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Fall 2017 Uncategorized

3 Creative Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas

By Nancy Greger 

Photography by Aleksandra Wąs | @fotografed_

Happy Holidays! It is finally that time of year! The season of giving! The older I get, the more I love giving gifts even more than receiving them. Each year I love finding new and unique ways to wrap presents so that they look festive under that tree and are even more fun to unwrap! This week, I’m giving you three different gift wrapping styles that are budget friendly and totally easy to do! So even if you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on gift wrapping, you can still give everyone on your list something pretty to unwrap!


1. Jazz Up A Gift Bag

Gift bags are an easy go to in a time crunch or if you just don’t have a knack for wrapping. For this present, I used a clothespin, colored red with sharpie, to clip on a cheap dollar store ornament and gift tag to this fun polka dotted bag. This style can be done in seconds and still makes for an adorable gift.

2. Patterns + Pine

For these gifts, I used simple striped wrapping paper and added some greenery for embellishment. When we got our Christmas tree, we had to trim the bottom, so I just cut up some of those scraps to be used for these. For the bigger present, I used red and white baker’s twine to tie on the gift tag. I used twine for the smaller present and taped it on the back. I thought this would make for a more unique way to tie on a tag.

3. Rustic + Ribbons

I kept these next two presents really simple with solid colored wrapping paper. I bought some packing paper from the Dollar tree to wrap some gifts in a more rustic style. Later, I wrote in sharpie on it instead of adding a tag. For the bigger gift, I used white and silver tinsel ribbon to tie on a little plastic snowflake ornament for embellishment. On the smaller present, I taped on a striped red ribbon, and then tied on several skinny white ribbons. I then used scissors to curl the white ribbon, making a for a fun messy bow.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas! Gift wrapping can be time consuming and boring, or it can be a fun way to be creative and add something special to the gifts you’re giving this year! Adding cheap or free embellishments is a great way to add pizzazz to a simply wrapped box or bag. Dollar stores have packs of ornaments, ribbon and twine that make fun and inexpensive embellishments for Christmas presents. Solid colored, even brown packing paper, can make for a simple base to a festive gift. Run out of tags? Grab a sharpie and write the “to and from” write on the package!

Fall 2017

Fill Your Tummy Without Emptying Your Bank Account: Four Recipes For College Students

photograph of Mackenzie

By Mackenzie Fauque 

After many years of entering countless baked goods and entrees into the Tri-County Fair, I have dubbed myself a princess (not quite a queen) of the kitchen. Since moving off campus I have really started to enjoy cooking and baking; I even often look forward to coming home and allowing dinner preparation to be a treat not a chore.

That being said I also HATE spending money, so making the weekly trip to the store makes me cringe. My mother once said that I could never spend less than thirty dollars a week and I am sure that today she is shocked when I tell her I usually spend just over $20. Speaking of my mama, she is such a great cook and has really helped me whenever I have questions about what I can substitute and what I can eliminate. I want to share with you some of my favorite recipes that are fairly easy and pretty affordable. Remember that a good cook always cleans up after themselves! Enjoy!


1. Dolled-Up Oatmeal

Photograph of the oatmeal described below with the ingredients around it


The perfect breakfast dish for anyone who is in need of a quick but really delicious and filling breakfast. I eat some variation of this almost everyday. The oatmeal comes in a big 8 pound bucket and lasts me a long while, so my cost per serving is really low.


1/2 cup Wheat Montana 7-Grain Cereal

1 cup of water

2 teaspoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 tablespoon of heavy cream or half and half

A pinch of cinnamon

Fruit of any kind (I prefer apples, bananas, or peaches)

sliced up fruit arranged in a rainbow pattern

Make oatmeal as directed and assemble your cute little bowl of yumminess. This meal is the best when accompanied with a cup of hot coffee.


2. Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti 

the spaghetti meal described below

Now I might have scooped part of this idea from fellow Trendsetter Aline, but I put my own twist on it. This recipe is great for leftovers and I usually try to make this on days that I know I need to pack a lunch the next day. This is quick and filling and hands-down the best school night meal.


1 Spaghetti Squash

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Marinara Sauce (personal favorite is tomato basil)

Parmesan for topping


Pre-heat oven to 400. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove all seeds. Feel free not to wash the squash because you will not be eating the outside! After removing all the gunk, place in a glass baking dish drizzle with olive oil and add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Flip over so that the guts of the squash are face down. Cook for thirty to forty minutes or until squash is tender and resemble noodles. The best way to remove the squash is with two forks like you would shredding chicken.

the squash being scraped out with a fork

This is when I would save one half of the squash for the next day. After removing squash top with warm marinara sauce and a little parm and enjoy your spaghetti minus all the carbs.


3. Dill Lemon Garlic Salmon With Asparagus 

the pan of cooked salmon and asparagus

This is one of my new favorites! It is a little bit of a splurge because of the salmon, but it is SOOO good and a fantastic option if you aren’t into chicken. You can totally adjust it to make as many serving as you would like, but I will give you the serving size of 2 salmon filets.

salmon fillets


2 salmon filets

1 lemon

3 medium sized cloves of garlic

1/3 cup of butter ( about 2/3 of a stick); softened

5 sprigs of dill

1 pound of asparagus

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Place salmon filets face up and skin down on a glass baking dish. Cut off ends of the pre-washed asparagus and surround filets. Cover asparagus with a little bit of salt and pepper and olive oil.  Combine butter, garlic, half the juice of a lemon, and finely chopped 3 sprigs of dill. Smother 3/4 of the mixture onto the tops of the filets. Microwave the remainder butter spread in the microwave to completely melt. Pour the liquid over the asparagus. Cut other half of lemon and place over filets along with remainder dill. Place in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes or until salmon easily falls apart with the prick of a fork. Cleanup is easy!


4. Lighthouse’s Coconut Cream Pie

the pie

I cannot take credit for this AH-MAZE-ING pie recipe, but I do have to share with you. I grew up going to this little restaurant in Northern Montana called The Lighthouse. It has been years since I have ate there, but I always remember the desserts. My parents never really allowed my sister or I to get desserts at restaurants, but The Lighthouse was one of the only exceptions. They have a killer chocolate and vanilla mud pie, but I start drooling when I even begin to talk about their Coconut Cream Pie. It is the best. My mom (queen of the kitchen) snagged the recipe a few years back so here I am giving you the secrets of a greatest dessert ever. P.S. This can only cost you about six bucks!


1 cup of milk

2 packages of coconut pudding mix

1 1/2 cups of toasted coconut (save 1/4 cup for top)

1/2 tub cool whip

Pie crust


How easy is this? 5 ingredients! I am not really big into making my own pie crusts, so I always buy my own for a couple of bucks. Bake the crust as instructed. Combine milk, coconut pudding mix, and 1 1/4 cups of toasted coconut into a large bowl until fluffy. Place in the pie crust. Next top with cool whip and sprinkle the top with the rest of the toasted coconut. So easy and so good!

a slice of the pie

BONUS: Whipped Cream

the whipped cream in the mixer

If you do not want to buy cool whip and are everything against the artificial whipped cream I love to make my own homemade whipped cream! It’s really quick and it goes great with waffles, oatmeal, pie, or even just to eat!

the ingredients for the whipped cream


Half pint of whipping cream

2 teaspoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Pour all ingredients into a mixing bowl and use either your mixer of anykind (hand or not hand I do not discriminate) to whip it really good! Put mixer on the fastest setting and let it do the magic. Continue mixing until you see in the whipped cream. You want to ensure thickness of the whipped cream. Feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking. I don’t like my whipped cream very sweet, but if you do add more sugar!


I hope you all have a great holiday season and try out some of my favorite recipes that make me feel superior in the kitchen!


Photography by Mackenzie Fauque and Pinterest