ErieMoms

The holidays are a time when we all want to indulge our families. But spending too much just leads to anxiety, which is no gift to your family.

I wanted to start this forum to allow ErieMoms to share some of the creativity I know is out there -- and give you some time to make or track down some of the money-saving projects/gifts that you can do.

As I find ideas, I'll be adding them. But I hope you will too.

One of my favorites is to go to one of your favorite photo Web sites, I use Kodakgallery.com, and create calendars with pictures from family gatherings. You can make them for about $15 per calendar, comparable to what you can buy in the store but personalized.

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I visited Ollie's Bargain Barn over the weekend. Great deals there. I got an art set for under $10 and found a kids' metal detector (great for the beach) also for under $10.

Next up ... Big Lots.
One money-saving idea is to work with your kids outside to create Christmas presents for their friends and family.

This allows both you and your children to get outside and get exercise and conversations about the outdoors.

Recently my daughter and I have been collecing sea (beach) glass. These piece are being turned into both earrings and cards for friends and family. This morning I was drilling the glass to make earrings. Later today we'll get out the glue to turn the white pieces into snowmen for cards. It's a great way to remind family members who don't live here anymore about the region's natural beauty.

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Coming up

UPMC Sunset Music Series: Wednesdays, July 1, 8, 15, 5:30 p.m.; Beach 1, Presque Isle State Park Cost: Free. Info: www.discoverpi.com.

Lagoons by Pontoon: Daily, through Sept. 7, 11 a.m., 1 or 2 p.m.; pontoon boat station, Presque Isle State Park; interpretive pontoon tour; sign-up starts at 10 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Cost: Free. Info: www.trecpi.org.

First Friday Olde Fashioned Fourth of July: Friday, July 3, 5-8 p.m.; downtown North East; street performers, face painting, entertainment, dining specials, sidewalk sales, artisan demonstrations. Cost: Free admission. Info: www.nechamber.org.

Fish for Free Day: Saturday, July 4, 9-11 a.m.; Presque Isle State Park, Rotary Pavilion; equipment will be provided; for ages 9-12. Cost: Free; registration is required. Info: 833-7424.

8 Great Tuesdays: Tuesday, July 7, 6:30 p.m.; Burger King Amphitheatre, Liberty Park; The Clarks, Jeff Jensen perform; also occurs July 14 (Chris Higbee, Next of Kin); July 21 (Jake's Blues, RiffRiders); July 28 (Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers). Cost: Free. Info: www.porterie.org/8-great-tuesdays.

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