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Debra Caffrey is the Education E-newsletter Editor for FredParent. She also writes, blogs, and assists with events. She is the proud mom of 8-year-old Aidan. She is passionate about cooking, meal planning, and smart grocery shopping, and is excited to share her ‘Practical Pantry’ with you.


Practical Pantry


I confess – I may be a little obsessed with frappuccinos! Not being a coffee drinker (although, what am I waiting for, I can barely function the first few hours after dragging myself out of bed!), I prefer the chilled, chocolately, whipped cream-topped goodness of a perfect frap! It all started many many years ago when I met my husband, a serious coffee drinker and lover of Starbucks. To us, a perfect date was and still is sitting at Barnes and Noble reading quietly together in the café section or cozying up at Starbucks in deep private conversation. But instead of a hot cup of coffee on these dates, I got hooked on sucking down those amazingly creamy, satisfyingly sweet fraps! These days, I only treat myself to one occasionally since their richness conflicts with my regularly healthy diet, but I still get excited when I do indulge.

But here’s the problem: they are utterly and inarguably overpriced, especially since Starbucks keeps creeping the price up 15 cents or so every couple of months. The older I get and the more conservative with our hard-earned money, the more I cannot bring myself to spend about $5 on what is essentially a fancy milkshake. At first I thought there was no way I could replicate the perfect texture of my beloved chocolate chip Frappuccino; it’s so good I thought its appeal must be some sort of barista magic that you shouldn’t even attempt on your own. But after experimenting for a bit, I settled on a DIY version that is just as yummy, incredibly fast to whip together, and the most important to me – I can make it for pennies. In fact, I prefer my own homemade Frappuccino – or “Caffrey-ccino” as we like to call them in this house, over getting one at Starbucks any day, and I’m pretty sure I’ve saved a ton of money because of it! If you have a blender, you can become your own little barista and whip up some amazingly cheap and just-as-delicious “Caffrey-ccinos” of your own. Read on for my versions of Pumpkin Spice and Double Chocolate Chip Fraps!


Double Chocolate Chip “Caffrey-ccino”


  • 1 to 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk (any kind will work)
  • Approx 2 cups ice (you may find you’d like to add a bit more depending on how thin or frothy you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup plus more for topping
  •  1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream


Place everything except whipped cream into blender and blend away, making sure ice is fully broken down. If it’s too liquidy you may add more ice. Pour into cup and top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. That’s it! This yields about 2 servings for me, but it may depend on how much/little you like to have at once!


Pumpkin Spice “Caffrey-ccino”


  • Approx. 1-2 cups ice, depending on texture preference
  • ½ cup brewed Pumpkin Spice coffee, brought to room temperature or chilled
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice plus more for topping
  • 1 cup milk (you may sub vanilla ice cream if you would like it to be creamier)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Whipped cream, for topping

Place everything except for whipped cream in blender and blend away, making sure ice is fully broken down. Pour into a cup and top with whipped cream and sprinkle a bit more Pumpkin Pie spice on top. Enjoy! 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.