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Shop Small Businesses This Holidays!

The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday. Why do corporate businesses come before small businesses? Because they have the money for advertising and mind control. They have bigger budgets, more staff, and more time to infiltrate your consciousness and convince you to spend your hard earned money on them.

However, small businesses should be taking precedence this holiday season and all year round. Why? Because small businesses are the backbone of this country. We couldn't live without them. All corporate businesses started out as small businesses and grew to be bigger than they should have been. Now a lot of them are failing to leave small businesses to pick up the slack.

Small businesses provide quality products and personal customer service. Small businesses provide attention to detail that corporate stores don't take the trouble to provide. The biggest reason of all to support a small business is because that money is going directly to the person providing the prod…

Stay Home on Black Friday. Shop Small. Shop Local.

(Originally posted in 2013. Revised and expanded for 2018. The views of the author haven't changed!)

Black Friday shopping can be crazy. Stores opening at midnight if they even closed at all. Standing in line and getting a ticket to buy an item at significant savings. Most of the time people are buying things they don't really need. They are missing out on time with family and friends to go shopping. Employees are missing out on time with family and friends on a holiday to satisfy a corporation's greediness.

No, I don't agree with stores being open so early on Black Friday and even on Thanksgiving Day. It is a holiday after all!  Just because someone works retail doesn't mean they need to pay the price of missing out on sleep and time with loved ones. I don't agree with stores opening at ungodly hours to satisfy their bottom lines while offering deals that are supposedly irresistible to shoppers. I don't like the whole craziness of these shopping days and wha…

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!

One of my favorite gifts to give and receive for any holiday is books! Almost everyone reads books. Beyond that, reading increases knowledge, brings pleasure, and is generally a good way to relax. 

These are my favorite prepping fiction and non-fiction books to read and to give. You can give most of them as an e-book, but I recommend a hard copy to keep in the home library. If you can give the e-books as a downloadable book, this would be good too so the recipient can download and print the book. 

You will see fiction and non-fiction on this list. While most preppers like non-fiction, non-preppers will enjoy fiction books more. Sometimes the fiction books do more for opening the eyes of non-preppers than any talking to them will do! 

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!

1. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley, Rawles. (This is my favorite prepping book ever!)

2. S…

20 Great Prepping/Survival Father's Day Gifts For The Dad in Your Life!

Father's Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the man in your life who either helped you bring your children into the world or helped bring you into the world. You may also want to celebrate the men who helped guide and mentor you at some point in your life. There are the standard, boring gifts to give to guys like a tie or a grill set. However, this year, I would like to offer some suggestions on gifts that will help him be more prepared and therefore help your family be more prepared. More than likely, he will like the gift better too!

I have chosen gifts from all price ranges so that you can stay in your budget while gift giving. If you think something would be perfect, but a little more money than you want to spend, consider going in with a sibling or your mother for the gift!

(These prices are based off Amazon and other websites listed prices. Please understand prices can change at any time! These are also affiliate links that help to keep this site running and provide a small …

10 Money Saving Hacks For A Happier (And Cheaper) Holidays!

In 10 Money Saving Tips for a Frugal Holidays, I focused on how to save money on gifts and stockings. Those tips have saved people a lot of money since the post was published. However, during the holidays, saving money on gifts is not the only way to save money!

During the holidays, normally frugal people can even go crazy and spend money that they know better than to spend! Something about the holiday spirit makes people throw out their budgets and good caution. We want to be generous, treat people well, and generally have a good time. That is great to do, but we can all practice good sense with these money-saving hacks listed below!

1. Respect the traditions. If you have certain things you do every year and you know your family will miss them if you don't do them, keep the traditions alive as long as you can afford it. The costs of these traditions should already be in your holiday budget. If you take the whole family to a big show every year, that costs should already be figured …

Want to Make America Great Again? Here Are 12 Ways You Can Do Just That!

A lot of my Facebook news feed this morning has been how the country has been let down by our newly elected President. This is a guy who promised to make America great again. However, he is not who is going to make America great again. You know who is going to make America great again? 

You and I are. 

The American people are what make America great. However, we have forgotten this. We have forgotten that we, the people, are the ones who make this great country what it is. Our elected leaders set the policies and laws for which we live under and follow, but they are not entirely responsible for making America great. We, however, are the representatives of this country and we are the ones responsible for making America great. 

So how can we make America great again?

1. Treat others how you would like to be treated. 

2. Smile at everyone and say hello to all you meet.

3. Be polite to everyone even if they do not deserve it.

4. Offer to help your family, friends, and neighbors. Take care of eac…

Make Valentine's Day Cheap and Easy!

Valentine's Day can be so expensive! Flowers, candy, cards, stuffed animals, expensive night-outs, expensive dinners at equally expensive restaurants, and the list can go on. Guys and gals alike throw away huge amounts of money and for what? A holiday they might remember? 

What a huge waste of money!

I used to work at a florist shop and I just could not believe that guys would spend $150 on two dozen roses, balloons, and the works. I was not as frugal then as I am now, but the cost would just about stagger me. I always really hoped that the wife or girlfriend was really worth it or really appreciated it. 

Don't get me wrong. I love getting flowers or a plant! I think they are beautiful, but not on Valentine's Day! Do you realize how much those items are marked up? Never mind that the flowers are usually out of season, making the flowers even more expensive!

How can you get around this? 

Take a vow to make Valentine's Day cheap and easy!

Here are some ideas for you:

1. Have a …

10 Ways To Enjoy A Frugal Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en is so much fun! I love seeing all the kiddos dressed up in costumes, pumpkin carving, pumpkin flavored everything, and the creativity that is part of it all. I think I even like Hallowe'en a little more than Christmas, but that may be because I don't like all the commercialism that goes with Christmas!

Hallowe'en can be done frugally, very frugally. For several years, we have not bought many costumes nor spent a lot for decorations. I am not one to put out many (if any) holiday decorations, but my kids do put out a few as does my mother. That decorating gene skipped a generation in me.

10 Ways To Enjoy A Frugal Hallowe'en

Paige's costume was a cat. Grandma made the headband and tail. The rest we had!
1. Make your own costumes. This may be a "duh" thing, but so many people find it easier to buy the costumes (including me). However, my girls would use their play clothes as costumes and love it. My mom made them costumes a couple times. We also pa…

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day...

...And this is a holiday that I don't care for.

Commercials proclaiming "Show her your love on this special day." Really? If you really are in love, shouldn't you be showing her or him your love everyday?

To me, love is not flowers, jewelry, expensive clothes, expensive dinners, and whatnot. Those things are nice and can show appreciation, but to me they do not show love.

Love is changing the oil in the car, changing the light bulb when it goes out, fixing the door, holding hands, an occasional hug, a just because card, fixing dinner for the other or together, calling just because, laughing together, and all the other everyday things that happen.

Love is appreciating the person beside you by doing the little things for them. 

Love is showing someone everyday you care.

Love is going through a tough time together and becoming stronger because you did together. 

Love is buying them Caramel De-Lites because you know they love them (yes he did love them!).

Love is runn…

Planning for Christmas - Week 1

As I mentioned in the Christmas in September post last week, we will be getting ready for Christmas one week at a time! We have plenty of time, we just need to get it planned!

This week we will be doing a couple of things. None of them are too difficult and will help you keep it altogether!

First, find yourself a notebook to write in. This can be anything that contains paper! You might want a small notebook that you can fit into your purse or a school notebook that is big enough to not lose. You can use an old notebook or a new notebook. Whatever floats your boat! Just make sure there is plenty of paper so you can keep multiple years in the notebook.

Next, in that notebook, I want you to write down anyone you need or want to buy Christmas presents for. If you have birthdays coming up, you may want to write down those too so you can keep the birthday gifts separate from Christmas gifts. Paige's birthday is right before Christmas so I find including her birthday keeps me sane and ma…

Now that Christmas is over with...

We can get back to the daily life business that suits me so much better. I do apologize for the lack of Christmas posts this year and promise I will have some pre-written and ready to go for next year. I just was not in the Christmas spirit this year. I am not exactly sure how or why, but life sent us a few curve balls before Christmas that did not help. Namely sickness and a lot of doctor's visits.

Part of the problem may also be that I am not a traditionalist. I rarely remember what we did the year before to do again next year. I also like to try new things all the time (except change the furniture which is another post) so doing the same thing year after year does not always appeal to me. Some things do stay the same, however.

Christmas Eve will always be at my parents. We do a birthday lunch because my dad and my Paige have birthdays on the 22nd and my niece has a birthday on the 14th of the next month. After lunch, we start with birthday presents and then go to Christmas pre…

Peppermint-Mini Marshmallow Bark

Today's holiday recipe is one that we discovered last year and fell in love with. I will not claim it is healthy, but we all know that mint is palate cleanser! (hehehe!) This recipe is from the Food Network and all honors shall go to them!

Peppermint-Mini Marshmallow Bark
1 pound white chocolate 1/2 cup chopped peppermints 1/2 cup mini marshmallows Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny-side up; smooth out the creases. Make sure all your tools are dry. 
Chop the white chocolate into 1/2-inch pieces with a large knife. Place all but 1 cup of the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds, then stir with a rubber spatula. Continue microwaving and stirring at 30-second intervals until melted, 3 to 5 minutes total. Immediately add the reserved chopped chocolate to the bowl; stir vigorously until melted and shiny. Don't worry if there are a few small unmelted pieces. 
Pour the white chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet; use the rubber spatula to spread it …

Crispy Covered Marshmellows

This recipe is again from my mom. I am not sure where she got the recipe, but I love these too.

Warning!!! There is nothing healthy or naturally good about this recipe. This is just pure sinful deliciousness!

Crispy Covered Marshmellows

20-24 ounces large puffed marshmellows, frozen on a tray
13 ounce box Rice Crispies

Heat together using a double boiler:
  1 can sweetened condensed milk
  40 caramels
  1 cup butter

When the mixture is heated through and caramels are melted, dip the marshmellows in caramel sauce using a fork. Then roll the marshmellows in the Rice Crispies. Set the covered marshmellows on waxed paper until cool.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Molasses Cookies

This recipe was passed down from my Great-Grandmother Youde through the generations to me! I am very thankful for the wonderful recipes that get passed down for us to enjoy.


Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup shortening or butter (my preference)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoon molasses

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

Mix the first five ingredients together by first creaming the butter and sugar together, then adding the egg, salt, and molasses. Mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.

Roll dough into the size of a walnut, dip in sugar, and place on the ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the balls on dough with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-8 minutes. Do not overbake! Let cool for 10 minutes then remove from the pan to a cooling rack.

For a holiday cookies, these can not be beat! I love Molasses Cookies! Soft and chewy, yum!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Pumpkin Cookies

Over the next week, I want to share some of my favorite Christmas recipes. One of my most favorite holiday cookies is Pumpkin Cookies. These are simple cookies, but really yummy! This recipe came from my mom!

Jordan and my Mom!
Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 cup butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup pumpkin 1 tsp. vanilla 2 cups flour 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt
Alternatives: For the gluten-free crowd, I have on good authority that you can substitute the flour with one cup of all-purpose gluten-free flour and one cup of coconut flour.  Instead of just cinnamon, you can substitute with pumpkin pie seasoning. (Delish!)
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the pumpkin and vanilla to the creamed mixture. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. 
Drop 1 teaspoon size balls of dough on a preheated cookie heat. Bake for 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack or on a brown pap…

Give The Gift of Books This Christmas!

One of the few Christmas traditions I have set is giving books for Christmas presents to my kids. I love, love, love to read and I wanted to pass that on to my kids. They now love to read also! I usually give them 4-6 books every year and most of the time they have them read by the end of Christmas vacation. I think that is great because that means they were not in front of the screen as much.

Books can be expensive when purchased new! Holy smokes! But I have a few tricks to giving books at Christmas while cutting the cost of the books.

1. Scour your local thrift and consignments shops. Many, many good deals out there on almost brand new books and they cost about a quarter of the original price or less. My kids do not care if the books are brand new - they just want to read the book!

2. Shop Half.com, Ebay, and Amazon for books. I can find books on these sites very cheaply. Again, I do not buy brand new books unless they are for sale for $1.50 or less. I find great deals on books es…