Thriving In My Thrifty Christmas Week–December 26, 2018


Merry Christmas to everyone!  The post that usually goes up on Sunday?  I think I wrapped it on accident and put it under the tree:). Now that I have a moment to breathe, I thought I’d catch everyone up on our week before Christmas.

We spent a lot of time on Christmas this year, instead of a lot of money, so it was a mad whirl until the very end.  Despite the hustle and bustle we engaged in, there were plenty of times to just do fun things, relax and visit.  I’m very happy with how things ended up.

And, we stayed thrifty.


A while back, I was given some super-cute Christmas sprinkles.  Jake used this entire jar up on his 2 projects.  He had so much fun, and took the wrapped Krispie treats to his teachers and bus drivers.  They loved them.


We made lots of gifts.  Rob made gorgeous cutting boards for quite a few family members and friends.  This photo is in process, when he was treating them with oil so they would stay nice.  He made them all from reclaimed wood.

I sewed quite a few items.  We put together several photo gifts–some enlarged pictures, and a couple of photo albums.  We used coupon codes from Walgreens when we ordered the prints and went through Ibotta to get a few cents back.  One album was put together by Patsy for the cousins’ grandma who is visiting from Florida.  That way, she can have pictures of her far-away grandchildren all the time.  She loved it!


Patsy and Rachel got matching hats.  When Patsy chose her new middle name, she chose 2 middle names.  Rachel is one of them.  She’s a pretty special cousin and they like hanging out together when they can.

Patsy made super-cute bird houses for lots of us, and Chex Muddy Buddy mix for the rest.  Everyone was happy!

Harnet and Danait came and stayed for a couple of nights.  We had so much fun!


Danait loved seeing the Christmas train at the church before service on Christmas Eve.  She remembered it from last year and was so happy to see it again.  The service was lovely, too.


I love this picture of my sister, Rosalie, and Harnet!  We had such a good time spending time and visiting.  Rosalie gave Rob such a funny gift–It was box inside of box, inside of box, inside of box, with cute little signs and keys wrapped in it and a toy truck!  Can you guess what was inside?


The signs read, “Ft. Knox” and the keys were to open the fort.  The truck was a “get-away” car to haul it away with:). Then inside was a bag of gold coins (chocolate, of course!). It was very clever and everyone loved watching him open it.


The glitter was in there, too.  I mean, gold glitters, doesn’t it?


Of course, Rob was up to tricks, too.  He nailed and glued Alissa’s gift together, then finally gave her a hammer and chisel so she could pound it open.  Once she got in, she was baffled by the Home Depot and PetCo gift cards (both blank).  He finally pulled her real gift out of his backpack, but sure had fun teasing her first!


Of course, she paid him back by wrapping his gift in miles of bubble wrap, yards of tape, saran wrap, and lot of other sticky stuff.


There was an ice rink of “Frozen” going around the place!  Little girls are so fun to buy Christmas gifts for, and the family had fun, I’ll just say:). Her little costume (not in this picture, this is a nightie), actually has lights on it and it sings, “Let it Go.”  Crazy!


Believe it or not, I got a few non-Christmas-related frugal things done as well.  I re-covered Rob’s pillow with some quilted fabric I’ve had for a long time.  It was worn out, but he likes that exact amount of stuffing, so I just made a new cover.

We did some deep cleaning and organizing on several days, spending several hours we probably should have used for other purposes, but it sure feels good to have some areas clean and things organized that were messy before.

I cooked many meals.  I spent every last cent of my reduced $50/week, plus and extra $50 grocery budget, and have to admit, I dipped into the “little extra” I had set aside.  I will still end up the month under $300 instead of $250, and that includes several food gifts for people, all paper products and toiletries we needed, Christmas extras like cream cheese,  plus lots and lots of produce for my salad eater, Rob.  One thing I bought was 5 boxes of Chex cereal for $1.49/box.  Pasty used a lot of them for her Chex mixture.  The lady behind me in line said she had never, ever seen anyone buy so many boxes of Chex at once.  (She was nice, it just wasn’t part of her world to stock up like that). I politely made conversation with her, but later, to Rob, I said, “who COULDN”T eat 5 boxes of Chex!!!”  Frankly, she might just faint if she every saw my garage:)

Patsy got to do work projects with the youth group at church twice, racking up money in her account for youth group activities. There is a retreat in February she is working hard for.

Today, when I took Harnet home, I got stuck in traffic on the way back.  It took me a long time to get home.  Thankfully, I had a piece of candy in my purse, which I ate,  and then grabbed a little ziplock of frozen ham and bean soup from the freezer, and warmed it up right away once I got home.  I was so glad that was in there!  I almost had to stop and grab something, but made it home without a low blood sugar, saving at least $5-$7.

Rob grabbed some wrapping paper, bows and ribbons today at 70% off.  We wrapped most gifts this year instead of using bags, using paper bought on clearance another year.


The holiday was wonderful.  There are many more pictures I could show, and many more people who shared the week with us, but this post is way too long already.  We had a great time together as a family, and with friends over the past few weeks.  Tomorrow, we start our routine again, by taking the kids to the pool in the morning and I’m going to my exercise class.  Let’s just say….. it’s time:). I had a lot of turkey.  and ham.  and…….




24 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Christmas Week–December 26, 2018”

  1. Merry Christmas to you and your family- it looks like you had a great celebration. The cutting boards are beautiful – you should consider selling them….

    1. Thank you. We have thought of it, but have a little ways to go to figure out the logistics of selling them, and also whether or not he could create enough volume in a reasonable amount of time, or not. The materials are not expensive, since he’s using reclaimed wood, pallets, etc., but he has to scrounge around for the boards and wood, collect it, and then has the labor of making the cutting boards themselves….but we are exploring possibilities!

      1. I agree, those boards are absolutely stunning. Selling them could be a great extra revenue stream for your family and you always seem to be coming up with ways to save money. Maybe a local specialty shop would be willing to take a few on consignment just to get you started. That way Rob could work at his own pace and grow a fledgling business on his own terms without the costly outlay of selling at a arts or craft fair. You could always get one of the kiddos to set up an Etsy shop for you too. Good luck.

  2. Merry Christmas. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. You are not the only one that needs to hit the gym. I have been eating way to many goodies. Every where I go there are some and I have very little will power when it comes to chocolate and cookies.

    Rob’s cutting boards came out beautiful. I would have been very happy with a homemade gift like that. They are made with love and are very useful. He could easily sell them to made some side money.

    1. Thank you. I would love to have him sell some. It’s just quite time-consuming because he glues the wood together, sands, oils, etc. and so we would need to figure out prices, a market, etc. But, it is a good thought and he can sit down to do the sanding, which is necessary right now, so that’s a bonus:)

  3. What a wonderful update. It looks like you had a great holiday. I’m also very impressed with Rob’s beautiful cutting boards. I can imagine they would be quite time-consuming, but what a special and useful gift.

  4. Your Christmas was awesome! Those cutting boards are just beautiful! I hosted Christmas for the first time ever (I’m 52!), with some friends, and it was so, so nice. Everyone just talked and relaxed. We don’t have any family near, but have some friends who are definitely becoming family to us. I so wished my mom and dad would have come, but they don’t like to travel in the winter. So that was the only bummer. Rice Krispies are one of my very favorite desserts. I could eat them every day, I think.

    1. Congratulations on your excellent hosting experience! It’s always a lot of work, but very rewarding for me to have people over. I usually do Thanksgiving and my sister does Christmas, so I was happy to carry my things over there on Tuesday and enjoy the day. I will say, we had a LOT of things, though, when you added up the gifts for the nieces and nephews, sisters/mother/aunt, grown kids/ etc. PLUS all the coffee-making supplies/chest/cupboard/burner/etc. that Harnet brought. Good things we have both a van and a car!

  5. I love those cutting boards. That was a great idea for a present. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas. I could stand a little of that soup right now myself.

  6. I enjoyed seeing your Christmas fun ❤️.
    Do you have the very high value Ibotta rebates for gluten free Mikey products? I wanted to do some of them for my daughter but the products aren’t available here- $4 back on a loaf of GF bread, etc.

    1. Rhonda,
      I do have the Ibotta coupons, but cannot find the product, either. I really wanted to try it!

      I just wanted you to know that for whatever reason, your blog will not let me comment. I’ve tried over and over, and it says I’m not signed in to my Google Account and that’s my only option to comment with. (Some blogs let me choose another option when commenting, so it works–and, I am signed in on some, but not others–very strange, and I don’t have enough technological knowledge to know how to fix it:(!)So, please know, dear Ibotta team-mate, I’m still reading and really loved the snowman Christmas tree! And many other posts:). Have a very happy new year.

  7. Just had to add my two-cents to the cutting board feedback… When I saw the picture, I thought, “Wow!” Even though they would be awesome gifts, I would love to have something that beautiful to use *myself*! Please keep us all posted if Rob should actually decide to make a side-gig out of this. I always love your stories about your extended family celebrations — the love shines through! Happy New Year to all of you! May 2019 hold blessings in abundance.

  8. Gorgeous cutting boards! I also loved the river looking out of the sunroom ….so beautiful. Merry Christmas from Alabama!

    1. Thank you, Cindy. My sister lives on the Willamette River. I also enjoy looking at it, and I get to a lot because I’m over there helping with the kids several days a week. On Christmas, my mom and I were enjoying the geese. They were flying and flying over the river and because the house is set up quite high on the bank, they are almost at eye level. There were so many, we started to joke that they were circling around so we could watch them!

      We have also seen bald eagles. One day, my niece and I saw one catch a fish and carry it away. It was breath-taking!

  9. You’re blog posts could never be too long, imo. That’s why I’m here reading –love your writing, stories, photos.

    Sounds like you did great with your budget. That’s why we save right? To use the savings intentionally and thoughtfully. Everyone looks so happy in all your photos. And look at all you did, wow!

    When I saw those cutting boards, I too thought he could sell them. Do you read the blog: rural-revolution dot com? The writer and her hubby sell handcrafted wooden mugs. They’ve had the business for years. You might enjoy seeing her photos of their ‘production’ runs. It’s just one of the blogs I love reading. Oh, and they have an amazing garden and live in northern idaho.

    All is well here. Made it through Christmas but it was very quiet. I stayed home since I can’t kennel the dog right now with all his health issues. And that’s fine. It’s what I need to do for now. Looking forward to the new year. And my garden club meeting again mid-January. The local seed company catalog just came and I’m in planning mode!

    Be blessed and Happy New Year.

    1. That’s so sweet of you to say! Thank you. I’m glad you enjoy reading.

      I’ve never read that blog, but I’ll look it up. I am always up for information from others who are being successful.

      I’m sorry your dog is sick. We debate getting a dog–we go back and forth, and then “wait a little longer” to get one, because of how much care I think it would be here in town. Still, I just wonder if it would benefit Rob right now to have one–so I’m open to it while he is in such pain with this hip. It would have to be the right one, though. I’m glad your dog is a comfort to you.

      My Territorial seed catalog came yesterday! I’m so excited. I tried to look through it today, but didn’t get very far. Mr. Jake was feeling a little under the weather and so I waited on him hand and foot while he was over here this afternoon after church, as normal. I had him go home early, since he was not feeling well, but he was here long enough to feel like he got his routine. (The thing he liked best was that I let him eat some saltine crackers while sitting on the couch, usually a big “no-no!”. His second best thing was he had me take his temperature 4 or 5 times–he didn’t have a fever, but seemed to like me taking it).

  10. Your Christmas celebrations sounds like such fun! I love reading about all the gifts you made and all the fun you have unwrapping them, etc. Love those cutting boards! They are a work of art!

    1. Thank you. I think joke gifts have become the memories that linger around our family for years and years. There are a lot of “well, that’s amazing, but do you remember when….” And, now that the kids are getting older and older (cousins mostly), they are sometimes fixing up something for Uncle Rob to open in thanks for all the crazy things he’s done to them over the years. Like the year he taped dollar bills to one another in a long strip and put it into an empty tissue box so my nephew had to pull them out in a long line like a magic trick. Or last year, when he froze my niece’s gift card in a block of ice. And, and, and. All just good clean fun where no one ends up unhappy–and everyone gets a laugh.

  11. I forgot to mention that the lady who writes that blog also homeschooled their two daughters, now adults.

    Thanks for the kind words about my dog. Yes, they take some work but I couldn’t imagine life without one. But I do know, having lived in a multiple dog household a few times that one is enough for me. As to his health, he was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and the prognosis was 6 months. So I am elated that he’s still with me and has a good life. He just takes quite a few prescriptions which is one reason I don’t want to kennel him.

    I just found out this weekend that the young couple who manage one of my community gardens will be leaving the area. They were lovely people and we had bartered quiet a few times over different things. I’m sad they’re leaving bu excited for them. And two weeks until my first garden meeting for the new year. Woot-woot.I”m trying not to buy everything in the seed catalog. Cheers

    1. I did check out that blog you mentioned. It was very interesting, and I will go back and read some of the back posts soon!

      I spent a little time yesterday sorting seeds left over from last year. I intentionally buy a package of this or that, say a certain tomato, and I only raise 1/2 of the packet in the greenhouse, and save the rest for the following year. Because I had to buy lots last year, I’m hoping I have a smaller seed purchase this year, due to the 1/2 packets. Some things, like green bean seeds–I order each and every year. We eat so many of those! It’s fun to plan:)

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