Have a #Handmade Christmas

About 6  years ago money was tight, Christmas 🎄 was coming and I had 4 kids that expected a Christmas. We were getting by, but scrimping for cash to pay all the bills so that left little left for extras like Christmas. So I did what I had to do, I looked through the house for things I could use to sell, or make for Christmas. I had inherited all my grandmothers craft supplies including her new jewelry supplies that she never got to trying to start. So I thought, 4 girls i’ll make some jewelry and they will be happy.

About the same time someone gifted me with their kids old clothes and in there was booty shorts, you know the kind they barely cover the butt let alone anything else so I decided that I could reuse it into a present, so I made them into jean purses for the girls, using top sheets we had laying around the house since we never use them on the beds as lining. Of all the things that they got that year personalized purses were the hit and they cost me nothing but my time to make.

 

Every year since they expect me to make them new ones, sometimes I get requests, one year Scooby doo, Little Mermaid, Hello Kitty, Frozen/Minnie Mouse, and I gladly oblige because one day they will no longer want them.   They still are asking for them now 6 years later, so it may be never ending.  They are a great keepsake and they love them, it also teaches them that cost is not contingent on happiness. I highly encourage you to start traditions that are not based on money, it teaches values that money is not everything.

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Why we should keep our passions and dreams alive

I met my husband in the music 🎶 department in college, he was trying to obtain his bachelors degree in music while working full time and I was a music performance voice major training to sing in the opera. He listened to music I had never heard of or listened to, with his long hair even longer than mine at the time.

We had little in common it seemed yet we became friends then ended up getting married. 14 years later and 5 kids, our education is finally done with both of us working together to get bachelor and master degrees, we have come to realize that even though we have responsibilities we need to take time for our passions, what originally brought us together.

carnegie hallMy husband has had many, many bands in our 14 years of marriage and none have really gotten off the ground floor. I have always supported him because while I don’t really care for some of the music, I am one who needs there to be an actual melody and singing , I know that this is what really makes him whole, by ignoring it he was missing a piece of what makes him him.

Becoming parents we sometimes forget about what we were like before we has kids, letting our passions and dreams get put on the wayside eventually even forgetting what we did before kids. But by ignoring our passions, what we like to do for fun, we are really showing our kids that being an adult with kids is about responsibility and there is no time to do what we love.

We are actually doing a disservice to our kids because what makes you, you, is what your spouse fell in love with you is actually hindered or completely gone. Our kids are not seeing the whole you.
So pursue you passions in life, be daring to a degree, you may find yourself a lot happier.

Should kids be expected to eat outside in inclement weather?

If they are Not allowed to play outside, they should Not be allowed to eat outside.

At the start of the school year our elementary school implemented a new policy. This new policy seems harmless, all kids except kindergartners will be eating outside for breakfast and lunch.  Not a problem but when it is 101 degrees outside all the parents I talked to assumed that their child were inside eating since it is too hot for the kids to play outside they can not expect them to eat outside right? Well I asked my kids more than once since it has been too hot for recess more than once already this year and yes they make them eat outside.

So I go into the office to find out if what I’m being told is true and make sure in the rain they plan on having them eating inside. Much to my dismay I’m told that rain or shine they plan on making the kids eat outside, on picnic tables with a metal covering, covering that has gaps in between which I have witnessed does Not keep the water out.  The office has no problem with making these kids, 1st thru 6th graders, eat outside when they themselves would never think to eat outside in the inclement weather.

I don’t think I’m expecting too much when I say if you don’t allow them to play outside they shouldn’t eat outside! But the school thinks I am, I spoke to some parents that were not aware the kids were expected to do this, and some (very few) had no problem with the heat but when they found out that it even applied in the rain, their attitude did a 180.

What do you think?  Should they be allowed to force the kids to eat outside even when it is considered inclement weather for playing outside?

Build-A-Bear Star Wars Chewbacca Review

My husband is a huge Star Wars fan, he always has been, so when Build-A-Bear came out with their newest bear – Chewbacca I knew it was one we were going to have to buy! According to the Build-A-Bear website Chewbacca is 18 inches tall and currently going for $35 if you want to add sound it is a little more.

To save money we bought the one without sound. So we ordered it online and since they had free shipping at $40 or more I added a teddy bear shirt so that I didn’t have to pay shipping. It came in about a week from when it was ordered and let me say, it was just as nice as I thought it would be.

The Chewbacca from Build-A-Bear is 18 inches tall and very furry and soft with two different shades of brown fur along with blue eyes and his ammo pack included.

imageWhen it showed up I left it in the box after making sure it was what we ordered so my husband could unveil it when he got home. Well my 16 month old had other plans and figured out how to open the box and pulled out Chewie. She never has been very attached to stuffed animals so I thought she would look at it, play for 5 minutes then discard and forget about it like she does other toys. That is not the case, she has officially stolen it from her dad.  Almost a week has gone by and she loves her Chewbacca.  I guess we are buying another one soon for my husband, maybe this time I’ll add sound.  In the end this is a great quality stuffed animal and my only complaint is that his head is almost as big as his body so it doesn’t look like the dimensions are correct. In my opinion, this is a perfect gift for any Star Wars fan!

Meal Planning For A Large Family

Having a large family or even any family groceries are a large expense. I know I spend less per week on groceries than my mom who buys for her, my brother and dad which is less than half the size of my family. Here are some tips that help keep my family of 7’s food budget semi-manageable

Tips:
-Keep an inventory of what is in freezers
-Shop clearance meats and lunch meats then freeze
-Do once a month meal plans going off what is in freezers and fridge first
-Plan meals
-For example on Wednesday’s we have spaghetti and Friday’s we have breakfast for dinner usually, plus add in a day for leftovers each week if possible.
-Make a list of meals everyone likes then rotate them adding in new meals to try once a month if possible
-plan meals by what is on sale, in season vegetables and fruits
-look for coupons Ralph’s usually has coupons for the week on their Facebook page that you can add to the card for $x off $z or more and they rotate about every 3 weeks for meat coupon $5/$15 which I combine with clearance meat to stock up.
-shop at more than one store, I usually send my husband to the Mexican supermarkets near his gym to get produce since it is so much cheaper than the chain groceries, and have been known in the past to shop at 4 groceries to get everything at low prices.
-coupon but only for what you Will use and normally buy
-buy an extra ham or turkey, or two when it is on sale for holidays like thanksgiving, christmas,and Easter then freeze to use later in the year ( I do this and usually finish them right before they go on sale again in November, which is a great help when money gets tight.)

-any vegetables, like bell peppers, zucchini, snap peas, ect.. I slice the way I would most likely use them for stir fry or steaming or cut up for soups then freeze in the amount I would use for a meal.  By freezing them it keeps them from going to waste before they go bad and also keeps you from having to spend more when they are out of season.

I also try to shop monthly for all the groceries and just pick up bread and milk in between, the less you go to the store the more likely that you will make do with what you have saving you money.