Let’s face it when we think of Whole Foods we think EXPENSIVE. For our family, we shop there because it has many of the rare allergy friendly items we buy for our son. We also shop at Whole Foods because of the vast amount of organic/ non-GMO options. Over the years I have discovered ways to make it more affordable to shop at Whole Foods.
My nine year old had a dilemma. She had gotten an invitation to go to the mall with a friend but she didn’t have any money. This was a scenario that I had proposed to her verbatim just a few weeks before. I know in her mind it was just another nagging lecture from mom. “You should do some chores for extra cash because you never know when you might need some money.” Her response of course was, “no thanks I’d rather watch TV.”
When this perfect parenting scenario presented itself I decided (with great restraint) not to say I told you so, but instead to teach her a valuable lesson about debt.
It’s never to early to start teaching kids about debt.
I lent her some money to go to the mall explaining that she would have to pay me back with extra chores. Not chores of her choosing when she felt like it. Like a college kid with a shiny new credit card she nodded without listening grabbing her prize and heading out the door without thinking twice.
I waited a few days until the glow of the mall trip had worn off before I went to “collect.” Not surprisingly I was met with begging and tears. “What? But I want to go to my friends house today. You never let me have any fun.” I love it when my kids are predictable. It makes the teaching moment easier.
I explained that “fun in the moment” is what got her into this situation in the first place. And that lucky for her I wasn’t a loan shark showing up to break her leg in order to collect. (I tend to get overly dramatic) She had dug herself into this hole and now she had to work hard to get out.
I glossed over what interest on debt means because I didn’t want to get into specifics. I wanted her to begin to understand what it means to owe someone and how hard you have to work to pay it back. Was she grouchy doing her chores, yes of course. But the next time I offered a job of folding towels for money guess who was first in line.
What are your creative parenting stories for teaching kids about debt?
Creamy peanut butter mixed with cream cheese, I ask you does it get any better? This is honestly one of the simplest yet tastiest desserts. I got this recipe for peanut butter pie years ago from my Aunt Melda and have served it to more guests than I can count. If you have a peanut allergy this is obviously not the dessert for you. But, if you have a fetish for peanut butter like I do then I suggest you give this luscious dessert a try. I recommend serving it with freshly brewed tea or white chocolate frozen coffee. Don’t let them know you can whip this up in a flash. It’s pie, take credit for all your hard work.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour
Yields: 1 Pie
4 oz. peanut butter
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS milk
1 graham cracker crust (store bought)
4 oz. cool whip or homemade whipped cream
1. With a hand blender combine peanut butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl.
2. Add milk and powdered sugar. Blend til light and fluffy.
3. Spread peanut butter mixture into graham cracker crust.
4.Top with cool whip.
I like to use a store bought shell because it’s easy and I’m usually in a hurry. If you have a favorite graham cracker crust recipe then please share. When I’m feeling extra deccidant I like to drizzle some chocolate syrup on each slice. Lastly, why make one pie when you can make two. It’s easier to use the entire container of cool whip and cream cheese. Plus you can hide the second pie all for yourself, but you didn’t hear that from me.
Calories: 140 Total Fat(g): 9.5 Saturated Fat(g): 2.75 Sugar(g): 4.5 Protein(g):4.5 Calcium(mg):25 *Nutrient information per serving based on 8 slices per pie
This documentary is a must see! You’ll spend most of the viewing with your mouth open in shock. In a nutshell… no one has to suffer from chronic disease if they can put the right fuel in their bodies. I’m sure I’m not the only one looking fearfully at a family tree full of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more! So I take it as a comfort to hear that I have a say in my health.
Cardiovascular disease is a disease of civilization. It is a lifestyle disease, because we’re eating too much of the wrong thing and not enough of the right thing. (Food Matters)
I’m always looking for ways to be healthier. I’ve been a vegetarian for years and I thought I was doing pretty good until I watched this documentary. It’s full of hard facts that support healthy choices (and I’m not talking about the T.V. dinners people!)
If you ate a diet that was more than 51% of cooked food [then] your body would react to the food as if it was being invaded by a foreign organism. (Food Matters)
Basically even steaming my veggies destroys most of the nutrients! Vow to myself- eat more raw so that my body can heal itself.
We probably as a culture have got our values inverted. We’d rather spend money on rent than we would on the best food ever. We’d rather spend money on a car or a house than feeding our children the greatest super foods that have ever been discovered in the world (Food Matters)
How old is your food? If you think about it, your food really in the best of times is traveling between 1500-2000 miles before you get it and is at least a week old… if you’re lucky you’re getting maybe 40% (of the nutrients) (Food Matters)
When you cook food the immune system responds to it as a toxin
If that isn’t enough of a hook to go watch, let me tell you Netflix followers that this is an instant view right now. Here’s a clip if you still aren’t convinced:
As a mom of a child with food allergies I find it challenging to make a meal that everyone will like at home, so finding a restaurant that will cater to everyone’s dietary needs is near impossible. We have found through research and experience that we now have a handful of restaurants that are safe for my son to eat at while the rest of the family enjoys too. One of our “go to” restaurants is Jason’s Deli. Everyone in the family can find something to eat and we feel healthy after we leave….well unless I eat too much of the chocolate pudding. Oh my goodness…it is amazing!!! Did you know Jason’s was one of the first restaurants to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from their menu items? You also will not find any MSG or trans fats in their foods.
Jason’s Deli caters well to vegetarians, gluten intolerant individuals (they prepare items in a common kitchen where there could be cross-contamination), and people on a diet. For those of you thinking, “Well, in that case, I will go somewhere else,” not so fast. There are also options for meat lovers, and those that want to munch on potato chips and ice cream. If you have a particular food allergy and wondering if this a restaurant you can eat at, their website includes their menu items and what is contained in them on it.
In addition to the delicious soups (vegetarian options), sandwiches, and wraps they have a GREAT salad bar. The salad bar at Jason’s isn’t full of iceberg lettuce and jello salad. Can I hear a Hallelujah?? Instead, they offer a lovely lettuce mix, spinach, a wide selection of veggies, pasta salad, couscous salad, three bean salad, hummus, fruit and much more. Some of the vegetables and salad dressings are organic. You will find plenty of dressings to choose from.
My son, who has multiple allergies (read more about our story here), likes to order a side of turkey and guacamole to make turkey roll-ups. This is something I made up one day at home to get him to eat the turkey. I spread a little guacamole on the turkey and roll up. Wha-la! He loves it and enjoys the rest of the guacamole with blue corn tortilla chips. A few months ago Jason’s came out with a gluten-free menu and now offers the option of gluten-free bread (extra cost) for their sandwiches. When you walk into the deli ask a employee for a copy of the gluten-free menu. The gluten-free menu is super helpful for those that are trying to try to figure out what they can eat. The option of gluten-free bread makes it so you can enjoy that sandwich you have been craving. Another bonus is the free organic lollipops they have near the cashier. My son loves this and I love this since it is an alternative to ice cream (which he can’t have). He doesn’t even ask for ice cream because he is so excited about the lollipop. Sometimes it’s the little things .
Note: They do emphasize on their gluten-free menu that their gluten-free offerings are geared towards those with minor gluten sensitivities or those avoiding gluten for nutritional reasons. Since they have a common kitchen they cannot guarantee that cross-contamination will not occur. Those with celiac disease will want to talk with a manager to explore their options.
Jason’s Deli has over 200 locations around the United States mainly in the Southeast and Midwest. Even if you do not live near a location this could be an option for your family when travelling.
*These opinions are my own. I was not paid to write this review.
I always serve this frothy blended drink with dessert at dinner parties. You can blend an entire pitcher of frozen coffee for less than half the price of one drink at Starbucks. Great to help start your morning or an afternoon pick me up. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I perfected this recipe for my husband and friends. They swear it’s their favorite and I’m frequently asked for this recipe. Don’t like white chocolate no problem, just substitute 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup instead. Use the money you save to blend a little extra to share with friends.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yields: 16 oz
1 cup milk (your choice)
1 cup ice
3 tablespoons white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar or sweetner (opt)
1. Place all ingredients into blender pitcher.
2. Blend on High for 15-30 seconds or desired consistency
3. Serve with dollop of whip cream (opt)
Calories: 150 Total Fat(g): 4.81 Saturated Fat(g): 3.07 Sugar(g) 17 Protein(g): 8.16 Calcium(mg): 294
I gave into the begging of my two tween daughters and took them to see Mirror Mirror. Overly informed with negative reviews I prepared myself for an hour and a half of sheer torture. I know I sound overly dramatic but as a screenwriter it’s even more painful to watch a bad film because not only did I pay for an awful experience, I feel could’ve written something better. If you’re worried I’m going to complain please wait… I’m not. My review of Mirror Mirror is a happy tale.
In Hollywood I have learned that no one here seems to understand what parents are looking for in movies geared toward their children. Family friendly films are often written, produced and directed by people who have no family (or family values) of their own. I must exclude Pixar from that statement. Over and over again I cringe while watching movies with my kids. Don’t get me wrong I love crude humor (huge Will Ferrel fan) just not for my impressionable kids.
The overly harsh reviews of Mirror Mirror are completely unfair. It’s a family movie. Good clean and silly entertainment. The story of Snow White with some creative license as to the characters. I frequently glanced over to see the giggling faces of my daughters. You can’t help but laugh at the stooge worthy antics of the seven dwarves.
Julia Roberts was beautiful and creepy. Her costumes were amazing. The girls in the audience all swooned over the handsome prince played by Armie Hammer. Snow White herself turns out to be one tough cookie a far cry from the 1937 Disney classic. As a Mom in the new millennium I like a little female empowerment being modeled for my daughters.
Laughs and snickers filled the audience throughout the entire film and when it was over everyone clapped. Go figure. Just goes to show that listening to negative reviews should be warned against just like telling your kids not to listen to gossip. If you love fairy tale farce movies like “Ella Enchanted” or “Sydney White” you will definitely enjoy this film. If you want to tell Hollywood to please make more movies like this for our kids go see this film. But mostly if you have a tween daughter you want to bond with go see this film.
This past month I had the opportunity to listen to Crystal Paine’s audio book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. This detailed book, narrated by Crystal herself, has a wealth of information for those beginning to try to cut back expenses and live a more simple life. The book is a wonderful “start up kit” so to speak. Even if you are already experienced in frugal and budget conscious living there could be something for you. Much of what Crystal talks about in her book I have learned over the past few years through books like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, Stephanie Nelson’s The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half and blogs such as Crystal’s moneysavingmom.com, Kelly’s faithfulprovisons.com, Jenny’s southernsavers.com, and Amy from frugal-mama.com, but I still found nuggets of new information. There were also things that we as a couple have slipped on in the past year and a half that Crystal discusses in her book, mainly about being serious about cutting unnecessary items in our budget and breaking your goals into pieces. Her explanation and bold encouragement has given me the courage to try to come up with a tighter budget, sit down and have weekly budget meetings with my husband and have more long term financial goals.
The chapters I related to the most were chapter two, on de-cluttering and organizing your home and chapter 9, choosing contentment. Lately my house has been out of control. I have been trying to make it better by clearing out toys to give away or sell, tossing things, re-organize closets, but I have a lot of unfinished de-cluttering projects. Crystal’s plan for de-cluttering and organization is just what I need to finish up all of these projects. Hopefully once I complete these projects the house will stay in order. Hearing about Crystal’s financial situation earlier in marriage and how she dealt with it was an inspiration to me. This year I have been trying to choose contentment no matter what the circumstance. I have also been reading Amy Voskamp’s book, Ten Thousand Gifts, which has helped me find joy and give thanks for even the smallest things.
The option of an audio book is great for moms that are always on the go. You can listen to it in the car while running errands, or like myself, while washing dishes in the evening. I would agree with other reviewers that if you are already reading Crystal’s blog the book may be a bit of a letdown since she covers many of these topics in her blog. Instead of buying it for yourself, suggest or buy it for a friend who has expressed interest in learning more about living frugally or someone you know wanting a plan to get out of debt. Included with the audio book is a PDF of helpful charts, lists, resources, websites, and even a pizza crust recipe. This PDF will be very helpful to me. Crystal gives a plan of action and the encouragement to do so for those not knowing where to start.
“What I love about the audio edition of The Money Saving Mom’®s Budget is that I
can listen to it on the go – on my run, in the car, or while I’m folding laundry. AND … I
love that it comes with the downloadable worksheets. I am able to work through those
while listening to Crystal speak. So helpful. Perfect for my busy schedule.” –Anne,
blogger (and reformed budget breaker!)
You can buy the book here.
One savvy winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends
4/4/12. Winner will be announced at The Money Saving Mom’s Live Webcast Event on 4/5.
Crystal will be hosting an evening of chat, laughter and encouragement – bring your
friends! She’ll share tips and advice and her husband will be joining her to share how the principles Crystal outlines in her book have dramatically impacted their family life.
She’ll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and
So grab your copy of The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget and join Crystal
and friends on the evening of April 5th for an evening of fun of learning, sharing and
Disclosure: I received a free copy of the audio book to review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
This is a SUPER easy mashed potato casserole recipe. It’s for that night when if you had the money you’d be listening for the sound of the pizza delivery man knocking on the door. Not only is it cheaper than delivery food… it’s cheap period! This is a pantry based meal so you should have most of this on hand (hopefully). If not I urge you to stock that pantry… life is always better with pantry full of essentials like CHOCOLATE CHIPS!
3 cups mashed potatoes (seasoned with a little butter, salt, & pepper)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can carrots (drained)
2 cans green beans (drained)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2+ cups shredded cheddar or muenster cheese (optional)
Turn your oven on to 350 so it can start heating up. In an 11/13 casserole pan mix the spaghetti sauce with the canned veggies. Spread the 3 cups of mashed potatoes over the top evenly. If you’re using cheese spread that over the top as well. Everything you’re using has already been cooked, so you’re basically just reheating. I’d recommend at least 20-30 min in the oven so your cheese can melt, but it’s ready to eat as soon as everything is warm. Enjoy! This meal can easily be made with organic ingredients it will just cost more.
I strongly reccomend batchcooking this recipe and freezing the extra pans. You can take it out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge to thaw. Just heat at 350 until it’s warm if you stick a fork all the way through it.
This is a vegetarian recipe which makes it a frugal meal. I’d recommend serving it with a nice fresh salad and some buttered bread. Put your leftovers straight into individual glass containers and you can enjoy some healthy T.V. dinners.