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  • in reply to: Need Breakfast Ideas for picky eater #416520

    I’m not much on traditional breakfast foods either. no eggs, never, ever, ever!!! and, often ceral is more of a late evening snack than breakfast. i do like bagels, but prefer a real bagel from a real bagel shop over the grocery store ones.
    one thing i do is eat what i like.

    i’ve never, even as a child understood the need to only eat breakfast designated foods. i simply can’t find the logic there. food is either “good” for you or it isn’t, a particular time of the day doesn’t change a food’s good or bad for you as far as i’m concerned.

    a toasted cheese is as good for breakfast as lunch. soup, believe it or not is just as filling for breakfast as lunch. often i have supper leftovers, everything from spaghetti to mac n cheese, to meatloaf or anything else.

    if i liked it for supper, and would eat it for lunch, what’s wrong with it for breakfast. truly, the idea that only certain foods have/should be eaten at certain times drives me crazy. hubby is like that, can’t begin to imagine anything but traditional breakfast foods for breakfast. but funny enough once a week he’ll get sausage, eggs, and toast or french toast and sausage for supper, and doesn’t have a problem with that.
    now some people don’t seem able to handle certain foods first thing in the morning. but, the idea of hot cerals grosses me.
    for me, i eat what is available that i know i’ll eat.

    doesn’t matter what time of day it is. often i’ll have a package of frozen veggies, or fruit, cheese, and crackers or leftovers, or whatever i see and looks edible. right now, i’m making cheese bread for breakfast. bought some mini sub sized rolls, spread with butter and top with a variety of cheese and broil.

    when that bread is gone it might be veggies. life is far to short to follow someone else’s made up set of rules. who decided what’s appropriate for breakfast anyway?

    in reply to: Baby Shower Ideas – HELP!!! :) #402779

    I keep trying to post, but for some reason, my post doesn’t show. Not sure why, but I’ll try again.
    Suggestion for a game.

    Select several smallish items. Could be a small candle, or tin of fancy breath mints, or other items not much bigger.
    Make a lot of labels with appropriate statements:
    I go to whomever is wearing “Blue”
    I go to whomever is wearing “Pink”
    I go to the person with the most children
    I go to the person who drove the fartherest to be here
    I go to the person who has only boys
    I go to the person who has only girls
    I go to the person who has only one child
    I go to there person who most recently gave birth
    I go to the person who has the oldest child
    I go to the person with the most Grandchildren
    I go to the person with the most Great Grand children
    I go to the person who is pregnant
    I go to the person who gave birth the farthest away from here
    I go to the person works with children—teaches
    I go to the person who has a child who still uses a pacifier
    I go to the person who had the shortest labor
    I go to the person who had a C-Section
    I go to the person who had the longest labor
    I go to the person had natural childbirth
    I go to the person who had the biggest age difference between 2 children/back to back, not first to last
    I go to the person who had the biggest age difference between 2 children, first to last
    I go to the person who had her husband present during delivery
    I go to the person who gave birth the soonest after midnight
    I go to the person who gave birth the soonest after noon
    I go to the person who had the largest baby
    I go to the person who has the oldest child, if more than one, the youngest of the people
    You win, i’m yours
    obviously, this list could be amended to include more relevant to the expectant mother or people attending, depending on what you know about them.

    i have many more, and some might need a “second go to…,” incase or more than one person or no one being that specific label.
    wrap your items, then secure with a label, obviously, the you win, i’m yours, being the first. wrap the item a second time securing with another label, wrap a 3rd time with a different label, on and on and on. I usually try to wrap items 5 or 6 times or more. And, use a variety of wrapping materials, and neatness doesn’t necessarily have to count.

    Everything from very nice, but usually leftover wrapping paper, to a plastic baggie, to newspaper, to tissue paper, to brown paper bags, to plain plastic grocery bags. The idea is to hand out “several,” and this number depends on number of people there. I do this for a Christmas family dinner as one of the games and for 40 or 50 people, I provide 2 or 3 at each table, and each table might have 5 to 10 to 15 people seated.

    The wrapped gift stays at the table, but for a party I’d just randomly hand out 4 or 5 or more if a lot of people are there and only use each “pass me to…” once so the same person isn’t getting the present back for the same reason. Finally, the person who gets the last layer of wrapping gets the present. It keeps people asking question and passing it on to someone else.
    The family loves this game.

    in reply to: Baby Shower Ideas – HELP!!! :) #402678

    Some ideas for games.
    Take a number of small gifts for the attendees. Something SMALL, very small, say little boxes of candy, the Whitmas tiny boxes, or any item about that small, even smaller.
    Wrap multimple times. However, each layer of wrapping, will have a different “label” of who gets it next.

    You’ll need a variety of statements:
    I go to whomever is wearing “Blue”
    Then wrap over that layer. And neatness doesn’t really count. For example wrap each layer in a different sort.

    Last layer say, wrap neatly in pretty paper, next layer, wrap in tissue paper, next layer wrap in a pretty bag, next layer wrap in a baggie, next layer in a brown paper bag, next layer plastic bag from grocery store.

    But, each layer of wrapping with have a different label telling who gets it next.
    I go to the person who gave birth the soonest after midnight
    I go to the person works with children–teaches
    I go to the person who had a C-Section, more than one, the oldest
    I go to the person who had the longest labor
    I go to the person who has only one child, if more than one the youngest
    I go to the person who had her husband present during delivery, more than one, the oldest
    I go to the person who had the biggest age difference between 2 children/back to back, not first to last
    I made up loads of these to use for my daughter-in-law’s shower, but her family only did one game and didn’t ask so they weren’t done at the shower.
    You could make these almost any statements based on who you knew was attending.

    The idea is, as each person unwraps a layer, they then pass the prize on to the next person. By having several going at the same time and not repeating any of the statements, the prize is constantly moved from person to person. At the last layer of wrapping the labe reads,
    I’m yours.
    I do this for a Christmas game for about 40 or more people of all ages.

    Since they are sitting at different tables, the prize stays at one table, so I have 1 or 2 prizes going at each table. I generally have a small ornament just because I have to wrap so many of these multiple times. But how many times is up to you, I’d say at least 4 or 5 times just to keep things moving.

    in reply to: dinner party favors for kids #402616

    Not sure what you want the kids to have as far as favors. And it depends on the ages, and even gender possibly. Might just go to the Dollar Store and get a few of those “little” gift bags, and make a little goodie bag for each child.

    Could even tailor this towards each child, at least age and gender. And of course budget is a factor for 11. But, if you have children all about the same age, you can usually get some bags of items–pencils, crayons, rings, candy, etc.

    for a dollar with several in and then divide between the goodie bags.
    One idea, if you have a digital camera and printer, and the TIME, you might take a photo of each child, print it, and put it in a frame to take home, or even provide a couple of pages for a scrapbook and the decorations and let them make their own scrapbook page(s). Maybe have the older children write short autobiography about them selves and include that.
    Are the adults getting a party favor? Is there any variation you could do on that?
    Even if you don’t have a theme for the party, could you make on for the favors?

    Seasonal? Winter, say rather than Thanksgiving or Christmas?
    Maybe “Matchbox” with a trinket? Buy some matchboxes, empty, cover with pretty paper, inside and out, and then put a small trinket in there.

    Depending on how much, how about a Susan B. Anthony Dollar? If you go to any stamp machine, your change is in Susan B.

    Anthony Dollars.

    Or a gift certificate tucked inside for say a free Wendy’s Frosty or McDonalds Cone or something along that line?
    Or how about making each child a Miniature cake, like a muffin size, or specialty pan, frost and include his/her name at the setting.
    Make a “mini” center piece for each child, variation on the goodie bag, but make it like a bouquet—pencils, lollipops, again, bag items from say the Dollar Store and use a mini bucket, or little cup, or other container.
    I am always looking for little bits for children to have at a Family Christmas Dinner held every year.

    So, when I see something that looks promising, I simply buy it and put it aside. I find a lot of Christmas type items very cheap after Christmas or at yard sales. So I usually have a box of craft items for them to do as the adults are chatting or eating.

    I rarely know exactly how many children, and ages vary considerably, so the youngest kids might just get a toy of some sort age specific, and older children might have ornaments to make, pages to color, etc. But, I try to have some candy and little items they can take home.


    in reply to: In search of Meatball appetizer recipe ~ Specific #402420

    I don’t know that recipe, but I make this one all the time. Buy or sometimes I actually make my own, meatballs, cook in 350 degree oven if making your own, till done.
    Combine 1 jar of grape jelly, and 1 bottle of chili sauce in crock pot, or pan, heat until the 2 “melt” together, then add the meatballs. If using a crockpot let cook 3 or 4 hours on low.

    If using a reguar pan, on a very low heat, checking and stirring frequently, for several hours. That’s why I do the crock pot…
    Delicious, and simple.

    in reply to: Beading?? #402418

    Not a site for bulk beads, but I like to make barrettes, and often us other items to create them, like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins, etc. that I find at yard sales. Again, not large quantities, but if you go to yard sales, you might be able to find and reuse costume jewelry. Just a thought.

    in reply to: Need gift ideas for the "rich" people in the family #401601

    I think there are 2 types of people with money, those who have it and spend it accordingly, because they can, but don’t see it as being better than someone else, and those who use it as a badge or symbol of status and spend it to show off. Which type is your in laws? If they spend to show off, then there is nothing you can do to “be equal” because that is their goal to be “ahead/better/richer/etc” than others, so give what you want.

    Something homemade, something inexpensive, a craft item, whatever. Give what you would enjoy getting, give it sincerely, and let them “be disappointed” because that will be the best present they can get…Sad, but true. If they simply have a lot of money because they work at well paying jobs, and spend according to their economic status just because it seems logical, then again, give what you want to give.

    This type of person will be satisfied because they value you and your intentions.
    What is that each really “likes,” a hobby, have a collection of something, a way of spending time off? Do they shop at a particular store(s)?
    How about a donation in their name to a charity they favor?
    I like unusual food gift baskets. Just a bag, basket, container doesn’t matter, but fill it with food stuffs a little out of the ordinary.

    Lots of times, I go to the outlets and speciality grocery stores and just browse. Many places have tastes for free. Find several items, and to get an idea look on line or at stores that sell gift baskets to see what is a good combo.

    Then make your own. Often you are paying for the container, look at Goodwill for a nice basket, and the fancy packing. Make your own, shred colored paper, even glossy magazines through a shredder.

    Usually the number of items in a gift basket isn’t that much. Get some reasonably priced crackers or chips or other items, but an unusual or less popular/known brand. Do you live near them?

    Or in another area. Maybe an assortment of things from your area, if they live away. If food isn’t an interest, then what is, a day at the beach, or lotions and potions, or manicure/pedicure items, gardening items, plants, seeds, gloves, etc.
    Maybe get a very pretty Christmas stocking and fill it with little items, some nice, some fun, some practical, some necessary.

    A little bottle of their favorite perfume, a flashlight with battery, specality soaps, candles, notepads, pen, make-up/cosmetics, book of stamps, tea/coffee, book of soduku/crosswords/puzzles, kitchen utensils, make-up, cd of a favorite artist, book, lip balm, small box of special candy, fancy hooks for christmas ornaments, the skys the limit on this, go to a variety of dollar stores and look for unusual, usual items.
    how about some alumni from their alma mater?
    people say i’m hard to shop for, and it’s true, if there is something i want, i get it if i possibly can afford it. if i can’t afford it, i begin saving for it until i can afford it, or it’s something so far out of ordinary, that it’s more of a fantasy than a possibility. but, as i’ve gotten older, my wants of “things” are far more unique and specific.

    in all honesty, what i want most is “the experience” of something. which means i like to travel. i don’t “need” anything.

    i buy all my towels, sheets, cookware, clothes, etc. pretty much at yard sales and flea markets, or for truly unique things i find when i’m out. i consider it a luxury to do so.

    and, in all honesty, i suspect many of the “new” items i find early in the spring are gifts not wanted. however, it is the thought that counts, truly.
    perhaps your mother-in-law “understands” and honestly doesn’t need you to spend your money on things she can get for herself more comfortably than you. that’s not a criticism, just an economic fact of life.

    honestly, what does she need or want? probably, very little.
    i love giving gifts, but it’s what i find for someone that i think suits them uniquely or specially that i value giving most. i try to make it easy for people to give to me, by deliberately stating something, affordable, in front of them. if they get it, fine, if not that’s ok too.

    in reply to: About the 250.00 a month grocercy budget #401582

    I appologize, that this became a bit long…
    I honestly can’t imagine spending so little for groceries. Double that a week, EASILY, and still more for a week, and that’s just for 3 adults and a colony of cats.
    I am looking for ways to save, but I know, what I can and can’t do or is it won’t do. I simply don’t do cooking from scratch because by the time I get home from my day at work, I do not want to spend more time in the kitchen.

    I really don’t enjoy cooking, and guess I value my time to do what I want more over cooking, even if it means for less. Sounds very selfish, but I suppose until I absolutely have to, I won’t do but a certain amount of frugal style living. Also, I don’t have the inclination to do up a number of meals ahead of time.

    And, while I might be able to use my crock pot or do casseroles more, I just don’t feel like doing that first thing in the morning. As it is, I get up about 4:30 am every day, and I have no intention of getting up any earlier just fix them supper ahead.
    I do need to use coupons more. I have only just begun to do that.

    However, my largest costs are in meat. My guys are basic meat, starch/veg. And for them they want it meat most, starch, then veg as far as “amount” that satisfies them.

    This isn’t going to change, he’s 58, and been a very picky eater his whole life. His Momma had stories… So, it’s pretty much steak, chicken, pork, hamburger, ham, and back again with some “breakfast meats.”

    Right now I do have a good stock in the freezer and won’t really need to buy any of that for awhile, unless I find it on mark down. Also, lunch meat for 2 lunches each day. And I do throw in as necessary hamburgers, steak-ums, chicken patty/nuggets when I’m just too tired, late, only hubby is here to eat, or just not in the mood to cook a full meal.

    Veggies are also pretty limited, both eat peas, one will also green beans, but other corn. So, I need to buy the smaller size cans for those items. Both complain about frozen peas or green beans, though frozen corn is ok, but usually, i just use the cans as i have them in the house, whereas anything other than basics in the freezer are out in the garage at the back of the property.
    as for picky, it’s nothing with a tomato ingredient for hubby, nothing at all. so all those sorts of foods are out.

    and, since he pays for the food, he does have a say in what he gets to eat.
    i also use a lot of convenience foods–canned gravy, boxed items, as i am usually in a hurry to put supper on the table.
    and i almost never eat with them. i don’t like to cook, and most of what i do like–pizza, spaghetti, chili, etc., hubby won’t eat, so i fix a separate supper for myself. and, often it is convenience packaged.

    again, not something i plan to give up at this point unless i absolutely have to.
    another big expense is cat food and litter. i am going to try making my own wet cat food. just bought a container of chicken liver and cooking it today.

    i’ll follow a recipe i got and “see” if that helps, if the few cats that do get wet food will eat it. they are a funny bunch. but, i have one cat who is so old and has eating problems so she gets the “better” or at least more expensive wet cat food, so i’m hoping she’ll take this instead, it will be far more economical.

    and she also eats meat baby food, again hoping this will reduce that expense. the rest of the cats eat a lot of dry food. i have 6 cats that are “truly” mine, but a whole colony of feral cats that I feed.

    I refuse to let anything go hungry. Besides we live out in the country and I have always had a lot of cats around.

    I buy rather cheap litter for one of the pans in the utility room, but a more expensive brand for my bathroom, however, I am going to start finding, I hope, and using coupons to help with that by pairing whatever is on sale.
    Also, I buy fresh lettuce and such for the bunny, not terribly expensive, I do look for any mark downs, but he does love the fresh over the boxed bunny mix.
    My next biggest expense is laundry/cleaning.

    Liquid Tide because I know it doesn’t bother anyone’s skin. Dryer sheets, but I went for the cheaper brand instead of the more expensive, and I honestly don’t notice a difference. Also, bleach for whites, not sure if it really helps or not, and vinegar for my “softener” though I can’t say I really see any difference with it or without it.

    I did stop buying Borax and again, if there is a difference I don’t see it. I am considering making my own laundry detergent, but can’t seem to find the particular ingredient of Washing Soda, and several have said that’s the not the same as Baking Soda, so am still looking for that. Also, can’t find Fels Napa soap, but did find a brand, Colgate, and not the deodorant, but “just soap.”

    So, once I have all the ingredients I will try that. I wash a lot of clothes.
    I confess one area where I spend too much is immediate gratification foods. In the morning at work I like to have something to munch on, usually salty, but I try not to keep that stuff at home, as I tend to also munch at home…So, I just buy a box or bag of whatever catches my eye/taste that day.

    And, I like more “exotic” foods, which means expensive, so if I see a new item that looks good I tend to try it. Something I have been cutting back on doing. By not going to the grocery store as often on my way to work.

    But, if I do need non perishable items, it’s much easier/faster to go in the morning than after work.
    Also, I buy a lot of ice cream. Hubby is addicted to it, and he can go through a container in 2 or 3 days alone. I have a penchant for the Weight Watchers Creamcicles, more than ww recommends per day i might add.

    and they are pricey.
    some ways i know i could/should, but won’t economize is with raising food and canning. but, i don’t like to cook, so that isn’t about to happen.
    a couple of things i have done, is to stop buying coffee on my way to work. i now make and take it from home.

    and, while i still do have lunch out, it’s not every day, and it’s no longer lunch and breakfast every day bought out. but, i do miss it…i honestly prefer someone else to cook/prepare food for me!!!!
    i have learned a lot from this group about how to save, but truly, if i had to go to some of the lengths, i would become one mean person. i realize that sounds horrible.

    and, i recognize that being frugal is hard work. we live in a culture that emphasizes convenience and i’m as addicted to that as anyone. i want things “now” too often, and especially when that something means i have to do the work to get it, like cook from scratch, i’d rather have the now.
    but, i used to buy precooked foods on the way from home for hubby and son, stop by a fast food or even the prepared items in the grocery store.

    that’s something i almost never do anymore. it’s the sheer cost that really made me stop. if i do it now, i need a really good reason, and i always balance that against the option of simply fixing a burger.

    the time i’d spend stopping, is easily as much and more than just cooking a sandwich. so, that’s not an expense anymore. funny, with the few spending changes i’ve made i don’t feel that i have “more” money.

    when i think that easily i spent about $3 per day for coffee, and that often 7 days a week, I don’t “see” the $800, YIKES!!!! I was spending on coffee a year. Same with all the eating out we used to do.

    Almost every Saturday was out, and that ran upwards of $30 or more for the 2 of us. Again, I don’t see that $1500. Same for my breakfast and lunches out, often besides the coffee I’d get a bagel sandwich or something from fast food, so that could add another $2 or $3 or more per day and lunch might be another $3 to $7.

    Couple that with all the stops for fast food for hubby and son, and obviously our food bill was out of control. And, honestly, it was only when I really started to calculate that cost did I have an epiphany. Still, I’m not convinced I see all that savings!!!!

    But, listening to others share what they do, and how, has provided me with incentives to try more and really pay attention.
    One thing I don’t do/have is a true budget. Money for food is simply there. That is something I confess I feel very grateful about now.

    I think I’d be scared to death if I had to really go on a strict food budget. But, I should become more aware of what I spend and find ways to lessen that. I also, should take any true savings–coupons, major reductions by using other items and sock it away.

    I did just start doing that for coffee, to reinforce my not buying it. And, just tucking $20 a week in a specific place really does make a difference!!!
    I do enjoy finding out how others manage. And again, I am impressed with how people do what they do.

    It also makes me more appreciative of “how easy I have it.” Still, I don’t think things are going to improve economically any time soon. I actually began to worry about my job as a number of letters are coming from administration about possible budget cuts and such.

    I’ve never really worried in the past, but this is a different economy we are in, so I am not going to take anything for granted! But, I work at a university, a small/medium size one, and I see how many people are basically walking out into an economy that might not have any job for them, and the number of people who are losing their jobs, without any other opportunity available. So, I am more appreciative of finding ways to save.

    And, I suppose if I did manage to give up eating out, something I so enjoyed, I can find new and other ways to save, even if I don’t want to.

    in reply to: Help (with Dad’s Stocking) #401572

    I highly recommend shopping year round for people. I know it seems a bit “much.” But, if I had to go shopping on just a few days to get the stuff I do, it would be pretty boring, at least in my opinion. Guys are both easy and hard, tools, gadgets, candy, any hobby or work related items. I have some standards for people. I’m a fan of interesting calendars. So, about 5 of the local area specific to the work the men do are bought every year for hubby, son, brother-in-law, and a couple others. I will also look for calendars for specific intersts of co-workers. Hubby golfs, so always golfing items. Youngest son, only had his home a couple of years, so all the odd bits you need, but only buy, when you discover a need for…WD40, assortment of screws/nails/hangers for items, odd types of tools, just the jumble of items you use only a few times a year or encounter a special need for all of a sudden. Also, hubby and this son are waterman, so lots of work related items, gloves, thermal underware, and special items used for that job and freezer bags for the fish son catches/cleans and sells. One son is very HARD to shop for. He has few “interests” and his work doesn’t require any special needs, he works in an archives at the university. But, he has been a fan of the Beatles, so every year it’s every new Beatles book, CD, DVD…and any collectibles I can find over the year. He also likes the Bee Gee’s, so less on them, but if I find it, I buy it. Many items I buy from Amazon, used for the books when possible. And he’s “into” history of this region, so lots of books on the area. And, he’s been a fan of Star Wars and Star Trek, so stuff on them, but then I’m a fan, so I get my stuff first And this son isn’t into candy as much, so he gets more gift certificates.
    The females are perhaps more fun to shop for. I am always picking ups fragranced items–candles, etc. And note pads, special pens, lotions and potions, and anything related to a particular interest, plus some gift cards/certificates. Usually some unique and or handmade Christmas decorations too. Sometimes I do “so well…I forget I have things and where I put them…” I did that a couple of years ago, and only just found these particular items I’d bought for daughter-in-law and her mom, sister-in-law, niece and a friend!!! Hope I remember them this year…
    Actually today, was a fooly. As I was getting dressed I heard it rain, so thought too many of the few yard sales had rain dates, I’ll stay home. However, now that the sun has come out, it’s not raining and looks like it’s clearing!!!! Am I bummed!!!! So, I’ll try to do a sort of the items I have for people and put every body’s stuff in their own box…I like doing it, but after awhile I loose energy…
    Anyone want to come play Santa today?

    in reply to: Favorite Party Food? #401276

    Easy Dips, I make and take everywhere

    Santa Fe Dip
    Grease, I use Pam, an 8 x 8 size casserole dish
    1 block of Cream Cheese, soften until can spread evenly in the casserole dish
    1 standard size jar of salsa–options, spread as is over the cream cheese, however, I don’t care for chunks, so I whiz my jar in the blender till smooth and spread over the cream cheese.
    Sprinkle with finely shredded cheese, I use the “Mexican” blend, cover in a layer
    Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, will hot and bubbling, serve with typical dippers

    Pizza Dip,
    Exactly as above, but substitute a jar of Pizza sauce for the salsa, and use an Italian blend
    Serve with an Italian compliment dipper

    Reuben Dip
    Grease, I use Pam, an 8 x 8 size casserole dish
    1/2 lb of a good deli corned beef, or for me I use pastrami, I don’t care for corned beef, do a fine chop and place as a layer on in the bottom of the casserole dish
    1 small, the truly small cans of sauerkraut and drain THOROUGHLY, but save the juice.
    Layer the sauerkraut on top of the pastrami/corned beef
    Mix 1/2 cup of mayo
    1/2 cup of Thousand Island Dressing
    Add saved juice to thin a bit.
    You don’t want it runny, but easy to pour and spread
    Pour/spread over the sauerkraut, press a bit so it seeps to the meat, an alternative is to mix the sauerkraut with the meat, and often, I do.
    Top with finely shredded Swiss Cheese
    Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, will hot and bubbling, serve with cocktail rye bread or another typical complimentary dipper

    Artichoke cheese dip
    Grease, I use Pam, an 8 x 8 size casserole dish
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    Blend all ingredients
    Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, will hot and bubbling, serve with a nice water cracker or another typical complimentary dipper


    in reply to: Help (with Dad’s Stocking) #401231

    For your Dad, look in his “place” does he need any “new/replacement” tools?
    For both Mom & Dad possibles…
    A book of stamps to mail…
    A phone card to call…
    Duct tape
    those small pocket size stain removers like Tide
    Flavored teas, coffees, hot chocolate, anything they like to drink
    speciality foods that might be a tad too expensive for regular grocery shopping
    kitchen utensils, unusual ones for Mom
    Note paper/pads/pens
    candles/sachets/auto fresheners
    coupons for oil change, favorite fast food, favorite place to stop for coffee
    Scratch Offs from the lottery if you have one in your state and they appreciate that
    small bottle of favorite cologne
    cook books, or books on any subject
    majazine of a particular interest, even if just for that month if they don’t ordinarly subscribe
    Do they recall some of the items they got as a child in their stockings? Anything from that you could find, like those paddle balls, or silly putty, or something from another era
    items to give as rewards to the class he teaches–stickers, pencils, etc.
    beauty items, if used like nail polish/manicure items; fancy skin produts, favorite cosmetic–lipstick, chapstick
    orange, nuts–when my Mom and Dad were alive, they talked about how it was a treat to get those, and for some reason, they thought it was a treat for me to get those—THEY WERE WRONG, and I told them and told them and told them…
    small games
    key chains
    just a few of the things I look for to include in many of the stockings, and I fill a lot of stockings, like 8 or 9. A mix of practical like the batteries, and the usefull like chapstick or lotion, and the silly like the toys or old time stocking fillers.

    How about a big pot of soup. i personally love vegetable beef. not sure how frugal mine is, but everything is a matter of personal taste.

    so mine is made to my personal taste and ease. but, it could be done more frugally. even left over, or slow cooked until tender beef is a good option.

    i begin with beef broth, made with the beef if cooked just for the soup, or add several cans. though for the truly frugal, i suppose roasting the bones and making the broth by simmering them is way to go.
    to that i just “add” my favorites–potatoes, peas, corn, green beans, and onions are my choices, but go with what your family likes. then i add either chopped canned tomatoes, or usually for us, just vegetable juice.

    to that i put in the smallest macaroni or rice, and always barley and then season to taste. but, you can select what combinations work for your family. but, my problem is it is always a very “thick” and hearty soup.

    so, extra water/broth will really make it more economical. and, a number of other economical items might be added–beans, finely chopped greens of some sort, even saving leftover vegetable from dinners now in the freezer will help add to this. so, whatever you can find on a good sales now you could either freeze or pre cook and freeze.

    with so many different ingredients i don’t think anyone notices the small amount of meat.
    with this you might have a cold cut tray with a few selections of lunch meat, cheeses, and condiments with a couple kinds of bread. or a tossed salad with a variety of items on the side to add. actually, when i have this soup, there isn’t anything else with it, except for crackers.

    as i said, i make mine very thick and hearty.
    an alternative would be a chicken soup with veggies and or pasta. again, utilize any leftovers by saving in the freezer and add other ingredients in as necessary to make enough.
    another option is a multiple bean soup. i often begin with one of the prepackaged varieties and again, add extra ingredients to make more.

    i find that the flavoring from the premade generally can accommodate extra bits.

    the inclusion of very small amounts of ham, or even cooked bacon would add a dimension of flavor.
    i think the greatest challenge might be in accommodating all the taste/food preferences of so many individuals.
    maybe someone will offer to buy pizza one night, and i say, if someone offers, they either mean it, and it’s polite to allow them or they need to learn to keep their mouth shut and not make empty promises.

    in reply to: Stocking stuffers #400750

    I love filling stockings. I think it’s just the “justification for my shopping addiction. Actually, a few years I went with those SUPER LARGE, BIG ENOUGH TO PUT YOUR WHOLE LEG IN stockings I found at the Dollar Store and have continued to do those for hubby, 2 sons, and daughter-in-law. I will soon do one that size for my Granddaughter, but as she’ll only be 1 this Christmas, I’ll wait a while, until she can fully appreciate it. I also do a regular sized stocking for daughter-in-law’s sister, the “adopt a child” I take, and for one niece who is the same age as my oldest son–36. However, I started doing her a stocking, because she lamented how much she missed getting one, and she still did one for her 2 kids and hubby. The first year, I simply gave it, stocking and all to her hubby and said, DON’T TELL HER WHERE IT CAME FROM. Well, about half way through unwrapping her stuff, she looked at him and said, “Aunt Gloria did this.” The following year, she said to him, “I wish Aunt Gloria would do me a stocking again.” Not asking me to, just expressing how much she liked it. So, I took on that responsibility. Apparently, I am recognizable in gifts. Besides that, I also do both her and her Mom, my sister-in-law a little goodie bag with basically the same sort of stuff. And, I have 6 grand-nieces & nephews whom I fill a bag with little bits and maybe one larger present. Besides I also buy prizes for our Familyl Christmas Dinner. Often well have 40 people in attendance, from infants to 80 plus.
    I shop Day After Christmas to Christmas Eve, always on the look-out for items. So, I find them at yard sales/flea market, sales, and mark down tables. I confess candy is a big filler for some members, specialty foods, personal care items/toiletries/make-up/perfume, candles, even fun little toys, home office supplies, knick knacks, garden items, fancy/theme calendars, kitchen gadgets, packs of batteries, lottery scratch offs, always a flash light, gag items, note pads, tools, gift certificates, note cards, interesting pens, name/personalized items, books, Christmas decorations, general home needs, and many other one off type of things. Let me just say, the females are generally easier. However, guys are usually more satisfied with guy things. But, I’d say, the yard sales/flea market are greatest sources, often for brand new items, still wrapped in original packaging or decorative items for the house that wouldn’t even be wrapped if bought new. And, the price is surely right, often a quarter, fifty cents, a dollar, or a couple of bucks for some larger items. Beyond that, I’d say after holiday and clearance sales, and I am always looking, so, sometimes I find things 75 or up to 90 % off, but I may have to buy it in January, February, etc and hold it till the next Christmas.
    Since the stockings are so big for my immediate family members, I can fit some bigger items—cookware, unusual dishes, or other things. I buy so much over the year and just put everything in boxes marked for specific people or a general box. About now, I begin to go through and organize, determine how much more I might still need to fill and what items I still need to get. There are some years, I’m really over for some people, so I simply hold items for the next Christmas.

    in reply to: 50 Free Prints at Rite Aid #400739

    Do I go to the store and do this? Sounds like a dumb question, I know. But, is that how it works, and then enter the special code?

    Do I need to order “more” prints and pay for those to get the 50 free?

    in reply to: What is your opionion on ABC #399736

    I agree with everyone else so far. I used to order a lot from them. But, there were several people in the office, so it was kind of fun to put an order together and then get the items. Sometimes you’d receive a box FULL of items, so we/whomever ordered spilt the shipping, sometimes you’d get a number of boxes with only one item in each.

    And so it went. Again, sometimes you see something you haven’t seen anywhere else, just note the S&H before ordering. For small/light items it’s generally a good deal or if ordering with/for other people and you can split the S&H.

    But, for heavy items, I’d make sure it was something I really wanted and couldn’t find somewhere else. Overall I was very satisfied with what I bought from them. I do confess, I’ve stopped ordering though I still get a catalog, but to be strong, I just toss it before I even look at it.

    Another point of trying to be more frugal…

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