Friday, November 28, 2008

i heart black friday!!!

Finding Black Friday Flair was almost as fun as the actual shopping!
Okay I consider myself an average shopper (my husband would argue otherwise), but there is something about shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving with the crazies (I say this at 4:45 in line between the angry smoker and the three pot smoking buddies that have been up all night to be some of the first to partake in the Black Friday Target extravaganza of all places). Some may ask why shop so early, others will nod and grin, my fascination with shopping on this day of all days is because I dig competition (kind of like the thrill of the hunt). I get to drive all over town with no traffic to every place that I want to go without anyone telling me they are hungry, bored, playing in the racks of clothes, or have to immediately use the public restroom that is in the store that has yet to open (I totally had one of those "oh my God I have turned into my mother" the other day about these very things). The thrill also comes from the bargain that others may not receive because they are in bed sleeping off their turkey hangovers. For instance this morning I was at The Disney Store buying for Princess Abby, I was very surprised to find the entire store 20% off. I was so excited about my thriftiness, I got myself a Tinkerbell tree topper for $8 also!!! But now I need to admit to the mistakes I have made this year starting with dreaming that my alarm was going off and waking up at 3:24. This might not be so bad except I didn't realize this until I got to Target and wondered why no one was in line. So I made lemonade out of lemons and went to the Disney Store (had major success there). Then WalMart or Target??? I need to be at both places and I had convinced myself that they both opened at the same time 5 am - WRONG!!! Walmart opened at 5 and Target the line I am standing in opens at 6!!! Aghhhhhh!!! I didn't study my ads well enough. You know what they say when you assume... At least I am by myself.

I have some rules about Black Friday shopping: 1. Shop by yourself. Friends have separate agendas then you do... It is best to shop alone. A few years ago my friend and I were on our cell phone with each other all morning at opposite sides of town, bragging to one another about the major scores that were being made by both of us. 2. Study the ads, have a game plan and a list. I TOTALLY blew this one today! But the effectiveness of the list and Target's thoughtfulness of providing line standers maps of the store where the great deals were localed helped me get in AND out of the store by 5:15!!!! A record and I didn't have to stand in a ridiculous line. 3. No cart and a small purse in WalMart and Target!!! I have a canvas bag to put my items in and my small messenger bag with only my credit card, ID, keys, and phone. I love the loving husbands who follow their wives around with the cart, they mean well BUT GET OUT OF MY WAY!!! 4. Be aware! As tired as you may be it pays to pay attention to what is going on around you. Last year I scored big checking out at Target. The pharmacy!!! I saw a friend in the main check out line that extended pass electronics and into seasonal... We escaped the clutches of Target without waiting in line for more than 15 minutes. We still laugh about it.
5. No kids allowed! If #1 didn't make sense then I will repeat myself. Don't take ANYONE especially your children with you! That is that last thing you need to be dealing with at O dark thirty in the morning. Besides there is some essential Black Friday shopping that is not for children's eyes (and I am not talking about the customers throwing punches over the last HDTV at Best Buy).

If anyone asks about the amount of money I spent-
My alibi will be Santa made me do it!!!
Now I am home and exhausted from my morning of shopping. Totally worth every minute, I got great deals and I only have 4 more adults to shop for! The kids are DONE!!! Yay me!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankfully yours...

There is so much to be thankful for this holiday season. Namely, I am thankful for my family. That we are all happy, healthy, and together during a season when many don't have friends or family to be with. I am thankful that we live in a beautiful home and that we are able to put food on the table. (Or go to a restaurant that puts the food on their table for us). Tonight I am thankful for our family Thanksgiving feast at home with just us! We will eat turkey and most of the trimmings! Then I get to make pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin bread- YUM! I am thankful for those things too! I am thankful that Steve will be home for 4 days. I am very glad for this because as much as I love staying home with my children, I don't love the way they exhibit their love for each other (wrestling, biting, and screaming at each other). I pretty much had enough of this constant arguing. So I am thankful that Daddy will be home to help deal with this. I am thankful for rain. I love the rain especially when I don't have anywhere to go, like this weekend. Maybe we will all be able to pop some popcorn and watch a movie- again together.
Lastly, I am thankful that I have things to be thankful for. Sometimes it is easy for me to forget of all the great things that I have going for myself and dwell on the negative. But for today, everything is WONDERFUL! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Secret Desire...

A Beautiful Laundry Room!
Sorry Lindsay but it is true!
As much as I like to poke fun and mock the beautiful laundry rooms that I have discovered my fellow bloggers have... I secretly want one! I decided this after my sister and I went back and forth about the function of the lamp on Thrifty Chick's clothes dryer. But now I look at my laundry room ("my office" if you will) with different eyes. The room has soooo much potential, the cabinets are beautiful and the walls are a good color, but it lacks personality... which is why I try to spend as little time in there as possible and still keep my family dressed in clean clothing. So today on a crafty mission to get started on my Christmas Initial, as I walked down EVERY aisle in Joann's I also started brainstorming if I had money to spend (Yes, the economy has stuck the Kuhtz family too) what would I buy to make my laundry room look better, thus making one of my "mommy jobs" more pleasant. I came up with some good ideas but without the cash to back it up it is all a pipe dream. For now my "office" will continue to look like this...

Even if my "office" leaves a lot to be desired, I am so thankful that my house finally looks like fall has come!!! My sister-in-law actually sent me a text today telling me how pretty my house looks today (trust me tomorrow it will look totally different). I am also thankful that my "office" is no longer in the garage like it was at our old house. I suppose things could be worse, a lot worse!

Update- I do have to formally apologize to Sarah of Thrifty Chick for the trash talking that I did about you and your lovely laundry room. Some times sarcasm gets the best of me and I can't keep myself from saying the first thing that comes to my mind. I do love everything you do!!! AND please read my sister's blog, it would make her so happy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Pictures! AGHHHHH...

So Christmas is just around the Thanksgiving corner and I am trying to be proactive and get my picture of the kids taken before I get too busy with everything else Christmas. Today is a perfect day- early release from school, no karate, and minimal homework- except my kids were not in the Christmas picture taking spirit.
A woman told me the other day that she has a hard time photographing her blue eyed children outside during the day, something about light colored eyes being more sensitive. Maybe this is Jack's problem but what about in the shade???
My sister and I make an conscious effort to have the cousins picture taken every year at Christmastime with coordinating outfits. This year - HO! HO!- my guess after today's catastrophe that this year's outfit is going to be more of a hassle then we thought it was going to be. The shirts have already been a problem with sizing and I am taking my kids bottoms back ask soon we are done with the pictures because even though I bought them early I am not happy with the way the stitching on Abby's shirt looks and I am not spending $25 on pajamas that aren't made right.
Maybe we will try again next week after I put up the Christmas tree and Daddy is home to do the screaming and yelling. My photographer days are over.

Monday, November 17, 2008

We Are Those Parents...

Steve and I on a "parents-only trip" to Banff, Canada. 2006

You know the ones I am talking about, the parents who take their children to a fancy restaurant and let them watch DVDs at the table. For fear of becoming our parents we do everything the opposite of the way our parents raised us. You can hate us because we:

  1. Go on vacation without our children. We are currently discussing a mom and dad trip to Disneyland...
  2. We take our kids to restaurants and sit across the table from each other and text message each other. Sick- I know- but necessary to communicate without interruption.
  3. We laugh at our kids. (I don't mean with them,I mean at them). After the election last week Jack told us that "Obama took Miss. Pippi." Not sure what the heck he was talking about he repeated himself "Obama took Miss. Pippi you know the RIVER!" Perfect sense -but so FUNNY!
  4. We make our kids go to bed by 8pm so that we can watch what we want to watch on TV without interruption. There was a point in Jack's toddler days that he could sing the CSI theme song we watched so many episodes- another reason to hate us.
  5. We down play our children's injuries. They cry, we tell them to suck it up and be a man (or woman). Mean? I know, but my kids don't over react at the slightest scratch like I have witness some children do.
  6. We say things like "That costs a lot of money." and "we don't always get what we want". I know this is what our parents said to us but I never said that we hadn't turned into our parents, I just said that we fear becoming them.
  7. We don't make our kids eat vegetables. I remember hating vegetables as a kid and being forced to eat them. Did I like that? NO! But at some point in adolescence or young adulthood I discovered that I liked the taste of them and never turned back. Trust me I will still not eat peas or stuffed peppers but that is my choice.

I have come to the conclusion that you parent the way that works for you. I am jealous of the parent who can ignore their child's bad behavior for the sake of not freaking out in front of an audience or the parent whose children will eat anything that is set in front of them. Trust me I really hate them! But if it works for you more power to you!

I think that the most important thing that I have discovered about parenting is that if the parents have to be in sync with each other, make time for each other, be the most important thing in each others lives , and they need remember the reason the kids are there in the first place... because the two of you fell in love and created them. As long as the entire family respects the bond of the parents everything else will work out fine.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I stand by what I say...

Christmas is a disease! I mean it!
After my blog last week and a Facebook status update my community of readers is split down the middle about whether or not I should even be considering decorating my house for Christmas before Thanksgiving is over. Here is the way I see it:
  1. I love Thanksgiving. I love turkey and dressing. I love Rachael Ray's Pumpkin Cheesecake. I love the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love reading the newspaper advertisements and planning my shopping attack for Black Friday. What I don't care for is that Thanksgiving has no commercial appeal to the mass markets. There are no gifts to buy and wrap, no real decorations that qualify as purely Thanksgiving. After Halloween is over I turn around my Jack-o-Lanterns and make them pumpkins. NO FUN! I do have the Little People Mayflower and Thanksgiving Feast set which I think is so cute and I play with more then my kids do.
  2. How can you not start thinking about Christmas when desperate retailers have already had Santa make his big debut at the local mall. That did freak me out, but not as bad as the parents that were there having their children's picture taken with him last week.
  3. With the economy, the war, and the election, it seems like everyone needs a little Christmas cheer to get them out of this funk. There can be no doom and gloom with Christmas in the air.
  4. I am from the school of thought that I like to get all of my Christmas work stuff done early because I like to enjoy the Christmas fun stuff. I don't think it gets any better then a hot cup of tea sitting next to my 14 foot Christmas tree with the fire going, blanket on, curled up next to my husband and kids and watching one of those cheesy Christmas movies from the 70s. It isn't very often that we slow down these days to enjoying being with one another.
  5. I don't want to diet I want to BAKE!!! Right now I am on the post vacation diet, I have been eating good, I want to make (and eat) candy, cookies, and other yummy treats and to not worry about it because it is Christmas!
  6. I want to shop! I love to shop for other people. I try to buy nice things for my friends and family because I like to treat them to special things. Right now I am in a holding pattern of to shop or not to shop... again the economy.

Just so that you know there is no way I would put up Christmas before Thanksgiving because I just don't have the time. As I has mentioned before I have a little problem when it comes to Christmas decor as well as a husband who has a hard time letting go of our children's baby clothes those two things have collided in the attic so is ALL has to come down and be dealt with.

I think that a little early Christmas may do us all some good. Sorry!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas is a disease...

Jack and Abby in front of the
Disney Tree with their matching Pjs 2007
Funny that on the day that I am having my air conditioning serviced I am also dreaming of Christmas. I blame the kids. After last week's break into song and dance about it being Christmastime I have thought have nothing more then just that ( I have to admit that Thrifty Chick has not helped me at all in this department). There is this spot on my couch in the great room that makes me think of Christmas, probably because my Christmas tree is so big that most of the furniture in that room has to be relocated to other locations for the month of December, I was sitting in the spot were I enjoy watching Christmas movies, drinking hot beverages, admiring my gift wrapping, and of course gaze at my tree today thinking... I love my Christmas tree (s)!
I was talking about my Christmas obsession the other day to another mom at Abby's dance class. I happened to mention that I have not just 1 tree, or even just 2, we have 3 Christmas trees! I am now called "CRAZY". I am a believer in "if the shoe fits", thus 3 trees fit so I do it- happily! I will post some pictures of my trees later.
Beyond my Christmas tree and ornament obsession is the card craze, I love writing the letter, sending the cards, and most of all receiving the cards, especially if they have pictures with them. This entire blog is an extension of my brain on Christmas, I started waking up with Christmas letter idea about 2 weeks ago, a lot of time, effort, and editing (by my sister) goes into my Christmas letter and cards. I have already visualized what my card will look like and I haven't even taking the picture yet! Yesterday I almost bought my Christmas stamps at Costco (you should never mail a Christmas card without a Christmas stamp)!
My kids of course are already working on what they may want for Christmas. Jack has been told that this year he HAS to write a letter to Santa. Abby just wants polish (nailpolish). Oh the kids! I was counting the days until Gymboree had their Christmas pajamas in the stores so I could get mine before everyone else. Why do my kids need Christmas pajamas in October, BECAUSE they might not have the size or style that I want in December that is why! Trust me these ARE the things that I think about. Ask my sister or my girlfriends, they can attest to it. :)
As for this affliction, I know that I will be cured of it by January 1st. I also know that by next October I will start the itching and the scratching to get my trees up, the house decorated, and presents wrapped in time for the holidays.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas is coming... (or "Christmas is Here!")

I have to admit that as a parent I have done my duty in warping my kids minds to believe what I want them to believe. For instance, Jack doesn't eat chocolate, now this wouldn't be so troublesome if one day he just said to me "I hate chocolate Mom" but he didn't. Before Jack could talk (actually as a fetus he didn't like it) I told him (more than once) "you don't like chocolate Jack". No arguments from the first born. So what does this have to do with Christmas??? EVERYTHING! Here are the facts: 1. We live in the central part of California. Not too far from the ocean and not too far from the mountains. Bliss- right? Wrong... It is so hot and dry in the summer and freaking cold in the winter. We get maybe a week of fall and spring, if you are careful not to blink you can enjoy it. Well between last Wednesday and Friday fall happened. On Monday we woke to find patches of frost on our lawn. 2. A year ago (probably around the time of the first frost) I told my kids about when our dog Max was a puppy (a Christmas gift) and it snowed. Granted it was a crazy freak storm that NEVER happens in Fresno. But my kids took this to mean that it CAN and WILL snow at their house. 3. Sunday we went to Target to buy clearance Halloween items and in the season aisles we found Halloween had been replaced with Christmas. So armed with the facts : frost on the grass,the memory of the Christmas puppy and snow story, and the lack of Thanksgiving commercialism my kids immediately decided that it is Christmas time (we don't claim that they are genius by any means). Jack wanted to make sure I let him help decorate the tree after school (I think he wants to make sure I honor my promise to display his Jimmy Johnson ornaments). Abby started talking about cookies and candy. At swim lessons I overheard Abby telling the boys in her class that it is Christmas time and that we had snow at our house this morning. Jeez! So embarrassing. The older boys told her that it wasn't and that it didn't snow either- poor Abby hasn't given up. All week she has been telling me that all she wants for Christmas is "polish" (meaning nail polish) and a shelf to put it on. Jack decided that saving money for a Wii is a feudal and that Santa is more likely to deliver considering that he hasn't lost any teeth in 6 months so he isn't as rich as he was hoping he would be by now. If I want my kids to continue to believe I guess Santa will have to deliver. I am not sure how I will get them to understand that it will probably will never snow in Fresno and that frost not even technically snow, it would be easier to convince them that there is no Santa. LET THEM BELIEVE! I do have to admit on Sunday that was staring at the spot where my Christmas tree sits thinking I wish it was up right now so I could enjoy it for longer.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hallmark Step Aside... There is a new Cardmarker in Town!

A friend of mine recently enlightened me in an easy way to save money at the stationary store- the Card Exchange!!! I love it! Even though I have yet to receive any cards yet, I have made my 20! How it works-
  1. Find 10 to 20 friends to participate.
  2. Each friend makes as many cards as there are in the group. Some will make it complicated and super crafty, others (like me) will be simple. You will enjoy each for their own personality. Themes don't matter!
  3. Everyone needs to make sure that their cards are turned in my the set date with an envelope that fits the card.
  4. One person collects the cards and redistributes them to the participants.

I love it!!!The best was my friend told me about it in August, just about the time Target was clearing out their Summer card products. I got a bunch of cards and embellishments for only a few dollars. All I did extra was buy some ribbon at Michaels. I think I did 20 cards for less then $10! WOW! A Bargain!