Saturday, November 22, 2008

Let's chat!

First and foremost, yes, the template is different. I put up the christmasy (I know, not a word but just go with it) one yesterday and then sat back and looked at it and really, really, really didn't like it. I don't know what it was but get the picture.
This one is more me and if you know me, you know why. How's that for confusion? LOL

Sticking with the topic of knowing me, I'm not one for a deep thought provoking posts, as a matter of fact I shy away from those, blogging to me is all about sharing my daily life, my crafting, the ups and downs of military life and what I'm thinking and doing. I leave all the earth shattering important stuff to the experts *snicker*

Yesterday I made a quick trip to the library to return a book and then ended up doing what I ALWAYS do, walking out with 6 more. You would think by now I would have stopped doing this considering my TBR (to be read) bookshelf is overflowing, but there's just something about walking around the library, the smell of the books....yes call me a weirdo if you want but I love the smell of book pages....the pretty and colorful covers that tempt you and the yearning to open the book and be transported to a far away land or back in time.

So yeah, I walked out with these:


First on my list to read? Definitely Phillipa Gregory's "The Other Queen", oh I can't wait.

Then there's:

Dream when you're feeling blue - Elizabeth Berg (I'm a huge E. Berg fan)
The Forbidden - Beverly Lewis
The Parting - Beverly Lewis (another favorite author)
Remember Me - Sophie Kinsella ( I LOVE her, the Shopaholic Series were so good)
The Quilter's Kitchen - Jennifer Chiaverini

I also have Knit Two by Kate Jacobs and The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner, both won in a contest. So yes, my reading pile for the next 2 or 3 weeks is all set. I'm one happy camper. Of course, I don't know how much time I'll have to read considering I have an Advent Calendar still waiting to be completed, plus the family name ornaments, plus a few other knitting projects I have sitting around here.

Like more of these:


And this adorable knitted acorn bookmark with a crochet chain, super easy to make and fast too. Jasmine wants me to make her one in red for her school books and her friend wants one too.

So as you can see, looks like I'll have plenty to keep me busy, well, apart from the usual mommy and home duties around the house. I just can't believe that Christmas is creeping up on us so fast, I haven't even begun to shop.

And speaking of shopping, I would really appreciate it if the toy makers would stop with the extravagant bankruptcy inducing EXPENSIVE toys. I mean, come on now. Really? A $300 dinosaur that has my five year old son counting pennies and crying whenever he sees me buy anything at the store because "Mommy, then we won't have money to buy my dinosaur for christmas".

If you don't know which one I'm referring to, it's this thing, this noise making ride on Kota Triceratops.

Nevermind the fact that these people tend to forget that most families don't have the room for that thing? I mean last year it was that huge pony that you feed or whatever, I don't even remember the name, but it was something like $200.

Here's a thought, and this is free advice from a mom who knows what her kids like....advertise some plain cardboard boxes for christmas, we all know that if you give a kid an empty box they'll be the happiest you'll ever see them and will be entertained for hours. Heck if you want to push the envelope, throw on some glitter or sparkle, or even some stickers for them to decorate it themselves. I'm sure it would be a LOT cheaper than $300 and the kids would actually like it. Just saying!

So I'm off, I'm going to sweep and mop the floors and take my chicken out for the White Chicken Chili for tonight, then I'm going to sit down and try to figure out how to make it through Christmas shopping without wanting to cry....

I leave you with a question? What are your plans for gifts this year, are you going all homemade or store bought? What is your budget when it comes to the kids? Do you have a bigger budget for the older ones and just how many gifts do you give the children? Do you get them one big expensive one, or do what I do and try to make the money stretch so they'll end up with a bunch of little ones?

Come on I want to know, so let it all out (well not all, but you know what I mean LOL). Even if you're one of my lurker readers, I would love to hear from you today.


Mistress said...

I strongly dislike toy companies this year!!!

My kids birthday's are 1 and 2 months after Christmas. They will get some toys but nothing major. I would like to get them one big thing and the rest small. I would not mind a budget of $200 per child. I would love to make the money stretch but they do not play with much. I just got rid of a lot of their toys and do not want to add back to it.

I really hate to sound like a Grinch but since they do not play with the toys for very long why buy them?

Princess will get a leapster as her big one
Prince we are not sure yet.

Linds said...

Homemade for just about everyone this year. I always do try to make most of our gifts for friends and family, and this year especially it will be 99% homemade, including my 2 older children. The youngest, who is 19, will get the badminton racquet he has asked for. Maybe a book if he can find one he wants! The secret is to not go shopping!

All our friends are cutting down this year and we are using ingenuity and time to come up with interesting gifts - like gift vouchers for baby sitting etc. Debt is something everyone is petrified of. Me too. I can't afford to spash out. Total gift budget will probably be £50, but then I have a sewing room, and craft supplies to last me 10 years, so I am lucky! I am also fortunate that I do not have kids who want a lot. They are very contented people!

Terri said...

I love the knitted bookmark!

As for those big toys - how ridiculous. Do people realize how quickly kids will get sick of something like that? I prefer getting educational games - even if they are more espensive - the whole family will play them and they're learning while "playing"

Mari said...

I like the new look - it's very cheery! We had white chicken chili last week and it's always a hit!
As for Christmas, my youngest is now 20 and I find I spend more now than when they were young. I usually spend a little over $100 for each, but I do stockings too which aren't included in the gift budget and those little things can add up. I try to start early and buy things a little at a time which helps.

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I can't wait to read the Quilter's Kitchen! What program do you use for your header? I like this one, but I always like your changes!

Kelli said...

I love your new look and the knitted acorn is too cute! I've seen that huge dinosaur at Costco...also the pony with the wagging tail. LOL I doubt they would get played with after Jan. 1! I usually budget around 100 per kid, but have to be careful with the stocking stuffers because those add up! Enjoy your weekend!

MoziEsmé said...

I totally do the book thing, too - when I'm living near a library, that is. I always take out more than I can reasonably read, and then take out even more when I try to be good and get the first ones in after I'm done reading. Those picks look good.

Can't blame him for wanting the dinosaur - it looks like fun! Since we'll be in SA for Christmas and have to fit everything on the plane, I'm just giving Esme a few handmade educational gifts and then whatever small thing I'm compelled to buy while we're there! She'll get plenty in the next year (her own computer is definitely on the list since she keeps stealing ours). Fortunately she's small enough she doesn't have huge expectations... :)

cindy said...

First off, I have to tell you I am the same way at the library. In fact, I did the same thing the other day. Never mind that I have 3 library books at home still waiting to be read! I just can't resist! as far as Christmas goes, I lost my job in September so money's very tight. I'm buying the one or two things he REALLY wants and some assorted others. Trying to do most of it through consignment shops, Goodwill, or eBay.

Growin' with it! said...

i found you thru mari's blog and let me just say...anyone who puts pix of tempting, nummy food on their sidebar must be pretty AWESOME! beautiful blog and gorgeous family you have here. nice to meetcha.

Susan said...

I will not be exchanging Gifts wheather Bought or handmade. My dh has been out of work since last Feb. I also have a child born on Christmas so I am focusing on A Birthday gift for her. I feel Christmas is too much on the Presents and not the REASON FOR THE SEASON-sUSAN

Ambitious Redhead said...

My husband and I buy for a kids all year around. We generally don't really set a price but we like to get them the same number of presents so that it is even.

This year with my dh deployed over the holidays, I am hoping to do a little something extra special for my boys.

Pam said...

My girls are still young, and so we don't feel the need to spend a whole lot of money on them. As mentioned previously, they would be happy with a box and some imagination. So... my 4 year old daughter is getting a "chest" of dress up clothes. And the baby? Well- we aren't sure yet, but it will most likely be books, or something else that is educational and fun.

Posh And Trendy said...

All my children are adults now and other then one that lives at home and one that is married and lives 7 min away the rest live out of state. I usually make them gifts but this year I'm going to have Swiss Colony send them food gifts and the ones that live near me are going to get handcrafted items.
When they were young we always bought one expensive item each and added smaller items to go with it.

Cheri said...

I saw that toy to and couldn't believe it!
I try to keep it at $50-60 per child. This year the new puppy was part of their present so it will be a bit less.

Vikki said...

We are spending almost nothing on adults in the family - I'll bake for family and friends. For my sister's 11 and 12 year olds, they get $10 gift certificates to Mickey-D's. We've been saving so for our 12 year old boy, we have about $150 - of which $50 will be a spending spree at the local thrift store for books, and the rest for a terrarium, a telescope and night vision goggles - all of which he asked for. I almost never buy "toys" he'll outgrow - that's for his grandparents to do. Vikki

Mike Golch said...

what toys to but,I'm glad that I never ended up with that side effect of not being able to have children.

Susanne said...

The budget definitely did go up as the kids became older. We set a budget and if one item they want eats up their whole budget then that's all they get. Years ago we started a Christmas fund that we contribute to each and every month. That way we have a budget to work with and we don't go into hawk each Christmas. And add my youngest's Christmas Day birthday into the mix and we definitely have to have a budget.

I totally get what you're saying about libraries. I can totally lose myself in there and the next thing I know 2 hours have passed. The smell, the covers, all those books in one place. I get giddy just thinking about it. I really don't know why I never became a librarian. LOL.

Katrina said...

bargain shopping! No kids yet though...

I LOVE Beverly Lewis! Her books are so great! =)

Lulu said...

i love your new cut, its beautiful..
happy knitting..

MoziEsmé said...

You've been tagged.

Nancy said...

Love the new look, you are so whimsical and spontanious, & funny. enjoy the reading I love books too.

Heidi @ GGIP said...

I love picking off the new release shelf at the library!

Love the cute knitted projects!

We are going to have a slim Christmas this year. We've had a lot of unexpected expenses (tires for both cars) as well as having all the extra medical expenses and an uncertain economy.

SO my plan is to wait to shop for a couple weeks until I see great sales.

And you are right on all counts about the $300 dino! Gracious!

ris said...

Are you on love that site!!

lara said...

Skip the Dinosuar! My hubby's work had one on display for the kids to try out. The dino was so lame. All he does is moves his head from side to side and his tail kinda moves. My kids were so bored with it after a few minutes. I can't believe people would actually spend money on that lame gift.

Nothing Too Fancy... said...

As a nanny to 5 children, my budget is spread thin. I budgeted $10 for each child and the rest will be crafts and stocking stuffers. The children really enjoy the "puppet packages" from Oriental Trading Company (around $7.00 for 6 puppets). We are going to do the Santa and the Snowman. They'll be playing with them for MONTHS.

I wanted to say though, from the outside looking in at the ways and customs of three different families (some who get MANY gifts, and others who don't)- the children really don't care about the gifts. They like the lights, the sounds, the songs, and the lawn ornaments. Sometimes, your time and attention is the most invaluable gift you can give them!:-)

Veronica said...

Sandy~ I am right there with ya in the toy companies! Sydney has been crying over that big dog toy. I am trying really hard this year to focus on what they want. So far I have decided that each kid will get 7-8 gifts. I just need to stop looking for deals! We just took several truck loads to the Airmans Attic. Hope they find a family whos kids will play with them!

Michelle said...

We thought we'd not spend more than $150:00 on McKenna ,She's getting the Mrs.Goodbee Talking Dollhouse which luckily was on sale and she'll be ecstatic.It's not great with the toy ads that are up on the t.v.Mummy I see... UGH!!!

mom2triplets04 said...

I posted on my blog my answer to your question

Sarah said...

Firstly I LOVE your new hairdo! You look beautiful.

I also really like your new layout, very pretty.

Christmas, we aren't spending much this year I couldn't give you an amount really, I'll wait 'til after the car's had it's MOT and then see how much cash we have left! Lol.

It would be lovely to handmake all my presents but I'm too slow at crafts so it would take me about 10 years to make everyone a present!! :)

My SIL is baking everyone's presents this year.

Love and hugs

Sarah x

Kelli said...

Hi, Sandra! First of all, I love your taste in reading! It very closely paralells mine!

We have a Christmas-type account that we contribute to each month so we have Christmas money and no stress about it. My Dh has one sister who is married with 3 kids, I have 2 sisters who are both married and one of them has twins and the other has a baby on the way. We have my parents, his mom, my grandparents, his grandmother plus our own 4 sons. That's a lot to buy for and if we didn't have a plan, it would be ugly!

That said, I have a hard time with the gifts because my two older sons are 15 and 13 and the younger are 9 and 5 so the price of their "wants" is vastly different. We finally decided to try to even it out money-wise and number of gifts wise but I'm not sure that will work this year. We try to do $200 or so per child, but the younger two usually pick out things that aren't that much, so the older ones probably get more $$ spent on them.

I wouldn't buy that dino or the horse, but my MIL would rather buy the boys 1 big toy each and then just stocking stuff, so I usually let her get them the PSPs or Nintendo DS or things like that and then that's all they get from her. It makes it much better than when she used to buy tons and tons for each kid; I mean, we don't have the room, really!

Good luck with your Christmas, I got an embroidery machine last year (from my MIL) and I have big plans for things to make with that!

Kelli said...

Sandra, Could you email me privately? I looked for an email addy for you, but didn't find one, I want to ask you something private.


Baca's of Bend said...

Sandra I was so surprised to get your comment. Thanks! Of course you can add me!
Made the stuffed meatloaf and it was awesome!

Allie Z said...

Over the past few years, we've scaled back and scaled back. This year we've chosen a theme: A Simple Christmas. We've decided that the kids will receive three themed gifts, just like the wise men received: a gift they want, a gift they need, and a gift they'll learn from.

Hannah (10) is receiving (want) a Nintendo DS + starter kit, (need) a few bottoms (pants and/or skirts), and (learn) a few books. The DS was a black Friday steal, the bottoms are from the thrift store and Macy's- thanks to a gift card from last year, and the books are from a gift card acquired throughout the year. She loves preteen books, and I love them from the Christian Family Book store!

Haileigh (5) is receiving (want) a Baby Alive + fairy outfit, (need) pajamas, and (learn) a reading pack. The Baby Alive was a splurge but under $50! The PJs will come from Wal*mart clearance. For the reading pack, I picked up some reading workbooks, pencil set, and flash cards at Dollar Tree.

Ben (10 mos) will enjoy a Fisher Price punchable penguin as well as a stackable toy set. His needs are always met and his wants are limited. He's easy to please.

Bottomline, we have operated with a $1,000 budget in prior years which has included gifts for the kids, extended family, donation, holdiay meals, travel expenses (gas was expensive last year!!), etc. That $1k is eaten up quickly. This year I took up couponing. Our budget was cut in half, and I think it will work out ok on $500.

We adopted a family in need for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I picked up the CVS AmEx card deal ($25 x 3 cards, $10 instant CVS bucks plus $15 AmEx gas card mail in rebate) to use for this. I used coupons and Fry's stock up and save deal to get free canned goods (green beans, canned milk, canned pumpkin, cranberry sauce, etc). We gave the family canned goods (which cost $5 out the door!) and one of the $25 card for a turkey. I'm not sure how the Christmas will work out. I'm thinking a toiletry basket (free! thanks to coupons at Walgreens, CVS, and Fry's) and stocking stuffers.

I'm leaving stocking stuffers up to my mom. Grandmas are always so much better at that sort of thing.

Oh yes! We are also doing a Jesse Advent tree. That starts tonight. You should put up a Mr. Linky on that topic. I'm excited to see what others are doing. This is my first year for that. We'll be using up home craft supplies to avoid buying anything new.

PS- I love the new template! Can you teach me how you do it??