Category Archives: Holidays

Easy Valentine’s Day Party Ideas for Your Kids

It’s February. In our house that means birthday season begins and Valentine’s Day! Let’s chat easy Valentine’s Day party ideas today!

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I’m not big on Hallmark holidays or gimmicky events, but I have kids and they like to enjoy life. If your kids are in school, I’m sure they have a Valentine’s party or two. We homeschool so our Valentine’s celebrations, beyond what we do as a family, consist of handing out cards in Sunday School and giving treats to some of the elderly members.

After years of talking about it, this year my daughter is going to have a simple Valentine’s party with a few of her friends!

Two things have to happen for this to come together. First, simplicity is a must. I can’t do over the top, time intensive events. It’s not my personality and I don’t have the time to pull it off. Second, an event has to be budget friendly! I’m all about living within your means and finding ways to stick with a budget – even for a party. 😉

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get into these Valentine’s Day party ideas that are both easy and budget friendly! Double win. If I can do it, you can do it – trust me!

Easy Valentine’s Day Party Ideas for Your Kids

Guests

Let’s start with the guests! Coming up with a reasonable number of kids to invite is a great way to keep things simple and frugal. If you have a lot of kids, maybe let them each invite a certain amount of people. If you have one child that’s “hosting” the party, you could just have 3 or 4 other kids over.

Decorations

Keep it simple. The kids don’t need it to be elaborate. Just decorate the table and area where they will be eating and call it good! We picked up some window clings and a banner on clearance a few years ago and the kids love putting them up each February. Pick up a white, red, or pink tablecloth and some candy hearts or confetti to sprinkle on the table and you are good to go! You could set the table with glass dishes for a “fancier” look or pick up themed plates from the dollar store.

Food

If you ask my kids, they would say this is the most important part! They get so excited thinking about what they want to eat it’s comical.

I have two simple food ideas for your Valentine’s party. Let your kids choose between them each year. Remember that less fancy appeals to more palates – especially when your kids are young. So don’t go crazy!

Option 1: Breakfast Theme

Almost every child loves pancakes. Make up a big batch of pancake batter and cook them fresh for the party. You could even get fancy and make them in heart shapes. I know my 8 and 5 year old are obsessed with shaped pancakes.

Of course have syrup set out. If you wanted to get extra fancy, put out a dish of whipped cream and some sliced strawberries.

You really don’t have to even do anything else. Sure, you could add some fruit or bacon or sausage but honestly, it’s a party for kids – so you don’t have too! You can serve juice or water for drinks.

Option 2: Make Your Own Pizza

This will be a huge success! Make pizza dough (my recipe is here) and pizza sauce and prepare all of the toppings ahead of time.  Have a pizza station set up on your table or kitchen counter and give each child a lump of dough and have them roll it out. Put it on a baking sheet and let them add toppings.  Then it’s time to bake and eat!

They will think this is so much fun. Again, this is a party for kids. Don’t worry about the sides. If you really want something, put out some carrots sticks but I think they’ll be thrilled with just the pizza.

We’ll talk about dessert coming up! It gets to play dual purpose!

Activities

Have one or two simple activities.  Maybe an easy craft and then dessert.

Painting

Pick up a pack of small canvases (5×7 or 4×6 is fine) at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon and a bottle of red or pink paint (or even blue)! Raid your craft supplies for some heart stickers and have the kids make a canvas like this to take home.

Decorate Cookies

Combine dessert and an activity into one. Have heart shaped sugar cookies already cut out, baked, and cooled. Prepare little bowls of frosting (and sprinkles if you’d like) and let the kids all decorate cookies! They can have a few to eat and then also bring a small plate home.

That’s it! With these easy Valentine’s Day party ideas you will be mom of the year!

Simple decorations, some kid friendly food, a few friends and an activity or two and your kids will have a blast!

If your kids are a lot older or younger than mine, adapt the ideas to work! Older kids will know what they do and don’t want to do. A movie night might be more their style or simply hanging out with friends. Kids a lot younger, keep it even simpler!

I hope your party is a success and stress free! Do you have any favorite Valentine’s Day party ideas to share? Leave them in a comment!

Affordable Birthday Traditions Your Kids Will Love

Here is a great list of birthday traditions that your kids will love! Fun ideas that are also cheap and easy and don’t involve a party.

Birthday cake with colorful candles as part of birthday traditions your kids will love.

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Whether you do a big birthday party with friends or not, these suggestions will help make your child’s birthday special.

I love finding simple ways to celebrate and make memories. The easier and more affordable a  birthday celebration is, the more doable they are to keep up with year after year (and kid after kid).

Being on a tight budget and not having money to spend doesn’t mean a birthday can’t be special. You can still find ways to make your kids feel important. I think your kids (and you) will love these new birthday traditions so much they will want to continue them even year after year (if you are throwing a huge party).

We have one birthday a month for 4 months in my house and I know that’s really nothing. Growing up 3 of my sisters all had birthdays within 28 days of each other! We loved February because it meant lots of ice cream and good food. 🙂

Easy Birthday Traditions

Breakfast in Bed

This is so much fun when you are a kid! Selecting a birthday breakfast and then getting it served to you in your bed makes you feel like royalty. My mom did this for every birthday all of our growing up years. Even more fun when parents and siblings sit in the room and chat while the birthday child eats. Of course, as they get older they might enjoy eating breakfast alone better. 😉

Bedroom Door

Have streamers either hanging down from their bedroom door frame or taped across it (and they can break through) to greet them when they wake up.

Balloons

Again, while they are asleep, blow up dozens of balloons and scatter them around their bedroom floor.

Birthday Dinner

Let your birthday boy or girl pick what they want you to make for supper – main dish, sides, and dessert!

Side note, it’s perfectly fine if your child doesn’t want a traditional birthday cake. There’s a lot of kids that don’t love cake. Let them choose what they want. Growing up we had a lot of crazy chocolate cake, angel food cake, Mississippi mud pie along with other assorted desserts. Both of my older kids’ current favorite birthday dessert is a cookie cake.

Birthday Plate

Have a special “fancy” plate that you only use for a birthday child or other special occasions and let them use a fancy cup.  It’s all about making the child feel special.

For a “birthday” plate, here is one option. (Not super cheap.)

For a “special” plate, it can really be anything. Growing up we had a big blue pottery plate. What we use now is a Pioneer Woman dinner plate  (without any flower print) that we bought at Wal-Mart.

Hiding Presents

I loved this as a kid and now all three of my children have to do it this way too. Instead of simply putting the presents in a pile for the child to open, hide the presents (in age appropriate locations) and let the child go and hunt them down and open them after all the presents are found.

The nice thing about this is that it extends the present opening time that otherwise goes way too quickly.

Birthday Date

Have dad (or mom) take the birthday child out on a date around their birthday. Dress up fancy, go to the restaurant of their choosing, and again make them feel special. Keep the phone put away and really focus on them.

Birthday Banner

Have a birthday banner that you put up in the dining room for every birthday! It’s not a decoration that will be destroyed so you should be able to use it birthday after birthday.

Check out these cute ideas:

Write a Letter

Each year, on their birthday, write a letter to your child from ages 1-18. Keep the letters together and gift them to your child when they turn 18, or move out, or have their first child.

Kind Words

At the birthday dinner table have everyone take turns sharing their favorite things about the birthday child. You could also share favorite memories from the past year.

Do Their Favorite Activity

Do something that child loves. Whether it’s finishing the day with a game or movie night, going to the park, taking a walk, or heading to the tennis court do what that child enjoys!

Birthday Hat

Have a silly birthday hat that the child (or adult) has to wear at the dinner table! A goofy tradition is always a fun idea. Amazon has several options like these.

Look at Pictures

Take some time each year to pull out the photo albums (or open up Google Photos) and look back at their pictures from over the years and reminisce and laugh and share stories.

Tell Their Birth Story

You can tell the child part of the story surrounding when they were born.  Kids love re-hearing these stories over and over again.

As you make plans for the next birthday that comes along try incorporating a few of these ideas.  Your child will feel like a million bucks and will probably request you to do them every year. I know that’s how it works in my house, anyway. We do something once and the kids see to it that it becomes a tradition. 🙂

What are your favorite birthday traditions?

A fun birthday hat as part of easy and affordable birthday traditions your kids will love!

Easy Ways to Celebrate a Family Valentine’s Day

February 14th. When you are dating, or married with no kids, you might go on a date or cook up a fancy dinner at home. Once you have children, even if you do go on a date, will have to plan to celebrate a family Valentine’s Day as well!

mug and heart cookies for a family Valentine's Day

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I like to find simple ways to make memories with my children and Valentine’s is a perfect opportunity to do that. Sometimes, life can be crazy and money can be tight. We don’t have to be elaborate. Even small things can get them excited and make a special family Valentine’s Day.

Family Valentine’s Day

Food

Yes, food is always prominent for holidays. You have to feed your family anyway, so you might as well make it special. Look at doing all heart shaped or red colored foods! Your kids will think it’s so much fun. When they get older they won’t care about the shape, they’ll just enjoy eating! 😉

Check out these ideas:

Heart shaped pancakes
Heart shaped pizza
Spaghetti
Strawberries
Heart Sugar Cookies
Brownies cut with heart cookie cutters

Think of your family’s favorites and see if you can turn it into a heart. The pizza is our go-to every Valentine’s Day. The kids talk about the heart pizza all year.

I want to try this artificial color free food coloring!

Also, consider setting a fancy table and lighting candles to make the meal more special.

Treasure Hunt

We loved this growing up and it is now my kids’ favorite! Instead of just giving them their Valentine’s gift/candy, make them a treasure hunt.

For pre-readers, draw picture clues that lead to the prize. For young readers have simple riddles and as the kids get older you can use more difficult ones. We try and have 6-10 clues for each child.

I will try and update this post with the clues we use for my three kids this year. In the meantime, here are some ideas you can use!

Heart and Love Themes

You don’t have to go crazy, unless you want to, but put up at least a few heart and love themed decorations. You can make them yourself or use something you buy even as easy as window clings or a banner you bought. Check Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, and even the Dollar Store for options.

The same with crafts. Either purchase a kit or come up with your own. This post has 25 cute ideas! This is a perfect afternoon project.

Tip: Keep your eyes on the Valentine’s clearance to pick up some craft and decoration items for next year.

Love Your Family

Use this day to purposefully share with the members of your family how special they are. Have each person write a note to each family member and have them at each person’s place at the dinner table.

Throughout the day, secretly do special things and kind deeds. You could either do them for everyone or draw names the night before. The name drawn is the person you try to secretively do kind things for.

Give your kids ideas – it might be doing chores, picking up something their secret partner forgot, leaving a piece of candy, nice words, asking them if they need anything etc.

Spend Time Together

Just spend time together. Put away the phones and focus on each other. Engage with them, be excited to spend time with your kids. Plan something your family will enjoy and have a blast.

The options are numerous. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Game Night
  • Puzzle and popcorn
  • Movie
  • Park
  • Any other family outing or activity at home

Just intentionally putting a little thought into your family Valentine’s Day can help create memories and traditions that your kids will remember years to come. They might even carry on one to their own families.

You don’t have to be fancy, elaborate, or expensive. Just do something and have fun!

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day traditions with your kids?

heart shaped candies for a family Valentine's Day

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!

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.

Art Gifts for Kids That They Will Love

There is something about kids and craft projects! They love the hands on, and sometimes messy, aspect of them. So what better present is there than art gifts for kids?!

paint set for art gifts for kids. Great ideas for the creative kids in your life.My posts use affiliate links. See the disclosure page for more information.

For all the creative kid art lovers in your life, I’ve rounded up an excellent list of present ideas for you.

In our house, most birthdays and Christmases involve getting at least one art and craft gift.

The Best Art Gifts for Kids:

How to Draw Books

There is a general how to draw guide like this:

Or pick something based on your child’s interest, like these:

(There are books for every subject, animal, style that you can imagine. We currently have dinosaurs, princesses, and pets.)

Pencils

For the responsible child, get them a set of these colored pencils. They are the best!

If your child is younger, a set of Crayola pencils will work just fine. (This is what my kids still get. When they start being more careful with their materials, I’ll upgrade them!)

Pastels and Charcoals

Kids always have access to crayons and markers and sometimes colored pencils. Expand their collection this year by getting them something new. Pastels or charcoals would be a fun thing to experiment with.

Paints and Accessories

Painting is always exciting. From toddlers to teens – there is something for everything:

Finger Paints for the littles

Set of 18 washable paints or this set of 6 is super cheap as an add on.

Watercolors

Here’s a set of 25 brushes for kids.

Here’s a set of brushes for watercolor and acrylic paints.

Paint tray. This gets used every time the bottles of paint get pulled out.

Modeling Clay

Another fun item to have in your craft closet! Whether to build and reuse like play-dough or build and bake to keep, this will be a project they beg you to do.

Modeling Clay:

White clay that doesn’t dry out

Oven Dry Clay

Paper

Yes, your artist needs more than computer copy paper. 😉

Sketch Book

Watercolor paper for paint, pencil, ink, charcoal, pastel, and acrylic

Craft paper on a roll. My kids love having this.

Construction Paper 

Craft Kits

There is a myriad of options. Search according to what the child’s interest are, but here are a few ideas:




Glue

Of course you need something to stick things together when you build and create. Most people already have glue sticks and basic Elmer’s glue in their house, so try these:

Glue dots

Hot glue gun

Tacky glue

Art and Craft Essentials

Don’t forget all the childhood essentials. These are the items that most of us probably grew up using:

You can also find a variety pack like this with pipe cleaners, pom pom balls, and googly eyes:


What are the essentials in your kids’ craft closets? What are your favorite art gifts for kids?

Be sure to check out these other gift guides for more ideas:

Best Experience Gifts for Kids
Educational Gifts Kids Will be Excited About
The Best Craft and Art Gifts for Kids
Gifts for Kids Who Have Everything
Gifts for Teen Girls
Gifts for Teen Boys
Gifts for Preschool Boy
Gifts for a 2 Year Old
Gifts for Preschoolers
Gifts for a Home Cook
Gifts for a Fitness Lover

sketch book, paint and brushes for art gifts for kids. Great ideas for the creative kids in your life.

paint set for art gifts for kids. Great ideas for the creative kids in your life.

Thanksgiving Checklist and Planner

miniature pumpkins and pinecones. This thanksgiving checklist will make hosting the big dinner a breeze!

In the United States, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Being organized means less stress so it’s time to make a plan! After all, none of us need more stress. 🙂 Use this Thanksgiving Checklist and Thanksgiving planner printable that’s in our resource library to simplify your life (and make sure you aren’t forgetting anything).

If this is your first year to host Thanksgiving or if you are a seasoned pro, I hope that planning ahead makes it the best year yet.

Thanksgiving Checklist

Location

Are you hosting but don’t have space? Most people don’t mind squeezing in. If it’s nice, set up a table outside. Put a kids table up in a bedroom. Be creative. If using your house isn’t an option, check with your church and see if they would let you use a gathering area with a kitchen.

Guests

Who are you having over? Make a list of everyone you invite and make note of how many will be coming from each family.

You also need to decide if you will be asking everyone to bring at least one dish. (They will likely offer, so you might as well make it easier on yourself!). Be sure to write down what food/beverage each guest will be bringing.

Thanksgiving Menu

When you plan the menu be sure to consider these categories:

Appetizers (Ideas: Veggie or fruit platter, cheese and crackers, dip)
Sides and Salads (Ideas: mashed potatoes, green beans, lettuce salad, cranberry salad, rolls, sweet potatoes)
Main Dish/Meat (Ideas: Turkey or ham)
Desserts (Ideas: ice cream, pies, whipped cream, cookies, tart)
Drinks (Ideas: water, tea, lemonade, cider, coffee etc)

Shopping List

Once you have your menu made and know what other people are bringing, you can make yourself a shopping list. If you aren’t using glass dishes don’t forget to add paper plates & napkins and plastic silverware and cups to the list. A bag of ice too.

Buy or Borrow

Are there items you need to make hosting go a little more smoothly? Beverage containers, extra chairs, platters etc. You might have friends who would let you use their folding table so you don’t have to buy one.

Activities

What are your plans for the day? Spending time eating and visiting? Do you want to have any games available? Activities for the kids? There is no right choice, but just think it through.

Other Meals

Your family will probably want to eat something for breakfast and the second supper/lunch (whichever you aren’t having Thanksgiving dinner at). Maybe have some easy fend for your self breakfast options available.  Do you want to plan on leftovers of the lunch feast for supper? Turkey sandwiches? Just have a plan so you won’t get frustrated when your kids come to you hungry.

To Clean

Make a list of what needs to happen before company arrives at your house. Running the vacuum, cleaning the bathroom, and mopping the kitchen are givens, but what other areas do you need to be sure to tackle?


Now that your brainstorming and organizing is done, it’s time to get detailed. Break your lists and need to dos down by timeline.

What needs to happen

A month before the event: Invite guests, choose a location, and plan your menu.

Two weeks before: Plan games & your shopping list. Purchase non perishables.

One week before: Start those cleaning tasks that you can do in advance. Finish grocery shopping. Round up what your are borrowing from friends. Thaw the turkey sometime after the point!

2 days before: Clean (bathrooms, pick up the toys and clutter, mop etc)

Day before: Start the cooking (make your desserts, salads and cold dishes, prep the relish tray etc) You could even put out tableware and set tables.

Thanksgiving Day: Put the turkey in the oven, make all of the hot dishes, put drinks out. Finish any last minutes items and enjoy the day with your guests.

When you have everything written down and planned out into bite sized tasks, hosting thanksgiving dinner won’t seem so intimidating.

I have a free Thanksgiving planner printable to help you put all of these things organized on paper.  Sign up for the resource library and download them today!

printables from the thanksgiving checklist

printables from our thanksgiving planner printable. Get this Thanksgiving checklist today and make hosting the big day a breeze!

 

Gifts for Kids Who Have Everything

Do you struggle with coming up with gift ideas for the kids in your life? Do you especially struggle with coming up with gifts for kids who have everything?

wrapped boxes taking about the best gifts for kids who have everything

My posts use affiliate links. See the disclosure page for more information.

You are not alone! So many kids have the latest and greatest gadgets and everything that they could wish for. It definitely makes it a challenge to go shopping.

It’s time to start thinking a little outside of the box!

If presents are a problem at your house during the Christmas season, you might even want to consider de-emphasizing gifts this holiday season!

Gifts for Kids Who Have Everything

Experience Gifts

An experience gift is a great option. You can create memories with the recipient or they can create them alone. This could be anything from a fun adventure to learning a new skill.

This post has some great ideas for experience gifts.

Money

No kid will ever turn down money. Perfect for them to spend or put towards a savings goal. If you are looking for a unique way to gift money, check out these posts!

Gift Cards

If you know restaurants, stores, hobbies, etc that the child likes, you can pick up a gift card or two! Here are some ideas on how you can wrap a gift card to make things a little more interesting.

Shop for Others

Only you know the recipient and if this idea would work for them. But if their personality and the situation is ideal, this is a fun idea if they truly don’t want or need anything. Instead of spending the money on them, you can either donate in their name or, better yet, give them a budget and let them help you shop and donate the items.

Here are some places to look into:

World Vision and shop their online catalog

Angel Tree or another similar organization

Pregnancy Center – donate cash or buy items for their clothing room

Book

Think back to when you were the recipient’s age and what your favorite books were. Purchase the book and include a card saying why you purchased that particular book for them and what you enjoyed about it.

Themed Gift

Put together a bundle of goodies according to a theme.

It might be craft supplies, coffees, food, game night fun, rock climbing, cooking essentials or one of many other things. Gather the must haves and put them in a basket or bucket to gift.

Mission Trip

What a great idea for a teenager! This can get pricey, so it’s probably not the best option if you are on a budget. There would be a lot of details to this, so it might not work for it to be a complete surprise but how fun. If you aren’t the parent, you could coordinate with the parent before gifting the money for a mission trip and then work out when, where, and with what organization after giving the gift.

Sentimental Gift

Is there something special to your child, something that belonged to a grandparent or another important person in their life? If they are mature enough to appreciate it, this gift might be treasured for the rest of their life!

Have you found any great gift for kids who have everything? Do presents end up being a struggle in your house year after year or have you found a method that works well?

Be sure to check out these other gift guides for more ideas:

Best Experience Gifts for Kids
Educational Gifts Kids Will be Excited About
The Best Craft and Art Gifts for Kids
Gifts for Kids Who Have Everything
Gifts for Teen Girls
Gifts for Teen Boys
Gifts for Preschool Boy
Gifts for a 2 Year Old
Gifts for Preschoolers
Gifts for a Home Cook
Gifts for a Fitness Lover

smiling girl next to tree and gifts for kids who have everything

square picture of wrapped boxes for gifts for kids who have everything
smiling girl next to tree and gifts for kids who have everything