christmas movie cases on a green table cloth background

Christmas Movie Favorites

We have a wooden crate near the hearth of our fireplace where we store all of our most favorite Christmas movies. Steve just went over and pulled a bunch out and created this list of the ones we love the most. Some are deep, some are moving and some are just plain silly and fun. Here are our top 19 favorites in no particular order - it was just how they came to mind.

  1. It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Steward and Donna Reed. We watch this movie two or three time each year and it always makes us cry.
  2. Jingle All the Way (silly and fun, but not a true meaning of Christmas flick) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad
  3. A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. One of the deepest most profound movies out there, have a box of tissues nearby. 
  4. All I Want for Christmas with Lauren Bacall. Charming story of how 2 siblings get their parents back together.
  5. The Ultimate Gift (we just watched this one and it's great - got it from the library, then ordered it from Amazon)
  6. White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Classic story, great songs, amazing dancing.
  7. While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. Sweet story of hpw valuable family really is.
  8. March of the Wooden Soldiers (Laurel and Hardy), slapstick good wins over evil, nursery rhymes, and great singing.
  9. The Christmas Box with
Smiling face in the clouds

A Prescription for Perspective - Science for Inside Out Thinking


We are bombarded with messages that say we must have the latest and greatest “WhatChaMaCallIt” out there. And that we’ve got to dress or look like everyone else or we’ll miss something great. Stop looking at what everyone else appears to have — the truth is, much of it is on payments and those payments are crushing the life out of them.

Realizing how much we already have and how rich we are in relationships can bring the greatest sense of peace and rest. And keep us from spending money we should spend in an attempt to soothe our pain.

Honestly, we do struggle with this once in a while.

It's usually when were going through a tough time  . . . like a few years ago when one of our kids had four knee surgeries. Oh my, we were all so discouraged. It was really hard to watch her pain and try to see the bright side. 

But we were able to get through that tough year with the help of friends, family and our faith in God, and we saw many blessings as a result of this struggle too.

Our daughter met her husband as she was recovering from her last surgery. We've also met some awesome people (doctors, nurses and new friends) who have come along side our daughter and us to encourage and support. The bright side is that we have a great network of friends and family. 

To help us remember the good in life we've made lists of things we're grateful for, and honestly, making the lists was such a wonderful prescription for perspective that Annette started a Thankful Book that we write in a couple of times each week during dinner.

Here are five things you can do to help cultivate an attitude of gratefulness:

  1. Write a quick list of the things you are thankful for.
  2. Write a note or email, to a friend who gave you a gift.
  3. Call an old friend and get together to recall “the good old days.”
  4. Go outside at night and look at the stars.
  5. Take a look at all you do have and say a prayer of thanksgiving (we really do have a lot).



woman (Annette Economides) standing in front of pies for Thanksgiving holding cans of whipped cream

5 Awesome Pies Recipes for Thanksgiving

This page contains 5 of our all time favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes. Hope your family enjoys them too!

  1. Scrumptious  Apple Pie

  2. Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

  3. Refreshing Lemon Meringue Pie

  4. Delicious Chocolate Pudding Pie

  5. Kristi's Chocolate Pecan Pie



This scrumptious Apple Pie recipe was created by Annette’s Aunt Grace and has been passed down for three generations. It shows up every Thanksgiving, and some of our kids (and Steve too) request it for their birthday dessert. There is nothing more American than apple pie!


  • 1 Double Pie Crust
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 7 to 8 large apples (we use a mixture of 3 varieties of apples with one always being Granny Smith apples) Cut each apple into 12 slices (wedges)
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs Minute Tapioca
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Flour


Before cutting apples, prepare bottom crust and place in pie plate. Take one egg and beat until foamy. With pastry brush, brush egg on to pie crust and let dry while preparing apples. This is a very important step to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

In a large bowl toss apples and lemon juice.

In a second bowl mix the remainder of the ingredient list.


Large crowd of people waiting for the doors to open to go shopping.

7 Black Friday Strategies

With Christmas right around the corner it’s time to put our gift planning into high gear. One great way to do that is to make your list and then check the websites that advertise the super low Black Friday Ads prior to Thanksgiving weekend. Many of them even allow you to simply click and select to build a customized shopping list.

You may have to get up early to stand in line, but retailers typically drop some huge loss leaders to entice consumers to spend. By doing your research in advance you can dial in the best deals and plan your shopping. Here are the websites and apps we check: 


  3. (really easy to build a shopping list of the best deals)
  4. BradsDeals Facebook Black Friday Page


  1. SlickDeals Black Friday App
  2. BradsDeals Black Friday App

Remember to do your online shopping through Swagbucks and get SBs along with great deals. If you want to know more about getting gift cards with Swagbucks read this blog (and get an exclusive bonus code)

7 Secret Strategies that helped us score Big Savings:

  1. Know What You Want. As a result of our online and newspaper research we built our hit list and scored big bargains. We bagged more than $400 worth of merchandise for less than $100 after discounts and all rebates. We made sure to read all of the rebate details very carefully; filled out every form and made copies of everything that we submitted. We did receive every rebate that we applied for. We used to build shopping lists for several stores. Looking at all of the ads can be overwhelming, so creating a single list per store is really helpful. BlackFriday2011Appliance Haul
    Our Black Friday Haul from a couple of years ago. This doesn't include a bunch of movies the kids bought and other things we picked up on Black Friday Morning.  One year later . . . every one of these appliances have been given as either wedding shower gifts or wedding presents. We stocked our gift closet for anticipated gift giving and saved a boodle!
  1. Know what your after. Use the apps/online ads or the Thanksgiving Day ads to plan your strategy and build a list. We list items we want to pick up by store. Sometimes several stores will have the same item for sale - so we cross out the higher priced item and target the less expensive one. But store #1 is out of the item, then we use the back up. After we've assembled our list, then we plan our route. Sometimes we Read More...
car with a large turkey driving

Thanksgiving Stock Ups!

It's time to stock your pantry and freezer!

Grocery retailers will be featuring loss-leaders on many of the trimmings for your Thanksgiving meal, so keep your eyes peeled and when the price drops, stock up.

If you don't have a stand alone freezer, this might be a good time to buy one. Our freezer has been one of the greatest money-saving tools we've ever bought. When our family was small (just one child) we bought our first 9-cubic-foot freezer, used, from a friend. We now have a 27-cubic-foot freezer that we use like a bank vault to store our valuable food deals in.

Check out CraigsList, scratch and dent outlets and Amazon for freezer deals. If you have a free AmazonPrime membership for students or caregivers, you should be able to get free shipping.

Look for discount pricing on the following item—it may be time to stock-up.

  • Biscuits
  • Butter
  • Canned vegetables
  • Cool Whip
  • Cranberries (Canned sauce or fresh)
  • Dinner Rolls (frozen dough or from the bakery)
  • Egg Nog
  • Flour
  • Frozen Pies
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Gravy: canned
  • Jello / Pudding mixes
  • Juices: cranberry, apple, sparkling cider
  • Nuts
  • Pie Crusts
  • Pie filling: canned
  • Potatoes: 5 lbs / 10 lbs bags
  • Pumpkin: canned
  • Soups: Cream of mushroom / Cream of chicken
  • Stuffing mixes
  • Turkey (buy as many as you can store in your freezer)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Whipped cream (aerosol can)
  •


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