Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Best Prices for Herbs and Spices!

This is a HUGE frugal tip here, folks.  If you love to cook from scratch like we do, you use a lot of spices and herbs.  One awesome way to save money is to buy your herbs and spices in bulk. is just the place. I have ordered from there several times and each time have been completely happy with my purchase.  They have so many items like loose leaf teas, herbs, spices, cocoa powder, essential oils, as well as empty capsules and things like beeswax!

Nothing fancy here, just straightforward great prices.  Their website will not tickle your visual senses! But hey, if I save lots of money, it doesn't have to be pretty!

For example,

Over time, that could add up to a lot of money! sells the spices and herbs in 1 pound packages.  That can be a lot of spice so you may want to go in with a friend or just store them in mason jars like I do.  :)

I make up my own capsules of herbs to take orally by using herbs from  That tutorial is for another post but if you like to use herbs for remedies, this is the source for you.

I also have met people who like to make their own special herb mixes and sell them.  At these prices, that option is very affordable.

But don't just take my word for it, hop on over to and comparison shop for your favorite items.

Happy cooking!

  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cool & Creamy Coleslaw

Cool, creamy, fresh, crunchy, sweet, tangy, it's all that and more!  There's something about coleslaw that just speaks SUMMER!!

If you have always wanted to make your own coleslaw from scratch, this recipe is for you.  It's simple to make but awesome to the taste buds.  This coleslaw is literally the best I have ever eaten.  Better than...well, we won't go there!

You can add more veggies or spices but you should try it as it is and then decide if it needs anything. :)


1 head cabbage
1 carrot, grated

1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

(I know!!! That's it! You can do that, right?) :D You won't believe how good it is with just those simple ingredients!


Shred the cabbage in the food processor or cut it coarsely with a knife.  Grate (or shred) the carrot and add to the cabbage in a large bowl.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking together.  Add to the cabbage and carrot and stir until well mixed.  If you pop it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, the flavors will blend and the sauce seems to increase!  Mix before serving.  

Enjoy this delicious coleslaw with your next barbecue, picnic or gathering.  You'll be so glad you did! 

You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Exciting Memorial Day Weekend Sales!!!

Everyone loves a bargain! There are several sales right now going on for the weekend that I just had to tell you about. You never know, you may want to get something new for summer. :)
(These are affiliate links and we do profit from your clicking through and purchase.)  

Hancock Fabrics is having a 5 day sale so hop on over and check it out. 250x250 Memorial Day Weekend Sale - Ends May 27th

Deborah and Co. is having a sale, too.
Everything at our store is 15% off with the code: MEMORIALDAY and there is free shipping within the US on orders of $100.00 or more.  The sale is good from May 24th through May 27th.

And a beautiful dress store, Eshakti, has a great sale!

One of my favorite places...Zenni Optical has free shipping!

This Memorial Day weekend, join Craftsy in honoring the brave men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces. For every class sold this weekend, Craftsywill donate a portion of the proceeds to benefit a veterans' organization. Select classes will be on sale up to 60% off! Have all the classes you want? Consider gifting a class to your favorite service member! 

Happy shopping!

  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Guilt-free Luscious Chocolate Cake

Chocolate!  There aren't many desserts I love more than something chocolate, especially chocolate cake.  I mean, seriously, almost everyone LOVES chocolate.

When I cut out white sugar and white flour from my diet, the chocolate cake went, too!  But this homemade, from scratch recipe is just the ticket to satisfy that chocolate craving!  It uses honey and whole wheat flour and you would never know it! ( I will tell you that it is a little less sweet than box cake but just as moist and tasty!)


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (you are using your DIY vanilla, right?)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Grease and flour two 9 inch round baking pans or one 9x13 inch baking pan.  
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  • In the large bowl of your mixer, cream butter (oil), honey and vanilla.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Gradually add flour mixture alternately with water.  When all ingredients are added, beat for 2 minutes.  
  • Spread into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, depending on pan size, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  
  • Cool in pans for 15 minutes, remove from pans if using the round pans.

Serve with fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries or if sugar is not a problem for you, try this easy and delicious homemade frosting.



  • 1/2 cup shortening (like Crisco) or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla  (you are using your DIY vanilla, right?)


  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until well blended and smooth.
  • This amount covers a 9x13 pan. Double the recipe for a two layer cake.
  • Note: 8 cups of confectioner's sugar = one 32 ounce bag.

Now you can have your cake and eat it, too!!

  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Outwitting The Hotel-room Coffeemaker

{Gloria here!} Coffee! Can't live without it!  But what to do when you are away from home and staying in a hotel for a weekend?

It's really nice that the hotel offers free coffee samples... but there are only two!  I don't know about you but that is not going to last a weekend for me!

Let me share with you my DIY On-The-Go Coffee method. This will work in most hotel coffee makers (but not the kind that use the K-cup). This works for hot tea also!!

Before you leave home, pack a supply of 8-10 cup coffee filters, grab a handful, for as many cups of coffee that you will want.  Stash some coffee (already ground) in a ziploc bag, take plenty!  And bring a spoon if you want to measure out your coffee.  You might want to bring your favorite to-go cup, too!!

Put the coffee in the middle of the filter, enough for a cup of coffee.  Carefully draw up the edges of the filter and give it a twist.  Fold it over so it fits into the machine.  Place it in the basket and slide it in place.  Add the proper amount of water and press start!

In three minutes, a fresh cup of coffee made with your favorite brand of coffee!

Because I wanted to fill my to-go cup, I added a little more coffee to the filter and used it twice.

I hope this helps you on your next trip to be able to enjoy fresh brewed coffee in your usual quantities!!

You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Friday, May 17, 2013

We will be at GHEA/Atlanta this weekend!

These candids are from last year conventions. 

We are super busy getting ready to be vendors at the GHEA Homeschool convention this weekend.  If you are going, please stop by our booths.  We are Jewels by Julia and Warfare by Duct Tape in the Exhibit Hall.

We'll be sharing more about these businesses that belong to the young people of our family.  Until next time, have a great weekend!

Hope to see you there!

  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DIY Resizing a Shirt

I have a little sewing trick that comes in handy so many times.  Re-sizing a shirt!

My son is 6 foot 3 inches tall and has a 32 inch waist.  Yes, he only weighs 150 pounds.  But he has such broad shoulders that he wears a men's large shirt.  The shirts are usually cut for a much heavier man so, you guessed it, they hang like a sack on him.  Voila! The shirt re-size to the rescue!

Have the person (my son) put on the shirt.  Pin up the sides and even under the arm if needed where the new seam will go.  Have them take the shirt off.  It is important that they can comfortably get the shirt on and off (especially if it is a pull-over) and you know this before you start sewing.

Carefully measure how far in the new seam will be at each pin.  I try to average the measurement and make both sides the same at that point.  Then with the shirt inside out pin the new seam. (I go pin by pin.)

For this shirt, I made it more narrow it at the waist and gradually flared it out under the arms.  I measure from the bottom to the narrowest place at the waist and make sure the sides are even. Stitch the seam. Have them try on the shirt to make sure it fits and the seam look smooth. I usually sew a zig-zag stitch inside the seam allowance so the fabric won't fray.  Trim the seam close to the zig-zag stitching.

I also did this for several of my blouses as I have lost 30 pounds over the last year. I just can't go out and buy a whole new wardrobe and some of these shirts were my favorites!  I had a helper pin up the shirt while I had it on. I sewed them up and they look great, plus I feel great that I'm not wearing big baggy shirts!

Save some dough, be resourceful and give it a stab.  (Just don't stab your finger with the pin!) You'll be glad you did! :)

  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer Picnic Chicken Nuggets

It's that time of year...warm air, sunshine and picnics outside!  These tasty chicken nuggets make a great summery meal.

And they are made from simple, healthy ingredients.

You (and your kids too!) will LOVE them. :D
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • dash garlic powder
  • dash onion powder
  • extra virgin olive oil for frying, enough to fry the chicken.
  • 2 breasts of boneless, skinless chicken (or enough for your crowd) ;)


  1. Cut the chicken into small pieces, no bigger than about 1 inch or so.
  2. In a small bowl, (I use a cereal bowl), beat the egg and add the 1 cup milk. Beat together.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all the rest of the ingredients, flour and spices. 
  4. Dip the chicken in the egg/milk mixture, then toss it in the flour/spice mixture to coat it. 
  5. Do it again. I double dip and coat for a nice thick breading but it is not necessary. Do it as you like.
  6. Set aside on a plate until you have coated all of the chicken pieces.
  7. Heat extra virgin olive oil in deep fryer (or if using a skillet or pot, heat that now.)
  8. Using a slotted metal spoon, slowly lower the breaded chicken nuggets into the hot oil.
  9. Fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Drain on paper towels.
  11. Test to make sure they are cooked through and cook longer if the chicken is not completely cooked. 
Serves 5. 

Serve with your favorite fresh veggies and side dishes! 

While the oil is hot and ready to go, make some Homemade Onion Rings, too!  The recipe might sound familiar because it is the same breading and it tastes Oh, So Good for both!  Easy-Peasy!!  :)

  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Simple Sunday Thoughts #6 - Forgiveness

Like a fresh spring rain, forgiveness washes everything clean, and restores life.

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9 

Humbly go to God and repent, and He will cleanse us from ALL sin.  Amazing!

  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 
Psalm 103:12

God does such a good job of forgiving us that He removes the sin as far as the east is from the west.  That's mind-boggling!!  It can't be fathomed!  But it's true!

  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Heb 8:12

God won't hold our sins over our heads and remind us of them every time we pray to Him.  He forgets them! 
 And thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
 Micah 7:19b  

That is amazing, too! God is serious when He says He forgives.  So if anyone reminds you of some sin that you have repented of, just know that God has forgotten it. 

When we forgive others as God as instructed us to do, let us do our best to forget their sins and not relive the sin over and over again to them.  

Forgive others as God has forgiven you. 


You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Popsicle Kisses Co. Hair Accessories GIVEAWAY

Julia of Popsicle Kisses Co. is giving away some of her lovely hair accessories! (No, this isn't the resourceful gal, Julia, it's another Julia.) :D

Two lucky winners will each receive one of these pink blossom hair clips. We have a bright pink "Valentine's Flower" and a soft pink "Neutrals and Pink" flower up for grabs.

Um yes. They are gorgeous.

The lighter pink flower is 3 and a half inches across, and the bright pink one is slightly smaller at 3 and a quarter inches. The. Perfect. Size. Not too big and not too small, they would grace any head of hair and can be added to a myriad of hairstyles. (So pretty!!!) :D

Details! How do you win these pretties for yourself??

Enter via the rafflecopter form below. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy. You're welcome! Have a perfectly lovely day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Friday, May 10, 2013

DIY Recipe Binder Makeover - FREE PRINTABLE!

(Gloria here!) Pinterest and the internet have given us unlimited recipes!  It is so much fun to pin all the yummy looking recipes in hope of getting them to your own table! 

But what to do with all the recipes?  It is hard to leave them on Pinterest or saved on your computer and actually use them.  

The answer... a Recipe Notebook! You might already have one, but what better time to spruce it up with a reorganization and makeover? :D  

Some of my recipes I've had for years! They hold special memories.
This is my grandmother's recipe for Banket, a traditional Dutch pastry... in her own handwriting.

The Benefits:
  • All your favorite and most used recipes all in ONE place.
  • A special safe place for old, family recipes on the original paper.
  • Recipes are organized and easily accessible.
  • Easy to add new recipes or change out the unwanted recipes.
  • Safe from moisture or sticky fingers!
  • Plus, it just plain PRETTY!
You will need:
  • Notebook or binder, preferably 3 ring.
  • Clear page protectors.
  • Our cute printable tabs
  • Clear packing tape
  • Your recipes
Place the recipes in the page protectors.  You can type in your own categories before you print out the tabs if you want or use the preprinted tabs. 

I used the clear packing tape to put the tabs on the page protectors.  You could also tape them on cardstock, hole punch and make those the dividers.  

If you have a pretty notebook, just add the recipes and dividers and you're done!  

Some notebooks have the space to slide in a pretty scrapbooking paper or picture... or plain notebooks could be decorated with washi tape.  

But I had a boring black binder so I covered mine with fabric.  I used the self-adhesive laminating sheets found at the office supply store.  I wanted it waterproof so I can wipe it off when it gets sticky. 

I laid out the fabric and cut around the notebook.  Be sure to close the notebook before you cut the final side as it takes more fabric to close it then when it is open.  Carefully cover with the laminating sheets and tape down on the inside.  

I have been using a notebook for many years and it was so nice to freshen it up with new page protectors and throw out old unwanted recipes!  Now I can't wait to print some more recipes and get cooking!!

Here are the pretty free printable tabs for you to use. I printed mine at a 5" x 7" picture so I could use five tabs down the recipe binder edge.  Make them any size you want by choosing the picture size when printing.  

Have fun!!


  You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Monthly Meal Planning

{Gloria here!} I am a planner.  Lists are my friends... and order makes me comfortable. :D  When I first heard about monthly meal planning, I was a little overwhelmed, thinking "Wow... where do you start with that?" It sounded too hard.  I wasn't sure I could pull it off.

Once I started to use it, I fell in love!  Having the meal ingredients on hand and my pantry stocked was a super good feeling!  I didn't stress about what we were going to have for dinner. It was right there, all planned out.

Want to give it a try? :)

You need 4 things:
  1. A list of favorite meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that you and your family like to eat.
  2. A Master Grocery List
  3. A Master Inventory List
  4. A one-month calendar

This post at Paisley Petal Events contains links to 18 different cute, FREE, printable calendars! Some of these would work splendidly for planning your monthly menus. (Julia likes the one from Miss Tina best!)

Print one of those cuties off and let's get started. 

First... you have to make your meal, grocery, and inventory lists.  This is a one-time effort and once this is done, you are off and running! :)

Okay, so first, make a list of your favorite meals. This will help you remember all your meal options while you are making up the menu. Write out breakfast menus, lunch ideas and dinner options: main dishes, side dishes, vegetables and desserts if your family eats them regularly.  (We don't eat dessert often, only on special occasions, so that isn't on my list.) 

Now for the grocery and inventory lists!

Here are my original lists. They are not very pretty... but they work really well for me!

Write up your own inventory list of all the foods and grocery store items that you regularly keep on hand.
As you can see from my example, this is everything that you use in your house and purchase from the store: food, personal products, ziploc bags, cleaners, spices, etc. This might take a little while to complete, but don't stress about it, you can always go back and add things later.

Why write it all up? Because you only have to do it ONCE, instead of every month. Then you can simply print out a copy and (for the grocery list) highlight the things you need with a highlighter, or (for your inventory list) mark tally marks next to each item that you have in stock !

Your grocery list will look something like the inventory but a little more streamlined.  On the inventory, I also listed things in my freezer like baked goods, cooked beans, produce from my garden, and other items that were stored for meals.  Those don't go on the grocery list, only things that you need to buy.

Here are the grocery and inventory lists.

You're doing great! Let's keep going!

Now, take an inventory. Go through your pantry, fridge, freezer, and everywhere you keep supplies, (like the bathroom!) and write down what you have, or what you need to keep in stock but don't have! :)

Then, with your cute printed calendar and your inventory, start planning your meals. I try to use up what I have on hand first.  Write down what you will have on each day.
We eat simple breakfasts so I don't put that on the calendar.  You may only have cereal or toast with scrambled eggs. Just make sure you purchase enough of those to last you for a month.
Having a lunch menu will help to chase away stress over what to eat.  But, maybe your children eat school lunches... in that case, no need to mark anything down.
For the evening meal, I write down the main dish, side dish and veggie.

You can plan your menu several ways.  If you only have seven different meals, you can eat the same meal on each day. For example- Sunday is chicken, spaghetti and meatballs every Monday, etc.  You could go through your list and write down the dinner ideas and repeat the list until you fill up your days.  Or, you could have a type of meal per day... Italian one day, beef dishes another, pork meals another, you get the idea.  Just go with what works for you!

Also, keep in mind your schedule.  If you know you will be gone all day one day, plan an easy dinner or maybe a crockpot meal. If you have activities  like sports and/or church activities, mark those down and plan accordingly.

If you want to start out doing just a week, that is great!  After you have successfully done that for a couple weeks, try going two weeks, and slowly work your way up to a month.

Some of you may be ready to jump into a month, so go for it!


After getting your meals planned out, you're ready to make your grocery list, checking your inventory list and meal calendar as you write it up.

I usually print a grocery list for each store at which I shop and write the name of the store at the top. (For us, it's Wal-Mart and Ingles.)  It saves confusion as I try to get the best deals from multiple stores.  Go systematically through each day on your calendar. For example, Sunday is crockpot chicken, potatoes and green beans.  I will count up how many times I need chicken for the month, see how many chicken meals I have in the freezer and then highlight chicken on my list and note the number I need to purchase next to it. Then I count up how many times I need potatoes and check my inventory and highlight it on my grocery list if I need potatoes.  You will have to estimate how many potatoes your family needs for a meal and about how many bags of potatoes you will need. I work my way through the calendar this way.

 After I have finished with the menus, I go through my inventory list to see if I need staples, like dish soap, shampoo, trash bags, etc. and highlight what I need, planning enough of everything to make it through a month.

Plan your actual GRAND EXCURSION (the shopping day) when the stores are not as busy. Also, plan to have some time when you get home to put away your groceries and make up some meals ahead of time. It will save you time and stress.  If you need a lot of items like me, take some helpers (my children are the best at this) with you.  Before you go through the checkout line, grab an empty cart, put it in the line first and have a helper put the bagged groceries in the cart while one helper loads the conveyor belt.  Meanwhile, You keep an eye on the screen to make sure the prices are correct and all items are rung up correctly.

When you get home from shopping with all your goodies, have your helpers help you put away your groceries neatly in the pantry and other storage areas.  :)  I take the meat out of the original package and put it in baggies so it is easier to thaw later.  I make our meatballs the next day and freeze them so they are all ready for cooking.  You may want to cook beef for meals like tacos ahead of time before freezing.  You get the idea.

Don't forget the SALES! I shop sales! When something I need goes on sale at my local grocery store, I am all over it!  I will buy extra to last a few months, especially if the item only goes on sale occasionally.  If you are savvy, you will notice that things like pasta and olive oil go on sale about every 3-4 months.  So try to stock up when the price is low!

I love shopping once a month.  It usually takes about 2-3 hours to get all our groceries.  I figure that I save that time x 3 for the weeks that I don't go to the store (6-9 hours per month!!)  Just think of all the fun things you can do with that extra time!!  Once you get the hang of it, you will never want to go back!

Plus, the stress of "what's for dinner" is totally gone!  It's all planned out.  Yes, sometimes life happens, and the menu needs to be changed, but you know you have the necessary ingredients for other meals right at your fingertips!  A well-stocked pantry is a joy!

We hope you enjoyed this menu planning post.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, we are always happy to help!

 You will find us linked up at some of these fine sites.