Ways Our Family Saves Money on Homeschool Curriculum

Here are two things I’ve learned when it comes to buying homeschool curriculum:

  1. Homeschooling should be looked at as an investment.
  2. Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive.

In my 14+ years of homeschooling I’ve learned to recognize that just like with healthy eating – it is worth it to invest in the good stuff. Spending money for great curriculum is as worth it as spending money for great food. Ahhh, books and butter. Curriculum and vegetables. It all goes hand in hand, right? Buying high quality is worth the cost.

But there are also many ways to keep your curriculum costs down so that maybe, just maybe, we can enjoy good books and save money too. (Well, of course.)

How to Save Money on Homeschool Curriculum

How to Save Money on Homeschool Curriculum

Here are several ways I’ve saved money through our homeschooling years:

1. Use the Library

This one is too obvious, but still worth a mention. While I have really appreciated owning lots of great literature and having it on our shelves to grab at any time – there are plenty of books we have simply checked out from the library as needed. Cost is free, unless you forget to take the books back on time and have pay late fees. I know nothing about this.

2. Buy Used

Every year, I sit down with a list of books each of our kids will be reading during the school year. If we don’t already own it and I prefer not to have to get it at the library, I check on Amazon and see if I can find a used copy. I have saved so much money doing this.

Occasionally I’ve found needed books at garage sales or I’ve bought curriculum from other homeschool families who are cleaning the closet. (I’ve even been blessed by people handing me their used books for free!) As long as the book isn’t falling apart, buying a used book is just as nice as buying a new book – and you’ll save a few bucks per book too!

books

3. Borrow and Share

One of the best ways I’ve found to save on big ticket items (like Teaching Textbooks or Apologia Science books) is to borrow and share with friends. This only works if our kids are in different grade levels and will therefore not be needing the same books or software at the same time. But coordinating with friends (i.e. I’ll buy the 5th grade book and you buy the 6th grade book, then we’ll swap next year) can be a huge money saver.

4. Divide the Dollar Amount by Number of Kids in Your Family

It has helped me “justify” a quality purchase when I do the math – knowing that I will eventually use each item for all four of my kids. Therefore, if I spend $40 on something, I know it really breaks down to just $10 per kid. Make sense?

5. Use and Reuse

With many of our consumable books through the years, I had our oldest kids leave the book blank and write their answers in a 20¢ notebook instead. That way I could save the consumable book to reuse – instead of having to buy it over and over each time another kid needed it. Yay for Malachi. The youngest kid gets to write in his books.

6. Go Digital

I’m learning to love digital books more an more for these reasons:

  • They save bookshelf space
  • I can organize them easily on my computer
  • They save money
  • I can use them over and over as needed for my family

Last year when the Build Your Bundle Homeschool Curriculum Sale was offered, I grabbed several packages to use for my younger two boys. Ah-ma-zing. Throughout this school year I supplemented our regular curriculum with eBooks I had picked up last year for cheap!!

What great ways have you found to save money on books?

How Price-Matching Helps Us Eat Real Food

Price-matching helps us eat real food. That’s all there is to it.

How Price-Matching Helps Us Eat Real Food

Some people live in a big town with many big grocery store options. I do not. Well, it’s more than what tiny towns offer, but still. The closest big name store is an hour away from where we live. In my town we have a Wal-mart and two locally owned stores that have decent deals sometimes.

Before I discovered price-matching at Wal-mart, I skimped on fresh produce purchases. I didn’t even realize I was skimping because I was just doing my best to stick to the budget. I bought the fruits and veggies I could afford, then we rationed them out to make them stretch.

groceries apr16 (1)

About a year and a half ago I discovered price-matching. I don’t know why I hadn’t checked into it before.

Yes. I do know why. I assumed I could only price-match processed foods like boxed cereals and hamburger helper. Therefore I figured it wouldn’t help me much.

Enter: Aldi. The city an hour away from us built its first Aldi store. That’s when I started hearing my friends say things like, “I price-matched Aldi avocados and got them for 39¢ each.” Wai-wai-wait. You did what??

And that’s when I finally started paying attention to what price-matching was.

groceries mar21

Wal-mart accepts price-matches from stores that are as far as one hour away. This is a huge benefit to me, because not only is there an Aldi an hour away, there is a Super Saver, a Hyvee, and now a Fresh Thyme Market! (Several other stores too.) I check Price-Matcherz every week because they do the hard work for me by providing a list of all the best deals. Sure, there are plenty of processed foods to wade through. But the produce!!!

I used to have to pay at least $2.48 for a pound of strawberries in season. Now I can often get them for $1.29! I often get pineapple for $1.29 and cantaloupe for 99¢. I’ve price-matched asparagus for 88¢/pound and 3-pound bags of apples for $1.50.

feb 5 groceries

Not only am I now able to buy oodles and gobs of fresh produce for my family each week, I sometimes even have enough room in the budget to buy some for our local Mission. Price-matching saves us loads of money and ensures that our home is filled with nourishing food.

Read the how-to of how price-matching helps our family.

What grocery store options do you have where you live? Are you a price-matcher or is that something you haven’t needed to mess with?

A couple of other produce money-saving options:

  • I love the savings and quality of Bountiful Baskets. If you’re brave, you can watch as I unpacked our latest BB box. (Beware because out of nowhere I started to boohoo at the end because it was the day before Mother’s Day and I can’t talk about Mother’s Day without crying no matter how hard I try. Facebook Live makes a girl vulnerable. It’s a good thing we’re friends.)
  • I clip coupons when I find them. They are rare.
  • I’m trying to get the hang of Ibotta. Usually there are produce rebate offers! I use the app on my phone to make it easiest. (If you want to try it out, you can get an instant $10 rebate if you sign up through my referral code and redeem a rebate within 2 weeks).

Some of these links are affiliate links.

A Coupon of a Different Color

This one isn’t for groceries, but books can be just as nourishing, right?

This weekend is your last chance to grab this book coupon I’ve been telling you about. This curriculum sale goes live on Monday, May 16. You’ll want to grab your coupon code as they are only offered through May 15.

Build Your Bundle 2016 - Save 86% - 96% on #homeschool #curriculum! #BYB2016

Signing up for a coupon also enters you in an enormous giveaway in which you could actually WIN every single book being offered in this sale.

Go sign up before the coupons go away!

Low Sugar Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Low Sugar Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies and my Mother’s Day flowers!

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies

About the time I think I’ve cut the sugar in every recipe that would possibly work, I find another that works just as well.

Do you remember my Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies? One cup peanut butter, one cup sugar, one egg. They’re delicious. They’re naturally gluten free so I can make them for my GF friends. They’re incredibly easy. And they have a very high sugar content.

I thought surely cutting the sugar in that recipe would mess up the consistency and turn out weird cookies – if they even turned out cookies at all. I am so happy to say, “I was wrong.”

The only thing that didn’t work when I cut the sugar in this recipe is that the dough didn’t allow me to do the cute little criss-cross fork squish thing. The dough was too sticky. Thankfully, life goes on and we’re all grown up enough to eat our peanut butter cookies without fork-squishing them, right? Thank goodness.

Low Sugar Flourless Peanut Butter CookiesYum

Low Sugar Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
 
Author:
Serves: 20ish
Ingredients
  • 2 cups natural peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup sucanat or brown sugar
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Use a small or medium scoop to place dough balls on a cookie sheet, about two inches apart.
  3. Bake in a 350° oven for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.
  4. Allow them to sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing them to cool on a rack.

Get my Homemade Natural Peanut Butter Recipe here.

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Matt and I are totally good with barely sweet treats. But the boys? Well, they’re a little more particular. Therefore, my kids are always the true testers for whether or not one of my Low Sugar Treats actually tastes good to other people.

I always hesitate to say these are low sugar, come try them because sometimes that makes the boys unsure from the get-go. But there I was, standing in the kitchen eating a peanut butter cookie. This made the boys suspicious. If Mom is eating it, it must be low sugar.

All that to say: These cookies smelled really good, which made my boys want some. Then they saw me eating them, which made them not so sure. I insisted they try a bite because I thought they were so good I could hardly stand it, and I knew they would like them once they tried.

What did they think?

Well, let’s just say that I had to stop them from finishing the entire batch in one sitting, and we all started shaking our heads once again at Betty Crocker for making us all think we needed eighty cups of sugar in cookie recipes just to make them taste good. C’mon, Betty.

You’ll want to look through all of our tried and true Low Sugar Recipes here. It is amazing how much sugar you can cut out of treats and still make them taste delicious! These Peanut Butter Cookies went from 2 cups down to 1/3 cup of sugar – and they are amazing.

Need more Low Sugar Cookie Recipes?

Free New Summer Reading Challenge Printables For Your Family

When my kids were little, we went to the library every week during the summer for the special Summer Reading Program they offered. This kept our boys excited about books and they loved the opportunity they had to win small prizes and meet challenges.

As most of our boys hit the upper grades and outgrew the library program, I saw that our younger two boys needed a little extra motivation to read during the weeks of summer they were home. (Our older two are welcome to participate also, but they tend to be gone more than they are home during June and July.) So we started creating our own Summer Reading Challenge here at home. I set up a simple reward system – tailor made to what I knew would motivate them! I wrote about this last year and offered some free printables. This year, I made more to share with you!

For you, Summer Reading Challenge Printables

Create Your Own Summer Reading Challenge

I’ll share how our family sets this up, then of course you can adapt it to meet your needs if the Summer Reading Challenge idea works for you!

1. Set up a system.

Decide how many minutes or hours your child needs to read before he/she earns a reward. Do the minutes/hours count if the child is being read to, or do they need to read on their own? How will you keep track of time spent reading? (I recommend using these charts!)

2. Talk to your child(ren) about what rewards would be fun motivation for them.

Our kids earn a prize after they have read for five hours. Typically our family’s prizes get a little bigger as they read more and more hours. Here are a few our kids came up with that they would enjoy:

  • Redbox movie rental
  • $1 ice cream cone from Runza
  • Choose something from the Dollar Store
  • Invite a friend for a sleep-over
  • $2 Happy Hour Big Pizza Slice at Pizza Hut
  • Drink from Captain Red Beard’s (our local coffee shop)
  • Still brainstorming :)

3. Put it all into a chart.

My oldest boys don’t care about a cutesy chart to log their hours, but Malachi (age 11) still enjoys one. (However, even the older boys need to at least log their hours in a notebook so they don’t lose track.) The rewards are usually listed on our fridge.

This year, Malachi will use the Pirate Chart I made. (For some reason he didn’t choose the Flowers and Butterflies Chart?!?)

Free Summer Reading Challenge Printable Charts

I’ve made these charts as generic as possible so that you can use them in whatever way your family prefers. The Pirate Chart and the Flowers and Butterflies Chart can be used a little differently than the others that are for writing lists and checking off goals. Consider writing prizes on each cut-out piece for your child to glue onto the chart once they’ve earned that particular prize.

Grab your free printables!

These are free for everyone and will connect you to our fun Heavenly Homemaker’s Learning Zone. It’s free, of course.

Enter your email address here, then check your inbox for download instructions. Print one, print them all, use them in whatever ways work best for your family to enjoy reading this summer!

If you are already subscribed to Heavenly Homemaker’s Learning Zone, you should have received an email yesterday giving you instant access to this freebie. Look in your inbox for the subject: FREE Summer Reading Challenge Charts!

What To Do With Milk You Need to Use Up

Many people cringe when they think about the amount of milk our family must go through each week with our family of 3 teenage sons (plus a pre-teen). A gallon a day? Two? How in the world do I keep enough milk in the house for all my boys? I’ll tell you.

We go through exactly one gallon each week.

Disappointed? Sorry. That’s really all we go through.

milk (1)

I took this picture back when we used to get two gallons of milk each week. Pretty isn’t it?

What’s up with our tiny milk consumption in a household of enormous appetites? Well I really don’t want to get into a milk debate here because I have not landed anywhere concrete on the “we should be drinking plenty of milk no actually we shouldn’t” scale. I have researched and I have asked professionals and I am conflicted. Some say drink lots and some say don’t drink it at all. We land somewhere in the middle and we do our best to drink milk from good sources.

peach milkshakes 1

If you ever want to waste milk, simply put too much in your high power blender, then turn it on.
It will explode all over you and all over your kitchen and you will be cleaning it up for days.
This is not a recommended way to use up excess milk.

Here are the two biggest (but not very exciting) reasons we don’t drink much milk at our house:

1. Our natural doctor advised that our boys/men don’t really need much milk.
2. Our boys don’t love drinking milk.

That’s it.

While some kids love drinking milk and chug down several glasses full each day, our boys never have really cared that much about it. I take that to mean that their bodies really don’t need it. If you’ve seen any of them lately, you know that lack of milk consumption has done nothing to keep them from growing long legs. Good grief, their pants.

We get raw, organic milk from a local farmer and we drink it moderately. Actually, we mostly just cook with it.

So that’s our milk situation. What’s yours? Go through lots? Hardly go through any at all? Raw, coconut, regular, unleaded? (ew)

What To Do With Milk You Need to Use Up

Let’s just say you got a good deal on milk and bought several gallons. Or you got your regular allotted milk from your local farmer and you can’t drink it up fast enough. We typically finish off our milk just fine in one week (again, I mostly just cook with it). But every once in a while if we are out of town or the boys are at camp – we end up with extra milk we need to use up quickly.

What to do with Milk You Need to Use Up

Here are some ideas of what to do (not that you couldn’t just have a cookies and milk party for the neighborhood):

Freeze It

Milk freezes just fine, although we’ve found that it works best to first skim the cream off our farm fresh milk.

Culture It

I always keep Homemade Buttermilk on hand for baking and so I can quickly make Ranch Salad Dressing. It’s also super easy to make Kefir or Yogurt. If you culture your milk, it will keep longer in the fridge.

buttermilk

Make Shakes

We’ll go through a half gallon of milk pretty easily if I make it chocolate. :)

milkshakes

Cook or Bake With It

These recipes use quite a bit of milk (especially for my family since I usually double or triple or quadruple a recipe).

garlicchickenpastasm

Those are my go-to options when we need to use up milk. How about you? What do you do or make when you need to use up milk?

If I Love Homeschooling So Much, Why Do I Love Summer Break Better?

I am a homeschool mom and I have some confessions to make.

We just finished our school year, put away all the books and CDs, drop-kicked our science lessons, and had ice cream for breakfast to celebrate. (It’s a yearly tradition the boys don’t let me forget about for some reason.)

boys school shopping 2015

Oh look. Here are the boys at the beginning of this school year – 
so full of hopes and dreams and eager to do Algebra.
In other words, they were bummed that summer break was over.

Last week I made a face at all our reference books as I put them back on the shelf as if to say, “I don’t want to see you for a very long time. I’m sick of you. Gather dust you…you big huge book full of words.” (Do I know how to give out insults or do I know how to give out insults?)

I no longer care if any of the pencils in our house are sharpened. I don’t know where any notebooks are, nor am I concerned with how many blank pages remain in them. No one has to give me a report at lunchtime on how much school work they still need to finish up for the day. Instead of saying, “Whose turn is it to do math at the computer?” I will say, “You guys want me to pull the van out of the driveway so you can shoot hoops?”

These are some of the emotions I feel about our impending summer break:

end of school year 1 (1) end of school year 1 (2) end of school year 1 (3)

But really. I love homeschooling.

It certainly isn’t for everyone, but as for me, I love pretty much everything about homeschooling. It is the rocking-est thing that I get to spend this much time with my kids. We seriously get to do some of the coolest activities, go to the most amazing places, and get to know some of the most incredible people. I love the homeschooling life!!! I even love the actual learning part. 

But when we can put the books away and just be? Oh it is so nice and wonderful.

Also? I love summer better than all the seasons. You all know this about me. I love heat and sunshine and I am so over cold, cloudy winter weather. I’m ready to enjoy being outside, soak up Vitamin D, swim, grill, garden, oh and you know what else?

I’m excited to take my kids to the library.

See, this is where I start to sound silly. (Because the selfies. Those weren’t silly.)

I like going to the library more in the summertime than I do during the school year. When we go during the school year, we usually go with a purpose and we need to hurry back home to study and learn. But when we go to the library during the summer we browse the shelves, linger over “just for fun” books, take our time, and check out all the books that look remotely interesting. There’s just something about the library in the summertime.

So there you have it. This mom loves to homeschool. But I also love summer break so much that I am busting out in dance moves (selfies not included).

Whether you are a homeschool mom or a public/private school mom – what are some of your emotions about summer break? Leave a comment to describe, and by all means do feel free to send me an emotion selfie. (I’m serious. laura @ heavenlyhomemakers.com)

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Everyone Wins

In celebration of both the school year and summer break, here is something you will all want to check out (whether you homeschool or not, but especially if you homeschool).

comingsoon

I took part of this Homeschool Curriculum sale last year for the first time and I was blown away by how good it was and how much was included. Everything this year will be 86-96% off, and there are books for just about everything and every one. I’ll give you all the details as the time gets closer, but here’s what you need to know THIS WEEK as the sale approaches.

You can enter a giveaway in which you could win all of the books that are included, or your favorites of all these books. There will be four winners in all. Take a chance and sign up because FREE BOOKS. Also, everyone wins with this giveaway because just for signing up you will be a sent a coupon code to use once the sale goes live next week. (That’s additional $$ off the books that are going to be marked down 86%-96% off already. I’d do the math, but I’m on summer break. See emotion selfies above.)

Build Your Bundle 2016 - Save 86% - 96% on #homeschool #curriculum!

I can’t tell you anything that is included yet, but I will tell you that something of mine is in one of the packages and it’ll only cost a teeny-tiny bit. Because I’m a contributor to this sale, I got to poke around a little to see the book titles. They are so yum. Sign up to win some books, definitely get your coupon code, and watch for details when the sale goes live!

These are my affiliate links.

Don’t forget to tell me more about the end of your school year. Public/private schoolers – you too! When does summer break begin for all of you?!

The Best and Easiest Homemade Guacamole

I posted this recipe several years ago, but last month when I was cleaning out some old, irrelevant posts – I think I somehow deleted this one for Homemade Guacamole! Yikes. One should never delete their guacamole.

Homemade Guacamole

What I love about guacamole is that it is a super easy way for our family to add nourishment to the table. Everyone in our family loves this guac. They just think they’re eating chips with dip, and I’m like, “Yay, they’re eating another veggie!” Actually, avocados are a fruit aren’t they? Well, whatever. They are super nutritious.

Before I (re)share this recipe, I need to have a slightly weird conversation with you. Avocados are green and guacamole is usually green, but what happens when you mix green (avocados) and red (salsa) together? Wellllll….

Let’s just say my guac ends up looking a little bit like…um, well, it’s brownish. Red and green make brown, and that’s what color your guac will be when you follow this recipe. There is no other way. So the end result of blending these fine ingredients together makes an ugly mixture in a bowl.

We are used to it and don’t even care. But when we serve it to company we have to have a “sorry this guacamole looks like baby poop, please try it anyway” conversation. Then we all enjoy snacking together. Hospitality is always fun at the Coppinger house.

Well now that we got that out of the way…

Easy Homemade GuacamoleYum

The Best and Easiest Homemade Guacamole
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of lime juice
Instructions
  1. Cut open the avocados, pull out the pit, and scoop the "meat" into a blender.
  2. Dump salsa and lime juice into the blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. So what if it's brown?

Do you see how easy this is? Dump in the ingredients, blend it up, scoop it out, eat it because you just can’t stop. After one bite, you will no longer care what color it is because the flavors are just so wonderful together.

Easy Homemade Guacamole

Don’t sweat the exact measurements on this “recipe.” Add or subtract ingredients to taste. Use hot salsa, medium, or mild – your choice. It pretty much tastes great no matter how you blend it. It just looks ugly. Bless its heart.

Stainless Steel Garlic Sauce Maker Review and Giveaway

Remember when you had a chance to win a Stainless Steel Strainer, and received a big discount to go with it? Today the same folks are offering an amazing deal on their cool Stainless Steel Garlic Sauce Maker. Check this baby out:

garlic sauce maker1

You can’t beat fresh garlic, right? This little gadget makes prepping garlic super easy. Our favorite recipe that calls for garlic is my Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe. We tested the Garlic Sauce Maker on this recipe and it worked wonderfully!

garlic sauce maker2

Here’s a little tip for you too: As much as we love how garlic makes the Alfredo Sauce taste amazing over pasta, we almost like this sauce better drizzled over steamed veggies. Oh my goodness. So good.

garlic sauce maker4

As much as we loved how easy this Garlic Sauce Maker is to use, we loved even more that it was easy to clean. (And I’m not just saying that because Matt did the garlic prep and clean up while I did other work for this meal.) ;)

Not only is it great for garlic, you can use this for ginger, carrot, onion, turnips, and other root vegetables. You can even use it to make baby food if you have a little one!

garlic sauce maker

I think it’s safe to say most of us love fresh garlic! Our family is thrilled with this Garlic Sauce Maker and it doesn’t even take up much room in the drawer. It’s a keeper.

Five of you will win one of these tools in this giveaway. OR skip the giveaway and head straight over to get yours for 50%! Use the discount code CDVWHABL through December 31, 2016.

In an effort to make giveaways a little bit easier for me and find better ways to connect with you (I’ll hang on to your email address but I won’t spam you!), I’m going to try Rafflecopter for entries this time. Just enter your email to be entered in the giveaway! I’ll send an email out to all entries on Wednesday, May 11 to tell you who the 5 winners are! (Newsletter subscribers need to click over to this post to enter!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a free Garlic Sauce Maker and paid an advertising fee in exchange for sharing this with you. This helps support my work here plus offers you great homemaking tools.

Have Any Dating Advice?

I have an almost 19-year old and a 16-year old, a 14-year old and an 11- year old. All boys. Four very, very good looking boys. {Laura pauses to take a deep breath.} Someday I suppose you and I can discuss teenage dating or courtship or whatever we choose to call it. But today, that’s not where I’m asking advice.

Let's Talk About Dating

Today I want to talk about myself. And you, too. About how a married couple can possibly keep dating a priority. Or if dating really matters once you’re married. And if it does matter, what it is supposed to look like. And about when in the world I might possibly find a moment to have more than a five-minute conversation with my favorite man that doesn’t end with me falling asleep in the middle of his sentence at night.

matt_and_laura_2

Let’s talk about married couple dating stuff

Matt and I are very intentional about keeping our marriage healthy. We love everything having to do with the subject of marriage. God has given us the opportunity to offer several classes in our home for young married couples. A few years ago He even opened the door for us to begin couple-to-couple pre-marital mentoring, where we spend many weeks with an engaged couple, tackling all the subjects of marriage from the blissful to the challenging.

We’ve watched and guided as couples dive into some very deep waters together and we all experience God at work. It is amazing to be a part of this. Through it, Matt and I have had to fight our own spiritual battles. The enemy doesn’t want our marriage to win, and he certainly doesn’t want us to influence others toward God’s way. God’s victory has been great over all of this, and just about every time I speak of it, I get teary eyed. (Like right now. Tears. I love how God heals, redeems, restores, and helps us thrive.)

So dating.

Of all the subjects we tackle with engaged and married couples, rarely do we talk about dating each other once you’re married. Then last month while talking to a godly couple who has been married longer than we have, they brought up the subject of dating. The husband stated, “My wife and I go on a date every single week.” Oh yeah, that’s nice, really great. Wait. EVERY SINGLE WEEK???

What? Do they have more time on their hands than we have? More money? Fewer commitments? I don’t even get it. Matt and I can barely find time to go out together more than twice a year.

I know that various ideas work for some and not others, so sometimes we need to listen with an open mind, pray, and then move on if the advice isn’t something we can go with. Yet I can’t let go of it. This advice. Why can’t I drop this subject out of my brain and move on?

Because perhaps this is the Spirit at work?

There’s no doubt Matt and I would love to spend more one-on-one time together. Now that our kids are older, we’re finding it harder not easier – to make time for dates. Now, we are blessed to work from home together and school our boys at home together, so we are together many hours of the day. Plus we serve together in almost all of the ministries we are involved in. We’re so thankful for this teamwork way of life. But actual dates? They’re pretty rare.

This has become a prayer focus for me. While I’m not convinced that we must go out on a date every single week in order to make our marriage thrive – I do desperately seek more time with my guy. I want it, need it, and there’s no doubt it would be a blessing.

How do you make time to date your spouse

I’d love to hear from you on this.

I’m curious to hear from you whether you are a newlywed, have been married for 70 years, or are somewhere in between. Even if you aren’t married I want to hear from you because I bet you’ve seen great examples in other couples. We can all benefit from hearing what is working (or what isn’t working) from couple to couple.

Do you date your husband? How often? What are your favorite kind of dates? What works for you?

P.S. I’ve listed several of our marriage posts and free resources here if you’d like to check them out.

How to Make Iced Coffee for a Crowd

iced coffee

In three years I went from not liking coffee, to loving coffee, to becoming a coffee snob. I mean this in the sweetest way. I’ve learned that there’s coffee, and then there’s coffee. Can I help it if I prefer the coffee that makes me feel the actual love of Jesus flow over me? Well of course I can’t help this.

I blame my oldest son for my particular coffee preferences, because any time I can blame one of my children for something, I do. (I hate it when I spill something and none of my kids is around to blame. It’s very frustrating.)

Why are my coffee snob issues Asa’s fault? Because I was in my early years of drinking coffee about the time he took a mission trip to Ecuador two years ago. While he was there, I happily sipped my “coffee from a red canister that shall remain nameless” like I had done since I started my coffee drinking ways. When he came back home, he brought me a cute little Ecuador bracelet as a souvenir and a package of Ecuadorian coffee. How nice, I thought. Coffee from Ecuador. I’ll pray for the ministry there while I drink it. It will be so lovely.

Lovely didn’t even begin to describe this experience. I took my first sip and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness!! This coffee!! I’ve never had anything like it. I think this must be the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted. I might even like this more than butter.”

From that moment on, no other cup of coffee measured up. Once you have the best, it’s hard to go back.

(Our second son, Justus, will have the delightful opportunity to go to Ecuador this summer for his first overseas mission trip. I am so excited for him to bring me back a suitcase full of coffee share the love of Jesus with people there.)

How to Cold Brew Coffee

Needless to say, I hoarded my little bag of Ecuador coffee and rationed it – saving it for the mornings I could truly savor it. I might not have shared even a drop with anyone, but I can’t remember all the details. I’ve since started buying (and yes, even sharing) these Guatemalan coffee beans online. I find the flavor to be very similar to the Ecuador beans. This coffee is so delicious!

I questioned myself. “Should I really be spending extra money on high quality coffee?” So I did the math.

I discovered that it costs between $0.50-$0.60 per pot of coffee when I use the good stuff. This is more than a pot of the cheaper coffee. But worth it? Well, is it worth it to spend more on butter instead of settling for margarine? Obviously! (I know. That’s not an apples to apples comparison because the butter/margarine thing is more about eating real food for good health, but still. I think it’s worth it to pay a little extra for good quality and taste.)

Iced Coffee for a Crowd

Well, all that to say – get yourself some good coffee and treat people to this delicious Iced Coffee I’m going to tell you about. Or just use the cheap stuff for this recipe since you’re adding sugar anyway. :)

Last week I was asked to provide drinks for a get-together. I made a gallon of Homemade Lemonade (with sugar instead of maple syrup to cut the cost). Then I decided to make a big jar of iced coffee just for fun. It was a hit, so I thought I’d better share the idea with you!

My rough calculations tell me that a half-gallon of this Homemade Iced Mocha Coffee costs about $1.00. (I priced it at the store a few days later. The cheapest one cost $2.66. Boom.)

How to Make Iced Coffee for a CrowdYum

How to Make Iced Coffee for a Crowd
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 quart coffee
  • 1 tray coffee ice cubes
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup homemade chocolate fudge sauce (more or less to taste)
Instructions
  1. Cold brew coffee, or hot brew as normal, then chill.
  2. Stir cold coffee, coffee ice cubes, cream, and chocolate sauce into a half-gallon jar.
  3. Shake well before serving.

Some helpful links for you:

You might also enjoy this idea:

How to set up an Iced Coffee Bar

How to Make an Iced Coffee Bar

We set up that Iced Coffee Bar for my birthday guests last year and it was so much fun! See? I’m nice and share my good coffee now. I’ve grown so much.

Are you particular about what kind of coffee you drink?