Tag Archives: holidays

Living on a Tight Budget? 6 Creative Ways to Be More Charitable

The holidays often inspire people to give back to those less fortunate. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you may not think that you have the means to do some good. Giving can be done any time of the year. You also don’t need to be a professional athlete or Hollywood actor to make your own mark in this world. Here are 6 creative ways you can be more charitable without breaking your budget.

Offer Your Time

If you’re looking to be more charitable, your time can be a precious gift. If you’re handy and do a good job maintaining your home,  you can volunteer to build houses for those in need. For those who love and adore animals, you may want to foster dogs and cats until they’ve found their forever homes. After work, tutor kids in language, math or reading at an under-privileged group home. During the holidays, offer to serve meals or hand out food at a food bank or soup kitchen.

Save Spare Change

Between work and family, your life may be filled with challenges. Money struggles, going through a divorce or being falsely accused of domestic violence can prove devastating. The struggles can even ruin your reputation and hinder you from getting ahead with your career. However, by becoming more charitable, you’ll be bringing good into your household. With the wide number of groups and organizations that are looking for assistance, you may not have the funds to assist everyone.

If you’re limited on cash and have spare change lying around, put it in a bucket. Every time you pay for groceries, clothes or other necessities, you can put your change into this container. As the money adds up, you’ll have enough coins to put toward charities such as the Salvation Army kettle. There are other small monetary donations that won’t make too much of a dent in your checking account. Popular methods include when the cashier at a retail establishment asks you to donate $1 to help a homeless pet shelter or child with cancer.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Your local supermarket or retail clothing store may offer two-for-one sales or discounts on items. If you get an extra set of freebies, think about donating goods to a homeless shelter. The holiday season is a great time to declutter your home. If your used merchandise is in good condition, your local Goodwill center or thrift store may benefit from the clothes, shoes, coats and housewares. Your old electronics may also be valuable as they can be refurbished and sold to families in need. Eyewear can also be costly. Instead of tossing out your old glasses to make room for new, the Lions Club has a sight program that collects used eyeglasses.

Be Kind to Planet Earth

The Earth has taken a beating in recent years as pollution and other contaminants continue to harm the planet. If you’re looking to protect Mother Nature, adopt eco-friendly habits with the family. If you get the paper or magazines delivered, recycle the material. You can also use cloth bags routinely when grocery shopping or tote a reusable mug when bringing your coffee to work. You may also volunteer for your cities trash cleanup program designed to keep roadways and highways litter free.

Get Moving for a Cause

If you’re looking to become more charitable and stay fit, you can walk or run for a cause. There are a number of organizations such as finding a cure for breast cancer and helping the hungry who use walks and races to raise money. Encourage your friends and family members to get more involved and make a day out of the event. The Internet has a host of offerings, and the money to race is typically minimal.

Focus on Your Family

Some say that charity begins at home, and it actually does. Although you may have plans to save the world, offer your family some love and undivided attention first. Instead of burying your nose in your laptop or cell phone, ditch the electronics and focus on your children, pets and partner. Break out the games or get outside and go for a walk or bike ride.

If you’ve stretched your finances to the brink, it can be challenging monetarily to offer your assistance. But giving back to those who are in need doesn’t always mean reaching for your check book. Using the above strategies, you can become more charitable and still stay on target with your budget.

This is a sponsored guest post that does not necessarily reflect the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings. 

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How to Handle Toxic Family Members


The holiday season is fast approaching, and that can only mean one thing: Another dinner where you have to endure Aunt Sue. Try as you might, you can’t seem to find good in this person who shares your bloodline. It’s a sad reality, but family members can be toxic too.

What is a toxic person?

When we talk about toxic people, it goes deeper than your personal feelings. A toxic person is someone who consistently hurts other people with their words or actions. They may even be very charming, but you know you’re going to be sorry if you let yourself get too close. Toxic people are selfish, and they aren’t above lying to get their way.

How to handle toxic people

Fortunately, in most cases, you know when you’re going to see that toxic family member. This gives you some time to prepare. Follow the tips below to help protect yourself from other people’s toxicity.

  1. Give yourself a pep talk – When you know you’re going to see this person, remind yourself not to get sucked into the drama. This person cannot hurt you if you don’t engage.
  2. Consider that they cannot help themselves – Oftentimes, individuals who are considered toxic may have reasons for their behavior. They may suffer from a substance abuse disorder (1 in 8 Americans are reported alcoholics), or they may have a personality disorder, such as narcissism. You can forgive them for how they have hurt you in the past, but this doesn’t mean you should let them hurt you again.
  3. Keep contact to a minimum – Avoid talking to this person as much as possible. Try taking the seat furthest away and think of reasons to excuse yourself when this person approaches you. If this person calls or texts you, don’t respond. You don’t need to explain yourself to a toxic person. It’s better to keep your own sanity than to appear polite. This person will eventually take your hint.
  4. Avoid sharing personal information – The biggest problem with toxic people is that they can seem endearing. If you get stuck talking to this person, keep reminding yourself to share as little as possible. Any personal information you share may be used against you at a later time.
  5. Don’t let anyone make you feel small – Toxic people are very good at making you feel like you have to defend yourself. They may spread lies or half-truths about you to others, and you’re left feeling like you have to make up for something. Don’t fall into the trap. Whatever it is, let it go. If someone changes their opinion of you based on hearsay, that’s their problem.

When you know how to handle toxic family members, there’s no need to stress about the encounter. You’re above all of their nonsense, and you’re going to show that by removing yourself from the drama. The more you engage, the deeper you fall into their trap. It may seem gratifying to expose a toxic person, but you’ll likely be sorry you even spent the effort. Walk away with your head held high. After all, you’re not the one who is toxic.

This is a sponsored guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.

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Send Joy With These Free Printable Holiday Cards!

When you’ve been around for more than 40 years, Cricket Media has some best-loved annual traditions.  And a long-time favorite of Cricket fans has been FREE printable cards for the holidays!
For the 2016 holiday season, Cricket Media has selected 10 of their favorite holiday illustrations and created beautiful cards for you to share and send to loved ones.
To print them out, visit FREE HOLIDAY CARDS and 
follow the instructions.  
And, by all means, please share them with your friends and family!
It’s not too late to give the gift of reading this holiday season with a subscription to one of Cricket Media’s award-winning parenting magazines.  To truly embody the spirit of the season, you may want to explore Cricket’s “Double the Giving” Campaign.

Any gift-giver purchasing an annual print subscription to one of four different Cricket publications will also deliver the gift of reading to a child in an underserved community through two award-winning, charitable partners: Libraries Without Borders and Parent-Child Home Program, both 2016 Library of Congress Literacy Award Winners.  Each subscription bundle to BABYBUG (ages 6 mos.-3), LADYBUG (ages 3-6), SPIDER (ages 6-9) or CRICKET (ages 9-14) is priced at $29.95 (regularly $33.95), and is guaranteed to spark a life-long love of reading!
Best wishes for a warm, wonderful holiday season!


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How To Decorate Your Home For The Holidays & Save Money #GrouponCoupons

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

The holidays are coming upon us fast. If you are like me, you might be thinking about getting your home ready for the holidays. I was recently browsing Home Decorators. I love decorating for the Christmas season and  I admit, I  squealed with delight when I saw the Martha Stewart Mouse Ornaments. Could they be any more adorable? I can’t see how, they are just precious!


As I continued to browse the site I landed upon the Martha Stewart Living™ House Advent Calendar Ornaments. I was floored because they are the same types of houses I remember as a child. My favorite thing was decorating a village under the tree with them. These houses look exactly like the ones from my childhood except they have numbers on the front. They are a unique advent calendar, you hang one house each day on the tree from December 1st thru December 23rd.  I just love the idea and want to start this new tradition with my family.


They have such nice holiday decor, I want everything! I especially like this Chalkboard Joy Sign.


Check it out for yourself, they have so many great items. They even have a huge selection of artificial trees that look so real! Everything coordinates so beautifully, it is easy to create a home that reflects the splendor of the season.


Another store I like shopping at is Overstock.com. I have found super deals there. Now that it is getting colder, I like to use flannel sheets. I found their selection of flannel sheets to be amazing. The only hard part is choosing from the many styles!


Who doesn’t like curling up on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa and watching Christmas movies? When I saw these Eddie Bauer pillows, I knew they would be perfect for my family room.


As much as I like shopping for new home decor, I love saving money on new home decor! Home Decorators and Overstock are having huge sales now but what makes it even better are Groupon Coupons! Do you use Groupon Coupons? If you don’t, check them out, you will be glad you did!


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All Things Christmas And More is Offering Free Shipping on All Orders Until December 11th!!!


It snowed here today!  I cannot believe how quickly we are approaching winter and the holidays.  I feel like it will be Thanksgiving before I can blink and full court press to Christmas!  If you are looking for great Christmas decorations and products, take a look at All Things Christmas And More!  A family run business for over 5 years they pride themselves on offering the best Christmas products around at affordable prices.  They stock 2,500 items year round and expand their catalog every year.  This year for the first time they added Halloween products and they are looking to expand and carry a Spring and Summer Catalog next year! They are offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed November 1-December 11th 2014!  Look for All Things Christmas And More on Mommy Ramblings 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!





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Duck Tape Printed & Colored Rolls and Sheets Gift Pack Review & Give-Away!!! {Give-Away Ended}

Have you seen all the great patterns and colors Duck Tape makes?  Far from your universal gray roll, there are now sheets and rolls of brightly colored and printed Duck Tape.  This stuff is the newest craft sensation.  You can browse all the great craft ideas and categories on thier Website.  Have the Ducktivities left you inspired to create?  I was recently sent an assortment of colored and printed rolls and sheets of Duck Tape to review.  I could not believe all the ideas that are on their Website.  I really like some of the Christmas ones.  The way the Website is set up, it is really easy to navigate and find just the kind of craft you want to make.  Also, it tells you the skill needed to do each one. In addition you can view their videos on YouTube through the link on their Website.   Duck Tape has certainly come a long way from just the big gray rolls that we are all so familiar with.

Duck Tape Sheets!!!

If I have sparked your creative nerve, then you will be very excited.  Duck Tape is sponsoring a give-away on Mommy Ramblings.  One lucky blog reader will win the same gift pack that I received.  Thank you Duck Tape for the review pack and for sponsoring this creative give-away on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Duck Tape Gift Pack of Colored and Printed Rolls and Sheets Give-Away on Mommy Ramblings Rules!!!

Mandatory Entry– Visit Duck Tape Ducktivities, and let me know one of the craft ideas you like.  Leave your answer in a comment on this post. (If this entry is not done, all others will be deleted)

Extra Entries: (make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry or they will not count)

1. Like Mommy Ramblings on Facebook and leave me a comment here that you did.

2. Like Duck Tape on Facebook, then leave me a comment here that you did.

3. Follow Mommy Ramblings on Twitter, and leave me a comment here that you did with your Twitter name.

4. Follow  Duck Tape on Twitter, and leave me a comment here that you did with your Twitter name.

5. Follow Mommy Ramblings by email, and leave me a comment here that you did.

6. Vote for Mommy Ramblings on Picket Fence Blogs (Button is on the side of our blog, “We’re on the Fence) and leave me a comment here you did.  You can do this once a day, just make sure and leave a comment each time you do.

7. Rate Mommy Ramblings on Top Mommy Blogs (button is on the side of our blog) and leave me a comment here that you did. (Can only be used as one entry per give-away.)

8. Tweet this give-away on Twitter and leave me a comment here that you did with your Twitter name. You can do this once a day, just make sure and leave a comment each time you do.

9. Like Blueberry Hill Photography on Facebook and leave me a comment here that you did.

10. Write a review for Mommy Ramblings on Alexa.com (button is on our blog right under the We’re on the Fence button) and leave me a comment here that you did.  Can only be done once per give-away.

Good Luck Everyone!!!  Give Away Ends November 25th at 12am EST.  Winner will be selected by Random.org.


Filed under October Last Half, Uncategorized

Gingerbread Perfection!!!

Today the little boys had such a fun time decorating the gingerbread house.  Like I said in my previous post, I did not go into it with any expectations of perfection.  I set up the island with various small bowls and containers with different colored candies.  I put the assembled gingerbread frame house in the middle.  Made some fresh royal icing in the VitaMix and put it into a piping bag.  We put the boys high chairs up to  the island and they were at a perfect height to get started.  I started piping the icing but Ethan soon took over and you know what??? I did not sweat it.  It went very well, he loved piping the icing, he had a few of his own techniques but you know, it worked.  The roof got the most decorations and that was just fine.  He and Luke had a good system.  Ethan would put some icing on and tell Luke to stick the candy.  Ethan said he was “working” it was very funny and they had a great time and despite the sugar rush they both took a very good nap afterward.  When I look at the completed house with all its splendor, that is when it occurs to me, it is definitely perfection!!!

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Gingerbread Dreams, Sugarplum Wishes!!!

Well, as I type my fingers are still sticky with royal icing.  I just finished assembling  the cottage structure of the gingerbread house, so that tomorrow it will be nice and sturdy for little hands to decorate with a multitude of colored, sweet and tangy candies.  I am not going in with expectations of a perfectly decorated gingerbread cottage that would grace the pages of “Good Housekeeping.”  I am well aware that with having  1 and 3-year-old designers, perfection is not what we are going for.  We will be going for perfectly imperfect.  I imagine between the sugar rush and their little fingers that the finished product will be lucky to come away with all four walls and the roof still attached.  I want to create the memories my children will carry with them as they grow and one day have their own families.  I think those things are so much more important than material things.  So late at night I fumble with the piping bags of sticky icing and mutter under my breath as it takes me a few tries to get the structure standing.   Tomorrow I will be whipping up another batch of the sticky stuff  to use as glue for the decorations.

Visions of chubby little hands sneaking tastes of the sticky sweet stuff and thinking that it is the greatest thing in the world to be decorating with the vast array of treats.  I am sure they will be in Gum Drop Heaven, with all the colors and textures and tastes.   It will be a lot of messy fun and I am looking forward to capturing their little faces on camera.  Those are the memories I want to keep long after the cookie house has crumbled away.  I love seeing the joy of the season through little eyes just discovering  things for the first time.  To see the wonder and the amazement of the season in their faces is so incredible.  I am so blessed to be able to go through this again as my it just goes by in a blink as I know with my older kids.  God was so great to have blessed me with the opportunity to experience it again.  I am so very grateful.

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Fall is here!!!

Well, it is officially Fall.  I have to admit we actually are having a pretty nice one this year.  Albeit only the 8th of October and that all can change in a day or less.  I am going to try to remain hopeful that we will have a true Fall this year.   The weather has been very mild, still taking walks, although it is getting dark much earlier and I dread changing the clocks because that will mean it will be dark even earlier.   I really hate that part.

Alexandra is still working in Potsdam but will be home next month!!!   We miss her and she misses us!  Ray had a meeting with the Navy recruiter and all went well, he took Michael with him because Michael wants to join as soon as he graduates this year.  Ethan and Luke are having a good time as usual.  Ethan is a great big brother to Luke.  He tries to teach him the right way to eat with his utensils, play basketball and other things.  He is always encouraging with a “Good Job Luke” even when he is less than successful in shooting a basket.  Of course they still have their moments of bickering but it is better for the most part.  Ethan is understanding that Luke is getting very wise and the idea of giving him a rock or a stick in trade for something like a tractor is not going to cut it anymore.  He is also pretty receptive if Luke cries, he will say “Come on Luke, stop crying.”   So for the most part he is a loving brother but there is still the occasional body tackle.

Jimi and I are very busy with the laser business and it is very time-consuming but we are so grateful for the opportunity we have to do something like this.  Jimi had his birthday on September 15th.  I made him a yellow cake with my signature dark chocolate buttercream icing and it was delicious!!!

I am missing the garden as it is past its season.  I loved going out and having the inspiration for a zucchini, eggplant, tomato pasta right there in front of me.   Oh well that is the chain of life and we will start planning for next year.  I hope the winter is not too bad in terms of ice.  Ice is the worst, no one can drive on it no matter if you have 8 wheel drive.  I have a good start on Luke’s birthday presents,  and not too bad of a start on both little one’s Christmas presents.  I even have some stuff for Alexandra already.

Jimi and I and the little boys had a nice outing at local horse farm a couple of weeks ago.  We went on a tractor pulled hay ride the boys just loved.  They also had their first pony ride which was a huge hit.  Luke is starting to talk more in sentences and is such a character, he loves saying things like, “Look, see the tractor!”  He is really developing his personality.  Ethan is having a great time as usual and enjoying playing sports and with his tractors and trucks.  He loves phonics DVDs and I am going to start working on some preschool reading, phonics and math with him.  He likes counting things but is that any wonder?

The boys are monkeys for Halloween, in fact the Halloween photo cards just came in the mail today and they are so cute.  I hope it is a nice day on Halloween and not a deep freeze.  I think Ethan will get a real kick out of it this year.  Last year Jimi and I took them out shopping in their costumes, they were still too little to really understand.  This year I know Ethan will have a blast.

Well, I better sign off for now as I have a thousand and one things to do.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful, blessed Autumn!!!  God Bless!!!

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