Green Smoothie - Recipe #1

Green Smoothies turned Purple.

This is a great Green Smoothie recipe to start with as the blueberries color it a pretty purple color, which is a bit more normal of a color for a smoothie, and the taste is rather sweet given the yogurt, blueberries and banana. This is what we call a Dessert Green Smoothie and we don't typically eat this, but I thought it would be a good one to start with!

What you need:

about 8oz of fresh spinach
 1 6oz cup blueberry yogurt
1 10oz bag frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 cup of water
1/2 cup milk
1+ cup of ice

Fill the blender with greens first - we always have just to make sure we fit them all in, but several of you commented or emailed me to let me know that it's best to put the frozen stuff in last for the sake of the motor, so we'll be more intentional about that from now on! Thanks for that tip.

Add all other ingredients and blend until everything is a smooth liquid.

We taste test as we blend - if it is too thick, add more liquid. If it's too watery or not sweet enough add a banana. You could also add a bit of honey if it's not sweet enough for your tastes.
More Green Smoothie recipes coming soon!


Green Smoothies - Fast Food for on the Road

Two weeks ago we purchased a Blendtec Blender - it was a hefty investment but Green Smoothies are such a huge part of our life and we have been through 4 blenders in the past 5 years. None of them have stood up to our daily use and when we decided to make Green Smoothies three times a day we knew we would have to purchase a blender that could keep up. After much research we chose the Blendtec and have thus far been thrilled with its performance.

We have used this blender at least 3 times a day for the past 2 weeks and it has surpassed our expectations. 

It efficiently blends everything to a drinkable consistency - full length carrots, kale, whole apples, flax seeds - we've tried many other various fruits, vegetables and seeds too and they have all been blended into a smooth, drinkable consistency.

It is so simple to clean - the Blendtec has a wide base making it a breeze to clean, unlike traditionally shaped blenders where things get caught in the narrow base. We rinse under hot water and then put a bit of water in it and pulse and it's clean - this was especially helpful over the past weekend when we took our blender with us on our trip. 

Paul blending at our campsite on Grand Isle

Paul told me he'd like to bring the blender along with us on our anniversary trip and while I initially thought it a bit weird I am so glad we had it - it helped us maintain a healthy, regular diet which made the trip so much more enjoyable!

We kept a cooler full of greens, carrots, fruit, eggs and ice. Our initial plan was to simply use our power converter in our car, but it wasn't strong enough to power the blender so our backup plan was to seek out truck stops along our way to use the outlets in the trucker lounges. 
While there are signs up saying "Truckers Only" we were welcomed into all of them, if you try this yourself I would advise making certain that you aren't disturbing or annoying anyone by your non-trucker presence. :)

Traveling with the Blendtec made for inexpensive, convenient and nutritious meals and we have decided we won't be traveling without it. While we did end up paying more for fruits and vegetables as we picked up exactly what we wanted on the go (as opposed to purchasing them in bulk and on sale) and we occasionally picked up overpriced convenience produce (pre washed greens or cored pineapple) none of the smoothies rang up at over $5 for a blender-full that was more than enough for Paul and myself to share.
That is $2.50 per person for breakfast, lunch or snack! You can't beat that price and you'd be hard pressed to beat the nutrient packed meal at any price from a restaurant.

I am working on writing down exactly what goes into our smoothies so I can share recipes - it's hard to do as Paul and I both have a tendency to throw things together, hold our breath and hope it works.

Both our boys adore these smoothies - in fact Wesley woke up hungry in the middle of the night and when I brought him into the kitchen and asked him what he'd like to eat he asked me for a smoothie. The boys have no idea that they are eating about 4oz of Kale or Spinach, 1-2 carrots and various other fruits and vegetables each day - they just love their "Smoovies".

And we love them too.


Our Fifth

 Grand Isle, LA

We are happy to be back home with our boys now.
Our 4 day anniversary trip isn't one we'll soon forget.

Early morning exercise

We drove 1,600 miles.
Each night sleeping in a different state.
Two nights camped out in the back of our car, mere feet from the Gulf of Mexico. 
Listening to the waves crash and feeling the wind gently swaying our car as we drifted off to sleep.

 Dauphin Island, AL

We saw things we will never forget.
Breath taking beauty of early morning sunrises over the Gulf.
And tragic remnants of hurricane flooding.

 Flooded truck on Grand Isle, LA

While we missed our boys they were in the best of care with my sister and the time away together was just what we needed.
Celebrating our marriage, cultivating our friendship and experiencing new things together made for the most delightful of long weekends.

 Oxford, AL

Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things.  ~Author Unknown


10 Ideas to Make More Money

Looking for ways to make money for the $20 Bill Challenge? Or just so you have more money? Here are ten ideas Paul and I have successfully applied either in the past or directly to this challenge.

  1. Recreate things that have no value into something valuable.
    Paul is interested in CrossFit and in an effort to create a cost efficient home gym he discovered that truck companies actually pay to dispose of the large truck tires.He called one and asked if he picked up the tires for free. The company was thrilled to comply and told him they had two available. He had no use for more than 1, but on a whim decided to list one on craigslist for $100, toting it as a great tool to use for CrossFit. He sold it. Unfortunately for him this was prior to the $20 bill challenge so it doesn't count for his total in our $20 Bill Challenge, but I think he may repeat this idea.
    We have ideas for a few other things that are considered of no value, but we haven't tested the waters yet, so I'll save those ideas for another time.

  2. Sell the things you own.
    Paul has long been convicted of the idea that we should give away things that we own that we know friends of ours could use or be blessed by - whether it be cars, clothes, toys or furniture - instead of selling the items he likes to give them away. However there are items we have sold because we don't know anyone who could use it. (That iPod Paul sold for $40? He also refurbished a second ipod and gave it to a friend, in the midst of our challenge. I admire his generous heart.)
    Point 3 and 4 are details on venues I have used to sell things.

  3. Craigslist.
    It really works - it is just tricky figuring out what sells in your city, when to post the deal and what price to start at. A year and a half ago I was trying to come up with $1,500 to buy my camera. It was the exact motivation I needed to get selling things on craigslist and within a matter of days I had made over $300 selling items from around the house.
    I had low prices, so I beat out the competition.
    I had well lit images.
    I made myself available anytime of day for 3 days straight to make pick up times easy for the buyer.

  4. Consignment Sales.
     Consignment stores are a great way to get your clothes to a bunch of people who are specifically looking for great deals on second hand clothes (or other items, though I only have experience with clothing) - these shoppers are already in the market for second hand clothes so you just need to figure out what will appeal to the buyer!
    Make sure your items are clean, wrinkle free, in season, stylish and still look great. Consider if you would purchase the item if you saw it on the rack - if it's faded, outdated or screams "Grandma" chances are, unless you are Grandma, you wouldn't buy it. (Chances are also very high that the Consignment store won't accept such items from you - they like to maintain their image too!)
    A few weeks ago I made $56 profit at a local consignment shop- which has been added to my total for the $20 Bill Challenge.

  5. Turn your artistic hobby into money.
    If you already have the supplies and equipment needed to produce something that you could sell do it! Don't hold back because you think you need bigger or better equipment. If you don't think you can make money off your creation then try bartering it. You can approach bartering one of two ways, as outlined in number 8 and 9.

  6. Turn your knowledge into money.
    Figure out what area you are an expert in and use that to make money. This is a great place to apply tip number 10 - creating renewable income. Create patterns, digital tutorials and ebooks - you will put out the effort once to create these and can then continually sell the same product.
    If you are still testing the waters to see if you can actually make cash off of being a self proclaimed expert than try bartering it, as outlined in number 8 and 9.

  7. Turn services into money.
    Think about what services you are capable of doing and what demographic you could market your knowledge to. To serve as a spring board of inspiration you could; do online tutoring, photo shoots, lawn care, minor car maintenance or be a personal fitness instructor.
    These are things that can also be bartered. Check number 8 and 9 for more on that.

  8. BARTERING - Go for Bigger or Better.
    Did you play this game as a youth? You start with an egg and you go door to door asking people if they can offer you something bigger or better. The team that comes back with the biggest or best item wins. You can apply this principle to your money making strategies.This applies to either product based bartering, knowledge based bartering or service based bartering. Make available your offer (product, knowledge or service) - I find craigslist to be the best site for this - and state that you are looking for something in exchange for what you have available. In this situation don't be specific about what you are looking for, but do put a price value to the item you are looking for.
    Sort through the offers you are sent and determine which item will either a) enable you to trade it up for something else bigger or better b) sell for enough money to have made this effort worthwhile or c) falls into what I cover in number 9.

  9. BARTERING -Go for something that is of immediate monetary value to you.
    When bartering having a specific need or want in mind will be an asset if you are looking to acquire things to simplify or better your life. I would caution against being too specific when it comes to stating what you are looking for as there might be similar options available that you aren't aware of and if you're too specific you could miss a great opportunity.
    For example I once listed under the bartering section of Craigslist that I was looking for "Outdoor toys for boys." This was in exchange for a thirty minute photoshoot. Several people contacted me and I picked the toys I thought my boys would enjoy the most. I then saved the toys and gave them to my boys for Christmas - eliminating the need to spend cash on their gift and giving them a gift that I otherwise could not have afforded.
    If you have already budgeted money to spend on gifts or household items and you figure out how to barter something you have to get those items for free I think you can pay yourself the budgeted money and add it to the $20 Bill Challenge!

  10. Create Renewable Income.
    Find a way to make money without trading your time for money - selling photography on stock sites, writing article, selling ebooks or patterns.
    I probably shouldn't even mention this as I have put very little effort into this, but even my very little effort has paid off so I shall mention it - though feeling a little bit of a hypocrite! I signed up with an online how-to site a couple years ago and spent about ten minutes a day for the next two weeks submitting articles. I have occasionally submitted others since then, but with no consistency. With my half hearted effort I have made over $150 in two years. Not a lot of money stretched over two years, but considering what a pathetic effort I put into it (about 4 hours I would estimate) it is worth while!

The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.  ~Frank Hubbard
    Participating in the $20 Bill Challenge? I would love to hear about it!


    They Make My Heart Melt

    Have I said lately how much I love these two?

    How much I love their imaginations.

    And love their silly games.

    And love that they are mine.

    They are a beautiful gift.
    And I am so thankful for them.


    Recipe Exchange - Ladies Evening

    Lemon Cookies

    I have shared these before too, but again wanted to share them as they are so simple and delicious! 

    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup colored nonpareils

    Lemon Icing
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

    1. In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in lemon peel. Combine flour and cornstarch, gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or until easy to handle.
    2. Shape into a 1 3/4 inch diameter roll, roll in nonpareils. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until firm.
    3. Unwrap and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 F for 9-11 minutes or until set and edges are slightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
    4. In a small bowl combine icing ingredients. Spread over cookies.

    Chai Tea Cookies

    recipe has been moved to jessicalynette.com


    Contest Winner

    Wow - I can't believe 73 of you signed up for the Seeds Family Worship giveaway! I wish I had a copy to send each of you, but sadly I don't. 
    I used random.org and it picked number 3, which is Sarah O. I'll be sending you an email shortly Sarah!

    I'll be using more of these cds in the future as giveaways since I love them so.
    In the meantime if you want to purchase your own copy don't forget the Seeds Family Worship coupon code PJMORRIS09 for a 20% discount off regular priced items.

    Other contest related news -  I won a giveaway this week! I am so excited. I won a personalized tile from Cute as a Fox. I thought for awhile about what I wanted to go on the tile and finally opted for a quote by Anthony Norris Groves which we have adopted as a motto for our family:
    Labor hard
    Consume little
    Give much.
    And all to the Lord.

    Shopping At Indian and Asian Markets

    I am  so excited about my latest discovery - two local international food markets.
    A friend had been to the Asian food market and told me about it and I set out this morning to find it and accidentally went into an Indian shop. They had a lot of food that I didn't know as well as ones I did know but either haven't seen at the regular grocery store or they are way over priced at the grocery store.
    Coconut milk, mangos, spices and beans ( I didn't buy the last two today) have THE lowest prices in the area.

    In the Indian Market I picked up some watermelon seeds and some dried chickpeas for snack foods. They were $2 - $3 for a bag. About the price of a bag of chips and yet much healthier and you eat less of them in a sitting so they last longer too.

    I was excited to find this yogurt drink - it was a special treat in Nigeria and I haven't seen it over here so even though it was priced at $2 for the small container I indulged for memories sake. It wasn't quite the same taste I remember, but we all enjoyed it.

    A 2lb bag of Cream of Wheat for $2.

    If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life I think it would be Falafel. I thoroughly enjoy this fried ball made from chickpeas. I have tried several brands and made my own and my favorite by far is the Telma brand, which is hit or miss at the grocery store. The Indian store keeps the below brand in stock so I thought I would try it out and see what I think of the flavor.

    I picked up this box thinking it was Papadums, which I love, but the man working in the store told me it was more like a thin cracker. I was curious enough I picked it up and am so glad I did! These have a great taste and I think would be great served as an appetizer with hummus or maybe to accompany a cucumber and tomato salad.

    The Asian market had a lot of similar items to the Indian market. Some prices were higher and others were lower. 
    At the Asian market I picked up a can of Lychee. These things are so yummy! I want to figure out how to get them not canned in sugary syrup. We ate some for lunch and then I put some in a green smoothie. 

    I found my beloved papadums here. They are the cheapest I have ever found papadums at $1.25 for a dozen.
    The Far Far is a colored appetizer similar to papadum. There was a huge language barrier between myself and the sweet lady running the store so when I asked her what Far Far was she explained in detail and then ended with "it is like this one here" pointing at the papadums. That is all I understood out of all she said.

    I picked up two cans of coconut milk and then a box of coconut milk powder mix - we use a lot of coconut milk and this place has the BEST prices! One can was .89 cents and the other .99 cents. I bought both to see if there is a difference in quality. The powdered mix will end up being the most cost effective but I want to research the nutrition value of it. 

    The final item I picked up is my most exciting deal - 20 mangos for$10. That is .50 cents a mango! I have never seen them even close to that price at the grocery store. Occasionally they will drop to .80 cents when they are overly ripe and the store wants to get rid of them fast but usually they are $1.50 each. So these mangos were a great deal and the lady helped me pick ones that were both ready to eat now and that would slowly mature so that these will last us well over a week without getting too ripe.
    Both owners told me they get produce in Thursday nights so Friday is the best day to come in if I want produce - the Indian store had almost no produce and the Asian one was well picked over so I will definitely be back there on a Friday to see what is available then. If everything is similarly priced as the mangos I will have just found our new source for produce! 

    I will be buying all of our coconut milk, beans, brown rice and papadums there.
    I am debating buying yogurt - the Asian market had 5lbs of plain yogurt (not the drinkable mentioned above) for $6 - that is cheap, cheap, cheap for yogurt but I am wondering about the quality of it - anyone know?


    Our First Anniversary Remembered and Plans for the Fifth

    April 23 will mark our 5 year anniversary. FIVE years! It's hard to believe how fast the last five years have gone by and at the same time how much has fit into 5 years!

    For our first anniversary we were practically broke. We had free flying vouchers we'd been given for giving up our seats on a flight we'd taken earlier on that year and we'd saved those free vouchers to use for our anniversary. We didn't know where we wanted to go other than somewhere hot. 
    We randomly decided to fly to Phoenix, Arizona for no reason other than there were flights available on the weekend we had free.
    At that point we were so broke we could pretty much only afford to fly - on our free vouchers - from the Cleveland airport to the Phoenix airport and do nothing else. Had it not been for our tax return that year that is all we would have done! We budgeted enough money to cover a 3 day car rental, gas and $25 for food for our weekend trip.

    When we landed in Phoenix we went to pick up our car rental - the smallest, cheapest car they had available. By a beautiful turn of events, which we fully credit God for, the small cars had all been rented out and they upgraded us and included a few extra perks for free.

    This jeep was our abode for the next three days:
    We had no money to spend on a hotel or restaurant meals but our 1st anniversary trip to Arizona is one of our most favorite memories. 
    We slept in the car, ate food from the grocery store and had an incredible time together.

    In the three days we were there we drove over 1,500 miles.
    We started in Phoenix, AZ and then drove through a bit of California then went to Las Vegas, Nevada and then drove back - stopping at various sites along the way and randomly driving through neighborhoods to look at the beautiful homes. 
    It was so much fun.

    We didn't buy any souvenirs. We didn't take in any shows. We didn't eat anywhere that required a tip. We spent less on that whole trip than most people would spend on two nights at a hotel.

    That trip inspired an idea we have built on each year since then - to celebrate each anniversary in a different state, or in several different states. 

    Our second anniversary was spent in Georgia.
    Our third in South Carolina.
    Our forth in Tennessee.

    And now that our fifth is upon us we tried to think up something special and memorable to do. And we kept thinking of our first anniversary. We have a lot more money now than we did that first year. But not having money that first year is, in large, what made the time together so memorable and fun. To this day thinking of my 6'4 husband squished inside the Jeep sleeping still makes me laugh.


    A month or so ago our plan started to take shape.
    We are going to drive through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and camp on a couple of beaches. Some of the camp sites are free and the others are about $10/night. We are going to spend money on some of the local attractions that have been raved about on tripadvisor.com and indulge in the local food as we're big foodies - but we're sticking to a budget and are going to try to spend even less then than amount. We want to purposefully spend as little as we can, while doing a few key things that we have researched ahead of time.

    I am so excited! We plan to spend the first night at Dauphin Island. The second day drive through New Orleans and spend the second night in Grand Isle State Park. The third day we'll go back to New Orleans and then head up through Mississippi. We haven't figured out what to do in Mississippi or the finer points of each day. If anyone has been to any of those places I'd love suggestions on things to see or do!


    Boy Terrain

    I have been working on this for awhile now and am excited to share my new blog project with everyone
    BOY TERRAIN. I may occasionally double post here and there but my plan is to make Boy Terrain a unique place devoted to all things related to boys - games, dress up, crafts, food, etc. 
    Most of the posts are reposts from the archives here, but the most current is an original - Couch Time, My Solution to Two Boys and Nap Time.


    Seeds Family Worship Giveaway

    Seed's Family Worship is still our favorite cd for the boys - I have all of them now and they get played in the house and in the car with great frequency. 
    Between the 5 cds there are 58 Bible verses and Judah (3) can sing along to all of them and Wesley (2) hums them. It's exciting to see them memorizing the Word of God.
    And I love the music - kid friendly and grown up loved! Can't beat that :)

     I am going to give away a CD of volume 5 The Power of Encouragement. Just leave a comment letting me know you'd like to win. If you refer someone and I draw their name you and that person will each win one - just ask your friends and blog readers to mention who referred them so I know :)

    Contest ends on Saturday the 17th.
    Open to anyone in the world.
    Already have Volume 5? Enter anyway, I have several other volumes and will discuss with you which one you'd like.
    Don't have kids? Enter anyway and gift it to someone- you'll make their day!
    Already won something from me? You can enter again. I still love you.

    If you want to purchase additional cds for your family or as gifts use the Seeds Family Worship coupon code PJMORRIS09 - just enter it when you checkout at Seeds Music Store for a 20% discount off an regular priced item. 

    This giveaway is not sponsored in any way. I am giving away the cd simply because I love them. A lot.  

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