The Parent’s Quick Guide to Penny Pinching


I have learned many things being a parent, some of which I wish I hadn’t, and others that have been a blessing and helped me to get by. If there is one thing I have learned the most about it is being frugal. I have learned the hard way how to stretch a buck. I can cook a dinner for four for under $10, I can get clothes for the whole familyfor around $50. I can operate on less than anyone should ever have to and can get creative in order to make it through the month.

English: ceramic piggy bank

Image via Wikipedia

With the world the way it is today we all know what it is like to suffer. Often times, no matter what our income, our accounts never seem to hold enough funds. I figure everyone enjoys getting a great deal, or saving a dime (or ten) so I’m gonna share a few of my frugal ideas with you today i n the hopes that it helps another family that is struggling to get by.

Cooking

To save money on cooking and feeding your family there are a few tips I have always found helpful. First is to stock up on the basics. Items such as, bread, eggs, rice, potatoes, tomato sauce, ground beef (or any ground meat), and noodles are great to have on hand when you’re in a bind. Any of these basic items can be easily added to a small purchase to make a meal and save your self some cash. When I have the basics on hand I find that I can go to a grocery store and grab whatever is on sale to work with. I have bought pork chops on sale and cooked them in tomato sauce over rice, I have added stuffing mix to ground beef and egg for a tasty meatloaf meal. Having the staples is so important to frugal family cooking. Many of these items are cheap, can be frozen, or last for a long time in the pantry. When you see them on sale grab a few of each.

Lets be honest, meat is expensive and buying enough meat to feed a family of four or more can cost a pretty penny, to save yourself some money buy in bulk. Many grocery stores have family size packs, even if you don’t need that much, buy it, the price per pound usually works out to be a lot cheaper. Another tip is to stretch your sides, by filling your families plates with bigger side portions like extra potatoes, noodles and veggies you can get by with less meat overall. I some times make a few different sides when I am short on meat, that way my family is full, and the meal is still healthy. One more idea for stretching your meat is to mix it in. By cutting up bigger chunks of meat and mixing it into rice or noodles you can use less and make more. Stir-fry’s are a great way to feed a family when you haven’t got a lot to go around.

Clothing

The number one tip I have for parents trying to save money is to embrace thrift store shopping. If you take the time to look, you can save hundreds of dollars on name brand clothes for your family. To save even more watch for the ‘big sale’ days that many thrift stores have, stores like Value Village and Goodwill hold 50% off days once a month which will help you save even more money. You have to be persistent though, returning regularly to scour the shelves, thrift stores get in new items daily so keep an eye out for a great deal.

If thrift stores aren’t your thing than shop big box stores. Big department stores have an ample amount of inventory, duplicates of the same items mean a savings in price. Watch these stores for sale items as well, and don’t forget to shop off-season. Buying summer clothes in the fall and winter clothes in the summer can save you some serious cash.

Pass it on. Clothing swaps, hand-me-downs, and free-cycling are great ways to get the goods you need without spending a penny. Get a group of friends together for a swap or organize one in your community. Utilize sites like Freecycle or your local classifieds to find clothing items free or cheap, and remember to pass the favor along.

You could also learn to sew, if you are gifted with a needle and thread your clothing possibilities are endless. This talent will allow you to take any item of clothing and turn it into something new. Seriously, I can’t sew personally (no hand-eye co-ordination) but if I could I would twist and stitch every item I had to create new items of clothing as required. Note: Even if you can’t sew you can hem a pair of pants, the dollar store sells iron on/stick on hem tape that makes tailoring your thrift store finds a breeze.

Around the House

One of the biggest cash consumers is our home. We all want our house to look nice, but we don’t need to spend lavish to live lavish. To save your self some cash around the house I have a few tips.

When it comes to decorating the best advice I can give is to get creative. This is where thrift stores can come in handy yet again. Furniture, accessories and artwork can be found relatively cheap at your local thrift shop or flea market. Pick up a cheap print with a great frame and swap it out for one of your own family photos, or better yet a collage. You could even create your own water painting to frame if your feeling really creative. There are all sorts of tutorials online for creating custom artwork on a dime. The same goes for furniture, don’t be afraid to take that hand-me-down dresser and spruce it up. One of my favorite ideas for fixing up an old dresser is to wallpaper the drawer fronts and change the hardware. Again there are ample examples online of ways to make old furniture look new.

Embrace the power of paint. Paint is relatively inexpensive given the impact in can have on a room. If you want a change but don’t have the cash, grab yourself a can of paint and slap it on a wall or two. It is an instant change for a small amount of cash.

Most parents have that one cleaningcabinet that is full of products for every thing imaginable. There is the toilet scrubber, the shower wall cleaner, the Swiffer refills, the tilex, the kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, mirror cleaner, and the all-purpose cleaner. All these different products add up to one thing… A lot of wasted cash. I learned long ago that the best thing you can do is find one or two products that work well and do-it-all. By using a good all-purpose cleaner instead of 12 different ones you will save a ton of cash over time. The same goes for that swiffe

, those wet pads you are paying a fortune for are sold at the dollar store, and the solution for the inside is a silly scam, pour your own product in there. In fact, for fast spot mopping attach a baby wipe to the bottom of the thing and get it done for under 1 cent.

Baby wipes are actually fantastic for so many different things around the house and I highly suggest you keep them on hand even if you down have little ones. They clean mirrors, tables, doors, walls and floors. They are cheap (no-name is fine) and simple to grab in a stitch.

Invest wisely, would be the other major around the house tip. It is fine to purchase something extravagant that you truly, really, completely want, but be sure it is a wise choice. A new sofa is a fine investment so long as you are not buying a pure white one when you have two toddlers loose around the house. Often times it is important to remember that just because you can afford something now, does not mean now is the time to buy it. Double think any big buys, and be sure to take the time to shop around. If your reading this then odds are it is not a one of a kind custom piece that can’t be found anywhere else, and can probably be found somewhere else at least marginally cheaper. (and when your being frugal, every penny counts.)

General Money Saving Tips

  • Learn your unit sizes. Some times a deal isn’t a deal at all, learn to break it down. For unit calculation advice click Here
  • Plan ahead. If you drive you know that the cost of gas can literally kill you, plan all your errands for the same outing when possible to save multiple trips and cut back on gas costs.
  • Think Frugally. Why pay for something when you can get it free? Make this your mantra and live it as much as you can. Don’t be ashamed to save money.
  • Check your coffee consumption. Even one $2 cup off coffee a day adds up to $60+ a month. Brew your own where you can and save that cash for something more important. The same goes for smoking, the costs of lighting up are enormous, cut back and quit today. It won’t only benefit your health, but it will help your wallet as well.
  • Calculate your daily costs and cut back where you can. Things like lunches, beverages, transit and other small daily details add up over time. Keep track of all these little things and find ways to save on them. Perhaps buying a monthly bus pass would work out cheaper than paying per fare, packing a lunch is always better than buying one, and cutting back on the number of coffee’s you purchase can save you are ton of cash.
  • Find Free Family Fun. Parks, picnics, or hikes are great FREE ways to have fun as a family. Find other exciting things to do for free Here and save your self some serious money on family entertainment.
  • Cut Coupons. With all the hype around the reality coupon shows why wouldn’t you want to cut coupons? You can save a major chunk of change on your grocery bills and even earn things for free. The same goes for free grocery club cards, gather those points and get yourself some great deals. What have you got to lose?

These are only a few simple ideas for saving money, the list could go on and on. The point is to save where you can, whenever you can, because every cent adds up as a parent. Your level of frugality is up to you, perhaps your simply want to cut some costs, or maybe you want to save a ton, either way there are endless ideas to help you cut costs and put cash back in your pocket. Look online for more ideas and share your own tips in the comments section below.

Until Next Time…

Live on a Dime.

Mother’s Day – It’s the Thought that Counts… Really!


Tonight I came across a list on WebTabLab titled The 15 Worst Mother’s Day Gifts You Should NOT Give Your Mom and I have to say I am appalled by a number of the items listed…

The first item to head up their list of worst gifts is household appliances. Now, while I can understand how such a gift could be considered offensive, the truth is that larger, more expensive household items that your mother desires are NOT a bad idea. I, personally would enjoy receiving a new vacuum cleaner or the latest kitchen gadget as a gift because it is something that I will actually use, and generally would not go out and purchase for myself… It is dependent on the personality of the person of course, but I don’t think it should top the list.

The next item on the list that raises my disagreement is Bath/Body Gift Sets. Though I understand the reasoning they use, this is an item that a mother could go and purchase herself, honestly as a mother how often DO you? If it is an exceptional set that is clearly not off the Walmart discount rack, and the mother enjoys such products it can be a nice gift to give.

Cook Books/Diet Books is the nest item on the list, and though I agree with the diet book being a bad gift, a cook book (for a woman who ENJOYS cooking) can be a gift that will not offend… Though if there has EVER been even the slightest, most subtle hint in the past that this mother needs to improve her cooking, OR she is not constantly in the Kitchen and once upon a time dreamed of being a chef… It could offend her and should be avoided. Cooking Utensils is also on their list and goes hand-in-hand with the information above…

Another item, Jewelery Made By You  is a choice that could go either way. If you are a) under the age of 18 or b) truly talented as a jewelery designer then this gift is a fine choice.. BUT if you are 36 and broke as hell.. it might be better to fake a flu until payday!

Now Exercise Equipment or a Gym Pass would probably be a bad choice unless mom is a health nut or specifically asked for them.  As would an E-Card under any circumstance unless you live thousands of miles away, in a 3rd world country, and can not even afford the stamp to send a “real” one in the mail. There are other items they list I do agree with such as; Cleaning supplies, or Things That Are Not Her Interest, but items that say ‘World’s Greatest Mom‘ can be cute once in a while, and when not overwhelmingly tacky, or as a gift from the kids. As can Homemade Coupons if they are for jobs or tasks that she would appreciate and are actually going to be followed through upon request.

Now getting Momma Nothing is, of course, a bad idea, but I believe any gift… no matter the cost…. is an amazing gift because of the thought. I don’t think that this list should say these are “Bad” gifts, instead simply put thought into your purchase and you are guaranteed to please… because most Momma’s know that any “thought” is worth for more than any value!

Happy Mother’s Day!

28 Things I Have Learned in 28 Years…


Learning is a life long process. You can never gain too much knowledge. As long as you live your life having fun and learning as much as you can everyday, you will not grow older… instead become newer as you grow each day!

I have lived a full and fascinating life so far, and it is not even half over yet. (Though it has become a bit more mellow over time!) I have loved, lost, and made mistakes… Now after 28 years I look back and realize how far I have come…

Here is my list of 28 Things I Have Learned in 28 Years;

  1. You can either bake, or you can’t… It is in your blood, you are born with the talent. I personally am no Betty Crocker!
  2. You will never get along with everyone, and you should not waste the time or the effort trying. There are people who just will not like you and there is nothing you say or do that will change that… get over it and move on. Surround yourself with those that do.
  3. Love and insanity are the exact same feeling, and usually have the exact same result.
  4. People do not talk about you even half as much as you think they do. Once you get over that you will be a much happier person.
  5. Life will never be easy. Things will never just fall in to your lap. You must work and fight to get what you want, or be content with what you already have.
  6. No matter how much it sucks, you will sometimes have to apologize and admit you were wrong… even when you don’t feel like you were, “I’m sorry” means you respect your relationships more than you ego!
  7. Happiness is a state of mind not a situation.. In every thing you do, you have the choice to find happiness within it!
  8. A good book can be a great escape from reality… Get lost as often as possible. A good book can also change your life!
  9. Family is precious. Enjoy them as much as you can. Parents and family are the only people who will truly have your back.
  10. Our thoughts about food are far more dangerous than the food itself. When you stop obsessing about food and use it as a tool to fuel your body, you will feel happier and will make better choices. You can eat what you want and be healthy without having to count calories or keep stock, follow your body’s cues and you will not need to worry about what you eat.
  11. Silly shoes will only make you look ridiculous. 6-inch spikes are not designed for comfort and if you are uncomfortable, you are not going to feel confident, or look good for that matter. You will only end up with blisters and you will look silly trying to waddle around.
  12. Most people operate out of selfishness. It is a rare thing to find someone who is not out to benefit themselves in some way. When you do find that person… cherish them always.
  13. Be kind to strangers. Even a simple smile and hello can change someone’s life. We are all fighting the same battle and walking the same road, we are just wearing different shoes while we do it!
  14. Blaming others for what has happened in your life will get you nowhere… every single thing that happens to you has occurred as a result of your choices. Accept responsibility and move on. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
  15. You will get only what you give. People will only treat you the way you allow them to treat you. It is your actions, and re-actions, that train others how to interact with you. Give others what you wish to receive in return.
  16. No one ever really grows up, we just get bigger and more self-conscious of our actions.
  17. If you are not making mistakes, you are not living. Every mistake is a lesson learned and a door opened. If you are not living, and learning, you are wasting precious time.
  18. No matter how bad things may seem, they can always be worse. Take a moment to think about all those things that you have to be grateful for… you list will be longer than you think!
  19. The most important person in your life is not your children, spouse, family, or friends… it is YOU… If you don’t take care of yourself first you will not be there to care for others.
  20. Even when a lie is the best option at the moment, the truth will always be the best option in the long run. The truth may hurt someone for a short time, but a lie can produce damage that is irreparable.
  21. Worrying is like running on a treadmill, it may feel productive but gets you nowhere. The more time you spend worrying about a problem the bigger the problem becomes, action is the only way to face what needs to be conquered.
  22. No one is going to remember you as “The one with the spotless house” Spending time having fun, enjoying life with friends and family is far more important than scrubbing the floors or doing the laundry.
  23. Every action has a reaction. When you allow someones words to hurt you, you are giving them power over you. Look closely at the source of the subject and never let another’s opinion of you become your reality.
  24. Thrift stores are amazing, and the more you save the more you get later. Don’t live like your rich, especially when you’re not, learn to be frugal even in small ways and avoid stressing about money. Plus shopping at thrift stores means you don’t have to worry about wearing the same outfit as ten other people, you can create your own custom style, and you are helping charity!
  25. No matter how good your intentions, you can never change someone else or force them to change themselves. Show a person the right path… but allow them to walk down it.
  26. Friendships will never last forever. People will always move on, grow apart, fade away, or die off… rely on no one but yourself in the long-run.
  27. One-year from now none of your current worries will matter. We spend far too much time living in fear over things that are not going to make any difference in the future. Live life to the fullest each and everyday. Face challenges when you come across them, remove people and actions that bring you down, do what you love and do it well, because tomorrow it will all be history.
  28. Never be afraid to be yourself. After high-school the pressure to be popular will fade, it won’t matter that you were homecoming queen, or head cheerleader. Do those things that make you happy despite what others say or think. Check in on yourself constantly and evaluate your happiness from within. Don’t compromise your values and live based on your terms… always remember…

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter,and those who matter don’t mind!”


I Hate Children….. On ‘Yes, I just said that….’


.Check out this humorous post on parenting:

http://ijusthadtosaythat.blogspot.com/2011/04/i-hate-children.html#

Speaking in Tongues… Momfinitions


Communicating with children can be difficult on a good day. Making the choice to have children means learning an entirely new language, consisting of words that after often made up on a whim. It

means learning sign language, and being creative in your expression and understanding. Parenthood can be related to travel in a foreign country where the simplest communications can become complicated chaos.

ParentsConnect.com posted a great article called Momfinitions that defines some useful words that have yet to make it into the dictionary. You can check out their site here, it is a great place for parents to talk, learn and connect with each other, and it provides you with a good giggle when you need to relax. 

Here are some my favorite Momfinitions from their post, as well as a few of my own. Many of which put a PG spin on some recognizable terms, and all of which are guaranteed to give you a good laugh… (It’s one of those ‘it’s funny cuz it’s true’ kind of moments) 

When you are done giggling, feel free to add your own…..

  • Booty Call – A call from the bathroom letting you know it’s time to go wipe someone’s butt.
  • Sleevekerchief – What you use to catch your child’s snot when there is no tissue around.
  • Diapergami – The secret parenting fold that turn a nasty diaper into a tidy package ready for the trash.
  • Keything Ring – What your key ring becomes in a teething pain emergency at the grocery store.
  • Boobifier – The act of using one’s boob as a pacifier.
  • Wuice – The watered-down juice at the bottom of your child’s sippy cup after you have refilled it throughout the day.
  • Unhappy Hour – The hour between 5 and 6 pm when every mother in America is desperately trying to entertain whiny, hungry children while simultaneously fixing dinner and tidying the house.
  • Peemergency – That moment, after you have loaded 10 bags of groceries and 3 kids into the car and just got on the highway, when your child announces that he has to go potty. Right. That. Instant!
  • Invisaowie – An owie so small that you can’t even see it, but it still requires a band-aid in order to stop the crying.
  • Snooze Control – The act of handing your child the remote control so they can tune to Nick Jr allowing your to get a few more mins sleep.
  • Toppler – A topless toddler, usually the result of an unprepared mother forgetting to bring along a change of clothes.
  • Boy-o-sphere – That strange, stuffy, puppy-breath kind of smell that permeates in a boy’s room, especially after they have had their door closed all day. Is it the laundry? Their shoes? You can’t quite place where it’s coming from, but you’ll know it when you smell it.
  • For Flying Peter Pans – A saying you use instead of profanity, when in the presence of small children.
  • Pootie – A pouty little baby face.
  • Peed Racer – What a dad becomes when he realizes there is a dirty diaper to be changed.
  • Peenial – A child’s denial of their need to urinate.
  • Thumb-dumb – The moment you realize, that unlike a pacifier, you can not take a thumb away.
  • Pundeled – The inevitable fact that as soon as you have your child fully dressed in their winter gear they will have to go to the potty.
  • Auto Re-say – The need to constantly repeat everything you say at least 12 times a day.
  • Dead-time – That glorious moment when you actually believe your child has fallen asleep without a fight, only to hear the pitter-patter of little feet along the floor.
  • Tubby-tears – A phase that all children seem to go through where they scream and cry in the bath tub.
  • Waddle Feet – Letting your child walk around with his shoes on the wrong feet because it’s easier than the fight it will take to change them.
  • Slug Hug – When your toddler hugs your leg and wipes her nose on it at the same time.
  • Snop – The snotty, slimy back wash left on your cup after your toddler takes a sip of your drink.
  • Ca-moon-a-K-shun – Your toddlers inability to clearly pronounce words, making everything sound cute.
  • Know-it-doll – A little girl who seems to have all the answers.
  • Sleaky – That awful moment when you realize your baby’s diaper has failed you.
  • Rottle – A bottle that has been hidden under the couch for an unknown length of time.
  • Entertelement – One of those days when you ignore all limits and simply use the television as a tool for amusement.
  • Mom-over – The art of making yourself look normal for a night out without the kids.
  • Wondry -Wondering when the last time you wore clean clothes was.
  • Shower-Power – A mothers amazing ability to shower, get dressed and be ready to go in a matter of minutes.
  • Snare – That look that you get just before your child throws a temper tantrum in the middle of Walmart.
  • History – Reading, and re-reading, the same bedtime story every night for 3 months straight.

 Special thanks to: ParentConnect.com for such a humorous post on parenting.


 

Why? Because This Is My House….


Call me Crazy, but there are rules in my house. Rules, regulations, and strict guidelines that I expect others (a.k.a children) to follow in detail. No, I don’t run my home like a boot-camp (although I sometimes put the idea into consideration) but there are basic rules that I have put in place in order to save everyone’s (a.k.a my own) sanity.

Now these rules have not always been in place, in fact, with my first child I made a number of mistakes in the discipline department. Being just the two of us for most of his life, he basically had free roam of the household (excluding anything that could cause him bodily harm) He was always a loving, affectionate boy, who stuck to me like glue, but as he has grown (though still stuck to my side throughout most of the day) I have noticed the impact that this ‘lack of structure’ approach has had on his life.

I can thank my BF for opening my eyes to the parenting mistakes I have made with my son over the last 7 years. Discipline is a constant battle in our household, as we both have very different parenting styles. (and he has an attention for detail that I just do not hold) Allowing my son free roam without any set routine, rules, or basic structure has led to a 7 year-old who has no problem solving abilities what-so-ever!!! Instead of thinking for himself, it is easier for my son to wait for me to tell him what to do, and of course I do so on a regular basis. Why?? because it is easier for me as well. It is a bad habit that is slowly being broken around here. I have just began noticing how much I actually do for my son since the birth of my daughter last year. When someone questions what C is doing I often answer for him, (this has led to countless argument between my BF and I because it causes my son to under-mind what he is saying, and lowers the level of respect my son has for my BF.. and THAT is a problem) I get his breakfast, (even though the kid is more than capable of pouring a bowel of cereal himself without a mess of any kind) I make, and pack, his school lunch daily, (which is for the most part another one of those things he could do on his own) and I constantly do other little things for him that he is more than able to complete on his own…. I do these things subconsciously, without any thought to what I am doing, but I want to stop because it truly has produced a LAZY little boy who has no idea how to think, or act, by his own devices.

So, I came up with some rules, and much to my sons dismay, these rules are expected to be followed… They are posted clearly in sight beside his bed and throughout other areas of the house in order to remind him daily (so that I don’t verbally have to, although I still have to remind him to actually read the list in the first place) and also to help remind me that positive discipline, and effective parenting begins with consistency. These rules consist of such items as;

  • Get dressed before you leave your bedroom – I set out clothes the night before because, left to his own devices, my son would most definitely get beat up for his mismatched clothing choices, or opt to wear army camouflage every single day!
  • Make your bed. – Although this one needs perfecting, because the lumps and bumps drive me nuts and I usually end up going in and fixing it when he leaves the room anyway, it still teaches him that there are basic responsibilities, and routines, he has to complete daily.
  • Tidy your room – He does well with this rule, and thankfully I don’t have one of those kids that tries to hide everything under his bed, but I swear to GOD my son has the potential to become a hoarder in the future. The amount of strange little items I find collected among his toys is absurd, why does anyone need a thousand pieces of shredded paper?? He needs to work on his organizational skills, but he is improving rapidly in the cleaning department.
  • Eat breakfast – Pretty straight forward. Yes, I pour the cereal for him, more out of habit than need, but he is expected to sit straight, eat with proper manners and clean up the table and his dishes when he is finished.
  • Pack your lunch – I will make the lunch, just to ensure that it consists of something healthy, and does not contain only chocolate and potato chips, but he is to pack it up and put it in his bag. If he forgets it… well then I guess he will be really hungry after school!!
  • Brush teeth – It seems that no matter how many places I write this rule it is just a forgettable act! If he actually does do it than it is a battle for him to do it right!!! I can’t win with this one and it drives me CRAZY! Having suffered with bad teeth my whole life I try to drill this rule into his head, but he just doesn’t seem to get it, or just doesn’t care, that it is the most important rule listed.
  • Get ready for school – This means your bag is packed, your homework is done, and you are dressed and at the door. Period!

Along with these listed rules are the times they should be completed (e.g. 7:30 wake up, 8:00 eat breakfast) We have a list for morning routines, and evening routines. We also have a sign that lists proper table manners, the proper way to brush your teeth (complete with a 2 minute timer) and set places for toys, books, and art items…. We have lists of weekly chores, with a reward system, and daily chores, all constructed with appropriate sized boxes for checking off when they have been completed. There is structure, organization, and routine. (Things that do not come to me naturally, but since being incorporated are slowly making a difference…. Very slowly!!!)

I do not want to be a drill sergeant, in fact, I have a difficult time being strict, and often feel mean. I am also realistic, I do not expect perfection, and I know that these rules will not change his behavior over-night, but I do know that with structure, routine, affection, and discipline children are more likely to grow into responsible adults. I am careful to show praise for a job well done, and punish bad behavior appropriately, I am clear about both my expectations and the consequences if they are not met. I keep all chores age appropriate, and I ensure that my child is not feeling overwhelmed. It may sound harsh to you but children truly require discipline in order to grow and learn what is, and is not, acceptable, in order to become healthy, happy adults, and our routine works for us!

I wish more people took the time to create structure and routine in their children’s lives, I know that I personally wish I had done it years earlier, it would have saved me a ton of stress and many arguments, and it would have made my son a more well-rounded person, but I have taken the steps to improve my parenting now, and better late than never. Almost any bad behavior can be corrected it just takes time and effort on the part of the parents to make the change a reality. I am not an expert, in fact I am far from it, but I am witnessing change first hand and it is a wonderful feeling!

Calming Cabin Fever with Creativity….


If you are anything like I am you are sick to death of the cold weather and you spend each night before going to sleep praying that you might, just by some major fluke of fate, wake up in a warmer climate…. But if you are like me, you probably wake up each morning in the same bed, only to look out the same window and see the same pile of snow that has been making you sick.

I, personally spend much of the winter months in hibernation, but come the early months leading up to spring I often find that cabin fever is kicking in and I am going a bit loopy. Blogging is a good way to pass the time in the winter months while you await the arrival of spring, but even the most futile of writers can often get bored with constantly creating clever posts, and so I am presenting you with some other options for staying active and fighting off insanity during the chilly weather.

Things to do when it is cold outside;

If you are lucky enough to have children (and I say lucky with all honesty in this case) you will find that it is often easier to find personal entertainment when you are bordering on hysteria from lack of mental/physical stimulation. One of the best ways to pass time and ward of frustration is through laughter, so gather up the little ones and spend some time being silly;

  • Tune up the music and have a family dance party, or cleaning party if you want to be productive. You can even set up small tasks and see who can complete them in the fastest time.
  • Play a game of hide and seek, or have a mini in-house scavenger hunt.
  • Create silly stories, pause and allow your child to continue the story, this is a great way to encourage both you and your child to use imagination.
  • You can opt to play some board games, read some stories or snuggle up and watch a movie if you are looking for some quieter options.

If you’re not ‘blessed’ with the little ones, they are in school when you find yourself suffering from boredom, or you just don’t feel like playing with them (don’t worry we won’t judge!) Here are a few options you can consider to amuse yourself when your all alone;

  • Cooking is a good way to get your creativity flowing. Pull out the recipe books your mother gave you, dust them off and give a new meal a try. (you can also include the kids in this one if you so desire) Trying a new recipe will help to pass the time, and you can benefit from a meal when your finished.
  • Exercise is a natural mood enhancer. If you are not the type to step into a gym, you can pop in a video at home, or even dance around the house to get in your workout. It is more about getting your heart pumping and your muscles working to increase your happiness than it is about weight loss, even the most routine house chores can be made fun with a little music and imagination.
  • Watch a movie that no one else wants to see. If your like me you have a list of movies you want to watch but would not feel right forcing your hubby to sit through them, take some time alone to pop in a sappy chick flick or an old classic that you love. Pop some popcorn and snuggle down in silence.
  • Bubble baths are a sure-fire way to relax and warm up on a cold day. Purchase some pretty smelling suds and hanker down with a good book. You can even buy bath pillows (available at most dollar stores) that will ensure you are comfortable while you soak.
  • Pamper yourself. If you can get out of the house or can’t afford a trip to the spa you can still pamper yourself with a home-style spa treatment. Most drugstores sell facial kits, masks, and other spa treatments at affordable prices. Purchase a few and save them for a chilly day. Treat yourself to a pedicure, manicure, and even a special spa inspired lunch to make the experience completely relaxing.

These are just a few ideas to quickly calm cabin fever when you are stuck in the house. If you have the luxury of getting out and about there are even more options available to you. During the colder months there are also great activities you can enjoy outdoors, or entertaining places to visit indoors, still keeping you warm;

  • Visit the salon. Spring is the season of change, many of us are feeling down and out during the start of spring when we long for the cold weather to subside. Getting a quick cut, color, or style can easily and effectively lift your spirits. Look for coupons or discounts that will save you money, or consider visiting a hair styling school where the students will cut your hair (under the supervision of a certified teacher) at a hugely discounted rate.
  • Browse the local flea market or thrift stores. Most women love shopping, and if you are anything like me retail therapy is the most effective treatment for moodiness. Checking out your local flea market, thrift store, or even discount warehouse is a great way to save money while finding fantastic items.
  • Enjoy a day out with the girls. Gather up some girlfriends and visit a local art gallery, meet-up for coffee, or enjoy a quick-lunch. Spending time with friends will help to lighten your mood and ward off frustration brought on by being cooped up in the house. (If you have ‘very little ones’ you might choose to host a ‘play date, perhaps taking turns once or twice a month visiting each others homes, and sharing a quick snack while the kids play)
  • Look for a club, group, or event in your area. You might wish to connect with like-minded people in your area. Groups, clubs, and events are a great way to get out of the house and meet new people. Search your local paper or online for groups in your field of interest. Convention centers are also a good source for interesting outings, often hosting large conventions on different interests at an affordable price, contact them or visit their websites for a list of events that are open to the public.
  • Take a walk. Although it maybe chilly outside, nothing is better for combating the blues than fresh air and sunshine. On a day when the sun in shining, and the chill is bearable, bundle up and take a walk. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, even a quick stroll around the block can be effective enough to refresh you.
  • Visit the local library, or bookstore. Get lost in a land of literature, grab a coffee and browse the endless titles that are available. Many bookstores and libraries have areas for you to sit and read and many actually encourage their shoppers to do so, find one that has a relaxing atmosphere and spend and hour or two enjoying a great book, remember to check out new genres and authors, this will help you to stimulate your mind and expand your horizons.

When all else fails beat the blah feelings by browsing your favorite blogs, get some laughter by seeking out humor writers, and follow along on other people’s personal journey’s.Watch some funny videos on YouTube, or visit a Joke site to put a smile on your face. Cold weather can be a drag, but drag yourself out of a rut by using your creativity and the utilities that are available to you.

Until next time…..

Write On!

Writer’s Block


I have been suffering from a spell of Writer’s Block. As many writers know this can be a very frustrating situation. Lack of inspiration causes me a fair amount of stress. I hate not being able to write. I often sit staring at a bank screen with no idea what to write. Sometimes I know what to write but each time I try to word it, it comes out all wrong, leaving me still staring at a blank screen!

While suffering these moments, which thankfully I don’t suffer from often, I tend to get a little bit depressed, I get snappy at my family, and miserable with my life. I am a bit hard to deal with during these times, even more than I am regularly….I pity those around me at these times.

You see, writing is my way of relaxing. It is my outlet from stress, my ‘me’ time once the kids are in bed, and my escape from reality. It is the way I let the day, and my emotions, just release. I need to write!

That is why during this bout of Writer’s Block I decided I was not going to sit back and just allow it to swallow me.  No! I decided I was going to take action and fight this monster that chose to burrow inside my mind for the moment, and so I set out on a mission to force myself to write through this wall…

Born from this fight is another blog of mine that I invite everyone to check out… Perfectly Prompted is my fight against writers block. I decided that I was going to force myself to write as much as possible using writing prompts I found online. (and I have discovered there are many to choose from) With the help of these prompts I have found that, not only am I writing more, I am writing better. I am experimenting with different styles of writing, and I am expanding my personal portfolio. It has been an exciting beginning so far and I am looking forward to where it will lead me… You can view my other site Perfectly Prompted …. Here I will be adding my own prompts for you to try out, as well as a list of the sites I have been using. I have posted my responces to the prompts I have tried, and the site that supplied them for me. I know that wordpress offers daily prompts as well and they are excellent, but many times I am not in the mood to write about what I am told to write about, or that specific prompt may not fit my mood, and so it can be helpful to seek out a different kind of prompt that inspires me.

I hope you will check out Perfectly Prompted and I hope that it may help someone else if they are suffering from Writer’s Block. If nothing else I hope it will give you a glimpse into who I am, maybe some inspiration, and possibly some laughter along the way…..

so until next time….

Write On…..

The Elephant In The Room


As if the fish hidden deep within my stove wasn’t bad enough, there is also the issue of the garbage piled up in the back stairway driving me crazy (thankfully the landlord agreed to have a junk company come and remove it ASAP) Then there is the leak in the bathroom ceiling (but that too is getting fixed) The biggest problem I am having with my new home though, is one that is not easily fixable!

I love the space I have in my new apartment, the layout works perfectly for my little family. We have space to get away from each other when needed, and space to gather when we wish to be close. It is bright, airy, and warm. (All of the things my last apartment was lacking.) The neighbourhood is amazing and I have been enjoying all the conveniences it supplies. I could not be happier, except for the people upstairs…..

I swear to GOD there must be elephants up there!!! These people sound like they are going to come through the floor at any moment, they are VERY heavy on their feet. And their kid……wow! Don’t even get me started on their kid….. I can not even tell you honestly whether they have 1, 2, or 5 up there, but however many there are, the kid is BAD!!! (I discovered there is only 1 which makes this situation that much more disturbing…read on….)

Call me crazy, but I feel that structure and routine are an important part of a child’s life. In my household there is a set bedtime, set meal times, and set times for almost everything, but apparently for the devil child upstairs bedtime is what ever time she pleases!!! Not that it should be my business, or place, to pick apart someone’s parenting style, but I will tell you why (in this case) it is my business…

I won’t lie, I am not a big fan of children in the first place. (even my own piss me off on a regular basis, and cause me to question wtf I was ever thinking when I decided to reproduce) but I can usually at least smile and bear it. (or deal with it on some level, which usually improves with each glass of wine) I will also explain that I have never had an apartment where someone lived above me, so I am not sure what the acceptable noise level is in such situations…. But this has to be excessive, there is just no way that a person allows their child to make this much noise without thinking “wow, maybe that is a bit much”

Allow me to expand a little. This child above my apartment sounds as if it is bowling all day long. She is constantly jumping, running, and banging on the floor (which is hardwood flooring btw, or at least I assume it is, if it is not hardwood that this child is beyond crazy and I don’t know what to tell you) Not only is this child treating the house like their personal playground, there is also the issue of the screaming(OH YES, There is screaming….) Just last night this little spawn of satan was screaming for 2 hours straight. I assume that the parents had decided it was bedtime (finally, at 10:30pm) and the child clearly disagreed, thus causing this child to scream uncontrollably until nearly 1 in the morning… I was ready to rip my hair out, seriously! (I actually thought horrible things during this screaming session; some of those thoughts??? I was wishing this child would a) Choke b) Break her leg c) Get removed by the authorities at that exact moment!!! If there is one thing I dislike more than children, it is screaming children!)

Perhaps I am just a bitch, (I mean that is a possibility) but in my house that kind of thing just doesn’t happen. My children DO NOT run, jump, bang, or yell.. those things are done outdoors, not in the comfort of my home. There is no fight for bedtime (although L does cry for a short period, it is to be expected at 10 months old, but will not be acceptable at 2 and 3 years-old) My children are rarely awake after 8 p.m. and even if they were they would not be running around the house, jumping off furniture, and driving my neighbours mad. In fact, I had a very long conversation with my son about respect and the acceptable amount of noise you can make when living in an apartment. I told him that you had to be thoughtful of the people who live above and below you at all times, and that loud activities were geared for outdoor play, not for inside the apartment. It was a conversation I had more out of routine than actual need, my son is generally quiet (although he does tend to talk too much, his voice is rarely at an elevated level)

When the child is not jumping around or screaming (which seems to be all she is doing all day and night) it is the parents stomping around the house, last night during the childs screaming fit, these parents actually cranked their music so they couldn’t hear her. (Which I can understand completely, but honestly what good does that do for your neighbours idiots… go live in a house! Seriously!)  Apparently this child is either too young for school (in which case it should definitely be in bed before 11 p.m.) or does go to school, and I just have not noticed when it’s gone (in which case it definitely should be in bed before 11p.m.) Even if it is old enough and just does not go to school, (for reasons such as homeschooling or whatever the case may be) a child should just be in bed before such late hours for the sheer benefits it provides. Children need their sleep in order to function on a sane level. They need sleep to grow and be healthy. They just need sleep, period.

Not only do they need sleep, parents need the peace and quiet. I have never understood parents who allow their children to be up at all hours for the simple fact that those hours after the children go to bed is “me” time. My children go to bed at 7:30 p.m. almost everyday of the week and 8 p.m. on weekends, there are very rare occasions when they will be awake later, but for the most part they follow a strict bedtime routine. I need this routine just as much as they do. My son C falls to pieces without a sufficient amount of sleep. (He does not get grouchy like some children, but instead gets overly emotional, bursting in to tears at the drop of a hat) L on the other hand turns in to a whining, crying, little bitch!! She can not function without her sleep, in fact at 10 months old she has 3-4 naps a day and sleeps through the night. It’s just the way we were made, they must get it from me because for the last 2 years I am rarely awake after 11p.m. and if I am, well… lets just say you probably do not want to converse with me the next day, because I NEVER sleep in, and I am BITCHY!!!!

Anyway… the point is that these insane elephants upstairs are the only cause of stress to me at the moment, but it is stressful. I guess I just don’t understand how you can choose to live in an apartment and not have at least a mild amount of respect for the needs of your neighbours. If you want to be loud, rude, or let your chid run around like a crazy person, that’s your choice, but I suggest you get a better job and go live in a house (In the country, in fact, in a whole other country even!!!) Where you won’t disturb your neighbours!!!!