"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind."
Khalil Gibran

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Painting your own jars to look like blue & aqua Ball Jars

I am constantly looking for new ways to use items from my recycling bin.  Recently I came across the blog post linked below that has step by step instructions on how to make any glass container look like colored glass.  This is a very popular look in decorating these days.

At first I was thinking that it might take me a long while to accumulate any substantial number of jars because I couldn't think of much that came in glass containers anymore...until I looked in the fridge & cupboards that is.  And let's face it, recycling feels good, it saves landfill space, & saves money. Plus, projects like this are fun & rewarding when you are done & you get to enjoy them in your home.

Here are some of the items sold in glass jars that I discovered in my home:

*  Pickles
*  Spaghetti Sauce
*  Cherries
*  Applesauce
*  Olives
*  Relish
*  Banana Peppers
*  Mayo
*  Some canned fruits
*  Jam
*  Baby Food

You will need:

*  A cheap foam brush
     (a regular brush will work, but may leave stroke marks)
*  White glue (like Elmer's)
*  Glass jars
*  Food Coloring
*  Water

Follow the link below for full instructions.  Happy Crafting!  I'd love to see pictures of your creations either here or on our Facebook page.


The Single Nester: How to Make Blue Ball Jars Plus a Floral Arrangement

Like our page on Facebook!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Break Staycation

If you are like me, you may have at some point in time felt the pressure to plan an exciting Spring Vacation for your family.  After all, some of your friends are flying to Hawaii with their families to enjoy surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling...  Your Sister and her family are going to Disney World with the whole family.  And last you heard, your child's best friend and their family will be driving to the Grand Canyon with an itinerary to stop at all the historical stops along the way.

And now you are sitting in a room with a group of other parents, all eyes on you, waiting for you to answer the inevitable question, "What is your family doing for Spring Break?"

Not everyone can go on big vacations over school holidays.  Some cannot afford a trip due to finance.  Some families don't have the time, Mom and/or Dad are unable to get time off work to schedule a 'family' vacation get away.

Did anyone ever tell us that we MUST take our entire family on expensive vacations to exciting destinations each year?  (Rhetorical answer = NO!) What do we think will happen if we don't provide our kids with an exciting adventure that rivals everyone they know?  Will we have our names removed from some mystical book of 'good parenting'? 

The answer is "Of Course Not"!  Some have overcome the desire to beat the Jones' and their fancy destination vacations, so to speak, and yet they still feel a pressure to provide some sort of exciting experience for their kids over the break, filled with constant activity.

I would like to suggest that you give yourself permission to throw out those pesky expectations. I have read that in prehistoric times, spring break was a time to celebrate the fact that you survived winter!  Whahoo.....we made it alive!

I should say that as a homeschool Mom I can relate with good humor that I am am celebrating that I lived through this much of the school year!  My son is doing well and I have not yet completely lost my mind.  Score!

For me, Spring Break is a time to relax, rest, regroup, have fun with family, and then prepare for the last leg of the school year.  Some years we may plan a get away, but it is not necessary.  This year for instance, we are staying at home.  We have a relative staying with us who is my son's age (teenagers) and we are just having day to day life without the work and constraints of a school schedule.  

My goal is not to ENTERTAIN for a short period, but rather to EXPERIENCE memories together that will last a long time.  These memory making activities don't necessarily have to cost a lot of money.  We happen to be fortunate enough to live on the coast, which offers many outdoor activities that are free or of little cost.  Also, our kids don't have to be entertained 100% of the time.  This is real life, you just don't always get what you want.  (Ouch...hard lesson to learn)

So far the boys have been hiking, played with sand discs at the dunes, shot at clay pigeons, and we hope the rest of the week will hold kayaking, fishing, and some very unscheduled goofing-around!  That's it....nothing spectacular, but something wonderful.  Isn't the goal to enjoy yourself with your loved ones?

If you don't live somewhere that you have activities to keep you and your kids having fun, look up some Birthday party games....who said they can only be done at a Birthday party?!?  NOBODY!  Go outside and play some games together!  Which games you play would likely depend on the size of your kids.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Hide and Seek
  2. Tag
  3. Tug of War
  4. Scavenger Hunt
  5. Obstacle Course
  6. Make a Pinata
  7. Make a fort
  8. Have Relay Races
  9. Water Balloon or Egg Toss
  10. Sack Race

You can make spring break fun, without extravagant locations or expenses.  I hope you are able to take some pressure off yourself and just enjoy some time with your kids!  No apologies.....just memories!

Now, when you are asked what your family plans to do this Spring Break, you can say, "We have planned a fun filled Staycation"  (Staycation = an at home vacation).  And if you need more activity ideas, simply Google 'Staycation Ideas' and you will have lots to choose from.

I wish you all a happy, low-stress, memory making Spring Break!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BooksApp2-Organize your home or class library

Today I discovered a cell phone Application that I am really excited about!

The APP is called BooksApp2

As many of you know, I am a Homeschooling Parent, but this App would be good for Homeschoolers, Book Lovers, Parents of small children, or for those Organizational Gurus that like to organize their lives wherever possible!

I cannot count the number of times that I've either:
  • Forgotten who I've lent my books to and never gotten them back.
  • Wondered if I had a book already (or an extra one to give away...because I do that.)   You know, that moment when you are at the store, looking at a book, and wondering if you've bought it already.
  • Can't remember if I've read a book.  Oh, you know how it goes....you buy lots of books thinking you'll read them all right away.  Some of them you do, and some of them....well.....they may sit a while.  Especially if I really like a particular Author, I sometimes get confused regarding which books I've read and which I bought but haven't read yet.

The good news is that this App can fix all these issues for me!  

Here is the Description from Google Play's website regarding this App:


BooksApp helps you organize your home library effortlessly. Scan the barcode of a book and all its information is downloaded from the web and saved to your phone automatically¹. You can then easily keep track of your books.
To lend a book to someone, scan it (or open it from the list), press "Lend book" and select your friend. When a month has passed, you will get a notification to remind you where the book is. If you have a book you want to recommend to a friend, you can do that over SMS, e-mail or Facebook etc.

You can organize your books into collections, e.g. "Favorites", "Reading now" or whatever tickles your fancy.

Finding more books is trivial. You can search for books by the same author or publisher, or books dealing with the same subject, all without typing a single character. Saving any of the matches to your phone is just one tap away.

You can export books in two ways, either as a spreadsheet—which you can send to anyone—or to Google Docs². The spreadsheet is a CSV (Comma-separated values) file that you can open in any spreadsheet program. You can also send the file to other BooksApp users, both Android and iPhone users.

Importing books is done by opening a CSV file from an e-mail or from the file manager.
BooksApp exists for iPhone as well, see www.books-app.com for more information.
Happy book organization! :-)

BooksApp is open source and released under the Apache 2.0 License https://github.com/jonasb/BooksApp

¹) Should the book not exist amongst Google Books vast amounts of books, you can always enter it manually.

²) Google Docs export requires Android 2.1 or later.

Here are 2 links to the FREE App:

For Android Phones (FREE)

For iPhone (FREE)

I hope that this is as exciting to you as it was to me.  If you have kids that are old enough that you trust them with your smart phone, I bet you can recruit them to scan your books!  It is sort of fun and they can play 'Book Store'. 

Here are some Screen Shots (copied from the Google Play webpage)


I use AT&T as my cell phone provider and today when I went on my phone to 'Google Play' and searched BooksApp2, nothing came up.  My work around was to go to Google Play on my home computer, plug my cell phone into my computer via the USB plug, and I downloaded it from the computer directly to the cell phone.  It took just a couple minutes and works perfect!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Join Mind Crumbs on Facebook!

Do you have a Facebook account?  

Do you use it several times a week (or all day) like many people around the world?  If so, you are in luck!  We do too!

We want you to join us!  

I am on Facebook daily and post all sorts of homeschool, craft, food, and family ideas and instructions.  I would love to get to know you better and hear from you!

You can find us by clicking on one of the links in the post or by going directly to:

Be sure to click the 'LIKE' button and Subscribe so you don't miss any posts! 

Thank you in advance, and when you come over...write on our wall and let us know you're there.  I love getting feedback and would enjoy hearing what YOU would like me to post about!

God Bless,


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Have Lupus, Now What?

I have SLE, which stands for Systemic lupus erythematosus.  It is a long-term autoimmune disorder that may affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.  Each person experiences it a little differently, but one thing is the same for all of us, as of today, there is no cure.

I don't normally post this sort of subject matter on this blog.  I have another Faith Based Blog called  Remnant Postings where I've talked more about my health challenges. However, I decided to post this particular blog here on Mind Crumbs because I have had many people ask me about my Lupus over the past couple months, and I don't want my Faith to be an obstacle in the sharing of my information and encouragement with someone who might need it just because they may not share my religious beliefs. 

Recently, I was in a forum on a Lupus website and there was a woman who said that she had just been diagnosed with Lupus and she wanted people to share information with her regarding what worked for them when coping with the symptoms/diagnosis of Lupus.  She wondered if there were any natural remedies that help with symptoms.  Her question was basically, "I have Lupus, now what?"

My hope is that someone will find this to be informational and/or helpful.  I want to encourage people to see that it is not all out of our control.  And if you are a friend or loved one of a person with Lupus, try to be patient, understanding, and compassionate.  Spend a little time researching Lupus (not too much...it can be scary), and just remember that you don't have to FIX IT (you can't anyway), but just BE THERE.  You can't always see our illness because our own body is attacking itself from the inside out.  But just because we look like you, doesn't mean we feel the same.  

A great website that I referred my family to when I was first diagnosed, was http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/. Read the article 'THE SPOON THEORY'.  If you have Lupus or a similar disease, copy and paste it and send it to your friends and family!  It will help them to understand why you can't do the same things that you used to.  My husband still talks to me in terms of 'how many spoons do you have left today?'.  (That will make more sense after you read it)

Finally, after all of that, here is my letter to the woman I referred to at the beginning of this post:


Dear (name left blank on purpose),

I am very sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but I would like to encourage you that although your life will change with Lupus, it is still possible to live a good life.    You have to be careful what you listen to however, because when I was first diagnosed, several people told me that they knew someone or knew OF someone who had died from Lupus.  That was very scary and disheartening to me, not to mention NOT HELPFUL!  People just don’t always think before they speak and sometimes they just don’t know what to say and/or perhaps don't fully know what they are talking about.  But the more I know, and the longer I live with Lupus, I have discovered that the majority of people LIVE with Lupus...not the other way around.  That is encouraging.  For me, I have family members who also have Lupus, but even so....I still did not understand much about it until after I was diagnosed.

Lupus has forced me to slow down and to constantly be aware of eliminating as much stress from my life as possible (it is an ongoing process).  Of course every person with Lupus experiences it a bit differently, but one thing that seems to touch most people is stress.  Stress seems to be a huge trigger for flare ups for most people living with Lupus.  

I've been diagnosed for 9 years now.  I take medicine but some of the simplest and most helpful tips are lifestyle changes.  They are invaluable when you realize how important they are to how you feel.


* Getting sleep!  If I am overtired or struggling with insomnia, my symptoms are DRASTICALLY worse.  And I am not exaggerating, lack of sleep can really make my pain much worse.  Guard your sleep as if it was as valuable as Gold.

* Reduce Stress!  Weed out dramatic people in your life. I'm going to say that again....remove toxic people from your day to day life!  When they are family, limit your interactions (especially when in a flare up).  Take time for yourself to relax (it's best if you can do this daily, even if it is just for 15 min's), let your world stop...put on relaxing music, take a bath, meditate, etc.  I am a Christian so I will read my Bible, but do something that allows you to 'fill the tank' so to speak.  This step is SO important!  I also had to stop volunteering to do so many things, I had to limit my time out with friends and readjust things a bit.  I began having friends over more than going out, or talking on the phone instead of meeting in person.  We meet at coffee shops instead of longs days out.  (Don't get me wrong, you don't have to stop doing everything fun, but you will learn your limits.)

* Listen to your body!  It will tell you a lot if you pay attention.  I find that I must pay attention before I've gotten to the place where I've done too much (like being at the point where I'm tired or my body hurts). I've discovered that I can overdo it and not even realize it until the next day.  I might be having a garage sale, going shopping, or just standing on my feet a long time and I feel fine while doing it, but the next day I can wake up feeling awful and dealing with serious pain, inflammation, and fatigue.  Pay attention as you live day to day and figure out what activities makes things harder for you or how long you can do certain activities without suffering later (this is a trial and error process but you'll get there).

* Eat Well!  I have found that eliminating processed foods helps.  Eat whole foods (foods that are about the same as when they get picked or harvested).  Eat organic when you can (I notice benefits from reducing the chemicals I'm ingesting).  Farmers markets are great.  Many local farmers may not be certified organic but they use as few chemicals as possible and produce great food that had not been processed for traveling thousands of miles via trucks, etc.  The farmers are usually happy to tell you their farming practices.  Buy meat from local farmers if you can (split a beef with a friend or two if you eat meat)...find someone who lets their cattle graze and eat a natural diet with minimal use of antibiotics.  Better yet....eat Venison, Elk, or Wild fish (be careful, some lakes and other locations can be stocked with farm raised fish).  I didn't change my eating overnight...its been a process stretching many years, but each change is progress.  When faced with a food choice, try the best option available.  And remember, eating fresh fruits and vegetables isn't just a better option; they provide much needed nutrients for your body. 

* Surround yourself with good people!  There is an old saying that says 'We are a product of our environment'.  While I don't totally support that saying, there is some truth to the idea that if we are surrounded with negative people...we tend to see things as worse off and it causes more stress (obviously a bad byproduct) and is unlikely to help you.  But if you surround yourself with people who encourage you, lift your spirits, make you laugh, love on you, and who support you...you are likely to be less stressed and you will enjoy your life much more!

The good news is that all of these things ARE within your control!  There is so much that is unknown about Lupus and varying ideas of how to treat the symptoms.  I encourage you to take control of your life, be informed and don't just expect that a Dr. will give you everything you need.  They just can't and I find that often they are just making educated guesses regarding what will help you.  Never be afraid to ask questions or tell them the details of how you're feeling or what hurts.  Be your own health advocate.  And getting a second opinion regarding new treatment is something you might want to consider as well if it is financially feasible

None of these things seem like rocket science, and they are all sort of common sense things that most people know....BUT don't be fooled into thinking that they are not important.  Even though we know these things, you may find it is much harder to put into practice than you think.  And as time goes by, we discover the true benefits of having these things in place.  You can take all the medicines that a Dr. can prescribe, but if these other areas of your life are out of order, you will still struggle.  I know this from experience.

I know this is a very long response.  These are just things I wish someone would have shared with me when I first found out I had Lupus.  I know it may seem overwhelming, but remember these are things to do over a period of time.  You don't have to change everything today.  I would like to also share with you that because I have Lupus and have made these changes over the years, my life is better.  I have way less stress, I am surrounded by friends who love me and encourage me, I value the things more that really matter in life, I don't take as much for granted and I focus on stopping to smell the roses (so to speak).  I'm far from perfect, but I am much better than I used to be!

One thing my Dr of many years shared with me the day I was diagnosed was this, "Jessica, you can do this!  Don't allow this to beat you or ruin your life."  I personally had a long story of medical issues before my Lupus diagnosis, and I had just gotten through 3 back surgeries and a spinal implant to help with permanent nerve damage in my leg when I was told I had Lupus....so I was very distraught when I was told I had Lupus because I thought I was finally feeling better after 3 of the worst years of my life.  I didn't want to hear that I had another thing to battle.  But my Doctor was right...I am surviving with Lupus.  I have good days and not so good days, but it is possible to manage it!

Be encouraged.....and know that some people with Lupus have infrequent flare ups.  And I've heard of many people who have adjusted the things I mentioned above and DRASTICALLY reduced their flare ups.  When I can manage my stress and environment well....I do SO MUCH better!

I hope that this helps and isn't just completely overwhelming. 

Best Wishes,




The following celebrities suffer from Lupus:
  • Tony Braxton (Singer)
  • Seal (Singer) - A Lupus rash was the cause of his facial scarring.
  • Terri Seymour ("Extra" Correspondent and former girlfriend of Simon Cowell)
  • Nick Cannon (Actor, Host, Comedian, & Musician)
  • Tim Raines (Athlete/Baseball)
  • Portia de Rossi (Actress, Wife of Ellen Degeneres)
  • Barbara & George Bush's Dog Millie (Yes, that seriously made the 'celebrity' list.  Ha!)
  • Kelly Stone (Sister of Actress Sharon Stone, the two started Planet Hope)
  • Mary McDonough (Actress best known for her role as "Erin" on "The Waltons"
  • Michael Jackson (Singer)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines Day: Love Note Pillow

I found a great instructional blog post from Days of Chalk and Chocolate that shows how to make this super cute and easy Love Note Pillow!

Check out the step by step instructions at the following address:

Happy Crafting and HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm Breaking Up With Old Food Habits!

I recently decided that I needed a new relationship with food, I'd been thinking about it for a long time and just before the new year I heard from a couple of good friends that told me they were going to be doing a pretty radical food program with their entire families for several weeks, and they wanted to know if my family wanted to do it too.  I figured that there was no time like the present and the added support of having some of my best friends (and their spouses and children) doing it all together would give me added encouragement.

Although losing weight is often the main goal any time I've restricted my diet in the past, this time was different.  I want more than to simply lose weight....I want to be healthy!  I have struggled with many medical issues for a good portion of my life and I'm on a lot of different medicines and often find that I am not happy with the results.  I've slowly been changing the way I eat over the past couple years, but I was eager to start a new way of eating that might lead me to some healing through feeding my body good clean fuel/food instead of processed foods.  BUT....this would mean some BIG changes in our house!

We needed to BREAK UP with our old eating habits! 

And for the record, my son and I are both picky eathers....this wasn't going to be easy.  (This little girl's face just cracks me up!)

My husband and son have been supportive of my desire to eat healthier and making changes to our food in the past, but I wondered how they would react when I told them I wanted the whole house to do an experiment of sorts, the challenge was this....take some time off from all added sugars (processed sugars as well as honey, agave nectar, etc...), all grains, dairy, legumes, msg or sulfites, processed foods, and no white potatoes!

 I'm pretty sure they thought I had completely lost my mind!

I had a few goals in mind:
  • To check to see if any of us have specific food allergies or intollerences
  • To give our bodies a break from eating processed foods, refined sugars, and other foods that are harder for our bodies to digest and process -- a fast of sorts
  • To change our eating habits and break the cycle of eating when we are bored, having emotional highs or lows, or just eating out of habit.  To discover when we are truly physically hungry and eat to be 'satisfied' and not 'full'.
  • To change our pallets and start to like and crave food that is healthy and to break the strong cravings and emotional needs for sugar, carbs, and chemically processed foods

I have had a 9 year battle with Lupus, and so my family was willing to try this because they knew it would be too hard for me to do it on my own if they were eating 'non-compliant' foods.  And I really had a desire for my whole family to benefit from this process.  My 16 year old son was FAR from excited, but he said he would give it a shot.  So we started just 2 days later!

At first I thought it wouldn't be too bad, after all, we could eat meat, eggs, all veggies (except white potatoes), nuts, seeds, and limited fruit.  The first day was easy peasy!  I thought this thing was going to be a snap!

Day 2 it hit the family....no cereal, bread, or peanut butter for breakfast (peanuts are a legume not a nut....drats!)  By a week into the elimination diet, I was so tired of EGGS!  I'm not really much of a hot breakfast person.  I must confess I am not sure when I will want to eat another egg.  LOL!

It wasn't long and we were all suffering from massive withdrawals and detox symptoms!  And at the same time we were all dealing with a terrible head cold and sinus infection.  No fun!  I had the worst acne breakout I've ever had in my whole life (puberty included) and it didn't even gives signs of letting up for a full 2 weeks!  I guess that was just an indicator of how many toxins were coming out of my body.  Yipes!  With headaches, cravings, and grumpy attitudes...we pressed on.  Luckily by day 6 or 7 we were doing MUCH BETTER with the withdrawal symptoms, BUT......

about 10 days in I had a MUTINY on my hands!  My husband and son were BEGGING me to quit this elimination diet.  They were miserable and having such strong carb cravings.  So in an effort to stop them from completely going AWOL, I adjusted things for the 2 of them so that they could be gluten-free but still stay on the rest of the diet.  It was amazing how one little change made a huge difference to them even though they were still cutting the rest of it out.  Although it was hard, they remained supportive.  Even my Dad, who loves to cook and bring over food (lucky right!) had adjusted his recipes to be compliant with our program!

Now we have completed the major restriction part of the diet and we have added some things back in moderation.  We did not find that our family had any major food allergies, but I did notice that I was reacting when I ate too many fruits high in fructose....although that was a huge bummer, I'm glad to know how to avoid having terrible stomach pain!  AND...I can say with much joy that our eating habits are SO MUCH HEALTHIER!  We really reached my main goals for this process!

We are trying to stay with whole foods, keep out processed sugars and use natural sugars, eat gluten-free (instead of being completely grain free), and limit our dairy intake.  I am not craving the same foods that I used to, which is great!  I get full faster, and my family has learned to eat and enjoy foods that we wouldn't have even touched before!  

We may not be all the way to my goals for our family, but we are LEAPS AND BOUNDS closer than we were before we began this journey!  I know our bodies are healthier and I am expecting great things!  I am glad we did it!

I've slowly been juicing and making green smoothies.....but that is for another post!

I can't end this post without saying that my support system of 5 other families was SO AMAZING!  We encouraged each other through tough times, shared recipes, and even got together and shared a meal.  I wouldn't have made it as far as I did without them!  I won't name them without their permission, but they know who they are....I love you Ladies!  I am lucky to have you each in my life!