Monday, November 29, 2010

Countdown is on!

There are 32 days left in this year. Where has the time gone? Its rather amazing. I thought "old" people were strange when I was young and they would say, "time just passes by more quickly the older you get!"  I must be old. Time is passing by rather quickly. Far more so than it seemed to as a kid.

I remember it feeling excruciatingly long between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now I hardly have a chance to catch my breath after the large Turkey meal before we are making a LOT of noise bringing in the New Year! What is this strange phenomenon that makes the same increments of time seem slower or faster depending on age? I'll save the answer to that mystery for another blog.

Back to the 32 days until the end of this year. I guess that means today marks the 333rd day of our 2010 Resolution to not buy anything new. Its... shocking? that we made it this long? Not that I didn't expect to. I'm a very goal oriented person and stick to my decisions (when I make them) very well. Others were skeptical. But here we are. We have failed a time or two... both intentionally and not. But the lessons we have gathered, the people we have met, the deeper relationship with God... are all such unexpected blessings to what we thought was just an experiment with the excess of our nation.

Someone asked recently if we've saved lots of money this year. It didn't seem so initially. I really like Neighborhood Thrift! :) But when I considered that we have had a pay cut with the economy (like so many others) and that we have adopted two children in the last year... the answer must be yes! It feels as though we are still paycheck to paycheck... and we are. But, are paycheck is considerably less and we are still making it!

Will we continue this on into the new year? In so many ways, definitely. Will I have guilt and shame when I buy something "new"? No way! But I wont trade in the neatness of seeing God provide for my own convenience any more (hopefully!) Those riches have far outweighed my own ability to meet my own needs. How about you?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Great options for your Consumable needs!

There are certainly those times when you can't find used what you want/need. For example, I am not going to find "used" toilet paper. Well, and even if I could, I would not be interested!!!!

For me, though, this issue presents itself very often with my family photos and what to do with them. I will not be finding a used Christmas Card with my family photo on it. :) That leads me to this post!  Shutterfly is offering some really great deals on holiday and non-holiday items alike! For example, just for writing this post to tell you about it, I am getting 50 free cards! I am way down with free!  I will be using those free cards to order my Photo Christmas Cards this year and I can't wait to get started!

I think most people know Shutterfly for photo prints or digital books but not as much for their cards. At least, I rarely hear people say "I ordered my cards from Shutterfly!" I could be totally out of the loop, but maybe not :)  Here are some quick links to various cards that Shutterfly offers.  Photo CardsCalendars! I make calendars for Christmas gifts every year. Its a gift that keeps on giving, thats for sure!!! And I love going to people's homes and seeing my creation on their wall :) Yeay! Another favorite of mine are Thank You cards. I love to personalize each one, even digitally, with a photo of my child and the gift they received from the person I'm thanking. Or, my current project, a photo of my race to give to all of my supporters!

I hope you all find a really great deal! And if you'd like the deal that I am enjoying, here it is!  Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… apply here! 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mommy Likes a Deal!

Okay, these Toyota Commercials are SO funny!  But let me just add.... we HAVE a Toyota Sienna (yes folks, we are the swagger wagon people :) AND, we bought it used!!!!!!!

NBC on Living with Less!!!

A friend told me that NBC had aired some great clips on living with less! I found them and thought I'd post them here for you!

Fun Ways to Spend Your Money :)

I realized that I've talked a little bit about how to do holidays and birthdays on a "buy used" resolution, but not as much about what to do every other day!

I'm going to offer a new-found (by my family, anyway) activity that gives your money to a number of great causes: a charity, your physical and mental health, family bonding!

We have discovered family races or walks that support a cause and encourage the idea among my family that fitness is "fun" even if you don't think so. I knew that I couldn't teach my children something that I wasn't walking. Hence, in order to prove to them that fitness was indeed fun (which, I didn't personally believe), I began to do it... in front of them. Jogging, family walks, family bike rides, workout videos, whatever! I have the cutest video of my 2-year-old doing the exercises he always saw me doing and LOVING it! What a treasure!

We live in such an obese society that on my list of "Things I Want For My Kids" I have 1: Radical for Jesus 2: Healthy. They have seen me lose 25 pounds and a couple dress sizes in the last year as I've raced to prove to them how much fun fitness is!

That said, I joined an amazing team of people who committed to running a 1/2 marathon and raising sponsors (like a jog-a-thon) in order to bring awareness and support to my friend, the Gilmores. They are moving to Haiti in January (Lord willing) in order to "live the need" among the Haitians in all of their current plights. Its one thing to hear about the need from friends... and a whole other thing to commit to understanding it through experiencing it. This is their goal.  You can see more about their mission here at Christian Friendship Ministries.

This commitment (which I made in total ignorance.... 13.1 miles is a lot of miles to run!) has kicked me into many of the smaller races around my town! I have found that MANY of them raise money for great causes and are just plain fun! We did Feet for Families to raise money for Adoption and Foster Care. That was a simple 3.1 mile race (or a two mile walk) and we got breakfast and all sorts of freebies! We also did a Walk for Huntington's Disease- 2 miles easy. At this one, my friend Dorina and I won a free Me-n-Eds pizza and a t-shirt for playing ping-pong with a snorkel flipper and shaking a ping pong ball out of a tissue box... attached to my bootie. AND, finally, we've just signed up for the Turkey Trot... a fun tradition for many families on Thanksgiving Day. Why not walk off all your meal before you eat it? Plus, "free" socks for the first 1200 to sign up!

All of these family walks and events were about $12 or less and supported causes we connected to. Plus, our family was able to spend the day doing something fun, for a common cause (not our OWN cause) and enjoying some physical activity. NOT BAD!

I just completed the half marathon yesterday. That was hard work! But I love what it has done for my body and my mind. I know that I can keep up with my kids. I feel better about myself. And my kids are biggest (and cutest) cheerleaders!

If you're in the Fresno area, heres a great website Pro Race Group with upcoming short and fun races.

So go at it! Use your money in a way that builds your family in so many worthwhile ways! Not on the next video game, movie, tv show, or "hottest" toy off the shelf! All of that will burn away.... but the time you spend together (supporting others) can never be undone!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Candy Buy-Back! Whoot whoot!

We caught wind that a Dentist (Dr. Treva) was giving children MONEY to sell her their candy. What a brilliant idea! A candy buy-back! We, just like most parents, would love a good way to keep our children from eating all of that Halloween candy. Or maybe its just me. As a child I saved my Halloween candy ALL YEAR! Not only was I a little savorer (enjoying special pieces only on occasion) but I lack a sweet tooth. My friends loved this about me. Every time they came to visit, I still had Halloween candy to share!

So maybe I'm just a nerd. But I jumped on this opportunity to sell all of their candy! In we went... a one year old, three year old, ten year old, and eleven year old... all bogged with bags of candy. Yes, even my one year old. Because she's so cute, candy distributors inundated her bag with sweets, regardless of her limited teeth to even chew it. I digress.

Dr. Treva bought their candy for $1 per bag. We made out of there with $5! Last year, we let the kids pick as many candies as they were years in age. Then we traded the rest for Jamba Juice. This year, we forgot about letting them pick out some and just sold it. Then we went to the Dollar Store (not a thrift store, but.... almost!). I let them each pick something with their dollar and offered to cover their tax. This way, each child had something tangible and fun. My oldest bought sun glasses. My next oldest bought fake money with a money tray (and kindly paid for the dinner I made her :). My youngest son bought a paddle ball. And my baby couldn't decide- so she kept her buck. And because it's the Dollar Store, its all only going to last a couple of days anyway and will then make it to the trash- minus the cavities, obesity, and sugar highs.  (Point in case, the ball and the paddle parted ways after only 4 hours).

I just wanted to share another really cool way to have a "loose" hold on things in life.. including our candy mountains. Maybe my "sweets" aren't actual sweets... maybe its my laptop, or my ipod, or my guitar, or whatever! Maybe its even my children! But to truly be at peace with our lives and the journey God takes us on, we have to hold things loosely, for the season with which we've been given them.

I loved seeing my kids so willing to give up ALL THAT CANDY for only a buck. Oh, and for our soldiers... Dr. Treva will be donating the candy to our deployed army men and women!!! So we did talk about how we were sending candy to our soldiers. The kids made cards to send with their candy. What a rewarding thing to give up something meaningful for the sake of others (and their cavities! j/k).

Monday, November 1, 2010

 Just sayin' :)