Don’t let the holidays get you overwhelmed! Check out these great resources to help stay on top of holiday planning.
Cruising Through the Holidays by Flylady – Includes clutter-free gift ideas, the Holiday Control Journal, Holiday Cruising Missions, and more
Christmas Organizing website – Christmas Organizing believes that a more memorable Christmas season can be accomplished through Journaling, Organizing and Yearly Planning (also known as J.O.Y.)
Christmas Countdown – from the editor of OrganizedHome.com; a guide to control Christmas chaos, cut holiday stress and get organized for the holiday season
Between high gas prices and consumers’ fears of a financial squeeze, it seems as if a nice Christmas is out of the picture this year. Not so says Tawra Kellam, editor of www.LivingOnADime.com . To prove it, here are a few of her ideas from to help make Christmas memorable without breaking the bank! Go Potluck! You buy the turkey — Have everyone else bring the side dishes and drinks. Turkeys in our area are .39/lb this time of year. If you buy just the turkey, it will only cost you about $5-$10 to feed everyone for a large family gathering. Celebrate Christmas the week after Christmas. Take advantage of the after Christmas sales and plan your large extended family gathering for the week after Christmas. Besides being less expensive, it is unlikely to interfere with anyone else’s Christmas plans. Don’t give gifts or give inexpensive gifts to hairstylists, babysitters, teachers and others. I found several wonderful small scented jar candles on clearance for .25 each. I will put three of them in a small basket (purchased at the thrift store for .25) with some tissue paper, ribbon and nice note. A great gift for $1.25! Break up gift sets. If you find an item that comes in a gift set at Christmas, give parts of it to different recipients. This is great for bath or perfume sets. Yard sales and thrift stores equal great savings. You can find a lot of new or nearly new items for pennies on the dollar. For our son, we found a working telescope in the box. It cost $1.00, so we saved $24! He got what he wanted and we didn’t have to take out a home equity loan! Make memories, not more junk. Most kids get more than plenty for Christmas from grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you can only afford one gift for your child, make it a memory! Wrap a note in a box with instructions for a treasure hunt. Send your child all over the house with clues and then have the real gift sitting under the tree when they return. Simple, but a great memory for them Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of http://www.LivingOnADime.com . As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Tawra and Jill are the authors of several frugal living ebooks,including Dining On A Dime, Groceries On A Dime, and Penny Pinching Mama. Too busy to plan dinner? With the Busy Mom Menu from Menus4Moms, we plan for you. Take advantage of the Secrets of a Busy Cook and just... Print. Shop. Cook. Start your 2 week trial for just a penny » [Read More...]
We have two free Christmas dinner plans for you, one from the Busy Mom Menu and one from the Frugal Mom Menu. Just click the images to download the dinner menus plans. Enjoy! Too busy to plan dinner? With the Busy Mom Menu from Menus4Moms, we plan for you. Take advantage of the Secrets of a Busy Cook and just... Print. Shop. Cook. Start your 2 week trial for just a penny » [Read More...]
With the holidays right around the corner, we often hear the familiar refrains of our favorite Christmas carols and seasonal music. But too many of us tend to sing different words to the familiar tune of Jingle Bells: Dashing to the mall, In a light blue mini-van, Stashing all our loot, Behind the garbage can. We think the kids need more, ‘Tho their closest’s full of junk, Then someone sends unneeded things We’ll just stow into a trunk! Ohhhhhhhhhhh……. Christmas bills! Christmas bills! For Christmas we must pay! See all of our Christmas bills Still here on New Year’s Day!….. Hey??!!! Christmas bills! Christmas bills! We can’t pay today…. We have so many Christmas bills, There’s got to be a better way…! Do the phrases “frugal living” and “holiday giving” seem to be at opposite ends of the spending spectrum? Is it possible to spend no more in December than during other months? Will your family still love you if they don’t find “the latest and the greatest” under the tree? Our families deserve the best we can give. But if we’re paying our Christmas debts for the next five years, complete with all the stresses that usually accompany outstanding bills, what good is it? No matter what our personal financial situation, we all could use a few simple money-saving ideas for the holidays. 1) Try checking out books from the library on holiday customs and crafts from other lands. These books can provide a wealth of innovative ideas, often for minimal expense. Last year, in a book on Swedish customs, we found instructions for making an evergreen Advent wreath. Old newspapers soaked in water and wrapped around a wire coat hanger were decorated with pine boughs from a backyard tree. Four large nails stuck through the paper wreath held the candles, and we added finishing touches of small pine cones and red bows. The Advent wreath was beautiful, incredibly simple, and made from items found around the house. It also added a meaningful centerpiece to our holiday celebrations. 2) Do you have solid-colored glass ornaments that you’re tired of? Let your children decorate them with glitter glue, holiday stickers or craft paints. This tip serves a dual purpose: new decorations for very little money, and an inexpensive, fun holiday activity for the whole family! 3) How about giving a homemade “Dessert-of-the-Month” gift certificate to someone special on your gift list? Or maybe a “Cookie-of-the-Month,” or “Dinner-of- the-Month?” Each month you would deliver a different home-baked goody to the recipient. This gift is especially enjoyed by people who might not eat a lot of home cooking, i.e., college students, singles, elderly shut-ins. These are also appreciated greatly by moms with multiple children (a treat they didn’t have to prepare! They’ll be so thankful for you and your thoughtfulness!) 4) Learn to do calligraphy. (It’s much easier than it looks!) You can make personalized gifts by writing the person’s name and framing it in a simple mat with a pressed flower or two glued to the picture or mat. 5) Do you enjoy sending Christmas cards, but find that the price of store-bought cards ... [Read More...]
by Marilyn Moll, co-author of The 12 Week Holiday Planner For many of us, planning Christmas festivities such as shopping, cooking, baking, gift making, and hospitality can automatically cause a great degree of anxiety. We at The Urban Homemaker, don’t advocate complicated or expensive holiday celebrations, and wish to encourage your family to focus on the true meaning of the holiday season. To do so while making preparations for the upcoming holidays, this twelve-week simplified timetable could be used as a checklist and is designed to be flexible in order to assist you. Remember, the timetable is merely a suggestion; rearrange, add, or delete activities from the schedule to meet the needs of your family. The full version of the timetable is available in an ebook written by Sheri Graham. It is filled with recipes, tips, crafts, decorations, charts, devotionals, and much more. The full 170 page The 12 Week Holiday Planner ebook is available in PDF (free sample download available at the site). Enjoy, and please let us know how it works out. We would love to have your feedback! The 12 Week Holiday Planner Original Article ©2004 The Urban Homemaker, “Old fashioned skills for contemporary people”; Used by permission Too busy to plan dinner? With the Busy Mom Menu from Menus4Moms, we plan for you. Take advantage of the Secrets of a Busy Cook and just... Print. Shop. Cook. Start your 2 week trial for just a penny » [Read More...]
Looking for a delicious Christmas dessert to grace your table? Look no further — this fantastic chocolate and mint trifle is perfect for a sweet finish to a large meal. Because it is made with tiny bite-sized portions of brownies mixed in with fluffy pudding and whipped cream, it is light enough that your guests will enjoy it without feeling overly full. Look for this yummy trifle in our Busy Mom Menu Christmas dinner menu plan to be published this month. To make beautiful layers, pipe the pudding mixture layers with an icing decorating bag, or if you don’t have one simply use a baggie with the corner cut out (here’s a great idea for getting all of the mixture out of the baggie). If you can’t find the specified flavors of pudding, feel free to adapt the recipe to use other flavors. Chocolate, Oreo, or vanilla would be good with the mint. Too busy to plan dinner? With the Busy Mom Menu from Menus4Moms, we plan for you. Take advantage of the Secrets of a Busy Cook and just... Print. Shop. Cook. Start your 2 week trial for just a penny » [Read More...]
Looking for Christmas dinner menu ideas? Look no further – Menus4Moms has a full Christmas dinner menu planned for you. We gave you a sneak peek at the fantastic Christmas dessert from the menu, now here is the full Christmas dinner menu plan. Your table will be beautiful with these delicious Cornish hens over wild rice, green beans with bacon, and festive cranberry pecan salad. Candied sweet potatoes and homemade drop biscuits round out the meal, and pecan pie complements the Peppermint Brownie Trifle. Enjoy! Recipes are below, but you can download the Christmas Dinner Menu PDF file which includes all of the recipes, photos, and shopping list. Notes: 1. This menu should serve 8-10 adults plus smaller children comfortably. If you have growing teens, big appetites, or more people, I suggest doubling several of the side dishes and cooking extra hens. 2. Several of these dishes can be made ahead and refrigerated until time to bake (if they need baking). They are marked with ***. Though not marked, the stuffing portion of the Cornish Hen recipe can also be prepared in advance. 3. Be sure to give your hens enough time in the refrigerator to thaw. Christmas Desserts Download the Christmas Dinner Menu PDF file » Too busy to plan dinner? With the Busy Mom Menu from Menus4Moms, we plan for you. Take advantage of the Secrets of a Busy Cook and just... Print. Shop. Cook. Start your 2 week trial for just a penny » [Read More...]
Christmas wassail is a holiday tradition in our house. We like to keep a pot of wassail on the stove or in the crockpot while we are decorating the tree or entertaining. The Christmas wassail recipe below is one version that we have used but wassail has many variations. There is not a single specific recipe that I use for wassail — I tend to vary what I put into it from year to year and I rarely measure anything. Our most recent version omits the tea and cranberry juice but adds pineapple juice. The constants for us are apple cider, cloves, cinnamon, and orange juice. Sometimes I like to use brown sugar instead of white sugar. A recipe for the version pictured above would use tea, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and spices but not the orange juice and apple cider. Try experimenting to create your own favorite family recipe and let us know how yours turns out. Too busy to plan dinner? With the Busy Mom Menu from Menus4Moms, we plan for you. Take advantage of the Secrets of a Busy Cook and just... Print. Shop. Cook. Start your 2 week trial for just a penny » [Read More...]
Too busy to plan dinner?
With the Busy Mom Menu from Menus4Moms, we plan for you. Take advantage of the Secrets of a Busy Cook and just... Print. Shop. Cook.