Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments Christmas Edition

I can't really say that my Christmas was altogether frugal.  I spent far more money than I should have, I suppose.  I always seem to overdo it so there is still room for improvement.  However, I am pleased with some of my accomplishments.

-Christmas has come and gone, many gifts were given and no new wrapping paper was purchased.  Where gift wrapping is concerned my ultimate goal is to entirely convert to brown craft paper.  I intend on purchasing a giant industrial sized roll of it.  It is versatile and will work for all occasions.  However, before I permit myself to purchase the craft paper I must finish using the wrapping paper that I already own and that is taking quite some time as I have no compunction using paper or gift bags over and over and over and over.  The kids humor me by trying to not tear wrapping paper.  Annually, on Christmas Eve, the kids are always gifted pajamas and books.  Those gifts have largely been wrapped in the same paper for several years, right down to the tags and, for some, the ribbon and bows.  It, in and of itself, has become a tradition and has become quite the family joke.  This year the kids were noting just how many tags were layered on one bag and were sharing with Keegan's boyfriend just how long certain bags have made their appearances under the Christmas tree.  Where Christmas wrapping is concerned I have frugality mastered.  :)

 -I had a most magnificent gift given to me for Christmas, my Christian unexpectedly came home to spend the holidays with us.  I had intentions of mailing him a small package with the traditional pajamas and books, as well as a gift card and cash but I had no intentions of stuffing a stocking and such.  I didn't have time to go shopping to adjust for his unexpected arrival so I dug into my gift stash and got a little creative (i.e. splitting up packages of socks intended for the other boys) and managed to fill his stocking nicely and place a couple additional gifts beneath the tree.  Delightful!

--Typically the boys and I make homemade hot chocolate mix on Stir Up Sunday to place on the hot chocolate bar; however, this year I just used packages of hot chocolate mix that I had purchased at a discount last year and had been storing in my food storage pantry.    I have almost worked my way through my stock.  I love having the hot chocolate bar set up during the holidays.  It allows for a modicum of hospitality with ease.

-We made a substantial amount of cookie dough in advance of Christmas and its related festivities which allowed us to have cookies readily available for holiday gatherings.  We took cookies to the boy scout party, to a family gathering and for when we had guests.

-After Bishop filled his baklava orders he made extra to give as gifts.  We packaged it up, gave it to friends then had it handy to give away when compelled.  It has been wonderful to have such a unique, homemade gift on hand.  Everyone has enjoyed it and it makes me think ahead to next year - more baklava? lotion bars? candles?

- I hand mended Maceo's slacks so that he could wear them to the Christmas Cabaret without embarrassment.  I also mended several other items.  Next on the list...the pom pom on my stocking cap needs to be put back on.

-I purchased several gifts from Amazon using $75 in gift cards earned at Swagbucks.

-I have begun purchasing items for next years Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes by going to post-Christmas sales.

-We have done a stellar job of using Christmas leftovers.  We made meal after meal with the ham and used the ham bone in a pot of beans today.  Most of the other leftovers have been eaten as well.  Eliminating food waste is essential to financial fitness.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Good Morning... It's Christmas Day!!!

Let me begin by saying that the best possible Christmas gift I could have received was to have the entire family together.  Nothing brings me greater joy!  I didn't think that it would happen this year.  I knew Herb would be home for Christmas as he has returned stateside from Korea and will not need to be in Kansas until mid-January.  I knew that I would have Keegan, and her boyfriend Anthony, as they flew in on the twenty-second.  I didn't think that I would have Christian.  He didn't want us to spend the money to bring him home when we were going to have to get him moved again, this time to Korea, in February.  However, on the the evening of the twenty-second I found him unexpectedly standing in my living room.  I cried, I hugged him.  I cried and hugged him some more.  Then one more time for good measure.  The surprise was perfect!!!!  I now have my entire family with me, I am a blessed woman!!!!!!

So, Christmas morning began with stockings

and then on to the gifts.

Followed by our traditional holiday buffet.  The buffet began with french toast casserole and little sausages, then morphed into the spread seen below.  We graze all day while enjoying our gifts and playing games...
then we dine together - ham, chutney, macaroni and cheese, asparagus, rolls, and pumpkin pie.  Yum!

It is also traditional for me to take a picture of my family around the dining room table.  I got a little excessive and my family had to let me know!!!  I love it!!!!  Silliness is a good thing!!!!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Our Christmas Eve Continues!

Upon returning home from the Christmas Eve service we had a bit of family time (and Thursday Night Football).

We had a fire and hot beverages...

and the traditional Christmas Eve gifts - 


and books!!!

Then came the traditional Christmas Eve s'mores.  We like to treat Santa to something a little different, no cookies from us.

The evening then ends with the presents beneath the tree, the stockings stuffed...

and all of us tucked into bed!!!