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#1 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey ladies!
With holidays fast approaching, it seems a time that even not-typically frugal people become frugal, so perhaps this thread with get alot of traffic

Well, we're going to have to get more frugal b/c we just signed up for Satellite TV for the winter (one of DH's many fixes), so that adds another $30 bill every month :
Anyhow, I'd love to hear great (CHEAP/FREE) ideas for decorating for the Fall. There's a super-cute idea for Turkey decorations in Family Fun magazine that the body is made out of a child's footprint with black paint, then the feathers are tissue paper (reused for us!), so it can be hung in a window.

Oh yeah, I know what I wanted to ask y'all, that I've been pondering this weekend. What gifts are or have your kids made for grandparents for Christmas? Or not even just for grandparents, but for any family members? I thought we'd get a cheap clock and put pictures of each grandkid on each number and write on it - We love you all the time! - which I also saw in Family Fun, but looked very affordable for the grandparents! Any other ideas?

Any great frugal holiday tips?

Mama of 3 amazingly sweet kids jumpers.gif, living the dream on our urban farm chicken3.gif

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#2 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 01:28 PM
 
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Um, well, DS is only 2 1/2 but he is making bread dough ornaments at grandma's house next weekend, along with his cousin (who's 4)
Grandma decided this would be her time alone with the boys, which means that Dh and I can do some fun adult stuff, like catching a matinee of Team America: World Police.
Bread dough ornaments are really frugal, and I believe what is going to happen is that grandma will make the ornaments, and they boys will paint them. heh.
As for us, well, My brothers both want new hand-knit socks. Now, they are not frugal on time, but they are a pretty good deal for materials. I was stalking the thrift stores, and found a bag full of sock yarn in approved colours (taupe and brown) for $3, which will be enough for about 4 pairs of socks.
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#3 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 05:35 PM
 
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"Anyhow, I'd love to hear great (CHEAP/FREE) ideas for decorating for the Fall. "

I've taken loose, silk leaves in fall colors and strung them on fish line to make a sort of garland that's super cheap. You knot on either side of the leaf and space them out so they look like they're falling. I've draped them over windows and mirrors, and eveyone asks where I got them. Its one fo those fun, quick craft projects that looks like it came from some fancy store.

Good Luck - I'm anxious to hear about more Grandparent gifts.
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#4 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 06:01 PM
 
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Grandparent gifts... Hrmmm..
Well, I am knitting my grandparents some fuzzy feet slippers from www.knitty.com
That covers the other set. As for the other grandma, she recently had a stroke, so instead of spending all of the money on a gift for her, I am going to go down about once a month and help her make frozen dinners, deep-clean her house, hang out and help her however she needs it.
Oh, kids grandparents? Um, hot wheels! Seriously, my nephew insists that grandma and grandpa love hotwheels, and even got Grandma a Barbie hotwheels car for her birthday.
My grandparents always appreciated lovely artwork, papier mache christmas trees and ornaments, and such.
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#5 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 08:30 PM
 
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Well, my boys are too small for craft gifts, but I plan to make a bead bracelet for their great-grandma. A friend just had a "Crafty Girls" party and showed us all how to make a very pretty tennis bracelet. I have a ton of seed beads left over, so I thought I'd use those and get the other kind in some nice shade of pink (she likes pink). The whole thing will probably cost about $6, not counting time--and it's only a couple of hours of that. If I get faster, I may make them for a bunch of my female relations!
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#6 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 09:30 PM
 
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desperately need help being frugral for the holiday... wont be bad with my family, most of em know we are broke and it'll be no big deal. however, the inlaws (celebrate on Christmas eve) and we are expected to buy for all the kids and his mom and dad, just not the rest of the adults..

these first 2 are spoiled beyond belief. it's like they have one of everything!
kid 1 16-ish boy into collectible swords, knives etc.

kid 2 girl. 13 ish into collects porcelain dolls.



kid #1 14 ish girl. (no clue what she is currently into other than video games. last year liked horses, wolves, and unicorn stuff.)

#2 about 20 girl. this one isnt too hard to please, as she is older... i will have her covered with some lotions/shower gels etc.

#3 MALE 22 ISH has his own home.... ( a gc would work great here, but i cant make one of them, lol)



#1 16 ish male. into video games and loud, music.

#2 12 ish male, same things as his brother.

#3 13 ish male not quite sure what he is into.

#4 11 ish female, again no clue what she is into.

these last 2 only started coming around in the past few months, they stay with their mom and dad just recently got visitation rights back, thats why i dont know them well.


okay yall, any suggestions?

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#7 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 11:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2tig99Nroo03
desperately need help being frugral for the holiday... however ... we are expected to buy for all the kids and his mom and dad... [snipped descriptions of NINE kids!]
okay yall, any suggestions?
good $#&% heavens! you are broke but you are expected to get stuff for 11 people - many of whom are essentially strangers? i say bake em all homemade cookies, wrap them up really pretty, and call it a day. yikes!
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#8 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 11:22 PM
 
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On Saturday I got The Learning Tower for.....*drum roll please* $20.00

It was a nursery school sale at our local elks club. I also got some books for DD and some clothes for her as well. The clothes were 2 for a dollar.

I was so excited and so was DH!!

I am going to read all about your frugal holiday ideas, now. I was just so excited I had to post!!

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
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#9 of 38 Old 11-08-2004, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel for ya! Fortunatly, I haven't had to deal with that yet, b/c our family all has little kids, so I can still get away with felt crowns and wands and such!
But for that teenage crowd, I would go with some homemade goodies. Forget the healthy and break out the white sugar and chocolate chips. Find some small holiday tins at the thrift store (they're only 25-50 cents each). Line them with a cloth napkin (also thrift store) or tissue paper. Then make 4 or 5 different treats and give each recipient mixture. Definatly will go to more use than just being tossed in the room with the other endless "stuff" and maybe even more liked than shower gels, etc.,since that seems to be an overly-given gift (at least in my experience). I'm sure the mamas here have some super yummy frugal treat recipes to share, if you need any! I know I do!
HTH!

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#10 of 38 Old 11-09-2004, 12:52 AM
 
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mom2tig99Nroo03, i understand totally. i have 4 brothers, 2 sisters, 1 sil, 2 bils, and now 2 nieces and 3 nephews. Three of my brothers are younger than me, 21, 16, 14 and i like to get them something. we also buy for my mom, and dad and his wife and draw names on my paternal grandma side (it's madeup of my cousins and their spouses) which means 2 more gifts (1 from me and 1 from dh). On my dh's side we do two more exchanges which means 6 more gifts (we have to buy one from our ds who will be 4 months old as well as from each of us) then dh wants to give something to his mom and dad and grandparents

two years ago they asked us to list some ideas of things we would like in my grandma's gift exchange (this should be the first clue that we don't really know each other that well anymore) last year I got my cousin and dh got her bf. Her list was "Kim Anderson figurines" which cost major $$ and his was "name brand clothes" . Honestly I don't even understand the point of doing a gift exchange in a "grown-up family" last year in mil's family exchange, dh and I were the youngest imo it would have been nice to not have to worry about who we were buying what for and just potlucked the x-mas dinner and enjoy our time together. Last year when i asked my sis what to get nephew she gave me a list of PS2 games : .

Sorry just noticed how big of a rant this is :

this year we are doing family pictures with dh, ds, and me. Frame them up and that will be all the grandparents, and mom, dad and mil-fil presents. I am also baking cookies and candies and filling baskets with them. And making some of the flavored vinegars and gifts in a jar, and maybe candles. For the gifts that we are buying, we found a catalog store where we could get gifts for 8 people for about $7 per person. Not super cheap but definitely less than we usually spend.
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#11 of 38 Old 11-09-2004, 02:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indiana ima
i say bake em all homemade cookies, wrap them up really pretty, and call it a day. yikes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dready*mama
But for that teenage crowd, I would go with some homemade goodies. Forget the healthy and break out the white sugar and chocolate chips. Find some small holiday tins at the thrift store (they're only 25-50 cents each). Line them with a cloth napkin (also thrift store) or tissue paper. Then make 4 or 5 different treats and give each recipient mixture.
likin this idea. even if they dont in the end, it wont cost lots of $, but will take time, and imo that is just as imporatant


Quote:
Originally Posted by dready*mama
I'm sure the mamas here have some super yummy frugal treat recipes to share, if you need any! I know I do!
HTH!
i think i'll take ya up on that offer

i do have one recipe for double choc cookies using a cake mix as a base, but would love some more

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#12 of 38 Old 11-09-2004, 02:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrusmama
Sorry just noticed how big of a rant this is :

rant on mama... we all do it at one time or another. i know i have hadnmy share of em

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#13 of 38 Old 11-09-2004, 04:37 PM
 
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I do quality children's magazines for my nieces and nephews. For around twenty buks, they get a gift that comes all year. There's one for every type of hobby or subject matter.
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#14 of 38 Old 11-09-2004, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Momto Tig & Roo, Another fun thought is that with food goodies for presents, your lil' Tig & Roo can help, and you can mention this to the reciepient, or even write the card from them, so it would be so cute! (and maybe even more meaningful... who can turn down 2 adorable kids offering sugar??... not me.)

Well, here's a tried & true recipe that at least several people receive each holiday. Homemade Reese's PB Candy:
Kids are VERY willing to and good at making these!
*1 c. butter
*1 c. crunchy PB
*1 box (16 oz.) powdered sugar
*1-1/2 c. crushed graham crackers (for the kids to do this, we put the crackers in a large ziplock, and let 'em go at it with a wooden hammer or rolling pin)
*1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips

Blend butter and PB in large bowl. Work in sugar & crumbs w/ hands. Press into ungreased 9x13" pan. Melt chocolate. Spread chocolate over PB mix. Let set at room temperature. Cut once it's set. Then refrigerate. These mail well, just put a not to refrigerate once they are recieved.

Some other things we usually include in treat gifts are: chocolate covered pretzels (home-covered, of course ), slices of pumpkin or carrot bread, 7 layer cookies (only for the non-picky eaters - they have coconuts, butterscotch, etc.), sugar cookies, or sugar cookie sandwiches (2 cookies with a generous amount of icing sticking them together) HTH!

Oh also, one year, I thought I'd introduce the extended family to healthy/natural treats... NOT a good idea. You want them to be familiar ingrediants, familiar tastes for ensured liking!

Mama of 3 amazingly sweet kids jumpers.gif, living the dream on our urban farm chicken3.gif

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#15 of 38 Old 11-09-2004, 09:45 PM
 
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Here's an idea to make the gift exchange for adults/teens cheap and more fun: Everybody has to buy a generic gift for under $5 with the point being to be as creative and/or funny (but tasteful) as possible. Then, on the holiday, you assign/draw numbers and exchange gifts that way. Some things I have seen done in the past: Canned octopus (dared each other to eat it, teens loved it), funny looking back scratcher, big fluffy mittens, notebook/pen with sayings from different cartoons, funniest joke book, you get the idea.

Otherwise, I agree to bake some stuff for the adults and teens. It's ridiculous to think that you have to buy all those gifts especially when you are on a tight budget. Or go to the dollar store and pick everybody something up!
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#16 of 38 Old 11-10-2004, 12:23 PM
 
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I see some great ideas here...how about home-made cards? I saw some really cute 3-d card (you fold and tape ect. and they stand on their own and can be turned around or hung like a mobile,ect) and kids really get into making stuff. maybe not for everyone, but definatly fo gp
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#17 of 38 Old 11-10-2004, 02:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dready*mama
Well, here's a tried & true recipe that at least several people receive each holiday. Homemade Reese's PB Candy:
Kids are VERY willing to and good at making these!
*1 c. butter
*1 c. crunchy PB
*1 box (16 oz.) powdered sugar
*1-1/2 c. crushed graham crackers (for the kids to do this, we put the crackers in a large ziplock, and let 'em go at it with a wooden hammer or rolling pin)
*1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips

Blend butter and PB in large bowl. Work in sugar & crumbs w/ hands. Press into ungreased 9x13" pan. Melt chocolate. Spread chocolate over PB mix. Let set at room temperature. Cut once it's set. Then refrigerate. These mail well, just put a not to refrigerate once they are recieved.
yum. now i'm hungry, lol



Quote:
Originally Posted by dready*mama
7 layer cookies (only for the non-picky eaters - they have coconuts, butterscotch, etc.)
have a recipe for these? never heard of em but they sound delish...

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#18 of 38 Old 11-10-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggi315
Some things I have seen done in the past: Canned octopus (dared each other to eat it, teens loved it),


l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#19 of 38 Old 11-13-2004, 03:49 PM
 
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had to post woooohooooo, i love freecycle! (there is a local group here finally). we will have sound on our puter again soon!!!! wooooohooooooooooo!

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#20 of 38 Old 11-13-2004, 05:59 PM
 
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yay free-cycler!! we got few started recently in the surrounding areas here, I love it!!
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#21 of 38 Old 11-13-2004, 06:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mom2tig99Nroo03
yum. now i'm hungry, lol


have a recipe for these? never heard of em but they sound delish...

Yep, they are called Magic Cookie Bars and I started making them when I was 10 years old. My whole family always liked when I made them. The recipe originally came from the Eagle condensed milk. There have been variations, but I like the original. Here it is:

Magic Cookie Bars

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch-flavored chips
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°, (325° for glass dish). In 13x9-inch baking pan, melt butter in oven.
Sprinkle crumbs over butter; pour Eagle Brand® evenly on top of crumbs. Top with remaining ingredients in order listed; press down firmly with fork.
Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature.


Notes: Tip: For perfectly cut cookie bars line entire pan (including sides) with a sheet of aluminum foil first. When bars are baked, cool; lift up edges of foil to remove from pan. Cut into individual squares. Lift off of foil.
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#22 of 38 Old 11-13-2004, 06:34 PM
 
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Here are some of the things I like to make:

NEVER FAIL FUDGE

5c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick butter or margarine
1 can evaporated milk
16 0z Marshmallow Fluff (if you can't get fluff, use the Sam's Choice marshmallow creme at Wal-mart or Kraft makes one)
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 12-oz. package semisweet-chocolate pieces
1 /2 to 1 c. chopped walnuts (this is optional, and I often leave it out, and either leave it plain or use 1 cup crunchy peanut butter instead. you could even chop up/crush peppermint candy canes and use them instead, or chopped almonds or whatever you like)

Grease a large rectagle glass baking/casserole dish (I think the one I use is about 10 14 or 15 inches) ; set aside. In large saucepan combine first 5 ingredients. Stir over low heat until blended. Heat to a full-rolling boil being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Add nuts. Turn into greased pan and cool. Makes 5 pounds. (which is a lot! I cut it into rectangle pieces and wrap with red or green plastic wrap)


Also I make MUDDY BUDDIES and put them in containers or tins (I have reused any kind of container with a lid on it by decorating it):

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1/4 cup margarine or butter*
9 cups Chex® cereal (any variety, but I like the rice)



Measure cereal into large bowl; set aside. Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine in 1-quart microwavable bowl, uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal in bowl, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into large plastic food-storage bag; add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 9 cups snack.
*Do not use spread or tub products.
Important: Because microwaves cook differently, time is approximate.

I USE THE STOVE TOP VERSION BECAUSE I HAVE NOT HAD GOOD LUCK WITH MELTING CHOCOLATE IN THE MICRO:

Range Top Directions: Measure cereal into large bowl; set aside. Heat chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Continue as directed above.
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#23 of 38 Old 11-13-2004, 07:09 PM
 
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thanx simply!


i am starting a freecycle group

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#24 of 38 Old 11-13-2004, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Simply... yum!! You rock for posting all those. We actually called the 7-layers, David City cookies. I like the magic name better, though! And I couldn't find the recipe, probably b/c DH is an extremely picky eater and can't stand those!
I was just talking to DS about making fudge this year, and remembering that I tried it several years ago, but it didn't turn out right. I'll try your recipe!

ALSO... - I need ideas for gifts that your kids are making for other family members (kids, grownups, grandparents, etc.)
Our extended family is having a big gettogether as an early Christmas right after Thanksgiving. So each family chooses one child and gets a gift for only them. Which I'm really into, b/c in the past it has been so dumb to have to buy gifts for so many kids that we don't even keep in touch with and I don't know their interests at all! Anyhoo- we're doing the playdough shoebox gift (like in Mothering mag this month) and that way DS can do most of it (or at least help!). But we need ideas for Dad, and something he could make for little brother. I just honestly have no ideas right now. Also, still have a grandma we haven't decided on gift for yet.

Mama of 3 amazingly sweet kids jumpers.gif, living the dream on our urban farm chicken3.gif

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#25 of 38 Old 11-13-2004, 10:07 PM
 
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I do lots of art type stuff! I am always looking for projects to do with the kids and homeschool groups.
I have been receiving this magazine, I signed up for it free somewhere. There are some cute craft ideas in it and I found the website which shows the crafts.

http://www.parents.com/food_fun/crafts.jsp
Lots of ideas!!!

My 6 year old made these for his relative and one for me too. Except for one change.
http://www.parents.com/articles/food_fun/5851.jsp
The magnets were really expensive, even at walmart, but I saw some gold colored pin backs at walmart where the jewelry making supplies are, they were around $1.20 for a package of 40 of them, way cheaper than magnets, so we made indian corn pins, sooooo cute! Also, I used the glue gun, it held better than tacky glue.

http://www.instantlycheaper.com/fun_finds.shtml
Here are lots of ideas.

I also make angels out of fabric once in a while as gifts, but they are kind of time-consuming. Very special though and each is unique. I do not have the instructions typed out anywhere, but if anyone in interested, I could try to make some directions... Not a kid's craft, more for a mom.

I will post some more when I have a little more time.


~Wanda
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#26 of 38 Old 11-17-2004, 01:07 PM
 
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Great ideas ladies!! I can't wait to get started on those recipes Simply! they sound so yummy, maybe I'll have to make them for thanksgiviving too!! I'm glad I started reading this thread, as we spent way too much money last year and have no extra $ this year, not to mention that I know I will impress my dad w/ these recipes BTW, you guys got anymore?
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#27 of 38 Old 11-17-2004, 11:53 PM
 
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Hi guys! Great thread!

Here are some of the gifts I'm making GPs and GGPs this year:
  • calendar with pictures of grandkids (could be kids' illustrations for older ones)
  • stationary decorated with gk's pictures
  • travel mug with gk's pictures
  • CD of photos and short movies of gks

Anyone notice a pattern? :LOL

I agree about the teenagers and the yummy treats! One thing that might be neat is to put them in unique holder...for instance, for a teenage girl you might put the treats in an inexpensive makeup bag or shower caddy (maybe even one you got as a free gift.) For a teenage boy, you might put it in an inexpensive baseball cap or tied in a cute pair of boxer shorts.

As far as yummy treats, I like to make chocolate covered pretzels. They're easy, and after you dip the the kids can add the sprinkles.

Also, here's a family holiday favorite. They're yummy and easy which make them a favorite recipe:

Holiday Wreath Cookies:

Melt:
stick of butter
30 large or 3c. mini marshmallows

Stir in:
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. vanilla
green food coloring
3 1/2 c. cornflakes

Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper and sprinkle on a few red hots for the wreath berries.

For DH, one year I gave him "Honey Don't Bars"
I designed a "wrapper" to go around his favorite candy bars. He could use the labels to get out of a yucky task and could enjoy the chocolate instead. He loved it and even kept the bars in the freezer so he could spread out the pay off. Next time, I would definitely put an expiration date!!

Hmmm...that's all I can think of for now. I'm really enjoying reading all your ideas! :
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#28 of 38 Old 11-18-2004, 10:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leomom
For DH, one year I gave him "Honey Don't Bars"
I designed a "wrapper" to go around his favorite candy bars. He could use the labels to get out of a yucky task and could enjoy the chocolate instead. He loved it and even kept the bars in the freezer so he could spread out the pay off. Next time, I would definitely put an expiration date!!

Love the idea... Perfect for my chocoholic dh!!!!

Thanks!
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#29 of 38 Old 11-18-2004, 11:58 PM
 
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I just printed all teh recipies!! Yum they sound great!!

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
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#30 of 38 Old 11-19-2004, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey y'all! Just wanted to let everyone here know, that on the TAO forum, there's a great thread going on right now called, "The $0 Holiday Challenge". Lots of great homemade gift ideas for the holidays

Mama of 3 amazingly sweet kids jumpers.gif, living the dream on our urban farm chicken3.gif

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