Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

12 Different Easter Egg Dyes & Crafts

Saturday, April 23, 2011 1:37 Comments Off

Stuck for last minute egg dying and crafty ideas to do with those hardboiled eggs before Sunday?  Here are some quick ways to dye Easter eggs – mostly with using stuff right in your cupboards, so you don’t have to buy one of those fancy kits for each of your kids.

Are you trying to avoid food coloring this year with your Easter eggs?  Here is how to make Tissue Paper Easter eggs - the tissue paper is the dye, so no messy containers full of dye just waiting to be spilled!

Has your daughter been eyeing up those fancy glitter Easter egg kits?  Here is how to make glitter Easter eggs them at home without having to buy a whole kit just for the glitter effect.

If your kids are more on the groovy side of things, make some fun tie-dyed Easter eggs!

Strive to Simplify has some great information on how to use natural vegetable dyes to dye Easter eggs. She has a great chart on vegetables for different dye colors, such as using red inion skinds for red easter egg dye and spinach leaves for green, which were two I knew about, but she also has quite ingenious ones I never would have thought of like hibiscus tea for purple and paprika for orange. Highly recommended!

Mama Knows has some fun Easter Egg holder printables… print them out, have your kids color them up, then they have their own holders for their Easter eggs to show them off!

Cynthia Schaffer has eggs made by painting eggs with chalkboard paint and then decorating them with chalk.  Pretty ingenious!

Measured by the Heart has eggs done by using your glue gun to make patterns on Easter eggs before dying them.

The Come Together Kids blog has a different spin on Easter eggs for your craftier kids.  These are not decorating hardboiled eggs, but a very clever Easter egg fabric batik which is done with glue.

Want to get in on the fun or have older kids who think regular Easter egg dying is too babyish?  Missy Polyclay has some great looking Easter eggs made by gluing embroidery thread (ie DMC or Anchor thread) onto eggs, wrapping them in a single layer from top to bottom.

Budget Barbie has these fun eggs made with water balloons for the eggs and wrapped with yarn.  I bet some boys could have a fun Easter egg water balloon fight with these!

Definitely Deals has this cute Easter egg tree.

And lastly, what is an Easter egg hunt without having a cute bag for putting those eggs in?  Purl Bee has these cute Easter Egg hunt bags that you can easily whip up if you are a sewer.

Have you forgotten how to make the perfect hard boiled egg?  Or hate when they turn out with those green yolks kids love to hate?  Here is our simple way of making green free hardboiled eggs!

Don’t forget that for food safety, you should never leave Easter eggs out at room temperature for more than a couple of hours if you plan to eat them!

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This was posted under category: Crafts, Holidays

Fresh herbs mix for inside your turkey

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 23:09 Comments Off

Ever since we have been warned against cooking the stuffing inside the turkey, people have been getting creative with what to put inside the cooking bird.  There is always the beer can route, ala beer can chicken.  Others will stuff the stuffing inside the bird for cooking during the last half hour or so, when the turkey is nearly done, so you can ensure the turkey will be cooked through and the turkey won’t be contaminated by raw poultry juices.

But an amazingly easy thing to do is simply stuff your turkey with fresh herbs right when you are preparing it for the oven.  The fresh herbs will infuse the flavor right into the turkey as it cooks, leaving a turkey with a uniquely aromatic taste.. and your house will smell wonderful while it cooks!

You can buy fresh herbs at the grocery store, even during winter months.  So next time you are at a loss of what to put inside the turkey, consider using this great combination of fresh herbs instead.  Or you can adjust some of the herbs that work well with poulty in place of the ones we suggest.

  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sorrel
  • Savory
  • Sage
  • Dill
  • Margoram

You only need a few sprigs of each for an average size turkey, doubling the amount of herbs for a large (25+ lbs) turkey.  When the turkey is finished roasting, you can simply discard the herbs, or you can use them in another dish, provided you are certain the turkey has been completely cooked through, so no uncooked juices remain.

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This was posted under category: Cooking, Holidays

Easy stove-top recipe to make your house smell like Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 7:09 Comments Off

Certain smells just make you think of the Christmas season.  And something as subtle as the scent in the house can make everyone feel more festive… especially if you have had to cut back this Christmas, or even if you are snowbound!

You need a medium saucepan filled with one quart of water.  Then add 3 cinnamon sticks, 1/4 cup whole cloves (buy in bulk to save money), 2 tbsp lemon juice, zest from one orange, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and two bay leaves.  Place on the stove and simmer to leave your house smelling like Christmas.  If you plan to simmer all day, be sure to check the water level and add more as needed.

You can also adjust the recipe to your own personal preference.  Like orange scents?  Add zest from two oranges instead of just one.  Not a fan of nutmeg?  Drop it back to 1/4 tsp instead of the 1/2 tsp the recipe calls for.  Love allspice?  Add 1/4 or 1/2 tsp of allspice to the pot.  It is all about making it smell like Christmas to you, so don’t be shy about incorporating coordinating scents into the recipe.

We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and is keeping safe while all these winter storm are hitting just about everywhere.  Merry Christmas!

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This was posted under category: Holidays

Inexpensive and super easy Christmas centerpiece

Thursday, December 18, 2008 4:30 Comments Off

Trying to figure out what to do for a centerpiece for Christmas, without spending an arm and a leg, and without having to rush out Christmas Eve to buy a bouquet of holiday flowers that will still look fresh on Christmas Day?  Here is a super easy and inexpensive idea to dress up the holiday table.  And it is a fantastic way to use cranberries for something other than cranberry sauce :)

First, you need a clear glass vase.  Then, head out to your garden or go for a walk in a park, and pick up small fir branches, holly sprigs, and any other festive-looking greenery.  Trim them at home, ready to be placed in the vase.

Fill the vase with fresh water, about half way full.  Then add a generous helping of fresh cranberries to the water for decor (about 1 cup or so, you may need more or less depending on the size of the vase).  Then add the various holiday greenery to the vase, and you have a great looking centerpiece.

The arrangement will last for days, as long as you change the water daily, and give the cranberries a quick rinse as you do it.  This also makes a wonderfully inexpensive hostess gift if you are visiting someone’s house over the holiday season.

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This was posted under category: Frugal Gifts, Holidays

Buy Christmas presents by redeeming your points

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 7:14 Comments Off

When you think of redeeming points, do you automatically think only of air miles?  Well, chances are pretty good that you have more than one “points card” that you get for being a frequent shopper at favorite stores.  And many of those stores will allow you to redeem those points for free products you can choose from a catalog, discounts on purchases and even exchange for gift cards.  But most of these companies don’t exactly volunteer that you can exchange those shopping points for anything good, so you need to get on it!

First, go through your wallet and find all those frequent shopper cards you have that track how much you spend (and no, you probably don’t want to know how much you have spent on each of them!!!)  Then, armed with your cards, check out the websites for each company and see what kind of perks you can get with those points you have earned.

If it isn’t a card that you receive a statement for, chances are pretty good you have probably racked up a fair bit without even knowing it, especially if it is something you use frequently, such as while grocery shopping.  You may need to phone their head office to find out your points balance, if you don’t have access to it, then find out what those points are worth.  You could be surprised at what you could exchange those points for.  Or next time you are in each store, a customer rep can help you find out about what your points balance is, and what you can get for it.

This is a great way to stretch your budget over the holidays, especially since it is essentially “free money”.  So be sure to take advantage of it, especially if there are people on your gift list you weren’t able to afford to buy anything for.

And don’t forget, if you are in the giving spirit, most places have charities they work with where you can simply donate all your unused points to charity…. this is what I have done on multiple occassions to support everything from a local children’s hospital to the SPCA, and I know the donation is appreciated by all.

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This was posted under category: Holidays, Shopping

Host a Christmas gift wrapping party

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:31 Comments Off

Do you hate Christmas wrapping and tend to put it off til the last moment?  Well, instead dreading the yearly holiday chore, invite some girlfriends over for a Christmas wrapping night!  Plan a fun night of movies, lots of chatting, and lots of presents wrapped for under the tree.

Now, you don’t want to invite too many people so it is chaotic and things are getting mixed up.  Instead, think inviting 3-5 guests tops.  Ask everyone to bring rolls of tape, a couple rolls of wrapping paper to share, gift tags as well as all the presents they need to wrap.  Don;t forget a selection of favorite movies – either chick flicks or holiday movies – that can play in the background as you all catch up on the latest news, because it is a great opportunity to multitask – wrapping AND chit chat!

Everyone will share the wrapping paper so everyone will end up with a variety.  So if someone is bringing over a giantic present to wrap, maybe mention beforehand “oh, you better bring an extra roll so we can all help you wrap that one!”, especially if wrapping paper budget is an issue.  Or get your kids to draw pictures on kraft paper that you can use for original hand drawn wrapping paper.

Once the wrapping starts, have a specific spot designated for each person to put their gifts once they are wrapped and tagged (trust me, sorting through all the presents at the end of the night to see which belongs to who is NO fun!).  So you might put yours on the kitchen counter, another person uses the dining room table, and someone else uses the hallway rug space.  Just so long as they are easy to gather up without mixing up!

What about food?  You can have some light snacks and munchies on hand, you could do it potluck style or you could all chip in and order pizza or Chinese food.  You will need to keep the energy up!  And don’t forget the beverages ;)

Christmas will be here before you know it, so start planning your Christmas gift wrapping party now, so you can avoid those late night wrapping sessions on Christmas Eve!

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This was posted under category: Holidays

Quick way to dress up solid color gift bags

Sunday, December 7, 2008 2:17 Comments Off

If you have (hopefully!) gone the frugal way of buying inexpensive gift bags and dressing them up, or have plans to make your own gift bags, you will probably find yourself panicking as the holidays draw closer and you still have so much to do!  Here is a super quick way to dress up those dollar store gift bags… with pipe cleaners!

Pipe cleaners (sometimes now called “Chenile stems” to be a bit more politically correct!) can be bought very cheaply at craft supply stores as well as places like WalMart (think 100 pipe cleaners for $1 or $2, although you will pay slightly more for fancier pipe cleaners that are shiny or with flecks in them).  We used white pipe cleaners with irridescent flecks throughout to give it a snowy festive look.   You can see the sparkles a bit better in the photo below..  Carefully untie the current cord handles and remove from the bag.  Next, you will need to insert the pipe cleaners and make knots at the end (as the photo below shows).

Repeat for other side of bag.  Re-attach gift tag if it came with one, or you can make your own.  You can also use the pipe cleaners to make shapes, and carefully glue them to the outside of the bag. Plus, you will have many left over pipe cleaners for other holiday crafts too.

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This was posted under category: Holidays Tags: ,

How to pick the perfect live Christmas tree

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3:20 1 Comment

If you want a live Christmas tree this year, make sure you take some of these points into consideration, so you don’t end up buying the wrong tree!  Because there is always the potential for a fire hazard, here are things you should look for and consider when buying a Christmas tree this year.

  • How tall can the tree be?  Measure to the ceiling and chose a tree that is at least one foot shorter.  This will allow room for the tree stand and a star on the top.
  • How wide?  Especially if your tree is tucked into a smaller space, measure to see how wide the tree can be, and make sure the one you buy isn’t too wide for the space.
  • Is it the freshest cut tree?  Ask when the trees were cut and ask specifically where the trees are that were most recently cut.  Just like in a grocery store, many Christmas tree farms will want to sell the trees they cut earliest to be sold first before the ones they have just cut down.
  • How dry are the needles?  The needles can tell you how much the tree has dried out.  The needles should be soft and pliable (ie. bendy), and not dry and snappy.
  • Give the tree a shake.  When you shake a branch and run your fingers along the needles, very few needles should fall off.  If a ton seem to be dropping, go on to the next free.
  • Is the trunk of the tree straight? If the base part of the tree is bent, it will make your tree lopsided in the stand and it won’t stand straight.  So make sure the base is straight as well as the cut on the base.
  • How long is the base?  To be held securely in the tree base, you need to have a good six inches without branches.
  • Have your base and Christmas tree preservative ready to go.  You don’t want to get your tree and then start the hunt to find a base.  Make sure it is all ready to go so that you can get the tree into water and the preservative (here is the recipe to make your own tree preservative) as quickly as possible.
  • Consider a live tree instead of a cut tree.  With a live tree, it will come oacked with roots and soil, and you can plant it outside once Christmas is over.

By following these tips, you should be able to chose that perfect tree for your living room this year.


This was posted under category: Holidays Tags: ,

40 Thanksgiving Day crafts & activities for kids

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 3:54 1 Comment

Need some crafts and activities to keep the kids occupied and busy while the turkey cooks?  Or some easy decorations they can make for some frugal Thanksgiving decor?  We have scoured the web, and here are 40 of the fantastic Turkey Day crafts we have found.

  1. Make salt dough gingerbead boys & girls ahead of time, then the kids can decorate them for the tree.
  2. Pumpkin pie playdough
  3. Playdough turkeys (cute and you can use the above pumpkin pie playdough with it!)
  4. Construction paper & feathers turkey
  5. Handprint turkeys (I remember these from when I was really young!)
  6. Turkey spoon craft & more turkey spoon crafts
  7. Rice Krispie turkeys – great for those who love rice krispie squares!  And you could use them as bribery that they get to eat them after they have had their dinners!
  8. Really cute turkey finger puppets
  9. Paper bag turkey
  10. Thanksgiving coloring pages
  11. Make turkey counting books - great for toddlers.
  12. Thanksgiving memory game
  13. Coffee filter turkeys
  14. Thankful can & thankful turkey
  15. Make your own candy canes – do this craft to get ready for Christmas!
  16. Cereal box turkeys
  17. Turkeys made from paper plates
  18. Indian Corn artwork
  19. Thanksgiving Day place cards
  20. Corn placemats and thankful tree
  21. Recycled turkey placecards
  22. Turkey pops
  23. Vintage Thanksgiving cards to print
  24. Inexpensive Thanksgiving decor
  25. Thanksgiving Day “Thankful” nature banner (great way to get the kids outside!)
  26. Turkey nut holder
  27. Draw pictures of the Macy’s Day Parade floats – then use them for Christmas cards
  28. Adorable Thanksgiving tree
  29. Turkey hats
  30. Handprint turkey softie
  31. Thanksgiving placemats to color
  32. Pinecone turkey
  33. Patchwork trivet
  34. Pipe cleaner turkey table favors
  35. Thanksgiving Day skits – great for your budding actors and actresses
  36. Make crayons in harvest colors
  37. Turkey cookies & more turkey cookies
  38. Turkey centerpieces out of old gloves
  39. Tampon turkey Thanksgiving centerpiece – this is hysterical!

And lastly, the top five Thanksgiving Day movies from Reader’s Digest, if they get to watch a bit of television.

Have more crafts to share?  Please include them in your comments so we can share them with our readers!  Don’t forget to sign up for our RSS, and you’ll also be entered to win a free exclusive MomsBudget Holiday Planner – draw is on November 20th.


This was posted under category: Crafts, Holidays

Do you have a Christmas stash place for presents?

Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:55 2 Comments

Do you have a Christmas stash area for your presents?  How many times have you bought a Christmas present months ahead of the holiday season, only to either forget you bought it or forget where you put it?  Believe me, this happens to a lot of us!  One way to help is to keep a gift giving list, where you keep track of what you have bought for each person, regardless of whether it is February or December.

Another easy way to help keep you organized, and remembering what you have already bought, is to have a Christmas stash area where you put all your presents.  Whether it is in a specific room, such as a spare bedroom or the basement, or a specific place, such as under your bed or at the top of a hall closet, keeping all the presents together in the same location will help you remember everything you have bought when you just have to go to one place to see it all.  It is far easier than when you have presents scattered in hiding spots throughout the house.

When you have a Christmas stash place, you will know where that cute martini glass necklace is that you bought your sister back in April and it will also remind you that you bought your father-in-law a new cordless drill when you bought it in that after Christmas sale last year but promptly forgot about it.

It also means all your gifts are in one place o when you have some spare time, you can do some wrapping in batches, rather than trying to squeeze all the wrapping into a single session a couple of days before Christmas!

It is also great last minute prep work if you plan on doing a ton of Christmas shopping on Black Friday!


This was posted under category: Holidays, Saving Money Tags: , , ,