Frugal

Frugal Christmas Decorating

Gathering Your Ideas

You know that you want to decorate your house for Christmas, but you have no idea where to start. Well, I always start by gathering ideas. Since I am a visual person, the internet has been simply amazing in helping me figure out my style.

Pinterest 

Pinterest is always where I start. I have been working on a pin board of Christmas Decorating Ideas and Fun that you definitely won’t want to miss. The ideas I have been gathering are all simple and use relatively easy to find resources for.

Etsy

Etsy always inspires my creativity. If you are looking for ideas to decorate your home, don’t forget to stop there. Have some fun with your search and try adding upcycled, vintage, or retro to your search.

Tutorials 

Printables (just type Christmas printables into the search box on Pinterest or Google)

  • subway art
  • coloring pages
  • scrapbooking paper
  • bunting
  • vintage music
  • bits and pieces to make amazing decorations

Gathering Your Resources

Pretty much anything can be turned into a beautiful ornament these days. I suggest you have some idea of the materials you want to work with and the end product you have in mind before you begin gathering your resources.

Around Your House 

Don’t forget to take a good look around your house for materials that could be upcycled or repurposed into Christmas decorations. You may be surprised or even amazed at all the resources catching dust already at your house. Check your closets, attics, basements, and all the nooks and crannies in between.

Freecycle

Sometimes people on Freecycle offer up Christmas decorations or things to make them. Sign up with your local Freecycle and keep your eyes open. We got our new tree, a bucket or ornaments, and some Christmas lights from Freecycle this year. (found – fabric, art supplies, yarn, etc)

UsedEverywhere 

I know that UsedEverywhere has sites all across Canada and the UK. I visit our local site fairly frequently and have found wonderful used items and supplies to make things. (found – yarn)

Craigslist

While I have never actually found anything useful on our local Craigslist, I know other people have used it with success to find things they are looking for.

Kijiji 

This site is new and still building momentum, but I have been seeing ads for it everywhere. It is similar to Used Everywhere and Craigslist.

Thrift Stores

Take a visit to your local thrift stores, before and after the holidays, to see what they have to offer. I have often found lovely decorations for cheap. (found – decorations, fabric, yarn, cross stitch fabric and miscellaneous decorations)

Homeschool Families

Are you on a local homeschool support list? We are on a couple of them and people often offer things for free or cheap on the lists. If you keep a close eye on the list, you may be able to snatch up something useful and fun. (found – embroidery hoops)

Friends

Let your friends know that you are looking for Christmas decorations or things to make them. They may be purging their decoration or craft stash and have just the thing that you are looking for. (found – yarn, embroidery thread, plastic canvas, crochet cotton, fabric, picture frames and more)

Family

Don’t forget to ask your family if they have any of the items on your wish list (be they decorations or items to make them), as I am sure they would be glad to help you find what you need.

Did I forget anything? Where do you get your inspiration for your Christmas decorations? Where do you get your materials to make them? 

Check out all the rest of my posts and our Christmas Link Up.

This week I am linking up with some fabulous bloggers to bring you some amazing Christmas posts. Please take a few moments and visit the other mamas on this list and check out what they are writing today.

A Slob Comes Clean – Getting Your Home Company Ready
Feels Like Home – Christmas Traditions
Somewhat Crunchy – Christmas with Dairy Allergies
Spell Outloud – Children’s Books
Mama’s Learning Corner – Children’s Crafts
Many Little Blessings – Edible Gifts
An Oregon Cottage – Christmas Cookies
Catholic Icing – Wishing Jesus Happy Birthday
The Traveling Praters – Traveling
The Homeschool Classroom – Gifts Kids Can Make
Mama’s Laundry Talk – Laundry Gifts

*special thanks to Angie for making the graphic button for our series.

Frugal Fall Family Fun

My guest poster for today is Ashley Pichea and she blogs over at AP Freewriting.

(photo credit winjohn)

Can you say “Frugal Fall Family Fun” five times–fast?

Fall is definitely my favorite season, and there are some great “frugal” activities you can do to have some fun with your family!

  1. One of my all-time favorite fall activities is going to a football game. I grew up going to our local high school’s football games every Friday night. Many schools have family passes you can purchase if you’ll be attending multiple events, but a one-time ticket is usually only $4 or $5 for adults (less for students).
  2. If going to a game isn’t in the budget, you can experience the fun of football at little-to-no cost, right in your own backyard! Grab the kids, the neighbors, your friends down the street–whomever you can get–and put together a game of 2-hand-touch football. The rules are simple: each team gets up to four tries (known as downs) to get the ball to the “end zone” (mark with Frisbees, jackets, cones, whatever you have on hand). If the person with the ball is touched by a player from the other team with both hands, he or she is “down” and the play stops. Make your field as long or short as you like (I’d suggest 10-20 yards), and play as many sets of downs as you want (or play to “x” number of points). Make sure each team has an equal number of turns trying to get the ball to the end zone.
  3. If you asked my daughter what her favorite fall activity is, she’d tell you she LOVES to jump in the leaves. What is more frugal than that? Grab a rake, make a pile, and jump for joy!
  4. There’s nothing I love more about fall than looking at all the beautiful colors in the trees. And what’s more frugal than taking a nature walk/hike? Grab a camera, bag (for “treasures”), notebook and pencil, and a book about trees/leaves. If you have young kids, have them look for the biggest leaf, the smallest leaf, an acorn, a stick, and any other fall treasures. Then, have your kids put their treasures in a bag to take home. (See #5 for what to do with the treasures.) Older kids can use a notebook and pencil to sketch what they see while walking, or they can use a camera to capture pictures of the colors. A book about trees/leaves can help older kids learn to identify various types of trees/leaves and could even be part of a science unit. Use your camera to take fall pictures of your family among the beautiful background of colors.
  5. Creating a fall-scape with your nature walk/hike treasures is a fun way to bring fall inside! Grab a piece of cardstock or plain paper and use your treasures to create a beautiful picture. Draw an outline of a tree with a marker/crayon and glue leaves and acorns to it. Place a sheet of paper over a leaf and use a crayon to color over it, bringing out the leaf’s vein on the paper. Have older kids create a leaf collection by identifying various leaves (and the trees they came from) and creating a leaf book. Laminate the leaves with clear contact paper or use an iron to melt wax paper around each leaf.
  6. Decorating with nature is another great frugal fall family fun activity. Use the fall-scapes to decorate your home, as greeting cards, or to frame individual leaves and create a beautiful display. Grab a hot-glue gun and a piece of cardboard. Glue leaves and acorns to the cardboard to make a wreath or frame to hang on the wall. Create a garland by stringing acorns and leaves with a needle and thread.
  7. Fall is known for being a season of harvest. Grab the family and head to a nearby apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Often, these venues will have opportunities for hayrides, apple/pumpkin picking, and fun family photos. I love the taste of a freshly picked apple and fresh apple cider. I love carving jack-o-lanterns from pumpkins too!
  8. Another favorite fall activity is sitting (or standing) around a big bonfire! Grab the blankets and camp chairs and grill hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire. If the weather is less than welcoming, grab a bunch of blankets and make a fort in the living room. Create a “bonfire” with flashlights and colored paper.
  9. Make s’mores and popcorn in the microwave and put in a fun family movie from the library (or from your own movie collection), or grab a board/card game. (you can also check out Redbox movie rentals. Just $1 per night!)
  10. Small towns (and big ones too) often have Fall Festivals. Check your local paper or your municipality’s webpage to find a festival near you.

What frugal family fun do you have planned for this fall?

About Ashley:
Ashley Pichea is a wife and mom (almost 2 year old boy and 3.5 year old girl), as well as being a blogger, an online student (pursuing an MA in Ministry), and actively involved in her local church’s teaching ministry. She home schools her daughter and chronicles the journey at Teaching Jenny. Her blog, AP Freewriting, has become a place of ministry to women with a purpose of encouraging women with the Word of God. Ashley strives daily to find her identity in Christ, and she encourages you to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Large Family Good Eats – Recipe Sources

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Do you have a large family?

We have a large family. We have five children and visiting grandparents to feed most nights. That works out to roughly 9 people on any given night for dinner and sometimes through out the day. We have allergies in the family too (dairy, egg, and nuts). I have made it my mission to transform recipes to be free of our daughter’s allergens and still not break the budget.

As I set out to plan my menu for the week, I decided it was high time to gather a collection of resources for recipes. These recipe places were selected because of their “large family or crowd” appeal, not because of the lack of allergens (just a caution to you if you have allergies).

If you have  a large family (whatever that means to you) or you need to cook for a crowd, check out these amazing links.

What is your favorite “large” recipe? Please share…

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