Friday, November 30, 2012

A Price Less Christmas


A Price Less Christmas
 (side note there is a great book out this year called a Priceless Christmas, I love it and recommend and it's free go here to download the book


I love Christmas, and I love giving gifts, Homemade ones are my favorite to give. Although I really do love to shop, I really like to craft and make my own things, and since I know there are alot of you that  are wanting to save some money I thought These posts will come at the right time for some of our readers. There are lots of ways to save money at Christmas some are super smart and some are just a big duh stamp to the forehead and some are just to creative to pass up... So here are some of my tried and true tips to saving money this Christmas Season, grab your favorite hot chocolate and sip and read!

1. Don't go in debt for Christmas, I know it's easier than done but the sad thing is, 70% of us will have debt from Christmas after January... (come on we can do better!)

2. Eat what you have in your pantry for a while, don't buy groceries in December unless needed- think survivor island if needed (nothing wrong with pb and J or Frozen pizza's for a couple nights!) The money that you save when you would be buying on groceries could then go to gifts for Christmas. This also works well to clean out your freezer since Febuary and march you can get frozen food at a good discount!

super yummy home made cookie mix instruction to make it from C&H sugar.com 
3. Give gifts that are homemade: idea would be to make homemade baked goods, candy, or  a craft. Most often than not the person you are giving a gift to won't remember what you gave them, only that you cared enough to give them a gift, if you keep that perspective in mind It might make it easier to give a homemade gift. some of my favorite things to give are cookie, brownie or muffin mix's in a mason jar, Hot Chocolate mix, Peanut butter balls, Banana bread, and cake pops or cake balls. wrapped up in nice container

4. This might sound odd, but I think it works, give them a coupon for a service you would provide, like baby sitting, a freezer meal, a skill you can teach- you get the idea. Buy a nice gift card holder or make your own (super easy, ideas to come) put the coupon in it so they can redeem it when they see fit.

5. Save money by shopping at good will and second hand stores and trift stores and garage sales. Yep, most of my one yr old presents are slightly used, but in awesome shape, and besides do you really want to mess with all the toy packaging? didn't think so, and kids don't mind, its all ready to play with no waiting for mom to get the scissors out to get the toy out!

6. Use your reward points, seems easy enough right, I love discover card, they give you some really good rewards, but also if you shop online a lot swag bucks is a way to earn rewards. Don't forget to use your customer loyalty card too, like Hallmark, they give you coupons for shopping. For example $2 off your next purchase just because you bought x amount last month! So nice right!

7. Stick to a list, and a budget. Retailers know how to get the consumer to impulse buy! that is why there are a bunch of (lets say Gimmeks  this time of year.) like a cute stuffed animal for $5- again cute for the co worker that loves said animal but really previous tip # 5 might just come really well right about now for the said co-worker. When you stick to a list you are most likely to be a bit more frugal with your money

8. Our Kiddo's don't always remember all the presents under the tree, so don't go to over board, what they really want and I am sure what every parent wants too, is to feel the love and warmth from the holiday season. You both will remember the memories more so than the presents, so you might want to save some of the Christmas money and use it for a night out to look at lights, and go out for a treat. (more on this tip to come!) But you get the idea, it's not what you get or give that matters, it's the moment and joy from the experiences that really matter most.  oh yeah and A book for your kiddo is a must each year!

9. Food, I seem to be going back and forth on this issue, but I do think that we eat way to much during December- So be care full how much you bring to a pot luck. My rule are: is this a family pot luck- make a dish that your loved ones love and make a new recipe to bring if needed. if it's as gathering of friends or co-workers, chances are there will be a ton of food so maybe bring some paper products for the event, and skip the food (hostess might be so grateful that they don't have to buy an extra package of plates, cups, plastic ware and so on...

10. If you are lucky to host a gathering, party or whatever shin dig you do for the Christmas season shop for all decorations and holiday stuff after Christmas for next year, with just a bit of tweaking you can make anything a bit more trendy. Don't forget to use online resources for the invites (evite.com) music (pandora) party games and ideas (Pintrest)

So now that you know some of my tips I would love to see if you have some that i haven't touched! Please leave a comment I would love feed back, Oh yeah and have a very merry Debt Free Christmas!



 I hope in the next couple weeks post some neat home made gifts, some that I have made and will give and some that I would eventually like to give. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows


I've been a marshmallow making machine since I first crossed that bridge a couple months ago. Hubby loves them and they're seriously SO EASY to make. If you haven't made marshmallows yet, there is no better time than right now.



I used the same recipe I always use, but swapped out the vanilla for some peppermint extract. I also added a few drops of red food coloring to swirl into the marshmallows for a fun candy-cane look. Then I bagged these up to give in our gift bags with our hot cocoa mix.



Three Years Ago: Yule Log

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows - adapted from Alton Brown - makes ~9 dozen
Printable Recipe
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray
4-5 drops red food coloring
Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the peppermint extract during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Drop red food coloring onto marshmallows and use a toothpick to swirl the food coloring into the marshmallows. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

10 Free Pamers Gifts to Grow Points


Get 10 FREE Pampers Gifts To Grow Points when you enter the code FBC1122THXDAF12. Expires 11/28. New to Gifts to Grow? Sign up here and enter codes found on Pampers products or here at The Freebie Blogger. Redeem the points for FREE products.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Brownies

Ingredients
1 (15 oz) can puréed pumpkin
2 tsp lemon zest
1 box of brownie mix
3 tbsp peanut butter, softened in microwave

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8x8 baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree and lemon zest

Mix in the brownie mix – just the box mix, no eggs or oil – and combine well. It will be a rather thick batter. Spread the batter evenly into the baking pan. Put the peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften it. Top the batter in the pan with dollops of peanut butter. You can draw a knife through the dough and peanut butter to create a design. Bake for 25- 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bubele.com: *HOT* Ruffled Bloomers Only $1.99 (Regularly $16!) + $5 Flate-Rate Shipping



Yay! :D If you’re looking to snag inexpensive bloomers for your little one (or for a Christmas gift!), you’ll definitely want to check out this great deal! Head on over to Bubele.com and check out the Cyber Monday Sale where you can snatch up these adorable Ruffled Bloomers for only $1.99 (regularly $16!). Keep in mind that shipping is a flat-rate of $5 so be sure to snatch up several bloomers to make the shipping worthwhile.
You can even choose from 17 different colors and there doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many you can buy at $1.99 each shipped! These bloomers will make for super cute gifts for baby showers, Christmas, and more!

Scotch Holiday Central Instant Win Game: Enter to Win Scotch Gift Packs (+ $2,500 Grand Prize!)


Through December 31st, head on over here to enter the Scotch Holiday Central Instant Win Game for chance to instantly win one of 100 small Scotch Gift Packs, a $16.46 value (note that 100 small gift packs will be given away each week through 12/31!). Plus, you’ll be entered to win the weekly prize of a large Scotch Gift Pack ($100 value!) or the Grand Prize of a $2,500 check!
Fine Print: Each entrant may enter the Grand Prize drawing one (1) time per day, enter the Weekly Sweepstakes drawing one (1) time per day and play the Instant Win Game one (1) time per day during the Promotion Period.
GOOD LUCK :)

Homemade Remedy For Clogged Drains


If you have a clogged drain and cannot run out to the store to get a commercial drain product, try this remedy.
1) Remove all water from the sink. You may have to dip it out of the sink with a cup and place it in a bucket.
2) Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain.
3) Follow that with one cup of table salt.
4) Next, pour one half cup of white vinegar down the drain.
5) Allow the drain to set for ten minutes than flush it with two quarts of boiling water.

HY-VEE THREE DAYS TO Save Friday, Saturday and Sunday November 23-25, 2012 while supplies last

free Duracell Coppertop batteries AA or AAA 8 ct. Buy one, get one free
Eggo select varieties 9.8 to 16.4 oz. 2/3.00
Dole iceberg lettuce each . 69
Hy-Vee white bread 20 oz. .77
12.88 Busch or Busch Light 24 pack cans 12 fl. oz.
8/$10 Hy-Vee thin crust pizza select varieties 15 to 18.1 oz.
50.00 Children’s recliner select varieties each
9.00 Disney Cinderella Princess Doll Regular $17.99

black friday@ Hy-Vee Friday, November 23, 2012

 
When you purchase $75 in participating
gift cards shown in this ad Offer limited to participating cards shown in ad only. 

$15 discount
limited to one per customer, per order, per day. No substitutions of cards
allowed. Card selection subject to availability and while supplies last. No
rain checks. See gift card for details, terms and conditions. All trademarks
are property of their respective owners. The Visa® Gift Card is issued
by MetaBank™ pursuant to a license
from Visa U.S.A. Inc.; Member FDIC.
Good Friday