Stacy Makes Cents http://www.stacymakescents.com A debt-free frugal housewife's guide to life, raising kids, and eating good food on a budget Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:05:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 A New Phase of Life – A Good-bye http://www.stacymakescents.com/new-phase-life-good-bye http://www.stacymakescents.com/new-phase-life-good-bye#respond Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.stacymakescents.com/?p=44027 goodbye

Since today is April 1, I guess I should probably preface all this with a caveat: THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE… I need to say good-bye. This is a decision that was hard to reach, but one that I have been struggling with for many months. I feel like I am in a […]

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goodbye

Since today is April 1, I guess I should probably preface all this with a caveat: THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE…

I need to say good-bye. This is a decision that was hard to reach, but one that I have been struggling with for many months.

I feel like I am in a stage of life where I need to give my family 100%. For a while,  I hoped that I would be able to continue the blog, only writing when I could or when I had the extra time…but for those of you who know me, you’ll know that I don’t do anything half-way. I either do something or I don’t. I don’t kinda give part of myself to something.

I need my heart to be with my family 100%. I feel like that’s my calling as a wife and a mother to small children. I was trying as hard as I could to be the Proverbs 31 woman and do it all…until it was pointed out to me by a loving friend that it wasn’t possible for me to do that – and that in fact, the Proverbs 31 woman had children old enough to rise and call her “blessed.” Annie (my oldest at 4 years) arises and says “Mama, what’s for breakfast?”

I don’t want my free time to be spent on social media and the blog – I want my free time playing with my kids or learning a new skill…or reading for ENJOYMENT.

I need time to be a normal person – a normal mommy (well, as normal as I can be given the craziness of myself).

I’m tired of trying to learn to harden my heart against nasty things said to me and my family – honestly, I don’t want my heart hardened. I want my heart sensitive. And there are some things that have been said to us that I will never forget (because words DO hurt).

I have so enjoyed getting to know you all these past four years. I feel like I know most of you personally – thank you for your love, your support, and your endless prayers. They mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

I will still hang around on Instagram. Barry will still use Facebook to put up older posts for you to read. But there won’t be any new content on SMC.

Don’t worry – the blog will stay up. You’ll still be able to comment and find recipes if you need them. :-) I don’t have them all printed either.

Will I be back? I don’t know. As of now, I’m leaving indefinitely.

I love you guys.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..” Ecclesiastes 3:1

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High Protein: No Powder http://www.stacymakescents.com/high-protein-no-powder http://www.stacymakescents.com/high-protein-no-powder#respond Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.stacymakescents.com/?p=43904 high-protein-no-powder-featured

Guest post by Tiffany from Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Early in our marriage, my husband and I spent nearly three years living on as little as possible so that we could pay off our debt. The process of becoming debt free requires a lot of determination and discipline, but as many of you might know, […]

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high-protein-no-powder-featured

Guest post by Tiffany from Don’t Waste the Crumbs.

Early in our marriage, my husband and I spent nearly three years living on as little as possible so that we could pay off our debt. The process of becoming debt free requires a lot of determination and discipline, but as many of you might know, the work doesn’t stop when the last bill is paid. Poor spending decisions are a hard habit to break and if we’re not careful, we’ll end up right where we started in the first place!

That’s exactly where I found myself a couple years ago when I started an “official” exercise program that came with an “official” nutrition program. Ordinarily I’d just eat what we normally eat – wholesome, real foods – but I really wanted to give this program 110% and see the amazing results that everyone else was seeing, so I wanted to follow their diet plans too.

That is, until I saw what they wanted me to eat.

Protein bars and protein shakes – at least two each day, and sometimes three. I’ve seen those bars and jugs on store shelves and at the rate they wanted me to eat them, there was no way I could afford them. At least, not on my frugal grocery budget.

Just for kicks, I did the math. It would cost $121 to fund their suggested protein bar consumption. Per month. And those were just for me! I simply couldn’t justify spending more than one third of the family’s grocery budget on a snack foods whose sole purpose was to help me “get healthy.”

I knew there had to be a way to add more protein without spending so much money – and to do it with real food too – so I got to work in the kitchen and came up with my own version of real food protein supplements. In order for these to actually worth though, they needed some ground rules. Every bar and smoothie had to be:

  • Made with 100% REAL food. No additives, no preservatives, no mysterious ingredients or icky chemicals. Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of not buying the bars on store shelves?
  • Made with NORMAL ingredients. Every ingredient needs to be relatively familiar to the average person and found on a typical grocery store shelf. I don’t want to drive all over town looking for something, and then ask a store clerk when I get there only for them to have no idea what I’m talking about!
  • Adaptable. If I ran out of something, couldn’t find a good deal or wanted to share a bar with a friend, I wanted the bars to be adaptable to what I had in my pantry and the flavors I was craving at the time.
  • Frugal. This was non-negotiable. Our grocery budget is only $330 each month and there’s simply no room for expensive protein bars, even if they are homemade.
  • Easy. These things needed to be easy to make, easy to serve and fit within my already busy schedule. Who’s got time to spend hours upon hours making a snack?

In the end, I created up with 34 recipes for real food protein bars and smoothies and let me tell you, they are the best thing to ever come out of my kitchen!

protein-no-powder-Cover-3D-350pxHow does a smoothie that tastes like pumpkin pie with 18g of protein sound? Or a strawberry cheesecake smoothie with 20g or protein?!

And the bars? Oh my, the bars! I have a hard time keeping them on hand because the kids think they’re treats! They’re on the right track though – blueberry muffin (11g) and chocolate cherry cake (12g) sound much more like a dessert than a protein supplement.

The best thing about these bars and smoothies though is what they don’t have.

  • Nothing artificial and fake.
  • No processed ingredients or hidden chemicals that could be harmful to the health of me and my family.
  • Nothing I can’t pronounce or can’t afford.

Finally, protein supplements that not only provide a pure source of fuel, but they can nourish my family and foster their bodies to grow too!

And the news gets better! Stacy Makes Cents readers have the opportunity to save 30% on a copy of High Protein, No Powder with coupon code SMCSAVE30 (expires 4/23/14). Because saving a few pennies on things that are good for your family is just icing on the cake!

For some recipe samples or ideas, check out Tiffany’s Pinterest page.


Tiff-Bio-Pic_SizedTiffany is a frugal foodie – passionate about feeding her family healthy food while being a good steward of her family’s finances. She’s a homeschooling mother of two, loving wife to one and a child of God blessed in more ways than she can count. She shares her enthusiasm for affording real food without going broke at Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Join Tiffany and the Crumbs Community on Facebook or Pinterest, and subscribe to the weekly newsletter for encouragement on taking small, simple steps to healthier living.

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A Letter to My Eventual Daughter in Law http://www.stacymakescents.com/letter-eventual-daughter-in-law http://www.stacymakescents.com/letter-eventual-daughter-in-law#respond Sat, 29 Mar 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.stacymakescents.com/?p=43913 letter-to-DIL-featured

If you missed last week, when I shared a letter to my eventual son in law, you may want to go back and have a look at that letter to give you an idea of why I’m bothering to write these letters in the first place. To sum it up: I have hopes and dreams […]

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If you missed last week, when I shared a letter to my eventual son in law, you may want to go back and have a look at that letter to give you an idea of why I’m bothering to write these letters in the first place. To sum it up: I have hopes and dreams for my kids and I want the person each of them ends up marrying to know a little about what my expectations are. Even though I only have about 11 years of marriage under my belt and a little less than five as a parent, I want to capture my thoughts now and share the wisdom I can offer today because I know at least a few of you reading this right now are about to “give away” your son or daughter and could sure use some input.

You’ll probably notice a lot of similarity in the two letters – that is intentional. I want my kids to know my expectations are high for both of them and similar for both of them. The letter to my eventual son-in-law was tough. I’d bet you this one won’t be any easier. Here we go…

To the Woman Who Marries My Son,

Andrew-James-600x400I was present at Andy’s birth, and what an interesting ride it has been ever since. From the start, I knew God had given me a blessing and a challenge. Most men out there are poor excuses for what they should be. Most don’t understand or appreciate their responsibilities to God and family. Many refuse to submit to any authority whatsoever. Others don’t want to care because they know the responsibility of a man is great, when carried out according to God’s standards.

Even before Andy could understand my words, he has watched my actions. I have been the person he looks at to learn what a man is and how he should act. I’ve failed numerous times already and by the time you are reading this, there will be a list of my failures too long for any library to contain. Nonetheless, I hope I have done enough of the right things and taught him to be the husband he should be for you. So even though it is hard to grant him your hand, I do so with some expectation. Pay close attention – there will be a quiz.

A wife must submit to her husband.

That sentence above is one that modern society refuses to understand or accept. I expect you fully know what it means and are ready to live it out. Please don’t misunderstand “submit” to mean Andy is allowed to treat you with disrespect, avoid putting you above himself or take advantage of your calling as his wife. By the time you’re reading this, I will have taught him that even though the Bible does require you to submit to his leadership, it also requires him to love you as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it.  If he does his part to love you sacrificially like that, you need to do your part to support him and follow him.

A wife is her husband’s most important asset.

I would not be the same man I am today if it weren’t for Stacy. She is my biggest cheerleader, greatest fan and best friend. Even when he is in a bad mood and won’t act like it, Andy needs you, your support and your ability to help him be a better person. Don’t underestimate your value in this. If you need help learning how to support him, talk to Stacy – she is a pro. If you need someone to help if he is out of line, talk to me – I have been his model for how a man should act and maybe we both need to improve in an area or two.

Your ambition and your opinion are vital.

Andy may be the leader of your new home, but he’d better be smart and take advantage of your skills, talents and opinions in making the best decisions to run it. When it comes to decisions, be sure both of you are involved in the process. That way, when you succeed, you can celebrate what you did together. …And when there is failure, you can learn and improve together. While the buck may stop with Andy, his decisions will almost always be a lot better (and your marriage definitely will be better) if the two of you get to those decisions together.

{Special Note to Andy and Daughter-in-Law regarding money decisions: I expect you to live on a budget. I expect you to be mature with your family’s money. I expect you to work hard. I expect you to be generous. I expect you to tithe. I expect you to live without debt. I will raise Andy to understand that contrary to popular belief, God is in charge of everything – including money.}

Divorce is not an option.

You must not allow the idea of divorce to be an option in your marriage. When Stacy and I married in 2003, we agreed that divorce would never be an option. Why? Marriage is sometimes really hard. Stacy and I don’t always get along and there will be the temptation to give up somewhere along the way. While over half of the marriages in America fail, you must commit that yours never will. Your wedding vows aren’t an open-ended contract – they are a covenant between you, Andy and almighty God.

Happiness won’t always exist.

Your wedding day will likely be one of the happiest (and scariest) of your life. Add the honeymoon, then moving in together and setting up a home, and everything right now sounds like it will all be so much fun. But when you get to the part in your vows where you promise to love him “for better or worse,” realize you’re going to get both. I bring this up because as you experience the good times, you need to be thankful there is someone there to experience them with you. Likewise, when you experience the bad times, you need to be thankful there is someone there to struggle through them with you. Don’t point a finger of blame in the bad times; point a heart of gratefulness at all times.

Andy is a special man – he is my son. I hope and expect he has sought my advice on this marriage before you’re reading this with a diamond on your finger. If he has courted you, gained the blessing of your father and asked you to be his bride, you already have my blessing as well. I will continue to impress upon him the value of a pure and loving wife and to never take you for granted. I will encourage him to lead his home, to protect his family, and provide for you. I expect you to allow and inspire him toward those callings and support him in every way.

Sincerely,

Barry (a.k.a. “Daddy”)

P.S. – I have made the assumption in my writing above that you are pure of heart and intention. Don’t prove my assumption false.

As I wrap up these letters to my future “children by marriage,” I want to share a brief thought about parenting in general. As a deeply imperfect parent, I find the encouragement and challenge of others spurs me to become better. One of the best resources I’ve found recently to that end is a book by Steve Maxwell: Buying a House Debt Free: Equipping Your Son.  Steve and Terri Maxwell have really done a lot to encourage us recently through Managers of Their Homes and Redeeming the Time, and we’ve shared those reviews with you. So when Steve emailed and asked me if I would be interested in reviewing a pre-release of their latest manuscript, I was excited to jump in.  If you have a son, read this book…or at least check out the free chapter they offer on their website and consider the possibility of your son NEVER having to deal with debt.  Wouldn’t that be a blessing?  I plan to help Andy through that challenge, and I truly believe it is a worthwhile one.

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