The internet is a great source of ideas for the holidays. There are several ways to use store bought cookies to make holiday cookies.

Using Nutter Butter cookies you can make Santa cookies, Snowmen and reindeer.

You can also make turkey cookies from Oreos and Striped cookies. Also, Pilgrim hats can be made with marshmallows and striped cookies.

There are many more ideas that help you make treats using cookies from the store.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

Along with purchasing gifts, you also need to wrap the gifts. With a little work you can make one of a kind bags or reusable bags. If you are giving gift cards, there are various ways to give the gift cards instead of just the card you get from the store.

I have made a Pinterest board with Gift Bag ideas.

Another idea is to use containers for baked good and other treats, such as the plastic coffee cans. Wash them out and remove the label. It can be as easy as wrapping a piece of ribbon around the can and tying a bow. Look around your house for other containers you could use for gift giving.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

Jessica from Life As Mom has put together a Holiday Planning Guide. It has planning pages for your holiday gift buying list and other schedules for the holidays.

Along with the e-book, in the coming weeks she will be having posts with recipes, gift ideas and other ideas to take some of the stress out of the holidays. She is a homeschooling mom of six, so she is used to stress.

I read her blog most days and get many great ideas from it.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

Nancy Kvamme

This last summer I received weekly vegetables from a CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) from Bluebird Gardens by Fergus Falls.

You receive a weekly box of vegetables from June to mid October. In addition to the vegetables you also have the opportunity to take part in Harvest Events where you can go to the farm and pick additional items. Each item has a specific amount you can pick. This is considered a gift from the farm so if you choose not to or are unable to participate in Harvest Events you are not losing anything.

A family share is $595 which is charged during 5 months over the winter at $119 per month. A share (enough for two people) is $395 or $79 a month. I got the share and was able to freeze some of the extras for the winter. I also participated in Harvest Events and have a freezer full of vegetables. Here is a list of the vegetable I received in the box each week and during the Harvest Events.

I really enjoyed participating in the CSA and am looking forward to next year again. The share comes to about $20 per week. There were things that I enjoyed trying and probably would not have bought otherwise. I also ate more vegetables than if I was going to buy them at a Farmers Market or grocery store.

See the website for more information or to signup.

Posted in Uncategorized
Nancy Kvamme

Wal-Mart Stores are offering price-matching from November 1 to December 25, except on grocery items. If you buy something on their website or at their stores during these dates and find the identical item for less at a different store you will receive a gift card for the price difference. To receive a gift card, the shopper needs to bring the original Wal-Mart receipt and the local competitor’s print ad to the store. Gift cards will not be given out after December 25. The price matching offer does not include Internet retailers.

Some stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Staples are also matching prices with online merchants such as Amazon.com. Staples is leaving the decision up to the discretion of the store managers of whether to price match with online prices.

So you may be able to get better deals without having to visit a bunch of stores.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

One of the aggravating things about decorating for the holidays may be how to store ornaments and lights so they last from year to year. A couple ideas I found on line to store ornaments are here and here to use common things you may have around the house instead of buying the more expensive ornament holders and boxes.

Here is an idea to storing your lights so they don’t end up in a tangled mess to deal with next year.

Another issue is the matter of storing wrapping paper so it doesn’t get damaged before you use it. Tbis is a way to store it without taking any storage space.

When you are taking out your holiday ornaments, consider throwing away any that are damaged and broken. Also, consider donating any that you may not use any more.

By taking a few minutes to put them away correctly may save you time and hassle next year.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

Another extra holiday expense you may have is for clothing for parties and school programs. Many stores may be having these items on sale in the next couple of months.

Another option is to check out the children resale stores such as Once Upon a Child or Kinder Kloset. In many cases these items such as dresses were only worn once or twice and you can pay a fraction of what you would spend buying them in another store.

Also, if you need multiple outfits for various parties and holiday events check out resale stores such as Clothes Mentor in Fargo and My Best Friends Closet in Moorhead. As with the kids clothes, many holiday sweaters and other outfits may only have been worn a time or two and look brand new.

The stores mentioned all have Facebook pages where they post photos of many of the new items they get into their stores.

If you do buy your holiday outfits at a retail store, you may consider selling it to a resale store if you do not plan on wearing them for another occasion. It may not seem like you will get a lot for them but if you have a few items you will get some money for them instead of just having them hang in your closet.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

We still have a week until Halloween, so the next holiday will be Thanksgiving. Some of the pumpkins and other decorations you may have for Halloween can be used thru Thanksgiving.

I have made a Thanksgiving Pinterestboard with some decorating ideas and recipes that I found online.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

Although it is important to donate to this in need throughout the year, it seems like it is emphasized more during the holidays. There are various ways to help others and two of the main ways in our region are the Giving Tree of Hope and the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. Both of these start around Thanksgiving.

The Giving Tree is organized by FirstLink. Besides purchasing gifts, they are also in need of volunteers to make the event a success. Volunteers are needed from November 25 – December 13 at West Acres Mall to sit at a table to hand out gift tags and collect gifts. On December 14, volunteers are needed all day at the Fargo Civic Center to help with the collection and sorting of gifts and to help distribute the gifts on December 15. You can check out the FirstLink website for more information on the Giving Tree or to volunteer.

Last year more than 4,000 gifts were distributed through the Giving Tree program. Last year there were over 60 giving trees around the community and 160 volunteers needed to make it run smoothly.

You can use these opportunities to teach your children about giving to those in need. It can be as simple as dropping money in the Red Kettle to having them help you pick out a gift for someone on the Giving Tree.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

Nancy Kvamme

Even though stores have had Christmas decorations out for a couple a months, we still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to celebrate first.

Pinterest is a site where you can organize ideas you see online. You can make boards of different themes. I have made a Halloween board with ideas I have found online and on Pinterest for costumes, treat ideas and decorating ideas. Sometimes it is possible to save money by making your own costumes or look for items for a costume at the thrift stores. Also, if you come up with an idea of a costume and cannot find it in the stores, you may be able to make it.

Some of the decorating ideas on the board can be used all fall and for Thanksgiving.

This is part of a 90 day series with tips to help make your holidays easier. Click here for previous posts.

Posted in Holiday Planning
Nancy Kvamme