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4

Mary’s Favorite Things

  If you woke up this morning with a sense of panic realizing there are just days until Christmas, let me offer some sweet relief—a compilation of my favorite things that I have purchased from my own money, with all details updated and now gathered into one convenient place. You’re about to discover that my […]

6

Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Short on cash this holiday season? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about gifts that don’t come from a store, but from the heart—a gift of time and talent. It’s going to require some (all?) of your free time over the next week or so, but it sure beats going into debt to buy a bunch of gifts for others—or missing out altogether because you refuse to show up empty-handed.

In today’s post …. idea starters! Practical, reasonable and doable Christmas gifts that don’t cost a dime!

See you there … xo m 🎁 ❣️

7

The Ultimate Guide to Proper Re-Gifting

Eighteen days until Christmas. While you let that sink in, allow me to whisper one word in your ear: Re-gifting.

The act of re-gifting—passing on as new a gift someone else gave you—is controversial but only because of those who do a noticeably bad job of it. After all, if every act of regifting were carried out flawlessly, no one would find it distasteful, or even consider it a thing.

9

Gift Guide 2021: Totally Awesome Gift Ideas for Teens

Finding the perfect gift for teen boys and girls is almost impossible. Teenagers like what they like. Funny thing. I’m kinda’ the same way. So what do teens like? Here are some really cool ideas to get you started. Before you read on, make sure you have your sense of humor handy. This Gift Guide for Teens is nothing if not a lot of fun, no matter your age.

10

Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Holiday Gifts!

Whether it’s something from your kitchen, craft room, woodworking shop, or computer, there’s nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, a plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards, tiny birdhouse—just a few of the many homemade gift ideas with universal appeal. Today, I have ideas for you that don’t require special skills or months of lead time. One in particular is, well … sew easy! I love homemade gifts both to give and receive. No wonder I have so many favorites.

14

What Teachers Really Want for Christmas

I’ve never been a school teacher, but I am a parent. I wish I’d known years ago what I know now about what teachers really want for Christmas. I would have skipped the “Teachers Have Class!” coffee mugs and gone more for …

16

Gift Guide 2021: Best Gift Ideas for Grandparents and Seniors

As gifting opportunities go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my readers are feeling somewhat stressed, even panicked. Last-minute shopping has a way of doing that, especially when you have zero gift ideas when it comes to the grandparents and seniors on your list. But not to worry. You have plenty of time and if you’re short on ideas, here you go!

24

The $150 Starter Kitchen

For less than the cost of a week’s worth of restaurant meals, I can show you how to set up a starter kitchen that will get that special someone in your life excited about cooking at home. Just But for newly minted grads or newlyweds, this will get them started cooking great cheap meals in the kitchen …

26

Best Ideas and Gifts to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

In this post last minute ideas to celebrate Valentines Day including dozens of gifts that are sure to please your Valentines without breaking the bank, divided into three categories—Gifts for Kids, Gifts for Her, and Gifts for Him. Honestly, this is so much fun.

Don’t worry that time is short. I’ve also included a slick way you can legally and ethically sign up for Amazon Prime Shipping, use it to send your Valentine’s Day gifts (to yourself or to others) and not have to pay for it. Really, It’s OK. Amazon wants you to do this.

All that and more in today’s post. See you there!

xo m ❣️

29

Gift-Worthy Caramel Corn Just in Time for the Holidays

For years, I’d attempted to make caramel corn, without success. It was either too soggy or too chewy. Or the caramel turned sugary. Once, I needed a hammer and chisel to get the stuff out of the bowl.

I had really given up until my encounter with Popcornopolis. I had to figure this out―I had to find a way to create a reasonable facsimile in my kitchen that would hit the mark without breaking the bank.

I am excited to let you know is that I believe I have … oh my, yes! The recipe, instructions, and very important final step, all of that in today’s post ….

See you there! Love, Mary 👌❤️

34

Instant Pot Vanilla Extract—One Week from Start-to-Gift

 For nearly a decade I’ve been making vanilla extract for Christmas gifts. And every year I find myself scrambling because it’s a process that requires a minimum of three months—six months or even six years is even better! Vanilla extract gets better and better with age.

But all that has changed since discovering how to make vanilla extract using my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Instead of months, Instant Pot vanilla extract takes about one week from start-to-gift!

Pretty sure you’re going to love this! See you there … xo m ❣️

37

How to Do Christmas Without Debt

If you are or ever have been plagued by credit card debt, I can nearly guarantee expenses related to Christmas have contributed greatly to that miserable situation. You know I’m right and unless we do something to stop that pattern, things are about to get much worse for you. Christmas is right around the corner. […]

38

6 Awesome Gifts of Summer to Make Now for Christmas

Even if you didn’t have an abundant garden this year, don’t worry. You can still make these wonderful gifts of summer to hold onto for Christmas. You can find everything you need at a local farmer’s market. How wonderful it will be when you welcome the holiday season knowing your gifts are ready to go. We are […]

39

A Mishmash of Christmas Ideas and Holiday Tips

Good news! Another Black Friday is in the books. You survived—unscathed I hope. If you bag some amazing bargains without going into debt—great. Me? Just as planned, I stayed home, cleaned up from Thanksgiving. Today? My husband and I will put up the tree and dress the house for Christmas! I’m so excited.

I’ve got a bunch of my favorite tips to share into today’s post. With any luck, they will trigger your best tips and tricks, which I hope you’ll share in the comments! See you there … Love, m xo 🎄

P.S. We got 16-inches of snow a few days ago—so beautiful! But it’s so cold, the snow has not begun to melt. More snow expected today. I love this, and here’s why: We live where we work, or maybe better stated—we work where we live. Either way, we only leave the house if we want to, not because we have to.

P.P.S. We own two businesses (one each) and have just completed construction on our new offices, complete with a most spectacular view of the golf course and the Rocky Mountains. If that sounds fabulous, it is! How can we do this? One reason: We have no debt—none. It wasn’t always that way, as you may know about me and my dark financial past—a story for another time.

40

Here are the Best Headphones for Every Budget and Kids, Too

Several readers have asked recently about the best inexpensive headphones and earbuds both for themselves and their kiddos. Today seems like a great day to respond. Generally, these are the best values, price points and styles of headphones for adults and kids, too: Best inexpensive wired earbuds Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbuds are smartphone compatible with integrated […]