I was kind of torn on which post to do first. This one or some of the yearly posts, but this one takes first place. Why? Because it is probably going to be the shortest *laugh*.
When it comes to saving money, not too much has gone on the last couple of weeks. My husband was able to take the last week and a half off for vacation time so that he was home to celebrate Christmas, my birthday and New Year. So, basically, I decided that the family spending time together was more important than just about anything. I'm glad we got to spend so much time together the last couple of weeks. It's been nice to have so much family time together and just take it easy. School, and work, start in a couple of days, so it is time to get back to reality, I suppose.
1. We did do a few fun, but frugal, things the last couple of weeks. We were able to take the kids swimming when a friend offered us the use of their pool, which was a lot of fun for the kids and super good for the son as the inactivity of the last year has driven him bonkers.
2. We made the chocolate crinkle cookies recipe that came with our Radish box last month (seen up top when they came out of the oven). I was super proud of how the cookies turned out because in the past I've really failed miserably at crinkle cookies. I'm not sure why, but they would never crinkle or spread right, so it was nice to pull ones that looked like the pictures I'd always seen of them in cookbooks and stuff out of the oven :).
Anyway, the recipe made 3 dozen cookies about so we used an old coffee can that I cleaned out well (a big one), wrapped it in a scrap of wrapping paper that would fit it and than I used a bunch of tissue paper that we had around the house from packaging materials that I had saved and I made a tissue paper flower to go on top of the coffee can to make it look more festive. We than filled the coffee can with layers of cookies with parchment paper in between and was able to gift the cookies to the daughter's boyfriend when he came over to drop off her Christmas gift. It was a heartfelt gift on the daughter's part as she worked really hard to help make the cookies, decorate the gift container and everything and it was made with materials we had around the house. From the text the daughter later received it sounds like the family really enjoyed the cookies and the daughter has been having a good time eating the last ten that were left over, so I feel pretty good about how that all turned out.
3. We drove into town and were able to go and see the Christmas lights in the one subdivision that sets the lights to music like we do every year (sorry, I honestly forgot to take pictures this year). The kids really loved it and had a great time.
4. I had put all of our Christmas gifts onto my credit card (not ideal, but that is how it went down) during a special promotion where you got like five times the normal rewards points for purchases. I'd had to put a license renewal and a medical bill onto the card as well, so I ended up with enough points to redeem that I was able to get a bunch of Amazon gift cards. I then used the Amazon credit to get a year's worth of paper towels and toilet paper on order and a few other items we've been needing (like conditioner) for the house.
5. My husband replaced a receptacle (outlet) in our master bathroom that needed it. He used a receptacle we already had around the house, so it didn't cost anything out of pocket to get it done.
6. For my birthday I made a lemon pound cake from a mix I already had in the pantry and we went to Carrs and got Chinese take out for dinner instead of going and getting food from a really expensive restaurant. Overall, even with running to McDonalds and getting the son some French fries, we were able to feed the entire family for less than 20.00 and I didn't have to cook. And we had enough left overs to last several lunches, so it worked out rather well.
7. Christmas dinner went well with pulling the few good steaks I still had in the freezer out and defrosting them. I then rolled out a box of puff pastry I had in the freezer and made the steaks "fancy" in a kind of Beef Wellington format. It was a fun dinner and we all enjoyed it :).
8. My husband got me a very nice watch for my birthday that he found used for not much money. He took the watch to a jeweler and got a battery put into the watch, but when he went to pick it up the jeweler said it wasn't keeping time correctly it seemed, so he gave the watch to my husband and didn't charge him for the battery because it didn't feel right charging him for the battery when the watch still wasn't working right. Since my husband got the watch home and it has been running for a while the watch seems to be keeping time now, which hopefully it keeps that up *knock on wood*. So far, so good.
9. And, just because it is pretty and the daughter wanted to include it, enjoy a picture of the sunrise from the other morning. Always nice to see and completely free to enjoy :).
And there you go folks. Some of the things we've been up to the last couple of weeks. I hope you all had a great holiday and Happy New Year!