Valentines on A Budget – 5 Tips to Save You Money!

Valentines is officially HERE! and while today may be the BIG V-Day, most people may opt to do something small today, with a bigger celebration more than likely starting tomorrow night and on through the weekend, right??

Valentine’s is the next most popular-est holiday, outside of Christmas. As soon as Christmas is over you can almost guarantee the week or two after, stores will begin to fill up with red, pink and white balloons, bears, candies and roses galore…I mean, that’s just how it rolls.

In Honor of Black History Month >> Check This Out >> My History, Your History, Black History Facts You Might Didn’t’ Know About.

However, while Valentines is a day that everyone (well not everyone, but you get it) uses to express their undying love and affection for a significant other – it can also be extremely COSTLY! Yes, LOVE really does cost a thing, especially on V-Day.

And that alone can be a little disheartening as everyone may not have the Benjamin’s to splurge on LOVE. Therefore, I’m going to give you 5 tips of how you can keep the cost down on the world’s most LOVE filled day.

Scavenger Hunt

Valentines Day is the perfect day to tell your significant other how much you love them and while words are great – ACTIONS are better. Get some nice paper, preferably construction paper. Fold it in half and cut along the fold line to make hearts, make sure you use different colors – it just makes the activity more fun and expressive.

Image Credit: Pexels

Write nice things you love about your sweetie on each one and put them all over your living space (preferably in places you know they always go). You might want to let them know you’re doing this and tell them you’ve placed little love notes throughout the space and send them on a little hunt to find it. Or, it can be a complete surprise. You can do it while they’re sleeping, to up the ante – you can tape little pieces of chocolate on, to make the surprise even sweeter.

Handwritten Letters

I know this is a bit old-fashioned, especially with the boat loads of technology we have today. Taking out time to sit down and actually write a letter shows that you not only care but it’s the sincerest affection to give. You can write a love note to anyone; your kids, your spouse, a good friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or just to let someone know how much you appreciate them. The fact that you took out time to do it, will be the greatest gift of love and adoration shown.

Image Credit: Pexels

Plan a Date night in Your Kitchen or Dining Room

Now, I know some people may already sit down to have dinner together, but V-Day is an extra special day that causes for an extra va-voom to your dinner/meal conversation. Use your phone to create a V-Day playlist to serve as your background music. Light a couple of candles or string a couple of lights around your chandelier or alongside your wall (get those creative juices going).

Image Credit: Pexels

During your meal, don’t talk about work or any outside disturbances. Use this time to talk about each other. What made you fall in love and etc. And if you’re flying solo, no worries plan a night with the kids (no phones, no talk about work) use that time to tell them something special about themselves and etc. Just keep the talk about LOVE. If you don’t have kids, then invite some friends over and chat it up.

You also don’t have to buy any expensive dinners, cook whatever you got in the fridge or cabinets because this moment isn’t about the food but being amongst those you LOVE.

Movies Anyone? – Favorite V-Day Classics

If you’re an avid follower, then you know I LOVE LOVE LOVE movies. What better way to settle in on V-Day or whenever you decide to celebrate it than with a good ole love classic and some popcorn. Listed below are a couple of my faves in no particular order…

Image Credit: Pexels
  • Valentine’s Day (2010)Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx
  • Serendipity (2001)John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale
  • Pretty Woman (1990)Julia Roberts, Richard Gere
  • Love and Basketball (2000) Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps
  • The Notebook (2004)Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling
  • Titanic (1997) Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet
  • An Officer & A Gentleman (1982)Richard Gere, Debra Winger
  • 50 First Dates (2004) – Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore

Spa Day – INSIDE

As a people I honestly don’t think we do enough self-care routines (I’m totally preaching to the choir on this one (AMEN!). So why not create your own spa day inside. Light some candles, turn on some soft music and create a bubble bath for one or two (wink..) You don’t even have to have those high-priced soaps that do all the special things – if you got some body wash that’ll do just fine for creating the bubble effect. Get you a glass of wine (sparkling or other) and just RELAX! And follow-up with a good skin care regimen.

Image Credit: Pexels

I know Valentine’s day may not be a big deal to some people’s world and that’s okay as it doesn’t take a holiday to show LOVE. However you choose to spend V-day, just make sure you’re showing yourself some love and/or spending time with the people you do. Time is precious and LOVE, whether a holiday or not is worth giving.

Glazed Cherry Bread
Looking for something delicious and different to whip up for V-Day? You’ll love this cherry bread recipe made with delicious maraschino cherries. To get the full recipe and view the video of how it’s made visit Tastes of Lizzy T.

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Jalen Bailey is Baking Cookies & Taking Orders for V-Day!

Picture above courtesy of bing

jalen bailey1

About a year ago, I wrote a story about a phenomenal then 8yr old young man by the name of Jalen Bailey whom was cooking up pies and cookies in his kitchen, and these weren’t just any ordinary cookies and pies for the local bake sale at school or church but  had become a lifestyle job for Jalen, whom was destined to make his passion into a profit that would help both he and his mom. Jalen Bailey was using his gift of “baking” to its fullest potential. I wanted to re-share this story to shed even more light on Jalen and his skills and to inform you of how you can get your very own order from Jalen’s bakery. Now that Valentine’s Day or V-Day as I like to call it is fastly approaching, you too can get your hands on some of Jalen’s delectable sweets for either yourself or that special someone in your life. Jalen’s bakery has been doing so great, it caught the eye of Rachel Ray, YESSSSS! the number one chief herself asked Jalen to be a guest on her show. You can read all about Jalen and his reason for baking below as well as watch his appearance on Rachel Ray. I’ll have links below so you follow Jalen’s Bakery Journey and while you’re at it – you can get your yummy order in as well!!

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jalen bailey

 

“I said I wanted to be a millionaire. I thought that wasn’t possible but now I think it is.” Jalen Bailey

Those are the words of 8-year-old Jalen Bailey who started in a baking company called “Jalen’s Bakery” right out of his mom’s small kitchen. Seeing how tiny their kitchen and house was, Jalen decided to put his gift to work by baking and selling cookies –not to get new toys, but to buy his mom a house.

According to HUFF POST, Jalen doesn’t use a cook book, but bakes all of those yummy goods from scratch! This includes his specialty peanut butter cookies, banana nut muffins and vanilla cake in a jar. Just the thought of all of those goodies are making me hungry. The prices for the treats range anywhere from $5 to $15 dollars. He and his mom will even deliver them too you (but only if you’re local).

Jalen’s mom, Sharhonda Mahan, who is a single mother, is his biggest supporter and a business-owner herself. So for Jalen starting his own business didn’t come as much of a surprise to her. According to Sharhonda, Jalen has been receiving many requests for orders and has also baked for his first event in which a vendor offered to purchase a bigger stove for him to keep baking more and more tasty goods.

“He’s very excited. It seems like the more orders he gets, the more excited he gets and the more serious he gets about his business.”

Seeing how passionate and driven her son has been for the past two years about baking and the many requests which floor their door, Sharhonda recently started a GOFUNDME page so that Jalen can start shipping to customers nationwide. The goal is $10,000 for Jalen to own a house, raise funding for college, give back to the community and learn the life of being a young entrepreneur. While this seems like a tall order for an 8-year-old; with Jalen’s drive, his mom’s support and their now booming business, I believe he will be able to complete everything on his list and more.

To keep up with Jalen and find out what he’s cooking up next, you can follow him on one of the social media sites below:

Follow Jalen on his Instagram page entitled jalensblog here

You can place your order for V-Day on his website here 

Get daily motivation, and see his latest recipes on FB here 

The goal of 10K was met, the link to the GoFundMe page above is new and was created so Jalen can help and give back to the community, his goal 2 months ago was to raise enough money to be able to giveaway 200 coats and socks to kids in need. But please visit the page as there are other philanthropy goals that Jalen is doing. What an Inspiration, Way to Go Jalen!!!

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

 

Just Put the “H” In It!! Meaning….

photo above courtesy of bing 

PUT SOME HEALTH IN IT!!!

So, you may be wondering what in the world is she talking about now. Well, I thought about the H during the first week of January when we were all settled in (or maybe we just were here on this side of the world) waiting on the snow to go away. Due to the snow coming in out of nowhere seems like, I was stuck in the house for a couple of days….4 to be exact. My neighborhood was so slick and covered with snow, we couldn’t even get out to go to the store – Thank God I went the night before.

While all snuggled in the house, it threw me off of my regular “work” routine – where I would’ve been in an environment that kept me on my feet all day long and on the right schedule as far as eating right is concerned, now here I was stuck in the house with food, allllllll…..dayyyyyyy……longgggggg. I wanted everything “bad” from pancakes, to cookies to fatty foods like a good ole’ cheeseburger and pasta. Now, I know you’re wondering – what are you doing with that stuff in the house, well I have a teenager and a pre-teen – soooooo….okay. Now, I do watch what they eat and I bake all my meats and cook at least one veggie and starch with every meal, they eat healthy fruits and so forth; but I do buy them some sweets as well, I mean I don’t want to totally push it out of their sight and/or  punish them just because I’m trying to get on the good foot.

But this particular day of being stuck in the house all day, made those tempting things I bought for them extra hard to resist. Those cupcakes began to look really good, every time I opened the fridge; I felt the urge to want to eat it….

Healthy Options

but what I had to realize was that just because it’s in front of you, tempting as it may be; wanting you to devour it’s goodness, doesn’t mean you necessarily have too – there’s one thing you can do to turn that unhealthy option into a good one and that’s to put the “H” in it. Puzzled? Let me explain further…

On that snowy day over a week ago, I had a craving for some pancakes – I’m not much of a pancake eater but for some reason that day – I couldn’t get them off my mind. I had some pancake mix in the cabinet but it wasn’t made out of coconut flour, if you get my drift. It was the regular flour mix – while I wanted the pancakes, the first thing I thought about was “How can I make these a little healthier.” So that way, I’m not just eating plain pancakes, but pancakes that have been healthfully boosted to be actually good for me. I mean, just because I was in the house didn’t mean I needed to go “rogue” with my eating habits. Once I gave my counter a look over, those plain pancakes became a much more healthier alternative than what they would have been had I had just fixed them up.

I measured out a good enough amount of mix that would make two pancakes and added a little coconut sugar, almond milk, chia seeds, unsweetened applesauce, ground flax seeds and a dab of hemp hearts. After stirring it all up, I put them in a skillet with a little coconut oil; once done, I added two tablespoons of SF Syrup and viola, I had healthy pancakes and I must say – they turned out better than I had expected! (see below).

pancake meal

Honestly, if you think about it and if your goal is to really make healthy choices this year; this could be a good start to those early resolutions. You can start small and work your way up. Listed below are some of the things I do to add a little health to my foods.

Other Simple beneficial suggestions you can use to add a little bit of “Health” to your food:

The list above is just a small number of healthy choices you can use to add to some of your favorite meals. The deal is coming up with healthy ways to spruce up your everyday meals, especially if your budget is tight and you can’t afford to buy into those expensive weight-loss food delivery programs such as Jenny Craig, Blue Apron or Weight Watchers, it’s all about taking out time to read the labels and choosing a healthy option over a non healthy one or adding a healthy one to an unhealthy one.

So, the next time you eat something that doesn’t seem to have an H in it, begin to think of ways you can jazz it up to take it from Fatty to Healthy.

What are some ways you add the “H” (health) to some of your favorite foods, I would love to hear about them!

See ya in the next Post!!

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

 

Next Week

On next Tuesday 01/23: I’ll have a pop-up blog post entitled “A Gallon A Day?, No Way! – How do you drink your gallon of water a day, in that post I’ll share and give tips on how I drink mine, so if you’re wondering how to get down a gallon of water….stay tuned, help is on the way.

You know they say networking is a great thing and I love it because you never know whom you’re going to meet, well next Thursday 01/25: I’m going to be sharing the story of my new friend Kristi Data whom I instantly connected with via Instagram, her empowering persona and paying it forward attitude had me at “Hello.” Kristi will be sharing her ups of being active in organized sports to her downfall of having an eating disorder in college, so how did she bounce back? You’ll have to tune in next week – you don’t want to miss her inspirational story.

 

The Next Step is Meal Prep!

Photo above is courtesy of Pinterest

Now that the new year has officially gotten underway, the number one goal on everyone’s agenda whether for the first week, month or entire year is to get healthy, cut out the sugar, go to the gym and eat clean!

Well in order to achieve those goals, the other number one thing you have to do outside of getting healthy is prepping your meals. Trust and believe, I’m no expert at doing this and if I can be honest, I find the whole cooking everything on a Sunday for the rest of the week to be very cumbersome and plus if you’re an avid follower of mine, then you already know this girl, HATES COOKING! LOL!

But, my light at the end of the tunnel came last year when I noticed the money in my pockets were getting slimmer and slimmer and this wasn’t due to the bills I had but the food places I frequently visited on a daily…..Yes….every….single….day. If it wasn’t Burger King, it was Mickey D’s or Taco Bell or anything FAST that I could get my hands on and while that was a good quick fix, that fix became a habit that continued to get out of control very quickly. It was then that I had a “come to Jesus” meeting with myself and vowed that I would take my lunch, even if it was a PB&J but I was determined to save money.

It’s been almost a year now and I can attest that I “planned my work and worked my plan!” I think I can count on one hand the times I went out to get lunch and for me?, that’s a HUMONGOUS accomplishment to say the least and that was all thanks to biting the bullet and starting to meal prep. Now, don’t get me wrong – this girl still hates cooking but what I had begun to do was cook more at dinner and take leftovers to work and if I didn’t do that, I made sure that I had something to take to eat – no excuses! In times past I was also the person that would successfully take my lunch, butttttttttt….if a co-worker or friend wanted to go out to eat, I would helplessly tag along and vow to eat my lunch the next day….which almost never happened. Not only was I spending money, that I didn’t necessarily have to spend but I was wasting good food that could’ve been eaten.

Last year, I gave snacking meal prep a try – you know those healthy snacks that you need in between eating breakfast, lunch and dinner? I’ve learned that eating 5 times a day keeps your metabolism burning, making you to continually burn calories. There was a young lady whom was doing snacking trays last year and because I love to support people, I thought I’d give it a try and it was great – but once mid-summer ended, so did the special she had running of getting five trays in which all consisted of either fruit, turkey and ham, veggies and cheese and you even got a small packet of ranch dressing for dipping. It was then that I set out to do my own trays for a cheaper cost of course, listed below is what I found, the prices I got it for and the trays I made up for the week.

Meal Prep6
The Price was cheap, the meat alone at reg. price was $6.88 and the tray at reg. price was $10.00. The cheese is a Walmart GV brand, it was $1.84 and the strawberries were on sale for $1.00 a tray

Meal Prep7
Once I divided up what I had, this is what I got!

Meal Prep5
All fixed and ready for the week, I even did me a ranch cup! Don’t mind the donut holes on the side, those were my son and daughter’s holes…lol. I promise I didn’t eat one. #Keepingit100

Meal prepping can be as simple or as hard as you make it but I always like to choose the simple route, so save those left overs and go to the grocery store and search out the low prices on fruit, greens and etc and make up your own snack trays. Hey, you got goals this year and I’m sure you want to make those goals a success, if I can do it – surely you can. There’s a quote that says “Don’t fear failure, Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today” – No matter what your health or life goals are for this year, make them count and make them work!!

As Promised

In last week’s post I stated that I would share a breakfast meal prepping recipe from a certified trainer and here it is 👇👇👇👇

Aaron Summerville is an Elite Trainer Aaron Summerville Meal6of Burn Boot Camp Greenville, NC, where he and trainer, Eric D. Kea help shape, inspire and train women of all ages and sizes. They put the “A” in Awesome!  Listed below is a meal prep breakfast recipe that Aaron fixes up to stay healthy and charged on a busy schedule.

I usually eat all the ingredients anyway for breakfast, but this recipe will help save me time and energy every morning to cook breakfast and help hit my goals! If you work crazy hours like me or struggle with getting a healthy breakfast in this might be the recipe for you. Aaron Summerville

Yum, Yum Breakfast Muffins

Aaron Summerville Meal5

Protein: 15g
Carbs: 11g
Fats: 5g
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6 Whole Eggs
2 Cups Egg Whites
1 1/2 Sweet Potato
10 oz. Turkey Sausage
6 Tbsp Tomato
6 Tbsp Onion
1/2 Cup Spinach
4 Oz. Cheese
25-Minutes @ 350.

I just want to add, for this recipe you will mash up the sweet potato and put it in the bottom of the muffin pan and pour your mixture on top.

You can follow and get to know Aaron Summerville on the following social sites below:

For more heath tips and meal prep ideas, follow him here 👉 Facebook

Get to know him! check out Aaron’s vlog post here 👉  YouTube

Need some Inspirational gear for the gym?, then sign up and be the first to know when his new t-shirt line Peak Clothing is available.

Hey and if you like strength training, cardio or if your gym classes aren’t giving you that extra push in your workouts, there may be a burn boot camp in your home town or near you. Did I mention that I currently do burn boot camp and have lost a total of 10+ inches off my whole body?, the workouts are tough but they really do work, I’m not only a fan but a witness!  check to see if you have one near you  👉 here

See ya in the next Post!!-1

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

 

Next Week-1

Just put the “H” in It!! – Put the H in what?, What is the H? Well, you just have to come back next week to find out = )

You Scream, We Scream! – We All Want Pumpkin Ice-Cream!

photo above courtesy of vegkitchen

If you’re like me and I believe maybe 80% of you are, I absolutely love sweets especially CHOCOLATE! I mean, don’t get me wrong I’ve gotten a lot better but I always have to have something sweet after dinner, a cookie – brownie – honey bun or even a piece of candy was all I needed to top of the evening meal, dinner is not dinner unless there’s dessert right after or if you’re like some people, dessert comes first!

Eat DessertAs stated, I’ve gotten a lot better with my “sweet” choices as now I try to opt for more “healthier” options and that’s been going well, but I do have cheat days and that’s when I let my hair down to have a piece of cake or some chocolate, and while cheat days are on Sundays, I’ve found myself craving for sweets during the week, me and my body have been having some serious talks, as it wants to move back to “old habits” lane. A place in which I totally let myself go and eat whatever my heart desires, but that place comes at a hefty price, especially when my health is involved. So, when that taste of wanting something not so good for me rears its ugly head, I have found other alternatives that help keep those cravings at bay and one of those things is pumpkin ice cream.

Because I’m a big fan of sweetsville, ice cream is another one of my all-time favorite treats but just because I can’t have the real thing when I want, doesn’t mean I can’t “healtherize” (if there’s such a word) an old favorite. Let me tell you, I honestly didn’t know how this was going to turn out, I mean as I’ve told you before – I’m no Rachel Ray nor Martha Stewart for that matter so I’m not that great at making things from scratch, which is why I settle for recipes that only require 4-5 ingredients as this girl can get pretty messy, literally….if the recipe calls for more than that. Hey, I know my limits….

But needless to say, this ice cream turned out better than I expected and yes, they do have pumpkin ice cream in the stores but do you really know what’s in them? I mean most of them contain a lot of ingredients that I myself can’t even pronounce however; this recipe was very simple and only required very few ingredients all of which you can easily recognize, spell and pronounce and I don’t know about you, but I like to know what’s in my food.

So, if you have a craving for ice-cream and want something that’s going to be not only healthy but lactose free and taste good? Then this recipe is for you.

The Ingredients you’ll need are here:

Pumpkin Ice Cream3
6 Ingredients & You’re headed to Yummyville!

Here are the Recipe Details:

1 can pumpkin puree

1 large banana

3/4 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup, raw honey or a few drops of stevia

1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon – or more if you’d like.

Optional Note: I added, 1 tsp of coconut sugar – I love my ice-cream to be sweet.

 Directions are as Follows:

  1. Fill an ice cube tray evenly with the pumpkin puree and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  2. Place banana in a Ziploc bag and place the banana and the ice cube tray in the freezer overnight.
  3. Remove the cubes and banana from the freezer and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from ice tray and plastic bag and place everything in high power blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Enjoy right away or place in freezer for a couple of hours to create a harder ice cream.

Now, for my Before and After Pics ~

Pumpkin Ice Cream
Everything all blended together Nicely. So Creamy!

 

Pumpkin Ice Cream2
After sitting in the freezer for over 8 hours – Here it Is!

Now you can eat it as is but if you like to live on the wild side, then you can push the envelope a little, just as I did.

Pumpkin Ice Cream4
Let me introduce you to – Pumpkin Banana Split!!!

Pumpkin Ice Cream5
Another picture, just in case you were drooling over the first one…lol.

Okay, so I have to say – I didn’t necessarily follow the directions above as I just blended everything together and put it in a bowl to let it refrigerate – had a picture of it but it didn’t turn out very well. However; I will say – I fixed this the night before and left it in the freezer for over 8 hours. It was extremely hard when I got it out, too hard to put a scoop through so I had to let it sit in some hot water (the bowl that is) until it thawed a little. But afterwards it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (okay, so you get it), it was extremely good….no joke and to top off the night – It was kid approved!!, as my son and daughter loved it and they can be picky eaters.

To make the pumpkin split, I cut up half a banana, some strawberries, threw in some walnuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips, whip cream and a cherry on top. Out of all the recipes, this one tops the list as my favorite, I will definitely be fixing this again – even after fall! As a matter of fact, I’m going to eat some more after boot camp today….it’ll be my guilty pleasure for putting my body through combat..lol.

If you would like to make this recipe – you can find it at Renewing All Things (4 Ingredient Fast Pumpkin Ice-Cream).  Well this is the last recipe for the month, I do hope that you enjoyed every post and hopefully it gave you new ideas as to what to do with a can of pumpkin. As you can see, it not only has many benefits to your body but even better ones for your taste buds! as well.

This is the LAST CALL! Have You Entered The Giveaway??

To kick off the pumpkin festivities I thought I would do a giveaway – I love to receive things and I know you might too. I’m giving away a $25.00 gift card, here’s what you have to do and how to enter:

Follow @justsuminspiration2u on Instagram

Post a picture of you with one of the 5 recipes featured this month with the caption: “Pumpkins Up! @justsuminspiration2u is doing a giveaway! Enter for a chance to win at justsuminspiration.com.”

That’s It! That’s all you have to do – Remember, you have to make one of the recipes, follow me on Instagram, post your picture of you and the recipe of choice and include the italicized statement with your post. Good Luck!!

The Winner will be announced November 3, 2017 at 1:00pm on the Justsuminspiration blog, Facebook and Instagram pages. Winners will be selected randomly from the list of entries submitted.

See ya in the next Post!!-1

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Love Hard & Inspire Often!

If you missed the other recipe posts, you can view them here:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

There’s a Pumpkin in my Oatmeal!

Let’s Fall In Love, with Pumpkin Soup!!

I’ll have Pumpkin Mac & Cheese Please!, How about You?