January 30, 2013

We Snack (mostly) Raw Wednesdays: Popsicles

Homemade Popsicles are one of the best treats at our house!  These aren't just for summer, and they're not full of sugary, artificial flavors either!  We enjoyed these Chocolate Pops (from Tone It Up's Nutrition Plan, which I can't post) this summer and many others throughout the year, here are our top 3 favorites:

Chocolate Pops (Alternative) (by Choosing Raw
This recipe is actually for a Raw Chocolate Pudding, but I think it would make a perfect base for a creamy Chocolate Popsicle! 

1 Pitted Avocado (I know what you're thinking, but trust me...it's good)
6-10 Dates
1/2 tsp Vanilla
4 Tbsp (raw) Cocoa
1/2 cup Water
Blend all together in a food processor and pour into molds, or eat out of the bowl as pudding!
(Check out the link for the full instructions)

Green Monster Popsicles
This is an easy way to make two-meals in one.  Some mornings I like to make the girls smoothies for breakfast or morning snack, especially when the seasons are changing or we need an immunity boost.  When I do I like to make just a little extra (about one servings worth) and pour into the molds.  They love these too!

Kale or Spinach
Mixed Berries
Touch of Honey
Any extra goodies I have: Flax Seed, Chia Seed, Cinnamon, Shredded Coconut, Organic Greek Yogurt...
Blend with water or juice and pour!

Fruity Tooty Pops
One of the easiest ways to make Popsicles: throw a few chunks of fresh or frozen fruit in the molds and cover with juice or fruity flavored coconut water. Freeze and eat.  I have also thrown some almost-to-ripe strawberries in a blender with a little of my leftover Guava Coconut Water and made a slush, then frozen in the molds.  The girls loved all these!

January 29, 2013

Rock My Run, Free Running Mixes!

I signed up for a free Rock My Run membership a few months ago, I got 1 free credit and 1 free download when I signed up and another free credit each month afterwards, 2 so far!  So I used the first one on a christian running mix, plus I received a free download for signing up.  I saved the other credits and used them together on another christian mix.  I love the options, they have a bunch of filters you can use to get the right genres, speeds, etc. But I like their clean lyric options best and I especially love using my run time as a time to engage my spirit as well, so I am always looking for motivating, encouraging tunes!  Let me know if you try it out which mixes you like! 

Also, Pandora is a great free resource for music.  Has anyone found a good, encouraging workout or running station?? I am still trying to find something good. =)

January 28, 2013

Grocery Price Points!

When I first got married I was always trying to figure out what was REALLY a good deal!  I didn't know what the average price range was for most items, so I didn't know when a good sale was sitting right in front of me!  I posted earlier on the the ways I Save $$ On Groceries and More... but this was an awesome resource Hip2Save just put out.  I just had to share it with you!

Here are Hip2Save's average Price Points on most groceries.  She mentions that these may vary due to region, but it's a great place to start!

Here are her items to stock up on or keep an eye out for good sales, during different months of the year.

January 25, 2013

Walgreens Challenge Week 3

I picked up a NoGii Bar from Walgreens this week.  They were marked in the sale paper as $2.99 with a $2.99 Register Rewards! So FREE.  I have been wanting to try them out anyway.  So I had $2 RR to use, and I COULD have bought 2 NoGii bars for $4 out of pocket with $6 RR!  But I actually needed to buy some child tylenol, so I used the BOGO Half off sale on the Walgreens medicines and when you buy 2 you get 2,000 Points! So now between my Walk with Walgreens points and my purchases I have 3,420 points now (I used my first 5,000 towards a killer deal on diapers, and some coupons...pretty exciting)! I have a $3 RR for next week too!  What did you find?!? Share what deals you plan to get next week too! 

January 24, 2013

One Year Old Already...

Sadie Rebecca, our caboose, is 1 Year Old!  We dedicated her Sunday and then celebrated her first year with some family at our house.  I like to keep things simple when they're so little, since we will have many, many, many more opportunities to celebrate in full-blown princess style.  I am so grateful for my littles and our growing family.

January 23, 2013

We Snack (mostly) Raw Wednesdays: Bites of Energy

I have LOVED these little energy bites.  These make awesome snacks or desserts and my kids all love them too!!  Score!  They are raw and easy to make (I use a food processor, but a blender may work too if it's strong enough).  I freeze these...so they could last a long time if we didn't eat them all up so fast.  Here are a few of our favorite recipes:

Krazy Karob Koconut Bites (pictured above) - by Tone It Up.
2 cups of pitted dates (cut into smaller pieces)
1 scoop protein powder (I use Perfect Fit Protein to keep it RAW)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw almonds (chop first)
1/2 cup raw walnuts (chop first)
1/2 cup carob chips (or mini chocolate chips)
3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
Add a tiny bit of water to moisten, if needed

Start by chopping up the nuts, then I add the protein, cococnut, and flax and process until a fine powder. Empty into a seperate bowl (unless you have 2 food processors!) Cut the dates into smaller pieces and process them until a paste, add the fine powder and a little water if needed, blend together: using your hands at the end if needed to get it all mixed well.  Add carob chips.  Roll into tsp size balls and store in the fridge or freezer.  Yummmm!

Peanut Butter Bites (these are in the "mostly" catagory of "We Snack (mostly) Raw") - by Tone It Up.
1 cup Natural Peanut Butter (try to get one without SUGAR!)
1 cup Honey (raw is possible)
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup diced Apricots
1 cup sliced Almonds
Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Heat the honey and peanut butter over the stove on low heat, until smooth.  Mix in nuts, apricots and oats.  Stir until all ingredients are well coated.  Cool in the fridge for at least 45 minutes, then roll into balls and store in fridge or freezer!  These were the first ones we made, they were awesome until we realized the apricots were giving one of my kiddos the runs.  =P

Maple-PB-Date Balls - by Heather's Dish (I haven't tried these yet but they are next on my list!!)
1/4 cup Natural Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
13 pitted Dates
1-2 tsp Maple Syrup

Add Oats to a food processor and chop for 20-30 seconds, until they are the consistency of flour.  Add dates, peanut butter and maple syrup, processing 20-30 seconds before adding each of the remaining ingredients. Roll into balls, store in the fridge or freezer!

The great thing about these is it is so easy to add ingredients and expirement with flavors and textures. Enjoy your littles bites!!

January 19, 2013

Walgreens Challenge, Week 2 Goodies

SO!  I am still in the process of learning about this Walgreens Challenge, but I did get a few more good deals this week...GREAT deals, since they came out to be free!

First I have to say, one of the items I was going to get (mentioned by Hip2Save.com) wasn't the same price, so I passed that deal =(.  Then I got to the register and none of my coupons would ring up, so they lady called management over and they were very nice and put two of my coupons through, but not the ones for my Lipton Teas.  So I evened out with those instead of making $.25 on each. But not worth making a big deal over. =) Lesson Learned: Be Patient.  Pick your Battles.  Check prices throughout the store, some things may not be marked that you expected and there are ALWAYS tons of mark downs!!

Now on to the good stuff:
I picked up 2 Lipton Teas, $1 each (with reward card) and $1 Register Reward = $2 out of pocket, but like FREE.  I learned previously to separate Register Reward deals that were the same item, or you would only get 1!
I also picked up 4 Scrubbing Bubbles Vanishing Toilet Bowl Cleaner Drops Ins = 4 @ $1.49 each, with 2 $2/2 Coupons = $1.96 + I earned 2,000 points (equals $2)!!! 

I separated the Lipton Teas (and gave up my extra $.25 a piece coupons), but learned another valuable lesson: Don't forget to swipe your rewards card, or punch in your phone number in EACH transaction...so I got charged an extra $.29.

So the total for the larger transaction was $3.96, I used my $2 register rewards from last week (that should have been $4, but I lived and learned, right!?) =)  Total: $.96 (plus I got a $1 Register Reward back for next week and 2,000 points)
Second transaction was $1.29 (should have been $1 even, had I used my rewards card number - duh!) with $1 RR back... Total out of pocket, $2.25 today, have $2 to spend next week and a total of 6,060 points already!!! (which I can spend at 5,000 point intervals if I choose).

YAY!  I would say it's working...=)  We'll see what next week sales papers have in store.

ONE OTHER BIG THING!  I just signed up for Walk with Walgreens, which gives you 10 points for every mile you log on their website! Meaning: you can earn up to 1,000 points for free every month just by walking and logging in!  How Awesome! I am already working on getting in 100 miles by Valentines Day, so I'm logging them in and earning points for free. =)  Go here if you want to link your rewards card number and start earning points too!

AND, here is a link to a FREE Health Test!  Check the location nearest you that offers this service, call and make an appointment, bring in the voucher (I'm sure you will have to have already signed up for walk with walgreens) and they will do a FREE Blood Glucose Test, Blood Pressure Test, and Body Composition Test!  Then you can get a free AARP membership for you or a friend over 50 years old, for one year ($16 value).  Pretty Cool! =) Lastly, check their site for weekly coupons that they offer exclusively to Walk with Walgreens Members!!

January 18, 2013

Love Expressed (Free Devotional)

At the start of every year Gateway Church puts out a 21 day devotional to get the new year started right!  This years devotional is called Love Expressed.  What I love is they have the audio version of each day and they include original songs.  Go back and start from the beginning and enjoy this great resource, FREE!  Sometimes I just listen to the songs over and over. =)

Love Expressed Devotional

January 16, 2013

Love Your Body Challenge

I try not to post too many New Years challenges, because there are so many things we are all trying to change and grow in and too many at once is just, overwhelming!  But I have really been enjoying this New Years/Valentine's Challenge by Tone It Up.  The Love Your Body challenge goes until Valentines Day and it's all about eating cleaner, moving more and loving your body!  If you want more information check out This Post and sign up at the bottom of it to jump on board!  It's never too late to start.

One really cool goal they have set is to reach 100 miles by Valentine's Day!  That is a huge goal for me, but I plan to get there however I can, walking, jogging, biking, running, sprinting and crawling if needed!  =) So far I am at 34 out of 100!!  I never would've imagined I could get 34 miles in 2 weeks!  It's a very exciting goal for me.

Let me know if you jump on board with Tone It Up and Love Your Body!

January 15, 2013

SSMT: Verse 2!

January 15th...Time of Siesta Scripture Memory Team Verse 2!  Go here for all the information and don't forget to "check in" on the LPM Blog with your memory verse, if you start early enough and stick with it all year, these memory verses will be your ticket into a Beth Moore conference in Houston, TX at the start of 2014!! =)

My previous verse was awesome to meditate on these past two weeks.  This verse is already in my heart so I decided that I'll focus on it for the remainder of the month:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." - 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
Let's fill our minds and hearts with the living Word of God!!!! 

January 14, 2013

Walgreens Challenge

This is the first time I've ever tried this and I'm pretty excited!  The Challenge is to spend only $5 dollars at Walgreens and see how much stuff you can get over the entire year!  I have to decided to bump it up to $10 because I am a tad to limited with $5.

So far I have bought 2 packs of Goody's Elastics, with 2 $.50 coupons, totaling $5 and received $4 in Register Rewards back!  Something I learned the hard way, is anytime you are getting more than 1 Register Reward item that is the same product, you have to ring them up in seperate transactions. Live and learn.

Here is a great recap on Walgreens Register Rewards, Loyalty Points System, Coupon Policy and a link to where you can find their weekly deals laid out for you!  Let me know if you plan to join in the challenge!  I am doing this with 3 other ladies already! =)

If you want to join here are a few starting tips for you:

1. Go to your local Walgreen’s, get a free Balance Rewards card. 
2. Pick up a Walgreen’s coupon booklet and sale paper (sales run Sunday - Saturday, weekly).
3. Check the links above for lots of helpful information!!!

On a side note, I was able to pickup 2 packs of Bic Highlighters (which I actually needed, as you can see since one is already missing =) for $1.08 at Staples last week! I love that they take manufacturers coupons!!!

January 9, 2013

We Snack (mostly) Raw Wednesdays: Juicer!

Lately I've been enjoying JUICING (thanks Sis for the Juicer)!  A really creative and easy way to get a TON of fruits and veggies in throughout the day.  I usually juice whatever I have on hand, but here are a few my favorite "recipes."  Note: I always juice the greens first, so the more juicy fruits can help "push out" the green juice.

Garden Veggies and Sweet Greens mixed, for 2
Sweet Greens
2-4 Kale leaves, remove stem
1 Cucumber
2 whole Carrots
1 Orange

Garden Veggies
Handful of Spinach
1 Tomato
1 Carrot
1 Apple
1 Clementine
1 Lemon Wedge (for a little zing and extra cleansing)

Bright Morning
1 Apple
1 Carrot
1 Clementine
1/2 Pineapple

A Little Bite
Handful of Arugula and Spinach mix
2 Carrots
1 Clementine
Small chunk of Ginger

Here are a two more juicing recipes to try out from Sara SnowMind Refresher and Orange Tonic

When I started out I stuck to the sweeter veggies and citrus fruits to really help balance the flavor.  Go lighter on the darker and bitter greens until you've got the right amounts for your taste.  Then slowly add a little bit more each time.  Enjoy!

January 4, 2013

The Gift of Grace: We The Stewards.

Have you ever wanted something so bad that it seems to be everywhere around you all of a sudden?  A bright red camaro has caught your eye and now all you see are the bright red camaros on the street. That's how I feel with the word or idea of "Grace." I'm not sure why being Gracious has become my personal, life anthem...but I feel like I hear and see and learn more about it all the time.  And it's really been a hard thing for me to pin down, what exactly it looks like lived out.
Well my pastor shared an awesome word a few months ago, and it's been ringing in my heart ever since.  He titled it "The Stewardship of Grace," you can listen to it here if you'd like, all these quotes are from that message.  What I loved most was the picture of Grace as a gift we've been given, that we are responsible to steward.
"The only way we can receive grace upon grace, everyday is to see it as a gift and constantly give it away." - Steve Lawson.
As we are faithful with the grace we've been given, we are given more and become GRACIOUS people!  How exciting!  I feel like I've been given the secret formula, and it's so simple.  I can do this.  You can do this.  But it starts here...
"If we want to constantly recieve God's grace, we have to be willing to constantly give it away...so we must all also receive it.  If we won't recieve it, we cannot give it away!- Steve Lawson.
So first let's realize we are never good enough or we will never deserve God's grace.  He has given this gift to each of us, no matter who we are or what we've done.  We must first receive God's gift of grace to us.  Then we can't be horders.  God's kingdom is upside down and inside out compared to the way this world works.  Here if you are given a gift and you give it away, it's gone.  But with God when you give away your gift and look back at your hand, there is more.  Over and over and over again, we give and He gives us even more.
"Grace saves us and transforms us. Grace allows us to serve Him and empowers us. If you want more, be responsible for what you've been given - and give it away!" - Steve Lawson.
So here is my epiphany in a nutshell ;)

I cannot be gracious until I first receive God's grace.  Then I must give it away (treating others and seeing others with grace).  God will increase as I steward well - and that is how I become a gracious person.  Bam

Lord help us all to steward this precious gift well everyday of our lives.

January 2, 2013

We Snack (mostly) Raw Wednesdays: 6 Ingredients, 4 Treats!

6 Ingredients = 4 Delicious Desserts

I entered this in a contest with Tone It Up last summer for their new protein, Perfect Fit Protein. It was fun and tasty!  And all of these are raw except the cookies =)

Start by blending the banana, chocolate Zico coconut water, Perfect Fit Protein (or any Protein powder you have on hand), Cocoa and Peanut Butter.  Then you can pour in a glass and enjoy "Chocolate Coconut Chill" or pour into a popscicle mold and freeze for a few hours and you have the "Peanut Butter Cup Pop." To make the "Creamy Coco-Nana" just pour into an ice cream maker, or freeze and stir every 30 minutes until it's the consistency of soft ice cream. 
Then to make the "No Bake PB Bananers" pour the blended ingredients into a sauce pan and heat with the extra Tbsp of peanut butter.  Add the oats and remove from heat.  Combine and add carob chips.  Drop spoonfuls on wax paper and refrigerate for an hour.  Enjoy 4 delicious desserts with good for you ingredients!!!

More about Perfect Fit Protein

Benefits of Zico Coconut Water

January 1, 2013

SSMT: Verse 1

Happy New Year!  I pray this year, 2013, is the best yet!  May we grow deeper in love with Jesus and have a richer love for each other!

As I mentioned last week (here), this is our first scripture memory verse of 26 this year!  I chose Psalm 19:14 (NLT):
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
Let me know what you are memorizing and be sure to post it on the Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore's) Blog here!  WE can DO THiS!!
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