Frugal Thanksgiving Decorations

Some of my favorite blogs, like “The Inspired Room,” posted a Thanksgiving Table preview at the first of November. I thought it was a cool idea and wanted to do the same. Unfortunately, life happened and I still have not finished setting my table! Lol

I use a trick I learned from flylady.net – set the table and cover it a sheet to protect it from dust! I did manage to get all of my other decorations set out.

 Frugal Thanksgiving Decoration Ideas

1) Make it yourself using recycled materials: I made this turkey out of three baskets, 2 pinecones, 6 husks of dried indian corn (from my son’s preschool teacher), a fake squash pick (nose), 2 hazelnuts (for eyes), and I cut the giblet out of a red freezer container! I took this to the county fair several years ago and won a blue ribbon in the open class for a “recycled project.”

My Turkey made from recycled material won a blue ribbon at the county fair.!

My Turkey made from recycled material won a blue ribbon at the county fair!

 

2) Use food you have on hand: I poured popcorn into a few bowls in my china cabinet.

I filled a few bowls with popcorn.

I filled a few bowls with popcorn.

3) Use items from other holidays: This mug was given to me for “Secretary’s Day” back in the 1990’s! The color and message say “Thanksgiving” to me!

Being thankful shows appreciation.

Being thankful shows appreciation.

4) Goodwill and Garage Sales: I purchased the turkey napkin holder at a garage sale before 2004. A few weeks ago, I found the matching candlesticks at Goodwill!

Look at Goodwill and garage sales to complete your set.

Look at Goodwill and garage sales to complete your set.

5) Children’s homemade decorations: My baby just turned 23 and my oldest will turn 30 on his next birthday, but I still display the seasonal decorations they made when they were in elementary school.

Put the decorations your kids make in Thanksgiving decoration box.

Store the decorations your kids make in your Thanksgiving decoration box.

6) Don’t Burn the Candles: My granddaughter made this tablescape when she was visiting one day. I had the decorations out and she wanted to help. We decided to use all of the pumpkins on this table. There are two candles in there that I have had for years. I store them in the basement where there is no danger of them melting.

This arrangement consists of: baskets, candles, and salt/pepper shakers.

This arrangement consists of: baskets, candles, and salt/pepper shakers.

7) Paint them yourself: These are empty coke bottles that I painted to look like candy corn.

I used acrylic craft paint to paint the sections.

I used acrylic craft paint to paint the sections.

8) Get out your jewelry: In the bathroom, I just switched out the towels to match the “Turkey” pin I no longer wear.

Use your jewelry on your towels.

Use your jewelry on your towels.

The Best Leftover Soup Ever!

Last week I made a big meatloaf with baked potatoes and corn casserole, see here. I baked enough potatoes for two meals, but somebody didn’t like baked potatoes. The second night I planned on meatloaf sandwiches, and both males rejected that idea.

It’s no fun cooking for these two.

I ended up with four baked potatoes. I went online and found a recipe for Baked Potato Soup, see here. It was so good!

The meatloaf was gone, and the potatoes were used. That left a few servings of the corn casserole.

******

We decided to go to Pizza Ranch for lunch on Friday for the Veteran’s Day half price buffet. After throwing his dog tags on the counter as ID, Mr. Frugalfish loaded up his plate with pizza and chicken. I headed for the salad bar.

Their soup of the day was Potato Chowder. I thought, “What if I mixed the leftover corn casserole in with the leftover Baked Potato Soup?” Sunday night I combined them and we each heated up a bowl.

It was fantastic!

We are hitting the busy time of year. Let’s get creative with our leftovers.

Note: I never reheat all of the leftovers at once. I reheat one serving at a time.

I mixed corn casserole with my baked potato soup.

Rice Krispie Turkeys

My granddaughter was coming over for a few hours and she LOVES to cook. I looked through my ingredients to see what I needed to use up. There was a partial bag of marshmallows my son bought for S’mores and I knew I had an opened box of Cocoa Pebbles. I decided to make rice krispie turkeys.

I was bummed when I measured the cereal and found I only had half of the amount I needed. I decided to cut the recipe in half and spread them out on a cookie sheet.

Olivia, 4, was in charge of stirring…well, some of the stirring. It took a bit longer to melt the square marshmallows than it would have taken had I used miniature marshmallows.

I spread them out on a cookie sheet and waited for them to set up. I used a turkey cookie cutter and cut around it with a paring knife. Then Olivia added a chocolate chip to each one for an eye.

Cocoa Krispie Turkey Treats.

Cocoa Krispie Turkey Treats.

They weren’t fancy, but they were cute and tasty! Making half of a recipe is one way to use up ingredients.

JCPenneys “Black Friday Rebate Reward Cards” are Useless

My daughter moved into a new apartment last fall and she needed kitchen appliances. We had read the Black Friday flyers advertising appliances for “$9.99, $14.99, and $24.99. We should have known it was too good to be true.

We headed home after Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s and put our leftovers away. We decided to go to the Pre-Black Friday Sales and pick up a few appliances.

When we got to the store we noticed the prices were not reduced. You paid full price and then sent in a “rebate.” The store then sent you a VISA card for the difference.

I am really good about filling out rebates and we decided to go ahead. We got the same type of deal at another store.

I sent in the rebates and after Christmas my daughter informed me she already had one of the appliances. We offered to return it and give her the cash, which we did. When the gift card from that store arrived, we decided not to use it because we returned the purchase.

We still have that card and it is useless now. Since, I didn’t try to use that card, I don’t know if the same thing would have happened there that happened at Penneys.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Before I go any further, I need to tell you…

I LOVE J C PENNEYS!

I was thrilled to have the card because most of the clothes I buy are made by St. John’s Bay which offers 100% cotton and tall sizes. I blogged about my love for those clothes earlier in “The Top Five Things I Love,” see here. I love the quality of their tablecloths and I purchased all of my new drapes there.

But in this case, they let me down. We tried to use the card after Christmas and they asked for our pin number. I thought, silly me, I should have brought the letter that came with them in my purse. I got them out and put them in my purse when I got home.

We do most of our shopping online and I tried to use them there. No luck. Costumer service could not help me. I decided I had to use them in a JC Penneys store.

The cards have a fee of $3.00 that starts to be deducted after 6 months. In June, I realized I was running out of time. I tried to use them again at Penneys, and they asked for a pin number. I pulled out the letter and there was no pin number on them. I asked the cashier for help and they said they didn’t know.

We were beyond frustrated. We tried to call the toll-free number on the letter and it was disconnected. It has now been a year and the cards were eaten up by the monthly fees. Oddly enough, the cards do not expire until 02/16. The fees eat it up by 09/15!

I contacted customer service a few months ago and asked them to pass on my complaint. I did not hear anything back. They would not give me an email address to voice my complaint.

The moral of my story is…the “rebate reward cards” at Penneys are useless. If you are offered the difference in price in the form of a rebate that issues you a VISA reward card…forget it.

The Black Friday Ads came out on Monday and once again Penneys is offering appliances with a “rebate.” I’m not falling for it again.

These cards cannot be redeemed at Penneys or anywhere else.

These cards cannot be redeemed at Penneys or anywhere else.

 

Choosing a New Microwave

We were having a girl’s night and I made several things in the microwave. I foolishly had a decorative cloth on top of it that blocked the holes in the back. It died.

My microwave died.

My microwave died.

After cooling off for 20 minutes, it decided to work again. That was November, 2011 and I decided to just keep using it until it died.

It would cook potatoes for 20 minutes and it would shut off after it finished. Even though I removed the cloth, it still did not like to run for a long time. It would cool off and turn back on after several minutes.

Tuesday night, I cooked potatoes and was surprised that it did not shut off. I put in some frozen peas to cook. When the timer went off, I took them out and found they were still frozen.

The lights were on, the timer was working, but it stopped heating.

At 6 am Wednesday morning, Mr. Frugalfish said, “Hey, you want to go buy a microwave before I got to work?”

“Sure!”

I found the one I wanted…it was large enough for a 9 X 13 pan to rotate. He said it was too big.

On the way home I explained about cooking in the microwave in the summer instead of the oven. He stuck to his guns.

Midmorning I got a text…”Do you want to look for one at Sears?”

“Sure”

“I’ll pick you up.”

“If you are going to pick me up, you have to buy me lunch.”

“Okay.”

I did my homework. I wanted to buy one that was made in America and I wanted to support the local store. I called and had them measure the inside to find one that would rotate a 9″ X 13″ pan.

The salesman took us right to it when we arrived and Mr. Frugalfish said, “It’s too big.”

(What!)

We looked at washers, because ours would be too expensive to repair and that will be our next purchase. Then we looked at freezers because that is on our wish list. We decided to discuss it at lunch.

It wasn’t until late in the evening that I understood what he meant by it being “too big.” The unit itself would cover the top of the dishwasher where it would sit. We would lose that little bit of counter space.

I didn’t want that. I compromised. I told him to get one the same size as our original microwave and then buy a cake pan one size smaller than the 9″ X 13″.

At lunch on Thursday he picked up a beautiful, white microwave. I secretly desired having a white one because all of my appliances are white. Of course, I plan on reducing his serving size based on the smaller sized pan! Lol (And we still are looking for a smaller pan.)

The new microwave we chose.

The new microwave we chose.

The point is, buy what you need, but the largest one may not be the best one for your space. We only spent 1/3 of the money we have in our appliance category in our savings account. Just because you have the money, don’t buy the most expensive one. Buy only what you need and keep talking it through until you understand each other.

Leftover Halloween Candy

I shared last week about receiving a lot of chocolate for my birthday. I thought I would just add the bags to the candy we purchased to pass out on Halloween. Unfortunately, the candy did not get passed out as planned.

Mr. Frugalfish put it in a Tupperware container and told me to save it for Christmas stockings! I had already frozen the box of “Russell Stover’s Chocolates” to set out at Thanksgiving. You could use some types of candy to decorate your Gingerbread House. Mine would have to be a chocolate log cabin! Lol

I thought we were being the most frugal until I heard what my friend “S” does. She takes her kids “Trick or Treating” and then puts all of their combined candy in a large bowl. The next year, she passes that candy out to those who “Trick or Treat” at her home.

Her children get the fun of dressing up and “trick or treating,” but do not get sick on all of that candy and none of them have ever had cavities! I would have to buy a freezer before I could do that!

What do you do with your leftover Halloween candy?

What to do with leftover Halloween candy.

What to do with leftover Halloween candy.

Unusual Wrapping Paper

I received a late birthday present and laughed when I saw the wrapping paper. I am not surprised because she usually wraps her gifts in magazine pages, funny papers, and ads.

A uniquely wrapped birthday gift.

A uniquely wrapped birthday gift.

Once I needed wrapping paper for a lady in the office that loved watching “Oprah.” I went online and copied the top of her website. I pasted it several times on one page and then printed a few copies out. I turned them over and taped the back sides of them together.

She was so impressed with the “Oprah” wrapping paper! I never did tell her I made it. Lol

We are nearing the Christmas season and I like to wrap my gifts as I purchase them. I have my wrapping paper all ready in my office, but I may use one of these ideas for one of the gifts.

Oh yeah, the gift was exactly what you thought it was…

chocolate!

A late birthday present.

A late birthday present.