Saturday, November 29, 2008

The wish list that stole Christmas

When did Christmas become about getting exactly what you want? Years ago, everyone on our list received a special something. Then we limited the giving to a name draw. Then the name draw started coming with a wish list. Now we pretty much send someone exactly what they put on their damn list. Which begs the question - why are we exchanging gifts at all? Why don't we just send each other a card listing what we bought ourselves and be done with it.

Don't get me wrong, I love giving gifts. I actually enjoy the process of figuring out something special that someone would like and surprising them with it. I'll admit, sometimes it isn't easy. My sixty-seven year old father, for example can be a real challenge. One year out of shear desperation, I gave him gift certificates to the local car wash. He loved it. Granted, I am sure there have been a few misses, but it is a gift people, not a guaranteed box of happiness.

The worst part about it is how much parents are encouraging this behavior. When I owned my store, the mothers would sweep in followed by little Muffy MacDougal and demand that we take back the offensive pair of earrings, or get this - girlie writing pen, and give the little Muffster a credit so she could get what she really wanted. Excuse me? Muff doesn't use a pen? We also kept wish lists on file, so Momma MacDougal didn't have to waste her time returning the items later. I get that teenagers can be picky, but there is a point where the gift giving just completely loses its meaning when you buy every item on the list. This year, my adult friends and family are doing it too!

Unless you are sitting on Santa's lap or getting married, I won't be reviewing your list! Come on everybody - ban the wish list, and start being thoughtful again! 'Tis the season...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


That my family is healthy. That my husband is not off fighting a war I don't believe in. That I am not facing foreclosure like millions of others. That my house is not for sale right now. That my business is not for sale right now. That my savings account still has a postive balance. That I get to nibble on the (now famous) Junior League cheese ring and hang out with friends on Thankgiving day. That I still fit my jeans after a summer of too much beer (barely). That I have so many blue skies in Phoenix. That my girlfriends are so wonderful and amazing. That my XM plays such great tunes. That my minivan holds lots of stuff. That my grocery store started carrying my half caf coffee. That I am getting more sleep than this time last year. That my husband ran up a mountain today and still makes my toes tingle.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


No you cannot drag the hair dryer around the house by its cord. No you cannot eat crayons. You really shouldn't climb on the craft table. Not so crazy about you jumping on my bed. Ditto for the tossing of the pillows. The dog bone is for the dog.
The TP is for wiping, not unrolling. Where did you hide my makeup brush? Stop pulling your sister's hair. You want me to pick you up again?

Is is nap time yet?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Sometimes I use the address labels sent from St. Jude and don't send a donation.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The rules

How I survive staying at home full time:

1. No daytime television after 11 AM. I can squeeze in The View or linger over the Today Show, but absolutely no soap operas, lifetime movies, or episodes of "A Baby Story". Nothing says slacker like four hours of the most dumbed down programming of the day. Plus, those paper towel ads with the really happy Moms cleaning up after their families make me want to kill someone.

2. Try to learn at least one new thing each week. Today I made yeast rolls from scratch. Next week I am going to practice filling in the states on a blank map of the U.S. (it gets a little hazy around the Dakotas). This stuff keeps my brain from going to complete mush and I'll be thankful for it once I am back in the working world too busy to cook from scratch or study geography.

3. Leave the house in real clothes. I take my daughter to school in what would pass for an actual outfit. Unless I am headed to the gym or meeting a friend for a walk, I am in jeans and a cute top. Bad enough that I am driving a minivan, no one needs to see me in sweatpants. And believe me, some of you ladies aren't fooling anyone with your yoga pants at Starbucks.

4. Make time for me and don't feel bad about taking it. Once a week, I get a sitter for the little guy and have a long lunch with a friend. It's like therapy, but at about half the price! When opportunity strikes, I throw the kids on hubs as soon as he walks in and head out for dinner or drinks or a movie. I am amazed that heading out during a weeknight seems like such a big deal to some of my girlfriends. Not having to cut someone else's food into itty bitty little pieces, get up five times for seconds, drinks, and napkins or dodge flying crumbs from the little guy - makes me feel like a whole person again.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Time to call Tim Gunn...

How is it possible that an article of clothing which a person has worn regularly for a year or more can suddenly look so horrible? Did it shrink? Did it expand? Did little elves sneak in and remake it in the middle of the night?

Worst of all, did it always look this way? Gah.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grocery a ga-ga

Since selling my business this June I have taken a new position with a start up company called my crazy family. Unfortunately it is a full time job. I was really hoping for part-time work or some sort of job sharing situation, but alas, in this economy a girl can't be too choosy. So full time stay at home Mom it is. While I love being at home with my little guy (girlie is a first grader, so its just me and the destructoboy during the day), I do find myself a little bored. Not bored in the sense that I have too much time on my hands (ha), but missing the mental stimulation of a real life out-of-the-house-in-regular-clothes-non-poopie-diaper job.

One of the ways I cope with this is to challenge myself to save money.

When I was busy managing my business a grocery run was literally just that. A full sprint through the store after work, tossing whatever was needed into the cart. Prices? Who cared? Sales? Who noticed? I couldn't have told you how much a gallon of milk was or which brands had the best deals. So now that I shop with a little time on my hands, I decided to take notice and try to spend less on groceries each week. Feeding a family of four was running us around $200 a week. Surprisingly, I am able to save $25 - 40 per week, by paying attention. Wow. One downside has been that I have had to compromise on the brands I regularly buy, sometimes giving up a favorite product. Probably the worst one was my favorite cereal. Shockingly, it was over $5 a box! Once I started comparing my delicious crunchy squares to the cost of other cereals, I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. Until last week that is, when it went on sale for $2.99 a box. I cannot explain my excitement as I shoved five boxes into the cart next to my buy one get one free pot roasts.

I really think I might have a future with this start up. I mean, if I keep implementing cost saving measures like this I may even be up for a promotion!