Crystal Rowe

The Beauty of A Shower

Shower water by ohkylel @twitter
Before I became a mom, I can remember reading about mothers who never got a chance to take a shower. Finding time for a shower will be difficult, they said. Sleep is more important – don’t forget that!

But I have to disagree. Do you know just how nourishing a shower really is? There’s something so transforming about taking a shower. Think about it … when you get in, you are full of dirt, grime, heavy emotions, exhaustion, and who knows what else. But when you get out, you are transformed. You are clean. Refreshed. Renewed.

It’s been a long week around here (and yup … it’s only Tuesday). E isn’t sleeping well – and so I’m feeling a little strung out. But it’s my job to stay home with my two precious munchkins … so I have to pull myself out of bed and put on my game face. And this morning – after being up most of the night – all I wanted to do was sleep. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Top 10 Books of 2014

I didn’t read as much this year as I usually do. It probably has something to do with the fact that we welcomed another tiny to the house. When I actually get a few minutes alone, I realize how much I’ve missed cracking open the spines and diving into the words on the page. As I try to limit myself in making my 2015 list a manageable length, I’m reminded at the good books I did get the chance to read this year. I’m no New York Times, but here are my favorites from this year. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

The Birth of a Story

Today’s post comes from a friend of mine, Allen Madding. Allen just published his first novella – and I had the privilege of being his editor. The book, Shaken Awake, is the story of a downtown church that has been forced to shut down the majority of their ministries. When a huge ice storm comes to town and a homeless man is found frozen to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities. Here’s a glimpse into how the story came to be. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

CSA Adventures – November Week 1

CSA Bounty Week 7
It’s hard to believe it’s already November! This is week 7 in our 10-week Fall CSA, and surprise surprise – we received more greens in this week’s box! This time we have collard greens … which I’ve only had once in my life – and I was not a fan. But – we’ll try them again this week in a new and creative way. My Whole Foods paper bags tell me that collards are the new kale … so they must be good, right?

Here’s what we brought home this week:
2 pounds Sweet Potatoes
1 big bunch Collards
2 Watermelon Radishes
2 bunches Napa Cabbage
1 head Buttercrunch Lettuce
1 bunch Arugula
6 small eggplants
A bag full of Sweet Peppers
20 (or so) Jalepenos
4 Cayenne peppers
1 Radish bunch (with greens)

And here’s what we did with it: Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Living Life As Invitation #shereadstruth #hospitality


Love your neighbor as yourself…~Matthew 22:36

This has always be an interesting verse to me, because in order to love your neighbor as yourself, you have to first love yourself. Really love yourself. I can’t help but read this study and think about how I mother my children … probably because I’m still living in that “new mom of two” stage. Trying to figure out what that looks like – and how to do it in a graceful, peaceful, gentle way.

Loving myself doesn’t mean being selfish. No – it means accepting myself for who I am … for who God created me to be … rather than wishing I was the person society might want me to be. It’s only when I do that that I can truly accept others for who they are. Once I accept – and embrace – the person God has created me to be, then I can reach out and accept others for who they are. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Hospitality and the Little Ones #shereadstruth #hospitality

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me …”

SRT-Hospitality_day1This verse smacked me on the face today. It’s been a rough couple of weeks around here. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I just can’t keep up as mom of two. More than once the last couple of weeks I’ve felt like I was a better mom to an only child. The honest truth is – before E was born, I really loved being a mom – at least most days. But lately … lately I just want to disappear for a while and let someone else mother these two.

Particularly when it comes to nap time. E has mostly been a dream when it comes to sleep – but now we’re getting to the stage when she has just about outgrown her miracle blanket and she hasn’t quite figured out how to fall asleep without it. And A … well A is a terrible sleeper. And she hates sleep. And what works to help her fall asleep one day doesn’t work the next. There’s no consistency … no matter how hard I try … and it drives me batty.

So today I was in the midst of a mental breakdown when I looked over and saw my new Hospitality journal. I took a deep breath, made a new pot of coffee, cut a piece of apple cake and sat down with my Bible and journal and took a break. And wouldn’t you know that this passage from Matthew was one to be read.

Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

CSA Adventures – October Week 4


Since we started our Fall CSA, we’ve been meal planning based on what we get each week. It’s getting difficult to come up with creative recipes using greens – but we successfully didn’t make any soups the last two weeks!

Two week’s worth of CSA goods:
1 lb Okra
Hakurei Turnips (& the greens) – 2 bunches
Buttercrunch Lettuce
Arugula – 2 bags
Red Russian Kale
Hot Shot Spicy Mustard Mix
8 oz. Shiitake Mushrooms
1 bunch Celesta Radishes
Shishito Peppers
1 bunch Vivid Choi Pac Choy

Here’s what we did with it: Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

Meal Plan – October Weeks 2 & 3

Fall is here and the crockpot is working! I always love to use my crockpot, but especially during the cooler months, when daylight is shorter and bedtime comes earlier. For some reason, my toddler is crankier in these fall and winter months and we do everything we can to have dinner ready early so we can get her to bed!

I missed giving you a meal plan last week – mostly because I didn’t do so well at planning it myself. We got a great CSA box and I tried to creatively wing our meals each day. We ended up with not such a bad week of meals on the table, and I didn’t have to buy many groceries either!

This week you get double the inspiration – with last week’s menu as well as this week’s plan.
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Crystal Rowe

Meal Plan – September Week 5/October Week 1

We’ve been out of town all weekend and I don’t want to lug two kids back to the grocery store, so our meal plan this week is an experiment in eating what we already have. We did get our CSA box before we left, so we have some veggies to work with – and our freezer is still stocked with meat – so here’s hoping we’ll have a successful final week of September/first week of October!

CSA box:
1 cup Rattlesnake Beans (dried)
1 lb – Sweet Peppers
1 lb – Japanese or Globe Eggplant
1 lb – Okra
4 oz – Arugula
6 oz – Hotshot Spicy Mix

All other ingredients in the recipes below will be found in our pantry, but here’s your grocery list in case you want to follow along. Remember to include the veggies listed above when you head to the store! Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

September Meal Plan – Week 4

September Meal Plan – Week 4
You’ll notice this week our grocery list is very short, and our pantry list is very long. That’s because we came down with an awful stomach bug last week, so several of our planned meals went out the window. The good news is we still have all the ingredients – so we’ll be recycling them into our meal plan this week. We also started a Fall CSA this week, so most of our meals utilize those ingredients in some way. You should be able to find similar ingredients at your farmer’s market or grocery store. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

A Lesson in Disappointment

A Lesson on Disappointment
We had been talking about it all morning. My sweet, rambunctious toddler was so excited to head to the botanical gardens for a playdate with friends. I loaded up the car – the double stroller, the diaper bag full of diapers & clothes for the baby, an extra change of clothes just in case we had a toddler accident, snacks to hold us until lunch, a wrap in case the baby didn’t want to ride in the stroller, water bottles, a coffee mug, a toddler (who, I might add, was wearing cookie monster in a ring sling), and a baby. Climbed in, exhausted, and turned the key, only to discover my car wouldn’t start.

“$hit” was all I could think. I don’t think I said it out loud, but who knows – I might have. Tried it again. No dice. So I turned to my excited toddler and broke the news – “Munchkin, I don’t think we can go to the botanical gardens today. Mommy’s car is broken.” Enter toddler meltdown.

You can’t reason with a toddler on any normal day – much less when they are in full meltdown mode. But I tried anyway. “Punkin … we can’t go to the botanical gardens, but we can go to the zoo instead. Would you like to walk to the zoo?”

“Noooooooooooooooo! Want to go to the tanical gardens!” she cried in the saddest cry I might have ever heard. Continue reading

Crystal Rowe

September Meal Plan – Week 3

Well, we were mostly successful this week on staying out of restaurants. We did end up eating out Wednesday night because I didn’t plan our schedule well and we were out of the house from late afternoon until bedtime. But I was successful in packing (and sticking to) picnics the days we were out of the house for lunch!

This week, I signed up for the “Eat Local” challenge through our local farmer’s market. I picked the ultra lenient path – simply because I need to use up what’s in my freezer and not buy more groceries than necessary. I tried to plan seasonal meals this week so that whatever I need to buy, I can buy from a local source – whether that be the farmer’s market or the grocery store. Luckily our grocery store sells quite a bit of local products!

Last week someone asked me if I stuck to a budget when I make my meal plan. I typically try to spend less than $150 at the grocery store each week. Sometimes I’m more successful than others. I try to keep my freezer pretty stocked with meat and frozen vegetables and our pantry stocked with essentials like canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, pasta, etc. I buy a lot of those items when they go on sale, and I try to create meal plans around the meat in our freezer. I also try to use up everything we have. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money on food and seeing it end up in the trash can or garbage disposal!

I’ve included a pantry list this week as well as a grocery list, to give you an idea of the kinds of things we always have on hand. To help you in budgeting, I’ve also put the price next to the items we bought, and whether or not we were able to find it locally sourced. The trick in eating at home is to make sure you always have your favorite items on hand!
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