Christmas Table The Prudent Homemaker

Here’s what we did to save money this past week: 

Poinsettia The Prudent Homemaker

I bought two beautiful poinsettias marked down to $0.99 each. I gave one to a neighbor and put one on our table.

Chocolate Pretzels The Prudent Homemaker

I sewed some more gifts for the children while my husband watched the children. I used fabric I had on hand, including fabric that was passed down to me from my grandmother and mother-in-law.

I mended holes in two sweaters.

I hemmed a pair of pants.

I picked a lemon from the garden. 

I cut rosemary, parsley, and chives from the garden.

I reused old ribbons to tie gift boxes closed.

Winter made herself a Christmas dress using some hand-me-down fabric.

My husband cut one son’s hair.

My husband and I went to a movie for free. My parents gave us two free movie tickets that they received for donating blood.

Christmas Table 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 Directions to the Christmas Tree napkins can be found here.


What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Your table is absolutely beautiful!
    I stayed home other than work. I did not spend money except paying bills.
    I cleaned my home using homemade cleaners and the bathroom using bleach.
    We cooked a ham here at home that we had been saving for several months in our freezer and ate here at home just us after I was done working. My mom came over Christmas Eve and I made us dinner and we exchanged gifts.
    We did not eat out last week. My husband got a free pizza from his employer that someone didn’t pick up.
    We had a quiet week at home last week. I did the usual: dried our laundry on racks except one load of my husband’s clothing that was all black (to remove animal hair and lint), used cleaners, water, and electricity sparingly, watered down our shampoo when it was half full.
    Have a great week everyone! I hope everyone had a merry and joyous Christmas!

  2. I love your “tree” napkins! I saved pretty ribbons that people were throwing away at one of my jobs last week, & used them in my wrapping. There are some sweater holes to mend and a button to sew back on that I hope to get to this week. I picked up an Italian phrase book and dictionary in the freebie basket at the library. Today I’ve been putting away and washing presents that were gifted us, and organizing all the wrapping materials to put away. I’m joining in here:

  3. Your table is so beautiful, Brandy.
    I gifted neighbors and some service people who have done a lot for us this year with homemade jam and brownies. We delivered the gifts in person and had such a nice time visiting with people.
    I went through my freezers and pantry and made a list of dinners I can make with what is on hand. I am hoping to go to the grocery store as little as possible in January.
    Instead of buying an amaryllis bulb to force, as I usually do for Christmas, I saved a bulb from last year in my greenhouse all summer. It is going to bloom sometime this week!

  4. Good morning Brandy,
    I hope you had a very happy Christmas. I love that you were able to buy a poinsettia for $0.99 each. The lowest I had found was $5.99 so I bought one for our home.
    I was able to reuse several gift bags for presents but had to purchase some inexpensive tissue to go inside the bags. We had turkey for our dinner so this will make for several meals for us, plus I will make soup. We used our artificial 6 ft tree this year for decorations. I have accumulated a few boxes of Christmas decor over the years so it was fun to decorated our home. I needed some desert plates so we went to an antique store where I found adorable Christmas tree red small plates 8 / &10.00.
    I also found some apple cider cups , clear white with red trim for $1.25 each. Our table looked festive with what I had in boxes and what I purchased.
    I did have to spend some money to send packages out of state to my son and grandchildren. This is a large expense. Larger than what I would like to have paid, however they were so happy to receive the gifts. My son sent me pictures of the grandchildren with their presents. 🙂
    We will have one more family dinner with grown children on the 28th so I plan to leave the decorations up until after the 1st. When do you take your decorations down? I plan to make a pasta with roasted vegetables stuffed in large shells as my step daughter is vegan and a salad. I will ask her to bring an appetizer and a desert. Since she does not eat soy and dairy I find it is helpful that she brings these to contribute. For those of us who like more of a traditional meat based pasta, I plan to make meat balls and spaghetti.
    I gave some of my jams away for presents to a neighbor, my children and a couple of friends. I purchased some holiday material at Joannes for 50% off. This helped to decorate my jams plus I will use this material next year to make napkins.
    I sent out cards and bought stamps. It was fun to send out this year. I enjoy the time to address and write a note to each one. I also love to receive cards too. We purchased a few Holiday DVD’s that were on sale to have for future Christmas movie dates. Last night we watched “White Christmas” . For entertainment, we went to hear music at our church. We also have some friends who play in coffee shops so we were able to enjoy some tea and listen to holiday sing along songs a couple of times this Dec. We did not buy tickets for our entertainment this year and I love to watch the Hallmark movies.
    I have plenty of leftovers that will last for the entire month of January so I feel so blessed to have stored for winter. Our freezer is full and our pantry is stocked with canned foods. The only thing I should need is more canned tomatoes and chicken broth and some fresh lettuce for salads. So thankful my husband loves soups and homemade breads. I have been trying to make soup once or twice a week. I went to a women’s breakfast for $3.00 at our church.It was to help raise funds for a ministry to help orphans and widows in other countries. It was a lovely morning with entertainment as well and a wonderful breakfast. I won a package of split peas so I plan to make this soup next week. 🙂
    So nice that you were able to have some fresh vegetables from your garden. Ours is not producing now. it has been very frosty with some snow at times. Cold and rainy now~ typical NW weather. Prices of veggies are higher this year in stores so I do more canned veggies that I buy on sale during the summer except salad items.
    Have a wonderful week~
    blessings, Patty from the NW

  5. Hello! Love your blog. First time commenting.

    I cut three son’s hair.
    Only had to buy one roll of wrapping paper this year, my MIL gave me her extra.
    Ate (almost) all of our leftovers, leaving very little food waste.
    Shut down the computer every night before bed.
    Made laundry and dish detergent.
    My mother mended my Christmas dress from last year ( which I bought used for $3) and I wore it again this year. She used buttons, threads she already had.
    Washed freezer bags that had held produce/bread.
    Re-started a food price notebook. Started last year, had baby and fell off the wagon. But that’s ok, because he is super cute. 🙂
    Organized pantry and making plans to expand with new shelving and buckets after taxes. Keeping track of sales over the next few months.
    For every one load of laundry in the dryer, one was hung on the basement line and drying racks. I’m very interested to see our electric bill for this month. Excited about a bill, can you believe that?

  6. Had Christmas get togethers w family 3 different times. Didn’t need to bring anything, but my daughter and myself. Helped my grandma and cousin fix dinner, and my aunt make cookies. Got to take home gift bags w paper and ribbons, for next year. My grandma also sent home leftovers and cookies for later. (She gave my daughter a bag of apples and oranges as part of her stocking.) She called me up to tell me she saved me some ham in her freezer. (She’s also using the bone for bean soup and guess who’s invited? 😀 ) I did laundry and hung my damp clothes up on racks inside. My aunt gave me a giftcard for Christmas. My daughter went and saw a matinee. We have enough leftover to see another movie. Used a RedBox code to rent a movie. Made meals and snacks at home. Watched Holiday movies already in my collection. My work had Santa come in for the kids. I let Santa borrow my rocking chair. They were giving anyone coming to see Santa free hot chocolate and cookies. Also got to use our phones/cameras to take pics w Santa. (It’s $20 for a basic pic pakage w Santa anywhere else min. And very little to no line to see Santa.) my 8 yr old was telling the little kids that this was a Santa’s helper, because the real Santa is busy getting ready for Christmas. (We were taught growing up that Santa is real. That he helps God bring happiness to kids. We were also taught that he doesn’t bring everything under the tree.) My landlord left chocolate mint cookies on my door step. I kept the pretty box and ribbon it came in. I sewed a hat for my sil for Christmas. Used my stash. Everything was bought on sale or w coupons. I don’t have much in the fabric that wasn’t purchased by me. But, the sewing machine was a Christmas gift like 14yrs ago. Definitely a gift that keeps on giving. I made banan bread and took into work for the potluck. Used stuff out of my pantry, and clearanced bananas I already had.

  7. I forgot to add, found eggs at .58 cents/dozen and bought 6 dozen. Made mayo with them, also. Also purchased cabbage at .25 cents a pound. Used in coleslaw and will also make stuffed cabbage casserole with ground beef bought on sale for 1.99/lb last month.

  8. I also wore these cute long sleeved Christmas shirts I got at the thrift store. Wore a Santa hat I got on clearance last year. I have ribbon and bells I put at the end of the hat, I’ve had over 15yrs easily. I just change the hat out when it gets stained. I need to attempt washing. I’m afraid the red will run. I also decorated w pine cones… And also w acorns and acorn caps. At Church Ladies Christmas party I used these awesome Christmas socks as my white elephant gift. Got them last year at Dollar store. They were a big hit.

  9. What a beautiful table for Christmas, Brandy. I hope you will share the dress your your daughter made for Christmas with us and any other gifts you sewed that you haven’t shared with us yet in some future posts. I find your sewing projects so inspirational!

    I’ve had a busy week but a good Christmas overall. My frugal accomplishments this week are as follow:
    *I worked 2 days this week, which was plenty enough. Last week before Christmas and the children are just done with listening. Wow, the energy is something else too…exhausting trying to corral them for village tours…like herding cats. So glad I’m not a teacher!
    *I did a huge shopping day early in the week and took advantage of several seasonal deals to stock up our pantry/freezers. Deals included 4 black forest hams for $3.99/800g (we will shave these into luncheon meat and freeze in portioned packages), clementines for $3.40/5lbs, carrots for $2.50/5lbs, 10 blocks of cheese for $3.77/450g, 2 blocks of cheese for $7.49/907g, 10 packages of bacon for $2 each, 5 containers of ice cream for $1.97 each, a bag of spinach for $1.27, a celery bunch for $1.49, 2 large containers of hummus @ $4.99 for both (on sale @ Costco), a package of naan bread for $2.99/12 pieces (Costco reg. price), and 10 boxes of snack crackers for $1.33 each. I will be watching the New Years sales flyers as well for more possible pantry stock up items as well.
    *Made a double batch of butterscotch confetti squares for Christmas treats. I give out little goodie bags to all of my husbands family members each year for Christmas. It makes me feel good to give. Even with a tight budget, there is always a way to give inexpensive gifts to make the holidays special.
    *Meals made at home included chicken souvlaki with rice and carrots, chicken fingers with corn and choice of potato wedges or sweet potato fries, tacos, homemade cream of potato soup with homemade bread, and of course, turkey with all the trimmings for our Christmas dinner.
    *My mother-in-law took all of the family out to a buffet dinner on Christmas eve instead of cooking a Christmas dinner. I’m not a fan of this, but she thinks this is a great family tradition (which she started last year). I’d much rather make our own Christmas dinner, but my opinion doesn’t matter. So, it’s dinner at a restaurant for one side of the family.
    *Delivered the Christmas gifts to my daughter’s principal, teacher and EA’s. They loved the drawstring show bags I sewed for them this year. Both practical and pretty!
    *As I’ve said before, my favourite go to gift for young men are pocket knives. That is what I gave 2 nephews (both in 1st year of college) this year and true to form they were thrilled. It may be hard to impress boys, but the joy on their faces as they pulled out EVERY tool on the knife was living proof this was the perfect gift!
    *The other 2 nephews are in their second year of college/university and now live in off campus housing with room-mates. I gave them a small tool kit, which both were also thrilled to received. One even commented that his room-mate was trying fix a door handle the other day and they didn’t have any tools in their apartment to do it with! Perfect gift again…score!
    *There was a severe lack of presents reciprocated on the in-law side for my daughter (despite my great effort to give them nice gifts each and every year), so next year there will be 5 less presents to buy for. That will certainly help my budget!
    *My daughter loved every single gift she received this year. We tricked her into believing that Christmas was Monday, so that we could actually get some sleep on Christmas eve…it worked for the most part. Her anxiety still had her up, but thankfully it wasn’t a horror show like we’ve had in the past (as in ZERO sleep for the entire household so we’re all miserable on Christmas day from serious lack of sleep).
    *Our museum is frequently visited by artists and photographers looking for inspiration. A couple summers ago a lady took photos of me, then used the photos as inspiration for a painting. This fall the painting was put on display for sale for $140. Of course, I didn’t have that kind of money, but it was really neat to be the muse for an artist. Well, my mother arranged to buy the painting, without me knowing, and gave it to me for Christmas…my favourite gift this year.
    *My daughter’s gift was a close second. She gave me a “four ingredients” cookbook and a beautiful salt & pepper set made of blue glass covered with ornate sterling silver punched metal cover that look like very expensive antiques. She bought both at the “recycle sale” hosted by their school, too, so not much money spent on these. I’m so surprised and proud of her ability to pick just the right gifts for the people she loves!

    I’m looking forward to read how everyone’s Christmas was. I hope you all have a lovely, relaxing week between Christmas and New Years!

  10. My husband found ham for 98c/lb and bought 3. We are very well stocked up on ham now, since we found a good deal a while back as well.

    We had a very merry, and frugal Christmas. As harsh as it sounds, the way we saved the most money was by reducing the amount of gifts we gave and the amount we spent on each gift. It still turned out very nice and people were satisfied.

    Brandy, I love your table decorations. The colors are very nice and cheerful. I love your poinsettia. I didn’t get one this year, as I have not figured out anywhere to put anything. We barely could find a place for the tree, one nativity and one gingerbread house. I’ll figure things out better next year.

    We tend to go with simple, yet lovely table decorations in my family as well. Yesterday, my sister used a row of fondue pots (since we were doing fondue) in the center with a few peppermints scattered around. Each person had a small plate, a raw meat tiny plate stacked upside down with fondue forks and silverwear wrapped in a napkin, with a Christmasy napkin ring. She removed all flowers, etc, except for 1 bouquet, for easy reach and no oil burns. Cords were taped down to the plastic cover over the tablecloths, for safety’s sake.

    Fondue is quite a process and a lot of work, and very rich, with lots of little bits to cut up and eat, and many separate tiny plates for raw meat, etc. but she has it down to a science now, as we all usually do it once a year, rarely more. It’s much easier now that the kids are so much older. I used to station adults next to the pots of hot oil to patrol the kids…. I usually do it on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, but did not this year because we were going to do it over there. My grandma and Mom used to do it sometimes, and I am still using 2 of their old fondue pots. We do pots of hot oil to fry shrimp, chicken or beef. We also have lots of veggies and tempura batter and fry that, too. Sometimes we use hot broth for some of the pots. Then, there is cheese sauce to dip bread into, which we usually warm up in the microwave to lessen complications, and finish with a fountain with chocolate in it. I made gluten-free angel-food cake to dip in that, and we had fruit as well. Plus, there were lots of other Christmas goodies, such as fudge and cookies.

    The ways I saved money this week are on my blog;

  11. Those Christmas tree napkins are so nice.
    We hosted the family gathering on Christmas so we could see the nieces and grand nieces. I used only decorations we had and used festive fleece blankets for chair covers. I used leftover bags from years of gathering to use for gift bags. Now I only have 2 left!

    BFF and I found marked down ground sirloin (SIRLOIN!) for $1.89 in 4 pound pkgs. I wish there had been more than 2 but at least we got two. Also bought chicken wings, chicken quarters, and butterflied pork chops at tremendously marked down prices. I got my free cake mix and ranch dressing but haven’t been able to get the candy or cookies since they are out of stock.

  12. Your table setting is so pretty. I love the napkins.

    We traveled for Christmas. We went to my sister in law’s home. Took home made tamales, a ham, and pies. We had a wonderful time.

    Last week before Christmas I made meals at home. Did some last minute gift sewing. Did not grocery shop. Used what I had in the pantry and freezer.

    Did visit the thrift store on Christmas Eve. Got a beautiful wool blanket. In very good shape and it is white. I plan to embroidery my grand daughter’s favorite flower on it and gift it to her for a gift. I also got a pretty dresser scarf for 25 cents.
    I got a nice gift for a birthday gift. I got the PBS cooking show cook book. The TEST KITCHEN cook book. I really have enjoyed reading thought it and picking recipes to try.

  13. What a beautiful Christmas table setting! We had a just us 2 Christmas so it was very low key. Frugal actions this past week:
    – my hubby fixed to broken string pull on a broken light by tying on a piece of cord from our stash.
    – I went to 4 stores to find a reasonable price on brisket and a small sized one. That was his one request for Christmas dinner – brisket like his Mom used to make.
    – We did not exchange gifts with each other but sent our kids & DILs items they requested and my FIL a cookie box which is what he loves.
    – We are starting to go through our house and noting what furniture we will or may move across country and what we will need to dispose of before the move. We want to keep the cost as low as we can. Keeping good records on all donations of household & clothing items for tax purposes.
    – I made a minimum wardrobe list, audited my wardrobe and created a shopping list for the year so that I can look for bargains regardless of season.
    Not frugal: Our dog is ill with yet another new problem so the vet is having a good year!

  14. What fabulous prices for poinsettias! And I love your Christmas tree napkins!

    My list is quite small this week:
    – Put together a frugal version of a fancy cheese tray for a get-together that I had. I bought several standard rectangular blocks of cheese on sale (cheddar, gouda, Havarti) and cut them into different shapes: I cut the cheddar into large triangular wedges (so it looked like it was purchased from a fancy cheese shop), cut the Gouda into cubes, and the Havarti into rectangles. I also had some leftover blue cheese that I didn’t like myself (too sharp for my taste) and an inexpensive Brie (there are high end and low end Brie cheeses and unless you realllly know your cheeses, a low end Brie is just as impressive). I placed it all on a wooden cheese tray (saved from my wedding cheese plate years ago), and sprinkled some walnuts (free from a co-worker) on top, along with some dried cranberries (bought from a local bulk store). A few sprigs of grapes (on sale that week), some crackers (also bought on sale), and voila! A fancy cheese plate without a fancy price! (I also used some cheese knives that I got free in a raffle yearrrrrs ago from my work. The knife box was branded with a local healthcare organization, but the knives aren’t, so they look super-chic!)
    – Received a $40 Amazon gift card for doing some extra work at my job. Am saving it for good sales on items during Boxing week. I want to get some educational toys for some children I know who are learning English.
    – Baked my family’s favourite spice cake for the DH’s work potluck. It’s eggless so it’s quite frugal, assuming one buys spices in bulk. Incidentally, it’s vegan (if you butter the pan with shortening as opposed to butter), so it’s great for potlucks where you don’t know if there are special diets involved.
    – Got a guest soap from a hotel, and set it aside to send to the MIL
    – Mixed up a body scrub using (free) coffee grounds and some honey (bought in bulk). Good-bye dry winter skin!
    – Got my mom to pick up some laundry detergent and diet pepsi on sale when she was buying some detergent for herself anyway. Saves me a trip and money.
    – Reused gift bags and boxes from previous Christmases, as I’m sure all of you do.
    – Took home a ribbon that was being thrown out at work.
    – Bought some medication that was packed with ice packs, and saved the ice packs for future use.

    And I think that’s it! Can’t wait to learn from everyone else, as always!

  15. My frugal accomplishments for the week:

    – Made a pan of cheesy cornbread as a gift for my stepdad, who loves cornbread.

    – Wrapped up some nice soaps I had ordered online using several coupons and gave them to my mom as a gift.

    – Wrapped most of my presents using wrapping paper, bows, and bags from last year’s stash.

    – Baked a ham that I bought for 89c a lb, then wrapped up the bone and sliced the meat thinly for sandwiches.

    – Found a few odds and ends around the house and wrapped them up for the dice game.

    – Looked up ways to make boxers for my SO, as I have a few spare cotton top sheets that I think I can use. I just have to wait for a sale on elastic.

    – Bought mozzarella in bulk from Sam’s Club that I will shred myself.

    I also started a donation pile that I will take to Goodwill, Savers, Schoola, or local charities This includes clothes we don’t wear, kitchen stuff that I don’t use, and various household goods that neither of us have used in the two years we’ve lived here. That way, we won’t have to haul nearly as much when we move this summer. Someone else will hopefully get use out of them instead.

  16. I hope everyone’s Christmas celebrations were a blessing. There were eleven of us for Christmas dinner. We had a ham and everyone brought dishes to share. We divided the food so that everyone has leftovers to take home and to enjoy again.

    Last week I mentioned that it has been several weeks since my husband and I had eaten out at a restaurant. A gift we received from one of our daughters and son-in-law was a gift card to a restaurant. We are looking forward to using it.

    At work this week I attended two Christmas parties which was two days that I didn’t have to bring my lunch. I always bring extra food home for my husband which is encouraged by my workplace. I brought all other lunches to work from home.

    I cut my husband’s hair.

    I mended a hole in a shirt.

    I shared candy and cookies with co-workers that my daughters and I made last weekend.

  17. Had a very lovely holiday. I hosted Christmas Eve for my parents and uncles. I found pork tenderloin for $1.49/lb and made bacon wrapped pork tenderloin for dinner. I used most items from my pantry including homemade applesauce. I spent less than $15 for all of the dinner. I have been looking for a new dishes for a table setting and scored some very elegant all white dishes marked down on clearance. I was able to get a 10 piece setting- plates, salad plates, bowls, a very large gorgeous platter and matching serving bowl all for $37!! To top it off my parents got me a new set of glasses for my Xmas present. My centerpiece was simple a wide vase from the dollar store filled with water and a handful of cranberries and a votive candle, the cranberries and the candle float. I made homemade Christmas cookies from items in my pantry a few weeks ago and had frozen them. I filled some beautiful Christmas tins I also found at the dollar store and delivered them to neighbors.

    Happy holidays and happy New Year!

  18. Rhonda,
    I am glad you were able to do anything you could to help your daughter’s anxiety. My niece, who is autistic, gets so worked up that I let her choose her own pajama fabric (the only thing she wants from me every year), help me cut it out, and then gave her blow by blow reports of how it was coming along. I did put in a surprise–a bag of pink and white frosted animal cracker cookies and you would have thought I bought her a diamond or something, she was so excited. My sister and mother let her choose her gift on-line, her own mother let her wrap her stuff herself–each year is getting better and better for this girl who doesn’t like surprises AT ALL.

    Sounds like you got some great gifts–the picture sounds extremely special.

  19. Simple week, for the most part.
    * Meals included scrambled eggs & potatoes, chili, a meal at church, pizza, enchiladas, veggie soup with crudites, & our Christmas dinner of steak fajitas.
    * I bought 2 bathroom rugs, priced at $23.99 each ($47.98 total) for only $8.58 combining a sale with coupon from the store.
    * I got market freebies of BBQ sauce, a box of corn flakes, and caramels. They still owe me cookies that are out of stock!
    * We donated blood and got 2 free t-shirts and snacks.
    * Used a coupon for a free large pizza.
    * I made our Christmas cards from paper/items I had already.

    Brandy, your table is lovely. I love the napkins. Is your back sore from all the last minute sewing? I got a laaaaate start on cards and then took two days to complete them. My back and hands were all kinds of achy!!

  20. 82 degrees at Christmas…a new record, but at least we did not have tornadoes this year in Alabama! As I think I have told y’all before, I paid some utility bills for some of my grown kids for Christmas, and gave a little cash to others, to even things out. I also gave nice, hardback, National Geographic books from library, and thrift store. My youngest son gave me a nice metal tumbler because he said he was tired of seeing me drink my dandelion tea, and water, from old mayonnaise jars… also gave me a nice fluffy blanket. I had told the kids to not get me anything but this one did not listen…lol.We had ham, homemade dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, corn casserole, green bean casserole, green pea salad, mixed vegetable casserole, sauerkraut and sausage, peanut butter candy, pumpkin custard, and homemade cookies. I cooked everything because my boys were the only ones coming to eat.. My daughter is working and going to school 2,000 miles away and she had to pull a double on Christmas Day. I also was on call, so I could not go see her. However, I am grateful all my kids are alive, since one has a debilitating illness and had a serious health scare last week. Brandy, your decorations, and gifts, are absolutely outstanding! You are so creative! I did go to Wal-Mart this afternoon, the day after Christmas, to see if they had a few things I needed. I got a good deal on a stainless steel pot, and also paid $3.00 for earrings that I will wear to work. I lost one pair, so I was happy to replace them. I also stocked up at 50 cents a can, on the canned vegetables I used at Christmas. I also got some cream cheese for 88 cents. I was also able to walk for an hour today. Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!!!

  21. We went out to dinner with my husbands family on Christmas eve and I had ALL of them co-operating this year. I kept saying, “Christmas is on Monday!” and they thankfully followed along. My daughter didn’t sleep well Christmas eve, but didn’t keep us up begging to open gifts, since she was blissfully unaware of what night it actually was. We all got up around 5:30am and my daughter asked me if she could please open up just one present early. I said, “Well, actually, it’s Christmas day so you can open them all” to which she replied “I hate you” then bolted downstairs to open gifts. :p I’m forgiven now, but I’m not sure if we will be able to pull this off again next year. I’ll worry about next years devious plan closer to the time.:D

    The painting was a complete shock. I had no idea she had arranged to buy it! I’m only slightly disappointed that my picture is not hanging in a stranger’s house…that would have been really cool. But, I’ll get over it.

  22. Juhli, I gave my husband 2 bags of store bought cookies for Christmas. I never buy them anymore, so this was a huge treat for him. He loved his gift (which cost $4) and promised to share. His “sharing” involves dictating when we can have them and how many cookies he is willing to let us have.

  23. Rhonda,

    I have had my picture painted by 2 published artists and drawn by another. My parents own one painting and the drawing (they paid for both; the drawing was auctioned off and everyone kept bidding it higher, knowing my parents wanted it and that the money would go to a charity!). The other painting I have never seen; it was sold off. I was disappointed to not have seen it.

    And because I know you’ll ask: the painting they own was done by Sue Etem, the drawing was by P. Buckley Moss, and the painting I did not see was by Lindy Mott. I was a teen for the two my parents own and I was a university student for the one done by Lindy Mott.

    I had tears in my eyes when I read that your mother bought the painting. That is a wonderful thing. I’m so glad that she gave it to you.

  24. My Husband and I have been very sick so we didn’t get to spend Christmas with family. I was sad but I didn’t want them to be sick, especially our granddaughter who has asthma. We finally went to a different doctor who put us on antibiotics and it is helping us. I am so happy after being sick for a month. We hope to see our children and grandchildren at the end of the week.
    Because we were sick, we stayed in. But my husband started feeling well enough that he made homemade soft pretzels with sauce! YUM! We are going to make some for my family. My mom loves pretzels. I have never made them. So I was surprised at how easy they are to make and inexpensive!
    We bought presents for grandchildren ahead of time at discounts.
    Cooked all our food at the house this week. I felt better today and made indian food. It is inexpensive and delicious!
    We saved money by not going anywhere.
    We plan on looking at lights this week. We love Kansas City Lights! We may bring hot chocolate in a thermos with us. Maybe we will bring a picnic basket with snacks too. We enjoy going to the free museum. I hope to have a date with my husband after we have spent time with family. Miss our dates and family since we have been sick. But things are looking up!
    My husband made room in our little apartment living room. Now we can dance together! Our grandchildren will be able to play in the front room too! We hadn’t unpacked all our boxes because we thought we would be moving to our new house by Christmas. Even though that didn’t happen yet, I am happy to have the boxes out of our living room now!
    I will look at ads online and go grocery shopping. We love aldi for most of our shopping. But I like shopping for loss leaders at the other stores. If I need a speciality item i will shop elsewhere also. We will shop at ethnic stores for some very good deals on spices and other products.
    Brandy, I love your blog! You are so positive. It is refreshing to read your blog. I also enjoy reading the comments from your readers. My husband loves your chicken enchilada recipe. I made it for him a couple weeks ago.

  25. I went to a Christmas party for my part-time job. I took shortbread cookies for the potluck, but people weren’t eating sweets, so most of the cookies I brought came home with me. I ended up not making any more for the house. We had a gift exchange. The person who bought my gift went to a service station, because I received a bottle of windshield fluid and a spray container of lock de-icer. I was a little disappointed, but really these are things that I will use that I hate to spend money on! The employer gave each of us a $25 gift card to my favorite local food store, which was much appreciated. I had already purchased what I needed for Chrostmas, so I’ll save it for a lean month or to stock up on some good prices.

    Two 2 kilo bags of cat food on sale cost $1.50 less than the 4 kilo bag I was planning to buy.

    I had a quiet but pleasant Christmas, with just the right number of treats and leftovers. I am well stocked up, so the spending should be low for everyday in January.

    I’ve got some great books to read from the library, and the weather is warm enough for walking outside.

    Happy New Year to everyone!

  26. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Our frugal accomplishments were –

    Financial –
    – Banked $327.71 towards saving for our home with cash.

    Groceries –
    – Purchased food storage containers at 50% off sale saving $16.50.

    In the garden –
    – Picked sweet corn, carrots, beetroot, green and butter beans and Lebanese cucumbers from the gardens.
    – Picked 12 corn cobs, 1.235kg of cherry tomatoes, 1.2kg of Lebanese cucumbers, 509g of green and butter beans, .954kg of beetroot, 2.76kg of carrots from our vegetable gardens saving $50.72 over purchasing them in the local supermarket.
    – Mulched the vegetable gardens with leaves we collected and shredded instead of buying hay.
    – Planted lettuce, cucumber and beetroot seeds in the gardens.

    In the kitchen –
    – Blanched and froze green and butter beans picked from the gardens making two more meals in the freezer for advanced food storage.
    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made pasta salad from pasta in storage, tinned corn, bacon from the freezer, & capsicum, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes picked from the gardens for Christmas lunch and tea.
    – Cooked a leg of lamb for Christmas day which we garnished with home grown garlic in storage which we shredded and portioned out to last 4 meals for the two of us.

    Water and power savings –
    – Used vegetable boiling, steaming, washing and blanching water to water the new seedlings and seeds planted in the vegetable gardens.
    – Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to hand water the house lawns all week.
    – Used our solar lanterns to light the house all week without turning on any mains powered lights.

  27. My frugal Christmas this year included:
    *No gifts for myself or hubby. I got much needed new bogs boots a few weeks ago and he bought himself an Amazon Alexa (or whatever its called)
    *We limit Christmas gifts.
    *I wrapped all my sons gifts with wrapping paper and bows I picked up a free swap several months ago.
    *Our $10 tree was decorated with ornaments and tinsel that was given to me or found at the swap.
    *I made stuffing using bread crumbs I’d been saving from homemade bread.
    *I didn’t have to buy cranberries because I found them in the back of the freezer.
    *I made green bean casserole and three bean salad with green beans I’d frozen several months ago. I bought them from the farmers market. Green beans are very hard to find here.
    *I made candied sweet potatoes with organic sweet potatoes grown in grandmas garden.
    *We ate duck instead of turkey because Costco ran out. It was my first time making it and it came out delicious and cheaper than turkey.
    *I can’t make pie crust so I traded honey for pie crust with a woman who is much more skilled than myself.
    *I traded some of my son’s outgrown boots for shampoo.
    *We’ve decided to have a NO BUY January. Wish us luck!

  28. For Hanukkah dinner, I made sweet and sour lentil meatballs and latkes with potato, onion and zucchini. Dessert was 2 different kinds of mandel bread – raspberry and chocolate chip.

    We started work on fencing in the last section of our yard along one side of the house. We used our year-end bonuses for the project. We were able to measure it all out and get the posts set.

    We saw a movie at the local art house theater with passes we got as members. Each year we make a donation to a local charity and this year we chose the theatre. We saw Lion – wonderful movie and a true story!! We shared a small popcorn and soda and got a free refill as members.

    Last Friday at work, everyone was encouraged to take any goodies home they wanted that we had received as gifts from reps and patients. I was the last one out the door, so I took all the odds and ends that were left (assorted candies and fudge and cookies). I arranged them all very nicely into a large tin that I had also taken. SO brought it to work with him on Christmas Eve to share with co-workers. It did not look like “leftovers” at all and everyone appreciated having the treats on Christmas Eve.

    Have a great week everyone!

  29. Becky, I love fondue parties! My daughters have a New Years Day birthday and we always throw them a fondue party at home. I just do cheese and then a regular dinner. For dessert we finish up with chocolate. I’m not as a courageous as your family with the oil. Sounds like fun!

  30. I love your table, Brandy.

    We had a fun Christmas/Chanukah. My brother hosts are very elaborate open house on Dec 23rd. We attended which was great. I hosted Christmas day dinner which meant we used up all the fancy appetizers and desserts leftover from the party. An old friend ( who is from Ireland) surprised me with a Christmas pudding and brandy butter. Tonight we had friends over for a leftovers party. Everyone brings their leftovers to share. My friends are Greek so we were treated to lovely Greek pastries.

    Tomorrow we are headed to visit my Dad in DC. We got a great deal on a hotel suite with kitchen. On Thursday my aunt and uncle are taking my sons to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It should be a busy holidays.

    No blog post this week.. we are off from the holiday
    Hope everyone has a good week!

  31. I am always impressed with your table settings. They look straight out of a magazine! And the dipped pretzels, wow! They seem so shiny.

    I don’t celebrate Christmas but Hanukkah is at the same time this year, so I had the same holiday type expenses. We do a big celebration the first night and then scale it back the other 7. To stay frugal, I buy gifts all year-long and put them away until they’re needed. We enjoyed a turkey dinner, bought after Thanksgiving for $0.47/lb, which was very affordable. I also found a few random things at Target like free Gold Bond powder, $9.99 sheet sets, and a triple stack on soda which came out to only $0.25 for a 12-pack. All of my transaction with pics here:

  32. If you need to sell furniture, I recently used the Let Go app and had a very good experience. Similar to selling on Craigslist.

  33. Merry Christmas everyone! I don’t think I did a ton of frugal things this week:
    – washed cloth diapers and hung on the line
    – ate from the freezer and cooked a few meals
    – hosted my parents and brother for Christmas…tried to buy some affordable options for food but also bought my parents favorites (creamer, cereal, etc)
    – dropped out of our families gift swaps. I know it disappointed my aunts and uncles, but honestly we don’t need more stuff and couldn’t afford it
    – made chocolate peanut butter balls as thank you presents for daycare and work. Coupled it with a little cash for our wonderful daycare teachers
    – about to start goal setting and budgeting for next year…with a second baby due in a few weeks and my husband really hoping we can hire someone just to deep clean the house every once in a while it’s going to require some mathematical gymnastics! I’ve been so resistant to the idea of hiring someone to clean but both of us work such long hours in our residencies and having to clean instead of either spend time with our son/each other or study has been tough on him. I promised him as his Christmas gift I would see if we could swing it maybe once a month.

  34. Would you mind sharing your spice cake recipe? I follow a vegan diet and am always looking for new recipes to try! Thanks!

  35. Your Christmas prep looks gorgeous!

    This week:

    1. I used leftover Christmas ingredients to bake mini and full-size very berry tarts. I’ll freeze these so we have a fancy dessert on hand.

    2. I made butter from leftover heavy whipping cream.

    3. We replaced a $75 part on a $200 air compressor that we got for free instead of buying a new compressor.

    4. I used a special coupon to score three months of unlimited car washes for free. I got our car washed and vacuumed this week without lifting a finger. I also got free coffee at the detail shop, which was a nice perk.

    5. We installed tile in the kitchen ourselves and installed a window frame in the kitchen as well.

  36. I haven’t tried this myself, but sometimes I see groupons for house-cleaning services. Plus, if you buy groupons through ebates, you can get cash back. I think that’s the cheapest way to do it, unless you know of an independent cleaner who is inexpensive. Best of luck in both of your residencies! (And exciting about the new baby!)

  37. Today my mother found a space on the wall in our living room area and hung the painting up. It looks amazing with her wall colour too!:D

    I looked up all three artists you noted. They are all very talented artists with such different but beautiful styles. I’m sure those paintings of you are just wonderful, Brandy! So glad you’re parents own two of them as cherished family heirlooms.

  38. Rhonda, I agree with you. I don’t know if I’d like to spend a holiday dinner in a restaurant. MAybe she feels she is just making it easier for all concerned.

    How lovely your mother obtained the painting for you.

  39. We stayed home alot – hubby was recovering still from what we hope was his last chemo treatment so that saved money. The kid’s liked their Christmas gifts and my daughter is now moved out and set up with a decent pantry to start off with. I made LOTS of goodies for everyone from my pantry and supplies bought over the last few months – only thing I forgot was cream cheese (I thought I still had some in the frig) and since it is on sale this week, I’ll stock up now instead.
    At the in-laws we do a $10 gift where we pick numbers and pick a gift in order and you can steal others gifts lol I put 5 of those little “sample size” bottles of alcohol that goes well with hot chocolate and then put in a jar of homemade hot cocoa and marshmallows – it was well received.
    I also stocked back up on regular cheese since it is buy 5 and get it for $1.36/8oz. not as good as the $1 price I found a few months ago but still a decent sale. We seem to be pretty well stocked up otherwise and it is only hubby and myself most of the time now which is actually quite hard to get used to cooking for!
    This is still not really sunk in, but hubby found someone on Craigslist who wanted a Harley like the one we have for sale and was willing to trade a little over an acre of property up north for it. Nothing is signed yet since we need to do just a bit more research on what is and isn’t allowed on the property but at the very least, it will be a permanent campsite for us. It could also be our next step if we put a mobile on it while we sell our current home and get out from under our mortgage and then be able to use the money from the sale of our home to find the property we really want w/o needing a mortgage….Still cant believe someone is willing to trade land for a motorcycle – seems nuts to me! Hopefully, it all comes together tomorrow when we go to the courthouse/township office to transfer the deed and get those last questions answered.
    My boss gave me $20 taped to a bottle of white wine (the kind we like even!) which we will be drinking New Years Eve to toast to a hopefully much less stressful year!
    I have been told that I must wear a ball cap at work in the deli however, ball caps don’t fit over my head when I have my hair completely up in a bun and since it is waist length, keeping it in a pony tail or braid still allows it to fall forward into the cases when I am scooping food. So I asked if I can wear a scarf instead. I made one for myself and added a bit of the fabric with the non skid dots on it (used for the bottoms of footie pj’s) so it will stay on my head instead of constantly slipping back. It works okay but still wants to slide back some – anyone have any better ideas?
    Happy New Year everyone!!!

  40. We have found that the kids sure remember every fondue party. It is another memory-making thing to do that seems to have become highly significant to our families without a huge outlay of money–but a lot of time and effort instead. We are on the 4th generation of these fondue parties now, and it was the young adults that were really pushing for it this year, so we did it. It will be interesting to see what the younger generation do with it in the future.

    I’m glad you can do fondue for your daughters. As for the oil…it does take bravery and it is scary when kids are young. The younger the kids, the more adults needed to even attempt it. When some of the cousins/kids were younger, we would set up the pots of oil on a counter near a plug-in with a “helper” grown-up stationed there to help each kid that came along. Once the kids had some, and were seated, the adults would cook some for themselves.

  41. I wonder if you could crochet yourself an old-fashioned snood to wear at work. My sister had long, very fine hair when she married. I made the veil but I didn’t do a good job with the comb. She had to hold it on with one hand in the receiving line. Oops. Sorry sis.

  42. I hope that your husband can be done with chemo. It’s very hard to go through, as I have know people who have been through it. Hopefully, he can get built back up, cancer-free. It sounds so exciting to get an acre for your motorcycle. I’ll be interested to see how that turns out. It is a good idea to make sure the zoning is correct for your purposes before taking the property, so you don’t end up with an useless piece of land. How exciting!

  43. If I could crochet – i can’t do anything more than a straight line of uneven stitches. I can create costumes with no patterns but I wasn’t there the day he handed out the crochet/knit skill set. I CAN use power tools though so I figure that’s a good trade off.

  44. Most of my savings were actually for my scout troop. They take part of an annual middle/high school girl campout that does themes/competitions. Next year’s them is musicals and the girls selected Elf the Musical. So we hit the post Christmas sales for props and decorations. We will get the candy canes after they are on further discount.
    Snagged chocolate gifts for our February chocolate tasting for the “I Love Chocolate badge” we found. It will be a fun accompaniment to learning about how it’s made etc.

  45. We are still in the moving process and it is a process. Christmas was low key this year we did not even put out stockings. Christmas evening we went to my mothers and because everyone had already celebrated Christmas elsewhere earlier and big meals were involved, we decided snacks would be best. They were and we bagged leftovers for New Year Eve, we will just supplement any chips, etc that need to be replenished. New Years celebrations for my family are always a big get together. We play pokeno for random giftage. It is hilarious, folks steal gifts during the game also. We also have other games going on. There are card tables everywhere and folks just pop in at different times, depending on their plans for the evening.
    Brandy, I am unsure of your growing zone, but poinsettias can be grown outside. They are native to Mexico and while they would not bloom during Christmas, I thought a few white ones would look beautiful in your white garden. If you can get then discounted from after Christmas. They are perennials. Here in the south, especially around the coast, folks plant them they bloom during the summer and are beautiful and unexpected. Just a thought.

    Have a great week everyone!!

  46. Melissa, look for snap clips. They are one piece metal that you pinch and they close tight. Usually they come in silver, white and black though you may find other colors. That is what I use to keep the cover on my hair. I know many women who just use plain stick pins with no problem.

  47. Greetings!
    I love the table, too! It looks professional, if table setting can be professional…
    *I didn’t spend much money; we have a freezer full. My husband wanted snacky foods, so that’s what we did. We also helped ourselves to leftovers. I still have a turkey and ham in the freezer. I debated on buying another of each but i’m glad i didn’t.
    *I mailed several ebay items.
    *We talked or skyped with all three of our children and grand children. Although, the grand children were so wound up, it was a short visit. I had to laugh because my son was not in the mood for crankiness in the midst of gift carnage. He wasn’t amused at his Mother, either!
    *I worked two extra days at the hardware while people took time off for the holiday. My check will be nice since my husbands check was short because of the weather.
    *I made goodie plates for my neighbors and walking partners; no extra monies spent. I didn’t buy any new paper or tags before the holiday. Or ribbon or gift bags.
    *I made Brandi’s delicious minestrone soup with a few differences. It was still wonderful and we ate it for a week. It makes a lot of soup for two people.
    *We received amazon gift cards from our sons. So, i’ve been on a bit of a shopping spree. I’ve bought a few books, some essential oils and vitamins. I still have a bit left. My husband is still deciding how to best spend his. Our daughter sent us a blanket with a family picture on it. We can wrap our family around us; it’s perfect!
    *I opened a fresh bottle of lotion and added water to thin it. I’ll do that a few more times as it gets used.
    Wishing everyone a wonderful, peaceful New Year!

  48. My frugal accomplishments last week:

    -stayed home except for one morning. We had rain last week. Went grocery shopping that one morning for some basics.

    – hosted Christmas Eve at our place for my hubby’s mothers side. Used no gas to go to there house and they paid for the pizza. We served just water and strawberry lemonade that we already have. We also served cookies for dessert that I had made.

    -went through my sons clothes that he no longer wears and in the sometime near future will be selling them. As well as some old toys he no longer plays with.

    – went through my books I no longer need and will be selling those as well.

    -made all meals at home except for the Christmas Eve party.

    That’s all for last week.

  49. At my job you have the choice of a hat or visor. The visor looks like a hat with the top missing. The visor would allow you to wear your hair in a bun still. I wear my hair in a high ponytail so I like the visor.

  50. We had a wonderful ham on Christmas day that I thought I’d found at a great bargain price – $1.99/lb – and yesterday found them reduced to .99/lb – into the freezer it went. They also had a manager’s special of bacon normally $5.99 for a 1 lb package for $1.99. I just bought one because I have another lb in my freezer.
    Hosted our daughter and new son-in-law (as of 9/10/16) for Christmas Eve – we ordered take out Chinese food. Very good and kind of pricey but we planned for it and had cash to pay the bill with a generous tip for the delivery guy.
    Did not shop post-Christmas. I still have wrap from a few years ago. Tend not to use ribbon since it just gets thrown away. We send photo New Year’s cards and order them when Walgreen’s cuts their prices by at least 50%.
    Spent today organizing household papers – paid bills, donation receipts, etc – for 2016 with an empty in basket to start 2017.
    Our New Year’s Eve plan is hosting my family Christmas gathering here. We are having tacos as our meal with everyone bringing something. My sister and family from up north will stay overnight and then head to her husband’s family Christmas Sunday morning. I have a recipe for an overnight crock pot breakfast with everything purchased and ready to go!
    Ready to go into 2017 with a full freezer, lots of library books, netflix movies and a plan to not spend!!

  51. K, for the elastic you need, you might consider placing an order with, a company based in Binghamton, NY, that does on-line sales only of sewing supplies. I’ve bought some things from them on excellent prices, and I believe Brandy has used them, too. A very reliable company in my experience.

  52. Made a meatloaf using the tomato jam I put up instead of the ketchup called for in the recipe. It turned out well & everyone liked it.

    Sewed one of the large yellow triangle buttons I bought at the thrift store onto the little cloth bag that holds one of the scout cooking kits in our emergency bag. I had closed it with a large safety pin before, & left the safety pin there, too, since safety pins have a wide variety of uses.

    Replaced the “real” wreath on the front door with a metal five-pointed star, painted black. The start was purchased a few years ago at a yard sale for pennies, & I painted it black because the paint job on it was ugly. The mixed pine wreath on the door was turning brown, even tho I misted it daily, so I moved it to hang over one of the posts, against the white vinyl fence along the back of our property. From over 30 feet, it still looks good, & the needles will drop into one of the growing beds, where they will be useful. The wreath was an experiment this year; one which I will not repeat.

    Continued to watch & picked up fisher price little people at reduced prices on Ebay, shopping for gifts for 2017. On one trip to the “old” thrift store, I picked up a Fisher Price Noah’s ark for $1.50, and a Fisher Price Farm for $1.50, plus 4 more shapes for the “shape sorter”, another “bale of hay” for the wise men’s camels, & 2 more Duplo blocks. The cashier charged me 50 cents for all the shapes, hay bale & blocks. On a second trip to the “new” thrift store, one town closer to me, I picked up another Noah Ark base for 50 cents, plus 2 sheep, a pig & a giraffe in a bag for 75 cents. At the thrift in my town, I found a glass cake dome for $3.99 (to use as another cloche in the garden to extend the growing season), & a shape sorter with all the shapes inside for $1.99.
    Found a large bag with quite a few Duplos in it at the “old” thrift after Christmas.

    Baked cinnamon rolls several times, & froze some each time, for breakfast on Christmas morning & thru the week.

    Rescued a small Christmas tree from curbside & set it in the northside barked area to drop its needles to acidify the soil.

  53. Her paintings are very pleasant and nostalgic. It must be nice to know that someone somewhere is enjoying “your” painting.

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