deck the halls on a budget! 

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year. Even thought I don’t want to talk about it ’til after turkey day, I truly can’t wait to BREAK OUT all of my red and green. From the tree to the candles, I’ll show you OVER 10 ways to hack your Christmas decorating for easy, cheap festivity! Really, when you have flowers, mason jars, garland and ribbon–the possibilities are endless. (Until a kid comes along to destroy something-duh.)


Jazz up your flower vase or old wine jug this season. Let’s start with wrapping paper! I’m sure you have some leftover from last year (like me)–but if not, grab a roll that’ll match your other décor and some scissors. This year, I’m using old wine jugs I have to hold my centerpiece flowers. This is SO easy. I cut enough wrapping paper to wrap around the bottle and cover the label. I scalloped the edges and added one piece of tape (hidden) to secure it. 

Are you kidding me? So cute. Also–get your flowers at Trader Joe’s! I did 6 vases full of greenery and red/white flowers for only $18!
Do you have pretty pillows that are just NOT as festive as you’d like? PROBLEM SOLVED PEEPS. The trick is RIBBON! 
Hi, I’m precious, nice to meet you.

Tie a bow of holiday ribbon around your decorative pillow for a simple, easy way to kick it up for the holidays. Don’t worry, your kids will notice the bow and try chewing/ripping it off! (Sigh). GET YOUR RIBBON ON SALE! I grabbed all of my ribbon at Michael’s for 70% off a week ago!! Totally worth it to download the Michael’s and Joann app, because between their 50% off a regular item coupons, and weekly ads– you save a ton. So this way, when you buy a REDONCULOUS amount of red and green sparkly items you don’t get in trouble. Ha.

Easy and adorable. Plop a small decorative tree into a mason jar and top with a ribbon bow. Done! If you put them on a window sill, the natural light goes right through the glass jar, and at night move them over to a table or counter top!

Use what you already have to jazz up a window. Everyone has mason jars–right?? (And if you listened to me and downloaded the apps-you’ll have the trees and ribbon too, super cheap–off a coupon) My trees are a few years old, but I’ve seen them on their shelves this year again! You can do SO much with ribbon. Besides top off your wrapped boxes, of course. 

The mason jar strikes again! Use what you have, and add ribbon! We had mason jars and pillars-add a ribbon bow and a votive to instantly bring the look into the season! 

Check end of season sales. I bought this GORGEOUS velvet paisley holiday pillow last year at Homegoods marked from $39.99 to $18! I brought it out to add a pop of red to my living room this year. 

Use LED lights ONLY outside to save some dough on the good old DECEMBER electric bill. I bought these colored LED’s after Christmas last year and the white LED’s at Home Depot on Black Friday this year! Both were $15-18 a box and were purchased $2.50-5.88 a box. Thumbs upppppp. I’m not a huge colored light fan, but mixed with the white- I’m lovin’ it. See those pumpkins of the step? They’re getting spray painted white and turned into a snowman. Wait for it. 
$3 believe banner at target is adorable hanging right over where Santa shows up! Even the grinch has an extra 3 bucks. Cheaper to buy this one, than to make it! Right at the front of the store with the other $1, and $5 treasures. 

Sending Christmas Cards? GROUPON! We have done Staples these last 3 years. This year, we paid $24 for 75 cards! Huge savings, and they come out great. Loads of design choices, too. Outside the fact that the website was glitchy last night, we’ll be sending ours soon! 

Ollie’s silly festive shirt was $3 at old navy! They had loads of their holiday looking clothing on sale for 50% off. Penels shirt was $5!

Switch out the items on an accent wall. I threw some lights and ribbon on this artificial tree we’ve had, stuck it in a basket and it looks great plopped on my hope chest. Replaced a turkey picture, with a snowman picture, and added some berry twigs to my wreath. (Berry twigs were $0.59 at Michael’s, too!) Filled the basket with the kids Christmas books, and we’re good! 
Check TJ MAXX for matching sibling JAMMIES! Got these there for $7.99 and 9.99 regular price, and they are almost EXACTLY one of this years “Hanna” styles!
Make your antique crates shine this season!
No corner left behind. I needed something for this area of the dining room, so I added a string of lights to the inside of my vintage crates. Now they glow. Friggan cuteness. Simple and elegant! 

Take your own pictures of your kids for the Christmas card. They’ll come out perfect and everyone will be looking and smiling. 🙄

god bless you.
Drunk in love.

Have toddlers who are nosing around the gifts under the tree? Fake them! Put giftbags out with white tissue under the tree and put the real gifts for people in the back, so if they open one of the pretend gifts–or pull the tissue out, it’s no biggy! 

These are last years bag, and lacking tissue because I just bought it last night!
If you have extra ornaments throw them into a few wide cylinder VaseS to add some color around the room! 
BALLS!

More hacks?! If you had your tree cut down this year, or ever tagged one-have them chop a little more off of the bottom when you pick it up and now you’ve got REAL material for homemade wreaths and garlands!  

Layer your tablecloths! Red under, lace over!

Christmas Cards by the dozens? Buy an old shutter at a yard sale or consignment shop and flip it upside down, hang it and stick all of your cards in the slits! (No picture yet because I’m still on the hunt for a shutter!) 

This mirror swag is brought to you buy 60% off garland at Jo-Ann’s AND 60% of Berry twigs! Instant elegance!

Use a festive coffee mug to hold your window plants!! Easy stuff guys! Let me know what ideas you like best! 🎄🎅🏼👍🏼

More flowers! TRADER JOE’s BABY!

make stew, not war. 

The mornings are chilly and the nights are getting cold, this means several things. ONE, the toilet seat is freezing when you wake up to pee, TWO–I’m STILL not switching to hot coffee, and THREE, It’s SOOOO annoying to change a poop diaper on a kid dressed in multiple layers. HA! OKAY, four. It’s time for “fall” food! For football Sunday, we decided to make a ground turkey vegetable stew. By “we” I mean ME. My hubby had the idea. As long as I played my part, as the ‘complaining chef’. Long story short, It was delish and could’ve fed an army! Want to know how I made it? GOOD! Here ya go. 

fall flowers, fall soup …almost fall on the floor when you burn your entire mouth trying to be the first one to TRY it.

Go to the store and buy alllllll of this…


2 white or yellow onions, LOAD of garlic, portobello mushrooms, 2 small zucchini, bag of large carrots, 2 cartons of chicken/vegetable stock (whichever), bag of kale (use as much or as little as you’d like), 6-8 green onions, 5-7 celery stalks, 3 large cans of petite diced tomatoes, 1 small can of tomatoe paste, 3lbs of ground turkey, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil. a spoon. A bowl. Yes. Buy all of that. Brown rice or quinoa too, if you want that for a little carb in your soup! {we did!} 

IT’S EASY, guys– just takes lots of chopping. {before you start cooking your meat, chop EVERYTHING up so you can just DUMP it into the pot as you go}…I didn’t do that, which was annoying–so you should!  Just “guess-stimate” amounts of veggies. Or if it’s easier, use entire bags of what you bought! 

you make me emotional, but i still love you.

We used a Dutch oven for the stew, then switched to a HUGE sauce pan since we overloaded the Dutch oven. Start with olive oil in your pan (if I had to measure–which I never, ever do–unless baking…I would say 4 teaspoons of olive oil.) and get it hot, your burner should be low-low medium and toss in the finely sliced or chopped garlic and 1 diced white onion.  {you’re doing this so you can flavor and cook your ground turkey first} Save the other onion to add into the pot with the rest of the veggies. give those onions and garlic a few minutes and then PLOP in all 3 lbs of ground turkey. From the second you drop the meat into the pan, DO.NOT.STOP.CHOPPING/BREAKING UP.THE.MEAT. There’s really nothing more lovely than seeing those little “wormy” meat strings in the soup. Nope, nada, negative. Yuck. I used a metal spatula and just chopped away and kept that meat moving until just about fully done. (meat goes from a pink color to a gray and firms up) You’ll have crumbles, not blobs. PLEASE. I then seasoned the meat with sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a few dashes of worcestshire …like 4 or 5. 

must keep chopping, must keep chopping, chopping chopping. gobble.

Looks pretty right? YOURS BETTER BE! 😜 NEXT: Take the entire can of tomatoe paste and incorporate {oooh fancy!} it into the meat and garlic/onion mixture. Add those three large cans of petite diced tomatoes, juice and all, and stir. Next take every single veggie you have so beautifully chopped beforehand–and add them all in!  Lastly, add two cartons of whichever broth you chose and give it a good stir. Cover that baby and LET IT GO. Set your burner to low. You want a “SIMMA”. We let ours simmer happily for 3 hours and ate it after the game. If you’re a smart cook, you’ll have it perfectly timed for half-time. I’m not a smart cook. 

ready! {this is a picture of the leftovers as you can see we ate about 2.5 inches of it} 😜

Since your meat is basically cooked when you add in those veggies, the stew will be ready to eat once all of your veggies are cooked, too. Season with more salt and pepper as you go!  once everything was in the pot, I added onion powder, garlic powder, fresh parsley (15 leaves-ish?!) you don’t have to use fresh if you don’t want to!  I made a super quick bag of Trader Joe’s organic instant brown rice for those of us who wanted to add some to the bowls! 
we totally made mozzarella/provolone grilled cheese sandwiches in the cast iron, today–and used them as DUNKAROOS!
You can feed ATLEAST 10 friends on a Sunday with this. Or a Wednesday. Even a Tuesday–your friends will WANT to eat at your house. 6 of us ate it twice each and there’s still more left. You could totally freeze this too, in a freezer bag and thaw that sucker out for a few weeks down the road from now!  It’s so friggan good the next day with a cast iron grilled cheese to dunk in it! Mmmmmhmmmm. We went there. BUT– it’s equally as yummy with or without the rice, too! 

kids love these things. SO do Moms. I ate atleast 8. OINK.
my $3 lipstick matches my $3 trader joes flowers. HOW APPROPRIATE.

Ghostly Trees!

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Here, we added a cute little owl WHOOOOOOse eyes are glowing and ready for Halloween. Yup–you guessed it, $1.00–at Dollar Tree!

YES–Ball® makes limited edition purple mason jars and YES you can make adorablely cheap crafts with them!! Toddler friendly Halloween decorations that will keep you and the Kidd-o busy for an hour or two–coming your way! I made this one up, while I was unpacking my Halloween decor last week…annnnd I wanted to share it!!  These are “ghostly trees”.

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Ball® exclusive purple mason jars, floral wire, wire cutters (or strong kitchen scissors) bag of decorative rocks. (We had the black, but the clear stones would be best to show off the purple!) string or fishing line, twigs, lace tulle or cream gauzy/tulle fabric

If you haven’t noticed, I like Dollar Tree… So that’s where I grabbed the styrofoam, floral wire, wire cutters, rocks, and string. I bought the tulle rolls at Walmart for 2.97, and the Ball® mason jars can be purchased at http://www.freshpreservingstore.com! We mixed our trees up by using the Ball® Heritage Collection Pint and Quart sized jars.

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arrange your twigs and branches to look “tree-ish” and then you are ready to wrap the wire around their trunks. To make this craft adult friendly–you could spray paint the sticks silver for a more fancy look!

First off, head outside, let the kids play! While you’re out there, they will LOVE searching the yard for the perfect “creepy” sticks to create their ghost trees with…(and if they’re like my toddler–they’ll enjoy poking you with the sticks too!) Gather a good handful of sticks and branches that will make up the “tree” part of the craft! You’ll want them 12-18 inches long or so… and obviously you can cut them/snap them to be shorter.

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take a kitchen knife or scissors and just chop away at it until you can push it through the top of the mason jar.

Cut and shape a chunk of the green styrofoam to insert into the top of the mason jar and shove that sucker way down to the bottom. You could add a drop of hot glue to the inside base of the jar to stick it to, but you don’t have to!

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once you’ve positioned the branches to look like a tree, wrap the floral wire tightly around the base! (about 3-4 inches up from bottom)

Put the silver ring of the mason jar cover back on, leaving the disc off, so you can easily stick the tree into the styrofoam at the bottom of the jar. Again, you could add a blob of hot glue to the styrofoam so it sticks to the “tree” when you push it down–but you don’t have to!
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Add some tulle to the bottom of the jar surrounding the styrofoam so it doesn’t show through jar. If you gather the tulle and bunch it up around the styrofoam it’ll work best.
Add a few of the black rocks on top of the styrofoam around the “trunk” of your tree and it’ll add a little weight to your jar and keep the tree in place as well.
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NOW. Make your ghosts! As silly as it sounds, grab a few paper towels and cut them into small squares about 4×4 and crumple it up to be the ‘head’ of the ghost. Have cottonballs? Use one per head if you’d rather! Cut your roll of cream lace or tulle in about 8 inch long pieces (leaving the width as is), and place the crumbled paper towel in the center of the fabric. Fold the fabric over and gather it under the ghosts head. Tie in a simple bow with the string. Make the bow loops big enough so you can hang the ghosts on the tree once you’e made them all.

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Make anywhere between 5-8 depending on size of trees and preference. You can trim your ghosts to whatever size and shape you want! Hang those little cuties on the trees and there ya have it! a $4-$8 halloween craft! (depending on what you already have at home for supplies!)

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Want to make your jars glow? Add battery operated string lights to put inside the jars or LED tea lights to make your jars glow purple!

*These Heritage Collection Ball® Mason Jars were sent to me for free by Ball® Canning and all opinions are my own in any and all use of this product.