He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty. Then for three years, he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office …
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It was an unusual interview. The interviewer explained she was writing an article for a national women’s magazine on clever ways to put more joy into the holidays. In that I’ve written a book on the subject, she called hoping I would help her with the story. I knew that I could. In my typical […]
Early mornings are hard enough, but Christmas morning can easily morph from calm into all-out chaos. But not this year. That’s because time is on your side. Use it now to plan and prep and you’ll give yourself the gift of being able to sit back, relax, and enjoy this beautiful time together—knowing everything is under […]
Yes, I did. I made Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts. In fact, I’ve made this recipe four times in 30 days just to get it right. I call it research. You know, honing my pastry skills. My family calls it delicious and please make some more!
Can you put silver in the dishwasher? Contrary to popular belief, you can wash silver and silverplate flatware in the dishwasher without causing harm, just follow a simple set of rules. This should come as great news in the event you are planning to pull out the good silver for the Holidays. Do it … I don’t think you’ll regret it!
Enjoy these simple inexpensive ideas to make your home smell like Christmas using the scents of pine, cranberries, cinnamon, oranges and spice.
Sure they want toys, but underneath it all, what kids really want for Christmas (adults, too) just might surprise you. What we really want isn’t in a store. So, how can we give those we love what they really want for Christmas? I have a few ideas in today’s post … and I hope you have some, too. Will you add them in the comments area?
When it comes to housekeeping, there’s nothing quite so lovely as the smell of nothing. That’s the way clean is supposed to smell—like absolutely nothing!
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.
Trust me on this. Magnificent Cinnamon Rolls in just 43 minutes from start to glorious finish—and just 3 ingredients!
Choose to be grateful today—and every day—for all that you have. Gratitude will fill your heart with contentment. And best of all? Gratitude is 100% free, in any amount you desire.
I know what you’re thinking: Make the mashed potatoes AND gravy ahead of time—up to several days before the big day? Like serve leftovers for the biggest best meal of the year? You have got to be kidding. Well yes, that is exactly what I am suggesting and will be doing myself, but let me […]
If there’s one thing we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving, it’s this: Turkey is cheap! And the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner can be, too.
So much good stuff in today’s post … I learned so much from interviewing two turkey experts! Honestly, I’ve interviewed a lot of people over the years, but these two are my absolute favorites.
See you there! xo m 🦃
Fresh cranberries are available in supermarkets and grocery stores from October thru December—a very short season! Stock up on fresh cranberries during the fall season and freeze an amount that will last you through the year. Store them right in the bags they come in and they’ll be good for up to 12 months. What to do with all those cranberries? I’m so glad you asked!
Blood-curdling stories, tricks. and treats are all part of Halloween fun. But the last thing we expect are spooky tales from our friendly lenders, bankers, and credit card companies. So gather around while I tell you some scary tales of tricks waiting out there to be played on you!
Oh how I love this time of year! Cooler weather, sweaters, scarves, pumpkin pie, and beautiful fall colors make this the very best time of year. For bargain hunters, October is the calm before the holiday shopping storm and that means the likelihood of finding super deals is high. Here’s are the great buys you can expect in October.
Brisk mornings, fall colors, pumpkin pie, and apple cider. Autumn is just the best time of year, right? And our minds are leaning toward Halloween and Thanksgiving, consider this a strong nudge to put Christmas high on the list. Start planning now and you’ll benefit in so many ways come December.
Just in time for the holidays, quite possibly the easiest, most versatile, amazingly delicious boxed cake hack ever to be discovered. I can’t take credit for this, it’s a basic hack I ran into while cruising the Internet—wait, I mean while doing exhaustive research!
I tried it. Again and again. I switched things up, came up with ways to hack the hack and well, it’s amazing. And did I say easy? It’s almost scary, like how can this work? But it does. And as a bonus, this is super budget-friendly, especially when the ingredients are on sale.
If you love good pulled chicken (pork, beef) barbecue sandwiches, this recipe is going to knock your socks off. It’s tender, moist, and perfectly seasoned—a great solution for any busy cook who longs to serve authentic barbecue.
Just in time for your weekend plans, the most decadent, intensely chocolatey, take-a-sliver-every-time-you-pass-it chocolate cake. Moist and rich, the secret ingredient is (wait for it) … yogurt! That’s what makes this cake so moist and yummy. I dare you not to love it at first bite.
On the off chance that your fear-of-ruining-a-pile-of-ribs keeps your backyard grilling events stuck in hamburger mode, you can let those fears go!
That’s because you’re about to learn a fool-proof, easier-than-easy method for turning out perfect baby back ribs every time you give it a try. But wait! There’s more …
I hope these recipes come in handy just in case you’re planning to barbecue this weekend! See you there … Love, xo m
The only thing more comforting than a big, tall glass of iced tea on a hot summer day is knowing how to make that perfect iced tea yourself. With confidence. And for just pennies per serving.
My dear mother-in-law, a very proper Canadian, taught me the difference between proper iced tea and the “swill” most restaurants pour, which in her opinion was, at best, a very poor facsimile. And trust me, she knew her stuff—including the six rules for proper iced tea!
All that, plus the official recipe and instructions for how to make Southern Sweet Tea in today’s post.
Enjoy this Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2021—a fun selection of gifts to delight every kind of mother— even those who say they don’t need a thing. But hurry. Some of these items are time-sensitive, which means you have no time to lose. Sun., May 9 will be here before we know it!
Eggs. They’re nutritious, delicious and cheap! And who’s not thinking eggs right about now as we head into Easter Weekend!
Cooking boiled eggs properly—Easter eggs, ramen eggs, deviled eggs—is quite simple and foolproof, provided you know the secrets.
I have a special treat for you today. It’s a recipe. Normally I sell this recipe for $1,000 but it’s your lucky day. OK, I’m just kidding about that, but honestly, this one is worth its weight in gold, which as I write is about $1,800 per ounce. In this world, there is carrot cake and […]
I can count on the simple ingredients in this meal to be on sale just when I need them, in early March. When you see corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots on sale, stock up.
Corned beef in its original sealed plastic freezes well for up to 6 months. This is a meal you will want to repeat often.
Wallet a little thin this Valentine season? That shouldn’t mean you cancel all dates until things begin to look up in the finance department. The solution is to get creative, to find reasonable and fun alternatives that require only pocket change and the right attitude—or with any luck, some that are absolutely free …
The Super Bowl is this Sunday. I know. I can’t believe it either. Even if you’re not aware who’s playing, knowing that kickoff is set for 6:30 pm ET and stands will be semi-filled with 25,000 masked fans (not to be confused with an additional 30,000 unmasked cutouts) signals party time! For those of us […]
Friends. Valentine’s Day is next Thursday. This is Friday. Get the picture?
Thankfully, there’s a big beautiful weekend between now and then—plenty of time to make a few of these fabulous treats and sweets!
All that in today’s post, I’ll see you there! 😍 Mary xo
Need a last-minute gift for a neighbor, friend, a beloved teacher, or anyone else on your gift list? Here are six great ideas that won’t take much time, and certainly won’t break the bank …
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 👌❤️
If you could use an injection of fresh ideas for how to make this Holiday Season meaningful for the children in your life—whether near or far—take a lesson from my friend, Connie Copeland!
I am enjoying the unique holiday tips and tricks readers have been sending my way, to be shared with you. Over and again, I find myself saying, Wow! Why didn’t I think that? …
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The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry.
Think about it: You can be completely broke but still spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts—and believe it is not only your right, but that you are obligated to do it. It’s a lot of pressure.
Here it is! The specific steps to roast a cheap cut of beef so that it turns out like prime rib.
Recently, my husband and I made a quick getaway to experience autumn in the tiny town of Lititz, Penn. The colors of fall were at their peak, the air was crisp with just an occasional sprinkling of rain. In a word? Perfect!
Here’s my idea of a fabulous Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl, or any other kind of party—one that includes a smorgasbord of dips and things to dip in them. I’m talking about absolutely delicious hot, cold, savory, spicy, even sweet dips—an amazing variety sure to please all—beautifully arranged so that everyone can easily graze […]
BOO!! No matter the kind of celebration you’ll be seeing this year, these Halloween printables for decorating, playing games, coloring, carving, and crafting will keep you and the kids busy. Best to start early. Print exactly what you want—free and easy!
Receiving gift cards can be great if they are your heart’s desire. But not so great if that’s a card you are not likely to use.
If you’d rather have the cash, I have great news for you in today’s post. There is a way that you can turn that card into hard, cold CASH! See you there ….
Love, Mary 💰
Ahhh, summer. The days are long, the grass is green, the livin’ is easy and the last thing on your mind is Christmas in July.
While I hate to throw cold water on your barbecue, I need to warn you about something. The holidays are just a few short months away and if there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, Christmas can creep up on you like a too-tight swimsuit.
Blame it on SSAS—Severe Selective Amnesia Syndrome. People who suffer from this condition fall into some kind of seasonal coma. And it’s little wonder. For many, Christmas is no longer the most blessed, but the most stressed time of the year. And expensive.
Somehow we all manage to get through it, many with a pile of new debt. And who among us hasn’t begun the New Year vowing: Next year I’m starting earlier!
Whether you’re into getting started this early or not—I’ve got some great ideas for simple things you can do to celebrate Christmas in July. Come on … it’ll be fun!
See you there, Love xo m 🎄
One week from today, May 25th is Memorial Day in the U.S. I want to challenge you and your family to find reasonable ways that you can pay homage to those who have given their lives for the sake of our country and our freedoms—even while observing social distancing guidelines.
I have a few suggestions. See you there! Love, Mary 🇺🇸
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.
And just like that, we’re headlong into the most wonderful time of the year, when I challenge you to make it a debt-free Christmas. Because there are few things that feel as good as facing the New Year knowing that everything is paid in full—no Christmas debt to hit you in the face come mid-January. […]
There’s no denying that we love Halloween. What other night do we get to eat, drink, and be scary? The problem is we’ve come to love it a little too much. Sadly, most of that spending will translate to new credit-card debt—what a terrible way to start out the new year.
I know we can do so much better than that this year if we’ll simply stop, think, and then find ways to do it cheaper!
I’ve got lots of great ideas, and hope you will add yours in the comments! See you there … Love, xo m 🎃
As you consider gifts for the grads on your list, think of that person’s “next step.” For a high-school grad, perhaps it’s college. For a college grad, it’s a job, apartment or grad school. The next step may be pulling long hours preparing for a state bar exam or taking a trip abroad. Select a gift […]
In 27 years, I cannot recall a single time I’ve heard from a bride or groom saying they wished they’d spent more money on their wedding.
The best wedding mail comes from frugal brides and grooms who are anxious to share their fabulous frugal ideas with future couples!
I have no one to blame but myself that our boys grew up favoring Halloween over all other holidays—with the possible exception of Christmas. From the time they could walk, I poured my heart and soul into making sure they had the best costumes. One year we had Popeyes-a-Pair (two tiny boys dressed identically as […]
Every year about this time I start scrambling for gift ideas for my long list of friends, neighbors and colleagues. I have criteria. The gift has to be homemade and easily mass produced. It needs to be consumable, attractive and appeal to a wide range of tastes. And above all, it needs to be affordable. Everyday […]
As tempting as a pricey, artificial pre-lit Christmas tree may be, few things about the holidays are as satisfying as a fresh, real Christmas tree. Fresh test. Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you. Very few needles should come off in your hand if the tree is fresh. Shake […]
It was 1859 and Charles Dickens starts his classic A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of […]
Every year about this time I get a dozen or so, shall we say, “emotionally packed” messages from people wanting to take me to task for referring to Christmas as “Xmas.” I’ve received more than my share of angry messages given the few times I have actually made this reference in print. Even though my […]
The sweater didn’t fit right, the color was all wrong and you already have a singing bass on a plaque. For whatever reason, if you need to return a gift you should know a few things first. According to the National Retail Federation, 62 percent of retailers have ID requirements to make a return. Your […]