Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas

According to the American Research Group, Inc, Americans will spend an average of $646 on Christmas gifts this year. Given my current employment status, I am going to try to do that with just $130. So who is on my Christmas list this year?

2 babies under 1;
2 male preschoolers;
1 male 14 year old;
1 female 20 year old;
1 male 22 year old;
1 male 27 year old;
1 male 31 year old;
My parents;
Hubby's parents.

If you're counting, yep, that's 13 gifts for $130.  $10 a piece.  Am I crazy? Probably, but there has to be a way to spend the holidays without spending over $600.  Here are the ground rules:

No regifting - I won't be rummaging through my closets in order to meet this goal.
No homemade gifts - Although I love my homemade pies, I can't assume everyone is into homemade gifts.
I will not be giving out any coupons that may be later redeemed  at a later date for any type of manual labor to be performed by me.
The total includes tax and any shipping costs.

As I come across my incredible buys, I'll post them here in case something I find interests someone else.  If anyone has any suggestions, please share. I'm afraid I may have made my goal a little too aggressive!!

As with everyone else, some days are more hectic for me than others.  On these days, crossing off even one item from my to-do list is an accomplishment.  Below is the daily task I will complete today; feel free to join me:

Cleaning the bathroom

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spelling and Counting and Cleaning, Oh My!

Ask anyone who knows me, I am definitely old school.  I don't own an i-Anything, or even a cell phone for that matter. So when thinking of ways to keep my 2 year old occupied, I went back to my middle school days. Remember the paper fortune tellers we used back then to figure out everything from the name of the boy we would one day marry to the occupation we would one day hold?  Well, I made one of those. (If you're interested in making one of these fortune tellers as well, check out this link for clear, easy to follow instructions: )

I colored each of the 4 outside sections a different color: red, blue, purple, and brown.  I numbered the inside flaps 1 through 8.  Where we would have normally written Johnny Depp's name or the word "doctor", I wrote down different household chores.  Here's how it went down when I played with Archer today:

Me:      Pick a color.
Archer: Purple.
Me:      P-U-R-P-L-E, (while moving the fortune teller in and out.) Now, pick a number.
Archer: That one, (pointing to the number 8 - he's 2 1/2 and can't read numbers yet).
Me:      1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.  Pick another number.
Archer: 1.
Me:      Looks like we have to clean the bedroom!
Archer: Okay, we have to clean my bedroom?
Me:      Yup, we have to go clean your bedroom, that's what the fortune teller told us to do.
Archer: Okay, we go upstairs now.

So, let me review, I went over spelling with him, counting, AND I got to clean a room. It could not have gone any better than this!

I am thinking of making another that has just dinner options so when I can't think of what to prepare, I can simply turn to my handy fortune teller for advice.  Or maybe I'll make one with titles of bedtime books so we can quickly decide what we are going to read that night, versus what currently happens, which is Archer looking through all his books before making a decision.  The possibilities are endless!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gainful Unemployment - Day 1

In order to spend more time with my 2 1/2 year old and 9 month old, I decided to put in my notice at work and stay at home with them.  I am 100% confident that staying home with them will be more demanding than anything that work could throw at me; this is why I jokingly call this new chapter in my life, "gainful unemployment".  Even though I will not be paid, I cannot put a price on the time I am going to spend with my boys="gainful".  Although I will still be exhausted by the end of the day, I will not be driving to the metro, hopping on a train, walking to a couple blocks to the office, and then working for 8-10 hours="unemployment".

Like I said earlier, I cannot put a price on the time I will spend with Archer and Alexander, but I am concerned on a few things.  After years on relying on 2 incomes, how can we survive on just 1?  After not spending any real time alone with the boys, (when they weren't in daycare, Archer & Alexander were at home with both me and hubby), how am I going to care for and develop them?  Lastly, what the heck am I going to talk to hubby about?  I would normally talk to him about the happenings at work.  Now what am I going to say?  I'm sure stories of throw up and toilet training can only keep him engaged for so long. 

This blog will chronicle my navigation into this new territory and will hopefully help others who find themselves in a similar situation.  My posts will show how I am dealing with the decrease in pay and the increase in responsibility with my children, while on the right hand side, I'll post a daily conversation starter that can come from a variety of topics, just not work.