Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipe: Friendship Tea

For the next week, I will provide a recipe every day that I like from the Mary Hunt's book, Debt-Proof the Holidays. I am hoping that these give you some ideas for homemade gift-giving this Holiday season!

Friendship Tea

1 C powdered Tang
1/2 C instant lemonade drink mix
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C instant tea (unsweetened)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves

Pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.  Add a tag to your gift that reads:

Friendship Tea: Place teaspoons of mix in a mug, add one cup boiling water, stir and enjoy.

Mary Hunt
Debt Proof the Holidays

Recipe: Chai Tea Mix

For the next week, I will provide a recipe every day that I like from the Mary Hunt's book, Debt-Proof the Holidays. I am hoping that these give you some ideas for homemade gift-giving this Holiday season!

Chai Tea Mix

1 1/2 C instant tea powder
2 C powdered non-diary creamer
1/2 C dry milk powder
1 C powdered sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp vanilla powder

In a food processor, combine instant tea, powdered creamer, dry milk powder, powdered sugar and brown sugar.  Add ginger, cinnamon, cloves,c ardamom, allspice and vanilla powder.  Process for 2 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.

Add this tag:
To serve, palce 4 teaspoonfuls in a mug and fill with hot water.  Stir.  Enjoy!

Mary Hunt
Debt Proof the Holidays

How to Save on Christmas

It is coming … Christmas!  I love Christmas-time.  I enjoy spending time with the entire family, laughing and playing games, cooking and eating together, and exchanging gifts!  I could do without receiving any gifts, but I love to give gifts.

 I’m not sure how I would feel about gift giving if I were rushed and choosing from bare isles the day before Christmas.

 I start my Christmas shopping January 1st of every year.  At this time, there are so many items that are on sale for 75% + off.  For instance, my mom adores Celine Dion.  So, as a gift, she is getting Celine Dion perfume from WalMart that was marked down 75%.  My father-in-law is difficult to buy for because he wants for nothing and has it all.  Well, because I have been keeping an eye out for everyone, I found the perfect gift for him! If I didn’t have 12 months to look around and prepare, I’d be stressed around the holidays.

 I love clearance and sales.  If there is an item on sale that I want, I try to determine who I could give it to as a gift.  This way, I get a good deal but it doesn’t clutter the house!

 This only works well if you have a designated spot to hide all of these items throughout the year. It also only works if you remember what you bought for everyone or have it written down to refer to. Because I am so stocked up on gifts, I don’t have to worry about shopping for birthdays.  I pick something out of the stash and whatever is left, they get for Christmas.

 My favorite stores to shop for sales the first two weeks of January:
Bath & Body (lotions & body wash are $4/each the 2nd week of January, I think it is! I stock up and give as gifts throughout the year)
Big Lots (all year round)
Cracker Barrel (the stores have a clearance corner that I get a lot of gifts from throughout the year!)

 My favorite gift that I am most excited to give this year: a DVD teaching a couple how to salsa dance.  I bought it for my father and his wife as a “date night” gift. I bought this gift on clearance from a store that was closing. I am currently looking for a restaurant / lounge to purchase a gift certificate for the two of them to go to dinner and show off their new moves!

Friday, September 24, 2010


"You will never 'find' time for anything. If you want time, you must make it"
- Charles Buxton

From All Things


I have decided to put out there for the whole world to see how much debt we have (minus the house.) The number is embarrassing, even though we’ve paid off over $10,000 this year. 

Right now, we are focusing on paying off Todd’s 2008 Kia Rondo.  Todd bought this car in the Spring of 2009.  He got a great deal on the vehicle, and he loves it!  This car originally sold new for over $18,000 with all of the options.  He bought it from a car lot – who purchased it from auction (it was a repo) - for $12,000.  The car had less than 500 miles on it and still had the new car smell!

The other debt is Todd’s American Express.  Todd was previously married.  When his wife left, they had credit card debt.  She promised to pay half of it, but never paid a dime.  Todd transferred it over to an American Express card at 3.99% for the life of the balance.  When we first got together, the balance was over $14,500!  Now, it is a little under $8,000.  That being said, I cant wait for this card to be paid off.  We have been together for over 4 years, and this is like a bad memory for both of us: me- the thought that my husband loved another woman at one time, and for him: all that he went through with his ex-wife. Not to mention that we are paying on something that we have NOTHING to show for!

I am also going to put a ticker up with my grocery budget and spending for the month of October.  I want to see how low we can go.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


"Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical and avoiding waste."
Catherine Pulsifer

How Low Can You Go?

I like to look at what a meal costs us (versus going out).  With this post, I will compare the price of a meal out vs. making it at home.

Coffee (the Latte Factor):
A little background: Up until this Summer, I did not like coffee AT ALL!  Thanks to my mother and her Keurig machine (insert sarcasm here,) I have been hooked! I cant seem to do anything in moderation, so I started drinking about a ½ pot at work every day because Todd cant stomach the smell of coffee, so it was something I did at work and only at work.  It wasn’t plain black coffee, oh no… it was flavored coffee that I had been drinking.  I don’t (and didn’t) like the thought of being addicted to something.  OK, yes, I have an addiction to food, but it is also a necessity.  At any rate, I weaned myself off for about a month.  Now that it’s getting cold outside, I get a craving for coffee in the mornings.  So, here goes:

French Vanilla Cappuccino from Gas Station:                                                 $1.49
(“High Octane,” full fat, a lot of sugar, small cup)

Maxwell House: Swisse Mocha CafĂ© : $1.89/container of 21 cups                    $0.09/cup!
(Decaf, Sugar Free – low calorie!)

Savings Per Cup: $1.40!
Needless to say, I will continue to buy the coffee in the tins

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


"There are plenty of ways to get ahead. The first is so basic I'm almost embarrassed to say it: spend less than you earn."

Paul Clitheroe

Quote: Faith

"Jesus wants us to see the neighbor next door or the people sitting next to us on a plane or in a classroom are not intteruptions to our scheulde.  They are there by divine appointment.  Jesus wants us to see their needs, their lonliness, their longings, and He wants to give us the courage to reach out to them."
~Rebecca Manley Pippert

Making Life Rich Without Any Money

Wordless Wednesday

An amazing concert in an incredible city with an awesome friend.
I will never forget this concert.

Favorite Songs:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship"- Benjamin Franklin

From All Things

How Low Can You Go?

I like to look at what a meal costs us (versus going out).  With this post, I will compare the price of a meal out vs. making it at home.

Egg McMuffin:
Todd and I love Egg McMuffins (and bagels with ham, egg & cheese) for breakfast.
From what I’ve seen, the price from McDonald’s is: $1.59/sandwich

Our Cost:
English Muffin (bought at a Nickles Thrift Store – 2 bags of 6 for $1.79)  $0.15
Egg Substitute (Aldi’s Brand: $1.89 for a dozen eggs worth)                    $0.16
Turkey Ham ($1.89/lb – assuming we use 1/8 lb (high estimate))              $0.24
Cheese ($1.99/lb from Gordon Food Service – assuming 1 oz.)              $0.12
Price to make it at home:                                                                        $0.67!

Savings per sandwich: $0.92

To be honest, I like ours better!  It is a little healthier for us (turkey ham & egg substitute), but it keeps us going in the mornings!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Current Events

I do not watch or listen to the news.  The information I get is from either Yahoo or  There are times that I feel inferior because I am not knowledgeable with current events. I’m not sure if it’s pure ignorance or pure bliss.

What are your opinions on this?

Quote: Marriage

Success in marriage is more than finding the right person: it is being the right person."
~Robert Browning

Making Life Rich Without Any Money

Quote: Frugality

"Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor."
~Samuel Johnson

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quote: Adam & Eve

"I think God invented Eve to help Adam find things."
~Phil Callaway   

Making Life Rich Without Any Money

Simple Sunday

Today has been another relaxing Sunday for me.
Hubby worked the last of his 3 day - 12 hour work stint,so he was exhausted.
We had another spend-free weekend, which is amazing!  We didnt spend a dime! I could get used to this (and so could our budget!)

I have not left the house since I got home from work Friday evening, and you know what? It feels good!  I got most of my "to do" list done, except for filing all of our important documents into our new safe (from nearly a year ago!)  Puppy and piggy got lots of mommy time this weekend.  I got some fresh air, read, watched all the movies I have from the library, and started on our business website (finally!)  Oh, and did I mention that I cooked? I sure did.  Mushroom risoto yesterday for dinner (yummy, but very time consuming), homemade pizza & Todd's favorite brownies for dinner and dessert tonight.

What amazes me is that when Todd came home, he mentioned how good I looked.  I had just gotten out of the shower and had mesh Nike basketball shorts on, one of his t-shirts and my mock crocs.  Not exactly what I'd call attractive, but it was really nice to hear seeing as I was a big oaf all weekend.

Just another Simple Sunday...

Meet Lana

I would like to preface this by saying that we wanted a friend for Squiggy.  I felt bad for leaving him home alone while we were at work, and I felt like we weren’t spending enough time together before he fell asleep at night.  So, we talked about getting a friend for him.  We loosely looked around at pounds, but we knew we wanted a puppy – something that was young enough not to attack him, and something that would be big enough that it could hold its own toward him.

Lana (pronounced lawn-a) May (because Todd and I were married in May) was found while Todd and I were at a flea market on July 16th.  Yes, a flea market. I don’t necessarily agree with people selling animals at flea markets because I fear for the type of homes these animals may go to.  However, we walked by and she was with her little sister in a pen.  She was adorable with those puppy eyes.  Todd and I saw the price ($50) and we said we’d have to think about it.  Even the pound wanted over $100 total for a dog after all the fees and such. We walked around for another hour and talked about it while looking through the flea market.  This was mid-way through our counseling, and it showed that we were doing MUCH better at communicating about important things like this.  I was proud of us. 

After an hour, we decided that we wanted her.  So we went and bought her a harness and leash for $1, and then bought the puppy.  She was 7 weeks old when we got her.  8 lbs 13 oz. at her first vet visit a few weeks later.  About 3 weeks after that, she was 16 lbs 8 oz.  And upon today’s vet visit (September 15th), she is 26 lbs 8 oz.  Mind you, she is 3 weeks shy of her 4 month birthday.  We knew she would be a decent sized dog, but if she keeps growing at this rate, we are going to have a moose!

The first month together was not a pleasant one between Lana & Squiggy (and me too: very stressful!)   Now that Lana is almost as tall as Squiggy, she can hold her own.  Plus, he doesn’t hurt her when he throws her down.  She is still very much a puppy with a lot of energy.  Squiggy…not so much.  His main goal in life is food (just like me!).  Hers is play! This is a video of the two of them playing around in the yard two weekends ago.  Please excuse the laundry on the line.  
Some have mentioned that it looks cruel that Lana is doing that to Squiggy, but that is Squiggy playing.  He likes to chase things around. He does that to us in the yard even before we got Lana.  I think Lana is keeping him young, that’s for sure!  He has to stay on his toes to keep up with that little ball of energy.

To be honest, it hasn’t been until recently that I have felt a bond with Lana.  Lana loves Todd.  Respects Todd. Adores Todd.  Me, she misbehaves and is unruly.  Todd says it’s because I don’t discipline her, but who knows.  At any rate, I am finally feeling a bond with her as she calms down and is starting to listen to my commands.  I am enjoying our walks in the mornings and playing with her and Squiggy in the back yard in the evenings. 

If children are more work than these animals, I’m not sure I can handle it!

Recipe: Potatoe Soup

I must admit, I made a pretty awesome potatoe soup Friday night for dinner. 
I pretty much made up the recipe myself, so here goes.

1 - 32 oz. container of chicken broth
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
6 potatoes in big chunks (I left skin on - I'm too lazy to peel!)
3 carrots cut into chunks
2 stalks of celery

Put it all in the crock-pot and let it cook on low all day.

When I got home from work, it seemed a little too soupy.  I wanted to thicken it up, so I put about a cup of instant rice in and 1 packet of instant mashed potatoe mix (from Aldi's.)

It was really thick - more like a chowder, which is what we like.
So easy.

Prep time - 10 minutes max
Cook time - 6-8 hours

Meet Logan

We acquired Logan through a neighbor at the end of July 2009.  She was in a cinder block outside our neighbor’s house crying for 2 days straight.  The neighbor thought her mom was going to come and get her, and she never did.  The neighbor asked if we’d be interested in her.

I originally thought Todd would say “NO WAY!” We already had a feisty pig and an old cat. When I told him about it, he said that we could go over and take a look at it.  Well, as soon as he set eyes on her, he was in love. 

Todd and I had just come from watching Wolverine from the dollar theater.  Logan had stripes, but mutant feet!  Her paws were HUGE compared to her little body.  She also had a sore on her chest.  We put her in a litter box inside and within a couple of days, she used it (with NO accidents!) That first night, this kitten slept in between us the entire night.  I set the alarm to take her outside at 2AM and she didn’t go.  I thought we’d have problems with the potty…but not at all!  Todd named her Logan (that was Wolverine’s name) because he swore up and down Logan was a boy.  Well…a couple days later when he took her to the vet…he found out that Logan was actually a girl!  Oops.  I knew a girl Logan, so we just left her name.  It suited her.

Logan is what is called a Hemmingway cat.  Ernest Hemmingway bred cats to have more toes than normal cats.  Well, Lana has up to 6 or 7 toes on some of her paws.  When she was a kitten and would run through the house, she sounded like a horse coming down the hallway because her paws were so big!

Logan is now over a year old, but has stayed really small compared to the other cats we’ve had.  She is a tiny little thing, and such a lover.  She is definitely wild.  She loves to be outdoors and is our hunter, but she also likes to come inside at times to spend time with us and sleep with us in bed.  We love her to pieces!

(I just noticed we dont have any of her now - she's too darn fast to get a picture of her!)