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2

Who Stole the Joy?!

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 […]

5

Yes! You Can Put Silver in the Dishwasher

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!

9

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.

13

Your Best Thanksgiving Feast Ever, Healthy, Delicious, and (Relatively) Cheap!

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 🦃

14

12 Fabulous Ways to Use Fresh Cranberries Starting Now and Throughout the Year

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!

18

These 3-Ingredient Cakes are So Easy It’s Almost Scary

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.

21

The Easiest Summer Barbecue Ever— Ribs, Beans, Slaw, Dessert

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

22

How to Make Perfect Iced Tea plus Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

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.

xo m

31

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 👌❤️

40

12 Ways to Make it Christmas in July

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 🎄

42

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.

44

10 Ways to Do Halloween on a Budget this Year

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 🎃

47

This Halloween Go Cheap

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 […]

49

Oh, Christmas Tree!

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 […]

52

The Season of Returns

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 […]