Thursday, December 31, 2009


I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year's Eve,
from our family to yours!

Sunday Coupons Preview - 1/2/09

Here is a preview of what you'll find in this Sunday's paper across the country!
You can either subscribe to your local Sunday paper to get these (or find it in the store/news stand)... OR, many of these coupons can be found online and you can print out only the coupons you think you'll use at, and

Plus, you can sometimes double or even triple-stack your coupons on certain items at stores where you can load digital e-coupons onto the rewards card like at Safeway! See my post HERE where I double and triple-stacked some coupons using CellFire, Shortcuts, and P&G eSaver

Here are some of the places I get my coupons:
- Sunday paper
- Online coupon sources:,,
- e-Coupon sites (loads onto your Safeway or other store card): cellfire, shortcuts, P&G e-saver

There are also great sites like A Full Cup where you can find coupons and forums to your heart's content! Plus, Organic Grocery Deals is another place where you can find forums and some coupons that are more organically-based!

Savings -a- Plenty at Safeway: My shopping trip 12/30/09

Safeway had a $10/$50 coupon in Tuesday's paper (plus, I noticed it is also in the in-store ads, which normally they omit these coupons for the in-store ads on the rack!!).  Plus, don't forget the coupon doublers coupon in their ad for $2 more off!  I was also able to double or triple-up some coupons by using both clipped coupons and "e-coupons" from cellfire and shortcuts online coupon systems that will load coupons onto your Safeway card (or other store) and will automatically deduct at checkout (NOTE: it is better if you let the checker scan all of your clipped coupons first BEFORE you swipe your club card so that the coupons all come off correctly)
I will give you the moral before getting to the story: A penny saved is a penny earned!  Plan your trip in advance with coupons from multiple sources:
- Sunday paper
- Online coupon sources:,,
- Online e-Coupon sites: cellfire, shortcuts, P&G e-saver
and look for duplicate, or triplicate products from the above sources to really score big!

I wont bore you with my entire receipt full of fruits and veggies and milk, etc., but here are some of the better deals I scored:

4 boxes Chex cereal - $1.99 ea. (when you buy 3 or more)
- $1/2 clipped coupon
- $1/2 printed coupon from HERE 
- $1/2 eCoupon on shortcuts
- $1/2 eCoupon on Cellfire
= $0.99 each box

Kelloggs Cereals - Bought 3 Rice Crispies (2.99 ea = $8.97) and 1 Blueberry Special K ($3.00)
- Buy 3 participating Kelloggs and get 2 FREE Safeway Apple juices (Rice Crispies qualifies, Special K does NOT)
- Buy any Special K and get $0.50 off any fresh fruit from HERE 
- Buy any 2 Kelloggs and get $1.50 off any bag of coffee!  I can't find it now, but I thought it was HERE - I may have reached my print limit so it wont show up for me now!
- $1 off Blueberry Special K from HERE 
- $1/2 Rice Crispies clipped coupon
- $0.55/1 Kelloggs cereal clipped coupon 
= $4.55 monetary savings (if you also buy coffee and fruit, which I always do!) + 2 free apple juices! 

Pillsbury Holiday cookie Dough (on sale for 2/$3) Had additional $0.75 off sticker because they are clearancing out Holiday cookies 
- $1.50/2 coupon from the blinkie box in the aisle (there is also a $0.75/2 HERE)
- $0.75/2 from Cellfire
- $0.75/2 from Shortcuts
- $0.75 in-store discount
- $0.75 in-store discount 

5 Nabisco Crackers (I got all Wheat Thins) on sale 2/$4, but you get $5 off at the register when you buy 5 = $1 each
- $1/2 clipped coupon
- $1/2 clipped coupon
= $3 for all 5
+ There is a $10 mail-in rebate HERE when you buy 10 crackers... I bought 5 my last trip with the same above deal last week, so when I get my $10 rebate, it will be:

Nestle Tollhouse Morsels - $2.50
- $0.50 Cellfire eCoupon
- $0.50 Shortcuts eCoupon
- $0.50 clipped coupon 
= $1 

4 Foster Farms large lunch meat tubs = $4.98/2 
- $1/2 coupon from HERE or HERE
- $1/2 coupon from HERE or HERE 
= $1.99 each tub!  Usually these are over $3, and sometimes over $4 each!!  I put 2 in the refrigerator and 2 in the freezer - STOCK UP PRICE!

2 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls= $4.98 
- $0.50/2 Cellfire eCoupon
- $0.50/2 Shortcuts ecoupon
- $0.50/2 clipped coupon
=  $3.48/2 

3 MinuteMaid Juice - $2 each = $6, and each one I grabbed had $0.75 clearance sticker on 'em!
- 0.75
- 0.75
- 0.75
= $3.75 for all 3 = $1.25 ea
+ I think there were some coupons for these, but I didn't have any with me - boooooo! 

2 Lucerene Half & Half - $2.19 ea = $4.38 and each one I grabbed had a $0.75 + $0.50 clearance stickers = $1.25 off each one!
- $1.25
- $1.25
= $1.88/2 = $0.98 each!

Lucerene Heavy Whipping Cream - $2.29 and had a $0.75 + $0.50 clearance stickers = $1.25 off
- $1.25
= $1.04

Chinet paper plates (got the easy biodegradeable version) - $2 with in-ad coupon
- $1 off clipped coupon
+ had a coupon on the package for 1 free pack of Chinet cups w/purchase!
= $1 for the plates + a FREE pack of cups! 

+ $10/$50 coupon from Tuesday's paper (also look in the in-store ad rack - coupon is under the front flap)

+ $2 doubles coupon from Tuesday's paper

Today is FINAL DAY for 15% off at Belli!

Belli has all sorts of great products for pregnancy, babies, Mommies and non-mommies alike! Lotions, Body Washes, Stretchmark Cream, Eye Brightener, Baby Wash, Gift Sets... Oh my! They are Phthalate Free and are conscious about other chemicals and xenoestrogens.
Just click HERE and enter code "4BELLI" at checkout for 15% off any order!
Hurry, today is the final day (12/32/09)!

ecoSkin eco-conscious clothing BLOWOUT

ecoSkin clothing will go on sale starting Friday 1/1/2010 (Happy New Year to you!) at HauteLook! ecoSkin uses only environmentally sustainable luxury fabrics that are woven, dyed and sewn in the USA.
HauteLook features limited-time deals that they rotate daily on quality products, name brands, and even including high-end designers! Some items don't last long! Click HERE to go to their sign-up page and put "hotdeals" in the promo blank!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FREE 8x10 photo canvas @ Canvaspeople!

I'm getting mine now!  Click HERE to go to their page where you can score a FREE 8x10 personalized photo canvas or $55 off another canvas!  SWEEET!  Family Photo, Ahoy!!

Earth's Best Diapers deal - $1.50 per pack!

Starting the 1st, Babies R Us/Toys R Us will have their Earth's Best diapers on sale for only $5!!! There is a limit to how many you can buy - only 3 - and it runs until the 3rd only.
You think that is a great deal, well it gets better... in last Sunday's paper, they had an in-store coupon for $2 off diapers including Earth's Best, and there is a PDF with the coupon HERE (expires the 2nd) + there is another $1.50 coupon HERE at Earth's Best site! Earth's Best diapers are Chlorine Free, so are better for your lil one's tooshie, and better for when it comes time to dispose of it!
= only $1.50!!!

BOGO - Customized photo calendars!

Just in time for the big switcheroo to 2010! Click HERE to to to the promo page to get in on this deal - buy one customized calendar and get another one FREE at Photoworks! My dad makes customized family calendars every year and gives one to each family member - so this would make it an easy way for you to give one as a gift, or take one to the office and one for home!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hello Homeschooling in 2010!

So far, the plan is for me to homeschool my daughter for preschool, beginning this next fall, so I'm on the hunt for some frugal finds... starting NOW so I can feel prepared - it will definitely be an adventure for me with juggling that with my daughter and my baby/toddler son - we'll see what happens. Here are some deals I've spied so far to get some materials for cheap(ish) and even FREE...

Barnes & Noble has this deal going on (you can click on the picture to go to their site) where you can get 10 free music downloads with textbook purchase + free shipping:
Cheap textbooks, FREE tunes.  Get 10 free music downloads with any textbook purchase.

CurrClick is an EXCELLENT resource, dedicated to homeschooling. They have a TON of reasonably-priced digital learning/teaching books, and even a TON of FREE downloads too! Right now, the FREE download is all about snow, geared towards Kindergarten age kids, but could be modified for other ages too!

There is a coupon HERE for $4 off any Tag reading system book, $5 off any LeapFrog Leapster learning game, $2 off any Tag Jr. book! To find the coupons fast, click on the "entertainment" section on the left hand side.

The Discovery Channel Store has a ton of DVDs on sale right now too, including the Planet Earth series for 50% off! They have cool DVDs about the human anatomy, and learning "toys" like microscopes, etc. Click HERE to go to the Discovery Channel Store DVD Sale page!
Discovery Paper Recycling StudioWe bought this cool homemade/recycled papermaking kit from Discovery store and made some cute ornaments out of it - it was a really fun activity! I plan on bringing it back out with some of my future "lessons"! It's on sale for $17.47, which is a great deal! The instructions tell you to soak the paper for a couple hours, but I found it takes much longer for it to create the pulp.

I just found this company that has a ton of reference guide sheets (the sturdy, laminated kind) of all sorts of subjects from anatomy to food! Click HERE to go to their site! One of their brain anatomy sheets is pictured to the right ---->

Another place for some great products and ideas that may be able to help me out on my homeschooling adventure is Child Craft - they have EVERYTHING from reading materials to games to crafts... and even products specifically designed for teachers = ME!  Click HERE to go to their site - it looks like they will soon be expanding their book library as well!

If you are in Oregon, I found a great website with resources including how to adhere to the state and national standards for grade levels - click HERE

Wish me luck in my adventure! Any tips for me as a beginning homeschooling mom with a preschooler and baby/toddler on deck?

Free Pregnancy Journal!

Click HERE to go to Prenexa's page and sign up for your free Pregnancy journal + coupon for their prenatal vitamins!  This is such a cute journal - I think it's their logo, but it's a cute design anyways!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Right On Rite Aid! My shopping trip: 12/28/09

Click HERE to go to my previous post that lists more deals available.
Sneaky Tip: Remember, that with RiteAid BOGO sales, you can use one coupon per item, so if you bought the 2 items, you can use 2 coupons even though one item is free as part of their sale... if you bought 4 items, you can use 4 coupons (even though after the BOGO 2 would be free) - so, in some cases, you can get both for free or pennies on the dollar!
This is what I bought:

2 Renpure Organics (shampoo & conditioner) - BOGO $6.99 ea.
- my $3 Video Values coupon (no longer available)
+ both items had a $3 mail-in rebate hang-tag
= $3.99 for BOTH - $6 in manufacturer mail-in rebates
= $2 moneymaker!

If Renpure wont honor both $3 rebates, they will definitely honor one so, at least I'd still be scoring both items for only $0.99 after manufacturer rebate!

1 Burts Bees Acne Solutions facial wash - $9.99
- $2 printable coupon from HERE
+ $2 SCR
= $5.99 after SCR

5 Soy Joy nutritional bars 5/$3 on sale
- $3 SCR on 5
- BOGO coupon I had from past insert (I'm bummed bc I KNOW I had a $2/10 coupon and I can't find it anywhere! Time to organize my coupons again I guess!)
= 5 FREE + $0.60 moneymaker!

1 Pure & Natural Hand Soap $4.69
- $2 Video Values coupon (no longer available)
- $1 coupon printable from HERE
= $1.69

1 Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers $11.99 (I may have jumped the gun buying them now - they'll probably go on sale later this month, but I had my $3 coupon + video values that both expire the 31st)
- $1 SCR
- $3 coupon from past insert
- $1 Video Values coupon (mine was from last month and expires the 31st, but there are new ones available this month!)
= $6.99 after SCR

1 Oral B Stages + 1 Zooth toothbrushes (Hello Kitty, sooo cute!) - $2.49 ea.
- $2 SCR on the Stages brush
- $1 coupon off any 2 stages and/or zooth toothbrushes
= $1.98 for BOTH

1 Pepto Bismol tablets (lightweight chewable kind for my emergency kit) - $6.49
- $0.50 coupon from past insert
- $2 off in-ad RiteAid coupon
= $3.99

1 Simlasan Dry Eye drops (all natural!) great to have in the medicine cabinet! - $9.99
- $2 video values coupon (available now!)
- $2 coupon from past insert
- $2 SCR
= $3.99 after SCR

2 Flex-a-min glucosomine suppliments - BOGO ($19.99 ea)
- $6 coupon from past insert
- ANOTHER $6 coupon from past insert
= got both for $7.99

2 Lil Critters gummy vitamins for kids - BOGO ($10.99 ea)
didn't have any coupons - boooooooo!
but got both for $10.99

1 Gillette Fusion Razor - $7.99 (my husband's favorite)
- $4 coupon from past insert from a few months back
- $2 SCR
= $1.99 after SCR, which is cheaper than what each individual refill cartridge would cost if I bought the refill pack! Now hubby can have one razor in the shower and one at the sink.

3 Renuzit Pearl air fresheners - BOGO ($3.49 ea)
Used my Buy 2, get 1 free coupon from past insert (expires the 31st)
So, I got 2 for free!

1 Tampax Pearl 40ct tampons (look for the boxes that are labeled with the $15 of P&G coupons inside!!!) $6.99 + 1 Tampax Pearl 20ct. box $5.29
- $2 scr on the 40ct
- Coupon from sunday 12/27 paper: Buy 1 34-40ct, get 1 18-20ct. FREE (would have been $5.29)
= got both for $4.99 after SCR + I got some coupons out of it too!

Buy a $50 i-Tunes gift card and get a $10 RiteAid gift card free - in-ad coupon!
so, I bought one as a birthday gift. = $40 after $10 gift card "free" money

- $20 Season of Giving RiteAid gift certificate I earned from past purchases
- $5/$20 Video Values coupon
- $5/$25 printable coupon from HERE (if you don't see it, try zip 97269)
= $30 off

If you feel like doing it, you could also split your transaction into two and use 2 more of the $5 off total purchase coupons, to save $10 more off your total! This also would be if your Rite Aid is not stingy. I didn't do that this time.
The lady checking me out today was usually a shelf-stocker, and she is an elderly lady, so was sort of slow anyways, but instead of just scanning my coupons, she looked in the bags for every single item before scanning the coupon and sometimes even after already scanning it - it was the most annoying experience EVER! I was too nice to tell her that she didn't have to do that and to just SCAN THE COUPONS, LADY! I guess that's what they used to do before the high-tech scanners, so she was bringing back the old school I guess... but, on top of her being slow and unnecessarily, yet unwittingly annoying, she didn't know the coupon policy and kept having the poor manager come over and "ok" a few of the things like using both the Video Values coupon and a Manufacturer's coupon. Of course each thing was ok, she just didn't know the rules... and I had the kids with me = even more hectic times at checkout. SIGH. I usually have a very pleasant experience at RiteAid.

Greenworks coupons + rebates at RiteAid

Go HERE to GreenWorks' site and choose one of the 3 radial buttons to get both a $0.50 off cleaning products and a $3 off laundry products printable coupon!
Plus, at RiteAid, Single Check Rebate #95 for Clorox includes GreenWorks. You get a $1 rebate for purchasing 2 Clorox products, and you can claim up to 2 of these. Maybe wait until they go on sale at RiteAid to use your coupons to maximize the savings - you have until 1/23/10 for the purchase to qualify.

PLUS, Click Here and sign up to get "the full line" of free samples of Green Works! They say their products are 99% Natural Plant & Mineral Based Cleaners.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Weekly Green - Tip 6

Tip #6 - Green tips for your New Years party! 

Evite, email or through your social networking site are probably the most green options!

Reusable or easily recyclable/biodegradable goods:
- Washable plates & glasses instead of disposable - if you don't own that many, opt for recycled or quickly-biodegradable and non-bleached paper or Bagasse (from sugar cane fiber) plates and cups like the ones HERE that are very reasonably priced!
- Cloth napkins instead of disposable
- Cloth tablecloth instead of plastic
- Non-disposable decorations and noisemakers, or those made from recycled home items (see below for some ideas)

Noisemakers from Homemade & Recycled materials:
- You can put pebbles, marbles, rice, beans, bottle caps and the like in closed plastic bottles you have decorated - shake it up to make some nooooise!
- Make finger tamborines from bottle caps by punching a hole through the center and tying a string loop through it (large enough loop for someone's finger to go through) so when they wear them, they can tap their thumb and finger together which brings the bottle caps together to make a fun clap sound - and don't forget to make 2 per person!
- Snapple lid or other similar metal pop-up lid.  If you press hard enough on the inside of the lid around the pop-up center, it makes it a more permanent, loud popper sound when you press it!
- Real whistles and horns (not the disposable plastic kind) that can be brought back out every year (or if your kids play sports, it's a fun thing to make some noise at the games!)

Decorations from Homemade & Recycled materials:
- Cut snowflakes or other decorations like a paper loop chain out of the paper in your recycle bin (you can use newspaper, magazines, recycled paper and bags from Christmas, printed-on pages from your printer that were scrap paper, etc.)
- Make a snowflake from recycled 6-pack plastic holders brought together with tape or staples - HERE is a link to the snowflake How-To!
- Hole-punch confetti from your old newspaper or magazines
- Use candles for mood lighting and turn off some lights

Organic drinks:
- Champagne: Domaine Carneros' Brut Rosé Cuvée Champagne (Domaine is certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers - pictured at right)
- Sparkling juice: Knudsen Organics and Santa Cruz Organics

Organic Appetizers:
- Check out my coupon links on the left hand side of my page for some of my favorite organic foods that have online coupons available most of the time!
- Fresh fruit is another great item to have on hand

Saving Energy:
Don't turn on the TV until 15-minutes before the ball-drop; Instead of playing video games to kill the time, play board games; Use candles for mood lighting instead of so many lights on; See if your guests will carpool, or commit to only one party (yours of course!) to reduce extra driving (double-points if the carpool driver is the designated driver for the night!)

Stay tuned next week for Tip #7!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Right On, Rite Aid! Week of 12/27 Organic deals and more!

Before you go, print off the $5 off $25 from HERE - if you don't see it, enter zip code 97269, PLUS, if you watch 20 videos on their Video Values website HERE, you can get another coupon for $5 off $20, and my RiteAid allows you to use both in one transaction!
Rite Aid offers cash rebates for purchasing certain items, called a Single Check Rebate ("SCR"). It will be mailed to you when you request it at the end of the month in the form of a check that you can deposit into your bank account, or use it for purchases at RiteAid like a coupon. They are easy to submit - just enter a few numbers from the top of your receipt into their online system!
***UPDATED*** Found more deals as I looked at the ad again this morning!

Renpure Organics shampoo/conditioner - BOGO (usually are $6.99 ea)
- your $3 Video Values from last month (no longer avail.)
= 2/$3.99

Organix shampoo/conditioner - BOGO, David Babaii - BOGO, Giovanni hair care - BOGO

Burts Bees Acne Solutions
- $2 SCR
- $2 coupon from HERE

Soy Joy bars 5/$3 
- $3 SCR on 5 = 5 FREE
- $1/5 coupon from HERE = $1 moneymaker
or, buy 10 and use your $2/10 coupon from back in October = $1 for 10 bars!
(plus qualifies towards the rebate #44, buy $30 of participating products for a $5 Rite Aid gift card)

Natural Dentist mouth rinse
- $2 SCR (you can claim 2 of these)
- $1 coupon from HERE

lil Critters gummy vitamins - BOGO (my daughter actually ASKS to take her vitamins!)

Oral-B Cross Action power toothbrush $5
- $2 SCR
- $3 coupon from this Sunday's paper

Benevia 4-pack nutritional drinks BOGO @ $6.99
- $5 off coupon from HERE
- $2 Video Value Rewards
= 2 FREE

Lindt and/or Ghiradelli - 2/$5
- $1 SCR
- $1 coupon from old insert (not sure how old it was from!)

Kashi cereal & Special K cereal - 2/$5
There are many Special K coupons:
$1 off Blueberry Special K from HERE
$1 off 2 Speckial K from HERE
$1.50/3 Kelloggs from HERE
+ Save $1.50 off your favorite store coffee with purchase of 3 Kelloggs from HERE
$0.50 off your favorite fresh fruit with Special K purchase from HERE

Arm & Hammer baking soda $0.59
- I could have sworn I had a $0.50 coupon for this but couldn't find it - you might have one?

in-ad coupon for $2 off
$0.50 in today's P&G insert

Pampers diapers Jumbo pack $8.99
- $2 in today's P&G insert
= $6.99

Always pads: Clean 24-28ct, Infinity 28-36ct or Tampax Pearl tampons 18-20ct - $6.99
- $2 SCR (can only claim this once)
- BOGO coupon in today's P&G insert (there was one BOGO coupon for each of the 3 listed above!)
= 2/$4.99

Duracell, Bounty, Charmin, Tide, Pringles - Buy $25 worth, get a $5 RiteAid rebate
Charmin coupons HERE
Tide coupons HERE
Duracell coupons HERE
Charmin, Bounty and Tide coupons in today's P&G insert
there have also been several coupons in past newspaper inserts for all of the above, and a $1/4 Pringles coupon

A TON of BOGO vitamins - some with high-value coupons like the Flex-a-min and Osteo-Flex - many coupons available from HERE
Sneaky tip: with BOGO sales at RiteAid, you can use 2 coupons - one for each product purchased, even though one of them is free.  So, it is like buying 2 for the price of one, minus the 2 coupon values! 
(plus many of the vitamins qualify towards the rebate #44, buy $30 of participating products for a $5 Rite Aid gift card)

Kookie Organic and Bamboo baby items on sale, starting tonight!

Starting tonight at Totsy, Kookie baby items are on sale up to 65% off! Kookie designs super cute accessories and clothes with eco-friendly bamboo and organic cotton!  Totsy is invite-only (otherwise you have to be on a waiting list to become a member) and here is your invite!  Click HERE and be sure "BringingBasicsBack" is in the code portion!

Totsy is a GREEN company! If you haven't heard of them, they offer high-end kids products at discounts - many times it 's still kind of spendy, but other times, there are some totally killer deals! The reason they are green, is that they will plant a tree in your child's name for each purchase! They are also certified carbon zero!! So, I don't mind supporting their company since they give back! Each day, there is a new deal added, or more! So, check back often. Usually, you have to be on a waiting list to become a member, but I'm able to pass on this invite - click HERE and be sure "BringingBasicsBack" is in the code portion!

Sunday Coupons preview (12/27/09)

Here is a preview of what you'll find in this Sunday's paper across the country!
You can either subscribe to your local Sunday paper to get these (or find it in the store/news stand)... OR, many of these coupons can be found online and you can print out only the coupons you think you'll use at, and

Plus, you can sometimes double or even triple-stack your coupons on certain items at stores where you can load digital e-coupons onto the rewards card like at Safeway! See my post HERE where I double and triple-stacked some coupons using CellFire, Shortcuts, and P&G eSaver

Here are some of the places I get my coupons:
- Sunday paper
- Online coupon sources:,,
- e-Coupon sites (loads onto your Safeway or other store card): cellfire, shortcuts, P&G e-saver

There are also great sites like A Full Cup where you can find coupons and forums to your heart's content! Plus, Organic Grocery Deals is another place where you can find forums and some coupons that are more organically-based!

g-diapers 6-pack $49.98

The Kleen Kanteens sold out already at Baby Steals, but they just put out a new sale to replace it, a 6-pack of g-Diapers for only $49.98! These are really cool... the best of both worlds: disposable meets cloth! The inner liner is disposable and biodegrades very quickly, and the outer is a washable cloth diaper with velco closure and is shaped like a diaper! Go HERE to Baby Steals' site!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bringing Christmas Basics Back

It's CHRISTMAS EVE! It still doesn't feel like this year is nearly over, let alone Christmas EVE! I still can't believe it, even as I type...
Going back to basics may come about for your family for a variety of reasons this year - no matter the reason for doing it, I hope these tips might help you have a very Merry Christmas by bringing some of the Christmas Basics back!

Firstly, SLOW DOWN and enjoy these two days. Now with the kids, I find myself running late all the time and I get frazzled about it because I was always the one on time in the past! Christmas should be a time to be enjoyed, not to be running around like a mad woman! This year, I have not gone out to the stores for Christmas presents - I ordered the items I wanted to buy online so that I didn't have to step foot into the madness, and the other items I made here at home like THESE purse bags for my girlfriends!

Stockings - Instead of trying to fill them with candy and trinkets, another idea is to fill them with breakfast foods like bananas and baggies full of your child's favorite cereal, or other item they can snack on in the morning. That way, the kids have something to go straight for when they wake up instead of coming straight to Mommy and Daddy's room, jumping on the bed and dragging you out with your bathrobe string dragging behind you! When they are finished eating their breakfast snacks, then they can come wake you up! Plus, that way, you don't have to make the breakfast!

Presents - Maybe it's to save a little money, or maybe it's to get "back to basics": limit the gifts to a certain amount per child. 3 is a great number because you can teach about the 3 wise men giving Baby Jesus 3 gifts on his birthday, CHRISTMAS - the true reason we give gifts on, and celebrate this day! HERE is a link to free downloadable gifts in a jar for your other family members - make the gifts simple, yet meaningful!

Dinner - Don't stress over the cooking - make it a potluck if you don't do this already! Each family member brings a dish, and the host is only responsible for the main dish (like the Turkey, Ham, or Tofurky - there are some coupons HERE - click down at the bottom of their page!). Another great tradition you can start is to focus on locally-produced ingredients - check out my post HERE about my girls night dinner where we did this! Set the mood with some Christmas music in the background - there are a TON of free MP3 downloads HERE at Amazon!

Family - Try not to focus on the gifts, although it is a really fun aspect of Christmas. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to downsize the gift itself, but downsize the whole gift event so that the focus of Christmas is not on the gifts, but on the family! Relax and play games with the 'fam after dinner rather than go straight to the gifts. Or, even send the gifts home with the family members rather than opening them there at grandma's house. To cut down on cost and craziness, we draw names with our family at Grandpa's house so we only have to buy one gift, and we can focus on getting something meaningful, rather than the fall-back plan of buying bath soaps and cologne! Maybe you can do a Christmas craft together - crafts are fun for us big kids too! HERE are some free crafts in this downloadable Christmas crafts book!

Kids - Christmas crafts like the ones in this FREE downloadable Christmas crafts for kids book (click HERE to go to the site) can have multiple benefits: it can keep the kids occupied so you can get things done + it can provide a teaching opportunity for learning about Christmas + the kids can create a gift for Grandma/Grandpa, or other family member + it's just fun! Another fun activity is decorating cookies - nothing is more cute than Frosty the Snowman with 3 eyes, rainbow snow, and candy buttons on every part of his body - not to mention the Rudolf cookie missing a head. Don't forget your letter to Santa, cookies and milk!

Giving Back - Option 1 - donate food, resources or money to a charitable organization. The Oregon Food Bank and the Sunshine Division are two in our area that collects food and distributes it to those in need. Option 2 - donate your time to a charitable organization. You could do this in addition to, or even instead of your Christmas dinner! You can volunteer behind the scenes (like sorting donated food) or on the front lines, actually distributing food! You can also go to a "soup kitchen" and help serve the food to the homeless! What a great way for you and your older children to do something together for the "greater good"! Our 2 youngest are not old enough for this yet, but we have brought my husband's older daughter along with us to the Sunshine Division, and she was very humbled by some of the homes we visited to deliver food.

What do you do to bring the basics back to Christmas Eve or Christmas day?

If I don't post anything tomorrow,
MERRY CHRISTMAS from our family to yours!

Tofurky Coupon!

If you are a vegetarian, Christmas Dinner doesn't mean you have to go without the main dish - Go HERE and click the "open" button at the bottom of their page for some coupons! I'm not a vegetarian, but I've tried them and they are actually pretty good!

Christmas Mood Music for FREE!

Don't forget about all the FREE Christmas music downloads available at Amazon! There is probably enough music to create a playlist to set the mood for your entire Christmas feast! HERE is a link to their page where you can still download all the MP3's they've added this month. They have a broad range of music styles from Lady Gaga, to Country, to the Classics!

Organic baby gift set + FREE Shipping!

Today, on Baby Steals, Kaed Organic baby gift set is on sale for $17.64, plus FREE shipping!  Hurry on over, the items usually go really fast!