Monday, November 18

Christmas Budget Printable

Every year we set a Christmas budget.
Every year we go in with good intentions.
And every year we blow it. 

Our track record is pretty abysmal. But not this year. With Dave Ramsey in our back pocket, we've set a budget that's lower than ever. And we are fighting tooth and nail to stick to it. We've talked to family about switching to a secret Santa system so everyone can spend less. We're limiting ourselves to the "Four Gifts" for our own kids (something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read). And we are so excited to say goodbye to both excess spending and excess stuff.

So I made this handy budget printable to help me keep track of what we have, what we need, what we've spent, and how much is left. And I'm sharing it as a free download today so you guys can join us in kicking Christmas debt to the curb! I also have a few budgeting tips to share, plus a video to walk you through exactly how we use each sheet.

Thursday, November 14

Easiest DIY Pillow Covers

Today we're going to look at a super quick and easy way to refresh a space... that also happens to be a great way to increase your holiday cheer factor. I'm talking about swapping out your pillow covers! And today I'll even show you the easiest way to make your own.

Pillow covers are one of my favorite ways to refresh a room, but did you know they're also one of the best secret weapons in seasonal decor?
  • They take minimal effort to switch out, but make a huge impact.
  • They take almost no space to store in the off-season.
  • They are easy and affordable to make!

Monday, November 11

Shop Small Gift Guides (under $30!)

Supporting small businesses and makers is a great way to tackle Christmas shopping while making a positive impact. It's something we've been trying to move toward for the last few years. But along the way I've stumbled across a few challenges and I'm wondering if you have the same struggles? So today I'm going to try to help guide you through them and share my 2019 Shop Small Gift Guides {for women, men, and kids}!

The two biggest challenges I've found in "shopping small" are budget and local availability.

The availability issue is becoming increasing easy to side-step, thanks to sites like etsy that bring hundreds of handmade shops right into our own living rooms. If you live in a rural area without local shops, this is a great option! If you live in an area that does offer local options, however, you should check them out! There are some really friendly people out there running the cutest little shops! For today, I'll be sharing a bunch of Etsy options that should knock this issue out of the park.

Now about that budget question. I know we all have different Christmas budgets and we do our best with what we have. I also know it can be tough to find local or handmade gifts that fit into smaller budgets. But I've got two tricks to try to help you over that hurdle today, too.
  1. All the options in my gift guides today are $30 or less. And I know, for some of you even that can be too much. I get that and I don't ever encourage going in to debt for Christmas gifts. It's not worth it. If you don't have that much to spend, don't sweat it. This is a zero judgment post. I just want to share the best options I can find and you are welcome to do whatever you want with the information. And just to be clear, we will be doing plenty of not-small shopping this season, as well. Looking at you, Legos. At the MLH house, we're all about those baby steps, folks.
  2. Sometimes it helps to rethink our priorities. This is a seed I've been watering for the last few years as I ask myself "What do we really want to bring into our home, and what values do we want to instill in our boys?" Do we really want to fill our home with a mountain of cheap plastic crap that will end up broken and in the trash? Do we want to create the feeling of such over-abundance that our kids stop feeling grateful for all the good things we have? Or... would we rather take that Christmas budget and invest it a little differently? Instead of a mountain of cheap gifts, buy fewer gifts that are meaningful and higher quality. Instead of a bunch of plastic, invest in sustainable wooden toys and gifts whenever possible. Instead of over-crowding and cluttering our home, give fewer toys and less junk we just don't need.
So today I'm making it a little easier for you to take that first step by rounding up a few of my favorite gift ideas that are all available on Etsy and that are all under $30. Ready to shop small?

Thursday, November 7

Cross-Stitch Family Portrait Tutorial

It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally putting together a tutorial for the cross stitch family portrait I shared on Instagram! If you've never tried cross stitch before, you're in luck. It's just about the easiest needlecraft out there. Seriously, my 8-year-old can do it. It's a perfect way to snuggle up and relax on a chilly evening, and make something beautiful at the same time.

These family portraits are easy to make and easy to customize for your own family! And they are officially the first post in my 2019 Christmas Series because they make such amazing gifts for friends and family. (I just saw a cross-stitch house and I'm planning to give that a try next that would also make a great gift!).

You only need a few simple supplies to get started with cross stitch, so it's a great hobby if you have limited storage space. Here's all you need (all from the same aisle at your fave craft store):
  • an embroidery hoop (The size depends on the size of your project. I used a 6" hoop for this portrait but could have gone smaller.)
  • cross-stitch fabric (I buy the rolls and cut it up for multiple projects)
  • an embroidery needle (larger than a standard sewing needle)
  • embroidery thread (whatever colors you need for your project)
  • a pattern (you can download my family portrait patterns, buy patterns in-store or on etsy, find free patterns on pinterest, or draw your own!)