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A Fun Project for While You’re Homebound

My Dear Readers,

Well, we are really into the thick of things as this global pandemic ratchets up here in the U.S.

On the one hand my heart is breaking for the devastation and loss of life.

On the other, unspeakably grateful for so many healthcare workers who are working tirelessly, putting themselves in harms way, to care for others.

Grateful for the global race to find a treatment, vaccine, cure. I’m convinced that the brightest and best minds are fully engaged on that front.

Grateful that I’m so quarantined, I’m totally 100% sequestered! (Harold and I are taking this very seriously.)

Are we totally confused now about this face mask issue? I understand that our leaders and professionals are learning new stuff every day, so it’s not unreasonable that directives are changing almost hour-by-hour. So far, I’m no face mask because I’m not leaving my sequestered space. And no one is coming in.

In the middle of all of this unknown, as uncertain and scary as the future may appear, here’s what I know:

We’ve been through tough times before. In fact, I started Cheapskate Monthly newsletter In January 1992, right in the middle of the Financial Crisis of 1992-1993. Some of you were with me way back then. And we came through that.

We were rocked and shaken to our collective core on Sept. 11, 2001. It was rough, we thought our lives would never be the same. The U.S. economy was devastated. And we came through that.

We thought it was the end of the world in 2007 as we were propelled into the Great Recession. Banks failed, millions of people lost their homes. It was awful and I remember thinking that things will never be the same. And we came through that.

There is no denying that it’s a dark day in our beloved country. Things look bleak. We don’t know what’s happening from one minute to the next. We’ve never been this way before. And I say with all I know from all of my life experience together with my faith that will not be shaken—we will come through this. Together.

I’m reaching out to you right now, inviting you to make a commitment to our friendship and collective determination. We will gather once each day right here to share our strength and encourage one another.

There will be even darker days ahead as we work our way to “flatten the curve.” And in the meantime we are going to encourage one another. Which leads me to today’s post! I’m so excited …

Probably the last thing on your mind is Christmas. I know … it’s so far away. So much will happen between now and then. But it’s like a beautiful goal out there … we know it’s coming. And right now I can hardly wait because that means we will be through this and onto the other side.

I’m thinking homemade Christmas gifts! Now while we have time and are homebound, could there be a better time to get started? I think not!

This is something we can do together and I hope you’ll join me.

Stay safe. Be grateful. Do all you can to help others, safely.

I’ll see you at the post … Love, xo m


How to Persuade Cut Flowers to Last Twice as Long

Whether from your garden, the market or you receive them as a gift, you can persuade cut flowers to remain beautiful for at least a week—maybe two or even longer, when you are careful to follow a few fabulous flower secrets! I’ll tell all in today’s post.

Pssst! It’s not too late to order this beautiful bouquet to be delivered on Friday—Valentine’s Day! See you there … Love, m xo 🌷


The Ultimate Guide to Proper Re-gifting

Six 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.

Before you re-gift, make sure you know and are following my Official Rules of Re-gifting! They’re in today’s post. See you there!

Love, xo m 🎁 ❣️


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 🎁 ❣️


Incredible Edible Gifts

You do not need a lot of money nor must you have the gift of craftiness to assemble fabulous gifts in your kitchen. It’s hard to go wrong with a gift that is meant to be eaten or used up. That kind of gift does its job to convey your love and best wishes without increasing the recipients’ stuff-factor.

So gather your supplies, set up your production line and let the fun begin!

See you there … Love, xo m


Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Gifts!

Well, here we go … just two weeks to go before Christmas and only 15 days before my kiddos arrive!

If you think it’s too late to make gifts as you’d been planning to do since when—last summer?—do not fret!

It is not too late, at least for some super awesome homemade gifts I can think of.

You’ll find my ideas with instructions, resources and a whole lotta’ encouragement in today’s post. Hint: 🥓 Jam

See you there! Love, xo m ❤️👍🏻


What Teachers Really Want for Christmas

Recently, I contacted teachers I know, asking them how they really feel about gifts from parents and students—at Christmas and other times of the year, too. Each one of them hesitated. I could tell they didn’t want to come across as ungrateful.

Make no mistake—teachers are very grateful for the thoughts behind all of the stuff they get during the year, but particularly at Christmas.

But the stuff itself? Not so much. In fact, most gifts become a problem for that teacher.

But not to worry! I got it out of them—what teachers really want for Christmas, or any other time of year, too! See you at the post for all my insider information 😁.

Love, m xo

P.S. Here’s a quick link to today’s episode   of our 40-Day Christmas Challenge! 

You can catch up on past episodes, too (many episodes are not part of the 40-day challenge—please don’t miss any of them).


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 two months minimum—six is better. 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 […]