Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A New Addition, It's a BOY!

We have been celebrating the newest addition to our family. Our fourth child was born this past Sunday, and it was the most incredible birth I've ever seen or experienced, it was truly amazing. We waited to find out the gender of the baby until' it was born, and WHAT A SURPRISE! It's a BOY! I'm so thankful to have such an incredible support system and I've been on cloud nine just soaking up this special time.

It's wonderful, life changing events, that make me slow down from the hustle and bustle of life. Whether it's the birth of a child, or a few extra minutes snuggling with your child, or a hearty laugh with a good friend, slow down a bit, and truly soak up these precious moments, because this is what truly matters.

I will be taking a break from blogging while I enjoy these sweet moments, and adjust to life with 4 precious kids. And remember, slow down a bit, and don't forget to enjoy life's little miracles.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Silly Sayings: Baby Bump

Kids always say the funniest things, and I love to share these moments that make me giggle.

So my youngest son, (who is 2) is starting to grasp the idea that there is a baby in mommy's belly. (Honestly, it's hard to overlook this evergrowing belly that I've been sporting.) I'll ask him where the baby is, and he'll point proudly to my belly with a grin. It's so incredible to see that even at such a young age, children really do understand what's going on in the world around them. However it certainly makes you realize how much more they have to learn when they do something like this...

A few days ago we were just hanging out watching a bit of cartoons together, and he pointed to my ankle and in a matter-of-fact voice says, "Baby!" I.about.died. Hopefully the next lesson in life he will learn is, not every bump on mommy's body has a baby in it. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Favorite Things: Real Salt

Salt. Seems simple enough right? But just like many are discovering that whole wheat flour is healthier than it's stripped down version of white flour, I've found that Sea salt it better, than table salt...

I was recently introduced to this new salt, well new to me, thanks to my awesome Sis. It's called REAL Salt. Now doesn't that sound good? Talk about being real, it is an all-natural sea salt taken from an ancient sea bed in Central Utah. It also contains 60 naturally occurring trace minerals. And did I mention it is SO.good. I love to sprinkle a touch of Real Salt onto simple snacks like tomatos, and cucumber slices, it makes all the difference.

Since it isn't refined like most salts, it isn't just a plain white substance, instead it has lots of character. Recently my husband saw a small bowl of it and asked why I had sand in the kitchen, ha! It has many different colored specks, but does resemble a sand. It's because it's in a natural state, and not heavily proccessed. It really does put other salts to shame.

I bought a 26 oz. pouch of it about a month ago, and it seems that it will last for several more months easily. They do sell smaller portions as well, and can be found at many health food stores and online at .

Go on, take a taste test! Taste Real Salt, then another salt, it is crazy how much better it is.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Homeschooling: What to Teach?

There is a huge amount of homeschool curriculum out there, and it's beyond overwhelming. But with all the selection, it can be a good thing. That just means you are sure to find something that is a perfect fit for you and your child. When it comes to homeschooling you can spend hundreds or homeschool on a shoestring budget. It's totally up to you. For me, I did a bit of research, but in the end, used recommendations from other homeschoolers, and just tried it. The great thing is you can always change things up if you want to. For example, last year we used Saxon Math, but decided to try out Horizons Math this year, they both have their benefits, but my daughter seems to really love the workbook that comes with the Horizons Math curriculum.
The curriculum I've chosen to use over the years includes the following:

For Preschool:
We used The Letter of The Week,  This is a WONDERFUL free curriculum that can be printed out. I love all the fun ideas, especially the activities for the preschool and kindergarten years. I did a lesson about cats over 2 1/2 years ago, and my daughter will still talk about it anytime she sees a ball of yarn;)

For Kindergarten:
Handwriting Without Tears
Hooked on Phonics
Saxon Math
For 1st Grade:
Handwriting Without Tears
Hooked on Phonics
Horizon Math
Science- Living Learning Books
Hooked on Spanish

As you can see for the first few years, I really just focused on Reading, Writing and Math, and we get to experience the other subjects in different forms. For example, we have our homeschool co-op, where each mom will teach a specific subject each week and we rotate. I teach art, another teaches science, another literature/music, and of course we have to have our field trips for hands on experience;) We go on alot of field trips to the nature museum, and science center, I feel when the kids get to go to these places they really are engaged in the learning experience. I still remember the things I learned as a kid from going on field trips over what I learned in the classroom, it is a much more memorable learning experience.

So, if you are still wondering, "What curriculum should I use?" Here are a few good starting points:
A great site for homeschool curriculum reviews can be found here:
This website has reviews from real people that have actually used the different kinds of curriculum.

If you're looking for more curriculum info. check out, "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum". This book offers alot of great information about different teaching styles as well as some great curriculum reviews. If you don't want to purchase it, check out your local library, they may carry it.

Plus, check out these other great free websites:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Save on what you LOVE to eat

I know that many people think eating healthy is expensive, but there are definitly ways to save. I also know that the majority of coupons that are out there (especially the ones that come in the Sunday paper) seem to be mainly for junk food. But here is a great way to save on the items you love to buy. Contact the manufacturer directly! Go to their website, and fill out a contact form letting them know how much you like their product. Or you can look on the package of food, and get the contact info from there, and give them a call. They love to hear our feedback, it's what keeps them going. 9 times out of 10 I get some really great coupons in the mail. If there is a product that you have been wanting to try, you can contact the manufacturer directly also, and ask for a coupon so you can try out the product without having to pay full price. I try to contact at least a few manufacturer's every few weeks. It only takes a few minutes, and you'll be surprised what a few minutes of your time can translate into. The savings really adds up!

Plus, to stretch your savings even more, save these coupons until' your stores have a double or triple coupon event. Many stores will have coupon events where they will double or triple your coupon's face value! My local Harris Teeter seems to have a super double/ triples every few months, (in fact they are having a super doubles event now until'Sept. 21, and will double coupons up to $1.98 face value, meaning if you have a $1.50 coupon they will take off an additional $1.50, so a savings of $3total!) and often other stores in the area will as well to keep up with the competition.

So do a quick search for your favorite manufacturer's and contact them directly, and let them know how you feel about their products. Hopefully the savings will start rolling in:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Veggie and Hummus Snack

The kids and I LOVE hummus, it makes veggies so craveable, and hummus is a healthy dip. Here is a little veggie and hummus bowl I put together. I used small skewers to put the little tomatoes and cucumber slices on. Then added carrot, celery and red pepper slices and a dollop of hummus. If you serve food that is colorful, and with fun shapes, it's so much more attractive to kids. Especially when the snack is interactive, my kids love to "dip" their foods.
Most stores carry hummus, or you can make your own. All you need is chick peas (garbanzo beans) a bit of tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and salt. When I'm really lazy, I'll skip the tahini and it still turns out pretty good. If you want to get fancy you can try a roasted red pepper hummus too. I once found a chocolate hummus recipe... I know it doesn't sound like it'd be that great, but it.was.incredible, just wish I could find a recipe for it.
If you haven't made hummus before, give it a try. Here is a link to a basic hummus recipe:

Do you have a tasty hummus recipe to share? Leave a comment below.

Friday, September 10, 2010


How cute is this bag? It's a great reusable bag by Reusit that's made from 100% recycled post-consumer PET (plastic bottles, polyester fibers, etc.), it's super strong, and can fold up small enough to put in your pocket. Best of could win one! The giveaway will start soon so...
sign up for my blog e-mails, or "like" Creative Crunchy Mama on Facebook so you can be the first to know when the giveaway starts! Tell you're friends too;)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Klean Kanteen: Enter for a chance to WIN! is giving you the chance to win a Klean Kanteen with the logo on it! Test your knowledge of non-toxic cleaning supplies then enter your email address to be entered.

Click on the link below, and play "Toxic Trivia" sponsored by Klean Kanteen

I have a Klean Kanteen that my awesome sister had gotten me, and I absolutely LOVE it. It keeps my water ice cold for hours, even in the hot van. I definitly love that I don't waste tons of plastic water bottles, and that the Klean Kanteen is free of BPA and other nasties.

For more information about Klean Kanteen, or if you'd like to purchase one, check out their site at:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Keep Your Cash Out the Trash: Bread

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I loathe throwing out food, so instead of letting it go to waste, I try to find  new use for it before it goes bad.

I had some bread that was nearing the end, so I decided to give it a makeover. Turn this bread into breadcrumbs! These homemade breadcrumbs are so simple to make, and so much better than storebought.

Homemade Breadcrumbs:
  • Just toast the bread lightly to help remove the moisture. I like to put myn in the oven on low for about 10 minutes on each side, You could also use a toaster, or toaster oven too.
  • When the bread is nicely toasted, toss it in a food processor and whirl until' desired texture. Put in a freezer storage bag and store in your freezer until' ready to use.

A few more tips: I know many don't use their end pieces of bread, so this is a great way to put them to use. If you don't have time to make breadcrumbs right away but don't want your bread to go bad before you get to it, stick it in the freezer until' you have a few minutes. Or even toss your end pieces in a freezer bag until' you have enough to make a batch of breadcrumbs. Plus, don't be afraid to combine different types of bread together, whether it's wheat bread or a few pieces of sour dough bread mix them all up.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

How to Save with: EVIC Deals

Harris Teeter Grocery Store has something called EVIC. Basically you can sign up on their website and they will send the weekly ad directly to your email.
Sign up here:

They also will run special evic sales. This week my evic deal is a free loaf of Nature's Own bread. I would love to just use Ezekial Bread all the time (it's a sprouted bread ) but it's not always the most budget friendly option. So, I often get Nature's Own Bread especially since it no longer contains High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Please note: EVIC deals vary by location, and not everyone will get the same deals. Check your evic email, or bottom of your Harris Teeter reciept to find out YOUR specific evic deal.

Most weeks the evic deals are pretty good, but lately I seem to be getting really good deals, like the free item I mentioned above. A few weeks ago, the evic deal was a free jar of almond butter! Gotta love some free almond butter:)

Just another quick way to save some green:)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Homemade Yogurt, SO easy

We have all heard about the benefits of yogurt. Even the yogurt section in the store seems to be ever expanding and we are constantly slammed with commercials making all these promises to make you healthier.
But what's really in all that store bought yogurt? Aside from all the things I can't even begin to pronounce, there is also TONS of sugar. There is also the organic yogurt, which is a much better choice, but with 3 kids, you can imagine we go through alot of yogurt, and that isn't exactly the most budget friendly option.

So what then? Is there a less expensive alternative with all the great benefits but without all the yucky ingredients and sugar?

Why yes! ... You can make your own!

I hope I didn't scare you away...I know it sounds super scary but really it is SO simple.
I found the recipe for homemade crockpot yogurt here:
I've taken the basic idea, but altered it a bit.
Homemade Crockpot Yogurt by Crunchy Kelly
  • What you'll need
  • Half a gallon of whole milk (I use organic, but if I had a raw milk source, I'd be all over that)
  • 1/2 a cup of store bought yogurt, must be plain live/active culture yogurt (I use organic greek yogurt since it seems to keep the yogurt thicker. You will only need this the first time you make homemade yogurt, since you will be able to use yours as a starter next time)
  • crockpot
  • thick towel
  • Directions

  1. Set your crockpot on low, and add 1/2 a gallon of milk. Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours

  2. Then, turn off your crockpot, and unplug it, let it sit for 3 hours

  3. After 3 hours passed, whisk in 1/2 cup store bought plain live/active culture yogurt

  4. Put the lid back on the crockpot, cover with towel and let sit for 8 hours
I usually start this process around 6pm, and then let is sit for the 8 hours overnight, and in the morning when I wake up my concotion has magically turned to yogurt!

This yogurt does turn out thinner than store bought yogurt, but I like to scrap off the extra liquid before putting it in containers to help with that. You can also drain the yogurt in a few layers of cheese cloth. The liquids will drip out and you will have a much thicker consistency, kind of like greek yogurt.

Make sure to reserve 1/2 a cup of your homemade yogurt, so you can make a new batch within 7-10 days. I make this almost every week, and the I end up spending less than $3, and it makes TONS of yogurt. If you don't like to eat yogurt, try freezing it in popsicle molds (my kids love this) or add some to smoothies. It makes is super creamy and yummy. I don't add anything to the whole batch of yogurt, instead I wait until' right before I serve it and mix in my favorites, local raw honey and frozen blueberries.

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