Thursday, September 29, 2011

DIY Frugal Blended & Iced Coffee Drinks {Plus a Blended Mocha Recipe}

"A fig for partridges and quails,
ye dainties I know nothing of ye;
But on the highest mount in Wales
Would choose in peace to drink my coffee."
~Jonathon Swift (1667-1745)

Did you know that today, Thursday, September 29, 2011 is National Coffee Day? (Don't worry, I didn't either until a few days ago…) However, I thought I would share some frugal coffee concepts with you now in which you can enjoy any day! 

First of all, I could never part with my unused coffee (it's too expensive!)…

so any leftover is poured into ice-cube trays and placed in the freezer.

Once frozen, I release the coffee cubes from the mold and place in a large covered plastic container in the freezer. I do this every time there is extra and keep adding to the collection.

And now… you can make your own blended coffee beverages without paying all the fancy money and without leaving your home. Simply blend up a cup of coffee cubes (about 6 - 8 large cubes) with a cup of milk, cream or any other liquid of choice and add in your favorite sweetener (like raw honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, etc.) and desired flavorings (like vanilla extract, mint extract, etc.). You can also make your own iced coffee's without diluting your drink by using these cubes with any leftover coffee you collected from the week. Be creative and make your own masterpiece!

Buy at
Blended mochas are my favorite! Here is my "healthy, guilt-free version" (printable of this recipe is here for your recipe book):

Blended Mocha
  • 1 cup of frozen coffee cubes
  • 1 cup of milk (we use raw)
  • 1 TBSP of sweetener (I use raw honey)
  • 1 heaping TBSP of unsweetened cocoa powder
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and enjoy!

Yields: One Large or "Venti" Blended Mocha

Variation: If you are feeling extra rambunctious, you can add a few tablespoons of chocolate chips to the blender with above ingredients in order to make it a "Blended Mocha Chip"… or a drop of peppermint essential oil for a blended peppermint mocha (just make sure your essential oil can be ingested like the doTERRA brand). 

My favorite chapter to read while drinking coffee? "He-brews of course (wink…)"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Watch Your Tone

There's more to speech than the words you say:
Your tone will also a thought convey.
For words may be warm - or icy cold;
Be touched by love or a hatred bold;
Be bright like sunshine, dispelling fears,
Or stinging - peppery - causing tears.

A tone that is sharp will cut and tear,
And say to others, "Look out! Beware!"
But words that are gentle, soft and kind
Bring healing balm and sweet peace of mind.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fourteen Carrot Gold and Serving Suggestions

Segment four of our first ever autumn garden features carrots.  We planted some for the first time with a slight problem... We planted too close and stunted the growth a bit. We just dropped a slew of seeds in a row, watered it occasionally and walked away (some of these gardening books make it sound so hard when it can be so simple). But, make sure to thin out the seedlings once they sprout or you will have baby carrots like we did. However, they are just as tasty!

  1. Excellent source of Vitamin A
  2. Excellent source of Vitamin C
  3. Excellent source of Vitamin K
  4. Good source of potassium
  5. Supports eye health
  6. Can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells
  7. Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease

Serving Suggestions:
  • Steam carrots and serve with some butter (or add some brown sugar as a treat)
  • Add into pasta salads
  • Serve raw with ranch and other dippy vegetables

What are your favorite ways to serve carrots?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Learning Geography from Picture Books

Do you want to share interesting places and cultures with your children? If so, travel with your family using beautiful and fun picture books that take them to far away lands! Who said geography was boring? Just make sure to interact with them as you read. Here are some ideas:

  • You can ask them if they can find the places you read about on the map or globe (I like to keep one nearby for easy access when we read).
  • Do they know anyone famous from that region?
  • Do they know what the weather is like in that region?
  • Do they know any famous places in that area?
  • If they could go anywhere in the world, where would they go? Read about that area!

These kinds of questions will bring the books to life and you will be surprised at how comfortable they will become with a globe or map in their hand.
Keep in mind that geography needn't be taught as a lone subject. Incorporate it into your daily routine. A bit here and a bit there and you have gently taught them without forcing in a time slot that you don't have! When you read about bugs in North America, have them point to North America on the globe. When a country is named in a book you read to your children, pause at that moment and have them find it on a map. When a passage describes a famous river, have them find it in an atlas. I think you get the point… Geography can be easily integrated into anything you are studying!

Here are some of our favorite picture books relating to geography:

Geography in General ~ Picture Books

World Geography ~ Picture Books

U.S. Geography ~ Picture Books

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Awful Assumptions & Associations ~ Guarding Our Heart & Home

    I was just reading the 2nd Book of Samuel where King David is crowned over all Israel. He remembered a few people who were good to him in his time of need and wanted to show his gratitude...
    "In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David thought, "I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me." So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David's men came to the land of the Ammonites,  the Ammonite nobles said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you to express sympathy? Hasn't David sent them to you to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?" So Hanun seized David's men, shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away." 
    2 Samuel 10:1-4
    The result of this hasty judgement toward David's good intentions was eventually the slaughter of the Ammonites. What was supposed to have been a blessing became a curse. What a sobering story!

    Awful Assumptions…

    It got me to thinking… How many times do we judge good intentions thus so? Our husband might say something that we take the "wrong way" or a friend may think she is doing you a favor which you take as an insult? Are we surmising too much when we know too little? (And then assuming the worst?) Do we create havoc where peace was intended like we shared with King David? We must be careful how we view situations. We shouldn't be so eager to judge actions in a poor light or jump to conclusions. It is so easy to assume the worst, but in the end it can destroy relationships!

    Awful Associations...

    Another part of this story that was thought provoking to me, were the nobles who were counseling Hanun. They truly gave him poor advice and it cost them their lives. Do you have any family or friends who act in the same manner? Do they "stir the pot" in your marriage (such as, "I can't believe you let your husband get away with that…") Do you notice that "drama" follows these people everywhere they speak? Guard your hearts and homes from such persons who enjoy bringing "flavor" to life by re-interpreting situations and facts and bringing controversy where ever they go.
    "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:16-19)
    "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." (1 Corinthians 15:33) 
    "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.  Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established." (Proverbs 24:1-3) 
    David's men insulted by the Ammonites

    Ladies, let us guard our heart and home from such mischief! 

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Autumn Inspired Activities

    "Autumn time is melancholy;
    Then the Winter storms are nigh;
    'Mid the garden's fading relics
    Mournful gusts are heard to sigh.

    Autumn's a luxuriant season;
    Then the Harvest glads our sight,
    Fruits grow ripe; and, glittering pheasants,
    You must fall for our delight."

    ~ Excerpt from "Seasons" by Sara Coleridge

    Motherly Love by Jacob Henricus Maris

    by Emily Dickinson

    The morns are meeker than they were,
    The nuts are getting brown;
    The berry’s cheek is plumper,
    The rose is out of town.

    The maple wears a gayer scarf,
    The field a scarlet gown.
    Lest I should be old-fashioned,
    I’ll put a trinket on.

    • Read some autumn inspired poems to your family while drinking hot cider.
    • Read some autumn inspired picture books:

    Down Buttermilk Lane by Barbara Mitchell

    Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro

    How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

    • Go apple picking.
    • Visit a pumpkin patch.
    • Make apple and/or pumpkin pies with your children.
    • Do some bark rubbings (If you have a tree field guide, label the type of tree you rubbed and cut out your specimans and paste onto a poster board to hang in your home for fall fun).
    • Do some iron on leaf crafts (When you have them completed, punch holes through the top of each leaf; run yarn or ribbon through the holes and make a leaf garland for your fireplace mantle or any other place in the house to give some autumn flavor to your home. The children will be thrilled to see their work displayed).
    • Decorate your hearth or windows with a pinecone banner. Using this clip art from the Graphics Fairy, have each child color a few "cones" and attach to string and hang as a garland. You may want to decorate with some brown glitter. 
    • Light your fireplace (if you have one) and snuggle together with all of the above…

    Or go outside and play in the leaves!

    Autumn by Norman Garstin

    Do some yard work while the weather is so crisp and clean…

    Start a compost pile with all those leaves…