Posts Tagged ‘Frugal Hacks’

Frugal Hacks: Never Miss a Christmas Show Again

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Today on Frugal Hacks, I am sharing tips for recording all of your favorite Christmas specials and movies on television this year. Who would want to miss any of their old favorites? Plus, they added some great new favorites (did anyone else love the new Shrek Christmas special?) for the year too. Be sure to check out my post so you can set those recorders for some fun family nights together!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we checked out some of our old favorite movies and I happened upon a movie that we had not seen before called, “The Holiday Inn.” This has become my new favorite Christmas movie and I would recommend checking it out for your family this holiday season. There is lots of great singing and dancing in this film and although there is some political incorrectness for our time period, it is an excellent movie that really made us smile! Interesting enough, it was also the inspiration for the hotel chain name…Holiday Inn.

I am curious, what is your favorite holiday movie? Do you have any obscure holiday movies that might be overlooked by most families, but that is a favorite in your house?

Frugal Hacks: Ornament Decorating Fun

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

For today’s installment on Frugal Hacks, I am sharing crafty ideas for making holiday ornaments with your children. I have been spending some time surfing the internet to come up with some ideas for Ethan & I to do together so I thought I would share them with you too!

In this picture is our ornament making station that I made for our special ornament-making days. I purchased a vinyl tablecloth and loads of fun crafty supplies from the dollar store. Right now they have wooden ornaments that come in a ten pack for decorating that would be a wonderful decorative addition to any gift.

I just love decorating the Christmas tree and thought it would be a fun discussion to share your favorite ornaments that you hang on your tree each year.

I have two special ornaments that I absolutely love and that bring a smile to my face each time I get them out. One is a beautiful painted light bulb that one of my co-workers purchased for me at my very first “real” job. I was working as an administrative assistant and this gentleman was the head of the sales department and told me if I worked extra hard, he would secure a position for me in the sales department. So…I worked my tail off and did extra projects for the group and he gave me this special ornament right before he told me that he never got permission to hire me as an assistant and then I eventually was laid off after a brief promotion as a marketing assistant…WAIT! This is a horrible story! Why the heck is that my favorite ornament?

In all seriousness, the ornament represented one of the first times in my life where I felt like a grown-up and I felt valued as an employee. I felt like a smart woman and I had struggled through school (getting by on my fine social skills, mind you!) so it felt good to feel appreciated and valued as an employee.

My other favorite ornament is a Dunkin’ Donuts ornament that I won in an ornament exchange. When we lived in Massachusetts, every single day I would buy myself a cup of joe over at our local Dunkin’ Donuts. Our first home, a small townhouse, was situated behind a Dunkin’ Donuts and we would get bagels and muffins from there all of the time for our Saturday mornings.

Right after I had Ethan, I was determined to get my baby weight off, and we had an amazing bike trail right outside of our home so I would walk it for miles trying to get the baby weight off. On my way, I would stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up an iced mochachocalocaroca that I thought tasted like a little bit of heaven. It was my little reward to myself for working so hard to get my weight off.

But my weight wasn’t coming off. And I was putting on weight. How was this possible? Um, did the smart & educated woman check to see how many calories a mochachocalocaroca has in it? No! Despite a background in food and nutrition, I never thought twice about the gazillion calories I was taking on my athletic walk. But, oh, what a taste of heaven that was!

The moral of the story is, every ornament has a story. Go ahead! Ask your grandmother about the ornaments on her tree- I bet she will have a story to tell!

Sound Off: Please share your favorite ornament on your tree! I would love to hear your stories!

Frugal Hacks: What Will You Be Doing On Black Friday?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Guess what I won’t be doing on Black Friday?

You can read my post on Frugal Hacks and discuss your Black Friday routines!

I hope you will share freely and don’t let my lack of shopping get you down!

Frugal Hacks: Getting Ready for the Holidays

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

I ran out of hours in the day yesterday, but I wanted to make sure that I posted a link to my entry yesterday on Frugal Hacks. I shared some of the ways that I am trying to get ready for the holidays.

I have lots of things to do on my list. Here are some of the things that I am working on:

1. We need to take a family picture that we can use for our Christmas cards this year. I like to get photo cards from Sam’s Club and I use the sticky labels with the addresses printed on them to save time.
2. For our grandparents, I do a year of pictures for them as a gift of their grandkids. I pick my favorite pictures from the year and get them printed and make each of them a photo album. It was a hit last year and should be a hit again this year.
3. I would like to make all of our Christmas tree decorations this year. I am gathering ideas and materials to make ornaments with the kids this year. I want to do a popcorn garland and make cute decorations for the tree this year.
4. I am hoarding my toilet paper rolls for our Christmas crackers in a drawer for the kids. I got some fun wrapping paper and am saving our Halloween candy to fill them. These will go in the kid’s stockings.
5. I am going to try and get my wrapping done this weekend on the gifts that I have bought. I am done with the kids and finished buying their stocking stuffers last week. I also need to wrap the last of my countdown to Christmas treats. I found the last three days at the dollar tree.
6. I am working on make-ahead goodies for Thanksgiving dinner. I am in charge of the appetizers this year and I am going to make some of the goodies from my list.

There are tons more things to be done, but I am sure it will all come together!

Frugal Hacks: Practicing Thankfulness

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Today’s post on Frugal Hacks is all about implementing holiday traditions into the Thanksgiving Day feast and spirit. Unfortunately, we are without any great holiday traditions yet for this holiday, but I am opening the floor to see if anyone has any great things they do for the holiday.

Please join me over at Frugal Hacks and share your family Thanksgiving traditions!

Frugal Hacks: Movies On a Budget

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Today on Frugal Hacks I share some different ways you can watch movies on a budget. I hope you can join me over there and read my post for the week!

We are always looking for new ways to watch movies inexpensively and recently I have become a big fan of just searching for movies using a search function that we have on our DVR. It has been so nice to find holiday movies on television and just tape them for our enjoyment over the weekend.

We also rent a lot of movies from our library because the price is just right for a family on a tight budget! Children’s movies and nonfiction movies are free at our library and all other movies only cost us a quarter a day.

We also happen to live just a mile down the road from a second-run theater and I love to go see movies there. $1 admission can sometimes be even cheaper than renting them from the movie rental store and I get the movie-theater experience for the same price.

Frugal Hacks: Soup Supper

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I don’t have a lot of restaurant weaknesses because I enjoy the food we cook from home a lot more, but I have been giving into one weakness recently…Broccoli & Cheddar Soup from Panera Bread.

After ordering it twice in the past month, I knew I needed to figure out how to make this from home and after trying a couple of recipes, I have finally found THE recipe that tastes just like this soup from the restaurant.

If you have a craving for Broccoli & Cheddar Soup, make sure to give this recipe a try and see what you think! I followed the instructions exactly and it was absolute perfection! A bowl of cheesy goodness with a yummy loaf of crusty bread. It reheats well and would be wonderful to entertain with!

In the spirit of good soup and chilly nights, be sure to read my post over at Frugal Hacks about throwing a special soup supper of your own.

Frugal Hacks: All Things Pumpkin

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Today was supposed to be my son’s field trip to the pumpkin patch. He had been talking about this for weeks and we had even been doing a countdown to the day when he would get to go to the pumpkin patch.

The morning greeted us with rain and gloomy weather. We received the call that the trip had been canceled, minutes before we were to set out for our day. His little heart was broken this morning and it broke my heart for him. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for braving the elements this morning, I knew how important it was for him.

I promised him that we would take him as a family, provided the weather clears up, and he could pick his very own pumpkin out. He had kept asking if his dad could go with him, on his field trip, but I had explained that he would need to work instead. Now we can all go together as a family and enjoy a day trip together.

A promise of cocoa (with extra marshmallows) when he gets done with school also was helpful in relieving the tears.

In honor of our day at the pumpkin patch, I pieced together anything and everything you could possibly want to know about cooking a pumpkin, decorating a pumpkin, and fun pumpkin projects. You can read more about these ideas at Frugal Hacks. Just visit my entry entitled, “The Great Pumpkin.”

Frugal Hacks: More on Hosting the Unexpected Guest

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007


Well, I got a great response from last week’s column about hosting the unexpected guest. I am not sure if it is because people love cleaning tips or if they just love talking about what a pain it is when people just drop in.

I got a great question though on what one can cook for their unexpected dinner guests so that helped to inspire this week’s post.

I hope you can swing by Frugal Hacks and check it out! Take a browse around while you are over there. There is a lot of great information and I love the collaborative efforts of the writers in supplying great family-focused content and practical information on frugality.

Is there anything else you would like for me to write about on the subject of entertaining on a budget?

Frugal Hacks: Getting Ready for the Unexpected Guest

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

My cleaning caddy needed a little reorganizing and as I was working on this yesterday, I began to think about my “faux cleaning” routine that I do before we have unexpected guests.

Since I get to cover the entertainment category on Frugal Hacks, I thought it would be fun to share my quick tips for making your home look clean without really cleaning.

I am the first to raise my hand that I have been embarrassed when an unexpected person shows up and my house is a complete disaster. I try very hard to maintain things around here, but with two children under five, I often feel like all I am doing is damage control.

I am also a perfectionist and I hate for anyone to come over here without me being prepared for them. Even among friends and family, it is important to me to feel in control of a situation.

Having a website that helps moms stay organized makes me feel like I should be even more zealous in my attempts to keep up with the house.

Let’s face it though, I am only human! We do the best we can throughout the week, but when that unexpected guest comes knocking, it feels good to have a game plan to fake them out with your cleaning routine.

I hope you get a chance to read the post and can share your own routines with me! As moms, I am sure we can all use a little help in this department.