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Groceries for December


Another win from our No Spend Month! We still have Food Stamps. Not in that we are qualified for them any more, we are not getting anymore.

BUT because we were able to eat through our freezer and pantry during October and the first two weeks of November. We have almost a full month’s worth of grocery budget in food stamps.

Our current food stamp balance, which I believe we have 6 months to use, is right at $530!

This has taken a weight off in thinking about possibly creating a small budget for Christmas presents for the kids. (We took care of extended family presents prior to our Texas trip and brought them with us.)

I’ve already started creating a list of items we need to replace and restock. And I plan to create a December food plan while we are here in Texas so I can shop smart when I return.

Sausage and Potato Soup

I love the cold months when I can use the crockpot every day without feeling guilty. Not to mention, reheating soups is great for my lunch on a daily basis, easy and cheap.

I thought I would share my absolute favorite cold time recipe…quick, easy and so good! I’m even making it this week while we are in Texas. (We are doing all the cooking for the week and Thanksgiving, but my parents are providing the groceries.)


1 – 30oz bag of frozen, cubed hashbrowns

3 cups of Chicken Broth

1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup

Chopped Onion (optional)

Dash of Parsley (optional)

Salt and Pepper

1 – Hillshire Farms Beef Sausage (this is my favorite option)

1 block of cream cheese


  1. In soup pot, combine all the ingredients except for the sausage and cream cheese.
  2. Heat on medium for 20 minutes.
  3. Cut sausage into bite size pieces and add to mix after first 20 minutes.
  4. Cube cream cheese and add to pot 10 minutes after you add the sausage.
  5. Stir well and serve.

My twins like to garnish with cheese, but I eat it just as it is. It’s definitely one of family favorites during this cold rainy season!

What are some of your favorite cold weather recipes?

The Christmas Debate: Live Tree or Fake Tree?


The great debate has begun around here as we are all itching to decorate for Christmas. Should we have a fake tree or a live tree?

And we are going to make a decision the week we return from Texas. Can you help us decide?

Benefits of a Fake Tree

My whole life we had a fake tree. Then when I got out on my own, I purchased my own pre-lit fake tree. It was awesome!

No detangling light strands. No rearranging the light strands to make sure there were no holes. Just pop it up, plug it in and decorate.

That is, until a bulb went out and shut down a whole section of the tree lights. Or when I wanted white lights instead of color or vice versa.

And storing it was a pain. Getting it back in the box was always a trial. (My grandmother finds it such a chore, she leaves hers up all year in one of her extra rooms.) But then we could put it in storage and forget about it for the rest of the year.

Benefits of a Real Tree

There is nothing quite like the smell of a real tree. And not being pre-lit you can change the light colors as often as you’d like.

Not to mention, purchasing your live tree from the Boy Scouts of America is a great way to support the local troops in your area. (My little cousin is a Boy Scout, we purchased our tree from him last year.)

And storing it…not necessary. We just drag it out to the street when we are done and the trash collectors pick it up. Easy, peasy! Although we do have to store the tree stand we purchased last year, but that is much smaller than a Christmas Tree in a box.

The Cost of a Christmas Tree

I believe the one time cost of a real or fake Christmas tree is the about same. Obviously, there are cheaper ones or more expensive ones.

But over time, the real trees are going to cost more. I don’t see any way around this. Do you? Simply because you must purchase a new tree every year. And I don’t believe you have to replace fake trees very often. Am I wrong?

I suppose if you are looking at it from a money only perspective, the fake tree makes the most sense. But I am so drawn to having a real tree again this year.

Tell me about your Christmas Tree and why you chose a real or fake tree? We are going to put a tree up the week after Thanksgiving so I have to make a decision soon.