Another busy weekend behind us, which is fine, because I am all set to start relaxing and enjoy this Advent season that is upon us. It really is the most wonderful time of year, and I want to sit back and watch my children enjoying it, and be able to relax leading up to Christmas Day. The shopping is nearly done, the decorations are starting to come out of the basement, and soon we will be baking treats and singing Christmas Carols, skating on the backyard rink and warming up with hot chocolate. I cannot wait!
Here is what we are eating this week:
Monday – baked chops with roasted potatoes and coleslaw
Tuesday – most like Kraft Dinner for the kiddos, hubby and I are out for dinner celebrating my brothers birthday
Wednesday – my famous spaghetti
Thursday – meatballs, rice with mushrooms and garden salad
Friday – baked sole with roasted sweet potatoes and salad
As always I am linking up with Org Junkie, stop by for great menus and lots of tips. Also, if you are looking for ways to keep Christ in Christmas this year, stop by this great post and check out the link up too!
One month! One month till Christmas, is that making you stressed just thinking about it? Don’t panic, that’s loads of time to get it all done. If you want some help planning, I’ve got some great posts about how to keep things frugal (stocking stuffer ideas here and helpful tips here). And since Christmas is just a month away, that means Advent starts soon too! This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent! I cannot wait to get the wreath and candles out!
Last night was busy, and I had a lot to get accomplished once the kids went to bed, so the meal plan isn’t very inspiring this week, but it’s still full of fresh and healthy (ish) meals.
Here’s what we are eating this week:
Monday – baked meatballs with roasted zucchini and peppers and salad
Tuesday – baked chicken with rice and peas and salad
Wednesday – turkey sausages with spinach ravioli
Thursday – perogies and sautéed cabbage
Friday – baked sole with roasted baby potatoes and salad
As always, I am linking up over at Org Junkie, stop by and check out some great menus!
Remember when I said you should plan things early? Well that includes stocking stuffers! There are so many great options out there, and it doesn’t all have to be junky little things from the dollar store, or a sock full of candy either! My husband and I treat stockings for each other differently than we do for the kids. Because these items cost more, the stocking counts more as a gift from the total budget we try to stick to, than the more frugal options St. Nick fills the kids stockings with.
Here are some of the favourite stocking stuffers my husband and I like to treat each other too:
- Video Games
- Snacks like candies, chips, nuts and beef jerky (for him, not me!)
- Scratch and win lottery tickets
- Small bottles of alcohol
- Hockey tickets (bought through Costco for a local OHL team)
Here is a list of more frugal options, perfect for the little ones:
- Craft supplies
- Colouring book
- Their favourite chocolate bar
- Kinder Eggs
- Bible Stories and prayer cards
- Hair clips and head bands
- Smaller toys like action figures or my little ponies
- Chocolate coins
- Funny glasses and hats from the dollar store to play dress up with
Some other frugal ideas for older kids or even grown-ups:
- Travel sized lotions (perhaps that you have collected from all those websites that send our free samples!)
- $5 gift cards (for coffee or music downloads)
- Make up/nail polish/lip gloss
- Travel sized board games
- Gloves or mitts
I would love to hear from YOU! What are some of the favourite stocking stuffers in your house?
Another busy birthday filled weekend is behind us, things should be a little calmer now until Advent and everything Christmas explodes in our house! Last week, I hope you saw my post about a frugal Christmas. I hoping to get a post up each week about how to save a little money during this expensive time of year. Next up will be a frugal stocking stuffers post, so watch for that!
After far too much cake this weekend, I’m once again finding myself drawn to cleaner eating than comfort foods, even though its cold outside. Here’s what we are eating this week:
Tuesday – club sandwiches on multigrain bread with leftover chicken tortilla soup
Wednesday – my famous spaghetti (ok, this it totally comfort food, but still good for you!)
Thursday – stir fry with sausages peppers and zucchini over brown rice
I will also be making smoothies this week for breakfast. I usually have yogurt and raw almonds and some fruit, but I am a little sick of that right now, so smoothies it is! And this amazing sandwich will be my lunch today since I have some goats cheese to use up from the weekend. YUM!
As always, I’m linking up over at Org Junkie, stop by for lots of great menu ideas.
See what I did there, with the title, go on, sing it, you know you want too :)
Ok, I know it’s too early to be talking Christmas, let alone singing Christmas Carols, I mean Advent is still weeks away and you Americans haven’t even had Thanksgiving. I am certainly not one to turn my Christmas lights on right after Halloween (we have several neighbours who do this!), but, in order to save money on Christmas, you need to start thinking about things early, so here are my top tips to save some money this Christmas:
Plan ahead – Shop the after Christmas sales, for items for next year. I buy all my wrapping paper, gift bags, bows, ribbon and tags AFTER Christmas, for the following year. You’ll get them for at least 70% off, and you know you’ll be celebrating again next year, so stock up and save big! Did your tree or front porch look a little empty? Buy decorations after Christmas; ornaments and lights, plus outdoor Christmas décor all goes on sale too.
Make a list, and check it twice - Making a list isn’t just for St. Nick! This way you won’t forget anyone (family, friends, teachers, the crossing guard, there so are many special people to include!) and make sure you stick to the list too! Just like when grocery shopping, only buy what you planned to buy.
Set a budget – We don’t set out a flat amount for each Christmas, but we usually spend around the same amount each year for our extended family. As our kids get older, we know the toys are going to get fancier (from trucks and dolls to video games and the latest gadgets), and the cost will go up. And it seems each year my husband and I spend a different amount on each other; we used to set a budget, but he never sticks too it, not that I am really complaining thought :).
Shop online – It’s super convenient and can be even cheaper than shopping in stores. Often stores offer exclusive online sales, and coupon codes. If you made a list previously, you can buy everything all at once and avoid paying for shipping too (each year, I place a large Old Navy and Gap order when they have a great sale on that coincides with a 30% off coupon code). If you do shop online, sign up for Swagbucks or eBates, where you will earn money or “bucks” from shopping online, and you can put that towards more Christmas shopping.
Secret Santa – If you have a very large family, how about starting a Secret Santa gift exchange. Instead of buying a smaller gift for everyone, you can spend a little bit more and just buy a gift for one family member, you will save lots of money, and you can put more thought into that one special gift for that someone special.
Make it – Do you have a talent? Knitting, baking, sewing? These gifts require time but not much money. There is still time to make things, so don’t think you had to start knitting loads of scarves in the summer! Baking up some cookies or making candy is a great little gift for neighbours and teachers, especially if you get the kids to help out.
Daily deal sites – If you prefer to buy only name brand items, sign up for daily deal sites like Zulily, Teambuy, Baby and Kid Steals and Groupon. These places offer great deals on name brand clothing and toys and even gadgets, as well as experiences and trips. Have a person that is hard to shop for? Get a great deal on a spa visit, cooking lessons, or a night on the town. Or maybe you are feeling stressed and need a weekend away after Christmas, you’ll get a great deal there too. Sign up for their emails so you get the deals right away.
Never pay full price – It will go on sale, trust me. And if you start watching early enough in the year, you may get that item for super cheap. I realize this is hard to do, especially with kids that might change their mind on that “must have” toy of the season, but try to never pay full price. And if you can’t find it on sale, at the very least, shop around for the best “regular” price.
I hope these tips help you save some money this Christmas season. I also pray that you don’t get lost in all the shopping to remember the real reason for the season. Click here for a post on keeping Christ in Christmas.