Things to Do On Christmas Day

Christmas comes around every year. Often times we find ourselves doing the same things year after year, just because. This year let’s get intentional as we discuss things to do on Christmas day.

Ever wondered what are things to do on Christmas Day? Here are lots of fun and frugal Christmas family traditions you can start this year!

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Christmas normally means opening presents, eating food, and maybe seeing extended family but there are other ideas we can build into our family culture and enjoy making into traditions.

Life is all about finding what works for us and the life our family has been called to live. The same is true when we brainstorm things to do on Christmas day.

Things to Do on Christmas Day

Read the Christmas story. Read it straight from one of the gospels. Afterward you could also read it from a children’s bible. Something like Jesus Storybook Bible or The Big Picture Story Bible.

Special Breakfast. We grew up having homemade cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. Add in a breakfast casserole to have some protein on the table and you are all set. Set out hot chocolate and hot tea to have throughout the day.

Opening Stockings. This is the first thing we open Christmas morning. There is something exciting, as a kid, about opening up stockings filled with little gifts. You can find many, many options for purchasing or making stockings. My stocking is the one my mom made me when I was born. I have now made all of my family one using the same pattern.

Open Presents. Of course, opening presents will still need to happen. Unless, of course,  you decided to go for the experience gifts. You just have to think about if you are going to have a free for all or have everyone take turns opening one present at a time. With my kids, they each take a turn giving out the presents they purchased for everyone else and they are opened one at a time. It also helps made opening presents last longer than 60 seconds. 😉

Fancy dinner or supper. Go all out for a formal dinner with turkey, ham, or even steaks or go simpler with something like a soup buffet. Lighting candles always makes meals more special. Have Christmas music playing softly in the background.

Snack supper. If you don’t want to spend the day in the kitchen, there is nothing wrong with putting on an snack feast! Pull out all your easy to throw together or make ahead appetizer recipes and I think you won’t find your kids complaining. 

Have Company Over. Find a family or individual that doesn’t have anyone to spend the day and invite them over for food and fun.

Watch a movie. Pull out a family favorite Christmas movie (Elf is a go-to for us) and spend a couple hours relaxing as a family.

Board game competition. Play any new games that were received for presents and get out some of your family favorites and let your competitive sides show.

Christmas themed games. Try some fun Minute to Win It style games or one of these Christmas games.

Play in the snow. Get outside for at least a short while. If you happen to have a white Christmas, build a snowman, go sledding, or have an epic snowball fight. No snow, still get outside for a brisk walk of a family football game.

Drive to look at the Christmas lights. You are in the last week of being able to enjoy all the bright lights. If you didn’t do it Christmas Eve, drive around and see the sights one last time.

Serve Christmas dinner with a food pantry, church, or other local ministry. There is most likely at least one or two organizations in your town that are serving a Christmas meal to those who can’t afford to cook their own. See if you can help!

Go caroling. Go caroling around town – stop by your friends’ homes to sing a song outside their front door. Don’t stay, just sing and leave you won’t have to worry about imposing on anyone.

Visit the nursing home. Not only will there will be individuals in the nursing homes that don’t have family to celebrate with but also employees that have to work. Stop by with some goodies and sing carols or just visit a while and give out hugs.

Bake cookies. Whip up the last of your cookie recipes you didn’t get to on Christmas Eve or earlier in the season!

Drink hot cocoa. Hot beverages are perfect for winter and especially Christmas day.

Write thank you cards. If you have time, get a jump start on those thank yous. Have everyone sit around the table and tackle them together.

Go technology free. Commit to Christmas being a family day – put up your phones and any other hand held devices. Enjoy giving your family your undivided attention.

Call or video message your family. Connect with your family that you aren’t able to spend the day with. Do at least a quick group video call to say Merry Christmas.

Share memories. Share stories from Christmases past. Tell about when you where a child and even when your parents were children. Let your kids share about their favorite Christmas memories.

Birthday Party for Jesus. Make a cake, put candles in it, and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. If Christmas day is too crazy for this, have a little party on Christmas Eve.

These are just a few things to do on Christmas day this year. Get your kids involved and see what would make Christmas special to them. None of these things cost much (or any) money – you can make them work on your budget.

What are your favorite things to do on Christmas day?

Ever wondered what are things to do on Christmas Day? Here are lots of fun and frugal Christmas family traditions you can start this year!

Easy Roasted Sausage and Veggies Recipe

Have you jumped on the sheet pan dinner band wagon? They are so easy and customize-able. This  sheet pan roasted sausage and veggies recipe is no different.

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

This recipe is a go to in the fall and winter months. (Actually, even spring. The only time I don’t make this is in the summer when it’s blazing hot.) It’s a simple meal to add to the menu for one of those days when life is crazy and you don’t really want to think about what’s for dinner.

(If you are wondering more about menu planning and why you should do it, be sure to check out this post!)

It’s easy to switch up the ingredients based on personal preference, what you have on hand, and what’s on sale. See, I told you it’s amazing!

pan of cut up veggies

Ingredients:

Italian Sausage: pork, turkey, spicy, mild – your choice. Amount is also up to you, but somewhere between 12-20 ounces or between half of a link to a whole link of sausage.

Veggies: 8 cups of vegetables. Celery, carrots, onion, bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, corn or any other roasting friendly vegetables.

Seasonings: Garlic powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, salt, pepper

pan of cut veggies and sausageHow to Serve: You can serve up just plates of roasted veggies and sausage (my preference)  or put over something like rice, potatoes, zucchini noodles or whatever you like.

Another super easy supper, is this Alfredo or these baked chicken thighs.

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

Roasted Sausage and Veggies

Easy Roasted Sausage and Veggies Recipe
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced (2 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 onion, large dice (1 cup)
  • 1 bell pepper, large dice (1 cup)
  • 2 potatoes, large dice (2 cups)
  • Italian Sausage, 12-20 ounces
  • 2-3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Prepare all of the veggies and place on a large sheet pan (or two smaller ones).
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss together.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Slice the sausage (see notes) and spread over the veggies.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Bake another 20 minutes.
  7. Serve by itself or with side of choice.
  8. Enjoy
Notes
1. Sausage: I prefer slicing my sausage when it's partially frozen. You can either slice in circles or cut in half lengthwise and then slice. That is what I do, because I feed kids and don't want to worry about it being a choking hazard. You could also leave the sausages whole.
2. Servings size depends on if you serve with rice or by itself.

 

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

 

Saran Wrap Ball Game for Christmas

This Saran wrap ball game is a blast!

This Saran wrap ball game is SO much fun! Here's how to play, ways to wrap the ball, and ideas for what to put inside. This is perfect for your family Christmas or with friends. Do a plastic wrap ball for the adults and one for the kids and have a blast.

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Christmas shopping can get (more) difficult as our families grow and siblings get married and have kids. Do you buy for everyone, draw names, just do the kids, or skip gifts all together?

For many people, it’s something that just has to be done. It can be hard to buy for adults who simply purchase what they need or have specific tastes that make them difficult to shop for.

Saran Wrap Ball Game

This Saran wrap Christmas game is such a fun alternative!

Perfect for adults and teens.

You could even have a separate Saran wrap ball game going for the kids. I would not recommend combining the kids and adults – things get a little too competitive and it’s easier to shop if you do them separately.

Supplies:

  • Plastic wrap
  • Prizes
  • 2 dice
  • Paper box lid

What to Put Inside the Saran Wrap Ball

First off, set a budget (ours was $15-$20 per person) and have everyone purchase assorted gifts and a roll of plastic wrap. Any brand works.

You can do anything with the gifts – so be creative!

One tip is to try to stay gender neutral.

Also, have “prizes” from all price points – even $1. The more little gifts throughout the Saran wrap ball, the more fun there is.

Gift Ideas:

We had things from candy, fun socks, Paper Mate felt pens, mini notebooks, gift cards (numerous $5 ones and then at least one $10 one), snacks, batteries, lip balms, Oregon Trail card game, dollar bills, Bananagrams, and other assorted items.

This is where having all adults or all kids playing makes shopping a little simpler.

Have all the gifts and plastic wrap delivered to one person so the ball can be made before the event starts.

Wrapping the Saran Wrap Ball

Wrapping this giant Saran wrap ball is an event in and of itself. Make sure you have at least a couple of people there to help with the prep.  It’s also a lot of fun. One of my sister’s had their phone disappear – someone wrapped it up in the ball. 😉

The Saran Wrap:

You have two options when it comes to wrapping. One is definitely more difficult.

You can either wrap each roll as one continuous piece (the easier method) or cut the plastic wrap and restart at varying intervals. Do some ridiculously short, some crazy long, and others in between. This method is more frustrating (in the fun, competitive way) and will make the game last longer.

If you are doing the Saran wrap Christmas game for your young kiddos, I’d suggest doing each roll as one continuous piece.

For adults and teens, I recommend mixing it up and going hard.

Our game, with 8 adults, lasted over 27 minutes and every second flew by!

Adding the Gifts:

Start with wrapping your “big” prize (because this will end up the center of the ball). Our grand prize was a gift card. This little gift card was wrapped in several pieces of plastic wrap.

As you start working your way out on the ball, simple add in gifts periodically. We tried to have the more expensive gifts on the inside and the less expensive gifts end up on the outside. You will also need to take into account how certain things will wrap. The pens in our ball needed to be wrapped once the ball was larger because of their length and inflexibility. Bananagrams, though large, worked to wrap toward the center because of its flexibility.

We wrapped whole bags of candy and also opened up a package of Hershey Kisses and peanut butter cups and had those sprinkled through out the ball.

Playing The Saran Wrap Ball Game

  1. Have everyone sit on the floor in a circle. A little space between each person but making sure to still be within arms reach.
  2. Deciding who is going to start. (Youngest player might be a good option.)
  3. Give the starting player the Saran wrap ball and the next person the dice. When we played the game, we found it easiest to use a paper box lid to roll the two dice in. It kept the dice from rolling around the room and made it simpler for the next person to just grab the box when it was their turn.
  4. Player with the ball finds the end piece of Saran wrap and starts unwrapping while the next person is rolling the dice. As soon as they roll doubles (of any number), they shout “doubles” and grab the Saran wrap ball and the next person grabs the box with the dice and the game continues.
  5. Any prizes you unroll are yours.
  6. Important Rule: NO tearing the Saran wrap. You HAVE to find the end of the strip. This is where it gets harder when you use shorter pieces of plastic wrap. Sometimes finding the end is super difficult! It’s all a part of the game.

That’s it! You keep playing, laughing, screaming, and grabbing until the ball is completely unrolled and the last prize is captured.

Give this Saran wrap ball game a try at your family Christmas or even a Christmas party. It will be a fun memory for sure!

The Best Cranberry Salad Recipe

When I think Thanksgiving this best creamy cranberry salad recipe is one of the first things that comes to mind. In fact, my family loves it so much it also makes an appearance at our Christmas Eve dinner.

This is the best creamy cranberry salad recipe ever! This recipe will be passed down to your kids and you will be asked to make it every holiday! It's my FAV!

One of the things that sets this recipe apart is that it uses fresh cranberries. No canned cranberries allowed here. 😉

I like to stock up on cranberry discounts after Thanksgiving is over and store several bags in the freezer to last through the year. They are perfect for this salad, muffins, and any other fresh cranberry recipes.

This particular recipe came from my grandma. It was one of the ones that my continued to make and now so do my siblings and I. Recipes that hold special memories are the best kind. Add this cranberry salad recipe to your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (or really, just meal) and it will be the dish you are always asked to make.

Ground cranberries and sugar mixed together.

Ingredients:

What are the other components of this dish besides good old cranberries?

  • Marshmallows
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Sugar
  • Heavy cream, whipped

That’s it! See how easy it is?

You can also make this dish the day before. The marshmallows absorb any liquid and turn into this delightfully light and airy bite.

Cooking for a crowd, be sure and double this recipe! Besides, you will want leftovers too.

Let’s talk sugar for a minute.

This recipe calls for 1 cup. I never make it with the full cup. Not even when making it for company. To me, what’s the point of cranberries if you aren’t going to have a little tart. Your first time making it, try with 3/4 of a cup and see what you think. If you think it’s too tart, you can always add more. (But I don’t think you’ll need too – the pineapple and marshmallows add sweetness as well.)

When I made this cranberry salad recipe for these pictures, I used just 1/3 cup of sugar and a sprinkle of stevia. It’s a little tart, but still good! Disclaimer: I would not recommend starting with that small of amount of sugar your first time making it!

The Best Creamy Cranberry Salad Recipe

The Best Cranberry Salad Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 10 ounce bag of cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 20 can of crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1½ -2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Using a food processor or blender, grind the bag of cranberries. Pulse button works well. I like them to to be ground but with some large pieces mixed in.
  2. Drain the can of crushed pineapple very well. It yields approximately 1⅓ cups after drained.
  3. Add the drained pineapple and sugar to the cranberries and mix well. Stir in the marshmallows.
  4. Whip the heavy cream until medium to stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the cranberry mixture.
  5. Refrigerate until serving (at least several hours or up to a day early).
  6. Enjoy!

 

This is the best creamy cranberry salad recipe ever! This recipe will be passed down to your kids and you will be asked to make it every holiday! It's my FAV!

Frugal Winter Bucket List for Families

Winter can be long and depressing. After the first round of cold and snow, it’s easy to find ourselves longing for warmth. Instead, here is a frugal winter bucket list for kids that your family can use this year to create special memories during those frigid months.

Playing in the snow! These frugal and fun winter bucket list ideas will take your family from winter blues to creating memories your kids will cherish.

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I’m one of those people who is completely satisfied staying inside curled up on the couch with a good book. Often times I need a little extra motivation to face the cold and have fun with the kids.

Moms of littles, I think winter is harder for us. We have kids with a lot of energy cooped up in a house. Bundling up to head outside is a chore and often little kids don’t last long before cold fingers bother them (or they have to use the bathroom and you have to completely unbundle them and then redo it)!

Hopefully using this winter bucket list for families will encourage us to embrace cold weather activities as well as the warm and cozy indoor ones.

Let your kids pick an activity each week (or let each child select an activity each week) – give them something to look forward to!

Disclaimer about the word frugal. Some of these items are only going to be frugal depending on where you live! Skiing in Oklahoma is in no way going to be cheap. But where I grew up skiing and ice skating where super accessible.  Just select the ones that work for you.

Frugal Winter Bucket List Ideas

  1. Ice Skating
  2. Skiing
  3. Snowboarding
  4. Sledding
  5. Ice Fishing
  6. Build a Snow Man
  7. Make Snow Angels
  8. Snowball Fight
  9. Build a Snow Fort
  10. Go to a Hockey Game
  11. Go Caroling
  12. Looking at Christmas Lights
  13. Truth in the Tinsel
  14. Peppermint Playdough
  15. Bubble Bath
  16. Make Snow Ice Cream
  17. Decorate Sugar Cookies
  18. Deliver Sugar Cookies to friends and neighbors
  19. Make a fire
  20. Family Game Night
  21. Indoor Camp Out
  22. Read Winter Themed Books
    The Snowy Day
    The Mitten
    Katy and the Big Snow
    Chapter Books:
    Miracles on Maple Hill
    The Long Winter
    Snow Treasure
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  23. Make A Scarf
  24. Winter Crafts for Kids or adults
  25. Frozen Bubbles
  26. Advent Calendar
  27. Bake Something with Peppermint
  28. Bake something with cranberries
  29. Hot Chocolate Bar
  30. Watch a Christmas Movie:
    Elf
    The Santa Clause
    Nativity Story
    Star
  31. Nutcracker Ballet
  32. Family Christmas Card
  33. Volunteer at the food pantry
  34. Winter Science Experiments

What are your favorite winter traditions for your family? What do your kids look forward to each year?

Hopefully, taking the time to plan some special moments will keep the cold, dreary gloom from taking over your family.

Even a few minutes of purposeful fun each day can go a long way in bettering attitudes, beating the winter blues, and creating memories your kids will remember!

Hot cocoa in the snow! These frugal and fun winter bucket list ideas will take your family from winter blues to creating memories your kids will cherish.

Tips to Enjoy the Holidays and Reduce Stress

Do you want to actually enjoy the holidays this year and ditch the stereotypical Christmas stress and chaos?

Christmas tree with ornaments. This year reduce the Christmas stress and actually ENJOY the holidays! These simple tips will transform your Christmas season.

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Does a relaxing Christmas season and spending time making memories (fun ones, not those where the kids remember how mom went crazy) sound like a dream?

This year, you can take some simple steps to reclaim the season and make it something you actually look forward to! Yes, you might have to make some changes and even sit down and have a family meeting but you won’t regret the stress free (or lower stress) days!

Tips to Enjoy the Holidays and Reduce Christmas Stress

Watch Your Spending

For many families, finances can be one of the biggest causes of Christmas stress. It doesn’t have to be that way. Dare I say, it shouldn’t be that way!

Don’t overextend yourself. It’s not worth it – come January you will be regretting your choices.

If you need some more cash to get through the season, consider finding a few ways to earn some extra money. This post has ideas to get your started.

Even more than earning money, find ways to save money and spend less! There is no rule that  you have to go crazy buying presents for your kids. Here are some great ideas for spending less on presents. You can also spend less on your Christmas and Thanksgiving feast. Find small ways to save throughout the season.

Say No

You don’t have to do everything! You don’t have to participate in every event. We know there are a lot of them between friends, family, work, church, and even volunteer work. Only commit to the few you have to do. You can always add more parties in later if you feel up to it.

Keep it Simple

Going all out with decorating, baking, parties, clothes, presents, while it might seem like a good idea, doesn’t have to be done! Think simple instead of elaborate and find a middle ground that helps you actually enjoy the holidays and have less Christmas stress.

Choose a Few Things

As we talk about keeping things simpler and spending less, it’s important to find out what your kids’ and spouse’s favorite activities are. Let each member of your family say their single most important thing and try include those in your holiday plans and say no to the not so important.

Keep Visits Short

Another huge cause of holiday stress can be being around people. Maybe people you don’t always get along with so well. Whether you have a hard time with certain co-workers or even your extended family, a simple tip is to keep the visits shorts.

Don’t stay until the end of the party. Plan for a day trip to visit family or just one night instead of a lengthy visit. For those out of town trips, maybe even consider a hotel for a night or two if needed.

Eat Well

Christmas season almost always means lots and lots of sugar! Limit the sweets. Feed your body good, nourishing foods when you are home and make the best choices you can when  you are at parties. Giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs, especially in the form of lots of fresh vegetables,  can definite influence how we feel physically and mentally.

Exercise

Don’t neglect physical activity when things get busy and the weather is cold. Even if it’s something as simple as pushing your kids in the stroller – go do it! Squeeze in a 20 minute run first thing in the morning or do a 15 minute workout in the living room. Find ways to exercise several times each week. Again, this helps your body physically and mentally!

Play Music

Play music you love, or a favorite podcast, to lift your mood and take your mind off of your stressors. Sometimes a little distraction like this can help immensely.

Diffuse Oils

This uses another one of your senses. Seasonal and stress relieving aromas can change the atmosphere in your home and mind as well. This is one of my favorite places to purchases oils from. High quality and affordable. If you don’t want to do oils, try making a potpourri on your stove.

Remember the Reason for the Season

Through all the craziness of the holidays, take time to remember the reason for the season and to look beyond yourself and your family.

Find somewhere to volunteer, include attending church in your plans, or even just take a few minutes to read the Christmas story with your kids. All are things that can help change your perspective.

There are 10 things you can do as you learn to actually enjoy the holidays and reduce the typical Christmas stress. Let this be the year that you learn to make intentional choices for you and your family so you can have memories you want to remember.

What are your other favorite ways to combat holiday stress and chaos?

Pretty snowflake on a pile of snow. This year reduce the Christmas stress and actually ENJOY the holidays! These simple tips will transform your Christmas season.

Family Experience Gifts that Don’t Break the Bank

Family experience gifts that don’t break the bank are such a great idea!

Wrapped presents on wood floor. Your family will love these family experience gifts and you don't have to spend a fortune either! You can create memories, not clutter this year.

My posts contain affiliate links. For more info, read the disclosure page!

It’s present season. So many gifts. Not only are your kids receiving gifts from you but most likely there will also be gifts from friends, grandparents, and other relatives.

Our kids only need so much stuff.

Our houses can only hold so much stuff.

Often times we find ourselves buying things because we have to get our kids something or because we find a good deal.

All the gifts, even if we are trying to find good deals, can eat away at the budget.

What if, instead of buying all these little un-needed gifts, we pooled the money and gave family experience gifts instead? Things that we otherwise wouldn’t splurge on but we know that our kids would love.

For the first time we are doing a family experience gift this year and the kids are so excited. We were gifted a week stay at a timeshare and are purchasing the attraction tickets to use on our trip.

Family Experience Gifts

Day Trip

Take a day trip to a near by city. Spend money going to museums, amusement parks, state parks or whatever the local attractions are. If your family is like ours and eating out is not something you normally do, splurge on a fun restaurant experience to finish off your day.

Museum Membership

Museum memberships are typically well worth the cost if you just go 2 or 3 times and are perfect for a family experience gift. All three of my kids absolutely love the science museum an hour and half from our house.

Zoo Membership

If your kids are not yet teens, the zoo is another great place to get a membership for a family gift. Maybe throw in some gift certificates to get ice cream or a special treat after a few of your visits.

Sporting Event

Choose your family’s favorite sport (or team) and purchase tickets, or season tickets if you can afford it. Baseball, football, basketball, soccer, or hockey are all fun ideas! Hockey games are a fun memory from my childhood.

Game Basket

Put together a basket of age appropriate board games for your kids. Include snacks, drinks, and everything you need to throw a super fun game night. Throw an all day game tournament over Christmas break and then the gift continues giving over the next months.

Hotel with Waterpark

Watch Groupon for deals at Great Wolf Lodge or other such hotels. When you find a great deal, book a few days at the lodge and wrap some beach towels or other small water themed items up for Christmas morning.

Camping

Plan a camping trip for when the weather is nice. It could either be to your favorite location or try some place new. Does your crew need any new camping gear? Wrap that up along with a brochure about your camping destination.

Mini Vacation

Don’t have the budget to plan a week long trip? That’s okay. Put together a mini vacation. Whether it’s one, two, or three nights, plan a trip that your kids will think is awesome and they won’t question the length! My kids would love a long weekend in Branson, MO and going to Silver Dollar City or going just an hour away and spending a few nights in a hotel, swimming, and hitting up the local sights.

Trip to the Beach

Most kids love the beach. I mean what’s not to love about sand and water?! Can you swing a day trip to the closest beach? Or maybe you can even spend a few days there. Considering my son has called the dirt around a pond a beach, I think he needs this present. 😉

Jump Gym/Bowling/Movie

Living on a tight budget can mean saying no to a lot of these types of things. Use Christmas as an opportunity to purchase gift certificates to any place like a jump gym, bowling alley, or movie theater and go have fun as a family.

Are presents for your kids a struggle year after year? Try something different this year and wrap up family experience gifts! Not only will you prevent new clutter in your house, you will get to create memories with your kids.

You can find a family experience gift that will work on your budget!

Family on a road trip! Your family will love these family experience gifts and you don't have to spend a fortune either! You can create memories, not clutter this year. Wrapped presents on wood floor. Your family will love these family experience gifts and you don't have to spend a fortune either! You can create memories, not clutter this year.

Earn Money For Christmas Now

Santa bag full of gold coins! If you could use some extra cash for presents and parties this Christmas, check out these easy ways to earn extra money for Christmas! Enjoy not stressing about where the money is going to come from.

My posts contain affiliate links. For more info, read the disclosure page!

Do any of these these things leave you wanting to earn money for Christmas:

Does the thought of having to buy Christmas presents leave you stressed? Maybe the budget is tight and you really don’t have much wiggle room but you want to have a special holiday season with your kids, family, and friends?  Do you find yourself wondering where the money for Christmas is going to come from?

What should be a fun time of year often times isn’t because of the financial burdens and other obligations. We’ve talked before about taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas (something I’m all about) but having no money for Christmas is a whole different matter.  To help you out I have 10 ways you can come up with some cash for Christmas.

Start these things today to help with this season but then continue doing them in January and through the rest of the year and set aside the money you earn into a “money for Christmas and birthdays” fund.

This list mostly consists of money making ideas to help you earn extra money for Christmas, but I’ve thrown in a couple bonus ideas on saving money and stretching your dollar too.

Ways to Earn Money for Christmas

Swagbucks

There are several ways to earn with Swagbucks – everything from surveys, games, watching videos, and searching on the internet. You can see some of the details on earning Swagbucks here and here. Sign up using my link and you can get 300 Swagbucks!

Seasonal Job

I know this one is hard, especially for us moms with little kids.

But it is worth looking for a seasonal job you can work around your husband’s hours. Find a weekend or evening job at a retailer hiring extra help the next few months.

Watch the classifieds, ask around, and also pay attention in Facebook groups for tips on these seasonal jobs.

Babysit

Have date night babysitting you offer monthly. Plan a babysitting night so parents can go out and buy presents and shop for holiday events without having to take the kids along. Adult only Christmas parties mean still another need for babysitters.

Present Wrapping Service

I can’t be the only one that is horrible at wrapping presents and gets absolutely no enjoyment out of it. But I know that some of you love it. Sell your gift wrapping skills – there will be people out there excited to pay someone (you) to do it for them!

Sell Baked Goods

I enjoy baking and cooking. Some people don’t. If you are skilled at baking bread, Christmas cookies, dinner rolls or fudge, considering selling your goodies.

Many busy families and people that really don’t enjoy spending time in the kitchen would prefer to buy homemade treats instead of purchasing grocery store items.

Please research Cottage Food Laws for your state before you get started. Rules and regulations greatly vary. You will also need to register with your state to file sales tax.

Rake Leaves/Shovel Snow

Get your kids involved and, depending on how early in the season it is,  rake leaves or shovel snow.

Print up flyers and hand them out around your neighborhood and town. Post on Facebook groups. Even if you do this for just one snow storm you can earn a chunk towards your Christmas expenses.

Help with Holiday Parties

November and December are busy months. Individuals and businesses are both hosting parties. If you are a skilled organizer and hard worker, market your services as either an event planner, event host, or an event assistant.

Sell Stuff

I dare say the majority of us have too many things. What do you have that’s quality and something that others will want? Considering selling on Ebay, Facebook groups, decluttr.com, or even having a garage sale. This is a quick way to earn money for Christmas. You will also be organizing and decluttering items you don’t use before more stuff arrives from the holidays.

Donate Plasma

I’ve never done this but I have a sister that has sold plasma to save money for presents and other splurge items she wanted. You can donate twice a week.

Find Ways to Save Money

One of the best ways to “earn” money is to find ways to spend less and rework your budget! I’d say it’s one of the easiest ways as well – because it doesn’t involve finding extra hours each week to work. Make a menu plan and spend less on groceries, say no to coffee, drink water, have a no spend challenge. Here are some ideas on ways to save even on a tight budget!

I don’t want you to stress about finances this Christmas. Instead, sit down and plan on spending less on presents this year. Maybe have a simpler meal, and participate on fewer costly holiday events.

Then, use a few of these ways to earn money for Christmas and earn some extra cash to use to purchase the presents and attend the events that you decide to do!

Enjoy a debt free Christmas this year!

A pile of cash. If you could use some extra cash for presents and parties this Christmas, check out these easy ways to earn extra money for Christmas! Enjoy not stressing about where the money is going to come from. Santa bag filled with cold coins. If you could use some extra cash for presents and parties this Christmas, check out these easy ways to earn extra money for Christmas! Enjoy not stressing about where the money is going to come from.

The Best Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl Recipe

love spaghetti squash. Several years ago I posted this recipe for Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash, a few weeks ago Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein, and today I have Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl recipe for you!

Spaghetti squash burrito bowls are the best! Full of Tex Mex flavors and so healthy. The entire family loves this recipe!

Each year when fall comes around I get excited because it means it’s time for squash to go on sale so I can make all the spaghetti squash recipes. Eating your vegetables never tasted so good! 😉

Mexican food (or technically Tex Mex) is a staple in our house, so I knew I had to do a twist on a burrito bowl with some of the squash I bought.

This recipe was a winner!

The 2 1/2 year old had thirds. Thirds! “More spaghetti squash” she kept saying. As with the Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein recipe, the  flavors are such that even my (non squash loving) husband actually liked this recipe.

As with most dinner recipes, this is so easy to tweak and adjust to your family’s preferences.

Can’t stand bell peppers? Simply leave them out.

mixture for the spaghetti squash burrito bowls

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Ground Beef
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeno
  • Black Beans
  • Corn
  • Rotel
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa, sour cream (optional toppings)

No fancy ingredients. If you don’t have access to Rotel, substitute fire roasted tomatoes or even just diced tomatoes and add an extra jalapeno. Leave the cheese off if you are dairy free.

Spaghetti squash and meat mixture combined for spaghetti squash burrito bowls

This recipe is easily cut in half. The 8 pounds of spaghetti squash serves 8 (or my family of 5 two meals). Cut back to 4 pounds if you are only serving a couple of people.

The meat amount is up to you and your taste preference as is the final spice amounts. My kids are fairly wimpy, so I have to watch the chili powder amounts.

Be sure to read the recipe notes for an additional baking method.

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Spaghetti Squash (mine totaled 8.5 pounds)
  • 1-2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2-3 cups cooked black beans
  • 1½ cups corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1 can mild Rotel tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 1½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1-3 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese
To Serve:
  • Cilantro, avocado, salsa, sour cream - all optional
Instructions
  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy insides. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little cumin and chili powder. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle them. Use a fork to scrape across the squash short ways to make "noodles".
  2. In a large skillet, brown the beef. Add onion and jalapeno and saute a few minutes. Add garlic and saute a few more minutes.
  3. Add bell peppers, black beans, corn, tomatoes, 1 t. salt, 1 T. cumin, and 1 t. chili powder. Cook until everything is heated through and tender.
  4. Add spaghetti squash to skillet and toss everything together. (See notes for second option) Adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Return the spaghetti squash mixture to the shells or a 9x13 baking pan and top with cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with any of the optional toppings.
Notes
When you have the beef mixture finished and the spaghetti squash in noodles instead of combining it all together you can layer the spaghetti squash in the bottom of the shell (or pan) and spread the beef and veggie mixture on top of that and then top with the cheese.

 

Spaghetti squash burrito bowls baked in a pan are the best! Full of Tex Mex flavors and so healthy. The entire family loves this recipe!

Cheap Healthy Grocery List

A cheap healthy grocery list. I know we’ve talked lots about ways to save money on groceries! If you’ve been around before, you know my number one tip is to have a meal plan!!!

picture of bananas and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

Today we are going to get a little more specific with this cheap healthy grocery list.

Maybe it’s the end of the month, maybe money is especially tight right now.

Whatever it is, you are wondering what to put on a cheap healthy grocery list.

Not only what frugal/cheap foods to buy, but what are the healthiest cheap foods you can buy. What are your options.

First, I want to tell you don’t worry and stress. Just do the best you can. Hang in there. Being anxious, as easy as it is to do, (talking to myself here too) does no good.

picture of beans and other foods and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

Cheap Healthy Grocery List

The first two that come to mind are the stereotypical budget foods – but don’t let them scare you off.

Beans. Specifically dry beans. They are super easy to cook and you can season them in a variety of ways and use them to stretch meat or replace it all together. Buying them dry will cost you at least a third of buying a can.

Rice. You can buy a pound of brown rice at Dollar Tree for $1. One of our local grocery stores sells a pound bag for $.50! If you don’t like brown rice, you can find white rice even cheaper.

Lentils. Another affordable legume right here. People use these for all kinds of things. A lentil and rice casserole. Meat replacement in things like sloppy joes. Or one of our go tos is a quick lentil soup.

Rolled Oats. Buy the big container, none of the instant oatmeal packets. You can always make your own oatmeal packets. Breakfast really can’t get much cheaper than this. A jar of cinnamon is only $1 and will season a lot of bowls of oatmeal.

Eggs. This is really an inexpensive source of protein. Have them hard boiled for a snack, as part of a meal, or in a salad. Scrambled eggs make a great brinner. Can also use to make cheap things such as pancakes or french toast.

Bag of flour. Grab a bag of whole wheat (or unbleached white) flour. Use it to make a loaf of bread or a batch of pancakes (for dinner or breakfast).

Pasta. Cheap and easy. Make a batch of meatless spaghetti sauce (or replace the meat with some lentils) and supper will cost next to nothing. I always make a big batch so we can have leftovers another meal or two. (<– Another money saving tip right there!)

Milk. Not to drink. I’m a huge proponent of water. Instead use it to make the pancakes, baked oatmeal etc. Dairy free, sub almond milk.

Potatoes. Especially in the fall and winter months when they will often go on sale for $2-$3 for a 10 pound bag. I prefer sweet potatoes and you can also find them cheaper in the fall and winter months. There’s nothing wrong with a baked potato supper. Plan on leftovers and have fried potatoes with the eggs for supper the next night. Make a potato soup with some of the milk.

Carrots. Not the baby ones when you are pinching pennies. Whole carrots are typically super inexpensive. I get them for $1 for a 2 pound bag. Serve them raw as a side for lunch or supper (or try roasting). Add them to soups or a stir fry.

Celery. In my part of the country a bunch of celery is $1. Use in the same way you would the carrots. Carrots and celery also make great snacks.

Frozen Veggies. Frozen green beans and corn are both $1 at Aldi. Use in soup, fried rice or as a side dish.

Apples. In the fall and winter months these are often times under $.70 a pound. Add to oatmeal or slice and serve with lunch or for a snack. Of course apple cake is a fun splurge too. 🙂

Peanut Butter. Takes you back to your childhood, I know, but it’s really hard to get cheaper than peanut butter sandwiches. My kids dislike jelly, but of course you can add some fruit to your peanut butter sandwich. Kroger brand peanut butter has the best price on peanut and salt peanut butter – especially if you get it on sale.

Bread. Make bread using flour for pennies a loaf. Also, watch for your local dollar store to get in a shipment of Nature’s Way bread. You can also find bread marked down at Aldi and other grocery stores.

Cabbage. Right now a head of cabbage is just over a dollar and it will be cheaper in fall and winter months. Shave it for a salad or add to soups and stir fries. I also love sauteing it and having with eggs.

Chicken. If you are going to buy meat, chicken will likely be your cheapest bet. Use it as an ingredient – not the star of the meal. Be sure to ration it out and stretch it with beans, lentils, or veggies when you can. If you buy bone in chicken, use the bones to make stock and stretch your dollar even further.

In Season Produce. This is key to getting fresh produce in on the cheap foods to buy when you are broke list. Only buy what is on sale for a great price.

Popcorn kernels. Buy the kernels and pop it yourself for a healthy and frugal snack or even turn it into a snack supper.

Bananas. Bananas are pretty much always under $.50 a pound and will frequently go on sale cheaper than that.

Canned Tomato Products. Canned tomatoes are cheap. Make your own pizza sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and tomato soup for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them already made. I know canned tomatoes are controversial in the “healthy foods” world. But you do what you have to do. Another option would be to stock up on tomatoes when you can get them dirt cheap and can or freeze them to avoid the cans.

Lettuce. I can get a head of romaine or leaf lettuce for between $1 and $1.30 at my grocery stores. A bean based taco salad would make a great meal or simply have salad for your lunch or a side dish.

I hope this gives you a starting point next time you are trying to make a cheap healthy grocery list.

What other healthy(ish) cheap foods am I missing from the list? What’s the cheapest, healthy meal that you make?

picture of beans and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget. picture of beans and other food and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.