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Category: LITE Feed (non-deal) Posts

Free Workshop: How to Write Your First Book in 90 Days

Have you ever thought about writing a book? If so, you’ll want to sign up for the free workshop on how to write and launch your first book in 90 days.

Do You Want to Publish a Book?

Do you have an idea for a book? Or have you ever wondered what the book-writing process was like? Would you love to hear from someone who successfully self-published a book and become a best-selling author?

On Tuesday (July 23, 2019), I’m hosting a free live workshop with Chandler Bolt on how to become a published author. Chandler‘s story is so inspiring — he went from being a college dropout to a 6-figure business owner and bestselling author in less than two years!

In this live workshop, Chandler will walk us through the exact steps you need to take to go from Blank Page to Published Author in 90 days…in just 30 minutes each day. (Click here to register for free.)

Chandler’s students have had massive success implementing the same steps you’re about to learn. In fact, he’s had at least one student publish a book every single day for the last year.

What You’ll Learn in This Free Workshop

In this workshop, Chandler will share:

  • The 3-Step System he uses to write, publish, and launch a bestselling book in as little as 90 days. (And how to use your book to leave a legacy.)
  • How Chandler wrote his first book – 200+ pages – in just 1 week (and how you can, too).
  • An approach to find your book idea in under an hour – and turn your idea into a finished book in just 3 steps and a few hours.
  • How to leverage your book to grow your authority, income, and business.
  • All the details on how Chandler made $4,000/month in book royalties with his first book.

Go sign up to join us at this Free Live Workshop here.

Gretchen’s $63 Grocery Shopping Trip and Menu Plan for 5


I was so excited to finally make it to Sprouts to get my freebies this week! Have you gotten yours yet?

2 Cantaloupe – $0.99 each

1 No Cow Bar – $2.79, used $1/1 Sprouts app coupon AND $1.25/1 Ibotta rebate – $0.54 after coupon and rebate

1 box Kashi Frozen Waffles – $3.79, used Free Sprouts coupon AND $1.25 Ibotta rebate – Free plus overage after coupon and rebate

1 Sprouts Sparkling Lemonade – $1.25, used Free Sprouts coupon – Free after coupon

1 bag Taylor Farms Shredded Lettuce – $1.69, used Free Sprouts coupon – Free after coupon

Received $0.08 from Coinout for scanning receipt (I am LOVING this receipt app!)

Total after coupons and rebate: $1.19


1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $1.19

1 Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.95

1 Half & Half – $1.59

2 pkg Frozen Broccoli – $0.95 each

3 dozen Eggs – $0.58 each

1 lb Butter – $2.88

1 lb Ground Beef – $3.39 (I went to Aldi before I stopped at Dillons so I was super bummed I had purchased this after seeing the marked down beef at Dillons. Oh well!)

1 pkg Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $1.99

1 pkg Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $2.69

1 pkg Frozen Tilapia – $3.79

3 pints Blueberries – $0.99 each

1 pkg Peaches – $3.69

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup – $0.49

1 Honey Bear – $3.29

1 pkg Spreadable Butter – $2.49

1 pkg Snack Crackers – $1.69

1 loaf Bread – $0.89

Received $0.08 from Coinout for scanning receipt

Total: $38.54

Dillons Trip #1

3 cartons Kroger Ice Cream – $0.99 each after coupon

2 Annie’s Mac & Cheese – $1.59, used Buy One, Get One Free e-coupon – $0.79 each after coupon

1 bag Kroger Rice – $0.69

1 No Cow Bar – $2, used $2/1 Ibotta rebate – Free after rebate

5 lbs Ground Beef – Marked down to $0.99 each (I was SO excited to find this and we just used up the last our of ground beef/venison this last week!)

1 Honeydew Melon – Marked down to $0.99

1 bag Green Peppers – Marked down to $0.99

1 bag Squash – Marked down to $0.99

1 bag Nectarines – Marked down t0 $0.99

1 bag Flour – $1.59

4 Clif Bars – Marked down to $0.49 each

Used $0.10 Ibotta rebate for any receipt

Received $0.08 from Coinout for scanning receipt

Total after coupons and rebates: $17.52

Dillons Trip #2

I had to run into another Dillons because the first Dillons was out of cereal.

5 boxes Kellogg’s Cereal – $1.79 each, used $3/5 printable AND $2.55 back in Ibotta rebates – $0.68 each after coupon and rebates

1 bag Mom’s Best Cereal – Marked down to $1.39

1 bag Farmer’s Pantry Cornbread Crisps – Marked down to $1.09

Received $0.08 from Coinout for scanning receipt

Total after coupons and rebates: $5.80

Total for all stores: $63.05

Menu Plan for This Week

We are starting to get lots of veggies from our garden so I’ll be using those this week as well!


Cereal, Eggs, Toast, Fruit, Oatmeal, Frozen Waffles


Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Salad Bar, Mac & Cheese, Cheese/Crackers/Fruit, Leftovers


Taco Bar, Leftover Chips

Grilled Tilapia and Chicken, Biscuits, Cantaloupe, Green Beans

Sour Cream Enchiladas, Fruit Salad

Chicken & Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Breadsticks, Tossed Salad

French Toast, Eggs, Fruit

BBQ Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli

How to Handle Negative, Critical Comments

What’s the best thing to do when you get a negative comment or find out you have disappointed someone? In this episode, Jesse and I talk about how to handle negative comments and what true confidence looks like. 

Missed previous episodes of The Crystal Paine show? You can listen to them here.

Crystal Paine with cup of tea

We Get to Choose Our Response

I’m coming at ya with no makeup and wet hair to say this important word to you: We can’t choose what other people say about us or say to us, but we do get to choose our response.

Every day, pretty much, I hear from people who don’t like something I’ve done or not done.

It could be as simple as the fact that I use plastic bags (a number of people have been really bothered by this recently) or something much bigger like that they think I’m failing as a leader (this was something that happened this past year in a leadership position I was in).

How should you respond when other people are bothered, hurt, upset, offended, or critical of you (or are expressing valid concerns)? Well, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in this regard and have learned (and am learning!) a lot of things the hard way.

Our Response is Always Our Responsibility.

True confidence is not figuring out how to get everyone to like you; it’s confidently being true to who you were created to be — even when you know not everyone is going to like you.

This has been one of the greatest (and hardest!) lessons for me to learn in life… that it’s okay if I’m a disappointment to some people or people just don’t like me.

I won’t lie. I still struggle with this many days. But the more that I know who I am in Christ, the less I worry about what other people think. And the more I rest in how much I am loved by God, the less I worry about gaining the approval of others.

I think it will be a lifelong journey for me and I doubt I’ll ever be 100% over ever insecurity this side of heaven. But I’m celebrating the progress and growing confidence to be true to who I have been created to be, regardless of what others think.

This week on the podcast, Jesse and I have a real honest conversation about what to do when you get a negative comment or disappoint someone or someone is just not happy with you for one reason or another. We talk in-depth about how to respond and the difference between being confident and cocky.

Remember: we have no control over what others say to us, but our response is always our responsibility. ❤️

In This Episode: 

[04:38] – Listen for the return of “What’s saving our lives!”

[10:39] – Jesse and I talk about the books we have been reading recently and I share a quote from one that really impacted me.

[14:02] – Check out how to earn Amazon gift cards and hear about our new hot deals email list.

[15:49] – We dig into today’s topic on confidence and disappointing people. What is confidence? How do you build it? How is it different than being cocky?

[28:06] – It’s so easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the negativity of the 1% instead of remembering that there is no way we can please everyone.

[30:03] – What does it look like to truly live as loved?

Links and Resources:

Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

My Completely Honest KiwiCo Review (plus get 40% off your first box!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Interested in KiwiCo reviews — or maybe specifically a Kiwi Crate review (since that’s the most popular box)? If you’re interested in trying a KiwiCo box for your kids, check out my completely honest thoughts below! And be sure to scroll to the bottom to get a promo code for 40% off your first box!

{And if you’re looking for more honest reviews, you might be interested in my Montessori by Mom review and JellyTelly review. You can also check out my top 10 recommended subscription boxes for kids and my top 13 recommended magazine subscriptions for kids.}

A completely honest KiwiCo review

What is KiwiCo (formerly Kiwi Crate)?

If you’re looking for some really unique ways to keep your kids entertained, I highly recommend KiwiCo!

In case you’ve never heard of KiwiCo, it used to be called Kiwi Crate but after expanding and adding on so many different types of boxes, they rebranded to be called KiwiCo.

KiwiCo is a monthly subscription service that offers kid’s educational projects, crafts, and activities on different themes. You can get a subscription for as low as $16.95 per month — including shipping. Each box includes all the materials to make a fun hands-on project (or 2-3 simpler projects, depending on the box!).

KiwiCo subscription boxes delivered

What age range is it for?

The original Kiwi Crate was designed for kids ages 5-8, but they’ve now added on so many different options!

KiwiCo offers monthly crate subscriptions for various ages:

  • Tadpole Crate for ages 0-3 years (Explore & Discover)
  • Koala Crate for ages 3-4 (Play & Learn)
  • Kiwi Crate for ages 5-8 (Science, Art, & More)
  • Atlas Crate for ages 6-11 (Geography & Culture)
  • Doodle Crate for ages 9-16+ (Art & Design)
  • Tinker Crate for ages 9-16+ (Science & Engineering)
  • Eureka Crate for ages 14-104 (Engineering & Design)

The two most popular crates (at least in our house!) seem to be Kiwi Crate and Tinker Crate, but I love that they have choices for different ages and preferences!

Kiwi Crate and Tinker Crate Boxes

My Honest KiwiCo Review

If you’re looking for completely honest Kiwi Crate reviews, I’m here to tell you that my kids have been using KiwiCo for years and absolutely LOVE it. They received it as a gift one year and loved it so much that they continued requesting it as a gift each year after that!

I have fond memories of them running to the mailbox in excitement and anticipation to see what would be in this month’s Kiwi Crate box.

I still remember how much Silas loved the very first Kiwi Crate box we received in the mail! He made a glow worm from a sock and named it “Billy Butler” after one of his favorite Royal’s baseball players.

Kiwi Crate Glow Wormworking on a Kiwi Crate activity

Since we’re a family that has never had a lot of toys, the KiwiCo boxes have been a great fit for us. It’s really nice that they’re mostly consumable and don’t contribute to toy clutter around the house.

I also really love how hands-on, educational, unique, and entertaining they are. And they always have really great instructions for kids (and parents) to follow.

Even as they’ve gotten older, they still really enjoy getting the boxes in the mail. (And I love that KiwiCo has now added on some really cool boxes for older kids!)

Working on KiwiCo Projects

In fact, we recently received a Kiwi Crate and Tinker Crate in the mail and ended up taking it with us on our family vacation in Utah.

Our nieces and nephews loved working on the projects together and all gave it a thumbs up! (How’s that for an honest Kiwi Crate review? 😉) It was so much fun and such a great way for them to all do a hands-on activity together!

KiwiCo STEM Projects
Tinker Crate Mechanical Bird

How much does Kiwi Crate cost?

The one negative thing I have to say about KiwiCo is the cost. (But be sure to scroll down for a coupon code to save on your first box!)

While my kids have absolutely loved their Kiwi Crate boxes, we’ve always received them as gifts from grandparents. And I do think that they’re a little bit on the expensive side — especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Most of the boxes cost $19.95 per month and you can get them for as low as $16.95 per month if you buy an entire annual subscription at once.

{The Eureka box costs even more at $29.95 per month or $24.95 per month if you purchase an annual subscription.}

This is why I think a KiwiCo subscription is a GREAT idea for grandparents as birthday or Christmas gifts! And you can purchase different lengths of subscriptions, depending on your budget — one month, three months, six months, or an entire year.

KiwiCo Boxes

Save 40% off your first KiwiCo box!

If this honest KiwiCo review made you interested to try it, I’ve got a great deal for you!

You can get 40% off your first box as a reader when you shop through this link.

That makes your first box just $11.97 shipped. And there’s no obligation to continue with your subscription after your first box. Just log in to your account and cancel your subscription before it renews at the regular price.

This is a great way to try KiwiCo at a discounted price and see if your kids like it!

Have you tried Kiwi Crate before? If so, what was your experience?

Related Links:

This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget

Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

After three weeks of traveling, it felt good to be home all week this week and to be back into the swing of regular grocery shopping and menu planning again!

Here’s what we bought this week…

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 2 bouquets of flowers — marked down to $1 each (this was one of my favorite deals!)
  • 5 cartons of Almond Breeze — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items (got $0.25 + $0.75 back from iBotta)
  • 2 bags of frozen peas — $1 each
  • 1 bottle Eat Kansas City barbecue sauce — marked down to $0.69
  • 2 boxes Honey Bunches of Oats — $1.49 each when you buy 5 participating items (got $0.50 each back from iBotta)
  • 1 bottle of Simple Truth Marinade — marked down to $0.69
  • 2 bags of Kettle Chips — marked down to $0.69 each
  • 1 bag of Kettle Chips — marked down to $0.79
  • 2 bags of peppers — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 1 bag of Tortilla Chips — marked down to $0.79
  • Half & Half — $1.99
  • 2 gallons milk — $2.79 each
  • Veggie Chips — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items
  • Zevia — marked down to $1.25 (got $0.75 back from iBotta)
  • 2 bags of avocados — marked down to $0.99 each
  • Kale Salad Mix — marked down to $2.99
  • 2 Colgate toothpaste — $1.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $4/2 Digital Coupon = free
  • Total with tax: $35.45

Kroger Shopping Trip #2

  • 5 bottles of Simply Lemonade — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday Deal
  • 5 packages Ballpark Buns — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday Deal
  • Saltines — $1.29
  • 4 bags of marked down produce — $0.99 each
  • Bananas — $0.70
  • Italian Meatballs/Brats — $1.99 each with Friday-Saturday deal
  • Total with tax: $27.41

Sprouts Shopping Trip

  • 6 ears of corn — 6 for $1
  • Watermelon —  $1.77
  • Total with tax: $2.96

Filling Up Our Freezer Again on Our $70/Budget

If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know that while we were out of town, our freezer power went out and we lost everything in our freezer.

Gratefully, we had opened up our home a lot in the weeks prior and the freezer didn’t have that much in it because we’d eaten down a lot of the surplus (I had been thinking I really needed to replenish it!)

Also, we’re grateful that everything was stuff we’d gotten really inexpensively and that all of the packages stayed in tact so it was not a huge mess to clean up.

I thought it would be fun for you to watch me fill back up my freezer — while sticking with the $70 weekly budget. Here’s what it looked like after week 1. (The package of hot dogs and the buns/bread was in our fridge freezer — I moved it out here since that freezer was pretty stuffed.)

The chicken and ribs were from last week’s Friday-Saturday deals.

And here’s what it looks like as of this weekend. I’m excited because we not have 14 pounds of meat in there! (We usually eat 3-5 pounds of meat per week and I try to stock up on at least 4-7 pounds, so that we’re usually always putting a little more in the freezer than we’re eating.)

What We Ate On Our $70 Grocery Budget This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Our Menu Plan


  • Fried Eggs, Cereal, Pancakes, Apple Muffins, Banana Muffins


  •  Leftovers, Salad, Mac & Cheese, Fruit


  • Fruit, Popcorn, Cookies, Peppers


  • Sunday — Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs
  • Monday — Barbecued Chicken, Corn, Fruit
  • Tuesday — Barbecued Chicken Pizza
  • Wednesday — Mac & Cheese
  • Thursday — Mac & Cheese, Marinated Chicken, Salad
  • Friday — Ribs, Corn, Peas
  • Saturday — Takeout from Chili’s

$70 Grocery Budget Totals

Total spent on groceries: $65.82

Cashback earned this week: 400 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + $3.10 for submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards.

Cut your grocery bill!

Want to cut your grocery budget? Go here and sign up (it’s free!) I’ll send you my 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill By $50.

Who wants a FREE $5 Amazon gift card??

Amazon Prime Day is coming on Monday and I’ve got a way for you to easily earn a $5 Amazon gift card in just minutes — completely free! If you are planning to do any errands or shopping in the next 24 hours, don’t miss this!

Here’s how to earn your free $5 gift card:

1. Sign up for Shopkick through this link, use code MOM5 during the registration process.

2. Go to one store listed in the app this weekend (some of the stores listed: Kroger, CVS, Walmart, Target, Publix, Dollar General, Aldi, Sprouts, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, and more!).

3. When you’re at the store, open up your app and click on the store and then scans. Scan one product listed in the app.

4. That’s it! You don’t have to purchase anything. Just use the code MOM5 when signing up and then scan one item in-store.

5. Because you used the code above, you’ll get 1250 bonus “kicks” instantly added to your account. You can trade these in for a $5 Amazon gift card! (Or any other gift card!)

Psst! Want to earn more points? Make sure to have the Shopkick app open when you walk in the store (you’ll earn kicks for this) and then scan all the other items listed in the app that you can earn points for.

Read more about how Shopkick works and how to earn more points with Shopkick here. Also, check out my post on 7 Easy Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards for other ways to earn free Amazon gift cards.

photo credit