Wednesday, December 17, 2008


With the holiday season just around the corner and so many grand plans still unfinished, I was starting to feel a little stressed about getting and not getting things done. For example, a couple weeks ago, I spent quite a tidy sum on embossing pads, rubber stamps and card stock to make Christmas cards by hand.

How did that work?

Well, I am totally stocked for embossing powder and all the supplies I need to make cards. However, with one week before Christmas, I seriously doubt that is going to get done. So now I'll dig out my snowflake stamps with a goal of sending out Winter Greetings I said, GOAL. I think the goal of sending handmade Christmas cards will be recycled for next season. Actually I am planning to go ahead and stamp a few cards a day while it is freezing cold outside and keeping them with the stamps and embossing stuff. My reasoning is that is the best place for me to look next year. Will that work? We'll have to report on that next year...

We sat down with the boys and discussed the fact that Christmas is going to be slimmer this year. To my surprise, they were not only OK with it, they were supportive. It is going to be quite a bit different, but I think it is going to be more realistic. I am going to have the boys help me make cookies each day to take to friends and neighbors. We are also going to make jars of homemade hot cocoa mix to include with the cookies. This will allow the boys to get in on the action and participate in the giving. I will be hitting the dollar store this week for containers to put the goodies in, or to the thrift store for used baskets to carry the goodies in. I may be too late to find the baskets at the thrift store. The best time to look for baskets and things to package goodies in would be around the summer when nobody is thinking of Christmas yet. Oh well, I'll do the best I can and improvise a little. Hot glue and ribbons cover a multitude of sins...

As far as my goal of cutting our grocery bills this month, I am happy to say we are on target to do that this month. However since the month is not over and I also have my oldest coming from Iowa to spend a week, we'll just have to see. At this point, we are really well stocked for a lot of things, so I am going to see how far we go on the allotted amount. We are still above what I would really like to bring the bills down to, but as I said, it is a start. After the first of the year, I am hoping to be able to get a small freezer to start doing once a month cooking.

As far as gas for the car, I am still bundling trips and being really conservative with any driving even though gas is quite a bit lower. One thing that I have found disturbing is that Americans tend to have such a short attention span when it comes to conserving resources. When gas hit $4 a gallon and more, many people started lining up to buy hybrid cars, cancelled unnecessary trips and went out of their way to conserve. Now that gas is down, they have gone back to the same old routine. There were plans to build hybrid cars at a new plant in Mississippi due to the demand for hybrids, but that has been shelved due to the disappearance of the demand for these cars. What happened? My cars are not hybrids, but I do conserve carefully and am hoping to have a hybrid one day in the future. Our heat stays between 67 and 70 degrees (I admit it, the higher temp is my doing, not hubby's--I get really cold even with layers on in the house), which is just low enough to be comfortable. When it warms up, we will be putting in new windows and patio doors to keep money from leaking through those. They were needing to be replaced when we moved in, we just have not gotten to it. I'm still seriously making hard decision on what I spend our money on and am working to get a budget in place that will put us more on track with where we should be financially. Nothing like a recession to hit you in the face with reality!

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