Sunday, December 10, 2017

Budget Friendly Gifts for Kids

Let's start with a little excerpt I read recently. 
It kinda stood out to me. 
This is from a magazine article published in 1897. 

"It is the true spirit of present-giving; and let not any of our readers despise it as childish; rather let them remember that that which costs no time, no thought, no self-sacrifice is but of little value in the eyes of affection, and pleases only where the gift is valued for itself, and not for the giver."

This was over one hundred years ago. 
The pace of our lives has only increased since then - dramatically I might add. 
Our families (and communities) are more disconnected than they have ever been. 
Electronics rather than imaginations have become the babysitter. 
That said human nature is still within the hearts of children. 
They still crave attention and interaction
 (though now they often have not been taught the appropriate methods through which to gain attention and interaction- not their fault.)
Please keep all this golden information in mind as I present a couple of ideas for gifts. 
*A ream of paper along with a book or printed hand outs on how to make paper airplanes. Yes, they could do this on their own, but how about each person making one and having a flying trial to see which flies the fastest, farthest, straightest etc.
* A loop of string. I love this one!  Make it a nice sturdy string but soft to the touch and of a generous size.  After all by the time you warp it around your fingers for a mean round of cats-cradle, it shrinks up significantly. You could even print out instructions from the internet if need be. I love this because it actually takes 2 people. It requires interaction. The gift is really the time spent teaching and playing the game and giggling at the funny faces made while concentrating on not making a big knot. 
* Table top bowling - bare with me here. 
A few clothes pegs and a marble (boulder) and there you go. 
Here, I'll sow you ~ 
They are evidently called "doll pins" now - no hanging clothes with these.
You can even include a length of felt if you prefer it to be a bit quieter. 
I of course had to try my skill at which Mr LB laughed.
I got 9 then missed the spare.
I pick these up at thrift stores very reasonably.

I'll also share one from the past in case you missed it. 
Homemade Pickup Sticks
You could color the "bowling pins" in the same way as the pick-up sticks.

I love the feeling of Christmastime, but the consumerism not so much. 
I hope this gives you an idea or two or at least gets your thinker working creatively. 

And lastly, I would like to thank you all for your patience while we were without internet.  We were back in service by Wednesday evening, but it's incredible how long it takes to get caught up on things like that - or maybe just back in the swing of things.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Just So You Know

Our internet went out Thursday evening. 
Evidently, 6 years is old age for a motel. 
We are on the books to receive new equipment Wednesday morning. 
Until then, I just have my phone when I am in town. 
It's peaceful at least. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Creating Memories

The holidays are upon us.  Were you aware of that?  
I was actually shocked when I showed up to work this past Monday and realized it was the week of Thanksgiving.  Oh my!
I don't usually stress over having a perfectly set table or the perfect tree or whatever it is people stress over.  Actually, it's a bit of a relief in that I don't have to think about what's for dinner.  That's pretty much standard.  
Maybe some folks stress because they don't usually cook their own dinner.  
I'm not sure.  
There's a part of me that thinks we (as a society) are no longer used to functioning as a family so stress about doing it "right."
Our families are so scattered, it has become abnormal to be together.  
That thought is sad to me.  It came to my realization as I was looking online for a very old Christmas issue of a magazine and came across books sharing how certain folks (nationalities) celebrate, how to entertain your guests for the holidays, how to decorate to impress, and romantic Christmas tales.  It made me question, do we really expect a storybook Christmas?
I'm not sure what your family's like,
but I do know that our family is nothing like those stories.
It actually might be a funny skit if we tried to act one out.
That doesn't mean our time together doesn't hold 
valuable memories and traditions.
Those memories and traditions just look a little different
 than those of other families - as they should.
One of the fondest (silliest) was the year Papa (my dad) and niece 'C' had a little bit of a whipped cream war.
If you look closely, you'll see he has the big bowl of whipped cream.
It stayed in the washable rooms and didn't get too out of hand and actually began with putting "extra" whipped cream on each other's pie.
It continued most of the day.

* A tradition of ours~ desert first!
We eat desert about 11:30-12:00 then dinner close to 2 o:clock.  We were tired of having pies untouched after the big meal.  When we had my dear friends who are now gone share that his mom did that, we immediately latched on and have had desert first ever since.

* For Thanksgiving (see way back here.)
The kids would make treats for the birds.  My daughter especially enjoyed this.  My son preferred to eat the peanut-butter himself.  I still love this picture.
* A Fond Christmas Memory
When I was a youngster (back when dust was new,) and we went to my maternal grandparents' house for Christmas, I would always admire the tinsel.
I believe it was actually my great-grandmother's.
It was that old, real metal kind that was just shy of 1/8" wide.
Nana would hang each strand individually and after Christmas, she would remove each strand and place it back in the box.
I loved that tinsel and couldn't believe she hung it up 1 strand at a time!
Hanging the tinsel was always a test of patience as a kid.
My mom has that tinsel now.
She doesn't use it every year, but I notice when she does.

* A Tradition for the Kids
When my munchkins were little, things were pretty tight financially.
I was a single mom for most of their youth.  One thing we did was at some point in December we would have a slumber party.  After dinner, we would clear the living-room and bring all kinds of blankets and pillows down and make a big bed.  They would pick a Christmas movie to watch and we would have hot chocky and watch a movie.  And here's the really cool part - on a school night.  Whoa!  It wasn't difficult or expensive, but it was special.

The thing is ~ non of these things that are special to me are in books or movies.  They are just the things that work in our family.  We have a very casual family, and we are comfortable being around one another so other than crowded rooms it's just nice to catch up and visit.

Here's wishing each of you a special holiday season.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Quick Tip - Organizing Essential Oils

In the last post, I mentioned that I keep a list of things I am on the lookout for.
One of the things that had been on the list for a long time was a spice rack. 
I wanted one of those old ones like I remember from way back in my youth. 
A while back, my mom and I were in a neighboring town. 
I asked if she would mind stopping in at their thrift store 
to look for pants for Mr LB. 
She does not like thrift shops but if it's for Mr LB, it's okay. 
We found men's jeans but none in his size. 
I asked if she would mind if I walked through the housewares really quickly. 
She said "Why?  What do you need?"
I told her I keep a list and one thing was a wooden spice rack. 
I went down one isle and her another. 
In less than a minute, she came around the end and said "is this the kind?"
I laughed and threatened to take her thrifting with me more often. 
I told her I'd been looking for one for a long time for my essential oils. 
Until then, my EOs were kinda homeless and in no particular order. 
They now have both and are convenient as well. 
I treated Mom to lunch so she said it was worth it for her. 

I hope you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving.