10 Frugal Holiday Party Tips

711083_56975192A successful party doesn’t depend on the amount of money you spend. You can have a successful fun party if you spend time thinking and letting your creativity flow.

1. Serve ordinary drinks in pretty stemware garnered from thrift shops (they needn’t match) – and garnish them with extraordinary, yet simple, touches. Frugal Luxuries by Tracey Mcbride.

2. Have a potluck, its not only cheap its tasty too. Ask each guest to bring their favorite dish.

3. Some people think there needs to be many desserts to choose but most of the time more than half is left over. Cut down on the desserts and the money spent by making one or two desserts.

4. Stop cooking appetizers if you are having a meal, this is an extra step that is not needed.

5. Skip the bar tab and have each guest bring their favorite bottle of wine. Just specify it on the invite “Bring your favorite bottle of vino to share!”. 5 Frugal Yet Fab Holiday Party Tips – Ezine Articles.

6. Save money and be environmentally friendly by using your own dishes and silverware. F is for Frugal – Blissfully Domestic.

7. Make sure and have music playing in the background, it adds a festive touch to any event.

8. Bring the outdoors in to decorate with – Pine cones, evergreen clippings, and holly all make great holiday decorations and as an added bonus they make the house smell great.

9. Make your own invitations and hand deliver them to save on postage.

10. Borrow from friends any items you may be lacking, such as casserole dishes, serving trays and large punch bowls.

10 Holiday Savings Tips

Christmas BaubleCan you believe it, Halloween is come and gone and we are staring straight into the eyes of what we like to call ‘The Holidays”! Yikes! Yes in the past I was always ready for this time of year with not much to do but this year I have a lot left undone, and not much money to do it in. If you are in that same boat check out the tips below and start saving money today.

1. Save money on stamps by sending Christmas postcards. And only send them to the people you would like to get in touch with the most.

2. Using the Christmas cards you received last year you can make your own postcards – saving on the price of the postcards.

3. Make your own bows from newspaper and magazines – Click here for easy gift bow instructions.

4. Wrap your gifts in what you already have – left over material(you can even cut up old clothes you don’t wear), magazine ads, newspaper funnies, and old wrapping paper.

5. Make your own gift tags – cut up old Christmas card, you can even use a deck of cards like they did here.

6. Decorate with what you already have. Hang up your Children’s art work, fill a glass bowl with old bulbs or pine cones, string popcorn and cranberries to hang on the tree and along the fire mantel, use pine tree clipping for decoration and as a bonus it will make the house smell beautiful.

7. When looking for gifts, check out your local Goodwill, a lot of times you will find brand new merchandise from Target or other well known stores that donate their over merchandise. The cost of these brand new items are usually only a couple dollars.

8. Make your own gifts. There are so many easy fun project for the whole family to make and homemade is always best.

9. Save on shipping and deliver gifts in person when you can.

10. Always pay with cash, you will buy only the necessities because watching cash leave your hands is much harder then using the credit card.

How to Detect a Lie

Have you ever had suspicions someone is lying to you but you weren’t sure? The following techniques to telling if someone is lying are often used by police, and security experts. This knowledge is also useful for managers, employers, and for anyone to use in everyday situations where telling the truth from a lie can help prevent you from being a victim of fraud/scams and other deceptions.

Fun and Unexpected Calorie Burners

274000_1093Exercise is important for a healthy body and brain but the cost of a gym membership is a bit too much for most these days. Ever since we had to sadly cut our gym membership from our budget, I have been looking for ways to burn calories and keep in shape. Over at divine caroline I found this article on fresh ideas for fun calorie burners.

Here are some of divine carolines ideas:


  • Hula hooping – up to 600 calories burned an hour.
  • Hacky sack – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Sledding – 461 calories burned an hour.
  • Tai Chi – 263 calories burned an hour.

With a partner

  • Playing catch – 164 calories burned an hour.
  • Ping pong – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Fast dancing – 316 calories burned an hour.
  • Slow dancing – 197 calories burned an hour.
  • Sex – 104 calories burned an hour.

With a group

  • Ultimate Frisbee – 527 calories burned an hour.
  • Water volleyball – 197 calories burned an hour.
  • Kickball – 460 calories burned an hour.

Around the house activities

  • Gardening – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Raking the lawn – 283 calories burned an hour.
  • Painting – 296 calories burned an hour.
  • Mowing the Lawn – 362 calories burned an hour.
  • Grocery shopping – 151 calories burned an hour.

For more on Fun and Expected Calorie Melter’s click here.

10 Alternative Uses for Vodka

31701_1395Vodka is not just for drinking anymore. In fact its been used for many many years as medicine, having been sold by druggists to cure everything from infertility to colic and the plague. I was surprised when I read these 10 weird uses for vodka on the Daily Green.

Here are 10 alternative uses for vodka:

  1. Treat Poison Ivy – Immediately pour vodka on skin that has come into contact with poison ivy, and the alcohol will wash away the itchy culprit. Some say the vodka needs to be at least 100 proof to work.
  2. Freshen Laundry – You can keep your clothes smelling fresher with vodka. Spritz your duds with the stuff, then hang to dry in a well-ventilated area. (Do a spot-test first to be safe.) Vodka kills odor-causing bacteria, but doesn’t leave a scent when dry.
  3. Shine your Fixtures – Its easy to get your chrome, glass and porcelain fixtures shining just moisten a soft, clean cloth with vodka, then apply a little elbow grease.
  4. Preserve Flowers – Add a few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar to the water in your flower vase. It should help keep your flowers fresh longer. Change out the mixture with fresh ingredients daily.
  5. Repel Insects – DEET is no longer a safe repellent so give Vodka a try. Pour a little of the saucy spirit in a spray bottle and squirt on the little buggers, or yourself as a repellent.
  6. Soothe Jellyfish Stings – Vodka can also disinfect and alleviate some of the bite of a jellyfish sting.
  7. Get Great, Shiny Hair – Try this remedy for healthier, lush hair: Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo.
  8. Clean Away Mold – Instead of harsh chemical sprays, try filling a recycled spray bottle with some bottom-shelf vodka. Spritz on, then let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub away with an old toothbrush (please don’t use your sister’s).
  9. Make a Soothing Lavender Tincture – Fill a clean glass jar with fresh lavender flowers, then top off with vodka. Seal the lid tightly and place in the sun for three days (same idea as making sun tea!) Strain the resulting liquid through a coffee filter, and poof! You have a homemade tincture to rub into aches and pains. You can pour into smaller bottles, decorate them and give them as unique gifts.
  10. Ease a Toothache – Try swishing a shot of vodka over the affected area. It can help disinfect, and should numb some of the pain in your gums. Just beware that your honey may accuse you of smelling like a saloon.

Insomniacs Inquire Here

cant-sleep-transferLast night my wife and I had a wonderful evening back in our college town, enjoying one of our favorite restaurants and walking around campus. And, as a treat on our way out of town, around 7pm, we stopped and got some great $2 Tuesday Milky Way Blended Coffees at Dutch Brothers. Since it was $2 no matter what the size, I ordered the LARGE…and enjoyed every sip.

However, the enjoyment ceased when it was 3:30AM in the morning and I was as wide awake as a deer in the headlights. But, here are some advantages to my late night episode of insomnia:

1. I got A LOT of work down on various tasks that I had fallen behind on, and, not only could I not sleep, but the large blended coffee which was coarsing through my veins, create a hyper-speedy me.

2. I got caught up on all, and I mean ALL, of the late night shows, the late late night shows and the late late late night shows. I can now write a master’s thesis on the comparitive comedic techniques of Lettermen, Ferguson and Leno…(and yes, I intentionally left Jimmy Fallon out…he’s just not that funny…trust me, I have my masters in comedic techniques). Finally, at 5:10AM I decided to give sleep another try. I laid down for 37 minutes and 12 seconds and was just about to doze off when my wife’s phone rang for a substitute teaching job today. So, having what I deemed ‘sufficient’ amount of sleep for the night, I am sitting here telling you about my insomniatic, hyper-speedy, strangely productive, late-night-analyzing all-nighter.

3. The final advantage to this insomniac episode is that in three months time, my wife will be giving birth to twins, at which point I will not sleep for the rest of my life, making this night a moment of training for the future.

So here’s my question? What is it that keeps you up at night, aimlessly changing channels or wearing carpet into your floor by pacing up and down waiting for the tardy sandman to show up? Is it caffeine? Midnight snacks? Stress or anxiety? A desire to live like a racoon?

I know that this pattern is not healthy or one that I will continue (God-willing) but I’ve never got a post done this early in the day, so that’s got to count for something.

Join in the fun and let us know what keeps you up at night.

(The author of this post apologizes in advance for all random thoughts, comments and structure. Bolds and Italics were intentionally used to create a sporadic environment which is the current state of the author’s brain, inevitably resulting in a dramatic crash around 2pm this afternoon)

5 Tips For Getting Patio Furniture Winterized

812948_94717934As the weather gets cooler its time to think about putting your patio furniture away. You still probably have a few weeks of intermixed good weather, so don’t put them away too soon but be prepared by mid October to spend a day or two getting them ready for storage.

1. Clean off accumulate grime. Wash off any dirt which has built up over the summer and fall with soapy water and a sponge then rinse the furniture and let it dry thoroughly. It’s best to do this on a fine and if possible, windy day so that the furniture can dry off easily. Power wash wicker with a gentle spray to remove the dirt from loose weave.

2. Clean cushions and pads. If possible machine wash the cushions and pads from the chairs. You can also sponge clean them if the care instructions prefer you don’t machine wash them. Always store you cushions and pads indoors, in a place that is not damp, which could cause mildew problems.

3. Bring umbrellas indoors. Clean your umbrella on a nice day and leave to dry outside and then bring indoors.

4. Patio furniture storage. Move what you can indoors and for those items that stay outdoors, make sure they are completely covered with all weather coverings.

5. Check your furniture regularly. If you do have some furniture that will be staying outside make sure and check on it regularly. Its a good idea to brush snow and remove ice from your stored furniture, so that the weight of either don’t cause damage.

Tip From HackALife: Give Your Own Kids Flouride!

superstock_1555r-33033I was talking with a teacher yesterday who said that her school district is initiating a new program in their school district for elementary kids. Each day the teacher is to administer flouride pills to each student who’s parents consent to this program. That’s right, teachers are now brushing kids teeth for them. So now, not only are teachers asked to teach classrooms that are too full, be the behavioral, social, and educational guide for kids, discipline them when there parents don’t at home, but they also have to help them with dental care? At least students won’t be missing school home with ‘dental problems’.

In our fast-paced society, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that many parents send their kids to school and hope that in twelve years they turn out to be good people, hoping that they are ‘raised right’ at school, with no intention of raising the kids themselves. While hopefully most of you are actively involved in your kids’ lives, here are three ways you can find out more about what they’re doing at school.

1. Ask them questions: When your child comes home from school or you come home from work, sit down with them, share a healthy snack, and ask them about their day. Don’t just ask in passing and accept ‘fine’ as an adequate answer, give your child time to share what they learned that day and hear about what they went through and what they learned.
2. Help them with their homework: One of the most dreaded fears of a parent is being stumped on their children’s homework, but its the thought that counts. Taking time to work with your child gives them insights into what they are learning, let’s the know that you care about their education, and gives you a chance to motivate and encourage them when they ‘get it’.
3. Go to conferences and school events: If you never enter into your child’s world at ‘school’ there can be a disconnect for your child when it comes to home and school. Walking your kid to school, seeing their classroom at conference time or open house, and being a part of special school events, gives your child a chance to show you their world at school. Sharing those things with you makes the comfortable to open up more and more about what they are learning and experiencing.

Oh, and one more thing, give your kids flouride pills so that teachers can be teachers and not dental hygienists!

Humane Animal Control-Remembering Mr. Mole

mole_3aA year ago today I wrote a post about humanely hunting Mr. Mole. As fall nears and you’ve finally gotten your garden and lawn looking just the way you want it, you may have already dealt with rodents and pests. But as the weather turns, more and more animals are trying to come inside to your nice, warm living rooms. Spiders and bugs are migrating into our house and my wife is not pleased. I am also keeping an eye out for mice and rats in our garage, just in case the turning whether drives them into seek shelter. But should we destroy these animals for seeking shelter? I would suggest not. Schools and large buildings can often experience bigger issues with animals indoors than homes do. Here are some recommendations on how to humanely handle animals in schools:

Effective, humane methods of rodent control do not target the animals themselves but instead target the conditions that attract the animals to certain areas. Taking away their sources of food and shelter is the only sure way to deter these animals. Killing them will only cause others to move into the newly formed “vacancy.” The problem of rodent intrusion is largely preventable by maintaining clean, sanitary conditions and plugging holes or cracks where mice or rats might enter a building. Here are a few simple tips that your school’s staff can follow to prevent rodent infestations:

  • Deter rodents from places that can’t be mouse- or rat-proofed with a mixture of salad oil, garlic, horseradish, and cayenne pepper. Let this sit for four days, then strain it into a spray bottle and spray it on the desired area. Cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil work well, as do moth balls.
  • Keep counter surfaces, floors, and cabinets free of crumbs or food droppings.
  • Keep piles of wood, bushes, and other plants about 1.5 feet away from the school in order to allow a clearing between them and the building.
  • Restrict rodents’ access to other sources of food, such as birdfeeders, pet food, garden seed, and fertilizers.
  • Seal holes larger than 0.25 inch in diameter, cracks in the walls and floors, and spaces around doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures.
  • Store all food and garbage in well-sealed containers made of materials that can’t be gnawed through, such as metal, ceramic, or glass.

If traps are needed to remove mice or rats, humane box-type traps are available from humane societies and hardware stores and at PETACatalog.com.