6 Truths About Helicopter Parents

My parenting style can be best described as a hybrid mashup—a combination of authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. But if one parenting style was to surface and all others sink, at the end of the day I would emerge a predominantly helicopter parent. The term "helicopter parenting" was coined back in 1990 by child development researchers Foster Cline and Jim Fay in their book, Parenting With Love and Logic. Helicopter parents, according to the official definition, take an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of Read more

How to Plan the Ultimate Staycation

Who wouldn’t want to take a vacation every month, or even every weekend? Unfortunately for most, there isn’t room for a trip in the schedule—or budget. Plus, as most holiday vacations prove, it can be exhausting and overwhelming to coordinate a family trip out of town. That’s why many people in need of a small getaway take staycations instead. Staycations allow you to relax and do fun activities with your family, all without the expense of travel or booking Read more

Top of the Tingles: The ASMR A-List

Relaxation. Euphoria. Tingling. These are the words used to describe the result of an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, trigger. In a piece I recently wrote for Sanity & Self, I describe the concept as "the physical response to auditory, visual, or tactile triggers, usually a tingly sensation similar to feeling chills. Think of the goosebumps you might get when someone whispers into your ear. That’s ASMR. Most experts attribute ASMR’s relaxing sensations to the release of endorphins, Read more

Self-Discovery Questions to Ask Yourself Each Day

In today’s uber-connected world, it’s so easy to get caught up in your phone wherever you go. Whether you're responding to work emails, organizing your kids’ schedules, or updating your Instagram, the hours can fly by before you know it. While this is certainly convenient, it can become unhealthy if it turns into a habit. Because we’re all so busy, your mental health could be suffering and you wouldn’t even know it because you’re too preoccupied to pay attention Read more

Self-Care With Hygge

Taking time for yourself as a mom can be difficult between appointments, errands and keeping everyone fed, on time and in clean clothes. Finding ways to fit in self-care and moments to yourself are so important, even short breaks can have a positive impact on your day. One shortcut to make sure you get the change to recharge is make your house ready for relaxation whenever you are. You may have heard of it as an emerging decor trend, hygge Read more

Decadent Chocolate Chip Muffins

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 16 Comments

chocolate chip muffins

Everyone knows I’m a cake and whoopie pie addict. How I love me some fluffy, sweet goodness! But I have to admit, I’ve been getting a little tired of the same ole’ desserts and indulgences. So the other day I whipped up a batch of Decadent Chocolate Chip Muffins from a handwritten recipe I found in my grandmother’s recipe tin. I’ve fallen in love all over again! These melt-in-your-mouth gems are moist, flavorful and, most of all, a hit with kids! And they are every bit as satisfying for those of us who love rich cakes and whoopie pies. The only problem is whether or not they are truly a dessert. My family devoured them for breakfast! Read more

Crock Pot Country Spare Ribs

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 6 Comments

crock pot country spare ribs

Peek around online and you’ll quickly see that the Internet is infiltrated with recipes for spare ribs – crock pot or no crock pot. Some are basic calling for store bought barbecue sauce. Others are a bit more intricate, requiring soaking in sauce for a few hours or overnight to infuse them with intense flavor. I’ve tried a variety of recipes – some hits, some misses. This recipe for Crock Pot Country Spare Ribs is less tangy and BBQey (I know – it’s not a word), ideal to be served with baked or mashed potatoes and a vegetable of choice. Read more

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 15 Comments

crock pot chicken teriyaki

One of my all-time favorite Chinese dishes is chicken teriyaki. But it’s been tough finding one that mimics the taste and quality of a truly authentic restaurant-prepared meal. Several recipes that I’ve tried came close, but they still lacked that deep, original teriyaki flavor that really makes the chicken. Last week, I decided to take these two recipes and combine the best from both to see what it produced when cooked in a crock pot. The outcome? Absolutely the best tasting at-home chicken teriyaki I’ve ever had. Read more

Baked Stuffed Shells with Crock Pot Pasta Sauce

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 6 Comments

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Although stuffed shells are not very common in Italy (stuffed paccheri or rigatoni are much more popular), they are a common dish present in many Italian American restaurants and households. When paired with crock pot pasta sauce that you make earlier in the day or day before, it’s an easy and quick dish to prepare.  I guarantee the whole family will love this recipe! It’s also perfect when you have lots of guests coming for dinner.

Personally, jumbo pasta shells, stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses then baked with more mozzarella on top are one of my favorite comfort foods. Crazy, I know. But I love curling up to a bowl full of this goodness! Plus, the delicious aroma fills the entire house, making the experience even more…devine! Read more

10 Easy Memorial Day Crock Pot Recipes

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 13 Comments

crock pot recipes

Get creative with your crock pot this Memorial Day! I’ve chosen 10 of the best recipes from around the blogosphere and web for you to try. From hot German potato salad to mixed berry pudding, there’s something for everyone on this list! Enjoy and have a peaceful holiday. Read more

Save Some Time: Browning Ground Beef in a Crock Pot

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 6 Comments

browning ground beef in a crock pot

A couple weeks ago I discovered a post on G+ that really caught my eye. It talked about browning ground beef in a crock pot to save time. What?!?! Why hadn’t I thought of that? I’m so used to recipes calling for browning meats immediately prior to placing them in the crock pot, that I never even considered browning ground beef in one. Well, that’s changed. I spent some time last week browning and freezing ground beef in preparation for some upcoming recipes. Read more

Crock Pot Pasta Sauce

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 23 Comments

crock pot pasta sauce

Growing up my grandmother used to make pasta sauce from scratch. I could barely wait for it to finish cooking and be served over pasta. In fact, while it was still simmering, she would often scoop some out and pour over a slice of Italian bread for me to enjoy as a snack. How I miss those days! Read more

Easy Crock Pot Pork and Wild Rice Casserole

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 6 Comments

crock pot pork

I was absolutely pressed for time the other day when I realized I hadn’t taken the ground turkey out of the freezer that I was going to prepare for dinner. Oh no! All I had out was a pound of boneless pork cutlets and fully-cooked bacon slices. It was time to get creative! Having prepared several quick casseroles in the crock pot before, I decided to whip up an easy crock pot pork and wild rice casserole. It turned out delicious! Read more