Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I WON!!!!!!  This week I have won two online giveaways. 

One is from New Age Mama at  http://newagemama.blogspot.com/.  I won a Mud Puppy Princess Magnetic Figures.  My daughter is absolutley going to LOVE this!  :)  I can just imagine her face now.  She is so into Princesses, Unicorns and fun girly things. 

The next win is from Outnumbered 3 to 1 at http://www.outnumbered3-1.com/2010/11/winners-1130.html.  I won a Christmas movie that I am really excited about receiving.  At our house during Christmastime, we watch a lot of Christmas movies on tv.  They tend to ask to play a movie over again and we obviously can't because it is on tv, not a movie.  They are going to absolutley LOVE this I am sure.  I love movie time with them, especially Christmas ones  :) 

Thank you so much New Age Mama and Outnumbered 3 to 1.  I follow both and absolutely love their blogs.  If you don't already follow them, do so.  Check out their blogs and enjoy.  I can't wait til our fun items arrive.  Thanks, again!

Monday, November 29, 2010

To Turn It On Or Keep It Off.... THAT Is The Question

Okay so I must be a desert rat.  I am used to the heat.  What can I say?  When you live in the desert in the heat, cold just isn't part of life.  Well, with the weather surely cooling down lately, it is really cold here  (at least to me).  We haven't turned the heater on yet.  We have been bundling under the piles of blankets.  I have been sleeping with 4 of them to myself.  ;)  I could easily turn the heat on, but I just don't want to deal with a high gas bill. 

I was at the store black friday in the freezing cold, and I realized how blessed we are to have a safe roof over our heads to protect us from the extreme cold.  I have seen homeless individuals at the side of the freeways and I am just in awe that they are out there in the cold.  I am so greatful that we have been provided with the opportunity to have a home.  Yes, our home might be cold, but it is much warmer than being out on the streets without a bed or blankets to warm us.  So I have been keeping it cold and not turning the heat on to save and make do with what we have right now.  

I am sure I will end up turning it on during the month of December!  Have you tried getting out of bed when it is cold and still dark outside during winter?  Now imagine it without having the heater even running. 
I thought more about my kids and Christmas.  I thought long and hard about the gifts that I intend to give to my children for Christmas.  I am extremely happy about most of the decisions, but I did decide to hold off on giving one of the gifts to my son.  The legos will have to be held for him til next year.  The problem I am running into is, he is starting to put the little Barbie items in his mouth lately.  My daughter absolutely freaks out over it, and they end up fighting.  I got to thinking more about the legos and thought of him putting those in his mouth, and I just decided that maybe he is too young for it.  And I caught him with other little things in his mouth this weekend.  He thinks it is humorous and funny when I catch him.  It is soooo not fun.  I don't know if this is just a phase he is going through or what, but I don't want to chance him putting all those in his mouth. 

My boss was really sweet and gave everyone $100 for our Thanksgiving meals right before Thanksgiving.  Since we spend Thanksgiving at my grandma's and I already had purchased what I was planning to bring, I decided to use some of it toward Christmas.  I ended up waiting in line at Toys R Us on Black Friday.  Thank goodness my sister and her boyfriend were in line there and I met up with them.  If not, I wouldn't have stayed.  The line was insane!  All the way out to the freeway.  I scored a Transformer mask for only $10 and a shooter for $10 as well.  I think this is more age appropriate for him right now than the legos.  Yes, it is more expensive than I was planning to spend, but I do believe it will be well loved.  He loves Transformers and especially loves Bumblebee!! 

I was very choosey about what I purchased.  These are quality items and not cheapo junk.  The original price was $50 just for the mask.  I'm happy to have scored these.  I hope he appreciates these as much as I appreciate having scored such awesome buys. 


This weekend I taught my children about being appreciative and giving to those in need.  We went in the garage and started going through things more thoroughly.  I came up with a pile of things that they just don't play with.  We had a long talk about donating items to those in need.  I explained how some kids don't have any toys or fun things to play with because their parents don't have the means to pay for those items.  I also explained that Santa couldn't bring more things for them without giving some things away.  We had a long talk and I told the kids to each go get X amount of items from their room to give to thoes in need.  It was tough for my daughter, not wanting to get rid of anything.  It took some time, but somehow that amount of items turned up in a pile.  We then took the car load to Goodwill and donated them.  I explained to the worker what we were doing and he told the kids how happy other kids would be to get these.  The kids sure brightened up about it.  They were HAPPY to be giving these beloved toys and clothes away.  When we pulled away, my daugther started asking who I thought would get some of the items.  She got all excited thinking about another little girl playing with "her" toy. 

I thought it was so adorable and loving that my kids could freely give these things away.  I also gave away some clothes and such.  I felt so accomplished to have done all this.  Last night when looking around, I noticed some other items that need to go.  It felt so freeing. 

So tonight I will be at it again.  I love getting organized and donating items to others or thrift stores.  What better time to do it than before Christmas?  I have a ways to go, but I am getting there. 

Frugality and Contentment

The past few months I have noticed a big issue with my dishwasher.  The problem: it doesn't seem to clean anything.  I have rinsed, scrubbed, and all that fun stuff.  It just doesn't work.  Yes, I have tried to clean it with vinegar, baking powder and the like.  It just doesn't want to work for me.  Last night I got in this crazy cleaning mood and decided to finally tackle the dishes.  I scrubbed and got really into it.  I could have shelled out the money to get it fixed/services, but something magical happened when I was doing dishes.  I was actually happy.  It brought back so many memories of when I was young and helping my grandma do dishes. 

My grandparents have never had a dishwasher.  Dishes have always been hand washed and dried.  I always thought that was really odd growing up.  I thought how weird and old they must be.  I HATED doing dishes, but when Grandma was in the kitchen helping, it sure made it more enjoyable.  We would talk and catch up on life.  Dishes came out much cleaner than if you threw it in a dishwasher. 

They were cleaned with hard working hands.  Grandma made sure to teach you not to use too much soap, dry them to avoid water spots, scrubbing the correct way, and how to put it all away in order.  Larger plates always on bottom.  By the end of doing dishes, always get a clean cup out and drink some water.  It always happened!  It wasn't even intentional.  :) 

Last night I thought long and hard after seeing all my trully clean dishes in the correct spots in the cupboards.  I realized that hand washing dishes can be just fine for me for a bit.  My dishes are MUCH cleaner being cleaned by hand.  I will choose the frugal road here on this one. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Do You Get Something Back That Was Never Yours To Begin With?

Ok I have been sitting here thinking more about Christmas and what to get some dear people who have everything they need.  When your grandparents have 20 grandkids and they have a large family, they do tend to get a bunch of stuff at Christmas.  I love my grandparents to death and don't want to buy some mindless gift.  I was thinking long and hard today when it hit me!!  I figured out what I want to get them.  But it isn't something you can just buy.

You see, when my grandparents were married, my grandma was 16 years old and my grandpa was in the military.  One day when I was younger I asked to see their wedding photos just to see how they looked when they were young.  My grandma informed me that they didn't have any.  Now you would have to know my grandpa to know that he likes to take lots of pictures.  My grandma continued to tell me that when they got married, a good friend of my grandpa's took their pictures with his camera.  He told them that he would get them printed and get them to my grandparents.  To this day, he hasn't done so.  The friend married a lady who simply didn't like my grandpa because he took attention away from her (from my grandma's mouth not mine  ;)  ).  My grandpa's friend passed away years ago and my grandma asked the wife if they could get those pictures from her, and the wife just didn't want to talk to my grandma about it. 

Don't ask me why I thought about this today, but I really want to get these pictures for my grandparents.  I don't even know if the wife is alive now.  I will have to talk to my grandma today about this, but I do believe that this will be the best gift ever... if I can manage to get them from this lady.  If you were in my situation, what would you do?  I need to figure a way to get these and do something incredible for Christmas.  These are priceless items that would mean a great deal to our entire family.  So the big question:  HOW DO YOU GET SOMETHING BACK THAT WAS NEVER YOURS TO BEGIN WITH????  Help!?!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I stumbled upon an interesting article online regarding children and allowances
Do you have allowances in your household?  Does it work?  What is the dollar amount designated for each child?  Do you do it by age?  When I was young, we had a $5 allowance per payday (every two weeks).  So $10 a month.  I remember kids my age getting $30 a month and I thought they were rich.  hahahaa   I know that sounds silly, but I really thought they were so rich and I must not be.  Every household had different amounts, while other households had no allowance at all.  I am thinking of starting an allowance with my kids.  Even though my is extremely tight, hopefully I can stretch it even further to include allowances for each child.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Outnumbered 3 to 1 is hosting a great giveaway right now.  She is giving away a pair of Heelys to one lucky reader.  I don't know about your kids, but my Bug has been asking for a pair of these sweet babies for quite some time.  It would be a great gift for Christmas.  Check out http://www.outnumbered3-1.com/2010/11/heelys-heelys-no-bones-lo-blackwhite.html and check out the giveaway.  If you haven't been on Outnumbered 3 to 1's blog before, you should take the time to browse around.  She has some great giveaways and reviews of products.  Check out http://www.heelys.com/# to review their product line.  I think they are awesome.  I always thought it would be fun to wear a pair even at my age.  I know, crazy huh?  They are fun.  My cousins have owned a few pairs of them.  Check it out and let me know what you think!  :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Nifty Website For Christmas

I found a cute website today.  Check out http://www.northpole.com/   You can have your kids send their Christmas list to Santa and he'll respond! There are fun things for your kids to do.  You can do personalized children stories.  I typed it some information and it was fun reading a story with my daugther's name and favorites in there.  Kids can check whether they are on the naughty or nice list after they answer some questions.  It seems like a realy fun website.  I think my kids will love checking it out.

Holidays and Favoritism

Fair warning to those who read, this MIGHT possibly come off as a complaint, though it is not intended to be such.

My two lovable, adorable kids love the holidays.  They love getting together and enjoying family and friends.  When Christmas comes, we typically have such a hectic schedule.  We are running from one place to the next it seems.  But it is Christmas and we do enjoy it  ;)  However, there is one thing that I do despise about the holidays- that is favoritism. 

Maybe it is just how I see it, and I am really NOT trying to be bratty about this subject.  A set of grandparents seems to play favorites when it comes to holidays.  Birthday and Christmas gifts seem to be such a difference between my kids and someone else's kid.  I am not a materialistic person, but I just don't like favoritism.  I will never forget one year for that other child's birthday she wanted this certain designer booster since she was still too small to sit without a car seat/booster.  It was over $200 and was happily purchased for this other child by this said set of grandparents.  My child received an $8 book from WalMart for her birthday. 

I tried to just brush this off and not think much of it.  However, there is a difference when your children start to realize that there is such distinct favoritism when it comes to presents.  The above mentioned example is clearly not the only example, as you can tell ;).  I am not unappreciative or have unappreciative children when it comes to gifts.  My kids are extremely thankful for everything. 

Last year I was a bit disappointed when the other child received a designer doll clothing set from said grandparents and my kids literally got dollar store toys that ended up in the trash the same day the first time they were playing with them.  Obviously, I wasn't the only one disappointed.  You should have seen my daughter's expression.  There was clear disappointment on her face.  Sure every child has disappointing/ envious moments in their life, but I am sure my daughter was thinking, "Wow, how it the world does she always get these awesome gifts and we always receive something dramatically less?"  No, this other child is not from a family living at poverty and said grandparents don't feel that they are helping someone in need.  This is clearly the way it goes every birthday or Christmas.  What if I added this fact: It isn't even their grandchild.  It is their neice.  And the worst part is, it isn't just the mentioned grandparents who do it.  The great-grandparents do it, too. 

I understand purchasing things specifically with a certain person in mind.  I really do.  I understand the joy of seeing someone open a gift and having an awesome reaction.  However, I don't think it is right that everyone seems to always go all out for this person every time.  With my children getting older and starting to notice the truth and reality of the situation, I know there have been hurt feelings felt.  It isn't just gifts purchased.  It is everything.  When said child is over, my child is not included in plans.  For instance, all the girls in the family were going somewhere and the little girl was included (she is only two years older than my daughter and it wasn't some exotic place that they were going).  The ONLY girl not included was my daughter.  She was left behind to stay with the guys.  Again, the only girl I must add. 

Chalk it all up to how I was raised.  I was raised to always include everyone.  It isn't kind to exclude people.  When you are part of a large extended family, there were always calls or mention to include everyone.  When I was at my Grandma's house for the day hanging out, two cousins started to plan a spend the night at one of the cousin's house.  Of course I was included.  That is just how it was.  Yes, people did good things for holidays but it clearly wasn't like this.  Not even close. 

Is it so wrong of me not to want to be around this Christmas when that child is around?  I just don't like to be filled with bitter thoughts about the favoritism going on.  I don't like seeing the favoritism going on.  I would much rather not know what they got her.  I don't like seeing the disappointment on my little girl's face.  I am torn on what to do.  All this time I have hinted about it with said grandma, but nothing has come of it.  If you were in my situation, what would you do?  Would you just tough it out and attend, after all it is the holidays and I just need to accept it?  Would you purposely not attend?  Give me your honest opinion about how you would handle this.


So plans have been all worked out for my cousin visiting for Christmas.  She will, in fact, be staying with us for some of the time she is in town.  She will be at our house for 4 days.  Her and her family will be staying for one day less than two weeks.  She requested that she stay at our house from the 23rd of December til the 27th, but I asked that she not stay at our house for that time. 

I explained to her the truth of the matter.  I am concerned that Santa will bring her children much better and bigger things.  No, I am not materialistic and don't care about her kids getting better things.  I am concerned with my kids comparing things that her kids get compared to mine and feeling like they received less.  From experience in the past, this awesome cousin of mine has spent a great deal on Christmas for her kids and getting big items for her kids while coming in town to visit.  Of course that is fun for Christmas. 

I love my cousin and understand that we are at much different income.  I did converse my limited means this year.  I told her how Santa is bring yard sale and thrift store finds for my babies (well, with the exception of the Pillow Pet and Toy Story 3 movie which my kids have specifically stated they want). 

Do I feel that my kids are getting less than anyone else?  Truthfully, I don't.  If a child is so concerned about an item being in the box and new, that is a significant price to pay just for cardboard and plastic.  My kids have never seen a difference in items being new or gently used.  I, or I mean Santa  ;) , knows the difference.  The price!  If I can purchase a Barbie horse for $1.00 which is gently used compared to a brand new, in the box Barbie horse for $20.00, that is a huge difference. 

So this year the following will be given to my kids by Santa:

Bug- A Barbie VW Van (bought for $5 at a thrift store), Barbie Babies (purchased on Ebay for $15 since it was soooo hard to locate any at yard sales or thrift stores, and this was specifically requested), Baby in My Pocket set (bought new on clearance at TJ Maxx for $7 ), 2 Kelly dolls with little horses ($10 on clearance at TJ Maxx), and a Pillow Pet (I will buy for $20 since she so desperately wants this, the beloved Magical Unicorn ). 
Stocking: Barbie Horse ($1 yard sale), Tinker Bell VMotion game ($5 at Target on clearance) and candy (whatever odd candy I purchase)

JackJack- 2 buckets of Legos ($2 gotta love yard sales), small shoe box of toy cars ($2 at yard sales), McDonalds playset ($8 picked up at Ross during the year), and I plan on purchasing Toy Story 3 (I will buy for $20 at WalMart since he has specifically requested this movie from Santa).  My friend said she would let us have her sons outgrown Hot Wheels Truck for JackJack since it just sits in their garage unplayed with, but I don't know how certain that is.  It was purchased on Black friday at WalMart last year and was already too small for her son as he was already 4 1/2 or so.  (If we end up getting this, free.  If not, oh well.)
Stocking: Cowboy, Indian with Soldiers set, complete with tanks, huts and everything ($1 yard sale), Carz VMotion game ($5 at Target on clearance) and candy (whatever odd candy I purchase)

Anyways, I informed my cousin that I wished her family to not be there Christmas morning, and she was completely understanding.  So the plan is for them to stay with us the 28th-31st.  I hope I didn't offend her by this request.  I just wanted to make sure my kids didn't feel like they were lacking because of the difference in gifts that Santa delivers them compared to her kids. 

Yes, kids do need to deal with life and learn lessons in disappointment but trust me, when it comes to holidays, they already deal with that (but more on that subject for the next post).  If you were in this same position, what would you have done?  Would you not have said anything and just gone with the flow, letting family come and visit, dealing with any hurt feelings or shock from what Santa brought them? 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

She's Done It Again :)

Michelle has edited and posted some more pictures from our photo session.  I absolutely love her work.  http://photobymichelle.blogspot.com/  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE <3 the picture of the three of us by that old wheel.  It is so great.  What a great effect that picture has to it.  She did such a great job as you can tell.  What do you girls think? 

Doing Buisness with Family

Money.  Family.  Business.  Do they merge?  I received a phone call last night from a family member wanting to borrow money from me.  First, I don't have money to loan.  Second, would I ever see it back?  Third, isn't that the worst thing to do? 

Here is the scoop: I love my family to death.  I would do anything for them.  But where do you draw the line?  I would happily loan money to certain members of my family if I had the means to do so.  However, what do you do when you don't approve of the way someone else in your family spends their money and then turns around asking to borrow money from you?  The above referenced family member claims that they are broke all the time, but when Christmas rolls around, Santa sure had the means to provide an abundant holiday for their family!  Someone can easily point out that their Santa could have put it all on credit and such. 

This family member refuses to clothe their children in hand-me-downs, thrift store finds, used anything.  I have happily tried passing on my kids' clothes to them with no acceptance.  I am extremely frugal and watch every penny.  This family member claims that they are always broke and struggling, yet their are two incomes in their house, live in an apartment with limited utilities, and just somehow seem to have all this money to spend.  They purchase every movie new when it comes out, the day it comes out  from what I understand.  They have every game imagined for their video game consoles/systems. 

Yes, I know everyone has different priorities.  I know no one is alike.  I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio one night and he specifically said how family and business clearly don't mix.  He said that you shouldn't loan money to family and that so much drama can be caused due to this.  A few callers called in telling stories about how family members owed them all this money and they never saw it back.  Dave just said you should chalk it up to experience and let it go.

It got me to thinking.  If someone you held dear to you asked to borrow money and you had the means to loan it to them, would you?  If so, would it bother you if you knew they happily spent money stupidly?  If you wouldn't loan them money, why?  Just curious as to everyone else's opinions.