Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy New Years 2009

Another year is coming soon where has time gone? I feel soooo old. Weather has been gloomy lately I am hoping for a bit of a sprinkle to stop the fireworks from catching fire like last year. Poor volunteer fire department had to put out so many fires last year because of stupid people. We saw at least 4 fires in our area and I mean from my back porch. A friend of mine from Coop said they were outside trying to stop their place from catching fire caused by neighbors fireworks.

As always we dont go anywhere for the New year. Hubby and I have never really gone to any partys in the 20yrs we have been married. We don't really drink, we are not looking to look for someone else so what else is there? Be with friends family? hmm we just like to stay home with the kids do a few sparkles and relax from the Christmas season. We just had a party!

My house is still a mess from it sigh...We have a saying where if you dont have your house clean for the new year your house will be that way for the rest of the year. So all my family try to clean before the new year. We also have a tradition of opening the front and back door just before the new year to let any negative vibes out of the house.

Of course we have the other tradition where we eat black eye peas. The more you eat the richer your suppose to be :P

Well if you didnt notice already on the side of my blog is a new tracker. Its a walking tracker I got from tonight I will be tracking steps. I am also hopefully joining a walking club locally I need to call them.

Two of my sisters are all in plan to lose weight and get healthy too. I am also reading and following the advice of "I can make you thin" Paul McKenna. I saw his program a few months ago and when I actually start to follow his advice I lose weight.

His plan is really simple such as just eating what you want when you want just in quanity and be aware of what you eat. Eat slow enjoy the food. I remember the first week I started my jaw actually hurt from chewing so much hahaha

I had tried it for a bit then started getting ready for vacation and put it on hold. This time I bought his book and I found a journal I am going to use. Wish me luck


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Frugal Christmas

With the economy being really bad this year so the experts say a lot of people are not going to have a good Christmas they say because of it. Instead of the 30 plus christmas toys the kids usually get they are only going to get maybe 6 or 7 *gasp* Instead of families going out to partys or having one they actually have to stay home with the kids and think of creative things to do with them *gasp again*

As for my family its no different this year as it was the last few years. We have a budget for each member the kids make a list knowing that they wont get everything on it. We think of creative things to do with the kids that won't cost a lot of money like our annual cookie bake.
We are not tightening our belts but we are not overspending either.

Yes we do have money to have a really have expensive Christmas but is that what we have strived for all these years of getting out of debt? To be able to have an expensive Christmas? To have our credit card maxed out again?

Through our quest through these last few years to be debt free we have learned its not about the toys we can get but the quality time with our family that means the most to us. Last year instead of buying a new tv because ours went out we got it fixed instead imagine that? We make cookies for my husbands office each year and also a few days before our Christmas Eve party (which everyone brings a dish) we give a bag to each family of goodies to take home with them. This means a lot for the families that dont bake a lot and have something for Christmas day to snack on, I make some of my moms oldies including more of my own.

I have a gift for each of my nieces and nephews but they are not that expensive under $10 and I start early buying them. I have a large family and because we are blessed this year I make sure all the kids will have something to open Christmas morning but I remind my family of something...

They have done studys where a kid will open 30 presents one after the other and at first they are excited but it soon dies down as they go as fast as they can to the next one and barily a whisper of thank you anymore. They can become ungrateful their eyes sort of glazed over of not knowing where to start with so many choices kids don't need that many choices. Where if a child has just a few presents to open they will mean more to him and he will take it slower and appreicate it more.

We have cut down a lot the last few years with the presents and the kids didnt really notice it, we dont put the presents there till Christmas Eve because then they will start to count who has more which you know how it is sometimes with sible rival.

One child wants something expensive so you buy that the other wants less expensive so you can buy him 3 things that cost about as much as the first childs present, but does a child know this? No its the number I tell you cost matters not to them.

Besides Christmas Eve all my other family brings gifts to exchange that night and the kids are allowed one gift to open so the other presents would get lost in the mess is our logic :)

Have a good Christmas don't believe what the so called experts say about having a poor Christmas if you say right now as you read this, "Well it is going to be poor" then that is what you are going to have you have just doomed yourself to having a poor, awful Christmas.

Think positive be creative and remember its Christs birthday not your kids.

Have a toy gift exchange with family/friends
Set a budget
Have the kids make a wish list but make sure they know they may not get all of it
Be creative make/bake things instead for family. Did they mention they love your pumpkin bread?
Shop early/Compare prices just dont buy it from one store
Shop at thrift stores clean them up some things still have tags on them.
Find free things going on in your community
A lot of organizations give away toys to families in need

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pikes Place for Kids Seatle

Well we went in Dec to go see Pikes place in Seatle while we waited for our flight we loved it with a few downers if your taking kids.

On the highway strip near the airport there are a lot of hotels that you can rent all of them you will hear the planes just a fact of life people. We stayed at Best Western was really nice and clean make sure not to get near icemachines too loud!

Daves place great place to eat on that strip, had good fish and chips dont eat the steak there they dont know how to make a good steak like Texas can hahaha...also verrazanos great italian restaurant that had seafood a bit pricy but all italian restaurants can be pricey. It was worth it.

They have restaurant at hotel but we went to IHOP instead less crowded then Dennies down the way and the service was grand!

Hotel was near bus line if you wanted to use bus, word of caution make sure to come back in winter before 4:30pm it gets really dark fast. Rained most the night and morning but luckily by the time we went to Pikes place it had stopped.

We went to space needle..cost for family of 4 over $56 wow..daughter got really sick going up..word of advice if your afraid of heights make sure your not near the glass window going up in elevator it scared both of us.

Husband and son loved it took me awhile to let go of rail near building kept feeling I was tilting towards the other rail awful feeling.

Went to Children museum that was a waste for us kids are too big for it. If you have a kid older then 8yrs they will be really bored worse if you have a teenager. This is for really little kids they will have a blast.

We took monarail that is right near Space needle downtown towards Pikes place, Make sure to put your round trip tickets someplace you can find it later. It was fun.

It dropped us in a really nice mall we went down a few flights and hit the streets. Pikes place was 4 blocks down and I mean down. As soon as we hit the street my mom alert hit full force. You know what I mean the mom alert saying there is too many people, around that you can't vouch for.... that look suspious, the mom alert that makes you grab your kids hands and look where your older kids are at telling them to keep close. The mom alert that makes you stop smiling and put on a If you get near my kids I will bite your head off face expression" :)

Maybe if your from a city you are used to it but coming from a small town and living out in country I felt it full force. So anyways making sure Tommy had my hand and Randy was close to her dad we traveled downwards looking for a fish diner to eat. There was tons everywhere! Just a warning a lot of diners around Wash have bars in it too its just the fact of life down that way I noticed.

I found one couldnt remember the name of it If I find the receit I will write it down they had the best clam chowder I had yet in Wash state very friendly service, great fish! Oh and the deserts! all and every kind of culture you can think of is there at Pikes place, russian, french, american, chinese etc...try something different its a blast to your taste buds I even carried one with me to take on plane :)

The markets were great! The freshiest stuff I have ever seen in a long time, veggies, fruits, fish and even pasta. Even the fish they will pack it for you and put in container to take with you on the plane! Good for two days!

We loved all the shops looking out to the sea

Word of advice with kids you might want to explain to them.

Pikes place is full of homeless people, you can see them and not to be mean here but you sometimes can even smell some of them. This is just a warning so you can explain some facts of life to the kids. DO NOT let them use public bathrooms unless an adult goes with them even then you DONT want to do this. If your eating down there like at Seatles coffee shop or smaller restaurants ask to use their bathrooms instead.

The public bathroom my husband said had homeless people living in the stalls. I didnt check out the females probably the same thing. Some parts of the Pikes place was too scary and no one really down there that got my mom alert up again. I never saw any cops down there just outside on horses watch where you go or you might end up all alone.

On the up side there was a lot of talented homeless people playing guitar for money, playing all kinds of instruments, one man had two cats out on the sidewalk they both had sweaters on he said he was collecting for a cat society but you kind of know better. The cats were sweet he let my kids pet them one had two extra toes on her. We left him some money and had always some to give to the musicians.

Ok we left it was almost getting dark we didnt watch the time bad thing in seatle during winter it gets dark at 4:30pm. We rushed back to parking lot in this car garage was really scary I didnt see guards just female attendent. Make sure to take ticket with you so you can punch it in when you come back walking works different there then here in San Antonio where you pay as you drive out.

Thats about it. The hotel had a shuttle but our Enterprise where we rented was just down the street and they had their own shuttle. By the way we rented a SUV and it had automatic heated seats talk about pleasure in 40' weather hahaha. Look for hotels and car rentals during the day not at night because prices rise at night people are desperate and they know this!

Had a good time will love to go again at Pikes place