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

Maine Pumpkin Pie Pudding in a Crock Pot

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 8 Comments


The other day our entire house smelled like Thanksgiving! The aroma of freshly baked pumpkin pie lingered in the air and soothed the soul. But there was no pie baking. Instead, I prepared a mouthwatering Maine Pumpkin Pie Pudding in a crock pot. Oh.Em.Gee. Talk about a treat! Read more

Brown Sugar Glazed Crock Pot Ham

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 17 Comments

crock pot ham

I’m a ham lover. Okay, let’s rewind. I’m a just about anything that pops out of a pig lover. I know I’m probably grossing some of you out (sorry vegans and veggies!), but I will devour a plate of bacon or ham before you even knew it was there. Yesterday, I put a quarter spiral pre-sliced ham into the smaller crock pot, covered it with a brown sugar glaze and, voila! Pure mouthly goodness! It only took about 15 minutes to prepare and was done four hours later. We were not quite ready to eat when it was finished, so I placed the crock pot onto the warm setting for a few hours. It was a little dry, but nothing that a good rebasting couldn’t cure. Here’s a peek at the ham cooking on YouTube. Read more

The Crock Pot Crowd, A G+ Community

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 7 Comments

preparing Crock Pot Pork Roast with Apples & Sweet Potatoes from Amy's Cooking Adventures

I’ve been an avid crock potter for more than 20 years and love sharing recipes, tips and stories with others who also enjoy this quick and easy cooking method. I often write here on the blog about what I’ve whipped up that day such as Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken Bake, Slow Cooker Wimpy Chili and Crock Pot Apple Pie Cake (to die for!). I’ve loved all the feedback I’ve received and enjoyed seeing the pictures of the creations you’ve made. But things have seemed very one-sided. I want to hear more from the crock pot enthusiasts of the world! So, today, I created a G+ community just for us…The Crock Pot Crowd! Read more

Homemade Garlic Toast

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 10 Comments

homemade garlic toast

I always thought you had to dine at a fine Italian restaurant or order take-out from the local pizza shop to get good garlic toast and breadsticks. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was experimenting in the kitchen that I discovered homemade garlic toast could be thrown together in a matter of minutes and taste every bit as good as visiting a fine dining establishment. Call it one of my durrr, MUDD moments. Read more

Down East Pancakes: A Family Favorite

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 1 Comment


Nothing says “weekend” quite like pancakes for breakfast. And nothing says “wholesome goodness” like a batch whipped up from scratch. Next time you find yourself reaching for a box of mix, stop. This recipe for Down East pancakes is fast, simple and you usually have the ingredients on hand. You’ll never use a mix again! Topped with genuine Maine maple syrup, my family devoured every last one this morning. Check out the batter! So smooth and creamy. Read more

Quick Cheddar Herb Bread

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 2 Comments


Growing up, I loved nothing more than the smell of my grandmother’s freshly baked bread lingering in the air. From white breads to wheat and everything in between, she was a master at creating mouthwatering baked goods. Digging through her recipe tin the other day, I discovered one for a quick cheddar herb bread. I was surprised to find it as we frequently purchase homemade cheddar bread from the farm next door. After whipping up a batch, I know why the recipe looked as if it had seen war. DELICIOUS!  Read more

Thin Chewy Cocoa Brownies

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 15 Comments


I don’t know about you, but I’ve always preferred brownies that are thin – not the thickness or consistency of cake. That’s why my go-to recipe that I’ve been making for years is a brownie that is only about a 1/4 inch thick, filled with chewy chocolate goodness! They only take about 15 minutes to prepare and cook in less than a half hour! Delicious with a fresh cup of coffee (my current favorite is Green Mountain’s gingerbread!) or a tall mug of white Belgian hot chocolate! Read more

Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken Bake

Posted on by Crystal in Food & Recipes | 3 Comments


Lately, I’ve been adventurous with the crock pot. A little too adventurous resulting in non-edible mini disasters. But that’s okay. You learn from your mistakes after all. And yesterday, I learned from said mistakes and created an amazing new dish for the crock pot. It’s called Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken Bake and, oh my lordy, it’s to die for!

It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare with ingredients you might already have on hand. And feel free to mix things up – especially in the cheese department. I bet this would taste equally incredible with Swiss cheese or a chopped up block of Vermont cheddar. Enjoy!

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