Join the challenge!

A few how-to’s and explanations on how to survive a spend-fast. Hope you’ll join me for this February’s Spend Fast Challenge!

This challenge will force you to clean out and use up what you already have and discover time and money you didn’t know you had. Join the adventure!

First: Ask to join the Facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1215035715260083/

Second: Visit the website and sign up for blog notifications:
https://tammylanhamimagesblog.wordpress.com/february-spend-fast-challenge/

up-for-the-challenge

Advertisements

Best Detergent Recipe EVER!

laundryI have been making my own laundry detergent for over four years, now and am VERY happy with the results. However, my whites started not looking quite as white.  So I’ve been playing with detergent recipes to get a good combination that seems to work and here it is:

2 bars ivory soap, shredded (a cheese shredder works best)

2 cups washing powder (not baking powder, Arm & Hammer Washing Powder is at Walmart and Kroger on the detergent aisle)

2 boxes baking soda

1/2 box Borax

1 box Purex Powdered Bleach

2 cups of Oxi-Clean for extra icky laundry

Use 1 small scoop (about 1″ deep, 1″ around) for regular loads, a heaping scoop for heavy stained loads.  I have made many batches of this recipe and each batch makes just under 3 gallons and lasts about 8 months.  I do 4-6 loads of laundry per week for my family of 4.  I haven’t even used half of the washing powder, borax or Oxi-Clean, yet.  MUCH cheaper than buying Tide (or even the cheap store brand stuff)…

headshot 2Tammy Lanham uses her passions for writing, speaking, and photography to entertain and encourage moms, marriages, and entrepreneurs.  She homeschools.  She volunteers.  She’s an entrepreneur.  She sleeps – sometimes.  Oh, and she eats chocolate.

Tammy is married to Tommy Lanham – a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus whose mission is to equip and empower entrepreneurs, leaders, and dreamers to climb to their untapped potential.

Visit Tammy’s website:  www.TammyLanham.com 
Visit Tommy’s website:     www.TommyLanham.com  

 

 

 

The Day God Showed up at the Junk Store

Yesterday, my family and I went to several yard sales.  While at one in a nearby town, a lady there heard me asking if they hadclosed sign any cast iron pieces.  I recently cleaned up and restored a family heirloom piece to near mint condition and I was so proud of myself!  I wanted to see if I could restore some rusty, gunky pieces.

She told me of a junk store just a few blocks from where we were.  I was so excited!  We got in the minivan and drove to this little store.  They had stuff piled up everywhere outside and I was tickled to “hunt.”  I made it around to the door to see a sign that said “Closed.”

I was almost in tears.  I know – it’s a sickness when cast iron can bring you to tears!

Anyway, I turned around to leave when a regular customer / good friend of the owner appeared behind me.  I have no idea what his name is so we’ll call him “Bob.”  He reminded me of Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty.

So “Bob” said “The owner was going out of town for the morning but said he’d be back later today.  I have his number if you want to see if he’ll be here soon.”  So I called Tim (the owner).  Tim very bluntly said “I won’t be there for a few hours.  Sorry.”  Okay – so I tried…. time to go home.  😦

About that time, this lady appeared inside the front door of the store.  About scared me to death!  “Bob” told her we were from out of town and really wanted to look at the cast iron pieces.  Penny so graciously let us in.  There’s no way to explain how excited I was to be going inside this little treasure box!!  Giddy could not begin to explain it.  I walked into a little room that was completely dedicated to cast iron!  Oh my goodness!  I got dizzy!

There were lots of mostly clean pieces that were hanging on walls and sitting on shelves but what got me even more excited was the grocery cart sitting in the middle of the room full of rusty, gunked up pots and pans.  Did I mention the word giddy earlier?  Go one step farther and you can imagine my world!

TJJ excitedSo I spent the next 45 minutes digging every single piece out of that grocery cart hunting for the nastiest, grossest pieces to practice cleaning on.  I seriously broke a sweat during this hunt, people.  I excitedly took the 3 skillets and one little bean pot to the counter to get prices and make my final selections.  Penny noticed these items weren’t priced and said she needed to call the owner to get the prices.  She tried to use her cell phone and it wouldn’t work.  “Bob” offered his but was out of minutes and he suggested she use my phone I had called the owner on earlier.  She called Tim and asked about the skillets.  I don’t know exactly what was said but I heard that man screaming at this girl like a dog.  She very quietly kept saying “I didn’t know.  I didn’t have much of a choice.”  He told her he couldn’t price anything over the phone and yelled at her for borrowing a customer’s phone to make a call.  I don’t know which broke my heart more – the fact that I couldn’t take home my treasures or that Penny looked like she could burst into tears when she told me.   I literally walked to the minivan in tears.

 

She called Tim and asked about the skillets.  I don’t know exactly what was said but I heard that man screaming at this girl like a dog.  She very quietly kept saying “I didn’t know.  I didn’t have much of a choice.”  He told her he couldn’t price anything over the phone and yelled at her for borrowing a customer’s phone to make a call.  I don’t know which broke my heart more – the fact that I couldn’t take home my treasures or that Penny looked like she could burst into tears when she told me.   I literally walked to the minivan in tears.

So that’s it, right – live through disappointment and go home.  Quit thinking about it.  Just go on with regular life.  Except I couldn’t.  The lump in my throat and the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.  Go to sleep – close your eyes, breathe in, breathe out…. eyes fly open – I can’t get that woman’s face out of my mind.  Why, Lord?  Why is she on my heart?

go back

 

 

 

What?

Go back.

What do you mean “Go back.”  Why, Lord?  Why in the world would I go back??

Go back.

What in the world would I say?

Go back.

Geesh – really?

Go back.

But I don’t want to.

Go back.

So I got up this morning with my stomach tied up in knots and these people on my mind.  Why would I drive 45 minutes to a town completely out of my way and what the heck would I say to these complete strangers when I got there??  Would I talk to the owner, Tim?  Would I give Penny a hug?  What?  Why in the world??  It’s none of my business!!

Go back.

But what if they tell me it’s none of my business?  Because… it’s not, really.  Right?  What if he throws me off his property?

Go back.

But….

Go back.

I begrudgingly got dressed and got in the car.  Again, I tried to reason with God.  Ever tried to do that?  Never works out in the end but I still tried.

Lord, it’s Saturday.  My husband’s home today.  I have guests coming for lunch tomorrow, I need to be home today.  With my family.

Go back.

But what will I say?  I have nothing to say, Lord!

Go back.

pouting

Okay – FINE!  I’ll drive there!!  But this is going to turn out badly.  What could I possibly say to accomplish anything positive????  Tomorrows newspapers will read “That Preacher’s Wife has Head Ripped Off by Junk Store Owner” That’ll be just great, won’t it Lord?  Is that what you really want?  For me to make a fool of myself?  To get yelled at?  Why in the world would you want me to do something like this???

 

 

I thought about calling my friends to make sure they had bail money ready – what if he threw me off his property or had me arrested for harassment??

Go back.

All the way there, I argued, fussed and imagined every single worst possible scenario.  When I got there, the parking lot was completely full.  I rolling vandrove past the place three times and finally reasoned “It’s full – I can’t even pull into the parking lot.”  You know, my silly van turned into the parking lot anyway.  Stupid van.  Never listens to me.  I had to park on the edge of a hill.  Great.  The van will go rolling down the hill and when I get thrown off the property, I’ll have to hitch hike home.  Perfect.

I get out of the van and walk towards the door where there are 7-8 large, burly, bearded men laughing loudly.  I tried to quietly walk past.  Lord, I’m not talking to any of them.  They could eat me for dinner.  About that time, one of the men looked at me and said, “Sorry, we’re closed until Tuesday.”  Shew.  Off the hook!  I can go home now!  Felt like I was skipping through a field of daisies!

I turn to walk away.  Something literally hit me in the gut.  You know that feeling when you go over the top of a hill when you’re on a roller coaster.  Or riding in the back of a vehicle when a maniac is driving way too fast over a hill?  Yeah – that feeling.  Hit me right in the gut.

I honestly didn’t even have time to think about what I was going to say.  I turned around so fast and the words “Is Tim here?” ran out of my mouth so fast, I couldn’t catch them.  The biggest, burliest dude looked at me and said, “I’m Tim.”  Gulp.

Legs – listen up…. run.  Turn right now and run.  Stupid legs didn’t listen either.  There I stood with all these men looking at me.  I quietly asked if I could speak to him privately for a moment.  He stepped away from the group.  Lord, what the heck have you gotten me into????  What do I do now?

“I was here yesterday.”  Wringing my hands, nervous.  Really wanting to puke.  Seriously.  That knot that’s been in my stomach for the past 24 hours is trying to make its way up my esophagus.  All over the big burly dude.  That wouldn’t be good.

“This is not something I would normally do.  In fact, I hate confrontation.  It really bothered me the way you spoke to Penny yesterday on the phone.”

“What are you talking about??”

That sounded defensive.  Lord, don’t let him punch me.  Please?  Wonder if the van has rolled away yet…. come on legs, pleeeeease??

“I was standing five feet away and I could hear you yelling at her.  It has really bothered me and had to come back to say something about it today.  It’s probably none of my business but you didn’t need to talk to her the way you did.”

scary faceLord – why is he staring at me like I’ve lost my mind?  Why did you put me in this very awkward position?  Why won’t he say anything?  What do I do, Lord?  Please keep me from puking on him.

“Wow.  I was trying to tell her I couldn’t price anything over the phone.  I’ve been ripped off before doing something like that.”

Our conversation turned to his past experiences of people stealing from him, taking advantage of him, etc.  I told him that’s not what I came for – I came to challenge him on the way he spoke to Penny.  He then told me Penny was his fiance.  The knot in my stomach got worse.  Poor Penny.

He then asked me which cast iron pieces I was looking at.  “I honestly don’t want to purchase anything from you.  I just wanted to tell you that you can’t speak to people the way you spoke to her yesterday.  It’s not right.”  He then asked me to please come in the store and show him what I had been looking at.

Why does he want me inside?  I’m not going in there with him…. um….. where did all the guys who were here go?  Hello?  The parking lot is completely empty except for my van perched on the edge of the hill.  He’s going to take me somewhere inside, chop me up into little pieces and fry me in one of those beautiful cast iron pans, isn’t he??  Gulp.

Go back.

stranger danger 1 stranger danger 3

stranger danger 2

Are you kidding me, Lord?  Stranger danger!  Going in a closed store with a man I just confronted for yelling at his fiance?  No.  No way.  I won’t go.  Nope.  Not. Going.

Go back.

I couldn’t stop my feet.  They were following Tim inside the store.  Stupid feet.  What – is NOTHING listening to me today???

Inside, to my relief, I saw “Bob” and Penny, both.  Penny said I looked familiar and Tim said “Yeah, she just jumped all over my a** for yelling at you yesterday.”  The look on Penny’s face was absolutely priceless.  He told her what I had said.  I told her she was worth more than gold to God.  There were tears.  We walked back to the cast iron room and I showed him the pieces I had found yesterday.  He gave me pricing on them but I told him I wasn’t here to buy.  I ended up buying anyway but made sure he knew that’s not why I came back.

At the checkout, Tim continued to tell me everything going on in his world – busted water pipes has destroyed his home, a mini stroke in January, uncontrollable high blood pressure, he passed out at work a couple weeks ago…..  Honestly, I was thinking “Time to go!  I did what you wanted, God.  Now let me go home!”  I had my  hand on the door and the door pulled open a couple of feet.

Go back.door

Something grabbed that door, pulled it shut and these words came flying out  “I’m not very comfortable doing this but is it okay if I could pray with you?”  What??  Lord, come on!  I was almost out the door!

I prayed for Tim’s health issues, his business, his home, Penny and their relationship with one another and even prayed for silly old “Bob” sitting in the corner.  When I got done, “Bob” shouted “Amen!”  Tim smiled and said “Penny needs all the prayers she can get.  I’m an a** to love.”  Penny very quietly said “The Lord sent you here today.  Thank you.”  Just for a brief moment, time  stood still.

You know, there have been times in my life that I felt like I should’ve done something.  It was on my heart and I didn’t do it.  But this time, I had no control.

I COULD NOT walk away from this.  The Lord wasn’t going to let me leave until I did what He wanted.  No matter how incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.

How many times have I turned away from that “I need to do something” feeling?  I’m in a hurry, I’m running late, I need to go do this, that and the other.  How many times have I refused to listen to God’s leading only to deny someone a blessing He was trying to give them.  I’m so stinking stubborn.  stubborn

Tammy LanhamTammy Lanham is the wife to Tommy Lanham and Momma to  Appolonya and Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She travels and speaks to women, entertaining and encouraging them in their Christian walk.In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind….

Thanks for reading!

 
 

 

Spending Fast Update

I’ve been gathering my notes on our spending fast last February. If you are thinking of doing one of these, here are a few tips we learned…

First and foremost – AND MOST IMPORTANT…….

1. Stock up on toilet paper!! – You can “make do” with just about anything else in your home but this is one that you simply cannot substitute. Buy more than you think you could possibly need.  Then add one more package.

2. I went the last night of January and purchased my fresh foods like spinach, bananas, apples, kiwi, oranges, pears, etc. Spinach and bananas only last about a week (you can also freeze the ripe bananas) but apples, kiwi, oranges can last longer especially if kept in the fridge and pears can last a little longer if you buy them not entirely ripe.

3. Meal plans were a must for us. I wrote out all 4 weeks of menus while looking through my freezer and pantry. If I had frozen hot dogs, I knew I would need to buy a package of buns.  A great alternative to bread and buns are tortillas – they last much longer before going “stale” or growing green mold and can be used as buns, taco wraps, peanut butter roll ups or just plain sandwiches. It was important to buy the things I would need to use up the stuff in the fridge / freezer / pantry (i.e. buns for the hot dogs, etc.).

4. We also didn’t go to restaurants or out to eat the whole month either so it was important for us to keep snacks and bottled waters with us at all times. We looked at our calendars and double checked for any events that would call for pot luck meals or any special spending situation (birthday party invites, etc.) that would cause us to spend extra money and took steps to resolve or avoid it being an issue.

5.  We didn’t change our habits when it comes to milk.  We often drink almond milk which has a shelf life of up to a month.  We also buy raw cows’ milk from a local farmer.  We drank the cows’ milk the first week, then drank almond the rest of the month.

All in all, we did pretty good. We are going to be doing the same thing again next February. Let me know how yours spending fast goes!  Be sure to leave comments and recommendations for the rest of us!

Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your top left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

Tammy Lanham

 

Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind….

Thanks for reading!

My Spending Fast – The Lesson of the 4 Old Brushes

nospendingSo I’ve decided to expand our yearly February “no grocery store” commitment.  This year I thought about expanding it to “no restaurants.”  My only 2 exceptions were gasoline and whatever Valentine’s Day plans my husband makes.  The more I thought about it and looked around me at our first world home crammed full of first world “necessities” I became increasingly aware of my “first world spoiled-ness” (Is that even a word?) and was convinced we need to simplify our lives.
tpaper
So, after my “first world” epiphany, I began to plan.  I wrote out a whole month of meal plans carefully planning fresh foods for early in the month and frozen and canned goods for later in the month.  I purchased our typical budget ($400/mo.) worth of food on January 30th.  It took 3 people to roll the carts out and stuff all those groceries into our van!  The only thing I made SURE we had an abundant excess of was toilet paper.  ‘Cause Lord knows, we don’t need to be running out of toilet paper in this house.

We’ve eaten good this first week of the fast.  We had fresh spinach all week, fresh apples, bananas (they were gone by Tuesday), grapes, blueberries and many other goodies.  We ate these fresh produce items first knowing they would spoil quickest.  Confession time:  I will admit we had one slip-up.  We had an incident where we had ordered lunch at an organization a few months ago and they couldn’t find our payment.  We were there, it was lunch and didn’t have time to run home to pick up anything.  So we went to Wendy’s and let the kids eat from the value menu… (I told them they’d better be glad Mommy was being flexible)…. while I sat and drank my free Wendy’s water.  Lesson learned:  From now on, we take a bag of snacks and bottled water with us wherever we go, at least in the month of February.

So, I’ve already spent our budget this month, so how is this saving us money??  My hope is that it will make me think about what we DO have and make use of it instead of me joining in our culture’s “throw it away or buy a new one” mentality.  My only example thus far is this….. our children needed paint brushes for a canvas painting art class they just began taking.  I somehow missed the memo that they needed to bring their own brushes.  I thought the class fee would cover brushes.  In the past, I would have run out and purchased them both their own set of new br1brushes (along with at least $50+ of “necessary” stuff I didn’t know I “needed” until I got to the store).  But because of this spending fast, I asked my daughter to go through all of her paint supplies to see what she could find.  Did she find a whole package of brand new brushes?  Nope!  She dug like she was digging for a golden treasure.  (Did I mention this also accomplished a goal of cleaning up her  art area??)  She squealed when she found 4 used, crusted up old paint brushes.  We washed them up, put them in her backpack and took them to class with her.  She leaves them in class for when her brother goes in right after her and he uses them.  They are careful not to lose them because they are the only ones we own.  Since the brushes cost about $6 per package, I think I’ve saved around $12.  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???

(Do you hear the intended sarcasm??  Go ahead, read it again with the sarcasm….)  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???  BUT a second thought crosses my mind…. I didn’t just save $12.  I saved $62+!!  $12 for brushes and $50 of “needed” junk.  Oh and did I mention…. it taught my children to be happy and thankful for what they do have, to share what they have and to take care of their things….

It taught my children to be thankful for 4 old brushes.  brushes

There are lots of people have have 30 day no-spending challenges or spending fasts, etc.  Google them and maybe they have some good ideas that will inspire you!  Wanna hear the next step in my February project?  My goal is to make $500 extra this month by selling odds and ends using Facebook yard sales and eBay so we can increase our emergency fund……

Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

Tammy LanhamTammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

Money Savings Class available nationwide!

(I’ve been teaching a Money Saving Strategies Class  for about a year now and for the first time ever, we will take this class live!  If you have wanted to attend my class but live too far away, THIS is your chance….  I’ll give you more information at the end of this blog.)

Everybody wants to save money.  I don’t know anyone who goes through life saying “I want to waste my cash.”  And if you sit down and look at what’s going on in the life of your checkbook, unfortunately you will find that there are not a lot of areas in your life you can really cut back on.  The car insurance is pretty much the same every month.  The electric bill could be reduced a little, the house payment is the same every month, the gas to and from work varies but is always a big part of the budget.  So if most of the necessary expenses are pretty consistent, how in the world can we save money??

Groceries.  Everybody eats, most everybody enjoys eating.  I’ll stop right here to tell you, I’m not one of the Extreme Couponing women that spends 20+ hours a week finding, cutting, clipping coupons and another 20+ hours grocery shopping and stockpiling.  I am a minister’s wife, a full time photographer and I homeschool our 2 children – 3 full time jobs if you ask me.  I simply do not have time to travel all over town and visit several stores to take advantage of the deals I find.  I shop at one store (Kroger) and I have come to know that store very well.  I know when they do markdowns, when the least crowded time to go is and which cashiers like coupons and which don’t.

I spend about an hour a week gathering, clipping and organizing my coupons.  And most of the time, it’s done while doing other activities and it always involves my family.  My children have gotten better than me at finding the coupons and even my 5 year old helps out!  He loves cutting out coupons or a.k.a.…. refining his small motor skills….

I’ve found that I win or lose the money savings battle not in the grocery store but in my living room.  I research the sales and coupons and make a meal plan and grocery list before I ever leave home.  The first few weeks, it involved a time investment of about 2 hours but now that I’ve gotten into a routine, an hour is all it takes.

The website www.thekrazycouponlady.com has been a valuable tool for me.  It is completely free and it tells you what is on sale at your store any given week and if there are any coupons available for those sale items.  Use this website in conjunction with your family’s meal plan to get some great savings.  I have two children (ages 5 and 8) and our grocery bill for our family of 4 is typically under $60 per week.  We budget $100 per week to put towards things we find on a very good sale (to put into our stockpile or give to our church’s food bank) or to save up for bigger items like shoes, coats, backpacks, etc.

Alright, now for the more information….  This class will be taught LIVE this Saturday, February 25th, 2012 from 10 a.m. until 12:00 noon.  If you can’t join us live at those hours, it’s okay!  Go ahead and register and you get a mp3 download of the class to listen to as many times as you need to!  Here’s the event page link:   http://ibloom.co/events/savemoney!

I’ll see you there!

Organizing Groceries & Saving Money!

This year, I have decided to work on my organizational skills when it comes to groceries and shopping.  I think I do really well keeping our grocery budget (just food) at $60 per week for our family of four but I really wanted to plan better.  Yes, I stayed at or under the budget each week but sometimes I would have to “borrow” from the next week’s budget to get something I forgot for this week, etc.  Sometimes I was making 3-4 trips a week to get groceries and just like a lot of you folks, I just don’t have time to do all that!

I decided to pick a month and do my menu planning and grocery shopping before the month began.  Yes, I am a wimp so I picked February because it was the shortest month… 🙂  It was to be an exercise in self discipline, planning ahead with menus and only making one trip to the grocery store (be it a LONG, overwhelming trip). I began this process last week by sitting down and organizing my menu planning and taking an inventory of my freezer, fridge and stockpile.  One of the things you have to be careful with when you stockpile is making sure you actually use the stuff you purchase.  So I developed my February menu by using most of the foods I already have on hand and then I made a list of what I would need to complete the month.  My biggest challenge has been planning for the fresh fruits and vegetables.  At the beginning of the month (the first 10 days or so), it’s easy to plan bananas, apples, salads, etc. but what do you do the rest of the month?  I decided to depend on canned fruits and vegetables (store-bought and self-canned at home from our garden) and dehydrated fruits and veggies for later in the month.  As for milk, our church buys milk and orange juice each Sunday for the breakfast they serve before Sunday School.  Our family has been blessed to be given the leftovers each week so we rarely have to buy milk or orange juice.

So today, I gathered the grocery coupons I have been accumulating, my sales ad (Kroger), my reusable bags and my two children and headed to Kroger.  Not long after walking in the door did I realize I had left my grocery list at home!!!  What a way to start this commitment to organization, huh??!!  ugh….

Once I entered Kroger, I began my regular routine – I stopped by the Manager’s Special section first and ran up on some really good buys.  Then I circled around to the bakery Ooops! cart where they put marked down breads and finally, we stopped at the produce overripe section.  I found a box of 8 organic kiwi (normally priced around 2/$1) for .49!  I bought 3 boxes.  Yes, they will need to be used very soon but they will dry very nicely in my dehydrator for the end of this month’s snacks.

With the help of The Krazy Coupon Lady (absolutely amazing free couponing website), I knew which items were on sale and matched them with good coupons to get some great deals.  Surprisingly, it only took me an hour and 30 minutes, start to finish.  I ended up with two carts filled to the brim!  At the checkout, my total was $301.03 before the sales and coupons.  My total after discounts was $145.31.  (And as an added bonus, I had a $100 gift card as a gift from our church that helped bring our total out of pocket to $45.31.)

And for those naysayers who complain that people who stockpile are silly (putting it nicely), let me share this story.  A family came by our church last Sunday night after Bible study and needed food.  Our church’s food bank has been dwindling since there is so much need in our community right now (as in most communities).  They specifically asked for children’s drinks and a bag of sugar.  My husband (who is a minister) called me and asked if we had anything to give to them.  Praise God our stockpile was there.

It has been a challenge preparing for this month but I will let you know how it’s going as the month goes.  For those of you who are interested, here are some photographs of my menu plans for the month.  (The third week of the month, we will be at JBC for homecoming so I didn’t plan many cooked foods for that week.)  You may notice I only plan 3 lunches and 3 dinners for our family.  The rest of the time, we eat leftovers or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, whatever is around that’s convenient.

By the way, I’m teaching a class on how to do this on Saturday, February 25th.  Here’s the link for more information or to sign up!  http://ibloom.co/events/savemoney

Follow Me on Pinterest

Homemade is a GOOD word!

Wanted to share this from one of the writer’s at our Henry County Local newspaper.

The Nom-Nom Diaries: Make your own Instant Oatmeal

                    Submitted by Jonna Spelbring… on Wed, 04/27/2011 – 10:17am
//

As a mild creature of habit, every weekday morning starts with tea and oatmeal for me. I fluctuate between steel cut oats (which I love) and instant oatmeal.

Instant oatmeal is, quite simply, more convenient. And for the longest time, it didn’t occur to me that I could make my own from scratch. After reading a column in the New York Times by Mark Bittman, I had a light bulb moment, and set forth in search of instant oatmeal recipes.

In the end, it’s cheaper per packet, and you can control the type and quality of the ingredients.

All told, the recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, bag and store.

After some tinkering with sugar and spice levels, I finally tweaked the recipe I found. Enjoy:

Homemade Cinnamon-Spice Instant Oatmeal:
6 cups quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar*
2 TBSP cinnamon, ground*
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground*
1/4 tsp cloves, ground*
1/2 tsp cardamom, ground (optional)*
~12 sandwich resealable baggies

* – spice amounts are variable. Use more of what you like, less of what you don’t.

1. Using a blender or food processor, grind 1.5 to 2 cups of the oats, until they’re a flour-like powder. Use more if you like your oatmeal really thick, less if you don’t. This part may require some tinkering on your part until you find the consistency you like. If using a blender, you may need to grind in batches.
2. Throw everything into a large bowl and mix well.
3. Fill your sandwich baggies with 1/2 cup of the mixture.
4. When ready to have your oatmeal, add as much or as little boiling water as you like, usually about 1/2-3/4 cup.
5. Enjoy!

The beauty of the recipe is that once you grind the oats, the rest is a free for all. You can add dried fruit or nuts (about 1/2 cup is recommended), or cocoa powder, or other spices you really like. The possibilities are endless.

Some recipes for fruit & cream oatmeal recommend adding 1 TBSP milk powder to each baggie in addition to about 1-2 TBSP of the dried fruit.

I keep my oatmeal baggies stored in an empty oats container, and have another oats container for the empty baggies, which can be reused.

Enjoy! And if you develop your own unique & tasty variety, please let me know!

 

I LOVE making things from scratch!  I have made my own laundry detergent for almost 2 years, now.  http://tammylanham.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/best-detergent-recipe-ever/  When you decide to seek options, there are so many out there…  And it’s so much less expensive!

 

Dumpster Diving for Coupons

Yep, I told you I was crazy!!  🙂  But I’m not the only one!

Do you realize that my jumping into dumpsters has saved my family $260 this week – that’s the equivalent of some folks’ paycheck – AND I didn’t spend 40 hours doing it!  🙂  AND next week’s grocery money is going to our emergency fund…  Go ahead & talk about me, I don’t mind.

Some of the most frequently asked questions:

1.  Where do you get all your coupons?

You can search online (my favorite site is www.thekrazycouponlady.com), Sunday paper inserts or even search a few dumpsters.  I recommend the ones at the recycling center – they’re extremely clean.  Google “drop off recycling centers” in your area.  It’s legal to go through the dumpsters but I always take a second and tell the people there (some are unstaffed so I don’t worry about it) what I’m doing.  They look at me funny.  I don’t mind.  In today’s adventure, the guys actually started sorting the papers for us & pulling out the inserts!

2.  How do you organize them all?

There’s lots of ways but I use a 3-ring binder and the clear baseball card organizing sheets.  I divide all the sheets into sections (categories) and then fill them w/ my coupons.  I spend about 30 min. a week throwing out the old expired ones and putting in the new ones.

3.  Is it worth it?

Again, I have purchased an enormous amount of food this week for about what I would spend on our regular groceries.  I’ve got tons left over.  Think about how that could benefit somebody in your community or at your church.  Local food banks will be so glad I dove into those dumpsters!  I shop from my stockpile before I go to the grocery store and my grocery bill has shrunk tremendously.

Add any comments you would like and ask any questions you might have.  I’ll post when I find great deals so if you want email notifications when I post, just click “Yep, sign me up” on the upper right hand side of this page.  You’ll also get news udpates regarding my weight loss journey.  It’s been mentioned to me several times about teaching a workshop on this stuff here in New Castle, Kentucky.  If you are interested in something like that, let me know!

 

It was legal… I promise…

So here goes… I know a lot of you think I’m a little nuts.  Well, here’s proof that I’m a LOT nuts.  I’ve been learning more & more about how the couponing thing can really help your budget and the more serious you get about it, the more you can save.  I went last week and saved a LOT of money, walked out with an overflowing cart for $5.79.  This got me to wondering & researching and in my research, I came across The Krazy Coupon Lady’s website.  She’s been on TLC’s Extreme Couponing.  You think I’m crazy?  Check her out!

Anyway, I’ve been getting most of my coupons online, from friends or sometimes, out of the Sunday Newspaper.  When you combine your coupons with advertised sales, you can get things at a very, very low price.  The Ronzoni pasta is on sale at Kroger this week for .49 and I had several coupons for $1 off of 2 boxes (making them FREE) and ended up with almost 30 boxes of free pasta!  Coupons are all online for this one!  Anyway, I decided to start my search for more coupons.  The Sunday paper is expensive, here.  Almost $2 per week and one lady I found on youtube spends $50 a month buying multiple copies of the Sunday paper to get her coupons.  Well…..  you know I hate to spend money on stuff like that so………  here goes……  (I hope you don’t think bad of me)… I went dumpster diving for coupons!  I found a recycling drop off location near our home, took a step stool and gloves and dove in. 

Told you, I’m a little nuts.  Yes, it is legal – for those of you wondering!  As long as I don’t trespass on private property to get the trash, it’s public domain.  The recycling bin I went to was amazingly clean – nothing but paper products in it and no smells whatsoever.  When I opened up the door, the first thing I saw was a stack of coupon inserts from Sunday’s paper!  Now, THAT was motivation!  I climbed my little step stool and started digging.  I ended up getting 47 Sunday paper inserts (red plum and smart source) – that’s roughly the equivalent to 25 Sunday paper’s worth of coupons!  I found half a dozen of the Kroger coupon booklets of coupons they mail out and even found one JC penney $10 off a $10 purchase!!  Why in the world would somebody throw this money away!!

I asked my husband to take some pics or video and he said “No way, I want to look, too!”  I don’t know when I’ve ever found my husband more appealing to me!!  🙂  At that moment, I could kiss his feet!  I’m thinking most husbands wouldn’t even go and if they did, they would be hiding in the car or ducking to make sure no one saw them… not mine! 

So there it is – my crazy, outrageous act for the week!  Subscribe to this blog (to the right in the “Yep, sign me up!” box) and hear more crazy antics and follow my weight loss journey as well.  Have a fantastic week and try doing something outside of YOUR comfort zone this week!