love the way you “told off” fear! Watching you be brave helps me be braver too.

  • Ms. Montana says:

    I’m seriously considering attending Tribe next year! I’ll be at FinCon this year, and Tribe might be a great addition to keep growing my online business and community!

  • Kathy says:

    I love what you said about fear. Last week I was in Texas working with a disaster relief team and I was so far out of my comfort zone and I couldn’t even find it! But God gave me the strength to overcome my fear and do something that was life changing for me.

  • Victoria says:

    Congrats on completing the Tough Mudder! My redhead running friend and I signed up for the Disney World Full Marathon in January 2018.

    I am at that stage of training when I think I have signed up for a run that is longer than I can race! I am not in as good of shape right now as I was when I ran my last 26.2 race.

    Thankfully we are not training for a time on this one. We plan just to enjoy the day and take plenty of pictures with the Disney characters along the way.

  • Charlene says:

    I loved reading your page this morning. So happy for all your new blessings. I too have a few blessings in the past week. One is that every year I tell myself I am going to bring some fall color into my house. So while my husband and I were out for a drive here in northern Minnesota I asked him to get some pretty maple leaves and I set them up at home and they have looked so beautiful. Why do we wait so long when God gives us so much for free? Also, I saw a news broadcast about a woman who started weight lifting at age sixty and she was now in her eighties. I guess I thought I should give up at age sixty and let myself go, but this was inspiring. Also I feel blessed that you made the list of items a person could do for free to bring happiness. I needed that and there it was at just the right time. I refuse to let SAD catch me this year. I appreciate your blog so much, Crystal. Thank you.

  • Awmeme says:

    So read this post earlier…had to come back to show my hubby the cute pictures of Quill. Made me smile when I first saw them and smiled when I showed my hubby too. Post as many as photos as you want! Honestly one reason I love your personal posts is the photo’s…you definitely have an eye for photography or whoever takes them does. My DH was wondering where you were able to get a hedgehog at? I’m wondering if there hypoallerginic (sp). My hubby lost his dog of 17 years almost a year ago. He really wants one but we have two problems 1. I’m allergic (he had the previous dog before we met. 2. We have to rent at the moment and most places where we live either won’t take pets or want to charge $50+ extra a month just for a dog. I really wouldn’t mind getting him some sort of pet for Christmas besides fish even though he has a 29 gallon fish tank that we don’t have set up at the moment. Because of health issues and had other life circumstances out of our control we’ve had to move 4 times in almost 3 years. Any info you would like to share on hedgehogs, if they are hypo allerginic (sp) would be greatly appreciated.

    • We got it specifically because it’s one of the very few animals that Silas and I are not allergic to! They are not legal in all states, so you’d want to check on that first. Secondly, they are fairly high maintenance. Our kids did a LOT of research and have been saving for months for it and are committed to doing all of the work to take care of Quill.

      Our landlords said that there was no additional fee for us to have him. You would want to check with your landlords.

      Also, you want to make sure that you find a certified/licensed breeder. Not all breeders are breeding them correctly and there are hedgehogs that are having health problems/dying as a result.

      So far, though, we love him so much and he’s been the perfect pet!

  • Regina says:

    I’m terribly curious – what drew you to having a porcupine as a pet? I would have never thought that would be an option!

    • It’s a hedgehog… it’s bred specifically to be a pet. Our reasons for getting it were two-fold: 1) Silas and I are really, really allergic to almost all pets and this was one of the few options we could get. 2) Our kids really, really wanted one! 🙂

  • Carrie Bennett says:

    Which breeder did you use when you bought Quill? We are wanting to get one for our son in January.

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