Handmade Stocking Bar (Perfect for Uneven Mantels)

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How to Create a Stocking Hanger

We have a very pretty fireplace and mantle.  It is very ornately made and has lots of curves and detail.  Well, I love it until it is time to hang our stockings.

Because of the different curves, we can not use any stocking hangers. Nope.  None of them.  For several years, we’ve used clear 3M hooks.  That works fine.  That is until we use the fireplace several times. The heat forces the adhesive to give way and they fall down.  Needless to say, most years, the stockings ended up on the floor in the corner of the room before Christmas Eve.

This year, I decided I wanted to do something different. I took to online (namely Pinterest) to get some inspiration for some ideas.  I found quite a few.  However, one stuck out to me.

I showed a snapshot of the idea to my husband and asked if he could create it.  You see, he is very talented when it comes to woodworking.  He told me that he could do that for me without any problem at all.   He even had a piece of pine left over from our basement remodel, so we didn’t have to make a purchase.

All I had to get were 2 things:

Curtain rood with hangers to extend the width of our fireplace
Stain to match the color of our mantle

The first thing he did was to router the edges to make it ornate.  He then sanded the entire thing down.

Creating a Stocking Hanger for your Mantel - easy to follow instructions
We then took the brackets that came with our curtain rod apart.  We kept only the bottom portion which holds the rod.

Creating a Stocking Hanger for your Mantel - easy to follow instructions

Turn the wood over and router out a slot for the hanger to attach (note that you do not need crate the groove, but it may not sit evening on your fireplace (may wobble a bit as it could be uneven).

Create a Stocking Hanger

He then stained it to match the fireplace mantel.  He ended up doing two coats and used steel wool between them and the ended it with a final top coat.  The end result is gorgeous!  See how it blends in and just looks like part of our mantel.  And, you can see why we have had problems hanging our stockings in the past!

creating a stocking hanger for your mantel

This project cost us around $25.  It would have been more if we would have needed to purchase the wood.  Now, I have something that I can use year after year.  And best of all, our stockings will actually be hung up all Christmas season!

how to create a stocking hanger


Free Holiday Planning Printables – Gift List, Budget and More!

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Get these FREE Holiday planners for your cards, budget, gifts and more!


When the holidays come around, it seems there is so much to try to remember to do that it can become overwhelming.  These planners are the perfect way to help you tackle those to do list!  Just print them out and keep them handy.  Then, if you happen to think of that item you want to bake, you can jot it down.  You can help plan your spending budget and even get all of those gift ideas down on paper!  Check out all of these FREE printables below:


Download your free Holiday Party Planner HERE

If you are planning a party, you know it takes a bit to plan.  You need to know not only know the date and time for your party, but also the guests you want to invite and the food you want to serve!  This planner helps bring it all together for you.  Print this out and jot down your notes, menu ideas and guests – so you can be organized and have less stress being the hostess this year!


Download your Holiday Baking Planner HERE

My kids and I LOVE to bake during the holidays.  They all have their favorite item that they want to make, so we have it on our list.  I even have a few items I make for friends, so I have to remember those too.  This list actually combines BOTH into one list!  You can write down the items you want to bake and even the source and ingredients.  You can go so far as to remind yourself by what date you need it and if it happens to be a gift, includes those details as well!  The more organized you can be – the more you will enjoy your holiday!


Download your Christmas Gift List and Budget Form HERE

If you have lots of people on your gift giving list (the one in your brain), it is smart to get those down on paper.  Not only that, but keep track of when you’ve purchased the item.  Then, if you have to mail it, you can also use this list to remind you of that too!

We even go one step further to help you keep your spending in check.  We include the amount you are budgeting for your gift.  Then, when you buy it, you can even jot down what you spent – so you can see how much you saved!!

Call this your own Santa List — so you can make your list and check it twice!


Download your Christmas Card List form HERE

Do you send out holiday cards? Here is the perfect way to keep track of them!  You can make this list of those people you send cards to — for four years!  Not only that, but you can keep track of those who send you cards.  I know many only send to those who tend to send cards back out to them (to keep costs down).  Now, you can see who sent you cards each year and respond accordingly.


Download your free Holiday Budget Form HERE

The most IMPORTANT thing you need to do this holiday season is plan your budget!  This form will help you keep track of your budget and then what you spend – so you make sure you stay on track.  There is nothing worse than January rolling around and you find out that you spent just too much money in December.


Download this Holiday Gift List HERE

If you don’t need to be as detailed in tracking your holiday gifts, you might want to use this form instead.  This one allows you to add prices (if you want), but is a great way to just jot down the gifts you need to purchase for each person on your list.  (I don’t know about you, but I like options when it comes to staying organized).

So now you can be organized and ready to go this holiday season!!!

Walmart Apparel: Stylish on a Budget

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walmart apparel

I love my daughter.  She is my little mini me.  She has the same personality, likes and even dislikes. She even likes to dress like me.

I don’t find too many ways for this to happen, but we did track down some adorable clothes at Walmart.  Now, you may be thinking that this is not really where you go for clothes, but that really isn’t the case. With the way trends change quickly,  staying stylish can really hurt your budget.  However, if you shop at Walmart, you can find the things you want and not feel badly when you won’t want to wear them anymore!

Right now, one of the trends is plaid.  We were able to find an adorable outfit for my daughter.  We picked up the tee, pants and flannel shirt at Walmart and the prices were so affordable!

walmart 2

Leggings:  $7.05
Sparkle Fox Tee:  $5.86 (out of stock online)
Faded Glory Plaid Shirt: $7.94

Of course, I had to get in on the fun too! I scored a flannel shirt and some jeggings.  Now, I am usually not one to wear these types of pants, but I actually liked them.  And my husband said that they looked good….but then again….maybe he was just buttering me up.


Junior Pointe Pants: $13.88
Plaid Button Up Shirt: $12.00

These are prices that fit with our budget.  However, we are not sacrificing style in order to do so. Keeping Walmart in mind when shopping for your next outfit just makes sense!

This was a sponsored post on behalf of Walmart.  All opinions are my own and were not influenced by any parties.

Free Nice and Naughty Notice Downloads!

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Nice and Naughty Notices

This is the time of the year that many parents tend to play the “Santa is watching” card when kids act up, or happen to do something wonderful.  However, they may not always believe, so what better way than to have a Nice or Naughty Notice arrive for them – straight from the North Pole!

Just click the image below and download your free copy.  Fill out your child’s name and the type of behavior. Make sure it is signed by one of the elves (your Elf on the Shelf would be the perfect name to use, if you happen to have one).  Then, place it on your child’s dresser for them to see when they wake or get home from school.  Just watch their eyes when they can tell you are not lying.

nice notice small

Download your FREE Nice Notice form HERE

It is important that kids know when they are doing good things – not just being corrected for the bad.  These nice notices are great to reinforce that good behavior and make them want to earn more notices.  If you do happen to issue a Naughty Notice, try to give Nice notice within a day or so — again to help your kids feel good about themselves.

naughty notice small

Download your FREE Naughty Notice form HERE

None of us are perfect.  That is the message it is important to convey with your kids if they happen to be issued a Naughty Notice.  Make sure you talk it over with your  kids and let them know that they are not on the naughty list, but they have been caught doing something that they should not have done.  This is such a perfect learning opportunity for your kids to take responsibility for their own actions.  As mentioned above, try to follow up with a NICE notice within a day or so of issuing this one.

Christmas is such a magical time for kids and they believe for such a short time.  Try to have fun with it and do what you can to make it memorable for your own kids!

Our Twelve Days of Christmas: Celebrating the Reason for the Season

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Let's not forget why we celebrate Christmas.  Get some great ideas to have fun with your kids - while remembering the reason FOR the season!


With the craziness of the holidays, it is easy to lose ourselves in the chaos.  I find that we get so caught up that we actually miss out on being together and trying to enjoy the holidays.

In order to help not miss out on the excitement and to really savor the time with my kids, we are launching a 12 days of Christmas challenge of sorts – for ourselves.  I found this idea on Pinterest last year and pinned it so I would not forget (thank heavens we can do that!!).

Each day, we are going to do something together to really remember that the season is about family and giving of ourselves.

(Click image to print)

This is what we will do – and I invite you to join in with  us, or even create your very own!  I’d love to hear what you will do this year.  Make sure you leave us a comment and pass along what you are doing this year with your family!!

Folgers Perfect Measure: Perfect Coffee Every Single Time! #FolgersInKC

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Folgers for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Coffee.  It is the one thing that so many need just to get going in the morning.  For some, it is not just coffee, but that perfectly brewed cup that they long for.  That can mean relying upon your local coffee shop to make sure that can happen. At least, until now.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that you can not only brew the perfect cup of coffee, but just do so with little to no effort?  That is where Folgers Perfect Measures come into play!

Look at how awesome these are:

You can use these Folgers Perfect Measures in your automatic drip coffee maker and get the perfect cup every time.  Just add one, two….whatever you need to make sure that your coffee makes your taste buds dance!

Folgers Perfect Measures are available in five flavors: 100% Columbian, Breakfast Blend, Classic Roast, Classic Decaf and Black Silk.  We were fortunate enough to try them out and what we loved was the NO MESS feature.

No coffee grounds on the counter or dropped onto the floor. It was as simple as grabbing 2 small discs and we were on our way to that perfect cup of coffee!

The flavor was as good as any other cup we’d had from Folgers.  No sacrifices on flavor just so you have convenience.  It really worked just like they said it would!

Right now, these are available only in limited markets:  Indianapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis.  So, if you live in these parts of the country, you are lucky as you get to try them out! For our Kansas City residents (like me), you can find them at CVS or Target.

This is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t want to have to run out and buy a new coffee maker, just so that they can have the convenience that they have to offer.  Just use your Folgers Perfect Measures and you’ll be ready to run out the door with your perfect coffee!

Visit Sponsors Site

What to Give to That “Hard to Buy For Person”

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Ever wonder WHAT to buy for someone? We've got THREE easy ideas to help you come up with a gift idea for just about anyone on your list!


Are you like me at all?  Every time a gift giving event comes around, be it birthday, Christmas or anything else, I never know WHAT to get.  It just don’t want to give someone cash.  That is not only boring, but so impersonal.

But then again, I don’t want to give them something they will want to re-gift — or worse yet — sits on a shelf and never gets used.

It isn’t even just knowing what to get.  It is also a challenge to try to stay within budget at the same time.  So, what should do?

I’ve come up with some great tips to help you find out what to give to that hard to buy for person on YOUR list.

Give something they can always use.  Every January, my kids take a thank you gift to their teachers.  It includes pens, pencils, markers — most of the items that have probably been used up already and may need to be replaced.  For us, it is a simple way to let them know that we appreciate all they do and at the same time, give them something they can actually use.   You can use this same idea for the hard to buy for person.

Maybe you could make a basket filled with beauty product samples for a teen girl.  You might even pick up a popcorn bowl, box of popcorn and a movie for your neighbor and his/her family.  Think about things that you use and see if you can’t create a goodie package based upon things that they really need.

Ask a friend.  If you don’t want to come right out to ask someone, why not ask a friend or family member what they are into. I do this every time my child gets asked to a birthday party.  We want to make sure we give the kids what they are into, so it is a simple question and works quite well.

Of course, if you don’t know any friends, maybe go check them out on Facebook.  Sometimes they share links for products or even photos about their hobbies.  For instance, maybe you see a friend who has Liked an author on Facebook.  You might be able to pick up the latest new title in the book store for them.

Gift cards.  To be honest, these are a lot like cash (in my opinion).  However, they can work.  If you are really not sure what to get someone, but you know they love books, get a card to a bookstore.  Or, if they love to go out to dinner, a card to a local restaurant.

These may seem like cash, but if you are specific in getting someone a card for their favorite store or dining establishment, you are showing you care and want them to be able to spend money on something they love.

If, you still are not sure, sticking with an Amazon gift card is always a great option – so they can buy anything they want.

*Bonus idea:  Lissa shared on Facebook that she also goes to Pinterest boards to get ideas!  People may pin hobbies and interests that way so you might find something they would love that way too!  Thanks for sharing with us!

We all know it is the thought that counts – but try to put a little thought into it too and make your recipient feel even more special than they already are.


How to Change Your Vehicle’s Oil

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One way to save money is to take care of your vehicle yourself -- learn how to Change Your Vehicle's Oil.


Sometimes paying for someone else to do things on your car can be expensive. With some of the easier processes it’s nice to know how to do them on your own in order to be easy on your wallet. Changing the oil on your car is not a hard task but it can seem that way if you’ve never done it before. We have compiled a step-by-step process on how to change the oil on your car.

  1. You will need an oil drain pan, oil filter wrench, and the correct size wrench or socket that will fit your oil drain plug. Depending on the ground clearance of your car, you may need to jack it up slightly to get underneath it and have room to work.
  2. Position your drain pan under the drain plug which is located under your car and on the oil pan of your engine. Remove drain plug and allow all oil to drain out.
  3. It’s always a good idea before you put the drain plug back in to pour a half quart of new oil in which will help to clean out the old oil even more.
  4. Replace the oil drain plug and tighten to manufacturer’s torque specifications.
  5. Locate your oil filter and using the oil filter wrench, remove it by turn it counterclockwise. Most vehicles will be counterclockwise but not all. Once your oil filter is removed, be sure that the oil filter seal or O-ring has stay attached to the oil filter.
  6. Before replacing oil filter, take old oil and rub generously on new oil filter seal. Install the new oil filter by hand tightening it as much as you can. Once you have done this, use your oil filter wrench and give it one quarter turn.
  7. Fill with oil to proper capacity and viscosity (oil thickness) for your vehicle. This can be found in the engine compartment on a sticker or in your owner’s manual. Using your dipstick, check to make sure your oil is not under filled or over filled because either one can damage your engine. Always check for leaks once you have run your engine as just a precaution.

This can be a quick and easy task but don’t be discouraged if you take longer to do it your first time around. Doing it correctly is the most important part.

Simple Tips to Save Money On Household Cleaners

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We have to clean our house.  It is just part of life.  However, there is a way you can do it and STILL save money!!  And I'm not talking hiring a housekeeper.  Get my tips on how to save money - while still keeping your house clean and germ free!

We have to clean our homes.  There is no getting around it.  For me, I do it because it just makes me feel better.  However, the added benefit is that it is good for your health (we have to get rid of those horrible germs).

Of course, this can come at a cost.  Cleaning products cost so much money!  I’ve got some easy things you can do to save oney on these necessary items.   to save money on your cleaning supplies.

Ditch the Glass Cleaner.  I have not used glass cleaner in years.  I use microfiber cloths.  I use a wet one to wipe down the mirror or window to remove the smudges and spots.  I then use another to dry and polish it until it shines.  Not only do I not have to spend money on this, I don’t have to deal with the horrible smell either – BLECH!

Just launder and hang your cloths to dry after you use them (don’t dry them as dryer sheet residue can get gummed up on them).  Then, reuse them each and every week.

Avoid specialty products.  If you look over the store shelves, you will find cleaners made for stainless steel, granite, tile, wood and more.  You do not need an individual product for each one.  Instead, opt for a multi-purpose cleaner which can clean several surfaces (make sure yours is listed on the product to avoid damage).

Use the store brands.  Sure, you might have a coupon to use on that name brand product, but many times, the store brand will cost even less than it’s name brand counterpart after you use your coupon.  These brands are the same quality as the other guys – just under a different label.  Take a minute and compare the ingredients.  You may be surprised that you’ve been paying so much more than you needed to.

Match coupons with sales and offers.  If you watch drugstore deals, you can usually find great deals.  When you combine store coupons, with manufacturer’s coupons and special offers, you can pay little to nothing for your products.  Watch Walgreens and CVS for some of the best deals.

Make your own.  There are so many options available for making your own household cleaners.  Here are some you might want to check out:

You can still live in a clean, healthy home without spending so much at the store.  What do you do to save money on your household cleaning items?

10 Non-Tech Things To Do This Fall

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Get outside and enjoy the crisp fall air!  Here are TEN things you can do with your family!!

Fall is here and the cooler weather is soon to follow. The kids will be wanting to stay in the house more often and will want something to do. One of my goals this fall is to unplug, and spend time doing other things than just playing on electronics. I wondered what others did to limit tech time…

We posted this question on our weekly Penny For Your Thoughts post on our Facebook page. Here are a couple of the tips which were shared by our readers.

“Leaf prints. Scribbling crayons over paper and leaf to make image appear.” – Isabel W.

“Rake up leaves into a pile and then JUMP!” – Dawn P.

“Puzzles or everyone pick a board game. Granted my daughter is 17 so we play more adult games and do 1000 PC puzzles.” – Jess B.

“Go to a pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins and then have a fun night carving them.” – Wendy A.

“Bonfires, Winnie roast, camping, hunting! Love this time of the year.” – Tammy M.

“Painting pumpkins!!” – Amber T.

“Hiking.” – Veronica J.

“Going to the pumpkin patch, taking walks at one of our many beautiful city parks, baking, playing board games, reading a good book while cuddled in my bed, Decorating the house, collecting acorns for the squirrels, painting, dress up, pretend play. We do a lot of non tech things together…but we also enjoy a good movie marathon here and there.” – Amber M.

“Hanging out in the backyard…playing in the leaves.” – Christine B.

“Bonfires and leaf pile jumping.” – Stephanie W.

These are all amazing ideas… These are just 10 of the non-tech ways to have fun this fall, plenty more were posted. Baking, hiking, jumping in leaf piles, reading and more promote family time and all require participation which is nice for a change. What ways do you think you can unplug that aren’t already mentioned?

Make sure you watch Facebook each Monday for our newest question and share your ideas.  You may find your name and tip featured each week on Penny Pinchin’ Mom!