Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts

by Renee' Anderson 7. May 2014

Mom Blocks

Nine months…NINE…MONTHS. Ten take away one equals NINE. That is how long your mother carried you around in her belly. Whether she had morning sickness or not, back pain or not, the longest labor ever or not…she deserves much more than a Hallmark card (no offense Hallmark). Now, when I say MUCH MORE, that doesn’t mean you should max your credit card out on expensive jewelry, spa certificates and the finest chocolate you can find. Less is more. Since I am a mother myself, I am certified on Mother’s Day gift giving. That’s right.

Now, I know just where your mind is, “I need ideas.” Some are low budget but from the heart (which I recommend), and some have a higher price tag (but there’s no price limit when it comes to your mom so…):

  • Breakfast in Bed: Don't wake mom too early, but YOU can wake up early and whip up a batch up fluffy pancakes (heart-shaped would be nice), fresh eggs and a side of fruit to get your mom’s day started right! Put your homemade breakfast (made of your mom’s favorite things) on a tray, along with a folded napkin, glass of OJ (or Mimosa), some fresh flowers, and a card. She’ll love it!
  • Hand Painted Flower Pot: Head to Michaels…a mom can never have enough flower pots and spring flowers for that matter! Michaels has plain terracotta pots and paint in one section. Go home and either paint something yourself, or if you have little ones, let them go at it! They can even make a hand print on the flower pot. Grab a pretty spring flower and some potting soil and you’re done! Your mom will have a beautiful, fresh spring flower to look at every day and think of you!
  • If you have some money, the way to spend it wisely is Fitbit®. The Fitbit is a great new fitness tracker that healthy moms are using to get or stay fit. Now, I did say you need to have some money to spend. They run about $100. Check them out, Best Buy carries them.
  • If you’re really on the ball- photos! You have a couple options here. You can go online to Shutterfly.com and spend the money to overnight a small but sweet photo album with your favorite pictures for mom, or you can swing by Target, Walgreens, or any store with a photo stand, with your phone (or CD, flash drive, etc.) and print out some pictures that mom will enjoy looking at displayed in her house. Grab a fun frame or photo album and you're done! Put a nice heartfelt card in the bag with it and mom will love it!

Moral of the story/blog/game is…give your mom something from the heart. You mean the whole world to your mom and all she wants is for you to show her how much she means to you. (Remember, I’m certified.)

Didn't see anything here that really struck your fancy? Visit our Mother's Day Pinterest board for more ideas.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Celebrate Mom without Your Wallet

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Cheap Eats on Super Bowl Sunday

by Renee' Anderson 31. January 2014

Nachos with Chilli

So the Ravens aren’t in the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a good football game, watch some of the year’s best commercials, eat, drink, and be merry.

Here are some inexpensive food ideas for your Super Bowl gathering. All of these and more can also be found on our Pinterest page. Whether you’re keeping it simple or inviting a crowd, these are sure to please, and won’t dent your wallet.

1) Build Your Own Nacho Bar

This is fun way to feed a crowd and please different taste buds. Pick your own nacho toppings! Buy whatever tortilla chips are on sale this week, and gather some inexpensive toppings - big jar of salsa (or go even cheaper and make your own), canned beans, cheese/cheese sauce, make some guacamole, etc. If you want to have meat for your nacho bar, just throw some pork or beef in a crock pot.

2) Meatballs

Sweet and sour or marina sauce? Either option is easy and cheap! Make the meatballs yourself. It’s a little more time consuming, but it will definitely save you some money, especially if you’re feeding a crowd. If you want nice juicy meatballs, be sure to buy the 85% lean beef; if you’re being health conscious, get 93%.

3) Mini Corn Dog Muffins

These are great for the youngin’s. Grab a $1 box of corn muffin mix and a pack of hot dogs on sale and whip up some mini corn dogs!

4) Cheesy Football

The perfect snack for game day, this looks the part and taste yummy! Take your favorite cheeseball recipe, and simply shape it into a football. Add the “stitches” to the top to make it look like a football (use pimentos or whatever you can come up with).

5) Popcorn Bar

So clearly I’m liking the “Build Your Own” concept this year. Who wouldn’t? It’s easy, it’s fun, and it will please everyone because THEY decide what they will eat. Pop some kernels, grab some fixings (salt, butter, M&M’s®, peanuts, etc.), and let everyone come up with their own creation.

6) Dessert

Keep it simple with cupcakes shaped like a football. Let’s be honest, boxed cake mixes often taste better than homemade recipes. So, buy a box, mix and bake. Throw some butter, powdered sugar and milk in a mixer (KitchenAid® if you have one), and there you have it. Cheap, easy, and delicious! Of course, decorate as desired; throw some colored sprinkles, M&M's®, icing colors, etc. on top to represent your favorite team.

Another tip - stop by the dollar store and grab some paper products on the cheap to jazz up the house!

Don't forget to visit our Pinterest page for more ideas.

Touchdown!!!!!!!!

How to Master Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

by Renee' Anderson 10. December 2013

Holiday Entertaining

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Why not invite your friends, family and co-workers over?

What? You can’t afford to? Sure you can.

Here are some holiday party tips that won't hurt your budget:

1. Décor

Cut your tree yourself and use the trimmings! If you’re lucky enough to live close to farmland, drive around the corner to a small farm and cut your own tree down. Aside from being inexpensive, searching for and cutting your own tree down can become a favorite tradition for your family. Then, when you get home and your husband (or the designated tree trimmer) cuts those low branches off, be creative and make some decorations for inside and outside of the house. See our Pinterest page for specific ideas.

2. Drinks

Provide a “signature cocktail” and beer. There’s no need to offer a large variety of of wine, beer and liquor. Something sweet, sparkly and festive is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Others will be happy with whatever kind of beer you can find on sale at your liquor store. Don’t forget to provide water, maybe some homemade iced tea (with sugar and lemon), and juice for the kids. Personally, I think buying soda is not necessary - more people these days aren’t drinking soda in an effort to be healthier. Visit our Pinterest board to see some fun signature cocktail recipes.

3. Food

Now let’s focus on the food. First rule: if someone asks if they can bring something, say “yes please.” You don’t need 25 different food options. You just need a well-rounded menu with enough of each dish. Whether you’re having hors d’oeuvres or a full meal, do as much as you can ahead of time. For a dinner party-style meal, pasta is usually a good way to go, for example, stuffed shells. Stuffed shells are easy to make ahead of time with no expensive ingredients involved, and are generally liked by most people. You could always throw some sausage in a crock pot with some easy homemade tomato sauce if you feel the need to have a meat option. Add some bread and salad (a Cesar salad is elegant yet doesn’t have many ingredients so remains it cheap - dress it up with a homemade Caesar dressing), and you have an elegant Italian meal! Check out our Pinterest page for more food ideas.

4. Mood

Don't forget to stream your free Pandora holiday station to really set the mood!

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

How to Keep Your Wallet Stuffed This Thanksgiving

Top Picks for Affordable Wines to Celebrate the Holiday Season

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