What Helps Keep Your Perspective During The Holidays?

The holidays are an easy time to get swept up, lose perspective, and spend a lot of money.  Thankfully, each holiday season, our budget isn’t big, which helps keeps my perspective on things.  Before I embraced simplifying,  I would spend money I didn’t have to buy things we didn’t need.  I was always broker than broke for months to come.  Growing up I didn’t have a lot so I always wanted my kids to have more, but along the way I lost perspective and went way overboard.  I no longer wanted to be one of those people who spent thousands during the holiday season.  Thankfully, my husband was the one who got me into budgeting and I couldn’t be happier.
Because of budgeting, I’m not able to go all out, buy a ton of unnecessary things that no one will use, instead I plan everything out, knowing how much I have to spend on each person.  I like to match up my gifts to each person’s likes to the best of my ability.  For example this year I’m making my 2 older nieces marshmallow shooters with their favorite color duct tape as decoration.  This is a frugal but loving gift that I know will bring lots of happiness and laughter.  There is something you can do for everyone.  Grandparents love photos, make something out of your favorite photo.  Last year I took a dollar store tin and pasted a pic in it, & put it in the baskets I give our parents.  Simple, easy, but loving.
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I’ve been on a journey this past year of simplifying all aspects of my life, since a lot wasn’t working for me.  This is an on going journey, one that has many pit-stops, detours, & obstacles to overcome.  But so far, I’ve been doing great, slowly simplifying what I need & want in my life, & getting rid of the rest….the unnecessary clutter.
The holidays is such an easy time to fall back into bad habits, that is why you need something to keep you in check.  Budgeting has become this tool for me.  What will help you?  Finding something that helps keep us grounded, helping to keep our perspective will enable us to have the things and people we want in our lives, that bring the most joy & happiness.  It’ll free up time & energy for those important parts of our lives.  Who couldn’t use more joy, happiness, & energy during the holiday season?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Send some comment love my way………...


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Rustic Candy Cane Ornament, Gift Topper, or Bowl Fillers

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The holiday season is fully upon us, now that Thanksgiving is over.  Today is the last day of break so the kids and I decided to do a little fun craft.  I haven’t been crafting much so to get my groove back, I decided it was the perfect time to make some gift toppers or ornaments.  These cute simple candy canes can be used in numerous ways….bunched together as a decoration, a part of the decoration on a wreath, gift topper, or rustic ornament to name a few.
I’m all about rustic, simple, & easy crafts any season, but especially the holiday season.  I try to keep things simple for, that way I don’t lose interest in what I’m doing.  Having a mind that is always going 100mph is tricky navigate.
These were so simple to make, anyone can do it.  You can customize them with whatever you like whether you are a bow, berries, string, it’s really up to you.  Let your imagination go wild.  For me, I simply used what I had on hand, which is why I did some with white yarn and some with twine.
For now, these little beauties will be decoration on my mantle, helping to hold down the fake snow I put up till Christmas, then they will be  basket filler & gift topper.
I’ll end this post with a Christmas quote that I love….
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What would you use to make these?


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Beautiful Places

As some of you noticed, I haven’t had a presence on here for a while.  It has been difficult working away from home and keeping up with my family life, let alone my blogging life.  But my work is over, the season has ended, which means I once again have time for blogging.

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I’ve written this post numerous times with numerous topics because I didn’t know what I wanted to share or where to begin. So, I thought the best thing to do was to share a few images I took while traveling for work. Traveling was the best part of job. If any of you have been on here long, you know how much I love exploring new places. The images above are a few places that I thought was absolutely stunning.  I’ve survived my  st season as a school portrait photographer, just in time for some holiday blogging fun.


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Reflections & My Thanksgiving Baby

Thanksgiving is a time for others to spend with their loved ones, having fun, enjoying good food, going for walks, playing games, or like us making gingerbread houses.  It’s also a time that so many people take to reflect on what’s good in their life, what they are thankful for.
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I think about how lucky I am to be where I am in life all the time, not just around Thanksgiving.  I do this because I know how easily my life could have turned out so different, with one wrong choice.  Isn’t it interesting that one wrong choice could make such an impact on our lives?
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This Thanksgiving however, instead of reflecting, I’m celebrating because it’s my baby girl’s birthday.  My little Squishy turns 8 today.  She’s my Thanksgiving baby.
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Here’s a few extra pics from the last few months….
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Can you tell who her best friend is?
~Hope everyone has had a fantastic, relaxing, peaceful Thanksgiving.  May the peace, love, & thankfulness you have today spread throughout your year.~
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?  Any fun traditions?


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Roasted Broccoli, Potato, & Cheese Soup

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Last week, I was looking for a new soup recipe that everyone would enjoy.  Normally, my youngest son, doesn’t eat dinner with us when I make chicken soup, so I was determined to find a recipe that all 7 of us loved as well as one that was cheap to make.  After numerous days of looking at numerous recipes, I can across a recipe that I tweaked and it has turned into our favorite soup recipe.  The kids have asked for it every other day, so I plan on making this soup at least once a week since it’s cheap to make, makes a lot,  & simply delicious.
Feel free to tweak the ingredients to your family’s tastes.  Just be sure to not add to much cheese, so you don’t get any clumping in the soup, it doesn’t look so great.  But still taste the same.  😉

Roasted Broccoli, Potato, & Cheese Soup
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**adapted from The Wicked Noodle**
total cost $18.85 with 20 servings $.94/serving

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1lbs. frozen broccoli or 3 heads fresh broccoli, cut
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 large  potatoes, diced
  • 2 32oz. carton chicken broth
  • 1 12oz. evaporated milk (any milk should work)
  • .5-1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt, ground pepper, & crushed red pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Drizzle broccoli florets with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with  salt.  Roast for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent.  Add potatoes and chicken broth.  Simmer until potato is soft, about 15-20 minutes (depending on size of your potato pieces).
  4. Add milk and broccoli.  For the broccoli, I blended 3/4 & left  the rest whole for different textures.  FYI- if you want thicker soup, blend all the broccoli and mix it into the soup.  Heat mixture just until very hot (do not boil). Stir in cheese until melted and fully incorporated. Season to taste with salt, pepper, & crushed red pepper.

Serve with warm homemade bread & enjoy!!