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Christmas Stocking 3 The Prudent Homemaker

Gifts for stockings can easily add up to be quite a bit, even if you take a trip to the dollar store. 

Here are some items to give using items you already have in your pantry, cupboards, along with a few items to make using what you already have on hand:


From the kitchen and pantry:

1. Apples, oranges, and clementines

2. Nuts. Put a small amount in some tissue or a  bag and tie with string or ribbon, or make a little paper cone for them.

3. Hot chocolate packets


To make from the kitchen:

1. Cookies. Put these in a bag or some tissue paper.

2. Caramels. Here's a microwave version. Wrap caramels in waxed paper.

3. Peppermint bark

4. Homemade candies

5. Candied citrus peels

6. Homemade play dough

7. Homemade granola. Here's my recipe for cranberry almond granola

8. Fudge


From the cupboards:

1. Pens, pencils, and crayons that you bought on sale at back to school time

2. Personal grooming items: razors, cotton balls, toothpaste, toothbrush, toiletry samples


To make from the cupboards:

1. A miniature first aid kit to tuck into a purse, backpack, or glove compartment with Band-Aids and pain relievers

2. A small book with printer paper or lined paper, covered in cardstock or contrasting paper. Sew it together by machine or by hand, or staple it instead.

3. Bookmarks. I have a large selection of free printables on my site here.

4. Bookplates. Free printables are here.

5. Dollhouse artwork, wallpaper, and rugs. Free printables here.

6. Seed packets with seeds gathered from your garden. Free printable here.

7. Date with mom coupons. Free printable here.


To make from repurposed items:

1. Scarves from scraps of fabric, old curtains, flannel sheets, a repurposed skirt. Think flannel, velvet, sheers, etc. Likewise, you can knit or crochet a scarf using the yarn from old clothing items, or make a striped scarf using leftover bits of different-colored yarn.

2. Handkerchiefs from old sheets (a great way to repurpose a sheet that has a tear).

3. Earrings from broken jewelry

4. Decorative bobby pins with old buttons

5. Decorative bobby pins with broken jewelry

6. Mittens from an old sweater or sweatshirt (a shrunk wool sweater is perfect for this, or a stained sweater or sweatshirt--just cut your pattern around the stains.

7. Hand-warmers stuffed with rice. Use repurposed clothing or scraps of fabric to make these. Microwave them to put in pockets before leaving. Try a heart shape for a little fun. 

8. Headbands from ribbons and hair elastics


Christmas Stocking 2 The Prudent Homemaker


Something that also helped me was to hang smaller stockings. Two years ago, I needed a couple more stockings for our family. I decided to make new stockings from a drop cloth, and I made them smaller. The previous stockings we had were so long that my children would put their entire arm in their stockings and not be able to reach the bottom! Having smaller stockings relieved the presure from me to feel like I needed to buy more to fill our stockings.

Consider a stocking with a piece of fruit in the toe, some candy and/or other edibles, and one small gift per person this Christmas. It's simple, it will be used, it won't take up lots of space (or be broken in a week), and it works with a tight budget!


Tagged in: Christmas Gifts
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Frugal gifts large

 Here are a few quick, easy, and free or close to free gifts that you can download or print in 5 minutes or less:


Frugal Gifts Music 500

Download Free Music:


Classical Music

Amazon Amazon has several free songs and albums that you can download.

Your local library may have free music that you can download from their website through Freegal. You can also use your library card and pin to download the music from Freegal's site. There is a limit to how many songs you can download per library card per week.


Download free audio books:



Free Classic Audio Books



Printable Gifts:


My free printables: bookmarks, date with mom coupons, cooking lessons with mom coupons, bookplates, printable seed packets, needlebooks, and dollhouse printables

Free Sheet Music for  variety of instruments


Children cutting paper dolls

Paper Dolls:

Betsy McCall Paper Dolls

Soldiers of 3 Wars and Their Lasses

Vintage Finnish Paper Dolls

Beautiful vintage paper dolls

(In both color and black and white outlines for coloring)

Lily & Thistle Paper Doll

Russian Nesting Dolls

Regency and Victorian paper dolls

(In both color and black and white outlines for coloring)


Paper Toys:

 Think play castles, buildings, and cars. These are cut, folded, and glued to construct. These are great to print out and let your children construct!

The Toymaker

Beautiful, simple toys (along with a couple of fun boxes for gift giving, including a frog and a chocolate truck)

Paper Toys


Canon's Creative Park

Good for older children or even adults. These projects require a lot of paper and ink.

Made By Joel paper toys

Vintage-Style Concentration Game

Agence Eureka

Vintage French paper toys that you can print


Free Images:

Use these as artwork gifts.

Graphics Fairy

Just Something I Made

She has both free printables and lots of tutorial projects

Vintage Printable

NY Public Library


Free U.S Maps



Do you have any favorites to add to the list? Share them in the comments below!

Tagged in: Christmas Gifts
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Advent Activities 2014

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Pinecones and Euyonomous The Prudent Homeamaker

This post contains affiliate links.

Last year, I made an advent calendar to help us have more fun together as a family in December. I included crafts, special treats, and activities we would be attending. I found that writing out a list made it easier to make sure we did the special things I wanted to do as a family.

Here is this year's list:

Advent Card The Prudent Homemaker

Here are our activities:

1. Collect pinecones. These will be used for decorations.

2. Decorate the Christmas tree, while listening to a live Chamber Orchestra performance

3. Cut paper snowflakes and put up Christmas lights

4. Make paper trees

5. Draw a pastel snowman and watch a free live choir and Philharmonic performanance online

6. Drink hot chocolate while mom reads a Christmas story

7. Watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional on December 7th (a live feed will be available in 16 languages, including Portuguese, German, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin). 

8. Listen to a Christmas story

9. Read Snowflake Bentley, check out Russian photographer Alexy Kljatov's snowflake photographs.

10. Make more paper trees and watch a free live Wind Symphony performance online

11. Make Christmas tree paintings while mom reads a Christmas story

12. Attend a Christmas recital in which three of my daughters will play Christmas music

13. Make snowman pancakes for breakfastsnowman hot chocolate for snacks, make some snowman art

14. Watch a video about Christ's birth

15. Listen to a Christmas story

16. Listen to a Christmas story

17. Make Christmas crafts

18. Make Christmas crafts and listen to a Christmas story

19. Watch a Christmas movie

20. Make cookies

21. Play board games and eat popcorn

22. Enjoy some Christmas cheese ballscrackers cut with Christmas cookie cutters, and olive penguins

23. Make rosemary olive oil bread. Wrap it up with rosemary and tags and deliver it to friends.

24. Read Luke 2

 Advent Cards 2 The Prudent Homemaker


You can see the crafts we want to make on my Pinterest board.

We'll listen to Pandora's Classical Christmas stations when we're doing crafts.

For these free printable advent cards, you can click here.


Our list of Christmas books includes the following:

The Candle in the Forest: And Other Christmas Stories Children Love

I Saw Three Ships

The Lion in the Box

A Celebration of Christmas

The Ideals Treasury of Best-Loved Christmas Stories

Flourish 6

Tagged in: Christmas
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We spent Christmas at home.

The children really liked their presents. I loved the oohs and ahhs and sighs of delight. The boys were quite delighted with their bookmarks. Winter loved the jewelry that I made for her--as well as the 10 cent bracelet and 50 cent vintage necklace that I found for her at garage sales.

I did well purchasing the gifts from my grandmother and my brother (they gave me money to buy gifts for the children). I bought exactly what several children wanted, which was awesome.

I made 2 batches of rosemary olive oil bread and cut the loaves in half to give smaller loaves of bread for Christmas gifts to Sunday School teachers and friends. I wrapped the loaves with brown packing paper (I ironed it first), tied them with red and white baker's twine, and tied rosemary in a circle on it as a wreath to decorate it (similar to how we had it here).

I picked up the free 8 x 10 image (of a girl with a bird on her shoulder) that I ordered last week from Walgreen's (using a free Graphics Fairy image). I put that picture in a picture frame that I got for free at a garage sale in October, and I gave it to Wren as a Christmas gift. I put the other picture (of the Eiffel tower) that I got with a free Walgreen's code before that in the matching picture frame from the garage sale, and gave it to Elsa for Christmas. We hung the pictures over their beds.

Walgreen's was out of eggs, and they had them on sale for $0.99 a dozen, so I got a raincheck for 12 dozen.

I finished making a pair of pajama pants for Cyrus from plaid flannel that I had.

I put new buttons on his garage sale suit coat. Now his suit has three buttons in front as it should.

I finally finished Wren's yellow dress (made with fabric from my grandmother's collection) and I gave it to her for Christmas. She has worn it twice already.

My grandmother gave us $60 for Christmas. I decided to spend it on food.

I just to Winco, hoping that they would have prices comparable to Food 4 Less's deals on oranges and onions. (Food 4 Less is a lot further away, so it would have meant a large amount for gas to get there).

I found out that they had an even better deal on oranges (.01 a pound less) and that they would price match on the onions so long as I had the ad in hand (which I did).

The onions were .20 a pound and the oranges were .19 a pound. I know this is a once a year kind of price and that both will last a long time, so I planned to stock up. I asked the produce manager how many pounds come in a box. Oranges come 38 pounds to a box and yellow onions come 40 pounds to a box.

I bought 4 boxes of oranges and 2 boxes of onions. These will keep for months if kept cool (for now they are going in the garage; when I take the flower bulbs out of the fridge later this week I will put some of the oranges in their place).

I wanted to use my $10 off $50 coupon that came in the mail, so I also bought 6 pounds of clementines ($1.00 a pound). That would have been enough, but I need to make some pear butter in exchange for the garage sale shopping that a friend did for me this summer so I bought 4.96 pounds of pears at .99 a pound.

I also used one reusable bag for the clementines and the pears, which was .06 off

My total was $45.64 for:

80 pound of yellow onions

152 pounds of navel oranges

6 pounds clementines

4.96 pounds of D'Anjou pears
I took the rest of the money and used it for a ham (and a half) from another store who had half hams for .88 a pound. (I bought a few more hams as well). I cooked one for Christmas and the others were frozen to eat next year).

My husband and I had a date night at home. We also watched two shows on Hulu for free.

We listened to Christmas music on Pandora for free.

The children and my husband played several games of Monopoly this week. They played on the board I had when I was a child.

I used a Burpee gift card that I was given and combined it with a $10 off coupon code to order some seeds for next year. Between these and what I have leftover from this year, I don't anticipate needing any seeds for food for next year.

We were given some cucumbers and 2 red peppers that were about to go bad/were going bad. I was able to salvage enough to make 17 pints of dill pickles and 9 half-pints of sweet pickle relish.

What did you do to save money last week?
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Grain Sack Inspired Stockings

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Do you ever have the urge to ditch all of your plans for the day and just make something new?

I did that this week.

I put away thoughts of sewing any presents, served leftovers for breakfast one morning, and worked on a project instead.

We took out the Christmas decorations and set up the tree on Monday. It was then that I remembered that we are short stockings. We have 7 stockings and 9 people.

Last year we decided to make it work. My husband and I shared a stocking and the baby didn't have one.

This year I wanted stockings. Sure, I could have the 7 that we have for just the children, but I really wanted some new stockings.

After I saw these beautiful miniature stockings last year (and these slightly larger ones), I realized how nice it would be to have smaller stockings. I wouldn't feel bad because I didn't have a filled stocking to the top. I like the look of presents sticking out the top, but with a huge stocking, that doesn't happen. I decided to not go really small, but I did make smaller stockings than we had (in the end, these turned out to be about 1/3 the size of our previous stockings).

I really like the look of grain sack stockings, but grain sacks are pricey. I decided to make the stockings from drop cloth that I purchased last year, and to use the machine stitches to sew on the red stripes.

For each stocking, I cut 4 pieces, so that they would be lined.

I used embroidery thread to make a twisted hanging hook (like I do for my bookmark tassels). For two of them, I attached a couple of package toppers that we had received on past presents years ago that I keep with the Christmas decorations (I usually tie them on packages). My husband would like me to do something a little different on each one so that we can tell them apart. (They are hung oldest to youngest, but I also like the look of something more on them. I am thinking of attaching some jingle bells and possibly some fresh rosemary to the tops of them this year).

I am really happy to have 9 more reasonably-sized stockings hanging up this year!

Tagged in: Christmas Sewing
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Advent Activities

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One of our family traditions is that starting on the first day of December, we sing Christmas songs together before bed. Everyone gets to pick a song and we all sing.

I want to add a new tradition in our house this year that our children will look forward to each year. For that reason, I've made an advent calendar, and I have planned something for us to do together each day in December.

It still needs numbers, but for now it is up! I was inspired to start this one two years ago based on this one. I didn't have the fabric I wanted, but I did have a little bit of brown toile (the same one I used for Ivory's pajamas). I had some red fabric from some old sheets that my parents had given to me for the fabric. I didn't have any burlap, but then I got a burlap potato sack and I had planned on using it. I read a great tutorial on washing burlap, but the sack really shrunk. I asked some questions about purchasing burlap on the blog and the writer was so sweet; she sent me an old piece that she had that had some glue spots on it. I was able to work around it and use it to make this.

The inspiration piece isn't a complete tutorial, so if you want to make something similar, I would check out this tutorial.

Since I don't own number stamps, so I'm thinking of embroidering some numbers on them in red for next year. It would have been easier to do that before construction (but I didn't think of it until afterwards!), but I can probably make it happen anyway.

Of course, you don't have to have a calendar; you can just write or type up a list and go off the list!

I am planning on reading a stack of Christmas stories to the children, making several crafts, and spending more than one day making cookies. We'll make several fun treats to have as our afternoon snacks. The activities (for the most part) are planned for late afternoon, as it is getting dark.

If you don't have any Christmas books, don't despair! Check out your local library for some. Our library always has seasonal books out on display by the entry.

Two of the stories that I will be sharing with my children you can read/see online; they are "We Came For Our Gifts" (scroll down the page for this one and have a handkerchief ready) and "The Coat" which has been made into a wonderful short online video for children (both are true stories).

Some of the other books from which we'll be reading:


For crafts, we will be making paper snowflakes, paper Christmas trees, sewn stars (we'll do these by hand) and a few projects using felt. You can see the crafts we want to make on my Pinterest board.

A few days, we'll work on making sibling gifts. My children love to make presents for each other.

We'll make some fun themed breakfasts, treats, and dinners together. Some of them I'll make to surprise them. Then they can enjoy the treats while we read Christmas stories. The snacks are mixed with the crafts on the same Pinterest board.

We'll start a few Pandora Christmas stations (they have all different choices for "types" Christmas music on there!) to listen to on the days when we're doing a craft and not reading a story. We've been enjoying one entitled "Classical Christmas Radio".

Here are our activities:

1. Watch a Christmas movie and have popcorn

2. Make a Christmas craft and read a Christmas story

3. Paint snowflake resist paintings

4. Make a Christmas craft and eat Christmas cookies (I'll make these ones early in the day)

5. Drink hot chocolate while mom reads a Christmas story

6. Make paper trees and make a Christmas tree pizza

7. Make sibling gifts

8. Watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional on December 8th (a live feed will be available in 16 languages, including Portuguese, German, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin).

9. Read Snowflake Bentley, check out Russian photographer Alexy Kljatov's snowflake photographs, and cut out paper snowflakes.

10. Make more paper trees and Christmas lollipops

11. Make Christmas tree paintings while mom reads a Christmas story

12. Make gingerbread cookies

13. Make snowman pancakes for breakfast, snowman hot chocolate for snacks, make some snowman art, and make a snowman pizza for dinner

14. Make sibling gifts

15. Watch a video about Christ's birth

16. Put up the Christmas tree. Ours will go out later in the month because we have a 1 1/2-year-old again. We put ours on a table (the stand is screwed to the table) but  unlike her 6 older siblings, this child gets a stool when she wants something!

17. Make Christmas crafts

18. Make Christmas crafts and listen to a Christmas story

19. Make cookies

20. Make Christmas crafts and listen to a Christmas story

21. Make Christmas crafts and finish sibling gifts.

22. Enjoy some Christmas cheese balls, crackers cut with Christmas cookie cutters, and olive penguins

23. Make rosemary olive oil bread. Wrap it up with rosemary and tags and deliver it to friends.

24. Read Luke 2

I made free printable cards that you can download and fit into a homemade advent calendar. They're small enough to work in all different sized advent calendars. I included several other activities that will work for some of you in colder climates (where you have real snowflakes, and not just paper ones, like we do) as well as some that won't matter what climate you are in (for my readers on the other half of the globe who experience Christmas in summer). I also have duplicates of some things, because you might want to do some things more than once (such as a craft or a story). You can print them all and use whichever ones work for you. (If you live in the Southern hemisphere, I  would love to hear what activities you plan for the month of December!)

The printables are available on my website on my free printables page. (I'm having some trouble adding images and links on my website right now. You can directly access this printable on my website here.)

Tagged in: Christmas
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