October 20, 2016

Back in the Saddle

So its been a while… almost a year to be exact. (insert big-eyed emoji). I’ve taken a fat break from blogging for a lot of reasons- (I won’t get into those right now), but lately I just keep feeling the tug to start writing again.

I’ve written drafts on my computer here and there this entire last year, but would always talk myself out of it. And usually by the time I had some brain space/energy when the kids were sleeping— watching an episode of Nashville always seemed like a better choice.

But God keeps tugging at my heart to share some things. So now that our little crew is starting to get into a rhythm (John’s 10 months! what??) I guess I’m ready to be obedient and see how God uses these random pockets of time when I get to sit down and write a sec.

Yesterday one of my favorite blogger-friends Lindsay jumped back on the wagon of writing after a long break. She talked about how she couldn’t shake the feeling she was supposed to start back, so she decided to silence the fears and get back at it. Her bravery (and maybe after reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly this last week) I welled up with all this courage to silence the voices in my head that say “this is so dumb”, and start doing one of the things I love—write and share. Even though its terrifying (because the internet and all) And even though I'm pretty sure blogging is a dying thing... (is it because you can basically blog on Instagram? Probably.) But because I like it (and am tired of worrying so much about what people think).

So here we go. I’ve been working it out in my head- the how and what, so here's where I've landed:

I want to share tidbit of our life, what I'm learning, things that I’m loving—a new recipe, a book, or some life-hack thats change my life. (thats always been my favorite thing to write/ read about). But here’s the part I’m SO excited about. I want to interview and share some of my favorite people with you. This has been something thats been on my heart for a while. I’ll embarrassingly admit that on a whim, I thought I’d start a podcast, but then I needed a nap just thinking about it. So for now, just some fun and encouraging Q&A with some of my friends. They’re all super normal and all love Jesus a lot.  Really, I just want to write something I would want to read! I don't want to over think it. So we'll see how this goes...

I've added a human since the last post, so meet John Burton. The squishy one in the middle 

November 23, 2015

Quick (video) Guide to Essential Oils for Cold/Flu Season

I haven't really blogged about health stuff in a long long time, but I wanted to hop on and post this little video I made for friends + family that have lots of questions this time of year about essential oils. I feel like since there is so much talk about oils, it can be a little overwhelming—so I made a really professional, high quality video to share tips and tricks we use in our home.

As I shared in the video— Essential Oils are not necessarily a quick fix/ silver bullet. While they are helping heal the body, there are so many things involved in getting (and staying) well (i.e. nutrition, stress, rest, exercise).

Here are a few (hopefully helpful) other posts I’ve done in the past on staying well… we don’t do all of these all of the time, we don't have a perfect diet, and we do still get sick, we just usually don't stay sick very long when we're good about jumping on the snotty noses and coughs early.

August 20, 2015

No Brainer (real food) Meals

I am not a natural planner.

If you knew me when I was younger (as in 4 years ago), I was fly by the seat of my pants, last minute, procrastinator kind of personality. I am sill all of those things by nature, but have had to fight big time against it now that I’m in charge of little people. We’ve all suffered the consequences of not planning—no one eats, drinks, has clean clothes (or diapers) and there's a good amount of whining that comes along with it.

This summer we’ve been all over the place and come 6pm most nights, I’m scrambling to find something to feed our family—usually resulting in eggs or Chickfila. Again. I think we’re all ready to get back into a rhythm, and I've GOT to get back on the meal planning wagon. My meals are not planned out months in advance and my freezer is not packed to the gills with crock-pot meals till January. I SO wish it was though.

After a conversation at the gym with other struggling mamas needing some meal ideas, I wanted to post a few go-tos we rotate. Every blue moon, I do like to prepare an involved dish I found on Pinterest with some type of fancy gravy or reduction—requiring lots of skill and chopping and pots and pans. But for now we're sticking with a few no-brainer, not fancy, sort of boring recipes to just make sure everyone gets fed.

Here’s whats been rotating in our house lately: 

  • Breakfast for dinner (obviously a win in all aspects)
  • QUINOA DISH (We make a ton and eat throughout week. Recipe below)
  • HASH (recipe)
  • BAKED SWEET POTATO+ Crock Pot Chicken Thighs + SALAD
  • TUNA or EGG SALAD (great for weekends)
  • CHICKEN PESTO PASTA (Whole Foods Hack: rice pasta + tomato + red onion + spinach. Mix together with pesto. Use tortellini if you want to get fancy. Picture below)
  • PINTO BEANS + RICE (crock pot style: we add cilantro, onions and shredded jack after cooked. Great to make quesadillas the next day)
(a few other no-brainer recipes here)

Prepare Quinoa per Instruction (it cooks like rice: rinse till water is clear, and cook 2 parts chicken stock or water to grain)
Some olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh lemon juice
Add whatever veggies you have (corn, asparagus heads, tomatoes, red onion, peppers)
Add a splash of white wine and/or splash of red wine vinegar
Toasted sliced/chopped almonds (put them in oven for a few minutes)
and LOTS of chopped CILANTRO- makes everything yummy
Top with Avocado
Add Chicken if you want.  

I stole this idea from the Whole Foods salad bar

I do want to add one thing. As much as I am pro-Real Food and want to feed my family nourishing things, I am learning that the stress that can sometimes come from running ragged and trying to do it all can be less nourishing than just calling it when the day gets hairy and everyones tanks are running dry. 

Plan. Be prudent. But gosh, give yourself grace and order the pizza sometimes. 

ALSO, my friend has a super helpful new Instagram she started— @RealFoodForLess. She's got some great, easy ideas!

August 14, 2015

5 Things that are Working for Us

I had all kinds of heart-felt things I wanted to share today, but when I sat down, I felt like a 5 year old trying to write a term paper. So I opted for something on the lighter side— Things that are Working for me right now. I could have a much longer list if we were talking about things that aren’t working, but in my efforts to keep things positive, here are some things I’m loving (a topic I tend to talk about often).

I’ve been on the fence for a little while, but I did some research, and went through almost their whole website to see if it had things I used and if it was the cheapest—on both accounts it's a win. I'm looking at the membership fee ($6/month) as I would a $50 membership to Costco (with which we’re probably going to drop because we live so far. Sigh.) A few of my faves I know I'm saving big on: Nut Butter (a Costco favorite), Coconut Oil, and Rice Pasta— all of which we go through fast. (click here to learn more)

My long-distant friend convinced me to jump on the Voxer wagon. I'm always late to the party, so this may be like I'm telling you about Instagram. If not, It's like texting with voice mail. A walkie-talkie sort of. I don’t have to respond or listen right then and there, so a conversation can go throughout the day/week when I have pockets of time. Great when you want to text something long, or just chat on your own time table. (i.e. great for moms) Here's the app .

Pushing the reset button and getting away to take a few deep breaths is going into our yearly planning and budget. Period. It was the bit of advice we were given when we first got married and reinforced forcefully from some beloved friends and family once we had kids. Get away. Make it happen. Put it on the calendar, they said. Though it was quite a bit of work to pull off, Jeremy and I went to Nashville last week for 24 hours—it consisted of spending way too much money on (delicious) hipster food, watching Fixer-Upper marathon while it rained most of the day, and sitting by the pool reading the few hours it wasn’t. Perfect.

I sort of love TV.  I often start conversations with, “Did you watch the latest ____ episode?” and love talking about Downton Abby or Parenthood characters as though they were my friends. But to my frustration, TV is suffering. I hear the sound of my mom in my head as I've tried out shows lately—“Ohhh brother…” she (and I now) would say. It really is mostly trash (although I am sort of enjoying Astronaut Wives Club.) But now Seinfeld is on Hulu and we can all laugh and not be frustrated we wasted 20 minutes of our time.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me:
I got suckered into the 2 free book downloads from Audible. In my efforts to get a good laugh and take a break from Podcasts, I opted for Mindy Kaling's (from The Office) book and it has had me laughing out loud all week. If you have a long commute to work, get to go grocery shopping by yourself, or need a little entertainment while you fold laundry, you should indulge in this hilarious book. (also Bossypants by Tina Fey is equally entertaining).

Happy Weekend, Friends. Fall's so close, I can taste it (although, we're apparently only half way through Summer.) Either way, I'm pulling out the sweaters and boots to pretend.

add pizza on the porch to the list. 

July 25, 2015

A few good reads from the web (and a belly pic)

The belly pic. Always feels a little awkward, but lets not overthink it. There’s a sweet baby in there-18 weeks old- and I just want to celebrate his/her little life for a sec. Haven’t had a whole lot of time to really process the reality of it, but we’re all getting more excited about it around here (although Jacob thinks a new baby means replacing Ruthie, so he refuses to talk about it.)  

I don’t have a ton of brain space or time, so when I do click on something, I want it to be really good (or at least entertaining.) So here are a few quick reads + links I've loved around the web lately: 

This has just about changed how I parent. Its long, but extremely powerful. I had to re-read just about every sentence and let it set in: Parenting Means Wrestling Demons

Jen Hatmaker making me laugh and cry in the same sentence again: 

Not that my house is super small, but on days I get a little ungrateful and think bigger is better...
I've kind of fallen in love with this gem of a blogger/podcaster, and recently discovered an old series she did on the Symptoms of Self and The Disease of Pride. I feel like we should be best friends. (click on image of Polaroid for series).

My Summer goal: be more creative (i.e. paint) So far, not so good, but this has me good and inspired: 

After Charleston, a heartfelt, powerful post that put words to a lot of my thoughts and feelings: 

For some beautiful (free) Scripture Printables: French Press Mornings

So, my bossy child actually has leadership traits and assertiveness (gone awry)? Love this: 

And a little food inspo going on the meal plan for next week: Paleo Twice Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes 
(Recipe found through my friend’s real food meal plans here

Happy reading, Friends. 

July 3, 2015

Summer Reads

At the beginning of the year and first of summer, I love gathering up a fat stack of books to (slowly) conquer for the next few months.  I've always desired to be a true reader, but I'm more of a I really should stop watching so much TV and read more reader, and end up loving it when I do. (even if it does take me a month to finish a book...)

So here's the Summer line up, because who doesn't love a good book rec?

Bittersweet- Thoughts on change, grace and learning the hard way: My sweet friends gushed about this book and how it is has been hands down her most favorite book, so obviously I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I’m just a few chapters in, and I’m obsessed. Thanks, Molly.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up- the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing:  I long to be an organized, tidy person— so I’m excited to see what the big secret is (and how 2 million copies have beens sold!) I need all the life change I can get in that area. ( I'm a few chapters in and its fantastic. Not so much a "how to tidy" as a mindset change).

Abide Journal: This is more of a Bible Study/ Devo. Last summer, she put out a different summer study and I loved it. If you are looking for a fresh, new, get-you-in-the-Word and focused on Abiding in Jesus, jump on the wagon. I love the way Jessi writes- its like you're sitting across the table with her having coffee. (there are also free teaching videos that go along)

Unbroken- I have been wrestling with this book for months. The story is so beautifully written, but I had to put it down to take a breather because my hormones couldn’t take it. I got a scolding from my (book-loving) cousin this weekend for putting it down— so I’m back on the train and ready for the power house ending…

Prayer Warrior: My sister in law has been begging me to get this book for months, and now I know why. The author does such a good job Biblically explaining spiritual warfare, and our role as praying believers in it. I can only read a few pages at a time. (Its by the woman who wrote, The Power of a Praying wife. Now that one's a must have.)

I’m clearly more drawn to non-fiction, informative books— so my goal is to push myself to always be reading some type of novel. If you have a book you love, comment below or email me.

June 29, 2015

a few firsts (an update)

I’m not sure how to jump in after not writing for 4 months, so here we go. We’ve had quite a bit of transition on the Crabtree home front...

This April marked our first year here in Tennessee.

As much as Jeremy and I love a good cup of coffee, we never would have dreamed this up. Buying a coffee shop (or Cookeville) were never really on our radar.  But oh my goodness, it could not be a better fit for our family and for Jeremy. I get a little misty-eyed thinking about how we ended up here and re-living each season. This year has held lots of joy and a fair share of hard— but when we look back, we are super grateful for God's hand so heavily on us.

We have truly fallen in love with our little town. Not to hate on the Lone Star state, but goodness, we had no idea how much we needed these hills and streams. When Jeremy told me that we may move to such a small town, I had a lot of conversations with God about it. I was certain God had a different plan for us that involved a few more commodities. (I'm aware that makes me sound super shallow).  But now, I’m not sure if I could ever live in a big city again, and am CERTAIN we have way more money in our bank account now that Target and Whole Foods are a day trip away.

Super cheesy, I know. I know. 

Another first...

After 6 years of marriage, 2 babies, 4 towns, 5 rentals, and 3 almost bought houses—we are finally homeowners. This is something my heart has longed for for years. A home that was ours, where we could make memories and really putting down roots. (and track the kids heights on a door frame, of course).

There was one week overlap to do some updates before we moved in, so after attempting to do some small renovations ourselves, we hired a small crew of  help that saved our sanity (and possibly our marriage). Painting, pulling up carpet, and knocking out walls with 2 toddlers running around will make anyone crazy. What not to do #1. (i'll post some before and after pics one of these days)

These last 6 years, we waited and prayed and had lots of closed doors when it came to buying a home. But looking back on all of our rental homes, duplexes, apartments, and living with friends—each have been perfect for that season and exactly what we needed. It just makes us appreciate this home all the more.

 painting these cabinets. almost the death of me. 
The moment we decided to hire help

Another first— This December will be our first time to be parents of THREE!

A week before we moved, we found out we were pregnant. There were a lot of emotions —mostly good, but a good bit of fear that crept in when I saw that pink plus sign. Fear of failure, of “can I do this?”, and the lie that I’m going to fall in the dark hole again after the baby gets here.

But after seeing that little nugget on an ultrasound last week, I’m already ready for #4. (lots of hormones going on over here). I am so thankful God blessed us with this child, and am so grateful for friends and family that are so good at speaking truth when my heart gets a little weary, weak, and skewed.

So thats our update, Friends. Hopefully, more about what’s been going on in my heart (and kitchen) to come. I always miss it when I don't write for a while. About once a week I think, “I want to blog about that,” but then I end up taking a nap.

Second Trimester energy rush — I’m ready for ya.

survived our FIRST camping trip

And Jeremy got a scooter. Thats right. A scooter.