The Desires of Your Heart

baby feet

When I was growing up, I had some big dreams that only God could make happen. When everything felt completely impossible, (like when the doctor told me at 18 that I was infertile. Or when my boyfriend of 4 years broke my heart) I would take comfort in Psalm 37:4

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

I would wonder what it meant to delight in the Lord.  There’s all sorts of depth to a statement like that.  One day when I was studying, I found Isaiah 58:13-14 and one part of it came together.

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord…

And It changed the way I live.  I’m not perfect at this, and we don’t have a bunch of rules we follow. But we do make an effort as whole family to make Sunday different.  Part of that is being careful with our media.  I encourge the kids not to play regular old video games and watch secular shows on Netflix, but to spend time in things that especially please the Lord.

Right Now Media

Sometimes that makes my day a little harder when I need to rest and I have a houseful of energetic children.  So when I found out about RightNow media I was excited.  They are like the Netflix of Christian television and have a huge selection of adult and kid shows including Veggie Tales, Life on the Pond, Adventures in Odyssey and What’s in the Bible?  When I need a few minutes to rest, my kids have an option that will edify.

That’s not the best part, the best part is you get an entire year’s subscription free with the purchase of this year’s Homemaking Bundle.

If you aren’t familiar with the Homemaking Bundle, it’s $1,012.49 worth of resources plus $308.94 of bonuses all to help you be better at your most important job.  Oh, and it only costs $29.97.

I have my own book included in the bundle this year and when I looked to see the other resources in the lineup, I was pretty honored to be part of the bunch.  You can see everything they have to offere here.

When you purchase through my link, my family earns a little bit of money and to thank you, I have a bonus offer for you:


 A one month FREE subcription to our everything meal plans

Just forward your bundle receipt to me ( and I’ll get it all set up for you.  It won’t recur, so you won’t have to enter any payment information.  If you are already a subscriber to the meal plans, I have a special secret bonus gift for you.  You’re going to love it!


Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and probiotics.  It’s thick and creamy even when made with skim milk.  The only problem is it can get expensive! A 48 ounce container from Costco is around $6, but I can make 64 ounces at home for the price of a gallon of milk.  This week Aldi has milk on sale for $1.65 a gallon!  It’s yogurt making time :).

I like to do a whole gallon at once, because I use yogurt for a lot of things–eating with fruit, pancake topping, sour cream substitute, to make dip and salad dressing, as a base for cream sauces etc.  It’s a fabulous high protein snack for everyone in the family. If you use less, you can cut everything in half and do just a half gallon if you use less yogurt. So here’s how I make it:

Greek Yogurt and Blackberries

Pour 1 gallon of milk in a 5 quart slow cooker.  Place on low for 2-3 hours or until it is 180 degrees. Do not let the milk boil! If you have a digital thermometer with an alarm, you can walk away and forget about it. You can use any kind of milk–skim to whole.  I prefer skim for the lower calories and we are used to it.  Whole milk yogurt is delightfully creamy  though.

Turn off the slow cooker and let the milk sit until it has cooled to 110-120 degrees. (2-3 hours)  I know heating the milk feels like an extra step if you are just going to cool it down, but it’s necessary to unravel the proteins and allows the yogurt to thicken.  I’ve made raw milk yogurt before and it doesn’t get as thick.

Take 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (reserved from your last batch or purchased) and mix it with 1 cup of the warm milk from your slow cooker.  Then stir this mixture into the rest of the warm milk.  It would seem like adding more yogurt starter would just make yogurt faster and thicker–but it doesn’t work that way.  More is not better. 1/2 cup per gallon is perfection.

Cover with the lid and wrap the whole thing in bath towels to insulate.  Keep the slow cooker turned off and allow it to sit overnight.  In the morning it will look like this:

Slow Cooker Greek yogurtYou can see the whey separated and floating on the top with the yogurt solids underneath.  If you stir all this together, you will have regular plain yogurt.

To make Greek Yogurt:  Layer a large bowl with a large colander and line with 3 layers of cheese cloth.  Pour your yogurt  into this and allow to drain without stirring until half of the volume is reduced.  Save the nutritous clear whey for baking and use it like buttermilk in pancakes, biscuits, bread etc.

Take the strained yogurt and put it in your electric mixture with the wisk attachment and whip.  If it’s too dry add a little fresh milk (or cream) until it has the moistness and consistency you like.

It should be very thick and creamy when you are done.  This recipe yields 1 gallon of plain yogurt or 1/2 gallon of Greek Yogurt for around $3.  This is roughly 1/4 the cost of buying the same amounts at Costco and requires very little hands on time.

If your yogurt doesn’t set up, you can leave it another day.  I’ve forgotten about it before and left it for 24 hours.  The yogurt was perfect and the cultures kept the milk from spoiling.  If it doesn’t work at all, it is possible the yogurt cultures weren’t alive.  This happens if the milk is too hot when they are added (high heat will kill them.)  Or if the starter was too old.  It works best if you can make yogurt once a week or every other week and use 1/2 cup from the previous batch to keep the cultures alive and happy.


The Breakfast Cookie Formula

Thursday I showed you a yummy strawberry breakfast cookie recipe.  I’m the kind of girl who loves to experiment with new flavors and combinations. I use recipe formulas to do that.   I’m aware that there are people out there who are petrified of cooking without a specific recipe.  I’m married to one of them.  He needs the recipe to tell him every little detail or he’s paralyzed in the kitchen.  If this is you, and the idea of a recipe formula freaks you out, it’s ok, skip it and come back tomorrow :).

Here’s how it works, read down the list of suggestions and start pulling together combinations.  Maybe you’ll have a Maple Apple Pecan Breakfast Cookie.  Or a Ginger Peach Macadamia one.  It’s as limitless as your imagination.

Breakfast cookies 8

Breakfast Cookie Formula

1/4 cup fat (such as melted butter, melted coconut oil, or avocado oil)

1/4 cup thick liquid (such as buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, applesauce, baby food, pureed spinach or more oil)

1/2 cup sticky sweetner (honey, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, fiber yum or any combo.)

1/2 cup thin liquid (such as juice, milk, or tea)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup flax meal

3/4 cup flour (whole wheat, almond meal, more flax, oat flour, buckwheat, amaranth)

1 tsp flavoring extract (such as vanilla, butterscotch, almond, orange, lemon, rum)

1/4 cup chopped nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, macadamia, cashews, peanuts, walnuts)

1/2 cup dried fruit or baking chips (craisins, raisins, blueberries, snipped cherries, snipped apricots, chocolate chips etc)

1/2 cup fresh chopped firm fruit (such as blueberries, mulberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, banannas, peaches, pears)

1/4-1/2 each of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, allspice, etc)

1 tsp salt (if your nuts are salted leave this out)

MIx your wet, then your dry ingredients.  Scoop 1/4 cup fulls onto lined baking sheets and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden.

Have you thought of a flavor combination to try?  Leave a suggestion in the comments.

Frugal Friday #11

rgIf you are new here, this is the day I share some of the frugal things I’ve done recently and then you share yours in the comments. the idea is to encourage and inspire each other.Frugal Friday

Happy Friday!  I’m so excited! Darren made arrangements for me to have a whole 24 hours to myself this weekend.  The kids pitched in to clean up the kitchen and main living areas, so my 24 hours wouldn’t be spent on chores.  I’m going to read a book, spend time outside, stretch and exercise, soak in the bath and eat super healthy food.   I’ve been struggling the past couple of months with feeling exhausted, dizzy, & foggy in the brain.  I have a few good hours in the mornings and by noon, I’m working flat on my back with the computer propped on my knees.  Sometimes I’m in bed for the night by dinner time and miss out on all the family time.

Yesterday afternoon I started to feel a bit better after several weeks of going back to the food choices and supplements that have been proven to work for me.  Darren came home around 6pm last night and I was not only out of bed cooking dinner, I was dancing a little jig in the kitchen—just because a good song came on. He walked in and said, “Wow!” It was a big change.

If I know what works, why would I ever quit doing it?  It’s crazy, but as I start to feel better I think, “I’m healed–finally!  The nightmare is behind me!” and I skip a dose of supplements, I accept an additional responsibility, I allow myself some junk food.  I don’t feel the affects right away, so I think, “See, you just ate a couple of Oreos and feel great.  You’ve finally beat this!”  Then after a while of bad behavior I start to notice, “Hey, my hair is my hair falling out!  Were those lines on my face this deep yesterday?  Ouch! my nails sure are brittle.  My arms feel heavy. Yikes! The room is spinning! Sob, I’m crying and I’m not even sad.”

Having adrenal insufficiency messes with my ability to do DIY frugal things.  We’ve been talking  about making more memories as a family.  Darren said, “Honey, there was a free kite festival last weekend. The kids would have loved it,” and we both knew that I wouldn’t have made it physically.  I’ve learned to take advantage of my good hours by preparing evening meals in the morning when I have the most energy.  For a time I stopped making as much from scratch (like our breads) to conserve my energy. It’s a vicious cycle, because scratch stuff not only saves money, but it’s healthier too.

The affects of making bad choices aren’t instant and good choices don’t bring instant results either, so it’s hard to stay motivated.  I’m writing it down today, so I can look back and remind myself that my choices matter.  Since I’ve felt better, I did a little more scratch cooking this week.

cereal dreg muffins

  1. I made breakfast.  The first time, I made breakfast cookies. And the second day I made muffins from cereal crumbs.  We only buy bran flakes and toasted o’s from Aldi.  Which averages $.10 a serving (plus milk.)  It’s not coated in sugar, but it’s still more processed than I’d like.  The kids can fix it for themselves after I’ve left for work, so for this season in life we have cereal.  The crumbs collect in the bottom of the bag and I save them for adding to muffins and cookies. This time we had banana muffins and I used up some really old frozen bananas I found in the bottom of the freezer.

avocado dressing

  1. I saved my homemade mayo.  On instagram a few weeks ago I showed a photo of my lovely but very bitter creamy 100% EVOO homemade mayo.  It was so bitter even my real food loving mother-in-law coughed when she tasted it. I added some stevia, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika which made it tolerable.  Then I made a homemade dressing with it, cutting it with buttermilk and cilantro.  It was delicious.  The mayo is keeping a long time in the fridge. It’s almost gone now, but I might try it again with a different blend of oils.


Contemporary Ruffle Maxi Dress

3. I didn’t buy dresses.  I filled my cart at and had a 20% off coupon to use.  It didn’t feel right buying the clothes right then with all of the other goals we had for our family, so I waited 24 hours.  When I checked back in they had sold out of my size in several of the things in the cart, so I skipped the whole thing.  It felt really good to let it go, even though they were such pretty things.

 It’s your turn. Inspire us with some of your frugal activities this week.

Strawberry Breakfast Cookies

Strawberry Breakfast Cookies

If you ever have a busy morning and wish there were somthing nutritious to grab and eat in the car on your way to wherever….these are for you.  They are mildly sweet and have a good amount of fiber and healthy fat to keep you satisfied.  These hold together well, even when made with gluten free ingredients and are a nice non-crumbly breakfast to go.

Breakfast Cookies 6 Breakfast cookies 9

Strawberry Breakfast Cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup milk (almond milk works fine)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup whole grain flour (almond meal also works)

1/4 cup flax meal

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 cup diced strawberries

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together melted coconut oil and honey.  Beat in eggs, vanilla, applesauce and milk.

Stir in remaining ingredients

Use a 1/4 cup to scoop dough onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Use a spatula to smooth them into round cookie shapes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Breakfast cookies 11

The next morning I drizzled them with a little melted chocolate hoping the kids would eat them better.  They were pretty excited about it, but I liked them better plain.


Frugal Friday #10

Frugal Friday

Happy Friday!!! If you are new here, this is the day I share some of the frugal things I’ve done recently and then you share yours in the comments. the idea is to encourage and inspire each other—not to make anyone feel guilty.

I’ve been having a hard time thinking of things to share on Frugal Friday.  It’s been almost a month since I last post.  Most of our fugal things have been relating to not doing something instead of getting a better deal on something.  They are kind of every day kind of things and didn’t seem too note worty to talk about.  Then it occurred to me that those simple every day things are JUST THE THINGS we should talk about.

  1. We didn’t go to the movies.  We had planned to see the new (can I still call it new?) Star Wars movie as a family, at a matinee where it would be cheaper. It was still going to be expensive when you think about buying a ticket x8, but we’ve only taken the kids to the movies one other time in their entire lives that I can think of–and it was going to be really special.  Kind of like our Disney World—bww ha ha ha! BUT FIRST, Darren thought we should watch the first 6 movies.  I hadn’t seen any of them and neither had several of our kids.  So we borrowed them from the library and netflix and watched them in order.  By the time we found enough family time to get that done, The Force Awakens was available on DVD.  It should arrive today.  We rarely buy movies, but in this case it was $18 for the DVD instead of $48-$80 for movie tickets.  I could have saved the $18 and waited for it to come at the library….that would have been a little more thrifty.  I’m still looking forward to seeing the kids’ faces when the mail comes today.

Brown Bag Lunch

2. We pack our lunches.  School lunches cost between $1.75 and $2.50, which is really cheap for eating out.  BUT we can pack a lunch at home for less than $1.  When you multiply that times 5 school age children, we save $240 a month just packing lunches.

3. We try to remove stains from clothes.  This one sounds silly, but I have heard people tell me they had to throw clothes away because of stains.  They wouldn’t dream of donating or selling a stained item in a garage sale.  While I admire their integrity, there are a LOT of ways to remove stains from clothes.  I’ll buy stained clothes if they are low priced, since it’s likely I’ll (and by me, I mean my mom) will be able to get the stains out.  I should get her to show us how, yes?

Basement family room before and after

Here’s not really a thrifty thing, but it relates.  We have so many house projects to do that it would take every dime we could squeeze from our budget for the next 10-15 years to do them.  I’ve been thinking lately about living in my house unfinished instead, except for the really cheap things I can do to make it liveable (like paint.)  Then we could use the money to make memories with the kids while they are still dependent on us.  We’ve dreamed of taking them snow skiing, and to see other parts of the nation and can’t do both.  I’ve decided I’m ok with looking at 2×4 studs and pipes and bare insulation if that means I can do better for them.

 It’s your turn. Inspire us with some of your frugal activities this week.

Peach Mint Iced Tea

We save a lot of money by drinking water instead of juice, milk, or soda.  I keep a pitcher of water full in the fridge so it’s cold and inviting.  Even then, sometimes, it’s nice to have something flavorful to drink. Even better if it’s inexpensive and healthy too.  Peppermint tea is my favorite summer beverage to add variety to the every day. I save even more by using 1 tea bag for 2 cups of water and letting it steep a little longer so it’s just as strong.

iced tea


Peach Peppermint Tea is a fancier version of my favorite. I first tasted this tea at a wedding shower for my close friend.  The shower was held in a victorian style cottage in a wooded area and everything about it was quaint, delicate and beautiful.  They had tea sandwiches and petit fours with fresh berries. Everything was served on floral vintage china with mismatched pieces.  Serving serfaces were softened with lace and cabbage rose printed table clothes. Dreamy….


The cold refreshing tea was sweetened with honey, but it’s also yummy with stevia. Here’s the simple recipe:

  • 8 cups  boiling water
  • 4 peppermint tea bags
  • 4 tablespoons honey (or 8 packets of truvia)
  • 2 fresh peaches

Steep tea bags in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Discard bags, pressing moisture from them back into the tea.  Dissolve honey into the hot beverage and add sliced peaches.  Cool until room temperature and then chill until ready to serve.  Serves 8.



How to Fix Pilled Clothes

I’m cheap, I’ll admit it publicly.  I love getting a great deal on clothing and if you compliment my outfit I’ll say, “Thanks!  It only cost $5!” Or something equally embarrassing.  Most of the time I won’t even have the good sense to be embarrassed.


While I know I’m cheap, and I’ll gladly TELL you I’m cheap.  I don’t want to LOOK cheap.   I keep my clothes years and years without paying much attention to trends.  I like what I like.  But when what I like gets pilled…now that I don’t like.


When I was a teen, I had a battery operated depilling device that was worthless.  After that failure I gave up on removing pills, concentrating on buying clothes that don’t pill often–100% cotton things and higher quality brands (from the clearance rack, ROSS or the thrift store.)  Recently I noticed my higher quality brands are pilling–and some are manufactured with pills already on them.  They call it slub knit.  WHY?!!!!!!

Sweater farm

My search for depilling fabric renews! I tried a razor (a daisy pink) and it worked pretty well. It removed the pills as long as I kept cleaning it out.  The pills had to be taken off the garment with a sticky lint remover, but it disconnected them really well.  If the fabric was delicate at all, or got a wrinkle in it, the razor would leave a tiny hole.

conair depiller

There are “sweater Stones” and “depilling combs” but I finally took a risk and purchased another battery operated depiller.  If it weren’t for the glowing reviews I never would have done it.  Technology has changed in the last 20 years.  It may look the same as the old depiller but it didn’t behave the same.  My clothing looked like new when I was done, and it collected all the lint into it’s own reservoir.

It works better on bulky knits like sweaters.  The finer knits need more passes and to be held perfectly flat.  The reservoir needs to be cleaned out frequently so it doesn’t get too full and clog the head.

Have you tried any depilling methods?  Did anything work well for you?




The $20 Birthday She’ll Never Forget

This post isn’t really about birthdays.  It’s about how relatively unimportant is the amount of money we spend on our kids.  It’s about how kids spell love, T.I.M.E. and how having a friend to come along beside you to give new ideas and tell you that things are going to be ok, can make a hard thing seem possible.

birthday girl

Things have been quiet on the blog the last few days, because I was putting all my energy into a free webinar that has been my dream for the last 7 years.  Finally all the pieces came together to make it a reality.  The webinar itself gives enough information to massively change a financial trajectory, but there wasn’t enough time to go as deeply as I want to go. You can see the replay right here for the next few days.  I’ll need to take it down after the weekend, because some of the information is time sensitive.:

Grocery Shrink Live Replay from Angela Coffman on Vimeo.

At the end of the webinar, I announced a 2 month course/private group coaching session that starts on Monday!  In this time frame we can go as deep as we need to, to seriously change lives! Several readers signed up immediately and we’ve already started the journey in our coaching private group.  One mother especially touched my heart with her story.  We’ve been where she is and there were so many things she said that brought back those old emotions.  She gave me permission to share her story here:

C:  I’m a stay at home mom of 4. I am the financial manager of our home. (LOL) I too homeschool our kiddos. We are currently trying to prepare our home to sell. What we need to sell it for, is more than it’s valued at. We have nothing to pay the difference (a $20,000 difference). We are trying to upgrade the house for a higher resale in high return areas. We are doing the work ourselves to save there. Dinners have become a nightmare. We are feeling the urgency to list the house on the market “now” in prime selling time. However, feeling overwhelmed because the work is not yet finished. I tried to earn some income on the side to help offset the building material cost but I have no time to working the business. I’m still diapering and breastfeeding a baby. The other 3 children’s birthdays are right around the corner. We feel defeated as we may have to settle for a short sale. A real kick in the teeth. Because we almost lost it once before to foreclosure after the hospital bills from birthing came in. We did a loan modification and have been great with mortgage payments ever since going into the 6th year now. ~well that was a bit of a ramble. LOL, I suppose I could have journaled all that, it’s the first time I’ve stopped to look at the big picture! Oh yes, the Goal: to sell the house and become “us” again.

You see the course is about groceries.  We are going deep into groceries and everyone in the course will save the cost of their tuition the first month or get a complete refund. But the course is also about you, your goals, your needs.  That’s what the private group is for.  8 weeks of personal access to me and the other friends on the same journey.  To encourage each other, share ideas. Here’s what I said:

Me:  Oh hugs, C–. How stressful. How old are your kids?

C:  They will be turning, 10,9,6, and 2

Me: Such great ages. If you want we could brain storm low cost ways to celebrate birthdays that make the kids feel like they’ve splurged.

C: That would be awesome b/c the first one is this month the 28th and I usually order things online…

 Me: How old is this one? Boy/girl? Interests?

C: Girl turning 6. She loves horses, princess, tiny figurines to play with like critter county~she loves making little families, arts & crafts, cooking/baking, and dress up

box candy

Me: I’d make it a friend only party and limit it to 2 hours from 2-4 so no meal needs to be served. For party favors buy each little girl a box of movie candy ($1 each) and wrap it in cute paper, or plain white paper and let your daughter decorate them with markers. Grap a couple of extra boxes of candy for the cake. Buy a bag of mixed baloons (Walmart has the best quality for the same price as dollar tree.) Blow them up with your own breath and tie them together with strings (or curly ribbon if you have it already) and hang them from the light fixtures and backs of the chairs. Only buy festive paper napkins (you don’t need paper plates, cups, silverware and tablecloths) and serve the cake and ice cream on your dishes and use the best tablecloth that you already have. Pull out the fancy china if you have any. If not your regular dishes will be just fine. Serve juice mixed with a 2 liter of lemon lime soda in tea cups and call it punch. Do a $1 box cake mix and $1 can of frosting and let your daughter decorate the cake with candy. Get plain vanilla icecream to go with it and pass around a bowl of sprinkles and a spoon. For the party, have the little girls decorate a couple of refrigerator boxes with markers, colored paper and glue sticks to make a castle/house. Then pull out all the dress up clothes and costume jewelry and let them play. You won’t need to buy gifts yourself because each friend will bring something and that’s 9 gifts! at 20 minutes before the parents come, stop the play, serve cake and ice cream. Then open gifts. Hand each girl her own wrapped box of candy on the way out the door. Total cost: less than $20

For the boxes, call Home Depot several weeks ahead and ask when they recycle their appliance boxes. They will save them for you if you ask, but you’ll have to go early to pick them up (like 7:30am) They are free

C: wow, just wow! that all sounds fantastic! seriously I’m stunned…this sounds amazing and I know she would have a blast!

Me: The highlight of her day will be decorating the stuff with you for her friends. The key is to let perfection fly out the window and just let her do it her way. (That’s the hardest part.)

C: yes…I can see your ways 🙂 and all this incorporates who she is,… honestly I’m humbled and stopped in my tracks…

This quick intervention literally just saved me over $300. That is impressive indeed. But, what’s more heartfelt and gets me to the core, is my daughter. I have been trying to find ways to connect with her. She’s a quirky little duck…But I shared with her the birthday plan and she excitedly threw her arms around me saying “oh mommy this is going to be the best birthday ever!” I cried…the $ saved is amazing, but that moment with my little Ellie, priceless. I will remember that for the rest of my life. 🙂 

Me: I LOVE this so much <3 <3 <3

We only have about 20 slots left in the class, but if this is something that speaks to you, you can see more here.

The One Important Thing

If you could cut your grocery spending in half and remove all your debt payments, how would your life change?

happy couple husband wife celebrating success jumping for joy

When I was a young bride with 3 small children, we asked ourselves that question.  We were struggling along on a $35,000 income and wondering how we were going to offer things like music lessons to our kids as they grew. At the time, we didn’t know that 3 more children would eventually join our family.  We only knew that if things continued the way they were we’d never have the life we hoped for.  We had an $89,000 debt looming over us.  No longer were we satisfied with limping along paying minimums. We stared it in the face, taking massive decisive action.  In 6 intense months, we were debt free.  On paper, it should have taken much longer.  Looking back we recognize ONE IMPORTANT thing that made the difference in the speed of our journey to debt free success.

Once someone hears the details to our story, there are two responses:  1.  I could never do that because I don’t have blank or blank.  or 2.  This is so motivating I’m going to do it.

I really hope you are #2, because no matter what your situation is, the One IMPORTANT thing will make a difference for you.

I’m hosting a live video event Wednesday, April 6th and along with our debt free details will explain it all. Reserve your spot here.