Oh, holiday food. Why must you be so fattening?
Eggnog, cookies, candy canes, oh my! My favorite cookies come out this time of year, along with delicious flavors of hot chocolate. With all of the yummy foods out this time of year, it’s hard to keep from packing on the extra pounds. Here are a few tips that may help, though. Check them out!
- Don’t stop your exercise regimen!
- If you want to indulge, make up for it by increasing your activity level.
- Restrict yourself to one treat a day, such as a glass of champagne or a piece of cake.
- Don’t stick yourself by the food. Remember to mingle and have fun! If you’re talking, you can’t be eating! (Or, at least not politely!)
- Eat a healthy meal before you attend parties.
- Eat foods high in fiber which keep you fuller longer!
Hope this helps you stop the traditional ten pound holiday gain! And if not, I suppose there are always New Year’s Resolutions!
Crafting with children doesn’t have to be expensive. Most paints, play dough, and even crayons can be made at home. There are other things in our homes that make great crafting supplies. Unfortunately many of them get thrown away. The next time you throw out one of these items stop and think about its crafting potential.
Toilet Paper Rolls
If you’ve got a large family, you’re sure to have lots of these ending up in the trash. Instead of simply throwing them away, let the kiddos decorate them!
Milk cartons are great for making bird feeders or making a planter. They are sturdy enough to be hung from a balcony or tree. The are fun to paint and easy to poke or cut holes in. If you have the type with the twist cap top, that part can be used as a funnel when filling other items. A carton with top cut off can even be used as a storage container for craft supplies like paint brushes, colored pencils, chalk, and crayons.
Soda bottles can also be made into bird feeders and planters, but they are more versatile than that. They can be cut as scoops, with the top as a handle. They can be taped together top to top to make the soda bottle whirl pool. This can be made even more fun by adding a few drops of your favorite color to the water in your bottles. With a little paper mache, paint, and a pair of scissors they can even be made into creative piggy banks.
A cereal box can be turned into a robot with toilet paper roll arms and legs. If you cut them up you can use them to create buildings and props in shoe box dioramas of farms, cities, or what ever your heart desires. Or you can use the inside of boxes to create bedroom signs or create homemade picture frames. Toilet paper or paper towel rolls can be cut to create play dough cookie cutters or rolling pins.
Egg cartons are a good way to store an egg shaped amount of play dough without mixing the colors. They are also a great way to separate and store paints you are using during crafting for a quick clean up.
Saved and cleaned up jars are great for jar gifts, storing homemade laundry soap, and other jar crafts. Just clean them out and keep the lid. Take off the label and whatever adhesive was holding it on. Decorate them as you see fit and use them in your jar craft the next time you use one.
You may already know that stores have sales cycles that change every month or so. Often they stock up on certain items (often ones related to the holidays or seasons) that then need to be removed from the shelves once the appropriate time has passed. When those stores are looking to move items from their shelves is the best time to buy those particular items.
Let’s move from the abstract to the concrete as we look at what items are discounted this month.
1. Baking Supplies. The best thing about baking supplies going on sale is that they are easy to store. If you use baking cups regularly, be on the look out for discounts. Also, if you don’t mind the holiday decorations on them, you will be able to get those at half price or better on the day after Christmas. You’ll also find flour, spices (I just bought organic spices at 50% off last week!), chocolate chips (which store very easily in the freezer or the pantry), condensed milk, and pumpkin puree (who says you can’t have pumpkin pie in January!) discounted this month.
2. Thrift Store Merchandise. This is not as much about a discount as it is about availability and selection. A lot of people are trying to get last minute donations in before the end of the year for tax purposes. So, thrift stores like Goodwill and other organizations (with the tax-exempt status) will have plenty to choose from by the end of the month.
3. Gift Cards. Right now there are lots of promotions offering “bonus cash” if you buy a gift card. So, if it’s a store or restaurant you frequent regularly and you have the cash (after you’re done with all your shopping), then it’s a great way to maximize your money.
What else do you buy in December?
Winter is almost HERE!
Now that the weather has cooled off (at least it has here in Utah!), it’s time to plan out some fun activities during the holiday season! The chaos of gift shopping and hosting family members can make the holiday season stressful, so be sure to take some time to relax and have fun with your loved ones.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas…
- Go ice skating
- Find some snowy hills to go sledding
- Pack up everyone in the car to go for hot chocolates
- Find the most festive neighborhoods in your city and drive around to see the lights
- Look for a free live nativity by where you live
- Think up a few random acts of kindness to do together
- Watch Christmas movies in your pajamas
- Build a blanket fort and drape Christmas lights over the top
- Find 3 cookie recipes and bake all 3 (you could even have a cookie bake-off and see who bakes the best cookies)
- Make Christmas Candies together
- Attend a Christmas play at a local school or theater
- Host a game night complete with all of your favorites
- Decorate Gingerbread houses together
- Indoor S’mores (you can roast marshmallows over an unscented candle or simply microwave them for a few seconds)
- Blast holiday music at home and have a dance party
I could go on and on; there are so many fun activities that don’t cost much, or cost nothing at all! All you need are a few of your favorite people, a cold winters’ night, and you’re good to go!
What are some of your favorite things to do when the weather gets cold?
If you’re in need of a little extra cash, especially as we head into the crazy holiday season, then you have come to the right place for ideas! It can be so hard to build up additional cash for Christmas presents when you’re already juggling the other expenses life throws at ya, and it’s not always probable that you’ll get a raise or find a higher-paying job in time for the holidays. Because of that, I’ve compliled 5 of my favorite ways to earn some extra cash for the holiday season!
Legal focus groups:
I just participated in my first focus group last week, and I loved it! Basically, some law firms need people to come in for a few hours where they can gather opinions on certain legal cases. This helps them to strengthen their cases, or determine whether to take on particular cases at all. The group I attended was 3 hours long, lots of fun, and best of all they provided dinner and refreshments along with a $50 check for my participation! Not bad for just a few hours of my day.
Sell your clothing:
Whenever I clean out my closet, I gather a large bag of clothes that I don’t want any more, and I take them to a local thrift store in Utah called Plato’s Closet. The store will look through my clothes and pick out the items they want. They’ll then offer me cash for those items and return the rest, which I then donate to a charity. I’ve received as much as $70 to as little as $15 – this varies depending on the sizes you provide, and whether the items are currently in-style.
This one is tried and true. I’m sure you have lots of items just sitting around in your house. Instead of letting it take up space and accumulate dust, sell it! There are lots of apps and websites that you can list your items on if you’re not interested in hosting a yard sale.
There you go! Just 3 of my favorite ways to get a little extra cash. Try them out and let me know what you think! Good luck!
What you’ll need:
- 3 basket style coffee filters
- 2 cotton balls
- 6-8” length of silver or gold ribbon
- 1 white chenille stem
- 1 gold chenille stem
- Hot glue gun
How to make it:
- Place two cotton balls in the center of one of the coffee filters .
- Hold the coffee filter with your fingers, gathering the cotton balls in the center to create the angel’s head.
- Place a second coffee filter onto the open end, tucking the filter in a bit into the head area. This will produce the layered effect on the dress .
- While still holding the filter together, tie a piece of gold or silver ribbon around the “neck” and tie a tight bow. Trim ends and set aside .
- Take the third coffee filter and fold it in half, then fold the filter up length-wise accordion style. Wrap a white chenille stem around the center, and then fan out the wings . Fold the excess chenille into a loop for your hanger and twist together at the end.
- Make a halo from the gold chenille by wrapping it around something circular, such as the top of a paint bottle. Twist the ends to form the halo. Trim the long end of the chenille, leaving approximately 3”
- Have an adult hot glue the halo to the back of the angel so that it is positioned above the head.
- Glue the wings in place behind the angel, hiding the gold chenille from the halo.
Now that the weather is getting colder, I find my body hurts a lot more. I have a heating pad that plugs into the wall, but it requires me to be close to an outlet at all times. That simply does not work when I’m on my couch, as I don’t have an outlet anywhere near me. That means no TV watching when I’m hurting… No thanks!
Just about everyone has had a time when they desperately needed a heating pad to ease sore muscles or cramps. You may think that trying to make your own would be too much work, but let me tell you, it absolutely is not. It’s actually really simple and all you need is a sock and some uncooked rice or beans!
Simply take a tube sock (a clean one, preferably 😉 ) and fill it up with a cup or two of rice or beans. Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil and then tie off the top of the sock off where you want it. How full you want the sock to be is totally up to you. I like to have a little extra room after I’ve tied the end just so that the heat pad can bend more easily. And remember, you can always add more rice or beans later on, or take some out if you want. That’s really the beauty of this; it’s easy to customize to your needs along with being so easy to make!
To actually make the filled sock help your muscles just place it in the microwave for 30 second intervals until it is at your desired temperature. So easy!
Financial problems have a habit of bleeding into every other aspect of your life. It hurts your marriage, work performance, strains other relationships, and more! When those money problems are reduced or even eliminated, those problems can subside drastically.
Less Marital Problems
A lack of money is not the cause of all marital problems, but it doesn’t help. If you don’t know how you are going to pay for this month’s rent, medical bills, or your child’s class field trip, it causes stress. A couple starts blaming each other. One should have made more. The other should have spent less. They say things they don’t mean. Eventually they figure it out, but next month is coming and they both know it.
A frugal lifestyle may not fix all money issues, but it reduces the amount of bickering it can cause. Both work hard, while clipping coupons and finding deals. They are in this together rather than trying to figure out where to lay the blame.
Children Have Healthier Money View
It’s nice that our children know that money doesn’t grow on trees. We also want them to know that money is not a defining factor in their lives. Money does not make them better or worse than anyone else. It is a tool that helps us get to where we are going. They will know better than to bury themselves under a mountain of debt in their twenties. They will also know how to enjoy a small splurge within a budget rather than go overboard and live in denial about their money reality.
When a frugal family is light on money you can really feel it. They don’t fall back on loans and credit cards unless there is no other way to meet their family needs. They will also go to great lengths to avoid that position. They will sell crafts, raise chickens, plant gardens, and even find ways to make money they hadn’t known were possible. Being short on money does not have to mean being short on solutions and there’s no better way to learn that than to live it.