Holiday De-Stressing

I don’t know about you, but I really start to feel the stress of the holidays right after Thanksgiving, and up until Christmas Day has ended. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE the holidays, in fact, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays of the year, but that doesn’t change the fact that the holidays are stressful.  You not only have the stress of cooking all day with family in town and little kids running afoot while you’re preparing turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and gravy all at the same time while you’re family is watching football. Or, there is the stress of things like the “Thanksgiving Creep” — where Black Friday creeps so far into your thanksgiving celebration you either have to ensure your family dinner is early, and I mean early, or you have to skip family dinner in order to shop. I see this as a travesty of justice — a way to put you in the middle of having to choose between your family and saving money for that special toy your child wants that you cannot afford.

Even though I am Pennywise, I choose not to even look at Black Friday ads for stores that are open on Thanksgiving. I won’t support them. I refuse. Life is too short to choose family over shopping, in my opinion. Family is only in town for a very short time, and you are already spending all day in the kitchen cooking to prepare the perfect meal. By the time you get the food on the table, it would be time to go Black Friday shopping, if you were so inclined, and you’d miss sharing special time with your family, or you’d have to rush through dinner to be able to get out the door in time. Like I said earlier, life is too short for me to want to do that. I’d much rather spend time preparing the meal in the morning/early afternoon, and then spend the rest of the afternoon/evening enjoying the company of  family and friends from near and far.

Honestly, it’s easy for me to choose family over finances. I hate, and I mean HATE Black Friday shopping. Yes, you can get great deals, but it’s just too crazy and I don’t mean a little crazy either.  I mean you stop at a light and without moving more than a car length ahead, your light turns red, and the other side’s light turns green. Once you get to the store, people are rushing all around you, trying to get their holiday shopping done, and they see you grabbing for the last Hatchimal and elbow you in the eye so they can get it first, only to find out afterwards that you were just reaching for a Lalaloopsy doll and weren’t in competition for that Hatchimal after all. I just feel that life is to short to compete for gifts, to give up family time on Thanksgiving Day, or to fight the traffic that never seems to move. 🙂

Whatever you decided this weekend, you’re likely all stressed out from Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, and putting up Christmas lights, so I thought you could use some ideas for relaxation and de-stressing. Of course, I’d love to hear your ideas, so please comment below if you have any other ways that you like to relax:

Take Time Out for Yourself

Take some time out for yourself. Think for a while about what makes you feel good, and then do it! Do you like to cuddle up with a good book, by the fire? Or, perhaps you are the type who would rather paint your nails, or light some candles and take a bubble bath? Maybe there is a great movie you’ve been wanting to watch, but haven’t been able to because of all the things you need to do. If you find that you are too busy to take time out for yourself, talk with another busy friend to see if you can do things to give each other the gift of time, such as prepare twice as much food for dinner one night (giving one meal to a friend and keeping the other for yourself), so your friend could have a couple of hours to herself, and then a night, or two later, she could prepare twice as much food so that you will have time to read a book, paint your nails, or take a bubble bath — doing whatever you really enjoy that will make you feel good. Not a cook? Not a problem! Try trading babysitting with each other to provide a few hours for each of you to do something special for yourself. Spending a few minutes — even a few hours — by yourself after so much family time will often help you recharge and feel rejuvenated, and none of it has to cost much.

Give a Gift of Time

Gifts of time are my favorite gifts — they don’t cost you very much at all – often, just your time. If there is a cost, it is generally nominal. My husband takes a vacation day on my birthday every year just to clean the house! This gift, though to others may not seem like much, means the world to me! Though I have appreciated this gift for the past 15-20 years, I appreciate it even more since I was t-boned two years ago, and I have a much harder time cleaning than I used to.  Gifts of time are always the right size, always the right color, and they never have to be returned — they are my favorite, perhaps because of the thoughtfulness of the giver.

Spend some time with a friend you haven’t talked with in a while. This is the time of year when people, especially older folks and single moms, feel lonely and/or overwhelmed, especially if there aren’t a lot of people who call to check on them and see how they are doing. Single moms, especially, love to have the gift of a babysitter, a meal they don’t need to cook, or housework they don’t have to do. Older folks, especially widowed people, love to just have someone come and visit them — their favorite gift of time is company — someone to share a piece of pie and some coffee, or tea with.

Another gift of time is volunteering. This is the time of year when many places are looking for people to volunteer to help them — the Salvation Army often needs bell ringers, people to work in their stores, and people to help create and distribute food baskets; rescue missions need volunteers, pet shelters need volunteers — even your local Goodwill is likely getting more donations than they can handle! Helping others makes you feel good and makes you forget about your own troubles, as you see others who probably are worse off than you are. Plus, when you help others you feel like you’re really doing something worthwhile — you see how happy you are making others, and even what a difference you are making in their lives and it makes you happy, too! Many people will thank you for your service and will really appreciate whatever you do for them.



Last Minute Pennywise Costumes for Halloween

If you need a last-minute costume idea that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, here are some ideas:

Flower Pot

This child’s costume was put together for just a few dollars using items from the Dollar Store. It’s an adorable costume for a beautiful girl!

Costume Cupcake Cutie

Hungry, and looking for a cute Halloween costume idea? This costume was designed by someone who was “crafty” and creative. Bought with items from the local craft store, this costume is SO SWEET!

Lego Costume

I really LOVE this idea! Having grown up with Legos as a child myself, and three kids who played with Legos, I have a deep appreciation for them.  Legos can build anything – even a terrific, inexpensive costume!


This pizza looks so good on this kid, it makes me hungry!

Chia Head Costume

Remember the old Chia Head pets we could buy when we were young? Maybe they still sell them today. Anyway, I’ve never thought about becoming a Chia head for Halloween, but it’s a very creative and pennywise idea!

Spiderweb Cape

I think Spiderweb cape looks incredible! The fact that it doesn’t require sewing makes it even better. It appears to be a quick and thrifty costume.


Emojis are all the rage right now, and this costume is no different! Make a happy, sad, confused, romantic, or other emoji.

Snow Cone Costume

Want to be a little cooler this Halloween? This snow cone costume is about as cool as you can get! 😊

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We all have nerds in our life.  If you know “There is no place like”, then this is the best costume out there!


Inexpensive and Fun Halloween Food

Spiderweb Brownies

These spooky brownies are super-easy to make! I learned about them from Delish – Cobweb Brownies You basically just make up any boxed brownie recipe or use your favorite brownie recipe, then melt marshmallows in a small pan, stirring constantly. Warning! Don’t put marshmallows in the microwave – they enlarge and enlarge and then they explode!  These brownies are boo-tiful, and the kids absolutely love how the marshmallows are thin, gooey, and stretchy.

Stove-top Buttered Popcorn

Whether it’s Halloween, or just a night when you want to curl up with a great big bowl of popcorn to watch your favorite movie, this popcorn is to die for! My family absolutely loves it when I make stove-top buttered popcorn. The secret to making it is to clarify your butter first. Clarifying butter is a fast process, and is well-worth the small amount of effort it takes. Put an entire stick of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the butter on high 30 seconds at a time until it is completely melted. Let the butter sit for 5 minutes to congeal a bit, allowing the “fat” to rise to the top. Then, scrape the fat off the top and wait another 5 min. Keep letting the butter cool and then scrape off the fat until the butter is all clear. Now, you’re ready to make your popcorn. Put 1 Tbsp. oil in the bottom of a pan and turn the stove top on to medium. When a tiny bit of water dances on the oil, then the oil is ready for the popcorn. Add 1 cup of popcorn to the oil in the pan, and put the lid on the pan. Once the popcorn starts popping, you can turn the heat off the stove and continue allowing it to pop until the popping slows. Then, remove the popcorn from the burner, pour your clarified butter over the top, and add salt to your liking. I generally need to make 2 or 3 batches of this to feed my family of five because they love this so much!

Octopus and Seaweed

Octopus and seaweed is a fun, inexpensive meal to make anytime. It is made from Ramen noodles, green food coloring and hotdogs, and mustard. Make Ramen noodles according to package directions and then remove the noodles from the broth and drain them. Add green food coloring to the noodles until it is a dark enough green for it to represent seaweed. To make the octopus, just cut the bottom half of a hotdog lengthwise in half, and then cut each of those halves in half the same way.  One more time, cut each half into half until you have 8 very thin legs. Very carefully, dot mustard on to the hotdog to create a face. Two mustard dots for the eyes, and a mustard line for the mouth. Then carefully, set the octopus on top of the seaweed.

Boogers on a Stick

Want a fun Halloween appetizer that completely grosses out your guests? I found this on Pumpkinnook and believe it is a great idea if you want to truly gross someone out. My kids thought it was a gross idea, and were unsure about whether they would want to try it, or not, but ultimately decided they wanted me to make it. I guess gross is still something fun!

Eyeball Taco Salad

This is a fun, main meal dish that can be whipped up quickly with just a few ingredients. Found at Kraft Recipes, this recipe is PERFECT for entertaining. It’s just spooky enough to get people talking, while filling enough to keep them from leaving hungry.  


Monster Faced Salami

This is SUPER EASY and such a blast! Just take a beef salami log cut into very thin pieces and then use mustard to dot on eyes and a scary face.

Spider Mac N Cheese

My kids absolutely LOVE macaroni and cheese. This recipe is a great way to fill the tummies of the people you care about while having fun at the same time. Check it out at Kraft!

I hope you have a great time at your Halloween party! Leave a comment if you have more inexpensive Halloween food ideas, or if you have a suggestion for a future article. As for me and my family, we will be enjoying all of these recipes on Halloween night! If you decide to try them, too, I hope you will have a spooktacular event! 🙂