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Have a question you’d love for me to answer on camera? Ask away!

Just for fun (and because some of you have asked for more video blogs!), I’m kicking off a new Q&A video blog series this week!

These video blogs will just be me taking a few minutes each week to answer your questions candidly on camera. I’m hoping it will be sort of like you’re sitting in my living room or at my kitchen table chatting with me.

The floor is open! Have a question you’d love for me to answer? Leave it in the comments — and I’ll pick one to answer next week. Your question can be about any subject or topic and I’ll aim to post one Q&A blog per week.

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87 Comments

  • Lisa Pepper says:

    I would love to hear creative and inexpensive gifts for music teachers, sunday school teachers, homeschool tutors, etc. that are more than just the boring “candy in a mug” idea.

  • Victoria says:

    I have always wondered if you have just 6 outfits for daily wear, how many do you have for working out, and just what are your workout clothes?

    • Shannon says:

      Me too! I would love to see an update of your Minimalist wardrobe, especially how those six outfits transition from one season to the next. Thanks!

    • Would love a link if there was a post on this… I am planning to transition to ten daily outfits this fall.

    • Amy says:

      Me too! This would be a great one! I’m always curious how many outfits you have and wear daily. I struggle with this! But I struggle with having way too many clothes. After YEARS of being this way (clothes horder I am!) I am ready to change! I want a simple wardrobe like you! I 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      I would love to see a post on this too! A minimalist wardrobe intrigues me… I need to see how someone actually does it!

  • Organize365 says:

    I’d love to hear what a day in your life is like.

    AND how is that changing with all the new businesses you are starting and growing.

    I love watching your success and how you “balance” it all!

    🙂
    Lisa

  • Blessed Mama says:

    I would love to know how you organize toys and keep toy clutter to a minimum.

  • This is just a fun question=
    Crockpot vs. Microwave: which do you use more often?

  • How do you save money by re-using “junk”?

  • Ashlee says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I’d love to hear your advice for new mothers on how to deal with the lack of sleep. I’m almost three months in and still haven’t adjusted. I get a few nights “off” a week because my husband helps but I still feel exhausted (beyond tired) most days. I feel like I’m no longer a functioning human. I’ve tried to nap but can’t fall asleep during the day. It seems it will be a while before I get enough sleep again, so, as a mother of three, what are your tips?

    Thanks!

    • Lisa says:

      Oh Ashlee, I feel you on this one! My little one is 11 months old and only recently started sleeping well (and we are praying this isn’t a fluke!). It is soooo hard and exhausting. I felt like a zombie for months, especially at work. Unfortunately, my number one sanity saver was napping. I’d even go to my car during my lunch breaks at work and close my eyes for 20 minutes. Sometimes I’d be able to sleep, but if I couldn’t, I tried to quiet my mind and do a relaxation exercise. Sometimes quieting my brain helped a bit. Other than that and taking advantage of nighttime help, I don’t have great advice. I am praying for you!

      • Niki says:

        Expecting my first in two weeks and already exhausted from having such poor sleep during pregnancy. I’d also love an answer to this question!

  • Lisa says:

    Young children! I read once of your kids watching “Get Smart” to give you time to get some things done, and I thought, “Wow, I guess I’m normal for wanting to do that!”

    I will be starting homeschooling in August, when my oldest turns 5, and I also have a 3 year old and a 2 year old. I would love to hear a day in the life of homeschooling, freezer cooking (and WITH HELPERS??), and how to balance it all with young kids who need you for just about everything, and if they don’t, leave you with a mess to clean up after you are done with the time you needed for yourself.

    What about paying bills? How about cleaning the gross bathroom when you don’t want helpers? And when do you have time to research/read/blog on the internet?

    I’ve just recently (thanks to an article you posted) switched over to cloth diapering and nighttime cloth training pants for the older ones, and put a LOT of time into R&D (research and development, as my husband calls it), how to wash, use them, and wash them again to really decided what I like/don’t like. I did NOTHING ELSE those days! (besides laundry!)

    What about giving kids outside playtime? I don’t have a fence, so I go out with them, and do not get anything done in the house for those few hours, and now that it is nicer out, I’m getting even less done, so all the advice you have, would be great!!

    • Jennifer says:

      What type of cloth diapers doyou use? I’ve been considering switching over, but am lost about brands, etc. Is there a link to the cloth diaper post?

  • Dona says:

    Perhaps you could share a peak into your homeschool stuff. I have many homeschool friends who often think I am a “minimalist” homeschooler. I have a feeling I would not compare to you on that department 🙂 So it would be interesting to see a look into your homeschooling area….be it your diningroom or a schoolroom etc???

    • Amy says:

      I would love to see too!

    • Jenna says:

      As a homeschool mama I would love to see what you are using with the kids. And what a homeschool day looks like. I would just love to see what a day in your life looks like. Cause I don’t know how you get so much done.

      • k says:

        Yeah. I’m afraid of messing up with homeschooling, as well. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around me actually having the ability to teach them to read, etc.

        Very interested in the curriculum that you use. I’ve been doing research on the different curriculum (or is it curricula?) available. It’s kind of overwhelming. Did you consider budget when choosing your curriculum? I’ve noticed that homeschooling can be a bit expensive for the more reputable curriculum choices.

        Would also like to see how your day runs with all that you have to do. I imagine that you have quite a bit of help, but still….. you do an awful lot! 🙂

        Thx.

    • Jen says:

      I would love some more info on homeschooling as well! Our children are 2 years & 6 months old (so we have some time left before making a decision) but we can’t decide between homeschooling vs. Christian school. I must admit I’m a bit hesitant to homeschool because I’m afraid I may not be good enough at it! I’m terrified of messing up or getting them behind where they should be! In other words, I’m afraid of messing my children up! Is there training I can take to see if I “cut it” (so to speak)?

      • Jessica says:

        Jen,
        Depending on your state’s laws, you don’t usually need any special training to homeschool, but I understand your hesitancy, as I didn’t think I could do it either. You know your kids best, so who better to teach them? Plus they will get more one-on-one attention with you than they ever would with a teacher. There are SO many curriculum options out there that help you teach (even tell you what to say!), and remember, with the ages of your kids you aren’t starting with high school transcripts!

        For me, I decided to start slowly and see how it went, taking it year by year. So I did some preschool things (crafts, ABC’s, colors, numbers) and that went alright. I got a book to help me teach her how to read, and that worked. I decided to try Kindergarten, and that went fine too! By then, I had several other kids, and my school schedule changed every year, but flexibility is one of the benefits of homeschooling! This is not to say that there weren’t moments of apprehension, but I kept holding onto the benefits, and they outweighed the cost, so we kept going, year by year! My oldest is finishing 4th grade, and I also have a 2nd grader, 1st grader, 4 year old, 2 year old, and expecting #6. I’m more than happy to share more if you want to email me!

  • elisha says:

    do you have advice on whether or not preschool is a good way to prepare kids for homeschooling? i know it’s beneficial in many ways, but the cost makes it not seem like the best use of money. what are your thoughts on effective ways to prepare kids for school?

    • Dianna says:

      You get so much done! How do you organize and prioritize your days? Do you feel overwhelmed when you look at your list of goals or things to do?

  • Jen Shannon says:

    I’d love to know what the best way to save money on produce at the grocery store is. I try to shop at the farmers market but many times, when I’m in a hurry, I drop by the grocery store and pay way too much.

    • Allison says:

      I agree with Jen! There are 7 people (5 adults, 2 kids) in my house and shopping for fresh produce is expensive!

    • Georgia says:

      I just thought to let you know about this website that is like an online farmer’s market: locallygrown.net. The farmers in my area use this, and it’s very convenient. I’m able to see what’s available each week, place an order, and then pick it up from them at the farmers market in town. You might check to see if they have it in your area using this link: http://locallygrown.net/markets/list , or perhaps recommend it to the people at your farmers market.

      I find that with 2 young kids, this is really convenient because I don’t have to pick out my produce at the farmer’s market; the farmer has my order bagged and ready to go. Sometimes if the parking spot right next to his stand is empty, I pull up, pick up and pay for my order, and jump back in the car; no need to get the kids unbuckled and buckled back into their car seats! It makes it like a drive-through farm stand :).

  • I love this idea! I have three questions right now:

    1) How do you build a solid readership?

    2) How do you develop relationships with other bloggers/authors?

    3) How do you balance your business with parenting, homeschooling, and home management?

  • Eva says:

    What do you wish you had known 5 years ago? What top 3 things have made your life better these past 5 years?

  • Amanda H says:

    My husband and I bought a house about 6 months ago. I would love tips on how to save money on yardwork and gardening supplies (especially when the house you bought needs a lot of work). And I would love some tips on how to decorate the new house on a budget.

  • Kim H says:

    Ok I know this may be personal, but I know you can relate to this a little. My husband just finished his PH.D in Pharmacy it took him 7 years, and we have three kids. We thought while the kids were young he better do it now. They are now 11,8,3. We were not able to pay cash for his school, plus we accumulated a lot of debt over the years to get by, and we are now trying to figure out things. How did you and your husband go from eating rice and beans while he was in school ( I know you paid cash for his schooling ) to now being where you are , debt free , paying cash for another home ect… Would love to know how you did it and where to begin.

  • Angel Gebeau says:

    What is your favorite Bible verse… and why?
    What is your least favorite … the one that keeps you challenged?
    What verse do you think is most important for busy moms?

  • Mary Ann says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I want an I-phone, but not the high price tag. Can you recommend a smart phone that
    allows you to download apps, such as ibotta and shopkick without a contract?

    • Sandra says:

      Check out http://www.republicwireless.com. I’m stuck in an iPhone contract, but ASAP I’ll be switching! I’m not sure what apps you can get with them, but before the iPhone was big, I had a Palm and was able to get shopkick on it, so maybe it’s available for a variety of smartphones.

  • Esther says:

    How do you do it all? Especially with homeschooling? I homeschool my kids (7, 5, and 3) so that takes up my whole morning and sometimes part of the afternoon; it never feels like there is time (or energy) to get any other projects done. Any suggestions?

  • Alina bice says:

    How much should I budget a month for groceries? We have two adults a two year old and a six month old. I feel like we spend too much, but we eat what we buy and don’t eat out.

    • Twirlermom says:

      Yes, I want to know that too!! Our budget is $1000.00 for groceries and toiletries. That’s for my husband and myself, sixteen year old son and nine year old daughter. We always go over! It’s SO frustrating.

  • Megan says:

    More minimalist tips- especially in wardrobe!! I am such a minimalist-wanna-be, but I keep having this pressing need to hang onto stuff… You know, just in case!! 😉

    I also like the day-in-the-life idea! I’d love to hear what you do (and how much time you budget for each task). I feel like you get so much done, and I find myself wondering how your day is set up.

    Thanks for this idea! I’m excited for this series 🙂

  • Becky says:

    Hi,
    My question is : What types of homeschool curriculum do you use? And how do you keep your kids motivated and excited to do school at home? I just started this past year with my 5 year old (kindergarten) and have a 4 year old and just turned 3 year old and 15 month old.

  • Tracy says:

    How do you schedule in “me” time, and how do you stay so slim? when do you have one on one time with Jesse?

  • sally corbetta says:

    Which is the most lucrative revenue stream to pursue as a blogger? (ads, sponsored posts, etc.)

  • Twirlermom says:

    I don’t know if this is a question you can answer but how do you figure it all out? I understand the whole couponing concept. I get all the acronyms. I understand the stacking. I understand the best savings is when you use coupons with BOGOs. I just can’t figure out how people save so much money. I make my list and it never seems that I can save that much. Granted some things we are brand loyal. And it seems those things NEVER go on sale!! And, I’m trying really hard to feed my family healthier and meat and produce are expensive!! I went into my local Publix the other day and saw first hand that a local woman actually left Publix with a HUGE buggy full of stuff and they owed her money!!!!! I’ve taken a coupon class. Do you know what I need? I need a mentor. I need someone to sit down with me and go over what I’m buying and things I can do. I WANT to do this but I can’t seem to get it to work!!! That’s probably not really a question you can answer. 🙂

    • CJ says:

      I totally get you. I’m there too! I have been doing this for over a year now and I can’t seem to make it work for me either. Sure, we’re spending less than we were before, but I can rarely make those totally awesome deals work for me. We are also brand loyal on a few items and we also strive to eat healthier food, which unfortunately costs more. I’m so frustrated with spending so much time for so little return and I would love to see something that works better. Crystal, if you can set up a virtual mentoring program, I’m in!

  • Susan Rizzo says:

    I would love to hear your ideas on how to save and organize your kids treasures that come home from school. What to save and how to organize everything. I struggle with this but realize we can’t keep everything that comes home.

  • jaclyn says:

    What are your rules during the kids read aloud sessions?

  • Shauna says:

    What was your biggest challenge when you first started blogging?

  • Ann says:

    I would love to see your food storage system. I’ve seen the inside of your fridge and there isn’t much in there! I thought the key to saving food money was stocking up when st uff was on sale, but I haven’t seen anything resembling a stash at your house…

  • Jillian says:

    I’d love to hear more about your decision to go gluten, sugar, coffee free! What made you change things up in this area? What do you mean in regards to your getting better sleep? I rarely sleep soundly through the night so I’m considering your approach as well. Did you cut out these three “cold turkey”? 🙂

  • Char Palaferri says:

    For organizing kids stuff use storage buckets have a 4 and 5 year old boy and girl. So buckets for trains in one trucks and cars in another. For my daughter kitchen stuff in one Barbie in another. Only allow one bucket per child out at a time must pick up toys before another bucket is let out. Also store well because they can be stacked. Also do the we must donate items to get new item during the holidays.

  • kathy says:

    I would like to know how on earth you do all you do? Just homeschooling 3 children and normal housekeeping and cooking tasks seems almost out of reach.But you also write books,present at conferences and workshops,maintain a large website,and find time for routine exercising and reading new books . And a new website( e-reader girl ).

    • Monica says:

      Same here! I do not homeschool my kids, but how do you do it all? Blog, cook, clean, read etc… I would also like to know at what time are you going to bed? =)

  • shannon says:

    I would love to know how your investment property is going and if you have had any luck finding your second investment property.

  • Annie says:

    How do you make your kitchen table look shiny!

    Tell us about your homeschool curriculum

  • Brenda says:

    I have a LOT of questions, but maybe not for public video. 😛

    I’d love to hear though, what tips do you have for getting “on the band wagon” and staying “on the band wagon” in the everyday motivation to do what needs to be done like a responsible adult? You know like what thought processings and kick in the rumps keep you from becoming overwhelmed and just giving up? How do you fight the urge to just be lazy “for once” (which then ultimately leads to everything getting out of hand). I find it hard to be ok with not being a perfect house keeper, grocery shopper, homeschooler, etc, etc. And a lot of times I let that get in the way of just doing what needs to be done.

    One other… Do you think personality and just plain “be yourselfness” plays into a frugal/minimalist/simple lifestyle? How would you encourage someone to live a more simple lifestyle within their own personality vs. just joining the frugal/simple group because it’s the in thing to do? How do we keep from becoming cookie cutter, American fad lifestyle people? (Not sure this makes sense. :P)

  • Lindsey says:

    How do you organize and how long do you keep projects, artwork, etc. that your children do? It’s overflowing in our house and my daughter is only 3!

  • stephanie says:

    I like reading your meal plans for the week. What do you usually eat when you have a ‘snacky lunch’ ?

  • Jen says:

    I’d like to hear more about your faith in your life. How you share that with you kids and family. How you integrate faith and life.
    How you teach your kids the faith.
    How you and your husband keep your faith strong. How do you and your husband encourage each other to pray.

  • Kim P says:

    I have been trying to switch my family to eating more whole foods over the past few years. We’ve switched to mostly whole wheat, brown rice, butter instead of margarine, more produce, very little processed foods, frozen or fresh instead of canned veggies… other small changes like that. I want to continue making these changes, but it gets difficult to do that and stay within my grocery budget. My question is, what do you think are the most bang-for-your-buck type of healthy-eating changes we can do? Things that are budget-conscious as well as health-conscious? Thanks!

    • Allison says:

      I’d like to hear what you have to say about this too! I try get things that are both budget friendly and healthy, but they don’t always go hand-in-hand.

  • You refer to “snack-y” lunch in your menu plan….will you please explain what this is and consists of?

  • michelle says:

    I would like to hear your schedule & how you manage homeschooling 3 different ages. I have 3 small children and I would like to start preschool with one,but I have a hard enough time giving each of them individual time and getting housework (just the basic laundry, dishes, meals nothing extra!) completed.
    I also am interested in your minimalist wardrobe. 🙂 thanks!

  • Sandy says:

    Great idea to have a Q & A! I would like to know how you select the books you read. Also, advice on how you disciplined yourself in working out. I sure could use insight there.

  • Louise says:

    We are debt free including our house. Some of our friends would call us “cheap” but they don’t know how much we help others. We have quite a bit of savings and are interested in investing in real estate. I would be interested in hearing some balance of my finances in this regard, like after you arrive in a place in your life, where you are comfortable, how do you balance, pinching pennies versus saving for the future, etc. etc.
    I second the opinion of others, that I would love to see another vlog on your minimalist wardrobe.

  • Cj says:

    I am a very beginner couponer. I am really struggling with the idea to only buy things on sale. The way I cook is we plan out a weekly menu and go to the store. But if we choose tacos and only the tomatoes are on sale, what do I do? I can’t change my game plan in the store. I especially have this problem with produce and fresh food supplies. Help. I am sure every couponer has gotten passed this bump, right?

  • Lynn says:

    I looked at some of your receipes and they seem so simple. But I thought whte rice and mac & cheese had gluten in it.

    • Crystal says:

      Rice doesn’t have gluten in it. Most mac & cheese does, but I’m not eating that for lunch — I’m just eating salads, as I mentioned in the post.

      I hope that clarifies!

  • sona says:

    My question is more personal and I completely understand if it is an area you prefer to leave alone. I see that you spend time EVERY week with your in-laws. I see and hear so many angry and negative remarks from young woman in this regard, I would like to know what POSITIVE things you and your mother-in-law do/say/believe/nurture in order to keep this door open. The two of you love the same man and I know it takes maturity to bring balance to potential challenges. Perhaps your MIL would like to jump in too? Thank you.

  • Emily says:

    I’ve been following your blog since WAY before MSM (remember “Biblical Womanhood”?)
    I have always wondered why you use the word HEALTHFUL instead of HEALTHY? 🙂

    -Emily

  • Hannah says:

    I would enjoy a discussion of your homeschool experience so far. I’m interested in the curriculum you use, how it works for your family and how you deal with the children’s attitudes towards schoolwork when they are negative.

  • Christina says:

    I am interested in what your food budget is now…. I have followed you for a while and I remember when you did $40 a week. Just curious how much that has changed with growing kids and the increase in food prices….

  • mel says:

    – i would love to hear an example of your daily schedule!
    -i would love to hear more about your diet change– maybe try to convince us all- 🙂
    – also, how does this diet effect your budget- where do you buy lean meat?
    it seems when i diet, budget goes up 🙁

  • Amy says:

    Why don’t you bake your bread in your bread machine? Do you like it better in the oven? or does it not turn out well in the machine?

  • Ruth says:

    I would like to hear some ideas on how to live with intention and purpose. It seems like the day flies by and I tread water!

    • cheebo98 says:

      I would love to know how you stay motivated…having 4 kids myself and homeschooling. it can be exhausting! 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    I need some sound advice. My youngest just went to school in September ( we have 3 kids). I experienced a bit of a crisis because after being a SAHM for over 10 years, I didn’t know what to do with my new found time. So I quickly decided to take a part time job at my church in November. It was good at first but then “life” started happening. My daughter had some health issues and suddenly had a lot of appointments, kids started getting sick… my tween started “acting” up and was suddenly always giving us a hard time. I was at home more then I was at work! My duties at home dropped considerably and I suddenly always felt behind. Tasks I would have normally done during the day are now being done late in the evenings or on weekends during family time. Also, I should mention that we have a consumer debt of $40 oo0! My husband and I have been arguing a lot about finances and my inability to keep up with home management and work. Now we’re debating if I should quit my job (even though we’ve gotten used to my little pay cheque) and trust that even though things will be super tight, God will provide or do I sacrifice and just try and make it work? I thought for sure I’d have things figured out by now (it’s going on 7 months)! But it’s only gotten worse! What’s a new Christian mom to do?

  • mel says:

    ok, so another question.. i would like to hear more about the once a week evening with extended family! do you rotate around or always go to parents house? what all do you do when you get together? is this a set night every week?

  • Rachel says:

    We’re about to jump off into the unkown of having my husband stay at home with our 2 children. Do you have resources for stay-at-home-dads? Both for me and him. We never thought this would be the path for us. Both of us would prefer me at home more and him working but finiacially with my husband’s small business this is the best choice for us right now. Daycare for 3 days per week was costing more money each month than he made for the past 7 months.

    Fortunately we both have flexible jobs/careers that we love. I have a salaried job and all our benefits, he’s going to be working naps, evenings and Fridays on his small business. I’m scared and trying not to be a little jealous (he is the same, trying not to be jealous of me working more). Any good dad blogs out there? Any mom posts on how to let go, relax and be the best supporter of husband staying at home with the kids?

  • Susan Wilson says:

    Many sites offering things require you to list your full birthdate. This seems scary. How should one handle this? After taking time to fill out forms, I’d like to receive whatever is offered. If I use a different name, will I still get item? If I use a different year, is that safer? When I am required to like on Facebook and share public profile is this safe? Employers will think all these likes look stupid and concerning. If I say yes to sharing future info, my email might get so clogged I can’t access things I want to get to, like a certain coupon or email.

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