Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tradition


Here is one way we keep our kitchen table looking festive. Putting together a Christmas puzzle is my husbands families tradition. Its a fun night to invite friends over to make the Christmas puzzle. First I put a nice Christmas themed table cloth on the table (purchased last year on clearance), then we do the puzzle and top it off with a plastic see through table cloth!

A Tradition turned into a frugal way to decorate! Do you have any traditions that spruce up your home decor for Christmas?

Christmas photos

Christmas cards can add up and be expensive if you don't get them on clearance the year before and with a growing family everyone usually wants a photo in their card. So what we do it put the two together. WE take a nice picture (this year we included my parents), find a free Christmas card template and ta-da our family Christmas card. All you have to do is save it as a jpeg and you can print if off at any local print shop. We had these done a while ago when Costco had prints for 10 cents~ This price sure does beat the more expensive prices of 1.00 per Christmas card print.

My cousin this year had a great idea on how to save some money and some trees this Christmas and found a sharing template (I think you can do it on picnik or even shutterfly) and put her pictures in and emailed out there greetings!

Now for the kids Christmas pictures I have been messing around with my camera so I dressed them up and took some pictures and used picnik to do the editing! I really love that site cause it allows you to add text to your pictures.


You can use lots of props for the kids Christmas pictures without taking them any where's (stockings, wrapped boxes, strains of lights, Christmas bulbs, Christmas PJ, milk and cookies, stuffed snowmen) or spending lots of money. I love how the little guy needed to have monkey Peterson with him and that he even put a tie on him! hehehe.


Keepin it together

So one thing that helps to stay on budget is first off having a budget and second being organized. Before Christmas season even comes around its a good idea to sit down and figure out how much you want to spend on gifts, food, and decorations. That way you wont be in total shock when January rolls around. A cool thing to think about is the average Canadian spends $587 on Christmas each year. That's one person so usually one house has 2 people which doubles that amount. This year I challenge you to see if you can be under that stat. Now for the organizing part I usually use Google doc for that kind of stuff but recently I put together this little book to help stay organized for the Christmas season. Plus it helps that I can take this with me shopping; since it does have all my list in it.

Its my Christmas organizer to help keep track of December events, meal plans, baked goodies, gift and decoration ideas and also the list of things to buy for gifts.


I got the idea for this lovely book over here at eighteen25. You can check out their site for full details on how to make it. I love how you can make your own tabs depending on you own list. I have one for gift ideas, goodies (like new recipes I want to try), meal plan and grocery list, the list and a whats happening section to keep track of all the get togethers.


We actually just did this as a craft at our moms club and the creations were awesome. Some women made them for gifts (not bad a gift for $5), others used them as recipe books.

Another thing I love is that I can keep track of things I want so when I am out at yard sales this summer or second hand shopping I can keep my eye open for things that I could use to make gifts out of.

So how do you stay organized during the holidays?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas eats and treats!!

Christmas is a time for parties, get together's, company, and goodies. So how do you keep your food budget on track for the month of December with so many activities going on? Here are some ideas that have help us stay on our $62 a week food budget during the month of December.
The first thing to do is make a list of all the baked goods you make during the holiday season. For ours I made it on google doc. From the list I made an ingredient list of all the different ingredients that are needed in the house to make our holiday treats. Both list have been printed off and placed in my awesome Christmas planner; which I will blog about later this week!

In November I start looking at my ingredient list and picking up the ingredients needed for baking in my normal grocery pick up. For example they had chocolate chips (the good kind) on at a local grocery store 3 bags for $4. 98; so I picked up 6 bags. Also other things like Chip dip which is my hubby's favorite Christmas treat was on sale so I got a couple of those and put bright yellow stickers on them that say DO NOT EAT!!! So they would be around for the Christmas holidays.

Another way I save on food around the holidays is to keep meal planning so I am not running out and getting things. Having a meal plan to look ahead at helps me to buy my ingredients on sale. Another good things is in my calendar of events for the month I have the days booked off for parties that I need to bring something to; that way I could see how many things were needed for our nights out and pick up say bags of chips (which were on sale for 99cents!), chips dips, crackers or appetizers. For baking this year I am actually in a cookie swap (I think this will save on grocery money as well). I made 10 dozen cookies and get 10 dozen different kinds of treats. This will be used to take variety plates to parties with us, offer to guest when they come over and maybe even give away as gifts.

So what do you do to save on the grocery bill during the holidays

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Decking the halls


December 1st is here and only 25 more days before Christmas is over. I am sure many people have had their Christmas decorations up for almost a month now but this is where the Christmas season usually begins in most homes so lets talk about how to decorate beautifully yet frugally.

The first step to nice decorations begins AFTER Christmas...thats right after Christmas. There are always such great deals on all those nice decorations after the holiday season is over. So start watching for the sales after the big day and into the new year. Also yard sales through the summer are another great place to get decorations. Even if they are tacky and from the 80's you can always make new things out of them.

I always start the decorating with my mantel. This year we put up a new wall collage to display all our beautiful family pictures that are talented friend Kait did. So for Christmas I decided to put in some pictures that we took last year of our family and neighbors making Christmas cookies. Also for the 4 5*7 frames on the corners I put in decorative scrap booking paper. The top 8*10 frame is patterned paper with the words A Very Merry Christmas cut out from my cricut.



A side self is decorated with tin cans; which will soon be filled with goodies, A glass bowl with cookies cutters, and a dip bowl which looks like a giant Christmas mint.


The mantel has lots of fun things that came from around the house. I have vases filled with pine cones and acorns, sticks, cinnamon sticks, mixed nuts and shinny ornaments (which I got on sale last year).


I love those little frames I have had for years from the dollar store. In them is a piece of off white paper stamped with some Christmas stamps I have. I love the recipe cards (cookies and sweets) which I did on my Cricut. And new to my collection this year are the 2 beautiful glitter trees which I did myself. I bought the cone shapes in this floral department at Wal-mart, painted them with glue and coated them in the pretty blue glitter I got at Michaels in the $1.50 bin.

There are so many things you can use around the house to give it a Christmas feel without spending a lot of money.

Most of the vases I have were bought at the dollar store or at yard sales. There are many different things you can fill in them for Christmas things like cinnamon sticks, Clementine's, ornaments, mixed nuts, Christmas candies, buttons, Christmas colored ribbon, cookie cutters, strands of beads...the list is endless.

So todays challenge is go around your house see what you got and try to use it to "deck the halls".

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Back!!


So we have had a busy fall with the birth of our daughter. Its been a fun time adjusting to a new little one around the house. But now I am back to blogging and you readers should be excited! For the next couple of weeks I am going to focus on how to spend less during the holidays.






It all started when I heard about the advent conspiracy which focuses on spending less and giving more. I think this is a great idea and so hubby and I are going to give it a try this year. I did some research on how much the average Canadian spends on gifts, food and entertainment and found an estimate of $587 a person. That means between husband and wife that would be $1174!! We definitely won't be anywheres near that figure. So this Christmas I challenge you and your family to think about what you are spending. Set up budget categories and try to sick with it and to help with that I will be posting may different tips and ideas that I have collected over the years on how to have a beautiful frugal Christmas!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall decorations

I love fall so much; the colors and the foods are my favorite! This year we decorated the mantel with lots of fun fall themed things. I started out by framing some of our family pictures that were taken in the fall. Also I used my cricut to cut out the word FALL and framed that as well. The garland I made with my cricut as well.

for extra decorations Eben and I went on a treasure hunt in the park and picked up these sticks, pine cones and acorns. Placed in a nice vase they look beautiful. We also filled a vase up with some pop corn kernels.

Now the mini pumpkins and gourds we picked these up at the apple orchard last weekend. I love the white ones on top of the candle holders!


Its a frugal but very beautiful way to decorate. For more frugal ideas check out life as mom

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin chocolate chips muffins

I love fall time and all the harvest foods that go with it! One of my favorites is pumpkin. I always buy pie pumpkins to cook up, puree and freeze. Here is one of my favorite pumpkin recipes.

1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (or you can just use 1/2 -1 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup chocolate chips (more if you would like)

Cream together the margarine and sugar. Add egg 1 at a time. Stir in pumpkin. Mix together your dry ingredients and add to margarine mixture; mix until everything is combined and add chocolate chips. Bake 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Hope you enjoy! You may also want to try these pumpkin recipes

cookies
waffles
dip
lattes

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting ready for Peterson #2



What a busy yet relaxing summer we have had so far. I mean these past couple of months have really picked up for us as we are preparing for baby #2; which should be here in the next 10 days or so!!!

We started off the summer having some maternity photos taken by our friend Kait. You can check out some of her other work here. We really enjoyed our session with Kait and her husband. She is a very creative photographer!!




I just love the pictures so much that I have been busy scrap booking many of them to get them up and around the house.

Here are 4 shots of my baby bump at 34 weeks!
These are some pictures of Eben the Big Brother!! I actually framed this one to placed it over his bed in the nursery.


The nursery was the next thing to get figured out. How do we put two kids into one room. After my friend Krista gave us some advice this is what we turned out!


Now just the other night we put up a little baby hammock so the little one has a place to rest well mama is focused on Eben or house work. Right now we are trying to teach Eben to be gentle with it by using puppy the giraffe. I only caught Eben swinging in it twice yesterday...not bad for the first day up.

So now we play the waiting game to see if the baby will be a he or a she.









Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baby blocks

Here is another batch of baby blocks I put together this week for my friend Elisabeth's new little girl Ellora!




I really liked how they turned out using two different colors that coordinated with the paper I used. After the blocks were all painted and dried, I cut out the letters using story book Cricut cartridge and modge podge to stick them on.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Wall art

This was part of a wedding gift that I did just the other week! It was so easy to put together and very inexpensive to make. I actually found the frame on clearance at Micheals for $2.49 and the paper was marked down 5 sheets of double sided card stock for $1.

So here is what I did.

I cut the paper (white with flower design) to fit the 8*10 frame. Next I took the scraps of paper that were left from the 12*12 piece of paper, turning it over so now I was working with the orange side, and used my Cricut to cut out the letters to say Welcome. I used pop up tape to put on the welcome to give it some dimension and ta-da wedding gift of great looking wall art complete!!!

I know my girl friend I made this for is totally frugal so I don't mind saying that I made this beautiful gift for $2.69 and maybe 10 minutes of my time!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

baby girl head bands


This was a little project I decided to do for my friend Stacey's baby shower, since she knows they are having a little girl.

It was very easy to do I just followed the directions found on this blog. Its a good thing my cousin Pam and her little girl Maggie came to visit the day before the shower cause I just didn't feel right having Eben model these for me! hehehe.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Baby blocks


It seems like this year is the year for babies!! So far at our church we are expecting in 2010 17 new babies!!! That means a lot of showers and lots of gift giving. So I have been getting creative with my gifts and have been having lots of making our gifts.

For my friend Nancy, who knew they were having a boy, I decided to make some baby blocks with the little guys name on them. I still have so many 2*2 cubes from when my husband made them for me for this Christmas project. Eben and I had so much fun doing this project together.


First we painted all the blocks baby blue, then when Eben went down for his nap I painted some wooden letters that I had purchased white with blue polka-dots and for the final step I glued the wooden letters onto the wooden blocks.

When the blocks where all dried I put them in order and wrapped them up in a piece of ribbon. My friend Nancy really enjoyed this present!!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blueberry popsicles

This summer we have been into making our own Popsicle's around here! It seems to be much cheaper and lot more healthier!! We started off by making green Popsicle for the little guys 2 1/2 Sesame street birthday party and now we have moved on to purple ones.

This recipe is so easy and can be done with any kind of fruit. We of course used blueberries.

1 1/2 cups blueberries (ours were frozen) or any kind of fruit
1 cup plain yogurt (we use bulkan style 6 % MF)
1-2 squirts of lemon juice
A little bit of water to get the blender moving
A little sugar for taste (optional)

Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until liquid. Pour into molds and freeze!


We really enjoyed this treat this afternoon!!! They are a very flavorful Popsicle...with way less sugar.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sesame Street birthday party

My little man was born on Christmas morning and right from that day I knew that I wanted to make sure he still got a special day to celebrate his birthday on. So we decided that June 25th (which is exactly his half birthday) would be the best day to celebrate him on!

So welcome to Eben's 2 1/2 birthday party!!! * Sorry I don't have too many pictures at the moment. My lovely friend who took all the pictures went into labor and had a baby before she finished editing them; so as soon as I get them I will add them to the post. *



I spent the week before Eben's party cutting out all his favorite Sesame street characters using my Cricut machine and the Sesame street and friends cartridge. On the day of the party we placed our chalk board at the end of the drive way with balloons.



The party was an outside back yard party. We decorated with balloons, letters and numbers. You can't tell from this picture but the alphabet was hanging from the clothes line and the numbers 1-10 posted on the fence. Also the table was decorated with all the Sesame street characters you saw in the first picture. I simply used a nice yellow table cloth. Placed the characters on that and then covered them with a see through plastic covering so they wouldn't get damaged.

We had lots of snacks all with Sesame street names. We started off with Dorothy gold fish, big birds bird seed granola bars, cookie monsters oatmeal cookies, Telly's iced tea and Oscar the grouch sludgicles.


Here is Eben enjoying his Oscar sludgicle with his friend. This was such a great treat that the kids really enjoyed. They are really spinach Popsicle. I had to make a few batches before the party so I could get the color to stay green but here is my final recipe I came up with.

In a blender puree
2 cups spinach
2 squirts or more of lemon or lime juice
1/2 can or more pineapple in its juice
2-3 ripe bananas (this adds the flavor)

When finished place into molds and freeze. Just as a side note if you add other fruits such as berries they will turn brown. They are best if once you are finished pureeing all the stuff you can add some cut up strawberries, raspberries or blueberries to the mixture (do not stir too much) and then freeze. They will look great speckled all through the Popsicle.

For the cake I decided to do cup cakes so here are our Cookie monster, Big bird and Elmo cup cakes. I also made some mini cup cakes for the smaller kids and just wrote the letter E on them.

These cup cakes were fun to make! I used a basic vanilla cup cake recipe, color coordinating cup cake liners, butter cream frosting, marshmallows and Oreo cookies.

For the treat bags we sent everyone home with Sesame street coloring pages


rolled up with this little note.

Some crayons and of course a couple of suckers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Best Strawberry shortcake recipe


So I need to share this recipe with you for strawberry shortcake cause it was the best one I have ever tasted. The biscuits were so sweet and delicious.

The recipe comes from Joy of baking and you can get it here so head on over and whip this up the next time you are craving this dessert!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Explosion Box Album

I love this new creation for a scrap box! My friend Susan came in to teach a group of wonderful ladies how to put one together so here is what mine turned out like. I put it together for my mother; kind of as a brag box!



Here is the whole box.
remove the cover and ta-da out comes a mini album

Bottom pictures
Bottom pictures

right side

right side
Left side

left side






top pictures

top picture



So there you have it. It only took some coordinating papers, small pictures (which I print off at Wal-Mart using the collage setting) and lots of embellishments! It was a simple way to make a great gift!!


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