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This holiday season, you save yourself a few dollars by making some Christmas gifts. I know, I know who has the time? That is the wrong question. The right question is who has the money to buy that many gifts? This nice wreath is made out of Coffee filters. The total cost for this project is about $10.
There are many simple projects that you can do that can either upcycle items already in your home or those items that need to leave your home. However, before we get to upcycling, let’s get back to those talents that you have that you can use to give or make gifts. Get your mind out of the gutter, you may be good at that but you can’t give it to your Nana!
Are you good at making cakes? You can make cake pops delivered in a nice basket from the Dollar Store. Are you good at making brownies, jams, cookies? All of these items make fabulous Holiday gifts. My neighbor makes a tin of cookies for us each year. The whole cul-de-sac knows when she is baking and we sit around like children awaiting our deliveries. I have another neighbor that makes fudge. I am not a fudge eater but am always glad for a gift that someone took the time to craft for me.
There are many projects and creative ideas available to you for free if you know where to look. I receive a free magazine from Lowe’s Home Improvement called Creative Ideas. It was choked full of so many great ideas that it inspired me to write. I am hoping to inspire you to try something different this year to save money and truly live better. This month’s issue takes you through easy steps to make wonderful holiday wreaths, headboards and upcycling home items. Upcycling takes recycling to a whole new level by recovering or repurposing items you already have in your home. Take that hideous chair that your Mom sent over to your new place. You don’t want it, but you can’t hurt her feelings. Give it a coat of paint, and add some studs and viola, you have upcylced items that you were going to throw away. You have reduced your carbon footprint, reduce landfill input and given that piece of furniture a reason to feel useful again.
I think the most exciting thing about the holidays is the decorations. Each year, we look for that special ornament to add to our tree. Have you thought about making ornaments out of every day simple items or really putting the décor into decorating? I went to visit my favorite crafter’s website, Martha Stewart. I have always considered her to be the McGyver of crafting. I saw where you can take mini picture frames and turn them into cute ornaments for the mantle or the tree.
Many of the websites have free newsletters, Blogs and magazines that you can have sent right to your home. It doesn’t matter what your skillset, there is something you can do that someone else admires. You can make a box of custom greeting cards. You can lay out a few pages in a scrapbook for a family member. You can buy a set of stencils and create a personalized box for a night stand. You just have to try.
Here is your starting point. Here are some Thanksgiving place cards along with the template courtesy of Ms. Stewart.
That is the cry of so many across the country. There are thousands of people occupying the business districts of America including Wall Street. The main cry, there are no jobs. Not true. Brian Williams at NBC profiles a small town that is booming and looking for employees. Here is the question, how bad do you want a job?
I was watching Brian Williams on NBC cover the boom in Williston, North Dakota. I know, where you say? Yes, North Dakota. There is a company there that is in need of 500 truck drivers. There were people who hitchhiked for months or backpacked across the country to get to this little spot, just for another chance.
What would you do for a new start?
North Dakota may not be on your list, but there are jobs and plenty of them. Ready to get moving you people occupying Wall Street?
It befuddles me that women choose Halloween to release their inner demons, literally. I am not certain when the trend started, but nice girls turn into ghoulish vamps, tramps and scamps. The whole trend is not only creepy, but scary. It is no longer a treat, when your best friend shows up anywhere, let alone your home, looking like a Trick.
It started this morning on my way to work. I saw my 60 year old neighbor dressed as a naughty nurse. That is just wrong on so many levels. I too wanted to participate in the Halloween festivities, so I grabbed some red wedges, a red cape, a long black skirt and top with a Puritan ruffle to complete my ensemble. I grabbed a twig from the back yard as my evil wand. I add some colorful makeup to my eyes, bushed up my eyebrows, and stopped by Walmart to add a witches cap with a spider veil. I am not too evil, nor am I uncovered, wearing fishnets, hooker boots, or a skirt that is WAYYYYY too short. it was out of the norm for me, but honestly, the naughty nurse should be reserved for private parties. I an not a prude, or prudish, I just know there are some things we do not need to see.
I want to believe that somewhere in all of us there is a nice little girl and little boy who want to play with the other kids. However, there has to be a line drawn somewhere. Some of these ideas are simply just in poor taste.
If you wish to let your freak flag fly, then by all means, do so, but please take this word of caution. If you think for one minute that you our coloring outside of the lines, and no one is expecting you to be so edgy, then you are wrong. Your friends and co-workers already know that you are freaky. Showing up to anyone’s home, half dressed, looking like a Hallowhore is not really cute. Be the adult here and just find a costume that is appropriate and for Pete’s sake, put some clothes on!
Next June will mark my 22nd wedding anniversary. Hubby and I are planning a really cool vacation and I plan to fully enjoy myself without cumbersome worries of how are we going to eat when we get back from this lovely little trip. I have begun to save large chunks which mean there is little room left for play money. I thereby had to put myself on a cash diet. I can only use my credit card or debit card for emergencies. This past week I have truly learned the value of a dollar. I have also learned that there are something’s that I will not buy, not even for a dollar!
As I previously stated in one of my early post, I have begun to coupon. I am now a step below extreme couponing and hovering around extreme value shopping. I have become, what I consider, to be very clever. I am recycling everything from pieces of left over roast, which are transformed into taco night, or in this weather, a hearty stew. The stews are great to also use up the leftover peas and carrots in the fridge. I am even stocking up the pantry and deep freezer. Let me tell you how.
As I was leaving the house to start my bargain shopping, I noticed the planters on the front porch needed fall plants. Normally, by this time, I would have added some Mums, but I wanted to stretch what I have until it is time to put in the Icicle Pansies. I head over to my friendly neighborhood Lowes. Instead of shopping in the front, I head to the rear of the garden center to THAT rack. Yes, the rack of shelves with sad, lonely, and deserted plants. I have found the ones on the ends are the healthiest and easy to revive. I picked up two hanging Tahitian Bridal Veils for $1 each. They need to be repotted so next I head to Roses. Instead of purchasing the name brand bags of potting soil for five bucks, I opt for the local no name bags for $1. Hey, it’s dirt. I am going to add some plant food when I repot them anyway. Now it’s time to get really busy.
I am headed to the buy one get one sale at Food Lion. I have already added the sale coupons to my MVP card buy downloading the digital coupons to my frequent shopper cards. The hard copy of manufacturer coupons in hand, I have a $1 off of two boxes of Cheerios, which just happen to be on sale for buy one get one. Armed with my sale ad in hand, I pick up bags of chicken breast, shrimp, Doritos, and a large 39 oz container of coffee. I save $1 on the coffee, which I purchased for $7.99. I am on a roll. I purchased high end ice cream at buy one get one along with high end butter crackers. Zesta Whole Wheat Crackers at buy one get one box is great deal; grabbed two of those.
I load up the mama mobile and make my way to Kroger. They are having a ten for $10 sale. Here, you have to be very careful. Last week, the same store brand vegetables I got for $.88 per bag are now in the 10 for ten sale; this is not good friends. I did pick and choose which items were a good deal for a buck, but Lipton Rice mixes are a dollar anyway, so this is not really a good buy. Staples purchased, I now have my local independent grocer’s ad, or the local IGA. These stores are great for pantry items. There is a five for $5 sale going on so I stock up on two pounds bags of rice, hot sauce, ketchup can goods and dry beans. I also grab a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters for $6. I do have a freezer safe bags in the trunk for my cold items. These wonderful bags keep food cold for 3 hours.
My last stop is to the local Bakery outlet. Tuesday and Friday’s at the John Derst bakery outlet has bread on sale for $.79. Wheat bread, cinnamon raisin bread, Kaiser Hamburger buns and hot dog rolls are all for $.79; with no buying limits. I have found that you can freeze bread for up to 3 months and when you defrost, it is good as new.
My pantry is stocked. My fridge and freezer is full and my bank account is not empty. I have a full tank of gas, my hair is done, and I have a few bucks left in my working account for just in cases. I did all of this today, including my hair, for a mere $160.00. It’s okay, you can say, “ooohhhh!” I know I did.
I must close out now because my new issue of All You arrived in the mail. The cover says there are $94.55 worth of coupons inside. I have work to do.
If you want to understand what is going on across the country or take the pulse of the nation, take a look at the commercials. Commercials can give you a perfect snapshot of what is happening in the workplace and where our youth are headed. Recently, I was unable to sleep and noticed this Vonage commercial. I found very little, if any humor in this advertisement.
If you look closely at the commercial, there are several people waiting in line. This is money that shop owner is not making and his customers are not being served. Sadly, this occurrence is not just happening in this advertisement, but in stores everywhere. Here is the rub. It may appear cute in the ad, but in reality, this employee is costing you money.
This same, self-serving employee is working in stores and businesses across the country. This employee is probably working next to you. Oh, you complain about them being slackers, but really, are you doing anything about it? In our current economy, we cannot afford to be complacent. Companies are sending jobs overseas because we as American workers feel entitled and often take our home lives to work. Our cell phones are becoming an extension of our hands and we are becoming less and less efficient and more proficient at goofing off.
The gentleman in line who pretends to choke the waitress is symbolic of how many of us feel when we patronize Mom and Pop shops. We want to give them the business, because we know, that if America is going to become upright again, it is going to take the small business owner to make it happen. However, bad service is not rewarded with return customers. We live in an instant age. If I cannot get it here, I can get it across the street. I am not going to wait for your employee to get off the phone to provide me service. I am going to walk out of this door, take my business elsewhere, and never come back. Again, it is instant. I am going to post it to my Facebook page and then I am going to Tweet it. In less than an hour, nearly 500 people are going to know that your business provided me lousy service. Hey, can you hear me now?
If your employees, co-workers, and subordinates are not there to serve the customers, but to pull a paycheck, help them find employment elsewhere. Someone else could really use that job. If these employees are not engaged and feel as if they are no longer a part of helping your company grow, then obviously where they are working is not the right fit. It is not the right fit your customers and not the right fit for your bottom line.
Bad service costs you money. Bad employees cost companies millions of dollars. Loss of revenue means doors are closing. Closed doors means there are no jobs for our kids, our retirees and eventually us. I have no qualms whatsoever calling an employee out. If your job is to provide me, the customer, service, then call your mother, brother, baby daddy on your own time and your own dime.
Do all of us a favor. Put down your cell phone. You don’t look important. If anything you look ignorant. If what you have to say is really that important, excuse yourself to make the call. Don’t hold up the line, don’t hold up my time, and stop holding your employer hostage with your bad habits.
I have been running hard and eating poorly these past three weeks. New quarter, new classes, new students and a new schedule added up to a recipe for disaster. My body rebelled and told me to stop the nonsense and when I refused to listen, it shut down. We are not talking about a head cold, I am talking a full blown system purging.
I was laid out. Flat on my back is where I ended up after a night of personal conversations from several perspectives with the King of the Lavatory.
I couldn’t be sick. Tomorrow was my scrapbooking day with my friend, Saturday I was hitting the Oktoberfest with another friend and the flea market, plus I had to get the Quilt Show, and the Fair to get a turkey leg. I can’t do any of these things sick! The fever I had said otherwise and I called it quits.
My friend called my cell at 10 am on Friday. When I did not respond she called me at 11:15 and this time left a voice message. At noon she sent a text and at 12:30 she called my house. I had not responded which, she stated, was not like me. And yes, we have a land line. No, I am not a dinosaur. On with the story about friends…stay focused please. At 1:30 she was at my front door with a bag of peppermint tea for my upset tummy and although my son had placed a chair on the opposite side of the bed of sickness, she opted not to use it. Instead, she brought me a hot cup of bitter ass peppermint tea, fluffed up the pillows on hubby’s side of the bed and climbed in beside me.
She climbed on beside “Oh, my gosh, I have a fever” breath. She climbed on beside I smell like I’m sick, fever soaked sweaty tee shirt. She climbed on beside my matted afro and crusted nose that had started to drip from being so hot all night from fever, that now resembled a 5 year old with hayfever. She did so with a smile and simultaneously grabbed the remote and began to ask me why I was laid out like I was on a crucifix.
I started to laugh. She then commented on my smelling like I had been riding a horse and my desperate need of a shower and washing my face. She stayed for 2.5 hours and when she left I felt better. Not cured, but better and ready to get well.
Ironically, my friend that I was supposed to meet on Saturday, called while she was there as well, and she too called my house because I had not answered my cell; she too figured something must have been wrong. Something was wrong; I had made some poor choices on rest, exercise and food. I did not, however, make poor choices in my friends. They know me well enough to know when I am up and sharp enough to know to call my house when I am down. They also know my home number.
Don’t be confused, any friend can be at your side when you are the life of the party. It takes a special friend to climb on your sickbed and hold your feverish hand. Friends are there to make you feel better when you are down, help you celebrate your accomplishments and cry when you need it. Remember, a friend is someone to also thank for putting up with you…..
It is sometimes difficult to hear the pain a loved one endures at the hands of what they believe is love. I just can’t recall a time in my life when love made me do dumb things that I could not recover from or a time when love told me to be stupid. I cannot recall anyone in my life that I loved more than I love myself and my mental well-being. I definitely cannot recall a time when love or being in love put me in debt or impacted my credit rating. Can I ask why people do these things?
Please don’t misunderstand. When I was in my twenties I did some crazy things, and often made a fool of myself over a boy/fella who could have cared less or just didn’t return the sentiment. In my thirties as a married woman, I thought of doing some things that would not be too smart, but I was wise enough to make the right choices. I was reacting on a feeling of maybe I was missing something and possibly needed to make sure. Common sense took over and made me realize that what I currently had was not worth the risk of losing what we had built. I also realize that common sense is also not that common.
It can’t be if we can find ourselves making irrational decisions about our lives, the well-being of our children and finances, based upon our need to have someone say, “I love you.” Our need to connect to another human can put us in mental jeopardy and can invoke insane doses of asininity. This need can allow us to let down our defenses as another person chips away at our self-esteem. With self-esteem in jeopardy, defenses down, thoughts become jumbled and we begin to miss sleep. Sleep deprivation mixed with slow self-esteem and craving for love is a recipe for disaster. Are you really this in love, or are you in love with being in love?
Don’t be stupid. If what you are doing would seem insipid if it was happening to your friend, how can you not see how see how ridiculous it looks on you? You must then make yourself a list and write down the things you won’t do for love. Being stupid is at the top of mine.