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. 

March 4, 2015

THREE Things I Need {when I'm in a funk}

It’s the 4th quarter of Winter, y’all! Spring is SO close!

As much as I’m trying to soak up all the snowed-in and cooped up time with my kids, when I hear birds chirping outside and the sun peeping through, I get a little misty-eyed.

Winter has felt really long. I wrote earlier this month about my struggle with depression and believing lies (read here). I let myself get into a place where all I could think or say is,  I cannot do this. I said it before, and I’m going to say it again, the war for our souls is real. And its not stopping.

When life feels heavy and I cannot pull it together, more than anything, I need the work of the Holy Spirit. He changes hearts. He brings the Joy + Peace. But I've gathered a few practical things that have seemed to help me get my bearings when life gets a little hairy.

Doing these are not easy for me and I don't pretend to be an expert on doing life really well. Oh my goodness, I'm the first to need a do-over by 9 am and a lot of convincing to get out of bed most mornings. 

So, I am preaching to myself here. 


I know this word is thrown around a lot in Christian culture. I definitely struggle with really knowing how to make it work in busy lives, babies hanging off of me, and in a culture where its easier to be surfacey.

But, there has been such power and freedom confessing my sins and knowing someone is standing with me and praying when "I cannot do this" is all I can hear. Someone I can text, This is the lie I’m believing, remind me again why that’s not true? Someone who can remind me to pray about the stuff that seems dumb (but is not), and encourage me to be in The Word, even if its just one verse.

If you don’t have someone to hold you accountable, pray for one. Long distance or around the corner, same age/season or not, sister or mother—God is super creative in how he uses relationships to sharpen us. A weekly check-in with specific prayer needs is a great way to start, even if it has to be over email/text.

(Note: Having some sisters in my amen corner has been such a gift, but this does not replace the accountability and support from my husband.)

Filling My Tank + Self Care:

Doing things that fill my tank and bring me life as well as physically taking care of myself is hard in this season. Its easy to feel guilty about spending time for myself, when it feels like my family needs me all the time. But its like the analogy of putting your oxygen mask first on an airplane so that you can help others with their's. If I'm filled up and caring for myself, I can pour out so much more. 

This takes a lot of planning, creativity, and being intentional. I’ve have to communicate with my husband what I need. Whether it be walk around the block or a trip to the bookstore, if I don’t tell him, it probably won’t happen. Likewise, I want to make sure his tank is filled up and know what he needs as well (right now its paddling!)

Things that fill my tank:
Getting up Early: Get my bearings, a cup of hot coffee (uninterrupted) and a little time with the Lord. This doesn't makes me awesome or holy, it has just continually been a win for me.  
People Time:  I’m an extrovert to the core, so too much time cooped up will throw me into a tail-spin. I have to get creative (i.e. walk with friends at the gym or after bedtime coffee dates).
Writing/Creating: whether it be blogging, thinking creatively for our business, painting, doing a craft—it feeds a part of myself and brain that doesn't get used often 
Small Breaks: 5 minutes when I need a hot second to ask God for patience and peace. Hot tea and quiet on my bed with the door closed, because mommy needs a time-out. (this takes some setting up for the kids, but very worth it). 
Self Care for Me:
Exercise: Even if its just a walk around the block or 5 minute workout video I found on YouTube. I heard a psychiatrist say that he would be out of work if people would eat right and exercise.

Eat Well + Take Supplements:  My goal—less caffeine + bread/sugar and more water + real food. Not easy, but worth it when I don't have the huge carb/caffeine crashes that make me want to crawl in a hole at 1pm. And on a good day, I take D3 Iron Green drink Magnesium, EFAs, Probiotics (Click for Links) 
Get Dressed: I get 100% more done + feel like a human when I have something on rather than an oversized T-shirt, yoga pants, and yesterdays eye makeup. 
I've learned a lot from the Tiny Twig on Mothering Yourself (self care) that I shared (read here)
Also, I'm looking forward to reading The Fringe Hours that talks a lot about this topic. 

Eyes off Me:

When I was in my early 20s, my mentor would always ask me when I was in a funk, What are you doing for someone else? (ahh... I hated when she said that) But she was right. 

I can get so caught up in my head and my reality that if I can point my focus outward, for even 5 minutes, suddenly what I thought was such a big deal gets a lot dimmer.

In THIS season of my life, my serving is not super impressive. I'd love to do more, but for now it looks like writing a little note of encouragement, or texting a friend whose in a hard season and seeing how I can pray. If I have a little more time, I may bring a happy or meal to someone who needs it. 

I know God made it like that on purpose. That our hearts would change a little bit and we would truly feel life when we served and loved on others. Luke 10:28, after Jesus tells us to Love God and Love others… He says Do this and you will have LIFE. Translated Zaō: enjoy real life!

Above Photos: Gina Zielder 

There are days when I cannot pull it together enough to do any of this. But I will tell you, I am always blown away how far a Help me, Jesus and just putting one foot in front of the other goes. His yolk is easy and burden is light.