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A Peek into My Life This Week (new feature!)

Welcome to a brand-new feature I’ll be running here every Sunday called a A Peek Into My Life This Week.

Starting today, the rest of the content on the blog throughout the week is now going to be focused on where to find great deals, money-saving tips, and content that has a frugal focus (look for my post tomorrow where I share all the details on the big changes that are coming for me as a blogger in 2017), this weekly post will be our place to just chat and for me to share things I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.

So many of you have asked for me to share these things on a regular basis and I thought this would be a fun way for me to do this every week in one place. Plus, it will be fun for me to keep track of these types of things for myself, too. 🙂

What I’m Reading

This week, I finished reading Looking for Lovely. There wasn’t anything earth-shattering in it, but I enjoyed it and it inspired me in my Year of Yes.

This week, I’m reading books from my shelf from the four different categories I chose for 2017: Candles in the Dark (an old Christian reprint), A Portrait of Emily Price (a story-driven book), A Trip Around the Sun, and The Year of Yes (a book on life improvement).

I’m hoping to finish both The Year of Yes and A Portrait of Emily Price this week. I’ll let you know how that goes next week! {See my Reading Goals for 2017 if you missed them yesterday.}

What I’m Listening To

I love to listen to music while I’m working on the computer. But I’m picky about what music I listen to while working because I can get easily distracted by music and instead of it enhancing my productivity, I’m so into the music and the lyrics that I forget I’m supposed to be writing or answering emails or working altogether!

I found this playlist on YouTube this week and I’ve loved using it as background music while working. There are only a few songs on it that I don’t really like — which is saying a lot because I typically like about 15% of songs in playlists I find! 😉

Do you listen to music while working? Do you have any recommendations for me? I’d love to know because I’m always looking for new playlists to try out!

What I’m Watching

Jesse and I are slowly working through Season 2 of Poldark. While there are a few edge-y parts of the show, we overall really love it. It’s engaging, interesting, and we love the depth of the character development.

We also watched The Secret Life of Pets for family movie night this week. I’d give it a meh rating. Not great, not bad.

{Any family movie recommendations for us? We’re always looking for new ones. Or, any other shows you’ve loved that you think Jesse and I would love, too?}

What I’m Working On

I’ve not been a Planner Girl for a long time because I’ve fallen in love with Google Calendar. However, when I saw Beth Anne’s beautiful planner, I knew I wanted to support her Kickstarter and also try to experiment with becoming a Planner Girl again. I honestly think there’s a good chance I’m going to really, really love using a planner again. (See lots of pictures of the inside of my planner here.)

I can already see the benefits of sitting down and really mapping out the week. I’m still using Google Calendar for business stuff and my editorial calendar, etc. but I think having a place to plan goals for the week and write down successes and blessings and projects is going to be a really valuable exercise for my life overall.

Plus, I LOVE the feature to track habits!

What I’m Pondering

I posted the above picture on Instagram last night and said:

What are you filling your mind with? Are you letting it be filled with negativity, with worry, and/or with made up stories about situations based upon what something might “seem” instead of going to the source and finding out the truth?

Or, are you choosing to believe the best, focus on uplifting and positive things, and cultivate a grateful spirit?
You get to choose what you fill your mind with and what you let stay there. Choose wisely!

What you think about dictates how you live.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, working on, and/or pondering? I’d love to hear!

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  • Carrie says:

    Love this post!
    Reading and pondering Jim Berg’s Bible Study “Changed Into His Image” It’s not my first time to go through it but it it always so challenging and gets me back to where I need to be.
    I love planners but not using any but my lesson plans book.
    Today Im enjoying the last couple days home with my kids before we all return to school Tuesday.

  • Cheryl says:

    Hi Crystal, Happy New Year! God’s Blessings in 2017. I really like this post and look forward to your blog update too. Currently I’m reading Schedule Me Skinny/Sarah Jane Bedwell, The 1, 1. 1 Diet Rania/ Batayneh and Sweetness Southern Recipes/Christy Jordan (She’s one of my favorite cookbook authors. The other 2 books are very good healthy eating/diet books that I’m incorporating into my wellness plan this year. As a family we watched on Netflix “Finest Hours” , true story of a coast guard rescue in 1952. Our kids are 12 and 14 and we really liked it. In addition to our regular Christian radio stations, I’ve been playing Cross Country radios different stations online. We play Seleh (simple music) at dinner and the country station while we have game nights. We’ve had a few over Christmas break. Enjoy!

  • Mae says:

    We watched Nine Lives the other day and It was pretty good. Not sure if you guys have seen it. I’m excited to see what books you read because your recommendations are good.

  • Jessi Fearon says:

    I love listening to Audrey Assad! And sometimes Adele if I need that “get up and do something and then get back to work” kick in the pants. 🙂 And I’m really happy that you just saved my husband and I from watching The Secret Life of Pets. 🙂 My boys really liked the latest Jungle Book movie and we related the fight scene between Mowgli and Shere Khan to the story of David and Goliath. But now they run around pretending to be jungle boys…so not sure that’s the best recommendation. 😉

  • Julie says:

    A family movie we watched which we really enjoyed was Finding Dory.

  • Cassandra says:

    “Embracing the steps I take and having the ability to do what I need to do today!” This is a phrase I got from a book I read about a year and a half ago and plan to add back to my reading list this year. The book is called, Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On, Trusting God in the Tough Times by Stormie Omartian.

  • Carol says:

    We enjoyed Paperclips, a documentary about a middle school class who collected 6 million paperclips to conceptualize how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust. There was a lot more that also happened so it was riveting. There are no gruesome scenes from the Holocaust.

  • Robin says:

    We really enjoyed Storks. It was entertaining for our teens and our younger kids

  • Leanne says:

    I love listening to the Piano Guys as background music…and my boys love the videos…We recently bought “When the Game Stands Tall”… great family movie… I’m slightly “obsessed” with “The Crown” on Netflix…(it has a few words that are more for shock value and a few “off color” jokes”, but overall, extremely well-done… as I Downton Abbey girl, it filled my “show-hole”) and I’ve been contemplating what it means to be “me”…. just me… probably due to some reading I’ve done on your blog…. Happy New Year!

  • Laurie says:

    Crystal, my husband and I (and our 13 and 11 year olds) just finished Season 1 of The Crown on Netflix. It is an incredible mixture of history and drama! I hope you check it out!

  • Pat says:

    I’m always curious about what people use for planners. I use a calendar app called fantastical which is pretty decent. I will take a look at the planner you mentioned-it’s gorgeous.

  • Megan says:

    Are you still working your way through The West Wing? That’s one of my all-time favorite shows. Other favorites include The Office (great for a light half-hour that always resets my mood if I’m feeling down), Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Gilmore Girls (my husband loved it, too!).

    • I got bored with West Wing after two seasons. But Jesse stuck with it and watched through the whole thing last year!

      I’ve been wanting to try Gilmore Girls, though I don’t know that it will be my cup of tea… and I can’t see Jesse being into it, either. But maybe we’ll be surprised! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Katherine says:

    We thought the Secret Life of Pets was meh too. We loved Kubo and the two strings.

  • I love listening to “classical for studying” on Pandora!

  • Lori says:

    Thanks for sharing the YouTube channel you found. It made paying bills seem a little less stressful!

  • Laurie says:

    We have Netflix so we have watched movies from just about any category. My favorite are the documentaries. I used to watch Call the Midwife,but I need my sleep so I get to bed early. We saw Sing and was not impressed at all. I too was looking for a 2017 paper planner and found some great ones at Michaels for 60% off yesterday. I just wrote my monthly goals which I have never done. I started THM yesterday so have been tracking what I am eating. Some of my goals for 2017 include working on a new me, continue to simplify my life, to only buy what we need and just being a connected family. My kids are 12 and 9 and life has gone by so fast. I love to savor every moment we are together.

  • Kristin says:

    Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed what you shared and the music too. Thought I’d share another set of music you might enjoy. It’s called “Quietly” and it’s from and it is a wonderful, peaceful, worshipful piano instrumental. I love worship music and all of the scripture lullaby albums, and I have them all and enjoy them greatly, but I’m really enjoying this one as it’s strictly instrumental and it’s so peaceful and a call to rest in His presence. Thought you might enjoy and another one you could listen to when doing your work or even resting. Hope you like!! You can buy the physical album or by the album to download on your phone or iPod. Blessings!

  • Tamboliya says:

    I liked watching SING! I’m enjoying listening to: [Yule Log Audio] Playlist – Pentatonix:

  • Mary says:

    Our favorite movie is called A Man Called Peter. I think you would enjoy it too. He was also very productive! Our kids like Mary Ellen from american girl collection.

  • Bethany says:

    We watched When calls the Heart on Netflix. I like the Piano guys for background music. They have a great Christmas collection we played this year. I would like to read more this year.

  • Denise says:

    Have you watched The Crown on Netflix? I loved it!

    I’m reviewing the Beyond Suffering NLT Bible from Tyndale. Liking it so far.

    And I don’t usually listen to music while I read or work because I get distracted but I love my Hillsong station on Pandora.

  • Lara says:

    We have enjoyed watching GKids movies like Song of the Sea and Zarafa on Amazon Prime for our family movie nights. We’ve been able to borrow some others from our local library.

  • Vanessa says:

    Crystal, do you like more upbeat or slower types of instrumental music? I have quite a few Pandora stations for listening to while working, but I don’t want to make a really long comment of suggestions when I don’t know what you like! 🙂

    Here is a fun channel that I recently discovered. You might like it if you like jazz/bossa nova cafe music!

  • Theresa says:

    I recently started watching Last Man Standing on Netflix. It’s a really funny show about a man who is trying to raise 3 teenage daughters. It’s funny and clean and really shows conservative values. I’m loving it.

  • Kara says:

    Growing up I always loved the old non-animated Disney movies like ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’, ‘Escape to Witch Mountain’, ‘Babes in Toyland’, etc.

  • Jessica says:

    I am working on knitting socks, a shawl and a scarf. The start of the year is slow for a few days as a freelance writer, so I’m also working on getting last year’s business expenses and donations together for tax purposes. I’ve been listening to a documentary on the Dark Ages. I did not really take any world history classes other than a few classes in college on Russian/Slavic history, so I am learning while knitting or typing in expenses 🙂
    I’ve also just finished a book about how military technology has transformed what we eat and the product packaging of the foods we buy. It’s called ” Combat-ready Kitchen
    How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat” By Marx de Salcedo, Anastacia

  • Charity says:

    Hymnstyles is one of my favorite stations on Pandora. I also like The Piano Guys. I always have music playing but prefer instrumental playlists during school or when I’m working.

  • Nicole says:

    My husband and I enjoyed watching The Minimalists Minimalism documentary and the Cooked series, both on Netflix. We are also loving our time spent re-watching Larkrise to Candleford on Amazon Prime.

  • Jennifer says:

    Our whole family enjoyed the football movie Greater this Christmas. Out on DVD. You can google it.

  • Jen says:

    We went to the movies twice this week as a family (which never happens). We watched Moana first and then today we saw Trolls. I will say that the story line in Moana was better, but I can’t find any fault in the Justin Timberlake/Anna Kendrick laden upbeat music in Trolls. It put me in a good mood.

    Oh…and our PBS station (and possibly the whole country??) had a Downton Abbey marathon over the weekend. My eight year old started watching and was captivated. There are a few storylines that are no appropriate for her, but the language is not offensive and the storylines and characters are so well written that tomorrow she and I are going to stay home and color and watch Season 1 in its entirety (on Amazon Prime). She’s excited…and so am I.

    I’m currently reading “The Shack”. I have to say that I’m half way through and am really torn by this book. I guess as “Papa” would say, I’m very independent in my thinking, so despite being a Christian this book is challenging me in a way that I’m not happy or comfortable with.

  • Heidi N says:

    A great family movie is Masterpiece Theatre’s Pollyanna. It’s available to watch on Amazon.

  • Emilie says:

    I sort of use a bullet journal for my calendar, gratitude journal, prayer list, misc lists, books I’ve read, Books of the Bible, my word of the year (strength), bucket list, places I have been, foods I have eaten, etc. I don’t do a lot of fancy artwork in it but I like having everything in one place. I carry a small moleskin in my purse with a monthly calendar and monthly to-do list that I have made.

    I liked “Big Hero 6” as a family movie. My husband and I went to see “Passengers” and I really liked it but it is not appropriate for children.

    I am excited to see that you are branching out to separate blogs also. I often like the “you” posts better than the deals 🙂

  • Em says:

    This is a movie that I think you’re family will love! It’s based in Africa, and it should be out of DVD soon, if not already!

  • Hi Crystal!

    One of my favorite music choices for work is Lindsey Sterling. It’s instrumental, so there are no distracting lyrics, but much more energetic than typical classical music.

    We saw the Pets movie at the drive-in over the summer and I thought it was way too dark for little kids. All that talk about killing owners – um, no.

    My kids have been watching a lot of old cartoons on YouTube – my littlest guy loves Donald Duck. We also watch the older Disney movies, like Sword in the Stone the other day.

  • Tyla Milian says:

    I listen to the music under Publications on Really uplifting.

  • Jennifer says:

    We have recently watched several older films with our kids: Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-minded Professor, and Dr. Dolittle. It’s refreshing to not have to worry about content and language…and we can check them out at the library. 🙂 Our kids love The Sound of Music, too.

  • April says:

    I just hunted down this article to buy this planner through your link, in case it’s an affiliate link b/c I loved your YouTube video about it. After 11 years of not working, and returning to the work world with my blog the past year or so, I am loving these tips to help me return to a more structured life. Can’t wait to get my planner!

  • Rhonda Grice says:

    I love these types of post because it lets us know you are a real person living a real life, just like the rest of us. I personally do not listen to music when working on my blog or writing books. It’s too distracting for me.

    I also use Google Calendar to keep everything on and love the way you can set up reminders on it. My goals and daily to-dos are written down on paper in front of me so I can work on them during the week. Thanks for sharing!

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