How Much Money Have You Saved For Christmas?

easy saving for Christmas chart

As of today, there are 104 days until Christmas. If you are starting to panic because you did not work on any Christmas savings plans like you thought you would way back in January, and are now wondering how you will be able to buy those hot Christmas toys  kids want this year, you are not alone!

But take a deep breath and relax. There is still time to jump start a savings plan for the holiday season. Maybe not a lot, or as much as you had hoped to have saved by this point, but enough to help boost your spending budget.

If you use the simple guide below to start saving money for Christmas weekly, you will have an extra $364 to spend for the holidays. Not a lot of money, I know, but every little bit helps. Plus, you can try to increase the amounts if possible.

As of today, there are 15 weeks until Christmas, but in order to have time to finish your shopping, I am going to use December 15 as the end date for this weekly savings plan. There are 13 weeks until December 15. Which means you can work on building up a little extra Christmas cash, and still get your holiday shopping done on time.

Easy 13 Week Savings Plan For Christmas

                                               Save                                       Total

Week 1 Total Savings


Then start over every Monday again with one dollar. At the end of the 13 weeks, your total savings will be $364.00

That's it. It really is one of the easiest ways to save money that I have come across.

I like this weekly savings plan because it is just seems more doable and not so overwhelming when you start with smaller amounts of money. And finding something that you can stick with is half the battle. You can use this idea throughout the year as well, or even when you just need to raise a certain amount of money within a specific time period.

If you would rather just save a set amount of money at the end of each day, here is a chart that shows how just how much those dollars will add up to by December 15, 2017 (94 days).

Amount Saved Every Day
Total # Days
Total Savings (After 94 Days)

The most important thing though is to start saving money today. Any amount you can do, just start. The more you begin to save, the better you will feel. Chances are, you will think of other creative ways to have more money left at the end of every day or week to add to your holiday savings.

And in 94 days, you will have a nice little savings set aside to help buy those presents after all.

5 Cheap and Easy Dinners Your Budget Will Love

I have a hard time sticking to a budget. If you read my post where I confessed all my budgeting mistakes, you know what I am talking about. My biggest struggle is following a food budget. Simply put, I need more ideas for really easy dinner recipes I can make because otherwise, well, you know, I will probably always find some excuse to not cook. (see above mentioned post.) 

Between my job, the kids' sports, school and homework, 3 dogs and trying to keep the house semi-clean, I feel like I am always running behind. Not to mention tired.

Dinner is often something we grab on the go, or take-out. If we are all at home come dinnertime, I am easily persuaded by the boys to order pizza, or get more take-out. (I am tired, don't ya know!)

I do have these 5 easy dinners that I make, (yes, I do cook sometimes,) even when I am tired and do not want to cook. These are my go-to dinners. Number one is especially good if you have a large family to feed. There are 5 of us, but with two always hungry boys and husband, it easily feels like I am cooking for a dozen people!

Chili Mac and Cheese

 I make macaroni and cheese, enough for all 5 of us. Then I add in a couple of cans of chili. We eat mostly vegetarian meals so I get the meatless chili for this recipe. If I have rice, I will that in as well.

 Add some cornbread or quick rolls you pop in the oven, and some veggies.

Waffle Pizzas

Sort of a twist on the whole English muffin pizzas idea. I tried this for the first time a couple of years ago, (think I came across this recipe in a magazine) and the boys loved them. Go figure that pizza sauce on waffles would make them happy. But it does, and I am not about to argue. Dinner cannot get any easier than waffles, pizza sauce and grated cheese!

To keep things on the healthy side, I add a veggie or salad and maybe some cut up fruit.

Tofu and Black Beans

My boys like tofu. Honestly, they really do. It goes back to when my husband and I were doing a lot more cooking, and using vegetarian recipes when the kids were very little.

And my daughter and husband love this dinner much more than the pizza waffles, so it is a win-win. It does take longer to cook than the first two recipes, so this is usually a weekend family dinner.

I use extra firm tofu (which I usually buy at Trader Joe's). I drain and cut the tofu into small strips and add them to a marinade of soy sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Then the tofu marinates in the refrigerator 2-3 hours.

In a large skillet, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and add the seasoned tofu. I use a low flame, and cook the tofu until it is pretty firm. Usually about 25 minutes or so. I like my tofu really firm, so I probably cook it a bit longer than most.

You can add in 1-2 cans of black beans when the tofu is almost done cooking. Let the tofu and beans simmer together about 15 minutes.

Add rice and veggies or a green salad. This is such a healthy meal, and tofu is cheap as are black beans and rice.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Simple and cheap, everyone in my family loves yummy gooey melted cheese sandwiches with a bowl of tomato soup. But alas, it tastes so much better when it is actually cold outside. (Temps where we live are supposed to be in the triple digits all week!)

So we may be waiting a while longer to enjoy this one. In the meantime, here's some of my favorite homemade tomato soup recipes.

Sliced Cucumber and Tomato Salad With Pasta

This is one of the hubby's dishes actually, and it is so so good. Doesn't hurt that he does all the work while I get to relax!

He slices up cucumber and tomatoes. Then adds generous amounts of olive oil, vinegar and salt (salt not so generous...more like season to taste.) He also adds in sliced onion.

I kid you not, this is so good! It is also delicious as an appetizer. We top saltine crackers with the tomato/cucumber mixture and munch away (a glass of wine goes great with this too!)

But as part of a family dinner, he makes a pasta dish to go with the cucumber salad. Usually pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese, or a simple spaghetti. He make his homemade garlic bread too, and it is yummy!

So there you have my go-to cheap and easy recipes. For a 'cook' who is less enthusiastic about cooking than she is about eating, especially after a long day, these recipes often save the day for me (and my budget.)

Each recipe can easily feed our family of 5. The waffle pizzas are more for the kids, but if my daughter wants to have some, all I need to do is make more waffles! And no, I do not make my own waffles, though I am pretty sure they would make this simple recipe even better.

Take a peek at this Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie recipe if you are looking for some yummy easy pumpkin recipes  for Fall!

If you have any favorite easy family dinner recipes, I'd love to hear about them!

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2017

September 2017 is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

It is a month devoted to raising funds for awareness, education, support, and research for this number one cause of gynecologic cancer deaths in women.

According to the American Cancer Society, a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer, or tumors in the ovaries, in her lifetime is approximately 1 in 75.

Facts About Ovarian Cancer

Every 23 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States; that averages to around 22,000 women a year diagnosed with this disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 44% of women survive 5 years or more after being diagnosed. 14,000 women die each year from ovarian cancer ranking 5th in cancer deaths among women.

Early Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

  • Bloating or an increase in abdominal size 
  • Changes in appetite, such as a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner 
  • Pelvic or lower back pressure 
  • Frequent urination or constipation 
  • Changes in bowel movements 
  • Menstruation changes 
  • Nausea, indigestion or vomiting 
  • Fatigue or low levels of energy

Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a silent killer because the early symptoms of ovarian cancer are few, vague and very easily dismissed as something else.

Who is most at risk for Developing Ovarian Cancer

As women age past forty years of age and reach post-menopause, the chances of developing ovarian cancer increase. Other risk factors that boost a woman’s chances include a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, history with other types of cancer, including breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer, and women with endometriosis.

Some lifestyle choices that could increase a woman’s risk include cigarette smoking, diet, and obesity. Medical studies have also linked ovarian cancer to the use of talc-based baby powder by women.

Screening for ovarian cancer is crucial for women at high risk as early detection can help catch tumors early before they spread, thereby increasing their chance at long-term survival.

What Women can do to lower their chances of developing this cancer

Remove harmful substances from your life that have been known to increase your risk of ovarian cancer. This includes not using baby powder near the vagina, quitting cigarette smoking, including distancing yourself from secondhand smoke, limiting alcohol intake, and removing fatty or unhealthy foods from your diet. Instead, eat foods rich in vitamin A, D, E, and omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy body weight. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the use of oral contraceptives is also believed to help lower the risk of getting ovarian cancer.

Only 15% of this type of cancer are diagnosed at stage one, and unfortunately it is much harder to successfully treat ovarian cancer once it has advanced.

It is vital that women are empowered to know the possible signs and symptoms of this disease and be aware of the things they can do to help lower their risk.

20 Non Candy Halloween Treats Ghosts and Goblins Will Love

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If you are looking for healthy candy alternatives for Halloween this year, here are 20 non candy treat ideas for kids.

Tip: Buy inexpensive packages of party favors at Dollar Tree, Target, Party City (they always have low prices on fun stickers) and Walmart. You can also shop online for awesome Halloween favors at Amazon and Oriental Trading.

best non candy Halloween treats For kids

  1. Mini size Play-Dough
  2. Girls Plastic Rings
  3. Glow Stick Bracelets 
  4. Goldfish Crackers
  5. Halloween Bubbles
  6. Halloween Themed Pencils
  7. Mini Packages of Crayons 
  8. Bouncy Balls
  9. Juice Packets 
  10. Mini Slinky
  11. New Toothbrushes
  12. Silly Putty
  13. Book Marks
  14. Halloween Glow in the Dark Rubber Ducks
  15. small bottles of water
  16. money
  17. Raisins
  18. Playing Cards
  19. Coloring Books
  20. Stickers

4 Glorious Tin Can Crafts That Will Make Your Day

There are about a gazillion amazing things you can do with tin cans. Okay, so maybe I exaggerate a little bit. But seriously there are a lot of creative ideas out there. Just think, with a few supplies, you can turn an empty tin can into a glorious new candle holder in no time at all. And that is only one idea.

Beautiful Twig Vase

Start the project with an empty coffee can. Some paint, glue, twigs and raffia later, and you get this awesome vase for your flowers!

Elegant Tin Can Centerpiece

An easy and inexpensive craft project to do, but this DIY centerpiece made from recycled tin cans looks expensive and chic!

DIY Candle Holders

You can use cans of various sizes to make these gorgeous homemade candle holders . Make extra sets, because these would make lovely Christmas gifts!

Tin Can Shelves

An easy project that takes almost no time. Hang these round shelves made out of small cans wherever you need a little extra storage in your house.

3 Comforting Tomato Soups You Need To Make This Fall

Easy Comforting Tomato Soup Recipes

I love cooking homemade soups when it the weather is cold. It is one of those comfort things that make me love Fall so much, like cozy blankets, fireplaces, and holiday movies

Having a stockpile of ready to heat canned soup in the pantry is always good to have on hand, but nothing beats a slow cooker homemade soup recipe bubbling away on a cool Fall day!

(Here are some amazing things to do with tin cans,)

A bowl of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is one of my go to dinners for the family when the weather is cooler. Even the kids enjoy it, which still surprises me. Not that I am complaining, mind you.

Three Easy Homemade Tomato Soups to Enjoy on Cold Days 

Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Soup

Crockpot Tomato Soup Recipe

Nothing is better than coming home to a delicious soup cooked in the slow cooker all day. This crockpot recipe has lots of healthy veggies, spices and cheese. Get the step by step directions at Skinnytaste.

Picture courtesy of

Ree Drummond's Tomato Soup

Pioneer Woman Tomato Soup Recipe

It's the Pioneer Woman's tomato soup recipe. Enough said.

Picture courtesy of Food Network/ Ree Drummond

Easy 3 Ingredient Tomato Soup Recipe

3 ingredient Homemade Tomato Soup

This easy tomato soup recipe is healthy and makes a great weeknight dinner. Add some garlic bread or grilled cheese sandwiches, and everyone in your family should be happy, including the cook!

Picture courtesy of