10 Last Minute Gift Basket Ideas For Under $10

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Christmas is less than a week away. It is now too late to shop online unless you are willing to shell out for speedy delivery. There is still time to repurpose items into gifts if you can find the time between all the other Christmas events that are packed into the week before the big day, if not don’t fear  I made a trip to my local dollar store to help you out.

10 last minute gift basket ideas for Christmas for under $10 For young and old, married and single.

In our hometown Dollar Tree is our local dollar store but I am assuming you can find similar items at whatever store is in your area.

With items being just $1 a piece plus tax, you can easily make up a basket of items that can suit any gift recipient for under $10 . I wandered around my local Dollar Tree snapping pictures of items and writing down ideas of what type of baskets you can make.

(please note, these pictures are all taken on my older model Tracfone LG  smartphone, since I thought taking picture with  my cannon rebel while I shopped  might draw too much attention to me, so they are not as clean and crisp as my normal photos)

10 Last Minute Gift Basket Ideas Under $10

popcorn gift basket Under $101. Movie night in a basket

I got really brave and  put together this gift basket while in Dollar Tree then made room to photograph it, because I really wanted you to see what one complete gift basket would look like.  Yes people did stare. I mean really how many people do you see while shopping assembling a basket and then make room for it on  a shelf and start shooting photos of it? But you are worth it.

This basket is has a total of 8 items. You can make it a complete gift card by putting enough for one Redbox movie in an envelope.

gift basket idea mugs and cocoa

2.Personalized mugs for the whole family

Another great family gift would be these white mugs. Of course you are not going to leave them white. Head over to the office supply area and grab a sharpie and follow one of the many sharpie mug tutorials on Pinterest and make up personalized mugs for the whole family. Place them in a colorful tote and add in hot chocolate and peppermint sticks that they can use to stir.  (psst….I think nail polish would also work to decorate mugs)

Gift giving ideas for the dollar store

3. Car Fanatic gift basket

Grab one of the cleaning buckets seen above and fill it with a sponge, car interior cleaner, car tire cleaner, towels, and perhaps a few towels.

tool kit idea for a gift basket

4. New home basic tool kit

Grab one of the cleaning buckets, or a tool kit or belt if your dollar store has them and fill it with, basic tools like a hammer, screw drivers, measuring tape, crazy glue, duct tape, all the things that come in handy for a quick fix repairs.

kitchen supplies for gift baskets5. New home kitchen basket

For this one use a either a wire basket or a wicker one and fill it with all the things a new home owner needs in their kitchen. Pot holders, slotted spoons, can openers. Perhaps even a few glasses and dishes depending on how much you want to spend.

little artist gift basket

6. Craft basket for the little artist

fill a colorful plastic, with coloring books, crayons, craft kits, glitter glue, stickers and journals. You could also fill a cleaning caddy as this makes an excellent container for little artists to keep their supplies organized and portable.

fashionista gift basket

7. Dress up gift bag

Grab one of the giant gift bags and fill it with fairy wings and a wand. Or perhaps a dinosaur hat. A knights armor and shield. There were lots of different items for  young dress up fanatics at my dollar store.

hair accessories for gift basket

8.  Hair accessory basket

Whether you want a gift for a teenage girl who loves trying out different hairstyles or for a little girl with a love of hair bows, the dollar store has a tonne of great items you can make a basket out of.  Fill a colorful wire basket with a selection or brushes, and hair accessories that suit your recipient. You can also add shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products if you wish.

notebook and pens gift basket

9. Journal basket

Know someone who is always jotting things down in a notebook. The dollar store is a great place to grab them a gift. Mine had several blank journals to choose from as well as one that had a blank cover so you could add in colorful pens and stickers for them to personalize it with. There are also pens and highlighters.  Place these things in small reusable book bag, to complete the gift.

dog and cat treats gift basket

10. Don’t forget the family pet

The dollar store I went to had dog bowls that you could fill with dog treats and dog toys that you could give to your four legged friend to keep him or her busy while the family opens up their presents Christmas morning.

Hopefully this post assures you that even if you are out there this week shopping last minute you can still get some great gifts on a small budget.

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)

 Visit my Thrifty Christmas resource page where you will find all my thrifty Christmas tips and more.



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Snapshot Thursdays: A Story & A Few Of My Favorite Things

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily lifeWelcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.


We added another licensed driver to our household this weekend. My eldest son got his driver’s license. Handing him the keys to the family SUV for his first solo drive was kind of nerve racking.

I got to say though I am already noticing that I now have more time on my hands as I have one less child to drive places, and if all 3 children are going to the same place, which they often are, I don’t have to drive them then either.  On a regular week I figure this will add at least another  hour to the time I get to be at home. Oh what I could do in an hour, laundry, blogging, reading……. tulsi teaLately I have been enjoying a mug of hot Tulsi tea in the evenings. I find it really calming. I enjoy mine with just a tad of stevia.

Have you ever tried Tulsi tea? Do you have another type of herbal tea you like? Leave the name of  it in the comments below, I love trying out new teas.

thermal socksYes they are ugly, and yes they are not the typical black or white socks this plain Jane gal wears but oh how I love my  thermal socks in winter time (link is example only I have no idea what brand mine are). Okay so they are not really mine, they are my husband’s really but he doesn’t wear them any more since he stopped forestry work to become a nurse 12 years ago.

Yep these socks are 12 years old and still going strong. I wish I knew the brand as I would love to get more of these exact brand since obviously they are worth every penny spent on them. (oh and don’t worry, I take these off and put on my plain black or white ones when I got out of the house :) )

Do you have a favorite pair of warm socks? Let me know the brand in the comments below so perhaps I can check them out, this pair is starting to show its age.

Here are a few random coupons for you today:

Don’t forget to checkout my coupon resource page for links to complete listings of printable coupons.

Save 20% on any single purchase of loose Grapefruit at participating retailers. See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer..Expires 12/22/2014.Save 20%.

Save 55¢ when you buy any ONE (1) 5lb bag of King Arthur Signature Flour. .Expires 12/31/2014.Save $0.55.

Save $2.00 on any ONE (1) package of Pull-Ups® Training Pants (Jumbo Pack or larger)

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament

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The pattern for this knitted Christmas tree ornament was born one Saturday afternoon when my husband and I had a Christmas party to attend that included a Christmas tree ornament gift exchange and I forgot to pick one up when out grocery shopping earlier that week and didn’t feel like going out again.

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament.

I gathered what I had and spent a few minute cruising pinterest for ideas. I saw this picture of a Christmas tree ornament that was basically a dead pin, meaning all I had to guide me was a picture, no instructions.

It took me about an hour to figure out how to make it work, and another hour to make it , and yes I know in 2 hours I could have driven to the store picked out an ornament, driven home, showered and been dressed for the party, instead of the rushing around I ended up doing that evening. However, I really loved the way it turned out and I think a handmade Christmas ornament means so much more than one  from a store.

I tweaked the pattern the second time around, and I like it even better than I did the first one.

Supplies needed to make knitted Christmas tree ornament

Here are the materials you need for this Christmas ornament

  • size 7 needles (I use bamboo and love them)
  • green yarn (I used cotton, but I think other types would do)
  • red yarn (again I used cotton, but you can use other types I do however think the type you use should be the same for both colors)
  • buttons for ornaments (I used round but you can use any shape)
  • star buttons ( I got a large package of these at a yard sale one year)
  • small amount of green material (I just used an old t-shirt for this)
  • ribbon (I used some that I had bought on clearance, basically anything small enough to fit in the hole of the star button, will work)
  • Yarn needle (eye has to be big enough for yarn to go through)
  • needles for sewing on buttons

Start your christmas tree ornamentYou are going to start by knitting up the tree first. To get it started cast on 3 stitches making sure that you leave an ample enough tail end to do use  in the knitting together stage (say 3 or 4 inches).

How to keep track of what row you are one for the Christmas tree ornamentNow comes the tricky part. The pattern has a pattern of increasing that I found a bit hard to remember but I did find a few tricks that made it easier.

The pattern for the Christmas tree sides is as follows

  • knit one, knit in front and back in second (like you do a wash cloth, so that you make 2 stitches out of one) then knit to end of row.
  • knit full row
  • knit until second to last stitch then in that stitch knit in front and back (so that you are again making 2 stitches out of one) then knit last stitch.
  • knit full row
  • repeat until you have 16 stitches on your needles
  • knit a full row
  • cast off your row
  • At this point one side of your Christmas tree will be complete and then you can repeat the whole process over to make the other side.

To help me remember if I was near the start of a row , or near the end of the row, or if it was a non-increase row I did the following

  • I put a twist tie on the end of one needle, which helped me know if this was an increase row or not. Each time I was loading stitches to that needle I knew was an increase row, each time I was unloading stitches I knew it was a non-increase row
  • I made a chart on a piece of scrap paper that said F E F E F E F E………..This meant increase in front of row, increase near end of row. I crossed it off each time I did it so I knew what to do next time I was knitting an increase row.
  • You could also do a chart that goes like this  F N E F N E F N E…….. This would eliminate need for twist tie as the N would stand for the non-increase row.

knit up two christmas tree ornament piecesOnce your two Christmas tree pieces are done it is time to work the ends in so that they are hidden.

tieing in the ends of the christmas tree ornamentEssentially all you do is thread the tails on your needle one at a time and then work each one into the stitches itself. I like to work through at least half a dozen or so and then un-thread your needle and cut off the yarn sticking out.

cutting the material for the inside of the christmas tree ornamentsNow it is time to cut your material (um…ya I know the ends are not done in this picture, it is out of sequence but really it doesn’t matter what order you do these two steps).  The cutting doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can see from mine. What matters is that the pieces of material take up most of the inside of each tree but do not spill out the sides.

Also as long as the material is green so that it blends in between the holes of the knitting it doesn’t matter what type it is. I used an old t-shirt of my daughter’s, since it was free.

make a tree sandwich Christmas tree ornamentNow you want to make a tree sandwich, putting one knitted side on the bottom then the two green pieces of material and then the other knitted tree. Play around with them a bit until you have them all laying flat and all the green material is safely within the knitted sides.

Christmas tree ornament sewing the sidesTo sew the piece together cut off one piece of yarn roughly the length from you finger tips to mid bicep. I tied mine on to one corner of the tree, leaving a long tail to work in just like I did when the tree was in two pieces. Slip stitch around the tree watching your tension not so loose that you have gaps but not so tight that it causes puckering.

Christmas tree ornament approx. size

When my tree was put together is was right around 6 inches in height. Of course yours might be smaller or bigger depending on your tension, so let this be your guide and not a strict rule. After I was done stitching the sides of the tree together I knotted together the ends and then stabbed them into the tree with the yarn needle  so that they were hidden.

Christmas tree ornament attaching bucketTo attach the red bucket to the Christmas tree you need to work your needle into a few of the bottom stitches. I did this by folding the tree in half and taking 2 on one side and 3 on the other. I suppose you could make it 3 on each side since there really was no plan to my bucket except that it look like it was in the middle and not too small but not too big and 5 stitches looked about right to me.

tree ornament knitting bucketWork the red yarn in the green . Knit 8 rows of it and then cast off. Leave a long red tail at end.   I knotted the red yarn to the green yarn near the first stitch after I casted off. I don’t know if that is the proper way to do it but it worked.

Christmas tree ornament bucket stitchingTo finish the bucket I folded the red bucket in half. I  knotted the two ends together and then used the long tail of yarn I left to slip stitch the red yarn to the bottom of the green tree and then closed one side. I then used the other tail to slip stitch the other side shut. After the bucket was all sewn shut I cut off all but an inch or so of the yarn tales and then used the needle to hide them in the bucket.

Christmas tree ornament tree done, now to decorateOnce you complete the tree you are going to want to decorate it. You can use matching colorful buttons like I did. So that each side of the tree looks the same or you can use random buttons on either side. I had a friend who made some of these trees for her aunt and used buttons from her aunt’s antique button collection. It meant a lot to the aunt to see her pretty buttons on display on her tree.

Christmas tree ornament Laying out buttonsOnce you know what buttons you want to decorate your tree, take some time deciding just where you want them. Once you have them arranged in a way you like, snap a picture with your cell phone before removing them all. This will give you something to look at should you forget where you wanted them.

Christmas tree ornaments threadInstead of running out to the store to find matching green thread, I snipped off a piece of yarn and split the four strands up. This way I had an exact match to the yarn . You can use green thread though if you rather. I won’t report you to the thrifty police LOL.

Christmas tree ornament putting on buttons (2)

To  put your buttons on securely, first thread your needle and then put a knot about 3 inches away from end. Pull the thread through the entire tree and stop at knot. Place the needle through one button hole and pull it down the thread then insert button into other hole and through the tree again to another button on the other side.

Christmas tree ornament buttons secure

Go through from one button to the other 4 or so times until the buttons on either side are securely in place.

Christmas tree ornament wrapping thread around buttonTo finish off the buttons once you are done securing them to tree take the ends of the thread on both sides and wrap them around the base of the buttons. This will hide the ends.

Christmas tree ornamentattaching starHow you attach the star to the top of the Christmas tree is really going to depend on what type of star button you find. The ones I currently have are more like beads with holes through the middle.

To attach them I first thread them onto a narrow ribbon.

Christmas tree ornament star on topI then used the needle to poke the ribbon through the top of the Christmas tree. and pulled it through the star bead again. To finish it I knotted it just above the star, so that it won’t move much, and then knotted the top of the ribbon so that it will hang on the tree.

And with that it was done!

DIY Knitted Christmas Tree Ornament Step by Step tutorialI really like how it turned out and plan to make several more to give as gifts.

 Simple Fingerless Gloves (small)Looking for more simple Knitting projects? Try my Simple To Knit Fingerless Gloves tutorial.

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Tuesday Links: Cooking Christmas In A Crock-Pot

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Tuesday links 30 or so link to articles on one topic for you to explore, learn, and apply to your lifeIf you cook the Christmas dinner at your house like my family does chances are you run into the same problem as we do. How on earth do we get the whole thing cooked with only one oven?

Luckily for us, I found a counter top oven at a yard sale that we use in our camper in summer time that I keep on a shelf in the basement in winter just for such occasions. (link goes to one like ours but not same model).

If you don’t have an counter top oven though chances are you might have a crock-pot, and I am finding out that you can cook more Christmas dinner dishes in there than you might have thought. Today I am sharing 3.

1. Stock Piling moms has an article on how to cook the Christmas ham in a crock-pot.

2.  Cranberry sauce can me made in the crock-pot. (recipe by The Frugal Girls)

3. Although you can’t completely make mash potatoes in the crock-pot. You can cook them up ahead of time and then make up these amazing sounding creamy crock-pot mashed potatoes by Recipes That Crock.

For more great ideas out there enter crock pot Christmas into the Pinterest search bar and see all the yummy recipes that come up.

Here are some coupons for items that might come in handy when cooking the Christmas Dinner

Coffee because you are going to need it, a few baking items for the Christmas baking, bacon because everything tastes better with bacon,  a few coupons for DVD’s to keep the family busy while the dinner cooks and one for pain reliever because if the cooking doesn’t go well you might need it :) .

For more coupons check out my coupon resource page.

$4.00 off any THREE (3) Starbucks Packaged Coffee

$2.00 off TWO Starbucks Packaged Coffee products

$2.00 off TWO (2) Starbucks K-Cup Packs

$0.50 off (1) BOTTLE of Coffee-mate2Go creamer

$1.50 off ONE Seattle's Best Coffee K-Cup Packs

$1.00 off two HORMEL BLACK LABEL bacon products

$1.00 off TWO (2) Seasonal Nestle Chocolate Bags

$1.50 off ONE (1) package of Truvia Baking Blend

$2.00 off (1) package of Truvia Brown Sugar Blend

$1.00 off OFF 2 MARS Holiday candy

$1.00 off one Stevia In The Raw Box or Bakers Bag

$0.50 off any HERSHEY'S or REESE'S Baking chips

$0.55 off ONE (1) Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix

$2.00 off any Aleve product 40ct or larger

$3.00 off any 2 participating Excedrin products

$2.00 off (1) MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET Blu-Ray

$5.00 off HOME ALONE 4-FILM DVD Collection

$5.00 off Mr. Peabody & Sherman DVD or Blu-ray

$2.00 off A CHRISTMAS CAROL on Blu-Ray

$5.00 off Rio 2 DVD or Blu-ray

10 Ways To Relax During The Busy Christmas Season

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Christmas time can wear a mom out. We have the best of intentions. We want to serve those in our care. Make sure that we provide the best Christmas memories possible for them, but in providing for everyone else, we often end up completely worn out by December 25th.

10 way to relax during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season

Mom’s don’t let this happen to you. Believe it or not there is room in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season to care for yourself, and it doesn’t take as much time as you might think. Here are 10 ways below, pick one or two and make them a priority over the Christmas season.

10 Ways To Treat Yourself Well This Christmas Season

1. Add a bit of something to your errands to make them special

Christmas errands can seem endless. There is the buying of the gifts, the sending of the Christmas cards, oh and don’t forget the Christmas groceries. Here are a few ways to turn those errands around from frustration points to enjoyable outings.

  • Plan to leave the kids at home as much as possible: When my kids were little I did a lot of my shopping at 7 am in the morning when my husband got off his night shift but wasn’t ready to sleep quite yet. Yes it was early but the stores were uncrowded and with no kids I got things done faster.
  • Make your first stop a drive thru at your favorite coffee shop so you can shop with a cup of you favorite coffee in hand. This always makes a dreaded errand better for me. (psst… here is how to earn those coffee drinks using Swagbucks)
  • Fill your kindle app on your phone with a few light and simple reads so you can turn line waiting into reading time. (here are a few of my favorite places for free kindle books)
  • Invite a friend with similar errand needs to join you so you can get them done together and enjoy each others company at the same time.

2. Add a bit of holiday cheer to your at home holiday chores

There is the decorating, the wrapping, the baking and don’t forget the extra cleaning that all need to be done before the big day. Instead of plowing through these chores with a “must get it done” attitude turn them into a time you enjoy.

  • Wait to wrap until the kids are all in bed and then turn on your favorite holiday movie (here is one of mine)  and wrap while you watch.
  • Listen to Christmas music while baking and make sure to make your favorite cup or whatever before you start (me I make peppermint mocha)
  • Set realistic daily goals for cleaning and when you reach them treat yourself to 15 to 30 minutes of an activity you enjoy.

3. Take some time either in the morning or the evening to recharge your batteries

One of my favorite things to do each Christmas season is to spend one morning by the light of the Christmas tree. I curl up on a chair near by with my bible in one hand and a mug of hot tea in the other. I take the time to read the story of Jesus’ birth and reflect on all the blessings our family has received this year. It is a much need time of calm amongst the hustle and bustle of the season that helps me put my focus where it truly belongs.

4. Walk or run the lights with a friend

If you town puts on a great light display like ours does, try to enjoy it not just with the kiddos but with a friend. I don’t manage this every year but when I do I am surprised by all the things I see in the display when I am strolling through them with a friend that I don’t see when I am with all three kids.

5. Enjoy a Christmas movie with the family and give it your full attention

As moms we tend to multitask every minute of the day, including family movie time. We use it to fold laundry, or finish up that craft we have been making as a gift. DON’T put it all away, cuddle up to you hubby or your child and get lost in the movie with them.

6. Read a Christmas book that you will enjoy

Each year I read one Christmas book and I am not talking about a Children’s title. I find either a fiction or nonfiction book that helps me remember what Christmas is all about and puts me more into the Christmas spirit. I always read it by the Christmas tree as much as possible, usually with a cup of something by my side and a few homemade Christmas treats.

A great series of short Christmas stories is The Red Glove Collection by Karen Kingsbury.

7. Make time for a good long soak

There is just something about a hot bath that can make a long hard day melt away. I like adding a cup of epsom salt along with 1/2 cup of baking soda and 2 tablespoon ginger powder  to mine. I found a pin on pinterest that says this is suppose to be great for releasing toxins from your body. Don’t know if that is really true but I know it sure does ease my aching muscles and put me in relax mode.

If you want to make your bath even more relaxing light some candles, dim the lights and turn on some Christmas music (far away from sources of water of course, because being electrocuted is not relaxing) .

8.  Hold a crafting night

If you are like me a night of working on crafts is super relaxing. You can do it alone if your introverted but if your extroverted, it is also fun to hold a crafting night where you invite friends over to work on whatever their current craft project is. Keep it simple, ask each friend to bring a snack or a 2 liter of pop, or juice, or a couple of hot cocoa pouches and keep the emphasis on just getting together to relax, chat and craft during a often go, go, go season.

9. Bake up your favorites too

I know I am famous for making sure I make my husband’s favorite cookies and those of all my children, then Christmas hits and I realize I never treated myself to making a batch of my own favorite cookies. Mom’s don’t let this happen to you, if your favorite isn’t what everyone else likes, make sure to make time to make it for yourself and enjoy it!

10. Get out of those sweats and ponytail

Christmas time is the worst for slipping on sweats first thing thinking you will grab a shower and put on a real outfit later when you have a moment, and then ending the day slipping off those same sweats. Ya, the moment is not going to magically appear, you have to make it a priority. There is just something about putting on even the simplest of outfits like jeans and a sweater, brushing your hair and perhaps putting on a bit of makeup and jewelery that just makes a mom feel great.

What ways to do pamper yourself just a little during the crazy Christmas season? I would love to hear about in the comments below.

18+ point programs to help you earn $50 or more in gift cards each month (small)One of my favorite ways to pay for my mom sanity treats is with gift cards earned with point programs. Here are 18 different programs you can use to earn gift cards.

 Linked to Mom2Mom,

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9 Ways To Give At Christmas Time Despite A Tight Budget

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At Christmas we are often bombarded with different charities needing our help. If you are on a tight budget it can begin to feel hopeless. How can you give something, when you have very little extra yourself?

9 ways to give to those in need at Christmas time even when you are on a tight budget

By thinking creatively, having open eyes to opportunities, and a heart that is willing I think even those on tight budget can give at Christmas time.

9  Ways To Give At Christmas Time When You Are On A Tight Budget

Please note you might not be able to use a lot of the tips on this list to help out others this Christmas but you can use it to start planning for next Christmas. Over 12 months some of these actions can make a big impact in how generous you can be at Christmas time without blowing the budget.

1. Collect free samples to give

When I wrote my article on where I find free samples one of my readers commented that she bags up her free samples and donates them to homeless shelters where the residents are happy to receive them.

2. Coupons

If you are a coupon queen I know that you can get items for low to little cost. Grab  extra free to almost free items  now and then and donate them to your local food bank.

3. Donate your time instead of cash

Could you help stock the shelves at the food bank? Ring the bell for a shift at a Salvation Army Christmas donation center? Help serve food at a homeless shelter?

4. Collect your change

My family does this. We spend our quarters, but we throw all our pennies, nickles and dimes in a large glass jar. When it fills up I take the kids first to the bank to have it changed in for bills, then we hit the grocery store with a list of what our Church needs to line the shelves of its food pantry.My children are always amazed at how much money collects in that jar and how much food it buys, when their thrifty mom puts her thrifty ninja skills to work.

The jar doesn’t always  reach  full capacity by Christmas, but then again your giving doesn’t always have to be at Christmas either. There are needs year round.

5. Pick one point earning program or cash back site to use for giving purposes

There are so many different way to earn a few gift cards online. I personally have written about how to best use  18 of them. Pick one and make a goal for it and designate the points you earn for gift cards that can help you give to needs in your area. One way to do this would be to pick gift cards that can help you buy toys to fulfill needs of a gift tag program.

6. Sort through your home and donate to a local thrift store that supports local food banks or shelters

There is a thrift store in my area that is attached to a local soup kitchen. Every time I drop off my things there I am reminded by the aroma of the upcoming meal that my donations are feeding the hungry. It motivates me to toss more in the donation pile.

7. Use the donation options found in point programs

I mentioned in number 5 that you could use gift cards earned through point programs to give, but did you know that point programs like Swagbucks have areas where you can donate your points to national charities.  Every point really does help.

8. Shop clearance

In  late January when you see that bin of hats and gloves for $1 each pick up a few extra pairs and put them away until the next local warm clothing drive in your area. If you have a larger budget you can do this to pick up winter coats for as little as $10 a piece, and do the same thing. I have seen other charities asking for blankets which also go on clearance.

9. Give your words of encouragement and kindness

I love what  Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom  wrote last week about how a simple note she took seconds to write were  able to impact someone. Perhaps you just can’t stretch your budget to do any of the above, and your calendar has your time stretched so thin. I bet you have a moment to use your words.

Those in need are not just the ones signing up for gift tags for their kids, or standing in line for a bag of food and warm meal. Sometimes those in need are the people right around you. The lady at church who never seems to smile. The cashier who seems very distracted. Give them a smile and say something nice. Ask about their day. Compliment them on the color of their shirt, or the piece of jewelery they are wearing that caught your eye. Chances are it will warm their heart, causing a chain reaction.

What inexpensive ways to give to others at Christmas time would you add to my list? I would love to read them in the comments below.

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)Be sure to check out my Thrifty Christmas Resource Page for great ways to fit Christmas into a tight budget

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesdays,

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Snapshot Thursdays: Random Happenings

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily lifeWelcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

gingerbreadmanMy daughter and I made the first batch of Christmas cookies for the season. I don’t do all my Christmas baking at once but instead do it one kind at a time, starting at Thanksgiving and ending at Christmas. When the gingerbread are gone it will be time for sugar cookies, when those are gone peppermint fudge. I find this way it gets eaten while it is still fresh (my family is not a fan of stale bake goods) and we don’t gorge ourselves on it over the course of just one week but instead enjoy one or perhaps 2 cookies or pieces of candy every day for the month.

(oh and those white dots on his head….flour my daughter used a bit too much for rolling :) )

coke bottleI have been enjoying watching a few Christmas specials on TV with my kids in the evenings and one night my son says during a coke commercial “mom, why are they showing glass bottles Coke doesn’t even come in glass bottles does it?”. The next day I was at the grocery store and noticed that yes indeed you can still buy coke in glass bottles BUT it is expensive. I almost let the thrifty side of me win, but then I remembered “my son is 18, I don’t have much more time left with him in the house, and one thing that always seems to make his day is receiving small gifts” . So I grabbed the six pack of glass bottles and took them home to him. I am so glad I did the whole family got a kick out the the glass bottles. My son now has them displayed in his room.

Lesson learned: Sometimes little splurges add a bit of joy into our day.

pin fingerless glovesFinally after knitting these fingerless gloves up for my daughter I took the time to sew up the seams. She was thrilled and has been wearing them daily inside the house.

Do you do special baking over the Christmas season? Do you do it all at once or spread it out?

Here are a few coupons for food items that might be on your grocery list this week. Checkout my coupon resource page for more printable coupon links.

Save 20% on any single purchase of loose Green Peppers at participating retailers. See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer..Expires 12/15/2014.Save 20%.

Save 50¢ when you buy ONE (1) BOX Honey Nut Cheerios® OR Honey Nut Cheerios® Medley Crunch™ cereal..Expires 12/31/2014.Save $0.50.

Save $1.00 when you buy FOUR (4) Progresso™ products (excludes Progresso™ Pasta Bowl)..Expires 12/31/2014.Save $1.00.

Save $3.00 when you spend $10.00 on any Sargento® Tastings® Cheese. .Expires 12/31/2014.Save $3.00.

Save 55¢ when you buy any ONE (1) 5lb bag of King Arthur Signature Flour. .Expires 12/31/2014.Save $0.55.

Save $1.00 when you buy any TWO (2) Ziploc® brand containers..Expires 12/31/2014.Save $1.00.

Save $3.00 when you spend $12.00 on any BUSH’S® Baked Beans and Grillin’ Beans®. Get ready for gameday with these tailgate favorites, or simplify any weeknight meal with a side you just heat and eat..Expires 12/24/2014.Save $3.00.

12 Ways To Repurpose A Sweater Into A Christmas Gift

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So ever since I wrote my post about how to have Christmas on a zero budget , I have been thinking about all the common household items we own that could be made into Christmas gifts with little to no cost, except  time and talent.

12 ways to repurpose a sweater into a Christmas gift

My mind immediately went to sweaters. I don’t know about you but after a year or two of wearing a sweater I find about 80% of them are either stretched out, have a snag in them here and there that I can’t seem to hide, or they have shrunk due to my wonderful (er..not) laundry skills.

One evening while feeling uninspired to write I thought I would seize to opportunity to spend a few “working hours” on Pinterest. Yes, that is one perk of blogging sometimes spending time cruising Pinterest can in fact be labeled work.

I wanted to see if my theory was right could peoples old sweaters be made into gifts. Yes they can! In fact I found a enough ideas  to start a pinterest board devoted to repurposing sweaters.

12 Ways To Repurpose A Sweater Into A Christmas Gift

1. Fingerless Mittens for the friend who just can’t be parted from her smart phone touch screen.

2.  Coffee Cozy (or sleeve) whatever you want to call it, it would make a great gift for the coffee lover in your life.

3.  Braided scarf for your fashion loving loved one .

4.  This Scarflette is another great option as a Christmas gift for a fashion lover.

5. Boot socks for the friend who is never seen in anything but boots and legging all winter.

6. These hats would make adorable gifts for infants and toddlers.

7.  Another great gift for little ones are these leggings.

8.  A pair of slippers is always a classic gift.

9. A trendy friend might like these slipper boots  instead.

10. If you have a huge stack of sweaters on your hands and some time and talent you could try tackling this sweater blanket as a gift.

11. For a small project these sweater ornaments are supers sweet.

12.  You could go with the classic gift of a pair of warm mittens.

Thrifty Christmas Tips (small)For more thrifty Christmas ideas check out my Thrifty Christmas Tips resource page.

linked to Thrifty Thursday

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Tuesday Links: Gingerbread House Ideas

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Tuesday links 30 or so link to articles on one topic for you to explore, learn, and apply to your lifeMy daughter really has her heart set on making a gingerbread house this year. It has been years since we have made one. So many years in fact I don’t even know if she remembers making the last one. At first I must admit I tried to talk her out of it, but I can see she really wants to do this and I know she won’t want to in a few years time, so in the end I bought a kit that included everything we needed to make one together.I got ours at Aldi for under $10.

First though I spent a while cruising Pinterest for ideas and I thought I would share them with you in case you want to tackle a gingerbread house this year.  Me, perhaps next year but for our first attempt after years of not doing one,  we are sticking to a kit.

1. If a graham cracker home won’t cut it and it has to be gingerbread then  you are  going to want to follow this tutorial found over at Whipperberry.

2. Not a gingerbread fan? This tutorial on how to make a gingerbread home out of  graham crackers  tutorial by happiness homemade might be better for you.

3. Want a few more ideas? Our Little House In The Country has 5 Easy To Make Gingerbread Houses you can check out. In fact she even has a entire pinterest board devoted to Gingerbread houses that you can explore to your hearts content.

More of a gingerbread cookie fan than a house? Me too and here is my favorite recipe for soft gingerbread cutout cookies. My daughter likes them with a mug of our families 3 ingredient hot cocoa.

Here are a few coupons

What I remember about gingerbread house building with children, is that although it is memorable it is also stressful so I included coupons this weeks to help. We have the “must have before we even start coffee” coupons,  the “oh my word I need chocolate” coupons, the “that gave me the biggest headache” pain reliever coupons, and the “Oh my word why did I eat all that candy” tummy medicine and exercise DVD.

I also include a few toy coupons I found in case you have some Christmas shopping left to do.

(for more coupons check out my coupon resource page)

$2.00 off TWO Starbucks Packaged Coffee products

$4.00 off any THREE (3) Starbucks Packaged Coffee

$3.00 off TWO (2) Starbucks K-Cup Packs

$1.50 off ONE Seattle's Best Coffee K-Cup Packs

$1.00 off TWO (2) Seasonal Nestle Chocolate Bags

$1.00 off OFF 2 MARS Holiday candy

$3.00 off any 2 participating Excedrin products

$0.50 off ONE Pepto-Bismol™ product

$2.00 off Anchor Bay Fitness dvds

$2.00 off one TITAN HERO SERIES figure from Hasbro

$2.00 off one (1) TRANSFORMERS 12-inch figure

$5.00 off Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven

$2.00 off any STAR WARS 12-inch figure from Hasbro


$2.00 off any one SESAME STREET Mini Plush toy

$1.00 off one PLAY-DOH Compound


$3.00 off two EASY-BAKE ULTIMATE OVEN refills

To Those Grieving At Christmas Time

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To Those Grieving At Christmas Time

To Those Grieving At Christmas Time,

I don’t know who you lost but I know that you hurt.

During every event of the Christmas season you find yourself thinking “I wish….. was here to see this”, and suddenly you feel slightly guilty for enjoying life when your love one isn’t here to enjoy it with you.

Tears come at odd times, like when you hang that ornament on the tree, and you remember “that day”, “that moment”.  You bake cookies and suddenly while rolling them out you burst into tears; remembering, wishing,  and longing.

You hear you friends talking about doing this event, or going such and such a place with a person with same title as the loved one you lost, a mom, a friend, a child, a dad,  and you feel that hole in your heart ache just a bit more.

Then there is the annual Christmas letter, what do you write? How can you possibly be all cheery when most of the time all you feel is loss? Surly no one wants to hear about your pain but yet is has been a big part of your year.

To Those Grieving At Christmas Time,

Here is what has worked for me. I pray these suggestions  work for you, but if not I pray that you will find something positive to ease the pain.

Cry when you feel like crying. Don’t hold  your tears  back, let them flow. I have cried over a Pingu DVD in Target. I have cried over Christmas Crackers again in Target (yes I go there a lot). With each release I have felt a bit lighter.

Plan special events this year. These events are not to keep you from remembering but to keep you realizing that life is a gift, and those that have passed would want you to live it to the fullest.

Take some time to be alone with your thoughts. Take enough time, to sit and be quiet and remember all the precious times you spent with your loved one. If you can’t cry in public, this is the time to cry. Let it out; all of it. The pain, the anger, and the sorrow.

Give generously this year. Whether it be with your time, or of your money. There is just something about giving that heals the human heart. If you lost a mom, give to a single mom. If you lost a Dad, find one his age who perhaps lives alone and could use a good home cooked meal delivered to his doorstep. The giving doesn’t have to be big to bring healing.

To Those Grieving At Christmas Time This letter is for you

To Those Grieving At Christmas Time,

One last thing, know you are not alone. Never believe that lie. Look around you, find someone who has also lost a loved one this year, and share a good cry together and a hug. If I could jump through the screen right now I would do that for you, because, I lost a Dad this year and many years ago now I lost a mom, and I know how hard holidays can be when you have lost a loved one.

If you are reading this and you haven’t lost a loved one but you love someone who has here are 3 things that you can do to help a grieving person this Christmas

  • Let them cry whenever they want, no questions asked, just be there with a hug.
  • If you are a spouse let them decide which Christmas events to keep this year and which ones to skip. Don’t let them skip all of them but don’t force them to keep every single one, chances are they don’t have the emotional energy.
  • Let them share their memories of their loved one when they want to, but  if they would rather be alone with their thoughts of their loved one, give them the space to do so.

(please note there is a difference between grieving and depression if you or a loved one seems to have slipped from healthy natural grieving that comes and goes in waves to depression which I am told feels like a dark cloud that never moves off the top of your head seek help)

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