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Tag Archive: 5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

1. Reading the comments on my birthday post.

Wow! You all continually blow me away! Thank you for the amazing comments on my birthday post.

I wanted to respond to each and every one of you — and I wished that I could have personally hugged and prayed for each of you and told you face-to-face what you mean to me.

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to blog here and get to know some of you and have you as my online community and cheerleaders. It’s humbling and such a blessing!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Wearing this Life is Tough tee.

Y’all. I am in love with this tee.

This year, some of the parts of this Year of Rest have been going really deep in a few relationships and walking really closely with a few friends who are suffering some devastating losses in their life.

Some days, it feels crushingly heavy and my heart feels like it might suffocate from the pain others are experiencing and there’s nothing I can do to take it away. I know it’s exactly where God wants me to be and it’s been such an honor to walk through dark, lonely, broken, and messy — even though it hurts so much to see others struggling so much.

This t-shirt is a reminder to me that while life is tough, we are stronger than we think. I’ve certainly learned that this year. {Psst! This shirt is available for just $15.95 through the end of today!}

3. Checking out new podcasts.

I recently started following some new podcasts and have been enjoying them so much! Some podcasts I’ve been loving: What Should I Read Next? by Anne Bogel, The Productivity Show, and Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield.

Do you listen to podcasts? What are some of your favorites? I’d love to know!

4. Listening to Bob Goff preach.

This weekend, we went back to Kansas to spend a few days with our extended family. It was a great trip, but the highlight for me (in addition to seeing family), was getting to hear Bob Goff preach at my sister’s church (Life.Church).

I’d always wanted to hear him speak after reading Love Does and his sermon was such an inspiration and motivation to me in so many ways. The link to it is not available online, but I found the above sermon that talked about similar concepts. I’d encourage you to listen to it, if you have chance.

I think we can spend so much time talking about concepts, but talk does nothing if it’s not followed up by action. I loved how he talked about if we want to follow in Jesus’ steps, we should be going out and looking for those who are lonely, broken, hurting, and struggling and walking with them and loving them.

That’s how I want to live my life. I want to show up for people, I want to be available to people, and I want to live my life with out-stretched arms, not holding back but giving my life away.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Experimenting with new messy bun styles.

You know that video that I shared in my 3 Favorite Everyday Hair Styles post? I’ve been having fun experimenting with trying some of them out.

If you’ve always wondered how to do a good messy bun and just can’t get the hang of it, I’d definitely recommend watching this video. She makes doing messy buns so easy!

{And am I the only person who takes bathroom mirror photos of myself to see how the back of my hair looks? I know it seems weird, but that seems to be the only way I can really tell if I really accomplished the look I was going for. So I may have more than a few of these on my phone. :)}

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

5 Things I’m Loving This Week (and guess where we’re headed on Thursday??)

5 Things I'm Loving

1. Seeing Your Kids Stretch And Step Outside Their Comfort Zone

Look who got to play George Washington at school on Friday!! They did a little presentation for the parents at chapel and he had his first on-stage speaking part.

5 Things I'm Loving

l was so proud of him… This once incredibly shy, would-not-even-look-at-someone-he-didn’t-know boy spoke with poise and confidence and a smile.

Watching your kiddos stretch and grow and step outside their comfort zones and develop character is such a rewarding thing as a parent!

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2. Poldark: Season 2 is Coming!

Oh happy day!! Did you see that Season 2 of Poldark is coming?!?!

I’m super picky about what shows I’ll watch. To me, a lot of TV is boring, lacking character depth and engaging storylines.

So most of the time, when we try out a new show that has been raved about, I feel let down. But not Poldark!! From the first episode, we were hooked.

It is 100% my kind of show. I love the rich character development and have high hopes for Season 2!!
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3. Photos From South Africa

My phone showed a message from WhatsApp earlier this week — which can only mean one thing: Someone from South Africa was texting me.

I was thrilled to get the text with these photos from the large building you all are helping to build at Reagaboka. After going last year and getting to see the classrooms you all helped build, I’m just ecstatic about this new building knowing what a need it is going to meet in so many ways in this community.

Can you believe that they are putting a roof on it now?? It’s getting SO close to being done. And this could have never happened without you all.

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4. We’re GOING to South Africa Next Week!!!!!

You guys, I’m SO excited! And seeing the above pictures just makes me more excited.

Those of you who are long-time followers know how part of my heart will always be in South Africa. And I’m absolutely thrilled that I get the opportunity to bring a team of my readers with me to South Africa.

We leave on Thursday (September 8) and will get back the following Saturday (September 17). The onlyreally sad part for me is that our kids are staying back in the states this time. (We took them with us on our last trip to South Africa and it was such a special time for our family!)

My mom has been so kind to be willing to come and stay with them and they are looking forward to getting to spend a lot of quality time with Grandma while we’re gone.

If you want to follow along with our trip, be sure to follow me on Instagram (if you aren’t following me already). That’s likely where I’ll be updating the most.

I may also post some on Snapchat (I’m crystal.paine there) or see if I can get good enough wifi to hop on Facebook Live. And I’ll be sure to post some details about our trip on my blog — either while we’re in South Africa or after we get back home.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Peace In My Heart

I was struggling and stressing over some situations in my life that are outside my control and I read a chapter in Wild and Free last week that kicked my behind. I realized my fear and anxiety was really just my lack of trusting in my all-wise, all-knowing, always-working-for-my-good Heavenly Father.

I can leave my burdens, my stress, my anxiety at His feet and I can rest in the truth that He is in control.
He doesn’t need me to try to fix, solve, or micro-manage all the details of my life and others’ lives. He calls me to rest in His Master Plan and trust His unfailing goodness.

This truth brought so much peace at a deep level. He is good! And this truth sinking deep in my soul made this past week a thousand times better.

What are YOU loving this week?

5 Things I’m Loving This Week: School, a book I’m reading, a recipe I loved, plus more!

Screenshot 2016-08-20 13.54.44

1. Our Kids’ New Classical School

Our kids started at a new small Classical School this year. This was a big change for them as we’ve always homeschooled.

I’m so grateful for those 7 sweet years I had to be a homeschool mom. I’m also grateful for God’s direction this year (for a long list of reasons) that a different schooling option is best for our family and our kids.

I won’t pretend it was an easy decision. It was one that we made with a tremendous amount of thought, prayer, discussion, and tears.

I will readily admit that I was scared of what the first week might be like — not just for the kids, but for me, too. We prayed and prepped and prayed some more. And, by God’s grace, it was a really good week. It was so much better than I could have imagined and there were so many different ways that God confirmed to us that this decision was the right decision.

Thank you to so many of you who were praying with us, caring about us, and who reached out to us this week. It meant the world to us!

We are so grateful for this school, for the teachers, for the educational philosophy, and for how it aligns with our family’s values, educational philosophy, and worldview. We’re also grateful for how God leads different families in different ways for different seasons.

There will be new challenges and new opportunities and I’m excited to see what God has in store as we trust Him to lead one step at a time. (The kids were excited because they had a very relaxed dress code this past week so they got to wear shorts to school! The real dress code starts this coming week!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

I started this book last week and it is so, so good — just as I expected it would be! If you struggle with feeling lonely, left out, or like you don’t belong, please do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

{By the way, if you need some extra encouragement, I shared a video earlier this week here about how to change your mindset when you’re frustrated with what you see in the mirror. I also talk about Uninvited a little bit here.}

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Our New Lunch System

We’re trying something for lunches during the school year. Our extra refrigerator is going to be 100% devoted to lunch items.

We’re making up a big batch of freezer-friendly PB&J on the weekends and, in addition, I’ll have 4 different bins of items that the kids can choose one from — cheese sticks, snack packs, veggies, fruit, applesauce, chips, cookies, etc.

Each bin will have something different so that when they choose one item from each, they’ll have a well-rounded lunch. I’m hoping this makes things super simple and easy for them to put together their lunches at night.

Kathrynne helped me set this up and she took the initiative to write a board with details on how to put together the lunches. So far, we’re one week in, and I have literally done NOTHING for lunch prep other than help set the system up and make sure we had the items on hand for Kathrynne to get everything into baggies in the extra refrigerator.

And then the kids have been entirely in charge of each making their own lunch every night. I haven’t had to remind anyone and no one has yet to forget their lunch. I know we’re only a week in, but I’m pretty excited at how well this has worked so far — especially because the kids seem to be loving it!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. These Flowers Growing in Our Yard

I have no idea what kind of flowers these are… I think they might even be a weed? I’m not sure. Anyone know?

Regardless, they just started growing in our backyard and I’ve been picking them and put them in mason jars to brighten up our rooms. And if they are a weed, I’m really not going to apologize… because I think they are pretty and they make me happy! 🙂

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes this week. De-li-cious!

As the recipe stated, the batter was very thick. But the end result was a hearty and yummy pancake that freezes and reheats really well.

(I may have eaten way more of these than I’d want to admit. 😉 They are yummy… and they make me feel like fall is coming soon! Yay!)

What are YOU loving? Tell us in the comments!

5 Things I’m Loving This Week (+ why I’ve fallen in love weight-lifting!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Reminders to Live Life with Abandon

This girl lives life with abandon. She doesn’t worry about tomorrow, she shows up fully for today and believes wholeheartedly that every single day is a good day to wear fancy hair — even if you’re just staying home all day.

I think God knew how desperately I would need constant reminders to embrace and celebrate life instead of just plowing through it in get-er-done mode, so that’s one reason He gave me this beauty!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week


As I told you earlier, I was reminded just how much I love Aldi this past week.

If you are looking to lower your grocery bill and have an Aldi in your area and haven’t checked it out, please do yourself a huge favor and go check ALDI out. It is basically one of my lifelong missions to get as many people as possible to regularly shop at Aldi. So it would make my day/week/month to find out I had convinced another person to give it a try! 🙂

For more tips and encouragement on shopping at Aldi, check out my post here.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Making Do With What’s in the Fridge

Now that I’m back to the menu-planning and grocery-shopping, I’m loving getting creative using with what’s in the fridge and freezer. One of the hit recipes from this past week was thisFrench Toast Bake. I never managed to get a photo of it, but it was a winner.

In typical Crystal style, I made some changes to the recipe. I used almond milk instead of regular milk. I used half almond milk/half half & half instead of cream. I used day old bread and hamburger buns I got marked down at the store. I used a mix of coconut sugar + brown sugar. And I used coconut oil instead of butter. Okay, maybe a few more than “some changes”, but even with all these changes, it was SO good!

In case you missed it, you can see our menu from this past week here. Pictured above was one night’s dinner — Chicken Sauce over Rice with broccoli and fruit (I was going to make a Chicken/Cheese/Broccoli Sauce over rice but changed my mind and did this instead.)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. All The Light We Cannot See

I’ve been listening to this book on audiobook, thanks to the FREE OneClickDigital app from our library, and I’m truly loving it. It took me a few chapters to really get into and I almost gave up on it, but I’m so glad I persevered.

It’s truly a well-written and deeply moving book. I’m especially struck with the way the author crafts words and sentences as well as weaving together stories is inspiring.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Weight-Lifting

I know I’ve talked about this a lot, but you’ll just have to pardon me while I (once again) gush about how much I’ve fallen in love with weight-lifting. Because I have. And I just can’t help but talk about it.

I’m especially loving it right now because I’m starting to really see the effects of all that time in our in garage gym every week. I feel so much stronger. I have muscles I never knew existed. And I feel more energetic and healthier than I can ever remember feeling.

I have gained muscle weight, but I’ve lost fat… and I’m truly seeing my body transform from being borderline too thin and lethargic, to strong, muscular, and powerful. I’m definitely nowhere near where I hope to be as far as my personal records go for maxing out reps and weights, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.

As an added benefit, I feel like this is helping me having fewer mood swings, feel more emotionally and mentally strong, and am emboldened and braver by my weight-lifting success to step out and try new things.

If you follow me on Snapchat, I post often about my workouts (in case you’re interested or would love the regular motivation to make fitness a priority). This week, I got to celebrate the fact that I finally mastered Skullcrushers — something I’ve been working on for weeks. And I conquered some of my ongoing fear of squats.

You can read more about why I’m weight-lifting and what plan I’m using here.

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

5 Things I’m Loving This Week (Amazing grocery markdowns, Snapchat, + more!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Great Markdowns at the Grocery Store

I’ve been finding all sorts of great markdowns at Kroger recently! For instance, I ran in yesterday and found the eggs we usually buy for $1.49 per dozen!! There were about 20 dozen marked down, but they expire in a week and I don’t like to use eggs much longer than 2 weeks after their expiration date, so I only bought 7 dozen.

I also found blueberries for $0.99, pineapple for $0.99, kale for $1.49, and peppers — 4 for $0.99!! Yay for markdowns and Kroger sales!


2. Homemade Chai Lattes

I’ve been making myself homemade Chai Lattes recently as a treat. I don’t really have a recipe that I use, I just steep Chai, warm and froth almond milk, and then pour the frothed milk over the tea. I add in a little Coconut Sugar. So, so simple and yummy!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. A Tea Party With My Kids

Last week, Kaitlynn came and asked, “Mom, will you have a tea party with us?”

Jesse was gone with Kathrynne at swimming. It was my afternoon work time. I felt the pressure of needing to get a few projects done so I could wrap things up and be done by dinner.

But was finishing up my projects really more important than a tea party with my kids? No, decidedly no.

So I put the computer away and for 15 minutes we sat on the floor, drank tea, talked about our day, and laughed as we tried to use British accents. (“Would you like a spot of tea??”) It was beautiful, fun, and soul-filling. And those 15 minutes were just the break I needed and I came back to my projects with fresh enthusiasm and ended up finishing early!

There will always be another to do, another project, another task. But the days of tea parties with my kids won’t last forever. People always trump productivity. Every. Single. Time.

5 Things I'm Loving THis Week

4. Snapchat (Yes, For Real!)

Okay, truthfully, I didn’t think I’d like SnapChat. I kept hearing smart business people talk about it and friends rave about it, but I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was.

I decided to sign up and give it a short-term shot to see if I felt like there was potential there for using it in a way to inspire or encourage others and/or connect with you all better. Well, and also, I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. 🙂

At first, I didn’t think I’d like it at all. But I stuck with it for a few more days and started to like it more and more.

It’s SO easy to upload a snap and I love that it’s real-time. So often, I’ll be somewhere and wish I had time to take a picture or a video to share with others, but I only have 30 seconds and don’t have time to capture a great photo for my blog or Instagram (because I try to at least put forth effort to get decent lighting for those and sometimes that takes me a few tries to get the right shot!).

SnapChat is perfect for these kinds of posts. Plus, it’s a fun way to give readers/followers a behind-the-scenes look at our family life, daily adventures, and business.

If you aren’t following me on SnapChat yet, I’m crystal.paine on there. And I welcome suggestions on what kinds of snaps you’d like to see from me. Leave a comment and let me know!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Audiobooks

I mentioned this earlier in my books read post, but I have to mention it again here. Because I’m SO in love with audiobooks.

I don’t know why it took me so long to get on the audiobook bandwagon. I guess maybe I just was making it too hard or I was thinking that since I’m a visual learner, listening to books wouldn’t work well for me.

Inspired by my Facebook Live viewers, though, I looked into our library’s free audiobook programs and I’m thrilled that I did. Because not only does our library offer an amazing collection of audiobooks on their app, they are all FREE!

They don’t offer every single book in existence, but the collection on our library’s two apps (OneClickDigital and OverDrive) is quite extensive — enough to keep me supplied with good audiobooks for a long, long time!

I’ve found that the best audiobooks for me to listen to are ones where the audiobook reader is very engaging and where the book is not a book where I’d want to underline and catch every single word. I’m also finding that it’s a great way to get through long books that might feel overwhelming or intimidating to read (for instance, I put off reading Unbroken for forever, but I’m over halfway through listening to it — and I just started it about a week ago!).

I’ve been listening to audiobooks while cooking, cleaning, and while doing my evening routine before bed. I’ve found that I have at least an hour to two hours every day when my hands are busy but my mind is free that I can turn on an audiobook and enjoy it while doing activities I’d already be doing anyway.

I listened to Big Magic two weeks ago, just finished Unbroken yesterday (SOO good!), and then started All the Light We Cannot See. At this rate, I think I may be able to get through one entire audiobook every single week — which I’m super excited about since that means I’ll be able to get through a lot more books!

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1) Shopping With Kaitlynn

This girl. She turned 9 last week and chose going to the mall (+ manicures!) as her Mother-Daughter birthday date. She agonized over finding just the right pair of earrings at Claire’s and the perfect shade of lipstick at Sephora.

While she is my mini me in so many respects, in other respects we could not be more opposite — like when it comes to all things jewelry, fashion, and makeup.

I go into Claire’s and Sephora and feel so overwhelmed by all the options that I want to leave immediately. She goes into those stores and sees a world of beauty and possibility just waiting to be discovered and tried out. I love the creativity, artistry, energy, and love of beauty she brings into our home and lives.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2) Free Audiobooks From the Library

We’ve been investigating audiobook site memberships recently because our whole family has really gotten into listening to audiobooks — both separately and together (especially while driving in the car to and from swimming and skating). We were going to try out the free 3-month Audible subscription, but then we realized that we’d probably get more bang for our buck with a subscription to

I was sharing about this on my new daily money-saving live show on FB and a few viewers suggested we look into our local library to see if they happen to offer a free audiobook service. We were THRILLED to discover that they do and it’s SO easy to access. Plus, they have an amazing selection of audiobooks… for FREE! Score!

I started Big Magic today and am really, really enjoying it so far. I can’t wait to enjoy a lot of other titles in the coming weeks and months — both personally and as a family.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3) A Baby Picture of My Husband

It’s hard to believe that’s my husband. That little baby in the incubator, born at 27 weeks because his mom had an incompetent cervix, weighing less than two pounds… That’s the strong, resilient, energetic man I’m married to.

There are days when I get frustrated at him. I say harsh words. I have to ask forgiveness. I take him for granted.

And then I find a picture like this in our memory box and I catch my breath and remember what a miracle it is that he’s even alive!
How often I can get caught up in the tasks and to-do’s of life and take the precious people in my life for granted. And then a picture like this reminds me that all the productivity in the world is never as important as the people in my life. I want to hold them tight and love them well today.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4) Pineapple Mint Water

This week’s flavored water of choice: Pineapple Mint. So refreshing!

Aldi had pineapple for 99 cents and we have mint in our container garden, so this was an especially frugal infused water option. It’s amazing how inspired we are to drink more water when it’s all “fancy” like this!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5) Indoor Rock Climbing

This year, I’ve challenged myself to jump out of my comfort zone and try new things: weight-lifting, live video on Periscope and Facebook Live, traveling to two new countries by myself, snow-boarding, and hand-lettering… and this week I joined SnapChat (I’m crystal.paine there and I have no idea what I’m doing so you can laugh along with me as I try to figure it out! ?) and my husband and I went on a date to an indoor rock climbing place.

It was my first time to try indoor rock wall climbing and we had a lot of fun trying it out together. It was especially memorable because the A/C was out in the building and it was a really hot day… so that made the workout a little more intense. 😉

In trying these new things, here’s what I’m learning: I’m not going to love everything new I attempt, but challenging myself to get brave and just jump out and try — even when it scares me or I think I won’t like it or be good at it — has stretched me as a person and shown me that I’m stronger than I think I am.

Best of all, I’ve discovered a few things I absolutely love that I never thought I would and would have never known that I would fall in love with them had I not tried them and stuck with them for a few weeks (i.e. weight-lifting and live video).

I’ve missed out on a lot in life by sitting on the sidelines in the safe zone. I don’t want to camp out there anymore! There’s a world of excitement and thrill and color just waiting to be discovered… Right outside my comfort zone!

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!