Friday, December 28, 2007

Reflection of 2007: Finding Your Blessings

At this time of year, the end of 2007, our family is happily traveling and visiting friends and family. The kids are spending time with their cousins and just enjoying their time together. We exchanged gifts....the adults a pollyanna, which was planned ahead of time. We live further from family now, so the gifts of time, fellowship and friendship are much richer and more important to us.

For those unfamiliar with a pollyanna, we put the names of each adult in a hat and each adult picks a name - not their own =). Then he or she buys a gift for that person. It's a tradition we've been doing for years now. It's simplified the gift giving process and we all enjoy it. We each make up a gift list for ideas if needed and sometimes there is a theme with a set of gifts. We keep it "secret" who our pollyanna is until it's time for the exchange.

This is also the time of year when we reflect back on the year 2007 and recognize the blessings we have received this year. I have really enjoyed writing! Thank you for reading my blog. =)

Be thankful, celebrate & appreciate this time.

May you have had a year full of blessings!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monthly Meals for December

In following Flylady's suggestion, I have a menu planning day and a food shopping day (not to mention a "clean out the refrigerator" day. I clean out my refrigerator the night before our town's trash pick up. I do the menu planning the day before food shopping.

Now in following Dave Ramsey's advice, I have a monthly budget for food as well. I go food shopping on Mondays with my menu, my food shopping list and my cash! It has worked out really well for me. I love the idea of monthly meal planning and just stumbled on this site. It's Disney's Family Fun site. They offer a month of meals for December! If you click on the item, say fajitas, it will even give you the recipe!

Hope it simplifies you meal planning for you!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Virtual Clutter

Does your email inbox have a lot of emails just sitting in it? Mine does. Why? There are 400 messages in there right now. It's really gotten the best of me lately and I've been giving some thought as to WHY. I've read these email, now why are they still in the inbox? One good reason is the email system I am using does not have folder system. I am not pleased with that. I consulted my husband and now I have gone from a web based email system to a mail client system. What does that mean? My email is now being downloaded into Outlook Express. I am really pleased with it! I can create a lot of folders with it if I want. I organized it and flung out all of the trash.

I took it a step further. This is my personal email system. Remember I just recently read David Bach's Smart Couples Finish Rich? If you haven't read that post, click here to read it. Now David Bach asks each couple to determine what 5 values are important to each of them....ones that they want to work on over the next 12 months. Well, I completed that task. I have my 5 values and I applied them to my email system as well! It's another reminder of what is important to me and what my values are. It's much easier to determine what to do with an email if it doesn't fit in ANY of my categories! So I have 5 mail folders and some sub folders. One of my values is marriage & family. I finally have a subfolder under there that is labeled - Pictures! I've never had a folder for them before and they are important to me. I'd have to search through all of my emails to find a picture I was looking for! Now they are all safely in one organized location. Another sub folder under marriage & family is Christmas 2007. I've never had this folder before either. I love it! All of the Christmas lists for family members are now in our location too! No more searching through all of the emails to go shopping!

If you already have a system in place that you are using, kudos to you! Consider adopting the values system to your folders. =)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ideas for Kid's Gifts

When considering gifts for families, think outside the box. We enjoy an annual family membership to our local zoo that we would love to receive as a gift! Memberships are available to zoos, museums and aquariums. Consider water parks or amusement parks, many of them have annual passes. These are great gifts that many families can enjoy all year long.

Another idea is a project you can work on together. I just found this - Illustory. I haven't purchased it yet myself, but am considering it as a gift for my nephew. It's something different the two of you can work on together - writing and illustrating a story. It will always be a memory and a big accomplishment for the child.

Some other ideas are books. Find out if the family or child is reading a series, such as The Boxcar Children. Purchase a book in the series as a gift. Another idea is a child's magazine subscription. We love My Big Backyard and Ranger Rick. Remember how much kids love to receive mail. It is also a gift they will receive all year long.

Another book idea, for someone that already has an annual pass or membership. For example, let's use the zoo. Find out what the child's favorite animal is purchase a book on that animal, for example, let's say squirrel monkeys. A child might really appreciate learning more about his or her favorite animal. Plus you've taken an interest in what they are doing or learning.

If the child spents a lot of time traveling, some traveling games might be a good idea. We will be traveling after the holiday on a long trip, had I thought of it earlier, I may have asked each family member if they would buy a small gift that I could take with me for the trip home. That way when the kids get restless, they could open one of the gifts.