Friday, January 30, 2015

My Favorite Toddler Apps

I shared 5 of our favorite toddler apps over at Wife on the Go. You can see my list here.

We have so many more amazing educational apps that my son loves! I wanted to write a special post just for you guys and tell you about the rest.

Here are 5 more favorite apps:

1.  Farm 1,2,3

This app isn't free, but it does have a great free version your kids can still get lots of play out of before you decide to purchase. I'm a big fan of try before you buy!
This app teaches your kids about animals and counting. They put a bunch of animals on the screen and say something like "count 3 cows" and your kids get to practice not only counting to 3, but identifying the correct animals amid the dogs, cats, and roosters. My little guy loves it! I credit this app for helping him learn to count objects.

2. Elmo Calls

Okay, this one isn't free either. Noah went through an Elmo phase and I couldn't resist. I was really impressed with it though! They also have a Cookie Monster version if that's more your speed.  This app allows your kids to listen to voice mails from Elmo, as well as enjoying video chats with Elmo. My son loves it! He's convinced that it's really Elmo regardless of the fact that he always says the same thing. It's adorable!

3. Laugh & Learn Puppy Player

This app is FREE which we love. My son can watch short educational clips from Fisher Price. The videos feature the beloved Fisher Price puppy character. They learn about the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors. There are also several very cute nursery rhymes and a song about how to say "Hello" in different languages. It's all free and it doesn't require data or wi-fi to watch the videos which makes it perfect for those long trips in the car.

4. Peppa's Paintbox

This app is FREE too! If your kids love Peppa Pig as much as mine does they will love this art app. You can color, draw, and use stickers on the screen. There are also several interactive options where your art can "come to life." I think even kids who don't love Peppa would have fun with this one! You can choose to play as Peppa or George and each character has different tools. My son especially loves George's dinosaur stickers and muddy puddles!

5. Tiny Hands Towers 1

This app has a free version you can try before you buy. In fact, my son is so satisfied with the free version that I haven't purchased it yet. It's great for building Montessori style skills if you are using that method of schooling. This app has several cute stacking activities. Noah's favorite is building an igloo. When he finishes, there are confetti and balloons he can pop. I love it when they are learning and don't even know it!

-The Crazy Earth Mama

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Finding Peace

It think it's kind of amazing how God gives us peace in the midst of crisis. Sometimes, just when you are sure you can't handle anymore...
God gives you a kind of peace and comfort. 

Someone said "Sometimes He calms the storm and sometimes He calms His child."

The storm might be raging all around you. Maybe you don't feel like you're any close to answers, you don't see a solution.

Then you get the peace.

It's the most powerful thing. It's this moment of calm when you realize that even though you are caught in the middle of the tornado, even though you have no idea how you'll survive this one... You just know with every fiber of your being that God is taking care of it. You're completely certain that He has a plan and it's a good one. 

Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that I apply to lots of things. 

I come back to it again and again.

I know He's always there. I know He knows everything before it happens, but sometimes I just need to reread Jeremiah 29:11 and know that God's not just an ant farm kind of god. He's not just watching us to see what we will do.
God has a plan for us. Not just that, but God has an amazing plan for us and it's better than anything we could come up with on our own!

When you remember that, you get the peace. That kind of peace that fills you up to overflowing and lets you experience joy even in the middle of your suffering. The kind of peace that lets you step out in faith. When that happens, God gets the glory and he can use your suffering to do great things. 
That kind of makes it worth it right?

-Crazy Earth Mama

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's in a name?

... O be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

- Juliet, Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet Act II Scene II

Sorry, I had to include that. The literature nerd inside of my insisted. 

Anyway, I thought my readers might be interested in my name. Maybe you think I'm sort of a "hippie." After all, I do cloth diaper and home school. I made all my own baby food. I practice extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, and (until recently) cosleeping.  I love my essential oils!
So maybe the name isn't that strange to you.

Then again, I can't bring myself to make my own laundry detergent.  I don't make every thing we put in our mouths from scratch and I can't afford for all of it to be organic.  I'm sure you've heard me mention some things from time to time that don't seem very "natural." Although I recycle and reuse my grocery bags (usually I take canvas bags but sometimes that's not a good option), I have decided to forego composting for now. We tried it and it was a failure.

I don't grow my own vegetables. Last year I planted some corn and while it was beautiful and looked amazing as decorations for my Autumn wreath, it wasn't edible. This year I'm going to try again, but I'm a long way from growing a portion of our family's sustenance in the back yard.

So if I don't fit in with the ladies in lovely organic cotton growing their own vegetables and avoiding  main stream anything like it's the plague.... 

What right have I got to call myself The Crazy Earth Mama?

At first, I didn't. The name was given to me by my sister during an argument. She didn't mean it as a compliment and I definitely don't think she expected me to run with it.  

After asking my opinion 400 hundred times (maybe I'm exaggerating) about different choices she was making as a first time mom.... she called me one day and said:

"I want your opinion on this, but I don't want your crazy earth mama answer."

I laughed. I'm sure that just made her more frustrated but it was hilarious to me! She didn't really want my opinion at all. I think she was just too afraid to listen to her own intuition and wanted me to tell her that what she wanted to do was the right choice, in my opinion.

Since then she has learned to trust herself, but I still get lots of calls with questions from the moms and expectant moms in my family. They know I research everything. They know they can trust me to tell them the truth. 

I still get called a "crazy earth mama," but now it's a good thing!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I'm Sara, the Crazy Earth Mama. I like to always be doing something, so I wear a lot of hats. I'm a Christian, wife, mom, teacher, therapist, writer, dog lover, and avid reader. I love the beach, have an insatiable sweet tooth, and practice kickboxing on the weekends. I hate laundry and I don't do confrontations. I'm great at planning, organizing, and communication but I stink at "going with the flow," making quick decisions, knitting, and worrying about everything!

I started writing as a child when a therapist suggested I use a journal as an outlet for issues at home.  I became a poet and had a few small things published as a teenager. Later I dabbled in short stories and essays. I recently began writing articles for a popular mommy blog as well as starting my own blog. I like the freedom my blog allows me to share all the things I am passionate about together in one place.

I'm excited to meet and get to know new bloggers through this event so, I'd love to talk with you more about the information on my blog and what drives you to blog. As always, comments are great, but if you want to contact me directly you can reach me via email at

-Crazy Earth Mama

Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Ingredient Gluten Free Meatballs


  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Ketchup
  • Oats
  • Ground Beef or Turkey


1. Mix 1 cup oats with 1 pound ground beef or turkey in a large bowl.
2. Form small meatballs with oat and meat mixture.
3. Put meatballs into 9 x 13 casserole dish.
4. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup ketchup, and 1 cup water in a separate bowl.
5. Pour ketchup mixture over meatballs. 
6. Bake meatballs in oven for one hour on 350 degrees. 


  • Some people with gluten allergies have a reaction to oats. If this is the case, be sure to use certified gluten free oats.
  • For sweeter meatballs, use ground turkey. For more savory meatballs, use beef.
  • My favorite thing to do is make these the night before and let them marinate in the ketchup mixture in the fridge over night before cooking. They're great either way, but if you can let them marinate for a while they'll really soak up the flavors!
These meatballs are perfect for serving with toothpicks at a party or with some pasta for dinner. We love them both ways! 
See, gluten free can be easy, cheap, and delicious!

Enjoy! - Crazy Earth Mama

**pictures are coming I promise!

For more great gluten free recipes I love, check out Gluten Free Life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pins for Wednesday

I really love Pinterest. There are so many super useful pins. I find all kinds of great stuff! I get tons of ideas for everything from birthday party planning, to making my own natural cleaners, and all sorts of things in between!

Pinterest is like Google with pictures and reviews!

With that in mind, I want to try something new. Every Wednesday I'm going to share my top 5 pins of the week with you! 

  • DIY Honey Face Mask: This one is so easy! You probably already have all the ingredients at home. There's no weird clay or crazy expensive spice you have to go track down first. It's also super fast and leaves your skin feeling magnificent!Also, if you have oily skin like me, you'll love this because there is no oily residue.
  • DIY NO Sew Shirt: This would make such a cute maternity shirt! I love clothing redesign ideas. I love new clothes but my budget doesn't always allow for new duds. Plus, I feel super guilty about buying new clothes when mine are perfectly wearable.  Redesigns like this one are fabulous because they don't require any sewing, which means I don't have to try to convince my mom to make them for me.
  • Family Night Ideas: This is a great ebook from Janet Lynn Phillips. She has some awesome and unique ideas for having a frugal family fun night together. It's so worth checking out if you're looking for fun stuff to do with your kids that fits into your budget. 
  • Crock Pot Creamed Corn: This is soooo good! I made it for Thanksgiving dinner. There were no leftovers. I had cousins grabbing bowls full of this stuff. It's that good! You can make a meal out of it. (Full disclosure: I did add a little extra milk while cooking as the liquid cooked down.)
  • 7 Spiritual Challenges: These are some challenging ways to strengthen your child's relationship with God (and your own!). I love all the tips at the end about fitting God into the conversations you have with your kids.
If you want to see more of my favorite pins, you can follow me on Pinterest!
-Crazy Earth Mama

Visit Sara's profile on Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cheez-It Chicken

Here is another of my favorite recipes. I always get requests for this one. It's easy, affordable, and delicious!


1 box cheez-it crackers

8o oz. Sour cream

4 Tbsp melted butter

4 chicken breasts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Slice chicken breasts to thin them out. This way they cook faster and each bite has more flavor!

3. Crush the crackers inside a ziplock bag. I like to use my fist and get out whatever frustration I've been harboring.

4. Coat chicken breast with sour cream.

5. Put coated chicken inside bag of crackers and shake until fully coated with crushed crackers.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with each chicken breast.

7. Place all coated chicken breasts in casserole dish.

8. Drizzle chicken with melted butter.

9. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

10. ENJOY!

-Crazy Earth Mama

Friday, January 9, 2015

Budgeting for Groceries

Learning to budget for our groceries has been a real struggle! We have been through lots of income changes, a wheat allergy for our son, and all the usual culprits that affect grocery bills. It has been a challenge, but I think I've finally mastered the groceries!

When people hear that we usually spend $400 a month on our groceries, they are shocked. It's well below the national average for a family of our size. If you want to see what the national average for your family is, look here.

I have some rules I follow that have helped me feed our family of 3 (with seconds and leftovers for my husband) a real food, gluten free diet, with as much organic food as possible.

You can find my first 5 rules for keeping the grocery bill under control over at Wife on the Go. Just follow the link:

Those aren't all my rules though! I have 4 more crucial rules for managing the bill while keeping your family healthy and I'm going to share them with you here on the blog.

We'll just pick up where I left off in my article....

Rule #6.
Discount Stores!
I touched on this one in Rule 5, but it's so important! We have an ALDI. That store saves me so much money! Cuts my grocery bill in half every week! You can check here to see if there is an ALDI in your area that could be helping you save money. 
Also look for overstock stores and discount grocery stores. You never know what you will find at these kinds of stores. You can't count on being able to get all of your groceries there, but what you do find will be steeply discounted. Save money when you can! Don't be afraid of the sometimes dented boxes, often times the food inside is still in perfect condition! 

Rule #7.
Don't Go Hungry!
You've probably heard this one from your mother. I know I had heard not to shop with an empty stomach many times, but I didn't realize the effect it could have until I made the mistake.
I was in a hurry to get to the grocery store and back while the baby was sleeping. My husband had agreed to stay home and watch our baby, but I wanted to get home before he woke up. In my rush, I didn't eat lunch. Half way through my shopping trip, everything started looking good and I found myself snatching up things that weren't on my list because they "looked tasty" or "seemed like a bargain." 
Let me tell you that total quoted at the check out was not a bargain! I was a little embarrassed trying to explain why I went over our budget to my husband too. Don't make that mistake. Keep a snack in your purse in case you get hungry in the store. Peanuts or breakfast bars are great choices!

Rule #8.
Make It From Scratch!
Following this rule won't just keep you out of the red, it will help you stay healthy too! I make most of our foods from scratch. If I can make it at home, I don't buy it pre-made and pre-packaged. I remember the first time I decided to break down a whole chicken and use all the parts. It was comical! We had three meals off a chicken that cost me less than $5. After that, I was hooked!

Rule #9.
Portion Control.
First, educate yourself about what you should be eating and how much. There are some helpful tools over at Choose My Plate you can use for free. 
If you have a meat-and-potatoes kind of man like I do, you can try my tricks of the trade:
  • Fill the plates and then take them to the table.
  • Leave the dishes containing the remainder of the meal in the kitchen.
If you have to get up and go to the kitchen for that second helping instead of having it staring you in the face, it's easier to resist. If you're really hungry, obviously you can go get more. If it's just your taste buds that are bent on gluttony, you won't have such a hard time resisting.

I hope my 9 Rules help you keep your budget in check. As always, I want to hear about your experiences and tips in the comments. 

-Crazy Earth Mama

Monday, January 5, 2015

Toddler Transition!

We transitioned Noah to a "big boy bed" yesterday. He loves it! We got a great twin sized day bed from my parents. We set it as low to the ground as possible and it helps that his room has thick carpeting.

We let Noah help us make his bed with brand new dinosaur sheets and some of his favorite stuffed animals. Of course, his "finger blanket" had to be there too! [It's a small knitted blanket my mom made for him before he was born. He has loved putting his fingers through the holes since he was an infant in the hospital and it's still his favorite blanket.]

Noah went to sleep in his bed for the first time last night! He only woke up twice. The first time, at 3:30, I went in and nursed him for 15 minutes before he fell asleep again. The second time, he called out "Daddy," so my husband went in and he was back to sleep in 5 minutes. 

I LOVED bed sharing with our son, but it was nice to have our bed back last night and know that my sweet little boy was sleeping soundly next door. No tears at all.

Here are some things that I think helped:
1. We transitioned slowly when he was ready.
We waited for him to show us that he was ready. He was giving us signs like wanting more space in the bed and not wanting anyone cuddling him. 
Also, we went to a mattress on the floor beside ours [also very low to the floor] before we moved him out of the room.
2. We let him pick out the sheets and blankets. 
He loves dinosaurs so, he picked those. He was very excited about them!
3. We left his door open and our door open.
Our rooms are across the hall from one another so he could see us if he woke up and we could see him, which really helped any anxiety I had.
4. We talked with him about it a lot before we actually did it. 
My husband played a game with Noah for months where he would say "This is Daddy's bed. Where is Noah's bed?" 
Then we started asking him if he wanted a big boy bed for a few weeks before we brought it home. He was totally prepared by the time it arrived.
He helped us set it up and put the sheets on. He knew it was his bed!

Have you tried transitioning to a "big boy bed" or just transitioning from bed sharing? What were your experiences? I'd love to know!

Our First Giveaway!

I'm so excited about this one!
We are doing our first giveaway!

Bellee Bot makes custom bows like the one pictured above! Follow the link to their page to see all the cute Bellee Bot Designs!

The Bow above usually goes for $6 and can be embellished with a sparkly silver monogram for an additional cost.  
But... I'm going to give the bow to one lucky winner here on the blog! 

Please comment below to win the bow! Comments must include actual words. "." doesn't count. 
The winner will be chosen at random!

Extra entries for sharing this post on your social network! (facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter)

Giveaway ends January 20, 2015!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Poem For My Son

I can speak these things over your little head
And make it so,
These are the character traits
I pray you adopt as you grow.
May your nature always be to give,
Because it is in our charity to others
That we learn to live
As Jesus did so many years ago.
When your sweet voice has changed
To a baritone deep,
Remember to speak honestly and kindly
And friends you may keep.
No matter what you may face,
Always remember to be brave.
In life, it is about the way you run
Not whether you win the race.

-Crazy Earth Mama

Too Many Toys?

I recently read that parents should consider not giving their children toys over the holidays. There are a lot of articles floating around about taking away most of the toys and asking relatives to give kids experiences instead of toys.  I’ll admit that there are times I’d like to walk down the hallway without stepping on a plastic dinosaur. I’ll also concede that there is no way he can play with all of his toys on a daily basis, probably not even a weekly basis.
After careful consideration, I've decided I’m not going to change. I’m not going to quit doing Santa. I’m not going to put a cute note in his birthday party invitations suggesting that people give him experiences instead.  I've thought about it a lot and I think I've got some pretty good reasons why.

 "Experiences” are great and he’ll get things he “needs” too, but …

He’s too young to understand that a ticket to the zoo means we are going to get to see the giraffes he’s so obsessed with.   Sure, I could explain it to him, but doesn't that seem like have to explain the punch line of a joke? Besides, he’s not going to get anywhere nearly as excited about a future trip to see giraffes as he will about a giant plastic giraffe. 
Asking my parents to give us an “experience” is a bit like asking them to give me a present because I’ll be the one that gets to see his face light up when we arrive at the zoo. They will totally miss out on his “present face” and probably get treated to a tantrum when he realizes that the trip to the zoo I’m mentioning is not happening at that very second.

 I’m grateful that people love my kid.

Our parents really love our son a lot. All the friends at his birthday party do too. They all love him so much that they really thought about what to get him. They didn't go to the store and spend their hard earned money on random crap.  They tried to think about things he would really love.  Many of the gifts he got were based on things they know my son loves or memories they have shared with him.  I’m so grateful that they all love him enough to do that. I would never want to seem ungrateful or callous by suggesting they not show their love in that way. It’s their love language and I respect that.
I know what you’re thinking; I’m just blessed to be surrounded by such great gift givers. While some of his presents were right on the money, let me assure you there were some gifts that totally missed the mark too.  Getting the perfect gift wasn't the point.  It was about showing their love for my son in a way that they chose, not in a way that I mandated or even suggested.

I’m naive enough to believe that two days of excess [Christmas and his birthday] aren't going to turn my child into a shallow materialistic jerk.

We spend 363 days of the year teaching our son that giving is more important than receiving. He learns this when he shares his toys, gives money at Church and to charity, and in a variety of other ways all year long.  We focus on teaching him to have manners, charity, and character.  If two days of excess can ruin a person for the year, I’m in big trouble when it comes to my plate at Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Eve with Noah

Last year, Noah slept pretty much through the whole thing. We celebrated quietly together in the den while he slept. It was nice.
I kind of thought we would be doing the same thing this year. Yes, I read about all the great "pinteresty" things you can do with toddlers to celebrate. Frankly, I didn't have the energy. After his birthday (on December, 22) and the three day long Christmas extravaganza... I was pooped!
I bought some sparkling apple juice and dug out some leftover balloons.I bought some expensive chocolates (on sale from Christmas). I love those Lindt truffles!
We brought out some fireworks left over from the fourth of July too.
Hubby went outside and started a fire in the fire pit which Noah totally loves! He runs around shrieking "Fire Time! It's Fire Time!" We roasted marshmallows and served them with chocolate on leftover Christmas cookies. It was delicious! The "evidence"is still glued to Noah's gloves.
At 10:30 we realized he wasn't going to sleep any time soon so my husband blew up some of the balloons and we played balloon volleyball in the living room while we listened to Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. The game ended up being really more fun for me and Hubby because while Noah loved the balloons, he stared at them dumbfounded when they bounced his way.  What can I say, he's definitely my kid!
I popped open the apple juice. Noah took about three drinks of it with a strange expression on his face. [He's never had anything carbonated before that.] Then, he declared "YUCK!" and wanted only water for the rest of the night.
Noah and I lasted until 11:30 and then I crashed at the same time as my two year old. I'm counting it as a success and praying last night's crazy schedule doesn't make him a pill when the grandparents come for lunch today.

-Crazy Earth Mama