Bring Starbucks Home: Make Your Own Chai Tea Lattes

For many people, Starbucks is a not-so-frugal splurge that can quickly become an addiction…especially around this time of year.  Those pumpkin spice lattes and chai tea lattes have a special soul-soothing and mind-calming quality to them.  Nothing says Autumn quite like a warm conversation with a friend and a delicious drink in hand.

Why not bring Starbucks home?  Create your own Autumn atmosphere.  Light some Fall-scented candles, play some relaxing music, pull up a chair at the table, invite a friend over, and make your own Chai Tea Lattes.  You could even go all out and bake some pumpkin muffins.

You’ll enjoy it just as much as Starbucks, and it will save money.  Why pay $4 or more for a drink you can easily make at home for pennies?

This easy recipe tastes almost identical to the Starbucks Chai Tea Latte.  In fact, I might be so bold as to say it’s a tiny bit better.  ;)

Special Note:

I originally tried making this with 1 tea bag in each cup, but I found that I couldn’t get the perfect ratio of sweetness to tea spice.  It was either too spicy or too sweet.  I finally decided on making the tea with 2 tea bags.  This brought out the strong flavor of the tea, and then I was able to add just the right amount of creamer until my desired sweetness.  You will probably have some creamer left over.  It might even be enough for another cup of tea.  Also, it is very important to use giant mugs, since the flavor of the tea is so strong.  You’ll want to have enough room to play with the creamer-to-tea ratio a bit.  :)   Plus, giant mugs are always more fun!

About Meagan Newsome
Meagan authors Frugal Fun & Fortune, where she writes about saving money, giving to others, delicious Vegetarian recipes, simple living, and her life adventures. Her greatest passions include chasing after God wholeheartedly, social justice and being a good wife. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Read more by Meagan ->

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Enjoy today. It will be worth it.

From contributing writer Meagan of Frugal Fun and Fortune

Rush. Rush. Rush.

Summer is coming to an end, and with it comes the back-to-school craze.  Driving the kids here.  Racing across town there.  Grocery shopping.  Bill paying.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Laundry.  Work.  To-do lists.  Errands.  Doctor’s appointments.

It’s seems like we can never get a moment to breathe.  We run ourselves ragged, miss out on much-needed sleep, and often over-commit.  In this 9 to 5 society of non-stop GO, sometimes it’s truly necessary to force ourselves to s-l-o-w-d-o-w-n.

When was the last time you carved out some precious time for some of the following stress-relieving, relaxing, and enjoyable activities?

  • Journaling
  • Reading
  • Baking cookies… just for fun
  • Lying under the stars and taking it all in
  • Watching the sun climb higher in the sky
  • Spending a day at the park
  • Dancing freely
  • Singing your heart out
  • Laughing until you cry
  • Writing a letter to a friend
  • Chatting over coffee
  • Taking snapshots of everyday life
  • Taking a nap on a rainy day
  • Choosing the scenic route on the drive home
  • Painting your nails a crazy color
  • Looking through old photo albums
  • Finding adventure outside
  • Having a tea party
  • Exercising
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Spending a little extra time on your hair and makeup
  • Listening to music on a lazy afternoon
  • Exploring nature trails
  • Feeling the wind on your face
  • Watching wildlife
  • Turning off the sound (electronics, Internet, TV)
  • Taking a stroll, hand-in-hand with your spouse
  • Creating meaningful art
  • PRAYING

Maybe these seem childish, or perhaps this list seems like whimsical dreaming.  But maybe, just maybe, this list can inspire some therapeutic ideas for simple and enjoyable living.

Whatever it is that clears your mind, soothes your heart, and relaxes your body… it’s very important that you find time for it.

We keep going… and going… and going.  We get depressed.  We stress out.  We destroy our physical and mental health.  We are TIRED; all the time.

That to-do list can be put aside from time to time.  It will always be there, pressuring us to extend ourselves beyond our limits.

Today, let’s take some time to enjoy life. Let’s be kind to ourselves.

And tomorrow? We will be well-rested.  We will feel refreshed and ready to tackle that to-do list.  We can accomplish more.

It will be worth it.

God created that day of rest for a reason.  He knew it was necessary

*Photo Credit

What is your favorite way to relax, unwind and enjoy life?

About Meagan Newsome
Meagan authors Frugal Fun & Fortune, where she writes about saving money, giving to others, delicious Vegetarian recipes, simple living, and her life adventures. Her greatest passions include chasing after God wholeheartedly, social justice and being a good wife. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Read more by Meagan -> | Blog

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Geocaching: Frugal Family Fun!

From contributing writer Meagan of Frugal Fun and Fortune

Looking for some frugal fun for the family as the Summer wraps up? Geocaching might just be for you! It’s fun for all ages, outdoors, adventurous, diverse, and educational. Not to mention…it’s FREE!

So what exactly is Geocaching? It’s basically a worldwide treasure hunt. People just like me and you hide and hunt for “caches” all over the globe. There may be 50 hidden caches within 5 miles of your very own neighborhood, and you’ve never even known it! They come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not real treasure. The fun of it is the adventure in finding the cache. You can trade small items (marbles, coins, baseball cards, silly bandz, etc.) if you’d like, though!

To get started, simply head over to the official Geocaching website. Sign up for a free membership, and search for caches in your area. Each individual cache page gives you GPS coordinates, which you must plug into your GPS in order to track it. This is the only part of Geocaching that isn’t quite so frugal. What’s great is that in today’s world, many people have GPS units in their cars or on their phones. If you do not have one, however, you can probably get an inexpensive one on Ebay or Amazon.

Each cache has a hint to decode, cache size, terrain level, and difficulty level. Each cache will also have pictures on the side of the screen that give you additional information, such as: wheelchair friendly, kid-friendly, parking available/unavailable, scenic view, takes less than 1 hour, bicycle friendly, the list goes on!

The best part of Geocaching is that you can do it in your neighborhood, city, on a road trip, or even on vacation in another country. It’s also very diverse, and has something that appeals to everybody. You might enjoy a scenic cache that is located in a park, or you might enjoy a cache that is located in a city that has a historical background. The possibilities and fun are endless!

You can check out the game guide to learn all about the ins and outs of Geocaching. You can also watch the video for a big-picture idea of how it works in a nutshell. Then sign up and enjoy your very own Geocaching treasure hunt! If you really become a Geocaching fanatic, you might even try hiding your own cache for other people to find.

Have you tried Geocaching before? Share your experience!

About Meagan Newsome
Meagan authors Frugal Fun & Fortune, where she writes about saving money, giving to others, delicious Vegetarian recipes, simple living, and her life adventures. Her greatest passions include chasing after God wholeheartedly, social justice and being a good wife. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Read more by Meagan -> | Blog

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QUINOA: Switch Up Your Breakfast Routine!

By contributing writer Meagan Newsome of Frugal Fun & Fortune

As a Vegetarian, I have become a lover of the mysterious grain-like substance known as quinoa. Quinoa is a pretty quirky food. The very first experience with quinoa is always fun. You can’t help but stare at the tiny, perfectly-spherical objects on the plate. And then there are the crazy little spirals that add just enough chaos into the mix. Sometimes quinoa is white; other times it’s red. You chew on a spoonful and discover a satisfying crunchiness. What is it, exactly?

Quinoa is actually a seed, rather than a grain. It has the properties of a whole grain, though. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all 9 essential amino acids in it. That is pretty difficult to find in foods other than meat. That is why it is such a perfect food for Vegetarians.

Quinoa has so much going for it. The health benefits are incredible. In addition to the high protein content mentioned above, it is rare to find a bag of store-bought quinoa that is not organic. It is also gluten-free and cholesterol-free. Quinoa is so quick and easy to make, especially compared to rice. It takes all of about 15 minutes to cook up a big pot of quinoa.

Finally, quinoa is SO versatile. It can be used in so many different ways: as a substitute for rice, in casseroles, on its own with a bit of lemon juice and salt, as a taco filling, to make a fruit salad protein-packed, mixed up with nuts and vegetables, in a cold salad (as a substitute for pasta), stuffed inside peppers, or even as a base for curries.

Even more surprising… did you know that quinoa can be a breakfast food? That’s right – it can be eaten just like oatmeal! And it is simply delightful.

If you do a quick search of the internet, you will find hundreds of different quinoa breakfast recipes. Here’s my personal favorite: [Read more...]

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