Thursday, December 26, 2013

After Christmas

I always get a rush of ambition after Christmas. Maybe it's the new "stuff" or taking down the tree and decorations (and realizing just how dusty they got!), or maybe it's the very slightly longer days that call to my soul, but I always want to clean out cabinets and closets and organize things and repair things and do things like paint and get new curtains.

Of course, I don't actually do it all, but I want to.

Today, I got the last of the dirty pots and pans washed, and peeled the scotch tape from the floor. I located a lost bowling pin and a stocking, among other things. Just things that needed to be done and all the while, my mind was on sorting through a box of used wrapping paper to see what could be salvaged and wondering if some of the ribbon could be ironed.

I need to check last year's tax forms to find the medical payments that I think the hospital is trying to bill me for again, the pile of mending on the sewing machine has my attention and I really want to upend the old red chair to see what's the problem with it.

My list grows and the New Year looms. I'm not sure what my New Year's resolution should be. Maybe to be more content?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Frugal Gifts for Kids

Still need a few gifts for the kids? From stocking stuffers to "big" gifts, saving money while making the little ones happy is a challenge. Here are a few ideas to help:

If you have elastic thread, thread some pretty buttons or beads if you have them, for a necklace and/or bracelet for a little girl.

Boxes, boxes, boxes... all kids love boxes. To make them gift-worthy, cover them with cloth or paint. Be sure you start with something sturdy. If you can come up with some sizes that nest, so much the better. Make designs on them if you're crafty and put some homemade cookies in one.

Got wood blocks from a building project? They don't have to be painted or have numbers or letters on them for the kids to have fun with them. Do sand down the rough or splintered areas.

Art sets don't have to be fancy or from a store. Paper? How about that packing paper? Iron it and cut to size. You probably have a new pencil or two around. Pick up some dollar store crayons and plastic scissors and add a few stickers. Done.

More here:

Quick and Frugal Gifts for Kids

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Frugal Food Gifts

Large tins of gourmet popcorn and small tins of special (or not so special) cookies, fancy wrapped cheese logs and pretty containers of candies seem to be popular Christmas gifts. You can really spend a ton of money on them, though! Just go to a search engine and type in "food gifts" and you'll see what I mean.
Ouch. Talk about breaking the budget! How about if we do it ourselves and make food gifts just as special, or even more special, in our own kitchens for much less?
We can present our own food gifts just as nicely as any catalog, and homemade can taste much better, too.
A homemade food gift should be dressed up to present itself as something very unique. Look at the "higher quality" food gifts and mimic their presentation. Ribbons, elegant colors and decorated boxes make you feel as if you're the recipient of something really special.
To present your own food gifts, choose a theme - wrap a loaf of homemade bread in a piece of rough linen cloth and tie with a string, or cover a wax wrapped cheese log along with homemade crackers in a silk scarf and complete the effect with gold ribbon.
Wrap a cheese food box, or empty oatmeal container or anything similar, in wrapping paper inside and out and present your food gift in that.
Wrap individual candy pieces in foil or plastic wrap and put them in a unique container - teacup, dessert bowl, wine glass, flower vase, small serving dish, cloth bag or toy truck - use your imagination to suit the recipient.
Present fancy nuts the same way.
If you're giving cookies, line the container with tissue and fold a piece over every other cookie. Put a simple gift card inside the container, too.