50 Healthy Smoothie Combos

50 Healthy Smoothie Combos

I’ve been working on this post for a few months. I like variety, and I got it into my head that I could make up 50 smoothie combos that were fast and easy…because, ain’t nobody got time for smoothies that take a bunch of prep work – isn’t that the point of  a smoothie? To blend and go? Preach it – that was spiritual.

So, here is my list of 50 smoothie combos that are actually good for you – I put it together with my own geniousness and the help of my sister and Barry. You’ll find that they don’t call for any hard-to-find ingredients or stuff you can’t pronounce. Continue reading

What to Do When You and Your Spouse Don’t Agree About Money

What to Do When You and Your Spouse Don’t Agree About Money

Hello everyone! This is Sonja Sarr again, from Practical Stewardship thankful to be guest posting here on Stacy’s blog.

A few years ago it was apparent that it was time for the Sarrs to get a new-to-us family car. We bought our little white 1994 Toyota Tercel for $5000 cash in 1999 when we got married. We paid cash $4950 for our used Volkswagon Passat Wagon in 2006. By the time 2009 rolled around we had our third child. Before having our little guy, I made sure three car seats would fit in the back seat. We made it work, but it was anything but ideal.

What Do You Do When You and Your Spouse Don’t Agree About Money?

Thrifty Thinking

By the time 2010 rolled around the car was falling apart little piece by little piece. We weren’t really excited about all of the little plastic parts disintegrating: the head rest, the glove box (several times-we ended up holding it in place with part of a plastic coat hanger), the locks, side mirrors, and just about anything else on the car’s interior that was made of plastic. To make it even more interesting, Jonathan (also affectionately known as JSarr) was virtually certain the engine was built around the alternator. Very strange. It was really strange, actually. It was time to get a new-to-us car.

We had already paid off JSarr’s $38,000 college debt,Continue reading

A Letter to My Eventual Son in Law

A Letter to My Eventual Son in Law

Several months ago I wrote a letter to my past self, looking back at some lessons the past ten years have taught me.  In that same theme, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the future and wanting to pen a letter or two to my future self.  However, I think it may be more important to write some other letters first.

I daily pray for my children, their development (physically and spiritually) and wonder what they will grow to become.  I do my best to teach and train them, but I also recognize I don’t only want to have hopes and dreams for my own children, but for yours.  I don’t want to limit my prayers to what my daughter will grow to become – I also want to start asking for her family to be blessed.  Maybe I’m waxing a bit too poetic by doing this, but I’m going to spend this week on a letter to Annie’s future husband – wherever and whoever he may be.  Next week, I’ll do the same for Andy’s eventual wife.  If you’re a parent, I hope this letter will encourage you.  But I also hope it will challenge us all to begin seeking the best for our children, recognizing we’re not just raising them for an individual benefit, but as the future leaders of the world.  They are our legacy.  So here goes…

Continue reading

Natural Sweeteners – A Video

Natural Sweeteners – A Video

I already have a post about the natural sweeteners our family uses, but I thought it might be helpful to actually SHOW you those.

Let me dispel a myth right now. Sugar is sugar. I can use white sugar, or I can use sucanat with honey…they’re both sugar, and in excess they will BOTH make your butt big. So, don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because honey is more natural that you can eat it by the spoonful without consequence. We just choose to use sweeteners that have a little less processing – and we use honey because of the health benefits.

Note: I am now using sucanat with honey (honey granules) that I mention in the video. I say that it’s “white” but what I really mean is, it’s not dark brown. It’s creamy in color. I now find that I actually prefer it to plain sucanat. I purchased it from Honeyville.

Sucanat = substitute for brown sugar

Honey Granules/Sucanat with Honey = substitute for white sugar

I do like the NuNatural stevia best, but have found that we also like Kal stevia – it’s what I will use when my NuNaturals is all gone.

When I substitute honey for a granulated sweetener, I use half the amount of honey and play with my liquid amounts just a tad until I get them right. It’s easy to do once you do it a few times and know what you’re doing.

Another note: I didn’t mention we also use maple syrup…sometimes as a sweetener, but mostly for pancakes and oatmeal. I use grade B maple syrup. Check out Trader Joe’s for a good price!

How to Be Debt Free in 2014

How to Be Debt Free in 2014

Guest post by Shannon Brown of GrowingSlower.

It was early early 2013, a new year, and a time for resolutions and starting over. I opened one of my favorite blogs, Keeper of the Home, and happened upon Stacy’s guest post entitled, “How to Be Debt Free in 2013.”  What an intriguing title. Curious, I couldn’t help but read on.

Debt free. It’s one of those big life-changing projects that inspire us, right up there with, “Save 98% on Groceries with Extreme Couponing,” “Potty Train your Toddler in One Weekend,” and “31 Days to Take the Jiggle Out of Your Wiggle.” They’re extreme, they’re exciting, and when you really look at what’s involved, a little overwhelming.
Debt free in 2013, yeah right, I thought: Does she have any idea how much debt we have and how small our income is? At the time I read it, I had absolutely no hope that our family would be debt free within a decade, let alone a year. Why even try?
But Stacy’s post stuck in my head all year long, and in September we started our journey to becoming debt free! Three months later, we had paid off the first three loans in our debt snowball, and we were more inspired than ever to tackle the last remaining big ‘ol grandaddy loan.
It was time to get serious. We cut the grocery budget in half. We made plans to pay cash for a much older car when our expensive lease ended. I worked at nap time and after the kids were in bed growing my blog, marketing my book, and doing freelance work in my “real” career field of architecture. We made a list of every possible way to save money and did them, even doing a No Spend Month Challenge in January.
We initially were on track to be out of debt within 20 months (which was amazing to me in itself), but God has blessed our efforts and it now looks like it will take only take a total of 10 months or less. When we’re done, we’ll have paid off over $22,000 in student loan debt on a household income that (at the time we started) fit under the government’s low-income category for a family of four.
Faster than I can possibly believe, our family has cut almost 5 years off our debt repayment, and we’re very much looking forward to enjoying debt freedom in 2014! If we would have started this amazing journey when I first read Stacy’s article, we really could have been debt free in 2013.
If you’re like I was, in disbelief that becoming debt free could be a real possibility for your family, let me challenge you. Even if you start by putting only an extra $50 per month toward your debt, just get started! Every little bit gets you one step closer to financial freedom.

So how about it? “Debt Free in 2014″ has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?!

Shannon Brown writes about frugal and simple living at GrowingSlower blog and in her Real Mom’s Guide series of books. Shannon and her husband live in eastern Washington and are parents to an energetic little boy and a peaceful baby girl.