If You’re Feeling Behind on Holiday Things…

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“If you haven’t sent out Christmas cards, participated in your favorite tradition, baked cookies, made crafts, or set out a bunch of decorations, it’s okay! Go ahead and leave at least a few of those things undone this year.” – Davonne Parks, Last Minute Holiday Simplification

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{I’m so excited to be closing out the 25 Frugal Days of Christmas series this week! Here’s a snippet of my post:}

Christmas is lingering right around the corner and it seems that many people have had their gifts ready for months and their menus planned for weeks. They may even want to find a new fabulous recipe, craft or activity just for fun!

The rest of us are starting to go into a frenzy because we’re still trying to figure out what to buy our relatives for Christmas. But, don’t panic! If you’re so behind that you don’t know how you’ll possibly finish everything by Christmas Eve, then you’ve come to the right place because I’m here to help!

Here are some last-minute ways to simplify your holiday:

1) Embrace the Chaos.

First of all, if we have a good attitude, most people will be forgiving when we don’t finish everything perfectly. So let’s choose to enjoy these days because before we know it, Christmas will be over once again and all that will be left are wrapping paper remnants and the memories.

2) Gather your presents into one place.

I like to lock myself in my room and spread out all of the gifts that I have on my bed before I finish shopping. This allows me to see exactly what I’ve purchased so I can make my remaining list based off of what’s not in the pile…

{Will you join me at Frugal Homeschool Family to read the rest? –>}

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How to Frugally Fill Awesome Stockings

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I remember rising early each Christmas with my younger brother and tip-toeing to each other’s rooms so we could dump out the contents from our homemade stockings together. Then we’d go around the upstairs, knocking on bedroom doors and hollering into vents to let everyone know that it was Christmas.

After several rounds of, “I know! It’s too early! Go back to sleep!” my brother and I would return to one of our rooms so we could play with our new things while we waited for everyone else to wake up.

As a child, I absolutely loved receiving those stockings at Christmastime and now that I fill stockings for my own children, I’m always on the lookout in December for fun stocking stuffers that won’t clutter up our house! After a few years of experience at clutter-free Christmases, I’d like to share some of my tips with you.

Stocking Stuffer Tips for a Clutter-Free Christmas:

1) Have one big item.

By big, I don’t mean expensive. I mean physically large. That way one item will take up a good portion of the stocking :) Bubble bath, a book, or a box of candy all make good “big” stocking stuffers.

2) Focus on consumable items.

Things that can be used up then thrown out like lotions, bubble bath, crayons, or fun food make great stocking stuffers. Those items help people have fun and enjoy their gifts without the items becoming permanent fixtures in our houses.

3) Keep the recipient’s tastes in mind.

Stocking stuffer ideas you find online can be fun and helpful, but don’t feel like you need to buy the conventional stocking stuffers that are mentioned on those lists. Get creative and think about things the recipient would enjoy!

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{Click the photo to see 22 themed stocking stuffer ideas!}

4) Stay within your budget.

I’ve filled entire stockings for as little as $5.00 per person when money was tight. I’ve also spent as much as $40 for one stocking on years that we’ve went all out – and the $5 stockings have been just as well received as the $40 one! Sometimes it truly is the thought that counts.

5) Consider whether stockings are really necessary.

If your kids get stockings from you as well as from grandparents or other relatives, if they’re just not that into stockings, or if you’re on a very tight budget right now, then consider cutting out stockings altogether this year – just make sure to sit down with your kids in advance and let them know what to expect.

6) Browse the internet for ideas.

Even though other people don’t know our family members like we do, we can still get really good ideas from other people’s suggestions! So do a google search for something like, “Frugal stocking stuffer ideas” to get your wheels spinning! You can also check out my own stocking stuffer & themed gift ideas here and here.

7) Don’t panic at the last minute.

Christmas will be here soon and it’s tempting to panic and run to the store grabbing stuff just to fill a stocking. Resist that temptation! A stroll through the Dollar Tree may be helpful in finding some consumable items, but most people will enjoy a stocking that contains a few thoughtful gifts much more than they’ll enjoy a stocking that’s filled to the brim with trinkets.

So there you have it – seven simple tips for creatively and frugally filling clutter-free stockings the recipient is sure to enjoy!

What kinds of things do you like to give or receive in stockings?

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When You Want to Adopt… But Your Spouse Says No

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{NOTE: This is different from the type of article I usually write, but sometimes I sit at my laptop, put my fingers to the keys, and words fly out that surprise even me. I hope it encourages some of you who are having a difficult time getting on the same page with your spouse. I’ll be back with a new organizational post tomorrow!}

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I thought I’d have four children. Two girls and two boys.

The only problem with my plan was that my husband disagreed. “Only two,” he told me. “I can take care of two. I can be a good dad to two.”

“Yes,” I answered. “And we can be good parents to more than two as well.”

More talking. More late night whispering. More praying.

“I want to adopt,” I announced, several months later. “I know we agreed that we’d only adopt if we couldn’t have biological children, but so many kids need good homes and we have a good home. We’re the perfect people to do this.”

“Only two,” he repeated. “I can be a good dad to two.”

I reminded him of how I’ve had this desire on my heart since I was 13 years old. Yet, he stood firmly by his decision.

I’ll pray, I decided.

I spent weeks in deep prayer. I wanted to be as fair as possible, so instead of asking God to change my husband’s mind, I diplomatically prayed this:

“Dear God, Thank You for giving me a husband who is a good father to our children. You know that I want to adopt and he doesn’t. You know there are so many orphans out there who need good homes. I know that Your will for Nathan is the same as Your will for me in this. Please change one of our hearts and bring us to the same page. Thank you for loving us and adopting us into Your kingdom. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

I fully expected God to change my husband’s heart. I’ve heard so many stories about how the husband wasn’t on board but God worked behind the scenes. And I could hardly wait for my husband to come to me, seemingly out of the blue, and announce that he wanted to adopt!

Only it didn’t happen that way. God didn’t change my husband’s heart.

{Join me over at My Joy-Filled Life to read the rest –>}

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A Cute and Easy Way to Display Greeting Cards

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I love receiving cards in the mail! But it seems like such a waste when those beautiful cards are just piled up on a shelf somewhere.

So in a moment of creative-ness when I needed to find a place for our Christmas cards this year, I grabbed some twine and looped it over the hooks on our coat rack! Tying ribbon, embroidery floss, or yarn over coat rack hooks would also work.

So simple.

While it may not be perfect, it is finished! And in my opinion, imperfectly finished is better than unfinished perfection.

How do you display your holiday & other greeting cards?

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Day 23 of Simple Organization

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