Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

And to all a good night!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Complaining about complaining

This probably won't be a very uplifting post.  It might sting a little.  But I'm not going to apologize for it.  I just feel very convicted about this!

I was cruising Facebook the other day.  Of course, at this time of year lots of people have LOTS of things to do.  There are parties to go to, things to bake, presents to buy, decorations to put up, etc.  It seemed like EVERYONE was complaining about all of this!  Ok, so I'm not going to minimize the stress of the holidays.  It can be a lot.  Especially if you have company coming in town.  But come on people.  Get a grip!

You are complaining about wrapping gifts?  You have gifts to wrap!
You are complaining about baking you have to do?  You have food to eat!
You are complaining about driving to relatives or them driving to you?  You have family!
You are complaining about decorating?  What is the point, if you can't enjoy it!
You are complaining about being stuck in traffic?  You have a car!

It's a good thing Christ didn't complain on the way to being born or on the way to the cross?  I mean, can you imagine.  "I'm sorry.  I just can't carry this burden for the whole world.  You all are just gonna have to be perfect to get to heaven."

Now, I don't want to sound like I don't ever complain.  Heck, I'm complaining in this post for goodness sake!  I've complained this week about the amount of laundry that I've had to do lately.  (And that's just for starters.)

But I'm challenging you to STOP yourself.  Be grateful!  Enjoy this time of year!

*stepping down from soapbox*

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quick Kitchen/Cooking Tip

I bet lots of you are cooking more than you normally do!  I've had the baking bug lately.  It's helping me deal with stress!  And I have goodies to give out.  Of course with all this cooking, I'm using my slow cooker too!  Some of my slow cooker recipes are flops, but my husband really liked this next recipe.  I made the Breakfast Risotto from A Year of Slow Cooking.  I wasn't sure about it at first, but he really like it!  My daughter ate it, but my son didn't.  I really liked the idea of a breakfast slow cooker recipe because my husband gets up before me. This way I was getting him a hot breakfast on a cold morning WHILE I was still in bed.  YIPPEE!

Now, here is my clean-up tip.  Many times when using a slow cooker you get a rim of burnt food around the edges and sometimes on the bottom.  I didn't want to stand and scrub the pot so I filled it with water, added some soap, put it back in the cooker on high.  I let it 'cook' for an hour or so.  Then I turned it off and let it cool before rinsing it out in the sink. Washing it this way took no time and was so much easier than scrubbing it.

When you are cooking or baking a lot, do you have any tips to make things easier?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm dreaming of a frugal Christmas

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about low or no cost Christmas presents for our children.  I know for many of us our Christmas budgets have been slashed.  Maybe you have had an employment change, unexpected medical bills, a car that needed emergency repairs. All of these things can really damage whatever money you might have saved for Christmas.  I challenge you to realize that this is an opportunity to make Christmas what you want it to be!  No more excess, no more credit card bill in January, and no more guilt!

I thought I'd share a couple super frugal and easy ideas for you.  This first idea is actually from one of the first craft blogs I ever read.  You can make your little girl some pretend make-up.  See the tutorial at Not So Idle Hands.  Do you remember the plastic make-up we had years ago?  It was fake and therefor didn't break out skin, stain clothes, or get everywhere!  I actually did this for my little girl several months ago.  You use nail polish and old make-up containers.  There are two things I changed from the tutorial. First, I did not find it necessary to fill up the container.  Now, it does shrink, but I was fine if it wasn't flush with the top.  It smells, but DO NOT close the lid to contain the smell.  it will chemically burn the plastic lid.  Yuck!  But once it dries the smell goes away.

This second idea came from a rainy day activity at home.  We made Laminated Masks.  I was looking for a Batman picture for my son to color.  I stumbled across a Batman mask.  I printed it out and he colored it in.  Then I laminated it.  I do not have a laminating machine but you can use an iron instead.  This ehow tutorial shows you how to do it.  I used a manila office folder as the pouch.  You can get the laminating plastic at an office store but ebay is a much cheaper alternative.  I bought a huge lot of several sizes for less than $10.00.  Then I punched holes in the sides and threaded elastic through it.  Instant mask.  For Christmas I printed out animal faces, circus masks, Spiderman, etc.  I colored them in myself but you could make these up as mask kits for the kiddos!  I can't wait to see what they think of them!

I'd love to hear your super FRUGAL ideas!