It is that time of year again. It is the season of giving. It is the time of year when we sing Joy to the World, wish peace on earth and show good will towards men. It is also that time of the year to buy new small appliances and stock up the pantry and linen closet! Yes, that’s right, it’s the time of the year to buy some of the stuff you really want and need to make your life easier!
I’m not different than my fellow man with the exception that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the major shopping days for me! Yes, I will pick up a little something for Nana, big sisters, my favorite cousin as well, but right now, I am stocking up for me. This is the time of year when stores begin to overstock for the holiday season, but the beauty is they start to slash prices on December 26th as well. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, all the way through the New Year, you can really stock up and save. But before we get to the after Christmas deals, let’s get smart about the items for the holidays.
For example, these cups from QVC.com, you can get the set of six for a mere $25. Think about it, this makes six gifts for your co-workers or team mates. These are also great “extras” for those neighbors or people who drop by with a little something for you, now you have something for them. Now that is music to my ears.
Speaking of music, this is also the time of year for great deals on DVD’s and CD’s, you can also buy now for birthdays and Easter baskets. Many of your favorite artist realease “Best Of” or live performances this time of year. Great stuffers for stockings, gift bags and baskets are picture frames, tools and bath products. It is also a great time of year to buy storage bins; they may all be in red and green, but what the heck, they are dirt cheap. This handy tub is $2.74 at Lowes and you can buy one and get one free. While in Lowes, every girl should have her own set of tools and for around $10, you can get the lady started.
Last but not least, one of my favorite ideas, is to stock up the pantry with buy one get one deals. There are great deals on flour, sugar, cooking oils, broths and spices. The http://www.thecoupongodess.com also suggests that if you have room in the freezer, go ahead and buy that turkey or extra ham. I was also reading on mommysavers.com you can buy a set of eight dessert plates with mugs and separate these into sets of fours. Add in some small stocking stuffers like hot cocoa, or Bath and Body Works (5 for $5) products, you are good to go! Also, if you are a Foursquare user, look for the hidden deals and specials when you check in, it can save you a few bucks and often will give you a certain percentage off your purchases.
Shopping for the holidays are great, but smart and savvy shoppers have loaded up all year and this is season to replenish the coiffures. I even scored a new food chopper and waffle iron for $2.84 on Black Friday at Wal-Mart. Forget the perfect card, here ya go neighbor, for your birthday, a new waffle iron! Now, I always have on hand a cute card or item for a birthday gift and you can too. After all, tis the season!
- ♫ Tis The Season…♫ (misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com)
- 5 Things to Watch This Week: Black Friday, Christmas Movies, ESP Music, Snacking Stocks and TiVo (dailyfinance.com)
- 7 Fascinating Black Friday Infographics (hubspot.com)
- Black Friday Crowd Goes Wild Over $2 Waffle Makers (shoppingblog.com)
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.
The other day while watching DIY or HGTV, I witnessed something beautiful. I saw a married couple working on a home improvement project and they were laughing, smiling and feeling proud of their accomplishments. I found myself smiling and feeling euphoric as well which lead to my latest disaster, and next big question, should marriage vows be changed to include home improvement projects? Does death do us part include the completion of a home improvement tasks?
Our son has hit that age where he still is a resident, but does not officially reside in the house. It was time to redo the room of a teenager and make it the residence of a man. A fresh coat of paint was needed as well as new crown moldings, dual functioning furniture, and an extra bedroom in case of guests when he was away. It started nicely enough, but by the end of day one, I had evolved from Suzie Helpmate to Seaman Foulmouth. Day two ended with me as a full rear admiral and swabbing the poopdeck. I can vaguely remember a sentence that started with an F word and ended with you, the horse you rode in on, his stable master, the groom and your cockeyed brother! Allow me to explain.
My husband is a real man. If it breaks, he can fix it. He can buy it, install it, rewire it, remove it, grout it, caulk it, seal it, and make it dance should it require such. However, no matter how big, or small the project, he has to tear up every room in the house. It is utter chaos, which leaves you swearing to all that is unholy just to find a pair of panties and a matching sock. This project was no different, but to paint the room it had to be emptied.
Emptying this room meant he had to store the items somewhere else which usually meant sticking them all in my space. Never fear, we just need to run to Lowe’s to pick up an item or two. We did go to Lowe’s. We went to all three Lowes. By now the only thing I felt Lowe’s and I could build together was a hostile relationship.
We went to both Home Depots and the angry woman in me wanted to know, when did they become some F*****ing helpful? We went to three furniture stores, and when I began to become snappy and crabbish, we went to lunch. Discussing paint colors and finishes of door knobs and handles evidently appeared to be fascinating to our waitress who decided to add her two cents. I think that will be the last time she ever does that again! My questioning of the origin of my friendship with her sans the eyeball rolling and neck gesturing, still had the same affect especially when my sentence ended with “we aren’t friends, I don’t know you, get out of our conversation and bring me another Diet Coke!” Hubby stopped talking to me for the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, back on the home front and the beginning of day two, my paint trimming was not up to hubby’s standards and he decided to give the trim a fresh coat of paint that morning. The carpet installers commented on the paint still being wet. Over the rim of my cup of coffee, I provided a quick retort of something close to “Lay the F***ing carpet, I have another can of paint,” which came out in a militant soul sister sneer that did include eyeball rolling and a neck gesture. Hubby went outside to work on his truck, the carpet guys went out there with him and the cat hid under the table.
So what did I learn? I learned my son has hoarding tendencies as evident by the two bags of rocks, his favorite cowboy boots when he was three and the 14 gym bags. I learned that I am a control freak that likes to move in an orderly fashion and chaos blocks my mental chi. After going through bag number three of my son’s belongings, each sentence was ending with “WTF is that?” clued me in on the idea of having son boy finish the task I assigned him. But, what I learned most importantly is that my husband not only loves me, but he also likes me. We have completed in the past three weeks, four home improvement projects to include installation of new carpet and appliances, and he still wants to talk to me. He may want to wash my mouth out with soap, but we will not have to alter our marriage vows to include til death do us part this home improvement project.
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I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.—Albert Schweitzer: